I'm a secret lemonade drinker

Back when I was reading that biography on Elvis Costello, the author mentioned that Elvis' dad had recorded a commercial in 1970 that continues to be one of the most beloved commercial jingles in England. I'd heard this story before but I thought it was finally time to use the awesome power of the interweb to track down said jingle.

It was harder than you'd imagine. Many sites made mention of the song but failed to offer an audio clip of it. I finally found a place that promised to email me the clip if I sent them an email. They didn't want to post the song directly because of concerns about copyright, etc.

So a couple weeks ago I sent out the email request for R White's "Secret Lemonade Drinker" jingle. I had just about given up on the whole thing when it magically arrived in my inbox today. I listened to it right away and it has left me pretty befuddled. It's nothing like I'd always imagined it sounded like.

Imagine if you will, Elvis Costello doing his best impression of Elvis Presley. That's exactly what Ross MacManus (Elvis' dad) sounds like in this commercial. It's an odd little tune that I wouldn't imagine anyone humming along to. I guess Britain is an odd little country, though.

The story goes that the jingle also marked Elvis first time working in a recording studio. He's supposed to be somewhere in the backing vocals on the tune but I can't say I hear him. If you're really desperate to hear this tune, too, email me and I'll pass it along.


The Chumbawumba Factor

There's an interesting story on Pitchfork Media about a company that analyzes all the file sharing and illegal downloading people do to help record companies figure out what people want. I guess when record sales first started to decline around 2001 the companies were freaked out. They didn't realize what we all know now. You can't make us buy a whole album for one song anymore. Especially if that one song sounds like nothing else on the album (like Chumbawumba). Sugar Ray, Smashmouth and Blind Melon also spring to mind.

The other question the article raises is if record companies are hiring people to do marketing based on information from illegal downloads, should they also be suing the downloaders? I guess it's a case of if you can't be them, join them, but it seems a little unfair. I mean, at least pick one side and stick to it.

Favorite Song of the Week:
"I'm Sorry I Love You" by The Magnetic Fields - I finally got all three volumes of 69 Love Songs from the library and this is one of the 69 that really got stuck in my head. The line "Well, I'm sorry that I love you, it's a phase I'm going through" is just about perfect.


Not quite a dynasty

Shawn demands, so it must be answered. The world is on tenterhooks awaiting the news of our scavenger hunt exploits.

We started a little after one this afternoon with a list of more than 100 items to photograph or find. Some were easy, like a receipt from Skyline Chili while others we never found (who still has a beta videotape?). Perhaps our greatest feat was getting to King's Island in time to be photographed in front of their big clock at exactly 2:22. We didn't leave Jeff's house near downtown until after 1:40 and we still made it with more than ten minutes to spare. People from Cincinnati will understand what a tremendous feat this is.

This hunt required us to just find a lot of stuff. We tend to enjoy hunts that require some research or local knowledge because that's where we kick ass. Carrie was our Google Master for the day and we called her constantly to help us out. It turns out, though, that she actually owns a nose hair trimmer. We never even thought to ask her about that one!

We had to be back at the finish line at 8 p.m. with all our stuff then we had a beer as we waited for the results to be tabulated. The second place team (not us) was given some lovely duffel bags and the first place team (also not us) got a gigantic trophy. Leigh was a little sad after that, she wanted a big ass trophy.

We were set to drink our sorrows away when they came back onstage a few minutes later and asked if our team was still around. It turns out we came in third and they had scrounged up some gift certificates for us. So what was our big reward? A free haircut for each of us at a fancy new salon for men. That's right, we all got free men's haircuts (which only cost $30 at this fancy place which is a lot for guys but cheap for girls...but that's another post). I passed on my certificate to Jeff so he could get two free haircuts but kept the gift certificate for a free appetizer at TGIFriday's that they also gave us. Free nachos for me!

We had a great time, though, and I think they're going to make this an annual event. I think we've proven that we are always contenders in the scavenger hunt arena and we should never be discounted - because we'll be back!


Defending our title

Last summer Give Back Cincinnati sponsored a scavenger hunt around downtown. It was all on foot and it was almost as much about stamina as it was about getting the stuff. We had a marathoner on our team, though, and he helped keep us motivated. We ended up winning by five points and going home $200 richer (divided five ways). If you want to see some photos from our exploits there's a gallery at the bottom of this web page.

This Saturday we're taking it back to the streets. This year's hunt is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It's not just downtown and it's not just on foot so we'll be a little out of our element. Also there are only three of us going (but we'll still have the marathoner). I'm sure it will be fun no matter what happens but it would be nice to win. We could become some sort of Cincinnati scavenger hunt dynasty and people will tell tales of our exploits for years to come!


And some people think it's weird that Tippy has an email address

Stripey Francoise has his very own blog! Tippy considered doing one, but he's really not that into writing. It hurts his paws.


The picture I promised

Here's the photo of Jeff, Kelly and Carrie at King's Island that I told you about the other day. It's toward the end of day of adventure and they look young and perfect. What else can I say?


Mr. September

I was poking around the internet today when I discovered the greatest thing ever. My new favorite band, The National, will be playing at the Southgate House next month! They're playing on a Wednesday night so I was forced to make a tough decision. Was this one of those bands who I want to see so badly that it's worth taking a day off work for? When you work a night shift, these are the kind of difficult questions you must ask yourself.

The answer is yes! It doesn't hurt that I'm already off for the MidPoint Music Festival the next day. My three day weekend of music can easily turn into a four day one. I can't believe how excited I am about a little concert in the middle of the week. These are the kinds of things that make my insignificant life worth living.

Speaking of the MidPoint Music Festival, they sent out an email the other day saying they still need volunteers. This is a super fun thing to do and you get all kinds of free stuff. I'm not going to tell you again, people, go to www.mpmf.com and sign up!


If only he were really my friend

Josh just posted a link to a new article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. As always, it's a good read and it's full of economic jargon that Melissa will love. So much of our population already qualifies for some level of federal health care that we might as well go all the way. Oh Trevor, regale us with tales of your Canadian healthcare heaven!

When you've read that, or if you don't feel like delving into the daunting task of fixing healthcare right away, you should also check out this old Gladwell article about the magic that is ketchup. He even quotes someone who calls it, "the Esperanto of cuisine." I'm a huge fan of the red stuff so it's one of my favorite articles of all time. Plus, it's educational!

Favorite Song of the Week:
"Big River" by Johnny Cash - I was reading about the new Cash biopic that Joaquin Phoenix has been working on, then I heard this song at King's Island. It's been stuck in my head ever since. I just wish I knew more of the lyrics than just, "I taught the weeping willow how to cry."


Who's the king now, huh?

I've been very lazy today and I'm not about to start being energetic now. Let's just say that King's Island rocked and after spending 12 hours there, we feel like we rocked it even harder. We rode all the cool coasters and managed to sneak in a few extra things as well.

My favorite ride had to be SpongeBob SquarePants in 3D. You go into this theater and buckle yourself into the seat. They give you 3D glasses and then you follow SpongeBob around as he looks for the pickle slice he lost. This is a plot I can really get into. As he rides his bike, your seat bounces and swerves along with him. The 3D part was really fun, too. We kept ducking to avoid things that weren't really there. It was great fun and more than I expected from a ride geared toward kids. The only problem I had with it is the unfortunate absence of Gary. I would have loved to see him in 3D.

I have a really nice photo of us waiting to ride Son of Beast that I'll post later (actually I'm not in it, because I took it). I know you're all dying to see that. For now I need to get back to discovering the mysterious bruises that pop up all over your body from a day of riding roller coasters.


It's good to be king

I'm very excited.

On Saturday, Jeff and Carrie and I are going to King's Island! We're gonna ride roller coasters and show up early so we can get a spot for the new Italian Job ride. I'm hoping the ride is based on the movie because it actually sounds more like something you'd find at the Hustler store down the road. Anyway, the day promises to be full of fun and excitement regardless.

I haven't been to King's Island since sometime around 1988. Back then it wasn't owned by Paramount so all the rides didn't have cute little movie tie-ins. The first roller coaster I ever rode was the Racer. It's a small wooden coaster that doesn't look too intimidating and it marked the beginning of a long love affair with thrill rides. So Saturday's visit will also be a trip down memory lane. I just hope it doesn't give me motion sickness.

Everything explained

Elvis Costello posted an open letter on his web site that I just discovered tonight. Go here and read it. He explains (in almost overwhelming detail) why he has been having throat problems and what exactly was in that little spray bottle he kept using (you'll never guess!).

It goes on for much longer, however. The end turns into a rant against the Bush administration and the war. While I am unlikely to disagree with his views, it all just seems like a bit of a ramble. You should sift through it, though, it's pretty enjoyable.



I know it's in Japanese and all but you should go play this game I found. It's addicting and sure way to waste several minutes of your valuable day.


Go home, Mick

I am so tired of the Rolling Stones. I've never been a fan (sure I like a few classics but that's about it) and the older they get, the more they make my stomach churn. How long can Mick Jagger keep prancing around like that? You know that episode of South Park where they wheel out Rod Stewart and he croaks uncomprehendingly into a microphone? That's gonna be The Stones soon.

But I guess as long as they don't need wheelchairs, they can charge hundreds of dollars for a ticket to their show. Do old baby boomers have nothing better to do? Is there some sort of deeply programmed genetic pull that requires everyone born between 1946 and 1964 to go to a Stones show? Is their very own March of the Penguins?

Oh and the hype. All the hype! I am tired of it. It's like newscasters can understand the Rolling Stones (not like those crazy Coldplay bands) so they just keep going on and on about them. Liking the Rolling Stones does not make you cool! At least not anymore. Mick Jagger scares me so I'd prefer to not see him on t.v. every five minutes.

Whew, o.k. I'm done. I just had to get that off my chest. The good news is I managed to get out of bed at 10:30 this morning. The mid-morning is once again mine!


I wish that I believed in fate. I wish I didn't sleep so late.

My sleep schedule has been all messed up for the last couple weeks. I mean it's never what you would call normal, because I work from 3 p.m. to midnight. On a good night I'll go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake up at 10 a.m. It's really easy for that to slip, though.

Lately I've been sleeping 3 to 11 then 4 to noon. Last night I didn't get to bed until after 5 a.m. I remember when Josh worked nights, I used to see that he was still awake when I got up for work at 7 a.m. Sometimes he would stay up all night. I thought it was crazy at the time, but now I could see that happening to me as well.

I choose to blame my sleeping on some good books I've been reading lately. I want to stay up and finish them, but I hate waking up so late. Even if I don't have anything to do, getting up at noon makes me feel like an unemployed slob. So tonight I'm resetting the clock!

I'm going to go to bed at a decent hour and I'm waking up at 10 a.m. even if it kills me. It will take lots of coffee and I'll be grumpy all week but I really need to start seeing more than a few hours of daylight. It's time to find out what morning looks like.

Favorite Song of the Week:
"Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones - I just got No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion from the library and I've been working my way through the evolution of punk. "Blitzkrieg Bop" is the first song on the four disk collection and it's really fun to listen to. Too bad it's a commercial now. Isn't that what happens to all great songs?


You gotta know when to hold 'em

I just got back from a rousing night of Texas Hold 'Em at my friend Leigh's house. I'm proud to say that even though I've only played poker once before, I came in third out of ten people. I went home with $10 which isn't bad considering everyone only put in $5 to begin with.

Everything I know about Texas Hold 'Em I learned from watching Celebrity Poker Showdown. I actually started watching it because I'm in love with Dave Foley. Sometimes I really miss News Radio.


I haven't been posting much because I've been reading a new Elvis Costello biography all weekend. There are some musicians whom I want to know all about the second I hear their stuff and others that I would rather not know anything about. I think it has to do with how personal the music is to me.

For example, I immediately wanted to know more about The Beatles when I started listening to them. I loved their music but I also felt it was very indicative of a time I didn't know much about. Their stuff was as much about history to me as any personal relationships I might have with their songs.

On the other hand, I've never had much interest in learning more about R.E.M. Several of their albums captured my life perfectly at the time they were released. In my mind, the songs were all about me and knowing the reasons why they wrote them just would have ruined it.

So for a long time Elvis Costello has fallen into that latter category. I knew some of the broad strokes of his history but I wasn't interested in reading intricate descriptions of the inspirations for every tune. This new book came highly recommended, though, so I thought I'd check it out. It's been a fun read so far. I had no idea how huge a star he was in the late seventies and how close he came to being a giant star, up there with Springsteen or Bowie. I also knew he was sort of an asshole when he was younger, but I never knew what a crazy drug-addled super asshole he was. I've only made it to 1981 in the book so I don't think he's going to mellow out anytime soon. I still love him anyway.


Tippy's not this cool

Maggie sent me a link to a great web site today. It's called Stuff On My Cat and it's filled with awesome photos of cats with stuff on them. Maybe they have a picture of Josh's cat Stripey with the queen!



Coldplay had a sold-out show at Riverbend tonight, but nobody I work with has heard of them. It's crazy! One guy asked me who was comparably famous that he might have heard of so he could decide how big they are. I couldn't think of anyone. It's not because Coldplay is so amazingly famous or anything, I just couldn't think of another (recent) band that has gotten so big after just three albums. Any ideas?


MidPoint, again

It's just about six weeks until the MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati and I'm already getting excited. This year they'll have 300 bands and the conference is going to be at the Contemporary Arts Center. Sweet. Jeff signed up to volunteer today so I'm going to bug everyone else in the greater Cincinnati area to do so as well. If you love music, you won't be disappointed.

The one thing that is slightly disappointing, however, is the state of Main Street itself. Clubs have been closing all year. Some have reopened but the area isn't nearly as popular as it used to be. I have to admit that I don't get down there as often as I should. I went to Crush on Saturday, though, and I had a great time. A lot of the clubs are really fun and I'd hate to see the place disappear.

Favorite Song of the Week:
"I'm In The Mood Again" by Elvis Costello - I know we're back to Elvis but I think I just discovered this song the other day. It's the last track on the syrupy and sentimental album, North, and I'm usually in a coma by the time I get to the end. My iPod rescued me by playing this tune on random. It has a great old time feeling. I couldn't believe it was something Elvis wrote. It makes me want to move to New York and fall in love "away from the mad-hatters who live in Manhattan" just like those chicks on Hooking Up.


D.C. is full of bull

One day I came into work to find a boxing cow sitting on my desk. You know those boxing nun puppets? It was just like that except a cow. I loved it instantly.

There's a mystery surrounding the boxing cow, though. I don't know where it came from. I asked all the usual suspects but they denied any knowledge as to its origins. So I guess that also makes it a magical boxing cow.

When my friend Melvin got a job at the Washington Post, I felt it was time for the cow to move on. Melvin always loved the cow even more than I did. I gave it to him as a going away gift with the stipulation that he take the cow to work. I liked the idea that the Post would have a boxing cow in its newsroom.

So now I bring you photographic proof. I know it's a small photo (damn camera phones) but there is the cow at the Washington Post. Now, my life is complete!


Poor little piggies

That's it, I need new gym shoes. I should have recognized this long ago when Carson from Queer Eye said you should get new gym shoes every 6 months. I find that a little hard to believe (and expensive) but I've had these shoes for about 3 years now and they're finally starting to turn on me.

When I was up in Minnesota, I wore them when Josh and I walked to Campaneros for dinner. It was a good little hike but nothing too outrageous. By the time I got back, though, I had a nice blister on the top of my toe. A crease in my show kept rubbing my toe as we walked.

I normally treat old shoes that give me blisters like family pets that bite you. Once they've gotten mean like that, they have to be put down. But these shoes I decided to give a second chance.

When I go to the gym, I usually run a mile or two but today (and Jeff will be happy to know this) I went for a full 5k. My goal is to actually run a real race that is outside and everything but I think I need to get my time down from the 40 minutes it took me today.

Anyway, I just got home, and that blister that had healed is right back in the same place again. This is the last straw. It's gonna be llike shooting Old Yeller but the shoes have to go.

If anyone is feeling generous, I'm now looking for a pair of New Balances in a women's size 8 (just so you know).


Stuck in a moment and you can't get out of it

When I was a little kid, I remember listening to a conversation my parents were having during one of our endless road trips. They were talking about a guy who got in a car accident and flipped his car over on some remote road. The engine was still running but he couldn't move, so the tape he had in his stereo played on a continuous loop for several hours until he was rescued.

This image seared itself into my young mind and ever since then I've had the same thought when I put a CD in my car stereo. Is this the album I'm prepared to listen to over and over again as I wait to be rescued from an overturned car? Most of the time I'm pretty sure I could survive hearing an album for 12 hours or so, but what if it happens on the day I decide to dig out that old Collective Soul CD that's been sitting in the bottom of my collection? I like to give bad music a second chance now and then, but am I prepared for that sort of trauma?

Honestly, being rescued by paramedics who found me losing my mind to Sugar Ray would be like not having clean underwear on ... except worse.

I guess that's a chance I'm willing to take. I have to give new music (and bad, old music) a try now and then. I call it living life on the edge!


In other news, blogs are springing up around me right and left. I like to consider myself the fertile manure that has nurtured this growth in blogdom. I'm warm and soft and deer won't eat me.

In case you missed the announcement on the comments section, my friend Josh (who figured so prominently in my vacation photos) has started his very own blog as well. You can visit him here or check him out from the links section. He loves it when people check him out.


Do they have an AARC?

So Tippy is now officially old. He was out of cat food yesterday so I went to the store and purchased some Science Diet Senior formula for him. That's right, senior. It's made for cats seven and older and according to my calculations, he turned seven a few months ago. I wouldn't have put him on senior right away like this except the lite food he's on hasn't made him slim and trim. I thought I'd see what the senior stuff would do.

Tippy and I are now planning to drive across the country in an RV. We'll stop at Luby's for dinner every evening no later than 4:30 and we'll be sure to ask if there's a senior discount wherever we go. We'll complain a lot about "kids these days" too. Hey, if Trevor can be old, so can I. At least I have a senior cat to take care of.


Picture perfect

I just got the new Nick Hornby book, A Long Way Down, from the library. I'm a huge Nick Hornby fan and this book seems like it will be o.k., too. What bothers me is what is on the back of the book.

I think I've read almost all Hornby's stuff but it never occurred to me that I hadn't seen a picture of him. I could have sat next to him on a plane or spilled a drink on him at bar and been none the wiser. My new book from the library, however, comes with a handy little color photo of the author right on the inside back cover.


I didn't think he was a supermodel or anything but this photo of Hornby is nothing like I expected him to be. I just imagined more of a frustrated rock star look. This is more of a Moby look. I guess the biggest shock isn't how he looks but how different he looks than the image I had in my head.

This always happens to me at job interviews, too. You know, you talk to someone on the phone a few times then suddenly you're flying out for an official interview. When I first meet the mysterious phone person I always have to make sure I have a neutral expression on my face. They NEVER look the way I imagine and I don't want to look too shocked. Maybe I'm just bad at this but I'm guessing that I'm not the only one. At least I hope so.