The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Looking Smart and Semi-Popular

I picked up last Sunday's New York Times last night from a friend. He and his wife were getting them free for some reason and hadn't read it. So I took it instead of having them place it in the ol' recycling bin.

I must admit that I love newspapers. I always have. When I was a small child I used to read the local newspaper and then make up my own little newspaper. Fully plagiarized and nearly free of charge to all my neighbors. What can I say I was quite the little entrepreneur.

I usually read three newspapers either online or in hard copy form. I still get the majority of my news and knowledge from newspapers. But what I really enjoy is reading the New York Times on Sunday mornings. It just makes me feel good to know that the rest of the world is either sleeping, going to church, or reading the same paper I am.

Now with most papers, I admit that the first section that I read is the Sports page. Usually it is the primary reason why I read a paper. I like the sports columnists and reading box scores of baseball games. With the New York Times, I rarely read the sports page. Sometimes I might glance at it, but it isn't the main reason I read the NYT.

I love the Opinion Page, The Book Review, and the Times Magazine. I usually read the magazine first. I usually scan through all the articles really quickly and pick an order to read them in. I don't usually read the magazine straight through because I like to savor the entire magazine throughout the entire week, picking it up and reading and article here and an article there.

This week I found two articles in the magazine that really caught my attention because they were very relevant to me.

The first article I read was entitled Looking Smart and was about a type of journal/notebook, Moleskin, that I recently bought before my trip to Mexico. Evidently the Moleskin is the hip joural/notebook to own. It boasts that Picasso and Hemingway used these notebooks and how it inspires creativity and thinking. I didn't realize when I bought the notebook that it was so chic. Truth be told I bought it because it had a band around it, it was sleek, small, and had a pocket on the inside. I bought it for it's functionality. I didn't buy it because it was a trend or I think it would make me write better. Truth be told, I have only written in it a few times and only one thing of any consequence or quality, that being Gravity. The fact that the poem turned out as well as it did had all to do with the inspiration, not the notebook.

The funny thing is, now that I know it is hip and chic, I wonder if I read this article before hand I would have still bought it. Would I have to have it? Would I say, wow, that's so cool, Hemingway used these and the NYT magazine featured this and now I have to buy one?

Probably. But after the fact, I think, this is so played out. This is so much hype. When, in all actuality, it's just a bunch of blank pieces of paper. The same kind of blank pages I stare at everyday of my life, hoping and praying that the words will flow.

The other interesting article that I found was an article on Nic Hardcourt of NPR station KCRW in Santa Monica. I found out about KCRW probably 6 years ago when I had time to spare and a T-1 connection. I was trying to find some Dave Matthews Band music on the Internet and found the MBE site. I found all kinds of fascinating acts that I wanted to listen to on the site.

Since then, I have been hooked. MBE plays the best music to be found anywhere. Hardcourt usually finds bands that NYT calls "semi-popular" and champions them. MBE is the first place I heard about Coldplay, Damien Rice, and Howie Day. It's the first place I really started listening to Beck. I always thought that the Flaming Lips were just a throw away band until I heard them on MBE. I used to like Ben Folds Five before I listened to them on KCRW, after that I fell in love with them.

MBE's only discrimination is quality, not genre. It is new and refreshing. It is the first place I look when I want to hear something different. I know that Hardcourt won't disappoint me. I know I will hear something on his show and be absolutely floored. Usually after I pick myself up, I go on an insane and sometimes fruitless search of CD at my local CD shops and superstores. So I would always come back to MBE. If everyone's local NPR station was like this one, the guys from Cartalk wouldn't have to promise any totebags to raise money.

I would gladly help support any local radio station that modeled itself like KCRW. Sure, we have a local college rock station, and I usually find a song or two I like on 88.3. But more often than not, I just hear something that I think is weird, out there and not very good.

If you have never checked out the KCRW site and you love music, you would be a fool not to go there.

Shave And A Haircut, 2 Bits...

Fact #1--I had to teach myself how to shave about 13 years ago. My dad has had a beard for as long as I can remember. Truth be told, if I ever saw my dad without his beard, I honestly don't think I would recognize him. So he didn't really teach me anything about shaving. I had to buy shaving cream and some Bic disposable razors and figure it out myself.

Fact #2--I hate shaving!

Fact #3--I shave my head ever few days as a sort of preemptive "shock and awe" strike against male pattern baldness. I used to use clippers and just go short, but for the past couple of years I have been going Kojak and shaving my head with a razor.

So today I noticed that my hair was getting a little nappy, almost 3 centimeters long. So I ran to my local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market to pick up some stuff. I was at the razor aisle looking at razorblades. For the past year I have been using a Mach 3 Power. It's a nice razor and gives me a good shave. The biggest problem is that the blade cartridges are almost 10 bucks for cartridges. So I was standing there thinking, I could get 12 disposables for a buck. Surely I can still shave with these things. I mean I grew up using these things. By now, I am experienced and could probably do this with my eyes closed.

So I got home, lathered up my head and got to work. Not bad. But I was shaving the top of my head when I cut myself. Evidently, right above your forehead there is a hidden aorta that half the blood in your body can rush out of. I couldn't get my head to stop bleeding. When I finally got my head to stop bleeding without the use of stitches and/or superglue, I tried to wash my head off.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Don't Forget To Call Your Granny, I Wish I Could Call Mine

Something gnawed at me most of last week, and I could never really figure out what it was. Sure there were stressful parts of my week dealing with every aspect of life. But really, when does one have a week that is stress free? This was something different though. Something that I couldn't put my finger on until this weekend when I realized what it was.

My grandmother died ten years ago this past weekend.

She was a very unique individual. She was robust and loud. She was very opinionated and would pretty much say whatever she thought. She told me stories when I was a little kid about frogs. She shared her middle name with me. She drank RC cola and ate Pringles while watching TV. She burped and farted louder than any person I knew. She used to jiggle when she laughed. She loved her grandkids a lot. She bought me a Wheel of Fortune watch when I was in elementary school that was the envy of all other fifth graders. She laughed a lot. She drove us right through the middle of New York City one time by accident. She was often tired. She wore white shoes and worked at a nursing home. She led a tough life. She taught me how to iron a shirt the day of my other grandmother's funeral.

She died on a Sunday morning before I could get to tell her good-bye one more time. I made my way up to the room through an obstacle course of loved ones weeping. Her body had been left in the room with the curtains drawn, waiting for me to show up. I remember the void in that room, like all the air had been sucked out. And all I could do was gasp for my breath.

I didn't catch my breath for weeks.

But now looking back at these past ten years, I can't believe how fast these years have past me by. And it occurred to me that the more these years pass on by, the more I will look back on loved ones and wonder where the time has went. I am a lucky man, I haven't been to many funerals in my life. But I know that these years won't always be that way.

I spent the first 17 years of my life craving the attention that she gave away. I was always trying to make sure that she didn't forget me. But for the past 10 years, I have spent my time trying not to forget her. And it's harder than I realize.

But I can still hear her voice if a room is too quiet. I can still picture her cooking in her kitchen. I can still remember the way she smelled. Sometimes I wonder how long these memories will last. I have already began to file away memories of her in the back of my brain. The only way I remember things is if something jogs my memory.

Like the time I was in a Rhode Island movie theater and tears just started flowing during the opening credits of O Brother Where Art Thou. I was amazed that I forgot the way Granny would sing Big Rock Candy Mountain to me whenever I would spend the night at her house, long before my sister was born.

Pretty soon my grandmother will have a fifth grandchild. A grandchild that she will never know. That is unfortunate. I am sure that at some point, my new little cousin will ask me about her grandmother and I hope I don't have to search through the back log of my brain for old memories and stories to share. I hope that I remember the great stories and that they will make her smile.

Time plays tricks on us all. The years go by pretty quick if your not paying attention.

The only hope we have is that time hands out a few treats as well. A few old photos here, a few tear drops there, and a memories floating around us everywhere.


for a second
i'm flying high
then i'm falling
in this blue sky

but i feel a tug
i know it's you
grabbing at this heart

you pull me close like gravity

i want to smile
and stay close to
but i can't run
and chase after you

you must know by now
you must see this too

you pull me so close, like gravity
will i always feel your gravity
you pull me so close, like gravity
how can i fight this gravity
you pull me so close, like gravity

Monday, June 27, 2005

Runnin' Like Forrest Gump

I bought an amazing product this past weekend.

As a society, we have developed many great innovations and invented many great things. And in the long list of our biggest and brightest achievements in history somewhere between the cure for polio and the George Foreman Grill lies the little MP3 player I bought at my local Wal-Mart.

It cost me 40 dollars and is about the size of a pack of Juicy Fruit Gum, original flavor not that "Grapermelon" crap I bought last week at a convenient store. It is a small flash drive MP3 player that runs of a AAA battery and has 128 MB of space.

I know it is no IPOD. I don't need an IPOD. They are nice, but I like going to a store and actually buying a CD. I like the songs that I listen to on an album at first and think, that's not so good. But then after a few listens, I realize that it is my favorite song.

No, I didn't need more music. I bought a MP3 player because I needed my workout partner back.

The best workout partner I have ever had has been one of my best friends, Kevin Brimner. We would always go work out at the gym at nights. Usually I would pick him up and we would work out until the gym closed. We would run, lift weights, play a little racquetball, and take a steam.

We always had fun and laughed a lot. We would talk about anything and everything. And we would sweat, a lot.

The only problem is we live hundreds of mile apart. Sure we talk on the phone and try to exchange emails. But everyone knows how that goes, it is easy to lose track of people when the main communications are pleasantries on the phone and small updates on how life is.

I miss not having him around at the gym. It is hard to stay motivated without someone egging you on.

My little MP3 player has changed all that.

Kevin is a minister back home at Owensboro Christian Church. He delivers sermons, a little bit too infrequently if you ask me, that have been archived on the church's website. So I have downloaded most of his sermons onto my MP3 player.

So now I listen to him speak while I run at the gym. I know it isn't the same as having him right there. I can't make any counterpoints while he is talking. He doesn't reveal to me all his thoughts and frustrations like he used to when we were in between games of racquetball. He can't even laugh at me when I am flirting with some girl on the machine next to me. But it's close enough.

Since I got back from Mexico, it has been hard to get back in the routine of working out. If I went to the gym, I would run for a few minutes and then get tired. I would stop and maybe shoot a few hoops and then go home. My workouts weren't going well.

This past weekend, I went both days and ran for about 35 minutes each time. I get excited listening to my old friend. I keep running even after my brain tells me I am tired. I wanted to keep going and listen to another lesson. I wanted to keep learning and laughing at his corny jokes that no one in the audience was laughing at.

It will be good to have Kevin around again, even if it is not on the eliptical machine right next to me. I only wish that I could somehow repay him. If only I could return the favor of the many blessings he and his family have provided me.

Riley Ember Caperton

In case you might have missed it, Drew and Kristy Caperton had their little girl on Sunday. Little Riley weighed in at 9 lbs. 2 oz. Which means she really isn't that little in terms of a baby. But if you ask me, the route a baby takes during birth qualifies any baby as a big baby.

So congrats to the Caperton's. I hope to see them sometime soon. Though I am a bit disappointed that "Lafette" wasn't given it's fair share of consideration as the name, but oh well, I'll get over it.

Drew has assured me that pictures will be up on his blog soon.