Friday, September 29, 2006

The End Of A Perfectly Bad Day

My Mom called earlier tonight. For those who have read my blog for over a year may remember when my Father had surgery for cancer. The got it all out. Or so we thought. She told me it's back. In his liver. Spread too far to operate. Probably only a few years.

I'm not ready to not have him in my life anymore.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's Finally Here!

Once again the new all music issue of The Oxford American is here! This is one of my favorite single issues of any magazine. Besides the great articles there is a free cd of southern music that I guarantee you will not find its like anywhere else. Where else would you find Ted Williams and Big Star on the same cd? Or Andy Griffith and Drivin' An' Cryin'? I'm telling you, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, September 25, 2006

When The Saints Come Marching In (I'll Be Off In A Corner Reading A Book)

Tonight is the first home game for the New Orleans Saints back in the Superdome since Katrina. It's a big game for the team and for the city. There's almost as much press in the city for tonight's game as there is for a Superbowl. U2 and Green Day are here to sing one song apiece for the pregame show.

And while I appreciate what it means to the city and the people here I really am not that excited about the game. I'm really not a football fan. In fact I was supposed to open today, but Larry who is a big football fan and was supposed to close, asked if I would switch shifts with him. So it was no big deal for me to do so. In fact if I had been home tonight I would have been watching the season premiere of Heroes and the second episode of Studio 60.

Me sitting home by myself and watching a football game? Not going to happen. Now I have watched a football game or two in my day. I've even been to the Superdome and saw the Saints play before.

Back when I lived on the Westbank and when I lived next door to Mark we used to have a SuperBowl party every year. We did that for about four or five years. I can watch a football game with a group of friends. Then it's not just about the game, it's about the event. Our parties would start early and end late, so the game was just a part of the whole thing. Rain, shine, didn't matter. I remember one year the game was on the day we had an ice storm. That was the year I set my head on fire trying to start the grill in freezing windy weather.

So the choice between watching a football game and reading a book...really isn't that much of a choice.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Empty Refrigerator Is A Lonley Refrigerator (And I Don't Mean What's Inside)

Proving once again that I have too much time on my hands sometimes.

The Kenneth in the noteboard is my brother who was supposed to come over one Saturday with his truck so we could go to Home Depot and I could pick up a new pantry. I live alone and I have to write notes to myself...

Friday, September 22, 2006


I learned that two people that work with me will be quiting within the week. Now this is not something new, a lot of people that work with me quit. Sometimes I even fire a few of them. But these two people have been with me for the last seven years. They worked for me when I was a manager at Service Merchandise and followed me to my new location after that company went out of business.

They both started for me when they were in their teens. Now in their early twenties they have found it time to move on. I don't fault them. I knew they weren't going to be with me forever, but it almost feels like a child leaving home. I like to think that I've had some small part in helping them become the person they are now.

Good luck to the both of them. I'm sure they will continue to grow and become wonderful people.

My Kicks

I really do like wearing these shoes but the problem is that they hurt soooo much. There is no type of arch support, the shoe itself is thin canvas so there is no support for your foot at all. I wore them the other day for work. By the time I got home my feet were yelping in pain.

What's strange is that as a kid these were the only type of sneakers we had. I came of age before Nike and all the other high end sneaker companies. This was the way our sneakers were made than.

Maybe it's just a sign of getting old.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

KT Tunstall

Boy am I feeling old. I remember the days of my youth when I could stay out all night, go to work the next day and than do it again the next night. Well after going to Marah last night, getting up for work this morning for five in the a.m. after work today I went to see KT Tunstall in concert.

This was one of those concerts I expected to go to and like, but not really get that excited about. I like her single "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" and even her cd. But I wasn't really all that excited about her. The tickets were priced low enough that I thought it would be worth seeing her.

I'm glad I did. She put on a great show. She has so much fun up there on the stage that it just radiates out into the auidence. It was a concert I'm very glad that I decided to go to. Even though when I have to get up tommorrow to go to work I may regret it...

Friday, September 15, 2006


It's midnight and I've been up since 4:30 this morning and have to get up again at the ungodly hour of 4:30, so what am I doing sitting here typing these words and not buried under the covers and sleeping the sleep of the just or at least of the tired. Just got back from the Marah concert at the Parish at the House of Blues. The Parish is the room above the main concert room for the House of Blues. It's the room that they use for the acts that aren't as well known, that won't fill the regular room. Tonight's show fit that bill for sure. I don't think there were more than thirty people at the show. Even with those few numbers Marah came out and did a fantastic show. Marah puts on a great show, talking inbetween numbers and interacting with the auidence. At one point towards the end of the show one of the brothers came down off the stage into the auidence. He called everyone towards him and than had us all sit on the floor while he sat in the middle of us and blew his harmonica and sang. Of course none of this matters without great songs and Marah has plenty of them. For the last few years Marah has been one of my favorite, if unknown, groups. And tonight they didn't disappoint.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another aspect of 9/11

I was reading a blog earlier and of course being today they were talking about 9/11 and it's aftermath. The blogger mentioned how it effected people, emotionally, physically, and financaly. And that made me think about something.

Back on 9/11 I was working for a retail company called Service Merchandise. I was a store manager. We sold jewelry, kitchen ware, electonics and a few other things. If you're from the North you probably never heard of us, we were a chain based in the South. We're weren't Walmart size, I think we had a few hundred stores at that time. We were in the midst of a downturn, on 9/11 we were two years into a three year bankruptcy plan. Actually we were going towards the last six months of the third year at that time.

The first two years we had exceeded the plans the bankruptcy court had laid out for us. The goals looked good for us. Word was that we were going to come out of this on the side of good.

Now a lot of stores depend on Christmas for a good majority of their profits for the year. Service had two big spikes in the year. Mother's Day was a big one for us, but Christmas was by far the big one. We did between 70 and 80 percent of our profit for the entire year in the month of December.

Does anyone remember how retail business fared after 9/11? Things went bad very quickly. I don't think anyone had a good Christmas that year as far as retail goes. Including us. Our Christmas sucked. And that January we were on a conference call with the CEO of the company when he announced that by the end of the day they were going to issue a press release that said Service Merchandise was going out of business and closing its doors for good.

I truly belive that 9/11 caused us to close our doors for good. You might think that one bad Christmas shouldn't effect us that much and we couldn't be doing that good if it did. Well in bankruptcy we couldn't afford to have one bad Christmas, yes we were doing very well up to that point, but if you're already battling to keep the beasts at bay you can't afford to slip, even a little. And with the dismal Christmas season we had we slipped. We slipped big time.

I ended up losing my job of course, a company I had worked at for over twenty years, so did thousands of others when we finally closed the door in March for good.

Now I don't want to compare this to all those that lost their lives on that day. What happened to us was nothing in comparsion. But 9/11 caused more that day, effected more lives in more ways than a lot of people think about. And this was one way.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

1 + 1 = F

I can't not talk about it, even though on a day like tommorrow it should be for remembering the good that was done, the heroes that died to save others, not for bashing others or making politics of it. But that's always the problem. The Republicans use that line when it's conivent for them, don't politicize the situation as they go about doing just that. It would not be honoring the dead if we ignored what happened afterwards. Bush has been president for two of arguably the worst diasters this nation has ever seen. 9/11 and Katrina. If he was given a report card I would grade him a failing mark on both. How can any reasonably intelligent person think he did good after either diaster? Just his actions after these two events should make him go down in history as the worst president ever.

In Remembrance:

Tommorrow is the fifth aniversary of the 9/11 attacks, like I need to tell anyone that. It's hard to believe it's been five years. This is one of those days your parents used to talk about, or your know, I remember where I was when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I still remember. I was off that day. I was getting ready to head across the lake into the city. It was a Tuesday, which meant it was new music and book day. I was up, getting dressed when the phone rang. It was Billy, my assistant at work. He told me to turn the tv on. I did to see the tape of the first plane hitting the tower. As I was watching the second plane hit. Somehow I had hung up the phone and was sitting down. I don't remember doing either. I sat there for about an hour watching the tv. Than I got up and left. Decided I had to get out of the house. I went across the lake. Dylan's new cd "Love and Theft" was coming out today. I remember there not being a lot of people at the stores as I shopped that day. Heading back across the lake I put Dylan's new cd in, but kept jumping back to the radio to listen to the news. I don't think I made it through three songs on that cd that day. I got home and sat back down and watched more tv. And than calling people. Friends, Family, it didn't matter who, it was just a way to connect with someone else, make sure they were ok, let them know you were ok. Those images were burned into our mind over the next days.

We talk about not forgetting but how could we ever forget?


I drove up to Tennessee this week. Part of the trip is made on the highway, the last half I end up on these small so called highways that go through all the small towns and speed traps.

Once I got off the main highway I was driving I noticed a lot of white blooming bulbs off to the side of the road. This was cotton. Nowdays they use machines to do most of the picking. But back in the day it was picked by hand. And from what I gathered it was not the most fun thing to do. My Mother when she was growing up used to pick it. After school and on weekends she went to pick cotton. She would spend all day out in the fields, getting her hands bloody picking the cotton.

My Father lived in a home filled with violence. His Father was one of those old Irish men you see in movies. You know the type, filled with booze and violence. My Father left home and joined the Navy when he was 17 after having his ribs broken by his Father.

And as I drove along that highway I thought about my childhood and how sometimes I would complain about something. How sometimes I thought life was so unfair. My parents were not perfect, no where close to it. They had their own demons to battle as a married couple and as parents. I could probably make a list a mile long of things I think they did to me or didn't do for me.

But I know I never had to pick cotton till my fingers bled or run away from home cause my ribs were broken.

The Wonder Dog Is Home!

Buffy is back home, safe and sound. I drove up to Tennessee Thursday afternoon and drove back with her Friday morning. My parents really didn't want to see her go, but she is not getting along well with others. She gets along great with my parents, but at one point she had one of my uncles backed into a corner. As she gets older she likes fewer people.

Still I am glad she is home. Now when I'm talking out loud I can at least pretend that I'm talking to her.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Help Needed

Not much more that I can say to this:

Early this morning, the Texas home of award-winning writer/artist Lea Hernandez, my friend and co-creator of the graphic novel Killer Princesses, caught fire and burned. Half her house is now gone, and the rest is smoke-damaged. In addition, she lost at least six of her family's beloved pets, two dogs and four cats. If you knew Lea, you'd know how devastating that is.

She's lost a great deal of her family's possessions, including irreplaceable art. She doesn't yet know the full accounting of what's been lost at this time.

Most know Lea as the brilliant creator of such works as Rumble Girls and Cathedral Child. She drew the Marvel Mangaverse Punisher book, and has drawn for Transmetropolitan, among many other accomplishments. She is also the co-founder and original editor for Girl-a-Matic, one of the most important venues for female-friendly comics created to date.

She's also my friend, and it's entirely possible I wouldn't have a career in comics if she hadn't asked me to write Killer Princesses for her to draw.

And finally, Lea is one of the last great firebrand hellraisers in comics.

Lea has two (wonderful, amazing) special needs children and right now they need a place to stay and some clothes to wear. More than that, they need some help, and fast, in the form of donations to her PayPal account. Lea's a proud person so I'm going to ask for her. This is important, and a great chance to do a wonderful thing for a creator who has consistently enriched this industry we all love so much. Please, take a moment and send whatever you can to Lea's PayPal account and help make this time a little bit less painful for someone who would do the same for you if the positions were reversed.

If you're a retailer, I ask that you set up a donations jar. If you're a creator, I ask you to think of how devastating this would be to your career and donate what you can. If you're a reader, I'm asking you to take a moment and hit the PayPal link. You'll be doing something heroic and you'll feel great about it, I promise.

Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor's computer while wearing her pajamas at

Donate (PLEASE) to her PayPal account at

Finally, if I understand the story correctly (as told to me by Lea's good friend and current Girl-a-matic editor), it was Lea's daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for God's sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS.

Thank you so much for helping. Really, any amount you can send will make a difference. That's all I can say.

And also, if you have a blog or a myspace account, please spread this around as best you can. Every little bit will help and every eye that sees this might be someone who donates.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Gail Simone

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