August 31, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.

01. JACK -- "Radar Gun", The Bottle Rockets
02. TONY -- "Stranger", Presidents Of The United States Of America
03. CHASE -- "Golden Sea", French Films
04. ECON -- "Crown Of Age", The Ettes
05. KYLE -- "Oklahoma U.S.A.", The Kinks
06. OATESS -- "Crackity Jones," Pixies
07. DUNN -- "Cowgirl In The Sand", Neil Young & Crazy Horse
08. EVAN -- "Splitter", Johnny Greenwood
09. MARK -- "Wonder Why", Vetiver


August 29, 2011

Status: Godfather

This might come across as a little strange -- maybe even out of left field -- but as of this past weekend, I became the godfather to one of my best friend's first child. I'd been asked well before she was born, but even with the advance notice, I had no idea how delighted I'd feel actually becoming the godfather, for real. When I got the first picture, I melted. When I was consulted about the name, it only enhanced the honor. As you might be able to tell, I want to take this role seriously -- I have an open door to spoil this child as much as I want. So anyway, for anyone who's remotely interested, this is Lucy Abigail Palmer (daughter of Erin Palmer (Erin Murrell in a previous life)):


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August 25, 2011

Important updates from Nashville

We've been in Nashville almost two months now, exhausting the plethora of restaurant options all across town and hitting some of the entertainment options that even some long-time residents have yet to visit.

Most important are these updates:

* (White) linen pants get really wrinkly
* I wrote about extreme smoking this week
* I sinned by not seeing the Handsome Furs on Tuesday night at a venue literally out the back door of the newsroom
* The swing dancing here is intimidatingly good

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August 24, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.

01. JACK -- "Nutmeg (ft. The RZA)", Ghostface Killah
02. TONY -- "2080", Yeasayer
03. CHASE -- "Settle Down", Kimbra
04. ECON -- "Fright Night (Nevermore)", Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
05. KYLE -- "Memories of the Future", The Handsome Furs
06. DUNN -- "Take On Me", Reel Big Fish
07. EVAN -- "Divining", The Nels Cline Singers
08. MARK -- "Rainbow in the Dark", Das Racist


August 13, 2011

Odor Hunt

Yesterday, Vanessa and I experienced our first full-scale un-identified odor hunt in our apartment.

I awoke in the morning and was immediately aware of a strange smell, which in the half-waking haze of early morning seemed to be coming straight out of my pillow. This odor was so pervasive that, although localized in the kitchen, it was by no means confined there. I assumed it was the trash, so I promptly changed it and tossed the half-filled bag on the porch for later attention.
When I got home from work, I found the trash can itself standing on the porch next to the bag. Vanessa had just gotten home. The stench was still a present in the house. The hunt was on.
We searched high and low, in the fridge, in the cabinets, behind the stove, and everywhere, questioning each other as to every detail of our recent victualed past. With the trash can already outside, we were at a loss.
Back track one day. The morning before the hunt, I had reached for Max's bag of dog food and spilled its entire contents onto the floor as the bottom eagerly gave out. It was wet with water leaked from our poorly sealed faucet, caused by the extra pressure of a newly installed dish washer. The dog food was wet but, we thought, still usable. After all, it's only little bits of brown... stuff.
Now back to our story. Vanessa, having by far the keener nose, triangulated the alien smelled to the plastic grocery bag containing Max's salvaged food. That smell from inside the bag is unforgettable. Vanessa escaped to the bathroom, dryly retching. I carried the bag to the dumpster and never took a breath until it was inside. Even then, the smell lingered in the evening air, defying the efforts of the summer breeze.

Moral: Did you even know that dog food goes rancid? Until recently, I thought it was made from the same stuff as clipboards.

At any rate, the hunt is over and we are all safe.

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August 4, 2011

Central Illinois Uber Alles

We at the newspaper tend to notice when towns in our "urban area" (yep) make the national scene. This is why the existence of an alt-country band called "Neoga Blacksmith" so tickles my fancy. (If you knew Neoga, you'd know why. A fine little town, but emphasis on "little".)

But when cities in our coverage area show up in the national satire scene, it makes us even happier.

Exhibit 1: Man Has Derogatory Nickname For Every Neighboring Town (The Onion)

Exhibit 2: Central Illinois for peace (The Daily Show... their website is broken so I will link to the video when it is actually working. But, rest assured, Jon Stewart clearly mentions Effingham, Altamont, Shumway AND Beecher City.)

It might be stretching it to call a few of the communities mentioned "cities," or even "towns," but I'll give them a pass for including a place like Shobonier off the map. My theory is that there is at least one East Central Illinois native who became a satire/humor writer and has made it his life's goal to educate the world about the towns of his youth. Because, seriously, you don't just pluck Beaver Creek off a map, considering the fact that it has no post office and is not even on any of the maps I have looked at (aside from Google).

A noble pursuit, I must say. Although, I must say it's hard to give any more publicity to an area that already has Flaming Hearts and Wooden Shoes living right next door to one another.

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