Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wrench... drill... Ryan Seacrest?

Some guys came over Wednesday to do a little work on the house. These are guys who sweat for a living.

At one point they were debating back and forth, so my ears perked up. I figured they were deciding whether to go with the hand wrench or the ratchet.

They were talking about who’s going to win “American Idol.”

My wife and I have never latched onto the show – we tend to obsess over one TV show at a time, and this year it’s “24.” The good news is, you don’t have to watch “AI.” Everybody else watches it for you.

I haven’t seen a minute of it this year but I know it’s down to Taylor and Katharine, and Taylor is the better singer but Katharine is more polished, and no way either of them are better than Chris.

On Thursday I’ll pick up on the ending by osmosis. Or maybe I'll just get the guys to come back and do some more work on the house.

Speaking of “24,” I screwed up bigtime Monday night – I set the VCR to tape from 9 to 11, not knowing the final episode ran from 8 to 10.

No need to offer tapes -- got one. But along the way I found out that we might be the only household in America without a digital video recorder.

TiVo is tempting, but we don't need more TV in our lives. So here's a question for those of you with DVRs: Since you got one, do you watch more TV, or less?

This doesn’t go on your permanent record. Be honest.

UPDATE: OK, I watched the last five minutes of "Idol." Was Taylor, like, overcome with emotion or something? Because based on that five minutes -- I don't know how to say this delicately -- the guy can't sing. Please tell me this was just an off moment. Fantasia would've wiped the floor with this guy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Long-distance dedication

I'm way past the target demographic for KISS-FM. But I still check in once in a while, and every year there's a Top 40 song that gets me totally hooked. Something like OutKast's "Hey Ya!" or Kelis' "Milkshake."

This year it's "SOS" by Rihanna. (View a video clip)

If you haven't heard it, turn to KISS -- you'll hear it in the next 15 minutes. The young'uns out there just like the song for what it is. But we chidren of the '80s love it for a different reason -- it's based on a sample of the Soft Cell classic "Tainted Love." (The little two-note riff that sounds like somebody banging on a pipe, or maybe a submarine going under? That's it.)

When I hear those two notes, I'm in my buddy's car back in high school. He had been through a tough breakup with a girlfriend. For months, the only song that played in that car was "Tainted Love."

Songs carry us back all the time. But has a sample ever carried you back? Stories of love, longing, laughter and loss below. (Jeez. I sound like Casey Kasem.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Flying the coop

Driving out on Wendover Road today when I saw this sign at a street corner: LOST COCKATIEL.

You don't see that one every day.

(Plus I had just seen a bumper sticker that said MY PARROT IS SMARTER THAN YOUR HONOR STUDENT. It's been a birdy day.)

It reminded me of my favorite lost-pet story: When I was a little kid in Georgia, the folks across the street from us had a pet python. We discovered this when one of them came over to our house to notify us that they had lost their pet python.

A day or two later, some guys came to that house to deliver a sofa.

Guess what they found.

My mom can still see the delivery guy sprinting from the house, faster than Carl Lewis.

Add your lost-pet stories below. Points taken off if your dog ran off to rescue a little boy from a well. That wasn't your dog. That was Lassie.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The last-gate blues

Lots of airline adventures this past weekend. US Airways lost my wife's luggage on the flight back from Kansas City -- we ended up standing there by ourselves at baggage claim, like the kid at the end of "Sleepless in Seattle." Meg Ryan never showed up, but my wife's suitcase did -- about six hours later. Did you know they have somebody bring your found luggage to your house? The woman was very friendly. I hope we never see her again.

The other thing I noticed, as we hustled through the airport to catch the flight out of Charlotte (we were a little late to the gate), was that our gate was the absolute last one at the end of the concourse. And when we got back, we ended up at the absolute last gate at the end of ANOTHER concourse.

It seems like every time I fly, the gate ends up being the one at the far end. I walk by people sitting peacefully at the gates along the way, but I never see anybody get on a plane there. I'm thinking those people are airport employees taking a break in those seats, because they know all the actual passengers have to go down to gate E-64.

I'm going to call this the Law of Terminal Frustration -- no matter where you're flying, your gate is always the one at the end of the concourse.

It goes with the two other rules of modern life:

  1. The Grocery-Store Theorem: The line you're in is the one where the customer in front of you can't figure out how to work the debit-card machine.
  2. The Law of Interstate Congestion: When there's a lot of traffic on the highway, whichever lane you're in automatically becomes the slowest. (The Midas Corollary: The car you get stuck behind is always blowing exhaust like a coal plant.)
Any other natural laws along these lines that we should get on the books? Scientists really need to look harder at this instead of, you know, finding planets and stuff.