Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Friday Five

Five things that made life a little better this week:

1. "Sex Devil" by Jack Pendarvis. The funniest short story I've read in years (despite the title, it's PG-rated). Plus this version comes with hidden tracks! (Don't click on them until you've read the whole story.)

2. This story about an unfortunate turtle from the St. Petersburg Times. The only thing this week that made me laugh more than "Sex Devil."

3. This story from the New Yorker about the creators of "24" and how some military interrogators seem to think it's a reality show. My wife and I are both hooked on "24" -- it's the only show we both love -- but we almost gave it up a couple weeks ago when one of the bad guys tortured a good guy (poor Morris) with a power drill. Supposedly they're tapering off on the torture scenes for the rest of the season. They better.

4. A shameless plug: My buddy Joe Posnanski (who grew up here and went to UNCC) has written a wonderful book, "The Soul of Baseball," an account of his travels with Negro Leaguer Buck O' Neil. It comes out on Tuesday but you can order online now. Trust me, it's great.

5. The wonder that is the Morristache. Bow down in awe. And there's a T-shirt!

Dove season

This is our new pet, although we didn't adopt her -- she (we're assuming it's a she) adopted us. She set up shop last week on top of one of the corner posts on our front porch. It's not a big perch and she's jammed in there a little bit -- that's her tail sticking up there in the corner.

I believe this is your basic mourning dove -- we've been hearing that distinctive HOO, hoo-hoo, hoo call every morning. The nest is about 10 feet from our front door, and nothing seems to rattle her -- she watches us, the dog, and passers-by with the same placid expression. (Although she did blink a couple of times when I took this picture.)

So any tips on what we should expect here? Anything we should do? How long before we see a baby dove or two?

The one thing I'm noticing as I look at this photo is how smooth her head is. I think we're gonna call her Britney.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Friday Five

Five things that made life more interesting this week:

1. Web 2.0 in less than five minutes. This is like watching one of those evolution-of-man videos -- fascinating and a little scary. Plus it's a good reminder of how fast technology is moving. Five years from now, this'll probably be a relic.

2. UNC beats Duke. I've got no dog in this fight so I just root for a great game, and this one delivered. Now that football's over it's time to start developing a sports crush on some teams and players in preparation for March Madness. Right now my favorite is the Tar Heels' Ty Lawson. At the end of the game, he was the best player on the floor.

3. Van Morrison does "Comfortably Numb." This is apparently from a Pink Floyd performance of "The Wall" from Berlin in 1990; it turned up again last year on the soundtrack to the movie "The Departed." I've never been much of a Floyd fan but this is just astounding.

4. Jack's evil dad on "24." How could the gentle farmer from "Babe" turn into an arms dealer who killed his own son (not Jack, the other one) at the end of the last episode? Hollywood magic.

5. "Love is a Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield. Shy indie boy marries loud punk-rock girl, girl dies, boy mourns -- and, eventually, gets his life back -- through the tapes they made. Will make you want to dig out your old cassettes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

He's Prince, and I'm old

I'm a big football fan but the best part of the Super Bowl was Prince rocking the halftime show.

In 20 minutes he touched on a bunch of his hits, covered snippets of "Proud Mary," "All Along the Watchtower" and the Foo Fighters' "The Best of You," and unfurled a big white curtain that turned his guitar into a giant phallic symbol. (Take that, Janet Jackson.)

But then I started thinking about it. The first Prince show I saw was in 1986. Children conceived that night (and I'm guessing there were a few) are halfway through college now.

And then I realized that Prince is officially an oldies act, or they wouldn't have put him on the Super Bowl halftime show. (Billy Joel did the national anthem, and I'm proud to report he left the field without his walker.)

And THEN I remembered reading that Prince has jumped around on stage so much that he might need... a hip replacement.

Good Lord.

Anybody else have a moment like that lately? Write in and make me feel better. Until then I need some warm milk and a nap.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Friday Five

Five things that moved me this week:

1. "About Alice," Calvin Trillin. A spare, sweet, funny book about Trillin's late wife. You can read it in an afternoon. The last line is still ringing in my head.

2. "David and Mamet," directed by Alex Rose. Everything you need to know about Mamet's rat-a-tat style -- in 91 seconds. "Glengarry Glen Ross" minus the steak knives and F-words.

3. "The Randall Knife," Guy Clark (on the CD "Dublin Blues"). Last week we saw the best concert I've been to in awhile -- Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely and Guy Clark at Ovens. It was in the guitar-pull format, where they took turns playing and came together for a couple songs at the end. Clark didn't play "Randall Knife," but the show made me go back home and listen. One of the finest songs ever about what bonds a father and son.

4. Bill Dance bloopers. We watched so many fishing shows growing up that I don't know how I missed this. If you value expensive fishing rods, prepare to wince.

5. Molly Ivins. Raise a glass to one of the funniest, hell-raisingest columnists there ever was.