Wednesday, November 30
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, GIRL?
Well, I've been here, just not "here" exactly. Let me explain before I get pummeled for not posting anything lately.
I was always that kid who stuck out in school. With my glasses as thick as ashtrays and my disheveled hair, I was constantly slipping on social banana peels wherever I walked. I was clumsy and silly, but eager to run around barefoot and climb the trees, constantly searching for a place where I felt more at ease with my peculiarities. I often took refuge on our family farm in Hurley, Miss., knowing that the horses didn't care about my awkward inclinations.
Oh, Say Can We See?
When Mazie Moore saw that picture in Jet Magazine in 1955, it terrified the Franklin County mother. Mamas across the South, black mamas, were hearing about the photo. They took it as a warning to protect their boys from the wrath of angry white men. She couldn't, though: One of her sons, Charles, would be brutally murdered in 1964, just because he stepped in the path of hateful white men out to terrorize young black men. And no one did anything about it. Her son's life didn't matter.
[Stiggers] Stayin' Alive
Here's a brief pre-holiday message from Pork-N-Piggly CEO and former third-string NFL football star Ernest "Monday Night Football Head" Walker: "An inflated economy has produced a depressed nation of price-gouged poor people already in debt before Christmas. Family gatherings will be sparse this year because children and grandchildren cannot afford to go over the river and through the woods to grandmomma's house.
This year at New Stage Theatre, "A Christmas Carol" has a new concept. Everything is different, but the script is the same. There is more detail than ever, and veteran set designer and director Sam Sparks is directing it for the first time.
"Walk the Line" is a foot-stompin', stand-up-and-cheer, cry-in-your-popcorn film. I've been a long-time fan of Johnny Cash, both as the musician who surpassed both genre and generation, and the man who rose above heartache and addiction. Much like John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash stands tall as an American icon.
Tall and slender, with a fluid gait that quickly takes him from one responsibility to the next, Robert Langford, 42, has the needs of children and their families foremost in his heart and mind. First, there's his wife Betsy Bradley, executive director of the Mississippi Museum of Art, and their two children. Then there are the elementary school students and their families served by Operation Shoestring where Langford has been executive director since 1997.
[Music] That Mesmerizing Voice
Spinning, the multi-faceted mirrored disco ball threw bits of rectangular white light mixed with programmed spotlights that change color, shape, direction and intensity. The musicians' jazzy sounds floated and swooped and zoomed into the room. The audience sat, listening, swaying slightly to the beat, grooving.
And For Dessert…
After a great meal, what's better than something fantastically sweet and decadent? After several courses of salty and savory delights, my palate screams out for sugar, in whatever form I can find it. Of course, I have often been guilty of such gluttony during my meal that there is simply no possible way that I could cram a piece of cheesecake or chocolate torte or really anything solid into my mouth. Enter the solution to this dilemma: dessert wine. If you can't eat dessert, why not drink it?
The Day That Emmett Died
Twelve-year-old Simeon Wright lay in his bed in his family's small house near Money, Miss., in the Mississippi Delta. It was Saturday night, Aug. 27, 1955, and Simeon was tired from a busy week. Wright was looking up at the raindrop ceiling, gray with the casts of traces of moonlight. For the last eight days, he had been hanging out with his older cousin Emmett Louis Till, and other cousins and friends, all teens—or, like Simeon, almost-teens.
JFP Interview: Keith Beauchamp
Telling The Untold Story
Keith Beauchamp, 34, has spent the last 10 years of his life investigating the brutal murder of Emmett Louis Till in Money, Miss., in 1955. Till, 14, was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he was reported to have whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, and was subsequently tortured, beaten and shot in the head.
Film Review: "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till"
We live in a culture so driven by visual images that our eyes can't take them all in. From pop-up Internet ads to quick-cut TV commercials to high-tech billboards, we witness far more than we can comprehend, wiping most of what we see from our mental hard drives. Some images, though, aren't so easily erased. On rare occasions, the mind becomes like a photographer's darkroom, in which an image doesn't fade but resolves to such clarity that it becomes an indelible memory.
Melton's Honeymoon, Part IV: Getting What We're Paying For?
When Frank Melton first became Jackson's mayor, he walked into a virtual black forest of uncertainty. The city had been facing a steady flight of residents to bedroom communities for decades, followed by the departure of many businesses looking to keep their target customers within convenient reach, costing the city of Jackson thousands of dollars in property taxes and sales taxes.
Tendai Kuwaza & Steven Browne
Steven Browne, 22, and Tendai Kuwaza, 21, want Jacksonians out and enjoying the magic of world music. To that end, they've formed KB Entertainment and hosted dance parties, jumping to the beat of their native Barbados and Zimbabwe, respectfully. You can find them weekly at Seven*Studioz—at the Renaissance Underground on Wednesdays and at the Reggae Soca dance parties on Saturdays. The two men recently sat down with the Jackson Free Press to spread the good news.
Taking On The Times
"It was like it was someone's opinion but it wasn't attributed to anyone," Lea Stokes, a MEMA spokeswoman, said of "Storm Hit Little, but Aid Flowed to Inland City," an article by Eric Lipton in the Nov. 20, 2005, issue of The New York Times. The article, which described widespread abuse of hurricane relief in the Jackson area, drew strong criticism from locals, among them Gov. Haley Barbour.
After raising the hackles of several City Council members, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton walked out of a meeting Nov. 22 after presenting a proposal for a controversial "boot camp" for troubled teens. The course, financed through the Jackson Police Department, will offer training in "personal growth areas such as self-esteem, self-motivation, self-discipline, life skills, self-awareness, academic responsibility, career opportunities and life choice awareness," according to a booklet the city gave to Council.
This is the website of a woman in Colorado who was arrested for failing to show her driver's license to a security officer on a public bus. The case is interesting simply for the implications it has about the state of our "personal freedoms".
Friday, November 25
The Lion, the Witch, and the Governor
Mark this one on your calendars, folks, because it won't happen often: In the current controversy between Governor Jeb Bush and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, I'm with Bush.
Thursday, November 24
Jackson Less ‘Dangerous' In 2004
Ironically, a murder binge in the city—nine fatal shootings in 10 days—comes just as a national crime-rating outfit released good news for the city of Jackson, at least about its reputation in 2004. For the first time in a decade of reporting, Jackson's 2004 FBI crime figures knocked the city out of the top 25 most dangerous cities, according to Morgan-Quitno, the Kansas-based book publisher.
Definition of South, Southern Changing?
In a rather odd feature, North Carolina-based Associated Press writer Allan Breed asks the question today: "[A]re we heading toward a ‘No South'"? Things are indeed changing in the South. And so is the notion of what it means to be "Southern." In this most maligned and mused-upon of American regions, the term conjures a variety of images. Magnolias, front porch swings and sweet tea for some; football, stock cars and fried chicken for others; lynchings, burning crosses and civil rights marches for still others.
Wednesday, November 23
The Best In Sports In 7 Days
Thursday, Nov. 24
Pro football, Atlanta at Detroit (11:30 a.m., Ch. 35) and Denver at Dallas (3 p.m., Ch. 12): Doctor S is thankful that this year's NFL doubleheader is actually worth watching.
[New Releases] Ladytron "Witching Hour"
Ladytron — "Witching Hour" Just a few years ago, Electroclash was king, and Ladytron was its queen. "Light and Magic," released in late 2002, was a defining moment in the genre and a positive step forward from Ladytron's debut. Now, the rage is retro-flavored indie powerpop with a twist, e.g. Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party. Ladytron have taken this cue and with their latest, "Witching Hour," have not only matched wits with the hype but have surpassed its fickle expectations. This record is a dense exercise in shoegaze, dreampop and electro and shows the band fully evolving into their own. It's the best of Xmal Deutschland, Curve, The Heart Throbs, Lush and Lene Lovich all rolled into one. Let's just say this is their best album ever. It RAWKS and is another best-of contender for 2005.
[New Releases] Gravenhurst "Fires In Distant Buildings"
Gravenhurst — "Fires in Distant Buildings" The Bristol-born Gravenhurst release their third full-length album, showing a dramatic departure from the neo-folk-infused sounds of their earlier work. The acoustic guitar sounds, which predominated on "Flashlight Seasons," are placed in the background and in intermediate contexts as Gravenhurst crank up the amps and let the electric guitar shine through. Nick Talbot's vocals, which have been compared to that of Nick Drake or Jim Moray, sound more like former Pale Saints front man Ian Masters on this release, especially in the thought-provoking and chilling "The Velvet Cell." Warp Records did themselves a great service when they signed Gravenhurst. Gravenhurst have, in turn, given us one of the most original and urgent releases of the year. A best-of contender for the year—most definitely!
[New Releases] Boards of Canada "The Campfire Headphase"
Boards of Canada — "The Campfire Headphase" One of the most enigmatic artists to emerge in the electronic/IDM scene is the Scottish-born duo of Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin (Boards of Canada). Their music has captivated fans worldwide by combining hip-hop and IDM-influenced beats, analog synthesizers, looped film samples and a certain pastoral ambience that just cannot be described. Their latest, "The Campfire Headphase," takes this aesthetic one step further with acoustic guitars and live drums added to the Boards' wobbling psychedelic vortex. Most of the tracks have a wistful feel to them, but there is also an underlying claustrophobic atmosphere toward the end of the album similar to that of their last full length, "Geogaddi." The main difference is that the overall tone of this album is sun-worn, whereas "Geogaddi" was downright icy. As would be expected, this marks a departure from their previous excursions but shows that BoC are in fact experimenting more with the basics of their sound-making formula. We liken this release to a pair of jeans—they take a while to fit, but they're indispensable once they do. A classic!
H.C. Porter Bolds And Contrasts
The paintings that line the walls of H.C. Porter's studio on Millsaps Avenue portray, in boldacrylics and prismacolor, scenes from her youth. All the subjectsare African American.
Downtown Dianne Brown
Dianne Brown, 55, puts character into everything she says and does. Her laugh is contagious. When she tells a story, it feels like you have experienced it with her, which makes sense—Brown has a wide range of experience in acting.
[BeerTalk] Thank The English
With the holidays upon us, get-togethers and parties will come fast and furious. This time of year gives everyone the excuse to slow down, if just for a few moments, and appreciate the finer pleasures in life—good people, good food and good drink.
Dough Done Right
Traveling to Europe turned out to be the best of the unexpected benefits of teaching, right up there with walking the sidelines of high school football games, snapping photos, and keeping score on the bench at away basketball games, at the table for home ones.
We Need A Mayor, Not A Daddy
It is going to be painfully ironic—and useless—if the recent murder spate is the factor that finally gets the Jackson media to start questioning Mayor Frank Melton. Unless proven otherwise, the nine murders in 10 days are not Frank Melton's fault. To my knowledge, he did not put the guns in the killer's hands; he did not tell them to rob and kill; he did not provide illegal drugs that people are willing to kill for; he did not tell a troubled man to pick up a weapon and go kill his girlfriend and another man.
JFP Interview: Mac Speaks Up
Sheriff Malcolm McMillin is not a small person. McMillin stands at 6 feet and weighs in at 250 pounds. He engages in regular fitness training, sports a shaved head, watermelon-sized arms and has a sign in his downtown parking space that reads "Harley Davidson parking only." McMillin cuts an imposing figure when he strides into the county Circuit Court building on Pascagoula Street. No surprise there. He'd probably cut an imposing figure striding into a crowd of bison.
A Gift From God
It's class time at the Hinds County Detention Center, and Sheriff Malcolm McMillin is taking a reporter to see how it works. The county holding facility is one very lengthy drive down Highway 18, just across the street from the exit that leads hundreds of young people to Hinds County Community College every morning. There is, perhaps, irony in the location. Some young lives not destined for one direction often take the other.
[Kamikaze] Hold The Beef
There is great joy in understanding. Simple communication doesn't get nearly as much hype as it should. Conflict managers through the ages have championed the benefits of true conversation, but in this age of beefs (real or perceived) people have yet to simply talk to one another.
[Stiggers] Oui, Oui-ing On Poor Folk
Ghetto Science Public Television presents the Boneqweesha and Momma Church Hat News Hour. Boneqweesha: "Greetings! Momma Church Hat kicks off the News Hour with a special report on the riots in Paris, France."
[Greggs] All In The Single Girl's Family
In honor of the holidays I was going to write an endearing column listing all the wonderful things in my life for which I have to be thankful. I scrapped that after realizing it would probably end up sounding trite and, well, endearing. So I've decided to write a column traversing the sticky rainforest-like scape of my family's deep-seated personality disorders and their relation to my oft-pointed-out single status. That sounded like a lot more fun, and one way that I might actually get excluded from the family festivities this year.
Firefighters Griping Over New Chief
After three months of grumbling among themselves, some Jackson firefighters have officially voiced concerns over Mayor Frank Melton's installation of former Jackson Fire Department Capt. Todd Chandler as interim fire chief.
City Faces Homicide Spate
This past Sunday, Michael Jerome Williams, a 28-year-old suspect in a double homicide, turned himself in to police after committing the city's eighth and ninth homicides in 10 days with the double murder of LaTonya Thompson and Calvin Jennings. The murders brought the city's homicide count for 2005 up to 40—22 of those since the beginning of July.
DIY: Decorate A Christmas Tree
Experienced Christmas tree decorator Sherrie Nichols' philosophy can be easily understood. "I take my cues from nature. Our definition of perfect is different from God's definition of perfect," she told me as we talked about the process. "If you drew a line down my body, my right side is not like my left side, but that's OK because that's me—you don't have to be symmetrical." Here's Nichols' advice for picking the right tree and decorating it just the way you and your family want it.
No More Rotting Hulks
Every little acorn dreams of oak trees, the saying goes. Well, one little seed has come to Jackson, and is now looking to grow a virtual forest of a community.
Rebecca Starling hesitated a bit about being a JFP Jacksonian—she's not someone looking for the spotlight. Her deep-seated conviction to meeting the needs of Hurricane Katrina-displaced students attending Jackson Public Schools changed her mind.
Tuesday, November 22
Peavey 40th Anniversary With Son Volt Concert
You're invited to join the employees of Peavey Electronics and the city of Meridian, Mississippi, in celebrating the music-industry pioneer's 40th anniversary--as well as usher in the '05 holiday season! Acclaimed roots-rock group Son Volt will headline "Home for the Holidays: A Peavey 40th Anniversary Concert" on December 2, and the proceeds will benefit the Meridian Downtown Association.
Monday, November 21
Its in the packaging too.
This is a scary article. It talks about a chemical in food packaging that causes cancer and all kinds of fun things that Dupont knew about, but neglected to inform the FDA when they found it was coming off the wrapper and being ingested in larger amounts than they originally thought.
Sunday, November 20
Bush Tones Down Attack on Critics as ‘Unpatriotic'
President Bush abruptly changed his tune today from days ago when he and Dick Cheney questioned the patriotism of people who are questioning the Iraqi War (which is not a large majority of Americans): After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy.
Saturday, November 19
Ride ‘Em Cowboys, We're Back ... But Apologies
As most of you cowpokes have figured out by now, the JFP's site underwent technical problems this week with our service provider. Understanding exactly what happened is above my pay grade, but Todd tells me it has a whole lot to do with having too much traffic, which overloaded our previous system. That seems a blessing in disguise, even if it didn't feel like it this week. As you can see, the site has been transferred over and is up and running again. However, there are still some glitches.
Friday, November 18
If the $10-$15 weekend cover charge for the regional favorites at 930 Blues Café is too hard on your budget you might just try the no cover Mondays and Tuesdays at 930. The Tuesday night Blues jam now features Bernard Jenkins and the Kickers each Tuesday from 8-10 p.m. You can catch the one and only Ironing Board Sam for lunch at 930 Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at happy hour from 5:30 to 8 p.m. every weekday. So if your downtown and your job is giving you the blues you know what's up. Another Tuesday treat this month has two of Jackson's hottest musicians joined forces for a R&B Jazz Jam with eZra Brown and Henry Rhodes at the Executive Place every Tuesday this month.
Sensational ‘Suburban Legends'
Perhaps the biggest single flaw that The Clarion-Ledger has in its recent addition to its "Changing Face of Jackson" series is the fact that it doesn't include itself in the litany of problems that the newspaper claims are holding back the city of Jackson.
Objets D'Espoir: Artists Put It Back Together Again
Every day after Hurricane Katrina decimated her studio and ripped her home off its foundation, Bay St. Louis artist Lori Gordon picked her way through piles of debris to the slab where her house once stood. All that remained of her work on the Gulf Coast was embedded there in the cement, a mosaic tile floor she'd laid herself. So in a daily ritual that bordered on the obsessive, Gordon would sweep the floor clean of every speck of dirt and trash that had blown onto it overnight. "It was the cleanest that floor had ever been," she says with a laugh. "There's something weird psychologically that happens when you lose everything—what you have left is very important."
The Best In Sports Over The Next 7 Days
College Football, Belhaven at Mississippi College (7 p.m., Clinton, 1240 AM): MC coach Norman Joseph finally gets to face the program he founded.
Gobble, Gobble, Pass The Wine
Thanksgiving is almost here: Have you planned your menu, yet? More importantly, have you chosen your wine, yet? Wine should be an integral part of any gathering. It can make a festive occasion even more festive, and it can make a tense gathering way more tolerable.
Despite the record-setting hot weather, this week's forecast appears more seasonal. To help you make your preparations for Thanksgiving, whether you're eating in or out, here's a list of helpful folks.
Melton's Honeymoon, Part III: Crime and Punishment, Melton Style
Frank Melton carried the May 2 mayoral primary in part because of a surly, take-no-prisoners attitude on crime. Melton used his 14-month tenure as head of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics to forge a local image as a hard-nosed delivery system for justice, despite being involuntarily relieved of his MBN duties by incoming Gov. Haley Barbour due to low drug arrest numbers.
[Stiggers] Hell On Earth
G-SPAN television presents "The Ghetto Science Team's Working Poor People's Economic State of Emergency Summit," with closing remarks by Grandpa Pookie.
[Mangum] The Life and Death of Hamburger
I keep getting asked why I don't eat red meat. Not to be an Oprah, but I actually do worry about Mad Cow Disease. There's a story, too—the real reason I don't include red meat in my diet.
Within weeks of Hurricane Katrina's attack on the lives of Mississippians, Chefs for Humanity Executive Director Debra Rainey was in the area to assess needs so that the non-profit could begin its response. Since then, she's kept a journal of sorts that you will want to read by clicking the OntheRail link at chefsforhumanity.com. The monthly archives are there, explaining how they fed thousands for weeks and how they're planning to return for the holidays.
Let ‘Em Fry
Let's be honest. A roasted turkey sports a fine figure while sitting in the middle of a holiday table, but if you take away the warm oven heat, the family camaraderie, the smell of dessert and all the little side items that bring out the flavor, you're basically left with white protein matter that gets caught easily between the teeth. Freshly baked turkey meat, despite names like "Butterball," has about the same dry consistency it will have coming out of the refrigerator tomorrow afternoon. It isn't easy keeping the moisture in, no matter how many times you baste it or how tightly you wrap it in its silly-looking oven bag. The meat just doesn't hold water.
In The Line of Melton's Fire
For more than a decade, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton spent his career lobbing criticism and condemnation at local political leaders that he felt weren't doing a good job of keeping the city of Jackson off its knees.
Allstate v. Melton
On Aug. 22, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton admitted to Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Robert Bailey that he had lied for more than two years about sending a debunked Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics memo to Washington-based Clarion-Ledger reporter Ana Radelat, falsehoods first reported by the Jackson Free Press in July. Plaintiffs in Robert Pierce v. Frank Melton claim the memo prematurely ended the careers of Pierce and Jimmy Saxton, both former pilots at MBN. Incensed, Bailey quickly entered an order three days later striking Melton's pleadings and rendering default judgment for the plaintiffs.
Cool Little Duling
Real estate developer Mike Peters is looking to expand the successful cultural renaissance at Fondren Corner across Duling Avenue, and will officially unveil his vision Nov. 17, at the Fondren Unwrapped holiday open house.
Michael Robinson, 31, is wearing a t-shirt that says, "I Love Myself," when I interview him. "Born and bred" in Jackson, Robinson sharpened his public speaking skills at Murrah High School on the rap team, then went on to Mississippi Valley State University for a degree in music education. He developed a passion for outreach, education and compassion.
Thursday, November 17
The Gulf Coast has produced plenty of well-known artists, including the very renowned Walter Anderson. Anderson pledged his life to communion with nature in 1947 and moved to a cottage in Shearwater, frequently visiting a group of barrier islands along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he lived primitively through the end of his life in 1965. Living on the island, he sought to become one with nature.
Monday, November 14
A friend of mine sent me this little picture and I giggled uncontrollably for about half an hour. I wanted to post it so that others may enjoy its snarkiness, but I really didn't know the text that should be included. I mean, I have my own notions about the "Loveliness of Marriage" that has absolutely nothing to do with society's.
Sunday, November 13
Clarion-Ledger: Jackson Nightlife ‘Virtually Nonexistent'
I'm reading the first piece in The Clarion-Ledger's new "Changing Faces" installment, and I run into this humdinger of a sentence, stated as a fact by the journalist, thus the newspaper:
Is Jackson Unsafe, Mayor? Huh, Huh?
OK, I'm on the side of Mayor Melton on this one. This news story today just proves HOW FRIGGIN' AWFUL OUR MEDIA ARE. The reporters in this story (it took two to do this!?!) actually admit in the piece that they asked the mayor if Jacksonians should feel less "safe" after the murders this week:
Saturday, November 12
Eight Simple Rules
I might as well go on and say it: I don't really see the point of the men's movement.
It seems to consist of a bunch of guys looking at what men are already stereotyped as being, as wanting, as desiring, and then trying to figure out how to more fully live into those expectations. It would be sort of like if the Black Power movement looked at slavery for a model, or if NOW organized itself around the archetypal figure of June Cleaver, or if the fraternity in Revenge of the Nerds never actually met in person. But whatever makes y'all happy.
Friday, November 11
If God Could Snicker
So earlier, if you were at home, and you heard this loud crunching sound...that was the sound of a short blonde woman collapsing in hysterical laughter while standing too close to a bag of Lay's salt and vinegar potato chips.
No-Bid Contract for Coast Schools Under Fire
The New York Times reports today:
Thursday, November 10
The Lords Of Discipline
Felix Gilette of Slate weighs in on the easy solution to every problem in football. Doctor S hopes this will tide you over until another cheerleader story breaks.
NFL Girls Gone Sleazy, Part 3
The lawyer for one of the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders arrested in a Tampa nightclub last week says his client wasn't having sex with the other cheerleader prior to the bathroom brawl that made the two women the most famous ex-cheerleaders in the NFL and earned them an offer to pose for Penthouse. But the woman who was slugged by one of the cheerleaders says the two were in a "compromising position." The slugee says she wasn't the woman who yelled at the two for taking so damn long. Whatever. Besides, the police say the women weren't arrested for having sex in a public bathroom, they were arrested for being drunk and disorderly and giving the police somebody else's driver's license. Namely, the driver's license of Doctor S' new best friend, Kristen Thomas (right). Kristen's daddy will only say, "It's pretty obvious you can look at those pictures that were arrested and it's not her." Study this photo carefully.
Monkey On My Back
USA Today is reporting an interesting development in the Dover "Monkey Trials".
Wednesday, November 9
The Best In Sports In The Next 7 Days
College basketball, Montevallo at Jackson State (7:30 p.m.): The Tigers play another exhibition game. The JSU women play at 6 p.m., against Henderson State.
You Can Do That
I hadn't planned to write about the death, or the life, of Rosa Parks. I know she was an amazing hero, but I didn't think I had anything else to say that everybody and his brother aren't already falling over each other to say.
[Kamikaze] Bush's Report Card
My kids got their first report card of the year recently. As most parents know, it's that initial indicator that lets you know just where your child stands with his schoolwork or his behavior. It's those infamous letter grades that say either "good job" or "some improvement is needed." Either you're on your way to success or headed toward failure.
[Stiggers] The Michael Moore Of The Ghetto
The Bootleg Low Power Television Network presents "Wee Hour Conversations by the Stove in Grandma Pookie's Kitchen with Ghetto Economist Pookie Peterz."
[Greggs] One Tiny Little Pink Line
On some rather innocuous Sunday eight years ago, I was a 21-year-old recent college graduate just back from a camping trip. I sat on the edge of a bathtub and anxiously awaited the results of a pregnancy test. It wasn't mine. The test belonged to my last official college roommate. She forced me to take the second test in the two-pack just to make her feel better. She then forced me to watch two white plastic sticks for the longest 300 seconds in my life and tell her the results. When she finally screamed "What does it say?", I could only answer, "Well, one of 'em ain't good, but it ain't mine."
Steve Deaton teaches English at Belhaven College and Holmes Community College. He also gives guitar lessons at Morrison Brothers. It doesn't take too much imagination to see all of this when I meet him: He's got the English teacher look all over him, although maybe a cooler English teacher than most of us might have had. What might not be so obvious is that every so often, he and his band Buffalo Nickel like to rock out Jackson audiences and make great records.
[New Releases] Franz Ferdinand "You Could Have It So Much Better…"
- Alex Slawson and Herman Snell
Franz Ferdinand — "You Could Have It So Much Better..." Those sassy, sexy, Scottish boys of Franz Ferdinand are back with a release that is nearly, but not quite, as hot as their self-titled debut. Where their first album was full of 80s new wave energy with a slight lean towards the sound and attitude of indie-contemporaries Interpol and The Strokes, their sophomore release finds their range of influences growing. One can hear Simple Minds, Madness and The Rave Ups; as well as The Beatles (namely on "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" and "Fade Together"), David Bowie/Brian Eno ("I'm Your Villain") The Kinks ("What You Meant") and The Damned ("You're The Reason I'm Leaving") all seeping through the cracks. Lyrically, Alexander Kapranos is in top form, further infusing their retrospective musical nod towards 60s pop and late 70s punk-pop and post-punk. Although there are hooks galore, "You Could Have It So Much Better..." doesn't pack the urgent dance punk punch of their debut. However, ardent followers of 1983 U.K. post punk (Wire, The Stranglers) will find this a long player and successful evolution from the Duran Duran formula that made their debut so fiery last year.
The Honeymoon, Part II: Melton's Secrets
One month after taking over the mayor's seat, Frank Melton said that the news business hadn't quite worked its way out of his soul.
[New Releases] The Black Dog "Silenced"
- Alex Slawson and Herman Snell
The Black Dog — "Silenced" Originally formed back in 1989, The Black Dog has attained legendary status in electronic music circles. The original lineup included Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner; Handley and Turner left TBD after just three releases to pursue their own project, Plaid. Downie was left to his own devices as the remaining member, releasing numerous works on General Production Recordings, Warp and Warner ESP with a variety of collaborators. Finally, he teamed up with the guys of Dust Science and began the latest chapter in The Black Dog's ever-evolving music lineup. This brings us to "Silenced," Black Dog's first full-length release on Dust Science Records. It is classic Black Dog, with an otherworldly and entrancing vibe yet visceral delivery; a Classic in the making!
GOP Chairman Threatens Subpoenas for Katrina Docs
AP is reporting:
The Republican chairman of a House panel investigating the response to Hurricane Katrina threatened Wednesday to issue subpoenas for documents if the White House and other agencies don't provide them by Nov. 18. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia made the commitment after a Louisiana Democrat, Charlie Melancon, pointed out the panel still hadn't seen some documents it requested more than a month ago. The original request pertains to the White House, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services and the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
[New Releases] Bloc Party "Two More Years"
- Alex Slawson and Herman Snell
Bloc Party — "Two More Years" Hot on the heels of their blistering debut earlier this year, Bloc Party just released their new CD-single "Two More Years." While the title track is surprisingly tame for Bloc Party, "Banquet (The Streets Mix)" is more in line with their musical ethos. All in all, a decent primer for their new full length which is forthcoming!
A Yam By Any Other Name
Thanksgiving is nigh. Along with giving thanks for life, love and liberty, Americans give thanks for the traditional holiday meal of fowl and dressing—that might be turkey or chicken or stuffing to some, or baked ham—and all the fixings.
Wal-Mart's Welfare: How The Taxpayers Subsidize Goliath
Wal-Mart, the Alpha Dog of discount stores, has also become the Alpha Hog at the public trough. In many states, taxpayers are supporting the phenomenal growth of the world's largest corporation through economic development subsidies. A Wal-Mart official once stated that the company seeks subsidies in about a third of its stores, suggesting that more than 1,100 of its U.S. stores are subsidized, according to comments by B. John Besio published in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. A national survey by my organization, Good Jobs First, in 2004 looked at 160 stores and all of the company's distribution centers—and found that taxpayers subsidize more than 90 percent. Altogether, 244 subsidized facilities in 35 states received taxpayer deals of more than $1 billion.
John Dicker: Taking On The Other Uncle Sam
Journalist JohnDicker, 32, has worked on films and in labor unions since studying film at Ithaca College in New York. The Bedford, N.Y.-native's non-fiction work has appeared in The Nation, Salon and the Colorado Springs Independent, among other publications. His first book, "The United States of Wal-Mart"(Tarcher/Penguin Putnam, 2005, $12.95) is a funny, biting examination of the power and practices of Wal-Mart, including how the large corporation has shaped America.
Potluck Dinners In The Park
Mama always thought she and Daddy ought to become full-time RVers once he had retired in 1987. It would have been natural for my parents because they spent 7 1/2 years back in the '50s pulling various house trailers behind a variety of vehicles so that Daddy could get to his job sites across the country.
Book Review: Another Brick At The Wal
"It's hard to know exactly when it happened … but for now it's clear: We're all Wal-Mart's bitches." When a quote like that launches you into "The United States of Wal-Mart," (Tarcher/Penguin Putnam, 2005, $12.95) you know that it's not going to be a stern leftist lecture. When it comes to frequent alt-weekly book review contributor John Dicker, harangue just ain't his style.
Reconstructing Bay St. Louis: Answers, Please
Along the beach in Bay St. Louis, houses are nothing more than piles of rubble, and many streets remain impassable. Plumes of black smoke from brush fires burning on the horizon rise over a devastated landscape.
Dr. Stuart Rockoff is a historian who works for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, which is sponsoring a photography exhibit at Millsaps College that focuses on Jewish history and culture in the South. The exhibit features 20 black and white photographs that are part of a collection called "Shalom Y'all" by Bill Aron. The exhibit will hang in the Lewis Gallery at Millsaps College until the end of November and at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 11, Dr. Rockoff will give a guided tour of the exhibit and present a program discussing Southern Jewish life.
Dungeons and Detainees
The Hinds County Penal Farm may be down for the count, thanks to a federal court order demanding the facility close its doors. The recent court order allows 120 state inmates to be kept at the farm, but only until Oct. 1, 2006.
‘Tis ‘Best of Jackson,' ‘Think Global, Shop Local' Season
This week's issue kicks off the JFP's "Best of Jackson 2006" campaign season—and our fourth annual "Think Global, Shop Local" campaign, which we introduced to Jackson in our first year of publication. Pick up this week's issue and read all about why Wal-Mart is not the future of this growing creative-class city, and how you help your community to spending your dollars with locally owned businesses. Also, turn to page 24 to cast your votes in the "Best of Jackson 2006" readers' choice awards—which will be announced in late January.
Tuesday, November 8
A Review of "The Constant Gardener"
In a spy movie without a spy, the bravest and most heroic figure is dead after the very first cut. At the beginning of "The Constant Gardener" (which the Crossroads Film Society screens Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Parkway Place Theater on Lakeland Drive), we see the heroine bidding farewell to her husband at the airport, then director Fernando Meirelles jumps us to a wrecked Land Rover spinning its wheels in the cracked red mud of a desolate lake bed. It's in northern Kenya, but the place looks as remote as the moon. The only sign of life is a flock of white birds that takes off, circles, and settles—unperturbed by death, like the rest of Africa. The dead woman—and there's no suspense about her fate—is Tessa (Rachel Weisz), recently married to midlevel diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes). Stationed in Nairobi, he's the polite, decent face of what's left of the British colonial presence in Kenya. To his superiors, however, that country's just another market—populated with guinea pigs, not lions.
Lott Says GOP Staffer Source of CIA Prisons Leak
Trent Lott is clearly off the reservation in terms of White House and GOP talking points. It's possible that Bush Co. took a mis-step when they failed to support Lott after his Dixiecratgate episode. Today he told reporters that the CIA prisons story was probably the result of a GOP leak, which is embarassing to the GOP leadership that is calling for an investigation into the leak.
NFL Crime: Girls Gone Wild, Part 2
It's true: NFL teams hold their cheerleaders to a higher standard of behavior than their players. The Smoking Gun updates Doctor S' favorite NFL story of the week with a report that the Carolina Panthers have suspended a third cheerleader, Kristen Thomas (right) in the wake of Sunday's sordid incident in a Tampa bar that led to the arrest of two pro cheerleaders. The third cheerleader wasn't present at Banana Joe's, but her driver's license was. TSG also points out the hypocrisy of the NFL. Numerous NFL players have been charged with felonies and allowed to continue playing. But these women have been denied an opportunity to keep shaking their pom-poms in the land of "presumed innocent until proven guilty."
Oh No, T.O. Strikes Again
On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles kicked superstar loudmouth receiver Terrell Owens off the team (at least for the rest of the season) for his continued criticism of the organization and his teammates, particularly quarterback Donovan McNabb. Now comes the fallout: The Philadelphia Inquirer blames the whole thing on ESPN. Meanwhile, the quarterback's dad, Sam McNabb, likens T.O.'s ripping of his son to "black-on-black crime."
All Hail The Sports Conservative
Chuck, stick to your guns on the only thing that really matters.
Chuck Klosterman of ESPN tells why he's a sports conservative. Which only seems odd after he writes, I am an apolitical person. Absolutely nobody believes me when I say that, but it's true. Every conservative person I know thinks I'm mixing Noam Chomsky's personal Kool-Aid, and every liberal I know seems to assume I want to shampoo Ann Coulter's hair while watching outtakes from "The Passion of the Christ."
Monday, November 7
West Wing Live Debate - Verdict?
I happened to be flipping by and stopped on the "West Wing" Sunday although -- usually -- I turn it off if I see it, because I haven't watched for a year and don't know the storyline. I watch some of the re-runs on Bravo and, being the kinda guy who will rent a DVD to watch a TV show without commercials, I figure I'm far enough behind the West Wing not to worry about every catching it live.
It's In The Food.
Here's where I convince the two people that don't think I'm crazy otherwise.
Devil in a Blue Suit
The Washington Post is reporting that Cheney is getting a little upset that limb he's standing on isn't being held up by the rest of the Republicans.
Sunday, November 6
Earlier this week, I leveled some pretty heavy charges against Samuel Alito. Was I wrong?
Saturday, November 5
Riots all over the world
People are pissed. And, some people are pissed at US.
What in the hell is going on here? And here?
Friday, November 4
Ten Different Kinds Of Crazy
I was reading this seemingly mundane "celebrity report" on Yahoo.
Support Our Troops
I'm not saying you're going to like it...
Go here and watch this movie.
Slate's Tommy Clegg funnels his exasperation with TV coverage of last week's Breeders' Cup into a piece on the myth of the working-class racehorse. Excerpt:
Eclectic And Jewish
With its typically eclectic selection of films by Jewish talent, the fifth season of the Jackson Jewish Film Festival commences this weekend, from Sat., Nov. 5 through Tues., Nov. 8 at Millsaps College, as part of the school's Homecoming festivities.
Dick Cheney's Approval: 19 Percent
The CBS poll today has been widely touted for the fact that Bush is down to 35 percent approval, but I almost had a spit-take with my coffee this morning when I saw the V.P.'s 19 percent approval rating. I think Vanilla Ice's comeback tour has higher approval numbers than that.
Thursday, November 3
On the morning of September 2nd, FEMA director Michael Brown complained about his schedule.
"Last hurrah was supposed to have been Labor Day," he whined in
Misssissippi's only PGA Tour event, the Southern Farm Bureau Classic started Thursday at the Annandale Golf Club in Madison. Tickets are $15 a day. But if you can't get up there until the weekend — or are so into Jackson that getting that far north of the city limits gives you a rash — you can follow the action on this live scoreboard.
Farish Developers ‘Pathetic,' Melton Says
Just got through reading today's article on Farish. I actually agree with Melton that this project has taken entirely too long. But whose fault is it? It simply can't be all on Performa. Too many projects in Jackson take ENTIRELY too long to be finished. Not just this one.
The Best In Sports in The Next 7 Days
This week's highlights: Swingers invade Madison … Madison County vs. Rankin County … Starkville runs red … Bears in BR, oh my …
Wednesday, November 2
Where In The World?
For most of us, the geography of the winemaking world doesn't extend past California, France, Italy and Australia. Those are the big boys, so why would anyone look for wine anywhere else? I'll tell you why: There's fantastic wine to be had around every corner, so you owe it to yourself to branch out.
[Chick] We're That Good
My boyfriend said the most disturbing thing on our way to Hooter's. He said, "You and MF can't make a mockery of my Corvette." Are you kidding me? Now tell me that doesn't sound like a challenge. My best friend MF and I can make a mockery of anything, including but not limited to Corvettes, Hooters, each other, ourselves and everyone around us. We're that good.
[Music] They Are Family
It's a tradition for the Taylor Grocery Band to eat at Moe's Southwestern Grill on Sunday afternoons when they are in town to play their "electric catfish" music. The group invited me to join them for their usual Sunday lunch before they journeyed back to their homes near Oxford.
Crash, Bang, Boom
A Review Of "Burnout Revenge"
After playing "Burnout Revenge," I have to simply sit back and ask myself something: Why has no one thought of this before? The concept seems simple. What's more fun than getting into a car you could never afford and racing it around cities that seem made for racing? The answer, according to "Burnout," is crashing those cars into each other, causing massive explosions, pileups and general disorder. I have to say that I agree. If you can't see the logic in that, watch kids play with toy trucks or Hotwheels. What does it remind you of: "Gran Turismo 4," with its slow precise driving, or "Burnout Revenge," filled with crashes and mayhem?
[Comics] A New World Or Another Old Dud?
A Review Of "1602: New World"
Comics are not typically known for having stellar sequels. The follow-up series to the critically acclaimed "Kingdom Come," titled "The Kingdom," is one shining—it might be more appropriate to say dull—example of this. For this reason, I was reluctant to pick up the latest Marvel miniseries "1602: New World," which is a sequel of the highly successful 2004 miniseries "1602." However, curiosity got the better of me—particularly because of the historical setting of the comic—and I decided to give it a try.
Yummy For The Tummy?
Oh, the joys of food! The colors that appeal to our eyes, the tastes that satisfy our tongues, the textures that delight our mouths. We humans would be in a cosmic quandary were it not for the varieties of food we're allowed to enjoy in our daily lives.
Melton's Honeymoon, Part I: ‘Hurry Up And Wait'
Mayor Frank Melton rode into the mayor's office with an 88 percent margin of victory according to a July 27 press release from the city. Though the margin was lower during the Democratic primary against incumbent Harvey Johnson Jr., and only about 22.8 percent of voting-age Jackson voters (or 31.66 percent of registered voters) showed up for the election, the new mayor's supporters believed that if change could come to the city, it was action-prone Melton who could make it happen. The new mayor promised to get the city back into the jail business by building a facility for packing away the bad guys. He also planned to tear down dilapidated housing at a faster rate than the administration before him and to improve the condition of the city's streets. Furthermore, he promised to forge better relationships with the county and state and repair some of the bridges burned between the city and the county during the last eight years.
No.7, November 3-9
<em><b>Here's to Alternative Minds</em></b>
I just moved "back home" to Jackson. I'm originally from Franklin County. I've lived in Atlanta since graduating USM in 1987. I was very excited to run across the Jackson Free Press. One of my biggest worries about moving back here is dealing with the overly conservative, unquestioning mentality that expects everyone to have two right shoes, and all the load that accompanies. Your pub gives me hope that there are plenty of alternative minds flourishing in Mississippi, which I've always known, but alternative minds who are not afraid to present themselves. Thank you!
[Stiggers] Law And Order In An S.U.V.
Cootie McBride uses his S.U.V. to help Ghetto Science Team Counter-Intelligence agents conduct a drive-by investigation regarding a CIA leak. They stop at a prestigious Washington, D.C., hotel to take security guard Lee-Lee Johnson for a ride around the block.
Power of The Purse
Like most 22-year-olds, Jamie Holcomb doesn't have a lot of money. But that doesn't stop her from considering herself a modern-day philanthropist. Holcomb, who works at a non-profit, donates both money and time to the Women's Fund of Jackson.
Kendria Moreland Robinson
Canton native Kendria Moreland Robinson, 33, understands the "no pain, no gain" mantra. As a former gymnast, fitness has always been her drug of choice, and running is her new fix. A couple weeks ago, she completed the five-mile "Over the River Run" in Vicksburg, her longest to date.
[TechTalk] Filtering Fiasco
Sheila O'Flaherty is not a pervert. In fact, when she uses the Internet on computers provided by the Jackson-Hinds library system, she is usually in search of more information about books. Nevertheless, she says the library's Internet filtering software blocks many of the sites she tries to access.
DIY: Make A Bowl
Scott Jarrett, a local artist with a particular affinity for clay, recently sat down with the Jackson Free Press to demonstrate the art of creating a bowl. While "throwing" and forming, he shared many tricks of the trade, all the while demonstrating the skill of a master potter. Finally, desiring to give the public an easy way to make bowls of their own, Scott condensed all of his bowl-making knowledge into four simple steps. By following this outline, even an average Joe can have a piece prepared for the upcoming bowl season (but get a wheel, first!).
Bellsouth Looting Competitors?
Hurricane Katrina took down power lines across the Southeast and left hundreds of customers without phone service for weeks. Some customers also say that the telephone company Bellsouth has taken advantage of the disaster to further dominate the phone lines in southern Mississippi and Louisiana, costing customers valuable time and money.
City Hire Illegal?
At the Jackson City Council's Oct. 31 work session, council members voted to hire Jimmy Heidel as a consultant and limited liability corporation—rather than as an employee—to direct the city's economic development effort. Heidel is very qualified for the position, having been the state's economic development chief, as well as executive director of the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce.
Planned Cuts Hurt Mississippi
Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau reporter Ana Radelat writes today:
Lott Questions Rove's Continued Role
Trent Lott was On Hardball the other night when he wondered aloud whether Karl Rove should have all the power he does in the White House.
Step Away From The Hummer
I was sent an article yesterday from Science.com that talks about Global Warming in a way that brings it home.
The Absolute Beginner's Guide to the Bible
Why yes, I am shilling another book. Why do you ask?
Tuesday, November 1
To everybody who thought Harriet Miers was just a decoy: Jeez. Good guess.
Lali Puna- "I Thought I Was Over That"
German lap-pop icons Lali Puna have enthralled many in their 6 year tenure, including Radiohead, Two Lone Swordsmen and Boom Bip. The lovely voice of chanteuse Valerie Trebeljahr floats in trademark fashion over the precise digital textures of her fellow bandmates, yielding a remotely human quality to an otherwise melodic android symphony. "I Thought I Was Over That" is a 2-disc set compiling rarities, b-sides and remixes [by Lali Puna and other artists remixing their work] throughout the course of their career. Highlights include "40 days," "Clear Cut" [a collaboration with Bomb the Bass], "(This is) the dream of Evan and Chan" [Lali Puna's remix of the classic Dntel track] and "Together in Electric Dreams" [a rare 7 inch released on Darla Records]. Many other gems abound as well, making this a must for die-hard fans of this artist and the lap-pop genre. - Alex Slawson and Herman Snell
Jamie Lidell- "Multiply"
Once strictly a laptop artist on the pristine Warp (U.K.) label, Jamie Lidell transcends and evolves on his first full length offering in five years. Although he is still on Warp, all prior comparisons end as he jettisons old notions of his identity and slams us with this beautiful 44 minute foray into Motown, Funk and New School Soul. One can hear hints of Al Green, Stevie Wonder and George Clinton, alongside the newer stylings of Beck, Prince and Jamiroquai, all seeping forth into a wonderfully familiar, yet unique module of sound. Highly recommended. - Alex Slawson and Herman Snell
Stereolab- "Interlock," "Kyberneticka Babicka," and "Plastic Mile"
Stereolab- 7" singles. The first releases from the Lab since they lost their contract with Elektra and re-joined on the Too Pure (U.K.) label. As with any Stereolab release, expect lots of foamy guitars, soothing vocals and driving percussion in the neo-francophile lounge style. This set of seven inch singles keeps in line with their last two full length releases, more notably "Sound Dust," in that the tempo shifts and movements within a track form an almost kaleidoscopic world of sound.... Highly Recommended! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Blowin' In The Wind
Last week Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. "Scooter" Libby, was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in an investigation into how the identity of a covert CIA operative was leaked to the press. This scandal comes one year after President Bush was elected to his second term, and it puts us in mind of two things that happened about a year ago this month.
Reid Forces Senate Into Secret Session Over Intelligence Questions
Soon after the "phase one" Iraqi War intelligence report by the Senate Oversight Committee was completed in 2004, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Roberts, a Republican from Kentucky, told the Senate and the press that the investigation would continue into "phase two," which would look at *how* the intelligence had been used to drum up support for the war.
A bird flu vaccination in the hand, is worth seven billion in the Bush
Bad title, I know. But do you see the many reasons that I just had to?
Jackson State ended the James Bell error on Monday, dismissing him two days after the Tigers lost to Arkansas Pine-Bluff 64-36 before a homecoming crowd that allegedly numbered 2,831. Looks like athletic director Roy Culberson, who hand-picked Bell, decided to cut the cord before his boss decided to save time by firing them both at the end of the season. Memo to JSU: Fire Culberson before he hires again, and find somebody, within the JSU family or not, who has experience as a successful college coach. In other words, don't do what Ole Miss diid.
Vitalic- "OK Cowboy"
Frenchman Pascal Arbez [with his nom de plume Vitalic] gained sudden exposure after the release of 2001's "Poney" EP, with its noir like electronic movements and crescendo beats. Fast forward to 2005 and the LP format and "OK Cowboy" not only equals his past work, but surpasses them with a flair only the French could muster. It is agreed by many noteworthy reviewers in the field that this is the album Daft Punk should have released after 2001's "Discovery" but didn't [or couldn't]. Instead, the honor goes to Monsieur Arbez. Complete with vocoders, killer synth lines and infectious dance beats, this will undoubtedly be the toast of the club scene for some time to come. - Alex Slawson and Herman Snell