Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sick Stuff; or, Can't Believe What I 'Saw'

Time for me to rant like the old guy that always writes into his local newspaper.

But I want to know: What's wrong with some people? Specifically, what's wrong with the folks behind gore flicks (not Gore flicks – that's another rant entirely) like the Saw series? Saw V was released last weekend, making me wonder if this is supposed to be the Harry Potter of horror films (minus the good script-writing, sharp acting, etc.). The Orlando Sentinel gave it a 1-star rating, yet it still raked in $30.5 million on opening weekend, second only to High School Musical 3 (speaking of movies that make you shudder …).

I used to think that most people had what I call common decency. Even if they weren't church-going, God-fearing people, they still had a basic moral code. Not these wack jobs behind the Saw franchise.

I know of what I speak. During a recent out-of-town trip, I was channel surfing – hint for travelers: Lock it on ESPN and chuck the remote out of the hotel window – when I happened across one of the Saw installments. I watched for a few minutes to see what the big deal was. Didn't take long to figure out the gist, so I moved on when they started drenching this dude in liquefied pig remains.

Yeah, try getting that image out of your head.

Speaking of heads, I do wonder what's going on inside the noggins of those behind Saw. I've seen one of the Friday the 13th movies, and that's nothing more than an undead dude trying to hack up amorous teenagers. But from what little I've watched and from what I've read of Saw, the basic premise is forcible self-torture. Some kind of sociopathic mindset behind it all.

And of course, teens eat up this sort of stuff, which makes me wonder where their parents are. Probably comparing Benzes at some country club social, or whatever it is that rich, deadbeat parents do. Or maybe the kids are telling their folks that they're going to see the latest High School Musical.

Either way, pretty sick.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nature's Call; or, Rural Ramblings

I went to Knoxville this past weekend. Had to cover that debacle of a gamebetween Mississippi State and Tennessee. It wasn't pretty.

The drive up and back, though, was very pretty. Spectacular. I wisely chose to go via the Natchez Trace, which takes you as far as Nashville. The wife was with me, so we took our time. Stopped at a few scenic places – right by the Tennessee River, some trails, an overlook. Even though I have lived in the South my whole life – save for a five-month stay in St. Louis when said wife and I were dating – its natural beauty never ceases to amaze me, especially this time of year.

It's hard to describe such beauty, which is why I've included pictures. But there is something revitalizing and inspiring about the sharply colored leaves, the nonchalant flow of streams and creeks, the crisp air, the hills and dales (old-school vocab alert), the razor-sharp thorns of some strange tree (owww!).

I think perhaps the raw loveliness of nature – from the rough-hewn rocks to the cool, gentle breezes – is what reminds us of our humanity. I do pity those trapped in large cities, the dull asphalt jungle surreptitiously draining people of their winsomeness. Whatever that means.

But I do long to live in a more pastoral setting. Tupelo is nice, and it's surrounded by rurality, but I think I'd like to live in, say, Tennessee. Hillbilly country, if you will. For now, I guess I'll have to settle for the occasional visit.

Today's Redneck Thought: "I lived in Chicago for nearly three years. It was very cold there, and the people talked funny." – Lewis Grizzard

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Greatest Fantasy; or, Chasin' a Chevy Dream

I've got truck envy. I've had it for years. Just ask my wife. After we first met, I described to her in a letter my dream truck. I wrote: "I'd love to have a big Chevy Z-71 4x4 off-road extended cab stepside w/a 454 engine, skid plates, 42-inch Super Swampers (tires), a Warn winch, steel-chrome brush guard bumper, and a rollbar w/ KCs across the top. Oh yeah, and a trailer hitch. And big rebel flag mudflaps. And maybe a couple of 15-inch Kickers being pushed by 2 100-watt amps. But I digress. And glass packs."

Oh yeah, and a lift kit. And I want it in blue. Or silver. But that's all. Basically, I wanted a Bigfoot. (Here is a "lite" version of what I'm talking about.)

While in high school, I was walking to a fine eating establishment in Monroe, La., (Burger King) and saw a truck that fit many of those specifications. I had to suck the drool back in my mouth. To this day, seeing such a truck makes my stomach flip.

Back in the day, I drove my father's Toyota pickup. Couldn't exactly go mudhogging in that, but it got me around. It was a manual shift, and I could bald a tire in second gear. You work with what you've got.

Now that I'm married with four kids, my dream truck would be quite impractical. Not to mention expensive. Yet, when I cross paths with a tricked-out ride, I daydream for a moment. Sitting up high, blowing out windshields when I rev the rumbling engine, splashing through small lakes. Oh, mother, that'd be sweet.

Oh well. My Honda's a good little car. Maybe I could put some spinner rims on it …

Today's Redneck Moment: I was watching my 4-year-old son playing in the house, and his little water gun was sticking out of his back pocket. I don't know, just struck me as funny.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Instant Brad; or, Just Text/Twitter/IM Me

You want to get in touch with me? It ain't hard. You can text me, Twitter me, chat with me on Facebook, hit me up on AIM, and if I ever used it, Yahoo! Instant Messenger. Or, you could just call me. Or comment on my blog, which I'm always checking. Or write to one of my four e-mail addresses.

It's Instant Brad – IB.

And it's cool. I kind of like it, especially being in my line of work. Comes in handy, whether it's posting quick updates or asking someone a question that I need the answer to now. It's a good way for me to keep up with people and vice versa.

But sometimes, I swear, I'd like to just chuck it all out the window of a speeding car. Because while IB means convenience, it means more pressure. Back in the day, you broke a story in the next day's paper. Today, the progression goes: Twitter, blog, Web site, message boards, newspaper, by which point it's old news.

IB means I'm always on my toes, 24/7. That's part of the job anyway, but now news moves faster, and my life in general moves faster. A brother can't relax on a Sunday, because a football player might have gotten arrested at 2 a.m. the night before for sending his ex harassing texts.

Sometimes IB wishes we were still an agrarian culture, when the only thing 'instant' was a pop-up rain shower, and nobody controlled that. People wrote letters (not typed), traveled less often (and less luxuriously), read yesterday's box scores in the paper, got up early to cook a real breakfast, grew their own food, and talked slower. And I bet they got a lot more accomplished in a day than I ever have.

My wife has sometimes threatened to go Amish. Yeah, but I'm neither a farmer nor handy with anything that doesn't have a keyboard, so we'd be up a creek there. Speaking of creeks, I haven't been near one since college. Used to swing across 'em with my friends on lazy summer days (or sometimes fall in them).

There ain't no going back, I don't suppose. Well, better go see who's on Facebook.

Today's Redneck Moment: Heck, I didn't have time for one.