Thursday, September 27, 2007

Live from the FdL

Howdy from downtown Fond du Lac, Wisconsin!

Never heard of it? Don't worry, it's easy to find, right at the southern tip of Lake Winnebago, hence the French for "bottom of the lake." It may sound boring, but any town that proudly displays the fact that it has Schlitz on tap is aces in my book.

Last night I had a night off here in the FdL, and my buddy Mike Siegel was once again in the area shooting his show "If Walls Could Talk" for the Home & Garden channel. It's always nice to run into homies out here on the road. We had an interesting time simultaneously watching the Cubs and the Brewers here in Brewer country, with the locals not only rooting for the Brewers (who lost) but against the Cubs (who also lost).

With the Cubs game ending about an hour before the Brewers game, the fans were hoping to pick up a game in the standings by beating the Cardinals, and Mike and I were hoping the Brewers would lose to keep the Cubs' lead in the division at 2 games. Being the only Cubs fans in the joint we had to keep our celebrations very low key, a low five under the table or a very non-descript clinking of glasses.

I'll be able to watch this afternoon's game in my hotel room so I'll probably be a little more vocal in my support. Hopefully my neighbors on the floor won't get too freaked out.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How I learned to stop worrying and love Minot, ND

Last night's show was at Minot State University in beautiful Minot, North Dakota, a town where they apparently hand out nuclear devicess, or at least send them around the country unknowingly.

I know it hasn't been on the news too much (o.k. at all) but you can't blame the big media outlets for not covering it, what with all of the suprememly important O.J. stuff going on. And Britney Spears! Much more important than NUCLEAR BOMBS being misplaced.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Tallest Man-Made Thing in the World

Turns out it’s in North Dakota (it's that thin, grey line in the background). It’s a T.V. broadcasting tower for KVLY and KTHI, and for being the tallest of something in the world it’s pretty boring. It’s just sitting there in the middle of North Dakota farm country doing nothing.

It’s difficult to get any perspective on it because the next tallest building within a five-mile radius is a two-story barn, and it’s so thin compared to its height it kind of just blends into the hazy sky behind it until you get within a couple of miles. But it is, in fact, the tallest structure in the world, standing at 2,063 ft (628.8 meters, for the commies overseas).

So I began to wonder why the tallest of something in the world wasn’t a little more prominent, more publicized. Is it just Midwestern modesty, or is it something else? Are people worried that if word gets out that the tallest thing on the planet is in America the evildoers of the world would try to bring it down?

And then I realized that this is a brilliant strategy. Build the biggest damn thing in the world out in the middle of nowhere, pretend it’s the most important symbol of American pride--call it the World Freedom Elvis Tower or something--and trick the terrorists into attacking it. It’ll be like one of those bug zapper lights. Lure the terrorists out of the dark with the ultraviolet promise of 72 virgins and their name on CNN, and then BZZZZT! your backyard barbecue is once again safe from radical fundamentalist Islamorama.

My plan would be at least as effective as those threat level color codes.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

You Betcha

Oh, yah. Downtown Fargo.

It's pretty nice actually, and I found a cozy little coffee shop with some WiFi so I can make good on my resolution to get updated.

It was last weekend that really threw me off. Thursday I had a show in Springfield, IL, Friday I flew to Bangor for a show at the University of Maine, and then Saturday I had to hop a couple of planes to get down to Williamsburg, VA for a show at William and Mary.

The upside of all of that travel was that the shows were a blast. At William and Mary there were several students from other nearby colleges that crashed the show and Lodge 1 in the student union was so full they actually had to turn people away.

Now I've made my way to the upper midwest and so far it's been pretty cool (and chilly). Tuesday at Bemidji State was a ton of fun, a crowd full of music nerds. My people! After the show I hung out in beautiful downtown Bemidji (home of the famous Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox statues) and I had a great time even though three of my four songs on the jukebox got axed by the bartender. Guess he has a problem with REO Speedwagon. Commie.

We'll see if Fargo is kinder to my music choices...

Dinner vs Supper vs Pickup Trucks

Last night, toward the end of my show here in Crookston, MN (just east
of Grand Forks, ND if you must know) I used the term "pickup truck" and
brought the show to a screeching halt. Apparently people round these
parts don't like it when you say "pickup" and "truck" because,
according to them it's either apickuup or a truck, never both. The
person who brought this to my attention went so far as to say a pickup
is not a truck at all, it's simply a pickup, 'truck' being reserved for
larger, heavier vehicles.

I was fascinated, as I always am, by
regional semantics, so I asked if I was in a pop or a soda region (pop)
and then a dinner or supper part of the country. "Supper" is a very
upper Midwest thing, and when you drive through northern Wisconsin you'll still pass places that call themselves "Supper Clubs" without the least bit of kitsch or irony.

of course I'm in a supper region, and after the show a student told me
she had an entire discussion in one of her classes on the very subject
and they concluded supper was the largest meal of the day while dinner
was a lighter affair. I contended that supper was a later, lighter meal
when one eats diner earlier in the day, but she was adamant and I quit
the discussion.

Well, according to the American Heritage Dictionary:

Supper n.

1. A light evening meal when dinner is taken at midday.
2. A light meal eaten before going to bed.

In your face! I can now drive to Fargo (in my pickup truck, drinking a soda) knowing I was right.

Now, on to more important matters, like what happens in Bemidji, MN on a Tuesday...