Friday, June 27, 2008

Y'all fly with us agin soon!

I found this article, "Abandoned change adds up for TSA" in USA Today.* It says the Transportation Security Administration "has collected — and kept — more than $1 million in the past three years from airline passengers who forget coins at checkpoints." The top jackpot location was Los Angeles International Airport "...where passengers left behind $89,375 from Sept. 30, 2004 to Oct. 1, 2007...." And this was especially interesting to me: "The cash laggard: Chattanooga (Tenn.) Metropolitan Airport, whose 300,000 departing passengers in 2007 left just $1.20."

My analytical muscles started twitching, and my delight in seeing Chattanooga in non-crime-related national news and my desperate need to get laughs from theoretical total strangers (my readers) drove me to compose this explanation:

According to the stereotypes and popular misconceptions many people probably have about the city of my birth, there’s no change left at the Chattanooga airport because…
· We give it all to the guy doing shoe shines.
· The airport is practically empty; we all take the Choo Choo.
· After purchasing our tickets, we always have just enough change for the RC Cola and Moon Pie machine.
· Our beggars are very persuasive…bless their hearts.
· We put it all in them little binoc’lars on poles up ‘ar at Rock City. Looky, honey, I kin see the outhouse from hyear!
· If it ain’t Confederate money, what good is it anyway?
· We don’t use money; we prefer to trade via the barter system…’course, a fresh-killed hog don’t go near as far as it used to when a feller finds a gal he wants to git hitched to.
· Airport…whut’s ‘at?

In reality, there’s almost no change left at the Chattanooga airport because we natives throw coins at people who call it “Chatt-nooga” (like saying that one extra syllable would kill a person. Dang Yankees!).

*(via comic Suzy Soro's blog).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Macy the star

This is the little girl that those of us in my church singles group get to hear about from time to time (i.e., pretty much weekly) because her grandparents teach our class on Sunday mornings. Actually they show heroic restraint in the bragging department, and usually manage to work stories about Macy into the lesson of the day. Usually. Regardless, no one minds, because we know David and Beverly love us too. They just don't have room in their wallets to carry all our pictures. And it's not like any of US have budding careers as video actors or actresses. But I'm hoping Macy will put in a good word for me with Carrie Underwood.

The pic is a shot from the music video for "Beautiful Life" by Doc Walker, a Canadian country band clearly hoping to ride Macy's coattails to stardom as well. Get in line, guys.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

I read a great book this weekend: Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, by Steve Martin. Anyone who was even partially aware of the world in the 70's heard Steve Martin's absurd catch-phrases and one-liners more than once...quoted by friends, or from Martin himself on his live recordings, on TV (especially on SNL) or in person.

I've always been fascinated with the back-story of any cultural icon, and I appreciate unnecessarily-good writing, and Martin's book delivers on both counts. He shares some info about his early life, and focuses on the story of the progression of his entertainment career from selling programs at Disneyland to performing for tens of thousands of people in a night in venues all over the country, and for millions on the hottest shows on TV.

Between his vivid descriptions and deft phrasing and his quotes of his and others' material, I was alternately admiring his skill with words and laughing out loud (hope my apartment walls are as thick as they should be). But he is anything but flippant in sharing the deep emotional issues that accompanied his success, such as his father's mysterious antagonism toward him even in his moments of show business triumph. But this is not the whining of a spoiled rich guy; Martin's skill as a writer and willingness to be vulnerable make for a very redemptive reading experience, especially as he describes his final moments with each of his parents.

One thing about Martin's story was especially interesting to me, because it supports a theory of mine: during his collegiate studies in philosophy in which he and his friends had endless discussions that (according to the very philosophers under discussion) may have been pointless or even theoretically nonexistent or impossible, Martin decided comedy was a real and meaningful alternative and pursued that. There is something inherent in the act of creativity (and its subsequent presentation) that supports the meaning and value of life; it implies something beyond the immediately apparent world--a creator. Even when the content is at its most ungodly and vulgar, art implies a creator, and the artist is imitating the Creator (even if subconsciously), and is always on the verge of worship. (Martin's book is much funnier than this, trust me).

One of my favorite quotes from the book is a line Martin listed among those that eventually went the wayside as he became more popular:

"I've learned in comedy never to alienate the audience. Otherwise, I would be like Dimitri in La Condition Humaine."

Here's a long excerpt (note the page no.'s at the bottom; click these to advance).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Terry and Carmen Thompson benefit

My career as a volunteer publicist continues....

I'm excited to have joined the group of folks putting the Terry and Carmen Thompson Benefit together (I'm doing the easy stuff, really). Should be a great night; good things are already happening. Terry has been a friend for several years, and played the first of the short series of house concerts I hosted awhile back (when I lived in a house). He and his wife Carmen make a great team, and have clearly generated a great amount of goodwill in their lives...and it's coming back to them in a big way. Carmen has been in a wheelchair since being injured last year, and has been honest about the ups and downs of the process of recovery and adjustment. There've been plenty of each.

Some very cool items have been donated for the silent auction, and the talent for the concert will be, typical of Nashville, astounding. Read the full story here (Word doc).

YOU can be a volunteer publicist TOO! To help spread the word:

Here's a link to the flyer. (2.5 MB pdf)

Here's a link to the press release--no media pass required to read and share! (Word doc)

Here's a link to a .txt file you can paste into a myspace comment or bulletin or even your home page or blog.

Save to a location on your computer before opening:
...on a pc: Right-click the link and "Save Target As..."
...on a Mac: Cntrl-click the link and "Download Linked File As..."
Simply click link to open, then save to your computer (if you're asked for a password, click "cancel" and proceed--no tight security here). Not as reliable as the first option above.

* * *
See the followup post on how it went here. --MKH, July 3