Friday, December 29, 2006

a bit of caminopedia for an unrelated camino

Carter was kind enough to inform me of the existence of an El Camino college in Compton, California the other day, and I must admit to an early sense of accomplishment and pure giddiness at the thought of having a scholarly institution erected in my honor. Sadly, this was not the case.
Compton’s El Camino College was in fact named for Lord John Jacob Bodelwyddan Lucien “El” Camino, no relation, Earl of Bangwynbury and inventor of the car-truck hybrid that bears his name. This feat was especially impressive when one considers that Lord Camino’s work predates the inventions of both the car and the truck.
Other, lesser known facts and inventions from Camino’s body of work include a vehicle comprised of the front of a bass boat and hind quarters of a zamboni, the sousaphone, the phrase Don’t go there, girlfriend, penicillin, the Franklin stove, B-movies dealing mainly with women in prison, the prosthetic moustache, Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch cereal, apathy, Tesla coils, and a friendly toy known to impressionable nineteenth century children as “Jiggles, the Pantsless Marmot”. His “Jiggle me Jiggles” variation on the toy was the must-have Christmas toy of eighteen hundred and fifty-nine. However, the American Civil War was soon to put a damper on the pantsless Marmot rage of the mid-nineteenth century.
Broken and penniless, Camino then retired to California where he was a founding member CRIPS gang, which originally stood for “Camino’s Ragtime Internet Pep Squad”. Camino was once again showing considerable foresight, as this collective predated the actual Internet by well over a century.
Sadly, the group had turned to general mischief and shenanigans by the time technology caught up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

rex's health news

Just before Christmas I was diagnosed with strep throat. However, I didn't show any of the symptoms of strep like a sore throat, fever, or difficulty swallowing. My symptoms--the stomach and back aches, the occasional bit of nausea of dizziness, finding entertainment in a large purple asexual dinosaur of questionable motives--are generally found in children with strep. This is odd for two reasons:
1. I am nearly a full grown man.
2. That's pretty much it. I just always like to have multiple reasons. I said two thinking that I could come up with another one by the time I reached this point, but the disease has obviously encumbered my thinking process.
Anyway, the throat culture told them strep, so strep it is. It may just be the power of suggestion that makes me feel a sore throat and fever now, but my symptoms still, for the most part, show me to have the children's variety of strep. I have understandably been researching this particular branch of the infection and have learned three interesting bits:
1. Strep coupled with a rash is sometimes referred to as "scarlet fever", and scarlet fever sounds considerably cooler than "strep throat". Saying that one has "scarlet fever" conjures images of lying on a cot in a thatched hut somewhere in deepest, darkest Africa while small native children fan you and mop your brow. I'm not getting any of that now.
2. More research on the theory needs to be done, but some believe that strep in children leads to obsessive-compulsive disorder. You can read all the scientific mumbo-jumbo, yip-yap, and jibber-jabber here. Some have said that I occasionally show OCD tendencies, yet just yesterday my left sock was a full two inches higher than my right and it did not bother me. I did not upon learning of the discrepancy immediately rummage through my sock drawer to find the proper mate for each. I let it go and gave it no more though throughout the day. Ergo, perhaps it kills OCD in adults. I still don't think I have any amount of OCD but would be a willing lab rat for the right price.
3. Damn. I couldn't come up with a third.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

rex's holiday memories: christmas 2006, a heartwarming holiday episode from a medical center waiting room

I like the modern variety of animated children’s movies about as much as I like pina coladas or getting caught in the rain, which is to say that I do not like them in the least. However, I suppose the large flat screen showing the Will-Smith-is-a-fish-and-Robert-DeNiro’s-career-dies-a-little-more movie was a bit more distracting than thumbing through copies of Redbook, In Shape, Better Homes and Gardens or any number of the automotive or non-sports related man-designated magazines provided in the waiting room at the medical clinic. There was only me, an older guy in another corner, and a young Mexican family in the back with children beating the tiled floor with Lincoln Logs.

Anyway, I don’t have to tell you that I was quite starved for entertainment by the time the tall gaunt man wearing a large swishy parka on what was really a quite mild day walked in with a still-smoldering quarter of a cigarette wedged between two stained fingers. He was pale, blonde, unwashed, unshaven, and of a roughly youngish, though indeterminable age. He said:

“Ma’am, I was hoping y’all could help me switch over to a new pain clinic.”

“Sir, you’ll need to put the cigarette out,” the understandably nervous receptionist told him from behind the relatively safety of her window.

“I am SO sorry, ma’am. I coulda swore I put that out,” he said as he pinched the smoldering end of the butt. “Anyway, ma’am, I just moved away from that other pain clinic you sent me to, and there’s another one down the road from my new place, ma’am.”

A ma’am sandwich, I thought, though I kept it to myself. The nearly visible cloud of alcohol fumes radiating from the man told me that he probably wasn’t in much pain at that particular moment.

One of the nurses had taken over from the receptionist at the window. She was explaining to the man everything he needed to do to switch pain clinics. She was doing so very slowly and in simple, well-enunciated words. He was thankful and scribbled down what he could while dispensing “yes, ma’ams” left and right. The smell of alcohol only seemed to get stronger. When they were done he thanked them profusely and left.

Within thirty seconds I heard the unmistakable stumbling swish of him re-entering the room behind me. I was glad, as that Will Smith movie, like most Will Smith movies, really is godawful.

This time he walked past the receptionist window to the phone hanging on the wall beside it. He picked up the receiver, dialed a number, and then leaned the top of his head against the wall in a defeated slouch. What follows is his end of the conversation as near verbatim as I can recall.

“Pick up …come one …Hey, baby, I am SO sorry …I know, I know …I am SO sorry. I just love you so much …Baby, I am sorry about that. It’s all my fault. I just love you so much. I love you and your little black baby …I know. That was all my fault, baby. I just love you so much …I’m coming home now …Huh? …What did they do? ...Did you shoot the other one too? …Okay, baby, I’m coming home …cause I love you so much, baby …All right …I love you too, baby …Need anything from the store? …Okay, I love you, baby, and I’m coming home because I just love you SO much …You want the menthols? …Okay, don’t go nowhere till I get there. I just love you, baby …All right.”

And her little black baby, I thought, though I also kept this to myself as he stumbled from the room for the second and final time during my visit, dropping a couple more “Thank you, ma’ams” at the receptionist window as he passed.
It was a heartwarming Christmas tale, really, and not even the obnoxious hip-hop dancing of animated sharks and guppies could knock the strains of Alabama’s “Christmas in Dixie” from the sound loop in the back of my mind after that.

Friday, December 22, 2006

mo fats

It took me the better part of three days with a team of pack mules and some remarkably diligent Sherpas to be able to watch this over my primitive dial-up connection, but it was well worth it. Here is Fats doing "It Ain't Right" with Ada Brown from the 1943 film Stormy Weather. It would prove to be one of his final performances.

You may sing along in French if you wish.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

vinyl findings, episode 2: fats waller piano solos, 1929-1941

Jazz Academics and people who engineer the carving of mountains into statues may disagree with me here, but any Mt. Rushmore chiseled to honor the four greatest jazz pianists should bear the likenesses of Scott Joplin, Art Tatum, Monk, and this mug:
If you’re like me you can’t look at ol’ Fats without wishing that history could’ve put him and Michael Dukakis on this planet at the same time in order to have had one hell of an eyebrow fight to the death.

Anyway, if y’all don’t happen to know Fats, then you still probably know “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Your Feet’s Too Big”, “All That Meat And No Potatoes”, “I Got Rhythm”, or any of the countless jazz standards he composed. Louis Armstrong was always at his best when singing Waller, whether it was the hypnotic swing of “Everybody Loves My Baby (But My Baby Loves Nobody But Me)” or the racism blues of “What Did I Do (To Be So Black and Blue)”.

By the way, you can learn more about Thomas Wright Waller by consulting your local library or just lazily clicking this link to his Wikipedia page, complete with the tale of how Fats was once kidnapped to play Al Capone’s birthday party.

I mention all this to lead into my vinyl finding of the reprinted two record set of “Fats Waller Piano Solos, 1929-1941”.

This is, as the title indicates, a collection of Fats alone at the piano. Absent is the trademark voice and witty lyrics, and one is left to appreciate the genius of the man as a musician. The keys stride in machine gun rhythm through a subtle hiss and crackle to reverberate off the walls of the Rexroom even now, and I must say that there is no better case to be made for blindness in the whole “would you prefer blindness or deafness” debate than music such as this.

Uh…where’s your thumb?

Excuse me?

Your thumb is conspicuously absent from the photo.

Yes. Well, I felt that the odd appearance of my thumb detracted from the last installment of “vinyl findings”.

So you don’t find your other digits to be in any way odd looking?

Is this better, Captain Howdy?
You do realize that I’m just a figment of your imagination, don’t you?

That’s what they said about the mischievous elf who lived in the back of my closet and randomly tailored my trousers as I slept.

That turned out to be a cat.

A cat?

Didn’t you read “The Captain Howdy Mysteries, Book Four: The Case of the Mischievous Elf Who Lived in the Back of Rex’s Closet and Randomly Tailored His Trousers as He Slept.”

Obviously not. However, cats cannot tailor one’s trousers. How do you account for that?

You were accidentally attempting to put on Mrs. Camino’s pants.

Ah. Indeed. It all makes sense now.

Anyway, where the hell was I before this digression?

You were telling the story of the time you met Michael Dukakis in the men’s room of an IHOP just off I-75 in Toledo.

I was? I did?

Trust me.

Okay. Um…Yes. Uh…Michael Dukakis was a swarthy little bastard of a man, quick with a condescending tone and raised eyebrows the size of legless gibbons, who…

I’m just screwing with you. You were actually telling the nice people about Fats Waller.

That couldn’t have been Fats Waller in the men’s room at the IHOP.

No, that was Jamie Farr.

What? I’m confused, and my thoughts are hurting my brain.

Shhhhhh. There, there. Now, you go have some eggnog and take a nap while I finish up here.

Anyway, folks, all you need to know about ol’ Fats is that he ate too much, drank too much, played the ever-loving hell out of the piano and then died on a train just outside of Kansas City at the age of thirty-nine.

We should all be so lucky.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a bit of rambling half assedly

There was a troubling moment early yesterday when I noticed that half my ass had fallen asleep. If the few times I’ve impersonated a doctor have taught me anything it’s that I know very little about medicine and health and whatnot, but finding myself in a literally half-assed condition didn’t seem to be normal. So it was that I stood and felt about my backside. The ass—what there is of it—was indeed still there, yet the coupling of my ever-fattening wallet and an unforgivingly unpadded desk chair had worked to slowly choke the life out of said buttcheek. It was not money that fattened the wallet, unfortunately. People seem to want to give me their business cards as if I were the sort of person who transacted business or called people or didn’t dive into the closet with a blunt object at the ready every time somebody rings the doorbell. I politely take the business cards and file them away until they become painful, and yesterday seems to have been that point.

However, a recollection of my early years then popped into my head as unburdened the wallet and switched it to a front pocket.

Some friends and I began driving to Nashville from our little Alabamian around the age of seventeen. We’d come up for a night here and there to catch shows at 328 or the Exit/In or just to walk around west end or downtown. Nashville was the “big city”, as it were, and we treated these weekends like shore leave. We smoked out in the open without fear of being caught by our parents or their friends and would sneak bottles of vodka or PGA in to augment our drinks as we walked around at Summer Lights or just up and down Broadway.

“Big cities” can be scary places, but that’s part of the allure. We—or I, at least—always half expected to be mugged or stabbed or kidnapped and then sold into white slavery when walking around downtown or from Elliston Place down to Lucy’s Record Shop. Sadly, this never happened.

But the tidbit that had escaped me until the wallet constricted my hind quarters half to death yesterday was the fact that the very first thing we always did when arriving in Nashville was to switch our wallets to our front pockets. This was obviously done to avoid pickpocketing and probably would have bit a useless defense against the kidnapped for slavery thing, but the defensive measure was so engrained on a Pavlovian level that for the longest time I would immediately check my front pocket when I thought of Nashville.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about that for a while.

Also, this has for some reason reminded me of the short-lived rap duo of Kris Kross (comprised, if you will recall, of the Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac) and their gimmick of wearing their clothes backward. Trends often elude and even trouble me, but there was something about their particular attempt at trend setting that I found especially disturbing. I don’t know why.

I didn’t much care for Christopher Cross either, but at least the man knew how to put on a pair of pants.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

rex's holiday memories: christmas 1983, the tale of a third grade something

The first seven of my educational years were endured at a small Free Will Baptist school. Now, I don’t have to tell you that private Baptist schools were set up to serve as a sort of prison for children, and you may have already assumed that I befriended small rats, marked the days with scrawled marks on the concrete walls, and slowly spooned an escape tunnel concealed cleverly behind a poster of Jerry Falwell, but you would then be exaggerating the situation slightly. But only slightly.

We were allowed two parties a year. There was always one on the last day of each semester, the first celebrating Christmas and the second being the end of the year. Christmas was understandably a big deal, and the entire school from kindergarten through high school held one big pageant, as small classes and an entire student body hovering somewhere just over a hundred students allowed for a manageable holiday performance. The older and more mature of these were given acting duties where they wove a morality play, biblical depiction, or both around the musical performances of younger children. I believe we were doing “Silent Night” my third grade year, and we would practice it at the third grade’s allotted time in the chapel every day for two weeks leading up to a Saturday evening performance following the end of the semester. That Friday we held our Christmas party before practicing.

I believe I brought potato chips. I was always bringing potato chips. Other students thankfully brought sandwiches and homemade desserts, and I recall gorging myself on M&Ms and sugar cookies and then washing them down with Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. It was a trait of overindulgence that would earn me the “guy past out in the yard” description at later parties in high school and college. At any rate, the third grade me twitched and giggled somewhere between youthful exuberance and a diabetic coma as the class marched in an orderly single-file line from the classroom to the chapel. I managed to slip a red marker in my pocket while passing the board on the way out.

I didn’t have any plans for the marker at the time and was quite possibly hallucinating and when I picked it up. Jesus may have even handed it to me for all I know.

I quivered in my designated spot along the back row of the makeshift choir stand in front of the pulpit and glanced about the blood-red carpeted sanctuary. Aside from our class it was wide open and empty, and restraining myself from running up and down the aisles eventually proved more for a caffeine and sugar addled nine year old to handle, but I was able to hold back for most of our ungodly slow rendition of “Silent Night”. Each syllable seemed to drag out longer than the previous, as if the song were caught on something or time itself was grinding to a halt.

It was there as I quaked in my bridled torture that I noticed an absence of Satan from the pageant. I had seen the older students act out their part, and there was a manger scene interspersed with the Baptist school equivalent of an after school special in which young people who had somehow made it fifteen years into life without hearing about this Jesus guy and the story of his birth finally get schooled in the nativity, but Satan was conspicuously missing. I knew this because I was looking for him. The only sermons I didn’t sleep or doodle my way through in those days were the ones filled liberally with literal fire and brimstone. I loved and respected me some Jesus, mind you, but the stories of hellfire and damnation served as my motivation to don the coat and tie every Sunday. I came for the Michelangelo but stayed for the Hieronymus Bosch, as it were.

Anyway, it occurred to me then and there, somewhere around “round yon virgin”, I think, whatever the hell that meant, that I should improvise a bit and introduce Satan into the play. The other grades weren’t in there at the time, mind you, but my debut as Satan wasn’t something I wanted to leave to chance. So it was that I ducked down behind the kid in front of me and began coloring my face with the red marker. I then waited a few seconds for the song to drag itself into the “sleep in heavenly peace” crescendo where I seized upon the dramatic finish to leap from the makeshift stand and channel my pent up energy into running up and down those long aisles impishly chanting “I’m the devil” in my best Satan voice.

I was finally caught by my teacher and a janitor or two and then led by the ear to the principal’s office where I was promptly and rather righteously paddled. Needless to say, the principal, a large man resembling a young and somewhat less friendly Herman Goering, decided against my ideas for an improvised Satan in the Christmas pageant. He was the director and the call was his, as the pageant was, in the end, a product of his artistic vision.
However, I still think the absence of a villain in the play the following night was rather palpable amid the mundane renditions of Christmas standards and polite smattering of half-hearted applause.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a breakfast suggestion


1. Grape Nuts.

2. Milk.

3. That jar of peach preserves you got from your Mother-in-law a couple of years ago and stuck in the pantry where it was then obscured by a bottle of fat free raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing that just managed to magically appear on the shelf one day even though you have sworn your allegiance to the variety of different ranch and Caesar dressings before friends, family, god, and country more times than you or any of the aforementioned care to count, or, at least, to the point that the raspberry vinaigrette having expired unopened should come as a shock to no one, though the fact that you were cleaning the pantry would probably raise a few eyebrows, even though it actually happened and you can prove it because you now have the rediscovered jar of peach preserves and a recipe for Camino’s Kickass Faux Peach Cobbler Breakfast Surprise to prove it, though you’d probably do well to spend more time in the naming department were you to actually market the stuff. However, if that had indeed been a long-term goal of yours, then the fact that you’re starting off by publishing the super secret recipe online is probably a poor decision on your part.

4. A bowl or similar contraption conducive to the containment of liquidy substances.

5. A spoon would be nice.


1. Combine grape nuts and milk in bowl and microwave for maybe thirty seconds.

2. Remove from microwave and add mix in three or four heaping spoonfuls of the peach preserve.

3. Return to microwave and nuke that sumbitch a full minute.

4. Take this minute to reflect on things. For instance, do you think that public television really makes a significant amount of pledge money while showing all those damnable John Denver specials? If so, then you finally have your answer to who would gain the most from John Denver’s death. Indeed. It’s all making sense now; the pieces are finally coming together.

5. Remove from microwave upon completion and enjoy. This concoction is both tasty and healthy*, so feel free to gorge yourself until sick.

*Rex L. Camino is not an officially licensed doctor. The claim that Camino’s Kickass Faux Peach Cobbler Breakfast Surprise is healthy is based on the fact that Grape Nuts contains enough fiber to dislodge a water buffalo from your colon. What exactly the water buffalo was doing there in the first place is between you and your god.
UPDATE: Nevermind. One discovers about halfway through the second bowl that Camino’s Kickass Faux Peach Cobbler Breakfast Surprise is actually kind of nasty and then proceeds to halt the correspondence with the patent office.
Then again, Carl Weathers doesn't seem to mind it much. Perhaps Camino’s Kickass Faux Peach Cobbler Breakfast Surprise For Dogs is in order.

Monday, December 11, 2006

the year in rear view: 2006's technological advance that pissed me off the most

Okay, I know those earpiece cell phone thingies came out last year or maybe the year before that, as I recall them pissing me off before twenty aught-six, but those little bastards and the people who use them in crowded public areas have only climbed the R.L.Camino list of enemies in the past year. I mean, I’m not big on talking to strangers and I avoid them whenever possible, but it is only natural when someone standing beside you in the aisle at a bookstore asks,” I’m about to head to the grocery store. You want anything special for dinner?” to automatically respond with, “I was thinking I could go for some coconut and mango encrusted tilapia with yams and a nice dry Riesling.” Sure, I felt a little embarrassed when he turned to shoot a half-scowl/half-grimace in my direction and thus allowed me to finally notice the foul earpiece on his opposite ear, but the blame, in my opinion, rests squarely on him.

In fact, I think people who wear those earpiece cell phones in public are deserving of any amount of rudeness that those within listening vicinity should decide to inflict upon them. For instance, there was this aftershave drenched bastard at the music store the other day going on and on to some acquaintance in a loud voice to be heard over the music. He said:

Bastard: Yeah, Roy and Susan were in town this past weekend so Barbara…This music sure is loud…Anyway, Barbara and…I’m in a CD store…So Barbara and I took ‘em to the Coyote Ugly’s and…Coyote Ugly’s. It’s a bar…Yeah…I wish they’d turn this music down. I can’t hardly think…So, anyway, we took ‘em there and then over to the Wildhorse...The Wildhorse…It’s another bar…Hold on, Jimmy, there’s some guy in a dress staring at me…I don’t know why…Yeah, I’m gonna ask him…Can I help you with something?

Rex: (silently glaring)

Bastard: Can I help you? I’m on the phone here.

Rex: (still silently glaring)

Now, the beautiful thing about the silent glare is that it doesn’t require all that thinking associated with the voicing of displeasure, the coordination essential to administer an ass kicking, or the cat-like stealth needed for sneaking up behind someone with a blunt object for a good old-fashioned unashamed cheap shot.

But I digress.

Anyway, my point is that everyone seems to get unnerved at these people, yet everyone also treats them undeserved politeness by ignoring them. My proposal is to…

Were you really wearing a dress?

It was a kilt. Anyway, my suggestion is that…

A kilt?

Bastard: Kilts generally don’t have floral prints.

Look, I wouldn’t expect some gadget zombie asshole to understand the beauty in the ancient traditions of the Clan Camino.

Anyway, as I was saying…

Bastard: What about the lipstick?

Sometimes I just want to feel pretty, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, folks, I am but a simple man—a Luddite, if you will—who still manages to go through life without the benefit of a cell phone of any kind. Yet I’m sure that even those of you who embrace technology find that these bastards work to fray your last nerve. Therefore, let us go forward into 2007 with the thought that it would be quite difficult to arrest and try us all if we begin to employ immediate public beatings. You obviously didn’t have my back when I attempted this same strategy to combat Tickle Me Elmo, and I certainly learned that attacking small children was not in my best interest, but there comes a time, people, when society must gather together to purge ourselves of detrimental annoyances such as these.
Just a thought for those of you who have yet to think of any New Year’s resolutions.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

holiday meat party recollections

No one yelled at me last night. I know I don’t dabble in the political or in any way controversial blogging and that even the more diametrically opposed bloggers are genuinely friendly when face to face, but there is a part of me that half expects to be ambushed with a My mother was a zombie, you bastard! or My grandfather was John Jacob Rogaine, and your last post threatens to crumble the Rogaine family empire, you bastard! followed by a drink in the face. Now, the tragedy of this would of course be the wasted drink, but conversations that begin this way at parties generally do not end well.

Anyway, that didn’t happen last night. It was good to put some more faces and voices to blogs and to also introduce one of the humble Blog o’ Doom’s self-described “minor characters somewhere behind Carl Weathers” to some of you.

You promised to take me to the next one, you bastard! (throws drink in face)

You do realize that you’re a disembodied voice, Captain Howdy, and therefore unable to actually throw anything.

Yes, the stage direction was for you. It was supposed to be a self-inflicted bastard.

Anyway, the lovely and brilliant Mrs. Camino had a good time. She peruses some of the blogs—sometimes even mine for some reason—and presumably knew what she was getting into.

The evening began with Mr. Mack telling us we were welcome to look at Aunt B’s boob freckle and ended with Drunk, Drunk Ivy yelling something about Jesus at us from the porch as we scrambled to the Caminomobile. Mackie reached into his pouch as he made the boob freckle sales pitch, and I fully expected him to pull out a roll of boob freckle viewing tickets, but he only emerged with a shot glass. Methinks he lacks the true heart of a pimp. Anyway, in the middle of this was some rare socializing for the Caminos. Hutchmo neglected to bring Black Santa, but CLC neglected to wear his special holiday attire, so I suppose blessings should be counted. It was still good to finally meet the Hutch, RUABelle, Kate O, Ivy, the Butcher, Bobby Glen Dean, Mackie, Ginger, Dr.Woo, saraclark, Kathy, and probably a number of people whose names and introductions were unfortunately implanted on brain cells that weren’t long for this world. It was also good to again see those of you I met at the last shindig I attended. I'm glad to know that I didn’t embarrass myself so badly the last time as to incur any shunning.
Big thanks to Kathy for the calendar, by the way. I noticed later that it encompasses both 2007 and 2008 and has a number of helpful tips for homeowners. I especially can’t wait for May’s instructions concerning my garage door, as I got my head stuck in a closing garage door once and was then forbidden from being around the contraptions without a sober and responsible adult present.
All that ends in May.

Friday, December 08, 2006

rex's holiday memories: festivus 1997

This was the year Sister Camino got me some Rogaine as a gag gift. Yes, we all had a good laugh at that one and then I cried a little on the inside and then we broke out the booze. Good times.

Anyway, I stuck it in the back of my medicine cabinet and didn’t think anything of it until some months later when I came across the bottle while digging around for a band-aid or some codeine. It then struck me that I could give it a try. She probably spent fifty bucks on the stuff, which is fifty more than I would’ve paid, and so I essentially had a free month’s supply and nothing to lose. Thus began my month of Rogaine.

Did it work? Well, it may have just been a placebo effect, but I certainly thought I saw more foliage returning to Cabeza Camino. It also seemed to have bolstered the defenses battling to preserve my now absent hairline. So, yes, I suppose I found it to be an effective product that delivered on its advertising.

So did I then continue using the product? Hell no. I wouldn’t have continued with it if I had been presented with a lifetime supply and a guarantee that I would soon have a strong and thick mane of Sideshow Bob hair. There are two reasons for this.

1. The stuff smelled just like vodka.

2. It itched like the sweet love of a hobo, yet the wearer was not allowed to scratch under any circumstance.

That second one began to threaten my otherwise strong grip on sanity. I applied the Rogaine each morning just out of the shower and then spent the next few hours trying to devise a way to scratch my scalp without touching it in any way. This consisted mostly of furrowing my brow, raising my eyebrows alternately, wiggling my ears, or in any other way attempting in vain to flex the top half of my head. This was unsuccessful and only served to make the itch greater while causing alarm in those around me. I was asked:

1. Are you okay?

2. Are you prone to seizures?

3. Could it be a stroke?

4. Are you coming on to me?

5. Why do you smell like gin and vodka?

Anyway, I got some hair back, I think, but it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t even go the full month and wound up throwing about half the bottle away.
However, I don’t know why, but there is a part of me that always wants to buy some just to slip into our angel tree bags at Christmas.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

tommy turns 57

I almost forgot that today was a holiday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

holiday decorations and a bit of seasonal rambling

I had been meaning to put up a Christmas banner for a while now, but it wasn't until last night when I sat on my ass watching Mrs. Camino put up our decorations that I was inspired to break out the Photoshop and Illustrator. I had actually been meaning to put up a Fall banner for quite some time. I photographed the foliage and such and sketched a few things but I just couldn't relinquish the palm trees.

It occurs to me now that I should have incorporated palm trees into the Christmas banner. Damn.

Anyway, can I take this opportunity to let you know just how much I hate cold weather? Sure, that one and only snowfall we get is nice to watch and even play in, and I do enjoy my fireplace, but few things in life weigh on the gut more heavily than that sense of dread that grows when one nears the end of a warm shower and begins to anticipate the cold air waiting on the other side of the curtain.
Carl Weathers is a cold weather dog hates being dragged about on those ninety degree days, but I'll take a sauna over the bitter and stinging wind any day.
And this is just the Tennessee winter I'm talking about. I don't see how any of you people north of here can stand this sort of thing. I mean, I haven't spent much time up there during the winter months, but it seems uninhabitable from my safe distance.
Anyway, this is why I drive around in an SUV and waist aerosol hairspray on my bald head in a feeble attempt to warm the Earth's climate.
That, and I've always thought that icebergs just look so smug.
Anyway, I hope this has in some way contributed to you holiday spirit.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

vinyl findings, episode 1: grits and soul

I'm not one of the vinyl obsessed, mind you, but I do like to spend time digging through musty stacks of wax in the back of various music and antique stores. They are almost always scratched and quite a few years past pristine, but that often makes them too cheap to pass up. Anyway, I thought I'd occasionally share the fruits of these labors with you, dear reader or random internet peruser.
Raise your hand if you knew anything about the instrumental albums James Brown put out in the mind-sixties.
Now raise your hand if you suddenly find my thumb as odd looking as I do.
Now stop thinking about my thumb and return to the matter at hand. It's not nice to stare at deformities and such.
Yes, James Brown manned the Hammond B3 organ for four instrumental albums in the mid-sixties, and Grits and Soul was the first of these. I could spend the next couple of paragraphs telling you all about this time in his career but I'd only be plagiarizing it from somewhere else on the internet, so let's cut out the middle man. You can either consult your local library or go here for more info.
How is ol' JB on the B3? Well, had he decided to give up on the singing and stick with the keys full time I don't think we'd be calling him the "Godfather of Organ". However, he does hold his own within a group of very talented jazz and funk musicians and never seems to be in over his head. He throws down some tasteful solos and seems to know when to hold back and let Nat Jones or Les Buie or any of the other instrumentalists take center stage. He certainly knows his way around the keys.
My particular copy plays well enough through a few scratches and only set me back $3.99. I don't believe any of these are available on CD.
By the way, I'd like for those of you who raised your hands to please keep them up until a loved one or coworker (or loved coworker) enters the room and asks you what the hell you're doing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

where credit is due

Now, I've never been one to toot my own horn, but...

Lord knows you've hurt your back trying.
Uh...Anyway, it occurred to me that the Titans were a sad lot up until this motivational speech of sorts. They unfortunately didn't win that particular Indy game, but the team that took the field at the RCA dome was not the hopeless collection of defeated souls we had grown used to in the early season. They finally played with heart and began to start to turn things around.
Then Albert Haynesworth stomped some guy's face and Pacman got arrested again. The team once again needed ol' Rex to get all up in their grill, as it were, and I did so on a much larger stage. The result was a win, of course, but I didn't ask for the glory. I had nestled them to my bosom in their hour of darkness, and the satisfaction of seeing them succeed was enough for me. That's how I roll.
However, it looks like Uncle Bud will soon be whipping out the checkbook to extend Coach Fisher's contract, and I thought this would be a good time to mention my contributions this season. Also, I'd like to let Uncle Moneybags know that I'm currently available for a full time motivational speaker/guru-type job with the Titans organization.
But you may want to act quickly, as I have yet to be officially eliminated from Alabama's coaching search.

Friday, December 01, 2006

four things that always bothered me about the wonder twins

1. Allright, the brother could only turn into a liquid. Fine. I get that. However, where the hell did the bucket always come from? Could a small part of him also turn into a bucket? Did the monkey have to carry the bucket around?
2. The sister could turn into an animal. It would seem a helluva lot better than the "liquid in a bucket" thing, yet she seemed to always choose "form of a condor" or some other bird. Large birds are cool and all, but can't other animals carry buckets? Methinks a Kodiak bear or a T-rex could do some fine bucket wielding while cutting a more imposing figure to villians and such.
3. Did the monkey have super powers? If not, it would seem negligent to put the monkey in a costume, as it would give the impression to bad guys that this monkey needs to be dealt with. If the monkey is in fact you regular run-of-the-mill blue monkey, then you need to leave it naked. You are otherwise needlessly endangering your monkey, and that, frankly, sends the wrong message to children.
4. The Super Friends cartoon ran around the same time Donny and Marie Osmond were at the height of their fame, and a four year old Rex always got them confused with the Wonder Twins. To this day I halfway expect Donny Osmond to turn into a bucket of something when I see him on TV.
Seriously, how often does the ability to talk to fish come into play? I've always imagined the scene of Aquaman's hiring went something like this:
Warning: My childhood imagination had the vocabulary of a sailor.
(Laughter breaks out around the table as Aquaman's resume is passed among the Super Friends, though I always thought the term "Super Acquaintances" or even "Super Co-workers" would seem more fitting, as you never really saw them shooting pool or just hanging out. But I digress...)
Superman: You mean he just talks to fish and dolphins and shit like that?
Batman: Yeah, no shit.
Wonder Woman: It's like, "We're not hiring right now but I think Sea World could use Shamu translator."
Green Lantern: Have any of you guys seen my ring?
Batman: Hey, let's get the goldfish to tell him he's not hired.
Wonder Woman: That would be fuckin' awesome.
Green Lantern: Seriously guys, I need kinda need that ring.
Superman: Look, Lantern, I think I'd do a better job of keeping up with my shit if I were one of those "gadget superheroes".
Green Lantern: Fine. Did one of you alien freaks take my damn ring again? Cause that shit's getting old.
Batman: Seriously.
Robin: I think the Flash took it. He still isn't over the whole klepto thing.
Wonder Twin Brother: Oh, it's always our fault when you guys lose your gadgets.
Robin: Shut up, bucketboy.
Superman: You guys cut that shit out...but seriously, I think I'd rather be a sidekick than a superbucket.
Wonder Woman: For real.
Batman: Allright, let's get back to Fishman or whatever the hell he calls himself. Is everyone agreed that we don't need this loser.
Superman: Absolutely. Go tell the goldfish to pass it on.
Robin: Wait. Remember last year when Lex Luthor blew up Seattle because we weren't able to summon that legion of Chinook salmon to stop the nuclear submarine.
Batman: Fuck. I forgot all about that.
Superman: Shit...Fine. But sidekicks are no longer allowed in the meetings.