Tuesday, May 16, 2006

the fabled catbird seat

St. Louis native John Goodman was the first person I ever heard refer to "the fabled catbird seat," talking to his character's brother in Raising Arizona. Well, that's not really true. I most likely wasn't paying attention when I saw the movie, and I never really heard it until a friend kept saying it and I asked what it was. I had a vision that looked something like this:

My friend had no idea what it meant. Hmm, I thought, this is the exact reason the internets exist. So I looked it up, and had to amend my mental image:

Turns out the catbird is just a kind of bird in the South that tends to pick really high branches to sit on, according to this little investigation. The phrase may have originated down south, but it's currency in the north was assured by none other than legendary Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber, who heard it playing poker (which does sound to me like the perfect time to use it) and added it to the list of colorful phrases that so endeared him the public (here's a nice discussion on that).

Here's where it comes full-circle for me. I first (maybe) heard the phrase from John Goodman, a hometown hero from my current hometown. It's entirely possible that John Goodman first heard the phrase from famed humorist James Thurber, a hometown hero from my ancestral/fake hometown of Ohio, who wrote a short story called "The Catbird Seat" (cliff notes here) in 1942.

Turns out The Catbird Seat is also an indie record label/podcast/review site, a rabble-rousing political intrigue & exposé site, and even the personal web log of a youth minister's wife and mother of two. One thing is clear: wherever it came from, this phrase is here to stay. In a world such as ours, what with its neverending panorama of rising and falling idioms, with phrases flashing in the pan for just a year before they fade from favor and consciousness, "the catbird seat" is truly sitting in the fabled catbird seat.

Monday, May 15, 2006

cheez popcorn & colt 45

That's all.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

muncie indiana

Until a few months ago, the only thing I thought of when I thought of Muncie, Indiana was the scene in The Hudsucker Proxy where Jennifer Jason Leigh tries to sing along with Tim Robbin's rendition of his alma mater's fight song (gooooo Eagles!!!!). Well, that all changed when my roommate/bandmate Robbie started researching midwest bands for possible show-tradings. Turns out there's some kick-ass artsy-folky-rock-type music (come on now, you try to describe it better than that) being made in Muncie, Indiana.

First off, there's Arrah and the Ferns, what with their banjo-licious grooves and unparalleled bounce. Plus, who else is gonna sing a song about Emo Phillips? Next up is This Story, who actually seem to have about four hundred members, but not in a creepy, cult-like, Polyphonic Spree sort of way, and who take full advantage of their potential loud- and quiet-ness with some real damned dramatic tunes. Finally, from nearby Portage, IN, there's the Holographic Angels, purveyors of the tastiest in guitar and mandolin stylings.

Needless to say, I can't wait until July 26th, when Arrah and the Ferns and the Holographic Angels are coming to town to play with my band and St. Louis' own The Aquatic Record. It will without a doubt be a Wednesday night to remember. I already remember it, though it hasn't happened yet. How could I ever forget? I will always remember. I will never forget. Ever. No way. Not a chance. No god-damn uh, uh, . . . , shit, wait a second, lost my train of thought here . . . what is it I'm writing about? Aw, the hell with it. It'll come to me later.

Monday, May 08, 2006

my giving nature

Generally I am a very giving person. But let it be known that I will not, under any circumstances, give the following:
1. A rat's ass
2. A flying fuck (in general or specifically at a rolling donut)
3. A ladybug
4. A shit, half a shit, or any fraction of a shit
5. A god-damn

Conversely, I am at all times ready to give:
1. A damn (of the non-denominational variety)
2. A hoot
3. A fuck (of the non-flying variety)

Glad we could clear that up. Thanks.