30 April 2007

Dork-a-thon 2007

Is this the Year of the Dork?

Coaster Punchman has been chronicling the dork-lights of his life. The Pug’s Marni recently shared one of her more graceful moments. That adorable Frank at Simarco Letters thinks he’s King Dork.

They’re amateurs. Time for the Master Dork to chime in.

I was born part Irish, part dork. Need photographic proof? That’s me in the spotlight during last fall’s Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant — and that’s me in the corner. I was, obviously, voted Most Likely to Dork.

I was awarded the dork black belt for my brush with Prince Albert greatness and the unfortunate barista flirting incident.

But the dorkiness doesn’t stop there. Not even close.

Air Travel, Cup Style and last summer’s class flash helped me earn me my PhDork. And, of course, there’s my spectacular slide across the Publix produce floor. Who didn’t ooh and ahh the eyelash bonfire during my move?

There’s the time I had our group’s eight tickets for a Bonnie Raitt/John Prine show. My crowd arrived at the amphitheater that warm Saturday night … only to discover our tickets were for Friday. A bit of whispered dork charm and tears hidden from my pals — and the luck of having lawn, not reserved, tickets — and the nice Chastain ticket man let us in. I don’t think any of the eight ever knew I screwed that up.

And then there’s this embarrassing gem:

I rest my case. I could go on and on (and on ... and on ... and on), but even a dork needs her beauty sleep. And I need to stop before I share the embarrassing stories.

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27 April 2007

My Brenda Starr Moment

Keep the 5Q&A alive! Some of our more interesting bloggers asked me to interview them after reading my my Q&A from the Artful Dodger. I’m one helluva hard-hitting journalist (be warned, Mike Wallace!), so most of my subjects are still writing their answers; hopefully, they'll be posted this weekend or early next week. Keep clicking over to catch their scintillating answers.

Who asked for my Qs to their As?

My favorite new blog discovery — and my personal Mike Wallace, Artful Dodger.

Our favorite bon vivant, Coaster Punchman.

Grant Miller, because someone needs to get some traffic headed to that rarely read page.

The deliriously happy Keith at The Road Goes on Forever.

One of my favorite wish-she-was-my-friends, Tenacious S.

The inspirational The Unending Journey of the Wandering Author; I wish I had his dedication to and talent for writing.

• Our blogosphere's William Golding, Write Procrastinator.

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23 April 2007

I Asked … and I Answered

I’ve been enjoying the interviews going around our little corner of the blogosphere, so I wildly waved my virtual hand when my new favorite blogger, Artful Dodger over at Rants Raves Life and Anything Else That Comes, ran his Gizmorox interview.

I enjoy Rants Raves etc., but I also love his nom de blog. I had a thing for Jack Wild after seeing him play the Artful Dodger in Oliver! I quit baton lessons because they were scheduled at the same time as H.R. Pufnstuf, and I was not going to miss my Wild fix. I could have been a majorette …

The Artful Dodger threw five good questions at me. Let’s see if I can give him — and y’all — interesting answers.

Artful Dodger: What was your favorite concert ever?

Cup: You had to start with the toughest question, didn’t you? So many great shows … but I’d have to say R.E.M.’s closing show for the Green tour (Fox Theater, November 13, 1989). The boys came out, started with “Radio Free Europe,” and performed Murmur all the way through “West of the Fields” … took a break … came back, performed Green from beginning to end … then played “Wild Thing,” “Fall on Me,” “Low,” and “Finest Worksong.” Scrivener was there, too (and one of these days, I’ll dig up that boot and make you a copy, sir). It was the last time I heard a lot of those songs played live.

First runner-up: The Warren Zevon show at Center Stage in January 1991 … because I got a backstage pass … and Warren kissed me. I need to tell that story sometime …

AD: Name your top five favorite albums of all time and why.

C: I’ve covered them in my soundtrack series (which returns in May), so here are the albums and the links to those posts (these posts are damn interesting, I must admit, so click away):

R.E.M.: Murmur: Probably my favorite album ever.

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The album that changed my life and turned me into a music fanatic.

Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed: I think it’s the best Stones album. And who can live without a Stones album on your top-five list?

Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy: One of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard. He could tell a great, vivid story in just three or four minutes. And the weirdest sense of humor …

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Ella & Louis: We grew up listening to the standards, and nobody can sing ‘em like Ella and Louis. Simply brilliant.

AD: How did you get into blogging?

C: My friend Paul and I have had one helluva entertaining e-mail conversation going since 1997. We pontificate … we bitch … we make each other laugh … and we’re damned impressed with some of the words that come out of our fingers. He started bugging me a few years ago to start a blog and share that brilliance with the world. I’d become addicted to reading blogs — first Paul’s and Jeremy’s, then any interesting blog I stumbled across. Finally, one night about a year ago, I just sat down and started A Cup of Coffey. It’s been quite an experience and a good writing exercise for me.

AD: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

C: I’d go back to around 6 p.m. on January 10, when I backed into the brick foundation of my new abode, my first day moving. This time, I’d notice the slight curve in the drive as I backed out. Still makes me sick to look at my bashed Beetle bumper. There are a couple of more private moments I’d pick first … but I’ll keep those private.

AD: What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

C: Sit out on a covered porch (or in my new home, in front of the screened door to the deck) … bottle of wine next to me … book in front of me … iPod playing behind me. Or lie on the sofa and watch back-to-back-to-back-to-back movies.

Want me to interview you?
• Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!” If your e-mail address isn’t on your blog, e-mail me.
• I’ll send you five questions.
• You’ll answer all five questions on your blog.
• Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

C'mon, kids, let me get all nosy on you.

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18 April 2007

I’m Gonna Make It After All

So, life’s been a bit rough lately. A workload that’s much too heavy, topped off with bitchy, petty people being quite bitchy and petty. Spring weather that frustratingly comes and goes. Weird (yet highly entertaining) goings-on in the romance department. Ten pounds that weren’t there three months ago.

Ugh. I hate my whiny, grumpy self ... but the grump-ass coup was getting close. Damn close. Until this morning.

I was MTM’ed.

Yes, the multi-talented Coaster Punchman fulfilled a desire I’ve had for months: He called to sing the Paul Williams-penned theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” A private performance of CP’s song-and-piano classic (great voice, BTW). He took a nothing day, and suddenly made it all seem worthwhile.

Sadly/happily, I missed the call. Sadly, because I would have loved to listen live and squeal and applaud. Happily, because it’s now stored in my voice mailbox, and I get to listen over and over and over. I played it for the girls; they swooned. I bragged about it to the boys; they sighed.

And now I know it's time I started living, it's time I let someone else do some giving. But first I have to teach a writing class.

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16 April 2007

Okay, so I Write About Music all the Damn Time

But this time it’s the Pug’s fault. She tagged me weeks ago … I just remembered it … and all my post ideas are midstream at the moment. And what’s the use of having an obsession if you can’t obsess?

Meme: List seven songs you’re into right now ... no matter what they are. BUT they must be songs you’re presently enjoying.

Thanks to the iPod shuffle, there are as many older tunes as newer ones.

R.E.M.: Radio Free Europe
I can’t get enough of it right now; I must listen to it three or four times a day. Maybe it’s the birthday and the workload … but my brain needs to escape to 1983 whenever it can these days.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists: The Toro and The Toreador
I stop whatever I’m doing when shuffle queues up this one. It’s unlike much of Ted’s work. It’s beautiful, in its own way.

Wilco: Pot Kettle Black
I’m on a mega-Wilco kick these days. We saw Tweedy back in January. Scrivener got our advance tix for the June show. Sky Blue Sky is … um … going to be great, I hear. And I need to dance in my chair as much as possible to survive the workday. You should be on a Wilco kick, too.

Regina Spektor: Fidelity
I finally downloaded the album thanks to an iPod gift card. I love singing along when she stretches and bounces “heart.” Brilliant album; glad she’s finally getting some recognition.

Pete Yorn: Splendid Isolation
It’s on his new album, but he recorded it a few years ago for the Warren Zevon tribute album Enjoy Every Sandwich. Pete does a pretty good job … but Zevon’s is much better, natch.

Amy Winehouse: Rehab
Damn, her voice blows me away … all the way to the early 1960s soul days.

XTC: Stupidly Happy
Yeah, it’s old … but a really cute boy put it on a mix CD he made me. I love mix CDs. And really cute boys.

And now I tag:
Passion of the Dale: He’ll surprise me.
Tanya Espanya: Lullabies?
Tumuli: He loves “Rehab,” too.
Lulu: We need some punk on this page.
Some Guy’s Blog: Love songs?
Katbox: Hitchcock-centric, maybe?
Coaster Punchman: Because love means never having to say you’re sorry.

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12 April 2007

Because I Never Write About Music

Bubs over at Sprawling Ramshackle Compound knows me well, knew that I’d get into a music-centric meme. I’m clapping my hands as I fill in my answers!

What was the first recorded music you bought?
The Beatles’ Help! soundtrack. The sister bought Revolver at the same time.

What was the most recent?
The last physical CD I bought was Sounds Eclectic: The Covers Project, which includes covers performed on KCRW by the beloved R.E.M. (“Gentle on My Mind”) and other Cup favorites — Flaming Lips (“Knives Out”), Paul Weller (“Wishing on a Star”), Rufus Wainwright (“Harvest”), Damien Rice (“Creep”), and others. The most recent electronic-format album I downloaded was Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha (a nod to Scrivener for turning me on to Mr. Bird).

What was the first professional music show you ever went to?
My parents took us to a Willy Nelson concert, with Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell on keyboards, in the mid-1970s. Great show — and the first time I smelled pot.

The most recent show?
Rickie Lee Jones, at Variety Playhouse (good show). I was supposed to see The Decemberists last Friday with the young groovies ... but damn if I didn't get sick. I'm still pouting.

What's your desert island album?
R.E.M.’s Murmur. What? You were expecting the Time-Life series on 1990s pop?

What's your favorite album/song title (not the actual album or song)?
“Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again),” by Wilco. I love the strength, the determination of the phrase-cum-word. I love the hell out of the song, too; playing it full blast right now and singing as loud as I can and dancing in my chair. Runner-up: R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction/Reconstruction of the Fables; the ambiguity always entertained me.

What's your favorite album art (include an image of it if you can)?
The Clash’s London Calling — a vibrant, violent, visual homage to Elvis’ first album. The Elvis cover was sweet and innocent, splashed with great color and typography. The London Calling design uses that color scheme and typography, but it communicates the energy and rawness of the music inside, thanks to that iconic photo of Paul Simonon a nanosecond before he smashes that guitar.

What’s your ideal choice for a karaoke song?
The Fifth Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues.” It’s one of those songs I simply. Must. Sing (read: butcher). At full ear-splitting volume. Every time I hear it.

You hate that song … but it won’t leave your head if you hear it.
“Seasons in the Sun.” I can even tell you that Rod McKuen translated Jacques Brel’s lyrics. Gawd, I hate that song … and now it’s playing over and over in my head. Must queue up Wilco again — fast!

Which is cooler — vinyl? CD? cassette? 8-track?
Hands down, vinyl. I miss being able to read liner notes (who can read 5-point type on CD covers?). The 12-inch square format lent itself to great design. I couldn’t wait to walk out of the record store, get into my car, rip off the plastic, and pour over every inch of the cover. Back then, I knew session musicians and song titles. Now, not so much. And don’t forget the cool things done to vinyl. Remember the laser-etched record for Split Enz’s True Colors? Still have it, still cool. I even miss the pops of the vinyl; it was like your personalized recording of the song. And don’t get me started on 45s …

And now I tag:
Scrivener, because music is as much a part of his life as it is mine (and because he turns me on to at least one new band a month) …
Haahnster, because the boy always has something interesting to say about music …
Land-o-Lulu, because she always writes beautifully about her music passions.

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11 April 2007


You can know someone so well and love her your entire life … be in on her secrets and thrills and omigoshes and heartaches … and yet sometimes she can still surprise you, shock you, bring unexpected tears to your eyes through the beauty she brings to this world.

Renae, my oldest friend, has a photo in Manhattan Arts International’s online exhibition, HerStory 2007:

Infertility 03 (© 2000 Renae D. Edge. All rights reserved.)

On its own, the photograph is a lovely piece. But when you read her statement (which I’ve quoted here), it becomes more than a pretty picture:

The desperation, pain, and humiliation of infertility are so profound that the inadequacy of words is welcomed by a culture that dares not speak of it. As the amaryllis bloomed and withered in my home, I found a silent companion in the doomed struggle I imagined taking place in my own body to produce a viable egg, accept one willing sperm, and allow them to take hold in the warmth of my flesh and grow.


Forget that we’ve been friends for more than forty years. Forget my bias. Renae’s talented, damn talented. Treat yourself and visit her Web site. Waste valuable office hours looking at her work. Bookmark it and come back often, as she’s uploading new work regularly. Buy a piece — or two or seven — while you can still afford it.

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09 April 2007

Enough Is Enough

I love Target. LOVE it. Loyal to the core. I don't step foot in the far inferior Walmart, but I cross a Target threshold at least once a week (there's a store by my office ... it opens an hour before I'm due at my desk ... you do the math).

If the title of this post left you singing that Streisand/Summer classic, you just got two points on the Cup Coolness Chart. I'm betting Dale and Brat scored.
I can discuss in detail the product lines of Isaac Mizrahi and Todd Oldham (don't you love him on Top Design?), Thomas O'Brien and Michael Graves (someone from his office hit this blog last week, which was a mega-thrill for me) ... and show you lovely samples of their work in every room of my home. I'm wearing Target-bought yoga pants and a cute Merona T-shirt while I type this on the keyboard I got at ... yup ... Target.

But now my beloved bull's-eye has gone too far. Have you seen the commercial that bastardizes The Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" into "Goodbuy"? Tacky. Inappropriate. Just plain wrong.

Not too far to keep me out, of course. The new Mizrahi spring line is due.

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02 April 2007

Call Me Karl

Yes, it’s a few days beyond Wednesday. The birthday celebration lasted longer than expected (as it should), and the brilliant work of a beloved engineer left my home PC unable to open the Blogger site. There are many entertaining tales from the last couple of weeks; I just wish I could share all of them with you.

But let’s start with a tragedy.

This is how I looked just days before my birthday:

I was sporting a near-gin blossom, rockin' the Karl Malden look — bulbous and deep red and just plain ogrish. I’d love to say it was from all the partying and boozing it up … but it was a weird infection in my sinuses. And it was twice as painful as it looked; just rolling over in bed brought tears of pain.

I knew this was serious, as I had a staph infection in my sinuses back in college — an infection that landed me in the hospital (quarantined!) for nearly a week. See, your sinuses are near your brain, so doctors get a little worried when things go funky in that area. And I could tell from the pain that something similar was brewing.

But that’s not the really painful part. Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey saw me schnozzled.


Thanks to antibiotics and steroids and a smart ENT, I was nearly back to normal by the birthday bash … but a lot of folks are still calling me “Karl.”

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