Humpday Hymn: John Mayer – “Free Fallin” (Live At Nokia Theatre)

One of the baddest men on the guitar OF ALL TIME is known for more than just inspiring the art of never ever ever that continues to permeate our lexicon to this day. But John’s more than just a race to outdo Derek Jeter in their respective… lineups?.

No no! Mayer is known most for holdin the collective breath of a room with heavenly hymns like this oldie but goldie. For this humpday hymn, drop your jaw and breath to leave it… Free Fallin. #NAILEDIT

Dr. Dre Is Never Ever Ever… Making Detox

It’s official, folks. This has been a long on-going in house debate dating back to the days of the BP Radio Show. One person across the blog who shall remain nameless and wrong, claimed

“it’s because Dre records for himself, and him hearing the music is enough satisfaction for him”

While that self-medication might have done it for the good Doctor, this African didn’t buy it.  I’ve always held the belief that Dr. Dre is a musical megalomaniac partly clouded by cocktail of writer’s block, lack of cultural relevance, and being generally too comfortable in his legendary status to take more risks at tarnishing his place on the producer’s Mount Rushmore (next to Rick Rubin, Timbaland, and Pharrell, Swizz somebody else).

Well in an interview this last weekend on his weekly Beats Radio 1 show, Andre Young let loose of the kracken (Mark 1:20):

So… there you have it. “I just wasn’t feelin it” BUY the Compton Soundtrack. Buy some Beats by Dre earphones (eeeeh). But, want Detox? BYE!

Potato Of The Day Episode 81

gingerI don’t know why, but I’ve always had a thing for ginger. Yes, ginger, the pickled, pink, filmy stuff on your plate of sushi you always ignore, happily piling on another spicy glob of wasabi instead. Yes, ginger, the tangled piece of tree root you always bypass at the supermarket, pondering its undoubtedly hippie use. Yes, ginger, that sudden burst of taste that clings to your tongue when you sip a Moscow Mule. That ginger.

I’m not entirely certain where my obsession with the root came from. Maybe it’s because I hit puberty right as the Spice Girls were topping out in popularity and reruns of Gilligan’s Island broadcasted late into TV Land’s night, but I never could get the word “ginger” out of my head. It was everywhere around that time. There were the South Park episodes mocking redheads and animated movies with main characters named Ginger (Chicken Run, anyone?  Anyone at all? Oh come on, you guys!). Hell, my mom named one of our cats Ginger. The word was everywhere, but it was just that. A word. I had no sense of the ginger’s food use.

That is, until that day I met a magical old lady.

In my early twenties, many years after ginger had nested deep within my brain, I was in a grocery store feeling rather ill, my stomach bubbling up in an angry wrath at last night’s burrito buffet, when an elderly woman approached me. She stopped in front of me, saying nothing. Her eyes locked onto mine for one instant that lasted an eternity, the silence finally ending when she spoke. “Ginger candies are excellent for an upset stomach, you know.” Then she pointed behind me.

I turned to look where she was pointing and came face to face with an enormous display of ginger candy. I tossed a few in my basket and turned back around. But she was gone. Of course she was gone. She was a magical old lady, she didn’t have time for my bullshit. Anyway, the candy worked, killing off my stomach ache. Lesson learned. Ginger is obviously magic. Always trust old ladies with candy. And eat as many ginger foods as you possibly can. All words I’ll live by until the day I’m abducted by a non-magical, candy-poisoning old lady in a vinyl covered van.

Ginger: If magical old ladies use it, then it’s good enough for me.

Traversing Small Town Iowa And The What Cheer Flea Market

What Cheer, Iowa is stuck in a constant population decline. In the late 1800s, What Cheer was a booming coal town with a population of over 3,200 people. By 2010, that number fell below 650. But three weekends a year, every year, that population turns back the clock, swelling back up toward its 19th century peak. Why? What Cheer’s Collectors’ Paradise Flea Market, one of the largest flea markets in the Midwest and a triannual celebration of used crap.

Now in its 39th year, What Cheer’s flea market is a sprawling web of second hand merchant shops packed into the local fairgrounds. The market truly is massive. Pop-up stands, tents, RVs, and tables encircle the ground’s dirt track, winding back through the middle of the field, spilling over into the half dozen or so show barns scattered across the grandstand area. At only $45 per dealer space, the market is an affordable place to set up shop, resulting in a juxtaposing mix of local amateurs and seasoned traveling professionals, hawking everything from furniture to action figures. Anything you can dream of you can find, in varying quality, for a negotiable price.

The What Cheer fairgrounds.

The worst time to go, and the time I’ve gone most often, is the market in early August. At the summit of summer, the Midwestern heat sits on your neck like a despondent child, beating your back with fists caught in the throes of inexhaustible tantrum. The air is thick, palpable with humidity, deep breaths taken with caution less you might drown in nature’s invisible smog.

But it’s also the time that inspires a little Iowan magic, precipitating the allure of small town wanderlust. By August, the market is walled in by a fortress of towering corn, fields stretching out into infinite crop points on the horizon. With the corn high, the market feels sunken in, swallowed low like a hidden valley, an oasis of commerce tucked away in the hillsides of food fields. It’s tempting to allude to the Field of Dreams as the market is a thrift bazar on dirt paths, built and rebuilt every season specifically so they’ll come. They. The masses. The masses that shop. The masses willing to spend. The masses that built this rickety empire on the backs of fluttering George Washingtons and Abe Lincolns.

And yes, the comparison to Dysersville as corny as a lazy crop pun, but it’s also fair. There’s an enduring earnestness to small towns in Iowa, encapsulated bubbles with diluted flows of time, a specific nostalgia that runs through the blood. It’s that feeling tickling up at you when you’re surrounded by a sea of rustic and rusted farm equipment, encompassing everything from needle nose pliers to irreparably broken oil lanterns. It’s that feeling that sits heavier in the pit of your stomach once you see the towering stack of antiquated technology for sale, used Betamax players, VHS cassettes, and working 8-track tapes. It’s that feeling that bursts forth in an audible laugh when the women at the ticket counter shouts out in enthusiastic glee, “Post some photos of the market on our Facebook page!”

A pile of rusted scrap at the What Cheer flea market.

If you go in with the wrong mentality, it’s all too easy to get washed into the tinted greys of depression lingering in the air. You’ll find yourself wandering aimlessly, overwhelmed, adrift in the dilapidated fairgrounds of second hand commerce. But if you attack the flea market with a sense of adventure, an opportunistic pride, you’ll find the experience redeeming and worth repeating. You’ll also find some really cool and weird shit!

Anyway, enough poetic waxing, here’s the awards for Best and the Worst in Show: Continue reading Traversing Small Town Iowa And The What Cheer Flea Market