The Walmart Toe Sucker: A Musical Search for Answers

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Photo by awesomnesslol666 via Flickr Commons
I know I'm not a cynic because the strange-but-true news stories involving our species still sometimes shock me. Even after all these years, I rarely ho-hum something like this. Or this. Or, especially this.

So when I read the tale of Michael A. Brown I naturally had questions. You may know him better as "Man Arrested for Sucking Toes at North Carolina Walmart." Before I go much further, I'm fully aware his alleged actions constitute a crime and that he is a registered sex offender. Apparently Brown is a vile predator who forces his will upon others.


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What It's Like Being Pepper-Sprayed at SXSW

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Our barbed-wire view of Scoot Inn during Tyler, the Creator's SXSW set.
It's hit all the major news outlets now: Odd Future's main attraction Tyler, the Creator was arrested on Saturday while trying to board a flight out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the misdemeanor crime of inciting a riot.

This came as little surprise to those of us who were there at the Scoot Inn on Thursday when the riot itself occurred. While the mayhem was controlled to a certain extent, thankfully, the situation could have escalated very quickly if not for the efforts of all involved (including Tyler himself) to quell the insanity.

Of course, it didn't stop your humble writer from getting pepper-sprayed twice as part of the outside audience.


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Safety and SXSW: Was the Mohawk Tragedy a Tipping Point?

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Photos by Marco Torres
A memorial to Thursday morning's crash victims outside The Mohawk on Red River Street
The last morning of SXSW 2011 was not a pleasant one. Not because of any kind of personal debauchery the previous evening; that had come a few days before. Reprimands had been handed down, wrists had been slapped, and tails were hanging between a few legs, these two included. The specific infractions have long since been forgotten, but what I remember now is sitting at Starbucks downstairs at the downtown Austin Hilton Sunday morning, watching one of the SXSW directors telling a local TV station that the festival might have to take it down a few notches. So I'm not the only one, I thought.

That cup of coffee was the one single moment when SXSW finally stopped being fun for me.


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Houston's "Worst" Music-Venue Restrooms

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Photos by the Sendejas Family
Lola's ladies' room
I'm not really into "worst" lists. For one, labeling anything the "worst" sounds so negative. This is a music blog. Just as you would after using a restroom, you should walk away feeling better about the few minutes you spent here than worse. Right?

Also, there's a fine and subjective line between something being incredibly rank and that same thing having timeless, endearing character. One man's trashy restroom is another man's urine-caked treasure.

And finally, my experience suggests no 50-year-old beer guzzler should turn his or her nose up at any place that offers sweet relief during a long night out. Still, these water closets could use a makeover.


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10 Bands So Bad You Forgot About Them

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Photo by Sam Howzit via flickr
There are two kinds of reactions to a long-forgotten song. First, and most optimal, are the obscure bands whose music hits your iPod and brings on the euphoria of resurrected-music magic.

But then there are the ones that play over the loudspeaker in the dusty aisles of your local discount store as you shop for marked-down electronics, and that when you hear them cause immediate claustrophobia.

These are not the bands that give you the happy-happy joy-joy's when you hear them again. These bands cause total discount-electronics-aisle meltdown, and you'd probably forgotten about them until this blog. We're sorry.


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Houston's Worst Places to Get Put On Hold

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Photo by Nic McPhee/Flickr Commons
Joe V's Smart Shop is a Houston-based offshoot of one of the state's most successful brands, H.E.B., aka the H.E. Butt Grocery Company. Or, as it's known in my home, The Butt. If you're a fan of The Butt -- and really, who isn't? -- you know why it's an awesome place to shop. I don't know about you, but when I'm in The Butt it just feels right.

As it were, Joe V's recently emerged from The Butt and it's still a little sloppy. When I called to ask about a certain item, someone answered by saying "Hold on a second..." The second turned into about a minute and a half. When she returned, she simply said, "Hello?"

"Is this Joe V's?" I asked, because, what, what, that's not how they do it in The Butt. You're greeted like your call is the only thing keeping them from bankruptcy when you dial up H.E.B. proper.


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It's Really Time to Stop Encouraging R. Kelly

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R. Kelly and Lady Gaga in an uncompromising position on Saturday Night Live last month
He crossed the line with my daughter. It didn't get to the extreme of that [sex tape] video or else I wouldn't be here, if you know what I'm talking about... The reason that I'm talking about this, it's not just for me, it's not for my wife, it's not for my daughter, but it's for other fathers and mothers because it doesn't have to be a superstar, it could be the dude on the corner.

There are guys who sit around and give your child a couple of bucks to go to school and then wait until they get a little older, then they set that trap.

-- George Daniels, husband of former R. Kelly spokesperson Regina Daniels, 2008
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You're Fired! Five Songs Based on a True Story

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Photo by Bill Alldredge/Flickr Commons
The woman who was seconds away from becoming my ex-boss looked at me like a math problem she'd never fucking figure out.

She asked for my security badge. Why not have me lop off a finger and toss it over? That's how much the badge and all it led to had become a part of me. Then we green-miled it to the parking lot.

That, in a nutshell, is how I got fired from my day job, the first time I'd ever been canned in 31 years of working life. Never even been laid off.


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We Suck Again! A Revised Houston Texans Tailgating Mix

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Photo by Marissa Sendejas
Back in the summer, I advocated for new, improved songs that Houston Texans fans could play at their 2013 tailgates. My suggestions were optimistic, confident selections reflective of the high hopes we had for the team.

Now, on the verge of the worst season in franchise history, it might be time to revisit that playlist. Go ahead and group these together for what will mercifully be the last home game of this dismal campaign, a December 22 anticipated beatdown by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.


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10 Current Songs So Bad, They're Practically Making Fun of You

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Ever had the urge to make the world's worst playlist? Perhaps you're hell-bent on torturing the passengers on a ten-hour road trip to Florida, or you just want to drive your mother-in-law batty enough that she'll jump ship and walk home. Well, just bust out these bad boys.

Be careful, though. In small doses these things can be pretty dangerous, so please don't play all ten in succession. We don't need any serious traumatic pop-song-induced brain injuries on our hands.

We've included the videos for you, just in case you're a music masochist or something. You're welcome.


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