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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Quick Turnaround

November 30, 2003

The trip back to Nashville was short -- less than 48 hours from airport departure to airport arrival -- but it was most worthwhile. It's always good to be home for Thanksgiving.

Of course, the key is making it there and back safely. Southwest Airlines is my carrier of choice on the Tampa/Nashville connection (since they are cheap and they fly direct; with Delta, my usual other air carrier option, I have to connect through Atlanta). With Southwest every plane is the same -- the Boeing 737. No puddle jumpers here. And, on my arrival flight, this proved to be a good thing.

For reasons unknown to me, the flaps on the plane did not open properly on Flight 1817 as it approached Nashville International Airport (which is strangely abbreviated as BNA, which makes about as much sense as the call letters for 97X in Tampa being WSUN-FM). The pilot, who had been approaching Nashville with the plane, circled back around to make an "unconventional landing". In a rather surreal scene (which was exasperated since I had been sleeping up to that point), the pilot informed the passengers of the problem over the intercom.

Mary Beth and her trombone
My sister Mary Beth played her trombone for me.

The reaction was instantly audible, a collective mix of gasps and ahhhs that did not help anyone's nerves. Well, maybe except for me. Xanax is a good thing. I went back to sleep. It's not as if I could do anything to change the situation, and looking out the window at the wing (I had a window seat by the right wing) wasn't going to make the minutes pass any faster.

It took an extra 20 minutes or so, but the plane landed just fine. If the pilot would've have said anything, I wouldn't have known the difference (except for the plane arriving late, I suppose).

My Mom worked hard to make sure that the big Thanksgiving meal was delicious. With Matt down in Starkville for the Ole Miss/MSU Egg Bowl game, it was a six person event: my parents, my grandparents (on Mom's side), my sister Mary Beth and me. As per the usual Thanksgiving tradition, I ate too much. Time to get the exercise routine back into full effect. But, mmm, it was tasty.

Beer Sellar
The Beer Sellar has Nashville's coolest jukebox.

It was fun to talk with Mary Beth, who I don't get to see nearly enough. Being so far from Nashville is a downer sometimes. She's been practicing her trombone playing skills, and she's getting better and better at it. I commend her for learning how to play a musical instrument. That's one more than I can play.

Another fun thing was getting to play the game Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Gamecube. I'd heard good things about the game from Kelly, who used to work for Bubba The Love Sponge with me. Mary Beth gave me some pointers on how to play, and while it's not an overly complex game, it is rather fun. It's the perfect Gamecube game -- aimed at a children's market (which is the niche that Nintendo has settled into), but still enjoyable for adults to play. And since it's a Nintendo made game, it's not available for the PS2 or the X-Box, giving the Gamecube some exclusivity on it.

Karg Boys
Richard and Andy Karg performed in concert on Friday night in Nashville at the French Quarter Cafe.

Matt arrived in Nashville on Friday afternoon, giving us at least a few hours to hang out. He brought the new NCAA March Madness 2004 game with him, which I had the chance to check out for myself. The game is a good effort by EA Sports, but the inability to drive the lane really wore thin for me. I'm glad I had the chance to play it, though, as it was enough to decide to exclude it from my Christmas list.

My friends Richard and Andy Karg played in concert on Friday night at the French Quarter Cafe in Nashville. Performing as the "Karg Boys", they had about a half hour or so to perform. And they sounded great. They've worked incredibly hard on their skills, both from a performance and a songwriting standpoint, and they did not disappoint in the setting of a live event. The song Girl From Malibu is in particular outstanding. In my estimation, it's not a matter of if, but of when, they'll get a record deal. And with the country music industry in desperate need of some fresh blood, they have some really strong opportunities ahead of them. Though to classify them as "country" isn't necessarily fair, as their performances seem akin to the MTV Unplugged sessions that many "rock" artists have put on through the past several years. But country is where they're aiming, and they have the potential to make some major waves in that industry.

Bar Nashville chicks
You never know what you'll see at Bar Nashville.

I knew that I had a flight early the next morning to catch back to Tampa, but it just wouldn't be right to visit Nashville without going downtown. Richard, Matt and I hit the Beer Sellar, which has an amazing collection of beer on tap to go with a great selection of 90s rock songs on the jukebox. If I were programming a radio station for myself, this is the kind of music I would choose. Weezer's My Name Is Jonas was playing as we came in, for example. That's the sort of song you just don't hear much at all on most radio anymore. Later they played Possum Kingdom by The Toadies. That's the kind of music I really like, 1992-1999 era alternative rock that is too new for even the 80s stations to touch but too old for the modern rockers of the world to play much.

Later on the jukebox played Creep by Radiohead, which gave me the chance to tell the story of seeing Radiohead in concert (and how they didn't play that song). Richard and Matt were surprised, but I pointed out that the song was 10 years old. I also mentioned that on one of the Beavis & Butt-head tapes that I dubbed from Todd Parkhurst from the summer of 1993, MTV promoted some "buzz clips" for new music from then, which included Creep (Radiohead's U.S. breakthrough song) and No Rain by Blind Melon (which actually does get some airplay on 101.5 The Point, the 80s station here in Tampa). Okay, now I'm starting to feel real old... time to move along.

The crew at Bar Nashville
Here's the crew I was rolling with on Friday night.

We hit Buffalo Billiards, which is a fun nightspot along the 2nd Avenue strip in downtown Nashville. From there it was on to Bar Nashville, a wildly unpredictable place. Nothing too crazy went down there, but it was a good chance to take in the Nashville scene for at least a little while. We headed back to Buffalo Billiards (which I wasn't exactly thrilled with, since I had paid $7 cover at Bar Nashville and we didn't stay for even 45 minutes, but so it goes).

Yesterday I flew back, spent the day mixing sleep with college football... until the power went out. 3 minutes to go in the Florida/FSU game, and the power for several blocks went kaput. Thank goodness the game was being carried on local radio (970 WFLA and 1010 The Asylum both had it on, with UF and FSU's feeds, respectively). I think there might've been an accident involving a transformer, I don't know. I do know that from about 6:30 PM until 1 AM, there was no juice flowing to my apartment. Which was not cool.

Luckily, I had plans down in Pinellas County to videotape Bubba's tag match with Dusty Rhodes vs. Kevin Sullivan and "Rough House" Ralph Mosca. It was fun being backstage to see the various things that went on there. New Jack was there, complete with an orange prison outfit. Having seen the infamous "Mass Transit" match from 1996 (where he bladed the hell out of a 17 year old kid at a Massachusetts ECW show), I kept a watchful eye on him. But it was a fun time, even though I was groggy from the Dramamine and a bit jet-lagged. All in all it was a good Saturday night.

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