Posts Tagged ‘south’

Good news! My favorite rock and roll outfit is coming to Fort Liquordale!

Without getting into the sordid details, I’m a musician. (I wasn’t successful, but the rejection I received was a great introduction to the rejection I now receive as a writer.) Okay, I haven’t played in front of people for years, but mentally, I’m still a musician. And a writer — guess that makes me one of those disgusting artistic hybrid creatures often end up spending their last years locked in the basement eating cockroaches. Like Aunt Alma.

Yeah, well. Different musical styles have come and gone with the ages, all have left their cigarette burns on my psyche to some extent, but I have a deep and everlasting love for honest hard-rocking tear-your-shirt rock and roll. Bands that can play it both hard and soft; tunes of joy, sadness, regret and fuck all. I grew up listening to The Band, Dylan, Neil Young. People that weren’t afraid to take some chances and pour it all out without worrying about whether they hit their target market.

I’ve been listening to the Drive-By Truckers for about five years or so, and they continue to impress me with their songwriting and creativity, and most of all with not being afraid to just put it out there and wail. They have a new record out, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark which I just picked up this week and have been blasting in my truck to and from work. My knuckles are sore from banging the steering wheel.

A story I wrote, “That Smell,” was inspired after repeated listening to their celebrated 2001 album, A Southern Rock Opera, which somehow takes the whole Lynyrd Skynyrd mythos and elevates it to a Shakespearean tragedy. An unbelievable recording.

On a more horrifying note, check out the cover art by Wes Freed. His hillbilly zombies are scarier than any yankee zombies I’ve ever seen. If I was single, my living room walls would be covered with his art. If I ever get a book deal, he’s doing the cover for sure.


Raised on Grits

Posted: June 24, 2008 in Uncategorized
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A couple of posts back, I rehashed some of my rich culinary experiences at Uncle Jarzey’s house. My explorations of the rodent and amphibian wings of the House of Meat might have gone better if I’d been less familiar with the subjects in their pre-dinner plate condition. Who knows? Maybe my massive hard-on for bacon would go soft if I had to hack it out of a hog belly.

It’s safe to say that with southern cuisine (as practiced in my family, anyway) ignorance can be a very good thing.

One thing you need to understand about HoJames is that although I came up in baby-boom central, the ‘burbs of Chicago of the 60’s and 70’s, I still had ties to the old country: Mississippi.

I was a rock-and-roll-loving suburban longhair freak, but I was raised on grits and biscuits. Every time I went out for breakfast and was forced to settle for hash browns, it reminded me that although I had ancestors in the country from the early 1700’s, I was a stranger in a strange land.

Grits, red-eye gravy, country ham, sausage patties (fried to black crunchiness), pancakes with cane syrup and Grandma’s home-made pear preserves. Them’s good eats.

There was also a dish Mom made every few weeks: Grains and Eggs. They were basically just scrambled eggs, but with what I thought was some kind of tasty cereal cooked in.

I chowed down on it for many a Sunday breakfast, until that fateful and uncharacteristically curious day when I asked, “Hey Mom, what kind of grains are these, exackly?”

She looked at me funny. “No, hon, it’s not grains. It’s brains. Pig brains.”

I think I may have turned a few different colors. “Brains? Like inside of a head? A pig’s head? Ewww!”

“But you always liked ’em before.”

That was over forty years ago and I haven’t had them since. After finding out what’s actually in that that piggy neurology, it was a wise decision.
(The circled ingredient shows 3500 mg of cholesterol, 1170% of the MDR.)

In case you’re looking to try ’em yourself, I found a similar recipe on some good old boy North Carolina Congressman’s website. I present the Honorable Howard Coble’s Favorite Breakfast “Brains N’ Eggs”. Serve with angioplasty kit.

While researching the subject, I found an article about hog butchering that gives me a delightfully grisly way to kill someone in a future story. Take one human head, apply a few hundred psi of compressed air to contents, and stand back. Guess you might cal it… cerebral.