Friday, August 25, 2006


Asheville has garnered yet another distinction from the national media. The Princeton Revue Book, “Best 361 Colleges,” has rated one of our local colleges, Warren Wilson in Swannanoa, NUMBER ONE nationally for marijuana use.

What a distinction. Maybe that’s one reason why we garnered the NUMBER ONE spot in North Carolina for DWI accidents last week.

Warren Wilson has always been kind of a strange place. Not for Asheville, but just generally. It’s filled with hippie throwbacks. After all, Asheville is famous regionally for the number of hippies we have. Most nights during the spring and summer months, scores of them would congregate near the fountain at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. Probably getting their only shower for the week.

Warren Wilson also got on other lists in Princeton’s Revue. They were also NUMBER ONE in the category of “Students most nostalgic for Bill Clinton.”

They ranked NUMBER THREE for “Birkenstock-wearing, tree hugging, clove-smoking vegetarians. A college in California probably beat them in that category. They also ranked NUMBER 14 for most beautiful campus and 15th for most politically active.

Wow! An 800-student campus in the middle of the North Carolina Mountains gets FIVE rankings above #15 from the Princeton Revue.

Outta sight.

Later man,


Monday, August 21, 2006

We're Number One !!!

Asheville, North Carolina has received two high ranking scores in the past few days – one state and one national, and boy are we proud. We actually got a number one ranking in the state.

Forbes Magazine and ranked the state #3 in the nation for business. That’s pretty good, although I don’t really know what that means. Are we #3 in the amount of business we do? Are we #3 in the number of businesses we have? Are we #3 in business incentives? Are we #3 in the number of new businesses?

Beyond that, Asheville was ranked 24th in the country “for business.” Same questions – what the fuck does that mean? All the local TV station said was that North Carolina was #3 and Asheville was #24 “for business.” I guess that’s good.

But the big prize comes in another category – DWI accidents. For those of you who don’t know what a DWI is – it’s the same as a DUI in other locales (Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated).

Buncombe County, North Carolina, which includes Asheville, was #1 in the state for alcohol related traffic mishaps last summer. We had 68. One third of the people involved were repeat offenders with one local man racking up an impressive 7 DWI’s. That takes fortitude.

The only good thing about this situation was that, miraculously, there were no deaths related to the 68 wrecks.

But, hey, I don’t want to spoil this high we’re on. After all –


Later (if I’m not hit by a drunk driver),


Monday, August 14, 2006

Why Can't I Get Published?

It seems there’s an underwhelming lack of interest in my memoir, MotherTrucker which my agent has had for nearly a year now. Every time I contact him about progress, there doesn’t seem to be any.

The book chronicles my two years as an over-the-road truck driver. In the course of 23 months I visited 47 states (the only one I missed was South Dakota) and racked up over 200,000 miles.

As a new driver, I had my share of misadventures. Getting lost in LA, getting lost in Laredo, getting lost in Chicago – hell, getting lost in 23 states. Some of the stories are funny and some of them aren’t but they are all interesting and absolutely true.

But, nobody in the publishing field seems to give a shit. So, I decided to get into fiction and short stories seem to be my preference.

One story is complete, but I’d like to have 3 or 4 in the can before I begin begging someone to print them. The second installment is started, but dragging a bit.

I’m working all of them around one central character, a truck driver. Each story will chronicle one trip across the country and describe the people he meets and the shit he sees.

The completed story follows my intrepid hero, Ron Gabriel or “Gabe” on a trip from Winslow, Arizona and ends when he gets into some deep do-do in North Carolina’s infamous I-40 gorge. It’s an exiting piece, filled with adventure, companionship and humor.

Yeah – “They laughed, they cried they conquered 2000 miles of harrowing Interstate.” Actually, this should be read in that basso profundo movie preview guy voice.

So, if anybody knows of a place to publish these stories let me know. My agent doesn’t want to do short stories, so he just told me to, “Get them published – anywhere.” Thanks.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Am Pissed!

I was under the impression that, even when Native Americans did it, scalping was illegal. I guess I was wrong.

Tom Waits is appearing in Asheville tonight, and tickets went on sale Friday, July 14. Huge fan that I am, I immediately went on line to purchase two tickets, face value of around $75 each.

This can’t be right. There are no tickets available. I tried again. Same answer.

SHIT! Waits will never play Asheville again. This is like if the Beatles were stranded in Western North Carolina in 1966, they might have played our Civic Center just for something to do.

For my own information, I Googled “Tom Waits Tickets.” Sure enough, five different on-line ticket vendors had seats available – from $250 to $500 each.

Is that not scalping? I realize they’re not standing outside the venue hawking their wares, but is that not the same thing? They buy up all the available tickets then jack up the prices so that the average person can’t afford them.

My understanding of scalping is selling show tickets for more than face their value. Four times list price certainly qualifies.

Later (when I cool down),


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Asheville holds a street festival every year on the last weekend of July. It’s called Bele Chere and means beautiful something. Ask 10 people what it actually means and you’ll get 7 different answers, four of them being, “I don’t know.”

Supposedly, it’s the largest gathering of its type in the southeast, drawing an estimated 300,000 people between Friday night and early Sunday evening. Music, crafts and food are the attractions, and all the streets in central Asheville are closed for the duration.

The first few years of the festival, Barbara and I avoided downtown like the plague. In fact, several years we left town altogether, just to avoid the mayhem.

Then I discovered that during Bele Chere you can actually walk the streets of Asheville with an open beer in your hand. That was the beginning of our annual trips downtown to see the sights.

Actually, music alone is a good enough reason to make the trek. This year the featured performers were Gov’t Mule (Warren Haynes is from Asheville), Train, Galactic, and Shooter Jennings, Waylon’s kid. There was also a slew of bands from New Orleans. Last year the headliner was Blues Traveler, so it’s not all local-yokel entertainment.

In years past, our favorite pastime (besides the beer) was divided between belly watching and same-sex couple watching. Bellies have always been big in Asheville and “alternative lifestyles” are now becoming commonplace.

This year there was a brand new sight to behold – augmented bosoms. Yep, fake tits are taking over the city, and these are the kind that you can’t mistake. They’re bigguns.

Added to the fact that they’re soooo large is the fact that these broads are really proud of their new acquisitions. They just love showing off as much of their new hooters as the law allows.

This is still the south, so there was no blatant flashing, but those puppies were encased in as little fabric as possible.

Wahoo!!! Sure beats watching some redneck’s beer-gut.