Friday, April 01, 2005



FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar.
The RHS came knockin' on the door of th' Hut a few days ago, looking for donations for his charity of choice, the ASEF (Aluminum Siding is Evil Foundation). Whoda thunk he was such an aesthete?
"It don't do nothin' but make the trailer look cheap! Wood paneling! That's what it's about!"
I gave him some pork rinds, he gave me some tunes and we parted on good terms.

Rebecca Lynn Howard - "Out Here In the Water"
Rebecca Lynn Howard - "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners"

Here's a shot of primo Nashville craftsmanship at its finest: top-flight, mainstream country no less fine for having been rejected by the mainstream.

Nearly five years ago, I wandered out to an acoustic show featuring a mixture of name artists and unknowns playing two or three songs apiece. Midway through, a name was announced that I hadn't heard before: Rebecca Lynn Howard. A teensy gal of 21 sauntered onstage carrying a guitar only slightly smaller than herself, and proceeded to play two self-penned songs that displayed more range and ability than just about any other contemporary country act I've heard since.

First was "Out Here in the Water," a languid invitation to skinny-dipping (that uniquely country pasttime) whose fluid mixture of innocent charm and knowing sensuality had me squirming in my seat. Finally, thought I, someone has found a way to make fishing sound exciting.

After I had been thus reduced to a quivering mass, Howard shifted into "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners," a sky-scraping ballad that showcased both her vocal range and writerly maturity (check the use of space and rhythm to simultaneously communicate isolation and determination, especially when she sings, "Like a rock/Couldn't stop/Didn't try," in the second verse). It's an open-hearted declaration of closed-heartedness, an utterly vulnerable vow of invulnerability.

I assumed that blockbuster status was imminent -- if country radio could resist one of these songs (both became singles), how could they possibly resist the other? Somehow they managed: neither track even nudged into the top 50, despite being precision-built for radio play, perfectly accessible in sound, subject and songcraft. Raised in rural Salyersville, Ky. (pop. 1,200), Howard herself was intelligent and attractive, a ready-made star, but it didn't seem to matter.

Trisha Yearwood re-recorded two songs from Howard's debut (including "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners") on her next album, earning their author some credibility and royalties. Howard herself would finally enjoy her lone (to date) chart breakthrough two years later with the vocal showpiece "Forgive," already a favorite among pissed-off karaoke daredevils everywhere. Her third album (on her fourth record label) is set for release this summer, so here's hoping.

Buy Rebecca Lynn Howard or the 2002 follow-up, Forgive.
Join Rebecca Lynn's fan club.
Read Skinny Dipping International, "the web's liveliest nudist e-zine."
Learn how not to paint yourself into corners.


Go Fug Yourself's April Fools post is Buhrilliant.
LeBron can hit that.
Apparently the Beatbox Harmonica guy is available for weddings.
Which sounds like a good reason to get married.
Toilet Paper Curiosities: "This vintage WWII novelty roll of toilet paper" is printed with slogans like, "Put Hitler in the Hole", "Right in der Fuhrer's Face" and "Blackout a Jap".
I'll have to look around in the NYC textiles neighborhood for Katamari Beads.
Hi: (video for Mark Newgarden's toon site detailing the dangers of cartoonage)

These images are all whistles
Evil Satanic Messages
Robot bug music
Playstations illegal to sell in the US?
The first new episode of South Park aired last night and it was devastatingly ballsy.
Follow the plot: Kenny buys a PSP along with the hot new game "Heaven vs. Hell", which he proves to be amazingly good at. He is (as per usual) hit by a bus and dies, but not before reaching Level 60 on the game. He is taken to Heaven where he is informed by the Archangels that the game (a'la Ender's Game or The Last Starfighter) was merely a simulacrum of the TRUE battle 'twixt Heaven and Hell, which Kenny must now command as a general for the angelic armies with his God-given GOLDEN PSP.
All goes awry when Kenny is brought back to life on Earth, but with significant brain damage. He's referred to as a "tomato" and has to be kept alive via a feeding tube. Angels are sent down to aid in his dying and Emperor-ish demons are sent to aid Republicans in keeping Kenny alive.
This is to say nothing of the Michael Schiavo/Cartman connection. Even so, it's unbelievable to see this on television and even more astonishing this was aired the day that Schiavo died.
I guess you just can't make this stuff up.


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