Drinking Miss Daisy.

Memorial Coliseum, the big concert venue in Fort Wayne, maintained a “parents’ room” for big nights, where guess-who could go for a little relief during the show. I wrote about it once, and although it was before I was a parent myself, all it took was 30 seconds in the house during an M.C. Hammer show to appreciate the sweet relief it offered to anyone not in the M.C. Hammer demographic — good lord, that volume was painful.

The contrast couldn’t have been greater. Management provided free Pepsi and pretzels, laid out decks of cards and rolled in a TV with VCR. Movie of the night: “Driving Miss Daisy.” I only wish I was kidding. Mothers crocheted and fathers chatted while their futures unspooled on TV. They could only wish that the kids they’d so kindly taken to the show would be responsible enough, and wealthy enough, to hire a driver for them in their dotage. But it was blessedly free of can’t-touch-this, so you couldn’t complain.

It wasn’t my best column, and I remember it mainly for the tiff-ette I had with a young African American copy editor, who thought I’d emphasized the wrong contrast in my scene-setting. It wasn’t about “Driving Miss Daisy,” the movie about being old, playing while teenagers danced ecstatically down the hall, it was about Morgan Freeman being a forelock-tugging servant while M.C. Hammer, young and strong and rich, gets it done on his own terms. Well. Who’s laughing now? M.C. Hammer will be lucky to get a job as some old lady’s chauffeur, as even the comeback tours will go away eventually, and maybe sooner.

But I digress. Detroit being a hipper town, and the Fillmore a smaller venue, they had a different place for the parents, what few there were who accompanied their children to the show last night.

“Would you like to sit in the bar? It’s just off the lobby,” the nice ticket-taker asked as I showed her my main-floor ticket on re-entry during the opening act’s set. The pain must have shown in my face. I hope the relief did, too. And while, being a responsible adult, I didn’t exactly get M.C. hammered, I did enjoy a tall Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy while watching ultimate fighting on the bar TV. The beer was lemony, and the fighting was disgusting. Really. Blood smeared the mat while the fighters grappled in, frankly, rather homoerotic style. One guy, the bleeder, was getting his ass kicked, but refused to surrender. They went down in another clinch, and the dominator leaned close to his ear. He appeared to be saying something, and I hope it was, “Jesus Christ, your blood is spoiling my footing. Tap out, you moron.” Finally, he did, and the director took the time for a dramatic overhead shot of the carmine aftermath.

This, friends, is what is killing boxing, a sport I’ve finally come to appreciate during all my Miss Daisy stay-at-home Saturday nights, which is when they show the bouts on HBO. I like the strategy of it, the skill needed to score while protecting yourself, the necessity of enduring a certain amount of what must be crushing pain in pursuit of victory. I like the trainers’ corner talk, which, being HBO, is not censored: “You’ve got to put this fucker down,” etc. (For the non-English speakers, they provide translation.) And I like watching the cut men work their magic with icy enswells and petroleum jelly. A good cut man knows as much or more about the blood vessels of the human head than a doctor.

At one point the ultimate-fighting bout was stopped so that a guy in latex gloves could examine the bleeder. He wiped the fighter’s face with a towel. Somewhere in a squared circle in heaven, Cus D’amato wept.

I went back into the house for the last 10 minutes of 3Oh!3’s set. I hear they’re tight with Ke$ha. The less you know about both, the better.

And now off for stock-up shopping for my weekend catering gig, as well as boat-launching. Every year the latter gets easier, and I’m told I will not be required for much. Huzzah. But I still need some heavy-duty foil pans, racks, maybe some sterno. Restaurant-supply store, here I come.

Some bloggage:

Thanks to Michael G for finding this nice Ken Levine appreciation of Ernie Harwell. Crisp, simple, to the point and worth your time. Meanwhile, it appears yesterday’s treacle-fest by Albom was only the warmup. Today:

There is a sound to silence. We heard it around the world Wednesday. It was the sound of tears, laughter, noses sniffling, voices quivering, it was the sound of a million baseball memories echoing in the sudden silence of the Voice of Summer…

Get a grip, Mitch. The funeral is still a couple days away. Today Harwell lies in repose at Comerica Park, which was setting up for the event as we left the show last night. Lights on, no ballgame. Sad.

Posted at 10:03 am in Popculch |

41 responses to “Drinking Miss Daisy.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on May 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Ultimate fighting is killing boxing, which as you note is a terrible, terrible shame. These bouts are, more or less, human dogfights. There may be a modicum of skill and certainly great strength and pain endurance are critically important, but damn, they are disgusting. The only thing worse is the reaction of the fans in their bloodlust.

    I’ve become a fan of club-sponsored fights, which are treated much like Golden Gloves. Boxers wear protective head gear and some kind of protection for their stomachs and ribs, and there are lots of weight classes represented. The lighter guys are the swiftest and most fun to watch, but a couple of blows to the head or just a bloody nose will stop the fight immediately. The super heavyweights, often dragging considerable spare tires into the ring with them, seem to move in slow motion by comparison.

    There is a reason boxing is known as the sweet science. MMA and ultimate fighting are a sacrilege.

  2. Joe Kobiela said on May 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I love it when it’s boat launching time. I wait all year for the story’s and pictures. It is always some of your best stuff.
    Pilot Joe

  3. Rana said on May 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    It was the sound of tears, laugh­ter, noses snif­fling, voices quiv­er­ing,

    Really? Really?

    For fuck’s sake. *eyeroll*

  4. ROgirl said on May 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Mitch in all his glory on the front page of the paper this morning. I couldn’t bring myself to read it. Gaak.

  5. coozledad said on May 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    The silence Mitch hears is the sound of people wishing they’d gouged their eyes out instead of reading that paragraph. It reminds me of one of my fellow student’s submissions for a creative writing class, featuring the sentence “He came to regard his morning cup of coffee as a warm, brown friend.”
    I wish I hadn’t thrown my copy of it away, now.

  6. beb said on May 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I wonder if the living Ernie Harwell would have approved of being out for display? I know I find it tacky.

    That was a nice column by Ken Levine.

    Jeff Borden comparing Ultimate Fighting to “Human Dogfights” pretty much nails it.

    While Coozledad’s ­tence “He came to regard his morn­ing cup of cof­fee as a warm, brown friend” puts the smile on my face. Of course I’m not sure if he’s refering to a rentboy or a good BM. At my age a good BM *is* a good friend.

  7. Scout said on May 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    “He came to regard his morn­ing cup of cof­fee as a warm, brown friend.”

    OMG, OMG, OMG! My eyes have bugged out from holding back the audible guffaws trying to escape. TFF.

  8. nancy said on May 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    “Sometimes, after a cup or two of warm, brown friend, another one would show up.”

  9. John said on May 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Great minds. I, too, thought of another “warm, brown friend” as soon as I read Cooz’s words. Where else can you hang out with a bunch of highbrows and still get the occasional potty humor?

  10. LAMary said on May 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I just added a poop related comment on yesterday’s posting. Must be something in the air today.

  11. brian stouder said on May 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Well, fellow potty-mouths, see Mary’s (typically funny) story at the end of yesterday’s thread, which features a play on the word ‘coprophilia’ (which I stumbled across [so to speak] in Nance’s linked article on the Focus on the Family guy yesterday)

    edit: Mary – great minds think alike! (and, well done on the “in the air” pun! I think NN.c is now under a boil-water alert)

  12. Catherine said on May 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    An archaeologist friend found the world’s biggest human coprolite in a cave in Turkey. This was a long time ago, so his record may have been superseded by now. It’s not often that I get to share this but I thought y’all would be interested.

  13. coozledad said on May 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    What in hell was Dennis Miller doing in Turkey? In a cave, no less.

  14. brian stouder said on May 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    An archae­ol­o­gist friend found the world’s biggest human copro­lite in a cave in Turkey

    Aww hell!

    That record can’t be fair. Between running from predators and chasing after game, those neanderthals have an unfair advantage; I bet they only visited the convenience-cave once a week

    edit: I think cooz just won the thread again!

  15. Hexdecimal said on May 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Here’s a link to Catherine’s “coprolite in a cave” story.


  16. ROgirl said on May 6, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Petrified poop. I was expecting a link to an old Mitch Albom column.

  17. Jean S said on May 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    all of y’all are just nuts. (which is why I check in every day.)

    and can we please get back to Mitch’s 1st sentence…”there is a sound to silence.”


  18. alex said on May 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    “There is a sound to silence; that of a warm, brown friend knocking at the back door in the twilight of the dawn.”

  19. LAMary said on May 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I understand QVC is coming out with a synthetic coprolite. Coprolique. Only experts can tell the difference.

  20. paddyo' said on May 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    And what about that line, ” . . . mem­o­ries echo­ing in the sud­den silence of the Voice of Sum­mer . . . .”
    Sudden silence? Really? I’m not from Detroit, but didn’t Harwell retire from calling Tigers games like 6 or 7 years ago?

  21. brian stouder said on May 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Coprolique. Only experts can tell the dif­fer­ence.

    And now I’m having a flashback of the scene from the Steve Martin movie “The Jerk”, where his father takes him out and explains to him a classic, all-important distinction, in life. (“Now son, this is shit; and THIS is Shinola…”)

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    And in the naked light I saw
    Ten thousand people maybe more;
    People talking without speaking
    People hearing without listening.
    People writing songs — that voices never shared,
    No one dared
    Disturb . . . Mitch Albom.

  23. Julie Robinson said on May 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    And my brain just went to an endless loop of “hello, darkness my old friend”. Clearly something is lacking in my education.

    We are headed off to our daughter’s for her graduation from seminary. We couldn’t be prouder or happier for her. I hope everyone will have something to celebrate this weekend.

    Edit: ooh, Jeff, great minds think alike!

  24. moe99 said on May 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    And now, courtesy of http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/05/on_second_thought_3.php?ref=fpblg
    we have the news that in fact Dr. Rekers and “Lucien” engaged in sex. In particular, something called the ‘long stroke.’ What is that? Someone here must know .

  25. Dexter said on May 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I think it’s testament to the 1980s music that I was drawn to the parents’ room at the former Deer Creek Music Theater in 1981, when we took my daughter and a friend to see either New Kids On the Block or Backstreet Boys, or whatever they were.
    It was a gawd-awful, noisy show, I think they lip-synched all the songs to canned music, and I gave up quickly for the shelter of a little TV and a free cooler of Pepsi, just like Nance was treated to.
    But music is better today. I would love to see Lady Gaga or Lady Antebellum and I would not run for shelter at all. My daughter is an all-grown-up married woman now, and her fave band is Bare Naked Ladies. She has good tastes…now. She is too old for Lady Gaga, she says.

  26. MichaelG said on May 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Cooz, I don’t know what Miller would be doing in Turkey other than making a misguided visit seeking relatives. Whatever he would be doing there, I’m sure he’d be doing it in a cave. Maybe looking to add to his coprolite collection.

    Boy, you’re on this week, Mary!

    That restaurant review is probably the funniest one I’ve ever read.

  27. Dorothy said on May 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    ROGirl – isn’t an old Mitch Albom column the same as petrified poop? Why it’s the very definition of redundancy!

  28. moe99 said on May 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    “There is a sound to silence…” Especially if you suffer, as I do, from tinnitus. Another danger to attending lots of concerts. And when I warned my son about possible negative consequences from his prolonged use of ear buds, he told me, “That’s ok, mom, when I get to be your age, they’ll have a cure for it.” Kids.

  29. deb said on May 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    jeff (tmmo), yes, yes, yes! i was thinking simon and garfunkel too, but you get props for the killer ending. hee.

  30. Dexter said on May 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Here’s a song I wouldn’t have left for…it’s my favorite rock & roll performance of all-time.

  31. LAMary said on May 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Here’s a YELP review of El Atacor:

    “1/6/2009 Let me start this review first by saying that Mexican food is not usually my cuisine of choice, but I dream about the tacos from El Atacor. I live on the Westside but I always manage to find an excuse to wander downtown to come here. Quite simply, this place is awesome.

    Inevitably I always get the taco special (4 tacos + drink). It’s a great deal (I think it’s $3.99) and you leave full. I always get the carne asada tacos, but my friend Matt who has been going there a lot longer than me has said that any of the meats are great. But the thing that really takes the tacos over the top is the green salsa that they give you with your order. Always ask for MORE because you will need a lot.

    I also tried their potato tacos the last time I was there. Interesting take on the taco, but I think it’s a good option for vegetarians. I likened it to a Mexican hashbrown of sorts…

    As for atmosphere, all I have to say is fluorescent lights, telenovelas in the background and what I think is a fake stuffed elk head on the wall – ’nuff said. But I like divey – I find it charming.

    There are also some great dive bars in the area, like Footsies next door. So if you’re up for a cheap night out, hit up Footsies and mosey on over to El Atacor. You can probably have a pretty good time with just $20.”

  32. Rana said on May 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    “He came to regard his morn­ing cup of cof­fee as a warm, brown friend.”

    Add me to the ranks of people abruptly suppressing a guffaw in a public place.

  33. Sue said on May 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Just checked in, saw 32 comments and figured, hmmm, they’re either arguing politics or talking dirty.
    Dirty having two meanings, both covered admirably. Bravo, folks!

  34. alex said on May 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Speaking of all this coproiania, what ever happened to that execrable rinky-dink burger chain called Hot ‘n’ Now?

    Just seeing their signage used to cause me pangs of urgency, and I’m not talking about hunger.

  35. LAMary said on May 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    We have a chain here called In ‘n Out.

  36. Catherine said on May 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Hex, the Lloyds Turd story was… awesome.

    I don’t think my friend ever published about “his” coprolite — it’s not really a career-maker. I forget the time period but certainly it was Neolithic or later. The story was that the cave was near some mineral springs where people went to take the waters, if you know what I mean. Warm, brown waters, possibly…

  37. moe99 said on May 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    My late dog, Sally Puddles Muttons, introduced me to coprophagia. According to my vet cats are poor digesters of all the protein they eat, so their you know whats are attractive to dogs. I had two cats at the time, Whimbeldon and Thurber, so Sally had a hey day, so to speak….

  38. Denice B. said on May 7, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I came to regard my deep fried Snickers bar as a warm brown friend. Moe 99: Dogs love cat poo. They call it a Cat Boxed Lunch. Yes, it is a crappy kind of day.

  39. Jim Neill said on May 7, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Hot ‘n’ Now declared bankruptcy about 5 years ago. I haven’t seen any for several years.

  40. Brendan said on May 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

    I have an almost physical, nauseous reaction to the ultimate fighting scene. When it first started I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Now its popularity has risen to such a level, it has reached a stage where I can’t believe how different people can have such different reactions to the same thing. I have a friend who compared UFC’s popularity to Roman decadence. Makes you wonder. Sad, sad, sad.

  41. LAMary said on May 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

    We refer to those litter box snacks as doggy almond roca.