A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Chalk it up to senility.

Or, at the very least, The Rolling Stones do not own an atlas. How else can you explain the fact that they booked a concert in Missoula, Montana last week?

Missoula, Montana. Were they confused? Was it a bad interaction of prescription drugs? Or was it a bad interaction of regular drugs?

Regardless, the biggest name in rock music found themselves on the outskirts of the middle of nowhere last Wednesday night. And I was there.

And The Rolling Stones put on a ROCK CONCERT. I cannot stress that enough. Their stage was six stories tall. It featured a section on an elevated track that transported the band to the middle of the arena, 10 feet above the crowd. There were fireworks that rivaled anything on the fourth of July. Their main video screen was easily 1200 square feet in size. There were fiery explosions generating heat that could be felt in the 27th row of the audience. And just for good measure, they inflated a giant set of lips (their logo) bigger than a school bus on stage. I could go on an on, but you get the idea.

I guess this is what you should expect for a $400 ticket. That’s right, $400 bucks for the 27th row, center-stage. I didn’t pay for it, nor did I perform any explicit favors on a roadie to sit this close. The ticket was a gift from my uncle, a huge Stones fan.

And I was thrilled to be there. Even on a smaller stage, the Rolling Stones play each concert as if it were their last, because, let’s face it, it could be. And watching Mick Jagger perform live is something I will always remember.

I think no other performer, with the possible exception of Elvis, better embodies the term “rock star” like Mick Jagger. He has the distinctive voice and personality. He has iconic moves on stage (the Rooster strut). He even has the quintessential rock star name: Mick Jagger. And it’s his real name too. In fact, I Googled celebrity pseudonyms just to be sure he wasn’t really born “Mickey Jaggerkowski” or something.

And even though he is 63 years old, he still summons the energy to be a rock star on stage. That is the standard he is held to, regardless of his age. And he delivered. I was pretty much in awe, watching him run up and down the stage for two hours. To put it in perspective, my dad is 56, and he needs a morning and afternoon nap just to have the energy to fish all day.

Some other thoughts on the concert:

  • Aside from not having an atlas, The Rolling Stones must not have a calendar either. Not only was the concert in Missoula, but it was also held outdoors… in October. Thankfully, it worked out. It wasn’t too cold, and it only rained as people were leaving the arena. In fact, there was even a full moon. It could have been ugly though. I hope the Stones come back in a few years to play here again, but I have a sinking feeling that whoever booked this show probably wasn’t allowed back on the tour bus.
  • I love living in Spokane, but I am also keenly aware that this part of the country is by no means considered a glamorous destination. And I always wonder what rock stars think about this region when their tour bus rolls in. They know it’s a limited engagement, but it’s still a new environment. Are they at all curious about the local history, climate, landmarks, economy… or anything? Do they even bother to look out the window to see what Spokane looks like as they drive through? Part of me honestly thinks that superstars might honestly care that little.

    I liken it to learning the name of the temps or interns at the office. Is it really worth it to get to know them? In most cases, it’s not. Should you even bother learning their name? Or, do you just settle for a nod of general acknowledgement when you pass them in the hall?

    Anyway, I always pay attention at the moment in the show where the rock star feels obligated to mention the name of the city he’s performing in. Will they pronounce it right? Will they drop a local reference or inside joke? I know this is a superficial measure, but this is how I gauge how detached the superstar actually is from his fans.

    So how did Mick do? Well, he welcomed the crowd from Missoula enthusiastically. And he took it one step further by thanking everyone that drove over from Great Falls and Spokane. Unfortunately, Mick botched this part. He pronounced the last syllable of “Spokane” as “cane” instead of “can.” I can’t fault him too much; he just made the mistake of trying to read it phonetically. He made up for it though. He joked that he “Loves this region of the country, because he got up this morning, and walked out of his trailer and shot an elk.” This got huge laughs. Well played Mick, well played.

  • As you might expect, the audience was packed with baby-boomers. But just because they are pushing 60 doesn’t mean they don’t like to party. I realized this when the older gentleman in the row in front of me lit up some weed. Even though it was a rock concert, it just seemed out of place. Seriously, this guy was probably an orthodontist. Nobody even raised an eyebrow though, as it was actually plausible that it was for medicinal use. Needless to say, it was a surreal experience.
  • Finally, I wanted to embed a clip from the concert here, just to give you a taste of what the performance was like. Of course, I searched YouTube and found a thousand low-quality clips of people filming the stage with their camera-phone from the nosebleed section in a darkened arena. This clip is no different, but it at least shows the scope of the production and the elevated stage moving across the arena… enjoy.

A Shrewd Purchase

Where do I even begin?

My wife went to the mall today, because she needed to buy birthday gifts for both my mom and my sister. Three hours later, she returned home.

Remarkably, she didn’t buy anything for my mom or sister. Nothing. Not a single thing.

However, she did manage to buy several things for herself. (Not a surprise, as I knew this was the real impetus for the shopping trip.)

She also bought some things for our son.

She didn’t buy anything for me. (Again, not a surprise.)

And, she bought an outfit for a baby girl.

Of course, we don’t have a girl. None of our friends or family does either.

We honestly don’t know a single gift-worthy person that has a baby girl. In fact, we don’t know a single person who is even expecting a baby girl.

In short, my wife bought an item that is of absolutely no use to anyone we know.

Of course, this fact doesn’t seem to bother her at all. As she points out, eventually, someone we know will have a baby girl and we’ll have a nice gift ready to go. We just need to store this outfit for a year or so until then. Let the waiting game begin.

Does this situation seem ludicrous? Sadly, in the realm of female-logic, preemptively buying a gift for a nonexistent recipient makes perfect sense. Especially when that item is on sale.

For your enjoyment, I’ve outlined a few other layers of absurdity to this purchase:

The outfit she purchased is seasonal attire. Specifically, it’s meant to be worn in the summertime. Also, it is made to fit a baby girl approximately nine months old. To recap, this outfit can be worn during three months of the year, and only if the baby happens to be nine months old at that time and female. I’d say this is a pretty narrow window of usefulness. In fact, I would go so far to say it’s an impractical gift, even for a hypothetical baby.

Let’s look at it another way. For a baby to be nine months old in the summertime, she would have had to be born in October or November. Again, since we don’t know anyone expecting a baby in the next few weeks, we’ll have to shoot for next year to time it right. As it stands now, the best-case scenario for us is to have one of our friends have a baby girl sometime in October or November of 2007. This way, their daughter would be the perfect size to wear it during the summer of 2008. Needless to say, I’m sure glad my wife had the foresight to purchase this item today.

What else? Remember how the original purpose of her shopping trip was to find gifts for my mom and sister? It’s ok if this detail slipped your mind, as my wife forgot too. Anyway, I asked her why she came home empty-handed. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. She told me about the multiple items she scrutinized, and the various reasons she had on passing on each one. Somehow, in her judgment, all of those items weren’t sensible purchases. In that regard, it makes buying the baby outfit seem even more remarkable, as it unbelievably managed to satisfy the criteria of a sensible purchase in her mind.

My sister’s birthday is in three days. My mom’s is in about three weeks. Time is short, and I’m a busy, busy man. We have absolutely nothing bought for either of them, yet we have the perfect gift for a female baby that will hopefully be born over a year from now. This, ladies and gentlemen, is my life.

Well, I suppose I should quit whining and just post the outfit on eBay. Hopefully I can recoup 60% of its value. Happy bidding everyone.

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A Remarkable Comeback

This is a true success story. After years of teetering on the brink of extinction, Little Caesar’s Pizza is making a triumphant comeback.

Like the American bison, Little Caesar’s once covered the landscape in vast numbers. Then, about ten years ago, they started to suddenly vanish. Their collapse was inexplicable, as they were certainly popular and profitable. Perhaps they were caught grinding up the homeless for pizza ingredients. As far as I’m concerned, that’s about the only thing that could simultaneously explain the low prices and the precipitous drop in franchises.

Thankfully, before Little Caesar’s was completely wiped out, the last remaining franchises were rounded up and put in a captive breeding program. And last week, one of the hatchlings was released back into my neighborhood:

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For those unfamiliar with Little Caesar’s, notice the coupon on the right. Little Caesar’s was the first pizza chain to put out high-volume pizza deals. Four pizzas for one low price! Genius.

And now they’ve added another innovation:

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They now have pizzas that are pre-made and ready to go. And they’re dirt cheap too. No need to call ahead, they’ve always got a pepperoni or cheese pizza ready when you pull in. Again, genius.

Are you starting to wonder how this enterprise could have ever failed? Seems impossible, right? I’m still not sure how it happened. Rest assured though, we had Little Caesar’s last week, and this time there was no hobo aftertaste. So far so good. With proper stewardship, I feel confident that Little Caesar’s will be around for future generations to enjoy.