Posts Tagged with "swanky"

Goodbye, Opal

December 27th, 2006 at 7:53 pm by Mark
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     Last week I got the news that Opal’s Lounge, Knoxville’s best Dive, had sold out.  Swanky and I have frequented the place on off for many years now, having a beer, playing darts and talking to Opal, the owner.
     A few years ago, her grandson Robbie started helping her out, and the crowd changed a little — it became younger, and a lot more obnoxious than the older “neighborhood regulars” who usually frequented the place.
     Still, I could always go in before 7PM and sit and talk to Opal, smoke cigarettes and laugh.

     I told Swanky about it last week.  Today, he broke the story on his blog.  Since my name was on it, I couldn’t help but go and check it out…

     Today, it already felt like a different place. No Opal. No Robbie. Strange people, who I didn’t know, struggled with both the cash register and finding that elusive “Miller Lite.”
     The familiar painting — one her late husband had brought from Mexico — was no longer on the wall above the cash register, and several other items we’ve stared at over the years just weren’t there.  It all felt a little surreal, and I sat there wondering if Opal had taken her things, or if they’d shoved them in the storage room.

     Finally, I looked at the new bartenders, and asked, “I’m confused… where’s Opal?”
     “She sold out!” he said happily.
     He introduced himself, personable enough.  They’re friends of Robbie’s, and will be converting the bar into “D A’s Sports Bar” (I believe that’s what he said — was hard to hear over the TV & Jukebox). They told me that Opal did everything she could to help them get into the place.

     “Sold it to us two weeks ago,” he said. “But it was official … last week.”
     Strangely, last week was the first  heard about it … from one of my clients. Opal had called him a few minutes before I walked in the door.
     Given that, I’m kinda surprised she didn’t say anything when Swanky and I were there on her last Friday.  Like he says…

If you go by before 7PM these days, you can still hang out with Opal herself. She is a legend in Knoxville bars. She has been like a grandmother to me. One that smokes, drinks and cusses.

     Instead, she gave Swanky and I each a hug and a kiss, and said, “I love you boys!”

     That’s pretty damn special, coming from Opal.

     And after going there this afternoon, I miss her already.


September 22nd, 2006 at 12:43 pm by Mark
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     Back in July, Swanky had his meticulously planned First Annual Luau at his place.  Sure, maybe it’s a little presumptuous, thinking that it’s gonna be an Annual event, but it was truly a great party.
     A *lot* of people showed up (sixty-plus) to eat and drink heavily, and everyone played nice together.  Where else but Swanky’s Annual Luau are you gonna get sixty people together and not end up with a fight, hurt feelings or annoyance?  (Note the hint, Swanky)

     The next day after cleaning up the yard — kudos to the conscientious crowd who knew how to decently dispose of their debris — the DogCats were extremely affectionate.
     Now, if you’re not familiar with the DogCats, they’re a couple of rather large Maine Coon Cats who play fetch, stand up, chase cars, attack strangers who come into yard and Rottweilers being walked by their owners.  Just imagine your average German Shepherd with needle-sharp teeth and razor claws, and that’s pretty much their overall demeanor.
     After a nice session of fetch with the branches in the yard, the younger of the two decided to take a rest from which little could stir him.  Swanky threw a branch on him.  The younger younger DogCat flinched, bit it a couple of times, and laid back down.
     This, of course, prompted Swanky, Ms. Swanky and I to start throwing more on him.


     Of course, the fun didn’t stop there.  He just laid there while we added more and more.


     “Oh, man, this is great!  It’s Catmouflage!” I said as I piled a few more on.
     The laughter brought the elder DogCat closer to observe the situation.


     If I didn’t didn’t mention it before, yeah, the DogCats can talk, too.  I think his exact words were, “Umm… what the Hell are you people doing?  Umm … You realize you three are idiots, right?”

     Of course, he went to check on his younger sibling, who appeared to be quite “dead” at the time….


     …however, his concern was met with a sharp tag on the nose by his little brother’s outstretched paw.

     We continued, but the very last branch, much larger than the rest, was enough for him.


     One flip, and he walked right out.


     And that was that.

     Note to PETA and the SPCA: No DogCats were harmed during this excercise.  Neither were any sheep or rams.  Please do not attempt with normal cats.

     Good times, good times…


Lileks is Like, Funny!

August 22nd, 2006 at 2:40 am by Mark
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     Man, Swanky, maybe it was the greasers over the weekend that got you all worked up.  Maybe it was discussing politics with me where I clearly implicated both sides in screwing over the American Public. Maybe it was being tired and cranky and cantankerous (old man! heh).
     But … I’ve read Lilek’s article over and over, and I can’t figure out WHAT you’re talking about.

I’ve been reading the Bleat for years now and he has gone further and further into the business of being a grumpy guy and less and less being an amusing commentator on culture. He had the sense to move a lot of it to a separate blog. But today he just lost it. It sounds to me like the rantings of an “old guy” who can’t take the notion that he is a complete square. He spends a lot of words trying to discount any sort of counter culture sensibility as being stupid and has a bad habit of justifying things by pointing out that much much worse things are happening elsewhere in the world. Sort of like “Why are the namby pamby Democrats so up in arms about the goverment spying on them without warrants when North Korea has 100,000 people being tortured to death in secret prisons?” “Why get so up in arms about blacks being kept out of good schools in the 50s when Russia was killing thousands of people every month in Gulags?” Sad. That’s not an argument. Mis-direction.

I read most of the Bleat today and over and over it was just saying, this guy is really a stiff neck jerk. “How dare you rebel against a country that feeds you, Marlon Brando and James Dean!” Lileks, you are a sad old guy. Mr. Unhip. And that seems to make you crazy. You need to start allowing people to reply to your rants on your site. Dialog.

     James Dean was a product of his environment, as we all all are.  We all rage against the machine, some harder than others. But when we express our displeasure at whatever’s going on, isn’t it better to focus on facts rather than lefty-nutso ridiculouslness?

     And on that note, I’m gonna throw in Sinatra while I try and sleep.  I hope that’s not too Republican of me, wanting to sleep at 2:41AM.  😉

     As for James Dean, check out this this great Craigslist ad (tip: Link Right 2).