Archive for July, 2011

The Cavalcade and Nerd Lunch dine like kings on the KFC Double Down

Posted in fast food, Kentucky Fried Chicken with tags , , , on July 22, 2011 by Paxton

Here we all are.  Part 3 of my road trip to Tallhassee to visit my blogging brother Carlin Trammel of Nerd Lunch.  After experiencing the religious experience that is the Tallhassee Auto Museum, we decided that while our spiritual selves are full, our physical selves are now empty.  What do we do to replenish our famished bodies?

I’ll tell you what we do.  We go to KFC and dine like victorious gladiators on Double Downs.  Tonight, we dine IN HELL!!! (or a ghetto KFC; 6 of one, half a dozen of another)

You should know, right before this trip, I found out KFC has started offering a 64 ounce (one half gallon) Mega Jug of soda.  So, being the bad ass that I am, I decided I needed to drink one.  And since I was going to be at KFC anyway I needed to order a Double Down in order to have something the 64 ounces of soda could wash down into my gullet.  So Carlin and I swagger into KFC like gunfighters prepared to place our manly orders in very loud voices so everyone would know that some sh*t was about to go down.  Maybe they might want to evacuate the women and children.

I cooly glance up at the menu for dramatic effect, and I don’t see either the Double Down or the Mega Jug.  What?  No Double Down?  Holy balls.  I am going to have to burn this joint TO THE GROUND.  Que Wolverine Berzerker Rage.  Right before I start tossing tables and bustin’ skulls, Carlin suggests I just ask if they have it.  I struggle to comprehend what Carlin means by his crazy talk.  Why would that work?  So I ask the lady if they still have the Double Down and Mega Jug soda fully expecting to punch her in the face when she denies me.

Punch

She says yes, narrowly escaping the Five Fingers of Doom, heads into the back for like 5 minutes and when she comes back she hands me the biggest cup I’ve ever seen in my life.  I pay for my goods and try to put soda into what can only be described as a bucket.

KFC Mega Jug 1

Check this out. The Mega Jug takes up THREE SPOTS on the soda fountain.  That would make getting a suicide easier.  So, I sit there for about 10 minutes while I fill the bucket up with Diet Pepsi.  Then I become concerned because I’m not entirely sure a human bladder is designed to house 64ozs of Diet Pepsi.

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The Cavalcade and Nerd Lunch assault the Tallahassee Auto Museum Part II

Posted in blogging, cars, nostalgia, pop culture, random with tags , , on July 20, 2011 by Paxton

A few weeks ago, I visited Carlin Trammel (of Nerd Lunch) in Tallahassee for an historic meeting of bloggy awesomeness.  Together we witnessed the random awesomeness that is the Tallahasse Auto Museum, inhaled Double Downs at a local KFC and talked about all things nerdy (Star Trek, Star Wars, super hero movies, blogging, etc).  Yes, a nerd connection was made.

Anyway, on Monday I discussed all the awesome cars Carlin and I peeped in the museum. On Tuesday, Carlin posted his recollections of our trip to the museum. I’m continuing the week long look at my sojourn over to the ‘hassee by revealing to you all the other randomly epic crap that was crammed into the “auto” museum that had nothing whatsoever to do with cars.  You will be amazed.

Let’s start with…

Fisher Price Grand Piano
Pianos. Yes, this place had a collection of about 10 pianos. This particular one looks like a Fisher Price toy made for a giant baby. I swear my 10 month old son has a piano very similar to this (only “normal” baby size).

awesome gold piano
Here Carlin is checking out the re-DONK-ulous gold piano that would be the perfect centerpiece to any room. And it is flanked by two tasteful life size gold lions. In my mind this is the piano that God is playing when you enter the Gates of Heaven.  And he’s playing the theme to the movie Chariots of Fire.  Or The Sting.

From pianos we move to…

Mego Wizard of Oz
Dolls.  This place also had an entire section of collectible dolls.  Amongst the Barbies and Skippers there were a few choice, geeky items.  Here is a nearly full set of Mego’s 1976 Wizard of Oz figures. They are only missing a few Munchkins figures and the Witches Castle and Munchkinland playsets.  I am in love with this set.  It was this set that put Mego on the map and allowed them to get the Marvel and DC licenses to create their World’s Greatest Super Heroes line.

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The Cavalcade and Nerd Lunch assault the Tallahassee Auto Museum Part I

Posted in Batman, blogging, cars, movies, pop culture with tags , , , on July 18, 2011 by Paxton

I have met so many awesome bloggers in the nearly 5 years since I started the Cavalcade.  Every one of them has influenced this site in some way.  In the last few years, I’ve even been able to team up with some of the bloggers I admire most in some fun team ups. Last July I hooked up with Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s to talk about Unofficial Movie Trilogies.  Last summer I was asked by Rondal Scott to contribute content for his blog Strange Kid’s Club.  And the awesome blog crossovers just keep coming.  Earlier this year, Carlin Trammel from Nerd Lunch asked if I wanted to meet up somewhere and do a blog crossover.  After several months of working out schedules it finally happened and the Holley household traveled to Tallahassee for a “meet-and-geek” between Nerd Lunch and the Cavalcade of Awesome.

The question was…what do we do?  We decided to check out an “auto museum” off I-10.  I put “auto-museum” in quotes because…well, you’ll see.  I had seen this particular “auto museum” in my travels to Destin, FL to visit my brother-in-law.  They heavily advertise the fact that they have a Batmobile from the movie Batman Forever.  So, this seemed like an appropriate place for two pop culture nerds to join forces.

As soon as I drove in the front gates to the museum, I knew this place was going to be special.  Just inside the gate, to the right, was a nearly life size model of the Batmobile…and a buffalo.  A GIANT, decidedly NOT life size buffalo.  And I discovered that if you take a picture from a certain angle, it actually looks like the buffalo is driving the Batmobile.

Buffalo driving the Batmobile

I know, right?  LEGENDARY.  So I know this place is going to rock even though the outside looks like some random office building.

Tallahassee Auto Museum

That ordinary exterior did well to mask the awesome-ness that was hidden within. Shall we go inside?  Yes.  We shall.

First of all, here are the intrepid explorers, me (left) and CT (right).  We were unprepared for what lay ahead.
Me and CT

And what are we standing in front of? Why gentlemen and gentleladies, that is the Elvismobile.

Elvismobile 1
Check it out in all of its pink glory. Now, understand, Elvis never actually drove this vehicle, the car is just a subtle and classy homage to the King of Rock n Roll. The entire body is lined with rope lights. There is a giant hooka pipe with a skull on top sitting in the middle of the driver’s console.  The door handles have been replaced with pistols.  There’s a trailer caddy hitched to the back with SIX generators used to power a video projector that can show movies on the side of a building.  Like I said.  Subtle and classy.

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Billy the Kid Week 2011: Review of The Stone Garden: The Epic Life of Billy the Kid

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on July 15, 2011 by Paxton

Billy the Kid Week

Our final day of Billy the Kid Week.  I am celebrating the 130 year anniversary of Billy the Kid’s death by reviewing a bunch of novels featuring Billy the Kid.  Today’s book is The Stone Garden: The Epic Life of Billy the Kid by Bill Brooks.

The Stone Garden cover

This book is somewhat a sequel to yesterday’s Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid. It is a fictional story about what happened to Billy the Kid after Garrett shot him.  It posits that Garrett actually shot a cow thief named Billy Barlow that night and covered it up.  This book acts as Billy’s journal.  It covers the events of Billy’s life up to the shooting and what happened to him after the shooting as well as if he ever got revenge on Pat Garrett.

I love the idea of this book.  The idea is very similar to another book I read, The Frankenstein Papers by Fred Saberhagen.  It takes an existing work and continues the story from another point of view.  I love that.  However, I didn’t just LOVE this book.  The main problem lies in the structure.  This book’s story is literally all over the place.  Brooks jumps around throughout Billy’s life in a non-linear way.  You’ll hear about an event that happened in one chapter but not see that event until many chapters later.  Plus, half way though the book, the narrator changes to Billy’s girlfriend.  We’ll be discussing Billy’s mother in one chapter, then we’ll see an entire chapter on his friend Charlie and his wife.  It was really hard to get a foot hold on this book’s story with all the jumping around.  And the author kept sticking in poems and quotes from Shakespeare and Lord Byron.  It feels like he was trying to turn this book into literature.  And it’s decidedly NOT.

I don’t know, I really wanted to love this book because the hook is great.  Billy escaped his death and went on living until he was in his 90s.  What happened to him?  But just as I would get into the story, the narrator or the timeline would shift and I would have to readjust.  It was very disconcerting.

I did like how Brooks incorporated passages and events from Garrett’s book.  It was obvious Brooks read that book and built his narrative off the text and events in it.  But, again, the disconcerting way the novel was written really hindered my enjoyment.

So, a recommend?  For western fans and/or Billy the Kid fans, yes, but with a warning, the narrative jumps around a lot.  But it’s a good enough premise to keep you reading.  I never once thought about stopping the book.  It’s funny, when I got this book in the mail from Paperbackswap.com, the cover seemed very familiar to me.  I honestly thought I’d read it.  If I did read it back when I was reading all those western books (early-mid 90s), then I don’t remember it.  At all.  And I probably won’t remember this again in another few years.

Billy the Kid Week 2011: Review of Pat Garret’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by Paxton

Billy the Kid Week

Billy the Kid, aka William H Bonney, aka Henry McCarty, was killed by sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico 130 years ago today.  All this week I am celebrating the anniversary of Billy’s death by reading and reviewing books about the enigmatic outlaw.

Today I am reviewing the book about Billy.  The main source of most of our information about him.  The book was released within a year after Billy was killed and written by the main who killed him, Sheriff Pat Garret.  That book is called The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid.  Before I get started, I want to say I’m sorry if this runs a little long.  It’s just such a seminal work in Old West literature and a very important book for me personally because of my enthusiasm for the subject matter.  I’ll try to keep it short, but I may let my enthusiasm get away with me.

An Authentic Life early printing Authentic Life of Billy the Kid orange cover

The two covers above are for one of the original printings of Garrett’s book around 1882 (left) and the more recent printing of the book in the Oklahoma Library Press Western Frontier series (right).  The latter printing being the one I read.  The official title of the book tends to change a bit with each edition.  The title page of the edition I read has An Authentic Life of Billy, The Kid: The Noted Desperado of the Southwest Whose Deeds of Daring and Blood Made His Name a Terror in New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico.  The cover of the earlier edition just has An Authentic Life of Billy the Kid The Noted Desperado of the Southwest.  It was ghost written by Ashmun Upson, a sheriff buddy of Pat.

Death of Billy the Kid by Poe

This book is considered the authority, but many people don’t realize there was another first hand account of Billy’s death.  John Poe, a deputy who rode with Garrett the night Billy was killed, wrote his version of the events of that night.  It was released in Wild World Magazine in 1919 and then collected into a hardcover titled The Death of Billy the Kid in 1933 (cover above). Poe’s account mostly matches up with Garrett’s but there are a few inconsistencies between the two.

I got Garrett’s book off Paperbackswap.com. You can also buy copies from Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Or, if you prefer, you can just read it for free on the internet.  I’ve wanted to read this book for years and I thought the 130th anniversary of Billy’s death is as good a time as any.

This book is an interesting read.  It’s fascinating on many levels.  It’s a first hand account of events in the Old West. That alone is interesting.  Plus, it details the events in Billy’s life by someone who knew him and it supposedly details the events of his death by the man who killed him.  However, it’s obvious that this book was a PR move by Sheriff Garrett.  Billy was very popular with the people of New Mexico and the way Garrett supposedly killed Billy in the dark in what can only be called a surprise ambush was certainly frowned upon.  Garrett needed something to “clear the air” and tell his side of the story…however true that side was.  Immediately several things are called into question.  The first half of the book is obviously written by Ashmun Upson in the style of the old “dime novels”.  The events in Billy’s life are portrayed in fantastic style.  Plus, many of the supposed events are suspiciously similar to tales of outlaw daring-do from other dime novels.  Some of the wording of the stories isn’t even changed from stories printed in the 1840s.  The last half is written in straight forward frontier prose by Sheriff Garrett.  He meticulously tells the tell of his hunting down and killing of The Kid.

However, his events and details don’t really mesh up with each other and he contradicts himself several times.  A few days before he kills Billy, Garrett mentions that his party stumbled upon some voices talking in an orchard.  They could also see a shadowy figure walking around but couldn’t identify him.  Garrett would later find out it was, in fact, Billy.  Then, on the night of the killing, Garrett says he couldn’t see Billy’s face but he immediately recognized his voice.  If he could easily recognize just Billy’s voice, why didn’t he in the orchard?

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Billy the Kid Week 2011: Review of Anything for Billy by Larry McMurtry

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on July 13, 2011 by Paxton

Billy the Kid Week

Day 3, Hump Day, of Billy the Kid Week. I am celebrating the 130th anniversary of Billy the Kid’s death this week by reading a bunch of books about the famous outlaw.

Today’s book is Anything for Billy by Larry McMurtry.

Anything for Billy

I’ve actually read this book before.  I even wrote an article for one of my Weekly Geeks entries back in 2009 about historical fiction and I mentioned reading this book.  After seeing Young Guns in the theater back in 1988, I became obsessed with Billy the Kid and the Old West.  I read tons of books, fiction and non-fiction, about that time period.  I discovered this book in the early ’90s during a vacation with my family.  The back mentioned it was about Billy the Kid, so I read it.  And I really enjoyed it.  When I wrote that 2009 article mentioning this book, I got the bug to read it again.  So I grabbed a copy off Paperbackswap.com and read it again just a month or so ago.

And the book is still good.  It is most definitely not a shoot ’em up western.  It is more a character study of the western gunslinger.  The book is written as the journal of “Sippy”, an author from the East Coast who packs up and moves West when he becomes disillusioned with his life.  He meets up with Billy Bone and Joe Lovelady and tags along with them on several adventures.  They meet several rough and tumble characters and travel to tiny western towns in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a steady, methodically paced journey.  The book is Sippy’s remembrance of his time with Billy.  Sippy even mentions other characters in the book that have gone on and written their own Billy books years after the events in this book and “misremembered” all the events to make themselves look better.  It’s a nice commentary on legends and fame. And that may be the most interesting thing about this book. It’s a deconstruction of myths and legends and how we perceive and create these legends. Also maybe the juxtaposition of the reality of a legend against what people believe about the legend. Very interesting stuff when you think about it.

Anything for Billy

McMurtry chooses an interesting portrayal of Billy.  He’s a terrible shot with a pistol or rifle (which is historically inaccurate).  McMurtry describes him as ugly (also not historically accurate).  And this book’s Billy is also extremely immature and a slave to his own impulses (probably very historically accurate).  However, it’s obvious McMurtry was looking to create his own version of Billy the Kid because while he uses a few historical places in Billy’s life, the characters and events are mostly fiction.

So, did I enjoy it again this second time?  I did.  It’s a fun lazy Sunday western.  And I like how it’s written, with the main character Sippy remembering the events of so long ago and how he can mention what happens to some of the characters many years later.  I did enjoy it and I can recommend it to fans of Billy the Kid or western outlaws. Or anyone that loves a good western. But, go in realizing this isn’t a “shoot em up”, it’s more about the characters than the action.

Billy the Kid Week 2011: Review of The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on July 12, 2011 by Paxton

Billy the Kid Week

This week I am celebrating the 130th anniversary of the killing of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett.  I’m reading books that feature either the historical Billy the Kid or a fictional version of Billy the Kid. Yesterday I looked at a comic series featuring the character of Billy the Kid.  Today we look at a science fiction story involving A clone of Billy.

Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid

Today’s book is called The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid by Rebecca Ore. I found it during my search for Billy the Kid books and I’d never heard of it. The basic story line seemed interesting enough so I got it off paperbackswap.com and read it a few months ago.

On the surface it sounds awesome. The story takes place in the future. Cloning is legal but heavily policed. A government scientist creates an illegal Billy the Kid clone which escapes, and wrecks havok. Because the clone is illegal, the government sends out assassins to capture or kill it and find out who made it. The clone goes on the run like the real Billy the Kid, receiving help from a clone activist group, until Billy finally confronts his pursuers. But the book doesn’t completely go that route. For starters, we find out pretty early that this clone isn’t actually a clone of Billy the Kid. The clone was grown from generic government clone DNA and given flash memories based partly on historical record and partly on pop culture myth. Immediately that disconnected me. This clone could literally have been anyone and that hindered my enjoyment of the story.

Clone Commandos
These clones would have worked better.

Two, nothing really happens. “Billy” does get help from an activist group, then he has to get a fake id and a job. He is constantly lamenting the fact he’s just a clone and not the actual Billy the Kid. He’s not really “on the run”. He’s in hiding. Notice the difference. One implies action, the other doesn’t. Guess which.  Also, the story does imply that the government will, in fact, send out clone assassins (assassins who are themselves clones) to eliminate potential risks.  Awesome.  But this story only mentions it.  The bad ass subplot of the clone assassin hunting down one of his own kind who happens to be a created copy of one of the most notorious outlaws in American history never happens.  It’s just left to dangle there.  We then get the clone “Billy” working a deal with the government to reveal the scientist that made him in return for protection.  Just not enough there to actually make me care about the characters or what was going on.

I think I see where Ore was trying to go, though.  Maybe using this story as an analogue for societal classes or maybe even racism.  Clones are thought of as not really even human.  They are called meat dogs or meat pigs.  Some even consider them pets.  You also have the clone activist group helping clones get away from abusive owners, much like the Underground Railroad back during the Civil War did for blacks.  A lot of this is just barely under the surface in the story, but I didn’t care because the story was so goddam boring I just wanted it to end.

That pretty much wraps up the longest 210 pages I’ve ever read in my entire life.  This story would probably have worked better in 100 pages.  And maybe a re-write of the ending.  But I can’t recommend it.  I was bored to tears through the majority of the book.