Canton, College Football, and Concert Obligations

Last weekend I spent Labor Day with my beautiful girlfriend in Sulpher Springs, Texas visiting some of the potential extended family. While most of it was spent doing your typical Labor Day weekend stuff (eating, swimming, eating some more), on one particular day I experienced the awe and wonder that was Canton, Texas, also called “first Mondays.” I had no idea what it was all about until I drove up to it. Call it a gigantic garage sale, the 10 mile Wal-Mart or the world’s only walk-in junk drawer. All I know is it’s the only place where you can get T-shirts, Playing Cards, Sunglasses and Samurai Swords and a ton of other stuff, all in one place. I was in materialistic awe. You need something? Canton’s got it. And I bought it more than likely (yes I did buy a samurai sword). Anyway, it should be considered one of the seven man-made wonders of the world and everyone should visit it at least once. Oh, and if you do go, don’t worry about eating before hand, as there are a ton of tastebud tingling samples of jellies, salsas and dips for your nutritional pleasure. That alone is worth going again.

One of the great things about September is that it not only marks the end of “the dog days of summer” as someone so eloquently penned, but as of last weekend, college football is officially underway, and with it comes the obligatory trash talk, Heisman hype, biased and unbiased team predictions and of course the potential for a great upset. This last weekend was no exception. My boys from the Bayou (LSU) put away their week one opponent in sound fashion and the Mountaineers of Division I-AA Appalachian State defeated the once 5th ranked Division 1-A Michigan Wolverines in one of the most amazing upsets in college football history. I am now officially hyped about the next five months, so much so that I have two scheduled appearances in Fayetteville (Kentucky vs Arkansas) and Oxford (LSU vs Ole Miss) this fall. Should be a great time. Geaux Tigers.

Recently I went to a concert in Conway where a guy named Dave Barnes was performing. If you don’t know who he is, you are a loser. Not really, but seriously if you don’t, you need to get on board. He’s got a jazzy pop feel to him, kind of like Jack Johnson and David Gray in a musical head on collision. Anyway, he’s a great artist as well as a hysterically funny entertainer (my friend Robyn said he did his first stand up routine in Nashville a couple of weeks ago). ANYWAY, after the concert it began to dawn on me that apparently artists must have an obligation to say three specific things anytime they perform, as I have noticed from the many concerts in my travelogue.

First, they must always check to see how everyone is doing. I don’t know why. I would think that anyone at the concert would by default be doing well. Why would they be out at a concert with loud music and screaming fans if they had a case of pneumonia or something? Secondly, if there are other artists performing at that particular venue, they have to give props to each one of them. Whether they are the scrub opener or the headliner, apparently there has to be some extra ego boosting that takes place whether they need it or not. And finally, recognition of the city/college has to be made known. I would imagine this is for no one elses benefit other than the artist performing, but there IS something cool when a celebrity says “it’s so great to be here in with you guys.” Makes ya feel like you are on their level. Maybe not.

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