Saturday, November 15, 2008

Arkansas

Arkansas has a rich musical tradition featuring one great artist, and a slew of awful ones. That's really pretty much it, but that isn't going to stop me from sucking the musical marrow from the dried and useless husk of 'The Natural State'.

If ever a state deserved a good 'Smackover'...

It's also not going to stop me from pointing out the fun and interesting facts about the union's 25th state, and the home state of a very famous American known for the time he spent at the White House...

Roger Clinton

Roger is known for his time in jail, his role in Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, His pop non-hit Walking the Dog, and... He had a half-brother who did a few things too...

Before moving on to Wikipedia's Arkansas Fun Facts, Cruise Director Julie has asked me to say a few words about the lovely town of Fort Smith, where she recently stayed during a driving trip across the country.

Fort Smith just recently got themselves a Starbucks, so, welcome, to 1992... Fort Smith is also known for a number of haunted locations, including the fort, Fort Smith, the old Fort Smith Courthouse, the new Fort Smith Courthouse, and the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club.

Suffice it to say, if you have to go to court in Fort Smith, you MAY not be appearing ALONE...

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Ha!

Fort Smith, through CSD Julie's anecdotal evidence, is also a lovely and enjoyable town that is much, much nicer than the state's Capital, Little Rock. One could say, although not *I*, never having been there, but one COULD say Little Rock is where Fort Smith goes to take a dump.


Welcome to Litt... Oh, you get it... Why must bathroom trash cans be whicker?


Once again, Little Rock, it's not me, I just do as I'm told...

Now, on to Wikifacts!

- Arkansas' highest point is Mount Magazine, which is taller even than the communal Playboy collection housed at University of Arkansas freshman dorms...

2,100 feet would be a BIG mountain of magazines...



- The Mississippi river forms most of Arkansas' eastern border, making it exceedingly difficult to straddle the Arkansas/Mississippi border for photo opportunities... Unless you're Aquaman...

- Northwestern Arkansas contains a portion of the Ozark mountain range, if you're looking for a new jug band to jam with.

- The city of Murfreesboro is home to a number of caves where diamonds were discovered in the early 1900's

- Murfreesboro looks like it's spelled wrong, but it isn't.

- See

- Arkansas generally has a humid, sub-tropical climate. So maybe there's not many cities, and a whole lot of Christian Rock, but at least you'll be miserably hot and sweaty while you're there!

- As a part of Tornado Alley, tornadoes are not uncommon in Arkansas...

- Tidal waves however are very unlikely. That's why it's not part of Tidal Wave Alley

- Tornado Alley is made by Hasbro, can be purchased at Toys R Us, and is appropriate for children 5 and over.

- The above fact is not true of Tornado Alley, but it's totally true of Twister...

- Twister is always better as an idea, rather than actually in practice, like stopping a desk fan with your tongue.


The Selections:

Solo Artist- Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash is the only good reason to not just split Arkansas equally between Kansas and Mississippi. The Man in Black could make the solo artist top spot in a handful of states in the union, but since he's from the generally unrepresented state of Arkansas, his birthday really should be a state holiday.

Many people point to Folsom Prison Blues, or Ring of Fire as an example of Johnny Cash's greatness, but there is something so much more cheesy and melodramatic in some of Johnny's more hidden gems. Without Johnny and June's duet Jackson, most of us would never know the best place to get drinkin' and whorin' in Mississippi... Without Johnny's stirring rendition of Kris Kristofferson's Sunday Morning Coming Down, most of us would have never experienced the life of a hapless alcoholic without the puking on yourself, and gut wrenching delirium tremens... Without Johnny's The Ballad of Ira Hayes, most of us wouldn't remember the horrible stereotype of drunken, lazy Native Americans who become World War II heroes, only to return home and become drunks again... The Native American community loved Johnny for this song... I think they should have collectively punched him in the face...

Without Johnny, hopeless neo-punks would have to find some OTHER American icon who was photographed flipping the bird to iron on to their Dickies jackets...

Band: Evanescence



This is not an easy choice for me, but the options are very, very limited. It's either these guys, or a random Christian metal act... Oh, and Evanescence ISN'T Christian metal... Unless you WANT them to be, in which case they are... But if you DON'T, than they totally HATE Christians... Like... TOTALLY...

Unless you're Christian, in which case peace be with you, and with Evanescence...

What I'm trying to say is, if you are offered a plate of broken glass, and a plate of wood splinters, and you absolutely HAVE to eat one of them, you'll have a better chance of living through the wood splinters...

Evanescence is a big old plate of wood splinters... Hypocritical wood splinters...

Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Charlie Rich
This is a true honorable mention choice. Just like the recurring character actors make Law & Order the definition of great televised drama, musicians like Charlie Rich polished the performances of artists that shaped early Rock & Roll.

Prior to scoring hits in his own right with The Most Beautiful Girl and Behind Closed Doors Charlie Rich earned his chops playing as a studio musician for Sun Records, supporting artists including Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash.

Rich then achieved his greatest commercial success in the 1970's, a heyday for Arkansas country artists including not just Rich, but also Conway Twitty and Glenn Campbell.

That's right, The Most Beautiful Girl, Honky Tonk Angel, and Rhinestone Cowboy are ALL products of sons of Arkansas. This is why Johnny Cash is the only thing that keeps the state from being dissolved for it's crimes against humanity...

The main reason that Rich trumps Twitty or Campbell as the honorably mentioned Arkansan, is his role as himself in Clint Eastwood's 1979 Any Which Way But Loose.

Clint Eastwood + Charlie Rich + An Orangutan named Clyde = COMEDY GOLD

To recap, CSD Julie is a big fan of Fort Smith. I am a big fan of Johnny Cash. Other than that, I couldn't be happier that I don't have to find a single other thing to say about the state of Arkansas...

Next, arguably the toughest choice of the bunch, the great and varied land of California, home to every American artist who isn't from New York or Massachusetts.

2 comments:

Cruise Ship Director Julie said...

You missed my favorite memory of driving through Arkansas -- the Porn/XXX Superstores every 10 miles on Highway 40, even when there wasn't anything else for miles around, and dualing XXX Superstores on either side of the highway. Truly unexpected and intriguing.

OCKerouac said...

I apologize for omitting the Arkansas porn wars... It was a heinous oversite on my part.

Of course, I don't recall you bringing home any bounty from the pornitopia dotting the Arkansas landscape, so perhaps I'm not the ONLY one who overlooked Arkansas' greatest gift to the rest of the nation...