by Mike Sheahan

At best, "The Goods" is a valuable public service. At worst, it's the incoherent ramblings of a guy who stays up way too late. But now, it is time to really serve the public. Most of us know that we are knee deep in the month of July, but not many know that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. If, as a cell phone user, you're not sure how to celebrate, allow me, as a public service, to provide a few ideas.

First, shut the hell up and drive your car. You endanger the life of my 2-year-old and threaten my already poor reflexes while you drift into my lane as you discuss your new hairdo with a friend. This town is full of supermarket parking lots in which to sit and yap her ear off BEFORE you go in the store. Second, and just for the rest of the month, try not to blah, blah, blah on your phone while you are a customer of one of our area's fine commercial establishments. Whether in a restaurant or in line at the bank, the people around you shouldn't have to hear about what you are wearing to the kegger (or bar mitzvah). You know that guy at sporting events who is waving at the camera and talking on his phone at the same time? Most mobile phone addicts look that ridiculous in the aforementioned situations.

There are possibly a dozen people in town that really do need to have a phone in their ear 24/7, and we should all use the end of Cell Phone Courtesy Month to pity those folks, not emulate them. To add closure to this tirade, er, public service, I would like to say that if a certain kid at the coffee shop makes me wait one more time while she text messages her "bfrnd" that she'll be "L8," I'll probably force her to grind her phone into my smoothie.

On the entertainment front, there are plenty of reasons to leave the phone in the car. Friday, July 18, provides a hard choice between two great options. The Summit presents the return of the comically named Dixie Wrecked . It is unfortunate that this group goes by such a common name (search the internet for Dixie Wrecked and you'll find dozens of music and joke-related links) because this group is not exactly common. Like chocolate and peanut butter, country and punk are two great tastes that go great together, and Dixie Wrecked will prove that to you. When the group is on (meaning relatively sober), it is sharp, smart and funny. When off, it is off.

Maybe you're into music that's fast paced but more acoustic. If so, Storyville has your solution the same night with Flagstaff's bluegrass impresarios the Benders . An evolution of local favorites Onus B Johnson, the Benders bring a more traditional sound, giving fast-paced guitars and banjos three minutes to get the job done rather than the OBJ jam. Beware, almost anything from Flagstaff carries a jam-like quality, but the Benders should jam in the good way.

It may be possible that after the whirlwind that was Friday you may have some steam running for Saturday. If so, head back to Storyville for the critically acclaimed South Austin Jug Band . As likely to cover the great Townes Van Zandt as the Grateful Dead, the Jug Band will please fans of both kinds of music: good and bad. Seriously, and with all due respect to anyone who covers the Dead, "Friend of the Devil" is a cute song the first 80 or so times you hear it. After that, it becomes interchangeable with Brittney Spears' "OOPs, I did it again" or Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl." That said, The South Austin Jug Band is the pick of the week.

If all this talk of country mixed with punk, cell phones being smashed into beverages and authentic bluegrass leaves you unsettled, then close your mind and drive to Albuquerque for a press-stopping double bill featuring the Counting Crows and John Mayer . I know that either group would be show enough alone, but Mayer is so damn dreamy, and the guy from Counting Crows used to be so hot with his dreadlocks. This is a perfect tour of '90s flashes in the pan vs. a 2002 flash in the pan. As always, the Journal Pavilion volunteers to suck the life out of you with more vapid entertainment.

This week's sign the end is near: OK, the world is not going to end but, as a baseball fan, I hate the fact that the American League has homefield advantage in the World Series due to the outcome of last week's All Star Game. The decision to "make the game count" is a knee-jerk reaction to last year's 7-7 tie fiasco, but this goes too far. There is no reason that a player from the Milwaukee Brewers or Tampa Bay Devil Rays should have an effect on something so important as homefield during the Fall Classic. The alternating year approach (American League one year, National League the next) was OK, but the real answer is so obvious that it hurts. The team with the best record gets home advantage. Except for the Super Bowl, that is how it works everywhere else. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is a dork.

Do you remember when I dropped my keys and you thought your cell phone was ringing?




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