I think that I might just be going through the worst mid-life crisis of anyone in the country. No, of anyone in the world. Okay, of anyone in the history of the entire universe, of all time. It's a whopper, with plenty of cheese. I have developed the most surreal condition of having a reaction of total repugnance to anything that is remotely related to or endorses or falls anywhere close to the realm of current American pop culture. Look at it. Britney Spears. American Idol. The Apprentice. (Excuse me while I throw up my guts.) Fear Factor. (Does a big-breasted girl crying her eyes out because she didn't eat enough possum intestines in her 45-second time slot really make you want to empathize with her?) The makeovers. Queer guys ruining the perfectly fine lives of straight guys. So he doesn't own a tobacco-colored cashmere blazer? Should he be chastised for this in front of millions of people? And who is this Vanessa Carlton person I see and am forced to listen to as she sings on whatever television commercial she is on? She looks and sounds to be about 12 years old, is completely devoid of talent as a singer, and yet she is saturating the airwaves. She is one of the reasons I am having a mid-life crisis. Right now, I am making a valiant attempt at breaking through this wall of utter hatred of American pop culture by being very open-minded and watching my first Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Right now, Jean-Claude is hanging from some chains in a Russian prison, covered in sweat and sporting what looks to be perhaps a three-day growth of facial hair. It is violent, and all of the Russian prisoners have buzz cuts, multiple tattoos, and an attitude. I think the intention here might be to upset movie viewers, what with all this chaos going on, but I can sum it up in only one word: HOT. Yes, even though this saga is living its celluloid self out in Russia, everyone seems to be burning up. I guess it does get hot in Russia. It never rains in Russia or California, but boy, don't they warn ya? Okay, so I have a 1970s song stuck in my head. Who are you to criticize? What credits do you have under your belt (no, not those kinds of credits; get your mind out of the gutter) that make you feel like you can tangle with me? Hahaha. I have obviously lost my mind and know not of what I speak. Can you tell yet that I am serious about this mid-life crisis? To add insult to injury, I have become fat. And let me tell you: People have not been the slightest bit shy or diplomatic about pointing it out. One woman recently told me I was basically unrecognizable from a year ago. People hug me then step back and stick their finger in my stomach. People point out that I have gained weight and then, upon witnessing the murderous glare in my eyes, change their story to remarking that they meant to convey how "healthy" I look. I hate you people. What do you want me to do? Lace my coffee with speed like I did during the one week I worked at a jewelry store in the Raleigh Springs Mall and almost ground my teeth down to the roots trying to cope with the fact that I was roughly 10 feet away from a Pfund organ center, which, in the spirit of Japanese water torture, blasted the theme song from Dr. Zhivago nonstop during all mall hours? Do you know how much I worried about the animals in the nearby pet shop? Do you not care? Have I mentioned that I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis? Even my angelfish Crackpipe is treating me differently. She used to dote on me, and now she acts like I'm just any Joe Schmo with some fish food. Just another one of the masses. I feel like one of John Ford's kids. But life must go on, and I guess I must get on with the real point of all this and take a brief look at some of what's going on around town this week. Tonight, there's a WEVL Benefit Concert with Harlan T. Bobo, The Tearjerkers, and Mouserocket. Today kicks off the 10-day Regions Morgan Keegan Tennis Championships at the Racquet Club of Memphis with that fabulous Andy Roddick. Rockabilly wild men The Dempseys are at the Flying Saucer. And bluesman Robert Johnston is at Neil's.