July 4th in the ‘hood, Fecal Beach, and Superman Returns.

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July 4th reminded me why I love living in Iowa. The celebration in my Beaverdale neighborhood was just the way my parents and grandparents describe America when they’re waxing nostalgic about the good old days, only this is 2006.

The guys who run into burning buildings while others run out brought their fire truck by to lead a parade of kids on their bikes. Not an official parade, just a cool one. There must have been 30 kids on bikes, scooters, and skateboards. Later, everyone put tables in the middle of our boulevard (Maquoketa) and brought out food. Every kind of food. Foods I couldn’t even identify. I made the mistake of trying most of them, which left me with a stomach ache and limited capacity for the adult beverages I planned to consume. Somehow I managed. My girlfriend, Jenny, loves the beer called B to the E. It’s Budweiser with, I’m not making this up, caffeine and ginseng. It’s an easy way to combine a couple of my vices at once. If they find a way to add peanut M&Ms, I’ll be set. I can only handle so much B to the E. Partly because the men make fun of me, and partly because I get more wired than Robin Williams on Red Bull. I switch to the mother’s milk, Guinness. Good stuff and hard to over-indulge. It’s not easy chugging something thicker than motor oil.

I digress. I’m making it sound like what made the 4th special was ALCOHOL, and though that didn’t suck, and no one was driving, it’s the people, the neighbors. People are so nice, you just can’t believe it. I wish I had grown up in my current neighborhood when I was a kid. In addition to the parade, they had a safe place for water balloon fights, slip and slides, squirt gun wars, front yard volleyball, and last but not least, an awesome display of illegal fireworks. At least we’re tight with the fire department.

Jenny’s parents have a wonderful house on Clear Lake, and we spent the weekend up there. Apparently we’re not the only ones from Central Iowa with the idea of going North. We went to see Delbert McClinton at the Surf—great as usual—and I couldn’t believe how many people we met from here. I love the Surf. If you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to see where the concert was the day before the music died.

Jenny’s parents are really cool, and they gave us a tour of the Lake. Apparently her Dad caught SoundOFF the night Andy mentioned a problem Clear Lake has had because our guide pointed to the shore and said, “this is what Andy would call Fecal Beach”. Thanks, Andy.

Ran into KCCI’s Andy Garman the other day at Ted’s Coney Island. What a good guy (I mean Andy. I’m not sure if there’s really a “Ted”). He’s made this market better, on and off the air.

People ask me all the time what happened to Mark Meisenheimer. Well, he’s out of TV. He decided to take a PR job down in Kansas City. Something about weekends off and more money. We miss Mark.

I’m not surprised what a good job Jon Miller’s doing on KXNO. I wrote here previously that Cyclone fans worried Jon would use his show to relentlessly promote the Hawkeyes, and only the Hawkeyes, were way off base. Jon’s fair, smart and talented, as he’s proving daily from 2 to 4 p.m.

After Jon comes “Marty and Miller”. I know some say they’ve had their fill of these guys, but I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s a very good show and adds a big something to the local sports scene. Miller comes at many subjects with skepticism, but gives the other side a chance to win him over. He’ll criticize but not hide. And Marty… he’s a hoot. You just never know what he’ll say next, which makes it hard to turn off (I also happen to know he has a big heart). Marty & Miller are good together, and they seem tighter and more focused this time out. You can catch their act daily on KXNO from 4 to 7 p.m.

Watched Supernova on CBS the past two nights. I’ll probably stick with it, but it’s already repetitive.

I did make it to Superman Returns. The good news is the local guy is terrific. Brandon Routh channels the late Christopher Reeve, while somehow making Clark Kent more insecure and introspective. Kevin Spacey steals the show as Lex Luthor, and Kate Bosworth is miscast and unconvincing as the mother of a 5 year old. She looks 18 and needs to eat something. The guy playing her boyfriend—Cyclops from X-Men—is perfect. The movie is almost too respectful to the 1978 Superman; it doesn’t feel like we’re seeing anything new, just better. A little long, but overall a solid B. I’ll be there to see what happens next.

I’ll check out Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean this weekend. Still can’t believe Disney made a good movie out of a theme park ride. Can’t wait to see Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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