My Songs About Topsoil Say What I Can't

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Netflix To Temporarily Remove Every Movie Except ‘Hard Eight’

‘Everyone Should See It At Least Once,’ Company Says

LOS GATOS, CA—Saying that everyone, including all 65 million of its subscribers, really ought to see the film at least once, Netflix announced Tuesday that it will suspend all streaming content except Hard Eight for a full month.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of September 15, 2015

ARIES: Some things only become funny when you look back on them years later. Conversely, the events of next week will seem funny at the time, but as the years go by, society will gain sensitivity and learn to outgrow that sort of thing.

Your Horoscopes – Week of May 1, 2012

ARIES: You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 18, 2015

ARIES: Your feeling of impending doom shall come to nothing again this week as the world continues to turn and your life goes on as normal. Perhaps you should consider feeling useless and stupid instead.

Highlights From ‘Go Set A Watchman’

Harper Lee’s buzzed-about new release, Go Set A Watchman, went on sale last week, taking the world by storm with its new investigations of Scout Finch as a grown woman and its divisive portrayal of her father, Atticus Finch, as a racist figure. Here are some highlights from the new book:

Leonardo DiCaprio Agrees To Donate It-Factor To Science

LOS ANGELES—Saying the gift would immeasurably improve their understanding of the ineffable quality that makes certain big-screen stars positively radiate, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles announced Tuesday that A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to donate his it-factor to science.

How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Comic-Con Survival Guide

San Diego Comic-Con is expected to draw more than 130,000 fans to Southern California this year to participate in cosplaying, attend panels, go to film screenings, and learn more about their favorite series. Here are some tips for surviving the four-day conference

Your Horoscopes — Week Of July 7, 2014

ARIES: Your belief that nothing can stop you will be tested this week by depression, procrastination, concrete barriers, dysentery, armed gunmen, and the unanimous passage of several laws targeted specifically at stopping you.

Disney Unveils First Virgin Princess

LOS ANGELES—In an effort to better reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their audience, Disney officials this week introduced Lily of Hazelberry, the company’s first virgin princess.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 23, 2015

ARIES: The universe, in all its wisdom, has a plan for everyone. Strangely, you’re supposed to be the nun who holds up a distributor cap and winks while the Nazis try to start their car.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 9, 2015

ARIES: Your death next week will seem in­explicable until people remember the ill-advised 1985 “cross your heart and hope to die” pledge you made to be best friends with Jenny Bosben.

New Music Festival Just Large Empty Field To Do Drugs In

Declaring the event a rousing success so far, organizers confirmed more than 45,000 people turned out Wednesday for the first annual Cavalcade Folk and Roots Festival, a four-day gathering that consists solely of a big empty field to do drugs in.

Director Seeking Relatively Unknown Actress For Next Affair

LOS ANGELES—Saying that he’s going for a certain look and will know it when he sees it, feature film director Peter Hastings, 52, confirmed to reporters Wednesday that he hopes to find a relatively unknown actress for his next extramarital affair.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 26, 2015

ARIES: You’re not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity.

Famous Television Finales

The award-winning AMC series Mad Men ended its seven-season run on Sunday night and drew critical acclaim for its final episode, a conclusion that many felt was poignant and satisfying. Here are some other memorable TV finales across the years

Plan For Future Still Involves Drumming For Lifehouse

SOUTH BEND, IN—Fifteen years after first envisioning the path he hoped his professional life would take, local man Brent Gibbs is still planning his future around being the drummer for Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Lifehouse, sources confi...

Fox Revives ‘X-Files’: What To Expect

After months of speculation, Fox has announced that it is bringing back its hit ’90s TV show The X-Files, about a team of FBI special agents investigating unsolved cases about strange and paranormal phenomena, for at least six new episodes...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 24, 2015

ARIES: Your belief that everything happens for a reason may remain unshaken in the face of personal tragedy, but you'll certainly be upset when you find out the reason is "to get the Zodiac some chicks." 

Your Horoscopes — Week Of March 10, 2015

ARIES: As long as people don't look too long and the lights aren't too bright, no one will be able to see where they tried to fix your face from what will happen to it this coming Thursday. 

Nation Delighted As Many Famous People In Same Room Together

HOLLYWOOD—Expressing their immense personal satisfaction at the gathering appearing on their television screens, millions of Americans across the country were reportedly delighted Sunday night upon seeing many famous people in the same room together...

Half Of Hollywood Test Group Screened Placebo Film

LOS ANGELES—Saying the methodology helps them ensure unbiased results in their marketing research, studio executives at Paramount Pictures confirmed that during a Hollywood test screening this week they showed half of all theatergoers a placebo film...

Your Horoscopes — Week Of January 6, 2015

ARIES: One of the worst moments of a person's life is when they finally realize that they're mortal and are going to die, especially when it's a person like you who only sees the cement truck at the last second.
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

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  • Man’s Body Running Out Of Ideas To Convince Him He Full

    BAYTOWN, TX—Having repeatedly ratcheted up the 34-year-old’s level of discomfort with no noticeable effect on his behavior, the body of local man Kent Dugan confirmed Wednesday that it was starting to run out of ideas to convince him that he was full.

My Songs About Topsoil Say What I Can't

I'm not much of a talker. Never have been. But that doesn't mean I don't have a lot to say. It's just that, sometimes, I can't communicate what I'm trying to say with just words. I guess that's just how I am.

I was only 8 when we moved to the farm in North Dakota, but even then I had certain feelings about the topsoil—feelings that I did not know how to express. Back then, I didn't know where the emotions came from, much less how to put them into words. I was young, and had a lot to learn about myself, and even more about the chocolate brown soil that kept a whole mess of good people fed.

When I was a teenager, my feelings about the topsoil grew more intense. In my head, I saw just what I wanted to express as plain as day, but every time I tried to talk it out, it came out wrong. During this time, I hurt some people, but really I was only hurting myself. Without a way to channel my feelings, I spent most of my time brooding, stealing whiskey from my folks, getting into fights, and sometimes even cutting myself just to stop the pain inside.

As I lie in bed at night, my feelings for the black, nitrogen-rich soil were so strong it seemed like they would burst out of my chest.

It wasn't until my cousin Jimmy came to live with us that I saw a new path. Cousin Jimmy didn't bring much with him but a sack half full of clothes and a battered old guitar. After a couple weeks of bugging him, he taught me a few chords, and before a week was out, I spent more time with that guitar than he did. Over the years, I picked up a few more things, but I didn't need a lot of fancy learning to say what I needed to say about soil so rich you could put it to seed pretty much forever, as long as you correctly rotate the crops.

And I just started to sing. I started to sing about the topsoil, what it means to me, what feelings I had when I weeded it, everything. I don't even remember the words. All I remember was that it was like the song was just pouring out of me and it wouldn't stop. It was scary, but it felt right.

One of the pivotal moments of my life was the afternoon I played my first show at a Future Farmers of America convention. Some of the kids got it and some didn't, but I knew I was onto something when almost every single adult came up to me after the show with tears in their eyes, telling me, "You really said it." I had put into song something they'd felt their whole lives. One of those guys, Ned Rembach, even picked up his old banjo and started playing music again. He opens for me sometimes. He does a couple songs about detasseling corn that never leave a dry eye in the house.

It's funny when I look back at some of those early songs, like "Don't Blow Away (Don't Leave Me)," "Ten-Pound Fertilizer," and "Terra Cotta Planter (Alone In My Room)," I realize how simple the songs I was writing back then were. They had a certain charm, but as I've gotten older, my feelings toward topsoil have gotten more complex. So has my music. It used to be real simple folk and country blues stuff. The latest song, "Dirt Anchor," has a real jazzy feel to it with some complex horn charts that say more about my complex relationship with the dirt than anything else I've ever done.

Of course, I still struggle with my art. A couple of years ago, I was getting to the point where I thought I had said all I could say with music. Even so, my love for the soil still burned inside me. So I took a little break and went back to the family farm and started doing some abstract paintings. Two years and hundreds of dollars in burnt-umber acrylic paint later, I felt I had become pretty accomplished as a painter even though most people were more confused than excited by my richly textured, brown works.

The way I figure it, that's all a part of the creative process. Ever since that hiatus, I've come back to music feeling fully recharged, ready to dig deep and explore some feelings about topsoil I never even knew I had. I've had so much creative juice that I started a band just to perform my free-form, red-clay-soil compositions. We're called the Red Clay Rumblers, and we play Freddy's on Tuesdays, so come on out and see us. We've got T-shirts that sum up my ideology: When dirt is your muse, inspiration is only a few steps away.