Hey, “X” fans: Read this

One of these here columns last year raved about the great natural beauty of the Reno area, and how that beauty played such a major role in people’s decisions to live here and so forth. It was not a coincidence that that particular column was written in the late spring. When the wind blows. When the beautiful Reno basin doesn’t look like the place where God stubs out his horrible, filthy, vengeful cigars.

Nobody knows how this year’s snow season is going to turn out, but our smog season is off to one helluva start. It used to be that Christmases were judged by the excellence of gifts that one received. No more. Now, Christmas is judged to be of high quality if (a) family crises are avoided, (b) shopping budgets are respected, and (c) the stockings on the hearth aren’t bulging with vials of prescription drugs on Xmas morning. I’ve heard much praise flipped, flopped and flown over this new CD called Badlands, featuring various artists who have recorded a superstar remake of the much-loved Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska.

Well, sorry, but it’s time for a big bucket of columnated ice water to land on Badlands‘ back side. Nebraska is indeed a terrific piece of work and certainly worthy of loving tributes from famous music makers. But Nebraska is also a man’s album, and I don’t mean that in any kind of macho, Neanderthal kind of way. I just mean that it’s a dark work written by a dark man assuming the dark voices of dark American men: cops, drifters, gangsters, even mass murderers. Stark stuff with a choke hold on pervasive American bleakness.

So when clever, urban, collegiate songstress Dar Williams gets the call to sing “Highway Patrolman,” there’s a problem. A believability problem. As in I don’t believe she’s a highway patrolman wrestling with an ethical dilemma. When Deana Carter assumes the role of a worried desperado in “State Trooper"—more trouble. The woman sounds about as desperate as a Victoria’s Secret model on the verge of a super hissy if she doesn’t get that cappuccino NOW.

Better idea. Forget this tribute goop, and buy the original Nebraska. Can’t go wrong with the real deal. Obviously, some of you are still pretty chapped about what has happened this past year at “The X.” Yes, the letters are noticed. Maybe this will help _ I will be hosting an “X bitchfest” at 7 p.m. Jan. 9. There, you will be able to get the answers to all your questions. No jive, no spin, just straight poop. If you want answers, you’ll get them.

Yes, there’s a catch. You have to get off your slender, chiseled, rock-hard gluteus and come to my restaurant/bar, Big Ed’s, 1036 E. Fourth St. No cover charge, no minimum. Yes, it’s mercenarial and blatantly self-serving, but it’s also very convenient and it beats the heck out of renting a casino conference room.