Wednesday, November 17, 2004


How does Diamond Dave actually get awesomer? Here's CBC to tell you:

David Lee Roth trains as paramedic.

Roth began his career in medicine several weeks ago, riding along with an ambulance crew in New York.
Roth has spent several nights a week responding to emergency calls in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
He even saved the life of a heart-attack victim by using a defibrillator.

Just for reference? Neither this guy nor this guy have much to say on this front, either.

Today's FOCR: "Somebody Get Me a Doctor," David Lee Roth & friends, David Lee Roth & Friends II

Big thanks to mon frère for the DLR alert.

[No iTunes?]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Well, fuck.

So this is hell.

I'd always heard it was going to be cold here when that guy got reelected.

Today's FOCR: "Cold Spell," Orleans, Still the One

[ No iTunes?]

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Today's FOCR: "Funky President (People It's Bad)," James Brown

[No iTunes?]

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Delicious, Part II

(In case you forgot, Delicious the First.)

Two dynasties down in 2004. One to go. November 2nd.

Today's FOCR: "Babe," Styx, Cornerstone
[Still no iTunes?]

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Final 2004 NL Wild Card Standings*

1. Chicago (0.0)
2. Philadelphia (-3.73)
3. San Francisco (-3.89)
4. Houston (-4.48)**
5. San Diego (-4.56)

Suck it, Houston! Ha ha, yeah!

Today's FOCR: "Astro Man," Jimi Hendrix, First Rays of the New Rising Sun
[No iTunes?]

* If decided by scores given to city flags by NAVA members . As seen on MetaFilter.
** Nice flag, Houston! Ha ha! Suck it!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bush signs tax bill, blasts Kerry in Iowa

…[A]fter the tax bill-signing ceremony at a YMCA in Des Moines, Bush told the audience in Clive that the state's economy was sound.

And then the YMCA audience went upstairs to their rooms.

Today's FOCR: "Room at the Top," Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Echo

[No iTunes?]

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Foo' Tang

My reactions to this* (via The Morning News), by instance of viewing:

1st: Laughter

2nd: Laughter

3rd: Initially suppressed but ultimately overpowering laughter

4th: Head-down-on-desk-and-almost-drooling laughter

5th: What can only be classified as "uncontrollable cackling"

6th: Concern that I'm laughing too hard.

7th: Favorite part: the secondary attempt at recovery, resulting in the subtler, off-camera comedy

8th: New favorite part: the tough, "'Sup?" head snap at the very beginning.

9th: A wistful understanding that, as with life, this link will disappear before I know it. The future washes over me, aided by time-lapse imagery of the seasons. Leaves fall. Snow flies. The "" link eventually dies under the crushing traffic of hungry viewings like my own.* Or perhaps "Blackd" graduates from, or otherwise leaves, Oregon State. I forget this movie and the delightful Saturday morning it provided. I never clearly learn this guy's name: John? Rod? Deflected by this mishap from his burgeoning action-star career, JohnRod continues to finish his communications degree. He nabs an internship at a huge advertising agency. It leads to a solid job with a direct-mail marketer. By age 45, JohnRod thinks more about 3-digit ZIP presorts than he ever imagined a person could. Over the cup of mediocre coffee in the office kitchen, he remembers that long-ago day in front of the video camera. If only I'd been less cocky, he thinks. If only I'd spent less time looking tough for the camera, and more time concentrating on my motion, I'd have completed that flip. I'd have been noticed in that student film. Who knows where I'd be now? He dumps another packet of Equal into the bitter coffee and tries not to think of it. I'm married, I've got a great kid, and I'm successful. At that, I've done a hell of a lot more than my father ever managed. I'm doing a lot.

10th: Softer cackling.

Today's FOCR:
"No Time," The Guess Who, Canned Wheat

[ Don't have iTunes? There must have been a hole in the net.]

*Yep. Links since updated.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Now Bend Over and Proofread Harass

What's the term for deciding where to break a line of text, moving subsequent words down to the next line? I'll tell you why I ask.

The renewal sticker for our Illinois license plate was affixed to a card bearing this instruction:
Somebody in the Secretary of State's office sure earned their pay, making me laugh so hard after I figured out what I did wrong.

So he or she should have no problem loaning me $78 for a new sticker... right?

Today's FOCR:
"Stick It," Great White, Great White

[ Don't have iTunes? Why must you struggle? You only make the knots tighter...]

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

This One Goes out to Bourbon

Today's FOCR:
"New Orleans Is Sinking," The Tragically Hip, Up to Here

Confidential to MBK: Sure, I'll do requests.

Monday, September 13, 2004


indignorance: a callow outrage.
    Fox News reacted to the documentary with characteristic indignorance.

comatoast: a severely inebriated tribute.
    The wedding was ruined by spicy revelations in the brother-in-law's comatoast.

Today's FOCR: "Don't Believe a Word," Thin Lizzy, Johnny the Fox

[Don't have iTunes? Oh, fine. But why on Earth not?]

Sunday, August 22, 2004

In the Headlines, Vacation Edition
(Petoskey [Mich.] News-Review, 13 August 2004)

"Paralyzed teen's attempt to buy gun manufacturer falls short"

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Maxfield, paralyzed in an accidental shooting at the age of seven, was outbid in his attempt this month to buy and shut down Bryco Arms, manufacturer of the gun that shattered his spine.

Maxfield's goal of shuttering the now-bankrupt company and melting its inventory of Saturday night specials into a sculpture fell short of the winning $510,000 bid by merely $5,000, after keeping pace with bids that began at $175,000.

The winning bidder? A former Bryco foreman, who had earlier bought the company for $150,000, but was forced to go through another, properly publicized auction.

The only bright spot: the man had to rebuy the company at three times the price. After winning the record settlement that forced Bryco into bankruptcy, young Maxfield is the company's major creditor and holds 90% of claims on the company.

"Meningitis prevention parties hit with teens"

Somehow, I doubt it. Unless I mistakenly clipped the final words of that headline.

Possibilities include:
"... thinks mother who throws them"
"... unfamiliar with parties"
"... with meningitis"

"President visiting Traverse City"

Says one Petoskey resident in line to get tickets:
"I am going because I love winners, and because my heroes are still cowboys... I am voting for President Bush because I am pro-guns, anti-abortion, I believe in spending my own money and not letting Democrats spend it for me where they want, and because Bush is an honest Christian who is focused. That's more than Kerry is."
Well, Jimbo, sounds you're tossing your eggs into the right basket. If you need a winner like Bush. If you admire a dusty, hard-workin' cowboy like Bush, who knows the trails of his ranch like the back of his hand.

Things are going so much better with Republicans spending your money where they want, right?

Today's FOCR: "Michigan Militia," Moxy Fruvous, You Will Go to the Moon
[Don't have iTunes? Why on Earth not?]

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Can You Fear Me Now?

I bought a new cell phone. On this phone, many American dollars were spent to get Bluetooth, the wireless connection named for your face's color three hours after your first attempt to make it work.

With this Bluetooth, I am theoretically able to cordlessly (uncordedly?) hot-sync the phone book on the phone with that on my computer. Taking this theoretical model to its conclusion, I would enter one phone number in one device, and that number would then immediately be sucked into that seldom-used black hole called Things I Never Muss with Again.

Unfortunately, I bought the Bluetooth phone with an underbite. It won't hot-sync with anything. The only way to get phone numbers from my computer to my phone is to move them one by one. That's not "syncing." That's "shoving."

And I think that the folks at Palm would be horrified to know their product was offering people a "hot-shove."

There's only one port left to try. And it won't be pretty.

Today's FOCR: "Keep Pushin'," REO Speedwagon, R.E.O.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

"Iraq: A New Chapter" Update

New allegations out of Abu Ghraib:

Advocates for suspected insurgents held at the notorious prison are claiming that coalition jailers have merely replaced their humiliation tactics with even more unbearable torture: fleets of Chicago ice cream trucks parked outside the facility, blaring "Turkey In The Straw" for hours.

Adding insult to injury of the male Muslim prisoners, say the advocates, is the song's acronym.

Today's FOCR: "Turkey in the Straw," Vassar Clements, Grass Routes

Thursday, July 08, 2004

That’ll Learn ‘Im

CBS Sportsline: Nineteen-year-old Miami football recruit Willie Williams was sentenced to three years’ probation… for violating probation.

So, Plastic Man… like to get all stretchy and break out of jail, do ya? You’ll have plenty of time to think about it… behind bars! [SFX: CELL DOOR SLAM] Heh, heh, heh. [DUSTS HANDS]

Today's FOCR: "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," Judas Priest, Screaming For Vengeance [iTunes]

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

This theme is getting old... both in the "aged" and the "quit it already" senses, so I'd better move it along.

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (3.) Tiki-Ti

A bar so small, you'll be standing if you don't get there within an hour of the 6PM opening. Drinks so strong, the first one quickly answers why on earth you paid $10 for it. Names so funny, you'll wonder why you ever went to bars where saying "Puka Puka" at the bar gets you pointed to the alley door.

When we first went there in 2002, we decided in our drunky haze that we'd take home the paper menu listing the 80+ tropical drinks, and use it to record comments on every single one. For two years, we brought in our tattered, blurry, gin-joint journal, along with any out-of-town guest and probably a cumulative two grand. We proceeded to try (or be with someone who tried) every drink on the menu, recording a bit of pissed pith each time.

In retrospect, our entries are no more illuminating (and no less guttural) than the drinks' names. Many are on the level of "Bourbonanza!" or "Can't remember -- went down yesterday." Frankly, it doesn't matter. Other than the Tequila Chapter (about which the less said, the better) there isn't much you can say to distinguish one big bourbon-rum-and-juice haymaker from sixty others. At least, not much you can fit in the half-inch of space between splash marks.

Our leaving Los Angeles coincided almost perfectly with finishing the menu. We'd never felt cool enough to talk with the father-and-son bartender team, much less ask them to put our Illinois plates up with the global collection hanging over the bar. But that night, a regular spotted us celebrating our completed menu and brought it over to them. The best we got out of them was a smile and, "It's a kind of sickness."

Soooo cooool.

... Won't Miss: (3.) Being Cool, Trim, Well-Dressed, Moneyed, and the Object of Envy

It was hard to keep up after a while. Some days, I could only manage Moneyed and Trim, having too little energy to project enviableness. Other days, I had it all going... except the vintage concert tee and sculpted bedhead. And it tore my soul up to leave the house without the whole picture complete.

It was a lot of plates to spin, boyo. I'd like to see you try it.

... Will Miss: (2.) Watts Towers

Easily the coolest thing in Los Angeles. I'm sure I've taken more pictures of it than of my grandparents. And my grandparents are cool.

... Won't Miss: (2.) Dogs Barking/Helicopters/Leaf Blowers (tie)

I'll tell oo y, but you'll to h a second until is nds.

... Will Miss: (1.) You Know Who You Are

... Won't Miss: (1.) This Kind of Mess

Today's FOCR: "Goodbye," Paul Stanley, Paul Stanley

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Today's FOCR: "Kick Out the Jams," MC5, Kick Out the Jams

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (4.) Fatburger

O, Fatburger. It will be some time before I once again say the word "fat" eight times to execute one fast-food transaction.

I'll miss all of those chains. In-N-Out. Tommy's. Even Carl's Jr. Drive-thru burgers that take longer just to make than a Big Mac takes to exit your body. Burgers so neatly composed, so tightly stacked with toppings, yet held in check by a paper diaper, as if the ward of some butcher-shop nanny. BSE never tasted so good.

UPDATE: To learn more about LA burgers, visit your public library. Or here.

... Won't Miss: (4.) Fatphobia

Having a gut in LA is like playing scratch-em lottery cards outside a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. The looks you get in passing convey a big helping of scorn, with just a tiny bit of "wow, I wish I could do that."

Today's FOCR: "Baby Fat," Wet Willie, The Wetter the Better

Monday, June 14, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Will Miss: (5.) The LA Public Library

The Central Library downtown is absolutely gorgeous. A huge sunlit atrium. Self-service checkout machines. A retail-level sense for displaying books. Thickly cushioned leather chairs. A coffee bar. A gift shop. Even the children's library has nicer furniture than I'll probably ever own in my adult life.

The system is great, too. You can reserve books online from anywhere in the city and have them delivered to any other branch. They'll email you when it's ready. And since it's not really, you know, a book town, there was never a wait for a reserved book... with the exception of The Da Vinci Code, which had a queue of something like 15,358 people.

(I assume this elephantine number itself was another encoded message about Jesus. When my turn to read it comes around in 2098, I'll let you know if I was right.)

Like so many things -- the library, the subway, footwear -- LA spends the most money on things it uses the least.

... Won't Miss: (5.) the LA subway

Mostly because I never used it.

I would have... but see, the station was real far from our place. It would have taken a bus ride just to get to it, and it doesn't go anywhere near where I want, and I never knew how much the fare was, and the earthquakes, of course, and....

Today's FOCR: "Subway Train," New York Dolls, New York Dolls

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (6.) The Western Conference "Champions"

I owe a debt of gratitude to a Neanderthal. Surely it was some Early Man, upon seeing a rival tribe making off with his hard-earned elk meat, who was prevented by distance from actually striking the sneakthieves. At that pivotal moment in human communication, the only expression of outrage available with his fist was to raise and shake it.

That watershed of bipedal rage was invented for the Lakers. And for the 25th time each day I'm cut off by an SUV sporting those damn Lakers mini-flags. Invariably, there are least two, lest the principle of diminishing perspective render the flag on the Hummernaut's distant side unreadable.

Ooooooh! I hate them Lakers! [TAKE OFF HAT, STOMP ON IT]

... Will Miss: (6.) The Western Exterminator Company

Looming over Temple Street near the 101 is a giant yellow wall with this logo.

Like all true fans of The Rock, I am unable to drive by this glorious image without taking the 101 exit ramp to concert T-shirt heaven. For this Little Man waggled his finger from the backs of fortunate souls who went (or gave fourteen bucks to friends who went) to Van Halen's 1984 world tour.

In an interview with Rock Video Magazine, DLR says that they were unable to get a company to sponsor the tour, so they decided to instead sponsor a company. They lifted the logo, and a bit of 100% cotton history was made.

But I like to imagine a day in 1978. A stoned Diamond Dave watches a WestExt guy chase roaches around the graveyard of Jack bottles on his crappy Venice Beach bungalow's floor. Fixated on the exterminator's jumpsuit logo, DLR imagines the day he and that "little dude with the big whammer" would make it big.

Inspired, he grabs scissors and cuts the ass out of his pants. Without taking them off.

Today's FOCR: "House of Pain," Van Halen, 1984

Friday, May 28, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (7.) The Endless Unforwardable Mail

Carlos, Adalin and Erika... I will miss your bales of mortgage offers like I would miss oxygen.

Oh, Gayle, don't even look at me like that. You know those monthly Capital One pitches for your alma mater's MasterCard have meant the world to me!

And Benjamin, Benjamin, Benjamin... Anywhere somebody's trying in vain to recycle a tin AOL mailer or get off their mailing list, ma, you'll be there. Haha! [SNIFF] It has always been "all about the Benjamin."

All of you. And Richard. Michael. Robert. And Grace. We may never have shared this apartment in person. But every Social Security Administration letter, IRS threat or manufacturer's recall we've marked up and dropped back in the mailbox has only served to make our bond stronger than mere roommates could feel.

Now, I told myself I wasn't going to cry. But look at me! Well?! Don't just stand there and let me be a wreck by myself! Get over here, you all. Come and get your love.

And to all you who called our phone number, endlessly looking for Paco, or Tran, or that botanica-slash-fertility clinic... It's my own stupid, stupid fault we'll never talk again. I'm sorry. Damn my Caller ID for only holding 99 calls. Damn those engineers -- would a hundreds column kill them? Just one lousy extra digit?

You gave me every chance, when you would call five times in a row, waiting for some stupid idiot to stop picking up the phone so that Paco, or Tran, or Santeria MakePreggers could. We may not have spoken the same language out of our mouths, but our hearts were fluent.

And now, mine is breaking.

... Will Miss: (7.) Super-Fast, Reliable Mail Service

My Netflix Spider-Man 2 just showed up. It's that fast.

Today's FOCR: "Mailman," Soundgarden, Superunknown

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (8.) Being Underemployed

Freakouts. Cash advances. The 25th of the month. Looking at the doctor's office with the same dreamy face Charlie Bucket wore passing Wonka's factory gates. Having plenty of time for vacations, yet being unable to leave town, because I need to be available for anything, which usually turns out to be nothing. Needing to spend more time answering "what I'm working on" than I would if I were actually working on something. Being asked "what I'm working on."

... Will Miss: (8.) Being Underemployed

Walks in the neighborhood. Knowing the "mail's here" dog barks from the "meter reader's here" barks, indistinguishable to the untrained, employed ear. Coffee in the yard. Extremely clean dishes. Clothes dried on the line. The thrill of the doorbell, even if it is stuck on chiming "Twelve Days of Christmas" instead of "Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here." Never missing a single UPS package. Pajamas at 3 PM. Slip-on shoes. The 4 PM matinee at the Vista.

The birds who show up at the same time every day on the telephone wire just off our porch. Together, we watch the sun go down. None of us say anything. No one need say a word. It's just our little Five O'Clock Flock.

Today's FOCR: "Work To Make It Work," Robert Palmer, Pressure Drop

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (9.) That Guy Next Door Always Revving His Engine

Some people care for their fixer-up vanitymobile by buying parts, then adding said parts to their car or replacing similar ones therein. Others take their ride to a person or establishment who can pimp it by proxy. Then there's the guy in the house across the way, who has hit on the secret of building your dream wheels: just rev the engine a whole bunch.

Which he does like clockwork, all weekend long and weekdays after three. Given his early afternoon start time, I picture him holding some kind of factory job. 'Round about 2:30, he feels the call of the rev. His right ankle starts to twitch. He involuntarily futzes with his watch. "Uh, guys, can we wrap this up? I gotta punch out. There's something at home I really gotta do."

His buddies chortle and make the international fist-up-and-down wanky motion. As he walks out, he chucks his keys from his left hand to his right. He smiles. Even better, my foolish friends. Even better.

VRAAN VRAAN VRAAAAAAAN VRaaaan. Repeat. For hours.

His timing: regular. His technique: tightly honed. Three big revs, die off on the fourth. If it were some big old LTD, It'd almost be powerful and soothing. It's not. The metallic farty sound would seem to peg it as either Twiki's burrito post-mortem or a late-80s Datsun.

Unfortunately, the model can't be verified from our vantage. Mr. Footwrench has constructed a lovely tar-paper carport for the lil' beauty. Also, it never actually leaves the driveway.

Without even laying eyes on it, though, I know one thing. Dollars to donuts, that sweet, sweet ride has got a "Powered by Deez Nuts" window sticker.

... Will Miss: (9.) The Sweet, Sweet Ride I Never Got To Own

On the other hand, why put up with a place that insists on its own nowhere-else-in-the-fucking-world bed size if you don't take advantage of a climate that allows even the oldest cars to totter along until such futuristic day that gasoline is no longer a viable energy source? (Ha, ha. Just kidding. Merely a crazy make-em-up. Go, Dubya!)

Almost hours after moving to LA, I saw the Sweet Sweet Ride destined to be mine. A blue 1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero with sweet-ass round taillights and, more importantly, a "For Sale" sign.

When researching the model, I stumbled across the owner's web site. In loving detail, he catalogs every angle, feature (original and improved) and quirk of the machine. He frankly describes how sometimes the passenger window gets stuck, there's a bit of Bondo here... he even photographed two spots of rust.

I altered my neighborhood route to pass by it regularly, cooing softly to it about the day we'd turn heads as I fanned its steaming radiator on the shoulder of the 105. I hushed its protests as I told it of the lover's errands I'd run, heading up to Big Sur to trade illicit services of passion to a hoary mountain man in return for the ancient, brittle distributor cap resting in his junk heap.

On occasion, the "For Sale" sign would come off for a few weeks. Then, apparently fighting a battle with a partner or even within himself, the sign would reappear.

For months -- nay, years -- this chariot remained for the taking as I passed it nearly every day. As it stayed there, every calendar page that passed was further proof I was the only one to pull this polluting Excalibur from the stone.

Then earlier this year, it was gone. And with it, my everything.

Oh, I still service that mountain man. But only to remember what might have been.

Today's FOCR: "Kickstart My Heart," Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Things About LA That I...

... Won't Miss: (10.) Premature Evacuators

Dodger games are one thing. If you know anything about baseball, you know that Dodger Stadium follows up the hallowed Seventh-Inning Stretch with an Eighth-Inning Exodus. Fine. They punish no one but their own fans and team. All the more aural elbow room for that drunk Chicago guy behind us at every game (regardless of visiting team) who ends every bellowed sarcasting with "buddy."

(Nomo misses the plate: "It's the thing that looks like a house, buddy!")

But it gets absurd. We saw "Urinetown" on Friday at the Wilshire, and people were getting up and leaving during the final number. The cast assembled onstage to accept their curtain call, and wound up looking at more backs than Wilt Chamberlain in a road-game hotel.

People in LA avoid endings like Godzilla avoids non-cardboard buildings.

Yet they would only feel terror of the apocalypse if shuffling off this mortal coil somehow involved waiting in line to leave a parking lot. If the Book of Revelations had been revealed here, it would have been a lot less intimidating.
GOD: "... The heavens will blacken. The dead will rise. Thy flesh will melt from the bone. Thine eyes will be as pools of blood. Rivers of fire will-- Hey! Where are you going? Come back... I'm foretelling your doom! Don't you want to know how it ends? There'll be... [WAVES DISMISSIVELY] Feh.

... Will Miss: (10.) My Molar

Goodbye, recently extracted molar. I will miss you.

I will miss the songs of pain you sang to me over dinner or glasses of water. Our intimate late nights as you gently massaged my face with surging nervous lava. Your implanted chip tracking my whereabouts, as you assured the government that, no, my boring life was not just a front.

Fare thee well, Toothy.

Today's FOCR: "Since You're Gone," The Cars, Shake It Up

Doughnut Chain to Cat: "It's Just You and Me, Mr. Fuzzers."

Krispy Kreme announced a first-quarter loss, and blamed the Atkins diet for its problems.

Feeling really bummed, Krispy Kreme then went home. It got into sweatclothes, and ate a bunch of itself.

The next day, swearing new resolve, Krispy Kreme decided to go on the Atkins diet.

Then Krispy Kreme remembered that was the problem in the first place. So it went home and ate more of itself.

And then it cried.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Everything That Panders Must Converge

Vivendi, GE Complete NBC Universal Deal

Separately, Variety quotes the announcement's promotional video, which calls the new NBC Universal alloy "a 24-hour cross-promotional machine."

Great. Not enough of those these days.

If you MTV-producing-CBS-Super-Bowl-halftime know what I mean.

If you Tonight's-Fox-News-top-story-"American-Idol-Is-Awesome" know what I mean.

If you...

Today's FOCR: "57 Channels (and Nothin' On)," Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch

... know what I mean.


Friday, May 07, 2004

Bi-cycle, Bi-cycle

I admit grudgingly that there is something worse than a bicycle thief.

A thief on a bicycle... who steals a three-million-dollar cello you left on your porch.

Yet I am conflicted. For I am a fan of the thief who scores AND still has time for the funny:
The grainy video shows the thief pedaling away with the silver cello case under his arm, then has the sound of him crashing into trash cans before getting away.
Don't forget the screeching cat. [GLEEFULLY KNEADING HANDS] There WILL be a screeching cat, right?

Today's FOCR: "Cat Scratch Fever," Ted Nugent, Cat Scratch Fever

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Doo Dee Doo Dee Doo Dee

Hmm... what's in the news today?

New missile in North Korea could target Guam bases
North Korea is preparing to deploy a newly developed intermediate-range ballistic missile that has a range sufficient to reach U.S. bases in Guam ....
Wow. Don't like the sounds of that. Hey, what's this?

Air America Radio chief resigns
The departures of [Evan] Cohen, a former Republican political operative from Guam who was among the network's initial investors, and [Rex] Sorenson, an investor who owns radio stations in Guam...
Um, anybody want to tell me why the hell I just read about Guam twice in the same day?

Today's FOCR: "Destroyer," The Kinks, Give the People What They Want

Friday, April 30, 2004

Must Have Been a White Guy Who Started (Me On) All That (Again)

In the same way that I (and apparently, future generations) will never know a Bugs Bunny-less Barber of Seville:

An NPR series on Nelson Mandela this week brings back memories of the greatest rap j'accuse of them all. Because, of all the things P.W. Botha will mean to history, of course I only remember his infliction of the Gas Face.

Thank god MC Serch turned me around on the whole segregation-as-a-policy thing back in the '80s.

On the other hand, The Spoonbender's elegant reminder of the phrase "pushing the goofy" most definitely gets no Gas Face.

Today's FOCR: "Gas Face," 3rd Bass, The Cactus Album

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Screenplay Observations

All doors "fly" open.

Everybody uses each other's names a lot. "You need a ride, Pete?" "Thanks, Bill."

People working at computers say a lot of things like, "You'd better check this out" or "Take a look at this." Most have "never seen anything like this."

All computers have big visual alerts when access is denied. They never just ask for a username and password endlessly.

Searching a computer database for left-handed Scorpios who earned political science degrees between 1964 and 1970 from colleges within 100 miles of Boston takes, at most, ten keystrokes.

Young kids who are older than their years say "shit." Parents who are cooler than their years say "bullshit."

Sad people alternate between "the brink of tears" and "breaking down in tears."

No matter where they live, no matter how much they earn, if people are in a depressive funk, their residences fill with Chinese takeout litter.

They will also verbally abuse nice bartenders who know their names.

Today's FOCR: "B Movie," Delbert McClinton, Second Wind

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Sig Alert

Do so many people in Los Angeles refuse to use their turn signals for the same reason they only commit 75% to any appointment, then show up 20 minutes late ...

... That need to keep options open?

Because you never know when turning right from the left-turn lane is just too sweet to pass up, bro.

Today's FOCR: "Show Me The Way (live)," Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive!

Friday, March 26, 2004

In English (with Aromatic Subtitles)

A British film called "Sex Lives of the Potato Men" is also being called "a sump of untreated dung," a "master class in nauseous ineptitude" and many other fancy-pants insults you'd never be able to muster in a thousand years. The outcry from critics, editors and politicians alike has people debating if this comedy is the worst British movie ever made.

Why the furor? Seems they're upset that a movie featuring onscreen nose-picking, piles of dog feces and masturbation aided by edible spreads was given half of its budget by the U.K. Film Council, which is funded by lottery money.

From the International Herald-Tribune story:
Julie Kirkbride, the culture spokeswoman for the Conservative Party, told that newspaper that while "you can produce any old rubbish with your own money," members of the lottery-ticket-buying public "don't want to feel their money is being wasted."
Because when I think "highly concerned about smart use of money," I think "lottery ticket buyer."


On facing pages of the LA Times from Sunday 21 March 2004:

Page A26:
Headline: "Carbon Dioxide Levels Rising Faster; Buildup Sets Record"
"Carbon dioxide... has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the last year..."

".... mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels..."

"... Asked to explain the stepped-up rate, climatologists were cautious, saying data needed to be further evaluated."

"... The United States, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, signed the [Kyoto Protocol] agreement but did not ratify it, and the Bush administration has since withdrawn U.S. support..."

Page A27:
Full-page ad:



Today's FOCR: "Turn the Page," Bob "Like a Rock" Seger, Back in '72

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Five O'Clock Rocks

Today's LA Times was the first I'd heard of rocks being mailed back to Uluru, or The Australian Outback Monolith Formerly Known As Ayers Rock. (However, international news seems to have picked up on this a month ago.)

Souvenir chunks of the sacred Aboriginal site are now being sent back by tourists haunted by guilt or a perceived streak of bad luck. Newly respectful -- or fearful of the Aboriginal bogeyman* -- foreign filchers are forfeiting their forbidden formations.

So. Anybody got Donald Rumsfeld's email address? I've got an article I'd like to forward him... well, two, actually.

Today's FOCR: "Rock of Ages," Def Leppard, Pyromania

* Abobogeynal? Bogeymanimal?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

If I Can Just Say Something

I'd like to be earnest for just a moment. Perhaps you say, "Oh, no. When he gets earnest is when he most embarrasses himself."

To which I'd say, "Ouch. If I can earnestly tell you how that felt, that was the most--." Then my vision would swim with tears. I would emit a quiet, high-pitched sound. Lurching up from my chair, I'd try to leave the room with a flimsy composure, but not before I weave in the hallway and snag my shirt on a picture hook, tearing the sleeve. "Oh, great," I'd wail. "Just perfect!" Then I'd try to slam the TV room door behind me. But the house has settled in the recent rain, and the door frame has gotten even more misaligned. So it'd bounce back open, and I'd have to debate extending the spectacle by returning to the door to close it with that lifting thing one has to do.

So... good call. Yet, I press on.

In 1996, the Suzuki Motor Corporation sued Consumers Union in connection to an unfavorable 1988 review of the Suzuki Samurai, a.k.a. Tumblin' Dice. Despite overwhelming evidence that the case is groundless and should be thrown out -- as a U.S. District Court has done once already -- the lawsuit has just been sent back to trial by a sharply divided Ninth Circuit.

In this day, with government agencies handing out free passes to any company that shows up at the door with a sack and a Boba Fett mask, an independent voice like CU is crucial. Sure, Consumer Reports has an odd crush on the Kenmore brand I've never shared. But it is independent and objective in an otherwise byzantine media web of corporate connections and influence.

The lawsuit is draining resources from a non-profit organization that should be spending its money on determining if in a house fire our jammies will cook us like Ball Park Franks, or if that breadmaker is a... wait, wait, I've got it... a "deadmaker." Ahh. I knew it was there.

If Suzuki v. Consumers Union continues, it could have a chilling effect on consumer protection. Unfavorable reviews will be become too financially dangerous to publish. You can imagine the result...

A snowy November afternoon. Heading out to the mall in the car, an innocent family is completely unaware that their trip is about to lead them to this kind of horrific wreck.

I urge you to read this, and if convinced, write Suzuki and General Motors (20-percent owner of Suzuki) and demand they drop the lawsuit.

Don't look here for the email address. One needs to write a letter. Recent events prove the difference in attention paid...

email a virus to Congress = nothing
mail a virus to Congress = hoo boy!

Please spend 74 cents and send two letters. For your c+p convenience, I have included the letters I wrote:

Mr. Rick Suzuki, President
American Suzuki Motor Corporation
3251 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821-6722

Dear Mr. Suzuki:

I am writing to express my strong objection to Suzuki's litigation against Consumers Union in the Samurai matter. I urge you to cease this groundless and damaging effort immediately.

The independent and impartial work of Consumers Union is needlessly threatened by your company's baseless claims, which have the potential to stifle objective consumer research for fear that any unfavorable review could trigger similar action.

Your company's actions threaten to make America even less safe than it was during the time the Samurai was being sold here.

If Suzuki does not halt its lawsuit against CU, I will be forced to avoid all Suzuki products, and to urge anyone else who will listen to do the same.

In addition, I will boycott the Suzuki Method, just in case your company had anything to do with it, in which case I would presume it could also be hazardous. So thanks for ruining the violin for me as well.

[your name]


Mr. Rick Wagoner, President and CEO
General Motors Corporation
100 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265-3000

Dear Mr. Wagoner:

I am writing to express my strong objection to Suzuki's litigation against Consumers Union in the Samurai matter. As GM owns 20 percent of Suzuki, I urge you to use your influence to cease Suzuki's groundless and damaging effort immediately.

The independent and impartial work of Consumers Union is needlessly threatened by Suzuki's baseless claims, which have the potential to stifle objective consumer research for fear that any unfavorable review could trigger similar action.

Suzuki's actions threaten to make America even less safe than it was during the time the Samurai was being sold here.

If Suzuki does not halt its lawsuit against CU, by association I will be forced to avoid all GM products, and to urge anyone else who will listen to do the same.

In addition, I will boycott major league sports, since I understand that many teams have a GM. Furthermore, I will have no choice but to avoid genetically modified (GM) products. So thanks for ruining baseball and apple pie for me -- at least this American will still have hot dogs left.

Related question: Is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile made by GM?

[your name]

Today's FOCR: "Bad Motor Scooter," Montrose, Montrose

Saturday, February 14, 2004


via Berry's World via Scooter:

A secret panel at the Department of Education has decided to withhold closed-captioning grants for a list of certain "inappropriate" shows. Like Bewitched. Scooby-Doo. Law & Order. The Simpsons. NASCAR. And almost 200 others, according to the Palm Beach Post editorial.

Great. Yet another Bush telling us to read lips.

Today's FOCR: "4'33"," John Cage, comp.

(About that song link...)

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Rock the Quote

Stumbled across this while searching, and it reminded me of someone.

From the cowardice that dare not face new truths,
From the laziness that is contented with half truth,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver me.

-- Kenyan prayer, quoted in The Oxford Book of Prayer

Today's FOCR: "Elected," Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies

Thursday, February 05, 2004

God Help Me, I Won't Make That "Houston, She Had a Brablem" Joke.
It Was a Restraint Malfunction.


So the key is... you gotta spice it up for CBS.

Call the commercial "Get Off the Deficit Teat," or "Bush's Debt Lasts a Lot Longer Than a Four-Hour Porkpole," or "Bush Doesn't Need To Ask His Brother How To Fuck Our Kids," or like that. You know?

Sizzle and steak, baby.

Today's FOCR: "Dammit Janet," Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack

Monday, January 26, 2004

Dear Rupert: A Quick Thanks for the “Don’t Have a Cow, Man” Beach Towel. Enclosed, Please Find a “Don’t Have a Cow, Man” Beach Towel (Soiled)

A recent LA CityBeat interview with Harry Shearer at least partially answers a question I had all Iraq-war long:

Q: How the hell did the staff of The Simpsons feel about working for Fox, histrionic fanners of the highest war flames?

A: (Shrug) Whaddaya gonna do?

Also, dishy scoopy dish: Fox is cheap. Harry no likee sub-$15 birthday presents.

Today's FOCR: "Gotta Serve Somebody," Bob Dylan, Slow Train Coming

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Product Review
SkipDoctor CD & DVD Repair Device
Digital Innovations (retail $29.87)

Note: As a service to the FOCR reader (and I do mean the reader) I will occasionally review products of interest to the music lover. In no way does compensation change hands: I purchase the products at retail price, and am not in contact in any manner with the manufacturers or their distributors. Just a service from one consumer to another.

It was with more than a little excitement that I brought home the highly rated SkipDoctor, a hand-cranked CD & DVD polisher that claims to resurrect scratched and dirty discs. Universally praised, some seem to revere it in the way some do Lourdes water or copper bracelets.

Boy, was I disappointed.

To be fair, it has its good points. The somewhat gun-like shape is still too round for cops to mistake for a weapon as you run through the neighborhood making your PSHEW PSHEW noises at night. The makers also thoughtfully make the spinny wheel thing a neon green for further protection. But my praise ends there.

The cranking has none of the satisfying noise you’d expect. It sounds nothing like an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle – it’s practically silent! The thing you put the disc onto looks like a ninja star you could shoot if you cranked real hard and pushed some button, but no dice. It stays in place. Those tiny jagged edges on it wouldn’t hurt my brother if I threw the wheel at him harder than I did. Totally stupid. And boring.

The polishing spray tasted terrible. It falls somewhere between Binaca and New Car Smell, but it manages to combine only the worst of those flavors. And they barely give you any. That pump bottle probably runs out after like ten or fifteen sprays under my tongue. What a rip.

Not tested: CD & DVD polishing features.

Today's FOCR: "Big Fat Funky Booty," Spin Doctors, Turn It Upside Down