Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wordy Links to End Your Work Week With

You're welcome.
(and don't miss the new post below)

Los Angeles = Nature

Basketball + Statistics + Malcom Gladwell

The Tragedy/Brilliance of Kevin Garnett

Night = Misunderstood Genius

Good Hodgkins + New Mountain Goats

New Scritti Politti = Hope For the Universe

In 2003 We Didn't Know. Upon repeated listenings in an air-conditioned Camry, I proclaim it Best Album of the Decade. Detailed post to follow.

Blueprint Blues Traveler

I know the Arabic word for "whore. " I heard it spoken yesterday. In jest of course. From a distance. I wasn't part of the conversation.

It's a poetic word. It sounds like the name of an old New York baseball player, back in the seventies when the names were funny.

I went to a baseball game in the seventies. I went to several. I remember the one with the boxed seats and the rain delay. Mets vs. Dodgers. In New York. Shea Stadium.

I think it was the historic New York summer of '77.

God I'm old. Or maybe everyone else is young.

Still, there's a lot I don't know. Like how to sew. I'm not good at ironing either. I'm great at irony.

Am I the only one who sincerely believes we ought to give M. Night Shyamalan the benefit of the doubt. Dude made Unbreakable.

This time the British internet radio station has gone too far. Peter Gabriel? Even I'm not that nostalgic. I tried to hold back. But I couldn't.

(note to L.A. Hope Street Department of Motor Vehicles staff: I'll make a deal with you. Just pretend to be interested in my needs. I'll pretend to be interested in yours.)


That night in '77 the man who took me and my cousin to the game (strangely I had never met him before and he wasn't a relative) was obsessed with Dodger outfielder Von Joshua. Von must have enjoyed the journey from here to here. Von Joshua is not the player whose names sounds like "whore" in Arabic.

Unbreakable spoiler alert: They called Samuel L. Jackson's character Mr. Glass.

Further research reveals Von Joshua played for the Dodgers in 1974 and then not again until 1979. My cousin - the one who taught me the Arabic word for whore - visited us from Egypt in the summers of '74 and '77 and then never again, so we must have gone to the game in '74, an equally historic summer in New York and other places.

You see, glass is not unbreakable. It breaks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This Post Deserves A Saxophone Solo

To those of you L.A. locals who may have worried (silently) that I would be leaving town, for more humid environs and semi-acceptable opportunities:

Don't you fret.

I'm not going anywhere. I'll brave the heat, the traffic, and the neighbors who listen to slow jams. Sure, 2006 is the lamest year ever but it could only get better right?

(note: when I say 2006 isn't a good year, this is no reflection on the fine people I've met this year, be they in Wisconsin, in the east end of the San Fernando Valley, the 323 and 818 area codes. And the 626 too.)

So, in conclusion: Go Trojans. Someone should throw me a "he's not going anywhere" party. There can be poker involved. I'd throw the party myself but my friends get all whiny when they can't find a parking space and have to walk 3 blocks to my apartment. Who wouldn't want to walk past auto body shops, gang graffiti, and pet chickens?

A Poem For A Tuesday

Breakfast was a woman with a nail in her sleeve
A Capricorn Apache from the land of make-believe
A child of the sixties with an apron and a gun
Now she’s doing three to six and sleeping with the sun

In Minnesota winters there’s a pattern to the snow
In morning it falls crooked, sleep deprived and slow
In afternoon it tumbles and laughs on its way down
At night it doesn’t come at all in white and quiet towns

Breakfast was a dentist with a potion in his pouch
A way of novicating both sides of the mouth
As music from the seventies made you sick and weak
Now he’s shooting up while his kids play hide-and-seek

In Arizona summers there’s a light that doesn’t come
The atmospheric layer kept tight like a kick drum
At night the men and women go dancing in the street
The children stay indoors and dream of trick-or-treat

Breakfast was a singer from Andromeda Heights
Guitar slung over shoulder through hallowed eighties nights
His name, though a girl’s, evokes masculine regret
The only kind the dictionaries remember to forget

In Oregon apple orchards there’s a menacing machine
That resolutely segregates the red ones from the green
Red for the mornings you can’t quite fix your hair
Green for the Sunday drives and the old state fair

Breakfast was a woman with a hop to her skip
A lusty trusty dancing queen who knows just when to dip
As she sleeps, she catches killers with her breath
Now they’re doing 99 to life or is it death?

Friday, July 21, 2006


Minneapolis is hot but not too hot, like a Missy Elliott thump-thump or a Sam Cassell shooting streak. Ceiling fans, iron doors, hardwood floors, and jheri curls, this town's got it all.

I'm in a cafe with free internet access. The whole world should have free internet access. Free internet plus free cell phones equals world peace. (on a related note: Fuck Cingular)

If you unexpectedly get stuck in the Las Vegas airport for a 3-hour layover, do as I did last night. Take a cab to the Rio, site of the World Series of Poker, currently in progress, and proceed to profit $130 in just over 2 hours of play because a flush beats a straight every time, every time, every time.

People talk funny in the Midwest. They do. They just do. I used to talk funny. But I had street cred. Still do. Still will.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Customs of the Weak

Okay I'll answer the question all of you have been asking. Why did I give up on writing the screenplay about the man with my name that was murdered by his wife, whose name coincidentally sounds like my mother's? Why did I stop consenting to bi-weekly deli meetings where plot points and genre specifications were debated over lukewarm soup and sleazy pickles?

Why indeed?

That's my answer. I'm sticking to it.

Sometimes when I look out into the horizon I swear I can see the whole universe splayed out like a paint drops from a lemonade pitcher. Then I dream I'm being tortured and it's only going to get worse until I wake up and discover I fell asleep to The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the chest hair waxing scene is on and that's why I had the dream.

I will run a marathon in 2007.

Speaking of Virgin, is it not the best comedy of the past 7 years?

Have I not talked about the weather yet? This strange Los Angeles humidity. It feels like foreign currency looks.

My reign as Customer of the Week at Peet's Coffee on Larchmont in Hollywood is over. It was a good run. Free coffee for seven days. Quizzical looks from passersby. A bad polaroid in which I looked like a cross between Benicio Del Toro and former VJ Adam Curry taped to the wall. It's over now. I have to pay for my coffee. Do I even like coffee? Have I ever liked it?

I need to reassess some things.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weird Hazy Twinkling

The Hollywood Hills look bleak tonight. There's a weird hazy twinkling out there. In some of the houses, people are sleeping. In a few, people are unhappy. In a couple of houses, there are individuals having dangerous fun. In three houses, there are small groups sharing meals. This is all speculation. It's hot tonight. I like the central air. It's comforting.

The ocean air was nicer, more pleasant and damp.

Most overrated salty snack: cheese doodles. Most underrated? Saltines.

Most underrated punctuation: the comma. Most overrated? The period

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Besides It Would Still Be All Right

Am I the only man who spent much of my Sunday watching, in succession?
  • The World Cup final (Zidane - I like you more after the head butt)
  • Project Runway Season One Marathon
  • Dave Chappelle's "Lost Episode" (I wrote this song in '94. Funny)
In between this relentless TV watching, I saw the following:
  • Bill Clinton's SUV
  • 3 girls dressed as pirates walking down the street
  • The comedian/actor Louis C.K. coming out of Blockbuster
They're trying to pull me back in. Will they?

The new Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man movie is nice but I wish there was more Leonard and just a little less of the other Canadians. On a related note, my top 5 Leonard Cohen songs:

5. Sisters of Mercy

4. Alexandra Leaving

3. First We Take Manhattan

2. Suzanne

1. Famous Blue Raincoat

The song begins:

It's 4 in the morning
The end of December
I'm writing you now
Just to see if you're better
New York is cold
But I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street
All through the evening

The best opening verse ever written.

Have I ever mentioned that I wrote a sequel to this song in 1989?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In Watermelon Stevia

You would think the richest university in all of south-of-downtown Los Angeles would have an air conditioning system that works reasonably well. Today I long for the old days, when I worked for Mr. "Conversations With..." and the air conditioners ran smoothly and crisply. You could taste the refreshment with your tongue.

Some obversations from a long but special weekend:

1. There is no finer tofu-based meal in any restaurant than what I had Saturday afternoon at Beans & Barley.

2. An Inconvenient Truth was very good. However, A.G. would have been served well with a statistician on his team. I spotted a couple of slick moves with the graphics that would've made Dr. Stearns, my masters program-statistics professor, shake his head derisively.

3. Kinky Tuscadero is by far the best (and toughest) skater in the whole Brew City Bruisers outfit. Someone needs to make her a jammer.

4. Grounded For Life isn't such a bad show.

I want to swim in the ocean now.