Saturday, November 30, 2002

Hi Colonel Mustard:

Dude, I tolly slept for a whole day and night. It's weird. Time and space completely changed. They didn't cease to exist entirely, but they opened up into a bowl, where I swam. It was warm.

If I could explain it, I would, but my brain is wrapped in fluffy stuff.

The thunder is so thick and warm-sounding.

I think I have a brain-fever that makes it impossible for me to talk or think.

The other night me and Ken Basart had another music-listening hootenanny, and while we were listening to Run-DMC's first record, I had an epiphany, yo. Musical pioneers almost always sound really bad later on, or at least really primitive and dorky. You listen to them and you think, how did they ever sound so modern and new?

Like, Patti Smith sounds dorky to me. Or Run DMC, a little. Or, well I can't think who else because of my brain. Anyway, you get the point.

But the reason they sound like that is because they are trailblazers. A trailblazer's job is to go into brambles and cut out a path by sheer violence and will and vision and everything. A trailblazer makes the way, then others come along and pave the trail, and manicure the brambles, and put up signs and fences and stuff. But the first person, their whole deal is just to carve a path in wilderness; to make something from nothing.

That work is heavy lifting, to use another metaphor. It is messy and rough, and doesn't leave much room for subtlety. That's why you listen now to trailblazers and think they're retarded. Their sound has already become so much a part of your ears that you don't even notice it, and the subtle refinements of their followers have fine-tuned your ears to the point where the originator sounds like a primitive version of the imitator.

But you know better.

And sometimes the imitator is every bit as good as the originator, or better. I'll take Bob Dylan over Ramblin' Jack Elliott and even Woody Guthrie. You know.

The thunder sounded like Minnesota just now: A metallic crack, vibrating across the hills. I better get off the dang 'puter.



Friday, November 29, 2002

Hi Wee Willy Winkle Nod:

I am asleep as I type and will return to Le Bed soon.

I am in love with someone new.

And I mean "new" literally.

He's just a wee one, and his name is Sean. Greg and Molli's lovely and charming chicken nugget.

He has a very Serious brow, because he is Thinking about many things, and trying to explain them despite the obstacles.



Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Hi June Bugs

My archives are gone. It may be permanent. And I will have to learn to let go and to start printing out this shit.

A certain jumpy, blue-haired funk-rock bassist told me that he was called in before he was famous and rich to do some session work on a song that would be called "Bust A Move." (He was really poor at the time, actually, selling his possessions to feed his baby daughter.) All he had to work with was the rap itself. Maybe a beat. There was no melody, nothing. So he came up with the bass line on the spot. This bass line made the song, as anyone who knows the song knows. The bass line is the heart, the zang, and the zazz of the song. The producers built the rest of the song from there: the guitars, the backup vocals, everything.

He got paid 200 bucks. The song went on to sell millions, and he got 200 bucks. Period.

His friends told him he should sue, but he was like, I'm not gonna fucking sue somebody about one bassline. There's plenty more where that came from.

This is the appropriate attitude to have toward one's work. Don't fret over lost work. There's plenty more where that came from!



Tuesday, November 26, 2002

PS: Kelly Osbourne's new record just came out. I have to go get it! But anywayz...

I love Kelly Osbourne, but only because she usually speaks the truth. However. Dig what she says in the new Rolling Stone about her new album, called "Shut Up":

"I know that if I wasn't Ozzy Osbourne's daughter and I wasn't on TV, this album would be taken way more seriously."

Hah! If she weren't Ozzy's daughter, she wouldn't have gotten signed! An unknown, fat white girl who's never been in a band?

Maybe on Sympathy for the Record Industry, but not on Epic. Please.

Yo check it:

I thought I knew what cynical was till I read this article today in the LA Times about a woman who is on a hunger strike to save California old-growth trees.

She's not the cynical one.

She's been sitting outside the State Capitol, starving, for 50 days. She sits three hours a day in a chair, but she's too cold to stay out longer than that. I guess she's lost like 20 pounds or something. She looks pretty gaunt. Anyway, she wants Grey Davis to fulfill his campaign promise to save all old growth trees.

He made that precise promise four years ago.

She says that 7 million old-growth trees are at risk from logging in California.

I'm amazed we even have that many left.

Now, I'm no eco-activist, but I'm sure glad some people are. They're doing my work for me. Because I really do care about The Tree.

She wants to put a measure on the state ballot to save trees of 152 years and older. Sounds reasonable, even conservative, to me.

Davis calls it "extremist."

Maybe it is extremist. When the status quo is so confoundingly, extremely unacceptable, a sane and determined activist does seem extreme.

But whether or not I even agree with her, Davis's reaction to her is horrifyingly cynical. It's also insulting to the tradition of crazy-sane activism that has helped to pull our country (and our state) out of the middle ages on a lot of issues.

Of this woman's fast, our governor's spokesperson says:

"Public policy is not made by refusing to eat."

"This sort of thing is a publicity stunt, not an effort for meaningful change."

I guess Cesar Chavez's fasts to help migrant farm workers were PR stunts.

(His views were extremist too, by the standards of the day, you know.)

And I guess Davis would call the hunger strikes of the suffrage movement publicity stunts, too.

Or those fucking crazy-ass abolitionists.

Talk about extremists.

Or, you know, that Indian guy who wore the diaper and all. He was always going on some fast or other.

Talk about your stunts.

Martin Luther King's numerous arrests were publicity stunts too. The March on Washington was a publicity stunt. In fact, the entire civil rights movement was a publicity stunt.

All protests, and certainly all acts of civil disobedience, are publicity stunts.

You can't get anything done in this world without a publicity stunt.

Davis is just mad this woman is making him look so bad, because she actually cares about something.

I wonder if our governor believes in anything enough to starve himself for it.

What really gets me is his arrogant disregard for California history.

We have a proud history of publicity-stunt activism on all sides--the Free Speech Movement, the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, Operation Rescue, Act Up!, the disabled rights movement, that dock workers' strike---just to name a few.

Like, duh.

Of course, there's also a long history of corporate "activism" in Sacramento too, which is a little quieter, a little more tasteful, less daredevillish.

I guess if the tree-huggers had some nice campaign gifts and wore Versace suits, their tactics would be more palatable to our governor. Because apparently that's really the best way to get through to him.

Since they don't, they have to rely on publicity. And as history proves, this kind of activism does work, and it does shape public policy. You old lardass.

(Just by the way: Why are the self-starvers, I mean the people who really put their money where their mouth is, almost always lefties? I mean, why don't you ever see someone doing a hunger strike to preserve the death penalty, or to open up wildlife areas for mining, or to bail out big tobacco?)

NEW TOPIC, same shrill tone:

The Total Awareness Thingy reminds me so, so very very much of good, old-fashioned Soviet-style Communism, it's almost quaint. It really makes me nostalgic for Prague. I think of it, and I get a craving for Becherovka and state-made cigarettes, and I long to hear the streetcar wheels grinding along their tracks, sending up sparks in the dark.

It also reminds me of high school, too, in the 1980s, when I had to read "1984" in one night for a test. I thought I would just read the end, and little bits, but it was so good, I started at the end and just read it backwards. I was kind of a fucked-up kid. Anyway, that book rocked.

Around that time, John Poindexter was being indicted for various felonies against the American people. He liked to lie a lot.

Anyway, back to Total Awareness. Just imagine: the enemies of so-called Big Government promoting a system the Reds would have creamed for.

It's nothing new, but it seems so very old-school. I think this Poindexter guy is stuck in the '80s, like Cyndi Lauper and Erasure.

Maybe he's part of the whole '80s fashion revival thing.

In any case, Mr. America is clearly a Commie at heart.

It's funny how much we really do resemble our enemies at the end of the day. Tres Harry Potter.

Harry has a little bit of potential evil in him. Actually, he has a lot.


What was it Dumbledore says in the new movie?

It's not our abilities that defiine us, but our choices.


Last night driving home on the Hollywood freeway, there were palm fronds lining the shoulder of the highway, looking like dorsal fins. It was like a shark attack on the freeway, dude.

Tonight is the second anniversary of the Hotel Cafe. Hooray!

I haven't been writing about rock lately because I am a little dormant right now. I just did a huge spewing of ass-based philosophy and theory about The Rock while doing my Top Secret Mission. I came up with some OK nuggets of garbage in the process: For example, "The Strokes aren't really rock; they are a 'Rock Pill'." They are an over-the-counter drug, a cheap high, a momentary approximation of "That Rock feeling." It's not the real thing, and you know it, but it's OK. You've been so hungry for so long for the feeling.

ok bye


Monday, November 25, 2002

Hi, The Bunny:

After serious consultation with three different people, the Supreme Council On Stuff, Intl. has decreed that when referring to bunnies--any bunny or bunnies at all--one need only speak of "The Bunny." This is because, like The Unicorn, there is only one Bunny.

If you understand The Bunny, then you know exactly what I mean.

Ex. 1.: You're browsing in Marshall Fields and you come across some baby-blue fur stoles. You assume they're fake, only to discover on examination that they're real dead bunny. You say to your mom: "That ain't right. In this day and age, there is no need to kill The Bunny."

Ex. 2: You're walking on Harriet Island with a friend, and you see a bunny hopping across the front lawn at De La Salle High School. Then you turn the corner and you see a frog waiting for the Cuzzy's Bus, and you also see another bunny crossing the street. You say something to your friend like, "The Bunny, he gets around."

Think of it like "The Guitar": "Do you play the violin?" "No, man, I play The Guitar."

Please make a note of the new rules.

(Sorry for the inside jokes there. Harriet Island is an island in downtown Minneapolis, in the Mississippi River, where there is a Catholic High School, where Jim Walsh went, and a really quaint neighborhood of Victorian houses. The Cuzzy's Bus is seen prowling the area at night. The Cuzzy's Bus is a shuttle that takes you to Cuzzy's, the roadhouse-like bar near City Pages, in the warehouse district. One time I really did see The Bunny on Harriet Island, and a frog sitting on the curb, presumably waiting for his ride.)

So, last night I was tossin' and flossin', tryin' to fill the void heartbreak brings.

Yo, that's an Aretha Franklin song.

How old is the phrase "flossin'"?

See, these phrases are usually like 110 years old, but the white people up north only hear about them at a certain point. Example: "Props." I heard "props" the first time in 1996. But by that point it was 97,000 years old. At the very least there's Aretha saying" Give me my propers when you get home" on "Respect," but I'm sure this phrase can be traced well back to the 19th Century.

If I were a linguist, I would specialize in African-diaspora English dialects, because they have the most supreme slang. I mean, it's true that white people have some great slang too, but come on.

Now, back to my night of tossin' and flossin'. I wasn't really flossin' but I was tossin'. Maybe it was the onset of the Santa Ana winds, which seem to be back again today. I dunno. I woke up around maybe midnight and totally couldn't sleep, total mini-panic attack. It was a terror/war panic attack. Do you ever have these?

I tried singing to myself, which worked last time. I tried singing "Good Morning Starshine," which was fun, except I was having a little bit of nervous asthma, and I was wheezing: "Good mornnneeeenngghhhh starshine, the Earth says Heloggooohggh." (That's supposed to sound like a wheeze.)

Finally, The Becherovka came to my rescue.

Sort of. I finally got back to sleep, but then I kept dreaming about ghosts.

You see, my problem is that I live most of the day in complete denial about the state of the world. You have to do this, or else you will just hate life. But the problem is that you build up all this unexpressed fear and anxiety and shit.

So my plan is eight-pronged:

1. yoga (this clears out the fear a little, I don't know how)

2. get a puppy

3. keep drinking

4. play guitar as much as possible, and sing

5. make up jokes about how horrible everything is

6. boy-actions

7. harass my congresspeople (I know this doesn't do much, but it's a nice way to get back that oh-so fresh-feeling. Eventually it'll turn into something better.)

8. No TV

In this way the Beast of Fear will be castrated, and the Flaming Monkey of Joy will be sustained.



Sunday, November 24, 2002

Hello, Grandmaster:

These are the good things lately:

1. I was doing some big post-Minneapolis grocery-shopping yesterday, "refilling my larder," as my mom would say, at Trader Joe's in Silverlake. Now, I know it's kind of early to get in the spirit, but they had the best little live Christmas trees with fairy lights already on them. Just a tree with lights, no decorations. Very natural. I totally wanted it, so I got it. So what if it's not even Thanksgiving yet?

Fuck it, I'm ready. Bring it on!

2. I saw Harry Potter last night, and it was tops. The best part is the Weasleys' kitchen.

3. Afterwards I went to Tiki Ti, the teeny-weeny tiki bar on Sunset near the Vista. They were calling last call, but the buxom door mistress let us in, as long as we ordered quickly. When asked if people could smoke, she lifted her cigarette and said, "of course."

Everyone was in a good mood inside. It felt like the night before Thanksgiving, when everyone parties. It felt special. Maybe everyone had come from Harry Potter.

4. I had bacon for breakfast and for lunch.

I have to run now. This entry was pretty lame but Tony Pierce said, Something is better than nothing.

By the way, I think I haven't been name-dropping enough lately here.

I'm going to have to work on that.

I'll see what I can do.



Thursday, November 21, 2002

Hi Nutrageous:

I know it's probably not terribly legal and whatnot to reprint stuff on your blog from the New York Times, but check out this recent editorial.

Funny how much "TIA" sounds like CIA.

They should call TIA the "Total Invasion Act."

A Snooper's Dream

The threat of terrorism has created a powerful appetite in Washington for sophisticated surveillance systems to identify potential terrorists. These efforts cannot be allowed, however, to undermine civil liberties. There is a program now in the research stage at the Pentagon that, if left unchecked by Congress, could do exactly that. Ostensibly designed to enhance national security, it could lead to an invasion of personal privacy on a massive scale.

The program, known as Total Information Awareness, is a project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which helped develop the Internet and a host of cutting-edge military technologies. It is run by John Poindexter, the retired Navy rear admiral who was Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and, in that capacity, helped devise the plan to sell arms to Iran and illegally divert the proceeds to the rebels in Nicaragua. Sentenced to six months in jail for lying to Congress (a conviction later overturned on appeal), the admiral was never particularly contrite about his deceit, asserting at one point that it was his duty to withhold information from the American people.

Mr. Poindexter is pursuing a scheme he thought up right after 9/11 and then sold to the Bush administration. Total Information Awareness, or T.I.A., aims to use the vast networking powers of the computer to "mine" huge amounts of information about people and thus help investigative agencies identify potential terrorists and anticipate terrorist activities. All the transactions of everyday life � credit card purchases, travel and telephone records, even Internet traffic like e-mail � would be grist for the electronic mill.

To civil libertarians, T.I.A., with its Orwellian dossiers on each and every American, would constitute a huge invasion of privacy. Mr. Poindexter says that he has no wish to trample on the Fourth Amendment, and that the technology can be designed so as to "preserve rights and protect people's privacy while helping to make us all safer." His associates say that his main role is to develop the technology, not the policy that governs its use.

This strikes us as disingenuous. Mr. Poindexter is a policy man to the core. Besides, there are enough federal agencies already engaged in the "mining" of information about all of us. The last thing we need is a vast new system of domestic surveillance engineered by John Poindexter.

Congress should shut down the program pending a thorough investigation. It could do this with an amendment denying further financing that could be attached to an appropriations bill or the homeland security bill now under discussion in the Senate. Either way, T.I.A. needs immediate oversight.

Hi Big Toe:

Sorry, I'm feeling gross this morning. Jake, my roommate, just told me that John Poindexter is the head of the sort-of secret Homeland Security deal wherein supposedly every American is going to have a National Security file that will keep track of our every trackable move. This reminds me of the stuff they were trying to plan during the Iran-Contra thing, potential camps where they could herd political dissidents.

This Poindexter guy looks like a bag of trouble. (As Howard Stern said this morning. He used the phrase "she looks like a bag of trouble." I think I like him after all. I am going to start using this phrase and pretending I made it up, if that's OK with you.)

"Poindexter" was our name in grade school for nerds.

This joker, this "president," needs to be taken out and I want to know why the lardass "Democrats" are such cowards. Fuck all of you, every one of you would allow this thing, and who voted to invade Iraq.

My friend Lydia is 89 years old, and she's been active in the ACLU for decades. You see, she was blacklisted, and she lost her livelihood. She was a pianist and composer for film. Lydia always says that McCarthyism could come back, and I'm always saying, no, it couldn't, that's ridiculous.

But now I think maybe something similar could find a way to thrive today, if we let it.

What should we do?

Anyway, on another subject: Chuck, sorry for being such a crab before. I was in "a mood." But I didn't mean to actually be crabby.

Ain't nothing but love up in this bitch, you know.



Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Hi Love:

I just turned on the Kink Kronikles and am listening to "The Village Green Preservation Society."

Do you know the song?

I always thought it was ironical, poking fun at old people. Right?

But check it out. Maybe because I feel such a strong connection to my own place, Los Angeles, as Ray Davies does for his place, I now believe that subconsciously, he means it. He wants God to save strawberry jam, and all its different varieties.

He is the Village Green Preservation Society.

That's OK with me.



So wow:

God, this was a great time to return to Los Angeles. I get in, it's 80 degrees and the sun's going down, it's dry and exciting. It feels like something's going to happen. Something exciting. It's Santa Ana weather, and earthquake weather, and beach weather, and hiking in the Hollywood Hills weather. I drove up to the Observatory tonight at sunset, and looked at the view--you could see the whole ocean, it was so clear, and the sound was really crisp--the car tires made a ripping sound on the gravel. I stood looking out at half of L.A., from Agoura to Compton, and in the air just in front of me a bunch of crazy bats did somersaults with no sound.

God makes most of the beautiful stuff, but L.A. is beautiful and we made it.

This is where I belong.

I mean, God made it too, since we're God.

But that's a whole other topic.

Now, here's the really weird thing: I have been getting all these "Top Secret" mystery emails about money and investments from some businessman in Angola or something. Is anybody else getting this stuff? It's bizarre. Anyway, so today I receive an email from, supposedly, the widow of late Angolan dissident Jonas Savimbi, asking me to help her as she tries to invest her inheritance and flee the country. I did a Google search and in two seconds found similar letters appearing on guestbooks and random places--one from "Mrs. Anastasia Kabo Savimbi" in Johannesburg, one from "Mrs. Gloria Savimbi" in the Ivory Coast, one from "Mrs. Nobi Savimbi" in Angola.

Either this Savimbi dude got around, or someone is very stupid and thinks they're going to actually get away with whatever nonsense they're trying to perpetrate.

Shame on you, assholes

-------Much Later-------

My neighbor-girls were outside drinking and smoking so i pulled my new bottle of Becherovka out of the freezer and headed downstairs to the courtyard. I'm drunk now.

The palm tree in the middle of the courtyard was swaying and rustling under the moon, and when the moon hit the leaves they glistened like stars.

Michelle said, I like to just stand and stare at that palm tree, and listen to it.

The wind is hot and the air is dry and the stars are sharp. I said, and then Marcy said, and then this other girl said, Earthquake weather.

An earthquake would be good, but only a small one.

Maybe that's the exciting thing that's going to happen.

It is also sex weather. Maybe I should do something about that.

Sex and an earthquake would be OK, too.



Monday, November 18, 2002

For Christ's Sake, Chuck, I know the Dead pre-date the Stooges. I'm just trying to have some fun!

Is that so wrong, Mister Literal? Can't we let go of being Right, let go of linear time and all its foolish games, and swim awhile in the magic?

Won't you swim a while with me?



So Everyone, Check out the big brain on Miguel. He thinks he's so smart because he knows "i'm the bleeding volcano" is from "She's So Cold."

OK, fine Miguel, whatever. You're Mister Knows Stuff today. Here's your bleeding haiku:

Miguel loves Mick, yeah

lickin ice cream cones, come on

sticky fingers suck!

Hi Melo Honey:

Chuckie T gets the dubble bubble trash can. But since he replied like eight hours too late, it has to be an invisible one. It's a "concept" trash can, very John-and-Yoko, I'm afraid.

Now for the real tough question, Tommly Chuck: Do you think the Stooges are the original jam band? I do. And I also think Jim Ladd needs to have his bean recounted for all that bullshit about the Doors. (Chuck: He's this super old-school classic rock "freeform" DJ in L.A. who thinks the Doors are bigger than Rod; it's so sad.) Look, I never listened to the Stooges until a week ago when I bought "Funhouse" and "The Stooges," right? I wasn't cool; I didn't know anything about them, not really, except "TV Eye" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog." So now I do, OK, and I have to say, Look, I already went through my Doors phase like 15 years ago.

I know it's not fair to blame them for the Doors, but come on.

At least they're 4,000 times way cooler than the Doorks.

The best best part is the jingle bells on "I Wanna BeYour Dog." I ask you: Why aren't all of you making songs with jingle bells? You could save the world, and you don't even try. So selfish.

You know, a lot of "cool" '60s bands are guilty of the jam band thing, though. Velvet Underground--they could get pretty jammy sometimes. This is the problem with drugs. They make jams sound much shorter and more textured than they really are.

If only bands would get off the psychedelics and the opiates and start drinking and taking speed again, like in the good old days.

Apparently the Beatles' drink was whiskey and Coke. Which is my drink. I have this theory that Paul and John are originally Irish, which would explain the whiskey thing. I also have a theory that Ringo is secretly Jewish. Look at the guy. Gimme a break. Considering the proud history of Jews in rock (Ramones, KISS, T. Rex, etc.), it's seems probable the Beatles had a Jew in there.



Hi, Feckless Drunks:

Quick: Whoever can tell me what the feck "feckless" means in the next hour will receive a fabulous Dubble Bubble trash can from moi.

I just know there's like 5,000 of you feckers out there totally reading my blog every feckin' five minutes, but you're too coy to post comments, because you are trying to work on your "image." It's about time people started thinking of you as "cool," you think to yourself, and not as just some person who writes Comments on blogs.

Yeah, I know you're out there. Nice try, pal.

Hi, P.S.!

I forgot this important thing: November 17 was also the birthday of Jeff Buckley, and Amoeba Records in Hollywood. Thank goodness for both of them. Jeff Buckley is the only rock star I ever sent a fan letter to. It was a drawing, I think. I always wondered if he got it. Oh, sigh.

Poor us. We don't get Jeff Buckley anymore.

ok bye.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Hi Little Budgie:

Good news today (thanks, Matt!): The Justice Department looks like it's considering a criminal suit against New Times and Voice Media for their low-down dirty rotten deal that killed the LA New Times. (I would link to my old column but the New Times Archives were wiped out. All that great investigative reporting on Scientology is gone, which makes you wonder...)

This news made me so fucking happy this morning.

I don't really know if they have a case but just the fact that these guys are probably freaking out right now is good enough for me.

So today is my birthday, so I'll consider this my birthday present from God. Last night me and some friends went bowling at Stardust Lanes, the classic American bowling alley. At 9:30 p.m., "Cosmic Bowling" started, where they turn down the lights and have blacklights and the pins glow, and they have funny dancing light-projections and stuff, and terrible Top 40 pop. The walls are painted with awesome '70s-style moonscapes, with planets and comets and stars.

They were playing a lot of crap white music like Avril Lavigne and Linkin Park, which was strange since the crowd was 85 percent black teenagers. Oh well, nobody seemed to care.

Bowling at Stardust, someone said, "Where does bowling come from?" I said, "Hey, I think I once wrote a whole article on the history of bowling or something, and I think it comes from.... um.... something to do with Germany?" The article is from a long-ago time when I was still all crushed out on Prague. Six years ago.

Anyway. My friends here are the best. They just want to have a good time. They don't want to complain and leave a party because it's not cool enough. They just want to drink beer, smoke and talk---like Axel in L.A.

I got three or four strikes, and they were all about 7 or 8 miles per hour--really, really slow.

This was a lesson. Just because your ball is going really slowly and sounds dorky rolling along the floor doesn't mean it won't kick ass in the end.



PS: I'll write another haiku for whoever gets the song reference up top ( But don't just type the words into a search engine. that's no fun for anybody--well, except for you, I suppose. But this isn't about you.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Hi Goober Grape:

Can you even believe how many ridiculous names they come up with for foods?

It's a cornucopia of weirdness.

So I am to'lly procrastinating. I should come up with an abbreviation for procrastination. I am to'lly 'nating. Yeah. How about that, I am tolly 'nating.

So anyway, I'm 'nating on a couple articles and so this'll be way short. In order to get inspired creatively I stopped by Dulono's pizza at Lake and Lyndale for 45 minutes to meet my friend John and drink Summit on tap and catch up and talk a little about 'Stone.Yeah, let's abbreviate evything tonight. So me and John talked about Stone, which was the sort of thing I need a lil more of. Being here I need to sort of share a little of how people feel about Stone, and are dealing, and dealt. People are so amazingly flexible; they can get over things so quickly--or appear to, rather. I mean, my parents and lots of people still have their plain green "Wellstone!" signs out on the front fence (it never changed from 1990 to today), draped in black ribbons now--and a lot of people have Mondale signs, but people aren't in shock anymore. John told me that when it happened, day light savings was just ending and it had just gotten really cold, and it was an excruciating two weeks. Although, being a classic Minnesotan, he just said, "It was pretty hard."

People here understand about understatement. I think it helped my writing a ton to live here, because my Californian enthusiasm/hyperbole was curbed, and I learned about the concept of saying stuff by not saying it.

At Dulono's Pizza, they have live bluegrass on the weekends. That blasted bluegrass. It's the new hip-hop or something.

The crowd was wildly mixed among ages and subcultures. I have to say, Minneapolis has a sick percentage of cute rock boys.

The thing about LA is, there's tons of cute rock boys, but they are incredibly screwed up in the head about girls. They are really, really scared and weird. Plus, because of the culture of the entertainment industry, they halfway subconscously think all women are idiots. And it's true that there are many awful, stupid women in H-wood. Plus, in Hollywood, beauty is nothing--incredibly hot girls are a dime a dozen, so looks won't get you all that far, even with assholes.

So basically most cute rock boys that I meet act like they couldn't even be bothered. They so don't give a shit. Now, whenever I meet a boy who's from the Midwest--Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin--I get so happy and excited.

I want to marry a Midwestern boy.

Gawd, I hafta go already.

Oh yeah, by the way: I couldn't make it to the GnR show at the Target Center Thursday night because I was busy working on my Top Secret Mission. Sorry. Somehow I don't feel the slightest regret about that. It's a historical curiosity at this point. The future lies elsewhere.



Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Hi Food:

So enough with the Central European history, Chamberlain, Chambermaid, Churchill and Churchpew and all the rest. It is now time to talk about Chuck. Chuck hooked me up with the fancy Comments deal, where you can tell me your secrets and yell. Since Chuck showed me how to get Comments, this site has become 300 percent more interactive. Before, you could only throw cheese at the screen.

Go dig Chuck's blog.

My dad is in the next room, the bathroom, talking to the plumber about computers. The plumber has a thick Minnesota "youbet" (you know: the Minnesota version of a "drawl") and they've moved in ten seconds from talking about how much they hate computers to how much they hate the government. I think my dad was on thin ice just now when he said, "They hate big government except when it wants to go to war in Iraq" or something. My dad counts on the liberal skepticism of the working man, especially in Minnesota, home of Paul Wellstone, master of transforming liberalism to populism (as the LA Weekly noted).

Anyway. So. Ever since Wellstone's deal (his death, if you must know, but fuck it, i have a right to live in denial, so screw you, asshole), I have been making a mental list of all that is Good in my daily life, so that I might celebrate and enjoy it now, while I have it, and not just grieve it when it is gone.

Unfortunately I am brain-dead and starved and cannot remember the whole list right now. So maybe next time. And then you can add to the list on the Comments deal. All I remember right now is MOJO Magazine, the White Stripes, KXLU, Breakfast With the Beatles, and I can't remember what else.

Last night I had a fancy-ass dinner for free, courtesy of City Pages, because their hilarious and wonderful restaurant critic, Dara Moskowitz, took me out to dinner. It felt very grown-up. We're two "career girls" with credit cards and really sexy, exciting things to talk about, and incredible gossip that could ruin careers and bring empires toppling.

Haw haw. Anyway, what she said that stuck deep was that, in life, the key to real strength is exposing one's vulnerability. If you can go through life kind of vulnerable, open (kind of like the "softened heart" thing I mentioned before), you build a kind of really solid strength that holds you stable. This is the secret that a lot of people (especially men, I'm afraid) don't get.

Anyway, I also met Dara's new BF, who is just as supercute as she said. Ah, Minneapolis.



Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Hey Googlephonics!

Matt: Thanx for your thoughtful drunken response. (Gentle reader: See Matt's comments on the entry two doors down.) I am interested in the section of your note about the French, Brits et al. selling the Czechs down the river. This seems to be the crucial moment in your note. You are talking about the weird deal Churchill cooked up to pacify Hitler by handing over control of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland--which countries was it? It was called the whatchamacallit deal?

Obviously I've drunk a lot of bad American beer since I left and it's pickled the Czech-history sector of my brain.

I know what you mean about the Czechs and xenophobia. It might have something to do with the fact that Czechs have historically always been under exterior control, and felt insecure. When you are insecure, you always want to feel in-control, even when it makes you look like a terrible insecure asshole. This was one of the great things about Masaryk: He was so confident, so stylish and masterful. He was not an oppressed leader.

But I don't want to make excuses for genocide. The Czechs didn't put up a huge resistance to Hitler.

Of course, most of those who did were shot in Kobylisy or wherever (did you know about the execution range they had preserved in the panelak development on Strelnicna where Barney, me, Wade and a bunch of people lived--it was turned into a resistance memorial)---or like that entire village outside Prague, Lidice, that was slaughtered--or else they died in Terezin or wherever, like that babing GF of Kafka, Milena Jesenska, who died in a camp because she was a flamboyant Jew-lover and a weirdo journalist with a mind and a heart. She was very into fashion. She said, My idea of freedom is a little cafe in Prague.

She said that while she was in a camp.

Imagine being in a Nazi concentration camp, sick, starving, dying, and just fantasizing about wearing your sexy gorgeous clothes and meeting your boyfriend at the cafe on the river and having Becherovka and coffee. She liked Slavia Cafe the best.

This is why a girl should never feel ashamed about loving light physical pleasure--like coffeehouses, clothing, conversation, boys and cigarettes. There's something deeper about it that you might not discover until you lose it.

Got to go.



"I'm not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful."

Marilyn Monroe

(I know I used that before, but it bears repeating, as often as possible, because it is huge.)



Monday, November 11, 2002

Hi Antipasto:

Prepare for a terribly boring blog log. I don't know what's up, or why I'm so boring lately. I guess the wang chung of my dad's desk here in Minneapolis is wrong. It's a shame, because my life is kind of all right, and if I had the skillz, I could convey it to you.

Today I began my Top-Secret Mission. I won't tell you what it is, but I'll tell you that it involves the following elements:

1. The drums in "Drive My Car." Ringo does not get enough credit for the drums on this song. They are a big wow. I could go on and on, but better that you listen to them yourself. Listen to the way he omits certain beats on the pre-chorus (which makes me want to totally, you know... you know), and dig the masterful cowbell. I mean just swallow that cowbell whole, baby.

2. Becherovka (see below)

3. Garrison Keillor

Fortunately, during my mission I was able to stop at Liquor Depot and pick up a nice big bottle of Becherovka. Becherovka is the world's finest liqueur. It is Czech, and it's from Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad.

Carlsbad is special for a few reasons. One: Beethoven and the secret love of his love were supposed to have a romantic tryst their at their fave B&B. Somehow they missed each other, and it ruined his life. (According to the fun Gary Oldman movie, "Immortal Beloved.")

Also, Carlsbad was the first HQ for Hitler when he started to invade the Sudenlands. Close to the German border and a popular tourist (and living) spot for Germans, it was a Nazi-friendly town. Supposedly when Hitler arrived, he went to the Becherovka distillery and sat down and demanded a drink. (They have a special tasting room for visitors. I drank there, too. It is wonderfully exciting to be in the birthplace of the world's best magical elixir.)

Hitler thought he was so big. He thought he could just waltz in and take over. Steal the recipe, take the money, drink the booze, kill the Jews, Gypsies, weirdos and dissidents . He wasn't much fun. After he left, the Commies got the recipe. I don't know who owns it now.

The next time you go to Prague, you simply have to go to a small hole in the wall bar and order a Becherovka on ice. You will sip and then shoot it.Your belly will blush, and you will find the bartender heartcrushingly beautiful, and you will feel alive.

Carlsbad has 12 springs of mineral waters, and the Becherovka distillery is known as the 13th.

They also have a film festival in Karlovy Vary. But who cares about that.

Becherovka is made from a secret recipe which only the chief of the distillery knows. He goes into a small room alone to mix up the basic recipe. Anyone with taste buds knows the primary ingredients are sugar and cloves. It is the taste of an Austro-Hungarian Christmas, put in a bottle for your tum.

For what it's worth, Frank Zappa was in love with it and said it was the best product of the Czech nation. Frank Zappa produced Captain Beefheart.

I don't know that much about Central European history and politics, but I wonder what would have happened if the Austro-Hungarian Empire hadn't broken up when it did, and if Czechoslovakia hadn't gotten independence when it did. What would have happened with the Nazis? Matt, do you have any ideas on this?

When I lived in Prague, my fondness for Becherovka became a bit of a shtick. It was my "big thing." Some people, their big thing is they smoke a lot. Or they love Hunter Thompson. Or they're really big on candy. My thing was Becherovka. It had a spiritual, sacramental quality for me. Maybe that's because it nursed me through countless painful "lady times." It's a girl's best friend---even better than diamonds, chocolate, and a VCR.

Anyway, I never drink it because it's hard to find in L.A., but maybe because of the large Slavic situation here in Minnesota, you can get it at Liquor Depot.

Naturally, the Big Excuse for Becherovka is that it's "medicinal." So today I used that excuse to pound Becherovka and get drunk while on my mission. It was just super. Getting drunk during the day in a cold Midwestern city is just the bee's bonnet. Especially since I don't have to stay all winter, and I can go back to California and go swimming in Jim and Jean's hot tub pool.

But now I have to write an article and all I want to do is:

1. Go to sleep and think about Johnny Depp

2. Go to sleep and think about the fun I had at Halle's sexy wedding

3. Go to the Red Dragon and smoke and drink

4. Drive around with Jim Walsh, who is in California, and listen to "Odessey and Oracle" and get high, and then stop by at the 400 Bar and say hi to Bill Sullivan, the owner. Bill used to manage the Replacements, or something, and he claims that he is the reason for why the Pixies and the "Mats" were both so loud. Something to do with some weird loud-ass amp or speaker or something he bought for the Mats on the road when one of theirs blew out, and the Pixies copied them. See, I need to go get the details again, because I was probably drunk when he told me the story. I think that was the night Lenny Kaye was there, and he and Hillary were making out, and he said he liked the Backstreet Boys. These are just two reasons to like Lenny Kaye. Anybody who likes Hillary and the Backstreet Boys (well, you know, back in the day) knows how to keep hope alive. Not to mention the fact that he included Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Just Like Me" on one of the Nuggets' compilations. It's just a gorgeous act of proto-punk rock.



Sunday, November 10, 2002

Hi, Tender Vittles:

I'm in Minneapolis. I'm here on a "Top-Secret" mission I can't discuss. I mean, I could, but then I'd have to kill you.

It's 35 degrees or something.

I guess G. Keillor got a lot of shit for that essay.

People are so goddamn touchy.

Even my dad was upset and I told him, You're just jealous. He said, That is an "ad homonem" (sp?) insult. I'm all, whuh? He says, below the belt.

Men are really sensitive about jealousy. They loathe the thought that they could possibly be jealous of another man, and even more, they despise the thought that their jealousy might be completely transparent to a woman.

So anyway I'll be here for like nine days or something. I am hoping to have something rock and sexy to report by the end of the trip. I went to a pretty sexy wedding last night in downtown L.A. for the gorgeous Halle Pickering, a.k.a. Honey Corday (of Velvet Hammer burlesque fame) and her man, Andy Bialk. I have to say, there were tons of cute guys there. Which is always a happy surprise.

The wedding was also extremely emotional for all of us, for two reasons:

1. They are super crazy in love with each other, which is always inpsiring and wild to witness.

2. Halle's folks are no longer alive and I wished they could have been there in the flesh to see how beautiful and strong, and happy, their daughter is. I never knew Halle's mom, but her dad was a great man. He drove the most insane cars, including an old UPS truck.

Anyway. At the party I also met a lady named Kim, who was responsible for "LA Dee Dah" in LA Weekly back in the day. LA Dee Dah was the nightlife gossip column back during "the scene." You know, when there were all these big competing dance clubs and punk clubs and, oh, just everything. I found out why she always mentioned the Chili Peppers so much, especially Anthony: They were roommates. Ah, journalism. Anyway, it was neat to connect with a real old-school scenester journo.

My old junior high GFs were all there, and we're all as exotically damaged as ever. I mean, OK. Halle finally got married. But out of me, Halle, Elexa, Vanessa, and Samantha, I don't think one of us has a job. Not a real nine to five. As mentioned, Elexa's a belly dancer/actress, Samantha's an actress, Vanessa's an actress/masseuse, Halle's a burlesque lady/actress, and I'm a writer. I don't know how I managed to miss the "actress"-suffix. I guess my parents had something to do with that. I don't know if any of us would be friends now if not for our shared history. But it tickles me (as my mom would say) that we can get together every six months or whatever and understand each other in a way that nobody else does.



Friday, November 08, 2002

Greetings, Magic Christians!

I am giving my friend a ukelele as a wedding gift tomorrow, so I went online to find out how to tune the fucker. In the process I found the "Cute Website of the Week" award winner, How To Play the Ukelele. (Dig the majestic drawings!)

I am certain I now know less about tuning a ukelele than before, but it's all good.

Come On, People. Feel the Magic; Witness the Mystery:

"The Ukelele is a small, cute, and appreciated instrument. However, we don't always have the time to learn the Ukelele. In fact, one of the problems of our modern age is that we simply have no more time to learn the Ukelele. But do not despair! This simple and fast guide will help you learn this charming instrument.

The good point of ukulele is "very easy." Don't think about difficult things. Let's play ukulele.

Here is how to proceed :

1. Tune your Ukelele

Tuning a Ukelele is easy if you follow the chart to the right. Here are the steps :

1. The first, No3 string tune in "C".

2. OK? Next you push No.4 fret of No.3 string,and play it. Is it heard "E".

3. Next you must tune No.2 strings. The "E" sound of No.3 strings and No.2 free strings heard same.

4. OK? Next you must push No.3 fret of No.2 string. it's "G". Are you all right? it's sound is same as No.4 free string. It's last . 2nd fret of No.4 string heard same with No.1 free string sound.

Did you get that? Well, that's the problem that comes with it, you see, the author is from Japan and does not write english very well (or play Ukelele very well). But hey, free lesson, you can't afford to be picky.

2. Playing simple tunes

You only need to learn three cords to play : C, G and F. Well, you can only play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but that's better than nothing, right ?

If your family and friends makes there's face bitter, you don't have to think about them. If you are poor player, but no problem, back slowly and fade away. (...) If you hold such like a baby or cat under your arms, usually some people will makes merry and say "How pretty this baby! or How wise this cat!" In regard to it, the ukulele is not makes some people excite.

3. A lie!

You might think you are done, but the author also has to confess a lie. "Don't angry !". The three basic cords are C, F and G7, not C, F and G. Don't get scandalized and vandalize buildings, he only did it because he was instable :

The reason? Reason is nothing. I felt difficult "G7". Adding 7 to G makes me instability .

He closes this page by giving us the three important points of Ukelele :

* Difficult codes is changed to easy one.

* And you can't play skip that part.(see Chapter 6)

* Sing loudly

Words of wisdom. Have fun learning the Ukelele with anonymous Japanese guy.

Yo, Blowsy Brown:

All apparent innuendo in the following piece is fully intended, fully valid, and can be factually backed up. The guy ain't just a baby-kisser. (Ew.)

(City Pages? Is it time you did some arrogant asshole-puncturing again? Even if you, perhaps, have a few skeletons of your own?)


Empty Victory for a Hollow Man

How Norm Coleman sold his soul for a Senate seat.

(originally published on

- - - - - - - - - - - -

By Garrison Keillor

Nov. 7, 2002 | Norm Coleman won Minnesota because he was well-financed and well-packaged. Norm is a slick retail campaigner, the grabbiest and touchingest and feelingest politician in Minnesota history, a hugger and baby-kisser, and he's a genuine boomer candidate who reinvents himself at will. The guy is a Brooklyn boy who became a left-wing student radical at Hofstra University with hair down to his shoulders, organized antiwar marches, said vile things about Richard Nixon, etc. Then he came west, went to law school, changed his look, went to work in the attorney general's office in Minnesota. Was elected mayor of St. Paul as a moderate Democrat, then swung comfortably over to the Republican side. There was no dazzling light on the road to Damascus, no soul-searching: Norm switched parties as you'd change sport coats.

Norm is glib. I once organized a dinner at the Minnesota Club to celebrate F. Scott Fitzgerald's birthday and Norm came, at the suggestion of his office, and spoke, at some length and with quite some fervor, about how much Fitzgerald means to all of us in St. Paul, and it was soon clear to anyone who has ever graded 9th grade book reports that the mayor had never read Fitzgerald. Nonetheless, he spoke at great length, with great feeling.

Last month, when Bush came to sprinkle water on his campaign, Norm introduced him by saying, "God bless America is a prayer, and I believe that this man is God's answer to that prayer." Same guy.

(Jesse Ventura, of course, wouldn't have been caught dead blathering at an F. Scott Fitzgerald dinner about how proud we are of the Great Whoever-He-Was and his vision and his dream blah-blah-blah, and that was the refreshing thing about Jesse. The sort of unctuous hooey that comes naturally and easily to Norm Coleman Jesse would be ashamed to utter in public. Give the man his due. He spoke English. He didn't open his mouth and emit soap bubbles. He was no suck up. He had more dignity than to kiss the president's shoe.)

Norm got a free ride from the press. St. Paul is a small town and anybody who hangs around the St. Paul Grill knows about Norm's habits. Everyone knows that his family situation is, shall we say, very interesting, but nobody bothered to ask about it, least of all the religious people in the Republican Party. They made their peace with hypocrisy long ago. So this false knight made his way as an all-purpose feel-good candidate, standing for vaguely Republican values supporting the president.

He was 9 points down to Wellstone when the senator's plane went down. But the tide was swinging toward the president in those last 10 days. And Norm rode the tide. Mondale took a little while to get a campaign going. And Norm finessed Wellstone's death beautifully. The Democrats stood up in raw grief and yelled and shook their fists and offended people. Norm played his violin. He sorrowed well in public, he was expertly nuanced. The mostly negative campaign he ran against Wellstone was forgotten immediately. He backpedalled in the one debate, cruised home a victor.

It was a dreadful low moment for the Minnesota voters. To choose Coleman over Walter Mondale is one of those dumb low-rent mistakes, like going to a great steakhouse and ordering the tuna sandwich. But I don't envy someone who's sold his soul. He's condemned to a life of small arrangements. There will be no passion, no joy, no heroism, for him. He is a hollow man. The next six years are not going to be

kind to Norm.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Hi, Friendly Haberdashers:

Ben emaiiled to say Mr. Ishibashi was a professional deep-sea fisherman.

Way cool!

Explains the mutant clams.

Also, last night I remembered that their satanic German shepherd was named Musashi. The only defense against Musashi was the hose. Why are dogs afraid of water?

Maybe he was afraid because he was the Wicked Witch of the West.

I just remembered another Third Avenue Classic: I think me and neighbor/friend Carrie Manion felt guilty for never petting Suki, because, you see, Suki never got any love, because poor Suki was gross. So one time, maybe like during one of our Christian perfect-angel do-gooder phases, me and Carrie took paper towels, and petted Suki using the paper towels.

Suki, if you were alive today, i would put on some gloves and I would love you so much your eyes would cross. I am so sorry for being so prejudiced.

OK bye. I'm on total deadline today.


PS: OMG. Brendan, I just read your totally blogoriffic comment on Mr. Ishibashi, Mr. Lee, and the "bullshit Whole Foods Experience." It made me so happy, I laughed out loud twice! Reader, go read it immediately and love Brendan just a little more.

You know, I can kind of relate to what you were saying about the reticence of the new Chinese immigrants in your neighborhood, because that's what everybody said when our neighborhood was turning into Koreatown in the '70s and '80s. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "those damn Koreans," well, I'd buy you some fancy sneakers. (If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase, "Those damn Mexicans," I'd buy myself a new stereo.)

There's a lot to be said about Third Avenue in the '70s and '80s, but I don't have time right now to devote to it. Anyway, Brendan, your letter kicked ass.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

People of the World:

Look you guys, you can post comments now. It's an experiment and we'll see how it goes. If nobody's commenting or if the comments bum me out, I'm getting rid of it. This blog is an ego/vanity project whose sole purpose is my pleasure.

My fave acupuncture doctor told me he found my blog. Hi, Masaru!

Masaru is from Sapporo originally, so he understands about drinking. He said Sapporo got beer when the Germans brought it over in the late 1800s. Japan was busy getting Westernized, which included, you know, beer.

The Germans are good for two things: beer, and Axel.

Did you know that Japan and Germany have a history of, how you say, cultural exchange?

I didn't know this.

Masaru's all, Um, hello?

OK, I know. WWII and all.

But it's hard for me to think of Japan as a German-style enemy. When I think of Japan, I think of Hello Kitty, Cibo Matto, superhero fashion, cute skinny boys with bleached-blonde Beatles haircuts, haiku poetry, video games and stereos and gadgets of all sorts, sushi and amazing candy packages, kimonos and cherry trees and bonsai trees and gardens and tea, and the world's most sophisticated and outrageous street fashion.

I think of Zen Buddhism too.

Also, Pink Lady and Puffy AmiYumi.

Plus, soy sauce flavored cracker balls, and the world's best holiday names: Ocean Day, Children's Day, etc.

As you know, Japanese kids are the world's greatest music fans, too

And sake bombs. Let us not forget the esteemed sake bomb.

Our next-door neighbors growing up on Third Avenue were the Ishibashis, a great 3rd-generation family with lots of cousins and grandparents and people running around all the time. Once a week, they had a family reunion, every Tuesday, and I would go over and play with April and Audra, my favorite cousins.

The Ishibashis were the first people I knew to have early cable, called "On TV." I think they had "The Z Channel" too, maybe. Maybe later? Anyway, they were in love with boxing, which is why they got those channels, to watch Holmes vs. Whoever and Sugar Ray Leonard and whatnot. And basketball--you could practically keep score by the sound of the men exploding whenever the Lakers scored.

Us kids were mainly into eating those soy crackers, watching TV, playing in my backyard, roller skating, running in sprinklers, swimming at the Manions' (a great Irish clan down the block), and doing crafts projects, because Mrs. Ishibashi was an art teacher. Her house was full of great '70s crafts stuff like macrame plant hangers, hippie lithographs, pottery, etc. Growing up in the '70s, in general, was all about the crafts projects--macaroni madness, God's eyes, you name it.

Mr. Ishibashi loved Playboy Magazine and jazz music. I don't even know what he did for a living. When you're a kid, you don't care about that stuff. All you care about is, will he let us watch TV upstairs. I remember one time watching "Enter the Dragon" on their bed with Ben and some other random kids. Ben was so into Bruce Lee. And Ultra Man, and Giant Robot.

They had two dogs in the '70s: a pretty girl mutt named Puff, and a tiny, scaly, decrepit old thing with no hair called Suki.

Poor, poor Suki. I could never pet Suki in the first place. But then, Puff died prematurely (one of the sons had his truck on the lawn, as usual, and Puff was asleep underneath, and her hearing was going, and he felt just awful afterward). After Puff was gone, Suki didn't stand a chance against the evil pit bulls from 9th St., who had crippled Suki in the first place. Poor, poor Suki. If you can't picture Suki, just think of Eeyore with mange and no ribbon on his tail, and you've got the basic vibe.

Later, in the '80s, I drifted away from April and Audra and the whole family. I don't know what happened. I guess our schedules changed, and our interests. Audra was a little older than me, and I think she started to become a real teenager when I was still just a child. She got really into basketball and she went to public school and got kind of tough.

I found out when I was older that the Ishibashi grandfather, a quiet gardener man, had been interned during WWII. "Interned." What a word. It sounds like he was doing graduate research.

Much, much later, I found out from my mother that all the women on the block had a thing for Mr. Ishibashi (the Playboy guy). To me, he was this kind of fat guy who went clamming and gave us these horrid, huge monster clams with enormous protruding "necks," that lived in buckets in the back hall until my mom cooked them. But according to Faith, Mr. Ishibashi had the sort of sexy sly vibe that drives a lonely 1970s housewife slightly mad!

In the '80s they got a horrible satanic German shepherd named Moussaka or something (however you say "warrior" in Japanese), and you couldn't even go in your own backyard because he barked so vicously. It ruined everything and it seemed like they hated us.

The End.



Look, it's all my fault. Because I was not loving enough, and because I was not smart enough, and also because I was too apathetic, the Democrats lost the Senate. I would apologize but it would be an insult to you. It could never convey the depth of my regret.

But there's a bright side to all this.

1. The Democratic Party is lame and has lost sight of its purpose, and this may be a good wake-up call.

2. The voting results don't mean we live in a country of right-wing idiots. The Green Party has divided lefties somewhat.

3. Their majority isn't that great in the Senate. Maybe one of their guys will die bizarrely just before a close and crucial vote.

4. I feel dirty saying that, ew. I don't want anyone to die. I just hate it that it's only good guys who ever die mysteriously or are assassinated.

5. I am very proud of California! We voted for schools, for clean water, for all kinds of good stuff. The greens took a significant chunk of votes from Davis too. We are not a state of idiots.

6. I think that's about it for the "silver lining" deal.

7. Oh yeah, I forgot: My parents recently got Irish citizenship, and if we go to war, they're going to move to Ireland for a while, and you know what that means: House party! Haw haw. Actually, it means that I can go visit them and drink Irish coffee all day.



Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Hi Kid:

Just got the new George Harrison single in the mail today. It's funny, yesterday I received the new reissue of "Mind Games," and a couple days before that, an EPK for George's new record, "Brainwashed."

Oh yeah: An "EPK" is an electronic press kit, or basically a short promo video for a new record or whatever. It's one of those cute "insider" terms, like "J-card" and "hed" and "cutline" and "slug," that you feel kind of "cool" using, but also like an asshole if someone nearby doesn't know what you mean. To tell you the truth, i don't really know what a "slug" is myself, unless it's the short name that an article is given on the "run sheet"---oops, I did it again!

Special Secret Music/Journo Vocab Install. 1 (sshhh!):

1. EPK (see above)

2. J-card: a very '90s term, sadly rare today, for the cardboard thingy in a cassette tape

3. Hed: (LOVE it) Headline

4. Cutline: photo caption

5. Slug: short name given to a story on the runsheet? (MATT you would know)

6. Runsheet: The list of stories running in an issue or edition or whatever you want to call it

7. Flak: A publicity person (I never use this word. You have to be VERY cool to use it.)

8. Hack: Moi!

9. Lede: Cutesy journalistic spelling for Lead. A lead is the first line or so of your article. I do not understand the tradition of spelling lead "lede." I can understand "hed" because it saves letters, and it's just generally way cool. "Lede" does not save letters and is pretentious.

A Word On Leads:

Anyone who thinks that journalism is easy has obviously never understood the concept of leads. Such a person has probably never written a good lead, and doesn't even know it.

Writing leads is like breakups, like the first day of your period, like getting a tooth pulled: Incredibly unpleasant, and something you basically just know you're gonna have to go through (though you put it off for days or weeks or years), but it's not gonna kill you, and you'll feel much better when it's over.

That is, I have never heard of a lead killing someone---but that doesn't mean it's not possible.

But back to George Harrison. OK, now, here's the thing.

I live for E.L.O. It's nothing to brag about, but there it is.

Ask me how I spell Triumph, and I say E.L.O.

But Jeff Lynne's production/arranging instincts only apply within the alternate sonic universe of E.L.O. They only shine in all their glory on his songs, because only he knows how to write songs that aren't diminished by the je ne sais quack of it all.

I mean, OK, the Travelling Wilburys was fun, but come on: It wasn't one tenth as good as E.L.O., and anyway he wrote a lot of that stuff.

And yeah, Tom Petty had a lot of hits with Jeff Lynne's production, but that doesn't mean it was cool. So uncool.

So the point here is that on aforementioned "EPK," Jeff Lynne admitted that he didn't really follow George's dying wish to create a stripped-down, non-"posh" record. Jeff went ahead anyway and poshed the shit up, and even put in the mighty dangerous Jeff Lynne signature acoustic guitar strums.

I've only heard the first single, and the song itself is not that stellar, and the result is lame.

Why, o why?

Paul McCartney is currently re-producing "Let It Be," which seems very right and as it should be. (Don't you think he should George Martin in on that shit, too?)

I think one day someone else will re-produce "Brainwashed."

Then again, I've only heard one song, so don't listen to me.

Now, back to Charlie Watts. Jim Walsh wrote in:

"i was just telling my sister about why it's always worth seeing the stones: "charlie watts. he's the anchor, babe. allows mick (a great lead singer) and keith (a great guitarist) to be high-flying kites to his steady spool.

i thought bill wyman was a dork, but a pretty likable dork, and ripping those two apart still hurts.

i mean, hubba-hubba. just listen to charlie hit that fucking snare drum. no cooler sound in the world; like a gunshot you know isn't a gunshot.

they had rhythm together, which is all that matters. he should beg them to let him back in. who the fuck plays bass for the stones now, anyway? who cares?dude, all you have to do is just say, 'i'm back. i'm a stone. i'll do

whatever charlie wants for as long as he wants. playing with him is like playing with God.'"

Yeah, plus Bill Wyman had that weird Rolling Stone face that you either have or don't have.

Anyone else got some personal insight into Charlie?



Monday, November 04, 2002

What's Shakin' Bacon?

I am obsessed with BLTA sandwiches: bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado. I have had one for dinner three days in a row. What is this strange calling?

Bacon, as discussed previously, is the yummiest thing in the world. If you agree, may I recommend Fletcher's brand bacon. It is the Kobe Bryant of bacon.

On Sunday, "Breakfast With the Beatles" was a special "Beatles vs. Stones" show in which Chris Carter played the two bands' competing singles from the early days through to the Beatles' last proper single, "You Know My Name, Look Up the Number."

I think the show was a little bit unfair to the Stones, because so much of the Stones' best stuff happened post-Beatles. Furthermore, a lot of their best songs were not normal radio singles. Also, Chris seemed to stack the singles unfairly--instead of playing the perfectly triumphant "She's A Rainbow" he played the naff B-side, "2000 Light Years From Home."

I was lying in bed listening to that song and having one of those acid-trip moments when you fixate on one particular instrument--in this case, the maraca. I couldn't hear anything else, and it seemed to be very self-important and attention-hungry, like a baton girl at the front of a parade.

The other great thing was that the maraca was played way imperfectly, only slightly better than I might play it. The production was sloppy in general.

Where did bands get the idea they had to be perfect?

Anyway. When you listen to a Stones song and don't fixate on the maraca, it just lends this kind of sexy voodoo vibe to the proceedings. But when you fixate on it, and you can see someone's hand (Mick's?) shaking it next to a microphone, just shaking it over and over and over and over again, you realize what an incredibly dorky instrument it is.

Wow. I bet you never thought you'd have to read like three entire paragraphs devoted to maracas. I'm even getting sick of the word; it seems to stick out.

The whole point here was supposed to be Charlie Watts. Because, see, in all the press about the Stones' new record and tour and stuff, Charlie is finally emerging (to me) as a really interesting and extremely exotic bird. Your true Stones fans like your Ken Laynes, your Axels---and your drummer-geeks such as Steve Coulter---will say "Where the hell have you been?"

These sorts of guys are always going on and on about what a genius Charlie Watts is, and how he's really the "coolest" Stone and all this.

(This is such a guy thing to say. Guys are eternally standing up for the sexual underdog and shaking their heads at the stupidity of women who fall for the Obvious Sex God. I think they're onto something, actually. To generalize, lead singers are narcissists with heavy mom-issues, and rhythm players grew up with sisters or cool moms and have a more exciting attitude toward women.)

Anyway, the point is, Charlie.

I mean, you look at the guy---first of all, he's the only one who doesn't dye his hair. All the others are trying to pretend they're not completely gray. I am so sure.

You look at photos going way back, and Charlie always dressed like some 1920s banker. Completely uncool, completely unrock.

And yet he is the most erotic drummer in the history of rock.

Can you make sense of this for me?

What is his real personality like? Is he funny? Is he shy? How does he fit in emotionally with the rest of the group?

I know I should just go read some books but I want immediate gratification.

My email is

Blogger won't let me post comments. Bummer.



Sunday, November 03, 2002

Hi Pandas!


The philosophical underpinnings of "Spirited Away" (not "Swept Away," silly!) are more sophisticated than those of "Harry Potter," and here's why.

In "Spirited Away" (the awesome new Japanese animated girl-power fantasy movie), almost none of the characters are purely good or bad. The duality of good and bad is treated differently, maybe because in real life, no one is purely good or bad. Everyone is, however, self-interested.

This doesn't mean the movie is more fun than "Harry Potter." I really dig the black-and-white morality in those books. And, come to think of it, things aren't always so clear in Harry's world, either. Like Snape, or that blasted cat.


I was at Amoeba today and I heard a pop song so complete, so cute, so smart and ecstatic, it brought happy tears of amazement to my eyes, and I had to hold my head in my hands and shake it and go, "Oh, oh oh...."

Actually, there were two in a row. One is called "Love So Pure," and the other is called "True Asia." They are by Puffy (a.k.a. Puffy AmiYumi). "True Asia" should really be called "True ELO." It is a tribute to ELO, and it is about pandas.

Pandas are the mascot of Immaculate Heart, my all-girls' junior high and high school. This school taught me to be a crazy romantic weirdo, even though they tried to pretend they were really tight-ass Catholics. They try to sanitize their history, but we Pandas know the truth, Ruth!

So, anyway, you could say the song is a tribute to ELO and Immaculate Heart weirdos like Debbie Urlik, the housewife-comedian; Maggie (my sis!) the poet and self-described "witch"; Elexa the bellydancer; Halle, the burlesque goddess; Vanessa, the brilliant clothing-optional actress; Kristy, the documentary filmmaker, Ione, the painter. And especially Corita, the graphic artist/activist/ex-nun/aesthetic soul of Immaculate Heart.

Corita said stuff like, "We can create life without war," and made lithographs of Beatles song lyrics, such as "Love is here to stay/And that's enough."

She also said, "No man is a watermelon." But I beg to differ. I have met one or two, and they were sweet and delicious.


John Davidson figured out the song reference up top. So here's your haikus, Kid J. I had to write two--one serious, one funny:

alcoholic ohio,

summer nightswimming:

john d. understands.

* * *

he's john davidson.

he's guided by the voices.

that's incredible!

(har har!)

The song is called "Storm Vibrations." The beautiful lyrics are at the bottom. Check it.


I must be procrastinating again. I made a list in "Listmania" on Amazon. I guess now I'm a Listmaniac. It's a Listmaniac Attack! Gak! Hold me back! Have a snack!


Today I went to yoga, and the teacher read a little from "The Velveteen Rabbit," which is about a toy that wants to become real. It's about "realness," really, which is not something to be defined, but something to be felt from within.

The bunny asks the Skin Horse how to become real.

"'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt to be Real?'


It hurts a lot to be real. But I disagree with the book to an extent: I don't think you become real passively, by being loved by someone else. I think you become Real by loving other people, and yourself, and really working at softening your heart.

George Harrison's (totally hot) 24-year-old son said something smart about pain. He was talking about his father getting stabbed and dying, and he said, "You can experience only as much joy as you have had sorrow. Sorrow is like the hollowing out of a wooden block, and joy is what fills it up. The more sorrow you've had, the deeper the joy you can experience."

Love and snacks,


"Storm Vibrations"

(from Guided By Voices' "Universal Truths and Cycles")

Does she blend well?

Your choice, I mean?

Your angel baby monkey girl

The gift of smiles and love production

Her sunshine mind

Her storm cloud eyes

Blending colors into brown

Confusing emotions - deliberately

Does it hurt you?

To love, I mean?

And all the creases in your brow?

The red bed spread?

The storm vibrations?

The starless nights?

The shattered screen?

Allowing pain to enter

Let your guard/God down obviously

I will try to find you

No matter where you may go

It will try to find you

No matter who you may know

Does it hurt you?

To love, I mean?

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Hi Blast-Ended Skrewts!

My and my man Tony Pierce are so in sync. Last night at Ken Layne and Laura Crane's Day of the Dead/Halloween party we accidentally made a couple-costume as the White Stripes. Unfortunately I only know of this one shot, which is really not, you know, "flattering," in the "I look good" sense. If anyone has somethin better, send it, please! (

I was actually a White Stripes pirate, with a hook and pirate flag, but it required a lot of explaining.

The costumes were astounding, especially Ken and Laura as Hagrid and Hermione, and Ali as Frida Kahlo. Kim and Ken as Barbie and Ken were also great.

There were a number of half-assed silly-costumes, such as Matt Welch as "That Jackass In the Green Jumpsuit," :) but I found Os's "Dr. Tyler, On-Call Obstetrician" look to be scrubadelic in the extreme.

Anyway, I'm gonna turn in soon. We were up till 5 a.m. It was a guitar thing. When you get your hands on a guitar, time takes a powder. Ten minutes go by, and then you look at the clock and it's 5 a.m., and time is snickering at you from the corner, pointing its bony finger and calling you a "funny mortal."

Last night's session was nifty because Matt was playing, and he was feeling Tsarmenian, playing songs such as "Ordinary Gurl" and "Kathy Fong Is the Bomb." The requests then started to dig deep into the Van Diamond/Whalen catalogue. I had never played any of these songs, though I had sung along to all of them since my first days in Prague on the Charles Bridge.

I love watching Matt in these singalongs, because whenever we hit a really nice four-part harmonic moment, he smiles to himself, as if someone were scratching a sweet spot on his belly. Matt has special harmonic frequencies in his brain, and he is always looking for the secret chord.

A lot of the guitar parts were bizarrely complicated, which belied Whalen's perennial insistence that he "can't play guitar." Whatever. It's funny, but whenever I hear these songs, it's always at some singalong without Jeff, as if he were some sailor at sea and all that's left are these remnants of his past---a shoe, a flower, a key to some old lock. Over the years these songs have become memory capsules of our collective history, too (along with many jewels by Macilvaine, Welch, Kern, Hornberger, Pontius, Antonides, and others). Every song carries with it particular meaning and memories for each person. For example, when Matt plays "Carolanne," or however you spell it (my favorite Whalen song), I am always reminded of a night in Prague when Matt and I were coming back from the Drancy bar and found ourselves locked out of the Prognosis office. Our key just wouldn't work, so we decided to do some incantations. No joy. So finally, Matt sat down and played the song. (I guess he had his guitar with him!) After he finished, we tried the door one last time, and it opened.

Our group is pretty weird and there's a lot of history and incest and, how you say, "baggage," there. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, there's a history of serious growing pains. These people have seen me at my most confused and young and desperate, and occasionally at my most womanly and optimistic. I am pretty delighted to feel this group growing up now, moving into the future, letting go of a lot of bullshit, individuating and breaking away. I had to break away completely a couple different times, and even now I spend most of my time with people outside the group. Hillary, especially, is my major partner in crime, because with me and Hillary, everything is always about the New Thing. The new music, the new joke, the new plan. (And, of course, the new overpriced lip gloss.)

The idylls of the past give way to the neverending fascinations of the present. And that's the way it should be. I no longer spend my time reminiscing about Prague. Prague as it was then is over. And I don't pine for Los Angeles c. 1998. That Los Angeles is gone, and that me is gone, too. I wish her well, but I sure don't miss her!

That girl would have been too self-conscious to ever pick up a guitar at a party, and sing, and screw up the chords, and sing wrong notes, and drink and have fun and never apologize.

But that's what I like best to do now. And so I bid a fond but satisfied farewell to the past. Thanks for the lessons, and thanks for the memories. Rest in peace.

So now I got to go the hell to sleep.

Love n stuff,


PS: If you can name the song reference at the tippy-top of the page, I will write you a haiku.

PPS: Halloween was awesome at Amoeba Records. They had plastic pumpkins everywhere full of candy. Happiness is a lemon Jolly Rancher and a Tootsie Roll in your mouth---at the same time.