Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday Time.

It's hiatus time again around Eric's House, what with the college closing down for the Christmas break and all. I'll be back in effect (yeah, boyyyeeeeee!!!!) again in January, so try not to miss me too much (yeah, right).

Until then, happy Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Solstice, Festivus, whatever else.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Album the RIAA Doesn't Want You to Hear.

Whether you're a mash-up fan or not, check this out anyway if, for no other reason than to support two wholesome DJs in their damning-the-man activities. Get these tracks before they go away forever:

American Edit.

[BTW, the Record Industry Association of America, which wants to squash your listening enjoyment, should not be confused with the fine folks at RIAA, who want nothing more than to rock your body. (FWIW, I highly recommend the "Sounds For the Sun-Set" album.)]

Monday, November 28, 2005

Random 10 Answers.

Well, only one of you would hazard a guess on my "guess-the-lyric" Friday Random 10 post, so here are the answers to the other nine songs...

1. "You're given a flower but I guess there's just no pleasing you" ["Blue Orchid" by the White Stripes]
2. "Would you like to watch tv? Or get between the sheets? Or contemplate a silent freeway?" ["Just One of My Turns" by Pink Floyd]
3. "Are you ready for the Sucky-Sucky?" ["Bite Me" by the Electric Six]
4. "I’d be your lover, if you were there; Put your hurt on me, if you dare" ["Photograph" by Def Leppard]
5. "You realize the sun doesn't go down, it's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round" ["Do You Realize?" by the Flaming Lips -- guessed by Fred.]
6. "Well I'm a high school grad I'm over 5 foot 3, I'll get a badge and a gun and I'll join the P.D." ["God is a Bullet" by Concrete Blonde]
7. "Bird in a flying cage you’ll never get to know me well" ["Man in a Suitcase" by the Police]
8. "So get the morgue embalm the goner" ["911 is a Joke" by Public Enemy]
9. "My mind goes sleepwalking while I'm putting the world to right" ["Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello]
10. "Na de dil pardesi nu tainu nit da roona pai jau ga" ["Jogi" by Panjabi MC]

[sarcastic mode] Gee, I was so sure someone would guess #10. [/sarcastic mode]

Anyway, give these fine songs a listen sometime, won't you?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Five Questions.

From the wondrous world of Kass Rachel comes the popular LiveJournal "five questions" meme. Basically, someone asks you five interview-type questions, which you then answer in your blog. And, if anyone wants you to ask them five questions, they say so in the comments section. Got it? Good. Here we go...

1) What's fun about newspaper work?

It's hard to narrow it down to just one thing. There's the adrenaline rush of being in a newsroom on deadline, with a group of editors working together to get everything put to bed. There's the satisfaction of seeing your work published the next day (or posted online, what with this being the 21st century and all) and seeing the public's reaction. There's the geeky fun I have sitting in front of a computer and doing a page design, or worrying about textflow, or doing a thousand other nitpicky little things. There's the gossipy, catty fun of learning some big news before everyone else and then being the one to tell the world about it. (Which is a very powerful motivator to those who go into the journalism profession. Don't let them fool you with their explanations of the noble purposes of the press in a free society; we're just a bunch of folks who like to swap gossip over the back fence.) There's the camaraderie of the newsroom, which can be a rollicking fun place, especially when the deadline pressure builds. Plus, with my position having such a tutoring/mentoring component to it, there's the satisfaction of watching the students learn new skills and spread their wings.

2) If you could spend time inside any book or movie universe, which one would you choose and why?

Ah, yes. The all important fandom question. Somehow, I knew you'd get around to asking that. ;-)

I suppose it would be the X-Men universe, which comes from my past as a comics junkie. But only if I could have mutant powers of my own, too.

If not that, then it would probably be the bizarre non sequitur world of Coleman Francis. (Here is poorly-designed tribute page, which really gives the man more artistic credit than he deserves.) The only problem is that I don't like coffee. However, I am caught in the wheels of progress.

3) What has surprised you most about parenting so far?

Well, the stock answer to this question would involve the many hours of lost sleep, the sudden difficulty in keeping a clean house, or the new depths of joy and love you feel every time your children look up at you and simply smile. And all of that is very true. But what surprised me the most is not just how much pee and poop those little bodies can create, but also how heavy a full diaper really is. And, based on that, how hernia-inducing a full diaper pail can be.

4) What books were most formative for you, growing up?

For the sake of completeness, I'm going to use a fairly expansive definition of "growing up" here.

When I was preschool age, my parents didn't have much money to buy me a lot of books, so I had to make do with having the same ones read to me over and over. It was this repetition that helped me teach myself to read early on, and the book I remember most from that period is "Green Eggs and Ham."

Later on, there was this massive 500-page or so Marvel Comics activity book, which featured mazes, coloring pages, word games and other fun stuff based around their characters (circa late-'70s).

By junior high, it was Chris Claremont's stellar run of the X-Men.

Into high school and college, there was a very wide range of stuff, including "Wuthering Heights," "The Sound and the Fury," "Diane Arbus: A Biography" by Patricia Bosworth (along with Arbus' Aperture Monograph), "Fire in the Crucible" by John Briggs, Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," Shakespeare (especially "Hamlet," "Othello" and "Macbeth"), "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," two George Orwell novels (the obligatory "1984" and the unheralded "A Clergyman's Daughter"), "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton, bits and pieces of Kierkegaard, Nietschze, Sartre and Camus, plus lots of others I'm forgetting to list right now.

But for all that, I still spent more time in front of the TV than with my nose buried in a book. Don't even get me started on the ways "The Gong Show" has influenced my life, and continues to do so.

5) What's your favorite food and why?

Another tough question, since I pretty much just eat to live, and not the other way around. A gourmet I am not, which is why my list of favorite foods would include pizza (especially with pepperoni and pineapple), candy corn, Hot Tamales, Flaming Hot Cheetos, maraschino cherries or most anything that makes my mouth burn. Outside the realm of junk food, though, my favorites are my grandmother's Fabulous Potatoes (no, she didn't name the recipe that, but yes, they are fabulous), for their prominent part of our family traditions, and Mary Ann's pork chops, for her unique seasoning which produces what I like to call "the crunchy bits."

And with that, I'll shut up now.

Life Update.

Yeah, it's been a while since I've posted much of substance. So, here's what's been going on in our lives lately...

• Our old car, the lovely Phat-Ass Escort, finally up and died. The cause of death was determined to be a fairly convoluted ignition problem that would cost more to fix than the car is worth. (Of course, changing the wiper blades would also have cost more than that car was worth.) So, after nearly a month without transportation, we finally got our loan paperwork straightened out an bought a new vehicle -- a 1996 Honda Odyssey. (Yep, having kids really does mesmerize you into buying a minivan. It's unavoidable.) It's got 131,000 miles on it, but was maintained in perfect condition. It's unbelievable how much this thing looks (and even smells a little) like it just came off the dealer's lot. Now we just have to avoid messing this one up, too.

(Her first time inside, Sarah said, "Ooh! Car big!")

• I'm finally getting to teach my first class, News Editing (see the woefully under-written course description here.) It's only a two-unit course, but it'll be a short and intensive, held over ULV's month-long interterm in January. Should be fun, and give me a chance to dwell in my newspaper production geekery.

• Sarah's comprehension of what's going on around her seems to grow by leaps and bounds everyday, as does the number of topics she likes to talk about. While most kids her age are busy vegging out in front of "Barney" or "Blue's Clues" or something, she's become an eager fan of "Star Trek" (specifically "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space 9" -- she even makes us all get up and dance to the ST:TNG theme song), "Mythbusters," "Brainiac," "In Living Color" and "Around the Horn."

One of her favorite phrases lately is "I'm just a baby." She typically uses it as a guilt-inducing preface for getting what she wants, i.e.: "I'm just a baby, need cuddles" or "I'm just a baby, need foodies." During her bath this morning, completely unprompted, she turned to me and explained, "I'm just a baby, sometimes I play."

• Hunter just turned four months old and is vocalizing up a storm (with much of it beginning to sound imitative of our speech). He's also strong and likes to try to throw himself about, as if he's trying to get down and follow Sarah in her play adventures about the house. Of course, this is followed by his frustration at not being able to crawl yet, much less walk. But it won't be too long now...

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Own Friday Random 10.

Over at Occasional Fish, Fred likes to spice up the familiar Friday Random 10 music meme by listing the lyrics of the songs and having his readers guess them. Well, turnabout's fair play, here's my random 10 lyric list. The songs are the last 10 to have played on my iTunes shuffle, after I filtered out the instrumentals, confusing covers (both of which I have a lot of), and repeats of songs by the same artist from the same album (random shuffle, my ass!):

1. "You're given a flower but I guess there's just no pleasing you"
2. "Would you like to watch tv? Or get between the sheets? Or contemplate a silent freeway?"
3. "Are you ready for the Sucky-Sucky?"
4. "I’d be your lover, if you were there; Put your hurt on me, if you dare"
5. "You realize the sun doesn't go down, it's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round" [guessed by Fred.]
6. "Well I'm a high school grad I'm over 5 foot 3, I'll get a badge and a gun and I'll join the P.D."
7. "Bird in a flying cage you’ll never get to know me well"
8. "So get the morgue embalm the goner"
9. "My mind goes sleepwalking while I'm putting the world to right"
10. "Na de dil pardesi nu tainu nit da roona pai jau ga"

Needless to say, I'd be very surprised if my collective readership could guess them all. But give it a try!

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Sign of the Times.

Here's some bad news from the L.A. Times.

There are three things I find disturbing about this:

• The loss of Robert Scheer, one of the leading liberal voices in America. Sounds like management is caving into the pressure brought by all those wingnuts in high places who got agitated when he called them on their bullshit.

• The current abysmal state of editorial cartooning at American newspapers. Their shrinking numbers, and the fact that many papers are replacing them with work from syndicates, have steadly eroded the experience of the reader. And to see it happening at one of the country's major dailies (even if I never was much of a fan of Michael Ramirez's work) is especially disheartening. Oh, how I long for the days of Paul Conrad once again.

• Perhaps the most troubling thing about all this reorganization, though, is this little tidbit buried about halfway through the story -- new Editorial Page Editor Andrés Martinez will no longer report to the Times' editor in chief, but instead will report directly to publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson. A newspaper's op-ed section is its heart and soul, and the standard-bearer of its independence and integrity. But now to see the Times' influential op-ed section removed from the purview of the trained journalists and given over to the business interests of the paper -- well, that's just a shame. I predict impending tool-dom.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen....

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Boss.

My boss heard me cough at work tonight. Now, for most folks this isn't any big deal, except that our department chair, along with his other shortcomings, is something of a hypochondriac. So, the cough was followed by a few concerned questions about my health, a lecture about getting a flu shot and, as he was leaving, an urging to go home and get some rest so I can get better.

The thing is, he has no idea that I came to work ragingly sick last week (with the same nasty cold that sidelined Mary Ann and Sarah) and put out the paper while feeling absolutely miserable. That's because he never actually spent enough time in the office (at least, outside his closed door during business hours when everyone else is there) to know I was coughing and hacking and sneezing all over that place, and this little cough tonight is just part of the final death throes of said cold.

He is so clueless sometimes...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Eating Our Dollars.

From the L.A. Times comes this fascinating look at the world of Nigerian scam email. Now I gotta hear this 419 song...

My Foggy Crystal Ball.

Well, so much for my bold predition of a Cardinals/Angels World Series. I'm not too broken up, though, since I get my wish for a White Sox/Astros series, which is infinitely cooler. I can't remember the last time I watched a World Series in which I had a reason to root for both teams. Should be exciting...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Glory Hallelujah.

Well, it took them five games but the Angels have just now (finally) beaten the Yankees in the ALDS. While I'm not an especially big fan of the Angels, it's always nice to see the local boys do good (particularly in the absense of any quality play by my Dodgers). But even better, I'm just happy to see the Yankees go home empty-handed, and for the post-season to finally be free of any fevered coverage of the Yanks and/or Sox. For the time being, at least, the baseball world no longer rotates on that damn Boston/New York axis.

While, in my heart, I'm hoping for an Astros/White Sox World Series, I know it'll probably be the Angels and Cardinals instead. But I suppose I could live with that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Separated at Birth.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver and Puddle of Mudd lead singer Wes Scantlin -- one and the same? You be the judge. Just remember -- you never see them at ballgames or concerts together!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Important Things You Need to Know.

How much caffeine would it take to kill you? Or how about chocolate mints?

You cannot go about the rest of your day without this vital information.

Monday, August 22, 2005



It's been stuck in my head for days now.


Not that I'm complaining too much, mind you, since I like the song. But I just with my mental radio would change stations once in a while.

Put the you-know-what
In the you-know-where.

Monday, August 15, 2005

My Kids.

I'm back from my vacation! I hope ya missed me.

I know I promised updates on the new baby, so here ya go:

As for the vital data.... Hunter Lee was born on Monday, July 18, 2005, at 8:21 a.m. He was 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 19 inches long.

And here's a picture of Sarah reading him a book:

So now I'm back at work after a full month off and trying to dig out from under the accumulated junk waiting for me. More updates and photos to come as my workload allows.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Vacation Time.

A great perk about working at a school is the long vacations I can take during the summer months. So, in about half an hour, I'll be out the door, enjoying four whole weeks off. Woo-hoo!

Of course, this year my long break will be cleverly disguised as paternity leave, since Hunter is scheduled to be born on Monday.

So, don't expect a lot of post from me in the coming weeks (as if you would otherwise), but I'll try to log on to post some pictures at some point.

See y'all later! Don't break shit while I'm gone!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Day Late... But So What?

You Are 35% American
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!

And remember on this Independence Day... You can't spell AMERICA without ERIC!

Friday, June 24, 2005


Here are some fine web comics I've been grooving on lately...

Dinosaur Comics
Alien Loves Predator
And, of course, that old reliable, Spamusement

And, in a completely unrelated note, check out this site and explain to me why Ke Huy-Quan's skin cells are all sold out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

My Mark VII Fix.

I've been remiss in not mentioning how utterly cool it is that Dragnet 1967, the first season of Jack Webb's '60s revival, is finally available on DVD.

The packaging is a little screwy (17 episodes on three discs means 14 episodes on a double-sided disc 1, three episodes on disc 2, and an episode of the radio series -- the set's lone extra feature -- on disc 3), but the shows themselves are killer. By the time Webb made these shows, his hard-bitten noir sensibilities are drifting into campiness and his worldview had become seriously out of touch with the burgeoning youth culture of the time. It's a classic combination, and there's some killer dialogue to boot. ("Don't make my partner lean on you, because when he leans on you, he comes in hot and heavy and deep and doesn't stop until he strikes oil!")

Current music: Ozomatli's "Street Signs". Groove, baby, groove!

I Wouldn't Normally Do This Sort of Thing.

...but some celebrity gossip is just too bizarre (and totally believable) not to share.

I've developed some newfound respect, not just for Scarlett Johansson, but for all those other young actresses who said "no" before Katie Holmes stumbled along.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Updates Ahoy.

Oh, what's going on in the World of Eric?

• Well, Hunter finally has a birthday now -- July 18. We're counting down the days in anticipation, although Mary Ann's pregnancy has taken a bit of a rough turn the past couple weeks. We'll get her through it, though.

• Is Hee-Seop Choi turning into a monster or what? Now, if you can just stay consistent and not lapse into long cold stretches every couple weeks, people outside of Los Angeles might actually start to pay attention to him. And I have to say, it's so wonderful to see how the Dodger fans have embraced the big goofy Korean kid so quickly.

• Sarah is becoming insanely fanatic about the Dodgers. Not only has she picked up the "Hee-Seop Choi" chant (which comes out sounding like "chay-chay-cho"), but she also loves shouting out the names of several of the other players whenever the spirit moves her. Her other favorites are Eric Gagne and the euphonious J.D. Drew (or, as she says, "day dee doo").

• Lastly, and most importantly, if you've got any extra love to give, send it out to fishbowlsoul. She got the worst news of all yesterday. We're thinking of her over here at Eric's House...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Time to Get... "Personal."

I know it's been forever since I've posted, and I promise to catch y'all up real soon, but first I had to share this little "pick-me-up." (Be sure to click on the 56k preview link.)

Oh, Billy Dee.... You know how to get me all weak in the knees!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Goodbye, Nori.

I know I'm awfully late in talking about this, but life's been busy -- so, hey, cut me some slack, a'ight?

Anyway, the other day the Dodgers dropped Norihiro Nakamura from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Triple-A. I'm really sad to see him go because I was rooting so hard from him to make a go of it in America. After an impressive career in Japan, he turned his back a mega-money offer over there and took the MLB minimum salary in order to chase his dream of playing in the American major leagues. Unfortunately, that feel-good story was derailed by his .128 average and his absolute inability to hit anything. It's such a shame because he seems like such a great, humble guy and he did pretty good in Spring Training, so this sort of free-fall was unexpected. But I really like him and I hope he can get his swing straightened out in Las Vegas and find success somewhere, even if it's not with the Dodgers.

What makes this whole a thing doubly a shame is that, for the first time in quite a few years, it leaves the Dodgers without a Japanese player on their roster. You have to remember, this is the team that started the whole flood of Japanese major leaguers coming to America by signing Hideo Nomo in 1995. Since then, Los Angeles' Japanese-American community has rabidly supported the team and the Japanese media could always be seen closely following Nomo, Kaz Ishii, and even Dave Roberts. But no longer. At least Hee-Sop Choi is around to give the Korean community someone to idolize. (Did Choi steal Nori's mojo? How the hell would you explain that he would ever be hitting over .300?)

Other Dodger News: If you're like me, I know you've missed Tommy Lasorda's hyperbolic ramblings since he stopped managing. Well, you can stop being so wistful because now, thanks to's promotional juggernaut, the man himself has his own blog. Now his True Blue rants have taken on a cranky-old-man quality, but in true Tommy fashion, his sidebar is dedicated to links to his favorite Italian restaurants from across the country. Check it out. Just don't ask him what he thinks of Dave Kingman's performance. (How perfect is it that that clip is hosted by Kingman's official site? Does anyone know if an un-bleeped version exists anywhere online?)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Another Fun-tastic Music Meme.

This one comes courtesy of... well, I don't know where it started, really, but I swiped it from the industrious elves over at The Generik Brand. Basically, it's a list of 30 bands/artists you've seen live. I think I'm supposed to take bands from someone else's list and then add my own, but that's too complicated, so I just made a new list. Mine is in no particular order, except that I've tried to put the bigger names toward the top so you all don't have to slog through the legions of unsigned local bands you've never heard of. So, here it is in all its glory. Try not to laugh at some of them...

1. Sonic Youth
2. Beck
3. Mudhoney
4. Pavement
5. The Breeders
6. Bruce Springsteen
7. Sting
8. Joan Baez
9. Tracy Chapman
10. Peter Gabriel
11. Yousou N'Dour
12. Village People
13. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
14. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
15. Sebadoh
16. Everclear
17. Mecca Normal
18. Rocket From the Crypt
19. Kurt Cobain (solo)
20. Th' Faith Healers
21. Ethyl Meatplow
22. Geraldine Fibbers
23. The Spinanes
24. The Jesus Lizard
25. Oingo Boingo
26. Nothing Painted Blue
27. Pavement
28. Beat Happening
29. Nation of Ulysses
30. Slant 6

And so on, and so on, and so on...

Friday, April 15, 2005

More Meme Madness.

A new music meme has been making the round. And, lordy, I'm not one to pass up a good music meme. Here we go...

The Music Meme

1. Total volume of music files on my computer:

Since I'm doing this from my work computer, I'm proud to report it's 7.42 GB, made up of 1,488 songs lasting 3 days, 19 hour, 52 minutes and 24 seconds.

2. The Last CD I bought was:

Um.... Uh.... I guess it was "The Eminem Show." There must've been something more recent... Hmmm...

3. The Last Song I Listened To Before Writing This:

"That Old Sweet Roll" by Dusty Springfield. "Dusty in Memphis" is a classic album.

3b. Song I'm Listening to Now/First Song That Came Up On Shuffle:

"True" by Concrete Blonde. Their self-titled debut album is one of my all-time essential discs. It made a deep impact on me when it came out.

(Note: While typing the above answer, the next song came up on shuffle. It's "The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish. While I love the song, my iTunes insists on bringing it up on shuffle at every opportunity. Is my computer secretly a hippie?)

4. Five Songs I Listen To A Lot:

Thanks to iTunes accurate stats-keeping, here are my top five most-played songs, plus one that just barely missed the cut, but warrants a mention anyway:

1. "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger. Laugh if you must, I love how full of cheesy goodness it is. Which is why I got such a laugh out of the scene with it in "Boogie Nights." That coked-up air-keyboarding dude is me, man. Only with Coca-Cola, not the other kind of coke. Really.

2. "The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish See? What did I tell you about my computer's secret love for this song? Maybe it just wants to thwart me by blasting out the "F-U-C-K" cheer whenever my coworkers are around.

3. "Gamen (Vulture)" by Garmarna A blistering rock version of an old Scandanavian folk song, courtesy of these Norwegian musical archivists/revisionists. It's the opening cut of their "Vengeance" album -- seek it out.

4. "Just Dropped In" by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition Another great old song made even better by its inclusion in a classic movie scene, this time from "The Big Lebowski." I still have a hard time believing this comes from the same guy who gave us "The Gambler" and "Through the Years," but that just adds to its appeal for me.

5. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne Hands down, the greatest metal song ever. Ever! If I were a Major League closer, this would be my entrance music, although I think someone's already using it. (Billy Wagner? Jason Isringhausen? I forget.) But as much as I love "Crazy Train," I have to swear by the Dodger-blue blood that runs through Tommy Lasorda's veins that the best closer/entrance music combination has to be Eric Gagné's "Welcome to the Jungle." Magical and intense to witness in person. To quote the bobblehead from last year's Dodgers commercials, "GAGNE RAWKS!!!"

6. "Giant Robot-Birdhead" by the Aquabats Currently, this is just one play away from cracking my top five, but I had to include it just because I love it so much. For a while now, I've been trying to think of a good mixed CD theme to use this with, and I think I've finally found it. Maybe I'll use it for the next mix exchange. We'll see.

5) Five people I am passing this baton to:
Well, I've already seen Mary Ann's and KassRachel's answers to this, so I'd be interested in seeing what Generik, Jeff or Fred have to add.

Now, just for the sake of anal completeness and a random look into my musical psyche, here are all the songs that came up in my iTunes shuffle while I was working on this meme:

1. "That Old Sweet Roll" by Dusty Springfield
2. "True" by Concrete Blonde
3. "The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish
4. "If This is It" by Huey Lewis and the News
5. "Frozen Sunshine" by Headboard
6. "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys
7. "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago
8. "See a Little Light" by Bob Mould
9. "El Tieso Y La Negra Soledad" by Maldita Vecindad & Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio
10. "Nowhere to Run" by Crystal Method With Ozzy Osbourne, DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard & Fuzzbubble
11. "House of Leaves" by Poe
12. "Just Lose It" by Eminem
13. "Drain You (live)" by Nirvana
14. "Tell Me You Love Me" by Frank Zappa


Here's some random non sequitur fun-ness for your day. Enjoy!

Random Comic Generator v2.0 by Delya
Paper or plastic?
panel 1
panel 2
panel 3
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Some More Snap Judgements on the Dodgers.

Far be it from me to wait beyond the second game of the season to evaluate this year's new-look Dodgers, so here I go...

• Mark my words, Jose Valentin will lose his starting job by midseason. I'm hoping Jim Tracy and Paul DePodesta will spare us all the agony and just give the third base position to Norihiro Nakamura now rather than later. I'm glad Nakamura showed the good judgement of agreeing to accept his Triple-A assignment rather than returning to Japan. He'll be back just as soon as Valentin's worn out his welcome.

• Remember the name Jason Repko. The new kid's going to make some noise before the season's out.

• New radio announcer Charley Steiner is a good addition, but he needs to stop talking about the Yankees (his old employer) so much.

• Milton Bradley seems to have turned himself around in the off-season and emerged as a clubhouse leader. I just hope he can keep it up.

• Say what you will about the signings of Valentin and Jeff Kent, but with them the Dodgers are quietly amassing the most formidible collection of porn star mustaches around.

• This team is built to win, no matter how much the L.A. Times writers insist on picking on DePodesta and the McCourts over (mostly) pointless matters.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Living Past Their Sell-By Date.

It seems that there was a brief couple-year period in the early 1980s when most of the best British rock acts who emerged in the '60s released their last good work before completely giving up the ghost creatively. The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, David Bowie, Elton John -- they all released their "good" albums in a rapid burst between 1981 and 1983 before descending into uninspired drivel. (Only Bowie and Elton John have managed to redeem themselves in recent years with a return to form after a long drought.) It's as if an entire generation of musicians just lost their creative drive all at once. Maybe the murder of John Lennon had something to do with it, or maybe they all just got old at the same time. (However, it's especially odd to me that there doesn't seem to be a similar phenomenon among the same generation of American artists.)

Anyway, the only reason I bring this up is that U2's latest album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," seems to demonstrate that they're at the same point now that their elders were 20 years ago. The new release is a descent into drivel, making their last one, "All That You Can't Leave Behind," seem like a parting shot at greatness. And that perception is only heightened by three recent events -- their election into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Bono's nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize, and (most improbably) Bono's further nomination to be the new head of the World Bank. These are all old people's activities. And while I have to admit that Bono would make a better World Bank president than that stooge Paul Wolfowitz, it's still not something that a credible rock star should have his name attached to.

More and more, U2 is looking like this generation's Rolling Stones, and we'll probably still see them touring 20 years from now, even after their music stops being the least bit interesting.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Random Thoughts on Congress vs. Baseball.

I spent the better part of the day watching the Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball, and while work kept me from staying to the end (I wound up missing the fireworks featuring Bud Selig, Donald Fehr and Rob Manfred), it was interesting viewing for me, being the quasi-wonk that I am. Anyway, some random reactions....

It was a nice touch having Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky) be the first witness. Before going into politics, he put together a Hall of Fame career as a pitcher with the Tigers and Phillies, so when he advocates Congress to step in and take action, his colleagues can't help but to sit up and listen. Plus, he brings that cranky-old-man, "we didn't have it as good as these kids" perspective those old-time ballplayers do so well.

My favorite observation of his: "Mr. Chairman, maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I remembered that players didn't get any better as they got older. We all got worse. When I played with Henry Aaron and Willie Mays and Ted Williams, they didn't put on 40 pounds and bulk up in their careers, and they didn't hit more home runs in their late 30s than they did in their late 20s. What is happening in baseball now isn't natural and it isn't right." (Gee, Mr. Bonds -- I wonder who he's referring to?)

The second panel featured the parents to two young ballplayers who killed themselves following steroid-related depression, and several medical experts. There were two telling moments for me. The first came from parent Ray Garibaldi, who claimed that some of the steroids his son used were supplied by a scout for the Angels. (Holy schnikes! Now, why wasn't this allegation followed up on? This is the first mention I've ever heard of a team official supplying the drug, rather than the players procuring it on their own.) The second came from parent and activist Donald Hooton (brother of former Dodger hurler Burt Hooton, BTW) who said that most of the steroids used by high school kids not only come from illegal labs in Mexico, but are also veterinary grade, meaning they were only manufactured to be used on livestock, not by humans.

As if the harsh words in the Congressmen's opening statements weren't indication enough, their grilling of MLB medical adviser Eliot Pellman showed what they had in store for the other executives later in the day. Basically, they tore him a new asshole and confronted him with glaring loopholes in MLB's drug testing policy that he had to admit he never knew existed. Ouch! Not a happy time for ol' Doc Pellman.

Then came the third panel, which is what everyone was waiting for. Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling sat side-by-side at the witness table while Frank Thomas testified via a video conference hook-up. Six potential Hall of Famers on the hot seat, all with at least 15 years major league experience. Well, actually only four of them were on the hot seat, in an interesting development -- Schilling and Thomas, both outspoken in the past on the steroid problem, were introduced separately and named to co-chair a Congressional committee on steroid use. This was clearly a move by the committee to separate the "good guys" from the "bad guys." It will be interesting to see how this eventually plays out in clubhouses across the league as players are forced to take sides.

Thomas, who got to testify from training camp because of his ankle rehabilitation, clearly got the best deal of all the player witnesses, since the balky video conferencing technology allowed everyone to just forget about him and concentrate their ire on the guys in the room. (All those tax dollars, and Congress can't get a good video conferencing system and competent people to run it? Sheesh.)

Predictably, in their opening statements, everyone ripped into Canseco and his book, but McGwire was the only one who wouldn't explicitly deny ever using steroids. Of course, we all knew he wasn't clean once that andro was found in his locker back in '98, but I'm convinced his usage went deeper than that. His reputation and his legacy are going to be the hardest hit over this whole ordeal. But will it be enough to jeopardize his Hall of Fame election chances next year? Maybe. But the emotion he showed surprised me. Obviously, there's a whole going on there that he's not telling us -- not just in a legalistic sense, but in a psychological sense. One can only hope that a tearful confession and some genuine contrition are forthcoming in the near future, but I have a feeling his lawyers won't allow that.

Palmiero's emotion surprised me, too. Leave to a Cuban to yell and point an angry finger at Congress. (Besides, we all know that his power comes from Viagra, not from steroids....) But his begging to be on the Schilling/Thomas anti-steroid task force seemed awfully pathetic.

Also predictably, Sosa brought along an interpreter and a lawyer to read his opening statement. This is the same thing he did when he got caught with a corked bat. Seems that he manages to conveniently forget the English language when it suits him.

Like I said, work kept me from watching the executives testify, but all the recaps I've read seem to indicate it was quite a throw-down. But, frankly, they deserved it. Especially the weasely Don Fehr, who is showing the world what an obstructionist he really is.

Although no one's mentioned any concrete legislation yet, it's obvious to me that something is going to come out of these hearings beyond the Schilling/Thomas Bad Ankle Brigade and Anti-Steroid Crusade. It may not be immediate, but I have a feeling we'll see some sort of action by Congress, since this seems to be one of the few issues left with any sort of broad bipartisan support. It may be the stiff criminal penalties for any pro athletes caught using (which someone suggested at the hearing) or it may just be the revocation of baseball's anti-trust protection. Keep an eye out for that.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Intern Idol.

Bill Simmons, the great Page 2 columnist over at is currently running an "American Idol" style search for his new intern. This involves the contestants writing short columns on given topics with some being eliminated in each round. Anyway, the Round 3 entries are up and I thought "getting to know you sports-wise" questions asked this round were interesting enough for me to try my hand at it, too. So here goes...

1. What was your favorite sports moment that you've seen in person?
While I've accumulated a number of favorite moments over the years, the only one I've seen in person is somewhat bittersweet to me because it involved my favorite team on the losing end. But it was in the summer of 1991 when I was interning as a photojournalist at the local rag and I got to cover a Dodgers game in which they hosted the Expos. Dennis Martinez was pitching for Montreal that day, and from the photographer's well on the third base side I got to watch El Presidente hurl his perfect game. And immediately after the game, I got to see him sitting in the dugout, surrounded by hordes of reporters, and crying tears of joy. What a rare and wonderful moment.

2. What's your favorite sports movie ever and why?
Hands down, it's "Bull Durham" because it so perfectly captures the beauty of baseball and the passion of athletes who compete for the love of the game, not for fame or riches. Not even the presence of Kevin Costner can spoil it.

3. Who's your favorite athlete ever and why?
Oh, lordy. My answer to this has changed so much over the years. To narrow it down to one for the purposes of this question, I'd have to go back to an early childhood favorite and say Pete Rose. Despite all the disgrace he's brought down upon himself in the years since, he appealed to me even at an early age because of his fierce drive and relentless work ethic. He wasn't the best natural hitter, or the fastest runner, or even the prettiest face, but he worked his ass off to make himself one of the best of all time. He even ran out every walk he drew just because he couldn't tolerate slacking on anything. As I grew up, I began to realize what the dark side to that type of personality can do, but as a kid that made a huge impression on me.

4. What do you think was the funniest moment in sports history and why?
So many of the intern contestants picked the old Knicks/Heat brawl that featured Alonzo Mourning mixing it up with Jeff Van Gundy, but I've never seen the clips of that, so I can't pick it. This is another question that's hard to narrow down to one answer, but I'll have to say it's that clip I've seen so much of that minor leaguer (I forget his name) who literally ran through the outfield wall chasing a fly ball.

So, do I get the job?

When the World is Running Down...

Spotted on a church sign/message board in Pomona this morning:

"Pray until something happens"

What a bizarre little piece of advice. And so wonderfully non-specific.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Talkin' Baseball.

Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
—"Centerfield," John Fogerty

Next to Christmas, March has to be my favorite time of year. Spring Training is in full swing and the first exhibition games finally start. We observed this momentous occasion this morning by watching the first televised game of the year, which also happened to be the first-ever game for the "new" Washington Nationals as they beat the Mets on ESPN.

We'll have to see what happens with the Nationals this year. After the sad death of baseball in Montreal (a travesty carried out by MLB which never should have happened, but that's another rant), I'd love to see the franchise bounce back and be successful. However, with the dismal track record of baseball in Washington, I'm not holding my breath. Plus, I do have to say that I'm a little disappointed with their new name. It would have been much cooler for them to resurrect the old Senators name (especially since they seem to have resurrected the old '60s-era Senators uniforms), I can see MLB's logic of wanting to differentiate this National League franchise from the two American League franchises that preceded it. Doesn't mean I agree with it, though.

But that's all beside the point. The reason I'm here now is to give you all my fearless (and probably wrong) predictions for the upcoming season, division by division...

National League

1. San Francisco Giants
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Diego Padres
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

This will probably be the closest division race in the Majors this year – a four-team battle right up to the end. And while it pains me to pick my Dodgers to finish behind the hated Giants, those top four teams can finish in just about any order. The only sure thing is another season in the cellar for the pitiful Rockies. (Am I alone in thinking that they had the worst off-season, by far, of any team this year? The made no significant moves and still managed to get worse. But at least they don't have that whore-lovin' Denny Neagle to kick around more...)

1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Chicago Cubs
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Houston Astros
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Milwaukee Brewers

Yeah, I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this is the year for the Reds to surprise a lot of people. They'll have a tough fight with the Cubbies, though.

1. Atlanta Braves
2. New York Mets
3. Florida Marlins
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Washington Nationals

The Mets have made a lot of splashy signings this winter, but it won't be enough to overcome the strengthened pitching of the Braves. But expect a closer race if John Smoltz' arm can't deal with the rigors of starting. And as far as I'm concerned, as long as Atlanta has the braintrust of Scheurholz, Cox and Mazone, they'll always be the team to beat. The Nationals will be bringing up the rear, just like they were used to doing in Montreal, but it shouldn't be quite so bad this year.

Wild Card
It'll be a dogfight between the Cubs and the Mets, but the Cubs will squeak by.

Pennant: Chicago Cubs

American League

1. Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Oakland Athletics

Forget the Sox and the Yanks – the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County California U.S.A. (or whatever they'll eventually wind up calling themselves) are now the strongest team in baseball, thanks to a series of savvy off-season moves. And while the Mariners made some flashing signings with Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexton, they didn't do anything to improve their pathetic pitching, so this won't be a very close race.

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Kansas City Royals

The Twins are just getting better and better, which will allow them to hold off the also improving Tigers and Indians. And look for the Royals to be this year's big 100-game loser.

1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays

As usual, this will be another two-team race, but look for the Orioles to at least close the gap a little. Frankly, the Yanks and Sox are pretty much interchangeable atop the standings, but I'm giving Boston the edge because they won't have Jason Giambi and Kevin Brown weighing them down.

Wild Card
It'll be the Yankees, easily. Unless, of course, they wind up winning their division, in which case it'll be the Sox again. Same ol', same ol'...

Pennant: The Angels

World Champions: The Angels

Feel free to check back with me in six months to see how badly I messed this up...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Fear and Mourning.

I was so depressed this morning to wake up to the news that the great Hunter S. Thompson had killed himself. He took the Hemingway way out, with a shotgun.

I don't have many heroes, but he was one of them. His savage originality and his fierce commitment to destroying hypocrisy are something I've always aspired to, and I like to think that he's been a significant influence on my writing (not that you can tell given how infrequently I update this blog, but go with me on this one).

Like Frank Zappa (another hero), his was a unique voice that perhaps wasn't fully appreciated in his lifetime. But he offered an unvarnished view of American life that was a tonic we sorely needed -- and still do.

(You know, if our impending child is a boy, we were planning on naming him Hunter, just as much in honor of Thompson as for the fact that it's a family name on my side.)

What a sad day. Not only will we not see anymore of his fine prose again, but it also feels like the bastards are one step closer to winning.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

That Apocalypse Is Right Around the Corner, Folks.

In the latest news from the "Signs of the Apocalypse" files, two of the famed "Dogs Playing Poker" series of paintings just sold for record price at auction. And it's no surprise that the buyer wished to remain anonymous.

It's so heartening to see the world of fine art supported in this way....

Friday, February 04, 2005

Karaoke For Jesus and Cuckoo for K-Sly.

You know, I really love traveling to the far reaches of my television dial, where I can find all sorts of offbeat programming we don't normally watch.

Like last night, when I flipped through EWTN (you know, the Catholic channel) during their "Life on the Rock" show. First of all, even if you're not Catholic, you've gotta love a talk/variety show hosted by a monk in full traditional monk-style regalia. But to make it even better, last night Father Francis Mary's guest was musical parodist Nick Alexander, who performs popular songs karaoke-style with new lyrics he's penned about the finer points of Catholic teaching. He did two numbers, the oddly S&M-tinged "Repent" (his version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" with the killer line "R-E-P-E-N-T/Get down on your knees for me") and my favorite, "We Want to Stand United" (a version of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" about various medieval theological debates, including the Arian Heresy and Nicene Creed). And just check out the track listings on his site. Now, THAT'S entertainment!

Then we followed up Nick's dynamic performance by discovering on one of the local channels a show called "Dance 360", which is sort of a modern hip-hop version of one of my favorite childhood guilty pleasures, "Dance Fever." The runner-up (thankfully he didn't win) was a guy whose specialty seemed to be an endless number of variations on The Robot. It's fellows like him who give us white guys a bad name. Anyway, in addition to the dancing, the best part was the fabulous DJ K-Sly.

Mmmm... K-Sly...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yogi's O-Face.

You know, I used to think "Sex and the City" was bad enough. (I never knew a show about hot chicks talking about sex could come off so shallow and boring, but I was wrong.) But now they've crossed the line with their new ads which raise the image of having sex with Yogi Berra. <*shudder*>

Thankfully, the man himself is fighting back. But if he wins, do the rest of us get any damages for the pain and suffering of having to imagine Yogi naked and making his orgasm face?


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Great Day for Reggae.

What a beautiful day it is today. High 70s... Not too hot... Clean air... Crystal clear, not a cloud in the sky... Just enough snow left on the mountains to create a nice little vista... Gorgeous enough to make you forget about all the other shit in the world right now. (And gorgeous enough for me to post about it and rub it in for all of you snowbound easterners....)

So, when Bob Marley's "Is This Love" came on the radio while I was cruising around, the moment became perfect.

It's the Love Sac, Baby!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... the Love Sac! Not only do they look cool, but you've gotta love any product with a name like that.

"Hey, baby... Wanna check out my Love Sac?"

(Sidenote: It's enlightening what you can find doing a Google search for "Love Sac" under it's various spellings. Particularly this, which is a cause I'm sure many of us can get behind. I mean, you know you're doing it anyway, so why not apply it toward a good cause?)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Brain Fart.

Last night, I answered the phone and found myself the subject of a public opinion poll. It doesn't happen often (maybe only ever two or three times before for me) so it was a nice opportunity to, in some small way, let the world know just how badly some of us think the Bush administration is fucking up the world.

There were a lot of questions and things were rolling along smoothly until the pollster got to the question, "For which presidential candidate did you vote in the last election?" For some reason, my brain just froze. I don't know if it was the fact that I've been a little under the weather lately, the fact that it was late and I was tired, or the fact I've tried to block any thought of a Bush victory out of my brain. Whatever the case, I "um"ed and "uh"ed for what seemed like an eternity before I could finally get my brain to spit out the name of whats-his-face... you know, that guy... the Democrat... um... oh yeah -- John Kerry!

Sheesh. I must've sounded like a complete idiot.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Military Mischief.

I suppose you could toss this foolishness in the dustbin next to those old CIA plans to assassinate Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar.

Although, given the tenor of the current administration, it's hard to imagine them passing up the chance to develop the "turn-the-enemy-gay" bomb. Maybe they thought it would be promoting that darn "homosexual agenda" again.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Geeks on the Court.

Calling it a "beat down" would be too kind.

Last night, ULV's women's basketball team opened up conference play against the SCIAC's perennial whipping boys (and girls), the Caltech Beavers. Games against Caltech in any sport are always a trouncing (except maybe in tennis, the one sport the geeks can play fairly well), but this one was especially bad.

The final score? 74-10.

Freshman sensation Lindsay King led the Beavers' "charge" by scoring eight of those 10 points -- the only starter to score at all. They shot a dismal 11.4% from the field, were 0-for-8 from three point range and 0-for-4 from the free throw line. They only sank one basket the entire second half.

I know Caltech has a long record of futility and doesn't exactly attract the best athletes. But still... How does a team get nearly shut out in a basketball game? I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It's Meme-a-licious!

Over at the somewhat insular, yet still interesting Live Journal community there's a new "year in review" meme going around that I decided to crib from the lovely and industrious Kass. Basically, you create a post from the first sentence of the first post you made for each month of 2004. Since I only started this blog back in August, mine will be a little shorter than theirs, but here it goes anyway:

"While we're all waiting for me to get this blog up and running -- here, enjoy this picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head. With the nation deteriorating daily under the leadership of George W. Bush and his neocon henchmen, the future is indeed looking bleak. After a pretty miraculous run, the 2004 season has finally ended for my beloved Dodgers. Damn, what a disappointing election that was. I haven't done any sort of conclusive survey of the rest of the nation, but here in SoCal, Christmas lights sure have changed a lot since I was a kid."

Well, then. I don't know why, but that cracks me up.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me.

I turned 34 over the weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

• Sarah got a cold. She's been a little trooper in between all the sniffling and coughing, but even though the fussing has been kept to a (relative, for a toddler) minimum, she still needed constant attention and affection. Poor dear.

• On Saturday morning my jaunt to the shower was interrupted when I slammed my foot into a door frame and stubbed my toe (the middle one, left foot). It hurt like a mofo, but I've stubbed my toes many times before (the by-product of have such big feet and gangly digits) so I sucked it up and went about my day. Later, after a few hours of limping through the grocery store, I came home and took off my shoe to find it swollen and black. Since I can still move it, it's not broken, just really, really fucked up. A lot of time with an ice pack and my foot elevated (not to mention lots and lots of Tylenol) have helped it feel better, but there's still some healing to be done.

• While at the supermarket (a Vons in Claremont that was celebrating its grand re-opening) we stopped at the KOST-FM booth where they were doing a remote and got to meet one of Southern California's leading kings of smarm for the past two decades, Mike Sakellarides. He gave Mary Ann a KOST compact mirror, a KOST bookmark, a tube of KOST lip balm, some KOST stickers, and -- the piece de resistance -- an autographed bio/headshot. He gave me a hearty handshake and told me I have a beautiful daughter. He told Sarah to "have a nice life." I suppose this encounter will have to do until we get to meet Shatner or Adam West someday.

• On Sunday (my actual birthday) the torrential downpours we've been having for weeks knocked out our power for close to 12 hours. Since that meant no electric stove, Mary Ann couldn't cook that big birthday breakfast she promised me, or anything else for that matter. We have to eat whatever we could straight from the package. With an electric thermostat, no power also meant no heat and just a tinny little Hello Kitty radio for entertainment. But since several people have lost their lives to this storm already, I suppose it could have been worse.

• My dad gave me a new car stereo to replace our current piece of shit. Of course, this doesn't do anything to change the piece-of-shitness of the vehicle surrounding the stereo (Have you ever heard Adam Sandler's "Ode to My Car"? It's kinda like that.), but at least we can pump the tunes without worrying whether the CD will play or not, and actually be able to see the display as well.

Anybody got any Tylenol?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Those Darn "Anonymous Groupies."

You can always rely on the New York Post to give you the news you need...

Speaking of the New York media, the Daily News gives us this, one of the all-time best headlines.

Anybody up for a weiner and one-liter Pepsi?


Those sharp-eyed readers among you will notice that I've added Haloscan comments to this blog to replace Blogger's less elegant comment system. However, little did I know that doing so would also erase all the previous comments. So, if you've commented on something before and feel strongly enough that your comment needs to be restored -- well, there's not much I can do for you at this point. But feel free to leave that comment again and I'll promise to do my best not to erase it again.