Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Huevos Reviews - Blitzen Trapper's Wild Mountain Nation

just bought this, it's solid. reviews make pavement analogies, but that's valid only to the extent of the cover design and the genre shifting. the record has a big star/weenish country rock sound, with some tracks having distinct elements of OTC and t-rex. maybe that description sounds cheezy and referential, but i think it sounds pretty fresh. the opening track has an offbeat rhythm that's annoying, but after that it's good groovin'.

Darjeeling Limited

If you aren't tired of Wes Anderson yet (I'm not), check out the trailer for his new flick.

What I've done on my vacation so far

1) Howlin Rain at the Echo-Side project of one of the greatest bands I've ever seen in a live setting, showcasing their love of everything northern California in the late 1960s, Cosmos Factory, and the good parts of the Black Crowes. Played mostly new songs which rocked. And a few oldies from their first one that rocked even more. The "You Keep Me Hangin' On" encore (Vanilla Fudge?) was appropriate.
2) East Silver Lake-The part of town where all the cool kids live. I went on a nice little ridiculously strenuous walk up and down its hills, up "streets" that are actually alleys, populated by little dwarf houses that only gnomes or Japanese would be content enough, or cool enough, to live in. The tour ended with a stretch of Richard Neutra houses. If you come see me I'll take you on the tour.
3) Food-San Gabriel Valley dumpling and Vietnamese shops. Little Tokyo sushi. Chinatown. In-n-Out. A burrito shack or tacqueria on every corner, literally.
4)The Huntington Library-Didn't make it to the actual library. But the Japanese gardens and the jungle gardens full of trees that look like muscles and trunk bases as big as small houses was fairly awesome.
5) Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation at the Greek Theatre
I've heard Daydream Nation at least 50 times, but it was still a bit chill inducing when the four of them came on and launched into that little intro that precedes "Teenage Riot." It was all over from there as melodies and guitar drives died and rose again out of noise heaps for the next hour and a half. For me, the best thing about these guys was always that they could sound like they had just bent their strings or guitar necks into trash heaps one instant and sound like the Beatles the next. Midway through "Eric's Trip" I looked to my right as a guy that looked like Mark Ibold walked up the steps by me. I looked back, to the walkway behind me: "Hell yeah, that is Mark Ibold." I guess he just wanted a different view. It got me to thinking about his amazing ability to land great jobs. You may know about his first gig. Now he gets to travel the world with what may be the greatest band ever, and all he has to do is come on and play bass for 3-7 songs in their encores. I wanna do that.
6) Dodger Stadium-Some dumb out-of-towner Mets fan called it the "dirtiest, shittiest stadium" he'd ever seen as as we sat and watched BP. This from a guy who probably watches his home games at Shea Stadium! I actually found its immense parking lot, palm trees and bleachers in the outfield, relative lack of bells and whistles, and retro fonts kinda charming in the era of all those new stadiums that are supposed to look like old stadiums. It helped that the Mets kicked the shit out of the Dodgers. There was a classic Dodger fan sitting--er, moving around constantly in the seats around us. You know how they talk about great broadcasters like Ernie Harwell and Vin Scully and they say that their entire broadcasts were endlessly captivating conversations with themselves? That's how it was with this guy. Only the conversation was influenced by significantly heightening levels of beer as the game wore on. At one point he started yelling at Shawn Green and calling him a Dodger reject, and I swear that Shawn looked up. Later, when Andre Ethier or some other Dodger hit a liner to Green he started yelling (at Ethier) "YOU'RE THE QUEER, YOU'RE THE QUEER" and then deftly turned the taunt to Green when he bobbled the ball with a separate "YOU'RE THE QUEER, YOU'RE THE QUEER." The whole game, he maintained an intense focus on the action, seemingly oblivious to the wave and other communal attempts at Dodger unity. It made me sad when he finally moved to a better seat. The little Latino girl who was complaining that he smelled like beer was probably happy though.
7) Long Beach Dog Beach-Pudge in the ocean.
8)Amoeba-IMMENSE. Kind of like if Tower had 5-6 used copies of Siamese Dream or Marquee Moon in addition to all the overpriced new copies. But the new copies at Amoeba aren't even really overpriced. HUGE DVD section with Italian horror, Silent stuff, a separate Criterion section. Lots of Sun Ra records.

On the docket: My first Frank Lloyd Wright house (tomorrow). Obon Festival in Little Tokyo. A self-guided James Elroy tour. Griffith Park Observatory. The Getty. A self-guided NWA tour. Inglewood with Jules.
And then I have to start actually working.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Animal Precinct

Has anyone seen Animal Precinct on the cable channel, Animal Planet? I fought back a tear or two watching the show today, and I ain't the cryin' kind. For those who haven't seen the show, it's COPS for animals. The officers work for ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), saving the lives of animals on the mean streets of NYC. In today's episode, one officer tried to save a goose, two others went under cover to catch a neglectful dog owner, and three other officers responded to a complaint about a neighbor's stinky apartment. The tenant of the apartment had Crohn's disease, was suffering from depression, had an emaciated cat, a really feisty cat, and --as it turns out-- a dead cat in the closet. After the officers rescue the animals, they take them to ASPCA headquarters, so a few highly qualified (and usually really cute) veterinarians can try to save them. Tivo the show. You'll cry your eyes out. I promise.

I couldn't help but think about Micheal Vick's trouble while watching the show. If he's proven guilty of the charges against him, I think they should make him watch Animal Precinct as a part of his sentence.

On another note, as an elementary school librarian, I feel that it is my duty to comment on the Harry Potter bonanza. I could really care less about Harry, but I think he's cool nonetheless. The article below kinda sums up my perspective.

Here ya go.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For Ron Mexico

Mr. Freeze

The jailed, falsely accused, demonized and hated…Hall of Fame

1B Pete Rose-Rose probably should be in the Hall. And he’s admitted everything he always denied. Not necessarily a first baseman but I guess Pete could pretty much play anywhere.

2B Julio Lugo-Arrested for domestic assault in 2003. Allegedly struck his wife and subsequently pounded her head into a car window. I was considering trying to trade for him on my fantasy league team but, so far, it hasn't worked out.

3B Kevin Mitchell-Beat the shit out of/body slammed Daryl Strawberry at a pickup basketball game between Met youngsters. According to Dwight Gooden, cut the head off his girlfriend’s cat’s head. Gooden denied ever saying that when confronted by Mitchell. Obviously. Later beat the shit out of a minor league umpire. Didn’t he beat the shit out of his dad too? All this being said, I think the Mets might have remained relevant for a tad longer if they had kept him.

SS Wilfredo Cordero-Played just about every position, but I’ll put him here as I can’t find anyone else. From South Coast Today:

CAMBRIDGE -- Boston Red Sox outfielder Wilfredo Cordero threatened to kill his wife as police arrested him after an early morning altercation that left her nose bloodied, according to court testimony yesterday.

As he was being led away, Cordero asked the police officer if he could kiss his daughter goodbye. But when Cordero went to kiss the 9-month-old, he also "forcefully" said something in Spanish to his wife, officer Sean Tierney said.
"We said to Mrs. Cordero, 'What did he just say to you,'" Tierney testified before Judge Arthur Sherman decided not to keep Cordero in custody. "She said, 'He said he's going to kill me.'
"We asked the 15-year-old son what he said. He said, 'He's going to kill her."'

At one point pled guilty to charges of beating his wife. According to one internet message board poster “tied his wife up with a telephone cord.”

OF Ruben Rivera-Stole Derek Jeter’s bat and glove during Spring Training and made some deals on Ebay. Bizarre, more than anything. He was making at least a million at the time.

OF Vince Coleman-Threw firecrackers at some fans outside a Mets game, during Spring Training I think. Two kids were injured. Also fucked up Dwight Gooden’s hand by swinging a golf club in the clubhouse. I could probably add a couple of other players from the 1993 Mets to this team.

OF Karim Garcia/Shane Spencer-Arrested with Shane Spencer (while playing for the Mets) during Spring Training when they ordered a pizza and then beat up the delivery guy.

OF Carl Everett-According to Carl, there were no dinosaurs because you can’t read about them in the Bible. Charged with child abuse. Great player though.

OF Elijah Dukes-In the news right now. Supposedly sent text messages to the mother of his child with pistols as the graphics. Threatened to kill her, allegedly. The kid too, from what I remember. Also, if memory serves me, was involved in some sort of altercation with a bat and an umpire last year.

OF Albert Belle-I always really liked Albert, but I guess I had no real reason to like him as a person. No matter what you think of him as a person, you can’t deny that he was one of the 2 or 3 scariest hitters of the last 25 years or so. And I don’t think he used any kind of enhancers; he was always huge, even when he went by Joey. Ultimately, though, people kind of hated him, whether they were big Hannah Storm fans, Brewers diehards, or just racist. According to Buster Olney:

It was a taken in baseball circles that Albert Belle was nuts... The Indians billed him $10,000 a year for the damage he caused in clubhouses on the road and at home, and tolerated his behavior only because he was an awesome slugger... He slurped coffee constantly and seemed to be on a perpetual caffeinated frenzy. Few escaped his anger: on some days he would destroy the postgame buffet...launching plates into the shower... after one poor at-bat against Boston, he retreated to the visitor's clubhouse and took a bat to teammate Kenny Lofton's boombox. Belle preferred to have the clubhouse cold, below 60 degrees, and when one chilly teammate turned up the heat, Belle walked over, turned down the thermostat, and smashed it with his bat. His nickname, thereafter, was "Mr. Freeze."

OF Ty Cobb-The knock on Cobb is that he was a racist (which was fairly common back then, from what I've read), one of the most hated players in the game, even by his teammates, and that he once ran into the stands to beat the shit out of a heckler. George Will notes that his teammates, on the last day of a season in which Cobb was neck in neck with the opposing team’s player for the batting title, intentionally played deep so that the opposing player (whose name I forget) could drop ground balls into the field and pump up his average. I always kind of thought Cobb got a bad rap. If you’re bored on a Saturday drive up to Royston and check out his museum.

SP Carl Mays-Only pitcher to ever kill a batter. And though I don’t in any way think he meant to, Mays’ record with the beanball certainly didn’t lead anyone in the league to cut him any slack. Partial subject of what may be my favorite baseball book ever, The Pitch That Killed, a book about the amazing 1920 season as much as the death of Ray Chapman.

SP Roger Clemens-Only pitcher to ever try to kill Mike Piazza.

SP Dwight Gooden-Baseball people may remember Doc as much for that 1987 mug shot as they do the ring, the Cy Young season, one of the best winning percentages ever, the no hitter, and the close to 200 wins (how many does Smoltz have?). And he hasn’t really done much to mend the sour taste since leaving the game.

Closer Ugueth Urbina-Still on trial in Venezuela. Supposedly Ugueth left some workers at his mansion in Venezuela to work on the yard, or the pool, or something. When he came home, they were drunk and playing in the pool. Allegedly, instead of sending them home, or calling the cops, Ugueth and his friends set them on fire. Man.

For some reason I couldn't think of, or find, a catcher. Maybe they're just smarter and they don't do dumb shit.

Friday, July 13, 2007

suburban rhymes:

check out these rap videos by some kids from my alma mater, harrison high. here, here, and here. decently entertaining, though definitely a cut below our homeboys flip and brah.

why we fight:

the reason we're at war, aptly revisited in an andrew sullivan reader email. thanks to pops for the heads up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


In honor of his hiring today as my favorite team's new hitting coach (which kinda has me scratching my head) here are some greatest hits, stolen from another blogger, who apparently stole them from someone else. I included the ones I had never heard before. Excerpts...

2) In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.

4) This one might be my second favorite. This wasn’t too long ago, I think it was the year he ended up playing with the Red Sox. Anyway, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

5) This one happened in Seattle. Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”

10) Henderson broke Ty Cobb’s career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.

12) San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone.
Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.

14) The Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived — again it was less than a mile – the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had just pulled up.
Of course, Rickey emerged from the back seat.

15) A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”

18) During a contract holdout with Oakland in the early 1990s, Henderson said, “If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Gallego.”

21) This is my all-time favorite. Rickey was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching Rickey’s car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Rickey and his money head home without a ticket.

24) To this day and dating back 25 years, before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length locker room mirror and says, “Ricky’s the best,” for several minutes.

25) In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his ‘going-away’ gift. Henderson said he wasn’t going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry’s Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, “No, I want his car.” Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, “Whose ugly car is on the field?”

Whatever you think of Rickey, as a Yogi Berraesque guy, he really is ONE of the greatest, though not the greatest. Bill James said that if you cut him in half you would have two Hall of Famers. I agree. On that note, I'm organizing a road trip for Cooperstown, NY in the summer of 2010, or 11, or 12...somewhere around then. I predict it will be the greatest speech ever, not just in baseball.

Monday, July 02, 2007

El Gran Viaje Panamericano

Check out the hasty continuation of my blog. Laura and I are in Costa Rica this time around.