Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Vamoose!

The car is ready, my bags are packed, I'm freshly showered: Hudsons, are you ready for the noise?

Have a good weekend, kids. I'll be back in touch early next week.

The Best Go With the Best

Is today the day? I'll find out soon if Mr. Car is ready for our incredible journey. In the meantime, for those of you who've signed up for the Rocket Fever Cross-Country Journey Role-Playing Game, here is the playlist for the official CD of the Rocket Fever Cross-Country Journey:

Rocket Fever Vol. 1: This Is How We Drive (to L.A.)
mixed by Sister Gaines

1. The Blanks: "Hey Little Blues"
2. The Decembrists: "Los Angeles, I'm Yours"
3. Velvet Underground: "Sweet Jane"
4. Curtis Mayfield: "Move On Up"
5. Dinosaur Jr.: "I Ain't Sayin'"
6. Ron Sexsmith (Kinks Tribute Album): "This Is Where I Belong"
7. David Byrne: "Glass, Concrete & Stone"
8. Charlie Don't Shake: "Julie Money"
9. Elivs Costello: "Radio, Radio"
10. Grandaddy: "A.M. 180"
11. The Fruitbats: "Rainbow Sign"
12. U2: "In God's Country"
13. The Flaming Lips: "Fight Test"
14. Sufjan Stevens: "Detroit, Life Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild!)"
15. Stephen Malkmus & the Jiks: "Vanessa From Queens"
16. Neutral Milk Hotel: "Naomi"
17. Blur: "Tracy Jacks"
18. Talking Heads: "Road to Nowhere"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Craig vs. Greg

Greg Anthony just said on ESPN that it's a joke to make high school basketball players go to college when many of them come from public schools that don't prepare them for college.

So then is the answer to just let the kids bypass college and take education out of the equation? No. That ends up putting kids in a nihilistic system where only a small percentage of players will reap millions of dollars. The thousands of talented basketball players that don't have chances of going pro are left in the cold.

There has to be another way.

Stop What You're Doing

Go to Hud's blog and click on the Fun Link of the Day. Please. Turn up the volume on your computer. Now.

Draft Day!

Why do I find the NBA draft so intriguing? Probably because it's the only sport where I closely follow the college and pro games. So I love seeing guys play whom I remember from college: Brendan Haywood, Corliss Williamson, Rodney Rogers, Ron Mercer, Charlie Ward. These guys were studs in college, but many of them are just getting by in the League. Fascinating.

Anyway, good luck to Alan Anderson. I wouldn't mind if he became a Piston, but my dream is that Julius Hodge will fall to No. 26. We'll see.

By the way, Rocket Fever prediction: Andrew Bogut will be a bust. That guy couldn't handle Geoff Kimmerly in the post.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Game Reset

I'm pissed that guy hit me. I'm pissed my trip is delayed a week. I'm pissed I won't be able to drop in on Uncle Craig and Mike Kirby. I'm pissed that a plan I've been working on for a month is now kerput.

But I can't dwell on that, can I? Instead, I can be thankful I spent a great weekend Up North with my family. I can be thankful that my sister and I weren't hurt in the accident. I can be thankful that I have a few extra days to prepare.

And so I approach what, for me, passes for peace. As Buckaroo Banzai said, "No matter where you go, there you are."

Here I am. And here are two abbreviated Weekend Wraps!

Last Weekend

I had a wonderful time at the cabin with the family regulars in addition to Aunt Sarah and the California Mellingers. I talked Golden State with Uncle Joel and Aunt Mary and jumped off Steve the Boat (Mom and I finally christened the pontoon) approximately a million times with Ray, Gina, and Sister. The Mellinger kids dubbed that spot of the lake George's Grave, and a fine name it is. Gina, a future world-famous dancer, taught me how to do a cartwheel. And Raymond caught a 27-inch bass -- after an 18-minute battle -- but threw it back out of compassion.

Last Last Weekend

The Rustbelt Farewell tour first took me to Detroit, where I spent quality time with Nana and Poppy. We watched "The Importance of Being Ernest," which I really liked, and drove around Grosse Pointe looking at the big painted frogs they have on the sidewalks. I then headed to Amy and Shane's for a night of Italian food, drinking, and conversation with the usual suspects. It was good seeing Aaron Beachnau, who's now in San Francisco. I'm sure to be seeing him on his turf at some point. After that I wheeled to Cleveland, where I first spent the day in the incomparable hospitality of Mike and Kelly Zawacki. They put on a mean barbecue. We then went out for ice cream and watched a Pistons heartbreaker. The next day it was dinner with Meghan and drinks at Garage Bar with the old GLP crew. The finest of weekends, indeed ...

*****

All congratulations are in order for one Becky Amos, who is to be wed within a year. A Rocket Fever HUZZAH to Amos!

Friday, June 24, 2005

I'm Feeling Better

Enough of this whinging. I might as well enjoy myself during this purgatory. So I'm going to see "Batman Begins."

*****

Take some time for the hottest science story you've ever read. Twins are hot!

Wednesday

I get the car back Wednesday. I have to be in this town until Wednesday.

That tiny little accident caused more than $1,200 worth of damage to my car (none of which I'll have to pay).

I'll be in bed for the rest of the day if you need me.

At Least I Was Right About the Seven Part

Great series. If we had to lose, at least it was to the Western Conference version of the Pistons. Our luck at the Blue Gill Grill finally ran out. Jackie Rexrode was the star of the first half, launching toys and food into high parabolas through the air. Discus champion someday?

*****

Still no word on the car. I'm thinking this is going to end up having a major impact on the move. Stay tuned.

*****

I refuse to write a Weekend Wrap when my continuing bad and whiny mood will darken my report. I had a phenomenal weekend with the best kids in the world, and the funk I'm in won't allow me to do the weekend justice.

*****

What's going on in Grosse Pointe? Wolves, murders, now church embezzlement? You mean to tell me bad things happen among the upper crust, too?

*****

The folks in Howell sure have a good sense of humor about themselves.

*****

This is what happens when a newspaper's Web department lets newsroom staffers run wild with dumb ideas. I know Neil Harvey. OK guy. I couldn't care less about his 30-day cola purge.

*****

RAGING CHIMP SEX BATTLE LEAVES LOSER SCARRED, SCORNED
GR Press reporter seriously reconsiders profession after receiving dumb-ass story assignment

*****

Cook, is my blog better when I'm miserable, too?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Your Morning Dose of Outrage

I'm not linking to these because I'm bitter about the car. Really.

Read this, this, and this (thanks to Meghan for the last one).

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Really Just Too Perfect

Having an F-150 bash into your Ford Focus is a miserable experience. Having it happen two days before said Ford Focus is supposed to drive across the country is either the cruelest joke Mother Circumstance can play on you or it's the goddamned funniest cosmic occurrence.

Either way, it happened. And the only laughing I can bring myself to do about it is of the bitter "Of course this would happen to me, days before I'm supposed to leave, days after I pay off this car" variety. First, the facts:

Sister was practicing how to drive the stick in the neighborhood this afternoon. We were approaching an intersection where the other street had a stop sign. This guy in a truck didn't see us and pulled out into the intersection, giving my car a hard tap on the rear driver's-side panel. Everything happened in both very slow and very fast motion. It wasn't Hayley's fault in the least. The guy was at a dead stop and then just barreled into us.

After I got done screaming words to make Chris Rock blush, I got out and did the information dance with the guy. The poor schmuck just made a dumb mistake. He was very forthright about giving me his info and admitted guilt right away.

The damage is really just a pretty bad dent, but it has to be fixed before we leave. Which likely means the trip will be delayed a few days. Which means some of our planned stops may have to be canceled. Which means I'm hatin' life right about now.

I'll keep everyone posted on the details. I'd write more, but I'm in such a foul mood it will come across saltier than lunch at the China Sea.

*****

I promise I'll still do a Weekend Wrap, but in the meantime let me just thank everyone in Detroit and Cleveland -- especially Amy-Shane, Mike-Kelly, and Frey -- for their hospitality and grace. I have great friends.

NOTE: This post originally said I was in Chicago, rather than Cleveland, last weekend. Thanks to MZ for the catch.

Sorry for the Absence

I'll try to get the mother of all Weekend Wraps up sometime today. I'm running all over town getting ready for this move.

In the meantime, check this out.

Monday, June 20, 2005

From Cleveland

I'm making a pitstop at one of the jewels of Bibliographia: The Main Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. I encourage everyone to drop by this place at least once.

The Farewell Tour is going great; I'll spill all the beans in a Weekend Wrap tomorrow.

Zzzzzzzip it!

Friday, June 17, 2005

RFRFT Eastward Swing

The Rocket Fever Rustbelt Farewell Tour heads East this weekend toward Detroit and Cleveland. Celebrity guests will include my grandparents, Jaime Cook, Amy and Shane and associated Dean friends, and many members of the GLP Crew. Rad.

I leave for Los Angeles in one week everyone. Holy @$%!

I Love the Pistons

I know it's not very sporting of me, but I love it when the Pistons slaughter an opponent in the Finals. It's only because it's easier on my nerves, but I really get a kick out of seeing my team waste another team. I don't know if I would have been rooting for man or lion back in the day, but I would have wanted my thing to kick the other thing's ass.

*****

I've always been on the Robert-Horry-is-clutch bandwagon. Maybe this piece will knock me off.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I Like Rosey

While Mitch is blathering about Ben Wallace's wife, Michael Rosenberg, the Freep's best sports columnist, gives us one of the most nuanced looks at Rasheed I've ever read. I encourage you guys to check out his stuff on a regular basis.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

From WAY Back in the Day ...

I spent not nearly enough time with two very good and very old friends at lunch today, Ryan Ahrens and Steve Borough. Ryan is in school in San Diego, studying civil engineering. He's really excited about school and loves living in California. Steve is living with Ryan's sister, Jessica, and working at the Lansing Country Club. They both look really good, and, save for a few tattoos, Steve looks almost the exact same from high school days.

I don't know if I can describe what it's like talking to someone who I've known for more than 20 years. Ryan and I go back longer than our memories can take us. He brought this photo from a bowling birthday party when Ryan was turning probably 8 or 9. He's wearing this blue jacket and I'm wearing what appears to be a multicolored velour shirt. Ryan knew me when I had to wear velour shirts.

Maybe the closest description is that it's like talking to a family member you haven't seen in a long time. There's tons to catch up on, but no awkwardness. You're so familiar with the person that you just start in on the Big Issues with no hesitation.

This has the makings of a ramble. I'll cut it short by thanking Steve for picking up lunch and thanking both of those guys for catching up with me -- if only for an hour or so.

A Maier Special

The Rustbelt Farewell Tour continued last night at Dagwood's with Beth. She regaled me with stories about her trip to India for our friend Tisha's wedding. It looked like an amazing trip, and Tisha looked completely natural in a sari. Bethie had a couple culture-shock moments, but came away from the trip with a much more informed perspective of the world than lots of folks have.

I then got a treat when Beth's dad, Bill, showed up for a round. He was sacrificing precious sleep on a weeknight to come out and say hello. It was a typically wonderful gesture from one of the classiest guys I know. We discussed the possibility of Bill doing a Charles Kuralt thing in an RV across the country. I told him I'd talk to my people in L.A. and get back to him. The man would be a natural -- he can start a conversation with anyone and his combination of intelligence and Midwestern grace would make for some great TV. I'm thinking PBS.

While there are some folks who I didn't get to see during my stay in Lansing, I'm thrilled that I got to spend time with Beth. We have one of those friendships where we won't speak for weeks and then just pick up where we left off with ease. While that's nice, actually seeing the person with some regularity is better. And seeing Beth anytime is the best.

*****

Today I'm having lunch with one of the luminaries of my childhood, Ryan Ahrens, who's in town from San Diego this week. I've known the guy since I was 4, and we've gotten off track from each other over the past few years. We obviously won't have enough time to completely catch up, which is why we'll have to spend more time together when I move out to L.A.

Jerks

God. I really hate U-M fans.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

As I Was Saying ...

The fact that Virginia governors are allowed only one term makes things interesting. Politicians can continually shuttle between state and federal governments. Warner could win a Senate race, but we all know how poorly Senators do in presidential contests. Here's more on Warner.

Remember the Name: Mudcat

Take the time to read this profile (which I clicked to while reading Bull Moose) of Mudcat Saunders, whom I remember reading about while living in Roanoke. I've long said that people should watch out for Virginia's governor, Mark Warner, as a presidential candidate. He's a Yankee telecom guy who won rural Virginia when I lived there, and a lot of that had to do with Mudcat.

So What Do the Kids Build in Shop Class?

Doesn't this remind you of "Dazed and Confused"?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Thanks, Kate!

I've just returned from a delightful dinner with friends Kate and Chris. The food -- taco salad, sweet potato fries with Special Kate Sauce, corn bread muffins, and peanut butter-chocolate ice cream in waffle-cone cups -- was surpassed only by the conversation. Topics included: Annoying People at Work, Generally Gross Things, Best Awkward Moments, Life After High School, Traveling, and "The Family Guy." Hold on to folks who can cover a range like that -- they're valuable and always good company. My thanks go to Kate for preparing this meal, just another step in a friendship born during our trip to England.

My only regret from the evening: As we were saying our goodbyes I gave Chris -- a solid, upstanding fellow product of the Lansing School District and Michigan State University -- the dreaded half handshake. This occurs when a handshakee fails to commit to a full hand grasp and ends up clutching his partner's knuckles, resulting in a weak, slippery gesture that's more insult than salutation. Chris, you deserved better.

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity. You Know?

Look up. Look to your left. Look to your right ... look to your right ... keep looking!

Now you know what it's like to look to the right. And now it's time for the Weekend Wrap!

1. Friday night: Boring. I was out by 10:30.

2. Saturday: Saturday saw me in different stages of moistness all day. It was M-U-G-G-Y out there, and lugging stuff around for the garage sale didn't help. The sale unfortunately was a flop, as we were at a bad location and most sane people stayed in air conditioning. But the family had some important bonding time while absorbing unhealthy amounts of UV rays.

3. Saturday evening: I supped with the incomparable -- hobbled but unbowed -- Joy Sarnacke. This was the first in many last-time-before-I-leave meetings with friends. I met Joy, who recently broke her toe, at the Peanut Barrel. After a drink, we walked down to Woody's Oasis on Grand River. Sister and I have been having a disagreement over who in Lansing has better Middle Eastern food: She says Woody's, I say Aladdin's. Aladdin's wins in the service department, at least. For the second straight dinner with Joy, we got weird service. Our appetizer never came, and then the entrees were served when we were only half done with our soup and salad. Annoying! I do have to say that the food was good, and just about any annoyance is made tolerable by the high-quality conversation to be had with Ms. Sarnacke. After finishing our smoothie desserts, we parted ways with promises to keep in touch and never eat out together again.

I then went to the Barrel, where I cracked wise with Sister's friends for a couple hours. Always good times with those kids.

4. Sunday: This was my early Father's Day with Pop. I'll be in Detroit and Cleveland next weekend, so I took him to a Lugnuts game on Sunday. We hadn't been in years. It was fun, despite the air feeling like a warm, soggy towel. Dad, Sister, and I had great seats to a resounding Lugs victory over the Dayton Dragons. We then headed to P.F. Chang's for some fancy chain food. I was quite impressed. The service was great, and my Dan-Dan Noodles were both delicious and humorously named.

I later met Rexrode for the second half of the Pistons game; I was already in a horrible mood because they were playing so badly. I think maybe the only explanation for their performance is that the Spurs are REALLY GOOD. Like, the best team Detroit has faced all postseason. At this point, I just don't want them to get swept. What an embarrassment that'd be.

*****

Tomorrow is Flag Day, kids. Remember to take down the Flag during inclement weather and never to let it drape on the ground. Plus, the field always goes in the upper left-hand corner. Now salute!

Teaser!

I'll never eat out with Joy again ... The Peanut Barrel is officially a bad-luck bar ... I get too much sun (or does the sun get too much of me?). All coming up in this afternoon's Weekend Wrap!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Who Knew?

Take time for this neat little story from the LAT about a facet of World War II you never knew about.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Real Rolling Stone

Here's a nice piece in the Times on Dylan, with a lead from Mount Pleasant's Soaring Eagle Casino (a billboard right outside my house says Reba McEntire and John Mellencamp will be there soon).

Friday, June 10, 2005

Movies I Can Watch Anytime

1. "The Big Lebowski"

2. "The Breakfast Club"

Friday Notes

I'm learning Sister how to drive a stick right now. She's doing great.
*****
We're selling some pretty good stuff at the garage sale, including an Indian head dress that I was wearing this morning.
*****
It's a steamer out there!
*****
Congrats to Amy and Shane, new owners of a beautiful home in Ferndale. It can't be long before they buy a minivan.
*****
You know what bugs me? You're on a crowded elevator, and when the door opens on the way down this claustrophobic person goes "Ha ha ha ha ... I'll wait for the next one."

What about that is funny? Listen. lady (it's usually a dame), a crowded elevator isn't funny. It's a serious and potentially life-threatening situation. What sort of sick jerk laughs at a bunch of people trapped in a five-by-five room that's hurtling down a building at a moderately high rate of speed? Huh?

Blame it on The Peanut Barrel

The plan was for Joe and I to watch the second half at the Barrel last night. I got there first, and the place was oddly quiet, the crowd even nerdier than usual. As the waitress came over, I asked about the TV, which was off.

"We lost our cable," she said. "The TV went off right at tip."

I called Rexrode, downed my Miller Lite, and headed to the Rexrodes'. By the time I got there they were down 6 and descending fast.

The Pistons have lost every playoff game that Joe has watched at home. Conclusion? Had the Barrel's cable not gone on the fritz, we'd be up, 1-0.

Ah, well. I did predict a seven-game series.

*****

Yard sale at 2828 Fernwood today and tomorrow! Come on over and buy our junk!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Lasting Effects of Chicago

I've eaten oatmeal with bananas every morning for a solid week.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ready for Launch/GROUNDED

This is a new feature at Rocket Fever. It gives you the definitive thumbs up or down on all aspects of life. In time, as this feature grows, you'll never have to make a decision on anything again. Just consult RF.

*****

Ready for Launch: Mick, the hair stylist at the Harrison Hairhouse in East Lansing (517-337-1541). I just got a hair cut from him -- it's the best I've had in months. He's also a good conversationalist and ran across the street to break a $20 bill for me. Thanks to Kate for the recommendation.

GROUNDED: Maxell recordable CDs. I have been burned too many times by these things. I just burned a bunch of CDs from the library, and U2's "Achtung Baby" goes crappy after the first song.

Gibby

In 1988, I was a kid angry at Kirk Gibson for not being a Detroit Tiger anymore. I resented his leaving Detroit and hitting one of baseball's most iconic homers in Los Angeles of all places. Now that I'm a bit more mature, I can appreciate that hit for what it was -- the reason people play and watch baseball. Take some time today to read this column from the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke about that hit.

More Trouble for Kwame

Ready for your morning outrage, Detroiters? Here you go.

Arrivederci, Spag

Lansing Eastern's most iconic teacher, Spag (no courtesy title or full name needed), is retiring. I was lucky to have him, as were many other students.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Pistons Over Spurs in Seven

Schmidt, was I right? Or was I right? Or was I right? Or was I right?

I was right.

Da Weekend Wrap

Time to dive in -- head first, no helmet -- to the Chicago Weekend Wrap!

1. Friday afternoon: Mom, Joanne, and I hit the road at around noon. The drive was a breeze, helped along by pleasant conversation with my passengers. I dropped the women off at the Essex Inn, next to Grant Park, and headed off. I had a few hours to kill before Craig Schmidt got out of work, so I drove around to find a street parking spot. ...

... More than an hour later, I had my parking spot and immediately bought a hot dog.

Schmidt showed up before too long, and we headed to New Comiskey to watch the White Sox take on the Tribe. The weather was comfortable, the crowd exciting, the seats superb. The two Polish dogs and five beers gave me the nourishment I needed to drown any conflicts about who to cheer for. Sox won, 6-4.

We then took the El to this bar I've been to with Schmidt and Co. before. All I remember was that it had board games and a very clean bathroom. Very clean. After this, things get hazy, but what's important is that we end up at Ann Schmidt's apartment in Evanston for a good night's sleep.

2. Saturday morning/afternoon: After eating the best banana pancakes known to man, Schmidt and I headed out in search of Mom and Joanne. This was difficult, because they were a moving target and we were walking in mid-80s, high-humidity heat, in blue jeans, with thick black hair on my head. It was hot.

After a miss and a pitstop to look at vintage "Star Wars" figures, we caught a cab to Skokie, sat in a bar for an hour or two, and finally saw the heroic walkers near the end of their day. They were in pain and hot as hell. We said a quick hello and then let them get on their way.

3. Saturday evening: After the first of two servings of tacos, we got a drink at the best gay sports bar I've ever been to. It's called Crew. The bouncers wore T-shirts that read "I love tight ends." We watched a Sox game while Madonna played on the speakers. I am making none of this up.

After a stop at a bar once owned by Al Capone, we hoofed it to a bar called the Ravenswood to watch the Pistons game. It was a nice joint, but very uncrowded, leaving the back room -- leather couch, big TV, American flag -- to Craig, me, and two of his friends. The Pistons, just as 'Sheed said, won, setting up a likely loss in Game 7 (Schmidt, remember my metaprediction).

During the game, Katie Rexrode did a very cool thing and called me from Jenny Currie's wedding. I knew Jenny in high school, and Katie has become good friends with her. A bunch of my old Eastern peeps were there, and I got to talk to Emily Potter, Holly McClintock, Stacia Ellis, and Steve Borough. It was a really nice moment talking to all those folks. Everyone sounds like they're doing well, which makes me all the happier.

The night continued at a housewarming party for someone named Schoolie/ey/y. Nice person, nice party, but someone took the "warming" part too seriously because the apartment was roasting. We spent the night on the front porch, where Craig's friend Ian told me the best R. Kelly stories I've ever heard.

As most cycles within the larger life cycle do, the night neared its end as it began: with tacos. Highlights included Steve Schmidt's order of two tacos turning into two Diet Pepsis and C. Schmidt giving me his third taco.

After making a courtesy stop at The Oasis, the Brothers Schmidt and I headed to Evanston for a few hours' sleep.

4. Sunday: After breakfast -- oatmeal with bananas -- I went to Soldier Field to watch Mom and Joanne cross the finish line. It was a much cooler moment than I anticipated. There were tons of people there with signs ("We're proud of you mom! We love boobs!"), cheering everyone who finished the 40-mile trek. The comedic highlight of the day was all the people wearing "I Love Boobies" T-shirts and other various boob jokes. I appreciate it whenever folks can inject a bit of humor into a serious enterprise like this.

After about a half hour, Mom and Joanne came walking triumphantly through the crowd -- a very nice moment indeed. I must say, I'm quite proud of Ma for slogging through the heat and humidity for a very worthy cause. This is something she'll be able to look back on and boast about for the rest of her life. Huzzah, Ma!

Breasts, Bananas and Beer

Chicago Weekend Wrap teaser: Breast cancer walkers make funny boob jokes ... bananas are prominent parts of two meals ... Craig and I drink beer.

TUNE IN THIS AFTERNOON!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Craig + Craig = Mayhem

T-minus 16 minutes and counting before Mom and I hit the road for Chicago with her walking buddy, Joanne. They're going to be walking a marathon and a half to raise money for breast cancer (thanks again to the Huds, Rexies, and Beth Maier for donating!) while I will be watching baseball and basketball with Craig Schmidt. I might drink a beer, too.

Send good vibes Ma's way. A full report will follow upon my return.

Behave, everyone.

Hit the Links

I want to call attention to my links list here at RF. I'm constantly updating it, so keep on eye on who and what makes that prestigious list.

New additions include Kate Cosgrove, a review of the Peanut Barrel by Joe Rexrode, artist Gabe Lanza, and the remarkable Finnish band Lodger (which includes some really cool Flash videos).

'Sheed is Right

I normally don't like it when players, especially players known for whining, whine about officiating. But at least two of the offensive fouls called on Rasheed last night were phantom calls. I totally agree with his quotes from the News:

Rasheed Wallace, who scored 20 points in just 22 minutes in Game 4, was in early foul trouble again. He scored just one basket in 27 minutes. Three of his five fouls were offensive fouls.

"You had to see that. It was just so blatant," Wallace said of the officiating. "I am going to find out who knows about basketball by reading your stories and seeing your reports tomorrow.

"We are going to win Game 6 because there will be good people out there reffing. They (the NBA) want a Game 7 'cause there's no other series. Y'all can't see that, then you're crazy."

I wish he hadn't laid on the floor so much after the calls, but those refs have a vendetta against the man. The Pistons would have lost even if 'Sheed hadn't been in so much BS foul trouble, but it did affect the game.

*****

ROCKET FEVER PREDICTION: Pistons will win a close one Saturday, then will be blown out in Game 7.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

L.A. Acquires Gaines for Cash, Players to be Named Later

I don't think this is news to most of you at this point: I'm moving to Los Angeles.

At about Day Two of my two-week stay in L.A. last month, I'd determined that I had to get out there for a while. The combination of friends, weather, food, great place to stay, location on a major fault line, and countless other factors helped me to make this decision. Plus, I promised Mike and Becky three times I'd do it during dinner at Timberlake's restaurant. I think the last promise was in exchange for a bite of Mike's lamb.

I'm heading out on June 23 or 24 with Sister as my navigator. I'm hoping she can get bumped up to co-pilot in the next few weeks by actually learning how to drive my car. It should be a memorable, coming-of-age journey in which we reveal our darkest fears, save orphans from a burning building, outrun the fuzz, and withstand a HILARIOUS cameo by Vince Vaughn.

Once I get out there, I'm going to continue most of the free-lance stuff I'm doing now. I hope to also pick up a few more jobs once I get out there. I'm not too pessimistic about my prospects, seeing as I know a few peeps in the media field. I'll also be traveling North (Molly Mellinger, Aaron Beachnau, Sarah Walker, Uncle Joel, Brunt and Adrian, Pat Muir) and South (one Ryan W. Ahrens). It's a move I'm very excited about, one made possible by the Hudsons' unbelievable giving spirit.

So here we go, heading toward the next chapter in the Gaines Hustle. Hold onto your butts!

My Breath

I just had this leftover casserole for lunch, and now my breath is a bit kickin'. Can anyone e-mail me some gum?

*****

Charlie Don't Shake
is playing at The Temple Club next Thursday. Check 'em out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Kathryn Ginsberg Jacobs, 1915-2005

I got word from Dad last night that his Aunt Kathryn died over the weekend. He and Sister had just been down to Raleigh to help celebrate her 90th birthday.

Other than Meghan, I don't think any of you ever met Aunt Kathryn. But you would have loved her. She stood barely 5 feet tall but carried herself as if she were twice that. "Miss Daisy," as Grandpa would call her, spoke with the most beautiful Carolina drawl you ever heard. She was the only person I knew who could break my name into two syllables.

I'm grateful that I got to see her not two years ago. It was during March Madness, which was perfect because she was such a Tar Heel fan. Meghan and I had a truly enjoyable visit with her, charmed by the grace and Ginsberg sense of humor she always displayed.

Kathryn's funeral is sure to produce many tears and more than a few laughs as people remember her. After that, a momentary hush will fall over North Carolina, a bit bluer than the day before.

NOTE: Some of you may have noticed that I've edited this post a couple times. After reading her obit in the News & Observer, it seems Kathryn made her maiden name her middle name when she married Uncle Arnold. Selma was her middle name on her birth certificate.