Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Look to Cookie Day

Attention Vegas S'newsers: Click to an important new post at Money for Cookie Day.

*****

Everyone else, have fun trying to figure out this crazy thing. (You need to click on a switch or something to get to the next room.)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Anyone Want to Suggest a New Poll?

A work-intensive weekend included:

  • Welcoming back and wishing bon voyage to Scott Baird
  • Working, working, working
  • Watching basketball
  • Waxing poetic or otherwise on the phone about: high school vocal groups, contemporary fiction, the relative merits of gambling, making it in N.Y.'s eco-economy, and the undeniable benefits of Saturday-night grocery shopping

Here's a somewhat-representative gallery.

Recognize the Dynasty.

Don't know.

Aw, c'mon. Andrew isn't that bad.

Nature Mart has the coolest stuff.

Love the camera. Hate the camera. Love the camera.

"I can't blink. No, seriously. I need some help here."


Don't get it.

Creepy crawly!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Roundup

Everyone should check out this L.A. Weekly story that's out in the current issue, about a Navajo writer who very well may be a fake. Not only is it an excellent piece, but it has a direct tie-in to Lansing and Eastern High School. Lots of other news outlets are picking this up. Hope the Lansing State Journal does something with it.

*****

Don't look Elmo in the eye, and don't answer his questions. Thanks to Katie for the link!

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It's Friday, a perfect day for downloading funny videos. My stepbrother Chris has a few on his Web site. I strongly recommend "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker."

*****

The Web and TV are taking one more step to becoming the same damn thing.

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I watched an episode of "Family Guy" yesterday before going in to work. I have to say that everyone, men and women, should give that show a shot. Truly prime comedy.

*****

The weekend will be a mixture of work and play, as Scottie makes his return from Palm Springs and I lock myself in my room to wrestle with a few freelance projects. But there's always the night, which means there's always time for a few dd's. Be vigilant, everybody.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Kiefer's Return to Ye Rustic!

I'd say I'm disappointed I missed this, but I'm not likely to be at the Rustic at 9 a.m.

Thanks to MLJ for the heads up!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Patents

Wouldn't you think that Google would have a patent search by now? That a user would just be able to plug in a number or term and come up with info on a specific patent? I know the Patent Office has a search engine, but it just seems Google could come with something better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Incredible Journey

Mom sent me a package that finally got here after two weeks in transit. I hope Henry Waxman gets to the bottom of that mess, but that's another issue. The real story here is that I've been reunited with longtime Gaines family members Jocko and LeMutt. Here's a photo journal of their first night in L.A.

Together again.

LeMutt was pissed about missing the season premiere of "24," but we got him caught up in time for last night's epidode.

We then settled in for a thrilling episode.

Finally, Jocko smoked a joint to relax after his long journey. But he got a little spaced out and stared at himself in the mirror for 20 minutes. He kept whispering, "Am I real? Am I real?"

*****

Love beat Hate 21 to 3 in The Drunk Dial Poll. Check out the latest sweet poll.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Wake Up, Wake Up, It's the First of the Week ...

I move from a relaxing, conversation-filled weekend to a king-hell-busy week with the stealth of a ninja. I just killed you, and you don't even know it yet.

  • The Super Bowl had damn well better be more exciting than the divisional games.
  • Scott Baird is the embodiment of good people.
  • There must be something in the Lansing water (or wine?) to make the locals so talkative.

*****

Chauncey Billups: the next Joe Dumars?

*****

I guess I wouldn't mind if Michigan sold off Ann Arbor. But I'm not so sure about its parks.

*****

Pay attention to the Rocket Fever links. Additions and subtractions occur constantly.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Did I Mention Scott W. Baird Is in Town?

Hey, girls, who's sweeter, Scottie or this cake?

Right after this was taken, Mike smashed my face in this key lime pie.

*****

Friday-Night DD Roll Call

Incoming: Sara Lepro and IB, Amy (how'd it do with your dad?), Steve Davis (!)
Outgoing: Long-lost and recently found Quaker Holly Mack, Katie Rexrode

*****

H.B., K.M.R.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Maybe I'm Missing Something ...

... but is the only answer for ailing Rust Belt cities high tech and young people? I've heard this same story everywhere I've been before L.A. for the past five years. From personal experience, I know that -- even though I've lived in some places I really liked -- many of the young people would rather be elsewhere, especially recent college grads who grew up in the area.

And isn't that understandable? Don't places like Lansing understand that kids who've grown up there and went to school there may want to see what else is out there? And, really, are these recent college grads that valuable? They're inexperienced, don't have much disposable income, aren't going to buy a home anytime soon, won't be feeding kids into the school system anytime soon. Why this fetish for young people?

Why not go after families? A family is going to buy a home and pay more taxes, a family is going to be composed of at least two people who will contribute to a more experienced work force, a family will (O.K., these days it's may) send their kids to public schools, thereby earning the districts more funding. But I've never heard Roanoke, Cleveland, or Lansing use the word "family."

Someone help me on this.

*****

The Christian Science Monitor drops in on Lansing, but just uses the city as a backdrop.

*****

Remember, the official RF pick for the Democratic nomination for 2008 is Mark Warner. Keep an eye on the guy.

*****

New poll up in this.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Consideration of the Drunk Dial

The drunk dial has gotten a bad name. People find it so annoying, they make buttons reading "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk." Others record their buddies' smashed rants and post them online. Some crabs -- can you believe this? -- complain about getting calls at 3 a.m. from "friends" who want to "talk" about anything and everything.

I think it's time to rethink the drunk dial. In an era of e-mails, IMs, clipped cell phone conversations, text messages, blogs, we've lost an endearing trait in communication: sloppy enthusiasm. We either zap people with idiotic emoticons or send friends well-considered e-mails. Spontaneity is gone. Forethought and truncated missives rule.

But the drunk dial fights through all this. The drunk dial apologizes to no one: It's on a mission and it must be heard! No matter that there are people with actual jobs back in the Eastern time zone. The drunk dial doesn't care if it wakes up the house: Hell, wake up the neighborhood! Ample doses of beer and whisky have combined with the night air to create ideas that must be heard: I love you, I love the MSU basketball team, I hate Duke, that one time in college was the greatest, you have to must to absolutely must come out to L.A., Mike just said something unbelievable at the bar, I really want to make fun of you right now.

There's no common courtesy to the drunk dial. There's no warming up, no "how are you? how's the weather? gosh, is it really 3:30 out there?" It travels, laserlike, to the heart of the matter. But don't mistake this efficiency for coldness. There is great warmth to the drunk dial. When you've just consumed enough Miller Lite to qualify you for class-B stock in the company, there are only important things you need to say to important people. And you say them in tones that convey the vital nature of the call: "Amos, goooodammmit, get on the next plane to L.A. Forget New York and Hoboken and real estate, just get on the plane and be here by noon tomorrow! Remember that time when you thought you were locked out of Joe's car but it was really someone else's car? Oh, sweet Moses, that was funny. So have you bought your ticket yet?"

Now, I realize there's a dark side to the drunk dial. Some folks use this time to tell that ex what they really think of them, or make other calls of a harassing nature. Let me say that the drunk dial should only be used for good. Use it to tell someone you love them, or tell them a joke, or call and just laugh maniacally and hang up. There is a wrong way to make the drunk dial, so I offer some tips:

  • Match the call to the caller. Is your friend a night owl (Oscar)? Able to laugh at anything (Amos)? Thinking about sports as much as you do (Schmidt)? I wouldn't call Jon Brunt to expound on my theory about the magic of sidewalks. I'd save that one for Oscar. But I would call Jon to check up on his Vegas preparations or reminisce about how much he hated being ENC.
  • The only time courtesy is called for is when the callee has a baby. While Katie has told me repeatedly I can call at 4 in the morning, I'd never be able to forgive myself if I woke up Jackie.
  • Know when to end the call -- and then extend it just a bit longer. I mean, you are smashed. Make it count.
  • Have the forethought to call from a location where the callee can hear you. If you're in a deafening bar, go outside. What's the point if the other person has no clue what you're talking about?
  • Follow up the drunk dial with an e-mail the next day, just to confirm what both parties said and assure the callee that you in fact survived the evening.

So, I hope you'll look more kindly upon the drunk dial next time you receive one. If it's from me, it's because something crazy just happened or popped into my head and I just have to share it with you. And please feel free to call me at any time of night.

Especially if you're back in the Midwest, because it'll only be, like, 11:30 here.

*****

Many congrats to Joe's cousin Chuck, who's wife just had a baby girl: Maya! And more congrats to Joe for his big MSU recruiting scoop! And congrats to Katie -- just because.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rocket Fever All-Stars

Sorry for the disruption, folks. The Internet connection was out yesterday.

*****

I'm proud to announce my votes for the 2006 NBA All-Star Team:

West
F Elton Brand: Most complete low-post player in the NBA?
F Dirk Nowitzki: He's good.
G Baron Davis: Had Golden State playing at least respectively. And sports a cool beard sometimes.
G Steve Nash: Also is good; needs haircut.
C Chris Caman: That's right. Two Clippers. Wanna fight?

East
F Tayshaun Prince: I can't think of another small forward who's as valuable to his team.
F LeBron James: No comment necessary.
G Chauncey Billups: Best PG in the East.
G Richard Hamilton: Best SG in the East. I call him "Richie."
C Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Deserves greater recognition.

Write-in
G Mateen Cleaves: Flint represent!

Monday, January 16, 2006

We're Not at the Corner of Francis and Fernwood Anymore

The SoCal chapter of the FFAA conducted a successful and productive meeting in sunny San Diego this weekend. Topics discussed included various youthful malfeasances, a review of the interregnum between then and now, a roll call of characters from the past, and a speculative look into the future.

O.K. I'll drop this annoying schtick. I had a tremendously cool and great weekend with Ryan in San Diego. It was basically a moving conversation against backdrops that included the amazing Balboa Park, an assortment of cool neighborhoods, Ryan and Nancy's tres cool apartment, and a succession of restaurants and bars. We had lots to catch up on, and I'd say we did a pretty good job of it. Ryan has put together quite a life down there, and I see only better things for him in the future. He and his girlfriend are two of the coolest folks I know.

I can't quite explain the sensation of talking to your oldest friend while on the complete other end of the country from where we grew up. There's a shared understanding there that's just a bit deeper than I think you can have with anyone else.

Our man in San Diego.

"Give me the camera! Give me the camera!" Steve Borough will understand.

This is something called the Salk Institute, which is an architectural wonder sitting on the coast and housing various genius scientists who will save us all someday. Impressive.

Just about says it all.

It has something to do with the sun. I don't get it.

A couple views from the roof of their building.

*****

Also, I bought a CD to commemorate the weekend: The Dirtbombs' "Ultraglide in Black." Very cool. I know most of you heard of these guys years ago. Leave me alone.

*****

Take The Pants Poll if you haven't yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Temp Rising in San Diego: Could it Be a Case of Rocket Fever?

The Southern California chapter of the Fairview Falcon Alumni Association will convene this weekend in San Diego when Ryan Ahrens, chairman, hosts Craig Gaines, treasurer and secretary. Old items to discuss: Various reminiscences including but not limited to Mrs. McAttee, Levertus Crump, Jenny Currie's vicious right hook, and Georgia camping trips. New items: Catching up on much lost time, the greatness of the California Republic, and a general survey of San Diego. Look to this space Monday for a full report.

*****

I keep developing these micro-obsessions with certain albums or songs. Recent examples include "When U Love Somebody" by the Fruit Bats, "Midnight Blues" by the Detroit Cobras, and Beulah's "Yoko" album. Now I'm returning to a past micro-obsession: Sleater-Kinney's "All Hands on the Bad One" album. (Am I any rock 'n' roll fun? Gosh, I hope so.)

In other Rocket Fever media news, I'm going to blow the rest of my Virgin Megastore gift card on my favorite Jim Jarmusch movie, "Mystery Train." Anyone buy any cool DVDs lately?

10 Most-Read NYT Stories in 2005

From an NYT e-mail:

1. Maureen Dowd: What's a Modern Girl to Do? Published: October 30, 2005 Burning your bra or padding it. Demanding "Ms." or flaunting "Mrs." Splitting the check or letting him pay. Playing it straight or playing hard to get.

2. Maureen Dowd: United States of Shame Published: September 3, 2005 W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives.

3. Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World By KURT EICHENWALD, Published: December 19, 2005 A 13-year-old was drawn into performing sex acts for an online audience in a tale of the dark collateral effects of technology.

4. How Personal Is Too Personal for a Star Like Tom Cruise? By SHARON WAXMAN, Published: June 2, 2005 Tom Cruise is puzzling associates and members of the public with his behavior while promoting the Paramount movie "War of the Worlds."

5. Officials Struggle to Reverse a Growing Sense of Anarchy By RALPH BLUMENTHAL, JOSEPH B. TREASTER and MARIA NEWMAN, Published: September 1, 2005 Bodies floated in stagnant floodwaters, and food and water supplies dwindled for thousands of trapped, desperate residents who had not yet managed to find a way out.

6. Thomas L. Friedman: Osama and Katrina Published: September 7, 2005 If President Bush goes back to his politics as usual, Katrina will have destroyed a city and a presidency.

7. Macabre Reminder: The Corpse on Union Street By DAN BARRY, Published: September 8, 2005 It is remarkable that on a downtown street in a major U.S. city, a corpse can decompose for days, like carrion, and that is acceptable.

8. Editorial: Waiting for a Leader Published: September 1, 2005 George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life Wednesday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom.

9. Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Lawyers Report By DAVID JOHNSTON, RICHARD W. STEVENSON and DOUGLAS JEHL, Published: October 25, 2005 Notes of a previously undisclosed conversation between the vice president and his chief of staff appear to differ from I. Lewis Libby's federal grand jury testimony.

10. Paul Krugman: A Can't-Do Government By PAUL KRUGMAN, Published: September 2, 2005 America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job.

*****

And this is a hoot. Courtesy of Rocket Fever Southern correspondent Beth Jones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"The White Shadow" Drinking Game

First, you need to familiarize yourself with "The White Shadow," which follows Coach Ken Reeves and his misfit inner-city L.A. high school basketball team. Reeves, a former Chicago Bull whose knee injury knocked him out of the league, is gruff and sarcastic, but he clearly cares about his players although they constantly exasperate him.

I'd also recommend doing this to one of the episodes where they actually play a game. Some (such as the dreadful episode about an airplane trip gone awry) feature no action at all. So take a spin through the DVDs before playing. And then drink your ass off:

TAKE A DRINK EVERY TIME ...
  • Coach says "Haywood" or "Coolidge" (these are two star players)
  • Coach calls the players "ladies" or "animals"
  • The team manager is onscreen
  • Coach walks into the principal's or vice principal's office
  • The Carver High School sign is shown
  • The players say "Goldstein!" after Goldstein says or does something wacky or bonkers
  • Thorpe makes a wise-ass remark (this will be the rule that keeps you drinking; pay attention)
  • Coach makes Jackson remove his shades or hat

TAKE A SHOT OR LONG DRINK EVERY TIME ...
  • The manager speaks
  • The vice principal cracks wise about Coach's lack of teaching experience
  • Goldstein plays

ROLL A DIE TO DETERMINE HOW MANY DRINKS TO TAKE WHEN ...
  • Coach's sister or brother-in-law appear
  • The team performs a layup drill

So that's it. Any improvements or innovations on the game are welcome. As I said before, we had 32 drinks in one episode, which is solid.

Rocket Fever: Warner's Our Man

You may remember that Mark Warner is Rocket Fever's pick for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. If you're still not convinced, peep this paragraph from today's Washington Post:

Those late-night sessions continue even now. Last month, on the day before his final budget speech, Warner invited his finance chief and two of his key allies in the tax fight -- Sen. John H. Chichester (R-Northumberland) and Sen. William C. Wampler Jr. (R-Bristol) -- to the governor's mansion, where the four drank Wild Irish Rose and Schlitz Malt Liquor and ate from a box of Slim Jims until late into the night.

Whisky, malt liquor, and Slim Jims? You're telling me you wouldn't want to hang out with this guy? Put on some music and you've got a party.

*****

Click back later for details on the "White Shadow" Drinking Game!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Greetings from Detroit

Sparty Gets His Vim Back

Spartans of the world, I offer to you this Rocket Fever Guarantee: The Spartan basketball team is going to end up just fine at the end of Big Ten play. They've suffered tough losses to Illinois and Wisconsin, but they will right themselves. Here's how:

1. They'll continue to struggle in their next three against Indiana, Ohio State, and Iowa. Look for them to lose one if not two of those games.

2. But starting with Michigan on January 25, the turnaround will begin. They'll BEAT MICHIGAN.

3. Then, against Penn State, Northwestern, and Purdue, MSU will go on a roll. They should be on at least a four-game win streak after the Purdue game (February 8).

4. State will then bash through the rest of the Big 10, starting with Minnesota (February 11). They won't win all these games, nor should they. The Big 10 is tough. Real tough.

This is what Izzo teams do. They drift early in the season, then gel right when they need to.

Izzo teams win. It's not always pretty, and sometimes their seasonal meanderings drive fans mad, but they come together at the right time.

Just you watch.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Is This a Hoax?

Pay close attention to the names. Is someone having fun with the Grand Rapids Press?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Cookie Day!

State Newsers and interested onlookers: Head over to Money For Cookie Day for an important post.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ugh

I was out sick today, so I'm again behind on my posting schedule. I have so much to post about, including the rules for the "White Shadow" Drinking Game, how to execute a proper drunk dial, and rhetorical parallels between Lansing and Cleveland. But until I get my juices back:

1. I underrated Texas and Vince Young. Bully for them. This game still wasn't better than the 2003 Fiesta Bowl between Miami and Ohio State, though.

2. Mike leaves tomorrow for Detroit. Welcome him, Michigan.

3. The Rocket Fever Apartment Hunt is officially under way. Details to follow.

4. Have fun with this nonsense.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Look Into the Past, Jumping Into the Future, Quietly Suffering Through the Present

And finally, the Rocket Fever New Year's report. The night started quietly, as it took me a while to get into gear after spending a very rainy day at Disneyland with my Uncle Joel and his family. But things got started when we played our new "White Shadow" Drinking Game, rules of which will appear in this space shortly. I think Mike recorded 32 drinks in 45 minutes. Not shabby.

When the heralded time struck, we celebrated responsibly: I ran up and down the street with my shirt off, terrifying passersby. Mike joined the revelry, spraying me with champagne and ("accidentally") bopping me in the head with the bottle. At some point during this idiocy, we looked up and realized our neighbors Eshie (still spelled wrong, I just know it) and Helen were looking down at us. They, being cut from more sophisticated cloth, were puzzled at our rabble-rousing. But they were still good enough to invite us in for a drink. We gladly accepted, and ended the night winding down with good company.

See ya, 2005.

Beer, whisky, "The White Shadow," cupcakes, pure fun.

The picture of success.

Mike as Beastie Boy.

Repping Swedish soccer and Mateen Cleaves (who should be getting lots more playing time).

Huddies!

Macking on cupcakes.

Unadulterated joy.

And repeat.

Happy. Damn. New Year.

We spent a few minutes watching "Poor Man's Bikini Beach." I'll explain later.

Don't ask.

This guy was in a foul mood the next day.

That, friends, is accomplishment.

They Throw Poo

Anyone interested in a monkey?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

CG and Hud Say ...

"Yo ... yo ... aiight ... you ready for this? Click back later for a Total New Year's Recap! We're a bit behind because the apartment almost blew up yesterday when a power line went down about 25 feet from the building.

"In the meantime, entertain yourself with this."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Clarett

Maybe it's just me, but something doesn't add up with this Maurice Clarett thing. He's obviously not a model citizen, but the guy can't be desperately poor. And one of the people who was robbed is hedging on whether it's him. I guess it's dodgy that Clarett hasn't turned up yet, but this just doesn't sound right. It doesn't make sense.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New RF Feature: Polls!

A bodacious New Year's update will be coming soon. Until then, gain amusement from the first Rocket Fever poll! (Question courtesy of L.A. Weekly colleague Derek Thomas.)