Thursday, April 27, 2006

Welcome, Paterfamilias



Dad Gaines arrives in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. Friday. I have a big week planned for the Old Man: LAT Book Fest, a play in Silver Lake, Dodgers game, up to Malibu for a day ... you get the idea. I can't wait to show him around; should be a blast.

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Congratulations are in order for everyone's favorite children's reading coach, Holly McClintic. Mack just completed the final class of her master's in education program at Michigan State, making her a Top-Secret Robot Ninja Master of Reading. If you can read this, join me in sending Miss McClintic M.A. a robust Rocket Fever Huzzah!

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For all those East Lansing development-story junkies out here, take a gander at this piece in The State News. Well done, Bob Darrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Excellent Jungle debut."

That's what Rome had to say about Charles' performance after the interview. C-Rob got a laugh out of Rome with a joke he made near the end of the conversation.

That was rad.

Where We Are Now

I'm listening to C-Rob on Rome and looking at a Vikas Bajaj story on NYT.com right now.

I'm getting chills.

Charles Robinson is Going to be on Rome in a Few Minutes!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Huzzah Is Indeed in Order

Former S'newser and all-around stand-up guy Charles Robinson broke the big Reggie Bush story on Yahoo Sports a few days ago! His original story is here, and his follow-up is here. And watch Charles do a video interview here!

Atta boy, C-Rob! Give 'em hell! Huzzah!

Thanks to Jen Preston for the heads up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Talk About A Difference in Perspective

One thing the Lansing State Journal has done well in its writing on this meager neo-Nazi "rally" at the Michigan State Capitol is keep the size of the event in context. Basically, it wasn't that big a deal. This is from the Journal's April 23 review of the rally:

The rally, which has sent waves of concern through the community for the past several weeks, turned out to be a mostly peaceful event.

The 75 neo-Nazis and more than 800 protesters gathered at the Capitol baited one another from opposite sides of a chain-link fence.

Minor scuffles led to 16 arrests.

But the more than 500 police officers who lined the downtown streets managed to keep disturbances to a minimum.


That's not a small-town paper trying to play down a controversial story, it's a clear-eyed account saying that the event, while emotional, was small and without major incident. Easy enough.

But read this caption from a photo included on washingtonpost.com's "Day in Photos" slideshow (it's the fifth photo):


Neo-Nazis give a salute as they get off a bus and arrive at a Neo-Nazi rally in front of the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan. The rally is the largest Neo-Nazi rally of 2006 and is sponsored by the National Socialist Movement.


Kind of a different tone, huh? If I read just that, I'd think this event was a much bigger deal that it was. I'd picture hundreds of neo-Nazis. There were less than a hundred. The event was a dud. "Largest Neo-Nazi rally of 2006"? That's like saying "Socialist Party USA's most crucial meeting of 2006." It's actually pathetic, but the Post's presentation inflates the scale beyond reality. I understand it's impossible to tell an entire story in a caption, but it's undeniable that there were a few hundred (thousand?) people in the country who have a completely overblown image of this story in their heads.


Mazel Freaking Tov, Sister

Read her post and then leaves comments of good tidings.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Maybe Now I'm Getting Too Picky, But ...

So Lansing had its little neo-Nazi thing on Saturday. The Journal did an O.K. job covering it, but now I'm bugged by something else. Go to the LSJ's main page covering the "event" and check out the logo for the package. Doesn't that basically look like a neo-Nazi logo? Aren't those colors normally associated with the neo-Nazis? Even the font reminds me of a neo-Nazi logo.

Again, I may be getting too picky here (and I'm not sure how many of you care about the fine details of LSJ coverage, but deal), but why not create a logo that's a bit more, um, neutral? It's an odd decision.

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Here's a nice little story on urban gay youth. This has always fascinated me, since I can't remember anyone coming out while I was in school; I always assumed it would be too dangerous for them. Maybe times are changing, the piece says, but no less complex. I only wish the writer would have pursued the black church angle more. My guess is most pastors are way too scared to say anything on the subject.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Tree Dies in Los Feliz

And here's the rest of the story.

The mover came on Monday to dump all the stuff that I've been storing in Michigan since February 2006. When I went downstairs to meet him, his first words to me were, "We have a little problem."

"What's that?" I said.

"My trailer caught a tree and pulled up the roots."

Sure enough, 15 feet down the street was an uprooted tree resting equally on his truck, some power lines, and the building itself. A problem, indeed. Restaurant owners, worried about the coming lunch rush, poked their heads out their doors. I told them I'd be patronizing all their fine establishments to make up for the problem.

So a cop came out, who was kind enough to inform us we were "up s*** creek" as far as getting the tree down, then changed his mind and called out Street Maintenance for the job. They got here in a relatively quick hour and a half, at which point the cop high-tailed it. The gentlemen then deliberated for 20 minutes on how to go about the job, not wanting to damage the building or bring down the power lines.

In the end, they just chainsawed the poor damn thing out of its misery. It's amazing what one Sears-bought piece of equipment can do to a 30-foot tree. That sucker came down in less than five minutes.

And where a tree used to stand on Hillhurst Avenue, now sits a stump wearing an orange safety cone. In the tree's honor, I ask all Rocket Fever readers to celebrate Arbor Day, which RF Tree Correspondent Holly McClintic reports is next Friday. If this tree had to die, let others be born.













Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Punctuation Matters

Take a gander at the headline and deck on the Lansing State Journal's story today on a planned Neo-Nazi rally to take place downtown:

HED: Neo-Nazis don't want a battle, leader says
DECK: Rally to highlight failure of democracy for whites

Nothing wrong with the hed. It tells you what the story is about and who the main source is. Fine. But the deck is a problem. As written, it states outright that democracy has failed white people. My guess is that the LSJ doesn't actually think this is true. But the lack of quote marks around, say, "failure," leaves the line written as a statement of widely held fact. The copy editor also could have attributed the statement to a source; I realize that takes up more space, but the task could be accomplished.

To be fair, I haven't seen what today's hard copy looks like. Maybe some coding was left off the Web version. But either way, it's an unfortunate mistake.

Gimme Time

The tree story will have to wait one more day, as I redo Rocket Fever Headquarters' wireless network. In the meantime:

1. I saw the biggest damn 'possum I've ever seen in my life the other night. It was just standing there on a berm on Ambrose, headed toward the house's front lawn. A woman was walking toward it from the opposite direction, so it felt a bit trapped. Why it stared directly at me for 10 seconds is beyond me, but I'll never forget being targeted by those huge, black eyes. The stand-off ended when a car drove by, spooking it into running into the yard. Seeing it run was the topper. Not only was it fast but, to put it in Los Feliz terms, the thing was bigger than Buckley. I do believe those suckers are going to take over the planet someday.

2. I now have just about all my stuff from Michigan. I'll turn in my version of Proust when things are finally in order. Suffice to say now that I'm very happy with all my music and books and baseball cards and such. It's Craig Time!

3. Dad Gaines gets here in a week and a half. Let the planning commence.

4. Y'know, what's our obsession with bags? It's like, "Oh, I have all this stuff and I have to carry it somewhere. Guess I'll put it in a bag." Listen, friends, evolution has blessed humans with the most sophisticated tool on the planet: hands. Genius robot scientists from Mars still haven't been able to make a synthetic hand that has the dexterity and intelligence that our organic ones do. Look at how we treat our hands: cutting them off for shoplifting, tattooing them, adorning the nails with silly colors. There is a worldwide lack of respect for hands, and I say it stops now! Put these wonders of nature to full use! Next time you're at the store buying nothing more than shampoo and butter, tell the cashier, "No thanks, I don't need a bag. I'll just use my hands."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This Is the End of the Story ...

Look to this space in a few hours for the beginning and middle!

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Cos" for Celebration!

I got all emotional yesterday when I heard the big news: Kate Cosgrove is getting married to her longtime boyfriend, Chris! This union comes with a hearty Rocket Fever endorsement. I've known both these cats for years and can say with airtight confidence that they will instantly become one of the coolest married couples I know.

I met Cos during my study abroad in London. The first time I ever heard her speak, she was telling other folks on the trip that there was no way she could stand our nasty bathroom conditions because she was a "princess." Stay clear of that one, I thought. But we were best friends by, like, the next day, and she's been a close, valued confidant ever since.

Chris, a fellow proud product of the Lansing School District, lived on my floor during freshman year at Shaw. Despite this and the fact that he and Kate have been dating for approximately 47 years, I've only met the guy on a handful of very enjoyable occasions. I actually wrote about one of those in a post last year. So I guess all that means is that I have some catching up to do, which should start when the newly engaged visit L.A. in the near future.

My deepest, warmest congratulations to you both. ROCKET FEVER HUZZAHS ALL AROUND!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Photo Week: The Chicken and the Egg

The final entry comes from the belle of the ball, the princess of the pageant, the twinkle in everyone's eye: Kate Cosgrove, of Lansing, London, and far, far beyond.

Thanks to Kate and all the other Photo Week contributors!



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Fair warning: I'm heading into a weekend and week of work, work, work. Don't be surprised if my post volume isn't its normal robust self. If things get slow, check in on this other project I'm blowing my time on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Photo Week Enters the Home Stretch

These beauties come courtesy of Aaron Beachnau, of San Francisco, the Dean days, and Lansing Eastern High School. Aaron knows his way around a digital camera, as you'll note below.




Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Photo Week: Hump Day

Wednesday's photos come from the great Ilya Perchikovsky of Detroit, New York, Moscow, the world. With descriptions by the photographer.

Hip-hop Rolls-Royce

Visiting Jon and Lauren in S.F. Bought that NKOTB sweatshirt from on elderly Chinese man, think I paid $20 for it. Best purchase ever made!

Stunning 'Teatro Colon" opera house in Buenos Aires

Candelabra stunner inside the Blue Mosque (pronounced "jAHm-ee") in Istanbul

Poor Kurdish farmer boy named Ramazan, on the 21-hour bus ride back to Istanbul.

Blow Voltran Factory in Istanbul, not sure what they manufacture there?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Best Text Message. Ever

"Just shook John Kerry's hand at the SD airport. He was ahead of me in line getting a FRAPACHINO, on his way to Seattle. Handshake was so so."

From Ryan Ahrens, on his way to San Francisco.

We all love you, RWA.

Photo Week: Day Two


This beauty is courtesy of Mike Hudson, who recently attended the world's coolest spring training game known to man with his cousin Sivert. Mike can fill us in on the details if he likes, but what you're looking at here is an amalgam of chew and gum on the field of Dodger Stadium. Admit it: There's just a small part of you that wants to pick it up and chomp on it for a minute, right?

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I'd fill you in on our weekend with Jamie Cook, but his blog post leaves nothing else to be said. Cook, you're a genius.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Welcome to Photo Week!

This week, I'll be posting impressive photos by members of the Rocket Fever Family. They come from all over the globe and prove what a cool bunch of folks read this silly blog. The first installment comes from Rocket Fever Asia Correspondent Thomas Fitzpatrick. Tom says these photos are from the "hanami/cherry blossom viewing week here in Matsue."






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Current events are preventing me from writing more about the new apartment, but quickly: Things are going very well. I have furniture, I have food, I'll soon have the rest of my crap from Michigan. I'll post more when things clear up and when I can snag a digital camera from someone.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rocket Fever Goes Offline, Temporarily

Moving and a temporary loss of daily Internet connectivity will prevent me from posting much this week. I realize this sudden lack of Rocket Fever will be difficult for the junkies in the crowd, but please see my helpful links section for other fine members of the Rocket Fever Family of Bloggers.

When I come back, I'll kick off the first-ever Rocket Fever Photo Week (some of you still owe me photos; let's go!), and maybe even take a whack at redesigning the site. No promises there. I'll also have tons of notes on and images of the new RFHQ. Maybe I'll even have bought some furniture by then! Again, no promises.

So have a good week, friends. I've included a few items that may help carry you through the week.

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A Broadway play that involves Lansing? I thought theaters wanted more people to come to the shows.

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I understand why some folks in Ohio are alarmed at the sudden influx of immigrants. There are going to be cultural growing pains involved with such population shifts. But there has to come a point where we accept this issue and deal with it. Mexicans want to come to this country to work and raise families. And some of them are doing jobs at very low wages, wages that keep prices of all manner of goods and services cheap (crass, I know, but Wal-Mart is popular for a reason). So instead of rounding up and questioning random groups of Latinos or blindly rushing to make English the only language the state can do business in (I'm guessing there are some Israelis and Asians who might find that a reason to invest elsewhere), Ohio and the rest of the country has to accept the situation and deal with it constructively. We ain't building a wall, and it wouldn't do any good anyway.

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My touch of a cold prevented me from going to this happening last week. Can't decide if that's a good thing (the Manny Awards it wudn't).

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Finally, and fittingly, I just developed a few rolls of film (remember film?) that I shot during my Rust Belt Farewell Tour leading up to my move to California. These were taken at Lake George, Grosse Pointe, the Peanut Barrel and Cleveland.

A moment with my buckeye tree in Grosse Pointe. Really, it's my tree.

The venerable Mellinger homestead in GPP.

Joan and Dr. Raymond Mellinger, otherwise known as Nana and Poppy.

This guy floated up and down the shoreline at Edgewater Park in Cleveland. I still remember seeing him run down the embankment leading to the lake and then be lifted by the wind.



I really got into the clouds when we were at Lake George.

Sky, treeline, lake, Dad's head.

And again.

Ma.

Joe.


Ah, the good life. I can't wait to be there in July!

Sister, eyes boring right into your skull.


Tim McCarty, Joe Rexrode, Geoff Kimmerly, and Oscar Mazariegos watching a Pistons-Spurs Final game at the Barrel.

Kimmerly, paying homage to Frank DeLuca.