Friday, June 30, 2006

Garlic Apple from Hell!



This is what happens when your kitchen gets into the high 80s during the day: Your apple fuses with a clove of garlic to create a supermutant new form of evil vegetablefruit. Pretty neat, huh?

Guess I'll have to start using my fridge.

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Joey Ballgame seems to think the three Sparty draft picks are in good shape.

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Speaking of Rexrodes, this I can hardly believe.

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Vote for Sparty! (Thanks to Katie for the forward!)

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Check out the links if you haven't perused them lately: There are a couple Micah Muzio productions at the top, the stylings of Lawrence Everett Forbes (L.A. Weekly buddy), everyone's favorite Other Style Council, and maybe some other newbies you haven't checked out. Support Rocket Fever's friends!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mazel Tovs Across the Country

I had to miss two monumental weddings last weekend: Becky Amos married one Mark Major, and Mandy Hanlin and Brent Norton got hitched. Becky, Mandy and Brent have been great friends for many years now. I got a classic, well-executed drunk dial from the Amos-Major party in New York on Saturday (propers to Becky Hudson), and Amos (still Amos) sounded like she was having the time of her life, as was appropriate.

Congratulations to all of you, friends. I hope you find health and happiness for years to come.

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The Rocket Fever Name-the-Mask Competition is heating up! Do it to it!

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In other news, this looks like a curse to me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lansing: You Can Sing Your Song Here

I was just about to make fun of this story, but then I actually read it. This is a great, and very Lansing, story.

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MySpace love story? Or creepy, doomed-for-failure Internet romance? YOU DECIDE.

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Gimme some more mask names, folks. I know you're out there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Blanks


Just stop what you're doing and spend four little minutes listening to a Blanks song. These guys are/were a Lansing band, which means I'm biased. Deal with it.

I got to see 'em at Mac's during my stay home. Craig Schmidt and Charlie Don't Shake introduced me. I think I've listened to their CD "Love You Too" more than any other in the past year and a half.

Writing about music or describing music is stupid. I haven't yet found a writer who can accurately describe a new band. So I'm not going to try here. Just listen, for Chrissakes.

Happy Happy

Warm and crispy birthday wishes go out to Lansing's finest reading specialist, Holly McClintic. Holly is in the midst of enjoying her summer vacation, which means she'll likely wake up at about 3 p.m. today, watch some cartoons, then hit the bars with the fury of a hurricane. Watch out, Capitol City.

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Correction: My calculations were off. Ryan leaves for Mexico on Saturday.

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What's life like in L.A.? This should give you an idea.

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C'mon, you wimps. Name the mask!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rocket Fever Name-the-Mask Contest!


I just hung up this mask in my kitchen. Creepy cool, huh? So what should we name it? Renaldo? Hot Lips? All Smiles All the Time? The Spitting Image of Bill Joyce? Post or e-mail me your entries. The winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to the Cayman Islands!!!*

*Winner responsible for arranging all travel and accommodations to and in Cayman Islands. Winner responsible for 100 percent of funding of trip to Cayman Islands. Rocket Fever is in no way responsible for travel, accommodations, or any other expenses incurred during trip to Cayman Islands. Hell, you can go to Peru for all we care. Just don't go hitting us up for cash. We have our own problems.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Capping It All Off

I found my first baseball cap: A battered, duct-taped Toledo Mudhens job. I bought it at that old sporting-goods spot in East Lansing. No clue what it was called. I seem to remember Brian Shiels and I were into Minor League caps. The Quad City cap was pretty cool, too.

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What sort of cretin would steal someone's turtles? I mean, turtles?

"Hey, wouldn't it be a gas to steal some turtles?" the guy would say.

And then you'd be like, "No, that would be mean to the turtles and their owner. That would not be a gas."

Or at least, that's what someone should have said to this horse's ass.

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I'd just like to point out again how early we were to the whole mustache game. Wayne Delacroix is smiling somewhere in mustache heaven.

Toledo Mudhens
Los Feliz
turtles

Happy Travels, Amigo

If my calculations are correct, Ryan Ahrens is now in Mexico for his study abroad trip. When I see him upon his return, I expect him to be fluent in Spanish, versed in football, and full of good stories. See you soon, friend.

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Are you into early Christmas shopping? Then get ready to buy Joe Rexrode's book about Spartan football! Joey Ballgame is seriously one of the best pure writers I've ever met, so I have no doubt this will be a fantastic read.

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We had a productive and fun weekend at Rocket Fever: Friday, a rock-star-worthy birthday bash for Chyrsalista Piper in Santa Monica (special huzzah to Liz for getting me off my keester to go); Saturday, a rad Elysian Park barbecue set up by Lauralee, a friend and colleague to the irrepressible Micah (check out his rad Web site!) and Evie; Sunday, downtime and catching the second half of the Finals with Mikey.

And I bought an air conditioner! True, I plugged the 12-inch hole in my window with freezer bags and packaging tape, but I don't have to get all aesthetical and junk, y'know?

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I am really into these Tigers. Especially when they thrash the Cubs. I can't decide if I enjoy that more than the Pistons thrashing the Lakers. Hmm ...

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Don't give up on The Other Style Council just yet.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I Just Can't Help Myself

I know no one cares about my rants against the hometown paper, but aren't obscure diatribes the life force of any blog? Yes. So, on to the meat of the matter:

The Lansing State Journal expended more than 900 words on a rewriting of a recent New Yorker piece about an ornithologist who uncovered a huge scandal in her field. I read and enjoyed the original story. The Journal localized the story because after she was done uncovering the scandal, she took a job at Michigan State. The story didn't contain anything new; it was a very close rehashing of the original piece.

So, big deal, right? Local paper does crappy rewrite of national story with local tie-in. Happens all the time.

But then why in tarnation did the Journal ignore the story about a Lansing native who fabricated a number of memoirs that received national recognition? Let's review: Lansing native makes national news for fabricating books read by people all over the country; scientist uncovers scandal in the very small world of ornithology and then moves to Lansing afterward. Which one sounds more newsworthy to you?

I have to assume that the Journal's leadership:

  • Never knew about the story
  • Was scared away by its putting a native in such a negative light
  • Or balked at localizing such a complex story

Whatever the truth, it's a gross oversight, and it's pathetic.

Remember that Lansing's alt-weekly, City Pulse, finally got around to doing that story -- adding original reporting in the process. Unfortunately, it's not on the paper's site anymore. But the writer did a bang-up job.

So accept my apologies for going on about this, but it drives me to distraction. My hometown deserves better daily news coverage.

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Dig this fascinating story sent along by Dr. Kraputnik. Guess I should remove that MySpace photo of me covered in whipped cream and sardines.

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Congratulations to Chrysalis' Lauren Marra, who will be installing herself in Washington, D.C., in a few weeks. I'm not sure how Liz and I will soldier on, but we'll make it somehow.

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I am the last person on Earth to not care about the World Cup. It's lonely down here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Superest of Weekends

This is how it's done:

E-mail from Ryan Ahrens, June 7:

What up hombre,

How are things? What are the chances of a possible meeting up in L.A.? I finished the semester on Monday, and I'm leaving for Cuernavaca, Mexico, on June 24th. I know it's short notice, but I may be able to shoot up there this Sunday, the 11th, for the day and leave Monday morning.


My reply:

Your timing is impeccable. Yes, come up on Sunday. Do it. It's done.


And so it was. The old boy just left, and we did it up quite nicely, thanks very much. After picking him up at Union Station, we: Hit the Los Feliz street festival (right outside my window), toured the Sunset Strip and PCH, supped at Neptune's Net, got a peak of the city from the top of Griffith Park, watched the end of quite possibly the worst NBA Finals game ever at the Hudsons', got a better peak of the city from Mulholland Drive (thanks to Mike and his rad Jeep Commander), drove past some movie studios, ate at Fred 62, and then passed out.

Now R.W. is on his way back to San Diego and Mexico. Safe journey, friend. Pick me up at the San Diego train station in early August.

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Dig this fascinating story sent to me by Dr. Hotnuts. Guess it's time to remove that photo of me covered in whipped cream and sardines.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Safety Sam and the Shameful Art of Terrifying Children


If anyone out there doesn't react to this photo with anything other than abject horror, we can't be friends anymore. This lifeless tool of evil was employed by the Lansing Police Department to perpetrate dead-eyed terror and mischief upon the innocent, sunny-haired children of Lansing in the 1950s. The legend around Foster Community Center in the 1980s was that you were a goner once "Safety Sam" affixed you in with rictal grin.

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I found this image on this dude's MySpace page. Don't ask me how I got there. I forget. But I won't forget the photo anytime soon. Aside from the obvious reasons (all two of them), there are other items that make this an arresting photo. Consider the symbols: "College" itself, "College" representing "Animal House," the beer can, the Mich Ultra logo, the Michigan State logo, the fitted baseball cap, the girl's jewelry, the sun hitting her hair, the cooler with the sweatshirt on it for when it gets colder later, the trucks parked on green fields, the date (Notre Dame beat us, 31-24, that day). Ten people could look at this photo and be taken 10 different places. Or, maybe, two places.

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The Monkey Chow Diaries is a Web site of particular genius. Spend time with the videos.

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Can you tell I don't care about the NBA right now? But baseball is bein' berry, berry good to me!

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I know most of you have probably heard of this guy, but dig on Sondre Lercher. And, for Chrissakes, download his "Things You Call Fate" from iTunes. It's Friday! Live a little!

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Raconteurs = Good.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dispatches

I love crazy college stunts like these. He's a Spartan!

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The city of Austin, Texas, has welcomed Steve Borough. Congratulations.

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This is what's above my desk right now. I really need to hang some images on the walls.

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Going to see the Raconteurs do a free thing at Amoeba Thursday. That'll be all right.

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I'm trying to give up high-fructose corn syrup. But I love ketchup and Miracle Whip so much.

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Here's a tip: Hold tight to your drink when you're at a bar with a couple of women who like to talk with their hands. The odds are excellent that they'll slap the beer right into your shirt (if you don't do it to yourself first).

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The addicts (myself included) beat the pants off the teetollers in the caffeine poll, 17-4. Now flick over to the new poll. (Thanks to MLJ for the suggestion.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Muriel Kirby, 1921-2006

We lost a kind and courageous woman on Friday.

My stepgrandmother was happiest when she was surrounded by her entire family, as she will be today. Her eyes, always bright, would especially light up during Christmas (she put up more than one tree) or at a barbecue at Lake George (her favorite meal, as far as I could tell, was grilled hot dogs). Muriel wrote the book on making stepkids feel welcome in a new family; she treated my sister and I as if we had been her grandkids from the day we were born.

Muriel had a light and precise laugh, which we heard often. She always chose to make herself known through her quiet, concentrated grace even though she was an imposing presence at 6 feet. She and I shared long discussions about journalism, an interest she developed when her family encountered tragedy in the 1980s. I always appreciated that she would ask me questions about journalism ethics and practices, and would then listen to what I said. By the time I knew her, Muriel was a bit of an authority on the matter, so it did my young ego tremendous good when she gave me the floor.

I'm going home in July, and I'll spend a few days up at my family's cottage on Lake George, Muriel's favorite spot. It will be there that I think of her, the lives she's changed, and the times we shared.

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I'll leave it to the State Journal to fill you in on the more public side of Muriel's life (I only wish it had been written by Katie Rexrode).

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Sonoma Life

Everyone needs to get to Sonoma at least once in their lives. Most of you won't be able to take advantage of the of my aunt and uncle legendary hospitality, but you'll still have a golden time.

My Memorial Day weekend up in wine country was a movable feast of conversation, hiking, eating, and repeat. The most memorable moments were spent driving and hiking around the Sonoma Valley. The rolling hills, vineyards, forests make for a particular environment that -- combined with all the other exquisite little spots in the U.S. -- make this the best country on Earth.

Besides hanging with my family, the other highlight was seeing Herbie Hancock at the Sonoma Jazz Festival. We had great seats, and Herbie put on a helluva show.

It looks like they have the festival every Memorial Day weekend. I wonder who's playing next year ...

Friday, June 02, 2006

At Least We Have Garfield on our Side

Wait for that U-M honk Marmaduke's wicked reply. Ohhh baby!

February 1985


This photo might best sum up my childhood. It captures a time and place using a couple faces, atmosphere, carefully placed miscellany, and a shitload of snow.

It was taken in February 1985 in our back yard at 504 N. Fairview Ave. in Lansing. I am 6 and my sister just turned 3. I can't remember which parent took this photo, but I'd like to know what in hell we're doing out there. My facial expression is a combination of gritting against the cold and attempting to smile. Hayley's facial expression is -- common for the era -- completely comic. I'm sure it was accompanied by a weird noise.

Note the dress. We're bundled up so the only skin we show is on our faces. I have gloves, she has mittens. Her hat is a princessy light blue, mine is muddy colored and has my name on it (!). Hayley bizarrely seems to be wearing tights with huge boots.

Now let's move to the setting. Snow dominates everything. It's wet, dumped clumps everywhere and squeaks and cracks when you walk on it. The swing set is in pretty good shape, but you can be sure that metal is bone chilling. The lawn chair and tennis racket are reminders of how frozen in the past summer seems when it's July. And the clothesline with just a few clothespins will hang empty until spring.

The bottom one was probably taken a year before at my grandparents' house in Grosse Pointe. The young man enjoyed the cultured life.


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I'll have the Sonoma wrapup soon, I swear it. I just go off on these tangents, y'know?

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Had dinner with Jen Molnar last night. More on that to follow.

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Had a long, frank discussion with Pat Muir of Central Washington last night as well. Pat knows it's funny.

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Colorful and healthful.