Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kentucky Country Boys Defend Earth Against Little Green Invaders

This story is amazing. It recounts a 1955 battle between Kentucky country folk and aliens. The writing is so clean and straightfaced; it's pure white light. Whatever you do, don't just skim this story. Read every word, and bask in its awesomeness. Fire in the sky!


The S'news kids won another Pacemaker!


I don't know much about Prop 2 in Michigan, but I have to say the spokesman for it in this story has a pretty good comeback for Izzo and Amaker coming out against it.


Continuing the MSU theme, vote for these poor idiots.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Welcome Home, Pvt. Kirby

It was a slightly eventful weekend, but only one piece of news matters: Mike Kirby is back from Iraq. Glad to see you back Stateside, Michael.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Don't Believe It

No, I'm not talking about the Tigers, which I'm still dealing with. I'm talking about this story from the News, which Becky forwarded me. Call me a grouchy skeptic, but stingrays just don't fly from the ocean and attack you.

This is all part of this nation's sick anti-stingray conspiracy. Are we going to stand for this?

Viva los stingrays!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rocket Fever Omnibus Post of October 2006

If you haven't listened to Hudson & Gaines, get to it! See previous post for background.


The sports and blogging communities are celebrating this week at some astounding news: Joe Rexrode has a blog. Check out Hey, Joe! (Joe, your blog title doesn't officially have the comma, but you need it, man.)


While at Albertson's the other day, I realized we've come to a certain point: One of the ads broadcast of the P.A. was narrated by a gay guy. It was for women's hair products. The voice was straight outta "Queer Eye": Lispy, sassy, yet supportive. I can't imagine hearing that a few years ago. Does this reflect a continuing evolution in American attitudes toward gays? Or just a cop-out demographic co-opting: You can't get married, but you can advise us on style. My sense is it's the latter, which might somehow be taking us toward the former.


Again, Meijer is the greatest big-box retailer on the planet.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hudson & Gaines (And a Healthy Dose of Muzio)

Tired of empty talk? Tired of news radio that's so based in reality it can't even try to be funny? Looking for another way to waste your employer's time and money? Then Hudson & Gaines is for you.

Hud, Micah Muzio, and I have been working on this podcast project for the past month or so. It's a parody of local news-talk radio featuring conservative and liberal co-hosts (guess who). Hudson & Gaines share a love for their hometown, Great Haven, and a high level of disdain for each other. So far, they've tackled a poor site-selction rating in a local business mag, a high school football controversy, and a sister-city debacle.

We're having lots of fun producing this thing, and we hope you all will enjoy it. And if you do enjoy, we hope you'll pass it on to some other friends. We're just getting started on this caper, and we want as many of you folks along for the ride as possible. So drop us a line with kudos, boos, or ideas.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Detroit Report

Like any seat-of-my-pants trip, my World Series trip was endearingly flawed. I'd call it perfect in its imperfection. Because it was so quick, there isn't tons to discuss, but here are some highlights:

  • Sheri and Paul Freemantle are again some of the coolest cats on Earth, and that's even after learning Paul, a Briton, hates baseball.
  • Being in downtown Detroit on World Series day was the coolest. Tons of people in Tigers regalia, some in painted faces, filled the streets. A festive, "can you believe we're in the World Series?" mood prevailed. I'd say about 30 percent of the people down there were wearing the same MLB Playoffs hoodie that I bought at the airport that morning.
  • It was great seeing tons of folks at the bar we were at. Lots of S'newsers from the old days, including Preston, Cindy, Sharon, Chad, and Dave. And there were members of the extended family: Heather and Erin, Oscar ... good times.
  • Let's be honest: The bar sucked. Not being a Detroiter, I didn't realize that "Fifth Avenue" is synonymous with "Land Shark." Total chach bar, replete with dudes in chains and cologne. Way too crowded ... with people who didn't really care about the game. I have to say, very bad vibe in there.
  • After the game, the fun continued under the auspices of Amy, Shane, Mandy, and Brent. It was one of those classic nights of hanging out at home, b.s.-ing, and having way too much fun. And it would have been just another fun night, had we not invented a party game that will be overtaking the world soon. Stay tuned for a new blog soon ...
  • Plenty of pix at the Flickr page!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Steve Davis Says ...

Listen to the Tiger and chill! Gaines will have a ripping post soon.


Sorry I've been MIA lately, Rocketeers. I had this crazy trip to Detroit, and I've also been doing jury duty. I'll tell you all about both in a post coming soon to a blog near you!

Friday, October 20, 2006

That Was Then ...

See y'all in Detroit!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Boom Go the Tiger Bats [WITH UPDATES]*

Waiting for tacos before the game.

Celebrating Magglio after the game.

Contemplating 36 hours in the D next weekend!

Was that great or what?

I've already written about going nuts over at 90 Percent, but let me say again: We went nuts. I downloaded the game (for the unitiated, Game 4 of the ALCS. Look it up) from MLB.com and rewatched the ninth inning yesterday. A few things stood out: We got two quick outs before that rally, which made things even more amazing. And, Maggs' homer left the yard in a hot second; my memory is that it took about half a minute before clearing the fence. Damnation, man. Damnation. (Hud, I can't believe I didn't think of this: I should have set up my digital camera on video mode to capture us going nuts. Best idea I never had.)

And now, to complete the cycle of lunacy, I've bought tickets to be in town for Game 1 on Saturday. If I can't be in the belly of the beast for at least Game 1, what kind of fan am I?

I think Maggs' homer might be the single greatest play in Michigan sports history. The only other thing that comes to mind right away is Joe Dumars blocking David Rivers' shot at the end of Game 3 of the 1989 NBA Finals and then saving it from going out of bounds. But Maggs' homer is far more dramatic. I'm going into a daze just thinking about it.

Pay attention to this, folks. We all need some fun in our lives, and this is about the most fun you can have.


I'm looking for two tickets to Game 1. I'll pay good money.


*The only thing more pimp than going for Game 1 is going for the entire series. And who's more pimp than Gaines? Hud, that's who. So if you miss me during my quick tour, I'm sure you'll be able to throw back a few O'Douls with Michael C. Hudson.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

From One Detour to the Next

Before I forget, let me just say that the act of breaking bread is lots more fun than I thought it'd be. I had occasion to do so with two buddies from the Weekly last weekend. Lawrence, who now works at E, and Courtney, who's about to desert us to work for the Olsen twins (yep), accompanied me to the Weekly's Detour music fest downtown last weekend. Expensive drinks, free food, subway travel, Guitar Hero, and breaking bread at a tasty but ... slow ... Mexican place in Echo Park punctuated the evening.

Tons 'o fun, kids. Let's do it again real soon.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

San Diego, Strangely, the Conclusion

See below for parts I and II.

Schmidt and I left San Diego Saturday afternoon with questions: Were O’Connells staff members right in saying they couldn’t allow me in the bar without photo ID? And even though it was a private establishment with the right to refuse service to anyone, were they being understandably cautious businesspeople, or uptight stiffs? And were those concrete domes along the 5 indeed the same structures that reminded Lt. Frank Drebin of his ex-wife in “The Naked Gun”?

I turned to a number of sources for the first question. First, I e-mailed the office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and asked if in fact O’Connells was legally required to boot me since I had no photo ID. The next day, I received this response:

Private establishments do have the right to refuse entrance to patrons who do not have proper identification. What is most important is that you have a current identification with your picture. Therefore, temporary licenses only work as identification as long as you have your expired license. Since your prior license was stolen, you must have other proper identification such as a passport or identification card.

Thank you,
Community Outreach
Office of the Mayor

San Diego, CA

I also e-mailed San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox (no specific reason why I e-mailed Cox; he was just the first one I found) and asked him the same question. Two days later, he responded with this:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the identification regulations that exist for local liquor the [sic] establishments. Proper identification at drinking establishments is an area of law entirely governed by State of California. Although, I would add that I think a bar has the discretion to require whatever it believes best represents proof of a person's age. In other words, I don't think the State dictates to bars or for that matter, any establishment that serves liquor what type of proof of age to require before the bar allows a person to drink alcohol. My understanding is that the State has set the minimum drinking age, and it's up to bars to determine how best to comply with that law.

Hope this information helps.

Supervisor, First District

So far, so confusing. Two different officials gave me two different answers. The mayor said I need some form of photo ID to gain entry, the supervisor said it’s up to the bars’ discretion. I’m sure this discrepancy can be explained by the fact that the state sets these regulations rather than municipalities, if Cox is correct. I think Cox backed up his answer more solidly than the mayor’s office, but I’m a tad biased.

So I needed to go to the state for the definitive answer. Instead of trying to wade through the California bureaucracy, I outsourced the research to the pros at the California Ask Now! Service. (Quick note about this: Libraries are amazing. Most of them these days offer a 24-7 research service via their Web sites. You simply instant-message the library your query, and its research hounds hunt for answers. In Cleveland, we successfully used it to prove Mike Zawacki’s assertion that bald eagles stand at about 3 feet tall.)

After a few days’ searching, the library sent me an exhaustive reply. Here’s the pertinent, and I think definitive, information from the San Diego Municipal Code and California Alcoholic Beverage Control:

The [San Diego Municipal Code] section I found that most specifically addressed your question at the city level is 56.62, section a(1). I’ve copied the text below:

It is the duty of any person having control of any premises, who knowingly hosts, permits, or allows a gathering at said premises to take all reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by any minor at the gathering. Reasonable steps are controlling access to alcoholic beverages at the gathering; verifying the age of persons attending the gathering by inspecting drivers licenses or other government-issued identification cards to ensure that minors do not consume alcoholic beverages while at the gathering; and supervising the activities of minors at the gathering.

The research hound then turned to the state for a definition of proper photo identification.

In their section of Frequently Asked Questions about Enforcement and Violations (http://www.abc.ca.gov/questions/enforcement_faq.html#Q.%2074.), Alcoholic Beverage Control offers this definition of acceptable identification:

Q. 74. What is documentary evidence of age and identity?
A. To be suitable as evidence for a defense, the identification card must be issued by a governmental agency and have a current description and a picture of the person presenting it which reasonably describes the person as to date of birth weight, height, sex and color of eyes and hair. No defense will exist if the card has obviously been altered or has expired. A registration certificate issued under the Federal Selective Service Act is no longer considered documentary evidence of age, identity and date of birth. (Section 25660)

So there we have it: I didn’t have sufficient identification to be served suds, but O’Connells was under no legal obligation to kick me out. None of the language the library service found forbade someone without ID establishing age of majority from merely being in a bar.

O’Connells is a private business, and it can do whatever it wants. I have no problem with a bar refusing to serve some moron with a temporary ID. Had that been a fake, O’Connells could have gotten in tons of trouble, and no one wants that. But I also think the people who run O’Connells are smart enough to have the discretion to look at me, listen to my story, and allow me to just sit there and listen to the Blanks. Cook put it more eloquently than I did, but it’s obvious that I’m safely older than 21. O’Connells’ restrictive policy prevented me from having what promised to be an outstanding evening, and did nothing to protect its liquor license or standing in the community.

As for the concrete domes along the 5, I’ll have to get a photo the next time I’m en route to and/or from San Diego. But I’m confident Craig and I are right on that one.

After we got back to L.A., Schmidt and I were lounging in my apartment before I had to go to work. As I putzed around, I went through the mail I brought in the previous day before running out the door.

And there was my new license. And there was wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and throwing of things.


Two words about the Tigers, about which more soon: Holy Christ.

Friday, October 06, 2006

San Diego, Strangely, the Intermission

I'll have a conclusion shortly, folks.

And the answer to yesterday's quiz: It's a hat, woven from my toe-hair clippings.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Hair Up There

The epilogue to the San Diego story will have to wait a day as I scramble, much like the team, for today's Tigers-Yankees makeup. In the meantime, here's a Rocket Fever Quiz:

In the above photo, is that my real hair?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

San Diego, Strangely, Part II

See previous post for Part I.

A bit of history: Two weeks prior, some ne’re-do-wells broke into my locker at the YMCA and nicked my money clip, which contained among other items my driver’s license. So what I had that night in San Diego was the temporary, paper license the DMV gives you in lieu of the in-process actual driver’s license.

The bar maid at O'Connells took one look at the temporary and said, “Nope, we can’t serve you with this.” “Whaaa?” said I. “I’ve been served in at least four other bars with this thing. What’s the deal?” “Well then go back to one of those bars, but we can’t serve you here.”

And she walked away. I was crestfallen, but I tried to put on a good face. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad deal not drinking. I had to motor back up to L.A. the next day to work till late anyway. No biggie, so long as I got to see The Blanks.

A few minutes later, the bar maid came back, and before Ryan could get his order out of his mouth, she said to me, “No, you don’t get it. You can’t even be here.”

No. No, no, no, no, no. Noooooo. No. Please, no.

“Are you serious? I drove all the way from L.A. to see The Blanks! I know these guys from Michigan! C’mon!”

“Nope,” the bar maid said.

Ryan and I stagger out of the bar, stunned at this rejection. After a bout of sailor talk and foot stomping, I call Schmidt, who explains the situation to The Blanks, who promise to put in a good word for me at O’Connells. We walk to another bar within spitting distance of O’Connells, which – like every other flippin’ bar I’ve visited recently – served me with a smile.

A few minutes later, Schmidt shows up, we slam our Miller Lites, and we head back to O’Connells. The Blanks have explained the sitch to the owner, who says she’ll leave the decision (pass the buck?) to the door man. I pathetically show the man my temporary, my Y card, and my debit card.

Again, no. Again, cripes!

Knowing we were beat, Ryan and I headed back to the friendlier confines we’d just left. We ended up making the best of a sucktastic situation by catching up with each other and conversing with good folks at the other bar. Schmidt later made an appearance to say it was the greatest Blanks show ever. And that they, at my request, dedicated a song to me. Not bad consolation, actually.

We ended the night by hoofing it over to Mike Ried’s house and rapping with him and Fancy Dan Nordheim for a while before catching a cab back to Ryan’s.

So what’s my take? And what does the San Diego mayor’s office have to say about it? That, my friends, is for tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006

San Diego, Strangely, Part I

The Michigan Diaspora converged upon San Diego last weekend for what was to be a mildly historic meeting. The Blanks, the world's greatest rockity roll band, were reuniting for a one-time-only show while the boys were together for lead singer James Peterson's wedding. The gents, who met at Michigan State, hadn't played for months after they left Lansing for different corners of the U.S.: S.D., Oakland, Cincy.

Joining The Blanks would be Lansing native and San Diegan Ryan Ahrens, yours truly, and Craig Schmidt of Michigan's West side, MSU, The State News, Chicago, and Charlie Don't Shake.

Schmidt, who had flown into L.A. a few days earlier, joined me on the drive down the 5 to what surely would be an evening of guitar-soaked glory. After a morning of errands -- "work," eating, bringing in mail, going to the gym -- Craig and I hopped in the Focus and zoomed off (O.K., we crept through classic SoCal traffic).

Schmidt and I met up with Ryan at his neato new apartment near Balboa Park and immediately headed to the British pub smack in the middle of Little Italy. A few brews, laughs, and chicken tenders later, we took a cab to O'Connells, the site of said historic Blanks gathering. Craig took off running for drummer Mike Ried's house, about a mile away (This type of ambulation is typical for Schmidt). Ryan and I walked into O'Connells to bide our time.

Before taking our orders, the bar maid, as is custom, asked to see our identification. Here's where the night began to turn.

To be continued Wednesday ...

What. A. Weekend.

Coming soon to Rocket Fever:

  • O'Connells, Thy Name Is Frustration
  • The Schmidt Report
  • The Blanks: Good Fellas