Thursday, October 06, 2005


News and notes, cheers and jeers . . . or WHATEVER

All right, here goes with my best Larry King in USA Today impression. You know what I'm talking about. He gets about 10 column inches to just write down stream of consciousness bon mots and bits of et pour poi humor.

For example, this is what an average Larry King USA Today column looks like:

"This Harriet Miers nomination is heating up in Washington. And speaking of heating up, I hear she's a whiz at making chocolate chip cookies . . . Don't look now, but former Punky Brewster Soleil Moon Frye either lost a parent to Lou Gehrig's disease or had a baby. Either way, I saw her leaving Cedars-Sinai Hospital on Friday . . . Right now, I don't think there are two better college football teams out there than Alabama and UCLA. And for the record, my Super Bowl picks are Pittsburgh and Minnesota . . . Cameron Diaz is teaming up with Aussie actress Toni Collette and Academy Hall of Famer Shirley Maclaine. Should mean Oscar Gold . . . Of course, if you want me to go to a movie, put Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon or Renee Russo in it. Rrrrowr! . . . Have I mentioned that I like carrot juice?"

Note: This is not really taken from a Larry King column. Or is it?

So here go the notes:

1) Episode 3 of LOST aired last night. That means there's only one more before I either cut bait in outrage, or decide to suck it up for another year . . . and ultimately am outraged again. Last night was a step in the right direction. Katy Sagal of Married with Children appeared, playing the love interest of low-rent Yoda wannabe Locke. Liked her. Liked her a lot. Frankly, I always thought she and Ed O'Neil deserved better than a lifetime and Al and Peg Bundy (though I realize it's not like they were forced to do it for free - and I always thought that the show would be a lot more entertaining if cousin Ted the serial killer showed up).

There was still a lot to hate on the show. The last fifteen minutes gave me the angry shakes. A lot of faux drama polluting the waters. And the Others just bore me to tears.

But there were things I liked about it - like the filmstrip about all the experiments going on on the island, someone (namely Matthew Fox's Jack) treating Locke with a healthy dose of sarcasm, and Sayid's last line of the night.

For the record, Sayid's line was: "This argument is irrelevant." Bingo, Sayid. Bingo.

So I don't know what I'll do. The biggest cliffhanger awaiting me next Wednesday is whether I'll put myself out of this LOST misery.

2) Finally worked out at the Bally's nearest to the new Casa del Wieland this week. It's the one on El Centro in Hollywood, aka Club Bally's. Just imagine a driving drum machine beat, black lights flashing across the ellipticals, and a trough in the men's and women's locker rooms for those using the bulimic approach to the Bally's 30-Day Challenge. Imagine that and . . . well, you don't have it at all.

Basically, it's just a gym like any other gym. The only thing about my new Bally's that screams Hollywood is the line of cars trying to get in. Sure, it's more crowded than a street featuring the latest Lindsey Lohan car crash, but it's still just a gym.

3) I've been feeling kind of guilty about not doing more about music in my blog (and especially in my Top 5). Mostly, I'm not much of a new music kind of guy. This I realize. When I'm not listening to books on tape, Jim Rome or ESPN on the radio during the commute, I'm pretty consistently listening to CDs that from the mid-90s and earlier. This week, the most played CD has been Michael Penn's No Myth, one of those albums that I obsessed over in college (though not to the degree that I obsessed over virtually everything by the Replacements and Natalie Merchant). Don't get me wrong - I still love the Penn CD and always will. But now that I live in LA, I suppose I should listen to something newer . . . or at least figure out how to work my iPod.

4) On the comics front, please check out this website: It won't be the lightest reading that you ever do, but it could be some of the best. Brian Fies wrote and drew a brilliant, loving look at his mother's fight against incurable lung cancer, and how this fight spilled over and affected his entire family. It's the first web comic to win the coveted Eisner Award (though sadly, it won right after Will Eisner's death - meaning it was among the first awards not presented by Eisner himself). And it's fantastic.

Brian's younger sister Lis went through the Professional Screenwriting Program at UCLA with me, and so she guided me to the website (Mom's Cancer is being collected in book form later this year). And I got a chance to meet Lis' mom at our graduation. She was a very cool lady, possessed of more spirit than most of the people at the graduation. Lis is a great writer herself, a member of my writers' group, and keeps a pretty hilarious blog at Check it out.

Alas, Brian and Lis' mom died this past week after her long battle. It's a sad time for the family, but the web-based stories and comics that both Lis and Brian are putting out there celebrate their family's struggle and perserverence. I for one am glad to have witnessed it.

5) On a less personal note, I saw today that the national media started to pick up stories of the way local police agencies have chosen to dump the homeless downtown on Skid Row. According to the LA Times today, one very big problem is that the city's Chief of Police and the County Sheriff have very different ideas about how to deal with the homeless.

Check this out:,0,4040252.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Maybe it's just me, but this seems to be a pretty important issue. Maybe we should all get on the same page, folks? Do you think? Or do we like looking like fools for the national media? Again.

You'd think the police out here would learn something after OJ. And the Rampart scandal. And after shooting that guy's car down in South Central 200 times and telling the press that they "weren't trying to kill him".


6) Go White Sox (see, I told you I was going to jump around). If you guys make it to the World Series, maybe you'll be successful enough to move to another market (Memphis, Norfolk, Portland, Vegas, Columbus, etc.) where fans will actually attend your games.

Re: White Sox

I call 'troll' on you, sir--but of course, it is an effective troll, since it caused me to come out of hiding and post a comment on your newly-revived blog.

Say what you will, but things have been pretty convincing so far: 1 blowout & 1 comeback.

Come to the South Side, you fair-weather Cubs fan!


As I live and breathe! Good to hear from you.

I'm actually a Cincinnati Reds fan, which is only slightly more sad these days than Cub fandom.

Believe me, if I were still back in the Windy City, I'd be happy to come to the South Side. Good seats will still be available even if they make it to the Series. Really good seats. Like in the owner's box.

Prove me wrong, South Siders! Rise up! Support the Sox! They're more consistently good, anyway. And they've only thrown a World Series once, before your folks were born!

Alas, the two guys who were going to come out to the park are still in jail after jumping onto the field and attacking some tool from the Kansas City Royals last year. The rest of the White Sox fans are at home complaining.

Thankfully, Dennis DeYoung is planning to watch the games this week. He is to the White Sox what Ben Affleck is to the Red Sox.

Hasta! ;-)
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