Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Back from the weekend, and back to the regular TUESDAY TOP FIVE!

Howdy, folks. Our Man in LA here, back with our normal Tuesday feature, a little thing that we like to call the Tuesday Top Five. I think you know the drill. And if you don’t, I’m pretty sure you can catch on.

Pursuant to a New Year’s Resolution to make this year’s blog entries shorter and more plentiful, we’re going to see if we can’t kick this Top Five out quickly and with only a smattering of words. Let’s be honest, some of my posts are long enough to qualify as chapters in epic Russian novels – albeit without names that you can’t pronounce.

So away we go!

5) THE THIEF OF TIME by Tony Hillerman. If you haven’t heard yet (or read the blog recently), the wife and I spent some vacation time this year in Sedona and northern Arizona. We even spent part of a day on the mammoth Navajo reservation that spills out from Arizona and into Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Seeing it for real got me interested in checking out Tony Hillerman’s mystery/thriller novels set against the very same reservation, and starring his detective protagonists Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.

This is the one I got to first. It’s fantastic. Moves really fast and incorporates an interesting blend of Navajo tradition, modern police work, and even archaeology and myth. I’m on to a second one now. Check it out.

4) Café Los Feliz on Hillhurst just north of Avocado. Another swell place for a meal, just stumbling distance from Casa del Wieland. Steph and I came across this place the week before Christmas, and we’ve been back a couple of times since. It’s a small storefront with some outdoor seating (although with the cold snap out here, nobody’s outside). Good food, family owned, and a fun atmosphere.

I could go on and on about the things I’ve had there. A really good hummus with homemade pita. Excellent soups. But best of all, probably the best homemade French roll I’ve ever tasted. Amazing.


Everyone knows that I’m a comics guy, and that among my all-time favorites is the original Captain Marvel. You know the story. By day, he’s a little kid named Billy Batson. But when he says the magic word SHAZAM, he’s transformed into the world’s mightiest mortal – a hero with the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles, and speed of Mercury.

Don’t know why I love this guy as much as I do. Maybe it’s the fact that I was him for Halloween when I was five. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s sort of a comic book Harry Potter. Either way, I do love him. And so do a lot of fans – fact is, in the 40s, he was even more popular than Superman before Big Blue’s lawyers came along and claimed that Cap was too similar to the Kryptonian Kid.

After DC Comics shut Cap down, though, they bought him. And in the 70s, they brought him back to newsstands with a fun (if a bit silly) comic called SHAZAM! This volume – just $17 – collects the first 33 issues, and it’s totally worth it.

2) The Baltimore Ravens lost. That’s right, lost. And I’m just cackling with glee over it. And if there’s justice, they’ll just keep losing next year, too.

You see, if you were reading the sports pages last week, you heard how the terrifying and mighty Ravens were going to grind the bones of the lowly Indianapolis Colts for their bread. They would have their way with them, get medieval on them, and all of that.

And it would have worked, too, if not for Peyton Manning playing the part of Scooby Doo and the Indy defense playing those meddling kids!

Why the hate between Baltimore and Indy? Well, because in the 1980s, the Colts franchise moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis, breaking the hearts of the fans there.

And then – because all those Baltimore fans are really so stout of heart, so forthright, so true, and so deserving – they turned around and stole the Browns franchise from the folks in Cleveland. Cleveland fans, of course, were just as loyal if not more so. They were just as heartbroken.

But man, those folks in Baltimore really wanted a team that bad. So it didn’t matter how they got it. No matter what they’d been through.

Here’s the thing. I’m not really a Browns fan. I’m from Ohio, but much closer to Cincinnati. So I’m a Bengals fan. This isn’t about that. It’s about how much I detest people and organizations who can’t self-examine. So Baltimore’s going to beat up on Indy because Indy stole their team? And the Baltimore team itself was stolen from Cleveland?

Hmmm. Sticky.

I know that we live in an era where mid-sized cities think that they need to have a pro team to prove that they’re a major part of the American fabric. I know the people of Baltimore really wanted some sort of compensation.

I also know that at Wrigley Field in Chicago, when an opposing team hits a home run, the Cub fans in the bleachers throw the ball back onto the field. Usually catching a ball like that is great, a keepsake, something to show the friends. But if you’re a Cub fan, you don’t want someone else’s ball. You send it back.

Which is exactly what the people of Baltimore should have done when Art Modell offered up the Cleveland Browns. Thrown it back.

And since they didn’t, I sure hope they keep losing next year and for years to come.

1) 24. Jack Bauer is back, and as a result, Our Woman in LA and I are hooked on the television heroin that is 24. Sure it strains credibility. Sure, in just four hours (following a period of two years of brutal torture by the Chinese government), Jack has gotten off a plane from China, cleaned himself up, been tortured, escaped, killed a couple of terrorists, outmaneuvered an air strike to save a key ally, led a gun battle against another terrorist, and basically kept himself two steps ahead of the U.S. Government.

Silly? Maybe. But he’s Jack. And he DOESN’T HAVE TIME to argue about how realistic it is!

I mean, the guy hasn’t even had a glass of water yet.

Who am I to argue, though. Birds got fly, Jack’s got to save the world.


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