January 2008

The Best Laid Plans

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I'd like to start this post by saying, People! Please start going to good shows again. I was willing to forgive you for not going to see Will Hoge last week, because Southern California was almost entirely under water with all that rain, but you had no excuse this week for your lack of attendance at what I think may easily have been The Best Show Ever.

I was actually on the fence about whether or not I wanted to see Mark Olson (of the Jayhawks - I'm not sure if I should say "formerly" of the Jayhawks or not - are they getting back together? Are they not? I don't have a clue anymore) and Mary Gauthier, only because the responsible voice inside my head kept saying I should really throw that money at some bills instead of the $20 it would cost for the ticket, plus the $2 service fee, plus parking, plus beer...Then again, I had another voice inside my head (and this one MUCH more obnoxious and whiny) saying, "But you stayed home last night! Can't you go out tonight?" And then of course, it's the end of the month, and when I saw that my paycheck was more - much more - than I thought it was going to be - well, that obnoxious whiny voice won big time.

Mary Gauthier was clearly the draw of the evening - sonically, she's a lot like Lucinda Williams, but for as pissed off as Lucinda Williams is, Mary Gauthier is just sad and depressed. I almost want to tell her that the world isn't that fucked up - but then again, I don't, 'cause then her music wouldn't be as good. No backing band for Ms. Gauthier, just a guitar and harmonica, and she kicked ass.

Unfortunately, I think about a quarter of the audience had left by the time Mark Olson had finished - which totally sucked, because he was really great! I think of him as what I would think of Bob Dylan, if I liked Bob Dylan. But I don't. I hate Bob Dylan. I hear other people sing his songs, and I think it's the greatest thing ever. Then I hear Bob Dylan sing his songs, and I find myself praying to a god I don't even believe in for some sort of very loud explosion to happen nearby, permanently damaging my ears so that I never have to hear Bob Dylan again. But Mark Olson was phenomenal - and with only his guitar, fiddle player (who's name I can't remember, but I know he was from Italy and he was awesome - I'm a sucker for fiddle players), and percussionist who sometimes played the piano - it made for a very intimate show.

Perhaps I should mention that I was drinking at this show - no shock to anyone, I suppose. However, my drink of choice is Shiner Bock, which I've only seen sold in Texas, at Alex's Bar, and at some sports bar in Santa Monica (and sold in the bottle at Ralph's, Howe's, and Whole Foods). So it's not a huge surprise to me to find that the Troubadour doesn't carry it. My second choice drink (a distant second) is a good ole Bud Light, which the Troubadour also does not sell. So I have to order an MGD. Six dollars for one MGD! I nursed that first MGD through Mary's set, giving me a fairly good buzz. Now, the Troubadour is usually a standing-room-only venue, but they'd laid out the folding chairs for this show, which I thought was hot. That was EXACTLY how I wanted to spend my night - just a little drunk, watching good live music. However, the place was packed enough that I wasn't able to get the ideal aisle seat that's also close enough to the center of the stage. So I was stuck in the middle, and as I frequently do at "sit down" concerts, I budget that if the opening act played about 45 minutes, the closing act would play about an hour and a half, so I'd need two more drinks. During the interval between acts, I got up to get two more MGDs - that way, I wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the set. Genius, isn't it?! I can't help it - I'm a thinker. However, I'd just - and I mean, just started my third MGD - only 50 minutes in! - when Mark Olson announced his last song. So I had to chug, because I'd paid $6 for that beer alone, and as much as I'd tried, I couldn't forget that I'd spent over $20 on beer, and easily could have bought a 12-pack for less than that at my local market. "This is what I get for trying to be responsible," I thought.

All in all, it turned out well, except for the fact that I'm really pissed off that YOU didn't go. Please don't make me even madder by not showing up to the Hot Club of Cowtown show at Safari Sam's on Saturday. Unless you want to be lame like Wanda and go to the Stevie Nicks show instead.

The Mint Marquee

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Maybe one day they'll learn how to properly spell "Yep Roc."


Angelus Rosedale Cemetary Walking Tour
Brought to you by the Studio for Southern California History

Time: 10 am - 12 pm
Date: February 2, 2008
Location: 1831 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90007
Cost: This event is free but reservations are required by calling 213-229-8890.
Meeting Place: to the right of the front gates.

Led by Resident Storytellers Steve Goldstein and Joe Walker, this Walking Tour explores Angelus Rosedale, one of Los Angeles' oldest resting places, built in 1884. In addition to many of the city's mayors, this cemetery is important to Los Angeles' African American communities as well as many others.


I like Green on Red. I like men who wear Converse. Maybe I'm just Age Appropriate? In any case, I like Chuck Prophet. And he's coming to town, so you can go see him.


Friday February 15 @ The Mint
6010 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

2008 SAG Awards - Purple Reign

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I love the color of Sara Ramirez's dress. I love the cut, the fabric, and the way she's put it together with sleek hair and accessories. Nicely done!

photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

2008 SAG Awards - Old School

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Clearly, Ellen Page (Juno) said to herself, "Self, we're only 20, so let's wear something that makes us look older. Really older. Let's get something out of Grandma's closet and wear that!"

photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com - January 27, 2008

2008 SAG Awards - Foiled Again

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I can't decide if Ellen Pompeo's Nina Ricci dress is made out of foil or Saran Wrap, but I think it's lovely. I do think she needs a necklace, and she might be too pale for the dress. Can't you see this shining on Halle Berry or Rihanna?

photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com - January 27, 2008

2008 SAG Awards - Scraptastic

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Listen, I love scrapbooking. I love buttons. I love hot glue guns. But I don't usually scrap my clothes.


Clearly, Jane Krakowski sees it differently. Here she is at the 2008 Screen Actor's Guild Awards in a dress I can only call "embellished." And if things get boring, she can always pop the buttons off her dress and start working on her scrapbook layouts.

Texan Cowgirl Treasures

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Where do old boots go to die? Well, apparently they go to Texan Cowgirl Treasures to be resurrected as beautiful purses, clutches, and wine bottle holders! Made from vintage boots with vintage belts as straps, the bags have an oval wooden bottom (so they stand up!) and are available in a variety of styles and colors. I love it!



While perusing the internet, looking for a Mary and Jesus belt buckle, I stumbled upon this site, where they "strive to provide our customers with unique one-of-a-kind western creations reflecting the beauty and romance of the "Old West". Located in Austin, Texas, we specialize in Western Leather Cowboy Boot Purses, Western Boot Top Wine Holders and Custom Rhinestone Belt Buckles made from vintage and new jewelry, each of which are original handcrafted designs."

Now, I've been to Austin plenty of times and I've never seen these beauties! but here they are, and it's only a matter of time before one or more are making their way to my closet...

Back in the Saddle

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After working nights for the past year and a half, you can only imagine how excited I was when two weeks ago, my ultra-cool new boss swapped me to working days. But I was also a little nervous. For the past year and a half, my nightlife had been relegated to hoping that the good bands were playing on one of my two nights off each week...so I felt a little rusty going back to my previous life of going out three to four nights a week. Would I really be able to take back my throne as the Queen of the Honky Tonks?

Happily, the answer was yes.

I hit the ground running on Wednesday, January 16th (the previous two days were spent trying to work ahead, in anticipation of Punk Rock Bowling that weekend) with Cross Canadian Ragweed at my favorite venue, the House of Blues, Sunset. Last year's show was comprised of almost entirely new material from their then-current album, Garage, which was cool, but people come to see CCR for "17," "Constantly," "Bang My Head," and the like. CCR played a nice mix of the old and new this time around (Hey, they played that song, too!), and getting to sing back, "Sweet Home Alabama!" at Cody Canada's prompt of, "They sang about Savannah..." was one of the moments that I know I'll look back on fondly on my deathbed. Cody, by the way, looks a lot less scary now that's he's cut off much of his formerly waist-length hair.

Punk Rock Bowling that weekend consisted of a lot of driving, bowling, shopping (you need to see my boots), eating (I'm still thinking about that chicken I had at Billy Bob's Steakhouse), but mostly drinking. Got to see The Adolescents Friday night, and Throw Rag proved on Saturday night that even with a crappy sound system, they are still great - both clothed and unclothed.

I left Las Vegas early Sunday afternoon, concerned about the amount of work I'd have waiting for me at the office on Monday...and also wanted a bit of a "resting period" before the week began. My "resting period" plans were blown out of the water half-way through my drive when a friend reminded me that Pat Green was playing at the House of Blues, Anaheim that night. I've never been able to resist temptation, so I drove straight to Disneyland, with enough time to change clothes, get tickets, and still see the opening band, who was about as memorable as their name (I couldn't tell ya to save my life). Pat was awesome, but in case I was worried that Orange County wasn't as Republican as ever, I can now rest assured that that's not the case at all. Pat's mention of, "I'm looking forward to 2008! Yeah, there's gonna be a new jerk in office. Or a woman!" was met with boos, and when Pat sang, "Here We Go," and substituted "Toby Keith" for "Nashville" in the line, "I gave up on Nashville a long time ago," I was the only one who cheered. Great.

Wednesday afternoon found me at the taping of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," as Shooter Jenningswas the musical guest. Watching the taping is truly an amazing experience - it really doesn't seem possible that they're able to write (especially without writers), produce, memorize monologues, rehearse, and execute a full hour show day after day. Guests included a contortionist, a crazy lady who spun dishes and bowls at the top of poles, and another crazy lady who made her housecats do all sorts of wacky tricks (they call this "Writers' Strike Filler"). Adam Carolla and Richard Roeper rounded out the guest list (Adam Carolla's voice isn't nearly as obnoxious as I remember it being on "Loveline" - that was part of his charm!), and Shooter was awesome.

I had sort of a dilemma in planning Friday night...Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive-By Truckers) and Will Hoge were playing at Spaceland, but Todd Snider (who is a not-miss) was playing at The Mint, followed by Steve Poltz's CD release party. Fortunately, I discovered a work-around...if I went to see Jason and Will at the Vault 350 in Long Beach Thursday night, that would free me up to see Todd and Steve at the Mint Friday night. And I wouldn't have to worry about getting lost driving in Silverlake. Perfect.

I'd called the Vault ahead of time to get a rough estimate of when Will Hoge (my priority) would be going on (I knew I'd need to take a nap if he was going on late enough) and was told 11p. I figured if I arrived by 10p, I'd be able to see most of Jason Isbell's set, and all of Will's. Well, shockingly, I got lost in Long Beach, and arrived at approximately 10:15p to discover signs on the front door saying that Will and the opener would be playing extended sets because Jason was ill. From within, I could hear Will crooning, "When I Can Afford to Lose," the first song on his new CD, Draw the Curtains, so I was anxious to get inside, but not so anxious that I didn't let the doorman give me a comp ticket because I was cute (read: because I have a nice rack). Inside, I found that the torrential rains had kept most people away - there were maybe 30 people in the venue that I'd seen fit 700. It was cool, though, to be able to sit down and watch a great show at a great venue, and even Will sadly commented that the Vault had the best sound at any venue he'd played at during this tour, and only a handful of people had braved the weather to see it.

We were a bit late arriving at the Mint for Todd's scheduled 8p performance, but that was okay, because Todd was more than a bit late going on stage, so it all worked out. This was the third night that Todd had played the Mint, and he'd be back Saturday night, and if I had been able to, I would've attended all four nights - Todd is that awesome. I thought it was a little ironic that Todd was playing Los Angeles on the same night that his nemesis, Garth Brooks, was also playing Los Angeles (more about that in a bit), and yet, he didn't take on his usual diatribe about how one of the songwriters of Garth's "Beer Run," had stolen the idea from him, and in retaliation, Todd wrote a song called "If Tomorrow Never Comes," which has a completely different message than Garth's hit of the same name. Todd played both songs, but omitted his usual explanation.

Prior to Steve Poltz's set, a guy named Tim Bluhm, lead singer of The Mother Hips, played. Tim has a very nice voice, and a mellow, but not unenjoyable, set. Tim and Steve host a songwriters' workshop each year; this year it will be in Yosemite, and in Costa Rica next.

Although Steve co-wrote Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me," his sound is far from commercial-pop. Sonically, he's much more similar to Tim Easton, Blue Rodeo, and Jayhawks, but he's also definitely been influenced by Todd Snider, with his comedic and frequently self-deprecating explanations of how some of his songs came about.

It was time for something completely different Saturday night, as I held tickets to see one Garth Brooks play the last of five shows held over two days, an unprecedented move by any performer. The concerts were a benefit for the Southern California 2008 Fire Relief Campaign, with all proceeds from tickets and merch sales going to the fund. Garth had played two shows (one at 6p; one at 10p) Friday night, with the first airing live on CBS. I understand that Garth was not a fan of having to constantly stop and start between songs for the taping, and was much more amped up for the second Friday night show. Each of Garth's five performances had slightly different set lists (Garth says he knows that there are some die-hard fans who would be in attendance at all five shows and wanted to mix it up for them, and to have people compare notes and say, "No, he didn't do that at our show!"), and Huey Lewis was a guest at the Friday night shows, but not at the Saturday shows. Garth's wife, the phenomenal Trisha Yearwood, performed a couple of songs with Garth at all five shows, earning more applause than Garth himself! The chemistry between them was unbelievable during their Grammy-winning duet, "In Another's Eyes," even from opposite ends of the stage. I felt a little like I was seeing Garth fifteen years too late - in videos, we see him running all over and jumping off the stage, and this show didn't have that kind of energy - maybe because the man is now nearly 46 years old - and also because this was his fifth show in two days - and third show in one day! However, it was very clear how much Garth loves performing and how much he misses it - and also how much his fans miss him.

I haven't really had time to make plans for this week's night life, except I know that I'll be back at the NBC studios on Monday to see Dierks Bentley perform on Leno...but with Lady Antebellumat the Mint on Tuesday, Deana Carter at the Roxy also on Tuesday, and Mark Olson and Mary Gauthier at the Troubadour on Thursday...it looks like my dance card is starting to fill up.

Bosses Behaving Badly

In John Hollon's January 18, 2008 "Business of Management" blog on Workforce Week, Hollon discusses Bosses Behaving Badly.

Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel, takes the cake with allegations “that he has appeared in his underwear many times in front of male and female employees,” that “on a few occasions during work meetings, he donned a skimpy garment that barely covered his genitals,” and that he engaged in some very personal sexual behavior in front of a journalist who was interviewing him for Jane magazine.

Charney, the subject of a recent Los Angeles Times article (“Lawsuit has fashion mogul in spotlight”) is scheduled to go to trial next week for a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit that has been brought against Charney.

I couldn't make up stuff this good.

Bad Cop - No Donut

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Quarter-Ton New York Cop Denied Fatter Disability Pay

Talk about news of the bizarre... from Workforce Week online:

A district judge in New York denied a 500-pound police officer an increase in his disability pay, upholding a ruling by the city’s pension board that the officer’s morbid obesity, not an injury, was to blame for his inability to perform his job.

2007 - A Best of (Sort Of)

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Who Let the Dogs Out?

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So it seems that young Miley Cyrus is such a fan of Shooter Jennings that she named her new puppy Shooter after him. This makes her cool enough that I may consider becoming a Hannah Montana fan after all. I wonder if Shooter can get tickets to her show?

(By the way, Shooter performs on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" tonight, January 23rd. Ms. Jen, it's okay to turn on your TV for that, right?)


If there's one thing I love more than music, it's free music! Musician Peter Case is coming to the Getty Center for a free show February 1, 2008 in support of his Grammy-nominated release Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John. The album, which came out August 7, is the illustrious singer/songwriter’s first album of all original material since 2002.

The show is free, but you must reserve tickets in advance. Starting January 22, you can reserve
your spot at the Getty Center ’s website: http://www.getty.edu/

Friday February 1 @ the Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049


Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are coming to town with two shows in February. If you're stuck on what to do for Valentine's Day, why not head over to the Bordello Bar in downtown Los Angeles for a little swoon and croon with Big Sandy? I can't think of anything more romantic!

And if that's not your style, they'll be playing at the Arcadia Blues Club on the 23rd.

Fri. February 15 @ Bordello Bar
901 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sat. February 23 @ Arcadia Blues Club
16 E. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91006


Yep Roc’s The Gourds are on the road and headed this way in support of their most recent album, Noble Creatures. I'm not a huge Gourds fan, but they rock live!

Thurs. February 7 @ Safari Sam’s
5214 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.yeproc.com -- www.thegourds.com

And We Are Off!

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Yep, Today is the Day! Departure for Punk Rock Bowling 2008! Watch our flickr photos at the bottom of each page for the live, mobile photos as the event happens!

2007 – Musical Highlights and Blather

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Favorite Albums –
The only things I can come up with off the top of my head – other than this cheap toupee – are “At My Age” by Nick Lowe and “The Last Post” by Carbon/Silicon. Nick Lowe is not doing his “brooding serious artiste” thing this time and is back to being funny. For those in need of an introduction, Carbon/Silicon is the current project of old punk rock heroes Mick Jones and Tony James. It may not be as good as The Clash or Generation X, but it sure beats the snot out of Big Audio Dynamite and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. What do these acts have in common? All of them – Nick Lowe and the two principals of Carbon/Silicon – are either gray-haired, bald, or both. I find that safe and non-threatening.
They’re also English. I find English people safe and non-threatening.

Favorite Example of Music Journalism.
A review of a Van Halen show in the OC Register used the following phrases:
1. Feverishly tapped arpeggios
2. Six-string wizardry
3. Largely unparalleled expertise
4. Stormy sonic squalls
5. Complex fretwork
6. Tearing up so many monster riffs

A Memorable Live Show – The Germs at the Key Club, Hollywood, December 29th.
So the singer of the Germs died in 1980, someone makes a movie about him in 2007, the band reunites and hires the actor who plays him in the movie to be their new singer. Some people consider this sacrilege. I like it. I think it’s a good idea. Some people, like Jello Biafra, have said that it’s un-punk and that the Germs should not be doing what their doing. That should be all the justification they need to keep doing it.
At the Key Club (formerly Gazzari’s), the Germs started on time and played for over an hour. That never happened with the original band. Singer Shane West, who also acts in one of those TV hospital shows I’ve never seen, is quite comfortable on stage and has become quite effective in dealing with hecklers. Darby Crash was probably never comfortable on stage. Is it really the Germs? Who cares? It’s as close as most people are ever going to get. It's not a tribute or a re-enactment, it’s just a show and it’s a darned good one. The Germs had some great songs and the songs should be performed live.
If some people don’t like it, that’s their problem.

The Ventures Are Finally Getting Inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I realize that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is impossible to take seriously, but it’s still nice to see the Ventures get some recognition for being one of the greatest bands ever. In my book, they’re up there with The Beatles and The Ramones and should have been voted in during their first year of eligibility, which I believe was 1826. Their genius was eliminating all the unnecessary clutter in songs – like the words – and stripping it down to just guitars and drums. This is as unexpected and as life-affirming as Rodney Bingenheimer getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congratulations.

Now if those Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snobs really want to retroactively buy some credibility, they should invite KISS to their little clubhouse. KISS proudly represent everything that is loud, tacky and tasteless about rock and roll. The Hall of Fame committee, or whatever they are, seem to have forgotten that rock and roll is supposed to be loud, tacky, and tasteless. Madonna is getting voted in this year and she is basically just KISS with breasts.
I suspect that what is really preventing KISS from entering those hallowed and pretentious halls is the large fire-breathing, blood-spewing, and opinionated mouth of Gene Simmons. He has let it be known that he wants nothing to do with this Hall of Fame nonsense. However, Ozzy Osbourne and Johnny Rotten also said the same thing but that didn’t stop the Hall from inducting their bands against their wills. Why not KISS? It can’t be based on popularity because KISS was bigger than Black Sabbath and the Sex Pistols combined, with Little Johnny Cougar and Jefferson Airplane thrown in for good measure.
Ozzy was easy enough keep in line with sedatives and all Johnny did was send a nasty letter and boycott the ceremony, but Demon Gene wouldn’t let them off so easy. They know that he would not only show up, but show up sober and articulate, eat everything at the buffet table, and talk until the room was empty.
That will be something to hope for in 2008. Or maybe 2009.

Predictions for 2008
Since I recently obtained box of records that contained nineteen KISS albums, I predict that I will write something about them (that last bit was just a teaser). Since there were also a couple of Donny Osmond records in the box, I predict that I will give them to Cindy Lu at the next meeting of the great barflies.net minds.

Fashion Trend for 2008 – Pantaloons. Laugh if you want, but I was right about eye patches a few years ago.

Sublime Stitching Contest Winners...

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One of my favorite craft sites, Sublime Stitching, had a contest challenging people to make creative, handmade things for one another, rather than running to the mall for more "random crap" as my sister and I call it, this holiday season. (Although, don't get me wrong: I love me some random crap). They called it their "Handmade Holiday" contest and there were more than a hundred entries. I just loved to see how creative people were - truly inspiring. Next year, I'm going to start in August. No, better yet, I'm going to start NOW and maybe I'll finish something by December.


Check out the winners on Jenny Parker's Sublime Stitching blog.

2007 - The Best of the Best

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Best Out of State Roadtrip: Grave hunting in haunted Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, TN.

Best CA Roadtrip: Pala Mines in San Diego County


Best restaurant: Savannah, Costa Mesa, CA - great food and love those all class red walls. http://www.culinaryadventures.com/restaurants/savannah/info_costa_mesa.html

Best Chiropractic treatment: Dr. Chan - accupressure is wonderful!

Best Find: Turtle Wax Express Shine Spray Wax - works awesome

Best Convention: Gem Faire Southern CA.

Best Resolution: Only enjoy live music once in a while. Objective: appreciate favorite artists more, instead of hanging out in a music scene week after week.

Best Concert: Donny Osmond in concert after "who knows" how many years.

Best Class: Forensics - Criminal Justice

Best Intentions: Helping repost Animal Rescue info on the net.

Best Outdoor Adventure - bike riding on fresh ocean air beach trails

Best Celebrity Meeting: Tyson, the skateboarding Dog - Huntington Beach, CA

Best Hobbies: Jewelrymaking and Painting

Best Books: The Lovely Bones and Prey

Best Internet Purchase - The Zune by Microsoft


Best Prediction: From a Psychic in TN - Marriage is in your future whether you want it or not. (ha)

Best To Come: Positive energy prayer that 2008 will be the best year ever!

From CNN's 2007 101 Dumbest Moments in Business...
I give you Number 13 (some of these are just too perfect not to share...) or "How to Use a Laptop."


13. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Amid concern about overheating notebooks and exploding batteries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in September issues a helpful tip on how to use a laptop:

"Do not use your computer on your lap."

From CNN's 2007 101 Dumbest Moments in Business...
I give you Number 10 (some of these are just too perfect not to share...) or "Would You Want this Guy on Your Sofa?"


10. Comcast
... or stay on the line and one of our representatives will wake from his drunken slumber to assist you.
During a routine service call in June, a Comcast cable repairman falls asleep on the couch of customer Brian Finkelstein.

Finkelstein's ensuing video, complete with soundtrack ("I Need Some Sleep," by the Eels) and commentary on the company's poor equipment, high prices, and lousy customer service, quickly becomes a viral hit on the Web.

Comcast apologizes and fires the nodding worker -- who was stuck on hold for more than an hour while calling in to the company for assistance.

10 Fashion Trends You Can't Ignore

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I don't usually get my fashion tips from Forbes, believe it or not. But the article below caught my eye, and is well worth reading. Many of the trends they predict make sense: a continued emphasis on punk and futuristic clothing, embracing alternative fabrics and organic materials, and a continued popularity of all things estate and vintage influenced. Some of the trends are dismaying - a return to neon and short shorts for men! - and one can only hope they are nothing more than predictions.

10 Fashion Trends You Can't Ignore
Hitha Prabhakar, 08.28.07, 6:00 PM ET


David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, a fashion-forecasting firm in New York City, is like a typical 20-something. He spends his time listening to the latest indie bands, hanging out with hipsters in the park, watching countless hours of MTV and browsing trendy boutiques, trying to spot the next fashion trend.

But one thing sets Wolfe apart from his peers: He is almost 70 years old.

Read the story here:

2007: A Personal Best for Darlin'

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Best Random Meal: Lunch with Mickey Rooney's son, Jimmy Rooney. He was convinced we'd met before...I was pretty sure we hadn't, especially when he said, "I don't think you were working in country radio when I met you..." Uhh, definitely not me.

Best Book That I FINALLY Read: "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry.

Best Purchase on Etsy: THIS BRACELET:


(That's not my hand)

Best Career Move By Someone Else That Ultimately Benefitted Me: My Ex's move to Joplin, Missouri to help produce a low-rated reality show for CMT. Good riddance! How can I sign you up for another season?

Best Roadtrip (kind of): Seeing Todd Snider at the Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach is a long way from L.A.!)

Best Question Asked on Loveline: Posed by a very concerned Perez Hilton, "Can men get cervical cancer?"

Best Household Additions: My three goldfish, Vicki, Vicki, and Timmy. (It's good for people to hear your name.)

Best Night In: My date with Jack Ingram. Okay, it wasn't really a date, I just stayed home and listened to every single Jack album in my collection...in chronological order.

Best Place to Drop $700: Eclectic Trends antique store on the corner of Lankershim and Moorpark.

Best "Bucket List" Experience: Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas. I got chills just driving by, you can imagine how excited I was to actually be inside.

Best Drunken Statement: "These cupcakes are better than sex!" I made this claim on New Year's Eve. It took me a full day and a half to recover from that night of drinking.

Here's to 2008!

The Pandemic

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Yesterday, on the edge of my chair, I listened to a favorite radio show. Special guest, Dr. Gary Ridenour spoke about the coming Pandemic flu (H5N1 virus), otherwise known as Bird Flu. We've had meetings about this at my place of employment and it is definitely a part of our Disaster Recovery Program. It's no joke. Most people are unaware that the great Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed 50-100 million people was a form of bird flu. In this generation we can't fathom losing that many people within a short time. I'll spare the details, because the journey through a Pandemic is grim until it burns itself out. Metropolitan areas are unprepared because we rely on electricity, public transportation and shipped in goods. Again, as a nation we're unprepared for another possible travesty. So, it's a good idea to stock up on foods to have in your homes that will last 10-15 days. When a Pandemic hits you can stay indoors and away from people until it's safe to go out. Sounds like something out of a horror flick, I know, and I thought about not writing this....being labeled paranoid. But, I find it's better to be aware and do what you can prior, so I do believe in having some food stock on hand.

H5N1 (Avian flu) is seen to your immune system as being the biggest invasian to your body that the immune system has ever seen. In layman terms, the T cells will attack the virus in groves and in such overkill fashion that the body basically attacks itself. You wake up one morning sick and start coughing, then coughing blood from your lungs, and by late afternoon you are gone. It's that quick. The body burns itself out. Grim, yes....but I don't like to stick my head completely in the sand and since we've had meetings on a Pandemic outbreak, I like to hear the facts.

Mutation is the key factor. Dr. Ridenour noted that the pig flu and bird flu have already adjoined forces and infected pigs. Pigs are closely related biologically to humans, and so Scientists are closely watching the mutation process.

So, with that, maybe you'd like to educate yourself as well. Virus and Bacteria are the biggest threat to mankind, and yet it is fascinating to realize that these minute micro-organisms can in but a few minutes determine the fate of the human race.

The good news is that scientists are working on a Pandemic vaccine for all types of Influenza A. Let's hope they are successful very soon!


Identity Theft - Every "one" of us is at risk

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Identity theft has gone high tech. Everyone is at risk. Read about one of Orange County's biggest and most diabolical ID Theft Rings.

Orange County Weekly
Face Off
A Little Saigon identity-theft ring pounded OC businesses until one cop saw a tear in its veil of secrecy


If anyone had watched Tina Thi Tran open the front door of her nondescript rented house on Forrest Lane in the heart of Little Saigon at 12:15 p.m. on June 14, 2005, they wouldn't have guessed they were looking at an undisputed giant among Orange County's criminal masterminds.

Why should they? Standing at 4-foot-8, Tran might have appeared like a slightly lost Vietnamese immigrant.

But police detectives hidden from view were watching 45-year-old Tran as she drove away in a battered, blue 1997 Dodge van that day. Or was her name Thuy T. Huynh? Or Liz? Or something else? She had stockpiled hundreds—if not thousands—of fake identities, cops would later allege.

Although officers conducting Tran's surveillance didn't know her real name at the time, they were sure she was tied to a brazen Vietnamese-American criminal organization that routinely burglarized stores at the county's ritziest shops in South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island, according to law-enforcement records.

Because of the electronic nature of today's commerce, Tran's group didn't need to use guns, knives or threats of violence to steal. These thieves relied on warm smiles and chatty demeanors, coupled with counterfeit driver's licenses and credit cards, to calmly walk out of Southern California shops with perhaps more than $1 million per year in high-end merchandise, police say. Among their favorite targets were plasma televisions, Rolex and Movado watches, Gucci handbags, gift cards, laptop computers, and anything by Cartier or Louis Vuitton.

Success bred confidence. So convinced of their infallibility, ring members even gave tips to shop clerks if they'd help carry the stolen products out of stores and into getaway vehicles. In many cases, it wasn't until weeks later, if ever, that employees realized they'd been duped.

Tran's identity-theft operation—which had elaborate safeguards against detection—might still be ripping off stores today if it weren't for a momentary tear in the veil of her organization. Tran wasn't aware of the gaffe, but a dogged young police detective hadn't missed it.

* * *

Damon Tucker, a fraud investigator with the Orange County district attorney's office, sits in a small fifth-floor cubicle with a north-facing window overlooking Santa Ana and the distant San Gabriel Mountains. Tucker doesn't have a very sexy title, but he's no unkempt desk jockey counting the days until an Idaho retirement. He's a tall (6-foot-1), lean (180 pounds), blue-eyed athlete (world-class swimming and track) who wouldn't look out of place on MTV's The Real Orange County: Newport Harbor High—except he's in his thirties.

In Spain in 2003, he was a member of the four-person OC team that won the World's Toughest Competitor Alive games, which include runs, rope climbs, bench presses and an obstacle course. Two other years, he was instrumental in the team winning second place.

Tucker is guarded about his own life. For example, he's from the Midwest, but he won't say which state. A shoulder shrug is his answer to what city he lives in. His age? He volunteered a ballpark figure.

But our own probe found that the detective balances all of his wholesomeness with a hint of rebellion. He's a bassist and vocalist in a Huntington Beach-based U2 tribute band. In 1992, he also started the band Parkaimoon with guitarist Tony Howell. Their success earned them a spot on KDOC's Buzzz Television show.

But it's Tucker's skill in tracking white-collar criminals that has earned him frequent tours as an expert lecturer on identity theft to other detectives, store security professionals, college students and even community groups. Cal State Long Beach employs him as an instructor in its criminal-justice program.

Tucker's ability became apparent while he worked as a detective for the Irvine Police Department in the late 1990s. EBay-related Internet crimes were skyrocketing, especially in that city's well-to-do neighborhoods. While some older detectives were baffled in their attempts to solve these new types of high-tech scams, Tucker proved adept at catching such crooks.

White-collar crime wasn't his first choice of assignments, though.

"I wanted to be like Martin Riggs [Mel Gibson's character in the Lethal Weapon series]," he recalls. "I wanted to be working homicides and narcotics. But somebody thought I was good at solving computer and high-tech cases. I guess it was fate."

Though it would take half a decade, Tucker's career turn put him on a collision course with Tran and her crew.

* * *

Police detectives say there are two types of white-collar-crime conspiracies: roundtable and hub-and-spoke. In a roundtable scheme, most, if not all, of the criminals meet and plot strategy as a group. In a hub-and-spoke arrangement, a shot-caller gives directions to a supporting crew whose compartmentalized roles prevent them from knowing the identities of most of their accomplices.

According to Tucker, Tran built a hub-and-spoke ring that maximized efficiency and limited risk. Even if one person in the ring was arrested, he wouldn't know enough to lead cops through several layers of the chain of command. Certainly, Tran—as the unlikely ringleader—couldn't be touched if everything went as planned.

"If you look at her on the street, you'd never know in a million years what this little lady was up to," Tucker says. "She was really smooth, and she ran a good organization. It was a corporation, really. It had a human-resources department. It had management. It made investments. It had recruiting. It had a raw-material section. It kept detailed records. It had everything a corporation has—but they didn't pay taxes or obey the law."

In short, these people knew what they were doing.

"ID-theft rings don't randomly walk into your shop," Tucker says. "They've given it a lot of thought. For example, they're looking for places where employees get a commission and maybe won't question a suspicious situation."

Work in Tran's ring was divided into three roles, according to police: collectors of stolen identities, converters of the stolen data and passers (or runners) who hit the stores

Click below to read more:


Alex's Bar Bowling League - Fall 2007
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95 on Dec. 11, 2007.

From Aug. 28th to Dec. 11th, 2007, Barflies.net fielded a bowling league team for the Alex's Bar Bowling League on Tuesday nights at the Valley View AMF Bowling Lanes in Garden Grove.

16 weeks of bowling and I did not really improve. Ok, so I was only there and bowling for about 9 of the 16 weeks, but...

All in all it was a lot of fun and the Switchblade Stiletto girls won the league.

Punk Rock Bowling 2008 is coming up very soon at a Las Vegas near you...

Best Eyelashes Ever!

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Like me, Dave Alvin has always lived in California. The housing tract across the street from my house used to be filled with orange groves, although the scent of orange blossoms is long gone. So when Alvin sings about bulldozing the orange groves and dry rivers, well, it strikes a chord. Now Alvin has a new album, West of West: Songs from California Songwriters—Volume 1, that is supposed to be autobiographical (even though he only wrote one half of one of the 13 songs). Don't you find that when Alvin sings his song, the California song, he's singing your song too?

“I’m a fourth generation Californian,” Dave declares. “I grew up here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but it’s not blemish free. It took me a while to understand that Brian Wilson’s songs were about sun and fun with a hint of melancholy, and that hint is what makes that Beach Boys stuff so amazing. Woody Guthrie wrote about looking for the promised land but he also wrote about the migrant camps. When people outside the state think of California , they don’t think of migrant camps and hard times, but that’s what Haggard is singing about in many of his California songs. The best California songs come from the intersection where hopes and reality collide."

Dave Alvin is playing at McCabe's in Santa Monica, CA in January.

Upcoming Shows:
Fri. & Sat. January 18-19 @ McCabe’s
3101 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Now that CMJ has dropped their alt country music reporting for independent, community and college radio stations, thank God we have John Conquest at Third Coast Music to take up the cause. As part of his work with the essential publication for roots music, John has put together a collective of alt country djs under the moniker Freeform American Roots - FAR - and compiles a monthly listing of "real music played by real djs for real people."

According to the Third Coast Music website, "FAR charts are compiled from reports sent in by actual DJs with freeform (i.e. no playlists) radio shows on public, college and community stations round the country (and world). Each of them lists the six albums they took most pleasure in playing, one of which can be their Album of the Month (designated by a * and their initials)." This is of course, in direct opposition to most other radio stations, country or not, where music is picked by computer or by committee based on a tangled metric of advertising, demographics, payola, and voodoo. You can view the FAR charts for November here.

In addition to the charts, TCM also compiles a year-end "Best Of", so I thought I'd share this years Best of 2007 with you. While I don't agree with all these picks, nor even play them on my own show, they make a nice alternative checklist for those of you looking for some real roots music to check out.

#1 Starline Rhythm Boys: Red’s Place
2 Sam Baker: Pretty World
3 Levon Helm: Dirt Farmer
4 Steve Earle: Washington Square Serenade
5 Eilen Jewell: Letters From Sinners And Strangers
6 Cornell Hurd Band: Beyond The Purple Hills
7 Teddy Thompson: Upfront And Down Low
8 Gurf Morlix: Diamonds To Dust
9 Dwight Yoakam: Dwight Sings Buck
10 John Lilly: Haunted Honky Tonk
11 Ry Cooder: My Name Is Buddy
12 Elizabeth Cook: Balls
13 Jimmy LaFave: Cimarron Manifesto
14 David Serby: Another Sleepness Night
15 The Rizdales: Radio Country
16 Mavis Staples: We’ll Never Turn Back
17 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand
18 Yarn
19 Dennis Brennan: Engagement
20 Bill Kirchen: Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods

#1 Kendall Carson: Rearview Mirror Tears [6]
2 Rachel Harrington: The Bootlegger’s Daughter
3 Ryan Bingham: Mescalito
4 Martha Scanlan: The West Was Burning
5 Laura Bell: Looking for A Place Already Gone

#1 Goin’ Home; A Tribute To Fats Domino
2 Wounded Heart Of America; Tom Russell Songs
3 Song Of America
4 Dwight Yoakam: Dwight Sings Buck
5 Just One More; A Tribute To Larry Brown
5 Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Vols 2 & 3
6 Always Lift Him Up; Tribute To Blind Alfred Reed

Big Sandy in Southern California

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Big Sandy should have a new album out, shouldn't they? Please boys, be more prolific! Until they are, we can enjoy the "good old tunes" when they play locally in Southern California.

Click this link for a media player for the song, “Slippin’ Away,” from their latest Yep Roc release, TURNTABLE MATINEE!


Fri. January 11 @ Blue Café
210 Promenade
Long Beach, CA 90802

Sat. January 12 @ Arcadia Blues Club
16 E. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91006