Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"When's Breakfast?"

Normally, when you drive past the train tracks and see a man struggle with an overflowing, ripped grocery bag of food, you just keep on driving.  Any other time, I would.  But this time it was Potsy, and he was in Dealville. 

The arrival came with two (2) gallon tubs of Brandy Slush.  What other kind of signifier would anyone else need on what the future would entail?  It was meant as a pleasant surprise, and it was...and my freezer was already packed with items I myself also did not purchase.  So, it went in the fridge, while a half-dozen boxes of Kraft Mac n Cheese (because it might not be sold in Los Angeles) lined the counter.  It took me some time to begin to adjust my surroundings, so off he went to bar hop and visit an all-night haunt, Doughnut Hut.

Having downed a drink and a doughnut (or donut), we were then off for a Campfire Feast.  When you dine with Potsy, you pay extra for the Wagon Wheel Sampler.  His steak arrives "smothered."  The side dishes contain vegetables in definition only, and the meal is capped with something called "Big Mountain Fudge Cake."  Despite the revelry and good taste, my body tried to sort out just what I was trying to accomplish.  Potsy?  He wandered up to the Holiday Inn and said to the front desk the quote above.

The whole visit, though, was for a marathon day of college football.  It did not disappoint.  We screamed in joy for Central Michigan's victory, we ate taco chips.  We grilled tri tip, we didn't burn down the neighbor's home.  We drank sangria, and we watched over (and over) a punt return from the Texas Southern / Houston Baptist game.  Dining outside, we all enjoyed the day's good fortune.

And, just like that, he was back toward the tracks.  Off to make more slush, off to find more classic car shows with taco trucks.  Myself?  Well, by Sunday I had a lot of walking-off to do.  My body was put through an extra endurance run, this time without the Las Vegas adrenaline to keep me going.  The settings may be different, the elements may vary, but the outcome is always gold.  This is what we do in the fall.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Everyone gets a turn

If any of our drive-by readers have spent time in a monitoring cell, if even for brief stays, you are more aware of current society's scourge more than most.  It's a modern phenomenon, and the surprising annoyance comes from all angles.  It's a button that's shaped differently from here to there...but the result is the same.

Look at that thing.  Sure, YOU'VE seen it...everyone has seen it, millions have used it (maybe even someone you know).  But the abuse of this button is something that, in this century, has caused a greater waste of time than daydreams, day-drinking, and...wait, drinking isn't a waste of time.

Anyway, the abuse in commerce and employment hits you in many different ways.  "I guess I need to take a look at this."  Sometimes, it's helpful.  Many more times, it's not.  Personal messages sent to everyone involved.  Dozens of e mails with "sounds good," "works for me," and "THANKS!" clouding the day.

All right, so you have more stuff to delete.  It's annoying, but that's work.

Oh, but if it was only work.

The "funny forward" continues to this day, and the confused have mastered smartphones just enough to do that and install the Papa John's app.  There you are on forward #11 of "Vacation Pics!" or "These Rodney Dangerfield jokes are so funny!"  OK, thanks...but wait!  What does everyone think of this?

"lol"  "Hi Carl"  "THANKS!"

Long ago, former Pacific Gold writer Drew Boatman said it was "the talk" that sent he and his lady to the far reaches of the Earth.  That whatever was said just HAD to be said...and then commented on (necessary or, more likely, otherwise) by all.  I'm not planning such a trip...yet.  This nonsense is what social media is BUILT ON, so even an avoidance of that doesn't mean you're free.  What to do?

Didn't I say something about drinking?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wouldn't You Know It?

Yeah, I'm real glad things are going good for you, Clark.  Mmm hmm.  No, I got laid off, uh, when they closed that asbestos factory.  And now, wouldn't you know it?  The Army cuts my disability pension, cause they said the plate in my head wasn't big enough.

Eddie, Clark and Ellen don't want to hear about our troubles.

Oh no, it's very interesting.

Why don't you just ASK him for the money, Eddie?  He sure as hell can't take a hint!

Well, I didn't want to ask you Clark, but...could ya spare a little, you know, extra cash?

Sure, Eddie!  How much you need?

About $52,000.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Best Intentions

Despite the malaise that kept my professional life in a constant state of indigestion, it appeared that, in the heart of Spring, that I had won the war of attrition.  Business was changing, and it all appeared that the future was bright.  Hugs were given all around.

Even if it wasn't bright, I strive for little more than normal in life...and, through that point, that's what I received.

But then, one day, I'm told that hey, it's just business.  Not personal.  (Not personal to anyone but me, of course) what?

I tell my work contacts...frankly anyone who could help.  Try not to get depressed.  Try not to drink...well, not to drink more than usual.  Try to look at the bottom line.  Try to keep saying that "the best is yet to come."  Try to sit and nod politely while people say it's a "great time to get a new job" and "you'll get something soon."

If we only knew what we didn't, right?

Had I not taken this plunge, the one my body sent me warning signs about (and then it turned out to be correct immediately) I'd be short of some of the great things I now have in my life.  I'd likely be happy in work but struggling in other items.  All wants...but this is different.  It's a need.

The song goes:
I know it's too late now
But, I wish I could go back in time
And start all over somehow
And get it right from the start

I look forward to writing that this new fear is over.  Looking forward...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Good Morning, Dave: Vindication Hardware

It's been a while since The David Letterman Show ended.  Dave has since guest-hosted The Tonight Show multiple times and created an HBO special titled "Looking for Fun."  (It's a doozy)  But, the Daytime Emmys are also this time of year, and the show has already won a writing award in the non-televised program.  Up next is the hosting award, and we turn (as we did for every important entertainment extravaganza back then) to Dick Clark.

Yes, he introduces Hasselhoff.

As you'll see in the clip:
1. Even in a "serious" setting, Dave wryly sends-up the task of award-show thanks.  Then turning serious, he finishes with another joke.  I can't help but thinking it's said with just a touch of "all these months later...seriously, what am I going to do now?"

2. Deidre Hall applauds him off with a warm smile.  Can't place the guy next to her...guessing he was on Days of Our Lives as well.  Dick Clark smiles and applauds as he takes the stage, but then he did that with everyone, on every show, because he was a god damn pro.

3. Following the award, it goes to outstanding variety series.  I'll leave it up to you which is the better show between Dave and Merv.  Ricky Schroder steals the Merv clip.  Is it let-down applause?  Merv's producer is polite, though.

4. Seeing the ads, the early 80's were THE time for soap operas.

So it goes.  A year ago (in May of 1980), Dave was promoting this show ahead of time on The Tonight Show, and seemed slightly nervous at the daunting challenge ahead of him.  By the time he'd ironed out the kinks, it didn't last much longer.

A year after this (by May 1982), however, he'd be doing the same kind of show, and never looked back.  (Seriously, even at the end of the Late Show, the clips weren't exactly overflowing, particularly from the morning show days)  But there he is, an Emmy winning host, unknowingly biding his time.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Was it good for you? Was I what you wanted me to be?"

I already had plans that night with my girlfriend, and for whatever reason we were looking forward it.  I can't remember why, or what we were going to do besides the usual, when I get a call from a fellow Minnesotan, also a girl, and member of the Prince fan club.  She has procured 2 tickets in the 5th row for that night's concert at Staples Center.  Knowing that I couldn't make the tour rehearsal show in Reno, could I go tonight?

The girlfriend was disappointed.  I reasoned that this was life-changing.  SHE went to the Reno show.  It's only fair.  Honestly, it didn't matter what she said.

The opening act is Morris Day & The Time because, apparently, I have taken a time machine to 1984.  I am singing along to The Walk, dancing like a moron, yelling out requests for Gigolos Get Lonely Too.  They played it when I saw them the summer before at Hollywood Park.  Even just with that set, I'd have been happy.  (No Chili Sauce, but we can't win them all)

But then the main event.  The music, from the beginning, washes over me.  The funk, the horns (Candy Dulfer was on our side of the stage for most of the night).  No tiny pieces of a medley here and there.  It was full on from the new album, and the past.  He pulls out a back to back Shelia E cover just because.

It appears to be intermission...but then through the center of a stage, up comes Prince, sitting in a chair, playing a guitar.  See, there will be no intermission tonight.  He'll do an acoustic mini-concert, in-between songs shooting the shit with the audience.  He defends Kevin Garnett to the L.A. crowd, who just knocked the Wolves out of the playoffs.  

Act 2 begins, and we still don't have our breath.  He covers Sam & Dave because he's fucking Prince.  He does a Zeppelin song because why stop there?  At this rate I remember wanting him to get even weirder, and just pull off a Beatles song.  Or Johnny Cash.  Go for it.  Of course, we knew the end really wasn't the end.  The crowd went bananas just in case...and the band returned.

The Beautiful Ones.  We're right back at First Avenue, singing right to Apollonia, Morris stewing by her side.  Nothing compares 2 U was after, but we know why we're there.

Purple Rain begins, and he's putting everything into it.  I start, in what little brain I have available at the moment, thinking of the bootlegs of him opening for the Rolling Stones at the Coliseum here in 1981.  All the burned out old rockers aren't having him, ignoring his guitar ability, and the audience pelts him with garbage.  Both shows.  And while he returned to southern California in the Controversy tour to an appreciative audience, here he was all those years later.  Sold out arena, everyone screaming.

The song crescendos, and the band holds the note.  He waves and bows to each side of the stage, and turns to mine.  I look and he's crying, blowing kisses to the crowd.  I'm crying.  I'm crying?  I'm cheering, and yes, crying.  Having his music around your life, growing up as he grew popular, always a figure, always reminding everyone of his enormous talent.  Moments of your life, the soundtrack, and how the two intertwine, how else could I be if not emotional after a concert like that, seeing a performer like that?

That's what music does to you.  And that is what a musical genius can do.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Laughing all the way FROM the bank

In-between the madness of Stephen F. Austin State University doing what they do on the basketball court and the pile of tall cans in the backyard as evidence of a "typical" St. Patrick's Day, Cactus League baseball is stretching and straining in Arizona.  For the National League team at Cameltoe Ranch, the Dodgers are getting into mid-season injury form.  Currently, the Dodgers are playing an exhibition against Seattle.  In theory, this game should be on the Dodgers-owned cable channel, SportsnetLA.  But instead, they are replaying Sunday's split-squad defeat to San Diego.

Just to summarize: A channel only Time Warner and Charter subscribers can see, one devoted entirely to the Dodgers and nothing else, can't even air the team's spring training games live because...

And don't think this is an isolated incident.  It's happened again and again this Spring.  "[I]t's a reaction based on viewership of weekday games." said a channel rep.  The channel cut their game coverage in half.  You'll wan't this channel now, right, fans?

The dynamics of sports on television these days shows its value in a multi-platform world.  This, in theory, is a bargaining tool for the owners.  The Dodgers are the owners, Time Warner the facilitators, and it's should be an easy deal, correct?   A "Home Run" for Southern California viewers.

Well, maybe, except for one fatal flaw: The Lakers did it first, and no one cared.

In the Spring of 2011, when the Lakers announced they would forgo Fox Sports West and KCAL, it was met locally with sadness.  "It's the future" was the refrain, and that fans would be getting more content than ever before.  A future where they wouldn't make the conference finals, Phil leaves for the first time for the last time, and "a new era begins."

After the strike (and while Mike Brown slowly brought the team down) the Lakers have been worse than the previous year ever since the channel started.  You can imagine the demand for said channel as each year went by.  And when cable and satellite companies decided to pass along TWC Sportsnet's fee directly to consumers, the complaints were loud.  Louder than the fandom for this can't-miss opportunity to give the Lakers a dedicated home.

The Dodgers didn't give a fuck about what happened to the Lakers interest when they made their own channel.  There would be twice as many games on THEIR channel, and just as the Lakers broke the back of all the cable and satellite companies in "demand," the declines wouldn't happen to the Dodgers.

But those cable and satellite companies had been burned once.  Southern California viewers had been burned once.  Time Warner was only warm, and they needed the cash.  The Dodgers got theirs...8 BILLION.  They don't give a fuck.

"Hey - can't see the games?  Don't look at us.  We own it, but you know, we're a baseball team.  What do we know about dealing with a cable company besides getting bags of cash?  Would you expect us to negotiate a good deal?  How about our deal trading Dee Gordon?  I thought so.  Call your operator and demand it now!"

And there it is.  In 2014, for the first time since the 1940's, there was no local or cable TV for all Dodgers fans.  That's progress.  So what if it's their lowest season ratings on record, and the ratings for Angels' games grew +49% year to year.

2014, and 2015...and, again 2016.  Nothing has changed, the team doesn't care, so...should you?  As a fan, should you go out of your way to spend even MORE?  Will you be satisfied?  Or, like the LA Rams move, will the team just be a memory?

Perhaps...of course, the team is still here.