Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Last night's Whitman-Brown debate: Where the candidates stand on the issues


Meg Whitman: I am an A+++++++++ POWER SELLER WILL DO BUSINESS AGAIN. Sorry I never voted before. I never really gave a shit about politics until about a year ago when I got bored overseeing people selling unopened Bratz dolls to each other. Plus, have you looked at Jerry Brown? He’s like a million years old. We’ll be lucky if he lives until inauguration. Wait, what’s “inauguration” again?

Jerry Brown: That’s true. I am old. Old enough to remember when BITCHES KEPT THEIR MOUTHS SHUT. I mean, old enough to have lots of experience! I was governor when we had a $6 billion surplus! It was because of the Gold Rush! Maybe there’s more gold up there! I will start a state program to find that gold.


Meg Whitman: Only poor people should pay taxes. The tax rate for rich people will be 0%. For poor people it will be 100%. Poor people can make money by doing tricks and tumbling routines for the amusement of rich people, who will then toss them shiny coins and chocolates. This will result in a more jobs, since rich people use their money to create jobs and not buy G-4s like I do.

Jerry Brown: Everyone's taxes will go up, a lot. This will fund the new state employee retirement age of 30. Anyone who works for the state for 6 months or more can retire and get their full salary for the rest of their lives.

Related: This is what KCRA in Sacramento is calling their election coverage, no shit. I mean, "Commitment 2010"? Really? I want to vote, not take our relationship to the next level. Fuck.


Meg Whitman: We need Brown People to pick our delicious arugula and then GTFO. I will create a program that imports faceless masses of Browns to do my bidding, and then send them back to Salsa Verde or wherever they came from.

Jerry Brown: When I was governor, Mexico owned California and we were fine like that. I pledge to work closely with our Mexican overlords. Wait, what was the question? I’m old, dammit!


Meg Whitman: I have a plan to create jobs. Everyone in California who doesn’t have a job will come to work on my palatial estate as gardeners and maids. Do not use the indoor bathrooms. Those are for family only. Use the Porta Potties. No toque el lícor.

Jerry Brown: When I was governor, I created 1.6 million jobs. I did this by having the State hire 1.6 million people. I can do this again. I’m old.


Meg Whitman: Putting Jerry Brown in charge of pension reform is like putting Rick James in charge of the cocaine. If we are short on the budget, I'll totally loan California the money if you SWEAR SWEAR SWEAR on Nick Jonas's life that you will pay it back. I'm really going to need it back.

Jerry Brown: I'm old now, so I don't give a shit anymore about pissing people off. You know the grandma in the Lark scooter in front of you in line at Walgreens arguing about Double Coupon Day when you're just trying to get some fucking Altoids because you still smell like booze from last night and you're about to give a presentation? I'll totally be that grandma. We will Fall Into Savings at Walgreens.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mad Men #10: Guess who's not getting a "Best Dad Ever" mug for Christmas this year?

Here are a few surprises: Joan's pregnant! And Sally gets to see The Beatles! And Lane has a Black Girlfriend!

First things first. Joan's knocked up and tells Roger. He wants to know if she's seen the 1978 Billy Crystal vehicle "The Rabbit Test". Oh wait, I might have that wrong. He wants to know if she's had a rabbit test. Joan only buys cruelty-free cosmetics, so the answer is no. Later, they go to the doctor, who has all the affable likability of Josef Mengele. Have you ever noticed that doctors on this show, as a rule, are not exactly portrayed lovingly? Someone had a bad experience at the doctor's as a child! I'M ON TO YOU MATTHEW WEINER.

Anyway, Rog wants to keep the baby but this is a bad idea, even though Doctor Rape is never, ever coming back from Vietnam and Rog seems to think that every Army Wife has been knocked up by the neighbor. Plus, the last thing the world needs is the Unholy Offspring of Roger and Joan. So, following a little pregnancy boozing & smoking, Joan's off to the Abortion Doc, who thankfully does not appear on camera because I'd hate to see what Weiner would do with him.

So Joan has the aborsh and that's the end of that. Or at least I think she does! Were they like making it all ambiguous so we don't know? MYSTERY. Also, I see big things in Hilary's future and it's probably for the best.

Speaking of the Folsom Street Fair, HERE'S LANE'S DAD! Lane thinks he's getting a visit from the Too-Obviously-Named Nigel, who I gather is his kid, and instead SURPRISE IT'S DISTANT AND DIFFICULT DAD INSTEAD. At least, I hope that's what happened, or Lane's gift of stuffed animals and balloons is WAY creepier than I thought. Lane and Dad and Don all go to the Playboy Club for dinner and Lane makes a big show of inviting his Black Girlfriend over and Dad's all like "Whatever" and Don's all like "Whatever" and it's pretty much a bust. Then later Lane meets up with her and calls her his "Chocolate Bunny" and I almost died from how awesome that is.

Lane's Dad comes over and Lane and Chocolate Bunny are there and they're all about to go out and, whoops, Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner? (I stole that joke from Julia, or I think it was Julia, I was kind of buzzed, so credit her for that or whoever said it.) Nobody's coming to dinner is who because Chocolate Bunny leaves and then Dad smacks Lane with his cane and then steps on his hand! WHOA, ABUSIVE DAD! Don pays good money for this kind of shit and you're just giving it away!

OK, meanwhile SCDP is trying to get this big Defense Contractor client because cigarettes and Vicks Vapo-Rub aren't evil enough. So this leads to a big background check and Holy Shit now everyone's going to find out about Don's Secret History! Well, unless he can put a stop to it. Don is FREAKING OUT and tells Pete to call someone he knows or something and put a stop to this. Then he goes and just tells Faye all about it! WTF!

Oh, 2 more things: Lee Garner from Lucky Strikes fires SCDP and this is going to be big trouble, and Trudy is EXTREMELY PREGNANT. Next week is going to be the tits, I can already tell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today's Top 5: Fast Food Restaurants in San Francisco

Come on, Mr. and Ms. Sustainably Raised Arugula and Organically Butchered Heirloom Pig. You know that you have Secret and Dark Cravings just like the rest of us, and when that happens, you clandestinely sneak down to the McDonald's that's 2 neighborhoods over so no one sees you and you order the #3 and eat it there in the restaurant while reading the USA Today someone left behind and hoping no one sees you. I'm on to you. And you know what? THAT'S COOL. No one can live on Day Boat Sea Scallops or heirloom tomato consommé all the time. Sometimes you need a Double Double, stat. I won't tell if you don't.

5. Arby's, Lakeshore Plaza, 1581 Sloat

There is something about the way the spray cheese melts over the Beef 'n Cheddar that is just magical, a perfect balance of flavor and texture, cushioned in a pillowy onion roll. Plus, you have to love the fact that Lakeshore Plaza is one big Chain-a-thon, a rare sight indeed in San Francisco. They've got a Petco, a UPS Store, a Supercuts, a Big 5, a Radio Shack. It's like being somewhere else in the country! There's even a military recruitment center! What is this place! Anyway, Arby's is the bomb.

4. KFC/Taco Bell, Guerrero and Duboce

You guys, when I found out you could mix and match the KFC and Taco Bell items it felt like I had learned something really important. Like you can get a 1-piece breast meal AND a Taco Supreme. Plus, proximity to Zeitgeist! I mean, come on! I just wish SF had a Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (WARNING: Do not click on link if you plan on having something else in your head for the rest of the day).

3. Jack in the Box, Geary and 10th

You know what's great about Jack? He never sticks. He's always coming up with some new shizz. Like, you may go "I love the Sourdough Jack, but what else you got?" and Jack's all "WHY DON'T YOU TRY A CHICKEN FAJITA PITA MOTHERFUCKER" and you're all "Holy shit, that is a good fucking idea." Not that you would ever do that, though, because the Sourdough Jack is fucking nuts. I've never been to the Union Square location but the one on Geary and 10th is righteous every once in a while. You can sit up front and watch all the dorks going in and out of Lamps Plus.

2. In-N-Out Burger, Fisherman's Wharf

I knew if I didn't put In-N-Out on here peeps would FREAK OUT and be all "WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU PUT IN-N-OUT ON THERE" so calm down, here it is. I don't know, In-N-Out's OK, but not worth the mad hype it gets all the time. Plus, the last time I ate there (in Daly City, not at the Fish-Whar), the fries were totally underdone. Nevertheless, if you want a solid burger surrounded by smelly Germans and thugged-out kids from Modesto, this is your place.

1. McDonald's, Haight and Stanyan

Let's start out with 2 assumptions: (1) McDonald's is rock solid, and generally you can't go wrong there, and (2) the food at every McDonald's is about the same. So it really comes down to location. The McDonald's at Haight and Stanyan is awesome because it's close to Amoeba and it plays host to a constant revolving parade of serious freakshow humanity. You got your hippies, your crazies, your gutter punks, your retirees, your normals, your truck drivers, your speed freaks, your stoners who have to go to McDonald's because they're stoned, your tourists, and you. It's kind of the iconic San Francisco fast food restaurant. That's why it's Number 1.

RIP Wendy, who decamped from her last SF location on Market a few years ago. We miss you, Wendy.

Also, SF needs a Krystal, a Chick-Fil-A, and Bojangles. That would rule.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TK meets the candidates. One of them, anyway. Oh, and goes to the Post Office.

Two days ago, I got a Visit from a Candidate at my home. See, in case you don't know, in San Francisco we elect supervisors by district and the districts aren't all that huge and in some cases (like for me, 2 days ago), you get an actual candidate knocking on your door with his campaign manager.

My dog was going FUCKING APESHIT and the candidate just smiled and laughed. I shut the little freak inside and went out on the porch and talked to the candidate. He was super nice. He wanted to know what issues concerned me the most. I had a moment of panic, like getting called on in class, because I hadn't prepared anything. Finally, I went with the standard SF answer, Muni. He agreed that Muni was fucked up, although he didn't use those exact words.

Meanwhile, directly over the candidate's shoulder, a recycling poacher was torso-deep in my neighbor's recycling bin, digging out bottles. I had kind of zoned out at that point and wasn't paying attention and I interrupted the candidate.

"What about recycling poachers?" I asked.

The candidate and his campaign manager looked startled and confused. I pointed behind them and they both looked at the recycling poacher. The recycling poacher paused momentarily and looked back at us.

"I'm not sure," said the candidate. "Walk me through it." So I explained that not only are they are fucking pain in the ass with the breaking bottles and smashing cans at 11:30 p.m., they're also taking money out of the city's pocket that it needs to sustain the recycling program. The candidate confessed that recycling poaching wasn't really Issue Number One on his radar, but promised to look into it.

So we all chatted for about 15 minutes about all kinds of stuff and he basically sold me. Me and The Wife are going to vote for him. I don't agree with everything he said, but he seems like a smart and normal person, which is more than you can say for most supervisors.

Oh, and how about this? Yesterday, there was a handwritten note in my mailbox from the candidate telling me he was looking into the recycling thing. I mean, that's pretty intense.

(If you live in District 8 and want to know who this wunderkind is, email me and I'll tell you.)

In other news, had to send some Important Documents via Certified Mail and so I fetched myself down to the Civic Center Post Office located in the beautiful Fox Plaza. This place is a Hotbed of The Crazy, let me tell you.

I'll set the scene for you: 2 bored, slow-moving clerks. 10 people or so in line. Well, "people" doesn't really do it justice. 10 of the most random, odd-looking circus freaks/escapees from a Bukowski novel you'll ever hope to see.

Freak #1 is mid-60s, bushy hair and beard, blue knit cap. He tosses a cardboard box up on the counter with the flaps folded down. Like you can just cross the flaps on any old torn-up cardboard box and send it off through the U.S. Mails.

The clerk examined it. "Sir, there's no address on this."

That's right! Not only did homeboy bring it in a falling-apart box that wasn't taped up, he forgot to address it. He got sent away with a roll of tape and, presumably, some basic instructions about how mail works. Just because you know who you want to send it to doesn't mean the Post Office knows!!!!

I'm not even going to get into the guy who had an argument with the Head Clerk about whether she should have let the Other Clerk go on break or not, or the guy who was paying with his debit card and the Clerk said, "OK, now your PIN," and the guy said "EIGHT...FIVE-" and the Clerk said "NO! No, just enter it on the keypad." Seriously, first time out with the debit card?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mad Men #9: She seemed fine a minute ago!

Well, well. Like all right-thinking women, Faye has finally succumbed to Don Draper’s charms and is giving up the goods in a most furniture-disturbing way. She better get slappy if she wants this to be a recurring role, though, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Then DD takes off and leaves her in his apartment with the awesome line “I’m taking everything interesting with me.” O RLY? I didn’t see you taking your Stewardess Porn and fusion reactor and coin collection with you!

Back at the office, Roger’s hitting on Joan again. Oh, Roger. Guess what? Her husband’s been called up to Vietnam. Start the clock! This guy has less than a season to live, I bet. Or else he’ll come home a Damaged Man, like Rambo. (Incidentally, what was Rambo’s first name? Does anyone remember? It would be awesome if it was, like, “Nigel” or “Bert”.) But probably not. We should just start calling him Friendly Fire now.

What’s the Lesbian’s name? I can’t remember. Oh, wait, it’s Joyce. That seems about right. Joyce comes around again and takes Pegs out to P.J. Clarke’s to meet up with Abe. Abe from the Marijuana Party. Abe is like Chris Daly with fewer F-Bombs. He talks a lot about the Oppressed and Corporations and stuff. But he’s not down with Women's Struggle for Equality! That bums out Pegs, because she’s one. She’s good at getting drinks from the bartender, though! Women are always good at that. Wait, that was sexist.

Hey, do you think there’s still home delivery for Swedish Massage, like Roger sent Joan? I bet there is, but it’s called something different now. Sigh, now that Craigslist got rid of Adult Services we’ll never know. Anyway, another scene of Roger hitting on Joan. WE GET IT, WEINER. Get to the good part.

OK, now Abe shows up at the office. This is the Face of Pre-Internet Stalkery. You used to have to do your stalking in person, like a man. Or I guess you could hire a private detective or something, you get the picture. Anyway, Abe wants to post a disturbing screed on Peggy’s wall, but since there’s no Facebook or Internet or computers or electronic stuff, he has to hand it to her in person. AWKWARD.

There’s a whole thing with Fillmore Auto and a stuttering guy that I wasn’t really paying attention to that much about so you can read about that somewhere else.

Guess what? They had Take Your Daughter to Work Day back then, except daughters had to find their own way to the office and it involved an old lady on the train. That’s how Sally shows up at SCDP, anyway. Or this is the start of a new sitcom!! “Don & Co.”!!!! I like it! Don gets Faye to babysit her because Faye’s a Woman. They go to Don’s and watch Oprah or something.

Then something happens but I’ve been alerted that some people don’t like spoilers so if you understand Pig Latin, don’t read the next sentence. Issus-may Lankenship-bay ies-day. I’m going to miss her quips. That scene where they sneak her body out is kind of a comic highlight of the whole season. Whoops, that may have been a spoiler right there. Anyway, Roger uses the occasion to hit on Joan some more. Then they get mugged and this prompts them to have a quickie in the alley. That’s how most people react to getting mugged.

Sally’s spending the night at Don’s place. They have Girl Talk on the couch about Faye. Don like Faye! Like, really likes her! Then they work on their collages. Later, DD picks up his journal and I’m scared the voiceover’s going to start again but WHEW just a false alarm. The next morning, Sally makes Rum Waffles. I hope the Mad Men Cookbook comes out soon, because I’m going to start making Rum Waffles all the time.

Then there’s this really weird scene at the end when Sally’s running in the office and falls down and suddenly like 5 Office Ladies appear and DD’s new secretary is all comforting her and I guess she’s going to be New Mommy someday. Then Bets comes by for the Sally handoff and all the Office Ladies appear in the doorway like they’re the Chorus or something and they should be chanting “BEEEEETTTTTYYYYYY… are moooorrrrrrrtalllllllll.” This is funnier if you’ve ever seen any Euripides.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK: Everyone says things with A LOT OF EMPHASIS.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This concerns food trucks, so it might be the most SF thing you read all day

All due respect to Ramona Emerson, there is nothing San Franciscans like more than (1) food trucks, and (2) blogging about food trucks. So if you're a San Franciscan, prepare to have your mind blown.

I've been stalking the Seoul on Wheels Korean BBQ truck for a while now. One time we heard that it was going to be parked down by the Ballyard, so Olu and I trucked down there but it was nowhere to be seen. Now it Twitters its location everyday so there's no tragedy like that.

Lo and behold, come to find out that a bunch of food trucks will be gathering in Civic Center Plaza, very close to my Work Station, every Friday as part of something called Off the Grid. And my long-sought target, S.O.W., would be one of the participants this week.

L-R: Crack Cocaine, Liquid Heroin, Pork Buns

Hied myself down there w/ 2 coworkers and loaded up a combo rice plate (N.B.: This is not on the menu, but I found them very accommodating when I asked for a combo and also for some kimchee on the side). Left them waiting in the pork bun line because it's kind of raining and I didn't want to eat it cold. Voila:

THE VERDICT: Very good! I liked the spicy pork somewhat more than the bulgogi, which means "beef." The kimchee was nice and crunchy and spicy but not incinerate-your-mouth spicy, which I am most definitely not down with.

Fuck you.

Could have done without the broccoli. Broccoli is an instrument of the Devil and is way worse than masturbation or the New York Yankees, no matter what anyone tells you.

Coworker who I had abandoned to drown in the drenching rainfall / slight drizzle was surprisingly forgiving, and in fact gave me a segment of her chicken tikka masala burrito from Curry Up Now, and is there some requirement that food trucks have cutesy pun names? Guess so. Anyway, it's exactly what it sounds like: C.T.M. wrapped up, burrito-style, in thin Naan and is delicious but a little spicier than expected. Good, though.

Going back for pork belly buns in like a half hour.

OK, here are my Proposed New Food Truck Concepts:

Jerk Me Off (Carribean chicken & rice)
Let's Get Bulgur! (Tasteless vegetarian cuisine)
Domo Ari-Scot-o (Japanese/Scottish fusion)
Mesquite on Your Face (BBQ)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mad Men #8: The ether, the blindness, and then I got the goggles

Oh God this is painful watching Don write in his My Little Pony diary and having these awful voiceovers frame the whole episode. “Dear Diary, today I fucked a secretary and then went for ice cream!!!!!!! I got pistachio!!!!!!! I love Frank Sinatra.” Please, Weiner, no mas. I don’t know why I even bother with Mad Men anymore now that there’s a new season of Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock. One day I’m going to teach a grad-level seminar on Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock and we’ll talk about the symbolism of the tiki cups with the potentially sabotaged holes in them and also about Matt’s character arc. That show rules.

OK, so it looks like Don’s trying to cut down on the boozing, maybe after Pegs called him out on it last week. Unfortunately, you can’t smoke while you’re swimming or I’m sure he’d try. He’s doing laps and journaling and going to yoga now I guess. Hey, the Stones finally arrive on the soundtrack! About fucking time! Then Don leaves the N.Y.A.C. and puts on those sunglasses I WANT SO BADLY and then there’s a long voiceover about corn or some shit. NO MORE VOICEOVERS.

This episode is actually not about Don and His Boring and Trite Diary but instead about Women in the Workplace. Joey is VERY MEAN to Joan and boy is he gonna get it. You do not fuck with Joan, I am serious. Back at her place, Joan has a breakdown and seeks solace with Future Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Inscribee Doc, who just wants to hit it. Actually, I find that hitting it really does fix almost anything, so maybe he’s on to something.

Oh, Don’s making a Life List! 1. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. 2. Float down to the bottom of the pool just like Bill Murray in “Rushmore.” 3. Have sex with January Jones. Oh wait, that’s mine. Number 3 is mine, my mistake. 3. Buy stock in Canadian Club.

A million restaurants in Manhattan, and Don and Bethany and Cryptkeeper and Bets all have to show up at the same one. Betty sees DD and needs a gimlet stat. Meanwhile, Bethany needs more from Don. Like maybe a nickel for milk at school, because she’s about 16. CK and his buddy have some political talk, while Bets retreats to the bathroom to suck down a smoke because she’s tensed out. More gimlets, please.

Two car rides home with two different results! In Car #1, we have Bets freaking out and Cryptkeeper calling her drunk. In Car #2, we have Bethany – WHOA, BETHANY – umm, that’s some advanced shit for 1965! I didn’t think blow jobs in the back seats of cabs started until the mid-70s at the earliest, but I always knew Bethany was ahead of her time.

Let’s return to the office now, where Terminal Joey is preparing a vodka and Mountain Dew. Hey, Joey, did we go to college together? I went through a vodka and Mountain Dew phase. Actually, it was a vodka and anything phase – Coke, coke, Sprite, Gatorade, milk, water, whatever was handy. ANYWAY, this is all prelude to the Important Vending Machine Meeting that Joan and Lane have and I guess the vending machine is supposed to symbolize something but I don’t know what. Joey puts a mean drawing in Joan’s window and Joan tells all the kidz they’re going to get killed in Vietnam but they’ll just get deferments so probably not. But then Peggy, who is wearing a cheerleader skirt for some reason, fires Joey! Holy shit! He doesn’t really take it all that well. He’s kind of a dick but we’ll miss him. Joan’s pissed, though, because she had her own ways of handling that little prick and she didn’t get to do some Joan-Fu on his ass.

Don goes by the Old Homestead and picks up his boxes and Cryptkeeper is mowing the lawn like he’s in a Viagra commercial. Then he goes inside and shit, dude is fucking ripped. He’s like that guy from the Bowflex ads who’s like 55 and plays bass in a band and whatever. What do they, have Gold’s locations in Ossining in 1965 or something?

Let’s wrap this shit up. Don goes out with Faye FINALLY and they get some chianti and start making out in the cab and NOW she’s ready to give it up since she got in a fight with her BF and told him to shit in the ocean but DD’s not giving it up. Great strategy! If you don’t want to get laid, I mean. Anyway, later Don shows up at his kid’s birthday party and Cryptkeeper stares at him REAL HARD and there’s no music over the closing credits.

No Roger, so that’s an automatic 15-point deduction.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And just in case that last post had you thinking that maybe I'd lost my edge

Here is a non-exclusive list of people who pissed me off whilst traveling 6000 miles in the last 5 days:

1. Fat Guy with Rolls of Neck Fat seated in my row (but across the aisle) from SFO-DEN who called everyone he knew to tell them his flight was delayed, then squinted at his phone with his fat face and then called someone and said "Yeah, she's got nice....eyes, heh heh heh" like you are so smooth Mr. Operator and who the fuck is sending you naked pics on your phone while you're waiting for your plane to take off?

2. Vaguely Native American Bro on another flight seated diagonally across from me (i.e., so I could see everything he did) and who was dipping (i.e., using smokeless tobacco) and spitting brown spit/tobacco juice into a clear plastic cup. I would rather you light up a fucking Cohiba than spit into your spit cup within 5 feet of me. THIS ISN'T FUCKING DEADWOOD, HOMBRE, IT'S AN AIRBUS GOING TO DENVER.

3. Overly Aggressive Frontier Airlines Master Card salespeople in the Denver Airport. Actually they didn't bother me because one of them started to approach me and I gave her The Look that I reserve for situations like this and that probably makes it look like I'm about to kill somebody or dismember a baby and she backed right the fuck up.

4. Everyone who LEAPS into the aisle of a plane the INSTANT it stops moving and then stands there waiting to push off the plane. That will not get you off the plane any faster, you acorn-brained numbnuts. It WILL result in you jiggling my chair back and forth while you stand there in the aisle, annoying me, however.

5. Overly Friendly Coffee Store Clerk who has to extract everyone's Personal Life Story and Detailed History of every single fucking action they've taken since the last time you saw them when all I want is a half-pound of your fucking house blend ground for automatic drip so I can get the fuck out of your cutesy coffee shop and get some goddam caffeine into my system. Oh really? It rained out where you are? NO FUCKING SHIT THAT IS FASCINATING PLEASE GO ON IN MINUTE DETAIL ABOUT EVERY DROP OF RAIN. Did any of the drops touch you or your pets? Please tell me everything omit nothing.

OK, I feel better now. My headache is starting to go away.

Brief notes on a family reunion

First off, I haven’t seen Mad Men yet, but I think I’m going to watch it tonight, so I’ll wrote about it tomorrow. OK?

I just went to a family reunion of sorts. My Dad lives in Tennessee, and this reunion thing was in rural Virginia, where he’s originally from, so this trip required flying to Nashville, then drive drive drive 5 hours to Virginia, spend the night in a hotel (a Hampton Inn, as a matter of fact, and kudos to Hampton Inn, very nice), then drive to the reunion thing, spend 3 hours there, then drive drive drive back to Nashville.

Here’s how it goes in the cars. In one car we have my Dad and me. In one car we have The Wife, The Sister, and The Stepmom. On the way there, Dad and I mostly talk about My Future, and Politics (which we are able to do without anyone getting angry and slamming the door, which is good because we are in a car) and The Sister and Her Future and also the rest of the family. This trip also included a stop at Cracker Barrel, a staple of any road trip in the South.

I asked Dad why there’s no booze at the family reunion. He said “Cuts down on fighting and shooting, I guess.” Makes sense.

My Dad’s 84 years old, so he’s the only surviving sibling. He joined the Army to become a pilot when he was 17 and so he left rural Virginia and went to Japan and Korea and Bangkok and Vietnam and Goose Bay, Labrador, and spent two weeks in Australia waiting for a part for his plane so it could be repaired that he still waxes rhapsodically about and about which we will probably never know the complete story. Anyway, a lot of the rest of his family still live within 20 miles of where they grew up. I don’t have a lot in common with them except that we all hate Florida State.

This is the view from where the reunion was held. There's a Dollar General and a cemetery, two features of any small Southern town.

Still, it was interesting talking to them and hearing stories about Dad as a kid, which usually involved he and a friend borrowing someone’s car, picking up a couple of girls, and disappearing for 2 or 3 days. It’s a good thing they didn’t have Amber Alerts back then or my Dad would be doing life in prison. Some of the stories involved people with names like Ziphead and Chubs. Chubs, Dad explained, “wasn’t fat or anything. We just called him Chubs.”

It was nice and everything, but it's good to be back home.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Programming note

I shall be traveling tomorrow through Monday, so you may experience interruptions in your regular service.

My first experience with Frontier Airlines. Hopefully they're better than American. That wouldn't take much doing, though. I do have to say, my recent experiment with United seemed to go OK.

ANYWAY, I'll post reports from the field if time permits. In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of Your New Wax Overlords.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mad Men #7: The mouse symbolizes something. I'm sure of it.

Sorry this is a day late. No, actually I’m not really sorry at all. Yesterday The Wife and I went to Red’s Java House and had burgers and beer in the sun and then we went to SF MOMA and saw the “From Calder to Warhol” exhibit which is basically just a taste of the 1000s of pieces the Fishers are donating and it’s pretty fucking awesome. Plus it was a really nice day. Plus no one ever reads these anyway. I mean, I used to get huge numbers of hits for the Bachelorette recaps and I don’t get many for the MM recaps and that maybe says something sad about Our Society and Culture or maybe means nothing at all. Boo hoo poor me.

Oh, also last night I watched Bachelor Pad and let me tell you straight up, that shit is PAINFUL. Like Grade A excruciating. And this is coming from a guy who analyzed every episode of an entire season of the Bachelorette.

OK, where are we? We’re at the Samsonite pitch meeting. The kidz want to do something with Joe Namath and it’s all very confusing and Don doesn’t like it and frankly I don’t either. How about instead we see Anson Wong shoving snakes into a sturdy Samsonite bag and then he looks at the camera and says “I’ve got a SNAKING suspicion that only Samsonite bags work for me! Get Samsonite today!”

Now we see that Duck is drinking in his semi-darkened apartment and he has sent Peggy a birthday gift, which is a business card for a made-up ad agency. Duck says he’s “falling apart” and the only cure for that is a shot of Pegs. Don’t worry, we’re going to see more of Duck soon.

So for her birthday, Mystery Fiancé is taking her to the Forum of the Twelve Caesars, which was apparently a Very Fancy Restaurant on 57 West 48th Street.

But wait! Don’s making her work on her birthday! Now who’s going to eat the Oysters of Hercules with Mark? Oh, holy shit, he’s got Peggy’s whole family there! Apparently Mark doesn’t know Peggy very well, because this is not a selling point for her. Mark’s totally giving her a hard time and Peggy’s all “I have to work late” and Mark’s all “Waaaah, come on,” and then he breaks up with her over the Black Courtesy Phone! Good riddance, I say.

Thus we begin the Night of Peggy and Don. They start out with a good fight about who had the idea for Glo-Coat and then move on to the Roger tapes. Whoa, Ms. Blankenship was the “Queen of Perversion”! Ugh, try scraping that mental image form your mind. Roger’s memoirs may prove to be unfit for public consumption. Anyway, the night continues and gets a little rom-commy. There’s a mouse in the office and then it’s gone and Don says solemnly “There’s a way out of this room we don’t know about.” DUN DUN DUN!!!! This is FRAUGHT WITH MEANING. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Off to dinner at the Greek diner. Wait a minute, Don’s not drinking. WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? They’re having a Deep Conversation. “Oh, wow, I saw my father die too!” It’s like the 1965 version of coke talk. Then on to a bar. Oh, I like this bar! It’s like Radio in Oakland but with the lights turned up. In the past, you used to be able to see in bars. Now that’s considered passé. That’s why I keep knocking drinks over. Sort of. Anyway, is Peggy drinking a Cosmo? She’s like the Ur-Carrie Bradshaw! Holy shit, there’s a grad thesis just sitting there. Go ahead and take it.

Back to the office. Don pukes violently in the SCDP bathroom. Nobody ever pukes on this show after drinking all day. It’s actually kind of refreshing. Oh shit, here comes the Duckster! He is fucked UP. This office is like the Grand Central Station of Drunk. Whoa, whoa, whoa, Duck’s about to drop a deuce in Roger’s office! Oh, Duck. I guess the fact that you’re in the wrong office is the least of your problems. Duck and Don settle this with a good old-fashioned Drunk Fight and Pegs shows him out.

Tim to pass out on the couch. The ghost of Fake Wife appears, carrying her trusty Samsonite suitcase into the afterlife, where she will appear in a guest-starring role on “Castle,” the worst show I have ever seen, even worse than “Bachelor Pad,” even worse than that midget dating show. Anyway, I imagine this scene is also Fraught With Meaning. The good news is, Don and Pegs don’t hook up because ew.

So the next day Don’s got a fresh shirt and looks marginally presentable but Peggy’s going to have to do the Walk of Shame even though she didn’t even get any. Now it’s time for the Scenes from the Next Episode, which every week reveal absolutely nothing about what’s going to happen.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s going to happen: Next Sunday and Monday I will be Out of The Local Area and so this recap will be substantially delayed. Please direct your complaints to the Managing Director. I want to eat a rare steak and watch two men pound each other.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Today's Movie Pitches

Labor Day

Bruce Willis plays Doc Hotson, a recently-retired FBI agent who decides to take a leisurely Labor Day trip to Washington D.C. However, his Metro train is hijacked by terrorists. That Iraqi guy from Lost is the lead terrorist. They’re going to load up the Metro train with explosives and blow up the Washington Monument. Or something that the Metro runs under, doesn’t matter. Bruce Willis foils their plot, while falling in love with Cameron Diaz, who is a normal person on the train for no reason.

Tagline: “This Labor Day, Bruce Willis is ON THE CLOCK.”

[UPDATE: The Wife suggests the much better tagline "This Labor Day, Bruce Willis DELIVERS!"]

Advice Dog

A golden retriever puppy is languishing in a pound in Sarasota, Florida when aliens arrive one night and accidentally abduct him instead of the poundkeeper or whatever you call the guy in charge of the pound. Proximity to alien technology gives the dog the power to speak and when he returns to Earth he gets revenge on the humans by giving really bad advice. The dog is voiced by Seth Rogen. Costarring Brian Austin Green as a kindly shopkeeper.

The Building

A 6-story apartment building is home to a wacky collection of neighbors, like John Turturro and Betty White. It catches on fire, but Bruce Willis leads a brave fire team and rescues everyone, except Jared Leto, whose ghost then haunts Bruce Willis. Meanwhile, the tenants have acquired bizarre supernatural powers after the fire. No one can pronounce Bruce Willis's name and they can all see each other's futures but not their own, so they have to have weekly meetings to see what's going to happen to everyone. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Tagline: "This is not your usual kind of building"