I have a big dog, a Great Dane. Once in a while he will eat some grass and then throw up. Just happened this morning. When he starts heaving, I kind of imagine something like a scene from the movie Jaws, where he throws up a license plate, a shoe, a smaller dog. Nothing has come out like that yet, but I keep an eye out.
I have no idea where this came from, I think it might have been too many hours and days in the Tour Van, but we started calling Bed Bath and Beyond: “Blood Bath and Ben Affleck.”
Over time we then started putting some stank on it, pronouncing all the B’s with a plopping sound and adding a bit of a droopy dog drawl. Just as stupid as stupid can get.
But till this day I can’t pass that store without reciting it, nor can I see an add for a Ben Affleck movie without doing it too.
And now as me and the wife drive down the road and pass a Bed Bath and Beyond store, she will roll her eyes and mouth the words as I said it out loud .
Go see this movie, I’m telling you, it’s fantastic. I laughed, cried, yelled. It’s what a good movie should make you do. Nobody believes me, and it took months for the wife to finally cave in and watch it and SHE laughed, cried and yelled.
Great film. Also made me really like the actor Joel Edgerton, which made me realize what a sweet name that is, think I’m gonna name my next kid or dog Edgerton.
A percentage of dog owners found in dog parks are lame. That’s just a fact. I am in dog parks everyday, all over California and I see it all. Make no mistake, I love my dog, but I also realize that he’s A DOG! He smells everything, he eats old dead mice, he’ll get in a fight once in a while, he’ll stick his nose in your vagina….he’s a DOG!
I find myself becoming more and more reserved at dog parks. The reasons for this are many, but here’s an example….
I was at a dog park in Berkeley. Coach started running and playing with a very pretty, well bred border collie (think Lassie). The owner was an immaculately dressed woman who I soon realized was very uptight. I stood and quietly watched as the two dogs happily played together, running, pouncing on each other and having a great time. The woman began to get agitated that my dog was playing with her dog.
She started to run and yell at Coach, actually swatting at him saying “shoo! get out of here.” At this point, as my disdain is becoming palpable, I am thinking “It’s a DOG PARK lady, they’re playing wonderfully….get a grip!” The woman then got close enough to Coach that she actually slapped him across the face.
I saw red and my jaw hit the ground. Did that really just happen? I began walking towards the situation calmly but angry, and as I neared I saw the woman get more flustered. I looked at the dogs and noticed that Coach had begun to mount the Border Collie, but from the FRONT. It felt almost as if Coach was reacting to the slight hysteria, but he began to hump the dogs face.
And so there we were, a well dressed woman yelling and slapping a big great dane who was face humping her collie, and me running in yelling and letting some laughter spill out the side of my mount. Coach stopped and the woman forcefully grabbed her dog by the collar. She stormed off with a volley of curses, the dog glancing back longingly
Shortly afterwards two other dog owners came up to me and said they had some unpleasant run-ins with that same lady, they even added that the dogs were playing wonderfully. Coach proceeded to walk up and smell their vaginas.
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Maybe in all time Top 5, or Top 10 movie. Just watched this again and went through some special features and found this little gem…
There’s a scene where John Malkovich gets dumped on the side of the Jersey Turnpike and a truck drives by, the man in the truck yells “Hey Malkovich, Think Fast!” and then hucks a beer can that hits Malkovich in the head. Totally unscripted and the reaction is real. Check it out:
This is one of the first big Sci -Fi movies that the wife liked, so I bought it for her for her birthday. It was kind of like when I was a kid and I got Star Wars figures for my dad for Christmas.
Normally not a big fan of Musicals made into films, but this was great. Tim Burton, either just hits it out of the park or whifs big time.
I think Steven Sondheim might be on my short list of people to have dinner with. What is that thing people ask? You can have 4 guests over for dinner, living or dead? Something like that. Anyways Sondheim might be in there, Tom Waits for sure, I wonder if DaVinci would be a good hang? There would also be a language barrier with him. Bill Clinton? Siddartha? The Dalai Lama? Stephen Colbert maybe? I’d have to think about that one. Elon Musk maybe?
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
I’m embarrassed for Lakers fans. I’m not originally from LA, I moved here a few years back, but in the short time I’ve been here I have seen things that I didn’t see from outside of LA .
In all respects, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of, if not THE greatest franchise in sports. They have 16 titles, countless superstars, an A-list court-side in a perpetually sold out stadium. They are are a global brand that has a rich history and right now are experiencing a rare downturn. Since their last title in 2010 they have slowly been sliding south in the standings and now find themselves at the bottom.
The Los Angeles Clippers on the other hand have long been one of, if not the worst franchise in sports. Decades of losing records, never having won even one title, a disgraceful front office, highlighted last year by the ousting of disgraced owner Donald Sterling. The Clippers have long played a distant second fiddle to the Lakers, they have been the younger brother to the Lakers’ letter winning varsity senior.
Numerous cities have two teams in the same sport, the Yankees and Mets in New York, the White Sox and Cubs in Chicago etc, but none of these has as great as divide as the Lakers and Clippers. One of the worlds most storied franchises and one of the worlds worst franchises.
Now the Lakers have skidded into last place and the Clippers have found themselves in a title hunt. How have Lakers fans reacted!? They have behaved like a bunch spoiled trust fund kids. Sports radio is flooded with Lakers fans bombasting the Clippers, ESPN LA hosts play anti Clippers songs and actively root for their opponent. Outside the Staples center at Clipper games Lakers fan stand in droves and chant obscenities.
They have not only actively rooted against the Clippers but have expressed this in extremely distasteful ways. At a recent Dodgers baseball game, Chris Paul, the star point guard of the Clippers, was shown on the jumbotron and the entire crowd booed. Chris Paul is widely respected in the NBA, he is the president of the players union, highly regarded on both sides of the lines. Yet here are 20,000 people booing him.
I’ve seen this all and I scratch my head. Where is this coming from? What are these people reacting too? The Clippers and their extremely small fan base has sat by for 20 years while you’ve one 16 titles and now that they have one small opportunity you are behaving like this!? How insecure do you have to be to cry and throw fits when you’re team isn’t the one in the playoffs? It’s the neighborhood bully putting down a new kid in the neighborhood. It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrased for Lakers fans. Coming from an outsider, if you want the world to treat you with class then you need to have some yourself. The Clippers will never even come close to the empire that is the Lakers franchise, they will always be the varsity letter winning older brother. Maybe I was expecting too much from the fan base of such a storied franchise. I mean would I act the same? I don’t think I would, I’d like to think I would tuft my younger brothers hair and say, “way to go kid, way to go.”
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
When Coach was younger he ate (or drank) an entire bottle of vegetable oil. He was a real maverick back then. I’m not sure where he’d get his ideas but they were impressive and he really took it there.
He’s all grown up now, 6 years old. I wonder if he looks back on those young dog years like we look back on college days.
This was an interesting movie, I am usually always a fan of well made independent films and especially creative and weird ones like this.
Social Graces 101: Small enclosed public spaces are not where you should bring and eat extremely pungent foods. You get seated on an airplane and just after lift off the person behind you opens up his Garbonzo Goulash or in a movie theater and somebody brings in a tupperware full of reheated fish and lentils.
There needs to be a label on foods, a smell rating, and this rating can dictate whether or not it is acceptable to eat when in enclosed public spaces.
Every once in awhile I am reminded that as a young lad, my dream was to be a professional baseball player. The thought of being a professional musician never even occurred to me. To be honest, I still want to be a baseball player, and this music thing is just getting me by until I get that call from the Chicago Cubs triple-A farm team.
I don’t know what reminded me of this the other day, maybe it was the smell of fresh cut grass, or the headline of a newspaper. Whatever it was I suddenly was transported back to my youth, the feel of the infield dirt, the sound of a ball hitting your mitt, the loudspeaker announcements. Ahhh, Baseball. What a wonderful thing. I have for years tried to get every girl I know to enjoy it with me, but have had little success. Baseball I fear is an acquired taste. Something known by all, but loved by only a few. I am one of those few. I have to credit my dad with a lot of this and I thought it might also have been his dream to play for the Chicago Cubs. He spent long hours with me, hitting me grounders, working on my pitching, talking to me about the strategy of the game.
I came to find out later that it was actually my dad’s dream to be a part of the grounds crew at Wrigley field. One of the guys running the rain tarps out on the field, and not an actual baseball player. (After watching these grounds crew on numerous occasions at Wrigley I had to agree, it seemed awesome.) This then begs the question; why didn’t he have me mowing grass, spraying down the infield, running drills with the rain tarps, or speeding around on those tractors? Because I wanted to be a baseball player, and he knew it.
I think both of us now realize that grounds crew would have been a more reasonable goal than starting 2nd basemen. A wonderful and simple life, an attainable goal. But my dad never would say that. He knew I wanted to take Ryne Sandberg’s place in the long line of Cubs’ heroes, and so he worked with me, day after day, summer after summer, finely honing my skills until I became a decent little ballplayer, at least in the modest little Midwest town I lived in. It was one of my earliest dreams and I had the highest of hopes.
What ever happened to those dreams? I didn’t just give them up, I didn’t ever throw my bat down and say “I’m done.” Looking back, I think the slow dissolve of my baseball dreams possibly began with an incident in those early days, an incident so traumatic that it still haunts me today. And maybe, just maybe this had a long lasting subconscious effect on my letting go of baseball.
It was in the middle of a hot Wisconsin summer, I was in the back yard working on my 4 seam fastball with my dad. I was imagining that if there had been a radar gun present, I might have been clocking in at 92, 93 mph. In all reality it probably was more like 23 mph. But anyway I was throwing strikes and my dad thought it would be a good idea to have a person stand at the plate, so I could get used to throwing to a hitter. My mom of course was overly happy to oblige, mind you she didn’t know if this was football or basket-hockey, but she dutifully took her spot. And as she stood there, and raised an imaginary bat, I looked in to get a sign from my dad, came to my stance, wheeled back and threw a fastball that hit my mother in the face.
Now those of you who have ever thrown a fastball and hit your own mother in the face can attest to the sheer horror, the absolute nervous panic that overtakes you. Multiply this by 3,246 because its YOUR OWN MOTHER! To make this even worse, and I still get the jitters thinking about this today, is that she had on glasses, and the glasses shattered and cut her. So what I remember (although both my parents seem to downplay this), is kind of like a scene out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Blood spurting out all over the yard, the neighbors franticly running around screaming bloody murder, my poor mother knocked out cold, police taping off the area and the local fire department getting their ladders out.
Now I admit that might be a bit fantastic, but to a 10 year old kid, that’s what it felt like. My mother was of course saying she was fine and it was just like my mother to apologize to me for it. “Oh I’m sorry Van, I think I was standing too close to the plate.” Needless to say that was the end of my mom’s involvement in my baseball career.
About a week later, my dad gave me a guitar. In hindsight it all makes sense, how I remember it though is a bit different. The guitar was handed to me as if it was just in passing, like he had found a guitar by the side of the road and thought, “hey maybe this’ll keep the lad busy for a while.” So he gave it to me, then sat and taught me `Louie Louie.’ I played `Louie Louie’ for 3 years. I don’t know whether this was because that was all my dad knew, or we were too busy playing baseball, building potato guns or watching the Cubs lose.
But the guitar just kind of stayed with me. It came with me when I changed rooms, it changed shapes and sizes, it made the move with me out to California. Sometimes it got dusty and lonely. Sometimes it got beat up. But it always was there, just a piece of lumber in the corner of my room. Maybe it was after college that I realized my baseball cleats were starting to collect dust. My mitt didn’t fit as well as it used to. Maybe it was after college that I realized that old guitar was a fun way to get people together and have a good time. Who knows. The point is that somewhere in there I kind of traded my old baseball mitt for a guitar.
I don’t think I could tell you exactly when it happened. It was over years and years. But now that I am a professional musician, I can tell you that its not so bad. I still get to run out in front of crowds of cheering people. Some nights I play well, some nights not so well. There’s a lot of time away from home, a lot of time with the boys, I get to sign autographs and go to work at night. The smells are different but it’s not so far off from being a baseball player. Of course every once in a while, I really miss the game. I miss the dirt and the grass, the smells and sound of baseball.
I say this in regards to all the kids that I’ve come across in my `backup job’ being a performer. Kids come up after shows and have a light in their eye, awestruck if you can believe. It has taken me awhile, but I have come to realize that light in their eye is the same light I had when I would go to the ball park as a kid. Eager to see my favorite players, watching their every move, trying hard to get an autograph. I actually remember how hard it was when you actually got near to one of these people you looked up to. I would get nervous, unable to utter a word, and I would just hold out a ball and a pen. Even for the minor league players who would play near our little town, I was an excited and nervous little wreck of adrenaline.
Sometimes as we get off stage, we’ll see moms or dads push their shy, nervous kids up towards us with a pen in one hand and a CD in the other. And after all these years, I finally realize what a cool job I have, and how even though I complain about it all the time, I am living a dream. We are at times what the Chicago Cubs were to me. We may be more like the Peoria Screaming Aardvarks farm team, but nonetheless I feel it an absolute privilege to kneel down, ask them their name, sign the CD and maybe even reach in my pocket, ask if they play guitar, and give them one of my picks. I’ll say something encouraging, give em a smile and watch as they run excitedly back to their parents showing them the newly signed CD. I am sure with my luck, if they want to grow up to be a Musician, they’ll probably end up playing 2nd base for the Chicago Cubs.