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search me

Time for one of my periodic checks of this site's webstats ... I notice that a year ago today I checked out recent search strings that sent people to visit my blog, and thought I'd do it again. Here are the Top Ten Search Strings that sent people here in the month of August (so far):

10: the inevitable "milton berle's penis," which has been bringing folks to Steven Rubio's Online Life for a long time now. This would rank higher if I looked more closely at the stats ... "milton berle's penis" has sent 7 people to the site in August, but "milton berle penis" adds 5 more, "milton berle penis pictures" another 2 (no, I don't have any such pix), and then there's one each for "milton berle penis picture," "milton berle pictures schlong," and "photos of milton berle's penis."

8-9 (tie): "rubio" and "hotel goyesca." The first is obvious ... the second is a place we stayed in Spain in 2000, and I suspect those hits are coming from Robin and I, since we're looking for a hotel for November.

6-7 (not a tie, but I'm putting them together): "bruce springsteen dodger stadium review" and "springsteen dodger stadium review." I have no idea why this sends people to my site, since I've never been to Dodger Stadium.

4-5 (tie): "bathtime" and "beheading." I get the latter (from the pix of the London Dungeon), have no idea about the baths.

3: "california culture," a leftover from a course I taught at SF State a coupla years ago.

2: "bedtime for bonzo" ... this one caused me some grief awhile back when I found out a photo I'd stuck on a class website of Reagan and a chimp had been linked to on another site, leading to a gazillion hits on my site, since every time someone loaded that other page, my site would get a hit. I've removed the photo, but I guess I still get hits.

And the #1 search string that brings people here (this wins the Anti-Climax Award): "steven rubio."

The best ones are always those strings that only worked one time ... fascinating to see not only what people are looking for online, but also to imagine their disappointment when they end up here and not somewhere exciting. Here's a sampling of those lone search strings:

2003 email contact of belushi in usa 2003
bad skin and cameron diaz
bowels examination
cameron diaz has bad skin
demented on top of old smokey
dick was too small
does beheading hurt
evacuation of the bowels
evil willow
fountain of sorrow my ass motherfucker
i masturbated my son
letterman hey dudes
she shaved off his beard for halloween
steven sandell
uma and ethan fucking picture
why sports night failed

wesley willis

Wesley Willis died a week or so ago, and I've tried to come up with something interesting to say about him, but I'm shooting blanks. Willis was one of a handful of musical artists, like The Shaggs, who are at best charmingly primitive minimalists, or at worst abysmally untalented wannabees. Whichever Willis was, and he was both, depending on who you talk to, he was also a schizophrenic, and even though I believe that Wesley's champions were touched by his life and art, and even though I believe those who promoted his work had Wesley's best interests at heart, it's still hard to avoid the taint of exploitation. The Shaggs were just nice girls with a loving father ... GG Allin was a psycho who knew what he was doing ... Wesley Willis was a nutcake, and my guess is for every fan who loved the man and his work for its face-value appeal, there were a dozen others who simply found him hilarious because he was so awful. I'm reminded of the once-immortal Rick Starr, who used to sing on the Berkeley campus. Rick was worse than the worst imitation of Bill Murray imitating a bad lounge singer that you ever heard. He couldn't carry a tune ... pretty much all he could do was remember lyrics, so he had a huge repertoire, but every song he sang truly stunk, because Rick didn't have any talent. And he was probably mentally ill ... he sang into a mic with a tiny speaker attached, and when the cord broke, he'd still sing through the mic and place the speaker at his feet, even though the two weren't functioning any longer, and if you asked him how he was doing, he'd talk about how he was just THISCLOSE to getting a record deal, and really, there might have been three people who thought Rick Starr was a charming primitive but the fact was he was an awful singer with mental problems, the butt of people's disdain.

And when people get all teary-eyed over Wesley Willis, I can't help but wonder about most of them ... not the Jello Biafras who tried to take Wesley under their wing and help him out, but the teeming hundreds of fans who quoted Wesley's lyrics and thought he was the bomb, while laughing at everything he did.

I admit I'm projecting here ... I'm not sure if I even know anyone besides me who ever bought a Wesley Willis record, so I'm guessing. But when I bought that record, I didn't trust my motives, and now that he's dead, I still don't trust myself.

Might as well close with some classic Wesley lyrics, like all the other fanboys ... I'll go topical and choose "Arnold Schwarzenegger" ... if you've ever heard one of his songs, you can hear the music in your head, because all of his songs were the same:

You are my favorite movie star
You are my big buddy
You are a low down rotten man
You are crazy like a roll lizard

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

You are the greatest
You are my kind of guy
You are my buddy
You are my main man

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

I love your movies
I love you too
You are the best man that I have ever liked
You are my rich man
You are my big millionaire

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Wheaties, breakfast of champions

bruce's life, disc 3

This one covers the period from the v.end of the BitUSA tour through the beginning of the Tunnel of Love tour. Lots of low-fi star-studdedness on this disc ... among the folks making appearances are Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Huey Lewis, Bob Geldof, Jon Bon Jovi, U2, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and, in a segment recorded at a 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dinner, the Beach Boys, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, the Drifters, Ben E. King, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, George and Ringo, and a zillion other stars. Most of it is inconsequential, although it's fun to see Bruce sharing a mic with Jagger during "Satisfaction." Best stuff on this disc is three songs from the v.first Bridge benefit, "Dancing in the Dark," "Glory Days," and "Hungry Heart." Obscurities include Bruce attending a play put on by out-of-work Freehold workers, and Bruce stopping by a wedding party on his motorcycle. Outside of the Bridge stuff, nothing here is essential.

ohmigod, linguica dept. (rubios, read this one)

I've gotten a couple of emails recently about the article I wrote four years ago about linguica. I hear from people every month or two about that piece, but getting two emails in three days seemed a bit much, so I googled "linguica" and "rubio" and found a link to Moniz.

Imagine my surprise (and pride!). So I decided to call the number in the listing, and next thing you know, I'm talking to a woman at Moniz. Turns out she knows who I am ... she found the article on the web and printed it out for everyone at Moniz, so they all know me, I guess. We talked for awhile, and then she asked if I could hold on a second ... I heard her talking to someone in the background, "I've got the guy on the phone who wrote that article!" ... and then this old guy picks up the phone, John Correia is his name, and his job is ... DELIVERY GUY FOR MONIZ!

He says he's been delivering for a v.long time, and I said well, my grandmother used to get Moniz delivered to her house, and he said yes he'd read that in the article, and I said well, she was all the way in Antioch (Moniz is out of Oakland), and he said oh, I used to deliver out there, and I said her name was Frances Rubio, and he said he didn't remember, it was so long ago, and I said she was an old Spanish lady, and he said YES, HE KNEW WHO I MEANT! and YES, HE USED TO DELIVER TO HER!!!

So here it is, 2003, my grandmother has been dead for almost 20 years, it's been longer than that since I can remember the Moniz truck coming to her house, and ... I'm talking to the Moniz delivery guy and he remembers!

File this one under Small World, I guess ...

are you a neoconservative?

Take this quiz to find out. [edited to remove broken link]

Two stupidest things about this game, at least the first two I noticed:

* Question 7, "What do you think of America's superpower status?" The four choices are:

"Unrivaled US power is crucial to America's defense."

"US superpower status was key to warding off Soviet aggression during the cold war."

"American power was vital to the victory of freedom over totalitarianism."

"American power can spread peace and democracy across the globe."

Every single answer assumes that American power is a good thing. And perhaps it is, but the absence of any alternative vision of American power makes the question silly.

* Liberals "oppose American imperialism." This is pretty much nonsense, but "liberal" is as far left as the game allows. American liberals are as imperialist as any other mainstream American political group. Some folks on the further reaches of left and right might oppose American imperialism ... liberals are nowhere near the further reaches of the left, and they don't oppose American imperialism.

Meanwhile, the game encourages the marginalization of left-wing thinking. Pat Buchanan gets his props, as an example of "modern isolationism," but there are no equivalent figures from the left. Buchanan gets to be part of the mainstream, albeit on the margins, but his left-wing counterpart, whoever that might be, isn't anywhere to be found. The political spectrum engaged in this game goes, not from left-wing to right-wing, but from Jimmy Carter to Pat Buchanan, that is, from centrist to right-wing nut-bag. This suggests that you can be part of the game if you're a neo-fascist, but if you're to the left of Jimmy Carter, you might as well stay home.

bruce's life, disc 2

This disc isn't as good as the first one. The problem is, the best stuff has the lowest audio-visual quality. So you get some terrific concert footage, but it's still not something you'd show your friends. Best of the bunch comes from Providence on December 11, 1980 ... Bruce is a complete madman, even by his own standards, as the band cranks out "Sherry Darling," "Crush on You," and "Rosalita." The liner notes get it right: "Quality isn't perfect [ed. note: that's an understatement], but Bruce is so loose, so active, so exciting that you'll really enjoy watching this. He's wearing a hat and running all over the stage."

Also on this disc is the segment from June '84 where Bruce practices his Dancing in the Dark dance steps. It's "have to see it once in your life" good rather than "I'll watch this one all the time" good.

Capping it off is footage from the final show of the long BitUSA tour, in LA in 1985. Bruce gives a v.heartfelt speech about this being the "best year of my life." I doubt he'd still say that, of course.

homecoming ... how ironic

Today was an important day in my retirement, because today was the first day of classes at Berkeley, and thus, the first day where if I wasn't retired I'd be at work. It's been difficult extracting myself from the university ... there were those two days where I spoke to incoming students, then on Saturday, the first Cal football game of the new season was on in HD. And then today I get an email from the Special Events Coordinator for the 2003 Student Homecoming. They want me to take part in something they call "Battle of the Brains." The reason they asked me? "When asking students who their favorite teachers were you were named several times. Students told me how interesting your classes were and so I am contacting you to inquire for your availability as a featured faculty contestant in this event."

Of course, they don't really want me, because I'm not faculty any longer, but they don't know that yet. Not sure I blame them ... if you look at the Mass Comm at Cal site under "Faculty Office Hours," they still list me, along with my email address, which may help explain why today, in my fifth day of retirement, I got the above email, a couple of requests for grade information from ex-students, several emails asking about letters of recommendation ... yeah, I'm retired, all right.

The reality of my position with the university is best explained by describing the final day of my final class at Cal. First, I know it was my final day of teaching because the date of termination as listed on some paperwork they sent me was August 15. (This despite the fact I still had several days of work to complete after that date.) When I showed up for the Final Class, all the doors to the classroom were locked. I sat outside the building for two hours, at which time someone finally came and opened the doors so we could use the room for 30 minutes if we felt like it. Nothing like a locked door to make a guy feel wanted ...

But enough about me! I have to be at least a little cheerful, since my friend Joe Lockard linked to this blog as part of an online course he's teaching at Arizona State. I've already had to come to terms with students (sorry, EX-students) lurking around my blog ... now I've got students I've never met checking this site out to see how stuff is done in the blogosphere. Hi, ASUers!

sean's visit to the east coast

My nephew Sean came to visit us in Massachusetts for nine days. As luck would have it, two Bay Area sports teams were in town while he was here (the San Jose Earthquakes and the Oakland A's), so we got to go to Fenway and Gillette Stadium. The highlight of the trip, though (and I think Sean would agree), was the day and one-half we spent in New York City. It was Sean's first trip there. I've been there a handful of times, mostly for business, and there are many reasons why it's not my favorite place to be -- the air quality and massive amount of people are just a couple. But this trip was special because we got to see it through the eyes of a 15-year old who was experiencing it for the first time. Sean was Master of the Subway and figured out how to get to everything he wanted to see. Because he marveled in it, so did I.

ESPNZone was pretty amazing, and who'd have thought you'd get to see a Boston Red Sox baseball game on the biggest t.v. screen ever, right in the heart of New York City!

We're already looking forward to his trip out here next year; it was a very special time for us all.

(posted by Sue)