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sopranos f-word update

Steve Hammond strikes again:

Episode 73 - "Johnny Cakes"

Said the F-word 40 times
First utterance - Tony, speaking of Uncle Junior: 4:15

No celebrity f-words, but two by a little old lady!!

Total for the season 326
Average per episode 40.75

Total for all episodes - 3791
Average per episode - 51.93 (the first time below 52 since episode 18)

Most ever in a single episode - 105 - Episode #19 "The Happy Wanderer"
Least ever in a single episode - 13 - Episode #27 "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood"

Most in season 6 episode - 54 - Episode #68 "Mayham"
Least in season 6 episode - 17 - Episode #67 "Join the Club"

the giants in april

The Giants were lucky in April, finishing 13-11 despite allowing 12 more runs than they scored. If they don't improve that runs scored/allowed differential, they will be hard pressed to finish the season with more wins than losses.

I was lucky, too, since I saw five games and the Giants won four of them (today's being my first lost). I didn't see a lot of great games ... I saw Barry Bonds walk a lot and Moises Alou homer a lot, and that's about it.

The pitching has been crappy ... several of the team's pitchers have walked more than they have struck out, and the team as a whole has one of the worst ERAs in the league. The batting is about at the league average, but they accomplish this by getting good hitting from the guys at the top of the lineup ... once Moises bats in the #5 slot, there's nothing but junk until the top of the order comes around. Some seem to be surprised by this, but anyone who thought Feliz, Matheny and Niekro were any good were deluded from the start. It doesn't look to get any better, either ... "The Three Outs" (tm. Jonathan Bernstein) won't be quite as dismal the rest of the year, but Omar Vizquel ain't gonna hit .390 all season, so it evens out.

The bright side might turn out to be the pitching. Based on what we've seen so far, and indulging in a little dreaming, it's possible that Schmidt/Lowry/Cain will be a decent 3/5 of a rotation. The bullpen stinks, but Sabean has always been good at repairing this part of the roster, and it is the easiest part of the roster to repair in any event. The offense won't get fixed, though. Different people will get hot/cold over the course of the season, but 1) it's unlikely that Bonds and/or Alou will be healthy all year long, and 2) the holes at C/1B/3B are unlikely to be filled anytime soon. Unlikely, that's the word of the day ... this team is unlikely to be much good.

Anyone want to accompany me on Tuesday afternoon? I realize the above is a pretty poor job of advertising.

laughing with the boss

Some good commentary on Colbert's performance:

"It may be it's like one of those events where the boss is being ridiculed but everyone feels okay about laughing as soon as the boss starts laughing. Only in this case, the boss never started laughing."
-- Mark Evanier

"His speech was very funny. I would have laughed out loud more if I wasn't so busy cringing. No lie. The audience barely responded (unless you consider awkward silence a response) and I could feel Colbert fans everywhere twitching with anxiety. While other speakers made silly jokes about Bush's mispronunciations and the cramped workspaces of the press, Colbert took no prisoners and made jokes about everything from NSA wire-tapping to Bush's horrible approval rating to Valerie Plame. If he had done this material on The Colbert Report, everyone would have laughed like nothing was out of place... But at the dinner, Bush was right there. Right there. Just a few feet away from Colbert. This made me (and many fans) excruciatingly uncomfortable."
-- Annie Wu

some colbert quotes

Note that he did the entire speech as "Stephen Colbert" from The Colbert Report.

"I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

"And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be it Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior."

"Guys like us [he and Bush], we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in 'reality.' And reality has a well-known liberal bias."

"It's like the movie Rocky. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa, and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.... Every time he falls, everybody says 'Stay down, Rock, stay down!' But does he stay down? No! Like Rocky he gets back up, and in the end he -- actually loses in the first movie."

[Pointing at Bush] "I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world!"

"The greatest thing about this man is that he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday -- no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change. This man's beliefs never will."

"Fox News gives you both sides of every story. The president's side, and the vice president's side."

"Over the last five years, you people [the press] were so good, over tax cuts, WMD intelligence ... global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out."

"Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions, he's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions. And you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you've got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know, fiction!"

"The White House has personnel changes. And then you write, 'Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.' ... That is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring! If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!"

[About interviewing Jesse Jackson] "It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is."

"Senator McCain, so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I've actually got a summer house in South Carolina. Look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University."

"Joe Wilson, right down here in front. The most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course, he brought along his lovely wife, Valerie Plame. Oh my god! Oh, what have I said? I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife, Joe Wilson's wife."

stephen colbert

That was pretty amazing. There should be a transcript eventually, and I'll steal some of the best lines and post them, but I wanted to get this out, since CSPAN will be re-running it (ASAP, and then some time tomorrow). It's the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, and Stephen Colbert was invited to give the "let's rip the Prez and laugh about it good-naturedly like we're at a celebrity roast" speech.

Well, Colbert wasn't exactly funny ... his delivery was a bit off, it's hard to know if CSPAN was playing with the audience sound, but it seemed like Colbert was bombing, you could barely hear any laughter. Bush certainly didn't seem to find any of it funny. But Colbert was on fire ... one after another, he hit at the sacred cows of the Bushies and of the mainstream press. He was brutal towards both groups ... no wonder they weren't laughing. You should watch it if you get a chance, and like I say, I'll post some of his zingers when I get them.

nothing like a satisfied teen

The title of the article is "Self Expression Satisfying to Teens: Teens Do Their Thing At Antioch Rap Center."

I can't recall how the place got started, and the article doesn't do a good job of explaining it, either, since it's filled with bogus information we fed to the reporter, who to be fair seemed to know we were lying. For an example, the article states that "The Rap Center, which the youth claim was started by Chuckie Basha, a somewhat unknown teenager who has started to rise in the ranks of the teen world, is completely unstructured." Basha was indeed an icon to us, although I'm not sure if he was even a real person. My brother Geoff would tell us stories about Chuckie from Geoff's days in the Army, and we loved the name so much we co-opted it for our band, the aforementioned Basha Band.

Some insights from the article:

Teenagers most frequently there are a cross-section of the entire teenage population in Antioch. Some are student leaders, some are not. Some are border-line cases, verging on delinquency, others are straight-laced. Many are of the "silent middle" group which neither gets into trouble nor are considered "goody-goodies." All are decent teenagers ... they choose their own activities. If they decide to dance, they do. If they want to sing, they do. If they want to be loud and obnoxious, they are. If they want to be quiet and reserved, they are. But before they are classified as the "do-nothings," or the "unconcerned, uninvolved, uncaring" section of the teenage population, think again. They know where it's at.

Here's a photo from the article. It's me, Ralph Garrow, and Michael:


The caption reads "WHEN GIRLS WON'T DANCE -- Guys will. Three teenage boys, apparently unable to find girls who like to dance the way they do, find dancing around the floor by themselves a means of expressing themselves."

There's also a sidebar story about an adult (27 years old!) who comes to the Rap Center disguised as a teenager and "emerged with a better understanding of the teenage world." Funny part was, the adult was Michael's older sister.

sometimes history writes itself

In the latest batch of scans Tina sent me was an article in the Antioch Ledger from Nov. 13, 1969. I'll try to post the pictures that appeared in the article, and then quote some of the text, since it's hard to read if I make the files small. It's an article about a place called the Rap Center, which I'll explain in another message. Here's a taste. First, a photo, then the caption:


The caption reads "FLYING, BUT NOT HIGH -- Teenagers appear to be 'freaking out' but are actually dancing during a Saturday night session at the Rap Center on Sixth St." This is pretty hilarious, since, while I can't speak for any of us at this particular "session," the Rap Center was well-known as a place for folks to get blasted out of their minds ... the single largest dose of LSD I ever took in my life was consumed at this place. The dancers (not freaked-out teens!) are me, Ann, and Michael.

the part of the bible where x begat y

OK, here's one version of "Who Are All of Those People in Those Old Photos?" This version will be the "Relationship" version ... I'll try to connect everyone as best I can (hey, I'm working from memory, and it was the 60s). I'll just include people in photos since Tina started sending them.

OK, obviously there's Robin and I. We ... I don't know what to call any of this, not really "dating," and in many cases a couple wasn't really a couple, if you know what I mean. Plus I'm not going to distinguish between "were a couple" and "were a couple who had sex" and "weren't a couple but had sex" ... like I say, most of us are still alive. Anyway, Robin and I were a couple from September of '68 to the summer of '69.

The next picture adds Jim O'Donnell, Michael Sullivan, and Dale Watson. Jim wasn't paired up with anyone in those days. Michael went on to become Dub Debrie ... he and Robin were kind of a couple for awhile there. Dale became a psychologist ... he and Robin also had something resembling a relationship. I could also mention our friend Danna, who isn't in any of these pictures but who I wrote about when she passed away (see "oldies but goodies" to your left) ... she and I were boyfriend and girlfriend in the summer of '67, then later she and Dale were a couple for a few years.

Next is a poster from a benefit show from 1970. One of the musical acts was the Basha Band, which at that point consisted of Michael, me, Tom Rose, and Matt Littlemoon. I was a latecomer to that band, since I played bass and they already had a bass player in Michael, who was also a guitarist at that point. Tom was the drummer; he and Robin spent some time together, although I don't suppose you'd call them a couple. Matthew played guitar and was the one with stage presence, coming from San Francisco and all ... he's in a lot of the photos because he and Tina were a couple. Also mentioned on the poster is Judy Wilcox, who occasionally sang with the Basha Band and also sang folkie-style music on her own ... she and I spent a night or two together but weren't a couple.

Then there's the Taco Bell pictures. John Bassett was just a fine guy, everyone's friend, and while I can't list any of his partners, short or long term, I suspect some of them are in these pictures. John and Matthew were also the ones who accompanied me on my first acid trip. Ann Radwell and I weren't exactly a couple, either, but we sometimes acted like one ... Robin, help me out here, how do I describe that one? Ann and Tina were best friends, and it was Ann's mom who first got me my job in the factory.

Moving on, there's Paula Thompson, the Marianne Faithfull of the group. She and Tom were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite awhile, while I suspect most of the rest of us boys wished we could say the same. Later she married Dan Walden, who isn't in these pictures but who was a longtime friend ... his mother was my kindergarten teacher, and he went on to be a lawyer on Manhattan and then, I believe, something else. That was after he and Paula had broken up. One of his best friends was Ralph Garrow, who is not in these pictures but who was at the memorial service when we caught up with Tina. Ralph's wife worked with Robin's dad for several years, while Ralph's father was the main realtor in Antioch back when my father was the contender for the real estate throne.

Then there's Robin's dad, Bob, who just married Carol. Carol's sister is married to the man who was Bob's longtime best friend. Bob used to be married to Mary, who used to be married to Skip, who was a P.E. teacher who at various times taught both me and my brother Geoff (and my brother David, for all I know). One year when Mary and Skip were married and I was a kid, they lived across the street from us. Mary was a substitute teacher in those days, and she also had me as a student. Actually, they weren't the only neighbors in this story ... the Rose family lived across a large field, you could see their house from our backyard. I didn't know Tom then, but I knew his sister Theresa, who later was Robin's maid of honor (while Tom and Theresa's dad, Judge Rose, presided at our wedding). Before they moved into our backyard, the Roses lived on the same street as my cousins ... in particular, my cousin Jon has memories of little Tommy Rose running around the block ... Jon is the one who later worked behind the scenes on such classic movies as Leonard, Part 6 and Howard the Duck.

Finally, there's that housewarming picture. Ron Fulks was our friend from way back, but the people he was "involved" with aren't in any of these pictures. As I mentioned, Dave Shively was married at one point to Judy Wilcox, also mentioned above. Judy taught Michael a technique for playing the guitar (separate your right pinky from the rest of your hand and rest it on the guitar), and Michael later taught the same thing to my sisters, Sue and Chris. Oh, and Tina, whose house was being warmed, also used to go out with Robin's brother.

I think that's everybody. I imagine anyone from a small town could tell a similar story, if indeed this is a story and not just a bunch of random memories.

[Edited to add links to the various pix]

friday random ten, sleater-kinney edition

Since we're going to see them next Wednesday, I'll give the Random Ten over to them today:

1. "Tapping." "You live your life like it's a metaphor."

2. "White Rabbit." "One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small."

3. "The Size of Our Love." "Our love is the size of these tumors inside us."

4. "Hollywood Endings." "Can’t get that monster out of my mind."

5. "Far Away." "Why can't I get along with you?"

6. "Memorize Your Lines." "I won't calm down 'till I get to you."

7. "Hot Rock." "I'm not the one you wanted."

8. "Anonymous." "She swallowed the spider to catch, to catch that fly, but I don't know why, why she swallowed that lie."

9. "You're No Rock 'n' Roll Fun." "You wanna party with the lights on, come on I like it dark!"

10. "The Day I Went Away." "Do I always have to leave for you to want me here to stay?"

no facebook for you

OK, this is depressing. I just read something about a web service called "Facebook" that made it easy to network with people from the past, and since I've been grading papers this afternoon, I needed a break. So I found the website and tried to register. First it asked me my name ... then it asked me my birthdate ... then it asked what kind of network I wanted to join .. the choices were high school, college, or work. I chose high school, and this message appeared:

You are too old to register for a High School on Facebook.