Friday, August 29, 2008

Get Off Hot Number Foxy Friday

In the most surreal composition of the disco era, Foxy urged American citizens of 1978 to Get Off. You don't believe me? Check out the chorus:

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Get off

So get off to get off, to get off, to get, get off
Get off to get off, to get off, get off
So get off, get off, to get off, to get, get off
Get off to get off, get off, get off

To get off, to get off, to get off, to get, get off
Get off, get off, get off, to get off
Get off to get off, get off, get, get off
Get off, get off, so get off, just get off
Get off, get off, get off

Get Off was featured prominently in "Roll Bounce." You haven't seen "Roll Bounce"? What?! The best teen movie ever! Set in Chicago in the 70s. Great soundtrack. Charismatic Bow Wow and his scrappy pals must prove their self-worth in an epic skate-off! The most homoerotic finale in teen-movie history features Wesley Jonathan as "Sweetness," challenging/coming on to Bow Wow in a jumpsuit cut to THERE.

Bonus link: Foxy's Ish Ledesma explains the song's origin in the Get Off story. Contains swear words and irreverent attitudes.

Foxy's next hit, Hot Number, didn't get to number one but it does encourage girls not to worry about being ladies, so that's something.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Landscaping Do's and Don't's

My parents' housing tract was built in '69, back when there was a lot of land and very few conservationists. Hence, very large front and back yards in a geographical area with clay soil and ten months of sunshine--difficult to landscape! While people have recently gotten away from the decorative stone garden and fake-desert tableaus featuring wooden wagon wheels, cactus, and cow skulls, I still notice a lot of landscaping don't's on my daily strolls in the 90-degree heat.

Most of these houses employ gardeners so there's hope for these landscaping misdemeanors. But only if the home-owners are ready to admit they have serious landscaping issues. Let's cut through the denial and get out the pick-axes. It's time for do's and don't's.

DON'T mix your hardscapes. A river-rock facade with a brick retaining wall and a paved driveway only confuses the eye and makes me slightly nauseated.Note the added element of a faux stone fountain on the porch. Natural, or super-natural?DON'T over-shape your shrubs. This isn't the croquet game in Alice in Wonderland. Unless you're growing a live security hedge, let bushes grow up to be bushes. This greenery is smoooooth.DO make sure your "welcome" stepping stones and mats are facing the right way. Otherwise you're welcoming yourself out to the sidewalk and "emoclewing" your guests as they walk toward your door. Ottomans are hot, but DON'T try to make your plants into one. They'll only resent you by growing in different directions on a constant basis.DON'T form your juniper bushes into drywall.By all that is unnatural--why? Why? Why?DON'T let your bird bath be larger in scale than your step bridge. Unless you're expecting some California Condors to show up.DO pose your resin statuary in a demure fashion. Charming!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

California is for Duck Lovers

For some reason I kept discovering strange ducks on this trip to California. Who can explain the profusion of odd waterfowl everywhere I turned? I was able to capture the phenomena with today's digital technology. Otherwise I'd have to sketch these things like John James Audubon and that's too much of a commitment for me. Here's some instant odd duck gratification.

At Pixieland Amusement Park in Concord I found this duck with a mohawk, waddling around, trying to avoid some Canadian Geese bullies. With Canadian Geese, you can see where the term "pecking order" comes from. I don't know if this duck is considered cool or weird by the rest of his duck brethren. He did have a slight air of insecurity about him.

Today at Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, we found this duck lurking about, waiting for us to throw some popcorn his way. He wasn't actually lurking. He was just hanging out in the shade, being chill. But what a strange-looking fellow! I was describing his looks to our five-year-old friend Alex. "Alex," I said. "This duck is like a mixture of a turkey, a vulture and a duck." Alex took a look and said, "And a COW."
So true! Here's a close-up of his bovine-like markings:
As we walked around the lake, we spotted this lovely specimen, who kind of looks like the spawn of a duck and a seagull. Could she be posing with her parents in this photo? Here's a nice comparison between a regular-looking brown duck and this graceful little creature.
Paddle-boats make you think duck-like thoughts as you slowly make your way across the water.
We're heading back home now. I'm very sorry not to have seen some of my California friends. It's difficult to drive around and plan something for each day. Too much distance between people, and we needed some down time and time with the family. We'll be back...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zai Jian, Beijing Olympics

My mom and dad get Olympic fever every four years, so I got to see the opening ceremony (on tape) and the closing one live. Let's give the thousands of volunteers a hand: that could not have been easy. My mom read today that they had to wear diapers so as not to get a bathroom break during the ceremony. $40 billion was spent by the Chinese government on the games and I think every billion was up there on the screen.

The London segment with Jimi Page, Becks and Leona Lewis on what looked like a transformer double-decker bus and life-sized wedding-cake topper, was super cheese-whiz compared to the awe-inspiring, frightening, regimented and artful Busy Berkeley-like Chinese extravaganza. It was like the Cher Variety Hour crashed the party suddenly. Of course, I'm all into that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Customized Tourist Hoodies - Clearance Sale

I saw a lot of tourist shops on our road trip. I almost bought a Trees of Mystery View Master reel but I thought, for six dollars, I can just look out at the trees of mystery while I'm there. Even in 3-D, a View Master might not cut it. Although I do have reels for San Francisco, Disneyland and dinosaur battles, so I think I was just being really frugal.

My favorite souvenir was a pink T-shirt with a terrible illustration of Big Foot, standing by a grove a trees, a confused expression on its ape-like face. The shirt stated in bold red lettering: Sasquatch Stepped on Me. I like an action verb on my street wear, but I already have two pink shirts. And then I started thinking about creating my own tourist-wear that no one would want to buy. Here's my selection of customized hoodie-styles to let people know where you've been, where you might have been, and where you're going to be. You've been to Vallejo? How cool are you? No really, I want to know.

Please indicate style, size, color and whether or not Sasquatch has stepped on you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Northwest Road Tripping

Greetings from The Road. We headed over to Crater Lake National Park this week and through my camera-phone it looks like this:
That's Wizard Island sticking out of the extra-blue water. Isn't Wizard Island a cool name for a body of land? Crater Lake was formed over 7,000 years ago when super-active volcano, Mount Mazama (another cool name) blew up extensively. In fact, it blew so much that it imploded, creating a nearly 2,000-foot deep hole, sealed by lava and much devastation for hundreds of miles around.

Wizard Island was a lava dome that desperately tried to recreate the mighty mountain that once stood there, but ran out of magma before that could happen. A squirrel visits on occasion, stowed away in a backpack full of trail mix.
After the hole filled with water, we have a lake to marvel at. No fish ever lived here, so a hundred years ago, some frustrated fishermen smuggled some into the water from their backpacks(?). The only survivors of five species are some salmon and steelhead trout. The salmon try to swim upstream to spawn, but there is no upstream, so they swim around the lake in circles, probably the most sexually frustrated fish on the planet. Then they get eaten by the trout. The rangers would love it if you came to Crater Lake with your fishing gear and put the fish out of their misery.
We also visited Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA, but the rain, fog, and mist were so heavy, we only went to the Native American museum (indoors and quite extensive) before moving on. This giant statue of Paul Bunyon (with his ox, Babe) actually speaks and waves to you as you enter. That's some rustic customer service.

Here's an old hand-painted map that shows our progress as we headed south. Starting from Portland:
And heading toward Crescent City, CA, where our Motel 8 supplied us with the ambient sounds of a foghorn, 60-year-old yuppie bikers bragging about their rides, and sea lions going: ORK! ORK! ORK! throughout the night. I'll take foghorns and sea lions over loud and narcissistic baby-boomers on motorcycles ANY time.
The Avenue of the Giants--home to many a bear carved from a tree trunk. Before conservationists, there were loggers. The loggers, who were macho and very skilled with an axe, loved to cut up the big trees and make them into houses, tunnels, driveways, animals, and gift shops. They did leave some behind to grow, so you get some impressive forms of nature to drive through.
This hollowed out tree-house is probably worth half a million in the California market. If it were located in Oregon, it would be a fine starter home at 300K.
Arcata inspires a little crazy dancing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Woodsman Country Lodge - Now With New Log Decor

If you're traveling to Crater Lake, OR, your overnight accommodations are limited. Luckily Keith found The Woodsman Country Lodge in Crescent. I think you'll detect a bit of a theme developing here, but the room was large and clean and unlike so many roadside motels--had lots of character(s). Photo essay as follows.

I wish I had a close-up of this woodsman guy. He's like an ancient idol, overlooking the truck-route below. The sign promises free wireless/new log decor. What a perfect melding of new and old.
This guy guarded our room--my favorite forest creature!
You totally want some cocktails now, don't you?
Still-life with mug.
Where's the bathroom? Let the moose-light show you the way.
Our shower curtain was like the call of the wild but we forgot to pack our shotguns. Nothing says "fishing" like lucite-encased lures in your toilet seat.
Moose towel? Moose dryer? Moose lotion dispenser? The bathroom decor must have all came from the same catalog.
Jackson said, "This must be the hotel room with the most deer in it." And outside of it too. Our blanket was covered with bears, as was the wall clock.
Lee Friedlander inspired shot. Self-portrait with otter holding a fish.
Next stop: Crater Lake.

Had A Heat Wave

It's been hotter than a firecracker shot from a two-dollar pistol into the ass of a fox in a forest fire this week. Muggy, hazy, blast-furnace breezes, making our bedrooms bakery ovens for the past few nights. Luckilly, Keith found his vintage "Hope is on the way" Kerry/Edwards fan from our last fun-filled presidential election. We've been taking turns fanning ourselves with it, inwardly thanking the People of Faith for their practical political signage.

Kerry/Edwards Hope is on the way fanThe reverse side claims that "Help is on the way." I hate when organizations can't streamline their branding messages.

Now if only I could figure out where I last packed my useless political button collection, featuring Jesse Jackson for President, Mondale/Ferraro in '84, and McGovern/Shriver in '72. I wonder what would happen if I wore them all at once and walked out in public. It's something to ponder.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jerry Wexler Had Soul

Who made up the term, "Rhythm & Blues"? One-time journalist turned genius record producer, Jerry Wexler. I never knew what a hand this guy had in our pop-culture history. Producing multiple hits on the Atlantic label for Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan and don't forget Led Zeppelin, Wexler turned his love of R&B into a legacy of amazing songs to move you. Just try to sit still--I dare ya. Wexler died on Friday, August 15th at 91. Thanks for lending us your ears.

Wilson Pickett - The Midnight Hour, live in Africa

Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools

Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man

Jerry Wexler, the Jewish atheist from the Bronx, talks about producing Bob Dylan's Christian album, "Slow Train Coming" (part 1 of 3).

How can I see the documentary "Immaculate Funk", starring Jerry Wexler and some of our best musicians/singers/songwriters of the past 30 years? Somebody school me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

March Violets Madness

The March Violets had their Goth/dance heyday in the 80s before calling it quits. They reformed for one show in 2007 in their home town of Leeds to regale us with their electronic drumbeat snake-rock one more time. They are so lacking in Internet presence that the current March Violets site begs the public for information on the band's former members. If you can, help them out. Unfortunately, very few videos of them are available anywhere; so why feature The March Violets? Because they rawk.

Walk Into The Sun - Swing your arms about and dance dance!

Snake Dance. This song totally rules--no video though--sorry--make up your own choreography (it will require much arm movement, I predict).

Performing their would-be U.S. hit, Turn To The Sky, in John Hughes teen-movie swan song, "Some Kind of Wonderful." I'm getting sick of this term, but Eric Stoltz played a real douche in this. But to be fair, he and Mary Stuart Masterson had zero sexual chemistry—zip, zilch, nada, that's all she wrote. Dialogue in Spanish--I'm really reaching to get this post up. Just watch the first minute to see lovely singer Cleo Murray perform--what a babe. Full video featuring Murray's fine eyebrows is now here.

A seriously Goth video of Radiant Boys from 1983 featuring original singer Rosie Garland on vocals. Back when I was getting my B.A. in Cinema there was this guy who made these kinds of films. He'd take black & white super-8 film and shoot all these moody, foggy exteriors with dark, gnarled tree limbs, gravestones and cathedral spires, then he would run down the sidewalk with the processed film, scraping it all to shit for that "aged" look, and edit it to Sisters of Mercy. What a douche. Kidding! It's a viable aesthetic.

Rosie Garland now goes by the name of Rosie Lugosi, Manchester's Vampire Queen. That is a gutsy career move. Unlike her former band, you can see quite a lot of Rosie on YouTube.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beverly Hills Chihuahua - Ai!

Is this cute or offensive? I can't tell any more. From Disney Studios it comes.

Apparently Chihuahuas can really dance.

And sing.

And can be quite the badass on occasion.

That is all. Carry on.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

She's Got Mary-Kate Olsen Eyes

MaryKateandAshley Year of Celebrations doll--college styleLet's take a pause from real life and focus on Mary-Kate Olsen for a moment, shall we? In the "what the hell is wrong with me" department lies several concepts, one of which is my ongoing disturbance whenever confronted by either Olsen twin, but especially Mary-Kate. Why? Well with all her well-publicized problems (anorexia, rehab, her thing with Heath Ledger; Heath--what the hell?), the media has branded her "the evil twin."

Whether or not that's true, you must admit: making a billion dollars by age 14 is creepy, twins in general are creepy, boho fashion scenes are creepy, "Full House" was really creepy. It all adds up to one petite little package of creepy. I think the secret lies within her eyes. Look at them. Lovely liquid circles of blue one minute; demonic, blank depths from hell the next. What is she on anyway to make her eyes do that? She and Ashley (the "demure" one) are 22, yet they often seem ancient, ancient, ancient.

The doll is my $3 Ross special from the era of "The Olsen Twins Go To College!" Obviously their choice of NYU made these dolls obsolete before they even hit the shelves, with their "GO TEAM" bullhorn accessories and "I can't wait to go to my first college football game!" quote on the box. Especially poignant since Mary-Kate was always sold as "the sporty one" before she went off the rails into tabloid land. It can't be a good thing to be for sale at such a young age. Let's peek into the windows of the soul and see what we can decipher.


It's always a peculiar thing, watching someone grow up on screen. Here, Mary-Kate shows off her sophisticated eye-style.
Dilated but sweet. Those camera flashes are brutal.
This is not her best look and leads me to suspect that there are mind-altering substances out there that I can't begin to fathom. I'm a little lost girl! With property in Manhattan!
Nobody hides behind the big shades like Mary-Kate. They're practically as big as her head. Maybe someone can manufacture glasses that actually wrap around the entire top of the head, like a helmet with eye-slits to peek out of. I think that would be quite chic!
Whoa--when did she turn 45? This is what I look like on a good day. And I'm 44.
Wholesome Olsen. Swiss Miss instant cocoa will warm you up inside.
Photoshop sure is swell.
Oh! Sorry to intrude.
Well, there you have it. A little tour of Mary-Kate Olsen's eyes. I hope you found the journey as fascinating as anything out there in celebrity blog-land. No?

How rude!