Friday, October 29, 2010

Can I say I am a huge adopted, temporary bandwagon Giants fan? Great fans, great park.

We seen the scene in between, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

I’ve been reading Rolling Stone’s Keith Richard’s memoir “Life” and it is fascinating: rampant drug use, knife fights, drunken orgies, hotel room fires, car crashes. And that’s just his sixteenth birthday party.

Did you know that Keith was once arrested for driving with too much blood in his alcohol system?

A drunk and cocaine-fueled Charlie Sheen trashed his New York hotel suite with a naked hooker locked in the closet; Sheen was then admitted to a hospital. Or as Charlie calls that: Tuesday night.

A drunk and cocaine-fueled Charlie Sheen trashed his New York hotel suite with a naked hooker locked in the closet; Sheen was then admitted to a hospital. Sheen’s publicist first said it was an allergic reaction to medication. Sheen’s publicist was then admitted to a hospital for an allergic reaction to her own crap statement.

A drunk and cocaine-crazy Charlie Sheen trashed his New York hotel suite with a naked hooker locked in the closet; Sheen was then admitted to a hospital. The occasion? Charlie was on vacation with his ex-wife, Denise Richards, and their two young kids. Imagine how Charlie acts when he is out partying with the boys?

A judge sentenced Lindsay Lohan back to rehab, but sources say Lindsay can’t afford the $50,000 Betty Ford Clinic bill. That Betty Ford Clinic is amazing, they know what the fastest cure for cocaine addiction is: poverty.

Are you excited about the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants? This is the single most anticipated event for San Franciscans besides the Tony Awards.

I’ve been reading Keith Richard’s memoir “Life” and it is fascinating. For example, did you know Keith Richards has not done drugs in over twenty years? Not that Keith doesn’t want to do drugs, it’s just that Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton have hogged them all.

Since you asked:

Blogged on blogger, tweeted on Twitter, posted on Facebook, bought a Blu-ray DVD on Amazon, checked and replied to my e-mails and my g-mails, Googled iPhone apps and downloaded Mapquest directions, made a playlist for my iPod and texted a picture of a stand up paddle board core workout. Viewed clips on YouTube and "Funny or Die." Updated my fantasy football lineup and paid my bills online.

Ten years ago how much of this would have made any damn sense?

You know who I like? The San Francisco Giants. Great personalities, hilarious fans, beautiful ball park. Amazing city. Also a big Bruce Bochy fan from his Padres days, especially his press conferences in that awesome vague not-quite- Southern, Arizona/Oklahoma accent so many baseball players and managers magically adopt;


"Well, he's a heck of ballplayer. He's a player who comes to the park to play ball, a ballplayer's ballplayer. We have a good ball club, thanks to all the ballplayers on the ball club who are players who can play ball."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Laird with his Stinker

That right thar is slicker than quail poop on a river rock, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Keith Richards has published his memoirs titled “Life.” It’s short for “For the life of me I can’t remember a damn thing.”

A woman in Costa Mesa drove with a corpse in her car for ten months; it just shows what lengths we southern Californians will go to drive in the car pool lane.

We have had a lot of rain in southern California. In Westwood it rained so much, in a movie showing “Secretariat” Secretariat had to swim the last 31 lengths to win the Belmont.

The team with the highest payroll, the New York Yankees, was eliminated from going to the World Series by one of the lowest paid teams, the Texas Rangers. Right now George Steinbrenner is paying someone $10 mil to roll him over in his grave.

A woman in England made a portrait of her mother-in-law out of 10,000 pieces of toast. That’s not all, on one of the pieces of toast there is an image of Jesus.

In Miami, a 45-year-old Kayaker had to be taken by helicopter to a hospital after a fish jumped and stabbed her in the chest. Folks, for the last time, fish don’t like it when you pee in their ocean.

Justin Bieber was involved in an altercation during a game of laser tag. Well, altercation might be too strong, when Bieber was tagged out, he threatened to hold his breath until he turned blue.

Mel Gibson is going to film a cameo for “The Hangover 2.” However, in Mel’s case it is “The Hangover 32,465.”

A Connecticut man was arrested for sexually assaulting a horse. I thought it was mean when the judge said he could face five years in prison and then stomped out the number five with his foot.

Now there is an endorsement for Viagra for you.

“Secretariat” is a great sports movie. Now there is an athlete who would have impressed a hot female reporter by sext-messaging a picture of his junk.

The San Diego Chargers lost to the New England Patriots, 23-20 through a series of stupid mistakes including one receiver leaving a live ball on the field. In fact the only way the Chargers could have played stupider is if, during halftime, they sext messaged pictures to a hot reporter.

The World Series has the San Francisco Giants versus the Texas Rangers. The two teams are different. The Texas fans have hand symbols with antlers for speed and a claw for power. Whereas the San Francisco fans make jazz hands for absolute fabulousness.

Since you asked:
Now that I have read autobiographies on the Eagles, specifically Don Felder’s “Heaven and Hell” and all of Eric Clapton’s memoirs and a lot of Keith Richards, I have learned some interesting things. Yes, there is a lot of money, yes a lot of women, yes a lot of drugs. More drugs than I thought, less women. Whatever amount of cocaine you thought these guys did? Go ahead and multiply that by ten. Which would also explain the less-sex than one would think part.

It seems the pressure to make albums, write good songs, perform good songs, year after year is what causes the need to medicate so intensely. If the Stones were free to make tea, read and putter in their vast English gardens, the drug use would largely disappear.

It is a fascinating cultural phenomenon how much we want to believe our rock gods are like the coolest stud/jock in high school When in reality they are way closer to the dorks in the marching band. (Sorry dorks in the marching band, but it’s true) Even the Eagles who wore football jerseys on stage. According to countless accounts, Don Henley, all “GQ” cover shots aside, is a lot like that cranky old crazy Aunt you dread talking to at Christmas.

But a rock star life isn’t a life anyone in their right mind would probably want. There is no privacy once a rock star is famous. The pressure is intense because the money is so high. The Stones have to literally be told what city they’re playing when they walk on the stage. It is private limo to security guarded hotel floor to room, room service food, maybe a party, then a limo to the private jet, limo from the jet to the hotel, limo to the concert hall. Over and over and over again. Throw in some limo rides to TV and radio stations for interviews.

When you read these books you are struck by how little of the rock star’s life is spent in the glory of the stage lights. It is all studios and mixing boards, buses and planes and hotels – and surprisingly not really good hotels, they won’t book most rock tours - and wherever they write the best. To a person, the Eagles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, they all pine longingly for the days when they were just struggling to make it big. Their happiest day was when they were able to procure a shoddy tour bus or van, pile in with their gear and drive and play small, dingy clubs. Those days were all about the music. Once the record company executives step in, it is hard, cut-throat work and everyone wants their job.

To pass time on the road, Ron Wood washes his clothes in the hotel bathroom sink and drinks beer and smokes cigarettes and watches TV. Wow, great, huh?

One journalist who toured with the Stones and became part of their inner crowd made a comment to the effect most of us have had good sex and we’ve copped a nice buzz and or both. Simply increasing the numbers and combinations doesn’t really enhance either one.

Keith said Mick and Bill Wyman were addicted to tabulating how many women they were with, he and Charlie were not. Keith said he would rather skip sex or please himself than go to all that trouble.

From the groupies side, most rock stars are skinny, ugly pasty guys who aren’t all that entertaining off the stage. It’s like sleeping with a movie star because you expect them to be the way they are in a certain role. If you’ve ever heard him interviewed, Harrison Ford is about as far away from “Indiana Jones” as a human can get. Swimming to a submarine? You feel like checking his pulse when he is talking.

When a band as huge as the Rolling Stones makes it big, image becomes a monster all by itself. Nobody fretted, whined, worried or studied their image more than Mick Jagger. Nobody did it less than Keith Richards. Richards’s philosophy on life, in my opinion is; “If it isn’t about creating a tasty lick on the guitar, I don’t give a flying eff about it.” Jagger is the exact opposite.

Some bands worry about their image some don’t. The Eagles wanted to be the stud jock QB who got all the hot cheerleaders. ZZ Top? Steely Dan? They didn’t care and they don’t have an image.

Jamaica had a huge impact on Keith Richards, musically and socially. It fit his personality which is essentially a philosophical pirate who fell in love with a guitar instead of a sailboat.

Two factors were huge in creating the myth machine that is the Stones. First, they loved Chuck Berry. But Chuck Berry could write, perform and play guitar. Those tasks, Mick and Keith figured out, had to be divided between them. Keith essentially said, fine, I’ll come up with and write down the signature song licks, play them, you do the rest. The Stones are a very guitar-lick- hook driven band.

The other factor was the Beatles. If the Beatles had decided to be bad boy rebels, the Stones would have had to go another route. Luckily being the naughty boys fit the Stones personalities. But make no mistake, the Beatles did all the same thing drug and women-wise as the Rolling Stones. Basically all the Beatles wanted to be Elvis, the Stones wanted to be Chuck Berry.

Richards said when he first tried writing songs he was embarrassed to present them to the boys because they were pretty songs like “Angie” and “As Time Go By.” Keith felt the direction the band needed to go was “Satisfaction” and “Start Me Up.” He pointed out the Beatles were really a singer-based band. They all sang, even Ringo. Kinda. The Stones had a front man and guitars, like Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters.

For every song that makes an album there are probably twenty that don’t. And writing a song is no day at the beach. You try it. Hell, writing a damn joke isn’t easy. (For proof, see above) Plus there is all the arrangements and drums, and bass and guitars not to mention the studio gear and amps. And each one of those has to be mixed together to make a song. And then there is a nine in ten chance the song will get tossed off the album anyway. More if you’re Bruce Springsteen. And the percentage of time on stage versus in studio, travelling and waiting to go on stage is absolutely minuscule in their perspective. Blink of an eye.

One interesting band/technical breakthrough Keefers Richards mentioned was learning how to play five string with open tuning. Playing in a band I barely know that means a guitar that is tuned so you get chords using a slide, usually in G. That is how Keefers got those awesome openings to “Start Me Up” “Honky Tonk Woman” “Brown Sugar” "Tumbling Dice" Open tuning, capo on the fifth fret.

Open versus classic tuning is why even fledgling guitarists in dive bars have two electric guitars ready. One is tuned regular, where you put this finger here, the second finger there, etc, to form a chord in key. Open tuning you get a chord sticking your index finger across the neck and strumming. With a sawed-off beer neck on it for the slide.

It would be like moving the keys around on a piano to make a song easier to play.

You read about what a pain-in-the ass rock stars are with the riders in their road contracts. The most famous being Van Halen’s demand of brown M&Ms only. The Eagles Browns fried chicken thighs only served on a red and white checkered table cloth with tall neck Buds in an ice bucket. (That one sounds pretty good, though)

The truth is if the concert manager fulfills these picky demands that meant he read the stuff that was important about setting up their sound system. That and most rock stars are spoiled brats who never had to grow up.

Having played in bad to really good bar bands, I know the better the band, the more technically and electronically complicated things get. On the gigs where we have had a sound guy in the audience mixing and adjusting our volumes, we have gone from sounding like a crappy band at a company picnic to a band that could play at a 10,000 seat venue. OK, maybe 2,000.

Keith Richards mentions an interesting story where keyboard great Billy Preston turned his volume up so much Keith threatened him with hitting him with his guitar on stage. One thing I have learned about musicians, whether they are great or awful, they will always turn themselves up too high during a gig, including yours truly. If you are at a bar or party and you think the band is getting louder? Its because they are. Except the drummer.

Richards had an interesting perspective to the groupie scene. He avoids it. It’s like when you discover there is a craft service table backstage. Wow, free food. After a while you get sick of it because it is not that great. How many M&M’s can you get excited about?

Keefers said the women around the tours were mostly there to provide other services besides or including sex in exchange for hanging out with the band. They got cigarettes, drugs, booze, clothes, sandwiches whatever the boys needed. And they weren’t very attractive. Sad really. They want the life of a rock star because they don’t have a life. And the life of a rock star isn’t great. (They don’t look like Kate Hudson in “Almost Famous”)

Don't get me wrong, its not like being in the Stones circle doesn't have its allures. Take, for example, when the Stones were recording "Exile on Main Street" in the South of France. Besides the wild circus at the mansion and eating fresh halibut, caviar, lobster and drinking the finest French wines and dining in gorgeous bistros amid real life pirates and smugglers, one of the key members of this scene was sax-great Bobby Keys.

Bobby Keys's sax solo made "Brown Sugar" a classic for all time. Bobby is a great musician, a funny, funny guy, a personable guy - he won over the hard-to-get-him-to-like-anybody-but-himself Mick Jagger. But Keys is not a good looking guy. He is a chubby freckled good ol' boy from Texas with - if Keefers teasing is true - not a lot going on downstairs. And this guy was righteously getting himself some with the hottest women in France, including a gorgeous movie star, Nathalie Delon. (Again picture Kate Hudson with bigger breasts and a French accent)

Like I have written here before, picture a happy, affectionate, well-adjusted, healthy, athletic, fun-loving good neighbor California surfing family or a Colorado skiing family or a Chicago Bears-loving hockey-playing family, or a New Jersey or Connecticut running/biking/soccer playing family. You know who I am talking about. We all get their obnoxious Christmas cards each year.

Everything I’ve read concludes a rock star’s life is the exact opposite.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bite me, Frank Gifford

We got the coffaaay here todaaaaay, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Two attractive women were kicked out of the Baltimore Ravens game for making out in the concession line. The good news? Brett Favre wants their cell phone numbers.

Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell TV claims “I am you.” So I guess that means I am a crazy masturbating-hating media whore who lies about where I went to college. Who knew?

A 23-year-old man without arms won “China’s Got Talent” by playing the piano with his toes. I’m not sure which song he played, but I don’t think it was Willy Dixon’s “Hand Jive.”

Now they are working on making a movie about the Chilean minors. If they do they’ll have to cast Charlie Sheen. Nobody else is better at digging himself out of a hole.

It will be a tough transition for the Chilean miners. They’ll have to deal with post traumatic stress syndrome, adjusting back to normal life and, later, whether to go with “People” magazine’s “Where are they now?” issue or “US Weekly’s” “Remember them?” edition.

Google is working on developing driverless cars. They’re still working the bugs out. For example when you type in the Grand Canyon for your destination, it drives you to Michelle “19 kids” Duggar’s house.

“30 Rock” did a show live. “Sixty Minutes” reporter Andy Rooney was so impressed he’s thinking of doing a show alive.

North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il has named his third son, Kim Jong Un, as his successor. He passed over his oldest, slower son, Kim Jong Edsel.

A German company has made a chair that will inform you if you’re not sitting in it properly. And, if you should accidentally pass gas, it says “Freund, kraun sie.” Which is German for; “Dude, chew your food.”

Californians will vote on Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana. For supporters of this bill there is an easy way to get it to pass: unlimited Cheetos at the voting booths.

Since you asked:
Read an excerpt of the Jane Leavy Mickey Mantle biography “The Last Boy” in “Sports Illustrated” and was sort of surprised by the zeal with which Frank Gifford enjoyed disparaging the Mick. Both were the late fifties and early sixty pretty boy New York favorite sons and, from Gifford’s side anyway, bitter rivals. In the excerpt I read Gifford scoffed at any comparison between the two essentially claiming Mantle was a horrible person.

As I have said before, the fans get players wrong, the press gets players wrong, but the players never get the player wrong. Mick’s teammates loved Mickey. Gifford’s teammates hated Frank. Cleveland Brown defensive back Bernie Parrish said the Giants all hated Frank and none of Frank’s teammates denied it.

Frank Gifford has publicly slammed many of his fellow era players, deservedly Jim Brown, but also Chuck Bednarik, Sam Huff, Jim Taylor and Paul Horning. Let's put it this way, when Bednarik nearly took Gifford's head off, when it was discovered Frank wasn't going to die, an anonymous player said the entire league laughed and joked about it, including his Giant teammates.

Gifford was a poor Bakersfield kid who grew up to relish his self-proclaimed title Prince of New York. Take it from me, there is nothing more insufferable than California white trash who grows up to think they’re prettier and better than everyone else. Gifford personified the unbearable snotty USC attitude. How stupid was Frank Gifford? Even as a high school football star, his grades were not good enough to get into USC. Is that even possible? Oh, yeah, OJ.

But for Gifford – who was caught shamelessly diddling flight attendants while married to Kathy Lee – to anoint himself far morally superior to Mantle is hypocritical at the least. At no time did I get the feeling that, during their “Monday Night Football” broadcasting time, that a real man’s man, Don Meredith, much like Mickey Mantle, thought very much of “Flawless Frank.”

During Gifford’s illustrious broadcasting career, did anyone, anytime, anywhere ever get even a slight hint of a whiff of a sense of humor? Not me. Alex Karras? Hilarious. Likewise “Dandy Don” Meredith. Even the douche-bag, wind-bag colossal megalomaniac Howard Cosell had a somewhat of a droll wit. Before his career as a double-murderer, even OJ Simpson, another snotty USC alum, chuckled and cracked a joke or two

Not Frank. Now Mickey Mantle was hilarious. So sorry, Frank, in one of your many hissy fits with your colleagues, we have to side with Mantle. Was Mickey a saint? Oh hell no. But part of his raw humanity is what made the Mick so likeable.

The words likeable and Frank Gifford, like Frank with his colleagues, have never gotten alon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Welcome to the NFL, Sigourney

Step one, don't get bitten by one of these. Step two, there is no step two

Alex Kaseberg, Shark Expert

How do you like my new job title? Oh, I have decided I am, in addition to my other vast talents, I am also a great white shark expert. Why? Several reasons, A, I have been paddling within thirty feet of one, and B, I can provide ocean goers with just as much practical advice and tips on how to avoid a shark attack as can a shark expert. In other words, zero, none, nunca, nada, zilch.

Do you want to know what the experts know about sharks? D*ck. Experts used to say that great white sharks don’t attack in shallow waters. Guess where that kid, UCSB student, Lucas Ransom, was bitten off of Vandenberg? In relatively shallow waters one hundred yards from shore. He was boogie boarding, not surfing.

Shark experts also say your chances of getting bitten by a shark are about the same as being killed by a falling airplane part. Or that your couch is statistically a more likely place for you to die than the ocean. Statistically, I would like to see a shark expert go swimming in cold California waters with a bloody t-bone steak hanging from their neck and then they can talk to me about statistics.

Shark experts claim sharks mistake people for seals. What possible difference does that make if you’re the target that gets mistaken for a seal? There have only been eleven fatalities by great white sharks in California since the Fifties. Granted eleven in fifty years of California ocean swimming is not a lot. Do you know how many of those people would not have been killed if they had been on their couch instead of the ocean? You got it.

In fact, about the only way a shark expert can make a shark attack seem even worse than it is is to provide the eventual victim with the beforehand knowledge that his attack, as awful as anything can be, was also a case of mistaken identity and that they were mistaken for a stupid, useless seal.

Here is what I know about seals. They are nasty. They are loud. They bite. They stink and they poop constantly. There, now you’ve just had your leg torn off by the jagged teeth of a twenty foot monster, doesn’t it suddenly feel better to know that monster didn’t mean it personally?

What? It doesn’t? Gosh, my skills as a shark expert don’t seem to help much, do they? Well, as a shark expert, let me help you debunk some myths about sharks.

Sharks stay away from dolphins. Not true. Sharks love to follow dolphins because they are messy eaters and sharks are scavengers.

Great white sharks only like cold water. Not true. Countless great white sharks swim annually to Hawaii and the waters in southern Mexico.

Sharks won’t eat an entire human. Not true. They have and do its just usually humans are around other humans who pull the person to shore once they are bitten. A shark will gladly eat a human it just waits around for its victims to bleed out so they don’t get poked in the eye from a struggling victim.

Dolphins can kill sharks. Not true. If you saw dolphins in South Africa basically flying above the water to get away from great white sharks you’d know that isn’t true at all. Dolphins are not going to swim towards a shark. There are many, many accounts of dolphins protecting people – mostly surfers - from sharks. Sharks don’t want to attack a big, healthy dolphin, so they stay away from them. But a sickly dolphin or a baby dolphin? They get eaten by sharks all the time.

But give me one documented example of a dolphin killing a shark. There isn’t one.

Sharks only feed in the morning. Since when? Sharks feed morning noon and night. If you are lucky enough to come across a shark who has just eaten a big, fat, stupid seal, then the shark will probably only bite you rather than actually try and consume you, but either way you’re dead.

You can repel a shark by punching it in the nose. That is exactly what a South American surfer tried to do, now he dials a phone with a stump.

If you are in the ocean when a shark wants to bite you, your time is up very soon. Period. If you never ever want to be bitten by a shark, stay out of the ocean.

As an avid stand up paddle board surfer and paddler, I am not going to stay out of the ocean. But I am also not going to stop being afraid of sharks. Sharks are terrifying and deadly.

About the only useful piece of advice I’ve ever heard when it comes to sharks it that the few people who have survived an attack by a great white shark describe a very real and memorably eerie feeling right before the were attacked. If you, or if I, ever feel that, get out of the water.


There is a phenomenon in the NFL that doesn’t exist in any other sport and that is players who get paid not to play football. They manage to slip in between the cracks of being injured, playing briefly and being traded. Over and over again.

There was this guy on the San Diego Chargers, offensive tackle I think his name was Steve Phillips, but it doesn’t matter. He was a big guy, 6.5 around 260, liked to lift weights and take steroids. He made the team one year on the injured reserve list. Never practiced, when he finally suited up for a game he was all braces and pads, two huge knee braces and big elbow braces. He looked like that robot lift thing Sigourney Weaver used to battle the alien in “Aliens.”

When he finally went in during a game he sort of pushed players and ran in place. Never hit the ground and then he would come out for the rest of the game and go back on the injured reserve list. Got a bunch of tattoos magically makes the team the next year, goes on injured reserve. Lifts weights, takes steroids, wears his alien fighting braces goes in, kind of pushes a couple of people and then limps off the field.

Then he gets traded to another team for a huge pay raise and a bonus and begins not playing football all over again for another team. This cycle repeated itself, including his getting salary raises, for at least six years. The only time you heard about him was due to a couple bar fights and DUI's in the off season.

The guy is a highly paid football players who incidentally hasn't actually played football in years.

Just heard the announcer say Flacco had a flea flicker. On Thanksgiving, does Brett Favre starve before he carves the bird?

Not that I know very much, but I do know that if your Chicago Bears offense would be better off punting on first down, well, (doing my best John Madden) that, uh, that, that, that, uh, that right there is a problem.