Archive for October, 2011

Love those fortune cookies, Part 18

October 28, 2011

Well, whaddya know — a bonus fortune cookie fortune this week.

I think this one came out of my phone call yesterday afternoon from my pal Drew back home, and his mentioning our favorite Chinese joint, House of Chao in the Westville section of New Haven. And that always has me hankering for — more like lusting after — their steamed vegetable dumplings, with the most exquisite garlic sauce in the universe. (Were this the Middle Ages, some two countries would’ve fought the Garlic Wars …)

Anyway, it’s probably why I had a craving for pot stickers last night and ended up at Golden Dynasty in Fresno. It’s the Chinese restaurant the Chinese go to here, and, like downtown New Haven’s Royal Palace, it has the secret Chinese menu as well.

Anyway, since this is supposed to be my luckiest day of the year, as alluded to in my last fortune cookie post, how not-so-coincidental was my fortune last night?

“You will be coming into a fortune.”

I hope the wise men (or wiseguys) who write these things weren’t just referring to the fortune cookie fortune itself. Here’s to the accuracy of my fortune cookie fortune …


Five Songs, Part 53

October 28, 2011

Well, kids, here are this week’s Five Songs — apropos of everything or nothing or something in between. Go and enjoy your Friday:

Couldn’t I Just Tell You — Todd Rundgren

Play on Love — Jefferson Starship

She Don’t Care About Time — The Byrds

No Other Girl — The Blasters

Lovin’ Machine — Wynonie Harris

Love those fortune cookies, Part 17

October 25, 2011

Had nothing to do Sunday, which was my Saturday, so I treated myself to the buffet at Tang Dynasty, only to see that there was a busload of people there and they had just totally laid waste to the sushi/sashimi stations — which is my main reason for going there.

But I did eventually get much of what I wanted, and I leisurely ate while watching the first three innings of the World Series. (Which led to the burning question: What the hell was Ken Rosenthal doing wearing a bowtie of his own free will? Maybe he thought he looked distinguished, but I kept waiting for him to breakout and do The Mouse.)

And after three innings of a ballgame I wasn’t that interested in (my season ended when the Yankees were eliminated), this was my reward (bad grammar guaranteed verbatim):

“You will travel far and wide, both or pleasure and business.”

I hope so. An astrology site a friend turned me onto says Friday will be my luckiest day of the year, and the days leading up to it shouldn’t be too bad, either. I need a break from the bad Fresno air. It’s killing me.

Five Songs, Part 52

October 21, 2011

Okay, time to kick off the second year of Five Songs. Death, taxes, roast beef on Sundays, alright! (courtesy of The Kinks’ Autumn Almanac) … and Five Songs on Fridays. Well, except for that one Friday after my birthday. But you get the picture. Enjoy your weekend:

I Can’t Sleep — The La’s

Goon Squad — Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Frederick — Patti Smith Group

Little Rug Bug — Rodd Keith

The Mayor of Simpleton — XTC

Five Songs, Part 51 (a whole year of Five Songs)

October 14, 2011

So I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a year — dredging up five songs from the recesses of my mind every Friday and setting them loose for the universe to share. Sure enough — started Oct. 21, 2010, with the first song being “Right Now and Not Later” by The Shangri-Las.

If the math seems fuzzy (only part 51 and not 52?), it’s because I blew off the week after my birthday. But it’s a lot of Five Songs at this point. And some weeks there’s a sixth song — or, in a couple of cases, a lot of sixth songs. And by now, I’ve put together a pretty good jukebox.

Anyway, on with the show. As always, enjoy the tunes and enjoy the weekend:

Baby, Oh No — Bow Wow Wow

It’s the Little Things — Sonny & Cher

This Car of Mine — The Beach Boys

Jack the Ripper — The Raybeats

Circles — The Who

Five Songs, Part 50

October 7, 2011

I’d be lying if I didn’t say Occupy Wall Street, and its (so far) triumph of man over (political and economic) machinery, wasn’t on my mind this week. Imagine — having the nerve to stage a protest without getting someone’s permission! And without any media coverage that wasn’t dismissive.

(And BTW, speaking of media: Can we stop calling NPR “public radio” once and for all? They went nine days before they covered this. NPR is “National Public Radio” as much as Volkswagen is “The People’s Car” these days.)

So it did creep, some, of course, but not totally, into this week’s Five Songs. (There is that shout-out to my Tiger-loving, Yankee-hating friends after last night …) Enjoy …

For What It’s Worth — Buffalo Springfield

What’s the Buzz — From Jesus Christ Superstar

It’s a Happening — The Magic Mushrooms

Detroit Rock City — Kiss

Pig Is a Pig — The Plasmatics

Yet another of the many things I miss about home: The Mill Valley Taters reunion

October 6, 2011

The Mill Valley Taters, mid-1990s. From left: Steve Sullivan, Tom Andrukevich and Chris Neal.

By far, the most frustrating thing about my 7 1/2-year exile in central California — well, aside from the 2 1/2 years without a job; that’s another monster — has been the feeling of being cut off culturally. Even though there’s definitely culture here, the Northeast and the Central Valley are two totally different planets, speaking two different forms of language. And, save for some stray moments, I’ve especially felt disassociated from the thing that’s been most near and dear to me in my life, music.

I feel — no, I know — I’ve missed out on a lot of good music back home. God knows how many times I’ve cursed missing two of my favorite bands — The Fleshtones and The Reducers — playing together at my favorite New Haven bar, Cafe Nine. Or how I’ve been silently screaming that I’ll be missing Norton Records’ four-night 25th-anniversary blowout next month in Brooklyn: The Sonics, The Real Kids, Deke Dickerson with both The Randy Fuller Four and The Untamed Youth, ? and the Mysterians, Andre Williams, Geno Washington, The Alarm Clocks, of course The A-Bones and then some …

And now, one more for the pile: Gary Vollono, a former New Haven Register colleague, celebrates the 13th anniversary of his mighty, home-based indie label, IndepenDisc, Saturday night (Oct. 8 ) at the Nine. And the show will feature, for the first time since, well, a lot of things, a set by a band I championed back in the Register in the ’90s: The Mill Valley Taters.



The body issue

October 5, 2011

I have a problem with people who use the word “issue” when they mean “problem.” It’s one of those precious little avoidance-factor words whose misuse has been made popular in recent years by bloodless yuppies who can’t handle anything that isn’t perfectly hunky-dory. As in “Please don’t bother me! I’m having issues here!”

And I’m channeling my inner George Carlin here. I might be an attractive 50-year-old woman, but here comes the cranky old man: An issue is a topic of conversation. Let’s discuss issues over a cup of tea! Or an installment of a magazine. Did you see the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker? A problem is a problem! It’s something that’s gone wrong and needs fixing! It’s a fucking problem! You’re not having an issue — you’re having a fucking problem! Accept it and deal with the fucking problem! (And can I tell you I miss George Carlin?)

That said, a friend brought up an issue in her blog not long ago — a topic of conversation that is, indeed, a big and ongoing problem for me, even living as my better gender now. And, in some ways, maybe because of it. And what better way to illustrate this problem than to dredge up from my memory banks the classic National Lampoon “Body” issue from my senior year of high school? (And can I tell you I so miss National Lampoon? The Onion, as much as it seems ripped straight from Lampoon’s “News on the March” section, doesn’t quite do it for me.)

As the cover of the issue illustrates, I look more like the woman on the left and feel more like the one on the right.

A big fucking problem, indeed. And I do sound like a girl, don’t I?