Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Well Suited.

This is the picture on the flyer in my neighborhood that is advertising "Hot Baths and Showers for Cats and Dogs."

Friday, May 23, 2008


Both of my parents work full time jobs. When I was younger this meant that during summer breaks from school, they needed to find somewhere my sister and I could go and stay out of too much trouble. (This would have been well advised during the long unsupervised afternoons I spent during junior high school, but that’s a different story.) So they did what any Jewish parents would do, they signed us up for day camp at the YMCA.
Summer camp at the Y was pretty fun. We played a lot of team sports and had hours of unstructured time on a variety of playgrounds around the greater Sacramento area. It’s not unusual to have weeks in Sacramento with temperatures over 100 degrees everyday. So each day at Y camp was capped off with a few hours at the pool. This is where I learned to do front flips off the high-dive, a feat that scares me to even think about today. It’s also where I was wrongfully accused of setting off a fire alarm, and later interrogated by the Fire Department. (Again, that’s a different story.)
Every Friday at the Y all the kids piled into a school bus and we set off for a variety of field trips. The field trips varied in their level of interest and fun; one week we went to the Waterslide Park in Manteca, the next week we would go to the man made lake in Lodi. But to me the most memorable was the trip to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield.
It was at the Jelly Belly factory that I learned first hand about the dangers of mixing kids with industrial food manufacturing. (I mean, Oompa Loompa song based learning is great, but actually experiencing something for yourself is even better.)
We were about half way through our tour of the factory floor when we stopped in front of three huge cylinders. Each cylinder was at least six feet across and rotating while leaned on a slight tilt to the ground. The tops were open, and we could see inside to the churning mounds of brightly colored sugar mash. These were the raw ingredients of the jelly beans; the foundation for millions of flavored candies.
We stood there as a group and collectively stared into the spinning mass of pre-candy goop, mesmerized as if watching the rotating tumble of a load of laundry.
And then, without warning and completely unprovoked, one of the children (not me, I swear it was not me) spit a huge and glistening wad of saliva into one of the cylinders. We all watched, silent and stunned as the glob of spit arched through the air and disappeared into the whirling mix of partially hydrogenated corn starch and yellow number 5.
The rest of the day is something of a blur. I remember loud klaxons blaring as the whole production shuddered to a halt. The factory floor was suddenly swarmed with workers shouting at each other. We were quickly hustled out of the building and back to our bus.
And I remember a great sense of collective guilt settled over the bus on the drive back to the Y after we were hastily addressed by a representative from Jelly Belly, “The Sacramento YMCA is no longer welcome here. Ever.”

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This is more or less what it sounds like at the track during every race.

"C'mon six! Six!Six!Six!Six!Six!Six!Six!


Fucking six.

A Day at the Races.

Gamble More, Drink More, No Longer the Murder Capital of America ...Baltimore!

Just one of many animals worth more money that I will ever make in my lifetime.

The infield, and it's only 1pm. Imagine what sort of a Hepatitis cesspool this will become by the end of the day.

Where the more civilized folk come to gamble and drink.

"Goddamnit Frannie! I told you we should have done more research before we got here. Now, who do you like in the 6th? I want $3 on Poppa's Gotta Brand New Bag."

The straight-away where Big Brown would later break from the pack.

The Black-eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness.

They wanted to know why I was taking their picture. "Are you gay or something? Is that why you want my picture?" Uh, no. I just think you guys look cool. The 10 year-old scornfully dismissed me with, "Get the fuck outta here."

The neighborhoods surrounding the track take full advantage of the hordes of rich white people that descend on the area once a year. Almost every house was charging for parking and/or selling barbecue and sodas.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's true.

I saw Fareed Zakaria speak last night. He was really excellent. I need to leave my apartment more often.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The line-up.

This is so very exciting. Maryland DeathFest VI – Complete Annihilation, a three day death metal concert in Charm City, has announced their band line-up. Just reading down the list is like some sort of free-associative death poetry triptych. (In fact, I think I will name my death metal band, Free-Associative Death Poetry Triptych. We will be touring the Midwest this fall. Check back for dates.)
For example, day one of DeathFest VI will feature:

Grave. Martyr. Squashing Bowels. Phobia.
The Day Everything became Nothing.
The Arson Project.

DeathFest VI day two:

Monstrosity. Deranged. Repulsion. Ghoul.
Fuck… I’m Dead.
Coffins. Flesh Parade. Defeated Sanity.
Behold… the Arctopus.
Disfear. Defeatist. Decrypt.
Waco Jesus.

And finally, DeathFest VI day three:

Blood Duster. Nuclear Assault. Impaled.
Macabre. Disavowed.
Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition. Infected Malignity
Hellnation. Bruesome Stuff Relish.
Dying Fetus. Circle of Dead Children.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

And to think we used to be so cool.

My friend Lesley is way famous. She's the Associate Editor for Food and Dining for Los Angeles Magazine. Basically she gets paid to eat at restaurants all around Los Angeles and then write clever stuff about them while occasionally referencing pop-culture. And now she has a Blog too. Check it out if you like food or Los Angeles or reading things written in the first person plural.


Upon further investigation, it appears that things have shifted back to first person singular over at The Digest. Sorry to disappoint those of you that are huge fans of the Royal We.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stopped me in my tracks.

On my run around the capital today; a man rounded the corner coming out of one of the parking lots. He was wearing a fashionable pin stripe suit and smoking a cigar. He was also riding a Segway that had Muppet Babies stuffed-animals attached to the handle bars.

The Crowd.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Niche Markets.

I was walking down the aisle and I saw this in passing. My first and immediate thought was, 'Oh, they're making bottled water for people with syphilis now. That's nice.'