Back when I was a kid, Blogs were called 'imaginary friends' and were only slightly more pathetic.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Last Minute Music Roundup Cornucopia Of Fun Time Happy Love Parade (Broken English Edition)

Before the never-ending (or never-beginning depending on my state of abject laziness) year-end list-a-thon (now with more hyphens!), I thought I'd share my thoughts on a couple of eagerly awaited album releases that came out recently.

The Darkness - One Way Ticket To Hell And Back. There's a lot of embarrassment potential when you loudly sing the praises of a band's freshman effort. This is especially true if no one knows if the band is serious or will some day be filed next to Tom Lehrer and Blowfly in the dusty comedy corner of your local record store.

The Darkness' sophomore entry is definitely not as funny as their first, but since they're actually a talented band who can legitimately rock out with their cocks out, I gots no problem with that. Whereas their first album was a fun game of 'who are they making fun of now?', this album takes that trivia contest, throws it to the ground and lights it on fire whilst they kick out another headbangin' numbah.

They are a polarizing band to be sure, but the only people I've ever met who hated The Darkness are people who took bands like Cinderella and White Lion way too seriously the first time. It's fun music you former mulletheads. Now quit whining about how Kurt Cobain ruined your chances to get laid in high school and rock out!!

Junior Senior - Hey Hey My My Yo Yo. This duo embodies everything that's great about being Danish. Anyone who's ever backpacked around can instantly recognize the Danes. They're usually drunk, always happy, and generally dress and act like they don't give a flying Borge about what anyone else thinks.

All these things and more apply to the music of Junior Senior. Their music is so goddamn infectuous that it's like you took the best parts of the Jackson Five and crumpled it together with Chromeo and the B-52s. Every track is fun, every track makes you want to move, and it's just a happy happy album.

I've only been listening to it for a few days, but every time it's over I want to start it from the beginning again. I'm trying to resist so I don't get sick of it, but this record is like twee, merry crack, cutesily hopping into my glass pipe to wile away another 40 minutes. One of the best records of the year, without question.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Smartest Guy In The World Named John Daly

I hope you didn't think I meant the golfer, cause he's a first class, Foxworthy-lovin', Hee-Haw watchin' shit-heel. The guy I'm talkin' bout is... er... was Warren County, Virginia's Community College English professor. His only crime was saying something brilliant like;

"Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors."

God I love people with the Big Brass Gilded Balls to say shit like that. I thought about making it the new masthead quote, but after the unsolicited praise I received about the only one I can take credit for, I decided to leave it up.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Bah Ree-vew N'

Eager to remind all the kids out there that drunk driving is a whole lot more fun when the car is imaginary, Barrespondent Drew spends another night honking and shaking his fist at bike messengers while the other BART passengers give him funny looks.

Have sober people ever played pool? Darned if we know, but perhaps more so than any other ‘sport’ (except maybe darts), billiards is one that we’re sure is meant only to be played by those that are half in the bag. Honestly, where would the fun be in not being drunk enough to think you can actually make half the shots a person actually attempts during this game? The artificial confidence brought on by large amounts of alcohol is the only thing that stops the average game of eight-ball from being about as much fun as standing around and flipping a coin.

Like most of your bar sports (billiards, darts, spot-the-coke-dealer), the one thing that makes watching people play it really exciting is large-scale illegal gambling. After all, there’s nothing that sucks that false pride that booze gave him out of a guy faster than watching $100 of his hard earned money fly out of his pocket because he couldn’t make a combo shot.

We’ll delve into our favorite ‘gentlemanly’ pool bar after the jump.

Gino & Carlo on Green Street in North Beach is one of the all time classics. No other place we’ve ever been on the west coast so accurately captures that Hoboken wiseguy experience better than this place. I dare anyone to hang out in this place for more than an hour without having a hilarious story to tell later on. In fact, if this place were any more authentic it would either be shut down or far too dangerous to enter.

They don’t have an incredible drink selection here, there aren’t 30 beers on tap, and it’s not filled to the brim with hot chicks. If you come to Gino & Carlo for any of those reasons, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you want incredible ambience, great conversation and the unsettling feeling that you’re surrounded by 20 guys named ‘Tony’, then this is your place.

The first time we ever went here was at the behest of someone we’d just met at a bar down the street. He told us his name was Billy Ray Valentine (which I believe was Eddie Murphy’s characters name in Trading Places) and that he was a professional pool player. The guy seemed drunk, talked like a blowhard and gave us no reason at all to believe him. So of course we followed him and watched him play a few rounds at Gino & Carlo. He seemed pretty good, but not ‘professional’ good. And then, towards the end of a game, Billy Ray got his cue ball stuck in a corner behind one of his opponent’s balls. Completely hopeless, right? So why was everyone who had money on the game throwing their bills at Billy Ray? He answered this question by walking up, nonchalantly jumping the ball entirely across the table and kissing in the eight to win. I’ve never before or since seen something so difficult made to look so goddamn easy.

And from that moment on, I’ve never doubted anything anyone’s ever said to me at Gino & Carlo.

Liver… Out!!


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Random Assault is The New "Hey Buddy, You Got Any Spare Change?"

Some total stranger walked up to me last night and punched me in the gut.

Me and my wife had just finished eating dinner in Alameda (a semi-snooty island off the coast of Oakland) and were walking to our car. A few steps down the road, I looked up and noticed a vaguely homeless looking guy walking towards us. Having lived, worked and played in shitty neighborhoods my entire adult life, this did not upset me in the least. What I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty sure I didn't provoke this guy by being a scared white yuppie or anything. Regardless, however, as the man walked by me, he leaned over and socked me right in the bread basket. He then kept walking down the street as if nothing had happened. No witnesses, no grandstanding or shouting, just the ol' lean and punch. Even my wife, who was standing right next to me had no idea what had just happened. After it had happened, she asked me with only mild interest, "What was that?". I had to think about it. What the fuck was that?

Upon reflection, I think you learn a lot about yourself in situations like these. This was definitely not a 'fight or flight' situation. I never thought my life was in danger, and it wasn't a hard enough punch to make me cough up blood or anything, just a good solid shot to the midsection. To be honest, it took me at least 2 seconds to process what had just happened. "Wait a minute.. Did that guy just... What the fuck?". I then, and this is the funny part, turned around and said, "Thanks! Thanks a lot!". That's right, I learned that faced with physical assault from a stranger, I will remain courteous and thankful and will wish him good luck in all his future random fisticuffs.

While I'd like to think that if it was a more violent attack I would've responded with more force, I guess I can't really be sure since it's never happened. Who knows, maybe if someone attacked me with a switchblade and started stabbing me in the chest, I'd just lay back, smile and give the guy pointers on his technique. "Hey guy, I sure appreciate this, but it would go a lot faster if you cut instead of stab. I mean, you're not even hitting any major organs here".


Monday, November 07, 2005

Let The Record Show That The Defendant Made The 'Drinky Drinky' Motion....

Does drinking kill brain cells? Sure, but only the weak ones. Once again, Barrespondent Drew does the dirty work of getting rid of the less important parts of his mind, like the part that reminds you to eat every once in awhile, or the part that makes you write all good…

Every once in blue moon, some friend of ours will begrudgingly invite us along to some hip, happening club in town. They always think we'll be all 'bar snobby' about it and hate it, but what they fail to realize is that if a place has booze, its already 95% of the way there to winning us over.

Blue Cube, on Mason and Turk, a self-proclaimed ‘Entertainment Laboratory and Arts and Music Educator', is really just a massive 3 level bar with two big dance floors, a couple of sparse but adequate bars and even a smoking lounge (!). Upon first impression, the outside of this place, the immediate vicinity, and indeed some of the people inside this place are more than a little on the sketchy side. But once you get deep in and begin to get your groove on, this place is a lot of fun.

Having gone there primarily to see our close personal acquaintance and future superstar gold-chain wearin’ master of the ones and twos, DJ Swayzee (who did not disappoint even if the crowd did), we were immediately shocked by the size of this place. Expecting something along the lines of a ‘Hush Hush’ sized venue, it immediately became apparent that this place has a lot more in common with places like Mezzanine than with the average neighborhood bar.

Service and drink selection here are ‘club-like’. Don’t go in expecting to have a conversation with anyone, even on the comparatively quiet smoker’s patio. That, and don’t expect long lists of special martinis and drink specials or a big choice of microbrews. Just show up with your dancin’ shoes, get stuck into whatever’s relatively cheap and shake it!

Liver… Out!!


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

We Get More Letters....

That post about Peter Coyote started a little mini-shit storm! What fun! Not since the 'Criss Angel incident' have I had so much puzzling anger directed my way.

From the comments section of (copyright 2005, DobkinCo Industries)

Wow, that is a pretty misogynistic diatribe. I don't know that much about this episode, but seems to me the indiscretion that has been reported is pretty minor compared to other shenanigans engaged in by city employees--embezzlement, stealing parking meter money, holding women prisoner in their SUVs, beating civilians in and out of uniform... sheesh. And she paid the money back. Sounds like someone has a major axe to grind for losing their job or something... who cares.

Posted by: kc at 28 October 2005

Yes, exactly, KC. Why should anyone care if someone gets fired for blowing the whistle on a criminal act committed by their boss who only got the job for being married to a shitty c-list actor?

It's very telling that you start your comment with 'I don't know much about this' before telling us why we shouldn't care. Nothing like shouting your ignorance from the hilltops before admonishing us for giving a shit. Please keep me posted if anything rotten happens unfairly to your charmed little life so I can make sure to yawn, call you sexist and accuse you having an axe to grind...

Posted by: drew at 28 October 2005

ok, ok, guys, let's step back and look at this. this poor woman had to deal with that vampire tony hall for four solid months -- can any of you say you have the cojones to do that and still show up to work combed and pressed everyday?

give her a break -- she's trying to do a tough job... and my hat is off to her.

Posted by: billthecat at 28 October 2005

A calming down is in order. I intended this to be less about Ms. Coyote and more about the anonymous 'KS.' Coyote has presided over a bevy of new film work in The City, as evidenced by the Rent, Pursuit of Happyness, the Fincher zodiac killer flick and even the Sony BRAVIA ad.

That $1,200 check was pretty shady, and by all accounts Mike Billington was a capable, hard working and dependable person. And I was sorry to hear about any further strife on the Film Commission. But KS alleges further improprieties, and while Coyote is obviously innocent until proven guilty, my ultimate goal is for The City and the film industry to be fair, ethical and equitable (I know, fat chance).

KS's points are 100% unconfirmable without the 'documents' they purport to be able to deliver. Until they provide said documents, we'll have a limited understanding of the story and can only watch and learn.

Posted by: Jackson West at 28 October 2005

say, for a guy who wants to be "fair & equitable," you sure have an interesting journalistic approach. jackson, you're starting to come off as a shoot-the-wounded kind of guy. like several guys i served with.

i can just picture KS, whomever he/she is, just dying to trust you now, after you publish his/her letter and then devote your whole column to just 1/16th of his/her letter.

and if you really are "sorry to hear about any further strife on the Film Commission," why would you go public with something so patently inflammatory?

i say let's just drop the he-said/she-said and at least act like adults, without linking to bloggs that defame, vilify and insult this public servant (or would that be *too* fair and equitable?).

Posted by: billthecat at 28 October 2005


I couldn’t agree more with Bill the Cat. As a journalist, I find your pretension to fairness and journalistic integrity to be ridiculous and annoying. Your job is not to create the news, nor to provide links to scurrilous rants by passive-aggressive cowardly bait-and-switch artists who haven't the guts to say such things to their victims' faces. (Peter Coyote may indeed be an ‘asshole.’ I wouldn’t know, but I’d be the first to block the door while he punched Drew’s lights out.) Out of laziness or stupidity or simple meanness, you’ve dismissed a viable story while turning it into a footnote for a sordid anecdote that feeds your own pretensions.

KS' missive doesn't sound like a 'letter to the editor' to be read by the world. It sounds like a tip from a source in the SF ‘inner circle’ who probably knows the editor he sent it to.

So, Mr Yellow Journalist, you’ve only mimicked Hearst: "Give me the pictures and I'll give you a war." Only this little teapot tempest isn't worth the effort. There are stories here, stories that a real journalist would be out covering: people ready to resign in despair, people packing their bags to look for work in another city because they see the end of an industry here, people disgusted with themselves for trusting ‘a new set of rascals.’ [And it’s true enough that Newsom did let Coyote ‘dangle’ (to use KS’ highly-descriptive term) last year in the ‘brouhaha’ (your much less descriptive and overused term); Newsom should have had the guts to end the nonsense months earlier.]

Who cares who Kaiser Soze is, anyway? The real story is in SF’s City Hall. It’s in the offices of film-makers afraid they’ll have to shutter their businesses. And it’s in the homes of workers worried that there’ll still be a lot of month at the end of the money. But you lack the journalistic guts or mentality to go get it, so you do the easy thing, the lazy thing, the thing that might be expected from a slacker, from a yellow slacker journalist: you sit at your desk and try to create a story. Bravo, Jackson. That’s why you can’t get work at the Chron, or the Examiner, or even the Independent. It’s true: water finds its own level.

To echo KS, you're no Mencken, you're no Woodward or Bernstein, Turkel or Trillin. You're not in sight of Goodman or even Matt Smith. You’re a marginal little trouble-maker. If you had any of the integrity that you pretend to, you'd remove the link to Drew's atrocious and vile attack. Then you'd get out of your comfy chair and go find the story (or any of the many stories within the story). But that's a dare you probably won't take.

Posted by: Shahad Bazi at 30 October 2005

Where exactly is the link to my blog that Jackson should be racing to remove, Shahad? Sure, my signature in a comment is also a link, but that's hardly Jackson's fault/responsibility. I'm not sure if I understand where all your fire comes from, but if you think sucking up to the star of Return of the Living Dead is what will suit the city's interests, then be my guest. Whatever. And if water finds its own level, enjoy sailing the seas of the comments section of this blog, Captain...

Posted by: drew at 31 October 2005

OK, Drew, I’m sorry that I said it was a link to a “scurrilous rant by passive-aggressive a cowardly bait-and-switch artist who hasn't the guts to say such things to his victims' faces.” Indeed, I was misspeaking.

What I actually did mean to say was you are a “vile, gutless, moronic and cowardly eunuch who hides his abject fear of women behind internet attacks.” Coward. You are a despicable coward, Drew, less than smegma or pond scum. I’m sucking up not to anyone, and I give a rat’s ass about Peter Coyote, but you are really beneath contempt.

In my world, journalists have a purpose, and both of you are shallow pretenders, “trickortreat” reporters. I did only read this crap because I have friends whose careers are dying out there, but you seem to make a “life” of it.

Posted by: Shahad Bazi at 1 November 2005

Oh Shahad... What a pity that you're seemingly too young or uneducated to realize how utterly hypocritical you seem engaging in a string of cut and pasted Ad Hominem attacks from whatever high school message board you frequent in a feeble attempt to classify me as a jerk.

Since it's fairly obvious that you're new to the world of the 'internets', perhaps you can get one of your many friends in the entertainment business to explain the difference between the New York Times and a personal bullshit blog like the one that seems to have lit such a fire under your ass. I agree with you that journalists have a purpose, but if you're going to treat every single word you ever read in your whole life as 'journalism', I'm afraid you're going to find yourself mired in all kinds of hissy fits like this in the future.

Oh, and BTW, 'less than pond scum' was a funny insult about 30 years ago. Ask your parents...

Posted by: drew at 1 November 2005