24 Nov 2010 @ 7:17 AM 

I’ve been slowly building every KROQ “Top 106.7 Songs” playlist for the years they did them, and recently finished 1985. It’s interesting to see how many of the songs that were considerd the biggest of the year (for that station) are completely forgotten today. For instance, the John Palumbo song “Blowing up Detroit” – I don’t remember that song at all, nor the singer, nor the band he’s still in today (Crack the Sky). Other songs are an interesting piece of history. There’s the obvious John Hughes reference – Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me.” And there’s also the social commentary – Artists United Against Apartheid’s song “Sun City” was big in 1985. It took 5 more years for De Klerk to begin negotiating an end to apartheid, and it wasn’t until 1994 that apartheid ended with multi-racial elections in South Africa. But, the song is a part of many people’s memories of the era when (after 40 years) we in the USA finally noticed apartheid was part of the society of a country where our rich people went to party.

As Kat points out, the list also includes a very obvious LA-centric slant.  Three Oingo Boingo songs are on the 1985 list, and yet most folks outside of SoCal have heard of exactly one OB track – Weird Science. Amusingly, there’s also a Danny Elfman song, “Gratitude,” on the list, which was recorded with the entire Oingo Boingo band on an Elfman solo album (So-Lo) – the ridiculous nature of recording an album with the exact same people but calling it solo instead of Boingo is due to some dispute with their record company. So, “Gratitude” is considered to be both an Elfman solo track and a Boingo band track – it appeared on the Best O’ Boingo compilation album years later, adding some credence to the Boingo provenance. Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Oingo Boingo performed their farewell Halloween concert.

So, any bands or songs you remember from years past, but are completely lost to most of your friends’ memories?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Nov 2010 @ 07:17 AM

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 14 Nov 2010 @ 10:30 AM 

Finally, the third of my three airport reviews – Los Angeles International (LAX). Holy crap, what an awful experience. I didn’t have to opt for the nudie photo or sexual assault, because it appeared the nudie photo machines were down on my security line. The counter agents and TSA employees were all quite polite, but there is obviously a serious infrastructural or procedural problem with LAX’s checkin process.  Since I’ve not been through LAX in many years, I assumed it would take twice as long to get through all the hoops as I was accustomed to in years past.  I was pretty close to accurate in that assessment, and I could imagine that there are times when my estimate would have been an underestimate of an order of magnitude.

I arrived four hours before my flight was due to takeoff, because I had run out of things to do in my hotel room and I can read at the airport just as well as anywhere else.  It took over 30 minutes just to get my bag checked, and then I had to carry it myself to the security scanners.  It makes me wonder what those giant conveyor belts behind the ticket agents are for.  Not to mention, since LAX is one of the growing number of “self check in” airports for American Airlines, the name “ticket agent” may be inaccurate as well.  The counter agent merely prints out the label that goes on the bag, after you’ve already verified your identity and printed out your own boarding pass at a kiosk that seemed to drive many people insane with confusion.

After that bizarroland detour, which was leavened by a trio of children who wanted to share all the details of their Disneyland experience, I was directed to the security line.  The security line started outdoors.  It started down the sidewalk.  It actually started near the neighboring terminal.  Thankfully, it only took 45 minutes to get through that line, which was a surprise of inestimable proportion.  It looked like the highest-volume day at Disneyland, waiting for Splash Mountain.  Insane.

Finally, I arrived at the top of the stairs where I could just see the security machinery.  The line bifurcated, then bifurcated again.  Each of those four lines went through a screener who made sure your ID and boarding pass matched. Then, each line split into 2-6 more individual lines.  Since I have a netbook which is listed on the sign as one of those items you don’t need to remove from its case, I didn’t.  That was wrong.  Take it out. Don’t put the case on top of it.  Give me your book.  It was weird as hell, but ultimately just a little more useless security theater.

Now I’ve entered the concourse, past the TSA employees who think they’re cops (no law enforcement function is endowed in these people, no matter what they dress up like).  I’m sipping an iced chai from Starbucks, and wishing that LAX was enlightened enough to have free wifi.  Just as in DFW, the options are T-Mobile or Admiral’s Club, which are both fee-based.  Unlike DFW, they don’t even have a wired free internet option available.  Considering the sheer number of business travelers through LAX, you’d think free wifi would be one of the most obvious things in the world.  *sigh
Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Nov 2010 @ 07:23 AM

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 12 Nov 2010 @ 4:21 PM 

I didn’t have to go through security and check-in at Dallas-Fort Worth, so I can’t address those portions of the airport experience. The terminal is bright and easy to maneuver through, with two counter-rotating monorails zipping you around. There are CNN Airport News screens all over the place, but not too loud. The one closest to my connection looked like someone had tried to silence it with a shoe – the LCD had lots of nasty lines in the picture.

There was a Smoothie King right next to my gate, so that was nice. Opening up the netbook to make an entry was a bust, though. Unlike the tiny SJT, the massive DFW charges for wifi. Strangely, they provide several “free charge and internet” stations around the concourse. I don’t understand large corporations.

I’ll address LAX when I head home – it’s hard to get a flavor of an airport when you’re arriving. All I did was leave the plane, get my bag, and hop on the Enterprise shuttle.

Cheers.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 Nov 2010 @ 04:22 PM

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 12 Nov 2010 @ 8:09 AM 

As this is the first time I’ve flown since 2002, I am seeing three different airports with relatively fresh eyes. This morning, I started the journey at San Angelo Regional Airport (SJT), which is not the smallest I’ve been in (hello, Sierra Vista!) but it’s only got one airline and you have to ring a bell to get them to come to the counter.  They appear to have no more than 6 employees, who work as counter help, baggage handlers, and general support staff all.

SJT has free wifi in the lobby and in the concourse. Strangely, they are two different networks. They’re both “protected” by iPrism software, which has decided that I can’t program my DVR, read Gizmodo, or see images or CSS from Ars.Technica. I also can’t get to Livejournal because it’s a “web log” site, but I can get to Facebook just fine. This comports with my usual assumption that blocking software is based entirely on capricious decisions with no rational basis.

Security at SJT is relatively quick and painless, with no back-scatter body scanning and nobody I saw get groped. So far so good.

One great aspect of the SJT concourse and lobby is the complete lack of CNN Airport News. Those blaring idiot boxes with no means of escape are possibly the single longest-running aggravation of the traveler. I hated any layover when I traveled for work – even the airport employees seem to have no control over the volume on those things, because that would intrude on some revenue sharing no doubt. Anyway, SJT is quiet enough to hear all the cell phone conversations around you.

And the plane should be boarding soon, so off I go…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 Nov 2010 @ 08:09 AM

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 08 Nov 2010 @ 7:20 AM 

Dubya’s autobiography is out this week, so he’s finally come out of hiding to discuss his legacy. I thought that was something he was going to let historians do, but he just couldn’t wait or something.  You’ll never guess what he considers the worst moment of his presidency.  Maybe when the towers fell? Nope. How about when the banking industry just about ate the economy? Not that either. When the entire world found out that Rumsfeld has been supervising torture of random foreigners? Not even close. Oh, how about when one of the oldest cities in the country was erased by a flood which could have been prevented by decent maintenance and the people were forced to stay in the city at gunpoint while mercenaries roamed the streets looting people of their own firearms? Not that either.

Amazingly, George W. Bush believes the worst moment in a presidency filled with bad moments is when Kanye said he didn’t care about black people. He’s not tormented in his post-President retirement by the things he might have done differently or the thousands of people who died while he was in nominal charge, but by the fact that someone said something mean about him on television. WTF?

MATT LAUER: You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And — it was a disgusting moment.

What an infantile and self-centered view of the most powerful office in the world.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Nov 2010 @ 09:43 AM

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 05 Nov 2010 @ 11:32 AM 

My new best imaginary friend, Kenji Lopez-Alt, has completed a four-week experiment to determine what truth the “McDonald’s Burgers Don’t Rot” meme has behind it.  Most serious speculators assumed that the burgers and buns dried out in the air-conditioned interior of an average home. Surprise, surprise – that’s exactly what Kenji discovered. There’s nothing magical about it, just small burgers in a dry environment. Science!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Nov 2010 @ 11:32 AM

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 04 Nov 2010 @ 8:38 AM 

In previous installments of “Gary cooks whatever Kenji does,” we’ve tried the Double-Double Animal Style and some sliders. The latest was the patty melt. I’m a big fan of patty melts, so making them at home with two kinds of cheese seemed like a winner of a plan. They were yummy, and the onions ended up so caramelized they stuck in my teeth like the halloween candy we’re noshing on this week.

In a stunning upset, the sliders remain as Kat’s #2 choice of the three, while the Double-Double of course reigns supreme.  The Boy and I both prefer patty melts over sliders, but agree with Judge #1 that In-N-Out rocks, even in clone form.

Maybe I’ll try that Roast Beef Poboy next, that looks like an interesting sandwich…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Nov 2010 @ 08:38 AM

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 03 Nov 2010 @ 9:58 AM 

Because we will now have two years of nothing getting accomplished in DC and both sides able to blame the other for being obstructionist, politics is going to be pretty much on reruns for a while.

Since we’ve spent so long now disagreeing with each other about seeming everything, here’s a story I think everyone can agree is a feel-good piece of news. An 18-month old girl in France was playing by a window six stories up. She fell out the window (this is not the feel good part yet, wait for it). Against all odds, she bounced off the awning of the cafe on the ground floor, which slowed her fall to non-fatal levels (still not the end). Against more odds, she landed in the arms of a passing stranger. The stranger happened to be a doctor.

Doesn’t that make you feel good about the world? You’re welcome.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 03 Nov 2010 @ 10:00 AM

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 02 Nov 2010 @ 6:16 AM 

At the grocery store last night, a leggy blonde in a VERY short tight black dress and high-heeled boots (with a thigh tattoo peeking between the two) strolled past, drawing the eye of every straight man in the parking lot. The Boy said, “That’s not a very practical outfit.” He obviously doesn’t like girls yet.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 02 Nov 2010 @ 06:32 AM

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Categories: Funny Stuff, The Boy

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