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Archive for December, 2007

Sara Jane Moore’s Son

I saw Sara Jane Moore was released today from prison in Dublin, 32 years after she tried to kill President Ford in San Francisco.

I have some strange memories of that day. I was eight years old and attended the same school as her son, who was a year older. I remember the sudden appearance of lots of serious-looking men in suits around lunchtime. I don’t remember if I actually saw them take him away – you know how you re-live things in your head until you’re not sure how they exactly happened – but I remember very clearly all the men in suits, who I assume were either FBI or Secret Service.

I also remember that was the last day anyone at school ever saw her son, whose name for some reason I don’t feel like mentioning, even though I’m sure it’s already public. He probably doesn’t even have the same name anymore. I knew him a little bit and remember him very clearly, but I can’t say we were friends. 

The school called everyone’s parents that night to explain, which made me stay up to watch the news. Growing up in the Bay Area in the early-to-mid 70s was sometimes surreal – Patty Hearst and the SLA, Black Panthers, anti-war demonstrators, Hell’s Angels, the Zodiac, and people trying to kill the president. I didn’t understand many details, but I remember watching the news just about every night from the time I was really young. Which may’ve helped eventually prompt me to get into this business.

Yes, the business of writing smart-assed blogs.

If anyone else out there remembers Sara Jane Moore’s son, I’d love to hear from you.  

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
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Shooting guns and hoop

Many consider there to be a widespread liberal bias among the media. Although I’ve never experienced a reporter going out of their way to target a Republican over a Democrat, if there is a liberal bias, I think I now know why.

Democrats shoot hoop with us. Republicans shoot guns at us.

Just minutes after discovering a story on the web about Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama playing one-on-one with Sports Illustrated writer S.L. Pricea few weeks back, I found one about Republican candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee firing his shotgun over reporters’ heads while pheasant hunting Wednesday.

Bad form, Mike.

Especially since Obama wasn’t doing one of those lame photo ops throwing a football on a runway somewhere. The guy showed up properly geared up and ready to go. He actually looked like he could play as well. And he talked about the first time he dunked on a 10-foot rim, when he was 16.

Huckabee, on the other hand, shot at a bird over reporters’ heads.

To be honest, I was undecided about for whom to vote until today. Politicians on both sides are such lying windbags. I will now use the important factor of basketball skill to choose the next leader of the free world, as opposed to past years when I flipped coins, voted based on hair color, or chose based on who had the funniest-sounding name.

But, to be fair, I’ll give McCain and Clinton the same chance as Obama. If either one shows up and throws down, they’re back in the race as far as I’m concerned.

Bonus-round links: CNN/YouTube links to Democratic and Republican debate questions on gun control and ownership.

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
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Shooting Whales From Cars

It’s always good to know that lawmakers are earning their pay. 

According to this story I found on CNN.Com, which referenced www.dumblaws.com, in California, no vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.

I told my car it should’ve challenged that ticket it got when I sent it to get me some Taco Bell.

In Florida, if an elephant, goat or alligator is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.

Do you actually have to parallel park the alligator? 

In Montana, it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.

Do we even want to know why someone decided this law was necessary? I guess this isn’t the time to point out that my family is from Montana. 

In Oregon, a door on a car may not be left open longer than necessary. I suppose that would include when the car’s moving and someone is hanging out the door.

In Tennessee, it is illegal shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile. Tennessee whales must be really dangerous.

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007
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Van Halen Post-Game

I love it when I write an entre post and, forgetting to save it, accidentally hit some two-button combination that makes the whole thing disappear.

I’m going to take a couple deep breaths now, NOT pick the computer up and throw it through a window, and try to remember what the hell I just wrote. Then I will hit save after every word I write.

Oh yeah – so I went to Van Halen in Oakland last night, about three weeks after seeing them in Sacramento. The shows were fairly comparable; the sound in Oakland wasn’t always so great, the set list was about the same and the band didn’t quite interact as much as in Sac. But the crowd in Oakland was far superior, screaming and losing its collective mind over every one of Dave and Ed’s facial tics. And Dave still looks happier than a hyperactive kid on Christmas morning about being back in the band.

Having Dave back in the band brought a buzz to the night not seen at a Bay Area Van Halen show in decades. The stars were out – at least in one section. Billie Joe Armstrong (sporting a beard, flannel and trucker’s hat) and Tre Cool from Green Day were there. I talked with Billie Joe for a couple minutes before the lights went down – he was clearly stoked (enough to bring his son to the show). They were in the same row as Tony La Russa and his family. Tony loves guitar rock – he showed up for an interview with me last month wearing a Tesla shirt. Brad Gillis was there, but backstage. His former Night Ranger bandmate Alan Fitzgerald handles Van Halen’s keyboards on the side of the stage. I offered to be part of Brad’s entourage last week, but he wasn’t biting.

In the parking lot before the show, where I was hanging with a bunch of my buddies with whom I’d seen Van Halen shows going back to high school, a guy got out of his truck and approached me, asking my name. I told him, and he smiled triumphantly back toward his truck. Apparently he and his wife had a bet over whether the foolish man parading around in someone else’s purple wool hat (I swear it wasn’t mine – this was Jim Harrington’s doing) was that columnist-guy from the Times. I asked him what they bet, but he didn’t even have to say. The wolfish grin he aimed back at his wife told me all I needed to know.  

Hey, anytime I can help a guy out …

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
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Van Halen Tonight

I’m going to Van Halen in Oakland tonight, and it’s sort of an historic occasion for me. 

 The last time I saw Van Halen at the Oakland Arena – or whatever the hell it’s now called – was my first arena rock show - 1981 on the Fair Warning tour. I was a week out of eighth grade. I feel like a 40-year-old geek, but I’m totally stoked to go again tonight for a couple reasons:

1) I saw them a few weeks back in Sacramento and they were great; funny enough, the best I’ve seen them since Dave left the band.

2) I’m going with a bunch of the same high school buddies with whom I went to all those great Van Halen shows in the ’80s. We’ll be in the north parking lot a couple hours before the show. If you see me, stop and say hi. I’ll talk about the show on my blog tomorrow. Anyone else going tonight should feel free to chime in.

Posted on Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
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Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

So the Cosco Busan escaped the Bay Area on Thursday morning.

Hey guys, thanks for stopping by. We appreciate the inept seamanship, bad steering, and general incompetence that marked your stay. Hopefully you can come by again some time, foul our waters, kill a couple thousand birds, poison some fish, spread tar on our beaches, and generally piss us off.

Thanks for leaving us that wonderful holiday present of 58,000 gallons of oil which, as you know, doesn’t come very cheap these days. I just wish you would’ve found a better way to deliver it than using the Bay Bridge as a can opener. Apparently, it was a surprise gift.

It was such a surprise, no one was ready for it. But that makes sense. It’s not like there’s a lot of water in the Bay Area, so we shouldn’t have state and federal agencies ready for this sort of thing. Now, if we had oil refineries around here, it might be a different story …

You ever wonder how the human race managed to invent the toaster, never mind going to the Moon? If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s a matter of priorities.

Photo of Cosco Busan successfully navigating the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge on Thursday by Flickr user James Leigh-Fellows under Creative Commons license

Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2007
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I Saw Mommy Throwing Chairs at Santa Claus

I love tender stories of good old-fashioned family fun on the holidays.

I remember when I was a kid and my family would pick fights at my Christmas program. Mom tossing chairs at other parents, grandpa breaking bottles and chasing kids on stage. It’s good to see they continue the tradition in North Carolina.

What the hell is wrong with people? Do they sell liquor at holiday pageants in North Carolina? The second you say something or confront someone, you ruin the fun for every kid that’s worked hard to put this thing on.

The worst part is that no arrests were made. Hopefully Santa will sneak up on these people while they sleep on Christmas Eve and beat them with a shovel. 

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
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Please MAKE IT STOP!

This is almost too horrible to contemplate. The only thing that could be worse would be if the rumors that her big sister is pregnant again are true.

Britney Spears’ 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn is pregnant.

No, really.

I guess their mother’s pending book on parenting will have to be put on hold indefinitely. Probably forever. To recap: one of Lynne Spears’ daughters — the older, insane, far less mature one — lost custody of her two children to an unemployed former dancer and bad rapper who left his last girlfriend while she was pregnant with the second of their children. She did so by non-stop partying, driving unsafely with her kids in her car, missing court dates, and traipsing around town in the worst pink wig seen since … ever. Yet rumors persist that she may be pregnant again, meaning that the judge and three social workers would be required in the delivery room, to snatch the baby as it comes out and give it to Angelina Jolie.

Jamie Lynn, on the other hand, is ten years younger, but supposedly at least ten years more mature. I don’t know if she really had much of a career as an actress ahead of her (I’ve seen her show and she’s at least as good as the lit-up Santa Claus currently standing in my front yard). But this certainly won’t help.

At least she can call her sister for parenting advice … then do the exact opposite of what she says.

What the hell is wrong with these people? They seem to think children are like puppies, y’all.

Somewhere Lindsay Lohan’s mother is having a good laugh this morning.

Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
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Wesley Snipes’ Brain Explodes

Wesley Snipes has, apparently, hit himself in the head with his nunchuks one too many times.

Stories circulating Monday had Snipes claiming all the attention paid to his current tax evasion case is due to racism. Snipes, 45, is due to stand trial next month in Florida on charges he fraudulently claimed tax refunds of almost $12 million in 1996 and 1997. Which, by the way, is a lot of money. He is also accused of failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004.

He says, “It was easy for people to jump on the ‘Wesley’s the bad guy’ bandwagon. That’s where I think the systematic racism comes in. We’re conditioned in this country to believe that if there’s a problem, the black man is the culprit.”

Well … maybe he’s right. If the black man cheats the government out of $12 million in tax money.

Then again, I don’t remember Wesley Snipes’ tax troubles keeping me awake at night. Of course when you’re talking about millions in tax evasion from a celebrity, it’s going to be reported. But it certainly hasn’t been one of the biggest celebrity scandal stories this year. Not with white girls like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan to kick around.

Hey, don’t we still make fun of Willie Nelson for tax evasion? Yeah, it must be because he’s black.

Snipes may have a point, since the case involves two co-defendants who are white and may or may not be pursued as hard as Snipes. But much of his gripes seem to be about the media coverage and, frankly, since when has the media cared about a couple no-name tax experts?

But that’s not even the silliest thing Snipes is going around saying (again, see “too many nunchuk blows to the head”). He also blames discrimination for the box office failure of his 2004 movie “Blade: Trinity.” “There are so few guys who do action and do it well (true). Even fewer who are African-American (true again). Even fewer who have classical-theater training (er …what?). So a cat like me coming in, I’m bringing all of that to an action movie. Since there are so few people that do this and have that pedigree, people disregard their contribution.”

Or, it could just be that, despite parading around molten-hot Jessica Biel in bad-ass workout clothes, killing vampires left and right, the movie wasn’t that great — unlike the first two movies when, funny enough, Snipes’ color didn’t stop people from going to see them. I loved those movies. I couldn’t get enough. And, if I remember correctly (never count on it), Snipes went around complaining when the movie was released that there was too much Biel (couldn’t happen) and Ryan Reynolds (yeah, probably) and not enough Wesley (also true). That’s why the movie didn’t get any attention then, he said. Now it’s because he’s black.

Hey, I’m as much a pinko liberal as the next commie tree-hugger. Racism is everywhere in our society and it’s sickening. But when black celebrities do stupid things and immediately say the rest of us are pointing the finger at them only because they’re black, it only hurts the credibility of black people everywhere, unfortunately, who have REAL institutional excuses for their trouble.

Apparently some white people somewhere like Wesley Snipes movies, or we wouldn’t be talking about $12 million in taxes to begin with.

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
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Tony Hicks is on Drugs

Since it’s going to come out today anyway, I’ll go ahead and beat George Mitchell to the punch.

I’m on steroids.

Have been since I won my first Press Club award back in ’97. I couldn’t get enough. Besides giving me a highly-chisled, intimidating frame of which the ladies just couldn’t get enough, suddenly the words seemed clearer, the meaning deeper, the zingers … zingier. And now that Mitchell has finished his investigation, I’m sure to face deeper scrutiny. I’m sure the TV cameras will roll in here any second now.

So I’d just like to apologize. But I didn’t make anything up. Well … not much. Except for some of the stuff about explosions and fires and chainsaws … and cows.

I’d be curious though, and I’ll leave the serious commentary to the Sports guys, to go back and listen to some of F.P. Santangilo’s talk show comments the past couple years, especially on KNBR, where seven seconds can’t pass without someone offering an opinion on Barry Bond’s growing skull. Somebody needs to do some research. Unfortunately, I’m really busy with real journalism, like stories about Britney Spears shopping at gas stations at 2 a.m.

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007
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