a long time ago

in a galaxy far far away, there lived three bad roommates in a house in atwater california.

the year was 1994. the beastie boys were recording their last great record a quarter mile away. my roommates were greg vaine, the finest lead guitar player in hollywood at the time, and jeff whalen who liked to wear david hasslehoff capes.

not everything was perfect in our lovely home. jeff and greg were working out songs for a band they were forming, i was lonely and dateless, and when the northridge earthquake hit we could all sense the pressure of being young bachelors in close quaters.

so instead of fighting i suggested that we go down into our tiny basement practice room and deliver angry rock covers to the gods as the afterquakes continually rollicked our abode.

after weeks of playing all the party hits we knew, we realized we had something. it wasnt great, but it was decent, and there was no pressure and no expectations. it was fun, it was dumb, and it was funny.

we called ourselves Chopper One after the news helicopters that reported on the madness that hit our fine city that year: floods, fires, and quakes.

we decided to play our debut to our friends in our home.

greg videotaped it.

dan kern and marc brown, among others were in attendence.

if you click the picture above of miss mexico, miss lebanon, and miss albania you will see us rip through lenny kravitz’s classic hit of the day.

the video is bad and the audio is worse, but perhaps you can witness some of what was, until now, the unearthed glory that was Chopper One.

or you could just click here

jeff whalen’s new band tsar comes out with their second cd on june 7

and yes, tsar is the band that youve seen recently in the new nestle crunch/napster commersh.

greg vaine‘s anniversary with molli is today. happy anniversary kids!

if richard daley wasnt dead,

today would be his 103rd birthday.

he was a crazy mayor, but a great mirror to the city that i grew up in near.

here are some of his more famous quotes, and then a segment from a column that mike royko wrote when the famous Piccasso was unveiled in what is now called Daley Plaza made famous by the climatic finale of the film the blues brothers

I resent insinuendoes.

I’m not the last of the old bosses. I’m the first of the new leaders.

Don’t worry if they’re Democrats or Republicans. Give them service and they’ll become Democrats.

Even the Lord had skeptical members of His party.

Look at our Lords disciples. One denied Him; one doubted Him; one betrayed Him. If our Lord couldn’t have perfection, how are you going to have it in city government?

No poll can equal the day-to-day visits of the men and women of the Democratic Party.

Return to the fundamentals of politics – sell our story door to door.

Television and radio do a wonderful job in focusing attention on the problems of our society.

The Democratic Party is the party that opened its arms. We opened them to every nationality, every creed. We opened them to the immigrants. The Democratic Party is the party of the people.

The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder.

The strength of the Democratic Party of Cook County is not something that just happened.

They have vilified me, they have crucified me; yes, they have even criticized me.

We all like to hear a man speak out on his convictions and principles. But at the same time, you must understand that when you’re running on a ticket, you’re running with a team.

We are proud to have with us the poet lariat of Chicago.

We as Democrats have no apologies to make to anyone.

We have to face it: in America today the way to have fun and celebrate is to break a store window and take something. That’s the way it is, today in America, and we have to accept it.

We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievment.

What is inherently wrong with the word ‘politician’ if the fellow has devoted his life to holding public office and trying to do something for his people?

Chicago Sun-Times
August 16, 1967
“Picasso and the Cultural Rebirth of Chicago”

Mayor Daley walked to the white piece of ribbon and put his hand on it. He was about to give it a pull when the photographers yelled for him to wait. He stood there for a minute and gave them that familiar blend of scowl and smile.

It was good that he waited. This was a moment to think about, to savor what was about to happen. In just a moment, with a snap of the mayor’s wrist, Chicago history would be changed. That’s no small occurrence·the cultural rebirth of a big city.

Out there in the neighborhoods and the suburbs, things probably seemed just the same. People worried about the old things·would they move in and would we move out? Or would we move in and would they move out?

But downtown, the leaders of culture and influence were gathered for a historical event and it was reaching a climax with Mayor Daley standing there ready to pull a ribbon.

Thousands waited in and around the Civic Center plaza. They had listened to the speeches about the Picasso thing. They had heard how it was going to change Chicago’s image.

They had heard three clergymen·a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant minister·offer eloquent prayers. That’s probably a record for a work by Picasso, a dedicated atheist.

And now the mayor was standing there, ready to pull the ribbon.

You could tell it was a big event by the seating. In the first row on the speakers platform was a lady poet. In the second row was Alderman Tom Keane. And in the third row was P. J. Cullerton, the assessor. When Keane and Cullerton sit behind a lady poet, things are changing.

The only alderman in the front row was Tom Rosenberg. And he was there only because it was a cultural event and he is chairman of the City Council’s Culture Committee, which is in charge of preventing aldermen from spitting, swearing, and snoring during meetings.

The whole thing had been somber and serious. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra had played classical music. It hadn’t played even one chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

Chief Judge John Boyle had said the Picasso would become more famous than the Art Institute’s lions. Boyle has vision.

Someone from the National Council of Arts said it was paying tribute to Mayor Daley. This brought an interested gleam in the eyes of a few ward committeemen.

William Hartmann, the man who thought of the whole thing, told of Picasso’s respect for Mayor Daley. Whenever Hartmann went to see Picasso, the artist asked:

“Is Mayor Daley still mayor of Chicago?”

When Hartmann said this, Mayor Daley bounced up and down in his chair, he laughed so hard. So did a few Republicans in the cheap seats, but they didn’t laugh the same way.

After the ceremony, it came to that final moment the mayor standing there holding the white ribbon.

Then he pulled.

There was a gasp as the light blue covering fell away in several pieces. But it was caused by the basic American fascination for any mechanical feat that goes off as planned.

In an instant the Picasso stood there unveiled for all to see.

A few people applauded. But at best, it was a smattering of applause. Most of the throng was silent.

They had hoped, you see, that it would be what they had heard it would be.

A woman, maybe. A beautiful soaring woman. That is what many art experts and enthusiasts had promised. They had said that we should wait that we should not believe what we saw in the pictures.

If it was a woman, then art experts should put away their books and spend more time in girlie joints.

The silence grew. Then people turned and looked at each other. Some shrugged. Some smiled. Some just stood there, frowning or blank-faced.

Most just turned and walked away. The weakest pinch-hitter on the Cubs receives more cheers.

read the rest of royko’s column + runjenrun + jozjozjoz

the breeze said to get on the bus.

the sun said to get on the bus.

the way the mexican blanket in the french window said oui get on the bus senior made it impossible to resist so the ipod was juiced up, the blogger was juiced up, the books were piled into the back pack

and the bus was taken.

yesterday was the 2 Sunset.

i often find myself in the gentrified los feliz area, but i try to keep it real south of sunset with clipper girls cousin who stays in lil armenia. shes hardly ever home and right now she and her cousin are on their annual vacation in hawaii to enjoy the playoffs with their teammates. cheermates. whatever they call themselves.

the 2 picked me up near vermont and it either goes all the way to gladstones on pch right on the pacific, or if its a short line it will take you right up in the center of uclas surreal campus.

being unchained and in whatevs mode for weeks now i didnt even look to see where we were going or care how long itd take. ive had the hardest time editing this unpublished book of stories, so what a better way to concentrate than howard stern in your ear as you bounce down sunset on an 80 degree saturday afternoon.

another man had joined me in my joyride and when we entered beverly hills he asked the busdriver, hey where does this bus go

this is the short line he told him

but i couldnt hear and i didnt care

ucla was the end of the line.

got out and walked through the east coast architecture sitting in one of the best neighborhoods in town.

acres and acres this thing stretches out for. miles even. miles of prime everything. realestate. history. knowhow. fame. fourtune. excellence.

and yet for some reason a graduate from ucla seems as commonplace as a a blonde in a miniskirt with a louis vitton clutch in the sunshine.

nothing wrong with it, per se, but, you know.

found some shade on a steep slope that overlooked a track n field competition. nearby a brass band was practicing. a fellow visitor who appeared to be from persia approached me and asked if i knew where the library was. she was beautiful and young. at ucsb we had eight libraries so i knew something fishy was going on so i said Como?

she left and i read my little book and thought about danielle and flagrant and ice cream and the hypotenuse of love.

got my reading done and walked to the village while wondering how great a shrink flagrant would be if she told everyone the absolute truth like in the diceman, which now i finally have time to finish, and after getting an ice cream, who did i run across eating an icecream sandwich with her two lovely friends, the hawaiian girl of three weeks ago.

looking lovely.

standing up to give me a hug, which is body language my friends. yes it is.

this is a very small town i thought be nice to everyone

im always nice to everyone she said

and again i had been caught thinking out loud.

congratulations bunny! + congratulations dogboy! + alecia