the great marc canter asks, which miles movie did it best

even though i am a glutton for information

there’s a wildly unexplainable part of me that does not want to know certain things

lets make a list

  • my mothers health ailments
  • my savings account totals
  • what the owners of the cubs intend to do with my favorite players
  • how much better my life would be if i went all vegan
  • how often Sammy Sosa used a corked bat
  • if robert johnson sold his soul to the devil
  • what the kitchens look like of my favorite restaurants
  • what my cats think of me
  • if an actor could totally nail down miles davis

some myths i prefer

i saw miles play at the hollywood bowl when i was brand new to los angeles and

to this day he was the coolest performer ive ever seen

did not give one fuck about what anyone thought about anything

he was there to do his thing

and he did not over do it

it was so perfect and i dont think theres anyone around today even close

unconscious giant walking among us

the closest thing ive seen to it was mr kurdt kobain but it could have been the heroin

nirvana at the forum kurt was just so blaise about everything

like punk bands can just sell out the forum like nbd

but at that point they were also the biggest pop band so they coulda probably done it three nights in a row

a move theyd have done

if they cared.

in the middle of the acoustic set, kurdt is just sitting there on a stool

doing a few songs alone

and this guy throws a shoe at him and it almost hits him

kurdt pretended like it didnt happen

i need to get to that level.

yes it’s punk to throw a shoe at yr idol

but its more punk to not even react.


Recently on Instagram & Facebook I have put up some posts that have raised some questions from some very good people.

I will address them here.

Tony, how does the vax help you from spreading it to your neighbors? The only people I know who have gotten it lately are people who are vaccinated. And they are also the ones that have not been wearing masks n are socializing a lot.

According to the World Health Organization, getting vaccinated helps your body prepare for when it really gets attacked by the virus.

When our body receives a tiny version of the disease it fights it off and not only creates antibodies but when it is met again with the disease – even in a more powerful form – it has a memory of the initial engagement and is able to fight the disease again much quicker.

Not everyone can receive vaccinations, though. This makes it more important for those of us who can to do so in order to raise the herd immunity.

Forcing anyone to do anything with their body is not love. FEEL into it and tell me different.

I know this might sound like I am dismissing your statement, but I swear I am not.

I don’t believe I can force anyone into doing anything. Likewise I don’t think anyone can force me into doing things I don’t want to do. What I am doing is what I have done from the moment I could read and write: I am sharing my opinion about things.

I am very sorry if it feels like I am forcing my beliefs onto you. I know I can often have strong opinions. I am not as nuanced as those who I admire.

When you say get the jab or die, are you acting from love or are you spreading fear and trying to control using a mask of love?

If you are referring to this cartoon I posted. My caption to it is “Is this where we’re at?”

I was truly asking a question.

But really it is a question less about those who choose not to get vaxxed but those of us who are in angst thinking about our friends and neighbors who are not getting vaxxed. For so many people, including myself, this isn’t even a debatable proposition: there’s a deadly thing out there, scientists around the world worked together to fight it, it’s here in the nick of time, get the shot.

But now there’s this unprecedented aversion to getting the shot by many and Everyone seems stressed out. So when I saw that cartoon I saw it as “just give up on the battle, Tony. People are adults. They have made countless decisions that have worked out. Don’t fight it.”

Thus I asked, “is this where we’re at?” aka acceptance that if the worst outcome happens it wont hurt us as much because we have already washed our hands to it.

Do you really love your neighbor no matter what choices they are making or do you want to control them, pretending to care cuz really you just want to get back to your life? Maybe the higher “test” here is about actually loving your neighbor, as they are. About choosing to love despite difficult circumstances. Choosing to act as a unifying force in love and not creating more fear, divide and control w your words.

My next door neighbor voted for Trump, listens to right wing conspiracy theory YouTube stuff, and watches Fox News. Only because his job made him do it did he get jabbed. But I love him for many reasons. We have a shared love of classic rock, for example, that I try to focus on whenever the discussion goes to politics.

My church recently had a sermon about the line in Matthew about loving our neighbor and loving our enemies. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus basically says big deal if you love those who already love you… “if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”

Loving those who are different than us is one of the signs … to the world… that we are following in Jesus’s path. I did not consciously do that with my neighbor. But the church was talking about Trump supporters in general and how we should do our best to try not to demonize them or anyone who does not share in our beliefs.

Broader, I do care about my neighbors. Those who live in a controversial church, those who hog up the parking, those who talk trash about California. But I don’t give myself credit for that. I feel like I was born with it. I am always trying to look at the good in people. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism so I don’t slide into a dark EMO abyss. But I do love people – and am not pretending to do so in this case.

We are all going to die. I just don’t want it to be from something relatively easily preventable.

But bigger than that — if the ICUs and hospitals are packed with COVID patients, most of whom are not vaccinated, and people who are rushed in that ER for heart attacks, stabbings, gun shot wounds, accidents, and other emergencies are not able to get a bed bc of the COVID patients… that makes me incredibly sad.

What would Jesus do? I’m not religious but I know what coercion feels like, I know fear, I know control. I also know what Covid feels like as an essential worker. I choose love.

I have no idea what Jesus would do. Even though I have read the Good Book several times, Jesus was a complicated person who not only spoke in parables but did unexpected things.

That’s why I usually revert back to his final commandment. I do this because I feel like he was just as confused with Earth and humans as humans were confused by him. Ultimately he sorta threw his hands up and said, you know what, fuck everything else… just love each other. Love each other like I have loved you.

Again I don’t believe I am capable of making anyone do anything. Otherwise I would have a ton more Patreons on my podcast 🙂

I think that my love language is… language. I call them how I see them. In public. Every day. Often about silly matters. Sometimes about serious things. This is very serious.

Do you know you have friends who are not vaccinated? [names redacted] Do u think that u are better able to make our choices for us? 

I do know about one of them. I was not aware of the others.

I will tell you a little secret. I feel I have zero influence in the world. I have the lowest self esteem of anyone you know. When I write in this blog how blown away I am by something, or grateful that this or that thing happened to me… even decades later… it is because I am still amazed that it happened to me. Girls kissing me, jobs working out, awards being handed to me, the Cubs winning the World Series… very few of those things feel real to me. Those are things that happen to others, not me.

Therefore I, in no way, feel like I know better. All I know is what I see and read and trust.

In this instance it appears that the data is overwhelmingly one-sided: it is safer to get vaccinated than to not get vaccinated.

But one difference about me than most people: I seem to be less afraid to state my opinions in public and have open conversations with Everyone than your average bear. Therefore I don’t see why I should change that pattern on this matter… one that has affected life on Earth more than any one thing in our lifetime.

Tony, for years I have known that your diet is not of the highest nutritional value. That is known to cause early death and all numbers of problems. Do you want to be forced to “eat right” or do you appreciate the fact that we don’t know your body and we love your quirks and….let you live your life.

It is true that I am not the healthiest eater. Over the years I have made progress, but it is only because of friends and loved ones constantly nudging me and talking with me and cooking good things and pushing me.

Sometimes it really does take a village. I love my village and I love you for keeping it real. Two of my neighbors are vegans and we talk about that life all the time. My assistant at the LA Times is a vegan and taught me soooo much.

None of them can force me to eat right. But by their example and by their conversations with me, I am on a far better path than where I was. Thank God for all of them.

Controlling people to make the world “safe” is an illusion and is not love. The only reason I reach out to you to say this is cuz…I know you do love and I know that you are not pig headed or abusive in your debates. Are you creating more compassionate unity or are you creating more division  and judgement w your words? And apparently on the other side of that illusion stands people you know and love. 

Again I don’t believe I can control anyone. I can’t even control myself! I should have been working on work this afternoon but I am writing this because I have huge respect for these questions and those who are asking them.

I have no idea if I am creating compassionate unity or division. Obviously I don’t want to divide. I am not so naive to think my words do absolutely nothing. But in a weird way I look at them as butterflies: they go wherever they go and I have zero control over where they land and if they inspire people or repulse them.

All I know at the end of the day is I am driven to write down what I think as honestly as I can and as clearly as I can.

In that sense I am trying to lead by example. I am not saying my beliefs are The Way, I am suggesting that having an open dialogue will lead to the compassionate unity I think you are talking about… whereas the lack of communication can lead to division and judgement.

Thank you soooo much for engaging with me and not letting these questions fester inside.

today i found out the saddest thing

someone i hadnt talked to in a long time called me to fill me in on something i didn’t know.

someone i had so much respect for, it turns out, lied to me, several times, strung me along, and then did something hurtful to me and others.

the person on the phone asked how should i feel about this? and then, how do you feel about this?

and because it’s Christmas Eve, and because i love the Good Book because it shows humans being humans and good people sometimes being less than good, i know how to react to this.

sometimes in the Bible, God does something that is rarely talked about. He hardens people’s hearts. meaning, the good person would normally be all sweet and honest and transparent and welcoming, but suddenly acts out of character because God wants them to.

since none of us are God it’s hard to speculate why he wants them to act cruelly, but usually it’s not about them, it’s about our reaction to that curveball. sometimes God wants to watch us do the right thing in spite of the situation.

and thats what we should do here. the right thing. and the right thing is to love this person and love all the people. especially when they’re lost.

it’s easy to be cool when everythings cool, but sometimes, i think, he wants to see if we will act ugly when ugly things come our way.

pleasantly surprise him.

life is short. surround yourself with people who act honorably around you. and when they fail, as we all do, forgive them and move on.

you have no idea what they’re going through or how badly they need a second chance. give it to them.

dear tony, what is the weirdest thing about you?


that is an amazing question. let me take a walk and think about this.

ok, back.

i figured it out.

i have a hard time finishing things.

it doesnt matter if it is a slice of pizza, a cold Coke, a novel, or a freelance assignment.

i dont think its an ADD thing. i really don’t know what it is.

if you have dinner with me it’s the most noticeable because i love to talk and listen and eat slowly because when i was young i would get super bad stomach aches if i ate fast. so now i eat slow and painfully slow at restaurants.

but no way do i finish the meal there. unless it’s sushi. but not in n out, not mcdonalds, not The Pantry, not even pho or ramen. i always need a doggy bag and everyone always makes fun of me and they should.

i have worked for Los Angeleno for over a year now and when i look back it’s a miracle that i finished over 100 pieces because i’ll write something and it will seem like — to me — that it took forever even if it only took two days. and the hardest part is always the end.

in part because i used to pride myself on having really good endings on things.

i once had this writing teacher who said the worst thing you could do to a reader was bore them. so i took that a step further and theorized that the best thing you could do to them is reward them for making it to the end. so you better have a damn good ending for their ass. so id try extra hard to stick the landing.

lately i have not really done that. sometimes i’ll get lucky, but i feel like in the past i had a higher success rate at having a killer ending.

also of late i have had a very hard time doing freelance work. my mind is elsewhere. is it COVID? is it Trump? is it this crazy lockdown? the lack of concerts ive been able to attend?

for some reason i just cannot do the simplest things no matter how much people offer to pay me. all i think about is Los Angeleno and baseball cards. i dont even watch that much tv any more.

and for damn sure if im watching a TV series i wont finish it unless i totally have to.

because the only thing i hate worse than the DH is spoilers.

dear tony, what do you do about racists?

junior highmama mia

for a long time i tried to ignore them.

i tried to believe that some people are mean and some people just sometimes act mean.

i guess i felt like in this modern world, surely people are smart enough to know whats racist and whats not and they wouldnt act racist to your face.

but either something changed when Trump got elected and they were emboldened or i had just given them more credit than they deserve.

because i am a child of God i dont back down.

i dont think God wants his kids to cower. he wants us to be brave and strong and reflect his coolness — even when we dont feel those things ourselves.

so i dont block them on twitter or facebook or wherever , and if they engage with me, ill engage right back.

if this was the basketball court and two guys showed up talking crazy racist smack, why would you leave? play them. beat them. talk the whole time. run your mouth, make your moves, show them the Black excellence they obviously showed up to witness.

but win. definitely win.

same goes for using words online or in person or wherever.

how is a racist gonna beat me, a person who has written poems and novellas and countless news and opinion articles on the basketball court of Words?

on this blog alone there are over 12,000 posts. how are the ignorant who can barely spell gonna beat me in a tweet or a facebook comment?

use your words.

how do i deal with racists? racists are not my problem.

the demons in my head are.

the ones who say you cant do this or youre too old to do this or that or youre too fat to do this or that or youre not enough this or not enough that.

racists are small potatoes.

small, soft, delicious starch in the Chunky Soup of life.

dunk on them every time and when they’re panting, sweating, and broken, buy them a Coke like the child of God you are.

dear tony, can you lose yr magic juice?



anything magic is a gift from above that we have zero control over.

not that control is not an illusion

but we have less control over gifts.

sometimes you get a tie

sometimes you get a sweater

and sometimes you get the exact same thing youve always wanted.

more attention should be made about

how will i use this incredible tool i hope to one day have

and will it help the most amount of people?

instead of omg i want i want.

i have been in situations where i was waiting and waiting for the ball

and then i dropped it.

fortunately there were few spectators.

but still.

and others i got it

and not only did the right thing

but added a little soul.

those things all were boosted by magic from above

but i was even ready for that.

dear reader you will never lose your magic juice

but sometimes like in exodus theres gonna be feast

and theres gonna be famine.

its great to be prepared for both.

but today i heard there were blackouts all over town because of the heat.

so i say, hey baby, lets make sure we know where all the flashlights and candles are

she said i threw out all your candles.

and i looked around and

she wasnt lying.

sure glad we had that discussion tonight

and not in the middle of a blackout.


the secret to growing communities that grow

i have been so lucky to have been able to work at some of the coolest online ventures around. from LAist to the LA Times to the Oscars. but it all started here on this very blog, the busblog.

one thing i learned at LAist was – it helps if you love the content as much as you love the audience.

when you love something you do it with rose colored glasses. so you might miss some of the issues. but thats ok because when you notice that certain things are bad, you will rush to fix it. not out of any weird power trip but because you want everyone else to enjoy the thing you’re making with them.

so the first thing is love. love it, love them. otherwise it’s just work and you can tell if something is being run by someone who loves it compared to someone who is just doing it for the money and health benefits.

the next thing is be open to change, be open to creativity, be open to possibilities, be open to things that are scary, be open like youve never been open before.

if America wasn’t open to expansion we would never have had the Louisiana Purchase and we would have never made it to the Golden State. And now California is as mighty as most foreign countries. it pays to be open. it pays to figure out ways to grow. will there be growing pains? of course. don’t freak out. as the hitchhikers guide wisely advises: dont panic.

at every group blog ive seen or worked with there were more than a few superstar writers who some thought were irreplaceable. we are all irreplaceable. the yankees have won championships without Babe Ruth. the Lakers have won without Magic. life goes on without tony pierce and all the rest. and thats ok. what is freaky is how quickly life can go on without this star or that one. it’s been over 35 years since SNL lost John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray and that show still trends every Sunday.

the show will go on. so dont fear change. if you wanna be punk rock, embrace it. and if you wanna be new wave: be the change.

which brings us the my favorite facebook group Howard Stern for Fans who Actually Like Howard Stern.

no one asked for this group. i started it last year, wellllllll into the last stages of his career. he only has a show 3x a week, 2x a month. there were already at least 100 howard stern groups, and yet suddenly ours is on pace to being the most popular one on Facebook. how?

because i have set rules. i enforce the rules. it’s just me plus some superfans who let me know via flagging or instant message when people are being rude. and i allow the group to metaporphisize into whatever it’s gonna be. and i will call bullshit on certain trends. and i am not afraid to boot people or protect others.

but i really think the secret sauce is i love howard’s show and history, and i know it, and ive been around the block in regards to social, so i can see trouble before it happens.

what i love about this chart on the tippy top is, anyone can have good numbers in your first 6-7 months cuz youre new and cute. but if you suck people will bail out and stop telling their friends. whats interesting about this group is it started hot, and has continued to be hot for the last 6-7 months too. even though howard has had hella vacation, even though more stern groups have sprouted. even though ive been obsessed with a secret project. the growth is growing at a pace of 61%.

every week we are getting between 250-350 new members. and theyre staying. lots of posts.

i had one guy say, how many admins do you have? i said me. he said, im in this group but i admin another one about a cable TV show and we have 4 admins. how do you do it? i say, i let them be. he said, no way would that work with us? i asked why? he said the founder of the group wants everything approved. that takes time. and the quality is better.

i said how do you know if the quality is better if its always been one way. maybe when people are free they write better or they say things that omg that One guy doesnt like or the other 3 admins. thats a lot of ways to get vetoed. here i only have a few ways to get vetoed: poop, disparaging howard robin or beth, politics and a few others. most people are cool with that and it allows space for people to be free.

freedom is everything for growth. give a tree a lot of space, a lot of sunshine, and tons of water and that baby will grooooooooooooow.

now bababooey to you all.

tony what is the purpose of anything?

dear tony, why should we try? why should we try to push the boundaries, the envelope, whatever you want to call it? why shouldn’t we just march in formation and do whatever the person with the loudest bullhorn says?

dear sweet reader,

i don’t know about you. but when i look at the map of the USA my eyes move from right to left. often very quickly.

when i look at the East Coast i see the past. i see a bunch of smooshed up places all knotted up with each other and really only one or two of the places matter. boston knows it doesnt matter which is why theyve flooded the place with colleges so they could figure it out.

but ive figured it out. we need progress, which is why the eye moves from right to left on the map. from the past to the wholesomeness to the wild west. the west is the future. somewhat the present but more the near future.

we need that progress to live. ask Payless and Sears and Circuit City what happens when you are not constantly progressing. you die. you die right there in the rut that you buried yourself in.

is it exhausting to be ahead of the pack? isn’t easier to just lay back and coast along with the middle? yes. and fewer bugs hit your windscreen. and you’re more likely to hit a pothole or black ice or a swarm of bees.

but is also provides the best view, the most excitement, and schools aren’t named after followers, they’re named after leaders, explorers, warriors.

do your job. live up to expectations. make magic when no ones looking.

and get fucking schools named after your ass

what if the what ifs are right

what if the voices are speaking from the future and they know and theyre there to protect us and especially you then what do you do what do you say what if they know

which is an excellent question for this weeks ask tony and i know the answer to that perfectly and here it is

there are two songs on the playlist. neither are good. the one is the mopey sad scared boring panicking drone that says its not gonna happen everyones out to get you the end of the world is nigh

the other is saying oh but youre the exception to the rules youre the chosen one youre the golden child incapable of failure, try, try, try all will be well, and then vacation a little more you deserve it!

dont you think basketball players at the free throw line hear the people booing and shouting and trying to distract them

of course. and they know theres nothing good in listening, so they listen to the other song, you can make this, you can do this, you have done it, youve done it millions of times, just hit it and smile on your jog back down the court

practice your acceptance speeches, not your defenses

prepare for success, not death

seek out the fuck yes