Monthly Archives: August 2005

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

A note: yes, there are many more pictures of San Francisco than LA. Thats because we were on foot much more in the former city- and thats cause nobody friggin walks in LA.
Here We Go:

Right after arriving in San Francisco, we took off for Golden Gate Park, and specifically an area known as Hippie Hill. Upon arriving we happened upon a performance by something called the San Francisco Mime Troupe– who since they spoke, sang, and danced, were certainly the most vocal mimes Ive ever seen.
Anyway, the mime performance, nearest we could gather, was a dramatization of bad acts by the CIA, with various vignettes set in different countries, such as Panama, Nicaragua, and Iran. After a skit in which the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was portrayed in glowingly positive terms, a man got up and recited a poem, the highlight of which was America, America, you will be humbled/America, your towers will crumble, after which the audience applauded. We left right then; even my sister, whose politics are about 45 degrees to my left, was horrified.

The sister and I, in front of the Bay Bridge. Not sure which part collapsed during the 89 World Series earthquake- anyone remember?

Alcatraz. We didnt take the tour, but if we had I wouldve spent the entire time reciting lines from The Rock- Id take pleasure in guttin you, boy! What kinda FUCKED UP tour is this?

Lombard Street, Americas most crooked street.

Becca and I, overlooking the skyline.

The historic Real World house, from the 1994 season, which housed Puck, Pedro, and the others.

A unique San Francisco character known as the Bushman. He crouches in front of a garbage can, disguised as a bush, and then jumps up to scare passersby. An act that, for some reason, never gets old.

Authentic San Francisco crab bread.

Amy and Becca try on their pimp hats.

As do I.

Lots of Steve Silvers in San Francisco. Here’s a bust of the late, great creator of Steve Silvers Beach Blanket Babylon, a popular musical revue that is Americas longest continuously-running stage musical. The shows author was #1 on Google for Steve Silver, prior to the creation of this blog.

The famed City Lights bookstore in North Beach. I appreciate its historical value, of course, but on its own merits City Lights doesnt compare with the Strand in New York. Also, way too large a collection of Ward Churchill books.

Thats what Im talking about.

Hanging off the trolley. The one at Lake Harriet is merely a pale imitation.

Even this coffee companys headquarters has a Starbucks in it.

SBC Park- now with 100% less Barry Bonds!

More about those Steve Silvers- here I am with Stephen A. Silver, a longtime reader of this blog who we met for dinner before the game. Nice to finally meet him after years of correspondence; as you can tell hes a much better dresser than I am.

Meanwhile, back at the stadium, the Giants defeated the Phillies on shutout pitching from Noah Lowry, who needed last-out relief help from LaTroy Hawkins. Tons of Philly fans on-hand though, and the Phils do still hold the wild-card lead.

The Giants have decided to borrow the Mets innovation of holding ethnic nights late in the season in order to drum up interest, and unfortunately, we missed Jewish Night by just a few days. We were there for Irish Night, which unfortunately did not include the serving of Guinness in the ballpark. What was served, however, were garlic fries- which made the entire stadium smell like garlic.

The kids get their own, private, SBC Park in center field. Call it the real ballparks Mini-Me.

News flash: P.J. Carlesimo has retired from NBA coaching, and is now giving tours at the Robert Mondavi winery in Napa.

The Niebaum/Coppola winery. In addition to great wine, a mini-museum of film memorabilia, including Coppolas fathers Oscar (for scoring The Godfather) and an elaborate Coppola family tree. The highlight was probably the offered deal in which $200 buys a large bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with the Apocalypse Now Redux DVD.

More Silvers, I tell ya

Rosebud Hearst Castle, in San Simeon.

Skeeball in Santa Cruz, with the 27-and-over world champion.

Becca and I, on the beach of Carmel (not pictured- former mayor Clint Eastwood).

I got a snake, man!

SO MONEY, AND YOU DONT EVEN KNOW IT: Me outside the Dresden room in LA, sight of the kill the bunny scene in Swingers. Also visited the Derby (where he meets Heather Graham), and drove by both Mikeys apartment and the 101 coffee shop (Our little babys all growed up!)

Silver and Rockwell- badasses. Blogger extraordinaire Jordan was kind enough to host us the first two nights in LA. Be sure to check out his forthcoming book and reality show.

Becca and I at Universal Studios.

If youve got a two-year-old delinquent in your family, the kind who likes to hit traffic cops with Lexuses, moon their rivals, and smoke pot once in a blue moon, this is an ideal gift. And yes, were still glad to be rid of him.

The happy couple, in Beverly Hills on our first anniversary.

In Orange County, The Shadow knows.
Not pictured: A few other notes from the trip:
– I enjoyed San Fran a lot, but man, what a weird city in terms of weather. Fog every day we were there, and the temperature varies wildly depending on what part of each hill youre standing on. Not that theres any rhyme or reason to the cold levels on each part of the hills like in New York, you have to walk everywhere, but unlike New York, there are extremely steep hills all over the place.
– As demonstrated by Hippie Hill and other places, the freaks/hippies/hipsters in San Fran make the New York version look like Young Republicans by comparison. My sister said Id be a conservative Republican if I lived out there but, I told her, since she supports the continued existence of the State of Israel, she is too.
– Still, a beautiful waterfront on all sides, and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was a blast. Take it from my girlfriend, the bridge designer.
– We stopped by Berkeley and I found it, I dont know, underwhelming. Maybe it was just because schools out and no one was around, but it didnt seem any more interesting than any other college town.
– Loved LA. I know lots of people hate it, but I loved every minute I spent there. Didnt see any celebs though, probably because we werent on foot that much- because NOBODY WALKS.
– Also in LA, nice to finally meet Scott Ganz, the blogger/screenwriter (and one-half of Yuppies of Zion), who Ive been reading for 3 or 4 years. I had thought that Scott was the one who coined the phrase Fat Fat Fatty (in reference in Michael Moore), though he informed me that the etymology of the phrase comes from the original film of The Producers.
– Its a small (Jewish) world- we met an Israel-trip friend of Beccas who she hadnt seen in years, and her husband was the brother of a girl I knew in college.
– All in all, a wonderful trip, my first visit to the Golden State in 15 years. It probably wont be another 15 before I go back.

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In The News

A few news stories that I didn’t have a chance to comment on while I was away:
– It’s practically impossible to imagine the magnitude of what’s going on in New Orleans right now- I had thought previously that it was beyond the realm of possibility that a major U.S. city could simply cease to function, or that nearby towns could virtually cease to exist. And even more sadly, because it’s weather and not terrorism, virtually no one outside the Southeast will remember that it happened six months from now.
And one more pet peeve- stop talking about the hurricane’s “wrath,” or its “fury.” It’s a storm- it doesn’t get angry.
Meanwhile, Ann Althouse ties the whole thing to Katrina and the Waves (who sang “Walking on Sunshine”). There were a bunch of girls in my high school, including the homecoming queen, who were named Katrina- must have been a Scandinavian/Midwest thing- but maybe this will all have a silver lining in bringing back the popularity of the name. Worked for Storm Davis.
– That Clemens/Damon steroid story- yea. Sorry about that.
– As for the Cindy Sheehan story, watching rival groups of dead soldiers’ moms screaming at each other is just as sadly tiresome as watching the dueling rival Vietnam vets was this time last year. Cindy herself, meanwhile, gets less sympathy from me every time she opens her mouth- her attribution of the war in Iraq to “the PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel is just as wrong -and just as insane- as Alan Keyes’ repeated ramblings about the “radical homosexual agenda.”
– Pat Robertson- what a dumbass. Led to a great headline though: “Robertson neglected first rule in planning a murder — dont…” Pat, like Courtney Love, is at that stage now where everything that comes out of his mouth is likely to cause embarrassment to himself and everyone around him. Though at this point, Robertson’s probably a better singer.
– I didn’t see the “Six Feet Under” finale until today, but wow- an absolutely brilliant final ten minutes that managed to transcend cliche, probably the best ending to a great series since “Cheers” ended with Sam alone in the bar, 12 years ago. Say what you will about the show’s disastrous fourth season, and a few miss-steps this year- the show pulled itself together just in time, to end just the right way.
– And finally- speaking of HBO- I caught Louis CK’s standup special while on the trip. Absolutely brilliant stuff, probably the best standup I’ve seen since Lewis Black’s “Black on Broadway,” and I can’t wait for his new sitcom on the network next January. Get your hands on a tape of it, or On-Demand it.
California pictures to come tomorrow.

Save The Derby

One of the highlights of our recent trip to LA was the chance to visit the Derby, the Los Feliz nightspot popularized in one of my favorite films, “Swingers” (it’s where Favreau meets Heather Graham at the end). And “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans may recognize it as the place where Bob Cobb invented the Cobb Salad.
Now, this historic spot is supposedly in danger of closing, according to plans released by its landlord. Click here to join the effort to keep the historic Derby in business.