Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
As I was saying…
January 6, 2003
Tumbleweed’s Big Mean Brother / Where Reality Goes to Die / Rome Rebuilt in a Day / Appetite for Repetition / Forbidden Back Rooms / B–4, I–25
Today, Donna and I leave her brother at the mercies of his research and take his car to Las Vegas. We leave at seven in the morning, just in front of rush hour, zipping down the 405 with coffee and pastry,  and quickly rediscover the thorniest problem we have on long road trips—radio rights. In Donna’s view, the person driving is always responsible for controlling the radio, and has the right to make the switches as they please. In my own view—darling, sweetheart, love of my life—you should be concentrating on the road with both hands and both eyes, especially when you are driving as fast as you are, ohmyGod, look out. And of course, when you’re driving alone, do what you will, but I’m perfectly willing, as the otherwise thumb-twiddling passenger, to find music that you are comfortable with, to surf the airwaves until we find your driving anthems. Please note that you are going thirty miles over the speed limit, dear.
Of course, the additional caveat to this debate is that when Donna is the passenger and I am the driver, she believes that the passenger has the right to control the radio. The understanding, obviously, is that she controls the radio on long road trips. This might not be frustrating if our tastes in music ran more similarly. As it is, I prefer to have music with words, preferably those with lyrics I know, as I like to sing along in the car. Donna prefers jazz and classical to drive to. It’s seven in the morning. We woke up mere minutes ago. It’s a wonder we don’t kill each other.
The trip to Las Vegas from Los Angeles is incredibly simple in terms of directions: take the 10 to the 15 and just stay on the road. To be this simplistic about it, however, neglects to point out that the 15 goes through some truly scenic vistas, passing as it does through both mountains and desert. Getting on the 15, we see and run over our first tumbleweed, a small, volleyball-sized hunk of crunchy yellow branches. There are no tumbleweeds in Illinois. We cheer loudly at this sign that we are, in fact, on vacation. Halfway to Vegas, we note an irrational desire to be doing this trip Raoul Duke style, but alas, we have no ether, amphetamines, cocaine, or death wishes.
There are at least three mini-Vegases en route to the city itself, and the first time we see one of these small outposts of gambling goodness, we worry that Las Vegas is going to be smaller than we thought. Soon, we get the picture. Las Vegas is everywhere. We will be informed later that video poker machines are in the grocery stores, and I’m saddened at the prospect of gambling addicts losing their food money and having to explain it to the kids at home.
On the last stretch of highway before Vegas itself, we hit another tumbleweed. Unlike the first, instead of cheers and joy, this one inspires a brief moment of abject terror, being, as it is, the size of a small bear. It lumbers off the side of the road and makes a loud snapping sound as it hits the front window. Donna thinks, based on the few scattered pieces of straw appearing in the window, that we have obliterated it entirely. I suspect that we launched it into the air. We worry about what will happen when its mother finds out.
And we are in Vegas.
Never before have I been someplace that can so easily be encapsulated by all movies that are set in that place. Martin Scorsese’s New York City isn’t quite the real New York City, and Quentin Tarantino’s Los Angeles isn’t quite Los Angeles, although both come close. Every movie I have seen that features the Las Vegas Strip—Leaving Las Vegas, Swingers, Showgirls, etcetera—shows us the true face of the place. It’s surreal. It’s both plastic and metal, and the neon seems less like a decorative element than an animal that they allow free range. Tourists walking the sidewalks are simply swallowed by the casinos. The sky above us is clear and clean and a marvelous blue, and down here on Earth, we cannot go two feet without being given pamphlets for escort services. People don’t seem to come here to gamble, they seem to come here simply to exist, and the money-sucking machine that surrounds them is there for when the mystique runs out. Reality comes here to die. We see a campaign poster to re-elect the current state Treasurer. What an interesting job in a state that includes Las Vegas.
We park at the MGM Grand and go get lunch in the buffet. It’s better than I expected, but the atmosphere is somewhat lacking, considering that not two feet away, three middle-aged people are dead-eyed and sticking quarters into machines that have exotic names that you might find in the second half of an Indiana Jones title. “Treasure of Arabia,” and the like. They look as though they’ve been there for days. They really may have been. As we go to get dessert, a girl no older than seven suddenly loses all she could eat on the ceramic tile floor. The mother asks the child “What’s wrong with you?” as if vomiting were something that weren’t built into the body naturally. That’s not really what she’s asking, though. How dare you embarrass me in Las Vegas? is what she’s really asking. How easy is it to be embarassed in Las Vegas, isn’t it slightly redundant?
Sidenote: There is both a Starbuck’s and a Krispy Kreme in nearly every single casino along the Strip. Vegas may not be as Mobbed Up as it used to be  but this influx of corporate sprawl doesn’t necessarily strike me as a step up. Times Square has been ruined by Disney. I see something akin happening here.
When we venture into daylight, we realize that the place is essentially a large amusement park, where instead of rollercoasters, the prevailing attraction is architecture. That’s not entirely true. A rollercoaster travels over and under the small NASCAR-related bar and grill we pass as we head west. Nobody rides it. I’m unsure if it’s merely ornamental. A sign on one of the casinos informs us that one of the adult revues features a scale model of the Titanic that “SINKS NIGHTLY!” How quintessentially American of us to turn human tragedy into gawdy entertainment. I look forward to the day that Las Vegas hosts “Genocide: An Erotic Adventure!”
We have a few hours to kill here, waiting for Donna’s friend Rebecca to get off work and pick us up for dinner, and we decide that the two places we absolutely need to see are The Bellagio—if for no other reason than the denouement of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven—and Caesar’s Palace, which we’ve heard so much about that it feels like an obligation to American history. Like visiting the Alamo, if you happen to be in San Antonio.
The Bellagio, one of the newest casinos on the Strip, is breathtaking. It gets everything right about its surroundings and yet manages to elevate itself above them. It couldn’t be anything but a casino, the way it’s built, but it seems so lovingly crafted and maintained that you can’t believe it doesn’t cost money just to look at it. Donna and I travel the moving walkways around the large reflecting pool, with Tony Bennett’s voice singing in the tunnel, and we fall in love again. So, to sum up: nice place, The Bellagio.
Caesar’s Palace, however, is just disappointing. They are currently undergoing massive construction all around the hotel, to build a brand new theater, but I’m not holding the dirt and noise against them . The problem is, that for all the history and subdued demeanor, the casino doesn’t seem classic, it just seems dated. The first room we enter has a ceiling so low that you’d think they were trying to drive away basketball players, and is the color of aged bronze. The carpet is yellow and brown. People at the gaming tables have the look of extras from an aborted, underbudgeted Rat Pack film. All of this might work on some level if the music being piped through the sound system weren’t adult top 40. There’s nothing quite so disconcerting as to be walking through a historical setting with Johnny Rzeznik and Gwen Stefani providing the ambience. Our original intent is to get a drink and sit by the pool, but we are informed by the doorman that only guests of the hotel may use the pool. Part of this restriction, I surmise, may be due to the sign I notice on the patio door, which reads: European Style Topless Sunbathing is allowed in the pool. This activity is restricted to the Venus Pool. Caesar’s Palace is trying to discourage perverts ogling the topless bathers, unless, mind you, they are paying guests. Why is the distinction “European Style” necessary? Are there really that many different ways to remove your bikini top and bake your breasts in the sun?
Rebecca picks us up and drives us back to the car. We’re going with her to run an errand of sorts; she needs to stop by the bridal dress shop she’s using and inform the boutique about the bridesmaid’s dresses she’s chosen. She warns us that we may be going through some “seedy” areas, but not to be worried about it. The “seedy” areas look like little more than undeveloped areas of Westmont, one of the blander Chicago suburbs. A few shabby mini-malls does not constitute “seedy.” What’s even more astonishing about Rebecca’s description is that she’s from Hinsdale, one of the flashier Chicago suburbs, and thusly, she should know better.
Surfing through Las Vegas radio stations, we catch the tail end of Guns ’n’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” on FM 101.9. After surfing the dial once more, we find ourselves back at the same station, and to our surprise, we’re listening to the beginning of “Welcome to the Jungle” yet again. Five minutes later, after more surfing, we come back to the station, and discover that it is still playing “Welcome to the Jungle.” We turn the radio off. Ten minutes later, we turn it back on and are welcomed yet again to the jungle, Axl Rose telling us that if we have the money, honey, he’s got our disease.
At the boutique, I am allowed into the back room, where all of the wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses hang. I can’t help but feel like an interloper of some kind, as if the invitation for the party is actually embedded on the second X-chromosome, and silly me, I came underdressed, thinking that I could get in with this Y-chromosome I’m packing. The girls giggle. If only I could giggle girlishly, I might feel more appropriate in this setting. There’s so much white on the walls that it blinds you when you turn your head . Also, it gives Donna a lot of pleasure. She never puts any actual pressure on me to pop the question, being as we’re both young and underprofessional, but she takes any opportunity she can to pretend she’s pressuring me. Standing in the back room of a bridal boutique is like handing her the keys to the armory.
Back in the car, 101.9 Las Vegas is still playing “Welcome to the Jungle.” It’s been going for at least an hour that we know of; we have no way of knowing if it’s been like this all day. We decide to listen to one repetition in its entirety, to see if there’s any explanation in between one playing and the next, or at least the call letters “WTTJ Las Vegas: All ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ All of the Time.” Instead, we get forty-five seconds of a pig squealing, followed by a strange man’s voice observing that the pig is “sick.” And then Slash hits those opening notes again.
Coda to this story: twenty minutes later, the station has become a hip-hop station. And it’s playing more than one song. That evening, we discover that none of our friends know what the deal is with this station, but that on Christmas, they played “Feliz Navidad” for 48 hours straight.
We briefly visit the home of Rebecca and her fiancé Arthur, in the outskirts of the city. In Las Vegas, few homes have basements, since the effort required to dig through the ground is prodigious—the earth in these parts is mostly rock, and cannot be dug so much as drilled, which is expensive. Nonetheless, Rebecca tells us that there’s a major problem with turtles digging tunnels under the roads, leading me to marvel at the strength and/or persistence of this tiny amphibians. Both Rebecca and Arthur are teachers, and their cats are named after Woodrow Wilson and Abraham Lincoln. In contrast to the decadence and hedonism of the Strip and Las Vegas the city, most of their students come from devoutly religious families, a vast percentage of them belonging to the Latter-Day Saints. Rebecca’s students do not give her apples to curry favor, they give her copies of the Book of Mormon and CDs of inspirational music, with cute little handwritten notes that hope for Rebecca to find her grace with Jesus. Arthur and Rebecca do as much as they can to keep their cohabitation status a secret from their students, which led to some sort of convoluted excuse as to why Rebecca helped pay for the home that she and her future husband will live in. I suggest that they should tell the kids that they are living together in a type of training marriage. Of course, the better suggestion would be to tell her kids to mind their own business, but I’m sure they’ve already thought of that.
Dinner is at a small steak-and-salad grill with video poker machines embedded in the bar. The music is an odd pastiche of adult contemporary and television show themes, and at one point, all conversation at our table stops as we rack our brains to try and remember the theme we’d just heard. It haunts us through the latter half of dinner, while we’re finishing our entrees and still trying to figure out which of us has the Diet Coke—our waitress is either having trouble remembering our order, or somebody in the kitchen has mislabeled the soda dispenser. We’re almost back to the car when Rebecca remembers that the tune is the one from the beginning of What’s Happening!, thereby sparing us the agony of trying to place the song as we drift off to sleep.
Sometime later, Donna and I meet up with my friends Andrew and Regina, two other Chicago suburbanites who moved to Las Vegas for opportunity and a change of scenery. We meet them at the Santa Fe Station, which is like a Chuck E. Cheese casino, without the animatronics. The average age of the clientele seems to be reflected both in the large Bingo room—which is filled to capacity on this evening—and in the parking lot, which doesn’t have merely the obligatory handicapped parking spots at the front of each aisle, but indeed has two whole aisles of nothing but handicapped parking. Strangely enough, nobody seems to have considered that the presence of handicapped parking at the rear of a parking lot rather defeats the whole point of handicapped parking.
Meeting with Andrew and Regina is strangely uncomfortable. The women are either tired or cranky, and Andrew and I don’t seem to know what to say to each other besides catch-up questions. Halfway through, I’m tempted to stand up, grab Donna, and sadly admit that this had been a mistake. But I don’t, in part because it isn’t a mistake at all, it’s just awkward. Under other circumstances, this would have been all right. Nothing about us that made us friends in the first place has changed, but something about our ability to interact is severely stunted this evening. Again, the beeping, burping sounds of video gambling all around us do nothing to help. People don’t sit down to meals and meet old friends in the middle of a video arcade, and if reasonable adults were to suggest the idea, they’d rightly be assumed to be joking. And yet, everywhere in Las Vegas is a potential video arcade.
We drive back to Rebecca and Arthur’s house under a clear, starlit sky, the Strip far, far away. The mountains look down over rows of glowing amber, the wind from the desert gives us chills. What is to be feared? What is to be loathed? On the other hand, what is to be embraced and loved?
January 7, 2003
Hello, Hello Again / The Giant Has a Fever / Two Hours in the Valley / Closure / Empathy for Ireland
“You’re taking the 15? Good luck! Traffic’s gonna be lousy.”
—Anonymous Man in Donut Shop, 7:15 AM, Las Vegas, Nevada
Donna and I start to realize that Las Vegas, the town where everybody’s a winner if you don’t count the pennniless suicides, where every show is the most spectacular one ever, and where a solitary graffiti tag on a stone wall creates a “seedy” neighborhood, that there’s either a culture of exaggeration present in this microcosmic community, or that they simply don’t know from seedy neighborhoods or lousy traffic. In the past week alone, we’ve driven on the I-290 out of Chicago and the 405 out of Los Angeles. Rush hour on the 15 out of Las Vegas means we spend five minutes in stop-and-go traffic, and it’s more go than stop. For the rest of the trip through the desolate desert highway, any time we run into two or more cars, we complain that the traffic is “lousy.”
The trip back to Los Angeles is just as nice as the trip to Las Vegas, being the same highway and all, except in reverse. We stop to get gas and terrible, terrible munchies, and we also manage to find a cassette tape of old Doo-wop  hits, which gives us the only hour on the road where we can we be sure we agree on the music. I decide that my favorite song of this style—which can always be best described as Four Or More Guys Singing—is the Crew Cuts’ “Sh-Boom,” often mistakenly referred to as “Life Could Be a Dream.”
We have been told by all of our friends in Vegas that we should keep an eye out for The World’s Tallest Thermometer, an attraction of a small town along the highway. When we finally reach it, our reaction is lukewarm. Although it is, indeed, a very tall thermometer, probably a few stories high, it’s not what we expected it to be—that is, an actual mercury-containing thermometer. Instead, it’s a light-up sign that gives a reading of the temperature. It’s only a bit more special than the temperature readings you can get from electric bank signs, and as such, the giant structure used to house it seems like a monumental waste of time, or an obvious bid for the Guinness Book of World Records.
We get back to Westwood at approximately 1:00 PM, have lunch, relax briefly, and then try to determine if it’s too late to go find an amusement park or two. It’s about 3:30 at this time. We consider both Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain, call both places, and then we remember that technically, even in California, it’s winter. Both parks are open, but are closing at 6:00 PM. Magic Mountain, being closer, becomes our desperate bid for the brief mechanical rush of rollercoasters. Figuring the ticket prices can’t be too much steeper than Illinois’ Six Flags Great America, we get in the car and make haste towards the San Fernando Valley, which is, from what I’ve heard, where something like ninety percent of American adult films are made.
Magic Mountain is certainly a colorful and exciting theme park from outside its gates, even if few of the rides were running when we arrive at 4:30. Our original rationale is that an hour and a half is plenty of time to get in three or four rollercoasters, being as the lines will have dwindled out, and that we can justify thirty dollars each for that time period. When we get to the ticket booths, we discover that the price is actually forty-five dollars each, and somehow, in our heads, that goes past the limit of what we feel comfortable spending on the excursion. And that is how Time, the great equalizer, once again thwarts the desires of thrill-ride-jonesing men and women.
Hoping to avoid rush hour back to Westwood, we decide to hang around the Valley, driving through Valencia (but finding none of their delectable oranges) and stopping for coffee. While at a Valencia Starbucks, Donna asks the kid behind the counter if there’s anything worth doing or seeing in the area.
He tells her that there’s a mall. And that it’s an hour away. Maybe that’s why all they do here is make porn.
We sigh and suck down our lattes. A woman in her forties with dyed red hair and a low cut blouse—the sort of woman who you expect has a teenage son and a workaholic husband, and who in her heart of hearts wishes they had a pool so that she could seduce the pool boy—walks up to us as we’re exiting the establishment and begins to regale Donna, from far too many inches within Donna’s personal space, with a story about a man outside who is acting “hostile.” She explains that the man is raving, which we do not point out as ironic since this woman is raving about him as well. Her rant ends with, and this I cannot possibly make up, “and he said something about San Francisco. D’you think that maybe he’s gay?”
Donna replies that she can’t make that sort of judgment and the woman walks away. Being an avid follower of crime film and fiction, I had, the whole time, been watching this woman’s hands to make sure they weren’t reaching into Donna’s wallet. Either she knew I was watching or this was never her intention. When we walk outside, there’s no such hostile possibly homosexual man waiting outside. So the final diagnosis, on our part, is that the woman was simply insane.
On the drive back to Westwood, we get lost. The problem can be blamed on our incorrect assumption that we could simply go back the way we came. On the way north from Westwood to Valencia, we were able to simply follow one highway until it became another, but on the way back, this highway does not simply revert, like the Hulk after a few tranquilizers. And as such, we find ourselves in unfamiliar parts of Los Angeles, and I begin to harbor anxieties that I’ll take us into the heart of Compton and get us capped. The funny thing is that the PC liberal in me, that small knee-jerk that I’ve been trying to suppress or mold into something more useful, scolds me for assuming that just because we’d be in Compton that we would be shot by black people.
We end up going through Burbank, instead. This is a case of odd karma, because had I been granted the ABC Fellowship, I would have been in Burbank at around this time anyway. As it is, I find myself driving past the very building in which I might have been working, and Donna and I gain some small satisfaction by shouting versions of “You bastards! You’ll rue the day you rejected me! I’ll show you! I’ll show you all! Hahahahahahaha!” And I feel better.
Traffic really is lousy in Burbank during rush hour, but it presents us with a fun little driving game, in which we try to imagine the jobs of fellow drivers by the cars they’re in. The Lexus and BMWs belong to the Executive Producer of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and the Director of Marketing at the Noggin Network. The schlub driving the used Honda Civic is their copy boy. We imagine accidentally cutting off David Geffen in traffic and screwing our careers over for all time.
Our last night in Los Angeles ends with the relatively mundane activities of watching two Daria reruns and grabbing dinner in Beverly Hills, near Rodeo Drive. It’s a late dinner at a small Cuban restaurant; the food is fantastic and the sangria tastes too much like alcohol. To our amazement, we cannot order mashed potatoes, as we all wish to for some reason, because the kitchen has run out. We ask if the cook took off for the night and took the masher with him. Our waiter chuckles. I order rice instead. We understand a little bit of how Ireland must have felt. A very little bit.
We fall asleep on the couch in front of fashion television. Apparently clothes that make no sense at all are the New Black.
January 8, 2003
Beware of Small Birds / Fruit Totems / An Assessment of Submarine Movies / The Pilot Makes It Interesting
Some say that the last day of vacation is a day of quiet reflection. Horsefeathers, we say! The day before this trip, we went out and purchased hundred-dollar hiking boots, and since our plane won’t be leaving until 2:30 PM, damned if we’re not going to get a little hiking in.
Donna and I drive to the Getty Overlook hiking trail just as it starts to drizzle. The Getty Overlook, true to advertising, looks over the Getty Museum that we visited when we first arrived, and it’s about 3/4 of a mile one way. Three quarters of a mile sounds a lot easier than it is when you’re essentially walking straight up a small mountain. It takes us nearly a half hour to get to the peak. Across the valley, on other peaks, are houses we aren’t even allowed to imagine we can afford. I step cautiously on the thin dirt path—not so much because I’m worried of falling off the side of the mountain, but because a sign at the bottom of the trail warned us that rattlesnakes were a natural member of this environment. It occurs to me halfway up that a panicked bird could prove just as dangerous, if it were to startle me enough to make me lose my footing. I am very, very careful.
On the way back down—which is harder that going up, because gravity is a better enemy than a friend—we create a motif for the past two days. We get lost. Getting lost on the outside of a mountain is very different than getting lost on an unfamiliar highway. With the latter, the problem is that you don’t even know where your destination is in direct relation to yourself. With the former, there’s only two destinations, up and down, and where you get lost is how to safely navigate your way from one to the other. As it turns out, we’re only about ten minutes out of our way. We arrive back at the car with our feet covered in mud and our backs aching. It feels fantastic.
For lunch, I have a California Burger and a cream soda. Outside of California, any sandwich/omelet you can order with avocado is referred to as a “California Sandwich/Omelet.” In California, it just happens to be a sandwich or omelet. How did the avocado became such a culinary symbol for the Golden State? If you make a salad with oranges, does it become a Florida Salad?
We get to the airport an hour and a half early, in part because we don’t know how tight security will be, and in part because Carter is delivering a presentation to the other biochemists in his lab at 3:00, which he still needs to work on, so getting to the airport early is a way of getting out of his hair. This also gives us time to shop for presents. I get shirts for my sister and brother, and both of us end up getting free gifts from the stores—Donna gets a surprisingly useful nylon bag from Calvin Klein, and I get a fuchsia thermos with the words Republica Dominicana on it. I don’t know why these are being given away, but hey, free thermos.
I’m somewhat alarmed to discover that no photo ID is required at the boarding gate. I once responded angrily to a columnist’s contention that 9/11 had nothing to do with Los Angeles by reminding him that the passengers were on their way here, and indeed many of them were Angelenos. Something about this missing safety precaution makes me feel, a bit, like my ire was unwarranted—like Los Angeles has forgotten more quickly because they only lost people, not buildings, in those attacks.
The Meal Receptacle this time contains a bag of Ruffles, a sandwich containing turkey and possibly two other meats, and a chocolate/nut/caramel concoction. The in-flight movie is K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson in a true story of a Russian nuclear submarine that very nearly melted down, destroyed a United States destroyer, and could have caused the international incident required to have sent us all to Hell. It’s a solid movie, directed well by Kathryn Bigelow, and Ford is better as a Russian submarine captain than he’s been in years. I’ve never seen a truly awful submarine movie. For that matter, I haven’t seen a truly great one, either, because I still haven’t seen Das Boot, but none of the others I’ve seen—Crimson Tide, U-571, and now K-19—have been terrible. They’ve all had great moments and moments that made me groan. Even Jerry Bruckheimer’s aesthetics and Tony Scott’s jittery directing weren’t enough to sink Crimson Tide, although I give more credit to the performances of Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, with honorable mentions to Viggo Mortensen and Matt Craven.
Is it really a good idea to show a submarine disaster film on an airplane? Did the airline really think that audiences couldn’t make the connection required to be scared out of their mind? Pressurized tube containing people starts having major malfunctions. Come on, American Airlines. I remember being told once about severely depressed teenagers in a suburban mental hospital being shown Dead Poet’s Society. It’s a wonder I don’t weep more.
Traveling over the mountains, we spot the light from a single cabin. Very little about America is as beautiful as something like that.
We arrive in Chicago ten minutes ahead of schedule, to high winds. We don’t realize how gusty, however, until we begin to land, and the wind hits the plane with such force that we tip at a forty-five degree angle, at what can’t be more than twenty yards off the ground. We do this twice. Across the aisle from us, three new Navy recruits are gasping for breath and laughing nervously. So Donna and I figure it’s all right to be completely freaked out.
Nothing else tries to kill us as we taxi back to the gate. Still, we agree that this sort of brief adventure isn’t a bad way to end the whole thing.
Of course, not having to go back to work the next day would be better.
 While in Los Angeles, we do not patronize a single Starbucks. Here, we only go to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, because apparently Angelenos have a real major anti-establishment snobbery that keeps them from going to Ahab’s First Mate. (Obtuse literary reference! Huzzah!)
 Indeed, a billboard on the way to Vegas seems to use the tradition of FBI investigation as a selling point.
 What I am holding against them, however, is that this theater is being built for Canadian over-emoter Celine Dion, who will be performing there under contract for three years.
 I’ve always wondered, but do not often ask out loud, why it is that we’re still comfortable, as a society, with the garbage about only virgins wearing white. Why are brides expected to advertise that sort of thing at their own wedding ceremony?
 Try though I might, I’m unable to stop thinking about the Tom Fontana monologue from the first season of Oz in which hulking African inmate Simon Adebisi explains that “Doo-Wop” derived its name from a black singing group killing an Italian. I don’t think it’s true, but now the damn story always pops up whenever I hear the word.
Current music: MP3 list, Paul Westerberg, “Stain Yer Blood”