Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Once upon a time…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:53 pm

With all the excitement about the new “Simpsons” movie, we are seeing Matt Groening everywhere. He was on “The Daily Show”, he was in last week’s L.A. Weekly, and he’s in today’s Los Angeles Times. And we had to marvel about how he’s really hit it big. Back before “The Simpsons“, he drew “Life in Hell“, which ran in the L.A. Reader and later in the L.A. Weekly. We were big fans of “Life in Hell”, and we went to several of his signings for the “Life in Hell” books. We have all the early books signed by him, complete with a drawing of a rabbit in each one.

I recently found this calendar that he’d signed for us back in 1988. This was when he was doing the animations for “The Tracy Ullman Show”, but just before the debut of “The Simpsons”. So for once, maybe my pack-rat tendencies paid off.


As seen on TV…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:19 pm

KCET is going to be doing a special program about earthquakes sometime soon. They were out at the lab filming today. So I got out my camera and played tourist at the office for a few minutes.

The most amusing thing I saw was how they were positioning Val Zavala in front of the earthquake map on the video wall. Apparently, having her stand on top of two phone books was just right for the Southern California map. But when they changed it to the world map, it just wasn’t quite right. So they added a sandbag. For some reason, I thought that seeing her standing on the sandbag was funny.


I’ve thought this a lot recently, too…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:04 pm

I saw this in the parking lot at the grocery store in our neighborhood.


Believe it, or not!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:33 pm

Today we took Lucinda to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Hollywood. She’s been wanting to go there for several years now, ever since she saw the building with the T-Rex head sticking out of the roof on Hollywood Boulevard.

The museum itself is perfectly located. It’s in the middle of the tourist-trap section of Hollywood Blvd, right down the street from the Chinese Theater, and diagonally across from Hollywood and Highland. Inside, it’s a weird collection of stuff. Some of it old, some of it morbid, some of just plain weird. Pictured here is the vampire killing kit, the two-headed baby skeleton, and the most unbelievable of all, an original press kit from “Mr. Ed“.

Like I said, it’s a weird collection of stuff. But it made for a fun afternoon. Now, if only the Museum of Death would re-open…


We’ll always have Paris…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:57 pm

D’oh! I had a whole plan set up for Sunday’s bike ride. We were going to ride down to Lynwood and sightsee the jail where Paris Hilton was staying, but then she got sprung from da joint.


Well, it sounds like the judge is pissed, and she’s been ordered back to jail. But I’ve already made other plans for Sunday, so we’ll have to go next week.


To have one’s life summed up in one line…

Filed under: — stan @ 6:53 am

The L.A. Times has a small obituary today for Maurice Marsac. The headline says:

Maurice Marsac, 92: French actor often portrayed snooty waiters

What a way to go. To have your life and career summed up so tidily.

Reading the obituary, it sounds like there was much more to him than that. He was part of the French Resistance during World War II, and a highly-ranked croquet player. And he and his wife were married for 55 years.

Read it here at the L.A. Times website


Product placement

Filed under: — stan @ 12:22 pm

Today’s Los Angeles Times has a couple of articles about the continuing train wreck that is Lindsay Lohan. One is on the front page, and talks about how underage movie stars go drinking at trendy nightclubs in Hollywood. Following the article inside to page A-16, we see the paparazzi photo of Ms. Lohan passed out in her car with her AA sobriety necklace hanging from the rear-view mirror. And right below the article, a large ad for a summer acting camp for teens. You know, so they can learn to act and be movie stars, just like Lindsay Lohan. Talk about great product placement.

Click the picture to see the whole page.


My obligatory jury duty rant

Filed under: — stan @ 7:22 pm

So, I’ve just spent the last two days on jury duty. At least this time I didn’t have to drive my car downtown. I rode my bike to the station and took the train, which is a pleasant ride. And at lunchtime I went and saw Los Angeles City Hall. I’d been on a tour there back in ‘99 when they were doing the earthquake retrofit on it, so I was curious to see how it turned out. It looked much nicer with the scaffolding gone and the walls rebuilt. Sadly, since they don’t allow cameras in the courthouse, all I have is crappy phone-camera pictures.

There were also a lot of TV crews hanging around there for the Phil Spector trial, or ‘The Spectorcle’ as I heard some people in the elevator refer to it. This was going on down the hall from the courtroom I ended up in, so we all had to go through a double-layer of metal detectors and X-ray machines. And they insisted that I leave my bicycle pump at the guard desk downstairs. They thought it could somehow be used as a weapon. I whacked a dog on the snout with it once.

And the courtroom I was put in was Room 101. Of course, the first thing I thought of was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Room 101 was where the Thought Police took you when torture didn’t work and they wanted to break you by making you meet your deepest fear. Seemed appropriate.

This is Nth time I’ve done this, and it’s the same every time. I go in. I get put in the box. They ask me the Five Questions:

  • Place of residence
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Occupation of spouse
  • Previous jury experience

Then they throw me out. I’m kind of getting a complex about it. I’ve asked a lot of lawyers about this. Nobody seems to have a good idea why this is so. For some reason, they just don’t like me.

On the other hand, I’m not exactly excited by the prospect of sitting on a jury, but still, it’s weird that they reject me so consistently. They never ask me any questions about my attitudes about things or anything. I even saw one of the attorneys make a mark on the post-it for my seat right after I sat down. Even before the Five Questions. So it seemed clear that something about my appearance put him off. Back when I took the ‘How to Perform Stand-Up Comedy’ class at UCLA, the consensus in the class was that I looked like the kind of guy who pays his bills on time. What the hell?

My fondest wish would be that the jury duty summons that comes in the mail would have a little checkbox on it like this:


An audience with The Oinkster

Filed under: — stan @ 9:29 pm

Last week, we saw a restaurant review in the L.A. Weekly for a place in Eagle Rock called The Oinkster. OK. I’ll admit it. We thought the name was funny. And the review was good, too. So we decided to try it.

We went there, and we liked it immediately. The place smelled a lot like the old-style barbecue places we went to in Texas. We got our food and sat down.

Sadly, we didn’t like the food as much as we thought we would. It was tasty, but it was all too salty. I got the pastrami, which I expected to be salty, but the pulled pork was also too salty. Jonathan Gold’s review had made special mention of the Belgian-style fries. They had an amazing crunch and texture, but they were also über-salty. But they still tasted great dipped in the garlic aioli.

Cathy and Lucinda had the Oinksterade, which was very good. And Cathy had the peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake for dessert. She said it was weird, but quite good.

So overall, it was a mixed bag. The food was tasty, but the saltiness put us off. Still, it was an interesting experience.


Quantum Hoops

Filed under: — stan @ 10:01 pm

Today I went to a screening of “Quantum Hoops” here on campus at Caltech. This was easily the most entertaining sports documentary I’ve ever seen. It tells the history of the athletics at Caltech, and the Caltech basketball team’s effort to break a 20-year losing streak. And, above all, it’s great fun.

The film describes Caltech as exhibiting the ‘purest form of amateur athletics’. The players are recruited out of the regular student body. There are no athletic scholarships, and no special preference for admission. One funny part of the movie talked about the basketball coach’s experience trying to recruit players. He visits basketball players who are also smart. He encourages them to apply to Caltech. And then they don’t get in.

And like all sports documentaries, there’s a climactic ‘big game’ that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The director was there, and he said that the movie should be released later this year. Go see it. It’s good.

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