Writing

I am not a prolific writer except on these pages which barely matter. I know this. I should be as prolific a writer as can be because it is what I was supposed to do. I know this, too. I also know that writing should not be done as means to an end, and that the reason it is so difficult is because it is work. It is work, work to spin through every ounce of sense memory and bit of knowledge and experience you have and to, as Gene Fowler said, to “stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

Last night, I got 2.5 good pages out. Took me about an hour. Maybe less. That isn’t easy. But it’s good. It’s a start.

Rush Limbaugh Probably Farts A Lot

I’ve decided that Rush Limbaugh probably farts a lot. No reason, really. I just figure that between the pills and the obesity, his system probably creates a lot of the methane.

Doesn’t he seem like the kind of person who farts a lot?

So I witnessed two weird behaviors on the subway recently. Nobody masturbating or anything. Just this one dude was marching in place. For three or four stops, I watched this guy stand in the middle of the aisle and pick his feet up like Mr. Davis usedta make us do. Eight to five, baby. I thought it was weird, but then I thought it wasn’t entirely stupid. If you’re on the metro for a half hour or so, you might as well get a workout.

The second guy was this morning. He was wearinga “Kill the Death Tax” button, so I didn’t like him immediately. But he had a lapful of about four weeks’ worth of newspapers, and he was sorting through them and reading them, and sorting them, and then he got off at Faragut West and of course left a quarter of them sitting in his seat. Asshole.Definitely a Republican.

My work my life my everything is crazy right now. It sucks because this is the time of year when I least want things to be crazy. Maybe it’s the bustle of post-hibernation. I wonder if this is how bears feel when they wake up. Like, oh, shit, I’ve been sleeping all winter and now I have to do things. Shit. I got convention coming up and a new housemate coming in. I got all kinds of things I want to do with the house this spring, half of which I won’t get to. I got cherry blossoms to see and smell. Just kidding.

I am listening to Howard Stern. God Bless America.

Sine Hear Pleas

I’ve probably walked by the sign four thousand times. It faces out from the inside of a glass door to a nondescript office, across the way from Whole Foods in Clarendon. It is white letters on red posterboard, perhaps a foot and a half inches high. And I have walked by this sign perhaps four thousand times, and only tonight did this sign’s absurdity pinch my consciousness.

The sign reads: “Emergency Entrance Only.”

I passed the sign, having actually read it this time instead of just looking at it, and then I stopped and went back to it, and immediately began to attempt imagining the urgent emergency that would require my immediate ENTRY to a building.

So, if you saw me standing in front of that glass-paned door screaming “BIRDS! BIRDS! AUGH! IT’S HORRIBLE! AUGH! BIRDS ARE ATTACKING ME! HELP! AUGH! THEY’RE EATING MY EYES! MY EYES! COME ON, MISTER, YOU’VE GOTTA LET ME IN! THERE’S A SIGN! THERE’S A SIGN!”, I apologize.

It just couldn’t be helped.

Tens of Thousands

I opted several years ago to make it a policy never to declare myself to be a “vegetarian,” even if I am at the time practicing non-meat-eating, which I have from time to time. See, when you declare yourself a vegetarian, you have to stay away from eating meat and such, which is a problem, because meat tastes good.

However, I’ve got a renewed interest in the practice of eating lower on the food chain after reading about the slaughter of tens of thousands of chickens in India due to a fear of the “bird flu.” That’s just disgusting. Those birds wouldn’t even be farmed if folks didn’t want to eat them. Now that the farmers have arranged for their existence, they have to kill all of them. That’s a sick situation.

Bean and rice burritos are delicious.

At Last

I know I’m spending a lot of time in radio land. But something monumental happened today in my little radio universe.

Howard Stern announced a dramatic format change, one that I had assumed he’d be doing from the beginning and was haltingly disappointed when he didn’t. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one.

Howard has two channels, 100 and 101. Before, he had geared 100 to the East Coast and 101 to the West Coast, with a variation of programming as it fit. Today, he announced that Howard 100 would play The Show consistently, with original programming relegated to Howard 101.

This is brilliant. The Show is what people pay to hear. The Show is what grabbed me in 1991. The idea that I can just tune in any time during the day and hear The Show, it’s terrific. This starts Monday, and it makes me entirely too happy.

Notes From the XM

Thanks to the Young Members Committee at the National Press Club, I have just now returned from a grandly generous tour of the XM facility here in Washington, D.C.

Yes, it takes a lot to keep me in the city after work, and even more to venture to Northeast. Pretty much a chance to peek behind the curtain, yeh, that’s what it takes.

The facility itself is very cool, though not as cool as you’d think. It is much wide open spaces, high ceilings and big open rooms, lobby mood lighting and a big screen TV in the lobby shows you an episode of Artist Confidential goin’ on. They took us upstairs, where the elevator opens up immediately facing a huge glass-walled room that you immediately recognize as mission controlcomplete with a big Captain Kirk chair, a dozen computers, and EQ indicators.

Interestingly enough, the EQ indicators were numbered. Assuming that each one represented a station, I counted more than 212 indicators, all a blazing, although XM offers only 160 channels. Veddy intedesting.

We walked to the right toward an enormous hallway. The XM building was originally built to house a printing press, so there are big, wide open spaces everywhere. They’ve made good use of the wall space with enormous photographs of musical icons, Jimi, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner. They started with a nice little reception with Cosisammiches provided by the Young Members Committee. I got to speak with one of the muckity-mucks, I think his name was Steve Wasserman? (Yes, I was an EXCELLENT news reporter.) He heads XM’s news and talk division. Somebody asked the inevitable question about what are the differences between XM and the Eh-Eh-Eh. He did make one point that seemed beyond the realm of PR Blah-Blah-Blah. XM, he said, programs each channel as if it were a local station, with full autonomy given to each program director. Sirius, he said, seems to see itself more as a giant jukebox.

I was gushing, of course, being such a satellite radio freak that I have subscriptions to both and might someday consider a third for reasons only I can understand. I did tell him what I thought, thatI do tend to prefer XM programming (I wouldn’t need the Sirius subscription ifXM had just gotten Howard Stern), that XM programming seems up and down the dial to have a more authentic, more public radio aesthetic to it.

Anyway, the tour of the facility was very cool. The place was abuzz, even at 7 p.m. We walked through the News and Sports area, which reminds me of a big newsroom. We toured through the music production rooms, each one named after a big music producerthere’s an Alan Parsons room, a Quincy Jones room, a RayCharles room.We walked through “Talk Alley,” anchored by the studio where the Bob Edwards Show is produced. Unfortunately, Bob’s is a morning show, so we didn’t get to see that smooth character at work. The NASCAR boys across the way were hard at work, tho.

I asked about hardware. I hadn’t heard of it yet, but apparently XM will soon be releasing its answer to Sirius’ S-50. It is the Pioneer Inno, a portable thatwill play live satellite radio and MP3s and WMAs, and will record 50 hours. (It will cost you $399.)

Anyway, it was a very cool tour. I don’t know what else to tell ya.

A Note to Howard Stern

Howard,

I for one have trouble remembering the name of the man who is suing you. I don’t know if you have this same problem or not. But for me, it is a difficult name to remember.

Therefore, I have decided to change his name to “Les Manboobs.”

I think you would agree that “Les Manboobs” is much easier to remember. I would like to suggest that you should feel free to borrow my mnemonic innovation, that of calling the man who is suing you with virtually no grounds whatsoever “Les Manboobs,” on your radio program.

The only problem is that when you say the phrase “Les Manboobs,” Benjy Bronk might assume you’re talking about him.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
The inventor of the phrase “Les Manboobs.”

Mean Street

I have often thought it would be neat to be famous, but when I see what they’re doing to Mr. Van Halen, I come to believe that it might not be my bag after all.

The man takes one hideous picture, and that’s the one the wires pick, the one that makes him look strung out. This man entertained and delighted me for hours and hours through my years as a teenager. I used to put on the Van Halen on a boom box and listen—usually to Fair Warning or Women and Children First—whilst I raked leaves every weekend. It made a shitty chore passable. I feel like for that, for being one of the reasons that music is magic, for that, the man should be offered a bit more respect than snarky snarky photo editing. The editors who purposely went with a shitty picture of Eddie Van Halen should be canned.

My Inner Catty Gay

The only discernible thought I had scanning through the Oscars last night was “Note to Charlize Theron: Your dress has a tumor.”

Followed, of course, by “Don’t be gay, Aaron. Don’t be gay.”

Obnoxious Asshole Telemarketers and a Solution

For weeks, I’ve been hounded by this asshole telemarketing firm somewhere in Cali. They call up and tell me what a great Visa customer I am and that they’d like to send me some rewards. I know damned well it’s a scam of some kind, so I always tell them to fuck off. Usually, I don’t use such language with them, but I’m ready to now because they don’t stop calling, and the number that shows on my caller ID (213/000-0001) is not a real phone number, so I can’t call them back to hound them back.

So I just fixed it. Sort of.

I put “213/000-0001” into my phone book on my cell phoneunder the name “Assholes.” Then, I chose “no ringer,” so that when these assholes call again, my phone won’t ring.

Assholes.