There is zero chance of my being able to process and upload all the great songs I got from the Sunset Tavern's Kinks Tribute night yesterday for posting today, as I must get myself and that rocking young lass, MissSeven, ready to see some dude named Ringo tonight. So instead I am going to suggest this Smithsonian Channel doc on the Monkees for your entertainment. It's a little sensationalist, but it does give a chance to witness Don Kirshner's stunning God complex in action. You are welcome.

I've always thought the Monkees got a bad rap, although in hindsight there was probably no other way it could have gone. But props to those boys to standing up to the old-style music biz profiteers. Money isn't everything, hits aren't everything, and the times were changing reeeeallly fast then. You can't blame them for wanting to be real people instead of purchased plastic figurines. How many times this story has played out over the years since, hmm?

It of course was no accident whatsoever that the Sex Pistols covered the Monkees "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone," with the biggest wink of all time. In one way or another, everything is manufactured and sold, is it not?

The Monkees - Not Your Steppin Stone
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Man, I've never been able to squeeze so much out of one short trip. I LIKE IT THAT WAY.

After we left the L.A. Philharmonic rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl, we headed out to grab a quick Mexilunch (why can't I get horchata here? oh, right, I live in the Seattle suburbs). Following Todd's red Acura is similar to tracking an off-duty NASCAR driver.

Look! There's Capitol Records! I've been coming to L.A. for almost 30 years. Someone always says that, though. And then I take another picture, and go YUP.

I'm not a huge booster of people getting stars on Hollywood Boulevard. It doesn't seem like such a huge honor, does it Miss Vikki Carr, when you've got some tourist with crocs walking all over you.

Michael Jackson was our parking attendant.

I like the colorful look of this place, but it didn't seem exactly appropriate with the kids and all.

After getting full of beans, we drove over to the legendary SHEER AWESOMENESS of Amoeba Records, the largest independent music store in the entire WORLD. YAY!

Now, ladies and gents, I can tell you that I have sought out many a fine rekkid store in my day. These venues were always the very top of my priority list when traveling in the days when the interhoot was being created by Captain Kirk and MP3 was a trio of bayonet-wielding military police. I gotta tell you -- you simply MUST visit Amoeba when in L.A. I don't care WHAT you are looking for -- new, used, music, movies, movies about music, music about movies, posters, toys, rarities, clothes -- in every genre there is...Amoeba HAS IT. The sheer size of the place is just unreal. Here I am rifling through the small posters like a hungry demon.

Not only did they have the coolest stuff, but their prices were surprisingly cheap, too! I picked up a t-shirt, a New Wave-on-the-Tom-Snyder-Show DVD, and a DVD of music on the Dick Cavett Show for myself, and a reprint of an original King Kong movie poster and a Simpsons "Cletus" figure for MissSeven for under 60 bucks! I asked her why she wanted the King Kong poster so badly, as to my knowledge she has never seen the movie and has no idea what the story is about. Her answer: "King Kong is COOL!" OK, I said. It should look pretty good next to her Beatles poster and her own rather abstract child art there.

I was kind of surprised that the kids didn't really pour over the music like I thought they might, and then it occurred to me: they are not at all used to the idea of music coming to them in a physical way. For them, music arrives via the air: the car radio or digital files magically placed upon their respective iPods. They don't play records or CDs, don't hold them in their hands and read the liner notes or look at the photos or the artwork. They are the generation who will continue to drive streaming music. My passion for vinyl and that "feel" is as old to them as Victrolas and 78's were to me, maybe more. I try not to get too "well, in MY DAY..." on them. It's just the way things are, and there are many positives to the way they receive music too.

I got to chatting with the very nice young girl at the the Amoeba checkout (people like to chat with me; I must look safe or at least not psychotic) and she was kind enough to throw in some cool Amoeba swag into my bag along with a nice smile and well wishes for our trip. Do click on Amoeba's website link up there -- they also hold live shows, have free music downloads, and lots lots more cool stuff. LONG LIVE AMOEBA!

The kids were all ready to head back home for some chill time before Mr12 got to attend the Dodgers-Mets game that night (thanks for the tickets, Geoff!). He was so excited, and came back later that night all bubbly about the experience.

Ah, man. What fun!


I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.


I spent a decent part of my day today keeping on eye on the organized SB 1070 protests in Phoenix and several other cities, which were, thankfully, non-violent. A police officer was killed yesterday in Chandler, AZ., and I am sure the Phoenix-metro force was not much in the mood to deal with protestors blocking the main jailhouse doors. Judge Susan Bolton blocked several of the most disturbing provisions of SB 1070 from taking effect today, but did not strike them down outright. The whole mess will just keep slogging its way through the court system, as intended, spending state and fed money that no one really has to attempt to get at a problem that no one can really solve to everyone’s satisfaction.

I keep writing about SB 1070 because it really, really, really irritates me, and it’s hard for me to say nothing when something feels so utterly wrong. No, let me replace “feels” with the word “is.” Why be wishy-washy? That legislation was drafted by people who have a twisted concept of what America should be, and they cannot be allowed to steam-roll any of the people in this country, by whatever means they arrived here. That a majority of polled Americans support SB 1070 does not make it right. Read that last sentence again, all you pols and pals who use that argument. Let’s keep in mind that majority of Americans are thinking about this very simply: that no one should be able to come to our country illegally, and we should be able to toss them back out again by any means we like. In theory, that’s reasonable. In practice, impossible, without completely dismantling the foundation of what this country IS. Have you forgotten? We are THE nation of immigrants. We also ignore that there are larger realities happening outside of the U.S. and that we are not some kind of isolated island, and that we also completely refuse to change our behaviors to discourage illegals from coming here. There is never any resolution to any problem unless and until you get to the real heart of it, and have the tenacity, patience, and open-minded intelligence to struggle through all sides, especially when there is a scant likelihood of a solid answer. Most people won’t bother; they’d rather just echo “kick ‘em all out!” and leave it to the police.

Let’s break this down to the most basic facts.

WHY do people want to come to America and take the risk of being jailed and deported, or for 150 Mexican border-crossers already this year (a fact taken from this heartbreaking New York Times article on border morgues), to die a horrific death in the deserts of Arizona? Would you take those risks? No? Can you imagine a scenario where you would? Try it. What motivates people to do what they do? Mexican citizens aren’t any different in basic needs than American citizens, or Vietnamese citizens, or Irish citizens, if you weren’t aware of that fact. Overwhelmingly, people wish to provide themselves and their families with the means to live their lives free of violence and poverty, and they DON’T want a handout. They want an opportunity to work for what they have. Think about it! How BAD would your life have to be where you lived to risk death to try to escape it? There are some bad folks – really bad – crossing the border as well; there’s no doubt of that. However, the great majority are people who do not wish to cause harm, and whose circumstances are so desperate that they cannot wait to stand in line for years or forever to achieve legal status. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is a liar.

WHY are Mexico’s problems our problems? Well, keep in mind that national borders are human-made and changeable things. We are all North Americans. As former Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Governor, and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano succinctly noted regarding the challenges of securing our borders, “You show me a 50-foot wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.” In other words, your Congressionally-approved 700-mile border wall is not an insurmountable challenge to those who really have not too much to lose by trying to get over it. What it would take to make that wall reasonably secure? The U.S. National Guard, with a sniper posted every few feet and a shoot-on-sight policy, the handbook written by the Berlin Wall. If you have that at your southern border, you’ve got to have that at your northern border, and at every bit of shoreline, too. A death that is almost certain for an illegal crossing will absolutely stop the majority of attempts, and that is what it would take to achieve that goal, make no mistake. I am quite sure that there are many millions of American citizens who would support this, despite the hideousness, cruelty, and crippling irony. But, thankfully for the millions like me who would be horrified by such a vision, it’s unfeasible, both Constitutionally and financially. Everyone wants stuff to happen; no one ever wants to pay for it. So, as long as Mexico struggles, so shall we.

WHY do we keep paying illegal immigrants to come here? Keep in mind: if they could not find work here, they wouldn’t be here. If all the U.S. citizens out-of-work now would deign to do the jobs the immigrants do, well…stop laughing! We’re too GOOD for that kind of work, right? If you want to do something practical to stop illegal immigration, don’t hire an illegal, and don’t patronize business that do. And if you want to do something to stop the sickening violence of the Mexican drug cartels…stop buying drugs illegally and/or effectively lobby for your drug of choice to be decriminalized or legalized in your state. I’m clearly not talking to the wasted smack addict on the street. I’m talking to YOU, Casual Pot User, YOU, Dependent Upon A Few Extra Percs For That Back Problem, and YOU, Club-Going Coke Snorter. You invite the bottom of the barrel of humanity here to feed your insatiable American need to get fucked up. Don’t whine or blame it on “their culture” when drug-related violence shows up at YOUR door. One way or another, get the money out of the hands of those who use the money you paid for your buzz to terrorize and murder innocent people. Be very aware of how far back that trail leads from your dime bag.

I support peaceful protest against injustice, although chaining yourself to police HQ and deliberately getting arrested is, in my opinion, not the best use of human resources. Your plight will be noted by the media, yes, but your tactics won’t gain any new supporters and may serve to turn off some. SB 1070 and the fate of the state of Arizona and all those states who wish to emulate their take on immigration is entirely in the hands of the lawyers and judges now. What is needed is MONEY to support the legal challenges to SB 1070, and VOTES to elect lawmakers who refuse to shame and burden all Hispanics to solve a difficult problem. MONEY. VOTES. MONEY. VOTES. Or go to law school and dive in yourself. Hurry up. And don’t stop at the Big Law trough on your way to the ACLU, either.

In that NYT article about the Pima County morgue, this quote from medical investigator David Valenzuela:

“We had one gentleman who came in as bones, but around his wrist there was a bracelet from a Mexican Hospital that had his picture.”

Valenzuela’s restoring some small dignity to a stranger who died alone and in one of the worst ways imaginable by referring to him as a “gentleman,” made me cry.

(photo: Phoenix, AZ., 7/29/10 by Chris Newman)


MissSeven and Mr12 went hiking today with their day camp to Rattlesnake Ridge and had a very nice time, they reported to me on the drive back home. I approve of their hiking at Rattlesnake Ridge or even Cobra Cliff or Adder Avalanche-Prone-Zone, as it is infinitely preferable to staying home and arguing about Nintendo chargers. Mr12 continued on to tell me that one child in their group had nearly fallen into a 15' crevasse, but avoided sure injury at the last second and lived to probably argue about videogame paraphernalia at his own home this evening.

Me: Please be careful when you are hiking, OK? Don't do any silly stuff and get dead.

Mr12: Oh, we won't die like that! We are only going to die from either old age, grave illness, or some psycho killer!


Well, after my extremely-action-packed California day of July 22nd (Winnebago Man on The Tonight Show and “Do It Again” premiere, gawwwww) there came…July 23rd. There would be no sleeping in, no no no, because we had another very cool thing to do in the morning, although substantially more mellow. My friend Todd had told me that the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra holds their rehearsals in the summer at the Hollywood Bowl, that they are free and open to the public, and hardly anyone knows about this! What? Really? Let’s go! I had never been to the Bowl, Venue of Legend, and I am particularly fond of anything behind-the-scenes and seeing how creative things come together. The day before in the middle of the craziness I messaged Geoff Edgers, he of “Do It Again,” because I knew he wasn’t getting on a plane until later in the day and that it might be a nifty thing for him to attend as well, considering that he writes about the arts for the Boston Globe:

Geoff: Wat time?

Me: 10AM to noon

Geoff: Dudamel?

Me: Yes that is what I hear.

Geoff: Yes. Meet there? Ill get myself tickets.

Me: Yes! No tickets needed! Meet us in the parking lot behind the bowl @10? Call or text me if timing is off. Usually no one is yherp.

Stupid fat messaging fingers.

It was another gorgeous day, so we grown folks loaded up with the not-grown-folks and a big bag of snacks and drinks and headed over to Dudamel. Who Dudamel, you might ask? Gustavo Dudamel, the 29-year-old wild-haired Venezuelan conductor and Music Director for the L.A. Phil –a rock star in the orchestra world. As it turned out, it was Nodamel Day, as he was off being wonderful somewhere else. But no matter. We were fortunate enough to watch the orchestra rehearse for that night’s performance of the BBC’s “Planet Earth Live,” conducted by the series’ composer, George Fenton, and featuring lovely, seemingly-effortless vocals from Haley Glennie-Smith. Here’s what it looked like – quiet and peaceful.

The Bowl has a seating capacity of 17,376. We brought that number down to 17,367 with our group. Did you know that it’s owned by Los Angeles County? That means that it’s kind of like a park and such, which also means after we were done listening to the Phil, we could poke around a bit, even in the areas that are normally closed off to audiences during shows. The place has SO much history, and was all recently renovated as well. I hope I can attend a show there sometime.

We bid goodbye to Geoff and his friend Jeremy as the orchestra finished and we headed out to the parking lot. One more pic – some other big rock star at the backstage load in behind the bowl. Weirdos everywhere in California, you know.


I find myself in somewhat of an odd position. Get your mind out of the gutter -- ethically odd, you beasts. I’m going to now write a review of a movie that I have been associated with since rather early in its cine-life, although certainly in a modest way. I am talking about the midlife-Don Quixote-meets-The Kinks film, “Do It Again,” now making its way internationally through the film fest circuit. Over the last couple of years, its producer/writer/star, Boston Globe staffer Geoff Edgers has gone from being the guy who emailed me about what Kinks photos I might have for the project, to being my good friend. He had never made a movie before, I definitely was not Ms. Big Shot Film Girl, but we both loved the Kinks and I was glad to help. The only other thing I could offer Geoff were my honest opinions about what I thought would work and what would not work, both in practical reality and how the movie could play out as a good story that everyone could relate to and enjoy, British rock fan or not. My honest opinion is always what I offer you, too, so I am going to give this review a shot here, mixed with some behind-the-scenes bits and Hollywood glam.

I think there are two types of “doers” in the world, the people who have a good idea and then actually follow through with it to completion: the Solid Planner, or the Wing It Guy. Geoff Edgers is the dictionary definition of Wing It Guy. Anyone who has had ANYTHING to do with Ray or Dave Davies and the Kinks can tell you that these are not the easiest folks to deal with, and you are looking at a pile of your own pulled-out hair on your desk for an outcome even when things go well. I told Geoff this, as did all the other Anyones he spoke with. Yet, the Wing It Guy in him, the man determined to do something truly grand as he approached age 40, decided that he would put on film his quest to reunite the Kinks, inactive as a working band since the mid-‘90s. Solid Planner would have taken all the Anyones anecdotes, looked at the numbers and the very formidable and predictable problems in making any independent film, and would never have even made an attempt. Wing It Guy gets called a nut and does it anyway, and hopes for the best.

Geoff was downright blessed to pull in director Robert Patton-Spruill and editor Brad Allen Wilde to Team Wing It. The crisp, clean, and vibrant look of the film and the superb pacing and continuity makes the film a real pleasure to view. It is absolutely a step above many of the indie docs I’ve seen over the years in production values. The big problem I had when I first saw a rough cut of the film many months ago was not at all with how it looked. It was in my dealbreaker movie requirement: the story. Depending on how you make your way to “Do It Again,” you may or may not know that it is NOT a typical bio-documentary about the Kinks. That’s been done several times already for TV, with varying results. “Do It Again” really is more of a fan’s winding love letter to a wonderful band, with a very healthy dose of concurrence from other fans like Sting, Zooey Deschanel , Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, and others. Geoff also gets his Fan Boy butt kicked a time or two in the film, deservedly. What is completely crucial to “Do It Again” working is that, enthusiastically or begrudgingly, you have to like Geoff Edgers in this film and empathize with him on some level. He, via the Kinks, is the beating crazy heart of the story, and to carry a film for an hour-and-a-half is no small thing. It is up to him to pull you in and keep you there to see where the quest goes.

In the rough cut, I didn’t think that happened, and I was more than a little disappointed. The Wing It style was too apparent; the focus disjointed. To me, my friend came off poorly and the tone at times too serious and naval-gazing or downright awkward. The story was not flowing well, and I didn’t come away learning much. Perhaps my initial assessment was harsh because of closeness or high expectations, perhaps not. I wrote Geoff with some of the issues I had, not an easy or fun thing to do, then stepped back for awhile. My nature was to dive into the project frame-by-frame and “fix’ it according to my opinions, but that wasn’t appropriate, of course. It was not my film or my story or my quest. With film festival application time looming, “Do It Again” received another edit and went out into the world. The reviews started coming in, overwhelmingly positive from both audiences and the media. Wing It was getting some tailwind!

I decided that I would fly down from Seattle to the film’s Los Angeles premiere on July 22nd at the Silent Movie Theater, part of the Cinefamily “Don’t Knock the Rock” festival curated by filmmaker Allison Anders and her daughter Tiffany. I wanted to see the film on the big screen, join in the fun of DJ Howie Pyro playing classic Brit/garage tracks pre-show, the delicious and fun Michael Des Barres as film MC, and an hour of kool Kinks video clips from Dr. Charles Beardsley after the film. Most importantly, I would be able to see my pal Geoff from Boston again and hang out and laugh and talk about the strange surreality of all this. No matter if I still felt uncomfortable with some aspects of the film, I knew it would still be a great experience. I settled into a smooshy front-row couch, with the L.A. City Council and SHEL TALMY, LEGENDARY KINKS PRODUCER sitting somewhere behind me. Good lord.

Right away, I noticed the edits to this version of the film and even just a few minutes in, a broad smile came over my face. By god…it was WORKING! All the spots where I felt lost were now pinned down and explained, extraneous footage lost, and the tone lightened and tightened. The story came together, an unlikely mix of fan and band, celebrity and family, and the enduring power and inspiration of music. Greatness, both achieved and desired, and the real-life costs of that to both fan and band is perhaps the best summation of “Do It Again.” Dr. Warren Zanes, former member of the Del Fuegos and brother to musician Dan Zanes, anchors the beginning and end of the film as the Voice Of Reason in Geoff’s ear, and in-between there are a great deal of laughs as we see Geoff travel thousands of miles and compile many phone calls and emails trying to rally the troops in support of resurrecting the Kinks. It’s genuinely funny and honest – the Geoff Edgers onscreen is the same guy he is in real life, whether professing his love of music (although not of “the f*cking Eagles") or railing against a devastating pay cut at work. The L.A. audience, whom I sort of expected to be too cool for the room, was warm and enthusiastic, laughing and clapping and happy to be there. I would glance over at Des Barres every so often and smile seeing him practically high-five the screen at times, enjoying the film with everyone else.

The culmination of the film is in the interview filmed with Dave Davies. For me, it is a bit emotionally difficult to watch; a rather remarkable piece of footage unlike any other that I know of from the Kinks. There are questions answered there, perhaps THE question of the film. They do not come so much from the words Dave says, but his face as he says them. When you see “Do It Again,” I think you will understand what I mean. And yes, that means I think you SHOULD see it. Team Wing It succeeded, and there was no better feeling for me than to give my friend a hug at the end of the movie and tell him just that, especially when I was prepared to say, “Well, I’ll buy you a consolation beer down at Canter’s anyway, Geoff.” I recommend this film, and you can dance to it. The Kinks were the best, you know.

(For more about the L.A. night and some fun stories, see Geoff’s blog post on the “Do It Again” movie blog, which apparently he wrote at the same exact time I wrote this.)

Thank you Anderseseseseseses, everyone at Cinefamily and the Silent Movie Theater, Todd and Caz Westover + photos, and of course Geoff Edgers for one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve ever had.


I don't often let others speak for me. Obviously. But I stand absolutely with this guy. He says everything I feel about what it is to be both spiritual and atheist. Thank you, AHughman, and Roger Ebert, for bringing it to my Twittention.


An excellent live-action satire from immigration activist Will Coley. Nothing more effective than a little dose of standing in the shoes of others.


I think I am just going to go ahead and declare July 2010 “Winnebago Man” month here on Popthomology, because as you may note I have been writing pretty copiously about my enthusiasm (and experiences via my enthusiasm, including a song and video, and an audience visit to “The Tonight Show,” for f*ck’s sake) for this film and the YouTube viral video clip that inspired it. I must be dreaming of Winnebagos and flies at night, really. I finally got to SEE the documentary at the Sunset 5 theater in fabulous Hollywoodland, California last Saturday night, introduced by none other than WM producer Joel Heller. I settled in with a water and a box of Pocky, ready to cinematically meet Jack Rebney, “The Angriest Man In The World.”

The premise of the film is pretty simple and reasonable: what’s the deal with the crazy old dude swearing on that one YouTube clip? Why is he so damn mad, above and beyond the heat of the Iowa summer, blown industrial film script lines, and a fly plague? How did this very tall man with the mellifluous old-school radio voice lose his cool so completely and in such an undeniably elegant and profane way? And, the most important question of all: what happened to him in the 20 years since his ‘Bago meltdown? It’s human nature to be curious about those people that entertain and/or confound us. “Winnebago Man” expands these questions to examine the modern phenomenon of the instant micro-celebrity, no longer the farmer who got his 15 minutes of fame by getting his picture in the local paper with his giant pumpkin. Now, it is more likely to be someone, as “Candid Camera” put it, “caught in the act of being themselves,” and most likely on the humiliating side of funny. You (and I) can watch people falling down and cars sliding on ice pretty much all day long on the internet, right? It breaks up the routine and gives us a laugh and some kind of sense of relief that “at least that wasn’t me.” But there’s a “me” behind every video, and in this case, it is Jack Rebney.

Fresh-faced teenage filmmaker Ben Steinbauer  (oh, alright, he’s in his early 30s, but he looks like Bambi to me) has enough directorial instincts, persistence, and craziness to track down the elusive Rebney to attempt to answer the movie queries, and the film takes viewers through the not-quite-smooth process of a generational and personality gap between Rebney and Steinbauer that seems at times insurmountable. You might guess, and would be correct in your guess, that “The Angriest Man In The World,” while not any kind of monster, is a bit irascible. A mite tetchy. A tad difficult. Rebney has likely isolated himself in the Northern California woods for good reasons, one of which must be his frustration in dealing with the world and people at large. Working as a broadcast journalist in the days of Murrow and Cronkite and Severeid when the reporting of the news was more of a sacred trust rather than an extended “COPS” episode honed Rebney’s sensibilities, and sharpened his distaste for the mediocre and banal. He would not be sitting with us watching “Star Wars Kid” or “Afro Ninja” on YouTube.

Yet with his superior, self-imposed hermit “get off my lawn” ways, inside Rebney there is a person who shows warmth, humor, kindness, loyalty, self-awareness, and an insatiable need to dig out the few truths in the world. It is perhaps the latter quality that pushes him to keep contact with Steinbauer; Jack is smart enough to know that he doesn’t know it all, and just open enough to take another listen to a part of the world he wrote off a long time ago. In his old age, he is willing to step out one more time to see what “Winnebago Man” is all about, which turns out in the end to be more than a very bad day caught on tape. It’s everyone’s bad day, and the voice everyone sometimes wishes they had. And it’s really really f*cking funny.

Do me a kindness, will ya? See “Winnebago Man” in a theater near you, or like me, in a theater not near you at all. It’s fun, thought-provoking, and takes you from an RV lot to a YouTube hit to a documentary worth your patronage. Go go go, you g*dd*mn j*ck*sses! Just don't sit next to the pumpkin farmer. He smells like fertilizer.


Well, I think, WELL, it's been QUITE SOME EXCITING TRIP to California this time: The Tonight Show to watch Jack Rebney and Ben Steinbauer, the L.A. premiere of "Do It Again," where my kind friends clapped as my name went by in the movie credits, and then FINALLY to see the "Winnebago Man" movie last night, with the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with producer Joel Heller (the latter two events on my docket to write about in detail at home this week). But what also made the trip so special was the chance to hang out with my old friends and their kids and do normal, non-touristy stuff like the giant pool yesterday, eating at all their favorite Mexican restaurants, sitting at their house in the morning chatting over bacon, coffee, and blueberry pancakes, and feeling a cool, gentle breeze from the open window come over me in the morning as I began to wake.

My post tonight as I sit here on my Virgin America flight back to Seattle is just a few photos from our visit to Montrose, CA. this afternoon. It's a smaller town, part of the metro Glendale area, very quiet and a little like time had stopped there a bit, which is cool. It was a nice flipside to being on Sunset Strip last night. Also, says Wiki, "noted burlesque queen, dancer and actress, Virginia Bell, whose 48-inch (1,200 mm) bust was legendary during the 50s and 60s, was born in Montrose in 1932." I didn't see her, but I bet she was out and about somewhere being mam-alicious.

Our first stop in Montrose was at La Cabanita for lunch, and MAN, it was some good Mexican food. Everything we had was excellent, including this MASSIVE fresh mango margarita. My god, look at it.

The kids talked and played with their parents iPhones and ate two rounds of chips, while the grown-ups talked and told the kids not to eat so many chips.

I like restaurants that have a "Celebrity Wall." Do celebrities always walk around with 8x10 headshots to autograph whenever they go out to eat or shop or go to the dentist? I think they do.

Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, time for your close-up!

After lunch, we walked a few blocks up to Montrose's main drag for their Sunday Farmer's Market. Look! A goat! I think it was meant to be petted, but I am not sure. Perhaps Nala was destined for some delicious soup.

I rummaged around and found a Simpsons t-shirt for Mr12 for FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS.

The likelihood you will see me at any Comic Con, ever? 0.0. Bite it, geeks.

Then off to Tom's Toys, a big but very cool toy store. There are so many captions one could make for this picture.

I've never seen a ride-on gorilla before. This wouldn't scare the children small enough to use it? I dunno. It looks like it would rip your arm off to me.

Look! Packaged lion-cheetah giraffe take down! Or some interspecies orgy, I don't know.

Know your bovine. REAL well. It's kind of Terminator Cow, huh?

So many choices, so little chance of convincing me to buy them. MissSeven ended up with a pink stuffed giraffe which she fell asleep on in the plane 2 minutes before landing.

And then there's the local lingerie store, Faye's. This is about as far from Frederick's of Hollywood as it's possible to be. Faye's seemingly stocks only nightwear designed to say, "IT'S ALL OVER FOR ME, AND YOU OVER THERE TOO." I love the mannequins here. Look at the faces. It's like they are two evil twins doomed to fight over the same nightgown for eternity.

I think these two evil twins are discussing the particulars of their respective boyfriends. The one on the left clearly has the superior mate.

After a couple more stops for an iced chai and some frozen yogurt for the kids, it was time to pack up and leave for LAX. What a grand California trip. Thank you to all my friends, new and old, for making it so great.


Rushing out to dinner and movie, our last full night in L.A. Spent the afternoon at the giant Hansen Dam pool on a beautiful day. A few photos before I flee.