i’ll be honest, im nervous

any other time ive been unemployed i’ve had the cushion of an unemployment check. i don’t have that safety net right now.

i’m also no spring chicken on paper. perhaps 2x the age of those who i am competing against who probably will settle for 1/2 the salary that i feel i deserve.

why do i deserve a good fee? because i produce 5x the miracles of the others.

blogs existed at the LA Times before i showed up, but they sure seemed to flourish while i was there. luck? was it lucky when i was placed on the politics blog and moved the needle from a half million to a million to two million to three million over a matter of months?

LAist was around before i got hired but when i left we were quadrupling the LA Times’ best blog despite the fact that I had a $500 budget a month (and no deadlines).

the Academy had social for years before i came on board, and magically the increases there were in the thousands of percentages. when the social media giants were invited to the Oscars, somehow i ran circles around them. live. alone. unfettered. the joke was they were gonna steal me away.

if you bring 4 people to an event and i outperform all of them, aren’t i 4x more valuable? don’t i deserve 2x what they command?

but not everyone sees it that way. some things, i assume they think, cannot be measured so easily. and often that is indeed the case. but other things have metrics and like shakira’s hips, they seldom lie.

i am not saying that i haven’t been lucky. i have. in huge ways.

i was lucky to be available to run LAist when Gothamist was able to finally pay an EIC.

i was lucky that outgoing EIC carolyn kellogg was so generous to me and handed over the keys professionally and with love. i was lucky that the staff i inherited were not just ready to rock at a higher intensity, but did so FOR FREE for YEARS with enthusiasm and creativity and vigor and style and insight and love and love and love.

i was lucky that my buddy matt welch was leaving the Times when i wanted to work there and knew who i should write. and i was lucky that i was writing to Meredith Artley, who is one of the secret angels of digital journalism. sent from above. walking amongst us. and who you can expect to see if you make it to the pearly gates. who taught me what class and empathy and professionalism are all about. and i was lucky to work with a staff who was rightfully suspicious about blogs and the emerging digital culture but were also ready to make that tough transition away from the comfort zone of their print-first mentality.

and yes i was lucky that the academy digital was being run by josh spector who knew me via LAist and i was lucky that during that time at LAist i didn’t reply to one of his emails glibly. i was lucky that the day that my former LA Times colleague Veronique de Turenne told me of the Academy job opening, I applied and Josh dmed me via Twitter and said, is this Tony from LAist? yes. yes! all of that was luck.

but the results weren’t.

the results were monster numbers that i have gotten almost everywhere else i’ve been.

i got those results not because im the smartest guy in the room or the best dressed. but because im intensely competitive. and it comes to being a Cub fan during the 108-year drought. seriously.

the Cubs were my life and as long as they sucked, my life sucked. ive had the greatest friends, coolest girlfriends, but there was a giant hole in my heart due to the Cubs sucking year after year. and the only way i could fill a little of that was to find a scoreboard in life — any — and spin those numbers like a defective pinball machine.

a hollow goal, perhaps, but i do admit it was a decent band-aid at times.

right now it’s Sunday. i am reading John 8-11 and Jesus is being grilled by all these people and he’s trying to defend himself and any time he checkmates them with an answer they look to get rocks to stone him. I am the furthest thing from Jesus, but I love the Bible because how relatable is that?

who among us doesn’t feel that when we are on the defense and we think we have replied with the Truth, there’s always a few in the crowd who say, kill him for that! what i love about the Good Book is, here’s a book that’s supposed to be about Faith and Love and Possibilities and yet even the Son of Man, the embodiment of God on Earth, had a hard time talking to people so that they understood.

as the kids say: SAME!

the bible also says don’t worry, consider the lilies of the field. so i will keep knocking on doors and submitting resumes and hopefully soon someone will say

wait, is this really LAist Tony? you really want to work with us?

that is the luck i need right now.

theres a lot of bad in the world

and if you are on social media as much as i am you can start to think that the good in the world is rare

but its not.

good is all around us. so is love.

the trick is you have to keep turning the dial to tune in to it.

so often im turning the dial and i stop when something is outrageous or shocking or appalling or sad or tragic or evil or maddening. which is ok.

but ive gotta keep turing it until i get different stations, ones about hope and happiness and selflessness and inspiration.

i am a sponge. anything good ive done or any successes ive had are because of the people around me who have influenced me and indirectly trained me to be like them. and i bet im not alone.

i bet lots of people hear or see things on tv or at the park or in the bar or on the bus and adopt those moments into what they consider to be reality.

i am also a victim of ritual. for a while i was a single man. i got used to a certain pattern and a way of life. if i wanted to go on a date i would but for some reason, either by my own doing or because of bad luck it didn’t amount to much. and since i dont believe in luck, im pretty sure either i sabotaged it or picked women who i always knew wouldn’t work out for me.

one day amber showed up and i did my best to ruin things. i kept her at arms length. i kept my feelings in a lock box and then i rowed a boat out to the horizon and tossed that box into the sea.

but then i got a knock on the door and there it was. wet. green. seaweed hanging off it. and amber was holding it saying yo busblog i think this is for you.

this week we had a little getaway. not too long not too short. we drove three hours and stopped. next day four hours. next day back for three hours. then back home for three hours. we talked. listened to the radio, listened to a book on tape. held hands. never fought. ate lots.

it was healing and enlightening and so very nice. we took detours. we talked to strangers. we soaked in hot tubs and swimming pools.

we both know im gonna get a gig soon and we wont be able to both get several days off in a row so this was the perfect time. and im so grateful. so grateful.

be nice to your feelings. dont put it in a box. and know that just cuz you think only this person or that one will know what to do with it, know there are little surprises in life, and go with it.

RIP Agnès

I’m someone who likes to learn. You won’t last long in social media / tech / digital unless you are willing to continue to study trends and new platforms and fresh approaches and things you’ve never seen before.

While at the Academy I learned so much about filmmakers I had never heard of. One of them was Agnès Varda who died today at 90.

But I learned about her in such a weird way. She and the artist JR (no periods) were nominated for directing the documentary feature “Faces Places” and at the nominees luncheon he brought a cardboard likeness of her as she could not attend.

He posed with the likeness, he had other nominees hold it… it was a spectacle but in the sweetest sense because clearly all these filmmakers knew who Agnès was and they loved it and her.

One day something crazy happened at our building. Like there was a fire alarm that kept malfunctioning or something and they sent us home. But across the street they were showing Faces Places, so I took the opportunity to see the film – and it was so lovely.

I immediately could see why it was nominated. And I could also see that JR was more than just a freaky dude being weird at the fancy luncheon – he’s a true artist and precisely the type of person you would want to partner with if you are also an artist like Agnès.

The year before the Academy saluted her with an Honorary Oscar. Angelina Jolie presented it to her and danced with her on the stage. I hope that today she is dancing with all the other film legends who, I am sure, are welcoming her with open arms.


xbi said go to spring training, we have some tix there for you

but just make sure you pose with your girl at the Sloane Park sign

and buy some tshirts for us

and say tip the Mexican guy with the Crazy Chips $3, he has a message for you

then buy a straw hat, you will be known for the hat.

then knock on the door of the Cubs poutine truck. it will be “closed.”

a blonde will approach you, ask to take a picture of her nails

we will sit you next to a family of Iowa farmers. when the long time pork farmer says “everything was good until those fucking tariffs were imposed on the Chinese” you know you have the right guy.

step into the open door at the Chicago Dogs stand. your envelope will be there.

and never forget. all the best have been let go. keep yr heart pure.

been eating a lot of baked goods

croissants, toast, bagels
i know i know but hear me out

then ambers friend needed a couch to crash on for a few days
so ambers like fuck that, take the whole place

my.space.bar.isnt.working. ah there it is

anyways so now we’re gonna go on a little road trip since we have someone to watch the cats

is this the right time for any of this? no. is there ever a right time for anything?

all i know is my neighbor of many years backed her stuff and i got a moving van

and i thought high tailed it to somewhere but tonight shes up there

with  a man!

and theyre just laughing and laughing which i hadnt heard in a little while

so cheers to that and cheers to her

maybe shes been eating some baked goods too.

poor junebug

saw alita: battle angel today, not bad, was expecting it to be disappointing but

james cameron is a technical wizard and his ability to make live action actors interact with CGI is worth the price of admission alone.

and then robert rodriguez, who is no slouch, directed it beautifully.

people give disney and pixar a hard time but when you see other studios try, you notice what they get wrong.

if this was disney there would have been a deeper theme to the tale, a true moral.

here it seemed like it was trying to tell a story but there really wasnt anything there. i think thats why no ones talking about it.

mahershala ali, who at first you think how’d you end up here, has to do some insane acting and pulls it off wonderfully.

i would have loved to seen what other actors did while auditioning for that role.


my feelings cannot be hurt, sweet girlfriend

my girlfriend is the best but you would think by now that she would know me but she doesn’t which is weird.

today is her only day off this week. i said what are we gonna do, this is great, what are we gonna do? its the middle of the week we can do anything: the beach the museums a long drive a short drive the stupid bloom JUST IMAGINE ALL THE FLOWERS WE CAN INSTAGRAM

she looked at me, put on her yoga pants and went on a walk, alone. i sniffed under my arms. my cats yawned. i got a phone call from someone who maybe wants to give me money, who knows.

when she got back i was all, how was yoga, she said i didnt go. i just needed to walk. i said i need to walk too why —

she said i needed to walk alone, and now i need the house for like 3 hours by myself but i didnt want to hurt your feelings.

i said baby im xbi, they tried to rip “feelings” from me on day 1 but they couldn’t find any. she looked at me like i was crazy. i said listen

i was the only black kid in school, pretty much from kindergarten through high school. i was also a cub fan in the middle of the longest losing streak in sports history. i also went bald. i also got a homer simpson dad bod.

i also chose the field of writing to plant my flag. and worse, i focused on poetry in college (a college that at the time had 2% black student enrollment)

if i had feelings, i would have turned into a puddle of tears by now.

but look at me, im fine. i have you. i have a great car. i have the last blog on earth. and the comments are open. if i had a thin skin do you think id have had open comments since 2001?

it’s not the things that you say to me that “hurt,” it’s not trusting me enough to say them that disappoint me.

my blood is enriched by Truth, girl, be honest with me and i am yours forever. not only can i handle it, but in this or in any relationship, if you honestly communicate with me i can make something good from that. there is nothing to fear by saying i need to be alone for a few hours. nothing. i can get my parking permit, i can go to the movies, i can get some soul food. i can solve a crime. the options are endless and maybe i should go out in the world alone for a few hours on a nice day in LA.

but you need to start trusting that your needs are valuable and if i can make them come true i will, happily. so off i will go.

how much of that will she truly take to heart? who knows. but i try.


amber is working six days this week

i think she is worried im not ever gonna get another job again.

i tell her, baby dont worry, if things really go to crap, i’ll get a gofundme and people will buy us a tent and we can move to venice.

that didnt settle her stomach.

so i said this is what id do if it all falls apart. maybe its something i should do anyways. i would start a church. you know i love the lord. you know the bible is my favorite book, you know i look at it differently than a lot of others do.

you know i would be able to get a time in one of the other existing churches around here, like Saturday Nights at 7:16pm.

she goes why then?

because i could say, tune in as we live stream at 6:66pm as homeless tony preaches from the good book live from hollywood, the center of the beginning of the end!

and i would have a little prayer at the beginning. people would shake hands. or hug.

then id say now that we’re warmed up, let’s hear some music, for it is written in Psalm 100, deliver unto the Lord a joyful noise. so ladies and gentlemen: Green Day!

of course Green Day wouldn’t be there. it would be some kids from the neighborhood who would sing something good from the Staples Singers songbook

something like Sit Down, Servant

and then i would read a little from the good book and bring it home as to how it applies today.

then id introduce Green Day again

we dance around

and id say give to caesar whats caesar’s but if you wanna support the rock n roll church, give till it hurts

and the band would play again and that’s church!

she said, we’re gonna die. please get a job.

i said i just got to heaven and i cant sit down

next week i bet she works seven days.


im still very much a community manager

i mean, once it’s in your blood. and this is something ive been doing since 2004, so…

as you may know a year and a half ago i started a Facebook group for Howard Stern fans because I noticed that in all the huge FB groups the atmosphere was toxic. Mostly *against* Howard!

They were also super rude and incredulous towards each other.

So I started a group called Howard Stern for fans who Actually Like Howard Stern and it was a smash hit almost right away.

But that doesn’t mean that things are without drama.

There’s two challenges in building communities: making it grow & keeping it cool once it’s large.

To be honest I don’t really know specifically how I was able to grow Any of the communities I was tasked to oversee, be it LAist or Buzznet or the Howard group — I just followed my gut, and tried to be creative, while allowing the members to express themselves freely without being huge jerks.

I also paid attention to what seemed to work with us and what didn’t work with our so-called competitors. 

Which brings us to the drama I encountered on the Stern page last week (which remnants still waft). Howard announced that he’s coming out with a new book. Later a staffer told him that Wendy Williams called him “Hollywood” because he has so many famous friends like Jimmy Kimmel. David Letterman, and Billy Joel. Howard took offense because god bless him, he can dish it out but he can’t always take it. He’s human.

So he went on a 30+ minute rant about her, calling her every name in the book including the dreaded c-word.

The community took that word and started using it left and right. But when Howard does it… it’s different. In part because he’s doing it on the radio. Cussing someone out on FB is old hat.

Also calling a black woman the c-word is like two strikes to me.

So I announced the new rule that we wouldn’t be using that word any more and 20-30 people got super uptight and started using the word against me. Which is fine. Everyone has a mountain they wanna die on. Mt Cword is an odd one, but you do you. And I banned them with a click. 

But then this guy gets on and starts saying it like two days later.

So I decide to debate him so people can see what I am talking about. Here it is.

Me: Is there something you want to say to me?

Him: How much time do you have? Why do you feel to censor comments in a fan group that loves the Howard Stern Show? Howard went to Sirius in part of censorship and FCC…. When someone says something you don’t like you remove their post, suspend them, or ban them all together. That’s about the least Howardish course of action an Admin could take.

Me: How long have you been in this group?

Him: I would say at least 2 years now…

Me: So you have seen this group grow from 0 to 16k members. Would you say it’s the best Howard group on FB?

Him: I wouldn’t say the best, no. I do find some neat posts here and there but I personally find your censorship as an admin to be over the top and very anti-Howard. I bet if you leave this up even though I doubt you do that others would agree.

Me: What would you say the best is?

Him: I think your intentions in starting a group that discourages people from talking shit about Howard on every other post was cool but you’ve let that get away from you.

Me: I’ll ask again, if this isn’t the best Stern group on FB, what is?

Him: The official page, HSS Universe, Howard Stern Fans……. Is this when you remove and take down my comments, Ms. Turk?

He is referring to the Executive Producer of the show Marci Tuck, who some have inferred has watered down the Stern Show and advised Howard not to have strippers and porn stars on any more, etc. While an interesting theory, something tells me that Howard Stern does only what he wants. His show is the most successful in radio history. If he wanted to have strippers on every day, he would. I think he’s just 60+ and bored with what he did when he was 40.

Me: Howard Stern Show Universe has had 5 posts this month. Very little discussion and nothing original. What makes that page, to you, better than this one?

Him: Lack of censorship from the admin.

Me: How would you know? They don’t even have audio of Howard’s rant.

When Howard got home last week after his rant, it was quietly removed from the archived show on the Sirius App and missing from subsequent replays throughout the week and weekend. But thanks to some Russian YouTube site, it was preserved and posted online, including on our FB group. I let it stand because I don’t like when things are deleted and also, it was interesting. And one thing Howard always complained about other broadcasters who would bristle when a phony phonecaller or a drunk or angry person got on the air was “why would you cut off the one interesting thing that happened on your show all week?” I took that statement to heart.

Him: You ban words from a freaking Howard Stern group.

Me: Yep. Now lets go to what you think is another group better than this one, Howard Stern Fans — today that group celebrates a milestone. A year ago today that group had its last post. Are you serious in saying that a group that hasn’t had a post in a year is better than this one? OH, I’m sorry, they haven’t had a post in TWO years. I’m starting to think that even though you’ve never said the words I’ve banned in here, you just wanted attention from me today and a cool story to tell your friend about being banned for being an idiot.

Him: I think I’ve hurt your feelings, Marci.

Me: I think you complimented me by not being able to show me a Stern group on FB better than this one.

There was silence.

Me: Is there anything else Robin?

Him: That’ll do Marci… Censor away!! The people that have called you out on your power trips before got booted so i’ll be in excellent company.

Me: Once again… your point is that even though this is the best Stern group on FB (in part because of the decisions I have made), I should change that because you want the freedom to say things in this group that you’ve never said… even though you are free to say those things in other groups that are less successful — and in some cases totally dead? Do I have that correct?

Him: Not at all… Do your thing, Tony Turk. I love the show , hate censorship, and I don’t think this is the best unofficial Stern Show fan page on facebook. I enjoy a lot of the posts people share in this group but you aren’t going to make or break my day by booting me or not.

Me: Why would I boot you? You have provided the perfect example of why this group has done well. You can’t name a better group. The groups you name are dead or dying. You seem outraged that you cant type in HOWS THE SLOT or the c-word. So I should doubt myself because you want to call me names? I’ll get right on that bud.

And no one has uttered the c-word again. 

the thing about writing is

the best times to tell stories and the best time to reveal things and the best times you’re interesting

are the times you really dont wanna write at all

and thats when your world is inside out and youre in a free fall

and you think youre gonna die.

during those times every part of your brain is firing because its trying to protect you from freaking out

and every sliver of fear is done stretching and theyre now ready to run.

problem is, im not fixin to die.

im tony pierce. busblog. king of siam. leader of the underdogs.

defender of freedom.

all of this is happening for all the right reasons and my network of angels are working overtime to get me where i need to be

just like the done when i wanted to go to the world series.

did i deserve to go there, and the parade afterwards? no.

no more so than any one else.

likewise i dont deserve all these people writing and DMing me and emailing me to provide help. and i feel bad when i dont seem super eager when they offer me this or that.

unfortunately i want the world.

unfortunately i know what i want, and i can see the future, and i can read peoples hearts, and when i tell them about every purplish vein in there it can be jarring and uncomfortable.

which is why even though its so damn cliche i would love to start a podcast and get it going fast. today i was procrastinating reading the bible because i didnt do it on sunday and the whole time i was all i wanna interview him and her and him and her.

i got to rodney on the roq. and i imagined what id ask him. and i predicted how he would get shy and how i would ask him about his shyness

and i would ask him do you know that morrissey song ask

shyness is nice / but shyness can stop you / from doing all the things in life you want to

i want a podcast so i can ask a music legend if he is familiar with a hit tune from a music legend that he helped get big, and ask him if he feels seen with that song.

because no one else is dumb enough to ask it.

and to me, thats wanting the world.