busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    two south african immigrants made news today 

    the first was Elon Musk who sent a rocket ship containing a Tesla car into space this morning

    and then had his rocket boosters fly back to earth safely so he could use them again

    and again and again.

    moral of the story: surround yourself with people who believe that anything is possible

    and you will create miracles.

    the second was the richest man in LA, Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong,

    who might take $500 million of his $7 billion fortune to buy the best paper west of Manhattan

    your Los Angeles times.

    moral of that story: sometimes good things happen to good cities.

    always do the right thing, Mookie.

  2. Thursday, February 1, 2018

    you’ll never feel at home in LA unless you keep moving 

    LA is huge.

    imagine the biggest place you’ve ever been in and quadruple it.

    that will just be the Valley, which you need to know if you are really to get LA.

    then quadruple it again and you’ve got South Central,

    which is where the secret soul of LA is. the actual heartbeat.

    the fakers fly right over south central via overpasses or freeways , but if you live here long enough

    and if you start meeting the right people you will go to a house party off Crenshaw

    you will get your haircut on Florence,

    you might even find yourself at a sample sale near Carson.

    LA goes all the way to Long Beach and inside the weirdest dead ends of downtown.

    everyone hikes Runyon, but if i was the failing New York Times and their laughing stock of an LA bureau here’s what i would do:

    there is a stretch of LA from Santa Monica to DTLA thats as wide as Pico to the south to Sunset to the north.

    i would refuse to run any stories from that stretch an zero from downtown.

    i’d also ignore anything happening in the upper crust of Malibu, Manhattan and Redondo Beaches.

    why? because unless we are talking about crime, 90% of so-called news and features by the mainstream press happen in that narrow band.

    the Pulitzer Prize winning Jonathan Gold is beloved in LA because he uses the entire canvas, not just the same beaten path

    he ventures, he explores, he speaks Spanish, he talks to people of all skin colors and religious beliefs.

    LA is the home of more religions than any other city in the world.

    it is the 2nd largest Spanish speaking city on the planet.

    if all of your sources and all of your stories are about white folk, if all of your touchstones and goals and ideals are based in Caucasian ideals of the 1960s

    then you aren’t really telling the story of LA of today.

    i once dated a girl from canada who was blown away that so many billboards and handmade fliers were in Spanish

    and how many brown skinned people there were on the streets

    and Asians

    and Jews.

    she said, this isn’t what it looked like in “Clueless”.

    if you truly want to cover this city, and most of all, if you really want to love this city, you have to move out of West Hollywood

    you have to break up with your boyfriend,

    you have to stop taking taxis

    and most of all you should start driving for Lyft.

    then you will start to see the real story that is this beautiful city of angels.

  3. Monday, December 18, 2017

    10 years ago today i started working at the LA Times 

    it was a dream come true.

    it had been something i had been thinking about since i had been in college.

    and there i was.

    and my shirt and sweater were dumb, and my pants were weird, and i didnt know what shoes to wear

    and part of me was thinking “you’re the Blog Guy, you can be weird if you want!”

    and most of me was thinking, “you gotta be able to get the print people to like and respect you SELL OUT SELL OUT!”

    i dont think ive worn that shirt ever since, and i gave that sweater to the poor last Christmas.

    totally forgot it was famous.

    thats me and then-publisher David Hiller who right after that picture was taken said, “youre the blog expert, I have a blog but it isn’t very good. Do you have any advice?”

    i said, “Mr. Hiller, I have some bad news for you. You have a great life and I have learned a little pattern over the years: Good life, crappy blog. Crappy life, great blog.” He laughed and I don’t think he ever blogged again.

    as you can see from the stats at the bottom of this, 2017 will be the least prolific year in the 16 years of writing this blog. this will be post #311 this year with about two weeks left. some years i wrote 800 or 900 posts. OF GENIUS!

    why so few this year?

    is it because i have had a Good Life?

    sure, let’s pretend that that’s the reason.

    #goodlife

  4. Wednesday, October 4, 2017

    the LAT has decided to unionize 

    seems like theyre nervous about their parent company Tronc

    which is the Tribune, of Chicago, which hasn’t really given them any reason to trust

    first of all, dumb name, tronc, wtf.

    next, they made the editors ALSO publishers which breaks so many rules of journalism

    then they did weird things like try to get their execs to go to the Oscars

    allegedly they took the tickets allocated to the writers and gave em to the Chicago bigwigs

    then they fired a half dozen top editors

    then when they realized a copy editor was married to someone they had just axed, they fired her too.

    thats not exactly how you build trust.

    and it’s not even journalistically sound.

    hows about only fire people if they suck. dont fire them if they intimidate you or are married to someone you just canned?

    it makes me doubly sad because i grew up reading Chicago journalism

    and i spent four of my happiest years at the Times with many of these professionals

    most of the time they were teaching me how to be professional.

    the LA Times not only wanted the best writing and editing and photography and graphics and art and and and and but they also wanted it to be done correctly.

    it was a slow process and not everyone was on board but for the most part the goal was simple: dont fuck up and you wont if you have the proper goals

    accuracy was the properest of goals.

    not speed.

    i remember the day Michael Jackson died. a bunch of outlets were saying he was dead and maybe he was dead but the whole world was waiting for the ultimate umpire of a Los Angeles tragedy to make the call.

    our site nearly went down because so many people were refreshing their browsers.

    at first we thought we were getting hacked or it was a virus because the traffic was crippling to the mighty site.

    and when the news finally was published it was so bittersweet because finally we knew the truth

    but the truth was so so so so sad.

    but it was the truth, which is all that matters inside that building.

    tronc fucked up in major ways in their relationship with the LA Times

    they should have seen this coming, they should have seen that they created this.

    but alas, they have different goals

    and the satisfaction of the hard working and veteran LA Times staff has not been one of them.

    which was so dumb it’s hard to believe.

  5. Monday, August 28, 2017

    shout out to Funky Cold Mark Medina who is heading to the Warriors 

    One of the funnest parts of overseeing the blogs at the LAT way back in the day was our sports blogs.

    the Lakers Blog was one of the first blogs at the Times and it was already a monster before I ever got there.

    i was able to convince LA’s best Dodger blogger to blog for us, and i was able to do it without costing the paper a lot of money (because we had just gotten rid of some salary elsewhere).

    but when ESPN poached the Kam Bros I was suddenly lost because i never expected them to leave us.

    I tried everything in the book to convince them to stay saying things like, “radio isn’t where intellectuals go, it’s where washed up journalists and jocks go. You are both young, pretty, full of life, do you really want Bill from Downey to tell you that he thinks Kobe should pass the rock all day?”

    it didn’t work, The Sports Leader ganked the brothers and I had a giant hole to fill.

    at first I decided to replace them American Idol style by having 4-5 contenders take over the blog, one applicant per week, and at the end of the trial period we let the readers vote.

    but life is rarely that exciting. so we interviewed this guy from that paper and this other dude from this other paper. they were fine.

    but Mark Medina had something special that i liked: he was young, totally down for Whatever, and somehow it came up that he lived in El Segundo so he could be close to the Lakers and Clippers practice facilities.

    i was all, this is the sort of insane fan/pro that i need to write 3-4 blog posts a day.

    so we hired him and expected the worst because the Kams totally dominated the Lakers blogosphere up until that point.

    and part of their popularity was the fact that they’d get 100s of comments a day. Could Mark mix it up in the comments AND go to practices AND interview the players AND cut videos AND go to all the games AND give me half or 3/4ths the traffic that the Kams did?

    weirdly he Could!

    in a total shocker, many of the readers did not follow the Kams to ESPN, they stayed loyal, for reasons I still don’t know (habit maybe), with the Times.

    people asked, is Mark really that good of a writer? what’s his secret?

    and maybe the secret was the readers saw what I saw: Funky Cold truly loved the game, was earnest, wasn’t full of shit, and was personable.

    and for two years straight his numbers were consistent with the kings, the Kams.

    Mark was so friendly that when Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace) first retired from the Lakers he gave a shout out to Funky Cold.

    Today Mark announced that the San Jose Mercury is hiring him to cover the world champion Warriors.

    Last night he called me to tell me he was going to announce it all today. He thanked me for the help I gave him at the Times.

    But the truth is, he wrote everything, he did 60+ hour work weeks, he studied film, he worked as hard as anyone out there.

    I am Very happy for him. Boring as that team will be to cover, at least he will get to go to a few more postseason games than if he was stuck covering the Lakers.

    Give em hell Mark!

  6. Saturday, May 13, 2017

    80 years ago today Bill Veeck convinced the Cubs to plant ivy 

    my heroes arent the ones with lots of money or good looks or fancy cars.

    they’re idea people. but more, they were convincing enough to get the ideas out there.

    one of my heroes is Bill Veeck. Not Bill Sr, but Jr.

    Senior was a sportswriter in Chicago almost exactly 100 years ago. In his daily column he would often speculate what he would do if he was running the Cubs. Eventually William Wrigley Jr gave him a shot as Vice President to try out some of those ideas in real life and the Cubs won the NL pennant. So Wrigley made Veeck president of the club where he remained for about 15 years until he died.

    Long time readers will remember that I used to write daily blog posts here where I would start off by saying Dear LA Times, you suck…. and I would then give away secrets of how they could improve if only they hired me. Eventually they let me run their blogs and our traffic increased by 2,300% until some genius convinced them that they could do it without me. LOL.

    After Veeck Sr. died, his son sold peanuts in the stands at Wrigley Field. 80 years ago today Bill Veeck Jr. got the ear of the Wrigleys and told them about an idea that wouldn’t cost much money but would add a touch of class and uniqueness to the ballpark. The idea was ivy covering the bricks. Which today still grows at the Friendly Confines.

    Veeck Jr., would go on to own the crosstown White Sox and there he would let his imagination go wild while innovating baseball — and other sports. He introduced the exploding scoreboard that would shoot off fireworks whenever someone from the home team hit a homer, he put the players names on the back of their jerseys to appease people who didn’t want to buy scorecards, he put a showerhead in left field so people could cool off on hot Chicago afternoons. He even set up a barbershop in the bleachers in Center Field so a man could get a haircut while watching the game.

    One of his most overlooked ideas was letting the fans decide if a pitcher should get pulled from the game or if they should put in a pinch hitter.

    But maybe the best idea he ever had was hiring the lovably wild Harry Caray as the White Sox’ broadcaster and letting him do whatever the hell he wanted to do, which soon included singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch.

    When Veeck got old he sold the White Sox, he was often seen back across town in the bleachers of Wrigley cheering on the Cubs at the field he grew up in, in the park that he touched in such a beautiful way. He would be seen with his shirt off, in shorts revealing his wooden leg, sipping on an Old Style, just feet away from the ivy that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for him.

  7. Sunday, April 16, 2017
  8. Monday, July 18, 2016

    dear tony, are you sure you’re not a rock star? 

    tom morello

    let’s see…
    cubs hat: check
    cubs shirt: check
    beautiful cherry wood gibson SG: check
    but i let my axe hang a lot lower than that
    also, the only time i wear a cubs hat and cubs shirt at the same time is at Wrigley Field

    but i do love Tom Morello and Rage and what he wrote in yesterdays LA Times

    is better than anything i ever wrote there times 100

  9. Tuesday, June 14, 2016

    sometimes i dont know any more 

    tony awardsyou do your thing, you walk around. you drive around. you talk to people. the people seem reasonable.

    but then you go on the internet and something changes. everyone loses their minds.

    were their minds always lost? is my mind lost?

    when something happens 1,000 times and every time is sad and every time is horrible, shouldnt it be changed?

    since the massacre at Sandy Hook where 20 little innocent kids were gunned down there have been 998 mass shootings in the USA. the land of the free. my home sweet home.

    of those 998 only three of the mass shootings were at the hands of Muslims.

    and yet the LA Times, my hometown paper, allows Jonah Goldberg to write a column about how its all the Muslims’ fault. and how Obama is weird by not calling it Islama Fascism or whatever Jonah Goldberg wants him to call it. and the Times pays him money for this.

    meanwhile of the 998 mass killings, all have been done by men.

    most of them white men.

    when will Jonah Goldberg whine that Obama doesnt tell the world that what we have here is a White Man With A Gun Problem?

    who will the LA Times pay to write that? you know, something that’s based in actual math and science instead of malarkey gleaned from the Fox News talking points.

    no one will write it there because, it’s not really a White Man With A Gun problem, it’s just a plain old gun problem.

    there are some guns we shouldnt have. and there are ways that we should be selling and registering and keeping an eye on these guns that is the problem.

    duh

    and thats why i feel like sometimes i just dont know. because some very smart people really truly believe in their hearts

    that if we treated guns like how we treat cars, which is to say, in order to get and keep a gun

    you would have to prove you are capable of using one, you have to register it, you have to maintain it, you have to do all the paperwork, etc.

    these smart people really think that it would lead to us taking away

    all

    of the guns.

    they forget or ignore the fact that we haven’t taken away

    all

    of the anything in the usa.

    hand grenades are illegal but there are still a few floating around.cartoon

    a man can’t have a bazooka, but every now and then you find someone with one.

    all we are asking for is a reasonable adjustment to these unreasonable actions occurring to innocent people.

    like i said yesterday, i believe this change will come.

    i believe the tides will change. i believe we will start voting out representatives who care more about money flowing in from the NRA than they do about blood flowing out of innocent victims.

    we will return to being the home of the brave

    and we will let go of some of the machine guns that have ruined the lives of far too many innocent families.

    we are not a stupid scared fucked up terrible ignorant doomed nation of jonah goldbergs

    who like to blame boogeymen and not ourselves.

    this is not a muslim problem or even a white man with a gun problem.

    this is an american problem

    that will be fixed by americans.

    which is why i cant wait to vote.

  10. Monday, May 23, 2016

    why do old people hate beyonce? 

    beyonce formation

    in my weird universe Beyonce is Queen. thats how it is on my social media, in the web sites i read, and the young people i know.

    when i drive if one of her songs comes on, especially the newer ones, everyone will hush up and sing along.

    last week she sold out the 100,000 seat Rose Bowl, by her damn self, to support a record that had just come out a few weeks previous. The average ticket price was about $100 and the good seats were much more.

    before the Rose Bowl concert went off,  she announced a future engagement at the more intimate 50,000 seat Dodger Stadium in September where face value ticket prices on the field range from $500 – $2,000. if you want to sit at the tippy-top of the baseball stadium tickets are a mere $109 before Ticketmaster et all get their cut.

    beyonce poolpeople admire her beauty, singing, dancing, style, lyrics, husband, child, marriage, career, and most importantly the way she handles herself in times of every day real life drama.

    people, other than those who wrote in last week to complain that the LA Times, that is. and what really irked them was the paper put one of their stories about her on the OMG front page.

    Chuck from Huntington Beach said “I love newspapers.  I have been a subscriber of The Times since 1972.  I am not a subscriber of the National Enquirer, but it is beginning to seem that way.  I know all print media are struggling to stay afloat, but come on, guys.  There has to be some actual news you could put on Page 1.”

    Jeff in Eagle Rock wrote, “Does an unusually gushy article about Beyoncé deserve to be on the front page of The Times when another story about her is on Page 1 of Calendar?”

    There was Carole down in San Diego who complained, “Really, Beyoncé is front page news? And we wonder why someone like Donald Trump could be a leading candidate for president. By any chance, have you seen the movie ‘Idiocracy’?”

    And of course Marty in Whittier who asked, “Is it just me or is anyone else getting weary of Beyoncé?”

    if I was the LA Times, I’d write an op-ed defending its coverage and educating it’s whining readership why they, like the ticket buying public of this country and the world, appreciate her.

    beyonce formationperhaps they can get into the fact that it’s rare for a black woman on a solo tour to be able to command such a huge audience that cuts across race, gender, and age. perhaps they can show pictures of attendees of the enormous Rose Bowl audience crying. Maybe it should be written by a choreographer who can explain that while many female stars like Brittany Spears or Rihanna or Taylor Swift pose real nice, Queen Bey is dancing in dozen of numbers in ways we haven’t seen since Tina Turner.

    there’s a reason they keep inviting her back to the Super Bowl. there’s a reason HBO allowed her what amounted to an infomercial last month to air her groundbreaking Lemonade long-form video. there’s a reason she can put her album on the fledgling Tidal and everyone will rush to the streaming service to hear what she has to say.

    it is because for many many many who don’t usually have a voice in papers like the LA Times or even in LA, she is their Streisand, their Elvis, their Beatles. and there is no way in hell that Marty in Whittier would have bitched that the paper gave The King too much ink if he ever sold out the Rose Bowl.

    so he should probably STFU about The Queen getting hers.

    or better yet, perhaps they should OMG listen to what she’s singing about and realize that she’s just not singing to girls, women, black, brown, gay and straight people, she’s singing to and for everyone. and that’s why everyone, pretty much, adore her. including your local rag.