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Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
May 2016

‘Round Town

Spent April moving and cleaning like an animal in heat, to “show” the house. Will soon be homeless, if the price is right.

3-20 Flu for a week, cough through April.

4-2 Skip Heller and the Slimdown Band at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset and Cahuenga. Those on hand enjoyed an exclusive and riveting show.

4-11 Off to visit Iliad Books, North Hollywood. Noon. Then to Carney’s for “an ot dog” (as Bob Hoskins said.)

4-18 So exhausted from moving books, furniture, etc, I went to Cedars-Sinai to get tested by young Dr. Chang. Passed, in the non-terminal sense.

4-25 Went to Viva to see Troy Walker, place was packed.

4-30 “Moved” some merch (mostly to the Goodwill, next day) at a yard sale in Burbank.


Sure hope someone wants to buy this rootin’ tootin’ ol’ cowboy couch. Old as its owner, but heavier. I gotta move, and this thing’s gotta go!

TV Time

* I recently gave up on the Comedy Central news hour. Larry Wilmore is good, but that kid who leads in ... I went to Wilmore reruns and saw they last 36 minutes.

“Maybe some extra material!” I said to myself, bitterly. You see it then the way the network wants you to - 20 minutes of content, 16 of commercials ...

* Some of our local newscasts are now devoting the first minute to commercials. Networks too. If only they could eliminate content entirely.

* Up close behind the batter on every televised Dodger home game is a line of front-row swells, the owner and his dandy friends, seen same size as the player. Well, he’s the owner; he deserves to be shot.

(I have recently been informed that the batter-back lineup is sports reporters. Worse on the eyes: few newswriter enter beauty pageants. And still an intrusion into our sightline. If I was their umpire, I would say "Out!")

These are the Times of LA

3-23 We like lite. Veronica Rocha, reporting on a snake in a sushi bar, writes “There was no confusing the creature slithering on the restaurant floor with a supersized caterpillar roll.” Guffaw, snort ... 4-1 Two Calendar pages, crits line up films to gut them. Of the six, these four heds:

“Minor horror film fails to develop”
“A fuzzy picture of the law emerges”
“Something surely is missing here” and
“Funny stars can’t save cloying tale”

Negative reviews enhance the writers, to each other. Why not just find good new films? Stop giving these fools their head ...

4-2 A rusty knife found near OJ’s old home caused a diarrheal wave of tv-news postulation that it was “the murder weapon.” Months later, the knife is found to be meaningless, and the LATimes devotes a half page to the “story,” with a giant old pic of OJ in court. No real news that day ...

4-3 Pauline Repard and Brittny Mejia say a murdered woman’s name is withheld, then report that a police lieutenant “did not know” how long she’d been dead, then that the woman was not related to “a woman who expressed fear to a tv reporter (!!!) that the body might be that of her sister.” “Two men” called police and “the second man” said he found the suitcase. No names, no story -- hot air with a byline ! ...

4-8 . The paper sends a reporter to somewhere in NY (a “sleepy suburb,” not noting of what city) to do a 3/4 page on-the-set feature about a movie shoot, then places a one-third page slam of the movie to the right. Who gains from this “balance”? (“The puff story is paid for, run it” ...)

Lorraine Ali’s “News Analysis” declares that a woman’s accusation that a music producer “sexually assaulted and emotionally abused” her has found its own legs on “social media” after a court found no proof. Social media and sound-bytes are better than proof ...

The Dog Whisperer will not be charged (!) for a French bulldog mix attacking a pot-bellied pig on his show. It bit the pig in the ear! Oh, the humanity! (This took three writers) ...

4-13 Two reporters in NY, parsing the racial makeup of a police shooting, consult a crystal ball with “Some black activists, when asked, will wonder why the first NYPD officer to face charges (bla bla bla) was Chinese.” Then, “Chinese supporters of Liang, if prompted, agree” blo blo blo. IF PROMPTED? Argy-bargy ...

4-14 Business talk. A quote about the creaking Colbert show from “the vice-president and director of programming research for ad agency Dentsu.” No explanation for this savant’s selection ...

Full-page feature about a transgender’s breast removal. People with real debilitating handicaps can wait, this is “hot” ...

4-21 Stephen Battaglio ponders the fate of a morning tv show - its co-host’s absence “pumped up speculation that she is angry.” The shift “may not be sitting well” with the host (ergo, it may be). It could be this or that, says “a veteran tv executive.” Flim-flam ...

4-23 Coachella reporter Lorrain Ali fills front page lede with details of her family. On whose “need to know” basis? ...

Front-page: “Rumors swirl” about Prince’s death. Three in-house speculators and more guessers. In the absence of facts, print the argy-bargy.

New York, New YAWK Times

2-10 A black woman’s arrest “reignites” racial profiling talk. She was going 67 in a 45 zone, they checked and found her driving privileges were suspended, and a warrant was out for her arrest. So they handcuffed her and took her in! A white man would have been handed a fresh beer and a pat on the back, “social media” suggest ...

2-14 ‘Fashion Diary” by Ruth La Ferla near-shouts that the Gaga-led Saint Laurents party in LA lured “a constellation of rock & roll legends.” That’s Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, Courtney Love. Nice, but ...

2-24 A murder suspect was arrested at his apartment. Ashley Southall reports in real-time that other residents “expressed shock” and records their reaction to his arrest. (“I’m just dumbfounded right now.”) Pad that word-count ...

3-5 In Ian Lovett’s story about PCB presence in a Malibu school, he calls it a “famously wealthy” community like it’s readers’ first exposure ...

3-6 A. Hope Jahren finds that women don’t get as far in science. Tales of men in their class sending them mash notes. Later, study finds “isolation and intimidation” as unspecified barriers. Confusing finish: “while 23 per cent of freshmen reported having not experienced those barriers, only 3 per cent of seniors did.” Did what? Not experience? Jeez, Louise (I mean A.) ...

3-7 Big coverage of the death of the bastard who killed Kitty Genovese in 1964, recalling how the murder, heard but not interrupted by passersby, caused a national referendum on “urban apathy.” In the rest of the nation they called it “New York apathy” ...

3-28 Brooks Barnes’ dog-bites-man report that a new movie has succeeded “despite bad reviews.” She knows no real people ...

3-30 Tasteless wise-ass Margalit Fox spends too much time ridiculing details of the Patty Duke show in the actress’s obit ... Anemona Hartocollis characterizes college student leaders being lectured about proper on-campus sexual behavior as ‘bemused.’ My dictionary defines that “confused, stupefied.” Not very nice ...

4-18 A phone call to a florist yields the head “Anguish and Pain” about an earthquake ...

4-21 A NY songwriter says “for a long time people made fun of the ‘80s aesthetic,” and this is something his new play corrects. The writer buys it ...

Who do you punch?

In the LA Weekly promo for a May 11 interview * appearance by author Don DeLillo, this:

“Kushner will talk with DeLillo about the inner life of the novel, the seductive illusion of control and whether he feels that he's actually done something with his life by now.”

Whose idea was the self-worth crack?

If squib-writer Cotner or interviewer Kushner, they should be throttled.

If DeLillo, OK.

* (Forty bucks. Book not incl. Ouch.)


In ‘North By Northwest,’ 1958, Cary Grant sees nasty Eva Marie Saint with evil James Mason and says “A portrait only Charles Addams could paint.” Who were the writers writing to - New Yorker readers? ...

In “Smokey & The Bandit,” Burt Reynolds was stick thin. In some shots you can detect a line above his belt, probably a girdling mechanism ...

* Got a chuckle out of a hard-of-hearing title 1 in a dvd of “About Schmidt.” It’s set in Colorado and Nebraska, and when he drives past Kearney, the LA annotators spelled it “Carney.”

I saw road signs for Kearney the hundred times I drove between Boulder and Chicago during college.

1 Me and Diane use those under-squiggles as backup. We’re not hard of hearing! “What?”


When I see the word ‘piercing; I don’t think of ear lobes, I think of Peter Leeds on Stan Freberg’s ”Banana Boat Song” ... What is the value of a “Certified Used Vehicle?” What dealer disguises new ones as used? ...

What other kind of funny is there beside “laugh out loud?” Any laugh is aloud, else it’s a grunt, snicker or root beer coming out your nose ... Someone on tv said a con artist “posed as a fake priest.” Strange choice ... Why is there an uplift? There is no downlift.


Gas-caps have more or less standardized. Used to be each car had a unique one. When you self-pump and leave yours on top of the gas pump and drive away, now it’s just a visit to an auto supply store, not a car dealer ...

Contrariwise, whose idea was it that smooth metal is best? Some see beauty in dents and creases ...

It’s really hard to find regular glue, like Lepage’s, like once used in school. Now that you attach digitally, glue is ‘out’ ...

Fig Newtons used to be rectangular, like a door. They’re still rectangular, but the long side is the width ...

Shouldn’t casinos sell digital markers that don’t reveal value? If I wanted to put all my dough on 22 on the roulette wheel, I’d like the amount to be unseen by the croupier, who will probably try to steer it away. Better yet, placement done out of sight of the operator. (He says, who’s not gambled since seeing “Lost In America.”)

The (car) Doors

When I see old cars, in movies, with doors that open from the front, I sigh. It’s ten times easier than entering from behind. Who was the killjoy?

Supposedly people got killed ... falling out?
How? That door didn’t swing back 180 degrees.

This rot from Wikipedia :

Suicide doors were especially popular with mobsters in the gangster era of the 1930s, supposedly due to the ease of pushing passengers out of moving vehicles, according to Dave Brownell, the former editor of Hemmings Motor News.[3]

Yes, “very popular.” Thousands of people were pushed out of moving cars by gangsters every week. Lordy.

Paint News

If you need to cover something with paint and the color doesn’t matter, paint stores have full cans that failed to match customer’s samples when mixed. They go cheap.

Mr. Fix-it

Kept a journal from 1985 though 2005.

Reading it recently, I was reminded why I stopped going to the SAAB 2 repair guy on La Brea & Redondo.

I’d asked him to check the radio speakers, for my 400- mile drive north. Got there at 6 pm and he showed me he had installed a new cassette/radio unit.

“It’s a Sony. Brand new. Hundred and twenty nine dollars.”

What? I don’t want that!

“Brand new” he said.

I checked the radio. The pre-sets got Mexican stations.

“That’s the way they’re set in Japan.”

Where is the box it came in?

“I threw it out.”

Take it out. Put my old one back.

“It’s a Sony.”

Found out later it was a two-year old model.

2 I am only now, after 25 years, ditching the SAAB dream. The up-to 1994 convertibles are beautiful, smooth and fast. But that old iron just don’t fit together no more. Many thanks to Raffi for the good years.


Husky Army jarhead, too young to have been in Viet Nam, fondling a 70’s machine-gun in a weapons docu says fondly that it “really terrorized the Vietnamese.”

That should have been “Viet Cong.”

Redistribution of wealth

Sunday at 4 after the garage sale, I had about sixty dollars in singles taxing my pocket, so I walked into an independent pizza parlor on Hollywood Blvd. and said “Need singles?”

Independent merchants always do, on Sundays.

I traded him twenty for a $20.
Then the same down the street, at the used clothing store.

“I would have asked you if you just printed these” the guy laughed, “but nobody counterfeits ones.”

Know thyself

I do the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle in orange ink.

It grows darker through the day.

- 57 -

(Still can’t find Mark.)

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