What’s In a Name?

One of the wonderful – and sometimes one of the not-so-wonderful things – about living in the Bay Area is the sheer eccentricity of the place. Each day there are as many events, happenings, gatherings and mobs as there are people. For example, today is the Gay Pride parade, led as usual by Dykes on Bikes. Then, there’s the monthly Critical Mass ride or the ever-popular Bay to Breakers race with its naked runners. These are certainly not the sorts of events that take place in heartland spots like Wichita and are part of what makes the place a sort of happily (or hippily) warped version of America.

You’d expect the newspapers in a place like this to be a little eccentric too, and the San Francisco Chronicle is no exception. Their assortment of odd news and political coverage gives way to descriptions of the cultural landscape every Sunday when “the Pink” arrives on the doorstep. For me, one of the joys of this weekly read are the advertisements for bands appearing at thousands of local venues. As I read them, I try to think of what sorts of images each one conjures up. Here are some of my favorites from today’s edition:

  • Death By Stereo – Who am I to criticize, but isn’t this precisely what a band should avoid? There’s really no profit in a steadily declining fan base.
  • El Pus – Well now, that’s just gross.
  • Femi Kuti – I know this is actually this Nigerian’s name, but was his father terrorized by little pig-tailed girls in grade school? You’ll get the joke, read his name real sloooow.
  • Dionsaur Jr. – They used to be called Dinosaur. Sadly, they’re another unfortunate victim of downsizing.
  • Fountains of Wayne – To me, this sounds a tad pornographic, but then I did live in the heartland for awhile.
  • Zepparella/Babarella – I’ll just let the band’s actual promo speak for itself, “The all-female Zeppelin tribute band provides an all-Zep soundtrack to the movie Barbarella.” Their Yahoo Mailing List describes them as, “a four-piece, double-rated ASTRONAVIGATRIX earth band”. Hummina, hummina, bzzzzzSNAP!
  • Alabama Thunderpussy – Is this the new Bond Girl I’ve heard so much about?
  • Gogol Bordello – If I’d have been Gogol, I’d have been hanging out at the bordello too. I don’t think he was exactly a chick magnet.
  • Rosen Coven Dance Review – Well, what else could they be? Why the “world’s premiere pagan lounge ensemble”! I’m thinking this isn’t a very crowded genre.
  • Split Lip Rayfield – They’re new CD will be entitled, “Should Have Seen it Coming”. Sorta like this name I think. Also, you gotta love a band that sells souviner carpenter pencils.

Three Things I Don’t Understand

Life is full of imponderables, maybe mine more so than other peoples’. Rather than go off on a rant this evening – which would be very satisfying – I thought I’d see if anyone out there can tell the old Poobah if they understand these puzzlers:

Why Do People Pay to Exercise?
A century or so ago peoples’ lives were an unending struggle with the elements. There were fields to plow, wood to cut and water to tote. Hell, even baking an apple pie required enough physical exercise to burn off the excess calories before they were even baked into that wonderfully gooey, cinnamon-scented creation. Think wood chopping, apple tree climbing, fire starting and lots of aerobically sound dough-kneading. A minimum of 400 calories off right there. Even before the scoop of hand-churned ice cream.

Today, perversely, people pay big bucks for the privledge of running, squatting and grunting on all manner of Goldbergian contraptions at the local “fitness center“. They hook themselves to electronic doo-dads to make sure they are getting their heart rates up (and therefore their money’s worth). They watch themselves in mirrors, forming a gaggle of sweating, red-faced narcissists that look pretty damned foolish when you think about it. They watch TV in the ultimate couch potato tradition. They spout slogans like, “no pain. no gain”.

No pain, no gain?! Just tell me, wouldn’t baking a pie ala 1876 be more rewarding and less expensive?

Why Do Famous People Do Such Stupid Things?
We live in an era when “Breaking News” could mean anything from overly religious hoohas crashing airliners into big buildings to Michael Jackson taking a dump, so why do famous people think they can get away with doing something incredibly stupid while avoiding scrutiny?

Just ask Mr. Bill. “Mr. President, did it ever occur to you that a horny, 20-something woman might be inclined to blab to her friends about the world’s most powerful man schtupping her with a cigar? Have you seen Girls Gone Wild? Of course you have. What were you thinking?”

Just ask Michael. “Mr. King-O-Pop, what the hell were you thinking when you fed some kiddies the Jesus Juice and twiddled their giggly bits? Did you really think you – a person who looks like a plastic surgeon’s worst nightmare, sleeps in a coffin and bought the bones of the Elephant Man – could travel incognito (even wearing a glittery surgical mask?)”

Is There a Toothpaste Conspiracy?
Despite this question, I’m not usually a second gunman, Roswell UFO, Who Shot JR? kinda guy. But, could Procter & Gamble be peddling toothpaste containing sugar? Before you just dismiss this particular conspiracy theory out-of-hand, listen to where I’m going with this.

Who hasn’t had a dentist tell them they need to brush more often or for longer? Now suppose they put sugar in your favorite dentifrice? No more artificial sweetener – sugar! The more you brushed, the more damage you would do to your teeth. The more damage to your teeth, the more your dentist would cajole you to brush more. The result? Rotten teeth that would make a meth-head blanch.

Sure, this plot would need extremely close cooperation between P&G, the ADA and the government, but that’s happened before (well, thinking back to stopping the overly religious hoohah plane crashers, maybe not). But still, think smoking! Think weapons of mass distraction! A little lie about sugar in the toothpaste would be small potatoes for these punks, especially with the revenue stream it could bring in.

Stranger things have happened. Trust me.

Blog News

This is just a shout out to all you very supportive peeps who’ve been checking in on a regular basis. If you haven’t been, please do. If you haven’t already done so and would like to be on our mailing list, drop the old Poobah a line. We promise we won’t sell your information to a credit card company or a bank so that it can be lost or stolen. We also won’t barrage you with e-mail. You can trust us. Expect a short note about once per week telling you about new content or features.

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New Photos in Visios
We’ve added a new gallery to Visios. Please stop by and take a virtual trip through the Hayward Japanese Gardens, a surprisingly beautiful little place. Our next photo gallery will probably be an all Canadian extravaganza, eh? Stay tuned

The old Poobah likes your comments and gets more of them that he could ever have hoped, but let everyone else feel the love too. If you click the “comments” link at the end of each entry you can let everyone else know what you think too and I’ll still get an e-mail at Omnimedia Galactic HQ telling me what you think. (See the “Dear Abby” entry for an example left by some anonymous commenter.) Half the fun is engaging in the conversation. It’s what we in the business call interactivity, oooooo…aaahhhhh.

Links Ahoy
We put those links over on the right side of the page far a reason. Try them out. Half the fun is seeing what else is happening in the world of blogdom. We change them every update, so if you aren’t checking in frequently, you really are missing a lot. Also, feel free to try out the host of blog directories and ranking systems (the small logos also over there on the right) where we appear. You can vote for us, review us or dis us. It’s up to you. The power of the Blog Gods is in your hands.

And that’s it for this little pieces of self-promotion/self-agrandizement. See you around the blog.