Of all the songs in the entire world that one can rattle out of an electric speaker, someone chose this. From the earliest recorded sound on wax cones of misguided notes upon spinning, leaden, glass bowls and harpsichords to the manufactured twiddles and bonks of synthetic pop created in glowing studios as late as yesterday and downloaded to an iPod, someone has an entire galaxy of choices from which millions, maybe billions, of songs can be selected. Yet, someone, a neighbor to me, out my bedroom window, cross the alley, and somewhere high above my head, has chosen to march out THAT goddamned chestnut. Summer Lovin' from Grease is, if not the most annoying composition in the history of recorded art, then certainly a high-level contender. My eyes blink against the fabric of my pillowcase. The force of my arms pushing against my ears is enough to make me think I'm doing some good, but really I'm only making the dance against my nerves worse by deepening the bass that reaches me.
And, why the hell are they stopping the song mid-way and repeating it from the beginning? The gossamer cord of tension strung tightly between my ears pulls to its maximum caliber. A snapping sound can't literally be heard in my room when I fire out of bed and hustle into my clothes, but it would not be out of place.
Clip clop, my tennis shoes land in the courtyard of my complex. I'm out of the house and into the night, the door is hanging open behind me, and I'm walking from window to window, searching for clues as to who's digging in to my eardrums with the dentist's drill that is Olivia Newton John. The song stops and starts again.
"Tell her more! Tell her more! Does the son of a bitch have a goddamned car?! Get on with it. Move on!" I shout. The song stops and starts again.
Up a flight of stairs I light upon a landing. Through a window I see the culprit. A round-faced, swarthy, heavy kid pounds his feet against a pad set on the flame-stitched carpet of his front room. He's alone, shirtless, and sweating. On the television set in front of him arrows glide and cascade down the screen instructing him to touch a corresponding circle on the white mat. I've seen the game. In malls, in Tokyo, Mission Valley, and London I've seen kids hopping away on a platform to reach a high level of skill rating. Dance Dance Revolution, it's called.
My fist flies up to pound on the door and give this kid hell for keeping me awake when I witness something that makes me stop. The chubby kid can't move his feet quickly enough to advance past this level. The song stops and starts again, and his blubbery belly collapses, his hands rest on his knees, and his head hangs, chin touching his chest. He sobs.
I turn around and begin my descent down the steps. At my last gaze through the glass, I say to him, "Go ahead kid. Dance."
Thursday, December 1
Good Morning San Diego
KUSI 7:00 a.m.
To the patrons of the coffee shops in University Heights, an open letter: Congratulations! You've done it. You've put in an earnest effort and you've successfully replicated "the look." A tight pair of jeans, a black knit sweater, and one asymmetrical shaggy bob cut with a white skunk stripe down the center has won you the title of "individual." The revolution would be nothing without you. JOB WELL DONE!
Coffee and Cigarettes
SHOW 9:00 p.m.
Another letter to the fine customers of the uptown shops: You can take your mod, detached, air-of-superiority attitude and cram it up your hipster ass.
Friday, December 2
Making the Band
MTV 7:30 p.m.
Here's something else you can cram up your ass: Franz Ferdinand. Put the whole band up there right down to the drumsticks. And Arcade Fire. I'll hold your hips and use my foot to get them up there if you need some assistance, but, so help me, this abomination and all of its limp-wristed noodlings WILL fit in your tailpipe. Gyah!
Saturday, December 3
XETV 9:00 a.m.
That's all I'm going to say about our city's tragically unaffected yet somehow melancholy youth. Woo. I'm mean when I get too much caffeine in me. ONWARD! R. Kelly's latest steaming sack of monkey compote is called Trapped in the Closet (who didn't see that train pulling in to the station?). This piece of work is composed of 12 different "chapters." In the 10th "chapter," R. Kelly's R&B rhythms back up his keen storytelling, which involves a midget who fills his under shorts when a gun is pointed at him. You'd think after the whole zip-zip, whiz-whiz, I-didn't-know-she-was-15-years-old-Your-Honor debacle, someone in R's posse would steer his "creative whims" away from the scatological arena. I don't know whether to laugh or cluck my tongue in judgment.
Stranger in my Bed
LIFE 7:00 p.m.
So far, this week's installment has been an unpleasant and messy affair, hasn't it? Let's get right to sex, then! My friend Ron's philosophy on pleasuring a woman goes, "It's a race. Whoever finishes first wins. The quicker she understands this, the quicker she can take home the gold for herself." That's an interesting way of looking at it.
Sunday, December 4
SPIKE 8:00 p.m.
In the ninth grade, my counselor asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. "Getaway driver" was the official answer, but "plumber" is what was stamped in my file. God, I hate that woman.
The Manchurian Candidate
SHOW 7:45 p.m.
While watching a program on the Kennedy assassination, a key piece of evidence found by the Warren Commission was a recording of a police officer's CB that had been keyed "on" during the shootings. The device for recording police-band radio back in that day was something called a "Dictaphone" that used a medium called a "Dictabelt." I'm a good 17 years past the age where something like that should be considered funny. Did I snicker every time that piece of evidence was presented? You're damn right I did.