Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: February 10th

It has been a great honor to have this opportunity to blog here for 7 years.  And now... I think I'm going to blog some more.

Well it happened!   This one caught me by surprise but I bet folks who follow "The Daily Show" regularly aren't as surprised.   Jon Stewart is leaving "Daily Show."  Incredible.   I'm not really sure how you follow up 17 great years of doing a daily talk show, but it's pretty impressive.

I don't follow the Daily Show regularly.  I used to, long LONG ago, so long ago that it was in a time when Craig Kilborn was doing the show.   I had no idea it'd explode the way it has... times sure have changed.

Stewart is incredibly funny.  It's a shame television is going to lose a... I'll go say it, an icon.  I didn't have to watch all 9000 episodes to appreciate his fine work.

To think, I was struggling with a tangible topic lately... and here you have it.  Losing a big part of the TV landscape is a big blow to many people.  I'm sure that blow will happen again in a few years when Bill O'Reilly leaves his "O'Reilly Factor."  I'm certainly no fan, and as a matter of fact, he's actually incredibly annoying to me, but he's got quite a ratings draw and an unmistakable personality.   When he goes it will be another blow to television.

The key to being great on TV isn't just being hated or loved -- it's that you matter.    The best guys on TV matter.. you remember them!   Great stuff.

Is it odd to have this much opinion of a show I barely watched?   I'd pop into DS now and again... it was a staple of TV.

Oh right speaking of staples... ok, I was going to post this online for my buddies, but I heard the phrase from my friend Lou in Hoboken that Vida Guerra... remember that fine piece of bottom?  Anyway, he said "she was a staple of FHM magaine back in the day."  Holy hell if she was a *staple* you would never get to close the magazine... that fine piece of bottom would be impossible to fold between papers am I right???

It disappoints me that California is too far away from Georgia for markets to import Georgia peaches.  I have had the privilege of eating the Georgia peach.. it happened for the first time in 2008 during the summer.  I told this story before, I was next to Madison Square garden and a little produce stand nearby was selling the peaches.  My goodness was that so good!

I ate one again last year, over on the Upper West Side.   There's something special in that Georgia Peach.  So much so I may consider a move to Atlanta just to be closer to them.  However, the California peaches aren't bad by any means.  When California peaches are on, they are way on.  So good!

Right now we're getting peaches from Chile at the grocery store.   Now that's a real import.  Pretty good!  4 bones a pound but pretty good, I only bought two.  

Brian Williams got the hammer put to him by NBC didn't he?   My goodness what happened here?   He seemed like a friendly voice, and a very likeable guy and suddenly we find he's making up stories from thin air.  My goodness!   I don't know what else to say.

Let's see, what else?  I did partake in pizza yesterday during "National Pizza Day".  Good times.  Nothing fancy, just a UCLA campus mini pizza.  Not bad.

I'm listening to a new morning show, but what it is is a familiar voice brought together with some fresh new ingredients.  The familiar voice is that of Mark Thompson, the clown who was one half of "Mark and Brian" on KLOS in their day.  Their last show together was back in 2012.   They were the closest thing the LA Market had to "Mike in the Mad Dog" on any radio station, when you consider longevity, following, and the amount of pull they had in the city.   I will NOT say that "Mark and Brian" was necessarily innovative or revolutionary or even that good a show, but there were moments I had a blast with it.

Those jokers would narrate my drive to school during college at Cal Lutheran.   They would do bits and fake interviews like many morning zoo shows, but their best moments were organic ones.  Spots where they were just talking about their day and their interests.  One of my favorite segments of their show was just them talking about fast foods and a whole conversation about Taco Bell.  Cracked me up!

When I moved to Santa Barbara, I was out of signal range of Mark and Brian and we were in a time when radio stations were not streamed regularly yet.  I couldn't use them to wake me up in the morning, so I had to settle for a Santa Barbara station... it turned out to be KTYD and another VERY memorable morning show but one that was short lived.

I'd need a whole other blog entry to write my tribute to the Matt McAllister/Julie Ramos/Chris "Hayseed" Whateverhislastnamewas KTYD morning program.. but that became my new kick.  It was a SUCH a good show and it was so Santa Barbara too!   Nothing like it before or since for the area.

Anyway, the years wore on in Santa Barbara and I detached from Mark and Brian.  By the time I moved back to LA, I was invested in other things and decided to use ESPN Los Angeles to stay up to date with sports instead of going back to Mark and Brian.  I didn't even make much note of their final telecast... by then they may have been a few notches past their prime or coasting on past laurels (sound familiar, NYers?).  Those years I listened were fun times though.  Mid 2000s or so, far from the peak of their show history.

This long story is just me saying, wow, it was neat to have some of that memory back in Mark Thompson's new program... and this guy is smart.  He can't redo Mark and Brian, and he doesn't even try.   The new show is less stunt driven so far, and more conversational and he's got some new buddies!   Longtime vet at Thompson's new station 100.3 The Sound Andy Chanley is his co-host along with a name some of you may know, Gina Grad.   Peppering the broadcast is Mark's old producer Danny from M&B plus his daughter of all folks Katie Thompson of the newly dubbed "Chick on the Street" in which daughter Katie trolls a random LA area location live on the air!

Truly a remarkable experience, and in a twist far more music oriented than what I remember from the old Mark & Brian show as you hear tidbits on music trivia, a daily "Time Capsule" feature for this day in music, and actual songs being played to pad program breaks.  I like it.  The loyalists who love a music only morning drive are incensed, but personally I feel like you can listen to worn out Classic Rock songs any ole time... I like the original content Mark presents.  Yeah it may ultimately be a money grab for Mark who now lives in North Carolina with his wife and broadcasts his voice from a home studio over Skype, but I think the show is holding up thus far.  Week #1 he was in the building doing the show live from the Sound studios on Wilshire across from LACMA.

To put is simply, I like this combination of old and new.  An old fella's voice mixed in with some fresh, ahem (forgive me Andy Chanley), talent.  Katie is a riot!   It also cracks me up that Mark refuses to even acknowledge Brian Phelps (the "Brian" of Mark and Brian) individually.   

The show is "Mark in the Morning" on 100.3 The Sound and it's off to a good start.  Now to see if the rest of Los Angeles is as receptive.  I'm a big Andy Chanley mongo for whatever it's worth.  I think that guy is a quite a wisecracking funny dude and even his mid day DJ shift in years past was fun.

Certainly whatever this is beats listening to "Mike and Mike" and their tired old schtick on ESPN Radio.   Have a good morning fellas!

Dave vs the Meats at Fogo de Chao: Dave Wins.

I'll spill a lil secret:  I was at Fogo de Chao last weekend.   The thing was: I had money to spend given to me at Christmas-time and to this moment I hadn't spent it.   I originally tried to go a week earlier but it was a DISASTER.  Even with a reservation the wait was over an hour for a table and Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian Steakhouse with all-you-can-eat menu, was packed.  I had no chance.   I drove by, saw how busy it was, and kept on going that particular Friday.  I decided to just try the Bludso's WeHo outpost and went in about 9pm and they were out of meats... all they had left was a lump of pulled pork.  Unbelievable!

That day did not go so well.. .I settled for Wendy's.   One week later, it was a far better experience.   The tables were many and the servers attentive.  I made the reservation and my table was ready 5 minutes early.  In my reservation form it had a little section called "Special Requests."  Oooooooooooh I love the special requests!   I always like to put in silly things to see how the restaurant responds.  So for "special requests" I wrote "cookies, if you have any."

The meal goes very well.   I was smart this time and didn't load up on the salad bar.   Just a little pile of kale and a tablespoon of scalloped potatoes.  The little sides of plantains, cornmeal sticks, and cheese balls were added to the table, and then it was chow time!   They start you off with the cheap meats... sausage and chicken, but we all knew the good stuff was another layer away.   More and more racks of meat kept coming in waves.  We worked our way up to the sirloin, then the Picanha, the ribeye, and the tour de force, the bacon wrapped filet mignon,  My goodness it was all so good.   Then we went after it again with some of the cuts.  Everyone was tremendous and responsive and the water was quickly filled.

Once it was all said and done, I got the bill and I was ready to go, but the server came over and said "unfortunately we couldn't get you cookies, but all of us got a real laugh out of the request.  We DO have some chocolate lava cake for you, on the house, I hope you don't mind!"

Do the dance!   I certainly had no issue with this compromise!  Graciously I accepted -- what a treat!   A couple folks came over  and so did the choco lava cake with a side of ice cream.   I told everyone "man this is so good!  Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed that little humor."  The hostess ladies said to me as I left "we really got a kick out of your cookies request!"

That was a pretty cool moment.  Thanks for taking in a minor indulgence on this blog space, no pun intended.

Big meals like this have happened from time to time, and many of them are with people I care about, loved ones and friends.  This particular one occurred on my own.   It was a somewhat rough week at work, and a night like that hit the spot.  Thanks to the fine people at Fogo de Chao Beverly Hills!