Saturday, April 29, 2006

So Long, Steve Howe.

We couldn't let the weekend pass without saying 'goodbye' to former Dodger pitcher, Steve Howe.

So many chances, such great promise. We hope your greatest reward was with your kids (one of whom we hear is an excellent pitcher-in-the-making).

We remember the pain we felt (as fans) each time you relapsed-- but we prefer to always remember you with your arm upraised. Triumphant. A world champion. Your smile, full of joy.

We hope you're in a place where the demons you battled for so long can't reach you... and that you may, finally, rest in peace.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Grant Rampy, KTLA News

I have a favor to ask if you live in the L.A. area...

Watch the KTLA 10pm news broadcast. Somewhere between 10:05 and 10:15, Hal Fishman will go to their Washington correspondent, Grant Rampy.

This isn't a commentary on Rampy's broadcasting skills; he's fine.

It's a comment on the way the guy says his name when he signs off.

Take a listen. It's bizzare.

He'll do an entire story without the slightest trace of an accent... and then he says his own name. It's tweaked. And has some un-placeable drawl.

"In Washington, Graaaaaaaaaannnnnt Raaaaaaaahmmmmpeeeeey, KTLA News."

Listen-- you'll see. I'm not crazy.

Do it again the next night, and THIS TIME, do me another favor: say, "Graaaaant Raaaampeeeey, KTLA News" along with the guy.

Hey, it always gives ME a giggle. It's a nightly ritual now. Even the wife gets in on the reindeer games.

Join in... it'll be our secret, "I'm as mad as hell..." club chant (except in a dorkier sort of way).

Pentecostals: Say What?!?

Here's a thought:

There's a huge convention of Pentecostal Christians descending upon Los Angeles this week.

As the LA Times put it, Pentecostals are, "...known for their spontaneous, fervent, style of worship and praying aloud."

Some like to incorporate live snakes into their praying.

They also speak in tongues.

Whatever works, right?

But why L.A.?

Los Angeles, it seems, is considered the cradle of the worldwide Pentecostal movement (why do I get the feeling that the folks in the red states wouldn't be surprised to learn that fact?).

Here's my question: Why a convention? Whose idea was this?!?

As I understand it, there's no codified 'Language of Pentecostals.' Everyone has their own way of communicating with The Big Guy (or, for you DaVinci-Code-Sacred-Feminine-loving folks, 'The Big Gal').

If that's the case, how does any work get done at this conference? How do you network? Swap revelations?

I can only imagine what a typical conversation would sound like out on the convention floor...

Believer #1: 'Hello!'

Believer #2: 'Howdy... uh... Yeeeurrrp! Jesus leather nostril!'

Believer #1: 'Cha-cha-cha... damnation in the tulip patch. Bleeeeooop! Evil the dog's eyes are!'

And then they're off to the 10am snake handling panel.

Please, God, tell me Jodie Foster's "chickie-chaw-chaw" character from 'Nell' was this year's keynote speaker...


More info at:

Monday, April 24, 2006

Reggie Bush: Flag On The Playola

We're not feeling smug today. It's more like disappointment...

Take a look at our second posting on the site from January 11th-- it deals with what we suspected to be a little play-for-pay action on Exposition Boulevard.

Turns out Hollywood Thoughts might have been right.

For followers of the LA sports scene, it looks like Reggie Bush isn't simply headed to Saturday's NFL draft, but also some time behind closed doors with NCAA investigators.

You can go to USA Today, for the full story... but, in short, things could quickly get nasty for the Men of Troy.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes and their families from receiving extra benefits from agents or their representatives. Suddenly the spotlight turns from guessing when Reggie will go in the draft, to his family and their suddenly envious lifestyle. Specifically, attention is now drawn to the 3,000 square foot Spring Valley home that Reggie's parents have been living in since March, 2005.

If Bush and his family are found guilty of violating NCAA regulations, Bush could be ruled ineligible.

If he's headed for the NFL, who cares? Right?

Here's the twist:

Every game that Bush played for USC could also be forfeited.

There must be many smiles in Westwood today.

One more thought: if USC is eliminated post-facto from post season play, does this mean an added round of Bowl games?

Nice watch. It's hard out here for a used Trojan.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hollywood Thoughts Goes Dot Com

In our never-ending search for ways to improve, simplify and lessen the everyday tensions of life, Hollywood Thoughts offers you, gentle reader, the following gift:

You no longer need to type the word 'blogspot' when entering our URL into your browser.

That's right, kids, we're now:

Oh, sure, you can still read us at but why bother when we can eliminate eight keystrokes from your carpel-tunneled fingertips (nine, if you count the dot)?

Don't say we've never done anything for you.

OK, the truth is that I was getting tired of saying, "www... hollywood thoughts... dot... blogspot... dot... com." Too many dots to remember, and the word 'blogspot' sounded sorta cheesy.

Aah, choice is good.

(PS: Since everyone keeps asking, the woman in the skirt is named "Dot," our new Hollywood Thoughts cyber-babe mascot).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Laurel Canyon: There Goes The Neighborhood

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that Laurel Canyon Boulevard -- just south of Mulholland Drive -- always seems to be covered by a miniature river of water?

What gives?

Are there enough pool owners in the neighborhood to keep the street submerged when they take turns draining their backyard swimming holes?

It can't be blamed on the recent rains-- the water flows even on the hottest days of summer.

Is there some sort of hidden Artesian well? If so, why isn't someone selling the stuff at the Canyon Store**?!?

An admission: I dread driving through the pass because my (black) car is always getting splattered from the oversized, street-water spewing wheels of the Escalades in front of me (and, yes, I now avoid Laurel Canyon for a few days after I get the car washed).

But here's my real concern: what sort of damage is being wreaked by this daily dribble? Is the soft soil beneath the two-lane road slowly crumbling away?

I'm beginning to get the feeling that the top of Laurel Canyon might be headed downslope (and into oblivion)-- just like those Bluebird Canyon hillside estates in Laguna.

Or, hey... like some homes in Laurel Canyon.

Do I suffer from some weird case of hypochondria for highways?

Maybe. But with good (decent) reason.


**Take a listen to The Doors song, "Love Street" to hear a reference to Laurel Canyon and the, " where all the creatures meet."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Good Times With Bill Clinton

Equal time. Even for a blog.

In light of last week's post about Ronald Reagan, we thought it only fair to give a blue state representative some shared time in the spotlight...

Seeing Bill Clinton in the news a lot this past week (either campaigning for the Nobel -- or his wife -- I'm not sure which), reminds me of a good story:

Over six years ago, yours truly was invited to the White House to help produce a documentary that would some day be played at the Bill Clinton Presidential library. We had a couple of days of nearly unlimited access to the famous residence and its main occupants. It was the final two weeks of his presidency (who would have guessed that while we were toiling on the the next lighting set-up, the big guy from Arkansas was busy signing a stack of Presidential pardons?!?). It was an incredible two days for an admitted history buff.

I digress.

At the end of our shoot, the President posed for a big group shot in front of the famous JFK - HMS Resolute desk, and then turned to leave the Oval Office. As he was saying the last of his "thank-you's" to the assembled crew, he turned and bumped straight into my chest. The White House photographer caught the moment, and snapped a shot of us both sharing a laugh.

Great for me (I've got one hell of a souvenir), not so good for Bill...

It was pretty clear that the group shot was a substitute for one-on-ones (hey, he had a lot on his plate in those days). Now that I had my own solo grip-n-grin, everyone wanted the same. A small line formed, and the busy President took the time to take a shot with everyone in attendance.

Including a VERY attractive female producer.

As she sidled-up next to the Prez, she shook-out her long locks, and turned her 'best side' to the camera's lens.

Clinton looked down at the hottie, and said in his charming southern drawl, "Yeahhh... you gotta get that good side out, darl'in, but from what I can tell, there's no such thing as a bad one on youuuuu!"

Wow. It NEVER stops.

There was a sudden, shared, electrical surge in the room. Sly looks flew between the crew. We all seemed to have the same thought: despite all he had gone through, Big Bill couldn't ever turn the flirt knob down to 1 or 2. It was always up to 11.

Someone, please, hide the cigars.

An innocent joke, magnified (distorted?) because of the locale. I can safely say that the lovely producer was in no way offended. Just the opposite.

And, yes. Bill was right: she has no 'bad side.'


MORE: Clinton strengthens his Hollywood ties this Friday (4/21) with a $1,000 a plate fundraiser dinner (for Hillary's re-election campaign) at Ron Burkle's Green Acre's estate.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Memorial Set For Greg the Newsstand Guy

The family of Greg Burgess has made arrangements to hold a memorial on his behalf.

The invitations read:

"A Gathering To Celebrate The Life Of 'Crazy Greg' Burgess"
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006.
11:00am - 3:00PM
Food, beverages and his Friends & Family"

Van Nuys - Sherman Oaks Recreation Center
14201 Huston Street, Sherman Oaks 91423

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

French Cuffs

I'm wearing one of my favorite shirts today. It's one of those Egyptian cotton get-ups (high thread count, and feels like you're wearing the softest set of bed sheets ever made). It has french cuffs.

Not much need for a shirt with french cuffs these days, but it reminds me of a good Ronald Reagan story...

Reagan was a longtime member of the Bel-Air Presbyterian church, and during his retirement years, was a frequent sight at Sunday services.

At some point in his declining years, the Reagan limo appeared at the front doors of the church. Out popped a driver carrying several packages. As the story goes, the driver presented the packages to a church employee. He parted by saying that the former President wanted to make a donation to the churches homeless program.

Inside the packages were dozens of men's dress shirts. Expensive shirts.

All had a monogrammed "R R" on the cuff.

French cuffs.

The grateful church worker thanked the driver as he turned to leave, but added, "Please thank the President for his thoughtful gift... but please tell him that not many homeless men have cufflinks."

The story continues...

The next day, at the same time, the same limo pulls-up to the church.
The same driver approaches the same church employee with another package.

Inside THIS package were dozens of -- you got it -- cufflinks.

Hail the chief.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Garv

Anyone see the Sunday LA Times article on former Dodger star, Steve Garvey?

How sad.

We've known for quite awhile that he was philandering philanthropist. He's got enough kids out of wedlock to stock an infield... but now we discover that he's pretty good at not paying his bills.

Seems that drama has followed Garvey ever since he retired from the game.

It's not hard, however, to close your eyes and remember 'The Garv' at the height of his popularity here in LA when his reputation as a clean-living guy was sterling.

Garvey was THE ONE GUY that seemed to remain above-the-fray just as illegal drug use -- and off-the-field impropriety -- among pro players was hitting the headlines. Garvey was the definition of an Eagle Scout lifestyle. Remember Steve Howe? Darryl Strawberry? Even beloved Dodger outfielder Dusty Baker (the current Cubs manager) made a secretive -- and extra quick -- exit from Chavez Ravine when whispers hit the streets that he was dealing in the Dodger's clubhouse. Not 'The Garv'-- he was 'Mr. Clean.'

Hey, I remember my Mom telling me, "It's OK to be like Steve Garvey when you grow-up. Ignore those guys that are doing drugs. Steve's doesn't do that sort of stuff-- and look how good he is." I don't think she was alone. A lot of Moms felt the same way about Mr. Clean.

Garvey was so principled that he even refused to re-negotiate his contract when it was apparent to EVERYONE that the gold glove All-Star was woefully undercompensated. "I made a deal, and I'll stick by it," he said. Can you imagine that happening today?

Where did he go so far afield?

I remember my godfather telling me that I shouldn't idolize pro athletes. He had business dealings with some of them, and as he used to say, "Just because they're good at handling a ball doesn't mean they are any good at handling their personal lives."

I thought he was just being a hardass. I ignored him, and continued wearing Baker's #12 on all of my jerseys.

To prove his point, he took me to a Dodger game, and handed me his binoculars. He pointed me in the direction of the dugout and told me to find (second baseman) Davey Lopes.

I spotted him right away. He was standing with the catcher Steve Yeager.

I couldn't believe my eyes.

There they were-- in the shadows of the underground tunnel.

Middle of the third, and these two jokers were puffing away at cigarettes.

Big deal? In light of BALCO? Nah. But to an eleven year-old who thought it impossible that a highly paid pro athlete would subject his body to cigarettes? Yes (at that age it was impossible to fathom anything worse than tobacco). How could they be so cavalier with their god-given gifts?!?

I was crushed-- but my godfather sent a powerful message. It's one I'll probably deliver to my kid pretty early-on: Don't worship someone whose greatest acomplishment in life is how they throw a ball. There's a line between admiration and blind hero worship.

Some wonder if Garvey's off-the-field antics have cost him what once appeared to be a certain spot in Cooperstown.

Am I surprised by the latest in the saga that is Steve Garvey? Nope. But part of me wants to go back to feeling like that eleven year-old: that the guy swinging for the fences could slay dragons. That, together, the nine guys on that green, green field could conquer the world. They were invincible... and perfect.

Dreams die hard.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Shades of Gray

An interesting article appeared in the terrific blog, Tabloid Baby...

The story revolves around a line from a New York Times article about columnist Cindy Adams. It describes the scene from the Manhattan premiere of a Spike Lee movie :

“Reporters from Variety, 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'A Current Affair' might be expected to remain corralled behind a length of velvet rope, but at a recent premiere for 'Inside Man' at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown, Mrs. Adams curtly rebuffed a perky film publicist who had asked her to join the salivating pack...”

As Tabloid Baby points-out, A Current Affair was canceled in October, 2005. No representative from that show could have attended last week's premiere. When Tabloid Baby pointed-out the mistake to the Times, here was the paper's response:

"Dear Reader:

I am the corrections editor for the Metro
department of The Times. Your e-mail
was forwarded to me for review. You are
correct in noting that "A Current Affair"
has been canceled. However, the article
does not say that a reporter for "A Current
Affair" was at the premiere
of "Inside Man."

The paragraph in question reads:

"Reporters from Variety, 'Entertainment
Tonight' and 'A Current Affair' might be
expected to remain corralled
behind a length of velvet rope, but at a
recent premiere for "Inside Man" at the
Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown,
Mrs. Adams curtly rebuffed a perky
film publicist who had asked her to join
the salivating pack."

The first part of this sentence is written
in the conditional tense; it means that at
red-carpet events like
the premiere, those reporters would
probably stay behind the velvet rope.
The second part goes on to describe what
happened at this particular premiere.

Thank you for writing.

Karin Roberts
Assistant to the Metropolitan Editor
The New York Times"

Sooo good to know that the Times are up to the challenge of re-writing the rules of grammar.

What a message we're sending to schools: Why worry about mixing tenses, kids? Why waste precious time on proofreading, or making sure your writing is readable?

More importantly, it's interesting to see how James Frey has now extended his reach of influence into the world of journalism: If I interpret Karin Roberts correctly, it's perfectly acceptable to mix fact & fiction -- without clarification between the two -- in the SAME LINE of a newspaper report.

Wait. What are we saying?

JAMES FREY'S influence? Doesn't the Times have a history with putting a soft-focus on the truth? Aren't they the home to the notorious Jayson Blair?

The Times used to be a great paper. Maybe they still are... but to borrow from their own nickname, the lady 'aint the only thing gray; so is the way they report the truth...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Beginning Of The End For The Buffalo Club?

Driving down Olympic Boulevard the other day, we noticed that the Buffalo Club was now prominently displaying its name in TWO windows facing the busy street.

I realize that for most normal operations, sporting signage is a necessary part of doing business... but the Buffalo club isn't normal. Part of the charm for the darkly-lit Santa Monica speakeasy was the way they flew way-way-way under the radar. In the Mid nineties, the buffalo club was a trendy hang-out for celebs, studio execs, and east coast transplants. In a way, if you knew about the so-nondescript-you'll-drive-right-by-it bar and restaurant, you were a part of the... um, 'club.'

A favorite hang-out of Don Simpson, his pals threw a memorial-party here when the uber-producer passed-away in 1996 of a drug overdose.

So why the 'very normal' signage for the normally secretive restaurant?

Hollywood Thoughts knows that trendy always passes into yesterday. The hipsters have moved-on, and maybe the locals don't feel like paying studio suit prices (the club has a wonderful bar and patio-- but the menu has always been overpriced. Don't take our word for it... visit Worlds Best Bars for several first-hand reviews).

A friend of HT mentioned that when they visited the club last week, the joint was virtually vacant. Roll a grenade through the place, and you wouldn't have hit a soul.

Perhaps too many prospective restaurant-goers aren't in the mood for a scavenger hunt search for a place to have dinner...

In any event, the change means that time marches on... the bloom eventually goes off the rose... and (ask Madonna about this point) change is inevitable if you want to remain relevant. Or simply in business...

Katie Couric Is The New Kathie Lee

So it seems Katie Couric will be departing 'The Today Show' and heading into primetime via the CBS Evening News anchor chair.

Circle April Fourth on your calendar as the beginning-of-the-end of Katie's broadcast career.

Hollywood Thoughts has been waiting for this moment since the world was rid of Kathie Lee Gifford.

Hey, we like The Today Show-- it's just that we prefer our NBC morning shows without Katie.

HT finds her over-rated, over-compensated and off-putting with her self-important attitude.

We also think she's outgrown the whole network force-fed 'Katie' schtick-- it's time to start using her given name (Katherine) and behave like a grown-up journalist. We don't mean to imply ageism, it's just that the 'corporate perk' marketing scheme is cheesy. And embarassing. And fake. She's nearly fifty...

Here's the schedule for Katie's road trip to obscurity:

After weeks of syrupy, overwrought montage moments set to the theme of "Brokeback Mountain," Katie will leave Rockefeller Center, and head for Black Rock.

Katie will last for roughly a year (maybe two) before steadily declining ratings will force Moonves & Company to protect their investment, and pull her from the nightly schedule. Primetime viewers simply won't want to get their news from the 'serious Katie,' and perky don't play in the anchor chair. A conundrum for anyone on the top floors at Television City. Katie will say that she needs more time with her kids-- and that today's anchors need to get out of the studio to remain relevant (a'la Bob Woodruff)... and that's not something she can do as a Mother to two kids.

Enter Bob Schieffer as the interim CBS Evening News anchor where he will slowly raise ratings (just like he did in '05 & '06).

Keep with me...

CBS will next announce that Katie will appear in a self-titled afternoon talk show (perhaps, "Kidd'in Around With Katie!").

It'll last a year.

At this point, Katie will be nearing the end of her (projected) three year deal with CBS-- just in time for her to announce a semi-retirement (at least from day-and-date programming). CBS will offer to extend her deal with a contract to do specials on their cable outlet, VH-1.

Just in time for a 2009 holiday sing-along with Kathie Lee...


Our friend, Ray Richmond at Past Deadline has intiated a contest. The rules are simple: create a new word to describe Katie's new form of CBS 'spunk.'

I vote for "Spunkerly"-- a combo of 'spunky' and 'elderly.' A spunky elder.

"Spunkorate" also comes to mind-- a sort of corporate sponsored/manufactured 'spunkiness' (it also reminds me of the word, 'expectorate' which is something you do when you don't like the taste of something... and I have the feeling that once 'Katherine' hits the anchor chair, Americans will rise-up with a giant, "Pahtoowie!").