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Although I have been known to take umbrage to sports fans referring to “their” team’s victory with “we won,” there are way too many Syracuse alumni in the music industry to keep tabs on which ones are using the inappropriate possessive when detailing the Orangemen's win...
WEAKEND PLANNER BREATHES A TENTATIVE SIGH OF RELIEF
At a Moment Like This, There’s No Way to Get “Rock the Casbah” Out of Our Heads
Wednesday morning, we sat glued to our TVs as American troops rolled into central Baghdad, seemingly welcomed with open arms by those residents who’d ventured out on the streets. And when we opened the L.A. Times, we learned that Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” and the Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” top the hit parade of the British-run, Kuwait City-based radio station (webcast at www.bfbs.com) broadcasting to British and U.S. troops throughout Iraq, and that Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” is as big in Basra as it is in Biloxi. For some reason, we found that confluence of historic images and musical reference points to be tremendously reassuring. In case you were curious, the Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” is #8. This weekend, viewers may find the need to keep a firm grip on their remotes, as The Masters (itself the source of some controversy) on CBS (if it ever stops raining in Augusta) and the endgame of the NBA regular season on ABC and ESPN offer the visual equivalent of comfort food as they compete for eyeballs with wall-to-wall war coverage on the cable news channels. We’ll have an order of Lakers-Blazers (12:30 Sunday on ABC) and a short stack of hotcakes, please. —BS

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. Joseph Menn, All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster (Crown Publishing):
It’s hard to believe less than three years have passed since the heyday of the groundbreaking file-sharing service that almost brought down the industry. L.A. Times technology reporter Menn, who had a front-row seat, captures the roller-coaster ride in all its Barbarians at the Gate, technology bubble-busting absurdity. The inner turmoil at the company, the missed opportunities, the record industry back-stabbing, the remarkable rise of founder Shawn Fanning to cult hero status are all here, begging to be turned into a made-for-cable feature. Casting ideas: American Pie’s Jason Biggs as Fanning, Geoffrey Rush as Napster head Hank Barry, Powers Boothe as BMG booster Thomas Middelhoff, Screech from Saved by the Bell as Strauss Zelnick and, naturally, a feisty Kathy Bates as RIAA chief Hilary Rosen. —RT

2. Carmelo vs. LeBron: We’ve been hearing sportscaster referring to high school superstar LeBron James as “a man among boys” for months now, and he is indeed physically impressive. But the thing that’s so appealing about Final Four MVP Carmelo Anthony of Syracuse (for now, at least) is his very boyishness, if you will—the unfettered delight he takes in playing the game. And why shouldn’t he? If anyone could be said to have been born to play hoops, it’s ’Melo. I don’t know if he’ll go #1, 2 or 3 in the NBA draft this summer, and there’s no question LeBron will put butts in seats next season for whatever team nabs him, but whoever gets Anthony will be getting tremendous marquee value as well—because not only is this kid’s play thrilling, he’s also “so CUTE,” according to our own Mark Feather. That adjective will never be used to describe James, except by his mom. —BS

3. Ellen Degeneres at the Wiltern Theatre: It wasn’t until she’d finished her hour-plus set that it hit me—Ellen had kept it completely clean. Again. Not one curse word. Not one sex joke. And it’s all good—really good. Gearing up for her upcoming HBO special with three nights at the Wiltern last weekend, Ellen focused her material on procrastination, juxtaposed with our need to speed things up. Even when a a premise seems like it’s been done to death, Degeneres’ Ellen-ishly unique delivery and take on the topic makes you feel like it’s never been covered on stage. Post-curtain call, she had the house lights brought up, fulfilled some requests for older material and closed by singing Salt & Pepa’s “Shoop” word for word. Need I say more? —JK

4. Phil Roy at Hotel Cafe, April 14: Singer/songwriter Phil Roy has seen his songs recorded by an impressive array of artists—Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Guster, Aaron Neville, Widespread Panic and Pops Staples, to name but a few—and in several films, but has largely struggled to get his own recordings heard. Until now. His new album, Issues + Options (Or Music), streets May 6; it’s already getting love at press and APM radio and showing signs of being one of those word-of-mouth records that breaks out of left field. One-listen songs like "Melt" and "Undeniably Human" (featuring Euphoria) are paving the way; Roy's weathered, expressive voice and storytelling vision prove he's the real deal. He'll be playing at L.A.'s Hotel Cafe Monday night (with Jill Sobule) and in New York at Makor on May 1. —SG

5. Dan Wilson at Largo, April 16: The former Semisonic leader, who’s now a free agent, comes to L.A. from Minneapolis next week to play a set heavy on songs from the self-made, still unreleased album he concocted with friends after the demise of his group. He’ll be accompanied by Nickel Creek’s Sean and Sara Watkins, who gave Wilson some spur-of-the-moment instrumental support earlier this year during his last appearance at the hipster hangout on Fairfax. If you haven’t heard this disc, I urge you to hit up manager Jim Grant for a copy—it’s as good as anything Dan did with Trip Shakespeare or Semisonic. Especially memorable is “Sugar,” a duet with Sheryl Crow as commercial as it is aesthetically elevated. —BS

6. Donna Gaines, A Misfit’s Manifesto: The Spiritual Journey of a Rock & Roll Heart (Villard/Random House): Gaines, a punk-rock version of Camille Paglia, is a veteran journalist and sociology Ph.D. whose 1990 tome, Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead End Kids, is considered a seminal work. Here, she spins a no-holds-barred, autobiographical tale of a nice, Jewish girl growing up twisted in Rockaway Beach. The Yeshiva student turned punk-rock Barnard prof sets out to forge an identity while fending with her overbearing onetime big-band-singer mother and a succession of three fathers, including the Kishka King of Brooklyn and a former jazz drummer. It all takes place against the backdrop of pop music mutating into rock & roll, as Gaines turns to outlaw forms like metal and punk, especially her beloved Ramones (with their Beach Boys-like celebration of her hometown) to learn to embrace her inner alienated child. —RT

7. The Shirt Hits the Fans: Those of you familiar with musical troublemakers Bloodhound Gang won’t be a bit surprised to know that chief instigator Jimmy Pop’s latest project adds irreverent captions to images from the government’s civil-defense website, ready.gov, and plasters them on T-shirts. The resulting “ReadyWear” line features: an image of a civilian overcome with deadly fumes and the legend “Beware of French People”; an irradiated outline of the Lone Star state above the phrase “Texas Is the Reason”; and a face in a surgical mask adorned with the musical quotation “Billie Jean Is Not My Lover.” The sturdy, colorful tees will set you back 10 clams (plus shipping and handling) and are available in an array of sizes; you can find them on the ReadyWear page of the already entertaining BG site. Jimmy Pop claims no responsibility for the consequences of wearing these in public. —SG

8. The Raveonettes at the Troubadour. L.A.: There’s no doubt the Scandinavians have wholeheartedly embraced the neopunk-garage sound, none more than this Danish duo, who are Copenhagen’s answer to the White Stripes, with healthy dollops of Jesus & Mary Chain, Suicide, the Velvets, the Ramones, the Cramps and, of course, the inspiration behind their name, Buddy Holly. Singer-guitarist Sune Rose Wagner and stunning blonde bassist-singer Sharin Foo were joined on stage by a drummer and second guitarist for this showcase, one of several in the area, Tuesday night. Playing songs from their current Columbia-distribbed EP, Whip It On, the foursome created an appropriately buzz-sawed feedback that enveloped their version of Holly’s “Everyday” like a bubble. The tune, which bookended the show, was practically indecipherable at first but soon kicked in subliminally within the racket, like a Jurassic Park dinosaur DNA preserved in amber. Too bad that was the only memorable song of the evening, though the relentless riffing kept coming in three-chord waves that were more drone than sturm. —RT

9. The 88: These locals have generated a fair amount of attention in a short time, with a rootsy, classic pop-rock style that borrows generously from the Kinks, the Band and various other greats. In addition to their more storied influences, the 88 occasionally recall Wilco, Cracker and assorted other pop-literate smart alecks. But indie record-store shelves and college radio waves are clogged with bands that emulate the sound and vibe of the pantheon—they all stand or fall based on their material. Fortunately, the 88’s songs are insinuatingly hooky; I haven’t been able to get the best songs on their album, Kind of Light, out of my head. “Elbow Blues,” the sun-drenched sing-along “How Good It Can Be,” the rueful “I’m a Man” (with its shades of the Dead at their honky-tonkin’ classicist peak), the bittersweet “Melting in the Sun” (with its trippy refrain, “Doesn’t it seem/We broke it off too soon?”) and the slammin’ “Sunday Afternoon,” for example, get their hooks in and don’t quit. And the stately craft of the tunes is offset by a buzzy, offbeat sensibility that manages to be psychedelic without trying too hard. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Keith Slettedahl at times sounds like the winner of a Ray Davies soundalike contest, but his voice combines yearning and grit in a highly appealing way. Producer/muso Adam Merrin, who apparently plays virtually anything that can produce a sound, contributes some very evocative keyboards. You can catch the 88 at the Derby on April 17. —SG

10. Promo Weasel Stupid Site of the Week: Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), this link wasn’t working when we initially posted it last week. It’s working now—at http://home.attbi.com/~no-spam/Beer.swf —and we hope you find it as inspirational as we did.

ORANGE DELIGHT
I, Me, Mine:
Although I have been known to take umbrage to sports fans referring to “their” team’s victory with “we won,” there are way too many Syracuse alumni in the music industry to keep tabs on which ones are using the inappropriate possessive when detailing the Orangemen's win. Joel Klaiman, Jacqueline Saturn, Jeff Sodikoff, Jon Cohen, Todd Glassman, David Saslow, Ben Goldman, Phil Q, Marty Bandier, John Sykes, Harvey Leeds, Mike Tierney, Rick Dobbis, Lou Reed and Pete Yorn are among the alums celebrating “their” NCAA triumph. The inclusion of Pete Yorn on this list is the only reason why I’m not being vigilant about those reveling in the afterglow of victory (for which they played no part). Dare I admit I was even secretly rooting for Syracuse, bound as I am by my love for Pete Yorn. Pete’s new album, Day I Forgot, comes out next week (4/15), which I will celebrate by filing an extension on my taxes. Pete and his band premiered new songs this week on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. He’ll also be on Letterman (4/14) and Carson Daly (4/16). As it turns out, Pete (my shaggy-haired heartthrob) will be touring this summer with the Foo Fighters (Erika’s shaggy-haired heartthrob). I can use “my” when it pertains to something more important than sports, like heartthrobs.
—Ivana B. Adored

TIMES LIKE THESE
Getting Drunk Backstage at Jimmy Kimmel Live: Drinking is bad. Please remind me of that the next time someone says, “Hey, let’s do a shot.” Ugh. God, it seemed like such a good idea at the time. Let me give you the scenario: AstralwerksDayna Talley and I arrived at the Jimmy Kimmel taping, thanks to John Silva, Janda Baldwin and Lava’s Lisbeth Cassaday. We took one look around and had to laugh. So this is what people are talking about when they say, “You are SO Hollywood.” There seemed to be a plethora of people with their noses so high up in the air, you’d swear they were seeing through their nostrils. What in the heck were we doing there? Inside were couches, pool tables and big-screen TVs, which we made our way through to get to the back bar for a little “liquid courage.” Well, let me make a long story short. We drank, we saw (the Foo Fighters doing an always incredible job), we drank some more (this time with Dave Grohl buying the shots) and we took bad drunken photos (where you get only the tops of people’s heads in the frame) and I gave Dave a Tom McRae CD (do I surprise you with my geekiness?). Ahhh, so very glamorous. Well, not really—not if you could have seen me the next day. All I know is that I am never drinking again—even my ribs hurt. Janda slipped a copy of the Foos’ special acoustic performance of “Times Like These” into my purse, and I’ve been playing it all weekend. It’s what finally made my headache go away. —Erika Strada

SHINY ROUND THINGS
The Jayhawks, Rainy Day Music (American/Lost Highway):
The veteran group’s third album following the 1995 exit of co-leader Mark Olson marks a return to the rootsy turf of fan favorites Hollywood Town Hall (1992) and Tomorrow the Green Grass (’94), both bona fide ’90s classics. While the Gary Louris-led Jayhawks have shown considerable stylistic range, the band here displays as much facility with harmony-rich country-rock as it did with the Beatlesque melancholy of 1995’s Sound of Lies and the souped-up rock & roll of 2000’s underrated Smile. The Jayhawks are above all a song band, and Rainy Day Music is one of their richest collections. Among the memorable tunes are the metaphysical lament “Stumbling Through the Dark” (co-written by Matthew Sweet), a zeitgeist-capturing song that opens and closes the album, the unabashedly sentimental “All the Right Reasons” (a potential country hit if covered by the right act), the textured, tasty rocker “Tailspin” and the poignant, harmony-powered “Save It for a Rainy Day.” There’s a bonus disc in the limited-edition package containing six tracks, including the flat-out gorgeous “Caught With a Smile on My Face”; why it isn’t on the album proper is truly baffling. With his sizable and dazzling body of work, it’s time to acknowledge Louris as not merely a worthy inheritor of the Byrds/Burritos legacy but as a significant artist in his own right, and on his own terms. Bud Scoppa

The Fleshtones, Do You Swing? (Yep Rock): These Queens, N.Y., natives formed against the punk-rock backdrop of the ’70s, but they’ve emerged as the missing link between the Nuggets-style rock of American groups like the Outsiders, the R&B-influenced Andrew Loog Oldham-era Stones and current PoMo progenitors The Hives. The honking harmonica and hoarse howl of original Tones vocalist Peter Zaremba, the group call-and-response and co-founder Keith Streng’s fuzztoned, tremolo guitars remain unchanged after 27 years and 16 albums. Those elements can all be heard in the rousing “Hard Lovin’ Man,” the N.Y. Dollsy “Destination Greenpoint,” the Coasters-like “I’m Back Again” and the tongue-in-cheek, pro-feminist “Right on Woman,” along with an irreverently speedy “Communication Breakdown” that out-psychedelicizes Led Zep. It would only be fitting if the latest garage-rock revival finally brought the longest-lived cult band this side of the Flaming Groovies some well-deserved recognition. Roy Trakin

Flashlight Brown, My Degeneration (Hollywood): With breakneck tempos, power chords and attitude aplenty, this Guelph, Canada-based quartet’s big-label bow will effortlessly charm melodic-punk aficionados. But their flair for big chorus payoffs separates them from the pack, as does their clear fondness for classic pop, old-school rock and even ska. Frontman/guitarist Matt Hughes’ vocals mix snarls and yearning, while lead guitarist Mikey Conroy’s ultra-tasty playing and drummer Tim Thomson’s power and precision keep things tight. Producer Rob Cavallo, meanwhile, lends punch and clarity. Highlights: reference-heavy love anthem “Patricia,” opener “Ready to Roll,” the soaring “Looking Away” and “Whoa Man.” Simon Glickman

Gob, Foot in Mouth Disease (Arista): While this Vancouver foursome has a similar sound to that of pals Sum 41 or the Blink-182 kids, the Gobsters light out for new territory all their own, applying the high energy and power-chord crunch of “pop-punk” to some deeper musical and lyrical ideas. Single “Give Up the Grudge” is an ideal power-pop specimen, while “Oh! Ellin” and “Bully” up the melodic ante with undeniable chorus hooks. More moody and introspective are “I Hear You Calling” and closer “Everybody’s Getting Hooked Up,” which explore the downside of recklessness—or the upside of having a conscience, depending on your perspective. “Fed Up,” meanwhile, expands the band’s harmonic horizons. In Gob we trust. Jon O’Hara

IN THE CHANGER
Martin Bandyke, WDET Detroit
1. Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears (Lost Highway):
“More exquisitely moving music from one of WDET’s favorites. Critics are calling this one her Exile on Main Street, and I couldn’t agree more.”
2. Calexico, Feast of Wire (Quarterstick/Touch and Go): “What a fascinatingly exclectic band this is, and what a great album they’ve delivered. They were through our studios recently and knocked us out.”
3. Yo La Tengo, Summer Sun (Matador): “Pure bliss. America’s greatest indie-rock band returns with their most beautifully sublime album to date.”
4. Ben Harper, Diamonds on the Inside (Virgin): “We’ve been with Ben since the beginning of his career. Few musicians are as passionate and committed as he is. There are so many good songs on this CD, we’ll be playing it from now till kingdom come.”
5. Various artists, Crossing Jordan: Music From the NBC Television Series (Sony Music Soundtrax): “An awesome compilation of tunes featuring Joe Henry, Cassandra Wilson and Richard Thompson covering the music of Hendrix, Donovan and Dylan. Now I might actually have to check out this TV show.”

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Anger Management (Revolution/Sony)
Premise:
A mild-mannered Adam Sandler’s unexpected bout of air rage lands him in the custody of wacky therapist Jack Nicholson.
Stars: Nicholson, Sandler, Heather Graham, Luis Guzman, Woody Harrelson (look for his Marlene Dietrich impersonation as a transvestite prostitute and Yankee Stadium security guard), Kevin Nealon, Lou Rawls, John C. Reilly, Harry Dean Stanton, Marisa Tomei, John Turturro, cameos by Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Rudy Giuliani, Ray Liotta.
Director: Comedy vet Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, My Fellow Americans, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Naked Gun 33 1/3)
Thumbs Up: Sandler re-enacting his Punch-Drunk Love role as the straight man to Nicholson, switching from his low-key About Schmidt performance to over-the-top The Shining/Witches of Eastwick-style mugging.
Thumbs Down: Nicholson in the same self-parody mode that has diminished the likes of Robert DeNiro and Marlon Brando in the latter stages of their career.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/angermanagement/ lets you view the trailer, offers a plot synopsis, behind-the-scenes footage, games, character profiles, a virtual anger kit, games, a chance to evaluate a friend and a place to sign up for “Buddy’s Weekly Anger Tips.”

Better Luck Tomorrow (MTV/Paramount)
Premise:
A kind of Asian-American Billionaire Boys Club as a group of honor roll, well-to-do Orange County teenagers go on a crime spree, selling exam cheat sheets, stealing stuff and dealing drugs, putting a lie to the stereotype of well-behaved Asian kids from good families.
Stars: Karin Anna Cheung, Parry Shen, Jason J. Tobin, John Cho, Laura Esposito, Roger Fan, with Jerry Mathers as Beav the Biology Teacher.
Director: Justin Lin’s first feature since the indie, low-budget Shopping for Fangs
Thumbs Up: MTV put up $500k to secure the rights to the film at Sundance, where it was a sensation, and will put another $1 million into promoting it. Asian-Americans are hoping it’s their She’s Gotta Have It-styled crossover to a mainstream audience.
Thumbs Down: Is it simply too nihilistic and downbeat for any culture to embrace?
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.betterlucktomorrow.com offers a trailer, multimedia downloads, press, news, screenings, a bulletin board for “Superfans” and a place to buy T-shirts and hats with the movie’s logo.

House of 1000 Corpses (Lions Gate)
Premise: Rob Zombie
’s loving tribute to the horror films of William Castle, George Romero, Tobe Hooper and Roger Corman. Set in the ‘70s, two young couples look for a mysterious figure known as “Dr. Satan” in rural Texas as they seek refuge from a storm at a strange “house of horrors.”
Stars: Karen Black, Jeanne Carmen, Erin Daniels, Chris Hardwick, Michael J. Pollard, Rainn Wilson.
Director:
After much experience as a music video director and Halloween theme park designer, Zombie, who also penned the screenplay, makes his feature film debut.
Thumbs Up: Zombie has a great feel for this kind of material, but it was deemed too gory by Universal and MGM when it was about to get an NC-17 rating.
Thumbs Down: It’s opening at 600 theaters, but it seems more likely to find a home as a midnight cult movie for years to come.
Soundtrack: Geffen Records soundtrack features five new Zombie songs, including a collaboration between Rob and Lionel Richie on a version of the Commodores’ “Brick House 2003,” along with tracks from the Ramones, Slim Whitman, Buck Owens and Helen Kane.
Website: www.houseof1000corpses.com offers plot synopsis, credits, bios, news, trailer, pictures, downloads, links, a place to register, a message board and a contest.

Ghost of the Abyss (Walt Disney Pictures)
Premise:
Titanic director James Cameron returns to the scene of the disaster for an IMAX-styled 3D documentary designed especially for big screens.
Stars: Cameron, Bill Paxton, Lewis Abernathy and a bunch of anthropological experts as themselves.
Director: Cameron’s first since Titanic
Thumbs Up: Real footage interspersed with “recreations” look spectacular.
Thumbs Down: No Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslett or Celine Dion, for that matter.
Soundtrack: None
Website:
www.disney.go.com/disneypictures/ghosts/flash/index.html lets you meet the crew, discover the supertechnology, dive, explore and time travel with the Titanic, along with multimedia downloads, cast and crew info, plot synopsis, behind the scenes footage, production notes and a list of pertinent educators.

The Man Without a Past (Sony Pictures Classics)
Premise:
In this minimalist, Dreyer-esque black comedy, a man travels to Helsinki looking for work, but gets mugged, causing him to lose his memory as he tries to start his life over from scratch with the help of a Salvation Army worker who falls in love with him.
Stars: Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tahti, Juhani Niemela
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
, indie fave who previously directed Leningrad Cowboys Go America and The Match Factory Girl
Thumbs Up: Kaurismaki’s a Jim Jarmusch and art-house fave; movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar
Thumbs Down: His films are usually subtle to a fault, with lots of dead air, and amnesia movies never quite convince me.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.sonyclassics.com/manwithoutapast/index_flash.html has information on the director, production, the characters, a trailer and a synopsis.

XX/XY (IFC Films)
Premise: An animation artist and two Sarah Lawrence grads reunite in the Hamptons eight years after they broke up a menage a trois relationship they had during their college years in Boston, only to find themselves drawn into the same situation that caused them to break up in the first place. Title refers to the male/female chromosome.
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Kathleen Robertson (Beverly Hills 90210), Maya Stange, Petra Wright
Director:
Austin Chick, who also wrote, with his feature debut.
Thumbs Up: A postmodern Carnal Knowledge.
Thumbs Down: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice for Gen Y.
Soundtrack: Thrive Records album features score by The Insects.
Website: www.ifcfilms.com has cast and crew information, a slide show of the premiere, press, e-cards and a video of director Austin Chick on his inspiration.

A Mighty Wind (Warner Bros.) Opens Wednesday (4/16)
Premise: Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show) applies his Spinal Tappish mockumentary approach to the ‘60s folk music scene, about an aging group, The Folksmen, trying to stage a comeback concert.
Stars: Guest, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Fred Willard
Director:
Guest (who co-wrote the script with Levy)
Thumbs Up: Trailers are absolutely hilarious and it’s the same team responsible for Guffman and Best, both solid. Can’t wait for this one
Thumbs Down: Is the approach wearing thin after two consecutive winners?
Soundtrack: Columbia Records album features songs by the Folksmen, New Main Street Singers and Mitch & Mickey, including such hits as “Never Did No Wanderin’,” “Loco Man,” “Blood on the Coal,” “Potato’s in the Paddy Wagon” and the title track.
Website: http://amightywindonline.warnerbros.com/index.php is both clever and comprehensive, with individual sites for The Folksmen, New Main Street Singers and Mitch & Mickey, complete with biographies, discographies, photo galleries and video archives to fill in the back story, as well as info on the “event team” and “community.” There are also links to Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and soundtrack sites. —RT

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
Good news—I’m not self-pitying and whiny this week. Well, no more than my usual whininess. I’m recovering from my little bicycle “incident.” My black eye is almost gone, along with all of those sympathy battered-woman looks I’ve been receiving at the grocery store. I’m almost ready to go back to the gym. Surprisingly, this makes me happy because my gym is filled with tons of extremely hot, sweaty men with six-packs that I’m dying to feel. Do you think that would scare a guy—a little blonde chick (with a black eye) walking up to him and giving his abs a little rubdown? It might explain the black eye. I should’ve gone to the gym last week when my shiner was in full force, because I’ve noticed that men want to put their arms around and hug a gal who’s a little banged up. Finally, I’m feeling like my old sassy self again. I’m giving you guys a little taste of my charm with this week’s cocktail.

Bubbly Blonde
1 oz Ketel One vodka (my favorite)
Fill glass with champagne (champagne flute or wine glass)
Squeeze lemon juice into glass

Now that I’m back to normal (if I can be normal), I will continue to beat you guys up for being idiots. Why do only married guys hit on me? I’m serious. I can’t remember the last time I was hit on by a single and datable guy, let alone actually go out on a real date—something besides coffee, like dinner or a movie. Do people still do those things? Well, I wouldn’t know. As a single gal, I go through a screening process of potential dates—a guy walks in who I’m attracted to, so I do the nonchalant glance at the left ring finger to see if there’s a ring or tan line from a ring. This is the only way single gals, like myself, have to gauge if we’re wasting our time or not. I’m not going to throw away a valuable 20 minutes talking to some guy, only to find out he’s married with children, sending me back to square one. You guys aren’t playing fair! You’re not wearing your wedding rings, tricking us into believing you’re single. Jerks! You’re off the market, so get out of our way! It’s hard enough trying to find a date in this city, and all of you married obstacles are making it more difficult for us.

This happened to me recently while I was treating myself to a Happy Hour cocktail. A couple of guys walked in who were in there late 30s or early 40s. One was handsome, so I did the glance and was pleased to see no ring or tan line. The handsome one started chatting me up and bought me a drink, then in walked two more of their friends—and one of them was even more handsome. Once again, I did the glance and was definitely pleased to see that there wasn’t a ring or line. After the men had flirted with me for about 10 minutes and unknowingly dropping a few “we’s,” a realization struck me—and boy did it hurt. How could all of these handsome guys be single? So I asked them straight out, “Why aren’t you guys wearing your wedding rings?” They were all stunned that they had been found out, but that didn’t stop their relentless attempts at scoring. Pathetic. Their wives were at home caring for the kids or posing for Playboy (the really hot guy’s wife was a Playmate), while they were out being slimy, cheating bastards. So, the questions remains—why don’t single guys ask me out. One of my best guy friends recently said it’s because men are too intimidated to ask beautiful women out. Now you know why he’s one of my best friends—the whole beautiful-woman comment. He said a guy won’t ask out a hot girl, because he assumes she’s going to say no and he doesn’t want to feel rejected. Therefore leaving tons of hot, single women out in the world who think they’re not hot, because they never get asked out. My advice to all of you guys—ask. We just might say yes.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: If you’re not careful at this joint, you’ll end up with the worst hangover of your life. Voda, on Second Str. in Santa Monica, sports a huge Wall O’ Vodka and specializes in obscure vodkas and martinis. Small but hip, this martini bar and restaurant is sleek, modern and filled with patrons that are often “married but looking.” I love this place because it’s mellow and unpretentious—a scene without being a scene. With all of the tasty choices I must say, please be careful—you’ll regret it in the morning (the overindulgence in beverages and the married men).

After my extremely tough last couple of weeks, I’ve decided to treat myself to a mini-vacation. I want hot men, so I’m going where there are a plethora of them—Miami Beach. I’m going in May, so there will definitely be a Weakend Cocktail dedicated to the city of the tan and toned. I’m going to be in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area, so e-mail me your suggestions of where I can go to have a hot time. Until next week—hugs and kisses.
Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Karen Glauber, Simon Glickman, Jill Kushner, Mike Morrison, Jon O’Hara and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

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Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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