I’m always wary when a TV show—even one as revo-lutionary as Six Feet Under—takes on “the nature of reality.” But the boundary-demolish-ing HBO series did just that on its season premiere, “Perfect Circles,” and the results were both thought provoking and emotionally pungent.


A Ringing Endorsement of Living in the Moment (Provided That the Moment Doesn’t Involve a Digital Prostate Exam)
You know what the problem with life is? Life is random. Life is not fair. Life fails to work its way into tidy resolutions—and how we all crave tidy resolutions. That’s certainly why so many people have been tuning in to the finales of the reality shows. It’s also why, on those occasions (like Wednesday night) when the ball somehow bounces into the hands of Robert Horry, who then drains the jumper that drops through the net as the buzzer sounds, winning another thriller for the Lakers, it causes those of us who follow the team to jump for joy. What Horry is doing in that moment is transforming chaos—a ball bouncing randomly among 10 frantic players as the clock nears zero—into order. It’s that perfect moment, the sweet spot in time, the alignment of planets, the symbolic closure we so fervently desire. And if we can’t have it in life, at least we can have it in our diversions. So bring ’em on…

Reality Shows: I’m starting to get confused… Was Tyson Beckford living with Vince Neil in the Amazon… or was it Gary Coleman in the Hollywood hills? Was that Corey Haim or Corey Feldman? I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! is undoubtedly the nadir of the genre, as B-level personalities take 100k apiece for the chance to live in a rainforest, and as their make-up and patience begin to fade, you wonder if they not-so-secretly would forego the chance at donating a million bucks to their favorite charity for the opportunity to get voted off a few days early. The fact that the show’s unctuous host continually refers to them as celebrities only reinforces how even Warhol’s 15-minute dictum has been devalued beyond repair. Of course, we now eagerly await the sequel, featuring Jenny McCarthy, Louie Anderson, Steve Kmetko, Tonya Harding, Ken Ober and Ernie Banks, who woke up in the middle of a desert windstorm to utter the immortal phrase, “Let’s play two!” Indeed. —RT

2. Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden, Jan. 18 (taped off HBO): If you’re a rock fan, I hope you had the presence of mind to get this set on videotape, because it stands as the most persuasive document yet that the Stones, as they begin their fifth decade of continuous existence, remain the absolute embodiment of rock & roll. On the latest tour, these guys demonstrate that, like the blues and jazz players before them who lived long enough, rock artists have the capacity to get better with age, provided that their passion for the music remains unextinguished. It obviously does for Keith Richards, who looks like he still can’t believe that he’s actually getting paid for doing this stuff. At the Garden in mid-January, knowing the cameras were on them, the band seemed to give it that little bit extra oomph that distinguishes their altogether brilliant performances from the intermittently brilliant baseline shows of recent years. Happily, the HBO sound crew was up to the task of capturing the nuances of Keef and Woody’s unparalleled chops, Charlie’s seemingly effortless drumming and the strikingly sophisticated way the band as a whole plays with time—cuz everyone in the Stones plays a rhythm instrument, and that includes Mick and his vocal cords. EMI owes it to history to get this show out on DVD—to my eyes and ears, it’s that definitive. —BS

3. American Dreams (NBC): My favorite series to debut during the 2002-'03 season follows the lives of a Philadelphia family as they’re buffeted by the events of 1963, the year of the JFK assassination and the emergence of the Beatles. Because the show airs at the family hour of 8-9 p.m. Sundays nights, the very bad things that threaten various family members in every episode never actually befall them, and that’s fine with me—I get enough of that in the news. The show’s primary focus is on the teenage daughter Meg, who becomes a regular on American Bandstand (Dick Clark’s company produces the series, which features actual footage from the seminal music-focused TV show). Sixteen-year-old Brittany Snow, who plays Meg, steals the show. The way the camera loves her, it’s instantly apparent that she’s a star, and it’s worth watching the show just to see her. Another effective element is the use of current artists to play historical ones; Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton are among those who’ve made guest appearances, but the most memorable cameo was turned in by India.Arie as Nina Simone. —LB

3. Site of the Week: gawker.com is absolutely, totally THE best website ever for all things gossipy, New York or big-news-driven. One stop does it all—the major publications, the big stories, all the columns. My friend Cynthia sent it to me three weeks ago—and I don't start a day without it. Not only do I feel more dialed in, I get that tingle of knowing what the real 4-1-1 is. —HG

5. ESPN Does the NBA: Surprisingly, the initial efforts by the first and foremost sports network to cover the telegenic NBA were hardly a slam dunk. Indeed, TNT’s coverage, which has long set the standard, powered by the scintillating team of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and always-terrific host Ernie Johnson, made ESPN’s initial studio team of Stuart Scott (who was trying to apply Chris Berman-style shtick to pro hoops) and a shockingly green Tim Hardaway look absolutely sophomoric. But more recently, they’ve come up with some fresh programming that lives up to the ESPN standard in other sports. ESPN2’s Tuesday Fast Break, which alternates intelligent studio dialogue and live action that moves from game to game for two hours—and with a knack of going to the right game at just the right moment—is an absolute must for hoops fans. And Bill Walton’s Long, Strange Trip, in which the world’s tallest Deadhead reveals an unexpected command of extra-dry verbal and physical comedy as he travels from arena to arena around the league and shoots the shit with players and coaches, may well be the funniest impromptu sitcom to come along since Cub Your Enthusiasm—I kid you not. What’s more, the players who get dragged into the bits, frequently without even knowing it , seem far more real and likable than they do in typical post-game interviews. Throw it down, big man, throw it down. —BS

6. The Hours (Miramax/Paramount): This nine-times-nominated Oscar candidate has the requisite awards pedigree. There’s taut acting by Nicole Kidman (unrecognizable in prosthetic nose as Virginia Woolf), Julianne Moore (a frustrated housewife in ’50s suburban L.A.) and Meryl Streep (a modern-day Manhattan literati) as well as canny direction by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott). Perhaps the film’s most effective element is the circular, pulsing score by Phillip Glass, which gives it a continuous sense of anxious foreboding. The movie’s theme, a take-off on Hamlet’s age-old conundrum, “To be or not to be,” is an inexorable meditation on the notion of taking one’s own life, though the idea of women alienated from their role as nurturing matriarchs is a tough sell in any circumstance. My problem with the movie, as with American Beauty, is a homosexual (in this case, the original novel’s author Michael Cunningham) judging the void at the center of the traditional heterosexual partnership. And while the movie does suggest that same-sex pairings can be every bit as empty, the prevailing notion is that sexuality (or the lack thereof) is what singularly defines the happiness or unhappiness of romantic relationships. The result is the dead end of the film’s bleak conclusion, with Kidman’s Woolf walking steadily into a stream, her coat full of rocks, as the water reaches to her head. —RT

7. Cynthia Rowley at Target: Rowley, of the flipped hair and too-cute-without-being-cutesy clothes, hit the bookstores with Swell, a girl's guide to tricks for life, then Swell Home, about applying the mentality to decorating one's space. Rowley and partner Illene Rosenzweig swell again as they bring out a line of home accessories—linens, tableware, shower curtains and assorted goodies—to America's style and value retailer. If you like bright colors, little details and that sense that bright and cheerful are a good thing to anchor one's home—whether it's as a dash or an entire room—then this is a cost-conscious way to capture the vibe. In the assorted-goodies category are her Slipper Socks, bright pink with white rubberized hearts on the soles. White hearts are scattered across the rest of the slightly high-rise peds, and black silhouettes of mudflap girls painting their toenails make these whimsical bits of warmth and traction too much fun to be the mere embodiment of practicality. And the neck you don't break on the kitchen floor (and the chill you don't get) may be your own. —HG

8. Promo Weasel Site of the Week: http://hem.passagen.se/thrash/celebxxx.swf (Be careful what you wish for…)

9. Calexico, Feast of Wire (Quarterstick/Touch and Go): Too bad Jack Bruce came up with “Theme From an Imaginary Western,” because that title would fit practically everything this veteran, Tucson-based duo has come up with over four albums. When guitarist/singer Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino go widescreen, as they do here on “Black Heart,” the sweeping vistas evoked by the music fall somewhere between Sergio Leone and John Ford. At the other extreme is the instrumental “Attack El Robot! Attack!,” which tumbles out with the trash-heap wackiness of Tom Waits. But this album also reveals Calexico’s new “pop” side: “Not Even Stevie Nicks…,” with its to-die-for choruse hook, and “Quattro (World Drifts In)” find Burns’ ethereal tenor and Convertino’s insistent drumming powering accessible yet alien concoctions that sound like they’re coming out of a border-town jukebox in some parallel universe. This supremely accomplished and distinctive album is a real sleeper, marking Calexico’s maturation as a world-class entity. And Mike Morrison tells me that there’s a loud buzz about this record among APM (that's Hitspeak for Triple A) programmers. Here’s hoping the adult formats jump all over it. —BS

10. Pretenders, Loose Screw (Artemis): A friend took me to see the Pretenders at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium a few weeks back, and while the show was perhaps more subdued than during their ’80s heyday, it proved once again that smart songs played well can rock every bit as hard as "Precious" from their brilliant first album. But the best news was that the new songs, the ones populating Loose Screw, are seamless matches to the songs that've defined this long-defiant band. Chrissie Hynde’s trenchant writing turns on how it is at 50, displaying an attitude no less resonant than the churning rebellion of a 20-something. Indeed, the impact may be greater, as the 50-year-old understands the consequences and acts out, puts her foot down or revolts, all with the understanding that there are ramifications to her actions. "The Losing" states the condition explicitly, as Chrissie’s aching, bitch-goddess bit of alto longing explores the dichotomy between desire and its ultimate payoff. —HG

I’m always wary when a TV show—even one as revolutionary as Six Feet Under—takes on “the nature of reality.” But the boundary-demolishing HBO series did just that on its season premiere, “Perfect Circles,” and the results were both thought-provoking and emotionally pungent. Before I say any more, let me advise TiVo heads that you have one more chance to grab this one (3/9; consult your Season Pass Manager). OK, then.

Nate’s fate on the operating table (where a surgeon struggles to pry a malignancy from his brain) forms the dazzling intro—we think he’s died, and his late father opaquely guides him through a series of possible, divergent outcomes (he is dead; he survives and raises his child with Lisa; he grows old with Brenda). When we finally learn that all this has transpired while he was unconscious, it’s seven months later. Nate and Lisa, now married, are the avid parents of little Maya. Ruth has thrown herself into her role as reliable grandmother, periodically locking horns with her daughter-in-law. Lisa, meanwhile, works for her brittle, egomaniacal landlady, Carol (the great Catherine O’Hara), and seems to be nursing a mania of her own that will eventually rival the currently absent Brenda’s. David and Keith are in couples’ therapy, with indeterminate results; Clare is struggling in art class and has a fling with a guy who’s in some weird band. Rico, now a partner in the business (Fisher & Sons has become Fisher & Diaz), asserts his newfound authority.

It all flows with the show’s canny ear for real dialog and uncanny flair for capturing states of mind; it’s tied together by deja vu moments throughout that echo the Nate’s-mind montage at the beginning. Are there infinite possible universes coexisting simultaneously, in which our many possible fates, actuarial to list, are lived out in actuality? It’s heady stuff for a small-screen drama, but this episode—written by creator Alan Ball—made it look dead easy. Simon Glickman

Tears of the Sun (Revolution/Sony)
A team of Navy SEALS hits Nigeria on a search-and-rescue mission for a doctor. When arriving at the village, the doctor says she’ll only leave if 70 refugees can leave with her amid charges of ethnic cleansing.
Stars: Bruce Willis in full Die Hard mode, Monica Belluci, Cole Hauser, Fionnula Flanagan, Tom Skerritt.
Director: Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua once more tackles corruption at the highest levels.
Thumbs Up: Action tempered with a lofty ideal, a perfect combination for life during wartime.
Thumbs Down: Will a country already jittery with the Iraq conflict want to see on-screen conflict?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album features Han Zimmer score.
Website: www.Sonypictures.com lets you test your own leadership skills, with an interactive map of the area, a description of the mission, anatomy of a hero and information on the film, cast and crew.

Bringing Down the House (Touchstone)
Odd couple comedy with a lonely guy meeting a woman on the Internet who breaks out of prison to be with him, bringing chaos and some much-needed change to his humdrum middle-class existence.
Stars: Steve Martin, Queen Latifah, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Betty White.
Director: Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner, A Walk to Remember)
Thumbs Up: Can Martin make a comeback as a comic icon? Can Oscar-nominated Queen Latifah move from Chicago to movie stardom?
Thumbs Down: Broad? Did someone say broad?
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records album features tracks by Eve/Jadakiss, Foxy Brown, Floetry, Kelly Price, Mr. Cheeks, Iceberg, Lil’ Wayne/Big Tymers, N.E.R.D., Calvin Richardson, Barry White and a pair of tracks by Latifah, one a duet with Mario Winans.
Website: www.Movies.Yahoo.com/House/ offers a trailer, story synopsis, cast & crew information, clips, interviews, behind the scenes information, photo gallery and an e-mail function to send a friend the site.

Laurel Canyon (Sony Pictures Classics)
A pot-smoking, freewheeling record producer with a rock star boyfriend confronts her straight-laced son when he returns home with his rich fiance after graduating from Harvard Medical School.
Stars: Frances McDormand, Alessandro Nivola, Kate Beckinsale, Christian Bale, Natascha McElhone with an appearance by Lou Barlow and Folk Implosion as the band, while Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous (who wrote two of the songs) and producer Daniel Lanois both make cameos.
Director: Valley girl Lisa Cholodenko, who previously helmed High Art, which starred Ally Sheedy as a drug-addicted lesbian photographer who falls in love her former prodigy. Also wrote the screenplay.
Thumbs Up: An Alan Rudolph-esque peak at the Hollywood music subculture, with the always-interesting McDormand getting great advance buzz.
Thumbs Down: Who needs to go to the movies to see reality?
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records album features a mix of artists, including Mercury Rev, Steely Dan, Clinic, Scapegoat Wax, Butthole Surfers, Lee Michaels, Leroy, Roxy Music, T. Rex, Baxter Dury (son of the late Ian), Elvis Costello, Eartha Kitt, Sparklehorse, Serge Gainsbourg/Brigitte Bardot and Alessandro Nivola. Veteran Karyn Rachtman served as music supervisor.
Website: www.sonyclassics.com features a press release, trailer, about the film, director interview and soundtrack information.

The Safety of Objects (IFC Films)
Ensemble drama based on a series of interconnected stories by author A.M. Homes about four suburban families struggling with boredom, disappointment and unhappy marriages.
Stars: Glenn Close, Jessica Campbell, Patricia Clarkson, Timothy Olyphant, Dermot Mulroney, Mary Kay Place.
Director: Rose Troche (Go Fish), who also wrote the screenplay.
Thumbs Up: Festival winner, good performers, literate source, one of the stories is about a boy who has a sexual relationship with a Barbie doll.
Thumbs Down: We go to the movies to escape reality.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.renaissance-films.com/safety_objects.html offers the basic cast, crew information, with a plot synopsis and a summary of the book on which it’s based.

Irreversible (Lions Gate Films)
Controversial French revenge drama in which events are presented in reverse chronological order (like Memento) about a woman violentlyh raped in an alley, inspiring her boyfriend to go into the Paris night seeking revenge.
Stars: Current "it" girl Monica Belluci (also stars in Tears of the Sun), Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel.
Director: Gaspar Noe (I Stand Alone) in full aggro, Nietzchean, political incorrectness.
Thumbs Up: Has stirred revulsion, fainting and walkouts wherever it’s played which, for me, is the ultimate recommendation.
Thumbs Down: Reportedly for those with strong stomachs only.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.MarsFilms.com is in French, with no English subtitles. Roy Trakin

Richard Thompson, The Old Kit Bag (Cooking Vinyl/SpinArt): This supreme British singer-songwriter and ace guitarist’s 25th album (not counting his LPs with Fairport Convention) is a stunner, packed with fierce, aching melodies and scorching axework (that’d be axework on guitar, dulcimer and mandolin, not to mention stirring episodes of accordion and harmonium). Working this time in a trio format with his son Teddy on upright bass and Michael Jerome on drums (Judith Owen sings backups), Thompson coaxes his fusion of pop-rock and traditional folk forms to new zeniths of intimacy, intrigue and inner vision. The 12 songs are divided into two “chapters,” studded with gems like the darkly lyrical “Gethsemane,” the slyly menacing rocker “I’ll Tag Along,” the galloping, bittersweet “She Said It Was Destiny” and the Jihad’s-eye-view showstopper, “Outside of the Inside.” Thompson, himself a Muslim, finds the voice of the fundamentalist on the latter, damning great cultural achievements (Shakespeare, Einstein, Charlie Parker) and declaring, “Grey’s the color of the pious.” Still, when the song’s narrator turns heavenward, Thompson uses his lyric, melody and strings to limn the powerful hold of a visionary mindset. That about covers the material. Then there’s the man’s Celtic-Hendrix fretwork, at once ecstatic and incisive, dotted with bluesy dissonances and a lilt as ancient as a hillside. Have you heard anything better lately? I haven’t. —SG

It’s been a veritable blizzard of classic reissues lately. Here are a few you’ll want to chase down.

T. Rex, Electric Warrior (Reprise/Rhino): The original configuration of this Tony Visconti-produced glam stalwart is already pretty slammin’, including as it does “Cosmic Dancer,” “Jeepster,” “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” and “Planet Queen.” This package boasts a typically gorgeous Rhino (oh, excuse me—Warner Strategic Marketing) package, a bevy of bonus tracks and an interview with mastermind Marc Bolan. The band’s Tantric boogie is in full flower here: Bolan’s suggestive, husky whisper-singing, sinuous and endlessly hooky guitar riffs and elemental percussion.

David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture (EMI): Though it pales next to the amazing Santa Monica Civic ’72 disc (which began life as a bootleg), this soundtrack to the Ziggy/Spiders concert movie, recorded during the band’s Hammersmith Odeon show on July 3, 1973, is still infectious and explosive.

The Best of Love (Elektra/Rhino): This one-disc collection proves there’s more to Arthur Lee’s baroque-rock collective than its classic album Forever Changes, though it includes several of that great LP’s highlights—“Alone Again Or,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale,” “Andmoreagain.” But it also sports the group’s rough-and-tumble takes on Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book” and the garage-band perennial “Hey Joe,” not to mention the proto-punk gem “Seven & Seven Is,” “Que Vida,” “She Comes in Colors” and a lot more. A generous, 22-song introduction to a truly adventurous band.

Grateful Dead, The Grateful Dead, Anthem of the Sun, Aoxomoxoa, Live/Dead, Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty (Warner Bros./Rhino): I number myself among the handful of people who actually prefer the Dead’s studio recordings to those meandering live tapes. This batch of lovingly annotated reissues is loaded with live bonus tracks, although that’s not the principal enticement for me, as you may have guessed. But it’s fascinating to watch the band grow from psychedelic dance band to studio avant-gardists to mature pop traditionalists. It’s in the latter phase that they truly shone as recording artists—Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are packed with great songs performed with energy, feeling and almost no long solo stretches. We’re talking “Casey Jones,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Dire Wolf” (AKA “Don’t Murder Me”), “Ripple” and “Box of Rain,” among others. But there were earlier hints of their songwriting chops; the underrated Aoxomoxoa, for example, boasts the boisterous concert staple “St. Stephen,” the pretty “Mountains of the Moon” and one of my personal faves, the retro-freakout “Doin’ That Rag.”

Uncle Tupelo, Anodyne (Sire/Rhino): Among the most influential albums of the fledgling y’alternative/No Depression movement, this 1993 LP was the breakout move by co-founders Jeff Tweedy (later of Wilco) and Jay Farrar (who went on to form Son Volt). A decade later, it’s easy to see why Anodyne caused such a stir. The songwriting is stellar; what’s more, the band sounds as good assaying Stonesy rockers like “The Long Cut” and “We’ve Been Had,” the galloping “Chickamauga” and Doug Sahm’s twang-along “Give Back the Key to My Heart” as they do on such melancholy material as “Acuff-Rose” and the dreamy title track. Among the bonus tracks: a version of Waylon Jennings'’ “Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way?” and live renditions of “Truck Drivin’ Man” and “Suzy Q.” —SG

Sign of the Fox, Sign of the Fox (Sound of Sounds):
“I live like there is no tomorrow/I can’t remember yesterday,” croons singer (and sometime Jackass performer) Jack Polick in the opening “How Lucky Am I,” but that’s not exactly true for this L.A. geek-pop band (also including ex-Wax man Dave Georgeff, ex-HITS grueler Mark Gracious and drummer Mike Criddell), which sports more hooks than a pro angler. Mining 40-odd years of garage-rock, SOTF come off like the Wonders of That Thing You Do, echoing the joys of faux Brit Invasion bands like the Knickerbockers on the Merseybeat jangle of “(She’s My) Sweet Baby.” “Last Night (Doesn’t Matter to Me)” channels Weezer’s emo wall of sound and “You Are (So Down)” has the ramshackle charm of the Replacements, while the Astrud Gilberto lilt of “Do’s and Don’ts” shows these sly Foxes proudly wearing their pop hearts on their sleeves. —RT

The Ataris, So Long, Astoria (Columbia): This SoCal-punk-inspired power-pop foursome with the name that recalls the Vandals’ “Join Us for Pong” makes the major-label jump with a big, hooky sound that, while poising them to break out wide, takes nothing away from their DIY roots. The title track brings it all into focus: vintage-raw yet supertight guitar work, bullet-train momentum and singer/songwriter Kris Roe’s edgy, athletic voice belting out soul-cerebral lyrics like “These relics of remembrance are just like shipwrecks/Only they’re gone faster than the smell after it rains.” The finishing touch is an ass-kicking cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”—only this time, it’s a Black Flag sticker on the Cadillac. Somehow, that says it all. Jon O’Hara

Last week, I whined about feeling neglected from all of my fans, or maybe I was just wondering if anyone actually reads all of my crazy ramblings. To prove that I’m not entirely insane, or at least there are others in this world just as insane as I am, I’ve decided to run more letters from you guys—my dedicated readers. Thank you for making my workdays a little less dull—keep them coming. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to all of you who keep reading this crap. The name makes about as much sense as my mindless rantings.

Schwab A Wabba
1oz. blue curacao
1oz. vodka
1 oz. peach schnapps
1 oz. tequila
Splash lemonade and orange juice
Splash Bacardi

For those of you who assumed I must be smoking crack to come up with some of my theories on dating and men, HA—I love being right. Proving once again, maneuvering in the dating world is as frustrating as trying to find a parking space in Santa Monica on a Saturday. Here’s some of my recent correspondence:

I think you were right on target when you wrote about dating, sex and the rules. No guy wants to date a girl he has sex with on the first date. That girl may become a booty call, but there is no way she could ever hold the coveted Girlfriend status. I think more women need to understand the whole three-date rule. Keep passing the word around to the ladies, because if she holds out longer than three dates, she will soon learn why we stop calling. I hope your man reads this and gives you a call.


Dear Matt,
The tall, blonde, handsome man in question never managed to find the phone and call me. He must’ve been “busy” or maybe he lost his phone and my number was in it or, maybe, his girlfriend I didn’t know he had found my number and erased it. She can keep the pathetic loser—he was probably horrible in the sack anyway.

Hugs and kisses…

I have a hypothetical regarding a girl, the “leave behind” and whether “RJ” should call and say, “thanks, but no thanks” to dating her or ignore the girl and never call again?


Hi RJ! Can I ask you something? Why doesn’t “RJ” wish to see this nice piece of ass again? Was she not pretty enough? Not funny enough? Not charming enough? Well, obviously, she was good enough for a roll in the sack. What’s the difference? Is it that “RJ” doesn’t wish to date or only wishes not to date this one-nighter? Would things have been different if she was a little more challenging and didn’t drop her panties so quickly? My advice to “RJ” is that if he doesn’t wish to have a dating relationship with this slut (kidding), then he should be honest and admit that he was a jerk wanting to get his rocks off, thanks for the f**k, but no thanks. I hope this helps you with your dilemma.


I love your lists!!! I sent your Christmas list to all my girlfriends with the words “Is she related to me?!?!” And after reading your New Year’s list, I am definitely convinced that we were separated at birth! I hope you had a happy holiday and a kick a** New Year! All the best on keeping to your lists—I’m putting most of those in good practice already!


It’s refreshing to know that there is intelligent life out there. You must be incredibly cute, charming, witty and wild, so watch out world—that makes two of us. I hope your dating life doesn’t suck as much as mine does. Keep reading!


Ok, you are smart, funny and share my taste in music. Seriously, you could write for The Onion any day of the week. The only problem with you is that you are probably straight. Say ain’t so, say it ain’t so.


Yes Jeremy, I am indeed straight, but my dating life sucks, so maybe I should reconsider my views. I figure that if decided to become bisexual, that would increase my odds of getting some by 50%. [Or is it 100%? —Ed.] But unfortunately, I love men—way too much. Thanks for boosting my ego. Now, I don’t think I’ll be able to fit this big head in the elevator.


I thought I would drop you a line and give credit where credit was due. I found your Top 10 damn funny. Best of luck with the resolutions.


I’d like to report that I am doing my best to keep all of my resolutions. But, it’s a tough job trying to shop, travel, eat, party, date multiple guys and still have time for massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. It’s hard work but I’ll keep trying.


Hi Denise,
Do not feel neglected—your fans are still here worshiping your column!! I am once again floored by the commonality shared when I read your column this week [“Top 10 Excuses He Didn’t Call”]. I have circulated amongst my friends your wisdom of why men don’t call—hoping that by bringing those lame excuses to light we can all stop wondering! I can sleep sound now knowing that I am not the only one who has heard more than one of those excuses—unless the same guy is dating all the same women in New York. You are brilliant!!!


To my sista,
I dated a guy who lives in NYC; maybe we have the same guy. Unfortunately, I think guys are taught those lame excuses when they separate the boys and girls in elementary school for “the talk.” You know “the talk”—the one where they lecture the girls about how we can get pregnant and teach the boys to be non-committal, insensitive bastards—kidding. It makes me proud to know that my wisdom is being passed along to women in need, and probably making them crazier than they were to start off with.


Hi Denise!
I’m still your #1 fan, and I also have a dating story for you. My married friend started bringing this girl he works with around for our little weekly Friday happy hour outings a few weeks back. Being as she’s a cute, petite, single girl (and kind of my type), I figured he was doing me a favor by trying to set me up. So, I asked her out, she said yes, he seemed happy for me and all was well. After we went on a couple of dates, I started getting some weird vibes, picking up on a bunch of little things. I noodle it through that this girl is sleeping with my MARRIED amigo. Neither one of them had the decency to tell me about the situation, and now I feel like a total fool. I would at least expect more from my friend, as we’ve been best buds for over 10 years. I just love the dating scene. I think I’ll become a hermit.


Hey Jim!
That sucks! In the case of your friend (I’ll just call him Cheating Bastard), he seems to be suffering from “wanting his cake and f*cking over his wife while he eats it” syndrome. And the girl (we’ll just call her Little Slut), she is the type that likes the “unavailable.” I guarantee if Cheating Bastard wasn’t married then Little Slut would have no interest in him. If a friend treats you like this, I’d hate to see what your enemies do, maybe you should reconsider your friendship. There’s one thing that should make you feel better—it’s called KARMA! Better luck next time.


De’s dedicated fans pick their fave L.A. bars: I’ve spent months stumbling through bars, picking what I feel are the best. Here are some of my readers recommendations: North off of Sunset in West Hollywood, Lava Lounge on La Brea in Hollywood, the Joker on Pico; and in Santa Monica, the Circle Bar on Main Street, 14 Below on 14th Street and Wilshire.

Keep sending me all of your warped, sad and pathetic dating stories. I love them! Ladies—all of you single gals out there, Jim seems to be nice, available and heartbroken if anyone wants to give him a shot. That’s all the matchmaking I’ll do for this week. Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Lenny Beer, Darren Cava, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Todd Hensley, Jon O’Hara and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

Time to get the hell outta Dodge. (7/23a)
We're impressed but not surprised. (7/23a)
Today feels different. (7/22a)
He's a one-man dynasty. (7/22a)
The score at the half (7/19a)
Who's already a lock?
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
The discovery engine is revving higher.

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