October 2005 Archives

hey rama,
just blogging to say "hello" and see how you're doing in LA. things have been busy here. as far as i know, camden has not burned down this mischief night (which is either a good or bad thing depending on your point of view). septa is getting ready to strike, so buddy might be free for awhile. we hung out with rob yesterday and saw "doom." it was ok, better than star wars 1, 2, and 3. rob's car got vandalized by a kid. the kid threw a rock at his back window. i felt bad for rob. it happened at my apartment complex. crazy kids. buddy went to a halloween party last night. i'm looking forward to hearing about it. i hope he has photos of his costume.
anyhoo, you are missed here and i hope this blog finds you well.
i'll call you soon,

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here are two photos underneath some bleachers...

and the second one...

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I have added a new category to Pop5: Commonplace. In olden times, long before internets, people would keep written journals called Commonplace Books, where they would record quotations from their reading that were particularly important to them. I am always coming across quotations that I like, so I thought I would record mine here. This is actually from the preface to a history book:

"Those who use the past to criticize the present should be put to death, together with their relatives."
- Li Si, Chinese prime minister, 3rd century B.C.

What a ringing endorsement for my academic discipline!

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up from the depths of the delaware river. he eyes the city of camden for a feast on pollutants.
When Godzilla Attacks...

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Lately all I hear talk of in the entertainment industry is executives bemoaning their dwindling market share. Translation: too many leisure time activities are available to the American citizenry, causing our interest in them (in terms of dollars and time spent) to be divided up into ever smaller fragments. Americans only have a limited amount of time and money they can spend on leisure activities, and with so many different ones to choose from, it is getting progressively harder for media executives to ensure that their product will sell. Well, I have an answer that I am sure will please Americans and media executives alike:


Just think about it: if the mandated American workweek was 32 hours/4 days a week, we would have 24 more hours weekly to spend shopping, going to movies, playing video games, watching television, downloading songs legally on the internet, and doing god knows what else to help fuel one of the largest industries in the country - the entertainment industry. Since America is already moved to being a primarily service economy, this will have the added benefit of reducing unemployment, since stores that are open all week will have to hire additional employees. As far as I can see, this is a win-win situation. Who is with me?

Of course, another approach would be to increase wages, which would also make Americans spend more money, but I don't want to push my luck. I think it should be fairly obvious by now that "trickle-down" (or to use George Bush I's term before he got co-opted by Reagan, "voodoo") economics doesn't work.

On an unrelated note, it is a good thing for me that logical inferences are not a punishable offence; as in, the logical inference that if I suddenly and dramatic slow down right before I am about to pass in front of a police car that is obviously "radaring," I must have been speeding to begin with. This has been happening to me all too often recently...

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here is a photo from a strange planet...
What Can It Be?

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Yesterday, continuing with the Halloween theme, we watched three scary movies. The first was "Wallace and Gromit's Curse of the Were-Rabbit," which was very cute and recommended for all ages. There was almost a horror-film-worthy bloodbath in the theater, because Buddy was getting pissed off at all of the seven-year-olds giving away plot points.

Then we watched "Carrie," which Mike and I had never seen, and which I don't think I ever need to see again. Stupid Brian de Palma. Stupid John Travolta. Stupid seventies hair.

And finally, we watched "Rock and Roll High School," which counts as a horror movie because of freaky-looking Joey Ramone and the attempts to set him up as a rockin' sex symbol. I don't think that would have worked even if they borrowed de Palma's patented X-TREME soft focus effect.

Also, we went to the Stratford Diner, where I am pleased to report that their desserts were excellent. Cheesecake (me), cherry pie a la mode (Rob), and coconut custard pie (Mike) were all happily consumed. Ever the rebel, Buddy got a cheeseburger. Keeping seventh-graders in line is hard work.

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here is a photo of my brother i did for my photography class. more to come...

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Where the hell is the Starview Diner? It's on the White Horse Pike in...Magnolia? Voorhees?

Starview Diner Sign

It's too bad that I didn't take a picture at night, because at night the neon lights up all newborn baby blue and pink.

Starview Diner

There are two stages to my experience with the Starview Diner. When we used to live out that way, my roommate and I would go there fairly regularly. They have pretty decent food, and the service is nice. Also, not that I've ever taken advantage of it, but the Starview Diner is one of the few diners that has a liquor license. But when we moved out of the neighborhood, we stopped going there.

They are also open 24 hours, which leads into the second phase of my Starview Diner experience. About a year ago, I went there a few times with the pop5 crew late at night, and it was totally different. The food was still good, and the service was still friendly, but the atmosphere was troubling. I think the pop5 guys almost got into a rumble not once but twice - in both cases, some other gentlemen were "looking at them funny." Needless to say, we don't go back there anymore.

Starview Diner with Flag

Also, what's up with all of the American flags in front of these diners? I seem to remember that these all popped up overnight after 9/11. Does anyone else remember this?

Anyway, the Starview Diner gets 3 Coffee Cups

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--Well, I Just Got Into Town About An Hour Ago
Took A Look Around, See Which Way Kinski Goes
Where The Little Girls Shop In Hollywood Borders Now
--Are You A Lucky Little Lady Browsing Here Tonight
Or Just Another Hot Starlet...Borders At Night
Borders At Night, Borders At Night, Borders At Night, Woo, C'mon
--L.A. Rama, L.A. Rama
L.A. Rama Sleeping Afternoons
L.A. Rama Sleeping Afternoons
L.A. Rama Sleeping Afternoons
Walk Thru Your Aisles
Intimate Lewd, Intimate Lewd, Yeah
Intimate Lewd -Lewd Lewd
Intimate Lewd, Ohh, Yeah
--See Tables Overturnin’
Rama’s Eyes Blaze With Fire
I Never Said I Loved You
You Know I’m Filled With Desire
Reading D.H. Lawrence
Chick Lit Sections Roam
Girls In Cars, The Coffee Bars
Never Saw Rama...
So Alone, So Alone
So Alone, So Alone
--Motel Money Pringles Madness
Let’s Use The Can For Intimate Badness
--Mr. Rama Risin', Mr. Rama Risin'
Mr. Rama Risin', Mr. Rama Risin'
Got To Keep On Risin'
Mr. Rama Risin', Mr. Rama Risin'
Rama Risin', Gotta Rama Risin'
Mr. Rama Risin', Gotta Keep On Risin'
Risin', Risin'
Gone Risin', Risin'
I'm Gone Risin', Risin'
I Gotta Risin', Risin'
Well, Risin', Risin'
I Gotta, Wooo, Yeah, Risin'
Woah, Ohh Yeah
--Well, I Just Got Into Town About An Hour Ago
Took A Look Around, See Which Way Kinski Goes
Where The Little Girls Shop In Hollywood Borders Now
--Are You A Lucky Little Lady Browsing Here Tonight
Or Just Another Hot Starlet...Borders At Night
Borders At Night, Borders At Night, Borders At Night, Woah, C'mon
--L.A. Rama, L.A. Rama
L.A. Rama, Your My Rama
Little L.A. Rama, Little L.A. Rama
L.A. L.A. Rama Rama
L.A. Rama C'mon

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In some parts of the country, Halloween is considered a kid's holiday. Happily that isn't the case here is South Jersey. In preparation for Fright Night, we watched two "scary" movies on Saturday night. The first was the Ring II, which was not scary and mostly just lame. I liked the first Ring, so I was disappointed. Rob had already seen it, and he left after we watched it, so he missed the BEST MOVIE EVER, which came next. I think it was called "Undead," and it was an Australian B-movie with zombies AND aliens. Zombies are my favorite horror movie bad guys, and the addition of aliens just made it that much better. Plus there were decapitations! And attacking zombie fish!! People, my life is complete.

We were talking about this on Saturday: XPN finally finished its top 885 albums. Five of the top ten were the Beatles, and I think the only one in the top twenty that had been released in the past twenty years was Radiohead's OK Computer (I think #14). The DJs were trying to say that there wasn't a "generation gap," but I can't agree.

Mike has decided that his new idol is Iggy Pop. Is there any possible way that could be a good thing?

Pay attention, pop5'ers, here's a pop quiz (answer in the comments, if you please):
1) Top Three Movies You've Seen This Year (must be released this year)
2) Top Three Albums of All Time

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The other day while walking down Westwood Blvd I saw an old homeless woman shambling down the street wearing only a dirty bedsheet wrapped around her body and head-- only her face was visible--and what a face it was!--this pitiful specimen was covered in open sores and thick, hideous scars--she may have been blind, or, more likely, perhaps her milky eyes were covered in cataracts--she passed me on the street and I nodded to her and she smiled slightly--revealing a mouth full of broken and rotted teeth--she reminded me of a street arab or one of the witches in Macbeth...

But this is not an unusual sight on the streets of Los Angeles-- as much as the city has a reputation for beautiful people and wealthy hedonists--there is actually a strong medieval element here as well-- on any day of the week one will see deformity and degradation of every kind--a veritable freakshow that is no longer found in circuses but that thrives in the sundrenched, always 78 degrees environment of So Cal--toothless grifters--speedfreaks--pneumatic lips, tits, and ass--amputees--ancient weathered faces--botched plastic surgery--crackheads--beautiful southeast asian transexuals with bellyshirts and comehither eyes-- immigrants and misfits from everywhere in the world prattling away like mad in 10,000 tongues and 10,000 additional dialects--it's enough to drive a person crazy.

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new jersey... it's better than delaware.

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Since it has been a week since Rama went to LA, I think it is safe to assume that by this point he has collapsed in an intoxicated stupor and won't be able to find the keyboard until he sets foot in Jersey again. Either that, or he is camped outside Nastassja Kinski's house with a trenchcoat, a boombox, and an old Peter Gabriel tape.

Mike and I watched "Lords of Dogtown" last night, which was kind of disappointing. It seemed like the story was much more interesting than the movie showed - it was disjointed and hard to follow. It could have made better use of the material. I hear the documentary is better, but can it be found at the local rental store? I want Netflix!

I am trying to figure out how to upload mp3s to our lovely pop5, but so far no luck. All I have been listening to lately is Iron & Wine and Green Day. Two observations: 1) I like almost everything I have heard from Iron & Wine, but I prefer my Green Day loud and political. That September song is just eh, and I like Novocaine better when it's called "I Wanna Be Sedated," and sung by the Ramones. 2) How come Kanye West and the Dixie Chicks have to apologize for trashing GWB, but Green Day can pretty explicitly compare him to a Nazi and win a Grammy? Is it the eyeliner?

Lastly, only the most coldhearted Grinch of an individual can withstand the collective cuteness of Panda Day Care:

Panda Cuteness

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It's decided. For my time in Gommorah (Los Angeles) I am the self-appointed West Coast correspondent for Pop5-- a half-breed clown on a mission in an exotic locale-- like Geraldo in Iraq. Most of my reports will probably center around food, washed-up stars and the almost impossible beauty of so many Persian women in the neighborhood of Westwood-- seriously, what are they feeding their women? They are really that fucking hot.

So this week I will dive headlong into the (non) culture of this city and try to come up with something amusing, entertaining, and informative-- again like an embedded Geraldo in Iraq.

Lots of love--


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Well, it looks like the anti-Christ will arrive. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have annoounced that they are pregnant. The baby is due June 6, 2006. AHHHHHHHH!!!! Be afraid, be very afraid.

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My Threadless.com Submission

this is my t-shirt design. it is a shameless promotion. please vote well. tanks...

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One of our favorite diners is the Berlin Diner.

Berlin Diner

It is located in Berlin, NJ (of course). It used to be a very broken-down looking, railroad car diner, but they renovated it about five years ago. Mike and I actually ate there once before the renovations, and I remember I was a little afraid to go there. I also remember it was just after we had seen Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, because I was thinking about Ewan MacGregor. Yum.

Ewan MacGregor

I remember the food was ok, but it was much better after the renovations.

Berlin Diner

The Berlin Diner has a big menu; we are partial to the quesadillas, which come with peppers, onions, and tomatoes, for an appetizer. I think their fries are ok, although I don't often get them. Their desserts are pretty good, too. I don't think they are open 24 hours, though. But the service has always been friendly and quick.

Berlin Diner

The neon around the clock says "Berlin...Time to Eat." Another interesting fact about the Berlin Diner: apparently part of the Kevin Smith movie "Jersey Girl" was filmed there. The front counter is plastered with pictures of Ben Affleck. There aren't any of Kevin Smith or JLo, though...

The Berlin Diner gets 4.5 Coffee Cups

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We went to the Crossroads Diner when we were up at the Delaware Water Gap.

Crossroads Diner

(Mike took all the pictures for this one. The black and white ones he took on his camera, and the color ones he took on my camera.)

Diner Interior

We stopped at this diner on the way home. It was the middle of the afternoon, and I think they had maybe one other table there. I think it was an old railroad-car style diner originally, but they did have an added-on, fancier section in the back. We stayed up in the front, though.

Diner Counter


The Crossroads Diner is not open 24-hours a day. The menu seemed more like a luncheonette than a real diner. We liked the food we got, but the desserts didn't look so good.

Ceiling Fan

The service was really nice - this was the first diner we took pictures of, and Mike told the waitress how we were going to put them up on a website. She seemed a little confused that anyone would want to make a website about diners, but she was very nice and let us take pictures, and told us about the history of the place.

Crossroads Sign

We recommend the place, especially for lunch, if you are ever in the area. It gets 4 Coffee Cups

Crossroads Business Card

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this design is being submitted to threadless.com.
i am awaiting approval to get votes for it. more to come later. even if it does not get enough votes i would like to put it on a t-shirt.

Dirty Fighter

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!