16,000 Soccer Fans, 1 Meaningless Goodwill Game


USA versus Norway at the Home Depot Center. Only in LA could you get 16,000 cheering fans to show up for what is a meaningless game of international goodwill in advance of the World Cup this summer. Way more fun than I thought I would have, apart from the $8 bounty you have to pay to enjoy a plastic cup of semi-chilled Bud Light. I saw Dave Mathews Band last summer here – it’s a great venue and with a purpose built soccer pitch, you feel much closer to the action than you do when you’re in a converted football stadium. Oh, and for those of you not in Southern California, yep, it’s another warm and sunny January (that’s right, January) afternoon.

The 405 is Burning, Man.

Driving underneath the 405. A car fully ablaze along the side of the freeway. The awesome LA moment was that when we got up on the ramp, just past the exploded car, traffic was moving 60 mph past it in all lanes. People were on the gas to get past it before any fire trucks or police arrived that would shut down lanes.

Well, damn. Looks like Brad and Angelina’s sonogram was good enough to make it on eBay (as reported by CourtTV). I was kind enough to donate mine to the public by posting it on this blog.

What I really want to know is due date. If they chose to deliver at Cedar-Sinai, as we have, then I want to have a better grasp on the chances of seeing Angelina pacing back and forth in the hall in the early stages of labor, or sharing a cigar with Brad to celebrate the birth of our kids. “I have a grasp for you, Jefferson,” you’re probably thinking to yourself, “how does zero to none sound.” Right. For one, I’ve researched on the web the private suite offerings at C-S. We won’t be in those unless I happen to win tonight’s $80 million California SuperLotto Plus (yes, I’m hoping to jinx it into happening by mentioning it. And yes, I have a ticket. And yes, I plan on winning because I believe, dammit, in the power of positive thinking.) Also, I’m guessing Ms. Jolie-Pitt may have some other birth practice in mind. Something like giving birth in their bathtub at home so that they have instant access to Mr. Design-Minded Pitt’s realization of his dream architectural baby nursery. We, on the other hand, are wondering if we can put the Jennifer Convertible sofa that Caro dragged all the way from Manhattan into the baby nursery that currently functions as our guest bedroom, and if we can get away with using a Bombay Company file cabinet as a changing table. Okay, I’m bull-shitting about the changing table, but serious about the sofa.

We took Dad to Hamasaku last night for birthday sushi. After dinner, we got him this special dessert that came with an enormous tower of spun sugar and a plastic cube that blinked through a spectrum of colors that lit up quite spectacularly what was a simple, but very good, fruit and ice cream plate. Which he decided belonged in his mouth. Hilarious – even funnier was that my brother caught it on video on his new phone.

It was a great time – the sushi was incredible, as it always is there, and we had sufficient saki and beer to keep the fun flowing. I had ordered Spanish Mackerel, which is usually a little strong tasting and sometimes tough in texture compared to other fishes, but at Hamasaku it was dressed with some ginger and soy and absolutely melted in your mouth. Dad and Tommy got to share an order of pricey Toro, and it was worth every penny to see the both of them enjoy it.

No celebrities there last night (except the ones on the roll menu, but I can’t bring myself to eat something called a Sarah Michelle [Gellar] Roll).

It’s the first time in years that I’ve been able to take my father out for his birthday, which made it all the more special.

Dad just finished up his panel with Mark Bowden about his new book, Guests of the Ayatollah, and the 4-hour Discovery Times documentary that will be shown on the channel this year.

Not particularly probing questions on the subject, but Dad did sneak in a good bit about the heroes of the crisis being the young men who died in the accident at Desert One.

Have to go catch Bowden before he leaves. More on the day later.

Speaking of blogging, Mr. Koppel.

When just asked if he felt his meeting with the English language Al Jazeera television news channel would be used for propaganda purposes, Koppel replies, “Please . . . I meet with some of the nastiest people in the world! I meet with terrorists and murderers behind bars!”

I guess the answer, then would be “no.”

I’d love to have spoken up to let him know that his comments have already been blogged.

I’ve just walked out of the Television Critics Association press conference with Ted Koppel on his upcoming news program on Discovery. I’m blogging from a bank of terminals set up outside the green room.

Best quote so far – and this will be the first break on the Internet on this story. Got to love blogging.

A journalist asked him if he was still watching Nightline. Koppel replies, “Yes, I still watch Nightline. I Tivo it, because who the hell stays up to 1130 at night to watch it.” The remark drew laughter, as one would expect.

Dad’s panel with Mark Bowden on the Iran Hostage Crisis is up next. Interesting follow up considering that Koppel’s Nightline started because, or perhaps as a result of the news coverage need, of the hostage situation.

I had my first chance this morning to meet a couple of men who were hostages. In all this time (I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years) I’ve never once connected with any of them through Dad.

More on his panel coming up next.

Dinner at Chez Jay. I’m six-foot-three and I’m telling you, my you-know-what just clears this urinal. It may the highest mounted urinal in the entire city of Los Angeles.

If you’ve never been to Chez Jay, this Santa Monica old-fashioned not-afraid-to-douse-your-salad-in-Roquefort checked tablecloth hideout makes for a great boozing and steak eating outing. I like drinks that are served in what could reasonably be described as a tumbler. My dinner friend, a colleague from work, had to send her Bacardi and Diet Coke for extra Diet Coke twice, as even the waitress pointed out, “that’s a mighty clear drink for having Coke in it.”

Plus nothing really beats a baked potato. While those of you in the rest of the country may take such a thing for granted, finding an L.A. eatery that serves an ice cream scoop sized mound of butter and a bowl full of chived-up sour cream isn’t easy. I put so much of both on my potato that when I whipped the fluffy white insides up together it practically became a liquid. With enough sodium chloride to kill most mammals mixed in with the milk and butter fat, I was in heart-attack heaven. And I ate it with a New York Strip. Without the carrots on the plate, I probably would have died at the table.

My apologies for illustrating what became a food post with a portrait of a porcelain urinal. You can practically smell the pink deodorizer.

The wife took me to Supercross. She needed to see clients and I needed to sit in a luxury suite and watch a live version of a video game. The amazing thing about this event is that it is completely sold out. The stands are full of cheering fans who react to the action on the field. It’s difficult to watch because once the racers get spaced out around the track, it gets hard to focus on any one portion. But they blast heavy metal and OC punk bands in between shows, and pretty much the whole event is way more fun than you imagine.

We did see Matt LeBlanc in the knothole. This means over the course of the past month I have seen in passing two of the Friends. First Jennifer Anniston in Blanche while Christmas shopping, and now Joey. Then I read the next day that pop-star Pink married one of the Supercross dudes. Who knew?

The other thing I noticed is how freaking cool Southern California kids are. They look like video game characters from Tony Hawk Playstation games. I hope our yet-to-be-born kid got some good vibes from being at the event.

Plus the promoter is a completely cool guy who was kind enough to reward my enthusiasm during the race with a Supercross baseball cap. This is the guy who recently produced the motocross movie for Fox. Don’t know how that did, but you won’t meet a nicer more accessible guy in the business. Probably because he’s from Atlanta.

I’ve also never seen so many energy drinks being consumed in my life. The kids had to be seriously jacked up.