Thursday, November 12, 2009

FBO: "Most Enigmatic Drum Solo of All Time"

Please see the 1:10 mark of from this Hungarian new wave band TRABANT's version of "Eskimo Women Feel Cold." You won't regret the time spent:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, September 28, 2009

FBO: 'Failed Photographer at Vikings Game (Likely Fired)'

Everyone's talking about Brett Favre's winning TD pass (and Greg Lewis' winning catch) that felled the San Francisco '49ers with 0:02 remaining. What has only caught the FBO's eyes is the underachiever sports photographer, standing two feet from the amazing catch, who didn't think to raise his camera as a potentially game-winning lob was made to his doorsteps with a couple clicks to go. 'Probably will be incomplete,' he probably thought.

NOTE the following. The photographer, in a snappy red vest, is to the right of 'TD' graphic on screen. He's slightly hunched, holding his $5,300 camera at belt level:

Greg Lewis falls at his feet. He looks placidly, without emotion or camera in shooting position. Even the fan above has a finger of disbelief already pointed at Lewis. Meanwhile, note the short-haired guy to the right, also caught out of position:

An audience member has time to lean over the stands, Greg Lewis to catch and now raise the ball, a ref signalling TD, but our paid photographer looks on.

'Hold a tic. I better get this one,' he thinks. What's more bizarre, his short-haired counterpart starts taking the photographer's photo!

Our failed hero finally gets a shot of the back of Lewis already back in the endzone. The counterpart -- probably his supervisor -- gets documentary evidence of underachievement.

Someone make a t-shirt out of this:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FBO: 'Bans Scarborough Fair'

Woodstock turned 40 recently, and a British group is trying to ban remembrances of it, called Traditionalist Brits Against Woodstock.

It's worth reminding everyone that England's Scarborough Fair was originally a mall, and regardless what you think of CSNY's awful song 'Woodstock,' produced one of the most self-indulgent, inconsiderate songs of all time: 'Scarborough Fair.' (See its offensive lyrics here.)

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FBO: 'Oklahoma Gazette Endorses Failure, Tall Tales'

Tall Tales is set to play its second show in 15 years tomorrow night at Norman's Deli, and Rob Collins of the Oklahoma Gazette has taken note in this profile of all things past, and all things planned.

The article also celebrates, tributes and endorses -- by mention -- the Failed Bands of Oklahoma's planned show in Guymon: The FBO Night in the Panhandle.

This show -- which has an open invite to all failed bands (never signed), with at least 65% original songs, and at least 10 years ago -- simply must happen. It is not necessary to be from Oklahoma to be included in the Failed Bands of Oklahoma. And the show will also include failed magicians.

If you qualify, let us know.

Meanwhile, if you've ever wondered how they decide who dies first in Civil War re-enactments, here's your answer, of sorts:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, August 09, 2009

FBO: 'Best Sax Player of All Time'

Those of you paying attention to MTV in the early '90s remember this guy. Well. Pink Floyd was back together, again without Roger Waters who essentially wrote all their music, and hired Scott Page to play sax.

Has there ever been anyone with a more immortal mullet than this? Ever?

FBO Admin Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, August 08, 2009

FBO: 'FBO Nearly on CNN'

Recently FBO member tried to talk about Failed Bands of Oklahoma on CNN International, but unfortunately the interview was cut off just before the subject of 'unusual travel' reached Guymon, Oklahoma.

Tall Tales will pick up the battle axe for failed-band awareness on August 14. There have been some TT interviews with the Oklahoma Gazette, so hopefully that'll appear soon.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FBO: 'Be In a Band'

The FBO Band is on a summer hiatus -- 98 degrees and no AC is never good for inspired rock -- but a couple members WILL be seeing Steely Dan playing Aja in its entirety at New York's Beacon Theater tonight. The last time I was there was February 1993. I moved from Oklahoma with a Keith Richards ticket for the Beacon and it's ended up being Keith's last-ever solo concert. For now anyway.

To pacify eager listeners, here's a demo version of a 'Be In a Band' to listen to. Feel free to vote on whether it should be scrapped, extended, or ended with a long guitar solo.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FBO: 'This Happened'

FBO Member Robert Reid has been very busy lately, but managed an article in the New York Times today. It's on a bizarre, fun neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia, that had crackhouses as recently as five years ago -- now a couple dozen-plus restaurants and a very welcoming crew of locals and expats.

Meanwhile, Tall Tales plans to preview one song from their 2009 LP, tentatively titled 'By Mitch's Candles/Day Ranger,' at the August 14 show at the Deli in Norman.

Oh, did anyone know that the US had a Board on Geographic Names? Looking forward to more study on this, and why there are only five places in the country with apostrophes.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, July 16, 2009

FBO: 'When Is This Right?'

This image -- of a Belgian -- shows the mortal blow of a unicorn. It's from a 15th-century wall tapestry hanging at New York's fascinating Cloisters museum, part of the Met. It's sit on a hilltop at the very north of Manhattan, and missed by most visitors. The building itself is made from dissassembled/reassembled monasteries of Spain and France.

Medieval times!

Doesn't answer why you see a unicorn, and go kill it.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, July 03, 2009

FBO: 'When Monuments Tweet'

Stolen from

This week the Statue of Liberty joined Twitter (@StatueLibrtyNP), peppering its 92 and increasing number of followers with slightly-less-than-fun facts about its crown, history and sold-out tours. (I go in early August – managing to get what I couldn’t for the recent Leonard Cohen concert in NYC: a ticket.)

When I heard about her joining, I did what we all did – immediately reached out to other monuments (the St Louis Arch, the Liberty Bell, the Taj Mahal) to see if they have accounts and I stumbled into a HIGHLY SECRETIVE Twitter mini-group of monuments and spied on the following conversation between some of the world’s great monuments.

Here's a portion of what was said:

@StatueLibrtyNP Hey, tours of my crown start this week – first time since NineLev.
@GoldenGateBr Sounds cool
@LibertyBell Awesome : )
@TulsaGoldnDrillr Not to echo the Bell but awesome
@StLouisArch Big deal. You have to climb stairs don’t you?
@StatueLibrtyNP That’s right.
@StLouisArch Get back to us when you don’t have to walk up.
@SearsTower What, you mean have something like your old cranky ‘2001’-type elevator thing? No thanks.
@StLouisArch Beg your pardon, it’s a TRAM. And it goes 4mph.
@TulsaGoldnDrillr Gee, I just lean on a derrick.
@LibertyBell Hey Sears, you have that glass floor thing now???
@SearsTower Yep, visitors get to stare down 103 floors below their feet. Can’t do that at KL’s Petronas.
@LibertyBell Hope it doesn’t crack. ; )
@StLouisArch Enough of that dumb crack. We need to start a new group for monuments that aren’t defective.
[enter @ArchesNP]
@ArchesNP Hey guys, what’s happening?
@StLouisArch Out!
@GoldenGateBr Yeah sorry ANP, but this group isn’t for natural monuments. @BigBend makes that mistake all the time.
@ArchesNP My bad.
[@ArchesNP exits]
[enter @EmpireStBldg]
@EmpireStBldg What’s up mofos?
@SearsTower Hey shortie.
@StLouisArch Emp, don't you think mofus is more accurate?
@EmpireStBldg Whatev. I see you haven't changed Archy.
[@StatueLibrtyNP exits]
@StLouisArch What lights are you today, Mr Project Runway?
@EmpireStBldg July 4th is tomorrow. Take a wild guess.
@SearsTower Green?
@EmpireStBldg I wish.
@GoldenGateBr Empire, what do you think about the Statue reopening?
[@TulsaGoldnDrillr exits]
@EmpireStBldg All for it. Anything to distract from that underachiever obs deck at @RockefellerCentr.
[@TourEiffel enters]
@TourEiffel Bonjour, j'ai besoin d'un conseil!
[@StLouisArch, @SearsTower @EmpireStBldg, @GoldenGateBr exits]
@LibertyBell Come again???!?

FBO: 'FB is not for FaceBook'

Facebook hates the Failed Bands of Oklahoma, as it proved a few days ago by trashing FBO Member #001's account without warning. 'Tall Tales' had a FB account there, where photos and videos and tidbits were shared with a number of followers. Then access was denied, and an email explained, that it was cancelled because 'Tall Tales' isn't a person.

The Gin Blossoms, a non-failed band, still have an active account with Facebook.

Tall Tales will try to start over the process with a new account as a 'band' -- apparently a loophole easily missed during sign up. But Facebook is not allowed to use the Failed Bands of Oklahoma site for two years.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sunday, June 28, 2009

FBO: 'Lamenting Mortality of Post Cards'

Email. Twitter. Facebook. FAXES! Text messages. Skype calls.

All is fine and good. But it spells the death of the post card.

Not long ago, travel was about postcards. Shopping for bad ones shot by photographers in the '70s and repackaged in print throughout the '80s and Gin Blossoms-era '90s. We'd sit around on trains, in parks, on beaches, at hotel breakfast buffets WRITING, physically writing, post cards to let people know you are there, and they are not.

That's done.

At least we have the free Braum's e-card.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

FBO: 'In Melbourne'

The Failed Bands of Oklahoma are in Melbourne, Australia, to gauge prospects of a performance in Victoria. Melbourne is an interesting city. Taxi drivers have no idea where they're going, for one thing. Today a cab went the opposite direction of my destination -- refusing to use the GPS system to find a location he clearly had no idea where it was; 'it's my second day,' he explained. Finally had to exit, flag down another taxi, get his map and direct him -- practically block by block -- to reach a fairly well known neighborhood.

Last time here, I saw a dead kangaroo on the road to the airport.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Melbourne, Australia

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

FBO: Tall Tales to Play 2nd Show in 16 Years

TALL TALES, FBO Member #001, will perform - in concert - on August 14 at the Deli in Norman, Oklahoma. Bassist Mitch Newlin promised there 'will be a surprise.' It's not yet known if it will be a four-piece or five-piece version involving Robert E Reid.

Meanwhile, the first recordings of new Tall Tales songs are underway. One song is called 'Fingernail Biter.'

Dan Fallis explains, 'I put every ounce of my emotion into a two-minute song. I probably won't do that again.'

In other news, you can vote on one of the three (possibly) cutest photos of all time at

FBO Admin Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, June 08, 2009

FBO: 'Detroit Red Wings'

Not often you get snubbed by Stanley Cup athletes in an elevator. It's happened, to the FBO, in Pittsburgh.

Here on a brief fact-finding mission to West Pennsylvania, FBO happens to be sharing a hotel with Red Wings players, who arrived today -- along with beards and big red bags -- to a hotel on the Allegheny downtown. Two players approached our elevator, and we kept it open for them. 'No, it's OK. We got that one,' pointed to the next elevator.

We hope the Penguins win.

Meanwhile, Kenny Chesney played the Steelers football stadium on Saturday night, and a nearby sidewalk vendor -- standing with a cane -- was selling cowboy hats and Confederate flags. Asked if he normally sells the latter. "Not here, no."

This man was not invited to the Failed Bands of Oklahoma Panhandle show.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thursday, June 04, 2009

FBO: 'Trying to Save San Diego'

More cross-blogging...

FBO member Robert Reid spoke with San Diego's FM 94.9 about how to save San Diego today (listen here) and released a director's-cut video-feed of the process.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

FBO: 'Travel Meets Politics, Has a Drink'

Travel to some Tulsa hotels, clearly, overlap into the world of Drug Travel (see post below). Others clash into politics. FBO member Robert Reid discusses so on World Hum today.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, May 30, 2009

FBO: 'Lends a Comforting Shoulder for Sam Patel's Tears'

Everything is good when this happens. Someone's been cooking up some meth -- an illegal drug -- in a $25 hotel room in Tulsa, the city found out, and wrote a letter to the hotel owner Sam Patel about it.

And Sam Patel is FURIOUS.

He's furious not about the druggies he checks into the hotel, or ignores the smells emanating from room 106 a few doors down from his office at all hours. He's furious about the city's 'TONE' in the letter.

The letter read:
"You must cease allowing drugs to be used, sold or possessed on the property."
Clearly the letter should have read:

"It'd be great if we could stop all that meth and heroin going on at your hotel, considering it's illegality and such. Up for meeting for a coffee to brainstorm on how to keep it out? Btw did you catch the Idol finale? Ruled! -xoxo"
Sam Patel, who has received four ordinance violations from the city now, may have to pay up to $500. He told the Tulsa World, "The city needs to send a better letter than this."

Sam Patel, the FBO is WITH YOU.

FBO Admin Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, May 28, 2009

FBO: 'Talks about Robert Reid'

Robert Reid, an FBO participant and member, is now the Lonely Planet Travel Editor and spokesperson in the US. Some things about it are here.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, May 25, 2009

FBO: 'Adopts Robert Reid'

The 'King of the Rebound' -- Robert Reid, who played for the Houston Rockets from 1977 to 1991 -- is in India (per a stunningly mistake-prone article) teaching Punjabis how the fundamentals of the ball game called basketball. In a sense, this is exactly what the Failed Bands of Oklahoma has been trying to do since January 2006.

Robert Reid, we adopt you.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson acknowledges Robert Reid in unsubtle ways in 1981.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FBO: 'Failed Pakistani Band Invited to Panhandle Show'

Failed band in Pakistan, LAAL, is part of youth movement called "Responsible Citizens" to collect trash on the streets in Lahore. Apparently tired of the nation's apathy, the Taliban organizing and taking over lands, and of trash, the group meets to pick up trash in public areas.

We would like LAAL to come to the Panhandle Show to perform. We'll take care of the trash ourselves.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, May 18, 2009

FBO: 'Panhandle Show News & Plan'

A Halloween rock show at Tulsa's legendary Cains -- a stage that's hosted Bob Wills and the Sex Pistols' second-to-last show over the years -- may feature a five-piece-version Tall Tales this October, so the FBO is planning to stage the long-awaited Panhandle Show of Failed Bands around this time.

The show would include Tall Tales, Asylum, Soul Shaker, Cinder Biscuits, and we hope Rich Trott's Palace Family Steakhouse from San Francisco as well as Ancient Chinese Penis.

To expand the draw, the FBO is considering Failed Bands' Classes as part of the event. The idea was inspired after seeing an article about amateur guitarists combining travel in the English Lakes District with learning.

FBO Failed Bands' Workshops would include:

* Winner Bass Techniques, by Mitch Newlin
* Creating Bag-of-Lyrics, by David Cantrell
* Magic, by Danny Fallis
* Creating Your Own Studio, by Alan Hiserodt
* Dance, by Ty Kamm
* Guitar Sounds, by Gregg Dobbs

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, May 11, 2009

FBO: 'Failed Bands of Oklahoma Band Needs Singer'

We're open to technological advances, so begin the FAILED BANDS OF OKLAHOMA BAND: SINGER SEARCH with a vlog:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FBO: 'Pie Charts not Pies'

While working for Lonely Planet in London earlier this decade, I started up the LP Sandwich Club. A handful of willing folks and I would head out once weekly, usually within Clerkenwell, and go to a local restaurant and order sandwiches. The same sandwiches. We'd eat togtether, but keep our impressions to ourselves. Back at the office, we'd indivdually rank the sandwich, (1 for a baddie, 5 for top-shelf), then pool together our cumulative rankings, record the individual and group scores on an Excel document and forward the results, with a challenge!, to LP's Oakland office to do the same.

We sought to alleviate a little cubicle boredom and get some mid-day nourishment and, if lucky, mystify local business while doing it.

In today's New York Times, I see that Manhattan has its own (newer!) version with a Burger of the Month Club, who go to various restaurants, record rankings of 13 factors with ratings of +4 to -2. Members alternate choices, and pre-plan with the hopes of getting one of the year's best, thus advancing to a post-season tourney to determine the city's best burger spotter, and best burger. (Primehouse at Park Ave & 27th St has their best. I've particularly enjoyed Queen's Donovan's Pub in the past, which makes their top five.)

They seem a bit macho for my tastes, but I'm a believer in their tactics. I think travel -- or a lunch, Super Bowl party or group screenings of The Patriot -- deserves more than the ol' passive flow. Often introducing a theme -- one requiring acquisition of data!, which can be turned into flow charts!!, and comparative graphs (as can be done counting moustaches in Russia )!!! -- can give the experience a broader meaning.

So we applaud the Burger of the Month Club, even if they're website is down right now.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, May 02, 2009

FBO: 'Partly Failed Bands Festival'

Is it possible to see the above photograph -- as appearing in yesterday's New York Times -- and not want to see the show? (No.) The article discusses 'one-offs' and 'shoulda-beens' of music history at the almost-failed band festival Ponderosa Stomp.

All participants are welcome to attend the Failed Bands of Oklahoma Panhandle Show, but not perform.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, May 01, 2009

FBO: 'Travel Journals & YYYs'

Once the Gilder and Franc and Lira rolled into the euro, European travel became a lot less interesting. But there's always been shopping for stationary products. I love picking up locally made journals, oddly covered spirals and whatnot from shops when I travel. It's a key way I fill that space between meals on the road, and I liked having my journal itself linked with a part of my trip too. But it's becoming harder, I've noticed in recent years, as shops in Vladivostok, Plovdiv, Bogota and Danang seem to carry the same imports these days: imported Chinese cheapies with cartoon covers, or nicer -- but not too nice -- Italian ones.

Top 2 Notebook Purchases
My favorite notebook-procuring experience was a few years ago in Shumen, Bulgaria, where a snappy older woman insisted on the color of the of my belezhnik (notebook), a sickly yellow. When I returned two years later, alas, the store had become a trashy boutique selling neon purses.

Runner-up was in a walk-up stationary stand in Batambang, Cambodia, where I waited and waited behind a monk agonizing over which pen to get -- testing out several, then chatting a bit. It gave me plenty of time to consider my options, and the eventual winner: a tiny maroon one that read 'PP Book.'

In other news
The new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album It's Blitz! is excellent -- the 'deluxe' version has acoustic/orchestral versions of four songs, better than the 'full-on' ones on the regular album. The album also manages to make a statement in the postage-stamp space iTunes affords with its striking album cover of a hand-crushed egg.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week Re-Dux'


Tall Tales' 1988 video 'Ways to Stay' has no excuse for the extended doorway sequence. And none is offered.

That same year, Tall Tales took a break to be tender for a minute, with "This Song's Not About Love," a four-minute anthem to feelings. Tall Tales' feelings. The crumbling ruins of present-day Oklahoma City's happy Bricktown served as the backdrop to how the five-piece group collectively felt inside: discarded, abandoned, tattered, frightened, timid, alone. The empty tracks and stagnant pools mimicked the band's gateways to success -- a no go.

And, yes, you saw it right. Both are filmed on FILM.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, April 27, 2009

FBO: 'Bishop Allen Calls Oklahoma Unwanted Yet Inspiring'

Bishop Allen is sort of a non-failed Oklahoma band, one that's based in Brooklyn anyway. They have cute songs, quite precious enough to get them a cameo in last year's film Nick & Nora's Playlist. On their new album Grrr..., the lyrics of one song 'Oklahoma' compare the panhandle state to some girl's eyes.


Justin Rice (not pictured) told You Ain't No Picasso in a little interview that Oklahoma is a 'big, flat scrubby unwanted place. But the sky is tremendous and there's something about it that feels kind of raw and inspiring in a way; but also overlooked.'

That seems fair enough.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, April 24, 2009

FBO: 'Boston Red Sox F(r)an(tic)'

Did you see this? At the last second of the Red Sox/Yankees game tonight -- finished at the bottom of the 11th inning -- a fan, in a white sweat shirt, sitting front row behind the catcher, heard the winning home-run bat clank, raised his arms and took off -- in a frenzy -- to reach his car before the ball even passed over the head of the Yankees' infield.

It is bizarre. It is unbelievable. He was willing to wait till the game ended. Didn't matter if it was going 25 innings. He would wait and wait and wait. But once the decisive hit was made, the VERY INSTANT, he would go. And go quick. Couldn't be bothered to say 'so long' to his pal next to him after a four-hour game, or even watch the ball sail out of the park. And take in even half-a-minute of the post-game victory.

Red Sox Fan in white sweat shirt, we salute you.

This happened five minutes ago. FBO sees it first:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FBO: 'Lions' Sort of New Look'

According to the Detroit Lions' website, which we peruse regularly, last year's 0-16 team has unveiled a "new comprehensive brand." That may or may not come with a Matthew Stafford taken as the #1 pick in the NFL draft this weekend, but it certainly comes with one of the most subtle changes in an NFL helmet since, oh, the Arizona Cardinals had to tell reporters they changed their Cardinal logo a few years ago. No one had noticed. (We wrote about in our Super Bowl preview.) Yes, the lion is a little fiercer, despite his winless record, but blink and you wouldn't have noticed a change.

Note the chronology of Lions logos:

1952-60 (this isn't a joke)




Another thing to note.

The font treatment of the written 'Lions' is italicized. They seem as proud of that. But, per FBO rules, two is a trend, and following an Oklahoma politician's pleas to italicize the 'Oklahoma' on the Oklahoma state flag, we're wondering if something's a foot that misinforms certain 'leaders' of secondary places/teams trying to get a bigger marketability into believing that italics alone make words stand out more.

Italics only make sense when select words of a bigger phrase, sentence or paragraph are italicized.

For effect, re-read that last sentence with all italics:

Italics only make sense when select words of a bigger phrase, sentence or paragraph are italicized.

Or with a key word italicized:

Italics only make sense when select words of a bigger phrase, sentence or paragraph are italicized.

--> The FBO will not ban or suspend the Detroit Lions, and does applaud the restraint from changing their Honolulu blue home jerseys to tough guy black.

FBO Admin Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, April 20, 2009

FBO: 'You Thought We Were Joking about Safe Pets'


Per a recent news brief, New York City draws a line between safe and non-safe pets.

See this link.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

FBO: 'An Explanation for Underachievement'

The FBO took a short New York/Pennsylvania break last week and will be gearing up for more developed posts by Tuesday.

Other byte thoughts:

* Would be funny if Yankee Stadium, all $1.5 billion of it, is too home-runy
* The FBO Band practiced twice this weekend, including debut of new singer COREY, who scrawled lyrics on spiral and wrote two songs in two hours, "Ebb & Flow" and "I Don't Know"
* FBO's Robert Reid can occasionally be found experimenting at Twitter at @reidontravel

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, April 18, 2009

FBO: 'The Dreams of the FBO (Part 2)'

The dreams have not changed since Monday's post.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, April 13, 2009

FBO: 'The Dreams of the FBO'

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, April 10, 2009

FBO: 'Fig Bars Week (Part 3)'

Sometimes the best snacking comes without wrappers or boxes. Sometimes not. Today we test the cellophane-wrapped fig bar bundles you find around New York's deli scene, cozying up to registers and sold for $1.25 or $1.50.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

FBO: 'How to Stop Somali Pirates'

The FBO have been saying this for months now: if you want the Somali pirates, currently chased by a coalition of gigantic US and EU DESTROYERS, to stop extorting money on raids, send SUBMARINES and shoot them out of the water.

Destroyers chasing the pirates is like sending elephants to fend off a cheetah attack.

Use the destroyers as a diversion, and have a fleet of 10 or 15 subs react to the next incident. Shoot down two or three and this ridiculous problem is over.

Is it just us?

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

FBO: 'Fig Bars Week (Part 2)'


Last week, the New York Times reported that Kevin Costner was helping bankroll a new minor league team in Zion, Illinois -- a community set up by a religious sect a century ago. One of the town's greatest achievements, though, was its fig bars. Few know of it, but they're still being made, now by Matt's Cookies of Wheeling, Illinois.

Here's our review of the bars:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

FBO: 'Fig Bars Week (Part 1)'


The FBO knows.

Figs are old world, pecked on by Egyptians and Greeks while pondering war, philosophy, Doric columns and togas. But fig bars -- that is, fig paste inserted into cookies and then eaten -- is full-blooded American. The first date from the late 19th century, when a Philadelphian sold his invention to Nabisco, which named the cookie after their Boston suburban location: Newton.

We devote this week to different types of FIG BARS, beginning with Whole Wheat Fig Newtons.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, April 05, 2009

FBO: 'Main Street Baseball'

Are we sheep? New York City is all a-glow over the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field built with $2 billion of state and federal money for the two highest-salary baseball teams in the country. It's particularly bad situation with the Yankees. Their new stadium cost the city $1.5 billion, average ticket prices rose 76%, and the number of seats diminished by 5000 (the Mets' new home has 14,000 fewer seats -- now having to cut back on Little Leaguer events). Now pro teams around the country are hoping to get some of the stimulus-package funding to pay for stadiums.

America's sport?

I'm going with minor league baseball this year, the populist sport league, in a year when, in my mind, domestic travelers should consider more 'main street' itineraries to ensure their money goes to places that need it the most. That is, not pooling all the funds of a trip into a single resort or destination -- but spending it in private businesses visited along the way, on road trips, by stopping off in towns not seen as usual destinations (ranging from a few days in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to Spokane, Washington or Fargo, North Dakota as it works to recover after the recent floods).

For here in New York, it's hard to beat the two minor league teams. The Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees (farm teams for the Mets and Yanks, respectively) have far superior locations -- both on the water. The Cyclones, right in the heart of Brooklyn's just-opened Coney Island, and the SI Yanks on the lip of New York Harbor [see view from outfield seats]. Non-bleacher single-game tickets against teams with colorful names like the Vermont Lake Monsters are about $15. Comparable tickets at Yankee Stadium run $150 to $375 each.

In late summer I might even go see the Little League World Series.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, April 02, 2009

FBO: 'Foreigner Prices in Rhode Island? Sacre Bleu!'

One of the more frustrating things faced on the roadways del mundo is the concept of charging the people who have crossed the globe to see your place and chip in money into the local economy, MORE for the same services locals get. 'Foreigner pricing.' It just sounds bad to say it. Of course, some argue that taxes locals pay warrant a 'discount' on their part -- but it can sometimes feel more opportunistic even slightly xenophobic.

Russia, home to some of the world's most expensive destinations, is an obvious example, a nation clamoring for NATO status but holding onto Soviet pricing policies where foreigners sometimes pay, according to In Your Pocket guides, six to 20 times the local rate. Late year, I traveled through the Russian Far East, and frequently paid five times the amount for dated Russian museums with Russian-language exhibits geared to Russians, who rarely go. At one hotel, I paid an extra $20 for being non-Russian. After awhile, you sort to feel cheated, even unwelcome. I began to wonder whether, for example, New York City should hold a 'Russian prices day' when Russians had to pay $80 not $20 to get into sites like the Museum of Modern Art.

In Cambodia, according to the blog Cambodia Calling, foreigners pay 500% the fee for 'garbage collection,' tacked onto electricity bills. Worn out by the discrepancy, and the fact that rubbish is just thrown into piles, the blogger started a compost pile to deal more responsibly with what they throw out. Good for them.

In today's New York Times, I see that Massachusetts and Rhode Island have gotten into the act, allowing locals 'discounted' tolls if they use the E-Z Pass. Now federal courts are saying it may be unconstitutional, due to 18th-century clauses to help provide a common market between the newly formed states.

This is different (it's a discount for local commuters, not an extra tax for outsiders), but I agree it needs to be reversed.

And it can be. I've seen such pricing discrimination change in other places. On my first trip to Bulgaria, in 2004, foreign prices ran rampant -- now, as Bulgaria's joined the EU -- they don't exist.
--> The FBO charges the same to all observers for its content.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

FBO: 'Hotelicopter'

Someone with a lot of time on their hands, and a bit too invested in The Onion perhaps, has concocted a slightly humorous joke of -- a flying helicopter based on a mammoth Soviet 'copter to allow travelers to overnight in luxury rooms. It's easy, fun and you get to skip the '$8 sandwiches' and 'long security lines' of airports. Apparently some people believed it, mocked by Wired magazine blog.

I've never slept on a helicopter, but I did ride in a Soviet one a couple times. Once was in the mid 90s when I traveled from Saigon to Con Dao Island, a gorgeous place that was a prison camp during the French and American wars in Vietnam. The ride was super fun. The pilot -- visible from our seats -- pointed to giant headphones (1976 DJ, or 2004 hipster) to 'block out sound.' I could smell fuel and tried to read through the warning signs in Russian. When we began elevating, the pilot clicked on music in our headphones -- a mix straight from the late 1970s, with secondary Bee Gees songs and French disco.

A few years ago in Kamchatka, Russia [pictured on board, left] -- the peninsular volcano zone dangling across the Bering Strait from Alaska -- I joined some Swiss tourists who had hired a Soviet military helicopter to go out for the day volcano-spotting and track down a reindeer herd shepherded by nomads. Stunning views. In a green field between isolated snow-capped peaks, we eventually located a storm of reindeer, moving and grazing in a wide frightening circle. Maybe 1000 of them. We landed, helped the nomads make a teepee-type structure, started a fire and had some tea. They offered to kill a reindeer for us, but we refused.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, March 30, 2009

FBO: 'The Joy of Safe Pets'

It's happened again. The critics are going after all pets, even safe ones, in the wake of a (non-safe) pet attack last month, involving a chimp ripping off part of a woman's face in Connecticut. It was horrible. (The chimp's owner even said it attacked the victim because she had "changed her hairstyle.") It should never have happened. After after recent legislation in the House of Representatives -- which we support -- such an attack from a primate pet shouldn't happen again.
--> Those who think Travis the chimp was a lone renegade should take in the cannibalistic 3:10 mark of this this BBC video; a 'grisly scene.')
And now some bloggers are lumping all pets, even gerbils and bunnies, with non-safe (aka exotic) pets like chimps, or camels (which kicked to death a woman owner in 2007), or a tiger (which nearly killed Roy of Siegfried & Roy in 2003).

These critics overlook the fact that safe pets -- clean, safe, affordable ones -- generally have a good history with humans, that is when humans are cutting off their tails or making them fight. Winston Churchill had his stray cat Margate, the Clintons had Socks, Roy Rogers had Trigger the horse, Plato had Seth the parakeet.

The FBO supports safe pets -- ones with carefully chosen names. And responds to critics with this video protest:


That's right, you heard it correctly. The song features fake drums, four real bass tracks and fake claps.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, March 27, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 5'

It's official!

Tall Tales WILL send a three-song cassingle to Carson Jones Daly featuring a hidden track.

Four-fifths of the band voted on which songs would go.

Simply put, Dan Fallis had the most reasoned ballot, offering a thematic choice with songs that focused on our troubled times. So tentatively we're going to follow his vote (not all things are fully democratic) and send off a cassingle with a hand-drawn cover for
Soundtrack for a Recession [Please Rewind When Through]
The songs (with featured lyric) are:
  1. "TRUE" (from Pot Pie, 2004) 'Voted for this guy before he was a politician slob.'
  2. "NEW WORRY DAY" (from Damn Kat, 1991) 'I worry about my family, I worry about my friends, planes are always crashing and killing lots of men, I worry about the wars and the nuclear toys, I worry about the body and the way it's being spoiled.'
  3. "CEO" (from Pot Pie, 2004) 'Now they are saying that they no longer need me, I just couldn't please, told me to hand over all my keys... they escort me to the door, lost my job and now I'm very poor.'
  4. "NEOLITHIC NOBODYS" (from Crime in a Bucket, 1990) 'Fenceposts are following roads which are mowing trees and houses to the ground, as it gets older, the elites will get bolder, and start to burn the villages down. Here they come again, they take all they can, they're tearing down your house while you're alive.'

We will post a digital download version of the cassingle here when it's completed, and pass on any correspondence between Tall Tales and Mr Daly.

Meanwhile, here's a promo for the Tall Tales Box Set, due sometime between June 1 and January 4, 2010:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, March 26, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 4'

The best part about being in a band is thinking about band names, thinking about album names, thinking about album covers, and thinking about covers. Making programs for potential rock shows is another plus. The rest of it -- actually getting people together and working up parts -- is the hard part.

Oh, another great thing? Making videos.

After Tall Tales unexpectedly reunited, after a decade pause, for 2004's Pot Pie, they started working on a video for "UFO." Production began shortly after the CD was packaged, but has never been shown to the greater public till now:

Video/song notes:

* Dan JJ Fallis shot and edited the video.
* The video shot is the only time the full bound has "performed" the song together.
* The best lyric in the song: "they were found naked and very confused." Which is just funny.
* The original guitar parts of "UFO" were made by Robert alone in 2001 or so, then later filled out by the rest of the band -- in the meantime, he naughtily used the progression as a completely different song "Cougars at Cougars Park" by San Francisco's Tender Few, and to be included on a soon-to-be-released CD See Me Sigh.
* The best lyric in that T-Few song: "I'm such a pissed guy."
* The "UFO" video begins with features footage of the late, great Sprockett -- the namesake for Alan Hiserodt's Sprockett Records.
* It's the first Tall Tales video since 1993's "Suicidal Muppets."
* The first Tall Tales videos were "Ways to Stay" and -- this one featuring Dan walking by a train tracks --- "This Song's Not About Love," shot by Oklahoma video-ographer Michael Tico Lynch.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 3'

The goal was to be huge, have Rolling Stone ask us what our favorite new albums were, and to co-host MTV's 120 Minutes. There were a few times that Tall Tales thought they'd 'made it.' One was when Robert gave a demo tape of early recordings to REM's sound guy at a REM show in Oklahoma City in 1986. To this day, he swears he wrote on the outside of the envolope 'listen to this or it'll be the end of the world as we know it -- and maybe that's OK' -- or something like that. A year later, REM released 'It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).' We may never know if that was just a beautiful accident. Or prime-time theft.

Then in 1989, Tall Tales got the opening gig for the Fleshtones at Oklahoma City's Blue Note [pictured]. It was the eve of Robert's 21st birthday -- a cake was set on stage, candles melting wax into the frosting. Afterwards, we didn't even bother to watch the Fleshtones -- just figured that opening was enough for a record contract. [FBO finally saw the 'Tones in 2006 and adopted them.]

Around that time there were a few out-of-state gigs, including a disasterous Little Rock show that started, foolishly enough, with a soon-discarded new song called 'Problems Arise.' An amp fell over half way into it. An Austin show -- impotently distant from any SXSW timing -- turned out to be an all-ages 'anarchist benefit.' Later on there was finally the Virgin Records exec Andy Factor who'd listen and nod to TT music too. That was as close as it got, but a signing remained the elusive, leprechaun-guarded pot-o-gold: never realized.

Probably the most fun was when less was on the line, like the barnstorming three-day trip to Greencastle, Indiana -- to play an outdoor picnic for Dan Quayle's university, then a townie show where friends threw pitchers of (endlessly free) beer on Alan whilst Danny climbed above the bar while singing 'Sympathy for the Devil.'

Or maybe the show to protest toxic waste in Seminole, Oklahoma, where Tall Tales burned stuffed animals on stage to show the effects waste can have.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 2'

Danny Fallis recorded this around 20 to 23 years ago on a four-track, and the synth-heavy, sell-out song ran out of tape before it was finished. It was never released. It's likely some members of the band have never heard it till now. The new video features stills taken on FBO symposia tours of the world, including trips to Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Colombia.

Lyrically it re-tells a chillingly true story.

This song will appear -- in a slightly longer analog version -- on the upcoming Tall Tales Fake Box Set free download tri-album.

Here's the new video:

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, March 23, 2009

FBO: 'Tall Tales Week: Day 1'

Twenty-three years today Tall Tales picked its name (Tall Tales). As things do in the 918, it happened in an upstairs bedroom of a South Tulsan's home: first drummer Chad Arnett's house, where early four-track recordings of songs like "Ways to Stay" and "Pictures" happened.

To celebrate, FBO annoints this week as TALL TALES WEEK, to celebrate the 23 years, to release a few new videos never before seen by the public, talk with Tall Tales members about the band, and to garner press coverage for the upcoming "Fake Box Set" -- a digital, free-dowload, three-"LP" collection of live recordings, B-sides, unreleased songs and alternate versions of the "hits" -- and a few "hits" as well.

Tall Tales always handed out programs at live shows across Oklahoma's counties. Nearly half of them -- for no apparent reason -- featured an interview with bass player Mitch Edward Newlin. He was immortalized for being younger than the rest of the band in the song "Hee Haw" ("Mitch is a child, going to be a while before he plays on Hee Haw"). Here's what Mitch, still not caught up with the rest in years, says about IT ALL:

Why bass?
Because everybody else wanted to play guitar and drums, and I can’t really sing. I’ve always loved bass, though. It speaks to me.

What was it like spending a summer living in a house in Norman with Danzig Fallis and Robert Reid, a year before graduating high school?
That was a trip. I loved it. I was poor as dirt and spend what little money I had on beer, so I ate a lot of bread sandwiches with Arby’s sauce. I think I lost 10 pounds that summer, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Do you remember your first practice with the band?
Hah! Do I ever. Mike Weiser [shown, left] walked in during practice and I thought he was there to kill us or steal our gear (sorry, Mike, but you scared me at little in the beginning). We played a few songs and Danny turned to me and asked what I thought. Everyone was staring at me pensively and I said… “I think you’re all fucked.” Everyone laughed and I felt my place in the band was secured at that moment.

How did you end up playing guitar on "Barrel of Fun," the last song on 69 Minutes?

I wrote the silly little tune, and somehow Rob and I never switched instruments back after going through it. I thought Rob’s bass work was brilliant and I was fairly excited about the way my tinkles came out on the CD. It’s a silly song but it holds a special place in my heart.

If you were going to send a three-song cassingle to Carson Daly of Tall Tales -- which three songs would you pick?

Good question. There is no doubt Carson would be a huge TT fan. Is this just for fun or can we make this happen?! Ok, here it is (in no particular order): "Checkin’ the Tide," "The Falkon Flies (Dies)," "UFO" and just because I don't follw the rules, I'd send him "Why Do I?" too.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- West Hurley, NY

Friday, March 20, 2009

FBO: 'Saluting the Women's Game'

One of the more important things in history is when, in 1976, Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, promised that, "The 1976 Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby". The bankrupt city finally paid off the event 30 years later, well after Arnold Schwarzenegger proved him wrong in Junior (1994).

Bravado meets bust.

A couple weeks ago Oklahoma star Courtney Paris said she'd give back her $64,000 tuition if she doesn't lead OU to win the women's college basketball championship this year. She told the remarkable Daily Oklahoman a day after the statement: "I have a passion for our fans and university, and I want to do something special. That's why I put my scholarship on the table. I meant what I said."

Some like to compare this to infamous sports guarantees -- like Joe Namath's successful guarantee to beat the Colts in Super Bowl III, or disasterous ones like Matt Hasselbeck's overtime coin-toss 'we're going to win' boast vs Green Bay picked up on live mic for the stadium (just before he threw a game-losing INT/TD).

But read Courtney's words again, she is none of those things. She has made no guarantees -- she just offered motivation to her team, and put her scholarship on the line. That's pretty good. Particularly considering #1 Connecticut is considered unbeatable; they already defeated Paris' Sooners by 30 this year.

And $64,000 is harder to come by in the WNBA than NBA or NFL.

Speaking of which, we're told over and over how great the men's college basketball tournament is -- I prefer the NBA finals actually -- but few seems to mention the equally exciting women's bracket going on simultaneously. One could argue it's better -- with far less ego (can anyone name one player on Rutgers' squad slighted by Don Imus a couple seasons ago?), perhaps even more skills (eg the winningest coach of all time with Tennessee's Pat Summitt, or Courtney Paris' unbeatable streak of 112 double-doubles).

Perhaps the women's game should hold their event in the two weeks prior to the men's tournament for more attention, or after? As it is, it gets lost. Too lost.

The FBO will be closely following Courtney and the women's tournament this season.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- West Hurley, NY

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FBO: 'FBO Observers Anxious For Next Post'

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- West Hurley, NY

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FBO: 'Acknowledges Plan for New California State -- Shared by Farmers, Hollywood and SF's Castro Street''

Angry farmers in California's Central Valley have organized into overlapping groups of secessionists --Citizens for Saving California Farming Industries (CSCFI) and another called DOWN SIZE CALIFORNIA, which is a bit of misnomer, as what they really want is to SECEDE into a new state (hilariously including Los Angeles and San Francisco), apparently to be called "JEFFERSON."

Everything about this is gold.

The CSCFI is led by Visalia-native/politician Bill Maze, who told the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News that last November's Proposition 2 -- affecting the housing conditions of poultry -- was "the last straw." The proposition passed, though was rejected in 41 of the state's 58 counties. Maze blamed it on "agriculturally uneducated city dwellers."

Meanwhile, at the recent World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, the "Down Size California" booth was inundated with "multiple thousands" of visitors, according to their website.

The goal of both groups is to cut off 13 counties from California -- from Los Angeles to Marin Country, pockets of conservatism book-ended by the nation's most liberal cities -- and separate themselves from what Down Size California's website describes as "the imposition of burdensome regulations, taxation, fees, fees and more fees."

The left-over part of California, per their website, would be called the New Revitalized California.

The FBO sees this a bit like the adolescent scheme of "taking your ball home" when a sideyard football game isn't going the way you want. But we can't help but admire the gall of trying to include the country's most liberal city -- San Francisco -- into the Republican-led Agricultural Xanadu. One wonders if this is the best time to ignore a democratic election and put up walls and pour millions into building a new capitol in Visalia. But we're open to hear more from them.

We've emailed Down Size California on the matter, and hope to post an interview here shortly.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Woodstock, NY

Sunday, March 15, 2009

FBO: 'Salutes Latest Non-NFL Football Attempt'

The saddest year in American sports history has nothing to do with steroids, dog fights or self-inflicted gunshot wounds. It was 2001, the year the XFL tried and failed to counter the non-failed NFL with a wrestling-styled brand of football. We were all for it. Just that they didn't go far enough to make 'extreme football' (see bottom of post for how it could have worked), and no players were interested in the antics -- they saw it as one thing: a chance to audition for the NFL.

Now that it, and NFL Europe, are gone, the UFL (United Football League) is giving a second option for pro football a try. They're starting smart -- rolling out with a manageable four teams (New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco), each led by prime-time NFL coaches (including Jim Haslett and Denny Green), and a short season (just October to November) with games on Thursday and Friday nights. Next year they plan to expand to Salt Lake City and MONTERREY, MEXICO.

Best of all, the UFL are employing some slogans that caught our eye:


A little goofy, but the league means it. The "mission statement" claims the UFL goal is "to to fulfill the unmet needs of football fans," promising "an affordable, accessible, exciting and entertaining game experience."

Also, the UFL are already taking suggestions for TEAM NAMES. We hope this doesn't end up with something like the Las Vegas Gamblers or San Francisco Wind. If so, we will only have our lack of vision to blame. At least there's real hope that something truly interesting can slip by -- Las Vegas Cravens, San Francisco Football Club, New York Orlando-Haters, Orlando Sadists. Send your team-name suggestions here.

Unlike some leagues, the UFL understands its place: as a stepping stone to the NFL. Many great college players never have a chance to make the NFL. Some go to Canada, others try the 'arena' league. We wonder if the UFL's chances might be best in spring -- so that some could ship up to NFL teams after spring training injuries -- and NOT compete with the highly popular college football games on Thursday (and Friday) night on ESPN.

We will watch you. And we might even try out.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

*HOW the XFL could have worked: go all out with extreme.

  • During the 1920s, initial possession in many "Indian league" football games held in Oklahoma began by whomever got to the ball first -- after it was dropped by a passing plane above. The XFL should have adopted this as a game-starter.
  • Defense are allowed to use mobile walls -- five feet long, three fight high -- one time per half. They can place them anywhere on their side of the line of scrimmage before a play begins.
  • The field would have three sand traps, and one de-fanged/de-clawed cougar permanently on 10-foot chain at midfield.
  • One team should have been billed as the "gay team."
  • The game would be broadcast on HBO so that announcers could use whatever profanity they wished.
  • A sprinkler system would go on/off incrementally at one 40 yard line throughout game.