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 Hotelicopter.com -- 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