Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuck In A Pagoda (With Tritia Toyota)

Everybody has the same reaction -- it's a lot better to be stuck in a pagoda with Tritia Toyota than locked inside a Datsun with Santana Dotson.

America was reminded of that this morning when FRED XM 44 fired up the Dickies' classic "(I'm Stuck In A Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota" ... probably as a way of sticking it to the SoCals.

Some of us can still vividly recall when we were a Phils Phan teen in the Southland and, as one of the presents for an 18th birthday, receiving that band's debut album, "The Incredible Shrinking Dickies" (an LP which was pressed on either one of four colors: red, blue, green and yellow ... this version here is yellow).

When "Dawn of the Dickies" was released less than 8 mos. after the debut LP, it was then that the clientele of the Whisky and the Roxy had to decide if "(I'm Stuck In A Pagoda With) Tricia Toyota" and "Manny, Moe & Jack" (the one-of-a-kind ode to SoCal's Pep Boys ... "for the right price / they will sell you fuzzy dice ...") could stack up against the likes of fan favourites such as "Waterslide," "Walk Like An Egg," "You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)" and "Rondo (The Midgets Revenge)".

Those were the days when it didn't seem to matter that the Dickies misspelled "Tritia" as "Tricia" (and not "Trisha").

Either way, FRED XM 44 is bushels of fun -- and our enjoyment should increase exponentially (whatever that means) once the XM/Sirius, satellite radio forces collide and twin FRED w/ 1st Wave, yadda yadda yadda ...

Freddie Snakeskin seems prepared and equipped to keep KROQ in our bloodstreams -- reminding us that Tritia Toyota was every bit the SoCal TV icon that Connie Frickin' Chung was (although neither the Japanese Toyota nor the Chinese Chung, who got her breakthrough at KNXT-TV, can hold a candle to the Asian Sensation which we currently know as CNN's Betty Nguyen).

Nowadays, SoCals seem more concerned with the the well-being of their Japanese stars Hiroki Kuroda and Takashi Saito (not so much w/ Taiwanese imports, Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-Lung Hu) than they do about L.A. news-anchor legends named Tritia Toyota (who, at some point in her life, apparently, changed her name from "Letritia R. Miyake").

It seems almost pointless to share a plate of chicken teriyaki with Letritia Miyake or a platter of sushi with Kristi Yamaguchi -- and it's considered to be in poor taste when you're in L.A. to say that you're late for a meeting with Mr. Takagi over at Nakatomi Plaza.

Sadly, Dickies band member Chuck Wagon (not his real name) didn't live to see "Die Hard" -- and none of us can remember if the song "Wagon Train" on the "Stukas Over Disneyland" LP is a tribute to Chuck Wagon, who committed suicide in 1981 (the year that Lasorda and the Dodjerks won a world championship they didn't deserve, thanks to the players' strike and some awkward commissioning by Bowie Kuhn).

Lasorda looked like a goddamned idiot last night, standing in the walkway near the backstop and waving the white surrender towel.

Is Lasorda EVER going to die already?

Look ... nobody in Chavez Ravine got seriously revved up last night because, well ... it's difficult to know how to react when we don't know what the outcome will be between Vic Mackey and Shane Vendrell in the ultimate confrontation which all began at The Barn in Farmington.

The very first time that we saw Mackey and Vendrell in action, they concluded that very first episode of that very first season by climbing through the window of that drug dealer's house as Dodger Stadium's lights shone in the not-so-very-far-distance.

After gunning down the drug lord, Mackey surprised us all ("shock" is too strong a term here because we did not yet know Vic Mackey nor did we know what he was capable of) by turning from the bathroom, looking down the hallway, raising his gun and putting a bullet into the left cheek of Terry Crowley, a fellow strike-team member.

Just like that, Mackey wasted a co-worker -- which means that David Aceveda would've been better off using longtime Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley as his informant rather than the Terry Crowley that he selected.

But, that's L.A. for ya (whether or not you make the connection between the John Vukovich who we loved as a Phillie and the John Vukovich from "To Live And Die In L.A.").

As it stands, SoCal is now the perfect refuge for Joe Torre, who wears his Dodger cap and wetsuit whilst he paddles on his surfboard -- and it's where Torre's first lieutenanrt resides ... that being one of our ex-heroes, the former Donnie Baseball.

In the big ol' photo we see in this week's S.I. (the one with Colt McCoy on the cover), Mattingly looks nuthin' like the how he's posing in the framed photo directly outside this study.

Mattingly's got the Dodjerk Blue ballcap w/ the slight sweat ring visible and he's wearing a white-ish/gray-ish soul patch under the lower lip plus one of those lame blue playoff hoodies (those sweatshirts look as though anyone could pick one up at Big 5 or Oshmans or Sports Authority or Dick's or Modell's) ... plus Don's wearing a ring on his RIGHT ring finger.

Ya can't tell if he's trying to be medieval or Bohemian or gothic or what.

But, ya know that, in your heart of hearts, he's not suited to share the same framed-photo wall as Stevie Yzerman, who is hoisting the second of his three Stanley Cups.

Since Derek Lowe wears #23 for the Dodjerks, one wonders what number Mattingly has under that blue hoodie that he bought at Big 5.

Actually, he probably doesn't have a number at all -- probably just a giant ampersand ... meant to appease the titans of New Bohemia.

While we understand that The Artist Formerly Known As Donnie Baseball has experienced some personal problems this year, there's no excuse for a ring on the right ring finger.

Seriously ... who wears a ring on his right hand?

And who wears one in the dugout? (that is, aside from Torre, who wears that too-expensive wristwatch and a completely-unnecessary bracelet ... if he'd worn that when he was sharin' a St. Louis Cardinals dugout w/ Bob Gibson almost 40 years ago, Gibby would've walked over and asked, "Joe, what's with the pussy jewelry? This is a ballpark ... not Shelly's Musk Lounge.").

We're gonna miss those Dodjerks -- and the game we've played for the past week, called "Look! Torre's wearing Garvey's #6! Ethier's wearing Nomo's #16! Nomar's wearing Mike Marshall's #5! Martin's wearing Hershisher's #55!" -- but, with any luck, The MLB will continue to air those commercials for The RBI Project (Reviving Baseball in the Inner-City) wherein Jimmy Rollins is overseeing a youth-league game between the junior Phillies and the junior Dodgers.

For the Chicanos eatin' chimichangas and drivin' their Chebbies 'round Boyle Heights, the R.B.I. Program don't mean shit, ess-ssay.

C'mon ... we all saw Denzell in "Training Day."

We've seen Mackey shake down the Biz Lats.

We've all been to Olivera Street.

But, as for that black dude which we saw wearing that blue L.A. cap outside FedEx Kinko's two days ago, well ... some of us simply nodded as we walked past that dude and pointed to the red "P" on our Hawaiian-print shirt which we bought at The Cit during the very first Sunday ballgame played at that ballpark (rather than gettin' up in his grille and aggressively asking, "Are you Delino DeShields? If you are, you suck!").

It was an odd crossing of paths several hours before the moment when our Hawaiian-styled shirt w/ the red "P" was watching the Hawaiian-styled ballplayer named "Victorino" circle the bases after hittin' the game-tying homer.

The sum of these chance meetings and minor flashbacks -- be it Misspelled Tritia Toyota and the Fake Delino DeShields -- are the connective tissue in linking the past to the present (and maybe to the future).

Think about it: 25 years ago (when we previously saw the Phillies ending the Dodjerks season), there was a #11 in Phillie pinstripes (albeit those pinstripes were maroon, not red) playin' shortstop (DeJesus) -- and 15 years ago (when we last saw the Phillies in the World Series) the Phillie manager, an ex-shortstop, was wearin' #11 (Fregosi) and one of of the broadcasters for CBS was an ex-catcher who wore #11 (McCarver) for the Phillies.


Despite these 11 degrees of separation, it'll probably be another 11 years until the Phillies place ROLLINS 11 alongside ASHBURN 1, BUNNING 14, SCHMIDT 20, CARLTON 32, ROBERTS 36 and CARMAN 42 (truth be told, it might be more fitting to make it happen in 2020, since it was J-Roll's 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and 20 steals which inspired us all and << pardon? >> the Phillies DIDN'T retire #42 in honor of Don Carman? OK, then ... was it for Ron Reed?).

Sometimes, it's left to us old-school guys to bridge the gap between then (when Sixto Lezcano was wearin' #28 and playin' RF at The Vet for the N.L. champs) and now (when it's Jayson Werth wearin' #28 and playin' RF before 20,000 less fans, in a Vet vs. Cit scenario).

True ... we could ask Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt which grip he used on the baseball in the bottom of the 5th 25 years ago when Sixto tagged him for that 2-run homer which was the second death blow of the game (Sarge had the 3-run blast in the first, which, if you remember, Vin Scully described as "a cherry bomb into the upper deck").

Or we could B.S. with Honeycutt about how the Dodgers were 11-1 vs. Philly that year.

Or we could make small talk about how some of us were Phillie Phans back then who were keepin' tabs on who would develop more rapidly -- the young first baseman for the Phillies (Len Matuszek) or the rookie first baseman wearing #46 for the Yankees (Mattingly) who nobody knew about.

These things gnaw at a fella ... like how the '83 season began ... with a loss at Shea before 46,000-plus followed by a loss at Shea two days later before 5,700 fans ... but then, a week later, the Fightin's won the home opener vs. the Mets when Larry Milbourne's sac bunt in the bottom of the 9th helped get the winning run into scoring position before Milbourne ended it himself in the bottom of the 10th on an RBI single -- only to be followed the next day by the Phils trailing, 9-5, entering the bottom of the 9th before Bill Robinson, representing the tying run, drew a bases-loaded walk, setting up Bo Diaz for the walk-off grand slam.

Right about the time that a Phils phan is thinkin' that it's going to be a magical season after all, before ya know it, he's breakin' up with Cynthia several week after Bo's slam, the Yankees are purchasing the contract of the aforementioned Larry Milbourne (leaving us with nuthin' but an '83 Topps card of Lare ... #72 in the series) after he's played in only 41 games, Liza becomes the new girlfriend on the next-to-last-day of the season until she decides to allow the mescaline to affect her thinking, leading to the breakup three games into the World Series, leaving a guy with no other choice but a long off-season of bangin' Denice and realizing that the only thing we really have in common was an appreciation for XTC's "Mummer."

Talk about a twisted love connection.

While the Phillies take our minds to some mighty dark corners, everybody knows that the mummer parades are a part of Philly pholklore.

Lucky for some of us, though, this modern-day World Series will be spent w/ the gal who rode shotgun for the '93 Series ... the little lass who sees the Phillies' hitting instructor on TV and repeats what Mariano and Batty said on the '93 team video:

"Papa Thompson ... Grandpa Milt."

These are concepts that neither a Liza nor a Denice could ever grasp.

And, it's too late in the game for Letritia Miyake to explain it to them ...


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