Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yes, it's wet and wild, F World style...Psycho Dwarf!

Houston is actually a pretty cool place to live. Year-round golf, Jennifer Reyna, mediocre sports teams, strip bars across the street from churches. You just can't beat it.

For the most part, we have terrific weather, too. Sure, in August it's usually so insufferably hot and humid that small children have been known to spontaneously combust while walking to the neighborhood 7-11. Old people sometimes melt in in their Buicks, and simply become part of the seats.

But other than that and the occasional Hurricane every 25 years or so, the weather is terrific.

Except when it floods.

We have a lot of bayous in Houston. (Or, as Virtual Val called them on one visit, "concrete ditches.")

Occasionally, during the monsoon season (which is about once a month or so), we get serious rain dumps that cause flooding. The bayous come out of their banks, and the idiots come out in their cars.

That happened this week, and the worst of it was right around 5 in the morning when I was trying to drive to work. (I never made it. You will be spared the details, because every other word would have to be expletive deleted. But ESPN listeners were spared the "It's 9:09, I'm Fred Faour with your Houston Sports Update" annoyance.)

The good news is that while I was stranded, I was able to witness several freaks and morons, which of course, leads to a Freddy's World posting.

Genius No. 1: I ain't slowing down guy -- This is my favorite dude. Even if the water is four feet deep, he is going to blast through it as fast as possible. He usually has a Hyundai with about 2 inches of space between the bottom of the car and the ground.

He's also the guy you see two minutes later with his hazard lights on, stranded in the middle of the street, cursing his luck as he wades through waste deep water in search of a tow truck to get him out. And whoops! He dropped his cell phone in the water!

God must hate him. That's it.

Genius No. 2: I ain't tailgating, I'm drafting -- You have to love the guy who gets three inches behind you on your bumper as you go 5 miles per hour through 3-feet deep water on the road.

Am I supposed to speed up? Really? Are you gaining four seconds of time by going all NASCAR on me? Do we need to add a bumper accident to getting stalled in the middle of the road?

When we get stalled together, forget it: I will not let you borrow my cell phone when you drop yours.

Genius No. 3: I have a truck; I can go anywhere -- Yes, you can go a lot of places. Your F350 will get you through 2-3 feet of water. It won't get you through 5.

A not-so-distant cousin of Genius No. 1, he will be a little farther down the road than his cousin. He might even pick up No. 1's cell phone as it floats by.

Genius No. 4: Somebody Save Me guy -- This guy rarely lives to tell the story. Here's a big hint; we have several underpasses with measurement gauges so you know how deep the water is. That should be a pretty good indication that if the city is flooding, you might avoid even considering going that direction. If the water is over the 6-foot mark, do you really think you will get through? I mean, maybe you are the Waterboy and have an air boat and you are fine. But if you are driving a Mustang...well, you will be climbing on the roof of your car, hoping someone will happen by and rescue you.

The good news? A solid number of these float away and are never heard from again, so at least there isn't a lot of repeat business for the rescuers.

Genius No. 5: Feeder Road guy -- When it floods in Houston, the feeder roads to our numerous freeways are nightmares. Some are low-lying underpasses near concrete ditches and result in a lot of Genius No. 4 incidents. It's a simple rule when it floods: stay off the feeders.

But No. 5 is different, because even though cars are coming back at him the wrong way on the road...even though no other cars are exiting...he will exit to get on the feeder road. Even when he is the last guy going that direction, he won't stop. "I"m only a half mile from home," he thinks.

He winds up swimming it. Or being washed away with the tide, never to be found.

I was fortunate enough -- or unfortunate enough -- to witness all five in one day. I also picked up four water-logged cell phones.

Hopefully, we are done with monsoon season for a couple weeks, and we can now look forward to our summer heat deaths or -- gasp -- another hurricane.

If we get any more floods, the herd will be thinned around here.

No wonder Noah was the only one to survive. He was surrounded by Houstonians.

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Also, after months of trying, we will have an interview with Puppet the Psycho Dwarf coming on the Front Page very soon. Just go here and you will see why this is something we felt the need to do.

And if it rains where you are, out for the freaks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A public service for all my married friends...

OK, I recently had a conversation with a friend who was later than he should have been in getting home one night. He needed an excuse for why he was late.

No, he hadn't done anything wrong; he had just had a few beers with friends. But the "beers with friends, whoops time-got-away-from-me excuse" screams something far more sinister, and people are loathe to use it.

So as a public service, we're going to offer some perfectly plausible excuses to use on your spouse when you stayed a little late to drink with your friends.

No, you should not use these as excuses for when you are doing something you shouldn't. (In that case, you should simply keep the "beers with friends, whoops time-got-away-from-me" excuse).

But for those times when you really ARE out with friends and time gets way from you, give these a try. (Keep in mind I have never actually USED these. They are collected from others over years of research. Really).

1) FLAT TIRE. Done correctly, you can use this one several times over, especially if you have a slow leak that has to be plugged occasionally. A flat tire will buy you an extra hour to an hour and a half. (Memo to the other spouse: Ask for a receipt after the first time you hear this excuse. Then he/she will have to come up with something else).

2) LEFT THE CELL PHONE AT THE BAR. This is dicey, because it can happen for real, so using it as an excuse once will get you in trouble when it really happens. But it works like this -- "I was almost home, then realized my cell phone wasn't here. So I had to rush back and get it. Obviously, I couldn't call..." You can buy as much time as a near-round trip home, so your lateness quotient varies.

3) I WAS PLAYING POKER, TOOK A NAP ON THE COUCH AND DIDN'T WAKE UP UNTIL 6 a.m. This is pretty much self-explanatory. Don't expect it to work more than once, but it explains more than a couple hours.

4) I WITNESSED A CAR ACCIDENT. "Yeah, it was a bad one, too. Had to speak with the police. A cherry red Camaro t-boned a Miller Lite truck. The camaro ran a red light. Brutal."
Detail is important -- you have to give as much as possible. Even use "Officer Johnson," if you like. This is another one shot deal, but it's easy to sell. You didn't call because you were freaked out by how bad the lady driving the car was hurt and wasn't thinking properly.

5) I RAN INTO...(INSERT FAMOUS PERSON HERE). Now, the key to this is it has to be somebody believable. If you say Justin Timberlake, they won't buy it. But Dusty Hill? Sure. Ben Stiller? No way. Jerry Stiller? Possibly. But hey, they were really cool to meet in person and bought the beers. Sorry I didn't call but I was starstruck...

Sure, there are others you can use. Saved a baby from a burning building. Rescued a drowning elderly woman from a swimming pool. But those require proof.

I prefer more straightforward stuff: They were showing Zoolander at the bar and I couldn't leave until it was over. (Cool people will get that).

The game ran late.

I met two very hot twins and...oh, never mind.

Hey, you could just tell the truth. But if not, please feel free to try any of the above. Just don't use the same excuse on each other the same night...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You're gonna go far, kid

I have interviewed Hall of Famers in pretty much every sport. It's no big deal at all. Athletes just aren't intimidating.

Musicians? Completely different. I'm like a google-eyed kid. So when Noodles and Dexter from Offspring were making the rounds at our sister station, 104 KRBE, we put in a request to interview them. KRBE is a pop station, so it's pretty rare when they have a band come through we would want. (No disrespect, but Lisa Loeb doesn't do it for me).

Regardless, they were cool as hell and happy to oblige. The KRBE folks were awesome about it as well (special thanks to Leslie for making it happen. She is the coolest breeze in radio).

So on Sunday's show, we will air a taped interview. Needless to say, it was a blast. Tune in and check it out.

I am officially a groupie now. Shinedown is still No. 1 on my "Must Stalk" list, but these guys made a huge jump.

Those of you who have known me for decades know all I wanted to be growing up was a rock star. Well, first I wanted to play quarterback for the Oilers. Then I wanted to be a point guard. Then a pitcher. Then a rock star. Then a Dungeons & Dragons world champion. Then a novelist. Then a rock star again. Then a journalist. Then a freedom fighter named Ali Akbar Faour.

Then a super-criminal named The Gargoyle.

Then, finally, a radio host/degenerate/poker player/freelance writer/goofball.

And, oh yeah -- a rock star.

So that didn't work out so well. Now I settle for occasionally shredding the Les Paul and rocking the mike at karaoke like every other failed wannabe. (Yes, I am talking to you. Just admit it like I have. It will be much easier on you in the long run. Join our group. Hi, I'm Fred and I have been a wannabe for 26 years...).

Sigh. I would have been a great rock star. Just wish I had Noodles' hair.


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Thanks, and a big DFD to everybody...

Friday, April 10, 2009

In the interest of fairness....

OK, so for those of you who hated the five most overrated bands/singers of all time, I will give you a better target. Here are the five most underrated bands in Freddy's World. (Those of you who knew me in high school...well, my tastes haven't changed much over the years).

Readers of F World will know I think Shinedown is the most amazing current band. But since I heard Second Chance on our sister pop station yesterday, they can't be considered underrated and are eliminated from this conversation. (If they have any more hits, I am going to have to drop them from Most Favored Band status). Tom Petty would have made the list, but since he played at halftime of the Super Bowl, it's hard to call him underrated.

Anyway, make fun of me as much as you like...

5) Thin Lizzy. For some reason, they just never got big before the death of Phil Lynott. They didn't take off after, either. "Jailbreak," "The Boys are back in Town..." Their songs were energetic and exciting. Another band that inspired a lot of successful bands.

4) Albert Collins. No knock on Robert Cray or the great B.B. King, but Collins was an incredible blues guitarist, the bets of the genre. (Yes, his career started in Houston. If you don't like the provincialism, bite me). He inspired many great artists, including Cray. He died of cancer in 1993. You might know him from his cameo in Adventures in Babysitting. You should know him for "Frosty," "Cold Snap" or "Iceman."

3) King's X. Score another one for the local team. (Well, they were originally from Missouri, but the Houston music scene doesn't have a lot of stars. We claim them). They are brilliant song writers, but they just never quite took off. "Over My Head" from "Faith, Hope, Love" gave them some commercial success, but their library is deep and versatile. (Also check out Doug Pinnick's solo albums under the name Poundhound, by the way). They are awesome in concert and are another band that has multiple influences on other bands. If you haven't heard them, you are missing out.

2) Blue Oyster Cult. (If you are one of my high school friends, you guessed this without looking).
I pretty much have stalker status with these guys, since I have now seen them 14 times. They have been making music for almost 50 years. They inspired many of the rock bands of the 80s and 90s. You probably know Don't Fear the Reaper and Burnin' for You, but those songs aren't even among their best. They are weird, versatile, clever. They wrote songs about soul-eating demonic swords (Black Blade), Astronomy (Astronomy), Tattoo Vampires (Tattoo Vampire) and dead Joan Crawford (Joan Crawford).

From Joan Crawford: "Catholic schoolgirls throw away their mascara...they chain themselves to the axles of big Mack trucks...the sky is filled with herds of shivering angels...the fat lady laughs: "gentlemen, start your trucks!"

How can you not love that?

"Then Came the Last Days of May" is simply the best song I've ever seen performed live.

1) Eric Johnson. Simply the most talented musician you've never heard a word about unless you live in Texas. His live shows are magic; his guitar work is legendary. There is not another guitarist in the world who combines his skill and feel. He's also got a very melodic voice, and his music is versatile. I've seen him four times, twice in small clubs in Austin. Don't know who he is? Just download Cliffs of Dover and feel free to thank me later.

Many years ago I went to see him at the old Rockefeller's in Houston. He was playing two shows. I went to buy tickets for the second show while he was on stage for the first one. You could hear the muffled guitar riffs outside. They were so brilliant, I stood outside and listened through the wall. That's magic, gang.

OK, poke all the fun you want...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yes, I am a blasphemer...What's in a name?

I am going to upset everyone be saying something I have believed since I was a kid. Most of you will consider it blasphemy. Many of you will hate me and threaten to kill me.

But there might be one of you out there who actually agrees with me. And we shall stand together, arm in arm and tell the world that everyone else is wrong. We shall walk them out of Plato's cave and show them the outside world. We will change the universe for the better.

I am going to dispel the greatest myth of the 20th and 21st century. This is an important moment for society. I know I will be ostracized, but I am prepared for that.

So here goes:

Led Zeppelin is the most overrated band in the history of the known universe.

There, I said it.

Yes, Led Zeppelin sucks. I know I will have to watch out for snipers, hit men and other assorted mercenaries, but I can be silent no more.

For decades I have heard their music described as "transcendent" and "magical."

How about "lousy?" How about the worst live show you will ever see? How about Heart's cover version sounds better?

That's the Facebook Top Five list I want -- most overrated rock bands/musicians of all time.

Just to piss off anyone I missed, here are the others:

2) Bruce Springsteen. Has he done anything in 20 years? Is he even relevant? Born to Run and Glory Days. Great, a two-hit wonder. Disappear, freak show.

3) Nirvana. Oh, come on. If dude hadn't kicked, would you even care? Soundgarden was better.

4) Pink Floyd. Really? Listen to them again without doing drugs and get back to me.

5) U2. Edge is a horrible guitarist. A few lessons and he might sound like a 6-year-old. They take themselves too damned seriously. Yes, I like a few of their songs, but that is why they are only No. 5 on the list.

OK, hate away...


Thursday was national "Name Yourself Day."

Apparently, for one day, you are allowed to change your name to whatever you want. Yes, it is a stupid concept, but I spent all morning trying to come up with a new name. (It should be easy, but since I still haven't come up with a real nickname for myself yet...)

So I ran the gamut, starting with some great movie names -- Chest Rockwell, Brock Landers...Dirk Diggler. (Hmmm...wonder what movie is stuck in my head right now?)

Maybe I could go all Pulp Fiction and just be The Wolf?

Or maybe The Gargoyle? (Oh, that one is taken. Damn. Maybe Freddy Gargoyle?).

If I wasn't such a lousy writer, I could be Word Smith.

Or maybe I could go all Hollywood and be Lavender Cruise. Or Sebastian Selleck. Or Denny Degenerate.

Or gangster? Henry Hill. Vito Andolini. Nicky Santoro.

Maybe I should go animal. Gary Giraffe. Peter Platypus.

Spider Monkey?

I like that. Spider P. Monkey. Done and done. (P. for Poindexter).

OK, that was easy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Freddy is back, and I'm famous...well, not really

I know I am way behind on posts; sorry. I know, I suck. It was either that or whack the blog once and for all and just forget about it.

But since Brandy's back, I feel honor bound to return as well.

So we'll get back to a couple shots a week at the very least.

First off, a reminder to please check out my sports takes at

And click on all the ads on this site, please. They help pay for my inaction.

Meanwhile, a quick gym update:

I'm not the old fat guy in the gym anymore. We're making progress. Starting to tone up again, and I can now do an hour hard on the treadmill after lifting weights for an hour. I'm still not scrawny, thin super hot Freddy, but the arms are starting to pop again and I'm not embarrassed to walk in the gym. (Well, I wear sweats that are four times too big and a wrestling mask like Rey Mysterio, but I'm not the guy people make fun of anymore).

(Digression No. 1: Sorry for the wrestling reference. Wrestlemania was in town).

(Digression No. 2: I am about to do a social experiment regarding weight loss. Stay tuned).

Back to my point: I made yet another new friend yesterday.

We had a long day at the station, with two shows. In between, I decided to hit the gym and go as hard as possible for two hours.

I belong to a gym that has several sites around the city (you want me to name you publicly, give me a discount, folks). So I went to one near the station, which I haven't been to very often.

The guy at the desk scanned my card and did a double take.

He looked at me for a second.

"Are you Fred Faour of the Front Page?"

"Um, yes, I am."

"Wow!" he said. He was legitimately excited. His name was Trey, and he knew everything about the show. Running bits. He loved the Deaths and Inside stories. He even mentioned how much he loved the show open. "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

After about five minutes, I thank him for listening and told him to call the show sometime.

But I left somewhat depressed.

Don't real famous people have groupies? Like, real ones? Why is always the Treys of the world? Why couldn't it be the hottie behind the desk?

"Dude," she would say. "I LOVE the show. And I have some green jello, Evan Williams and a Spider Monkey at my place and I know how to use them ALL."

Sigh. I get Trey. And Estelle Getty. And B.B. King.

I will try again in another 15 pounds.