From time to time in Zembla, we receive correspondence from readers. The questions, comments, and thinly veiled double entendres pile up and up in the office, and Miss Trixie gets agitated, so it's best if we periodically clear the decks and deal with reader mail every once in a while.
Letter 1 comes straight from the LBC (OK, actually Clayton), from Mr. Perry Michaels:
Your essay on "Regulate" struck a chord with me. I have listened to that song on many occasions, and felt somewhat unsettled each time. Thanks to your article, I now know that the source of my discomfort was my disappointment with, and embarrassment for Warren G. Do you have any further thoughts on the song to share with your ghetto fabulous reading public?
Thanks for the kind words, Perry. To further understand "Regulate," it helps to look to the world of mathematics. Both Nate Dogg and Warren G employ algebraic principles to back up their assertions about music, the LBC, and the G-Funk era. When Nate Dogg asserts that "The rhythm is the bass/ And the bass is the treble," the implication is that, by the Transitive Property of Equality, the rhytm and the treble are equal. The G-Funk era features a whole range of sounds, all blended together as sweetly as a Nate Dogg harmony.
Warren G makes a more controversial claim when he states that "Rhythm is life/ and life is rhythm." If one accepts the postulate that rhythm is life, then the Reflexive Property of Equality maintains that life is indeed rhythm. However, as this follows Nate Dogg's analysis of rhythm, the implication is that, again by the Transitive Property, Life=Treble (Life=Rhythm=Bass=Treble). I think many listeners, including those driving lowered classic cars with huge speakers, could buy the idea that bass was life. But treble?
Letter 2 comes from Rose Ballantine of Walnut Creek. She writes:
You wrote that the most efficient solution to the Caldecott Tunnel traffic would be for drivers to stay in the left lanes as long as possible, delaying the merge until the cones force the car rightward. However, the only reason cars in lanes 3 and 4 have to stop at the merge is because of these late mergers. When a car goes all the way up to the cones, it has to stop completely. The stop-and-go that results is due to drivers in lanes 3 and 4 stopping for other cars trying merge from a dead stop. Wouldn't it be better if cars simply merged in the half mile preceding the cones?
In Letter 3, "Rick" asks, "Hey, Sean, how's your mom doing?"
Not bad, Rick. She's still in a cast, and still forbidden to put weight on her injured leg. So, she gets around in a walker or a wheelchair. This was important on Christmas, when we visited my father's aunt and uncle in Lafayette. They have a lovely home, but the stairs outside are a bit of an adventure, especially when toting a tiny woman in a glow-in-the-dark cast. I helped to bring her down the stairs, which was a very bumpy excursion. I mostly witnessed the trip up, where my dad held the wheelchair, with help. I was holding a sack of presents, so I was somewhat occupied, and when I offered to help near the top, I was scoffed at.
"Oh, now you help, at the very last stair."
So, I stepped back, the wheelchair went halfway up the stair, lurched to one side, and tipped. Thanks to the intervention of Dennis and sack o' presents boy Sean, Sharon did not actually fall out into the mud, though she came damn close. There was a horrible silence immediately afterward, where we waited anxiously to see if Sharon had managed to shatter her kneecap a third time. Then, when she was OK, it was back to the usual mockery and laughter.
Oh, and I used the word "cock ring" in a phone conversation with Sharon about TLC superstar Christopher Lowell. (This was five days after I used the f-word at Christmas Eve dinner) We both laughed, and she confessed she didn't know what one was. That's OK, because I don't technically know either, although I could probably make an educated guess.
Letter 4 is from a R. Nugent of Pleasantville, New York. He shares an observation about Nate Dogg, and a question:
"I once read an article comparing Robert Horry to Nate Dogg. The gist of it was that neither of them is a superstar in their field, but everything they touch turns to gold. Horry has won been on five championship teams, but was the third-best player on each of them. Nate Dogg has been a vocalist on many stellar singles and albums, but do you own a Nate Dogg album? Does anyone you know own an album of entirely Nate Dogg?
Anyway, what I'm asking is, if Nate Dogg is Robert Horry, who would Warren G be, if Warren G was a Laker?
Good parallel, Mr. Nugent. Nate Dogg and Robert Horry are consistent, underrated performers. Good team players. They also both provide occasional surprise heroics. For example, when I attended the Up in Smoke concert tour in 2000, the word on the street was that Nate Dogg was in jail. Nobody expected him to perform, yet at the end of "The Next Episode," there was Nate Dogg singing "Smo-o-oke weed every day." Similarly, Robert Horry made one of the most improbable shots I've ever seen to win Game Four of last years Western Conference Finals versus the Kings.
Warren G is different. Despite my criticism, he's not really a bad rapper; just one who needs to be used judiciously. The best Laker parallel would be a quality reserve who can give you minutes, but who you maybe wouldn't want on the floor in the final minutes. I think backup point guard Tyronn Lue would have been a good fit, but he's in Washington now. On the current squad, it would have to be Devean George, I think. Tracy Murray would be a possibility if I hadn't hated him since his UCLA days, and hated him more after nearly getting into a fistfight with his dad at a Warriors game. So, next time you watch the Lakers, mentally sing, "'Cuz this backup small forward is Devean G"
And finally, Cassie W. says, I love the "How We Met" feature. Who's going to be next?
Dustin. Happy New Year, y'all.