Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

While planning for a trip to the big city this summer, the question came up: pants or shorts?

My wife recommended shorts. “Because it will be hot.”

“Yeah … but my legs ain’t as pretty as they used to be,” I replied.

“Nobody will notice. Everybody is staring at their phones,” she said, conveniently side-stepping the real issue: Are my legs ugly or not?

She was correct about nobody noticing. I said, “I guess as long as I don’t look at myself in a mirror or window, my fragile male ego will remain intact.”

“You’ll be too busy keeping an eye on your wallet against pickpockets,” she said.

The thought of someone picking my pocket inspired me to look for a more secure — and fashionable! — alternative to my wallet.

“Hey! How about my old, neon-colored fanny pack from 1984!”

“That’s grounds for divorce,” she said.

“I know it’s around here somewhere,” I said, and off I went.

As everyone who was born when dinosaurs roamed the earth knows, a fanny pack is a small pouch worn around the waist and buckled in the back. It was perfect for holding important stuff, like a blow dryer, Duran Duran cassette tapes and the Sears Catalog.

Speaking about ’80s music. I recently discovered an online recording of the “Top 106 songs of 1983 Countdown” broadcast by Los Angeles new wave radio station KROQ. I clicked on the song list expecting a trip down musical memory lane only to find that most of the tunes, well, sucked. The name of the digital file was, appropriately, “Crap from the Past.” The recording included songs by bands such as Kajagoogoo, Haysi Fantayzee, and Echo and the Bunnymen. I’m not making up these band names. I suspect the band members were snorting too much sugar cereal in those days.

Singer: “Dude, what should we call our band?”

Guitarist: “How about The Yee-haw Buckeroos?”

Singer: “Dude, you’re a genius!”

Drummer: “Let’s snort some more Lucky Charms.”

The other night I was sleeping soundly, dreaming of Miami Vice, Rubik Cubes and those cute, little Cabbage Patch Kids, when I woke suddenly with a burning question in my head: Why is karaoke still around after decades of causing mass hysteria and ear loss to millions of unsuspecting people?

After hours of intense research (mostly typing the word “karaoke” into the Google search engine), I learned that karaoke, which became hugely popular in the ’80s, is “a form of torture, offered typically in bars and clubs, in which people take turns singing popular songs into a microphone over pre-recorded backing tracks created by a 2 year old and a toy piano.*”

Now astute readers might have noticed the little asterisk at the end of that last sentence. I did and clicked on it. The link instantly took me to a super-secret government website where I was prompted to enter a super-secret password. I took a guess and typed K-A-R-A-O-K-E and BAM! I was in. What I found was amazing! And now that I’m about to tell you, you have to pinkie swear that you will tell no one. If you spill the beans, government agents will grab you from your house in the middle of the night and force you to listen to an old Russian man in neon pink parachute pants sing Bette Midler’s “Wings Beneath My Wings.”

According to the super-secret government website, karaoke is part of an international effort by actor Bill Murray to rid fancy golf courses of gophers. It’s also used to stop aliens from invading the earth and forcing us to watch TV episodes of Alf.

Which leads to the obvious question: “Which is worse? Karaoke or alien invasion?”

I’m going with karaoke. We can always scare off the aliens by broadcasting Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

By the way, I finally found my fanny pack. It was in a drawer right next to my wife’s neon-colored leg warmers.

“Great!” she said. “You can wears those to cover your ugly legs.”


Scott Graves was editor of the Curry Coastal Pilot from September 2000 to November 2017. He can be reached by calling 541-469-3123 or