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Weekly Obsessions 

Things we were obsessing about on March 2, 2005

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Lately it seems like our favorite big record store is taking a lot of flak from our chums. It's too crowded. The lines are too long. The trade-counter guy doesn't pony up enough dosh for a used Faces box set. And while we remain willing to get on all fours to rummage through $1-vinyl floor bins, we'll agree it can be a bit exasperating. Lately, however, we've found a reason to put up with Amoeba madness: the unexpected discovery of a handful of shiny, new 180-gram vinyl pressings from Lost Highway (which handles Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and the Jayhawks). Sure, they're not as rare as hen's teeth, but the limited-edition wax will fetch a good penny on eBay. We're still digging for the Elvis Costello and Lyle Lovett issued a few months back, but at least now we know where to look. N.C.

If you caught the four-episode Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America, in which four-star British chef Gordon Ramsay visited failing restaurants around the U.K. and tried to fix their problems in a week using blunt and scatological language, you're already aware of his new series, Boiling Point, starting this week on the same channel. This time, it's Ramsay's new place that's starting up, not a tired spot on its uppers. But be warned: On his own turf, Ramsay is even more curt and brutal to the staff. It's a bracing reminder of the realities involved in bringing food to the table: Somewhere, a lot of invisible people are working damned hard, in difficult, even dangerous, conditions, so you can enjoy the fruits of their labors. M.B.

If Starbucks' new chocolate drink, Chantico, were half as rich and alluring as its ubiquitous (and oddly poetic) ads, we'd be pounding it down on a regular basis. An example: "If you were a renowned chocologist with a Ph.D. in quantum chocolate theory, gave chocolate lectures at universities, and served as a consultant to covert government chocolate programs, you'd still be absolutely baffled by the unexplainable, overwhelming chocolate properties found in this small cup." But it's just a sweet, thickish hot chocolate, and $2.65 for a cup the size of a double espresso (points for truth in advertising) seems more highway robbery than chocolate bliss. M.B.

Today we bid welcome to the five most recent additions to the Golden State Warriors: point guard Baron Davis, two forwards from Denver, and, above all, Chris Mullin's testicles. Last week, for the first time since he took over as executive VP of basketball operations, Mullin did something big -- something that wasn't, thankfully, another anodyne signing of another journeyman with nothing left in his legs but gout. No one knows how this trade'll pan out -- Davis is always just a tweak away from the injured list -- but that's not the point. In landing the 25-year-old (for a song, no less), Mullin disabused us of the notion that he'd rather build a solid, presentable loser than risk his well-earned reputation in these parts by busting up the joint. T.C.

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