Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Wok Calling the Kettle Black

This isn't the usual fodder for Slack, but sometimes I like to discuss serious topics. Actually, I don't even really want to discuss this, I just think that subject-joke is too funny to pass up.

According to the Washington Times, "The Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday told the U.S. government not to interfere with a Chinese-controlled company's bid to buy a California energy giant, triggering objections from American officials and lawmakers who oppose the deal."

The Chinese government is asking us not to meddle in economy and business affairs? With a straight face? Isn't this the Communist state that's been manipulating its currency and providing countless export subsidies to its industries to gain an unfair global advantage? Doesn't the Chinese government own about 70 percent of CNOOC, the state-run oil company bidding for Unocal?

It's times like these you have to look these guys right in the dental flossed-blinded eyes and ask 'em, "Where do you get off having tits?"

(For the record, for anyone who has been following this mess, I'm not opposed to the deal and wouldn't suggest our government block the deal. But you'd be a fool to admit there aren't national security concerns in play here.)

Quadruple Negative

A great find by Snacks today -- when reporters asked Mike Cameron about a potential trade to the Yank'ums, which now appears to be off, the cocked-cap centerfielder responded this way:

Don't ask me about no trade because I don't know nothing about it."

Floris, get Guinness on the phone. That's gotta be a record.

Jetsetter Ace

(Disclaimer: I just re-read the top part of yesterday's post, and before you read this one, I want to make something clear. And I want to make it clear in the parlance of the Sugar Hill Gang: I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I like hot butter on my breakfast toast. I just has a passion for documenting and telling stories.)

Back when I worked at a small hedge fund in 2002-03, my boss used to tell me how much we wanted his own jet. I never understood it. I never quite comprehended why anyone would want to pluck down all that cash for a little added convenience.

After yesterday, though, I'm fully on board with this luxury. You know that Seinfeld episode where Jerry takes the first-class seat because he's "flown first class, Elaine -- I can't go back to coach. I can't. I won't!"? At this point, I'm not sure I can ever go back to flying commercial again. Commercial's for suckas, and suckas ain't shit.

I pulled up to the private hangar at about 1:15 pm for the day-trip to Raleigh. My boss joined me about 10 minutes later, and the two of us ambled onto the runway and into the Hawker right away. Just 15 minutes after I arrived at the airport, the plane started to take off. Normally it takes that long just to get from the security checkpoint to the terminal gate. And because the eight-seater is small enough to see into the cockpit, I watched the pilot and co-pilot as we ascended, noting the coolness of this experience.

Immediately, we lit up cigarettes -- a breath of fresh air. I've never smoked on an airplane before, and I may never again. But there ain't nuthin' like it. That's freedom at its finest, baby, that's why the terrorists hate us. If we don't smoke on airplanes, the terrorists win. I kicked back with the New York Post, adjusting my seat not only by reclining, but I moved it sideways as well. Sideways, people.

We landed in Raleigh-Durham after what seemed like a half-hour ride. When you're cruising in a living room in the sky, it just seems quicker (it's like road tripping in an RV, only with wings and an absence packed bongs). De-planing was pretty difficult, too: We walked out the plane. Then we walked 10 feet into the terminal. Then we got in the Ford Five-Hundred waiting to pick us up. Tough life.

North Carolina itself treated me just fine. The people are incredibly hospitable -- I got invited to come back down for some white-water rafting and some noodling. Noodling, by the way, entails standing in the river and catching catfish with your bare hands. Right up my alley. I had to explain to these people I was a sheltered, frail Lawn Gisland Boy, but I did tell them the invitations sounded promising.

I also got a private, albeit abbreviated tour of the Civil War exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History, where our little event took place. What an absolutely amazing, and most surprising, part of the trip. They've got some great stuff in there, some old artillery, uniforms, letters, the whole deal. They even have the LeMat revolver that inspired one of the stories in Cold Mountain (not sure who, I never saw it). I even came away from that walk-through with some awesome names for future literary characters, like Basil C. Manly and John Quincy Adams Bryan.

But easily the coolest part of the trip for me: I got to witness a bomb-sniffing dog work his magic. The event involved basically the entire state legislature of North Carolina, so there was a nice police presence there. The dog came through and jumped around, but didn't find anything. Good stuff. It's pretty funny that I spent most of the day hobknobbing, joke-telling and trading economy-related statistics and stories with a big-time CEO, two of the most powerful people in that state's political system and some heavy-hitting Government Affairs lawyers, and still, my favorite part was watching a dog run around an empty auditorium and occasionally lick his balls.

The event ended and we headed back to the airport. We arrived at the General Aviation terminal at 8:35 and were in the air about 12 minutes later. Again, tough life. On the way home, I broke the plane. I tried to pull out the tray to eat my catered dinner, byt I ripped the whole compartment out instead. "Bill me," I told my host. "I will," he responded.

At one point, when the day was holding onto its last few minutes of sunshine, I walked up to the cockpit and hung out behind the pilots. They gave me a quick tutorial on the mechanics of the aircraft, the air-traffic control system, anything I threw out they had an answer for. And then I realized something as I was staring out of the windshield into the bright blue heavens: I don't even drive a car anymore, and I rarely have an unobstructed view of the road when someone's driving me. Here I am, 30,000 feet in the sky, staring out the windshield into this great blue sky. Can life get any better?

I can't go back. I won't. (I will).

Slack Song of the Day: I may have posted this one before, but I really think it's one of the better songs on the planet. Hoobs put the Live Art version on a freshman year Redrum mix and we must have listened to it about 10,000 times in college. Plus, I randomly chose this one from archive.org and it might be the best version I've ever heard.

So check it, check it...Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with Stomping Grounds, from Septemeber 19th, 1997 in Brandywine, Maryland.

Slack Video of the Day: The ECW One Night Stand Pay-Per-View that Snacks and I attended in early June has just been released on DVD. I mean, that's a must grab. Poophop, you're buying this. Here's a quick trailer for you fine folks, even though none of the footage from that night is on this trailer. Make sure you have some volume, so you can hear Joey Styles yell, "Oh My Gawd."

Speed choices: 56 or 300 (no idea what this means)

Slack Story of the Day: A little late, but check out SI.com's NBA Draft Night coverage, it's good stuff. The NBA sucks big time and you have to admit the draft was boring as shit, but this is a great read, as always with this slacker-reporter.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Three Quickies

--In a few hours I'm headed to North Carolina for the day. On my boss' private jet. Just the two of us. I'm not really all that nervous, but the Ambiguously Gay Uno is kind of freaking out over this development. He thinks these things fall out of the sky all the time. Me? I'm fine. Really, I'm coo-de-la. Actually, I'm pretty excited.

So there will be no postage after this one today, and I won't be around to share in your hilarious and insightful comments. And if something should happen -- I'm told we're flying into "some weather" -- just know that I'd like you all to touch me in sensitive places.

--If only six million people tuned in every week to television's best show, Arrested Development, then I imagine only six or seven will watch Comedy Central's Stella every week. But set your TiVos, folks, because after last night's premiere, there's a 100 percent chance I'm going to be laughing my ass off every Tuesday night, all summer long.

If you liked The State, or Wet Hot American Summer, or any sketch show that bends the rules of comedy, this is for you, this is your jam. It's offbeat, it's nonsensical, it's brilliant. (And last night's episode had Ed Norton, which is nice). I'm not going to say any more, because I don't want to build it up any more than I have. But Tuesday nights at 10:30, make sure you're watching.

Also, this show will be cancelled in three weeks, guaranteed.

--I've been talking about Phish and Trey a lot lately. But it's summer time, and this is always a time when Phish gets a ton of my brain space. Well, yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of my very first show: 6/28/95 at Jones Beach. To celebrate, I wrote a nice review over at the Live Music Blog about my thoughts on the decade gone by. It's fairly brief, too.

Click here for some nostalgia (for non-fans, it's got some funny moments to keep you entertained, like this line: "Next thing I knew I woke up in a Howard Dean speech: I went to Ohio and Virginia and Nevada and Wisconsin and Michigan and Georgia and North Carolina and Vermont…Arrrgh!" OK, that's not that funny. But still.)

Slack Song of the Day: In honor of that 10-year anniversary, here's a kickass version of Also Sprach Zarathustra, aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Trey, Particle and the legend Deodato (they're covering his version of the Strauss classic).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Best. Upyours. Ever.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to allow city governments to take land from private citizens and give it to other private citizens if the government benefits, one guy decided to stick it to the man:

"On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of [Supreme Court Justice David] Souter's home." More

Giggity, giggity, gig-gi-ty.

Here's the kicker: "The proposed development, called 'The Lost Liberty Hotel' will feature the 'Just Desserts Café' and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged."

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Libertarian ideology -- sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't -- but I'm totally on board with this clever endeavor. I, and I'm sure many others, suggested this exact idea the second those fockers handed down the decision. Talk about your economic chickens coming home to roost.

Good luck, Mr. Clements. And good luck to Clarence Clemons as well.

Conflicting Reports

Here's a cool headline -- "Man: Flesh-eating aliens were chasing me when I caused fatal car crash."

But it gets much more specific, and honestly, a little scarier: "In three court-ordered evaluations, the defendant stated he was fleeing subterranean beings he called 'hemadrones' when he carjacked a commercial vehicle near a Nevada City, Calif., gas station and then crashed into Reynolds' service vehicle."

I doubt Steven Spielberg (nor his non-union Mexican equivalent Senor Spielbergo) agrees with this potentially crazy man's assertion, though. Spielberg's very confused about why "fewer UFO sightings are made now than were made twenty years ago - because the technology to record would-be aliens is so commonplace today."

I can't see how he'd be so confused, but alas, he's rich, which means he's entitled to do and say what he wants. Maybe if I lived at home, I could save about $20K a year, and maybe one day I too will be rich like Stevie, allowing me to be confused in public over stupid shit.

I bring this up because I just found out 82 percent of 18- to 30-year-old men in Italy still lived with their parents. More than four in five. Craisins. What percent of American 18-to-30-year-old live at home? Would you guess 15 percent? 25 percent?

According to this study, it's 43 percent. More craisins. After seeing this report, I'm genuinely astonished the number of suicides among 18 to 30-year-olds isn't infinitely greater.

No Time For Love, Dr. Jones

Busy day over here in Workland. In lieu of Slacker Commentary, here are some interesting links:

1. "Petaluma police and federal drug agents were amazed this morning by the size of a weekend drug bust that netted as much as 15 gallons of a substance believed to be the 'date rape' drug GHB."

That's enough for about 70,000 doses, the SF Chronicle reports. Anyone wanna steal this stash and hit up the Ohio State sororities?

2. "Fubon Securities Co., the brokerage arm of Taiwan's second-largest financial holding company, said a trader erroneously bought NT $7 billion ($223 million) worth of shares today." According to Bloomberg, "The trader, who wasn't named, will be fired, Kung said in the statement." I've got no joke here, but as a former stock trader, I feel this guy's pain. And his groin. I feel his groin.

3. We talked yesterday about Bob Geldof spilling the Live 8 frijoles and telling the world what will take place at the beginning and end of the show. As it turns out, that's not the whole story:

"Sir Paul McCartney landed the headline spot at Live 8 after threatening not to perform at all." Later, it says: "A Live 8 source said Sir Paul's headline slot had ruffled a few feathers. 'Some of the more fragile egos are upset,' he said. 'Bono, in particular, was quick to demand a share of the opening number and sees what he has done politically over the years as a bit more relevant to Live 8 than what Paul has to offer."

Nothing like ego to get in the way of a noble cause. Reminds me of the time they cancelled the Zooma Tour, which would have benefitted red-headed heroin and OxyContin addicts. For more unabashed bashing of the Bad Lieutenant, see yesterday's blog-related hilarity.

4. Oh, the irony: "Despite pleas from organizers for nonviolence, three people were shot and another stabbed as another Super Safe Sunday event turned bloody...The Super Safe Sunday series is meant to get youths off the streets and curb black on black violence in Shreveport." Oh, the humanity. Oh, the huge manatees.

Slack Song of the Day: For lack of anything better -- well, what can be better than the Duo with Mike? -- here's the Trio from this year's Bonnaroo with Phish's Foam.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I'm Wreckin' Shit Again

I truly love the blogosphere. What's not to love? This time I'm smiling wide for another nerdy Phish reason, just like the time Lukas took the Fluffhead Sign Fiasco national.

If you hang around this here space at all, I'm sure you're familiar with 70 Volt Parade, the current project of former Phish geetarist Trey Anastasio. I've discussed the new band at length, and I've also mentioned it in random posts. My general take: These guys are pretty good, they still need work, Trey's apparently happy, but they're far, far, far inferior to the popular rock band Phish on their worst day.

In my post a few weeks back about Trey opening for the Rolling Stones in October, I jokingly linked to the Brainy Dictionary definition of the word "inferior" when referring to 70VP. After all, if you started a Carmen San Diego-style manhunt for the Ace Cowboy, Trey-bashing would be my recognizable hobby.

So imagine my surprise when someone on the Phish boards today pointed out the top Yahoo! and Google searches for 70 Volt Parade. Go ahead, click 'em, I'll wait right here.

Yes yes, superstars, the Ace Cowboy -- in conjunction with your helpful clicking of my links -- has fucked the Bad Lieutenant on the Internets! Turnabout is fair play, Trey. So, for now at least, any time someone searches for 70 Volt Parade on Yahoo! or Google, right up top it'll say "inferior." Any time Trey Googles his new band, it'll stare him right in the face. God-freakin-damn, that's just funny.

Score one for the Cowboy.

Who Ya Kidding, Folks?

Just about every person over 40 I meet or talk to for my job wants to talk about "Midwestern values."

They always seem to say things like "If you look at our compensation scale, our company exhibits strong Midwestern values," or "We've never had any corporate governance issues because we've always relied on core Midwestern values to dictate our decisions."

My response to these smug little douchebags: You're giant assholes. So just because I live in New York City, I'm automatically a fast-living bad guy with a penchant for big houses and sports cars looking to snort lines off a hooker's diseased ass? (That all may be true, but it's not a given, I just happen to be sick.)

Not everyone in the Midwest is Mrs. Poole. Show me where in the Midwestern value structure the centuries-old corrupt Chicago political machine shows up? How about Detroit's long, storied history of peaceful cooperation in the area of race relations, surely they are a shining beacon of all that is right? Which middle states, AKA bastions of tolerance, overwhelmingly passed amendments banning same-sex marriage in the last election?

But the real reason I'm posting this is because I just watched Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer -- BTK, as in "Bind, Torture, Kill" -- stand in a Kansas courtroom and describe in great detail the 10 brutal murders he carried out over a 17-year period. And it was all matter-of-fact, like he was discussing the last time he bought a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs. Rader at one time was president of the church council at Christ Lutheran Church and a local community Boy Scout leader. At least we can thank the Good Lord for strong Midwestern values.

I'm just saying: There are good people, there are sensible people, there are bad people and there are morons. There's also a handful of other folks. There's no fast East Coast mentality, there's no laid-back West Coast-style. There are only people. We're all different, and most of us are fucked up.

Geldof, You Bastard

Like a schoolboy seeking to gain favor by revealing a coveted secret, Live 8’s seemingly homeless organizer Bob Geldof unconscionably let slip some major details about the upcoming benefit concerts last week. Good work, Bobby, I’m sure there’s no greater feeling in the world than completely ruining the beginning, the end and the most anxiously awaited musical reunion of all time.

The Sunday Times (UK) quotes Geldof and a show’s spokesperson as saying Paul McCartney and U2 — dressed in Sgt Pepper costumes — will open the concert singing “It was 20 years ago today,” in reference to the Live Aid concert of 1985.

Sooo...now there’s no suspense there. Well, how about what’ll happen at the end of the night, at least that'll still be a surprise, yes? Right on: “McCartney will return to the stage in London’s Hyde Park seven hours later to end the show by leading an ensemble rendition of The Long and Winding Road,” The Times reports.

And Pink Floyd’s reunion? Since we all know live music isn’t best when spontaneous, Bobby G. did us a favor and gave the public a sneak peek…you know, just to calm whatever rabid anticipation he had recently built: “[Geldof] also revealed that Pink Floyd, reunited with founder member Roger Waters for the first time in more than 20 years, will play three songs: Breathe, Comfortably Numb and Wish You Were Here.”

Unless this jerkstore is intentionally planting misinformation, I just don’t get it. But, as Geldof himself told reporters, those human lockboxes of rumor and gossip, “It will be a surprise for everyone.”

Hey, at least we now know Mikey Jackson won't be there...

Slack Song of the Day: Live Music Blogger Justin posted the site's sixth Jamcast this weekend, a collection of well-spliced tunes from Umphrey's McGee's recent sets at the Bonnaroo, Wakarusa and Summercamp music festivals.

Click here for the hour-long podcast, and click here for the setlist. Enjoy, I've never heard these guys so crisp.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cart Before the Horse

‘Tis been confirmed and reported on Trey’s website:

Medeski, Martin and Wood will play a full set opening for Trey on August 5 at the Festival Pier @ Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA.
It’s fairly safe to assume that Trey’s opening act will make his 70 Volts look like fucking amateurs. As much as I love to Trey-bash as a joke, I’m not kidding about the fact that MMW is the better band performing at Penn’s Landing.

Incidentally, I caught the Jam on the River with Handstand and Friends at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, and it’s one helluva venue. Check out this show if you're anywhere near Philly...

If you need to be reminded: the Big Red Big Gay Summer Tour.

Spurs Win, Paint Dries

Five things that are infinitely more fun than watching Game 7 of the NBA Finals (or any of the six games for that matter):

1. Fasting for Passover
2. Searching for missing Utah Boy Scouts
3. Passing kidney stones
4. Losing three of four to the Devil Rays
5. Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

After watching the first half at Earl's for my birthday dinner, we came home and I spent much of the second half reading Jayson Stark's Useless Info columns rather than paying attention to that boredom personified. And it paid off, because I found this awesome nugget:

"It was actually Red Sox media-relations wiz Peter Chase who noticed that, on three straight days (June 4-5-6), the Sox faced a lineup with a different Molina brother – Jose, then Bengie, then (thanks to the miracle of interleague play) Yadier." That's great stuff. For more Starkian Oddities, click right here.

I also read in one of Stuttering Gobbler Gammons' latest pieces that the Red Sox have a Rule V outfielder named Adam Stern. I'm not sure, but that sounds Druish. Is Theo Epstein just stockpiling the Jews? First Gabe Kapler, then Kevin Youkilis, now Stern? I smell something fishy, and that ain't just the lox spread.

And a reminder for you NYC folks, come on by to Patrick Kavanagh's tonight after 10-ish. We'll be ragin' it up in honor of my 14th birthday. LOL. ROFL. C YA!

Slack Song of the Day: I'm feeling the Phish from Vermont today. Well, actually, I'm feeling a great song called Jack Rabbit by the Greyboy Allstars, but I can't find a version to stream online. You can stream their whole show at last year's Jazzfest here, that's the best I can do. In fact, go ahead and do that, because Greyboy is one of the more underrated bands in recent memory.

In the meantime, here's The Pheesh on Ween's Roses are Free from the Coors Amphtitheatre in Chula Vista, Cali on 9/18/99.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Arubian...Bahamaaanian

This is surely a good sign: A new Pew Research Center poll finds that citizens of the 16 countries surveyed view China more favorably than the United States. That's right, China, which I'm sure you'll all remember is run by Communists. People often accuse me of being a Commie, and even I like the United States better. But it's like they always say, "Any country whose citizens you can blind with freakin' dental floss is always preferable to round-eyed Yankees."

Not surprisingly, none of the 16 countries, including the United States, think the removal of Saddam Hussein from power has made the world any safer. And according to this article, "In most countries surveyed, Americans are seen as 'inventive' and 'hardworking', but they are also seen by many in both Western and predominately Muslim countries as 'violent' and 'greedy' - a judgement with which many Americans agree."

I'm actually on board with that last sentence, too. But I personally think the violent people of Aruba are much more violent than we are. Shit, their star baseball pitching exports are punching federal judges in the face and their federal judges are helping to eradicate underage Alabaman tourists. Man, this case has me intrigued to the tits.

I mean, what the fuck happened here? Did they snuff her out after a solid and legitimate gangbang? Did she OD and they dumped her body into the ocean instead of Mia Wallace-ing her alive? At this point, are the Arubian police just randomly arresting people like Dennis Leary and the NYPD looking for Thomas Crown in a bowler hat the Met? More importantly, did Sidney Ponson punch the same judge that got arrested today? Now, THAT would be an awesome story.

On a serious note, I absolutely love Aruba, and I recommend everyone look there as a vacation destination. The Cowboys used to go there on school breaks from time to time, and it may have been my favorite spot. The nightlife is limited, although it's hip enough that there's a woo-hoo! Carlos & Charlie's there. But it's got tons of casinos and hot Venezuelan women, perfect weather and they love to serve 14-year-olds as much liquor as they want. My buddy Meatballs actually puked all over the bar one night. We later dumped his body in the ocean.

In another installment of Ace's Self-Aggrandizing Celebrity Kiss-and-Tells, here's a weird and 100,000 percent true story from my 1995 Aruba trip: My parents took Meatballs and I to the island in April of our sophomore year in high school. On the first night, we ran into an old friend of mine from camp, who let us into her harem of incredibly hot girls. And that night we broke off into groups for the remainder of the trip -- or maybe we just played Red Rover, because Meatballs and I stole this one girl and ended up hanging out with her exclusively. I don't think we ever saw those other fine ladies for the rest of our time there.

Everywhere we went, she came with us. The three of us jetskiied and swam together, we played mini golf together, we all ate breakfast and lunch together every single day and our mothers bonded on the beach all week. When we'd sneak into the casino, she'd be there to play with blackjack us. Aside from sleeping, there wasn't a second of the trip the three of us weren't laughing together. Meatballs and I made a great, great friend on that vacation.

Upon returning home, we kept in touch a few times -- our mothers kept in touch for a couple of years -- but then it's the same old story. You know. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in a Daytime Drama Series for her part on All My Children and hit the fucking big time and I, um, went back to doodling boobs in chemistry class. She turned out to be the Sarah Michelle Gellar and I turned out to be an unknown blogger (and Meatballs hasn't left his apartment since the 1920s, so who knows what he turned out to be).

Since I have one of the more unique real names on the planet, I'd bet she'd remember me, although probably not by my handsome face. Still, we'll always have Aruba. Oh yes, we'll always have Aruba.

Birfday Fallout

1. I've been spending way to much time with the Cowboy Family lately. But I also got a free trip to LA and a free dinner last night, so I ain't complaining.

Last night my folks took my brother, sister-in-law and me out for the big 2-6. The Cowboy Parentals are the hippest people ever, much cooler than me, and they know all the hotspot eateries around Manhattan. So we went to this place in Tribeca called Landmarc, down on West Broadway and Leonard. If you're in a position to drop about $50 for several drinks and a great meal, go to this place now. You can't make a reservation for parties under 6, so that sucks. But everything else is a 10. A Varsity Blues BillyBob-style 10.

The food is top-notch, especially the steak and the mussels, which they prepare in many different styles and sauces, and the wine list is extraordinary. The whole concept of this place is that they sell wine at liquor store prices -- they want you in there trying different bottles and stepping up your choices. Plus, they want to get people in there to eat the delicious food. So go there, you will not be disappointed.

2. If anyone's around tomorrow, it's Celebrate with the Ace Cowboy at a Dive Bar Near His Apartment Night in Manhattan. We're going to this place called Patrick Kavanagh's on Third Avenue (between 33rd and 34th), and we're gonna tie one on. Man, I hate that expression. Anyway, it could suck and maybe we'll move somewhere else, but I chose the place because usually it's empty and it's really unassuming and that's why I like it. No lines, no lists, just beer and liquor and good friends. Show up in shorts, sandals, ripped jeans, ripped sandals, a towel, whatever you want. We'll be there around 10-ish, so stop by for a drink.

3. Many thanks to everyone who either called me, e-mailed me, posted a comment here, whatever. Your well-wishing is much appreciated, seriously. And a special thanks goes out to the Ambiguously Gay Uno, who may just qualify as the bestest roommate in the world. Kid hooked up some great gifts when I expected absolutely nothing. No late-night hummers, you sick fucks...but he did finger my ass a little before bed.

4. I love the way the world works. When I was a wee little tyke, I worshipped the movie Herbie the Love Bug (I know the original doesn't actually have the word Herbie in the title, but I still call it that). I mean, worshipped, like I needed to watch it three or four times a day. I loved that 53 car. My parents tell me that I refused to go places unless I could put it on wherever I was going. And, of course, like 20 years after my obsession ended, the Herbie: Fully Loaded remake came out on my birfday of all days. I gotta go see that this weekend. Anyone wanna go see Lohan's boobs and a cool car with a mind of its own? I'm not kidding.

5. And I cannot wait to see this documentary...I've heard so much about it. This one's going to be awesome.

Slack Song of the Day: I'm feelin' a little late '70s Garcia-infused Discofunk -- here's a little Dancin' in the Streets from the famed Cornell show (5/8/77), one of my favorite versions because Bobby comes in too early on the "Callin' out." Classic Bobby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Yankee Grab-ass

I wonder what the clubhouse showers look like.

I know Sheff and Jetes are swingin' some hot black bats right now, but this isn't what I thought that meant.

Half-Step Mississippi Uptown

Meet Edgar Ray Killen, the former Mississippi preacher convicted yesterday on three counts of manslaughter, 41 years after three civil rights workers were ambushed and killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob.

Now here's the burning question: Who does Killen resemble more, the Six Flags Dancing Dude or Uncle "Junior" Corrado Soprano? Make your voice heard and sound off below.

Also, here's something else I can use some help with...Hoobs posed these questions after telling me to me it's "all downhill after 25." He writes: "I've never quite understood the whole 'downhill' thing. Isn't it easier and more fun to go downhill? Shouldn't that mean that life is better? Am I misunderstanding the phrase?" If anyone has some insight on this, feel free to let us all in on it.

And Sheff is officially on fire. First-inning homeruns rawk.

I Heart 6/21

To paraphrase the legendary philosopher Chico Esquela, "June 21st been berry, berry good to me."

On the day of the Summer Solstice -- the longest day of the year -- the Yank'ums put on an impressive hitting display to pull off a most improbable comeback. After falling behind 7-1 early, later 10-2, and finally 11-7 with only six outs to go, the Yanks took extended batting practice, pounding 12 hits and scoring 13 runs in the 8th inning to steal a game from the loss column.

It's always nice to see back-to-back-to-back jacks by Sheffield, A-Rod and Slipples Matsui. It's always pleasant on the ojos to see the Yanks put up a 13-spot in one inning, something they already did once to the Rays earlier this year. But it's even better to see Bernie Williams come up huge with a bases-clearing triple following an intentional walk to Easy Out Giambi [ed. note: at time of writing, Giambi was an easier out than the black kid in a suburban school's spelling bee].

And it's the tops to see Tiger (Tiger Woods, y'all) hangin' in the stands with King of Queens Kevin James. What the deuce is that all about? Though the mismatched celebpair actually stayed until the end to witness the 17-run turnaround, which is cool of them.

But last night's craisins-like win pales in comparison to June 21st, 2004. I've lived in Manhattan for almost four years and I've resided in New York for 22 of my 26 years on Earth...and the greatest thing I ever witnessed in this city happened here on that date.

Following my attendance at two great shows in Coney Island's Keyspan Park and another, somewhat overrated show in Saratoga Springs the next night, the popular rock band Phish announced they'd be playing a quasi-impromptu performance on the marquee of Broadway's Ed Sullivan Theater for a Letterman taping.

The Boys had just called it quits forever less than a month earlier. And while there were still 10 shows on the docket (I'd get to see them three more times in August) this was our honest goodbye. Coventry would be the last show they ever played, but this has always been my lasting image of the band.

Truthfully, I thought the band's mass e-mail about the last-minute show was a joke. So wait, let me get this straight: My favorite band, the guys I've spent literally thousands of dollars on to entertain me in more than a quarter of the states of this union and the nation's capital, the guys who I'd probably follow to the ends of the Earth, the guys who just announced they'll never play again after August, the Phish from Vermont is playing right down the street from the office immediately after my leaving work, and they're playing atop the marquee of the Ed Sullivan? Seriously? Oh, okay, I guess I'll go to that. I can't think of anything better to do.

On some days, after work I'll come home throw on a Phish disc or tape, listen to a few songs until the television treats me to a nice sporting event or primetime show. Sounds like I'm really cool, I know. Instead of that, I got to see the real thing in one of the more surreal moments of my life. A crowd of anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people (who knows for sure?) packed Broadway between 53rd and 54th Streets to see Phish record a song for David Letterman's show...and what a treat it turned out to be.

They played Scents and Subtle Sounds twice for Letterman's cameras, probably the first show in their epic history they played the same song two time in a row. But then they started gettin' into the mix...the Boys played short yet crisp, clean versions of five favorites, an awesome little set for however many lucky fans were lucky enough to luckily attend. Years from now, 10,000 people will say they were there.

They hurried through 2001, then Trey hit the first chord of Wilson. The entire crowd chanted "Wilson," and, no joke, it echoed all the way down Broadway. All the way down Fuckin' Broadway! Could it have been cooler? Not a chance (there's a link for the audio down below -- make sure you hear that). The quickest Wilson ever then gave way to Chalkdust Torture, always a Letterman favorite. And just when you thought they'd walk off the stage, the band cranked into Tweezer, followed awesomely by Tweezer Reprise.

There's just something about walking out of work in dress pants and a button-down shirt, with my workbag slung over my shoulder, and participating in some good ol' white-boy-hippie dancing on Broadway with a thousand other like-minded folks.

My buddy Lukas and I just kept looking at each other in amazement, then looking at the guy in the building next door to the Sullivan who couldn't get his window open to gaze at the wonderment of the day's antics, then back at each other when the band kicked into song after song. Despite the overwhelming visual and audio evidence below, I'm still not entirely sure I didn't dream this.

I don't know how the day could have gone better. And the same goes for last night's beisbol proceedings, in a different way. So the last two June 21sts have been fantastic. And after both days, in the Solstice Afterglow, you know what, I get to wake up, and it's my birthday -- all of a sudden everyone's nice to me.

I just wish Mama Winslow were here...she'd scrunch up all nice and whisperyell, "Way to go, Ace-Carl."

Slack Song of the Day: Obviously, the full audio recording of the Letterman show takes the honors. Make sure you hear that Wilson, it'll knock those socks right off yo' feet. I get chills every time I hear it. For real, yo.

Slack Videos of the Day: Check out my good friend Russ Kahn's great photolog site for a couple of AVI videos of the Scents and Subtle Sounds recordings from up on the marquee.

Slack Pictures of the Day: We're a fully operational multimedia machine today. You know it.

Enjoy, and may God bless the Phish from Vermont.

(The three pictures are courtesy of Russ Kahn, Adam Foley and Dean McCann / Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting. Many thanks.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Real Runaway Bride

Sometimes people ask me what this blog is all about: Why do I spend so much time on this thing? I don't really have an acceptable answer usually...I mean, mostly I just alternate betweeen verbal diarrhea and mental masturbation. But when I really think about it, I'm pretty sure the tie that binds -- or more accurately its raison d'etre, if you will -- is an appreciation for the incredibly ironic and the wickedly absurd.

Now that I've made that clear and put this post in a nice frame, let's chat about my trip to Los Angeles. As I said on Thursday night, the Cowboy Family headed west for a wedding this weekend, a wedding which frankly nobody was too psyched about. And because it was out in LA, you just know there had to be some serious drama.

How many movies and television shows have you seen where the bride or groom gets cold feet and either doesn't show or runs out? In real life, however, and in a world not including chicks with really big eyes that fake their own kidapping then sit for interviews with Barbara Walters, that just never happens. Never. Just once I'd love to see that shit go down. We've all seen The Graduate, Smokey and the Bandit, Runaway Bride and that episode of Full House when Uncle Jesse absolutely freaks out and goes skydiving before his nuptials with the lovely Rebecca Howe. Now let's have one of those in real life.

I almost got my wish. Almost. After the rehearsal dinner on Saturday night, I went over to the palace of Mitchell VergerDartz III for some doje, ping pong and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog all-time great skits. When I returned to the hotel, Dad Cowboy called the room to tell me the bride-to-be walked into the lobby after dinner and announced to her family that she "didn't want to get married." The dreaded cold feet rearing their ugly toes. In real life!

Here's the best part: Instead of her family and friends trying to help her get over the feeling, the opposite occurred. See, nobody really loves the groom, and the jury's still out on whether the bride-to-be even does. He's basically a Nebbish Costanza -- no job, no prospects, not even such a nice guy. A poor schlub in every sense of the Yiddish. So when the bride-to-be made her claim, the floodgates opened and the torrent began. How is he going to support you when you leave work to have kids? Would you take him now as is, or do you need him to change first? Doesn't he feel like a con artist?

As an impartial observer with no real ties, I was lovin' this like McDonalds (ba da ba ba baaa). I felt bad for everyone involved, of course, but shit, this was fun. I went to bed late Saturday night thinking there was no way in hell this wedding would go off. Lo and behold, though, I woke up this next morning to the news: It's on. Against the advice of all her family and closest friends, there would be no postponement, no cancellation. I guess being a 36-year-old unhappily married wife or eventual divorcee is preferable to telling people you've always been single.

And at the ceremony, at the celebration, the couple couldn't have looked happier. Some say it looked fake, some say it looked cheesy, but I don't know, I saw them look at each other so longingly it hurt. I saw two people that cried their eyes out the night before, two people that looked into each other's souls and said, "Yeah, I can do this, we're gonna be okay." We're gonna be O-tay!

Sometimes it takes a little adversity to find the right answer. Everyone's laying down bets on the 2006 Under odds, but I think the 10-hour Warroom of Tears may have been what it took to make this an healthy marriage and everlasting love. I wish them all the best.

Side note: If anyone knows anyone in my family, this story is pure fiction. For those of you who don't know the people involved, it's 100 percent true.

As for the rest of my trip to LA, I had a wonderful time. I really did. The Cowboys stayed at a crazy hotel right down the street from the real-life Nakatomi Tower, a great room complete with Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath (you haven't taken a good shower 'til you've felt the stimulation of TWO working showerheads!).

VergerDartz and I hit Angels Stadium for the 10-inning come-from-behind win against the Marlins, and I got to see the Rally Monkey. By the way, it took us two hours to get down to the Stadium and about 30 minutes to get home. Why anyone would choose to live out in LA and drive on those highways every day is beyond me. Seriously.

Also, my family had a hilarious conversation with a paparazzi outside the usually celeb-studded eatery, The Ivy, that went something like:

Us: "Seen anyone around today?"
Him: "Nah, but I did just get a couple of shots of Pauly Shore going into the parking garage across the street."
Ace: "Wait, there's a market for Pauly Shore photos?"
Him: "Well, who knows, maybe he'll go on a drug-binge killing spree and I'll have the last photo of him before he went off the deep end."

Sadly for world-class starfucker, Mom Cowboy, we didnt see anyone famous at The Ivy (she did see the Hilton sisters the night before at Koi, though, so she's got that going for her, which is nice). In fact, the only celebrities I saw the whole weekend were Judge Judy and her husband Judge Jerry, but they were guests at the wedding and I've met them before at my brother's. The highlight of the wedding actually was being sloshed and watching Judge Judy bust a serious move on the dance floor with an 11-year-old girl.

So that's my story. And now I'm back. At work. Which rocks.

Bonnaroo Torrents

For those of you who made it down to this year's Bonnaroo festival, and to those of you like me who thought the opportunity costs outweighed the inherrent benefits, the Live Music Blog has an assload of Torrents from the festie for free download.

So if you wanna hear some great stuff, and know how to use BitTorrent (really, it ain't that tough, folks), get over there and claim your free moozak.

Here's the list of what's available, in some sort of chronological order of performance I believe, but I'm not sure of the method to Justin's madness:

Perpetual Groove, Signal Path, Dave Matthews Band, Drive-By Truckers, The Duo (featuring Mike Gordon), Gabby LaLa (featuring Les Claypool), Peter Rowan and Crucial Reggae, John Prine, Umphrey’s McGee, The Black Crowes, Blue Merle, Government Mule, M. Ward, North Mississippi Allstars, Of A Revolution, Ratdog, Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio, My Morning Jacket, Umphrey’s McGee (6/12 set), Widespread Panic (6/12 set), The Word. More to come as well...

Slack Song of the Day: I'll increase the ante from a song to a whole bunch of songs. So here's a cool mp3 Podcast of some highlights from the Jammys -- you can grab the podcast's setlist via the LMB.

If you need to be reminded of the awesomeness that was this year's Jammys, here's my brief review.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

We Love LA, We Love It

Slackers, it's trip time. My sister-in-law's sister (what does that make us?) is getting hitched this weekend in Los Angeles, and the Cowboy Family is headed west for the event. So there won't be any postage, nor handling for that matter, here on this here space either tomorrow or Monday. My advice: Go elsewhere immediately, you dicks.

I'll leave you with some sad news: Lane Smith, the lovable Chairman Dick Dodge and District Attorney Trotter, passed away Monday. Many condolences go to the family of the man who uttered the classic lines, "I-dentical."

Nah, I can't go out on that note. That's the anti-Costanza. But on a day when the city I'm flying into suffers its third major Earthquake in one week, it's difficult to find something funny to say. So if LA should be rattled with another big 'quake and the state should fall into the Pacific, just know that I really disliked most of you but wanted to be loved by everyone so much I tolerated your shitty antics.

In honor of my confession, here's a super story about sweet, sweet irony and a sackful of dead dogs and cats: "Two individuals from Hampton Roads, employees of the Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were arrested Wednesday night in Ahoskie, N.C., on animal cruelty charges. The two were arrested after authorities allege they dumped dead dogs and cats in a dumpster at a shopping center on Memorial Drive in Ahoskie.

Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, were arrested at the shopping center. Police say they found 18 dead animals in the dumpster and 13 dead animals in the couple's van, which according to authorities, is registered to PETA. Both suspects were charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty and eight counts of illegal disposal of animals." [More]

Anyway, enjoy the weekend, and we'll see you right back here bright and early Tuesday morning. And if you really want some Slack action, here are some re-runs:

CDs Nuts
Yenta Intelligence
Donnie's Schiavo Tube Parody

We'll be right back in 15 minutes.

Big Red + Keith = Awesome Heroin Party!

Get ready for the sickest “Loving Cup” of all time: The Daily Progess reports today that the Bad Lieutenant will be opening up for the Rolling Stones at the October 6th show at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.

According to the report, “And the opening act for the Rolling Stones’ Scott Stadium show is…Trey Anastasio, formerly of Phish.

In addition to naming the opening act, concert promoters on Wednesday also made available an undisclosed number of ‘limited view’ tickets for the sold-out Oct. 6 show. The tickets, priced at $60 and $95, became available at 5 p.m.

The upcoming show is the first major concert at Scott Stadium since the Dave Matthews Band played there in April 2001, and fans quickly snapped up tickets when they went on sale last month. Tickets soon popped up on eBay as well, commanding a premium well above their face values of $160, $95 and $60.” [More]

Considering Trey is the best cover band on the scene, my money is on “Miss You” for the 70 Volt Parade rotation. So now he's a cover band and an opening act...yeah, those sounds like decent jobs following the break-up of the greatest rock band of all time.

Trey's best friend, Dave Matthews, is also in the news, but in a sports story. I'm not sure if this happened at Bonnaroo or not, but somebody definitely dosed the Florida State quarterback at a DMB concert. "Suspended Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton was taken to a hospital by police who say they observed him behaving strangely, lying in the street and telling them he was God." Watch out, Wyatt, there's acid in the beer in the red cups. Please don't give him any more acid.

Slack Song of the Day: Hasidic reggae superstar Matisyahu, who played with Trey down at Bonnaroo if you'll recall, with Heights from April 17, 2005 at Irving Plaza.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Murcer, Murcer Me

As I've stated in this space before, Yankees broadcaster Bobby Murcer is good for at least one hilariously moronic statement in every game he calls.

The beloved Yankee is an Okie who barely speaks discernable English, yet somehow he's been part of the Yankee radio or television team for as long as I can remember. I like the guy, but man is it fun to pick apart his dialect and poke fun at him. Anyway, last night's verbal ridiculousness might have been my all-time favorite.

As Pirates' left-fielder Jason Bay, last year's NL Rookie of the Year, came to the dish early in the game, Murcer brought up the fact that Bay drove in eight runs in one game against the Cubs in September of last year, apparently the most of any Canadian-born ballplayer. Well, that's a good piece of knowledge, thanks for that. But fortunately for us, he didn't stop there.

That statement then begot this Murcer declaration:

With those 8 RBIs, "Jason Bay became the only Canadian with the most RBIs in one game."

The only Canadian...with the most RBIs. Fucking awesome.

Now I Can Die in Peace

Yesterday I had this IM conversation with Chuck B:

Ace: You know what today is?
CB: Yeah, the Rangers won the Cup 11 years ago today.

True Ranger fans will never forget that day. We'll never forget waking up 11 years ago today with thoughts of a Stanley Cup banner being raised to the MSG rafters.

Eleven years ago yesterday, the New York Rangers won Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time in 54 years. And 11 years ago today, I think I woke up the happiest I'd ever been at that point in my life. No more 1940, no more missed opportunities, just an incredibly joyous celebration that would stay with me for a lifetime.

That 1993-94 squad was my first real championship team. I actually attended Game 7 of the 1986 Mets/Sawx World Series and witnessed the celebration, and I kinda rooted for the New York Football Giants as I followed their two Super Bowl victories. But I worshipped those Rangers. I used to sit in science class and make new lines for Mike Keenan's boys, I used to waste time in math class by writing out their complete roster, first by number, then by alphabetical order.

I would imagine myself hanging out with Adam Graves and Brian Leetch. I would gaze out the window and envision myself getting wrist shot and moustache tips from Mike Gartner (before we traded him at the deadline for Glenn Anderson), despite the fact I couldn't grow any facial hair. When I practiced in the driveway I would throw on either my Messier or Sergei Zubov jersey -- I had both -- and pretend to beat Ron Hextall with a glove-side wrister. This was my team, my time.

For the first time in my life we had partial season tickets for the Rangers. My dad called it a hunch. So I went to probably 10 of the 40 home games at MSG, no small task for a Long Islander. In the playoffs, I went to three of the four games against the hated Isles, one in the Garden and both at the Nausea Mausoleum. I've never been more proud of any team after that series -- we swept those bitches in four games, outscoring our rivals 22-3. I grew up with all Isles fans, and if there had ever been a sweeter way to rub it in on your friends, I'm not sure I've found it since. This was total annihilation of a vanquished foe. Don't think I let my friends ever hear the end of it.

I went to a few games against the Capitals in the next round and felt confident we'd beat the Devils. Only the Devils jumped out early and took a 3-2 series lead back to their home ice. This was our team of destiny, though, we couldn't lose. We just couldn't lose. Enter Captain Messier, who proclaimed "I guarantee we'll win tonight" before Rasheed and the Guarantee became as commonplace as the athlete arrest record. This was Joe Willie Namath all over again. After falling behind 2-0, our team of destiny looked sloppy and lost. But Messier was determined, and he put the team on his back and dragged them out of the hole. As he slid the puck towards the empty net with only a few seconds left, Mess headed to the lockerroom with a hat trick and an assist, and we were headed back to the Garden.

Who knew it would take Stephane Matteau and the Rangers seven games to beat those fockers? But I was there, I was in the Garden for the magic. We were all basically celebrating a 1-0 victory when the Devils' Valeri Zelepukin beat Richter with 7.7 seconds left in the game (many fans don't remember this, but there was a bullshit whistle that put the face-off in the Rangers zone when the game should have been over). Wait, weren't we going to the Stanley Cup finals? Now we're going to overtime? Ugh, I'm gonna be sick. Not sure I've ever felt worse in my young life.

The first overtime was brutal. We kept peppering Brodeur with shots and nothing would go in. At that point, I wondered whether the team would become completely demoralized, thinking there was no shot they'd slip one past Marty. Then we got lucky. We got really lucky. Matteau curled behind the net and threw a pass in front, only it went in. I saw it go in. I jumped out of my seat and almost hit the ceiling. We were winners. Cue Howie Rose (Soon after I memorized the call and I can still recite it in its entirety off the top of my head, and I don't think I'll ever forget a word of it).

After the big win at MSG, I worried that we had shot our proverbial load. Much like the Yankees after the 2003 ALCS, sometimes a brutal series takes more out of a team that one can predict. But we came out hot against Vancouver and took a 3-1 series lead back to MSG. Dad Cowboy called Red Cowboy and I and asked us if we wanted to see the clincher. Red and I sat right next to the guy who flicks the red light on after a goal, that's how close we were to the action. We were going to see the Rangers win the Cup, and we were going to be inches away from the celebration.

Only the Canucks jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Shitballs. But we rallied back, and tied it at 3 on our end of the ice, right in front of us. Only, if I remember correctly, Dave Babych scored right away for Vancouver and they never lost the lead. Bummer. Bummer about Game 6, too. Well, this is what it's all about, Game 7 in the World's Most Famous Arena (do you think people at the Roman Coliseum get pissed at MSG for that claim?).

I watched the first period at home. We took an early 2-0 lead and I was ecstatic. Red Cowboy and his buddy Jay called me from a bar in the next town, asking if I want to come hang out. I was 15, mouth full of braces -- I was 14-turning-15 but probably looked 12 -- and they came home to pick me up and bring me to the bar. Strangely, nobody carded me at the door and nobody said a bad word to me the whole night. Awesome.

Up 3-2 with just about no time remaining, all that was left to do was prepare to celebrate. I had been waiting many years for this, and older Ranger fans had been waiting 54 years. This was the Red Sawx curse before the Red Sawx curse ended (and make no mistake, hockey was INSANELY popular back in '94, easily the sport's peak and baseball's valley). There really was a hex on the Rangers -- they hadn't won the title since burning the mortgage to MSG in the Cup's bowl after their 1940 win. And we were about to break it. We were about to win that Cup.

Another bullshit icing call put the puck in our zone. But there wasn't any time for 'Couver to score...it was over. The ref dropped the puck and the celebration began. Fifty-four years of failure erased. No more 1940. The team I had spent so much time agonizing over, questioning the mid-season trades (Wait, we traded Tony Amonte for Brian Noonan and Matteau?! Who the fuck is Matteau?!), watching or attending all 80 games, this team had won. I now know success.

And much like baseball when my Yanks started to get good again, hockey went on strike. All the momentum was dead. Our unbelievable coach, Iron Mike Keenan, fought a drawn-out battle with management and left the team before they ever skated for real again. By the time we raised the banner (at Game 1 of a shortened 48-game season), the spirit of the team was different, the magic gone. Eventually we traded Zubov, my favorite player, and just about everyone else to try and re-capture the glory, but we dug ourselves a hole.

Now the Rangers suck, but also, there's no hockey. Still, though, I will always look back at that team with fondness, my first real championship. I'll always remember waking up 11 years ago today and being as happy as one could be. No matter how bad things get with the team and the league, nothing will take that away. Eddie Olczyk's proclamation of "Heave ho, two in a row" didn't quite pan out, but I'll never forget that one run for the Cup.

"Captain Mark Messier, come get the Stanley Cup" --Gary Bettman, 6/14/94. I love it. I'll always cherish that moment. I really love it.

Now let's get the Jets a championship and I can really die in peace.

Morning Batch O' Links

1. The following story is more outrageous than a 75-cent pack of Juicy Fruit. A few days ago, the New York Times called out a former White House Council on Environmental Quality official for editing some governmental scientific reports.

You see, Philip Cooney thought it might be better to downplay the links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures, shielding companies from any blame. Cooney resigned from his post as the head of the environmental council on Friday.

Well, guess what company announced the hiring of Philip Cooney last night? Yessir, Exxon-Mobil has a new employee. I love it. That's balls right there. Brass fucking balls. I always thought a company that takes in $288 billion a year in revenue and profits of $25 billion could use another ruthless bastard on its management team.

2. Heil Bush?

3. "A Kansas City abortionist is out of business after investigators discovered a grisly house of horrors at his clinic – with fetuses kept in Styrofoam cups in his refrigerator and one employee accusing him of microwaving one and stirring it into his lunch."

4. "A man who tried to conduct a job interview naked has been sentenced to three years' probation and placed on the sex offenders' register."

5. Overreaction Jones: "A McDonald's employee said an irate customer punched him through the drive-through window after he accidentally dropped some of her change on the ground Monday evening, Ann Arbor Police reported."

6. And the Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation's third-oldest daily newspaper, picked up yesterday's "Next Stop: Live 8?" Michael Jackson post from Slack. That's just spectacular. (You may need a username and password to sign in, but here's an excerpt):

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the exonerated pop star was so frantic to play in Philadelphia on July 2 that he had right-hand man Frank Tyson write several letters to promoters on his behalf.


Already the bloggery is wondering whether Philly is the right place to do some rep rehab. On a site called Slack LaLane (http://slacklalane.blogspot.com/), Ace Cowboy muses:

"If Jackson does sign up and the organizers sign off, I'd recommend the London gig in lieu of Philly. Citizens of Philadelphia have loudly booed Santa Claus, hometown hero and legend Mike Schmidt..., they cheered Michael Irvin's devastating injury and they threw batteries at J.D. Drew.

"Something tells me the King of Pop should stay away from Philly."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Great Band Name: Vomit Vengeance

"A Kansas student faces a misdemeanor charge after throwing up on his Spanish teacher on the last day of school."

Or is Vengeful Vomit a better band name?

Snitch or Go to Jail!

Apparently I missed this story...for the past year. But better late than never I say. Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who successfully worked President Boosh and the rest of Congress into passing the Real ID Act, and who now wants to regulate fucking cable for indecency, is at it again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, H.R. 1528, the "The Safe Access to Drug Treatment & Child Protection Act of 2005," which creates a new group of mandatory miniumum penalties for non-violent drug offenses.

The thing will never pass, and in fact it's been around for a while now, but I think it's interesting to see how ridiculously close-minded some Congressmen are. Check out this shit for yourselves here, and I'll excerpt some of my favorite parts:

--This bill would "make the sale of any quantity of any controlled substance (including anything greater than five grams of marijuana) by a person older than 21 to a person younger than 18 subject to a ten-year federal mandatory minimum sentence."

So as this article says, "Your 21 year old gives a joint his 17 year old sister. He gets a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence - for a first violation. With a prior felony drug conviction, it's life in prison, no parole."

--This bill "virtually eliminates the ability of federal judges to give sentences below the minimum sentence recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, essentially creating a mandatory minimum sentence for every federal offense (including both drug and non-drug offenses)."

--"Makes it a federal crime to provide 'drug paraphernalia' to anyone. While the goal is to make it a crime - punishable by up to three years in prison - to give someone a bong as a birthday present..."

Now look, I'm against drugs for children, against using in the presence of children, against drugs for reformed addicts, etc. I strictly advocate moderate usage of benign drugs like marijuana (OK, and some others, but let's just talk about pot now). As I've stated here many times before, social conservatives freak out about pot for no good reason -- they only think it's bad because the people before them categorized it as such and they're stickin' to it.

I'm all for clinically treating the heroin addicts and coke bingers and locking up the violent and repeat offenders. But if we don't get a good grip on defining what's good and what's really harmful, we'll never have a serious drug control policy in this country. And as Congress gets more and more conservative, that worries me to no end.

The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its citizens than any country in the world, and that number is going to skyrocket if trash like this becomes mainstream belief. I'd start a letter-writing campaign against this, but for some reason I have no motivation to get it going.

Next Stop: Live 8?

As we posted yesterday, Pink Floyd will re-unite for the first time since 1981 to play the London leg of the Live-8 show.

Now comes word that another major artist may be added to either the Philadelphia or London roster of stars: Michael Jackson. Fresh off his 14-week child molestation trial that you just might have heard about, Live-8 promoter Harvey Goldsmith said he would consider adding the Gloved One to the July 2nd event.

If Jackson does sign up and the organizers sign off, I’d recommend the London gig in lieu of Philly. Citizens of Philadelphia have loudly booed Santa Claus, hometown hero and legend Mike Schmidt and pre-rape Kobe, they cheered Michael Irvin’s devasting injury and they threw batteries at J.D. Drew.

Something tells me the King of Pop should stay away from Philly.

(Meanwhile, perhaps my favorite part of the verdict yesterday is the fact that even Arab news channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya broke from their regular programming to bring their viewers the verdict. And I just saw on CNN that a woman down at the courthouse released one white dove for every "not guilty" verdict! Damn, I love people!)

Slack Song of the Day: I think my Blogging License would be revoked -- like a South African diplomat's -- if I didn't make today's choice an MJ tune. So here's Robert Randolph and the Family Band with a dynamite cover of Billie Jean from 2/28/04 at the Michigan Theater in good ol' A-Squared. I think Randolph's BJ cover has been a Slack Song of the Day in the past, but I couldn't give a shit what you peons think. Yeah, you heard me, bitches.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More Gossip: Verdict is In

Mikey Jackson, this is your life.

This just in: A verdict will be read at 4:30 ET. This is better than when the Pope died. I say stick a feeding tube in the accuser's nose and/or throat. Or is that not a universal solution to all of life's problems?

**Update**
4:30 pm: CNN's got every lawyer expert in the world on TV, and I'm sure the other networks are doing the same. I just saw CNN Sr. Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin talk for 20 minutes, then former US Attorney Kendall Coffey, now former OJ lawyer Robert Shapiro is in the hot-seat.

Am I wrong or wouldn't Comedy Central be wise to get the actor who played Jackie Chiles to do a five-minute spot on the Daily Show?

**Update # 2**
5:15 pm: Not Guilty on all 10 counts. No Jesus Juice, no penile touching, no nothing. Case closed. Let's all go home now.

Today's Sign of the Apocalypse

We interrupt this no-gossip blog to bring you a momentary brush with absurdity. Man, I hate celebrity culture, but like Ms. Holmes, I just cannot escape.

"Katie Holmes says she's converting to the Church of Scientology, embracing the religion of her boyfriend, Tom Cruise."

That seems like a lot of work just to perpetuate the myth that these guys love each other. I do, however, support this couple, if for no other reason than there's no really easy one-word name like "Bennifer" to utilize. Well, maybe "KaTom," but that sucks.

In the meantime, if you really want to do something worthwhile, help this group free Katie. It's obvious she can't flee the clutching grasp of Tommy C. So, uh, Free Katie!

No love for the Bad Lieutenant + American Idol Bo Bice + Hasidic reggaue superstar Matisyahu? That's gotta be the funniest thing I've read all year.

So Many Idols

G'Morning everybody. Who's tired? Who's hungry? Who's hungry?

The most low-key weekend I've had since graduating college turned into one helluva crazy Sunday. A surprise rooftop BBQ with no real occasion turned out to be a surprise engagement party, so I guess the surprise was on us. Fun times, but I had to leave a bit early to catch Extreme Championship Wrestling's One Night Stand Pay-Per-View reunion. I saw Trey at the Hammerstein a few weeks ago, and this kicked Trey's ass.

Since I already wrote in-depth about ECW last week, I'll spare you the recap of this glorious event (you can read the results of the PPV here), but you should know that this was one of the cooler events you'd ever see live. And, sadly, this one might just have been the last event of its kind. I brought a non-insider with me and he left speechless.

When you watch someone get powerbombed through a flaming table, your life will never be the same. When you watch a 6' 7'', 290-pound bohemoth fly through the air and drop some Chinaman from Japan head first through a table, your life will never be the same. When you see one of your favorite rasslers get piledriven right onto a huge ball of barbed wire, or watch someone take a cheese grater to the forehead repeatedly, your life will never be the same.

Everyone walked out of there with a huge "Worth Every Penny" smile on their face. When Tommy Dreamer looks like this after the main event, you know it's a good time.

ECW wasn't the only reunion this weekend, though: Pink Floyd announced they'll reunite for the first time in more than two decades for the Live-8 music concerts. Nothing better than some old guys burying the hatchet in the quest for cash. Hey, you. No really, Hey, you, you're standing on my IV.

The highlight of this weekend's absurdity, however, came from the Bonnaroo festival down in Tennessee. A collision of worlds, my mother's and my own: The Redheaded Fuckface, now fronting the nation's greatest cover band, called out American Idol Bo Bice for a rousing rendition of Van Halen's Panama. Trey also played with the Hasidic reggae superstar Matisyahu, and you can see that in the pics as well. More later, perhaps...if you want more on Bonnaroo, check out the Live Music Blog.

And if you haven't seen this story, you haven't seen shit: "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton turned furious and considered legal action after learning bestselling author Ed Klein would allege in a new book: Bill Clinton raped her -- resulting in the conception of daughter Chelsea Clinton!"

Slack Song of the Day: I wanna go with an ECW Theme Song like Pantera's Walk or Metallica's Enter Sandman, but I find it tough to listen to that stuff outside the arenas. So here's the exact opposite -- the Dead's Jack Straw from the Boston Garden, 3/12/81.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Cut a Slice of Melon

It's not that I'm so busy today, I just don't feel like writing anything. To the legion of Slackers looking for some entertainment this morning/afternoon, I just cannot provide that at this time. I'm not sorry either, you bastards.

After dinner last night with my good friends Rachel and Snacks, Rachel invited me to a rooftop party in the East Village. Now normally after a big dinner out I'll go home, take a few bingers and sit on the couch with my hands in my pants for the rest of the night. But for some reason I was feeling saucy. Sure, I'll go. Count me in.

The party was semi-ridiculous, as what appeared to be 100 people flocked to this spacious rooftop for some good tunes, great people, cold beer and even some fireworks off in the distance (perhaps Randall's Island, not really sure). I met some really cool people, and I had a funny 20-minute conversation with a dude that, unbeknownst to me at the time, turned out to be the bassist for Ween.

But I got home and watched a little unwatchable SportsCenter. Did I see correctly that Will Smith opened up the NBA Finals telecast last night? Where was Big Shot Bob Horry when that was going on? Were the two ever visible on the screen at the same time? I need to know.

And Back Page Phil is at it again -- this is one of the nuttiest stories I've ever read. Check out the lede on this story: "Nigerian police have arrested a cow that killed a bus driver who was urinating on a highway, a police spokesman said Thursday."

Slack Song of the Day: It should be Roses are Free or Voodoo Lady or something else by Ween, but it's not. So here's some Steve Kimock Band for ya, because he's playing Saturday night at BB Kings's and the Ace Cowboy may or may not be in attendance if he can rustle up some co-conspirators. Here's Kimock's Band covering In Memory of Elizabeth Reed from 05/05/05 at the Fillmore.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Germany, Here I Come

Back Page Phil sent this gem over today:

"A German city is rushing to install a series of drive-in wooden 'sex huts' in time for next year’s soccer World Cup and an expected boom in the local sex trade, a city official said on Wednesday.

Dortmund, one of 12 cities to host World Cup matches, is anxious to keep prostitutes and their clients off the streets by providing them with discreet places to do business.

Experts estimate as many as 40,000 prostitutes may travel to Germany to offer their services to fans during the tournament."

Wow. That is an officially fully. I guess we just figured out how Europe is planning to deal with its population growth rate problems.

(Is that too serious and/or obscure a joke for a story that requires a joke about killing hookers and snorting lines off their dead asses?)

Interesting Query

Shakespeare's Sister scribed a brilliant post about this story: "The number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq."

Shakes then lays out some simple logic: "I have a question for conservatives who support both the Iraq War and banning gay marriage. Can you produce one instance of a gay marriage actually undermining the sanctity of a heterosexual marriage, or causing the divorce of a straight couple? And if I could produce evidence that the Iraq War is detrimental to marriage, would you support a Constitutional amendment immediately requiring the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and banning future preemptive wars the same way you support a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage? Because I can."

You can read the rest of her post here.

And since I ranted about ECW this morning (well, actually I wrote that at about midnight last night, which is why it's a rambling pile of dog turds), I forgot to attach a Slack Song of the Day.

So here we go: Robert Randolph and the Family Band with Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars playing Good Times, Bad Times from the Gothic Theatre in Denver on 12/3/03.

More Nostalgia: ECW Edition

Bear with me here...I think you might come around.

I've often referred to December of 1999 as the greatest month of my life. Beginning on campus in Chicago's suburbs as we departed for 12/2/99 and culminating at the CN Tower in Toronto as the fireworks exloded through the Canadian night, your Ace Cowboy traveled nearly 5,000 miles by land and air over the final 30 days of the millenium. All told, I road-tripped through 11 states, one province and the District of Columbia, took two in-class finals, wrote two papers, saw six crazy Phish shows, hung out with eight different groups of friends and huffed what seemed like 1,000 nitrous balloons.

But perhaps my favorite experience of that time in my life happened shortly before then, on November 18, 1999. That's the night Extreme Championship Wrestling hit the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. If you want to talk about an electric show, I mean a noticeable buzz in the room from the second you walk through the doors 'til the second you get to your car, ECW was the tops. The absolute tops. Nobody puts on a show like Vincent K. McMahon, but no organization made you say "Holy Fucking Shitballs" quite Paul Heyman's E-C-Dub. These guys were so cool you didn't even know they were cool (we'll get into why in just a second).

Like Ted Turner's old World Championship Wrestling, the ECW has since folded into McMahon's billion-dollar corporation and ceased to operated as its own entity. Some of its wrestlers have been retained and assimilated, and the federation's style has been incorporated into the WWE's, only its now horribly watered down. But for one night only this Sunday, Extreme Championship Wrestling is coming to my hometown: the Hammerstein Ballroom welcomes ECW: One Night Stand to New York City on June 12th. The only snag is ticket price -- the cheapest ticket in the house for this Cream-like reunion is $100. Anyone feel like being my patron?

ECW differed from the two mainstream federations in a couple of major ways. First, the rings were smaller in size, which made for much faster action and more creative yet realistic wrestling maneuvers. It made high fliers more exciting and big men more mobile. Also, ECW didn't get bogged down in rules and regulations -- steel chairs, wooden tables, baseball bats, barbed wire ring ropes and other assorted foreign objects and blunt instruments were perfectly legal. There were no real countouts and manager and tag team partner interference didn't exist.

The crowd was another major selling point. Shows back then only held maybe 1,000-2,000 people a night, so the audience was completely comprised of people obsessed with the product. We knew exactly when to cheer, what was normal and what was extraordinary, how to make a cool sign that says "Ted Turner Bites Pillows" or "I Can Do a Split-Legged Moonsault," when to start a "Show Your Tits" chant to the hoochiw mama in Section 6. And maybe most importantly for the organization, ECW knew it was short on personality and long on kicking the shit out of each other, so it focused on producing the most exciting matches possible, not the out-of-ring soap opera storylines. It had plenty of those as well, but it never lost sight of the forest through the trees. Or some other cliche.

My favorite wrestler back then kicked off the fun at the Aragon that night in '99. Facing a scrub named CW Anderson, Mr. PPV Rob Van Dam put his TV Title on the line not 15 feet from where I was standing. It's always been rumored that Van Dam could have made the move to the WWF years before they merged, only with a nickname like RVD-420, he would never have passed his drug test. Gotta love a ridiculous athlete that loves the doje. Still, I will never waver from the belief that RVD is the best wrestler I've ever seen.

So RVD, with his manager Bill Alfonso at ringside, began an assault of awesomely titled moves. Right away he pulled out the cartwheel backflip. But after CW got the upper hand following a swinging neckbreaker and a body slam, he stepped through the ropes to climb the top step. At that time, my buddies and I can clearly be seen on the TNN telecast giving him the finger (I just watched the tape, it's fantastic). CW flips back the bird, but his attention is diverted.

Ringside announcer Joey Stiles on what happens next: "CW Anderson trash talking with the fans...and it COST HIM. He takes a ROUNDHOUSE to the back of the neck." Man, I love Joey Styles.

RVD then drives CW's head into the ring apron and down to the cold, unforgiving floor of the Aragon. Then, looking baked as shit, he sets CW up on the metal barricade separating the fans from the ring, takes a running start from inside the ring, jumps out and delivers a corkscrew guillotine legdrop. Chants of "E-C-Dub" and "Holy Shit" echo across the room. RVD followed that with a whip-legged hurdle legdrop, and after another couple of minutes it was time to finish him off. Bill Alfonso threw a chair at CW, who caught it, only to have RVD kick it straight into CW's face -- that's called the Van Daminator, and it's one of the coolest moves ever. I used to break out that move on people in college after 10 games of Beirut. Up to the top rope and it's all over after a ridiculously executed Five-Star Frog Splash. 1, 2, 3.

But what's this? RVD's friend and former tag-team partner Sabu came out right after the pin and challenged RVD for the title right then and there. An impromptu match between two of the league's most charismatic high fliers! A quick note about Sabu and how ridiculous this federation was at its peak: After an INSANE match against Terry Funk, Sabu sustained a serious gash. He refused medical treatment for the open wound, though, and simply used Krazy Glue to seal it. That's right, can you say infectious?

To illustrate just how cool this federation was, over the course of the match, the two buddies perfomed the following well-named moves: Arabian Press off the middle rope by Sabu; a springboard sidekick to Sabu's face by RVD using the middle rope; a Tumbling Senton Bomb > Corkscrew Legdrop by RVD; a Hurricanrana off the top ropes by Sabu after catching RVD on the turnbuckle; Sabu then threw a chair into RVD's face from close range, set up the chair and pulled off a "Triple-Jump Moonsault, knees across the forehead," according to Styles; then Sabu sets RVD up on a table and jumps off the top rope, driving RVD through it to the floor.

After the rookie monster Rhyno and Chris Candido came out to fuck up both men, RVD hit Rhyno with the Van Daminator and delivered a glorious somersault plancha to the rookie and Candido as they collected themselves outside the ring. The match continued, though, and finally RVD shredded Sabu's knee so badly that Bill Alfonso -- manager of both grapplers -- threw in the towel. Two title defenses in a half hour...a nice way for me to see my favorite dude for the first time ever.

After some other awesome matches featuring guys like Little Guido of the Full Blooded Italians facing insane luchador Super Crazy -- unlike the WWE and old WCW, there is no buffer filler in this league, every match is nuts -- we headed to the main event. The Impact Players, Justin Credible and Lance Storm, along with the rookie monster Rhyno (and the lovely and slutty Dawn Marie) taking on the unlikely tag team champs of Tommy Dreamer (and Francine) and Raven, along with Raven's old foe The Sandman.

If you think Stone Cold Steve Austin had a cool character, then you'd have LOVED the Sandman. Stone Cold stole his whole bit from the Sandman, the whole thing. The match had been going on for three or four minutes before the Sandman even made his way out, all five wrestlers going at it with no legal man in the ring. Then it hits -- ENTER SANDMAN. Out steps this guy who could be 35 or 65, sometimes you never can tell. He's got a cigarette in his mouth, beer in his hand, two more in his pants pockets, and a bamboo cane for kicking ass in his other hand. He slowly makes his way to ringside while chugging beers, and enters the fracas.

Six men beating the shit out of each other, and the two women even get into a bit of a catfight, much to the excitement of Joey Styles at ringside. The match ended after the Sandman caned his own partner Raven, as the old feud was obviously more important than this TNN match. The Impact Players won again, even though they are the least charismatic heels the federation had ever seen.

What a night! And I left out about two hours worth of hardcore action, including a match that featured New Jack, a guy who has seriously been arrested (for real) countless times for flat-out assault in the ring -- most recently, last October, New Jack was taken in after “stabbing his opponent 14 times with a prop,” according to the police report. New Jack's defense (again, for real): "Once again, I got fucked up and tried to kill a niggah."

And New Jack wasn't alone. Often wrestlers would staple each other's foreheads, smash each other with real objects, drive each other through tables and tables that have been set on fire, use ladders as weapons, whatever it took to entertain the crowd. And while it was very much real, it was also very much fake, so the crowd never had anything to really worry about from a "getting hurt" standpoint. Guys like Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten, the Dudley Boys, Tazz, Al Snow, Tajiri, these guys left it all out there every night. There was nothing quite like ECW.

So again, anyone want to be my patron on Sunday? Buy me a ticket and I promise you nonstop action, pints of blood, endless chair shots and at least five pairs of flashed breasts. Let's do it.