Friday, July 29, 2005

Road to Super Bowl XL: Camp Opens

The New York Jets hit the on-ramp today.

Destination: Detroit in February. I've heard there's no place quite as beautiful as Detroit in February.

There's no "cautious" in my optimism. This is our year. I say that just about every season, but this time I really mean it. The Jets were a doinked crossbar away from the AFC Championship last year, and they'll be a much better squad this time around. The Jets aren't only an improved team, but they've got genuine All-Pro playmakers on both sides of the ball: Chad Sexington, Curtis Martin, Kevin Mawae, La-La-La-Laveranues Coles, Justin McCareins, Jon Vilma, Jonny Abraham, Shaun Ellis, Dewayne Robertson and David Barrett.

The biggest question mark surrounds the health of Pennington's shoulder. After undergoing rotator cuff surgery in February, nobody really knows whether he'll return to his old 2002 and 2004 form. But after the Santana Moss-for-Coles swap -- a deal I believe will go down as the greatest trade in franchise history -- I don't think anybody's more excited about the upcoming season than Chad. He's got his boy back. Now, like Stella, he's gonna get his groove back.

I'll begrudgingly admit Chad's no Tom Brady, but he's definitely an above-average quarterback that has led his team to the playoffs in three of the last four years and can lead his team to a Super Bowl. Should he falter, though, I like the signing of a Jew to back him up: shrewd, nose-driven move. I actually met Donnie's cousin Jay Fiedler in the airport the very day he signed with the Jets, and he seemed ecstatic to return home to Lawn Gisland. I'm pretty psyched about it, too. More than serviceable back-up.

But Chad has no excuses this year. He's got a new offense designed by the energetic Mike Heimerdinger, a great name and a great coordinator who led the Tennessee Titans to the league's highest-scoring offense in 2003 with 435 points. He's got Coles back, who grew up with Chad on the practice squad and connected for 89 catches for nearly 1,300 yards in his last year in Green. Moss is a speedy young tyke, but Coles is so much better on a down-by-down basis it's not even up for debate.

His second option is Justin McCareins, who flourished under Heimerdinger's offense in '03 and can only get better in his second season with the team. He also can count on old standby Wayne Chrebet for a couple big third-down catches, and Jerricho Cotcherry is going to explode onto the scene like a radical Islamist. Plus, Chad finally has a tight end who can catch, the Jets trading for Doug Jolley in the offseason, a deeper threat for Heimerdinger's offense.

Curtis Martin made Mulgrew and many other jerkstores eat their words last season when he led the league in rushing. I don't expect Curtis to repeat that feat, and you have to despise the loss of free agent LaMont Jordan to the hated Raiders, but the three-headed monster of Martin, Derrick Blaylock and rookie draftee Cedric Houston will surely gain as many yards -- if not more -- than a season ago. And that will surely keep the pressure off the quarterback.

On defense, I think the Jets should probably have one of the best five squads in the league. Last year, Donnie Henderson's Jets finished seventh in total yards allowed and fourth in points given up. With the continuing maturity of Vilma and strong-sider Victor Hobson, as well as the heart and energy of Erik "Personal Foul" Barton, the linebacking corps couldn't be more solid. Add those three to a starting D-Line of No-Heart Abes, Ellis, Robertson and a slew of other talented linemen, and you've got a front seven as able as any other in the world (that includes the World League apparently).

The only question on defense comes from the secondary, where only rookie-standout Erik Coleman and corner David Barrett have solidified starting roles. But I have faith that out of the three defensive backs the Jets drafted this year, at least one or two will step up and deliver. That includes cornerback Justin Miller out of Clemson, who the team is very high on (and who will return kicks and punts most likely).

And now we might have a legit kicker. Who knows how this will turn out, but I applauded the shit out of the second-round selection of Ted's son Mike Nugent. The guy drilled kicks in college, in cold weather, in big-pressure situations. What more can you ask for? The Jets rolled the dice, and I think it's going to work out beautifully.

It'll be difficult to beat the Patriots and there are some tough games on the schedule, but I'm sensing an 11-5 season and run to the Super Bowl. I expect nothing less. It's the first day of camp and there's reason to cheer. There's only one thing left to say:

J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets. See you at Ford Field.

What are the Odds?

I hate the break up the Kile-fest below, but I just saw this story that we can all make fun of and go to hell for:

"A 17-year-old high school basketball player from upstate New York died after playing a summer league game at Loyola Marymount University."

Think his buddy is gonna shoot left-handed free throws in his honor?

(And check out this sweeeet pic of Lance Armstrong with his family.)

Good Puzzle Piece

The Yank'ums traded two minor-league pitchers to the Rockies yesterday for 27-year-old, right-handed pitcher Shawn Chacon. I like it. I like it a lot.

Never mind Chacon's 1-7 record this year, or the fact he's only won two of his last 18 decisions. The Yanks just acquired a hard-throwing young hurler that can start games or come in late (real late, too, he had 35 saves last year). We traded for a talent with unlimited potential that only makes $2.35 million a year. That's rare. These are the kind of trades we should be making, the kind of trades we should have been making for the last four seasons and offseasons.

Chacon's ERA is only 4.08, not bad for a Rockies' pitcher. His other stats sure don't look great this season, but let's see what he can do away from Coors Field and the Coors mindset. A departure from Colorado may just breathe new life into him like it did so many other pitchers (foreshadowing, wait for it...).

Look at someone like Mike Hampton, whose ERA dropped from 6.15 in his last season in Coors to 3.84 in his first in Hotlanta (2.51 ERA this injury-filled season). Opponents hit .313 against him in his last season at Coors, .255 in his first for the Braves. His strikeouts rose back to his old form, his walks fell -- there's just no telling how high a Rockies' pitcher's ceiling is once he gets away from Fantasyland.

Look at someone like Darryl Kile. In 1999 he went 8-13 with a 6.61 ERA for the Rocks. The next season in St. Louis, Kile won 20 games and lost nine, lowering his ERA to 3.91 and and racking up a career high in strikeouts with 192. Then two seasons later he died. I guess he only had a few seasons of new life. That's fucked up.

So, we'll see you tomorrow, Mr. Chacon. Bring your A-game.

In other sports news involving championship-caliber teams, New York Jets Training Camp opens today. We'll have much more on this development later this afternoon. All you should know now is, the Jets are winning the Super Bowl. Seriously.

Top Google or Yahoo! searches from yesterday that brought people to Slack (we haven't done one of these in a little while):

--Biggest titbags
--Vin Diesel found Carmen Sandiego in a whorehouse doing lines of coke off a compact mirror
--One-armed stripper summer
--Bad boys of hockey and Jerry Bruckheimer
--Betty White spread eagle

Slack Song of the Day: I've been debating for a month or so whether or not to hit up the Gathering of the Vibes in mid-August. I really want to go, but it'll be a couple hundred bucks and I want to save up some cash for upcoming moving expenses, Vegoose and possibly the 2006 Jam in the 'Dam.

Regardless, one of the acts I'd love to see again up at the Vibes is Railroad Earth (in addition to the real DMB, Del McCoury Band, and many more). RRE absolutely stole the Jam on the River show with songs like Head, Mighty River and I'm a Mess...but really they had everyone from the opening song.

So here's a version of that tune, Dandelion Wine, from 4/29/05 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Enjoy some morning bluegrass.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Decorative Swords and Animal Balls

It's a powerful combination:

--"When taunting over the death of a dog escalated into an argument, a woman said her husband dared her to take a decorative sword above the fireplace to settle things, a police report said. That resulted in John A. Kurceba, 53, being stabbed Monday though his right bicep and into his right side. His injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said." [More]

--From a lame article on cookbooks: "Giles Coren, who voted for the book, said: 'It really makes you want to eat meat. The only disappointing thing is that it has recipes for sheep’s testicles, but not rooster’s testicles, which as every gastronome knows are the tastiest testicles of all.'" [More]

Wait, Giles Coren? Wasn't he stoned to death by the witch hunters? And I always thought the tastiest testicles of all were Schwetti Balls.

(Gratuitously, here's the latest UniWatch column from Paul Lukas -- easily the best feature on the ESPN site. Incidentally, when's the last time you even read a Sports Guy column? Definitely been a little while for this guy over here.)

The Last Boy Scout/City Commish

I walked into my apartment at 6:35 last night, ripped off my sweat-drenched work clothes and turned on about 12 air conditioners and six fans. About 20 minutes later, still dripping, I got an intriguing text message from EB, from deep inside the Miami Herald office building. The note read: "Dude, a City Commissioner just walked into the Herald and killed himself."

That message intrigued me much more than the previous text message I received, Donnie's most recent communique: "Employee Pricing." For a week now Donnie's been a bit obsessed with and enraged by the current commercials from the Big Three automakers and their Crazy Eddie-insanity incentive plans.

Anyway, a former City Commissioner who was recently indicted on corruption charges walked into the Herald's lobby and shot himself in the head yesterday. There's been no word, though, on whether he ran into the endzone before muttering, "Ain't life a bitch" and pulling the trigger.

He did, however, wish his wife well: "'He said to tell DeFede to tell his wife he loves her,' the security guard, Feliz Nazco, told the Herald." There's also been no word on whether he Major Tom-med that declaration. Tell my wife I love her very much, she knooooows.

Sad story. I hate to be so jokey about such a craisins-like affair, but I generally have very little sympathy for suicide victims. Victims, if you can even use that word. Unless they're terminally ill or facing life in prison with no possibility for parole, I just can't see how anybody would take the easy way out and leave everyone behind bereaving. It's just a selfish way to go. And that's that.

To lighten the mood a little bit (like inviting Louie to Jesus' Last Supper), I like it when the Yank'ums play the Twins and the YES announcers refer to the Minnesota outfielders as "The Soul Patrol."

Apparently, former mullet Dan Gladden coined the nickname about five years ago when Matt Lawton, Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones roamed the Minnesota outfield, but after they traded Lawton the named died. But when the Twins traded for Shannon Stewart last year...Game On! The re-birth of the Soul Patrol.

It's just un-PC enough that it's awesome. The three have embraced the name, as they should, because it's funny. Like, the first team to have an all Hispanic outfield shoud call them the "Low Riders" or the "Hairnets." Or maybe the Yanks will trade for Ichiro, sandwich Bubba Crosby between him and Matsui and call their outfield "Gung Ho." The possibilities are endless. What other fun little names for existing outfields can we play with?

Slack Song of the Day: A decade ago I couldn't get enough of these guys. Just behind the Grateful Dead and the popular rock band Phish, I listened to God Street Wine more than any other band in the world. As Handstand the Elder and I discussed in between bands at the Jam on the River, we might be two of 100 people in the world to own all five CDs they released.

Freshman year in college we got to see them in the student union, and I videotaped the intimate show from about 10 feet away. Before they took the stage, I met two of the band members, who took my camera from me and shot themselves and me sitting outside on the lawn. I always thought that was one of the cooler musical experiences. This band I reeeally liked playing with my dinghy. Great stuff.

So here's a great version of Nightengale from Garton's Saloon in Vail from October 29, 1994. And here's Wendy from the same show. It's a damn shame they're no more.

I wish they had a live version of Into the Sea somewhere in the Archive, but alas, I guess I'll just listen to it on my iPod on the way home (like I did coming to work this morning).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Four Afternoon Links

1. I'm not sure if anyone caught the article about minor league baseball umpires trying to make it to the bigs, but it's a decent read.

Actually, I think it's especially funny since someone asked me not a week ago how many MLB umpire vacancies there are each year, and this was the sub-head on the piece: "There are only 68 major league umpiring jobs, and they open up about as often as vacancies on the Supreme Court." So, there's your answer.

2. I've never been the biggest fan of the Disco Biscuits. I used to dig them a lot in the late 90s, but then I stopped eating mass quantities of MDMA and realized I liked them less and less. Regardless, the Biscuits are combining the music festival with the camp concept of Color War at this year's Camp Bisco, and that's a pretty cool idea. Bring it on, Bisco fans. Tug o' war, woo hoo!

3. As we reported last week, I never actually made it inside the Phish Island Tour Listening Party down at the Canal Room. But I did somehow make it into the photos of Phish.com's From the Road section. In this picture, I'm the guy in between the bald guy with the peace sign and the dude in the white shirt. You can't see my face and I'm turned towards the street, but the Ace Cowboy has touched down on the popular rock band Phish's website. (LMB's Justin highlighted me, so now you can find me faster!).

So when people ask me if I was at the event, armed with this indisputable photographic evidence, I'll now put on my best Verne Lunquist voice and shout, "Yesssssir."

4. These "Terrorism Preparedness Guide" parodies are pretty old, but verrrrrry funny. Oldie but goodie. My favorite is: "Hurricanes, animal corpses and the biohazard symbol have a lot in common. Think about it." What's yours?

Slack Announcement of the Afternoon: Congratulations are in order for Gypsy Rose, my former boss and one of the coolest and funniest chicks on Earth. Gypsy added a little Rose to the family last week, a baby boy that's cute as a button. Congrats, and don't fuck him up.

Slack Song of the Afternoon: The geetar virtuoso Derek Trucks and his band playing Joyful Noise at Ripplefest in Bluffton, Ohio on 6/17/05. This is a damn good one, folks.

AppleJack, John Mapplethorpe

"How does an asshole like Bob get such a nice kitchen?" --Dignan

I think I've mentioned here before that Bottle Rocket is the greatest comedic movie ever made. There are some close calls, movies that almost replicate to the feeling I get when I watch Wes Anderson's and Owen Wilson's writing debut, but nothing has ever suprassed it.

There are the classics like Caddyshack and Fletch, slapsticky laugh-riots like Airplane! and The Naked Gun, the Guest/Levy genius collaborations of Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, anything featuring Kevin Kline or produced and directed by the Coen Brothers, some grossly underrated Martin Lawrence flicks like Nothing to Lose and Blue Streak, and even Wes Anderson's other movies (Life Aquatic not included).

But nothing does it for me like Bottle Rocket. It's simply genius. It features one of the greatest main characters in cinema history (Owen's Jerry Dignan) and a cast of supporting players that should all share a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. In truth, the Brothers Wilson have never been better actors or as understatedly funny than in this flick. And, if you want to see some awesome one-piece jumpsuits, this is the place.

Since I absolutely despise movie and concert and CD reviews -- these things are too subjective to be captured by a critic -- I'm not going to lay it out any further than I already have. All I will say is, if you have never seen this pelicula, do yourself a favor and rent it this weekend. Or come over and watch it with me. Either way, after you see it a few times, you'll realize there's no better movie in Wes Anderson's portfolio and none better in The Wilsons'. Frankly, there's just no greater comedy.

And that's why the following Slate article is so interesting. Here's the premise: "What if Owen Wilson, America's resident goofy roué with the broken nose and the lazy nasal drawl, was the rudder keeping USS Anderson on course, steering its captain away from solipsism and ironic overload?"

Read on, friends, read on. This guy makes some good points.

Slack Story of the Day: "A woman who was upset over being searched bodily at an airport was convicted Tuesday of assaulting a security screener by grabbing the federal officer's breasts." [More]

Slack Link of the Day: First it was making laws for one Schiavo, now government's getting into the yenta business. Remind me where the small government conservatives are the next time they talk about "the era of big government." Get married, get cash.

Slack Songs of the Day: Because for some reason I can't get enough of these guys, here's Umphrey's McGee on Anchor Drops from the KBCO Studio in Boulder on 2/25/05. They then followed that up with a sweet Women, Wine and Song.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vegoose E-mail Update

Finally, Superfly sends out some info...

This thing's either going to be the greatest thing ever or the biggest waste of cash of all time. There's no middle ground. I somehow see myself railing lines off a hooker's ass with Trey at 5:15 am in a Bellagio suite. Hey, it could happen.

Ricky Be Ricky

Most people I know don't love their jobs. Some people I know hate what they do.

Imagine your somewhere in between those categories, stuck in the middle of apathy and digust. But also imagine you're getting paid millions for a job you really excel at but couldn't really care for. If you've earned enough cash and have accumulated the means to drop out of the workforce and do whatever you want for a few years, wouldn't you do it? Wouldn't you take that chance?

Wouldn't you say, "Fuck it," and ride off into the sunset (on a gay horse)? That's why I'm with Ricky Williams on this one. All the way.

Just because most of us want more than anything to be professional athletes doesn't mean everyone does. Ricky is a star running back, a powerhouse who carried the ball seemingly every offensive snap for two straight seasons. But from everything I've read about the guy, he doesn't love playing the game. In some reports I've read, he doesn't even like it at all. He's just really, really good at it.

And Ricky's not dumb. He knows the average career of a football player is only a few years, and the ones who make it past the median usually feel pain for the rest of their lives. He saw Earl Campbell hobble back to the University of Texas and he's watched his heroes limp around everywhere. He didn't play football like Ed Gennero played football -- like a goddamn rampaging beast -- instead, he played football because it was the best way to become a millionaire.

Then he woke up one day and didn't want to do it anymore. He made his money. Now he wanted to get high, travel the world, be himself for once and do the things he's always wanted to do. Can you honestly blame a man for that? Really?

How can you fault a man who risked embarrassment when he said in the public arena that he wanted to explore life outside of football and then "lived in a tent in Australia, studied holistic medicine at a California school and spent a month at a yoga center in India, becoming certified as an instructor"? I personally wouldn't do those particular things, but I love the fact that he wanted to and did it. I think he should be commended for that. He's my hero.

Ricky made a public apology to the fans yesterday, a very well-spoken one at that. He apologized to his teammates and his coaches. He's done the right thing all along. He even admits he's only returning to camp for one thing: "So the best way I can think of to put it is that I'm back here to work." There are 8.6 million reasons Ricky's coming back, and he's more than upfront about that fact.

Perhaps my biggest point of contention with the critics, though, centers around the pot issue. If I hear one more holier-than-thou sports anchor or reporter refer to him as a "loser who just wanted to smoke his pot," I'm gonna...I'm gonna...well, maybe I'll just hit the bong on my couch and laugh about it. But Doc Holliday was right about most professional athletes and members of the media: They're hypocrisy knows no bounds. How many athletes get high? How many members of the media smoke pot? But Ricky's a bad guy because he was honest about it? This town needs an enema.

I'm with Ricky. I want to see him do well. I want to see him play out his contract and retire again the very next day if he so chooses. You're supposed to do what you want with your life. Most of us are stuck in jobs we'd rather not be doing, but that doesn't mean we should be rooting for others to be mired in the same situation.

Here's a guy that quit when he had enough of the job and enough cash to do so, a fucking admirable spot to be in from where I sit. He got sued, felt the pinch and decided to go back to work.

If that makes him Public Enemy No. 1, I just don't understand the mindset of most Americans.

Stuff

Gotta jam on putting together some stuff for today's space shuttle Discovery launch, scheduled for 10:39 am. Let's just hope they make it into the sky this time...everyone get to a television and watch some history: Americans return to space. Pretty cool shit.

Slack Song of the Day: I'm in the mood for a handful of covers today from the one and only Keller Williams. K-Dub, who just announced a long tour, is nothing short of inspiring and hilarious. So here's the Man doing interesting covers of Nirvana's Lithium, Phish's The Wedge and the Gratfeul Dead's Help on the Way from July 10, 2005.

Slack Sad Anniversary of the Day: RIP Brent Mydland, died 7/26/90. He danced with the speedballs, and he lost. Badly. Now if only we can kill off Brent Musberger, I'd be happy.

Slack Link of the Day: I don't mean to keep beating you over the head with a large rubber dildo, but the Live Music Blog was written up on Forbes.com as part of its "Best of the Web" series. No mention of the Ace Cowboy in the write-up, but I know my role. Kudos to Justin.

Slack Craisins of the Day: "A woman who told police she wanted to be a 'cool mom' pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges Monday for having sex with high school boys at parties where authorities said she supplied drugs and alcohol."

Here's the story, but also check Drudge for her not-so-hot picture.

Slack "What The F?" of the Day: So I often check my site referrals, just to see where folks are coming from (many thanks to Muldoon and Vegoose Googlers). Yesterday I discovered something pretty weird: The Anorexia Center features a post from Slack LaLane under its "Signs of Anorexic" page. These guys are saying I'm exhibiting signs of anorexia and need to deal with it. Allright!

All because of this line from a 5/12 post: "Like I've said before, I'm the world's fattest anorexic (although, in fairness to me, I NEVER eat salad except for ones with that awesome Nipponese ginger dressing)."

Pray for me.

Slack Ridiculousness of the Day: Ahren's got the jump on one of my favorite stories of the year. As we learned in Half Baked, never feed a diabetic horse some Funyuns and Pink Popcorn (makes your teeth go pop-pop-pa-pa-pop). And now as we learned from this tale of woe, never tell a cop his police horse is gay.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Bad Lt.'s Got Some New Friends

The Redheaded Fuckface debuted his new lineup for the upcoming tour at the 10,000 Lakes Festival this weekend:

Trey Anastasio - guitar/vocals
Christina Durfee - backing vocals
Les Hall - keys/guitar
Tony Hall - bass
Jennifer Hartswick - backing vocals
Ray Paczkowski - keys
Skeeto Valdez - drums

I’m sensing a Fleetwood Mac thing here: lotsa chicks. So, allright, we’ve got two guys named Hall and two lovely ladies to join Skeeto, Ray and Big Red. I think this band can only improve from here…especially with Peter gone, who was clearly the weak link. We’ll see for ourselves when the tour kicks into high gear on August 4th at the Bank of America Pavillion in Boston.

And according to Jambands.com, “During his set, the former Phish guitarist debuted a handful of new songs including Spin, Invisible and Tuesday. Fellow festival performer Les Claypool also emerged for a version of Oysterhead’s Oz is Ever Floating.”

Also, here’s a nice review of the 10,000 Lakes Festival from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

And a handful of PICS are now up on the 10KLF website…The Bad Lieutenant has shaved his beard, folks!

(As seen on the Live Music Blog)

I'm Back

Sooorry, folks, took off for the green grass and blue skies of Northeast Pennsylvania on Friday and forgot to let y'all know to look for entertainment elsewhere. Still, though, I came back to some hilarious comments in the post below, so it looks like that problem took care of itself. Well done, gents, well done.

So whilst I re-acclimate myself to the office surroundings following another "Bestest Weekend of the Year," check out these cool pictures from Thursday's Big Summer Classic at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which I missed for no good reason. I had to choose between taking Thursday off or Friday off, and I made the right decision -- but it still sucks to miss something like this.

Over at the Live Music Blog, Justin actually put up a new podcast with some music from the Big Summer Classic at Schaumburg, Illinois' Alexian Field (7/9/05). There's some great stuff on here from String Cheese, Umphrey's, Keller doing Gin and Juice and Yonder Mountain performing Come Together. Hit it up here.

We'll have more on the rest of the weekend later...

Slack Song of the Day: The podcast should be SSOTD enough, but here's an extra just for you on this gloomy Monday morning. It's been about 10 years since we listened to Rusted Root at camp every single day...so in honor of this weekend's camp reunion, here's a reprise of a cool version of Send Me on My Way from 5/17/02. I put this up once before, but hey, it's a nostalgic selection.

Slack Link of the Day: I came home to about four messages from fellow Yank'ums fans talking about the serious Rivera blunder from YES announcers Michael Kay and Bobby Murcer. I wish I could have heard this go down...too funny.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Headline of the Week

Severed Penis Victim Testifies In Ex-Girlfriend's Trial.

For more stories involving the male organ, the suddenly omnipresent Noonan informs us there's a great line in today's Washington Post article about the L.A. Times' new editor:

"New York Times editor Bill Keller said: 'Dean's a prince -- a world-class investigator, an inspiring editor and a barrel of fun.' But Keller said he hoped Baquet would start 'fighting fair' in luring staffers: 'He has this habit of telling recruits there's something in the New York water that makes your penis fall off.'"

Poland Spring to the rescue. Or, if you so choose, Moland Spring.

I Just Lost a Buck...To Myself

This morning I woke up to find out I lost the nerdiest bet I've ever made. I mean, this one was a real pocket-protector wager.

Wasted one night at Book Club (Book Club, ha! The nerd hole just gets deeper), in a heated discussion with LG about the disheartening state of the U.S. economy, I bet her a steak dinner the Chinese would never scrap the yuan's peg to the dollar, as those Commie bastards have been pledging for years.

And today, just a day after China warned they would keep the currency stable at a reasonable and balanced level, they made the switcharoo. Now I owe her a watermelon. Te-Te-Te-Tennesseeeee.

Switching gears in one of the least smooth segues you'll find, how 'bout that Robinson Cano? I've been meaning to mention how much I like this kid's game and how bright a future I see for him through my sunglasses, but I keep forgetting. It appears to me, though, the Yank'ums have once again gone to the Athletic Latino Second Baseman Well and raised up a serious talent on Troy's bucket.

I've heard people compare his hitting abilities to Hall of Famer Rod Carew and his fielding form to Manny Trillo -- that's not bad company at all. He's still young and he's still making some big errors on defense, but his quick hands and quick study at the plate make me think we're looking at the Yankees' second baseman for the next decade. And now if you'll excuse me, folks, I need to go change my pantaloons.

Slack Show of the Day: No fucking around with a cheesy Ace introduction. Just serious music. Here's an awesome hour of the Allman Brothers Band from 4/16/72.

By the way...does anyone ever listen to these suggestions I've been putting up every morning for the past three months? If not, you should. You should all love me long time.

Slack Link of the Day: Now I'm no activist, but I thought this was pretty cool. I like debunking myths (I'm a yuge fan of that show Mythbusters, yuge), and NORML's 2005 Truth Report does a great job showing the government what a bunch of hucksters they are. Fight the power. Kill whitey.

Plus, it reminds of one of my all-time favorite shows, when Donnie and I traveled to Normal, Illinois on 10/4/99. During Makisupa Policeman, Trey said "Woke up this morning...NORML (or normal or Normal)" and cracked up for a solid minute. Good times with the Redheaded Fuckface.

And Happy Birthday wishes go out to Slack readers Snacks and J-Cantor. Partay Partay at Mo's Carribean on 76nd and 2nd (I think) this evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Afternoon Links By Numbers

Allright, Slackers, it's been a busy day. But over the course of the day I've come across some must-read stories, and this is your homework (gold stars to be given out upon request):

1. If you want to read a pretty powerful story on the Sneaker Wars, look no further than our favorite SI.com reporter's latest piece on Nike and high school phenom Kevin Love. I'm not just saying this because he's a buddy of mine, but this is honestly one of the best articles I've read on any of the mainstream sports website all year.

Read the whole article, but this is the essence: "'You shouldn't be restricted by a shoe company at 16,' Stan Love said of his son." Seriously, this is required reading.

2. Then there's fellow blogger Paul Noonan's anticipatory look at the Senate confirmation hearings for the president's choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, the Dread Pirate Justice Roberts (via the transitive property, does this mean Jeff Kent will be moving to the bench?). Noonan pulled out all the stops, throwing together a hilarious list of one-liners that Roberts should use in making his potential foes look like damn fools. I don't want to ruin the whole thing, but here are some goodies:

1. Calm down Senator Kennedy. I know you disagree with my judicial philosophy but it's not as if I drove some woman off a bridge or something.

2. I'm really getting the 5th degree here, Senator Byrd. You'd think I was a former KKK member or something.

3. Mr. Lott, your questions don't seem well organized. Maybe you could segregate them a little better.

Now that's the kind of material that lands you on the writing staff of the Daily Show or Jack Paar or whoever the devil it is you kids watch.

3. The Senate is full of complete morons, but this guy really takes the award for dumbest comment of the year:

"Beware of those sneaky reporters and their mind-bending tricks. That's the warning officials are giving employees of New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department.

Agency spokesman Matt Dillman says 'unscrupulous reporters' will use a 'Jedi Mind Trick' to get information."

That speaks for itself. I wish I had a joke that can top the silliness of his remarks, but alas, the only thing more hilarious than this guy's comments is Paul Rudd's performance in Wet, Hot American Summer. Fuck you, dyke.

4. Here's a quick way to get yourself held in contempt of court:

"You're getting real close to contempt now," Owens warned.
"Well you all are getting real close to pissin' me off," the witness replied.

Read the whole thing...much like a stock thesis on Particle Physics from Droz's secret stash, it's a scorcher.

5. Finally, I'm just shaking my head at this one. Poor bastard.

Slack Song of the Afternoon: Ever since catching the John Butler Trio open for Big Red in Cincy in early May, I've been looking for a place to see him on the East Coast. He's good. So far, though, no dice. But here's the JBT playing Funky Tonight from the Blues & Roots Music Festival in Byron Bay, Australia on 3/27/05. Dirty wook.

Waiting in the Velvet Ropes

You'd have thought the band was getting back together last night.

All the heads came out last night. The line outside the Canal Room extended down W. Broadway and curled all the way around the corner. After the Fridge-looking bouncer loudly proclaimed there would be no additional ducat release for the surprisingly sold-out event, the Ticketless frantically scrambled to secure an extra. I heard at least five "Cash or heady, heady trade for your extra" calls and saw people's eyes bulge and light up whenever they thought someone was about to announce they had one or two to sell.

Unlike the others, though, I could not bring myself to stick up a finger in the air high over my head, the international hippie sign for "I need an extra 'cuz I was either too lazy to buy a ticket or I spent all my money on veggie burritos, patchouli and nitrous." I always felt weird holding up my finger at sold-out shows, so I sure as shit wasn't doing it outside a swanky bar in TriBeCa.

So Lukas and I didn't scramble, and thus, we were back at his apartment hangin' with his girlfriend by 10 pm. Ahh, maybe our loss, but I went home okay...I still slept well last night. Besides, what the fuck was everyone doing down here? What'd be going on inside? I haven't paid a cover at a bar in years, was this thing really worth $15 for entry? The large crowd had assembled for a listening party?

"The fourth LIVE PHISH CD Release Party takes place on the eve of the release at the Canal Room in New York City on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 and will feature exclusive music and video from the Live Phish Island Tour releases plus vintage tracks, rare video and stills from the Phish Archives. Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro will be on hand to DJ the event, with visuals presented by James Olness & J.O.E. Lightshow."

We probably could have waited out the line and gone in at some point. We probably could have scoured the two-block radius for extras. We probably could have done a lot of things to get into an event that seemed pretty cool and has been getting rave reviews on the boards. But in the end, I thought it would be much more fun to stand in the humid and stanky New York streets for an hour before retiring to Lukas' to watch Wayne Franklin deliver a two-run homerun to Hank Blalock, dropping the Yank'ums out of first after only one night on top. Yeah, that was much more fun.

Instead of listening to some incredible soundboard versions of rare cuts and previously unseen videos from the band's archives (including a 1989 Icculus and a kickass Drowned > After Midnight from Big Cypress), I spent much of the night waiting in the velvet ropes. Then I got Indiana Jones-ed inside the Hindenburg: "No ticket."

Oh well...best not think to deeply on this one.

Slack Song of the Day: From the greatest free music site I've ever seen, here's an hour of Traffic from 2/21/72. And here's some more Traffic from 4/2/73.

Slack Boob Story of the Day: "A Russian tennis player and French Open winner cannot stop a New York photographer from distributing topless pictures taken of her during a magazine photo session in the summer of 2002, a federal judge says."

Slack Heroic Link of the Day: You can call this guy a cut-throat dick all you want, but it's what you do when it counts that matters. So while he may be a thorn in the side of league owners everywhere and he may be "what's wrong" with the state of sports today, Drew Rosenhaus deserves a parade and a medal for what he did yesterday. That's just top-notch stuff right there, great work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Latest from the LMB

There's been some interesting developments lately in the music world over on Slack's Sister Site, the Live Music Blog.

And since some of you don't click over there often enough, I'll bring the mountain to Mohammed, so to speak. if you're scoring at home, in today's two posts I've used the names Allah and Mohammed -- think I'm getting a visit from Tom Ridge any time today? (And sure, I do know Ridge stepped down after Bush's re-election and now it's that guy who looks like he's stricken with some terminal disease, but Tommy'll always be the DHS Secretary to me. Always.)

Anyway, before I head down in Gitmo for interrogation while wearing a bra and dancing with another man, here's the latest from the LMB:

--Farm Aid Returns to Illinois for 20th Anniversary
--Foo Fighters/Weezer Tour Confirmed
--Jamcast #008 (more of The Duo with Mike)
--More Vegoose Hype For Ya (updated website, but still cock-teasin')
--Buy your Live 8 DVD on eBay

And HUGE update from the "Ask and ye shall receive" file: Superfly has made a welcome addition to the Vegoose Site -- dates!

Under the roulette wheel, it now reads:

Music. Masks. Madness. Vegoose.
October 28-31, 2005
More to come. Stay Tuned.

Ace Cowboy says: “Woo hoo!”

JamBase says: “Well folks, it’s official, VEGOOSE IS ON!”

Jambands.com says: “Although the specifics remain unannounced, the Elvis-maned outline of Vegoose is starting to fill in.”

Who's comin' to Vegas with the Cowboy on Halloween? I hear it's semi-fun there.

CK Live Billboard

I'm not a fan of cologne or models or Calvin Klein or even the current state of advertising, but this thing sounds pretty f-in' cool...

"Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company and its ck one fragrance will rock Times Square this July 19, in a major event debuting New York City's first-ever live billboard. Long-known for innovative, edgy and sexy ad campaigns that launched the careers of models such as Kate Moss and Stella Tenant, ck one brings its new ad campaign to life in the heart of the city.

Calvin Klein first took over Times Square and set the world abuzz in 1992 with a giant billboard featuring underwear-clad Mark Wahlberg. Since then, the brand has continued to provoke and amaze with ads that have been known to literally stop traffic.

The company will return to Times Square this summer to bring the ck one brand to a new generation of ck one fans with a larger-than-life billboard. Pedestrians will be able to view the models as they live in the billboard throughout the day and night." [Press Release]

And click here for some pics of the folks up there...

Mid-Morning News and Notes

I just lost a whole Morning Post. I'm devastated. Not really. At least it was my own fault and not Blogger's, otherwise someone over at Google would have had to pay the Fiddler. But since I'm strapped for time now, we'll have to do this in digest form:

1. It's great to wake up and see the Yank'ums at the top of the (Danny) heap in the AL East. It looked pretty grim there when this team was 11-19, but Big Stein & Co. didn't panic and made the right moves to get this team headed back in the right direction.

The infusion of Cano and Wang and the exclusion of Officer Womack, not to mention a re-Juicified Giambi, were apparently the answers to life's little problems. Incidentally, praise be to Joe Torre (and, of course, Allah) for finally realizing that Womack eats more shit than the winner of this year's Turd-Ingesting Competition at the 76th Annual Fecalphiliac Convention. I took third in the 74th annual.

It also never hurts that Sheff, A-Rod and Matsui are three of the hottest hitters in the league right now. And it helps that they're sandwiched by Jeter and Cano on one side and Giambi and Posada on the other. So you just have to be ecstatic as a Yankee fan...after the piss poor beisbol these guys turned in throughout the first half, with Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano turning out to be ineffective lemons, we climbed on top by the end of July. Admirable.

2. UPDATE: It's not noon today (which just passed) as originally thought, but we will have a new nominee for the Supreme Court at 9 pm tonight.

Speculation is centering around Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, according to the Washington Post. Other than this article, I know nothing about her. But I'm sure she's a raging bitch that kills cats and hates retards. Stay tuned...

3. Northwestern University is at it again. We're supposed to be wicked smaht, but we're all idiots. Whether it's allowing white supremacist Matthew Hale to run wild on campus, getting busted in a massive point-shaving scandal, killing our starting safety in summer practice or many other ridiculous transgressions, NU is certainly earning its reputation as a group of buffoons. Now it's the flip-flop scandal:

"After Northwestern University's national championship women's lacrosse team visited the White House, a group photo showed several players wearing flip-flop sandals along with their dresses and skirts."

To read what this is all abooot, click here (as Chiptole Bob points out, check out the guns on the chick all the way to the left in this picture). And also here. Go U, NU.

4. Get ready for another sex tape...that's right, everybody's favorite d-bag Colin Farrell "is suing a woman for allegedly trying to distribute and profit from a sex tape he says the two recorded with the agreement they would never make it public." [Story]

This one may not be as sought after as Paris Hilton's or Bobby Abreu's fiance's tapes, but since I missed the whole "Eve has a sex tape" fiasco, I figured I'd point this one out to y'all as a public service. Enough gossip. We now return you to your regularly scheduled procrastination.

5. Finally, here's a funny quote from Sen. John McCain that doesn't involve the word gook: "In Washington, I work with boobs every day."

Slack Song of the Day: Even though I've only seen 'em once (and missed 'em once, down in Langerado), I'm a big fan of the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Much like A1 Bold steak sauce, this band's sound hits me here, and it hits me right here.

So this morning's tune is called Government Magic, from the 8/1/03 show at the Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, Va. If you like it and want to listen to some more, feel free to click right here and stream the rest of the show.

Monday, July 18, 2005

You're Not Chinese

When I posted something here about my recent LASIK surgery, I used the ol' standby "I Can See Clearly Now." In doing so, I invited a little ridicule on myself for employing such a trite subject headline.

Maybe I should have referenced something cultural instead, like "Eatin' Onions, Spottin' Dimes" or "Eyes of the World" or "Vision Quest." I chose something easy, though, and I took some heat from the Uno and others. I says to you, I says, that's what I get for coming up with an unoriginal and obvious headline.

And that brings us to the reason for this post: completely original headlines. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say no news organization nor any blogger in the history of the world has ever written the header on this excellent BBC article. Sweet.

Slackadeech Postagooch

Following a fun weekend dominated by another sweaty-patella Mulgrewian birthday, overly bastardized I-talian usage and multiple trips to Lawn Gisland for familial obligations, I'm about as tired as ESPN's act. Or, I should say, E-S-Paneech's act-a-gool.

Seriously, do I need to accompany Stu Scott and Chris Berman on a 50-states-in-50 days tour across America while Bryan Adams' "Open Road" song mocks me through the television? ESPN should apologize for Bryan Adams on several occasions, and then they should apologize for the two-month Self-Promoting Crapfest they're about to unleash on the American public.

And it didn't help that I was woken up at 5:55 am this morning for work-related nonsense. Next time this happens, I'm telling this chick, "I'm not a doctor, I'm not on call, leave me the fuck alone before I eat your fingers off and sew 'em to your boobs." I don't know what that would accomplish, but I'm dyn-o-mite with a needle and thread.

So now I'm exhausted from the weekend, exhausted from the morning, and it's going to be a busy day at la oficina. It's a good thing for this random guy's blog, whose latest In/Out-type list calls Slack "In" and Mulgrew "Out," otherwise I'd be in a pissy mood this morning. Classic. Eat that, Muldoon. That's what you get for having your birthday in the same patella-sweat-inducing sauna two years in a row.

Slack Quote of the Day: In between book-club books, I like to pick up old stuff I've read and re-read my favorite chapters or parts of the story (that's a fucking pathetic little sentence: I used "book" twice and "read" twice). Every once in a while I'll bounce back to everyone's favorite recluse, JD Salinger...as good as Catcher is, his other three books -- or collections of stories -- are that much better.

Despite his obvious fame, I think this guy is still the most underrated author in history. And they're all quick reads, so if you haven't already done so, run out and pick up Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction. (Or you can read Raise High right here).

The best part about Salinger is that he's very contemporary. You think as a 1950s author he might be a little stuffy, a little erudite, a little old-fashioned. But when you read his stuff, you realize he's just a brilliant man with incredible wit and sarcasm, a man of poetry. He tells you a great story and he makes you laugh with him, makes you laugh at his characters.

As I said, I took a few train rides this weekend, and I broke out Raise High for yesterday's ride. It's 92 short pages and a quicker read than just about any story on the planet. Narrated by Buddy Glass, the second-oldest Glass child in Salinger's ongoing chronicles, the author tells the story of Seymour's non-wedding to Muriel, a hysterical account that will forever remind me of my recent trip to California.

Anyway, I re-read this line on the train and cackled so loudly I got some funny looks: "'Look,' she said, in the spuriously patient tone of voice that a teacher might take with a child who is not only retarded but whose nose is forever running unattractively."

I just love that Salinger. Love that Joker.

Slack Song of the Day: As seen previously on this here site, nobody gets me going quite like Brent Mydland. To me, this dirty wook drove the Dead's sound in the mid- to late-80s, and I truly believe if he hadn't died of a speedball overdose in 1990, he'd have eventually taken over as the star of band, the one the fans came to see night in and night out, reducing his clearly slowing friend Jerry to a Bill Walton on the 1986 Celtics kind of role.

I don't know about that last sentence -- I truly don't even believe it myself -- but I just love Brent's sound. Anyway, take a listen to this Man Smart, Woman Smarter from Alpine Valley on 8/7/82 and marvel at the beauty of those keys. Beautious.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Coach Downs Syndrome

This article is too good, so I'll just put it up without comment (I will, however, italicize my favorite parts):

Cops: Little League Coach Takes 'Hit' On Player

NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A tee-ball coach seeking to keep a player with a mental disability off the field allegedly asked another player to hurt the boy, state police in Fayette County said Friday.

During pre-game warmups, Mark Reed Downs Jr. offered one of his players $25 to hit the 8-year-old boy in the head with a baseball, according to a police news release.

"Various interviews revealed that Downs did not want the victim to play due to his physical limitations," the release said.

After speaking with his coach, the second player hit the victim near his left ear and in the groin area, leaving him unable to play in that night's game, police said.

The alleged incident happened June 27 at R.W. Clark Little League Field in North Union Township, police said.

Downs, 27, of Dunbar, was charged Friday with criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors and reckless endangerment. He posted bond and was released from jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 28.

Underage Golf

Michelle Wie's quest for an invite to The Masters ended today with a 5-and-4 loss in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links. That's too bad, I was hoping she'd make it and get rat-tailed coming out of the lockerroom shower by Craig Stadler.

Wie's bid for the PubLinks champeenship, and every other time she takes to the course, reminds me of one of my favorite stoned jokes, which I once posted here, only to get ridiculed. But I like the joke, so here's a reprise:

Q: What did the snail say when he rode on the turtle's back?
A: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Oh fuck it, I don't have to impress you people.

Now let's turn the tables from youth to the elderly...take a look at this awesome fight between two old men and try not to laugh. I dare you, I double-dog dare you. Mendelbaum, Mendelbaum, Mendelbaum!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

8-6: That's how you do it...that's how you debate.

All this week I've been telling everyone within earshot that I'd love for the Yank'ums to be trailing by a run in the 9th at Fenway, just so we could bash in a few runs against that Goateed Tub O' Goo with the fake chicken-blood on his sock.

Well, we weren't trailing for our last at-bats off Schilling, but I'll take the end result with glee: a double off the wall by Sheff, a bomb to center by the delicious A-Rod and a strike-out-the-side performance by Resurgent Mo. That's a spicy meat-a-ball, a huge 9th-inning win to give us a chance to leave Fenway with the division lead.

(I will admit, though, one glaring negative came out of this fantastic comeback victory: The Yanks desperately NEED a lights-out lefty in the bullpen for guys like Big Papi/Davey Coolbeard. This is not up for discussion, this is a necessity. Last night we survived an Ortiz Dongy Dong, but in the future we might not be so lucky).

So the game worked out almost exactly how I imagined it would. Of course, I seem to always make my most accurate predictions off the blog, where I have no proof of my excellent augury skills. The ones I decide to post? Yeah, they generally suck M&Ms right out of my ass.

Take my 2005 MLB predictions, for example, which shows I'm a genius in the American League, but a complete moron in every other aspect.

My predictions from a 4/4 Slack post (if I'm wrong, I put the correct team in parentheses):

AL East: Yank'ums (Sawx, but soon to be the Yanks)
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Angels
Wild Card: Twins

OK, lookin' pretty solid off the bat -- if the Yanks indeed come back to take over the division lead, which is all but likely to this clearly unbiased reporter, I could end up calling this thing 100% accurate. And when everyone in America says, "Who woulda thunk the ChiSox could have won that division?," I can respond truthfully, "Um, me." Sometimes, just sometimes, I know what I'm talking about. But as you'll see, those occasions are rare.

NL East: Marlins (Nationals)
NL Central: Cubbies (Cards)
NL West: Padres
Wild Card: Braves

Again, not terrible. I mean, really, who woulda thunk the Nationals could win this division?! This time, not me. Plus, I wouldn't count out the Marlins from a second-half surge; this is a team that has been under-performing more than Wal-Mart's stock. The Cubs got some bad breaks, but I should have known better than to bet against the Cards. This St. Louis squad looks like a World Series team.

ALCS: Yanks over Angels
NLCS: Padres over Cubbies
World Series: Yanks over Padres

Take out the North-Siders from this equation and I'm still okay with this prediction. Even though in the above paragraph I called the Cards a World Series team, I think the Pods could come out of nowhere to surprise some people. Peavy, Lawrence, Eaton, they could take a series against anyone if they get hot. And hey, they've got Paul Qunatrill now, and he rocks.

AL MVP 1-2: Hideki Matsui, Vlad Guerrero
NL MVP 1-2: Carlos Delgado, Brian Giles
AL Cy Young 1-2: Randy Johnson, Bartolo Colon
NL Cy Young 1-2: Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. These predictions just suck. Let's forget I made some of these. Unless the Unit pitches three perfect games in a row, he's not winning any hardware in the offseason, except maybe a bionic knee. And don't get me started on Tim Hudson, who cockteased every fantasy owner into thinking he was the real deal, but then decided to blow goats (I have proof).

All I know is (I got a lotta balls), it's gonna be a good second half to the season, though. Rich Harden nearly pitched a perfect game last night, eight teams in each league have a legitimate shot at winning the wild card in addition to the races for division titles, Raffy's trying to be the third player ever with 3000 hits and 600 homeruns, Barry might return...you never know what's going to happen this year.

As they say, "I live for this."

Slack Songs of the Day: I couldn't decide between two fantastic cover tunes, both played in Illinois, so I'm-a gonna give you both. Hopefully you'll listen to them and comment below on which one you like better.

1. Yonder Mountain String Band with the Grateful Dead's New Speedway Boogie from the July 9th Big Summer Classic in Schaumburg's Alexian Field. I mean, vocally, you can't touch Jerry's voice on this song, but musically I think they do a pretty cool job.

2. Umphrey's McGee with the Doobie Brother's Black Water from the Canopy Club in Champaign-Urbana on April 15th. Again, vocally, I don't think this version holds up, but musically, I like it. I like it a lot.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Strange Growth

This has got to be a hoax...please let it be a hoax.

Five Noon Links

1. From Noonan's blog (and the comments of this morning's post):

"Bernard Goldberg was on the Daily Show last night promoting his new book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. You can watch the video at Crooks and Liars. It's pretty amusing."

2. From a Jacob Eli e-mail: "this is the strangest yet most oddly enjoyable mindless page i've ever seen. you gotta put it up..."

And put it up I will. You can actually control the falling lady with your mouse. That sounded dirty, but it's true.

3. From a story that could only have come from Florida, which as many of you know from previous Slack posts, I'm trying to cede back to Spain (fuckin' paperwork snafus and ownership rights): "Dad Boxed With 3-Year-Old, Mom Says In Murder Trial"

Ready for the sickness? Remember, this kid was three years old: "He was trying to teach him how to fight," said Shanita Powell, Nysheerah Paris' sister. "He was concerned that the child might be gay."

4. From the You're On Your Own, Folks file...here's a scorcher from the Jakarta Post: "Penile gourd wearers, affectionate hubbies and tennis fans beware." I got nuthin'. Absolutely nuthin'.

5. From the desk of Letter D, his well-written ode entitled "How Jessica Alba's Ass Saved Hollywood." Good read, good ass.

Good Rumor for NYC Folks

Cream to Perform at MSG

“Cream will perform three shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden on October 24, 25 and 26. While no official statement has been made, these performances are believed to be the band’s first full stateside shows since disbanding in the late 1960s. As previously reported, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker reunited in early May for a series of appearances at London’s Royal Albert Hall. With the exception of a 1993 reunion at the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, those three shows marked the group’s first performance since disbanding in 1968. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more information.” --Relix, 7/12

I actually heard on New York’s classic rock station Q104.3 on Tuesday that one of the key problems holding up the announcement is the fact that Ginger Baker has some decades-old drug charges against him, and he’s actually worried the DEA might pick him up in the States. That sounds preposterous, but then again, no it doesn’t…

As an added bonus, in case the rumor turns out to be false, we found some old pictures of Cream at the self-proclaimed World’s Most Famous Arena, November 2, 1968.

For more on the Cream reunion in London’s Royal Albert Hall back in May: Pics from Drummer World Magazine; Reunited and It Feels So Good; Supergroup Cream rises again; Believe it or not, Forbes’ take; The Guardian’s review of their first show back.

Slack Song of the Day: This site wasn't workin' for me before, but hopefully it'll work for you by the time you click these. Here are a couple of Cream shows from 1967...

Cream 1
Cream 2
Bonus: The Lost Cream Tapes

Oh, and the Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences announced this year's Emmy nominations this morning...not a bad job, Deadwood and Arrested Development definitely got some good play. And let me just say for the record, if Ian McShane loses to either Spader, House MD, Hank Azaria or Quiefer Sutherland, I will wreck things with my bare hands. And if someone can explain to me why Deadwood's Trixie wasn't nominated, I'd like to know...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Too Early for Flapjacks?

Drunk Driver Arrested For Knocking Over 17 Street Signs

Here's the best part: "According to the incident report, Strange repeatedly told police officers he was drunk. He also said he was paid $45 to knock over the signs."

So, this story begs the question: What would you do for $45?

I Can See Clearly Now

I woke up on Monday morning with pretty poor vision. Not the worst eyesight out there, but I definitely needed to wear glasses or contacts as a result of some rather nasty astigmatisms in both peepers.

I walked into a clinic on Monday afternoon for a fairly harmless ten-minute procedure, where a doctor gave me the A Clockwork Orange eyes-forced-open treatment and shot a "laser" through each of my lamps to correct these optimo-problems as I lovingly clutched a stuffed hippo to my chest.

I woke up on Tuesday morning with better vision than most of you mere mortals. In fact, I was reading 20/20 on that annoying lettered chart not 24 hours after surgery. Ahh, the wonders of technology. I'm the anti-Thomas Dolby: They un-blinded me with science.

LASIK...I mean, seriously, what will they think of next? I'm impressed. These scienticians or whoever they are really did some good work.

For anyone contemplating the surgery, take some advice from Nike and Maury Finkel: (Just) do it. It's remarkable, it's incredible, and truthfully, I still can't believe the effects. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to awake from nightly slumber and be able to see the television clearly. Now I know it's great. I couldn't envision what it would be like to look in the mirror and see an unspectacled Ace. Now I know I look handsome and debonair. It's awesome, I can even see things like street signs and addresses from more than five feet away.

And aside from the time I moved my head at the exact time the laser was about to pierce my left cornea, the surgery was a piece of cake. Sure, there's some minor discomfort, and they jab some shit in your eye that's not cool, but you're in and out in 10-20 minutes. Here's the rub: Everyone told me, "You'll be completely fine by the next morning," but nobody told me that for the next four to six hours I'd feel like someone threw Fuji dust or buckets of sand in my ojos or like I'd been swimming in raw sewage (and I don't love it).

So after the numbing agent wears off, make sure to get yourself a valium, a Tylenol PM or drink a pint of Benadryl. I couldn't fall alseep in that kind of stinging pain, so I went from really psyched about the surgery to really pissed at myself in a short period of time. But by about the time Bobby Abreu won the Homerun Derby title, the pain started to cease and my eyes started to open a bit. I can see! I can really see perfectly! My smile came back instantly.

And when I woke up the next day and tore those doc-issued Kurt Rambis shields off my face, I felt truly bionic. I have a feeling of sheer joy enveloping me today, and I'm not sure how quickly this is going to fade. Sure, there are some trivial annoyances I have to put up with this week, like eyedrops and night shields and no eye-rubbing and all that, but it's all worth it. And you can't swim for a week or two, but like Corky says, there ain't no swimmin' in my show.

The Ace Cowboy can see perfectly, without glasses or contacts. And there ain't no stoppin' me now.

I'm Back

Busy day ahead...but first, a couple of starters:

--From an anonymous source, who I refuse to go to jail for: "ESPN hired an ombudsman, which I think is a pretty cool move – a former Washington Post sports editor/journo professor...

And then I find out that HIS SON IS THE PRODUCER OF AROUND THE HORN. They hired the freakin’ dad of the guy who produces the second-worst program (after Rome is Burning) on the network.

C’mon! I mean, I’m sure he’ll do his best to be impartial, but how can you allow such a major conflict of interest?"

Good point, Sporty Deep Throat. I couldn't agree more. And for those of you wondering what the H an ombudsman is, Merriam-Webster to the rescue. That's one of those words that everyone's heard at least once but never asks for a definiton. Kind of like "afterbirth" (OK, I clearly watched parts of Boomerang this weekend).

--Does anyone wanna go to the Big Summer Classic with me? Sure, it requires taking off from work on Thursday, July 21st, but it's going to be a killer day of music and Sumo wrestling.

Here's the lineup:
New Monsoon - 1:30pm
Umphrey's McGee - 3:00pm
Keller Williams - 4:30pm
Michael Franti & Spearhead - 6:00pm
Yonder Mountain String Band - 7:30pm
The String Cheese Incident - 9:00pm

Well, I'm going alone if nobody wants to come, but it'd be nice to get a pod'ner there. Much like the ECW reunion, I'm guaranteeing a good time. Six bands, ten hours of great music, Keyspan Park on Coney Island, maybe a ride on the Cyclone...sounds lovely, right?

--And lastly, here's a great headline: "Mariah Carey's Clothes Fall Off."

Stay tuned, more on my absence later...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Picture of the Year

I saw something uniquely hilarious this weekend, one of those enduring images that only come along once in a great while. I think if I had one of them shit-kickin' cameras with the long lenses I may have swept every 2005 photo-journalism award the industry bestows.

Snacks and I weathered a ten-minute War of the Worlds-like storm on Sixth Avenue on Saturday, and when we emerged from the subway's refuge it was positively gorgeous outside (incidentally, I'm sorry for even referencing Senor Spielbergo's traveshamockery of a film, but it describes the quickness of the darkening sky pretty well). We walked to Washington Square Paek and met up with J-Cantor and the Mrs., where we stood and watched a fine trio of seemingly mismatched musicians playing great Beatles' covers to a solid crowd about 10 feet away from an unimpressive street perfomer hopping up and down on broken glass to the applause of nary a passerby.

The four of us strolled up Sixth after walking through the remnants of a street fair on Bleecker and started to make our way up north. Taking some bat hits on the corner of Sixth and Waverly, I noticed that strange occurrence teased above. I wish I had that camera.

There was a lady, probably from a Caribbeanean island like Trinidad and Tobago. She had long, dreadlocked black hair tied up in a bandana-like head-satchel, the kind of headress that makes for the base of a Chiquita fruit hat, like the people wear to transport their goods from village to village. Only the object resting on this woman's noggin wasn't a piece of fruit or anything used for commerce, it was a large plastic cup of Starbucks iced coffee. The absurdity is bleeding all over the rug. I'm easily amused, but that's gold, Jerry. Gold.

Other notes:

--People constantly tell me they're not happy with a particular function of Blogger, and I couldn't agree more (well, you do get what you pay for). Nobody's happy about the fact that when you click on an embedded link, it goes directly to the link instead of opening up a new window to make for uninterrupted reading. I'd like to make it work that way, but it just doesn't. And if it does, someone teach me how, because I'd love to switch it.

Anyway, I have two suggestions for you:

1. Instead of clicking on the link itself, drag the mouse over the highlighted portion and right-click it. Choose the "Open in a New Window" option...and voila!

2. Open up two browsers to the home-grown Slack LaLane shit. When you feel the urge to click one of the embedded links, switch over to Browser Dos and click it on up. Snoogins.

--Pay close attention to the 8 - 9 pm commercial breaks of Monday night's Home Run Derby. A little birdie showed me a sneak peek of the new Wheaties ad campaign that's launching at some point in that hour, and it's a damn good one. Great mersh, you'll enjoy. Chills.

--The Yanks go into the All-Star Break only 2.5 back and streaking through the quad like Frank the Tank. Giambi, back on the juice? No question. I like it.

--After this, we're taking a two-day hiatus from postage. Well, I'm taking a hiatus, maybe Donnie will craft his first post since March 30th, but I'm out. I'm going in for a simple little medical procedure Monday afternoon and won't be able to get to a computer for a few days. It's not calf implants ala Johnny Drama and, sadly, it's not penis reduction surgery like Ron Albertson (it ain't vagina enlargement either, though). We'll have more on that Wednesday.

Slack Song of the Day: As a result of missing the next two days, here are a couple of full shows from tela.sugarmegs.org that you might enjoy:

1. The Word, from this year's Bonnaroo -- Kenny Alias gave me the heads up about these guys and this show...how is it possible that John Medeski, Robert Randolph and Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi All Stars were in a band and I had no idea? I suck. Regardless, there's some cool stuff in this set.

2. Sly and the Family Stone, 10/9/70 -- You can't really find much live Sly stuff, so when you do you've got to hold onto it for dear life. As Donnie likes to say, if chocolate pudding could sing, this is what it would sound like.

3. The popular rock band Phish, 2/28/03 -- This is the most controversial show in the archives: People either think it's the best post-hiatus show or the most overrated one. Me? I think it's the best post-hiatus show. And I think I'm right.

The Tweezer> Soul Shakedown Party to open the second set makes me moist, the Back on the Train might be the greatest version ever, the first Destiny Unbound in 12 years, a kickass three-song encore featuring a funky Contact jam and an always-sick Tweeprise, crisp jamming the whole night...what more do you people need?

Good talk, see ya Wednesday.

Friday, July 08, 2005

That's Nice. Real Nice.

Yesterday's terror attacks in London surely bled the true colors out of some of our favorite Fox News anchors.

Brit Hume admitted on air last night that his first reaction to the attacks was purely financial, how to capitalize on the darkest hours of our nation's biggest ally: "I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.'"

And John Gibson twice repeated his ugly abhorrance of the French, which makes for a good joke in private, but not for millions of ill-informed Fox listeners and watchers on the radio and television. Guest-hosting for Billy Bob O'Reilly on The Radio Factor, Gibson said: "By the way, just wanted to tell you people, we missed -- the International Olympic Committee missed a golden opportunity today. If they had picked France, if they had picked France instead of London to hold the Olympics, it would have been the one time we could look forward to where we didn't worry about terrorism. They'd blow up Paris, and who cares?"

If that weren't offensive enough, he stated on his television show: "The bombings in London: This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics -- let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while."

Look, I don't necessarily disagree with either of these assertions -- Hume's remark, while crass, was actually a wise investment decision and Gibson's jokes were quite funny -- but Fox News is the land of the lemmings and this is blatantly irresponsible. These bastards rile people up and misinform the American public to such a ridiculous extent, and this behavior cannot be condoned or tolerated.

Think about it: If the British talking heads made Hume's statement after 9/11, Fox News anchors would be calling for their poor-smile heads. Poor form, ol' chaps.

Jim Jones Sheep

As funny/crazy as this story is, it's also kinda sad. Good thing for me I have no heart, no compassion and no love for stinky Turkish people:

450 Sheep Jump to Their Deaths in Turkey

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.

In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.

"There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted," Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam.

The estimated loss to families in the town of Gevas, located in Van province in eastern Turkey, tops $100,000, a significant amount of money in a country where average GDP per head is around $2,700.

"Every family had an average of 20 sheep," Aksam quoted another villager, Abdullah Hazar as saying. "But now only a few families have sheep left. It's going to be hard for us."

Trailer Crashers

Apparently this is really easy to create your own, but I can't put forth that kind of effort right now.

Regardless, it's good to see there's no hard feelings between Mike and Trey, that these two can put their musical differences aside and have some genuine fun together. It ain't doin' the bump with their moms all full of OxyContin, but it's fun.

Trailer Crashers.

Don't Throw It to Stonehands

Interacting with the fans is one of my favorite things about going to the ballpark: striking up random conversations, getting into it with opposing fans, throwing out high fives to the family of five or the local youths sitting next to me, the possibility of seeing a Rally Tit. You know, shit like that.

My absolute favorite part, though, is when someone in the seats makes a diving catch or drops an easy foul ball, a can of corn in the stands. In the case of the dropper, the entire stadium -- well, those paying attention at least -- usually boos that fan mercilessly and jeers the lack of concentration on his or her part. It's not only great fun and a great sight, but it keeps everyone on their toes.

Enter Robert Marchese, a 41-year-old Yankees fan from Frushing, Queens. If you watched the game last night, you know who this guy is (I try not to watch SportsCenter anymore, but I bet they did a number on this guy as well). Last night Marchese dropped not one, but two homerun balls hit directly at him in the right-field stands. First, A-Rod's homer hit off his wrist, then Giambi's in the next inning ricocheted off his fingertips. That's inappropriate, that's inexcusable.

"'The first one, I was zoned in,' Marchese said while talking to friends on his cell phone. 'I had it locked. But the speed was faster than I thought. It hit me right on the wrist,' he said, showing his bruise," Newsday reported.

Hey, I've never caught a foul ball and never really had an opportunity to do so. In the hundreds of games I've been to, I've never been all that close to one. But even without a personal frame of reference, this guy's on the No Gouda List. Someone get me Arnold Diaz on the line: Shame on you, Marchese.

Slack Invite of the Day: In honor of the engagement of Donnie Fiedler and Irene Palazzo, Bart Starbux and I implore you all to come on out to Brooklyn's finest bar, Floyd (directions in the link). Play some indoor bocce, drink some cheap bar, shake some sneezy hands, meet some new peeps...it's gonna be a good time. See you there, jerks.

Slack Song of the Day: It's a rainy Friday in New York City, where they make the non-Pace Picante, so let's throw a whole show out there for you to gobble down. So here's some Van Morrison from 9/9/1971, and let me tell you, this thing is awesome. Just take the 68 minutes and listen to this...do it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Diversion

Here's a crazy little video that will divert your attention away from this morning's attacks...this should teach everyone a valuable lesson about respecting authori-tay.

Also, is it weird that Rudy Giuliani was in London today on a business trip? What are the odds? Anyone else think it's just a little fishy that he shows up after the damage is done every time? Now I don't want to speculate and slander here, but it almost seems a little too much like Samuel L.'s character in Unbreakable.

How 'bout some other libelous and defamatory and definitely insensitive conspiracy theories, like Chirac planned this to spite the Brits after the Olympics announcement?

Latest on London

Scotland Yard has updated their report...the latest, as of 1:30 pm: There are about 700 casualties, including 37 dead.

Here's some news from the bombings in London:

London Blasts: "People were screaming" -- BBC News
London Explosions: Your accounts -- BBC News
London hit by multiple terror blasts at rush hour -- The Times Online
Four Blasts Hit London, Killing At Least 2 --Wash Post
Tony Blair: It's Terrorism -- Financial Times
Blair Says Attacks Were Timed for G-8 Talks; At Least 2 Dead -- NY Times

According to the Evening Standard, "Al Qaida terrorists have claimed responsibility for the London blasts on an Islamic website and said that 'Britain is burning with fear.'

The unverified claim, made on the Al-Qal'ah - Fortress - internet site, was posted by a group calling themselves the Secret Organisation Group of Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organisation in Europe."

Al-Qaeda also just claimed responsibility for killing the top Egyptian diplomat in Iraq. Sadly, it's a good day to be an insane jihadist.

For the record, Europe is on high alert but the U.S. Color-Coded Tom-Ridge Whatever System has not been elevated on the federal level. So, please, go about your normal business until they do raise it, at which time you'll still go about your normal business because really, what can ya do...

UPDATE: Several cities have been asked to raise the threat level, though, including New York, Miami, Boston, DC and Atlanta. More at 11:45 presser from Homeland Security Dep't. I'm hearing Michael Chertoff will announce we're staying at yellow but our mass transit systems will go to orange. Clever.

My best to those in London.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lance, He's Not

Every time something big happens, this fucker falls off his bike to divert attention from the problem. The government sent a good reporter to jail today because Karl Rove (probably) leaked the name of a CIA operative to her. And to take pressure off Rove and his lawyer -- imagine being Karl Rove's lawyer, ewwww -- the president ate shit on his bike. Clever girl.

Bush collides with police officer during bike ride

AUCHTERARDER, Scotland (CNN) -- President Bush collided with a British police officer during a bike ride Wednesday afternoon, suffering scrapes on his hands and arms that required bandaging, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

The officer, from the Strethclyde Police Department in Scotland, was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. The extent of his injury wasn't clear, although he might have an ankle injury, McClellan said.

Bush "visited" with the police officer for some time after the accident and asked White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb to monitor his situation at the hospital, McClellan said. The president was expected to call the officer later, McClellan said.
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Anyway, if Bush lives through these injuries, hopefully he'll make some peace at the G-8 Summit. If not, we could be facing the End of the World, which may look something like this (courtesy of eBaumsWorld and this crazy intern that wants credit for something that's not hers).

Off WIth His Head

And here I just thought girls liked the snipped ones better:

"French and South African AIDS researchers have called an early halt to a study of adult male circumcision to reduce HIV infection after initial results reportedly showed that men who had the procedure dramatically lowered their risk of contracting the virus.

The study's preliminary results, disclosed Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 70 percent -- a level of protection far better than the 30 percent risk reduction set as a target for an AIDS vaccine." [More]

Note to new parents: Take off that hooded sweatshirt. Your kid will thank you for it when he's out of condoms and there's a drunk freshman out cold in his bed.