Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tonight: The Old Vet vs. The New Kid

If you can get to a television at 10:30 this evening, make sure to watch the Yank'ums take on the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Tonight's match-up features the Old Vet versus the New Kid, the All-Star flame-thrower on his way out against the Rising Star on his way up, the got-nothing-left Lefty taking on the this-kid's-all-right Righty. I love these kinds of match-ups.

If you haven't heard of the M's Felix Hernandez, he's the 19-year-old fireballer that the minor leagues can't hold. Believe it or not, he's still two years away from the legal drinking age but the M's haven't even rushed him to the big leagues. He's ready. His stats say he's ready. Just look at this pitching line for the season:

2-1, 5 starts, 36 innings pitched, 38 Ks, only 23 hits and 5 walks, only 7 earned runs. More than a strikeout per inning, an ERA less than 2, a WHIP below 1.

Have I mentioned he's 19? With the Unit coming off one of his best starts as a Yankee and returning to the city where he burst onto the scene, this one's gearing up to be one of the best match-ups of the year (and how about NL Cy Young candidates Carpenter and Clemens going head-to-head on Saturday?).

ESPN2 nationally or YES in NYC. Tune in, Slackers.

And Now, Some Frivolity

I can't stop watching coverage of this Hurricane Katrina disaster.

A major American city is 80 percent under water, the government orders everyone to evacuate, the levee reparations aren't taking, oil and gas production and pipelines are shut down and prices around the country are rising faster than the water level in the city (gouging, price hikes, long lines at the pump, praise Jebus I don't drive a car).

We're watching the closest thing to a modern Pompeii unfold. Here's the understatement of the year: We are witnessing serious history, folks. But as the journalism gets more yellow, and as people make me feel like a complete deek for making one or two harmless little jokes, here are some frivilous questions I'd like answered:

--First, the obvious: What happens to Mardi Gras and the N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival? Will the city be fixed enough to hold these events next year (not a chance) or will they be moved to another city, like Baton Rouge? Where will girls go wild if not New Orleans?

What happened to the Mardi Gras parade floats, were they washed away? Will the bead industry take a serious hit or will they re-name them anal beads and sell 'em to porn shops? What about the Jazzfest sound stages? Did Allen Toussaint actually leave New Orleans or did he chain himself to the fairgrounds? Shouldn't this hurricane have been named Sneakin' Sally?

--I haven't had my fantasy football draft yet. What happens to the fantasy value of the New Orleans Saints players? There's no chance these guys play a home game at the Superdome this year, right? Will 16 "road" games (even if they're at LSU's Tiger Stadium) take its toll on Aaron Brooks, Deucey Deuce, Joe Horn, Donte' Stallworth, John Carney and the team's already inconsistent defense?

--How does this hurricane affect Mississippi native Brett Fav-ruh's mindset going into the year? Favre apparently lost his childhood home in Kiln -- Legos, Tonkas, trophies, pharmies and all. And while his family was safe from harm after riding out the storm in an attic, does this conclude the most awful couple of years for one of the "good guys" in professional sports?

First his father dies suddenly of a heart attack in December 2003, then his brother-in-law dies in an ATV accident on his property, then his wife gets breast cancer a few days later. Now this. This guy is clearly a closet puppy-killer or cat-raper to deserve this fate, no? Jeez, you really gotta feel for the man.

--Now, it appears the LSU Stadium and campus came through the storm all right, but how psyched do you think Nick Saban is he decided to leave LSU for the Dolphins job? I'm sure he was pissed when it looked like Katrina was coming after southern Florida, but then it turned out it headed for his old residence. And, conversely, how freaked out and pissed at himself do you imagine new LSU head coach Les Miles is he left Oklahoma State for the muck of Louisiana?

--And what about George Shin's decision to flip off the Charlotte fans and move his Hornets down to New Orleans? He's gotta be kicking himself right about now, right? Talk about poetic justice: The guy re-located his franchise away from one of the most loyal fanbases in the country to an underwater city that may never be the same again.

--What happens to the college students down there, at Tulane and all the local community colleges and smaller schools, not to mention the elemantary, middle and high schools in the area? Let alone the fact that Tulane is going to have to refund a shit-ton of money, what do the students do for education? Five-minute rule? Six-month vacation? Free transfer to LSU?

--If the city ever gets back to what it used to be, should they re-name the drink from "The Hurricane" to something else? Wouldn't that be like the vacationers in Phuket downing "Tsunami" after "Tsunami" on the beach? How's that for a splash of irony and a twist of lemon?

--What else are you afraid to ask for fear of ridicule? Here's the place, ask away below. And if you've got any answers for me, leave those in the comments section as well.

And as a reminder, you can save your hell-bound soul by donating to the relief effort here:
American Red Cross Effort
FEMA's list of many other places to donate

Hurricane Semantics

Someone just posted this on the Internets, I thought it was fairly ridiculous...click on the picture below to enlarge it.


So the black people are "looting" shit, the white people are "finding" shit. That's just classic right there.

You can make the case this is a style thing, considering the captions come from two different sources. But even if it's not overtly racist, it's still a pretty interesting graphic. And just to show this photo set wasn't doctored in any way, here are the two pics separately (top pic, bottom pic).

For the record, I'm more than okay with white and black people alike "finding" all the food and water they can -- if any edible food still exists -- but when they start stealing jewelry and carjacking folks, then I don't mind if the police shoot them in the face ala Marvin.

Good luck down there, hopefully help is on the way.

Slack Hurricane-related Songs of the Day: Led Zeppelin's When the Levee Breaks, Bob Dylan's acoustic Down in the Flood (Crash on the Levee) and electric Hurricane, The Band w/ Bobby Charles on Down South in New Orleans, Johnny Cash's Five Feet High and Rising, String Cheese Incident's 100 Year Flood, The Who's Drowned, and finally, The Animals' House of the Rising Sun.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Disaster Relief

I mainly deal with tragedy through humor. That's my defense mechanism. It's how I cope with loss and pain.

But that's not to say I don't feel terrible for the victims of these natural and unnatural horrors, and I certainly do. I've honestly fought back tears twice today just watching footage of Katrina's destruction, though in fair disclosure I must admit I've often got the emotional balance of a little schoolgirl. I mean, A League of Their Own even got to me several times (poor Betty Spaghetti).

I get testy and annoyed when the subway takes five extra minutes to show up, so I know how difficult it must be for the people in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama who were affected by this natural disaster. It'll be weeks, and months in some parts of the country, before things even resemble normalcy. And that's just awful.

Hundreds of thousands are still without power, and they won't get it back for a month or so. What's worse, there's a 200-foot-wide break in the 17th Street Canal Levee in New Orleans, which is slowly flooding the whole city, according to most reports. Huge 3,000-pound sand bags are currently being airlifted to try to stop the rush of water in that area, but the government is expecting the water to continue until it reaches lake level.

The city is 80 percent under water, in some places 20 feet deep, and because the city is below sea level, the water is rising, not receding. I can't even imagine what would be going on down there if this hurricane was a direct hit on the city instead of veering east at the last possible minute. Check out this unbelievable helicopter footage of New Orleans under water, courtesy of WGNO-TV.

A reporter from that network also reported on CNN's air about an hour ago that a man jumped from the second balcony of the Superdome to his death. It must be horrible down there. Sadly, he's one of the hundreds of lives lost over the past two days on the Gulf Coast (though I generally have little sympathy for suicide victims).

So to make up for my questionable Hurricane Katrina/Phish setlist post from yesterday, and to try and do my part as a concerned citizen unaffected by this disaster, here are some places to make donations to the disaster relief effort, if you so choose:

American Red Cross Effort
FEMA's list of many other places to donate

Do your part, let's help out some folks out so they can clean this shit up and I can finally make it to Jazzfest next year.


**And an enormous heap of praise for the US Coast Guard...if anyone's watching CNN (or maybe other channels have it), these guys are riding around in helicopters and plucking stranded people from their rooves. I just heard they've rescued at least 1,200 people so far. It's amazing to watch -- out of tragedy comes heroism.**

Collection of Links

An awful night of sleep begets an awful morning post.

Between the Yank'ums playing on the West Coast and the return of my 6 am wake-up calls for work, I can barely keep my eyes open this morning. Still, we welcome the resurgence of Jason Giambi and we now begin the Slack LaLane campaign for A-Rod's MVP Award. We do not enjoy this 6 am business. So, in lieu of coherent thought, here are some good mid-morning links...

Slack "Good News, Good Times" Story of the Day: As Ethan mentioned sometime this morning, Academy Award winner Charlize Theron joins the cast of Arrested Development for five episodes to play Jason Bateman's love interest when the third season debuts.

Not a bad idea, although I actually liked the original idea for Season Two that never came to fruition: While George Michael was madly in love with his cousin Maeby (an angle they've thankfully revived), the producers toyed around with the idea of bringing in Justine Bateman to play her real brother's love interest on the show, in a hilarious twist to teach George Michael not to play around with family.

Slack Videos of the Day: These need no introduction --

1. Grandma Goes Down Hard
2. Boy Meets Rubber Ball
3. "It Hit You Twice" (wait for the slow motion shot)

Slack "Can I Finish" of the Day: "CNN meteorologist Chad Myers 'flipped out' on Daybreak anchor Carol Costello at 4:32am, according to several e-mailers. 'She started to interrupt him and he yelled at her...and threw his papers to the floor. They later pretended it was in jest but it appeared to be a genuine outburst.', according to Media Bistro."

Slack Rumor of the Day: As I just posted up on the Live Music Blog, rumors have started to circulate about a Green Apple Music Festival. From April 20-23, 2006, NYC will play host to 25 shows in 15 venues, all leading up to the 6th Annual Jammy Awards. I hope this isn't just a cruel joke, because it has the potential to be one of the greatest weekends ever. Is this for real? Hopefully, here's the website.

Slack Song of the Day: 5/11/78 at the Springfield (MA) Civic Center is often referred to as the Dead's Mescaline Show, probably because every member of the band got loaded up on it and hit the stage (at least according to legend). Well, you can tell they're on something, especially in this kickass Dancin' in the Streets, complete with assorted giggling and howling.

And click here to stream the rest of this show, which includes a sweet Werewolves of London (Bobby dons a werewolf mask, though you can't see it) and a cool Lazy Lightening > Supplication. Woooo!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hello, Babar

I really don't think this article is all that funny in the real world, but the way it's written is just hysterical. This lede is one of the best I've ever seen, it has everything:

"More than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins vied to become the King of Swaziland's 13th wife on Monday in a ceremony which critics say ill befits a country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS rate."

It continues with a fascinating description of what material covered the King's royal junk and the virgins' impenetrable cooters:

"King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, arrived dressed in a leopard-skin loincloth to watch the Reed Dance ceremony, which he has used since 1999 to pluck new brides from the girls dressed in little more than beaded mini-skirts."

Crazy, check out the king's official picture. For you Northwestern folks wondering where three-year starting cornerback and Ace friend Harold Blackmon went after college, the mystery is solved. Now, let's move on to some benevolent name-calling:

"Wielding machetes and singing tributes to the king and queen mother, also known as the Great She-Elephant, the girls danced around the royal stadium in the hope of catching the eye of the 37-year-old monarch."

Wait, the king's mother's nickname is the Great She-Elephant? And that never got anyone killed or started a tribal war? More importantly, nobody in the country cares that this 37-year-old loser still lives with his mother? Not only that, the queen mother condones her son's virgin-plucking and seems to encourage it. That's just freaky.

Wouldn't you just love to see the competition's winning virgin walk up to the king and say, "You can take swipe V-Card tonight, but your mother can't watch, that's extra"? Instead they say dumb things to Western reporters like:

"'I want to live a nice life, have money, be rich, have a BMW and cellphone,' said one dancer, 16-year-old Zodwa Mamba, who wore a traditional brightly coloured tasselled scarf."

Apparently the women in Swaziland are very similar to the ones in America. I bet they're also infatuated with celebrity gossip like Brad and Angelina's relationship and wait for the fall magazines to come out before they buy new clothes. It's a small world after all.

The rest of the article is much sadder, you can read it on your own.

Phish Reunites for NOLA Benefit

Man, today's epic show from the Superdome looks ridiculous:

Set I: Gumbo, Divided Sky, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, Waves, Water in the Sky, Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucka)* > Evacuate the White People Jam, Prince Caspian

Set II: Hurricane** > Drowned, Black Water*** > Swept Away^ > Steep^ > Black Water, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Drifting, Rock You Like a Hurricane^^

Encore: Vultures
Second Encore: Amazing Grace#, Walkin' on Sunshine%

*Parliament cover; last played 12/30/03
**The Lucious Bobby Dylan cover; last played 11/19/85
***Doobie Brothers cover, first time played
^First time played since 7/1/00
^^Scorpions cover, first time played
#Performed a capella
%Katrina and the Waves cover, first time played

Walkin' on Sunshine

Something tells me New Orleans has had enough of Katrina and the Waves right about now.

While the storm turned slightly to the east at the last moment, the worst of the hurricane is hitting the city right now. As a result, the streets are flooding, at least 800,000 people have lost power, winds are gusting at 125-140 MPH and the Superdome's roof ain't holdin' up (a massive piece reportedly flew off), rain now pouring down on the 10,000 folks inside.

And this just in, they're reporting New Orleans is experiencing "total structural failure," which means if you've got a roof on the house you just evacuated, chances are you probably don't have said roof anymore. If that's not bad enough, they're also fearing the petro-chemical plants may leak into the flooded streets, creating a sort of toxic lake around the city -- believe it or not, more toxic than usual. Make no mistake: This is a fuck.

But apparently that's not the worst part of the storm...according to this humanitarian Reuters article, "Hurricane Katrina could wreak havoc on the earnings of major oil companies due to production cuts and property damage in the Gulf of Mexico, but insurance will cover most if not all of the lost profits, according to analysts."

Thank the Good Lord for insurance, praise Jebus. All last night and this morning I was worried sick about the quarterly profits of the world's energy companies in the face of the storm. Tossing and turning, I just couldn't stop thinking about the billions of dollars the richest companies on the globe may lose, but thankfully, very thankfully, they'll be covered by insurance.

So, with a heavy heart, we here at Slack LaLane wish only the best and a speedy recovery to the Cajuns, the Biloxians, the Starbuxian Alabamans and anyone else caught in the path of this bitch of a storm. Good luck, ride it out, stay safe. And remember, there ain't no time to stash the gumbo, just get the fock outta there.

Slack Stats of the Day: Don't look now, but Ken Griffey Jr. has 33 homeruns and 90 runs batted in to go with his .302 average this season. But that's not even the weirdest stat from yesterday -- Roger Clemens' Astros got shut out yesterday for the eighth time in his 27 starts this season. I can't even compute that figure.

Slack Song of the Day: On this day let us turn to one of the original N'awlins famed bands, The Radiators. So here's a nice number called the New Dark Ages, very appropriate for the day's events from 1/28/94 at Tipitina's.

For more from the Rads, search their archive here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Army Had Half a Day

I'm outta here in a half-hour, bitches.

Have a good weekend, y'all. And watch out for your Charlie Browns.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Game Show Cowboys, Part II

Click here for Part I of "Game Show Cowboys" (or just scroll down a few clicks, you lazy fucktards).

I've always had a love affair with game shows for some reason, perhaps because it's in my blood. In addition to the stories about my grandfather in Part I below, my father and aunt were coupled up on some radio or television quiz program as kids. Also, my mother would definitely win on Jeopardy! or Rock n Roll Jeopardy! or whatever show you put her on. But wait a minute, Ron, there's more.

My immediate family gathered for dinner at 7 pm every night, just as that smug d-bag Alex Trebek hit the small kitchen television screen. As a kid I'd feign sickness and stay home to watch game shows all day, taking in some Concentration, a little Scrabble, Press Your Luck and of course, always my favorite, Tic Tac Dough. I could basically pick out Wink Martindale and Chucky Woolery out of a lineup faster than I could my favorite ballplayers.

I've really never had an overwhelming desire to be on television, but I always wanted to get on a game show and kick some royal arse. I tried out for the college tournament of Jeopardy! when they came around to Northwestern in one of my final two years, but the 50-category test was damn near impossible and I walked out a beaten and deflated man.

Since sports trivia is my real love, though -- every now and then Donnie and I used to quiz each other from the sports almanac drunk and/or stoned at 5 am in the dorm freshman year -- I felt the strongest longing to appear on an ESPN game show, first the 2-Minute Drill, then Stump the Schwab. The impetus for this post: I tried out for the Schwab yesterday, and since I'm not officially out of the running as a contestant yet, I think it's only fair I omit the details of this audition.

In January of 2001, with only six months left in my college career, I sent in an application for the second season of the 2-Minute Drill, a show I thought I'd ace if given the chance. Shit, I never got questions wrong while playing at home. I was truly amazed when they called my house and told me of the tens of thousands of applicants, they wanted me to fly in to New York City (where they make the shitty salsa) and take a test. Holy balls, this was my time to shine.

Over the next few months I studied my little tuchus off for this test. I literally studied harder and put in more effort for this than any class I took in college, no question about it. I'd been lucky enough to make the cut and I wasn't going to lose on account of being rusty. In my spare time I read the sports almanac daily. I had my father and his friends fill me in on the shit that happened before I was born (Johnny Podres kind of stuff). I played the game online and watched every episode to see what kind of questions they'd be asking.

I was training like Drago, injecting myself with trivia in lieu of the juice. And I was good. You could say to me, "Ace, what happened in 1989?" And I'd be able to answer immediately, "The Niners won the Bowl, the Pistons won the NBA Finals, Al MacInnis led the Flames to the Cup, Dave Stewart led the A's to the World Series championship, Padres reliever Mark Davis and Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen won the Cy Youngs, Tyson beat Bruno, etc." Without blinking. Occasionally I had a lapse, but I was a fucking machine. Like Drago.

I flew to New York, crashed at Red Cowboy's apartment, got up and over to the tryout. I was ready. Until the unthinkable happened...

My nemesis, a guy who flew in from Nebraska of all places, walked in and sat next to me. What are the odds? There were thousands of applicants, 10 tryout sessions of the ones they picked, 20 men (and token women) per session...and this guy managed to get picked by ESPN to take the test, and he walks into in my session. How does shit like that happen?! The second he sat down I felt a band of sweat build up on my forehead.

Let me back up a second here: I try to love everybody, like my idol, Jesus. I'd say of the 6.4 billion people in the world, I think I have maybe two or three legitimate enemies, just a few who I genuinely wish bad things enter their worthless lives -- not harm, but occasional pain and oft-defeat. These are people who have non-sexually fucked me in some way; this isn't arbitrary or anything. And tops on that list of those people is one of my first-year journalism professors.

For the first few weeks of his class, the two of us got along like peas and carrots, like Jenny and Forrest. He was a youngish guy and a fairly cool dude in that nerdy cool sense, and we'd chat about sports before and after class -- he was very fond of me as a student. Until one day he publicly called me out on something in class, and I responded by publicly calling him out (which, by the way, he was dead wrong about). Well, that was it. For the rest of the semester, he gave me nothing but the cold shoulder, Ds and Fs...anything he could do to mess me up at the school, he tried to do it.

At our end-of-the-year student/teacher meeting, he informed me I'd be getting a C+ for his class, instead of the B+ I deserved in the ledger. Why? He gave me a zero in class participation. Then he told me to transfer out of the J-school or he'd make my life a living hell. He's the only person in my adult life I actually challenged to a real fight. I literally looked at him and said, "I think we need to have a fistfight right now," and I stood up. He sat there and looked at his gradebook. I told him to fuck off and left the room.

As far as I remember, I never saw him at school after that. Not even once. But I heard his nasty-looking fiancee left him, and I smiled. Then I heard he didn't get tenure at the university, and he moved back home with his parents in Lincoln. As Georgie Bush will tell ya, the power of prayer works. I wish nothing but happiness on my fellow man...unless you give me a C+ that causes my parents to threaten me with the prospect of Nassau Community College.

So I sat down to take this 2-Minute Drill test, and he walked in and took the only seat available, the one right next to me. We made eye contact and I smiled at him, causing him to frown and lose even more hair from his balding head. I couldn't believe my misfortune. This was like walking under a ladder on Friday the 13th while holding a black cat with salt spilling out of its ass onto a broken mirror.

They gave us 12 minutes to answer 20 tough, tough, tough questions. I expected the test to be tougher than the show, but this was expert-level shit, Seve Ballesteros and Fred Merkle stuff. The worst part was the fact that you needed to answer at least 16 or 17 correct to advance. They never told us what the cut-off was, but I know for a fact I got 15 right and I didn't make it. Out of the 20 guys in the room, only two were invited to stay.

I retired to a bar across the street with an older fellow who claimed to be a trivia genius, and it looked like he only got about 9 or 10 right. instead of the next round, we did some shots, had a beer or two and got shitcanned. It was about 2 pm.

All things considered, I came back to school disappointed, but hey, I gave it my best shot. To this day I blame that awful professor for making me completely blank out on which team Christy Mathewson played for. That could have been the difference.

Still, I had fun. And that was my exact philosophy going into yesterday's Stump the Schwab tryout. I passed the test this time, kinda bombed the second part, and we'll see what happens going forward. Let's just hope my nemesis keeps his bald turd ass out of Manhattan for the next few days.

Or maybe I'll invite him to my screening interview, it could make for a better story.

Two Quick Notes

Just two items before we return to the Game Show Saga:

1. The Yankums' Shawn Chacon beat the Blue Jays' Gustavo Chacin 6-2 in the First Annual "Battle of the C-H-A-C-_-Ns." Another impressive outing from Chacon, who is making me look like a genius and you all look like dumb schmucks. Yahtzee.

2. An update on the Lance Armstrong report: A viewer just wrote an e-mail into CNN's The Situation Room saying, "The only banned substance Lance used in France was deodorant." Now, that's comedy.

Game Show Cowboys, Part I

If you had been watching CBS at 11 am on February 7, 1994, you'd have seen Rod Roddy follow my grandfather's name with his signature catchphrase, "Come on down, you're the next contestant on The Price is Right!"

Papa Cowboy, a 72-year-old retired police chief and decorated military veteran, and Nana Cowboy awoke at 5 am to beat the crowd of tourists to the line for show tickets. Armed with the Cowboy Family wit and a black T-shirt that read "From One Silver Fox to Another," Papa C. made it down to contestant's row and up on the stage as the fifth contestant after winning a fabulous washer/dryer (he bid $801, the actual retail price was $808).

Not a stranger to game shows, Papa Cowboy beat out five opponents on Card Sharks and won $12,600 just six years earlier. We watched the tape of that masterful performance quite often throughout my junior year of college, mostly with me cringing as my grandfather shouted "Highaa" and "Lowaa" at the cards when it came time for him to decide. The Price is Right was his Holy Grail, though, and this fulfilled his lifelong dream.

After making it on stage with Bobby Barker, the two silver foxes sauntered over to the Safe Cracker game, where Papa C. won a trip to Berlin and a set of designer luggage. He would have lost had Bob not stepped in and basically guided him to victory, essentially telling him the right answer in a not-so-subtle manner. It was time to spin the big wheel in the Showcase Showdown, he gave it a whirl and it landed on 95 cents, earning him a spot in the final round.

In the final showcase round, Papa C. bid $16,800 on two trips to San Francisco and Newport, Rhode Island, as well as car rentals and tours, and a 23-foot sailboat. The actual retail price of his showcase turned out to be $19,000, and he was indeed the closest without going over. Nana Cowboy jumped on stage as the music played and Barker preached about pet testes and fallopian tubes. The two celebrated as the show went off the air. Victory!

Papa C. was funny, personable, and Barker and the crowd really loved him that day. He left the studio a bigger celebrity than he ever could have imagined, people in line for the next show touching him for good luck. This was my grandparents' 50th anniversary trip, where the couple also renewed their vows and took in some sights. But according to show rules, he was now barred from game-show competition for the next decade.

"I'm going to let someone else get a chance to win, "Papa Cowboy said to Sun Sentinel following the show. "I got my wish and I'm happy. How lucky can you get?"

Coming up later, an exciting Part II where this story actually becomes relevant to my daily life.

Drunk Stewie

For months now I've been hearing about a hysterical Family Guy movie. People have downloaded and viewed it on the Internets, yet nobody I know personally has seen it.

In a surprise move, one of my Canadian friends sent me a clip from this flick (eh?), which has been leaked on the world wide web months before the release date. So I did a little research and found out it's a 83-minute film called Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story Unrated.

This isn't the funniest Stewie clip I've ever seen, and the audio certainly does suck, but it's always funny when Stewie's the center of the show's attention. And he's drunk, which is always a plus.

Here's a brief clip from the new movie. Enjoy.

Slack "Coming Soon" News of the Day: Get ready for Old School 2 -- "DreamWorks Pictures has given the green light to Old School 2 and hired Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong to write the script for Phillips to direct, reports Variety. Montecito Pictures will produce the sequel." [More]

Slack Link of the Day: AGU and I stayed in the other night and caught 90 straight minutes of Tommy Lee Goes to College. And you know what? It was fantastic. I thought about putting together a nice review of the show, but The Letter D did it better than I could ever have. Incidentally, if you're not checking out The Letter D's blog every now and again, you're missing out on some hilarious insight, the guy's a real talent.

Slack Song of the Day: The popular rock band Phish debuted a handful of new songs on their last tour, which is admirable for a group that had already called it quits. They could have just plunged into the depths of nostalgia and just played YEM and Reba every night, but instead they tried to introduce new material to the fray.

In a strange but very welcome move, Phil & Friends took one of the best of these new songs and played it at one of his recent shows (I'm sure that can be attributed to moe. guitarist Al Schnier, but who really knows?). I thought this tune had the potential to be one of the greats, but I guess we'll never get the chance to know.

Either way, here's Phil & Friends from 5/13/05 at the Warfield with Phish's A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing.

Slack Message of the Day: Happy 26th birthday Hoobs. If anyone's around tomorrow night, we're drinkin' at the No Malice Palace after we get back from the Bronx (can we beat KC this time?).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Putt Putz

I got nuthin' this afternoon, been a busy boy. Not really.

In lieu of Slack Goodness, check out this time-waster: Mini Golf!

More Baseball Suspensions!

These guys are just killing baseball. Their records should be erased from the books and they should be whipped with a horse-whip:

A batboy who accepted a dare Sunday by trying to drink a gallon of milk without throwing up has been suspended by the Marlins for his actions.

The unidentified batboy will not be allowed to work the upcoming, six-game homestand at Dolphins Stadium against the Cardinals and Mets from Aug. 29 through Sept. 4. The Marlins refused to comment on the suspension.

But Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny, who offered $500 to the batboy if he could drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour before Sunday's game, was angry about the decision.

''It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk,'' Penny said.
Okay, let me be the first to say, "I don't get it." Why was he suspended? What did he do? I'm as shocked and incredulous as Loudon Downey in the A Few Good Men courtroom after the verdict was read and he was dishonorably discharged. Someone call the Marlins organization and post me an answer.

More on this ludicrous speed story from the Miami Herald...

(Thanks to Dorsey Levin for passing this along.)

The More Things Change...

...The more they stay the same. Here are some excerpts from a speech I find to be right on the money:

-------------------
Ten days ago, [the President] admitted that although some people in this country seemed to be doing well nowadays, others were unhappy, and even worried, about themselves, their families and their futures.

The President said he didn't understand that fear. He said, "Why, this country is a shining city on a hill."

A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well.

But there's another part of the city, the part where some people can't pay their mortgages and most young people can't afford one, where students can't afford the education they need and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.

In this part of the city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble. More and more people who need help but can't find it.

There are ghettos where thousands of young people, without an education or a job, give their lives away to drug dealers every day.

There is despair, Mr. President, in faces you never see, in the places you never visit in your shining city.

Maybe if you visited more places, Mr. President, you'd understand. Maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds and to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel while we surrender their dignity to unemployment and to welfare checks; maybe if you stepped into a shelter in Chicago and talked with some of the homeless there; maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who'd been denied the help she needs to feed her children because you say we need the money to give a tax break to a millionaire or to build a missile we can't even afford to use — maybe then you'd understand.

Maybe, Mr. President. But I'm afraid not. . . .

The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence. The Republicans believe the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of our old, some of our young, and some of our weak are left behind by the side of the trail.

We Democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact.
-------------------

The orator in question? Mario Cuomo giving the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. It's unbelievable, you can actually make this speech tomorrow and not change a word. If I were a prominent Democrat, I'd dig this up, get on my soapbox and read this verbatim.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Lance, Meet Raffy...Raffy, Lance

Well, it appears we have a little problem. Now you's can't leave:

"The director of the Tour de France said it was a 'proven scientific fact' that Lance Armstrong had a performance-boosting drug in his body during his 1999 Tour win, and that the seven-time champion owed fans an explanation.

In a story Wednesday, Jean-Marie Leblanc praised L'Equipe for an investigation that reported that six urine samples provided by Armstrong during the 1999 Tour tested positive for the red blood cell-booster EPO. The French sports daily on Tuesday accused Armstrong of using EPO during his first Tour win in 1999...

'The ball is now in his camp. Why, how, by whom? He owes explanations to us and to everyone who follows the tour,' Leblanc said. 'What L'Equipe revealed shows me that I was fooled. We were all fooled.'" [More]

At this point, I'm not going to take the questionable word of some Franch periodical and the Tour's director, even though I do firmly believe he took some performance-enhancing drugs at some point in his career. ESPN's Outside the Lines ran a program sometime last year that laid out an argument and interviewed enough teammates and doctors to make it impossible not to think that. I'm not sure about the last few Tours, but early on, I'm sure the guy doped it up like Robert Downey Jr. (did the statute of limitations on Downey jokes run out?).

Then again, doesn't every cyclist dope up in one form or another? Isn't that the "Tom Cruise is gay" of the international cycling world? Doesn't Sheryl Crow have to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to get $10 million to keep quiet about the charade?

Still, Lance is an incredible athlete and a true inspiration, a guy with one nut and a sexy mistress who deserves out admiration and respect. I don't care if this guy stuck nitrous boosters in his ass, it's not that easy to win seven straight Tours. I know, I've tried.

Slack Link of the Day: "Meeting briefly with reporters Monday aboard Air Force One, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman subbing for Scott McClellan, said that President Bush believes that those who want the U.S. to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall war on terror."

Is this guy the best comedian in Washington or the substitute press secretary? Not to get all Terrorist Jeff Foxworthy on you, but if you think the war was a mistake and advocate a new direction instead of this "stay the course" crap, you might be a terrorist.

Slack Song of the Day: It's been awhile since I've posted anything in this slot by String Cheese Incident, a band my parents love to bring up because of the wacky name. Every time I tell my folks I'm going to see a show, any show, my dad can't wait to blurt out, "Who you goin' to see, that fuckin' String Cheese Gefilte Fish?" Clever, very clever.

(Ir)regardless, they're a cool band that always puts on a solid live show, and here's my favorite song of theirs: Rollover, from Sunshine Daydream in Terra Alta, West Virginia on August 7, 2004. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

In yet another sign that we'll be a nation of complete idiots within the next half-century, more than 13 percent of the girls in one Canton, Ohio high school are knocked up.

"There are 490 female students at Timken High School, and 65 are pregnant, according to a recent report in the Canton Repository...

According to the Canton Health Department, statistics through July show that 104 of the 586 babies born to Canton residents in Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center had mothers between 11 and 19." [More]

That story would be sadder than hell if not for this hysterically impossible post-script. So I looked it up, and wouldn't you know it, Canton Timken High's nickname is...you guessed it, the Trojans.

My Public Service Announcement

If you're a parent with a teenage son or daughter, print this post out and stick it on his or her pillow tonight...

Excerpts from Dick Schaap's October 2, 1985 television news package for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings:

"He is larger than life, towering over New York, the city's most exciting athlete and baseball's most exciting pitcher, the 'Natural' incarnate, so gifted and wise at his craft it's almost impossible to believe Dwight Gooden is only 20."

"He is the youngest man to win 20 games in a season, the youngest to lead the league in strike outs, the youngest to play in the All-Star game, the youngest to be rookie of the year. And when the season ends he will become almost certainly the youngest to win the symbol of pitching excellence, the Cy Young Award."

"If he stays healthy, Gooden could end up with a room full of Cy Young awards. Cy Young, incidentally, didn't win his first major league game till he was 23 years old. Gooden could win 100 by the time he's 23. Then all he'll have to do is win 20 games a year for 20 years and he'll break Cy Young's record."

Excerpts from today's New York Daily News article, about Gooden's fleeing the law while the officer held his license right outside the stopped car:

"Former baseball star Dwight Gooden was being sought by police Tuesday on a felony warrant after he allegedly drove away from an officer who stopped him on suspicion of drunken driving. Gooden, 41, left the scene of the traffic stop early Monday after refusing to get out his 2004 BMW to take a field sobriety test, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said."

"The officer stopped Gooden's car because he was weaving in traffic near downtown Tampa, McElroy said. Gooden, a Tampa native and resident, has a history of drug abuse and is awaiting trial on a domestic violence charge...Gooden handed the officer his driver's license but refused two requests to get out of the car, McElroy said. He then drove off with the officer still holding his license."

"Gooden was arrested by Tampa police in 2002 on a drunken driving charge, but later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and received a year probation. He was arrested in March and charged with hitting his live-in girlfriend in the face during an argument. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, and the case is pending."

"During his playing days, Gooden was suspended for 60 days in 1994 for testing positive for cocaine while with the Mets. He tested positive for cocaine again while on suspension and was sidelined for the 1995 season."

"Gooden's disappearance is reminiscent of the 2001 disappearance of his friend and former teammate Darryl Strawberry, who was missing for four days after he walked away from a drug treatment center where he was under house arrest."

For more on Doc's one-time greatness, see the Sports Guy's latest ESPN Magazine column. And remember to say no to drugs, kiddos.

Wild Card and Cactus

Take a look at these AL and NL Wild-Card standings:

AL Team W-L GB
Yankees 68-55 --
Athletics 68-55 --
Indians 69-56 --

NL Team W-L GB
Astros 67-58 --
Marlins 66-58 .5
Phillies 67-59 .5
Nationals 65-59 1.5
Mets 64-60 2.5

As Stu Scott said last night, this is punking "all those haaaters in the house that cried and went 'boooooo hoooooo,' saying the Wild Card is gonna ruin baseball."

That's not exactly how I would have put it in front of a national television audience, but he's right: The Wild Card turned out to be the greatest thing about the game of beisbol today. We've got a three-way tie in the Junior Circuit and five teams within three games in the Senior. Not exactly a bad thing to have eight teams vying for two spots (and four divisions are still up for grabs) this late in the season.

My obviously biased predictions: The Yank'ums take the AL WC because they'll finally figure out how to score clutch runs and not just hit in meaningless aituations, and the Marlins take the NL WC because their pitching staff from top to bottom is on an incredible run right now.

Sound off below, who do you think takes the final two playoff spots and why?

Slack Quote of the Day: From a WSJ article about U.S. birth rates compared to the rest of the world -- "Indeed, if fertility and mortality rates from 2001 continue, researchers say, Japan's population would drop to one person by the year 3300."

Slack Link of the Day: The new calypso-inspired CD from Michael Gordon (the G is soft) and Leo Kottke drops today, and the Burlington Free Press has a nice review.

For all the Phish-watchers that look to these articles like economists do Alan Greenspan's Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes, there's this:

"He noted that he and drummer Jon Fishman will probably collaborate at some point, and that Fishman played on Anastasio's upcoming CD and has recorded demos with Phish keyboardist Page McConnell. Just because Phish has broken up, Gordon said, doesn't mean they shouldn't play together in pairs every now and then."

Slack Song of the Day: In honor of Mike and Leo, here's a repeat of the Ya Mar I posted last week sometime...this is off the new album, and it's awesome. Definitely bodes well for the rest of the album, which you can sample at Mike's new website.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Come in Our Hole

As I mentioned this morning, I spent about 24 hours on Fire Island this weekend, arriving as the cloudy, gray sky parted to reveal a hot sun and bikini-clad females, leaving with a nice one-day tan, an upset stomach and a screaming headache. Good times, great oldies.

Now this much is clear: Anyone who voluntarily elects to spend the weekend in the Hamptons over Fire Island is a fraud and a nincompooop. I'll never quite understand why you'd ever choose to put up with all the bullshit involved with the Hamptons when you can get a laid-back beach weekend with all the fun and none of the hassles.

Of course, I'll admit that comparing the Hamptons to Fire Island is like comparing Las Vegas to Atlantic City -- there are overwhelming similarities between the two, but the two places are nothing alike. Still, to me, this decision's a real Schiavo, a total no-brainer.

I'll skip the pleasantries of chronicling the awesome day/night trip, but any period of time that involves relaxing on the beach, chillin' on a deck playing cards and listening to music, munching down on a world-class barbeque (bacon embedded inside the hamburger patties), drinkin' beers and hittin' the doje, playing Flip Cup and Beirut, pre-partying with a solid crew of girls and guys and going out to some outside bars in shorts and sandals ain't exactly a bad time.

And while there were many highlights among those activities, the lasting image of the weekend will forever be a giant hole (and yes, there are about a million "hole" double entendres, and no, they never cease to be funny). At one point of our beach-going experience, two members of our party decided it was time "to dig the hole." Confused, I didn't ask what that meant, and I even played along when they asked me to move my stuff back a few feet. And then one started to remove sand from the beach with a frisbee and commence the excavation. The other searched for a child's shovel to expedite the process.

Slowly the hole started to take shape, and the boys decided to make the biggest hole of the summer. They were going wide and going deep, and sure enough, the rest of the gang concurred this had the potential to be the largest hole. I still had no clue what was going on, but was told to "watch the social phenomenon that unfolds." Sheeet, negro, that's all you had to say, I love that kind of shit.

About an hour into the digging, with the hole now clearly visible from Google Earth, people started to take a big interest in our activities. The hole now getting deeper and wider, one older gentleman came by to make sure we'd refill the hole, as an elderly lady (not behind the counter in a small town) tripped in an unrelated hole on the beach just last week. A middle-aged woman and her husband came by to warn us about the dangers of a sudden collapse of the hole's walls, enclosing the current digger in a sandy sarcophagus. But those people weren't the intended targets.

The real target: lovely ladies. This was the fourth weekend this crew had come out to Fire Island this summer, and in all of the previous three, digging this giant hole attracted a different group of girls to party with that evening. Guys and girls alike see only a man's head and big piles of sand evacuated from its original spot, and they flock to see what's going on. Beachgoers are flat-out mystified, they just can't believe other people would dig a hole on the beach for no good reason. They rush over and ask, "What's it do?" or "What next?" or "Why would you do that?" but they never realize they're part of the game. Your stopping by our hole is the answer to the questions you're asking, sir or madam.

Make that four for four, a perfect 1.000 batting average. As the hole creation ceased -- the beach-crater probably topping out at six-feet deep and three-feet wide -- a nice group of beautiful babies stopped by to discuss the day's activities. Turns out, they're free to come by our place at 10:30 for Survivor: Flip Cup and some general hang-age. Did I just say "beautiful babies?" Jeez, what year is this, 1997?

(left, above: a crew of girls come to see our hole...the shoe is on the other hand now, eh? right, below: Brian pretends its 1987 in Midland, Texas and he's Jessica McClure)

What is it about a hole that makes it act like the North or South pole of a chick magnet? What exactly attracts people to see a hollowed out section of the beach? After witnessing the events of the weekend I still can't say for sure. But I do know this much: These kids I was with are fucking sexy-time geniuses. They know the beginning, middle and end of the story before it's written. They know where to dig, when to dig, how to go from "Do you wanna come in my hole?" to "See you tonight." It's really a thing of beauty.



But most of all, it makes the weekend fun, free and easy. Just like the women who wanted to see our hole.

Triple Nipple Score

I just got this e-mail from Jake Zebra:

"I found this site via an article I read in the Journal. Apparently there was an unedited version of the Official Scrabble dictionary, and at some point all the foul or offensive words were expunged. It is hilarious to think that at some point, as a kid I could have been playing scrabble, laid down a triple word score 'gangbangs', and then told my mom to check the scrabble dictionary, cause it's in there."

Words removed in The Expurgated Scrabble Players Dictionary.

I'm more impressed that I could have put down tiles and received points for the words "Bazooms" and "Lezzies" and "Jewed," which I guess is the past tense of the verb "to Jew." Man, my landlord really Jewed the fuck of me this year.

And in an unrelated e-mail with funny pictures and signs and Jay Leno Crap like that, here's a great pair of street signs:

Starting the Day/Week Links

Still tired from a great weekend in the sun of Fire Island, my first time as an adult on the sandy paradise off the southern coast of Lawn Gisland. We'll have more on that trip, as well as a seriously giant hole on the beach, later in the day.

In the meantime, here are two good stories and four links below to tide you over 'til I can get my head screwed back on correctly...that might be shortly, or it might be sometime after I fully wake up from this Grade-A Zoneout I'm lapsing in and out of.

1. "Hunter S. Thompson's grand finale went off as planned: His ashes were blasted into the night sky in an explosion friends and fans agreed he would have loved. But some said the gonzo journalist would have sneered at the Hollywood trappings — champagne toasts by movie stars and former presidential candidates." [Story]

2. This guy had all the talent in the world, and he's certainly led a productive life: "Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips, who was wanted by police for domestic violence, was arrested Sunday after allegedly running his car into three teenagers who argued with him during a pickup football game, police said."

And because all of Friday's posts were all sports-related, here are a few links from the Live Music Blog you might enjoy:

3. Les Claypool's ridiculous Electric Apricot project is advancing steadily. As LMB's Justin noticed this weekend, the fictitious band that's very real has updated its website and released a four-minute trailer for its Spinal Tap-like mockumentary, which apparently exposes the unintentionally comedic side of jambands and hippies.

The trailer cites "Spring 2006" as the official release date, but we're all wondering if he’s going to try and release this nationwide in select theaters. Click here for the hysterical Electric Apricot trailer, featuring the song, "Are You Going to Burning Man?"

4. As I noted in the comments of this LMB post, this website seems to me completely unnecessary, but supremely awesome:

"You’ve got to give love where love is due. Andy Gadiel, Mr. JamBase himself, has put together a little ditty of a site that matches the JamBase show database to the Google Maps API. It takes a second to load (think Javascript), but it’s worth the wait…"

5. Is it almost time to order the Phish Brooklyn DVD?

"Ace Cowboy had the message board scoop on the possible release of a new Phish DVD, most likely the Brooklyn shows from 2004.

Now, I don’t think this is still fully confirmed, but it’s starting to look close. Check out this listing on DVD Empire.com.

Release date: October 25, 2005.
Price for pre-order: $24.89."

6. And something I wrote the other day: "I’ve received some great reports from friends and enemies alike about last weekend’s Gathering of the Vibes festival at Indian Lookout Country Club. Among the many highlights (and the many anecdotes about the bikers who run the place), everybody came home talking about the enormous tribute to Jerry Garcia on the 10th anniversary of his unfortunate passing.

The Dark Star Orchestra acted as the primary band and the Zen Tricksters as the secondary, and those cover bands were joined on stage by David Nelson, Martin Fierro, Peter Rowan, Gloria Jones, Jaclyn LaBranch, David Gans, Scott Marwaski, Keller Williams, Reid Genauer, Adam Terrell, Fuzz, Melvin Seals, Tom Constanten, Julie Avalone and Donna Jean Godchaux.

Click here to download the Torrent, and see below for the setlist as well as other Torrents from the weekend." And here's the setlist.

Slack Song of the Day: One of the best ways to get into a new band is to listen to their covers and slowly make your way inside towards their original works. So I don't just mean to throw this cover at you and run, but take a listen to this. This is a cool young band called U-Melt that I've talked about on here before doing a mean-ass version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond from Camp Creek on 7/29/05.

You're gonna like this. So if you're impressed and interested, click here to stream or download the rest of their show.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Week's Almost Over

Just for the hell of it...

Have a good weekend, fuckfaces.

How Do You Spell Relief?

S-P-E-I-E-R apparently.

The boys over at Bronx Banter point us to the following article in today's Wall Street Journal by Allen St. John.

As the author asks, "...how do you measure which relievers are doing the job? A reliever's earned-run average is one place to start, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Save totals and save percentages? They can be deceptive, since even mediocre closers get a save in 85% of save situations.

Maybe the best way to judge a reliever's effectiveness is the simplest: Each time a new batter steps to the plate, what are the chances that the reliever will keep him from reaching base?"

Click here for this interesting take on Off-Base Percentage.

Also, there are a ton of rumors out there that Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon have tested positive for steroids and that MLB officials will announce it soon. The Boston Globe, much like Mike, says No.

OK, Now I'm Done

I've just about had it with ESPN and the mainstream sports media. Yeah, I know I say that every day, and life surely is an open rooooad to meeee, but this time I really mean it.

If I were the program director of a major sports station, here's what I'd be looking at for the top of the last night's show (mind you...it's summer): The Phillies and the Nationals, two of the top three teams in the NL Wild Card race, split a close doubleheader that vaulted the Phils into first by a half-game; the Rocket got blown up for the first time this year down in Houston, dropping the Astros a half-game out; Beckett outdueled Peavy in a 2-0 game to move the Marlins one game back of the wild card leaders, meaning there are now four teams one game apart for the wild card title; and in the junior circuit, the first-place Angels handed the Red Sawx their asses last night.

Plus, Tiger and Vijay are tied for the first-round lead at the always fun NEC Invitational, the Chargers told breakout tight end Antonio Gates to come to camp or be suspended for three games and Tom Brady threw his first passes of the preseason.

But what did SportsCenter lead with and report on for the first 10 minutes of the show? That's right, Randy Moss smoked pot sometime in his seven-year career! Breaking news! A football player toked the ol' reefer in the last seven fucking years, stop the presses. Hey, you know who else smoked pot some time since 1998? Almost Everyone!

Tomorrow night I hear the network is working on a great scoop: Terrell Owens jay-walked during the 2002 offseason. And did you hear about Daunte Culpepper? I think Steve Berthiaume is putting together this awesome story about how he double-parked outside the Vikings complex in the summer of '01. Peyton Manning ran a red light last week, but he's white, so I bet we won't ever hear about that.

Heaven forbid a perfect specimen who has only missed three games in his NFL career, who has racked up at least 1,300 yards in every season but last year when he was hurt, who has totaled more than 10 touchdowns in all but one of his seven seasons smokes a little pot "every blue moon or every once in a while." But all the players that go home and have a scotch or a 40-ounce every single night of the year, they're cool. Unbelievable. This town needs an enema.

I can understand leading with this story if he ran over a security officer or sprayed a ref with a water bottle, but the guy admits to a little doje usage and it's ground-breaking investigative journalism by Gumbel 2 Gumbel star Bryant Gumbel? I love how ESPN is billing this as a "Shocking Confession From Star Wide Receiver."

Is this really all that shocking? Doesn't it look like this guy smokes blunts for breakfast, lunch and dinner? It's shocking if he rips a bong hit and blows it in Gumble's face, it's shocking if he picks a joint out of his 'fro mid-sentence and asks, "You mind if I do a J?"

But as it were: standard, not shocking. Get over it. Freaking out about pot is so 1950s.

Slack Song of the Day: It's been awhile since I posted any Duo songs, but since tickets for their 9/8 NYC show at the Bowery Ballroom went on sale yesterday, I figured I'd put up a couple songs. So here are my to favorite tunes, Best Reason to Buy the Sun, and the song that got me into these guys, Becky.

Tickets for the 9/8 show at the Bowery with opener Drums and Tuba can be purchased here. I've got mine, so join me for some rockin' tunes and solid head-bobbing.

Slack Links of the Day: Jeez, read these three stories and tell me the worst problems we have in this country are Moss- and pot-related. The first story, and the follow-up. Then, the story of two dudes beating up homeless people for sport.

And a reminder: **Please note that in order to cut down on the "I have a blog called Naked Glossy Photos of the Fabulous Moolah -- please click here for all Naked Glossy Photos of Fabulous Moolah related stuff" spam e-mails, I have added a word verification hurdle. So before you post a comment, you're gonna have to keep it together for an extra 10 seconds, type out 6-10 letters correctly and then hit post. Let's hope this keeps those fuckers off my property.**

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Got a Nice Shiny Sportscar

Sing the song now: Ya mar, ya mar, ya mar, ya mar, ya mar, ya mar, ya mar, you no good pah.

Listen for the sneaky "Play it, Leo." Still works.

Coincidences Rock

The string of never-ending coincidences in my life...um, never ends.

I know this isn't unique to me, which is why I love the universal art of the coincidence, but I feel like my life is one fluky happenstance after the next. And there's a philosophy to be created or celebrated here, but I've never been able to figure it out and put it all in context. There's something there though, someone pulling these mysterious strings. If it doesn't involve running into people on the street that I just finished talking about, or getting an e-mail from someone I was just thinking about, it's the little things like what happened last night.

I walked in from work to find my make-shift bookshelf had nearly toppled over. Not surprisingly for a huge nerd, I've got a ton of books. But I have no bookshelf, so half of these books sit in towering piles on my bedroom desk, the other half fills up four stacked Yaffa blocks. Since the Yaffas aren't designed to support that much weight for that long (or maybe they are and they just suck at their job), the bottom cube is leaning to the right, which is causing the whole stack to bend like a phototropic plant.

If I didn't take action immediately, I'd come home one day soon to see the crates' 75 books strewn all over the floor, breaking all the shit I've got next to them. In the process of clearing out the Yaffas -- my goal was to take out all the books in order to put the bottom block on the top and move the other three down -- I came across a tacklebox in the back of the bottom crate. The dust on this box indicated to me I hadn't opened it since moving in to the apartment, in August 2001.

I put the box aside, left the books on the floor and went to the living room for a break. At that point, TJ in OH called me from an outdoor amphitheatre in Springfield, Ohio. In a spur of the moment decision, TJ and the Mrs. decided to check out a free Dark Star Orchestra show with the band's new keyboardist, and he wanted to let me know they just broke into an Ace, Donnie and TJ favorite: B.E. Women.


As I wrote on this here blog at the time, DSO's keyboardist and founder, Scott Larned, passed away recently, something I'm sure affected the band members as much as the Dead losing Pigpen or Brent. They're back on the road, though, after hiring a pretty talented guy (from what I understand). In that obituary-like post, I mentioned how Scott met with me for a while so I could report on them for a story I was doing for my journalism class. And he was great, taking time out of his schedule and putting up with my newb-ness.

About a half-hour after TJ's call last night, I went back to my room to fix the books situation. Curiously I opened the dusty tacklebox, and found the following contents inside: my childhood Gameboy, 10-15 games (including Paperboy and Tetris of course), four double-A batteries, a mix tape from freshman year in college, a mix tape from senior year in high school and tape labeled "Scott Larned Interview -- 11/6/98."

I honestly had no idea this tape even existed. I lost the transcripted Word file, and I thought I had lost the tape in the course of moving. But there it was, untouched since the last millenium, unseen in maybe five or six years, staring me in the face 30 minutes after TJ's report on DSO's new keyboard player. I mean, what are the odds? What are the odds that I'd finally succumb to fixing my make-shift bookshelf yesterday of all days, that I'd decide to clear out all the crates and find that box and open it, that the tape would actually be in there after years of thinking I'd lost it, that DSO would be in Ohio, that TJ would decide to make an impromptu run to the show, that he'd call me right before I found the tape? I fucking love when this shit happens. And it happens all the time.

So I sat and listened to the tape with the Yankee game on mute. And I can only describe my interview style as "piss poor" and "Chris Farley-esque." I would say things like, "So, I mean, you guys are so awesome, are you just like, having fun up there, ya know?" and "So, like, does the whole band have the same goal, to start touring?" when he JUST said they did in answering the last question. Man, what an awful interviewer I was back then.

Despite my shortcomings, I got some great information from him. He told me the popular rock band Phish's drummer Jon Fishman would be sitting in with them that upcoming Tuesday, and he did. We talked about the differences between Phish and the Dead, we talked about jambands, great stuff. Well, we didn't "talk" about much -- basically I stumbled over dumb questions and he provided eloquent answers.

But still, it was great. I cringed every time I opened my mouth on the tape, but I'm glad I spent an hour listening to it. And, I will say, it's definitely weird that he's no longer alive. We'll always have that hour in the Unicorn Cafe.

(By the way, it's certainly no coincidence the Yankees fucking suck. Two awful losses in a row, to the D-Rays. Terrible. Like one of the opponents of the Pin Pals, "those guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.")

Slack Weird Plug of the Day: Phish bassist Mike Gordon gets a mention in today's Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal. But since you mere mortals can't read Journal articles without a password, go here instead.

Cactus and guitarist Leo Kottke have a new album coming out and the WSJ wrote a little brief about the release. This bodes well: "One track is a cover of Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion sung in a monotone and performed on a mandolin-like instrument from Turkey." To listen to Sweet Emotion, click on Mike and Leo's website above and go for it. Or just click here. Cool stuff.

But hey, writer-guy, this isn't very nice: "One man's fans include guitar playing yuppies; the other's wear tie-die shirts and avoid washing their hair." Dude, I love Pantene Pro-V. Don't be a dick.

Slack Song of the Day: Although I've never seen these guys live (at least I'm pretty sure I haven't), Assembly of Dust has been high on my list of quality bands I need to catch. They've got a cool sound and certainly put on a good show from what I'm told. So here's some AoD from April 8th, 2005 at the Knitting Factory.

First try out the show's closer from that night, Poland, then hit up the sweet sing-along cover of Up On Cripple Creek. And if that don't do the trick, Bootlegger's Advice might help you see the light.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Joke of the Day

Here's a funny, albeit racist, joke someone just forwarded to me:

The plane was encountering severe problems on a transatlantic flight. Then it got really rough.

Finally the pilot, a "good 'ol southern boy," announced in a pronounced drawl: "Folks y'all can tell we're havin' trouble, we can't maintain altitude, so throw all the luggage off the plane, we'll lighten the load and get outta this mess."

The luggage went out but it wasn't much better. The pilot then announced: "We're in real trouble here. We're still too heavy. We're gonna have to lose a few people to save all of the rest of us. The only thing I can think of is to do this in alphabetical order. So here goes, starting with 'A'."

"Will all the African-Americans please stand up?" Nobody moved.

"Will all the Blacks please stand up?" Still nobody moved.

"Will all the Coloreds please stand up?" Again, nobody moved.

A young black child turned to her mother and said: "Mom, aren't we all of those things?" Her mother replied: "Nope not today, sugar. Today, we are 'Schvartzes.'"

Horny Pills and Big Red

I just got an e-mail with this subject line: "Horny pills - 75% OFF." I don't know why I find that so funny, but I do. I believe him, yo.

Secondly, TJ in OH forwarded me a fantastic interview with that Great Guitar God we love to talk about on this here blog. Whether you’re a Trey-basher, a Trey-fluffer or anything in between, this is really a must-read interview. I’ve always said, all interviews of any member of the popular rock band Phish should be conducted by fans.

This is proof: Jess Minnen’s interview with the Bad Lieutenant.

It's a great read, and I think you'll definitely end up a little more sympathetic towards him for the break-up. Here's my favorite part, which makes sound geek Paul Languedoc look like a Billy Zane Cool Dude. Trey, on the growing scene of backstage hangers-on:

"I remember having a conversation with Paul. In the beginning there were five people who traveled with Phish: The four of us, and Paul. He used to do everything. Paul Languedoc. I remember one day he came up to me backstage and said, 'This doesn’t fit.' There were all these people around and this darkness had come over the whole thing. It was seedy and depressing. I remember looking at him and saying, 'God that’s the realest thing anyone has said to me in a long time.'"

Tears of Rage

If you've hung out around the Slack LaLane water cooler enough, you know we like to fuck around. We have no qualms making jokes about retards and coloreds, kicking old ladies in the shins, crippling Chris Reeve and smoking near his wife.

But occasionally I find time to feel and act like a normal human being -- hey, I get outraged just like y'all do. I actually have emotions (sometimes), and right now, I'm furious. Seriously.

I read last night the Brazilian man killed in the London subway system the day after the failed July 21st attacks was not only innocent, but the police went to great lengths to cover it up. First, he was wrongly believed to be a terrorist, which I guess is understandable in that climate. I will the never fault the police of any city for trying to apprehend terrorists, but you at least have to try to do it with your head removed from your collective ass.

Unlike earlier police reports, new documents, photographs and testimony leaked to the media are now showing Jean Charles De Menezes wasn't acting suspicious at all, he wasn't running from police, he wasn't wearing a bulky, padded jacket, he didn't have a big bag, he didn't vault the barrier, he actually got on a train and sat down in a seat before being tackled to the ground, and then once he was pinned down, he was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder. Three other bullets missed.

"His cousin Allessandro Pereira said: 'My family deserve [sic] the full truth about his murder. The truth cannot be hidden any longer. It has to be made public.' He said the police should have stopped his cousin before he got to the bus stop after leaving home in Tulse Hill. 'He would have helped the police,' he said. 'They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone, any English person.'"

I really don't even know what to say, but I hope upon hope the people of Britain don't stand for this shit and call for some fucking heads. It's one thing to fire 10 shots at and kill an already-restrained innocent civilian, it's another entirely to then tell his family and the people of the world he was a terrorist or someone with ties to terrorism, that it was his fault somehow. And even after the "He was a terrorist" line was debunked, the police still failed to correct their erroneous reports. Awful.

There's nothing that can undo this horrible tragedy, but I sure as shit would hope the ones involved -- from the chief on down to the guys that shot him -- are not only held accountable, but their balls are plastered to the wall. Is that an expression? I don't think so.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Only in America

This past Sunday's inclement weather -- a keen mixture of oppressive heat and torrential downpours -- kept me inside for much of the day, where in addition to watching the PGA and some beisbol, I cleaned out my old e-mails and tidied up the apartment. I'm a really fun guy, I know this.

But in the course of performing these cooler-than-heck tasks, I found a great e-mail I sent out to some friends about two and a half years ago. In it, I recount the most bizarre phone conversation I've ever had in my life, a call even more surreal than the time Gen. Wesley Clark called the office and I said, "Oh hey, Wes, what's up?" before realizing my lack of respect for an officer.

(Ir)Regardless, here's a completely accurate, 100 percent factual account of my crazy night on Monday, December 16, 2002:

I'm at Red Cowboy's Chelsea apartment, my brother and the New Mrs. having just returned from their two-week honeymoon the previous evening...so Mom and Dad Cowboy drive into the city to gush over the newly hitched couple's newly developed photographs and watch some video footage the amateurs captured from their multiple Island paradises. After a couple hours I reach my cranky point: I've now seen and heard just about everything I need to see and hear.

It's about 8:45 and the family wants to get some dinner, but I'm tired and just want to return home to watch the Titans pound the Patriots as part of the week's installment of Monday Night Football. So, for reasons passing understanding, I deny their invitation and subsequent begging to take me out for a free meal at Mr. Chow, the absolute greatest gourmet Chinese food in the world and nightly home to more celebrities than any other place in New York. Each shrimp is about $96, but you won't find a better meal in the city (or Beverly Hills or London or any of its global sites). And it's a lavish affair every time -- you'll never leave feeling less than royal.

Here's the part where I learn exactly why I should never turn down an invitation to Mr. Chow, besides the obvious. Red Cowboy calls me half way through their meal, and he's whispering anxiously: "Dude, Don King is here...he's walking around shaking hands with everyone." I start to get jealous but quickly realize they're in awe of a convicted felon and the world's greatest con-man, so I turn my attention back to McNair's downfield drive. Still, say what you will about Don King, the guy lights up a room like no other. To see him in action would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On my end, in the hour since coming home I've taken a Xanax, drank a glass or two of wine and hit the ol' water pipe several times, and now I'm trying to tune out AGU's then-gal while she prattles on about something rather unimportant. That's when my cellular telephone rings. Thank goodness, no more talky from the Mouth on the opposing couch. But, damn, it's Red again, things must be getting good.

"Dude, can you hear that?" Red Cowboy reports that Don King is now yelling throughout the restaurant, screaming so loudly I can actually hear him in the background of the call. "He's taken over the place," Red says. King is now gesticulating wildly and hollering at everyone, and everyone's shouting back in complete glee. Dad Cowboy gets on the phone and describes him as "the best person in the world."

Then I can hear King yelling, "The emperor is here, the emperor is here" over and over, and the undisputed Heavyweight Champeen of the World Lennox Lewis walks in to the restaurant. I am near-literally kicking myself at this point for not going out to dinner with the family. How the hell did I turn this invite down? Why did I turn it down? What a d-bag I am!

Then my father says,"Ace, hold on a second, lemme see what I can do here." Now I'm really nervous and excited because my father is capable of just about anything in these situations. He's one of the more outgoing guys in the center-of-attention business and usually has no qualms about making a scene. After a minute or two or silence on the other end of the phone, a man with a British accent gets on the phone and says, "Hello, Ace?"

There was no question about this mystery man's identity: I was talking to the champ. It's not every day you're on the horn with the boxer who united all the championship belts by beating Holyfield and knocked out Tyson only six months earlier. And Lennox should have beaten Evander twice, but the two men fought to a very questionable draw in their first 1999 bout. Main-event boxing officially lost any credibility it had left after that first fight, but no matter how far the sport falls, it will always be thrilling to converse with the reigning Heavyweight Champ, especially if he's a 6'5'' beast of a Pugilist Specialist.

Immediately I break out the big guns. I say, "Holy shit, how are ya, buddy?" In his Ali G-like accent, he responds genuinely, "I'm doin' good, chap, where you at, I's jus' chillin' here wif your pop havin' a good time..." Now I'm freaking out, but I answer calmly, "I'm right down the fuckin' street, on 31st street. I cannot believe I turned down an invitation to be there, Lennox!"

The two of us chat back and forth for a good 90 seconds to two minutes, the details of our talk rather unimportant, much like AGU's then-gal's story. I'm not sure if he's under the wrong impression I'm a 13-year-old boy stuck at home while Mum and Pop hit the town, but he asks me questions and answers my queries like we'd been long-lost friends and he wants to catch up. I mention something about the Holyfield debacle and how I enjoy his fights, and he mentions something about the fabulous Peking Duck I was missing.

Finally, I end our conversation with, "You're the best champ in history, man, you should go out on top." He likes that last bit and we say goodbye. Not surprisingly, Lennox immediately moves up to my top five favorite athletes of all time. The Heavyweight Champ.

Looking back, I know that story's kind of anti-climactic. But you can see how that's be a cool evening for me. It would have been awesome if I ended our talk by challenging him to a bare-knuckle brawl at Steve Lombardi's Brooklyn abode, or if I told him I liked his chances for a Best Supporting Oscar for Ocean's Eleven, or if I had the nuts to tell him he held up David Tua for way too long instead of knocking him out earlier like he should have, or if I pointed a finger through the phone and said to him, "Touch me and I'll sue."

None of that may have happened, but I've conversed with the Champ. And that's pretty cool right there.

Sesquicentennial: That's the Hundred-and-fifty

Blaine, Missouri celebrated it's 150th anniversary with a massive parade down Main Street, a pie-eating contest, snipers on the roof and a Broadway-style musical relaying the historic account of the town's inception called Red, White and Blaine.



Roxboro, North Carolina, by contrast, "belatedly celebrated" its 150th anniversary "at a council meeting last week with a modest sheet cake." Why? Because nobody remembered the occasion. I guess that's what you get for having only a volunteer historian.

Surprisingly, the human interest piece itself isn't what I find most comical about the situation. Check out this reporter's writing:
There's no 'Sorry I missed your birthday' card big enough to make up for this one.

Just about nobody remembered that the town of Roxboro reached an important milestone this year its 150th anniversary of incorporation.

The best lede this apparently anonymous author could come up with was the birthday card opening? Oy vey. I'm really trying to think of a worse way to begin this article, and I can't come up with much. Maybe something like, "The official flower of Roxboro, North Carolina isn't the forget-me-not...but maybe it should be." And I'd still take my awful attempt over that hackneyed crap.

And starting the second sentence of an article with the words "Just about nobody" is simply atrocious. That's just piss poor writing, dreadful journalism. There's no excuse for that. Also, isn't it "nobody"? If it were "just about nobody" then someone would have remembered to celebrate the sesquicentennial, no? Just sayin'.

On second thought, there's no way in the world that second grouping of words starting with "Just about nobody" can even be considered a sentence, even in our horribly educated society. Read that thing again. Hopefully that bunch of words masquerading as a sentence is just missing a punctuation mark after the word "year," or else it's a worse attempt at English than I originally thought.

Then again, maybe this is my fault, maybe I'm setting the bar a bit too high for a reporter assigned to write a story about a small North Carolina town forgetting its own birthday.

Then again, why is this even news? And why am I writing about it? All good questions, no good answers.

Slack Song of the Day: I've got a real hankering for some Grateful D. this morning, specifically some Tennessee Jed. So here's a little blackened eye and kicked dog from March 25, 1983 at Tempe's Compton Terrace Amphitheatre.

And just for the hell of it, here's a nice Harry Hood encore from 10/29/94 in Spartanburg, South Carolina (courtesy of nugs.net).

**Slack Pop Ditty of the Day**: In my review of Trey's new band and his newly written tunes, I wasn't exactly very friendly towards the venture. But there is one new song that's poppy as hell, but it's also super-catchy and really well done. I'm a big fan, and I can't get it out of my head. It's called Shine, and you can find it here. Lemme know what you think, sportsfans.

Monday, August 15, 2005

And I'm a Geek?

Check out this guy's love for the Rolling Stones..."I've been with him since he was 13 -- never a day without a Rolling Stones T-shirt," said his wife, Lisa.

He puts us Phish dorks to shame.

A Year Since Mud & Flubs

It’s been exactly one year since the popular rock band Phish's last performance as the greatest American foursome of all time. Really, though, it feels like a decade.

So on the first anniversary of the final notes of The Curtain With, here’s some Coventry audio and video, for those of you who can stomach it:

First, Ace's thoughts: Joy in Mudville: A Farewell (Part I, Part II)
Let us not forget Donnie's thoughts: End of Phish

Not much has changed, so let's just leave it at that.

Coventry Media (Windows Media)
Festival Audio
August 14th, Day One (Part I)
August 14th, Day One (Part II)
Day One Setlist

August 15th, Day Two (Part I)
August 15th, Day Two (Part II)
Day Two Setlist

Pre-Festival Soundcheck
August 13th latenight: Probably the highlight of the Coventry weekend, we listened to this gem on the festival's own radio station -- The Bunny -- while stuck in traffic in the middle of a rural Vermont road.

Video
August 15th Day Two, Set Two (55 minutes): Down with Disease, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Glide, Split Open and Melt

If you've never seen a Phish show in person or on DVD, you're probably not going to enjoy this video. Sure it'll be cool to see the mass of 70,000 screaming fans getting their final look at a bunch of dorks who took about half of their disposable incomes. It'll be fantastic to see the lit up ferris wheel and hot-air balloon off in the distance, as well as the lit up guitarist making magic from up on stage. But make no mistake: This is Phish far from their best.

Still, there are some real highlights in this video that are definitely worth watching. And I've outlined those for y'all in this summary (mind you, this is literally the first time I've heard or seen a lick of this concert since leaving the grounds):

(0:00) Down With Disease -- The Phish staple probably displayed my favorite moment of the whole weekend: the glowstick war. It starts a couple minutes in, but at exactly 4:00, there's a great camera shot of the jaw-dropping glow-melee. As my buddy TJ said to me during the war, "Item number one on the National Glowstick and Glowring Manufacturers annual meeting's agenda better be entitled 'Life After Phish.'"

At 4:33, Trey picks up a glowstick and uses it as a pick. At about 5:40, he picks up a second glowstick and uses it as a slide. Now he's playing guitar with two glowsticks. The Junk will make a man do funny things.

(19:08) Wading in the Velvet Sea -- While this song is certainly near the top of the list of beautiful Phish ballads, it's widely regarded among my brain cells as a major letdown. See, I have a weird statistical anomaly with this song: Of the nearly 1,200 shows in the band's annals, they've played Velvet Sea as an encore only seven times. Of the five times Phish has played Velvet Sea as an encore in the 63 post-hiatus shows, I've managed to see all five (NYE '02 @ MSG; 2/21/03 in Cincy; 7/19/03 @ Alpine Valley in Wisconsin; 7/26/03 in Atlanta and 6/19/04 @ SPAC). It's one thing to hear a ballad as an encore and enjoy it for what it is, but after five times of hearing the same ballad over and over as an encore, you're looking to strangle several wooks with their own dreadlocks.

But because I knew I'd be hearing it for the last time, I perked up and paid the song its due, kind of like two prize-fighters shaking hands after a 12-round slobberknocker. Only Page didn't start singing right away, missing his cue. The band circled around the skies above the runway and went back in for a landing, only this time, again, Page couldn't quite get the words out. Trey and Page were both at a loss for words, but the band still pulled off the melodic jam well. The song finished to thunderous applause. And, um, yeah, I kinda got goosebumps and teary watching this portion of the video.

(26:20) Glide -- The most emotional part of the weekend moves right into the most forgettable botch-job of the weekend. Just saying the words "Coventry Glide" can make a grown man shiver. But I'm sure the emotional roller-coaster of the weekend really took its toll on the band at exactly that time, so I guess it's excusable.

Either way, THIS song should have opened the festival, not Walls of the Cave. The lyrics, including the words "And we're glad glad glad that you'll arrive", couldn't be more appropriate considering a third of the crowd had to walk miles to get to the venue just hours or even minutes earlier.

(30:40) Farewell speeches -- After Glide, it's obvious Trey realized the band needed a minute to wind down and get it all out. Big Red mentions the "emotional ups and downs" of the weekend and thanks the fans for their many years of appreciation and cash flow. Page still can't speak, Mike touches his heart and Fishman throws out the line of the festival: "For all you people who walked in here, that is the greatest compliment that we can ever have."

At 33:35, Trey absolutely loses it and breaks down crying like a schoolgirl with skinned knees. Of the 140,000 eyes on the grounds that weekend, maybe 0.01 percent were still dry. To get themselves and everyone else out of this funeral-esque funk, Trey says, "What we need to do now is just blow off some fuckin' steam," and they kick into...

(34:54) Split Open and Melt -- If I remember correctly, because I've still yet to listen to this festival at all, this was one of the best jams of the night. And it definitely holds up on the video, as this kicks ass. It just goes to show you -- after a good cry, all you need is one of the band's all-time greatest jam vehicles to make everyone feel good again. Too bad the end of SOAMelt gets cut off.

See also: Pictures of our trip, courtesy of Tits McGillicuty; An awesome Coventry page from Russ Kahn's Photo Travelogue; Phil Reed's photographic essay about Coventry.