Thursday, September 29, 2005

Moving Hiatus

Ace Cowboy is moving. Slack LaLane is quiet. We'll be back Monday.

But first, here are my quickie football picks for the weekend: Giants*, Jets, Pats*, Jags, Bengals, Colts, Chiefs*, Lions, Saints, Redskins. Vikings, Raiders, 49ers, Panthers (*best bets).

Have a great weekend, and to all my friends in Boston, it's on. Oh, it's on, folks. I remember it well -- feels like 1949 all over again (only that year the Sawx had a one-game lead going into a two-game set and blew it). Let's go Yankees.

I'm Sick, and I Have to Pack

I woke up feeling terrible. And I also have to pack up everything I own for the move. this is gonna be a helluva day, folks.

In my absence, check out these hilarious links that Russ sent over last night -- this website called On the DL hosts "a compilation of photographic evidence of ballplayers doing what they do best -- whoring it up and drinking with the ladies." This is great stuff:

On the DL Not So Blind Items Part I
On the DL Not So Blind Items Part II

Here's another great link, as it wasn't a good day for the right side of the aisle yesterday. And as this excited blogger points out, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, world-class hypocrite Bill Bennett and Karl Rove may all be goin' down hard.

But Bennett's my favorite...for all you Freakonomics fans, Bennett said the following on his radio show yesterday: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down" Oh, it's true, you couldn't make shit like that up.

Slack Song of the Day: See below.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I'd Rather Be With You

Standing on the moon, I got no cobweb on my shoe...

Only because I've listened to this three times in the last 24 hours, I feel compelled to post it on Slack again this afternoon.

Standing on the Moon from Saturday's Comes a Time

Such a beautiful, stripped down version, too -- it's just Bruce Hornsby, who I've been lucky enough to see thrice in the past six months, and Trey Anastasio, who I've been lucky enough to give most of my money to over the past decade. Solid.

Yes, I'd rather be with you (and here's the original)...

Frivolous Stories of the Day

Obviously the biggest story of the day is Rep. Tom DeLay's indictment and the potential ascension of Rep. David Dreier (didn't he play television's Hunter?) or Rep. Roy "Rollin' a" Blunt to the top leadership role in the House. But we'd be remiss if we didn't point out these other newsworthy stories:

1. Anti-dueling law cited in prosecution: "Five years into the 21st century, an 1846 anti-dueling law is being used to prosecute two cousins accused of getting in a knife fight."

Like nailing Al Capone on tax evasion, maybe they finally figured out a way to nail that sonuvabitch who marked up Seal's pretty face. Or was that lupus? Shit, my bad, Seal.

2. Senator says storms are punishment from God: "Hurricane Katrina and other storms that battered the Gulf Coast were God's judgment of sin, according to state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo."

So this guy should be proud to join the ranks of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Louis Farrakhan, Pat Robertson (and this truly crazy weatherman) of people who have blamed Katrina on God's wrath (or the Japanese mafia). And I think to myself...what a wonderful world.

Only atheists should be allowed to make decisions for the country. I have officially spoken.

3. Bear Kising: Pucker Up, If You Dare!: "The Great Bear Federation of Canada calls a park's practice of letting visitors pay to kiss bears 'dangerous and stupid.'"

I've been trying to figure out a way to get this Super Troopers line on this blog, and finally I get my opportunity -- "Um, excuse me, Bear...Bearfucker, do you need assistance?"

4. Judge ends wet T-shirt contests in nightclubs: "For now, wet T-shirt contests are illegal in Myrtle Beach unless they are held in areas zoned for sexually oriented businesses, an Horry County judge said Tuesday before issuing a temporary restraining order against three nightclubs that have held such contests."

Talk about activist judges...what a serious bastard.

5. Australian crushed in rubbish lorry: "An Australian man has told how he narrowly escaped being crushed to death inside a rubbish lorry after he fell unconscious following a night out."

Who doesn't have at least one story that sounds familiar to this one?

Get Yer Post-Hurricane Freebies

One of the things I enjoyed most after 9/11 that helped me reconcile my shaken sense of humanity was the outpouring of support and service from local folks who wanted to help out any way they could. The lines to give blood were long and lengthy, New Yorkers went down to Ground Zero to feed and hydrate the police and firefighters searching for survivors, people offered up rooms in their apartments, clothes and money and whatever else they could give.

We've seen it many times before and many times after, but that's the time it really hit home for me what it means to be a good samaritan. Not just in the abstract, but in real life. That's why this story intrigued me so much:

"A doctor has offered to perform free abortions on hurricane evacuees, saying it may be too dangerous for them to wait until they return home...

'If we didn't provide it now, they would get it later — a late-term abortion that would give greater risk to the mother's health,' Edwards told KTHV-TV in Little Rock." [More]

Good for the doc, trying to lend his helping hand and rusty hanger to serve the displaced women who need his help. I'm sure his clinic will be bombed by the morning, so get 'em while they're hot.

**And speaking of right-wing motherfuckers bombing abortion clinics, everybody's favorite criminal representative Tom DeLay was just indicted, which means he'll likely be forced to give up his House leadership position.

This just in as I type -- he's (temporarily) stepping down after all. I'm not only rooting for this guy to lose his seat altogether, I'm rooting for some hardcore fuck-me-in-the-ass prison time. I have respect for just as many Republicans as Democrats these days -- some make total sense even though I may disagree with them -- but this guy is a total slimedouche. Good riddance, you putz.**

Pinstripes in the Park

Combine a mammoth 14' x 18' projector screen, an absolutely crazy, screaming Jon Corzine lookalike, Tony Danza singing the National Anthem, Goose Gossage, Graig Nettles, Joe Pepitone and Jim Leyritz, a semi-obnoxious emcee who looked like Matt Pinfield, Continental Airlines handing out free round-trip flights, a soft-spoken Hispanic oaf in front of us who wouldn't sit down, peanut and Cracker Jack and soda vendors, several thousand Yankee fans, my buddies Dorsey and Russ, and throw them all into Bryant Park on a random Tuesday evening and usually, usually, you have a guaranteed good time.

That is, unless the Yankees' pitching staff gives up 17 runs, eight of them in the fourth and fifth innings after the team re-captured the lead on a Sheffield grand slam. The pitching performance ruined a perfectly good night for us -- but Pinstripes in the Park will go down as a huge success, if only because it was such a cool idea.

From the moment Danza belted out "And da hooome of da braaave" and I yelled out "Mooona" and "Sa-maaan-ta," to the middle of the sixth when we walked out to find a bar with our heads held low, I thoroughly enjoyed the surreal experience of sitting on damp, muddy grass with like-minded fans. I wasn't sure what to expect, but when Jeter led off the game with a monster shot to left-center and the park erupted in cheer, I thought it was going to be a fun night. Boy did that prediction miss the mark, much like Moose's pitches.

Moose decided to take the night off and was promply hooked after less than two innings trailing 5-1, not giving the fans a great deal of hope for this Sunday's scheduled start in Fenway. But then Sheff cracked a two-run shot in the third and a grand slam in the fourth, and the place erupted once again. These moments, taken with Jeter's solo shot in the first, made the night special and really showed me what this night could have been. But it wasn't meant to be, as Al Leiter and Scott Proctor and the rest of the middle relief scrubs took care of that. Walks will kill ya, especially with the bases loaded.

So we ended up at Earl's on the east side, where we chowed down on a late-night spinach and artichoke dip and some fried calamari while watching the Sawx lose their own game to the Jays. Well, at least we didn't lose any ground in the AL East or Wild Card races, we rationalized. And at least I got out of the apartment and experienced the beginning of an annual tradition perhaps, an event I'll come to every year if they'll have us.

Pinstripes in the Park, a novel concept. Now if we can only we can put up some more Wins in the W Column, I'll be a happy man.

Slack Link of the Day: Check out Part I and then Part II of our favorite SI.com writer's two-part column about his trip home to Wisconsin for last weekend's Michigan/Wisco slobberknocker (and e-mail him to tell him how uncharacteristically self-indulgent it is!).

Slack Song of the Day: Because I love it so, here's a little Caravan from The Last Waltz, which I discussed at length in this post.

But more importantly, for those of you who give a shit (I know your numbers are few, and "go fuck yourselves" to those who don't), Nugs.net is streaming the Comes a Time benefit from the other night -- check it out here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Party Like It's 1998

Welcome back Vinny Greenballs. We've missed you?

The NFL's sixth all-time leading passer and 42-year-old ageless wonder (OK, so he's not so ageless) is back in Jets' Green. I've never loved Brooks Bollinger so much in my life.

Look, I was a big Testaverde fan -- the guy took us to within 30 minutes of the Super Bowl in January 1999. But does he still have it? More so than anyone else out there? Jeff George or some other washed up hooligan wasn't available? I think we've got some problems on the depth chart.

I'ma huge fan of our receiving corps, so here's to hoping someone can throw Coles and McCareins and Chrebet and Cotchery the damn ball.

Two For Two

Two episodes in the books, and the show's still brilliant.


Tobias: "No, no, no, no. I-I was scared too, but I realized it was of being a leading man. Oh, I can just taste those meaty leading man parts in my mouth."

Perspective, Phil, Perspective

After the tenth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers erased a 21-0 halftime deficit to win an overtime game over #4 LSU in Death Valley (an unfortunately appropriate nickname in Louisiana these days), Vols coach Phillip Fulmer had this to say about his sometimes first, sometimes second-string quarterback:

"There's no better story than Rick Clausen...Getting done what he got done, coming back here to win this football game at a place where he had been, I don't know if there is a better story in the world than what this guy has done."

Really, Phil? There's not a better story in America, let alone the world, than a 20-year-old kid winning a football game? Sure, he transferred from one school to another, hung in there after being designated the back-up in a two-man rotation, then went back to that first school he didn't get playing time at and engineered an amazing comeback. But best story in the world? What Clausen did last night was fantastic, a true testament to perserverance and hard work. He got in the game trailing big, but he never rattled and led his team with a 21-for-32, 196 yards and a TD performance for the win.

Still, this game had special significance outside of the Clausen family, too. In case you haven't heard, there was a major hurricane in the area a month ago and the threat of another just this past weekend. LSU's first game was postponed, the second moved to Arizona State and this one turned into a Monday Nighter instead of a Saturday game after Rita's course was charted.

In the first major event in Louisiana since Katrina, when people finally got the chance to see the Tigers take the field and put away their Hurricane-related worries for the night, Tennessee left many people with a bitter taste in their mouths (tastes better than Gulf water, I'm sure). Hundreds of thousands are still homeless, millions of Texas residents are still settling back into their homes, and we still have to deal with all the many problems we were facing before Katrina struck -- remember Iraq and the deficits and all those people in poverty without health insurance?

That's not to mention the many heroes of the past month: the little girl I just saw on CNN who organized a huge stuffed animal drive for the kids left homeless by the twin hurricanes, or the relief workers who have yet to sleep in September because of the tough job that lies ahead, or the National Guard or local police, etc.

But, I agree, Phil, there is no better story in the world than Rick Clausen playing 30 minutes of football and defeating the team for whom everyone in America was rooting. What a douche, this guy should be considered the worst story in the world -- he's like the Grinch without Christmas. He took away hope from the keeeds, man, he robbed the already looted populace. Shit, Phil Connors has more tact than Fullmer.

Slack News/Movie Line of the Day: "We got no food, we got no jobs, our quarterbacks' soulders are falling off." Chad's out for the year, and Jew Fiedler is still up in the air. Let's hear it for the Brooks Bollinger Era...I'm sure Jonny Vilma is psyched. I have no idea what to make of this development. I'm just stunned we're off to a 1-2 start with no viable quarterbacks in the mix. Here's to you, Brooks -- do it.

Slack Band Names of the Day: We've got two from yesterday, the first of which cancelled or postponed much of the baseball schedule from last night -- Remnants of Rita and Real Tennis.

Slack Songs of the Day: Just for the hell of it, let's throw it back to the awesome 80s -- Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue, Matthew Wilder's Break My Stride, El DeBarge's Who's Johnny and Lionel Richie's Dancin' on the Ceiling.

And just to counteract that dose of ultra-cheesiness, feel free to sink your teeth into the 6/17/04 Phish show at Coney Island's Keyspan Park. And if that's not your bag, here's some Railroad Earth from this year's Gathering of the Vibes.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Concealing His Wang

What's weirder: That this guy is basically the ace of our staff, that he seems to be enjoying this hazing effort or that I'd consider doing him?

Comes a Time: A Tribute to Jerry

Since I can’t think of a proper opening paragraph to this post, let me just say this: I’m extremely jealous of those fortunate enough to have attended this weekend’s Comes a Time tribute to Jerry Garcia.

For those of you who may not have heard about this, the night’s festivities included former Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreuztmann, Donna Jean Godchaux and Bruce Hornsby, along with Trey Anastasio, Warren Haynes, Gloria Jones, Jackie LaBranch, David Nelson, Sandy Rothman, Melvin Seals, Patti Smith, members of the String Cheese Incident — Jason Hann, Michael Kang, Keith Moseley and Billy Nershi — and Ratdog members Kenny Brooks, Jeff Chimenti, Mark Karan, Jay Lane and Robin Sylvester. No Phil Lesh in the mix for some reason, but that's a fantastic lineup.

A recording of the show’s already up on etree — hop on the torrent and see the setlist here; Famed Phish timer and PT dweller ZZYZX’s pics from the event; Event rehearsal pics from Robert Minkin Photography; Actual gig pics from the same site; and though it's incomplete, here are some of the song lineups from the show over at the LMB -- enjoy!

And this just in...the Standing on the Moon with Bruce and Trey, as well as Loser and Eyes of the World.

Friend of Slack, Mitchell VergerDertz III, actually attended this show, but he either died there or hasn't woken up from a drug-induced coma, so we have no first-hand review to report. Anyone else go to this and can provide some details?

No Direction Home & Beisbol Scenarios

Check your local PBS listings for tonight and tomorrow: “Martin Scorsese directing first feature-length film biography of Bob Dylan to premiere this September." And that premiere is tonight. Click here for more...

Separately, if you thought this baseball season has been incredible thus far and can't wait for the upcoming weekend, pray we get some end of the season ties out of it. Here's a great article from MLB.com on the possible outcomes following Sunday's finale.

Myocardial Infarction Weekend

It started off so well. Famous Mulgrew and his buddy Dave treated me to a glorious night at Yankee Stadium on Friday, where we kicked back and watched Shawn Chacon three-hit the Blue Jays through eight shutout innings. The three of us also non-sexually ingested plenty of meat and nuts.

But then, like my travails two weeks ago Sunday, it all went to shit. The Yanks lost a big game Saturday, almost at the exact same time Penn State threw a fourth-quarter touchdown late in the game to cap a comeback off the NU Wildcats -- not so awesomely, Posada grounded into a game-killing double play just seconds after the Cats let up a 4th and 15 that would have ended the game.

Then, as if I needed more sports heartbreak, the Jets decided to play like the polar opposite of a champion yesterday, getting outcoached and outplayed at every level, finally succumbing to a defeat they sorely deserved. I've seen worse -- we're only a game out of first place after all -- but this team that I thought would be 11-5 looks to be more of a 5-11 team, and those five wins will only be a direct result of their defense. I never thought I'd be sad to see Jay Fiedler get hurt.

I guess it wasn't all bad...my fantasy team is about to become 3-0 (unless somehow Broncos' WR Ashley Lelie puts up 49 points on me) and the Yankums pulled out a yuge win yesterday. Still, the Jets' performance was lackluster and inexcusable, and the coaches and players should be working their asses off to fix what's wrong. I refuse to write their obituary yet -- remember, the 2002 Jets started 1-4 and then 2-5 -- but I can't say I'm very pleased with the effort so far this season. Herm looks like a fonzanoon and new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger ain't Heiming or Dinging. Let's go, fellas.

I can't write much more in-depth on this weekend's sports, for fear it'll push my heart over the edge. So here's a funny e-mail I got from Miami's EB about Bill Cosby and his contract riders:

"From the If I Had a Blog Dept.:

This latest concert rider on The Smoking Gun -- Bill Cosby's -- is pretty funny, even to someone who long ago grew tired of most Smoking Gun contract finds.

Besides demanding that no one advertise his shows in the Philly Inquirer or Daily News (his hometown papers), Cosby requests high-quality toilet paper and college-logo sweatshirts from all venues. And those are among, like, eight things he asks for. It's not much. So basically he's saying good toilet paper and college sweatshirts are on a short list of the most important things in his life. How much more a parody of himself can he be?"

Good stuff, EB. Here's some more good stuff -- the U.S. crime rate for 2004 remained at a 30-year-low, especially violent crime: "Since 1993, violent crime as measured by victim surveys has fallen by 57 percent and property crime by 50 percent. That has included a 9 percent drop in violent crime from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004."

It ain't a perfect world, but I like hearing we're inching closer (even though we're really not).

Slack Musical Links of the Day: The Band Boxset...oh yes. Trey hits the road for another tour...oh no?

Slack Song of the Day: As seen on the Live Music Blog, Part IV of the Big Cypress Jamcast Project is out. Grab it, download it, complete the set. Only 11 more parts to go.

Friday, September 23, 2005

NFL Picks: Week #3

I went 9-7 for the week on Sunday, bringing my record up to 16-15-1 (I gave myself credit for a loss in Week #1 instead of a tie). As for my Best Bets, I'm 4-2 on the season after my second-straight two-fer-tree performance.

With my 16-15-1 record, I'm now occupying second place in the 15th Annual Cowboy Family Football Pool -- one game behind, yeah, my 81-year-old grandmother. What can I say, she knows her shit.

Onto the picks:
CHARGERS -6 over the Giants (Not one team this season who has traveled three time zones has covered the spread)
JETS -3 over the Jaguars
*RAMS -6.5 over the Titans
Raiders +7.5 over the EAGLES (Raiders will buck that trend)
Bengals -3 over the BEARS
VIKINGS -4 over the Saints
*Panthers -3 over the DOLPHINS
COLTS -13.5 over the Browns
BILLS -3 over the Falcons (Atlanta has shown me nothing)
PACKERS +3.5 over the Bucs
Cards +6.5 over the SEAHAWKS
Patriots +3 over the STEELERS (Pats are something like 5-1-1 as 'dogs over the last two or three seasons)
Cowboys -6.5 over the 49ERS
*Chiefs +3 over the BRONCOS (Am I the only person who thinks the Broncos are just abysmal?)

*Best Bets

Nice slate of games on Sunday: Let's hope the Jets can make it over .500, my Double Wing (Double Wing) fantasy team can improve to 3-0 and I go 14-0 in the picks...

I'll Take S Words

John Howard recently wrote a little blog post about the abundance of swordplay stories in the news and in his life lately, something I've noticed as well. Well, more just the news for me.

Maybe it's the Internets-driven, 24-hour-cable-news culture we're getting our information from, but I feel the sheer number of swords-related stories is out of hand. That being said, here's a perfectly reasonable reaction from a teacher whose house was under deadly toilet paper attack from some local youths:

"'We were all TPing and stuff and a bunch of kids went to his house. And he came from a neighbor's yard with a sword and was chasing after everybody and hit a kid's hand,' said Matt Phannes, a student."

Can we all agree that sword-slinging is best left for Quentin Tarantino characters and not high school drama teachers? High school drama teachers should stick to trying to coax teenage male students into sexual acts, not slicing off their hands.

Ace Moves to the Village

At the Meadowlands on Sunday, I mentioned to my buddy Glaser how I was frantically looking for a roommate by the first of October. He then informed me that one of his current roommates was moving to the nation's capital for work. Twenty-eight hours later we all shook hands on a deal.

That's how it came to be. After more than four long years in the same converted one-bedroom apartment in Murray Hill, I impulsively decided on Monday night to move downtown. For the first time since after college in late August of 2001 (which was about the worst time ever in American history to impulsively decide to convert to Islam), I'm packing up all my stuff and re-situating in another location.

It's been three years and a month living with the Ambiguougly Gay Uno and another year before him with That Friend Who Didn't Call Me When He Got Engaged. Both of them decided to move in with their girlfriends after bunking up with Ol' Ace, so I must have some sort of marital effect on people. It's been a hell of a ride, but all things must come to an end. For every door that closes, another one opens. I may be closing one chapter, but I'm beginning another. [Insert additional generic moving-related cliche here].

But as much fun as the Uno and I had in this apartment, I'm excited about finally departing the neighborhood and starting anew in the heart of the Village. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first guy to defend Murray Hill from its somewhat deserved reputation among Manhattanites as a young, Jappy haven, but I think my new home will more easily suit my speed.

So if you're lookin' for me in the future, check for me in the fratty bars of the Village instead of the post-fratty bars of Murray Hill. Check for me in the NYU Village dorms instead of the post-college Murray Hill dorms. It'll be a whole new world, except not really at all.

Now it's time to clean everything out and pack everything up. Then it's moving time, unpacking time, organizing time...yeah, I'm really looking forward to the next two weeks. Mickey Glaser and Dorsey Levin, welcome to my world.

Slack Link of the Day: Check out this Minnesota high school band that covers DJ Shadow instead of the usual emsemble fare...

Slack Song of the Day: For the second straight day, I'm so captivated by this iDigit site that you're getting a full Slack Setlist of the Day...

Talking Heads' Don't Worry About the Government > Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo ala Turk > James Brown's Get Up Offa That Thing > Funkadelic's Can You Get to That? > Miles Davis' Sivad > The Band's It Makes No Difference > Eric Clapton's Badge > Huey Lewis' The Heart of Rock n Roll > The Beatles' Mean Mr. Mustard > Polythene Pam > She Came in Thru the Bathroom Window > Golden Slumbers > Carry That Weight > The End

Enjoy some tune-age.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lovely Rita, Drivin' Up Costs

Here's why you might be paying $5 for gas sometime reeeeeal soon:


The Wall Street Journal picture above shows the projected path of Hurricane Rita through the Gulf of Mexico. As you can see, the projected path in question would spare much of the oil and gas production platforms and rigs in the Gulf region. But that was yesterday's chart, folks.

It appears the storm, which yesterday looked like it would hit land in between Corpus Christi and Houston, has moved North and will likely hit much closer the Texas border with Louisiana, where that Port Arthur bullet is shown. Now if you chart that path, this now-Category 4 storm is going to be wrecking key production sites in the Gulf.

Even before this directional shift, more than 800 manned platforms and 134 rigs currently operating in the Gulf have been evacuated, according to the government's Minerals Management Service. Even worse, nearly three-quarters of the daily oil production and almost half of the daily gas production in the Gulf had been completely shut down. Again, this was before the storm began to move north.

There's another update in a half-hour, but if this storm goes right through the main production region of the Gulf, say goodbye to the recent decline in the price of gas at the pump. I'm no doomsayer, and sure, I don't have a car so this doesn't really affect me greatly, but I would be rooting with all my might that this Rita bitch takes another turn and heads towards Brian Leetch's hometown of Corpus Christi.

See also: Yesterday's Cat-5 upgrade and God rant

Too Many Blimps (Setec Astronomy)

If you're on the west siiiide of New York City right now, look out your window: There are not one but two Goodyear blimps traversing the clear blue skies of Manhattan right now.

I hate to dig up old jokes and replay them, but really I don't at all. This is from my 2004 MLB All-Star Game post on July 14, 2004 (also contained within, Tim McCarver jokes):

"...But my real beef with the game this year was last night's aerial coverage, provided by the Ameriquest blimp. I mean, are they just fuckin' giving these things away? How many blimps are there these days? I feel like it was just five years ago when spotting a blimp over a sporting event meant seeing "Goodyear" plastered along its sides. Didn't everyone tease the fat girl in elementary school by calling her the Goodyear blimp? Do kids these days mix it up and say, "Don't pick her for kickball, that chick is fatter than the Saturn Lightship"?

I remember when MetLife broke into the market and that was acceptable to me. The Snoopy I and Snoopy II blimps were fine for a little competition. Hey, I'm no Communist, I'll welcome a challenge to the Goodyear monopoly. But when the fuck did Outback decide it was a good idea to send the Bloomin' Onion I up to the skies?

At this point, I'm flat out praying for a major blimp catastrophe, something along the lines of an 'Oh, the Humanity' Hindenburg-esque disaster. I'll even take something resembling a horrifying mid-air collision between two of these oversized douchebags. And if Tim McCarver should be the captain of such a vehicle at the time, well, that'll just be gravy."

I love McCarver jokes.

Third Time's a Charm

For only the third day this season, the world awakes to find the Yank'ums on top of the AL East standings.

Since the last two times were extremely short-lived, I won't gloat or celebrate or even mention the fact that the Yanks have been written off more times than a corporate dinner. But here we are, with a "horrible rotation," a "terrible bullpen" and "a bench shorter than an Asian penis," swiping first place with only three series left to play. And tonight's game against the O's is key -- win it, and we've got a full one-game lead.

Now here's a point I've been dying to make since last night. As the "Papi 4 MVP" bandwagon runs out of room -- ESPN bought all the tickets and now they're handing them out as gifts -- A-Rod proved last night why he's the real AL MVP (and Travis Hafner proved why he might be next year's). Both Alex and Ortiz sucked it up at the plate: Papi went 0-4 with two strikeouts and a big ninth-inning groundout in a 7-4 loss; A-Rod went 0-3 with three strikeouts in a 2-1 win.

But while Ortiz had absolutely nothing to do with the 27 outs the Sawx recorded on defense, A-Rod made two great plays in the sixth inning to keep the Yanks up 2-1, a score that eventually held up for the win. First he held Bernie Castro to a single when he backhanded a grounder over the third-base bag, then he made a diving stab (Webgem!) to his right on a Javy Lopez two-out scorcher and threw to first to end the inning. The Unit pointed right at A-Rod, who pretty much thwarted a bigger inning all by himself. That's how he rolls.

And that's how the Devil Rays roll, jabbing the Yanks all season before making a secret backroom deal and turning on the Sawx. I thought Mr. Fuji was gonna come out at some point and take over for Sweet Lou. Much love to the D-Rays and the Orioles for playing their part.

Slack Admission of the Day: I watched a full episode of Lost for the first time last night. Well, I saw the series premiere and second episode, but then I dropped it. What a mistake! Everyone who's been telling me "This show is incredible" is 150 percent correct. For probably 40 of the 44 minutes I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. Shit, now I have another show to watch every single week. Little boxes, they control me.

Slack Awesomeness of the Day: By now you've all heard about the famed JetBlue flight that couldn't land, and I'm sure many of you watched it in the skies. I love JetBlue, for one main reason: The in-flight entertainment. How could you dislike an airline with DirecTV in the seats?! So I forgot last night that the people on board were most likely watching themsleves on TV the whole time, wondering whether or not they'd go down in flames. Craisins.

Slack Song of the Day: This new iDigit site is so incredible that I thought I'd just do a Slack Setlist of the Day instead:

The Band's We Can Talk > Taking Heads' Found a Job > Allman Brothers Band's Whipping Post > Phish's Rift > The Who's The Punk and the Godfather > Van Morrison's TB Sheets > Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up > Billy Ocean's Caribbean Queen > Talking Heads' Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place) > Mystery Train (John Butterfield & The Band from The Last Waltz)

If nothing else, listen to that first song, We Can Talk -- easily my favorite three-minute song in the history of music.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why's God Such a Dick?

This just in...Hurricane Rita has now strenghtened to Category 5 status, as the storm's winds have officially been clocked at 165 miles per hour.

To put that in perspective, only three Cat-5 hurricanes have ever hit landfall since we began keeping records, and all three "fucked some shit up big time," according to the NOAA. Even crazier, there's never been two Cat-4 hurricanes in one season, let alone a Cat-4 (Katrina) and a Cat-5 (if Rita doesn't weaken).

Houston Mayor Bill White just ordered the mandatory evacuation of parts of the area, while urging others to get the fuck out of Dodge. I'm sure the Katrina evacuees living in Houston are loving this. And there's only two million people in Houston, so there probably won't be any traffic on the roads at this hour.

If this storm doesn't weaken, and it hits land as a Cat-5, and more people die and lose everything they own, which is all but guaranteed, I want an explanation from people who'll still believe in God as to why he'd be such a prick to these people along the Gulf Coast. Not even Alec Baldwin's character in Glengarry Glen Ross was this mean.

I can just see God getting in the face of everyone in Galveston: "See, that's who I am. And you're nothing."

Warshing Your Hands is a Good Idear

I'm looking at you, Braves' fans...

Play With This

I might be tied up for a little while this morn...bullocks to work. In the meantime, here's a cool toy that apparently Jakey Zeebs and I found at the exact same time.

It might make my Slack Song of the Day obsolete, but you can track down and easily stream fantastic songs like Walkin' in Memphis and Heart and Soul and Superfly and Africa and Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and Shining Star and Machine Gun. Oh, and many more...

Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Related Stories: Boobs for Good; Boobs are Bad

Katrina victims are getting some relief from amateur porn. No, not quite like that:

Video makers notorious for filming women flashing their breasts said they will donate revenues from "Girls Gone Wild" episodes tied to Mardi Gras to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims...

"Girls Gone Wild" will donate to the Red Cross the online purchase prices of each title or package set "that has anything to do with Mardi Gras," including "the very popular 'Girls Gone Wild Doggy Style'," with rapper Snoop Dogg... [More]

But aren't boobies evil? Then there's this:

The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage." [More]

New Orleans is a minor problem or something, Hurricane Rita's on the way, the terrorists might be recruiting more unhappy Islamic teens, there's something kinda serious going on in Iraq, and with all the other problems in the country and the world, it's good to know we've got our priorities in order.

Here's what I really want to know...is the federal goverment and its henchmen going to give Mary Carey her money back from the fundraiser she attended in June?

Hey! Hey! Stop that man, he's trying to feel good, behind closed doors, after a long, shitty day of work! Where the fuck is this smaller government the Republicans promise me every time there's a major election in this country? You show me yours, I'll show you mine. Stay out of my bottom drawer.

It's a Walkoff

How great of a feeling must it be to hit a walkoff homerun into the Yankee Stadium bleachers in the heat of an intense playoff race in September? That's gotta be one of the all-time greatest feelings on Earth. I'm sure Bubba Crosby's feet still haven't even touched the ground.

The Yankees pulled to within a half-game of the rival Sawx last night as a result of Wang's stellar pitching, Crosby's moonshot and Tampa's win over Boston (though Tampa tried to blow it by pitching to Big Papi -- just stop that, stop it). Red-hot Cleveland also moved a step closer to history, pulling to within two and a half (men) games of the White Sox, whose lead only a month ago was thought to be insurmountable.

Throw in the division race out West and the American League and National League Wild Card races, and this is the best baseball season since at least the 1994 strike. Funny, but I said that last year and the year before as well. This sport, once left for dead, has been getting better and better every season for the last few years, and I'm predicting one day our heads will all explode.

But it's going to be anticlimactic because these teams jockeying for position don't play each for the rest of the year. Oh, wait, it's just the opposite -- the Yankees finish the season against the Sawx and the Injuns close out the slate against the ChiSox (the Angels and A's play three more, but in the second to last series of the season). Whose job is it to make the schedule, and more importantly, whose job is it to get down in front of him and blow him 'til his dong falls off from maximum stimulation?

I was going to write a whole treatise on the ridiculousness of this season, but I'm a bit strapped for time right now. So instead, let's turn this into an OPEN POST: What are your thoughts on this exciting season and how it'll play out for the rest of the month?

Slack Link of the Day: Good news, Chapelle's Show is coming back! Bad news, he's not in it anymore! Watch this clip, funny stuff.

Slack Mersh of the Day: This is Donnie's favorite commercial, perhaps because he's a big fan of disco music and public works. Strangely, both of those statements are true. Play with sound.

Slack Song of the Day: Over on the Live Music Blog, Justin put up a link to a great blog that pretty much does what I do in this section of the morning post, only better and more in-depth. So I've included a link to Best Show Ever in the right-hand toolbar, and I'd suggest you check it out as often as it's updated (unfortunately not daily).

Yesterday, the man behind the site put up a great version of Cream's Crossroads from Oakland on 10/4/68. Three weeks and 37 years after this show, I'll be seeing the original power trio in the Garden!

And finally...I'm Oscar (dot-com).

Monday, September 19, 2005

I've Got a Little Obsession, Folks

Not since the popular rock band Phish a decade ago have I fallen so quickly for another band.

It’s almost like my wife of 10 years left me to see other people. We’d always had an open relationship, but she wanted out completely. I sat in near-mourning for a year, wondering what it’d take to get her back, even though I dated others quite a bit. Or at least I tried to date others, but my head just wasn’t in it. I’d only end up missing what I wanted most: the ex.

Then this knockout walked into my bar and pulled up a stool next to me, offering to buy me a beer. After a long night of intense foreplay and a few more-than-satisfying climaxes and connections, though, she left town to return home. Now we’re playing the e-mail penpal game, but I’m stuck wanting more. In the meantime, I’m trying to find out everything I can about her, calling her friends, Googling her on the Internets, sniffing her left-behind panties, anything I can to get closer while the distance between us is greater than I’d like.

(Did I lose y’all at the panty-sniffing? I promise I’ve never done that. Well, only once, and it’s because I knew for certain they’d be soiled. Jeez, where is my head today? I swear I’m a normal, decent member of society.)

There’s a reason for this post, I swear I’m getting to it, and it’s not just to put that image in your head and scram. Some fine member of the Tea Leaf Green boards just alerted me to the following on nugs.net, and I must do the same for you…

“In between Christmas and New Year’s of 2004, Tea Leaf Green stopped by the KPFA studios in Berkeley to play live on David Gans’ radio show. We were privileged to simulcast the show on nugs.net radio that night, and we are pleased to present the show for download now on nugs.net.”

Here’s the INCREDIBLE recording. As good as the rest is, that Garden 3 is off the charts. I’m not sure you can listen to this and say you don’t like these guys…

(Special thanks to nugs.net and the TLG Forums)

Previously: Blown Away By Tea Leaf Green

Don't Be Such an Ann Hog

Make sure to set those TiVos for 8 pm, folks. The third season of the most brilliant comedic show on television, Arrested Development, debuts tonight. And make sure to tell your friends, or at least the ones with fucking Nielsen boxes, because we're in danger of losing the greatest thing you've never seen.

In preparation for tonight, check out the two links above, they features tons of audio clips, videos and quotations from the show's first two uproarious seasons. Here's my favorite quote, from Tobias, who is defending his failing open marriage to Lindsay and trying to put down his brother-in-law Michael in the process:

"You know, first of all, we are doing this for [our daughter Maeby], okay, because neither one of us wants to get divorced. And second-of-ly, I know you’re the big marriage expert. Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot. Your wife is dead. (awkward pause of realization) I’m sorry. That was 100% inappropriate, and I do apologize profusely. I’m... Oh..."

Classic stuff. I love it. You will, too.

Wolf in Strom's Clothing

Did I mention on here the September 1st episode of The Situation Room when Wolf Blitzer let one slip in the aftermath of Katrina?

He said: "As much as you see that picture, though, you simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals. As Jack Cafferty just pointed out, so tragically, so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold."

Now we've got some video...here we go.

Unsung Heroes

On my bus trip home from the Meadowlands yesterday, I thought about some of the people I saw this weekend that get no credit for being who they are. First, thanks to Mr. Glaser for the ducat, always a pleasure to watch the Jets take home opener against a division rival. Now I'd like to point out two individuals and one group that win my non-existent Unsung Heroes of the Weekend Awards. Warning, here's the part where I come off as a shallow, insensitive jerk.

Ugly Girl's Friends: I took the subway down to this party at Jacob Eli and Back Page Phil's plush SoHo pad on Saturday night. If there's ever a perfect time and place to people-watch in Manhattan, it's aboard the subway on a weekend evening. New York City is full of those perfect people-watching times and places, but that's my absolute favorite, because all the "pretty persons" like myself and my super-hot friends are usually taking cabs above-ground. Yeah, I just rolled my eyes at that last sentence, too. It's cool, ese.

On this particular ride downtown, I stood next to a gaggle of soon-to-be-out-and-dancin' ladies, most likely fresh out of college, maybe 23. Two of them were somewhat attractive, two were more suitable to my friends who find no fault in getting plastered and taking home some buffer-level chicks, and one was downright heinous. And I mean utterly horrendous, a generous one out of 10.

I really hate to be this superficial, but she was largely overweight, rocked an inoperable overbite straight out of the cartoons with a tooth-to-gum ratio that was off the charts, and the coup de grace, full-fledged sideburns. Well, they weren't really sideburns, I guess, they were more like mutton chops.

Yet she seemed to be oh so comfortable within this group of girls, like this is where she belonged, like the group deferred to her on key decisions, like they enjoyed her company, like she led the pack. I loved it. For the 12 minute I rode the train with them, I marveled at her easy acceptance, at her genuine leadership, at her large tufts of of facial hair. I've always thought pretty girls hang around the less pretty ones because it makes them look better by comparison (this is true in 90% of all ugly/pretty relationships, I think). This, though, looked like a case of friendship and belonging and understanding.

So here's to you, nameless and unheralded girls of the New York City subway system. You may have to uncomfortably introduce someone as "my friend" to that cute guy at the bar, but thanks for being people that can get beneath the surface and find the beauty in everyone.

Pimple Guy's Girlfriend: For some strange reason, maybe as a result of the dearth of cabs, I rode the subway home from the SoHo party after 1 am. The train was surprisingly busy, which meant I probably wasn't going to be assaulted physically or sexually. So that's nice. I sat on the bench seat and stared blankly forward, across from a couple smooching and whispering sweet nothings to each other. She was a plain-looking Hispanic girl, he was a roundish white nerd with glasses and a dry, spiked head of hair.

Only one problem: He didn't have acne, he had a face full of it and skin where ordinary people with bad skin would have acne. You know how mean little kids used to call other kids with pimples "Pepperoni Pizza Face" or some derivation of? Well, that wouldn't even apply here, unless Domino's or Pizza Hut came up with a new type of pizza where they cut up the 'roni into microdots and cover the pie and crust with tons of those finely chopped 'roni dots. Then they'd have to cook it, take it out of the oven and re-apply hundreds more. Then you'd have an apt metaphor.

But his girlfriend looked smitten, and I saw a genuine happiness as they gazed into each other's souls. She was able to look right through his reddened facial topography and see the person behind the mask.

So here's to you, nameless and unheralded girlfriend of the new Microdot Pepperoni Pizza Face on the subway. You may have to smooch some lip zits, but like the nameless and unheralded girls of the New York City subway system, you're a better person for the ability to love those for who they are, not what they look like.

OK, let's move on to someone who doesn't make me sound like a total asshole incapable of playing nice...

Harper's Horse: Just about every football fan in the country knows Ed Anzalone, the guy in the fireman's helmet and #42 Harper jersey better known as Fireman Ed. He's the ever-intense bohemoth constantly situated in the aisles in between Section 133 and 134 of Giants Stadium, eight times a season, every year. On any of those given Sundays though, the New York City firefighter isn't extinguishing conflagrations big and small, he's lighting a fire under the 80,000 Jets fans by leading the crowd in "J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets" cheers.

But the guy who receives no credit whatsoever, the man who sees no ink in the local press, who gets no love from the tailgaters outside the Stadium is the man whose shoulders Fireman Ed sits atop while he does his thang. How easy do you think it is hoist about 250 pounds of muscle and rage on your being for more than half the game as Fireman Ed riles up the crowd? To me, it seems easy...I've been workin' out, I'm huge. To others, that can't be much fun. They call Chicago the "City of Broad Shoulders," but Chicago's got nothing on the Monster beneath the Man.

So here's to you, nameless and unheralded Jet fan associated with the Fireman Ed. He may be the face of the franchise's fan base, but you are the horse on which he rides to glory.

Slack Link of the Day: Now it may be lip service, and it may be a case of "I had my fingers crossed the whoooole time," but North Korea has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for some energy, economic and security benefits. It's amazing what a little light can do to a room, or in this case, a country.

Kim Jong Il is clearly a clazy, clazy man who once kidnapped his favorite South Korean actress in order to improve his own country’s cinema, but I think he made the right decision here. Personally, I'm waiting for the following press release out of Pyongyang: "No backies, touch blacksies, fuck you Yankee Bluejeans!"

Slack Disgust of the Day: Wait a minute, wait a minute...did James Fucking Spader beat out Ian McShane for Best Actor in a Drama? I'd get upset here, but instead I'll just laugh and scoff. I mean, after all, Everybody Loves Raymond beat Arrested Development for Best Comedy Series, so it's not like these are real awards or anything.

Slack Song of the Day: Got it from the top, it's nothing yoooou can stop. So I ask you, fans and non-fans of the Grateful Dead -- old, fast They Love Each Other (2/9/73) or new, slow They Love Each Other (10/9/82) -- which one is better?

Lord you can seeee, that it's truuuue.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Afternoon Stuff

Rule #1 of the Midwestern Highways: Never get pulled over in Indiana with out-of-state plates and drugs in the car. It's not going to end up a swell time if you've got something to hide.

Apparently this guy had prior knowledge of Rule #1 and tried to outsmart the Hoosier Police: "A Kansas man faces drug charges, accused by police of trying to distract a drug dog by throwing dog biscuits out of his car window...

Police said Kim was uncooperative, nervous and vomiting. When a drug dog arrived at the scene, police said Kim tossed debris and dog biscuits toward the dog in an apparent attempt to distract the K-9...

Officials said they uncovered about 75 grams of marijuana hidden in the vehicle and that Kim also had marijuana in his system."

When you take a shot at being a genius, sometimes you fail even if you're armed with the smartest ideas in the hopper. Oh Jong Kim, you flew too close to the sun on the wings of the reefer.

Now, some other shit:

1. There's a new book out called The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping With Chicks. Sounds fucking lovely -- this article is surprisingly well-written. I don't know why I said "surprisingly" there, but it is.

2. This guy here could probably pen a new book called The Chess Teacher's Guide to Inappropriately Touching Students, then immediately follow that up The New Inmate's Guide to Nasty Prison Rape. Both are due out in the winter, via Random House.

3. Donnie, as your best man, I will do everything in my power to make sure this happens: "Eleven men from a New York City-area wedding party — including the groom, his father, his new father-in-law and his best man — spent the night in jail after a boozy brawl with another bridal party, report New York newspapers." Seriously, read this story, it's off the charts.

4. Only in Florida. Only in Florida. Wow.

5. Last week the Ace Cowboy got off to a slow start to the season, going 7-9 for the week (but 2-1 in my best bets). Let's try to pick that percentage up with some road teams and 'dogs...here are my weekly football picks:

JETS -6 over the Dolphins
*Ravens -4 over the TITANS
TEXANS +6 over the Steelers
*Jaguars +9 over the COLTS
*BEARS +2 over the Lions
BENGALS -3 over the Vikings
EAGLES -13.5 over the 49ers
Bills +2.5 over the BUCS
PANTHERS +3 over the Pats
SEAHAWKS pick'em over the Falcons
CARDINALS -1 over the Rams
PACKERS -6.5 over the Browns
Chargers +3 over the BRONCOS
Chiefs -1.5 over the RAIDERS
Giants -3 over the SAINTS
COWBOYS -6 over the Redskins

*Best Bets

Slack Song of the Day: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band absolutely rocked Langerado fest when we were down there. And I'm in the mood for some hot DDBB beats right now, so here's a nice cover of Bill Withers' Use Me Up from July 28th, 2005 in Rochester. Enjoy, and if you like what you hear, the rest of the show can be streamed here.

Reeshard, I am in the Middle of a Speeesh Here

Is this guy the President of the United States or is he really the President of Mexico in disguise?


Looks like the president was a little nervous last night, eh? Maybe he played a quick game of two-hand touch football after the speech, but I'm pretty sure he just stood there and did nothing. This is just an abnormal amount of back-sweat for a guy that didn't move.

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for the pic. And thanks to La Raza and LULAC for overlooking my overt racism there.

Rebuilding? Start with the Clock

It's like they say: A picture's worth a thousand words. And this particular picture is probably worth a few elections.

President Bush stood in front of Jackson Square in New Orleans last night and tried to deliver a repeat of his well-received and definitely genuine Big Boy Bullhorn Moment down in Lower Manhattan. Only this time, he proved himself to be the wrong president with the wrong policies. And as Slack LaLane's Donnie Fiedler pointed out to me so gleefully last night, apparently he's got the wrong time as well.

The Brilliant Republican Advance Team (aka the BRATs) couldn't fix the fucking clock behind this guy?! It was 7:35 in New Orleans throughout the whole speech? Even when it was 9:06 in New York? And then 9:12? Jesus, men, get it together. For a president who lives in The Truman Show and has had everything scripted for him, nobody thought to either fix or hide the clock? If this so-called leader believes so strongly in a "faith in God no storm can take away," you'd think he could summon this benevolent invisible man to shoot some lightning down to the clocktower and re-start that puppy.

This didn't turn out to be the president's second Big Boy Bullhorn Moment...I think we'll all surely remember this one as a repeat of the Mission Accomplished banner fiasco. Just typical -- another failure of organization and foresight.

I want time, tell me what time.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Daylight...Footrace...Touch...Down

ABC Sports' college football announcers Brent Musburger and Gary Danielson each have close ties to Northwestern: Brent is one of our most famous alumni and Gary's kid was the football team's back-up quarterback for our last year of school.

And yet every time I sit down to watch the incredible NU 54, Michigan 51 game from the 2000 season -- and I watch it often -- I always cringe at the play-by-play and color commentary.

I'll explain: This is perhaps the greatest live sporting event I've ever attended. No, it is the greatest game I've even attended. I've been to the World Series and witnessed a miracle, I've been to the Stanley Cup playoffs and celebrated the glory of an overtime series winner, I've been to football and baseball stadiums and hockey and basketball arenas all over the country and seen unbelievable games in person.

But nothing beats this game. Nothing. I watched my Wildcats' spread offense put up 654 yards and 54 points on the vaunted Big Blue defense, slugging it out with All-Americans and future pros Drew Henson, David Terrell, Marquise Walker, BJ Askew and the A-Train on offense and Larry Foote, Victor Hobson, Cato June and Larry Stevens on the defensive side of the ball. At 6-2 (4-1 Big Ten), we were actually ranked #21 in the country to Michigan's #12 ranking, but the talent chasm between these two teams was immeasurable. We had a nerdy scheme that coaches couldn't stop and fans loved to watch; they had big boys and bruisers that would eventually play on Sunday.

We watched intently and rooted as the Cats came back from a 28-10 deficit and ran all over an all-around better, faster and tougher team. After trading scores, we pulled to within five at the end of the game, but Heisman-caliber running back Damien Anderson dropped an easy touchdown with no Wolverines in sight on fourth down, and we lost possession with less than two minutes remaining. When all hope was lost, when all the Wolverines had to do was gain one first down and kneel out the clock, the Hand of God knocked the ball loose from their Heisman-caliber running back Anthony Thomas just as he broke free, and Raheem Covington fell on the ball.

A few Kustokian slants later, Sam Simmons caught an 11-yard pass and we were actually leading with 20 seconds to go. It was the textbook definition of pandemonium in the stands. People were hugging and high-fiving and falling all over each other. We were about to win the craziest game on the entire college football season's docket. On national television, no less. After a botched 57-yard Michigan field goal with four seconds on the clock, we rushed the field for the first and only time in my career as a die-hard sports fan (check out those rushing the field pics above, they show everything up to the point where our student body couldn't bring the goalposts down -- NU engineers 1, NU fans 0).

The Cats moved into a first-place tie with Purdue and the Wolverines fell back to third or fourth place. It was an incredible day, I mean simply incredible. When Covington fell on that fumble I honestly cried tears of joy, and I wasn't alone. That's how insane it was in the stands that day. It was so crazy that I had no energy left and, it being Parents' Weekend, I had to call my folks and cancel our reservation downtown at the legendary Charlie Trotter's. My mother, having made the reservation months in advance and having psyched herself up for it, secretly still hasn't forgiven me for that move. But I'll never forget that day as long as I live.

And when I watch this game on my TiVo (God bless ESPN Classic), those emotions and memories come flooding back, but they're drowned out by Musburger's exaggerated and repetitive calls. The amount of times he says "Daylight" and "Footrace" is unprecedented. It's without precedent, baby. The subject line of this post is an actual call from the game -- just those three words and six syllables -- on a 50-yard touchdown scamper by the great DA.

So imagine my utter delight when I saw the following in an e-mail from Red Cowboy: The Brent Musburger Drinking Game. Feel free to play it this weekend, responsibly of course. I don't quite understand how it doesn't have "DAYLIIIIGHT" as part of the rules, but the rest is right on point. Enjoy.

NOLA and Pie

The New Orleans French Quarter and central business districts will re-open much earlier than I, and most U.S. Army engineers even, had imagined or expected. Just three weeks after Hurricane Katrina displaced nearly half a million New Orleans residents, Mayor Ray Nagin said the city is preparing for re-entry as early as this weekend.

About 170,000 people, or about a third of the city's population, will come back to a re-opened portion of the city over the next two weeks. The plan "involves portions of New Orleans that largely were unflooded: downtown, the French Quarter, Uptown and Algiers." Of course, you'll remember Algiers as the Bayou home of Western U's Neon Bodeau -- gee, I hope his fully loaded Lexus wasn't washed away.

New Orleans is trying to build up the tourism base again, but really, who's gonna go down to visit NOLA right away? I've got a solution: To bring the folks in, I suggest a five-star pie-eating contest. Can you eat this pie in just 15 bites? Bet you can't. Lardass! Lardass! Lardass!

**UPDATE**
I just went upstairs for lunch and shared an elevator with the good doctor, Howard Dean. And as much as I wanted to say, "Man, this world would be a brighter place with you in the Oval," I instead just stood there and blushed. So now I'm eating my lunch and my adrenaline's flowing, and I wish I had just said something as simple as, "Hey, huge fan." I'm a pussy.

Four Morning News and Notes

--After my morning micturition, shave and shower, I caught about 90 seconds of highlights of the WNBA Finals on SportsCenter. And if that weren't a long enough package, they then threw it down to courtside where a Pat Summit-looking analyst broke down the game for us.

Now here's my query: Should WNBA analysts be allowed to use the words "penetrate" or "penetration" or "penetrating" in their reports on female basketball players? It just felt creepy.

Next they'll be saying things like "It's been a real shocker in here tonight; these girls are just fingerbanging their way to the lane and fisting each other like nobody's business." Then the color woman will surely chime in, "That's right, Dykey, and the defense has been stellar this evening. These girls can't find the G-spot with a twelve-inch rubber dong, a magnifying glass and a pair of needle-nose pliers." Okay, so maybe that won't happen. But, still, "penetrate" took me by surprise this morning, that's all I'm saying.

--Staying on the sports tip, Hoobs sent this page over to me yesterday with the subject line of "Heisman" -- SI.com's photo gallery of the Top 10 Performances of the week in college football. Go U Northwestern, break right through that line...I'm telling you fine folks, remember the name Tyrell Sutton.

--My favorite lucky 13 Google and Yahoo! searches that brought people to Slack LaLane in the past day and a half:

1. IBM Presents you make the call
2. Teleporter between hookah hits
3. Mother daughter fuck
4. Kingsley Karzai
5. Trey Anastasio beardless
6. Shut Up'a You Face song
7. If I had a dick
8. Fuck @ work
9. Callahan Police Academy
10. Privileges and licenses Willy Wonka
11. Mr. Belding sucking
12. Did Cal Ripken's wife have sex with Kevin Costner
13. Adult movie bossman trophy surfing

I absolutely love the first one...as a wee tyke I used to look forward to the commercial break of Monday Night Football when they'd break out the "IBM Presents" segment. I still remember to this day the one where the offensive player was about to score, but he fumbled through the back of the endzone. This brief piece of commercial trivia taught me that the end result of the play was actually a touchback. Sure we all know that now, but I learned that at a very early age from the freakin' television. Man, I love the television. You know, thinking about this, it really strikes me as amazing the things we choose to remember and the things we so easily forget.

I'm also a big fan of the Kingsley Karzai search, because it shows me I'm not the only one who thinks they're the same person. Very similar to the Six Flags Guy, Junior Soprano, Edgar Ray Killen lookalikes.

And seriously, who the hell is searching for "Adult movie bossman trophy surfing" and what the hell are they looking for?"

--And, lastly, this from offpeak: Is it real? I gotta think so, because Reuters and Yahoo! are running it, and the Drudge Report is reporting it. Awesome. Pee Pee.

Slack Song of the Day: Today we go back to The Maji, a band you'll probably be hearing a lot about on this here blog in the coming years. These guys are in no way a Phish cover band, but they do have a dyn-o-mite version of Maze in the repertoire (from Fall Hookahville, 9/2/05). And if you hear an idiot screaming in the background, that's probably either TJ in OH or Tits McGillicuty.

If you like what you hear, or even if you don't, click here for the rest of this show. Also, if you're in the Midwest at the end of this month, remember to check out Harvest Jam featuring The Maji and many other fantastic acts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A-Rod v. Papi: MVP Race is On

Here's an interesting post on the AL MVP race from SI.com's Tom Verducci and our friends over at Bronx Banter:

BB's Alex writes, "Tom Verducci thinks that the AL MVP award is Alex Rodriguez's to lose. While he appreciates the fact that David Ortiz is the most dangerous late-inning hitter in the league--and possibly the game--he notes that Rodriguez hasn't exactly been chopped liver in the clutch either. But the telling difference between the two players comes down to this":

Ortiz doesn't play defense. There is no way to understate this. The guy is half a player. He is a specialist. He can devote his entire energies to his at-bats. There is a good reason why no position player ever has won the MVP with fewer than 97 games played in the field (Don Baylor, 1979). A DH would have to be miles better than the next best player who actually contributes to his team in both halves of the game. Is Ortiz having that kind of a season over Rodriguez? No. Meanwhile, Rodriguez, after a shaky start, has provided Gold Glove quality defense at third base, once running off the longest errorless streak among all AL third basemen over the past seven years.
If you have a couple minutes, read Verducci's entire argument, it makes a ton of sense. I fear Ortiz more than anybody, but the final vote ain't based on fear.

So, who do you think is leading the MVP race -- is it Alex, is it Papi, is it Vlad, is it Rance Mullinks or Gary Roenicke or Dion James, or is it someone else entirely?

There's Leadership...and There's Not

I can't believe this wasn't "Breaking News" on CNN or FOX: Our fearless always-rubber-never-glue faux-cowboy faux-leader actually stopped the buck at his desk yesterday.

President Bush responded to the rising questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters and terror attacks with a surprising and likely short-lived moment of culpability.

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.

Well, I'llllll beeee. Lookie here, folks, the president has finally stepped up to the mike and raised his hand high. I'm truly speechless. I am without speech. I can't believe he finally cracked. This is like torturing the shit out of someone for five years -- Chinese water torture, nipple clamps, car battery hooked to the testes -- and after holding out for so long, they finally and inexplicably change course and give in, revealing the coveted information. Apparently everybody really does have a breaking point.

He made it five years fucking everything up in sight and not issuing a single apology or taking responsibility for anything. He turned the world against us, squandering all the 9/11-related good will. He moved the terrorist training grounds and theocratically indoctrinated religious police from Afghanistan to Iraq. He took the largest surplus ever and created the largest deficit in history. The trade deficit is on pace to hit an unprecedented $693 billion this year, nearly double the level at which he took office.

The rich are richer (which is good), but the poor are much poorer (not so good). Less people have health insurance, more people are in poverty. Corporations are paying the lowest tax rates ever, while the president helped take away the bankrutpcy safety net for most Americans. Oil and gas prices have surged through record levels, leading to insane profits for his energy company cronies and ridiculous outlays for average Americans. About the only thing this guy hasn't done is killed puppies or banged horses. I think.

And yet, after doing all that, and much more, the president has yet to take blame or apologize for anything. Until now. After a natural disaster. I can't believe he finally caved! I bet he marched up to Karl Rove and said, "We really effed up, Rovey. Shud I 'pologize?" And the Puppetmaster let him have this one. Just this one.

Then there's one blogger's probably accurate theory, that Bush is a "really fucked-up fourteen year-old in the White House" as a result of untreated alcoholism.

The president should take some advice from and model himself after a real leader, a man who knows what its like to take the reins and run the show. That's right, the retiring Mark Messier. I wanted to write a little post on my love for Ol' Number 11 when he announced this on Monday, but I remembered most people couldn't give a rat's ass about hockey. (Why would someone give someone else a rat's ass? To whom would they even give a rat's ass? That expression makes no sense.)

Mess was my first real sports idol. He came to New York after winning five Stanley Cups in Edmonton, and he promised us a championship. He looked right into the camera and he said he was bringing one home to the Garden, after more than half a decade. And a few seasons later, the Messiah did just that. He turned Gravey into a 50-goal scorer, he made Kovalev a threat -- he had that knack of making everyone around him infinitely better.

When the chips were down, he didn't sit on the bench with no expression waiting for his subordinate linemates to help. He didn't wait days to help out the struggling team, he acted and put everyone on his back. This was The Man who proclaimed "I guarantee we'll win tonight" trailing 3-2 before Game 6 in New Jersey and walked away with three goals, an assist and a lifelong fanbase that would go down on him like a circus seal.

Mess wasn't quite the player he used to be in his later years, Jerry Rice-ing it up in New York for the last few seasons. But we will never forget what he did for the team and the city in 1994. Never. That's how you lead a group of men. That's how you debate. Chuck B and I made it to the game when the Rangers retired Richter's jersey to the rafters -- I'll do anything to be there on January 12th when #11 rises to the ceiling.

O Captain, My Captain, our awesome trip is done.

Slack Link of the Day: Let's check in with our favorite SI.com writer-slash-producer-slash-editor, who has written a great piece about one of the nation's top basketball recruits, Sherron Collins. It's a juicy exclusive, and once again we applaud this man's tireless efforts. Great ending, too.

Slack Songs of the Day: You know me, once I smell something good, I can't smell anything else for weeks. Some call it a one-track mind, some call it OCD. I call it awesomeness. (Ir)Regardless, the unbelievable Tea Leaf Green show Hoobs and I caught at the Knitting Factory on Saturday night is up on archive.org and bt.etree.org. I'm not entirely sure it's going to hold up on disc the way it sounded in the room, but I can't wait to dig in for some aural pleasure.

You can stream the show here, or you can click on the archive link above for some individual tunes (some of you might just want to listen to the Snoop Dogg cover in the encore). And since I haven't posted it on Slack yet, here's my review of the show from the LMB.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Beatrice's Busybee

Obviously I'm a bit busy today...fucking trade deficit figures and China's makin' deals with Mejico and New Orleans is bankrupt and John Roberts is so charming and brilliant that I can't even find his faults. It's a real shitfest here today.

But here's a funny little something. A buddy of QLRM's e-mailed him yesterday that he walked passed a homeless guy in the city with a sign that read:

"PARENTS KILLED BY NINJAS, NEED MONEY FOR KUNG FU LESSONS"

Now that's comedy. I woulda given the guy a million dollars. The guy made a million dollars. I'll be back later.

Slack Show Link of the Day: In addition to the September 20th Katrina Benefit at the World's Most Famous Arena, now Radio City is joining the effort. Check this shit out.

Slack Songs of the Day: Part II of Justin's Big Cypress Jamcast went up on the LMB site yesterday...the second half of Set I for your listening pleasure.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Even Wiiiider Sliiiider

He's at it again.

I forgot to mention this in my earlier weekend round-up, but everyone's favorite d-bag announcer referred to everyone's favorite d-bag Red Sawx pitcher Bronson Arroyo as "Brandon" again on Saturday. Again!

When will the morons at FOX finally take this poor excuse of a baseball analyst out of the TV booth and check him into an old-age home for first-class assfaces?

A Tale of Two Weekends

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."

Almost everything went right for me on Friday and Saturday. Following 13 hours of uninterrupted sleep as a result of a fortnight of non-stop activity, I woke up exactly at noon for a relaxing Saturday, complete with a full slate of college football and the eventual promise of a great night of music. A schmeared bagel ingested, I sat down at the ready in my usual spot: the Ace Couchboy back in non-motion after a summer of frenzied action.

It fell into place all day. I eagerly pumped my fists as three Big Ten rivals went down like a drunken teen searching for elusive popularity. First Michigan got exposed by Notre Dame, then Iowa State utterly dismantled an apparently overrated Iowa squad. And in the Horseshoe Nightcap later on, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Texas snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at the expense of the despised Ohio State.

My Northwestern Wildcats were the highlight of the Saturday slate. Playing a live game on ESPN Classic (finally the Worldwide Leader rents out its most under-utilized space), the Mildcats survived a rather ridiculous late charge against the surprisingly dangerous Northern Illinois Huskies, clinging to a 38-37 win at home. There were plenty of moments I thought we'd lose it. But there were also a handful of times I thought we'd break it wide open. Neither came to pass. Still, we lucked out and moved to 2-0 before this weekend's game against the ranked Arizona State.

The bright side is we have a future Heisman Trophy candidate, freshman running back Tyrell Sutton. If here were smart, he'd transfer to a big-time program and make a name for himself, because he really is that damn good ("Mr. Football Ohio 2004"). When all was said and done, Sutton racked up 214 yards on 30 carries, scoring four touchdowns and making more juke moves than any running back I've ever controlled in Madden.

After Sutton's fourth and final TD made it 38-31 Good Guys, the Huskies charged up the field with less than a minute remaining and scored with seven seconds left. But instead of going for the tie and overtime, NIU opted for the two-point conversion. Now some people like Chipotle Bob think the coach had a stroke on the sideline, but I applauded the move. You're a sub-mid-major, you're on the road, your top back has rushed for 245 yards and three scores: Punch it in.

So what do they do? They throw a low fade to the corner and the receiver falls down. Northwestern wins. I was in favor of the two-point conversion, but that coach is flat-out stupid for not just running it into our sorry excuse for a rushing defense. Either way, Victory!

That game led into Ohio State's nighttime loss, which led right into the pinnacle of the weekend. As I always say here, I don't review shows -- I try to put a spin on what I've seen or capture the atmosophere of what was goin' down. So I won't waste time here describing the San Francisco quartet, Tea Leaf Green, but I will say, these guys fucking rock. They really have it; you can most certainly attach to them that French expression I like to roll my eyes at; they genuinely possess that tough-to-come-by quality that takes a band from just talented to truly special.

Selling out the main space in the Knitting Factory, TLG didn't take a song off on Saturday night. Every song was rocked and jammed out to the fullest: They went on stage at midnight, took a brief setbreak and continued to energize the raucous crowd until 3:30 in the morning. They're excellent song-writers, they're interesting performers, they're retardedly deft at their instruments and they understand how to put on a show. They really get it. They definitely have it.

I'm in. I'm on the bus. Shit, I'm sitting near the front of bus, annoying the driver. As I said to Hoobs that night, if I were an 18-year-old college kid again with no real concern for the outside world as it is, I'd follow these guys all over my region and track their progress closely. The only thing holding these guys back are the vocals, but they're not quite that bad. I guess the best compliment I can give TLG is this: I haven't been so impressed by a band the first time I saw them since those four dorks from Vermont I sometimes like to mention. Go see these guys. Immediately.

My body tired and aching from three-plus hours of standing and dancing, I drifted off into slumber with unbridled optimism and the reckless hope of an even better tomorrow.

Only that day, the brighter day I expected, never materialized. A schmeared bagel ingested, I sat down at the ready in my usual spot: the Ace Couchboy back in action, again. But this time, I watched the Kansas City run attack break through our speedy defense like the Gulf waters over the 17th Street Canal. Priest Holmes and Mr. Larry Johnson just carved us up like a Gang Green Harikari session. We were out of it and deflated by about 1:30.

What a pitiful way to open the season -- the Jets played with the sparkling ineptitude of the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I half-expected the CBS crew to speed up the packaged highlights and pipe in the Benny Hill theme song, or for the legendary John Facenda to arrive at halftime and narrate a slow-motion montage of Pennington fumble after Pennington fumble.

But fear not, fellow Jets fans. It's a long season, and yesterday's crushing blow will hopefully serve as a wake-up call for a team getting too much love. Remember, the 2002 Jets started 1-4, then 2-5, before streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium-slash-playoffs. May I also remind you, as good as that team was, this year's team is infinitely better. Pennington won't grease up his fingers for six fumbles in the first half, Kevin Mawae and the O-Line will get its act together for Miami, Coles won't drop the balls that make it his way...we're going to right this ship, and we're going to look back and laugh at this one. Fear not, I say.

If that defeat weren't bad enough, Minnesota decided to rip off my nuts and show them to me in a mean-spirited manner. I'm in (or, I was in) a couple knockout pools, the idea being you win and you advance. One pool is a $200 entry and a $118,000 winner-take-all payout. Talk about your all-time risk/rewards. A few years ago I made it to the final 16 for $75,000, but that's as far as I've gone. And to be honest, that heartbreak was worse than just about anything.

The Steelers had been 6-1-1 in their last eight games, and on that Sunday in early December they held the first-year Texans to just 37 yards rushing, 10 yards passing and only three first downs. The result? Oh yeah, the Texans routed the Steelers 24-6. If ever there were a time for Fred Willard's "Whaaa haaaapened?" this was it. I'm pretty sure I cried like a girl that day. So close to $75K cash, yet so far away.

So in essence, maybe I shouldn't mind the fact that Minnesota knocked me out of two suicide pools this early. Maybe they did me a favor. But as for how the NFC-favorite Vikings didn't come out at home with something to prove and rip Tampa's fucking heads off is beyond me. Just as I still hate the Steelers to this day because of their indiscretion, the same will go for Minny from here on out. I don't hold grudges...unless you cost me a chance at this type of cash. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go out and win tomorrow's $200 million Mega Millions jackpot.

How did the The Yankees fit into this weekend? Well, they flipped the script on both days. They grounded my infinite joy by losing big on Saturday and they lifted my descending spirits with a yuge win on Sunday. Hey, I can't write a themed post when there's such an obvious wrench in the mechanics. And now we'll move on to play the most important games of the season...against the Devil Rays. Scary, right?

Overall, I had an incredibly fun weekend of music and baseball and tennis and welcoming back the gridiron superstars. The Jets lost embarassingly, the Wildcats won embarassingly, I lost my chance at riches, I found a new band to obsess about, and my Double Wing (Double Wing) fantasy team is in a heated match going into tonight's MNF game -- booo, Westbrook, booo Crumpler.

So I guess I can say it's all a push. Keep the vig.

Slack Song of the Day: Obviously it's a Tea Leaf Green day -- here are a few shows for your perusal:

1. High Sierra Late Night set (6/30/05 -- setlist, individual songs)
2. Mystic Theatre in Petaluma (3/11/05 -- setlist, indiv. songs)
3. Most recent, Binn's Park in PA (9/8/05 -- setlist, indiv. songs)

And here's a sampler site that some guy on PT put together.

Hopefully Saturday's show will be uploaded by the end of the week, but even still, yo really need to see these guys live to get a good feel.