Monday, October 31, 2005

Three Great Things

1. This is really the best Halloween costume I've ever seen in my life, but it's really only funny to a select group of people...man, those side effects are priceless. Kudos bar to this wook for a job well done.

2. For the mainstream folks out there, this one is probably the best Halloween costume I've seen this season...gotta love Lt. Jim Dangle.

3. And either ESPN has some penis-loving yucksters manning the headline machine today or they've got some oblivious fools at the helm -- this has got to be the silliest header ever.

*Update* They changed the headline! See "Just a Few Links" for some commentary on the new headline.

Press Gaggle Comedy

Take a look at these 10 rather vulgar definitions of the term "sloppy seconds" from the Urban Dictionary.

Now read this flash from the Drudge Report, a recap of the question CBSNEWS chief White House correspondent John Roberts asked at this morning's press gaggle:

John Roberts: “So, Scott, you said that -- or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”

Scott McClellan: “Not at all, John.”

That's good stuff. So, um, Scott, would you suggest it's best that Judge Alito double-bags it at these confirmation hearings? Scott, did Alito ask to sniff Harriet Miers' fingers after she pulled herself out of the Supreme Court nomination? And if Alito's not confirmed, could he try and force his way onto the bench, considering it's obviously very slutty and clearly asking for it?

Overheard in New York

You may notice we've added a new link to the "Sites We Likey" section in the right-hand toolbar, a fairly popular voyeuristic website called Overheard in New York.

I've been meaning to add it for a while, and after Kenny Alias reminded me to do so last week, I figured I'd actually get 'er done. The page itself is hilarious -- I suspect, however, some of them aren't real quotes but rather witty exchanges concocted by someone with an active imagination and a tremendous sense of dialogue. So I guess you just have to assume they're genuine and take off before you find out for real. For real, real.

Here's my favorite one from this morning's batch -- "Guy: Yo, that Hamburgler's a scary motherfucker, 'cause you never know what that nigga be sayin'. He be all 'robble robble robble robble' and shit! --23rd & 6th"

Slack Song of the Day: There’s only one possible song we could post up here on this unofficial holiday. So everybody break out your zombie clothes and get ready to do that dance where you swing your arms from side to side. ‘Cause this is Thriller, thriller night.

From the us to you, Happy Halloween, everybody. Enjoy this picture of a pumpkin that Handstand the Elder carved this weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Kindness Has Bad Taste, Too

I'm really enjoying the new neigborhood. New York's West Village, an infinitely better place to people-watch and enjoy the entropy of human goings-about.

About 20 minutes ago I was standing outside the gourmet coffee shop underneath my apartment when a long-involved couple in their early 30s starting walking towards me. The instant they passed the leather store adjacent to the coffee shop, the girl stopped dead in her tracks and tugged at her beau's clasped hand. She stopped, suddenly, and exclaimed "We must get that for Katherine!" in a similar manner to Ace Ventura jumping up and inquiring about the identity of Ray Finkel in the Super Bowl team photo hanging in Courtney Cox's office.

Now I obviously don't know Katherine. I don't know anything about Katherine's relationship to the ambling couple nor whether the girl is somehow indebted to this woman. I don't even really know if Katherine spells her name with a C or a K (nor whether she has a husband that sometimes spells Jerry with a G...and an I).

But somehow, I was completely blown away by this girl's unbelievably kind instincts. She caught a fleeting glance of a store window and instantenously thought of her friend/sister/aunt Katherine, and in the same moment of realization attached buying a nice gift for this person. The couple moved closer to the window -- noses nearly pressed against the glass -- and pointed at one particular item out of my sight. "We must get that for Katherine," the girl repeated.

I felt warm inside, touched by the girl's spirit of giving and thoughtfulness. I began formulating these feelings into a story for this here rag, dreaming of the flowery adjectives I'd use to describe this episode that renewed my faith in friendship and overall existence.

Then two things happened. First, the couple retreated from the glass and starting walking past me, east on Bleecker. As they passed, the girl leaned into her beau and said solemnly, "That is, if it's not too expensive." I laughed at that.

And after the couple sauntered out of my line of sight, I went over the window to see exactly what they were pointing at. When they were standing there I couldn't see what they were interested in at the time, but based on where they were gesturing and staring, it only could have been one or two objects.

In a glass showcase filled with leather fedoras and assorted hats, leather sandals and stringed footwear, business and beach satchels, wallets, fancy gloves and other cowhide sundries, they thought of Katherine after seeing two of the weirdest items for sale in the display.

One was a leather hat that may or may not have been an actual game helmet worn by Hall of Fame quarterback-punter Sammy Baugh. The other: a piece of headgear that was essentially a wig, but in place of fake hair was a stuffed wolf's head. It looked like a mean wolf, too, fangs exposed and all.

Again, I don't know Katherine, but now I'm not sure what I think of her taste in accessories. And I don't know what I think about the couple's kind gesture either. That story certainly turned out very differently from how I thought it would have unfolded.

Another night in the Village.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm Outtaaa Heeeeere

I'm off, folks. Just another normal night ahead..again. Last night I got roped into an evening of drinks and caviar at the Four Seasons with the big bossman. Tonight I'm flying down to DC with him -- you might remember how cool it is to fly with this bossman. Normal.

So I'll be in the nation's cap-i-tal tonight and tomorrow before eventually flying to Chicago for the big weekend back at school. It's homecoming, my first time returning to school since February 2003, and it's Northwestern's time to shine under the lights.

But the purple-tinged hype is building...and I don't like it.

Such is the unfortunate case in the aftermath of ESPN's latest article on Northwestern's resurgence. C'mon fellas, just let us play the role of home underdog this weekend and allow us to ride off into the dark violet sunset as courageous victors. The more people that jump on the bandwagon before this game, the less likely we are to break right through that line.

Bet on Michigan everyone -- that'll help our chances. And speaking of, here are my quickie football picks for Sunday (still above .500, but just barely): *Giants, Bengals, Bears, Panthers, Raiders, *Cardinals, Browns, Dolphins, *Jaguars, Chargers, Bucs, Eagles, Pats, Steelers.

Slack Songs for Friday: Since I'll be out all day tomorrow, here's a nice list of tunes to keep you occupied -- Thank You For Sending Me an Angel > Further on Up the Road > Bags' Groove > Crosseyed and Painless > Ophelia > Girl from Ipanema > Highway 61 Revisited > Heart and Soul > Playin' in the Band > Blue Rondo a la Turk.

That should do it. Enjoy the weekend. Go U Huskies.

Chad Johnson: Hysterical

I love having Chad Johnson on my fantasy squad. And in addition to being awesome, he's always good for a great mid-week quote.

This week, Chad said he was looking forward to matching up against Green Bay cornerback Al Harris, at whom he flung heaps of praise. You can read all about his niceities here.

Then he added this gem, a little bit of taunting: "There are two things for brother Harris this week," said Johnson. "The bad thing is he has to cover me. The good is he can save 15 percent by switching his insurance to Geico."

Chad Johnson, you complete me.

Scotty Pos & the ChiSox

Congrats to the White Sox, a well-deserved champion. I wouldn't quite annoint them one of the best teams of the last half-century as ESPN announced in their post-Series coverage last night, but I was really impressed with the job they did down the stretch.

The Sox were an enjoyable team to watch and a likeable team to root for -- a great combo. Kudos bar, Ozzie. Four frivilous thoughts in the afterbirth of the Series:

--As with my Harriet Miers/Rachel Dratch comparison this morning, doesn't White Sox GM Kenny Williams have a Lance Corporal Harold W. Dawson from A Few Good Men thing going on (this joke would work a lot better if there was even ONE picture of Wolfgang Bodison anywhere on the Internets)? But you've all seen the movie, you know who I'm talkin' about. I heard Kenny was once given a sub-standard report because he brought PFC Curtis Bell some food.

--There are a handful of Slackers that follow the Brewers pretty closely, and even more folks around here that follow baseball like they take in oxygen. So my question is this: Am I the only person who remembers the time when the first 'D' in Podsednik was considered silent? What happened to that pronunciation? When did that fucking 'D' get back in the fold?

Everyone's calling the former Brewer "POD-sed-nik," all over the airwaves. Since when? Even a cursory search of Google turns up how wrong everyone has been this past fortnight. This article, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from July 2003, is the smoking gun:

"The name is getting more and more attention now that Podsednik has played himself into a candidate for the National League rookie of the year award. And Thursday night in Houston, a Podsednik fan gave TV viewers in Milwaukee a pronunciation lesson.

The fan, presumably one of many from Podsednik's hometown of West, Texas, held up a sign saying, 'Go, Podsednik,' and adding that 'the first d is silent.'

'I don't know who that was,' Podsednik said Friday. But he confirmed the pronunciation of his name, which is of Czech origin.

It's "'puh-SED-nik'."

Now, the next line in the article does explain that Scotty Pos doesn't care very much, but still, the horse's mouth is naying the silent D. Tim Kurkjian wrote a good piece last year that included a lede about the silent D in Podsednik's name. Baseball Digest's Steve Cline mentioned last October how many people around baseball were mispronouncing his name, also quoting Podsednik himself. And the list goes on...

So why did everyone from Joe Buck to Tim McCarver to Chris Berman to just about anybody announcing and commenting on this Series get it wrong? I have no insight into that, but I think it's fairly ridiculous to get someone's name wrong for the entire postseason. Unless Scotty Pos came out and said he doesn't care or that he changed the pronunciation, which is entirely pod-ssible.

--I never would have expected the White Sox to win the World Series, and I don't know anybody who can claim they did. But I am going to pull a Barry Horowitz and pat myself on the back for thinking this team would win the AL Central and do some damage, just because I love myself more than I like you. After being told by Slacker Greg that I was crazy for picking them, I recorded this rationale on April 1st:

"As for the ChiSox, I just have a feeling about Ozzie's squad this year. Maybe it's because everyone LOVES the Twins, but I think you take a mediocre team, subtract their two best players (Mags and El Caballo) and you have a division champion. But seriously, I like their staff -- Freddy Got Garcia-ed, Buerhle, the dueling Cubans of El Duque and Contreres, Garland, relievers like Marte and Politte will put it together this year...I just have a feeling."

Not bad. I didn't see the emergence of Dustin Hermanson and Bobby "Darryl" Jenks and I didn't mention the offense at all, but I'm pretty happy with that bit of impressive augury. Good stuff.

--Last night's ratings were off big time from last year...not judging, just saying. This was a ridiculously awesome post-season, another GREAT year of playoffs, another great World Series, but 25 percent less people watched the clincher. Not judging, just saying.

Slack Song of the Day: I'm not much of a Moby fan, but I really enjoyed that Play disc he put out a few years ago, the one off which every single track was bought for commercial purposes. Anyway, there's a decent song called South Side on it, so in honor of the world-champion White Sox, here goes.

Since many of you will think that song sucks, here are five others: Sex in the 70s, In the Midnight Hour (off PhilZone), Dandelion Wine, Bold As Love, and Back on the Chain Gang.

Exiting the QuagMiers

In a bit of breaking news, Harriet Beecher Miers has asked the president to take back his nomination of her for the Supreme Court. The White House says it "reluctantly" accepted, which I think is code word for "danced a jig like a giddy elder."

Am I the only person who thinks this is a really, really bad situation for secular and/or liberal folks? Who was most behind her withdrawal? The ultra-conservatives and religious right. So who's most likely going to be at the top of the list? Some judge that the fucking nutbars sign off on and all but hand-pick. I am not looking forward to these next few weeks.

And by the way, is it just me or did Harriet Miers look like a Rachel Dratch character?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Trey-RL

Get ready, Youth of America: The Trey Anastasio Affirmative Action Funtime Band has produced a new video of its hit single Shine.

The video blends vignettes of the band rehearsing backstage with brief clips of Trey’s fans both outside and inside the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and I somehow enjoyed this thing. Call me a teenybopper all you like, but Shine’s a pretty catchy tune and this video does justice to the song and the band.

There’s a call on the PT Boards to get this video on TRL…I’m not sure I can imagine anything more hysterical and wickedly absurd. “Ohmigawd this is Ace from New York and I wanna hear Shine because I love Big Red and he’s so dreeeeamy ahhhhhhh!” Let’s do it.

(This post can also be seen on the Live Music Blog, the website where we dig music. I'm on drugs!)

Raymond? Raymond, Is That You?

Lincoln, NE -- It's nice to be recognized at a neighborhood business, except when you want to rob the place.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, report a would-be bandit walked up to a supermarket pharmacy counter and said he wanted the money.

Turns out one of the pharmacists recognized the man's voice and called him by name. Police say the pharmacist asked if the heist was a joke.

The want to-be robber, who was wearing sunglasses, turned tail and ran. Police haven't released the suspect's name yet.

And in other breaking criminal news, it looks like there will definitely not be any indictments in the CIA leak case today.

Quick Hitters

--I'm excessively cranky for some reason this morning. Maybe it's the lack of sleep I've had recently, or maybe it's the fact that I don't want to be here right now.

About five minutes ago I sneezed twice and followed them up a little sniffle noise, and the monumentally annoying girl I work with got all cheery and asked "Oh Ace, are you sick again?" Instead of my usual tactic of either ignoring her or patronizing her, I literally screamed "Noooooo" like Shooter McGavin after the "You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?" line and gave her an unintentional Napolean-esque "Gosh."

--I'm a full-fledged racist sometimes. For a long time, maybe going back to high school, any time I see a thin black woman with short hair I call her Dionne Farris. Always, without fail. This morning a probably nice woman was in front of me at the toaster, and I caught myself as I was about to utter, "Move it, Farris, I know what you're dooooing, but I need to heat up my English muffin."

--A sure sign I'm getting old: I actually fell asleep in the 13th inning of last night's Game 3. What? Why? Wine buzz or not, there's no excuse for that. I'll be right back, I'm gonna go cut myself and wear black.

--Is today the day? Is today the day the two-year-old CIA leak investigation concludes with some serious indictments? I say yes, and I'll guess it's Scooter Libby, with the wrench, in the study. Our new friend Monk is following the developments over at Inflatable Dartboard, a site worth checking if you're into liberal politics (I'm lookin' at all three of you).

--Lastly, I had a top-notch celebrity sighting last night. The last time I went to Five Points Restaurant, I saw Phil Seymour Hoffman (I can call him Phil, we're tight) dining outside. This time, as we were finishing up our entrees, the hooker I paid for the evening leaned in and said, "Holy shit, that's Lance Armstrong." I turned around quickly, and realized that not only were Lance and Sheryl Crow in the building, they were basically eating off my plate. We couldn't have been more than five feet away.

My policy of not approaching celebrities is well-documented here, but I really like both of these characters. In fact, I consider Sheryl Crow to be sexy as hell. Very tempting stuff, I nearly caved. I really just wanted to walk up to them and say, "Try that second salad down on the list, it's got plenty of nuts." Or maybe something like, "You really wanna prove you're a man? Try winning that shit with a unicycle." Obviously, we just walked out without saying anything.

Slack Video of the Day: Check out this somewhat sad video of weeping Cardinals fans at Busch Stadium after losing to the Astros in the NLCS, courtesy of our buddy Russ. No matter how awful I felt after last year's ALCS Game 7 loss, at least I can tell myself, "Hey, you didn't sob openly in front of a predatory news crew."

Slack Songs of the Day: You know those days when it's gloomy, it's cold, you're tired, it's early and you just want to get right back into bed? But then...then the iPod starts kicking these random songs into your inner ears and surrounding ear parts and you start to shake it, shake it, move it on the morning train, thinking "This day is gonna be better than I thought, let's do some karate and eat Handisnacks." Today brought one of those mornings.

Starting with the first tune my iPod cranked into my head on the subway this morning, I didn't stop rockin' 'til I arrived here at my desk. Here's the playlist (remember, I have a short commute, maybe 18 minutes tops):

Little Feat's Time Loves a Hero of the incredible disc Waiting for Columbus > JB's Get Up Offa That Thing > Talking Heads' Thank You For Sending Me an Angel > The Dead's The Music Never Stopped off One from the Vault.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cream: Half and Half

Expectations can be a terrible thing. Unfortunately, some concerts come pre-sold with such a high bar built in, and it takes a nearly flawless effort by the band to rise above the optimism and enthusiasm of thousands of wide-eyed Pollyannas.

Contrary to my own lede, I'm not really sure my expectations were all that high for last night's historic, monumental, once-in-a-lifetime, 37-years-in-the-making, I-can't-believe-I-got-a-ticket-and-I'm-here reunion show at the self-proclaimed world's most famous arena. Okay, so maybe I'm lying. I was pretty excited.

Still, I'd consider myself more underwhelmed than disappointed by Cream's effort at Madison Square Garden last night. I got what I wanted, and the show went exactly as I expected: three legendary sextagenarians reuniting to play two hours worth of music they made famous four decades ago. These three lads provided us with a great night, and I certainly left the arena with fond memories.

But this show is the very definition of the phrase "nostalgia act." Here's what I mean: Cream broke out its biggest hits -- Badge, Crossroads, White Room, Sunshine of Your Love -- and added some of the lesser known but equally fantastic material, but the once-inspiring jams were simply missing. Maybe the boys left them back in the late '60s, or maybe Clapton just held back because Jack and Ginger couldn't keep up and he knew it.

Either way, take a listen to the first incarnation of Cream and its wickedly powerful, explosive bluesy jams. As of last night, only the actual songs and chord progressions remained; the jams and improvised interplay are all but gone.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy myself. Thoroughly. Hell, how many opportunities do you get in this life to watch Eric Fucking Clapton play Crossroads to a sold out MSG crowd? Will you find many more chances to see the original Cream trio break out a fantastic Badge > Politician? Is there anything cooler than a Sunshine of Your Love encore? Anyone who walked out with something other than a full-toothed smile has some serious depression issues.

All that said, on the subway home we were left wondering whether Clapton would have been better had he played with a group of younger, more capable musicians. There were plenty of times where it looked as if he wanted to explode with a rippin' old school Slowhand Solo, but then he remembered who his tag team partners for the night were. Then again, that would defeat the purpose of us being there in the first place.

Just how old are these guys? Ginger Baker appeared to be the perfect combination of Clint Eastwood and Larry David, only as a post-op frontal lobotomy patient. Ginger also died seven or eight years ago. Right after attending Jack Bruce's funeral.

Jack Bruce, incidentally, has been playing a whole lot better since they invented electricity. Shit, the last time I saw Jack Bruce pluck this well was six and a half months before he signed the Declaration of Independence. I mean, this guy is so old he's actually Robert the Bruce's father, Jack. Rumor has it he learned to play bass as a clubhouse attendant for the Cleveland Spiders. But that's just a rumor, I heard he really picked it up while brokering the Peace of Westphalia. He holds the bass just like he held his Revolutionary War musket. Oh, he looks old.

It's actually amazing how much younger Clapton looked than the other two guys on stage, especially considering he's not that much younger at all. But he just looked spry by comparison, so together. Then you look at Ginger Baker, who clearly ran out of gas on his extended drum solo halfway through. Seriously, no matter how good it was, how do you feature a drum solo with a guy that looks like he just woke up from a fourteen-year diabetic coma and then suffered twin paralyzing strokes after coming to? I'm not entirely sure.

If you can't tell from this disjointed review whether I liked the show or not, you're not alone. I have no idea how I truly feel. As a show, as a night out on the town, it was worth every penny. As a two-hour set of music, aside from the nostalgia and the wishful thinking, it was a group of old-looking, old-sounding mismatched musicians who've had too long a layoff to be taken seriously.

Oh well, let's just chalk it up to a great night and leave it there.

Game Notes
Hanging with Donnie Fiedler has its perks: We bought $65 tickets to the show, but after following some careful steps out of our Savvy Arena Rock Veteran Handbook, we ended up sitting in some $350 corporate seats all night, pretty f'in' close Cream ... Thanks to Bart Starbux, Brett Stinson & Company for sitting in some awesome seats and "Woo Hoo"ing ... We bounced around between two rows in Section 53, having been kicked out by a group of teenagers. The teens then got taken by security for smoking, so we came back into their seats. One teen came back, and during Badge, proceeded to launch into the following tirade to get Donnie and I to leave: "Get the fuck out of my seats. These are my fucking seats. Get the fuck out. Seriously, I paid for these seats, get the fuck out of here. Yo, get the fuck out of my seats man, these are MY seats, these are MY seats." It was hysterical, and embarassing for him. He went on for maybe two minutes, loudly, like that, before Donnie bartered with him and we kept the seats. Fuck that kid ... We came home to watch the second half of the Jets game -- these guys really suck. Disregard everything nice I've ever said about them ... Badge and Politician, I'm still smiling about that. Awesome.

For more reviews of the show, click here.

Fun for the Whole Family

This has been going around for the past week or so...but it's never too late to post something weeks after it's already famous on the Internets. Especially if it's boobies. Sadly, this isn't boobies.

As my buddy Dave Sirota says, "[This] shows previews can be so manipulative, they can make even the most terrifying movies look like a family film."

Ladies and gentlemen, The Shining.

Nostalgia Night

Full review coming later, but for now this picture of Cream is all you're getting. Rumor has it, tomorrow and Wednesday they'll be playing under the name "Clapton and Corpses." Jack and Ginger haven't played this poorly since the cotton gin was invented.


Reviews of last night's show: Ben Ratliff of the New York Times; Dan Aquilante of the New York Post; Joan Anderman of the Boston Globe; Where’s Eric! portal

Slack Song of the Day: For the second day in a row, let's make today's songs based on last night's show -- so here's my absolute favorite Clapton tune, Badge. That was followed last night by Politician, a great one-two punch. And because they played Tales of Brave Ulysses for the first time ever last night, you get that one too.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Am

In response to this morning's earlier post, "Who's a Cats Fan?", I made the extemperaneous decision to fly back to Chicago/Evanston for this weekend's early-evening game against Michigan. Get Ryan Field at Dyche Stadium ready, the alumni are returning.

So mortgage the farm and bet everything you have on Red Cowboy's Wolverines this weekend, because I have not once but twice jinxed the Wildcats for this week's game and the rest of the season. First I wrote a glowing post, then I booked a last-minute flight to E-Town. This just cannot end well. Reverse jinx, anyone?

On an unrelated note, check out this pretty funny video of some Chinese kids singing pop tunes in Rockets jerseys (and my favorite part, check out the kid in the back who doesn't even move from his computer the whole time).

Who's a Cats Fan?

It's time to take the Wildcats seriously. The opportunity you've been enjoying to sleep on the Cats is now over. Sound the alarm.

Sure, our jersey numbers are dubiously embroidered in some sort of sanskrit derivative, and you should feel free to take that however you'd like. But I'm telling youse guys, it would be wise to take the on-field football being played in Evanston and elsewhere on the road very seriously.

Following this weekend's 49-14 one-sided drubbing of #22 Michigan State in East Lansing, the Northwestern Wildcats have risen to the Land of the Ranked for the first time in four years. Led by senior quarterback and potential invitee to December's Heisman ceremony in New York, Brett Basanez, true freshman stud running back Tyrell Sutton and a slew of speedy receivers, the 5-2 Wildcats ascended to #21 in the nation in the latest AP poll and #23 in the coaches'.

This Saturday's game started off as close to disaster as possible, with Michigan State and the country's third-ranked offense scoring on its first drive in three plays, using just 66 seconds to do so. But over the course of the next few hours, NU nerded its way to paydirt repeatedly and thoroughly embarassed its opponent, which according to some, may or may not be pumping NU's gas one day.

NU, the nation's fourth-ranked offense, countered with touchdowns on six of eight straight possessions, including TD scores on its first four second-half drives, while the defense added a momentum-changing, 86-yard fumble recovery for a score. With more than 10 minutes left in the final quarter, the Cats had scored 49 unanswered points to lead by 42. On the road. At #22 Michigan State. Woo hoo.

Basanez added another four touchdowns in this game -- two on the ground and two through the air -- and Sutton racked up 109 yards and two scores for the Cats. We cannot be stopped. Seriously. By the way, Sutton needs a good nickname. I'm not just accepting T-Sutt and moving on here. Suggestions are welcome.

But the big story for NU came on the defensive side of the ball. Ranked 116th out of 117 Division I-A schools, our usually sieve-like defense clamped down and forced four major turnovers, including two in the end zone and that fumble in the red zone that we returned for a score. We still managed to give up 480 yards, but that number was below both MSU's and NU's respective season averages.

Michigan State's special teams also performed poorly, helping the Cats blow out the Spartans. MSU's kicker missed two field goals -- badly -- and one-upped that effort by yanking a big kickoff out of bounds. Man, do I feel bad for this guy, John Goss: He comes onto the field to merciless boos and jeers, tries to kick a field goal for the home crowd, misses every time and jogs off to even louder boos and jeers. Is that fun? Can that be worth it?

Of course, because I wrote this post, the Cats will lose their next three games. We've got a horrific schedule ahead: Home against #25 and hungry Michigan under the lights on Saturday, home against 5-3 Iowa and then at the Horseshoe to take on Ohio State.

It's Homecoming on Saturday, and I'm deciding right now whether or not I can make it out there for the game. It looks tough (I have to go to DC for work on Friday), but stranger things have happened. And you all know how much I love NU/Michigan games.

We win that game this weekend, and we're for real. For real, B.

Slack Link of the Day: Here's a great game for ya: Move the blue square through the maze towards the red zone without touching the black walls -- it gets really cool after Level 3.

Slack Link of the Day, Runner-Up: I think I've posted this before, but I saw it again on the Internets and thought it was funny enough to potentially repeat. Either this guy is rolling face on The Price is Right, or he's just a crazy man. Either way, great stuff.

Slack Songs of the Day, ala the Live Music Blog: Thirty-seven years ago next month, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce ended their short-lived exploratory partnership and called it quits at the height of their fame and creativity. And tonight, the original power trio will reunite to play on American soil for only the second show since the LBJ administration.

The Cream tickets were a little over-priced, but I’ll be at MSG this evening, most likely staring at some rockin’ bald spots and Clapton’s bum — our seats are behind the stage. Being savvy arena rock veterans, though, there’s a chance we’ll shuffle around and find a better place to stand and head-bob.

In anticipation of the nostalgia-filled evening (well, not for me, I was -11 years old when the band broke up), we hope you’ll join us in making today a Cream-filled one. Here are a few shows to get you going, courtesy of tela.sugarmegs.org:

Cream: 9/67
Cream: 10/67
Bonus: The Lost Cream Tapes

Friday, October 21, 2005

Grow the 'Stache, Jake

Chipotle Bob sent this over earlier today:

To: Jake Plummer

In this topsy-turvy world there are few things all mankind can agree on. The sun is good, killing is bad and Jake Plummer has the most amazing mustache in the history of bewhiskered upper-lips.

But, sadly, Plummer shaved said mustache late last week in a move that not only betrays all fashion sense, but also the entire United States of America.

Jake Plummer, please bring the mustache back. We, your countrymen and women, need it. Two hurricanes, rising gas prices and political divisiveness have torn our country apart. With your mustache, maybe we can begin the long process of healing. Without it, Jake, we as a society are doomed.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned

That's a perfect segue into this week's football picks...it's been and up-and-down year for the Ace Cowboy with these picks, but for the year my head's still above water: 43-42-3. On the best bets, however, I'm still wiping the floor with Blessed Heart of Mary (11-7). Well, maybe I'm not wiping, but I'm mopping it. Or something.

Onto the Week 7 picks:

*GIANTS over Broncos -1.5
RAMS over Saints -5
Packers over VIKINGS -2
*Colts over TEXANS -15
BENGALS over Steelers -1
*Chargers over EAGLES +3
Chiefs over Fins PK
BROWNS over Lions -2
49ers over REDSKINS +12.5
Cowboys over SEAHAWKS +3
RAIDERS over Bills -3
BEARS over Ravens -1
CARDS over Titans -3
Jets over FALCONS +7
(*Best bets)

Have a great weekend, folks. The World Series begins, another sick weekend of college football games, Northwestern looks to jump to 5-2 against Michigan State on national television once again, it's Kenny Alias' birthday (I's getting him a hoooagie), the Jets rest up for a big Monday night game and the Double Wing (Double Wing) fantasy football squad tries to extend its record to 5-2.

Lots goin' on, Slackers.

Band Name

Suspicious Package.

Sign Says Long-Haired Freaky People...

Picture this scene for an encore: a long-haired, bearded group of freaky musicians named Hairy Fairy, fronted by a long-haired, bearded freaky guitarist named Devendra, who's singing a song about a schizophrenic pedophile hermaphrodite that wants to marry little boys, with the band's friends and members dancing and falling all over the stage, girls being picked up from the ground and inverted in potential suplex positions, awkward group hugs...

...And oh yeah, two dudes, one long-hair with total plumber's butt and a leather vest and one boyish dude with a bowl cut that looked like Marco Benevento, stripping and groping each other's asses in the center of the stage's mayhem. It was basically a crystal meth and Viagra carnival up there. Hmm, not a bad way to close a show.

It was that kind of night at Webster Hall, as Lukas, Em and I went down to see indie folk rocker Devendra Banhart and his band of likely heroin addicts. All three of us had seen him before, but the two of them had seen the seemingly homeless musician since he added an electric flavor and a full band behind him; I had not.

This move isn't quite on par with Bob Dylan going from acoustic to electric with the help of four Canadians and a Levon, but it was a welcome addition to see Devendra with a solid back-up band and some extra voltage. It seems like he's on his way to becoming a star amongst a scene I can't categorize, and this is clearly a necessary step for him. He's got some rockin' tunes now, and he still can kick them offstage to play some acoustic stuff for the crowd. Throw in some stream-of-consciousness witty banter in between songs and you've got yourself an enjoyable evening.

The highlight of the night, however, was when Devendra called a random kid out of the crowd (like a magician and his volunteer) to play an original song while the band took a quick break. Apparently he's doing this at all his shows, and it's a pretty cool move. Devendra picked out this kid, who identified himself as Andrew. The band left, Andrew said he wrote this song when he was 12, and busted into a catchy little tune with a simple-chord progression that brought the house down. Seriously, I think the biggest applause of the night went to this kid, who couldn't have been older than maybe 20. Kudos bar to you, Andrew, definitely my favorite part of the evening.

The band came back out for another 45 minutes or so, and they continued to try and pick up what I thought was a pretty laid-back crowd. I left impressed, but for some reason, not quite as impressed as I was the last night I saw him solo. Good times, though, I give the night a B-plus. But I give the encore five gold stars and a smiley.

Games Notes
Here are some pics and a quick review from a fellow blogger who hit up last night's show at Webster Hall ...

I've stood next to the drunkest girl in the room at seven or eight of the last 10 shows I've attended. I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating. Why me? What did I do to get the screaming, falling, spilling, drooling, elbowing, excitable girls to bother me all night? Is this God's way of telling me to commit some sort of assault? That's not such an intelligent design ...

We walked in for the last 20 minutes of Tarantula A.D.'s set, one of the worst musical performances I've ever witnessed. In my review of the last Devendra show, I kinda enjoyed Tarantula, but between February and last night, they really forgot how to be good. Maybe it's because they added the letters A.D. after their name, which I later remarked stood for "Additional Dogshit" ...

At one point in Tarantula's set, Lukas says, he looked back at me and I had a really strained look on my face, like I had just eaten a whole lemon and been kicked in the balls. The five people around me also had that look on their face, he claims. Not a good night for those guys ...

Devendra & Co. will be in Vegoose next week, so if you're going, make sure to check out his set at the fairgrounds ...

After the show, Devendra asked if anyone wanted to come on stage and tell some jokes or "do their thing." One kid took a shot at it, playing some song on Devendra's acosutic guitar. As the room started to clear (in all fairness, it was 12:20 and the show was over), someone yelled out "Way to clear the room," which was almost immediately followed by "You're no Andrew."

Slack Song of the Day: Obviously we'll sample some Devendra today...it's a whole different vibe live, and he's a pretty funny guy in between songs, so you won't get a good feel, but this is his music. Last night's highlight, Long Haired Child; the encore, Little Boys; and an acoustic number I've now seen twice, Little Yellow Spider.

Slack Link of the Day: Handstand gave me the heads up on this pupper, a hilarious video of Jeremy Roenick dancing during a break in a pre-season Kings/Avs game. Apparently the crew was changing a broken pane of glass, and Roenick took the opportunity to entertain the fans. Whether you're a hockey fan or not, whether you like Roenick or not, this is a must watch clip (with sound).

Slack Anniversary of the Day: Nine years ago tonight I came back to New York with TJ in OH, Romack and Akshay from a five-day reunion trip to Tufts for the 10/21/96 Phish show at Madison Square Garden. It wasn't the best show I ever saw, nor was it even memorable in any real way, but it was one of my first fun evenings with the Phish from Vermont, and that's special. They opened with The Star-Spangled Banner, played a sick Divided Sky, a great Life on Mars, my favorite tune at the time, Reba, and ended with a stellar Funky Bitch encore.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two Pics and a Link

Smile, you're under indictment and now you've been fingerprinted, photographed and released on bail. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the mugshot of former Majority Leader, Tom DeLay. Why you lookin' so happy, Tommy, excited for the prison reach-arounds? Our new friends at Inflatable Dartboard have doctored a better mug shot.

Oh, NBC, your error is fantastic. Adding that extra E, it's like rhyming "Homer" with "homer." What zone is that again, Billy?

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, didn't you sexually harass someone so badly she filed a major lawsuit against you? Something about vibrators and Thailand sex shows? Right, right.

And finally, Matty Mac sent this riiiiidiculous story over earlier: "A man got a prison term longer than prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed to because of Larry Bird. The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird's jersey number 33."

Criminals, all of 'em. The Bird guy might be the cleanest one.

SalADD

Does anyone else have attention deficit disorder specifically related to preparing and ingesting salads?

Every time I go up to the cafeteria I think, "Hey, I don't have to have that delicious buffalo chicken wrap with extra blue cheese, I can just have a salad." Then I throw in the ingredients, spice it up a bit with some cool toppings, smother it all in a wicked vinaigrette and come back down to eat it quietly at my desk.

Only, and this happens every time out, I take about four bites and immediately determine I shall never do this again. I have no interest in finishing this leafy repast. None.

I'm off to get a Snickers.

Cool Photo

Manuel Presti, from Italy, wins the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005 for his swirling image of a flock of starlings evading a peregrine falcon. The WPY is jointly organised each year by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

I'm Camby, Dammit. Not Cam.

I used to really like Marcus Camby. He used to be my playground.

First, I love the name Marcus, always. It reminds me of Eartha Kitt in Boomerang -- "Maaaarcus, I'm not wearing any panties." Then came the 1999 Knicks' playoff run, when Camby played like a bat out of Hades. A painfully thin and lanky bat, but a bat nonetheless.

I then met him up at camp when he dropped by for a little clinic-slash-appearance, and I took a nice little photo with the man (and in it I'm wearing a Brian Pillman T-shirt). When the Knicks traded him for Antonio McBench, I was pissed.

This morning I'm laughing my ass off and pointing at Camby. Pointing right at him, laughing in his general direction. What a seriously misguided statement this guy made recently. As you may or may not know, NBA Commissioner David Stern instituted an off-the-court dress code for injured players on the benches and attendants of league-sanctioned events. It's not necessarily a bad idea or a good idea, but that's a debate for another time.

How did Camby respond to the new rules? "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes," the Nuggets center told the Rocky Mountain News. "Guys who haven't been wearing suits and don't own suits, it will be really hard to get them in time for the season..."

Wait, let me repeat that: Camby wants a special clothing stipend with which he can buy new threads. Yes, that's right, this guy's made nearly $50 million so far in his career, he's entering his second year of a new $45-million-dollar contract and he wants a fucking allowance to buy some new suits. Holy jeeez.

The league's average salary is $3.7 million and the NBA's new minimum is $399,000 for first-year players (more for veterans). These fuckers need more money to buy $1,000 suits? Here's a tip if you're short on cash, Maaarcus: hit the outlets, or go shop at Sym's or Men's Wearhouse (you're gonna like the way you look) like the rest of the country. What a d-bag.

"Oh, yeah, yeah. The guy in the...the $4,000 suit is holding the elevator for a guy who doesn’t make that in three months. Come on!" - G.O.B. Bluth

Slack Congrats of the Day: To the Houston Astros, kudos bar on your first World Series. For players like Biggio and Bagwell, it's good to see the Nice Guys win every once in a while (though it's sad Bags doesn't get to play a bigger part). This also sets up a potentially amazing pitchers' duel of a Series, which is fantastic. My prediction? Everyone gets shelled and the final score of each game has 10 runs on the board.

And as Dorsey Levin and I discussed last night (we walked in from a birthday thing shortly after the third out in the ninth), it didn't really sink in that Pettitte and Clemens were on the Astros until they started spraying champagne on each other wearing weird-looking jerseys. If you're counting at home, that's Pettitte, Clemens, El Duque and Contreres pitching in this Series. Hey, that kinda looks like a Yankees rotation, doesn't it? Good thing we got rid of all of them...

Slack Plug of the Day: Anyone need two tickets to see Cream? Section 320, Row A. Click that link.

Slack Song of the Day: If I had my druthers, I'd probably put up a Phish song every morning, but I can feel the eye-rolls from the Slack Community. So I hold back. Not today.

Here are some Pheesh covers for ya, and you're gonna enjoy them: Stevie's Boogie on Reggae Woman and Jimi's Bold As Love. And some originals off of Lawn Boy: Reba, Bathtub Gin and My Sweet One.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NLCS: Back to Busch

Like all egotistical bloggers, I'm gonna paraphrase myself here:

Everyone wants a piece of the three-straight-games comeback, but I'd be long on the Astros right now. I think Houston still wins the series, probably tonight behind Oswalt, and they go on to play the ChiSox in the World Series.

But, on the other hand, if someone told me the Florida Marlins would be down 3-1 and reel off three straight wins against Carlos Zambrano (2003 ERA: 3.11, 168 K), Mark Prior (2.43, 245 K) and Kerry Wood (3.20, 266 K), I'd say they were crazier a Costco-sized box of Craisins. And I'd mean it.

Anything can happen. But I think the 'Stros close it out tonight. Don't believe the hype. Don't believe the hype, it's a sequel.

Interesting Reading

I'd implore you all to read Thomas Friedman's NY Times column today, but the Times got all grouchy and started charging for its columnists' content. Instead, I'd say either pick up a hard copy of the paper or go to this guy's blog to read all about it.

Here's an excerpt from the Friedman column, which is about how an Iraqi delegation cut its trip to the United States short after witnessing such undemocratic principles here:

"How would you feel if you picked up your newspapers next week and read that the president of Iraq justified the appointment of an Iraqi Supreme Court justice by telling Iraqis: 'Don't pay attention to his lack of legal expertise. Pay attention to the fact that he is a Muslim fundamentalist and prays at a Saudi-funded Wahhabi mosque.' Is that the Iraq you sent your sons to build and to die for? I don't think so."

Just make sure to read the end parenthetical statement at the bottom of the column. It's kind of important. And tell 'em Hoobs sent ya.

One thing I love about our country is the Freedom of Television (that's covered under the First Amendment, right?). But these fuckers, the Parents Television Council, and their fearless d-bag leader, L. Brent Bozell, are trying to abridge my right to zone out on the couch and turn off my brain.

Today the PTC released its annual listing of the worst and best shows on television. I'm actually okay with this group warning families with children about the dangers of watching these listed shows; hey, someone's gotta point out the graphic and perverse to the nation's unsuspecting youth.

But that's just a fucking front for their Nazi book-burning cow of an organization. They don't want to shield children from sex and violence as much as they want to shield all Americans from watching these programs. They won't hold parents accountable for raising their children correctly or incorrectly, they blame a little box for the ills of the world. The PTC pines for the once-puritanical American society and it does everything in its power to mobilize members to bring these shows down. That's why "File an FCC Complaint" and "Contact the Sponsors" are so high up on its left-hand toolbar.

The PTC has grown into a well-oiled machine lately, mostly through the Internets (I wonder if they know what their slutty daughters and horny sons are doing on the web). Check out these stats: "The FCC received 111 complaints about 101 TV and radio shows in 2000. The following year, it received 346 complaints about 152 programs. In 2002, 13,922 complaints about 345 shows poured into the FCC's office. [In 2003], the FCC received 240,350 complaints about 318 programs," according to the Washington Times. That trend is only getting worse, and if the complaints haven't topped one million yet, they soon will.

But the PTC is virtually alone in this quest for fucking with the tube: "Mediaweek reported on Dec. 6 [2004] that of all the 'indecency complaints' to the Federal Communications Commission in 2003, a startling 99.8 percent of them came from one conservative group, the Parents Television Council," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

One group of asshats ruining the fun for everybody. The TV remote has many buttons, Brent & Company -- one turns it off, another turns it down, still another changes the channel. Let parents learn how to be parents and leave the rest of us alone.

Man, those guys really grind my gears (anyone else see the Family Guy-Stewie Griffin movie?). And so does this story: "Marlins hire Girardi to replace McKeon." Good luck, Joe, you the man. Go U NU.

While You Were Sleeping...

...This nothing little storm called Wilma strengthened to a major Category 5 hurricane with 175-MPH winds, making this the most powerful storm in the history of the Atlantic.

This is the 21st named storm of the year, tying the Year of Our Lord 2005 with 1933 as the busiest storm season of all time. Wilma, the 12th hurricane of the season, is also the first storm to start with a W, but that's only if you don't count the global shit-storm started by a Dubya.

The 36-year-old Asian girl sitting next to me just looked my way and said plainly, "You know, I really hope it hits Florida." I kinda do, too. If you're a regular reader of this here rag, you know that I'm doing my darndest to cede Florida back to Spain. Like the Family Guy writers and the monkey in Chris' closet, I'll never let go of this joke. God, I hate that fuckin' place.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush pulled a Nancy Kerrigan, asking "Why us?" I'm left asking, "Why not you?" Seriously.

Slack Lede of the Day: EB is always on the lookout for funny journoshit, and this article certainly qualifies: "The author of a new state law that allows felony charges against owners of dangerous dogs was hospitalized over the weekend after his own dog attacked him."

Slack Link of the Day: The Saddam Hussein trial starts today, and I hope this one is cooler than the July 2004 one when everybody ended up swooning over the former dictator's new, sexy appearance (even Donnie). Today, Saddam had a little 45-second shoving match with the guards -- MPs, guard the Colonel -- as they tried to lead him out of the courtroom. Someone get TNT on the phone, 'cuz this is drama.

Slack Songs of the Day: Let's kick it classic-style today, swing the hips and shake the head to Mick and Keith and company, the Rolling Bears (bonus point if you aren't Evan or Hoobs and know what the Rolling Bears is from). Here are a couple of my favorites -- Shattered, Monkey Man, Loving Cup and Miss You.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

When Worlds Collide

They announced they’re opening for Government Mule and they recently jammed with Bobby. Now Tea Leaf Green is adding Trey to their unofficial “Kick Ass, Gain Legitimacy” tour.

"TLG To Open For Trey — We are proud to announce that for four straight nights in November, Tea Leaf Green will be opening for Trey Anastasio & 70 Volt Parade in support of the release of Trey’s new solo album, SHINE. The shows will take place in Minneapolis, MN (11/2), Madison, WI (11/3), Dekald, IL (11/4) and Cincinnati, OH (11/5). Tickets for all shows can be purchased through Ticketmaster."

The Trey Anastasio Affirmative Action Funtime Band better bring their A-game to these shows…as one of Big Red’s biggest supporters, even I think TLG is the superior group here.

Feelin' Groovy

Oh, by the way, the 59th Street Bridge is on fire.

Keller Williams: Not Just a Realtor

He's conquered small theatres and huge mega-festivals, but Keller Williams will always struggle with second-class status on the Internets.

No matter how high the jaw-dropping solo act's rising star eventually ascends, Keller will never be able to secure ownership of the dot-com domain featuring his name, barring the unforeseen bankruptcy of a well-established real estate company. He'll always have to settle for the oft-maligned dot-netherworld.

In some ways it's fitting Keller shares his name with the billion-dollar property realtor. After all, an easy case could be made that the musician shares a lot in common with the red-hot housing market these days. His popularity "on the scene" has boomed and public consciousness of his prowess is at an all-time record high, his audiences are expanding at astounding levels and prices for his tickets may now be described as inflated, especially along both coasts.

Like $688,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, we're left pondering this thought after tickets to his New York City stop went for $22: Is the Keller Bubble in danger of bursting?

The short answer is "No." The long answer is "I, er, I mean, maybe, listen brah, it' s like, I don't really think so, but hey, you never know...I f*ckin' like him."

To make up my own mind, I checked out his latest tour at the brand new Nokia Theatre in Times Square on Friday, my third time seeing Keller in 2005. And, as usual, I liked it. Immensely.

Keller's act might be considered a bit of a novelty by some: one man diggin' on 10, maybe 15, different instruments over the course of the night, sometimes five or six in one jam. I wouldn't necessarily argue against that point, and I'm not sure Keller would either. But that thought is always truncated. While the novelty assertion may be somewhat accurate, what's missing is the fact that he's also a magnetic personality with a poetic vision, a musician that's far above average at everything he's doing on stage. He may be a one-man band, but that band's laying down some primo shit -- the goods.

(I hope you've noticed I fulfilled my "one-man band" description quota in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. In fact, if you search for "Keller Williams" "one-man band" on Google, more than 500 true searches will populate the results, including a free term paper entitled "Keller Williams One Man Band." And if you're planning on using that term paper gratis, I hope you'll at least fill in the missing punctuation before submitting it.)

The description rings true, though, no matter how overused. Keller blends his aggressive acoustic guitar licks with Wooten-esque bass thumps and a stripped-down drum pad to create a band full of song, laying down keyboard leads or trumpet fills with his mouth, scatting and beat-boxing in perfect rhythm and fooling around impressively with a bevy of percussion instruments. Incredibly, it all works so well.

I don't want to fall back on the "If you close your eyes..." cliche, but it's true. For much of his two-set show, you'd honestly believe there was a full band on stage. Keller is an absolute master of the looping machine (and he remains the only man I've ever seen use more loops more effectively than Trey circa '99), a wizard of the foot-controlled apparatus that allows him to record several riffs and beats and play them back on top of each other.

The looping highlight of this show was the second-to-last number of the second set, when Keller covered Michael Franti and Spearhead's Stay Human (All the Freaky People). In addition to the bass and guitar and drum loops, Keller broke out the percussion instruments and created a SIMON-like repetitive line of noises mixed into the jam. With the crowd chanting "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world" and Keller digging through his toy chest for more things to bang and shake, this jam may have been worth the price of admission right there.

But there was so much more to enjoy. Mixing creative originals and well-spun covers, Keller played more than 30 songs during the three-hour performance, with the audience hanging on every note. Original tunes like Ninja of Love, Hunting Charlie, Celebrate Your Youth and Roshambo kept the crowd dancing, and fantastic covers like Drive My Car, Run Like an Antelope > Runaway Jim > Run Like an Antelope, St. Stephen, Wind Cries Mary, The Joker and Rastaman Chant got the crowd rocking.

Keller came out for a two-song encore and delivered the Tenacious D-like Gate Crashers Suck and my personal favorite, Best Feeling. It's hard to watch a guy sing "F*ck youuuuuu" -- the chorus to Gate Crashers -- so beautifully and not laugh, just a great way to end the show. I went home happy, I left inspired and I admired the work of a true artist that evening.

Happy concertgoers -- and glowing reviewers -- obviously don't see the Keller Bubble bursting anytime soon. That's not to say there isn't an objective counter-argument: Nearly half the songs Keller played on Friday were covers, and regardless of the quality, cover bands are something you pay $4 for in a coffeehouse (and there, you can play Checkers or Connect Four right there on the table, without being bumped by drunken teens or odiferous wookies). Keller happens to be a lot better than those amateurs, but at $22, I can see casual, money-conscious fans taking a pass.

And that’s where I find the comparison to the housing market spot-on: At Keller's newly lofty price level, it’s easy to believe more consumers might bow out of such a purchase and wait for something more sensible to come along.

Personally, I won’t miss a Keller show next time he comes to town. But I don't mind the cost of my one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, either.

Game Notes

Why KW doesnt cover the Stop Making Sense version of Psycho Killer is just insanity to me -- with the loops and the acoustic gear, he'd do it perfectly ... If you have a chance to check out the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, do it. It's a brand new, ultra-modern, 2,100-capacity venue that makes you think you're in the blinking neon lights of Japan. Here's who they have coming in the next few weeks (Claypool on Friday) ... Nokia's hosting three nights of Slipknot!, huh? I don't know who these guys think they are, but good for them. When I told my buddy Lukas that on the way to the venue, he remarked, "Three nights of Slipknot!? Do goth kids even have three days worth of goth clothes?" I laughed excessively ... Keller was thoroughly outplayed by a homeless Bill Withers on the subway platform after the show. If anyone took the A/C line down from 42nd Street on the way home, you know how good this guy was, segueing in and out of at least 10 classic soul tunes and Motown gems, lighting the place aglow with multi-racial smiles. Kudos to that wonderful dude, who made my post-concert night.

Setlist: 10/14/05 Nokia Theatre New York, NY

I: Inhale to the Chief> Hypnotize> Jack A Roe*> Hypnotize> Inhale to the Chief, Sally Sullivan> Bad**> Sally Sullivan> Roshambo, Gold Plated^ Mother Hips, Apparition, Loop w/ upright bass and theramin etc> Drive My Car&, Teen Angst%, Swing$, New Years Day**> Celebrate Your Youth> Run Like An Antelope@> Runaway Jim@> Run Like An Antelope@

II: Gimme Shelter#, India> Hunting Charlie> India, Stayin Alive!, The Joker^^> Loop, SloMo Balloon&&, Wind Cries Mary##, Loop> Multisyllabic, Skitso> St. Stephen*> Yoni, Ninja, Stay Human***, Rastaman Chant$$
E: Gate Crashers Suck, Best Feeling

* Grateful Dead
** U2
^ Mother Hips
& The Beatles
% Cracker
$ Ani DiFranco
@ Phish
# The Rolling Stones
! The BeeGee's
^^ Steve Miller Band
& w/ Lou on Trumpet
## Jimi Hendrix
*** Michael Franti and Spearhead
$$ Bob Marley

Shades of Hendu: Poo Holes Stretches the NLCS

Where have you gone Donnie Moore? Oh yeah, a casket underground. Let's hope the Astros can hold onto this thing so Brad Lidge doesn't suffer the same suicidal fate.

If I were a Cards fan like this guy, what I'd do is pour salt in the wounds today. You know, send a care package with some straight razor blades and a diagram of the human wrist to Lidge's house, maybe a box of sleeping pills and a bottle of Absinthe to the team clubhouse, perhaps a noose to his vacation home. To get really creative, maybe I'd go to his house, sneak into his garage, put a hose on the exhaust, thread it through the window and start the car. I'm pretty sure that would psyche the dude out.

With the exception of a few outings earlier in the year, Lidge has been virtually unhittable for the past two seasons. He's putting up Mariano numbers, mowing people down with a powerful, explosive fastball and an indescribable slider. Until he threw that 1-2 pitch to David Eckstein, he was looking as stellar as ever.

But he threw the wrong pitch there. Why not blow another inside fastball by him there? There's no way in hell he's catching up to a 96-MPH heater on the inside corner like the two he just watched sail into Molina's mitt. The pitch to Pujols was also atrocious, though I don't necessarily disagree with the pitch call.

And that's the amazing thing: You can be an incredible pitcher who shuts people down all season, but if you make just two bad pitches, the season can end up in failure. Just two pitches. Well, I guess you can say the four balls to Edmonds were bad pitches, but let's not split hairs here. Man, that's a serious baseball game right there.

Albert Pujols, he's a man. And we'll see you tomorrow night.

Slack Song of the Day: Since it's only fitting, here's Tea Leaf Green with Baseball Jam from 3/11/05 at the Mystic Theatre -- it's a damn good one.

Special guest runners-up: John Fogerty's Centerfield, Ram Jam's Black Betty and the Rockford Peaches with The All American Girls Professional Baseball League Song (not kidding about that last one).

Slack Link of the Day: Wow, where have I been on this chick? Melissa Theuriau, French news anchor -- if CNN were smart they'd hire this girl in the States and take back the ratings battle from FOX News.

Monday, October 17, 2005

NYE @ MSG

Until today, the only good show scheduled in Manhattan on New Year's Eve was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Irving Plaza. The fine folks at Madison Square Garden weighed in today, offering this excellent lineup:

THE BLACK CROWES with MY MORNING JACKET and NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS

NEW YEAR'S EVE :: DECEMBER 31, 2005 MADISON SQUARE GARDEN :: NEW YORK, NEW YORK [More]

Not sure if I'll end up there, but I like the option.

Camel Toads & More

I just exited a work-related meeting, and I'm not entirely sure what really happened. We talked about the Japanese and Chinese markets and governments as they relate to U.S. manufacturing and corporate America, but nothing really came of this meeting.

We left it at an awkward handshake, and I'm not even sure the handshake went all that well. Basically, I'm pretty sure I just wasted an hour saying things like "Sure" and "Okay" and "Damn gooks."

So in the absence of any real substance today, here are some afternoon links to get you through the lunch hour:

--Is your godson scouting for "Camel Toads" at the local pool? Check out this "Ask Leslie" column from the Hays Daily News in Northwest Kansas -- and before you ask if this is real or not, it very much is.

--Make sure you check out Ethan's post-season baseball analysis (he's an analrapist) over at Strong as a Can. He's the e.e. cummings of beisbol, there are no capital letters in sight...but he throws up great stats like this one:

"it's an obvious statement to say that since each team has one dominating hitter (konerko vs. vlad), whoever's slugger produced would win the series. and while that was the case, don't underestimate the value of podsednik vs. figgins. in the alcs, figgins' bb:ab ratio was 1:17 while in the regular season it was ~1:10. podsednik, on the other hand, was 1:11 during the regular season but an astounding ~1:3 in the alcs. his 5th inning walk last night was a phenomenal at bat."

--They give you cash, which is just as good as money. They pass around pictures of your husband banging your co-worker, too. And if you get hurt and miss work, your husband can still nail that co-worker chick in the coatroom closet. What insurance is that, Yogi? AFLAC!

This story is especially funny for this part: "AFLAC regularly posts its job openings on Christian Web sites, allows prayer groups at corporate meetings and emphasizes the Christian principles of its founders in its philosophies." Not very Christian-like, my brothers and sisters. Nor is fucking little kids, but who am I to judge?

--Did you know there's a continuous, coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail that runs straight through from Delaware to California? Sounds like something people other than me would really enjoy. Well, Ken and Marcia Powers agree, and the couple "became the first hikers to complete a continuous backpack of the country’s first Atlantic-to-Pacific trail." Kudos bar to the Powers.

--Charles Rocket committed suicide. Weird.

--And check this one out: "Ohio Police Arrest Woman For $1 In Unpaid Taxes" -- I mean, really? For serious? C'mon, you're better than that.

Slack Song of the Day: Lukas and I danced on over to the new Nokia Theatre in Times Square on Friday for an evening with the One Man Gang, Keller Williams. I’ll have a full review some time either later this afternoon or tomorrow over on the Live Music Blog (hey, it takes me a little while to get my shiite together and process what my rods and cones and cochlea just experienced).

I will say, though, K-Dub puts on a helluva show…he’s a talented, consummate professional, he churns out amazing music and he does it all with a wide smile and an intense stare. Prices for his tickets may be going up, but I don’t know how you can miss his show when he comes to town. In honor of this weekend’s festivities, here are three of my favorite Keller tunes (they may be generic, but that’s the way I like ‘em):

Freaker By the Speaker (9/2/05, moe.down)
Gate Crashers Suck (8/13/05, Gathering of the Vibes)
Best Feeling (8/27/05, F.U.N.K. Festival)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Party of 1,300+

Many thanks to the exquisite Jennifer Love Hewitt and her impeccable breastal region and questionable attire ethics for driving last Friday's ridiculous spike in traffic (as well as the one in our collective pants).

The picture's authenticity is still being deciphered by a crack team of lonely forensic technicians from around the globe, but one thing is certain -- Ms. Hewitt's potentially supple melons delivered three times the normal amount of visitors to this here blog. You love the cans.

This just goes to show ya: You can try to be clever and intelligent and likable and thoughtful and provocative and insightful and cover a wide array of topical stories to lure the masses...but it's easier if you instead just show some celebrity boobs on a Friday. I'm in.

Long live Party of Five. Was that a porno?

Friday, October 14, 2005

TTYL LOL, SLUT

The text message, every bored boyfriend or girlfriend's best friend:

"Research shows young romantics are increasingly using SMS text messages to manage, and even end, their relationships...

The clinical psychologist said she was surprised to find 15 percent of participants had dumped a partner via text messages." [More]

As for the weekly football picks, your Ace Cowboy bounced back with a vengeance last week, racking up a 10-3-1 record for the full slate, 3-0 for the best bets. I've lost track of my season record, but I think I'm not four games above .500. I'll add it up this weekend and post the record with next week's picks. Not that you care. F you.

COWBOYS -3.5 over Giants
Jets + 3 over BILLS
Panthers +1 over LIONS
Falcons -4.5 over SAINTS
BEARS -3 over Vikings
CHIEFS -6 over Redskins
TITANS +3 over Bengals
STEELERS (PK) over Jaguars
*RAVENS -5 over Browns
Dolphins +4.5 over BUCS
*Patriots +3 BRONCOS
*Chargers -2 over RAIDERS
SEAHAWKS -9.5 over Texans
Rams +13.5 over COLTS
(*Best Bets)

Have a good weekend, folks. Vinny and the Jets pull even to 3-3 in Buffalo this weekend, mark those palabras. You play to win the game.

New JibJab

I hope you guys remember the JibJab folks from the 2004 election -- they're the geniuses that put together the "This Land is Your Land" and "Good to Be in DC" cartoons.

Well, they're out with another one today, mocking Wal-Mart and the other big box retailers in a cartoon that's more poignant satire than laugh-out-loud funny.

So click here to watch the latest JibJab feature: Bix Box Mart.

Pic of the Day/Month/Year

Could this be for real? Anyone see this? Is this porn? Am I now a pornographer? Will this site get blocked by firewalls? Whatever. Not a huge fan of the hair, but See-Through Hewitt works.


Slack Video of the Day: I found this on PT (via JamBase) last night, a pretty cool video of Traffic and Jerry Garcia playing Dear Mr. Fantasy from Soldier Field in July of 1994. It's funny, Jerry looks like he's about 72 and Winwood about 40, though the nine-fingered legend is really only six years older than his British counterpart. As a quick aside, I didn't know Steve Winwood was not an American until about three years ago. Craisins. I'm an idiot.

Slack Song of the Day: Traffic has a whole slew of incredible, edible songs. But one of their most underrated ditties is Medicated Goo, so listen to that and marvel in its awesomeness.

Also feel free to check out Light Up or Leave Me Alone and The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Jew Playin' Today, Mang?

I'm off to Lawn Gisland for some Yom Kippur snacky smores...

Today's big question is this: Does Astros catcher Brad Ausmus -- born to a Jewish mother, raised in the faith and eighth all-time on the homers and ribbies among hook-nosed major leaguers -- play some beisbol tonight or does he sit out a la Sanford K. in the 1965 Series?

I'm betting he'll be in the lineup.

What Up, Homes?

The Ten Most Expensive Homes in the United States 2005

Some of those homes are sweeeeet (especially Larry Homes). Here are some other fun links on this non-fun Jewday:

1. K-Y Product Lines Heat Up in Middle America -- Wal-Mart, those two-faced bastards...stop censoring shit and then selling sex jellies.

2. Lawsuit Accuses Siegfried Of Drugging Roy Against His Will -- That's easily the best homosexing-related headline of all-time.

3. Kennedy: I'll support Kerry in 2008 race -- Great, that's just what the Democrats need; one corpse/loser who had all the opportunity in the world to beat a vulnerable president coming back for round two, only to be endorsed heavily by a walking punchline. Yaaay, Democrats!

4. Marriage proposal accepted despite spelling error -- Check out the pic of this guy's mistake, kinda looks like he wants a quick gay tryst before marriage.

5. 'Lost' star Josh Holloway, wife robbed at gunpoint in their Honolulu home -- Poor Sawyer...maybe they were with the Others? Also, I didn't watch last night's episode yet, don't say anything.

Win One for the Kippur

Merry Kippur, everyone. Easy fast, take it slow. Let's move on.

By now you've seen the play, you've heard the arguments, you've made up your own mind. And if you have your own blog or some other media outlet, chances are you're writing feverishly about the outrageous injustice in Chicago last night. So I'm here to say: Shut up. Seriously, shut up -- these things happen all the time.

This is the universe in balance, the karma gods evening out the beisbol world. The Angels got EVERY call in the Division Series, every single one. They got the Cano call on the neighborhood play when he "came off the bag," they got the famous Cano Inside the Basepath call in the deciding game, and what nobody talks about is how they got about 15-20 balls and strikes calls that the Yankees' pitching staff didn't get. Would they have won that series anyway? Maybe, most likely. But calls go for one team one night, and the other team the next night. That's just the way it goes.

Disputed calls are part of the postseason, period. This wasn't Game 7, it's only the second game. You know what you do now? You fly home, you go out there and you beat the fucking pants off the White Sox so this call doesn't matter. That's what champions do. They take the bad with the good and they play to win the game. You play to win the game. Mike Scioscia is a great manager and I'm sure he's saying that right now: Don't let this beat you. We shall overcome!

The bad call made for some hilarious post-game press conferences, though. My favorite was the brief session with home plate umpire, Doug Eddings, along the crew chief and the supervisor of officials. This was basically a carbon copy of the old Saturday Night Live skit with John Goodman, when he plays Referee Pitman, and the press just kills him on the bad calls he makes. What a classic sketch:

  • Are you totally blind, or just legally blind?
  • Were you watching a different game while you were officiating? Like, on a little mini-TV, or something like that?
  • I saw the last game, and I just want to know, do you find it helpful to keep your head up your rear end? I mean, why during the game? It seems that during the game you want to have your head, you know, out and in the open air so you can see the plays. I mean, is it comfortable, or is it for the warmth, or what?
  • Hi. Great show, Ref. My boy and I were wondering what it's like for you to have no soul. And, also, what do you use to fill up your body where the soul would be? Now, is that human excrement, or dog excrement?
Man, I love that. So let's just move on, shall we? Can we skip the 10 Jim Caple columns where he tries to be funny and misses badly?

(Meanwhile, Jim Caple, what a fucking lickbag. Has anyone ever tried to cash in on being a Yankee-hater more than this shitface? OK, we get it, you have a small penis and you hate the Yanks for no reason whatsoever, thanks. Try writing an article without bashing people that are so much better at their jobs than you are at yours. You are the lowest form of journalist -- and I hesitate to even use that word -- in the country, and ESPN.com should be ashamed to call you a senior writer. Go away.)

Yeah, um, so let's just move on, please. Kippur it up, Jews.

Slack Link of the Day: Do you like Rick Dees or Casey Kasem? What do you like more, CDs or 8-Tracks? Blockbuster flicks or indies? Chipotle Bob sent over the answer.

Slack Ridiculousness of the Day: "Hollywood sources confirmed last night that Sylvester Stallone has agreed to star in the sixth installment of the Rocky saga."

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

So check it, check it...here's Bela Fleck and the Flecktones with Stomping Grounds, from September 19th, 1997 in Brandywine, MD.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

PostSecret

Every Sunday, the PostSecret web project puts up a fresh batch of anonymous postcards with deep, dark personal secrets. If you don't check this site out once a week, you're really missing out on a good opportunity to feel a whole lot better about yourself and your demons.

Here are two of my favorite from this week's batch:


Let's Go Vikings

Staying true to the spirit of the real Vikings, the Minnesota football team took to the water in order to rape and pillage...

"Minnesota Vikings players are being investigated in connection with a lake cruise that turned into a wild sex party last week on Lake Minnetonka. The party became so out of control that crew members on the two yachts were offered money for sex and feared for their safety, law enforcement authorities and an attorney for the cruise company said Tuesday."

This version's a doooooozy. So is this one. And this.

I guess I just don't get what the big story is here...it's one thing if there was some sexual or physical assault or other crimes committed, which still may come out in post-party police and media interviews, but it sounds to me like this was just a wild, sexy party. What's the big effin' deal, bitch?

I mean, if they do this story on ESPN tonight, Michael Irvin will be on the set just giggling to himself, thinking about how tame this party sounds compared to Big D in the 90s (BYU's Steve Young, however, probably has little sympathy). I bet this Vikings boat trip sounds like Bible Camp to those Cowboys. Weren't they snuffing out hookers and shit? Not that there's anything wrong with that either.

This joke crossed my desk earlier, based on this line: "The crew members, including one who was 18, were 'petrified' for their safety, Doyle said." Hey, at least someone is scared of the Vikings this year.

So unless they broke some laws, I say "Good for the Vikings."