Saturday, December 31, 2005

Feliz Año Nuevo

Another year has come and gone, and whether 2005 treated you like royalty or slime, it's time to celebrate the turning of the calendar with friends and/or family. The slate wipes clean, your sins absolve, it's a brand new you in 2006.

Here's to wishing everyone out there a spectacular holiday and tremenous next 12 months. May you be happy, healthy, wise and brilliant in 2006. I love you. Olive juice.

Slack Video of the Day: In fact, I love you all so much it makes me want to kick you in the nuts. Terrible job by me, posting repeated nut shots on the last day of the year, following yesterday's open letter to NU's shitty kicker. Boo me. Booooo me.

Slack Song of the Day: I forgot to post this earlier in the month, but I guess we'll just file this one under the Better Late Than Never header. One of my all-time favorite bands re-mixing one of the most iconic songs in history -- here's the incomparable Medeski Martin & Wood playing the SportsCenter theme.

Slack First Apology of the Year: For two straight days I had the words "Happy Ano Nuevo" as the subject line of this post. So I apologize to our Spanish-speaking viewers, I didn't not mean to wish you a happy new anus. I hope your old anus is fine.

RANA

One more for the 2005 Live Show Roster...

I met Penny Lane Seiden and her friend Molly at the RANA show at the Knitting Factory last night, a great decision by me. These guys are more on the rock side of my musical tastes, but they cover my whole Kick Yo' Ass spectrum. I don't even know what the second part of that sentence means. Not a clue.

RANA has a pretty cool band dynamic, though, and they play across a wide range of styles and genres. I love the fact that they play mostly short, sharp and punchy songs of a higher punk-esque intensity, which isn't my usual fare. Plus, they're really fun to watch on stage, as they don't really look like they'd be fast friends outside the venue. But they mesh well up there, a true band in every sense of the word, cranking out quality-driven tunes every time out.

And after they broke out their unique take on the Talking Heads' Thank You for Sending Me an Angel, I'm ready to declare them a must-see-again act in 2006. I'm not sure what kind of touring schedule they're going to have next year, but if they come to your town, get some ducats and enjoy a fantastic evening.

For more, check these songs out: Livin' Was Easy, Butter My Roll, I'm Comin' Correct, Carbombed Again and Not So Mopso.

Slack Camera Phone Video of the Day: Last night was a great experience all around, aside from the amazing performance. Aside from literally bumping into Warren Haynes in the crowd as I was leaving, Seiden took me upstairs at setbreak, where I got to see two dudes from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra warming up for a second-set cameo.

How odd, on the very day I posted some Antibalas as the Song of the Day for the first time in many months, I randomly wind up in the same room with them and watch them rehearse from five feet away.

Here's a really quick shot of the two Antibalas horns backstage. And this may not hold up very well from my shitty phone's camera, but here's a short video of RANA gettin' down. (Both are QT.)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Tough Day

To: Northwestern place kicker Joel Howells
From: University alumnus Ace Cowboy
Re: Why, Lord, Why?

Dear Sir or Madam:

Um, what's goin on, bud? You okay? Been sleeping well these days? Need some money? Want some uppers? Downers? Family trouble? Girl probems? I'm just concerned, that's all.

Dr. Cowboy recommends ingesting the maximum dosage of Ambien tonight, for it sure won't be easy to fall asleep naturally. What, with the haunting thoughts of not one but two missed extra points, a blocked field goal that barely cleared the line and two atrocious onsides kicks, attempts so feeble that both were returned to the end zone for six points. Both!

Look, I know you're just a college student and this was only the Vitalis Sun Bowl, but your performance in today's game truly wasn't worthy of the Special Olympics. I've seen female amputees kick better (but only ones that were missing arms).

Don't kill yourself, but definitely think about it for a few days.

Best,
Ace

P.S. What a strange game, eh? Two NU defensive interceptions returned for touchdowns at the start of the game, two UCLA onsides kick returns for touchdowns at the end of it. Dare I say, craisins. Strange game, allright, a tough 50-38 loss for the Cats.

P.P.S. Did you by any chance TiVo the game? If so, fast forward through your horrendous lowlights and check out when CBS announcer Verne Lundquist signs off the telecast by saying something like "If you had 100 total points in your office pool, you were only off by 2." Big fan of Verne, but that's some shoddy fucking math.

Everybody Hurts

One of the greatest pranks ever...the fake winning lottery ticket.

MLP Goes Global

Standing atop the shoulders of the overused "They love David Hasselhoff in Germany" standard, I declare today, they sure do love Mary-Louise Parker around the world.

If it can be said that globalization has succeeded in making it easier for companies to outsource jobs and relocate plants and production to low-wage countries, it can also be said that globalization has succeeded in making it easier for every man in the world to beat off furiously to the striking beauty and sensuous nudity of the lovely Ms. Parker. What do you think of that theory, Friedman?

Like any good blogger worth his weight in ego and self-involvement, I enjoy checking the referrals page on the Site Meter, and I do so often. Lately I've been getting a lot of traffic from websurfers looking for one of three things: Serialpod, an ESPN Insider password (sorry guys, like Dan Aykroyd's Caddyshack II character, I don't haaaave it), and this quasi-naked picture of Mary-Louise Parker from Esquire.

It's been happening for months, but in just the past 24 hours, Slack's received multiple referrals from the United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Canada (I'm looking specifically at you, British Columbia), and we've provided joy to some lonely fellows in Lebanon, Kuwait, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, Germany, S. Korea and even Unknown Country. Maybe that's the Ultimate Warrior strokin' it to MLP in his dainty cottage in Parts Unknown.

They can't get enough of her soft white skin in Scandanavia, or her freedom-loving buttocks in the Middle East, or her sassmouth in Saskatewan. I got nuthin' for why the Portuguese-speaking countries love her -- maybe she's on record in favor of the Line of Demarcation.

Of course, Slack still gets its fair share of hilarious Google and Yahoo! searches, like this one from Thursday: "Both balls in mouth." And wouldn't you know it, the post it links to is about the Redheaded Fuckface. We're all Gay-4-Trey, I guess.

But to all my foreign friends searching for the above pho-to to lube up your naughty thoughts at night, this one's for you. Long live MLP.

Slack Link of the Day: Ladies and gentlemen, "The Smoking Gun is proud to unveil the Top 15 Mug Shots of 2005."

Slack Profile in Courage of the Day: They just don't make 'em like this kid any more...no, sir, they surely do not:

"Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare.

But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation."


This is seriously an amazing tale...the Iraqi cojones on this dude. Let the short countdown until he announces his book deal now commence.

Slack Song of the Day: It's been a while since I've posted anything by the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, a NY-based afrobeat band I'd absolutely love to see more of in 2006. I just found out Antibalas means "bullet-proof" in Spanish, and that's pretty cool, methinks.

(Ir)Regardless, here's Government Magic, Open and Close, and Elephant from August 1, 2003 in Charlottesville VA.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pics of the Year

Reuters does some fine work...like the NBA, these are fannntastic.

Do You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

Every three or four years I let my mother come in to the city and take me shopping for dress clothes, suits, what have you. She loves it, just eats it up. I hate this process more than just about anything. Even the dentist is a much bigger thrill-ride for me.

The last time we did danced this dance was three and a half years ago on my 23rd birthday, which was also the day St. Louis Cardinals hurler Darryl Kile perished in that tragic sleeping accident. But after a long shopping hiatus, my mater and I hit the stores, and today happened to be easier than a drunk freshman fatty with self-esteem issues.

But after purchasing two suits, three shirts, two ties, an additional pair of cool pants and many a pair of socks, I finally gave my mother the Ace Face, that look of "I think my work is done here."

That's when she responded, "So do you have any interest whatsoever in going to Bloomingdale's or have you already shot your wad?"

That's always the kind of talk you expect to hear from your loved ones. And to the gentleman tailor at Sym's, I'll see you again in 2008.

2005: Year of the Live Show

I've never kept a New Year's resolution. Never. Once I made it all the way to January 4th or 5th, but that's when I started masturbating feverishly again.

I typically waste my annual resolution on foolish and empty promises like "quit smoking." No, that's it. Just that. Every year for the last five or six, it's been about halting inhalation. Cigarettes. Pot. Powdered iced tea. Stop smoking something. Anything. Everything.

So last year I switched it up and actually made myself a promise I wanted to keep. And you know what? I fucking kept that shit, yo. On December 30th last year, I wrote this:

"I've been in a little bit of a live music funk since Coventry, seeing only small bands in small bars, hanging out in Grand Central to catch 20 minutes of the underground dudes playing for change, generally neglecting my previous enjoyment of good musicians with a decent following. So with New Year's Eve comin' around (y'all), that's my resolution for a new me in 2005: See. More. Live. Music."

And by golly, I did. All told, I caught 73 live musical performances from 48 different bands at 37 total shows, including three musical benefits, one two-day outdoor festival and one annual awards show. I'm sure plenty of headier folks have me beat, but I'm damn pleased with those totals.

Like Rosie Greer's sacks and Bill Russell's blocks, I've never kept this official stat before. But those numbers all have to be personals records for me. Plus, I didn't realize this until tally time, but I even neglected my resolution in both June and July. No shows.

I must say, 2005 will always be remembered as a fun year, and there's no question my seeing all these shows had a big part in my feeling that feeling. I won't to resolve to do it again, but I know I can match this year's total, or even surpass it.

So after digging through the Slack Archives and rummaging through my stubs, here's what I caught this year:

(When available, I've included a link to the show for streaming or download in the band name and/or the Slack review about the show in the date.)

Ace Cowboy's 2005 Live Show Roster

RANA - 12/30 - Knitting Factory
Russell Batiste & Friends' NOLA Musicians Benefit - 12/14 - Lion's Den
Railroad Earth - 12/10 - Bowery Ballroom
Bustle In Your Hedgerow (w/ DanjaBoots opener & Benevento/Russo Duo for dessert) - 12/7 - Tribeca Rock Club
Addison Groove Project - 12/2 - Lion's Den
moe. - 11/26 - Roseland Ballroom
Tea Leaf Green - 11/19 - Coda (late night)
Umphrey's McGee - 11/19 - Irving Plaza
Tea Leaf Green - 11/18 - Coda
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ The Wood Brothers opener) - 11/8 - Roseland Ballroom
Perpetual Groove - 11/3 - Tribeca Rock Club
Cream - 10/24 - Madison Square Garden
Devendra Banhart & Hairy Fairy (w/Tarantula AD opener) - 10/20 - Webster Hall
Keller Williams - 10/14 - Nokia Theatre
Tea Leaf Green - 9/10 - Knitting Factory
Benevento/Russo Duo (w/ Drums & Tuba opener) - 9/8 - Bowery Ballrom
Phix - 9/7 - Lion's Den
Bruce Hornsby and Ratdog - 9/1 - Central Park's Summerstage
Save CBGB Benefit (Debbie Harry, Public Enemy) - 8/31 - Washington Square Park
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - 8/10 - South St. Seaport
Club D'elf w/ Marco Benevento - 8/10 - Knitting Factory
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ Government Mule opener) - 8/6 - Jones Beach Amphitheater
Club D'elf w/ John Medeski - 8/3 - Knitting Factory
Jam on the River (Bruce Hornsby, Benevento/Russo Duo, Railroad Earth, Particle, Vince Wellnick) - 5/29 - Penn's Landing, Philly
Dark Star Orchestra - 5/28 - Irving Plaza
Trey & 70 Volt Parade - 5/13 - Hammerstein Ballroom
Trey & 70 Volt Parade (w/ John Butler Trio opener) - 5/7 - Taft Theatre, Cincy
The 4th Annual Jammy Awards - 4/26 - Theatre @ MSG (featuring in order of appearance: N. Miss All-Stars w/ Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples; Bruce Hornsby and Yonder Mountain String Band; Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Phil Lesh and ?uestlove; Umphrey's McGee w/ Huey Lewis, Mavis Staples, Sinead O'Connor and Jeff Coffin; Keller Williams with ?uestlove and Nelly MacKay; Ryan Adams w/ Phil Lesh; Benevento/Russo Duo w/ Mike Gordon, Phil Lesh, Les Claypool and Gabby La La; Disco Biscuits w/ Travis Tritt; MMW w/ Burning Spear, Antibalas Horns, Sinead O'Connor and more for the finale)
Phix - 4/23 - Lion's Den
Benevento/Russo Duo - 4/7 - ??
U-Melt -4/2 - Knitting Factory
Club D'elf w/ John Medeski - 3/31 - Coda
Black Crowes (w/ Soundtrack of Our Lives opener) - 3/26 - Hammerstein Ballroom
Langerado Festival - 3/12 & 3/13 - Markham Park, Sunrise FL (featuring two two-hour sets of String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, MMW, Benevento/Russo Duo, Toots & The Maytals, Keller Williams, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, New Monsoon, Particle, De La Sol, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Michael Franti)
Devendra Banhart (w/ Tarantula opener) - 2/21 - Tonic
moe's Tsunami Relief Benefit w/ Trey Anastasio, John Medeski, Sam Bush et al. - 2/10 - Roseland Ballroom
Grateful Dead Movie - 1/26 - 42nd Street Loews
Yaz Band - 1/14 - Grand Central subway station

And not one Phish show on the list (though I got half at the Roseland last month), would ya look at that. Sure I saw Trey five times and Page twice, but 72 performances from all non-Phish acts is nuttier than squirrel turds. But I'll see you at the JEMP reunion in October 2006. Mark those palabras.

I also found myself a new band to obsess over this year that, a band that, like Juicy Fruit chewing gum, really moves me. I said I'd never travel again to see anyone, but it just so happens I'll be out in Colorado in mid-January for two Tea Leaf Green shows in Boulder and Denver (yeah, just so happens).

Tea Leaf Green is not your typical noodling jamband; their song-writing is stellar. And I command you, fans of all music genres, check them out post-haste. The three shows I caught in the fourth quarter of this year were all jaw-droppingly astounding, and I'm sure we'll have plenty more about these guys next year as well.


An incredible year behind me, the anticipation of another one ahead in 2006. Whatever you enjoy, here's to a wonderful year of music, one that'll consistently bring out the unconscious and uncontrollable smile in you, one that'll make you mumble to yourself while the lights blind you and the smoke gets in your eyes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Yes, This is Cruel. I Know.

"Now batting...designated hitta...#25...Jason Giambi...#25."

I'm gonna go ahead and blame this one on Matty Mac for forwarding this to me. I suggest you direct all scorn his way as well. I'm just a pawn in this Giambitarded game of life.

But, really, the resemblance is uncanny, no?

(Listen, I know what you're gonna say. And let me say this: It's okay to laugh. He does look like Jason Giambi. And that's a little bit funny. This is no difference than me saying "Allan Houston and Pete Sampras look the same" and you saying "Hmm, never thought of that...that's funny." Same thing. So look at yourself in the mirror before judging. You probably make fun of colored people.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Get Off My Train

I think about this guy here to the right all the time. I'd say every sixth or seventh time I stand on the NYC subway tracks, I picture this dude yelling at dead ol' Patrick Swayze to get off his train, forcefully. It haunts me. In my dreams.

I even thought about him this morning, on the way to the dentist. Then I came home, caught up on the day's news and events and read that he died. So sad, the world mourns one of its greatest character actors today. Better Off Dead, Fast Times, Ghost, Cuckoo's Nest, Larry Flynt, he did it all.

That Guy, we will miss you. We're forever in your debt.

Now, a word about lists...
Like half-hearted promises to quit smoking, be nicer and ease up on bumping lines off the asses of hookers, it happens like clockwork every Last Week in December: the emergence of lists.

With the advent and proliferation of blogs, these Best Of [Year] lists aren't just for mainstream critics any more. So were not only seeing blather and dreck from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Us and Rolling Stone, now everyone with a free .blogspot bully pulpit tries to create the snarkiest and most sardonically irreverent Top 10s and Year in Reviews.

Some of these trite attempts at sarcastic douchebaggery actually scratch me right where I itch (the crotch, always the crotch), but most try way too hard to be hip and are so tragically non-comical you'd think Stuart Scott wrote 'em. I admire people that give comedy ye ol' college try, but when the same recycled Tom Cruise and Terrell Owens jokes are the best you can do, it's best to send it around in an e-mail to close friends rather than post it on the Internets.

Brother Red Cowboy sent along a post from this kid's blog today, and his "Ten People Who We Saw Far Too Much of in 2005" ain't too bad at all. I agree with almost everything written here, but anyone who indirectly slaps the highest praise on Northwestern's journalism school is certainly gettin' some special lovin' on this here rag (though I most definitely disagree with #5 on his list).

So go on over and read this before it gets cold...

Stuff.

Just awoke. Dentist soon. Hodgepodge now:

--If you need a pick-up line at the big NYE dance club extravaganza, feel free to try this: "An extra second will be added to 2005 to make up for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation."

We've been given a gift, folks, and I think the real question is how do you intend to spend this year's extra second? Wisely? I doubt it. You'll probably just waste it exhaling or peeing.

--Don't think the Chronicles of Narnia "Lazy Sunday" rap from SNL is everywhere already? We're lookin' at a More Cowbell-level event here. Not only did the New York Times mention the skit today (A week late? Another reason bloggers rock), but over at Slate, they're wondering why it was so popular, and I like what they're selling.

--How do you spell relief? R-O-B-B-E-R-Y. Say it ain't so, Reardon, say it ain't so. I'd expect this out of Mel Rojas or Jeff Montgomery, but you're better than that. C'mon.

--Gotta love the NBA...Caron Butler's favorite Christmas memory:

"Honestly, this is probably going to strike a nerve with a lot of people. But my most memorable Christmas memory was having all of my uncles and aunties out of prison for one Christmas, and that includes me. We had a lot of run-ins with the law, and to have us all out at one time was great." Love thy family!

Slack Video of the Day: The Duo with Mike played a very special version of You Enjoy Myself last night. Whoooa, that's like Zack dancing with Screech's cousin to A-12 on the jukebox, his and Kelly's song at The Max, just to get back at his ex. But I like it -- I'm Ace Cowboy and I approve of this version.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Day Tripper

Like all good Jews on Christmas, three of us packed into the car and headed to Uncasville CT for more than 300,000 square feet of gaming space. Mohegan Sun, we wants your cash. We comes for your wampum. We skins your vault like buffalo, Tatanka.

The day's grueling chess match against karma opened a bit unusually, completely unforeseen, like a Budapest Gambit. The fourth member of our field trip walked out of his apartment, got into the car, threw a questionable tantrum and bailed on the jaunt, all in less than 90 seconds. Hey, I'm all for road-tripping with friends and I subscribe to the weekend edition of The More The Merrier Times-Journal, but on the way to a casino I will not tolerate dead weight that "doesn't want to go anyway."

Down a man, Snacks, Hard-12 Matt and I pulled into the lot at 2:30 following a fun sprint through the flat, wet Connecticut terrain. We had just proclaimed this would be "our day," that we'd all come home big winners. We examined the possibilities of exiting the premises up a combined 10-12 grand. I'm sure we were the only car on the road to the establishment that expressed such a feeling.

This marked my fourth consecutive Christmas Day trip to a casino (Atlantic City in '02, Mohegan in'03, Foxwoods in '04), and the place was probably emptier than I've ever seen it. Normally, despite the holiday, the casino's teeming with heathens: about 75 percent Asian, 20 percent Jewish and 5 percent white trash and other undesirables. Yesterday being the first day of Hanukkah, though, there were a whole lot less hook noses and pockets full of gelt and lox.

Feeling the place out like a first-round prize fighter, we walked around looking for our table. The three of us sat down at a $25 blackjack table and were immediately joined by an Asian couple that spoke a combined five words of English. Hard-12 and I couldn't get into a rhythm and mostly alternated winning and losing hands.

Snacks did his best Parker Lewis imitation and couldn't lose. After pulling all blackjacks, three-card 21s, picture cards and magical aces, Snacks was up almost two grand by lunch, as I prophecized yesterday.

This table featured the lowlight of the day: Dealer showing 5, I have 11. There's $75 down on the bet, I doubled down with another $75. Pull a 9 for 20. Dealer turns over a picture for 15, next card out is a 6. Twenty-fucking-one. $300 swing. Those are the hands that make and break the day. Boo, Wendy the nipponese dealer.

I was down fitty bones and Hard-12 wasn't faring so well, so we took a break to get a late lunch at Michael Jordan's Sports Cafe. Perhaps the highlight of the day, I'd like the world to know how great this dining experience truly was. Friendly wait-staff, big-screen televisions, delicious garlic bread and one of the best blue-cheese and fried tobacco onions smothered burgers I've ever eaten. Since Snacks was up big at lunch, he generously picked up the bill. Thank you Snacks, thank you Michael Jordan. Both, very kind.

After lunch we split up, and I took Hard-12 over to the craps table while Snacks hit the high-roller tables. I tried my best to teach the game to a newcomer, but my new friend Bob, a lawyer from New Haven who just dropped 140 pounds after gastric bypass (I saw his license and wow!), did a better job than I could. He also taught me some new craps jargon. We both taught Matt there was no such thing as a Hard 12. Bob, what a guy.

While we were winning at craps, Snacks was betting a few hundred a hand, which always leads to the same result: He had the runs like an American in Tijuana. Eventually he joined us, having given most of his pre-lunch earnings back. We put together two great rolls -- first a guy across the table from us, then me. He hit numbers and a few points, I mostly hit numbers. Such a fun game, and I rarely lose. Like the Asian guy who kept sticking on a soft 14, the game of blackjack is dead to me.

Hard-12 won his $350 back, Snacks walked out up 19 bucks, and I was the big winner, up $90. All told, we left with 6 more dollars than we arrived with, we ate a great free lunch and spent five and a half hours being entertained on a day Manhattan was dead and we were Jews.

I'd say a push in this case is better than kissing your sister. It's like kissing your sister when your sister is hot.

Slack Opinion of the Day: On the way home from the trip, as Sgt. Pepper's played on the radio, I made the declaration, "I dont care what people say, The Beatles were pretty damn good." Top 10 we decided.

Slack Videos of the Day: Steely Dan isn't typically known for its live performances. But good ol' YouTube, comin' through again. Here are a few videos of Donald Fagan, Walter Becker and the gang -- My Old School and Do It Again.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Time in Hollis Queens

Whatever it is you believe in (including the force), believe in it today. Have a happy holiday and we'll see you back here tomorrow.

Off to Mohegan Sun...baby, we're gonna be up two grand by lunch.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Happy, Pizza Pizza

Your ol' Ace Cowboy has about two more hours worth of work before the rest of the year is spent loafing around the apartment and tooling around the city. But while there may be some sporadic posting around these parts, I ain't takin' a full vacation from you fine folks.

If you're looking for a gift for me, look no further than this shirt, which comes from this skit, which proves the Internets are making long turnaround times for short-lived jokes a thing of the past...

Below: I wish you all the best this holiday weekend, and if anything like this (or these) happens to you this weekend after passing out from too much egg nog or Mogan David, be sure to send it my way.

Also, if you wanted a cell phone jammed down your own throat for Christmas, well then Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. I'm hoping it wasn't an old school Zach Morris monstrosity.

Headed to Iraq?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the "Holy Grail of Crowd Control": The Pain Ray. Yahtzee!

Like a Grindstone Cowboy

I'm back at work. Three days of nothing, now one in the office and then I'm out of here for the year at 5 pm.

I'd like to thank the transit douches for allowing me to play the part of Peggy Bundy for the middle three days of this week. Even though you guys accomplished absolutely nothing and garnered about as much sympathy as the Runaway Bride, I'm glad you illegally walked out of your cushy jobs for no reason.

My hat goes off to you for giving me three days off, and I wish you luck in gaining back whatever leverage you had on Monday afternoon. Lemmings, all of you. Yeah yeah, truly.

As a result of my absence, I have lots to catch up on here in the office -- what's an office? -- so I must take leave of you fine folks. In my stead, I'll set you up with this hot picture of Osama bin Laden's niece.

Where's bin Laden been since 9/11? My guess is he's underground beating off to pictures of his niece every four hours, wishing he can stick it in her dank cave. Yowza, the emergency first responders in my pants have been called to action.

Slack Link of the Day: I'm a yuge fan of this little number I found this week while doing nothing: "Why you should continue to date me: a series of charts and graphs" [via Culture Hole]

Slack Drunkards of the Day: The British House of Commons, what a bunch of inebriated wig-wearers -- "...the Commons recently consumed almost 800 pints of alcoholic drink for every day it sat."

Slack Videos of the Day: If I plug the Sugarmegs site 100 times it still wouldn't be enough -- you people need to check out what's available on there.

Today's featured video selection: Sly and the Family Stone's I Want to Take You Higher from 7/4/1969. The site also has four more Sly videos, at much longer length. But then again, with awesomely cool black men, longer length generally applies.

Slack Song of the Day: Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ from 8/19/05 -- Kickin Up Dust, Hardware, En Cuervo, and Instant Karma. RWSHO is Robert Walter on B3, Rhodes and Clavinet, Skerik on sax, Johnny Vidacovich on drums, on James Singleton on stand-up bass. And they're layin' down some serious jazz.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hannukah, Hanukkah, Channukkah

Most people that know me well are familiar with my absolute abhorrence for the Jews. Wow, my mother would kill me with guilt and shame if she ever read that topic sentence.

Like Larry David, I've often been accused of being a self-loathing Jewboy. But that's not true at all -- I fucking love myself. I just don't like the Yenta culture, the plain-jane holidays, the controlling of Hollywood and the black pants. Not to mention those horns.

But I just saw this post over at Hits From The Blog, and thought it does a great service to the latke-ingesting community. Enjoy the upcoming holiday, Jews...

**Also, the strike is officially over, and I'll be back at my desk tomorrow. I'd like to thank the TWU for being complete nincompoops and helping me take three days off. You the man, Rog.

Day Three: It's Hell

I've been joking about the NYC transit strike because of the awesome benefits its bestowed on me: couchness, pajammies, televisors, a little nappy, nap nap naparoo.

But there's a real ugly side to the transit strike that's affecting the lives of countless New Yorkers, and I saw that side first-hand last night. Shit, the quality of life here in Man-hattan continues to decline, as evident in this scene I witnessed last night:

Girl 1: "Did you do drugs tonight?"
Girl 2: "Who can afford drugs with a fuckin' transit strike?"

Goddamnit, Toussaint, do you only think of yourself at a time like this? You selfish Jamaican fuck, mon.

It looks like we're close to a settlement on this pupper, but the pain he and his union have caused cannot be repaired.

Slack Link of the Day: Finally, some good news out of Jets camp... Dr. Z has this to say about Gang Green:

"Don't count them out in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes. Check out this scenario. San Francisco (2-12) upsets St. Louis on Saturday and then loses to 2-12 Houston on the final weekend. The Jets drop their last two, and now all three of them are 3-13, plus, possibly, New Orleans and Green Bay. Now based on the current records, guess which team's opponents have the worst won-lost, which is the determining factor in who gets the first pick? Why, the Jets do, yes they do. Quick, suit up Al Woodall to play QB for the final pair. Bill Demory, where are you? Does anyone remember Dick Wood?"

Slack Song of the Day: Just gettin' down to business with some clever covers here, some good, some just funny -- Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, Runnin' with the Devil, Frankenstein, Collective Soul's Shine, and because I love when Trey and Tom sing "Hannibal Lechter" in place of the "Ba da da, ba da da," here's (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles,

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Papal Horrors IV

Here's today's mighty strange lede of the young day:

"Pope Benedict XVI resembled a clean-shaven Father Christmas when he donned a red velvet hat with white ermine trim to face a winter chill for his weekly general audience."

I'm sorry, I believe the words your looking for "...resembled an even more terrifying Freddy Kruger that just ate two tabby cats and sees your Maltese licking himself clean in the corner of the room."

Jesus R. Christ, what a seriously devious and horribly ugly man you Catholics promoted to Head Godsucker this year. Booo.

Links o' Snausage

Much like Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, I've got nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothiiiing. Staying out past 1, waking up much later than usual and sitting in my pajamas on the couch (again!) pretending to work from home is a dangerous combination for blog creativity.

So while I sit here and think about leaving to get a friendly bagel, and while I mull over the option of adding eggs and bacon to the mix, check out these freshly squeezed links:

1. This story is the exact reason why you should always beat your kids: "Homeowners are angry after Titusville police said three children, one just ten years old, went on a crime spree that targeted at least four homes and a country club. Two on the kids were caught when one of their mothers turned them in." Always.

2. Canada, very cool pace. I dig, oh, I dig.

3. This scene, despite the cancer and the potential death, would be pretty funny if it weren't so damn awful:

Cancer patient: "Duuude, I've got the greatest doctor in the world, braahhh. The guy gave me a scrip for this killer weed, maann."

Friend: "Um, that says 'weed killer,' not 'killer weed.' You're gonna die. And not from the cancer, broseph."

I hope this doctor and his little assitant get the Kobe treatment every day of a long sentence in a federal, pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

4. Speaking of, Kobe scored 62 points last night...in three quarters no less. I've never been a big Kobe fan, but you have to give the guy his due after that stellar performance. He just bent those guys over and had his way with 'em all night long, dropping a huge load on the Mavs and leaving mucho contented.

5. Finally, Johnny Damon signed with our beloved Yank'ums whilst I was out spinning with the hippies last night. Coincidence? Anyway, I was totally opposed to signing Damon, but now that we have him locked up, I think it's a great move. Not only do we add a leadoff hitter that gets on base and frees Jeter up to move down in the order, but we made our biggest rival worse.

Right now, at this moment, and it likely will change, but I tip my hat to Brian Cashman. He didn't panic, he didn't go crazy, he carefeully picked the guys he wanted and went after them subtly and under the radar. We needed middle relief and a center fielder and that's exactly what he brought us. I love the moves. We'll try to hold off on excessive Yankees talk until after the new year.

Slack Song of the Day: One of my musical guilty pleasures is that David Gray character, who had a big hit with the song Babylon. I don't know anything about the guy, nor can I name a single song of his not named Babylon. I do like that song though, for some reason. And because I've bene posting way too much jammy stuff lately, here's a sweet version of that tune from 12/17/2000 in England...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Strike Sex & Freakouts

Every cloud has a silver lining, perhaps, and every silver lining contains at least a little bit of semen. (SFW)

Here's another awesome strike-related CraigsList post. Man, that's some top-notch racism right there, I'm in full hysterics.

And Dan at The Daily Dump has the lowdown (down low, no doubt) on the mass hysteria this strike has caused all over the city...or at least on his block. If you're not reading that kid's blog anyway, you probably should be. Ah screw it, just read Slack and fuck everyone else.

Greetings from the Couch

In a move that makes no sense for anybody, the Transit Workers Union walked off the job shortly after midnight, and seven million New Yorkers are struggling to get to work this morning.

Me? I'm working from home today, so I applaud the TWU Local 100 (in my pajamas). Strike forever for all I care. I wouldn't mind...that way I could tell people about the random semi-celebrity sighting on my last ever subway ride:

Most New Yorkers generally agree that the public system of subways and buses is about as easy and user-friendly as a major city's mass transit can be. We all love to gripe about our daily commute and denounce our everyday routines, but the fault (dear Brutus) lies in our general laziness, not in our municipal transportation.

There's one glaring exception to the industrial strength awesomeness of the MTA: overcrowded subway cars during rush hour.

Inevitably, if you're lucky enough not to be pushed out of the train as the doors close, you can either stand in a rigid pencil position and flop all over at any sharp jerk of the train, or you can reach over someone for a fingerful of the middle guide-pole and spoon the person closest to it, or you can grab the top metal bar and shove your junk into the face of someone seated in front of you, an unlucky soul whose mouth is now directly aligned to the package.

That last option ignited a little row betwixt an angry colored lady and me a few weeks back. She wanted no part of my balls on her chin, and she said so: "You better back up out of my shit, little man," she barked up at me. "Where would you like me to go, ma'am, I can't move right now," I responded in a polite but rather strained manner, as the dude behind me had either an umbrella or a few fingers lodged well into my clenched buttocks. "Just get out my business, I don't want no part of that. Ooo-eeee!" I did my best to comply with Mrs. Buttersworth and drifted away as space eventually cleared.

Yesterday's trip home didn't feature the most crowded car ever, but it was bad enough that someone did play the part of Ace's Subway Corksmoker. And the person sitting down with their face pressed in my junk? It was none other than the dude who played Rachel's dad on Friends, Dr. Green (no, no, not Elliott Gould, the other guy).

I tried to sneak an overhead camera phone shot, but I just couldn't do it without raising suspicion. But it wasn't just a guy who looked like Ron Liebman, it was totally him. The doctor from Garden State was my potential fantasy beejgiver today. Classic stuff.

So strike as long as you need to, TWU, I'm comfortable.

Slack Song of the Day
: If we can get there, Lukas and I are headed up to BB King's later tonight for our second attempt at attending a weird gathering known as a listening party.

Last time, we didn't buy tickets and got shut out of the Phish Island Tour box set party. We've never been shut out of a real show once, even the toughest tickets, but we couldn't get inside the fucking Canal Room to watch some vintage footage and hear unreleased cuts hand-picked by the band's archivist. Oh, the ridiculousness.

We missed out on a good night I've heard, so we're trying it again this evening -- only this time with pre-purchased ducats. In honor of this evening's nerdfest, I give you the show Rolling Stone called "one of the greatest concerts of the 90s": New Year's 1995 at Madison Square Garden.

Listen to the whole show if you can - it's a doozy. But if you must pick and choose, might I suggest the Punch You in the Eye opener, the legendary Reba, or the one that got away, my biggest statistical "never seen," Lizards.

If The Pheesh ain't your bag (hey, I respect that, misguided as that may be), I'll compromise and post something that circulates the web as Phish but really isn't. That cover you've heard on the Internets of Gin and Juice? It's great, and it's not Phish, it's Austin's The Gourds. Here's a seriously kickass version from 9/4/02.

(Also, I do in fact realize the amount of Slack copy concerning the hippie music around here lately, and if that's not your thing, I kindly ask you to skip over it and refrain from scoffing audibly enough for me to hear you. It's not going anywhere for the time being, so if it's not for you, please acclimate yourself and use the up and down arrows accordingly. Thanks, MGMT.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

We Do Not Condone Torture

Researchers Find Barbie Is Often Mutilated.

**UPDATE**
"A human rights group is alleging the United States operated a secret prison near Afghanistan's capital as recently as last year.

The group claims that music by Eminem and Dr. Dre were used as instruments of torture.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has issued a report saying the United States operated a secret prison in Afghanistan and tortured detainees. The report quoted an Ethiopian-born detainee as saying he was kept in a pitch-black prison and forced to listen to Eminem and Dr. Dre’s rap music for 20 days before the music was replaced by 'horrible ghost laughter and Halloween sounds.'"

Leo Thomas McGarry, We Hardly Knew Ye

At 6:30 on Friday night I heard the devastating news: actor John Spencer had died of a heart attack at the young age of 58.

I didn't know John Spencer personally, nor would I ever attempt to eulogize the man as anything but an actor I felt like I knew. But the joy this man helped bring me every Wednesday night for several years was infinite. His curmudgeonly but lovable Chief of Staff character brought wit and charm and brilliance and rationality into my life on a weekly basis, and for that, I'm thankful.

My West Wing chops are well-honed. I've seen every episode of the Sorkin years -- the current show is all gravy, but the four Sorkin seasons are the goods -- as few as three and as many as nine times, and I can speak to the show's past greatness for hours on end (in fact, I have on this here rag as well).

It's in this vein I want to remember and honor the tremendous talent of John Spencer by posting my top five all-time favorite Leo moments. This list could be extended to a Top 50, but in the interest of time and space I'll leave out the following scenes:

His intensity-in-ten-cities fight with the Qumari ambassador over turning around a ship full of guns headed for Bahi rebels in Game On, his dancing with Jordan Kendall after the president wins re-election in Process Stories, his declaration of "That's what sons do for friends of their fathers" to get Josh up to Nashua to hear then-candidate Bartlet speak in Manchester, and his don't-f*ck-with-me attitude while giving testimony before Congress in Bartlet For America.

Without further (Freddy) ado, I give you the Leo Top Five (to regular WW fans, this is self-explanatory...to everyone else, you're on your own, and where the fuck were you from 1999-2003?):

5. From the show's Pilot, C.J. waits while Leo talks on the phone with the New York Times: "17 across. Yes, 17 across is wrong... You're spelling his name wrong... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I am just an ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I met the man twice. And I recommended a pre-emptive missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how..." They obviously hang up on him.

4. From the third season's H. Con 172, Leo responds to a Republican offer that the president take a censure and endorse it to ensure testimony about Leo's alcoholism and pill addiction don't come out in a Congressional hearing:

"Okay. Well, I'll just call the President and suggest to him that he allow a huge bipartisan vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives calling him a liar and that he welcome the result. Then, I'm going to flap my wings and fly to Neverland... You think I am so desperate to save my ass I'm going to roll over on Jed Bartlet? I take a bullet for the President. He doesn't take one for me."

3. From season three's We Killed Yamamoto, Leo gets in the president's face about taking out a terrorist who also doubles as the defense minister of a "friendly" Arab country: "He's killed innocent people. He'll kill more, so we have to end him. The village idiot comes to that conclusion before the Nobel Laureate."

The best part of Leo's incredibly well-written character was his ability to get in the president's grill and hammer a point home. After the quotation above, Leo continues to drub Bartlet and gets him to agree to take Shareef out of commission. He also does a great job of this in Let Bartlet Be Bartlet, when he screams at the president for driving him and his staff to the center and reeling in the masts, as well as in The Proportional Response and many more.

2. From the second season's Noel episode, Leo waits around for Josh to get out of his meeting with a post-traumatic stress counselor to comfort his protege and assure him his job is safe:

"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

Then Leo tells Josh, "Long as I got a job, you got a job." I've watched this scene more times than I can count (but I can only count to eight or so), and I've always come away with goose bumps the size of golf balls and my hair standing on end. I was tested for a rare blood disease, but I think it's just The West Wing messin' with me.

1. From season six's finale, 2162 Votes, Josh approaches Leo with his idea for perfect vice presidential running mate:

Leo: Do you want me to get the President to lean on him?
Josh:
He told me that he'd kick the guy's ass all over the school yard, if it came to that.
Leo:
Who is it?
Josh:
You.

I watched this episode with five or six people, and if there was a dry eye in the house I'd be shocked. This served as the culmination of so many things going on in the fictional west wing over the past six years, and seeing Matt Santos come out with Leo in tow on the ticket was wnough to push this reporter over the edge. Awesome.

Many people on the world wide web are speculating as to the future of the show, but I think the answer is easy: second heart attack, new VP, end of story. I'm not entirely sure why people are making this more complicated than it really should be.

Have any thoughts on where the show will go after Leo's death? Have any other great Leo moments you want to share? Do it.

Honorable mention in the quote category goes to this quote from The War at Home: I fought a jungle war. I'm not doing it again. If I could put myself anywhere in time, it would be the Cabinet room, on August 4, 1964. When our ships were attacked by North Vietnam in the Tonkin Gulf. I'd say, "Mr. President... don't do it. Don't consider authorizing a massive commitment of troops and throwing in our lot with torturers and panderers, leaders without principle and soldiers without conviction; no clear mission, and no end in sight." This war is at home. The casualties are in our prisons, and not our hospitals. The amount of money the American government is spending in Columbia is the exact same amount American consumers are spending buying drugs from Columbia, we're funding both sides of this war and we'll never win it that way.

But that's mainly because of this ridiculous story I just saw: Investigators say men used cave to grow marijuana

Sweet Thing

I don't use any of the Napster offshoots anymore, haven't in some time. Sure, I filled up about 75 discs with free music and downloaded tons of amateur porn like every other under-30 male, but it also slowed down my computer and I'm pretty sure fueled its eventual demise. So I swore off KaZaa and Limewire and the rest of 'em...

But I've been using my roommate's old laptop since moving into the Bleecker apartment, and every once in a while I'll succumb to grabbing a tune or two from the peer-to-peer outlet that's installed on the computer. And, Holy Mary Mother of God, I forgot just how much porn is on that crazy thing.

Knee deep in all things SerialPod yesterday, I decided to download Van Morrison's Sweet Thing for some musical comparison. I knew the song well but didn't have it, so I figured I'd download it and do a side-by-side contrast. I typed in "Sweet Thing," and below Van the Man's tune came this list (all true, I make up nary a word here):

Cherry teen in a good suck
Teen poptard gives a jiffypop in the locker room
Budding girlhood in tight yoga pants
Plain vanilla sex UNTIL her husband walks in
Jeff Buckley - sweet thing (live Van Morrison cover)
First-timer freaks over cherry pop
Massive watermelons jiggle to the horizontal bop
Oddball amputee makes good use of wheelchair

There were at least 20 more ridiculous titles for download, but I excluded the ones that were pure sexy time, only including the ones that made me blush and/or laugh hysterically, imagining an Eastern European pornographer/slavemaster typing those into the upload server -- how you say "cherry teen in a good suck, yes?"

I was severely tempted to download the "Teen poptard gives a jiffypop in the locker room" clip to see what the hell it was, but for some reason I held off. So, uh, anyone ever get a jiffypop in the locker room from a teen poptard? If so, fill me in on what I'm missing.

And FYI, I'm wearing tight yoga pants to work, and I'm budding here.

Slack Video of the Day: For the second straight week, Saturday Night Live featured an off-the-charts, mucho re-watchable sketch. Last week it was Alec Baldwin's Always Be Cobbling elf skit, this week it's newbie Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell's Lazy Sunday digit short. People, if you haven't seen SNL this week, get on this immediately. High-larious -- I think this Andy Samberg's got a bright future.

Slack Aesopian Link of the Day: This is clearly an old story, but I didn't see it until last night, so it's news to me. If you this doesn't bring a little geigh smile to your face, you've got no soul -- the Hippo and the Tortoise.

Slack Song of the Day: See below, SerialPod's two weekend shows.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The SerialPod Debut

Asheville, North Carolina played epicenter to the Noodling Wankworld this weekend, with more than 7,000 assorted wooks and squares lining up for admission to have their faaaaces melllted at the 17th Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam.

I'm sure the entire show kicked names and took ass -- wait, strike that, reverse it -- but I'm personally more interested in the debutante trio we can now call SerialPod: Phish's Trey and Mike with the Grateful Dead's Bill Kreutzmann.

I just hope the hundreds of thousands of fans who possess that intense I'd-kill-for-you love for both the Dead and the popular rock band Phish don't put too much undue pressure on what can very well be the biggest connection of dots in their musical lives.

And as I hinted at in yesterday's link post, the trio indeed played Cumberland Blues > Chalkdust Torture. I'm overly anxious to listen to that opener and the rest of their set, which appears to be full of experimental jams and interesting segues. Let's get on tour, fellas, America needs to be able to decide whether this really is an ideal fantasy realized. No tour = Communism.

The good folks at the Asheville Citizen-Times have been kind enough to post some short videos of each performance of their website, including two of the new trio in action:

SerialPod video: Numero uno, numero dos.

SerialPod audio
: Click here for the 12/17 Torrent. Also, click here for the SerialPod Xmas Pre-Jam .mp3 file from Friday night at The Orange Peel: Wave The Ocean > Goin' Down Slow*, Iko Iko*, Sugaree - *w/ Ivan Neville and Warren Haynes.

SerialPod 12/17 set: Cumberland Blues > Chalk Dust Torture > On a Plain (Nirvana) > Wave The Ocean > Sweet Thing (Van Morrison) > Waves* > Angel* (Jimi Hendrix) > Loose Lucy*

*with Ivan Neville on keys

courtesy Trey's From the Road section

(I know Billy's son Justin has stopped by this here rag a few times, and if you're reading this, what's the inside story behind the origin of that band name?! Also, thanks -- this pic courtesy of Justin Kreutzmann.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

RIP John Spencer

A great actor, this is sad, sad news. More on Monday...

Address Unnecessary

It turns out, if you address a letter to "Dan the mushroom man, in his van at the side of the road on the Burgess Hill Roundabout, somewhere near Brighton," it may actually be delivered sooner than an accurately addressed envelope. May the gods bless the British.

On an unrelated note, I just went outside, and as I was coming back into the building through the revolving door, I noticed a man about to exit. Before he entered the apparent death contraption, he crossed himself and looked up to the heavens. He made it out alive I'm happy to report. I, for one, was rooting against him. And Him.

UPDATE: Here are two clever cartoons for you to enjoy this weekend - JibJab's new 2-0-5 and Homestar Runner's Decemberween.

Jack Links Jerky

Freshly seasoned with some teriyaki:

1. First things first, I feel like I owe everyone a proper forum to discuss the "butt groping, sex toy usage, assorted oral favors, topless lap dancing" and Fred Smoot's double-headed dildo lovin' from the Minnesota Vikings boat cruise report (there's gold in them there hills). My mother and father always told me growing up, it ain't no boat trip without a little butt groping.

2. Imagine taking home a Christmas tree and waiting a few days before gathering the family to decorate it. When you finally begin to tinsel the shit out of it, you notice an owl stuck inside the family tree, reeking of potent marijuana. Would you consider this to be the weirdest thing that ever happened to you? Let's recap: Buy a tree, bring it home, start to decorate, notice a stoned owl's been chillaxin' on a branch for the better part of a week just waiting for some Cool Ranch Doritos and Mountain Dew. Awesome.

3. It was really only a matter of time: "Anti-smoking activists who are driving cigarettes from public places across the country are now targeting private homes -- especially those with children."

Let me be clear about this: I'm not a violent man, I'm not even an ornery man, and no part of me is aggressive nor manly...but if there comes a day when I am prohibited to do whatever the fuck I want behind my closed, private doors, I will burn these people's pupils with a P-Funk so fast it'll break right on through to the cerebral cortex. I don't even know where the cerebral cortex is, but I'll find it, and I'll burn the shit out of it with the ember of my cigarette, I promise you that. I will personally crush the trachea of anyone responsible for passing such a law, and in an additional punitive measure, I will kidnap their children, lock them in a window-less and vent-less room and blow smoke into their faces for weeks at a time.

4. One group of people who will never face the downside of this law is the homeless. Because they don't have homes. The homeless do have their own problems, though -- it's not all finding a can of peaches and/or lunch meat and being outdoors all the time. They have to deal with snot-nosed punks feeding them chemical cleansing solutions for five bucks a pop. Rough times at the Waffle House...

5. Tomorrow night's the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam down in Asheville, NC, and it's shaping up to be a doozy. As we reported a while back, Big Red, Catcus and Billy Kreutzmann will be performing together in a delectable trio. You Enjoy MyBlog has a picture from last night's rehearsal, and rumor has it they practiced Cumberland Blues > Chalkdust Torture (in addition to a Nirvana tune, perhaps All Apologies). Holy shitballs, get me to Asheville.

Lastly, I gave y'all plenty to listen to today, but I already got a little bored with that schwag. If you did too (shame on you), here's Paul Butterfield's Better Days band from 12/30/73.

No Huelga!

For now, New York has averted a potentially crippling all-out transit strike, and in a rare contrarian move, I'm fairly bummed about that.

I could have been sitting on my couch right now, legs stretched out on the table, remote in one hand, glass in the other, Ace staring blankly at whatever's playing on the Game Show Network, occasionally blinking, munchin' on lightly schmeared bagels all day and drinkin' gallons of chocolate milk. Alas, my godly day of rest was not to be.

Mostly, though, I really wanted to see the city's reaction to the strike. Like the blackout, this could have been a communal city event bringing people together, only this time with electricity. Strangers riding in livery cars and taxis with strangers, walking to work with each other and sharing a knowing neighborly smirk on the streets teeming with pedestrians.

In a similar manner that NYC united against terrorism after 9/11, we all would come together to curse the greedy transit workers and their scrimping and skimping Scroogey bosses. F them! Here's to us! All this time I've been picturing bars packed with smiling Manhattanites (no NYC for you tonight, B-&-Ters), singing war songs and swyaing back and forth, clinking steins in joyous toasts and coming together in the spirit of other people's misfortunes.

Instead, they fucked some people from Queens in a selective strike and the rest of us are sitting at our desks, waiting for the weekend. No couch, no game shows, no friendly smiles, no clinking steins. Just work. Sheesh, I need to figure out a way to sabotage these MTA/TWU talks like Zach and Slater did to Tuttle and Belding. I hope there's no Academic Bowl coming up.

Slack Link of the Day: "A Winooski bar has been ordered to go dry for two weeks in January after being busted for holding Yahtzee games."

Slack Riiiiiidiculousness of the Day: I'm not sure how many times the president can say "We'll stand down when the Iraqis stand up," but if he's serious about that mantra our troops will be in the region for a long, loooong time. Apparently the Iraqis caught the most wanted man in the world not named Osama and then promptly, well, released him. Get up, stand up!

Slack Song of the Day: My boss is out today. Today, and every other day for the rest of 2005. That means I'll have lots of time on my hands the next few weeks, and I'm expecting many of you will as well. In honor of that potential for procrastination and glaring need for online distraction, I give you an entire playlist to get you through this late-December Friday...

Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is from 11/8/98 (posted this once before but it's too fantastic not to post again), Trey Anastasio Band's Sultans of Swing from 4/11/04 (bad-ASS), moe.'s Buster from 10/3/96, Phil & Friend's Viola Lee Blues from 4/15/99, Tea Leaf Green's Garden Part III from 12/29/04, Derek Trucks Band's B-2 Boogaloo from 12/31/01, Deep Banana Blackout's What I'm Talkin' About from 6/10/01, String Cheese Incident's Miss Brown's Teahouse from Langerado 2005 and Umphrey's McGee's In the Kitchen from 5/29/04.

Slack Show of the Day: And if that weren't enough, the good people at Sugarmegs are providing us with an entire show, this one's The Band from 8/1/1973. What I wouldn't do see a band cover Chest Fever or Back to Memphis at a show I attend...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Slipples

Since Slack has been pretty music-centric recently, I thought I'd turn the tables and post something almost all my readers will enjoy: Rachel McAdams' peek-a-boo nipple.

The good folks over at What Would Tyler Durden Do? have the full scoop and story, as well as a high-resolution pic. I'm just the messenger and the middleman pornographer.

She kinda looks like a retarded Heather Graham in this photo, no?

NYE @ MSG Revisited

It was this: THE BLACK CROWES with MY MORNING JACKET and NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS

Now it'll be this: THE BLACK CROWES with TREY ANASTASIO and NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS.

Redheaded F*ckface fans, welcome back to the Garden on New Year's. Confirmation of this new opening act to come shortly...

Sorry for all the music posts lately, Slackers -- it's all cyclical, and it'll shift back to nonsense and sports and news and politics shortly.

**Confirmed (3 pm): THE BLACK CROWES are extremely pleased to confirm that TREY ANASTASIO will be joining us and NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve.

The schedule is as follows: Doors: 7:00 PM; North Mississippi Allstars: 8 PM (40 minute set); Trey Anastasio: 9 PM (90 minute set); The Black Crowes: 11 PM (2 1/2 hour + set); Curfew: 2 AM**

Oh No(la), More Flooding

About a half-hour into Russell Batiste & Friends' New Orleans Musician Benefit at the Lion's Den last night, an industrial icebox by the side of the bar broke and flooded a decent-sized chunk of the floor.

Unlike FEMA, the bar's alert staff responded swiftly and cleaned up the mess before it caused the complete evacuation of that part of the floor, before most people in the crowd even noticed it. But the irony wasn't totally lost -- you can't even make this shit up.

'Twas another great show at the Den, though, as several members of the legendary Batiste funk family brought the NOLA heat to the frigid Northeast with a solid crew of friends (Ween's Dave Dreiwitz, Phish's Page McConnell, The Bridge's Cris Jacobs, Soulive's Eric Krasno, free-agent drummer Adam Deitch and many more).

At one point towards the end of the night, there must have been 12-15 people playing on a stage built for no more than a comfortable six. The end result: an all-out assault of over-powering funk and jazz grooves coming from every which way. There were many highlights, but nothing beats a "Hey Pocky Way" with a number of Batistes on stage. The impromptu "Pass the Peas" also never hurt nobody.

Rumors had been circulating like lice at a summer camp that Trey and Mike would be sitting in with this lineup, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. And that wasn't a bad thing, because the show stood up well on its own without the added pressure of the tenth rumored Phish reunion in the last fortnight. These guys brought energy, they displayed soul, they played and sang with emotion, and they paid a deserving tribute to their hometown in a city that felt like home.

On a personal note, I've never been closer to the Chairman of the Boards, Mr. Page "Leo" McConnell than I was last night. The show was packed, and good views of the band were hard to come by. But after the Guaranteed Goodtime Trio -- Seiden, Mary and Scott -- showed up, I latched on like a barnicle to their hull and wiggled my way up to the side of the stage. Ten minutes later I stood two feet away from one-fourth of the bullies that stole all my money.

I could use that money these days, fuckers...'cuz I need a flash for my camera phone. The picture below was taken by a guy standing right next to me (I think), and the picture below his is the joke of a photo my camera phone snapped.

Above: Phisheads took this awesome shot of Page. Below: My shitty camera phone took this silhouette that could be anyone in the world, including but not limited to Robert Guillaume, Michael Chang and Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

Slack Link of the Day: Since we're talkin' about NOLA here, I found this article to be really interesting: "Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans."

Slack Song of the Day: From the short-lived Vida Blue trio (Page, Russell and Oteil Burbridge on bass), here's Cars Trucks Buses, Get Ready and Sheep.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

2008

In my first ever class as a college student, in September 1997, our twenty-something liberal professor declared George W. Bush would become the next President of the United States, well before anyone really even knew this monkey.

The 2000 election proved this professor to be a genuine sayer of sooth, and in the aftermath of his correctitude, I decided I wanted to predict something so unpredictable that people would remember me for it the way I remember him.

Of course, I couldn't congratulate this augur extraordinaire, as he committed suicide a year before the Supreme Court's final decision. I was never quite sure if he predicted his own demise as well as the Bush victory.

But here we are at the end of 2005, and we've got three years until the next presidential election. So what better oportunity to take a stab at prognostication then on the day Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announces he won't seek re-election.

It's widely expected the Republican blue-stater will run for president in 2008, and it's not completely out of the realm of possibilities that he'll take the nomination. McCain? Too old and goiterful. Giuliani? Too lispy. Condoleezza? Too colored and penisless. In the same manner that Slick Willie took the Democratic nod in 1992, Mitt can easily ride his dark horse to the White House.

There's one flaw in this plan, and it's a huge flaw. Romney is, um, Mormon. And conventional wisdom tells us there ain't no way this country is electing a fucking Latter Day Saint to the highest office in the land. No matter how stellar of a job he did salvaging the Salt Lake Olympics or turning around Bain, no matter how much we really need a turnaround type of president after this fonzanoon, Romney's practically in a religious cult that even Evangelicals don't like.

I can see it happening, but it probably won't. There is one clear benefit to a Mormon candidate, though: The hysterical possibility of several First Ladies. That, I'd pay to see.

Saving the Bluths & Three Music Items

I'm not sure how many times I can mention here how much I love and enjoy Arrested Development, how much I want to caress its bosom of brilliance and nurse from its remarkably witty teet.

I'm pretty sure it's my favorite television comedy of all time, like some of you. It's more cleverly conceived than both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, it's a better social commentator than either The Simpsons or Family Guy, and it features the best large ensemble cast since NewsRadio and Cheers.

And when I hear stories that one of the smartest and funniest shows of my lifetime will be cancelled after an abbreviated third season, it just makes me lose a little more faith in mankind. What the fuck is wrong with everyone out there in TV-Land?

Who Wants to Deflower My Drooling Wheelchair-Bound Niece and one of the seven Meet Your New Mommy shows outdraw Arrested by five-to-one every time out...explain that shit to me. Explain to me how we can be so into mindless escapism that 22 minutes of super-witty television is considered "too smart" and airs virtually unwatched.

But, as had been rumored for a while, hope springs eternal. A little-known outfit called ABC and another called Showtime may soon be fighting for the rights to the show:

"INTO THE BLUTHS: Both ABC and Showtime are in talks with 20th Century Fox to rescue Arrested Development from the cold, clammy, hooked hand of the grim reaper. According to Variety, formal negotiations have not yet taken place, but sources still label the networks' interest as 'serious,' with Showtime being the more fervently interested of the two."

Here are two more articles citing the same information -- Inside Move: Nets keen to get 'Arrested' and Showtime may rescue 'Arrested Development'. Huzzah!

"You know, first of all, we are doing this for her, 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. I’m sorry. That was 100% inappropriate, and I do apologize profusely. I’m... Oh..."

Moozak
--I recently stumbled upon two music websites that may change the face of procrastination as we know it.

The first is called Pandora, created by the Music Genome Project, and it basically creates a virtual radio station based around your inputted preferences. You can tell Pandora what songs you like, what songs you don't, who your favorite artists are, and like a musical Jewish mother, it'll try to introduce you to as many new bands and tunes as possible. Try it out, Ace Radio is rockin' today.

The second is Music-Map, which allows you to input an artist and find out to which other bands people who like that band also listen. It sounds more confusing than it really is, so just go on over there and see what the hell I'm talking about.

--Mark your calendars, folks: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, aka Jazzfest, is coming back to life in 2006. April 28 - May 7, bring your galoshes and your MDMA and head on back to the Delta. I'm guessing the lineup is going to be the sickest one of all time.

--On a related note, if you're not doing anything tonight, head on down to the Lion's Den in the Village for a NOLA musicians benefit hosted by Russell Batiste Jr. The lineup includes his pops, David Russell Batiste Sr., Adam Deitch of Lettuce, Dave Dreiwitz of Ween, Gordon Jones of the DJ Williams Projekt, Chris Jacobs of The Bridge, a special appearance by the chairman of the boards Page McConnell and other unnanounced speical guests.

I'm told it's gonna be "off the hizzy, yo." I'm stoked, brahh.