Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

Sneak preview of tonight's presidential address: Just substitute "oil" for "love" and you've got the key section of his speech.

Oh, and there's always a 99.44% chance of multiple Freedoms.

Same Shit, Different Song

Almost exactly five months ago, the music gods provided me with one of the stranger coincidences I've ever experienced.

Hopefully you'll take the five minutes it takes to re-read this post from August 1, but if you're not man enough to do so, I'll summarize the scene at Brother Jimmy's BBQ: Following my random plug of Huey Lewis' upcoming show at the Westbury Music Fair, and a subsequent conversation about the similiarities between "I Want a New Drug" and "Ghostbusters," the bar's jukebox broke into the former at the exact second Donnie Fiedler finished humming the tune.

I'm always taken aback by such freakish occurrences, and at the time I said this: "Now, seriously, what are the fuckin' chances of that? Of all the bars in New York City, of the thousands of bars on the Isle of Manhattan, of all the conversation topics I could have picked, of all the artists I could have brought up, of all the songs on the bar's iPod or their jukebox, of all the times to play that song, is there any logical and reasonable explanation for such a giant coincidence?"

So now I ask, what are the chances the same exact situation would play out five months later, only this time with a different song?

I somehow accompanied six lovely ladies to dinner on Saturday night, to a cool place on 19th Street called Duke's. They have trivial pursuit cards on every table, and we were all asking and answering questions as often as we could. I don't remember the exact question, but it went something like this: "What song off Michael Jackson's Thriller album was first to make it big on the UK charts?"

The answer, in fact, to whatever the question really was: "Beat It." But all the women around the table felt compelled to yell out "Billie Jean" as loud and as often as they could. Despite my insistence it wasn't that tune, I must've heard that answer 10-15 times.

No sooner than I had put the card back in the holder, what song should come blaring through the house speakers? That's right, "Billie Jean." Ask and ye shall receive, girls, ask and ye shall receive.

This one makes a little more sense, as Michael Jackson's catalogue is played much more often than Huey Lewis', but what are the longshot odds they'd play that song at the exact time six girls were screaming out the title? And what are the incredibly longshot odds this coincidence would happen twice in less than half a year?

I'm not sure what the gods are trying to tell me, or what the purpose of these signs are, or for whom they're actually intended. And I'm wholly unsure of why I feel compelled to chronicle these strange occurrences on this here rag.

I just know there are people out there who appreciate the randomness of this world, and I hope they're taking notes and creating interesting theorums for us to discuss here. And I also hope they're shakin' their asses to The Heart of Rock n' Roll.

As an added bonus for sitting through this post, here's my boy Huey with Umphrey's McGee on Heart and Soul from 11/18/05 at Irving Plaza.

Lost: My Balls

So...how was your night, Slackers? Did you watch another riveting episode of television's hottest drama, 24? Maybe you tuned into some classic college hoops on Big Monday. Rangers/Flyers? Hell, perhaps many of you actually made it out of the house last night, grabbed a beer and threw some darts.

Me? No, I did none of those things. My philosophy is why waste an evening wearing a set of testicles when you can instead sit on the couch with a gabby trio of fallopian tubers watching the following list of programs from 8 to 11:30:

Blow Out > InStyle Celebrity Weddings > The Gauntlet (Real World-Road Rules Challenge) > The Bachelor: Paris > Sex and the City.

Let me flash you a sneak review of last night's festivities...I walked in to the Lock Up game, where each of the girls, in a fantasy sports kind of draft, locks up two or three celebrities that their friends can't fuck should they ever run into the famous fella.

What a ridiculously female thing to do. I mean, seriously, if Mary-Louise Parker found my bestest friend in a bar and asked him upstairs for some slobknobbity or a quick lay (and it would be pretty quick), I'd high five him so hard there'd be permanent metacarpal damage.

Then, during the second program of the night, the cowgirl announced she'd developed the goose bumps during one of the celebrity weddings (I think Jason Priestly and his wife's), just watching his beautiful bride walk down the aisle. And as the couple leaned in to kiss at the altar, their first as a married couple, the conversation went like this:

Girl 1: "That kiss was nice. But I think he could have moved in just a little bit slower."
Girl 2: "True, and it could have been a little more lippy."
Other two girls: "A lot more lippy."
Girl 3: "But no tongue at the church."
Other two girls: "Noooo tongue, never."
Girl 1: "She really looks gorgeous, that dress is beeeeautiful."
Girl 2: "And look at that rock!"
Other two girls: "She's soooo lucky."

Let me insert here, these are super-chill fuckin' girls, some top-notch ladies. These aren't the gossip-mongering, jappy chicks from Lawn Gisland -- these are the cool ones! I've seen elements of this before, but last night's scene kind of rocked me to my core.

If the hip girls are behaving like this, what's going on today at the nail salon in Syosset in the aftermath of this morning's Oscar nominations? I bet it's mayhem, and I'd wager big bucks someone's cuticles get fucked up in an argument over whether Jake Gyllenhaal pronounces his name with a soft "g" or a hard one. Then all the patrons will start to make out when they realize they used Jake Gyllenhaal and "hard" in the same sentence. Then the pillowfights will begin.

So someone really needs to air-mail me a sack of nuts today. I prefer large. Send 'em, I'm the pretty easy-to-find eunuch.

(Update: Immediately after posting this tale of woe, I walked over to the bathroom and bumped into Sir Charles Barkley. I think the gods are trying to get the testosterone back into my system.)

Slack Link of the Day: This game may be easy for some of you, difficult for others. The good thing is that the owners and patrons of this here rag don't judge. Can you survive 18 Seconds?

Slack Video of the Day: A rampaging bull jumped into the stands and charged at some spectators in Mexico City. If you missed it on television, you can check out some video here.

Slack Song of the Day: The live music blogs missed a piece of stupendous news last week -- The Greyboy Allstars announced a 21-show, coast-to-coast tour, the band's first full run with the original lineup in seven years. Eventually they'll also get their asses back to the studio and record an album, their first in nine years.

Excitement brews: A band that can play this kind of music should be on everyone's radar. The saxomaphonist for that outfit started up Karl Denson's Tiny Universe after GBA parted ways like the Zack Attack. They're pretty good, and I recommend 'em highly, though I'm much more excited about the oncoming GBA tour.

So from the 2005 High Sierra Music Festival, here's KDTU on Good For You (and Me), Satisfied and Groovy Thing.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Worldwide Leader

Wait a second, Cracked is still around? Well, it's a good thing, because they just put together a fantastic parody of the ESPN site.

Lotta goodies in here, but this shot is my favorite: "Why is Ben Roethlisberger starting for the Steelers instead of Charlie Batch? Scoop Jackson exposes Bill Cowher’s history of unabashed racism."

On a serious note, Scoop Jackson is giving affirmative action a fucking terrible name. Laughable, mang.

Scary Movie

A few months ago I posted a revised trailer for The Shining -- as Salisbury Hill spins in the background, the master remixers tease the old mess-you-up-good thriller as a light-hearted family film.

With some clever edits and a new soundtrack, the film morphs from a "This movie won't just scare you, it'll fuck you up for life" special to a "Grab the kids, we musta missed this feel-good Nicholson vehicle a few decades ago" Nora Ephron crapfest.

The Brewer Patriot over at Salt in the Wound recently found another remixed trailer, this one taking a schmaltzy lovefest and turning it into an apparent heart-stopper ala Sleeping with the Enemy. Here's the new and improved Sleepless in Seattle.

**Also, check out this awesome story about a fight between two Swedish chefs, a melee that only "ended when one of the cooks apparently tried to drown the other in a 300 litres of boiling rice pudding." And I'm not kidding, but the Metro's version of the brawl said the fight apparently began when the chefs argued over the correct pronunciation of the title of the American Pie movies.**

My Awkward Saturday Cab Ride

"Hey," my proudly Dominican taxi driver shouted at me after a few minutes of total silence. "Lemme ask you sumthin', mang."

"Who, me?" I asked surprised, simply because New York taxi drivers are always reaching out telephonically to friends and loved ones (and I'd like to take this aside to Seinfeldingly ask, "What's the deal with these cabbies? I mean, what kind of minute plan are these guys on?").

My temporary driver started in again: "How it make ju feel when you see a goo-lookin' girl...with a black guy?!"

Let me state for the record, had you queried me beforehand as to the subject matter of the driver's imminent question, I would have guessed Hepatitis C, Argentinian cockfighting, Hall and Oates or the '55 Dodgers over interracial dating.

"Gee, wow. Um, I'm pretty sure I'm okay with it," I quivered back, nearly suggesting I could be swayed if given the right argument. "In this day and age, I'm cool with it."

"Well I'm not okay with it, mang. See that couple on the corner, [ese]? What she possibly see in that race? They ugly, they stupid. She can do muuush better."

At first I couldn't even manage as much as a timid response to his statements of questionable validity, trying to weather the Katrina-esque storm. Am I on some sort of taxicab confessional show? Am I being baited? I thought about making a phone call, to assure the conclusion of this awkdwardness personified, but then I figured, "Eh, why not see where this goes? Could be interesting."

"How do you figure?" I shot back, now in a confident tone that begged for an even more intense brand of overt racism.

"I don't know, mang. I just don't think those guys got brains like we do," he began. "I think they all got mush smaller brains. Like mosquitos or sumthin'," he added before trailing off in a laugh filled with the richness of racial profiling.

"I think you're just making a sweeping generalization," I retorted, secretly hoping the phrase sweeping generalization would be too polysyllabic for the big-brained brad driving the cab.

"I got four grocery stores, mang, and in every one, the blacks come in and start trouble, make the same mistakes, make trouble. They do crime and druuugs. What's they problem?"

"Well, I don't know, but all races have a percentage that are criminals and that have drug problems, white, black..." At that point, I wanted to say Latino, or Hispanic, but I didn't know which word to use. Instead, I said "Even Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and Mexicans." Whew, labeling crisis averted.

"But the blacks are such a minority and yet they all criminals, they all no good" he said more matter-of-factly than "The sky is blue."

"Again, I think you're generalizing a little." To that, he laughed, and he contemplated his next move.

"I like the white youth, I proud of the white youth," he said plainly. "They use cabs and they really respec'ful. I pick up black people, and they want the radio up loud, they yellin' out the window, they stick up the cabs, they bother me. Now I no pick up blacks, and all fourteen thousand cab drivers feel the same way, they all have the same experience. Look at that black guy on that corner, watch how many open cabs drive right by him. He's prolly no good."

Thankfully I had arrived at my destination at the exact second, and the uncomfortableness could finally cease. The driver made sure to cross to the far corner to drop me off, stopping right in front of a young, white male.

I gave him $7 and wished him luck, hoping upon hope he'd just picked up a caucasian con artist who'd steal all the driver's money and crash his cab after a long, damaging joyride. Instant karma.

Slack Link of the Day: I personally thought last night's new Family Guy was far less than stellar, though there were some serious Brian/Stewie highlights. I especially thought the ridiculous Shipoopi segment was way too long and not so funny, until I found out it's a real song, a number from The Music Man.

That makes it somewhat less of a waste of my time, but not by much. Still, I cannot believe that's a real song. For proof, check out the lyrics and a sample of the real Shipoopi.

Slack Video of the Day: The other day I posted a link to everyone's favorite douchebottle Kevin Federline breakin' it down in the studio to his miserably produced ass-shaker PopoZao. Well, as usual, the Internet denizens have spiced it up, and the remix is nothing short of classic: It's peanut butter jelly time in the studio.

Slack Song of the Day: Five good tunes, no band names to put preconceived notions in your head -- Mystery Song #1, Mystery Song #2, Mystery Song #3, Mystery Song #4, Mystery Song #5.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Afternoon Links

Five videos to chew on while I'm chewing on some Chinee:

1. Pedestrian's worst nightmare
2. Atomic explosion with giant mushroom cloud
3. Randy Johnson exploding a bird with a fastball
4. Down with Disease from 9/14/99 in Boise (new charts, please!)
5. And finally, Rendezvouz. Walter Payton must be the driver of this car, because this video is sweetness:

"One early August morning of 1976, when most of Paris were either on vacation or asleep, Claude Lelouch, a director mostly known for his melodramatic films, strapped a camera to the front of his car and had it raced from one end of Paris to another. Rumors still persist today regarding the details behind the filming, but in the 9-minutes it took to complete the journey, Lelouch created a cult legend for legions of car enthusiasts.

It’s nearly impossible today to separate the fact from the fiction. Lelouch made no real effort to endorse or deny the rumors of his arrest at the first showing of the film, of enlisting a Formula 1 driver to pilot the car, of using his own personal Ferrari 275 GTB in the filming, and of the lookout’s radio failure as the car exited the blind Louvre Museum complex at full throttle. I suspect Lelouch is quite happy to let the rumors perpetuate for eternity, granting him an immortal spot in the car world. About the only thing we can be sure of, is that the ending was staged."

And now for three bonus links, 'cuz you're all so special:

--Chuck B sent me this article via the great people at the New York Post today. A former New York Giant is out of the closet and trying to sell a book, but the article itself is a fantastic read (gotta love Steve Serby). And there's nothing like this line: "It was a challenge for him to subjugate his sexual appetite in the locker room. 'I had to get by on peeks,' Simmons writes."

--You've heard about the Iditarod, but tomorrow is the Idiotarod right here in New York. Wanna race in a shopping cart through several boroughs of Manhattan? Here's your chance.

--And for all my Lawn Gisland bretheren into Billy Joel, check out this fantastic cover of The Stranger by Umphrey's McGee from 11/20/03.

Enjoy your afternoons.

Free Gratis ("That Would Be Redundant")

Three weeks ago I eagerly played the role of town crier*, alerting the blog-world of the much-anticipated return of the iD1G1T music site. A day or two later, the streaming hub collapsed once again. Alas, 'twas not to be for we mighty freeloaders.

But Slack still shows up prominently on Google when people search for iD1G1T, and disappointed music fans have been kind enough to offer up some new suggestions for sites featuring free streaming music. So now I'll eagerly play the role of middleman and list them here...

One anonymous commenter offered this: "There are two different websites that I go to when iD1G1T isn't working, and to be honest they are equally as good as iD1G1T if you ask me! Though, be aware that they don't have near the varied selection or even close to the same amount of albums, but just about every song works and is accompanied by pretty decent sound. So go ahead and check 'em out folks...here are the addresses:


Oh, and if you've never been to either one before it should also be noted that they each require the latest version (or if not that any one from at least year 2002 and up should work) of Real Audio, or rather Real One, to work anymore as they're all in that format."

Another anonymous commenter (or perhaps the same one) suggested the following sitte: http://www.musixzone.com/index.php

"Lots of albums and the quality of the streaming is much better that ID1G1T and CDZinc. Not as many albums, but try the request feature. In a few days, the album you requested will be streamable."

And as a commenter reminded me, there's always the amazing technology that is Pandora, which I first posted back in mid-December. That's a cool effin' site.

None of 'em feature the California Dreams theme song -- Don't wake me up 'cuz I'm dreaminnn' -- but they'll do the trick for streaming copyrighted music. And like any items or food you bought in Canada before the American dollar went to shit, these sites are free. Enjoy.

Slack Link of the Day: Hey, listen, I was as big a professional wrestling fan as anyone out there, but this guy needs a serious, serious kick in the junk. I'm not sure of the situation or where this takes place, but this is classic stuff.

Slack Video of the Day: This is one of the best clips I've ever posted, but it comes with a word of caution. I'm pretty sure the cameraman died from the blast at the very end (though you don't see him get hurt, this isn't Faces of Death). Despite the utter sadness of that fact, check out this sick video of a Fireworks Factory Explosion.

Slack Song of the Day: It's time to get the Led out, folks. From September 6, 1970 (my father's 24th birthday) here's a decent but not great recording of Led Zeppelin in Honolulu, Hawaii. It's got all your favorites -- Immigrant Song, Dazed and Confused, Moby Dick and a Whole Lotta Love medley -- so get right on top of that this morning. I'm right on top of that, Rose.

*Any time the phrase "town crier" comes up, I can't help but think of the Simpsons episode when Homer plays that part when the town celebrates its founding. He marches right up to the town historian (Donnie Sutherland) who is covering up a scandal and says, "Homer Simpson, town crier. I have two questions: One, where's the fife? Two, gimme the fife." Classic.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This Would Break Records

Maybe Peter Griffin was right. Maybe Party of Five was a porno.

Following years of rampant rumors that Jennifer Love Hewitt will pose for a spread in Playboy, the world has finally received confirmation more rumors that JLH will indeed take off her skimpy clothes for Hef's magazine. And while he's already quite revered as is, you just know every male between 18-35 will be sending Hef thank you notes.

It ain't true yet, but here's to the possibilities. And boobs.

Self-Promoting Milestone Report: Ladies and gentleman, you've just finished reading the 1,000th post in Slack LaLane's 20-month life.

Late last year we welcomed our 100,000th visitor, and back in May we commemorated our one-year anniversary. But this is the ultimate mile-marker in our history of wasting everyone's valuable time.

Though my productivity at work hath ne'er been questioned, I'm not sure whether to celebrate or admonish myself. I'd also like to thank that lovable ol' douchbottle, Donnie Fielder, who probably contributed about 10 percent of that total.

Crazynakedchick Reprise

Since the tale came up in conversation last night, I'm going to reprise one of the greatest stories from the road ever told: Crazynakedchick at Madison Square Garden. If you've read it, either do so again or sit quietly and wait patiently for others to catch up. Enjoy the re-run, we'll be back later this afternoon when things quiet down.

Excerpt from a message from TJ in OH to Ace Cowboy, detailing the strange events of 12/31/97 at MSG:

"...The most peculiar thing we witnessed was after the show on the 31st. We're sitting straight back from the stage, not in the upper deck, but the one right below, all the way in the back. They were decent seats, pretty much the same ones we had in '95, as we could see everything going on: the band, the crowd, the light show. So people are filing out, it's like 1:00 a.m. or something, when Romack goes, "Look back and to the left." We're all stoned so the "back and to the left" thing gets me giggling thinking about assassinated presidents and spitting Mets. So I twist my neck around, don't really see anything, kind of sit up a little, and that's when I see it.

There's this girl, ass-naked, standing at the top of the stairs in MSG.

Initially, I was stunned. Mind you, I had seen excessive nudity in a venue before (see Tinley Park, 1997), and you would think that the abundance of sex in advertising and popular culture in general would have completely desensitized me to any occurrence such as this, but I was honestly speechless. Although no one person in our immediate party vocalized the intention, it was clearly understood that we would all wait, a mere 10 feet away from this Crazynakedchick, until the situation was completely resolved.

We all considered trying to talk her down. You know, get her seated, get a fleece on her or something, but there is something forbidden about approaching a strange woman that is wearing no clothes. Some of our early theories were that this was merely some prank, an attempt at noteriety from one of the legion of my-parents-live-on-the-Island-and-I-drive-a-Range-Rover-and-go-to-Penn-but-I-ate-three-hash-brownies-tonight Phish fans. Then, we thought maybe she was waiting for a friend of hers to take her picture, sort of a "Nude Badge of Courage," stick-it-to-the-man, I-got-naked-in-MSG-and-nobody-caught-me thing. Then she began to speak.

It was all very nonchalant. She, with animated hands and a stern expression turned from side to side from her perch at the top of the stairs, muttering something about how we all understood, and that what she was doing was beautiful, and that we should join her. Now, when she mentioned this last part, I began to get an idea. Snacks, who was with us, has sort of a history of public nudity, and I have a history of instigating said incidents. I knew what must come next.

"Snacks, go get naked with that chick," I said.
"I'm not gettin' naked," he replied, but you could tell it would be possible to sell him on the idea.
"Come on, get naked."
"Just for a minute."
"TJ, I'm not getting naked."
"Get up there and get naked. Just for a minute."
"There's no way."
"Well, at least strip to the waist."

And so it continued for a few minutes, eight people pushing Snacks to the verge of nudity. By this point, some pervert from a couple of rows down came up and was taking pictures of Crazynakedchick, who gladly posed. This ended when one of her friends came up, another woman, this one fully clothed. The two began fighting playfully, shadowboxing and stuff, when Crazynakedchick starting laughing maniacally and landing repeated open-handed blows about her best friend's face, neck, breast and head. And for some reason, all of this didn't seem too abnormal. It's not everyday you see a naked woman in a fight unless you work on the set of The Jerry Springer Show.

Like all things, the fight came to an abrupt end. I can't recall exactly what happened next, but I know that for some reason, at the exact same moment, all of us turned to look at Crazynakedchick. I remember there being an expression of complete serenity on her face. All of the agitation and anxiety and aggression that had been there before was replaced with a mask of total calm. She brought her palms together in front of her in a praying fashion, raised them above her head, bent slightly at the knees, and sprang outward in a perfect dive. She didn't flinch. She didn't look scared. She didn't try to brace herself for a landing on the concrete steps below. She just flew...about 10 steps down before pancaking with a sickening thud.

This change in plot turned the entire section on its collective ass. All of our mouths dropped. The uber-stoned around us sat in shock. Several girls shrieked in panic. A guy with dreadlocks ran for security. It was like somebody had yelled "D.E.A.!" Because she had dove so far and a group was amassing around her, we couldn't see what had become of her. I, of course, feared the worst and fought off images of fractured skulls and broken teeth.

But Crazynakedchick proved resiliant and climbed to her feet a few minutes after the spill. She had no visible lacerations, but her previously clear skin was now tainted with the smeared muck from the floor of The Garden: spilled beer and soda, the tapped ash from that last cashed bowl, some teenager's vomit.

At this point one of us, or maybe all of us, exclaimed "Let's get the fuck out of here." As we made our way out of our seats we witnessed Crazynakedchick consoling a crying and concerned friend. Crazynakedchick was probably her ride home. We were walking down the steps and into the main aisle when MSG's crack security staff arrived on the scene. One of the rent-a-cops kept trying to put a sweater around her, but she slapped away his hands.

As I turned one last time to see Crazynakedchick, her posture stiffened. She raised her chin, stared into space and began singing in this powerful voice. I don't know what the song was, but the entire image was terribly surreal. She had attained a certain dignity, standing naked to the world singing her song of songs.

In the earliest hours of the new year, the beauty that she had prophecised came to fruition. I turned away as we exited the main part of the arena and walked downt he steps toward the main entrance of The Garden. It was agreed upon by all of us: it was a damn good thing Snacks didn't get naked."

Man, I love that story. Good work, TJ.

Slack Link of the Day: I may or may not have posted this before, but Brucey McBruce forwarded this clip over to me this morning, and I forgot how funny it is.

Slack Video of the Day: I'll let a site called The Superficial take it away: "What do you get when you mix a giant douchebag, a recording studio, and the worst single ever released by a human being? The funniest fucking thing you'll see today. You haven't lived until you've seen Kevin Federline bobbing his head and tripping out to his own pathetic single. Well maybe you have, but everything up until now has just been practice for this."

Scotty B posted this video of K-Fed today with the subject "He Can't Be Serious." Apparently he can, and Snow 2.0 is providing the public with endless entertainment.

Slack Song of the Day: I'm continuing my lazy and resorting to the easy. A while ago, Tubbs Mulgrew discussed getting zooted at a Trey show and being blown away by his band's version of Sultans of Swing. In honor of that, here's a sweet Sultans from 4/11/04 at Vermont's Higher Ground. As an added bonus, give a listen to this Push On Til the Day and Drifting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Random Thoughts

Nothing especially funny, just some things I thought last night:

--People in New York are consistently amazed I don't eat sushi. It's not just that I don't like the food, it's that I feel like a fuckin' douchebottle when I order it. That's why I only eat California rolls. It's a state, it's easy. No directions, just bring me my simple order.

I feel bad for my friends and strangers at other tables when I hear them spout foolish shit to the waitron or take-out phone girl. I'm almost embarassed, for them and for me, like when you're with the drunk dude who's slurring speech and yelling at trash cans, and you start to separate yourself from the mess when people begin to look over at you. I, um, I'm not with him. That's how I feel like they order these ridiculously titled sushi rolls and follow up with things like "all inside out" and "extra crunchies."

Last night I watched my roommate Dorsey deliberate for 10 minutes, call the restaurant and ask for "two salmon cone-shaped handrolls, one tuna sashimi, one Baby Monster and a lobster roll with tempura flakes." (There was no 'and then'.)

He hung up and I snickered. I then informed him I would sooner slash at my face repeatedly with a machete than ever says the words "Baby Monster" and "tempura flakes" to a stranger on the phone. And that, my friends, is why I don't east sushi. I like my face too much.

--You know what, I don't think people should make fun of American Idol. It's a pretty cool concept. It makes somebody's life -- and not just any ol' somebody, it makes a great singer into a true superstar. Sure I don't enjoy pop music, but I'd much rather have 100 Kelly Clarksons out there than 100 Britney Spears (Britney should be in amateur porn, not the music business).

Look at Fantastia or Ruben or Kelly: These people were nothing, and then one day they were everything. I mean, Clay Aiken woke up every morning of his life and remembered he was a complete nobody. Three months later, he was in Brokeback Mountain. Beautiful story.

The show gives people hope, and I'm okay with that. And any time you're showing off talent, you're doing something right. I'm not a fan, but I endorse what they're accomplishing.

--Buffalo Sabres forward Mike Grier took a bad third-period penalty against the Rangers, and MSG Network flashed "Mike Grier - Interference - 2:00" in the usual spot.

I then thought, it might be alarmingly hilarious for a network to play some jokes on the league's black players: "Mike Grier - Second-Degree Assault - 2:00 to 5:00" or "Anson Carter - Possession of Cannibis - 4:20" or "Kevin Weekes - Receiving Stolen Goods - Life."

As for the Devils' Scott Gomez, "Driving a Low Rider" should suffice.

--The incredible thing is I continue to pretend I'm not racist. I guess we can chalk this one up to "I like comedy, but comedy's gotta have an edge." Still, is there any excuse to break off conversation with Dorsey so I can jot down thoughts like the one above?

He was in mid-sentence, and I literally interrupted him to say, "Hang on a sec, I just had a really racist thought I want to write down." Who does this? What kind of monster have I become?! Am I a Baby Monster? I'm blaming you lot.

Slack Video of the Day: There's an episode of Family Guy when Lois orders a relationship tape, which turns out to basically be a porn scam with a slutty doctor stripping on video. Apparently the shows cartoon artists took it from PG-13 to NC-17 without airing it, but the unaired nude scene's now making its way 'round the ol' Internets.

I'd say it's not safe for work, but it's a cartoon. Still, it'll make you blush, so use your own discretion.

Slack Link of the Day: Jackie McMullen penned an interesting letter to old and new GM Theo Epstein in the Boston Globe the other day, and it's truly a great piece. Sorry it took me four days to post, but I think you'll enjoy it, despite the timestamp.

Slack Song of the Day: Feeling somewhat uninspired this morning, I'm reverting to one of my first favorite bands, God Street Wine. From Halloween 1994 out in Colorado, here's Princess Henrietta, Imogene and Hammer and a Spike, as well as The Beatles' Dig a Pony and I've Got a Feeling.

This Could Be Magic

Some great news today: 'Family Guy's' Stewie hosting talk show.

"The tyrannical tyke in the Fox animated series Family Guy will be the virtual host of a talk show being developed strictly for the Internet later this year."

I just hope Brian's his Ed McMahon. "Heeeyo, hi, I'm Brian!"

(Thanks to Slack cohort Ethan for the heads up).

RIP, Nice Guy Eddie

Sad stuff. Between Reservoir Dogs, Footloose and his cameo in Entourage where he plays himself and won't give Johnny Drama $10K for calf implants, this guy was a true thespian.

Hey, does this look like the vision of health who'd die at 40? Eh, well, throw in the legendary Penn lifestyle, the likely usage of speedballs and the fact he used to look like this, and 40 seems like a blessing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Debate Camp: Retire the Number?

There's a controversy brewing behind the scenes of Major League Baseball's offices, and an honorable man who's been dead for more than three decades is at the center of it.

Facing increasing pressure from Hispanic advocacy organizations, MLB officials are debating whether or not to retire Roberto Clemente's #21 league-wide, as they did for colored pioneer ballplayer Jackie Robinson's #42 in 1997.

I'm standing firmly with Jackie's daughter Sharon on this one: "To my understanding, the purpose of retiring my father's number is that what he did changed all of baseball, not only for African-Americans but also for Latinos, so I think that purpose has been met...When you start retiring numbers across the board, for all different groups, you're kind of diluting the original purpose."

As the old folks tell me, Clemente was simply an incredible baseball player, both at the plate (four-time batting champ with 3,000 hits) and defensively in the outfield (12 Gold Gloves). He's one of only four players to retire -- or die, apparently -- with a .300 average and more than 10 Gold Gloves.

Above all else, his charity off the field was virtually unparalleled, and it ultimately led to his death. In the offseason following the 1972 campaign, after recently collecting his 3,000th hit, Clemente boarded a plane bound for earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua to personally direct a a relief mission with food and supplies. The plane fell into the ocean off his home island of Puerto Rico and the body was never discovered.

His death was so tragic and wholly unexpected that he remains the only exception to the Hall of Fame's mandatory five-year post-retirement waiting period, the first Latino to ever be selected to the Hall. And currently, the highest MLB award for citizenship and community activism bears his name.

But there has to be another way to celebrate the man's life and contribution to sport and to all mankind. That's just my opinion, though, I could be wrong. What say you, Slackers?

(Thanks to Slack research fellow Matty Mac for the heads up.)

In other news, check out this awesome story about the youngest film director in the world. Seriously, this is fantastic: Read it.

Coastal Narnia Rap Battle Is On

Are these two West Coast Jews trying to cash in on the success of the now world-famous SNL short "Lazy Sunday," or are they some honest California rappers answering their East Coast counterparts in the only way they know how?

Mark Feuerstein and Adam Stein have officially responded to SNL's Parnell and Samberg duo, producing and releasing a not-as-funny short called the "Color Me Mine" rap, aka "Lazy Monday."

It's clever, but I think this one will suffer from the lack of "Double True" and "Droppin' Hamiltons" immortal type of lines. Also, it's a pretty transparent attempt at piggybacking in the search for fame (and Feuerstein was great in The West Wing, he's better than this).

I like Handstand the Edler's take: "Its definitely not as funny, but the concept of feuding fake rappers is hilarious." Truer words ne'er been spoken, Handstand.

Nonetheless, the NARNIA RAP BATTLE begins. Please, fellas, I ask you for the kids' sake, just let it be bloodless.

(Thanks to Slack loyalist MDS for the tip.)

America's Worldview

There are about 298 million people living in the United States, and I'd guess only about 15 or 20 actually give a turd about yesterday's special Canadian elections. By the way, to be clear, Canada's that giant tundra to the north, the one that's full of mooseheads, igloos and the occasional SARS outbreak.

The relatively new Conservatives will hold the most seats in Parliament, ousting Paul Martin's Liberal Party recently rocked by a scandal that reeked of arrogance (and I'm not talking about "The Model" Rick Martel's perfume atomizer he utilized as a cheating instrument in the squared circle). The new, right-leaning government isn't quite a majority, but it has officially been installed into power.

What this means for both Canadians and Americans remains to be seen. But I'm pretty sure the Bush administration just gained a major ally in government, even though its citizens still rightly detest most of our policies with their hockey tape and flannel. I'd say this paves the way for an eventual annexation, but the Canucks'll just yank this government out of power whenever they cozy up too close to the Republicans down here.

To my Canadian bretheren, enjoy your new leadership. I can only hope you didn't escalate some dipshits into power just because the last guys were a little too smug. We did something like that in '94, and well, you can see how that worked out for us.

On a related note, here's the new map being shipped to all middle and high schools around the country:

Slack Link of the Day: In addition to the hilariously accurate map embedded above, some fine folks pointed me towards this outstanding oratory bonanza. Some Internet denizens with whom I conspire truly live off the fat of the land -- while most people use the ol' porn-n-email machine for just that, and Google, these guys are finding gold in them there webby hills.

I'm not the biggest fan of poetry out there, but the written and spoken word has always intrigued me. So check out this pretty cool site that features free mp3s of some famous poets and authors reading their works aloud.

There are many to choose from, but I immediately gravitated to the William S. Burroughs "Naked Lunch" reading.

Slack Horny Link of the Day: Whoa, man, check out how many female teachers out there are sleeping with their teenage students. Cathy Heminghaus looks real hot.

Slack Song of the Day: I'm not sure if I've posted this before, but here's the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (one of the cooler bands I saw in 2005) on Use Me Up, Do It Fluid and Can't Play No More from 7/28/05 in Rochester.

Monday, January 23, 2006

But Was It Consensual?

I've never been a huge fan of Kobe, but last night's 81-point performance can be considered nothing less than amazing.

When all is said and done, it'll probably rank as the greatest offensive game of all-time (Kobe's not a foot taller than his primary defender).

The Raptors appeared unwilling, but Kobe penetrated their defense, tore the Raptors a new one and dropped a huge load all over the T-Dot All-Stars. The verdict is in: Good stuff, sir.

It's unfortunate, however, that Kobe's incredible performance dwarfed the day's galactically boring NFL championship games. I mean, say what you will about the other football, but even the Premiership's 1-1 draw between first-place Chelsea and struggling Charlton made the NFL match-ups look more like C-SPAN.

(Sorry for the trite jokey jokes at Kobe's expense, but if you're looking for real comedy, check out my NFL 2005 Season Preview. Noice.)

Goodbye, Jed Bartlet

Can someone be like Jim Brown and Jerry Rice at the same time?

Is it at all possible for an incredibly brilliant, unique recurring piece of entertainment to only last seven seasons and still hang around a few seasons too long? Es posible totalmente.

Apparently it must be, because I'm not even upset that my favorite television show of all-time has now officially been cancelled. In the immortal words of Principal Joe Clark, The West Wing is "hereby cancelled...you do know what cancelled means: over, finished, terminated." We hardly knew ye, and yet we knew ye for way too long.

My feelings on the greatness of Aaron Sorkin's finest creation (well, the A Few Good Men screenplay is pretty sick, too) are well-known on this here blogaroo, so I won't re-hash them in toto. But I'd be remiss if I didn't post a final farewell in advance of May's real final farewell. Bartlet for America, you'll surely be missed.

But in some exciting NBC news, we'd like to welcome back Deal Or No Deal. The most basic game show in history with one of the worst hosts ever is returning to Monday nights, and that's a good thing. It's riveting TV, but I like it for another reason: I enjoy seeing Howie Mandel on television again.

It reminds me of the time TJ in OH and I were doing scores of whippets in a sleazy motel parking lot in a redneck Pennsylvania town, cracking up at the chick in our large party trying to convince us that Howie Mandel was actually her estranged father.

I think she was serious, or deranged and delusional, but if there's something I can always look back with fondness at, it's sitting outside under the country stars with a few boxes of whip cream chargers and TJ, laughing at a girl practically begging us to believe that Howie Mandel is her deadbeat of a dad like either of us gave a flying fuck. Classic. Oh, to be 18 and so carefree again.

This girl's nickname, by the way? "Weedwhore." Good times.

Slack Link of the Day: Holy shit. I have no words for this. I'm speechless. I am without speech. Please, please gods, don't ever let this be me.

Slack Video of the Day: Not the greatest recording known to man, but always a treat to see Pink Floyd in its heyday. Here's almost eight minutes of Careful With That Axe, Eugene from 5/18/73 at Earl's Court.

Slack Show of the Day: Sticking with bands that were famous before I was born, here's a full concert recording of The Band from 8/29/76 in Lennox, MA. If Rick Danko singing It Makes No Difference could be any cooler, it'd be ice fucking cold.

Slack Song of the Day: Today I'll treat y'all to something from the real DMB -- Del McCoury Band. Here's The Cold Hard Facts, Pike County Breakdown and I'm Blue and I'm Lonesome Too from 11/30/96 from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend Taint

I caught this piece on The Daily Show the other night, one of the funniest segments I've seen in some time. The map of DC part is absolutely priceless. Ed Helms, brilliant piece.

Enjoy the weekend, Slackers. And if you're wondering, the Panthers and Steelers will both win. Road dawgs abound.

Friday's Frivilous List

Top Ten actors and actresses that are more often referred to by a character they once played than by their real names:

10. Shooter McGavin
9. Doogie Howser
8. Parker Lewis
7. Screech (or even Mr. Belding)
6. Rudy Huxtable
5. Blossom (and Six as well)
4. Mr. Furley
3. Punky Brewster
2. MacGyver
1. And the winner is: Ned Ryerson/Werner Brandis/Sammy Jankis

Raise your hand if you can accurately identify Stephen Tobolowsky. Exactly. But Tobes is actually the King of the That Guy realm...

Some people know him well as Ned Ryerson. Ned! Ryerson! Needle-nosed Ned, Ned the Head. Case Western High, Ned Ryerson! I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show. Bing! But other people know him as the strangely sexy Mary McDonnell's prey in the underrated film Sneakers, Werner Brandis. Hello, my name is Werner Brandis. My voice is my passport, verify me. And then there's the cult of Memento, who consider Tobolowsky's Sammy Jankis character as one of the keys to deciphering the movie's meaning.

Personally I'm a Ned Ryerson guy, it doesn't get better than that character for me. He's one for the ages. Just thinking about his well-delivered dialogue makes me smile downstairs. I don't really know what my point is here. But I do know that Stephen Tobolowsky should be a celebrated man, in a freakishly popular Christopher Walken kind of way, and I'm just trying to get the ball rolling.

Who else you got? Remember, the key to this is you have to say something like, "I was flipping through the channels and I caught that new CBS show with Doogie Howser and the Band Camp girl." But the Band Camp girl doesn't count, because that's not her name in the movie. Got it? Okay, now who ya got?

I actually would like to break my own rules here...ever since Sideways, everyone knows the name Paul Giamatti. But could you ever see that guy's face without thinking of Pig Vomit?

How? Why? Wait, How?

Is it even statistically possible that two miners are trapped in another West Virginia coal mine? Seriously, someone crunch the numbers for me. This seems like it would be impossible to occur twice in a month.

Another PostSecret Plug

I really love the PostSecret website. Why I haven't bought the book is beyond me, but you should know I accept all kinds of gifts (well, mostly female lingerie, but I do love books).

Slack Link of the Day: "Hey lady, look out! There's a big fat whale on your boat." Actually, it's in the River Thames. Fuckin' lymies. Whooa, that's an unwarranted attack on the Brits by me, no?

Slack Video of the Day: No wonder the president has such a way with words -- check out this awesome slip-up by the First White House Bushie some years ago.

(Bonus clip: Four minutes of the Russell Batiste NOLA Benefit at the Lion's Den in December.)

Slack Song of the Day: "As he saw his life run away from him, Thousands ran along, Chanting words from a song: Please me, have no regrets." (Vegas, baby, Vegas.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Between a Rock and a Glass Place

How'd you like to be NFL referee Pete Morelli about now?

Not only does he get shit on for all his bad calls -- most recently for the botched Indy/Pitt non-interception interception debacle -- but I'm sure he also takes a ton of flak for his decisions as a high school principal. Can't win with the American sporting public, can't win with unruly and often ignorant teenagers.

But no matter how upsetting his decisions in either capacity may be, how fucking sorry must your own life be that you'd go this far in seeking revenge against a total stranger that did nothing to directly harm you: "A vandal hurled a grapefruit-sized boulder through a plate-glass window" in Morelli's California home.

Relatedly, I find it utterly hilarious that the NFL and the mainstream sports media even thought about a suspension for Pittsburgh's Joey Porter, who ranted openly in the heat of the post-game moment about the refs' and the league's desire to see Indianapolis advance to the championship game. His own long-jawed, Sgt. Slaughter-esque coach even went so far as to blast his comments.

But guess what? Everyone and their slutty mother knows Porter was absolutely correct, and the league even backed his comments by declaring the reversed call incorrect. Is this just part of the ever-present "think it but don't say it" corollary? I don't know anyone who disagrees with Porter's remarks -- maybe it was a bit conspiracy theory, but it couldn't have been more accurate -- and yet he still risked being fined or suspended.

Just like free market economics, there has to be a free market for ideas, both inside sports and outside. Terrell Owens spoke his mind, and he paid for it dearly. Porter must be allowed to advance whatever theory he believes, and if he's shunned by teammates or coaches, so be it. But no league official in their right mind should be allowed to discipline him for saying what millions of Americans outside Indiana were thinking and e-mailing to their friends.

I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I just can't get over the fact that Porter almost landed himself in hot water for expressing a widely held opinion that was 99.44 percent true. There's no way the refs conspired to get on their knees and blow the game, but to say that ruling had nothing to do with the desire to see the Colts advance is incredibly naive.

Come to think of it, maybe Porter catapulted that enormous rock through Morelli's plate-glass window. Shit, I've said too much.

Update: This guy has a much funnier take on the Morelli vandalism.

This is Red Rocks...This is The Edge

Even though last week's Colorado trip to Denver and Boulder feels like eons ago, I'm strangely compelled to post a few pictures from the quickie jaunt, for posterity's sake.

I've already archived my camera-phone photos of downtown Denver and described my least favorite part of the trip -- the unfair airport confiscation. But I've yet to document my trip to the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and I'll do that now:

Poor Red Rocks. On this day, the amphitheatre was emptier than an Allan Houston box score stat line. Still, it's pretty cool that the venue is open to the public at all times:

I've never seen a show here, but I couldn't imagine experimenting with some substances and rockin' out, only to look up and to the left at this incredible sight:

Or turning my head to the right and seeing this formation:

Deputy Girardin accompanied me to the Rocks, and even though the restaurant was closed and we couldn't eat any rattlesnake empanadas, we still had a fun time. The Deputy even got to add this photo to his "Trey Face on the stage at Red Rocks" file:

He then got to show off his amateur photography skills, which turned out to be piss poor. I'm blurry, but then again, this is how the band looks to me at just about every show I've ever attended. Um, I guess I can say, excellent use of the F-Stop, Chris:

Ace ponders what an awesome day it's been, and so far, what an amazing time he's having in the homeland of Pete Coors:

All that's left from the trip recap is a review of the two magnificent Tea Leaf Green shows we caught out there -- that'll have to come later, when I eventually return to normalcy.

In the meantime, you can access the Denver Quixote's show here, one of the band's all-time great concerts (FYI, a couple of the songs are mislabeled, so that's gotta be fixed, but it's a great listen).

Slack Video of the Day: Let us flash back to a little gathering called Woodstock and watch the magic of one Jimi Hendrix, ripping a Fire for the ages.

Slack Song of the Day: Stayin' with an uninspired theme of colored artists, here's legendary crackhead Bernie Worrell and the WOO Warriors on Gamin' On Ya, Funkentelechy and Red Hot Mama from March 4, 2005 at The Moose in Doylestown, PA.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sounds Awesome, Fellas

On the heels of our extensive Marriage Approval Ratings debate back in late November, Red Cowboy just discovered and sent along this Craigslist "public service announcement" about what guys can expect from the first 10 years of marriage.

Here's a sample: "Years 3-5: Along comes the house and kids. Through it all, you find less and less time or reason to have sex. You go from 7 or more orgasms a week down to probably once a month. You get a bloated beer belly and your love handles turn into big bulges. She gets flabby with baby weight that just won’t go away. The second kid is even worse. She refuses to get stitched up after the second kid and so she’s now so loose you can’t even come inside her. When you do have sex, it’s like fucking a bowl of pudding."

And it gets even better (or worse, actually) after that. Nice, I'm now really looking forward to one day entering this sacred institution.

Okay, One More

Chipotle Bob just sent over a bonus sixth video for y'all. You want a little Hot Sundae? I think you do. I know I do.

I'm so excited. I'm so excited. I'm so...scared.

Video Linkage

It's been a bit of a busy morning, so at this point I'm prepared to cut my losses and post some videos for you to watch today. But -- and this is a big but -- these are great videos, and you should be proud that I even let you play at my table.

1. I just saw this one over at The 700 Level, and if you're a Nintendo kid between the ages of 24 and 35, this video might be the greatest thing you've ever seen. I couldn't be more impressed with the live sketch these kids created: a real-life Mike Tyson's Punchout (with sound, which might be the best part). "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon."

2. Wanna see a great cockfight? Okay, PETA folks, calm down, this is a video of two kids jousting, one swinging a giant rubber dildo. There's also a classic knockdown at the end.

3. Just when you think you've seen it all, there's that Jerome Garcia chattin' it up with Hef at the Playboy Mansion in 1969, for a live taping of Playboy After Dark.

If you're into cool versions of St. Stephen and Jerry's always casual banter (check, on both), make sure you watch this video at some point today. And thanks to Slack reader Tres for passing this along.

4. Who doesn't love old school Hulk Hogan interviews? If you don't, you're an idiot. I'm sorry, that's a fact.

5. I'm not even going to slap a prelude on this one. But, please, swear to your uncle Ace on everything holier than thou you'll enjoy this video many times today.

Slack Song of the Day: Nothing better than a little Peaches en Regalia encore from the Treymoe.deski tsunami benefit show at Roseland last February. That led into a sweet After Midnight, but the whole show was fantastic and should be downloaded.

Back with more procrastinatory masturbatory inanity in a bit...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Prometheus, Where Ye Be?

I don't want to get off on a libertarian rant here, but I can't even begin to describe the short-sightedly idiocy that is the Transportation Security Administration's decision to ban lighters from all commerical airplanes.

This policy hath officially been in effect for eight months or so, but it took until last week for me to want to pummel the bureaucratic dumbasses who came up with the plan. Lighter prohibition? How about we ban the simpletons with half-baked intellect from participating in government instead? That might make all the difference.

Do these people think they're going to stop the next Shoe Bomber with this rule? Let me tell you, it's really difficult to smuggle a book of fucking matches on board the aircraft. How 'bout we worry about the bombs, not the triggering devices? Up next for the TSA, re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (cliche zing!). I swear I'm bringing two sticks and a magnifying glass with me on my next flight.

It's pretty obvious to me who's behind this moronic policy: the Lighter Lobby. Bic and Friends have banded together to scam the American public into buying more lighters. How else can we explain why the prohibited lighters collected are just tossed in the trash?

We've been had, we've been took, we've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray and run amok. Don't think they're increasing sales of these things? Check this out, a collection amassed in only a few hours, at one airport:

So my solution is easy: Give a lighter, take a lighter. Throw a lighter in the bin on the way through the metal detector, receive a stamped receipt from the TSA, fly to your destination and collect one on the other side. Seems fair to me, and it'll create at least one job at every terminal in every airport.

Three quick rules, though. First, the receipt is only good for 48 hours, then your claim to a lighter is void. Secondly, all passengers must accept it if there are no lighters in the bucket --though they may choose to wait around on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Lastly, if the bucket is indeed full, the passenger may choose whichever lighter they see fit in their category (Zippo, non-Zippo regular, non-Zippo mini), but they cannot light it inside the airport -- they can shake it and inspect it, but not light it.

I'm not a cheap fucker. In fact, I'm a oft-spendthrift. But it's the principle of the thing, that I can't bring something on board that is totally harmful to everyone around me is absolutely ludicrous.

I want action, I demand to be heard. Somebody please forward this post to your uncle at the TSA, and let's change the world.

Stewie and Shatner

So you know that Family Guy when Stewie says "I know what it takes to be cool" and proceeds to lampoon Shatner and spoken word* the shit out of Elton John's Rocket Man?

Thanks to some fine folks on the Internets, I finally found the original clip being referenced in the episode. I always knew what the show was alluding to, but this totally clears things up.

Maybe I'm totally late on this, but here's Billy Shats on Rocket Man at some sci-fi awards show in the late '70s.

*Yes, I just used "spoken word" as a verb.

Back in the Saddle

I must've poked a hole in the time-space continuum, because that Colorado trip feels like it was years ago. Yeeears. I'll have some more goodies and pho-tos from the excellent excursion out West a little later in the day, but first I must find my bearings back at the office.

My apologies for the sporadic posting ("I hope not sporadically"), but some unfortunate and tragic circumstances brought themselves upon my house immediately after I touched down in New York, and I've been out of commission for a little while. The story is too personal to chronicle here, but needless to say, it's been a trying few days.

Between the TLG junket and the post-trip strangeness, I haven't watched television in a week, missing all the January premieres and much more. Thanks to my roommate Dorsey I've got 'em all on TiVo, though, so please don't ruin anything.

I came home last night exhausted and drained, and I realized what kind of night it was on the tube: The second two-hour 24 in two nights, an all-new episode of The Bachelor (don't watch this show but I know people love it) and the Golden Globes. I'm very sad about missing Mary-Louise Parker win her award, but she knows I love her.

Talk about your tough choices. With all that television had to offer last night, if I find out that anyone, and I mean anyone, watched last night's Two and a Half Men, first I'll strangle them with a phone cord, then I'll defile their rotting corpse on videotape and patch it in to the scoreboard at Ford Field during the Super Bowl. I'm for serious (hot damn, I really love that expression).

I opted instead to TiVo everything and watch the Mark Messier tribute that took place in the Garden last week. I needed a pick-me-up, and this certainly did the trick. If you've never read my rants about the 1994 Rangers and what that team meant to me, you can check out my previous feelings here. I loved this team, my first real championship as an active fan.

And nobody meant more to me than The Captain, Mark Messier. How I let this game come and go without being in the crowd is a travesty, and I personally blame Chuck B for not pushing me to go (we went to Richter's jersey retirement together). I had chills the entire ceremony that night, and my love for Richter is about one-one-hundredth of what I feel for the Messiah.

Think about a simpler time in sports, when money meant something but not everything. That's when Mess reigned. I mean, who hears they've been traded to New York and immediately promises to bring home a Cup while wearing the 'C' on his chest? Who turns his linemates into over-achieving All-Stars? Who pushes all of his teammates to be model citizens in the city, off the ice? Who sees his team backed against a wall in a championship series and guarantees they'll win the game and the series, then goes out and backs up his words with a performance for the ages? Mess, that's who.

So the Rangers paid tribute to its best captain and only Captain, raising his #11 to the rafters in a 75-minute ceremony against his old Oilers last Thursday. MSG Network couldn't have done a better job, broadcasting the event with cameras everywhere, in HD no less. And it was clearly the best coverage of anything like this I've ever seen. At one point, the HD cameras were in on Mess so tight and so clear you could eat the streaming tears off his face.

And, boy, did he cry. The Garden showed a great video highlight package, and then when they introduced him, he came out bawling like a kid whose ice cream just fell on the floor. He's widely considered one of the toughest SOBs that ever played the game great, and yet he cried all night long, through the speeches, through the gifts, through the hoisting of his jersey. Unbelievable.

Messier's introduction was God-like. He came out to one of the longest and loudest ovations I've ever witnessed, and he bowed to the crowd like Hulk Hogan doing his patented ear wave. I couldn't get over his reception, it was as if Jesus returned to the Earth and laced up his Christ skates again. Dorsey and I couldn't think of anyone in the world who would receive such an applause, until he said: "This is what it's gonna be like for Derek Jeter." Google Maps, Double true.

The real highlight of the night were the speeches, because hockey players are dumb as shit and have taken way too many blows to the head. And it's always fun to hear Canadians speak in public to American audiences ("This guy is the heart of our organ-I-zation" and "He knew how to play inside the rules and oootside the rules" and "He shows what being a Ranger is all abooot"). But the speeches from his favorite teammates, even though they were all piss poorly delivered, all shook me up.

Mikey Richter gave some great personal anecdotes about his generosity towards everyone on the team, even the call-ups. Adam Graves delivered his speech with such venom, it looked like if someone had shot Mess from the stands he'd jump in and take the bullet gladly. And Brian Leetch...well, Leetchy might have been dead or comatose. I was checking to see whether Andrew McCarthey and Jonathan Silverman were behind him.

Mess, I love ya man, congrats on the rafters and thanks for the incredible memories. I can always close my eyes and picture you accepting the Cup from Commissioner Bettman with that ridiculous smile and laughter. I can always close 'em and picture you skating to the bench after the Game 6 hat trick against the Devils, or you handing the Cup to the fans, or you skating down the wing and one-legging a wrister passed the goalie just inside the post.

To my first genuine sports hero, I thank you and commend you.

Slack Videos of the Day: While we're talkin' hockey, check out this ludicrous goal from 20-year-old rookie phenom Alex Ovechkin last night -- wow, seriously, wow. And I guess we'll follow that up with this awesome hockey fight from the 1987 World Juniors between the junior Canucks and the junior Ruskies.

Slack Song of the Day: I've received a handful of requests for more bluegrass, so here's the entire Yonder Mountain String Band show from New Year's 2001. And there's a wicked bluegrassy cover of the T-Heads' Girlfriend is Better.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things To Do in Denver...

...When you're all alone and your gracious host is at work:

Armed with a shitty camera phone, begin with the incredibly cool, last-of-its-kind Tattered Cover Book Store, stroll leisurely up Wazee to Coors Field, check out the overpriced-yet-velvety smooth merchandise at the Patagonia Store, make way to the Pepsi Center and then on to Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, grab a hot chocolate from one of three Starbucks establishments within five blocks, cruise the 16th Street Mall, amble through Writer's Square and square that with a trip through Larimer Square...

(I thought it funny that the statue outside Coors Field is celebrating, um, nobody. It says "The Player" and contains a forgettable quote from Branch Rickey, but ultimately it's just a generic baseball statue. I say they should tear it down and erect a monument to Dante Bichette's sweet, sweet mullet.)

Top it all off with a nighttime trip to Boulder and a fantastic Tea Leaf Green show, and you've got yourself quite a day in Denver, the Real Windy City. More to follow...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rocky Mountain High

"Back in '73, the great Charlie Rich won the American Recording Industry award for country singer of the year. Then in '74 he had to present it to the new winner. You know who that was? Mr. Sunshine on my Goddamn Shoulders John Denver. Well, I'll be dammed if Mr. Rich didn't take out his lighter and light that award on fire right there. You see what I'm saying, Rabbit?"

I'm popping my Colorado Cherry today, leaving shortly for a Denver > Boulder > Denver run. Boat drinks, everyone.

I'll leave you with a forwarded e-mail joke from Dad Cowboy...it's nowhere near as hilariously racist as the robot golf caddies joke, but I love getting these types of e-mails from my father of all people:

"The husband and wife go to a counselor after 15 years of marriage. The counselor asks them what the problem is and the wife goes into a tirade listing every problem they have ever had in the 15 years they've been married. She goes on and on and on.

Finally, the counselor gets up, goes around the desk, embraces the woman and kisses her passionately, rips off her clothes and makes mad passionate love to her. Needless to say, the woman shuts up and sits quietly with a very satisfied daze.

The counselor turns to the husband and says 'That is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do that?' The husband thinks for a moment and replies, 'Well, I can get her here Monday and Wednesday, but Friday I play golf.'"

Slack Song of the Day: What else but Rocky Mountain Way -- this one's by a band I've never heard of called Tishamingo. Enjoy.

Slack Show of the Day: Since I'm leaving for a few days, here's what I'll do -- I'll throw in a bonus 70 minutes of music, just because I'm super rad. Every once in a while I'll play this CD and just smile for an hour; it's capable of such therapy.

From the 2005 Jammys, Umphrey's McGee with Huey Lewis, Mavis Staples, Sinead O'Connor and Jeff Coffin, followed by Keller Williams solo, Keller with some awful chick, and then the coup d' grace, Keller and The Roots drummer ?uestlove.

She Caught the Katy, Heart & Soul, The Weight, I'll Take You There; award presentation; Best Feeling, Rainy Day Women, Superstition > Whole Lotta Love > Bass 'n Drums jam > Word Up.

Watch out, that Heart & Soul is off the charts. Right off 'em.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chuck Norris Responds

A while back, a clever Internets denizen created the Random Vin Diesel Fact Generator, and I posted the ensuing hilarity here.

Since that era, someone or something decided that Chuck Norris would make a funnier Random Facts target, and I can't say I wholly disagree. The guy is a laugh-inducing classic.

I mean, there's not much in the name of comedy that's funnier than this: "If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can’t see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death."

Sadly, the mainstream media picked up the Chuck Norris Random Facts story, and like the Dad who comes in doing the cabbage patch and trying to be cool, they spoiled the kickin' party. Now Chuck's aware of the shennanigans, and he's pissed. Roundhouses to the jaw for every 'net geek out there.

Nah, actually he's pretty cool about the whole thing, as he should be. He's even responded to the Random Facts on the Current Events section of his poorly executed website:

"I'm aware of the made up declarations about me that have recently begun to appear on the Internet and in emails as 'Chuck Norris facts.' I've seen some of them. Some are funny. Some are pretty far out. Being more a student of the Wild West than the wild world of the Internet, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's quite surprising. I do know that boys will be boys, and I neither take offense nor take these things too seriously. Who knows, maybe these made up one-liners will prompt young people to seek out the real facts as found in my recent autobiographical book, 'Against All Odds?' They may even be interested enough to check out my novels set in the Old West, 'The Justice Riders,' released this month. I'm very proud of these literary efforts. ~ Chuck Norris"

Chuck Norris, always a good-humored cat. I heard he was even scheduled to play Dorothy Zbornak's husband Stan on the original Golden Girls pilot before Herb Edelman knocked him out cold with a rubber phallus and stole the part with his brilliant acting.

Just another random fact about Chuck Norris. Got any more?

Soon, I'm Off

It's a little tough for me to fully concentrate today. Tomorrow, your ol' Ace Cowboy heads out to Colorado for a few days of total relaxation in Denver and Boulder with Brucey McBruce and Tea Leaf Green.

Posting will be scarce, but I'm sure I'll find some free seconds to publish a vacation communique. I have a couple projects I need to finish up before I depart, and now I'm distracted by several hilarious headlines from all over the Internets.

Here's my absolute favorite: Toxic waste creates hermaphrodite Arctic polar bears. I can just see Stan Lee giggling at the imminent creation of a new character. At first it was a male polar bear...but now, NOW it has the sex organs of both a male AND a female -- it's the Hermaphrodite Polar Bear Toxic Avenger!

Okay, one more, just because I can't wait to see the consequences: Beijing to push anti-spitting campaign ahead of Olympics.

More to come later...for now, enjoy the morning's multimedia:

Slack Video of the Day: My all-time favorite TV Funhouse sketch took place on December 14, 2002. You'll see why about three-quarters of the way through, but the whole thing is pretty damn clever. It surely was a Charlie Brown Christmas season that year.

Slack Bonus Video of the Day: Some of you may have seen Bill O'Reilly's appearance on Letterman, and I'll assume you have. If you haven't, it was a well-publicized confrontation with Dave getting good press, but it turned out when you watch the whole thing that O'Reilly schooled Letterman. Outside of the "60 percent of what you say is crap" line, Dave looked like a total moron.

I wish it weren't true, but it is. Anyway, Colbert and Conan take the feuding one step further. This is just a classic collaboration, we need these two to get together in the name of comedy more often.

Slack Song of the Day: In honor of my little trip out West, here's TLG's New Year's Eve show at the Independent in San Francisco, posted in its entirety. The sound quality is fantastic, and the band really showed up to play. Kicking off the night with its most popular new song, Franz Hanzerbeak, the boys came to rip it up.

The NYE countdown led into a dynamite cover of Do Ya Think I'm Sexy > band staple Kali Yuga, a perfect way to ring in the new year. And I'm always a sucker for a good Garden Part III. Enjoy!

Monday, January 09, 2006

That's Great, But Who are the Chefs?

The subhead of Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column is only partially accurate. Right now the page reads: "Edwards leaving Jets for Chiefs is bad for the NFL."

If I worked at SI.com, I'd have published: "Edwards leaving Jets for Chiefs is bad for the Chiefs."

In the interests of full disclosure, I've been one of the last Herm Defenders among the Jets' fans. When the Jets finished 6-10 in 2003, I backed his performance. When people were grumbling about his incompetence during last year's playoffs, I stood up for him.

I've exonerated him throughout the terrible play calls he's approved, I've advocated his altogether conservative style and I've endorsed his semi-frustrating tenure. I've championed his overall efforts, even as we played less like champions.

But I'm done rationalizing. No more. I'm taking off the blindfold and I'm noticing his major flaws, like his blatant inability to manage the clock and his silly reluctance to gain an extra few yards for shorter field goals. I've been willing to overlook these hiccups because we were a doink and a miss away from the AFC Championship game last year, in spite of his best efforts.

Herm is a master motivator and a great guy. If I could have anyone in the league coach my team from Monday morning to the pregame lockerroom speech on Sunday, Herm would be my guy. But he cannot coach for shit. He cannot be trusted to roam the sidelines and make key decisions. He cannot be considered a head coach by any means. He'd make a wonderful assistant and an incredible sound byte ("You play to win the game"), but that's all he is.

Enter the Kansas City Chiefs, who inexplicably poached Herm over the weekend, causing thousands of Jets villagers fans to rejoice. Peter King wants to know why the organization doesn't file tampering charges against KC. The answer is simple, Pete: This is a bonus Christmas gift from the Chefs. Wait, you want to take our awful game manager and his two million clams off our books and give us a fourth-round pick (which is nothing to sneeze at, folks)?

I don't care that Herm lied, that he pledged he'd stay. I once villified Gary Barnett for doing the same thing, but in this case, it's time for him to go, and I think everyone in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area realizes that.

Herm might do well in Kansas City, and there's always a chance he'll make me eat all these words. He has a great offense and an improving defense in place, and hey, maybe all it'll take is a master motivator and defensive-minded guy. They're on their own.

But the Jets made the right move by not putting up any fight. Promote newbie offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger or bring someone else in, I don't really care (as long as it's NOT Jim Haslett as has been reported). All I do know is, someone can spout the mantra "You play to win the game" all they want, but those players have to be coached by someone who can help them win those games.

Herm wasn't doing that. So I'll wish the clock-watchers in Kansas City much luck. You'll need it.

(The Jets have a long way to go to get back to the playoffs, but one move they must avoid is drafting or signing the trainwreck that is Marcus Vick. Is it possible to be this dumb? Again? C'mon, dude.

I'd say his big brother must be real proud, but he might not even know what happened yet -- he might be out knowingly spreading herpes under the name Ron Mexico.)

I'm Not Collecting $200

Uh oh, does my future hold some metals bars, time in the yard and repeatedly unwelcome rogerings after lights out?

"Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime. It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess."

Well then, thank you Congress for one of the most vaguely written pieces of legislation I've ever seen. And thank the awesome gods that all of America's other problems have apparently been solved.


I'm not a fan of Howard Stern's radio show. I used to be, as a kid, but even that period was short-lived.

He's kinda funny, but I never really saw the appeal of his farting lesbians shtick. Thus, I have very little interest in acquiring satellite radio technology for his new gig.

I am a huge fan of Howard Stern the Man, though. He's a one man gang fighting government censorship and speaking out against the dangers of abridging free speech. For that, he's a true hero.

He's taken former FCC head Michael Powell to task on the public airwaves and he constantly barraged our conservative friends in Washington with well-reasoned counter-arguments for why they're being serious douchebottles when it comes to suppressing entertainment value in the guise of family values (new word from the weekend: douchebottle -- use it and spread it).

Stern debuted his new act on satellite today, and I'm sure a fair share of twenty-something dudes sat in their cars in the office parking lot for an extra half hour or so. I'm not sure what went down, but for the Stern fans out there, I offer you this well-detailed recap of this morning's show from the Apparent King of ridiculous Stern fans.

Also, this site has a Torrent of the show for download (just gotta sign up for it). I hope you all have fun.

Slack Link of the Day: You know that non-fiction book that everyone is reading? It's called A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, and people can't get enough of it. Only there's one thing missing from it: the truth. The Smoking Gun exposes this book for its falsehoods and fabrications, making a fool of Oprah and her precious book club seal of approval. Hey, it may be fake, but at least the guy now knows he can write good fiction.

Slack Scare Tactic of the Day: Keep your eye on the bird flu as it migrates west, folks. The dreaded H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has now infected at least 14 people in Turkey (bird flu in Turkey, the irony knows no bounds), and it's coming for you next.

There's still been no human-to-human spreading, but I don't think we've heard the last of this plague.

Slack Song of the Day: Not sure if I've ever posted any New Monsoon on here before, so now's the time -- here's Patato's Mission, 219, Romp, and Same Sun from 8/5/05 at Oregon's Horning's Hideout.