14 March 2006

I'm a lemming...

Yes, it's official; I am a lemming. Or maybe not a lemming, as much as one of those hamsters that runs on a stupid wheel. Either way you slice it, I have some serious problems... this is what I realized last night, as I sat on the couch with a friend, hollaring numbers at the TV screen while some elected official from some town I'd never heard of was trying to win money by picking briefcases! DAMN IT! I can't believe I got suckered into this.

24 February 2006

Alright, ALRIGHT...

Well, I ran out of Snapple (not true), which I guess signals the end of Snapple Facts, and the return of me.... for now. As the good book says, for every end, there is a beginning... but I make no promises.

Anywho--

1.) The Olympics - Who cares? I'll stop and listen to anyone who can explain how a nation can go for four years without giving a rats ass about speed skating, only to suddenly awake and glue themselves to a TV set when "America's Best" take to the ice and skate... I'll really listen close if they can explain why they do all those things when they already know what's going to happen on the ice. I understand NBC has to protect their bottom line, but at their own peril. As for the dwindling ratings, all I can say is this-- if Ebersol manages to re-start the cold war, I think people would care less about American Idol and more about the Olympics. 'Till then, it's an overblown Madison Avenue parade.

2.) Andy's blog - Equally offensive.

3.) Sudoku - Ummm...

4.) Blogs and their corporate co-opting - No one told them they're just online journals, I guess.

5.) You never know true heartbreak until you wake up one morning and find yourself demoted from a friend's Top 8. It's like living Brokeback Myspace.

Happy Friday.

18 January 2006

Real Fact #123

Beavers were once the size of bears.

17 January 2006

Real Fact #164

The first vacuum was so large, it was brought to a house by horses.

10 November 2005

An Exercise in Stupidity -or- How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Hate Everything.

Yesterday, a friend sent me the latest email that sprung from the bowels of hipster central NY. Obviously as an affront to my patronage of certain bands... I responded. See below.

On 11/10/05, ----- wrote:

If you made me read this moron's ravings, I'm going to make you read my rebuttal: read in original email (bold).


On 11/9/05, --- wrote:


From Ron Lefsetz:

Do Me A Favor

My phone and e-mail have been ringing about U2 and the Stones. I have no desire to see them. Should I feel bad about that? U2's indoor tour for "Achtung Baby" was one of the best I've ever seen. Right up there with the Who performing "Tommy" at the Fillmore East. But I justdon't want to hang with those people. Newly-rich Gen X'ers reliving their college days. Telling themselves how they still believe on the long walk back from the arena to their SUVs. If you can afford to waste all thatmoney on a U2 show you're inherently a disbeliever. You sold out to the system long ago.

This is just judgemental nonsense. Nothing to do with the bands, a jump to nonsequential reasoning about the people who buy the tickets, and it sounds like sour grapes. What's wrong with seeing our favorite bands play? Even if the experiences has changed? Does anyone rank on Clemens because his artilery has changed with age? and instead of being a straight power pitcher, he's more wiley? I think you're really just more angry that you're working at McDonalds.


Rock is about an energy. A limit-testing. Sure, Sly Stone's performances were a celebration, but there was this edgy sexuality that had youwrithing. It was all about the moment. There was no nostalgia involved.

So because tickets are expensive and they're older... there's no energy? Nostalgia? These aren't reunion shows. There's old and new material. I don't understand you. This isn't like seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd with 2 of the original members...


But what's worse is the Stones. What would possess someone to pay $450 to see these old farts, going through the motions. Give the people what they want.

They are giving the people what they want! I got a news flash for you, buddy; if you charge $450 for something, and that something sells out... do people want it? I'm still surprised McD's even hired you with this amazing grasp on economics you have.


Ray Davies said it ironically. The Stones are living it. And the people in attendance. With their one of everything. A mini-mansion, a vacation home, an SUV, a Mercedes, a Harley. This show is another notch in their belt. These shows don't represent anything I got hooked on music FOR!

Awwww, boo hooo. I hate everyone! What's wrong with this guy?


Music was an escape from society. A place where I went to lick my wounds.

It sounds like you've got quite a few. Would you like to lay down on my couch and start with your childhood? I promise the Stones and U2 won't hurt you. This is a safe place.


A place where like-minded people resided. Castaways from society. AM radio was for the mainstream. We had our FM. And our Fillmores. And our BitterEnds. And our Roxys.

Can we go back to the part where you ripped on Nostalgia? Oh, you want to keep going? Okay.


I don't think most people going to see the Stones ever partook of shows back then.

Is that English? Canadian?


It was just too dangerous. Go down to the East Village on a weeknight?On ANY night?

Ah yes, I fondly remember the days when the Stones played a 6 month residency in the East Village. Whew, those were wild days. Wait... what?


U2 and the Stones are business.

Yup, right on front of every other band.


If you doubt me, then why do you have to join a fan club to buy the theoretically good seats for U2's shows. Bruce Springsteen doesn't do this.

Weren't we just saying something about nostalgia tours? Springsteen? He's okay? I'm confused, man.


And check the Stones' merchandise display.Who'd wear this shit?

Wow, what prose! You are really hammering the point home now! I HATE CLOTHES!


Fuck 'em all. The major labels. Clear Channel. Everybody justifying their behavior on the past. The music business is just as bad as the movie business. Needing to preserve its release WINDOWS!

I finally figured it out-- Remember the guy behind Woody Allen rambling about Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall? You're his son.


Instead of Edgar Bronfman, Jr. railing how he's not getting enough money fromXM I'd like to see him testifying in the press how fucking great the service is. But if he was ever a music fan, he's forgotten.

Can I ask a question? What the hell is this article about?!


Give Jimmy Iovine credit for his success. But isn't the 50 Cent movie just a replica of "8 Mile"? Haven't we literally seen this movie before? Even if people go, how good a taste does it leave in one's mouth?

Hello?


The whole major business is moldy and decrepit. It's so far from theunderpinnings of the modern era, what this edifice was built upon, it's laughable.

You've got me laughing, for one.


First and foremost it's about music. It's not about hair.

Beatles.


Or appearances onTV.

Ed Sullivan.


Or motherfucking Grammy awards.

Never was.

It's about being in a club, in the dark, and hearing a sound that transports you.

Oh I get it, your 'e' is kicking in. Don't mind me. (No, I won't touch your hair. I don't care how groovy it feels)


I don't mind following my favorite act from club to arena. If they give a little time to me.

I understand, we all need rules, space. This is what makes you such a rebellious outcast who longs for the Fillmore...


If they're not touring arenas on their FIRST ALBUM! Give me a little time with them. Before the machine eats them up and they wonder what they're in it for to begin with. Outside a Poquito Mas in Burbank today I heard the Subdudes' "Do Me A Favor"on XM's Cafe. You've probably never heard it, never mind are aware of the band. But this is something I want to see live. A group of people doing it for the JOY! That joy is contagious.

Apparently, not contagious enough. And how about when the Subdudes play Madison Square Garden, you'll be the idiot raving in the parking lot about how they sold out.


The more ticket prices go up, the more they hype the big acts, the less I care.

I sincerely doubt it, since you just keep talking and talking, presumably, about how much you hate it.


Madonna. Give me a break. A desperate fortysomething worried her career istanking makes a dance record. She's got no soul. If we cut her open I think we'd find wires. And don't give me that male/female shit. Did you ever see Laura Nyro? She touched your soul. But now I'm off point.

We crossed that bridge a long time ago, mon frere.


I'm just saying real music fans are tired.

Ever met one?

They don't want to go to the big shows. Everything seems like a rerun. Like Todd Rundgren said in the seventies, can't we go back to the bars?

Real music fans are the ones who love their music, and support it, and don't feel the need to go around trashing other people's music, and how they choose to support them. You want to tell me that some dude living in his 60's who saw the Stones at Altemont, now lives with a wife and kids, and is excited to see them play again, and will shell out the $450 isn't a music fan?

Put down the keyboard. Seriously.

18 October 2005

Beware the Ides of October

There's a word I'm thinking of right now, and it perfectly described the feeling I had last night right around 11:30 PM ET. Schadenfreude. It's a fancy word I learned in psych class... but before that, let's go back a few hours...

Last night, the Houston Astros were one out away from going to the World Series; a place they've never been. And FOX was ready to roll- they were showing old footage of past Astros misery, shots of an elated Nolan Ryan seated next to GM Tim Purpurra, and they had their lights-out closer, Brad Lidge, on the mound to close it out. With two outs to go, they were doing Cardinals fans the courtesy of showing a split graphic of the Astros logo and the Cardinals logo vs. White Sox in the World Series beginning Saturday. And then a funny thing happened...

With two outs, and the juicebox shaking with excitement, Lidge walks Eckstein (no relation) and allows him to steal second. Then he walks Edmonds. And then... Pujols hits a ball that might not have landed yet to give the Cardinals the lead, crushing the hearts of Astros fans everywhere. Astros are deflated and lose the game in the 9th sending their team to a Game 6.

Keeping in mind that even though I hate them, I am rooting for the Astros, I started to laugh. And I laughed. And I laughed. And I laughed so hard, I almost fell off my couch. To see the hopes and dreams of Astros fans dashed, and to feel the air go out of a place faster than a balloon under a tank made me feel gleeful! What the hell is wrong with me?

That brings us to the pompous sounding word I began with. Schadenfreude. It means Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. I have had too many of my own gut-punch moments and too many things that belong to me, broken by my own rage at the bumbling band of boobs who I love. And when this stuff happens to other teams, well, it just makes me feel that we might not be the only cursed ones in the world... and, misery loves company. Especially miserable company. I might be rooting for the Astros because I'd like to see some of their vets get a World Series ring, but don't confuse yourself; I hate the Astros, I hate the Cardinals, and I hate the White Sox. And their collective misery makes me happy. Late inning homeruns that dash the hopes of fans make me happy. Let them see how it feels to be a Cub fan for a few days.

26 September 2005

E-A-G-L-U-C-K-Y!

When the NFL first released their schedule for the 2005-06 season, one game jumped right off the page. Raiders/Eagles. I got excited for two reasons: Firstly, I used to work with two huge Philly fans, and never got the chance to trashtalk, since I was an AFC West guy. Second, I knew I could go with them to the game.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to the game with Gary, who opted to stay home and hang out with his son. Fortunately, I was able to go to the game with my roommate. Here is a running diary of the events that would befall us in the city of brotherly love:

7:30 PM ET, New York: Roommate and I board the NJ Transit train that will ultimately take us to the SEPTA train that will ultimately take us into Philly. SEPTA? Is there a more apropriate name for public transportation in Philly? It's like they actually found the word Septic and found a way to make an acronym for it!

10 PM ET, Philadelphia: The plan was simple enough: get off the train, walk 20 minutes to Jim's, grab a cheesesteak, and then meet up with my friend Greg and get over to his house in Manayunk for the night. (Still amazed by these names I find on the Eastern Seaboard.. I guess growing up in California I became accustomed to names like Pacoima, Avienda de Cortez and Tierra del Fuego. Here it's names like Manayunk, Ramapo, Mahwah... cities that were imagined by 3 year olds who just learned how to speak.)

10:20 PM ET, Jim's: I knew about Pat's and Geno's, but this is the one that I heard was "legit." Like, the tourists went to the first two, but the hardcore folks went to this one. I don't know if I was right or not. I also have no idea if Philadelphians really DO love cheesesteaks, or it's just a tourist thing.. Now, I love a good cheesesteak as much as anyone, but I think, unlike a steak, or a burger, they're either good or they're not. There's not much variance in a cheesesteak.

Anyway, this place was decent enough, but for a spot that was "the place the tourists didn't go", they really knew how to "jump the shark" on a restaurant that was supposed to be legit. Putting up pictures of celebrities and their signatures seems to indicate that your legitimacy has become a parody of itself, and yes, you are a tourist attraction. Katz's Deli can get away with this, however.

10:40 PM ET, the 'yunk: Greg and his girlfriend pick us up and whisk us away to the merry land of Manayunk. We find out that Greg's girlfriend has 8 brothers and one sister.

Me: "Obviously you're a Catholic."

10:45 PM ET: We wander into the house and find a stunning 52" DLP television that glowers over the room like the monolith dropped in front of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. No, I did not club Andy over the head with a bone... yet. But, I sure would have once I found out that that the TV doesn't work! It gets worse. He had an original Nintendo Entertainment System, complete with Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, and Double Dragon! (No Tecmo Bowl). So, we were left with conversation... how does that work, again?

10:46 PM ET: I tell him that I am going to fix the television. What the hey? I've got experience with broken televisions. Hell, when I first moved to NY, I had a TV that wouldn't turn off unless I unplugged it. Surely this couldn't be much harder.

10:46 PM ET: I stand up and start banging on it.

Yup, this was my bright idea. I try the left side, then the right side. Then a few buttons on the TV. See if you can guess how this turned out?

11:30 PM ET: We accept that the TV is gone, and it ain't coming back. I manage to get the sound working, and for some reason, they actually like the idea of staring at a blank screen listening to South Park. I totally vote this idea down. But that gives way to an argument about whether or not it was possible whether or not to live in a city and be totally unaware of one or more of its sports franchises. My argument was that it was totally feesible to live in Los Angeles, and know who the Lakers were, and have no clue what a Clipper was, much less realize that they were an NBA team. Andy said there was no way.

However, all this was prompted by the line from Major League when Jake Taylor is asked "The Indians? Here in Cleveland? I didn't know we still had a team!"

Now we're trying to figure out how it was possible to know of a team, once, only to have forgotten about their existence. (This is how cable and satellite companies make money, folks). I'd replay the rest of this argument, but I'm about to go ram Q-tips into my eyeballs.

12 MIDNIGHT ET: The prank calls start. I can't believe it took this long. I throw a *67 before a phone number, thereby blocking mine, and let it roll.

12:01 AM ET: The prank calls are over. I might be the last one standing at the age of 24 who still gets a kick out of this. (*note: I find out the next morning that the *67 trick does not work anymore when I get a very confused voice mail. That could have been much much worse. I ducked karma on that one, big time).

12:30 AM ET: Time to sleep. There's one couch and two very tired people. Andy is on the couch, and just decides that he's sleeping on it. I challenge him to a game of rock, paper, scissors; best 2/3. He is very very hesitant, but realizes that there is no way he can just claim this space of land without a fight.

12:31 AM ET: Andy takes rock, Dave takes rock.

12:31 AM ET: Andy takes rock, Dave takes scissors.

12:31 AM ET: Andy takes rock, Dave takes paper.

12:31 AM ET: Andy takes rock, DAVE TAKES PAPER!

12:32 AM ET: I take a victory lap around the house, as Andy lays dejected, slamming the couch screaming obscenities.

12:40 AM ET: ME : "Hey Andy, remember when you took rock and I took paper?" Andy: "GREAT JOB!"

12:41 AM ET: ME : "Hey Andy?" Andy: "GREAT!!"

--SLEEP--

10:30 AM ET: Wake up time. Breakfast is on our mind, and Greg has returned from his own breakfast to assist us in our decision. He throws a few things around, and then I say "BOOEYS?!" Andy is instantly engaged. "Bui's" is a lunch-truck that sits right outside of the UPENN campus, that, for some reason, has developed a cult following. I can't think of another situation where someone would ever be this excited about food from a foodtruck. But Greg says "Well, it's not exactly on the way. But, it's not exactly out of the way either. Fuck it, let's go." You know how some people will fight you if something isn't exactly tailor made to be the easiest way from point A to point B? Not Greg. God bless him.

11:15 AM ET, Bui's: Yum. Good truck, good times.

11:45 AM ET, The Link: We arrive, tickets in hand, team allegiance in disguise.

12:15 PM ET: We see a group of people wearing construction outfits handing out items promoting another new Adam Corolla show; seriously, did this guy just change agents or something? The woman hands me a tape measure with the show's tune-in info on it, and I tell her I'm going to throw it at Donovan McNabb's head. (I was genuinely shocked these words came out of my mouth, and... let's just say, she was too)

12:45 PM ET: Section 243. Riiiiiiiiiiiight up there with the crazies. Great seats, perched right over the 35 yd line. No Raider fans anywhere near me. Shit.

12:50 PM ET: I never want to go to another game at the Meadowlands ever again. This is the most amazing football facility I have ever seen. Spacious, state of the art, easy on the eyes, great view, great food. And this was all before the pre-game proceedings!

12:51 PM ET: The Eagles cheerleaders come out. For my money, they're the best in football. You can forget the Cowboys cheerleaders, they're a cliche by now. These ladies are something else. And, they're performing for minutes on end. A camera on my face would have revealed some sort of euphoric glaze, watching scantily clad women, dancing on a football field, beer in hand, about to watch my Raiders. Life is good.

12:55 PM ET: They've got a pre-taped piece with Swoop, the Eagles' mascot, in Swoop Wars. Where this bird, dressed as "Swoop Skywalker" comes out to slay the evil Darth Raider. It's genius. (I'm now wondering how Eagle fans can be all bad when they're doing cutsey things like this... *note: I never do figure this out).

1:00 PM ET: Pre-game introductions. Every Raider player's name/college is followed by an extraordinarily loud "SUCKS!" from the crowd. When they announced Woodson, I joined in. That's okay, right? He is an overrated jerk***...

1:05 PM ET: Kickoff. All the good natured Raider booing has turned into a sea of evil. Anyone wearing silver and black appraoching our section was showered with cheers of ASS-HOLE! ASS-HOLE! Women wearing Raider shirts/jerseys are told "Your shirt sucks! Why don't ya take it off!"

1:07 PM ET: I managed to keep my partisanship a secret right until, oh, about two minutes into the first quarter when the Raiders scored and I turned into a shreiking lunatic… before I realized what I had done, it was too late. The late-40's-lunatic insurance salesman sitting next to me slowly turned his head to me, jaw wide open, giving me a look of death, realizing he had a Raider fan sitting next to him. These guys are the worst to sit next to in ANY ballpark; they've already given up on their lives, their only joy left are their sports teams, and have seen too many horrific things happen to their team to forgive anyone other than an Iggles fan sitting next to them.

To add to the "hilarity", the Eagles came out wearing their alternate home uniforms, that are in black. They started the game by botching three kicks in a row, and having their kicker limp off the field, giving way to their back-up Tight End making their kicks. After that, some yahoo behind me kept yelling at the team about their unfortunate choice of jerseys: "HEY! WHY ARE YOU GUYS WEARING RAIDER-BLACK? GET BACK IN THE LOCKERROOM AND PUT ON GREEN!"

--then--

"WHY AREN'T YOU GUYS WEARING GREEN?!"

--THEN--

"WHY THE F--- AREN'T YOU GUYS WEARING GREEN?!?!"

--THEN--

"GODDAMMIT! GET BACK IN THE LOCKERROOM, GET A NEW KICKER, PUT ON YOUR GREEN, AND START THIS OVER AGAIN!"

(He said this way more than three times, but you get the idea. I think he was the 5th Queer Eye member to be this disturbed about their uniforms)

1:xx PM ET: ME: "Hey Andy, remember when you took rock, and I--" ANDY: "GREAT!!!!!!"

1:xx PM ET: Crazy insurance broker man starts rolling a joint. Man, he is weird. Then, I thought he was about to punch me after this exchange:

HIM: Man, your team really _______ ________ sucks.
ME: We suck? Really? I guess I'm not that smart, but maybe you can tell me why my 0-2 team is making your defending NFC championship team look so bad? Can you tell me that?!

I was a very popular person is Sec 243 that day, even without the silver and black on.

2: xx PM ET: Finally, two other Raider fans show up, and I tell them I was getting lonely without them. Now, just remember that I'm NOT wearing any Raiders gear at this point.

So, you're you, and you show up to a football game, and someone in the section tells you that they were getting lonely without you.

Sound good?

(We cleared things up sooner rather than later).

3:xx PM ET: By now, Janikowski has missed two field goals, and I'm wondering if we can trade him to the Eagles for their kicker whose leg is about to fall off.

4:xx PM ET, 4TH QUARTER: Tie game! Tie game! Oh my...! I am standing up and screaming at this point. Less than a minute to go, and the Raiders tie it up. I don't give a good goddamn what Eagles fans are in my section and what they want to do to me; I was hollaring like a brute. I even stood up and said "Oh, they scarrrrred now!" (I don't know who I think I am, or what I was doing... maybe I just wanted to die that day.)

4:xx PM ET: They drive down the field. We commit penalties. We play like, well, the Raiders. And, Gimpy McGee, the Eagles kicker who is practically wheeled out in a wheelchair BARELY splits the uprights to give the Eagles a victory.

Maybe it's just my way of thinking, but I was happier to be in my shoes than day than an Iggles fan. True, we just lost, but we lost tough. They won, but they won ugly. We already know we're not going anywhere this year, and we have to scrape for silver lining. They've got a lot of rationalizing to do, after this ugly win against an 0-2 (now 0-3 team) as they try to preserve the optimism that they're going back to the Super Bowl... which they ain't.......

No, that's bull. I was furious. I wanted that win so badly, I could taste it. We had 'em. We f'ing had 'em. And I don't care if it was the last game we won all year (No, I would have cared), but we should have won that game, and the two games before it. Which reminds me...

What in the world is the NFL doing giving a 5-11 team a schedule wherein they play the two Super Bowl teams within the first three weeks of the year?!

Anyway, that was my trip to Philly. I'll be back on Thursday for Week 4 picks!