Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Problem With Flu Shots

They give you a cold. Or if your son gets one, they give him a cold that he gives to you. Two days before a show where I have to sing and three days before I drive cross country.

Does this mean I won't get the flu?

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Still Not Cool

The show Saturday was fantastic. Back in my hometown playing as well as I ever have. Even the immortal Ron Zabrocki was impressed. After all these years of feeling like an outsider, I finally get to show Rockaway what I can do.

I go to the bar with the drummer and a beautiful redhead turns to him. "Aren't you in the band? You guys are amazing!" Then she looks right at me. And walks away.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Tomorrow!

Walker and The Brotherhood of the Grape
Walker in his only Queens appearance this summer
With special guest B.M.W.A
Eddy Joe McCabe on Bass
Brian Senders on Drums
Guitar guru Ron Zabrocki on Lead Guitars
and Jon "kid "Clarke on guitar

one night only ....pull up in your boat
Saturday Night July 25th 2009 @ The Wharf '
416 Beach 116th street
Rockaway Beach N.Y. 11694
Showtime 9:30 P.M.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sideshow Crystal Skull Indiana Jones

I'm not at the San Diego Comicon this year. Last year was so big I'm good for awhile. But I am scouring the internet for news. And today I found this:

Yep. Indy comes with the fridge.

Thanks to Cool Toy Review for the picture.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dad Retraction

Dad has some changes for my post about him Monday.

1. We will not mention his colostomy bag ever again.
2. He did not go on for three hours about Reagan. He went on for three hours about faith vs. quantifiable sciences and used Reagan as an example.

Hope that makes things clearer.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Walter Cronkite

I'm saddened at the news that Walter Cronkite passed away this weekend at the age of 91. Partially because he was legend in news at a time when you didn't need to scream or terrify your audience. And partially because I met him once. And he was awesome.

It was back when I worked at the Museum of Television and Radio (now the Paley Museum). The Museum was a weigh station for my career. I had finished up at Art Asylum and had another six months before I broke into advertising. I spent those months trying my hand at stand-up, writing sketches and watching a lot of old television programs. I wasn't doing much but I felt I was better than what I was doing. I'm sure you feel the same.

The Museum held an honorarium for Cronkite and I was selected to work late. These things were never as good as you hoped. Every now and then I'd get to talk to the cast of Spin City or warn Matthew Modine about the fire exits but mostly I'd stand on an empty floor and tell people not to get off the elevator there.

This time it was a wine and cheese event outside the main theater. Which meant the members (mostly transients) would rush the table and fill their aluminum foil-lined pockets with cheese. My then girfriend was working the table and I kept my focus on her. I thought she might lose a finger.

Just then I heard a booming voice. "Young man, you're standing in front of the most important door in the building." It was Cronkite. He was standing right in front of me. I was barring his entrance into the men's room.

I had to say something. Usually when I meet a celebrity I admire I'm dumbstruck. When I almost ran Joss Whedon over with Ben's stroller, we both shrugged. When I met Bruce Campbell, Renee did all the talking. When I saw Michael J. Fox, I got out of his way. But I had to respond.

"Sorry Mr. Cronkite. Out of all the possible places I had to stand, I picked the worst." I stepped to the left.

"HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!" Cronkite bellowed as the door closed behind him. I had killed with Cronkite. He'd had a few scotches but that wasn't much different than the crowds I'd work in the Improv seven years later. I'd connected with him. For that moment, I was on his level.

The world will remember his tears at the news of Kennedy's death. But I'll always remember his laughter in a basement in Midtown.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dad Update

I hadn't said much about Dad since I was waiting to get a good handle on the situation. Unfortunately, the situation changed every day.

A couple of weeks ago, he went into the hospital to have his colostomy bag removed. We all assumed it would be a simple procedure and he'd be home the next day. It turned out to take five hours and the doctors didn't like what they found in there. So they removed sections of his digestive tract. His stay extended at least a week. I visited him and he was in great spirits. Talked my ear off about Reagan for three hours.

Then he got a staph infection. An MRSA infection which is the most persistent. No one thinks it life threatening but his recovery rate is all over the place. Fortunately they sent him home this week. Considering what he's gone through in the last five years, he's sailing through this one. And he'll never admit it, but he's glad to know you're thinking of him.

If you want to know more details, check out my sister's blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hot Toys Michael Jackson

Unlike everyone else, I don't have much to say about Michael Jackson. Joe Franzem put it best: "He was a guy that made one great album then went crazy." There was so much damn crazy that I pulled farther and farther back. I haven't paid attention to the media circus which followed.

But I did pay attention when Hot Toys announced this:

You might think this opportunistic but these figures take at least a year to develop. Seven Japanese designers didn't know he would die. But man, that zombie Michael is going to make people lose their shit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Raiders: the Adaptation

I've been reading about this thing for years and this is the closest I've ever come to seeing it. Three high school students spent a decade remaking "Raiders of the Lost Ark" shot for shot.

What do I have to do to get them to put it online? Hell, I'd buy a dvd if Lucas would let them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Bicycle Thief

Who steals a bike with a baby seat?

I needed strap locks for the Rickenbacker (at this price I'm not looking forward to dropping it) so I strapped Ben in the bike seat and rode out to Guitar Center. Drucker called as we left so we stopped by his place first.

There was an odd energy on Northern Boulevard. First the guy at the gas station wouldn't break a dollar to fill the tires with air. He wouldn't make eye contact either. Ben got one hit of Best Buy's central air and ran for half an hour. No one bought anything. He was so wired he wouldn't get back in the bike so we left it locked up at Best Buy. Mistake.

The repesentative at Guitar Center holds the chain's record for the prettiest and knowing the least about her product. They balanced each other perfectly. I couldn't get mad at her. See? Attractive people are treated differently. The drum and keyboard departments sent Ben into overdrive so when we left he made a beeline for Chuck E. Cheese. Drucker was in the mood for terrible pizza so we followed him in.

Chuck E. Cheese is like Atlantic City for kids. It wants to be Vegas but it's trying too hard. It goes beyond letting kids get their energy out and feeds upon it. No matter how crazy they get, it's not enough for Chuck E. The robot mouse also had a broken wrist. Looked like Luke at the end of "The Empire Strikes Back" and creeped us the hell out.

We got back and there was no bike. None. No broken lock, no slivers of metal. It was just gone. The area was so clean I thought the Best Buy employees must have moved it. But how would they move a bike with a combination lock? Somebody stole it. Somebody stole a bike with a baby seat and a tiny baby helmet on it.

The last time I had a bike stolen I was riding it. I was in the seventh grade on the way to being an altar boy at St. Camillus and a kid kicked it out from under me. Yes, my bikes are stolen when I'm being ridiculously good.

I must be an adult now because I'm not nearly as upset. I'm just disappointed. Renee was a lot more upset. She wanted to go over the crime scene. She wanted to make a report. I just wish I put the baby seat on the shittier bike.

What goes through the mind of a thief who steals a bike with baby seat? Doesn't the little helmet give them pause? Shouldn't that strike a moment of clarity where the offender puts the bolt cutters back and reexamines his life? Apparantly not. My one consolation is I am postive that a guy who starts out stealing a bike from a parent and toddler ends up shot in a drug deal gone wrong. Go karma.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Weekend

There was more to do in the last two days than I thought.

Friday night I found an ad on craigslist for a Rickenbacker 12 string guitar. I've alwasy wanted one of these but they were out of my price range. And when my incoem raised my price range, Rickenbacker raised their prices. The last new guitar I played was $3000. I wasn't going to buy one. But somebody on craigslist was selling his for afair price. fair even for 1989. I had to email him. Then beg Renee for the money.

Saturday morning I got a response. He still had it and if I went out to Jersey I could have it. I drove the hour and a half out there and it was even more beautiful than I imagined. The guy was great as well. Turns out he bought it for a Beatles cover band but since they broke up hadn't touched it. It was the best of both worlds; brand new condition but played enough for the wood to breathe. It was no question.

Took me three hours to get back into the city. Thanks to my Prius GPS which decided it would be a good idea to take the Holland Tunnel at 5 in the afternoon. It shows such a zoomed in map that I didn't know where I was until too late. The GPS is not my friend.

I got to Howard Beach about 7 to play with Walker at a party. The other guys were set up already so I hauled my guitars (now plural) and amp in and plugged in as quickly as possible.

The sets went great. I'm finally starting to understand my new rig so I take more chances with it. I couldn't help myself so I pulled out the Rickenbacker on a few songs. Everyone was impressed but none more than me. It's not the most versatile instrument but if you want 1965 (or Rattle and Hum) it nails that sound.

The party was great too. I saw friends I hadn't seen in ten years. It poured by the end and the band was huddled under a tent but it was still worth it.

Yesterday I went to Long Island to practice with Matt. He's booked us for his block party in August and we added five songs I can't remember the lyrics to. I had everything with me so I played the Rickenbacker there too. It took me an hour and a hlf to get back. Damn you non traffic predicting GPS.

I got home for enough time to eat and go to Jeff Sussman and Jay Nog's show at Joe Franklin's. It was the first spot I had on someone else's show in about a year and it was the best set I've had all year. Felt like a comic again. I checked out another show a couple of blocks away before I went home to mosquito interrupted sleep. I have no pictures of any of this because I'm a guy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rap Week 5: Ghostbusters

Screw it, we're ending with "Ghostbusters". Partially because you want to see it again. And partially because you need to be reminded that as good as the movie is, the video is just as terrible. They didn't even put this on the blu-ray.

Nothing says comedy blockbuster like neon. And a slightly amused pop star. Ray Parker Jr. kinda likes his own song but he's not excited about it. Either that or he's watching teh movie at 3 in the afternoon on a Sunday. It's good but soemthing else might be on another channel.

The cameos make no sense. Sure, John Candy was originally offered the Rick Moranis role but Meillsa Gilbert was offered nothing. Danny de Vito? Was this your bid to get out of Taxi? And Carly Simon must just have been hanging around the studio that day.

If you look closely you can almost see Chevy Chase realizing this movie is burying his career. Maybe you should have been nicer to your SNL co-stars, Chevy. Or anyone else.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rap Week 4: Oran "Juice" Jones

Walker would kill me if I didn't include "Walking in the Rain". The wonderful video has embedding disabled but here's one at a faster tempo.

I still don't know what the hell is going on with this. At first it's a really shitty El DeBarge rip. But then Oran abandons the song to humiliate his girl. And he NEVER GETS BACK TO THE SONG!

BTW, posting this song was a HUGE pain in the ass. At least 12 youtube versions have emedding disabled by request. I found a live version that suddenly disappeared. Way to let less people access your catalog, Universal Music Group.

So to reward us all, heres Oran's bonus track, "Shaniqua". It may be even better.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rap Week 3: Your Mom's in my Business

Ah, K-Solo. The dumpiest rap star in the free world. That denim jacket ain't making him any tougher. And his arch enemies are a suburban housewife and endless repetition.

At the time I thought this was the dumbest rap song I've ever heard. At the time, I was right.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rap Week 2: Yo Mama's on Crack Rock

Wait a minute! I know more awful rap songs! This one's not so bad until you get to teh chorus. The rapping and the samples are decent but there's something so nasty about little girls taunting that your mother is an addict.

I think I only saw this video once when it aired but my friends and I said "My mama don't do that no more" for about six months.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rap Week 1: Funk Dat

Pat Driscoll reminds me of what could be the worst song ever recorded. Five years after "Fight the Power", Sagat complains about nothing. Take that, homeless!

The kid in this video must be mortified today.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cacophony of Transcendence

Here's a series of three shorts I made for Alex and Dan's show, Transcendentalist Television. The idea was that each video would be only joke long. Interesting concept and it worked pretty well when we showed these at the Yippee museum a few months ago. I directed all three and wrote the last two.




Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Ark Story Conference

I want to blow the internet.

I was listening to a podcast with Greg Rucka and he mentioned he found a transcript of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan planning the script for "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Which means there's information on "Raiders" I don't already know. This is a big deal.

The document is an even bigger deal. I'm only ten pages in and I'm fascinated. Right off the bat you get to know how formed the idea was in George's head and what Steven added to it. Kasdan mostly listens but pitches in some great ideas which made it to the final film. It seems clear the reason the other three sequels weren't as good as "Raiders" was because Kasdan didn't write them.

There's a great article about the whole thing and a downloadable pdf here.