Monday, November 15, 2010

I've become a huge fan of Todd Barry


About every two years I stumble upon a comedian, not necessarily an up and comer, just someone I was not in the know about, who blows me away. About four years ago there was Mitch Hedberg, which led me to Doug Stanhope, which in turn led me to Todd Barry. I just got all three of Barry's live albums and listened to them a couple of times. I think this one on the left is my favorite in the bunch, though they are all fantastic. Barry does an enormous number of relatively short riffs on everyday conventional wisdom, and he delivers them in his characteristic low key delivery. He takes everyday incidents and imprecise language, and he slams you with the truth on these little slices of reality.













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Todd Barry - Chocolate School
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking forward to Arin Greenwood's new novel

Arin Greenwood has a new novel inspired by the Saipan lifestyle coming out called "Tropical Depression," and I am really looking forward to reading it. Arin is a great writer, a versed traveler and, most importantly, a genuinely nice person. I remember back when I was on the island I googled Bali one day and read something she wrote about it. (If you Google her you will find a diverse list of topics expatiated on.) Either the article or the bio tag mentioned she lived in Saipan, and while everyone seems to know everyone in Saipan, I don't think I had met her at the time. I was so happy to see such a raconteur living right on my little island that I emailed her and expressed that I would love to meet her. We got to be friends and had several great conversations over the years. She was one of those people that island people I thought cool like Zaldy Dandan, Mike Ernest and Galvin Guerrero really liked her as well.

As for the subject material, I can relate. Lots of us dream of going off to live on a tropical island. Some of us do it. It's not always what you think, it definitely doesn't suck, and there is usually no shortage of memorable stories and characters. My five years in Saipan are probably the most memorable, pivotal and happiest five years of my life -- despite the many problems there.

A while back Arin did share with me an early partial draft of her novel, which comes out in November, and I know I am looking forward to reading the full treatment. Even though I am not writing about or from Saipan these days, I would like to think this blog is still a valid resource to those interested in life in the CNMI. I still get the occasional email about prospects for living there. Arin's book will include a great take on the various missionaries, mercenaries and misfits that have had Saipan sand in their shoes I'm sure. I will update the Amazon link here as soon as it is available.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Best of 2010 on Facebook

Being educated but not wealthy in this country is kind of like being McMurphy on the basketball court in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest." Your teammates are easily distracted morons.

Anytime you see a stand up comedian take out a guitar that is a guarantee it is time to change the channel.

I'm calling bullshit on blenders right now. Grate, chop, blend, mix. They all just make the thing spin round and round just the same.

The New York Times is on Twitter. To quote the late great Mitch Hedberg: "I saw a human pyramid once. It was very unnecessary."

Did you ever watch tv all day and feel like you accomplished something because you now have more space on your dvr?

Starting to think Wal Mart needs to add stop lights and a traffic cop to handle all the motorized traffic.

If you can't put a mosque in lower Manhatten, can you put a Catholic Church near a day care center?

Add walking away from my two-year-old daughter this morning at the sitter as she clung to me for dear life with tears streaming down and cries bellowing "daddy" - because she had a slight fever and some congestion - onto my life's worst experiences list.

I will soon get paid like $1000 bucks out of the left over Obama stimulus money to schools for an educational training I attended. On one hand I'm truly grateful, and on the other I know it is 0.00001 of what Goldman Sachs was handed. I should also mention that unlike them I didn't have a hand in blowing a multi-trillion dollar hole in the economy.

So this 8 year old is playing in the park with my baby girl for a while, and then suddenly decides she wants nothing to do with her, walks off and then starts complaining to me that my two year old is following her around. I can't say at this precise moment I wanted this eight year old hurt or anything, but it would ha...ve felt good to squeeze a little lemon in her eye or something.

One of the wisest things I've read in a while and I read it here on Facebook. Thanks to Zaldy Dandan. "Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others."

Just got my first Arizona summer power bill as a homeowner. I now know how the Gimp in Pulp Fiction felt.

The NFL is a mistress, MLB is a wife.

Camping in Prescott, AZ

I spent a night camping with a colleague of mine out in Lynx Lake Campground in Prescott, AZ. To state the case mildy, I am not much of the outdoorsman, but I want to know more and get more comfortable. I love the concept, but I really don't have it in my upbringing. The net result was that I had a very good time. The number of meteors one sees in the night sky really staggers. The number of camp conveniences seem to work against the very purpose, but comfort was something that weighed on my mind. I was sitting with my buddy and we discussed what life was like for thousands of years. We were saying that if this were even 80 years ago we would be in serious danger that someone would come along and just take what we had and leave us for dead. We'd be standing a post with guns hoping we wouldn't get ambushed. I thought about the logistics of armies over the ages and was really amazed just contemplating it all. What a hard, rugged existence full of stress that must have been. There are some things I don't much get. I saw someone with a portable satellite dish, which makes me wonder what exactly their point is in camping. Are we really getting back to nature?

One interesting note is that much like my one other foray into camping, a skunk got involved. My buddy brought his dog, and this much protective four legged friend didn't like it entering our domain. So he chased the skunk, which sprayed and let's just say that the skunk severely outshined the fart contest my buddy, my son Alex and I were having.

The atmosphere was nice, the weather was cool, the pine smelled idyllic. I'll be out there again. Prescott is only a two hour drive from Phoenix, so it is convenient. It was nice to see some trees for a change.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Now you're mad?

I discovered this on the internet. I can only ad an "Amen!"

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted. You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed. You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq. You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed. You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides. You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark. You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no. AND NOW YOU’RE MAD !

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hannibal Buress is a great new standup

I absolutely love this guy's approach to stand up. I caught him on Comedy Central last week and love it, saw a few more online, and definitely like the dude's take.

Jokes.com
Hannibal Buress - Living Together
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thoughts pulled from my Facebook account


As is pretty obvious, I have lost the blogging itch. I do still like to gather my thoughts. These days that is pretty much done in brief and on Facebook, where I try to occasionally throw in a witty or indignant barb. The blogs are better at organizing and displaying thoughts. Looking back, the media's frivolous nature seems to annoy me most. I pulled these from my Facebook profile from the past year.

On Tiger Woods:

The needle on my "don't give a shit meter" just broke from the strain of the Tiger Woods press conference. Not sure whether it's his safe, bland, corporate personality, the painfully dull sport he plays or indifference that he is one of like "all" athletic superstars who stray.


On the state of education, mainly the ethos that absolves kids of responsibility for themselves:

Education is the one place liberals shouldn't be in charge.

After getting Direct TV:

You find out new things about your spouse when you start sharing a DVR.



After TSA decided to keep people from the rest room on flights:

Kind of hoping there is an attempt to launch a respiration bomb on an airplane to see if TSA bans breathing during flights.



After seeing the Black Eyed Peas open for U2:


Have gotten into the Black Eyed Peas since I saw them with U2 last month. Found out the lead cat goes by Will.I.Am. I have decided that if I become a rapper I want to be called Boobs.I.Like


After allowing snacks in second period:

This week's sign of the apocalypse: The snack of choice for seventh graders appears to be raw ramen noodles



More disbelief at the lives of teenagers these days:

I had two seventh graders today claim ignorance of Michael Jordan. Last year I had an eighth grader emphatic in her obliviousness to the existence of the Rolling Stones. These weren't recent immigrants. I also had several emphatically claim not to have a book in the house.


Thoughts on the triviality of the media:

Is Michael Jackson still dead? I think I just flipped through channels successfully with no mention of it. Feeling confused.


On being a dad:

Baby vomit smells like really intense Parmesan cheese. I'm not happy to know this.



On irony about the complete corruption in our government that no one blinks at. That newspaper headline in quotes still amazes:

"Goldman employees told no big purchases." Isn't that what Jimmy told his crew in Goodfellas after the Lufthansa heist? Draw any parallels you wish.



More on fatherhood:


One good thing about being bald, I'm the only one in the family who doesn't get their hair pulled by the baby.


More on how much the media sucks:


I'm not sure, given the Michael Jackson feeding frenzy, whether the American media providing the needless details, or the population consuming it, should be more ashamed and embarrassed. Are we as a people really this gossipy and trivial?

General thoughts:


The greatest nickname in history has to be "The Edge," though "Magic" as in Johnson would be a close second.



On the dumbness on the extremes in public debate:

46 million Americans don't have health insurance, which is shitty and doesn't cover enough anyway. The richest 300,000 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million. Can we stop this stupid socialist crap already!



On polls:


Jeff picked the five "People you would like to Punch In The Face!".
George Bush, Gilbert Gottfried, Bankers, 2004 Red Sox Team and Any TSA agent.


On media and public overreaction:


Wondering what Michael Phelps could have accomplished if pot didn't destroy his ambition.



More on our lousy media:


As best I can tell from the news, the only things going on in the world are that Tiger Woods has the peculiarity of wanting to escape from his boring job by having sex with very hot women -- other than his smoking Swedish wife, and Obama throws such amazing parties that two people risked criminal prosecution to do the... electric slide or something at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.



On Black Friday:


Tired of the Black Friday hype. There is a good chance you don't really need it.


Reaction to seeing a world class incompetent re-elected:


Congratulations CNMI. Much like the U.S. in 2004, with the clear warning signs, you re-elected a corrupt, incompetent, misguided moron. That is what you deserve.



On Belicheck's call against the Colts backed up deep in his own territory on Sunday Night Football:


There are few greater sports joys than seeing an arrogant, joyless SOB like Bill Belichick facilitate one of the great single game collapses in football history by pulling an epic blunder with all eyes watching.



Thoughts on more physical activity:


Was asked to be Santa Claus at my school's holiday party for the little kids. Somehow I don't think I was asked because I'm so jolly. Time to exercise.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Analogy of the Day

I nominate this for analogy of the day:

"Thanks to botox, lasers, and all the other products and cosmetic treatments, so many older women look fantastic now that it's like trying to figure out which potential Hall of Fame receivers or sluggers from the '90s and '00s should be Hall of Famers."

From the Bill Simmons mailbag

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Trip down good memory lane

Was clearing out my storage shed over Christmas Break and found an old disk from some very fun times when I was a fledgling bass player. While teaching in Korea I started a band called Modeum Jigae, Korean for Mixed Soup, since our band had members from all different countries: Tom "Noddy" Elcock was our singer and the band diplomat, James DeSantis was the shy lead singer who hid in the background, our Korean drummer was a quiet guy and one of my students whose name escapes me, and I was the one who pushed to get everything going. Here we are playing Neil Young's Needle and the Damage Done at the Big Electric Cat in the Itaewon section of Seoul, Korea. By the time we started getting somewhere my contract was up and I decided to move to Saipan, even though I was really enjoying being in the band and and we were getting better. I'm very glad I did this.