Sunday, November 30, 2003

Phish in Philly

11.29.03 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
Set 1 (1:15): Wilson, Cars Trucks Buses, Limb by Limb, Dirt, Seven Below, Divided Sky, Fast Enough for You, Julius
Set 2 (1:20): Twist > Simple > Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Buffalo Bill (w/ Tom Marshall), David Bowie, Strange Design, Character Zero
Encore: Friday

Set 1: The crowd was buzzing, just like the February show at the Spectrum. The Philly show from this past Winter Tour was one of my favorite shows from 2003 (with a first set Slave to the Traffic Light! and a fatty & funky Cities), and it would be tough to top that show and match Friday night's effort and energy. I had a decent seat in the back with some nice heads from central PA. Wilson to open was flat, but the crowd was pumped nonetheless. Cars Trucks Buses is a song they don't play enough. I really enjoy a Phish instrumental, especially ones composed by Page. Limb by Limb is a song that I grew fond of in Japan, after they really broke out a couple of kick ass tight versions. They have been playing Limb by Limb much better post-haitus than before. Dirt is a song I once admitted that "I could see at every show." Well, this time, I didn't cause I had to take a wicked piss and the lines were slow. I got back just in time for a fat Seven Below. Phish hits or misses when they play Seven Below, because it's all about what kind of jam they were going to break out. That might have been the best version of Seven Below that I have seen. The jam was not sloppy nor too spacey. It was layered with some heavy groove and felt smooth as shit! That jam pretty much set the tone for the night. Whereas Nassau was a night of hard jamming and Trey bouncing all over the place, Philly was more laid back and groove oriented. That was the definite highlight of the first set. Divided Sky is a crowd pleaser and is one of the few songs I'd prefer to hear outdoors. Since the hiatus, Phish has played the rare Divided Sky almost nine times and I caught four (12.31.02, 7.10.03, 7.31.03. 11.29.03) versions. All of them were roughly the same, and I heard a couple of the other ones on CD. They haven't been tinkering with the jam since it was mostly composed stuff from the Phish early Junta years. Fast Enough for You is a nice slow song to smoke or bowl to. They closed the set with Julius, which they opened up their last Philly show with... and Trey was happy to be playing! Overall, the first set was not as sloppy as the night before, however, I prefered the song selection better in the first set at Nassau... which was one of the best First Sets of Phish all year.

Set 2: The opened up with a nice Twist Around and the jam was not too spacey and more groove and funk based. I really enjoy hearing a good Twist and it's a great second set opener. They segued into Simple which was better than average, before they slid into Taste. At the last Philly show, during Taste, I spotted an old lady wearing a green Phish shirt, she smiled at me and I never saw her again. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of her. I looked around, and I could not find her. Then, finally... Phish played a song I was dying to hear... Makisupa Policeman and that made my show! The second set was much better than the first and Makisupa topped it off! Especially when you have to travel a long distance to see a show, it's awesome when the boys break out something personal and something you were willing to pay good money to see. I had not seen Makisupa Policeman in over three years (that's more than 25 shows worth of Phish I had been waiting to hear one of my favorite songs!)... since Albany 9.9.00 with Gil (when Michael Ray came out and busted out some heavy horn action). I was very happy. Next up, Tom Marshall came out and sang Buffalo Bill with the boys. He makes me laugh. And I really have fun with Buffalo Bill. I was waiting for a heavy hitter like YEM, Harry Hood or David Bowie... and then Fishman went to the high hat and I knew we'd get a sick David Bowie. It was average, but I was happy to hear it. They settled down for a few seconds before they played a rare song, but one of Senor's favorites... Strange Design, and I was happy to hear it, but I would have been slightly disappointed that they closed the set with a slow song. Instead they played a crowd pleaser, Charcter Zero, another repeat from the last Philly show. Trey ripped the shit out of that jam and the crowd was going nuts for sure. The encore was one song, and I laughed when I thought about what Senor wrote me about the Nassau encore: "Once again Phish played a killer show... with a huge encore let down." Yeah, I think that Phish cheesed out with a Friday encore. But these days, I do not expect a hot closer. Besides, over the last few weeks I grew fond of a couple of slow Phish songs off of Round Room, including Friday. It was well played and all I could think about was, "Thank God they didn't play Secret Smile or Spices!" Which are two of the worst songs Phish debuted during the summer tour.

Afterthoughts: It was fucking cold. I almost stepped on a puppy. We got to the show just as it was starting and the lights went down. I heard the intro to Wilson as I was finding my seat. Fishman played much better at Philly. He was solid on Limb by Limb and Bowie. I am leaning towards Nassau as the better show (I thought Mike & Trey played better). The first set at Nassau was much tighter and I preferred the song selections. However, the second set of Philly was excellent (I mean... Makisupa Policeman!) and the groove based jams (Seven Below & Twist) were more to my liking. Special thanks to Laura, Craig's girlfriend from New Haven, for the ride. She took one for the team and acted as designated driver for the night. She got me back into the city pretty fast! And I never saw anyone smoke eighteen ciggies in a row while driving on the NJ Turnpike! Next up... Albany! Which is one of my favorite places to see Phish. Hey Trey, where's my fucking Tube opener??
Sunday Morning Reading

1. The Chant Not Heard is an article written by Thomas Friedman and appears in the NY Times, where he thinks that the "left" needs to get beyond its opposition to the war in Iraq and start pitching in with its own ideas.

2. A New Crowd at the Poker Table is an article written by Demain Bulwa and appears in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here's a bit: "A new crowd is saddling up to the table to play an old game of high stakes -- and big mistakes in cardrooms, online and on TV, the lure of poker is pulling in small-time players..."
Read about last winter's Phish Tour!

If you would like to check out what happened during last Winter's tour (The Meadowlands, Philly & Nassau) when Molly came to visit, please check out three Truckin' stories that I wrote up about each show.

1. New Jersey Blues: Phishin' Tales Part 1 by Tenzin McGrupp
He dug into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a joint. He handed it to me. “I wanted to give it to someone who had a smiling face. And you seem to be that guy.” ... More

2. Mollydelphia: Phishin' Tales Part 2 by Tenzin McGrupp
I was running late and the last thing I needed was to get into a fender bender in the parking lot of the liquor store. For a few minutes, I really felt the sharp pains of having to come to grips with the worst-case scenario: I am not going to see Phish in Philadelphia... More

3. Strong Island Unbound: Phishin' Tales Part 3 by Tenzin McGrupp
We met up with Spider and Gil at Penn Station and took the LIRR to the Island. Molly was shocked to see people drinking single cans of beer in brown paper bags on the commuter train. “It’s routine, in many ways ritualistic for the male suburban commuter,” I explained, “in the morning it’s coffee, in the evening it’s a Bud tallboy.” ... More

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Phish at Nassau

11.28.03 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
Set I (1:20): Bouncing Around the Room, Runaway Jim, Ghost > What's the Use, AC/DC Bag, First Tube, Frankie Says, Bathtub Gin > Free
Set II (1:25): Waves > Sample in a Jar > Down With Disease, Walls of the Cave, Two Versions of Me, Crowd Control (new song, first time played), Mike's Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove
Encore (0:08): Crimes of the Mind (with the Dude of Life)

Phish is back to celebrate their 20th anniversary. After seeing a dozen bands in the last two months, I have come to the conclusion that Phish pretty much blows almost every other band I’ve seen this year out of the fuckin’ water. Sure they have not played a gig in over four months, and they were a little sloppy, but they still kicked ass. I prefer indoor arena shows to outdoor gigs and amphitheaters because the sound quality is generally much better, and Chris Kuroda’s lights are more fun to watch. The crowd was rowdy and there was plenty of energy, despite the fact it poured most of the time before the show and sent thousands of kids wandering around Shakedown and the parking lots to head inside to keep dry.

Set 1: 7:48 pm… I was surprised that Phish started before 8 pm! The boys opened up with Bouncin and it’s one of my least favorite Phish songs. I normally would have bailed to take a piss, but since they just started the show, I decided to puff down instead. The played Bouncin at the last Nassau show and was surprised to hear it again. Runaway Jim was next and that made up for the cheesy, crowd pleaser opening song. Jim was a little sloppy, but it was great to hear Phish again play with a high volume of intensity. I heard Mike strum a few bass notes and I knew Ghost was next. The jam out was insane and Trey was being his rock star self and going off all over the place during that jam. They broke it down and segued into What’s the Use, a rare song off the Siket Disc. I have heard that several times, and either I dig it, or I don’t. It was well played, but I was not in the mood for it, so again, I puffed down. I was awaiting a high energy song, and they broke out AC/DC Bag, a Phish song I have been hearing for well over a decade, and definitely a Pauly & Senor classic. First Tube was next, a song that Bruce Cohen wanted to hear. I was hoping for a Tube, but First Tube was not too shabby. The crowd seemed to enjoy Trey jumping up and down. Of course, they slowed things down with Frankie Sez, a song they don’t play too much, but it’s one of Molly’s favorite tunes. Up until that point, I thought the crowd was excellent, the playing was sloppy, but solid, however, the song selection was questionable. Just when I started to think they were letting me down, they busted out Bathtub Gin, and yeah, the crowd went ape shit. Page’s intro solo was delicious and that was the highlight of set one. After a long, drawn out funky jam (which I thought would end the set) they broke right out into Free. I guess everyone in the crowd wanted to hear that song, because everyone swelled with a feisty spirit, when Trey slid right into the first few notes of Free. They closed the set after an hour and twenty minutes and just when they started ripping, they took a break! The first set was all Trey, but Mike stepped up on Ghost and AC/DC Bag.

Set 2: 9:51 pm... I should have figured Waves would have been the opener. It’s one of my favorite new Phish songs and it’s a perfect song to start the second set. Trey noodled quite a bit but I liked the version anyway. They segued into Sample in a Jar, again that was a crowd pleaser song, that I thoroughly enjoyed, while everyone eagerly sang along. Then Mike dropped the bomb. They jumped right into a sizzling Down with Disease and Mike took over. It was hard and heavy and I might have reached the peak of my insobriety at that point. Next up was Walls of the Cave and I’m always a fan of Page piano solos. The intro on Walls to the Cave is spectacular and I wished that Page got more chances to show off his chops. Walls was solid and although I heard it a lot last Winter and this Summer tour, I still dig the jam out, when it starts to take on a Velvet Underground-like riffs. They played a sort of new song, something they played this summer called: Two Versions of Me. I saw it at IT, at Alpine Valley and at the Gorge on 7.12 when it was played for the first time. I like the lyrics: "Too busy to see, two versions of me", and it’s a slow song that I enjoy. Next up, Trey spoke to the crowd. He said that he wanted to play a brand new song. I thought it was called Changes, but PhantasyPhish said it was called Crowd Control. It was a "happy Phish song" and it was kinda catchy. I think most of you will like it, especially Boo! I was indifferent and I was wondering what they would play next. Trey said something like "We’re going to play something that Mike likes. How about… ‘His' Song?" And yeah, the crowd went nuts because we all knew they were about to break out Mike’s Song! The guy next to me was named Mike and he seriously wanted to hear it. During the first set I told him that I had a feeling about Mike’s Song, and for his sake, I hoped they played it! And yes, at 10:57 to 11:08, I witnessed the best eleven minutes of live music, shit… the best eleven minutes of Phish all year! I’ll go out on a limb and challenge anyone to present a tighter, insane, sick, live moment like that, and Phish would demolish that attempt in a heartbeat. That was how good they played. Better than good... excellent, superb, ball crunching, you name it. I dunno what the fuck happened. But I was moved! I recalled a similar "moment" happening in Japan on a few occasions (in the middle of Ghost during Osaka 6.15.00, I was completely in the moment and Phish never sounded better!) I really cannot explain it, but if you go to enough live shows, you can tell when the musicians take their ability to a higher level than they were playing. When professional athletes get hot and play well past their ability, they are referred to as being "in the zone". Well Phish was in the zone for those eleven minutes, and I could not recall a better spurt of Phish in a very long time. I had my "moment" and that’s why I go see so many Phish shows, because you never know what they’ll do and how they’ll get inside my head. The only downside is that sometimes Phish could play for months without hitting a peak like that again. I hope to catch one or two more moments like this tour, but if I don’t I still walked away with an epic Phish memory. Mike’s Song at Nassau in 2003. One of the best versions... ever? Fucking A! I forgot to mention that they played Hydrogen into Weekapaug Groove. The crowd dug Weekapaug and I knew it was the end of the set. I was surprised because at that point, Phish already played for almost ninety minutes! After the encore, three hours of total Phish seeped its way into my ears. Despite the shitty weather, I was not disappointed, rather I was excited and anxious to see three more shows. I’m still perplexed because I have no idea what kinda of crazy shit they boys will pull out in Boston for their 20th Anniversary show! That is just three days away, and I’m trying not to lose sight of the next two shows! The Dude of Life came out, sang, while Phish played a nice version of Crimes of the Mind. Wow, twenty years of Phish. Pretty cool stuff.

Afterthoughts: The best thing about Phish concerts, are Phishy chicks (the cute, clean ones). Man, do I love them! I went with Bruce Cohen (his fifth show) and his buddy Jeff who has seen the Grateful Dead well over 250 times. It was only his second show (he caught them last year at Nassau). He seemed to enjoy Bathtub Gin ad Free, which was the highlight of the first set. He said one of the funniest things to me that I ever heard at a Phish show. "How the hell are some of these kids so dirty? They’re not old enough to get that dirty." He was referring to the collection of kids I refer to as "crusties" or as some other Phisheads like to call them, "wookies". At one point I was sitting next to a couple of kids (two girls & two guys) from the North Shore of Long Island. They were all sixteen. One of the guys asked me to by him and his girlfriend beers at setbreak. They insisted that they weren’t driving, so I did a good deed and bought them some beers. They were super happy and loved me the rest of the night. It was funny because I saw my first Grateful Dead show before they were born. Am I getting old? Geez. They were two when I saw my first Phish show (10.26.89). I know what you are thinking, and get your mind out of the gutter!! I would never pick up a sixteen-year old Phishy chick at a show. They have rules and laws against that sort of behavior (thank goodness). Next up… Philly! Tube to open??

Friday, November 28, 2003

Phish Tour Begins...

In less than 12 hours, the new Phish tour will kick off and I'm pumped for four shows (Nassau, Philly, Albany & Boston) over the next few days.

Top 5 Songs I Want to Hear Phish Open With...
1. Punch You in the Eye
2. Tube
3. Split Open & Melt
4. Carini
5. Makisupa Policeman

Top 5 Cover Songs I Want to Hear Phish Play...
1. Loving Cup
2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
3. Shakedown Street (never played)
4. Rock & Roll
5. Cross-Eyed & Painless

Tao of Poker vs. Tao of Pauly

Tao of Poker more famous than the Tao of Pauly!?!?!

One of my newest blogs is getting an insane amount of web traffic. The Tao of Poker is a blog for poker-related stuff, in addition to analyzing my poker play, tournaments, and multiple visits to Las Vegas, Foxwoods, and/or Atlantic City. Tao of Poker has grown in popularity over the last few months since its inception in August. As some of you know, high-stakes poker is sweeping the nation. It will be a matter of time before major poker events will be shown weekly on prime time TV.

Anyway, in the last month, more and more websites have linked up the Tao of Poker, which is the main reason for the heavy amount of hits. I am worried that the Tao of Poker will be visited more than the Tao of Pauly. The poker blog already gets more hits than Truckin'.... more people rather read poker exploits, than read fiction or travel stories... even though I'm a better writer than poker player!!

Most of the web traffic is international. This past week, Poker Portal, a British site just linked me up and of course Guinness  Poker (whom I think the webmaster, Ignatius, is either Irish or British... I could be wrong?) linked me up last month. At any rate, due to the new linkange... at least one Tao blog has reached a bigger audience.

I'm sad that Truckin' is not as popular as the rest of them. I put the most amount of man-hours into Truckin' as a showcase for short stories and hoped that would draw the majority of traffic. Oh well. Poker is in. Fiction and good writing is not.

In case you were wondering about my next poker adventure, I'll stop off at Foxwoods on my way home from the Phish concert in Boston next Tuesday night. Then I'll be flying out in Las Vegas in two weeks to play poker with my brother.
Affleck's Gambling Caused Temporary Split with J.Lo... gotta love the Hollywood gossip rags.

Here's a bit: "Affleck's recent gambling binge infuriated his fiancee so much, she reportedly ordered him to leave their home. J.Lo only decided to reconcile with the Daredevil hunk after her mum Guadalupe - who pals claim adores the actor - intervened and encouraged her to forgive him... ources close to the couple, allege their romance remains in crisis, because Lopez is struggling to cope with Affleck's "destructive" addictions. One says, "Jennifer was very upset by the celebrity gambling tournament Ben did last month in Las Vegas. "She feels he just gives up one addiction for another and it is destructive behavior. In a strong moment, she told him to move out of her (L.A.) house." But just a week later, Lopez was back with Affleck and planning a poker tournament - thanks to Guadalupe's intervention. An insider adds, "Ben got Guadalupe involved and used the whole, 'Your mother wants to go gamble, too, ' card on her. Jennifer lost her nerve and they are back together again, but it is very tumultuous. Guadalupe loves Ben. She thinks the sun rises and sets on him. Anytime Jennifer has doubts, her mother lets loose on her and tells her Ben is just the best thing that ever happened to her."

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving NFL Best Bets

I got the experts together and they announced their best bets for today's games:

Zobo: Green Bay - 7
Rib Boy: Green Bay -7
Chicago Bob: Detroit +7
Tao of Pauly: Detroit +7 and Dallas -3
Jodd: Green Bay -7 and Miami +3
Dark Star Orchestra

DSO is the greatest Grateful Dead cover band... ever. Not only do they play the Grateful Dead's music... they play entire Grateful Dead concerts... as they were originally played 25 years ago!! They were in town and played three shows at Irving Plaza from Monday thru last night. Here are the setlists from all of the shows.

Mon, 11.24.03 at Irving Plaza, NYC, NY
Performing 11/21/1973 Coliseum, Denver, CO (Donna Show)
Set 1: Me & My Uncle, Sugaree, Jack Straw, Big Railroad Blues, Mexicali, TLEO, Looks Like Rain, Here Comes Sunshine, Big River, Brokedown Palace, WRS Prelude > WRS Part 1 > Let It Grow
Set 2: Miss. Half Step > Playin' > El Paso > Playin > Wharf Rat > Playin' > Morning Dew > Truckin' > Nobody's Fault > GDTRFB > Saturday Night
Encore: Uncle John's Band
Filler: Greatest Story Ever Told

Tue, 11.25.03 at Irving Plaza, NYC, NY
Performing 5/15/1977 Arena, St. Louis, MO (Donna Show)
Set 1: Bertha > Good Lovin, Row Jimmy, Minglewood, Tennessee Jed, Lazy Lightning > Supplication, Jack A Roe, Passenger, Brown Eyed Women, Dancin'
Set 2: Estimated > Eyes > Drums > Samson, Ship Of Fools, St. Stephen > Iko Iko > NFA > Sugar Magnolia
Encore: Uncle John's Band
Filler: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider

Wed, 11.26.03 at Irving Plaza, NYC, NY
Performing 9/15/1982 Capital Centre, Landover, MD
Set 1: Playin' > Crazy Fingers > Rooster, Dupree's Diamond Blues > BIODTL, Must Have Been the Roses > Let it Grow > Day Job
Set 2: Shakedown Street > Sailor > Saint > Drums > NFA > Stella Blue > Around > Good Lovin'
Encore: Touch of Grey
Filler: Tom Thumb's Blues, Hey Pocky Way
In Your Dreams, Buddy is an article written by Hunter S. Thompson and appears on
Knicks Win 3rd Straight... Winning Streak?

The NY Knicks topped Latrell Sprewell and the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-92 last night in Minnesota. The Knicks have now won three straight games and find themselves only one game out of first place.

LT's Game Plan... Send in the Hookers!

NY Giant's Great Lawrence Taylor admitted he sent hookers to opposing players the night before a big game. Here's a bit: "Taylor was the NFL's most feared defender for more than a decade - even though he admits he was hooked on cocaine and crack for much of it."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Mr. Dickhead Lives on the Web!!!

Mr. Dickhead has been the subject of my latest flog: Mr. Dickhead. Check him out!!

And while you are at, visit: My Paintings Gallery.
Showdown at the Sands

More poker on TV! Action from Atlantic City will be televised on FOX Sports on Thanksgiving Day starting at 12:30 pm thru 6:30 pm, with the Final Table action starting at 5:30 pm. FOX Sports will re-air the early rounds at 8pm. Check your local listings for more info.
Top 5 Phish Songs I DO NOT Want to Hear at Nassau...

1. Scents & Subtle Sounds
2. Bouncin' Around the Room
3. The Squirming Coil
4. Chalkdust Torture
5. Waste
Galactic NY Times Review

Check out: Funk That Shows Off By Holding Back is written by John Pareles.

Here's a bit: "Most jam bands live for the chance to mix up genres and charge off on improvisational tangents. Galactic, a band from New Orleans that played two sets at Roseland on Friday night, isn't one of them. Its songs have a more utilitarian goal: to get people dancing. A Galactic song that starts out as a funk tune stays that way all the way through, keeping the groove steady and the structure obvious. Galactic accepts the discipline of funk: the repetition and deliberate space that give the music its solidity and swing. The musicians show off by restraining themselves."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I Miss the Daily Dave!

Where's Simanoff? It's been over two months since Skippy was forced to take down his old blog by the stiff arm of the foul smelling, thought censoring, anti-blogger policeforce, otherwise known as "the Man". The Daily Dave is no more!! Not being able to read the dribblings of Tampa's most infamous blogger is like having your favorite TV show canceled without notice. What if Friends wasn't on anymore (including reruns!)? Or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Or the freakin O.C.??? It's hard not being able to read about your favorite blogger. Like how Girtz reads the Tao of Pauly 3 times a day... so too did I read the Daily Dave, like clockwork. Everyday, I habitually click on the Daily Dave link and I get nowhere... like an old war veteran who tried to scratch an itch on a leg that's no longer there.

Skippy, I know you are out there and you read my blog, drop me a line!!
Top 5 Phish Songs I'd Like to Hear at Nassau...

1. Makisupa Policeman
2. I Saw It Again
3. Foam
4. Peaches
5. Carini

I'm getting pumped. The next Phish show is just 76 hours away from starting...


November 2003 (Vol 2., Issue 11)

I just posted the new issue of your favorite blogzine. This month, there are excerpts from two new NaNoWriMo novels: The Blind Kangaroo and Mona LaVigne submitted a selection from The Wild Side. This month features a Barcelona story from Haley Slovin. Also, I returned with a scary Subway story and a tale about my junkie days in Atlanta... Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Subway Stalker: Part I by Tenzin McGrupp
At the 23rd Street stop, she exited the train. I was headed for lower Manhattan, but I decided to follow her instead. I waited, and as the doors were about to close, I jumped off... More

2. Confessions of a Donut Junkie, Part I by Tenzin McGrupp
Every time that I visited that particular D & D, I was inebriated; drunk, stoned, tripping, hopped up on ephedrine, or all of the above. We showed up at all hours... More

3. The Blind Kangaroo by Tenzin McGrupp
I imagined Adriana sipping a huge fruity cocktail in a trendy L.A. bar like Little Pedro’s Blue Bongo with a slew of other assistants, all worn out from a long day of being a lap dog to the stars, sharing their bad days and ranting about their famous employers... More

4. The Wild Side by Mona LaVigne
Lorna went to work the following evening, and after her first stage routine, two main floor lap dances, and one ten minute back room private dance, she had a back back room adventure with a young guy... More

5. Gaudy Barcelona by Haley Slovin
The backbone of activity in Barcelona was the Rambla, a long pedestrian walkway which ran through the center of town. It hosted a multitude of newspaper stands, bookstalls, and flower stands... More

Monday, November 24, 2003

Twins & Sisters... Happy Belated B-day to the Bush Twins! Which leads me to have a brand new Top 5!

Top 5 Sisters Who I Want to Party With...
1. Paris & Nicky Hilton
2. The Bush Twins
3. The Barbie Twins
4. Charlotte & Emily Bronte
5. The Olsen Twins

College Basketball Preview

Last year I did not get to watch too much college basketball due to the long hours on Wall Street that I logged. My viewing was limited to highlights, just as Chris Capolongo admitted to me the other night, “I don’t watch basketball… but I watch Sportscenter.” I did poorly in the College Basketball Season Pool. But I got hot in the March Madness Tourney. I hit some big bets in Las Vegas and I ended up winning (my first pool) the Pauly’s Pub March Madness Cash Pool. I guess you can say that I started out slow last year and peaked just at the right time.

Alas a decade a go, a twenty-year old Pauly living in Atlanta, was unable to lead the Emory Eagles to a berth in the Division III basketball playoffs. A bum knee and a chronic drinking problem was my excuse, and Emory ended up under .500. Ten years later, I hope to make a difference. If I can’t play on a winning team… maybe I could pick a winning team. This year, I did a little research. I read a few magazines and I talked to a slew of college basketball experts and I have compiled the Tao of Pauly’s Top 10 Preseason Rankings. Enjoy.

1. North Carolina
3. Duke
4. Missouri
5. Kentucky
6. Gonzaga
7. Michigan State
8. Florida
9. Illinois
10. Texas

Teams to watch: St. Joe’s, Providence & Manhattan

1. North Carolina: This year the Tar Heels added legendary coach Roy Williams to the mix, hoping to return to the NCAA tournament after a 6-10 record in ACC play last season. Sean May, a sophomore power forward, broke his foot last year and the Heels did not recover from his injury. His return will mean a strong inside presence to compliment the excellent outside shooting touch of Rashad McCants and the quickness of point guard Raymond Felton, whom many say might be the best point guard in the country. Jawad Williams averaged 15 ppg last season from the small forward spot and will have to step up this year.

2. UCONN: Everyone picked them to be #1, so I decided to shy away from the consensus. However, Emeka Okafor is the real deal. He might be the best legit center in the country and led the nation in shot blocking last year. Junior Ben Gordon (19.5 points last year) is one of my favorite players and can score from anywhere on the court. With all five starters returning, the Huskies could be a lock for a Final Four bid, especially after they signed a blue chip high schooler, a 6’10” power forward named Charlie Villanueva.

3. Duke: I’m a UNC fan. It’s hard for me to actually pick Duke this high, but after I put all the bad blood aside, I looked at their schedule, roster, and new recruits, and I can’t argue with the facts… Duke will go to the Final Four. Luol Deng was overshadowed last year by another high school phenom called LeBron James. The 6’8” Deng was the second best high school player in the country and opted for Duke instead of the NBA. He’ll slide into the power forward slot joining a team with 4 returning starters. Deng’s a journeyman at 18, after fleeing civil war in the Sudan, his family was chased out of Egypt, and then moved to London, before he attended a prep school in New Jersey. Shooting guard JJ Redick is ready to light it up as one of the best shooters in the ACC. Chris Duhon, the senior point guard, hopes to lead Duke to another ACC title.

4. Missouri: I like teams with returning starters. Missouri has four, led by senior forward Rickey Paulding's (17.4 ppg) shooting and senior center Arthur Johnson's (9.6 rebounding average) stellar post play. Paulding is one of the best scorers in the country after he improved his three point shooting (he nailed 9 in a NCAA tournament game last year). He is also a tenacious defender and started on the 4th place US Mean’s hoops team at the Pan Am Games this past summer. Missouri is one of the deepest teams in the country, with last year’s NCAA’s leading scorer Jason Conely (a transfer from VMI with 29.3 ppg) coming off the bench.

5. Kentucky: When Kentucky wins the NCAA tourney, the Yankees win the World Series. I was hoping Kentucky would have won last year (I picked them to go all the way) because the Yanks would have beaten the Fish last month. Alas, Kentucky returns three starters including Chuck Hayes, a short guy with a big heart, who will have to step it up this year. He is a solid rebounder and reminds me of Elton Brand. Gerald Fitch will have to improve his scoring and point guard Cliff Hawkins must keep his turnovers down, and keep those assist totals up.

6. Gonzaga: The Zags return three starters from last year’s 24-9 team. Point guard Blake Stepp averaged over 18 points last year and will be leading a deep team with a tough schedule. Center Cory Violette led the team in rebounding and power forward Ronny Turiaf (15.6 ppg) might go pro at the end of the season. If they can win some tough games this year, they’ll be a favorite to make the Final Four.

7. Michigan State: I would have picked them higher, but earlier this weekend, the Spartans almost got upset by lowly Bucknell (sorry Derek, I didn’t mean to tool on your alma mata). A close loss like that scares me. A lot of experts picked MSU to go to the Final Four. Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches around. Chris Hill is one of the best shooters in the Big Ten. He can do it all. Freshman Brandon Cotton, a McDonalds All-American, will see some time at point.

8. Florida: Gotta love any team that Billy “The Kid” Donavon coaches. They Gators bulked up this season. Power forward David Lee improved his shooting range in the off-season and added 20 pounds of muscle (and dropped 4% in body fat). The Gators added freshman Chris Richard (Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida) to help solidify a front line that got pushed around last year. Point guard Anthony Roberson might have the best one-on-one game in the SEC. He’ll be a factor for sure especially if you can’t stop his drives to the basket

9. Illinois: Who? Dee Brown. Get used to that name. He’s the leading scorer for the Illini and might be the quickest player in the country. Just a sophomore, he’ll be looking to improve on a second round NCAA tourney loss. Although they lost their coach Bill Self to Kansas, the Illini are expected to do well in the Big Ten with the deepest backcourt around. Deron Williams and freshman shooter Richard McBride will also lead the way.

10. Texas: With four returning starters (Buckman, Thomas, Mounton & Ivey) the Longhorns will be looking to return to the Final Four. They lost the quick and agile T.J. Ford, but the future of Texas lies on the shoulders of Brandon Mouton, who dropped 25 points in a loss to eventual champion Syracuse last year. James Thomas is one of the best rebounders in the country and they’re going to need his Windex wiping ability of they want to hold off some solid teams in the Big 12.

Teams to watch…

St. Joesph’s: Phil Martelli is a nut! And he’s one of my favorite coaches. I picked them to go to the Sweet 16 and they got knocked out in the first round by lowly Auburn. Their backcourt returns led by point guard Lameer Nelson and Delonte West who averaged 38 combined points last year.

Providence: With Senior guard Abdul Mills returning from a hip injury, look out. He can shoot and will join forward Ryan Gomes who should average a double-double this year.

Manhattan: The Jaspers should win the MAAC with NYC’s best scorer, senior Luis Flores, who dropped almost 25 points a game last year. He can light it up.
Emory Ranked 18th!

It's that time of year again, when US News & World Report announces their top colleges and universities. Sometimes their data is skewed. Some colleges pay them off to get a higher ranking. But over all, I think that they are somewhat accurate since they determine the ranking based on several factors. Anyway... Emory University was ranked 18th! You can check out the complete list at: America's Best Colleges 2004.
Bar Hopping with Buddha

I changed the name of my new novel. I scrapped the old Britney Spears title... and settled on something slightly more religious: Bar Hopping with Buddha. I am almost done... about 80% complete. I can't wait to finish this project. It is my worst novel to date... and I am determined to keep writing until I reach my goal of 50K words.
5 Phish Songs I'd Like to Hear at Nassau...

1. Ghost
2. My Friend, My Friend
3. Halley's Comet
4. Two Versions of Me
5. Gumbo
Senor & Foxwoods

Senor wanted to go to Foxwoods on Tuesday to play poker. It's terrible timing for me... with two Dark Star Orchestra shows the next two nights, in addition to writing the last stretch of the new novel and posting the new issue of Truckin', it looks like it might not happen... unless I can finish up the new novel this afternoon. I really want to go play Hold'em, after I got fired up from watching some poker yesterday. On Sunday afternoon, ESPN2 hosted a marathon veiwing of the 2003 World Series of Poker and I caught a British poker tournament on FOX Sports, which was hosted by Howard Lederer.

Oh, by the way... November Truckin' will be out this week! Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. The Holy Bible
2. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
3. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
4. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
5. The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox
Girtz Day at Dublin

Last night Girtz gathered a couple of his close friends for a celebration of his 30th year on Earth. It was a low-key, but intimate party at Dublin on Hudson Street in the West Village. Girtz described it as an Irish pub with "Cross-channel" food. I never drank at Dublin before, but I knew it was nearby the Whitehorse Tavern, a place I used to drink at many years ago. I got to see a lot of familiar faces that I had not seen in a long time, like Orange, Chris C., and Elite. Of course all of the original 1J cast and crew were present (Gil, Spider, Jimmy & Chris). And Lou "DLJ" Smith and Shemper made token appearances to round out the evening. Shemper and his fiancee came up from DC for the party. He told me that he reads the Tao all the time, but had never seen his name in print. Well, Shemper... so far in this blog, I got you three times!

One of the funniest quotes from the night was from Chris C.: "Life is like a movie... except it's a lot fucking slower."

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Galactic in NYC!

I caught Galactic last night at Roseland Ballroom. I dunno how many times I have seen Galactic, but I estimate my attendance was somewhere in the mid-50s... I've seen them more than the Grateful Dead (46 shows), but not as much as Widespread Panic (56 shows). Since my first Galactic show in 1998 in Seattle, there was only one other band I have seen more than Galactic in the last six years... Phish, of course.

Galactic was out on tour to support their new CD Ruckus, their fourth studio album (and it's short, just 44 minutes) produced by the infamous Dan “the automater” Nakamura. Most of the show was devoted to the tracks on Ruckus, and they did an excellent job transforming the well mixed songs into a live show.

The first set was smoking, with only a few lulls. I notcied that Jeff Raines had busted out an acoustic guitar on a lot of the new songs. I do not have a complete setlist, but they played most of Ruckus: Doomed, Truth Is Out, Never Called You Crazy, Bongo Joe, Moil, Gypsy Fade, Mercamon, The Beast, Bittersweet, Uptown Odyssey, Paint, Kid Kenner, and All Behind You Now.

The Houseman (was pimping in a sleek gold suit) broke out a heavy funk-riddled Villified in the first set. The female vocalist, Ms. Teedy Boutte, looked snazzy in a pink top and purple velvet pants with a fur ball scarf/boa around her neck. She has been on the entire Ruckus tour, since she appeared on background vocals for a bunch of the songs. A New Orleans legend, she sung solo on a delicious Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover). Galactic closed the first set with one of my favorite tunes: Shibuya, and of course Stanton Moore was jumping up and down on his drum kit during the ending to that song. For the encore, Ms. Boutte came back out and they sang a sizzling cover of Led Zepplin's A Whole Lotta Love (minus the Houseman).

Galactic is known to offer up a multi-media format to its concerts. Last year, there were these painters who painted on a huge canvas behind the stage while the concert was ongoing. I was totally into that because I used to paint to music all the time... and especially to Galactic. This year, the painting was replaced by a huge movie screen and various images, short films, and cartoons were being played during the concert, featuring visual design artistry created by Andrew Wade Smith. The show opened up with Evil Kenieval doing some dangerous jumps and stunts.

Now, of course I forgot to talk about Stanton Moore the drummer for Galactic and the cosmic glue that keeps the band together. Just like how I always thought the Grateful Dead was "Jerry and 5 guys" and how Phish was "Trey and 3 guys"... Galactic is all Stanton Moore and 5 other guys. I hate to say that, and no disrespect to the other band members, but Stanton Moore is Galactic. I have said this once before, and I'll say it again. Stanton Moore is not from this planet. His birth certificate says "Metarie, Louisiana", but we all know better. Stanton is an alien. And I love watching him play. He is my favorite drummer and I will say this: he is the best drummer alive today. Watching him every night must have been what it was like to watch Willie Mays play baseball everyday.

Talib Kweli opened up for Galactic. I had not seen the hip-hopper from Brooklyn in concert before and he had a lot of energy. For the most part, the show was not sold out and that might have been the thinnest crowd I had seen at a Galactic show in New York City. Maybe it's the economy, or maybe some hardcore fans did not like Ruckus and did not want to pay to see a show devoted to playing nearly the entire new CD. I'm not a huge fan of the Roseland Ballroom. In some places the sound is shotty and the security are first-rate assholes. Some of the best Galactic shows I saw in NYC were either at Bowery Ballroom or at Irving Plaza, much smaller venues with better sound. Ironically, security was not a problem for me at the show. I was able to break the law without any hassles.

Overall, it was one of the better Galactic shows I had seen in some time. The addition of Ms. Boutte was a nice element and I hope they keep her for good.

Galactic started a nice run of live music for me... next up are two Dark Star Orchestra shows at Irving Plaza next week, and of course Phish tour (4 shows) starts in 6 days! Followed up by two Phil Lesh and Phriends shows at the Beacon Theatre. I'm very pleased with my music schedule!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Phish is on the cover of Relix

Check out this month's issue of: Relix. There's an article about 20 years of Phish... Here are some random excerpts: “It’s so easy to get stuck,” (Mike) Gordon says as he lounges on a couch in his Manhattan apartment, “either in terms of your image, or your situation, which has gotten locked in since you were eighteen. You start to ask yourself, Am I even a human, or am I just the bass player from Phish? And even in terms of being in Phish - in the jamband community that’s cool, but over the years a lot of the music industry in general has thought that we’re a stupid band.”

He’s just beginning to build up steam. “And I’m the guy who writes the songs that have been silly, or tongue-in-cheek, over the years,” he continues. “I make these movies that are off-the-wall and weird. So am I just a huge joke? I know I have deep feelings about all kinds of things, so is it a joke that I’m doing such light-hearted stuff? So there’s a line, and you can teeter-totter on it very easily: You can see yourself as a successful, creative person, or as a joke. Being ‘the guy from Phish’ can be like that. It’s the most respectable or most stupid thing that you can be.”

The realities of life in the band weren’t always merry either. “Over the years there have been times when I’ve been butting heads with Trey,” (Page) McConnell says. “Or Mike and Trey were. And I suppose those conflicts still do happen. But you have to have some methods of resolving those things. You have to appreciate the greater good and realize that there is something we get from Phish that we don’t get anywhere else. Trey, Mike and I doing our own bands has helped us see how unique Phish is.”

New Title...

I need a new title to the novel I'm crrently writing. As much as I like: Oops I Did It Again! The Confessions of a Britney Spears Stalker... it's too long and I need something that packs a bigger punch. I am open to your suggestions. Please e-mail me your ideas for my new title. Thanks...
Happy Birthday, Girtz!!

Today is Girtz's b-day. Girtz is the self acclaimed Tao of Pauly's most frequent reader! Thanks for checking out the site (three times daily) and turning on the Tao to new readers! You can send Girtz b-day greetings: Here!
5 Songs I'd Like to Hear Phish Play in Nassau...

1. Slave to the Traffic Light
2. Waves
3. The Wedge
4. Strange Design
5. Thunderhead

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Happy Belated Birthday, Boogie! I did the same thing last year! Missed it by one day!!
Pieces of Pauly

Back by popular demand! Which means that Modeski and Jerry have been asking me about... poundcake!

What did I eat yesterday? For breakfast, I ate two slices of Pepperridge Farm cinnamon toast with extra butter. My lunch consisted of a Snapple iced tea and a tuna salad sandwich (with Provolone cheese) with chips. For an afternoon snack (in between writing sessions), I ate 2 slices of pound cake!!! Finally, I ate a potato knish and 1.5 hotdogs at Liebman's Kosher Deli in Riverdale for dinner.
Oops I Did It Again! The Confessions of a Britney Spears Stalker is going smoothly. I reached 15,000K words which means I'm almost 1/3 done! I will try to give another excerpt later today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum
2. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
3. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman
4. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
5. Anna Karenina (in Russian) by Leo Tolstoy
Am I Turning Into a Pervert? is an article written by Hunter S. Thompson for

Here's a bit: "That is the Cruelty of these morbid times we live in. Professional football is not the only pillar of Faith that is crumbling all around us, as we stumble nervously into this new and merciless century. Even our world-famous Military power is visibly failing us. If we get chased out of Iraq with our tail between our legs, that will be the fifth consecutive Third-world country with no hint of a Navy or an Air Force to have whipped us in the past 40 years."
Providence & Foxwoods... a Sunday Roadtrip

I woke up a late. I was up all Saturday and Saturday night writing my new novel. And sometimes, when I get in the swing of things, I loose time. I passed out a little late and woke up very late! Anyway, there was no hassles renting a car, and no traffic leaving the city. I took the "back-way" thru Connecticut (The Hutch to the Merrit Parkways), avoiding as much of I-95 as possible. I hooked up with Gil and Spider (who left an hour earlier from Brooklyn and I found out I was a good 20 minutes ahead of them). I stopped at the Visitor's Center in Rhode Island and drove the last 40 miles into Providence with them. We got there just past 11am.

I had not been back to Senor's house since this June. They were still renovating and it looked like it was in pieces. I got to see some old fraternity brothers from Emory... like Lou and Parker, and of course Gittler was there with Senor's brother Jay. I had not seen Girtz in the longest time, and it was good to catch up. And of course Lee Fenster made an appearance!

We got to meet Jodd and Ang and see Senor's apartment downstairs. Gil took some pictures of Jodd and I shot some footage. I was flattered to see all of my paintings hung up all over his place.

The food was great (I loved the mini Black & White cookies). I drank a few mimosas before the Bris started. Normally, I don't drink on days I'm going to play poker in a casino... but I knew the event would be a little tough on the stomach, so I decided I would need two drinks to take the edge off. I got a good seat close by and I noticed that a lot of people did not want to be up front. It was a little disturbing sometimes, but I had detached myself from the actual event, in order to fully experience the entire Bris. I did not want my emotions to get the best of me, while I was objectively trying to figure out what was going on. As a Catholic, I never attended a Bris before. I got to wear a kippa (thanks to Fenster who helped me pick one out) and I did not video tape the event. I heard you could not and I felt it was in poor taste anyway.

The most difficult part came moments before the actual "cutting". Jodd is the chillest kid I have ever met and he had no clue what was about to happen, and that's what made me uncomfortable. I got to see how Jodd wore the same kippa for his Bris that Senor and both his brothers wore. It was a tradition, this ceremony, and I kept telling myself that. I watched the Rabbi carefully, how he read some passages in Hebrew. Senor had to hold Jodd during the ceremony and he did a good job, even when Jodd cried. It must have hurt for sure. And while the Rabbi was cutting away, I wish I had downed another Mimosa.

Some of my friends were squeamish. A couple of them (names withheld) suggested that they would not follow tradition with a Bris (seven or eight days after birth) and have the circumcision done in the hospital (like what happened to me... but then again, I was raised Catholic). I thought that was weird, but they were being honest.

Everyone enjoyed the great food spread afterwards, although Jay was making fun of the "cost cutter" brands of generic soda.

I got to talk to Senor's Uncle Ed... or UE as he's called by the Sheer clan. EU introduced me to one of his friends as "the guy who played high school basketball against Kenny Anderson". I was slightly embarrassed. No one had brought that up in many years! My glory days as a high school basketball star were long gone, and those memories are almost fifteen years old! But I got to tell the story and it was fun.

Senor's Mom loved the two books that I got for Jodd. I gave the little fellow my favorite books: Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish.

I stayed a little late, after everyone left and took some more footage of Jodd while we wtached some of the football game. I drove Jay to the airport and made my way to Foxwoods Casino.

Foxwoods was buzzing. It was the off-day of the big tournament: The World Poker Finals. It started on Thursday and the final table was slated for Monday night (last night... and Phil Helmuth lost to an unklnown, who pocketed $1 Million in prize money). Anyway, I suspected that some big players might be in the poker room. As soon I sat down at a $2-4 Hold'em table, the players were all talking about Chris Moneymaker... the 2003 WSoP champion (He won $2.5 Million). He sat just two table away, playing Pot Limit Hold'em. One of the young ladies at my table kept saying, "He's so small! He looked so big on TV!" Just like everyone else, we all saw Moneymaker on ESPN's extensive coverage of the 2003 World Series of Poker (which was played in May, but aired all summer on ESPN & ESPN2). One of the last times I played at Foxwoods, everyone was buzzing because Ben Affleck played Pot Limit and was giving free money away to players who didn't have enough cash for the buy-in, just so he could get a high stakes game. I did not have enough cash to sit in with Moneymaker. If I did, I probably would have lost it all, but I would have walked away with a great story: "I got to play with a champion..."

Anyway, how did I play? Not so good. I dropped $190 in 8 hours. I was up $100 in the first hour and it was all downhill from there. Why? As always, I played too many hands and on a couple big pots I lost on a few bad beats.

But I had some good hands. In the first ten minutes I sat down, I found myself on the button. I decided that I would aggressive play my position all night, and weakly play my blinds. Anyway, I found a 10-9 off suit on the button. It was definitely playable. Of course the flop comes out 10-10-9. Holy shit... I flopped a fucking full house!! There were 5 other people in on the hand. No one raised, and I smooth-called. I didn't want to raise to knock people out, nor to give away my hand. On the turn, two people stayed in and I raised to $8. They both called and on the river I raised to $8, I got re-raised and one guy dropped. I re-raised the guy and he called. I turned over my full house and his straight was not good enough to win. A young woman nearby said, "I can't believe you didn't jump out of your seat after the flop!" She was watching me the entire time, and I carefully diguised my hand. I tried to play it cool and it worked. It was one of the best plays I ever made in low limit, and unfortunately, it was my only good play all night.

A few hands later, I flopped a flush. And I found myself up $100. Later in the night I saw Oklahoma Johnny... he's a legend in the poker world. He started the Senior Tour and was hosting tht Senior's tourney at Foxwoods. He sat down with a young woman (whom I thought was his grand daughter... but it was his daughter). He was her coach and he didn't play. She wore a fuzzy hat and explained that she "was from Las Vegas and was not used to the cold weather in Connecticut." I sensed that she was prepping to hustle us, so I avoided going heads up with her in any hand. I read some of Oklahoma Johhny's book (which I didn't tell her, nor him). I knew that he preached that you should muck your first fifty hands when you sit down at a game... even if you get a good hand. His theory is that you get used to your surroundings, and get to see what type of players you are playing against. After an hour, and looking at his daughter's stack, I realized that she was doing exactly what he wrote about. She didn't play too many hands. Her father was one of the greatest poker minds of all time, and I made her for a player, even though she insisted she was just starting out. I even read some of her mother's articles on various poker sites. Poker was in her blood and I avoided the shark, which didn't matter because I was getting schooled all night by everyone else.

I got beat badly on pokcet Kings. I kept raising everytime I bet and the kid next to me kept calling. I knew he was on a draw. He eneded up catching a full house on the river and yes, I was wicked pissed. I took Brad Singer's advice... "if you lose on an extremely bad beat, get up and walk away." It was 4am and I played for over eight hours. I watched some of Moneymaker's game before I ate a slice of cheesecake. I left Foxwoods around 4:30am and drove back into the city to return the rental car.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Moneymaker at Foxwoods

I saw the World Series of Poker Champion, Chris Moneymaker, at Foxwoods Casino earlier this morning. When I left around 4:30 am, Moneymaker was playing Pot Limit Hold'em just two tables away. I heard Phil Hellmuth was playing blackjack nearby.
Sleepy Pauly!

After getting up very early Sunday to drive up to Providence for Jodd Day... I'm exhasuted! I arrived in Rhode Island around 11am and stayed until 6pm. I got to Foxwoods by 7pm and played $2-4 Texas Hold'em until 4am. I got a slice of cheesecake before I left! Then I made a tough, but safe drive from Connecticut, back to NYC to return my rental car on the West Side. I tried to write for a little bit this morning and passed out. I was hoping to write tonight and blog about my trip up to Rhode Island and my night at Foxwoods (highlighted by meeting Moneymaker)... but alas, I need some shut eye. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 14, 2003

Top 5 Phish Songs I'd Like to Hear in Nassau...

1. Tube
2. MoMA Dance
3. Mexican Cousin
4. Cross-Eyed & Painless
5. Mike's Song

Phish tour starts in... two weeks!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Last 5 Blogs of Note...

Here are some blogs I recently stumbled upon:

1. Guinness & Poker is "an exercise in drinking Guinness and flopping the nuts on Party Poker," and skillfuly run by a poker player named Ignatius. I've been visitng his blog a lot this past week! Somehow he found my blog: Tao of Poker and he linked me up. It was cool to randomly stumble upon his site and see one of my sites in his links!

2. Snotty French Place is about "the life of a Hostess in a NYC French restaurant", run by a woman named Sophie.

3. Awful Plastic Surgery is "the good, bad, and ugly of celebrity plastic surgery". I dunno who runs it, but it's hilarious.

4. Photo Diary is the "day to day musings, pictures and prose, the diary of Mir, where anything goes!" The blog is run by a woman from England named Miriam, who posts pics she took.

5. The Emory Vanguard is where "College Kids Avoid the Unexamined Life..." and run by a guy named Adam, an Emory student. Gotta love blogs from my alma mata!
The Truth About the Green River Killer is a haunting article written by Silja J.A. Talvi about the nation's worst captured serial killer Gary Ridgway who copped to over 48 murders of woman in the Seattle area.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. Engaging Men by Lynda Curnyn
2. Beach: Stories by the Sand and Sea by Lena Lencek
3. The Holy Bible
4. Giant Tales from Wales by Brenda Wyn Jonesby
5. The Great Pretender by Millenia Black
Tao fo Jessica Alba?

Since it's Jessica day today, I thought I'd share the cover of Maxim Magazine this month. I was happy to see the healine, "The Tao of Jessica Alba... Delicious!" when I saw the new issue. Hubba, Hubba!
1940 Penny!

It was old, dirty, and crusty with rust. But I got a 1940, old school penny yesterday. I almost missed it, grouped togther in a pile of change I got from a bodega.

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

Today is Jessica's B-day! Be sure to read an excerpt of her NaNo novel. She changed the title to: The Wild Side.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo = Complete!

Yes, it's true. I finished my third novel!! You can visit the NaNo site to see the final word count: at 53,000 + words. I won NaNaWriMo for a second straight year.

Please visit the official blog for: The Blind Kangaroo. The site is brand new! Check back for more updates.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo!

As I reached the last stage of writing The Blind Kanagroo, I slowed down my web time and the blogs, as you can see. I'll be back soon!

If you'd like to see an updated word count and read a new excerpt, visit: The Blind Kangaroo. I have three different excerpts posted to the NaNoWriMo site. I'll definitely be finished by the end of this week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

NFL Best Bets Week 10

Pick of the Week
Chicago Bob (4-4-1): Miami +5 over Tenn
Rib Boy (5-4): Minny -6 over San Diego
Tao of Pauly (4-5): Indy -6 over the Jags
Zobo (1-0): NY Jets -3 over Oakland

Last Week: Zobo started out 1-0 when Philly beat Atlanta. Bob and Indy proved right, while last week both the Rams and Carolina failed to cover for Rib Boy and myself.

Week 8: Rib Boy likes Minnesota and Indy. Bob likes Miami and Cincy - 5 1/2. Zobo likes the Jets in Oakland. He's got no respect for Rick Mirer! I like Indy and the Seachickens -3. My Parlay of the Week is: NY Giants -10 1/2, the Seachickens, Minny and Indy.

Rib Boy's Beating of the Week (1-6): Kansas City to whoop on Cleveland

Tao of Pauly Upset of the Week (1-6): Cleveland!! Sorry, Rib Boy but I finally got one right last weekend, after I told you to take New Orleans and the points against Tampa. This week it's KC is losing their first game!

Chronically Blunted Update: We won our second game of the season and won Team of the Week (a $50 Bonus!) with the highest point total (129.5 points) for Week 9 in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League! Thank you Santana Moss and your 3 TDs!!
A little wrangler was born...  Jodd, was born this morning exactly at 1:00 AM in Providence, Rhode Island at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. After nearly a full day of labor, Jodd was born just past midnight. Senor called me at 2:30 AM (his time) and told me the good news. The mother, Ang, is recovering very well. Congrats to everyone!
In related news, the winner of the Little Senor Pool is.... me! The winning date was Nov 9 @ 11:18 AM. I edged out my brother Derek (Nov 8) and Jerry (Nov 11 & 12). Oh yeah! I barely won by an hour! Thanks goes out to Sheer's wife, Ang, who held out the extra hour, just so I could win the pool!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Breaking News... Little Senor Day?

Senor called me from the hospital in Providence, just a few seconds ago. He said that he took Ang in this morning (after her water broke) and they are awaiting the birth of their baby, Jodd! He wanted to know who had today and tomorrow in the pool. I just checked The Little Senor Pool and it looks like Derek has a great chance of winning $44 if the baby comes sometime today! He picked Nov 8th at 4:20 PM. I picked Nov 9th at 11:18 AM. D'oh! Stay tuned for more details!!

Friday, November 07, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo has been updated with a brand new excerpt! Im done with Act II and I'm taking a break before I start the final stretch and pen Act III.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Last 5 Movies I Saw...

1. Born Rich
2. American Buffalo
3. Manhattan
4. Welcome to Collinwood
5. What's New, Pussycat?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Depp To Star Again as Hunter S. Thompson... Johnny Depp is slated to play my favorite writer in the upcoming film The Rum Diary.

Here's a bit: "It was 1959. Fired for kicking in a candy machine at a small-town newspaper, Hunter S. Thompson fled to Puerto Rico, where his vagrant journalist lifestyle inspired his first novel, The Rum Diary."

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Robert E. Lee: A Biography by Emory M. Thomas
3. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
4. Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
5. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
November Novels!

As you know, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo, where you sign up and write a 50,000 word (or 175-180 page) novel during the month of November. I wrote Jack Tripper Stole My Dog as a part of 2002 NaNoWriMo.

This year a couple of friends have signed up. Take a peek at their profiles, word counts, and novel samples...

1. The Blind Kangaroo by Tenzin McGrupp
2. Nice Girl by Mona LaVigne (Jessica)
3. Cambodian Sunrise by Haley M. Slovin
4. The Upper East Side Nympho by Constance Cummings (Briana)
5. Vagina Beach by J.T. Insley (Jenna)

As you can tell from the writing samples, some of my friends are writing "dirty books" or what we call in the biz... erotica. Best of luck! Check up on their profiles frequently, because the writers often change their novel excerpts.
Trey on SNL! Trey Anastasio will join Dave Matthews and his solo band as the musical guest of Saturday Night Live on November 8.
Mark Messier passed Gordie Howe for #2 on the NHL Career scoring list last night with two goals in a 3-0 Rangers win over Dallas. Congrats Mess!

Wild Monday Night in Denver is written by Hunter S. Thompson where he sounds off on the Denver-New England shootout.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo is coming along well. I updated the site with a new word count and an expanded excerpt. The first chapter is almost 15,000 words! I'm in the middle of chapter 2 as we speak. The current word count is: 15,099.
Congrats to Sarah!

Sarah, in her first trip to play poker at the Miccosukee Casino in South Florida, got an amazing hand. Jerry told me that his wife nailed a Straight Flush (the best possible hand) in a 7-Card Stud game! The odds on that are astronomical! I have never gotten a straight flush in 31 plus years on Earth (and 14 years of poker playing)! I once got a straight flush on a video game that I practice on a lot, but aside from that, what Sarah accomplished is truly a great feat! Good job! She won a free room for one night's stay and a free dinner at the Miccosukee! I'm pumped. I can't wait until the end of the year to visit Jerry & Sarah & Phish and play Texas Hold'em at the casino. Hooooo!
Check out: 100 Greatest Homeruns

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo is going smoothly. Check out the site for more updates. I wrote well over 10,000 words the first two days of NaNoWriMo. I'm 1/5 done and I still have 28 days left to finish.
Chronically Blunted Wins!!!

Our wayward fantasy team Chronically Blunted in the Lamont Jordon Fantasy Football League won its second game yesterday after we knocked off the 75 Steelers. Our team, owned by Senor and yours truly, had only one other win, against Stiffler's Mother last month. Santana Moss scored 3 TDs and led the way with 40 plus points for us this week.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading on the Subway...

1. The Holy Bible
2. Othello by William Shakespeare
3. Preachers of Hate by Kenneth Timmerman
4. Empire Falls by Ricahrd Russo
5. Love by Toni Morrison
Widespread Panic Setlist

11.1.03 Madison Square Garden, NYC

Set 1: All Time Low, Greta > Makes Sense To Me, Driving Song > Fishing > Driving Song > Trouble, Climb To Safety, Thought Sausage > Travelin' Light

Set 2: On Broadway, Weight Of The World, Christmas Katie > Superstition > Drums > Ride Me High > Surprise Valley > I'm Not Alone, Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi) > Love Tractor

Encore: Lawyers, Guns & Money > Flat Foot Flewzy, Space Wrangler

Another kick ass night. First set was pretty much every song that I wanted to hear. I'll write more later!
The Blind Kangaroo has been updated with an excerpt. One day into my new project and it's looking good! I'm about 10% complete! The current word count is: 5,800.
NFL Best Bets Week 9

Pick of the Week
Chicago Bob (3-4-1): Indy +3 at Miami
Rib Boy (5-3): Rams -4 at SF
Tao of Pauly (4-4): Carolina -6 1/2 at HOUSTON
Zobo (0-0): Philly -4 1/2 over Atlanta

Last Week: Bob and the Colts failed to cover. But Rib Boy and I looked great after Tennesse covered. Rib Boy leads the way with a 5-3 record for Best Bets this season.

Week 8: Rib Boy likes the Rams -4 and Philly -4 1/2. Bob called me from Soldier's Field in Chicago to tell me that he likes Indy getting points in Miami and he bet on da Bears -2 1/2 since he was at the game. I like Carolina and Minny -4 1/2. My Parlay of the Week is: Carolina - 6 1/2, Baltimore -7, the Seachickens - 4 1/2, and the UNDER in the Balt-Jags game. Zobo joins the crew this week after he admited: "I think my high school football team could beat the Falcons these days!" He likes Philly.

Rib Boy's Beating of the Week (1-5): Baltimore over the Jags

Tao of Pauly Upset of the Week (0-6): New Orleans to beat up on Tampa Bay! Take the points.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Blind Kangaroo

I'm starting my new novel in a few moments. I'll keep everyone updated on the progress of the project. You can visit the site on NaNoWriMo to see a word count and other things. Unfortunately, I'll be slowing down on the blogs until my third novel is complete!
Halloween Panic!

Widespread Panic... Halloween show setlist: 10/31/03 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Chilly Water > Imitation Leather Shoes > Chilly Water, Papa Johnny Road, Ribs & Whiskey > Hatfield, Doreatha, Give, Vicious > Pet Cemetary > Beat On The Brat > I Wanna Be Sedated > Life During Wartime

Set 2: Action Man > North > Bust It Big > Henry Parsons Died > Monstrosity > Pigeons, Love Is The Drug* > Arleen* > Coconut* > The Time Warp*

Encore: City of Dreams, Ain't Life Grand

* with Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Notes: Great fuckin' show! Will write a review later!! Fixin to see my 55th PANIC show tonight!