Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Lost Puppies, Twinkle, Turquoise, and Orange Gatorade

School is back in session. You know what that means? College kids are back slacking off and hitting all my various blogs when they should be studying. Just when my web traffic began to trail off as people went away on vacation... it perked back up. I'm getting an influx of horny frat boys looking for naked pictures of various items like the latest breast upgrade of Lindsay Lohan or Tara Reid or artistic photos of Paris Hilton's shaved cooter. Plus there's plenty of pink clad, spoiled rotten, sorority girls stumbling upon the Tao(s) when they hit up Nicky Hilton designer purses into Google.

My stats have shown students from all over America are wasting their time with me. And I'm down with that. That's probably the last thing that my ego needs... a plethora of good looking, eager and impressionable minds looking for some sort of direction or worse, answers to unanswerable questions. At best maybe you'll get a laugh or two and the occasional poker tip on my sites, but I'll throw out my disclaimer quick and be done with it... by no means will you find any answers from someone else, and most importantly, there are no answers anywhere on the internet, especially on the Tao of Pauly.

An old friend once told me, as he was staring down the double barreled shotgun called stomach cancer, "Everything you've been searching for is inside yourself. Everyone's been looking in the wrong place."

It took my almost five years to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Sometimes, you just have to let go. Release your grip on so many things that you're afraid to depart with.

Twinkle & Turquoise

I can't however, get over Nicky Hilton marrying some Wall Street stiff. She was my favorite Hilton Sister. I like the quiet ones. I guess Paris is doomed to marry the junkie drummer of some whiney indie rock band from a town where they only get three days of sunshine all year. I think I've almost reached the sort of desperation that I'm willing to post a personal ad:
Junkie writer seeks rich women with multiple personality disorders and a trust fund to share sunsets, drinking before noon, and monthly trips to Vegas. Must be able to read at the minimum, a 6th grade level.
I know. I'm picky.

There's one gal out there who's been boozing it up in NYC bars. She's also a foul mouth blonde, who did more drinking in college than her old man... and that's everyone's favorite First Daughter Jenna Bush.

Which one's Twinkle?

OK, I know I said I like the quiet ones. And Jenna's saintly twin sister Barbara (aka Babs) is probably more likely to discuss German Existentialism than knock back shots of SoCo at Happy Hour with Al Can't Hang... but everyone loves to party with feisty Texas blondes. And Jenna, that girl knows how to party.

Orange Gatorade

There are dumb ass people out there. I shall cite an instance I had a few weeks ago here in NYC. I went into one of those huge retail chain drug stores and I grabbed an Orange Gatorade. It was $1.19. I saw a sign for sixpacks: $5.99. I waited in line for at least ten minutes and when I got up to the front, the young check out girl with two inch long thin, bright blue nails scanned my Gatorade.


"What the fuck?"

I ordered her to scan it again. She gave me a look like I just kicked her dog. She makes $6 an hour... and her job is to scan items. Just five years ago, she had to actually read the price tag and enter the prices by hand. And that was one of the most difficult jobs in America having to work under such horrid conditions. Thank God for price scanners which reduced checkout clerk's workload by a staggering 33%.

"$6.33," she smugly answered after she scanned it one more time, motivated more to prove me wrong than to assist a customer.

"For one Gatorade? It's $1.19. I get one every Tuesday. It's $5.99 for a sixpack."

"It says $6.33."

"It's wrong. Computer is fucked up. Just manually punch it in."

She wouldn't move. I guess the training manual never covered that part of pricing disputes. I attempted to appeal to her senses as a consumer.

"Would you pay $6 for a Gatorade?"

She stood there speechless, holding my Gatorade in the air. I whirled around and apologized to the long people in line behind me. "They're trying to rip me off and charge me $6 for a Gatorade. And Hot Nails over here has no clue what to do."

In true NY fashion. No one in line blinked.

"Keep your $6 Gatorade. I know it's asking you a lot to actually have to do some real work and punch in $1.19 into the register. You know, I've never met you, but it's that sort of laziness that will have you knocked up with three kids in the next five years."

I walked out of the store. I rarely treat service people with disdain, but laziness and stupidity set me off.

Bronze Is for Losers

And don't get me started about the dismal performance of the men's basketball team at the Olympics. We sent over professional players and we got spanked. In other countries, if you humiliate your homeland with a poor performance, who get whacked. In the World Cup soccer match, US beat Colombia 1-0 by a mistake from a Colombian player. He kicked the ball into his own goal my mistake. Within a week after his return to Bogata, he was shot dead. When Iraqi athletes failed to perform well at international competitions, Saddam's son, Uday, routinely tortured the players, and in a horrifying manner went after their families as well, often killing relatives and raping their sisters when in reality, the athletes did their absolute best. I'm not calling for any sort of violence among the NBA players and coaching staff who failed to deliver a gold medal. But someone has to call them out for their ugliness. They should be ashamed of themselves. They dishonored America and the sport of basketball. They should banned from the Basketball Hall of Fame for that unacceptable performance. I've been seething for days since they lost to Argentina.

Lost Puppies

And yes, the new issue of Truckin' is out. You can finally read all about the infamous puppy story.

Anyway, I told Al Can't Hang that I would update all four of my blogs within a 24 hour period. I think I did it all within 30 hours. Blogger was fucking up yesterday. But I finally published the new issue of Truckin'. In addition, I penned a solid entry to the Tao of Poker...
During my epic quest to pen the first great American novel of the 21st century... rarely do I blankly stare at my computer screen and mutter, "What the fuck?" That's the sort of rhetoric reserved for the lunacy that ensues when some crotch scratching nitwit from Altoona pushes his stack all in with bottom pair and catches a backdoor flush of running diamonds against my flopped Broadway straight.
And on Sunday, I updated my poli-blog This Side of the Truth with a little rant on Sudan.
It's time for me to pass along the horrifying word that there is a living hell on Earth... and people are dying under a dark veil of brutality every few minutes in Sudan. The sad thing is knowing that it will continue and no one on this side of the ocean is doing anything to stop it. How could busy Americans take time out of their day and focus on something aside from the Election, or the Olympics, or the Kobe Bryant rape and Scott Peterson murder trials, or the upcoming season of The Apprentice, or what brand of orange juice J. Lo drinks on Sunday mornings for brunch while on vacation in Bermuda?
It feels good not to have a deadline looming overhead. I never realized how much I wrote until I took off this summer on various trips to follow Phish and the Dead and to Santa Fe... and returned with a backlog of new adventures to scribble down, in addition to keeping up with all my internet writing. I am starting to be concerned that in the future my internet ramblings will slowly trickle down not because of integrity and artistic issue... but out of the simple reason, I just don't have all the time anymore to devote to endless hours in front of the computer coding and writing for my blogs. I get dizzy enough playing online at Party Poker for four straight hours that some days I don't want to be near any sort of technological device. Maybe that's the part of me pushing myself to gain more independence from being a slave to computers, the internet, cell phones, and the like. I started remembering all the phone numbers I programmed into my cell phone and other necessary data that I stored on my hard drive. Now I won't feel like a complete idiot when someone asks me for my cell phone number and I have to pause to check and look it up.

Anyway, I've been writing a ton the past few days. Here's the line up of poker playing and writing music since I've been back to NYC:
Writing Music:
1. John Coltrane
2. Joss Stone
3. Trey Anastasio Band
4. Neil Young
5. Tom Waits

Poker Music:
1. Billie Holiday
2. Sam Bush
3. Elliot Smith
4. Medeski, Martin & Wood
5. Galactic
Expect a psycho-poli rant on Wednesday. NYC is swarmed with bomb sniffing dogs and happy Republicans.
Truckin' August 2004 (Vol. 3, Issue 8)

I finally posted another issue of my literary blog-zine Truckin'. The summer ending issue represents a transition... from my running series of Miami stories which will segue into several Coventry, Vermont stories beginning this month. My Phishin' trips to Miami and Vermont were inspiration for at least twelve stories. This issue is anchored by two regulars. Sigge S. Amdal, our Norwegian friend, returns with a story called Messiah on a Tuesday. And Tom Love is back with a wicked tale called Vamp. I'm excited to finally publish Part II of Diane Roy's gripping story, Perversion Dispatched. Sit back, enjoy, and please spread the good word about this site. Be sweet, McG.

1. Lost Puppy by Tenzin McGrupp

She was barefoot, her lower legs caked in mud, and her puppy asleep in her arms. Her glassed over eyes were the size of a butter dishes, and she looked like she hadn’t slept in over a week... More

2. Perversion Dispatched, Part II by Diane Roy

Hubert was slapped with reality as Jennica's screams finally hit him. Panicked, he threw his hands over her mouth to silence her, but she wouldn't stop... More

3. Vamp by Tom Love

She owned no clothing of color, nor anything white. Her walk-in closet was a complete unbroken row of black... More

4. Messiah on a Tuesday by Sigge S. Amdal

Most people had problems with Mondays, but Dolores really couldn't get herself to appreciate the second day of the week... More

Monday, August 30, 2004

Pink Rabbits

I lost fourteen pounds since Hampton, Virginia where I started my last Phish tour in early August. The road less traveled had a lot less pound cake. More than half the heads were on the “tour diet” of one meal a day with several long periods of sleep deprivation and illicit narcotic snortage. In Santa Fe, my famished body enjoyed having more than a meal a day… and some of the finest Southwestern cuisine at that. I never mentioned the chicken enchiladas that I devoured at the Pink Adobe. Man, I’d consider flying back just for another dish.

Have you ever witnessed a stunning New Mexico sunset? The impressionist array of dozens of light hues of purple, pink, and orange float in the endless sky. No wonder so many painters move out there from the dreary, filthy cities back east. If the West Coast hipsters didn’t flock to Santa Fe in the late 1990s and drive up the rent prices and infest the local area with a gazillion Starbucks… I would have moved there a decade ago. There’s a price to pay to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

One of the drawbacks of being an insomniac is the lack of dreams that I get to experience. Yeah, my blog would be flooded with meaningless tales about my obscure, hypersexual, ironically symbolic dream world. Haley has strange dreams all the time. I've encouraged her to started up her own dream blog. And always, she lazily declines. I used to get the most random calls or emails describing, in freakingly astonishing detail, all of Haley’s dreams. The poor girl could never remember what she ate for breakfast the day before, but she could recant the specifics of the fluorescent orange socks I was wearing one night when I pedaled a bicycle down Fifth Avenue with multiple Japanese film crews following me in two shopping carts. It gets better… seriously, this is a real dream Haley had when I was in Santa Fe… because there were five Japanese guys in each shopping cart shooting my every move. I had been hired by a Japanese reality TV show at the same time I was shooting a documentary. Both crews elbowed each other to get the better shot of me on a bicycle. And whenever Haley finally completes her long, rambling, intricate dream narration… I sarcastically utter up, “Did you drop acid yesterday? And if so, why you holding out? I’d like to see pink rabbits too.”

For the record, I signed a deal with a Norwegian film production company where I’ll produce and direct a series of short films on goat cheese, Post-Modern Eastern European Existentialism, and Burmese sex slaves. My Norwegian is horrible, but I think in my contract it states that after all the shooting is complete… I get to keep either one of the goats or one of the sex slaves. Or both, perhaps, if I’m truly lucky. And yes, I’m laughing right now because I know that some of my sexually twisted readers actually had the fleeting thought... "Hmmm, I wonder if he could get the sex slave to fuck the goat?"

You’re all a bunch of criminals.

Nothing brightens my groggy Sunday mornings that a chat with Al Can’t Hang. Within the first few minutes he admitted some odd things such as how he indirectly works for Kirsten Dunst’s dad and that I'm his "friggin' hero." Always flattering to hear, but this was the gem... "I like little surprises in my life to make me a little happier. I forgot in my drunken stupor last night that I made Mrs. Hang stop for fresh Krispy Kreme. I just walked into the kitchen a saw them there."

Amen for donuts. After long ten hour sessions of playing poker at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, I sprint up the escalator to their food court and devour a few Krispy Kremes. Win or lose, it’s a great treat. I love having a belly full of donuts and watered down vodka tonics and wandering down the Strip, stumbling underneath the stuttering flashes of neon in the few minutes or so before first break of dawn… when the darkness begrudgingly fades into night, and you can count the seconds before it disappears when the morning light illuminates the mountains, and you finally remember that you’re not dreaming… you are wide awake, never more in the moment, felling the bulge in your pocket and it’s really an erection or a wad of cash (again, both if you’re lucky… dude, I can’t believe she fucked the goat!)… and you reach that apex of philosophical dread when you scream at a bunch of disheveled drunk tourists from Alabama… "What the fuck are we doing in the middle of the desert eating buffet eggs for $2.99?"

My awkward spiral into spiritual desolation always happens when I gamble with money I should be using to pay off the thieves at the IRS or using the money for something useful, like cigarette addictions or a manic shopping spree at Williams and Sonoma with a top-heavy stripper I met standing at a roulette table with a Cosmopolitan in one hand and a diamond ring on her other hand that was the size of John Holmes’ cock. I’d like to meet the old, dumb, uber-rich retard that bought Bubbles that exquisite piece of jewelry.

Yeah, I just wrote out a check to the IRS for a monthly payment that I arranged with them after I found myself drowning in a small lake of back taxes. I hate exchanging cash from my poker wins to pay off debts. Sure, I have no problem using my winnings to fund trips to Vermont or Las Vegas… but it just sucks to know I busted my ass at a card table for sixteen hours and accept the sad fact that the money I won was going to my Government. Next tax season, I hope to write off all my poker losses and offset any capital gains that might be taxed. If I only had a hotel heiress to marry, who would pay off my outstanding debts with various entities.

The IRS must have me flagged. I have a online poker account in Gibraltar. I have a sports betting account in Curaco. I have a checking account set up in an off-shore bank in New Zealand. It's a matter of time before I'm brought downtown for questioning.
Protest Pictures

A bird's eye view of the protest.

Here are a few links to some news wire photos and some protest march photos.

Cops were ready for any unruly protestors.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Let's Gamble!

OK, Boy Genius has been busy with work and other things... and I have been all over the country the past few weeks... and we haven't had time for our weekly prop bet. I don't know who's supposed to pick next... but I got a good one.
Who will win the next WPT Hollyweird Home Game?
1. Ben Affleck
2. Gary Busey
3. Jon Faverau
4. Ed Asner
5. Mo Collins
6. Sharon Lawrence
BG picks two and I'll pick two from the last remaining four. The episode airs this Sunday at 9pm on the Travel Channel... so if you tune in, you can see who wins this week's bet.

BG picks: Ed Asner or Ben Affleck.
Pauly picks: Sharown Lawrence or John Faverau

Best of luck!
Africa Watch

Editor's Note: I posted this entry to my poli-blog This Side of the Truth. Check it out.

Ingrid from Me and Ophelia is a British blogger who has been devoting a tremendous amount of her time and energy into shedding light on the worsening situation in Africa, something that we should all be paying attention to. Every major American media outlet failed to mention the ongoing crisis in Sudan... where an ugly war with local rebels has turned the country upside down. A massive humanitarian crisis looms overhead with more than a million refugees fleeing the Darfur region.

Here's a bit of a recent entry at Sudan Watch in which she quoted an article from Steve Crawshaw, director of Human Rights Watch in London and a former foreign-news editor:
"At last, the world has focused its attention on the catastrophe of western Sudan. A United Nations Security Council resolution has set a deadline for the end of this month for the Khartoum government to take action against the murderous Janjaweed militias. In recent weeks, stories from western Sudan have filled the newspapers, and have regularly led the television news. Any readers and viewers who are interested in foreign affairs - and many who are not - now recognise the name of Darfur...

In 1984, the Ethiopian famine was not "news" for many months until Michael Buerk made it so, with a single powerful report for the BBC about "the closest thing to hell on earth". In 1994, the Rwandan genocide was not deemed to be news until the worst of the slaughter was already over. And now, in 2004, we have seen the process repeated, all over again.

Paradoxically, it was the attempted suppression of a story about Darfur that allowed many news editors to treat it as a serious news story for the first time. A campaign of rape, ethnic cleansing and murder did not, apparently, count as news. But the suppression in late April of an internal UN report that confirmed the known facts was news. The censors, in short, gave the subject publicity."
Yes, without Ingrid, I wouldn't know anything about Sudan. It's time for me to pass along the horrifying word that there is a living hell on Earth... and people are dying under a dark veil of brutality every few minutes in Sudan. The sad thing is knowing that it will continue and no one on this side of the ocean is doing anything to stop it. How could busy Americans take time out of their day and focus on something aside from the Election, or the Olympics, or the Kobe Bryant rape and Scott Peterson murder trials, or the upcoming season of The Apprentice, or what brand of orange juice J. Lo drinks on Sunday mornings for brunch while on vacation in Bermuda?

I don't think anyone could stomach any of the violent, graphic images of Sudan under siege. It's not getting any better anywhere else in Africa. Every day more people die, more governments lose grip on their countries. People are hungry. People are angry. People are dying of AIDS. Pictures of starving babies and images of little kids with their hands cut off are not the first things Americans want to see when they wake up in the morning or when they get home from an exhausting day at work. That was the driving factor behind the mysterious omission of numerous stories the Sudan genocide and war and rape and torture in our newspapers and on our alphabet news channels. That brutal reality stuff doesn't sell newspapers and truthful tales of mutilation and gang rape are the types of uncomfortable topics that keep would many spoiled Americans awake at night in their warm and comfortable beds... and we don't want to disturb the herd. The last thing Consumer America wants to hear from our suburban teens is... "Why should I spend $100 at the GAP when there are babies starving in Sudan?"

Although Sudan wasn't entirely ignored by our government, which re-issued a Travel Warning about Sudan in late June. Here's what they said:
This is being re-issued to remind Americans of continued terrorist threats aimed at Western and U.S. interests, and update them on concerns regarding the security situation in Sudan. This supersedes the Travel Warning of November 14, 2003.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Sudan. Although the two parties to the long-running civil war are negotiating a peace accord to end the war, travel in the south is still dangerous. In addition, there is serious fighting in Darfur and a humanitarian crisis brought on by fighting, drought and famine.

As noted in previous Travel Warnings for Sudan, the U.S. Government has received indications of terrorist threats aimed at American and Western interests in Sudan. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or kidnappings. U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, which include tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, and commercial operations associated with U.S. or western interests. As physical security remains high at official facilities, terrorists may turn towards softer targets, such as residential compounds.

Sporadic fighting has continued between Sudanese government forces, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA), and various militias in the southern part of the country. Threats have been made against foreigners working in the oil industry in Upper Nile province. The potential for violence remains in the areas around Kassala and southern Blue Nile province. The ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains generally has been respected. At least one American relief worker was beaten and falsely accused of espionage. Other Americans have been held hostage. Travel into opposition-held areas of Sudan requires a specific travel permit from the SPLA or other rebel movements controlling the territory. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which normally operates in northern Uganda and occasionally receives shelter in southern Sudan, has allegedly threatened to target Americans.

There have been demonstrations in Khartoum against United States foreign policy. In some instances, demonstrators have thrown rocks at the U.S. Embassy and Westerners. Americans should avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Uncle Sam basicially says, "Don't travel to a horrible place that we haven't told you about."

Here's just a quick glimpse at the current instability in Africa:
Ingrid is the author of several other important blogs that will shed better light on some of our world's problems. I suggest at sometime you visit Congo Watch and Uganda Watch... two blogs that will focus on the issuing surrounding those war torn countries.
Poker in the Weeds

My brother updated his blog!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

5 Random Google Referrals in the Last 24 Hours...

1. dog fucking a horse video
2. Tara Ried breast implants
3. Cute Wisconsin girls
4. Average Temp. in Las Vegas
5. Drunk intern shitting pants at work party

Friday, August 27, 2004

5 Random Touristy Things I Did in Santa Fe...

1. The Plaza
2. San Miguel Church
3. Cities of Gold casino
4. Pink Adobe
5. Georgia O'Keefe Museum
Thanks Bruce!

And Right back at ya!
Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading in Airports...

1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? by Edward Albee
2. The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy
3. Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue by Jane Pauley
4. No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton
5. Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man by David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Wednesday's Politico Roundup: Swift Kerry

Editor's Note: I know it's Thursday, but I didn't have the chance yesterday to blog this latest entry to my poli-blog This Side of the Truth. Here it is...

I don't care what John Kerry did in 1968 and 1969 no more do I care what George W. Bush did at the same time. This has nothing to do with the future of our country but at this point in the election... John Kerry and his swift boat career has come under fire. And right now the Kerry camp shoulders the blame in this latest debacle that is allowing the next four years to slide right into Bush's lap.

How has Kerry handled the situation? Poorly. They look like desperate fools. His camp has threatened to sue radio stations that play a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad and books stores who sell their book, and attempted to smear the sixty plus veterans who are against his run for the Presidency. Unfortunately, when he whined to the Bush camp about pulling various third party ads... they were happy to oblige since the majority of anti-Bush ads come from third party organizations like Moveon.org. But Bush couldn't care less... all this mess has allowed his numbers in the polls to increase a slight lead over Kerry.

Fact of fiction? Only John Kerry knows...

Kerry tried to play up his role in Vietnam and it backfired. Why? Firstly because the people who lived through that era of America history don't want to rehash the painful past. It wasn't a pretty picture back then and for Kerry boasting about his record back then angered a lot of folks. His volunteer service is admirable, but he should have stopped talking about his Vietnam years at that point. His medals, his leadership, and his credibility have all been scrutinized, not just by the GOP, but the media as well. His testimony in front of Congress pissed off the majority of his fellow veterans when he admitted that the openly committed war crimes.

Whether he did or he didn't is not the point. No one cares if he cut off ears or shot kids during combat situations. War is hell. But when he used his service in Vietnam as one of the few reasons the middle of the road voters should pick him... he opened himself up for attacks from all over the political spectrum. The Democratic elite failed to realize that he needed to come up with some sort of cohesive platform aside from "I'm not Bush. I actually fought in Vietnam." Once again, Kerry shot himself in the foot. When white voters from the suburbs go to vote in November, what will they be thinking about? John Kerry and Cambodia in 1968. Or George W. Bush and 9.11?


Is all this just a well timed distraction (from both fronts) to cover up the fact that there is a severe lack of real issues in both campaigns? The war is Iraq is costing us billions of dollars. The economy is lackluster. American jobs are being lost to cheaper labor overseas everyday. Health care costs are rising. Our kids are dumber than ever. More Americans live below the poverty line than ever before. The civil war within the Arab world is getting uglier and uglier. Hundreds of Al Qaeda (and AQ offshoots) operatives are living among us. And what is everyone talking about? John Kerry and Vietnam... a country on the other side of the world and a decade that most people simply are too burnt out to remember or too angry to relive those tumultuous flashbacks.

Who knows? Maybe Kerry will change his mind next week about his past. In the meantime, John McCain asked Bush to condem all third party ads, an act he has yet to do.
The Olympics?

Allen Iverson is held by a player from Spain.

I haven't watched too much Olympic coverage since the games began. I guess part of that lack of viewing had to do with the Olympics conflicting with my traveling schedule. But in the last week, I caught just a few events, watching more Little League baseball than supporting my home country in the Athens games. I told myself I'd watch a little bit more, so I caught chick beach volleyball with Haley the other day. When they won the gold medal, I hadn't seen two teammates that friendly with one another since John Kerry picked John Edwards as his veep and their basically stroked each other nonstop in front of the press corps for a week straight. I guess the ecstasy wore off. So what else have I watched? Some boxing and that was about it. That of course does not include basketball. It's my favorite sport and I that was the only event I was familiar with the schedule and records of all the teams involved. The games were on in the mornings on the USA channel of all places.

Sure the men's team sucks. It's roster is filled with problems. We can debate for days on end about what's fundamentally wrong with the philosophy behind the type of team we send out against the ever improving world players. But I'm not going to bitch and moan about what we don't have. I'm the type of fan that supports the team I got in front of me. The rosters is what it is... so I'm pulling for the guys. This year they'll need all the help they can get, especially after loses to Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

The only saving grace was that I knew NBA players play basketball in two distinct modes... regular season and playoff. The playoffs in the NBA include some of the most brutal post-season games in professional sports. There's a different attitude and mentality behind the level of play... and that was the X factor that which I hoped would put the struggling team USA over the top. They know how to switch gears and step up to play on a bigger stage. The medal round was their opportunity to show the world that they are a lot better than they looked.

This morning, the boys took on a possible gold medal favorite, Spain, led by Europe's best player (and NBA standout) Pau Gasol. I had him on my fantasy basketball team and the guy can shoot for a seven footer. The Americans had been playing awful on the perimeter for the entire Olympics with poor shooting and poor defense which led to their opponents having a higher three point field goal precentage in their two losses.

The game was plagued by the vagaries of officiating from the international refs. They miss a lot of calls and without a doubt, plenty of close calls have gone against the USA on several occasions. But you have to overcome that to win. The game reminded me of a Knicks game.... when the guards play well, they win. The combo of Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade, and Stephon Marbury were too much for Spain's backcourt to handle. Despite the foul trouble of the big men (Lamar Odom fouled out and Tim Duncan played most of the game in foul trouble), Iverson and Wade played much better defense and Marbury broke an American Olympic record with 31 points... 18 from three pointers. He broke Charles Barkley's and Adrain Dantley's record of 30 points. His fourth quarter play was impressive. He took control of the game down the stretch, made a crucial steal on a fast break when Spain was threatening to pull close late, and took the ball to the hoop, NYC style, after blowing by his defender and breaking down the zone. He scored more points today then he did the entire first round of the Olympics. Team USA held off Spain 102-94 and moved onto the semifinals, looking the best they've been.

Spain's coach was pissed at Larry Brown.

Team USA even played some zone defense to protect their big men. At the end of the game, Spain's coach acted like a jackass and refused to shake the hand of USA's coach Larry Brown after being pissed off at a scheduled time out that USA called late in the game. Even assistant coach Roy Williams was seen getting into a verbal argument with Spain's coaching staff and one of their players. It seemed like Spain were acting like sore losers, especially since they were favored not just to win a medal... but to win a gold after the Americans got off to a shaky start in the opening rounds. Next up... Argentina, most likely.
Cities of Gold
"Ooooh. There's a New Mexico!" - Homer Simpson
I woke up hungover and with Haley's mother's dog barking in my ear. I called ahead to find out the tournament schedule at Cities of Gold. On Tuesdays they had a Crazy Pineapple tourney. Not my game, so we decided to head up to the casino after lunch at the Pink Adobe. I was on a mission to report back something about Santa Fe that didn't mention anything about the yummy food, or the adobes, or the artsy fartsy stuff. I hit a few bars the night before and now it was finally time to sample poker, New Mexico style. That's another state I can add to my long list of places I've played poker. Haley was shocked to find out there was a casino so close to where her mother lived. I was pumped. There was a small poker room with six tables, but only one game was going on when I got there.
The Players:
Seat 1: Trucker
Seat 2: Dr. Pauly
Seat 3: Mona from Who's the Boss
Seat 4: Haley
Seat 5: WWII Vet
Seat 6: Middle-aged Guy with beer gut
Seat 7: Moses
Seat 8: Vietnam Vet
Seat 9: Grandma Walton
Seat 10: Cool guy toughster 19 yr old
For the complete write up of the afternoon of cards visit Tao of Poker. Find out how I lost and how Haley walked away a winner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

5 Random States I Got Speeding Tickets In...
1. California
2. Kansas
3. Tennesse
4. Georgia
5. Mississippi
Congrats to My Brother!!

On Sunday, my brother made the final table of the $5 Multi NL tourney on Party Poker and came in 6th place. He won $266. Yep, he turned a $5 into $266! There were 1300+ players and first place got $1300+. Good job! Very impressed with his play!! My best finish was 27th? Or somehwere around there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Greetings from Santa Fe...

I asked my waitress this afternoon what "Santa Fe" meant. She had no idea. That made me want to tip her only 5%. Anyway, after a crazy week of following Phish, I'm having a nice, mellow, relaxing holiday in New Mexico. I can't tell you too much about Santa Fe aside from telling you that the bar I got obliterated in last night was pretty cool with all these dragons. That's what I remember. The vision is fuzzy. I'm trying to block out all the hipsters from LA. But I'm recalling dragons and Haley muttering something like, "Have you ever puked in a bar in New Mexico? There's a Top 5 list waiting to be blogged."

And since she asked...

5 Random Bars I've Puked In...
1. The Blue Moon (Seattle, WA)
2. Limerick Junction (Atlanta, GA)
3. Rick's Cafe (Negril, Jamaica)
4. The Maple Leaf (New Orleans, LA)
5. Phoebe's (NYC)

I could tell you about the casino I went to just outside of Santa Fe to play poker this afternoon! I'll blog the details later to the Tao of Poker. Quick story... I lost my buy-in and Haley won $20. She wants to go back tomorrow. She's been watching too much Celebrity Poker.

Oh, and I met Haley's mom. She's hilarious. She reminds me of a hippie version of Kelly Ripa... on her third Maragrita of the day. Awwww, I'm just kiiiiii-ding. She drinks four before lunchtime. I never met anyome who appeared on The Love Boat before. After we had our second cocktail, on our way home from the airport, I got up enough courage to ask her, "So what's Ricardo Montilban really like?"

Welcome to Santa Fe!

At sunset tonight, she brougth me out to her backyard area and told me to take off my shoes and socks and dig my feet into the ground. "Now close your eyes, Pauly. Feel the Earth beneath you. Let's it's energy flow through you. Can you feel it?"

All I could feel was the rock that was digging into my foot. "I think so. I feel a little warm and fuzzy inside. Kinda like when I do a shot of Peppermint Schnapps."

"You're a very spiritual person, Pauly."

"You have no idea."
Last 5 Random Google Searches/Hits for Tao of Pauly (since 12pm)...
1. Trey snorting cocaine at coventry
2. Tara Reid breast implants
3. Judy Jetson naked cartoon
4. Phish coventry peeing pictures
5. Paris Hilton's shave pussy

Yet again, more proof that the majority of my readers are drug riddled sexual perverts.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Coventry: A Vermont Pharewell... Part 3

In case you haven't read the first two installments, you can visit these links: Part 1 and Part 2 to get up to speed.

Ask me any question... $1.

During the second setbreak I figured out that I had never been that wasted either without Senor or since 1998. I completed my mission. You can say I had been maintaining a steady high for the last six years... and while stuck in Vermont mud, I managed to push forth past the last exit of sobriety and ended up twenty-five miles past Shithoused City. I told the kid sitting next to me that I don't care what they play as long as they play Slave to the Traffic Light. Before the set began I mentioned to Molly that either Seven Below and Piper (or both) were coming. Those were two of their favorite jam > improv songs post hiatus. The versions I heard at SPAC were some of the tightest improvisational jamming since Japan. My only concern was if they had the proper headspace to play at that level, something I didn't think they could pull of after a highly emotional second set.
Set 3: Fast Enough for You, Seven Below > Simple > Piper > Bruno > Dickie Scotland > Wilson > Slave to the Traffic Light

Fireworks > Molly Crying

Encore: Trey speech > The Curtain With
The girl next to us was having a rough time and lent herself to a bad trip. "Time to get your shit together, sweetheart," I told her. "You don't want to miss the last ninety minutes of Phish." The lights went out and it was time. Last set ever.

I was surprised with Fast Enough For You, but felt it was a solid choice. I had a moment during FEFY. And if you ever had one of those moments... you know what I'm talking about... and I felt incredibly connected with everything around me... from Molly dancing to my left to feeling my feet sink into the muddy grass, to inhaling a fresh breath of Northeast Kingdom air, to feeling the tension and release in every instrument. I had no other thoughts aside from one... I was where I was supposed to be. I finally reached my intended destination.
If time were only part of the equation
Then you could draw the bound'ries of our cage
You wouldn't pile another stone upon me
And I'd be happy just to watch you age

But everything is in it's own dominion
And waiting in the shallows as I do
Appeases me as water slowly trickles out
Which isn't nearly fast enough for you
Molly smiled when they started Seven Below. It's a great tune to listen to when it's snowing outside. The boys like it because they have entire sections where they can go off on a tangent. Unlike plenty of other bands (especially those clustered in the jamband genre), what makes Phish unique is that during sections involving a solo... all four guys are soloing at the same time... and most of the time it works. Seven Below was sloppy but at that point so was I and I didn't care. I looked up and someone tossed an alien my way! I picked him up and realized he was taller than Molly!

Molly's new friend from planet Zippy.

I expected an emotional repeat of set 2 filled with sloppy playing and during Simple we were treated to plenty of fluffs, fuckups, and missed lyrics. Sure I miss lyrics all the time... but I'm not getting paid to sing them. It was up there with Glide and Stash as the musical lowlights of the weekend. On the walk out I composed my own lyrics to Simple which I sang for Molly.
What is a show without a setbreak?
Ooooh.... 8 balls and groupies are grand.
Tequila and 8 balls, groupies and handjobs,
Groupies and tequila, handjobs and 8 balls.
After and ugly Simple, the guys got their shit together for a solid Piper. And Molly gave me that look like, "You called both of them!" Sure the Piper was average but considering the subpar-ness vibe to the music the last 5 sets... Piper was a standout in the third set. For some reason, I was feeling a Lawn Boy after I bumped into Lawn Boy earlier in the night.

Lawn Boy with Dr. Pauly at the first setbreak.

No Lawn Boy. Instead they smoothly segued into a nice funky jam where Trey and the band ended up writing a song on the spot for their beloved monitor engineer, Bruno. Trey was back to being the leader of goofy Phish again. He dubbed the new dance... The Bruno. He made up lyrics on the fly and begged him to come onstage.
Bruno! Bruno! Bruno!
We love you, Bruno!
Bruno! Bruno! Bruno!

Everyone's doing it.
The Bruno!
From Newport to Coventry.
It's the new dance craze sweeping the Northeast Kingdom
All the kids at Newport High,
They're doing it low,
they're doing it high.
They're doing the Bruno.
Trey taught the dance with hand motions (like you're turning a knob) to the audience and I lost my shit when he made a comment to a someone in the front row after she did it right.

"That's it, you got it girlfriend."

I dunno if anyone else heard it at that time (and it wasn't an auditory hallucination... I confirmed it while listening to the show via Live Phish) but I fell down I was laughing so hard. Seriously, sometimes those guys are a bunch of geeks, other times they make me shit my pants with laughter. Like the scene in Bittersweet Motel when Trey told Fish to show the camera crew his underwear and he dropped his pants and stripped... or how in Great Woods, Trey polled the audience to ask if the Fishman tune kills the show or makes the show. And when Trey asked Mike what he thought about Fish songs and vacuum solo... Mike said, "On a scale of 2 to 3. It's a 3." Ah Fish inside jokes. I almost thought Fish was going to bust out the infamous prison joke.

Trey commented how Bruno was played in the chord of C, which was overrated so they broke into E flat. And then they wrote a song for the accountant, Dickie Scotland... and ended up taking the song into C minor and Trey and Fish would sing "Dickie, Dickie, Dickie" and the crowd would sing "Scotland!" I felt honored to see a rare and intimate moment as the creative process of Phish unfolded before our eyes. And just to be part of the crowd yelling was cool. And if I was Dickie Scotland, I'd be pumped. It's not everyday the boys sing a song for you, right Carini?

Trey jamming with a glowstick during DWD.

Enough joking aside. It was time to get a few more tunes in. "We'd like to sing about another friend of ours. Please for the last time ever..." and Trey voice trailed off as if he was holding back tears... and started the first notes to Wilson.

I guess I'm an old head. Man, when I first saw Wilson...the crowd didn't shout, "Wilson!" Back then, I walked twenty miles to every Phish show. I didn't have email and never would have thought of snorting a drug named after one of the chicks from The Breakfast Club. The crowd was into Wilson for sure. And Trey assured that us "You can still have fun!" and I'm reading into his message as if he's saying "Have a great life without us."

And that's when I almost had an emotional breakdown. I heard the first few notes of Slave to the Traffic Light and I thrust my arms in the air as if I just won the World Series of Poker or a gold medal in the Olympics. My buddy Bruce one told me, "It's always a great show when they play your favorite song." If you didn't read my Slave post... out of the 105 times they played it... I've caught 14 versions of my favorite song in 150 previous shows. That's a main reason why I go see so many shows. I have to see ten if I want to catch my favorite song. It's not like having Harry Hood or YEM as your favorite tune. They'll play it every three shows. I have to put forth the effort to catch a Slave. And yes, at some of the best shows I ever attended (The Gorge in 97, Big Cypress in 99, Osaka, Japan in 00) they played Slave.

I guess this could be an opportunity to tell everyone how important seeing Slave to the Traffic Light at the final Phish show was for me. But honestly, that's the only song I have not listened to after downloading the show. I cannot bring myself to open up myself to all the intense emotions I encountered during those 11 or so minutes. I probably would be conflicted anyway to share with you all what went on inside my head at that time. It was too personal and something's in life are best kept to oneself. Hearing Slave played as the set closer to the last Phish show is one of the greatest moments in my pretty crazy and fortunate life and at least for a while, I'd like to keep it to myself. It was a personal gift from Phish to me... a way of them thanking me for their support over the years... and that yes, you have to keep on living. And yeah... I completely did not deserve to hear it. But I did. I was there. Even reluctantly wanting to write the last paragraph made my eyeballs swell... and I'm completely skirting the moment. I'd be a mess if I had to relive those eleven minutes right now. Some of my readers tell me how my words bring them to the brink of tears... well as the writer, all I can say is that the emotions you feel when you read these words are a thousand times magnified when I bundle them together. Writing these reviews have been gut wrenching, like a rollercoaster ride without a safety bar. And that's why I can't bring myself to hear the final Slave. I might never listen to the last Slave again... because it was so moving, powerful, and meaningful to me. Yeah, I've wandered all over this world, been to obscure places, and met some amazing souls... but words can never describe the love and satisfaction you are overwhelmed with when Phish plays your favorite song at their last show.

When Trey finished Slave he collapsed to the ground and needed to be helped offstage by Mike. All I could think was that Trey and Mike and Page and Fish played their hearts out for us everynight. Sometimes they missed. Most of the time they created magic, the type of unbottled wave of energy that people wander the earth for decades searching. I was blessed to witness 151 of their performances spanning my rowdy teenage years to my drunken college years to my rambunctious 20s, and into the first mellow years of my 30s. You either got Phish or you didn't. I'm fortunate that I was able to easily pick up what they were putting out.

Before the encore, there was a cool and colorful fireworks display. That's when Molly started crying. I told her that everything was going to be OK. In reality, I was just telling that to myself. In the last couple days, I was told by a few friends who saw the simulcast that they were overwhelmed at that point too... because of the obvious, but also because they knew I got to see my favorite song. Alea sent me a text after the show: Phish played Slave for you.

The Encore
As he saw his life run away from him
Thousands ran along
Chanting words from a song
"Please me have no regrets"
I don't think anyone actually called The Curtain With. I figured Squirming Coil or Divided Sky. I knew they weren't going to play Fluffhead, yet parts of the crowd cheered for it. I recently checked my stats and out of the six times the boys played The Curtain With... I caught it four times (Coventry 04, Brooklyn 04, Vegas 00, Deer Creek 00). And ironically... two of those shows were with Heather. Full circle. That's why Trey and Phish picked that song to end their run. I got to see the boys bust out The Curtain (minus the With) in Fukukoa, Japan... one of my favorite shows of all time, but that didn't compared to the emotional energy of the last Phish song... ever. And yeah, Trey even stopped to tell the boys to play it in it's originally arrangement, one step lower. Perfectionists to the end.

The last bow.

The walk out of the venue was solemn. No one was really speaking. Molly was silent. Beano called me from Atlanta. He saw a simulcast and wanted to know what the last set was like. Although fairly wasted, I still knew what was going on, and I felt I didn't miss anything from being too far outta my tits. I was a little quiet, but I wasn't overly sad. I felt fortunate. I got to see the last six Phish shows... with some of my best friends. Overall, since the end of last summer, I saw 28 out of the last 30 shows.

As an artist I was happy that the guys had enough artistic integrity to realize that their music was not moving forward and reached a quagmire of stagnation. Those patches in an artist's life are a living hell. Depressed? Far from it. I was surprisingly happy leaving the show. I know that sounds fucked up... but over the previous week, I slowly replayed all the Phish shows I ever attended... rather, I replayed the faces of all my friends that I got to see shows with. Because the friendship aspect of Phish was certainly something that we all could relate to and that was something that would be the hardest to let go. I've met some of my best friends through Phish. I'm really going to miss them and all our shared memories. I met, dated, and fell in love with a woman I met in the parking lot at a show. I befriend musicians and Phisheads from Japan... and although we have difficult breaking down the language barrier... music and Phish are the only translators we needed.

Late Night

I wondered how I should tie this up in a nice bow. I tried my best to organize my feelings and emotions in some sort of chronological order... but memories don't work that way. I think memories are the best way for someone to travel back in time. It's an internal time machine. And after Molly fell asleep... I was still booming... and I wandered over to Shakedown. I bought a beer and sat down in the runway. I packed myself a bowl and I hopped into my Phishy time machine. I went as far back as I could and until the sun came up... I relived every show with everyone I saw them with. Maybe that night while you slept, I entered your dream life and I took you on a wild ride with me back in time. No flux capacitors needed. Just close those eyes. From sneaking into the Wetlands to see my first Phish show, to hopping in a car at the last minute to road trip to Athens for my second show with Wilkins, to the infamous three show run at the Roxy in 1993 that I saw with Bob, to Beano's first show at the Fox Theatre (to this date one of my Top 5 Phish shows all time), to my first show with Senor at MSG, to my first West Coast Phish show at the Gorge in 1997 with Senor and his brother, to the best Phish show I ever saw... Las Vegas, Halloween, 1998 and I never tripped harder in my life and I lost it when I looked over and Jay was eating a basket of chicken fingers in the middle of Rock and Roll, to the Prince cover 1999 to open at the New Year's show in 1998 at MSG, to encore at Great Woods when Phish covered Tuesday's Gone when Laila innocently asked me if that was the song from Dazed and Confused, to running out of gas in the Pauly Mobile with Modeski and Senor on the Garden State Parkway after a PNC show, to humorously watching Spider's alter-ego Richard appear before my eyes in the second set at Oswego, to meeting Page and his pregnant wife backstage in Tucson, to watching Heather dance in the aisles with her Mom during 2001 at The Woodlands, to the infamous Boogie glowstick show at Nassau in 1999 when in the middle of Harry Hood she threw a glowstick, hit the lighting rigs above the stage, and the glowstick crashed down on page's piano with a loud, "Thud!", to the epic Millennium show playing until sunrise at Big Cypress, to the Radio City Music Hall shows in NYC with Senor, to riding the bullet trains in Japan with Beano and Senor to four different cities, and cracking up when Zobo pulled out his ticket stub during the middle of Golgi Appartaus in Osaka, to Senor jumping up and down during First Tube at the last Japan Phish show also in Osaka, to the infamous Moby Dick show at Deer Creek with Heather, to Gil eating an ice cream cone during the Mellow Mood opener at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, to witnessing the marriage proposal on the floor of the Vegas show with two Japhans and Heather... also during the middle of Mellow Mood. And then there was the first show after the hiatus at MSG, and the crazy rowdy energy that got MSG rocking all night, to the Philly show at the Spectrum where Molly almost peed in her pants because the lines to get in were so long and slow, to the late night Tower Jam at IT in Maine with Alea as we wandered back clueless that was Phish up on top of the control tower, to the 20th anniversary show in Boston that I went to by myself and made a slew of new friends, to the Miami shows with Bruce and the guest appearance of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, to the wild Vegas shows this past April where I was Page side all three nights only a few rows back, to the last Phish show in NYC for me at Coney Island, to the best jam ever in the middle of Piper at SPAC, to selling Bloody Mary's in Shakedown with The Joker at Deer Creek, to almost getting arrested in Hampton, and my last show with Senor at Great Woods hanging with Emi and Junko on the lawn during Makisupa Policeman, to the crowd chanting, "Could you feel good, feel good, good about Hood!" during the encore at Coventry... I had such a short time to replay all those fond memories and the hudreds or so I forgot to mention. How could I feel upset about never seeing Phish again, when I have such amazing and warm memories to keep me buzzed for days on end?

I wandered back to the tent and stumbled upon the same girl from the night before who had been trying to sell her puppy for some yay yo. I'll write up this hilarious encounter in a short story for the upcoming issue of my blogzine Truckin'. I eventually fell asleep sometime after first light.

Leaving Vermont

I woke up after a few flimsy hours of sleep. It drizzled for a little bit just after sunrise. As I watched the traffic jam of cars exit, I grabbed an egg and cheese sandwich and an OJ. I had a nice wake and bake session and started to pack up all our gear. I woke up Molly and we headed out. A steady stream of cars, RVs, SUV's, and the such were stuck in a single lane trying to get out for twelve straight hours. A decent collection of walkers began their hikes back to their ditched cars. As soon as we began our five mile hike back to Newport, it began to rain for the first time we arrived in Vermont. Although it started slow, it picked up fast. We had to stop and put on our rain gear. Luckily I saw a pick up truck. It was driven by a local and he was headed for Route 14. I asked him to take me to Main Street in Newport first and he agreed to take Molly and myself for $10 each. We climbed into the back and sat on cubes of hay until he packed ten total people in there. The rain picked up intensity even more as we slowly made our way down Airport Road. One kid said he decided to take his last hit of acid because he knew it would get wet sitting in his pocket. He applauded one of the girls in our group who busted out a tarp to cover all of us up in the back. We each held a little bit on the ends and huddled underneath. It was a ten minute drive to Main Street. We hopped out and our car was safe and sound.

We were tired and wet! We dressed and undressed right in the parking lot with the other dirty, muddy, soaked fans. I stashed my muddy pants, socks, shirt, and hiking boots in a plastic bag. I found some dry socks and shoes and charged up my dead phone. I realized that the antenna on my phone broke again! Oh well. I grabbed some of the food and beverages we brought with us and started chowing down on orange Gatorade, a few granola bars, and a coffee cake. We were ready to go back to NYC. "I had an amazing time," I recalled telling Molly as I drove through Main Street and I wondered if my other friends had gotten into the show.

Phans return to their cars on I-91.

On the drive south, you could see thousands of abandoned cars along I-91. Hundreds of people we hiking back to their vehicles. We stopped at a rest stop to freshen up and I ditched some grabage and checked my messages. A few people still had no idea if I got into the show or not and finally had the chance to tell them about the crazy weekend.

We ate at Cracker Barrel someplace south of Springfield. Molly had a corprate discount card! Plenty of heads were also eating. The wait staff had never been that busy before... at 3pm on a Monday. I was going to get French toast, that's what Molly got with a side of bacon, that melted right in your mouth! However, when I walked in, a woman had ordered a bacon cheeseburger and the looks and smells were too enticing for me to pass up.

Last Thoughts

I didn't go to Coventry to see the greatest Phish show of all time. I had low expectations of out them musically. I was there to say good bye to my friends, the band, and the scene that had ballooned out of control over the last decade. The dark energy of Shakedown and the surrounding seedy element had become a cancer upon the thriving Phish community. I'm glad to see it go.

Was Coventry worth the hassle? Yes. Absolutely. I would have walked from NYC to see those guys one last time. I've heard plenty of negative stuff about other people's Coventry experiences. Some of it is warranted while most of it is coming from spoiled rotten kids who placed unattainable expectations on the band. I feel sorry that they weren't able to focus on the positive aspects of living free in the moment.

When Phish scheduled their summer ending festival this past winter, they had no idea that 1. The worst rain in decades would flood out most of the camping and parking areas. And 2. Coventry would be their last shows... ever. Of course those unforseen elements created serious problems. Several things could have been done to improve the situation... communication be the most vital. Mike and the police gave many people in line ambiguous information, which led to a lot of people driving home who would have hiked in had they known that was possible. I feel bad for those folks. In the end, I'm shocked only a few dozen cars were towed, that only one person died, and that Phish held their emotions in check long enough for us to ctach one last glimpse, one last breath, one last moment of one of the most epic and most intimate expirences of my life.

On the road in the Northeast Kingdom.

The Final Tally... The Last Tour:

Miles Driven: 2713
States Visited: 10 (including NY)
Speeding Tickets: 1
Phish Concerts: 6
Gas + Tolls: $232.85
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Eaten: 7
Random Hugs from Hippie Girls: 15
Times I Was Hit in the Head with a Glowstick: 6
Miles Hiked in Vermont: 4
Al Can't Hang Sightings: 1
Puppy Stories: 2
Lawn Boy Sightings: 1
Times Molly Cried: 2.5
Cell Phone Antennas Broken: 2
Avril LaVigne/Phish Jam References Overheard at the Urinals: 3
Naked Pregnant Women Taking a Dump in Front of Me: 1

Random Picture Gallery

Here's where I'll post the rest of the pics I took with a $5 disposable camera. Enjoy.

This is near where we camped. The grass was very squishy.

A trash pile on Shakedown Street.

Yes, I carried Molly through all that mud!

E.T.s for sale in Shakedown...

The local farmers had to pull cars out of the mud. Average towing rate: $35.

The Canadian Mounties on patrol.

Mmmmm... coookies!

I dunno what these guys were all about.

The sun sets on Phish one last time.

That's it for now. I am working on a site where I'll post more Coventry related stuff.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Banning Religious Freaks from My Sites

I spent the last hour cleaning up the comment sections on my 34 blogs. OK, I don't have 34 blogs, but I write for four different ones regularly. And they have been hit by comments from some Jesus freak -- which I treat just the same as spam for penis pills, toe-sucking porn, or better credit card rates. I have banned your IP addresses from my comments section.

A warning to future spammers... have you ever been kicked in the junk before? If you spam my site, I will track you down and insure that your genital areas will experience a considerable amount of uncomfortable pain. I have plenty of friends in low places... don't forget in addition to being a drug addict, I also used to work on Wall Street... I know plenty of low forms of life that have nothing else better to do than stalk idiots like yourselves and kick them in the junk... all because I told them I'd give them two cigarettes, $5, and a coupon to Popeye's for a free biscuit.

I want to say that if I offended you or any of my readers.... well, boo fuckin' hoo. You can worship who ever you want, but the second you post comments on my site directing me to hell or to your religious-themed website... you are no better than a two-bit spam artist and should be treated as such.

I know am going to hell, and I'm cool with that. So stop preaching to me and go save some drowning kittens.
Part 3... Coming Soon

I apologize for the delay! The first draft is written and although I've had some time to write... I haven't had the proper "emotional head space" to finish up the last part of my Coventry weekend. As some of you understand, the Coventry exceprts have been some of the more difficult stories I ever had to write. Usually I allow a safe distance and time to pass before I write up serious emotional aspects of my life. I don't have that luxury here. But it will be posted within 24 hours!

The good news... I have been spending plenty of time relaxing, writing, and getting back plety of lost sleep. Stay tuned. Check out: Lone Star Molly for her write up of last weekend's events.
Inside the Zarqawi Network

Editor's Note: I recently ended my two week hiatus from my poli-blog This Side of the Truth and posted this entry earlier this morning. Check it out!

Inside the Zarqawi Network is a recent article published in The Weekly Standard by terrorism expert Jon Schanzer. He discusses a how a recent memo sheds light on the top terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Schanzer makes several interesting points, including the fact that the majority of funding and the main source of fighters is Iran. And lasty, Schanzer sheds light on a small border town called Qaim, a place we should all familiarize with ourselves. Here's a bit:
At least 13 Iraqis were killed in fighting with U.S. soldiers in the Iraqi city of Falluja on July 30, part of the ongoing U.S. offensive against fighters loyal to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the man Bush administration officials claim is the most dangerous terrorist in Iraq today. Critics, however, contend that the Jordanian-born Zarqawi is a Washington-made bogeyman who is not worth the $25 million bounty on his head. They doubt the strength of Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad (Unity and Holy War) group, citing intelligence officials who generally agree that no more than 1,000 foreign fighters are active in Iraq.

A memo acquired by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy from Iraqi intelligence sources, however, provides a first glimpse into the configuration of Zarqawi's Iraqi network, which may be more dangerous than previously imagined. The memo, "Structure of Tawhid and Jihad Islamic Group," details several days of recent interrogations of one of Zarqawi's captured lieutenants. Umar Baziyani, Zarqawi's number four, a member of the Tawhid legislative council, and the "emir" of Baghdad, was captured by U.S. forces in late May 2004. The account of his confessions details the hierarchal structure of Zarqawi's group, its ties to Syria and Iran, the number of fighters it commands in Iraq, the names of the regional emirs, its media strategy, and more.
Schanzer continues to say that despite the lost ties from Al Qaeda after the arrest of Hassan Ghul. Here's an extremely important factor that several media groups are ignorning:
Ghul, according to U.S. officials, was carrying a message from Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden. Ghul, who was reportedly a lieutenant of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was considered to be the top al Qaeda operative captured in Iraq. Baziyani explains that after Ghul's arrest, Tawhid and Jihad was cut off from al Qaeda. Recent reports, citing U.S. intelligence agencies, indicate that Zarqawi may have been trying to reconnect with bin Laden "in the last few weeks."
But that hardly affected the core structure of the group. Schanzer continued to explain that there were nine regional leaders of the Falluja-based Tawhid and Jihad under Zarqawi. And if any of them are killed or captured, a new emir steps up to take leadership. Since these emirs are spread out all over Iraq, destroying this network looks like a difficult task... especially when many of our leaders and heads of news organizations refuse to ackowledge the seriousness of this threat to stability in Iraq and to the safety of our troops. Here's some more from Schanzer:
There are also regional emirs in the Kurdish north (Hussein Salim), the western Anbar province (Abdullah Abu Azzam), and the city of Mosul (Abu Tallah). In this way, Tawhid and Jihad can execute spectacular terrorist attacks throughout the country. These include the Baghdad-based bombing of the Jordanian embassy; suicide bombings against Shiites and an attack on Basra's oil infrastructure in the south; suicide bombings against Kurds in the north; attacks against police recruiting centers throughout the country; and the beheading of American Nick Berg in an unknown location.

In addition to its regional bases, Zarqawi's group has a specially designated media department. Baziyani claims that a man named Hassan Ibrahim heads this department, along with lieutenants Khadi Hassan and "Adil," who were responsible for taping and releasing the May 11 beheading of Berg.
Schanzer also discusses the importance of Qaim a small border town. Here's more:
Tawhid and Jihad maintains a strong military presence (150 fighters) in the town of al-Qaim, which is close to the Syrian border, just west of the Euphrates River. One Pentagon official believes that the number of fighters Baziyani put in al-Qaim is likely inflated, but says that the importance of the town cannot be overstated. Al-Qaim, to the bewilderment of U.S. officials, was where the Iraqi army put up some of its fiercest resistance during the 2003 Iraq war. A senior administration official calls Qaim "critical" and "the key to understanding how Syria is involved" in the insurgency.

With the help of Zarqawi, the town is said to be a depot for weapons, cash, and fighters supplied by Zarqawi's financiers--the bulk of whom are now believed by U.S. intelligence to be operating out of Syria.
The memo shared some good news, stating that plenty of their bases have been destoryed by the US military. Schanzer's closing paragraph sums up everything.
The information in the Baziyani interrogation memo needs to be further vetted by U.S. and Iraqi intelligence. Still, the memo provides an unprecedented look into the mind of one of Zarqawi's lieutenants. It also provides a view of the small but powerful network that may or may not be at the center of the Iraqi insurgency, but has established itself as its brutal, public face.
For more related information, visit Schanzer's Garage.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Hilton Sisters Challenge 5

Why not, eh? While I'm out of town, how about another Hilton Sisters Challenge!?!

They like to ride pocket rockets!

Your mission: During the Monty Memorial Poker Bloggers Tourney on Pacific Poker (on Sunday night)... you must crack AA with QQ.

Prizes: The winner gets wither a cool Phish t-shirt designed by my buddy Bruce, or a Pauly painting. Your choice.

Best of luck! I will not be playing but my brother will try to take everyone down!

Past Winners:
Hilton Sisters Challenge 1: Chris Halverson and Bad Blood
Hilton Sisters Challenge 2: No one
Hilton Sisters Challenge 3: My brother from Poker in the Weeds
Hilton Sisters Challenge 4: Jordan from Hurty Gurty

Friday, August 20, 2004

For the Record...

Paris under the Tao... I love it!

I'd like to squash a few rumors out there.

1. I did not break into the Hilton Sisters' LA apartment.
2. I did not steal Paris' pooch.
3. I did not marry Nicky Hilton in a drunken mess in Las Vegas.


1. I'd love to break into Paris' underwear draw so I can give out a few of her G-strings to entice new players to sign up to Party Poker with my bonus code: TAO4.
2. I'd love to accidently microwave Tinkerbell with a bowl of chili fries.
3. I'd marry Nicky in a second because that means I'll never have to fly COACH ever again.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Coventry: A Vermont Pharewell... Part II
"The phinest in the nation..."
Sunday Morning

Normally as an insomniac, I wake up several times in the middle of the night, usually never falling back to sleep. I passed out hard after the first show due to the serious sleep depravation I suffered from the entire week of being on the road seeing four shows spread out along the Eastern corridor. My first memory of Sunday morning were the wailing screams from a drunk guy. I wiped away the eye boogers and unzipped the door to my tent. It was 8:30am and I was greeted by a shirtless dude wandering around our camping area with a cocktail in his hand.

"Happy Sundaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay morning! It's go time! High temperatures 76, low of 72. Happy Sundaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay morning!!!! Time to get up. You're all on vacation. You're all in Vermont. Happy Sundaaaaaaaaaaay morning!!!!! It's go time!"

He repeated the same phrases for twenty minutes straight. He woke up everyone in our acre of wet grass and mud. Despite her ear plugs, Molly could still hear him. As soon as he calmed down, I heard the girl in the tent next to us utter, "I am never doing mushrooms again."

Everyone in their tents started a domino effect of uncontrollable laughing and giggling. The poor girl next to us from Kansas was still tripping when she woke up. Yeah, Dorothy, we've all been there. Dr. Pauly's advice.... smoke through it. And don't forget... no matter what you might think, you cannot fly.

"Happy Sundaaaaaaaaaaaaay morning. High temperatures 76!"

I stumbled out of our humid tent and began my ritualistic wake and bake session, my first ever in Vermont. That's when I saw the naked pregnant woman squatting down in the woods behind our tent. She was taking a shit. A nasty one too. I heard a several uncomfortable grunts and moans. Only at a Phish festival could you shrug off that scene. Sure it might have been the first strange thing I saw that day, but I was guaranteed that by Midnight, the naked pregnant chick taking a shit behind my tent would be the 136th weird-ass-happening that I'd experience. Now if she gave birth right there... then that would have been definitely blogworthy.

What does one say to a naked pregnant woman taking a shit in front of you while you're getting high?

"Ummm, er.... how about those Red Sox, huh? Want a hit?"

No, she probably didn't like baseball. Plus the Sox suck. That would have been bad. I wandered over to the Common Ground Cafe and I picked up two egg and cheese sandwiches on a wheat roll and two waters for me and Molly. I chatted with a few Canadian Mounties to get the weather report. There were plenty of people still up from the night before as they stumbled back to their tents. We ate a little bit and Molly called her stepfather to get the skinny on the weather via the Internet to verify the information the Mounties gave me. Technology vs. odd Canadians in red shirts on horses. Which do you trust when you're stoned out of your tits and see dark clouds rolling over the hills from the West?

We were going to be lucky because a band of rain was going to barely miss Vermont and hit Cape Cod and parts of Maine and New Hampshire instead. Very cool, I figured, since I had half expected to leave early if the weather got unbearable.

Even Homer Simpson made the show!

Molly fell back asleep and I tried to get in touch with everyone at the festival. I originally scheduled to have a meet and greet brunch at Noon, to allow all the various readers of my blogs and all my different circles of friends (from almost 15 years of my Phishtory) mingle and hang out together... and have a Six Degrees of Pauly group photo!! It was going to be a huge affair! I planned on using the same caterer as Paris Hilton and bring champagne and strawberries and kind nugs. Alas, I forgot the champagne on the ride up... but... I would have left it behind anyway, and not carried it on the hike in.

I checked my messages. Alea sent me a text: Trey super wasted set 3 :( Harry Hood :) have phun 2nite! I started to wonder who got in and who got shut out. Lori and the Joker called on their way inside. I knew they were at Coventry (although I hadn't seen them yet). I had not heard from Daddy, a fellow poker blogger, my friend Sarah from Seattle, nor the japhans Emi and Junko. I was very concerned with Emi and Junko. They flew in from Japan and I dreaded thinking that they possibly got shut out. Zobo had not heard from her either and was hoping I would run into her. That's why I wear the red blazer at shows. I'm easy to pick out of a crowd filled with freaks. My goal was to wander around enough that someone would notice me. If I was meant to bump into people... I would.

I made a mistake on our original meeting place for the Sunday brunch. I realized that the event lacked a central message board that other festivals had. Maybe I flat out missed it, but I could not locate one. I attempted to text message everyone that the meeting place changed to the General Store at Noon. I wandered inside and saw Lori and her friend Sean standing in line. She clutched a few Gatorades and looked exhausted. We hung outside for a few minutes sharing our tales about our walks into Coventry and the insanity of our respective camping areas. She had four people crammed into a four person tent! I had me and tiny Molly in a four person tent. And I forgot about the pile of shit that the naked pregnant chick left behind on my back porch. Lori recanted all the rumors she heard. Trey's a crackhead. Just kidding. You knew that one already. Mike's an alien. Did you know that?

Real celebs were there too. Thanks to Marnie Mitchell for the photo.

OK, here's what Lori really told me... that the security at the gate ran out of wrist bands, so pretty much anyone could walk in at that point. Also, that tickets were available at Will Call for $100 as of Saturday afternoon. I guessed that excess re-release could have been due to the folks who never got in and picked up their tickets. But the real rumor... the infamous fourth set rumor... modeled after the late night Tower Jam the year before at IT... was that Phish was going to play on the little platform/theatre that was in the middle of the Common Area. It was wired for sound and during the day, weird characters in costumes were putting on plays and other random events. Could it happen? Perhaps. But it was fun just thinking of the possibility. I said good bye to Lori and made my way back to the campsite. She was the only one who showed up for my brunch. Even sleepy Molly was too tired to make it!

After Molly got up we wandered around the runway for a bit, hoping to bump into people I knew. I bought a cheeseburger from one guy and we found some shade to settle into for a bit. I busted out my sign: Ask me any question? $1. I love the reaction from people. Some folks are humorless. Other's get it right away and chuckle. Some play along and give me a $1 and ask me a question. And yet others are annoying as hell, trying to figure out "the catch" and grilling me about all the specifics. Folks, I'm fucked up trying to score a few extra free waters! It's not a mortgage application. Drop the cheapskate act for three seconds and just have a fun time!

I got one guy to ask me: "How many tractors will it take to pull all the cars out of the mud?" My answer: 137. Score! I went over to the water guy and bought a free water. As we wandered around, I'd hold up my small sign. One kid from Northern California offered me a few drops of liquid THC for his question... "Do you want some liquid THC?" Now that kid totally got it!

The infamous upside down trees.

Sunday Afternoon

Shakedown was packed with people. I took a few random photos and was kinda irked that I didn't have my video camera to capture the entire scene. Within two minutes a hundred people streamed by us. Half of the folks were barefoot, their shins caked in mud. The rest of the lot used plastic bags and tied them around their ankles. Still others had full blown fishing gear and wading pants to brave the mud pits sporadically located throughout all of Coventry. Everyone had the drug, molly, to sell. I'd poke Molly in the ribs when kids would wander past and whisper "Molly," to us.

"How did they know your name?" I'd tease. It made me recall Haley's first and only Phish show in Albany last November. She had never quite experienced the parking lot scene at a Phish concert and had no idea the amount of shady stuff going down. When she heard hundreds of calls for "molly" she curiously turned to me and asked, "Does everyone know your friend Molly?"

"More or less," I muttered.

Flashback over. I saw plenty of freaks, like the kid wearing the skirt and holding the giant Chiquita banana, that the Joker and I saw in Brooklyn. And the fucked up gaggle of five sorority girls from Michigan, those Dave Matthews Band chicks, who were inhaling Jell-O shots like Britney Spears feasting on a huge cut of tube steak. Then there was the wookie who was passed out in the middle of the airport runway. One girl wearing angel wings was kind enough to leave him a bottle of water. Yeah, plenty of characters and that was all seen in a quick blink of 120 seconds.

A couple of Mounties were trying to hold up the sea of people wandering past a garbage truck that needed to make a necessary pickup of an overflowed dumpster. She was a heavyset woman, and I felt sorry for the horse that had to bear her head-shaking weight. She kept blowing her whistle, attempting to hold back the crowd.

"Get back!" she yelled. "Get back. Don't you kids understand what that means?"

Of course, in my smug, snarky, wise-ass NYC mind all I could come up with was, "No. We don't speak Canadian, eh?" And I blurted that out which got a few laughs from the held up crowd.

I ended up scoring a few Superman rolls from a couple of guys from Ohio. I was set for my last show. I was on a mission. I wanted to get snookered... and make an Al Can't Hang Happy Hour binge look like a choir girl from the Bible Belt enjoying some milk and cookies. Too bad the streets of NYC weren't like Shakedown Street at Phish shows. I'd love to stroll down Park Avenue in front of a few haughty taught yuppies and score a fat bag a shrooms from a crusty with three puppies. Speaking of puppies, the entire afternoon I'd wander through the dense crowd, holding Molly's hand, weaving in and out of all the wasted, semi-wasted, and obliterated kids, whispering, "Kind nugs for your puppy!" I'd walk up to people who had their dogs following them with hemp leashes and tried to barter a trade for their pets. No luck. I wasn't serious of course. Just being silly.

"Kind nugs for your puppy!"

Again, I got some bizarre stares from folks. A lot of them just chuckled under their breath. People will sell anything. And worse, some people will buy anything. I watched some guy hand-blow glass pipes in front of a small crowd. We wandered around some more, past a couple of adorable Phishy chicks selling disposable cameras for $10. Why didn't I think about that idea? I was bumming. I was supposed to bring in a book bag filled with t-shirts designed by my buddy Bruce. He sold eight in the Camden parking lot alone... they were kick ass designs, and I would have spent the better part of my Sunday afternoon taking pictures, getting video footage, and selling Bruce's t-shirts with Molly.

I devoured another BBQ chicken breast sandwich from the Common Ground cafe (the safe choice!) and Molly ate a hot dog. I actually ate two meals on Sunday! We went back to the tent to get ready for the show. I didn't want to take any chances. We packed up all of our gear and wrapped them in the large recycling bags that the Phish Green Crew passed out when we entered the campgrounds. If it started raining during the show, we could sprint back, grab our gear and hike back to the car. I was prepared to ditch my tarp and tent if there was a heavy down pour. At that point I must say we were lucky. No one had gone through our site when we were gone. At Big Cypress, the folks we camped with had gotten some things taken. Coventry was theft free.

Freaky sculptures at the back of the concert area.

The Last Show

We wandered into the concert area much earlier than Saturday. This time we were prepared. We took our rain gear and warm jackets. And most importantly, a plastic bag to sit on. No mud for us! I took my only disposable camera into the show. We found a decent spot, Mike's side... because I felt that Mike had been the MVP of the week... and he was playing the best out of the four. I sweated Page for the entire Vegas run.
Set 1: Mike's Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Anything But Me, Reba, Carini > Chalkdust Torture > Possum, Wolfman's Brother > The Sexy Bump Jam > Wolfman's Brother > Taste
The boys started a little earlier than the day before. Mike's Song was not anything special. The crowd was more into the first set than Saturday, but the boys were a little off on the first few songs. Sure, Mike was solid... and he had been kicking ass all week. He was completely in the moment and hit a few highlights in Weekapaug. Trey walked over to Page after Weekapaug and then admitted to the crowd that he had never been nervous at a Phish show before. Uh oh. I guess that explained the subpar M > H >W. Then they started into a slow Round Room tune that gets plenty of groans from the crowd. Anything But Me was one of those songs that Zobo thinks it sounds like his three year-old nephew singing/whining. It was a perfect, Pauly's going to smoke a bowl song. But the lyrics were touching.
"I am just another shooting star
High above that you might see.
Until I have your full attention,
I'll be anything but me."
Maybe Trey's alluding to the fact that the crowds have been out of their tits wasted since 1998 and too fucked up to notice their sloppiness. It was too early to read into their song selection.

We have the same bald spot!

Reba got me going. Molly loves Reba. What Phishy chick doesn't? It wasn't as tight as the SPAC show opener, but I was pumped to hear it one last time. Somewhere just before Carini... the roll I took kicked in. I really enjoy Carini... one of my favorite songs where Trey goes off. I love jamming hard to Carini. I noticed a group next to us that were getting down as well. I kept giving one girl a thumbs up sign to share my approval of the tune.

Trey played his favorite song next... Chalkdust Torture, a song I can say I have seen almost 60 times... perhaps more? It gets stale after a while... but how would Trey handle his last performance of his favorite song.... ever? He struggled but had a few pretty smoking rifts. The older I get, the more the line... "Can't I live while I'm young?" ...has relevance.

And then they busted into Possum. For some reason my mind set had been focusing on the lyrics for each of the songs... for some hidden messages and meanings into the significance of their last time onstage. The last line of Possum is fitting.
"Your end is the road."
Wolfman's Brother is probably my favorite most popular Phish song or heavy hitter. I fuckin' love the chances they take when they go off the deep end into a funky improvisational jam. I've seen some epic versions... the one I caught in Nagoya with Senor still holds up as one of the best individual performances (of any song) of all time. Trey was a little goofy and giving everyone the historical background of Wolfman's during the song.
"And the telephone was ringing,
that's when I handed it to Liz."
He told us that was his friend Liz Durkin, and he actually handed a phone to her after it rang. And Trey also admitted the big secret all these years, "Everyone knows that the walrus was Paul. When I was 18, Fishman was the Wolfman's Brother."

That was cool to know. Then Trey brought out his mother and Mike's Mom for a a version of the Sexy Bump... before they tagged teamed their tour manager John Paluska.

Trey and his Mom do the Sexy Bump!

The boys ended the first set with Taste and they finally all played together. It's a song where Page can go off on. And he did! At setbreak, I jotted down a few notes, but I was starting to get too jittery, so I stopped writing. I saw Lawn Boy and Molly took a picture of us.
Set 2:Down With Disease > Velvet Sea, Glide, [band speech], Split Open and Melt > Blowing Off Steam Jam > Ghost
What can I say? The sun went down and the boys started to get a little crazy. It was fitting that Down with Disease opened the second set.
"Waiting for a time when I can finally say,
'That this has all be wonderful, but now I'm on my way!'
Then I think it's time to leave it all behind,
I try to find a way to,
But there's nothing I can say to make it stop."
It was a kick ass version. Out of nowhere thousands of glowsticks rained up out of the crowd. It was probably one of the biggest glow stick wars I had ever witnessed. They were everywhere! Trey even picked one up and played slide guitar with one. The jam about twelve minutes in was some of the better jamming they did all weekend.

Check out the evidence yourself. Here's a great video of the glow stick war during DWD.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks...

After a sick DWD, the boys segued into Wading in the Velvet Sea. It's a tune that gets a mixed reaction from the crowd. I get upset when they cheesed it out as an encore. But this version was special.

Page started crying. He couldn't even get out a full line of lyrics. He tried it twice. And just couldn't do it and pushed his microphone away. Wow. When Page lost it the first time, the crowd cheered to try to rally him along. But when he lost it a second time, I got a wave of goose bumps. He was overwhelmed with emotion. Then so was the rest of the band. Even Mike, who has the best poker face of all four was visibly flustered. They never did this before. I looked over at Molly. She was holding back tears. For a second they almost stopped... but they gutted it through. Which was important for me, who also lost it for the first time.
I took a moment from my day
Wrapped it up in things you say
Mailed it off to your address
You'll get it pretty soon unless

The packaging begins to break
And all the points I tried to make
Are tossed with thoughts into a bin
Time leaks out my life leaks in

You won't find moments in a box
And someone else will set your clocks
I took a moment from my day
Wrapped it up in things you say
And mailed it off to you
I can't get into Page's mind. I dunno what flashback triggered the tidal wave of sadness. Last time he'll sing it? Was it for a special girl? That song is special for me because it reminds me of the first woman I was truly in love with and I saw plenty of shows with her in the late 1990s. I thought that I successfully built up a solid fortress of denial about the feelings I still had for her up until that watershed moment. The fortress of denial of my honest feelings quickly shattered and abruptly tumbled down when Page stared crying. Phish just wasn't about music and getting wasted. It was deeply rooted in many of our lives... so far deep that it entrenched itself far inside the walls of your heart. Although I looked calm, I was barely keeping it together. The band ended Velvet Sea and then started an ugly version of Glide. They were still visibly and musically affected with emotion. Trey was sloppy, and this time he wasn't drunk or high... he was fucked up on sincere emotion. He spoke for a few moments after Glide. How he and the boys are going through plenty of "emotional ups and downs.... emotion and confusion."

And then every band member had a little something to say.

"Thank you from all four of us," Page said.

Mike offered up, "This has been a real wild ride. For many, many, many years, I'm the luckiest person in the world to get to play with these guys and for all of you."

And Fishman started off with, "Awwwww. For all of you people who walked in here... that's the greatest compliment that we could every have. Thank you so much. That's unbelievable."

I would have walked from NYC to Vermont to see these guys.

And then Trey said some sentimental things about his friendship with the band and lost it a few times. When he uttered, "We need to blow off some fuckin' steam!", they ripped into Split Open and Melt At that point, I made the decision that it was time to get really fucked up and I popped the second Superman roll. I was pretty plastered at that point... but since there was a set and a half left... it was time to go further. Trey stumbled through the lyrics, but the sharpened up their playing... and knocked off a thirty minute version... with plenty of peaks and valleys in their jamming. They eventually segued a half hour later into Ghost, which I was dying to hear. Man, Mike started off kicking my ass with some vicious licks. The second roll kicked in right away and I was flooded.

Trey had a tough time with the lyrics on Ghost and Fishman picked up the slack right away and sang lead the entire song. Trey could barely mumble the words. He must had peed his pants with emotion. Mike and Fish kept it up and pushed the jam along. They got their shit together for a distrubing ambient/distortion jam that stretched several minutes with Trey screaming unaudible words. They ended the most emotional set of Phish I ever experienced. I wish I had a bar to stumbled into to forget all the intensified memories sticking to my insides.

Coming Soon... Part III... the review of set three, after show and after thoughts!