Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Vegas Vacation?

Heavy Losses at the Bellagio, Betty Buys New Shoes at Prada, and Other Goofy Tales...

I'm back from Vegas! Had an amazing holiday (which means I won...!) and as usual I wanted to stay the entire week, but alas I am home in NYC. The Vegas Reprise Holiday (my second trip in a month) was a true technology free vacation without the distractions of television, the internet & e-mail, and most importantly... my cell phone. I avoided all of those things (hence the lack of blogs and the back log of e-mail and voicemail messages). I feel out of the loop but refreshed! I was plugged in for too long and I needed a break from the eWorld.

The Bellagio was decadent. I ate fine cuisine (Chilean Sea Bass) at Aqua. I saw Andy Warhol portraits at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The soft robes in our room felt comfy and I wanted to steal one!

On Saturday, Betty shopped at Prada then sat at the pool while I played poker. On Sunday, she went to the Art of the Ages Painting Exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum then shopped at Gucci and I played more poker. We got dual massages at the spa after I played cards all night and lost almost $500 at the poker room downstairs, but won everywhere else I played (especially at the Excalibur & the Mirage).

When Betty headed back to the Bay Area, I went to Binion's Horseshoe and attempted to win a seat at the World Series of Poker. Yes! I was pissing in the tall weeds with the big dogs. I played in a satellite tournament. The entry fee was $125. The winner gets $10,000 towards the entry fee ($10 grand buy-in) into the World Series starting May 19th. You have to beat 18 other people to win then you advance to the World Series and a shot at winning $2 Million plus!

I did not win but I was the next to last guy at my table. I beat out some good card players from all over the world including a wise cracking, Cuba Libra drinking Canuck from Calgary. The grumpy guy I lost to was twice my age and had six times as many chips as I did. He knocked me out rather quickly when we played head to head. I got bullied by a seasoned veteran but I took my shot at the big time in my first NO LIMIT Texas Hold 'em tournament. It was tougher than I expected and I was nervous due to the excitement of knowing that tourists are huddled behind me, watching me play cards during the tourney... that was a rush. Man I dig Vegas.

Other highlights of Vegas Reprise included...

1. The heavenly 50 minute couples massage at the spa in the Bellagio with special warm stones placed on all my sore spots! Especially welcomed after an all night seven hour poker session. I skipped the lemon ginger scrub and kiwi cumcumber facial wash to go crash.
2. Getting Four of a Kind... wired 7s on the flop (a hefty $400 win) at the Mirage!
3. Locking our cell phones in the room safe for the duration of the trip and not taking it out once!
4. Playing in my first No Limit Hold 'em Tournament and a getting glimpse at the lure of the World Series of Poker.
5. Tasty sushi at Shintaro, yummy yummy! And checking out the live jellyfish!
6. Getting stoned and staring at the Fiori di Como the breath taking ceiling sculpture in the lobby... 2,000 hand blown glass flowers by Dale Chihuly.

I dunno if I can wait until the end of this year to go to Vegas with my brother! I want to go back next weekend!

Friday, April 25, 2003

Leaving for Las Vegas...

OK folks, the Tao will be on hiatus for the next 72 hours. Yes, I will be away on holiday! I am not taking my laptop to Vegas with me. I'm looking to travel as light as possible this trip. I'm getting more and more excited each minute. I'm about less than 10 hours away from playing poker and I'm ready for a little $5-$10 Texas Hold 'em action at the Bellagio! Time to rip off some tourists and take their bankrolls!

I will be back Monday afternoon sometime, with a few great stories, including an article on the World Series of Poker for the Good News as well as another Truckin' story... Vegas is filled with them! Next week I'll be blogging the a special version of 11 Questions... the Senor Edition! And that batch is not to be missed! Stay tuned.

In the meantime if you get bored and if you need a Pauly fix, you can read the latest issue of Truckin' or re-read old issues. Be sweet, McG

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

1. Who's Running America? The Bush Restoration by Thomas R. Dye 2. Gracefully Insane by Alex Beam
3. Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
4. Heart, You Bully, You Punk by Leah Hager Cohen
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

Thursday, April 24, 2003

I continued my weekly ritual of drinking at the Cedar Tavern and editing parts of my new novel. Today I started a little extra early drinking way before noon. Today was sort of special because of the Library of Congress notification for Charlie's Goldfish. So Senor joined me for a mini celebration of my new found immortality... and an afternoon beer was certainly called for. I like getting buzzed and walking around the city during mid day. I consider it a joyous epxression of my freedom and independence, another great perk of being a writer. In an unrealted note, I also found out that in 1800, on this date... the Library of Congress was formed. Just an odd coincidence pointed out to me by a friend. Anyhoo, I'll be in Las Vegas in less than a day and it's starting to sink in. I'll be crashing at the Bellagio for the weekend, a place I never stayed there before. I have dreams about player poker all the time now. And sometimes being in Vegas is like a mid afternoon dream.

Library of Congress and Charlie's Goldfish

It's official... Charlie's Goldfish... is registered with the Library of Congress and I was issued a certificate from the Copyright Office with the registration number. It took seven months to file, but they finally got around to it! Next up: Jack Tripper Stole My Dog.

"This Certificate issued under the seal of the Copyright Office in accordance with Title 17, United States Code, attests that registration has been made for the work identified below (Charlie's Goldfish). This information on this certificate has been made a part of the Copyright Office records."

If you want to read Charlie's Goldfish you can now visit the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and go look it up! I know the screenplay was not my best work and it got a luke-warm reaction from the critics, but I felt some sort of elation to know it was offically registered. That was first ever work registered and copyrighted, and it will not be my last!

A couple of months ago, I got a certificate from the Writer's Guild of America (WGA, the writers union) registering Charlie's Goldfish.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote three articles for's Page 2.

1. A Sad Week in America (4.10.03) Here's a bit: "This is a very bad week for the American nation, and next week will be even worse. The Kansas-Syracuse game was barely over when I learned to my horror that the United States Marines were killing journalists in Baghdad."

2. Back in the Day... (4.18.03) Here's a bit: "The relentless Bombing News from Iraq commanded all the front-page headlines and all the TV news shows, which drone at us 24 hours of every day. Many people don't have time to even read the sports section, much less focus on it and gamble. ... It is impossible to truly concentrate on anything when your wallet is empty and your heart is full of fear."

3. The Tragedy of Naked Bowling (4.21.03) Here's a bit: "Naked Bowling was once a sinister sport in America, but today it is making a strong comeback, very strong. Nobody except Waterheads will deny that the recent craze for bowling naked in public makes it one of the fastest growing sports in the free world. Wonderful. It came in the nick of time. The whole nation was getting jittery from too much war news, and the sporting public was demanding wilder and wilder government-sponsored Sport spectacles, to blot out the grim horizon ... and then it happened everywhere, all at once -- The Great Cheerful Naked Bowling Boom of 2003."
Poker Related Reading

World Series of Poker to Make Internet Debut... last year's winner walked away with $2 Million!!

Here's a bit: "The 34th annual World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe is expected to draw as many as 8,000 players from around the globe as well as hundreds of tourists who will watch an event that has become the gambling industry's top spectator sport.

For the first time this year, hundreds more are expected to watch the event live from their homes thanks to Internet technology that is less than a year old. Anyone over 18 with a credit card can purchase for $14.95 live webcasts of the 33 poker finals games that started this week and will take place over the next month. For $29.95, viewers can buy an Internet feed of the final, five-day championship game of hold 'em poker that begins May 19 and ends May 23 with the winner of an estimated $2 million pot."

Good Jim and Bad Jim and Mostly Lucky Jim is an article that appeared in the NY Times.

Here's a bit: "A-3 is not a good hand in Mr. McManus's game of choice, Texas hold'em, in which each player gets two cards to combine with five common ones for the highest possible hand. Even A-10 is questionable. But poker is a game of luck as well as skill, as Mr. McManus amply illustrates in his newly published nonfiction account of the 2000 World Series of Poker, "Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs and Binion's World Series of Poker" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)."
Noam Chomsky's Golden Rule is an article written by Eric Bosse and appears on

Here's a bit: "Chomsky points out that the distinction between terrorism and counterterrorism is often a matter of perspective, though the counterterror tends to be far more terrible. This hypocrisy, this inability to recognize one's own crimes as crimes, Chomsky argues, is not a singularly American trait.

"As far as I know," he explains, "it's universal. Anyplace I've looked – and I've looked at a lot of different countries – that's exactly what you find. During the whole history of European imperialism, this is the standard line: We do it to them, it's counterterror or a just war, bringing civilization to the barbarians, or something like that. If we do that in their own countries – because remember, until September 11, the West was largely immune – at a vastly worse level, it's not terror. It's a civilizing mission, or something like that."

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

47 hours until Vegas? Giddy up!
Top 10 Pauly & Senor Concerts

I was asked by a couple of you: What is your favorite show you've seen with Senor? And now here's the Top 10 concerts... and yes, a lot of Japan shows! Enjoy.

1. Phish 6.16.00 Osaka, Japan, Zepp Theatre
2. Phish 6.14.00 Fukuoka, Japan, Drum Logos
3. Phish 6.13.00 Nagoya, Japan, Club Quattro
4. Phil Lesh and Phriends 4.17.99 San Francisco, CA, Warfield Theatre (with Trey & Page from Phish)
5. Phish 10.31.98 Las Vegas, NV, Thomas & Mack Center
6. Phish 6.15.00 Osaka, Japan, Big Cat
7. Widespread Panic 7.28.00 Atlantic City, NJ, Taj Mahal Casino
8. Phish 8.3.97 George, WA, The Gorge
9. Phish 6.11.00 Tokyo, Japan, Hibyia Park
10. Phil Lesh and Phriends 7.7.01 Morrison, CO, Red Rocks
"I am energy." - Jackson Pollock
Widespread Panic 4.22.03 Beacon Theatre, New York, NY

Set 1: Papa Legba, Old Neighborhood, One Arm Steve, Tortured Artist, Nobody's Fault But Mine > Henry Parsons Died, Proving Ground, Space Wrangler

Set 2: Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi) > Love Tractor, Don't Wanna Lose You, Rebirtha > Pilgrims > Surprise Valley > Drums > Surprise Valley > C. Brown, All Time Low

Encore: Superstition* > Shakedown Street Jam* > Goin' Out West*

* with Warren Haynes on guitar

Mini Review

My last Panic show was in Asbury Park, NJ (home of the Boss!) 17 months ago. I was excited to see them again. We had decent seats on the right side of the floor. Seems we always get the back corner for WSP shows! Smoking was not a problem, nor was security. First set was much better than the second. I'm not a fan of Papa Legbra but they really did an excellent job with the opener. Nobody's Fault But Mine > Henry Parsons Died was the highlight of the night. George McConnell the new guitar player picked his moments, and it seemed that the rest of the boys let him take center stage and give him ample time to go off in random guitar solos. He was good. They played Tortured Artist a funky new song off their new CD Ball. I also dug Proving Ground and an old Georgia classic Space Wrangler.

Senor liked the first set much better and I agreed. Second set was more trippy. They opened up with Thin Air another new song. Love Tractor is another old school classic, and sometimes you might here it played on the outro to commercials on TBS broadcasts of Atlanta Braves baseball games. Rebirtha and Surprise Valley stand out as the better parts of the set. And All Time Low had the crowd in a frenzy, and it's not a favorite song of mine, but it was the best version I ever heard. High energy for sure. Warren Haynes came out for the 20 minute encore. They played the Stevie Wonder cover of Superstition and had a fatty Shakedown Street jam and tease before playing a Tom Waits song, Goin' Out West to close...

Well I'm goin' out west where the wind blows the tall
They got some money out there they're giving it away
I'm gonna do what I want and I'm gonna get paid

I thought that was a great song to close the show with since I'm on my way out west... to Las Vegas!

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

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

1. Love by Stendhal 2. Don Quixote by Cervantes
3. Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
4. Holy Bible
5. Eyes on my Soul: The Rise or Decline of a Black FBI Agent by Tyrone Powers
Widespread Panic!

It's been over 17 months since I last saw Senor's favorite band: Widespread Panic. I have been seeing these guys since 1990, and I've seen them more times that the Grateful Dead and I've seen them all over America: first time in Atlanta, and throughout the Deep South, up and down the East Coast (including one of my favorite shows ever at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City!), in the middle of Central Park, in Texas, and at the Crocodile in Seattle and at the Gorge. The last time the boys played NYC, it was in late July of 2001... a kick ass 3 show run! WSP was one of the last concerts I saw in NYC pre 9.11. And it was the last time I saw WSP with Senor and with Mikey Houser playing guitar. Mikey died last August of brain cancer.

Wherever WSP goes, they bring a touch of the South with them. It's in the music, it's in the crowd, it's in the vibe... I always say that the best aspect I left Atlanta and the South with, after 4 years living there, was taking my love of Widespread Panic with me wherever I went!

I'm excited to see them at the Beacon Theatre in 8 hours! It's one of my favorite venues in NYC to see a show. Plus I scored tickets on E-bay which was the first time I ever won a bid for concert tickets! And I only paid no more than $10 above face value per ticket. I think the last show I saw with Senor was in Winter 2002 before he left for Asia. We saw 2 Galactic shows at Irving Plaza. But now he's back and this begins our run of concerts beginning tonight. On the agenda in the upcoming months: Dark Star Orchestra, The Dead, Phish, and of course the Kwait Brothers Band next weekend! I got Trey Anastasio Band tickets but Senor respectfully declined!

I'm hoping to hear: Climb to Safety and Conrad the Caterpillar two of my favorite WSP songs!

Monday, April 21, 2003

Purple Puppies... a Molly Dream

Molly sent me this e-mail about a dream she had: "Last night I had a dream that I was out in some forest or something and there were little bright purple yorkshire terriers running around everywhere. Some couple came up to me and explained that these little dogs were quite delicious, and they were hunting them. So I started helping. I caught one, and roasted it over an open fire, and they were right, it was really good."
I saw Jon Schanzer and his appearance on CNBC this early evening. Good interview, Rib!

Sunday, April 20, 2003

"You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do." - Jerry Garcia

Saturday, April 19, 2003

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards" - Kierkegaard

Am I an alcoholic because I enjoy drinking alone? Or do I just dislike people? In the past year or so I discovered that one of my favorite weekly activities is editing pages of my new novel, while having a pint of Pilsner Urquell at the Cedar Tavern... usually around noontime, when the lights are not on yet, and the bar is illuminated with natural light from the mid afternoon sunlight, skipping over the few dejected regulars that had been slowly nursing their drinks since the Cedar opened (daily at 8:30 AM). I found myself there on Friday, sipping beers alone at the bar until Senor wandered over and met me for a turkey burger and a beer before Gil and Spider showed up an hour later and we started our Friday bar hopping session and shot pool for a while. Yes, I love drinking on weekday afternoons in NYC, while everyone is stuck in the cubicles staring at their boring screen savers, I'm getting sloshed with friends. Life doesn't get better than that. We ended up at Bar 81 in the East Village for more pool, where the Russian bartender barely spoke English and she had a tougher time calculating how much 3 double scotches and a McSorely's cost than I did figuring out my taxes this year.

Friday, April 18, 2003

11 Questions: Texas Edition

The people have spoken! From the great state (country) of Texas... and from the home offices in Austin and El Paso... Angela and Molly now introduce the infamous 11 Texas Questions:
1. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound?
2. Do Green M&Ms
make you horny?
3. What is your least favorite Phish song?
4. What is your favorite thing about Texas? What is your least favorite thing? What makes anyone better than us Texans?
5. What would you porn name be? And why do women wear shoes (while they are stark naked) in porn movies?
6. Do you have any pets? What are their names?
7. Which figure in Texas history do you admire the most?
8. Do you believe Saddam is Dead?
9. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
10. What do you think about tattoos and piercings?
11. What are you going to do with the money you won in the March Madness Pool and from playing poker in Vegas?

And now, my answers:

1. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound?

Yes of course it does. If anyone tells you different, make sure you tell them this: "If I punch you in the nuts, will you make a sound if no one is around to hear you?"

2. Do Green M&Ms make you horny?

Only when I'm chasing them with shots of Tequila, while drinking with high school girls in bars in Mexico.

3. What is your least favorite Phish song?

That depends on my mood. I've never been a fan of When the Circus Comes to Town. I know it's a Los Lobos cover song that Trey loves. I consider it a Pauly Takes a Piss Song. I get irked when they play Squirming Coil as an encore, but I'd prefer that to Circus any day of the week. Bouncin' Around the Room is a song that I'm not a fan of, perhaps because I heard it too many times in many an acid induced frenzy back in the early 1990s. On the new CD, I’d say Friday is my least favorite song.

4. What is your favorite thing about Texas? What is your least favorite thing? What makes anyone better than us Texans?

That's easy… the best thing about Texas is... hot chicks like Angela and Molly! The least favorite thing is the wide open spaces. That really freaks me out. I feel like Carey Grant in the cropduster scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s epic film North by Northwest... no where to run, no where to hide. And the answer the last part… what makes anyone better than Texans? Simple answer: tough as shit New Yorkers!

5. What would you porn name be? And why do women wear shoes (while they are stark naked) in porn movies?

Peter O'Tool. Like the real actor, but without the ending 'e'. And chicks wear shoes in porno for two reasons. Firstly, most of them wear high heels to make up the height differential with some of their male counterparts. Which allows them to shift quickly into other positions when being filmed in the back of limos, on escalators, at Burger King, in hallways, on desks, or standing up against a tree in a park. Secondly, most porno clips are three to five minute scenes that are spliced and cut down from two or three hours of filmed footage. There's a lot of down time in between takes and positions. And sometimes their feet get cold.

6. Do you have any pets? What are their names?

No pets. I'm too selfish with my time. Sometimes I forget to come home for days at a time, or other days I'm in the zone writing that I forget to feed myself a couple of meals. I couldn't do that to a pet! If I had a dog, I'd call him: Hemingway. If I had a cat, I call her: Isis. If I had a goldfish, I'd name it: Harry Hood.

7. Which figure in Texas history do you admire the most?

Nolan Ryan. He's the strikeout king of baseball.

8. Do you believe Saddam is Dead?

Saddam is alive and well living in Syria with Osama bin Laden. They are playing cribbage and watching reruns of Saved by the Bell on Syrian Cable TV.

9. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Approximately 12 pounds per hour.

10. What do you think about tattoos and piercings?

Tattoo? He was my favorite character on Fantasy Island... “Boss de plane! De plane!” Seriously, I am tattoo and piercing free. I am not against them, and I have no problems with people getting one or thousands. I do not think I will get either. Ever. Here’s my philosophy. I do not base my decisions in life by the way I look. My body is just a rental. You dig? I’ve had it for 30 years and I dunno how long I’ll have it in the future. I see tattoos and piercings as visual signs of expression, and I express myself in other ways. The extent of that expression is based on the individual... some do it for artistic reasons, some do it for sentimental reasons, others do it because it’s the hip thing to do and they want attention and acceptance, and others are just flat out freaky. I don’t have tattoos and piercings for three reasons. Firstly, I’d rather be judged by my life’s work as a writer and painter, than what I have externally marked on my body. Secondly, I’m too paranoid. Tattoos and Piercings are hyper identifiable marks! And unique tattoos are more likely to get you noticed by trigger happy law enforcement officers in this ultra sensitive post 9.11 era. I have had too much discrimination against me when I had long hair and a beard which was alleviated the second I cut my hair, shaved, and threw on a Brooks Brothers suit. Image means everything these days. Especially to the Homeland Security Agency. And it’s easier for me to go un-noticed through society with out markings. And finally, tattoos and piercings used to symbolize the outlaw bad ass nature of biker gangs from the 1960s, prisoners, and veterans of foreign wars. Now since every punk on MTV has dozens of tattoos, every kid in America wants one, and every sorority girl has a pierced body part or a cute tattoo of strawberries or flowers or whatever pansy crap they like, and even random suburban parents (and grandparents) are getting tattoos and their genitalia pierced. Fuck when kids are getting them done at malls and when Grandma is doing it, shit, stuff like that seems too… ordinary. I decided that I would be the lone hold out… and not get any. Fashion and cool trends are cyclical and at some point tattoos will loose its hip-ness factor.

Think about all those old pictures you have with you wearing ridiculous clothes and awful hair styles. Look at your CD collection. I betcha there’s a lot of embarrassing ones that you actually paid for! How about the people you dated? I’m sure there are people you’d like to hide from or others you wish you never met. After careful consideration, most of the choices you made in life are questionable… at best. Well you can change your hair style, you can throw out your old out dated clothes, you can dump ex-girlfriends, you can sell those one-hit wonder CDs, and maybe your piercings will heal, but tattoos don’t go away so easily. The bottom line is this: if you think it’s cool today, will you think it’s cool in five or ten years? History says you won’t. When that day arrives, I’ll be cool! Already I have seen more and more tattoo removal cosmetic surgery done than ever before. The ads are all over the subways in NYC. I might become a doctor and cosmetic surgeon just so I can cash in on the Gen X’ers and Y’ers wanting to get their tattoos removed in a decade.

11. What are you going to do with the money you won in the March Madness Pool and from playing poker in Vegas?

Flowers! I am going to use the cash to buy my grandmother flowers for Easter, buy my mom flowers for Mother’s Day, and of course send two yellow roses to the Texas girls for their great questions!

Thanks again to Molly & Angela and the citizens of Texas for their kick ass questions!

Here are the other batches of 11 Questions that I've posted:
1. The Original 11 Qs
2. 11 Qs: Norway Edition
3. 11 Qs: March Madness Edition

"My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality." - Oscar Wilde
Re: Pauly, Poker Professional

Skippy writes: "So, now you're going to become a professional on the poker circuit? I love it. I have no idea how to play so the next time I'm in New York I'll ask for some lessons. Don't stop writing about your poker exploits! Just choose your words carefully. Instead of winning $250, say you got 250 poker chips ... or pretzel rods ... or M&Ms ... or whatever else people use when they're not using money."

Good job, Skippy! For the unoffical record, I am currently up 1,675 M & Ms as a poker pro!
Congrats Sigge!!!

I just found out that Sigge received a grant to study philosophy in Cuba! Good job! Tell Castro I say, "Hello!"

Thursday, April 17, 2003

My brother Derek sent me this called: JAIL

A good friend will come bail you out of jail. But, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn... that was fun!!"
A New Hope for the Kwait Brothers Band is an article I wrote for Good News. It includes a partial review of their gig in New Hope as well as parts of an interview I did with Rob and Rich Kwait. Please check it out!

Listen to the KBB! A free MP3: Winds MP3 (Right Click & Save As to Download)

Here are some excerpts:

"My friend Mike Weiner called me and said, “I’m managing a cool band called The Kwait Brothers Band. You are going to really enjoy their music,” he insisted, “Their goal is to play music for a living and I want to see these guys win.”

After seeing my first live show, I’m rooting for them too. The Kwait Brothers Band formed in Philadelphia in 1998, where they have been playing locally. Most recently they expanded their base gigging in New York City and in the near future, playing in upstate New York and in Boston. The brothers Kwait, identical twins Rich and Rob, are the song writers and the driving force behind the band. Rich plays guitar and sings vocals and Rob plays bass, banjo, some guitar and vocals as well. The rest of the band include Ira Race on lead guitar, Jay Levin on organ and piano, Stephan Divincenzo on drums and Tania Alexandra on additional vocals and percussion.

The last time the Kwait Brothers Band played at John and Peter’s a month earlier, John Popper (from Blues Traveler) was in the audience and asked if he could sit in with the band. They agreed and Popper played five songs with the KBB, including a cover of the Grateful Dead song “Alabama Getaway”.

The KBB opened their show with a cover of the traditional song “When the Saints Go Marching In”. I was greeted by a slow, mellow and soothing version, which was my first real live glimpse of the band. They set the tone for the night with the first song because for the rest of the show, I kept having this feeling that although I am seeing and hearing their songs for the first time, the music and all of their original songs feel familiar. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and saying, “You remind me of someone, but I can’t figure out who…” And that particular comfortable feeling is attributed to the songwriting of Rob and Rich. Some of their lyrics are catchy, while others are simply profound.

Musically the KBB mesh exceptionally well together. Throughout the night each member consistently contributed individually and collectively. Not only was the quality of their play impressive, but they also listened to each other while playing. That’s something that not every musician and band is able to accomplish, especially during a live show and that contributed to the smoothness of their jams, evident during "Deering Banjo", the best song of the night which epitomized the essence of the Kwait Brothers Band: image provoking sentimental lyrics, silky rhythmic grooves, and distinct individual contributions from every member."

To read the full version of the article, review and interview, please visit: Good News.

Thursday Thoughts...

Weather?... It was 80 degrees yesterday, it's 40 degrees today. That's a 50% reduction in air tempature. I didn't have to go to Harvard to figure that one out. I have been sick ever since I woke up in Atlantic City on Sunday. I have been fighting a combination of a cold and allergies (Spring is finally upon us in NYC, we'll not today, but maybe it'll be back... soon!). I felt much better yesterday, but this morning I feel awful. Oh well. Today I have to write and write and write some more. Nothing else is on my agenda.

Poker?... On the advice of my attorney, I was told to limit my gambling exploits on the TAO. Which means I will no longer be specific about my gambling wins and losses (for legal and moral implications). But I will say this... I lost the poker tournament I played in yesterday. I ended my run after I got a Flush on the flop and bet into the hand, putting in all of my chips, only to loose to some guy (who looked like Thurston Howell the 3rd from Gilligan's Island) who was holding a Full House... Aces over Sevens after the last card came out. I was pissed. But I went further than I ever have in a tournament, which was my goal. I made up my expenses later on in the afternoon after I won a couple of dollars playing in a $5-$10 (those are the blinds & max bet... I normally play in the $3-$6 game) for the Texas Hold 'em side game. It was a quick hit and run. I played for an hour and cleaned up! Again I was the youngest person in the tourney and the youngest player at the Poker Room at the Mohegan Sun.

Las Vegas Reprise?... Yes it's true!! I'm going next weekend for three or four days. I want to play in a tournament and play poker at the Mirage! Man I really love Vegas!! I definitely hope to get one or two more Truckin' stories.... stay tuned.
Skippy sent me this funny link: The Search for WMD from The Onion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"I'm a gambler. I couldn't be anything else. My life will always be full of wins and losses. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's exciting. There's never been a dull moment in my life." - Doyle Brunson

In less than twelve hours I will be playing in my second (ever) Poker tournament at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. Time has slowed down now, as I get anxious to play! Needless to say, this will probably be the only blog today. If you get bored, you can always read April Truckin' or re-read old Truckin' stories on the McGrupp Library site. Until then, see ya!

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Some days you're a bug, some days you're a windshield." - Price Cobb
Only in Norway!

Inmate Caught with Cash in Dreadlocks

Here's most of the blurb: "OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian jail inmate was caught with cash worth 2,500 euros ($2,688) hidden in his massive bush of dreadlocks.

"We're used to finding things hidden on the body, but cash in the hair -- that's a new one..."

The inmate, serving the third month of a nearly three-year sentence for smuggling 31 pounds of marijuana and hashish into Norway, said he hid the cash because he feared police would not believe he had earned it legally."

Required Reading... Articles from the Nation

1. Tim Robbins vs. the Baseball Hall of Fame
2. The Press and Myths of War written by Chris Hedges
3. Privatization in Disguise is written by Naomi Klein
Jon Schanzer wrote this for Policy Watch 2003 #740... Ansar Al-Islam: Postmoterm or Prelude to More Attacks?

Here's a bit: "U.S. intelligence and Kurdish authorities are now sifting through a treasure trove of data left behind in Ansar's bunkers and are testing for what they believe to be evidence of chemical and biological weapons. Information gleaned from seized computer hard drives and documents (some containing addresses and phone numbers) could help prevent future terror attacks. Moreover, if these materials offer further evidence that Ansar has ties to Saddam or al-Qaeda, they could serve as a boost to U.S. war efforts.

More broadly, the routing of the Ansar enclave has several ramifications. First, severely weakening an al-Qaeda affiliate is a significant achievement. Second, the dismantling of Ansar's conventional military capabilities will enhance the safety of U.S. forces in northern Iraq. Third, the operations against Ansar have kept the Kurds tied up and away from sensitive areas such as Kirkuk, a city that they are anxious to liberate from what they see as occupation by Saddam's regime. "

"You can observe a lot by watching." - Yogi Berra
Jerry pointed out this hilarious Yankees-Iraq article... A Real YES Man by Jim Caple from ESPN's Page 2. What would happen if Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf became a NY Yankees announcer?

Here's a bit:

"Editor's note: Iraqi information minister Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf gained infamy in recent weeks for defiant proclamations that often ran 180 degrees opposite of reality. What career might await such a man in the post-Saddam world? Page 2 speculates ...

MICHAEL KAY: I must say, Mohammad, it's a beautiful night for baseball.

SAEED AL-SAHHAF: I swear to you by all that is holy that the moon will run crimson with the blood of the Boston infidels before this night is over! Already, the indomitable Yankees lead by seven runs, and the corrupt Red Sox are fleeing the stadium! They have forfeited the game and are returning to their homes to lick their wounds like the pathetic curs they are! Run like the wind, you stooges of western imperialism, and take your odor with you! You should never have stepped foot in our kingdom! Your arrogance has sealed your doom and condemned your children and your children's children to lives of slavery!"
Tax Day!

I owe $2,032.56. D'oh!
Must read!! Time Traveler Busted for Insider Trading...

Derek sent me this article, with the message: "All you need is $800 and a DeLorean!"

Here's a bit of this wild and wacky tale: "Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges -- and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

"We don't believe this guy's story -- he's either a lunatic or a pathological liar," says an SEC insider. "But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks' time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can't be pure luck."

In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge "historical facts" such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS. All he wants is to be allowed to return to the future in his "time craft." However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could "fall into the wrong hands." Officials are quite confident the "time-traveler's" claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, "No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002."

Monday, April 14, 2003

I'm OK!

I find it amusing and touching that if I do not blog within a 24 hour period, y'all get antsy! Within 48 hours of no blogging, I get bombarded with a flurry of calls and messages of concern. Now it's 60 hours, and I figured I'll throw everyone (and especially the loyal readers) a blog-bone!

Thanks for all the e-mails and phonecalls (and voice mail messages) wondering where I was and the reason for my silence. There was no reason!! I was in writing mode, where I turn everything off and tune out the world and focus on working. I got home kinda late from our roadtrip and the KBB show was great. New Hope is a funky little town. The band was impressive. They played covers of Alabama Getaway (The Grateful Dead) and Loving Cup (The Stones). I got to talk almost everyone in the KBB and see and have drinks with Modeski & Holly. Plus I had a cheesesteak! Oh yeah! Senor got wicked wasted, and I had to drive from New Hope, Pennsylvania all the way to Atlantic City after he passed out on me. Atlantic City was cool. I got to smoke a jay on the beach and watch the waves come in and roll back out. Soothing. Got home late yesterday after playing a lot of poker at the Taj Mahal, one of the largest poker rooms I have ever seen. Again I was the youngest one in the game (I'm younger than Senor by 5 weeks!) I lost $49. Which wasn't too bad. As a novice poker professional, I am up for my career, with positive winnings to date. I played a few bad hands and I was carless a couple of times, and had no balls on two hands that would have paid off all my losses for the day. But that's life. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. I'm excited for my second Texas Hold 'em tournament ever on Wednesday at the Mohegan Sun Casino on a Native American reservation in Connecticut. They have poker tournaments every other Wednesday.

I got a busy week ahead of me, behind in my writing, so I pulled an all nighter working on the new novel. This morning I had to get my morning dose of Dawson's Creek before I got back to writing. I finished the first draft of the Kwait Brothers Band review, article, and interview which I'll have up on Good News by the end of the week. Also coming soon are the Pauly's Pub Updates... for the Baseball Pool, the Golf Pool, and the Fishing Pool. And I am about to complete the 11 Texas Questions too. Fucking-A! It should be an exciting week on the Tao! Stay tuned. Time for me to rest up, catch some needed rest and mentally prepare for the tournment on Wednesday.

Oh and some more good news... Senor scored me tickets to another Dead show! Now I'll be going to both nights at PNC in June. Very cool. It was a groovy weekend indeed! Getting Dead tickets always makes me smile. And I do have another trip in the works! Well a couple actually. I'll blog my destination(s) as soon as I confirm my travel plans!

Until then, thanks for tuning in!

Saturday, April 12, 2003


Senor and I are off for a roadtrip later today to New Hope, PA to see Modeski and the band he is managing called The Kwait Brothers Band. Visit KBB's site to see their tour schedule and to listen to some music clips. I also hope to conclude the interview that I started with band members, Rich and Rob. I am working on a piece on KBB for my next article for Good News. It should be out later next week.

Also on our agenda is a possible side trip to... Atlantic City and the Taj Mahal! I want to play poker!
Dave "Skippy" Simanoff wrote an excellent article which appears in today's Tampa Tribune called: Author: Creativity Energizes Economy.

Here's a bit: "TAMPA - The formula for a thriving Tampa Bay area economy calls for fewer tax breaks for relocating firms and more rock bands, gay people, sidewalk cafes and dog parks."
Heady News Update...

Massachusetts Lawmakers Recommending Decriminalization of Prostitution & Drugs is an article I found on MAP... The Media Awareness Project. Time to head up to Boston for a hooker, looting, and weed party!

Here's a bit: "Pot smokers, hookers, shoplifters and barroom brawlers could be eligible for jail-free punishments equivalent to a traffic ticket under a budget recommendation by House lawmakers."
I Scored Dead Tix...

I was only able to get tickets to one show... but I managed to get 3 LAWN SEATS for the PNC show in June! So I'll be seeing The Dead this summer for sure!

Next up... PHISH summer tour tickets! Lottery starts next week!

I got up early to buy DEAD tickets for a couple of summer shows... and I'm having serious problems with Ticketbastard!! This is why they suck: there are two types of seats going on sale: General Admission (LAWN SEATS) and Reserved Seating. Well there's also a $16 difference in prices... $51 and $35. I want Lawn Seats. I've seen the Dead enough that I don't need to be super close, besides the tickets they have left at the highest price are some of the worst seats in the reserved section (all the way in the back).

Ticketbastard won't let you select LAWN SEATS. If you do, they send you an ERROR MESSAGE and you have to go back to the previous page. They only allow you to purchase tickets for the GOOD SEATS... I understand they are trying to fill those seats before the sell LAWN SEATS, but I've been trying for 30 minutes to get tickets... LAWN SEATS, and I can't! I can get 3 LAWN SEATS for the price of 2 Reserved Seats... so you see my problem?

Ticketbastard sucks ass.
Yuh Nagai my friend (and a Japhan) from Tokyo, Japan sent me this e-mail recently... he was acting as a translator for his friend Kohei who will be visiting this summer.

"Hi! How's it going? This is Yuh writting. Sorry to write you for a while. I'm spending time with hard studying? So,now I'm still trying to get admission. I hope get it very soon and get to U.S. till summer. This time I replace Kohei as a translater to transmit you that is about his plan to U.S., now,he's planning to go to Bonnaroo Festival and Dave Matthwes Band. We are sorry, Jun and me will be unable to go toether this time. I'm jealous of him!! And Kohei, he wants to visit you. Then if you have enough time and money and you like Dave Matthews, why don't you go with him? I think it will be a fun.

OK That's it for now. Please think about it. I'm waiting for us seeing each other again. Write you soon!


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

1. Low Life by Luc Sant 2. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss
3. Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden
4. We the Living by Ayn Rand
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
I Scored Widespread Panic Tickets!!

I won my very first bid on E-Bay! After I lost two other bids for Panic tickets at the Beacon Theatre in NYC, I outwitted the other bidders on the last set of tickets and I made my bid with one minute remaining... which was the best move I made all day! I got Orchestra seats... Row R!

I'm excited. I have not see Widespread Panic since their guitar player Mikey Houser died last year.
Reefer Madness Redux is written by Silja J.A. Talvi from the Nation.... Beware of the POT FIENDS!!!

Here's a bit: "He'll huff, and he'll puff, and he'll blow your house down. He'll act out violently, get your next door neighbor's daughter pregnant, and he may even be supporting terrorism while he's at it.

This imaginary pot smoker composite is drug czar John Walters's big bad wolf, and only a duct-taped cottage window seems to stand in the path of the cannabis-fueled monster that lurks around the corner."

Friday, April 11, 2003

I wrote six stories for this month's issue of Truckin'. Check them out!
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
Knife Thrower Slices Assistant on Live TV... oooops!

Here's a bit: "LONDON (Reuters) - A record-breaking knife thrower shocked Britons on Thursday when one of his daggers sliced into the head of his assistant on live TV. Circus performer Jayde Hanson, 23, was demonstrating his skills when one of his knives hit his assistant and girlfriend, 22-year-old Yana Rodianova. As she clutched the side of her head, horrified presenter Fern Britton shouted: "Oh my God, there is blood!"

His previous assistant reportedly left the job after being hit in the foot, her third injury from a wayward knife.

"In 11 years of performing, I've only hit my assistant on five occasions," he told the Daily Mail newspaper recently."
Is Iran Next? is written by William O. Beeman from the Pacific News Service.

Here's a bit: Iranians are cautiously preparing for war with the United States. The signs are all there.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi returned on Monday from a trip to Turkey where he discussed preserving Iraq's territorial integrity, but undoubtedly also discussed a possible American incursion in Iran, according to his spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

Responding to a question on the recent threats raised by U.S. officials against Iran, Asefi said: "If you mean political, economic and cultural threats, I have to say that the country has faced such threats since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. We are not concerned about any U.S. military threat."

Read: "We are concerned about a U.S. military threat."

This was reinforced on the same day by Iran's army chief, Major General Mohammad Salimi, who called on the country's armed forces to prepare for any confrontation with "probable foreign threats."
SARS... Nature's Microscopic Weapon of Mass Destruction is written by David Morris and appears on If we weren't at War, then SARS would be the top news story of the year.

Here's a few bits: "As American troops sift through Baghdad rubble looking for evidence of manmade weapons of mass destruction, nature is mounting an increasingly impressive demonstration of the power of her own biological arsenal.

Nature's weapon was launched last November in the Chinese province of Guangdong when a duck farmer came down with what seemed like a severe flu. Thirty years ago the world might never have heard of that disease. Delivery systems were unavailable. But today the world's transportation infrastructure can carry biological threats much more effectively than Iraqi missiles. Microbial diseases spread as quickly as planes fly.

In February the first official case of what came to be known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). On March 16 WHO declared the illness a worldwide threat. Three weeks later it urged travellers to Hong Kong or Guangdong province to put off "non-essential" visits.

As of April 7 more than 2,600 people in 18 countries have come down with SARS.

The number of people dead from SARS already exceeds the combined deaths of American and British troops in Iraq. Air travel to several Asian locations is grinding to a halt. The economic costs of the disease are approaching a billion dollars and the end is not yet in sight..."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Stephen A. from Seattle sent me this link: MINISTRY is back to napalm the playing field!

He also sent me this review of Ministry:
"... Punk skinhead with an attitude, doin' circles like a shark with his food. Someone tries to turn the other cheek, he diappears in a yellow streak..."

With these words Chicago's own Ministry took the stage at the Northgate music theatre. This is not Phish or touchy feely music, this is MINISTRY, doin' it like no one else... speedball lyrics and high speed edited film images of death, war street riots from L.A. and both the Bushes talking about war. Al "Qeda" Jourgensen is sober now, but don't let that fool you. This band is not for the weak or timid. Anti-war, anti-goverment, anti-Dubya and anti-drug laws... Al Jorgensen, Paul Barker, Larry Svitek, Rey Washam, Mike Brody and Ty Coon, a fine female drummer. This is one tight band. These people know how to bring it, and make one doubt one's government (as if I needed any help) and needless to say I have been a fan of Ministry for many years now. I thought with all this war talk, (and now, war is at hand,) a review of a hard core group like Ministry was just the thing to get us away from what is happening. Mr. McGrupp, I bid you peace and love... to you and everyone you know. These are very trying times and people like you make this world a better place. Take care, stay low, and I will be shooting film in the next day or so. PEACE---- ITS STILL A GOOD IDEA!!

I am so pissed right now. I punched a hole in my bedroom door. I discovered that something I orginally wrote for a friend and she posted it on the internet with my nom de plume Tenzin McGrupp getting credit. However, it now reads... "by Anonymous".

Ouch. This was done intentionally. My name was removed and replaced. Writers struggle to make a name for themselves. That's why this snub really stung.
"Alcoholism is a disease... but it's a great disease!" - Dennis Miller
Skippy wrote me this: "Perhaps we'll write a screenplay together ... we'll call our movie Jack Tripper Stole My Mad Dawg! We'll clean up at the Oscars!"

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

90 Days?

Is it true? 90 Days until the next Phish show? Just talked to Molly and I decided that I'd like to go to 16 or 17 shows this summer... from Phoenix to Shoreline, CA to the Gorge, WA to Alpine Valley, WI to Deer Creek, IN to Atlanta to Camden, NJ and onward to IT in Maine! A month on the road... 17 shows in 8 different states... it's going to cost me a couple of dollars!
Where's Saddam?

The Brits say: Saddam Still Alive

The CIA says: Saddam is Dead

The Russians insist: He's Not Hiding At Our Embassy!

I think Saddam is in Syria with Osama Bin Laden watching episodes of Saved by the Bell on Syrian Cable TV. What do you think?
Sometimes Blogger drives me crazy!!!! I'm having publishing problems...!
Stephen A. a photographer friend from Seattle, sent me this link: Seattle

He also wrote an article about an anti-war rally in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, which was posted to their website. Check out: Impressions of a Police Occupation. His photos will be posted to their site soon.

Here's a bit:  

"Police stood like clusters of grapes and showed who they thought were in control of this series of gatherings to protest the war. Whether it was at Westlake Center, or at the federal building, the police were the one who looked like they did not know what was happening. Arrests, and shows of intimidation did not dampen the opinions and the spirit of these demonstrators. The students that created a "dead zone" in the steet at Westlake center moved me greatly...

There was no need for such a heavy police occupation of a building the public paid for and had a right to gather at. I saw no property damage, no demonstrator violence, (there was one report of a fist hitting a police chin) and no need to clamp down on the activists that I saw...

As a Buddhist I pray for peace for us all."
Shoes on Saddam?

I just watched the statue of Saddam come tumbling down... and Iraqis jumping on the fallen hunk of metal or steel or whatever it was made of. I see consistant footage of Iraqis taking off their shoes and sandals and smacking and hitting images of Saddam with their footwear... statues, portraits, murals, posters, whatever had Saddam's image on it... I had seen liberated Iraqis going to town on Saddam with their shoes. I haven't seen any Iraqis urinating on Saddam stuff... not yet. Soon to come? Pissing on Saddam?
Godzilla Hits Grand Slam in Yankee Stadium Debut... Hideki Matsui, the $6 Million slugger from Japan hit his first MLB home run after he hit a grand slam in his Bronx debut. The Yanks won 7-3.
Top Names for Kids Born in NYC in 2001

I just read this in the paper today. They even broke it down by race.

Baby Girls
NYC Overall Top 3: Ashley, Kayla, Samantha
Hispanic Girls Top 3: Ashley, Jennifer, Destiny
Black Girls Top 3: Kayla, Destiny, (tie) Jada and Briana
White Girls Top 3: Julia, Sarah, Samantha
Asian Girls Top 3: Michelle, Emily, Jessica

Baby Boys
NYC Overall Top 3: Michael, Justin, Christopher
Hispanic Boys Top 3: Justin, Christopher, Kevin
Black Boys Top 3: Justin, Joshua, Michael
White Boys Top 3: Michael, Joseph, Matthew
Asian Boys Top 3: Kevin, Jason, Justin

Please, please please... for the love of God, and all things freaky in this world... don't tell me that little boys in NYC are being named after Justin Timberlake!! This list does not include parents who think they are cool and tweak the spelling of their kids names... just to be aplhabetically different (e.g. Mychal or Ashlee).
8 hours?

Yes, it's true. I crashed at 11 PM EST and awoke just after 7 AM. I set my alarm at 7:01 AM so I can get up and finish writing a couple of Truckin' stories and finish working on getting back into my normal writing schedule (2 hours daily work on the novel and/or screenplay plus an hour of free write... this does not include writing e-mails and blogging). I dunno what happened, but I am super exhausted all of a sudden. I was able to function perfectly in Las Vegas on 2 plus hours of sleep daily. I think I got as much sleep last night than my entire week in Vegas.

The best part about returning to NYC was finding out that yes, I get the YES Network (all the Yankees games I can see for $2 a month!)... and discovering that TBS (the Superstation) airs 4 straight episodes of Dawson's Creek from 8 am to Noon EST... Monday thru Friday! I had been waiting for the day to come when the Creek made it's way into syndication. Four hours of Dawson and the gang. Daily. I'm pumped! Thanks TED TURNER! Didn't know you were such the fan.

OK, so instead of writing and reading the Wall Street Journal, I'm pulling tubes and watching Dawson get drunk as a skunk as his birthday party while stuck in a rut of self-loathing and personal hatred, he shouts verbal jabs and insults at his family and friends. Dawson the bad drunk? Yes, too bad y'all missed it! He even made Joey cry.
NY Tour Turns Evil Eye on Surveillance Cameras... great read. TOO MANY cameras out there on the streets of NYC. That is why I rarely look up at the sky, and wear hats when I can. Somebody is watching you. I heard his odd fact: you can't walk more than two or three blocks in Manhattan without having your image on some sort of camera: traffic, web, security, etc...
Final Betting Stats

My record: 31-31-1

That is a poor performance in this year's March Madness. I called less than 50% of the games. OUCH!! I really got screwed late in the tournament. The Final 4 and Elite 8 games really sent me for a loop. Don't ask where I am money wise... I AM SERIOUSLY DOWN after this year's shitty betting picks from yours truly. But I did win the CASH POOL! So I guess I made some picks right!

And some final thoughts from my brother Derek: "Kansas sucks and they blew it. You still won the pool though. Congrats! It's a good thing you weren't in Vegas b/c you would've bet on Kansas and you would have lost!"

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Last 5 Books I Saw People Reading in Airports...


1. The Second Time Around by Mary Higgins Clark
2. Shop Girl by Steve Martin
3. King of Torts by John Grisham
4. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
5. Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta by Gore Vidal
Regis Alumni News...

There have been several Regians in the news lately.

Middle East:

Jim Sciutto '88 is a correspondent for ABC stationed in London but presently reporting from the Middle East. Last night he reported from inside Iraq with our Special Forces.

Mark Mazzetti '92 is a fellow correspondent with U.S. News & World Report also covering the Middle East. Mark is presently at the Command Center for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Group under the command of General Conway on the Iraq/Kuwait border. He has an article in this week's US News & World Report magazine and can be heard from time to time on NPR.

Academy Awards:

Dominick Tavella '71 won an Oscar for Chicago in the best sound category.

Bill Condon '72 was nominated for Chicago, for best screenplay.

Kevin Huvane'76 was thanked by Nicole Kidman. This is the second year in a row that he has been thanked by the "Best Actress" Oscar winner.

(Selections from the recent e-mail update I got from the Regis Alumni Office)
Re: April Fools Joke

Jerry sent me this e-mail:
Despite the fact that I read your April Fools Joke just today -- it was masterfully done as evidenced from the irate emails from your supposed friends, who simply feel shamed for not catching-on earlier.

Reading Armando's response to your "job" first, before your original email, was the best part. Armando was so excited for you, I actually thought I could see his spooge on the computer screen.

Keep rockin' on

Monday, April 07, 2003


I like Kansas tonight against Syracuse in the Championship game. Take the points: - 4 1/2
"A man with money is no match against a man on a mission." - Doyle Brunson

Sunday, April 06, 2003

MUST READ! An Iraqi Blogger Goes Silent...

Did the Media Blow Baghdad Blogger's Cover? is an article in this week's Village Voice. I have been checking up on Where is Raed? for a couple of weeks and he hasn't blogged anything since a couple of days before I left for Las Vegas.

Here's a bit of the article: On Monday, March 24, the Baghdad Blogger went silent. For several months readers around the world—exponentially more as the war drew closer—had been following the daily postings of "Salam Pax," believed to be the only Iraqi citizen keeping a Web diary. He wrote in a sarcastic, funny voice about the dread of oncoming war and the annoyance of using outdated software, about Western perceptions of Iraqis and Iraqi perceptions of Westerners. He talked about his fear of the blog being discovered by Iraqi authorities, writing that if identified, "I'd be pasta sauce."

Happy Birthday Sigge!!

B-day greetings to Sigge. Or as the locals say: "Gratulerer med dagen!"

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Pros Hit Vegas for Poker World Series... I wish I had the $25,300 stake to buy into this year's tournament at the Bellagio. Maybe next year!!
Final Four Big Bets

I have been wrong most of this tournament... but I haven't lost as much money as I could have. So here they are my picks:

Marquette +4 over Kansas
Texas -3 over Syracuse

I think Kansas will win, but it will be close. I am hoping for a Texas-Kansas final because if that happens, then I will win the CASH POOL!!!
Hunter Thompson Articles...

1. Love Blooms in the Rockies... is a funny bit where Hunter gets irked at the blizzard last month after he gets separated from his fiancee, Anita. Here's a bit: "The war was ugly enough, but that was only the start. The Horrible blizzard that shut down most of Colorado for four days and nights was far worse news for me than the war. It destroyed our annual high-risk orgy of gambling and raving that has become a tradition out here..."

2. Love in a Time of War is his most recent article. Here are two excerpts: "This has been a spectacular tournament so far, with a true abundance of wild and shocking games, right from the start. Barn-burners, many overtimes and many desperately close games and staggering, ruinous defeats, most of them tragic in nature."

And the other: "Indeed, we are truly the sqanderers of what was once the American Dream, and our own dreams, for that matter. In two disastrous years, this Waterhead son of Texas has taken this country from a prosperous nation at peace to a dead-broke nation at War, and that is a very long fall."

I Need Widespread Panic NYC Extras!

Hey all, I'm currently looking for two extra tickets for each night that Widespread Panic plays at the Beacon Theatre: April 22 and April 23. E-mail me if you know about any extras floating around. I will pay cash for your extras!!

Friday, April 04, 2003

Simanoff sent me this link: POW Pictures Spark Internet Censorship Debate.

Here's a bit: "LONDON (Reuters) -- A Florida-based Web hosting company knocked a small news site offline after it posted controversial photos of captured American soldiers, stoking accusations that private firms are censoring free speech.

For several hours on Tuesday, was dark, carrying the message "Account for domain has been suspended." Later in the day there was sporadic access."
Re: April Fools Joke

Armando originally wrote me this:

"DUDE! CONGRATULATIONS! Pauly.. that ROCKS! I personally think the show sounds funny and you'll be able to add some subverted plots in there! (I think David, while traipsing around should stumble across a Boy Scout troop and look a little too long at the troop leader's ass!)

Holy shit! I think this is a great career boost! If you don't like writing for this show, with it on your resume and after meeting people you'll be able to jump to another one. Honestly... it'll give you an opportunity to get paid for getting your creative juices flowing on a daily basis. Not too shabby!

The only downside is that in Greece I can't get American television. We'll... I'll just see it on syndication."
"I'm amused at the people who are complaining about how long this war is lasting. Come on folks! It's only been two weeks. These are the same people who watched Joe Millionare take eight weeks to pick Zora. And he didn't even get to enter her Baghdad." - Dennis Miller

Friday Poem: Feisty Cats

Feisty cats, and my itchy nose
Sit on the cracked window sill.
The paint chips, slowly flaking off and
Falling to the hardwood floor.
The small house plant,
Soaking up whatever
Bay Area sun that can
Sneak in between the buildings
And underneath the air defenses
Of the three obnoxious street people.
They sing songs until dawn and
Sip week old warm pissy bottles of cooking sherry,
While they aggressively ask me for $3
Everytime I walk by.
I stare into their eyes
And I laugh because I am only
Carrying hundred dollar bills.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

"When your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas... with the music at top volume..." - Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

April Fools Joke...

Dave Simanoff blogged this: "Once again, Pauly, congratulations -- for totally duping me with your April Fool's Day message."

Gotcha! Giddy-up!

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Pauly Goes to Hollywood... and Gets a Job!

Great news y'all! I was offered a paying job as a television writer. My Vegas luck stuck with me for a few more hours, and less than 12 hours in Hollyweird, I got an agent (pimp) who quickly found me work (whored me out) with Capital City Studios (ABC). I'll get a union card for the Writer's Guild which means dental & health insurance coverage for one year. Scale pay for TV writers is close to $2,300 a week. Oh, and the best part of being in LA... is that I get to drive to Las Vegas every other weekend to gamble after I get my paycheck!!

With the War getting serious and extensive coverage, many of the networks are scrapping their (ratings slumping) reality programming (finally)! And decided that those shows are unable to compete with the reality of war, death & destruction. So now they are turning to old fashioned half hour TV shows. People that want reality will watch CNN or Fox News. If they want to escape, they need an old school TV show, a sitcom or a drama.

OK bad news... I have to move to LA and work in Hollyweird. Which everyone knows is like returning to high school all over again, except LA has all the hookers, drugs, and all the sunshine and smog you can eat. It's a small group of people that run the industry, and it's all about image. Blah.

More bad news... I have to drive to work everyday. Boooo! I hate California drivers worse than LA traffic. Uggggh!

Worst news... I failed to tell you what I'll be writing. That was intentional. I'm not proud, but it's work right? As long as I get paid, that's all that matters. OK, please don't laugh. I needed a break, and somewhere to start. OK, ready? I'll be writing for a revitalization of Davey & Goliath. (I'll now pause for a few seconds, to wait for you to stop sneering) Yeah, folks... Davey & Goliath is that Christian claymation, animation show from the 1960s & 1970s which featured a God fearing boy named Davey and his sidekick, a talking, scripture quoting dog named Goliath. The show will NOT be animated, nor claymation, and instead will have real actors, and a real dog but with special effects doing the dogs voice... I assume if they had a REAL talking dog I would have already been told. But, then again, if talking dogs do exist, I'm sure they'd be working in Hollyweird.

How did I get this job? I nailed the interview and was offered the job on the spot after I was able to recite the Our Father prayer in Latin. My Jesuit education just paid off.

Davey & Goliath is now in pre-production and it's supposed to shoot in a few months, and air in the fall on the ABC Family network. Capital City is working on a deal that will air the episodes on local ABC affiliate stations in the Bible Belt (parts of Texas and the deep South).

Wow, just a couple of months ago I was pitching stocks and bonds... now I'll be pitching the Word of God. Life throws you curve balls everyday. Only in Hollyweird.

Thanks for all your support! And don't worry, I'm still not a Jesus freak (yet!) and my bi-monthly trips to Vegas and the dark side will keep me a real existentialist in a not-so-real place called Hollyweird.

I guess I'll leave you on this note... God bless America!

A Los Angeles Blog... from McGrupp