Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog - The Podcast and Trailer

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Six months ago I recorded a podcast with my girlfriend and she asked me questions about Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. I recently re-uploaded it to Sound Cloud. If you haven't heard it yet, well, here it is...

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog - Podcast Episode 1: The 10-Day Novel by taopauly

* * * *

If you haven't seen the epic trailer, here it is...

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog would be a great stocking stuffer! The novel and Kindle version are both available on

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Acquainted with the Night, Pulling the Plug, and Nonplussed Dinosaurs

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I'm having one of those "I can't win" days.

Instead of punching holes through Halli's walls, I went for a long walk through foggy San Francisco to clear my head and get off mega-career tilt. Work stuff shall always be a royal pain in the ass (by definition, all jobs suck camel cock) and for as long as I traverse the path of a writer, I always struggle with art vs. commerce.

As Hyman Roth succinctly summed it up in The Godfather II, "This is the business we have chosen."

The life of a writer is deceiving -- it looks envious from the outside but it's wrought with agony, depression, self-loathing, alcoholism, drug abuse, and trepidation. And that's the fun stuff. You don't want to know about the horrific aspects that keep me awake at night. Hey, let's be honest, if you're not Stephen King or the British broad who writes the Harry Potter books, chances are you're struggling financially as a writer. Even the commercially successful writers have a small window in which they make a ton of money, then it's all downhill until the residual checks trickle to a halt.

When the writing gods chose me, I accepted a vow of poverty. I've gotten lucky so far, so everything else in life is gravy. Alas, in these woeful economic times and politically inept authorities fuck with my livelihood, the few jobs around don't pay much, but even settling for peasant-level wages, the process of writing is the most rewarded occupation I've ever had. That's why I do it to make money. Well, one of the reasons. Outside of Las Vegas and the poker/gambling industry, I'm basically unemployable. Whenever snarky right wingers yell at me to "get a job", I always respond: "Please tell me where these writing jobs are -- because me and a dozen of my friends will be the first ones in line." The media world has been consolidating over the last two decades. Cable TV expanded to over a thousand channels, yet there are fewer writers on the payrolls at studios than ever before. Sad. Very sad. Everyone gets their panties in a twist when a kitten dies, but no one sheds a tear when a writer gets a pink slip.

During my 20s I held shitty jobs all over the country including so many weird part-time gigs that Nicky encouraged me to compile a book short stories from all the craptacular McJobs. for a decade before I stumbled into poker, I scraped by doing anything short of selling my cock/asshole/hand/nostrils for sex in order to earn enough money for food and shelter. I humped shitty dead end jobs so I could spend non-work time on a novel or screenplay, and blow whatever money I had left over on travel and misadventures with Senor. Ah, I missed my 20s. Maybe I should write that book in homage to Bukowski's Factotum? Shit, I would... if I had time! But it's exhausting fear mongering and kicking off a revolution and betting on pro football. Then again, I spend most of my days writing bullshit for the oligarchs in the poker industry, or trying to self-promote myself to get jobs or sell my own books, and the rest of the work time is devoted to chasing down twats who owe me money.

Most of the creative people I'm friends with often work a day job (and/or two or three other part-time jobs) to pay their bills while pursuing their artistic dreams. I saw it firsthand when I worked at museums in Seattle and New York, when most of the security staff were artists/musicians. They answered stupid questions, directing people to the bathroom, while standing on their feet for 10 straight hours -- all in exchange for a min wage and health insurance. The food service industry in Los Angeles basically runs on two groups: illegal Mexicans in the kitchen and struggling actors/musicians/directors waiting their big break in Hollywood working as servers.

I wish I could find a high-yielding skill that pays the bills so I could donate all of my writing time toward honing my craft and nurturing creative endeavors instead of dividing what little time I have between personal writing and work-related writing. I'm stuck where I am knowing there's a lot worse situations out there, and from that perspective, I'm damn lucky. But on a shitty note -- I often write under duress, longing for optimal circumstances. Ergo, the quality of my work suffers. In short, I'm doomed. I always fall short of my expectations before I even begin, which really bums me out because I know I can do better -- if I just had more time.

The hardest aspect of my career is chasing down delinquent clients. Man, fuck you and pay me! The second hardest aspect is settling upon a fair wage. Negotiations tactics are a bitch. I'm fortunate to have a basic business background, otherwise I'd get exploited even more. That's why so many creative people get screwed over and taken advantage of, because their brains are not wired for the business side of the things. I see it all the time in poker -- and some morons are foolish enough to take the bait and hook. Alas, I often spend so much time trying to negotiate a rate and justify what I'm worth.

It's tricky trying to maximize your value when the marketplace is offering a notch above minimum wage. Sadly, I get lowballed left and right for inbred hacks. Sure, it's a cut throat business but there's zero honor against the selfishly hopeless undesirables in my peer group driven by gambling addictions and the desire to stay relevant. It's one thing if I was up against sincere, passionate artists that wanted to write about poker so badly that they'd do it for free. I can respect those people, but getting undercut by a broke-dick who just needs some dough to stay in the game is out right pathetic. And don't get me started on the scensters.

Ah, I'm venting more than usual. I've been around the block a few times to know to hunker down and return to the basic game plan -- work hard, stay loyal to friends, just roll with the punches, ignore the shallow leeches, and write every day. Every day. And more. Sometimes I even write a second daily session at night instead of sleeping because the biggest edge over my colleagues is my motivation to improve while they spend their waking hours in fruitless tasks of gambling, partying, or embarrassingly trying to act cool via social media.

Keep writing... keep writing. That's the best I can do under the dismal circumstances, and pray that someone out there will miraculously offer me a fair wage. Someday. Until that fateful day comes -- I'm back to grinding out a meager income, diligently writing for a few clients, and spending the rest of my time digging up work.

I wrote for a decade without earning a dime and that's gonna be my future as it comes around full circle. We're witnessing the collapse of the media world and the shifting of the entire paradigm in how people acquire information. It's not just poker that's in flux. Hollywood, the music industry, and the publishing world are in the middle of a revolution and civil war wrapped in one giant burrito.

Poker has been the bane of my existence for the better part of my 30s. Poker is one giant blessing and menacing nuisance. In fact, I often think I'd write better if I had less time to worry about petty office politics, chasing down delinquent clients, churning out drivel that's barely more edible to monkeys like fecal-covered bananas. I'd love to wake up and write on my own schedule instead of having to work around industry timetables and client schedules. Dreams. That's my dream. I thought I was working my ass off for seven years so I can get to a point and make my dream a reality? Nope. In a perfect world, I'd be able to take time off and write -- but not the case after a debilitating car accident this summer, shady backroom deal with DC snake oil salesman in April, and ongoing global economic turmoil.

I've always had a dream -- unplug from the enslaving aspects of maintaining a virtual life. I will never be artistically and mentally free until sever ties to the machines (laptops and CrackBerry) and wiggle away from my energy-draining addiction to the internet. Once I unplug everything, I can fully write with limited distractions in a more natural environment, unfettered of a horrible co-dependent relationship with technology.

Man, I almost sounded like the Unabomber with this post, which might someday get used against me in a court of law, so I should probably shut up and end it now. Then again, once Obama signs the internet kill switch into law, the federales will instantly shut down all of my blogs -- except the Tao of Bacon because as we all know, there's nothing subversive about bacon. Bacon keeps the sheeple happy and keeps them in line by stuffing their faces with savory pork products so they won't question their supreme authority.

Let them eat bacon, screamed the Queen before the chopped her head off.

Bacon writing passes the censors, but everything else is bad. The Man doesn't want me to write incendiary rhetoric about internet censorship, nor are the blog police kosher with my attempts to educate friends about the rampant corruption in the financial sector facilitated by the jag-offs in DC with pockets lined with bribes, kickbacks, and other perks of being puppets for the corporate schmucks whom own everyone.

The truth is this -- I can never spend more than a few minutes away from my laptop or CrackBerry. I'm an addict. A tech junkie. Facebook. Twitter. Blogger. Google Reader. You Tube. All evil. We're all junkies these days. I look around at everyone around me that is under 60 years old -- and everyone is hooked. This is dangerous. The machines have won.

Every few months, I grow super paranoid after I watch The Terminator. I go through a stage where I embark on a purging of all things harmful to my artistic soul after an anti-technology rant and sermon. I respond with drastic measures -- I limit answering email time to ONE HOUR per day and limit the amount of web time. During my anti-web diet, I force myself to read books and spend time outdoors. I usually lose weight and get in better shape during those non-web binges. I used to be a TV junkie, so I reduced the number of shows I watch to just a few guilty pleasures like Mad Men, Hoarders, and Ancient Aliens. Oh, and how could I forget sports seasons? That's a major suckage of time. I tried to do a little something different this year and listened to more baseball games on the radio -- that way I could still do other stuff with the game on in the background. The drawback was that the Yankees radio team is atrocious. Sure, they are better than Joe Buck and Bob Costas, but that's not saying much.

My addiction is fierce, which warrants a Draconian response. I must walk away from the interwebs and disappear from social media so I can focus on writing, and then resurface in a few months once I'm done with a new manuscript. Maybe.

I'm full of shit and spout off too many loud, boisterous empty promises. I can't recall how many times I screamed: "I'm gonna walk away and pull the fucking plug!" My bark is bigger than my bite. Some reason, I can never pull the trigger.

How can you have any pudding, if you don't eat your meat?

Exactly. But after a rough today like today, I keep shed the thought... what's the point writing all of this bullshit (on the web) anyway? It's mostly self-indulgent fodder anyway. Sure, I make few people laugh and that's always a good thing, but aside from that, I've probably done as more damage telling half-baked, crude jokes. It's not like I'm saving the fucking whales or something. What continue to pollute the cesspool? Why add more static to the echo chamber?

Maybe I've written too much. Less is more right?

Why was it a bad day? I can't get paid and no one gives a shit. I've written over a millions of words on the web in various forms/topics, but it's never enough to conquer the insatiable appetite of the parasites -- they consume and consume, yet never pay for their free meals and moan like spoiled trolls any chance they can get. I can't take time off different blogs (where I wrote for free) without getting called lazy. If I focus on a different topic/genre or personal project, then I get guff for being selfish. If I write for money, then I'm a sell out. If I refuse to write for slave-like wages, then I'm labeled "difficult" and blackballed.

Alas... I'm ensconced in anguish because of my decisions. Hyman Roth was right. I got myself into this mess. All of this is what happened when I decide to play the game. The Game. I used to live for it. I wanted to beat it. But why am I still playing the game? What's the point? To make a few bucks? To suck the last blood out of a parched stone? For dollars that are worthless anyway?

What's the point? I paid my dues, rose to the top of my profession, and made some money. It's been an amazing run and I did it the old fashioned way -- hard work and without missing a deadline. At this juncture, it's all downhill with my career. The next stage is the dreadful decline. I'm embracing the reality that blogging hath become an old art form like the opera. It's probably wise that I go out on top and stay classy.... until I taint everything, pull a Brett Favre and get caught in a wretched penis pic scandal.

I was born a couple of generations too late (and in the wrong country) because America has become a nation of spoiled, mindless consumers that will buy every stupid fucking thing -- except books. Maybe I should move to Paris and write books, have Benjo help find someone to translate them, and then sell them to the French audience that reads more books in a year than Americans do in a lifetime?

Paris? Another piper dream.

The more I soul search, the more I keep running around in nauseating circles. I always reach the same dead end conclusion -- the written word is lying in a hospice. Death is imminent.

The dying medium is the message according to writing is on the virtual wall in 140 characters or less. The time has come to pull the plug, head off the grid, and walk away. Begging the question... do I have the balls to do it?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Collapse (Documentary)

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Some asked me about Collapse, which is a strange interview with Michael Ruppert -- a former cop and ex-CIA turned investigative reporter. In this 2009 documentary, Ruppert shares his world view including peak oil, the financial collapse of 2008, and how to survive the impeding breakdown in every day society.

I found the entire documentary on its entirety on YouTube. Watch it now before it gets yanked.

Friday, November 25, 2011

5 Million Books

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

What a couple of Harvard geeks learned after reading 5 million books or 5 billion words...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Circa 1979

It's been a weird and tough year, but I'm grateful to be alive after walking away from a crash in Vegas this summer. So, everything else is gravy, right?

Count your blessings. Try to stay sane today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scoring Dope in the Ghetto, West Coast Speed Freaks, and a Forlorn German Lesbian

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Sometimes, it's easy to write a song because life is so weird and yet simple that it can be deconstructed into a catchy song. Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and Jens Lenkman come to mind. They have an uncanny genius-like ability to captured everyday life into song form.

Lou Reed was a junkie and didn't keep his addiction to heroin a secret. His band used to hang out in Union Square at Andy Warhol's infamous Factory. When Lou ran out of smack, he hopped on an uptown subway to Harlem and scored from various sources. As any drug fiend knows, reliable dealers are a rare breed, and most of the time you're dealing with an unorganized flake, or perhaps even a junkie himself. At any rate, Lou was low on supplies and sick as a dog because he hadn't copped in a few days. He wandered around Harlem with $26 and jonesin' to all hell. Yep, only Lou Redd could conjure up a fascinating song about waiting for his dope dealer. The ensuing scene is told in I'm Waiting for the Man...
I'm waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I'm waiting for my man

Hey, white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh pardon me sir, it's the furthest from my mind
I'm just lookin' for a dear, dear friend of mine
I'm waiting for my man

Here he comes, he's all dressed in black
PR shoes and a big straw hat
He's never early, he's always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
I'm waiting for my man

Up to a Brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody's pinned you, but nobody cares
He's got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I'm waiting for my man

Baby don't you holler, darlin' don't you bawl and shout
I'm feeling good, you know I'm gonna work it on out
I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine
Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time
I'm waiting for my man
I had been listening to Tom Waits for a couple of years before I realized he was white. I saw him for the first time on Saturday Night Live and couldn't believe what I saw. Anyway, Tom Waits had an uncanny ability to turn his daily struggles in anthems. I was always fond of Goin' Out West, because I grew up on the East Coast and went to college in the South, so I was longing for a western excursion. The song always reminded me that some day I was going to make the trek. Someone once told me that Waits was fond of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and that the Holden Caufield character inspired the theme of Goin' Out West. I often thought Waits was morphing his own experiences about spending time on the West Coast, hanging out with hooligans, and trying to score speed...
Well I'm goin' out west
Where the wind blows tall
'Cause Tony Franciosa
Used to date my ma
They got some money out there
They're giving it away
I'm gonna do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid
Do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid

Little brown sausages
Lying in the sand
I ain't no extra, baby
I'm a leading man
Well my parole officer
Will be proud of me
With my Olds 88
And the devil on a leash
My Olds 88
And the devil on a leash

Well I know karate, voodoo too
I'm gonna make myself available to you
I don't need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Well I don't lose my composure
In a high speed chase
Well my friends think I'm ugly
I got a masculine face
I got some dragstrip courage
I can really drive a bed
I'm gonna change my name
To Hannibal or maybe
Just Rex
Change my name to Hannibal
Or may be just Rex

I'm gonna drive all night
Take some speed
I'm gonna wait for the sun
To shine down on me
I cut a hole in my roof
The shape of a heart

And I'm goin' out west
Where they'll appreciate me
Goin' out west
Goin' out west
My buddy BTreotch turned me onto Jen Lenkmen. The Swedish musician penned a song Postcard to Nina, which was based on a weird relationship he had with a German lesbian. A lot of people can identity with the sad pitfall of falling in love with a lesbian (or a gay guy for all of your habitual fag hags out there). In his postcard turned ballad, Jens recalls how he got stuck in an awkward dinner at Nina's parents' house.
Nina I can be your boyfriend
so you can stay with your girlfriend
Your father is a sweet old man
but it is hard for him to understand
that you wanna love a woman
Nina I can be your boyfriend
if it puts an end to all this nonsense
First time I see you in Berlin
And you don't tell me anything
Until outside your dad's apartment

Oh God, Jesus Christ
I try to focus on your eyes
we're having dinner with your family now
keep a steady look at your left eyebrow

If it's raised, it means yes,
If it's not it means take a guess
Hey! You! Stop kicking my legs
I'm doing my best
can you pass the eggs

Your father puts on my record
he says: so tell me how you met her
I get embarrassed and change the subject
and put my hand on some metal object
He laughs and says that's a lie detector

he Takes out the booklet and starts reading
So i heard you're moving out next season
I say: Yeah, New York is nice that time of year
almost as green as it is here
He says: I thought you were moving to Sweden?

Oh God, what have I done?
i came to Berlin to have som fun
then it turned into buffalo 66
on your fathers wall a big crucifix
guess that's why he wont let u go
his Catholic heart is big and slow
you know I'll do anything for love
but Nina what were you thinking of?

But Nina I can be your boyfriend
So you can stay with your girlfriend
Your father is mailing me all the time
He says he just wants to say hi
I send back "out of office, auto-replies"

Nina I just want to check in
'cause I think about you every second
So I send you this postcard just to say
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Yours truly, Jens Lekman

Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way

Monday, November 21, 2011

Orwell and Huxley: Amusing Ourselves to Death

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

The Jesuits made a 14 year-old version of myself read books by Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. They were preparing me for the absurdity of the 21st Century.

Anyway, a couple of friends asked me about an illustration that I tweet'd about many moons ago discussing the different dystopian societies that Orwell and Huxley envisioned. So, I found the cartoon and want to post it here because the themes are relevant today...

If you're looking for a book to read during your holiday travels, I might suggest... Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and/or Animal Farm, and Huxley's Brave New World.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reality Haikus: Beetles, Lesbian Freezers, and Flattened Kittens

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Here's three more haikus inspired by Hoarders...

Filthy stuffed bunnies
Contaminated bedroom
Beetles under bed

Cats hide in ceiling
Ten kittens flattened to death
House reeks of urine

Lesbian hates life
Hides dead kittens in the fridge
Twenty-five sick cats

More reality TV-themes haikus here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reduction of Word Flow on the Eve of the Internet Kill Switch

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Friends often tell me that they wished I wrote more here and other places on the web about various topics. For that nudge, I absolutely love them. However, the reality that I struggle with is more frustrating than you think.

To publish, or not to publish?

I've gotten bored with writing about poker and gambling, mainly due to the and overwhelming sense of ennui attributed to the shallowness and undesirable qualities of my peers/colleagues. It's an obstacle I've overcome over the last seven years, but these days I'm saying "I'm too old for this shit" instead of joining the echo chamber. Hey, let's be frank here... I'm always willing to whore myself out for the right price. I'd write more if I was paid a fair wage. You'd be surprised how much work I'm offered by shysters who think I'm stupid enough to write for free. I do that everyday... for myself. If you want me to write for you, you have to fucking pay me. That's just how it works.

And shiiiiit, don't get me started on the migraine-inducing process I have to go through to get paid for stuff I've written a few months ago. Alas, I'm reluctant to take on any new assignments for fear of... getting swindled. One former client still owes me a few grand for two feature articles I wrote in 2006. Five fucking years ago. I'll never see that money. Many of my friends have similar horror stories.

Lesson(s) learned. Getting stiffed is one of the many lumps you have to take as a freelance writer. Sometimes you get paid late, sometimes you get stiffed, and it's a miracle if you get paid in a timely matter.

I write everyday. For myself. The compensation, although not monetary, is immediate because my output is exactly what I want to say without worrying about an overzealous editor redlining my sentences, or having some inbred twat with poor reading comprehensions project their personal physiological issues onto me in the form of an unwarranted troll-like comment.

I write every day and by chance I miss a day, I make sure I double up at the next possible moment. Unfortunately, 99% of what I write is not shared in a public forum. I'm getting more paranoid these days and I'm writing the old fashioned way -- pen and notebook. The subject matter is so incendiary that my virtual friends would insta-un-friend me on Facebook, and if the authorities ever read any of it, I'd be hauled off in a paddy wagon and one of three things would happen... I'd be locked up in Gitmo with the Jihadists wearing orange jumpsuits, I'd get committed to a local psych ward, or worse... I'd get hired by Hollywood.

I write for myself. It's a noble yet selfish pursuit, but it's what drives me and keeps the fire inside burning. Without the ability to speak freely, I'd go absolutely insane. I'm already a few cans short of a six pack, because I'm burdened with a severe case of anomie, the cyclical grips of seasonal depression, and the tempestuous mood swings attributed to being stuck in the middle of an eternal struggle of art vs. commerce.

In short, I often feel like an alien trapped on Earth wondering what the fuck everyone is doing, because the majority of it all seems absurd and defies all semblance of logic.

Maybe now you know why I've been selective in sharing what I write, especially with the state of our nation which has been transformed into a police state over the last decade, and accelerated over the last two months. At the same time, web censorship is on the horizon. The kill switch is nigh and the ominous storm clouds are headed this way, so I'll continue to peck and scribble away in the darkness, trying to jot down everything I need to say before the last iota of individuality is beaten out of me by an min-wage agent of the state while the sheeple stand on the sidelines and do nothing about.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HST Interview 1988

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I enjoyed this vintage HST interview (circa 1988) courtesy of @TotallyGonzo....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Silver Bears Part 8 - The Gold Rush Currency Wars

By Pauly
San Francisco,CA

I was waiting over three months for the new episode of the Silver Bears. After that long-ass wait, Part 8 was finally uploaded yesterday...

Yep, the Silver Bears have been predicting financial gloom, fiat money collapse and a global precious metals manipulation conspiracy for over a year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Olberman Rant on Mayor Bloomberg

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I love a good Keith Olberman rant and this one might have been one of his greatest benders. Less than a day after the NYPD in riot gear kicked out everyone at Zuccotti Park, Olberman went ballistic on Mayor Bloomberg's inept handling of Occupy Wall Street protesters. Oh, and blocking traffic for a new Batman flick, really seemed to get Olberman's blood boiling...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Torn and Frayed

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

If you were to ask me today... Torn and Frayed is my favorite song off of the Rolling Stones' double album Exile on Main Street.

I know that might come as a surprise to some of my friends because let's face it both Loving Cup and Tumbling Dice are more popular songs from Exile. Plus, at one time or another, both would have been appropriate songs for the soundtrack of my life. It's safe to say that ten years ago, Loving Cup perfectly summed up my nomadic lifestyle seeking out the all-night buzz. Five years ago when I was living in Las Vegas, you could easily point to Tumbling Dice as my personal anthem. I'm really dig both songs, particularly Tumbling Dice, which I listened to nonstop while it played on repeat as I wrote/edited/re-wrote the last chapter of Lost Vegas.

But there's something about Torn and Frayed right *now* that sends a chill up my spine and causes goosebumps. Just listening to the song and visualizing the lyrics sends me into a seizure of emotions -- both pleasant and painful.
Torn and Frayed

Hey let him follow you down,
Way underground wind and he's bound.
Bound to follow you down,
Just a dead beat right off the street.
Bound to follow you down.
Well the ballrooms and smelly bordellos
And dressing rooms filled with parasites.
On stage the band has got problems,
They're a bag of nerves on first nights.
He ain't tied down to no home town,
Yeah, and he thought he was wreckless.
You think he's bad, he thinks you're mad,
Yeah, and the guitar player gets restless.

And his coat is torn and frayed,
It's seen much better days.
Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away,
Let it steal your heart away.

Joe's got a cough, sounds kind a rough,
Yeah, and the codeine to fix it.
Doctor prescribes, drug store supplies,
Who's gonna help him to kick it

Well his coat is torn and frayed,
It`s seen much better days.
Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away,
Let it steal your heart away.

The song itself was written by Mick Jagger circa 1971 about Keith Richards' flirtation with the dark side of heroin. Two decades ago, I honestly thought the haunting lyric was "his arm is torn and frayed"... meaning Keith's arm. The "torn and frayed" title represented the pin-cushion nature of a junkie's arm, riddled with holes from hypodermic needles, and with each prick a little bit of his soul gets released into the cosmos, never to return. Pretty heavy stuff, eh?

It wasn't until the late 90s when I was bored and wandering around a book store in Austin, TX that I stumbled across an anthology of Rolling Stones lyrics. I flipped the pages and noticed I was totally wrong. The correct lyric is... "His coat is torn and frayed."

I had been wrong about the "his arm is torn and frayed" for almost a decade, yet the song still resonated with me, because I knew the ragged "coat" was just a piece of symbolism of the body/soul of the rigorous life of an intrepid rock star always on the move. I'm sure we're all surprised that Keith Richards hasn't died yet -- considering how much junk he shot into his veins and God knows what he ate/snorted/shot/inserted in the last fifty years. He's fucking Rambo meets King Kong meet Count Dracula. He's the Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan off junkies. He may even be a legit vampire, because I really don't know how he's managed to stay afloat over the last few decades.

Anyway, music has this weird thing about invoking an emotional response -- especially when you least expect it. I spent most of this morning contemplating about the last seven or so years of my life, most of which was dedicated to the poker world in some form or another -- living in Vegas for months at a time, holed up in unventilated hotel rooms fighting off maids that can't read the "DO NOT DISTURB" sign, and running through international airports trying to catch a connection to an exotic locale, where I'd pen stories about degenerate gamblers playing cards.

It's poetic in a tumultuous, junkified way that I heard Torn and Frayed pop up on my iPod during today's morning writing session. I halted everything I was doing and listened. Sometimes, the flow of memories can be stopped and plugged up -- like a dam inside your brain -- but oftentimes, those memories are so powerful that the dam shatters, and you're mind is flooded by a raging river of emotions. That's why so many people are fried on anti-depressants -- to keep the flood waters away. Alas, once the dam bursts, you can't control where the flow takes you until the waters recede. During that ride, you're swept up and away in a maelstrom of emotional memories.

During this morning's flood, the lyrics to Torn and Frayed symbolized the struggles (both good and bad, but mostly bad) that I incurred over the last seven years -- whether I initiated them or not. As much as I fought to control my destiny (I know, I know... how foolish to think I can do that), many situations occurred that I had zero influence over like the politicized nature of the online poker industry and the immorality of many of my colleagues. I failed to control how I reacted to those situations. Sometimes I got lucky. Other times things got ugly.

In short, Torn and Frayed reminded me that I spent most of the last seven years chasing a ghost while floating around a circus-like atmosphere, completely restless and never knowing when it was going to end. When I wanted it to stop, I couldn't get off the rambunctious ride, and then add a substance abuse issue to the equation, and you have a recipe for dismal disaster. When I finally thought I escaped the menacing dark side for good, the entire circus showed up on my doorstep and sucked me back in. I can think of three separate instances when I got swept away and sucked back into the echo chamber.

The circus is more dangerous than you think, because after a while, the absurd becomes the norm, and you're entire perspective on life becomes tweaked. It takes me a few weeks, or even months to remind myself that a different set of rules applies to life inside the bubble, and outside.

I still can't figure out how I evaded utter destruction, and I have to re-read Lost Vegas to figure out what I did to escape the first couple of times. I have emotional scars and battle wounds, but I've done what I can to push away the negative aspects of the seven-year sojourn and hone in on the warmth of pleasant times -- good people, fuzzy memories.

Alas, a song like Torn and Frayed shakes everything up and during the four plus minutes the song plays, as each lyric sung by Mick Jagger forces me to deal with the reality of the last seven years from the parasites, to junkies, crooked doctors, the never-ending party, constantly being on the move, and the restless nature of stifled creativity.

It's time to get a new coat, eh?

Before I go, here's Phish performing Torn and Frayed a couple of Halloweens ago at Festival 8...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Last 2 Weeks in Fear Mongering - 11/1/11 to 11/13/11

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I've been busy fear mongering, so in case you missed it, here's what happened in the last week or so over at Tao of Fear...
Keith Olberman Rant: "First you've got to get MAD!"
Clarke and Dawe: What Is the Greek Debt Crisis?
The Waffles Report: Testing the Emergency Alert System, Or Something Else?
Why War With Iran Is Imminent
4.7 Earthquake in Oklahoma Caused by Fracking?
Clarke and Dawe: How the Financial System Works
Wake Up America - Painting by Jon McNaughton
20 Lies Every American Should Know
Legalized Corruption with Jack Abramhoff
'The Jersey Shore' Exposed As a Fake
Police Beating Berkeley Students at OccupyCal

More Mainstream Media Manipulation
11.11.11: Hysteria, Good Luck or Fate?
Volcano/Earthquake/Solar Flare Watch for Nov. 12-15
Earthquake Watch: Planetary Alignment on November 14
UFOs: Fleet Sighted Over Tijuana Mexico
Money As Debt (Documentary Film)
Sakurajima Volcano Eruption

Here's ex-pat and former trader Max Keiser ranting and raving about the corrupt banking cartels in recent episodes of The Keiser Report...
The Keiser Report: Taking Down Bernanke Gaddafi Style
The Keiser Report: Speculators Win Again
The Keiser Report: Fed, Treasury, and the Holy Troika
The Keiser Report: Cameron and Osbourne On the Run
The Keiser Report: Gold Wars

And there's plenty of juicy nuggets in our link dumps called the "Red Pill":
Red Pill: MF Global Scandal, Ricin Terror Plot Against the IRS, Facial Recognition, and Military Coup in Greece?
Red Pill: Comet to Hit Moon, Mosquito Swarms, Big Brother Monitoring Social Media, and Chinese Pyramids UFOs
Red Pill: G.I. Joe and the Illuminati, McRib, WWIII, French Elephant in EU Debt Crisis, and the Brave New Genetically Modified World
That's it for now.

Don't forget we're also on Twitter. Follow @TaoFear.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ken Kesey Interviews

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Ken Kesey wrote one of my favorite books Sometimes a Great Notion. He's most known for his debut novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I've always preferred his second book.

Anyway, Kesey died ten years ago today. Here's two of my favorite interviews....

Monday, November 07, 2011

Covering the November Nine and Cranking Out 6 New Podcasts

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Man, it's been a while since I logged one of those crazy 15-hour days. But, I had fun for the first time covering poker in... shit, I can't recall when it's been so long. Anyway, if you're interested, check out what I cranked out on Sunday... 2011 November Nine Live Blog.

I also recorded six new episodes of the Tao of Pokerati podcast with Michalski. It's the fastest/quickest poker podcast on the interwebs. We've migrated our podcasts to Sound Cloud. Listen to them here...
Tao of Pokerati Podcast - 2011 November Nine Edition
Episode 1: Evolution
Episode 2: Naming Names
Episode 3: Betting on Belize
Episode 4: Non-Silence of the Lambs
Episode 5: Giannetti Lives
Episode 6: Quad Lambs
I still have one more day of work ahead of me. There's three players left in the WSOP Main Event. First place wins $8.7 million. Will it be an American named Ben Lamb (real name), a Martin Staszko from the Czech Republic, or Pius Heinz aka the German with all the chips? Tune in to Tao of Poker on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

What's Wrong With Hollywood

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I came across this clip of Dave Chappelle's interview with James Lipton from Inside the Actor's Studio. Chappelle shares the straight dope about Hollyweird...

Friday, November 04, 2011

Ancient Aliens

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

I've always been skeptical about the program Ancient Aliens because it appears on the History Channel. There's never been actual evidence of aliens in the mainstream media, yet a show about ancient aliens (which if true destroys numerous popular religions) is in circulation on an educational channel instead of a Sci-fi channel. Don't you think that's strange? Some people might take the show as fact instead of conjecture.

I enjoy Ancient Aliens and love to get sucked into random marathons that air on the weekends. I've spent more hours than I'd like to admit completely faded, schwasted, and hammered watching three or four straight hours of Ancient Aliens. It's truly a show geared to stoners.

My only problem with the show is that most of the content has become is repetitive. At this point into the third season, each show fits into a formula.... lots of speculation about ancient gods being extra terrestrials, the handling of bizarre artifacts, close ups of ancient scribblings on caves, a wide shot of outer space, the occasional Ancient pyramid shot, and this guy...

He's my favorite alien "expert." He looks like Dr. Nick from The Simpsons. He even has a slight accent too, which makes his spots even funnier whenever he comes on. If you want to play a drinking game, take a shot every time he's on screen and take another shot when he mentions "ancient aliens." I bet you get shitfaced before the show even ends.

Sure it makes sense that many of the "gods" in Greek and Roman mythology could very well be associated with ETs because the stories are just too freaky and they had tons of mythical creatures roaming the Earth. Then again, I haven't seen any of those weird creatures -- men with dog heads and cat heads (as seen in Egyptian hieroglyphs) or centaurs. How about flying dragons and unicorns? We can't even find Big Foot and it almost took a decade to locate Osama Bin Laden (he was watching cable TV in a lush compound when he was supposedly whacked). So I doubt we'll be able to parade a couple of Greys on The View to be grilled by those crazy cats.

Anyway, if you haven't watched Ancient Aliens, give it a shot. Even if you think it's total horseshit, at least it's an entertaining way to zone out in front of the boob tube and see some cool archeological stuff. And if you happen to believe in extraterrestrial life, then this show is what you've been waiting for.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Epic Olberman Rant and General Strike on November 2

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Check out this video of one of Keith Olberman's rant. He channels the infamous Howard Beale...

And if you don't know, there's a general strike on November 2nd to support Occupy Oakland. I am going on strike as well. You'll will have to entertain yourselves for the next 24 hours....

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Flashback: Budapest Podcasts with Benjo

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Three years ago today, I was on assignment in Budapest, Hungary. I rented an apartment one block from the Danube with my colleague Dana. One evening, I threw a party for all of my colleagues. We all got schwasted and I even recorded four podcasts that evening with Benjo.

Listen here...
Episode 1: EPT Afterparty (3:39)
Episode 2: Hungarian Hooker Halloween (4:14)
Episode 3: Competitive Apple Eating (4:08)
Episode 4: Euro Core-tossing (3:17)
I re-listened to them a little while and I couldn't stop laughing. Enjoy.