Sunday, March 31, 2013

Around the Horn: March Reprise, Writers, Musicians, and Girls

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It was a stressful week with March Madness and other work things. I was short on time every day it seemed yet I managed to write a few things (more so struggled to crank out) on Tao of Pauly. Here is what you missed...
The Holes - Did you know about Mel's Hole just outside of Yakima? If you dig Art Bell and other paranormal things, check out this post.

Blank Eye - You create your own reality and if you're not careful, you'll have the Man looking over your shoulder the entire time.

Such a Lovely Place - I watched the Eagles documentary on SHO and I was surprised about how much I enjoyed the film because I never really liked the band.

Routines and Whateverest - The lack of free time really hurt my old daily writing routine. Plus, I share a crazy documentary made by a bunch of clever Norwegians.

Stress of Cool - This is the Tao of Luis Guzman.

The month of March is over. I stumbled through the end, but I wrote a few things of note earlier in the month...
Tao of Angela Chase and Jalen Rose - Middle-age malaise and nostalgia when I realize I'm almost the same age as the dad from My So-Called Life. Plus, advice from Jalen Rose.

Seinfeld, Coffee, and a Show About Nothing - A few thoughts on an NY Times interview with Jerry Seinfeld.

Doctor THC - I got a renewal of a medicinal marijuana card in West Hollywood.

The Actress Took Down the Curtains - My neighbor, a strugglng actress who constantly fought with her boyfriend, finally moved out.

Why I Set My Alarm for 5:55 AM - This post explains my daily routine during a deluge of college basketball and March Madness.

Think Pieces, No Hats on the Bed, and Utah Get Me Two I always compelled to watch films from start to finish if I see them on TV... Almost Famous, Drugstore Cowboy, and Point Break.

St. Puke's Day - A walk down memory lane and what St. Patrick's Day meant to me over the years.

Here are some of the other music-related things I wrote in March:
Beck's 'Loser' Turns 20 - Yes, we're all getting old. Beck's Loser is 20 years old.

Lee Morgan the Sidewinder - Here is a little something about one of my favorite  trumpet players.

Quickie Reviews of 8 Random Albums - Mini-reviews of albums by Bowie, Thom Yorke, Hendrix, Flaming Lips, Alabama Shakes, Foxygen, Alt-J, and MMW.  

I wrote about writers this past month:
Pay the Fucking Writer - Inspired by a classic rant by Harlan Ellison, I explain how tough it is to be a freelance writer in an age when no one wants to pay for content and no one wants to pay writers.

Writers, Booze, and Drugs - If you had a chance to hang out with 16 of my literary heroes, what kind of drugs or booze would you do with them?

Jack 91 - Some thoughts on Jack Kerouac's 91st birthday and the impact of On the Roadat different times in my life.

And here are recaps of Girls, which are lewd thoughts from the standpoint of a dirty, middle-aged man.
Girls: OCD, It's Back - Hannah's OCD returns and Shoshannah gets down and dirty with a doorman.

Girls: Jizz - This episode was highly controversial and included a money shot. No joke.

Girls: Together Finally - My half-baked thoughts on the season finale of Girls

Since baseball is just around the corner, I wrote a little something about the impending retirement of a legend...
Mo Rivera and the Summer of 96 - One of the best summers I ever spent as a Yankees fan.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Twit Links: March 2013

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Here is mostly everything I linked up on Twitter over the last month or so. It does not include personal pimpage (like stuff here and on Ocelot Sports), rather it's a bunch of links to long reads, sports-related fodder, musical mayhem and pop culture stuff.
Writers and Lit
Where's My Money? Writing Books Without an Advance [Salon]
20 Great Articles by Michael Lewis [The Electric Typewriter]
Nickelodeon Screws Their Writers [Deadline]
Harlan Ellison - Welcome to the Gulag [YouTube]
Art of Journalism Interview with Hunter Thompson [Paris Review]

Pop Culture, Film, TV, Art etc..
The Wire: Q & A with David Simon [What Is Allen Watching?]
It's Not TV, Well, It's Not TV [Jess Welman's Tumblr]
Why TED is like a cult by Eddie Huang [Chris Lindsay's Tumblr]
In & Out Burger [Things Organized Neatly]
The Simpsons: Springfield borders on four states [Fuck Yeah Springfield]
Lighten Up, Francis [You Tube]
RIP Google Reader [Google Reader Blog]
The Return of Superfly [New York Magazine]
Paul McDonough: NYC 1970s Photos [Sasha Wolf]

David Bowie, Rock's Shapeshifter, Returns [NPR]
Bob Dylan Sings Green Eggs and Ham [You Tube]
Trey Gets Bent [You Tube]
Thao and the Get Down... and Molly in Your Bag [BTreotch's Vine]
Too Many Music Festivals? [@SethrmPDX Twitter]
"Do It Again" by Steely Dan [You Tube]
Phish Tracks! []
Jazzfest Televised for First Time Courtesy of Mark Cuban [Hidden Track]

Daily Fantasy Sports: IS It Gambling?  [Chad Millman's "Behind the Bets" podcast]
March Mad Men [Hyper Vocal]

Science and Head Shrinking
Up All Night: The Science of Sleeplessness [New Yorker]
Procrastination Is Not Laziness [Thought Catalog]

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stress of Cool

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"If you dig it... it's cool."

Luis Guzman said that line from Boogie Nights. He was talking about a porn actor's impeccably bad taste in designer clothes. Sometimes, I like to make quotes like that apply to life. Not Boogie Nights lines, mind, you just that I love hearing quirky pearls of wisdom said in Luis Guzman's accent.

"If you dig it... it's cool."

According to Luis Guzman, no matter what you like, it is automatically cool because you like it. The flip side is that whatever you don't like becomes uncool by default. That's cool with me but it's not cool with other people. Unfortunately, the biggest pains in the ass want to feel super extra special, which means everyone must agree to what they determine is cool or not. When I meet those types of people, I usually feel sorry for them because they're drowning in self-hate and insecurity.

Those ingredients for low self-esteem crop up when you lack confidence about something you're doing and you get dizzy by obsessing with what other people think it is cool or uncool, when almost all the time those people: 1) don't think about it, and 2) if they did, they don't give a shit.

Yet you obsess over what the arbiters of cool think and stress out how they are silently judging you when they're not, so you're just being a paranoid martyr instead of shrugging it off and living life. The next time you get freaked out about something, just think about Luis Guzman saying: "Who gives a fuck... if you dig it, you dig it. It's cool, man."

Friction rises up when two people have opposing views of coolness. Like when you were a kid and your parents would do something incredibly uncool but they think they're being "hip" when in fact they look moronic? Yeah, the coolness factor helps drive a wedge in between the generational gaps. Parents feel insecure that they are not meshing with their kids and try to be cool, when they often fail miserably and lose tons of credibility with their kids. Best example is soccer moms trying to dress up like slutty high schoolers (e.g. Amy Poehler character in Mean Girls).

You should never worry about what other people think, but if your friends act like assholes, then you're in a tough situation. Like your friends who boss around waiters and waitresses like they are their own personal slaves. It's such a turnoff when you see your close friends treat service people like shit. That's such a serious thing that I once broke up with a woman because she was a total bitch to the waitress.

Sometimes you butt heads with friends over what they think is cool. Everyone has that one your buddy who think he's hot shit because he thinks it's the coolest thing in the world to hit on every chick in a bar, yet he's the only one who realizes how incredibly uncool it is and you get super uncomfortable because everyone else thinks you're cool by default because you showed up with the dickhead? It's like being Jon Favreau who cringes every time Vince Vaughn opens up his mouth in every scene from Swingers.

Back to the coolness thing and why I really don't give a shit about the little things (which has helped me focus on the more important things). I learned to live without hangups on "cool" really early on, so I didn't make too many mistakes looking like a moron in the search of cool. Sure, like every other clueless and angst-ridden teenager, I engaged in some foolish pursuits in high school or college (mostly more musical mistakes than fashion gaffes), but that had less to do with trying to establish an image of coolness than trying to get laid1.

Luckily a couple of handfuls of magic mushrooms helped shed some insight into the uniqueness of individual souls but the collective consciousness of life. After some of those experiences, it was easier for me to embrace the philosophy of 1) not worrying about what other people think, and 2) pursuing the things that give me a greater sense of happiness and accomplishment.

"If you dig it, it's cool."

* * 
1. I once went to an Ani DiFranco concert because I thought that would be a shortcut to bedding a girl I really liked, but of course, she liked other girls. That could be an entire blog post, or an entire novel in itself. Or then again, Kevin Smith did a better job telling a similar story so go watch Chasing Amy instead.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Routines and Whateverest

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Whack. Thud.

My schedule is out of whack. For a couple of months I had a very similar routine (something I called structured chaos in which I could set aside chunks of time to do anything... consider it a "free swim") but that's gotten thrown out of whack with a couple of work projects, March Madness, tax season, sorting out summer tour plans, and ordinary life like getting old.

All those years of partying hard has slowly creeping up. Every once in a while I feel like the old pitcher in Major League (the "up your butt Jobu" guy) who has to use grease to throw spitballs. On those rough mornings I think back and wonder... "what if I took it slower?" And then I laugh because I wouldn't have it any other way. If anything the little aches here and there are a reminder of how much fun I had and used to have and was lucky to have. No regrets, right?

I'm in an email thread that has a header of "No More Bad Days", which is kind of a joke (it originally had origins in a mockumentary from Norway about Inspector Norse, a dubstep-techno-geek who cooks up his own batch of homemade speed and fourth-rate ecstasy). Watch the short film here...

WHATEVEREST from Kristoffer Borgli on Vimeo.

Anyway, the "no more bad days" thing is all kinds of cheesy and partially a bit of New Age crapola, but there's a semblance of truth and honesty and earnestness in that catchy positive affirmation, which is something nifty to remind yourself within moments of waking. No more bad days. Simple mantra. Today's a new day and it's going to be a good day, because no matter how much shit rolls downhill, I won't let all those shit boulders keep me in a dour mood so shake it off.

I lost my a routine. I was posting on this corner of the web in the early mornings, but now I'm doing it at the end of a long day. Normally I wouldn't care, but posting here is part of a daily project I've undertaken this year. It's a reclamation project of sorts and writing here everyday is like showing up at daily AA meeting for fallen bloggers. If I don't do it and maintain this Draconian discipline, then I'll probably never post regularly again and soon get lazy and fall into sporadic posting which means writing a couple of time a month (if I'm lucky) until I slow everything down to a quarterly post, before it halts production altogether and this place goes dormant.

If I didn't have shit to sell (please buy my books to support my habits both chemically and artistically) I probably wouldn't keep up a daily regimen of word regurgitation. If I didn't need to constantly audition for writing jobs, I'd probably wouldn't keep this up. In short... if I was loaded and had tons of dough, I wouldn't write much on the web anymore because I wouldn't need to.

It's funny (in a morose "clown dies way" and not Vaudevillian way) how a good portion of art is spawned out of desperation. You're either desperate for attention or desperate to get paid. Most of the time it's both.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Such a Lovely Place

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I know a documentary is good when I sit through the entire film about a subject I don't care about. In this case, it's was a rockumentary about a band I didn't really like much, but I genuinely like all music documentaries so I went into this one thinking I might have to turn it off because I'm not into the Eagles. But man... I got sucked into the Eagles doc, which was three hours long!

The History of the Eagles is really two different documentaries; first part covers the rise of the Eagles since their formation in the early 70s (as a back-up band for Linda Rondstat) and up until they broke up in 1980, while the second part covers the Eagles reunion in 1994 for their "Hell Freezes Over" tour and subsequent tours. I thoroughly enjoyed the first segment (rise + fall) more the second (redemption and second chances), but I was particularly surprised how much I dug The History of the Eagles, so much so that I found myself re-watching random segments of the first part.

The music is familiar. The Eagles were inescapable on classic rock radio stations. At this point, everyone (even non-music fans) probably knows a handful of Eagles "greatest hits" through sheer osmosis via TV commercials, movie soundtracks, stuck in traffic listening to the radio, getting bombed in a dive bar, or maybe even humming along to elevator muzak. Even if you don't like the Eagles, you've still heard Hotel California more times that you realize. I'd say that any given human has heard parts of the Eagles' anthem at least a thousand times in their lifetime -- spread out in bars, car radios, pop-culture vehicles (especially commercials) -- without them even actively choosing to listen to it. Hotel California is just one of those songs that's everywhere. Ubiquitous. Omnipresent. Plus if you're a fan of The Big Lebowski, you've heard a sick Spanish cover by the Gypsy Kings. That's the only version of Hotel California that is on my iPod, which will pop up randomly and when it does, I often conjure up images of Jesus Quintana in bowling alley scenes.

The documentary spent a segment discussing the recording of the song Hotel California and the ensuing discussion on multiple interpretations (both real and imagined) could have been its own documentary. Hotel California is the prototypical song about luxury, decadence and depravity in the music biz. Henley and Frey wrote a tale about the downside to selling your soul to the devil for a taste of the "lifestyles of the rich and famous." The song heeds a stark warning because everything comes at a price, especially success, and the relentless pursuit of the American Dream can quickly take a turn for the worse and become the American Nightmare.

Although I listened to endless classic rock on WNEW in NYC, I wasn't an Eagles fan. Instead, I got to experience the post-break-up Eagles and the not-so enthralling solo careers by Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Frey cranked out cheesy 80s synth-heavy rock songs that you'd hear on the soundtrack from Beverly Hills Cop movies. Meanwhile, Don Henley took a softer approach with an adult contemporary rock route and teamed up with Bruce Hornsby to crank out a few notable hits that sold records and appeased critics. Meanwhile, throughout the 80s, good old Joe Walsh hit the skids and continued his indulgent lifestyle. He crawled into a bowl of cocaine and a swimming pool of booze for the entire decade. If he didn't enter rehab in the 90s, Joe Walsh wouldn't be alive today.

In college, I got into Joe Walsh's work with the James Gang (pre-Eagles) and thought he was the best part of the Eagles and that Frey was a fucking toolbag. It wasn't until I saw this documentary that I realized that some of the stuff I loved the most was not by Walsh, but rather it was Don Felder (who in the mid-70s was a dead-ringer for Sweet Sweet Pablo) who should get the accolades. Felder is forever known as "one of the other Eagles" that no one ever knew by his name. Heck, I didn't learn it until I saw the film. Felder displayed some serious chops, but he didn't have a strong enough voice or song writing pedigree to compete with Frey or Henley. Felder's eroding relationship with Frey was one of several reasons the band broke up (cocaine and creative differences were others). Although Felder was a part of the reunion tour in 1994 and the second incarnation of the Eagles to end the decade, Frey/Henley eventually cut him out of the picture in 2001.

I saw Almost Famous a few thousand times and Cameron Crowe admitted that the Russell Hammond character was an amalgam of several rock-n-rollers, especially Glenn Frey, but the resemblance of early 70s Glenn Frey to Billy Crudup's Russell character was too uncanny. Almost freaked me out a few times. Crowe also said that Frey was the guy who begged him to just "make us look cool" when he was writing an article about the Eagles for Rolling Stone.

My favorite parts of these retrospective rockumentaries are the random stories that aren't really a part of the bigger picture and seems like filler, but it's those little vignettes that paint the absurd life on the road, or what its like being in a traveling carnival. The doc is peppered with tons of those little entertaining stories (like Frey being Jackson Browne's upstairs neighbor, or Joe Walsh going to a fancy restaurant with John Belushi after they spray-painted their jeans by coloring them black) but it almost could have been a doc about any other band from that era, ya know?

The Eagles internal drama was one of the main story components to this film, while the overall tone of the rockumentary followed the basic story arc of young men heading out west to fulfill the American Dream in the glitzy and cutthroat shadows of Hollywood. Henley and Frey were at the right place and at the right time and had enough talent and ambition to get a shot at a record deal with David Geffen. Yeah, the Eagles story is not like any other story about young musicians trying to hit it big, but then the shit hits the fan as soon as they hit it big and it's a fight and struggle to stay on top, yet they tragically can't handle burning the candle at both ends and ultimately crash and burn... creatively, financially, domestically, and spiritually. Piles and piles of cocaine and jealousy only complicated matters. Pretty much every big band from the 60s and 70s had a similar arc, which is why Almost Famous was such a great fucking film because it gave you a glimpse into what really goes on behind the scenes and explains the mercurial dynamics between band members and their fickle relationships with their own managers/agents and ruthless record company execs and the snooty media elite, not to mention how their interact with their rabid fans and handle the pressures of performing whirlwind tours while maintaining obvious drugs habits and addictions to booze and/or sex.

Check out History of the Eagles on Showtime. Like I said earlier, I loved the first part the best, but after getting sucked in, it makes you really want to watch the second part and see how everything turned out and see who got sober (Joe Walsh), or who was still an asshole (Glenn Frey).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blank Eye

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Fill in the blanks. Sometimes it's all about filling in the blanks. I'm not talking about mad libs either. The blank spaces are the where you insert your own music. Even the to the chaotic nature of life needs its own soundtrack. You can sing a sad song, or a breezy ballad, or you can go all punk and smash things, or just rock it all out. It's up to you.

The Joker often reminds me that we create our own realities. It took me a long time to figure that part out. It's easier to go on autopilot have our realities chosen for us. It's easier to remain trudging through a stream of toxicity than seek joy in manifesting positivity and more pleasant thoughts to help pull us out of the doldrums of day-to-day life. At the same time in order to hide from fear we often jump into a murky pool of anxiety, misery, and self-doubt. Hey, taking a plunge into self-loathing as horrible as it sounds, is less painful than confronting the things that instill the most fear in you. Big Pharma rakes in billions of dollars hawking happy pills that are just life preservers so we can take plunge into a murky pool of misery and not worry about drowning. That's a nifty temporary solution until things take an abrupt turn and shit gets crazy real quick when everyone gets swept up in rough seas.

You know those mornings when you wake up with a clunky and upbeat tempo ringing through your head like an overloaded van with bald tire driving on cobblestones? Uneven and rough. That's a daily mental commute that had not been smooth for years, yet you do nothing about it and remain stuck in a loop, darting through the darkness under bridges and through back alleys to avoid getting nabbed by the Man. Exhausting and draining trying to evade the humorless authorities, smug arbiters of taste, urine-thirsty trolls, and moral score keepers.

Sometimes I feel the Man leaning over my shoulder with the judging eyes of a disappointed teacher, unable to accept responsibilities for their failure as an educator and passing all the blame onto the student. Hey, no one signed me up for this fucking class, let alone enrolled me into this school. I just show up one day after I got dropped off by my parents and started learning everything on the fly. I've been making it up as I go along. No one ever handed me a standard operating procedures or a syllabus. I've been an adult for two decades yet still feel like I'm a snot-nosed Catholic school kid worried about whether or not the nuns are going to be pissed off that I didn't finish the assigned work. Stuck in a compulsory school is worst than being in prison because at least you committed a crime to get imprisoned and had some sort of choice in the matter (choose to obey/break a law). After a while I found every excuse imaginable to cut this cult-like school of life and play hooky and stay home sick. I finally broke out of the system, yet I still feel the burning sensation from the disappointed eyes of malcontents flashing evil death stares.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Holes

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

One of the benefits of YouTube is stumbling upon random stuff like episodes from Art Bell's old radio show in the 1990s. This was still before people had widespread access to the internet, so for folks curious about paranormal things, UFOs, and conspiracy theories (essentially anything related to the X-Files) had to stay up late to listen to Art Bell's show. He interviewed thousands of experts and fielded phone calls from crank callers, crackpots, and every kind of the craziest of the crazies.

Every once in a while you had a caller tell you an incredulous story that seemed too insane to be fake. Enter Mel Waters, the guy from "Mel's Hole."

Supposedly Mel found a hole on his property outside Ellensburg, WA. Debunkers will tell you that Mel doesn't exist or made the whole thing up. But there's supposedly two holes and another one in Nevada that Mel got invited by local Basques to investigate.

What's up with the holes? They go on forever. Who knows how deep they are. Were these entrances to Middle Earth? Was the Earth really hollow? Did the government dig the holes looking for oil and minerals? When in doubt... was it ancient fucking aliens?

Locals in Washington state had been dumping trash into the bottomless hole, which was roughly nine feet in diameter. Mel had some unusual experiences around the hole. Like weird shit that comes right out of an episode of Lost involving strange coins, Nazi guns, and whale bones found in trees. Art Bell suggested it had something to do with parallel universes. animals wouldn't go near it. Native Americans suggested the holes were part of the spirit world and it should be avoided because it was the source of evil. Red Elk, a medicine man, said that he visited the holes when he was a young child and that centuries ago the holes had a Stonehenge-like structure around it. In different interviews, Red Elk alluded that the hole was not bottomless, but 27 miles deep and it was actually a blow hole by Mt. Rainer, but connected by other tunnels and passageways.

Mel sold his hole to the government.They gave him $1 million a year to lease his land and he moved away to Australia for a few years and then he did something stupid -- he returned to American and felt compelled to call up Art Bell and reveal the mysterious of the hole on his radio show. Now, word was out about Mel's Hole. The government stopped paying him and things got really freaky. Mel said he was in a police van and that's the only thing he remember before he lost time for over a week and he woke up in an alley in San Francisco. He had gotten his ass kicked and his were molars removed. He couldn't remember anything that happened to him.

A second hole exists somewhere in Nevada and plenty of strange things happened around that nine-foot-wide hole, which is supposedly on government-owned land (BLM). Local shepherds, descendants of Basques that settled in the area, invited Mel to check out a hole that had been there for as long as their first settler arrived from Europe.

Mel lost me when he told a story about lowering a sheep into the hole and when they pulled it back out an hour later and conducted an autopsy (by a local butcher). The sheep's insides were cooked and  seal-like animal inside the sheep that crawled back into the hole. The creature was very similar to something described by multiple Native American legends about a seal-like creature that lives underground and can travel between different Earths. Of course, other legends include 6-foot tall reptilians (similar to the Sleestak from Land of the Lost) who live deep underground and kidnap human women so they can mate with them, or kill humans to grind up their bones.

At the Nevada hole, Mel conducted another experiment and lowered a bucket of ice to see if it would melt. Instead, the ice emitted some sort of yellow flame when they pulled the bucket up. When one of the locals took home an ice cube, he kept it on his stove and used it as a source of heat. Mel described it as an "unimaginable source of power" that is similar to Ice-Nine from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle.

The ice cube eventually got unstable and destroyed the guys kitchen's floor and pulverized the entire cabin. The stove began to sink into the ground. When the local authorities were called, they immediately contacted the federales who in turn showed up with the Calvary, which included the FBI, Men in Black types, the military, and other scientists from top secret government agencies. Art Bell suggested that whatever changed that ice cube was probably causing another hole! No one had heard from Mel in years. He always said he wanted to be dropped into the hole after his death.

The holes.

The Holes could have been an entire season of The X-Files or turned into really bad para-horror films. Heck, the holes are so mysterious that it inspired a half-baked post here and I'm sure I'll pitch at least one screenplay about Mel's hole.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Around the Horn: Quickie Music, Pies, Alarms, Girls, and March Madness Shit

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Barely have time to breath with a deluge of college basketball, but I wanted to point out a few things that popped up on the Tao of Pauly over the last week...
St. Puke's Day - Here is a little something about the evolution of St. Patrick's Day, from being a Catholic school boy watching the parade in downtown Manhattan, to party-hound beer-guzzling frat boy in Savannah Georgia, to a struggling bartender back in NYC.

Girls: Together Finally - I wrote about the season finale of Girls. I had fun writing about the series, but I'm glad it's on hiatus now. Check out my other dirty old man recaps: OCD, Its Back and Jizz.

Think Pieces, No Hats on the Bed, and Utah Get Me Two Whenever I see three certain films on cable, I'm compelled to sit down and watch it. What are those films? Almost Famous, Drugstore Cowboy, and Point Break.

Quickie Reviews of 8 Random Albums - Friends sent me some good music over the last few weeks and I wrote a little bit about albums by Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Flaming Lips, Foxygen, Alt-J, Alabama Shakes and MMW.

Why I Set My Alarm for 5:55 AM - This is a post that give you a glimpse into my daily routine this past week. I have been waking up before the dawn to prep for March Madness and gambling action on the March Madness college basketball tournament.

Crushing Pies and Grandma's Invading You Tube - I ate an entire pie inside of a 24-hour period and I spent more time then I'd like to admit watching random videos of old women sharing their favorite pie recipes.
It's now full-blown March Madness time. I wrote a ton of stuff for Ocelot Sports (@OcelotSports) this week...
March Madness Tips: Betting and Brackets
Thursday Dogs
Friday Dogs
Saturday 32 Preview and Smoking Hot Oregon Cheerleaders
Sunday 32 Preview and the Demonic Possession of Marshall Henderson
Over at Coventry Music...
Grisman and Garcia: So What - It was David Grisman's birthday this week and I posted a cover of Miles Davis' So What.
This week's writing music included...
Blowin' the Blues Away by Horace Silver
Rosalita by the BOSS

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Crushing Pies and Grandmas Invading You Tube

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I like pie. I ate an entire cherry pie inside of 24 hours. Okay, I really love pie, but not just any pie. It's specific. Cherry pie and key lime pie.

Cherries are not in season so the bakeries don't have any cherry pies. Nicky was kind enough to stop at Ralph's to pick me up a cheapo cherry pie. I was bogged down with watching and scouting and gambling and indulging in March Madness games with my makeshift command center. I'm only few steps away from running a hedge fund out of my apartment. Or cult. Or both. How about a cult about a hedge fund? Nah, that won't work. But a hedge fund about cults? That could work. Makes more sense to invest stocks in companies that produce products that are only bought by brainwashed people that are vigilant and self-righteous about their support like Apple, Coca-cola, and McDonald's.

Sorry for the tangent...

I devoured the cherry pie and ate it a quarter at a time, which is the equivalent of two slices. I crushed 25% of the pie within moments of Nicky walking in the door. I didn't even bother to cut a slice out of the tin. I grabbed a fork and dug in while Nicky rolled her eyes at my barbaric behavior. I plopped down in the couch and yelled at the TV (probably a bad call from one of the blind-dumb-mute zebras reffing the March Madness games). I inhaled a chunk of the pie and put it away. After dinner I ate another quarter and inhaled two more slices.

This morning after breakfast I ate another two slices and only 25 of the pie remained. I could have been a total pig by waking up to eat the pie while sitting in my boxers. I had the common sense to wake up and do a few hours of work before cooking a sensible breakfast and then relaxing for thirty minutes before I crushed more pie.

I patiently waited until dinner ended before I finished off the pie. The last 25% was gone within 8 seconds. It wasn't pretty. Now all I can think about is... more pie.

I spent a few hours the other night watching different videos on YouTube of grandma-types sharing their recipes. It was funny because these are not what you cal tech savvy people, but they had 1) a great story to tell, and 2) impart some wisdom by passing down a family recipe.

 The last part was compelling because these old ladies were not just copying their recipes on an index card to hand out to friends at a tupperware party.... rather, here's someone's sweet old grandma from Iowa sharing her fifty year old recipe for cherry pie for the entire Internet. Some of the videos had 300 hits, some had 30,000. One had 250,000. That's the size of a small city. All those people watched grandma make a cherry pie from scratch.

That's when it hit me... there's hundreds and thousands of other grandmas sharing recipes about cherry pies and blueberry pies not to mention dozens of other recipes for desserts and other dishes. Then toss in all those other languages and you'll find millions of people sharing family recipes last several generations, maybe even up to a century or more. That's mind boggling. sure, you can buy any cookbook at a local bookstore or watch the fucking Food Network, but there's something inspiring about average people -- particularly septuagenarians and octogenarians -- who have flocked to YouTube. Even grannies need a means of socializing, or swapping wisdom, or feeling better about themselves by showing off their deft baking skills.

Over the summer I ate a mini-cherry pie in Cincinnati. It was one of the highlights of my trip through Ohio last June/July. I had not seen any since then so I started digging through the archives at YouTube seeking out how to make a cherry pie and if it was possible for someone like me (a stoner with a voracious appetite for cherry pie and zero culinary skills) to learn how to bake pies, especially mini-pies. I found a super-chipper and peppy MILTF who posted a video about making mini-cherry pies using muffin pans and thought that was ingenious.

If I want mini-pies, I have to win the lottery and then hire a mad scientist from Switzerland and commission him to construct a special machine that alters the molecular makeup of objects and shrinks things... like cherry pies.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why I Set My Alarm for 5:55 AM

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Long day. Long week. Long weekend coming up. No complaints. I wouldn't trade this time of the year for anything else in the world.

March Madness. This is when I pull  myself out of  the doldrums of winter and seasonal depression. I'vealways gotten the holiday blues starting around Turkey Day and carrying over through Christmas and spilling over into the New Year. Relocating to California, especially Southern California, has done wonders for my mood every winter. It's easy to be in a chipper mood when you're basking in ubiquitous sunshine.

I savor every moment of March Madness because this is one of the few perks of being a freelancer who works mostly at home. In any real-world job as a desk jockey, I'd try to slyly sneak games while at work or extend lunch hour to get as many games in as possible. Luckily, I can sit on my couch and watch 12+ hours of basketball mostly because of my career choice and relationship choice. If my girlfriend was cool and she knows that this is a part-time job for me in the short-term and material for a book in the long-term. I'm in a comfortable situation to watch the games guilt-free on my couch. Actually it's not a couch, but an office chair. I temporarily moved my office to the living room, including the desk and chair. Part of our living room looks like a set from the Tonight Show with how my desk is situated against the curtains and a couple of chairs. We could actually film a talk show in my apartment now. YouTube supports live streaming these days. I probably should do a show for shits and giggles, but I'll need a sidekick and/or musical host. Submit your resumes ASAP.

My March Madness routine from Thursday...

Up before the dawn. My alarm, set at 5:55am, woke me up. I spent the first 10-15 in bed looking at my CrackBerry while Nicky was fast asleep on her side of the bed and had stolen 85% of the covers during the middle of the night and was completely bundled up like a burrito. In the first few minutes of waking up, I listened to homeless people rummage through our trash bins for recycle items, which was a humbling reminder that I'm just one bad beat away from digging through dumpsters. After a quick triage of emails, text messages, direct messages, etc., I eventually rolled at out of bed at 6:15am and exactly was three hours before the tip off of the first game of the day. I made a bee line to my laptop. Actually, I opened up two laptops. One had Twitter and betting lines while the other had Skype along with the infamous spreadsheet otherwise known as HAL420. I scanned the injury reports and checked the betting lines to compare any moves from the night before. Depending on the situation, I put in bets before I crash (overnight lines) if I expected the lines to move the other way. If I was hoping for the line to move in my favor, I waited until the morning. If I did not find favorable numbers I liked in the morning, then I'd go line shopping until I found the best possible number. If not, then I'd wait to see if it changed before tip off. I looked at any shared intel and gathered up the daily picks from trusted sources from fellow gamblers. At 2.5 hours before tip off, I headed to the kitchen and brewed a fresh batch of iced tea. English breakfast tea. Six tea bags. One lemon. Full pitcher. Eye opener. Woke me the fuck up. After a quickie shower, I hovered around the laptops and watched the lines move back and forth and listen to sportsbetting podcasts for an hour while I pounded a few pint glasses of freshly brewed super-strong iced tea. I cranked up some jazz  (usual suspects... Lee Morgan, Monk, Coltrane, Miles) and finished up a post about underdogs for Ocelot Sports. With about 45 minutes before tip off, I published it. I swapped texts and IMs with friends to find out their positions before I scanned the lines for any changes and put in a bet or two. Once I had a better idea of my positions for the day, I wrote an email to a few friends with my picks, Ocelot's positions, and the best bets from other notables.  I finally updated Ocelot's tumblr, where I publicly posted daily picks for more friends to fade or follow (mostly fade). Then I waited for the bombardment of last minute text messages from friends waking up on the Left Coast, or other lazy degenerates waiting until the last minute to put in bets. Sometimes I get last second intel about huge wagers that one of betting syndicates made in Vegas or offshore. I always frantically look to see if we're on the same side, and sometimes I bite and tail the wiseguys. I never watch the pregame shows. I have no need for their tomfoolery and prefer music over their genius commentary. With a few minutes before tip off, it was time to set up all the viewing stations -- 2 TVs, 2 laptops, and an iPad, not to mention my CrackBerry which I use to look at Twitter and field 100+ texts every few hours. It's redonkulous. I have to turn the alert sound off because it went off every few seconds. Once all the bets are in, I can relax and fry up some bacon. Yeah, breakfast and bingers! I was starving with the exception of eating a banana sometime within the first hour of being awake. The menu? Homemade thick-cut bacon & egg sandwiches on English Muffins with more ice-tea and a side order of bong hits. Behold, the breakfast of champions! It was finally time to settle in and watch the first game while chowing down on bacon as the apartment reeked of freshly cooked bacon and OG Kush.I could hear my neighbors go off to work while I ripped a couple of bongs. I still kept an eye on the betting lines and waited for the second and third and fourth games to come on so I can maximize my visual stimulation. With four games on at the same time, I was guaranteed to have a wager on at least one of the games. With our advanced technology, I streamed games via laptop (hooked up to one TV) and iPad (to stream channels via our local cable provider's app, and ignored the official CBS app). I also opted for an (illegal) European streaming site on my laptop because it didn't crash like CBS's website. At that point it was 10am or so and I had been awake for four hours. Somewhere between 11am and 11:30 Nicky woke up and rolled her eyes when she saw the degen set up in the living room. I'm sure she must feel weird to wake up and find the furniture in the living room was rearranged so I could turn it into a mini-sportsbook...

From 9:15am to around 5pm, it was nonstop basketball and line watching for the later games and the next day's games. After eight hours at the grind, I took a break and brewed a second batch of iced tea and walked around the block to get fresh air and head to 7/11 to grab M&Ms. I have an awesome girlfriend who happily whipped up gourmet meals like blackened salmon before I sweated the last batch of late games. The last game ended around 9:30pn or so... or about 12 hours after the first game tipped off. Sixteen games. Dunzo. The night wasn't over. It was time for mellow music (can't stop listening to Foxygen) and couple of hours of analyzing the day's transactions. I looked over the next day's action and put in a couple of bets over the overnight lines. I downloaded a Jimi Hendrix bootleg that G-Money sent me and I wrote for an hour or so until my eyelids get super heavy and the words started getting blurry and looked like German. Unless I was so tired and wasted by that point that I was actually writing in German. Yeah, when I can't figure out what the fuck I was writing, I knew it was time to call it a night, so I save the rough draft of the post I wrote for Ocelot Sports. Nicky was working late, so I said goodnight and then finally had time to decompress by listening to random podcasts (an old episode of Kevin Smith on Joe Rogan) while pulling a few more bong hits. By then it was well after Midnight and I was exhausted. I crawled into bed and knew that the alarm would wake me up in 5+ hours. When the alarm screeched at 5:55am, it was time to repeat the process.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Madness of March

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I might not write much here the next few days. March Madness hath arrived and it's one of my favorite times of the year as I delve into four days of nonstop basketball (and that's just the first week) and engage in degenerate sports betting so I can earn enough money to cover my summer travels and fund Phish tour.

I suggest you follow @OcelotSports on twitter for random updates.

I will post my picks over at Ocelot's Tumblr.

And don't forget to check in with for long-from articles. I wrote something about potential underdogs for today and Shamus penned 30 Year Later, State Still Wins was something about the latest 30 for 30 documentary on the 30th anniversary of N.C. State winning the college championship in 1983.

* * *
Update: I finished a post about betting underdogs for Friday's action... March Madness: Friday Dogs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quickie Reviews of 8 Random Albums

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's never been a better time for music... if you know what you're looking for.  I miss rummaging through music stores, especially those dingy second-hand stores, seeking out hidden gems.

Remember how you used to buy an album? You heard a song. It froze you in your tracks. Maybe it was a hook or a riff or a catchy lyric. You found out the name of the band and then headed to your local record store. You wandered through the aisles alphabetically until you found the artist. Then you bought the album based on one song, rushed home, tore it open, and then listened to that initial song two or three times before you explored the rest of the album.

Man, I used to get so pissed when the rest of the album sucked, which happened more times than I'd like to admit. I can't tell you how many albums I bought over the last two decades that fell into that category. It's rare that you buy something for one song and fall in love with the entire album. If an album had at least three songs on it I liked, then it offered some value. Otherwise, it felt like a total bust.

The way iTunes is set up, you can just buy the one song you want and not have to spend $$$ on the rest. I must have saved a few grand by not buying full albums. At the same time, YouTube gives you a chance to listen to new music before deciding to buy on iTunes or elsewhere.

One of my new favorite things to do these days is search for random music on YouTube. This is an activity that I engage in very late at night after catching a really strong buzz, or while stricken with insomnia. It's been an awesome place to find old jazz records, but I also stumbled across old school videos back at a time when MTV actually played videos. MTV was birthed right around when I was a teenager so I was born at the perfect time to appreciate music videos -- especially the initial wave that flooded the shores of MTV in the late 1980s. To come across those videos is like getting an instant flashback to my youth.

In 2013, I'm at a point in my life when I don't care what other people think of my choices -- especially musical choices. Simply put, I dig what I listen to. If I don't dig it, I'm not going to waste my time.

I'll give anything a listen to at least once. If it's a band I really like, or something I should normally like then I'll give it a second listen. In a few rare instances, I'll give something I don't like third listen, but that is in a rare case if a friend really insists that I give it another try.

I'm in a weird phase in which I'm devouring tons of old jazz records but juggling that with a slew of newer material. Here's some of the newer stuff I listened to, mostly at the recommendation of friends...
"Atoms for Peace" by Thom Yorke - A couple of years ago, Nicky and I caught Thom Yorke play a solo show in L.A. His band included Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yorke was playing music he wanted to play outside of Radiohead, so it was interesting to see what was the soundtrack tinkering around his head. I have a theory that Thom Yorke is an alien who is unable to return to his home planet, so he's perpetually sad and tries to amuse himself through music. Man, I can write an entire book about that Thom Yorke/alien theory. I just might someday. Anyway, Yorke moved to LA for several months to record this album. So it has somewhat of a SoCal influence mixed with his British sensibility to produce a soundtrack for the cosmos.

"People, Hell and Angels" by Jimi Hendrix - I haven't been excited about a new Jimi Hendrix album since the release of his Blues album. I didn't even know about this one until someone tipped me off and I got my hands on a copy before its release date. This new album "People, Hell and Angels" is what I call a money grab by the estate of Jimi Hendrix. This is the first album of new material to be released posthumously. Someone dug through the Jimi vault and uncovered un-released material that was leftover from previous sessions. I guess you can say this is the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor, which means it's okay and somewhat edible. 

"Boys & Girls" by Alabama Shakes - Last year when my friends were listening tot he Alabama Shakes, I dismissed it and blew it off as a knock-off of The Black Keys but with a female singer. Man, I was so wrong. I recently delved into the full album of Boy& Girls and it blew me away. It's not the most peppy music and it's a nice soundtrack for jilted lovers or someone covered with a thin layer of melancholy. It's raw. Powerful. Soulful. From the gut. It's the kind of southern-fried blues music that forces you to experience the same emotions Brittnay Howard conjures up with her raspy, yet gospel-sing-like voice. The Shakes are one of my new favorite bands. I cannot stop listening to this album.

"The Terror" by the Flaming Lips - I dig the Lips, but this is a disturbing and utterly bleak video. There's not enough drugs in the world to get me in the right frame of mind to appreciate this concept album about a world without love. I deleted this album before even giving it a second listen.

"Free Magic" by Medeski Martin & Wood - I don't really listen to MMW live albums much mainly because they are one of those bands that get cooking when you see them live. I was let down by their Radiolarians project (three discs) and those tunes didn't feel right when I saw them play it during live shows. Luckily, Free Magic is the return to the groove-oriented bagaboo jazz that I dig.

"The Next Day" by David Bowie - I'm currently in the middle of a project in which I'm listening to all of David Bowie's albums in chronological order. I started doing this after I read a Grantland article about Chuck Klosterman writing a potential obituary for Bowie when there were rumors he was on his deathbed last year. Anyway, I had a brief Bowie phase last year when I lived in San Francisco and I had cherry picked a bunch of his greatest hits and started listening to that a lot before I lost interest. Anyway, I had finished The Young Americans and started the Berlin trilogy (produced by Brian Eno) when I got a copy of Bowie's new album The Next Day. My initial reaction... it was all over the place. It was like Bowie couldn't figure out a specific direction so he went for a shotgun approach (from post-grunge to Velvet Underground to U2 during the Zooropa years). I preferred the opening track that sounded more like The Talking Heads than the Tom Waits'-like songs or the couple of songs that sound like The Dandy Warhols trying to imitate David Bowie.

"An Awesome Wave" by Alt-J - The Joker raved about this album last year by a British indie band that had become the "hipster band du jour" in the last quarter of 2012. I gave it a listen last year and then forgot about it. I re-listened to it recently and still have mixed emotions. It's not as bad as I originally thought, but not as good as I had hoped.

"We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" by Foxygen - Broseph tipped me off to this L.A. band that has a unique chameleon-like sound in that they can mimic the tone of different genres from the 60s and 70s. One song they'll sound like Velvet Underground, yet in the next song they'll channel the Rolling Stones from the early 60s. In another song, they'll bask in the warmth of psychedelic rock and then another get a little gritty with heavy surf guitar licks. The lyrics make me laugh out loud. Not that their funny, but inside jokes about Los Angeles or San Francisco or Brooklyn. Hipsters poking fun at hipsters. Reminds me of Beck on Xannax. When I listen to Foxygen, I get flashbacks of sitting on a crowded Muni bus in San Francisco and have visions of sad hipsters staring at their iPhones while the Muni crawls up steep hills.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Think Pieces, No Hats on the Bed, and Utah Get Me Two

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Three films. Whenever I come across any of those three films on TV, I'm compelled to drop everything I'm doing and I will watch the rest of that movie. No matter what. I did it last night with Almost Famous. I was flipping the channels trying to find a basketball game and I came across the scene when Penny Lane is dancing by herself hours after a concert ended and she was dancing around barefoot in the empty venue with trash on the floor. I adore every scene with Lester Bangs (played magnificently by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Ben Fong-Torres (from Rolling Stone), so I'm compelled to watch Almost Famous whenever it's on.

So about those three films I'm compelled to watch whenever it's on?

Almost Famous, Drugstore Cowboy, and Point Break.

Yes, Point Break.

I know what you're thinking... "I get your obsession with Almost Famous and the appeal of junkies in Drugstore Cowboy, but Point Fucking Break? Keanu Fucking Reeves? Have you been snorting bath salts all morning?"

Yes, Keanu Fucking Reeves. No, to snorting the baths salts. I prefer to shoot those up in the veins in between my toes.

In college, our fraternity house was not wired for cable TV, so we watched a ton of movies via VCR. A few of us had taped copies of Point Break, which we watched three or four times a day. There was one room that had Point Break on a loop. Nonstop. I watched Point Break thousands and thousands of times that I knew the entire dialogue frontwards and backwards. My friends knew every scene too. Over the period of one summer, we smoked a pound of weed and had become Point Break scholars. We started playing a game when we tried to stump each other with the most obscure quotes from Point Break. We knew the movie so well, we could have acted it out. Too bad YouTube didn't exist back then, because we would've made our own version of it with props and everything.

My affinity for Point Break is more nostalgia than anything else. I get flashbacks of happier times. Simpler times. Pre-social media. Pre-internet. I was still a couple years away from getting my first CompuServe email address. You're only 19 years-old once in your life and Point Break is an insta-wormhole back to those mellow and groovy times when I'd be sitting on a dilapidated couch and ripping bong hits with friends while mocking Keanu Reeves.

"I caught my first tube... sir."

Drugstore Cowboy is not on very often. Heck, Point Break or Almost Famous is on at least once a day... somewhere. Whereas Drugstore Cowboy pops up once in a blew moon, usually at 3am on IFC or Sundance. I read the originally book and very rarely do you come across a great film adaptation of a book, but this is one of those rare cases.

In Drugstore Cowboy, Matt Dillon played a real life thief who knocked over drugstores in the Pacific Northwest in the late 60s and early 70s. The thief eventually got busted and spent long stints in jail. He had all the time in the world to write and cranked out the manuscript to Drugstore Cowboy. It got published. Matt Dillon got a hold of the book and it got made into a film. It's really one of Dillon's best roles, up there with his performance as a greaser thug in The Outsiders.

I didn't read the book until I moved to Seattle and one of my housemates told me I needed to read the book that inspired the movie. The movie does a pretty damn fine job (credit goes to director Gus Van Sant) which is why I can easily watch the film without being annoyed at the blatant differences. Like I said, this flick is rarely on cable, so when I come across it, I will gladly immerse myself into the rest of the film. On the rare occurrences, I find it an absolute treat if I can catch Drugstore Cowboy at the beginning.

William S. Burroughs makes a few cameos as Father Tom, or the junkie priest who supposedly shot up a million dollars worth of heroin into his arm. Those scenes with Burroughs are haunting, yet steal the film.

"Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized."

I also learned about a weird superstition from Drugstore Cowboys involving hats on a bed. Supposedly it's bad luck if you put a hat on a bed. It's not something I always try to avoid, but if I see one, I will often accidentally knock it onto the floor.

Old habits never die.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Girls: Together Finally

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Here are my thoughts on this week's episode and season finale of Girls: "Together"...

* * * *
Yo Adam,

You're fucked.

The Hannah Virus is corroding your insides like battery acid. You've been infected with a fatal dose which is slowly turning you into a demented serial killer.

You're lucky the NYPD transit cops did not taser your goofy ass on the platform of the G train for running shirtless through the NYC subway system. That's the kind of shit that will get you locked up at Gitmo with the other Jihadists. If the cops knew you were rushing off to sweep Hannah off her feet and solve all of her woes, then they would have done you and everyone else in the five boroughs favor by incarcerating your psychotic ass. The Hannah Virus manifested into severe mental imbalance issues, which makes you thrive on perverted sex and fits of rage.

Anyone who runs shirtless after an emotionally immature Hannah is fucked in the head. Did your mom drop you a lot as a kid? Did she smoke crack when she was pregnant with you? Did you eat lead paint chips as a child? Have you been snorting bath salts? That's the only way I can explain why you've been acting so fucking weird and deranged. Bath salts are evil, bro. Stop inhaling those designer drugs and stop hanging out with Hannah. The combo of bath salts and Hannah is like shooting off Roman candles in front of a dynamite factory with pound of C4 strapped to your nutsack.

You're fucked. In six months the NYPD will be photographing your apartment as part of their investigation into a string of serial killings in which the suspect tortured their victims by shoving Q-tips into their ears before bludgeoning them to death with a Tiffany's lamp and then dumping the carcasses into the Gowanus Canal.

You need a priest to help perform an exorcism that will finally help rid you of that demonic possession known as Hannah. Then you need a Native American shaman to assist you with retrieving soul through a spiritual cleansing, and then you can an added layer of psychic protection from the warriors of the ghost world.

You're fucked,

* * * *
Oh Marnie,

Ignorance is bliss. Or something like that. All you ever wanted was money. Greenback. Cheddar. Moolah. Loot. Cashola. Holla for a dolla.

You didn't think Charlie was good enough initially, so you let go of him re-flushing him like a floater than won't go down the drain. You thought you found a new boyfriend who was going to be a rich and famous artist, but instead you got a deplorable Damien Hirst clone who ravished you with the spare parts of baby dolls.

But that's all in the past and you re-snagged Charlie. Back to normal, right? Instead of taking things slow, you got intoxicated on your own freshly fucked glow and forced yourself onto Charlie while making a childish scene at Roberta's in front of other hungover hipsters feeling uncomfortable while sipping bottomless mimosas during brunch.

What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you compelled to ruin all the nice, chill moments by forcing labels and boundaries on everything? Keep smothering Charlie and you'll suffocate him and you're relationship.

Even after you ruined brunch, that pussy Charlie has no balls whatsoever and still gave in and took you back. Never fear! Your redonkulously rich boyfriend Charlie will buy you happiness and the perfectly manicured lifestyle that you always wanted so you can post thinly-veiled brags about your awesomeness to your faux-Facebook friends, plus anything remotely involving normalcy will make Hannah insanely jealous and trigger another bout of OCD and a trip to the ER.

I can't figure out... who is a worst gold digger... you or Shoshanna? At least Sho is up front about it. You try to disguise it as "true love" when the only true love you have is your burning desire for the almighty dollar.

Your mini-existential crisis has been averted, but one day you'll wake up in a large and wonderful house surrounded by expensive, yet quaint things like Ralph Lauren curtains and a plush couch from Restoration Hardware and an entire kitchen furnished by Williams and Sonoma, and yet you'll feel hopelessly vacant and empty because you'll realize that you accomplished absolutely nothing in life, except sponge off the hard work, innovation, and creativity of others (mainly Charlie). Yeah, you can't hide from the sober truth that you'll always be totally worthless. That hollow feeling gnawing away at your insides? It will never go away. You can try to dull it with Bellinis or happy pills or online shopping, but that insipid emptiness will haunt you for eternity.

Someday you'll drown in your own shallowness. Better start learning how to swim.

See ya,

* * * *
Yo Ray,

You miserable fucking tool.

You blew your chance with trying to bed a vulnerable Marnie, but that will never happen because she re-hooked dumbfuck Charlie. Now, you're precious little buttercup Shoshanna finally woke up, wised up and tossed your loser, grumpy, hater ass to the curb where you belong with yesterday's trash and two-week old Chinese food cartons.

While your stuck moping around and sneering at hipster doofuses paying $9 for coffee, Sho is finding herself in a spiritual "renaissance" that entails a lot of pillow biting while she's getting plowed by Scandi pretty boys and every other doorman north of 34th street.

Go back to grad school and go deeper into debt for a meaningless piece of paper. Hide amongst a bunch of other snooty, self-gratifying intellectuals afraid to live life in the real world. It's much better than managing a coffee joint for Colin Fucking Quinn.


P.S. Suck it up and ask Charlie for a job as organic lemon squeezer.

* * * *
Dearest Sho,

You little trollop!

Time to hop up on Santa's lap and tell him who's been naughty and who's been nice. We know you've had impure thoughts about Scandi boys with perfectly messy blonde hair and ethnic-looking doormen. Tell Santa... how many times did you play hide the salami with strangers this week?

What's up with the eurotrash you picked up at that club? I know you want a sugar daddy, but all the Scandis I know are poker players who have a couple of million in the bank now, but they'll go busto in a few months. Those Scandis are "all or none" personalities. One week and showering you with croissant-like purses and taking you to dine out at lavish, uber-hip sushi joints, then the next they fled the country after they donked off their entire bankroll playing online poker against Isildur.

You dumped Ray because he doesn't like puppies, rainbows, ribbons and pretty much everything except Andy Kaufman, Colin Quinn, and Latin studies. You don't like black souls? Or you don't like broke guys with black souls? Let's be honest... net worth, credit scores, and web traffic trumps black souls.

I can't tell who is a worse gold digger... you or Marnie?

Also, it's borderline psychotic that you let Ray have spoon sex with you while you wear a hoodie and think how he's a sad monkey humping you while Taylor Swift plays the soundtrack in your head.

You need a good spanking. I know someone who will do it... for a cheap price too.

Yours in the bun,

P.S. Still waiting on that handjob.

* * * *
Heya Charlie,

You're screwed.

You re-hooked yourself a gold digger. What makes it even worse, is that she's a Grade A clinger. She'll never leave you... ever. Even if you try to ditch her. Shell stalk you to the farthest ends of the universe.

I feel bad for you. Kiss your cash goodbye. Marnie is going to pull a classic Kardashian move and bleed you dry by running up a ginormous tab decorating your apartment with overpriced, gaudy decorative arts and pursue a singing career that will go nowhere. You know this was just part of an evil master plan devised by Ray who purposely tricked Marnie into wanting to follow her dreams as a singer, knowing that you two would get back together and eventually go bankrupt trying to help Marnie make it big.

You're fucked. Marnie has her gold-digging hooks in you and you're thisclose to getting your balls snipped off forever! You could have banged Sho at your party. You should have tapped Sho's ass at your party. Sho gets off on MAUs. I heard Sho goes bonkers in bed when you yank her hair bun during doggie-style. Posting gifs of banging Sho (on the desk in your office) on your Tumblr page would have infuriated Ray to no end and pissed of Marnie even moreso. Marnie is such a gold-dgger that she would take you back no matter what, so you blew a shot at giving Sho the ride of her life on the C-Train.

Your best bet? Transfer all your money to an off-shore account (split it up between Cyprus and somewhere in the Caribbean like Curacao) and then fake your own death. Go live in some remote part of the world on a beach somewhere and trade bitcoins and start a gold hedge fund in Hong Kong.


P.S. Get a pre-nup. If Marnie bitches about it, then you know she's just after your money, so dump her on the spot.

* * * *

You tit weasel.

You got an advance up front and never delivered a single page of a second draft? Figures. Totally expected behavior from a vapid, unprofessional lazy poseur.

I hope you get sued, which will cause a ton of OCD self-destructive behavior and panic attacks thinking about having to deal with lawyer thugs. I assume you'll get blackballed and added to a "do not hire list" where you'll be forced to write bullshit freebie articles for Huff Po just to raise your profile before someone from a fourth-rate gossip fashion rag (and wanna-be XO Jane) hires you to write a watered-down knockoff of a Cat Marnell meth-induced rambling column, but that karma bites you in the ass and they decide to stiff you for like six months of back pay and a few grand in expenses that you incurred researching Adderall addiction among models and smoking PCP with skater squatter kids.

You're so dark than even an ex-junkie wouldn't even touch you, and this is a guy who's standards were so low that he regularly shot up drugs smuggled into the country hidden up someone's asshole.

None of that matters. You got your boy toy Adam back. As long as you have someone special, you can ignore your friends, family, and obligations to finish your fucking e-book!

I hope Adam starts drinking Jack and Ginger regularly and then starts posting Vine vids of your facials.

Yours in Christ,

* * * *

Yo Laird,

Move. Now.

Move as far away as possible. Like Siberia, or Jersey City. You're already been affected by the Hannah Virus. And now you're so ill that you're cutting her hair. If you're gonna stay involved in Hannah's universe, then start shooting junk again.

If I was Hannah's neighbor I'd be as wasted as possible and crocked to the tits on heroin all the time if I had to deal with all of her psycho-dramas, like trimming the back of her head after an impulsive haircut or watching her pass out after whining about cleaning up broken glass after getting intoxicated on an a combination of cool whip, Xannie bars, and a self-hatred smoothie.

Get. Out. Now.

Thank me later,

* * * *
Lovely Jessa,

Where art thou? Please send pics of your new vag ring immediately.


* * * *

Check out other recaps: OCD, Its Back and Jizz.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Puke's Day

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's St. Patrick's Day, which feels strange on the Left Coast, especially in Los Angeles, which lacks neighborhood bars with a mixture of well-season alkies and working class folks having a beer at the end of an arduous day at the grindstone.

I grew up half-McCatholic in an Irish and Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx, but every day was St. Patrick's Day when both your parents are alkies. When I was a kid, my catholic grammar school gave everyone St. Patrick's Day off from school, presumably so we could go downtown to watch the parade. Most kids and their families actually did that. I went to the parade once or twice back when it was a legit parade and a celebration of Irish culture (before it got hijacked by booze companies and transformed into a drunken, puke-inducing wild rumpus), but after you've seen the parade once, it's not all that special. Instead of going to the parade on a day off from school, I welcomed the opportunity to sit around and play videogames.

In high school we hung out in the crowd along the parade route on Fifth Avenue and knocked back tallboys out of paperbags will sitting in Central Park.

In college, we were always looking for an excuse to drink and always looking for an excuse to roadtrip out of Atlanta. My buddy Darin and I drove down to Savannah once year at the last minute. It was a spontaneous trip that started out as a half-joke during lunch but then manifested in a full-blown roadtrip. We drank up and down River Street. Vendors and bars sold you a huge green plastic mug for $5 (filled with beer) and then you got refills for $2 at any of the bars or beer wagons on the street. River Street was transformed into Bourbon Street with a Mardi Gras-like festive atmosphere, except it you wandered through a green and tons of binge-drinkers from age 17 to 107.

St. Patty's Day in Savannah is a serious adventure and still remains one of the Top 10 greatest parties I've ever attended. This post isn't doing it justice mostly because I don't remember much. The frantic sojourn in Savannah was a huge drunken and foggy blur. I remember starting at one end of River Street and buying my first beer and then it's all fuzzy. We ended up passing out Darin's car like at 2am, parked on some random side street in Savannah underneath a huge tree with Spanish moss draped over us like tinsel and confetti. I woke up at 6am clutching an empty and sticky green mug and the super strong Georgia sun baked my brain. My head which pounding because of a wicked hangover and I had to take a leak and ended up opening up the car door to either vomit or piss -- whichever came first. I didn't blow chunks but urinated on the sidewalk underneath the huge tree with the Spanish moss tickling my face. It wasn't my best moment, but I felt 10,000 times better after reliving myself of gallons of Killian's Red.

I moved back to NYC after college and worked at the museum with a bunch of ex-cops and on St. Patrick's Day, we drank at an old man's Irish pub on the Upper East Side before I left the party early to hang out with a bunch of stoners and we wandered over to Central Park to smoke blunts.

I worked a couple of St Patrick's Days behind the bar. One shift (and it was actually 2/3 of a shift) was the most cash I ever made in the shortest amount of time in my life (that did not involve gambling). While another hellacious shift was one of the most difficult and labor-intensive work experiences I ever had (and this includes a stint when I dug ditches and graves in a Georgia cemetery). I often struggled to find steady work as a bartender in NYC, but every bar in the five boroughs was looking to hire extra bartenders for St. Patty's Day. It was the hugest day of the year if you owned a drinking establishment and tavern owners from Hell's Kitchen to Bensonhurst needed as many fresh troops behind the bar as possible to keep all the parade revelers, and thirsty local Irishmen, and amateur-alkies happy and drunk and drunk.

You view the world differently if you've ever tended bar because you get to be on the sinister "pusher" side of alcoholism because you're hustling hopelessly addicted souls a few bucks at a time. The average customer is riddled with serious life problems, yet they are avoiding dealing with those issues by hiding out in a bar. In one sense, you're giving desperate and lonely people somewhere to go and nurse their wounds, but at the same time, most of the time you're just enabling them and providing shelter from the slings and arrows of the real world. Being a bar owner is tough on your karma because you profit off of other people's misery. You flirt the fine line by creating a place where people can relax and kick back with a few drinks, or taking advantage of our society of lowlifes by siphoning off the last bit of their dignity one shot of whiskey at a time.

In the 21st Century, St. Patrick's Day is just like every other holiday that has become over-hyped by the media and hijacked by corporations whom profit from a seasonal money grab. Beer companies don't give a shit about Irish or Mexican heritage, yet they'll go out of their way to promote Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick's Day. Hey, it's in the best interest of the wine-booze-beer-spirits-industrial complex to create as many holidays -- both real and fabricated -- as a means to profit off of insane amounts of liquor consumption.

We need at least one of these booze-drenched holidays once a month. A few months are already taken with known binge-drinking holidays (New Years, St. Patrick'S Day, etc.), so we need to manufacture four or five new ones.

Might I suggest morphing Talk Like a Pirate Day with Copious Rum Consumption Day, and then everyone will get dressed up like pirates and wear eye patches and get blind dunk on rum concoctions. Or maybe celebrate hurricane season in September with Hurricanes (a New Orleans' inspired cocktail that incorporates a shit-ton of rum -- Bicardi, dark rum, and 151 -- mixed with both orange juice and cranberry juice, with a splash of grenadine).

I'm surprised Coca-cola hasn't teamed with with Jack Daniels to create a national Jack-n-Coke Day in April, and for those of you watching your figures, you can drink Jack-n-Diet Coke. It could be a special celebration in which people drink buckets of soda and whiskey and then you can close off huge sections of the city and let people fight and maul each other to the death in a royal rumble street brawl. It's like the Running of the Bulls except you're trying to survive and outrun several hundred volatile miscreants completely tanked on whiskey. Vegas will be able to offer up betting odds and you do a Pay-Per-View livestream to watch the carnage while hosting your own Jack-n-Coke parties.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Around the Horn: Jack, Hell Cats, Alleys, Mo, Moving Actresses, and More Girls

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Artist: Ben Jones
Here is what you missed on Tao of Pauly this past week...
Girls: Jizz - I wrote another recap of Girls, the show everyone loves to hate. This past week's episode was highly controversial and included a money shot. Seriously.

Jack 91 - It was Jack Kerouac's birthday. He would have been 91 years old. I wrote about reading On the Road the first time in high school and then re-reading it several times while living in different cities.

Hell Cats and Procrastination Street - I got sucked into a really bad reality TV show about cats while procrastinating on an important work project.

Muted Alleys - It can get kind of loud in my neighborhood every morning.

The Actress Took Down the Curtains - After feuding with her boyfriend for the last few months, my neighbor finally broke up with him and kicked him out, and she then moved out two weeks later.

You should also check out something I wrote for Ocelot Sports about Mariano Rivera's retirement: Mo Rivera and the Summer of 96

This week's writing music included...
Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis
Ole by John Coltrane

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Actress Took Down the Curtains

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The actress took down the curtains, which indicated she was either 1) moving, or B) bought new curtains/blinds and was going to install them.

I had not heard much from the actress in the previous two weeks. Not a peep. No theatrical performances or fits of screaming. Ever since the big blowup with her boyfriend, things were super quiet I assumed he finally moved out and they broke up.

Part of the break up entailed abandoning the apartment, which had become a vortex for negative energy. Besides, a struggling actress couldn't afford to live in the Slums of Beverly Hills by herself, so who knows where she ended up. I noticed her mother was here last weekend and assumed it was a visit, yet the more I think of it, maybe she she's giving up the "dream" and moving back to the Midwest? She came so close, but was never more farther away from cashing in on her talents. Her former roommate had a brush with stardom and went deep on American Idol, but the actress never landed that sitcom during pilot season, or got callbacks on auditions for cell phone or light beer commercials. Despite the constant rejection and degradation for almost seven years, she lasted a pretty long time waiting for her big break that always seemed to be within grasp, yet so far out of reach. She wasted weeks and months of her life stuck in traffic trying to race across town from audition to audition. All things considered, the actress had already beaten the odds and survived much longer than the average aspiring starlet.

The actress took down the curtains yesterday. When I looked up from my desk and gazed out of the window of my office, I saw naked windows for the first time. Nicky said she heard rip-like sounds of packing tape all afternoon, which confirmed my initial suspicion that she moved out.

I'm going to miss her... the actress... mostly her voice. Kind of angelic at times. Never knew when it would pop up out of nowhere, often when she was in the shower. One second.... nothing and the next... something melodious and harmonizing. Come to think of it, I'll miss the random blow ups too. Cheap, yet enthralling entertainment.

You never knew when an explosion would happen. 3am. 3pm. 10am. 10pm. The skirmishes and shouting matches (mostly her shouting and her drunk boyfriend not saying much) flared up around six months ago and had been increasing in volume, volatility, and frequency.

What was once a "once in a blue moon" spat had become weekly hysterics, which quickly accelerated into daily occurrences. Then it got even worse. I almost started a Twitter account (@HipsterNeighborsFight) because the actress was on the warpath and had become a dangerous volcano blowing her top two or three times a day. I guess her boyfriend's boozing and coke-totting had gotten to an all-time low and the two crashed into each other like speeding freight trains. What's worse than one trainwreck? How about two of them?

Both the trainwrecks lived next door.

What if he was getting wasted every morning and every night because his girlfriend was a narcissistic wanna-be actress who turned into a psychopath and took out her frustrations and failures by yelling at him nonstop? At some point, what came first... the chicken or the egg? The psycho girlfriend? Or the alkie/cokehead boyfriend?

This is a tough town. Hollywood really beats people down and makes you feel utterly worthless. Even if you do succeed in your field, you're constantly on edge and paranoid that someone is scheming to get your job, yet constantly self-conscious about how you're not good enough, or worried that you'll wake up one day and not be able to do what you do, or sometimes you feel totally manipulated and unappreciated and used like a pawn or some other disposable piece of garbage. It doesn't take more than a few days living in Los Angeles to realize that dreams are just that... dreams. Reality is hell. If you get an audience with the devil's minions at CAA, then you might be able to sell your soul for peanuts while your pimps rake in mega bucks for your sweet ass. Everyone else struggles on the fringe and becomes starving cannibals, slowly and brutally eating each other, one chunk of flesh at a time.

The face-offs between the actress and her boyfriend were so captivating that a couple of times you could hear everyone (who lived in my building) dropped what they were doing and positioned themselves quietly along windows facing the alley so they could listen in to her verbal lashings. Better than reality TV. Too bad she didn't have a camera on her, because this was juicy entertainment and raw emotion. Two people who once had tons of potential who were beaten down by the system and their dreams mercilessly crushed. I guess we were all curious after all, we lived next door to the drama and became a built-in audience by sheer geography, but deep down we knew that we were all just one bad day away from being in the same situation. One of my neighbors is an old hippie lady struggling as a painter, and another is a young violin player. Will the violinist be able to still do her art in three decades like the old lady? Or will she get eaten up and crushed by gears of the Hollywood machine, just like the hysterical actress spiraling into a black hole of despair, desperation, and mutual self-destruction?

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For more stories about the actress and the Slums of Beverly Hills, check out...
Monday Morning Lurid Gaze
Neighborly Turbulence, Squabbles, and Brouhahas
The Slums' Swing