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Tuesday, August 25, 2009



This Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the "Woodstock Music & Art Fair," or in its very shortened form: "&". I kind of missed the boat on the whole Woodstock thing, being as I am so much younger than you. I am 50, which is the new 30, and the even NEWER 20. Which means I am much more interested in free beer. But I do remember I was very intrigued by the soundtrack album, and some of the great bands that were on it. And I remember thinking: “Man this SUCKS compared to the studio version!”

Yes, there was rain. Yes, there were drugs. Yes, there were inadequate toilet and dining facilities. But there was also something more. Something even bigger. And that something was: really bad parking. What a muddy friggin’ mess. I can picture me trying to parallel park on the middle of the NYS Thruway, and there are no meters or anything there, so I write one of those “notes to the cops,” hoping that they will show you some mercy: “PLEASE DON’T TOW- CAN’T GET THRU AND OUT OF ACID”

Of course I wanted to hear the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young… But there were also so many lesser known acts there that made a big splash. For instance, a band called Canned Heat really made a name for themselves, and their lead singer, Kermit the Frog. They were an LA blues band named after Sterno.

I know it’s hip to say how GREAT Richie Havens and Joan Baez were, but jesus to me that whole first day was a snorefest. I guess I am just not a folk music guy. After Richie led off the festival, Swami Satchidananda gave an invocation. I would hate to be a Swami and try to follow the Who, so this was probably good scheduling. He did a lot of blah-blah-blahing then made the whole crowd chant “Rama Rama Rama Rama Rama Rama Rama Ram.” So it turns out he put the “ram” in the “rama-lama-ding-dong.”

Joan Baez closed the first evening with some protest songs and such. She always sings like she is driving over a REALLY bumpy road.

The next day had some good bands. Santana was reportedly high on mescaline the whole set, and he still killed. Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the headliners at Woodstock, hugely popular at the time, but nobody knows it because they weren’t on the soundtrack or the film. They took the stage at about 3AM, pissed off at the Grateful Dead because they droned on way past their allotted time until everyone went to sleep.

Country Joe and the Fish famously offered the “Fish cheer,” where he calls on the audience to spell “FUCK” in cheerleader style. I can imagine how I would have screwed up Woodstock if I had been in the band. Since this was in the days before spellcheck, I would have spelled “FUCK” wrong, and Country Joe would have brained me over the head with a microphone stand. Hey- whatever happened to 3 days of peace and love? Or he would have yelled, ‘GIVE ME AN F!” And me, not paying attention of course, thinks he means the note, so I blare an F on my bass, obscuring the whole “Fish cheer,” and ruining Woodstock.

With my sister I attended Woodstock ’94, a cheap imitation of the original, and when I say cheap I mean we didn’t pay for our tickets, which she won in a radio contest, and we didn’t use them anyway since we snuck under the fence because it was so “establishment.” We got to the main stage and there was Melissa Etheridge singing a medley of Janis Joplin songs, and she killed. It was then that I realized we had come full circle. Meaning that we had gone the entire perimeter of the grounds and still not found the bathrooms. We saw Crosby, Stills & Nash perform the song, “Woodstock,” which of course was not written yet for the original Woodstock.

But it was fun; the intermittent rainstorms lent a sense of déjà vu to the proceedings, and also made things very wet. People were sliding around in the mud, going nuts, and you had to steer clear of the mud people or else they would push you right down the hill in the slime and soak you right down to your undies.

Incidentally, Martin Scorcese was one of the editors for the Woodstock documentary. Since the Band, Blood, Sweat & tears and the Grateful Dead were left on the cutting room floor, they are probably pretty pissed off at him.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Monday, August 10, 2009



On our trip to Maine last week, since we had mistakenly put the wrong Portland into the GPS and didn’t notice until we were in Ohio, we had to actually open up a map. We have a big map book with a big map of each state in it, and even though the map is big since it’s a big map book, you can’t read any of the names of the towns without a magnifying glass and reading spectacles. And a monocle. With halogen lighting. The lighting is great in our car, but only if you are sitting in the back seat, which is great for back-seat drivers like myself. We couldn’t see a damn thing on the map except that up in margin of each page was hugely written the motto of each state. Appropriately, since we were driving to Maine and didn’t know which direction it was, the state motto is: “I Direct.” It didn’t give a phone number or anything, so we just kept driving, and it worked- we eventually got there.

New York’s motto is “Excelsior,” which means “ever upward” in Latin. And if the elevators are ever out in your building, you know exactly what they are talking about.

But as we looked into this further it’s clear that no one actually tried these state mottoes out on anyone. They should have left them all in Latin so that you can’t see how stupid they are. For instance, the Arkansas state motto is: “The People Rule!” Dude that is TOTALLY awesome! The people are stoked. However, South Dakota declares: “Under God the People Rule.” Dude now you’re bumming us out because it probably means we have to go to church.

New Hampshire’s is “Live Free or Die.” How would you like to be in that legislature session that has to raise the real estate taxes? No thanks. The state motto of Vermont looks exactly the same as New Hampshire, only upside down and to the right.

Washington’s is “By and By,” which added together is: “Bye-bye.”

Virginia chimes in with: “Thus Always to Tyrants.” Thus what? I think they were right in the middle of writing this one and the phone rang or something.

Connecticut: “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains.” This one seems grammatically awkward to begin with. Should it be “Who” or “Whom?” I can never remember, but I think in certain situations the Pete Townsend rock band when used as a predicate should be “The Whom.”

Some are quite violent-sounding. Mississippi’s is: “By Valor and Arms.” And probably not necessarily in that order. Massachusetts: “By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty.” If you go around seeking peace with a sword you are likely to find it eternally. Ironically, Texas’ is “Friendship.”

New Mexico: “It Grows As it Goes.” Sounds like something Billy Mays would say. HOWEVER: If you ACT NOW, we’ll throw in ANOTHER THREE, FOR FREE! Just pay shipping and handling.

Montana gets right to the point: “Gold and Silver!” Enough said there.

We held a contest for the winners of the stupidest state mottoes, and the winners were, in reverse alphabetical order: Michigan, with: “If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You.” (Hell that doesn’t even work for my glasses.) And Maryland, with: “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” I couldn’t even begin to guess what they were thinking.

Florida put the least amount of time into it I think. Theirs is, “In God We Trust.” They were trying to choose between “If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You,” and “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words,” and somebody said, “Flip a coin!” When they looked closely at the coin it came to them.

Incidentally, Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird. Let’s face it: the guy was a big fatso, and if he could have named the national bird the turkey sandwich, he would have done so.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009



Well, President Obama has sponsored his now-famous “beer summit,” and so much do I have my finger upon the pulse of the nation that it is almost like I was there. The conversation went EXACTLY thus:

Obama: I’d like to thank both of you for coming, and I think we can find a common thread of-
Crowley: CHUG IT!
Obama: Huh?
Gates: Chug-a-lug!
Obama: Damn that went down easy!
{four beers later}

Gates: You are the best black damn president I ever had!
Crowley: He’s just as white as he is black! He’s the best damn white president!
Gates: Hey Obama! Your mama is a llama with a lot of drama and no pajamas.
Obama: THE HELL SHE IS! Wait- What?
Crowley: That is a sissy-ass beer you drink Big-O.
Obama: I know my- staff made me choose it- it’s politically correct and tastes like piss.
Gates: That reminds me I gotta pee.
Crowley: Let’s piss out the eternal goddamn flame!
Obama: That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said all goddamn day.
{another three beers}

Crowley: Big-O you are fitshaced!
Gates: Faceshitted!
Obama: Sarge is that a taser in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
Crowley: I AM glad to see you, but this IS a taser.
Gates: Let’s nail that Secret Service guy!
Crowley: We can’t zap him without due cause.
Gates: He got an ugly tie!
Obama: FIRE!

This “diplomacy by beer” idea is going to catch on like wildfire. My guess is that from now on Obama isn’t going to sign any bills without 4 or 5 beers first. Ketel One on Air Force One? You betcha! And the bigger the diplomatic challenge, the more he is going to have to up the ante. If he administers a debate between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, he will need Long Island iced teas, and plenty of them. To even show up at talks with the deposed Honduras president and the newly posed president, it will take about half an ounce of pot. A summit between Hamas and Israel will warrant two or three good quality rocks of crack. But I bet they make some progress.

Incidentally, there have been many instances of drunken presidents in the past. Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, and Grover Cleveland, with his big beer belly, were known tipplers. Ulysses S. Grant was a reputed alcoholic, and even looks wasted on the 50 dollar bill. Obama is by all measures a workaholic, which means he only works drunk.

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