Monday, November 17, 2008


its been a long time since i've contributed to my heavily neglected blogspot. apologies, all around. so, now that's out of the way.

a few months ago i leapt from at plane. i plummeted to the earth at well over 120 m.p.h. from almost 3 miles straight up. the feeling was nothing short of exhilerating. i don't have the capacity to properly describe it in words. believe that i've tried. instead, i re-edited the video they gave me upon leaving to suit my take on the experience.

the song is "Olsen Olsen" by the band Sigur Ros.
very, very special thanks to M.P.G.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


we've got it...

just checking.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


i've always had a hard time with pricing my artwork. its a tough decision. every piece is one of a kind. today, i came across this story and it gave me a little perspective.

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


i was sitting in my living room last week eating dinner and flipping through the channels. i stopped on an episode of a show called Two & A Half Men. it stars Charlie Sheen and another guy who was in a bunch of 80's movies. for the life of me, i couldn't think of his name. he was ducky in Pretty In Pink. he was in Hot Shots, too (probably when he made the Charlie Sheen connection). anyway, it was driving me crazy. whenever i know that i know something and i just can't conjure the answer, i become obsessed. its incredibly frustrating. so i sat there for the last fifteen minutes staring at this guy trying to remember his name.

the credits rolled and his name wasn't listed. the stars of the show must have got their dues at the beginning, but it stuck me then. JON CRYER. then i remembered he was in that movie Hiding Out, where he played a business man testifying against a mobster, then pretending to be a high school student to lay low. as i sat there in a moment of pride, there flashed a still screen filled with words. it was only up for a second or two. strange, thought i.

then, tonight, i happened to come across Two & A Half Men again. the show was actually okay, not laugh out loud funny, but amusing enough. then the credits came flashing by. i waited with remote in hand and when the last still image full of words popped up, i hit freeze frame. this is what it said:


When I was in the shower this morning, I thought: If we assume a Big Bang beginning of the universe, then every molecule, every atom, every proton, every electron, every quark, every wavelength, every vibration, every multi-dimensional string, every everything that makes up everything else shares an ineffable property of pre-Bang Oneness. Assuming that, then every everything is always moving in one of two directions: either away from that primordial state, or returning towards it. We feel these quantum movements. Moving away is experienced as loneliness, fear, anger and despair. Returning is experienced as one or more of the infinite variations and gradations of what we call love. Now, while some might say that equating the miracle of human feelings to the meandering of sub-atomic bric-a-brac robs them of their mystery, the truth is quite the opposite. Connecting our fundamental experience of life to the great mystery of existence ties us to the eternal within our every waking moment. We are not separate. We are made of the same stuff that existed at the beginning and will exist at the end. Therefore, the question we must each ask ourselves is simple: "In what direction am I moving today - towards oneness, or away from it?" When I was done reflecting on this, I stepped out of the shower, toweled off, and, while glancing at the mirror, pondered a new thought: "I have a pretty nice ass for a guy my age."
honestly, this was better than the show was. the fact that is was #112 made me think there were a lot more of these so i did a little internet research. i discovered that Chuck Lorre runs a production company and creator and/or writer and/or directer of about a half dozen shows over the past 15 or so years. he ends every episode of one of his shows with a "Chuck Lorre Vanity Card". its kind of like a blog post on national television.

here are a few more...


When Dharma was cancelled my heart was broken. Over the next few years my efforts to mend it by creating a new show led to an even deeper emotional nadir when I noticed that I had somehow become the author of a seemingly endless succession of failed pilots and pilot scripts. This was not a big enough string of stinkers to lower AOL-Time Warner's stock price (that had already been done by people more incompetent than myself), but my ill-advised attempts at heart-mending were sufficient enough to cause people in suits to not look up from their cobb salads when I ambled into the WB commissary (in Hollywood even has-beens amble). But I was indomitable. I kept writing... and failing... and ambling. And then, about a year ago, my good friend and favorite cross-to-bear, Lee Aronsohn, told me he needed to write something fairly quickly in order to keep his Writer's Guild health insurance. Everyone -- friends, agents, execs -- told me not to get involved. They assured me that I was too big, too successful, for such a partnership. You see where this is going. Lee and I wrote "Two and a Half Men." Which brings me to the glaringly obvious spiritual lesson in all this. How do you mend a broken heart? The Bee Gee's never figured it out, but I did. You help a friend keep their health insurance from lapsing.


I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for watching the show. I know that for many of you, particularly those who go to the trouble of reading my vanity cards, a real and continuous effort is being made to support what we're doing. So this is my little attempt at reaching out and saying how truly grateful I am. It's hard to grasp the idea that roughly sixteen million people watch each episode. But, according to the statistics, that is the astonishingly large audience we're getting every week. The fact that much larger audiences turn out to watch derivative, soulless singers being humiliated by a panel of unqualified dildos, or a bunch of pathetic shmucks jumping around like spider monkeys on crank to get a make-believe job with a goofy-haired guy on the brink of bankruptcy, does not lessen my profound gratitude. The fact that a few TV critics, who would probably eat a hole through their loved ones and crawl through if it meant they could get my job, insist on ignoring or denigrating our success, does not diminish my joy. I am a man who knows how to cherish the blessings that have been bestowed on him. And I just wanted to say so.


I was recently asked by a journalist why I write these vanity cards. It seemed like a simple enough question, but the truth is, I was stumped. Why do I write them? Not for money certainly, although I continue to hold out hope. Is it a creative exercise from which I derive great pleasure? Not really. I've always felt that the act of writing isn't nearly as enjoyable as the feeling that comes from "having written." So why do I do it? Well, after careful consideration I've come to believe that had I been even a moderately successful communicator in my formative years, I would feel little compulsion to communicate now. This leads me to wonder, would it have been appropriate to have told the journalist that I write these vanity cards because I was incapable of expressing myself as a youngster, a situation which caused me unbearable anguish and is only now beginning to dissipate? Maybe. But I didn't. I told him I write them because it's fun. And this leads me to a question: if he's writing about my writing, what kind of miserable childhood did he have?

some are funny, some are insightful, some are personal. there are many more (213 and counting) on this archive.
check it out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


my elementary school used to have some sort of arrangement with a book seller. once a week, we'd get a pamphlet of books for sale. i think it was called The Weekly Reader. i'm sure the idea was to encourage reading but most kids would spend their parents' money on the babysitters' club, maybe a choose your own adventure book or some mad libs. not exactly mind expanding literature. my investment was in comic strips and for a period of 5th grade, i was mildly amused by Garfield books.

years later, i noticed something that entirely changed the comic in my mind. most of the strips are of Jon Arbuckle and his cat Garfield. Jon speaks to Garfield and he responds. my revelation was that Jon's speaking appears in a speech balloon above his head while Garfield's replies are in thought bubbles. little clouds. while Jon is having this conversation out loud, Garfield is having an inner monologue. to the reader, it's an interactive conversation, but in Jon Arbuckle's reality, he's talking to his silent house cat.

then, some time ago, while wondering if anyone else thought this was weird, i came across a site in which someone removed all of Garfield's thought bubbles. it made the comic as if you were witnessing the comic first hand. a lonely guy having conversations with himself.

i thought of it again today for some reason and tried to find the site. instead, i found something even better. its called GARFIELD MINUS GARFIELD.

instead of just taking out Garfield's thoughts, which Jon can't hear anyway, someone omitted Garfield entirely. without the distraction of the orange cat's presence, you get a clear look at how deep Jon Arbuckle's problems really are. here's a sample...

(click to enlarge)
"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."
-from garfieldminusgarfield

there are a lot more here. head over and take a ride on the roller coaster that is the fractured, unstable psyche of Jon Arbuckle.

Monday, May 19, 2008


just another interesting British documentary. this one is about the physiological differences of the brain depending on gender. i thought the part about the size of ones ring finger in relation to prenatal testosterone levels especially interesting.

its approximately 50 minutes long.

UPDATE: i found 2 more videos from the BBC's 'Secrets of The Sexes' series. this one is about a study into attraction:

this one is a study about love:

Saturday, May 17, 2008


a couple months ago, i received a summons in the mail stating that i had been selected for jury duty. it was a familiar looking envelope as i'd received one around the same time last year, and also the year before that. it would seem that i am the poster boy for the model juror. the first two times, when i called in the night before to check the status and make sure i would still be needed, i was notified that my services would not be required. this time, they were.

first off, when i made my call in the night before, there was an automated message saying they no longer validated parking or provided any discounts for parking. since i had to report to the court of common pleas in the heart of Philadelphia, i would almost certainly have to put my car in a garage, setting me back at least $20 since i had no idea how long i'd have to stay there. i decided the train was a more economical way to go. what could have been a 15 minute drive became a $9 round trip ticket and a 45 minute railroad commute.

i got there 10 minutes early and had to pass through a security checkpoint. my bag went through an x-ray machine as i repeatedly failed to make it past the metal detectors without sounding the alarm. eventually i succeeded only to be pulled aside and reprimanded by the officers for having my cell phone in my bag. they demanded that i check it in at a desk in the lobby. i did so, then went back and set the alarms off another half dozen times.

i was directed to a large room and given a couple forms to fill out. 20 or so yes or no questions to test my impartiality. i filled them out at my seat, sitting amongst at least 200 other annoyed Philadelphians. periodically, a woman went up to a microphone and called out 40 names and sent them off to a civil or criminal trial. in between these announcements, i got to listen to the woman on my left vent her frustrations about civil duties and the fellow on my right poorly crack after everything that came out of the p.a. system. they both eventually got called away for jury panels. my name was never called.

hour 1: i mainly just sat quietly filling out my paperwork and listening for my name.

hour 2: the lady to my left began to get irate and let me know about all the things she's rather be doing. we were also privy to an instructional video about how fill out the forms in case anyone had doubt on how to answer yes or no questions.

hour 3: i got up and walked around the room. i tried to go out in the hallway, just to explore a little bit, but was quickly stopped by a couple boys in blue. i thought it was weird that they had guards posted. i went back to my seat and started reading, secretly devising the most intricate escape plan possible in my head.

hour 4: i read and intermittently gave a chuckle to the guy next to me as he tried to make jokes. i wouldn't have been shocked if he'd have opened his jacket to reveal a spinning, polka-dot bow tie. it was that level of comedic genius.

hour 5: i read. the woman next to me got called for a civil trial. she wasn't happy about it at all since it meant she had to walk all the way to city hall (a block away).

hour 6: i read and sketched. the jokester got called for a trial and told me he was going to tell the judge that he was on anti-psychotics.

hour 7.5: i was given a check for $9 and dismissed. cartwheels through the city's center ensued in celebration of my new found wealth.

honestly, prior to this ordeal, i was a little excited to be a juror (as hard as that may be to believe). i know most people dread the experience. there's something compelling to me about the power of justice. the authority of decision. i do live in a major city which held the record last year for homicides, so i figured that the chances of having an exciting case were in my favor. probably the first time in my life i was really hoping to meet the king of a drug cartel or a serial killer. the anticlimactic disorganization of the day dashed that feeling. the excitement fizzled out entirely around hour five.

i did manage to read an entire book (on a weekday no less), and i enjoyed a free, warm piece of apple spice cake... so, it wasn't a total loss.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


the band Pink Floyd has been tied to a lot of movies ever since VCR's and video cassettes became mainstream commodities. they've scored several movies in the past (The Wall, More), but their music has been recently linked to several films with which they have no official affiliation.

many people have likely heard about the connection between their "Dark Side Of The Moon" album with The Wizard of Oz. its definitely the most talked about. if you start the album at the third roar of the MGM lion at the beginning of the movie, the audio and visual seem to be connected.
have a look:

the wailing singer through the tornado scene and the lyrical coincidences relating to the Glinda and Scarecrow scenes seem almost too coincidental to be an accident. it is an accident, though. one i suspect was first discovered by a group of multi-tasking teenagers with a fair amount of weed.

lesser known is the synchronization of Pink Floyd's 23+ minute song "Echoes" (the final track from Meddle) with the final chapter of Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. i think this one is way cooler. one of my favorite songs with one of my favorite movies. not only is it more abstract and almost perfectly timed, but it could have potentially been done on purpose. Kubrick asked the band if he could use songs from Atom Heart Mother for the soundtrack. they denied the request. Roger Waters later stated it as one of his biggest regrets. Could they have written the song after the movie came out as an homage to what could have been?
you decide:

while searching for these full length videos, i came across one i never attempted before. i have tried Alice In Wonderland paired with the soundtrack to The Doors movie (which is actually really cool and quite obviously, totally coincidental), but never with Pink Floyd's The Wall. it seems to work out pretty well.

i could write out a list of interesting coincidences between the music and the correlating flicks, but i think its more intriguing to watch it yourself and see what you notice. intentional or not, its fun to experience something so familiar in a whole new way. again, i think a big "thank you" should go out to drugs for making these discoveries possible.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


welcome to the 100th post at

i wasn't entirely sure how this milestone should've been celebrated. for a minute, i thought i'd just add the little heading at the top, then write another one of my typical posts. more business as usual. brush it aside like its no big deal, and really... its not.

upon further deliberation, i realized that it needs more attention than that. something out of the ordinary to mark the occasion. but what? i googled for other blogs who celebrated their 100th posting and found that most people chose not to celebrate their blog, but themselves. typically with 100 personal facts. that seemed too self absorbed for my blood. i saw someone else who wrote a sentence synopsis of each of the previous 100 entries to honor them. that seemed like a redundant waste of time.

instead, i'm choosing to honor the fallen soldiers.

in blogging, as you write a post, it autosaves the draft every minute or so. it remains a mere draft until you elect to "publish" it, making it public and visible for all the world to see. there have been many times when i had an idea i wanted to write about but was pressed for time and only got a few sentences down. there have been times when i thought i had a clever approach but ended up hitting a dead end. there have been times when i began writing but by the time i came back to finish it, it wasn't that interesting to me any more. 28 times actually. whatever the reason, these drafts have been sitting in the ether collecting virtual dust.

so, in their honor, i present to you a tribute to the ghosts of blogs that never were:

(reason: i wanted to find the specific instances on tv to quote them in the post but never did. also, the post was written poorly, more as an outline of ideas.)
i had noticed that the term "m.i.l.f." had been popping up on late night television. then started hearing it in prime time and even once in the evening news. i speculated on how an acronym for "doing someone's mom" became acceptable in light hearted conversation.

(reason: never finished and then forgotten. it may potentially get a full treatment some day, as its a fairly funny story)
i heard that mirroring someones behavior is a subconscious way of building an unspoken connection between two people. its commonly seen in flirting. i described a day at work in which i reflected the personalities & mannerisms of people who came into our shop to try and boost sales. mostly, it was about a disheveled fellow who swore like a trucker and his compliments about my laugh, which sounded remarkably similar to his own.

(reason: i realized the subject was a bit on the boring side. lots of information. i'd also been writing about TV a lot around the same time and thought i may be over doing it)
this was a point/counterpoint post about the writers' strike while it was still in the "talks" phase. i declared my support for their cause but feared a flood of new reality programming on TV.

(reason: i liked this one but wanted to revise it. the draft was overly lengthy)
this was a run down of the large hadron collider experiments by CERN, held deep underground beneath Switzerland and France. while a lot of people fear that the experiment could go horribly wrong, creating a big bang that implodes into a black hole, killing us all, i couldn't be more for it. i started listing scenarios in which we either create a race of physics defying super creatures, open wormholes between dimensions in space-time or at the very least, a boom era for science fiction writers and film makers.

(reason: never completed. i had a list of idea but never went back to elaborate.)
after the release of the iPhone and a camping trip in which i declared my marshmallow toasting stick as my iStick, i was compelled to put forth some product ideas for apple in hopes of getting in on some of that sweet new gadget moolah. technologically upgraded things like fiber optic shoelaces, wi-fi braces for teens or flat screen television screens built into the tops of urinals, to name a few.

(reason: again, at the time, i was posting a lot on topics of my disdain for celebrities and thought i was beating a dead horse.)
i discuss the nature of fame. the financial perks. the get out of jail free cards. the opportunity to date sexy celebrities (and have people care about it). i then come to realize that fame generally sucks, and the best kind of fame is the kind that doesn't come until after you're dead. post mortem celebrity status.

(reason: while i'll stand by my position on the muppets 100%, this one made me sound like king of the super nerds)
the second season of The Muppet Show came out on DVD and i bought it the first day it hit the market. basically, i just listed a bunch of specifics on why the muppets, while helmed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz in the 70's and 80's, were nothing short of brilliant.

(reason: never finished but i think one day it will be.)
i've always secretly kind of wanted to get struck by lightning. you hear about people being struck every so often but you never hear about them dying. it doesn't even cripple them. i'm sure it would hurt crazy bad, but how many people do you know who can say they're been struck by lightning.

(reason: not many people know about the show and its never on television any more, nor are any of the episodes available to buy, so i thought raving about something people can't access would be cruel.)
i procured bootleg DVDs of both seasons of The Sifl & Olly Show and the never aired third season through ebay. it was a program with a cast of sock puppets that aired on MTV in the early 90's. i went on about how funny sock puppets can be, how comedy does not require a big budget, what the creators had done since the show was cancelled and a brief psychoanalysis about why i seem to constantly be lured by the charms of clever ventriloquists.

(reason: never finished and started going off on to tangents.)
i talk about growing up in a house without the best insulation. how we felt the seasons inside. how it got very cold in the winter and really hot in the summer. i connect this to why i like the autumn months the best and why i feel i would much rather it be too cold then too hot. there's always room for another blanket or a thicker sweater, but you can only take off so much clothes before your spending time in prison. i then graphically explain why going to prison naked is a really, really, really bad idea.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


dear partially hydrogenated soybean oil makers-

i'm aware that your partially hydrogenated oils are in thousands of mass produced foods. you've basically had the market cornered for decades. i understand that its cheap and prevalent. now, it seems, the partially hydrogenated soybean oil dynasty is crumbling. your industry is going down faster than the brass on the titanic.

the health conscious have unanimously revolted against your oil. they have a whole list of reasons. they say it makes you fat. that is decreases your lifespan significantly. i think these are excuses to cover up their chief qualm. it can't be with oil. you can thank the public relations team for the olive oil makers for convincing the world that oil is good for you. it can't be with the soybean. soy has become synonymous with healthy living. that leaves only the "partially hydrogenated" aspect. therefore, the problem, i believe, is with your work ethic.

partially hydrogenating obviously isn't fairing well for you these days. when the same old, same old is no longer good enough for your consumers, its time to upgrade. time to up the ante.
i say "commit!"

i say get up a little earlier. i say get to the soybean oil factory and don't leave until you've hydrogenated to the fullest. no more of this partial business. seriously, guys. hydrogenate your faces off.

don't sell yourselves short, fellas. try to remember the passion you had for hydrogenating in the beginning. back when soybean oils were only being hydrogenated by a select few. the best of the best. an underground network of hydrogenating fore fathers with little more than a dream & a pure love for the craft. that rewarding feeling of pride can be your's again. imagine what you could achieve if only you'd apply yourselves. you have too much potential to settle for "good enough". fully hydrogenated soybean oil is NOT a pipe dream!

we're americans. we don't want fractions of anything. give us the full treatment, already. we're an all-or-nothing society. we don't partially cook chicken, we don't tell jokes about chickens that partially cross the road, and we don't partially hydrogenate oxygen. we fully hydrogenate it. we want water, not gas. if you think about it, it makes sense.

your biggest fan,


Thursday, April 17, 2008


have you ever heard a new band and thought you were experiencing something special? not just musically, but an awareness of a potential. a somehow smug feeling like you were there in the beginning. like catching a Radiohead gig when they were just a little college band known as On A Friday. imagine seeing the Beatles in one of those smokey little german bars before "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

take Ghost Away as your chance to get in on the ground floor.

the up and coming electronic indie rock band comes to you without the aid of a record deal. without a $1000 an hour producer helming the console. without ever even trying out for american idol. its middle man free. songs written, performed, recorded and produced by the artists.

their debut album Siberia was unleashed on the public this past monday. it plays like the echoes of abandoned machinery in the haze of a blizzard. the decaying beats and electronic noodling bear a mechanical quality and when paired with lots of acoustic guitar, multiple singers and layered vocals, drums and driving bass lines, you hear the music in the machine.

their machine, it seems, is comprised of many parts. there are moments of mellow contemplation like on "Holding Back The Ocean" and "Siberia", the title track. "Back Row Souls" showcases a radiohead-esque style of arrangement, bringing in subdued horns that creep up on haunting vocals. they even rock out a bit here and there, especially on "Turnaround", the album's final 8 minute track.

as the name of the album implies, there's a feeling of open space accompanying the sound. the introspective lyrics feel like eaves dropping without the guilt. the production is very clean and the reverb almost echoes. Siberia is an album with a tone washed over it. it takes you somewhere if you let it. a place of lush melodies and post rock rhythms.

Ghost Away's Siberia is available to all as a free download from the Ghost Away website. as a special added bonus, included with the songs is a digital booklet of original artwork and complete lyrics.

you can also check them out on myspace for news and upcoming tour dates.



last sunday, in Vancouver, WA., 11 year old Tyler Hemmert was slacking off in a park with his friend, Nate. another kid came along and they got into an argument. the disgruntled boy, in a temporary fit of rage, released the might of his weapon, a stainless steel butter knife (butter knives are the new nunchucks). Nate ducked to avoid the blunt object as it hurled through the air. Tyler, unfortunately, won't be winning any awards for his quick reaction time.

the business end pierced the skin of Tyler's head and four inches of it entered and lodged between the scalp and the skull. a pain he would later compare to that of a bee sting. he stood there somewhat dumbfounded by the fact that he could see a floating butter knife handle in his peripheral vision. he said, “I just tried to tell myself to stay calm and stuff.” Nate, the lassie of Vancouver, rushed off and retrieved Tyler's dad. Mr. Hemmert left the knife in place (a decision based on the fact that he's "seen a couple of these [medical] shows") so Tyler was carted off in an ambulance with the butter knife still in his head. Thankfully he did, or we wouldn't have this great x-ray.

"Pretty much everybody's talking about it and stuff. They're like, 'Oh, my God, it actually happened to you. I can't believe it." Tyler's friends have even begun calling him "butterhead".

the wound required 5 stitches and Butterhead is expected to make a full recovery.

authorities have not yet decided whether or not to file charges against the butter knife ninja. Butterhead hasn't seen his assailant but he heard that he wanted "to come over my house to apologize and stuff".

(this story is completely true. you can't make up a story like this one about Butterhead unless you make your living as a screen writer for american pie movies. i gathered this information from the ABC evening news last night, a transcript of an interview with Butterhead on the Today Show and the MSNBC website.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



for the first time in my voting lifetime, Pennsylvania will actually play a fairly crucial part in the democratic primaries. it comes down to either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. as an aid to my fellow Pennsylvanians, here's a rundown of where the two candidates stand.
truthfully, both Barack and Hillary are more or less in agreement about most policy issues so i'll try to focus on where they differ. hopefully i can help any of you still teetering on the fence.

i'll try to be impartial. i think its more important that people take an interest in the election process and vote than for who they actually vote for. if you care, you can do some research on your own.

Obama voted for a mandate on automobile manufacturers to produce vehicles with an average fuel efficiency of 40 miles per gallon by 2017. Clinton voted against it. the senate, over all, ended up voting against it.

Obama opposed the war from the beginning. Clinton voted to support Bush in going to war with Iraq. both have set up plans for withdrawal within approximately a year in the event that they are elected president.

both plan to reduce health care cost significantly. Clinton's plan would provide tax breaks for small business and mandate that all americans be insured. Obama would also provide tax breaks but only mandates that all children be insured.

Clinton was a prominent lawyer who worked a lot in the corporate machine, then the first lady of Arkansas, then the first lady of the U.S., then was elected to a senatorial seat from new york in 2000. Obama was more of a grassroots lawyer, working mostly with for the "huddled masses". he was a state legislator for Illinois and became a senator from that state in 2004. as a part in government, Clinton wins out, but as an elected official, Obama has 12 years experience compared to Clinton's 8 years.

Obama is not a white woman. Clinton is not a black man.

Clinton fans always cheer for her "shoulder pad choke", a twist on the cross-face chicken wing. Obama favored the "backspring leg lock" until 2002, then he switched to the "atomic twister".

Obama voted that cup B was the Pepsi product but was denied by the soda judiciary committee. Clinton managed to assess the correct beverage as first lady, and as a senator, has absolved to eradicate the suffering of cola deciding confusion.

Clinton has a firm stance against dating before the age of sixteen. Once of age, she has a plan to help enforce curfews and delegation of use for the household station wagon. Obama wants to appoint more responsibility on america's youth and has stated repeatedly, "our children need to find their way. we need to teach them to see the signs, and if the vibe is there, to act. first base is within grasp. that's why i'll make first date kissing a priority during my first 100 days in office."

Obama believes that they wobble. Clinton believes that they won't fall down. both positions have voters concerned about a middle class tax hike.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


the human brain is an amazing machine.
any real research on what we know about it shows how truly ignorant we still are. we're the most intelligent species on the planet, responsible for countless achievements and capable of so many spectacular things, and yet the principle organ that runs us is still so mysterious.

i found this video of an episode of a show called "Horizons" which airs on the BBC. it deals with the effects of confined isolation and sensory deprivation on the mind. i find it totally fascinating. makes one wonder which is actually more inhumane - solitary confinement or the death penalty.

is it more of a punishment to destroy one's mind or one's body?

Friday, February 29, 2008


today is truly a momentous event.
its leap day and it comes along but once every 4 years.

it is sort of like when we turn our clocks back an hour in the fall. an extra hour to do with what you will. its a time perk. leap day is like daylight savings time, super sized. its like a free day. its like a tax return. its like a surplus. unaccounted for and therefore, i think we should be able to use that time however you choose, and being as its sort of time that's "off the record", without repercussions.

i think it would make for a nice holiday. it only happens quad-annually, thus making it 400% more special than any other holiday.

it could be marked as a day with out consequence. completely uninhibited. as long as there's no physical evidence around after Feb. 29th, its a free for all. just think of the possibilities. you could curse out a small child, or skip work to lay on the beach sipping mojitos, or pee your pants, or sleep until dinner time, or kiss a stranger, or bathe in chocolate pudding, or eat a bucket of crisco.

then, come march 1, it's all wiped clean.

this could obviously never happen. half the population would probably be wiped out on the first celebrated Leap Day... but how fun would it be?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


a video i just finished making for the band
Ghost Away.
the song is called "Holding Back The Ocean".


(Ghost Away is a band out of Philadelphia. they released a 3 song EP last month in anticipation of their soon to be released debut album, Siberia. its available for your downloading pleasure @ also, the songs are on their myspace page here.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008


last friday, my job required me to go to a black tie awards banquet. my boss had submitted a stained glass window that i designed and fabricated and it was chosen as a nominee. he was away on a business trip so it was up to me to attend in his place. long story short, i won an award in the "residential interior specialty" category.

here's the "long story short" part:
honestly, i wasn't really that eager to go to this thing. it was cool to be nominated but i've got some introverted tendencies. i don't mingle well. i didn't expect to know anyone there short of one of my co-workers, and thus, had a cloud of awkward uncomfortability looming over my noggin.

it was a pretty swanky event (a black tie required, uber-formal sort of thing). i got there at 6:30, right when i was suppose to. the following is the first 20 minutes after i arrived.

as i pulled in, i saw a line for valet parking. mandatory valet parking, mind you. a dude ran up to my window and handed me a ticket, told me to leave it running and to "just put it in park". i did as he said and headed inside. i walked into the lobby and announced my arrival. then, i heard someone asking for the owner of the green pontiac. it was then that i was informed that i'd locked my keys inside. my car was fortified, running and blocking traffic. without a spare key, i headed to the coat room for a coat hanger and coaxed the door man to procure me a flat head screw driver and proceeded to break into my own car in a tuxedo surrounded by a hundred middle aged, well dressed strangers at an uppity country club in the suburbs. fortunately for me, i'm very good at breaking into my car. i can hit the power lock in 90 seconds or less. unfortunately for me, everyone else who witnessed my skills or knew about the situation suddenly became suspicious of my talents at grand theft auto. people 30 years older than me whom i'd never met were cracking wise about my speedy problem resolution.

i immediately made a bee line for the open bar and then, to a snack table in the center of the room. an older woman came from behind the person i was talking to and reached into a basket of crackers. our eyes met for a second and as i smiled politely, the spaghetti strap of her dress fell off her right shoulder, exposing a pair of 50 year old breasts. this was the exchange: i look up, our eyes meet, dress falls off, i glance down, she glances down, we both turn away. i slowly exit, stage left. classy.

then, later, during the dinner portion of the evening, i went up to the bar again for a rum and coke. as i was waiting in line, a couple contractors i didn't know asked how i got so good at breaking into cars. they said it in a manner as to jokingly insinuate that i'd been a car thief. with a wink and a nudge. i assumed we were having a tongue in cheek conversation so i ran with it. i told a quick story about how i grew up in a poor part of south chicago and one summer, when my step dad was unjustly arrested for tax evasion in relation to his pager business, my four brothers and i boosted cars from the police impound to make his bail and settle his debt. i told this story with what i thought was a totally obvious sarcastic tone. i even mentioned a few of my fictitious brothers by name in the story.

"my oldest brother, jermaine, went to high school with a guy who runs a chop shop."
"marlon and jackie would keep lookout."
"tito could crack the steering column and cross the wires in seconds."
"my brother michael thought he was sooo bad."
"it was easy as abc."

by the end of the little made up anecdote, when i expected a chuckle, i was met with a straight face of astonishment. i falsely assumed that all the Jackson 5 references would've made it obvious but, since it was my turn to order, i just left it at that.

sarcarm is a curious thing. it either makes you a hilarious character with a creative wit, or a lying jerk, and it all comes down to gullability.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


one time, when i was a boy, my dad offered a suggestion to help me fall asleep. my issue wasn't so much of a rebellion against bedtime but an overactive brain. dad told me i needed to stop thinking. he told me to close my eyes and think of the color black, like i'm suspended in an infinite sea of blackness. sure enough, before long, i was out.

about a week ago, i was lying in bed, exhausted and kicking the blankets in a mixture of confusion and frustration. i couldn't sleep. i closed my eyes and tried my dad's trick. as i focused on the darkness behind my eyelids, i imagined myself moving beyond the light spots that are forever in my periphery. seeking only black. mentally, i was moving forward into the endless void. i stopped thinking of black and just drifted. until it all backfired and i started thinking...

as i floated through an infinite fantasy, i thought of the quark.

an atom is, as far as we know, almost entirely empty space. a hydrogen atom is (i had to look this up) approximately 1/10,000,000th of a millimeter in diameter. the proton in the center of that atom is approximately 1/100,000th the size of the atom. the sole electron orbiting the proton is 1/1,000,000th the size of the atom. the distance between these two particles is enormous. to help grasp the scale, if an electron was as big as i am, the proton i circled would be almost 60,000 miles away.

these aren't even the smallest parts. they're made of smaller things. enter the quark.

the behavior of both atoms and galaxies are fairly similar. at least when you break it down to its simplest. the electron spins around the nucleus like the moon around the earth. like planets around our sun. like our solar system around the center of our galaxy. like our galaxies around yada, yada, yada... and on and on and on. there isn't a whole lot of difference between the big bang and the splitting of an atom, short of scale.

so, if we were all quarks, we couldn't comprehend something larger than an atom. it would be like how we can't comprehend something larger than the universe.

what if the universe, the biggest thing we can imagine, is actually like the atom - a finite piece of a much bigger puzzle that's simply too grand for our scope?

what if the we're just quarks hitching a ride?

i'm sure that any intellectual analysis of this idea of absurd insignificance would crumble it to it's foundation. i see holes in the logic already. i can't claim to be a scientist or a mathematician or a physicist. just a guy lost in a tangent of thought. still, the notion perplexed me for hours as i lay in my tiny bed, in my tiny room, trying to think of black.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


everyone probably knows at least one person who could be classified as a 'hipster' or a 'scenester'. its a shame because the word itself sounds positive, yet it seems to have mostly negative connotations. i could define the type in my own words, but i think this compilation of definition from says it best:

Listens to bands that you've never heard of
. Probably tattooed. Definitely thinks they're cooler than you. Drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon or other cheap canned beer. Often complains. Always denies being a hipster. Probably spends a great deal of their money to look like they don't have any. Pretentious, General snobbery. Either cuts their own hair or has a friend do it and dyes it frequently. Has a closet full of clothing from Urban Outfitters and/or thrift stores but usually wears same three things over and over (most likely a very tight black pants, scarf, and ironic tee-shirt). Addicted to coffee, cigarettes (Parliaments, Kamel Reds, Lucky Strikes, etc.), and possibly cocaine. Claims to be in a band. Always on the list. Majors or majored in art or writing. Name-drops. Someone who rejects the established culture and everything corporate and mainstream

anyway, i was having a discussion about the subject with a friend of mine recently. he called me a hipster as a compliment because i told him about a bunch of bands that i'd been listening to lately that he hadn't heard of. to some extent, i guess i am a little bit of a hipster. i do listen to a lot of indie music and watch a lot of independent films. i did major in art, do a fair amount of thrift store shopping and drink tons of coffee. i wouldn't consider myself snobby, though. or "too cool". it used to just be a person who's into the indie culture. now its a categorical persona, and not exactly a favorable one.

that reminded me of a video i'd seen a while ago about the "hipster olympics". i thought i'd track it down again and post it for you. its a pretty funny video about a fictitious competition in williamsburg, brooklyn. enjoy!

... + a deleted scene ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


i'd read this years ago, but a friend of mine from college sent out this updated version with a politicized twist. i thought it was pretty thought provoking, even though some of the math is a little off. i've listed corrections and a couple other fun facts at the end.

the word "billion" is spouted out so often, its magnitude is lost. just some things to ponder...

A billion seconds ago it was 1959

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age

A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division...

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu, is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number, what does it mean?

A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528
B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.
C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.Washington, D.C..

HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??

List of taxes

Accounts Receivable Tax,
Building Permit Tax,

CDL License Tax,

Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax
Fishing License Tax,

Food License Tax,

Fuel Permit Tax,

Gasoline Tax,

Hunting License Tax,

Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax,

IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),

IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),

Liquor Tax,

Luxury Tax,

Marriage License Tax,

Medicare Tax,

Property Tax,

Real Estate Tax,

Service Charge Taxes,

Social Security Tax,

Road Usage Tax,

Sales Taxes,

Recreational Vehicle Tax,

School Tax,

State Income Tax,

State Unemployment Tax,

Telephone Federal Excise Tax,

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,

Telephone Federal,
State and Local Surcharge Tax,

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,

Telephone Recurring & Non-recurring Charges Tax,

Telephone State & Local Tax,

Telephone Usage Charge Tax,

Utility Tax,

Vehicle License Registration Tax,

Vehicle Sales Tax,

Watercraft Registration Tax,

Well Permit Tax,

Workers Compensation Tax.

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom could stay home and raise the kids.
CORRECTIONS: i guess that either these facts were calculated in 1990 or the mathematician forgot a remainder somewhere.
  • a billion seconds is a little over 31 years, which would be 1976.
  • a billion minutes ago would be the year 105 AD, a little after biblical times.
  • most interestingly, we spend a lot more money now, so a billion dollars would be spend by our government in almost a third of the time, about 2 hours and 45 minutes. we spent 2.8 trillion in 2007.
  • 2.8 trillion $1 bills, lain end to end, would circle the globe 1,000 times.
  • 4.5 billion years ago, there was a big bang.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


as you may well know by now, Radiohead's newest album, In Rainbows, shook up the music world even before its release. though their website claimed they were in the studio working on new material, no one knew when a new album would come out. then, seemingly out of the blue, it was announces in a blurb on their website that the album was finished and would be available in 10 days. there was a link to pre-order the downloadable album or the tangible Discbox (the album on CD and on vinyl with and additional CD and record of 8 bonus tracks, and books of lyrics, artwork and photos). the price for downloading the albums was whatever the customer deemed appropriate, be that 200 pounds or 2 pence (they're British, after all). they reversed the roles the music industry had imposed. the people had the power for a change.

this isn't the kind of album bands typically give away. its not live recordings of old songs. its not official, band sanctioned bootlegs. In Rainbows is well refined, studio polished, and in my opinion, the first album to truly rival their best effort to date, OK Computer. i've already put this set of songs at the top of my list for the best of 2007, so instead of a general summary, i'm reviewing each track as i re-listen to them.

"15 STEPS"
the opening track has almost universally stood as the respective album's mission statement. no exception here. track one breaks forth with a produced beat like a steam engine clamoring down the tracks. after the first few lines are belt out in a clean, passionate way only Thom Yorke can achieve, the beat transforms its tone and you realize its Phil Selway's drum kit keeping time. a lilting guitar melody kicks in. scales of bass like a descent down a flight of stairs. there's hand claps and a few shouts from a children's choir. an ondes martenot can be heard sweeping slowly across the speakers (though this won't be the last time). you can hear most of their past album's strength culminating in one song. the fitful electronica and rhythmic breathing here are the most overt references to Kid A found anywhere on here.

a bone shaker. there hasn't been a song this raw and amped up since The Bends. this could be the song that old fans latch onto after turning their backs when they veered towards techno or just became too artsy for their alt rock tastes. the vocals are aggressive to hear yet their content is full of fear and remorse. then blammo, after 2 minutes of noisy, heavily distorted guitar rock, it takes an acoustic break. maybe "i've no idea what i am talking about".

i was jazzed to finally hear this completed and mastered. this has been one of my favorite b-sides for nearly a decade. the song itself had popped up in their live shows since the late1990's. i'd known it with the title "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)", so even though i'd known the track listing before i heard the album, i was still surprised by it. "Nude" is pretty & soft, especially in contrast to "Bodysnatchers", like a sad little lullaby from a really pessimistic dad.

this is becoming one of the standout songs for me. i absolutely love the way its arranged in 3 distinct movements. they'd done it before with the epic "Paranoid Android" (they credited the inspiration of that to John Lennon's "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"). lovely electric guitar plucked arpeggios dance atop the tapping of a snare drum as singing slowly builds and harmonies gradually accompany. distant wailing comes in as everything continues to get louder and louder until it all drops out except for Thom and a bubbling melody. then it snaps, the entire band seems to dive into the center of the ocean and finish the song the the best last minutes ever.

warm and sad. while you'd think its a love song, and it almost is, i think its really about being discarded. it begins very minimal and slowly adds layers on top of bobbing, low register hums. i read that Jonny Greenwood attempted to recreate the white noise of a live show in the studio by arranging a large string orchestra to simultaneously play each note on a scale. plinking toy piano comes in with the fuzz sounds as Thom breaks down in a crescendo of splashy symbols and moans.

this song is probably from the mind of guitarist Jonny Greenwood. his talent for arranging strings is coming out more with every release. he's focused on it with soundtracks to Bodysong and (the much anticipated!) There Will Be Blood. both are side projects that he composed without his band mates. this song is sung with haste like talking with an good ear for music. its got a different feel and delivery. i'm curious about the title, too.

this track is so organic and alive. it reminds me how different this album is in tone compared to the cold isolation of their recent work. instead of the digital blips and whirls of the past, every little noise sounds like something real. an empty steel barrel being hit. hands clapping. a choir of voices harmonizing. tambourines and formally dressed violinist violining.the best thing about this song is you feel its presence and the space it occupies. its a standout track and i believe, the song being pushed as the album's single.

this is my least favorite track. its not that its bad. i could see this as being one of my favorites if on another CD and by another band. it just seems a little simple in comparison to the rest and it doesn't seem to really go anywhere over it's 5 and a half minutes. he even sounds a little Bono-esque at times. they usually have an instrumental track on each album to change the mood or act as an interlude so i pass this off as that, even though it has words. it is notable for containing the most uncharacteristic Thom Yorke lyric: "I don't want to be your friend / I just want to be your lover."

maybe my favorite song. at least for now. its energetic and powerful without putting pedal effects on guitars or focusing on a throbbing bass line of digital wizardly. its clean and fervent with great guitar work. it starts fast and keeps growing like a roller coaster if you could get on at the top of the first loop-dee-loop and start there. i really love when Thom sings with all he's got. he pulls the stops a few times on this album and with the best results here, and he only gets better with as the song evolves. vocally, he covers almost his whole range and with a lung testingly great ending.

i'd seen a clip on youtube of Thom Yorke playing this song solo on the piano. it was beautiful in its simplicity and stirring in its message. i'd also heard live versions in which there's more of a change across the song until a free for all jam out at the end. when i first heard this version on In Rainbows, i was initially a little disappointed by how stripped bare it was. its growing on me though and i think its a wonderful closer in its context. Radiohead usually ends with a slow song and this is certainly that. the metronomic thump seemed off at first, but as its a song about leaving something behind once you've gone to the great beyond, it sounds more like a slow heartbeat and the multi-layered vocals are pretty angelic.

the actual CD version of the album became available about a week ago.if you haven't already downloaded it, you can link to it on by clicking the banner at the top of this post. do it, now!

...and, for a lovely pairing of the audio with the visual...

"a film with radiohead in it"

this was webcast on Radiohead's wedsite (DEAD_AIR/SPACE) on new year's eve. they play every song from the In Rainbows album. its 52 and a half minutes long and worth every one of your precious seconds.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


"witness protection"

a waning winter's soft reflection
shows the ceilings of protection
swiftly caving in
a spectacular disaster
the shields could not drop faster
stepping back and giving in.

the archers have evacuated
and tower guards have drifted off to sleep
armor doesn't fit your skin
the front door's latch is broken in
and all the hallways run a bit too deep

you have shattered all the windows
and released all of the shadows
weary minds have sown
echoes of old conversations
no use for expectations
the known turns to the unknown.

there's a possibility in chance
there's also risk of sifting through debris
only victors face the doubt
walls that can keep everything out
are the same that never set you free

Thursday, January 3, 2008


i vividly remember a conversation i shared with a couple of my room mates during my sophomore year of college. we were sitting around late at night listening to the newest Tool CD and discussing how much music had changed, almost exponentially, since our parents were our age. how different genres branched off into sub genres and sub genres of sub genre until entirely new types of music were born. my grandparents didn't grow up with rock and roll. my parents knew nothing about hip hop or turntablism or heavy metal. we sat there and wondered if it was possible for any of us to reach an age when the musical styles of the young was obnoxious noise to our ears.

i've thought about this from time to time over the years. i think i now understand how this generational gap can occur. i'll use the fictitious "George" as the example to my theory.

let's say George grows up listening to the music his parents liked. lots of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. in high school, George starts spending time riding around in his friends cars. various 8 tracks introduce George to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley. then, George's cool order brother comes home from college with a Led Zeppelin t-shirt and a handful of Pink Floyd records.

George heads off to a higher education and meets new people who all have their own tastes and take George to concerts to hear groups he'd never heard before. George's room mate plays synthesizer for a prog-rock band. his girlfriend loves angst ridden, acoustic guitar playing, female singer songwriters.

George gets his bachelor's degree and starts a promising career at a computer software corporation. most of his new colleagues are stern workaholics, but he makes a few friends on his floor. they go out for drinks every few weeks. maybe a movie or a small club here or there.

a few years pass before George meets "Jane", the sassy new receptionist across the street. a burning love affair is sparked and George spends most of his free time with Jane, only having time to meet up with work chums one friday a month. Jane and George move in together and their music collections merge. shortly afterward they get hitched and then, whoops, Jane's knocked up. George receives a much deserved promotion to district manager on baby "Judy's" 3rd birthday. with a stressed out young wife, a hyper-active toddler and a demanding full time career, George rarely finds the time to see many of his old friends.

15 years pass. baby Judy (who prefers Judith now) grows into a young woman and moves to california to pursue an acting career. Jane starts taking yoga classes three times a week and joins Oprah's book club. George suddenly has time on his hands.

he's quickly disenchanted by the bands he starts noticing on popular radio stations and late night talk shows and begins to feel extremely frustrated with the music of these modern times. unable to find similarities between Mick Jagger and Trent Reznor, George rejects new music entirely and sticks with his tried and true favorites.

unbeknownst to our hero, this dramatic change wasn't instantaneous. its was a slow progression. as his circle of friends got smaller and less diverse, so to did his exposure to new trends. he'd stopped paying attention to the directions that music was moving in. the forward movement of his musical tastes stagnated on the back burner while he settled down. it metamorphasized into a whole new beast behind his back.

so here's my theory...

musical tastes are directly connected to the size and importance one's social life. test it out. scientifically. ask anyone what their favorite band is. the release date of that band's best album = the peak of that person's social network. the bigger the gap between then and the present, the smaller the importance of having a social life. if the band's peak predates that person's adolescence, their social height was reached in or before 10th grade. if its a current band, they're still climbing the ladder.

sidenote: i wonder what music could possibly sound like when kids classify Radiohead and Bjork and Aphex Twin as "old fogey music". drop a comment if you have any speculation. i can't fathom it.

...the future?