Monday, November 30, 2009

Brain of a Fish Band Pick: The Dead Weather

I was lucky enough to attend the taping of the mtvU Woodie Awards back on 11/18. It's quite an experience to be present at any awards show…especially a music-related one like this. "The Woodies"  is an awards show specifically for mtvU, which is the MTV channel that specifically caters to college students and their favorite indie bands.

While I was there, to some degree, I felt a bit out of touch with some of the music that seems to be capturing the hearts of Generation Y. These groups...Passion Pit and Matt and Kim, to name a couple, were enjoyable, but I just wasn't connecting to it in the same way that this demographic does. However, there was one particular exception...The Dead Weather.

The Dead Weather is Jack White's latest project. For those of you hiding 'neath the covers, Jack White is the singer/guitarist of The White Stripes, as well as his popular side project, The Raconteurs. The Dead Weather was formed by White along with Alison Mosshart, from the Kills. In this band, Jack White exercises his multi-instrumental talents. We were used to his moody vocals and his messy, yet brilliant, distorted guitar in White Stripes. In the Dead Weather, however, White primarily plays drums (and plays them quite well, I might add). During live shows, he'll occasionally step upstage to play guitar, too. Most impressive though, is his ability to successfully take on the daunting task of singing lead vocals while playing drums.

What astounded me most about seeing them live was their raw energy. A powerful, classic-sound. This song particularly has a punkish energy that's almost reminiscent of  Rage Against the Machine.

Check out this video of them performing  Treat Me Like Your Mother  live (not from the Woodies). This song is from their debut album, Horehound. Also, check 'em out when the Woodie Awards airs on Dec. 4th on mtvU.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brain of a Fish Album Review: Them Crooked Vultures

It's not often that you listen to a new album and it literally (well, almost) blows you away.  With the exception of the latest Mother Hips (my favorite band) release, Pacific Dust, it's been quite a while since new music has had that effect on me...until now, that is. And, if you're interested in having the same mind-blowing experience, I've got three words for you -- Them Crooked Vultures.

They're referred to as a supergroup since the band is comprised of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) on vocals and guitar, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on bass guitar and keyboards, and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) on drums.  In this case, the word super certainly applies in more ways than one. 

This self-titled debut album of theirs is chock full of aural pleasures reminiscent of each members' current and former bands….as well as some pretty obvious influences.  The album opener, "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I" is a sexy, badass tune that starts as pure Queens of the Stone Age, yet turns into a heavy, pounding Led Zeppelin-ish tune. "Elephants" has the raw, angry, tempo-changing riffs remindful of Led Zeppelin, as well.  "Scumbag Blues" sounds like a modern-day Cream. (Josh Homme's falsetto, Jack Bruce-ish vocals…the bone-crunching distorted guitar solo supported by Jones' solid bassline)..  "Warsaw, Or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up"  would be completely at home on a Doors album.  "Bandoliers" has some Foo Fighters-esque chorus melodies interwoven with some exotic guitar sounds.

At times, it seems that Grohl is channeling John Bonham. Grohl and Jones are so in sync, it sounds like they've been playing together for years. Jones' ripping bass lines along with Grohl's heavy-hitting, yet ultra-tasteful dynamic beats provide the stiff backbone for these tunes.

Aside from superb songwriting and top-notch musicianship, something that sets this album apart from others is the production. The album was self-produced by the band…and trust me, that's a good thing.  The production on most current albums make it difficult to assess the talent of these musicians since we're virtually unable to isolate each instrument. The overproduced tunes with layers upon candy-coated layers of guitar tracks almost making the whole band sound as if it's just a single sound.

In contrast, on  Them Crooked Vultures,nothing is overproduced. To the listener, it sounds like a band in a rehearsal studio simply playing their asses off and having a great time doing it. The listener can easily focus in on any one instrument at any time and be dumbstruck by the raw talent.  The best part though is when you listen to the band as a whole and how each instrument works with the other to produce a tight, ultra-collaborative album. 

Homme, Grohl, and Jones each shine at any given moment in any song.  Grohl, who played drums in Nirvana, pleasantly surprised us when he started Foo Fighters as not only a frontman, but a guitar player.  In Them Crooked Vultures, we're able to see him go back to his original instrument and showcase his talents like never before.  John Paul Jones, who we all know from Led Zeppelin, shows that he's still got it.  We're now able to realize how distinctive his bass lines are by hearing him play with yet another top-notch set of musicians.  Josh Homme is a fantastic vocalist and a kick-ass guitarist. I've only listened to the Lullabies to Paralyzealbum by Queens of the Stone Age thus far.  However, you can bet that I'll be checking out their other albums after hearing him in TCV.

I could go on and dissect each song separately, but I won't.  What I will do is tell you that, if you like good, smart, instantly-classic music, run to the store (or your computer)…don't walk…and buy this album! Oh yeah, and listen to it loud!

Monday, November 16, 2009

All-Swimupclusiveness = Happiness

Just yesterday, I returned from a fantastic vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic. Spectacular beach, crystal clear ocean, fantastic pools of all shapes and sizes, and constant sunshine....what more could I ask for. Ironically though, the best part about this vacation was the fact that it was at an all-inclusive resort. I'm not sure how many of you have experienced a vacation at an all-inclusive resort...but you should know, it's nothing short of heaven right here on Earth.

I typically use vacations as a time to re-assess my life...pinpointing areas that I'd like to change...and also just simply thinking about what makes me happy. Well, I've decided that what makes me happy is....all-inclusiveness!  I mean, sure these vacations still cost money. After all, nothing's free in this world. But, the mere fact that I was able to lock up my wallet in my hotel room's safe for the week, yet still have unlimited food and drinks...I could barely comprehend it. I couldn't put it into words the joy that I felt. A stress-free week without worrying about money...ahhhh.

It led me to could I bring this feeling of pure satisfaction back to my everyday life? Well..hmmm..I guess I probably can't. Just imagine it though...what if we just paid a lump sum of money every year and were always able to go into any restaurant we chose...whenever we wanted...and ate and drank to our hearts' content? Not very realistic, I guess, but quite appealing.  I guess I just like the feeling of something being included. Makes me feel nice inside.

So, I began thinking about yet another facet of my vacation that made me happy....the swim-up bar! This too just might be difficult to take home with me. It does beg the question, however, why is it that things are more fun when you swim up to them? Laugh if you must. If you don't believe me, then try this...walk into a bar and order a drink. Now, go to that same bar, but instead of walking in, swim up to it and order your drink. Which was more fun? See what I mean?  Perhaps we could instate that pleasure-inducing mode of transportation somewhere in society. Swim-up banks maybe? Swim-up supermarkets? Maybe going to the dentist would be a more palatable experience if you could just swim up to the dentist chair.

These may be dreams for now, but at least I now know that I will ensure that my next vacation destination will be an all-inclusive, swim-up bar-inhabited resort. As for you...well you can read my all-inclusive blog. You navigate to the blog and can read all of these! Now, I just need to figure out how I can get you to swim up to it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Death Cab for Cutie

This is the second video that I've posted from Death Cab for they must be good. This is the new video for their single Meet Me on the Equinox, from The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. Great song...great video. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Jeanius Tendencies

It's true that "jeans" may not be the most common topic for a blog post.  However,  I have, what some people might consider, an unreasonable attachment to my jeans.  It's not that I'm obsessed with them or anything. That would be weird.  I'm just a bit particular about them. Oh...and then there's the fact that they're the only form of pants that I will ever wear on my legs in the non-summer months.

Sure, if you go looking through my closet, you may come across a few pairs of corduroys and maybe a couple pairs of khakis. However, these don't ever go into rotation unless it's absolutely necessary. And believe me, there'd better be a good reason for me to be wearing something other than my beloved jeans.

Of my varied selection of jeans, only a lucky few end up making it into my weekly rotation.  And actually, from the moment of purchase, I'm probably aware of which ones I will and won't wear, but I'll never admit it at the time.  I'll  always buy some dark ones and a couple not-so-dark ones ...just so there's a bit of jean variety.  I even have one pair with a button-fly, which I regret ever having purchased.  In fact, I think it was an accidental purchase. I didn't realize they were button-fly when I bought them. Think about it...when you undo your fly,  it's for one of three reasons...  1) you're about to go to the bathroom  2) you're about to have sex, or 3) you're about to go to sleep.  Most, if not all of  these are relatively time-sensitive and somewhat urgent activities.  Button-flies only serve to make the process of removing your jeans take longer than it needs to.  They're never as easy as the simple-to-maneuver mechanics of our familiar friend, the zipper.   

So, anyway,  I become attached to a select few pairs of jeans..maybe three of them.  I'll wear these jeans day after day after day. When all three of these pairs of jeans are dirty, I will exclaim, "I have nothing to wear!"…even though my closet is stocked with additional pairs of jeans and the aforementioned corduroys and khakis.  I don't like to leave the house not feeling comfortable.  Apparently, leg coverings dictate my level of comfort. Weird? Definitely.  The problem is...I keep on wearing and washing these jeans that little-by-little, the legs seem to get incrementally the point where, when I sit down, my socks are fully exposed.  That's most certainly a jean faux pas.  Perhaps if I keep washing them, they will turn into jean shorts. That way, I can wear jeans in the hot summer months as well.  Smart, huh?

Fortunately, I work at a company where people are allowed to wear jeans. In fact, every company I've ever worked for was jeans-friendly.  I'm actually not even sure if my co-workers would recognize me in pants. Well, I'm sure they would recognize me, but they may not recognize my legs.  "Nice to see you, Jon...but who are they?" (as they point to my legs)  They might worry about me if I was crazy enough to change it up like that. 

I don't like to worry people.  To be safe, I'll stick with my jeans.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dear Joe...

Hopefully, many of you have the good fortune of living near a Trader Joe's supermarket.  After years of shopping at the mainstream supermarkets, Trader Joe's has made my Sunday food shopping quite a bit more enjoyable. Its unique twists and takes on snacks and desserts...its delicious, easy-to-prepare lunches and dinners...and its reasonable prices are just a few of the appealing factors of this chain. To show my gratitude, I have listed 10 reasons why I love you, Trader Joe!

  1. Your individual bags of "handfuls" of almonds: You make me know when I've had enough almonds, Joe. Nobody's ever done that for me before.
  2. Your lack of hydrogenated oils: Stop and Shop, A&P, Shop Rite…you name it. They try to load me up with trans fats and clog my arteries. They don't care about me the way that you do, Joe.
  3. Your infinite variety of combination juices: Apple Grape, Black Raspberry, Blueberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Kiwi…the list goes on. It's like an interracial, interfaith marriage of delectable fruits. Your acceptance and willingness to blend fruits from different backgrounds is pure and beautiful.
  4. Your frozen vegetarian pizza: You make it easy to have a quick, easily-prepared dinner. Sure there's cheese on it, but those delicious veggies sprinkled on top makes me feel like I'm being just a little bit healthier…and you understand how important that is, Joe.
  5. Your never-ending selection of "healthy" chips: You realize that a "popped" chip is healthier than a "fried" chip. Who else even thought of that? You realize that sweet potato chips are a welcome alternative to regular potato chips. Damn, you're intuitive!
  6. Your nitrate/nitrite-free hot dogs and whole wheat buns: Sure it's not the same greasy dog that you'd be eating while watching the Yankees, but there are other occasions to eat hot dogs, too....and you might not always want to pollute your body with these toxic preservatives. Who knows this? That's do, Joe.
  7. Your unbeatable selection of cookies: Dunkers, Way-more Chocolate Chip cookies, Joe-Joes, etc. C'mon…the way you thought of taking America's favorite cookie,the Oreo...removing the hydrogenated oils, and calling it by your name…twice? Pure genius.  I don't see any "Pathmark Pathmark" cookies anywhere!  Just good 'ol "Joe-Joes"! Brilliant.
  8. Your toilet paper, paper towels, detergents, soaps, and shampoos: Products that are environmental, non-toxic, and don't have any Disney/Hannah Montana branding. Need I say more, Joe?
  9. The fact that you unload the items from my cart and bag them for me: I think you're more than aware that nobody else does this for me.  Could you be any more selfless, Joe?
  10. Your daily samples: You not only allow me to purchase your amazing products to feed myself at home, but while I'm shopping, you make sure I'm fed.  That's truly the way to my heart.  Apparently, you're the only one who knows this, Joe.
The list could go on and on. Thanks for everything, Joe. See you on Sunday.

Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Foo Fighters

Here's a new video from one of my favorite bands, Foo Fighters.  They are led by insanely talented, multi-instrumentalist, Dave Grohl, who we also know as former Nirvana drummer. As a musician myself, I'm always inspired by Grohl's musicianship, his songwriting ability, and his pure musical energy.  In these post-Nirvana days, he's managed to configure this band of amazing musicians, including one of my favorite drummers...the heavy-hitting, Taylor Hawkins.

The Foo Fighters are about to release their Greatest Hits collection, which includes the new single, Wheels. Check out the video!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Deal or No Deal?

Why can't anyone buy a car these days without it being so darn complicated? C'mon…you tell me how much it is, I pay you, and you give me the car.  It should be that simple, right?  Not quite.

My current lease just ended and I, luckily, somehow lived to tell about my car shopping ordeal.  It's an experience that can hurt your brain, your wallet, and your self-esteem.

Every time a car commercial came on…and every time I saw an ad in the paper….it gave me hope...but not for long!!  $199/month?? That's an extremely reasonable price! Could it be real??  Well, no.  Only if you put $3,999 down and $1900 at inception!?  Disheartening, I tell you.  Whatever..I'll just go to the dealership. It'll be easier. Ha.

1. Me: Yes, can you please tell me how much a monthly payment is for a 36 month lease on a Toyota Highlander?
2. Salesman: Well, how much do you want it to be?
3. Me: Uhh..(can I really say ANY number??? Should I say "nothing"? Should I say "$20/month"?)  Umm..uh..$350/month??
4. Salesman: Let me go talk to my manager.
(repeat #3-4 many, many times)

What's the deal with the "manager" guy? Does he even exist? And why can't he come talk to me himself? Does he have to keep himself mysterious? Is he like Jacob from "Lost"?  Every time I negotiated, the salesman had to go back to talk to him. Make yourself known, Mr. Manager!!  

Each time he went back there, he kept me waiting for at least 10 minutes. Frustrating…frustrating..and even more frustrating.  How do I know that the salesman isn't just hanging out in the back smoking a cigarette?  I think it's a tactic so that you'll end up saying "Ugh, I've been here for hours already. I've invested this much time...I might as well take the car!"  And after being there for a few hours, I did take it!  Mostly because I really liked the car, but partly because I didn't think I could go through the same process at another dealership.

At least it's something that I need to do only every three years.  Can you imagine if every purchase was like this?  What if I asked for a Mocha Frapuccino at Starbucks and they said "How much do you want to pay for it?"  Or what if they said you can have it for $1.95, but you have to put $2.49 down and pay 51 cents at inception."?  Thankfully, this madness doesn't happen with most of our daily purchases.

Luckily, I did end up with a car in the end. No idea if I paid a fair price. I don't think I'll ever know....but "the manager" will always know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Time That is Mine

I have a love/hate relationship with my morning commute.  There's definitely a bit of hate because it means that I'm up early in the morning and am on my way to a possibly stressful day at the office.  However, my morning commute is my only time where I can sit in one place and just think.  That's where the love comes in.  I can reminisce about the past, get lost in the present or look forward to the future.  I can write blog posts. I can write songs in my head.  Hell, I can just stare blankly out the window and NOT think at all!   That's the beauty of the morning commute.  It's my time.  Hmm..I like the sound of that..."myyyy" time.

Here are some tidbits that actually have run through my twisted brain during this glorious time:
  • Why am I feeling an uncontrollable urge to keep checking my Blackberry every 2 min?  It's only 8:30am!  How many emails could I possibly get at this time anyway?  I swear, I think my fingers just know to check my email without me even being aware.  I wonder if my fingers are communicating with their other "finger" friends through email.  'Cause they're certainly checking it on a much more frequent basis than my brain can keep up with.  Look at those fingers right now...they're just typing away. About what?  To whom?  I'm really not quite sure, but I do know that those little guys are workin' real hard.
    • Why can one person get a ticket driving in his or her car for not wearing a seat belt, but 50 people on a bus are not required to wear one at all?  In fact, I don't see any seat belts around here at all.  Even stranger than that, it's not against the law to stand up while on the bus either.
    • Hmm...when the Lincoln Tunnel was built, there must've been one hell of a sale on yellow tile! Some tile store owner out there was like, "Jackpot! Best. Customer. Ever."  He's probably retired on an exotic island somewhere now.
    • Why does that guy behind me think he needs to SCREAM into his cell phone for the other person to hear him.  "SCRAMBLED, MOM!  I said I had SCRAMBLED EGGS FOR BREAKFAST!!"  I can't think of a time when it would be necessary to scream about eggs...ever.  Well, perhaps if it was something more like:  "WATCH OUT! YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY A GIANT EGG!!"
    • Why does that guy look SO happy to be getting on this bus?  Why does he have to make us grumpy morning people, who are dreading the work day, look so negative?!  How could anyone board a bus with a smile that big?  It just seems wrong. In order for us to feel like we're all in this together, we need to be quiet and unfriendly.  It's in the rule booklet.  Read it.
    • Does the girl across from me think I'm crazy because I'm playing air drums with my iPod as one of my drum sticks?  It's quite a shame that she can't hear the music and is therefore unable to recognize and applaud my superb rhythmic skills.  To her, I probably look like I'm having some sort of seizure.  But to me, it just feels so right. 
    •  Stepping off the bus now.  "Myyyy" time is officially over.
        Hey, there's always the evening commute!  Always something to look forward to.

          Tuesday, October 27, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Muse

          Here's a video from a great band called Muse. They've been around since the mid-90's and have been extremely popular in the UK. In fact, just yesterday, they received the top prize at Britain's Q Awards..."The Best Act In the World Today" Award!  While they've been relatively unknown in the U.S, they've started to make their mark in the U.S. with their latest album, The Resistance.  This mark has been big enough that they are currently on the road as openers for none other than U2.  Check out this video for their single, Uprising. You'll hear some obvious influences, such as Radiohead and Depeche Mode.

          Monday, October 26, 2009

          A Cheap Shot It's Not

          Here's a question… Why does every electronic item that I buy become outdated what seems like moments after I make the purchase? Digital cameras, for example. Why do these digital camera models have to be released literally by the megapixel? We consumers have to keep shelling out more cash if we want the latest and greatest.

          My first digital camera purchase was quite a few years ago. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and….it was only 1.3 megapixels! I even thought the picture quality was fantastic. But c'mon, are you going to tell me that when Canon released this camera, they were oblivious to the fact that they had the ability to make one with a higher number of megapixels?

          Are we supposed to believe that one day after they released this 1.3 megapixel version, it just occurred to them that they could go a tiny, tiny bit higher? "Hey Bob, know how we just released that 1.3 megapixel camera? Well, I was thinking, uhh..I might be able to figure out how to make one with 2.0 megapixels. Just a thought." And perhaps each year it occurred to them that they could do just a little bit better? Unlikely, I guess.

          Maybe the entire electronics industry is comprised of a bunch of slackers that are major underachievers. "Hmmm..Guys, I'm a little hungover today,. I know we're supposed to manufacture that 12 megapixel camera today and all…but, I'm totally beat. Let's just do one with 3 megapixels, ship 'em out, and we'll call it a day. We'll pick it up again tomorrow." Possible scenario? Maybe. Eh, probably not. Ugh, I just did some internet surfing for digital cameras and they're selling 12 megapixel cameras that are
          cheaper than my 1.3!


          Image supplied by 

          Thursday, October 22, 2009

          Spoil the Party!

          Sure I may be a Democrat and an Obama supporter, but that doesn't mean that I think that every Republican idea has no merit. Or for that matter, it doesn't mean that I support every Democratic idea either. And I'm sure that, way deep down inside, there are more than a few Republicans who agree with certain policies and beliefs set forth by a Democratic administration.

          It's a shame that if we want to back a mainstream contender for a government position, we are forced to label ourselves one of two major parties. However, bi-partisan politics seem to do more harm than good. It serves to divide us into two sides, who are always throwing punches at one another. Are U.S. citizens really born as a Republican or Democrat anyway? We all just conform to this system that's already in place. In many cases, we simply take on whichever political views are held by our parents.

          How can everything be so black and white though? The two-party system might make sense if there were only one issue, nice as that would be, it's certainly not the case. Isn't it possible that someone can have a more liberal view on health care, but a more conservative view on foreign policy, for example? Perhaps someone supports a woman's right to choose, but opposes stem-cell research. Obviously, there are so many possible examples of these mixtures of beliefs and viewpoints, which do exist among us. The lines often get blurred to the point that some politicians even become party-switchers. Take NYC's Mayor Bloomberg, for example. He's swung his way across party lines as a Democrat, a Republican, and now an Independent. Senator Arlen Specter recently made his move from Republican to Democrat, too.

          Why do we have to create rivalries among us? Why do we have to have two sides that essentially ridicule one another? Our two-party system only creates animosity, anger, and hatred. Why do we have to have red states and blue states? Let's make them all purple. Let's not worry about Democratic and Republican ideals, but instead about each of our own ideals as human beings.

          My proposal? How about a no-party system where we simply judge candidates based on their character, intelligence, values, ideas, beliefs, experience, and proposed policies? Two candidates with a vast array of ideas on a number of policies. Majority vote wins.

          We, as U.S. citizens, would be much more likely to cast our vote for someone simply because he or she represents our stance on at least a majority of issues that are important to us. Someone who has the qualities that we think is necessary with which to govern. No need for labels. Labels never did us any good in high school. Why would it do us any good in politics?

          Image supplied by 

          Wednesday, October 21, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Silversun Pickups

          Here's my video pick from a unique band that's been gaining tons of popularity with their most recent album release, Swoon. I was fortunate enough to see them play a few tunes live recently. Silversun Pickups are a great combination of hard-hitting beats, smooth vocals, and top-notch musicianship. Here is their latest video, Substitution.

          Tuesday, October 20, 2009

          Sunday Night-ification

          Sunday nights, for most people, are typically a drag because they signify one thing…the return to work the next morning! There is one glimmer of hope that actually can change that perception, however…and that's a good TV show! Back in the day, HBO's Sunday night lineup of "The Sopranos" followed by "Six Feet Under" made me actually long for Sunday nights! (well, almost.)

          Unfortunately, ever since the finales of those top-notch dramas, Sunday night quality took a major downturn for me. I found myself resorting to other activities like...aimlessly surfing the internet, watching random home improvement shows that made me stress about repairs in my house, and occasionally...dare I say it...reading a book!

          Sure there are some network shows that can occasionally seem entertaining at times such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers and Sisters". However, no matter how involved you get in the show, the commercials always give you that chance to think about your life again...which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. There is something about these premium subscription channels' no-commercial shows. They have the ability to fully draw you in and to free your mind from pre-work jitters (a major added bonus). These shows are a league above network TV shows, quality-wise.

          Last year, a friend had suggested that I check out "Californication". My wife and I spent this past summer catching up on the first 2 seasons on DVD so we'd be ready for Season 3, which premiered a few weeks ago. Voila...Sunday night once again has meaning! David Duchovny's portrayal of sex-obsessed writer, Hank Moody, is fantastic. His character is raunchy, sometimes annoying, yet brilliant and funny. And occasionally, there will even be evidence that he actually has a sensitive side. He displays this mostly hidden side when he's with his daughter, Becca…another captivating character, played quirkily and masterfully by Madeleine Martin. However dysfunctional this father-daughter relationship is, it's filled with love and gives the show the heart that it needs. It sure isn't a kid-friendly show though. Crude language, nudity, and sex scenes are aplenty!

          This season is proving to be as great as the last two... and it's filled with guest actors including Kathleen Turner and Rick Springfield.

          Perfectly cast, intelligently written, and quite hilarious, "Californication" has again made me look forward to my Sunday nights! Phew!

          Monday, October 19, 2009

          Mitch Was A Hed of The Rest

          Every now and then, when I'm on my way to work and listening to my iPod in "shuffle" mode, Mitch Hedberg, one of my all-time favorite comedians, comes on. My commute is instantly improved. My fellow commuters most certainly wonder why I suddenly look so happy. Unfortunately, Mitch died way too soon....back in 2005. However, he will always continue to make me laugh.

          Below, I've listed 20 of my favorite Mitch jokes. Also, below that, watch a hilarious Mitch performance from when he was on Letterman.

          1. I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
          2. Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier than helping him move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.
          3. I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.
          4. I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.
          5. My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.
          6. I don't have any children but if I had a baby I would have to name I'd buy a "baby naming book". Or I would invite somebody over who had a cast on.
          7. I had a parrot. The parrot talked, but it did not say "I'm hungry," so it died.
          8. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny.
          9. You know, I'm sick of following my dreams, man. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later.
          10. A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef.
          11. I went to a record store, they said they specialized in hard-to-find records. NOTHING WAS ALPHABETIZED!
          12. If you drink O'Douls, you don't drink. But if you drink 20 O'Douls in a half hour, then you're a fucking non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholism is a problem too. And there are symptoms, like when you fall down, does it always hurt?
          13. I angered the clerk in a clothing shop today. She asked me what size I was and I said actual, because I am not to scale.
          14. I like rice. Rice is great when you're hungry and you want 2,000 of something.
          15. I saw a commercial on late night TV, it said, "Forget everything you know about slipcovers." So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then, the commercial tried to sell me slipcovers, and I didn't know what the hell they were.
          16. I love my fed-ex guy cause he's a drug dealer and he don't even know it...and he's always on time.
          17. I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread.
          18. I have a vest. If I had my arms cut off, it would be a jacket.
          19. If you have dentures, don't use artificial sweetener, 'cause you'll get a fake cavity.
          20. Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous?

          Sunday, October 18, 2009

          Juneau That Ain't Right

          Interesting...Sarah Palin steps down as Alaskan Governor in July. Then, in October, CNN reports that Alaska is catching up to the rest of the country on recession. Wow, did Palin actually have a good economic effect on the state? And without her, Alaska is on an economic downturn? Hmm...naaahhh!

          Thursday, October 15, 2009

          Driving the Point

          I'm a big fan of driving safety. I always buckle my seatbelt, I make sure to turn on my signal before every turn, and I do my best to obey the speed limit.

          Driving laws, for the most part, are logical and instated to protect all of us who are on the road. There is one law, however, whose logic I question...the Cell Phone Driving Law that many states are enforcing. An officer is authorized to pull over and ticket a driver who is using a handheld cell phone while driving...even if that was his or her only offense. Don't get me wrong, obviously this law was put into place to prevent accidents from occurring..which I am all for. Although, when you view this from a somewhat different angle, it may become one of those things that make you go "Hmmmmm".

          Case in point: I don't recall there being a law that prohibits eating a sandwich while driving. Quite a few times in my road travels, I've grabbed myself a burger or a hero sandwich at a rest stop. In effort to keep my travel time short, I've opted to eat while driving. I admit it may not have been the wisest thing to do...eating a sandwich while gripping my drink between my thighs, and still making sure to maintain the appropriate amount of pressure on the gas pedal with my foot. Probably a bit dangerous. I wouldn't be surprised if accidents have happened for this very reason. In fact, in my opinion, this is much more dangerous than driving while holding a cell phone to your ear. However, I don't believe a policeman would pull you over simply for eating a sandwich while driving. I don't know of an existing No Cold Cuts While Driving Law.

          The argument could go on and on with additional examples that support this point. Other scenarios...changing the radio station, smoking, having an argument with a passenger, reading directions...all potentially deadly activities if done while driving. Shaving...I don't recall there being a No Shaving While Driving Law. I do, however, imagine that to be a risky action. What about clipping your toenails while driving? Brushing your teeth while driving? Milking a cow while driving? OK, I'll stop. (I'll stop typing them, but I won't stop thinking of them:))

          Long story short, I simply believe that someone should be pulled over and given a ticket only if he or she breaks any traffic laws and/or drives erratically...not for holding a phone to his or her ear. Agree? What was that?? Did I hear a hmmmm??

          Leno at Ten-O

          Jay Leno at 10pm ET, huh?? Well, I may not be the first to say it, but…..brilliant move, NBC! I'm getting used to this early, late-night talk show thing.
          Finally, we've challenged the standards we've accepted for so long. Does a late-night talk show really have to be that late at night anyway? The definition of late-night is surely subjective. Is it not?
          Those of us who wake up in the wee hours of the morning (thankfully not me, of course. I'm just trying to represent!), may have a different idea of what late-night is. 10pm is certainly "late-night" to much of the working world. Sure, some of us may have those fancy DVR-thingamajiggies, which make airtime irrelevant (Not me . I'm just saying…some people do have 'em.) However, late-night talk shows are best viewed late at night…or at least extra-late evening…in order to achieve it's full entertainment value. Maybe things seem funnier when you're sleepier. And now, 10pm is the new 11:35pm!

          Would I have preferred that it was Letterman or Conan who switched to 10pm instead of Leno? Yeah, probably. However, I can at least get a good dose of comedy and celebs as I'm drifting off to sleep.
          Perhaps we can get SNL to change to Wednesdays at 9pm! That'd be more convenient, no? WNL? Hmmm..while they're at it, maybe they can move some of those morning shows that I always miss when I'm at work to the early evening! "Early Evening with Regis and Kelly!"?? Hmmm…maybe not...but something to think about. Alright,'s dinner time. I'm going to go make myself some bacon and eggs.

          Tuesday, October 13, 2009


          For the past few years, I have been what some might call an active Facebook user. Facebook, however, is not quite as simple as it may seem. It's a way of life. In fact, it's an all-consuming social networking tool that ensures that you are not able to pay attention to truly important areas of your life such as family, friends, work, and finances. Who needs those anyway? Am I right? Am I right?
          Like most longtime users, I have been through most of the typical Facebook phases. Hmmm...actually, I wonder if they really are typical? Well, anyway, just in case it is, let this not only be a recollection of my past couple of years, but let it serve as a warning to the younger generation. Beware, this could happen to you, too! Here is the whirlwind that I went through.

          Facebook User Phases:

          Initial Curiosity Phase: What is this new "social networking" site that's all the rage ? Is it safe to use? What does it even do? Eh, whatever. I'll give it a try…but I'm not going to care about it too much. I'm not really "into" social networking. I actually think it's a bit stupid.
          Apprehensive Setup Phase: Hmm..what photo should I post for my profile pic? Oh wait...maybe it's not cool to even post a profile pic at all. Maybe I should just keep myself mysterious? Eh, what the hell. You only live once. So, do I use a picture that I took with my webcam or would that make me look creepy? If I fill out all of my info and interests will I come across as a loser because I'm spending too much time on this? Is it even safe to add my contact info? Will I be murdered for doing this? Do I even want to be doing this at all? I want my old life back!
          Extreme Fascination Phase: Hot damn..this is AMAZING! I can't believe my camp friends are all on this! It's been like 25 years! Whoa, my ex-girlfriend gained a ton of weight! Ha! I can't believe I am in communication with my Kindergarten friends. I've only dreamed of this! It's like all the past has become the present! I can resume friendship with everyone who ever meant anything to me! I can send messages, write on walls, post photos, and even take quizzes! Best. Site. Ever!
          Daily Status Update and Commenting Phase: Good morning everyone, here's my witty status update. I wonder if everyone knew they were song lyrics. Aren't I funny? This is awesome. What if I just put a period after "is". How awesome would that be?! I got 11 comments today...just on one status update! Best. Day. Ever! I can be in a constant conversation with everyone I know. I don't even need to speak to anyone anymore! Wait…is that good? Oh cool, I can even update my status using my Blackberry! 24/7, Baby!

          Massive Photo Upload Phase: We just came back from our summer vacation. Now, do I post all 63 pics or just a few select ones? Hmm..ok, all 63. Hey, why isn't anyone commenting on them? Maybe I didn't do it right. Did they not see them? Ugh..I bet they don't like them! Damn, I should not have worn that dorky Hawaiian shirt. I look ridiculous. Why would I post that? Can I take these down??? Someone please help me take these down!!
          Realization-of-Excess Phase: Uh...ummm...ok. How did I get 500 friends? Do I even know 500 people? Do 500 people really even know me? Did I really need to tell Hank the mailman that I use Facebook? I couldn't not accept his friend request! He might do something bad to my mail!Oh man, I just spent the past 3 hours looking at pictures from someone's wedding who I don't even know. Why am I such a stalker? Why has my productivity gone down at work so much?
          Ease-off Phase: OK, this is out of control. I need to get my life in order. My family needs me. I need to keep my job. Breathe. Only 1 status update per day....2 at most! Breathe.

          Return-to-Normalcy Phase: OK, phew. See, I don't even update my status every day....and I'm still alive! Wonder what my friends are up to though.

, what's this "Twitter" thing that everyone's talking about these days?

          True Healthcare Reform Might Take a.....Weil?

          Not sure how many of you caught Larry King's interview with Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned pioneer of Integrative Medicine, from last month. If you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out.

          Dr. Weil, in my opinion, is the only one who truly has the right idea about healthcare reform. In his interview with Larry King, his dialogue allows the viewer to step away from the media-favored angles on this topic and to consider a different school-of-thought. While the focus of political discussions has primarily been on reducing costs and expanding coverage, there has been very little discussion on making America a healthier nation, as Weil points out. His take on the current system is that we don't have a "healthcare" system. Instead, we have a "disease management" system. Focusing on prevention would drive down the costs and make us a healthier nation.

          A few of his standout viewpoints are:

          • Banning consumer advertising of pharmaceutical products
          • Educating children on healthier lifestyles
          • Encouraging doctors to sit down with patients to discuss preventive measures and ways to live a healthier lifestyle.
          • Making healthy food more affordable.
          Dr. Weil believes that medicine should be a bit more focused on dietary changes, exercise, mind-body techniques, and herbs. I found it particularly thought-provoking when Weil asserted that when at a doctor visit, a patient would not think it was a "legitimate medical transaction" if he or she didn't receive a prescription. It certainly makes you think, doesn't it? Check it out.

          Monday, October 12, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from DCFC

          Here's a video from a band that's been growing on me lately...Death Cab for Cutie. The song is called Grapevine Fires,from their latest release, Narrow Stairs.A creative video by a band whose popularity is rapidly growing...and for a good reason. Check them out! Enjoy!

          Sunday, October 11, 2009

          Yes, he can…and he is...and he will.

          President Barack ObamaSure, one can make the argument that it might have been given to him a tad on the early side, but hey, they're going to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone! Who deserves it more than President Barack Obama? Even if Obama is not your cup of tea, how about a little pride for the fact that our President has been awarded this prestigious prize?

          President Obama may have a lot more to prove to the American people. He may need some more time to finish what he's begun. However, that's just it…he has indeed begun. He's begun to pry open international doors that have been sealed shut for decades...Cuba, Egypt, and the entire Muslim community, to mention a few. Obama has reached out his hand of peace in effort to show the world that America is ready to start anew….regardless of history. His rare combination of practicality and idealism will hopefully allow America to have the international presence that it is meant to have. So, I ask the naysayers again, who deserves it more than President Barack Obama?

          Sand…a safe haven?

          sandCan sand make the world a safer place? It just may be the case.

          When we're set up for a day at the beach, and we suddenly get the urge to go for a swim in the ocean…or to simply take a stroll, we oddly have no problem parting from our bags, pocketbooks, wallets, keys, chairs, toys…you name it! The thought would never occur to us to worry that someone may steal our belongings. In fact, while we're at it, we may even go back to the beach house for a few hours, take a nap…while our hard-earned precious items remain nestled in the sand, blocks away. Then, we finally make our way back to the beach and magically, everything remains exactly where we left it! In this day and age?? Impossible! We did, however, take that extra precaution of throwing a towel over the extra-important items…because, no thief would EVER know to look under a towel..especially a towel that has strangely taken on the shape of a women's purse.

          Anyway, it's a bit ironic (don't ya think?) Every other day, we're making sure our doors are locked, our keys and wallets are deeply tucked into our pockets, etc….but strangely enough, not at the beach. It's got to be the power of sand!

          I'm thinking about spreading sand across all of the rooms in my house. That way, if a burglar ever enters the house, he'll see the sand and say "Damn! They have sand! I'll have to find another house to steal from!" After all, they know the rules!

          Image supplied by

          Saturday, October 10, 2009

          Hips Don't Lie!

          The Mother HipsAs my friends and family already know, my favorite band is called The Mother Hips. The blurry photo to the left was taken from my phone last April when they played The Mercury Lounge, in NYC. Anyway, they're a band from Chico, California that came onto the scene with a big splash back in 1991 with their debut release, Back to the Grotto. After their sophomore release, Part Timer Goes Full, they were unfortunately dropped from their record label. However, that didn't stop them. With their growing fan base, they continued to release albums on indie labels and by themselves. They were first labeled as a hippy-ish "jam" band in the genre of Phish, for example. However, they went on to prove those labelers wrong. Each of their albums has a distinct sound that borrows from a variety of genres. While "Back to the Grotto" was in fact a "jam" band sound, Later Days sounded like a raw rock band, but with a heavily peppered country sound. With Green Hills of Earth and Kiss the Crystal Flake, the Hips began experimenting with different sounds, in somewhat of a psychedelic fashion..however, laden with perfected harmonies that are very reminiscient of the Beach Boys.

          The Hips are about to release their latest album, Pacific Dust, which, after streaming some samples, sounds as if they've successfully melded all of the sounds from their previous releases and have created a brand new sound. The album is available for pre-order here: You can also stream a few sample tracks from the new album here.
          It officially will be released on 10/27.

          They have only recently, in the past few years, begun to place shows on the East Coast. Their almost cult-ish fanbase is primarily on the West Coast, but has been rapidly expanding. Lucky for us, they will be playing 2 shows at Joe's Pub in NYC on 11/17 and 11/18!

          Now go place your order for Pacific Dust! If you're a true music fan, you won't regret it. These guys will blow your mind.
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