Sunday, August 7, 2011

joke of the day #10

Q: Why do bowling balls hang out with their friends until the wee hours of the morning, doing tequila shots and going to strip clubs and stuff like that, then get that dozen taco deal at Taco Bell and eat all of them, and then go home and end up puking in the sink while their wives look on with concern from the bathroom door? And all the previous time, their wives were also wondering what the hell they were up to, because the bowling balls never bothered to call home or anything like that?

A: Because that's the way they roll.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

justin bieber, part I

Hey u justin bieber why u be wiggin' kid? Ur hair looks stoopid. My gen had better teen idols like d lee roth & adam ant so suck on that.

(137 characters. I'm on a roll, babies!)

the golden arches, part I

Hey, why doesn't McDonald's sell corn on the cob? Come to think of it, they don't have corn on their menu at all! That's just ludicrous.

(136 characters, including spaces ...)

takin' it to the tweet

Hey, I've got a new idea for this tired old blog: limiting myself to 140 characters or less. Such a limit should ease the pressure on me to fill this space with prose and beauty, which in turn would I think lead to more frequent entries. And that's what everybody wants, isn't it? Instant gratification? "What have you done for me lately?" Etc.

Frankly, I'm tired of all the bitching and moaning about how there's not enough Mad City in you people's lives. (Did I do that right, by the way? You people's? That seems a little off to me, for some reason ...) I mean, it's nice to be wanted, but I've also just a real life to lead, not just this virtual existence. So you're going to end up with just what you wanted: quantity over quality. The monkey's paw.

So let's see how that turned out ... 757 characters? 143 words? Is it 140 words or characters that you're limited to on Twitter? Jesus, this is impossible! How do the kids do it these days?!? Those poor bastards. I never realized how tough it was to be part of Generation Y. Guess I've got my work cut out for me ...

Monday, June 20, 2011

toast is the most

I'm not gonna lie to you people: I really like toast. I eat it just about every day. And not just for breakfast! It's one of my favorite nighttime snacks, with lemon curd or a good raspberry jam and my daily protein shake.

And here's something else: when I make a sandwich, I make it on toast. Ordinary bread just doesn't "cut it" for me, ha ha. It's gotta be toast.

Two reasons for the toast post: a public acknowledgement of my love for toast was long overdue. Also, I haven't blogged for about a month, and I just had to bang something out. And when you're in a situation like that, you usually end up turning to something close to your heart.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

stale pbj

Sometimes I get CD's from the library. I'll just browse through the CD section, grab a few that I've heard about, and then listen to 'em at home. The problem is that sometimes I listen to something once, put it aside, and then forget exactly what I thought of it before returning it to the library. So, before I forget, just a quick reminder to myself: Peter, Bjorn and John, you totally suck.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

T-Bone's spa therapy

I've never had a professional massage. I'm not shitting you; I shit you not. There are some people out there who get a massage every week, you know? Hell, you can get a massage at the airport, for christ's sake. But I'm just not a self-pamperin' sort of guy. Except ...

Every 6 months, I schedule an appointment and go to a local place for my own little special therapy. I get to sit in a comfy chair, put some shades on, kick back, watch a little TV on the ceiling, and let someone else take care of me for a while. And where is this magical haven, you ask? Why, it's my dental hygienist's office!

Seriously, for me, getting my teeth cleaned is the closest I get to a sort of man-spa session. And if you think carefully about it, the comparison is apt. In addition to the chair, and the sunglasses, and the comforting elevator music, you're also getting your teeth cleaned. When I leave that office, my smile is looking like a million bucks, and it stays that way until I eat a burrito or something like that and get a bunch of chicken shreds caught in my teeth. But even then, I know that in another 6 months, the dental hygienist is going to pull those shreds out.

What about the discomfort, you also ask? Ah, let's face it: it's not that bad. OK, getting the mini-water jet on an exposed nerve is bad, and I guess I don't like that thing that makes the high-pitched whine. And spit sinks. Why did they ever do away with spit sinks? They had 'em when I was a kid; and back then, going to the dentist for me was like spending the day at an amusement park. Suction sucks! If I can find a dentist around here who still has a spit sink, I'll be happier than a pig in pig heaven.

So there you have it. That's how I roll. I bet most of you Mad City fans never saw this one coming.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

hallie bateman, superstar

Some people believe in eating locally. I believe in consuming local art. My latest and maybe greatest find occurred not too long ago, when I stumbled across an art exhibit at Beyond the Bridge Cafe in Tacoma. It's not even my usual coffee house hangout! I've been going to Metronome mostly. But for whatever reason I went to Beyond the Bridge that day and saw the exhibit by local artist Hallie Bateman.

Not sure if you've checked out the link to the Ridiculous Sister website (it's right over there), but that site belongs to Hallie and has plenty of her cool art. She's currently a senior at University of Puget Sound, which is less than a mile away from my crib, and will be graduating real soon. The piece that I liked the most at her art exhibit (a crocodile in a wedding dress) was already sold, which distressed me, but soon thereafter I came up with the idea of commissioning an art work for my friend B-Phat's "man cave" (check out the link for Concords Are Better - it's right over there). I got in touch with Hallie and sold her on the idea, so to speak, and the results were staggering. Just look at that smile on B-Phat's face! You can tell he likes his man cave picture.

At any rate, check out her website, and think about commissioning something for yourself. It's the gift that keeps on giving ...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

michael medved

As I've made my way through this crazy adventure called life, I keep stumbling over this one fact which can't be avoided: Michael Medved is a complete ass. Not only the worst movie critic of all time, but also a hard-right political commentator (who used to be a liberal activist! And then talked about how he'd "seen the light" or some shit like that, and became this right-wing dick). And I think he lives in Seattle! If I'm not mistaken. I guess his radio show is broadcast from Seattle. Probably lives in Bellevue ...

Remember that movie "Kangaroo Jack?" About some mobsters who get stranded down in Australia, and then have to chase this animatronic kangaroo because somehow all their money got in its pouch? Clearly one of the worst movies of all time, right? But Michael Medved liked it! Because it was family-friendly, and didn't have sex or violence or naughty curse words, etc etc. But then he decided he couldn't write a good review of it, because the director contributed money to Democratic political candidates. I shit you not.

Is Michael Medved gay? (Not that there's a problem with that; I have no problem with anyone being gay) He strongly gives that impression, no? But if he is, he's one deeply closeted son of a bitch. Maybe that's why he took that hard-right turn in his life: he didn't want anyone to guess his true sexual identification. Just like Ted Haggard and Larry Craig.

Give it up, Michael Medved! You completely suck. In fact, I can't think of anyone in America who sucks more than you.

the name game

Ideas can be a dangerous thing. For every Bill Gates out there with a crazy idea about something like "software," there are probably 99 people who drive themselves into financial and psychological ruin by pursuing their dream. And I have to say I'm teetering at the edge of the abyss right now.

I have no experience in running a Vietnamese restaurant - hell, I've never run any kind of restaurant - but when out of nowhere the greatest name ever for a Vietnamese restaurant strikes you ... well, what are you supposed to do? Just forget about it? And just as it would be very difficult to imagine what our world would be like if Microsoft had never came along, I think someday people will be asking themselves how they ever got by without Pho Sure.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

road rage

I'm generally a pretty even-keeled guy, but I do get kind of pissed off at times on the road. More than is healthy for me! And typically I just feel embarrassed and stupid about it later. But I came up with two ways to address this: A) I give myself more time to get to places now. Running late is a surefire recipe for stress and B) I just consider that other people don't drive as well as me. I may not be the greatest driver in the world (I'm no A.J. Foyt) but I'd say I drive better than 95% of the people out there. And looking at it that way, allows me to forgive them.

Feel free to borrow these driving tips! Namaste ...

Friday, March 25, 2011

cherry, cherry, quite contrary

Spring in the Pacific Northwest means one thing: drizzly rain. Wait: it also means the blossoming of cherry trees. Two things.

Right now there's cherry trees blossoming all over my neighborhood. Looks great, smells great. Who can complain, right? Well, I've got my hand in the air. I'm not complaining exactly, but I want to ask you all how things are going to look in another week or two. All those blossoms will be gone, and we'll be stuck with a bunch of skinny old nothing-special trees.

Now don't get me wrong: I love trees. So much, in fact, that I question why we can't have other trees besides these cherry trees everywhere. How about some macadamia trees? It would be so cool to be just walking along and find a whole bunch of macadamia nuts under some tree. I love macadamias! Or maybe some banana trees. I actually don't like eating bananas, but I've seen lush banana trees in real life, and they look so damn bountiful! I'd just like to see some of that in my neighborhood. And we've got palm trees here - there's a couple right around the corner, as a matter of fact - so don't tell me banana trees won't grow in Tacoma.

Hell, I'd even take some apple trees. I love apples. Maybe a nice Jonamac tree, or even a basic old Macintosh tree. I don't care! I just want to be walking down the street, and see an apple tree over there, and just go over and gorge to my heart's content. Can you do that with a cherry tree? No. At least, not the ones around here. You're not gonna eat anything off of them. I'm not even sure if they all ARE cherry trees - maybe there's some other kind of blossoming tree that people cultivate - but let's call them cherry trees for convenience's sake. I want something to eat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

happy family

Who the F#*%!! came up with the idea for Happy Family??? You know what I'm talking about: that Chinese restaurant dish with chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, lobster, and just about every other meaty item on the menu, tossed together with some lo mein-type noodles and maybe a little bit of broccoli. Whoever it was, I bet they congratulated themselves afterward. You know, something like, "Yes, I did pretty good here. This is a groundbreaking innovation."

Hey, I've got a new idea for a breakfast cereal! It's got Grape Nuts, and Wheaties, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Cocoa Puffs, and those little marshmallows from Lucky Charms. And while I'm at it, I've got a new baked good as well: part pie, part cake, and part donut, it's glued to the back of a petits four and will surely revolutionize the culinary world. And here's one more for you: a container of ice cream with THREE FLAVORS inside. That's right - vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry sitting right next to each other, just waiting to be devoured.

But what's that you say? Tripartite ice cream already exists; or at least, it used to, but they stopped making it because no one gave a damn??? Wait, wha - how can that be? Isn't it 3 times as good as ordinary uniflavor ice cream? Just like Happy Family is 8 times as good as regular lo mein? These are crazy times we're living in, I tell ya ...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

old friends I've visited in the past 2 years, and where I visited them

- Chud and Melissa (Austin)
- Elizabeth and Dan (Boston)
- Matt (NYC)
- Chris and Christine (NJ)
- Brian and Cindy (Seattle, multiple times)
- Dean and Caroline (Vermont, several times, also Chicago and SF)
- Jim (SF)
- Dan and Danielle (LA)
- Suzanne (Minneapolis)
- Sabrina and Truman (Cleveland)
- Jed (Oberlin)
- Tom and Jamie (Bellingham)
- Mike (Bellingham)
- Troy and Shannon (Louisiana)

This doesn't count family, so trips to see my sister and her family in Chicago and Charlotte aren't included. Also doesn't include my college reunion last Memorial Day weekend, or seeing extra friends on one of these trips (ie, having lunch with someone in Seattle when I was there primarily to see Brian and Cindy), or seeing friends in Mad City. Almost without exception, these were people I hadn't seen in a number of years.

When you consider that I was enmeshed in fellowship training for most of this period, I'd say it's a pretty good list. Never let it be said that I don't go out of my way for friends! I am one traveling wilbury.

Friday, February 11, 2011

deja entendit

One of my biggest grievances about rap (and I have many) is the age-old practice of "sampling" - basically, taking part of someone else's song and sticking it in your own. It can be relatively small and benign, or be used to build a great song (Cantaloop by Us3, or a lot of the brilliant stuff that Public Enemy has done), or it can be blatant and really suck ass (most of MC Hammer's body of work). The problem is when it becomes endemic to a genre, and leads to the sacrifice of creativity for the sake of familiarity.

Now, I know that sampling and covering are also done in other areas of music, including rock (right now I'm in a coffee shop, listening to an American Idol wannabe do an overwrought version of Jeff Buckley doing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"). But I've always considered rap to be the biggest offender. It wasn't until I started to listen to KPLU, the jazz station in Tacoma, on a regular basis that I realized how much borrowing goes on in jazz as well. I'm not just talking about Kenny G's Christmas album (the impetus for one of the greatest lines by Norm Macdonald, or anyone for that matter, of all time: "Happy birthday, Baby Jesus! I hope you like crap!"). No, no - it seems like every other song being played was done by someone else before. Whether it's Vijay Iyer playing Michael Jackson, or Denise Donatelli doing Sting, it usually strikes you the same way: you listen for a few seconds, start to get excited, and then realize why that melody sounds so familiar.

Of course, jazzmen and women do it a little more skillfully than most hack-ass scratch-rappin' DJ's, and some would say that re-worked covers have had a vital role in the history of jazz. Think about what John Coltrane did with "My Favorite Things," or Miles Davis with "Porgy and Bess." And hell, I myself have covered songs by Roy Orbison and the Blue Orchids on a recording. But still ... you know? But still. What would jazz be like if jazzmen (and women) weren't so busy playing stuff that had already been done by someone else? Not *quite* so busy? I bet it'd be pretty cool.

Friday, January 28, 2011

yakkety yak

What are the things that set one place apart from another? Many things, maybe. Climate and weather. Language. Music. Politics. And yes, food. Food can be both a divider and a unifier. People may argue over whether their cuisine is better than another region's; but ultimately, great food brings people together.

I've heard a lot of theories about the biggest food differences between the far-flung poles of this country. It's been posited that here in the Northwest, people are more passionate about beverages (coffee, beer, etc), while those on the East Coast have a greater interest in sandwiches (hoagies, cheesesteaks, grinders, what have you). But in my experience, the most striking difference of all is teriyaki.

If you've been to the Puget Sound area, you know that teriyaki joints are ubiquitous - maybe even more so than coffee shops. You can't throw a chopstick around here without hitting a teriyaki place. But on the East Coast, there are few if any dedicated teriyaki establishments. Hardly any! It's so striking. You can get teriyaki at some Asian restaurants, but usually only as an entree, and usually in the $15-20 range. Which I call bullshit upon. Because what is teriyaki? It's a humble cabbage salad, a mound of white rice, steaming sliced meat, and sauce. (And a pair of chopsticks, ha ha.) If you pay more than $7 for a teriyaki lunch in Seattle or Tacoma, you're getting jerked off.

And that's the way it should be. On this one issue, the East Coast has it all wrong: teriyaki ain't some glamorous dinner entree! It's a hot, delicious, affordable, high-sodium lunch.

You know, people, I have a theory: the Northwest runs on teriyaki. You could take away all the coffee and all the beer, and people would grumble, and they might not function so well in the morning, and they might have a harder time unwinding in a bar after work. But you take away teriyaki, and everything collapses. Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, the great universities and institutions of learning, the Seahawks, Bill Gates, Dale Chihuly: all gone without teriyaki. Let's hope we never have to see that theory put to the test.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


People, what is the most overrated film of all time? Ishtar? Heaven's Gate? Hudson Hawk? No, no, you're on the wrong track. Those movies were some of the biggest box-office bombs of all time, losing millions of dollars for their makers. I'm talking about films that most people rave about, which perversely make you want to scratch your own eyes out.

I cast my vote for Once, the drippy low-budget 2006 Irish love story starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Most people, especially women, rave about it; personally, it makes me want to pull out my eyes and stuff them in my ears, so I don't have to listen to the music. Which most people rave about, but which I find tedious, uninspired, dreary, and dull. Frankly, I don't like it.

I know what you're thinking, especially you Once lovers: "But how can you not like it? They sang together so beautifully! All original songs! And it was made for such a low budget!" Well, let me address the budget issue first. Frankly, I don't give a fuck how much it costs to make a movie. Why? Because I had to pay the same amount of money to see Once that I did to see Avatar. Now, if I could've seen Once for a dollar, I might feel a little differently about it. I might've regarded Once as kind of the Fugazi of modern Irish cinema. But no, they blew it. They charged full-price admission, even though they made the movie for like 30 bucks. And I say that's bullshit.

What else did I not like about Once ... oh yeah, no nudity. It's supposed to be a love story, for chrissake! But there's no nudity. Come on, people, it's 2006! We're not living in Victorian times anymore.

Also, didn't care much for the music, at all. "Slowly Falling" has to be one of the most preposterous, boring, dreary, stuff-your-eyes-in-your-ears songs ever written. It seems like every time I see a male/female acoustic duo in a coffeehouse, they have to play "Slowly Falling" as an encore, and it never fails to make me puke up my coffee. Sometimes my scone, too. Honestly, I do not like that song.

Also, this Glen Hansard guy makes the most pained "singer face" I've ever seen. Why? It's not like he's cranking on the guitar. It's not like his singing or lyrics are revolutionary. Save the melodrama for somebody who'll fall for it, guy. I'm not buyin'.

I've got plenty more to say about Once, but I've been trying to keep my blog posts shorter and snappier. So, to quickly recap: didn't like Once. Not at all, really. Think it's overrated. Maybe the most overrated movie of all time. Don't see it again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the widening dichotomy between the know-it-alls and know-nothings

A lot of attention is being paid right now to the dichotomy between the Haves and the Have-Nots, what with the recent tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts in public-sector services and the renewed increase in Wall Street bonuses, etc. But if you ask me, there's an even bigger dichotomy out there: the one between the Know-It-Alls and the Know-Nothings. Like, it just seems like there's a lot of very smart people right now, but meanwhile most people are getting dumber. For instance, Stephen Hawking - that guy's a genius! But the average American has no idea what he's talking about. Or Bill Clinton. Rhodes Scholar. And millions of Americans voted against him.

I think this dichotomy is huge, and getting bigger. It may be the biggest it's ever been since the Roman Empire, when the elite placated the masses with "bread and circuses" while they were absorbing all this knowledge and algebra and shit from Persia and whatnot. Does anyone else feel this way? I don't have any data; it's just a hunch. But at the same time, a damn strong hunch ...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

knight's gambit

Some of you may have noticed a slightly different "feel" around Mad City in the past few weeks. Maybe as if it's more ... crowded? There's a simple explanation for that: I'm playing to a bigger audience now. You see, I finally decided to divulge the existence of this blog, in a fairly nondescript manner, to my Facebook followers a while back. And the response has been intense! I think I'm up to something like 20 hits per month now.

I know a few of my old followers may be a little miffed that Mad City isn't as exclusive as it used to be, like when the velvet rope is pulled away from the entrance to the hottest nightclub in town. Sorry about that. I don't really know what to say! I guess it's kind of like when PBS wouldn't allow Katy Perry on "Sesame Street" because she showed too much cleavage. That's just the way it goes ...