June 2006 Archives

Next week, the Sean Keane comedy roadshow pulls into the San Francisco Comedy club at 50 Mason for two separate performances.

The first is Wednesday, July 5th, when I attempt to advance out of the semi-finals of the SF Comedy Club's competition. The field of 75 has been narrowed down to a mere 25. This means the lineup is all comics that have been battle-tested, tempered by the competitive comedy fire, and are very unlikely to expose their hairy shoulders. Show starts at 8, and admission is $10.

In the semi-finals, you get a full extra minute of comedy time. Here's hoping those extra sixty seconds of comedy gold will help me escape the cull of unfunniness. Probably I will spend that time talking about speech impediments and/or gold doubloons.

My second show comes on July 7th. Previously I claimed to be headlining on that night. That is in fact untrue. I am actually going on third and doing 8-10 minutes, not closing and doing 20-25, as part of a strong array of comics. You can't go wrong with Sam Arno (lesbian ex-wife material is pure gold), or headliner Sheng Wang, that's for sure. Rusty Mahakian, Alfred Muller, and fellow semi-finalist Nitin Kant round out the bill. Sorry to be such an enormous liar about my own participation.

If you can only see one Sean Keane appearance next week, it is regrettable, though completely understandable. Wednesday is obviously the best show to attend, both for the comedy bang for your comedy buck, and the high-powered rush of competition. Of course, I'll also be around on Friday, at least until my set is done and I'm free to explore the many intoxicating wonders of the Tenderloin. Showtime and admission for Friday is also 8 PM/$10.

Look for more info at the official SF Comedy Club website. Normally this is where the standard promotional information goes, but aren't we all sick of that by now? It's stand-up comedy, it's 50 Mason, they have booze, and the club next door is full of whores. What more do you need to know?

Instead, I recommend you check out this informative article from the San Jose Mercury News about how much it sucks to live in San Jose. The key phrase is "Second-rate". Despite what the PayPal engineer in that article says, I will still begin exploring the comedy landscape of the Peninsula on Friday, July 14th at Ron's Farmhouse in Mountain View. I'll return with a full report on how the South Bay nightlife compares to shooting aluminum cans off the fence.

more reasons why i am a nerd


I've been closing a lot of cases at work this week. It's to the point where my desk is surrounded by a veritable fortress of banker's boxes, and I can barely move my chair. One attorney in the office refers to it as my "cardboard igloo" project.

We have closed many cases over the years, and our box numbers keep rising. When I arrived, we were at Box 1583. Now we are nearing the 2000 mark, and possibly facing the ominous Box 2K crisis. Hopefully our software can be upgraded in time to deal with this issue, before there's a problem with termites or maybe some kind of moth. We must be ever-vigilant against the threat of the Box 2K Bug.

Our recent boxes have been in the 1950-1965 range, which to me means one thing: Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire". Ever since fifth grade, when I memorized the lyrics in one of the most obsessive of my many youthful obsessive-compulsive activities, I have had a lot of affection for that song. Though I no longer lip-sync the song in front of my fifth-grade peers while pretending to drum on a child-size table (which I would eventually upend at the dramatic, "Rock and roller cola wars/I can't take it anymore!" climax), I still can recall the lyrics as well as I ever could.

Which is why I have spent the last few days fighting against my nerdiest impulses. When making the list for Box 1956, I thought to myself, "Princess Grace, Peyton Place, transcripts for a closed case". When doing 1961, I muttered quietly, "Hemingway, Eichmann, correspondence from appellant". Now we're at 1965, which has thankfully ended Joel's year-by-year lyrical correspondences, and given my subconscious nerdery a break.

However, it's only temporary relief. The end of "We Didn't Start the Fire" associations only opens the door for something far, far nerdier: Lord of the Rings associations. For example, once we get to 1974, the official box list will read, "Closed Staff Cases", but in my head, there will be a subtitle that says, (Witch-King of Angmar overruns Kingdom of Arnor).

that old time rock and roll

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That Old Time Rock & Roll

A Short Play by Sean Keane


(It is early evening. BOB SEGER sits on the floor, stage left, wearing an undershirt and boxer shorts, sifting through a stack of LPs. MRS. SEGER enters from stage right, wearing a stylish black dress and holding up shoes.)

MRS. SEGER: Which pair do you like better - the strappy one or the - Bob, what are you doing? I thought you were getting ready.

BOB: Just taking some old records off the shelf.

MRS. SEGER: Well we're meeting the Hendersons in thirty minutes, so I suggest you hurry up.

BOB SEGER: Right. Where are we going again?

MRS. SEGER: Bob, we've talked about this. We're seeing DJ Oscura spin at the Velvet Room. Amanda and Doug saw him in L.A., and they say he's great. We got our tickets a month ago, Bob.

BOB SEGER: And what kind of music does DJ Oscura play?

MRS. SEGER: (Crossing left) Mostly ambient house. Chillout music.

BOB SEGER: Ambient house, huh? I don't know. Doesn't sound like that's very good for soothing the soul. I think I'll just stay home. Maybe listen to some of these old records.

MRS. SEGER: Do not do this. Bob, we have been planning this night for weeks. You are going to this club with me.

BOB SEGER: (Shakes head sadly) You won't even get me out on the floor.

MRS. SEGER: Bob! You promised you would come with us!

BOB SEGER: Well...there's *one* sure way that would get me to go.

MRS. SEGER: What's that? (Takes hold of his hands) Tell me, Bob.

BOB SEGER: (Smiling) The DJ could start playing old time rock and roll.

MRS. SEGER: (Drops hands in disgust) No, Bob. Not this again.

BOB SEGER: Or funky old soul. Or even the blues.

MRS. SEGER: God, why do you always have to be like this? I can't deal with this attitude anymore! You're living in the past, Bob! I'm tired of listening to Chuck Berry every time we make love.

BOB SEGER: Just trying to lose those awkward middle aged blues, honey.

MRS. SEGER: Don't even start. Not tonight.

BOB SEGER: Honey, what's the big deal? So I like the blues. So I like to reminisce. Is that so bad?

MRS. SEGER: You know, I've been reminiscing, too, Bob. Reminscing about the days of old, when we used to go places, see art, listen to new music. You were different then.

BOB SEGER: Twenty years. Where'd they go?

MRS. SEGER: You're a relic, Bob! You know that? You're old fashioned, and you're over the hill. And I'm sick of it, Bob. Do you hear me? I'm sick of it. Now, I'm gonna finish getting ready to meet Amanda and Doug. And if in ten minutes, you're late for the door, I won't be coming back.

(MRS. SEGER exits, slamming the door behind her.)

(BOB SEGER stares after her for a long while, his face impassive. Finally, he goes back to his pile of records and begins sifting through them once again.)

BOB SEGER: I still like that old time rock and roll.

(BOB SEGER bursts into tears.)


Page 3:

"I'll sure need some nourishment if I'm going to hassle with a lot of shrunken heads," Frank declared.

Page 5:

"The Andean Indians used to take the heads of their enemies in local warfare," Joe said. "I read up on this once. The skull was removed from the severed head and boiled until it was reduced to the size of a man's fist. Then the eyes were pinned and laced, and the inside treated with hot stones and sand. Through the use of a local herb, the hair remained long and kept its original luster."

"Pretty savage," Tony remarked.

Page 6:

"According to Valez's accent, he's definitely Spanish," Tony said. "I imagine him to be the small, excitable kind."

Page 8

Joe was about to answer, when he caught sight of an arrowhead-like missile streaking through the air directly towards him!


"Hey Shandon. This is Karl. Just calling to congratulate you on, you know, winning an NBA title. Glad you finally got a ring, dude."

"Shandon, it's John. Way to go, man. You deserve to win a title, after all those great years with the Jazz, ten All-Star games, and retiring as the all-time leader in assists. Oh, wait, I was thinking of someone else. Anyway, great job, buddy."

"'Sup Shandon. It's Doleac. Man, can you believe we're actually the NBA Champions? Michael Doleac, Shandon Anderson, and Jason Williams all have more championship rings than Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kevin Garnett combined. Kind of boggles the mind. So, I was just calling to see if I could get that U2 CD back sometime soon. Thanks."

"Hey, Shandon. It's Karl again. Once again, congratulations. I was wondering if I could come over sometime this week. You know, catch up on old times, maybe show you the slides from my hunting trip, see your championship ring. I should very much like to hold it in my hand, one time. Call me back."

"This is a collect call from Howard Eisley. To accept the charges, please press 1. To refuse, dial 0, or hang up."

"Shandon, it's Isiah. I know we've had our differences in the past, but after watching your performance in the Finals, the New York Knicks would like to offer you a four-year, $24 million-dollar contract. Give me a call."

"Shandon, it's Malone. Let me cut to the chase. I have your son. Right now, he's fine, but if you ever want to see him alive again, you're gonna give me that ring, you understand? Say hi to your daddy, Kori. Stop crying! Stop it! Shandon, I need you to be at the left-most phone booth outside the Delta Center at 9 PM tonight. Come alone. I need that ring! I'm sorry, man. But this is how it has to be."

comedy competition update

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Tonight, at the 50 Mason Comedy Competition, I was among five comics to advance to the semi-finals. Congratulations to Bill Murphy, Kellen Erskine, Nitin Kant, and Mike Winfield. I thought the show was pretty solid, but I was especially impressed by Kellen and Mike. The semi-finals look to be very entertaining.

Much like the World Cup, the important thing is not so much one's performance in the early rounds, but simply advancing to the next stage. I also avoided any bookings, as I kept my cleats down while slide tackling Ali Wong and Nick Leonard. Because I do not play dirty.

Thanks to the fans/friends/family members who came out to the show. Round 2 will be either July 5th or July 12th, which gives fans plenty of time to organize group trips to the show, and to practice songs to sing in the audience. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about:

Oggy-oggy-oggy, oi! oi! oi!
Oggy-oggy-oggy, oi! oi! oi!
Oggy! Oi! Oggy! Oi!
Oggy-oggy-oggy, oi! oi! oi!
Zigger-zagger, zigger-zagger
More jokes about speech impediments and public transportation!

I'll link to the clip of my performance once it becomes available.

UPDATE: Check out a clip of my performance right here.

It's June 19th, which means Happy Juneteenth, and Happy Birthday to Moe Howard, Lou Gehrig, Aage Bohr, Salman Rushdie, Paula Abdul, Garfield, Dirk Nowitzki, and me. Do celebrate accordingly. Hit a friend in the face with a wrench! Consider yourself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth! Describe the action of nucleons orbiting inside an oscillating rotating droplet! Defame the Prophet Muhammed! Say something positive and incoherent about an amateur singer! Catch some Lasagna From Heaven! Be a big German! Over-use exclamation points!

Much like Garfield, I had just one candle on my birthday cake to represent my age this year.

I have come a long way since my younger birthdays, when I would insist on having piping-hot stew for my birthday meal, even though it was often 95 degrees outside. Or when I broke up with my girlfriend the day before she had planned a huge surprise party for me. Or when I got a free birthday cigar at the Tobacco Loft, while my sister's boyfriend informed me that the store "smells like a fucking turd". Or even when I forsook throwing an actual party in favor of helping Cassie assemble IKEA furniture. Good times.

People sometimes ask me, "What do you want for your birthday?" I usually shrug and say, "The love of my family and friends is all I need." That is because it is far too sad to say, "A girlfriend."

Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate or sent birthday wishes. Those of you who didn't are on a list that I am keeping in a secret place, biding my time until I am strong enough to finally make my move. Ah, revenge! A dish, like leftover birthday pizza, best served cold!

Seriously, we have a lot of leftover birthday pizza, so if you want some, just give a holla.

shuffling winamp, round two


(See Liveblogging Winamp)

1. The Stone Roses, "She Bangs the Drums"

No Verse-Chorus-Verse business here. The Stone Roses go Verse-Verse-Title-Chorus-Chorus-Chorus here, until you start to forget what the verse even was in the first place.

2. Nate Dogg & Warren G, "Regulate"

See my earlier essay on this subject, Warren G, You Worthless, Worthless Bastard.

How did my own L.A. experience stack up with the adventures of Nate and Warren? We might have hooked a left on 2-1 and Lewis at some point, when trying to drive to a garlic-heavy Cuban restaurant. I can't find the intersection on Google Maps, either in Los Angeles or Long Beach. I didn't see anyone shooting dice, or getting regulated, or even wearing a Rolex.

3. Thievery Corporation, "Transmission Central"

Informed sources tell me that this group is not very popular in Germany. "Good music" apparently refers to the Billboard Top 100 songs of the 1980's. Sierra Nevada beer is also unpopular, while Miller Genuine Draft is a designer import. (Note: Upon consulting my notes, I realize that it was not Thievery Corporation, but rather Groove Armada that was disliked in Deutschland.)

Uruguayan officials living in Germany think American beer is disgusting, however.

4. Prince, "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?"

This one is sung in the latter-period Prince trademark ultra-falsetto. Is Prince the anti-Stephen Merritt? When did Prince first begin singing in the ultra-falsetto? In an earlier stage in his career, would Prince have simply given this to Apollonia, or Sheila E. to sing?

5. Unicorns, "Jellybones"

"Jellybones" defies the odds in the Unicorns catalog, as this is not a song about dying, or fear of death, or ghosts. However, the singer does eventually check himself into the emergency room. Why? Because he has jellybones.

6. Ratatat, "Pico"

This could be theme music for an 8-bit original NES game. It makes me think of the World Cup soccer theme music, crossed with the crazy electric guitar from Virtua Tennis. This song ends with this sample:

"Oh, OK, baby, you gave me the business on that one. You dig what I'm saying. OK, that's real nice, though. You be spending how we get it. I got you, though, baby. I got you."

7. Willie Nelson, "Walking"

I have two copies of this album "Phases and Stages" on my hard drive. I don't know why. This means "Walking" was statistically, almost twice as likely to come up as a Johnny Cash song of equivalent value.

8. Guided by Voices, "Echos Myron"

Is "echoes" misspelled, or is there an additional meaning here? I feel like the lead singer of GBV must write so many songs. He doesn't bother to flesh them out to regular song length, of 3-4 minutes. 2:13 is enough. 2:13 is kind of long for a GBV song. No need to repeat the chorus.

Danger Mouse seemingly shares the same attitude, if St. Elsewhere is any indication.

9. Gorillaz, "Dracula"

It's from the first album, so Danger Mouse is not involved here. As such, this song is 4:41. This is at least the third song that clocked in at 4:41 so far. I'm getting a little creeped out. (Note: While "Pico" was indeed 4:41, "Transmission Central" actually clocked in at 4:14. This is one reason why numerology is suspect.)

10. Depeche Mode, "World in my Eyes"

If I approached a girl and told her, "Let my body do the moving, and let my hands do the soothing", would I get hit? How hard? Punch in the face or knee to the groin?

"All the islands in the ocean, all the heavens in the motion" = Not a strong lyric.

While I'm doing liveblogging, I sometimes lack inspiration. I find myself typing out lyrics to spark an idea, to make fun of a rhyme, just to keep the typing going. Which is why long, over-produced songs are both a chore and a relief. When David Gahan repeats, "Let me show you the world in my eyes" over and over, it gets tedious, but also allows me a lot of time to write without really arriving at a point.

Violator was one of the first tapes I ever had. "World in my Eyes" might be the worst song on that album, if I might praise with faint damnation.

11. Pavement, "Stare"

This is from a special edition of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. If it were me, I'd have called the album, Crooked Rain. The main thing I took away from this special edition is the alternate version of "Range Life", where Stephen Malkmus sounds like he hasn't quite figured out the lyrics. There is no verse making fun of Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots, as in the original. (Malkmus, on Smashing Pumpkins - I don't understand what they mean/And I could really give a fuck.) Instead, there's a quick rhyme about how drug use is unfulfilling.

12. Woody Allen, "Vegas"

For the record, this is not a remake of an Evelyn Waugh novel.

13. Magnetic Fields, "A Pretty Girl Is Like"

a. A pretty girl is like a minstrel show. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, you go.
b. A pretty girl is like a violent crime. If you do it wrong, you could do time.
c. A melody is like a pretty girl. Who cares if it's the dumbest in the world?

Ultimately, a pretty girl is like...a pretty girl. This is an identity, or maybe a syllogism.

14. Built to Spill, "Don't Try"

I like this song. At one time, Built to Spill featured a Brett Nelson and a Brett Netson.

15. Beach Boys, "Surfin' Safari"

I heard that Brian Wilson wrote this song after hearing the Beatles do "Please Mr. Postman". After that, it was all about raising the bar on one another.

16. Daniel Johnston, "Strange Boy"

Someone talks for about three minutes about how they met Daniel Johnston, and then Daniel plays a song on piano.

  • (on trying to give Daniel a job) "Later, I found out the reason he wanted that job is so he could eat lots of pizza."
  • (on his sense of humor) "He had a special ability to make me laugh, which is not that common."

  • (on the song we're about to hear) "It was up-tempo, and I liked that. It had a good little story, and I could relate to what that song is about. Maybe that's why I like it. Everybody wants to fall in love."
  • (from the song) "I am a strange boy. I come from West Virginia. I've seen a lot of heart in the avant-garde. I am in love with you."
  • 17. Cam'ron, "Welcome to Purple Haze"

    This is a skit about crack addicts and the Diplomats. Why do so many hip-hop skits suck so bad? And if so, why do rappers keep filling their albums with them? An interminable 1:15 was "Welcome to Purple Haze".

    18. Matmos, "Y.T.T.E."

    At least twice during this nine-minute song, I thought I was being alerted that I had a text message. With about forty seconds remaining, the song began to sound very country. I found it hard to concentrate on this wordless, melody-free song.

    19. Missy Elliott, "Bonus 2"

    I like that Meli was a Miss Elliott before she got married. Once, there may have been a time she roamed around, bemoaning the existence of one-minute men, getting her freak on, and hanging out with Timbaland.

    20. Ben Kweller, "In Other Words"

    "Butterflies are passive-aggressive and put their problems on the shelf. but they're beautiful." This lyric makes me think Ben would get along well with Adam Duritz.

    21. Marvin Gaye, "Save the Children"


    22. Dios, "50 Cents"

    "Put me in your wallet like a two-dollar bill". My friend Boback once had a two dollar bill that he carried around for a week. There was a situation where he ended up having to pay cash, and the two was the only bill on him. Since he didn't want to lose the precious bill, Boback was in a conundrum. Zack offered to give Boback two singles in exchange for the two, and Boback was relieved. The two would be safe.

    Then Zack handed the two dollar bill to the cashier to pay for himself, and Boback looked like he was about to cry.

    23. Bill Cosby, "T.V. Football"

    A brief routine about how you're not allowed to touch certain body parts on a televised game. Conclusion: Cosby gets hit in the nards, but grabs his head instead of his nards.

    I have two (2) comedy shows to hype up this time. The first is the San Francisco Comedy Club's 3rd Annual Competition. I'm competing in the first round on Wednesday, June 21st. Nothing says "Summer solstice" like watching fifteen comics battle it out for a spot in the next round. It's just like "American Idol", only they drop ten people at the end, and text messaging your vote is not very effective. The show starts at 8 PM at the San Francisco Comedy Club (at 50 Mason), and admission is $7. That's less than four bits per comedian! It's a summer blowout sale!

    Here's the official info.

    In less competitive news, I will be headlining at that very same San
    Francisco Comedy Club on Friday, July 7th, also at 8 PM. I'll be doing a much longer set that evening, and competing only with my inner demons and lofty expectations for myself. Admission to that show is $10, with no drink minimum.

    Hope to see you there.

    More news at 50 Mason and Spiegelmania.

    notes from the neighbors

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    There is a dog on this block that barks and barks and barks. We can't tell whose it is, so apologies if not yours.

    I work at home and cannot concentrate - my work is suffering. Please do something about this ASAP.

    A frustrated neighbor.

    - Typed note left in our mailbox.

    When we lived back at Ward Street, the drug dealers next door had a collection of broken-down cars. Every afternoon, someone would come outside and rev the Camaro's engine for half an hour or so. There was also a van with a hair-trigger alarm. The alarm would blare at irregular intervals, if the battery died, or if one of the many neighborhood cats walked too close. Sometimes the car alarm would go off while one of the drug dealers was revving the Camaro, to create a low-income automotive symphony.

    I don't really miss that place.

    Gene eventually decided to do something about the car alarm situation. He wrote a note, offering his help in disabling the alarm, or fixing the van's electrical system. Unlike our workaholic dog-hating neighbor, Gene left his name, address, and phone number on the note.

    Not the note Gene left:

    There is a car alarm in this driveway that blares and blares and blares. I watch three or four Netflix DVDs every day and cannot concentrate - my collection of heist films is suffering. Please call me up late at night to harass me ASAP.

    A week later, Big Jimmy called up at about 3 AM to discuss the note. He seemed very agitated, quite possibly high on the very cocaine he sold out of his home. Big Jimmy was mad at the note. It wasn't the fact that a note was left that irked Big Jimmy, or that someone had complained about the car alarm. No, he was offended that Gene had not put a date on the note. We never reached a consensus before the phone was hung up angrily.

    About a month later, Big Jimmy was shot in the buttocks. The undercover Berkeley police officer who told us about the shooting could not confirm or deny that the shooting was car-alarm-related, but he did implicitly endorse Big Jimmy's attempt at vigilante justice. The officer didn't have any leads on who the assailant was, but he did assure us that "this kind of thing tends to work itself out, in-house."

    Not a phone message left on an anonymous neighbor's answering machine:

    Arf arf arf. Ruff ruff ruff. Arf arf no date arf arf.

    I'm mainly a baseball fan, but I've been watching the World Cup this week. And I get the feeling that a lot of baseball superstitions and rituals just don't work when you try to apply them to soccer.

    Don't talk during a no-hitter

    Ashley: Good job, Paul.
    Sean: Whoa whoa whoa. Don't talk to the goalie! He's got a perfect game going!
    Ashley: I just wanted to tell him, good job shutting down the other team.
    Sean: Are you trying to jinx this thing?
    Ashley: You might be confused. Our opponents average just over one goal per game, so it's not that unusual for us to hold the other side scoreless for 45 minutes.
    Sean: (Punches Ashley in the face) Shut up!


    Sean: Hey, don't step on the line! It's bad luck.
    Wayne: Sean, this is a corner kick. Please get out of the way.

    Rally caps

    Sean: Rally time! Time for rally shin guards!
    Joe: What?
    Sean: Rally shin guards! Come on. Turn 'em inside out.
    Rio: This really hurts.
    Joe: I think my leg is bleeding.
    Sean: OK, we keep the rally shin guards on until we score a goal.
    (Rest of the team weeps)

    Rhyming taunts

    Sean: We want a keeper! Not a crappy sweeper!
    Peter: What are you chanting about?
    Sean: Just giving those guys the business. We want a midfielder! Not a utility infielder!
    Frank: What's a utility infielder?
    Peter: Are you making fun of our team, or theirs?
    Sean: Theirs! Come on, give it a shot, guys. Nothing's more devastating than a rhyming taunt.
    Frank: Um...We want a direct kick, not an indirect kick?
    Peter: We want a good pass! Ronaldo is a fatass!
    Sean: That's not exactly right...
    Frank: We want a goalie! Not a ravioli!
    Peter: We want a striker! Not Commander Riker!
    Frank: We want a new coach! Not Sven-Goran Eriksson!
    Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson: It hurts to hear you say that, Frank.

    Often, there is more to what we communicate to others than what we actually say. At other times, there is far less. Here are some scenes from a recent trip to Costco. The subtext has been placed in parentheses.

    Scene 1

    Christine: Sean, I have to ask - is that your body wash in our shower? Oil of Olay, with shea butter?
    (Please say that it is not.)

    Sean: Yes, that's mine.
    (I don't even know what shea butter is.)

    Christine: OK, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't bought it and then forgotten about it.
    (Sean, you are a girl.)

    Gene: Sean, you are a girl.

    Scene 2

    Sean: You're buying five pounds of strawberries? And two pounds of blackberries?
    (Those berries will rot in our refrigerator until I eventually throw them away.)

    Christine: Yes. I am making an effort to eat more foods that are rich in antioxidants.
    (I wish to avoid cancer.)

    Gene: Those berries are going to rot.

    Scene 3

    Gene: Sometimes I wish I owned a restaurant, so I could take advantage of the savings of buying in bulk.
    (Yes. That would be awesome.)

    Christine: I don't think restaurant owners shop at Costco. They have their own suppliers.
    (Please do not buy a 15-gallon drum of soy sauce.)

    Sean: Gene, you know what would be awesome? If you bought a 15-gallon drum of soy sauce.

    In conjunction with an ESPN magazine cover story on John Daly, there is a new Bill Simmons column, in which he makes the novel argument that gambling by athletes is not that big a deal. He addresses the hypocrisy of pro sports' supposed intolerance for gambling, when football shows constantly make reference to point spreads, and ESPN devotes twenty hours a week to televised poker.

    The wildly popular NCAA Basketball Tournament is an event completely centered around office pools. Witness the lack of excitement for this year's Final Four, in part because George Mason was a "bracket-buster", and ruined many a gambler's pool. (For the record, my Final Four was LSU, Florida, UCLA, and UConn.) Absent a wagering interest, people couldn't work up much excitement for UCLA-Florida.

    The two main points that Simmons raises are:

    1. Gambling is not always a debilitating, life-destroying addition. "Watch any TV show in which a character starts betting, and almost always, he loses control before the big 'intervention' episode."

    2. One's competitive instincts toward sports would likely translate to competitiveness at gambling, and in fact, one's poise at the gambling/blackjack table could be an indicator of one's poise in a sporting event. Says Simmons: "If I owned a team, I'd insist on playing poker with any coach or manager I was thinking of hiring."

    As evidence for his argument, Simmons cites two stories about Michael Jordan. One involved observing his play at a high-stakes blackjack table in Connecticut, which showed off the poise of Jordan (and also that of a young Rip Hamilton). The second story was about Jordan bribing a baggage handler in order to win a small bet with teammates over which bags would emerge first from the baggage carousel, which showed Jordan's drive to win at anything, no matter how trivial. Jordan is an "alpha dog",

    The column is interesting, but it doesn't fit with the accompanying excerpt from John Daly's book. Daly is indeed a compulsive gambler, but he plays slot machines compulsively. Daly writes:

    "Playing slot machines for me is like being compeltely alone, on my own, like on a cross country drive. I'll check my watch and maybe 10, 15 hours have gone by. It's scary how far away I get."


    Playing slots doesn't reveal anything about Daly's competitiveness or poise, because with slot machines, he has no control over the outcome. Gambling involves a lot of luck, but at least playing poker or blackjack requires some modicum of strategy and skills. When you play slots, you just pull the lever over and over. It's a machine, specifically a machine specifically calibrated, and regulated by the state government, to return only 75-90% of the money wagered. Although Daly talks as though he has a rivalry with a slot machine at the Wynn Las Vegas casino ("That $5,000 machine owed me," he writes), it's hard to argue that that's really a contest.

    What would Simmons say if he learned that a potential new coach had lost over a million dollars in five hours, playing slot machines the whole time? Probably, "Thank you for your time, but we're going to go in a different direction." Or, "Perhaps you'd be more comfortable working for Chris Cohan?"

    I'm sure that this is complete coincidence, and it couldn't possibly affect ESPN's editorial opinion about the legitimacy of gambling, but the Simmons column is followed by a two-page ad for PartyPoker.net.


    As part of Zembla's continuing efforts to educate the world about the dangers of blasting caps, we present Blasting Cap Danger, a cautionary tale about the perils of blasting caps, presented by the Institute of Makers of Explosives.

    Only the second half of this film is actually about blasting caps. The first half is a story about gender roles and the airline industry. Young Cathy wants to be a pilot, just like her dad, but her aspirations are mocked by two neighbor boys. "What do girls know about planes?" asks the bullying older boy, before he himself confuses a fighter plane for an attack plane. I have to admit, Cathy knows a lot more about planes than I do.

    The two boys ride off to fix their bicycles, while Cathy and her mom go to meet her father. Even though it's his birthday, not hers, Captain Dad brings Cathy a cowboy outfit, the better to further her defiance of gender roles. Inexplicably, Cathy guesses that her gift is indeed a cowboy outfit. If the pilot thing doesn't work out, maybe Cathy could become a psychic. Of course, those neighbors would probably say, "What do girls know about telling the future?"


    Meanwhile, the boys arrive at a hardware store or repair shop or something, staffed by a creepy man who invites boys to "fix themselves" an apple from the tree outside. There, they find a blasting cap, just lying on the ground. While the younger boy has reservations, the older boy hatches a plan to throw the blasting cap into Cathy's grill (the cooking device, not her face) and "scare the daylights out of her". Cathy is, at most, seven years old, BTW.

    After a lightning-fast bicycle repair, the mean boy goes to do his mischief, while the younger boy stays behind to receive an expository lesson about blasting caps, after he finds yet another one on the ground. Maybe blasting caps really were everywhere in the 1960's. That, or Creepy Guy is running a terrorist bomb factory.


    It's no coincidence that Willie Mays later made a blasting caps PSA. Creepy Guy describes the dangers of blasting caps through baseball references. Babe Ruth never did as much damage as a blasting cap, while a kid who hit a blasting cap with hammer injured his hand, and "will never play baseball again". The exploded shoe pictured above is only a hypothetical.

    The sensitive younger neighbor rides home with Creepy Guy's words echoing in his head. "They're as dangerous as a hand grenade". "Might put your eye out." "Mind if I take off my shirt?" He races to Cathy's house only to find her lying on the ground, seemingly dead. Luckily, she's only pretending to be dead as part of a cowboy-related pantomine. What do girls know about playing dead? Captain Dad gets rid of the blasting cap, and the boys enjoy ice cream, and everything is fine. Our final words come from the narrator: Don't touch them!

    willie mays and blasting caps


    Back in the 1960's, there weren't as many endorsement opportunities for African-American or Latino athletes, no matter how good they were. Minority baseballers had to choose from whatever TV commercials were offered. For the Giants, Willie McCovey did commercials for Bel-Air Foods. Juan Marichal shilled for Saxon Apple Juice. And the great Willie Mays did public service announcements about the dangers of blasting caps:

    (Via YouTube)

    My dad says that this has to be one of the most successful public service announcements of all time, as he can't remember hearing about anyone being injured or maimed by blasting caps. In fact, he can't remember ever seeing abandoned blasting caps lying around town. It may have been that dad's friends were sure to protect their hands and arms, and thus saved their eyes.

    Willie Mays isn't shown doing anything particularly spectacular in the ad's baseball highlights. It's not clear what's happening in the first clip, as there appears to be a play at the plate, before Mays is shown sliding into second. Then Mays hits an easy single. I think the admakers didn't want to distract from the blasting caps monologue, especially this line:

    "If you see a blasting caps, remember now, don't touch them. Tell the police, or a fireman, whatever it is."

    In the end, this is a timeless message. Have fun, like Willie does, with baseball equipment. Not with blasting caps, OK? Don't touch them!

    Giants vs. Marlins, 6/6/06

    Last time I saw Jason Schmidt face the Florida Marlins, it was the 2003 playoff. Schmidt shut Florida down, 2-0. Here is a poem I wrote, in the style of William Blake, to celebrate that dominant performance:

    The Portly Right-Hander

    Each pitch proving the Pirates wrong
    Trading him for Ryan Vogelsong
    An unhittable fastball on ev'ry pitch
    And to the umpire each man would bitch
    Just strikes, no balls, and but three hits
    Flor'da no rallies, merely fits
    Last fourteen hitters all made out
    Vict'ry's what this Schmidt's all about

    Little did I know that Schmidt would be nearly as dominant this evening, a night I sat in excellent seats with my sister Kelly. Kelly is a great ballpark companion because she knows the game, she's very funny, and she brings snacks. I am not as good of a ballpark companion, as my creepily detailed knowledge of the career of Wes Helms did nothing to convince him to throw us a ball during batting practice.

    Venezuelans, Rookies & Middle School Cymbal Players

    During batting practice, our favorite player was definitely Alfredo Amezaga, Florida's charismatic utility infielder. He took grounders in front of us, along with Helms, when regular third baseman Cabrera was taking his cuts. Amezaga really put a lot of energy into his infield practice. One ball was hit to the foul side of third base, but Amezaga made a nice stab at the ball, followed by a leaping throw to first. When the crowd applauded his effort, Amezaga shrugged and said, "They don't play me."

    The Giants honored a library reading incentive program before the game. The Giants send out Matt Cain to shake hands and take photos with the various librarians, because he doesn't know how to read. It is possible that Cain really does support local libraries, but it is much more likely that he drew photo op duty because he is the youngest guy on the team.

    The national anthem was played by the Hoover Middle School band. Just before they started, Omar Vizquel jogged over, and stood next to the cymbal players during their performance. There are only a few cymbal crashes in our national anthem, so the percussionists mostly stared, goggle-eyed, at Omar. He slapped hands with all of the drummers before jogging back to the dugout. There's a reason why he's everyone's favorite Giant.

    Catching up With the Marlins

    Since their triumph in 2003, the Marlins have turned over nearly their entire roster. Only two players remain from the team that won the world championship just 31 months ago. When my sister Kelly and I arrived to watch batting practice, we found it hard to recognize anyone besides Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.

    Instead, the Marlins are full of young players with potential, displaced former prospects in their late twenties, and a few crappy old pitchers. Their oldest position player, Matt Treanor, is only 30, which would make him the third-youngest hitter on the Giants opening day roster.

    The Marlins may be trying to rebuild their tattered franchise by stockpiling failed young catchers. Miguel Olivo was a prsopect once, but he's been discarded by three different teams since July of 2004. Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs both used to play behind the plate, but now they start in left field and at first base, respectively. There were no wild pitches at first base or in left field, so maybe Florida is on to something.

    (On a side note, one reason I enjoy baseball is that it gives me an opportunity to watch young men who are the same age as me, but have far more success in their chosen field, and then deride them for being washed-up. "27 years old, and he's never hit over .270. What a bum. Miguel Olivo will never accomplish anything. Ooh, are those Mint Milanos, Kelly?")

    In Which My Sister Predicts the Future

    After Randy Winn leads off the first inning with a double, Kelly correctly predicts that Omar Vizquel will sacrifice. Either Kelly is psychic, or Felipe Alou is managing the Giants using optimal strategies for girls softball. Barry Bonds hits into a double play, and the Giants do not score.

    Happy Days at AT&T Park

    The Giants always let a kid announce the hitters in the third inning. Tuesday night saw the best kid announcer ever, a ten-year-old named Jackson Smith. Once he nailed the name, "Eliezer Alfonzo", we knew the kid had chops. He delivered the names with the volume and inflection of a seasoned wrestling announcer. It's a shame that the Giants went down in order that inning, because I really wanted to hear him say, "Now batting, OOOOOOO-Marrr Viz-QUELLLLLLL!"

    Alfonzo has only been in the major leagues for a week, but Kelly and I are pretty sure he already has a nickname. "Fonzie". For the past three years, the Giants had Edgardo Alfonzo, and the names are just too similar for the nickname to change. It doesn't matter if "Alfonzo" is actually a common last name in Venezuela, or if Eliezer has never seen Happy Days. He'll be called Fonzie and like it. Kelly did suggest "Ebeneezer Fonzie" as an expanded nickname. I think Molly would approve.

    Dream Fan Experiences

    Public address announcer Renel hypes a promotion in which fans can submit their "dream fan experience, if they were YOUR San Francisco Giants". Kelly wonders if the fantasy is restricted only to baseball-related activities. "What if my fantasy was to watch two Giants make out with each other?" Matt Cain would probably be forced to do it.

    Ray Durham

    Second baseman Ray Durham gave a remarkably candid taped interview between innings, where he detailed his love of video games, particularly Halo. Not only that, but he continually looks for new opponents to play online, hassling teammates or their screen names. This affection for video games, coupled with his choice of the THX theme as his walkup music, leads me to believe that:

    a) Ray Durham is a nerd
    b) He and I would get along quite well.

    Durham doubles in the seventh, though it looks like he could have had a triple. Kelly implores him to run harder. "Pretend there's a big killer alien grenade behind you, Ray! Hustle!" Kelly has never played Halo.

    He's Going the Distance

    Before Schmidt came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth, they played Cake's "The Distance". Do they always play that when someone is going for a complete game, i.e., "going the distance"? I hope they do, because it was very exciting. Schmidt responded by giving up hits to the first two Marlins hitters, and then advancing them to second and third with a wild pitch. Felipe Alou may have been experiencing bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse for leaving Schmidt in the game. It turned out Schmidt was just milking the drama. With the tying run ninety feet away, Schmidt struck out the final three Florida hitters to close out the game and tie a century-old team record with 16 strikeouts.

    The Giants didn't acknowledge Schmidt's feat until the game was over. I could tell he was striking out a significant number of hitters, but I didn't know exactly how many. I looked around constantly, trying to find a running total of his punchouts, or a guy taping photocopied "K"s to the wall. Nothing. No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine. Maybe the Giants didn't want to jinx anything, like how you don't ever tell a pitcher that he's throwing a no-hitter.

    A guy on MUNI had a different opinion. "Peter Magowan's got no class," he said.


    Saturday night's alright for comedy. And fighting. But this Saturday, June 10th, we're going to focus on the comedy, at the San Francisco Comedy Club at 50 Mason. I'm gonna get about as oiled as a diesel train, and do a ten-minute set in the showcase. Saturday's headliner is the inimitable Ali Wong, who is:

    a) a comedic sensation
    b) surprisingly (and delightfully) foul-mouthed
    c) pictured above

    Also on the bill is Rusty Mahakian. My mom does not enjoy his jokes about vaginas. The official show announcement is after the jump.

    Have you ever wanted to see Sean Keane perform live, but been unable to scrape together $10 and a BART ticket to get out to 50 Mason? Maybe you live in another state. Maybe you have been deployed overseas as part of the military. Maybe your crippling agoraphobia has kept you from participating as fully as you'd like to in the local stand-up comedy scene.

    Well, Rooftop Comedy has got you covered. The newly-liquor-licensed San Francisco Comedy Club has partnered with Rooftop comedy to make recordings of all its shows available online. Not to dissuade anyone from attending Saturday's show, but if you can't make it, you can check it out as early as Sunday on the site.

    Right now, you can check out my headlining spot at 50 Mason from the show, April 21st. It's pretty much the whole Sean Keane comedy club experience, minus my pungent, musky personal aroma. Join the 38 others who have checked out the clip so far and be literally blown away, in the figurative sense.

    running out the clock at work

    You can learn a lot from watching the NBA playoffs. And not just about basketball. There are many real-life situations where the lessons of playoff basketball can be valuable. For example, seeing how the Phoenix Suns played in the fourth quarter has helped me to develop a strategy for "running out the clock" at the end of the day, at my unnamed non-profit law firm.

    Play keep-away: People are going to keep calling until we turn the phones off at 5. As we approach 5:00, more and more procrastinating lawyers will call, with more and more desperate questions. The worst possible outcome is fielding a call at 4:58 and getting trapped in a fifteen-minute conversation with a frantic rookie lawyer facing a court deadline. Nobody wants overtime.

    The key is to distribute the calls, just like Steve Nash moves the ball around for the Suns. He knows they can't sit on the ball, and we can't just sit on the phone calls. The key is transferring. Transfer calls to support staff out on the perimeter. Find the open mailbox and send the caller to voice mail. Don't be afraid to hit the hold button, huddle up, and regroup. Be aware of your officemates. Don't let them get trapped.

    Move without the ball: More perilous than the late-afternoon phone call is the late-afternoon attorney request. The request could be anything - copying documents, locating a lost file, carrying a series of heavy objects from one place to another. There's no telling how long that project might last.

    One element of Phoenix's success late in games is their tremendous movement away from the action. In every game you see Boris Diaw or Shawn Marion cutting to the hoop for easy dunks, as the defense simply loses track of them. It's the same in the office. Zigzag away from the computer. Cut to the water cooler. Then the bathroom. Then go outside and move your car. If you don't have a car, move someone else's. Keep moving. You will appear to be busy, and the attorneys won't be able to find you.

    Hack-a-Temp: Sometimes it's impossible to avoid work assignments late in the day. That's when it's time to delegate work to the temp. More crucial than passing off the work is the break in the attorney's rhythmn. Everything stops, as the temp steps to the copier, struggling to collate and velobind legal documents. A few paper jams and off-centered copies later, the attorney has been completely taken out of their game, often deciding to give up and go to Whole Foods for organic vegetables instead.

    Don't forget the lazy guy: Last Tuesday, as the day grew short, there were briefs to be copied and transcripts to mail out. The attorneys had the workday in hand. It seemed inevitable that the support staff would have to actually do work. Then the lazy guy came in, arms laden with cookies and pretzels, and suddenly all the attorneys were eating in the break room. At the workday's most pivotal moment, the lazy guy had stepped in to save us.

    The Suns have a lazy guy of their own, Tim Thomas. Even though Thomas stands 6'10", he has averaged only four rebounds per game for his career. The Bulls sent Thomas home earlier this year, preferring to pay him $14 million rather than have him stay with the team. However, Thomas hit a last-second three-pointer to vanquish the Lakers, and remained a huge asset for the team, until the Suns finally ran out of gas against Dallas. It is not clear whether Thomas provides post-game snacks.


    San Francisco has a lot of political mudslinging, especially when it gets to be election time. However, I was surprised to get this piece of propaganda in the mail, which I assume is a response to The Pissed Off Voter Guide put out by The League of Pissed Off Voters. Apparently that group has made some enemies. I tried to preserve the original formatting as best I could.

    The Pissed-Off-At-The-Pissed-Off-Voter-Guide Voter Guide


    Prop A: Homicides Are Just Fine

    Our city is facing a crisis of homicides and gun violence, with young people in low-income communities (like Western Addition, Mission, and Bayview/Hunter’s Point) particularly impacted. Prop A creates a citizens council to address the systemic causes of homicide. This council will be in charge of $10 million a year for the next three years for innovative violence prevention programs. Prop A is a critical step in addressing homicide in our city proactively and thoughtfully. However, the Pissed Off Voter Guide was way too damn smug about the whole thing.

    Prop B: Ellis Act Eviction Disclosure

    Prop B requires real estate sellers to tell potential buyers if there were any Ellis Act evictions on a property, and if any of the tenants were disabled or elderly. Oh, boo hoo, grandma had to move. Cry me a river, POVG.

    Prop 82: Universal Preschool

    Prop 82 provides free preschool to all kids by raising taxes only 1.7% for only the super-rich. Super-rich? Universal preschool? This whole thing sounds like a crazy sci-fi fantasy to us. Let's focus on the statewide preschool before we start raising taxes to buy coloring books and snacks for space aliens.


    Steve Westly for Governor

    Phil Angelides is the anti-Arnold. While Arnold has protected his rich corporate donors, Angelides has a strong history of standing up for children, teachers, and workers. However, he has never fought a cyborg from the future, never destroyed an alien killing machine in Central America, never become pregnant as part of a hilarious scientific experiment. Has Steve Westly? The Pissed Off Voter Guide would rather you didn't know.

    John Garamendi for Lieutenant Governor

    What's more fun to say? "Speier" (bo-ring!) Or "Garamendi" (way more exciting!) Maybe if you weren't so pissed off, you could consider these crucial pronunciation issues more rationally.

    Fiona Ma for State Assembly District 12

    We'll let the Pissed Off Voter Guide make our case here:

    "Janet Reilly may not have much political experience... you’d never...hear Janet Reilly talk about her plans for fixing California... She's against...tenant protection, and would consider...the death penalty...for...16 and 17 year olds. Meanwhile, her opponent, Fiona Ma, accomplished...a...record on tenants' rights, supports...Sacramento...lowering the voting age."

    Wow, seems like the choice here is clear. Ma for Assembly.

    (Read Part 1: The Unforgiven; Part 2: Funky Cold Medina; Part 3: Mr. Wendal; Part 4: Mr. Jones)


    When I was very young, my sister and I were obsessed with MTV. Besides our parents' Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis records, this was our main source for rock n' roll. Every week, Megan and I would painstakingly type out the week's Top 20 Videos, as determined by MTV, on my father's computer. It usually took us the whole week to get all twenty listed, since Megan and I were five and four, respectively, but we'd post-date the list so it appeared to have been finished on time. This lasted for maybe three months.

    As a result, I have a nostalgic affection for the music of the 80's, just like everyone else in the entire world. However, my general affection for Soft Cell and Big Country is dwarfed by my profound affection for videos I saw on MTV in that intense, formative period of my life. I might know most of the words to "Tanted Love", but I know precisely when John Waite slams down the pay phone in the video for "Missing You".

    Which brings us to "Maneater". "Maneater" was not a new song at the time we were doing our obsessive nerd lists. However, two years after its release, the video was still in heavy rotation. The song was popular, there's a panther wandering around in the video, and maybe MTV didn't have many videos yet.

    I loved "Maneater". I had a real weakness for songs with heavy saxophone parts back then, which explains my fervent love for mid-80's Glenn Frey. (The heavy saxophone also explains why the song has only one verse, but is still four-and-a-half minutes long.) I walked around the house a lot, singing "Maneater". And I did so not realizing I was singing the wrong lyrics.

    At the chorus, when Hall sings, "Watch out boys, she'll chew you up", I thought he said, "Watch out boys, she'll cheer you up." A subtle but important difference. Because of my speech impediment, no one corrected me. When you can't say the letter "r" correctly, "cheer" and "chew" sound exactly the same. And thus I was probably 14 when I finally realized, "Wait, he's saying 'chew'! Of course! That panther could have eaten them all!"

    I also thought Hall was singing, "Bottom to bottom" when he sang, "Mind over matter", but I can't blame that on my enunciation troubles.

    Ring Tone Blog #1

    Here's another audition blog for my new job, Building the Next Great Blog Network:

    Ring Tone Blog #2

    I have never downloaded a ring tone. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I think if Jesus had wanted "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" to play when we received a call, He would have included it in the factory defaults.

    Choosing personalized ring tones for people in my address book is a delicate activity. It is an art that gains power and meaning through its limitations. Just as the White Stripes recorded an album using only pre-1963 equipment, or as Matthew Barney hooked himself up to bungee cords and ran up ramps to do his early paintings, so have I selected ring tones using only the standard Verizon Wireless assortment.

    I believe that every person has one perfect ring tone out there - the electronic melody that best exemplifies their personality, the tones that declare, "I'm calling!" When my father calls, I hear "This Old Man". My little sister gets the tone "Snaggles", because she once broke off her front teeth in a bicycle taxi accident. G-Duck gets "Hava Nagila", because he is a Jew.

    Michele gets the Chinese Melody, because they don't have a Japanese melody. Sure, maybe you could download a Japanese ring tone, but that defeats the whole point of this art. Also defeating the point is that Michele usually sends text messages, which have a completely different alert sound.

    Sometimes a ring tone finds you. When I first discovered the ability to personalize rings, I started with my then-girlfriend. Since a call from her generally meant nothing good, I assigned her the "Uh Oh" tone. Even now, hearing that sound makes me reflexively apologize. But not for using standard ring tones. I will never apologize for using standard ring tones.

    the new navy

    In December of 2004, Navy played in the Emerald Bowl, a college football exhibition played at AT&T née SBC née Pac Bell Park. As the game approached, San Francisco began to fill up with sailors like it was Pride Weekend. The ballpark is not far from my office, so I got to see this firsthand.

    My walk to work takes me past 4th & Market, where there is an Old Navy superstore. (Or a regular store. I might be trying to infuse my walk to work with a grandeur it does not truly possess.) On the day before Navy was set to face off against New Mexico, I rounded the corner to see four sailors, in full uniform, staring into the front windows of Old Navy. They seemed fascinated, but hesitant to enter.

    They were interrupted by an older man in uniform, presumably a superior officer, who yelled at them to keep walking. I like to think he wanted to keep them from going AWOL or enlisting in the Old Navy. "You've got plenty of pockets already! Focus on the New Navy!"

    That discipline helped. Navy eventually won the Emerald Bowl 34-19. Their opponent, the New Mexico Lobos, had a few crucial players make the same mistake the sailors nearly made. Unfortunately, there was no superior officer to keep them away from Old Mexico. And they paid the price.

    A good friend sent me a link to a Craigslist ad asking for writers to Help Build The Next Great Blog Network.

    Sports Business Simulations at www.sbs-world.com has an interlinked network of 24 blogs within its website system. We're currently signing up bloggers who would co-own each blog with SBS, and be able to add their own blogs.

    We're looking for bloggers to take over the following available blogs:

    Health Care
    Entertainment Focus
    Oakland Focus
    College Football
    College Basketball
    Ring Tones
    Online Gaming
    Golden State Warriors

    I think this blog could make some serious money if I buckled down and focused on ring tones. If the people at Sports Business Simulations are reading this, consider this an audition blog:

    Ring Tone Blog #1

    My mom doesn't know how to use her cell phone. She can answer it, and make calls, but that's pretty much the extent to which she utilizes the phone's features. She hasn't checked her voicemail in about six months, so the mailbox is full, and like my grandma, she generally turns it off when she's out, so as to conserve the battery she will never ever use.

    However, Mom does enjoy ring tones. Not that she's changed her own ring tone from the factory default, but she likes the variety of sounds that occur when her children receive a call. One of her favorites was Molly's old ring tone, "Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z.

    My mom may or may not know who Jay-Z is, beyond being "Beyonce's husband". So I was surprised when we were in the car one day, and she began bobbing her head to "Big Pimpin'". When I looked surprised, Mom paused her passenger seat dancing just long enough to point at the radio and say, "Cool! Molly's phone."

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