September 2006 Archives

tuxedo in the trunk

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There's a wedding this weekend, and I will be wearing a tuxedo at the ceremony. I picked it up today, so for most of the evening, I've been driving around with a tuxedo in my trunk. It's a good feeling to have a tuxedo in your trunk. It's an ace in the hole. Someone can cut me off, and I won't give them the finger, much less honk, because I have a tuxedo in the trunk. I might look like a slob, wearing baggy jeans and a worn-out green shirt I bought in 1999, but I'm just four feet away from the fanciest rented ensemble imaginable.

Nothing gets to me. Rod Stewart could come on the radio, and I wouldn't even bother to change the station. At least for a minute or so. That's how good I potentially feel. I have a vested interest in staying cool and looking good. Also I have a vest, which has six buttons.

Say I want to stop at Jack in the Box. A Detroit Lions coach got busted for going through a Wendy's drive-thru naked. I could one-up him by going through the drive-thru in a tuxedo. I would have to find a place to change clothes, though. Maybe Jack in the Box has a restroom I could use. I would change out of the tuxedo before eating the food, I think.

A cop could pull me over for speeding, and I wouldn't even break a sweat. "Why are you smiling?" he might ask, as he examines my license and registration. "Because I know something that you don't know. I have the ability to become formally dressed in just ten-to-twelve minutes." He might need me to actually open the trunk and unzip the garment bag, but I have full confidence I'd be let off with a warning.

When you rent a tuxedo, they let you keep the socks. They try to play it off like it's a complimentary gift to you for renting the tux from their store, but it's not like they have the option of re-renting those socks. They pretty much have to give them to me or throw them away. Who is going to re-use someone else's socks? This is also why you should not go commando when dealing with rented formal wear. A real complimentary gift would be a plush Sanrio penguin. In case you were wondering, the tuxedo socks are also in the trunk.

Say a hot girl pulls up besides me when I'm cruising up 101. We exchange glances. She winks at me. I wink back. She blows a kiss. I raise my eyebrows suggestively. She exits the freeway at Ninth Street, and I follow her. When I pull up beside her, she rolls down her window and tells me she has an extra ticket to the opera - but I'm not dressed appropriately. I put a finger to my lips. "Sssh," I say. "You don't have to worry about that. Follow me to Jack in the Box."

something positive about joe theisman

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Everyone hates ESPN broadcaster Joe Theisman. There's a lot of reasons to hate him. In college, he changed the pronunciation of his last name so it would rhyme with "Heisman", to improve his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy. (He did not win.) As a broadcaster, he is reluctant to criticize any player, but quick to credit various coaches for anything and everything that occurs on the field. If his producers and the FCC allowed it, Joe would fellate an offensive coordinator on-air.

Theisman also likes to use "football" as an adjective, as if fans might forget what sport they're watching without a reminder. "This is a football team that needs to just go out there and make some football plays if they want to win this football game." Last year, Joe said that he thought Jim Haislett of the New Orleans Saints should win the Coach of the Year award. At the time, the Saints were 2-8.

Let it be known that there was once a moment where Theisman was a competent announcer. Maybe the moment didn't last long, but the accompanying video shows that for at least three minutes and sixteen seconds in 1987, Theisman was at the top of his game and damn near psychic. In a move that recalled Tony Kubek predicting Johnny Bench's intentional walk fakeout in the 1972 World Series, Joe called the 49ers amazing comeback minutes before it happened.

Joe was working as a color man for CBS when the 49ers came to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. In the fourth quarter, the Bengals had the ball and a six-point lead, with just seconds remaining. Even though it was fourth down, Coach Sam Wyche decided to go for the first down, rather than punt from his own 30 yard line. Theisman saw this was a bad idea right from the start. Joe told America he'd have given Bengals QB and future obnoxious broacaster Boomer Esiason this advice:

"Boomer, I'll tell you what I want you to do. I want you to take the snap from center...I want you to run around a little bit, then run out the back of the end zone, give up the two points, and the clock will run out. And then, worst comes to worst, they have to punt from the twenty, and there's no time on the clock. If they just take the snap from center, it is conceivable that San Francisco could wind up getting one more play. And from the thirty yard line - who knows what's gonna happen?"

What does happen is Boomer hands off, and the 49ers stop the ballcarrier for a four yard loss. The Niners get the ball at the 25 with two seconds remaining. Just as Theisman speculated minutes earlier, Joe Montana throws a touchdown pass to Jerry Rice, and the 49ers win an absolutely shocking game. The Cincinnati fans boo their team off the field. San Francisco Coach Bill Walsh skips off the field. A stopped clock is temporarily right. And for what may have been the last time in his broadcasting career, Theisman gets some well-deserved kudos from his partner.

"Joe Theisman, I gotta give you absolute full credit for recognizing not just the situation, but what the strategy should have been on the part of [Sam] Wyche," he says. Unfortunately, the video ends before we can hear if Theisman credits the 49ers' offensive coordinator with calling such an effective football play.

excerpts from my meditation journal

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During my first semester at UC Berkeley, I found myself in need of an additional academic unit. I followed the lead of four of my floormates and enrolled in a student-run class on meditation. The class met three times a week, from 8-9 AM. All you had to do was show up, discuss meditation for 5-10 minutes, and then meditate. In addition, we were supposed to keep a "meditation journal".

It took me one single class session to learn a valuable lesson. Meditation teachers didn't take roll before class. Calling out names might have destroyed our relaxed mood. Instead, they circulated a sign-in sheet to keep track of attendance. There was nothing to prevent an unscrupulous student from writing in the names of his three friends who slept through their alarms that morning. In fact, there was nothing to prevent four people from setting up a rotation, where they'd only have to attend 1/4 of their meditation classes. And within that rotation, there was nothing to prevent one person (me) from shirking even that limited responsibility, trusting his friends not to be spiteful and stop writing down his name after a full month of his non-attendance.

Trouble arose when my early-rising friend Jeremy returned from class one Tuesday with news: Our meditation journals were due on Thursday. The instructors wanted to read our daily entries, to get our impressions of the class, and to make sure we weren't stagnating as meditators. I had been writing in my meditation journal nearly as often as I'd been attending class, so I was forced to do half a semester's worth of journal entries in one night. Here are some excerpts from that night:

September 23

For a meditation class, it seemed too noisy. Not high-decibel, but it was just that every little noise seemed to take me out of thoughts...Maybe I just need to focus more. The rest of the class sure responded.

September 24

...I think that on Tuesday, my problem was that I thought about meditating while meditating. I got away from that, but I still feel like I don't belong here, or even know what the hell I'm doing. Stick with it, stick with it...

September 30

I amazed my floormates and myself by actually getting up and going to start Week 2. This is nice because I don't feel any pressure, and when you're in Chem 1A, extra pressure is the last thing you need!

October 7

Not my finest meditation today. I'm a little ashamed of it, especially after what I wrote on Thursday, but I fell asleep in the first part of class. When I woke up, it was hard to get into it again. I suck.

October 16

...I haven't ever tried to meditate outdoors, to get a sensual perspective of the nature I attempted to commune with...the whole experience was more natural, wholesome, and real. What a beautiful day.

October 21

I looked over my journal entries today, and I almost laughed at how paranoid and confused I am in the first few. I may not be the best meditator, but at least I'm not completely paranoid every moment that I'm trying to focus.

I got full credit.

nfl roundup, week three

Seattle 42, New York Giants 30

Eli Manning is making a bid to become the new Brett Favre. Eli gunslung his way to 27 fourth quarter points, meaning the Giants only lost by twelve. Of course, the comeback effort was only necessary because of Eli's three interceptions. Next week, Eli is going to get addicted to Vicodin, then hold a press conference where he hints at retirement.

Carolina 26, Tampa Bay 24

Chris Simms played with a ruptured spleen, which was removed after the game. Steve Young said that, while his father's spleen was one of the toughest in NFL history, Chris Simms's spleen grew up in the laissez-faire atmosphere of Chris Simms's body, and thus may not have had the the physical toughness and ability to succeed in the NFL or the reticuloendothelial system. Young added that he'd let Phil Simms remove his own children's spleens.

Raiders Update

The Raiders were idle this week while Tampa Bay lost, making them only the second-worst pirate-themed NFL team for one week. Next week, when the Buccaneers have a bye and the Raiders lose to Cleveland, they'll be tied at 0-3. Andrew Walter will probably keep his internal organs intact for at least seven more days.

Philadelphia 38, San Francisco 24

You hear a lot about adding insult to injury, but this game showcased the less-heralded "injury to insult", when Frank Gore and Vernon Davis both managed to hurt themselves on a play where Gore fumbled at the goal line and Davis let a 300-pound man ran the fumble back 98 yards for touchdown. Gore achieved the rare "insult to injury to insult" when Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins called him a pussy for straining his abs trying to stretch the ball across the goal line.

Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 20

I only saw Cincinati Coach Marvin Lewis's postgame press conference, where he pleaded with the team to leave the stadium with class. Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason seemed to think he was sending a message to trash-talking receiver Chad Johnson, but I think he was really saying, "Please guys, nobody get arrested."

UPDATE: Linebacker Odell Thurman, already serving a drug suspension, got arrested after the game for drunk driving. He also had teammates in the car with him. Good pep talk, coach.

Washington 31, Houston 15

Move over, Rich Gannon! There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Mark Brunell. Brunell broke Gannon's record for consecutive completed passes by connecting on his first 22 throws yesterday. Gannon's family said that Brunell was a worthy successor, and that they were just happy that a white man broke the record.

New York Jets 28, Buffalo 20

J.P. Losman is the quarterback for Buffalo. That name is almost "Lose-man", and it's appropriate, because J.P. loses all the time. I think I am the first person to ever make this joke.

Indianapolis 21, Jacksonville 14

Also, Giants outfielder Randy Winn has never been on a team with a winning record since reaching the majors. More like Randy Lose!

Green Bay 31, Detroit 24
Baltimore 15, Cleveland 14

Aaron Rodgers and Kyle Boller both called Jeff Tedford this weekend and cried like little girls.

Miami 13, Tennessee 10

I would have been more excited about this game if it had been Vince Young vs. Joey Harrington, instead of Kerry Collins vs. Daunte Culpepper. Neither of these teams is any damn good.

Chicago 19, Minnesota 16

Minnesota coach Brad Childress reminds me of Garth Pancake, the character played by JK Simmons in The Ladykillers.

Childress: childress_large.jpg

Pancake: ladykillers4.jpg

Tuesday meeting:

Coach Childress: OK, stopping the outside run. Easiest thing in the world. Mountain Girl drew up some run blitz schemes, and I think...

Fred Smoot: Did you bring your bitch to the Tuesday film session?

Coach Childress: Excuse me?

Fred Smoot: I said, did you bring your bitch to the Tuesday film session?

Coach Childress: This is Mountain Girl. Mountain is my right hand. She helps me with the Cover-2. Helps me with damn near everything. She's the other half of my life.

Fred Smoot: I can't believe you brought your bitch to the Tuesday film session!

Coach Childress: You son of a bitch punk! Shut your goddamn mouth! (Clutches waist) Oh God. IBS.

St. Louis 16, Arizona 14

Paris Hilton will be calling Phoenix-area radio stations to complain that Matt Leinart should be the starter for Arizona after this game. Any half-decent NFC West team should be able to sneak into the playoffs because they get to play the 49ers, Rams, and Cardinals twice. Unfortunately, none of those three teams seems able to rise out of their mediocrity. The teams will all go 2-4 in the division, lose to Seattle twice, and pick in spots 8-10 in next June's draft.

Denver 17, New England 7

I didn't see this big Sunday night showdown because I was at a wedding banquet. So while the game was going on, I was watching middle-aged Chinese-American couples doing elaborate line dancing. From what I gather from game accounts, that dancing was far more coordinated and effective than the New England offense.

the raiders audition new quarterbacks

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The Raiders have brought in Tommy Maddox to compete for the starting quarterback position, making him the third new QB they've considered in the past [few] months. First it was New Orleans failure and notorious backwards passer Aaron Brooks, and then they brought in Jeff George, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2001. Now, the team is looking at Maddox, a 35 year-old who failed miserably for Pittsburgh last year, to the point that irate fans covered his lawn in garbage.

Maddox didn't leave Oakland with a contract, which means the Raiders third quarterback position is still open. Starter Aaron Brooks has already been injured, and the offensive line has given up 15 sacks in just two games. It's clear that the Raiders are going to need a lot of extra quarterbacks this year. But who's next? We'll take a look at the most likely candidates to try out for the Oakland job in the next few months.

Jim Druckenmiller


Fondly known as Jim "Drunkenmiller", Druck came out of the storied Virginia Tech football program. His performance on and off the field set a standard that all subsequent Tech quarterbacks have tried to match, including Michael and Marcus Vick. The 49ers picked him in the first round of the 1997 draft, even though he was a 24 year-old college senior, and he was out of the NFL two years later. His last pro action came as a backup for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football league. At age 34, Druck's a little young for Oakland, but he'll at least get to come in for a workout.

Gino Torretta


He may have only played one game during his NFL career, but Torretta has the most important quality that the Oakland Raiders look for in a player: a Heisman Trophy. If Torretta doesn't work out, Danny Wuerffel, Andre Ware, or Johnny Lujack could get a call.

Vince Evans


So what if he's 51 years old? Evans was a backup QB for the Raiders for nearly a decade, from 1987-1995. Al Davis loves him, even if he rarely got into a game. Vince Evans in a nutshell: When asked about his favorite games from his Raiders career, Evans listed two preseason victories.

Scott Bakula


At some point during Quantum Leap's run, Dr. Samuel Beckett must have leaped into an interception-prone NFL QB, right?

Bakula also led the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos to a 1-8-1 season in the film Necessary Roughness. Necessary Roughness was a very inspirational film for the entire Raiders organization. Coach Ed "Straight Arrow" Gennero's conflicts with the college administration mirrors the Raiders struggles with the NFL league office. Former linebacker Bill Romanowski drew inspiration from that white samurai linebacker guy. And Sebastian Janikowski became a placekicker solely on the off chance he might someday get to shower with Kathy Ireland. Let's be honest: 1-8-1 looks like a much better record than the Raiders are going to achieve this year.

As a bonus to having Bakula try out, they could also bring in Sinbad to fill in at left tackle.



Starting quarterback at Walden College, and later a third-string quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, B.D. retired from professional sports in 1987 and lost his leg in Iraq. Despite being an above-knee amputee with a prosthetic leg, B.D. would still be far more mobile than starter Andrew Walter.

Uncle Rico


Al Davis loves the deep pass. With Uncle Rico, Davis would finally achieve his dream of having a quarterback who could throw a ball over a mountain. As the third-string quarterback, Uncle Rico's main responsibility would be to throw steaks at malcontent wide receiver Jerry Porter.

Of course, what Al Davis really wants is to get his hands on Uncle Rico's time machine, so he can go back and beat nemesis Jon Gruden in the state championship Super Bowl XXXVII. If they'd have just thrown more deep balls, they would have been Super Bowl champs. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

For years, every Wednesday home game for the Oakland Athletics has been a discount ticket opportunity. While the price doubled a few years back, and seats are now only available in the furthest reaches of the outfield, Two Dolla Wednesday and its One Dolla hot dogs remain the best deal in baseball. Much like the Masters, Two Dolla Wednesday is a tradition unlike any other. It's a tradition of drunkeness, of erratic defensive play, of smuggled alcohol, and of the ill-advised Rally Mustard plan, all of which may be coming to an end this evening. Let's look back on the year that was in Two Dolla Wednesday baseball.

April 19 - Detroit 11, Oakland 4.
A's record: 7-8.

The A's lost to Detroit lefthander Kenny Rogers, who upped his career record to an astonishing 24-4 at the Athletics' home ballpark. Zembla predicted the A's would have trouble besting Rogers, due to his unique bond with the ballpark.

Kenny Rogers:

I once had a rib removed to improve my circulation

McAfee Coliseum:

If someone takes your picture, there'll be an altercation


And we ride it together, uh huh
Making A's hitters suffer, uh huh

At the time, the outcome looked like a disaster. Losing a series to the hapless Tigers was a terrible sign. If they couldn't beat a crappy team like Detroit, what hope did the A's have of beating the real contenders in the American League, like Toronto and Cleveland? The Tigers went to 8-7 on the season, and I figured it was the last time they'd see the good side of .500 in 2006. I am an excellent baseball prognosticator.

Economic note: The two-dollar ticket price worked out to 50 cents for each Oakland error.

May 3 - Cleveland 14, Oakland 3.
A's record: 14-13.

Surely, this was the first step in the Indians' inexorable march to the AL Central crown. The loss snapped a five-game Oakland win streak, and the team went on to lose their next three series. Things looked bleak for Oakland, and more importantly, they were down 25-7 on aggregate for Two Dolla Wednesdays.

Kiko Calero gave up four runs, 20% of his entire season's total, in just one-third of an inning. Joe Kennedy gave up nearly half of his year's earned runs in just one-third of an inning. Throw out this game, and Calero would have an ERA of 2.72, and Kennedy an ERA of 1.28.

My three highlights:

1. Five guys ran around with "GO A'S" painted on their chests. Yes, one guy had to be the apostrophe.
2. Of Nick Swisher, one fan said, "Best hitter, worst beard."
3. Two of my friends attended wearing customized A's t-shirts. One said "Marco" on the back, while the other said "Scutaro". I am going to venture that these are the only customized Marco Scutaro partner t-shirts in existence.

Economic note: Fans paid 25 cents for each Oakland hit.

May 17 - Oakland 7, Seattle 2.
A's record: 20-19.

The A's got their first Two Dolla victory of the year. Barry Zito, the official pitcher of Two Dolla Wednesday, handled the Mariners with ease. It was almost too easy, as if the A's had some sort of insurmountable psychological advantage over the Mariners. This was their fifth consecutive win over Seattle, but the law of averages says Seattle would turn the tide eventually. Right?

It was a rough game for baserunning: two pickoffs, and three runners thrown out at home. Longtime fans could take comfort that the A's were reverting back to historical form: strong pitching, lots of walks, and piss-poor baserunning. I ate five hot dogs.

Economic note: One dollar per sacrifice fly.

June 14 - Oakland 7, Seattle 2.
A's record: 34-31.

A bit of Two Dolla Deja Vu for the A's, as they again handled Seattle on a discount baseball Wednesday. It was Oakland's sixth consecutive victory, and their eighth win in a row over Seattle. The overcast, rainy day did little to make the Mariners feel at home this evening, nor did it diminish the Two Dolla crowd. Surely, Seattle was due for victory against Oakland sometime soon.

Bobby Kielty had two hits for the third Two Dolla Wednesday in a row, making him this year's Marco Scutaro, a low-priced player who raises his game to new heights during low-priced games. Perhaps the discount yellow sun of Two Dolla Wednesday gives Kielty unlimited powers.

Economic note: In honor of Two Dolla Wednesday, I drank two beers, which cost seven-and-a-half times as much as my tickets.

my doppelganger, timmy williams


I transferred to a new middle school when I was in seventh grade. When I got there, people thought I was the younger brother of someone named Eli. The resemblance was apparently uncanny, though I never got to meet him. In the first month of school alone, I must have had thirty people ask me if we were related. In general, I have so many cousins in the Bay Area that it is a shock to say that someone is not my relative.

This older doppelganger haunted me. I wondered if people's perceptions of me were unconsciously colored by their expectations that I would be like Eli. Had Eli made enemies of the journalism teacher who hated me, or had I earned his disdain by my own merits? What about the English teacher who also hated me? If Eli went to swim meets or regional geography bees, would people ask him if he had a younger brother named Sean? I heard less about Eli when I got to high school, and no one at all mentioned him at Cal.

I have done a lot of research into the world of Sean Keanes, but it seems that my focus on the International Same Name Club has made me complacent. I kept up with the people who share my name, but not those who inexplicably share my appearance. This is why I missed Timmy Williams for so long.

Timmy Williams is a writer and performer for a very successful sketch comedy group in New York City called The Whitest Kids U Know. He's originally from South Dakota, but now resides in Brooklyn. Upon seeing the Whitest Kids perform in New York city, one of Zembla's East Coast correspondents frantically messaged me about the existence of my doppelganger:

"You look absolutely fucking exactly alike. Uncanny!" Later, the correspondent elaborated: "Your doppelganger, Keane. The same face, a different man. But still the same body also. Come on!"

Compare for yourself:

Timmy: timmy.jpg

Sean: cropsean.jpg

The Urban Dictionary definition of "timmy williams" is quite telling: "timmy is a fine peice [sic] of man flesh even though he is a small peice [sic], he makes up for his lack in hieght [sic] in his giant booty". If that isn't me to a T!

I don't know what to do here. How do you contact someone and tell them you think you might be their twin? I'm not going to lie, this guy is way more successful than me, and living a dream that I've often dreamt, but never lived. Do I send him a photo? Ask if his upcoming television incarnation of Whitest Kids U Know needs stunt doubles? Do I challenge him to a fight? If we shook hands, would we both disintegrate? If I told him we have the same body, would he hold it against me?

If you've got any advice, let me know. In the meantime, check out my doppelganger in Timmy Poops His Pants. If you squint your eyes just right, it's like I'm pooping my pants.

  • All your crackers are gone.
  • As is your licorice.
  • Her bedroom door is nearly always closed, with a folded towel poking through the two-inch gap under the door.
  • When she sees you eating a Double Whopper, she blushes, looks embarrassed, and walks out of the room.
  • Her conversation is peppered with meaningless words like "looptid".
  • Occasionally, there is a mysterious clapping sound coming from her bedroom.
  • Your bottle of Hennessey is nearly empty.
  • When she dances, she looks like MC Hammer on crack.

Earlier Candynalysis:

Three Musketeers
Lollipop Paint Shop

Some months ago, I purchased a novelty candy called the Lollipop Paint Shop for my good friend Louise. The Lollipop Paint Shop was less than delicious. As a way of returning the favor, Louise bought me some novelty candy as part of my birthday present. It's called the Candee Slurpee, and it is a 7-11 EXCLUSIVE.


My birthday was a few months ago, but I kept the candy preserved in a plastic bag, the way C.S.I. keeps evidence. That is appropriate because the very existence of the Candee Slurpee is a crime. Its combination of Sweet Lollipop! and Sour Liquid! seems designed to evoke an actual Slurpee as much as possible. Underneath the plastic lid is a sweet candy shell, while the inside reservoir is full of sour syrup. The Candee Slurpee also comes with a pointed straw, reminiscent of those that came glued to the back of Capri Sun pouches.

The concept of the candy seems to be that buyers will combine the tastes of sour and sweet by slurping up the liquid while simultaneously licking the hard candy shell. You know, just like a real Slurpee. In practice, this proves impossible. It's hard to eat the hard candy part at all, even without the complication of the straw. The Candee's waxed paper sides add a level of annoying realism and prevents any normal lollipop consumption strategies. The only way to consume the hard candy part is to essentially fellate the entire Slurpee, which will inevitably lead to a sour sticky liquid dribbling down your chin.

The level of realism is impressive. I imagine there were earlier, less-accurate incarnations of the Candee Slurpee that were returned in droves by disappointed consumers. Complaint letters demanded waxier paper, sharper straws, and stickier liquid. If the Candee Slurpee does as well as 7-11 hopes, we might soon see a Big Bite Hot Dog Candee (gummy candy sitting in a bun made of nougat), a Candee Big Gulp (waxy shell, entirely full of sour syrup), scratch-and-sniff candee lottery tickets, or packs of Candee Parliament Lights (regular cigarettes that have been dipped in powdered sugar).

Shockingly, this product contains artifical flavors. 7-11 officially recommends the Candee Slurpee "For Ages 4 and up", but I informally recommend it be immediately thrown in the garbage.

After losing at Tennessee, the University of California's football team rebounded with a victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers last Saturday. The team looks to be well on their way to another 9-3 season, culminating in a blowout loss to Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. I can't wait.

I was at the Minnesota game, enjoying the offensive dominance and festive atmosphere. What I did not enjoy was the Mic Man. For those of you unfamiliar with Cal football, the Mic Man is a designated dork from the Rally Committee. He stands in front of the student section in a shirt and tie, leading cheers, making bad jokes, and receiving the loathing of the entire stadium. I hate the Mic Man and so does everyone else.

In honor of Cal's big game this weekend against perennial (women's soccer volleyball) powerhouse Portland State, here is a selection of history's greatest speeches, as delivered by the Mic Man:

Patrick Henry

All right, the Virginia Militia needs us. Let's make some noise, First Continental Congress! Hey Alumni! Liberty!
Gooooooo Sons of Virginia!

John F. Kennedy

Let the Russians hear it in East Berlin. Ich bin ein Berlinner. You know it, you tell the story, you tell the whole damn world this is NATO territory!

Martin Luther King

First down Bears! First down Bears! Thank God almighty, it's a First Down, Bears!

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Gimme an F!
Gimme an E!
Gimme an A!
Gimme an R!
What's that spell?
What do we have to fear?
What's the only thing we have to fear?
Who's gonna win?
Gooooooo Fear!

Henry V

Make some noise, Agincourt! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! St. Crispin's Day! Ohhhhhh! We few! We happy few! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! Come on! Ohhhhhh!

Jonathan Edwards

The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber. The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them. The flames do now rage and glow - oh, sinner, take off that red shirt!

the guardian

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When I see a movie trailer or poster, my most common reaction is, "That movie doesn't look very good. I sure won't be seeing that one." Sometimes, in the case of a movie like Big Momma's House or Little Man, I get a little excited for the possibility that it might well turn out to be the worst motion picture of all time. Rarely do I see a movie poster and think, "That's not actually a movie at all."


There is a big billboard for The Guardian near the Bay Bridge, right where Highway 101 meets 80. When I saw Ashton Kutcher's name alongside Kevin Costner's, I thought it was a joke. Given the ridiculousness of the pairing, my first thought was that it was an elaborate joke marketing campaign for our local independent newspaper, The San Francisco Bay Guardian.

This wasn't a particularly logical or plausible theory, but it seemed more likely than the idea that someone in Hollywood greenlighted a blockbuster film starring those two actors. It only became real to me when I caught the tail end of a television commercial for the movie. Yes, Kutcher and Costner were indeed teaming up.

However, when I saw the full trailer, it became less real once again. Because The Guardian is not just a Costner-Kutcher buddy action-adventure film, it's a Costner-Kutcher buddy action-adventure film about the Coast Guard. Can I really be sure we're not being punk'd on a previously unimagined scale?

Just for the record, that movie doesn't look very good. I sure won't be seeing that one.

sean keane @ sf comedy club, september 22

Fans, take heed. Sean Keane will be returning to the stage at the San Francisco Comedy Club at 50 Mason. I'll be headlining a ridiculously strong showcase that Friday night, September 22, at 8 PM. Ali Wong will be the feature act, and the bill includes such Sean Keane favorites as Greg Edwards and Nitin Kant. Add in Cal alum Zahra Noorbakhsh and elder comedy statesman David Kleinberg, and you've got a stellar lineup that does not discriminate based on race, age, or gender.

Admission is $10, and while the SF Comedy Club now serves wine and beer, there's still no drink minimum. The Club is essentially besieged by quality Indian restaurants, and you can feel free to bring in food to your table or booth. I'm much funnier when the audience has been primed with booze and curry.

What I'm most excited about is that it's been five years, and as such, it is now officially OK to make jokes about September 11th. I'll be commemorating the anniversary of the World Trade Center disaster and America's subsequent victory over terrorism with some leftover jokes that simply haven't been acceptable until today.

Here's a little sample:

"So the Arabs crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11. If it's Arab pilots, you'd think the attack would have happened on 7/11. Thank you, bomb again."

Pure gold! And I've been sitting on that little gem for five years! I don't want to give away too much of the material, but let's just say a certain Osama "Been Hidin'" will not escape unscathed by my precision, bunker-busting comedy assault.

Official promotional info, including a link to an overwhelming and confusing Craigslist announcement, is after the jump.

my september 11th story


Beginning in 1999, the Heuristic Squelch put on comedy shows at UC Berkeley. By 2001, the shows had gained momentum, and the Squelch had ended its contentious partnership with ASUC SUPERB, the arm of student government in charge of putting on entertainment, and the same people who paid Uncle Joey 10 grand to perform on campus. We had up-and-coming comedians lined up to perform, and we had a great venue to put on show's in Blake's on Telegraph. Our first show would feature comics Jim Short and Rob Cantrell, along with future expatriate Luke Filose. It would take place on a night free of competition from other comedy clubs, and early enough in the semester that students weren't swamped. Yes, September 11th, 2001 would be a big day for comedy in Berkeley.

I went to bed on the 10th after staying up late, furiously re-writing jokes and practicing my Young Sean voice. I woke up to early knocking on my bedroom door, with my roommate warning that I probably wanted to get up and watch CNN.

There's nothing profound for me to say about the actual events. I didn't know anyone in New York at the time, so there were no frantic phone calls. What I remember was how quiet everything was. No one was out on the street, no planes flew overhead, and even the guys next door had stopped revving the broken-down Camaro in the back yard.

We didn't know whether to cancel the show or not. Ultimately we decided to go through with it, partly because there was no real way to cancel at that point. At Blake's, the crowd was surprisingly large, albeit shell-shocked. I had some snarky material about the day's events, Bush's competence, and TV coverage, but ultimately, I decided to start the show with a simple disclaimer. I told the crowd that the day had been terrible, everyone was confused, and we all felt nothing but sympathy for the victims. But, no disrespect, we were still going to do the show, and we hoped no one thought we were assholes.

And then I started to do my act. When you go first at a comedy show, it's called "taking the bullet". I would say that talking about a massive terrorist attack is one of the toughest intros you can face as a comic, even worse than following a guy who rants incoherently about his blind bluesman friend. The first joke I told didn't go over all that well. But a strange thing happened once I got going. When a joke succeeded, it got a huge reaction. It was as if all of the twelve hours of stress, fear, and compulsive CNN-watching had built up, desperately wanting some kind of outlet. And, damn it, jokes about little girls with T. Rex arms provided that outlet.

It also helped that the pro comics went out and kicked ass. Rob Cantrell was his usual stellar self, and Jim Short was flat-out amazing, doing a good fifteen minutes he must have written that afternoon, all about CNN and planes and racism. I eventually felt confident enough to assert that Blake's might eventually become a terror target - there's good beer, the music rocks, and you just know Bin Laden hates that shit.

Everyone felt a little better walking out, or at least until they got upstairs and saw the footage of the planes hitting the towers playing over and over on the bar televisions. So we yelled, "Let's roll", charged the bartender, and changed the channel to Comedy Central.

Too soon?

Zembla's tribute to the recently-deceased Crocodile Hunter concludes today with a final interview. (Part 1 2 3) Our last subject is Timothy, a sucking louse that previously lived in Steve Irwin's hair.


Timothy: I chose Steve as a host quite by accident. I'd somehow managed to get myself into the fur of a kangaroo, and after what seemed to be a rather intense wrestling match, I found myself clinging to his scalp.


Timothy: He'd pick at us with a lot of enthusiasm. If he managed to grab one of us, Steve would hold up the louse and yell, "Look at her! She's a real beauty!"


Timothy: I don't think so. I am a head louse, and even I think we all pretty much look the same.


Timothy: He'd carefully put the louse in a bag and take it to the "preserve", as he called it. Then he'd carefully release it, explaining how beautiful the louse was.


Timothy: No, Steve wasn't on camera while he was doing that.


Timothy: It was a bit dangerous. You never knew when he'd suddenly fling himself into a river or slam his head into a tree. Never a dull moment with Steve.


Timothy: Once you fall off a person, that's pretty much it for a louse. By the time anyone reads this interview, I will surely be dead.


Timothy: It was a pleasure. Steve was a wonderful host. The lone criticism I have is that he could have worn looser shorts.


Timothy: I had some friends down there.

We continue to commemorate Steve Irwin's life with our series of interviews (Read Part One Part Two). Here, we talk with Russell, the stingray that inadvertantly killed Mr. Irwin last week.

Russell: I really am sorry. I'd like to say to Mr. Irwin and his family, my bad. I take full responsibility. It was purely a reflex action, and if I could take it back, I would.


Russell: Normally I hang out on the ocean floor. It's a camouflage thing, really. I like to eat worms and crustaceans, and if I don't move too much, I can eat them rather easily.


Russell: No, the sting is purely defensive. There's really no need to poison a worm. Be a bit of overkill, you follow? I've got quite a lot of teeth, so subduing small sea creatures and cracking open shells is really no big deal. You hear that, hermit crabs? You've got no chance against me, you delicious little bastards.


Russell: I guess I thought he was a hammerhead shark.


Russell: No, you're right. Sharks don't normally wear khaki.


Russell: Have you ever been attacked by a hammerhead shark? You'd try to sting it, too. They're frightfully hard to sting, to tell you the truth. Even if you sting them, they don't seem all that affected by poison. That's how my dad went. First he got hammered by the head, and then he got eaten. By the teeth.


Russell: Well you've got to at least try to sting them. We're not bluffrays or stern glarerays. If I go, I want to go down stinging, that's for sure.


Russell: It's a bit ironic, don't you think? Him with his dangerous animals and death-defying feats, taken out by little old me, who wouldn't hurt a fly. I'd hurt a shark, though.


Russell: Well, I'd try.

As part of our coverage of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's untimely death (Read Part One), Zembla presents another conversation with a dangerous animal who knew Irwin. This time, we chatted with Angus, a large spitting cobra.

Angus: I was in some bushes when Steve came over with his camera crew and picked me up. Later I learned he was filming a special on the World's Deadliest Snakes, which I have to admit was flattering. I've always considered myself a deadly snake, but one of the world's deadliest? That's when I knew I was really, truly poisonous.


Angus: Worst part? The worst part was when he poked me with the stick. Later, when he held me in the air by my tail, that was humiliating. Being carried in the burlap sack was no picnic either. But it still didn't compare to the initial trauma of being poked with that stick. You can coil up, you can hiss, and you can even strike, but at the end of the day, it doesn't change the fact that sticks simply are not vulnerable to poison.


Angus: You better believe I tried to bite him. But, you know, he had the stick.


Angus: Ultimately I think it was his genuine, enthusiastic nature that made Steve resonate with viewers. Among deadly snakes, well, we liked the catchphrases. "Crikey" and all that. I'll miss him. But I won't miss that stick.

Steve Irwin, television's Crocodile Hunter, died this week after a freak accident with a stingray. Here at Zembla, we've put together a series of interviews with those who knew Steve best - the dangerous animals he featured on his program. Our first discussion is with Nigel, a freshwater crocodile.

Nigel: I met Steve during a rogue crocodile relcoation program about seven, eight years ago. I'd gone a bit aggro, and Steve came and wrestled me out of the creek I'd wandered into. I'll be honest. I definitely wanted to bite him.


Nigel: My objections were twofold. First, the lack of residual payments for my appearance on the program. Second was the title, "The Crocodile Hunter". I think the name is a bit offensive. Crocodile wrangler, maybe. Crocodile relocator, sure. But "Hunter"? No, I don't care for the name at all.


Nigel: I think it's inflammatory, definitely. What kind of message does that send to children about the hunting of crocodiles? He's supposed to be this great conservationist, yet the title of the show practically encourages people to go into the Outback and start shooting. It's irresponsible to say the least.


Nigel: Oh, no complaints on a personal level. I was treated with nothing but politeness, and the zoo is lovely. Cheers, mate.

jewish heritage night at at&t park


I went to see the Giants play the Reds on a recent Thursday night. When we arrived, there was klezmar music playing on Willie Mays Plaza and the air was thick with the smell of knishes. Why was this night different from all other nights? Because it was Jewish Heritage Night, part of the Giants' program of ethnic heritage nights.

We had unknowingly gone to the ball park during Heritage Week - Monday was the season's second Irish Night, Tuesday was Italian Night, and the following Friday was African-American Night. Of course, none of those other ethnicities have the same legacy of baseball success as the Jews, so this was a special night.

For Mexican Heritage Night, the team provided sombreros to all fans. We hoped that they would be handing out yarmulkes with the SF logo on them, but no such luck. Sadly, that meant there would be no opportunity to turn the skullcaps inside out to make Rally Yarmulkes. It turns out that the giveaway was Giants caps written in Hebrew, but only for fans who purchased the Jewish Night package. In other words, the team was being cheap.

Randy Winn led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run into the left-field bleachers, and the Giants had the lead. The homer was an absolute rocket blast, so much that we initially thought Randy Winn was retaliating for a kidnapping. When Pedro Feliz hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the second, it looked like we might be looking at a Six-Day War against pitcher Eric Milton's unimpressive fastball. However, those would be the last runs the Giants would score this evening. It's as if their offense began fasting at sundown.

The Giants unveiled a full array of special graphics for the occasion. A digital Jackie Mason appeared with the words "Oy Vey" whenever a hitter reached base. That was OK. Mike Myers-as-Linda Richman popped up to tell the crowd, "I'm a little verklempt" after good defensive plays. One could argue about the appropriateness of "verklempt". Does a late-August battle between two .500 teams normally leave fans emotionally affected? We also got two different video clips from "Fiddler on the Roof", and an audio-only rendition of "Tradition". Was this Jewish Heritage Night or Jewish Stereotype Night?

We would have liked to see them go all the way with the scoreboard, Jewish mother style. Make announcements between innings warning fans to bundle up. Instead of the bit where fans stand and wave their VISA cards, have single doctors stand and wave their telephone numbers. And instead of flashing "NOISE", the scoreboard could simply say, "Fine, don't clap. Sit on your hands, what do I care? I'll just go sit in the dugout like a dog."

The matzo-eating contest was a bit of a disappointment, as the winner appeared to be crumbling the matzo against his face more than he was actually eating it. Kobayashi would have been disappointed, but the judges may have looked the other way because of our winner's snazzy yarmulke. Our favorite special event was the old bearded man playing the shofar, a traditional Jewish wind instrument, from behind home plate. If you have never heard "Charge!" played on the horn of a ram, you simply have not lived.

In the sixth inning, gentile Shea Hillenbrand hit a single, but he was stranded on third when the inning ended. Though Pedro Feliz hit a double with two outs, the coach inexplicably held up Hillenbrand as he rounded third. Please, third-base coach Gene Glynn, let my baserunners go!

For us, the evening peaked in the bottom of the eighth, when Cincinnati brought in the only Jewish player on either team, reliever Scott Schoeneweis. There was palpable tension in the crowd as Schoeneweis warmed up, as fans were torn between team and religious loyalties. It only got more intense as catcher Eliezer Alfonzo strode to the plate, pausing to kiss his crucifix necklace on his way to the batter's box, a direct challenge to Schoeneweis's faith. Now it was a holy war. On this night, the Torah proved mightier than the New Testament, and Alfonzo went down swinging.

The Giants eventually lost 6-3, and we resigned ourselves to wandering through the South of Market area, looking for public transportation. No trains were running, so it took about 40 years to get home. There was a lot of time to reflect on the night. The game was a victory, not only for the Reds, but for Scott Schoeneweis. Batters will have no choice but to officially recognize his existence from now on, and it proves once and for all that you can be a successful major league pitcher without a foreskin. We learned that Scott Hatteberg is not actually Jewish, that a rally rabbi is ineffective in motivating an offense, and that you can make only one java-related joke about Todd Coffey "warming up" in the bullpen before one of your companions punches you. But the main thing we learned was that baseball is even more fun when it's combined with half-assed ethnic pandering. We'll certainly be there next year for Zoroastrian Heritage Night, that's for sure.

fighting the law, sort of

Who says appellate law is tedious and humorless? From a recent Court of Appeal opinion:

"We affirm in part, concluding: (1) An incident where defendant's appointed counsel shoved him into a seat and yelled "fuck you", failed to demonstrate a sufficient break-down of the attorney-client relationship to find that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to appoint new counsel."


flashback 2000: cheech and chongfeld

(With Flashbacks, we revisit old comedic scribbles unearthed from various notebooks, post-it notes, and 3.5 inch floppy disks that sit in a box on Sean's desk. Flashbacks are like reruns of television shows that never aired, but are syndicated forever in our dreams.)

Flashback #1

Flashback #2

Cheech and Chongfeld - February 2000

Announcer: Now stay tuned for Cheech and Chongfeld, a sitcom about nothing – nothing but smoking weed, that is.

Cheech: Hey Chongfeld, man, what is the deal with the childproof lighter, man?

Chongfeld: Man, I don't know, Cheech.

Cheech: I mean, like, it's so hard to light a joint with one, man. Who are the ad wizards who like, came up with this stuff?


Chongfeld: Hey, man, who's there?

Kramer: It's me, Kramer!

Cheech: Kramer's not here, man.

Kramer: No, this is Kramer. Come on, Cheech! Open the door!

Chongfeld: No, Kramer's not here, man.

(Knocking continues)

Cheech: Hey man, I was thinking, what's the deal with bongs?

Announcer: Stay tuned for scenes from next week’s episode of Cheech and Chongfeld.

Chongfeld: Hey man, we ought to have a contest. Whoever can go the longest without smoking weed wins, man.

Cheech: OK, man.

(two-second pause)

Chongfeld: Man, I'm already out.

regaining focus

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It might officially be September 1st, but to me, it feels like New Year's Day. Because I am hung over, watching college football on TV, and making foolishly optimistic resolutions.

The old resolution to blog every day fell by the wayside, and then hoodlums along the wayside beat and kicked the resolution until it was barely a memory.

The weight loss resolution is cowering in a ditch near the wayside, pretending to be unconscious and weeping bitter, salty tears.

Let's make things new, readers. Let's forget the past, the false promises, the weeks without new material, and focus on us. Let's focus on now. Let's get a stereogram and focus our eyes weird so we can finally see the 3-D dolphin. Let's ask a focus group what they think of the new anti-comment trend on Cementhorizon. Let's put two points on the axis of symmetry of a conic section. And let's let bygones be bygones, because, if you think about it, what the fuck else would they be?

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