Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drama in the Desert: It's about the money people...

One can have an entire debate about whether or not American Imperialism actually works. In the business world, its called ROI (Return on Investment), and it's a tangible measurement of input versus output gain. In fact, you could say this very debate rages on across the political spectrum as you read my words. How much money do we spend on helping others, and what do we get in return?

Your tax dollars are spent on foreign aid in both Libya and Egypt, and now a U.S. Ambassador and others have all been brutalized and murdered by the very people we thought we were helping. What good did our money do? As one of the more contentious Presidential Elections in modern history nears, this debate rises again to the forefront of American political discussion, as countries around the Arab Crescent begin to riot and revolt (again).

I wholeheartedly dismiss the idea that a terrible movie made by someone in Los Angeles about Mohammed, (a movie that Koran burning Florida pastor Terry Jones says "reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad") and then dubbed to Arabic and uploaded to YouTube, is the cause of these events in Egypt, Libya, and the Sudan. First, the "movie" was uploaded in July, and the violence didn't begin until September 12th.

Second, it wasn't until a Egyptian TV program showed clips of the film less than a week ago, crediting Pastor Jones (turns out he was only airing the trailer of the movie) that the flame was struck, and the fuse was lit. If you add to that we now have intelligence services from around the world, including in Libya, stating the protests and attacks on U.S. personnel and property are simply pre-planned events set to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the whole idea of some movie as the cause of this round of Middle East turmoil is pretty much shot to hell.

It is difficult for most American's to understand, and even harder for them to accept, but this is a violent area of the planet. In order to stem the tide of chaos, rule by brutality is a necessity. That the Muammar el-Qaddafi's and Bashar al-Assad's rule with an iron fist and perpetrate violence and death in order to maintain control is true, but how else would you do it? This sort of "nuclear deterrent" works. Is it preferable? No. But we need to deal in reality.

But the Obama Administration candidly refuses to do so. They removed Muammar el-Qaddafi, and now Egypt is in flames. If it weren't for the Russian's, this administration would have doubled down on that mistake and removed Syrian Bashar al-Assad as well, destabilizing the region even further. Obama may not know if Egypt is an ally or an enemy today, but he should have know Qaddafi certainly was.
Despite rising tensions, our embassy's were poorly defended, and our "friends" told the rebels where to find the Ambassador, so they could murder and then desecrate his body. Sensitive documents stored at the U.S. Consulate in Libya have disappeared. And so what has been this President's response to the crisis? To give Egypt more money. To give Libya more money.

Between 1948 and 2011, the United States has given Egypt over $70 Billion Dollars in foreign aid. And following the attack on our Ambassador, The President proposes to give Egypt ANOTHER $1.5 Billion in Aid, beginning October 1st. Yet another failure. Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate Floor to suggest a course of action that I happen to agree with: put tighter aid restrictions on Egypt, Libya, as well as Pakistan and Yemen. “The American people are tired of this,” Paul said. “Our Treasury is bare. There is a multitude of reasons why we should not continue to send good money after bad.”

I suppose the Obama Administration should be thankful for the bait and switch tactics underscoring these events. As long as some stupid parody film of Mohammed is being touted as the cause of this round of unrest, maybe nobody will stop to question their policies in the Middle East, which thus far have included destroying our allies, removing our friends, and asking you and I to continue to foot the bill.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The End of the G-Funk Era

Rumors of his death have been circulating around the internet for several years now, but on Tuesday, at the age of 41, West Coast Singer/Rapper Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale was pronounced dead, after suffering a multiple stroke episode. Nate Dogg had experienced other stroke events in 2007, and again in 2008 (which may have had something to do with all those death rumors), but was said to be on the road to recovery before his passing on Tuesday. While 41 is shockingly young, it is important to remember that 41 is 287 in dog years…

His impression upon popular music is undeniable, or as he sang on Fabolous’ 2000 debut song “Ya’ll can’t deny it...” Nate Dogg was a STRAIGHT RIDER…paving the way for many other singer/rappers, including Will.I.Am. and T-Pain. As a part of 213, alongside Snoop Dogg and Warren G., Nate Dogg first appeared nationally on Dr. Dre’s multi-platinum selling album The Chronic.

Celebrities from around the music industry have been tweeting away, all fondly remembering the Hip Hop Icon. Ice Tee tweeted “I woke up this morning to learn that another Hip Hop Legend and friend has passed away.. Rest in peace Nate Dogg. We'll miss you my nigga.”

Snoop Dogg was saddened by the news, saying on Twitter “We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met. I love u buddy luv. U will always b wit me 4ever n a day. u put the g n gfunk. u put the 1 n 213 n u put yo stamp on evrybdy u ever did it wit. I miss u cuzz I am so sad, but so happy I got to grow up wit u and I will c u again n heaven cuz u know d slogan: all doggs go to heaven!”

This story strikes a personal chord because it could happen to me too. As a young man, and as a man who’s maternal grandmother passed away when my own mother was just three years old, due to a stroke event. Doctors say there are warning signs, which can include race, family history, and gender. While you’re thinking about it, head on over to American Heart.Org to find out if you are at risk for a stroke.

As a young DJ, I cut my teeth on music by Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, Warren G, and Snoop. They are all inexorably linked in my mind. I am truly saddened by the news of his death (I was really hoping they’d finish that rumored new 213 album). A parting thought: Although Death and Taxes are the only certainties in life, knowing the risks can help. Take care of yourself. And to a man who’s music I dearly respect, Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale, I say: Heaven must have needed another gangsta… Rest In Peace.

PS. Great Tribute Mixshow

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Mind of Mencia

I got together with my friend Carlos Mencia on his run through Northern California and he agreed to sit for an interview for an interview. I’ve met Carlos a few different times, and we have an understanding: I’m not interested in ‘Dee Dee Dee’. If I wanted that guy, I would just watch the Mind of Mencia on DVD. I want to talk to the man I know him to be; thoughtful, insightful, intelligent, and long winded! Carlos Mencia LOVES to talk. This interview took place over a couple of different days, both over the phone and in person. Portions where either Carlos or I babble on incessantly have been (thankfully) edited out.

N: Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central lasted for three seasons, what was it like to work there?
M: It’s difficult. It’s a network, like any other network, with very defined rules about what you can or cannot say. Comedy Central is on cable, so it isn’t governed by the FCC, so they can say whatever they want, if they wanted to. They would go for somebody like Chapelle doing a sketch about a family called the ‘Niggars’, but if somebody else wanted to do that same sketch they’d be like…uh you can’t do that. So it’s much more difficult because it’s random. And then all the sudden you’re following South Park, which is so edgy, but it’s a cartoon and you’re not….

N: Give me an example of what you mean. What is a sketch that you came up with that never made it onto the show?
M: I wanted to do a sketch about religion. See, we are all dying for religions, but it’s THE GODS that should kill themselves. So let’s just get a representative of every religion to have a Religious Royal Rumble and have it out. And they were like, “sounds great but you can’t show Mohammed.’ They wanted to respect the Muslim faith, but I’m not Muslim. They wouldn’t even let someone PLAY the part, even though someone is playing Moses, and Jesus, and South Park just did an episode where the show the Devil shitting all on a Crucifix of Jesus Christ. It’s stuff like that where you just kinda left going, I don’t understand.

N: Is it hypocritical of the network, or is it just in their own best interests? Are they just afraid of the backlash?
M: You see, the problem with doing jokes about Middle Eastern people is that it comes with ‘they might blow your shit up’. That’s the fear, ya know what I mean? Black people are gonna march, White people are gonna march, Latino’s are gonna march. The crazy Middle Eastern guy is gonna blow you up. That’s where it comes from, and so they fear that, I think more than anything else. Which is stupid, but whatever.

N: I’ve seen your act, so I already know the answer to this question. Where did ‘Dee Dee Dee’ come from?
M: I was on stage at the Comedy Store, and I was making fun of stupid people. And someone yelled out ‘you’re being mean!’ and I was like ‘no I’m not’. You see a couple that you’ve never met in your entire life, and you make eye contact. And without even consciously thinking it, your entire body cringed because you thought ‘oh my God I hope those two never have kids’. Because you know that that kid is gonna be a MORON. Cause the Mom is obviously a ‘DUH’ and the Dad is obviously a ‘DUH’ so what’s the kid gonna be? At that moment is was like ‘duh duh duh’ which morphed itself into ‘DEE DEE DEE’! It’s really just Duh to the Third Power.

N: I hope this isn’t uncomfortable, but I want to talk about controversy. You’ve been called a joke thief a time or two by Joe Rogan. Here’s how I heard it: You’re doing a set at the Comedy Store, and he busts in on you on stage…
M: No no no, that’s not how it happened. He was on stage talking about me negatively, and then I went on stage and was like ‘why are you doing this, what is your problem?’ That’s how all that got started.

N: Do you guys have beef, or is it just jealousy?
M: I won’t speak for other people. I really don’t. What I can tell you is that anybody who has put out as many albums and as much materials as I have is gonna end up talkin about things that have been talked about before.

N: Oh man, I feel ya. Even with that I do on the radio, it tough to stay fresh all the time. You definitely have a unique perspective
M: Well that’s what I have. A different perspective. I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘Hey! Carrot Top and Carlos Menica are my two favorite comics!’ And I’m like, awesome! I’m not offended by that…

N: Maybe a little creeped out?
M: (with a laugh) No! I get it, we’re completely different. It’s ok…

N: You know what I’d like? I’d like for you and Joe Rogan to throw down inside the UFC octagon…that’s what I’M talkin about!
M: Ya but see, I’m a comedian. Ya know what I mean? It’s not cause I’m a bitch or a punk, otherwise I’d have never stepped foot on that stage with him in the first place…

N: Fo Sho! Well that’s definitely true. But what if we gave you guys some big ass cartoon style gloves?

M: Ya I get it. But see for me I don’t hate. That’s just not where I live. Dude I from another country, I’m an immigrant. I know how beautiful this country is and what it gives to people like me. My job is to make people laugh. I don’t even think of stuff like getting into a ring and fighting someone. I would never do it! I try to make people laugh, I try to bring passion, I try to bring love. That’s what I do. I haven’t thrown a punch since I was in the ghetto bro, I’m not about to do it now that I have money…

N: Eh, the controversy doesn’t bother me much in all honesty. I know how it goes, and if someone would hold what Joe Rogan says against you, then they don’t understand what you do in the first place.
M: We live in a world that breeds a lot of hate right now. Ya know what I mean? We live in a world filled with negativity. How often on the internet have you gotten something saying, hey go to this website and send a letter to a Marine or a Soldier. How often does stuff like that go viral on the internet? It doesn’t. What gets viraled is ‘hey David Letterman just admitted to screwing half his staff…’ Very negative, very negative society. I won’t feed into that, that will never be me.

N: So what are you up to after the show?
M: We’ll the people in Redding are awesome. Intelligent and awesome. One of the big surprises when we did The Punisher tour in ’06. So me and some buds and some family members are gonna rent a houseboat and hang out on Shasta for a week or a few days. We’re gonna get hammered bro! Hopefully nobody falls off the boat. With my career and my life right now, that the last thing I need man. I can just see the headline: ‘Carlos Mencia. Houseboat and a drowning. And he STOLE HIS JOKE before he drowned!’

N: Alright man, I can hear the crowd calling your name, I’m gonna scoot out and take my seat. Thanks for hanging with me for a bit man.M: You’re very welcome big man. Keep in touch; we’ll do it again sometime.

I want to thank Carlos Mencia and his manager Joey for hooking me up with so much time this trip through. The show at the Redding Convention Center was phenomenal. Mencia has such good energy live and he performed for a little over two hours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Creepiest Loves Songs of ALL TIME!

They sound so sweet when sung by some of our favorite artists of all time...but when you REALLY stop to think about the lyrics, these songs are creepy as hell.

I tried to imagine myself (or preferably, someone else) in the situation described in these songs, imagine myself saying or having the lyrics said to me. If you imagine the same'll understand exactly how creepy some of pop music's biggest performers really are.

Lionel Richie

Originally came up on the "creep-dar" as part of 40-Year Old Virgin. Because watching Steve Carrel touch himself isn't disturbing enough, the producers made Steve get all"self-grabby" with this little ditty in the baackground, scoring this track a 7 out 0f 10 creepers.

I've been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you're looking for?

Death Cab for Cutie
I Will Possess Your Heart

How I wish you could see the potential
The potential of you and me
It's like a book elegantly bound
But in a language you can't read just yet

You reject my advances
and desperate plea.
I won't let you let me down
so easily. So easily

You got to spend some time, love
You got to spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find love
I will possess your heart

The overwhelming theme of this song is about being so obsessed with loving someone that the mere thought of that love being unreturned is simply refused. It's a clever song because of the ambiguities between the catchy beat/bass line, the pop sounding song style, and the meanings behind the lyrics.

Due to copyright, I can't embed the song, but here is a link to the video for the full radio version of the song. Definitely worth a listen... 8 of 10 creepers

Rick Astley
Never Gonna Give You Up

This song is creepy for several reasons, the least of which is that a tall goofy looking ginger can make a sound like that with his voice. You see, our boy Rick is THAT guy. The one you've been friends with forever and ever who all the suddens confesses he's OBSESSED with you. AWKWARD!

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but
You're too shy to say it
Inside we both know what's been going on
We know the game and we're gonna play it
And if you ask me how I'm feeling
Don't tell me you're too blind to see

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry

Rick only made us a little uncomfortable. He earns a 4 out of 10 creepers.

The Horror of Our Love

I believe this a track best described as "EMO". Since I'm almost 30...I've lost touch with my "inner depressed teenager" a while back, so I can't be sure. Forgive me if I have mis-categorized this song from Ludo.

I'm a killer
Cold and wrathful
Silent sleeper
I've been inside your bedroom
I've murdered half the town
Left you love notes on their headstones
I'll fill the graveyards
Until I have you

Instead of some crafty humorous explanation of the lyrics, I shall let this song stand on its own...

10 out of 10 creepers (duh)

The Everly Brothers
Down in the Willow Garden

The Everly Brothers are the most successful selling Rock N Roll duo on the Billboard Top 100, their greatest period coming between 1957 and 1965. This isn't just a creepy love song. It's an OLD creepy love song. For all I can tell, the Everly's INVENTED the idea...

Down in the Willow garden
Where me and my love did meet
As we sat a-courtin'
My love fell off to sleep
I had a bottle of Burgundy wine
My love she did not know
So I poisoned that dear little girl
On the banks below

I drew a sabre through her
It was a bloody knife
I threw her in the river
Which was a dreadful sign

7 out of 10 creepers

Nick Cave & Kylie Minouge
Where the Wild Roses Grow

In this song, Nick Cave is obsessed with the beauty of the girl known as Elisa Day. So obsessed in fact that he kills her with a rock, to "forever preserve her beauty" or some damn thing. Elisa (Kylie) lingers around in the rose patch/river where Nick killed her and dumped, as a ghost...and
the people who talk about the murder refer to the wild rose...which is why they call her the wild rose, instead of Elisa Day...

Seriously, if the song meaning/lyrics don't make your skin crawl, the video will....

On the third day he took me to the river
He showed me the roses and we kissed
And the last thing I heard was a muttered word
As he stood smiling above me with a rock in his fist

On the last day I took her where the wild roses grow
And she lay on the bank, the wind light as a thief
As I kissed her goodbye, I said, 'All beauty must die'
And lent down and planted a rose between her teeth

8 out of 10 creepers (I don't like the bloody water image...)


As a man, I see the creepy love song list STACKED with dudes. I'm pleased to include a song from a creepy chick. Ke$sha goes completely nuts in this song, obsessed with some boy named "Stephen". I know, we've all been there...but do we really need the duck tape? And eating his you know where he's been Ke$sha? Get a GRIP!

Why won't you call me?
I'm sitting here waiting
Why won't you call me?
I'm feeling pathetic
I can't take rejection
Why won't you call me?

I'll knit you a sweater
I want to wrap you up in my love
I will never let you go Stephen
I'll never let g

Ke$ha - Stephen (Official Music Video) from Ke$ha Portugal on Vimeo.

6 out of 10 creepers (I think I could take her if she went all "nutso" so I feel a little more secure in my rating)

The Police
Every Breath You Take

I bet you thought I would forget this one? How could I? This is the MACK DADDY of creepy love songs. Sting is so into this chick he wants to watch her breathe....

How my poor heart aches with every step you take
Every move you make and every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake, I'll be watching you

More lyrics:

9 out of 10 creepers

Some real winners on here! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends! Happy Valentines Day lovers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You don't see THAT everyday...

I keep relatively busy these days…you might find me DJing a club, mixing a radio show, or chatting with an Events client about a Wedding or School dance…sometimes I get to do even cooler stuff. You see, I freelance as a Sound and Lighting guy…I put on concerts and other theatrical events inside big theatres, casinos, stadiums, and the like.

It’s really fun, I get to work with a lot of great creative people, and I get to play with a lot of expensive toys. After nearly a dozen years I thought I had seen it all. But today, I learned that was simply not the case.

I had arrived at Gold Country Casino in Northern California to do a pre-production meeting with the Casino staff, the Sound Manager, and my client, the ISCCD, who had hired me to help them produce a “Coronation Event”. I would be Directing the show, two Stage Managers, two Spot Light Ops, and a Lighting Director…plus…I will be operating the video system, doing all of the sound, AND DJING! Talk about MULTI-TASKING! But I’m up for a challenge, and ya gotta love what you do…

I checked all sorts of stuff out this afternoon. We focused some lights for the show, hung a disco ball…I ran a Cherry Picker inside the Casino, which is always a good time. It was funny though, as I was hanging the Disco Ball, the trussing the lights were hanging on started to sway from their chain motor mounts, and I got disoriented big time for a second. I thought my lift was moving! Really disconcerting feeling when you’re 20’ above the floor.

Can I just say for a minute how much I love Clear-Com? We spent a good amount of time checking and double checking the communications system. You’ve seen the guys at concert’s with the head-sets on right? That’s Clear-Com! It allows me, as the Director, to talk to everyone else. It also allows them to talk to each other, or me. It’s basically one open line between everyone on the system. Your microphone is either open, or closed…typically, the show Director is the one with an open mic, calling the shot, and everyone else listens, unless they need something.

My client and I went out to the front of the Casino, looking for a knife to cut some zip-ties. When we walked out the door, a car in the front parking row was smoking. It looked overheated. Our path would take us directly beside this smoking car, so of course, we exercised a bit of caution. Good thing too. First we saw the plastic dripping off from something underneath the car, dripping and flaming at the same time.

The Casino staff brought a fire extinguisher out to try and help. Of course, I was barking orders, telling them NOT to open the hood. If something was burning in there, a rush of oxygen might cause it to explode. I’m not a jerk, I was just REALLY concerned by this point. I had never seen something like this, and I immediately began expecting the worst.

Nearly 8 minutes later, after the car had dumped some of its fuel into the fire, completely engulfing the older sedan, causing 20 foot flames to shoot out of the roof, the Fire Department and the CHP had gotten the blaze under control. But seriously people, I saw an exploding car in the parking lot of a Casino I was prepping for a show. I love this business!

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's all about the bathroom....

Ok, so I’m about to tell you something personal…but only because I am willing to bet that I’m not the only one with this issue. And even if this doesn’t affect you personally, I hope you will understand my point.

I am what we like to call “a shy pee-er”. I’m not ashamed of my package, other men don’t make me nervous, I just can’t STAND having someone watch me when I take a leak. I had to take a drug test to go into the Air Force, and they stick you in a little room with a guy called a Proctor, and they make you whip it out in front of him to pee in your cup. It’s very dehumanizing and degrading.

Is that what you want for your customers?? A nightclub is about customer service. We sell entertainment (and booze). A dirty (smelly) bathroom is a bad sign. It says the wrong thing about your club, but it’s often the last thing a club owner will think of. And let me just state this emphatically…it’s not 1970 anymore, piss trough’s are out. What is this? A Giants Game??