Stoweravaganza

There are a few annual parties that I look forward to all year. One is The Land (June 19-21, 2009!) and one is Blake’s event at Stowe, VT. Every year, both get bigger and better and funner. Après the great skiing that occurs daily, the crew pulls it together for festivities that take us into the next morning, which is then recounted on the lifts hours later. Music is a staple at these events, and I relish the opportunity to be a part of the DJ crew. This year also featured my VJ stylings and a live band, The Toughcats, who rock a unique bluegrass sound, as well as surprise mustaches on all the gentlemen. Quite simply, it was a ridiculously great time.

Top of the Hill
Up Up and Away

Stache Stash

Bailout

A bail is a container used for extracting water from a flooding boat or a payment for extracting a criminal from jail. As a verb, it is to abandon a perilous situation. Bailout means using financial leverage to aid a failing industry. Any of these situations are bad, but the problem is that a bail is not a solution. Why is the boat flooding? Why is the criminal in jail? Why are we in such a perilous situation? We can scoop water out of the boat as fast as we can with the biggest bucket we can find and unless we find the hole, our boat is bound to sink. We can put up a bigger bail than we can even afford, and unless that criminal is innocent, he is going right back to jail. And now we find ourselves in an unprecedented economic crisis siphoning capital back into a broken system. Risks were taken and and later exposed; they were rewarded then, and they are rewarded now. Millions (if not billions) of people have been affected by this tidal wave of bad debt that hundreds of bankers wrote — and the money still flows towards the tiny minority responsible.

They invent the game and write all the rules

They always win even when they lose

Roll Call

Are you present or absent? Leave a comment…

Mad at Money

As far as fall guys go, Jim Cramer makes a great one, and he took a major crash down the basement steps last night on The Daily Show. Clearly, he has said some questionable things and has questionable motivations, and Jon Stewart did not let him escape the truth that financial reporting should be objective and perhaps even investigative. He claimed that people lied to him and certainly they lied to everyone, but with a bit of thought it would have been obvious what was really going on. Of course, everyone wants the money no matter where it’s coming from, so nobody asks the questions and winks their way into the profits. It’s all a game and unfortunately, people get hurt. Cramer is just a tiny pawn in the fraud and he knows it; he took everything John threw at him with grace and a sad-puppy-who’s-just-been-scolded-for peeing-on-the-carpet face. It’s a sham and he understands the sham as well as anyone, hence he should be explaining it to the people, but instead he is an entertainer and he wins when you win. But when you lose…

Anyway, it’s all fine. We will survive. We will realize what is true about money and will reshape our financial culture based on reality. Money is man’s greatest invention and it is not going away, but we will need to take a hard look at ourselves to find the truth. I think that in doing so, we will come to understand that everyone’s well-being is dependent on complete transperancy and public information. Don’t buy low or sell high — be real.

Fluffhead

And they’re back! The band that dominated my life like none before or since, after vanishing from the stage to live as a ghost on thousands of hours of audio recordings, has returned to create new live experiences. They are truly exceptional at what they do and they have altered millions of lives. I went to New Rochelle five years ago to watch their “final” show simulcast at a movie theater, and I just downloaded (free!) their first show back. They closed their last show with “The Curtain” which felt perfect then and they opened with “Fluffhead”, which feels perfect now. They were so loved because they could play a three chord song with inane lyrics and make it an anthem, then morph it into orchestrated improvisation (“Fluff’s Travels”) that becomes a momentous musical journey. They pulled you forward and because it was impossible to know what they would do next, and it made every moment precious. I vividly remember the first time I heard them on my 9th grade schoolbus and, while I couldn’t possibly know how much of my time would be occupied by this band, I knew it was something I wanted to hear more of. And I still do.

Thank you, Phish.

Dutch Treat

From yahoo answers: “Along with “Dutch treat,” which originally implied “cheap,” other insults once popular included “Dutch courage” (liquor), “Dutch defense” (a retreat), “Dutch headache” (a hangover), “Do a Dutch” (commit suicide), “Dutch concert” (a drunken uproar), and “Dutch nightingale” (a frog, which seems an especially low blow).”

Tonight the meaning of the phrase was an amazing baseball game in which The Netherlands beat The Dominicans in the 11th inning in the WBC. This was the second time they beat them in this tournament, but this time it was advance or be eliminated and this group of minor leaguers came from behind to stun the hotshot all-stars. I find this to be compelling sports.

I am a Red Sox fan first and foremost and care about them winning the “World Series” way more than USA winning the “World Baseball Classic”, but I still feel like The WBC is a more interesting and important global event. The Olympics are incredible displays of athletic prowess and unite everybody in ways that no other international competition can, but while syncronized swimming may be beautiful, it does not exactly strike me as thrilling competition. Despite, or perhaps because of, my lack of a regional soccer team, I think the World Cup is the best sporting event ever, even if I don’t focus my life around it the way I do “American Football” or Baseball. It just seems to be the most simple and pure game — for how many millions of years have humans been playing kick the ball in the net? — and I find it beautiful and intensely gripping. While it may not occur here, I know that some cultures completely shut down for Cup games and it becomes either a source of intense national pride or shame. I can imagine what that feels like for Boston or New England Championships, but not for a USA championship. I wish we could agree on something as a collective fan base, so I could finally hug a Yankees fan on a victory that means more than either one of our tiny 1% of the country’s population that happens to care about the same thing we do.

Hank’s last night

Here is a video of the video from last night’s show. Thanks to everyone who came and enjoyed themselves.

Hank’s Saloon 3.7.09

WBC

Baseball is back! International competition is fun when The Netherlands (?) beats The Dominican Republic. Led by Sidney Ponson (born in the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Aruba…) these lowlanders took out loaded D.R. (blessedly missing A-Rod) in the first major upset. I am now watching the U.S. take a 2-1 lead (Youkilis scores!) over Venezuela. I also opened my mlb.tv account today to placate my need to access Red Sox coverage anytime anywhere. It feels like baseball is back already and I was actually shocked to realize that opening day is still four weeks away.

I know this means that spring is coming and days are growing longer and warmer. Sooner than we realize, summer will be upon us again. As much as I look forward to nice weather in the future, I hate to wish time along any faster than it already moves.

Venezuela just tied the game…

Hank’s Tonight!

Hank’s Saloon

46 Third Ave (@ Atlantic)

Brooklyn, NY

10pm She Keeps Bees

11pm Family Fun

12am Supergood Reality

followed by Supergood Dance party…

Beer

From the first sip of Miller Lite I had at my dad’s softball game, I knew beer would be a part of my life forever. It has brought me through high school parties and rugby songs, through awkward social moments and best friends forever proclamations. But it has evolved so much through that time and we have since witnessed a true renaissance of beer alchemy.  Tonight I attended an East Coast introduction of two brews, Lefthand and The Bruery at The Gate and it served as a great reminder of how far we’ve come in the past 20 years. Sampling many varieties of “beer” from these craft breweries, it’s newfound versatility is astounding; from bitter Jamaican ginger ale to sweet, port-like 15% malted elixir. As I write this, I am drinking a Peak Organic bottle of delicious at home watching The Daily Show. Thank you, beer.