Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

My photo
Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The nipple.'s a nipple! No - things are not so slow around PASSION = TRUTH, that I'm left relegated to writing about female anatomy. Maybe it's because I'll soon be Up North in Wisconsin on my fishing trip - devoid of any females to look at (any worth mentioning, that is).

Anyway I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole concept of why, when the nipple makes it's appearance, suddenly "show's over". I mean, a woman can stand bare-breasted, covering her nipples with a couple fingers and everything's copacetic. Remove the fingers and BAM! - ya got porn...or at least an R rating in a movie.

It a fleshy protrusion with little bumps around it. What's the big deal? Someone please explain it to me.

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The elusive "Sander vitreus vitreus"

I leave for WI this Monday. Then I head up to the Rainbow Flowage in Lake Tomahawk on Friday for a week of fishing, drinking, smoking, cards, music, horseshoes, family and friends and the outdoors...UP NORTH Wisconsin! And this is what I'm going fishing for - Walleye. Lake fish - it's a white fish. 15 inch limit - 3 per day, per man. We bait fish - worms and minnows. Cast and jig. Best lake-water fish you can eat. Believe me - I've fried it for dozens of people from Iowa to California and NO ONE has ever complained. We fish twice a day - late morning and early evening. Sometimes we go early morning (my brother does). Mostly we sleep in. Sometimes we get a late start for the early evening fishing 'cause we run into town for minnows around 2 p.m and then stop into a bar for beer and brandy old-fashioned sweets (go ahead, click this link), put a few bucks in the jukebox, order a pizza and talk and laugh. It's vacation, remember?

Ahhh...the outdoors. I'm in desperate need of this sojourn. Tranquility. Peace. Nature. This IS God's Country.

Of the three weeks I'm gone, the fishing trip is the true vacation. Otherwise, I'm running around visiting family and friends in Wisconsin, Chicago and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

This big flowage in the upper right corner is the Rainbow. The 2,035-acre flowage with a maximum depth of 28 feet is located in northern Oneida County. The Wisconsin River runs right through the center of it - it was dug out in the 1920's.

A 2007 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report on fishing the Rainbow. Family friend Dave Hranicka's grandfather first came to Lake Tomahawk when Dave was just a kid (he's in his 50's now). Dave's father had property - and now Dave owns that same land. Yep - we've had pretty near 20 years of some great fishing up at the Rainbow. Good times. Good times are had by all.

Oops. That's not - that...that belongs somewhere else. Sorry. Dammit.

Where were we? Ahh...yes, the Rainbow. The Great Outdoors. Up North in Wisconsin. Don't get any better than that, does it?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Favre honored in Bear Country?????

A lawmaker wants his state to pass a resolution honoring Brett Favre for his achievements. Here's the kicker: The state is Illinois - the Bears state. Illinois's ranking Republican is the man sponsoring the resolution even though he says he is also a Bears fan.

The flowery, seven-page resolution (it refers to Favre as "the swashbuckling Southerner") will come to a vote sometime Before May 31st.

Now, I could say, 'Wow, that's surprising - coming from one of our biggest rivals. You see how well-respected Favre was?" I could also say, "Fuck the Bears. What an idiot state. If they had any self-respect they wouldn't lower themselves. After all, would we do that for a retired Bear, regardless of who it was?"

I'll take the high road - today. Thanks, Illinois. And thank you, Chicago Bears.

That sounded very strange. Thank God, I won't EVER have to say that again.

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DeNiro having a non-acting DeNiro moment

You talkin' to me? Yeh I'm talkin' to you - blog reader. Just watch this.

Thanks, Tony.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Please God - Take Me Fishing!

I got mine today! Question is - did Dad, Jason, Uncle Fran, Dave, Bruce and Gary get theirs Yeeeeeeeeeeeeha!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Correction. Jeff = 25, Colton = 1

It was a slow night. Shut up - it was 84 degrees today here in CA. What was it like where you live?

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Checkers Update! Jeff = 23, Colton = 1

Maybe we should put Colton in the "reserve/retired" roster, eh? Admittedly, he's getting better. Better moves. Better choices. Games are coming down to a test of will(s). And nothing can take the place of age and experience. VICTORY IS MINE!

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SOLANA BEACH, Calif. - It was a perfect spring morning for an ocean swim...

I'm sure it was. People also say it's a million-to-1 chance of getting attacked by a shark - or a Great White, for that matter. Or is it that you have better odds at getting hit by lightning?

Not for the poor sonofabitch Friday morning who was killed with one bite from a Great White off Solona Beach, near San Diego (that's about 2 hours from me). Look at the picture. Ya think I'm gonna risk THAT making a beeline straight for me...bobbing on the surface? I don't think so, friend. THIS is why I don't go into the ocean past my knees. Fuck that (excuse my French).

I will not become dinner for an animal like some Twilight Zone episode. On the other hand, I would not hesitate to get into the water with full scuba gear on. Big difference - with a mask you at least have a chance to see the shark before it attempts to sink its teeth into you. You can see it and try to ward it off - punch it in the eye or on the nose. Or you can swim for shelter - rocks, coral, whatever.

LOOK AT THE FRICKEN PICTURE! Come on, man - I just want a chance.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Pass the Salt, Please." is Semi-finalist for Asphalt Jungle Shorts IV in Ontario, Canada

And...that's as far as she got - which is still far, mind you. Just got the email this evening. "PTSP." made it to the final stages but not the final cut. That's cool. It's getting people's attention and that's what matters. They're actually going to keep the play for possible use in another event or consideration in Asphalt Jungle Shorts V.

"Pass the Salt, Please.", is a 10-minute play, chosen BEST OF SHOW at UNcover: An Art Exhibition with An Erotic Vibe, Cedar Rapids, IA, March 2007. It's LA premiere was at the grand re-opening of Drake's Erotica Emporium on Melrose in West Hollywood in August 2007.

The premise of the play is this: what would happen if the dinner conversation of a married couple in their mid to late 50’s resembled the script pages of a scene in a pornographic film? As a man and woman catch up on the day’s events, their banter morphs from “ho-hum” to “whoop-eee!” – without missing a “bite”. The scene reflects the state of sex in the America of the feminine mystique, as viewed by feminist Betty Friedan.

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What in the hell is the "reserved/retired" list???

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"Good Guy" Award to Favre from Pro Football Writers of America

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was named the 2008 Pro Football Writers of America 'Good Guy Award' winner, the PFWA announced Friday.

Instituted in 2005, the award is "given to the player who best helped the media do its job." Favre wins the award for his dealings with the media in a season which saw him lead the Packers to a 13-3 regular-season mark and surpass nearly every significant career passing milestone, including yards, touchdowns and wins.

In announcing the award, the PFWA noted, "Favre not only gave detailed, honest answers but increased his availability to national and out-of-town reporters. Leading into games, Favre did more conference calls than in previous seasons with media covering the opposition even knowing he would inevitably be asked the same questions about his possible retirement. Favre answered the inquiries with class and dignity before making his retirement official in March."

Previous honoree's of the PFWA Good Guy Award include Jerome Bettis (2005), Tiki Barber (2006) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2007).

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Sardines, Swords and Watermelons - and my Storage Unit

Pretty much everything I own is - well, you're looking at it. Except the damn script I'm looking for. I wrote a series of short plays for a children's theater camp in Iowa and I need one in particular, "Sardines, Swords and Watermelons", to submit for a theater festival. I KNOW I had hard copies of these when I lived in Bel Air - I remember looking at them. But they're not in any of the boxes here - I went through them ALL today. 85 fricken degrees outside. I tore this storage unit apart - to no avail.

Where in the hell are those scripts??? I've got a few other rocks to look under but my options are slowly disappearing. I'm pissed.

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ESPN's Sunday Conversation with Brett Favre

Listen to Brett. Watch the interview in its entirety tomorrow on Sportscenter.

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Friday, April 25, 2008


But I'm from WISCONSIN! Thanks Tony - for the help. I owe you one. Ya bastard. :)

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(i.e. force majeure)

St. Stephens in Milwaukee, where I made my first communion, got hit by lightning yesterday, causing $200,000 in damage (the only thing damaged was the steeple and belfry). Though they're in the midst of building a new church, this has gotta put a cramp in their plans to sell the old structure.

In the film business, force majeure is a common clause in contracts which frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as war, strike, riot, crime, act of nature (e.g., flooding, earthquake, volcano - or lightning), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

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TGIF! present The Kinks' "You Really Got Me"

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'Butter AND Peanut Butter, por favor.'

Sonofabitch. Winchell's Donuts serves bagels. It's staffed by Mexican women whose English is average. I go in and ask for an 'onion bagel, butter AND peanut butter on each half' and I demonstrate. When I walk back over to the office, I find I have a container of peanut butter - no butter. Sonofabitch, again.

Must be a language barrier, you think?

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"Something's bound to happen".

Brett on Letterman. Go to the 5:20 mark.

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20th Anniversary Madden '09 XBox 360 features Brett Favre

I don't even own an XBox and I'm gonna get this. Whoo! By the way, Brett's the first non-active player to grace the cover in its 20-year history.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Say it isn't so, David Letterman! Brett Fav-re??

Just a reminder - QB Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers (you can't make me say "formerly" or "retired") will appear on Letterman's show tonight. Last time Brett was on the show was in 1997 after the Packers won Super Bowl 31. Favre is in New York, in part, for an event in Central Park called NFL Play 60, a program to get kids off the couch and involved in sports at least 60 minutes a day.

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Say it isn't so, VA hospitals!

Ty Ziegel (above), 25, was critically injured in Iraq by a suicide bomber. He was severely burned, lost part of his skull, half of his left arm, and most of the fingers from his remaining hand. He has a left lobe brain injury, is blind in his right eye, and suffered a jaw fracture.

He cannot work, yet despite the severity of his injuries and the fact that there is no question that they were incurred while he was on active duty, he had to fight the VA for benefits. In fact, the VA gave him only a little over half of what he should have been receiving. That is, until CNN ran his story and WWII Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams stepped up to the plate to register his disgust with the way this young man has been treated. Within 48 hours, the VA had reviewed his case and granted him the benefits he should have gotten all along.

It is appalling that the media has to intervene to shame the Veterans Administration into doing the right thing, the thing they should have done in the first place - to properly care for our soldiers when they return home. Shame on the Veterans Administration. Shame on the Bush administration for overseeing what the VA should have been doing .

Asked to name one question she would like to pose to senior officials about the Walter Reed Scandal, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest said, “The root of so much that we cover is money. And the question is, why isn’t this funded to the extent that it needs to be funded?” Indeed, as Paul Krugman wrote in a recent New York Times article, the crisis in the veterans’ health system “starts with money“.

The quagmire in Iraq has vastly increased the demands on the Veterans Administration, yet since 2001 federal outlays for veterans’ medical care have actually lagged behind overall national health spending. To save money, the administration has been charging veterans for many formerly free services. For example, in 2005 Salon reported that some Walter Reed patients were forced to pay hundreds of dollars each month for their meals. More important, the administration has broken longstanding promises of lifetime health care to those who defend our nation. Two months before the invasion of Iraq the V.H.A., which previously offered care to all veterans, introduced severe new restrictions on who is entitled to enroll in its health care system. As the agency’s Web site helpfully explains, veterans whose income exceeds as little as $27,790 a year, and who lack “special eligibilities such as a compensable service connected condition or recent combat service,” will be turned away.

The administration’s approach to funding wounded veterans should already be clear. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal noted the growing cost of veterans benefits due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon’s response was to complain that it would “rather use [the funds] to help troops fighting today.” David Chu, the Pentagon's undersecretary for personnel and readiness, stated, “The amounts have gotten to the point where they are hurtful. They are taking away from the nation’s ability to defend itself."

During hearings of the House Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) called Chu’s remark “offensive.” Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon, whose eye and skull were shattered by an AK-47 round in Iraq and who is waiting for prosthetic eye surgery, said Chu was “absolutely” inaccurate.

I have a relative whose first job out of college was the VA in Milwaukee. I remember him saying, "You don't ever wanna have to be admitted to the VA".

This was back in 1976. If you know me, than you know I'm as patriotic - no...above-patriotic - as the next guy. But this entire issue makes me wanna puke on our flag. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

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Say it isn't so, Tony Awards!

Do you like the common theme for the day?

For the first time in Tony Awards history, this year an award will be given for the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress Recreating a Role.

This is stupid. Here's my suggestion for the next stupid Tony award: Best Performance by a Sub-Par Actor/Actress Who's Not a Legit Actor but is Trying to Do Theater to Make Themselves Appear to Be Legit When in Fact the Only Reason They're in the Show is because They Put Up the Cash or Their Star Power is Being Used to Bring in Patrons...award.

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Say it ain't so, Green Bay!

The Green Bay Packers are talking about signing former Viking QB, then former Raider and Dolphin Daunte Culpepper as a veteran backup to Aaron Rogers.

I'm gonna be sick to my stomach. Seriously - I may stick my hand down my throat and make myself puke.

I hate Culpepper. All Packer fans hate him. He did that stupid arm-movement dance when he scored a TD that made him look like an asshole and he played for one of our nemesis(i) - the Minnesota Vikings. And he sucks now. You think fans are gonna cheer for this idiot? I realize he'd be playing in a limited capacity (if Rogers goes down) but I will not cheer for Culpepper. Fuck him. Excuse my French but I think EVERY Packer fan will agree. And what if Rogers goes down for an extended period? You're telling me Culpepper will be the face of the Packers? That's as insane as me pulling Oompa Loompas out of my asshole.

We should have a rule like the soccer teams do in England - Manchester and Liverpool - which is to never trade players. Bullshit.

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$400 million or bust? Say it ain't so, Indie!

Word on the street here in Hollywood is that the latest installment of the Indiana Jones flicks -Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - needs to recoup $400 million before Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg or George Lucas see a penny.

"Kingdom" opens in May. Here's what the previous three movies did at the box office:
Raiders (1981) = $242.4 million lifetime domestic gross/$18 million budget
Temple of Doom (1984) = $179.9 million gross/$28 million budget
Last Crusade (1989) = $197.2 million gross/$48 million budget

Interesting. I think this series is better than the Star Wars series, don't you, Nick? Nerts.

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PASSION = TRUTH by the numbers

Since I started this blog in March 2007, I've had just over 8300 visitors from over 60 countries - not the greatest numbers, but respectable. I've talked to several blogging experts who are confident they can show me how to increase my traffic, so we'll see where I wanna go with this thing.

March 2008 was my highest blogging month with 93 posts. And through April 24, 2008, I've already posted 265 posts in 2008 - I posted 253 in all of 2007.

What does this prove? Nothing - they're just numbers.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An illustration about my trip to Wisconsin

This illustration came in the mail today. It's by the artist Tim Zeltner. I looked at it and thought, 'hey, that looks like my upcoming vacation in Wisconsin (in 12 days)'. There's barbecuing, boating on the lake, golfing, the outdoors, "Up North", cabins by the lake - the only thing not in the illustration is fishing (which is only one week out of the three weeks). Close enough. On Wisconsin!

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Earth Day

Since 1970...still trying to Save the Earth! And by the way, Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, my native state.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Thomas Jefferson intrigues me.

The HBO mini series "John Adams" ended yesterday - and I am sad. One of the best things I've seen on television EVER. You know, you spend time with these historical figures and you follow them through their ups and downs and then everyone dies at the end and you're left sitting there - wanting more.

The screen capture above is of Thomas Jefferson (brilliantly portrayed by Stephen Dillane) at Monticello around 1818, nine years since he had been president. He is reading a letter from John Adams concerning the death of John's wife, Abigail, who Jefferson was very fond of. This moment in the film depicts the rekindled friendship between Jefferson and Adams that had been stalled since Adams lost his re-election bid to Jefferson in 1800 (actually, they first rekindled their friendship through a letter in 1812, not in 1818, as the movie suggested.)

My point about the picture above is that upon seeing it I instantly felt a deep connection to Jefferson - one that had been brewing throughout the movie. There could be several reasons for this. The first thing the picture reminds me of is my friend Justyna's home in Irving Park, Illinois (Chicago). She has a Victorian that she completely renovated and I feel very much at home there - it's very open and inviting, clean lines, simple in its elegance. We've gardened together there, and Jefferson's hat and clothes suggest that he just came in from gardening to read Adam's letter. He is wearing a light shoe (which you can't see here) and it made me think that Thomas might have worn the Crocs people wear today to garden in. The open door leading outside to the left shows that it's pleasant weather and I too will be heading to Chicago in pleasant May weather in a couple weeks - perhaps to do some gardening???

As this scene unfolded, I wanted to be in that room (Jefferson's study or "cabinet") with Jefferson (or in Chicago) - looking through his telescope or playing with his polygraph (he didn't invent it but improved upon it) - an early copying device (on the desk to the right), or reading the books he had on view on his movable book stand - seen to the left. You can purchase a line-by-line reproduction of the original at the Monticello site online for $618. I'll endeavor to make my own, thank you.

The other reason I'm attracted to Jefferson is that he had so many interests and was a true Renaissance Man. In 1962, 49 Nobel Prize laureates gathered for a White House dinner, which led President Kennedy to comment, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Aside from being one of only two presidents who served as Secretary of State and Vice President, Jefferson was a horticulturist, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, author, inventor (I've mentioned a few of his inventions above) and founder of the University of Virginia.

I'm going to study Jefferson. I'm going to read the hundreds of letters he's written. I will examine his presidency. I will study Monticello. I will become an expert among my friends on this man - this Renaissance man, Thomas Jefferson.

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Erin go braugh! 2 years since Ireland

I can't believe it's been two years already. Huh. I wanna go back. 'Course, I never wanted to come back to the States in the first place, but....ahhh, shit. I miss Ireland and the whole experience with my travel partner, Justyna. I'm headed to Chicago May 5th (part of my Wisconsin walleye fishing trip) so I'll see her then.

I suppose that's the closest I'll get to Ireland - for now. That's OK, too.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

That Guido picture I posted 2 stories down is bugging the shit out of me.

The post I had at Halloween from The Exorcist made me less queasy. But I feel people need to be educated. That's the only reason I started this blog - to EDUCATE and INFORM.

How I suffer for my art...

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Checkers Update! Jeff = 20, Colton = 1

So? What else do you want me to say? Good triumphs over evil? Wait - we're talking checkers here not moral plot points of a play or movie.

Or are we?

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Separated at Birth? Heat Miser and Long Island Guido Armani Alex

Take a look at Armani Alex...on the right.

Well, that's what he calls himself on MySpace. For all I know it could be Alex Finkelstein, Alex Ragucci or Alex Douchbag. You know, I understand when you're young and trying to find your identity - trying to fit in. Well there's a crowd in the Long Island/Jersey area that belong to what some refer to as the "Guido Phenomenon". Or Guido something. Whatever it is, it's scary. This was first brought to my attention through an email I received from my friend Amy. Then I stumbled upon this site: Get Off Our Island. Watch the video on the main page and you'll get a good picture of what this world's up against. For a definition of "Guido" in the context I'm referring, go to Urban Dictionary and look at definition #3.

Here's one comment Alex made on one of his MySpace pictures (of himself):

"its like a fukkin family i bring 2gether my real ni99as and look what it turns into TAKEOVER THE CITY BABY let them haters hate and slither in the grassss WE STILL SSTILLLL STRONG AND DOING IT BIGGG".

Interesting. It's easy to spot of one these Guidos - real easy:

1) "Blow out" style haircuts
2) Lots of earrings.
3) Wannabe mafia/gangsta.
4) Orange fake tan.
5) Lips tightly pressed together as if air-kissing someone. In every picture.
6) They almost always carry a bottle - not a drink in a glass (at least Alex doesn't).

Here's a video of some New Jersey guidos out joyriding. I'm thinking the IQ level here is maybe...1? There's one guy who know's how to drive a car - that's at least worth a 1?

THIS is one segment of our youth who will be this country's future. Uh-huh. You know...I forgot - I did see this Guido look on the show Growing Up Gotti (is it still on?). Never watched the show - do I look like I'd watch these bitches? That's old man John Gotti's daughter and her three children. You remember her, don't you? She's the one who said her father never committed any crimes as the "Daper Don". I don't wanna waste any more time on this - not on my blog. I'm starting to feel nauseous. Oh - and if you see Heat Miser above, he's not a Guido. He's got too much class.
(NOTE: This no way reflects on all New Jersey-ites. My friend Marisa Petroro is from Jersey and she is a treasure.)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Penthouse Pet of the Year - Erica Ellyson!

This stunner was revealed in the March 2008 issue as the Penthouse Pet of the Year for 2007. You'll have to do some investigating on your own because I don't feature nudity (unless it's "artsy") on my blog. But Erica is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in print. She wears very little makeup so what you're seeing is very natural (I have two friends that are the same way). I've heard Erica do a couple interviews and she seems intelligent, like she's got her act together - she aspires to be an architect and loves Frank Lloyd Wright (You won't find that in her MySpace bio. Don't ask me how I know this.).

Congratulations, Erica.

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Favre and the Pope

(I originally ran this post in mid-March but seeing as the Pope's in town, I thought I'd run it again.)

And no, this is not a joke about Brett stumbling on the Pope shitting in the woods while boar hunting in the Mississippi Delta. It's bigger than that.

The Packers' chaplain, the Rev. James Baraniak, called the Favres at their Mississippi home to invite them to Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in Washington, D.C., next month, according to a report by Jeff Kurowski of The Compass, the newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. The papal advance team had invited the Favres and Packers coach Mike McCarthy. The call came just before Brett announced his retirement, so the timing was ill-fated. No word if the Favre's have accepted the invitation. By the way, Brett and his family are Catholics.

In a related story, the Caught on the Fly column on Sporting - "Fly is a mostly Favre-free zone today, though we expect word from the Vatican soon on whether the Pope will exempt Brett from the rules that require someone to be dead for five years and perform two posthumous miracles to be considered for sainthood.

Would that be such a bad idea?

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"The Catholic Church is full of child molesters!" "Ban the Catholic Church!"

The Pope's in town. He's the Bishop of Rome and the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church (in case you weren't quite sure what it is he does). He met with a number of people who had been abused or molested by Catholic priests while growing up and shared with them his personal shame for what happened to them - and the shame the Catholic Church has suffered.

I once heard someone say, "they should disband the Roman Catholic Church for all the good it's doing" (by the way, I'm Catholic).
Fine. Let's ban the Catholic Church for the child abuse scandal. Then let's ban the Jewish and Muslim faiths for their unending killing of thousands of people over thousands of years. We can ban the Eastern Orthodox faith for the 100,000 Jews and Polish Catholics one of its leaders killed during the 17th century. Then we can ban the Protestants and the Spanish Catholics for the Protestant and Spanish Inquisitions, as well as the Puritans for Oliver Cromwell's extermination of Catholics and Anglicans. And on and on and so forth ad nauseum.

Is it "religion" that commits irreparable damage or is it the people who, in the name of religion, that are the culprits (much like the question, "do guns kill or do people kill?")? I've always been of the mind that religion is a wonderful thing for those who want it in their lives. Now I'm not the most faithful-going Catholic, but I DO BELIEVE in the basic tenets of the Catholic Church (I do feel, however, that priests should be granted the right to marry). I believe in God and Jesus and I pray every night before I go to bed. I don't believe in necessarily turning the cheek - I'm more of an Old Testament, vengeance is mine sorta guy. I also believe one can not condemn an entire religion based on a very ugly incident that erupted suddenly over a short span of time.

That's all I've got on religion. I'd rather talk about sex...

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Friday, April 18, 2008

TGIF! presents Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't it Be Good" (Discoring '84)

This TGIF! song goes out to my ex-girlfriend, Lisa, who loved this song from the "Pretty in Pink" soundtrack. Funny though, I couldn't find the original version (as sung by Kershaw above) set to the movie, only a version sung by "Danny Hutton Hitters". Maybe the Danny version was what actually appeared in the movie - not sure.

In any case this is the original - the one I remember Lisa liking when it came on the radio. I have a good memory.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brett Favre's Number "4" to be retired on first game of GB's season = Monday Night Football

Prime time, baby. Brett Favre's number "4" will be officially retired by the Green Bay Packers during the first game on the Packers' schedule - Monday Night against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on September 8th.

With all the speculation by the media and whomever else is speculating on whether or not Brett might come back to play - because he hasn't filed his retirement papers yet, etc. - the retiring of a player's number by a team has nothing to do with the player "retiring" from playing the game. Well, there may be some of you who don't know this so I'm clarifying it for you. It means no player in the history of that franchise can ever wear that number again. Generally speaking, however, the player has retired from the sport.

Guess we'll have to wait and see, won't we?

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Origami No. 10: An "Ode to Jeff Ircink"

This was written by my good friend, Todd Zimmermann, in 1987. Todd was in his last semester of college and I had just graduated in June. I think I was visiting him in the summer - maybe it was the fall. Anyway. we got hammered at his house then hit the bars. But before we went out, I puked my guts out. Not just any normal, random, college puking. It was like - you know those old lawn sprinklers that go "dddddddddddddddddddddd" in one direction then scoot back really quick and start all over again? That's how I puked in Todd's bathroom. At about the 3 1/2 foot level on the wall...all four walls of the bathroom.

Then we all went downtown and I said nothing (got my 2nd wind back after I upchucked - you know how that is) 'cause I didn't wanna spoil the evening. When we got home after bar time, no one noticed. I think someone may have said something like, "what smells?", but we were too drunk to investigate the stench and we passed out.

Until the next morning - that's when Todd found my offering to the porcelain gods. He penned this ode to me pretty much on the spot, I believe (he may have done it while cleaning the bathroom - I think he cleaned the bathroom; I know I didn't...or did I?) and recites it by heart every time he sees me. I just talked to him on the phone today (he lives in Chicago but was in Minneapolis). And he recited it to me.

I think it's helped prolong my 15 minutes of fame. You be the judge:

"Ode to Jeff Ircink", by Todd Zimmermann

If you wonder why it stinks
It's from my friend....Jeff Ircink
He threw up here on Friday Night
And it was not a pretty sight.
He tried to scrub to rinse to wipe
It didn't work, and now I'm griped
So go outside, puke on the lawn
We won't see it until dawn
As for now it still does stink
And I'm pissed off at Jeff Ircink

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An imaginary happening.

I pooped my pants on the way to work this morning.

No shit. I mean, yes shit. I should have hit the head before I left the house, but I thought I could wait until I got to work. Traffic was backed up - what normally takes 10 minutes or so, took 30 minutes.

I'm stupid (which seems to be a common blogging theme today, huh Tony?).

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is Architecture Art? Neutra's Kaufmann House is up for auction.

"The Kaufmann house, Palm Springs, 1946, moved in the direction of the pavilion, which is Neutra's last development in domestic architecture. Horizontal planes resting on horizontal planes hover over transparent walls. The material loses its importance—magnificent as the dry-joint stone walls are in themselves—and the gist of the house is the weightless space enclosed. The victory over the front door is almost complete; it is reached by slow stages, like the Mexican house whose entrance on the street leads through a garden to an unemphasized door."
— Esther McCoy on Richard Neutra

NPR featured a story today about the upcoming auction of Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house in Palm Springs. The California homeowners who undertook the restoration hope Neutra’s masterpiece will play a role in a third movement: promoting architecture as a collectible art worthy of the same consideration as painting and sculpture.

This May, Christie’s will be handling the auction, with a presale estimate of $15 million to $25 million. Neutra's Kaufmann House will be part of Christie’s high-profile evening sale of postwar and contemporary art.

Commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., the Pittsburgh department store magnate who had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright about a decade earlier to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the house was designed as a desert retreat from harsh winters.

The Kaufmann House is one of the best-known designs by Neutra, a Viennese-born architect who moved to the United States in the 1920s and designed homes for the next few decades for many wealthy West Coast clients. His buildings are seen virtually as the apotheosis of Modernism’s International Style, with their skeletal steel frames and open plans. Yet Neutra was also known for catering sensitively to the needs of his clients, so that their houses would be not only functional but would also nurture their owners psychologically.

When Harrises first saw the Kaufmann House, it was neither a pretty palace nor an obvious candidate for restoration. Strikingly photographed in 1947 by Julius Shulman (see the black and white photo - the most well-known photo of Neutra's work), it stood vacant for several years after Kaufmann’s death in 1955.

Then it went through a series of owners, including the singer Barry Manilow, and a series of renovations. After purchasing the house around 1992 and its more than an acre of land for about $1.5 million, the Harrises removed the extra appendages and enlisted two young Los Angeles-area architects to restore the Neutra design, even seeking out the original providers of paint and fixtures.

Back to the NPR story and the premise: is architecture art? Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times art critic smirked at the thought. "The idea that a house is a work of art strikes me as rather silly," said Knight. "Just because something is labeled 'art', does not mean it's good." Knight went out to say that the relevant question for a building is not 'is it art?', but 'is it good architecture?'

Then again, he has a right to his opinion. And the right to be a snob. A home is looked at and admired and talked about. It is created and put on display. It's worth can increase and people purchase them as investments. Just like you would a painting or a sculpture. Let me put this to you, Mr. Knight: if Piss Christ, a controversial 1989 photograph by American photographer Andre Serrano in which he depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine is considered "art", then certainly some arguments must be made for some architecture - whether it's Neutra's Kaufmann House or Wright's Fallingwater, let say, to be considered "art" as well.

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Memo to Vandermause: "Why don't YOU shut up?"

Last week I briefly commented on speculation (in the media, not my own) that Brett Favre (a.k.a Favros, God of War) might consider coming back to play for the Green Bay Packers next season - based on the fact that he hadn't turned in his retirement papers, that reports were circulating that his agent was talking to other teams (which Bus Cook denies) and a statement Brett made regarding a "what-if?" question asked of him by a reporter.

Mike Vandermause, who writes for the Green Bay Gazette and its website wrote a 'memo to Brett', on April 13, telling Brett to 'zip your lips' and 'Brett Favre needs to shut up'.

Hey Vandouchebag - you need to shut your pie hole. Brett has always been honest with his comments. He's provided great fodder and quotes for 17 years. Now you're telling him to shut up? You guys just can't find anything to write about in this post-Brett, off-season, can you? Brett never said for sure he'd return to the Packers if Aaron Rogers got hurt and if the Packers called on him and asked if he'd return (that was the hypothetical question asked by a reporter). Brett answered truthfully. "It would be tempting, and I very well could be enticed to do it."

If someone gave me $5000 to spend on a high-class hooker I may very well be enticed to do that too. Doesn't mean I will. Just like handing in your retirement papers doesn't mean you can't un-retire and come back and play. But what Vanderdickshine didn't say is that Brett went on to comment that he's happy with the decision he's made and that being in shape and in GAME SHAPE (if the Packers were to call him on a moment's notice) are two very different things and he doesn't want to go out on the field and make a fool out of himself.

Vanderdickweed stated that Favre should have refrained from answering the question. Vanderspank - why don't you refrain from posing as a sports columnist and go away? Many players have at least some regrets about retiring - it's natural. If Favros changes his mind and wants to come back and play ball, that's his decision. He's earned it.

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Need an orgasm, ladies?

Well, if you had lived during the Victorian Era, a home call by your physician is all it would've taken.

I caught a documentary on cable called, "The O Tapes", which chronicles sexual dysfunction in women (of which 43% of American women suffer from). One of the topics discussed is "Female hysteria", a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is no longer recognized by modern medical authorities. It was a popular diagnosis in Western nations, during the Victorian era, for women who exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and a "tendency to cause trouble".

Patients diagnosed with female hysteria would sometimes undergo "pelvic massage" — manual stimulation of the woman's genitals by the doctor to "hysterical paroxysm", which is now recognized as orgasm.

Rachael P. Maines, author of The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction, has observed that such cases were quite profitable for physicians, since the patients were at no risk of death but needed constant treatment. Look at the advertisement below. Now you'd think this medically-prescribed genital massage (generally referred to as 'pelvic massage') would be fun for the doc, but au contraire-re - the technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve "hysterical paroxysm." Interesting how times haven't changed.

By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians. In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria. While physicians of the period acknowledged that the disorder stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction, they seemed unaware of or unwilling to admit the sexual purposes of the devices used to treat it.
By the turn of the century, the spread of home electricity brought the vibrator to the consumer market. A page from a Sears catalog of home electrical appliances from 1918 includes a portable vibrator with attachments, billed as ”Very useful and satisfactory for home service.”

Over the course of the early 20th century, the number of diagnoses of female hysteria sharply declined, and today it is no longer a recognized illness. Today different manifestations of hysteria are recognized in other conditions such as schizophrenia, conversion disorder, and anxiety attacks.

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I hate Shea Fontana.

I don't really hate Shea Fontana (real name, not a stage name). I envy her.

I work with Shea and she's leaving today for a vacation in Ireland. Her and her hubby are headed to Cork, to a little town named Killeen. That's the cottage they'll be staying in. If anyone should be going to Ireland it's me. I was there 2 years ago this month. Absolutely loved it. Didn't wanna come home.

Did I mention that I hate Shea Fontana?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My fortune cookie today said...

..."You will soon be the center of attention (in bed)". Huh - wonder when that will be? I mean the 'in bed' thing?

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"The Grand Potentates of California Surf Rock"! "The Clown Princes of Surf Rock and Roll!" Meet Jan & Dean!

The story of Jan & Dean is one that truly goes full circle. What I mean is that you have to understand their early beginnings and then their resurgence in order to fully appreciate their music and contributions to Rock & Roll. I forgot about Dean's birthday on March 10 and the anniversary of Jan's passing was a couple weeks ago in 2004, so now's as good a time as any to gush about J & D.

Jan and Dean's music has given me an abundant amount of joy. I could spend a lifetime talking about them (much like my Beach Boys). The harmonies, the falsettos, the surfing/California attitude - Jan & Dean had it all. 26 chart-topping songs and influential in the later punk scene. And they were funny. Many feel the record industry never took them serious because both guys were attending college at the same time they were performing and that's why they're still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Acclaimed rock critic Dave Marsh, stated that the attitude and public persona of punk rock can be traced to directly to Jan & Dean. I've seen them perform many times and have met them both on several occasions and found them quite endearing.

I could go on and on ad nauseum about J & D but I'll let you do the work - check the end of this post for a couple websites of note. Well, OK - I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version...

Known as the "Clown Princes of Rock and Roll", Jan Berry and Dean Torrance carved out their niche in the surf genre of R&R during the late 50's through the mid 60's - they actually pre-dated The Beach Boys by a couple years. Both were born in LA and met and hung out in high school, singing in the showers after football practice. Billboard hits include "Jenny Lee" (1958), "Baby Talk" (1959), "Surf City" (1963), "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" (1964) - Berry was co-writing, arranging, and producing all of Jan and Dean's original material - twenty-six chart hits over an eight-year period (1958-1966). Jan and Brian Wilson collaborated on roughly a dozen hits and album cuts for Jan & Dean, including the number one national hit "Surf City". Jan called the shots - writing, producing, orchestrating. Dean went along for the ride.

Oh come on...don't stop reading now. There's not that much more. Click on READ MORE.

Oddly enough Jan & Dean were writing, producing, performing and making appearances part-time while attending college - Dean majored in advertising design in the school of architecture at USC and Jan took science and music classes and was pre-med at UCLA.

Jan and girlfriend Jill Gibson in the early 60's. Jill and Jan dated around seven years. She helped foster his creative juices by co-writing and performing in a number of songs of Jan's. She was the unofficial photographer for the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and sang with the Mama's and the Papa's for a year, filling in for Michelle Phillips when she was temporarily booted from the group. She has an art studio in Oakland (that link can be found at the end of this post). We've emailed back and forth a bit. To me she was one of the quintessential 60's hotties.

By end of 1964, Jan & Dean recordings were ranked at number six among the top selling singles that year. Jan & Dean's sales were bested only by the Beatles, Four Seasons, Beach Boys, and Elvis Presley. After placing 28 hit records on the music charts, Jan & Dean coasted to a pinnacle of success on all fronts in early 1966.

In 1966, Berry received severe head injuries in a motor vehicle accident, ironically just a short distance from Dead Man's Curve in Los Angeles, two years after the song had become a hit. Jan was on his way to a business meeting when he crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills. It was pretty much the consensus he wouldn't survive, but Berry traveled a long and difficult road toward recovery from brain damage and partial paralysis - seven years. He had minimal use of his right arm, and had to learn to write with his left hand. Doctors said he would never walk again; but with a persistent refusal to give up, Jan made it through. Torrence stood by his partner, maintaining their presence in the music industry, and keeping open the possibility that they would perform together again. For the full story on Dead Man's Curve, read here.

Torrence, minus his best friend and colleague, turned to other pursuits. He established a graphics design firm, called Kitty Hawk Graphics, and for more than a decade, stayed occupied in designing items such as album covers, logos, and souvenir concert books for popular show business acts. In 1970 he received his first Grammy Award nomination from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for the best album cover of the year for the design of Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; more nominations followed. Among the familiar logos designed by Torrence are the modern Beach Boys logo and the American Music Awards design.

Their music has been covered by numerous Punk and alternative bands since the 1970s. Along with Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, and Lee Hazlewood, Jan enjoyed a reputation as one of the best record producers on the West Coast. Brian Wilson has cited Berry as having a direct impact on his own growth as a record producer.

In 1978, CBS aired a made-for-TV movie about the duo titled "Deadman's Curve". The biopic starred Richard Hatch as Jan Berry and Bruce Davison as Dean Torrence, which introduced - and reintroduced Jan & Dean to the public, and their popularity swelled. This is the start of PHASE 2 of their career - a phase that Dean was in charge of.

In 1986, Berry helped establish the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured in Downey, California. Dean Torrence participated in the promotional campaign for this endeavor. Though Berry only made a partial recovery, he persevered and remained a high-profile example for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Jan passed away on March 26, 2004, at the age of 62 of a seizure. There was huge "Celebration of Life" party for him at The Roxy in West Hollywood a month later where all of Jan's friends turned out to say goodbye - and honor him.

Dean and Jill Gibson in 2004 at Jan's Celebration of Life party at The Roxy. Dean still tours with his Surf All-Stars Band. But Jan & Dean live in the hearts of those who continue to love their music.

Below are several YouTube sites where you can listen to some of Jan & Dean's music, along with a few informative websites to fill-in-the-blanks of this incredible story.
Produced by Cameron Michael Parkes and Mark A. Moore. Featuring seven tracks from 1968's "Carnival of Sound" album that was never released, plus 14 more songs highlighting Jan's career as a writer, arranger, and producer.
Jan & Dean performing Little Old Lady From Pasadena on the Dean Martin TV Show in 1965
Brian Wilson talks about Jan. Includes the promotional trailer for the forthcoming Jan Berry/ Jan & Dean Tribute Album. The album will feature seven tracks from 1968's "Carnival of Sound" (Warner Bros.) plus 14 more songs highlighting Jan Berry's career as a writer, arranger, and producer.

Easy as 1, 2, 3 - Jan & Dean interviewed (toward end of video), movie Deadman's, Lisa Mychols sings . . . and Dean remembers. This upcoming album will feature seven tracks from 1968's "Carnival of Sound" (Warner Bros.) plus 14 more songs highlighting Jan Berry's career as a writer, arranger, and producer.

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