Monthly Archives: April 2009

Talkin’ about El Pirates de Somalia

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Even though it’s baseball’s opening week and the NBA playoff picture is slowly but surely clearing up, I want to take a second or two or 3,600 (that’s an hour, yo) to talk about pirates. They’ve been in the news a bit swashbuckling their way into deadly conflicts with the U.S. Navy.

But I’m not talking about Johnny Deep or Errol Flynn-type pirates. I am talking about The Pirates of Somalia, henceforth known as “El Pirates de Somalia”.

Here are a few musings on “El Pirates de Somalia”:

First of all, the reason I have been watching the news so intently is that I am scouting my 2009 Halloween costume. There is no doubt I am going trick-or-treating dressed as a Somali Pirate. So far I figure I need an AK-47 or a rocket launcher, a rubber raft, and some beef jerky. That’s a lot easier than dressing as a traditional pirate, with all the eye patches, parrots, and peg legs.

Speaking of ye olde pirates, I wonder if Somali pirates get scurvy.

Will khat become the new rum? Will Captain Muhammad compete against Captain Morgan?

What about “Talk Like a Pirate Day”? Will we have to incorporate Somali words amongst our “argh”s and “ye”s?

Imagine you are a little kid. You have been raised watching Pirates of the Caribbean and signing “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me”. Then you hear grown-ups and the newscasters talking about how horrible pirates are. What are you supposed to do?

Now imagine you live in Tampa. Each year we have our Mardi Gras-like Gasparilla festival and celebrate the invasion of Jose Gaspar, who was (surprise!) a pirate. Oh yeah, and the local football is called the Buccaneers. Are we honestly supposed to be opposed to Somali pirates?

I’m confused.

Wait, perhaps white pirates = ok and black pirates = bad? Or maybe Muslim pirates = bad and Christian pirates = good?

Nah, that can’t be it. Could it?

What if some people thought the Somali pirates weren’t all that bad? What if some people think they have done a great job protecting the Somali waterways from rogue tuna fishing? What if Somali pirates were actually credited with defending the Somali coast against illegal toxic dumping?

Take this video for what it’s worth – a Somali-born musician talking about international politics and global decisions – but I think might have some bit of a point.

Quick reminder: lack of opportunity will drive criminal activity. Build a few Wal-Marts and “worker towns” along the Somali coast and let companies supply responsible (read: above the poverty line) housing, transportation, security, etc, and I guarantee you will see less criminal activity.

Final Question: who will suffer more reported losses in 2009: the Somali Pirates or the Pittsburgh Pirates?

As of April 14th, both Pirate “teams” were tied with three losses each.

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Isiah Thomas jumps out of the frying pan but stays in the line of fire

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First, I would like to congratulate Isiah Thomas for finding his new job as head basketball coach of Florida International University. With today’s economy, finding any job is an accomplishment.

That said, how someone loathed by millions of New Yorkers could think taking a job in South Florida would allow them to get a fresh start is completely beyond me. That’s like Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney thinking they would disappear into anonymity by getting a teaching gig at Berkeley. Although no one ever said Isiah was smart, taking the job at FIU is almost as dumb as giving millions to perennial NBA Least Valuable Player Jerome James. Almost.

For those who don’t know, Florida is the home of more than a few ex-New Yorkers. Through my own personal experience of over 20 years in the state, my guess is that there are more New Yorkers in Florida than Cubans, mosquitoes, and alligators combined. According to the New York Times,

“New York is the leading domestic source of migrants to Florida. In 2005, about 100,000 New Yorkers moved to Florida and 25,000 Floridians moved to New York. Two years later, those numbers dropped to fewer than 60,000 New Yorkers’ moving to Florida and 32,000 Floridians’ moving to New York.”

That means, in 2005 and 2006 alone, at least 160,000 New Yorkers migrated down to Florida. Add to this the fact that 13.1% of snowbirds come from New York.

According to the University of Florida News,

“about 920,000 temporary residents called the Sunshine State home during the peak winter months compared with 170,000 during the late summer.

Most temporary residents migrated to counties in the southern part of the state. Lee County, in southwest Florida where Fort Myers is located, had the most temporary residents, followed by Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Collier, Broward, Polk, Pinellas, Sarasota, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.” (emphasis added)

I have to second Chas Rich of Fanhouse.com’s statement that “there will be a contingent of Knicks fans that will attend FIU games now just to chant ‘Fire Isiah!’ and worse for old times sake”.

Millions of transplanted New York basketball fans have been waiting for the opportunity to jeer Isiah for what he did for their favorite team. Now they get their chance. I wonder if FIU’s security will enact certain rules regulating fan behavior. If they don’t, until the Knicks become respectable again, neither Isiah nor his new basketball program stand a chance.

For those curious, yes, I am going to try and make the trip at least once. Probably wearing one of these:

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The Southern Thunder

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(This post was originally published on Thunder Matt’s Saloon.)

To be honest, ever since the Saloon reopened, I’ve felt out of place. Afterall, this is predominantly a Chicago sports blog and although I have some really good friends that live in the Chicago area, the closest I have ever been to the Windy City is a visit to the airport (Maybe O’Hare? Is there more than one?)

Over the last few weeks, I been trying to figure out how I can fit in. How can a writer from Tampa contribute to a blog named after a Cub pseudo-hero/fourth fifth outfielder? Should I try to write about the Cubs, knowing sure well any Cubs fan worth their salt would see right through the chirade? Should I try to provide pop news, music reviews, movie talk, or other miscellaneous jibber-jabber that wouldn’t really serve any purpose other than another update on your daily RSS feed?

As none of those ideas appealed to me, I slowly saw my talent and persona become irrelevant around these parts. I was the Kevin Maas of the site, a star that fizzled and died with the Chris Gaines-esque other site. I was a failed experiment, like the Cubs “College of Coaches” from back in the day.

Then, almost out of nowhere, an idea hit me. No, more than idea. This was an epiphany. A life-changing moment, at least as pertains to my life here at the Saloon.

Ladies and Gentlemen, and other fine readers of this blog, I bring to you “The Southern Thunder”: Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays*.

(Let’s for a second ignore the fact that the Rays just sent Joyce back down to Triple-A, ok?)

According to DRaysBay.com, Joyce is comparable to former Met, Brewer, Cub, etc Jeromy Burnitz. Burnitz, as many remember, definitely brought the thunder with his all-or-nothing approach. The man either struck out embarrassingly or hit the ball into next week. It’s true, you can look it up. Right there on Baseball Reference.com it says “Burnitz, Jeromy – on 5/16/1999 hit a baseball that landed on 5/23/1999″. At least it said that the last time I looked.

But Burnitz isn’t the only carrier of thunder that Matt Joyce compares to. DRays Bay also compares him defensively to the patron saint of this site, the Honorable, Venerable, and Almighty Matt Murton.

So already this year Matt Joyce has begun his journey as a fifth outfielder with pop, with better than average corner outfielder fielding prowess, and a knack for being sent down to the minors. Although Matt Joyce is not red-headed, and therefore is merely a weak impersonation of the original Thunder Matt, I can’t sit around all day waiting for the second coming of the baseball messiah. I need to throw my support to someone.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to hereby dub Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays Durham Bulls (hopefully Tampa Bay Rays again soon) “The Southern Thunder Matt”.

Long live Thunder.

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An Interview with Comedy Writer, Producer, and Comedian Michael James Nelson

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I am always amazed by the lives of people I have known throughout the years. I am the type of person who is always curious as to what other people are up to these days. Who has an interesting job? Who is in a third world country saving kids from malaria? Who is still working at McDonald’s? Of course, myspace and Facebook have made finding old peers, former classmates, long lost friends, forgotten relatives, unknown friends of friends, departed neighbors, neglected associates, and all other categories of people much easier.

A few months ago, I looked up (“Googled”, searched for, etc) several of my former co-writers from my time at the Florida State newspaper. I found out one became a writer for defense news in D.C., another works for a public relations firm in New York City, and a few are no longer writing. Then there is Michael James Nelson, who is currently living in Los Angeles and working as a comedy writer, producer, and comedian (hence the title of the post). (He even has a Wikipedia page!)

After much cajoling, convincing, and sending of payments, I convinced Michael to do an emailed Q&A for The Serious Tip. Perfect timing too, as he will be making an appearance on The Oxygen Network‘s “Pretty Wicked” on Tuesday, April 14th at 10p.m. (yes, that’s a plug). So read the interview and then check him out during the upcoming week.

So who is Michael James Nelson?

Michael James Nelson: I am someone that was in jail; actually, I was locked in a cage. I thought my life was over, but then a couple Dwarfs came by, they called themselves Nelwyns. Anyway, one of these Dwarfs was carrying a baby and he said that he had to return the baby to a “Dakini.” Whatever, I grabbed the baby and set off on adventure that would lead me to Nockmaar Castle — along the way I become infatuated with this chick named Sorsha who had major issues with her mother, Bavmorda — and then I found myself in Los Angeles doing comedy.

How did you get into comedy/comedy writing?

MJN: I have wanted to be a comedian every since I was in pre-school. But I was terrified at the thought of going up on stage and doing jokes. So, sometime around my first year of high school, I started writing stand-up material, but never even entertained the idea of presenting it to anyone. I was, to say the least, a very shy person. But one night during my senior year of college I organized a bunch of material and snuck away to go to an open mic night on campus. I told absolutely no one. I remember shaking violently right up to the point where they called my name and the audience started applauding. I even vomited in a trash can back stage. It was the scariest moment of my life. I then wiped my mouth and walked on stage and proceeded to do five minutes and I do not remember a single second of it. Afterwards, I think the audience gave me a courtesy applause and I wondered off stage, in a daze, trying to figure out what just happened.

I snapped out of it when a guy tapped my on the back. He introduced himself and said he was a booker for a show off-campus and he wanted me to headline a show that was to happen the following month. Now, I had no idea what headlining meant. I thought it might be the guy that takes the stage at the end of the show and does five minutes while everyone pays their check and leaves, so based on that false definition, I said yes.

Three weeks went by and I called the guy to confirm the show and he said we were all set. Then, I asked him how much time he wanted me to do, expecting him to say that the five minute set he had seen at the open mic would be plenty, but he said 50 minutes to fifty-five minutes would be just fine. I about fainted and vomited and cried and ran away at the same time. I had now idea the headliner was the main attraction. We hung up and for that week I scrambled to write anything I could that might get a laugh or even a chuckle. I even skipped my classes to stay focused. Then, that night came. The house was packed with hundreds of people and there I was back stage, having only done a five-minute open mic show prior. As each comedian went up, each doing around ten minutes, I started having a panic attack. I was totally falling apart. My shirt was already soaked with sweat. I was drinking so much just to kill my nerves. And then, my name was called, the audience applauded, and I walked on stage and did fifty minutes nonstop. I remember the entire show. I remember getting laughs the entire time. I remember the audience roaring with laughter. And I remember being up there and thinking to myself, “This is it. This is what I am supposed to do with my life. I’m a comedian.”

What are you doing professionally these days?

MJN: I am a comedy writer, producer and performer in Los Angeles. I have written for MTV and ABC and a bunch of networks. I wrote for National Lampoon for a while and I wrote a show for Nick Cannon. I do stand up every week and this April I will make an appearance on the television show “Pretty Wicked” on the Oxygen Network. I also write feature films, sketches, and hilarious bar mitzvah speeches.

Funniest thing that ever happened to you at FSU?

MJN: Hmm, funniest thing… that is a tough one. I had a blast at FSU. There are way too many hilarious moments to sort through and then to find “the one” is almost impossible. But, one that comes to mind is when my best friend fell of a balcony and hit his head and had to get stitches. We all dressed up in costumes and were partying on a balcony. We had been drinking since early afternoon. We started throwing stuff of the balcony and cheering. Then, he threw a huge sign over the side and ended up going over with it. We were only one story up, but he did fall and hit his head. So, we took him to the hospital (a whole separate story for another time about how we had to hitch hike to get to there) and while he was getting stitches, there were at least fifteen of us in the waiting room, all of us still drunk and in our costumes. Although a little scary at the time, now that I look back, all of us in the waiting room dressed in the most random costumes, I can’t help but laugh. What a long, funny night.

Are you the greatest comedian/comedy writer in FSU history?

MJN: Hahaha. I do know other guys that came out of FSU and they are very funny and they do comedy. But, when I was doing my sketch comedy show (That Show With Those Guys) while I was at FSU, we were always told that it was the funniest show to have ever aired on the network. And not only did they air old episodes of the show years after I graduated, but there were also spin-off shows. I have always been very proud of that. I don’t think I am ready to claim greatest comedian in FSU history, but that would be cool if that day came.

If I remember right, the Spring 2003 valedictorian gave you a shout-out. Did you know that was coming? How did you react to the instant fame that presented?

MJN: Hahaha. That was insane! I had been told before the graduation ceremony that I was going to be mentioned during the speech, but I didn’t think it would be to that degree. He practically made his speech about me moving out to Los Angeles and becoming a comedian. Hahaha! It was Jim Davis that put me in his speech and he was president of the senior class. I know Jim and there is no way he was valedictorian! But, he did his speech during that humongous graduation ceremony and he did talk about me and I have always thought that was so cool. I was happy that he could pull inspiration from the crazy dream I had in my head.

Who are your comedic influences? Why?

MJN: I would have to say that Bill Cosby has influenced me a great deal. I remember lying in bed, listening to his stories dreaming of having that ability to tell a story like he does. The characters, the humor, another reality, it is all there. I think I have always strived to convey a sense of story and comedy like he does. But, probably the most influential comedians for me have been Howard Stern and David Letterman. They are the reason I got into this business and I still watch them in awe. I remember being a kid and memorizing Letterman’s monologues. And when I was in college, Tallahassee didn’t have the Stern Show on any stations. So, I would have my mom record the show and mail me the tapes. I was obsessed.

Do you ever feel “not funny”? Like have you ever told a joke and no one laughed?

MJN: Hell motha f’in yes. There are days that I wake up and don’t feel funny at all. Cerebrally, I could be laughing my ass off – anything crossing my mind is funny to me. But, there are times that I can’t convey that comedy to anyone in anyway at anytime. Maybe it is because I am tired or stressed out or my mind is somewhere else… who knows. And as far as ever telling a joke and no one laughs… oh yes. That has happened many times and it will continue to happen for the rest of my life. It happens to everyone. I have seen Chris Rock bomb a couple jokes. There is no comedian out there that hasn’t bombed a joked. It is impossible not to bomb. And funny enough, bombing is where you grow the most and where you become stronger as a comedian and it is a very important part of the process.

Your Alicia Keys video is hilarious. Has that ever happened to you?

MJN: Hahahaha. That was a random idea I had when her song started playing in my car. I started free styling the phone call on the spot and when I got home, I wrote it out and shot it a week later. However, for the past five years I have been getting calls from some random corporation that thinks they are calling their IT guy. I guess my phone number is one digit different then the number they are trying to dial and I have learned that their IT guy has the same name as I and the first time they called me I answered and they asked for “Mike” and I said “speaking.” They then told me that at 2pm I needed to show a group of investors around the building and explain our computer network and explain how it is setup. They wanted me to put a power point together just so they could get a visual sense of how it all works. I was a production assistant at the time out on an office supply run. I started freaking out because I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought maybe I was supposed to know the setup of the network and started franticly wracking my brain for anything I might have been told about our computer network. I agreed that I would show the investors around and then hung up the phone.

I got back to the office and started putting together a power point presentation, guessing how the network was set up. I got about one page into the power point show and then decided to tell my boss that I had no idea how the network operated. She looked at me like I was insane. So, for the past five years, they have continually called me and left me messages about all the computer problems happening around their office. I have never returned their call to tell them that they are dialing the wrong number and have the wrong “Mike”, but I think that the next time they call I will finally break the news to them. That would be hilarious if my calling them back and breaking the news were to solve this gigantic company mystery that has caused people to get fired and investors to pull their funds. What if my not coming clean is the reason we are in a recession? Now I feel guilty.

So would you really turn down Alicia Keys?

MJN: No. I think she is hot and hopefully one day she will call me with any computer network issues she may be experiencing.

I have this theory about comedians. I think if I introduce you to someone and say “This is Michael, he is a comedian”, that person will automatically think whatever you say is funny. They will laugh by default. True or false?

MJN: Ugh, no way. If I am introduced like that, people always say, “Say something funny.” It sucks. I decline and the conversation goes on and then, if I don’t say anything funny they will say, “You aren’t funny. How can you be a comedian?” I guess it comes with the territory. I guess people need to understand that being onstage and offstage are two different things that spawn night-and-day mentalities and emotions and thoughts and personas. And most comedians I know are quiet off stage and aren’t that funny when you just stand around and chat. I once talked with Robin Williams before a show and he was very reserved and not trying to be funny at all. Same with Dane Cook, I hung out with him and we talked for an hour and he was quiet and not that funny. But both were very nice people. In my dealings, comedians are usually pretty serious people that observe everything around them. I may not sit there and crack jokes, but I am always observing and breaking things down and thinking of ways to make stuff funny. I just might be quiet as I do it around you. To avoid all of this, when I am out-and-about, I just tell people that I am a plumber.

What does the future hold for you? What do you hope it holds?

MJN: I have no idea, but that is what is so exciting about this town. In Hollywood, one day can completely change your life and all of your dreams come true. But, you can’t really think about that or strive for that. You just have to do what makes you happy, enjoy life, stay grounded, and if that day comes, it comes. For me, my ultimate goal is to have my own television show… just like I had in college. That has always been my focus.

Where can people find out more about you?

MJN: People can visit www.michaelnelsoncomedy.com or go to YouTube and search Michael James Nelson. Anything other than that would be considered stalking and shame on you.

Who would you like to give a shout-out to?

MJN: I would like to give a shout-out to Jim Davis… listen buddy, you didn’t make valedictorian, but damn it, we are all still very proud of you.

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Help Knock Cancer Out of the Park

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Regis Courtemanche of MetsBlog.com recently posted about his effort to raise money for cancer research. Courtemanche is linking up with the American Cancer Society this baseball season to give a predetermined amount for every home run hit by a New York Met player.

Here is the page for Courtemanche’s drive and the link for direct donations.

If you would like to follow along with Regis and donate per Met home run, just drop him an email at metsheads [at] yahoo.com.

As another blogger whose family has been directly affected by cancer, I am already committed to helping Regis out. Please find it in your heart to do the same.

Thanks.

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Help a Mets Fan Knock Cancer Out of the Park

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I know this is about a Mets fan, but it concerns a cause that touches us all.

Regis Courtemanche of MetsBlog.com recently posted about his effort to raise money for cancer research. Courtemanche is linking up with the American Cancer Society this baseball season to give a predetermined amount for every home run hit by a New York Met player.

Here is the page for Courtemanche’s drive and the link for direct donations, which can be made completely independent of the Mets’ offensive output.

However, if you would like to follow along with Regis and donate per Met home run, just drop him an email at metsheads [at] yahoo.com.

As another blogger whose family has been directly affected by cancer, I am already committed to helping Regis out. Please find it in your heart to do the same.

Thanks,
Jordi

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An Interview with Lisa V: Singer, Musician, and Candidate for College Humor.com’s Sexiest Girl of 2009

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It has been far too long since I did an interview. Although I started well interviewing models, film stars, pro wrestlers, other bloggers, and even a U.S. presidential candidate, I haven’t done an interview in nearly a year.

This changes now. Over the next 10 days, I’m posting three, count ‘em three, interviews with brilliant up-and-comers in the entertainment industry.

Today’s interview is with Lisa V., a singer/musician from Sterling Heights, Michigan best known for her work with the band Orange Marsupials. She has also reached a new level of individual fame thanks to her picture submission to College Humor.com’s Hottest College Girl 2009 site. So far, College Humor.com readers have deemed Lisa so hot, she is now in the Sweet 16.

Her next round opens on April 8th. Although I can’t guarantee she will invite all of us to her victory party if she wins, trust me, the reward will go to a good cause.

So without further ado …

The Serious Tip: Define Lisa V. in 27 words.

Lisa V.: Lisa V. is a small girl with big dreams. She wants to become a rock icon, or at least make music that someone somewhere wants to hear!

TST: You are in the running for College Humor.com’s America’s Cutest Hottest College Girl 2009. How did you get involved in that?

LV: It’s actually the Hottest College Girl contest. I entered the Cute College Girl of the Day contest first because I stumbled upon College Humor’s website and wanted to win a t-shirt, and through a series of random events, found myself in the running for $5,000!

TST: You are also a musician according to your myspace page. Who are your top five musical influences and why?

LV: #1. The Beatles. Generic, I know, but there’s a REASON why so many people are influenced by them. They’re amazing because they’ve always appealed to the masses, but they’re also a musician’s band- a band that people in other bands can hear and then be inspired by. They never lost their magic because they knew when it was time to stop.

#2. Led Zeppelin. One of the best compliments I ever received after a show was from a man who said I reminded him of a female Robert Plant. I was absolutely thrilled because I love everything about Plant: his stage presence, his style, his voice. It’s not all about Plant, of course. The entire band was insanely talented, but if I pick apart what I like about each band member, this interview will get a bit too long.

#3. Bob Marley. My band is a reggae-influenced rock/funk band, and the reggae influence is mainly Bob Marley.

The fact that his lyrics were so simple yet so powerful, just like the music accompanying them, really inspired my band in the way that we compose songs.

#4. Stevie Wonder. I don’t know if it even requires an explanation, but here we go. His voice is spectacular, his song-writing skills are unmatched. I saw a video once where he played a 6-minute-long drum solo! The man is a living legend.

#5. Aretha Franklin. I always love a woman with a powerful voice, so of course the Queen of Soul has to be on my top 5 musical influences. She has had a great impact on the way I sing ever since I was a little girl. I even sang one of her songs, “A Natural Woman”, when I tried out for choir in elementary school. Plus she’s from Detroit, so we have that Michiganian bond going on.

TST: There is a youtube clip of you playing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” while sitting on the toilet. Where did the inspiration for that come from? Are you surprised by the videos success?

LV: The inspiration originally came out of the boredom of being a nearly-16-year-old with nothing to do on a break from school. I was playing in my bathroom as I often did because I loved the acoustics and just how big it made the vocals sound, when it struck me: why not record myself playing in there? I had to do a few takes because I’d mess up a bit on the guitar or forget a line, but eventually I made a version I was pretty happy with. I was extremely surprised that the video got any views at all, I assumed it was just something for my friends and I to laugh at. The fact that so many people enjoy my youtube videos is very flattering, and I thank everyone who has supported me so far!

TST: So tell me about your current band Orange Marsupials. How did you come up with that name? What kind of music do you guys play? Could you compare yourself to any mainstream acts?

LV: My drummer Kevin actually came up with the name. He just sort of yelled it out at band practice and it stuck (he also gives our songs ridiculous names as well, ex: “Ask The Man If He Knows How To Make Love”). Like I mentioned before, we categorize ourselves as a reggae/rock/funk band, but it’s hard to say exactly what we sound like. We’re often compared to No Doubt just because we’re a female-fronted reggae band, but we’re a bit more rock-influenced.

TST: What was your most memorable perform ance and why?

LV: My most memorable performance was when we played a show at Gibraltar Trade Center (think a giant flea market) last summer. We played two sets that day, and after the first set my drummer and I had to leave for our high school graduation. We came back and performed the second set in our grad attire, and after we finished, a guy ran up to the stage and handed me a goldfish in a bag, and said that we were amazing. Oh, and we were supposed to get paid $300, and we got nothing! It was certainly a memorable show. (A tip to aspiring young bands: If anyone offers you money to play, MAKE THEM SIGN A CONTRACT!)

TST: If you won College Humor’s Hottest College Girl would you use that in your advertising for the band? I can picture it now: Come See College Humor’s Hottest College Girl and her band as they rock your socks off!

LV: I probably would not use it in advertising my band because I’d look like an asshole, and the whole thing began kind of as a joke anyways, I never thought I’d be in the top 64, let alone the top 16 like I am now! The fact that I’ve come this far in the contest is just amazing to me, and if I don’t make it any further, just getting to where I got feels pretty good. I would, however, LOVE to win, I’d use the prize money to buy my band t-shirts/merch/new equipment, or a van for us to haul our stuff around in!

TST: Who is the best ukulele player you have ever heard? Best recorder player?

LV: The ukulele question is easy: Jake Shimabukuro. I was looking for Beatles covers one day and I found a ukulele version he did of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps“. It’s incredible, I highly recommend it. As far as recorders, I have NO clue, recorders in general just remind me of my 4th grade music class playing “Rockin’ Robin” and “La Cucaracha”.

TST: The kazoo: underrated as an instrument in popular music? Or is it’s place in music absolutely where it needs to be?

LV: The kazoo is in its rightful place. Kazoos belong in the kitchen of the music world, cooking and cleaning to support the guitars, AKA the breadwinners.

TST: This question comes from the great Marty DeBergi, and I think should be asked to every performer: “Do you feel that playing rock ‘n’ roll music keeps you a child? That is, keeps you in a state of arrested development?”

LV: Haha, Spinal Tap is one of my favorite movies!! I do feel playing music keeps us young and immature, but it’s hard to say, because we ARE still young and immature. However, I do see us making sex jokes and poop jokes (sometimes simultaneously, yikes) for many years to come.

TST: Finally. how can people find out more about you and hear more of the Orange Marsupials?

LV: We check our myspace page everyday, so if anyone wants to get in contact with us for booking or just to talk, they can add us or message us and we’ll get back to them ASAP!

www.myspace.com/orangemarsupials

For those who don’t have myspace, we can be contacted through e-mail at:

awesomelyawsome [at] AIM.com

You can find bathroom concerts of myself and my band at my youtube page:

www.youtube.com/youwantfrieswiththat

Don’t be shy, we don’t bite!

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The Unfortunate Commercialization of the Funk

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Way back in the ancient days of 2007, we, the admirers of pure, uncut, sounds-so-good-you’ll-slap-your-mama Funk were sucker punched by a most disgraceful advertisement. Although many called it “cute” and “cool” and even “funny”, this ad was a disgrace to all that the Funk stood for.

According to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, the band behind “We Want The Funk” and promoters of all that is Funky, Parliament-Funkadelic, “frequently resorted to allegorical concept albums to make larger points about societal injustices and ways in which a community of like-minded souls could liberate themselves from its constrictions”.

This was a major blow to the Funk. It’s revolutionary mentality had been pummeled by a posse of grooving third graders. In his headquarters high on Madison Avenue, The Man had taken the Funk, shined it nice, smoothed it out, made it safe, and re-packaged it as a pitch tool for gluttonous, misappropriated, irresponsible spending. The type of spending that led to 19% interest rates, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and all sorts of financial misfortune. Tied eternally to one of the greatest anthems in Funk History.

But we, the True Funk-a-teers, grooved on. The Man was not going to hold us down. Oh no, we had to keep on groovin’.

Now in 2009 comes another attack. With the pressure of the credit crisis raining down on The Man and the emergence of a new less materialistic America, The Man has unleashed another offensive on the Funk. Once again, The Man has associated the Funk with materialism, greed, excess, and the need for instantaneous possessive gratification that has put America on its current crash course with destruction. This time his target of choice is Funk Legend Rick James and his smash hit “Super Freak”.

At first, this ad gave me hope. There were people all over the world singing “Super Freak”. Ballers, babes, bros, cyclists, cowboys, and even consiglieres were all breaking it down to Rick James. Then I saw an attractive woman using her Visa credit card to buy some much needed tunes. I was still ok. Cautious, but ok. Then Mr. Morgan Freeman completely shattered my utopia. He utterly and absolutely destroyed my hopes for all that is, was, or ever will be ever holy. Out of this once respectable, once proud, once strong man’s mouth came the most heinous phrase to ever be adapted to sound:

“More people go funky with Visa”

The Man has struck again. I wonder if the Funk can ever recover.

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