A poem for a blues man we lost too early.

Floor It

Don't nobody play like Stevie Ray play.
Give that man six strings, step back, and watch 'em sing.
The sky is crying and his fingers are flying and his amplifier is screaming
and you know that this sound is the TRUTH,
that in every note and bend and trill is this man's soul laid bare
and his whammy bar is upside down but I don't care
because he knows how to use it
and that's all that matters, is the music.
Use heavy strings, tune low, and floor it, Stevie Ray used to say,
words we can all live by
even if you don't have a guitar to make cry
even if you don't like the blues
even if you've never heard music.
We've only got one life, so why follow the speed limit?
We've only got one life, and it's our job to live in it.
We've only got one tiny moment of time, so let's make use of it,
let's play the blues with it,
let's climb on the stage and bend those strings like salvation comes from noise,
let's go go go and we'll burn and we'll glow like the tubes in Stevie Ray's amp,
cause we never know when our tube might blow.
When you went, Stevie Ray, the sky wasn't crying but our eyes sure were,
leaving a Texas Flood of tears behind.
And Clapton wasn't on that helicopter,
but that's not how we know God wasn't with you,
because if he was, he'd have kept that chopper in the sky,
because you, Stevie Ray, you were meant to fly.
But maybe that chopper wasn't meant to land.
Maybe it's part of some grand master plan.
God took Jimi and God took Janis,
and he took Kurt and John and Elvis, too,
so maybe, Stevie, maybe he just wanted to meet you.
He wanted to watch you play.
Cause don't nobody play like Stevie Ray play.

RIP Stevie Ray Vaughan
Two poems. The first especially is a slam poem, so really only works when spoken aloud. (If you're a fan of slam poetry, look up Anis Mojgani. He's a magician with words.)

For a Girl With a Boy's Name
for R.C.

The smell of maple syrup in the air from the Denny's on Hoover Street
reminds me of home.
That home that's bittersweet
from too much love and not enough mutuality,
from which I stand in self-imposed exile in a 3am crosswalk,
an escape from the red tights and Bud Lights,
the aftermath of a farewell sendoff.
I'm a struggling Olympian, ill-equipped for the challenge before me,
which is to keep history at bay and not submit to that which is
if not right, at least not wrong.
So I walk.
I take to the streets.
I don't drive or bike, I get out on my feet,
out into the real world,
away from the fantasy of black and grey stripes sliding through my midnight door
because I've heard it happened before
in another time and I am praying for lightning to strike twice.
But that's not how it works.
Thanks for playing, better luck next time,
that's the line.
I'm a single-sided star-crossed lover in the City of Angels.
Her floral name and the drinking games
and the way her hair falls across her right eyebrow
keep me firmly grounded in the here and now
which is trouble because I don't know how
but I've got to do something to change my state,
away from this place where I just sit and wait
because it is killing me,
having to see
where she sleeps, the one place I want and cannot be.
I see her kissing lips that aren't mine
and I'll smile and nod and say I'm fine
but I am dying
and all I can do is laugh to keep from crying,
shake my head, clap my hands,
throw a ball, and hit a can,
move to prove my heart's still pumping
going left and right, dancing, jumping,
hoping to God that things don't stay this way,
that's the only thing for which I pray these days.
I've been told I'm wrong,
and she says she's not right,
but none of that matters in the middle of night.
The only thing I care about is what might might might.

for K.C.

Like all men before me I am searching for what is holy.
I find those things sacred that bring joy, peace, and awe.
The sunset over the Pacific Ocean and the sunrise over the Atlantic.
The Joshua trees.
The Sears tower.
Niagara Falls. The Hoover Dam.
Stands of redwoods that have existed since before spoken language.
A full tip jar in a Skid Row bar.
A fire truck careening through the night and the martyrs aboard it who run into Hell to drag others out.
The aftermath of genocide, which proves that mankind can and will survive hatred and supplant it with love.
A mother crying with joy at a newborn's laughter.
The silence of an empty theatre and an empty church and the lack of difference between them.
Clair de Lune.
A Hail Mary in overtime.
The crack of the bat.
Veterans tearing up at the national anthem on the Fourth of July.
A thousand people singing Hey Jude in Trafalgar Square, even if it is only a publicity stunt.
The smell of woodsmoke.
The night.
The moon.
The sky.
The way the streetlights cast a shadow on your face and sadden me because I can see less of you.
The silence on the front porch.
Divinity is silent and love speaks without words;
The dark is holy and in that moment we share before the front door, hushed in the orange night of the Angels, I feel the divine.
The Spirit is in the way you twist your hair, and I want to live forever in the Heaven of your heart, where I will be a saint, because there, I see God.
I'm sure some people do.

What color looks best on you?
In "Signe" by Eric Clapton off the album "Unplugged," there's a triangle that has no discernible just ends up sounding like someone's digital watch beeping randomly.
Tom Waits
Tom Waits
Isaac Brock
Tom Waits
Bertolt Brecht (okay, mainly a playwright, but the lyrics to the songs in his plays are great.)
"Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
That might be a good way to kill the enemy, but you lose the land, which defeats the purpose. The enemy wouldn't send all their troops forward at once; your mined trench would kill their first wave, but then you couldn't retake it because of the enemies who stayed behind and are still capable of covering No Man's Land with heavy fire. It's strategically unsound to give up territory just to inflict casualties.
In little semblance of order


1. The Theatre
2. Feeling any emotion strongly
3. Being around true, peaceful happiness
4. Genuine human contact and affection
5. Standing in a crowd after a performance
6. Being in the company of close friends and good people
7. Silence
8. The way my roommate's hair falls over her right eyebrow
9. Being alone
10. The greeting I get when I return to someone who has missed me


1. Unrequited love
2. Loneliness
3. Envy, especially my own
4. Inhibitions arising from fear
5. Intolerance
6. Condescension
7. The sound of wood being dragged across paper, as with a broken pencil
8. Seeing those I love in pain
9. Deceptiveness / insincerity
10. Regret
I've lived in Los Angeles for about two years, and this is what I have found:


Culture. LA gets a bad rap for being uncultured, but there's a ton of theatre, a thriving music scene, dance, visual arts, anything you want from any culture. It can be hard to search it out -- it's mostly little independent places -- but if you want it, it's there.

Diversity. If a culture exists on Earth, you can find it in LA. Hollywood is right next to Little Ethiopia. Every manner of Central American culture, Little Tokyo, I live near Koreatown, there's everyone and everything.

Opportunity. There is a ton of money in Los Angeles. Pretty much any career you want you can find here. It's the center of the entertainment world, both film/television and music. But there's realty, banks, antique stores, you name it we got it.

Geography. You're near the ocean, the desert, and the mountains. You don't have to go more than two hours to find any of those things.


Price. Los Angeles is expensive. Rent, gas, food, all that, you'll have to be prepared to shell out. I highly recommend sharing an apartment.

Air Quality. Again, LA gets a bad rap -- the air is not as bad as depicted, but it isn't what you'd call "good." I can never feel it, but it does sometimes obscure the mountains 10 miles away. At night with the air and the light, you can only see a dozen stars. You won't get lung cancer, though.

Traffic. There's no exaggeration at all here. The only place I've seen whose traffic rivals Los Angeles is Atlanta. The subway system is woefully inadequate for short distances, but if you're going from LA to Pasadena, for example, trains work well. The buses are decent but sometimes unreliable. You really need a car to live here.

Downtown. Because Los Angeles is such a driving city, there aren't many places that serve walk-by traffic like you'd find in New York, because there's so little walk-by traffic. There is the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which houses the LA Opera and two theatres of the Center Theatre Group, LA's biggest theatre company. Across the street is the Disney Concert Hall and REDCAT theatre. There's a great whiskey bar on 7th and Grand Downtown, but as far as I know that's about it. It's not the kind of place you say "Let's go Downtown, wander, and see what's going on." You have to have a plan.


Weather. It is not 72 and sunny year round. Summers can hit 100 degrees (though never humid). Winters top out in the 50s at best, oftentimes days in the 40s. It rarely rains (14 inches annually), which I don't like.

Safety. Granted, I haven't spend much time in Compton or Watts or any of the really rough neighborhoods, but if you're not stupid you ought to be pretty safe. I live in the West Adams neighborhood (I go to USC, live off-campus nearby), and while there have been muggings and break ins, they're not that common and usually result from someone walking alone on the street at 2 am.

If you're not going to Los Angeles proper, I would recommend Culver City. It's on the west side of Los Angeles, about 7 miles from downtown, and is a charming city. Pasadena to the northeast about 10 miles is also very cool. But keep in mind that these places are probably more expensive than LA proper.

EDIT: I'd rethink your notion of living in a nearby city so you can enjoy LA without the air problems. The air there is just as bad (the whole valley has the same air problems), and getting around can be hard. Glendale, for example, is only about 12 miles from Downtown LA, but that can take a lot of travel time. Also, because LA is so sprawling, there's no one place to go -- it's not like New York with everything sort of in the same place. I'd say it's best to try to live in the geographic center of the area (which would be Koreatown, give or take) so you minimize your travel distance to places like Santa Monica and Westwood to Pasadena and San Marino.

Additionally, most of the interesting parts of LA are to the west of Downtown, as are Hollywood and Beverly Hills and the beaches. So I'd say live in West LA/Culver City/Westwood, someplace like that.

I know that's a lot of info, but I hope it helps.
Someone wants to kill every president. Guarantee. And it's damn hard to do. That there's only been one assassinated in the last hundred years shows just how hard it is.

I think he's safe.
My roommate's parents are South African and I've recently taken to imitating them. It's really cool.
My theatre history professor is the second coolest guy I've ever met, and I think his best crack was this:

(talking about ancient Greek plays) "Back in those days there were many gods. This was before Jesus came and slew all those loser gods and totally ruled."

The coolest professor ever, my clowning teacher, loves failure. It's the point of his class to make his students not fear failure. So he says, in his light London accent and with a smile, things like:

"That was absolutely horrid."
"I have never seen anything so disastrous in my life."
"That could not have been any worse."

And so on. But the more he says you fail, the better you're doing. That was the best class I've ever taken in all my years of schooling.
Actress Piper Perabo

I've lived in Indiana, Georgia, and Southern California, and here are some things I've found:

Midwesterners say "pop" to mean "soda."

Southerners say "fixin" to mean "preparing," as in "I'm fixin to go to the store."

Also, a "mess" means a big but not huge amount of something ("go get a mess of potatoes for dinner")..."chunk" means "throw," etc.

In Indiana a "toboggan" is a type of sled, in the South it's a knit winter hat.

Southern Californians abbreviate everything; "delish" for "delicious," "sesh" for "session," "fro-yo" for "frozen yogurt." Also "hey-oh", with the "hey" being accented and pitched higher, is an expression of approval/excitement/congratulations -- "You got the job? Hey-oh."

I love regional dialects.
This is a dark day for baseball fans nationwide, regardless of team affiliation, for today saw the last game ever to be played at the venerable Yankee Stadium.

Constructed in 1923, The House That Ruth Built has been home to the most storied franchise in sports history. Some of the most important moments in baseball history -- from Don Larsen's perfect World Series game in 1956 to the careers of Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and more -- have occurred on this hallowed ground.

And this shrine is being destroyed to make way for a new, more luxurious stadium. History and tradition are being replaced with luxury boxes and outfield steakhouses. Heart is being supplanted by commerce.

And so, from a devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox but more importantly a lover of the Game of Baseball, let us join together to mourn the loss of a piece of our history...a piece of our soul.

God bless you, Yankee Stadium.
You're a young teenager, aren't you? In 22 years, you're going to change your mind on this particular issue.
Chiwetel Ejiofor

He's brilliant.

Don Cheadle is second. James Earl Jones is pretty high up there too. Sidney Poitier also cannot be underestimated.

This is the best screenwriting site on the web. It is my bible. Look at the columns section. It will teach you everything you need to know about screenwriting. There's a lot more craft involved than most people give it credit for.
Myself to Eric Clapton, meetings only:

My teacher Jack Rowe is friends with Tim Curry (I saw them having a chat once.)
who acted in The Hunt for Red October with Sean Connery
who acted in The Last Crusade, directed by Steven Speilberg
who directed The Temple of Doom, featuring Dan Ackyroyd
who acted in The Blues Brothers 2008 with Eric Clapton.

So, Me -> Jack Rowe -> Tim Curry -> Sean Connery -> Steven Speilberg -> Dan Ackyroyd -> Eric Clapton.
Tough to pick just one...

Karen O, Clint Eastwood (God help him, he's 78), Jon Stewart, Phillip Seymour Hoffman...anyone who's great and still in the prime of their careers.
Big Red is the correct answer.

Also, it's called "pop," not "soda."
Clint Eastwood (Mystic River, Letters From Iwo Jima, Unforgiven)

Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire)

Clint is the "best," but I can't decide who my favorite is.
Firefly and The Office are my #1 and #2 respectively, so listen to my advice.

Arrested Development

That is all.
Tallulah Bankhead in 1923:

Louise Brooks c. 1929:

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're Uncool."

-- Almost Famous, written by Cameron Crowe.

I take it to mean that only two people who are Uncool, who both know that they're both Uncool, can have complete trust in the truthfulness of their interactions, because only they have nothing to prove to each other, no need to impress.
Some honourable mentions:

From Serenity:

Mal: Government's man, he says you're a danger to us. Not worth helping. Is he right? Are you anything more than a weapon? I've staked my crew's life on the theory that you're a person. Actual and whole. And if I'm wrong, you best shoot me now --
River cocks the gun she's pointing at his head
-- or, we could talk some more.

From Closer:

Larry: Tell me something true.
Alice: Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off. But it's better if you do.
Larry: What's your name?
Alice: Jane.
Larry: What's your real name?
Gives her 20 quid
Alice: Thank you. Still Jane.
Larry: I've got five hundred quid here. How about I give you all this money, and you tell me your real name, Alice.
Alice: Thank you. My real name is Plain - Jane - Jones.

And my all-time favorite quote from my all-time favorite movie, Almost Famous:

Lester: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're Uncool.
Date With the Night by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Listen to that bridge...I'll set you, I'll set it OFF!

Bang by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Just the sounds here... (and ignore the video, just listen to the song.)

It also helps when the singer looks like Karen O.
Okay, this is going to sound really odd, but I had the same problem 'bout ten years ago, and this fixed it:

Coat the inside of your nose with mineral oil every night. Just put a bit on a Q-Tip and rub it on. Works wonders.
Alien life exists, but it's never been to Earth.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Christian Bale
Edward Norton

Kate Winslet
Natalie Portman
Judi Dench


Jimmy Stewart
William Holden
Jack Lemmon

Audrey Hepburn
Katherine Hepburn
Grace Kelley
Amy Smart

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Quote by TooFast
Dazed and Confused. Cmon, it doesn't get any better for classic rock fans.

I beg to differ. May I offer:


Selections include:

America -- Simon & Garfunkel
Sparks -- The Who
Search and Destroy -- Iggy and the Stooges
Tangerine, Misty Mountain Hop, That's the Way -- Led Zeppelin
One Way Out -- The Allman Brothers Band
Simple Man -- Lynyrd Skynyrd
Feel Flows -- The Beach Boys
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) -- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Paranoid -- Black Sabbath
Tiny Dancer, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters -- Elton John

Plus Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart, Joni Mitchell, and more! Along with original music from Stillwater, written by Cameron Crowe, Nancy Wilson, and Peter Frampton.

Though Forrest Gump and The Blues Brothers are second and third, respectively.

It's PROVOLONE cheese if you want a real cheesesteak. And you fry the meat up with some onions and mushrooms and maybe some green bell peppers, melt the cheese on last, put it all on a toasted hoagie bun...

Man, I want one now.
Robert Downey Jr.

Pierce Brosnan

Edward Burns

Jim Carrey

Kurt Cobain

If you're not DEAD SURE you're ready for the Marines, you're not.
Jennifer Garner, who has the best smile in Hollywood.
That last one is big, so it gets linked.

On the subject of Jennifers... Aniston

South Central represent!

I'm a transplant; I go to USC and live about three miles south of downtown LA. The crime, in my experience, isn't that bad as long as you don't do something stupid like walking around alone at three in the morning. Just be cautious of people who look sketchy.
YES! More theatre kids out there. I just finished my sophomore year as a theatre major at the University of Southern California.

As for best plays, gotta say:

The Crucible -- Arthur Miller (love all of Miller)
Oleanna -- David Mamet (love all of Mamet)
Closer -- Patrick Marber (soo much better than the film)
Richard III -- William Shakespeare ('nuff said. He's Shakespeare)

I've been in two shows at SC; "The Voysey Inheritance" by Harley Granville-Barker, adapted by David Mamet as Rev. Colpus, and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Dale Wasserman, from the novel by Ken Kesey as Dr. Spivey. I write as well and have had two one-acts produced.

I'm reading Bertolt Brecht's theoretical writings now, and they're brilliant. You a fan of Brecht? How about Artaud? I don't like him as's too mystical. I like Brecht because he's very immediate and practical, and the passion is great. It's like he's saying "Look, this is how it's gonna BE, by god!"

You should also read "The Empty Space" by Peter Brook, because it's amazing.

One last thing: I'm in a new improv troupe at SC called The Merry Men. Our first (and so far only show) is on YouTube. Here's what I think is the best part: I'm the Prime Minister. Our whole schtick is that we're all fake English-Shakespearean.
It's the perfect ending. It's the ultimate failure, which is what Indy does in that movie, really.

That's right. Look at it: he gets the idol. Belloch takes it. He loses Marion, she gets killed (we think). He finds the Ark, Belloch takes it. He takes it from Belloch, gets it on the boat, the Nazis take it back. He threatens to blow it up, Belloch calls his bluff. When it finally gets opened, which is what he's after, he can't even look inside it. And when the Ark is finally in his possession, not going to be stolen by the bad guys, what happens?

The Government takes it from him. Just like everything else in the movie. It's perfect.
This might qualify me for hell, spitting on this man's purpose, but...