Archive | February, 2009

Richter is back!

25 Feb

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I love Conan O’Brien, even if I only watch him about twice a year. I go to bed before he comes on, and chances are if I’m watching his show, I’ve either worked late or I’m having a bout of insomnia. Either way, whenever I watch Conan I love it. He’s part Johnny Carson, part Letterman and all Conan. He’s really the Carson of the Gen Xers. He appears to be a straight man and then launches into screwball comedy that only he can create.

I was watching one of Conan’s last shows the other night, where he ripped off a piece of the set and then had some set people chop it up, so he could give it to the audience at the end of the show – classic! The whole show was devoted to flashbacks, with one very special guest, Andy Richter. In the early days of the Conan show, Andy Richter was McMahon to Conan O’Brien’s Carson. It was a great comedy team-up but Richter left the show in 2000 and started a mild tv career. (with one recent appearance on 30 ROCK as Liz Lemon’s brother – a great episode) But, he never quite recaptured the popularity of his team-up with Conan. Well, now thats changed, because not only is Conan moving over to late night, but Richter is going to rejoin the show. Why do I care? I don’t know. I just like to know that when I tune in to a Conan O’Brien show, any day of the week, I am going to be entertained and laugh my ass off. And thats something we can all use with all of the good news these days.
Welcome back Andy.

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Because he’s a pro…

12 Feb

…David Letterman had no problem with a quiet and pensive Joaquin Phoenix, who was on the Late Show for what? Oh yeah, he was promoting a movie and retiring from acting, but you wouldn’t have known that if Letterman didn’t drag it out of him. Its not easy to sit at a desk day after day and talk up celebrities and make the time interesting, let alone a guest that doesn’t say a thing. But, in short, Letterman shows you why he is still the king of late night TV. He simultaneously calms any agitation (if that is what he was felling) that Phoenix had and then zings him with some great lines. My favorite is, “We owe an apology to Farah Fawcett, ” a reference to what was until now, the most uncomfortable Letterman appearance.

25 Things You Didn’t Need to Know but I Wrote Anyway

7 Feb

I wrote a note on Facebook about 25 Things and thought it would make a good blog post too.

25 Things

1. I like all kinds of lists. “To do” lists are my favorite, because you get to cross stuff off and get a sense of accomplishment. Also, like to make lists of favorite things, like music, books and movies. I do this every year to see whats changed and whats still around.

2. I saw the reunited Van Halen last year with my brother and completed a life goal to see Diamond Dave out front of Eddie, Alex and Mich…Wolfgang. No joke, I love that band!

3. I became a “serious” runner when I moved out to Peaks Island. I love running in the morning, weather permitting. And I love to be the only person on the backshore at 6AM. Especially in the spring time when its still dark and the orange sky silhouettes the houses and leaning telephone poles, and the only sound is the wind and waves lapping against the shore. I love it. God help me I do love it so.

4. I thank my Mom for pushing me in the right direction in life. I didn’t have much of a plan after High School, and my Mom pointed me towards college. After college, she encouraged me to stick around Portland to start something. Those two moments have made all the difference in my life. I hope to return to the favor to my kids when they’re older.

5. The Road is quite possibly my favorite book of all time. It is the only book I’ve read that I never stopped thinking about.

6. I’d like to see Tokyo, Paris, London, Venice, The Bavarian Alps (specifically, the Eagle’s Nest), Italy, Singapore, Shanghai, The Forbidden City (Beijing), The Great Wall and Terra Cotta Army Museum and Mexico.

7. My Mom has told that when I was still in the womb, Don McLean’s American Pie was a number one hit, and she would sing it to me when it came on the radio. Every time I hear that song now, I have to stop and listen to it.

8. I went through a “This is greatest band ever” stage with Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Beastie Boys, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. I still think the last one is the greatest band ever.

9. My favorite moment in rock history is Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. It’s cliché, I know, but I love it. He closes one of the most famous concerts in history with this incredible sound that still resonates today. (My second favorite is The Who performing “Baby O’Reilly” in The Kids Are Alright. Don’t know why, but I watch that clip on YouTube all the time.)

10. On that note, Jimi’s May This Be Love is the most moving song ever recorded. I always liked it, but I listened to it a few days after 9/11, and it gave me hope for the world. I’m serious, I think Rock N’ Roll is the dominant art form of our time, and it may save us all.

11. I don’t remember this, but my Mom has told me that I refused to wear plaid pants. I think even at an early age I had a pretty decent style sense.

12. Some Firsts:
First Movie – Star Wars
First Movie I Remember Seeing – Grease
First Record – Bill Joel, Glass Houses
First Concert – Ozzy Osbourne, Ultimate Sin Tour
(Metallica opened. Cliff Burton was still their bassist.)

13. In April 2001, Heather and I moved to New York City. We got an apartment in Queens, had some crazy experiences and met some great people. In the four years that we were there, we got married, started our careers, survived 9/11, walked across the Queensborough Bridge during the blackout and had our first son, Atticus. It was a wild four years that I will never forget.

14. The two greatest experiences in my life were the birth’s of my two son’s Atticus and Silas. They continue to amaze me everyday.

15. My wife Heather is my best friend and the most beautiful person I know. Together we are a true power couple, not in the economic sense, but more like life energy. When we join forces we can accomplish anything. I couldn’t have done half the things in my life without her at my side.

16. Spring is my favorite season. I get excited when the trees start to bud and the snow is gone. The colors of the plants and trees are like neon against the grey remnants of the winter.

17. On September 11th, 2001, I was in Queens when I heard about the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. I called Heather, grabbed my camera and took the subway in town to get a better look. I didn’t know (or really suspect at the time) that it was terrorism. I snapped pictures at Queensborough plaza, as the black smoke stretched across to Brooklyn. From there I rode the 4/5 express into the city, while a preacher marched up and down aisle talking about damnation and the end of the world. Everyone in the car was quiet. I departed the subway at Union Square, and stood with a crowd of people as we watched the first tower fall. Someone ran past me crying and guy beside me said, “What are we gonna’ do now we’re fucked!” I ran down to as far as Houston St., where I stopped as everyone was running up from downtown. I stood there for a few minutes and watched the second tower fall. I took two pictures, and then my camera died.

(I can recite the events of that day in detail to this day. And until last year, I used to think of it everyday.)

18. On September 12th, Heather and I went into the city, just to see what we could see. We walked around as much of downtown as we were permitted to enter and had exhausted most of our walking when we ended up at an intersection in Greenwich Village. The whole day had been filled with silence, no planes flying, nothing. Then, as we were standing there, a column of Red came around the corner, turned another and headed towards Ground Zero. The noise of the trucks was beautiful and people just stopped and applauded. Some even gave the drivers water and food. We were cheering them on, as they were about to begin the clean-up of the wreckage of the Twin Towers. At a time when most people were to stunned, to know what to do, there were those who got to work. It was a beautiful ray of hope during a dark time.

19. When I think of winter, I’m reminded of when my Dad and I used to cross-country ski in Vermont. We would ski, take a rest and drink Mocha from a thermos. Then we’d ski some more and eat a big supper. It wasn’t exercise in those days, just fun.

20. I was an avid cross-country skier growing up. I was in the Bill Koch Ski League and then I skied for the cross-country team in High School. I haven’t skied since then.

21. My son Atticus was not actually named after the character Atticus Finch. I was reading the book Jarhead, on a bus to Portland, when I ran across the name. I told Heather that I liked it and she agreed. And that was that.

22. I don’t consider myself a gadget person. I don’t own a cell phone or even a pda. I find to many gadgets just distract me from doing other things I want to do. I do, however, have a nice new iMac. One expensive gadget is enough for me.

23. One night, Heather and I were reading books on a quiet summer night on Peaks. She was half way through Cormac McCarthy’s, “The Road” and I was enjoying “No Country for Old Men.“ An owl started hooting just outside our house, so I went out on the deck to listen. It was dark outside except for the light on our deck, and there was a low misty fog floating everywhere. The owl let out a few more hoots, and then I heard another return a call in the distance. And slowly, the owl next to me, drifted to the other one. It would stop can hoot and the other would return a call, until the other zeroed in on its position. Eventually, they were gone, so I went back in, told Heather about it and then we both continued reading. Sometimes when you just stop and listen, the world is a beautiful place.

24. I love the things that my son Atticus says almost everyday. He says things at times that turn my head around. I can’t believe that five years ago I was changing his diapers, and now he’s singing songs to me, word for word.

25. I like how babies look like old people when they’re born. Silas looked just like my grandfather and father when he was just an infant.