Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ivey makes WSOP final table: How did I miss this?

Because I had a journalistic career that often forced me to write about celebrities and athletes, I never am too excited or nervous to meet celebrities. When someone says something like, "Guess who was on my airplane?" Well, that doesn't interest or impress me.

With that said, I do have a handful of celebrity stories that do not involve basketball players (I covered the NBA for seven years). Of those stories, the best two are probably the ones in which I was confronted and called out. That happened with Meat Loaf and Martina Navratilova. No joke. Navratilova, in particular, was pissed.

Anyway, I did once meet a celebrity that interested me, and that was poker pro Phil Ivey, the Tiger Woods of poker. He is friends with Mike Dunleavy, the coach of the team I used to cover, and Ivey came to a couple basketball games. My brief conversations with Ivey were uneventful. But I am into poker, so I was all smiles when I shook his hand and introduced myself.

In my unofficial rankings of poker pros, I place Ivey second in popularity behind goofy Phil Hellmuth. TV poker viewers might argue that Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak (the Unabomber) or their own personal favorite is the second most popular pro. But I don't think so. It's Ivey.

Ivey is of note now because he made the final table at this year's World Series of Poker main event. That is extremely hard to do because there were 6494 entrants this year, and to be one of the final nine players takes more than just skill and a Full Tilt jersey.

Ivey's presence at the final table surely will lift ESPN's ratings for the "November Nine," which reconvenes Nov. 7. My feeling is that poker remains uber-popular, but its popularity peaked in 2006 when there were a record 8773 players at the WSOP main event.

Ivey and other card celebrities could give poker's popularity another push this year. By the way, the only other big-time poker celebrity to make it far in this year's main event was Antonio Esfandiari, the magician. He finished 24th and won $350,000. Ivey is assured $1.25 million at the final table, and the winner will get $8.5 million.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brobee proves that muses exist

As a writer with potential, or would-be writer, or pretend writer with faded corduroys, I remember hearing someone ask me, "Do all writers need a moose?"

"I don't think everyone needs a moose," I said. "I assume a lot of Canadians need them, and perhaps nature writers, but, no offense, your question is kinda dumb. ... Hey, wait a second. Are you hitting on me?"

After an ensuing debate and argument, I realized the guy was actually talking about a muse. Apparently, that means some type of inspiration, and a lot of times it's a person who is the muse.

Well, upon hearing that, my reaction was this: "Ewwww, that's creepy."

So I've never been a fan of muses, but I think that's because I never had one - until now.
I am inspired by Brobee, the suave star of Noggin's "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Brobee dances a lot, has parties in his tummy and sometimes gets sad when he is confused. I love this dude, and he's my muse.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Breaking news: Iggy Pop to don T-shirt

Living in Los Angeles and being a journalist or "former journalist," I sometimes run across news tips from the sports or entertainment world. Now, anyone who knows anything about news tips knows that many come from ulterior motives, are planted, insignificant or not legitimate when explored.

Finally, through all the muck and fake tips, I have run across at tip that is both legitimate and significant. Iggy Pop will don a T-shirt for the first time in nearly three decades.

This did not come from Pop's official publicist. Rather, it came from a former publicist and friend of his who didn't even think it was newsworthy. This is how part of our conversation went:

Snooze Button Generation: What do you mean he's going to wear a shirt in public?
Iggy's friend: Yeah, he's just tired of hassles at restaurants and stores. He nearly got into a fistfight the other day at Petco.
SBG: Petco? You think he'd be able to be topless in that place. I can't stand the smell at Petco.

After further conversation, the friend realized that for Pop to finally wear a shirt, it should warrant an official veiling of the shirt. Then, further discussion ensued as to what shirt in particular he will wear. Most likely, a p.r. event will be set up - perhaps at Amoeba Music in Hollywood - with Pop putting on his shirt in front of a crowd.

By the way, most people like Iggy Pop because of his raw power, but I prefer him as a Top 40 sensation. A song I love is "Candy" with Kate Pierson from the B-52s. I can think of no better song for a karaoke duet. Pop and Pierson's voices are so different that it may be the coolest duet I've ever heard.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The true meaning of the thick L.A. fog

As I drove to work in the thick L.A. fog for a second consecutive day, I searched for answers, trying to figure out why it was so foggy.... Ahoy! It hit me why it was so foggy.

God was smoking.

Yeah, OK, so it was obvious that God was smoking. But the real question was this: Why?

I imagine God must be stressed out. Perhaps the global economy is making him peeved. Or maybe he lost a lot in his 401(k). It also could have been peer pressure. If I remember correctly, Zeus is a chain smoker, and perhaps that rubbed off on the almighty.

The more I thought about it, though, all of my theories on why God was smoking made no sense. Would he really take the downtrodden economy to heart? And why would he be so stressed about his 401(k) when so many people had that happen to them, too?

On my way out of my car toward work, I walked through the fog and felt dampness on my arms. That's when something poignant hit me.... Wait a minute! God was smoking, but if you looked close, you could see moisture. God was crying, too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hakuna Matata: Smokey and I go full circle

Life has a crazy way of going full circle, and, sometimes, everything feels all right and perfect. I think I got that idea from "The Lion King," in which "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata" are sung. Hey, I'm with you Simba, pretty kitty, "Hakuna Matata" - no worries.

My happy feelings came out when I was preparing to hike Mount San Gorgonio on Sunday. Before the hike, I stopped at the ranger's station to pick up the proper permit to hike. And, lo and behold, who was there? None other than Smokey Bear.

Smokey and I recognized each other immediately, and he greeted me with open paws. That was extremely cordial of him because we went through some combative Snooze Button Generation interviews in previous meetings. Regardless, he totally was a cool bear, and even referenced a blog entry of mine about belt buckles. It turns out he agrees with me, that a subtle and classy belt buckle is critical to a man's attire.





Smokey and I engaged in a pleasant conversation about hiking, wild fires and our love for nature. Light and breezy, our conversation made me realize that we were cool, that we have a lot in common and have a connection. Strangely, though, he made a couple comments that baffled me. One was this: "Yeah, I'm no sellout. I'd never have a job I didn't want or go to any awards ceremony if I didn't want to be there."

Another cryptic comment was: "I like sincere people. The 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' guy - yeah, keep living in that world, babe."

At the time Smokey said those lines, I just shrugged them off. But later, I realized that yesterday (the day I ran into him) happened to be the same day of the Emmy Awards. He has been romantically linked to indie actress Chloe Sevigny, and I discovered that his words were obvious references to her.

The word is that Sevigny is disgruntled with her work on HBO's "Big Love" and would prefer to be a part of more artistic endeavors. If you examine Sevigny's face on many of the photos at the Emmys, she looks perturbed and not at all happy to be there.

At an Emmys after party, Sevigny was arm in arm with actor Jason Segal, best known for his lead role in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and those two apparently are dating. I'm not sure what to make of Smokey's comments, but at the bare minimum, it sounds certain that the two did date at one point, presumably when he was a part of the downtown New York art scene.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feed the love wolf

In June, the high school where I teach celebrated its first graduation. It was the fourth year the school had been in existence, and the first year the school had all four classes - freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors - on campus.

At the graduation, the keynote speaker told a story called "The Two Wolves," which is Cherokee legend. This is the story:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life and says, "A fight is going on inside me."

"It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson then asks his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee replies, "The one you feed."

In other words, the advice is simple: Feed the love wolf.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Siete Tres: The new Zima

Every January, my parents visit me in Long Beach, Calif., from Cleveland, and my father, the X-Man, typically does two things:
1) He dives into the ocean, despite being the only swimmer on the beach.
2) He puts ice cubes in a glass of red wine (of course, at a nice - and perhaps even swanky - restaurant).

"It's only 62 degrees," I say.
"That's a heatwave to me and your mother," the X-Man replies.
Then, depending on the situation, he either says, "I need to cool off in the ocean," or "Why in God's name isn't this wine cold?"

For years, I cringed at the ice cube drop into the red wine glass as some type of faux pas. Eventually, I accepted it. Then, finally, I learned to enjoy the drop and partook in dropping my own cubes into red wine.

This summer, though, I took this red wine/ice cube thing a step further when I discovered siete tres - the Argentinian cosmopolitan. I found myself in a summer romance with this drink and think any sane human being would agree that siete tres is refreshing, tasty and sophisticated.

I have learned in giving this drink to friends, acquaintances and hippies in Portland that they prefer it when the ingredients are not divulged. Therefore, I will not mention all of the ingredients, except to say that red wine and ice are two of them.

In less than a month, on Oct. 10 to be exact, the world will have gone exactly one year without the production of Zima, a drink that many people said tasted like perfume. Zima hit the market in 1993, peaked in popularity in '94 and is considered a "malternative," just like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade.
The difference between Zima and those aforementioned malternatives is that Zima had a certain cache. Even though I did not like Zima, I respected those who drank it. When I see someone drinking a Mike's Hard Lemonade, my first reaction is to pause, glance again at the bottle to make sure it is Mike's Hard Lemonade and involuntarily think, "Really?"

Siete tres, the Argentinian cosmo, could easily fill the hole in the liquor marketplace created by Zima's inexplicable murder. I have no monetary interest in making siete tres the new Zima, but I do think people would enjoy tasting the splendor of my favorite drink.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bed, Bath & Beyond reasoning

I am not really a coupon user, although I respect anyone who is because getting the best deal is smart and American (also pronounced "Mare-kin.")

Because of a rigorous schedule and impatience, I rarely use coupons, yet in my mind, keep thinking I'd like to use more. With this thought process and lack of actual coupon usage, I discovered something in my home that baffled me and my 4-year-old daughter, Sophie.

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When I think back to the last time I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond, it was when I was on a quest for cocktail picks, which are harder to find than I thought they would be and necessary for the sophisticated lifestyle I lead. Of course, when I bought the cocktail picks, I had no coupon with me. My half-hearted attempt to convince the register lady that I had multiple coupons at home that should apply to my purchase did not work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

N.Y. Fashion Week yields bombshell

Because the Snooze Button Generation is on the pulse of cutting-edge fashion, we have been closely following New York Fashion Week, aka "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week" that started Thursday and is running for a week in Bryant Park. That's the case, even though we determined long ago that the Bryant Park spectacle is unhip - full of overly rich folks, some people who think it's possible to buy good fashion sense, others who try way too hard and that unmistakable old people smell (You know the one I mean, right? It's also common in libraries).

Anyway, I can't pretend that Fashion Week does not exist, but I'm not often jazzed up for it. The other night, though, I got a text from a friend at Fashion Week, and that led to a serious of texts with someone else and then phone conversations. And, now, I have discovered a newsflash that will rock the fashion world:

Contrary to popular belief, a book, movie and rock band's name, the devil does not wear Prada!
No, no, no. The devil actually wears Gucci.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Information Emerges with Oregon's Blount

College football fans and sports columnists have been united in showing disdain for Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount. In the first college football game of the season on Thursday, Blount punched a teammate and then cold-cocked Boise State defensive end Byron Hout after Blount's Ducks lost 19-8 in Boise.

The video of Blount going berserk and blasting Hout has garnered many looks, and here it is again, if you missed it:

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Blount was suspended for the rest of the season because of his actions, and most agree that he received a proper suspension for his actions. The Snooze Button Generation, however, has learned through sources that request anonymity more about the situation in Boise.

What many football fans fail to realize is that Blount is an ardent environmentalist, and part of his reasoning for attending Oregon is because it is an extremely progressive green school. Before Blount's punch, Hout taunted him, and right before the punch, the Boise guy said, "Hey, Blount, guess what? I throw my batteries in the regular trash!"

Now, I'm not saying Blount is right for punching the guy. He is totally wrong. But you could see how he would be upset because he had just delivered a power-point presentation at Oregon's student union about proper battery disposal and recycling on the previous Thursday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Former electric football star creates a buzz

The Snooze Button Generation scored another celebrity interview. This time, we caught up with Bill Nettles, who was an electric football pioneer and best-known as being the quarterback for the champion team "The Yellow Guys."

With football season starting, Nettles seemed like the perfect interview for the Snooze Button Generation. He is promoting his self-published book about the short-lived Electric Football League titled "When the Power Went Out: How Technology and the Greedy NFL Doomed the EFL." ... We met up in a hotel restaurant in downtown Long Beach.

Snooze Button Generation: Wow. We at the Snooze Button Generation feel privileged to meet you and interview such a football pioneer. We ran across a photo of you in college (see above) and want to ask you this - how did you make the transition from college to the pros?

Bill Nettles: Well, it wasn't easy. In electric football, back when I played, many college players, like myself, were painted. We had numbers, a lot of flair. Then, when I got to the EFL, I was simply "a yellow guy." At first, it was a bit disconcerting to have no number and have my skin match my uniform. But after a while, I got used to it.
SBG: Let's talk about your book. In the title, you mention how "technology and the greedy NFL doomed the EFL." Would you say they both equally doomed electric football or was one more the cause?

Nettles: That's hard to say. I do know that, despite all the advances we've seen in technology, it's a shame the EFL isn't around and that more people don't play electric football. It's a beautiful game. You got the hum of the field, and there's an occasional electric shock for the coaches. So much can change with the flick of that red "on" button. Nothing says autumn to me more than the subtle smell of that tiny foam football.

SBG: OK. But my question is this - what ultimately doomed the EFL?

Nettles: I would just say it was ourselves, Americans. We're not patient enough to take five minutes to set up the yellow or red guys for a five-second play. We still get upset if a friend has to go to the bathroom and accidentally steps on and crunches one of our bench players. We don't put in the time to truly cherish the red and yellow guys. We're the "now" culture. We want instant gratification.
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SBG: Do you think there's any chance electric football will get popular again, and could we see a resurgence of the EFL?

Nettles: Ahhh. Part of me says it's impossible, that too many people are into the NFL and college football and that technology has given us too many other football options. I mean, look at all the fantasy football leagues out there. That's ridiculous. ... Still, another part of me wants to believe it can happen. I guess I do keep hope alive.

SBG: In your book, you're very critical of the NFL, especially with instant replay. Is there any part of the NFL that you enjoy?

Nettles: As you alluded to, yes, I am critical of the so-called technological advances in football. I think instant replay slows down the game. There are way too many commercials, and the yellow line on TV to denote the first down is distracting. But, hey, one glorious moment, untainted by technology, makes it worthwhile for me. I love when the referees hold the fate of the game in their hands and must try to run a straight line to the middle of the field and measure for a first down. Imprecision is beauty. The unscientific measurement of a first down simply is beautiful.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Limousines: It's so obvious they're not classy

I am not the Martha Stewart of automobiles, but I do know this much: Limousines are not classy.

The other day, I saw a Hummer limousine. ... Now, I don't mean to be too judgmental, but I find Hummers and limos both extremely not classy. When they are combined, well, that's just gross.