Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 and the Annual Re-Reading of Augie Wren's Christmas Story

New York City

I often like to break tradition, but every Christmas morning I do the same thing... get incredibly stoned to the bejesus. The second thing I do... is re-read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story.

I know, you're getting deja vu or pissed that I've become a lazy stoner who recycles content. But yeah if this story sounds familiar, it is because I pimp it out every December 25th. Or, if you are a fan of 90s indie cinema, you might have heard the monologue via the Brooklyn-centric film Smoke (directed by Wayne Wang).

Happy Christmas to your consumer-addled family members!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Treat for All

New York City

On Christmas Eve and I'm sitting in shorts and a t-shirt because it's 70+ degrees in the Northeast.

So, here's a little something musical and the only decent modern Christmas song I've hear other than Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer...

Originally appeared on SNL in 2001....

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Macaulay Culkin Whacked Out Uber Driver

Los Angeles, CA

Imagine the kid from Home Alone as an adult today? After that nasty home invasion, you'd expect the kid to be pretty whacked out as an adult..

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Writing Music: Grateful Dead 11/4/77 Colgate University

Los Angeles, CA

The Grateful Dead achieved perfection in May 1977 during a performance on a college campus in upstate New York. That night the circus rolled into Ithaca, NY to play Barton Hall at Cornell University.

Later that year on their fall tour, the Grateful Dead made another stopover at an upstate New York college... November 1977, the psychedelic circus touched down in Hamilton, NY to play a gig on the campus of Colgate University. The Dead were en fuego from the get go. No need to wait until the second set warm up because the were ripping from the Bertha first-set opener. First set also included a killer Brown-Eyed Women. Dead historians love this show because of the Dupree's Diamond Blues bustout.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Howard Cosell Announces John Lennon's Death on MNF

Los Angeles, CA

I remember this like it was yesterday. Weird time being a kid. The Pope, the President, and the most popular Beatle were targeted for assassination within short time of one another. Lennon was the only one who did not survive.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

John Oliver Crushes Daily Fantasy and Accurate DFS TV Commercial

Los Angeles, CA

John Oliver had a great takedown of DFS, which he says is the most addictive thing you can do on your phone with the exception of snorting cocaine.

Hysterical faux-ad about the truth with daily fantasy sports, starring Seth Rogen.

H/T to Wildo for sending me this video.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fargo and Minor Miracles

Los Angeles, CA

My new favorite show. The second season of Fargo takes place in 1979. Here's a epic scene with Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers vs. Sam Madyday Malone...

Monday, November 09, 2015

Blank On Blank: Hunter

Los Angeles, CA

Here's Hunter S. Thompson featured on the Blank On Blank animated series. If he's mumbling too much, use the subtitles!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Live Blogging: Jets/Dolphins in London and Other Sunday Hijinks

Los Angeles, CA

Let's kick it old-school today with a live-blog.

There was a time 10 years ago when I got paid mega bucks (in Petro Dollars) to live-blog sporting-type events during the medieval ages in the early 00s before Twitter took root and shook up live-time snarkism. Why am I doing this today in 2015? Just blame the JETS and their 6:30am PT kickoff time thanks to the NFL's hard-on to put a franchise in London, England.

Good job, good effort. The Beatles faced the other way, chaps...

5:24am... Who the hell am I these days? There was a time when I'd say up all night partying and then stumble into a 6:30am kickoff time. Instead I'm up at the crack of ass to squeeze in a work out before the game starts. This is the type of misery Jets fans put themselves through. Hide the sharp objects and lock the medicine cabinets.

5:31am... Love this animation showing Brits how Americans play football. It's even narrated by Rich Eisen.

6:14am... It was pitch black out in the Slums of Beverly Hills. The ground, streets, and sidewalks were wet. Did it rain last night, or was someone shooting a movie on my block? Rare dampness amid the darkness of West LA. I had to be careful navigating a short walk to Starbucks in Beverly Hills. The only people awake at this hour are car thieves, homeless people, and demented Jets/Dolphins fans. I had to make sure I didn't look too weird otherwise Beverly Hills Po-Po would pull me over for walking suspiciously. But, I had to look a tad unhinged in order to keep the street people away from me. I'd hate to get shanked while pre-gaming for the LOL-Jets.

6:17am...Starbucks was busy with a couple of Uber drivers, a total stoner dude who looked like he'd been up all night, and a 40-something father (looked like David Duchovny) with his young son who was in a blue-green Dan Marino jersey.

6:19am... The Mulder-lookalike father told his young son, "By the time you're my age, there will be an actual football team in London." To which I blurted out, "Yet still no football team in LA." Everyone laughed. Even the stoner guy and the barista behind the counter who looked like Juno, but with purple hair. Why do I need an energetic boost when I'm already ripping one-liners and have lesbian punk rockers in stitches?

6:21am... I used to live in Seattle, where I developed my first full-blown addiction to Cafe Americanos. I tried to get into some of the secret menu stuff. My buddy Johnny Walker like something called a Black Eye or Red Eye, which is an iced coffee with an extra shot (or two). I tried that once, but it didn't do it for me. So now, I'm back on the Americano train, which I have not done in a long time because if something is too good, I tend to over do it. Espresso is for speed freaks who can't afford cocaine. Too bad I'm a starving artist these days after I squandered all my poker wealth on investing in a unicorn farm outside Boulder. Otherwise, I would been up all night chasing the white line til sunrise...

6:24am... The only milling about was a gathering place where the local Orthodox jews were chanting. Loudly. Almost sounded like they were rapping. Yep, only at 6:30 in my hood.

6:27am... I bet the over 42 in the Jets/Dolphins. It's fueled by a conspiracy theory. The NFL wants London to have a franchise and they want the British people to have an awesome game instead of a defensive slog, so I expected the zebras to do everything in their power to keep the balls flowing toward the end zones.

6:35am... Kickoff. Finally. The LOL-Jets taking on Miami in London. I'm sweating profusely from the Americano. Holyshitballs. I feel like a jacked-up Lohan moments after she rails a 20mg Adderall. No wonder people drop $30 a day at Starbucks feeding their addiction. I'm. Wide. Fucking. Awake. Now.

6:47am.. Chris Ivory scored a TD. Everyone made fun of the Jets when they made a play to get Ivory. He still had some gas left in the tank.

6:56am... Already on DFS commercial tilt. The Geico "Final Countdown" ad is funny, for now. At some point it will get excruciating annoying.

7:03am... Already on DFMT aka Dan Fouts Mega Tilt. The London broadcast lasted approximately a half hour before I muted it and cranked up some other music. Background tunes: Fear of Music by the Talking Heads...

7:07am... Jets up 10-0 after a FG. The over not looking so good unless the Dolphins can score on their side of the ball.

7:15am... Even the Queen of Fucking England knew that the Jets were not going to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 34. I mean, it woulda been an epic ballsy move if the Jets actually did run the ball. Alas, Fitz did a poor job trying to draw the Dolphins offsides.

7:21am... End of the 1Q. Jets up 10-0. The Jets D is looking strong, whereas the Miami O is invisible.

7:31am... Nick Folk connected on another FG. Jets up 13-0.

7:40am... Finally! The Dolphins get on the board after a TD from Tannehill to the Stoneburner kid. That's an epic name. Sounds like a character from Linklater's Dazed and Confused sequel. 13-7 and the Jets still lead.

7:46am... Ivory ripped off a 17-yd run, right after another solid run. He's got 75+ yards already and outgained all of Miami's offense (76-66 yards). Sometimes Ivory looks unstoppable.

7:51am... LOL-SUH.

7:53am... Music change. Game still on mute. Time for Beck's Midnight Vultures...

8:01am... Damn, that Americano went quick. I'm still wired though, without my face feeling numb and worrying about snorting too much filler like Lidocaine or Levamisole. I wish I had an intern or an assistant, because I'd send them back to Starbucks to fetch two more Americanos at halftime. Although I' trying to calculate how fast an UberX would take to and from Starbucks in Beverly Hills. Too bad they don't have UberCoffee... yet.

8:06am... TD! Hipster-Fitz to Decker. Wow, the LOL-Jets are actually up 20-7 with around 33 seconds left in the 2Q. The over (42 points) prospects are back to looking good. That's 27 points. I only need 16 more points. Or another TD and 3 more FGs. I'd settle for 2 TDs and 1 FG. Anything that will push us over 42.

8:11am... Fireman Ed made it to London!

8:14am... Halftime. Smoke 'em if you got 'em! The LOL-Jets up 20-7.

8:29am... I whipped up a pair of breakfast biscuit sandwichs at halftime. #TaoBacon.

8:34am... The LOL-Jets took the second half opening drive all the way to the house for a TD. Great drive lasting 4:30 that ended with a Zac Stacy TD. I forgot the Jets had Stacy. Jets up 27-7. Only need 9 more points to hit the over. Come on Miami...time to step it up.

8:42am... LOL-Jets pass rush had Tannehill running for his life on that play. He's only one who can pick up yards on ground against the Jets.

8:44am... How about that, eh? Wish more coaches had the balls to go for it on 4th down. The Fish failed to convert a 4th and 2 on a dropped pass play. Jets got the ball back on downs.

8:48am... The lovely girlfriend finally woke up. I think @change100 heard me singing acapella version of Debra.

8:51am... Ah, fuck you Folk! That missed FG is gonna come back and bite over bettors in the arse. Folk Tilt.

9:01am... New background music. This time it's paying homage the the British guitar god, Eric Clapton and an album he cut in a Miami studio at 461 Ocean Blvd...

9:03am... Love a totally blown PI call like that. The zebras felt sorry for the Fish and they threw 'em a bone. Jets, on the other hand have at least 10 penalties.

9:11am... Jeeeeez. Are the Fish really 0-9 on 3rd downs?? They're 0-2 on 4th downs in the second half. As each second ticks by, I have a horrible feeling about that OVER 42. Need Chris Ivory to break off a big run and score a 70-yd TD.

9:16am... Thank Goddell the Fish got into the end zone. Tannehill tossed another TD. "Was it to the douche with the tats?" wondered @change100? LOL=Jets lead trimmed 27-14.

9:18am... Only need one more score to push it over in the last 10 minutes of this 4Q. I'll settle for a safety for fuck's sake. That missed Folk FG could be haunting me...

9:29am... Uh oh. Jets safety Pyror looked gimpy. He got hurt.

9:33am... Now David Harris is down? Yikes. Another key injury to Jets D as the Fish march into the Red Zone.

9:35am.... Tannehill with a left-handed pass as he was about to get sacked on 3rd and GOAL. That looked ugly. Like LOL-Jets ugly.

9:36am... Fish go for it on 4th and GOAL and they blew it. Yet, the zebras flagged the Jets yet again. Skrine holding in the end zone. 14th penalty? Lucky for the Fish that they got another shot. Penalty gives them first and GOAL from the 2.

9:38am... LOL-Fish got flagged on a would-be TD. Bring it back, gents!

9:42am...Another 4th and GOAL situation botched by the FISH. And Revis promptly picks off Tanehill in the end zone. Jets up 27-14 and I have a bad bad bad bad bad feeling game is going to end on 41.

9:46am... Festivus miracle? Ivory stripped/fumble and the Fish got the ball back? Nope. Zebras overturn the play. Maybe Jets can get a cheap score here to push it over? Who am I kidding. This is like slow-burning insanity.

9:57am... Smoking Jay Cutler playing? Luck is out. And Drew Brees is playing, but he's got a bum shoulder. This is the Year of the Back Up QB. Somewhere in a darken confessional booth, Tim Tebow is flogging himself while listening to Leonard Cohen. THWACK! THWACK!

9:59am... Norm MacDonald as Colonel Sanders is the LULZ. Good to see good ole Norm taking BIG CHICKEN money to pay his gambling debts.

10:01am... Marcus Williams picked off Tanehill in the end zone. Another INT for the Jets. Yup, the over is DUNZO. It's not even 10am and my betting day is ruined by the fucking LOL-Jets. So they won and they're 3-1, but Nick Folk is back on my Shit List. I owe him a kick in the junk for missing that chip-shot FG. I'm so emo-depressed I might actually pay a couple Draft Kings contests.

10:03am... The Giants/Bills game is on FOX for the "morning game." Lucky me. I got to watch both NY teams on the West Coast. That's the consolation for not having a local pro team in one of the largest TV markets in the free world. The "afternoon" games on TV for me are two California teams: the Niners (gonna get thumped by the Packers) and Chargers (taking on the Browns).

10:08am... New background music. Never to early to bring the UNTZ. I'd love to see a a DFS ad with James Murphy... an unkempt, viciously hungover James Murphy setting his lineup in bed with his poodle giving him guff over his kicker...

10:15am... Operation QUAD BOX. I have a second laptop solely to sweat sporting events. Those games: Colts/Jags, Bungles/Chefs, Raiders/Bears, and  Falcons/Texans. On the TV, we got the Giants/Bills game and I'm rocking the Red Zone on the iPad.

10:22am... Curse of the Ginja QB. When I back Andy Dalton, he always shits the bed. When I fade the Ginja QB, he somehow finds a way to make my life miserable.

10:31am... The new XPs get confusing because if you're watching multiple screens, it could look like a FG attempt.

10:41am... Oakland was my sleeper team this year, but the return of Smoking Jay Cutler mighta crushed those hopes. Ah, it's Cutler. He'll find a way to fuck it up in the 4Q. The Raiders just have to hang on until then and let Da Bears give them a chance to steal a backdoor win.

10:43am... The girlfriend informed me that CAT teams are 2-0-1 in the 1Q right now. Bona fide update.

10:46am... Jags punting from their own end zone. I assume that's what every miserable Jags game looks like? The NFL should just give up and ship the hapless Jags to London and let them deal with the rigorous travel. Moving them to LA would be a luxury upgrade.

10:58am... Washington 13, Eagles 0. Chip Kelly looking more and more like a one-hit wonder. Kelly is the Chumbawamba of Pac-12 coaches trying to hit it big in the NFL. Oregon will gladly have Chipper back after he gets dumped at the end of the year. Maybe Southwest Oregon State Tech will give him a sweet deal?

11:02am... Oakland 7, Da Bears 6 and NY Giants 16, Rex Ryan 3. Amari Cooper hooking me up and the Raiders back up on Da Bears. And the Giants got a few nice gifts from the zebras. Randle TD put the G-Men up by 13. Sheesh. Time for Tyrod to get the Bills back in this game.

11:06am... Time for some new music. When in doubt Dead and Europe 72...

11:11am... Atlanta 21, Houston ZERO. Devonta Freeman is getting laid tonight. Another TD on only 9 rushes.

11:29am... Atlanta 28, Houston ZILCH. The Dirt Birds whoooping Houston by 4 TDs at halftime. Yep, Houston clearly playing possum and they got the Falcons just where they want them.

11:33am... The girlfriend informs me that the BIRD teams are 1-1 going into the break, whereas the CAT teams are 3-0 at halftime. Seriously, this is how she picks teams in the pool. I use a spreadsheet, she goes by the animal kingdom. I know nothing.

11:35am... HALFTIME (consensus for the early games). Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

11:49am... Bungles 14, KC 12... Meanwhile KC is only down a deuce. The Chefs are on pace to backdoor a win against the Bungles on an all FG attack. Yes, just let Alex Smith check down the entire game and win the game with their secret weapon: Santos the Kicker. At this point, Jamal Charles has more yards receiving (57) than rushing (56).
11:53am... Carolina 17, TB 10. That poor schnook Brindza missed another FG. Okay, this one was in the nasty fog and rain, but still, it was just an ugly duck. Shank city. Someone is gonna get cut before the 4Q. 

11:56am...  Atlanta 35, Houston NIL. The Devonta Freeman Show. He just scored a third TD. Houston is poised to make the greatest comeback in NFL history. They're just setting up Atlanta before they launch their master plan.

12:08pm... Bungles 21, KC 15. Operation FG in full effect. Another FG for Santos. They gonna need 3 more to win though unless Jamaal Charles breaks one off for a big run. That's only way he's getting into the end zone with Captain Checkdown at QB.

12:12pm... Washington 16, Eagles 13. Wait was that Sam Bradford getting carted off the field? Does that mean.... it's time for SANCHIZE! Mark Sanchez to the rescue.

12:20pm... Giants 16, Bills 3. Scoreless in the 3Q for this snoozer of a game. Long-haired hippie freak Dan Carpenter misses another FG and Rex Ryan is gonna shave his head on the sidelines.

12:23pm... Eagles 20, Washington 16. Philly team doctors gave Bradford a fistful of Vicodin and sent him back in the same. Bradford crocked on pain pills is still a better option than Mark Sanchez.

12:34pm... Da Bears 19, Oakland 7. Back and forth. Chicago back on top... for now. Waiting for a Cutler INT to change the direction of this game. Big INT looms and everyone in Bearslandia knows it...

12:40pm... Time for new background music. It's a local LA band Vulfpeck...

12:44pm... Red Zone is perfect once it hits the 4Q. With a trio of games so close, it's getting down to crunch time in Giants/Bills, Wash/Eagles, and Colts/Jags.

12:48pm... Bungles 29, KC 18. Sanots is getting laid tonight. He nailed a 6th FG. Like buttah. Santos is money. Andy Reid's offensive juggernaut rolls on. KC only 4 FGs away from winning this game.

12:58pm... Oakland 20, Da Bears 19. GHB Janikowski with another clutch FG. That was set up after that Cutler INT, which was inevitable. He was due.

1:06pm... TRI-BOX time.

1:09pm... Wash 23, Philly 20. Yup Philly dunzo after Kirk Cousin threw together a game-winning drive.

1:10pm... Indy 13, Jags 13... Overtime. Pagano tried to ice the Jags rube kicker attempting a 53-yarder. Called a TO just as he was kicking. He woulda missed the first one too. And, the icing trick worked. He missed the second one.

1:11pm... Da Bears 22, Oakland 20. Jay Cutler sliced and diced his way through a 2-minute drill o set up the game-winning FG. Hopes crushed. At least it was one heck of a sweat. Never a dull day when you bet on Oakland.

1:16pm... UberEats will deliver you green juice in West LA. Fucking hipsters.

1:19pm... Cincy Bungles 36, KC 21. Santos kicked his 7th FG. Unreal. He was responsible for all 21 points for the Chefs. He's their MVP. Behold the wonders of Andy Reid's revamped SUPREME OFFENSIVE WEAPON.

1:20pm... Happy 4:20 ET. This dab's for you.

1:24pm... The "afternoon" or "late" games are underway. Four games today. I got the Chargers game on CBS and the Packers/Niners game on FOX with Joe Buck's Hair. I'm sweating all four games, particularly the Arizona game. Oh, plus the OT game is still going on. Blake Bortles is looking like a Golden God.

1:29pm... St. Louis 7, AZ 0... Early fumble on the kickoff led to a quick score for the Rams. It's gonna be a shit sandwich kind of day for AZ.

1:30pm... OVERTIME: Indy 13, Jags 13. Another missed FG for the rube kicker on the Jags. Poor kid is gonna have nightmares the rest of his adult life. Indy got decent field position. Old-man Hassleback has got another shot to pull off a miracle win.

1:35pm... Indy 16, Jags 13. FINAL. Adam V seals the OT win for Indy. That game was just atrocious. Even with Luck it woulda been ugly.

1:44pm... SD 7, Browns 3. Rivers to Keenan Allen TD. Love to see that 3 or 4 more times today. This has the potential to be a blowout. Or one of those shitshows if Rivers starts yapping too much and goes on tilt.

1:49pm... St. Louis 7, AZ 3. The zebras gifted Arizona a first a goal at the one after an obvious PI call. Too bad AZ couldn't punch the ball into the damn endzone and had to settle for 3 points instead of evening the score. Between the fumble and giving away free points, AZ had a rough 1Q.

1:51pm... Browns 10, SD 7. Duke Johnson smoked his guy and caught a TD from Josh McCown. Yup, Duke Johnson.

2:04pm... Denver 3, Vikes 0. Even with tons of pressure, Teddy Bridgewater looking a lot more comfortable out there than Peyton Manning.  Too bad Blair Walsh choked and yanked a chipper. Should be 3-3.

2:08pm... Denver 10, Vikes 0. The biggest play of the year for Denver is a running play... of course. What kind of name is Teddy Bridgewater?" asked @change100. "It's a horrible name for a football player. Bridgewater sounds like an economics professor."

2:09pm... St. Louis 7, Arizona 6. AZ can't get ball in the end zone once again and settled for 3.

2:25pm... Denver 13, Vikes 0. More points for Denver, but the AP Express is invisible against stingy Denver D.

2:28pm... GB 7, SF 3. Figured GB would be up by 2-3 TDs at this point. I feel sorry if you did not mute this broadcast and have to sit through Joe Buck reveal his man crush for Aaron Rodgers.

2:33pm... All four games are putting me to sleep. I need a pick-me-up. SD is playing ugly ball with the Browns and AZ playing their worst game of the year.

2:39pm... St. Louis 10, AZ 9. Halftime. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. AZ utilizing the Andy Reid FG-your-opponents-to-death offensive strategy. I need AZ to come back and win this game to hit the last leg of a three-team parlay.

2:40pm... SD 13, Browns 13. Halftime. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. SD all dinged up. This game that looks like it's going to come down to whichever team's kicker does not choke in the 4Q.

2:45pm... GB 7, SF 3. Halftime. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. GB got into the red zone to close out the 2Q, but couldn't pick up 7 when Rodgers got sacked. Packers settled for the FG attempt, but Crosby whiffed. Wide left. You're thrilled if you bet the UNDER in this one.

2:52pm... Denver 13, Vikes 10. Halftime. Toke 'em if you got 'em. Minny finally got on the board on a Walsh FG. Denver tried to get one last score to end the 2Q, but Peyton threw a duck that got picked off. Minny marched down the field and scored on a TD connection from Bridgewater-Wallace. I got the OVER in this one... so 23 points in the first half is exactly what I needed considering it was 13-0 late in the 1Q.

3:13pm... St. Louis 10, AZ 9. Just when it looked like AZ was putting together a solid drive, they turned the ball over. Again. Larry Fitz fumbled after big catch.

3:15pm... Denver 20, Vikes 10. Peyton capped off drive with a 1-yd TD pass. I'll gladly take the points! Need a couple more TDs though.

3:20pm... St. Louis 17, AZ 9. That fumble led to another score for the Rams. AZ shooting themselves in the foot. They better get their shit together before it's too late.

3:27pm... SD 20, Browns 16. Another lead change and SD is back on top after a quickie score. 3 plays. Danny Woodhead made a huge gain to put them in the red zone.

3:33pm... "So Draft Kings is just the lottery for bros?" remarked @change100.

3:38pm... St. Louis 17, AZ 12. Another FG for AZ. It's part of Arians master plan, right. He'll take the lead after 2 more drives so long as their D holds.

3:50pm... St. Louis 17, AZ 15. Inept red zone offense for AZ. Bailed about with another FG by their kicker Catanzaro. Arians is still on pace to catch the Rams on their next possession!

3:51pm... Denver 20, Vikes 17. AP EXPRESS! No one touch him. You blinked and he was in the end zone. Total now at 37. Need two FGs or a TD to lock it up with 10 minutes to go.

3:53pm... SD 27, Browns 19. The Browns were only down by 1, but SD answered with another solid drive that ended with another easy TD for Rivers at the goal line.

4:01pm... St. Louis 24, AZ 15. Todd Gurley, welcome to the big leagues. Second game and he's already unleashing big runs. He set up the Rams for an easy score. AZ in deep trouble.

4:04pm... Denver 20, Vikes 20. Donkeys coughed up the lead. TIE BALL GAME! Peyton threw a pick and Minny made him pay for it. Walsh kicked another FG to eve the game at 20. So we need only 3 more points to lock up the over 42.5. So long this game does not end in an overtime tie, or settled by a safety... the over 42.5 looks... promising. I know I just jinxed myself there.

4:08pm... SD 27, Browns 27. Browns made it interesting after winning a challenge and marched all the way down to the goal line. They were down by 8 so desperately needed a TD plus a 2-pt conversion. McCown connected for a TD to trim the deficit 27-25. The 2-pt conversion was good and the game was even at 27. Hell of a comeback by the Browns. But there was 2 minutes left and Rivers itching to win the game.

4:12pm... St. Louis 24, AZ 22. AZ converted a clutch 4th and 4 to keep a drive alive. Then the rookie scored a TD to pull within three. That was the first time all day that AZ got into the endzone.

4:14pm... GB 17, SF 3.... FINAL. Wasn't much of a game, eh? Hope you bet the under.

4:18pm... Denver 23, Minny 20. Peyton got Denver in FG-range, which left it up into McManus' hands... er toes. McManus drilled a 40-yd FG to pull ahead by 3. We locked up the OVER by a mere half-point.

4:20pm... Happy 420 West Coast. Dab 'em if you got 'em. And how about some new background music? Some classic Stones...

4:21pm.. SD 30, Browns 27... FINAL. Rivers ran the 2-min offense with laser like precision and connected with K. Allen and Woodhead for big gains to put them withing FG-range. Lambo stepped up and missed by a hair. Of course, the zebras tossed a flag for "jumping." No worries. He nailed the second attempt.

4:22pm... St. Louis 24, AZ 22. After the TD, AZ's D stepped up on the next drive and stuffed the Rams to get the ball back down 2 with under 3 mins. Alas, AZ turned it over on downs when they whiffed on a 4th down attempt at mid-field. Looks like they are dunzo.

4:24pm... Denver 23, Minny 20... FINAL. On a potentially game-winning drive, Teddy Bridgewater had a costly fumble. Game over. Denver is now 4-0... but it's a shaky 4-0. They really coulda been 2-2.

4:27pm... St. Louis 24, AZ 22... FINAL. Todd Gurley hammered the last nail in AZ's coffin. Those turnovers killed AZ. Another undefeated team bites the dust.

4:30pm... Been at this since before 6am. Man, 11 hours flew by. Be back in an hour for the Sunday Night Shitshow. Romo-less Dallas versus a horrendous Saints team that includes a Brees with a bum shoulder. He should just sit out another week, or heck, shut it down the rest of the season. NOLA's line is so spotty, he's only gonna get himself hurt some more.

5:25pm... Bill Idol from the ACL Festival in Austin is coming up soon on RedBull.TV. Friends caught him yesterday and has great things to say about his set. Sounds like a lot better entertainment then tonight's battle of FG kickers on SNF.

5:39pm... Dallas 3, NOLA 0. It's gonna be one of those ugly games. Feels like it from the get go. Dallas out to an early lead thanks to a strong running game. Unable to get the full 7, but they'll settle for the trey and early lead. I took a flier on Dallas at +3.5 only because @BTreotch kinda talked me into it.

5:45pm... Billy Idol's ACL set is underway on Channel 1.

5:50pm... NOLA 7, Dallas 3. Drew Brees looked decent on that drive. Picked apart Dallas' Swiss cheese secondary.

6:00pm... ACL... Billy Idol irked the baking Austin crowd by playing consecutive songs off his "latest album."

6:08pm... NOLA 7, Dallas 3. Weeden delivered...sorta. All he had to do was loft it up and let his WRs drew a PI penalty. Dallas got a gift on the goal line and they blew it when Randle tried to soar over the top of the pile, only to have the ball knocked out of his hands and recovered by the Saints. OUCH. I think the play is under review...

6:11pm... Dallas 10, NOLA 7. Dallas caught a HUGE break. The Zebras always hook them up anyway, but upon closer review, Randle got the ball over the plane so it's a legit TD for Dallas. They're back up.

6:25pm... Angry, bewildered Rob Ryan looks like every other agitated coke/Oxy dealer in Southern California.

6:45pm... Dallas 10, NOLA 7. HALFTIME. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Halftime culinary delights featured @change100's infamous turkey chili.

7:09pm... Dallas 10, NOLA 10. The 3Q has been a snoozer. Started looking at pics of space cats. Kicker from NOLA drilled a FG to tie the game. Hope y'all bet the under in this one.

7:18pm... Dallas 13, NOLA 10. Battle of Kickers continues. Dallas got ball in red zone after Weeden connected on a long ball, but they couldn't convert the 7. Instead, they took the trey.

7:35pm... Dallas 13, NOLA 13. Brees was getting hot when he took an unfortunate sack which killed any hopes of a TD. They took the trey to tie the game. Another FG. Excepting both teams to swap more FGs in the 4Q. The kicker who chokes first...loses the game for their team.

7:45pm... Some background music to wind down the 4Q...

7:58pm... NOLA 20, Dallas 13. Ingram blasts through for a TD. If Dallas expects to come back, Weeden has to spearhead a quick assault the ends with a TD instead of punking out for only 3.

8:02pm... NOLA 20, Dallas 13. After review, it was not a TD and Ingram was marked down at the 6-inch-ass line. NOLA scored on the next play, a handoff to K. Robinson. Instead of Ingram getting the fantasy points, it went to Robinson instead. That's a bad beat, eh?

8:15pm.... Not looking good for Dallas. That +3.5 not looking good either. Almost ready to tear up the ticket.

8:23pm... Dallas 20, NOLA 20. Tied up. Weeden marched the boys downfield but got stuck in a 4thand 7 stitch. Alas, he came through with a TD to T. Williams. I now know which of my neighbors are Cowboys fans. Heard a few shouts echo down the alley when Williams made the TD catch.

8:32pm... CLANK..... Dallas 20, NOLA 20. Looks like we're headed to OVERTIME. No fucking way. Figured game was over and the Saints were gonna steal a win...but nope! Saints kicker choked the chicken on that one.

8:40pm... NOLA 26, Dallas 20... Quickie OT. Brees connected with CJ Spiller for an 80-yd TD and that's all she wrote. Took that bet in the dumper. Jeez.

8:49pm... After 15 hours at the grind, I'm done for the night. Rough Sunday indeed. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Writing Music: Mad Dogs and Englishmen at LOCKN

Los Angeles, CA

Here is Tedeschi Trucks Band with several guests (Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Chris Robinson) performing Joe Cocker's live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen at LOCKN last weekend...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Writing Music: Maceo Parker

Los Angeles, CA

Two of my favorite people from college -- Dutch and Singer -- frequently blasted this particular album at all hours. I have fond memories of lazy Atlanta fternoons coming back from class and hearing the opening track from Life on Planet Groove echoing and reverberating throughout the house.

Maceo Parker, most known for being a horn player in James Brown's band, gives a narration at the onset: "Happy music is when you hear it and you start moving and shaking something... automatically. And you smile a lot too!"

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Writing Music: Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

The Valley, CA

I'm house sitting in the middle of a heat wave. I got a little Joe Cocker to keep me company. I love this album because most of it are covers of some notable classic rock behemoth's, which happened to be some of Cocker's favorite songs.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Writing Music: Relaxin' with Miles Davis Quintet

Los Angeles, CA

I'm back in LA and smack in the middle of a blistering heat wave and desperately trying to stay cool. I started a multi-week work project this morning and cranked up some of my favoirte background/jazz/writing music mixes to put me in the perfect headspace.

Here's something I have not listened to in a few months (perhaps not since last fall?) but it's appropriate for today...

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Colorado Pic Dump

Denver, CO

A few images from the past few days including the LoHi music festival...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

RIP Ornette Coleman

Los Angeles, CA

If you're considered ground-breaking in the jazz realm, then you're doing something right. RIP Ornette Coleman...the man who once shook up the jazz establishment.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blank On Blank: Ray Bradbury

Los Angeles, CA

I'll listen to any interview with Ray Bradbury. Funny thing... I'm more influenced by the things he's said about writing, philosophy, and creativity more than his actual stories and fictional characters. A true thinker. Here's something from the Blank On Blank series, which animates interview clips...

Friday, May 01, 2015

Robert Williams and the Mr. Bitchin Documentary

Los Angeles, CA

On the most recent episode of WTF Podcast, Marc Maron interviewed artist Robert Williams. The Williams' segment started just before the 24 minute mark.

For my generation, Robert Williams is most known as the guy who created Appetite for Destruction, the controversial painting that inspired Axl Rose from Guns N Roses. Not only did the band want to use Williams' painting for their debut album cover, but they also named the entire album after the title of the painting. For Baby Boomers, Williams was known in the early 60s for his work with hot rod guru Ed Roth. In the late 60s, Williams found notoriety among the counter culture appearing in underground comics with the likes of R Crumb.

I stumbled upon this documentary about Robert Williams called Mr. Bitchin'...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - Vollmilch

Los Angeles, CA

Nonstop Vulfpeck over the last week or so. It doesn't take very long to listen to an entire album from start to finish when each of their four albums run only 6 songs deep. Short, but sweet funk.

Vulfpeck's second album, Vollmilch, was released in 2012...

Other albums by Vulfpeck: Mit Peck (2011), My First Car (2013), and Fugue State (2014).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - My First Car

Los Angeles, CA

It's not even 19 minutes long!

Vulfpeck's albums are always short interludes consisting of a mere 6-songs. But the LA funksters pack in a ton of emotion in each song. Here's stripped-down funk from Vulfpeck's third album My First Car....

Yes, I can't stop listening to Fortin's favorite band. I have all four of Vulpeck's albums on a loop that repeats itself roughly every 80 minutes.

Other albums by Vulfpeck: Fugue State and Mit Peck.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - Fugue State

Los Angeles, CA

More about Fortin's favorite band, Vulfpeck, a minimalist funk unit from LA. Fugue State is their most recent album. Like all of Vulfpeck's albums, Fugue State is short album. Only six songs. But they're short and sweet.

Vulfpeck has been getting a lot of airplay this week. Perfect background music for both writing and college basketball...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Writing Music: Vulfpeck - Mit Peck

Los Angeles, CA

Vulfpeck is minimalist funk.

Fortin turned me onto Vulfpeck. He really couldn't stop talking about them. Obsession is an understatement. Vulfpeck does not play many live shows (I think 8-9 in the five-year history of the band) so you really only have four albums of material to work with. Each album consists of a mere six songs. There's not much material out there, but what they got is catchy and downright funky. Very cool jazz inspired, stripped down funky elements.

Vulfpeck is comprised of German-American musicians and they are based out of LA, although they originally formed the band in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Mit Peck is Wulfpeck's debut album circa 2011...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tweedy at the Ace Hotel

Los Angeles, CA

Two things about Jeff Tweedy you can rely upon: 1) ubiquitous surliness, and 2) looking like he woke up hung over in the back seat of his car after a three-day coke bender.

Flashback... lazy afternoon last September at the Lockn festival in Nelson County, Virginia... Wilco's first set... Jeff Tweedy's grumpy mood spewed forth because the distracted crowd gleefully snapped photos of a double rainbow. The short encounter, maybe two or three minutes tops, stirred up enough collective interest by the crowd for a cool instagram pic... but that same minor commotion sent Tweedy off the rails. He lamented on the fact he was upstaged by Mother Nature. If you never saw Wilco before, you'd think, "Wow, what a dick whining about a rainbow." But it was a classic Tweedy moment... using his salty sense of humor during another fearless attempt to confront the audience.

You don't get to where Tweedy is at careerwise without the Big 3: talent, luck, and survival skills. If the drugs/booze don't get ya, the money will. Tweedy kicked painkillers and narrowly escaped getting completely crushed by the massive machinery of the music biz. Sure it sounds cold-blooded, but Tweedy kept Wilco plugging along by kicking out one of his bandmates every few years.

Tweedy's live show process includes a desire to seek out adversity in order to conjure up the best possible performance. Sometimes Tweedy's confrontational style comes off like a fourth-rate comedian when he picks petty fights with the audience. It's an odd way to psych yourself up, but it's part of Tweedy's twisted charm. If the gig was going too smoothly, he'd egg on the audience to create an obstacle to overcome. Tweedy loved the challenge: win over a hostile audience. Most of that behavior stemmed from his earliest days on stage attempting to play punk to heavy metal/classic rock crowds. The audience and Tweedy butted heads whenever his tastes evolved and he wanted to play alt country to punk crowds... or when he performed art rock to the alt country crowd... or the time he ruined all his indie street cred by writing music for car commercials.

Tweedy. Constant flux. Evolving and rebelling from his previous phase.  I caught Uncle Tupelo just before they broke up and Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy split off and formed their own bands (Sun Volt and Wilco). UT's onstage tension is what defined them as a live act. Although UT never threw down, you got the sense that Tweedy and Farrar could rumble at any moment. I appreciated the bottled-up angst. I never saw The Replacements, but those gigs were notorious shitshows where everyone got blind-ass drunk and Bob Stinson brawled with someone... his brother, Westerberg, or someone from the audience.

* * * *

Nicky and I caught Tweedy at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. The Ace was once the historic United Artists Theatre before it got renovated into a music venue. Tweedy had some stand-up schtick about the Ace. "This is where Shirley Temple had her first period. That's the kind of history shit they tell you in this town." Yes, with oodles of show biz history in L.A. you hear random shit like that all the time.

Tweedy unleashed his surliness moments after he completed the opening number Hazel. Tweedy was pissed that the DJ was still cranking in the lobby, plus most of the front rows were still empty. LA crowds were notoriously fashionably late. "It's like the fucking first quarter of the Lakers game," observed Tweedy. He was right. Most of the crowd was still in the hallway grabbing drinks. They missed the opening song, so Tweedy told them he'd play it again. And the band busted back into Hazel, naturally sprinkled with Tweedy's vitriol.

Tweedy wondered why the crowd sat down instead of standing. He heckled one woman who fell asleep in the front row. I assume she passed out, but Tweedy told the crowd about one of his earliest gigs... at an old folks home... and half the audience fell asleep because they were given their meds before his set. Tweedy's music was mellow, but not that mellow. Apparently, pharmies and chardonnay didn't mix very well with Tweedy's acoustic offerings.

Tweedy gave a group of hipsters guff when they poorly clapped along to Uncle Tupelo's New Madrid. He told them that they were fucking him up and to sit on their hands. The group stopped, except for one lone clapper trying to out-douche Tweedy.

Tweedy played one long set plus an encore. The set was split into Tweedy with his son (and backing band) and Tweedy solo acoustic. The first half of the set featured Tweedy performing a dozen songs off Sukirae with a group of musicians and his son Spencer on drums. The covered a song by Diane Izzo, which Tweedy initially heard off her demo tape. The second half of the set, Tweedy was all by himself and he cranked out Wilco songs and one Uncle Tupelo bustout. During the encore, Spencer and the backing band rejoined Tweedy. They finished the show with covers by John Lennon, Neil Young, and Doug Sahm.
Tweedy Setlist, 3/21/15 Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

(With band): Hazel, Hazel,  Flowering, Summer Noon, World Away, New Moon, Fake Fur Coat, Diamond Light Pt. 1, Wait For Love,  Slow Love, High As Hello, Love Like a Wire*,  Low Key, Nobody Dies Anymore

(Solo acoustic): I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Remember the Mountain Bed, You And I, New Madrid ^, Passenger Side, Whole Love, I'm the Man Who Loves You, Misunderstood, Please Don't Let Me Be So Understood, Only The Lord Knows
Encore (with band): God *** ,  Losing End ****, Give Back The Key To My Heart ^^,  California Stars

* Diane Izzo cover
^ Uncle Tupelo tune
** Mavis Staples cover
*** John Lennon cover
**** Neil Young cover
^^ Doug Sham cover
Nicky and I nearly lost our mud when one of the drunk-ass girls in our row blurted out in a rapid-fire cocaine-addled cadence, "Misunderstood? Oh-Em-Gee... Misunderstood song is about me. It's all you need to know. Jeff wrote it about me... for me... it's all about me. I am the misunderstood in Misunderstood. My life is all a misunderstanding."

Friday, March 20, 2015

RIP Dan Feldman

Los Angeles, CA

I attended college with Dan Feldman. We were friends, fraternity brothers, and business partners. At one point in our lives, we were that cliche "thick as thieves" and/or "two peas in a pod."

The summer of 1992. I was still 19 years old and utterly clueless. That summer the Dream Team crushed opponents in the Barcelona Olympics because it was the first year NBA pros could play. I'm bombarded by vivid flashbacks of the Dream Team because our ice cream truck was littered with giant McD's souvenir cups featuring Dream Teamers like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

One item on my resume was always a conversational piece...
ENTREPRENEUR - Tasty Ice Cream, Atlanta, GA
"Wait... you were the ice cream man?"

TASTY ice cream was an instant ice-breaker during every single job interview in my adult life. It was always fun to talk about. I had crazy stories. Heck, I had an even crazier partner. How did I get into the ice cream business? Dan Feldman invited me in.

Feldman drove an ice cream truck in his hometown on Long Island, but in the summer of 1992 he wanted to do the same thing in Atlanta. I needed a job and so we wet into business together. We lived in our fraternity house (a handful of guys in one of those gigantic southern mansions) and parked the ice cream truck out back and kept the freezer running using a series of industrial extension chords. The truck was really a van with a freezer in the back. Our stoner friends raided the van late nights and left pocket change on the front seat. We drove one truck but alternated work days. It was fun, but arduous work. The city was nicknamed HOTLANA for a reason... hellacious heat, sweltering, irritating, disgusting summer days in Atlanta. I'd come home every night drenched in sweat because the van truck was more like a sauna.

Twenty years later, I can easily say that the summer of 1992 was one of the all-time greatest summers. In the high-water mark of life, Feldman and I surfed the crest of that wave.

Feldman's initial business plan entailed renting a van from TASTY Ice Cream, an independent business run by a Persian that everyone called The Shah. The Shah was a fair man, but he wouldn't rent to us until we had proper credentials. He told us to get experience at HAPPY ICE CREAM, the largest company in Atlanta. HAPPY'S portly owner looked like a character from The Sopranos and he hired me on the spot. He briefly showed me a gigantic map of Atlanta and its sprawling suburbs. He boasted about his vast territory, much like a king bragging about the size of his kingdom  The hot spots were in yellow. I always had a bit of a photographic memory, so I studied the map.

The HAPPY ICE CREAM training program included sitting in a dark room to watch a series of grainy training videos from the late 70s and early 80s. I was one of three other trainees. Both of them fell asleep within an hour. In all fairness, one of the guys was riding the H train and nodded out. I passed the training/safety exam and got sent out on a test run with one of the veteran drivers. The guy had a ghostly, gravely voice like Miles Davis, and he gave me a crash course in the ice cream biz. Miles said the best part of the job was "getting hit on by single moms." Once my HAPPY training was complete, I graduated and was assigned my very own truck.

The plan with Feldman was to alternate days. On his first day on the job, he crashed HAPPY's truck. Drove it right into the front of a liquor store near the old Techwood projects (that got razed to build the Olympic Village). At the time, it was scary. Luckily Feldman escaped without a scratch on his head. But the truck was totaled and our future with HAPPY ICE CREAM looked bleak.

We returned to the Shah and sorta begged him to let us work for TASTY. I showed him my photocopied diploma from HAPPY ICE CREAM that said I was a certified ice cream truck driver. Feldman was a natural born salesman and pretty much told the Shah that we'd have a truck out 7 days a week and we were young, eager college kids who could log long hours because we switched off days. Feldman told him we'd be the Shah's top earners and driving his #1 truck. Truly a bold statement, but by the end of the summer we were at the top of the Shah's fleet of trucks. Besides, how hard could the competition be? The Shah's main competitor HAPPY hired ex-cons and junkies.

Every morning one of us would drive the van from Emory University to MLK Blvd, where the Shah's shop was located. We were a McCatholic kid from the Bronx and a Jewish kid from Long Island working on a fleet comprised of Middle Easterns and Haitians. We bought inventory (usually whatever we sold out from the night before) and dry ice. We needed the dry ice to keep the goods cold. The kid who worked the freezer was barely taller than Kevin Hart and he wore a jumpsuit that looked like he was climbing Mt. Everest. He spent 10-12 hours a day inside a gigantic walk-in freezer.

The Shah didn't even give us a map. He threw us head first into the ice cream pool, but I memorized HAPPY's route and their top areas. Feldman's business model was simple: undercut HAPPY's prices by a nickel. After a week or so, we developed multiple routes and started out in Atlanta and made out way out to the burbs, before circling back toward the city at the end of our shift.

One day I blew a red light and got pulled over by ATL cops. I apologized and the cop let me off with a warning because his kid would never talk to him again if his kid found out he gave the ice cream man a ticket. I thanked the cop and comped him a red, white, and blue Bomb pop. A couple of weeks into the summer, someone driving a HAPPY truck nearly sideswiped me. He chased me down to a cul de sac. The redneck looked like a mean roadie from the Allman Brothers. He pulled out a baseball bat and threatened to beat my ass and slash my tires if I was ever on his turf. That was the last time we worked in Marietta.

Gas was cheap back then and only 79 cents/gallon at the QT, but the van had its flaws: no AC and a busted radio. We utilized a small booxbom and played nothing but Grateful Dead and Phish bootlegs. Feldman was one of the biggest Deadheads in our fraternity. He also gifted me my first Phish bootleg and he once spent two hours lecturing to me about the beauty and simplicity of Contact. I was a staunch Deadhead back in those days, but thanks to Feldman (and other friends like Wilkins, Lerm, Dave Pizza, and Chicago Bob)... I slowly started appreciating Phish. Twenty years later, I always think about Feldman whenever I hear Contact.

It goes without saying that I always think about Feldman whenever I see an ice cream truck. Instant flashback to the best summer of my life. You'll never ever forget the summer you were 19 years old. Those cherished memories were filled with Feldman's laughter. Heck even a couple weeks after he crashed the HAPPY truck, we were joking around about it. I dunno how many times I uttered the line: "Remember the time Feldman crashed the ice cream truck into a liquor store?"

I always wanted to share a story at a MOTH Storytelling. If I ever got a shot, the summer of 1992 and the ice cream truck was going to be one of my Top 3 stories. It's strange that your memory is fickle... I couldn't even tell you what I ate for breakfast the other day... yet memories from the summer of 1992 were vivid and fresh. Those memories were burned into my skull and etched into stone in perpetuity.

Dan Feldman will always be part of the internal hieroglyphics chiseled into the hallways of my mind.

A couple of months ago, I sent Feldman a message on Facebook. My friends will tell you that I'm NEVER on Facebook, so it was a huge deal that I actually logged in. I posted something on Feldman's wall that I always thought of him whenever I spotted an ice cream truck. He reminded me something I totally forgot: I made up a special song to sing whenever I rang the bell. The van didn't have a fancy sound system but had an old school bell attached to a piece of string. You had to hold onto the steering wheel with your left hand and reach above your head with your right hand to ring the bell on the top of the truck. The string went through a hole in the roof, so if it rained, the ceiling leaked and the rope got soaked.
I am the ice cream man
I drive as slow as I can
That's the chorus. I don't recall any other verses. But that's the kind of goofy stuff we used to do.

Feldman turned me onto amazing music. Feldman showed me how to be an entrepreneur and work for yourself. Sometimes someone has to leave your life before you can fully appreciate their impact. I've always been lucky that Feldman was an integral part of the summer of 1992. Between music and business acumen, Dan Feldman impacted me in more ways that I can count.

RIP Dan Feldman. One of a kind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Binge Watching: Sopranos, Season 5

Denver, CO

Deep diving and binge-watching The Sopranos over the last couple weeks. My thoughts on previous seasons: Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4.

It's finally time for the fifth season of The Sopranos and my half-baked thoughts...

S5, Episode 1: Two Tonys... Meadow drove over the Star-Ledger in the driveway. Tony was kicked out of Castle Soprano, so he wasn't there to pick up the paper, which is how the first episode of each new season began... Sunday dinner, hosted by Janice, recently married Bobby Bacala. Tony and Bobby watched the news (cameo by Matthew Weiner as a mob expert), which aired a segment on the release of several mobsters who went to jail in the 1980s. The "Class of 2004" included Tony's cousin Tony B, Angelo (Carmine's consigliere), Feech LaManna, and Phil Leotardo... Feech stopped by Junior's house and asked if he could return as a bookie. Feech told a story about picking a fight with the biggest motherfucker on his first day in jail... Chris pissed off that he always paid for the crew's dinner. Tony reminded him picking up the tab was tradition and sign of respect... AJ nearly shit himself when he saw a black bear in the backyard. He cried out to his mommy, who scared off the bear with pots and pans. Wildlife cops suggested the bear was attracted to Tony's duck feed. You don't need a degree in English lit to know the bear represented Tony, a menacing predator lurking in the suburbs... Tony watched the Prince of Tides and sent Dr. Melfi flowers (and box of Tide) with a signed card: "Prince of Tide." Tony wore a nice suit in order to ask out Dr. Melfi. Tony said there were two Tony Sopranos: the ruthless mobster and a sensitive caring guy. He wanted to show her the other Tony. Although they kissed, Melfi shot him down... Chris and Paulie told the infamous Russian pine barrens story, which quickly escalated into a near altercation when they blamed each other for the mess... The black bear returned. Tony dispatched Lil Paulie and Vinny Delpino for an all-night bear watch. Vinny asked Carmela for the big guns and she opened up a hollow column with the weapons cache... The crew partied in Atlantic City and Chris had to pick up the tab of $1,184. He left $1,200 and the waiter whined about the paltry $16 tip. Chris threw a brick at the waiter's head and he went into a seizure, so Paulie and Chris shot him (and took the cash too). Later on, Paulie called Chris to bury the hatchet and offered to split the tab... Carmine was eating egg salad when he had a stroke during lunch at the golf course. Eggs = death in Sopranos vs. oranges for The Godfather.... Johnny Sack was still salty that Tony didn't whack Carmine like he promised... Tony tried to woo Dr. Melfi's with two tickets to Bermuda. She told him the truth why they couldn't date: he was a liar and prone to violence. Tony called her a fucking cunt and stormed out... Tony took over on bear watch at Castle Soprano with an AK-47 in one hand and a cigar in his mouth.

S5, Episode 2: Rat Pack... On a dark, rainy night, Tony met Jack Massarone at a diner. Jack gifted Tony a painting of the Rat Pack. Turned out that Jack wore a bug for the FBI. Capo Ray Curto was also a rat, who helped translate wire transcripts.... FBI planted a surveillance camera on Crazy Horse parking lot. Adriana nearly suffocated from in existentialist angst over her being an FBI snitch. Her FBI contact reminded her that she's with the "good guys" now... Carmine passed away. Various crews paid their respects, but Little Carmine felt disrespected that wiseguys offered condolences to Johnny Sack (the assumed successor as head of one of the five families). At the funeral, Junior mentioned that Carmine invented point shaving and alluded to his involvement in a real-life point shaving scandal with CCNY in the early 1950s... Tony visited his cousin Tony B (Steve Buscemi) fresh out of prison. Tony hosted a surprise party where Tony B wore a Miami Vice suit with rolled up sleeves. Artie Bucco asked "Where's Tubbs?" Tony B felt out of place but zinged everyone with one-liners, using comedy to mask his uneasiness.Tony B was bummed out that his twin sons and daughter (goth girl who ran away) did not show up at his party... Tony B seemed bitter that Tony was the boss and cracked fat jokes. Tony B expressed his interest in becoming a licensed massage therapist and didn't want to get back into the mob game. Tony got Tony B a straight job delivering linens... Lil Paulie's girlfriend Tina Francesa told Adriana about stealing money from work, when she wasn't hitting on Chris. Chris didn't like hanging out in clubs as a sober guy... Carmela hosted a film club in Tony's movie room. They watched Citizen Kane on VHS tape. They all got silent when they saw the FBI logo flashed on screen before the film began. They barely discussed Kane for a few seconds before the went into full-blown mob wife gossip... Tony B stopped by Satriale's and made fun of everyone (alluded to Paulie looking like Grandpa Munster). They saw Tony B's massage chair and asked for massages. Tony reminded Tony B that he was the boss and couldn't be made fun of in front of the crew.... Paulie referred to Sun Tzu as "Sun Tizzu"... Patsy Parisi told Tony that someone followed them to his meeting with Jack Massarone. Tony met with him again, but didn't feel a wire. He couldn't tell if he flipped or not... At the Mob Wives Film Club, Rosalie Aprile said Big Pussy's wife was shunned from their social circle after he became a rat. She compared him to Judas. Adriana broke down and almost revealed that she was a snitch. She tried to leave, but tripped in the driveway... Tony threw the Rat Pack painting off a bridge. Quick cut to FBI crime scene team snapping photos of Jack Massarone's corpse in the back of a trunk... FBI pressured Adriana for intel, so she ratted out Tina Francesca's embezzlement scam.

S5, Episode 3: Where's Johnny... BEATDOWN OF THE WEEK: Feech smacked around Sal the landscaper and grabbed him by the balls because he was his nephew's competition... Junior grew so demented that he thought Curb Your Enthusiasm was a reality show about himself (Larry David) and Bobby Bacala (Jeff Garlin)... Paulie's Aunt Mary told Paulie that Feech beat up her gardener. Paulie retaliated by knocking his nephew out of a tree. Paulie also stole his the lawnmower... Tony lived alone in his mother's house, but offered Artie Bucco one of the empty rooms... Paulie listened to a book-on-tape version of Sun Tzu's Art of War... Phil Leotardo fake-whacked Lorraine Calluzzo because she was kicking up cash to Lil Carmine instead of Johnny Sack. He put a phone book over her chest and said it would muzzle the sound. She lived because the bullet only penetrated as far as the Rs... Tony, Junior, Angelo (Carmine's consigliere), and Lorraine had a sitdown. Since the Lupertazzi family never named a successor when Carmine died, Tony suggested a triumvirate leadership between Lil Carmine, Johnny Sack, and Lorraine... Sack and Tony had a meeting in front of Shea stadium. Tony floated his power sharing concept and Sack didn't want to hear it... At a meeting in NYC, Chris spoke out of turn and Johnny Sack flipped out. Tony told Chris to chill out because the Jersey crew could take advantage from in-fighting between Lil Carmine and Johnny Sack... Uncle Junior kept busting Tony's balls at Sunday dinner about failing to be "varsity material." Tony lost his shit and stormed out... Junior wandered off and drove his car to an old joint in Newark where he stashed vending machines with Tony's father. Toothless homeless lady offered to give Junior a half-n-half in the backseat of his car... Junior tried to hide from cops, who mistook him for a homeless guy even though he said his name was Currato Soprano. They didn't believe him but drove him home and made Janice show them his ID... FBI tried to figure out the exact lineage of the Sopranos. Adriana tried to explain that Chris was not Tony's nephew, but cousins via marriage (Carmela was cousins with Dickie Moltisanti)... Tony blew up at Janice and called her out for leaving home at 18 to drop acid and blow roadies, which left 16-year old Tony stuck at home with bat-shit crazy Moma Soprano... Tony mediated the landscaping dispute between Paulie and Feech. Told them to split the neighborhood and to cut the lawns of the local wiseguys like Castle Soprano and Johnny Sack... At the golf course, Tony ran into a neurologist who treated Junior. Doc explained that Junior's mini-strokes caused irritability and short-term memory loss. Tony stopped by to chat with Junior, who alternated between coherent thoughts on the biz and meaningless babble.

S5, Episode 4: All Happy Families... The title was from Dostoevsky's Anna Karenina. Tony's own family and crew were being torn apart by mutiny... Tony B took his twins boys swimming at Castle Soprano. Supposedly, Tony smuggled out of prison Tony B's sperm so his wife could get pregnant... Phil Leotardo dispatched Joey Peeps to whack Lorraine and her fuckbuddy when they refused to kick down cash to Johnny Sack... Chris said it was a declaration of war by Johnny Sack, yet Tony advised his crew to not intervene in the Brooklyn mess... Feech LaManna regaled stories from the old days (as Tony Pinto's driver), including the time Jackie Aprile and Tony were young punks who knocked off his high-stakes poker game. Feech asked Tony if he could have a piece of the Big Game again, even though it was run by Junior's crew. Tony gave Feech a 20% cut. Silvio thought it was a bad idea because Old Man Feech was a douchey egomaniac... The Big Game included Lawrence Taylor and Bernie Brillstein. Feech staked Tony B in the game... AJ wanted to go to college in Arizona, but he had shitty college boards (930 total) and bad grades. He tried to angleshoot an ADD diagnosis so he could have unlimited time to take his SATs... Tony bought AJ a new yellow SUV. Tony said the SUV would stay in the garage until AJ improved his grades to a C-average... Carmela told Tony he never really had legit friends, just flunkies and mooks who laughed at his jokes out of fear... At another Big Game session with David Lee Roth, Tony grew jealous that Feech made everyone laugh while his crew only laughed out of fear... AJ went on a bender in NYC after a Mudvayne concert. They partied in a hotel and made a makeshift bong using a 2-liter bottle and an ice bucket. His friends Krazy-glued his face to the carpet and shaved his eyebrows. Carmela overreacted when he finally came home. Tony noticed AJ didn't have eyebrows and thought he was doing "poppers and weird (gay) sex"... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela was pissed that she was pegged the bad cop, while Tony was the good cop... Carmela told AJ to move in with Tony (and Artie Bucco)... Feech's crew boosted luxury cars at a Jewish wedding and tied up the valets. The prick doctor asked Tony to find one of the cars. Tony reamed Feech for boosting cars without his consent (plus selling them to Johnny Sack)... Tony told Silvio he was worried Feech would turn into another Richie Aprile situation, so they needed to nip it in the bud. Instead of whacking him, Chris set up Feech with stolen goods and he got busted by his parole officer... AJ had fun living at Tony's bachelor pad, where they ate chicken wings, cracked fart jokes, and watched baseball... On a date with AJ's counselor, he suggested Carmela read Madame Bovary because she went crazy after an insufferable marriage... Carmela was conflicted when she came home to an empty house and had a flashback when adolescent AJ rode his big wheel into the street.

S5, Episode 5: Irregular Around the Margins... Meadow bumped into Tony at Crazy Horse, who  had just railed a couple lines in his office in the back... Adriana got the liquid shits because she was stressed out being the FBI snitch.... Tony had a mole removed from his head, but it was not cancer... Tony and Adriana grew close while Chris was on a business trip (acquiring bootleg cigarettes from the south). Adriana revealed she used to be deathly afraid of Tony. They hung out at Crazy Horse and bonded over med issues, snorted copious amounts of blow, and poked fun at Chris' owl face. Oodles of sexual tension accompanied a game of darts. Adriana dropped the darts and bent over in front of Tony. They were about to hook up when they were interrupted... Tony returned to therapy and told Dr. Melfi he had feelings for Adriana. She commended him for not acting on his impulses... TONY'S DUCKS: Adriana fed ducks during an outdoor meeting with her FBI contact. She mentioned her attraction to Tony. The FBI contact made a funny impression of dumbass Adriana behind her back... Tony asked about Danielle (the undercover FBI agent) but Adriana said she drowned. On the way to a coke dealer's house, they got into a car accident when Tony swerved to avoid hitting an animal in the road. Tony survived without a scratch, but Adriana was held overnight for observations... Chris was livid that she drove around with Tony at 2am. He worked hard doing deals with rednecks so she could have money for booze and coke... Tension escalated between Chris and Tony... The crew acted like knitting circle and spread rumors about Adriana was sucking off Tony, which is why they got into an accident. Chris exploded when he heard the blowjob rumors. He thought Tony sent him to North Carolina so he could fuck Adriana... Chris confronted Adriana, smacked her around, and called her a whore. He tossed her out of the house then chugged a bottle of vodka... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela heard the Adriana hummer rumors and took it out on Tony... Chris was shitfaced and unloaded his clip at Tony's SUV at Bada Bing. He walked into the Bing waving a gun but the bouncers dragged him out... Tony and Paulie took Chris out to the weeds. Chris accused him of sleeping with Adriana. Tony was about to whack Chris, but Tony B talked him out of it at the last second... Tony drove to the ER and found the doctor who worked on Adriana. Tony B and the doctor explained to Chris that Adriana had injuries consistent with sitting up (which was proof she did not give Tony a hummer). Chris said it didn't matter. The perception was that she banged Tony and everyone thought he was a jerkoff... FBI asked Adriana if they could put a wire inside the Crazy Horse. She told them to fuck off... Everyone at Vesuvios saw Tony and Chris having dinner with Carmela and Adriana, an obvious attempt to show the public that the hummer rumors were false.

S5, Episode 6: Sentimental Education... AJ butted heads with Tony when he mouthed off and Tony grabbed him by the throat. AJ said someday he'd kick Tony's ass and Tony said BRING IT you spoiled shithead! AJ begged to move back into Castle Soprano with Carmela, but Carmela set forth strict guidelines... Carmela went out with AJ's guidance counselor and said she didn't understand  Madame Bovary, which he told her to read. Counselor banged Carmela, but Carmela was mostly concerned with getting home before AJ woke up. She slept with a gun under her pillow over a legit fear that Tony would discover her tryst, which Father Phil reminded her was adultery because she was still married to Tony.... The counselor realized he was being used to convince teachers to give AJ better grades, especially after he plagiarized a paper on Lord of the Flies. English teacher referred to AJ as Fredo Corleone due to his lack of intelligence and quoted Caddyshack "the world needs ditch diggers too"... Carmela got dumped by her new fuckbuddy and she realized she could never get out from under Tony's shadow... Tony B passed his massage exam, much to the delight of his new girlfriend, whom he met on the internet when he was in jail... Tony B scrapped his leg when someone boosted his linen truck. Kim the owner was irked and thought he stole the truck himself. When Kim learned couple kids did it, Kim sorta-apologized by saying he'd stake Tony B's massage business... "Why do piss, shit, and fucking happen all in the same area?" wondered Paulie... Tony B found a bag of cash and crack when drug dealers ditched it during a police chase. Tony B tossed the crack and kept the $12K in cash. He went on multiple gambling benders, bought gaudy clothes and gifted video games for his twins... When Tony B realized he did all the work setting up the massage biz in Kim's storefront, he confronted Kim and beat the living shit out of him with a 2x4 and heavy fish imagery (koi flopped around on ground from an indoor pond inside the storefront)... Tony B finally gave up the straight and narrow life. During a dinner with Tony, he asked if he could get in on Tony's airbag scheme.

S5, Episode 7: In Camelot... Tony went to his aunt's funeral and stopped by the tombstones of his parents. An old lady sat on a bench in front of his father's grave. We got introduced to Johnny Boy Soprano's side piece: Frannie Felstein, the lady from the fur department... Tony was infuriated because Moma Soprano made his old man give the dog away. She said it went to live on a farm, when in fact his father gifted it to his side piece... Frannie told Tony a lot of old stories including banging JFK in 1961 before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yeah, Frannie was also Jack Kennedy's side piece. Tony gifted Frannie his JFK's captain's hat and she sang a disturbing rendition of Marilyn Monroe's Happy Birthday Mr. President... Frannie was supposed to get a cut of a midget auto raceway, but Hesh and Phil Leotardo stiffed her. Tony had a sitdown with Johnny Sack, Hesh, and Phil Leotardo over the sale of the track. Sack mediated that the proceeds ($150K) were given to Frannie, yet Leotardo was irked he had to pony up $40K... Leotardo didn't pay up. When Tony found him, a car chase ensued with Rock the Casbah cranking out of Tony's SUV. Leotardo crashed into a Boar's Head truck... Uncle Junior said he was in love with Frannie. The reason he never married because he wanted to propose to her. Alas, his brother Johnny Boy banged her instead, so he never had a chance... Tony told Dr. Melfi that Moma Soprano was so batshit crazy that he drove his father into the arms of other women. Moma Soprano never visited Johnny Boy's grave, whereas his side piece visited frequently...  Chris made friends in rehab with TV writer and ex-junkie (who lost his job when he blew a deadline on Nash Bridges). Joe Hollywood was sober and seeking a writing gig on Law and Order. Chris bitched about Jon Faverau to his friend and called Faverau a "faggot cocksucker" who "stole his ideas." Chris admitted that he slipped with "some wine" and a lil weed. They agreed to look out for each other.... Chris offered to book Joe Hollywood's betting action and Chris got him a seat in the Big Game. Joe Hollywood donked off $57K. Chris took over the debt. When he missed a payment, Chris and Lil Paulie gave Joe Hollywood a beatdown. He tried to pawn off his Emmy, but it had no value (unlike an Oscar). He sold his laptop instead. Joe Hollywood fell off the wagon and spiraled into the junkie abyss. Chris seized his BMW as partial payment... 70s FLASHBACK: Moma Soprano had a miscarriage and teenage Tony covered for Johnny Boy, who was banging Frannie at the time... Tony got fed up with Frannie over the dog, the miscarriage, and because she kept smoking after his father died of emphysema...Episode ended with Tony bragging to his crew that his father shared a mistress with JFK.

S5, Episode 8: Marco Polo... Well-tanned Little Carmine moved to New York. He showed off a gaudy "fool the eye" painting while his boat mysteriously sunk... Grandpa Hugh tumbled off the roof while AJ practiced drums. Luckily, Hugh fell in the bushes and escaped with minimal harm. Carmela and her mom planned a surprise party for Grandpa Hugh's 75th birthday. They didn't want to invite Tony... Junior ruined the surprise party when he called Hugh to tell him he couldn't go due to house arrest (and added that his family sedated him)... Hugh thought it was bullshit that Tony wasn't invited to a party at Castle Soprano. He wouldn't go unless Tony was invited... Johnny Sack showed Tony his new $99K Maserati. After causing Phil Leotardo to crash his car, Tony agreed to fix Leotardo's car at Big Pussy's wife's auto body shop. Leotardo didn't like the way Big Pussy's wife fixed his car. Tony sent Tony B to smooth things out, but Leotardo was still a douche... Tony B's cell mate from prison, Angelo (former consigliere to Carmine Sr.), offered him a contract to take out Joey Peeps from Johnny Sack's crew (retaliation for whacking Lorraine). Tony B declined but said Tony didn't want to get involved in a NY dispute... Tony B showed up early to the Hugh's jubilee party and Carmela was already drowning in stress. Tony B and Meadow briefly chatted about his missing Goth daughter... Tony finally showed up with Hugo's favorite sausages dangling around his neck... Grandma and her snooty friends were not impressed, but Hugo was thrilled that Tony showed up... Tony B ended up as Carmela's personal photographer, but he got shitfaced drunk and whined about being the Soprano's slave... Tony gifted Grandpa Hugo a Beretta shotgun... Hugo's old army buddy wanted to hear tales about Hugo's heroics in WW2, while his other pompous friend was a pompous ass. Grandma apologized when Hugo got shitfaced and had to be carried out of the party. Grandma really didn't want Tony at party because she wanted to impress her pompous friends. Carmela went to bat for Tony, because her mother was always embarrassed about being Italian. Meanwhile, she acknowledge that Tony saved the day, manned the grill, and made her father happy... Late night, Tony and AJ threw Carmela in the pool and everyone played Marco Polo. When everyone left, Tony and Carmela hooked up in the pool... Tony B's twins stole AJ's pin collection. They were jealous of AJ's wealth and never wanted to leave Castle Soprano. While making a batch of shitty Tang at his mother's house, Tony B finally gave up on the square life and wanted back into the mob game to earn more cash. He called Angelo and agreed to do the hit for Lil Carmine's crew... Tony B waited outside a brothel and clipped Joey Peeps and a hooker, but the car ran over his foot while the Bad and Ruin played (song from Rod Stewart's band The Faces).

S5, Episode 9: Unidentified Black Males... Heat wave... Finn tried to pay for steak dinner, but Tony was insulted and got pissed off. He later apologized for blowing up... Tony and Johnny Sack played golf and Sack complained about the hit on Joey Peeps. He said a homeless guy saw the killer limping away. After launching a decent tee shot, Tony collapsed due to a panic attack... Finn and Meadow sweated their passive-aggressive asses off in a hotbox NYC apartment. They couldn't decide on movie, let alone their future. Finn graduated and didn't want to mooch off his parents for the summer. He considered blowing off dental school for a job in LA as a photographer's assistant. Meadow hooked him up with a construction job in NJ at $20/hour... Finn got a no show job. Paulie didn't know who he was and made him clean up dogshit. When Paulie found out he was Meadow's boyfriend, he gave him wad of cash... Finn got freaked out by a huge fight between Lil Paulie and Geno. Finn was horrified at the violence. Vito Johnnycakes concocted a story that two black guys jumped Lil Paulie. The "two black guys" was a running theme that the crew gave as an excuse to the cops... Finn told Meadow about the beatdown. He wondered about her life as a mafia princess. She reminded him that her ex-boyfriend was shot dead by "drug dealers"... Tony figured out a limping Tony B clipped Joey Peeps. Tony B said he hurt his foot because two black guys jumped him outside a bar. He also hypothesized that if he was involved, then Tony wouldn't want to know... Tony B begged: "Put me in coach!" Tony assigned him to run the casino on Bloomfield Avenue and he'd finally get him a made man... Tony was impressed that Tony B supposedly got a 158 on an IQ test... Tony told Dr. Melfi that he hooked up with Carmela... Carmela searched for a divorce attorney. She finally informed Tony she wanted a divorce. Tony realized it was about money. He told her she was entitled to shit... CATTY CARMELA: Carmela bitched to Meadow that Tony cut off her credit cards. Meadow called her out for being a materialistic hypocrite... At Joey Peeps' funeral, Johnny Sack was pissed that Tony B clipped Joey Peeps and Tony protected him. He told Tony that he was gonna whack Carmine and Tony B. Tony told him that he should hug it out with Lil Carmine. Tony made up an alibi for Tony B. (they were looking for his runaway Goth daughter)...  The no show crew wanted Finn to hang out with them, chow down on donuts, and bullshit about boxing. He finally gave in... Chris uber-upset that Tony B was now the "number one cousin" because Tony B was awarded the underground casino over him... Meadow went to a beach party with Ivy Leaguers, where two recent grads decided upon film school and one opted for the CIA. Instead of going back to NYC, Finn decided to crash at the NJ construction site.... Finn caught Vito Johnnycakes blowing a security guard. Vito tried to intimidate Finn by calling him an arch nemesis. Vito gifted him a ticket to Padres/Yankees game and said he'd meet him at the stadium at 7pm. Finn told Meadow that Vito hit on him or wanted to whack him. She thought he made it up. Finn was a no show at the baseball game... Finn stayed up all night arguing with Meadow and even dozed off. They apparently broke up but he was sleep deprived and suggested they get married... Carmela's divorce attorney tried to hire top notch forensic accountants, but Tony beat her to the punch. Without a huge payday, the attorney dropped Carmela's case... Tony told Melfi that Tony got jumped by two black guys on the night he was supposed to hijack a truck with Tony B, which inevitably got him imprisoned for 17 years. Tony had a panic attack during the therapy session and he revealed that he really had a panic attack the night he was supposed to steal the truck. Moma Soprano induced the panic attack and Tony passed out and cut his head. He was guilty he could never reveal the truth and that Tony B's life was a mess due to prison, while he rose to the head of the family... SELF-AWARE TONY: "I'm a robot to my own pussy-ass weakness." Dr. Melfi referred to therapy as childbirth, whereas Tony said "it's like taking a shit"... Carmela came home and found Tony floating in the pool. Meadow called home to tell her mother about her engagement, and Carmela was all tears.

S5, Episode 10: Cold Cuts...Johnny Sack stiffed Tony in a delivery of scooters, citing port security issues... BEATDOWN OF THE WEEK: Janice turned into a self-righteous soccer mom. She busted the nose of a loud-mouth mom... Janice got arrested and mocked on the local news... Tony reminded her about her mean temper and subtly alluded to the Jackie Aprile incident...  Chris was jealous about Tony B running the underground casino. Paulie told him it sucked because he too got constantly passed over... Uncle Pat (with the hiccups) sold his farm where the crew buried all the bodies, so Chris got sent up to the farm to clear one of his bodies and a couple of Johnny Boy Soprano's cadavers. Tony B went along, but the ride upstate was full of tension... Chris was emo over the time Tony tied up Lil Chris in the orchard... CATTY CARMELA: The Cold War of the Roses continued when Carmela drained the pool... Janice attended group therapy and took it over... Tony told Dr. Melfi that "revenge is like serving cold cuts." She said that both him and his sister had terrible anger issues... Melfi said, "Depression is rage turned inward"... Uncle Pat couldn't recall where Johnny Boy buried the Johnson Brothers...  Chris and Tony B bonded by poking fun of Tony while digging out Chris' first hit (the Czech who gave him nightmares)... OBSCURE SHAKESPEARE REFERENCE: Digging up the body was reminiscent of Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech using the exhumed skull belonging to Yorick the court jester... Vinny Delpino beat down the security guard at the docks who confirmed that Phil Leotardo and Johnny Sack took the Vespas to retaliate over Tony B whacking Joey Peeps... Tony got pissed when he realized Johnny Sacks was gonna boost his special shipment of imported provolone... Carmela stalked the guidance counselor and told him that she's getting back with Tony, whereas she bullshitted Rosalie Aprile... While fishing, Uncle Pat recalled where Johnny Boy's cadavers were buried. Tony drove up to the farm and helped get rid of the bodies... Tony, Chris, and Tony B went out to dinner, but Tony B cracked one too many fat jokes. Tides turned and the two Tonys started bullying Chris, just like when they were all kids. Chris was still super-emo the next day and he drove home by himself and cried the whole way... Janice seemed reformed during a family dinner, but Tony pushed her buttons by bringing up her estranged son. She flipped out and chased him around the house with a fork.

S5, Episode 11: The Test Dream... Tony's spicy side piece badly burned herself while cooking eggs when her robe caught fire during an argument. Yeah, eggs were a harbinger of doom.... Former prison cellmate Angelo paid Tony B a visit at the underground casino and gave him partial payment for the Joey Peeps' hit. Angelo gifted him a plaque "Because I'm the boss... that's why!"... Phil Leotardo and his brother whacked Angelo... Tony stopped by Tony B's house, who was all antsy and not even listening to Tony, who hinted that he had the hots for Artie Bucco's wife... Tony checked into the Plaza under a fake name, saw Dr. Melfi walk through the lobby, and later drunk dialed Artie Bucco's wife (but afraid to talk, so he hung up)... Tony got a message that Angelo was whacked. Tony B refused to answer his phone because he went AWOL...Tony called Jade Escorts and ordered in an Asian hooker, then fell asleep... TONY'S DREAM: It was a 20-minute dream sequence that featured 8 different segments with a shit-ton of dead people...
DREAM PART 1: Tony woke up next to Carmine, who complained he missed his wife. The phone rang with an order to rub someone out...

DREAM PART 2: Tony went to therapy, but Mercedes Lady sat in Dr. Melfi's chair. They joked about how Tony killed her and they repeated the childbirth/taking a shit therapy banter...

DREAM PART 3: Tony saw his father on a TV set in Melfi's office. Johnny Boy Soprano drove his old Caddy. Tony sat in the back. Big Pussy rode shotgun, then it was Ralphie in the front seat. In the back seat were Artie Bucco and Mikey, Junior's former henchman...

DREAM PART 4: Tony thought he woke up from his dream. He stood in the kitchen at Castle Soprano wearing a black Fila sweat suit. Carmela, also dressed in black, bitched at Tony that they were late to meet Finn's parents. Chinatown and Scrooge was on the TV. Tony spotted himself and Carmela arguing on the TV screen. He spit out a rotten tooth. They went to dinner at Vesuvio. They met Finn's parents but the father was played by the crooked ex-cop that used to bet heavily with Tony before he killed himself. The mother was portrayed by Annette Benning. Tony pulled a rotten tooth out of his pocket and spit out another bad tooth. Finn morphed into AJ. Finn's father started singing Three Times A Lady and Tony realized the mother was Annette Benning. Tony warned them that something bad was gonna happen. Tony and Finn's father went to the toilet. Tony looked for a gun in the stall (just like the Godfather). At the urinal, Tony revealed his copy of The Valachi Papers and Tony heard gunshots...

DREAM PART 5: Tony B shot up Phil Leotardo in the middle of a crowded street. Mercedes Lady showed up with a microphone to interview Leotardo. A black kid asked Tony something. Annette Benning mentioned that Tony had a Bugsy thing going. When the crowd moved in, Tony ran off. Just like a scene from Frankenstein, the angry crowd of villagers and dogs chased him down an alley with torches and pitchforks. Lee Harvey Oswald took a shot at him. Artie Bucco helped him escape...

DREAM PART 6: Artie Bucco drove a getaway car. Tony rode shotgun with Richie Aprile and Gigi in the back seat. Artie watched Tony bang his wife, while he heard horse sounds...

DREAM PART 7: Tony sat on Pie-My-O in the living room of Castle Soprano. Carmela said he couldn't have his horse inside, but she said "whores." Tony had a gun in a holster. Carmela wondered if he took care of his hit job...

DREAM PART 8: Tony walked through empty hallways of a school. He stopped in front of trophy case and put a silencer on a gun. Tony found Coach Molinaro in the gym teacher's office. Coach said Artie Bucco was a tool and gave Tony guff over seeing a shrink. Tony tried to shoot his coach, but his gun fell apart...
Tony woke up in his bed at the Plaza. Chris stopped by to see Tony and told him that Tony B tried to whack Phil Leotardo, but he killed his brother instead. Tony called up Carmela and told her about his recurring Coach Molinaro "unprepared dreams."

S5, Episode 12: Long Term Parking... Random body washed up on the beach and found by kids... Tony and Carmela tried to patch things up. Carmela asked Tony to fund a new property so she could build a new house with her father... Tony's spicy Latin side piece got out of the burn ward, but he had to tell her that it was called off because he was going back to Carmela... Adriana's stress-induced health issues continued and Chris poked fun at her calling her "My Smelly Valentine"... Chris dropped a Bruce Springsteen reference to why he was late to a meeting. He also started drinking again... Chris super pissed that Tony gave him guff over the cigarette scam while Tony B went off the reservation... FBI had the Crazy Horse under surveillance. They saw Long Branch cops stop by the club and decided to bring in Adriana, who was clad in animal prints most of the episode. Turned out the washed up body had a stamp from Crazy Horse, and that he visited the club the night he was whacked. Adriana told the FBI that the Israeli dealer did it. They ripped off some mook and he wanted his money back, but a fight ensued and the Israelis stabbed the mook. The FBI called her out on giving them crappy intel and forced her to wear a wire. She finally asked to speak to a lawyer, which she shoulda done a long time ago. The FBI stalled on a lawyer. They convinced her to try to flip Chris... Tony, Silvio, and Chris went to Brooklyn for a sitdown with Johny Sack and Phil Leotardo, but surly Leotardo walked out because he wanted to avenge his brother's death. Johnny Sack told Tony that he had to deliver Tony B, otherwise it was war... After the body count piled up, Lil Carmine decided to pull out of the race for contention of head of the Lupertazzi Family... Tony got several hang up calls. He assumed it was Tony B and asked Silvio to trace his calls... Tony officially moved his stuff back home. AJ helped. Tony gifted Carmela a Hermes scarf. They had a quaint family dinner. AJ thought it was "fucking weird." Tony said they should celebrate with champagne... Tony B called Tony. Tony finally told Tony B about the panic attack the night he got pinched. Tony used a trace to find Tony B near their Uncle Pat's farm, which was empty after he moved to Florida... Adriana finally told Chris that she was a rat for the FBI. Chris flipped out and nearly strangled her to death. Hours later, he settled down and Adriana had him convinced they should turn themselves in. Chris thought he could finally write his memoirs once he was no longer in the mob... Chris went out to buy cigs and saw a poor family at a gas station. He glimpsed his brokedick future... Tony called Adriana and said that Chris had a failed suicide attempt and that Silvio would come get her and drive her to the hospital. Adriana had a daydream in which she had packed her things and drove solo to California. In reality, Silvio picked her up and she cried the entire way. She had a moment of clarity in the car and realized she was gonna get whacked. Silvio drove her to the woods, she tried to crawl away, but he put two bullets into her (although the camera panned up to the treetops)... Chris tossed her suitcase and drove her car to Newark Airport's long term parking... Tony found Chris at the Bing watching Three Amigos. Chris was loaded on smack so Tony beat him down... With Johnny Sack officially the Boss, Tony went to pay him a visit underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Tony asked to take out Tony B, so he wouldn't suffer. However, Phil Leotardo had other plans. Tony was irked, so he left and told Johnny to go fuck himself... Tony agreed to throw money at Carmela by buying her a 600K empty lot to build a dream house.

S5, Episode 13: All Due Respect... Tony thought he and Carmela spoiled AJ too much. He spent his entire waking existence on the phone... Ray Curto, FBI rat, had no clue Adriana got clipped... Chris told Carmela that Adriana broke up with him and left abruptly. Carmela told Tony, but he was aloof... During a birthday dinner for Ray Curto with all the Capos, Tony gave a speech and said he was protecting Tony B in the same manner he'd protect all of them. Tony went home early and watched WWII shows on the History channel... Chris went into hiding after Phil Leotardo went to his mother's house. He bitched to Silvio that Tony unfairly protected Tony B. The other Capos had similar feelings... Silvio reminded Tony that his crew was unhappy and that he should not have told Johnny Sack to go fuck himself. He called him out with his problems with authority. Out of the seven deadly sins, Tony's was pride. Tony said that it wasn't easy making decisions that affected everything else. He set his course and his crew was either with him or against him... Vinny Delpino spotted Phil Leotardo at the Crazy Horse. He tried to leave, but Phil and his crew jumped him in the parking lot. Phil gave Vinny a severe beatdown... Eugene and Vito Johnnycakes questioned Tony's leadership. Vito even suggested they take out Tony for putting them in danger... Johnny Sack took the provolone shipment for himself, which irked Tony's Capos... Uncle Junior found out that his trial might get delayed. Tony asked him for advice on the Tony B/Phil Leotardo rift. Junior was ineffective dispatching advice... Tony told Dr. Melfi about his recurring dream about his HS coach... One of AJ's friends hosted a party and sold beer cups for $5. When rival HS kids showed up without paying (brought their own cups), AJ told them they had to leave. One of the rivals tussled with AJ's friend, but AJ stayed out of the fight... Tony stopped by Paulie's house and called him out on his beefs. Tony flipped out when he saw the Pie-My-O painting. Paulie said Tony never came by his house, so he didn't think it was an issue. Paulie said he made Tony look like a general out of respect. Tony took down the painting and stormed off. He was about to trash it, but reconsidered... Tony drove up to Uncle Pat's farm and shotgunned Tony B. Tony called Phil Leotardo and told him where Tony B was hiding out, but never mentioned that he already whacked him. Leotardo found the corpse on the front porch... Johnny Sack said their problems were not solved even though Tony offered to give Leotardo some points on his underground casino. Johnny Sack asked Tony to come to a sitdown at 6:30am... Tony asked Chris to go up to the farm and bury Tony B's body. They finally discussed Adriana. Tony called her a cunt. Chris told Tony that he was clean and only went back to the H over the Adriana fallout... Carmela irked that AJ was on the phone and threatened to cut off his allowance until he finished a clown college applications. AJ claimed that he made $600 throwing house parties. Tony told him to do the applications or else. Carmela said that AJ was obsessed with the Studio 54 movie. Tony was worried about the homo-themes of the movie, but he thought it was good he was passionate about something even though it was party promotions... Tony went to Johnny Sack's house and sought to bury the hatchet and move forward. Johnny Sack was a douche about it, but they hugged it out. Tony thought he was getting whacked when he saw two guys with shotguns, but they were FBI. The Feds raided Johnny Sack's house and Tony successfully ran away. He called his attorney, who told him that old man Petrille flipped and ratted out the Brooklyn crew. Tony walked several miles all the way home back to his house. Van Morrison's Glad Tidings played in the final scene and was woven throughout the episode.

* * * *

Season 5 is dunzo. Here are other binge-recaps from The Sopranos Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4