Monday, November 23, 2009

The Greatest 32 Pages You'll Ever Read To a Kid

Let's dispense with the pleasantries and get down to brass tacks:

Buy this book and read it to a tyke you love.

Actually, what you can do is pre-order this little gem for all the little nippers close to your heart.

Lisa McClatchy — already a seasoned pro at the sweet, smart and funny young-reader story — is debuting her first original picture book — Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex — in July 2010. But you can order that puppy today!

Inspired by the antic imagination of our daughter and spun into sweet, warm comic gold by a woman noted for her writing skills as well as her taste in men and who is today celebrating her date of birth in the year 19#*, Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex ix a keeper.

(Technically her birthday is tomorrow, Nov. 29th but we're getting a jump on that epic mystery number today.)

You may only know Lisa McClatchy as the wildly successful publishing consultant.
Or as the instantly successful theatre producer.
Or the endlessly generous, thoughtful and loyal friend.
Or the involved, caring and loving parent.
Or the reliably fun and chatty social companion.
Or the one who saved you from having to hang out with me any more than you need to.
Or the ...

I could go on ... and I will. Just not here except to say that she continues to surprise me, crack me up, inspire me.

And please buy her book — because our kid has expensive tastes and Ivy League aspirations and a thing about seeing the world .. and shoes.

And wish Lisa McClatchy a Happy Birthday as well. Remember — If it wasn't for her, I might be sleeping on your couch. Or yours.

Monday, September 14, 2009


No, I wasn't a junkie. No, I never played against Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul Jabbar) in high school and no, I never turned tricks on the streets of Manhattan. But Jim Carroll spoke to me in a way no other artist has.

I have read The Basketball Diaries — in part or in its entirety — every year since 1979.

The Basketball Diaries is high art from down in the gutter. A riveting, heartbreaking, hilarious and insightful examination of an extraordinary teenager and emerging artist.

(Its pointless for me to talk about the film version of The Basketball Diaries. Nothing could have lived up to my expectation, my own inner movie of it.)

It was tempting to want to live the equivalent of his wounded poet/hoop prodigy/streetwise cool existence myself — first in suburban Philly, then Lexington, Va. and finally in New York.

And I was not alone in that pursuit.

Jim Carroll and The Basketball Diaries helped me forge one of the great and lasting friendships of my life — because it wasn't every freshman hoop player at stately Washington and Lee University who recognized the names Anton Neutron, Lefty, Jimmy Mancole and swimming the shit lines, nodding at Headquarters and wanting to be pure.

Or who could go toe-to-toe with you at full volume singing "People Who Died" or any of the other stone-cold classics from Jim Carroll's yowl of an album Catholic Boy.

It was me and it was Cregs.

Cregs would be Mike Cregan — another Philly boy, a 6'3 power forward from Holy Ghost Prep, another tortured, youngest-of-six-fallen-Catholic soul who loved hoops, beer, stimulants, a free Ireland and Jim Carroll.

We found ourselves slugging it out in the alternate universe known as Washington & Lee and then in the land of Carroll himself — the streets of NYC.

Cregs was the first person in my adult life — outside my immediate family — who truly knew what I knew, who was moved by what moved me and who laughed at the same stupid shit I did.

The days of the inseparable Kevin and Cregs are long gone. The wild days replaced by encroaching middle age. For the last fifteen years we've lived thousands of miles apart. But he is still my confidante, my close friend, my third brother. And it was Cregs who I instantly thought of when I heard that Jim Carroll had died.

(Speaking of brothers, Scotty Mac was very eloquent about Jim Carroll here.)

So not only did Jim Carroll's artistry make me want to be more than I was (and continues to challenge me to be more than I am), it helped me locate the one friendship that I needed as I found my way into adulthood.

So here's a big slug of OJ and 5 Italian ices to Jim Carroll — tortured street poet extraordinaire, dead at 60, and to my man Cregans — the only other one who really knew — alive and well at 45.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Later

What exactly will you think of today — on the eighth anniversary of 9/11?

Our daughter — a 2nd grader — asked us at breakfast this morning to explain what happened eight years ago.

So we told her, in (we hope) age-appropriate terms, about that day — which occurred 53 days before her birth. We emphasized the bravery of the firefighters, police and military personnel lost, as well as the passengers of United 93. We told her about the two people we knew who had died in the attacks:

My college classmate Commander Robert Allan Schlegel, USN.

Firefighter David Fontana, elite Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. David was the husband of our friend Marian Fontana.

And, finally, we told her how people came together to help each other and rise to the challenge of overcoming the tragedy, striving to make our country better and stronger than ever. Our worst nightmare produced our greatest unity.

That unity is what I will think of today — fleeting as it was — because regaining it is the only real and lasting way for the country to honor those who gave their lives.

If only for a brief while, there were no Republicans, no Democrats, no special interest groups, no Glenn Becks, no Michael Moores.

There were only Americans.

President Bush had the support of a nation and the free world ... and promptly squandered it. Only the financially vested and ideologically blinded can continue to say waging war on Iraq was the best course of action in the wake of 9/11.

Osama Bin Laden did exactly what he set out to do — "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."

We screwed the pooch and soldiers are still dying or coming home damaged and ill-tended.

(The lack of care for our veterans is probably the greatest national shame of — at least — my lifetime. It is morally criminal to send soldiers to war if you are unwilling or unable to properly bring them home. "Homeless veteran" is a phrase that simply should not exist.)

So eight years later, we find ourselves more divided than ever.

There is an anger — one that has been present from the moment the final vote was counted — directed at Barack Obama that is historic.

I may be mistaken (my research department is on unpaid leave,due to the fact that my credit card companies — the ones owned by the same financial institutions we all bailed out —— have thanked us by ramming the APR equivalent of Purple Thunder up our asses as they use the resulting profits to catch up on executive bonuses) but I don't recall gun-toting protesters during previous administrations, or Congressional hecklers during a speech by the President of the United States or parents frightened to allow their children to be exposed to a speech by the President of the United States, written specifically for them.

I further don't recall a sitting president ever being publicly called a racist or an entire movement enacted — from the instant of his election — to hamstring the very legitimacy of his presidency.

I also don't recall ever having an African-American president.

The behavior of the loudest and the crudest and the news outlets that give them a voice has besmirched the memory of those we honor today.

Can we, just once, consign the likes of breathless, self-pleasuring media personalities Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Moore, Laura Ingraham, Wolf Blitzer, Keith Olbermann; celebrity 9/11 conspiracy douchebags Charlie Sheen, Rosie O'Donnell, Daniel Sunjata and Wille Nelson; and morally dubious politicos too numerous to mention to the sidelines?

Can we conduct ourselves in a way befitting that silent promise we all made eight years ago as two towers fell, the Pentagon exploded and the United 93 passengers charged up the aisle:

I'm going to earn their sacrifice. I'm going to make them proud. I'm going to be better than I was yesterday.

Oh — gotta go — I hear my daughter reading Charlotte's Web.

Thank you, Rob.

Thank you, David.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Willie, Hughes and the Crack of Hearts

I'm fairly certain that Willy DeVille and John Hughes never worked together, never hung out or even met.

They were of two distinct universes. Two distinct talents. Two distinct barbers.

They are forever joined now, having passed away on the same day, August 6th — DeVille at 55 and Hughes at 59.

And I have a soft spot in my heart for both.

My brothers turned me on to DeVille and his legendary band Mink DeVille. His great songs are too numerous to list — and, anyway, if you're even a little curious, you're already hunting and sampling and judging his stuff by now.

But Willy DeVille is in the McClatchyActsUpHall of Fame (if you haven't heard of this Hall, don't fret. I established it 45 seconds ago) for two movie moments:

1. The theme song (Storybook Love) to The Princess Bride.

2. The scene in The Pope of Greenwich Village where a pre-nutjob Mickey Rourke tries to re-woo a pre-nutjob Darryl Hannah and asks some (presumably pre-nutjob) neighborhood guy with a boombox to hit them with some romantic tunes so they can dance in the park. Just to Walk That Little Girl Home is the song — it is perfect and it works.

Bonus moment — I went to see him at a club in NYC — the name escapes me (Scotty Mac, help me out) — one of those shows where the headliner hits the stage around 12:30, 1am. He was eerie, translucent, unbelievably cool and the master of the gravelly, downtown wounded poet love song. Plus, I think he was on the nod. But since I was in my full-blown Jim Carroll fascination phase, I was down with Willy's heroin rap.

Fellahs — you want to get the woman in your life in the mood — a bottle of Pinot and a Willy DeVille mix.

You're welcome.

And thank you, Willy — whose cool was matched only by his talent.

Now, I know it was never really cool to dig John Hughes out loud — but I'm trying to come up with another screenwriter with a comparable volume of lines that get quoted. Help me out if I'm overlooking someone.

In the eight year span from 1983 to 1990, Hughes owned the harmless-mildly-subversive-comedy genre. Owned it. In that time period, he wrote (and you have been quoting ever since):

Mr. Mom
Sixteen Candles (also directed)
The Breakfast Club (also directed) featuring one of the great comic jackass performances of all time by the late great Paul Gleason.
European Vacation
Weird Science
(also directed)
Pretty in Pink
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
(also directed)
Some Kind of Wonderful
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
She's Having a Baby
(also directed)
The Great Outdoors
Uncle Buck
(also directed)

Be a movie snob if you must — but that list right there is unbelievable. Packed with great lines, memorable characters and indelible moments. All in eight years.

So leave a thankful moment for John Hughes — his movies have been very good to you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Street Dogs: Let Them Save Your Soul

How often do you get your mind (as well as your eardrums) legitimately blown at a rock and roll show? Especially when you have never heard of the band? Especially, especially when you've been stumbling around the Dublin (OH) Irish Festival in a vaguely been there-done that haze of familiar faces and a half dozen Killian's?

That's where Lisa and I found ourselves yesterday on the closing day of the second-largest (I'm told) Irish festival in the United States. There were the usual local suspects (whom we love) reeling and jigging the day away with homegrown talent and professional vigor. Sure there were new faces — the Celtic Tenors, Pogey and Dervish, to name a few — and they, too, gave very entertaining, good, clean accounts of themselves.

But it fell to the festival's closing act, out in the hinterlands of the Killian's Celtic Rock Stage, to deliver bone-rattling, hair-raising, fountain-of-youth inspiration to geezers like us.

All we knew about these guys was that the lead singer had been the original lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys.

Then the Street Dogs took the stage promptly at 6:30 and, for the next hour and a half, made me love punk rock all over again. Far less overtly Celtic than their Dropkick brethren or Flogging Molly or The Tossers, the Street Dogs come on like a Billy Bragg/Clash/Ramones car crash with louder and faster everything and an idealistically manic frontman in Mike McColgan.

More astounding than their brilliant, searing and utterly genuine show was learning that the Street Dogs have been around since 2003 — evidently saving rock and roll one sweaty, ear-splitting, pogoing show at a time. They have four records out. I don't own any of them.

That will change in about nine minutes.

No band appears to believe more than the Street Dogs and no frontman believes more deeply than Mike McColgan.

Believes in what?

The power of rock and roll.

And the son of a bitch is right.

It's hard to beat the pure joy of a great rock and roll show.

McColgan and his mates just ripped it — from the opening strains of Amazing Grace (courtesy of the Cyril Scott Pipe Band) which led to the blistering sing-a-long Not Without a Purpose to a knockout call-to-arms cover of the Joe Hill song (made famous by Billy Bragg) There is Power in a Union to McColgan's heartbreaking PTSD lament War After the War (dude's a Desert Storm vet and a former firefighter — talk about walking the walk) and on and on through a breakneck, ecstatic set.

There were pleas for unity, instructions on how to correctly and effectively pogo, Bono-esque climbs up the scaffold, Townsend-like leaps off amps, dedications to the active duty soldiers, heartfelt exhortations to fuck MP3s and go buy The Clash and The Pogues on vinyl and the most supportive mosh pit in history.

It was a Woodstock moment for the Anti-Flag generation.

And it didn't matter how old you were. Or how long you've been married or ...

I'm fairly certain that a marriage (or any meaningful relationship, for that matter) is not truly consummated until you have pogoed together to Tobe's Got a Drinking Problem.

No one was immune to the joy ... the electricity ... the tinnitus.

This was the loudest show I've ever attended.

(Yes, even louder than when Scotty Mac opened for the Smithereens.)

The Street Dogs were so loud I thought Lisa might suffer a concussion. I thought I might crack a rib. I thought the bass player might stroke out.

And it was just loud enough.

Go see the Street Dogs. Buy their music. Be saved.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rod Stewart — For Real

After last night's American Idol finale (my daughter nearly threw a Howard Cosell brick through the TV when Kris Allen won — hey, she's a rocker) I thought it was necessary to remind myself just who the balls Rod Stewart was.
Here's the guy I wish America had seen last night — one of rock and roll's all-time great singers:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Womack Daddy

On Saturday night, Lisa and I saw Dave Alvin play at the Columbus Maennechor in front of a couple hundred very well-behaved patrons.

The Maennechor is an old German supper club-type joint and the show was in a small ballroom-ish space that was kinda sterile and kinda creepy, frankly.

Anyway ...

I love Dave Alvin. He is responsible for a great many of my favorite songs and also plays a central part in one of the enduring urban myths of our time — The Wet Alternator.

It has to do with Dave Alvin at the Tin Angel in Philly in 1997, my brother Trip, rain and deep deception.

(You'll have to ask Trip about the details — I've repressed the whole sordid affair.)

Dave Alvin's show was impeccable.

It was the musical equivalent of the film Unforgiven. Moments of greatness and inspiration sprinkled through long, tasteful stretches of Alvin's warm baritone talk-singing/storytelling that nearly put my wife down for the count.

(Beware the mango-tini at The Old Mohawk in German Village. And, for the record, she was out like a light 40 minutes into Unforgiven — no alcohol was involved.)

The Dave Alvin concert was a show that I know I'm supposed to have loved. I mean finally taking advantage of the opportunity to see this living legend in concert.

But — brace for the heresy, music nerds — Dave Alvin acoustic live is a little boring. A tad monotonous. Something of a museum piece.

Yes, he got our blood surging with a rousing King of California and a lovely Every Night About This Time and a heartfelt Kern River. Plus, he's genuinely funny and endearingly grumpy.

Yet, I couldn't help but think of Sinead O'Connor many times during the night.

Bear with me.

Sinead O'Connor has a habit of whisper-singing to the point that I want to take a hammer to the cd player. But when she decides to actually, ya know, really sing — it is beautiful and stirring.

Dave Alvin spent a good deal of time whisper-talk-singing and, frankly, I found it kind of annoying. Mostly because when he actually sung, he sounded great.

His guitar playing — and that of his sidekick Chris Miller — was tasteful and sterling.

But tasteful guitar heroism isn't all that high on my list of concerns — concert-wise.

I want to feel. Be moved. Identify.

For that, I had to go to the Red Door Tavern the very next night.

Along with fifteen other extremely fortunate people — I had the pleasure of seeing singer/songwriter/author/wandering troubador Tommy Womack (left) play.

Yes, one-five.

15. As in one more than 14.

If Dave Alvin was channeling Clint then Tommy Womack was channeling a southern-tinged Aaron Sorkin. Highly literate, self-deprecating, slightly sentimental, deeply opinionated and often hilarious, Tommy Womack is a first-rate songwriter, a sneaky-good singer and a road-tested sure-footed performer.

He even got the dickhead in the corner to stop his relentless texting and join in the standing O after Womack did The Replacements — the best song ever about a real band.

If you like John Prine. If you dig Todd Snider. If you can't get enough of well-written, world-weary, witty, generous and occasionally angry songs that you sing along to even though you've only just heard them for the first time —

Tommy Womack is your guy.

I'm no expert on Tommy Womack. I've seen him play live twice in my life. And the first time, in 1999 at the Sutler in Nashville, I wasn't crazy about it. Lisa was. I was not.

I am now crazy about it.

And prior to Sunday, I couldn't name you more than three Womack songs. Further I have incurred the enduring wrath of my brother Scott (who recently shared the bill with Womack in Philly — and put the wandering troubadour up as well) by neglecting to, as yet, read The Cheese Chronicles.

But, let me just say this about that ...

For one night in a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall in front of 15 people, Tommy Womack killed it. He connected. It was loose, scruffy and emotionally fraught.

He was singing about himself ... and us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

... In The Booth Today

Column inches by the hundreds and blog pages by the thousands are paying tribute to Harry Kalas, the one and only voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.


Why is Harry Kalas, a guy who announced baseball games and narrated football highlight films for a living so beloved? Why is there so much emotion behind the tributes? Why do we care?

Because ...

It is rare to experience someone so clearly the very best at what he does — and experience it for so long (Kalas became the voice of the Phillies in 1971) with no hang-ups, no hiccups, no dust-ups.

Kalas loved his job. He respected his good fortune. Unlike Harry Caray, he was no clown but he never took himself too seriously. Unlike Vin Scully, he never tried to make baseball or the announcing of it more than what it was, yet he knew how to frame the drama of the sport. In addition, Kalas had the great fortune of having the perfect broadcast partner — Richie Ashburn — for nearly thirty years.

Listening to Harry Kalas do a baseball game was damn near sports perfection.

Countless books, articles and essays have been written about the generational pull of baseball — the magical way that it connects people to their past and those who inhabited it.

That is the greatest gift that Harry Kalas gave to those of us fortunate enough to hear his calls.

It's impossible to hear the voice of Kalas and not be flooded with images, sounds and emotions from summers and falls gone by.

The cliched image of a little kid listening to some piece-of-crap transistor radio under the covers fit like a glove in our chaotic, unpredictable household. And it was Harry Kalas who often carried us through the night — especially on the West Coast swings that stretched past midnight and beyond.

Not only the greats like Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa and Juan Samuel but forgotten names like Max Scarce, Willie Montanez, Tommy Hutton, Wayne Twitchell and Larry Hisle— not to mention Gene Garber, Oscar Gamble, Bake McBride and Dick Ruthven — came to vivid life across the airwaves via the memorable pipes of Harry Kalas.

The call by Kalas of Mike Schmidt's 500th home run is one of the great, emotionally stirring calls of all time.

Hearing it again these last few days gave me chills. It choked me up.

My brothers and I spent untold hours playing baseball and every variation of baseball every summer of my youth. And we always did Kalas when something memorable happened.

My old man was an accomplished minor-league and semi-pro baseball player and he lives and dies with the Phillies. Listening to Harry Kalas and Whitey Ashburn in the summer was one of the only things (possibly the only thing) we could all agree on.

So many of those moments Kalas called — from Rick Wise's no-hitter in 1971 to Schmidt's 500th in 1987 to Brad Lidge striking out Eric Hinske this past October — evaporate the distance between what we were and who we are now.

Finally — Mike Schmidt, the greatest Phillie of all-time, told a story today on ESPN radio about how Kalas would affectionately call him "In The Game Today" — as in "the greatest player in the game today." Schmidt would respond in kind with "In The Booth Today."

The booth today is empty and will never be the same.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

OFF THE BEATEN PATH — 12 DAYS OF IRISH 2009 — DAYS Ten, Eleven and Twelve — McCredie

This comes exactly a week late by the reckoning of the calendar but, in fact, it is years overdue.

Because you need to know about Jeff McCredie — and, yes, he has done enough in his life so far to warrant three days' worth of verbiage.

Jeff McCredie is a true original.

He comes from the kind of Irish-American family about which weepy, redemptive movies-of-the-week are made.

Old man abandons the family, mother shoulders the Herculean burden of raising three kids, bouncing from Kentucky to upstate New York to Havertown, Pennsylvania, kid beats the odds and you can imagine the rest...

Only here's the thing: Jeff emerged — bruised and scarred — as a driven, gifted young man who excelled at ... well, everything:

Smarter than everyone — and when I say everyone — I mean friggin' everyone! Dude's in MENSA.

Great tennis player.

Better baseball player.

Okay — typical white-guy hoopster. But still ...

Talented actor.

Prolific painter (We have two hanging in our house — neither of which he'd let us pay for, the moron.)

Bad -ass lawyer.

Drinker of a solid pint.

Loyal friend.

Out-sized, reckless heart.

American hero.

Oh ... didn't see that last one coming? Its the truth. And its important that you know it because he has— on countless occasions and without fanfare or accolades — made your life safer and better.

And, if you've ever been within a five-mile radius of him, he has made your life louder, funnier, vastly more interesting and memorable.

Because McCredie is nothing if not memorable.

I didn't know Jeff all that well growing up. He lived a few blocks away from us in Havertown and he was a few years older than me.

I only got to really know him when he graciously opened his home to me on my first visit to Los Angeles. That was 1998. Upon my arrival, he dropped everything and, within minutes, we had two well-poured pints of Guinness sitting in front of us.

It was 11:20 in the a.m. (For the record — it tasted great.)

By that time, Jeff had graduated from Eastern College (cum laude, with some kind of freak-genius triple major in History, Poly Sci and Business Admin) , where he was the only baseball player in the school's history to play in every game. Later he was invited to The Philadelphia Phillies training camp. He ultimately went on to play semi-pro ball.

Along the way he was able to squeeze in becoming a nationally-ranked tennis player.

(My brother Trip used to play tennis with Jeff — and was lucky to win a point. If memory serves, one of Jeff's booming serves nailed Trip right in the weiner. That alone makes Jeff one of my all-time favorite people.)

Oh and let's not forget that Fulbright scholarship to the University of Hamburg.
It was during that experience that Jeff first came into contact with the Agency. The Company. The Spook House. The CIA. What did he do during that time?

You don't have clearance, Clarence.

Then Jeff knocked out your basic law degree from Temple University and promptly became indispensable as assistant D.A. of Montgomery County in suburban Philly.

(He once prosecuted a case involving my cousin's seriously flawed first husband and withstood — with grace and wit — daily grillings from my old man. I think we all know the self-control involved in that.)

And then it began.

Jeff became a walking, talking Robert Ludlum novel.

For three years he was a Special Agent in the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in the area of counter-terrorism. He worked closely with special ops groups and was also an anti-terrorism instructor.

The next five years saw Jeff employed as a legal advisor in the Office of International Affairs at the Justice Dept.

Suffice to say, neither of these assignments were desk jobs. Both involved willingly going into places and situations that would have you and me curled up in the fetal position screaming for our mommies.

Wherever bullets were flying, laws were being broken, bombs were exploding, rebellions were percolating, dictators were scheming and people were dying — Jeff went there and did that which was asked of him.

By us.

Imagine the following places at their absolute worst — and that's when Jeff was there:

Northern Ireland
The Phillipines
South Africa

That's roughly a quarter of his passport stamps.

And the only souvenirs he brought back (besides some killer African masks and a dizzying array of weapons) were a wrecked shoulder; chronic, debilitating back problems; broken bones; memories that would psychologically buckle ordinary people and a whippin' case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I'm sure plenty of people in Jeff's former line of work bullshit their way to free drinks and good sex, spinning gourmet meals of embellishment concerning their own heroics.

However, in those circles, there is evidently an unwritten rule that states — the veracity of any given story is iron-clad only if a fellow agent tells it about you.

One night at a Japanese restaurant with Jeff and two friends of his — a real-life Mr. and Mrs. Smith — the married spook couple told the most mind-blowing story of ballsy nerve and outright courage I've ever heard.

It was about Jeff.

And even taking into account our epic sake consumption and my own inclination toward exaggeration ("Did I ever dunk in a game? Hell yes! Twice, dude!" Yeah, if games of Nerf basketball count.) the story about Jeff was insane. His well-ya-know-what-else-could-I-do shrug was all he added.

After eight years of operating in the shadows and fighting off the demons of his memory, Jeff landed in Los Angeles. He had been acting for years on stage in and around D.C. — in between dodging automatic weapon fire and chasing down terrorists — and he wanted to give his acting career his full attention.

His day job was as a Special Agent with the Justice Dept.'s Inspector General Office. He investigated the illegal activity of scuzzball Justice employees. From busting drug rings in California's most notorious prisons to South Central gang takedowns to cutting off human trafficking operations, McCredie jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

(Take that — all you pussy actors who've ever whined about your bartending or catering or temp jobs ... oh wait, that's me. Shit.)

And he hustled for acting work — which was hard to come by. He worked on stage and scrambled for film and TV jobs. Jeff and I commiserated about the business. We collaborated on two scripts. We became friends. He was one of the first people to see our daughter Eirann after she was born.

He also pulled a slightly demented practical joke on Lisa two months earlier that nearly induced labor on the spot.

(Lisa and I went to Duke's in Malibu with Jeff one night. As we're leaving, he breaks off and starts a conversation in Farsi with some Middle Eastern guy there. He's also fluent in German. I mean, Jesus Christ, I can barely speak English. Farsi!?)

And he painted and painted and painted. He painted landscapes and beach scenes and every piece of art he produced seemed to search for some kind of peace, a respite.

A brief, failed marriage and the spectacularly awful and abrupt end of his government career led to Jeff having to confront his demons, his PTSD, his lingering injuries and a lifelong struggle with depression head-on.

Which he did.

And the government didn't want to help him. In fact, the government tried their level best to deny Jeff that which he was owed.

The government — our government — wanted to scrapheap a guy who had left pieces of himself scattered across the globe in service to his country. This is not a new story — given the appalling disregard Washington has shown to veterans. But, ya know what, this is Jeff's story. And he had to fight and claw to get that which he had earned several times over.

Finally, he was grudgingly awarded disability pay from the government. Grudgingly.

In recent years he has had excruciating back surgery and major shoulder surgery. There are a battery of medications he takes to keep the wolves at bay. He — like my father, my nephew and countless other combat veterans — continues to struggle with the fallout of his service to our country.

A couple of years ago, he left L.A. for Virginia — to care for his ailing mother — the other hero of this story. She was the one who kept the family together, from whom Jeff inherited his smarts (she was valedictorian) and who introduced Jeff to art.

He has — for all intents and purposes — shouldered this responsibility alone. His fractured family could not bridge the gap. As his mother's condition deteriorated, Jeff was the constant, doing all the things that constitute the daily care of a terminally ill 72-year-old woman.

If you've ever had to watch a parent waste away and were powerless to stop it ... try doing it alone.

Last week, he made the most wrenching decision of his life --- to take his mother off life support.

Okay, listen — Jeff McCredie is not a saint — far from it.

In fact, sometimes he's closer to some rogue hybrid of Bruce Campbell, Al Hrabosky and Michael Collins who simply won't shut up or listen. His missteps are legendary.

But they are dwarfed by his generosity, his friendship, his talent and his commitment to those he loves.

Jeff McCredie is one of the the most fascinating, maddening, opinionated, eccentric, hilarious and loyal people I've ever come across. He has sacrificed more than most of us can imagine. The government has forgotten him (and many like him.) He never has — and never will — ask for your pity. I only ask that — this one time — you recognize a forgotten American hero.

And maybe get him an agent. He's a pretty fuckin' good actor.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Okay, look. I realize that few people can be as annoying as Janeane Garofalo but — overheated, sweaty and emotional unhinged political diatribes aside — she can be a charming and funny actor.


And nowhere is this more on display than in The Matchmaker, a sweet romantic comedy that tanked at the box office when it came out in 1997.

Garofalo plays Marcy, a political operative for McGlory, a Massachusetts senator up for re-election (a hilariously clueless Jay O. Sanders.) McGlory sends Marcy to Ireland to rustle up some relatives to help him solidify his base back home.

Marcy lands in Ballinagra — same town, different name of most Irish comedies not set in Dublin. And when the put-out, put-upon, homesick Marcy meets scruffy journalist Sean (the estimable David O'Hara — seriously, is there a better lovable nutjob than his Steven in Braveheart?) you know exactly where this puppy is headed.

But like all good romantic comedies — it's the how, not the what. And The Matchmaker has some grit, some great lines and a funny, touching performance from the great Milo O'Shea. Denis Leary adds his two cents as McGlory's hatchet man — in one of his patented prickly, exasperated, fast-talking comic turns.

And the music. Oh the music.

So give Janeane Garofalo a shot. She's not on Larry King or Air America. She's just acting. And that she can do.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Golf is as Irish as U2, Guinness and calamitous, alcohol-fueled family holidays.

The reigning face of Irish golf is Padraig Harrington — the Dublin-born, steely-eyed pseudo-nerdy guy who has three major championships to his credit, including the past two (2008's British Open and the PGA Championship.)

Then there is Darren Clarke — the cigar-chomping, hair-dyeing, fun-loving Northern Irishman who has won 16 times world-wide.

And, now, in the shadow of those two stars and such all-time greats as Des Smyth and Christy O'Connor, comes the next Great Pasty White Hope:

19-year old phenom Rory McIlroy.

A native of Hollywood, Northern Ireland, McIlroy has had an eerily Tiger-like ascent into golf's stratosphere:

Smacking 40-yard lasers at the age of two.

First hole-in-one at nine.

Led the winning Junior Ryder Cup team in 2004.

Youngest-ever winner of Ireland's two coveted amateur titles, West of Ireland and Irish Close Championships, in 2005.

Won them again in 2006, along with the European Amateur.

Turned pro in 2007 and shot into the top 100.

After a few close-but-no-Darren-Clarke-cigars, he won the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic, edging former English teen-age phenom Justin Rose for the title.

He is currently ranked #16 in the world.

No less than Woods himself has pronounced McIlroy the future heir to #1.

I'm no expert but this has to really be getting up Sergio Garcia's ass.

In addition, if you happen to find yourself in Ireland and all the usual suspects — Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portmarnock, Royal Portrush, etc. — are booked solid and Aer Lingus has dumped your clubs somewhere in the Atlantic, fear not.

Give a call to the European Club — in Brittas Bay, County Wicklow. It is at least the equal of the aforementioned legendary links. And, yes, I say this with all the certainty of one who has played none of them except the European Club.

But the Europena Club has charm to burn in addition to being a phenomenal links course. It used to be the greatest bargain activity in all of Ireland at 40 pounds for 18 holes. But Tiger Woods played there in 2002 and now it costs 180 euros — about $233.

If any course can actually be worth $233 (and I seriously doubt that one can) the European Club is it.

By comparison, Pebble Beach costs $495 AND you have to pay for the goddamn cart(!) — and you don't even get the wit and wisdom and impromptu step dance from that Richard Harris look-a-like working on pint # 7 in the clubhouse who still has enough left in the tank to flirt with your wife.

Golf in Ireland — you gotta do it once.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


And you thought your family was a mess ...

Michael Patrick McDonald spills his heart, his guts and his blood onto the pages of this tragic, viciously funny and deeply moving Irish-American family portrait.

That's it. That's all I got.

Read it and weep. And laugh. And realize that, hey, maybe your fucked-up family ain't so bad after all. At least they're .. ya know ... alive.

This book is stunning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


On the heels of three sectarian murders in the span of 36 hours in Northern Ireland, peace rallies spread across the Six Counties today. The message — from Catholic to Protestant, loyalist to nationalist, politician to housewife — was unity.

The Real IRA and the Continuity IRA — the dissident republican groups claiming responsibility for the attacks that left two British soldiers and one policeman dead — are now faced with their greatest enemy: the Irish people themselves, who want nothing — for themselves and each other — but a world of good. To illustrate what that means, here are the Saw Doctors:

The Saw Doctors — from Tuam, County Galway — have been around since the late 80's. And cool, striving faux-hipsters do not dig them.

Which is one major reason why I love them.

They make joyous, heartfelt, occasionally goofy, always passionate pop-folk-celtic-rock. They are, in many ways, the Irish equivalent of John Cougar Mellencamp — solid, sturdy populist rock-and-rollers hugely influenced by their native land, who have seen great success, been touched by occasional greatness, have a rabid following (okay, that might be more Springsteen than Coug) and who now seem to have run out of songwriting mojo.

(All you faux-hipsters out there will howl and wail at the "greatness" tag I've hung on the Coug and the Saw Doctors — and shuffling and mumbling around in your Devendra Barnhart knit hats and your Yo La Tengo tee-shirts, I say this to you: Fuck off.)

The two driving forces and only constant members since the band's inception are Davy Carton and Leo Moran. There has been a steady procession of musicians and contributors along the way but the Saw Doctors heyday was the 90's. Pretty much the whole decade, yeah.

And I think the secret weapon, the secret ingredient to that success was bassist Pearse Doherty.

I have no data, evidence or testimony to support this but with the inspired, antic and talented Doherty, the Saw Doctors produced four keeper albums, two #1 hits in Ireland and live shows that could make people literally climb the walls at the Ritz in New York, ecstatically channel Elaine Benes at the now-defunct Los Angeles Irish Festival while ash from nearby brush fires rained down and pogo in spite of a painfully herniated disc at the desperately-in-need-of-an-eppy Dublin Irish Festival.

Or so I'm told.

My two brothers, my wife and I were lucky enough to hang out with the Doherty version of the Saw Doctors a few times and they seemed like regular guys who had woken up one day to find out they were rock stars. Irresistibly charming and willing to buy a round as well.

Even better — the Saw Doctors have consistently skewered Catholicism and, in particular, the clergy in their songs. Anyone who punctures the hypocrisy of the "one true faith" and does it with guitars and beer is aces in my book.

For the uninitiated, here are the four Saw Doctors records that are must-haves:

If This Is Rock'n'Roll, I Want My Old Job Back — 1991
(includes the best-selling single in Irish history — I Useta Love Her)

All The Way From Tuam — 1992
(includes the other #1 Irish hit — Hay Wrap)

Same Oul Town — 1996

Songs From Sun Street — 1998

Since Doherty exited the band to raise his family, the Saw Doctors have not been the same on record. This decade has seen only two albums of new material — both underwhelming.

However, the Saw Doctors still have the capacity for joyful, celebratory rock and roll — after fifteen years, they returned to the top of the Irish charts in 2008 with a cover of the Sugarbabes' "About You Now."

The band recorded the song at the urging of the graduating class at Salerno College in Galway. The young women convinced the band to donate all the proceeds of the single to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland — in memory of their classmate who died from the illness late in 2007. So far more than $25,000 has been raised for the Salerno Schoolgirls' Fund.

Go buy the single. And go see the Saw Doctors when they come to town. They still can bring it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

OFF THE BEATEN PATH — 12 DAYS OF IRISH 2009 — DAY FIVE — Ballykissangel

If you were a fan of Northern Exposure, you will like this acclaimed Irish dramedy series, which ran from 1996 through 2001.

If you thought Northern Exposure was good but too aggressively quirky and that it strained its "cute" muscle a few too many times, then you will love Ballykissangel.

This popular BBC series centers on Father Peter Clifford, an earnest, intelligent priest assigned to the small town of Ballykissangel — which is populated by just the right assortment of eccentric residents.

What distances Ballykissangel from the likes of Northern Exposure, Ally McBeal and Picket Fences is that Ballykissangel manages to stay rooted in a reality that makes the comedy all that much funnier and the drama all the more poignant. You never stop believing the characters.

And that is do as much to the acting as the insightful and restrained writing. Father Peter is played to baffled, determined perfection by Stephen Tompkinson. One of Father Pete's main challenges is his growing attraction to Assumpta, the local pub owner. You will fully appreciate his predicament when you get a load of Dervla Kirwan, one of Ireland's trademark smolderingly intelligent actresses, who plays the lonely Assumpta. It is a classic set-up that the series handles just right.

I'm battling a cold so that's all you get. Except to say that Ballykissangel is excellent television and also features the underrated Tina Kellegher, who achieved immortality (well, at least in the McClatchy household) as Sharon Curley in The Snapper. And a young Colin Farrell. And great music.

All six seasons are available on Netflix.

Here's where Peter and Assumpta meet for the first time:

Monday, March 9, 2009


One of Ireland's greatest actresses, Anna Manahan, died last week. She was 84.

Manahan's career spanned more than fifty years and covered stage, film, Irish television and radio.

I remember her from the films Hear My Song (another in a seemingly unending string of under-appreciated Irish screen nuggets) and A Man of No Importance (featuring a typically brilliant turn by Albert Finney in the title role).

But Anna Manahan will always and forever be Mag Folan — the scheming, brutally manipulative mother in Martin McDonagh's hit play The Beauty Queen of Leenane. It was her career-defining role and it won her the Best Supporting Actress Tony Award in 1998. I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have seen it.

Lisa and I caught the final performance of the production before it transferred to Broadway. The intimate confines of the Atlantic Theater Company's mainstage made the experience unforgettable. Manahan — along with Marie Mullen, Brian F. O'Byrne (yeah, him again!) and Tom Murphy — gave us one of the theater's great ensemble performances.

It was a Sunday matinee and the median age of the audience hovered somewhere between B.C. and AARP. Mere seconds before the curtain came up — an elderly couple behind us had the following thunderously loud exchange:

Her — (rifling through her playbill and finding an insert for the upcoming premiere of Sam Shepard's Eyes For Consuela) LOOK AT THIS! WHO THE HECK IS SAM SHEPARD!?




Her — WELL, I'LL BE.

Then the lights came up and Ann Manahan launched herself into Broadway history.


This entire entry was supposed to be a spotlight on the excellent anthology Murder Most Irish, which features tingly, funny and quietly freaky short stories from the likes of James Joyce, Sean O'Faolain, Ann C Fallon and a host of other celebrated Irish authors. And I still urge you to rustle up a copy.

But then I learned about Anna Manahan.

And just moments ago I read that — 24 hours after the Real IRA claimed responsibility for an attack that left two British soldiers dead — it happened again. Tonight in Craigavon, County Armagh a member of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) was shot and killed by unknown assailants.

Murder most Irish.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


As troubled times return to Northern Ireland, it seems fitting to cast an eye toward one of the most notorious figures of the conflict who has dedicated the last thirty years to finding and keeping peace in the North.

Gusty Spence, now 75, was the godfather of the modern Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Protestant paramilitary group that, in May 1966, declared war on the IRA.

Less than a month after that declaration, John Scullion, a 28-year-old Catholic, was shot in the Falls Road area of Belfast. He died two weeks later, becoming the first casualty of the modern-day Troubles.

Spence was charged in the murder but soon after his arrest, the charges were dropped. Emboldened, he and other UVF members attacked four Catholic off-duty bartenders.

One was killed.

This time, Spence was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. From prison, Spence oversaw the UVF's murderous campaign to obliterate the IRA and its supporters. The brutality, torture and indiscriminate killing by the Spence-led UVF rivaled — and often surpassed — that of the IRA.

A ballsy 1972 escape from the infamous Long Kesh prison led to this TV appearance that effectively scared the Jaysus out of every Catholic in the Six Counties:

Spence was re-captured four months later but he had cemented his folk hero/rock star status among Loyalists (Protestants who want to preserve the union with England ... in other words — dumb asses.)

However, as Spence sat in prison month after month — and people on both sides continued to die — and he actually had occasion to speak to his republican enemies ... a change began to take place.

Spence found his conscience.

The man who put the fear of God (or at least King William) into Irish nationalists far and wide for eleven years, turned his back on violence. On Armistice Day 1977, he officially resigned from the UVF.

Upon his release from Long Kesh in 1984, he plunged into the peace process. Ten years later — after countless hours of wrenching conversations and weathering the "traitor" label from UVF hard-liners — an emotional Spence stood before the world and read the UVF ceasefire, adding his personal ""abject and true remorse" to "the loved ones of all innocent victims over the past 25 years."

It was that image — Gusty Spence courageously offering regret and hope — as much as anything that propelled the peace process toward the historic 1998 Belfast Agreement.

It was courageous because Spence's life was now in danger from both sides. It was pivotal because, until then, the world had been deprived of a human face for the Ulster Protestants. The Protestants had — understandably so — felt like the red-headed stepchild of the Northern Irish struggle.

No movies. No U2. No White House receptions.

Just violence and blame.

Not that they didn't deserve the blame, mind you, because, let's face it — England belongs in Ireland about as much as I belong in the priesthood.

But Gusty Spence was the one who brought humanity to the "Prods". And it is impossible to imagine the current peace happening without his contribution.

And the old codger hasn't let up.

In 2007 he read a UVF statement saying they were putting their weapons "beyond use" — which is fancy wordplay for burying them ... but not too deep, just in case Gerry Adams falls off the pacifist wagon.

Spence immediately regretted the statement and last summer publicly blasted his former comrades for hedging their bets and challenged them to essentially get a hair on their asses and destroy the weapons unconditionally.

With yesterday's tragic shootings in Antrim by the Real IRA threatening to rip open freshly healed wounds, here's hoping that Gusty Spence's gutsy example is enough to snuff out any spasms of retribution by the UVF.

Because of Spence, many had been ready to pull the trigger.

Now, because of Spence, the trigger will fail.

Peace has been tasted and nothing can turn back the clock.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Pulp Fiction goes Irish in this mystifyingly neglected dark comic gem.

Set in Dublin, Intermission follows nearly a dozen characters whose lives intersect in funny, violent and, ultimately, touching fashion. Just when you think writer Mark O'Rowe and director John Crowley couldn't possibly fit another twist, reversal or character into the story, they do. Time and again. And always with bracing wit and relentless creativity.

Populated by what seems like half of Ireland's SAG members, this movie is one hell of a lot of fun. And it has a heart that does not promote tooth decay.

It is a hoot, a treat and a gas to watch the cavalcade of stars, near-stars and hey-I-know-that-guy-what-the-hell-is-his-name-agains having an absolute ball with dialogue that crackles with authenticity and situations that turn on a euro.

You get:

The excellent Cillian Murphy before his Batman gig.

Colin Farrell playing an Irishman (which is always good news, playing an American ... not so much) and he is spectacularly funny.

The protean Brian F. O'Byrne, who created — among other brilliant stage performances— the role of Father Flynn in the play Doubt. Philip Seymour Hoffman got the movie and an Oscar nod. O'Byrne got a "special thanks" and, I'm guessing, an attaboy.

Look, no one loves P.S. Hoffman more than I do but can't we once get to see the goddamn actor who originated the role do the movie?

(I hear a distant "Amen" from Kathleen Chalfant, who must have a special voodoo doll of Emma Thompson somewhere. See Wit and Angels in America.)

Kelly MacDonald (Scottish, but who cares) in all her post-Trainspotting and pre—No Country For Old Men charm and beauty. I was smitten.

(The wife digs James McEvoy, also Scottish, so I think the free spin rule is a wash next time we hit Glasgow.)

The slyly hilarious Shirley Henderson — Moaning Myrtle to all you parents and Potter nerds.

And finally — the man, the myth, the people's thespian — the actor who has been in every movie and on every television show shot over the past 25 years and has yet to hit a false note — Colm Meaney.

Intermission is a great, raucous Irish time. And now, it'll never live up to the hype. Sorry.

Rent it anyway.

Here's the trailer:

Friday, March 6, 2009


Between now and March 17th, people of all stripes, ages and degrees of inebriation will tap their inner Paddy. They will break out Danny Boy, blinking buttons, big green Seussian hats and dye the rivers green. They will Lucky Charms us till our ears bleed, dance spastic jigs, and puke in the street, the bathroom and, yes, back into their beer.

And we empower them to get their Irish up, on and over in whatever fashion they choose.

However, for the 2nd annual "Off The Beaten Path - Twelve Days of Irish", (click here for last year's offerings) we will go native, immigrant and transatlantic to bring you some cultural and historical diamonds in the peat.

So today — let's rock it Chicago-style:

The Tossers, from the South Side of Chi-town, have been at it for over fifteen years but I have only hipped to them within the last year or so. And that was through pure dumb luck — somehow, I rarely seem to experience pure intelligent luck.

The Tossers followed the path carved out by The Pogues and currently trod most successfully by Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. The music landscape is fairly littered with bands hopping the Irish/Celtic train and much of that fare fades quickly from memory. Indeed at first glance (and second and third glance as well) the Tossers seem like they might be trying to will Shane MacGowan to apparate before them and christen them with the brown.

But here's the thing — the Tossers have the songs — and the killer players — and the frontman — to hold their own and more. Which they have for a decade and a half. And, ya know, what the hell — at least they're not ripping off Styx. And they truly re-invent the traditional Irish tunes they choose, making them exhilarating, haunting and current.

The Tossers have six albums out. Their latest is On A Fine Spring Evening and it is worth your time, money and effort. Drink and listen. If you're not singing, dancing or shitfaced by the time Brendan Behan appears — your name is probably Cromwell.

Oh yeah ... Lead singer Tony Duggins has a solo record out titled Undone.

His pitch — "Buy the record. I need beer money."

Evidently, the Tossers' live shows are the stuff of legend. As yet, though, the pricks haven't quite made it to Columbus. Hey, quick, somebody get me the Dublin Irish Festival on the phone — I think I know how to shock it back to life.

Dig this:

Monday, January 19, 2009

And The Award Goes To ...

Happy Belated New Year! I have a litany of reasons as to why I haven't written in so long and I was all ready to share them with my readers (both of you) — until I realized that no one really gives a good goddamn. So ...

With the nutty Golden Globes over and done with (nutty, yes, but I am all over the Mickey Rourke reclamation project) and the Emmys just around the predictable corner, it seems an ideal time to recognize two spectacular television performances that have no shot at winning any awards ... especially since one of them can be found on a show that has just been canceled.

Robert Knepper as Theodore Bagwell (T-Bag) — Prison Break

How do you play a villain and keep the audience interested in you?

Furthermore, how do you portray a villain and get the audience — against all their better judgment — to care?

Whatever you think the answer is, Robert Knepper is doing it — and doing it as well as anyone has in recent memory.

Serialized primetime dramas like Prison Break provide actors with a huge challenge: create a fully realized character and find ways to reveal that character in new ways week after week. If the actor and the writers are up to the challenge, the results can be thrilling.

Robert Knepper's performance has been nothing short of thrilling.

Prison Break gets head-slappingly silly at times — and the acting is wildly uneven — but most of it is rooted in an emotional reality and the most entertaining and consistently surprising presence is Knepper's Theodore Bagwell.

For the first three seasons, Bagwell was an unrepentant scuzzball — a white supremacist sexual deviant who delighted in his deprivation and the lawlessness of the prison environment. But even then, we caught glimpses of his desire to be something other than what he was — as we learned why he was the way he was.

This past season, Knepper was given a chance to be that other person — when T-Bag assumed the identity of a successful salesman. Knepper made the battle between T-Bag's survival instincts and his desire to change utterly riveting.

In one of the great scenes in recent television drama — T-Bag chooses to spare the family of Gretchen Morgan (played by our old friend Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). Knepper breaks your heart. He's brilliant.

And none of the kooky awards voters noticed.

If you want to have the T-Bag experience broadcast into your home (not THAT T-bag experience, the actor one!) you better do it quick. Fox just announced that they are pulling the plug on Prison Break — understandably so.

Prison Break is not a thing of greatness. Knepper's performance is.

I dig House. Dexter is interesting. Gabriel Byrne is Irish, so he's cool. But Robert Knepper gave the performance of the year. And somebody needed to say it.

James Wolk as Brad Cohen — Front of The Class

Really? Hallmark Hall of Fame!?


You bet your ass.

"Front of The Class" aired on December 7th and I was none too pleased that we were going to watch it. In fact, I had the Sunday NY Times spread out in front of me, ready to harrumph and guffaw my way through another weepfest.

Lisa had been intrigued by the commercial — the true story of Brad Cohen, a guy with Tourette Syndrome who beats the odds to achieve his dream to be a teacher.


Hallmark just ain't cool.

I could actually feel the tooth decay begin before the thing started. But then a crazy thing happened — in the graveyard known as TV-movies, good acting and sensitive writing appeared. First there were scenes depicting the struggles of Brad as a youngster. Twelve-year-old Dominic Scott Kay was impeccable as the young Cohen.

A nearly unrecognizable Patricia Heaton and the perennially-underrated Treat Williams are Cohen's parents who try to cope with his behavior.

But it is James Wolk who puts the real emotional charge in Front of The Class.

Seriously, what's better than watching someone you've never seen or heard of give a thrilling performance? As the adult Cohen, Wolk seamlessly blends a startlingly truthful physical portrait of Tourette Syndrome, a gung-ho can-do outlook and a deep well of raging frustration. Plus he falls in love in a way that doesn't make you want to throw a brick through the screen.

As these things go, its fairly miraculous.

Okay, I cried.

There I said it. So shoot me.

The thing is:

No one — not the cavalcade of film stars in HBO's mega-movies and mini-series, Showtime's prestige pieces or the rest of the year's television movie "events" — gave a better performance than this kid. And the nominations will go to the usual suspects and life will go on but sometimes ...

... that ain't cool.