Saturday, July 22, 2017

Best Magazine Reads: 10 things I learned about Gregg Allman in Rolling Stone's tribute

Although blues and Southern rock have never been my top musical genres, I always really liked and respected the Allman Brothers. It's strange that I think of those as relatively joyful tunes (perhaps because I listened to them a lot in my care-free early 20s), when in fact leader Gregg Allman was a sorrowful, walking ghost for basically his entire life.

Personal details beyond the death of his bandmate and brother Duane in 1971 and his marriage to Cher have always been sparse. But the always-great Mikal Gilmore grabs some good ones in his tribute, "The Last Brother," in the June 29 issue of Rolling Stone.
  1. Referring to Duane, Gilmore writes: "In the early Seventies, following one of the Allman Brothers Band's legendary three-hour shows, Gregg watched horror movies with the sound off, keeping an empty chair nearby. He maintained that a spirit sat in that chair. Into the last years of his life, he said he still heard from that ghost every night."
  2. Gregg's father fought at Normandy in World War II and returned home with what would today be called post-traumatic stress. He was murdered on county road by a man who stole his car.
  3. He couldn't stand racism or the Vietnam War, and he shot himself in the foot to get out of going.
  4. After a falling out, and before Duane and Gregg got back together to form the Allman Brothers, Gregg was stuck playing out a contract with a pop band he hated in Los Angeles and even considered suicide while Duane had great success as a session musician back home in the south.
  5. The band picked its name in a blind poll and it was unanimously the Allman Brothers.
  6. Gregg hated that the last thing he ever said to Duane before his brother died in a motorcycle crash was a lie, denying that he had stolen Duane's cocaine when he really had.
  7. The Allmans held a benefit concert to help their friend Jimmy Carter withstand the costs of the 1974 primaries. He probably made it to the presidency because of the band, and Gregg ate with Carter at his first meal in the White House.
  8. Gregg met Cher in 1975 at the Troubadour in L.A. and thought she smelled like a mermaid would smell. On her singing though, he thought she was bad. The couple released what most would say was his worst album, as Allman and Woman.
  9. The couple's tour didn't work, Gregg passed out in a plate of spaghetti, and they got divorced.
  10. Despite the success of 1986's "I'm No Angel" and the 1989 reformation and tour of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg hit his most rock bottom of drinking, until he gave a poor speech when being elected to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, and decided to quit drinking for good.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Wiener Sausage: The Podcast!" Episode #5 Show Notes: July is the Best Month!

PicturePerfect reading for July.
1:55 - Thought for the day: July overtakes October as Paul's favorite month. Mostly for water-related reasons. And crab-related ones as well. Although Dan has been fighting organizations of various repute throughout the month, he too is fairly keen on the year's middle time. The only months that can cause distress for Dan are August and February, largely because "many people die" during those months.

7:45 - In case you forgot, Dan explains just exactly what this podcast is about. Well, our original musical, Wiener Sausage: the Musical! was a smorgasbord of music and comedy and life, so this is a continuation of that in podcast form.

10:00 - In the name of the DC Capital Fringe theater festival, which is currently underway, and where our musical was staged to sellout crowds in 2008, we start a reading of the script, which will be an ongoing story you will want to follow each week. Kinda like a South American telenovela. It begins with Guy Williams, who is based on a character that Dan created as part of the bedtime stories he would tell his little brother when they were kids and which they termed "Master Pervert Theater."

12:30 - Act One, Prelude of Wiener Sausage: The Musical! An all-knowing, Star Wars-like voice sets the scene. And Guy Williams takes the stage only to ramble a bit before he realizes there's an audience in front of him. Then he sings the opening absurd pop nugget titled "It Starts With a Love Between a Boy and a Girl."

17:30 - Dan and Paul discuss how a business storyline courses through the musical and that it fits pretty well in the current climate, in relation to how we have a CEO In Chief in the White House. Does our audience have any good ideas to add to Wiener Sausage: The Rock Opera? Dan suggests any rewrites should incorporate more music, ala the wildly successful Hamilton.

22:20 - A word from our latest sponsor, Coco Loko! Wildly exciting! Mildly offensive!! Debatably addictive!!!

23:00 - The duo pontificates again on British culture; fittingly, in this the month of our British independence.

26:30 - The magic moment arrives! Dan snorts a thick line of Coco Loko.Dan reveals that he is reclining in his comfortable bed as he does the podcast and snorts a line. Paul says he would never advise such posture during either activity. But Dan interrupts him to report that the energy buzz is kicking in, live, in the middle of the podcast. Quality entertainment!

37:30 - Pop Culture Wiener Sausage News Central Headline of the Week! From the country of Georgia, Nazis attack a vegan cafe by throwing meat around. The story makes very little sense. However, Dan's explanation of some of Hitler's behavior helps explain things, and ...

45:00 - So does the EXCLUSIVE interview that Paul conducts from an undisclosed location, forced to wear a blindfold. He talks with Morty Von Hammenheim, a member of the group, who initially makes Paul quite nervous. But as the interview goes along, Von Hammenheim surprisingly turns out to be a rather sympathetic character claiming his group is simply misunderstood. He just wants cigarette smoking to flower again in full and for there to be "meat in every corner" and "around your neck."

56:45 - Paul and Dan recall the story of the Washington DC Smoking Man, who used to try to get everyone to boycott DC bars and go to nearby Arlington because, at that point, Arlington still allowed people to smoke in bars.

58:00 - Finally, a Pop Culture Wiener Sausage News Update on Carl Edward Cunningham, whom we interviewed in the last podcast and has since pleaded guilty to stealing his buddy's Star Wars action figures, facing four years in prison when sentenced this fall. Dan calls for him to be imprisoned for much longer.

1:00:15 - A phrase to take us out on ... Paul offers, "Go get your Boba Fett figures at the Super Safe Mega Valu Mart."

Perfect eating for July.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wiener Sausage Rises to iTunes! Episode #4 Show Notes: Independence Day Special Edition:

We start with confusion by numbers. Although this is the fourth (or fifth, depending on who you ask) episode of Wiener Sausage: The Podcast!, it is the first we're posting to the big time: iTunes. You will now be able to subscribe to the show and listen to it with ease as you mow your lawn, drive to work, or enjoy your prescription meth.

We'll straighten all the numbers out eventually. Meanwhile, here are the show notes. Happy 4th of July!

0:00 - Dan and Paul open in stereotypically morbid fashion, with tales of near-death experiences involving funerals, ocean swimming, and automobiles.

7:00 - Life tip: You should never brake on the highway because it will cause massive delays for hundreds of cars behind you.

8:00 - Dan now owns a Fiat. He doesn't know much about it other than it looks like a little yellow bee. Car Talk this show isn't.

13:00 - A word from our latest sponsor. It couldn't be more fitting, especially in relation to the $500 million worth of hamburger meat that will be sold to Americans over the 4th of July holiday: Meatland!

16:30 - After a very long lead and intro into the word for our sponsor, here actually is where the ad begins.

18:30 - That ad just got Dan and Paul both hungry for some Vienna sausages.

19:00 - Wiener Sausage Pop Culture News presents a discussion on the beauty of obituary writing, the death of Stephen Furst of Animal House fame, and friends who have recently died.

26:00 - Dan and Paul relive some fun stories from college debauchery and academic intrigue at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Washington University.

32:00 - Every time Dan asks whether a celebrity is dead already, they aren't but then they die days later. Let's hope this doesn't hold true after our discussion of the legendary Harrison Ford.

33:15 - "Free," one of the songs from Wiener Sausage: The Musical!, as played by Paul's former band The Sprogs.

38:00 - Paul secures an exclusive, exciting interview with Carl Everett Cunningham, who has allegedly stolen as much as $200,000 in Star Wars action figures from the Obi-Wan Ranch in California.

44:00 - Uh, the interview finally actually begins. If you hadn't noticed, Paul and Dan like long contextual setups.

53:00 - Because meats are about to be served for the holiday, our hosts run out of time. Dan gives Paul another shot at "signing out" after a miserably failed attempt during the last show. He does a tiny bit better this time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I always wanted to be a professor, so here's maybe the next best thing

I served as an advisor (and even got to teach one class) for a project by George Mason University graduate students this spring semester.

It was really fun and, as a bonus, the report the students wrote is very good. Check it out here, read a Mobility Lab-published article I wrote about it here, and take a look at an article today on My quotes include:
With deliveries expected to increase by nearly 30 percent in the next decade, it is an area that needs more consideration, said Paul Mackie, communications director for Mobility Lab. 
As Arlington County officials ponder the proposals, Jonathan Gifford, director of Mason’s Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government, said Mobility Lab “was highly enthusiastic about the results. … While Arlington is widely recognized as a leader in multimodal mobility, there are clearly opportunities to do even more.” 
“The Mason recommendations are very practical and should be useful to Arlington, which is already pretty well-connected because of its many transportation options,” Mackie said. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wiener Sausage: The Podcast! Episode #3 Part 2 Show Notes: Talking Physics, Sausages, and Geopolitical Destruction with Peter Sullivan!

PictureIs that sausage The Fat Boy is making?
0:00 - A word from our sponsor, Wendy's. "Where's the Beef?"
0:45 - We introduce our interview guest for the show, Peter Sullivan, Dan Sullivan's dad and a financial backer/spiritual guru for Wiener Sausage: The Musical! Everyone agrees that we're exhausted because none of us went to bed early the night before and neither the hosts nor the guest are morning people.
3:00 - We learn that, in the Wiener era, Peter was watching his children become "responsible citizens."
5:30 - As we've entered into Trump's unreal world of reality, we discuss how war and sex has transformed in the decade since the musical was produced in Washington D.C. It's interesting to see the Russian cold war kicking back into full gear.
8:15 - Peter reflects on how many of the wars throughout history have been over resources, and that "renewables" was a forward-thinking theme within Wiener Sausage's plotline since wind and solar power have begun to play a major role as energy sources. Dan establishes that co-host Paul Mackie is "an environmentalist."
12:30 - In the last episode, we talked all about Star Wars. This is a nice segue to a conversation with Peter about the "Star Wars" missile-defense system he worked on under the Reagan administration. He worked on policy issues and was in no way a mad scientist like our lead evil character in Wiener Sausage, Professor Dr. Schmock.
​17:30 - The good new: "The Fat Boy" in North Korea's missiles are still "lower-threat" missile systems and we and the Israelis can be pretty successful at this point in stemming any attacks.
19:30 - The other good news: We probably have never truly developed a doomsday device to destroy the world!
20:40 - Fun fact! Russia can't get Alcoholic Anonymous to work.
24:00 - Dan eloquently waxes on how the writing of our musical was the result of the new dangers felt throughout the country in the wake of the 9/11 years. We dealt with this national struggle with comedy.
27:00 - Peter, in true guru form, says, "The best things in life are a good laugh and a good physic." Look that one up! Aaaaaaaaand this episode returns from its deep political discussion to its scatological roots.
30:00 - Or perhaps politics and sausage are exactly what this show is about. We're still figuring it out, but Peter does an excellent job at helping summarize and lead us into whatever that future may be.
34:00 - Paul and Dan struggle to figure out a great way to "take us out."

Wiener Sausage: The Podcast! Episode #3 Part 1 Show Notes: Parents - Don't Allow Your Children to Collect Star Wars Action Figures

The latest episode of Wiener Sausage: The Podcast! is now upon us. This is how it unfolds:
1:00 - A hot heatwave overtakes the early-Sunday-morning minds of our co-hosts Dan Sullivan and Paul Mackie.
2:00 - Nevertheless, the high standards of podcast recording are not compromised. And somehow our hosts connect the Wiener Sausage Theorem with the algorithms of Garageband.
3:30 - The topic of discussion for this episode is Stars Wars stuff. Also, can Star Wars and Wiener Sausage fans be aligned? Considering the fact that Dan and Paul once walked out midway through a Star Wars movie, perhaps not. But granted, they did walk out at the line, "Hold me like you held me on the plains of Naboo."
The plains of Naboo
6:35 - Stars Wars is in the news these days, even though there is no brand new movie being released. Sillof is an artist who is modifying Star Wars action figures to be sort of half Star Wars/half whatever the characters were influenced by. Weird, but cool and interesting. Perhaps Dan can collect them since his parents wouldn't allow him to collect the original figures (WTF?).
10:00 - Also in Star Wars news, Rancho Obi-Wan in Northern California is seeing thefts of its memorabilia, and it turns out it's the owner's friend who is stealing the goods, such as a Boba Fett action figure. Dan becomes very concerned about catching the thief, Carl Edward Cunningham.
12:30 - A message from a corporation that may or may not be one of the show's sponsors: Kiva Maqui Berry Powder. Dan and Paul are unsure what the product is, but it may be snortable and/or a supplement.
17:00 - A break at the end of part 1 of this episode prepares listeners for an interview in part 2 with Peter Sullivan, a key backer of Wiener Sausage: The Musical! back in 2008.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wiener Sausage: The Podcast! Episode #2 dives deeper into the Wiener Sausage mysteries

Yes, we made it back for a second episode.

​These things can never be taken for granted. But again, we think we're finding our groove ... with the help of another excellent guest, Sean Felix, who was a star of the 2008 D.C. production of our Wiener Sausage: the Musical!

3:00 - Dan and Paul discuss who the audience for this podcast might be. The decision: it will help listeners escape reality, much like how dingy taverns helped us do so back when we were in our 20s. Also touched upon: does drinking alcohol help or hurt creativity? The science seems to still be out. But one thing is sure, it's a lot harder to howl at the moon without alcohol!

​7:00 - A word from our sponsor, June Weenie's Self Defense Academy, leads us into a special reading of a never-before-heard extra scene from Wiener Sausage: The Musical!, read by Dan, Paul, and guest Sean. Continuing the tradition, as reviewed by the Washington Post, as "tasteless yet popular." Your job as the listener? Relax, and learn.

12:30 - A word from another one of our sponsors: Prana Bridger jeans. The perfect pants for Kevin Costner.

16:00 - Introducing Sean Felix, who played a character whose name neither one of the playwrights seem to remember. We think; however, that it was Professor Dr. Ewing/Uwe Schmock. Sean reveals that he was drifting around in life until the role came about and he found more purpose.

21:30 - Sean describes what Wiener Sausage: The Musical! is all about, in under a minute. And what does the musical have to do with what we're now trying to do with this podcast/radio show? The musical was insane and so were the times, politically and socially. Nothing much has changed, so this podcast may just be very right for the times.

26:45 - Sean is now a teacher with a family in Hyattsville, Maryland. He reads lots of comic books, and among his favorites is Black Hammer, plus a book called Countdown that is great for teaching kids about the Cold War.

​31:45 - The words for the week. "Sometimes it's OK to pull the covers over your head."