Andrew Healan

New Orleans comedian and host of the podcast That Sounds Reasonable

Election Day 2008

November 4th, 2008

Here is my live blog of election day 2008.
11:47 AM I am awaken by my maid. I lay on the couch and watch TV while she cleans my apartment. An excellent job as always by Anna.
12:35 PM I am hungry and walk to Burger King. The homeless lady out front of the restaurant still hasn’t chosen a candidate. There is a group of roofers inline in front of me. I decide to eavesdrop and see what they have to say about the election. Turns out that is not the topic of conversation. But man, do those guys hate their boss.
1:32 PM I get a call asking if I can work on a movie. I am already booked that day. There goes my big break.
1:59 PM I decide it’s time to head to the polls.
2:00 PM I see a guy wearing an Obama shirt. I want to stop him and ask him “What’s this? You’re wearing the shirt of the guy you’re going to vote for to the polls? Don’t be that guy.”
2:01 PM I arrive at my polling station.
2:04 PM I hit the button and make my votes official to the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and the United States of America.
2:06 PM I arrive home.
2:08 PM While I am grateful that my voting experience was so efficient, I am a little disappointed. I was hoping for some better stories.
2:30 PM Contemplate all this extra time I had allotted today for voting. Decide it’s laundry time.
4:40 PM Back from the laundrymat. Time to put clothes away.
5:24 PM Make some nachos (man this blog is getting boring).
5:31 PM Feel unfullfilled. Decide to make more nachos.
6:01 PM Polls in Virginia have been closed for one minute, and with 0% reporting, MSNBC declares the state to close to call. I groan, roll my eyes and change the channel to Fox news.
6:18 PM I’ve got a great idea for next year. I am going to print up stickers like the I voted ones. They will use the same design, color scheme and font. But will say I Farted.
6:48 PM FNC has five people on screen, CNN has six. Therefore I switch to CNN. This is hilarious, they’ve got five people, all with laptops, on a table meant to hold three people with no electronic equipment. They look very cramped and uncomfortable.
6:54 PM I just remembered something from earlier. I REALLY enjoyed getting to vote against Cynthia McKinney today. I had always despised here, and thanks to the imbeciles in the Green Party I got to express my displeasure.
6:56 PM The clock ticks closer to the polls closing in Louisiana. I will now make two bold predictions. (1) Senator McCain will win this state. (2) Gene Amondson will finish dead last. I just don’t see the Prohibition Party gaining much traction down here.
7:01 PM I have switched over to the Spanish station’s election coverage. They use the same music as NBC. So far here is what I have learned. Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Massachusetts Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Barack Obama Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word Spanish word.
7:05 PM Someone on FNC just referred to Tennessee as a border state. Oh my gosh, that means the Mexicans have taken over Mississippi.
7:09 PM Damn that Election Mix looks cool. I so wish I had DirecTV right now.
7:51 PM Just took a walk around the neighborhood. The weather is quite lovely. Some guy drove past me thumping On Bended Knee by Boyz II Men. The dullards at Avenue Pub were watching some movie channel of course. There was no line at the International School. Looks like Pennsylvania went Obama while I was out. That just goes to show what I’ve been saying since the primaries, the Amish don’t like McCain.
7:56 PM Did people really go to 30 Rock to watch the election results?
8:00 PM Polls are closed in Louisiana, and 14 other states.
8:18 PM Watching MSNBC is a struggle for me. It battles my love for Ann Curry versus my hatred for Chris Matthews.
8:24 PM McCain was able to book Bocephus. I got significant money on a John Rich appearance.
8:26 PM MSNBC just gave Ohio to Obama, Let’s check FNC. They agree. Looking bad for the white guy. Well, Senator McCain did just get Louisiana.
8:33 PM CNN really drug their feet on calling Ohio. CNN’s Senate seat chart looks like my apartments climate control system.
8:35 PM I think the live shots from Grant Park gives us our best opportunity for somebody to do something really stupid on camera.
8:37 PM It’s Miller time.
8:50 PM Holy crap. I just heard Karl Rove say “President Obama.” That was surreal.
8:58 PM Well crap. Mary Landrieu is winning and Helena Moreno is losing. This looks bad for the homefront.
8:59 PM Oh my goodness. The PBS coverage is so entertaining. They just had a guy walk through the shot. In the studio.
9:10 PM Every newsroom is still scared crapless by 2000. They are all scared to call the Presidential race.
9:21 PM Moreno is closing in on Dollar Bill. Speaking of women, the FNC crew is sucking Governor Palin’s dick right now.
9:23 PM Damn it Chris Shays just lost. Screw you Connecticut.
9:29 PM Shame on you Georgia’s 12th District. You sent John Barrow back to Washington. Tisk, tisk.
9:35 PM Al Franken is winning. I totally forgot about that. Come one Minnesota, first Jesse Ventura, and now maybe this. You guys may overtake Louisiana for most entertaining politicians.
9:41 PM Stewart and Colbert are so great together. They should do this more often.
9:52 PM What’s happening CC? They still call it the White House, but that’s a temporary condition too
9:53 PM Gainin on ya, all up around your neck
9:54 PM You don’t need the bullet when you got the ballot. Are you up for the down stroke, CC?
9:57 PM Reverend Ike, Secretary of the Treasure
9:58 PM Richard Pryor, Minister of Education
9:59 PM Stevie Wonder, Secretary of Fine Arts
10:00 PM and Miss Aretha Franklin, First Lady
10:01 PM Yeah, get deep, real deep
10:08 PM OK, all this celebration stuff is nice, but… Still got some major issues on the table. The Jefferson Parrish votes are finally starting to trickle in and Helena Moreno is gaining ground. And now that the California polls are closed, time to start keeping up with prop 8.
10:13 PM Keith Olberman make the first Jackie Robinson reference of the night.
10:14 PM Oh geez. Jesse Jackson is in Grant Park. You do not get any credit for this. None. Zero.
10:16 PM Looks like 30 Rockefeller Plaza is about to host the new version of Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?
10:25 PM Tough break comedians. All those Palin jokes are now useless.
10:28 PM Kudos Senator McCain. That was an amazing concession speech. Classy, appreciative and even inspiring. Tough to do after a loss like that.
10:33 PM Oprah in the house. All of the big Chicago celebrities are showing up. I can’t wait to see Michael Jordan and R. Kelly.
10:42 PM Barrow County’s 3rd District, oh how you disapoint me.
10:54 PM Those people celebrating outside of the White House are dicks. I’m laughing, but they are still dicks.
10:56 PM Blerg! Landrieu and Jefferson win. All eyes turn to California now. Got some major ballot initiatives up for grabs.
10:57 PM Here comes the President-elect. He better hit it out of the park.
10:59 PM If I was walking around with a four foot penis swinging between my legs I could not look as confident as Obama does right now.
11:00 PM He listed off a bunch of different kinds of Americans. But who did he leave out? Why the Eskimos of course. I knew he was anti-arctic.
11:05 PM Plouffe and Axelrod are going to get monster book deals.
11:17 PM Guy is a dynamic speaker. And I have to agree with the FNC folks, that campaign sure knows how to put on a big event.
11:31 PM I just realized how much I miss Tim Russert.
11:45 PM Harold Ford just said something to the effect of, after tonight, no child will not believe their parents when they tell them they can do anything. Well, what about girls?
11:59 PM Pretty eventful day. If you are happy or sad about the election of our chief executive, just remember, this country is still fucked up. And no matter who might have been sworn in come January, the man would still be taking over a financial crisis and a large scale military conflict. There’s a ton of work to be done, it won’t be fun and it won’t be easy. I’m going to step away from the blog and hope for the best on CA Prop 8. Tomorrow, well, despite the dramatic declarations of many, will pretty much be just like yesterday for most of us. But not all. Good luck Barry.

What I Did For My First (And I Hope Last) Evacuation Of The 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season

September 6th, 2008

During my years away, there were so many things I missed about New Orleans. One that I didn’t miss was the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with hurricane season. Thus far, 2008 had been no problem for those of us along the Gulf Coast, that all changed last week (I won’t even get into next week).
This story started like pretty much every tropical storm story starts, off Cape Verde. But let’s skip ahead to the parts that have to do with me. As the storm approached, there was a much different vibe in the city than I had ever experienced before. Gone was the dismissive attitude of New Orleanians. There wasn’t a confidence that the storm would turn or that this one could be ridden out like so many others over the decades. When I was out Wednesday, no one was making plans. And any that were made were made on contingency. Always something along the lines of “If we’re still here next week…” There was a palpable concern that the storm could wipe out the city, but not so much a fear. It was as if everyone had sort of comes to grips with the fact that the localized apocalypse was coming, and well, it might as well be this weekend.
I watched the storm, tracked it, projected and then tried to find out the most important piece of information available — where is Jim Cantore going? It’s like this, if you see Jim Cantore checking into your local Hampton Inn, get the hell out of town. I have also decided that Jim Cantore is the baddest man on the planet, must always be called by first and last name, even on second reference, and could kick Chuck Norris’s ass. Yeah I said it.
The call had been made. I was staying in town to ride out the storm. I had my supplies ready, my location picked, everything was in place. The process was put in motion on Thursday and final preparations were made on Friday. And then, it all changed. Sometime between when I got off work Saturday morning and when I woke up from my nap, Gustav blew up. The winds were now 150+ MPH and New Orleans was in the dead center of the cone of uncertainty (I still use that term, just sounds so much better than cone of error to me). And the news kept rolling in. LSU had moved up kickoff. That’s right, LSU football had been altered. This storm was starting to be a big deal. Then I found out the Sax 5th Avenue at Canal Place was closing. At that point I accepted the full impact that was Hurricane Gustav. The calls started coming in fast and furious encouraging, even begging, me to evacuate. Oddly, many of these calls came from ex-girlfriends. I would like to think this is because I am such an amazing guy they still cared about my well being. The more likely scenario is they called because of the way they know me, they realized I am a stubborn dumbass and would try to ride the storm out.
I must say, a big pat on the back to the City of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and all of the Parishes for cooperating and making one helluva an evacuation. The differences between this event and the days leading up to hurricane Katrina were night and day. From the government assisted evacuations, to the use of public transportation, to the contra flow, to the tiered evacuation, everything was run damn near to perfection.
Now it was into scramble mode. If I had a car this would all be so simple. I was able to secure a ride and commenced to packing. Against my nature I over-packed. The reasons were pretty simple. Firstly, Gustav may very well destroy my home. Secondly, Hanna. Thirdly, Ike. Fourthly, Josephine. Even if we dodged the bullet with Gustav, this could have been an extended evacuation because of the potential nonstop pounding of the coast over the next few weeks. When I grabbed my bags, I just walked out the door. There was no emotional last looks at my home, just an acceptance that it may not be there in a few days and I may have to start my life all over again.
I was happy to have a ride and some good company, even if we didn’t have air conditioning. We left my house, hopped on highway 90 and were rolling. Then we merged onto I-10 and the rolling stopped. And stayed that way. To get from the West Bank Expressway to Elysian Fields (approximately 25 blocks) took nearly 90 minutes. It was several hours before we made our way across the Twin Span to the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. During that time we got to see some of New Orleans best and brightest up close and personal. My favorite was an old man, and I mean old, in a brown Toyota. We figured this guy was a veteran. A veteran of Vietnam, Korea, World War II and possibly the War of 1812. This conclusion was reached not just because of his apparent age, but also the plastic American flag on his radio antenna. While driving he had a bottle of pills in his left hand which he was pouring into his mouth, in his right hand he had a bottle of Ensure. Hell Yeah! That’s America! What we saw way too much of were entire families in vehicles that were not designed to carry entire families (mostly pickups). Just let’s you know how much of a pain evacuating is and why some people are so hesitant to do it. Along the way, we scared a lot of black people with our belting out of Toto’s Africa and All Time Low’s cover of Umbrella. But we didn’t scare folks nearly as much as Mayor C. Ray Nagin. We watched his Saturday evening press conference while stuck on I-10 and were in awe. It was nothing but sound bites, and the scariest freaking sound bites I had ever heard. Some have knocked him for using so much hyperbole, I saw bravo to you Mayor Nagin. The populace needed to have the bejesus scared out of them and you did. The next day, there were less than 10,000 people in the Crescent City.
The trip was marred by the addition of a most unpleasant female in Pearl River (thanks Danny). Her incessant whining, utter stupidity and constant need to go to the bathroom was an even bigger damper on the trip than the ipod malfunction. It did however lead to the best line of the entire trip from Kevin. “Pussy is like Guinness, it doesn’t travel well.” So, 16 hours later, we arrived in Atlanta. Yup, 16 hours to make a less than 500 mile trip. YOWSERS!
That night I was reminded of all the reasons I am not a big fan of Atlanta. Beginning with when we went out to dinner at 11:20 and were told we could only be served alcohol for 20 more minutes. We decided to treat that not as an obstacle, but a challenge. We told the waiter to bring us his largest draft and a bottle. When he did we placed out food orders and told him to come back when the order was placed. At that time we ordered another round and told him to check back at his nearest convenience. The best was when he brought a round, went to check on the table next to us, and as he walked back passed out table we held up our empties and ordered another round. Then we had to drive like 40 minutes to another city that served past midnight. This bar, and several others I went to, reminded me that Atlanta is like the world’s largest lame college party. There’s booze, a crappy cover band, people getting way to excited about both. Oh yeah, and the constant bumping into. God damn I wanted to kick a few dozen asses.
The next day we watched Gustav move a little west and spare New Orleans the brunt of the storm. There were some scary moment when stations started reporting that levees on the industrial canal were being topped. Turns out it was just “sloshing.” Also, DircTV aired WDSU (the New Orleans NBC affiliate) nation wide during the evacuation. Which was nice. Sadly, they did not introduce the Wheel Of Crime to the rest of the nation. The local feed wasn’t even needed to see familiar faces. While out at dinner in Atlanta, I saw five people I knew on TV in less than one minute. Glad to see I knew so many hardheads.
It was nice to see the family, friends and familiar places. It was nice to pick up some UGA paraphernalia. It was nice to eat at Waffle House. But damn I was ready to get home. I arrived and was pleased to find there was no damage to my house, I had electricity, water and cable. Also, many businesses in my neighborhood has already reopened. I had a grocery store, a drug store, a laundromat, and numerous bars and restaurants. The next day I let several folks know by text message “Popeyes is open. It’s OK to come home.”
People are still starting to trickle back in. Pretty much all businesses are reopened. Things are basically back to normal. Except that damn curfew.
Now, about Ike…

Thining The Heard

June 10th, 2008

The two major political parties have selected their presumptive nominees and are prepared to move forward to the general election. I have taken my lumps realizing I will not be winning any money in my presidential pool. I had a Mitt Romney/Charlie Crist ticket besting Bill Richardson/Barack Obama line-up in November. And while this year provided what has been by far the most competitive and exciting primary season of my life, the fun now begins in earnest.
Convention season is right around the corner. It’s a great time for journalists looking for shwag, and a financial boom for cab drivers, prostitutes and balloon retailers. I am curious to see how much coverage the conventions receive this year. Networks have moved to more of a twelve month season, and I am guessing are not interested in showing long-winded, blow-hardy speeches when America could be picking out a shiny suitcase of watching people try to cook or dance. This means the cable news channels and their talking heads are going to have to spend even more time than necessary creating “moments” that didn’t really move anybody. Those convention crowds might as well have been plucked from a theme park line to see a TV taping in Orlando. They are handed their props, told their chants and instructed on what the ques will be to use them. Those crowd reactions are about as organic as a Twinkie.
I am tired of hearing how historic this election is. Every time a President is elected by the American people, the US Supreme Court or Diebold, it is an historic event. Even more so now with the number of super powers reduced to two (I know it’s really just one, but one of Putin’s henchmen may be reading this and I may find myself in Moscow one day and I’d prefer it not being sharing a cell in the gulag with Gary Kasperov). While focused so much on the Democratic primary and if a woman or a black man would be nominated, several other note worthy facts about the candidates were overlooked. The US will elect it’s first Senator to the highest office in the land in my lifetime. There’s a reason the Oval Office has been occupies by a steady stream of Governors. Maybe not on a conscious level, but somewhere in the recesses of their minds, the population feels a little more comfortable having one of these guy in charge. They’ve already been in charge of a large government and had final say so. Someone coming from that type of position is going to seem like more of a leader than someone who was just a part of a large legislative body.
We also stand on the doorstep of not having a Southerner running the free world. So a man from either the rust belt or the desert southwest will be giving the State of the Union address next year. The nation may scoff at the South (even though it’s the region that controls most of the banking, shipping and retail) but every four years, when the country needs someone in charge, they look below the Mason-Dixon line. There was still a chance of this had Senator Clinton gotten the nomination. She is somewhat of a geographic chameleon, able to claim being from the South, northeast or midwest depending on what best suits her needs.
Another bit of history that could be made is the electing of our first Vietnam veteran as Commander in Chief. Despite the millions of young men that served in southeast Asia during the 60s and 70s, not one had been sworn in as President. I can’t believe I have lived to see the Boston Red Sox win two World Series and have not seen a Vietnam vet in charge of our armed forces. However, this country did elect back-to-back draft dodgers.
Even though the campaigns are in the home stretch, we are far from done with them. A more than 24 month campaign and a less than 24 hour news cycle is going to leaves us all a bit drained.

Putting A Bow On Asia

March 18th, 2008

Much craziness in the past few weeks and months. This will serve as a wrap up form my Asian trip, a few months late, but still…
I walked past a bar in Singapore that had all of the waitresses dressed as French maids (Asian French maid, there’s another one for the double fetish list). Speaking as someone who has worked in a bar that employed this method of uniforming, trust me, it sounds better at the meeting. Unless you plan on being very selective in your hiring practices and having a world class tailor, do not utilize this method. The wrong figure and a poor fit takes French maid from a fantasy to a nightmare in a hurry.
I had heard all about the laws in Singapore and the rigid enforcement of these laws. I did not see this in practice. I witnessed people smoking on the sidewalks, littering, and yes, even chewing gum on the train. One of the more famous laws is three months in jail for jaywalking. I’m due about 39 months at this point. I went from walking around on egg shells to stomping in steel toed boots in a few hours.
Hey dudes, unless you’re The Monkees, don’t walk down the street four wide.
Long Bar is supposed to be some legendary place to go sip a cocktail. Here’s what it is. A steakhouse with overpriced drinks. Skip it.
Here’s everything you need to see in Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Towers. They are actually quite beautiful, especially when illuminated at night. Also, quite popular. We showed up before noon and got booked for a 5:45 PM trip. It’s amazing how much of the country you can see and you’re only halfway up. During the wait, a movie seemed like a good idea. The only one starting when we wanted to go (and in English) was The Kingdom. So, there I am, watching a movie about a group of FBI agents who go to Saudi Arabia to investigate the terrorist killing of Americans. I am in a country that has a large Muslim population. I am about 99% sure I am the only American in the theater. Not even during Rocky IV did I feel like my life may depend on the ending of a movie.
I’m going to open an outdoor barbershop. Our hook will be half priced haircuts when it’s raining.
I found a Kenny Rogers Roasters in Malaysia. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open at the time. I didn’t get to check it out or relive the glory days of living across the street form the glorious bird. I hadn’t seen one in years. I thought they all closed. Maybe it wasn’t really a Kenny Rogers’ Roasters. Maybe it did close years ago and they just kept the signs. But I won’t let that fantasy be ruined. If I needed a reason to return to this continent, it is to investigate the mystery of the remaining Roasters.
In my efforts to unite the world I’ve been trying to find words everyone can use. Here’s one “huh?” No matter the language, it says “I didn’t understand what you said. Please repeat it and/or say it louder.”
Another travel tip. When possible, schedule each leg of a round trip during different months, then you get to watch different movies.
I’ve discovered the first purchase you make in a country becomes your basis for your perspective on their currency’s value. Thus, all of my thoughts on the Malaysian economy are based on the price of a two piece and a biscuit.
You’re not a serious drinker if you’ve never lifted your feet for a mop to pass underneath as you order another drink.
I reached a point in my travels where third class train travel was the way to go. I didn’t even have a chance to think about the pros and cons. I was buying a ticket for the 2:40 train at 2:42. I literally jumped on the train as it was pulling out of the station. Here’s some of the basics on third class train travel. Wooden seats, no air conditioning. People walking the isles selling soft drinks, water, fruit, meat, even freshly caught fish. This trip definitely broadened my pallet, but I had to draw the limits at eating food someone was carrying around on an unairconditioned train. Not that I would want to eat on a third class train, because I would have no desire to use the restroom any more than necessary. Well, restroom is really a stretch. Think closet with a hole in the floor. And not a well kept closet with a hole in the floor. Every few stops, a guy jumps on with a garden hose and sprays the thing down like he was an Alabama State Patrolman in the 1950s. And the third class train is not discriminating about where it stops. Not just the smaller stations, but stations that are little more than a bench. I’ve seen bus stops that were more elaborate than these stations. And there were a few times I swear the train just stopped at somebody’s house.
When getting married, instead of being given away by her father, the bride should be given away by the guy she lost her virginity to.
To get from Suratani to Ko Tao, I took a boat. It was a cargo ship and in the areas not occupied by cargo they shove people. It was like the Asian version of Amistad
My seaside cottage was next to a naked German family. No further explanation necessary, By the way, Naked German Family, worst porn of 2007.
Coconut milkshakes make my cagels twitch.
I’ve come up with a name for my all male brothel Stud Studio.
For the elections all alcohol sales are forbidden. Friday through Sunday. I could stay in Georgia and not buy beer on Sunday. It’s kind of hard to find a speakeasy or a bootlegger in you hometown, much less a foreign country. Of course I found one.
During a rainy afternoon I watched Bring It On dubbed into Thai with English subtitles. This may seem pointless to many, but since the viewing, there have been four separate occasions when I’ve been conversing with a local and in their native tongue needed to say “go Toros!”
Soccer fans have told me a goal is better than sex. But it’s sex after you haven’t got laid in a couple of years. Sure it’s great, because you’ve got sperm backed up to your ears. Sure it’s satisfying when you’ve waited so long. But I’d rather get laid everyday. And that’s better than not having sex everyday. I figured if all I was going to be able to watch are sports I don’t care about, I might as well learn a little about them. I glanced at the English Premiere League standings and saw that Derby was 1-3-12. I thought, surely this team is being coached by Pat Dye. Then I was told that the records are written as win-tie-loss. Fuck ties. I now get why soccer fans do all that singing and dancing during matches. It alleviates the boredom. I also get soccer riots. After about half an hour of watching that crap I feel like slugging somebody and breaking some crap.
If I want to see a football game so bad I’m willing to blow a guy, doesn’t that equal out to a zero sum on the heterosexuality scale.
I was walking down the beach and passed three girls walking with two guys. So I rented a pair of shoes and picked up the spare.
It was tough to beat the people coming up and selling drinks and services on the beach. You just lay there, a woman walks up, and offers you a massage. They also come along and sell alcohol. One young man came up and asked me “You want beer or margarita?” I replied “yes.” He then repeated “you want beer OR margarita?” To which I told him “I said yes. I have two hands.”

Collecting Another Amenities Bag

December 24th, 2007

Seoul, Korea — Finally found some winter weather. Can’t say that I missed subfreezing temperatures. Other country’s television never ceases to amaze me. Congratulations Korea, you have taken the crowd. I peeked up from my beer and caught a glimpse of the TV above the bar. There was no double take, no spit take, just a disbelieving stare. I was watching full contact intergender children’s karate. Can’t even tag that one.
Crossing borders is seldom fun. I arrived in Laos with bus loads of others. The lines weren’t queuing well either. Then, right before I was to pass out of Thailand, the lady working the visa window decided to take her lunch break. This did not involve going to a restaurant, or even a break room. She just shut the window and took out her food. Meanwhile, all the foreigners had to stand in the mid-day sun staring at her through a window.
I scored a pretty neat guest house in Vientiane. It was a block away from the Mekong. My room had a balcony that looked down into a Wat. I quickly gathered this room was desirable. Several times a day someone would accost me in the lobby asking if I was the guy in room 6 and then inquire as to when I was checking out. These people would become rather incredulous when I would tell them “I don’t know. Not planning that far ahead. Check back tomorrow morning.”
In Laos I am a millionaire many times over. Going to the ATM brings the joy of looking at the remaining balance and imagining it is dollars. I start having fantasies of calling up George Steinbrenner and telling him “Hey Boss. I’ll pay Alex Rodriguez’s salary this season. And you know what, go ahead and sign Santana. I’ll pick up the tab on that too.”
In my desperation for English language entertainment I have watched Face/Off and Good Burger. Let us never speak of this again.
After arriving in Laos, I had to get from the border into the city. That 24km trip was taken with five others (and our luggage) in a tuk-tuk. That trip did more damage to my lungs than a dozen years of smoking.
Bars here aren’t into mix tapes or the shuffle function. I listened to Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits. All of them. Consecutively. A couple of nights ago I was in a bar that played The Raw And The Uncooked by Fine Young Cannibals in it’s entirety. Not just the two dingles, the whole goddamned album. There are two question here: (1) Why did they do this, and (2) Why did I sit there and listen to the whole thing?
There is a monument in Vientiane named Patuxai and it’s kind of a low rent Arc de Triomphe. It was built with concrete donated by the US to build a runway. It was also never finished. All in all, I’d say it’s a grand testament to the ethics and efficiency of the Laos government.
I met a bloke from Manchester. He went by the nickname of Manchester. I dug that. Your hometown always makes a good nickname. Back when I lived in 35 Reed Hall (AKA The Boar’s Nest), me and Pierce had a nickname for pretty much every resident. In general it’s easier to assign someone a pseudonym than remember their given name Now, they weren’t really nicknames you would call people to their face. There was dipshit, douchebag, no neck, rabbit fucker and oh so many more. This just saved time in conversations. It was time consuming and cumbersome to say “Today I was talking to that guy that lives on the second floor. The one with the blonde curly hair. He drives the Ford Taurus. The one we saw pissing in the lobby last Saturday.” It was more efficient to say “I was talking to dipstick today.” Of course, had we know the kid’s name was Josh we could have saved even more time. But dipstick worked just fine.
A guest house I stayed in had a sign posted apologizing for the staff’s poor English. It should be noted I have never seen one of those signs in Los Angeles.
My Thai still sucks a bag of dicks. But my nonverbal communication skills are off the charts. Let’s put it this way, you don’t want to invite me to your next charades party, because I will dominate. Actually, you don’t want to invite me to your charades party because I won’t come. Also, if you are hosting charades parties please don’t reproduce. Actually, if you are having charades parties, kill yourself. Better yet, have the charades party, wait for all of the people who think it’s a good idea to come to a charades party to show up, and then blow up your house. Sure, there will be setbacks in the sale of sweater vests and hand decorated holiday sweatshirts, but the economy will recover. I’ve crunched the numbers, they add up. And if you could have this party during the Chic-fil-A Bowl, even better. We lose the charades people, Auburn fans, Clemson fans and a bunch of bible beating poultry pushers. Santa, I hope you’re reading.
Here’s a fun game for your next casino trip. Get a bucket full of change and head over to the nickel slot machine. Every time you drop some currency in, yell “coin voyage!” See how long it takes for security to throw you out.
I love my bag, I really do. But having to haul that thing around everyday is like being on a vacation with a crippled midget.

That’s Not A Stubby Holder It’s A Coozy

December 22nd, 2007

Koh Samui, Thailand — Today is election day in Thailand. Wouldn’t think that would effect a farang like myself would ya? Wrong! On election day, the entire nation goes dry. My last day in this country and I can’t have a drink. On the plus side, while the polls are open the subway is free. That’s a cruel twist of the knife. The one day public transportation doesn’t cost anything, meaning you can get loaded and get home safely for free, is the one day you can’t even smell a beer.
Thais are a very neat people. They even regularly sweep the sidewalk outside of their businesses. It’s a Bush administration approach to cleanliness. They fight the dirt on the sidewalk so they don’t have to fight it in their shop. I almost never see litter. I also don’t see many rubbish bins (rubbish bins? Where the hell did that come from? No more hanging out with Brits for me). Either Thais don’t produce garbage as they are out walking around or they just carry it with them. However, the one area this next to godliness doesn’t apply is waterways. Every river, pond, lake, canal and moat I’ve seen has been filthy. Not just dirty water, but polluted and littered up. Maybe I discovered what Thais do with that garbage they carry around. Just hold onto it until they find some water.
As I was leaving Chiang Mai a woman ran up to the train and handed to porter two postcards. She told him to give them to me. Due to the language barrier I was unable to decipher why this took place. Was it mistaken identity? Did she think I had purchased the postcards and left them behind? Was she just being friendly? Was she flirting with me? If so, why wait until I am literally rolling out of town? And wooing me with postcards? I don’t necessarily require diamonds and furs, but you better be bringing a little more than two pieces of cardboard to the table.
I am cautious about where and with whom I get drunk. I would hate to commit some faux pas and have the incident escalate because of inebriation and a language barrier. Or worse, some other round eye does something offensive and I get lumped in with him. A good rule is if a maylay breaks out, you don’t want to not look like the rest of the group.
City Of New Orleans is the greatest train song ever recorded. And that’s saying a lot. Hell, it’s one of the greatest songs ever recorded. Period. Everyone go to itunes and buy some Arlo Guthrie. Also, I Want It That Way may be the most perfect pop song not written by Paul McCartney.
Sometimes when I tell people my name, they hear Angel. It’s usually not worth the effort to correct them, so I just let it go. And I always get compliment on my name (that’s not my name). Just a note for all of you prospective parents out there.
Another travel tip. Bring a planet killer (aka plastic shopping bag) on the plane or train with you. Tie it to the seat back. Now you have extra storage space or a place for you refuse.
There is a magazine that covers all of the celebrity goings ons. It’s named Gossip. Spot on again Thailand.
I walked past a bulletin board among a strip of fast food joints. Hanging on it was a picture of a young man in his work uniform and a bunch of Thai script. I have no idea what is going on with this kid. I have, however, narrowed it to three choices. (1) He’s missing. (2) He’s a wanted criminal. (3) He’s employee of the month. Then I decided to combine all three into one blockbuster story. After being named employee of the month at KFC, this young man went out to celebrate, things got carried away, he stabbed a man and is now on the run from the law. I’m adapting this into a screenplay. I don’t have a title yet, but I do have a tagline — He used to sell chicken, now he’s on the lamb.
I like how some Asian cities are laid out like grocery stores. Each street has a specialty just like the aisles in the market. There is a street for clothes, a street for electronics, a street for food, etc.
I’m over Buddhism. I don’t get Wats. They are as ostentatious as they are ornate (guess who just got to the O section in his thesaurus). I see poverty all around them, and there is this palace. The inside is covered in gold and just outside the gates, a homeless child begs for change. This is what community money, time and resources are going to? So, get off your Eastern religion is superior kick hippies.

Mark 6:31

December 17th, 2007

Kho Tao, Thailand — For the past few days I’ve been stuck on an island with no alcohol and no NFL. No beer and no football make Andrew go crazy. I’m about to write a screenplay called The Shining Beach.
Some bars here advertise happy times. This is like happy hour but without the awkwardness of time classification when the 61st minute comes around. I would like to propose that bars keep happy hour but add other hours. There could be jubilant hour, festive hour and ecstatic hour.
To promote Muay Thai fights, they have trucks that drive around with billboards and a loudspeaker built into them. I heard one today, that if I didn’t know better (and I don’t) I would have thought the guy was doing a spot on parody of one of the Ree brothers from Better Off Dead. Maybe he was. I haven’t looked at the box office figures, but perhaps Savage Steve Holland is huge in Thailand.
I rolled the dice on the malaria medication. Because rafting down the Mekong without Maleran doesn’t seem like a huge risk after having unprotected sex with a Bourbon Street stripper.
I was sitting on the balcony of my guest house sipping a fine local brew and listening the the music pouring out of the bar across the street. The house cover band was on stage and their lead singer has a very thick Thai accent. The band was playing Sweet Home Alabama. I have encountered many cultures and religions. I’m not sure which god I appeased, but I’m glad I did.
Is it wrong that when I go out to eat my tip will be affected by how well my server speaks English? I look at it this way. This person took the time and effort to learn another language and should be rewarded. Of course, I only reward people that took the time and effort to learn my language. The server could speak fluent German and I wouldn’t give a flip.
Fruit and pancakes go together like shama lama lama shoop do doop to doop. Or something like that.
An English bartender served me a beer. He had some difficulty counting my change back. He apologized by saying “I’m not too good with numbers.” I responded with “No worries. The world needs poets to write the words that get the accountants laid.” He asked me who said that, and I told him I did. He asked me who said it originally. And I told him me just right now. He asked me if I had just made that up on the spot. I confirmed that I had. He then said “you’re a clever chap.” I grinned. Old British guys are the second best people in the world to receive compliments from behind only old black ladies.
Iran has banned rap music because of the offensive lyrics. The article I read didn’t specify, but I hope the Iranian government consulted KRS1 to be sure they were banning rap and not hip-hop. To the best of my knowledge, he is still the go to expert on this matter.
I like the wai. No awkward hand shakes here. I never have to worry if it was a handshake or hug moment. No grim is too firm, no grip is too loose, because there is no grip. It has all of the advantages of dap, but with zero physical contact.
I love one way streets. My chances of dying are reduced by 50 %.
I thought about buying a compilation of Shakespeare plays to bring on my last train ride. There is no inride entertainment. So I figured we could just assign parts to everyone in the car and act out the play. In the spirit of objectivity, I will let the pullman porter handle the casting and let the conductor direct.
This is an idea I have floated to many people before (pun intended, you’ll see). I want to buy a cruise ship. Once the boat gets seven miles off shore and hits international waters the fun begins. It’s now a floating casino, sports book, bar, brothel and buffet (let’s face it, after all of that debauchery, you’re gonna need at least a snack). Who wouldn’t want to play blackjack while sipping Absinthe and getting a blowjob from a prostitute? It should be noted that I’ve never studied maritime law.
There was a huge celebration for the King’s birthday. I know because it took place early in the morning right outside my window. There was a young girl singing a terrible pop song. Just here way of saying ” Happy Birthday King! I hope you like crap!”
The pharmacist that helped me last night was named Pimporn. My inner Beavis suffered a seizure.

The Gayest Country In Asia

December 11th, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Thanks Todd Barry for making it impossible to say the name of this country without then thinking the title of this blog.
Here’s everything you need to do in Malaysia. Take a trip to the bridge of Petronas Towers. That’s it. Skip the rest of the country. The towers are actually quite beautiful at night when illuminated. And still pretty attractive even during the day light hours. Also this is a rather popular attraction. We showed up before noon and got tickets for a 5:45 PM tour. It’s pretty amazing how much and how far you can see, and that’s only half way up. Got to make some friends in the Malaysian oil industry so I can get a peek from the top.
When you head out shopping and your list consist of index cards, magic marker, a-shirt, socks and toothpaste, you really miss Target.
Memo to all broadcasters: don’t report from a bus stop. A bus will pull up and then pull away. While this is happening, nothing you say will be heard.
The crosswalks in many cities make a noise when it is time to cross. This little tune moves at a frantic rate, which then causes you to move your ass. It’s like driving with chase music being played. It works well and should be spread to other areas of life. Off the top of my head I’m saying airport security.
The biggest problem I’ve had with people driving on the left side is when I cross the streets. I have decades of safety instructions and instincts to violate. I look left, then right, then left again. Unfortunately this is bassackwards and most likely will lead to my untimely demise and a crappy obituary.
This part of the world has way too much golf coverage for December.
A British woman asked me if all Americans love Die Hard. I told her “fuck yeah!” Then I blew some shit up and hit her in the head with a 2×4. USA! USA! USA!
Thailand has a nice flag. It’s basic but effective. It has a good color scheme. Also, no words or pictures. Words and pictures will always screw up a flag. That’s why, of course, my favorite flag is Libya. BAM! That’s right folks, your online headquarters for Libyan flag jokes since 2002.
I went into a bookstore that only sold books printed in Thai. After wandering around for a few minutes, I wondered if this is what it’s like to be illiterate. I could stare at those words for hours and not make hide nor hair out of them. I couldn’t even tell you if the words were backwards or upside down. It was both frustrating and humbling.

Just Because My Belongings Are In A Backpack Does Not Mean I Am A Backpacker

December 10th, 2007

Singapore — If you book a one way international flight on less than 24 hours notice, expect to have a bad day at the airport. Also, if you’re making that trip between Thailand and Singapore, be aware that they do not take kindly to narcotics (we’re talking canings and death penalties). Basically that treat drug offenders the way the Commonwealth of Virginia treats speeders. So, if that’s your itinerary, try not to spend a few hours the afternoon before swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool.
I am going to open a bar named Depressed Poets. I’ll buy a second home just on merch sales.
I was talking to a bar owner in Chiang Mai that let me in on some knowledge about the domestically brewed Chang beer, which I have named Blackout Brew. It ain’t made with tender loving care. One batch may be 6% alcohol, the next batch 14% alcohol. That explains so much. Like my irregular tolerance and the hours of 11:00 PM – 4:00 AM last night.
I saw this Thai pop band. They had rotating singers, three as best I could count. Each song, a different singer would take lead, but always with a new costume. Sometimes there were backup dancers. The choreography was very low rent. I’m quite sure Twyla Tharp did not get a consulting fee off this gig.
I am angered by people aggressively hawking items outside of Wats and shrines. They are by far the most aggressive street vendors I have encountered. It’s an attitude of “if you don’t buy this necklace, or incense or bird, then your god won’t love you.” Where is a smoting vengeful god when you need one?
When wandering around lost in an unfamiliar place it’s easy to passively stalk women. It’s not creepy. It’s just, I don’t know where I am, I don’t know where I am going, she’s hot, I’ll just follow her for a while.
Not all historic buildings need to be preserved. Sometimes, long ago, people built crappy structures. Take some pictures and bring in a bulldozer.
Surely I can’t be the first person to think t-shirts reading NY Hates You would be a good idea.
Parents tend to give fecal matter and deification cutesy names. This is bad enough, but for some reason, those names stick with people for the rest of their lives and it is as annoying as it is disturbing. I have to restrain myself
when I hear adults tell me they have to make a stink stink or do a shooey. There’s a handful of grown up words that we have silently agreed are acceptable. Use them.
The other day I was shopping at an office supply store. This place also carried boxing equipment. Gloves, trunks, everything you would need. I have a great fondness for stores that stock outside of their specialty. It leads to great conversations. “You need a jump rope? I’ll tell you where you should go. Down to the bookstore. Awesome jump rope department. Good prices and great selection. And while you’re there, you can pick up a book about jump roping. Don’t be surprised if you run into my plumber Earl. He keeps an office there. For his tattoo parlor. Which is funny right? My plumber keeping an office for his tattoo parlor in a bookstore. Because he can’t even read. I mean he does good work, as a plumber and a tattooist. But, stick with pictures, don’t want Earl putting any words on ya.”

I Have Met My Asian Mistress And Her Name Is Beer Lao

December 9th, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand — I grew tired of Laos. Decided to get out of the country. A couple of tuk-tuks, boats and trains later, I find myself spending a few hours in Bangkok before I head to Singapore. I am so upside down and backwards right now. I’m pretty sure about the Bangkok thing, it may or may not be Sunday night. On with the ramblings.
The train ride up to Chiang Mai was scenic and diverse. The first stretch you go through neighborhoods and markets that are built right up to, and sometimes over, the train tracks. This gives way to suburbs, then plains, followed by jungles and finishing up with mountains. People that talk about airline food have obviously never had train food. Kobayashi couldn’t keep that stuff down. The train arrived two hours ahead of schedule. This threw me off since I had yet to complete my research on the city. I did know it was located west of the train station, so I walked in that direction.
Taxicabs don’t seem to exist in Chiang Mai. Sangthaew is the preferred of public transportation. It’s basically a pick-up, with a camper and two benches built in. There easy to hop in and out of and I think would be a big hit in college towns. There is also no shortage of tuk-tuks here. Those are the three wheeled cycle with the covered back seat. They are loud, smelly and obnoxious… and that’s just the drivers {rim shot}! Thank you, I’ll be all week. Tip your waitresses. Don’t forget, the 9:00 show is completely different from the 6:30 show.
I am apparently staying in the bookstore capital of SE Asia. There are more than I can count within a stone’s throw of my guest house. And they are massive, spilling across streets and alleyways and into other blocks. I also found out guidebooks are more expensive here than in the States. Apparently I have started staying the States. I see all of the bootlegged CDs and DVDs, but have yet to run across that bootleg book market. Which I hear exist in Cambodia.
Another travel tip. Always bring a backpack, or day pack to the complimentary breakfast (I guess a purse would also work). Those fruits and pastries make a nice mid morning snack. Or lunch if you get real greedy.
Several of the hotels and guest houses I have stayed in have a neat energy saving device. There’s a special slot you slip your room keychain in that activates the room’s electricity. Then when you pull it out to lock your door and leave, the power disappears. It’s sort of like a dyslexic Excalibur.
Pink is a very popular color in Thailand. From what I’ve gathered, the king wore a pink shirt on TV and it caught on from there. He’s like their Ryan Seacrest.
The weather in Chiang Mai is damn near perfect. During most of the day, it’s warm, but not hot, nare a trace of humidity with a cool breeze blowing in from the river. At night and in the morning, it’s just cool ebough that I think I should bring a jacket because I might need it later, but I never do.
Thank you Thailand for reminding me that butter improves the taste of pretty much everything.
Everyone pull out your charts. On the vertical, go to Thai. On the horizontal, go to Lucky. In case you didn’t know, the name of this chart is Lesser Known Britney Spears Songs I Have Heard Performed In Other Languages. Now I begin my quest to track down that copy of Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman sung in Swahili.

Andrew Healan

New Orleans comedian and host of the podcast That Sounds Reasonable