Thursday, April 24

Archer Is the New Simpsons

Archer Is the New Simpsons

In the early to mid-90s, The Simpsons was the pinnacle of television comedy. Filled with classic references, one-liners, and great music, the animated series defined the pop culture of my youth.

Since then, the show has become a Flintstones-esque staple for Fox, but many of its older fans (and younger generations who missed the peak and, thus, never boarded the train) need the type of biting comedy The Simpsons used to provide. Thank "God" for Sterling Archer.

Danger Zone

The first four seasons of Archer are classic – half James Bond and half Arrested Development, everything about this stylish cartoon is a hit. The characters take a few seasons to evolve, but in doing so, an immersive world is created where you not only totally believe Archer is capable of drunkenly taking on the CIA, KGB, hit men, cyborgs, drug cartels, and the Yakuza, but you gleefully root for him.

The beauty of Sterling Archer is what used to draw us to Homer Simpson; this is a man you'd hate in real life, but love him for it on screen. What separates Sterling from Homer is what will keep him from going stale for years to come. Homer's animated violence is stifled by the tone of the show – he's too lovable. Sterling won't hesitate to drink a bottle of whiskey, shoot you in the knee, and spit the whiskey into the wound.


Not only is it filled with action, Archer is hilarious. Every single running gag and self-referential one-liner hits the spot. The writing staff clearly knows their audience and manages to deftly walk a fine line that South Park, Family Guy, and every other animated series has stumbled on at one point or another.

Even the classic dapper animation style, reminiscent of Mad Men, is more sophisticated than any of its contemporaries. It hits every 007 and Bourne sweet spot. It's as though you're watching a Springfield in perpetual McBaine mode.

Although often juvenile, Archer pulls no punches with adult humor. No subject is off limits, and even Colbert can't sarcastically drive home a point like this cast. There's not an addiction or vice on this planet they haven't at least discussed, if not completely delved into.

Archer Vice Versability Brian Penny

Archer's Vice – Jumping the Snark

Season 5, the most recent season of Archer (dubbed Archer Vice), took a dangerous plot turn. Every season, we wondered how they'd possibly top the insanity of the last one. This season, they went rogue and became cocaine dealers, and they're terrible at it. At one point, Archer even smuggles cocaine into Columbia. It looked like this could be the season they jump the shark…

…but it wasn't.

The latest season turned out to be even more impressive than the last four, pulling no punches with plot twists. Lana is pregnant (*spoiler alert* - she works straight through the pregnancy), Pam is a coke addict, everyone's broke and struggling to make it. The show not didn't change anything except our perceptions, as selling cocaine is actually the least harmful decision these anti-heroes have ever made.

Viva, la Archer!

With ageless characters, a brilliant cast, and witty writing, Archer has cemented FX's reputation as what Fox used to be. While Bart's rebellious attitude and Homer's incompetence have become family-friendly fodder, the Archer clan have an array of high-tech weaponry, drugs, alcohol, sex addictions, and the strangest line of morality.

If you're a fan of anything, and you haven't seen Archer yet, I recommend immediately clicking this link and doing so…because it's well on its way to becoming the greatest show in the history of television.

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. Penny is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Main Street, Lifehack, Cannabis Now, and Money Side of Life. He documents his experiences blowing the whistle on the banks and working with Anonymous on his blog.

Crashing the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver, CO

How I Attended the 2014 Cannabis Cup (Nearly) Free
I just got back from a week-and-a-half-long road trip to Denver, CO to attend the Cannabis Cup, and boy are my arms tired. I sampled the best-tasting and strongest flowers, oils, and waxes the American marijuana industry has to offer while surrounded by beautiful women, creative artists, and savvy entrepreneurs. Not only did I attend this event with an all-access pass, I didn't pay a penny for the pass. What had happened was…

Everyone Snoops

Earlier this year I interviewed Nick Adler for an assignment I was working on. Adler is the Vice President of Marketing at Cashmere Agency, the marketing agency responsible for (among others) Snoop Dogg's brand. The interview revolved around Snoop's business efforts during the legalization of cannabis and excerpts can be found here and here.

At the end of the interview, Adler invited me to be his guest at Snoop's Wellness Retreat on 4/20 in Denver. Snoop's Doggystyle is the first CD I ever bought, so I gladly accepted the invitation. The idea of spending 4/20 smoking a blunt with Snoop was enough to motivate me to finally drive to American Amsterdam to check out the legal marijuana scene.

My Faux Foe

A couple weeks prior to the event, I started looking up who's what and sending feelers out to see who would be out in Denver. I hooked up with an event planner from Dallas named Kate. She was running a few local 4/20 events and invited me to spend the week with her out in Denver. I arrived a week early and stayed with Kate. The instant I got there, she handed me a full bowl, and everyone was all smiles.

It only took three days to realize Kate is more of a liability than a help. Aside from being obsessed with laughably ridiculous conspiracy theories, she drained both my funds and gas taking me to dispensaries that had no idea who she was or to run unrelated errands. We'd start the trip headed to a grow warehouse and end up at Walmart ordering cupcakes or in Columbine looking at a car. Finally, I had to pack up and leave, which sent Kate off the handle, forcing me to end her business in Denver.

The BIG Show

After leaving Kate, things started to pick up. I showed up to the BIG marijuana B2B wholesale show and explained I work for the media, citing my syndicated blogs on HuffPost and Yahoo, and my MainStreet and Lifehack credentials. After a moment of initial hesitation, I ended up on a VIP tour with Gustavo Gonzalez from Formula 420, the event's organizer, which led to me being given a buyer's pass that gained me entrance to this private event.

After two hours at the BIG show, I already had a tote bag full of swag and headed back to my van to unload and take stock. That's when I realized the power I had – everyone wanted into this event, and I was standing around in the parking lot with a golden ticket. It wasn't long before random people in the parking lot started getting me stoned and schmoozing with me.

The Cup Is Half-Full

Two days later, the Cannabis Cup opened to the ticket-holding public, opening the gates at 11am on both Saturday and Sunday. When I showed up at 9:30am on Saturday, I was informed by the High Times crew that my lanyard from the BIG event was invalid at the Cannabis Cup. At this point, I had come too far to give up, so I stood at the desk and waited.

After about 15 minutes of false flags that deterred others, somebody finally came out from the back, apologized to me, and gave me a vendor pass as a press pass. This was the best possible outcome – it gave me full access to both the indoor event and outdoor smoking area. It showed other vendors I was one of them, so I received special attention. It got me behind the velvet rope.

The Cup Runneth Over

By Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted. I had networked with so many artists, sales reps, and CEOs that I had blog content for days. As the Cones sales rep so eloquently put it, "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm sick of weed."

I couldn't agree more with his assessment, but I needed to get to the Snoop concert I originally came to town for.  I drove across town to the Red Rock Amphitheater, where I found out I wasn't on the list and would have to wait for Nick Adler to come into town and get my ticket from him. Having spent the last week submersed in a crowded festival and facing a long drive back home, I weighed my options and decided to leave Denver ASAP.

Overall the Cannabis Cup was a great experience, and sneaking in was a lot of fun. Finally back in the Southwest, I don't regret missing out on the Snoop concert. I'm simply glad I was able to spend my 4/20 at Denver's first legal Cannabis Cup for the cost of a few tanks of gas.

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. Penny is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Main Street, Lifehack, Cannabis Now, and Money Side of Life. He documents his experiences blowing the whistle on the banks and working with Anonymous on his blog.

Saturday, April 19

Pics from the BIG Marijuana Gallery of Glass and Cannabis Cup

Long story short, I spent the last week in Denver covering the 4/20 festivities. Here are some pics from the BIG marijuana industry wholesale event. I met a lot of really cool people in the industry. I thanked the maker of the Whizzinator for all of you they got jobs...

One of many many booths...these guys are from AZ...

The Gallery of Glass floor on public day 1 (Friday 4/18/14)

One of my favorite Gallery of Glass entries...

Play me a violin...

Tuesday, April 15

#BIG2014 - Inside the Marijuana Industry's Biggest 4/20 Event...

Freelancers don't get passes, so when Main Street and Cannabis Now wanted marijuana coverage, I had to get a little creative...

Brian Penny is a former Bank of America business analyst turned force-placed insurance whistleblower, ghostwriter, blogger, and freelance SEO consultant. He's a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Main Street, Lifehack, and Cannabis Now...

Friday, March 28

Herbalife...Brought to You By Herbalife...

Learn more about Herbalife on HuffPostLive...

***Update 3/29 - The Herbalife team's claims appear to be true...34 people so far agree that I can't sell Herbalife...***
Anyone wanna invest in this gold mine with me?

***Update 3/31/14 - 45 people have now voted...making Herbalife my biggest non-seller...*