Friday, December 21, 2007
THE TOP 3 CHRISTMAS SONGS THAT WON'T MAKE YOU WANT TO KILL YOURSELF
When I first picked up Dream Theater’s "Scenes From a Memory," I listened to it (and it alone) for two weeks straight. Just recently, a friend burned me a copy of Coheed and Cambria’s "IV," which I listened to for about a week solid.
People usually call me on that when I start listing off the reasons why I hate, hate, fucking hate Christmas music.
First, because, honestly, how many times can you hear Frosty the Goddamn Snowman before you want to destroy everything you love? I can only handle about 1/16 of Frosty before I want to turn into Dexter Morgan.
Second, because (with a few exceptions) Christmas songs are either A) written for children (Frosty, Rudolph, any song about a judgmental, voyeuristic fat man) or B) written to glorify Jesus. Children’s music and church music are notoriously banal, boring, and insipid, written exclusively to be easily memorized and easily sung by large groups of people who, for the most part, wouldn’t know real music if it hit them in the head with a wrench.
Third, I just don’t understand the weird, seasonal attachment to Christmas music. Good music is good all the time, not just from November to New Years. So, unless you drive around in the middle of the summer listening to "Jingle Bells," don't tell me you like fucking Christmas music.
The only Christmas song I can dig on is "O Holy Night," because, if you disregard the meaning of the song, you’re left with an eerie, almost evil-sounding number with a beautiful chorus. I still sing it every time it comes on.
But, for people like me, there are Christmas songs available that really get you into the spirit of things...
3. WEIRD AL YANKOVIC - "THE NIGHT SANTA WENT CRAZY"
This is sheer genius. A song about Santa Claus going batshit insane (probably because he heard "Rudolph" seventy-five too many times), tearing the North Pole to the ground, and slaying all the elves and reindeer.
I know a lot of people seem to have an irrational hatred of Weird Al (I’ve always loved the guy), but give the song a chance. It’s well done, "Christmas-y," and very funny.
"From his beard to his boots,
He was covered with ammo.
Like a big, fat, drunk,
Disgruntled Yuletide Rambo.
And he smiled as he said,
With a twinkle in his eye,
‘Merry Christmas to all!
Now you’re all gonna die!’"
2. THE DAN BAND - "ROCK YOU HARD THIS CHRISTMAS"
Ahh, the Dan Band. Probably the most fun live show in the history of music and the only band on the planet who can get a room full of drunken guys to sing Wilson Phillips and songs from "Flashdance." I saw them last year and they opened the gig by showing the video for "Rock You Hard," and it damn-near brought the house down before the band even took the stage.
BEST LINE... (TIE)
"Have a very merry motherfucking Christmas!"
"I’m gonna get naughty,
All over your body,
Come sit on Santa’s lap!"
1. SPINAL TAP - "CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEVIL"
Honestly, how could the best Christmas song of all time be anything else?
It’s got a mean-ass guitar riff, and some vintage Tap lyrics. It might even be my all-time favorite Tap song, right up there with "Bitch School" and "Sex Farm."
All of them. Although I’m a bit partial to...
"There’s someone up the chimney hole,
And Satan is his name!"
If anyone can think of other fucked up Christmas songs, please, do tell...
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
PENN AND FRIENDS ON "SOUTH PARK," SYLVIA BROWNE, AND MONKEYS...
Periodically, I go on a "Penn Binge," where I run through the archives and listen to my favorite or random shows. Here are a few, with commentary...
I, myself, pray to the Dark Lord Satan every day (as all atheists should) that Penn Radio will come back RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Even though Satan has yet to come through, we can thank His Infernal Majesty for the existence of PennFans.
I discovered the show (which was available almost every day on the Enter-Tubes) and got hooked immediately. Not only are Penn and Goudeau hilarious, skeptical, and gleefully blasphemous, but they have (i.e. "Had") one of the most free-wheeling, random, and surprising radio shows ever produced.
In any given show, they bounce from topic to topic (or bounce through various sub-topics), often with a light-hearted yet still scathingly realistic view of whatever is being discussed. But, no matter what happens, there is no Bull’s *clap* Hit present.
It’s damn-near impossible to pick out a "best" show; you’ll have to search through the archives to find your personal favorite. But it is possible (and easy) to pick a few great shows out of the hat and showcase them.
One of the best shows features a surprise guest in Trey Parker, he of the ridiculously (and rightfully so) popular "South Park" TV show. There’s lots of insightful stuff about the show, not just including the technical side, but commenting on the satirist and activist nature of the writing. Because, if you haven’t realized it yet, "South Park," for all the surreal and over-the-top content, is, by far and away, one of the most important, topical, and intellectually noble shows ever produced.
Trey talking about the "Cartoon Wars" episode (with the "controversial" depiction of Muhammad), and the previous depiction of Muhammad in the "Super Best Friends" episode, is very, very awesome, as is the discussion of Isaac Hayes and the whole Scientology/"Trapped in the Closet" flap.
And they talk a bit of shit about Bill "King Media Whore" Donohue. Can’t go wrong with that. Should have been more, though, in my opinion. That guy is a douche amongst douches and deserves a full show where they talk about what a complete fucking prick he is.
Another great show is the one featuring Robert Lancaster, the much-needed mastermind behind the best Sylvia Browne site on the web.
In this show, Penn, Goudeau, and Lancaster dissect the Sylvia Browne phenomenon and proceed to tear it down through evidence. Of course, they touch on her "Greatest Misses," being Shawn Hornbeck, Opal Jennings, and the West Virginia miners saga. To sum it all up, Sylvia Browne is a disgusting bitch.
Finally, Penn dedicated every Tuesday to monkeys.
Because monkeys kick ass. They’re like humans, except they throw feces, hump each other, and, otherwise, act like humans.
Here is a random "Monkey Tuesday!" with none other than the Man Himself, Gilbert Gottfried, and a great interview with Regis. (The Regis.) Is it just me or, is Regis as half-crazy as you can get?
Oh, yeah, and they have Randi in the studio...
One of the best radio shows ever recorded.
And Dawkins on the horn...
A very close second to the Randi episode...
Thursday, November 8, 2007
THE GREAT FUNDIE INFESTATION OF OUGHT-SEVEN
I’m a waiter. I’m a monkey that carries plates and recommends the blackened fish for a living.
Now, it’s not a tough job but it can get annoying. For instance, some people are assholes and just don’t tip for shit, regardless of service or food quality. It’s always blown my mind; if you go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a dollar menu, you’re gonna have to tip the waiter or waitress. As long as the server isn’t an outright prick, they deserve the 15% (or more, if you're awesome). Plan the fuck ahead, people, because science has proven that people who don’t tip also kick puppies.
You’d also be amazed at how many people completely forget what they order. I’ve got a short-term memory like Guy Pearce in "Memento" but, Jesus, I can remember what I ordered only fifteen minutes ago. And don’t even get me started on finicky shits who think they have some sort of laser vision that can determine the temperature of a steak or burger from ten paces.
OK, let’s forget the basic gripes. On to the main event...
I’ve worked at my current restaurant for several months now. For the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an influx of customers who think that tipping well means introducing the wait staff to god.
At first, it was a couple of cards left in various locations, on a table, in the bathroom, etc. The front of the card read "Charge It," in the style of the Visa logo, and the back talked about "Charging your soul to God" or some such insipid shit. Then there were the standard salvation instructions and a few bible verses. Like all versions of witnessing, it’s only clever if you’re a moron with no imagination, but at least it’s not a horrible pun (e.g. "Seven days without prayer makes one weak" or "The light shines from the son").
Then, there was the old guy and his wife, whom I had the anti-luck of waiting on.
They seemed like a nice enough couple at first, just ordering waters and sandwiches, so, at the onset, it was an easy enough table. Everything was kosher at first; the usual introduction patter, a little small talk, I bring them their drinks, they order the sandwiches, I bring them their sandwiches, they start eating...
Then I went back to the table to check on them and asked, "Everything OK?"
The old guy looks up at me and says, "Fine. Tell me son, do you know the Lord?"
And I just stare at him. Normally, off the clock, I’d say something pithy along the lines of, after thinking about the question for a second and adopting the appropriate air of innocence and ignorance, "Lord Horatio Nelson? I seen his statue in England, but he’s been dead for nigh-on 200 years, so I can’t say I know him. But I know of him, though, so, technically, the answer’s ‘yes.’" Of course, on the clock, it’s a different situation entirely.
So, I stare at him a little more and, finally, manage a slightly confused, "Uh, yeah. Yeah. I’d like to think so."
And the old guy proceeds to give me a bit of ye olde Gospel, though, thankfully, it was more of the "Touchy-Feely Hippie Jesus" than the "Jesus Coming Out the Sky With a Big Fucking Sword and Slaying Your Filthy, Sinful Ass" variety; if it’d been the latter instead of the former, I would’ve had a much, much harder time not telling the geezer to shove his Rapture up his stink-hole.
After pontificating for a bit, he ended with, "I just want to make sure I see you in Heaven," or something of the like. I politely thanked him, excused myself, and walked back to the kitchen. Every single time I went back to the table before they finally paid and left, the old guy tried to talk about nothing but Jesus.
Now, off the clock, I don’t mind a good random discussion about religion with a total stranger, unless the person is obviously deranged or carrying a weapon of some sort. Hell, that’s the sole reason why I seek out these conversations online, because I don’t have enough random people trying to have earnest discussions about religion in my life.
Witnessing is different because there’s no discussion involved. It’s just someone telling you something and giving absolutely fuck-all about your opinion on the matter; or if they do give a fuck-all about your opinion, it's only because they automatically think that you're wrong. I’ve always seen it as arrogant and a little twisted, how the person giving "witness" is pretty much telling you that your life is worthless unless you’re living it exactly like their particular church tells you to.
But to witness to someone at work, on the clock, doing a job? That’s just fucking tasteless.
Again, I’m a plate-slinging monkey, and, true, a large part of the job does entail patter. But I don’t talk politics or religion with the customers. Ever. If they’re from somewhere I’m familiar with (and this being Myrtle Beach, everyone’s from somewhere else), we’ll talk about that, sports, music, the Myrtle Beach area, and whatever else complete strangers talk about. Most times, people want to know about me, since a majority of the vacationers are from the North or Midwest and are intrigued by my almost total lack of a Southern accent (which I lost years ago, oddly enough, without ever leaving the South).
But I don’t go up to an old couple while they’re eating sandwiches and start telling them about why the Bible is complete bullshit. I don’t walk into a place of business and engage employee or patron in a captive dissertation about the absurd and transparently man-made nature of "God." And neither should anyone else.
So, the old guy is lucky he tried to evangelize me on the clock. If he’d met me at the gas station or as a customer in another restaurant, he would’ve had a witnessing challenge to pray on when he got home.
Then, to top off the Great Fundie Infestation of Ought-Seven, one week after the old guy’s unsuccessful witnessing attempt, a chick I work with came back into the kitchen with a little red booklet called something to the effect of "Have You Been Brainwashed?" that a customer had included with the tip.
I immediately said, "Oh shit! A Chick Tract? Which one? Which one?" because a Chick Tract is, as everyone knows, the only thing more depraved and hilarious than "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Lo and Behold, it was even better than some vintage Chick...
It was concerning lectures by Duane T. Gish, he of the aptly named "Gish Gallop," and dealt, predictably, with the supposed flaws of evolution and "proofs" of a literal Biblical creation.
"Gish? Are you fucking kidding?" I asked. "That guy’s about as sharp as a NERF ball. I bet I can tell you almost every argument he uses."
When challenged, I listed the Second Law of Thermodynamics, some lazy nonsense about the anthropic principle, and one or more of the former facets of evolutionary theory long proven false (like Piltdown or Haeckel). Sure enough, Gish’s poorly drawn little comic was all that and more. When everyone wondered how I knew that before even looking at it, I explained the obvious; "Because all these creationist hacks use the same tired arguments over and over and over, no matter how many times people refute them."
And the kicker in that final bit was that an otherwise mentally functioning human being is obviously under the impression that reading Gish’s stupidity will convince anyone of anything.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
JUMP CUTS: FRIGHTENING AND MOMENTOUS HARBINGERS OF SOMETHING OR ANOTHER...
I do the "goofy, laid-back, average worker" thing, not the "dependable guy who gets shit done and facilitates others in getting their shit done" thing; that’s an ill-fitting and itchy polyester leisure suit with a big collar and sequins, my friends.
-How about a semi-dramatic true-life story? My brother and I were watching a DVD at about midnight a few days back when we heard a loud "boom" from outside. Both of us immediately assumed that someone had been coming through the parking lot too fast and hit a parked car, so we dashed outside to have a look.
As it turned out, someone had hit the bridge in front of our place; the SUV sat smoking in the right lane on the bridge and, as of then, we saw no movement and heard no sounds from the vehicle. I ran inside to dial 911 thinking, as one would be wont to think in such a situation, that there’s a very good likelihood that someone got hurt. And, as my brother and I were aware, someone had died after hitting that bridge two years ago. I relayed the known information to the 911 operator (car hit a bridge, don’t know if anyone’s hurt, sounded bad) and went out to see if I could help in anyway before the emergency personnel arrived.
As I walked up to the bridge, I noticed my brother and another neighbor standing by. On the bridge a passing driver had stopped and was parked behind the crippled SUV which, considering how loud the crash sounded, didn’t look near as bad as I imagined it would. The front right quarterpanel and most of the hood were demolished, and the right front tire was almost crunched into the engine block. The air-bags were deployed and smoke was steadily wafting from the buckled hood.
The driver of the SUV, a teenage girl, was walking around, crying, and talking to someone on her cell; her boyfriend, from the sound of it. I had asked the guy who stopped, whom we will simply call "Guy," if the "Girl" was alright but went ahead and asked her anyway. She said "Yes" and, as she was walking around and didn’t seem to be in any pain, I just made sure she got out of the road. Seeing as how she was just walking around in the middle of the bridge, I feel that it was a smart move on my part. Unfortunately, the hysterical Girl kept repeating into the phone, "I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail." So, that disappointed me a bit.
On the side of the road, the Guy informed me, in hushed tones, that the Girl was obviously intoxicated. I sighed, "Yeah, no shit. At least she didn’t hit someone else."
The fire department was there in five minutes and, seeing that the girl was completely uninjured, called off the ambulance and got down to the business of setting flares, directing traffic, and trying to calm the Girl down.
The cops didn’t show up until over a half-hour later. By that time, I had retreated to a safe distance where I could watch the proceedings without being in the way. After quizzing the Guy and letting him go, they questioned the Girl and administered the sobriety test. She failed pretty handily so the cop threw the cuffs on and put her in the car.
It’s sad that the Girl had to be arrested because she was just a kid, probably still in high school, and she’s probably a good kid otherwise. But, still...
She fucked up. She’s lucky that she walked away and even luckier that no one else was involved. As it stands, her parents will probably bring down the Hammer of the Gods, but she’s damn lucky she doesn’t have to live with the knowledge that she paralyzed or killed someone.
And that was my fill of drama for the month.
-The greatest, most brutal heavy metal band on the planet, Dethklok, has released a new album, "Dethalbum." If you’re a fan of the show or the genre in general, you are required by the Infernal Black Laws of Metal to purchase this album and play it very loudly.
Of course, the master musician behind the show (and the excellent show "Home Movies"), Brendan Small, may have painted himself into a corner. With a popular show and an actual studio album, people are already clamoring for a tour. Time to find a live back-up band, Brendan. Just make sure Myrtle Beach is on the list.
-With the NFL season well under way and the NBA and NHL seasons on the horizon, I feel it’s time to address a religious practice that depresses the ever-living shit out of me.
Why do athletes (or anyone else for that matter) insist on giving God and Jesus all the credit when they do something good?
I mean, was God spotting you in the weight room all through high school and college? Was God helping you run corner routes? Was God helping you comb through game tape in preparation for a tough match-up? Was God sitting in the stands at every game (home or away) yelling, "That’s my boy!"
And isn’t attributing a win to God a little insensitive? While God was helping you reel in eight catches and two touchdowns, at an average of 19.3 yards a catch, was he turning a blind eye to say, the suffering of children in third world countries? Or is he just a multi-tasker with screwy priorities?
And what does that say about God? In his infinite, over-powering wisdom, which team does he follow? And who’s his favorite athlete? All of them? And more importantly, why would he give half a crap? You’d think the creator of the world would have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon. Like actually fucking helping people.
The religious should really have a bit more self-esteem and give themselves credit for jobs well done. You worked for it, you practiced, you wanted it bad enough to take it; stand up and say, flat out, "I earned this and I’m proud of myself."
If God wants any credit, let Him come forward and claim it His Goddamn Self.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
PRESENTING YE OLDE OLDIES EXPO! PT. I
A long time ago, I realized that striving for "normalcy in the eyes of other people" was a futile and, frankly, boring pursuit. It was much easier for me to embrace my idiosyncracies and unique interests and say "Fuck All" to whatever was popular at the time.
Of course, I’ve also taken certain aspects of my upbringing in stride...
Thus, since my parents were oldies/beach music/classic rock junkies, I also came to appreciate these genres (or basic classifications) in my own special way. Which is, of course, to stand atop the world and glorify them to the greatest extent of my powers.
And it’s funny how people my parents’ age (and older) seem amazed at how a black-clad, simultaneously-evil-and-goofy-looking, twenty-something-jackass can have such a comprehensive knowledge of and unconditional love for music made, in most cases, well over thirty years (and, in some cases, more) before he was born.
And, granted, I freak out, as well, when I meet people younger than myself (my funky brother excluded) who also have an anachronistic oldies obsession. But, granted further, people younger than myself are much more likely to have horrible musical tastes than those in their late-20's and above (generally speaking). I mean, anyone who’d rather listen to Justin Timberlake, Jet, or My Chemical Romance than, say, Stevie Wonder is in need of a violent and life-changing aural dropkick to the ears.
So, to help educate those with "musical deficiencies" and to bolster solidarity and enthusiastic discussion amongst those who are perpetually in the Groove, we shall provide a brief, intermittent list of classic songs and artists that have inspired and continue to inspire one Rev. J.J. Hull.
To begin, I submit one of my favorite songs that no one else I know has ever heard....
Wilson Pickett - Engine Number 9
They didn’t call my man "Wicked" for nothing. Take Wilson's throat-searing soul vocals, add in a nasty guitar line, some serious percussion (someone’s wearing a cowbell out), and a James Brown vibe, and you’ve got a cut that’s just as funky now as the day it was laid down.
And feel free to check out the rest of Wicked’s catalog. He simply refuses to disappoint.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE SEEN IN QUITE A WHILE...
Feast your ears and eyes upon "Albi the Racist Dragon," "If You're Into It," "Business Time," and "The Bowie Song."
All of the songs are brilliant, but the dueling Bowie impressions are inspired lunacy of the highest possible caliber. The HBO show is just as good, and the forthcoming album should prove to be even better.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
A NEW WEAPON IN MY MUSIC RECOMMENDING ARSENAL
We're talking free albums, here, people. A whole website that's a giant "Fuck You" to the RIAA.
To be clear...
I'm all for file-sharing, especially when it comes to music. The way musical fandom works is that some people are casual music-lovers (listening to the radio in the car, at work, or whenever anyone else is listening to the radio), and might buy albums or singles when they hear a song, artist, or group they really like. Generally, they don't broaden their horizons beyond the music they know.
Granted, the above designation describes a majority of the people on the planet, but contrary to popular belief in the upper-echelons of the music industry, the rest of the people are much more important.
The remainder of the population is like me; so devoted to music that they go out of their way to buy every album, see the bands live, and constantly try to spread the word.
Before Napster got big in the late-nineties (and got bought out), "illegal file sharing" was known as "lending a CD to your buddy."
The only thing that file-sharing networks achieved was allowing the "lending a CD to your buddy" concept to flourish beyond mere physical borders. In essence, downloading files from someone else is like that person letting you burn a custom CD from their own extensive music collection.
And, again, most often, the person that downloads songs is the same person that gets hyped up when a new album is announced. A friend of mine downloaded the latest Trivium album, "The Crusade," before it came out because he needed to hear it something awful. After listening to the bootleg copy for a week, he bought the actual album on the release date. When other friends (those who don't fucking get it) asked him why he would buy an album he already had, he just laughed (because he fucking gets it).
And the cats behind Soundpedia, evidently, also get it.
Where else can you hear every Radiohead album ever made? Check out "Amnesiac," if only for "Pyramid Song" and "Life in a Glass House." And "The Bends" is thoroughly kick-ass, as well (especially "My Iron Lung").
They also have a few Clutch albums. I weep for the absence of both "Blast Tyrant" and the newest album, "From Beale Street to Oblivion" (with the amazing "One Eye Dollar" and "You Can't Stop Progress"). They do have the entire "Robot Hive/Exodus" album, though. Every track is killer, especially "Gullah," "10001110101," and "Never Be Moved" (featuring the science-oriented line, "Hey, hey, hey, hey! Get your evolution on!").
And, to my semi-admiration, they have two full Cake albums; "Prolonging the Magic" and "Comfort Eagle." So you can listen to (from "Prolonging") "You Turn the Screws," "Where Would I Be?" and "Let Me Go." And (from "Comfort Eagle,") you can get down to the hard-ass "Comfort Eagle," the groovy "Meanwhile, Rick James," and the nasty-funky "Arco Arena." Unfortunately, no "Motorcade of Generosity," "Fashion Nugget," or full version of "Pressure Chief."
They've also got Faith No More's "Best Of" album, with "Stripsearch" (so gorgeous it almost makes me cry), "Evidence" (one of the smoothest songs ever recorded), and "Be Aggressive" (the only song in world to feature a common cheerleading theme and still kick copious amounts of ass).
The thing that permanently hooked me, however, is the inclusion of all three Mr. Bungle albums, especially "California." If you're even half as weird as I am, you'll fall in love with this album the very second you hear it (mainly "Sweet Charity," "Retrovertigo," and "Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy"); if you're slightly-less-weird, it might take a few more dedicated perusals.
So, please, enjoy the free music at your leisure, and be sure to continue to purchase all the good music you can.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
JUMP CUTS: THE SPIDERING
-On a more insectoid tangent, I’ve seen some gigantic mosquitoes here in SC. I don’t remember seeing many that big (mosquito hawks aside) in VA and, while I’m glad they’re not that numerous, they’re hungry bastards and, to borrow a choice phrase from an acquaintance, "big enough to fuck chickens." The best part is that I’m finally getting some smug revenge on the people who constantly bitch at me for never wearing shorts, no matter how hot and jungle-sticky it gets.
-I’ve been thinking about this line from Chroma Key’s "America the Video" as of late. "Lost my head in my hotel room when the ground shook/Had to choose between the Bible and the phone book." That’s a good way to deal with the whole "No Atheists in Foxholes" malarkey. Hell, I’ve come close to looking the classic personification of Death in the face (and hearing him talk in ALL CAPS) and never once did I rely on anything other than myself, other people, and the natural laws of the world which, in my case, have been rather forgiving. So far, at least. The same fervent believers who take seriously the "No Atheists in Foxholes" argument will, with regularity, go to the hospital when they are sick or injured, call the police when they’ve been wronged, and seek out professional help when the occasion arises. Sure, they might pray and petition for otherworldly intervention, but when the bad shit goes down, they all end up dialing 911 in case of emergency. (Unless they handle rattlesnakes in worship; but that’s a entirely separate and very special dimension of fucked-up.)
-Also, did you notice that the "No Atheists in Foxholes" argument abbreviates to NAiF? That, to me, is the very essence of appropriateness.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
8 RANDOM THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW IN THE FIRST PLACE...
I must post the rules or, evidently, Gorlock the Mighty, the Primordial God of Chaos, will rend the meat from my bones and play my intestines like a super-sized kazoo.
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
1. I’m highly allergic to cats and, for some weird reason, horses. I can’t even sit down in a house with more than one cat for more than an hour or so without some heavy-duty allergy medication and a stand-by inhaler. My entire respiratory system locks up like a beat-up AMC Pacer at the slightest hint of feline or equine. But I’m fine around dogs, which leads me to...
2. All dogs love me. Except for the ones trained to attack and kill anything that moves and the really mean ones. And I love all dogs, except for the ones trained to attack and kill anything that moves and the really mean ones.
3. Though I don’t believe in ghosts (and don’t really think I ever did) I’ve got better ghost stories than the people who really think they’ve seen or experienced paranormal activity. The "Ghost in the Window" story and the "Ghost Who Listens to Chicago" are particularly fun.
4. In 1988, when I was in fourth grade, I won an environmental awareness poster contest on the state level. I don’t remember exactly what I won, there may have been money involved (upwards to a Hundo), but I vividly remember the entire set of ‘88 Topps Baseball Cards I received. For a sports-loving fourth grader, that’s like hitting the fucking lottery.
My design was the Earth with bites taken out of the side, like an apple (with a little stem on top and everything), and the caption read "If we don’t start recycling and stop polluting, Earth will be eaten to the core." Not bad for a fourth grader, I thought. A few years later, when I was in middle school, my father decided to attend a work-related convention in Vegas and turn it into a family vacation.
In the Hard Rock Café, they had a series of shirts designed by musicians. Don Henley’s design was the Earth with bites taken out of the sides, like an apple, though it was drawn as a proper "apple core." It had no caption, and while I’m not accusing Henley of outright theft, it is a rather odd coincidence.
5. Everyone has their quirks; mine are, obviously, music-based. I tend to sing often and for no reason; if I happen to hear a song I know, singing is guaranteed. I also drum on anything with in reach, including my own body. I do this completely subconsciously and tend to annoy people with it very often.
6. I’m a moron. I’ve always like the phrase, "The more you know, the more you know you don’t know." And it’s true. I realized long ago that, no matter how much I learned, I would always only know an infinitesimal fraction of all the possible knowledge in the universe but, and this is the important part, I never let it hinder me.
So, I realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I’m just an average moron but I still try to accumulate all the knowledge I can. And I expect the same of everyone else. In my idiot opinion, that’s all anyone can do.
7. I'm a freak for bad weather. When I was a kid, thunderstorms scared the shit out of me, but once I finally outgrew the fear, I found that they were fun beyond measure. I enjoy nothing more than watching high-winds, driving rain, and brilliant lightning while listening to thunder so loud I can't even hear my own screams of elation.
8. I’m an aspiring screenwriter. This is evident in my propensity for writing bits in "faux-screenplay" format (I also find it’s easier to read long blocks of dialogue with names in ALL CAPS and the aforementioned dialogue below the character designation). I started writing movie and TV show scripts for fun in late-middle-school and early-high-school because, well, I’d watched a ton of cheesy movies on HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. And I’d also seen a ton of shitty movies in the theater, most of them produced by Jerry Bruckheimer or directed by Michael Bay (oftentimes both). I figured, "Hell, I can cook up a better story than this." I’ve been writing random shite for about thirteen years now, and I’m finally starting to take it seriously...
Now, I am compelled to tag others, but just about everyone I read on a regular basis has already participated, so if I think of someone, I’ll run up, slap them on the back, scream "Tag!" and dash away cackling.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
MY TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL PRICK FATHERS OF WOMEN I MIGHT WANT TO DATE
Though, granted, this can’t be directed solely to Mr. Giles since, obviously, I have no idea who he or his daughters are.
But Mr. Giles serves as a perfect example of the typical, over-inflated, self-styled "uber-male" who will attempt to conquer every female he can get his hands on (or into) until he creates a female from his own sexual desires and, suddenly, turns into a hard-ass prude. And notice how, in his article, he refers to his daughters (and, presumably, his wife) as "my ladies." I shall reiterate; "my ladies." They're not individual, autonomous people with their own lives who happen to be related to him. They are his. Or so he says. One can only hope he's talking about young daughters and will relinquish his iron-clad domination over them once they become adults.
And, though I don’t have any kids (and, unless I meet the perfect girl, will never have any), I can understand the general protective stance that a father (or mother) takes in regards to a child. But, come on...
Mr. Giles seduced and defiled someone else's daughter. And if he's gonna tell me that he and Mrs. Giles have only had quick missionary-position sex in a dark room and have only done so for specifically reproductive purposes, I’m gonna call "Bullshit" on his whole schpiel.
And if his sex life with Mrs. Giles really does encompass the above description, I’m gonna call "Lame Bullshit."
So, here are my commandments to all the self-righteous jerk-offs who have daughters and want to control their lives because they think that someone, somewhere, might be attracted to them. And keep in mind that all of these "men," not just Doug Giles, have sexed-up other men's daughters.
1. Thou shalt understand that, unless you're a decent guy to begin with and attempt to endear yourself to me as would do to you (as your daughter would undoubtedly wish), you are, essentially, meaningless. We live in a day and age where people can choose their own lives and destinies outside of their family’s influence. If your daughter and I are in love (or getting our mutually-consensual groove on), it has nothing to do with you. In fact, you’re lucky that she even told you about us.
2. Thou shalt keep your nose out of my business. I’ve got a life. I’m not a lawyer, doctor, politician, or (Apollo forbid) a conservative pundit on the Internets, but I make the loot, I've got some amazing friends, and I know how to show people a good time. And I make enough greenies to buy a lot of condoms.
3. Thou shalt get a fucking clue. If you think that your daughter and I have only discreetly held hands under the piercing gaze of a pre-approved chaperone, then you’re much more of a comedian than I wish I was. We weren’t in each other’s pants on the first date or anything, but we’ve done things. To each other. In your house. Probably while you were there.
4. Thou Shalt look me in the eye, shake my hand, and not give a flying fuck about my cell phone. (Cell phone? Is he an asshole? What if it’s an emergency? What if a friend or family member is sick? Is he gonna shit in my Cheerios because my brother got in an accident? Ass.) I can look you in the eye and shake all day long, but that ain’t gonna prove a thing. Charlie Manson could look you in the eye while he shakes your hand, will you let him date your daughter? And what the fuck does Snoop Dogg and MTV have to do with anything? I don’t listen to the former nor watch the latter. Are you gonna love me automatically because I prefer the History Channel over Comedy Central? Not all modern males below the age of 30 fall under your stereotypical designation of "modern males below the age of 30."
5. Thou shalt understand that the definition of a "man" is in the eyes of the beholder. Sure, you have a dick. So do I. You can grow facial hair. So can I. You can posture, and poke your chest out, and talk about how much of a fucking bad-ass you are. So can I. Your definition of "a man" is as meaningful to me as your definition of "hurklawdable." And, evidently, you are a neanderthal. At least, now, you know that we agree on something.
6. Thou shalt grow a fucking brain. I am neither liberal nor Democrat, neither conservative nor Republican. I was born and raised in the backwoods VA countryside by a "No Bullshit" father who could lift an engine block in each hand. And we ate meat, too. And (as if it matters) I was educated by brilliant college professors who would call you a "Pansy City Boy." And there’s nary a living soul on this planet who could even hope to program me. And you’re at the top of that list. You dig, "Pops?"
7. Thou shalt know that I don’t buy loyalty or affection. You talk a big game on everything else, but you’ll be cool with me when I buy you cigars? Damn, if I knew your daughter had a pimp, I would’ve never got involved with her...
8. Thou shalt know that "A joke is a joke." You've never told or heard a dirty joke? You don't get to drinking your Johnny Walker Blue with your golf or fishing buddies, or your old frat brothers, and tell a few? Fuck you, hypocrite; I bet you've got more than a few "nigger" or "faggot" jokes up your sleeve. And be careful of idle threats; your daughter might bring home an All-American linebacker or wrestler one day, one who's butt you couldn't even imagine kicking.
9. Thou shalt... Well... That one’s not so bad. I do keep my word and honor my promises, and I expect that of others. And I never welsh on bets. So, what’s your daughter’s number again?
10. Thou shalt know that... (1) I look the way I look. If your daughter was attracted to me when I was wearing ratty cargo pants and a metal t-shirt, then you should be just as happy with me wearing the same. For all you know, she thinks that I look good wearing shades. And nothing else. (And your racist caveats are both sad and comical, but mostly sad.)
(2) Motherfucker, I’ve been voraciously reading damn-near everything I can get my hands on (including encyclopedias) since I was in grade school. Prove to me that you can carry on a moderately intelligent conversation without being an asshole and I’ll show you that I can do the same. And, besides, what’s the literary criteria? Are you gonna disavow me because I’ve never read an Ollie North tome?
(3) Serve? Serve who? I might love your daughter, but I’m not gonna be your indentured servant. I mean, what? Will shoveling horseshit on your Texas ranch prove that I’m the man to plow your daughter? So, as long as I do the meaningless chores that you command me to do, I’ll be worthy of you daughter’s affection?
Shit, the simple fact that your daughter came from a man like you might just turn me away. Or was that your evil plan all along?
But, seriously, this Giles guy is really hung up on homos, "girlie men," anyone who identifies with hip-hop culture (especially black men), and anyone who doesn’t fit the whitebread, Southern, rural idealization that he holds so dear.
So, if you’re a Southern-born, rodeo-riding, Hay-Zeus-loving, conservative/Republican-crony who loves Bush and hates fags, blacks, and Hippie-Eco-Liberals, then go ahead and date the daughters of men like Giles. The very worst they could do is bluster you to death.
Monday, July 2, 2007
HOW THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN, PART II
So. Jonas. Said. To. Ari. “Of. Course. My. Daughter. Is. A. Virgin!”
Murray dips his feathered stylus into a bowl of ink.
And. Ari. Said. “Then. Why. Did. Saul. Hirschfelder. Say. That. He. Tapped. That?”
Murray dips his stylus again.
And. Jonas. Said. “Hey! That’s. My. Daughter. You. Son. Of. A...”
A bright light flicks on from above and Murray shields his eyes. This time he is able to speak...
Oh! Nice of you to show up!
The light dims a bit, so that Murray doesn’t have to squint. The voice of GOD still booms from everywhere.
You told me to sit right here and wait for you to dictate your laws. You told me that you’d be back in an hour. Well, I’ve been waiting here for a week and a half, and...
God cuts him off...
Whoa! Whoa! You do remember that you’re talking to God, right?
I don’t care if I’m talking to my great-uncle Shlomo! You said an hour and you lied!
Lied? Lied? I am incapable of telling lies, my friend. Maybe... Maybe time is different on this side.
Well, what kind of consideration is that? I’ve got a family to feed! I’ve had to ask my brother to help with my work! That’s embarrassing! Now he thinks that I’m a cripple, or an idiot, and he’s been moving in on my wives!
Hey, I... I’ve been busy. I’ve got an entire creation to lord over, after all. Not just Murray Abraham’s house.
And another thing! My parents won’t speak to me! They’ve disowned me! And they bring up a good point! Abra-HAM? Ham? You do realize that we’re Jewish, don’t you?
See, that’s the thing...
You’re Jewish now but... Well, I’ve got a plan.
What plan? I thought we were your chosen people. Wasn’t I chosen among the chosen?
Yeah... About that...
See... There’s been a... Change of plan, so to speak.
Oh my God!
I wasn’t asking you a question! I was venting!
Yeah, that’s gotta stop. Now. You can vent all you want, but don’t bring me into it.
But you’re the one who’s...
Ah! Ah! No! Curse your great-uncle Shlomo if you want, but I get a free pass. In fact, I might want you to write that down...
And don’t say that, either.
Why? Last time you decided to grace me with your presence, you said it!
Yeah, well... I’m saving that for later, too. Check this out. OK, you know how there’s all this evil all over the planet, right?
“Evil all over?” I don’t know about that. There are a few pricks here and there but...
Nothing but evil, everywhere I look. So, I figured, if people are so stupid that they aren’t gonna do good just for the sake of doing good, I’ve gotta give them a little push, right?
Murray stares up into the light, pauses, and gives the focal point of the light a critical look.
So, how about this? Perpetual torture.
God pauses, and Murray looks up into the light.
Though I don’t know why, I imagine you have a very smug look right now.
The smuggiest. Hear me out, now...
Why are you so smug? People are dying out here, horribly, and you're talking about "perpetual torture?"
If you’d shut the Hell up for a few seconds, maybe I’d tell you.
Murray sighs and waits.
Do you want to know?
Murray sighs again.
OK. Here’s the score. You know how you believe in me, right?
Shut up. So, I was thinking, since I want everyone to believe in me anyway, I might as well put a fire under their collective asses. Literally.
I don’t follow.
I just created this... Place. There’s a Lake of Fire, right? Not a puddle, not a pond, but a lake. A Lake of Fire. A big Lake of Fire. And lots of other terrifying stuff, too, like spiders and snakes and shit. And if someone doesn’t believe in me, or chooses to rebel against me for whatever reason...
Like the fact that you’re crazy?
Shut up! Have you not listened? Have you not learned? And I’m not crazy. You just... You can’t even begin to comprehend the majesty and omnipotence that is my superior being! So, shut up and stay shutted up!
Murray raises his hands as if to say, “Fine! You win!”
So, if people don’t like me for whatever reason, they go into the Lake. Forever.
Murray looks up into the light.
Are you smiling?
Don’t be daft. I don’t even have a mouth.
So, what you’re saying is that... If someone doesn’t fall in line with exactly what you’re saying, then you’ll make sure that they’re thrown into a Lake of Fire for... Eternity?
Sounds about right, yes.
Murray trails off. God waits.
Now what’s the problem?
Well... You haven’t really said anything. Except “Live long and prosper.”
Sorry! Sorry! “Be fruitful and multiply.”
So... What about those who follow whatever future laws you see fit to tell me?
What do you mean?
Well, you seem so hard-up to condemn those who defy you to a “Lake of Fire,” what’s in it for those who, I don’t know, actually agree with what you tell them?
But everyone will agree with me.
Murray pauses and puts his head in his hands.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that most people need an... Incentive to do things beyond the fact that they’ll burn in a Lake of Fire if they don’t like you. So, if we follow all your laws and such, that you’ve yet to dictate I might add, what then?
Oh... Well... How about the opposite of a Lake of Fire?
A Lake of Water?
No, jackass! A... A place where you can do whatever you want and be happy forever.
Murray perks up.
Can we have sex?
Uh... Hm... I don’t know...
Oh, come on! That's one of the only things we have to look forward to! If we're not tilling the fields or hunting our food or singing fun songs, we want to... You know...
We’ll see. Until then, just push the Lake of Fire. Call it... Hell... Uh...
God trails off and pauses. Murray prompts him with...
Call it Hell?
Whatever. And I’ve got another idea on deck...
Oh, I can’t wait.
I’m gonna call it, “Original Sin.” It’s a doozy.
I don’t doubt it.
Give me a few days to work on it.
I should sit here for a few months, then?
Oh, ha. Just hang tight, Abraham. When I work out the details, I’ll summon you.
So... Can I actually leave the shack, or should I just sit here.
Ah, go ahead and leave. I can track you down if I need you.
Thanks, I guess.
You’re welcome. Peace.
The light blinks off. Murray growls...
Why does he keep saying that?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
HOW THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN
An old man, MURRAY, sits in a tent. He is writing on a scroll of parchment and speaking along with the words.
And. Then. Gladys. Puked. On. My. Goat.
Murray dips his feathered stylus in a bowl of ink.
So. I. Said. "Gladys! Why. Did. You. Puke. On. My. Goat?"
Murray dips his stylus again.
And. She. Said...
Before he can continue, a light flashes on from above him. Murray glances up into the light, shields his eyes, and can’t speak.
A booming voice, the voice of GOD, comes from everywhere.
Are you Murray Abram?
Murray takes a second to answer.
Good. My name is... Um... Well...
God trails off into mumbling.
I’m sorry? What was that?
Well, some people call me El Shaddai. But, then some call me Jehovah. And some call me Yahweh. Then, in the distant future, some will call me...
I’m sorry, again. I just... What are you?
I am your God.
See, we’ve got a few, so...
No! No you don’t! You only have one, and I’m Him!
Yes, really! Am I not speaking to you from a beam of light?
You’re damn skippy! Now, where was I...
You’re my God?
Yes. I am. I am that I am.
Murray starts to say something, then stops.
What was that?
I’m sorry, it’s just... What does that mean?
What does what mean?
"I am that I am?" It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like saying, "A tree is a tree."
Oh, don’t be stupid. I am that I am because I am. I’m, like, everything. I’m you, a little bit. Except not so questiony...
So, you created me?
In a roundabout way.
I’m sorry, what?
Why am I here? Why did you create me?
Oh, well, I... You know... I, uh, created you for a purpose.
To... Live long and prosper.
To live long and prosper? Hey, sounds good to me.
No, wait! How about, "be fruitful and increase in number." I’m gonna save the other line for later.
So, is there anything else?
Um... You’re the one who came to me.
Oh, I didn’t just come to you, I... I chose you.
To... To spread my word.
But all you’ve told me is that I’m chosen and you want humanity to, I’m guessing, have a bunch of sex.
I didn’t say that! When did I say that?
"Be fruitful and multiply?" Yeah, sounds like sex to me...
Fine, sex it up, then. Just, here’s the thing. I want you to...
God stops. Murray waits.
Yes? Um, Mr. God? Sir?
I’m sorry, I had to let my dog in. Look, don’t worry about what I said before. Oh yeah, and your name is Abraham now.
How about "Because I’m God."
But my mother will kill me!
You want I should bump her off for you?
No! She’s my mother!
Then deal with it. Look, just sit here and wait for me to contact you. I’m gonna be dictating my ultimate message of authority and whatnot and so forth.
But... But why do I have to write it down? Can’t you...
Stop. Just... Just stop. Let me reiterate. I... Listen carefully now. I am God. I am telling you to sit here and write things down for me because I am God. What am I?
Who am I?
Murray pauses. God does the same. When Murray speaks, God cuts him off directly...
Because I don’t have freaking arms! OK? No arms means no hands which means no writing. Just do it, OK?
Is that all? If it’s not, make it quick, I’ve got a city about 40 kilometers north of here that needs to be destroyed, so...
Well, there is one thing...
Could you tell Gladys to stop getting drunk and puking on my goat?
So shall it be.
No problem. But, when you continue writing, you’ve gotta cut the part about puking on a goat.
If you say so.
Call it editorial oversight. Be here in an hour. I might want to dictate some laws or something.
So... Hey, take it easy.
Same to you. God.
The light blinks off. Murray looks up to his normal ceiling, then looks around. When he realizes he is alone again, he shakes his head...
Of all the gods in the world, I’ve gotta get the crazy one.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I am thusly rated...
Mingle2 - Online Dating
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
The list is funny until it gets to the last item, then it gets asinine.
Holy fucking murder-pain-hurt shit! I said "Gay!"
Aaaah! I said it again!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
THE END IS PERPETUALLY NIGH
Not surprisingly, I was greeted with the vacuous Glenn "Fuckface" Beck and decided to see what sort of tripe he was prattling on about. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that his topic was "The End of Days?" and his guests were none other than Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the professional doomsayers and amateur human beings who wrote the eschatological "Left Behind" series of Fundamentalist Christian novels.
As he is wont to do, Beck proceeded to verbally fellate LaHaye and Jenkins with credulity, treating their visions of flying Christians, a "one world government," and the Antichrist as if they were talking about something as concrete as the GDP of New Zealand. I didn’t get to watch the whole debacle because my brother finally interjected with, "If you don’t change the channel, I’m gonna put this liquor bottle upside your head."
The whole "End Times" thing has always fascinated me, not because I believe any of it, but because so many other people believed and still believe it. Back in my Christian days, I was lucky enough to belong to a church that never discussed such things, so I never gave any serious thought to the Rapture, the Antichrist, or any of that jive.
And, for further clarification, this rant isn’t directed at a majority of Christians, the ones who take a more progressive view of the Bible and eschew all this Apocalypse craziness. The religious folks I’m friends with laugh off the "End Times" as fantastical malarkey, and rightly so. This is solely directed at the assholes who believe that Revelation is a literal version of true future (or present) events.
What these literalist Christians don’t realize is that we’ve been living in the "End Times" ever since before the man called Hay-Zeus supposedly walked the Earth. Hay-Zeus was, if anything, an apocalyptic preacher (he believed he was living in the "End Times"), as were his followers, as were their followers, as were blah-blah-blah-yakkity-schmakkity right up to the present day. The problem with all this "The End is Nigh" talk is that, so far, it’s been all smoke and no fire and, if I may employ my own acute powers of prognostication, it will continue to be so.
The very concept of the "End Times" is like Fundie porn; or, more accurately, the "Grandpappy of All Snuff Films." Of course, the uber-faithful see it as the greatest possible thing that could ever happen; the good people fly up to Heaven, those "left behind" have to convert or die, Hay-Zeus comes out of the sky to slaughter everyone else, and this horrible, awful, sinful planet is turned into some kind of "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" paradise where, presumably, people just sit there and love God all day. Or something. Because, see, the psychotic, ultra-violent, fever-dream/acid-trip "prophecy" in Revelation is, like all other "prophecy," kind of vague and completely open to interpretation (unless you’re one of those literalist schmucks). In fact, the only specific prophecy I can think of is found in a book called "Good Omens," which is much more interesting (and better written) than the Book of Revelation.
Of course, LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that we are living in the "End Times" because, I don’t know, the world is a crazy place and people are fighting wars. And "them damn gays" want to marry. And Richard Dawkins is a best-selling author. And whatever else they don’t particularly agree with is happening somewhere, maybe, possibly, and they sure as shit don’t like it. So they long for the day when a majority of the world’s population will perish in a horrific battle while they sit on a cloud in Heaven and look down on the damned with smug grins.
In keeping with his propensity for unmitigated insanity, LaHaye (who looks like a cross between a slimy used car salesman, Ron Popeil, and the Crypt Keeper) also believes in the Illuminati. Got that? The fucking Illuminati. He thinks it’s some kind of liberal conspiracy, which fits in perfectly with his "one world government" deal, so he can point to an invisible enemy and yell, "See! One World Government! They run the United Nations! If a Democrat is elected president, the Seventh Seal will be broken! Massachusetts is Megiddo!"
So, the moral of the story is this. LaHaye, Jenkins, and their ilk are amusing in some respects but... Anyone who actively seeks the abject destruction of our planet and cares little about the eternal torture of well over a billion people is someone you should always keep a very wary eye on. Oh, and Glenn Beck sucks, too.
And here's a little something for people who are constantly looking for the Number of the Beast.
Friday, June 15, 2007
THE BEST THING TO COME OUT OF BELGIUM SINCE THOSE WAFFLES...
One of these is the Belgian act Hooverphonic, a trip-hop/pop group fronted by the sexy and sulty Geike Arnaert, who has, as far as this guy right here is concerned, one of the most beautiful voices in music today. They have a new album coming out this fall (Glee!), so, until then, here are a few select cuts...
Club Montelpuciano (From "Blue Wonder Power Milk")
Gorgeous! From the simple, ascending chimes to the James-Bond-Like guitar line, it's the kind of song that makes people involuntarily sway from side to side. As Ron Burgundy would say, "This is baby-making music."
One (From "Jackie Cane")
Another flowing, easy-going song that should serve as a template for all the other pop bands out there. A great beat, some more of that trademark "Spy Guitar," and, unlike a lot of other pop songs I've heard, amazing back-up vocals. How often do you listen to a song and sing the back-up vocals instead of the lead?
Vinegar and Salt (From "The Magnificent Tree")
This song is a bit slower, with a delicious piano, and it really lets Geike loose to show off her pipes. Lovin' that chorus...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It's been an interesting season, albeit with lots of stupid Reality TV-type BS (which most people who watch the show could give half a shit about), and the most exciting, vicious, and enterprising fighter we've seen thus far has been 22 year old Joe Lauzon.
In his fight against Brian Geraghty, Joe put a little ground and pound on him and, when Brian managed to get out of it and stand up, Joe jumped on his back like a nimble and violent monkey and choked him out.
My man is a beast, a goddamn monster.
But Joe's also a hep cat. He's not a cocky fuck like a few other pricks who've been on the show and, outside of his fighting life, he's obviously an intelligent, stand-up guy. The kind of guy who would kick your ass only if you really fucked with him.
So, now you know that Joe Lauzon is going to be a fighter to watch. And knowing is half the battle.
UPDATE: Well, he lost, as did his teammate, Gray, both of whom I predicted to win their respective matches. C'est la vie, n'est pas? Oh, well. Look forward to seeing ya fight in the future, Joe.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
GOSH DARN IT TO HECK!
If that offends you, you might want to stop now. On second thought, keep reading; I might just learn ya something.
Signs of abject ignorance are, unfortunately, all too abundant in our fair country. Presidential candidates dismiss evolution as if it’s the Loch Ness Monster; the general populace would rather vote for "American Idol" than keep up with politics or world events; smarmy "journalists" spew their unqualified opinions as hard facts.
One of the longest running bits of insanity, one that still infects people to this very day, is the notion of "bad language."
For the purposes of clarification, we’re not talking about the simple concepts of manners, tact, and cordiality. Even those of us who cuss like angry, drunken sailors are decent enough to refrain from doing so in front of people we’ve just met, people we barely know, or people that we, for whatever reason, don’t want to anger or upset. Most times, at least.
For example, I don’t cuss around my grandmother because, well, she’s my grandmother. I love her and respect her and, since she (for some reason) doesn’t want to hear "bad language," I honor this simple request.
That doesn’t mean I agree with or even fully understand this moronic societal aversion towards words which are, essentially, synonyms for other words, phrases, and concepts we use all the time.
I was brought up knowing about "bad" words and was instructed never, ever, ever to say these words. When I asked why these words were considered "bad," I was given the standard answer any parent gives when they either have no idea what they’re talking about or simply don’t want to discuss the issue; "That’s just the way it is."
That was never a satisfying answer for me, especially after I heard my father say "motherfucker" for the first time. I understand that that’s just the way my parents thought; they raised my brother and I in the only way they knew how, in the way they were raised. Since they were told not to indulge in the "bad" language, they taught their own children as such. Of course, once they got older, they cursed whenever they felt like it, so... I see where the initial idea comes from but I still think it’s a steaming wok of shit.
Language is one of the main things that set us apart from the other animals, the catharsis that set into motion the entirety of human society and culture. It is, quite literally, the most useful of all human inventions.
So why do people insist on handicapping our greatest tool for no good reason?
Take "fuck," for example. Though we ingenious moderns have pushed the boundaries of the word "fuck" into every conceivable grammatical or contextual use, the primary meaning of "fuck," the one everyone thinks of first (because you’re all dirty and sinful) is "sex." But, somehow, referring to the act as "fuck" is worse than referring to it as "sex."
If I was on Nancy "Hyper-Bitch" Grace’s poor excuse for a "news show" discussing some lurid murder trial where a husband was murdered by his wife’s lover, I’d be hard pressed to avoid mentioning sex. So, I could say, "Yes, we believe that the wife and lover had been having sex (or the more acceptable "sleeping together") for four months before the murder," and no one would flinch. But if I say, "Yes, we believe that the wife and lover had been fucking for four months before the murder," I’d be chastised and, most likely, levied a hefty fine.
It’s ridiculous. Everyone knows "shit" as a substitute for "feces," "poop," "crap," and other scatological designations. I understand that this taboo comes from some kind of weird human embarrassment of natural bodily functions, so why should one synonym for feces be more socially acceptable than another?
Similarly, how can one word for "feces" be more disgusting or unacceptable than another? We are talking about shit, after all, and no matter where it comes from or what you call it, it’s still shit. So how is "shit" worse than anything else?
Even small children are affected by ignorant adults who insist on foisting their ignorance on those who are already (through no fault of their own) ignorant enough. A small child saying, "I have to go poopy" is cutesy; often the adults will laugh about it and say, "Oh, little Billy has to go poopy!" But if Little Billy says "I have to take a shit," he can look forward to a mouthful of soap, an assful of paddle, or some other form of physical or mental punishment. Why? It’s just a fucking word!
Most people who are anti-profanity are not only ignorant but highly arrogant as well. The most-used sentiment I’ve heard from this group is, "People who use bad language aren’t as intelligent as those who don’t."
To that, I can only offer a hearty and robust "Horseshit!" In fact, I’d argue the exact opposite.
Those who believe in such a thing as "bad language" are doing nothing but unquestioningly obeying things they were told. Nothing more. These people were taught that "bad words" shouldn’t be said and, like the good little sheep that they are, they don’t dare utter (Gasp!) a word that someone else said was bad. And these are, usually, the same people who try to use the, "Well, if your friends jumped off a bridge" argument and skip gleefully and obliviously over the irony.
Critical thinking is often discussed under the auspices of science and skepticism, but it should be applied to these sort of common sense issues as well.
The stark-naked facts of the matter are that no human being, dead or alive, could or can provide a single reason why "bad" language is actually "bad." No one can even come close to offering a common sense reason as to why the concept of profanity even exists, much less why we shouldn’t say these words.
"So," the prudish killjoy may ask, "why say them?" Well, here are our profane reasons, shitheel...
A. For emphasis. If you say, "Someone’s a jerk," they’re a jerk. If you say, "Someone’s a fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard," they’re a fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard. One of these is mild, the other denotes a more scathing tone.
B. For humor. Using the above example, calling someone a "jerk" might be apt but it doesn’t... It doesn’t pop. It has no cadence. There’s no delivery involved. But call someone a "fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard" and you might get a chuckle. Do it with a great Bronx accent and I guarantee someone will laugh. Do it with perfect delivery and in the proper context and you’ll kill...
C. Why the fuck not? Language is like a living thing in that it evolves over time, on a micro and macro level (for you creationists and intelligent designers), and does so constantly. We introduce new slang, lingo, and colloquialisms on an almost daily basis, and who’s to say that today’s benign terms won’t end up being tomorrow’s vulgarities, or the other way around? Besides, language is meant to be used, else it wouldn’t have ended up in our lexicon in the first place.
D. Your taboos and superstitions have no power over intelligent, rational human beings. Once again, unless you can make any convincing argument for profanity actually being a bad thing, we ain’t buying what you’re selling. We’re not your children to brainwash and boss around. If we want to say a word, we’ll fucking say it. Fucking proudly.
E. It pisses you (the prudes and morons) off. If all it takes is a throwaway "fuck" to get you riled then, hey, "Cry me a deep fucking river." Because, seriously, adult humans shouldn’t be stupid enough to believe that a word is "bad" or "cursed."
We’re talking about words. Words! Remember that "sticks and stones" expression? Sure, it’s a cheesy saying, but it’s also true. "Words will never hurt you." Unless you’re really fucking sensitive. Or an asshole. Or a really fucking sensitive asshole.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
CHAD JOHNSON: MAN AMONG HORSES
Of course, they gave him a head start but... Hell. We humans will take what we can get.
To further complete the total domination of the animal world, Chad will next...
-Fistfight a bear.
-Headbutt a ram.
-Wrestle a silverback.
-Punch Chuck Liddell in the junk.
-Bite a shark in half.
-Out-soar an eagle.
We must all begin worshipping him now. When the despotic alien warlords invade our fair planet, he will be our only hope.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
WALTER WILLOUGHBY VS. TUCKER LEE THOMPSON
What my fellow actors ("Big Up Yourself" to P.T., Lambo, and Ty) and I had concocted was a frenetic, free-flowing, sketch-comedy-type show. It was to feature crazy original music, musical-theatre-parodies, absurd sketches (including a Satanic creative writing seminar), and other bits of random comedy. The fabled "Fourth Wall" was virtually non-existent (like "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged") and we even had some weird, existential bits like a lengthy introduction/disclaimer for a scene never intended to be performed.
A running gag throughout the production featured two fictional candidates campaigning for the mayorship of a fictional city in Virginia. The fake campaigns were to comprise a multimedia extravaganza, with fake posters all over the theatre, college, and town, a slide show accompanying a dramatic voice-over, and, in the end, an actual debate between the candidates which would quickly devolve into petty name-calling and slander.
Just because I always thought they were amusing and they will likely never be performed, here are the first ads from each candidate...
WALTER WILLOUGHBY AD, #1
(The projection screen is blank. A faint instrumental version of "God Bless America" plays.)
(A stereotypical "rich white guy," WALTER WILLOUGHBY, in a conservative black suit and blue tie, walks to center stage.)
(SLIDE: "WILLOUGHBY ‘05.")
I’m Walter Willoughby, and I approved this ad.
(WILLOUGHBY leaves. An ANNOUNCER comes over the PA; he sounds like the guy who does every movie trailer, just a bit softer and more reverent.)
(As the ANNOUNCER narrates certain things in VOICE OVER, corresponding slides are projected...)
Walter Willoughby has served the public as a prosecuting attorney...
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY lectures a jury; he wears the same suit and tie.)
A health and physical education teacher at Madison Falls Middle School...
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, standing in front of a class of kids, uses a yardstick to point to posters of male and female genetalia taped to a blackboard; he wears the same suit and tie.)
And the chairman of a children’s charity, "Kidz Be Ballin’", which provides culturally-significant sports equipment to underprivileged, inner-city, non-white youths.
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, shooting a sky-hook, plays basketball against a group of young black kids less than half his size; he wears the same suit and tie.)
(The strains of "God Bless America" transition into a darker, more menacing instrumental.)
(SLIDE: Another man, who looks similar to WILLOUGHBY, TUCKER LEE THOMPSON, wears an identical suit with a red tie instead of blue; THOMPSON also wears elbow-length, yellow rubber gloves and a surgical mask pulled down below his chin. He holds a vacuum cleaner extension in one hand and gives a "thumbs up" with the other; he looks to be caught in mid-laugh.)
(The ANNOUNCER takes on a darker, more accusatory tone.)
His opponent for Mayor of Madison Falls, Republican Tucker Lee Thompson, works in abortion clinics for fun.
(SLIDE: "VOTE WILLOUGHBY: ABORTIONS AREN’T FOR FUN.")
(SLIDE: "PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF FAMILY VALUES FOR WALTER WILLOUGHBY")
And now, the other side of the race...
TUCKER LEE THOMPSON AD, #1
(The projection screen is blank. A faint, instrumental version of "America the Beautiful" plays.)
(Another "rich white guy," TUCKER LEE THOMPSON, in a conservative black suit and red tie, walks to center stage. He greatly resembles WILLOUGHBY in mannerisms, demeanor, and accent.)
(SLIDE: "THOMPSON ‘05.")
I’m Tucker Lee Thompson, and I approved this ad.
(THOMPSON leaves. The same ANNOUNCER comes on and treats THOMPSON with the same reverence once reserved for WILLOUGHBY. Once again, corresponding slides are projected with the narration.)
Tucker Lee Thompson has aided his community as the Dean of the Stonewall Jackson Military Academy...
(SLIDE: THOMPSON salutes a line of teens in military school uniforms; he wears the same suit and tie.)
A volunteer at the Madison Falls YMCA...
(SLIDE: THOMPSON floats underwater with a few kids in the background and gives an enthusiastic "thumbs up;" he wears the same suit and tie.)
And president of the non-profit Spragen-Michner group for underprivileged, inner-city, non-white, mentally challenged, bedridden children.
(SLIDE: THOMPSON performs a crappy sock puppet theater for a sickly-looking black kid in a hospital bed; he wears the same suit and tie.)
(The strains of "America the Beautiful" transition into the same dark instrumental played during the WILLOUGHBY ad.)
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, wearing his black suit and blue tie, holds a blender in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other. An adorable kitten sits in the blender; WILLOUGHBY seems caught in mid-laugh.)
(Again, the ANNOUNCER takes on a darker, more accusatory tone.)
The Democratic candidate for Mayor of Madison Falls, Walter Willoughby, drinks kitten margaritas.
(SLIDE: "VOTE THOMPSON: NO KITTENS IN MARGARITAS.")
(SLIDE: "PAID FOR BY FAMILIES FOR FAMILY VALUES FOR TUCKER LEE THOMPSON.")
Friday, June 8, 2007
ANGELIC BEINGS DOING MUNDANE THINGS
Wow! Angels! Legions of them! And they help us with specific things in our lives, even things that have no real bearing on anything else at all!
I have much in common with the Angel Lady; for instance, we both offer good, clean, family fun. And like the Angel Lady, I, too, enjoy making shit up. So, here are some of the pertinent angels for modern living...
Julius, Angel of Bad Stand-Up Comedians: Entire set consists of jokes about Britney Spears not wearing underwear and Paris Hilton in solitary.
Mervin, Angel of Console Video Game Systems: Causes your $500 Xbox 360 to die six months after purchase. Somehow, keeps your Sega Genesis running to this day.
Mary, Angel of Advertising and Marketing: Has an open disdain for stupid people, i.e. "you."
Edward, Angel of Misogyny: Wonders where his goddamn dinner is, why you can't fix yourself up every now and again.
Will Wheaton, Angel of Nerditry: Big on the Internets. Tends to kick ass. Was on some sci-fi show.
Herman, Angel of Reality TV Shows: Next season's biggest hit, "My Baby Wants a Sex-Change."
Laura, Angel of Punditry: Contends that everything you've ever believed is wrong. Can prove it using only appeals to emotion and uncompromising smarm.
Caroline, Angel of Performance Art: Spends an hour and a half inside a glass cube humping a medicine ball while reciting the owner's manual for an '87 Ford Escort in German.
Marshall, Angel of Basketball: Hopes you brought a number two pencil, bitch, 'cause he's 'bout to take you to school. Face!
Tommy, Angel of Animal Rights: Eats dolphin-safe tuna. Throws paint on fur coats. Wears leather shoes.
Henrietta, Angel of Recreational Drugs: Can hear colors, pluck the stars from the sky and eat them. Also, thinks you're pretty fucking rad.
Morgan, Angel of Elective Surgery: Has calf implants, tail.
Roger, Angel of Skateboarding: Can totally gnar-dog that death gap, brah.
Lorraine, Angel of Angry Feminists: Hates men. Hates women who like men. Hates gay men because they like men. Really hates Manfred Mann.
Remember, the angels are all around us; they shadow us and help us decide our destinies, or some such shit. So, keep on the lookout for these winged harbingers of triviality and thank them for, I don't know, prying the lid off a jar of dill strips or helping you pick the perfect set of matched luggage.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I HEART HEART
I know a fair amount of older folks, in their 40's and such (older than me, don’t get sensitive), who are also music junkies, and I’ve gotten an eerily consistent answer from them when I ask "What’s the best live band you’ve ever seen?" Surprisingly, most of them say, without hesitation, "Heart."
Even the guy who works at the convenience store down the road admitted, "They’re the best bar band the world has ever seen."
Unfortunately, I was born a bit too late to catch the most classic of the classic rock bands in their respective primes. I’m forced to either catch the husks of once-great bands (the present Skynyrd touring line-up) or live vicariously through those who were actually there.
I know people who saw Zeppelin, the Who, the Stones, and other such legends. And all of these people, save for one (who never saw Heart live), agree that Heart was a better live band. It’s not so amazing to me, really, because Heart is a versatile, fun, and supremely riffy band, I’m just amazed that people who live and die by that little mouth with a tongue hanging out will flat-out say, "Yeah, Heart would blow them off the stage."
Heart - Bebe Le Strange (From "Bebe Le Strange")
This is a great cut all around, but the guitar line could teach more than a few bands how to turn a simple riff into a perfect, borderline-metal hook.
And, might as well get it out of the way. Yeah, I’ve got a thing for Nancy Wilson; always have, always will.