Sunday, December 31, 2006

SIS # 7

It's the end of the year and perhaps you're expecting some important message, or words of wizdom for the future?....Nope, just regularly scheduled programing. I did all my recap- sentimentality over the past few days remember? Now it's on with the show.

the limits of respectability

chapter seven - asshole to the armpit


Journal entry- Day 7- Space paid everyone $50 less because of Magic’s train ticket. By the time I finish sending money home to Lorraine I won’t have much left to live on. I’ve already been digging well into my food trunk this week. Wally better find a girl to feed us all or I’ll have to get Doc to give me an advance on that meal. We are almost finished loading the truck and soon we’ll be heading toward our next job, our tour’s namesake; Nasty Tree. I can’t contain my angst.

I found Space sitting in the passenger seat of the Ghost counting out money for the agents, equipment rentals, and gas. “Fuck, Space why couldn’t you book something else like the Jolly Roger? It’s only an hour further.”

“Remember last tour when you said.....how did you put it? Oh yeah, playing there was like singing into the asshole of the world. Be thankful I listened to you Sparky. We’ll do Nasty Tree instead.”

“So instead of singing into the asshole, I sing into the arm pit. Not really worth the trade up in my opinion.”

“When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you. Next week’s gig got blown out so I’m doing us a favor. We need money since we had to send Magic home
and— ”

“— Whose fault is that?”

“Would you rather perform in darkness Sparky? Working Nasty Tree will give us two weeks in this area and save us on gas. It will allow our new light guy to get here quicker and familiarize himself with the sets. When did you lose your capacity for reason? Now, don’t question my authority again.”

“Or you’ll what? Ship me home like Magic— or Skunk?”

Space stopped momentarily as if contemplating a comeback, then returned to counting the money and ignored me completely. I also decided I’d said enough and hopped into my usual spot on a mattress behind the driver-seat.
The thumping and scraping behind me ended as the last of the smaller cases were loaded and the doors swung shut with a bang cutting off daylight. The rest of my band-mates filed in one at a time. Doc, Wally, Thumper and finally Wires who gave the trailer attachment one final check before joining us. He wiped the dirt off his hands and searching for a cigarette before he engaged the engine and slowly pulled the Ghost forward, out from the parking lot of the hotel and into traffic.

“I’m catchin’ up to you Space. I got two points last night.”

“So what, Wally. It’s three to two. You’ll be eating my dust soon enough.”

“What are you guys talking about?”

“A competition, Thumper. The guy who bags the most chubs by the end of the tour gets dinner bought by the loser.”

I muttered. “Christ, I only have to drink black coffee for a month.”

“What’s a chub?”

“It’s what these two call groupies, Thumper.” Doc said. “Could they be anymore derogatory?”

“What did we decide, Wally?”

Wally counted away on his fingers. “One point per chub. Two points for under nineteen. Two points for virgins.”

“We’ll be hard pressed to find virgins in these towns.” The two shared a laugh. Relationships to these guys were like band auditions. You had to go through a lot of them to find the right one.

“That’s low.”

“Hey Doc, we’re just trying to pass the time with a little wager.”

“Keep an eye on your wallet this time, Wally,” Doc warned.

“At least til the end of the tour when it’s time to pay up, loser. Ahh, I can taste the steak already.” Space salivated as he stuck his hands behind his head and reclined.

Thumper nudged me. “Do you compete with them in these games?”

“No. I like my women to have a pulse.” Although Space was tired of hearing from me, I decided to put in my two cents anyway. “And besides— I don’t think Nasty Tree is the place you want to be holding a competition of this nature or does memory escape you both?”

The truck rattle ominously as Wires navigated the on-ramp leading us to our next destination.

“I’m well aware of the situation Sparky! I don’t need you or anyone else telling me what I should, or shouldn’t be doing. We’re Bitter Romance now. No one there will make the connection. They’re too fuckin’ stupid.”

“If that’s what you want to believe— fine.”

Thumper was still interested in the subtle nuances of the chub rivalry, “Space, do you get points for large breasted women?”

“No. Wally wouldn’t concede to me on that one.” He shot me a scowl, then lightened his expression as he turned to Thumper. “But he doesn’t get points for women over three-hundred pounds either. So it evens out.”

Wally protested, “Hey!”

“Just as well, Space. Studies show that large breasted women are more intelligent than their small bosomed counterparts. I doubt that any of them would offer themselves up to your competition.”

“Where the fuck do you come up with this stuff Barlow?”

“My third cousin is a doctor in England. He’s been doing this study for years.”

“I’ll just bet he has.”

“His name is Dr. Louie Barlow. His friends call him Chaunsey.”

“Chaunsey Barlow?” Space rolled his eyes. “Why am I not surprised he’s a relative?”

“Perhaps the men are more stupid when they’re around big tits, so it seems the women are smarter?”

“What’s that? Wally logic?” Doc said. “You’re stupid around all women, so what’s the difference?”

“If it’s true, it’s not fair. Large breasted women already get everything they want.”

“Not from me they don’t Wally.” Space seemed quite pleased with his statement.

“Women in general are so lucky. I mean It’s not like any of us can walk into an office, drop our drawers and say, ‘Look at the size of my dick! I deserve the vice-president’s position.’”

I needled him. “Just the vice-president Wally?”

“You guys are such misogynists.”

“Mysogi-what, Doc?”

“Look it up Wally.”

I said. “They say there are more women then men graduating and getting higher positions in the work force. The day will come when they have all the high paying jobs.”

“Eighty-six percent more.”

“Thanks, Doc.— Then what are you going to do when they aren’t interested in your money because they have their own? Or they aren’t blinded by your potential success because they are successful? Why, Wally here, might even have to learn to cook for himself.”

Now Wally began to panic. “I can’t cook. I burn water.”

“Your reasoning is so fucked sometimes Sparky. It’s like your trying to change ways already set in stone. Like your trying to write a prequel to a dime store novel. Even so, in the meantime I’m just going to fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck and not worry about who I step on and crush. I have something they all want and I’m going to give it to them . . . in my own special style . . . and damn anyone who tries to get in my way, husband, jealous boyfriend, angry father . . . whomever.” He added a fake English accent to whomever to give it more juice.

There was silence and the trees began to whip past us by the roadside as Wires gained speed. Space spoke again, “Wires, you get Thumper in your room until the new light guy gets here. I need to keep an eye on Wally. Make sure he isn’t cheatin’.”

“No problem,” Wires responded between puffs.

“Besides, Thumper whines in his sleep all night. ‘Oh my wife. Oh my baby girl.’”

Thumper looked wounded by Spaces teasing. Wires sensing the insult cut deep, replied, “Yeah, it must really suck to have people in your life that love you and you love back?”

“He’s probably having nightmares about you guys and you womanizing ways,” Doc added.

“I’d be freaked too, if I knew there was a chance my little girl was going to grow up and meet guys like you two.”

“Thanks Sparky.”

“It was an insult Wally.”

“Don’t worry Thumper. Your little girl doesn’t have to worry about meeting me until the day she starts work swinging around a strip-club pole.”

Thumper whimpered, “Just leave me alone.”

“One day you’ll go too far Space.”

“Yeah, Sparky?— until that day...”

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Anniversary -part deux, (the spawning)

I would be remiss if I didn’t wish the Mayor of Mitchieville a happy Blogging anniversary for completing his second year and embarking into his third, even though he urinated in my poinsettia and wiped his muddy shoes on the drapes last time he was over. He came to deliver the standard Mayoral Christmas gift: A year long subscription to "Jugs and Giant Asses" and two tickets to the touring show of, "Dancing With the Stars/ The ones who didn't make the cut".

Now, technically, the blessed date is tomorrow, but as GIGC confirmed, I've always been known to blow my load early, so here goes....

The Mayor's a swell, yet demented, guy and is well thought of by many. I don’t who they are, but I assure you, they are many......just kidding ya big lug!

Many happy returns to you and you pony pal Fenris too. It’s been another amazing, side-splitting, year of laughter and memories from the Mayor's office to the manor.

One further note: Sorry they were all out of penis cakes that looked like the number two.



However, after thinking long and hard, --- no pun intended--- I decided it was preferable to the other cake they had.



Now, you too can make erotic baked goods for those special occasions.

Write to me to order your Strangedaze Erotic Penis Cake Pan.



Cost: $19.95 plus $8.00 shipping and handling fee.

Warning: Product does not actually exist, so may not arrive as ordered.

Best release of the year

First, let's hear it for the runners-up.













But here's my vote for best new release of 06.


And if your looking for something new to push out the old, may I suggest this week's new release: Moscow Nights- Popular Russian Hits.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Link in 06

Here are some of my favourite links from the last year.

What would Kevin Federline Do?
In fact, I was just there a few days ago and asked him the best way to go about squeezing every last cent out of my Ex and gaining custody of the kids. I have yet to get a response.

Digging up shit on celebrities.

Their shit may stink just like ours, but it's worth a hell-of-a-lot more.

Family Guy 24 in 24 seconds.

With another season of 24 around the corner, why not reaquaint yourself with this gem?

PG porn.

Haven't you always dreamed of porn you can show your kids?

Tourettes guy.

By far, my favourite link from last year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

YouTube Thursday?

I'm not in the habit of posting the U2bes on Thursday, I know, but last night I was watching the Funniest Ads for 2006. Although mostly amusing, I felt they missed their mark on top selection. In my opinion, this is the Ad that should have been #1. I laughed so hard, one of my testicles shot up into my body and I haven't seen it since.

Post age

Out of all the posts from 06, the Chuck Norris Mondays, the Weekly news and reviews you can’t possibly use, the reports on Pottahawk— I think that’s the entire year right there?— there were a few posts, that for me, stood out above the others.

These two spring to mind. What if GIGC had her own Blog and How I'd improve the Winter Olympics.

However, by far, my favourite was the Death becomes us post that took a fictitious look at the untimely ends of my close friend base if a death pool were involved.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The last picture show

Thankfully, Christmas is gone for another year and we can all look forward to the sweet retail deals in January. We can also find out just how much we were fleeced by buying the same item back in early December.

Although we should be looking forward, the next few posts are all about honouring the past and the year that will soon be history.

I would like to continue a tradition I started last year by presenting favourite moments from my Blog in 06.

Very funny. Don't think I don't hear you out there saying, "Really, I didn't realize there were any?"

I'd like to start with pictures. Although arguably you can make a strong case for any Pottahawk picture like this one.....




My selection for most memorable posted pic would have to go Godzilla Johnny Wad terrorizing Pottahawk.



Honourable mention: Val Kilmer as Bigfoot.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The chronicles of Sarnia

Looks like the Joe Wood household took my post about regifting a little too seriously. However, it seems you'll have to check it out at the source. It's just through the wardrobe and to the left.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Get your Dicken's Cider for Christmas

Ah Christmas morning. What could make this special occasion more memorable? Well....I'd really love a Dicken's Cider.

Why? because it's warm and smooth and make's me feel great. It's tradition. Why, I've had a Dicken's Cider every X-mas since I was about 16.

GIGC loves a Dicken's Cider on Christmas morning too. In fact, of all the people who have experienced it, I don't think there's one who doesn't love to have a Dicken's Cider anytime of the year.

Even my mother loves it, but thankfully she sneaks hers in the middle of the night and I don't have to watch her with a Dicken's Cider.

Sure there are those unfortunate poor souls who are so over excited at the prospect of having a Dicken's Cider that they actually spill it all over the place when they get it. But who can blame them? It's addictive. Once you have it, you want it all the time.

In the past few years my son has started to appreciate a Dicken's Cider and I'm sure he'll be having many more.

So from GIGC and myself I'd like to wish you all the best for the holiday season and hopefully you'll have a Dicken's Cider too.

SIS #6

the limits of respectability

chapter six - the magic is gone


Journal entry- Day 6— Wally is now rooming with Wires,so I don’t have to be concerned about hiding the contents of my food trunk. Wires has done an admirable job of performing both duties since Magic’s departure. The flash-pots are even working. Things are running smoothly. Too smoothly. Something’s got to give.

We had reached the end of our first week on the road without further incident. Even the matinee— which usually, for us, is running through the motions— was enjoyable. We had decided to play a practical joke on Wally. In the set there are a couple of songs where Wally played sax. On one such song he only played in the solo. There was a change from the key of A up a tone to the key of B. Instead of making the transition, the entire band, without Wally’s knowledge, agreed to loop back into the verse and remain in the same key.

We were well into the song and Wally was swaying from side to side which was funny enough. Wally doesn’t lack rhythm, but it always looks like his body is slightly behind the tempo and constantly trying to catch up. Wally put the reed to his lips in anticipation of his big moment in the spotlight and blew out a cool even B note while we remained in A. The discord caused several twisted faces in the audience and embarrassment for our saxophonist who believed he’d jumped the gun and gone into his solo early. From the foul look we all gave him, he believed he’d made the mistake. Amid stifled snickers we came around for another pass into the solo. Wally prepared himself. He blew out his cool even B and again we looped into the verse as the audience twisted their faces in disgust once more. Some even held their ears. We couldn’t contain our laughter any longer, the smiles were bursting through. Wally was on to our joke now. This time around he’d remain in A and show the audience he possessed real talent and was not somebodies mentally challenged brother who we’d let join the band out of pity. As the solo section came around for one final pass, Wally was primed for sure this time. He even moved to center-stage. The solo section came. Wally blew out his cool, even, A, while in unison, we just abruptly ended the song. Wally blew out a few notes and then tapered off to silence.

"The bands really tight but they should get rid of the retarded guy with no rhythm. He can’t play at all."

After our noon performance, I was on the phone for my weekly call home to my girlfriend Lorraine. She was extremely upset. Not because I was away from home, but due to our living arrangements. We had just moved into a basement apartment of a Jewish household and there was an on going cultural adjustment.

"— John, something’s going on here."

"What is it?"

Lorraine was the epitome of the nosy neighbor. "I...I don’t know." She related this to me in hushed tones, as if she were in danger of being discovered she knew too much. "They’re building a large wooden hut in the backyard. What should I do?"

Many thoughts went through my head. Was it an extension to the house? Was it a shed
of some kind, to keep and butcher small animals? My mind raced. I said. "Does it look like it can float?"

She hesitated, obviously lifting the corner of a curtain to give it a further inspection. "I...I’m not sure."

Over time I would find out the structure was called a Sukkah, built annually during the holiday of Sukkot, a festive, Thanksgiving, Christmasy holiday. In later years, I would see these structures everywhere as summer gave way to the onslaught of a fall nipping at the heels of winter. They’d encroach on sidewalks, drip off balconies, clutch to decks and patios.

Anxious for a response Lorraine pushed, "Johnny?.....Johnny?"

My facetious side was beginning to take over. With a tone of feigned seriousness I said, "Lorraine If they start collecting two of every animal, get the hell out of the basement!"

"Oh— ok." She was trying to make sense out of what I’d just said. "Should I pack?"

"What do you want from me Lorraine? I’m a hundred miles from nowhere. I’m not qualified to tell you anything. I’m not Jewish. If I was, then I could tell you it’s messed up without falling under scrutiny. But I’m not. So I can’t." I was frustrated. "Uh! Look. Just do your best to get along. It’s going to be a long tour and there’s nothing I can do from here anyway. Try to get used to their customs."

"I’ll try."

"Oh, by the way we had to send Magic home so I can only give you fifty bucks this week."

"Magic! Why? Was he sick?"

"More like Space was sick, so Magic had to go. I can’t really get into it now. I’ll talk to you next week."

"Oh— ok. Bye," she said, and thankfully hung-up.

*

Wires was in the coffee shop on the corner from the bar. It was one of those places akin to a time capsule. It hadn’t changed since its opening sometime in the fifties. The old Coca-Cola signs, the bulbous lighting fixtures and faded plastic cushioned booths. Even the waitresses all seemed to have their hair in beehives and chewed gum ceaselessly with open mouths.

Our sound-man was easy enough to spot. I just headed for the cloud of smoke. With the fart of my jeans on plastic, I sat in the booth across from him eyeing a half-eaten plate of fries on his side of the table.

"You gonna eat those fries or what, Wires?"

"Help yourself. You know you will anyway."

I grabbed a few and flung them into my open mouth before he could change his mind.

"You hear the news Sparky?"

"Magic coming back?"

"No. The next gig got blown out so we’re returning to Nasty Tree tomorrow instead."

I was horrified "What? We weren’t supposed to play there until the way back."

"Don’t worry. The bar is under new management."

"Don’t worry?— Don’t worry? It’s not the management I’m worried about Wires. You know that."

"I’m sure they’ve forgotten all about the last time we were there. Besides, we’ll be under a new name. No one will realize it’s us."

"I hope you’re right. I have an uneasy feeling about this.— At least Doc will be excited. What did Space say?"

"You know Space, it’s business first. He goes where the agents tell him and we follow."

"Yeah, like thirsty men following a camel into the desert."

Wires had his drawings spread out before him and amid sips on his coffee he was finishing a new creation.

"At least you have your doodles to deal with this stress," I said, pointing at his work.

"My drawings. Yeah. They help the boredom and it’s kind of like a journal of our tours. I can look back at this and tell exactly what was going on at the time."

I looked at his current masterpiece. It started off with our caricature’s faces expressing awe and captions of, "Awesome," and "Cool," in bubbles above our heads. In the subsequent frames there were a series of different mushroom-clouds always getting bigger, off the silhouette of a building, from the outskirt profile of a city and finally an aerial of North America. The final caption read, "I think we used too much gun powder." It made me smile and brought memories of our rooftop escapades flooding back.

"I’d like to see the one you did last time we were in Nasty Tree?"

"Didn’t do one. I was just happy to get the hell out of there."

"Weren’t we all? I can’t believe we’re going back. It’s too soon, Wires, even under a new name."

The waitress came to take my order of coffee to which I’d add double cream and double sugar.

"So when did you discover you had a talent for drawing?"

"When I found out I had no talent for music, I guess."

"Wires, I never new you had aspirations to be a musician?"

He finished his coffee, shaded the last mushroom cloud and set them both aside. "Oh yeah. I tried and tried but I just didn’t have the ability. I wanted in the worst way to be a guitarist. I was fascinated by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, all those guys. I guess it’s why I’m here. Trying to contribute in other ways."

Wires seemed sad and perhaps a little distant and I told him so. "You seem sad and
perhaps a little distant."

"I guess you could say, the magic is gone in more ways than one."

"But Wires these drawings...these caricatures...they’re really good. In fact, I think they’re excellent. We all laugh like hell when you show them to us. And you can fix things like no one I’ve even known. We’d still be prying moose off the side of the Ghost if it weren’t for you. You have to take inspiration from that. There is a plan for you. It’s just hidden right now. I feel the same way. But I know there is a reason I didn’t leave the band with Rooster. There is a purpose for why I’m still here, I feel it. Perhaps somewhere in the future you should consider getting back into music as a performer?"

"I don’t know Sparky. The drawings are all the creative outlet I need, and they keep me grounded."

The truth was, like Wires’ drawings, we all did things to keep us sane. Thumper lamented about his family, Wally ate, Doc exercised in an all-in-one silver-blue sweat suit. It made him look like he belonged in the movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still. He also liked to watch movies like, The Day the Earth Stood Still. I wrote in my journal and played practical jokes to save myself from boredom. Space fornicated and pontificated not necessarily in that order, and Wires . . . Wires had his drawings and liked to fix things. When you are playing in a town with only one main street, you’ve really seen all there is the first day, usually from the window of the truck as you drive into it. Now I was seeing the enigmatic Wires, who was generally quiet and reserved, also had a deep down desire to perform. God knows what untapped talent he had beneath his fragile looking exterior— a vein of gold waiting to be mined. I was intrigued and wanted to know more, but it would have to wait until another time. The waitress returned with another coffee and an order of Doc, as he squeezed in next to Wires. "Gentlemen. What say you?"

"Doc."

He rubbed his hands together gleefully. "So we’re returning to Nasty Tree? I can’t wait."

"I knew you’d be excited."

I took a drink of my coffee after my usual additions, set it down and proceeded to add more sugar. Doc watched me intently. Wires started work on another drawing.

"You know you’re ruining the taste Sparky. You should drink your coffee black. What’s the old saying? ‘Once you go black you never go back.’"

"I think that saying’s about sex, Doc, not coffee. Besides, black coffee! Ugh! Too bland. I don’t know how you stand it?"

Doc’s coffee arrived. He left it black. You’d think by the way he smelled it and savored the first taste he’d ordered an expensive Bordeaux extracted from the veins of the finest French grapes. "Sparky, the fervent flavor, the auspicious aroma, the odoriferous opaque . . ."

"Does everything have to have alliteration?"

"I’m just trying to make Sparky into a coffee connoisseur, Wires, that’s all. Release him from the bourgeois shackles of oil byproducts and sugar. Coffee should be in it’s own food group as far as I’m concerned. There’s so much to choose from, Kona, Chicory, Espresso, Mocha Java, Columbian French Roast, Guatemalan, Kenyan, Sumatran Mandheling, Ethiopian Moka Harrar— "

I interrupted, doing my best Marlin Brando from Apocalypse Now. "— The Harrar— The Harrar,"

"— and ahhh— the Jamaican Blue Mountain."

"The man knows his coffee Wires."

Wires inquired. "Jamaican Blue. Isn’t that the coffee they make from monkey shit?"

"No. You’re thinking of Madagascar and the Bamboo Lemur."

I screwed up my face. "How did we get from coffee to monkey shit?"

Wires shrugged as Doc continued talking. "The Bamboo Lemur doesn’t digest much of what it eats, Sparky, the coffee bean being one of them. Therefore, there are those who dig through droppings for those beans to make the celebrated Kouillou variety. I have an uncle, twice removed on my father’s side who picks those beans. Leroy Barlow is his name."

My face was still a prune. "That must give you incentive?"

"What I’d like to know— " Wires said, "— Is, who in their right mind was the first
person to try making coffee from monkey droppings? ...and don’t tell me it was Leroy Barlow, Doc."

"They also make an aperitif from elephant dung you know?"

Wires went back to his drawing. "I’m sorry I said anything. Good god, I’m trying to digest the thought of this monkey java without having to wrap my head around alcohol made from pachyderm waste."

Doc returned his attention to me. "Sparky, Kauillou has a highly robust and distinctive flavor revered by coffee aficionados."

"No kidding? Sounds like di-stink-tive is an appropriate word."

"Come on, try it black for one month. I guarantee you won’t go back." Doc slid his coffee across the table to me like a bartender sending a beer down to a patron. I starred at the blackness as wisps of its aroma ascended upward. I apprehensively brought the mug up to my lips for a sip.

"Ugh that’s awful."

"Give it time."

"What do I get, Doc, if I do this? If I drink it black for a month?"

"More enlightened and my respect.......but I’ll buy you dinner as well."

I thought for a moment and felt the grumbling of my tummy only one week out on tour. I reached for more of Wires’ neglected french fries. "Done," I said. What I really wanted was not to play next week’s gig, but it was something Doc, Wires, nor I could arrange, no matter how much black coffee I drank. Wires had been prophetic when he’d said, "the magic is gone."

Like it or not, after our performance tonight, we were returning to Nasty Tree sooner than any of us expected.

New releases this Christmas

As to not offend those of the Jewish faith you should pick up "Stan & Doug -Just go nuts at Christmas
Dan Betzer and Louie - Tell the Bible Classics Vol III- Just try and stop me from getting this one, since I already have Volumes I & II

Twas the link before Christmas

I'm not really on the ball today. Last minute shopping and all, but I do have a few links for you.The first is a place you can get Christmas grettings for your Blog. Not too much to tie your dick in bow over, I'll admit. The second is for the last minute shoppers like me. I meant to post it back a few weeks ago with the Hulk tree, but oh-well, It's the least I can do.....actually the least I can do, is post nothing at all, but I'll go you one...or make that two better.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tis the season to regift now....fa-la-la-la-la....la-la-la-la

Last weekend, I was at a Christmas party where we were told to bring a gender friendly gift, wrap it creatively, and stick it under the tree with no tags.

Later in the evening we were told to choose numbers. Then the task of sequential selection and the ability to steal once from someone else was instituted.

I thought, what a bloody great idea.....I could regift and no one would know it was me. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation where you know your generosity is anonymous, here are twelve rules you should be aware of when dumping the unwanted ghost of Christmas presents.

1- Don’t mention that it’s a regift.

Well...duh!

2- Update the wrapping
3- Don’t give hand-me-downs.
4- Have the courtesy to blow the dust off your gift.
5- Don’t give products from defunct companies.


Ok forget all these rules. First, in a situation as I described above, doing all these things only lessens the hilarity of watching someone’s face twist into a hideous mask of disgust and then force a smile through it to say, thank you for the...uh...lovely gift. But I would suggest you at least remove the initial tags that had your name on it.

6- Do keep track of who gave it to you first.

Good idea. Somewhere down the line, a chance to get even will present itself. Remember the old Klingon saying: Revenge is a regift best served cold.

7- Don't EVER regift these items.

Certain items are a total, dead, instant giveaway that you are not only regifting, but you're too lame to put any effort into it: candles, soap, random books, mysterious CDs, obscure software, cheesy jewelry, scarves, fruitcake, pens, cologne, boxed sets of extinct bath products, videos or DVDs obviously acquired on a street corner, socks and any appliances or electronic gear the giftee would be puzzled to receive because they probably just got rid of it.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Have you heard nothing I’ve said? Hello ANONYMOUS GIFT GIVING! Feel free to give all these items. In fact, I suggest you use what you can first, soap, half-burned candles, dog-eared books, half-eaten fruitcakes, (although that one’s a stretch).

It shows the recipient you took the time and effort to make sure these gifts fulfilled their intended purpose.

8- Don't give partially used gift cards.

Why not? I mean when am I ever going to spend that last $3.49 at Home Depot? I hate to be redundant, but see above.

9- Don't give something you've owned for a while.

Only applies if you’re giving to people who would recognize the picture frame from your living room wall......that reminds me....take out the picture of you and your family before you wrap it.....I won’t make that mistake again.

10- Do regift champagne.

Oh, and in the meantime what do I drink?

11- Do sell your gifts on eBay.

Wrong. First you have to list it. Then you have to wait a week with your hunk of junk until some hillbilly who really wants an 8 track tape of Nat King Cole's A Christmas Memory, (because he thought it was Mammary), decides to part with fifty cents.

Then you have to put the item in a bubble-wrap mailer that costs $1.50, trudge through the snow and mail the fucker for another $8 bucks because the hillbilly wanted insurance on his purchase.

Then eBay takes its cut and after requesting such a small amount be transferred to your account from PayPal, they charge you as well.

At this point I don't think there's any need for sarcasm by saying, oh yeah great idea!

12- Do remember that regifts can be funny.

But it's up to you to follow this advice and make it that way. Here's what I'm giving my Mom this year.

"Don't worry......be happy.....don't worry be happy now..."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last minute Christmas ideas for that special rug-rat

You know, it's so hard to buy Christmas gifts for kids these days.....let me rephrase that. It’s so hard to buy Christmas gifts for kids these days that don’t have themes of killing, maiming, mutilating, vanity, and just plain selfishness.

But, that’s ok because I’ve found an alternative. That’s right me, Strange. I have the answer.

Let me ask you, what kid doesn’t want to hear his or her name in a song? No kid, that’s who. Here is a site where you can order specialized CD’s, books, what-have-you, all with the name of your child in them. From Adam to Owen, no name is untouchable for these guys. Here just listen to this song with Samantha in it.

Wasn’t that cool....in a creepy sort of way?

It all got me thinking— which is not necessarily a good thing— will they put any name in there? Because why stop at given names. There’s a few nieces and nephews I’d like to get this gift for.

Merry Christmas, Shit-head, Bean-Fart, You Little Fuck, and You’ll Never Amount to Anything. Oh I can't forget the kid from next door. Merry Christmas Your Father is a Drunk and Your Mommy is a Whore.

And Merry Christmas to you all.

Shit-Head Jesus loves you
Shit-Head Jesus loves you
And love, love, love comes a tricklin' down

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just kill me now!

You now have my permission to gouge out your own eyes and shove long metal fondue skewers in your ears.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The best gift is the one you never have to give

How do you do that Strange, you ask yourself?

Well, I’ll tell you.

So, you don’t have a lot of money to burn this Christmas. My friends, I was in the same boat a few years back and I just gave everyone on my list IOU’s for GNR’s Chinese Democracy.

I said as soon as it’s released you’ll get your gift. Eight years later, I’m happy to report this thing is still not out. In fact, Axl Rose just fired his manager and the release date was pushed back yet again.
The bumbling and botching of this album is like Apocalypse Now and Water World rolled into one giant disaster— long overdue and grossly over budget. Even Sly has got Rocky back in the public consciousness sooner. The second coming of Christ might take place before you see this disc on store shelves.

I’m telling you this debacle may never see the light of day. It’s a can’t lose Christmas gift for those who want to avoid emptying the pocket book.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

SIS #5

the limits of respectability
chapter five - a little spark


Journal Entry- Day 2- Last night took so much out of me. I could sleep for a week. We’re all really tired but we have to play tonight. I don’t even have any interest in seeing what’s in my food trunk. We’ve loaded the gear in. Wires and Magic are setting up. The rest of us are going to go take a look at what will be our living quarters for the next six days. Judging by the surroundings of the club, my expectations are not terribly high.

“I hope the rooms are in better shape than the hallway?”

“Couldn’t be any worse, Doc?”

The hall carpet was a well-worn beige. It issued a musty wet smell and there was a half-charged fire extinguisher hanging askew on its holder next to a dented door and a busted, overhead, electric sign. Once, long ago I’m sure it said exit. The walls were a fine mix of a topaz, pink and graffiti telling me to lick balls and I suck. Rather succinct words, but ones expected from a town with an average educational level of grade nine. These and similar messages reverberated down to the end of the hallway where, behind two dirty laced curtains, a cracked window brooded over an old, iron fire-escape.

“This is our room guys,” Wally said. His ham had thawed and he was in a much better mood on the verge of elation. He inserted the key, but the door popped open on its own volition.

“Just great.”

“We’ll push your food trunk up to it Sparky. No one will get in.”

“And when we have to perform, where are we going to go Wally, out the window? We’re three stories up. The fire-escape’s at the end of the hall.”

Doc huffed, “All I know is you better eat everything in this trunk before the next gig Sparky. I’m not helping you up any more stairs with this thing.” He dropped his end with a whomp as he surveyed the digs with his hands on his hips. “What were you saying about the room couldn’t be any worse?”

As rooms go, it certainly wasn’t the most atrocious I’d seen. Hands down it was the first gig I’d ever played. Bars were put into categories of A-rooms, B-rooms etc., but the room in question had been completely out of the alphabet. A word of advice to all would-be musicians, if the bar you are playing in is called the Queens or Aces, make sure you run the other direction. Back then, there were four of us in the band, doing a three-nighter in a port town, trying to make enough money to buy a small P.A. system. For our accommodation, they stuck us all in one room with peeling wallpaper, scattering cockroaches and a queen size bed with sheets, I’m positive, had serious DNA issues. I didn’t care. At the time, I would have slept ass down on a vertical popsicle stick. I was just happy to be performing to a live audience. Later I would find out the crowd consisted of a loud talking drunk guy with no teeth and a burly tattooed barkeep. There were also two guys so affected by our music, they took to busting pool cues over each other during a first set melee. I began to wonder then, much as I still do now, Why do I do this?

“You get the cot Wally.”

“I always get the cot. When do I get the bed?”

“You get the bed when there is a bed.” Doc reported, pointing to three cots spread out around the room guarded by a night stand, a lamp, a few chairs and a table with a wobbly leg. There was also a small, ancient, black and white television, complete with rabbit ears, in the corner. The volume knob was missing.

Wally mused. “I wonder when we’re going to stay in those A-rooms Space promised?”

“Yeah. For a change I’d like to call room service and ask them to send up something other than another room.”

“Well Doc, you’ll have to do it from the payphone in the hall cuz I don’t see one in here,” I said.

“The only thing missing from this room is one of those cheesy pictures of dogs playing poker or pool.”

I pointed to a dirty, dust-ghost of a rectangle between two of the cots. “I guess the last band took it.”

“Do I at least get the hanger?”

“Knock yourself out Wally.”

Wally took the lone wire hanger from the closet and put his coat on it. He returned it to the cross pole which collapsed under the weight and sent his coat sliding to the floor like a discarded condom.
As for our usual routine, we walked into the bathroom next, and turned on the light. The fluorescent tube flickered a few times before finally kicking in. With the illumination we could see the filth and grime dripping from a dirty circle at the top of the tub. There were fields of mildew happily creeping up a foggy shower curtain to a water-spot-stained ceiling. The lime deposits competed against each other in the sink and the toilet and connecting capillaries of blackened grout surrounded most of the tiles. There was also a faint smell of urine emanating from one of the corners, but none of us would be investigating further.

Inspector Wally informed us. “Hey the toilet seat has a burn in it.”

“Perhaps someone was interrogating it? ‘Talk, ya bastard! What kind of assholes have you noticed around here lately?’”

“Actually Sparky the toilet seat is the preferred holder of choice when you are rolling a joint.”

“Honestly Doc! Who puts their cigarette down on a toilet seat with the intent of putting it back in their mouth? And please! Don’t quote percentages.— Turn the light off Wally. I’ve seen enough.”

After placing our personal gear down at chosen cots, we all took turns having a shower. Even with the rusty showerhead and the brownish water flowing from it, it felt good to get out of our stained clothes although, I did keep my socks on. Then we all laid down for a few hours of shut-eye before sound check. Tonight was important. It marked the first time on stage for us with our new guitarist and the first time we’d be playing under the new band name of Bitter Romance. I drifted off quickly, thinking of my brief time in the music business and wondering how much more of this I could take.

***

Before I could reach this defining moment in my musical career I, like others of my kind, had to learn a chosen instrument. This is not as easy at it seems. As I mentioned, everyone had a story to tell of how they came to be where they are. And like everyone else, I too, had a tale I related on those long drives between cities. It went something like this.

“When I was a little Sparky. I was staying with my Grandmother over the winter. She used to work as a maid for a wealthy couple. We occupied a little two-story guest cottage adjacent to the main property. It was surrounded by huge maples, rows upon rows of hedges and a mammoth wrought iron gate jutting out like black metal fingers from frozen mounds of snow.

For some reason, one morning after breakfast, I knelt at the steps leading to the cottage’s humble upstairs and began to hammer away like I was playing a piano. My Granny was convinced that some sort of divine intervention was at work. I’m sure she believed I was possessed with the spirit of Mozart reincarnated. She immediately phoned my parents to tell them about her grandson the child prodigy. My Granny informed them that I should have a piano purchased for me immediately complete with lessons and books. From the way she went on and on, it was like I awoke that morning, a blind man suddenly cured of his inability to see and sat down at the nearest piano to bang out Bach or Tchaikovsky. My father in his thick baroque Scottish accent informed her there was, ‘Nay way by the lord Harry,’ they could afford to do anything. He even went as far as to suggest my grandmother might be a little, ‘Daft in the heed,’ or simply put, insane.

I loved my time there. The snow was waist-high— to me anyway--- and I spent much of my time playing soldier out in the pristine piles of white. Hiding behind drifts, building forts, camouflaging my tracks with snow angels, and tackling my Granny’s dog. In all, tough work for a four-year-old. So much so, one afternoon, after a long morning of vigorous activity, I fell asleep in the dog house. When I failed to return for dinner, there was cause for worry. Worry changed to concern. Concern changed to fright, and fright gave way to uncontrollable panic. The ensuing search party was sent out complete with flashlights and dogs to find, what was certain to be, the partially masticated frozen remains of her grandson, strewn about the open cave mouth of some ghoulish animal. They found me where I’d been all along, curled up, punching a few Z’s in the dog kennel.

My Granny phoned my parents. ‘You see the daft wee wain tried te run away. He got as fare as the dug-hoose before we got em. This is all because ya would’ne let em have a piano.’

Cold and hungry I listened to the conversation and wondered who Doug was? Still I was no closer to learning to play an instrument.

One day, I watched my grandfather shave before he went to work. I had been fascinated by the process of how he had effortlessly lathered up his face before dragging a straight razor across the many wrinkled folds of his skin. I memorized every step. Even the all important tiny bits of toilet paper arranged, like chaotic doilies laid out for a tea party, across his aging visage and decided I’d give it a try.
Shaving cream—check.
Razor—check.
Toilet paper—check.
Blood—wait a minute.
The blood was sprouting up everywhere like little scarlet oil wells as I scraped off layers of skin. The crimson flow of my pedigree mixed with shaving cream brought on a tide of tears and wailing on my part, and hysterical screaming on the part of my Grandmother. She was on the phone again as soon as I was patched up and chewing on a cookie through a web of band-aids. I heard her usual tirade. ‘Usually the dug watches the wee bairn, but he was’ne oout side. Stupid dug.’

There was that Doug guy again.

‘Yes I’m sure he was tryin te cut his own throat.’

Remember always lather up before you take you own life.

‘Shite! You better get a piano before the poor wee chap kills himsel.’

My Father told her once again, he couldn’t afford a piano but would compromise. He agreed to have me tested to see what, (cheaper), instruments I was destined to play. When I returned from the cottage, hosts of music teachers were brought in to determine my talents. Would it be the trumpet, an accordion, an acoustic guitar, bagpipes, the spoons? Nothing leapt out. Although it was evident I had the music in me, a demon somewhere inside just waiting to be released and spew green-pea soup on everyone, my venture into the musical world would have to wait.

I immensely enjoyed the parties my parents used to have. Everyone would get drunk and the songs of my forefathers would be trotted out and dusted off with everyone picking up some type of musical instrument. At one such party, a friend of the family brought a small drum kit and beat away to the sounds of Bonnie wee Jeanie and Scotland the Brave. I was so fascinated by the infectious grooves, walloping beats and consistent thumping, I was in love. I might have even had a small boner--- not like the realized foot fetish boner, but a chubby erection non-the-less. Here was an instrument definitely kicking ass over the bagpipes. I wanted the drums to be my instrument!

To accentuate my point I began walloping everything around the house with two pointed sticks I’d found. Nothing more than former tree branches but they sufficed. I played everything, pots, pans, walls, the family pet. I drove my parents crazy. ‘You know, if you’d only bought me a drum set, I wouldn’t have put the Doug’s eye out.’ They wouldn’t relent. Drums to them sounded too much like piano in price, so the answer was no!

My father wondered aloud why it was that his child always had to get involved in the most expensive things. Hockey, Boy Scouts . . . Drums! I’d just started playing hockey and chose to be a goalie mainly because I couldn’t skate very well and could hang on to the goal posts. Behind the many protective stages of expensive equipment I could see his point, but Boy Scouts? Yeah, I bet that set the old boy back a pretty penny?

However, as fate would have it, in a totally unrelated incident, my parents finally caved. I was simply trying to make toast on a little bonfire I’d built in the back yard next to the house. I made a little tee-pee of dried sticks and leaves on a grassy patch between our old metal shed and our garden hose rack. Armed with a box of matches, a loaf of bread and one of my mother’s finest china plates, I went to work preparing my gourmet meal. I can still see my father standing, with his arms folded across his chest and legs apart, as he surveyed the scorched, blackened, siding stretching nearly to the roof. My mother dug up tiny mounds of earth in the backyard to reveal the charred buried toast, amid the smell of scortched burnt twigs and the shards of the cracked, black, china. Her son’s weak attempt to hide his tracks when things had escalated beyond control. There was also miles of rubber hose, melted in some places and still seeping a little river into pools on the brown dead grass near by. I guess my father felt, they better get me focused on something to contain my aggression before I burnt down the entire neighborhood. ‘All right boy!’ He said. ‘I’ll gee ya drum lessons. If ya can show me you’ll stick with it. I’ll get ya a wee kit ta play on.’ Until this incident, my father had been like Ramesses standing head strong against a host of plagues on Egypt, turning a deaf ear to the cries of ‘Let my people go!’ The toast had been the final straw and there would be no visit from the Angel of Death as far as he was concerned.

At Christmas, after several months of drum lessons, a glistening new blue crystal Crown drum kit with gleaming Zildjian cymbals awaited me under the tree. I happily climbed aboard and beat away.

A few weeks later I was playing with friends outside and sliced my underarm open. When I came home crying and bleeding profusely, my father just stood and looked at me. He wasn’t falling for it. ‘Christ, boy. We got ya the drum kit! What more dae ya want us ta doo?’

Over time, like other preteens I lost interest, and the dust began to appear on my drum set. The blue crystal pattern faded, the cymbals lost their sheen, and the kick pedal squeaked with contact. It wasn’t until my early teens, I finally made the connection. Playing music meant you got girls. I started writing lyrics when I was thirteen. It was really lame stuff like, Baby if you don’t want me tell me fast, and, Holding you means you’re holding me too. But now I needed an instrument to recite these hackneyed odes of love to the masses. Suddenly, I had renewed vigor in playing the drums. However, my skills had eroded to the point I could barely keep time. My drum-set was in such disarray you’d sworn Keith Moon himself had obliterated it in a final encore. For the drums it was too late. They would not survive the topsy turvy world of rock, passing away into the phantom world of instruments that had seen their day. My father exclaimed, he wouldn’t buy me a new kit. Not even if I threw myself out the third story window of the apartment complex we lived in at the time. No drums! No way! So I got him to consent to buying me a bass guitar and amplifier before he could find out it was almost as expensive. I figured the bass, because it had two less strings, logistically seemed like it would take less time to master.

I had a friend who was learning to play the guitar and together we’d peddle our bikes to music lessons halfway across town, holding our axes in one hand as we steered with the other. I guess it’s a good thing that I switched instruments after all. While disco raged, I stayed at home practicing and listened to The Lamb lies down on Broadway and Dark Side of the Moon, while I humped my pillow with monotonous regularity, and dreamed of girls and better times to come. One day I would be standing on a platform in front of thousands thumping away on my bass and the world would be mine.”

***

We all slept later than we had intended and would have to hit the stage without the benefit of a sound check as it was going on 8:00 P.M.. Wally and Doc had stopped by the coffee shop for an injection of caffeine to cure their yawns. I went into the bar.

I found Wires with the duct tape putting the finishing touches on the snake cable. Everything was up and running except the light rig which was half constructed and still in a state of disarray.

“Wires, where’s Magic?”

Wires looked up, his eyes red with insomnia. The ebbing tides of sleep trying to overtake him. The poor guy had been up for thirty-six hours.

“I don’t know? Why? What time is it?”

“Seven fifty-four. We go on in just over an hour.”

“Shit! You go find him. I’ll try to rig something temporary with the lights for now.”

Wires informed me of their room number and I rushed up the stairs two at a time passing Space on the way.

“Where are you going in such a hurry?”

“I uh— I have to pee. Nice frickin’ rooms by the way.”

I knew Space would go ape-shit if he knew about the state of the lights. As was his routine he’d sound-checked the drums with Wires earlier in the afternoon and seemed quite content everything was running smoothly.

I continued my ascent until I stood before Magic and Wires’ door. I knocked . . . No answer. I knocked again. “Magic are you in there? Com’on man! We’re on in an hour.” No answer. I pounded with both fists. “Magic are you there? Answer the fuckin’ door!”

Eventually, without success, I returned to Wires. “He can’t be in the room. There’s no answer and believe me, I knocked. He’d have to be dead not to have heard me.”

“There is only one key and he has it.”

“Shit, our door blows open on a breeze. How come you guys get the room with the door that actually locks?”

“He must have gone out to eat. He better get back here soon or he might as well be dead. This is the kind of thing that Space pulls his spleen out over.”

I had to go get changed to perform and left Wires to his devices. When we returned there was still no sign of Magic. Wires had rigged a few lights but it was nowhere near the show we had been accustomed to.

Space was dressed in his pristine white stage apparel but his face was quickly reaching a symbiotic relationship with his red bandana. “Wires. Where the fuck is Magic?”

“No one knows.”

“Well! Find him fast!”

“There’s no time. You’ll have to go on without him. I can handle the lights.”

“What about the flash-pots?”

“Don’t worry It’ll get done.” But the flash-pots didn’t work like they should and outside of a little spark, there was no smoke. Wires didn’t have time to put gel-covers on the lights so we played the entire first set bathed in thirty shades of white. Fortunately it was a Monday night and there were only twelve, or so, people in the bar. They seemed oblivious to us and more intent with the big screen TV and the video games. Somehow we got through the night with Wires pulling double duty. The only mishap being when our sleep deprived sound-man nodded off during one of the ballads. He triggered a chase sequence when his head hit the light console creating a scene better reserved for a crescendo of instruments at the end of the heavier numbers, or what we called a number nine ending.

After the night had ended, we were all returning to our rooms and ran into Magic coming out of his. He had head phones around his neck and was obviously just waking up. He inquired through full arm stretches, “Hey guys what time is the first set?”

Space snorted. “It’s in five minutes in my room!”

The rest of us were anxious to continue our foray into slumber-land but Wires still had one more thing to do and wouldn’t wait until the morning. He wanted to see if he could fix the defective flash-pots. “Something must have happened to them when we hit the moose. Knocked a wire or two loose I’ll bet.”

“Don’t you think you should get some sleep first?”

“I did during that Spandau Ballet song. Don’t worry. I think I’ve got my second wind.”

Doc looked at him astonished. “Or third wind.”

“It’s almost two in the morning how are you going to test them?”

“On the roof.”

“It’s too cold to go on the roof Wires.”

“Surprisingly not. It’s not too bad outside for this time of the year.”

“Wires is right, Sparky. Sometimes the temperature fluctuations in this area can— ”

“— Ok Doc. I believe you guys, but let’s all go so we can get it done and get some real sleep.”

Doc, Wally, Wires and I headed to the roof, via the fire escape, for a test trial while Thumper was still on the payphone long distance with his wife. Wires had run an orange extension cord from our room and was loading powder into the pots, when Thumper finally joined us. “Wires, Space wants you.”

“Christ doesn’t he know by now I’m heterosexual? Don’t flick the switch till I get back.” He tromped off, leaving behind a trail of smoke from a freshly lit cigarette.

“Shit. Wires should get some sleep. He must be dead on his feet.”

“Yeah you’re right Thumper. We can test the flash-pots for him and then he can go to bed.”

“Doc, he said to wait til he got back.”

“Don’t be silly. I know everything there is to know about pyro-techniques. Why my great, great-uncle, One-arm Barlow, worked for the railway blowing holes in rock. He was practically responsible for building routes to remote locations in the north.”

Doc sauntered over to the switch. We all stood back at a safe distance and he clicked the toggle. WOOF! Twin flashes of bright white gave birth to mushroom-clouds of black and silver smoke.

“Coool!”

“Works like a charm. See I told you Thumper. Old One-arm would be proud. I think I’m going to have to wipe away a tear.”

“Again Doc! Again!” Wally insisted.

“Hang-on little puppy. I have to load the powder in.”

“Do you think that’s wise Doc?”

“Sparky did you hear anything I told Thumper?”

So Doc Barlow loaded the flash-pots for another test. This time he made it in accordance to old One-arm’s secret measurement. With a flick of the switch, the white light was joined by a flame of red and an audible popping Poof, as the flash-pots lifted off the roof a few inches and filled the air with the smell of magnesium. The smoke clouds were bigger this time and ascended skyward, drawn to some unseen magnet in the clouds above. “Wooo,” was the collective buzz.

I felt Wires should be in on the fun as his nimble fingers rectified the problem. I ran down the fire escape and into the third story window to retrieve him, only to find him standing halfway down the hall drawing on another cigarette. “Oh Wires. I was just coming to get you. You should be up on the roof man. It’s quite a show.”

Wires did not budge. He propped one foot up on the wall behind him and continued to pull on his cigarette.

“Wires?— What did Space want?”

“He’s letting Magic go.”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

Wires looked at the ceiling and pushed out a gust of smoke like his mouth was suddenly one of the flash-pots.

“Firing him because of tonight?” I said.

“He says it’s been coming for some time.”

“But it’s the first night of a six-month tour for Christ’s sake. Is he mad?”

“I tried to tell him it wasn’t a good idea, but for once I couldn’t sway him. He’s becoming more headstrong. He said we couldn’t stand for that type of insubordination.”

We could still hear the communal awe from the roof as the others continued sending smoke signals. “Woooo!”

“How did Magic take it?”

“Pretty good. You know Magic he’s not much for working anyway and it’s not the first time he’s missed a set.”

Magic was a big fan of The Doors. He loved singing to them but had a terrible voice. For some odd reason he could only croon in key while he was in the shower. Once he’d been given a tape of all Doors by an adoring groupie and had spent the entire first set in the shower before we got him out. I’d seen him take showers when we were on the road at parties in a stranger’s house just because someone had put on L.A. Woman. You just knew what he was up to by the long lines of poor people holding their genitals at the bathroom door.

“He’ll leave on the train tomorrow and Space says he’ll have a new guy by Buddy Bob’s.”

Buddy Bob’s? That’s three weeks away, Wires.”

“I can do both jobs for a while if I have too. It just means we’re all going to have to take turns chipping in with the lighting rig.”

“Woooooo! Oh-oh!”

There was a thunder of steps on the fire-escape as Thumper and Wally fought each other for access to the hallway. Thumper was smaller of frame and found his way in first, scurrying past us and down the hall. A soot-covered Wally followed close after, coils of orange extension and two empty flash-pots trailing after him like wedding streamers behind a, just married, sign on the back of a speeding limo.

“What d’fuck Wally?”

Wally threw the mass of cable and the clanking cans from the flash-pots into our room and quickly followed Thumper’s route. Doc Barlow was the next one to appear. He was still wearing his long white doctor’s coat, the one he wore on stage but it was now covered with blotches of black soot. His long legs found the floor like insect tentacles. He was more the picture of calm as he collectedly closed the window beneath graffiti exclaiming slut fag, (both words were misspelled). He walked briskly toward us. “Seems someone has called the fire department over our nocturnal roof activity. In a town this size I estimate the average response time for emergency vehicles is about four minutes fifty-two seconds.”

“Oh. Is that what Old One-arm told you?”

We followed Doc down to the lobby and outside where we could hear the Woooo, of a different kind; sirens. We found Thumper and Wally standing around nonchalantly. It was as if they were just returning from a long vacation and were wondering what all the commotion was about. Wally was trying hard to brush off his clothes and any evidence he’d been on the roof. We were joined by Space and Magic and the not very happy Deputy Mayor of the town and his female friend. It seems we weren’t the only ones who had been on top for a little night amusement. While the pyro’s had blown off on the roof, Space had still been blowing off on Magic. He now informed us all, our light-man would indeed be departing on the next train out, as emergency personnel pulled up and rushed by us.

I looked at my watch. “Four minutes, fifty-seven seconds. They’re late Doc.”

“You didn’t account for wind resistence.”

There was no damage, but from the condition of the hotel in general it was advised we stay elsewhere until the building could be inspected properly. The bar, grudgingly, put us up at the Super 8 down the street. “All right A- rooms. Help me with my food trunk Doc.”

Once settled into our new digs we said our goodbyes to Magic and finally found our beds as the sun was rising. When we woke there would be one less member in our entourage. Wires had already taken him to the train station during the morning and Magic was gone.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Double the new release pleasure

Christmas is getting closer and you may, not only, be looking to add to your music collection, but also for those you want to keep at arms distance. So, today I want to give you a little variety for your stocking-stuffer plans.

Nothing says, "Get the hell out of my house. You've overstayed you welcome you X-mas freeloader!" like the following two recommendations: Jan Gorisseu's Pettrige Kertsdargen & Eilerts Jul. I mean honsetly, who names their kid Jan or Eilerts? You're just asking for an ass-kicking. It's like naming your kid Plexico, Tiki, or Julius--- Except those guys grew up to be NFL players.....not that they weren't made to cry on the way there.

But enough of my yakin'.....get out and pick these buggers up.

BTW, FYI, "Kertsdargen" is crazy Dutch bastard for "Christmas days". Yet, "De vreemde bedwelming", is crazy Dutch bastard for "Strangedaze". Go figure.


Friday, December 15, 2006

It's a good old fashion linkin'

After yesterday’s post, I understand you might need a little levity to nurse your weeping wounds back to a saltible level. I could simply direct you to What Would Tyler Durden Do and check out his site, but I feel you might need a little more than literary fisticuffs as a pick-me-up.

So, for today only, it’s the return of Chuck Norris Monday--- except on a Friday. Perhaps it will make you feel better after you witness man vs runaway tire.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Iceman leaveth

First of all, I have no answer as to why the YouTube from YouTube Tuesday looks like a condom in a snowstorm. Just click it. It works.....I think?

But that's not why I'm here today. I'm here to tell you more "blah,blah,blah" about our melting polar ice caps and global warming.

Hey! Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just passing along the projection that by 2040--- or there abouts--- Santa isn't going to have a home. It's all here if you need to take a look. They say shit like:

If greenhouse gases continue to build at their current rate, the study found, the Arctic's ice cover would go through periods of stability followed by abrupt retreat.

One simulation projects that by 2040, only a small amount of perennial ice would remain on the north coasts of Greenland and Canada during the summer months.


So,the rest would look like this.




Merry Christmas darling. Could you turn up the air conditioning and put out Ol' St. Nick's milk and SPF 5000?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Commercials you hate to love

I’m not particularly fond of commercials to begin with, and when you add Christmas to them...well...you might as well pound my scrotal sack with a ball-peen hammer for all the love I’ll show.

However, there was one ad that had me howling in my, Strange-that’s-not-really-funny-but-it-is-in-a-dark-kind-of-way, way.

It was an advertisement for KFC pitching their yule-tide specials. Now, keeping in mind Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for some, you can see why I found the following macabre, yet amusing.

KFC’s regular special is the Festive Family Feast with all kinds of artery clogging goodies and a ginger-bread-man making kit thrown in for good measure. On the tube is a generic family, all hugs and kisses, basking in Christmas's warm, gushing, glistening, glow over a megga bucket of the Colonel's gristled finest.

But, they also touted the Festive Feast For One.

There on the screen was this poor, hapless bastard grinning like it was the best day of his life. He couldn't wait to die a slow death by eleven herbs and spices. Chowing down on his single serving portions, before shoving the barrel of a gun into his mouth, no doubt, and pulling the trigger.

I want to know, does this special include a ginger-bread-making kit for one, with cyanide candy eyes, or a length of rope conveniently tied into a noose? A little electric-chair party-hat perhaps?

Although, I, and other sick fucks like me, might have found the audacity all shits-and-giggles, I can see where the self-destructive-Grinch might not feel the same way having KFC thrust the loving X-mas fist of, "you're a loser", down his throat.

KFC should really check their sensitivity quotient before trying to squeeze every last dime out of an individual who’d rather spike the suicide rate than the egg-nog.

Maintain your target on the rest of us fat-turds slowly dying from morbid obesity than someone who might be flat-lining before they taste the green-slaw.

Anyway, we’re the lazy idiots who readily buy your deep fried rat’s ass— albeit very tasty rat’s ass— as it is.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Keeping the pubic private

My dear friends, I will endeavor to help you as the holiday season fast approaches, to find the perfect gift for that someone special in your life. Today, may I suggest the Jenna Jamison Pubic Hair Trimmer. I'm told Jenna pesonally tests each one.

Hmmm, maybe I could trim my nostil hair with this thing?But I digress.

It's a subtle way of saying "Baby, I think you need to endanger the Amazon a touch". I'm sure it comes with all sorts of fun Playdough attachments: stars, moons, green clovers,---or is that Lucky Charms?

She can have fun shaving her Sasquatch into the shape of an arrow and sarcastically state, "Now you know where your tongue goes".

And while you're picking her up such a wonderful gift, why not complement it with some anal bleaching cream? (It's how Michael Jackson gets his skin to look its whitest.) Besides, nothing's worse than a brown-eye that makes your little Ronstadt "blue". Soon you'll one step closer to talking her into ass-to-mouth.

Merry Christmas all.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

SIS #4

The Limits of Respectability
chapter four - wallace & barlow


Journal entry- Day 2— We killed a moose with the truck last night. Got stuck by the road and ran out of gas all on the first night of the tour. I still can’t believe it. I went with Wally and Doc to the gas station--- another story altogether. If the rest of the tour runs this smoothly, we’re doomed!

“How long have we been walking?”

“I don’t know, forty minutes maybe. Why Wally, you hungry? Where’s your ham?”

“I left it in the truck Doc.”

“Look at Sparky. He’s a guy with some girth. Do you hear him whining about how hungry he is?”

I remained silent. Doc should know how much my feet hurt.

“I’m used to eating when I’m up this late.”

“You know Wally . . .” but Doc Barlow didn’t finish his statement.

“I wish I had something from Sparky’s food trunk.”

Wally was talking about a large trunk I dragged with me on every tour. It was filled with many non-perishable condiments and food items. It also resonated with the curses of my fellow band-mates who had to help me lug it up and down stairs at every gig. I always came prepared. Something was forever going wrong and costing us money and damned if I was going to starve in the process.

The elevator of pain was beginning its ascent to my knees making them feel stiff and sore. Next floor the all-important groin area, kitchenware and women’s lingerie.

“Maybe we could hitchhike the rest of the way?”

“Holy jumpin’ Jesus! Wally it’s quarter five in the morning. There hasn’t been any traffic in hours and I doubt we’re going to start seeing some anytime soon. This isn’t exactly a major route we’re on. Besides, look at us Wally. Would you pick us up? We’re covered in dried blood, muck and sweat, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, shuffling along like three long-haired zombies! For God’s sake man, grow a brain!”

“Well when you put it that way . . .”

We walked in silence with only the sound of our scuffling feet on the tarmac. Guided by the moonlight, the crisp quiet and growing fog, the coming morning gave the woods an eerie horror film quality.

“How long have we been walking now?”

Randall Avery Wallace and Reginald Bartholomew Barlow are better known here as Wally and Doc. Doc is tall and thin, wiry actually, with dark curly locks and a nose that is an anchor for his glasses above and his mustache below. Wally is smaller with a bit of a spare tire in the mid section, a golden wavy mullet, surfer’s bronzed skin, and rosy cheeks a grandmother would love to pinch. They are our resident comedic duo. Doc Barlow is the straight-man with a snappy wit, to Wally’s unrealized comic genius. Doc knows everything about everything, or if he doesn’t, he at least acts like he does. I have heard him jabber on about the migrational flight patterns of endangered birds, the engineering feats of ancient Egypt, the precise length of time to toast marshmallows, the solar movements of . . . you get the point.

Wally, would rather eat than play music. However, it seems music is an easy paycheck for him to be able to eat. It’s a vicious circle. He has saved the band from starvation on several occasions, due to the simple fact he always attracts the groupies who can cook. With a little coaxing, they usually feed us all.

We met them in a small town when Space, Wires, Magic, and I were still in Shock Alice. They were in the competing bar across the street, performing as a duo. They called themselves Wallace & Barlow. Since the club we were playing, had an afternoon dart club, we were not forced to do a matinee and could check out those unfortunate enough to find themselves singing to high-strung nobodies in the mid afternoon.

“Hey let’s go check out that magic act across the street.”

“Who, Wallace & Barlow? They’re musicians like us you knob.”

It was simply two performers with a Dr. Rhythm drum machine and the pop offerings of Men at Work, Jackson Browne, and Neil Young to name a few. Doc, the older of the two, had played with the higher end acts for most of his career. His main instrument was bass but he’d converted his talents to take on keyboards as well. Wally was a guitarist with limited lead capabilities. He’d been in and out of the music business all his life and accentuated his stints
with encores in the electrical trade.

***

The gas station was now in sight and we all picked up the pace as if the oasis would certainly disappear leaving us with miles of pavement to pound. But the vision did not fade and soon we were standing in all our blood soaked splendor beneath the buzzing glow of the station lamps. A small glass cubicle stood in the midst--- a bastion between twin pumps on either side. A small, stocky, brown-skinned man with a push-broom mustache sat with his head bowed behind the barriers of transparency. As of yet, he had not been alerted to our presence and upon closer inspection had his head buried in what looked like a calculous text book. We approached the window of the booth with conviction and Doc rapped loudly on the glass for attention. The attendant glanced up and then did a double take almost falling from his perch atop his stool. Our blood and mud caked faces must have been quite the sight.

Doc lowered his mouth to a circular metal grid imbedded in the glass and began to speak. “Excuse me my fine man. We are but three simple wandering musicians who have run out of petrol and simply require a gas can and fuel to get us going again.”

Three wandering musicians? What is this the Renaissance?

The attendant gawked open mouthed, said nothing, and hugged his calculous text tightly, submitting the pages to many a dog-ear.

Doc let out a little laugh, “I understand that our disconcerting appearance must come as a shock to you, my mathematically gifted chap? But, I can assure you, the situation is as I have already stated, and we simply need your assistance in resolving this matter.”

Yeah just come out of your cubicle and we’ll bludgeon you like we did the poor moose.

“Do you sell chocolate bars?”

“Wally, let’s not forget why we’re here. We need fuel, not sustenance.”

The attendant now glanced around nervously, hoping for someone to come to his rescue, or at least even the odds. Still he did not reply.

“I assure you my proficient fellow that we are real and not a figment of your imagination— if that’s what you’re thinking. Although it has been proven that ninety-five percent of such visions usually occur in the hours proceeding dawn, especially after a lengthy review of numerical equations. However, as I stated previously we are no such phantasm, merely flesh and blood.” Doc tapped his chest reassuringly.

“Doc you probably shouldn’t say blood in our current condition,” I said.

“Maybe he thinks we’re here to rob him?”

“Right Wally. We just crawled out of a dung heap in the underbrush, now give us all your money.” Doc gave him a playful slap upside the head.

The calculous book slid to the floor landing with a dull thud, and the attendant started to reach for the cash register as if Doc’s last words were an imminent threat.

Doc returned his attention to the attendant, “Do you speak English?”

“Of course he does Doc,” I pushed Wally aside and pressed my face to the glass. “Listen guy.” The attendant gazed at me in fright, his hands still frozen by the cash drawer. I was reminded of those last moments before we hit our antler clad nemesis, mostly from our perspective. “We’re not here to rob you. We’re tired, sore, bloody and some of us...” I looked at Wally. “...are hungry. We just finished digging a shallow grave and we need a little gas to burn the desecrated body of our victim before we burry it. Now! Do you have a gas can or not?”

Within minutes we were walking briskly back to the truck with our gasoline.

“We are no such phantasm, Christ, Doc!”

“Sparky couldn’t you have got him to throw in something to eat?”

“Wally!”

***

Shock Alice was on its last legs. The tensions between Rooster and Space had been growing to a stifling crescendo like clinging vines choking the life out of a delicate garden. It was a rip in the fabric unable to be repaired and the thunder heads in their relationship would soon open into a downpour. To make matters worse, we had gone through a runway’s worth of female singers. I seemed to have a talent for making them quit. Chasing them out, some might consider as mental cruelty or misogynist behavior, but as you have witnessed, I was an equal opportunity prankster from the good old boy’s club of rock n’ roll.

The latest girl had left when Rooster and I had convinced her that we had sold our souls to the devil for a career in the music business. We even went as far as to chant gibberish beyond the closed door of our room when she was nearby and draw pentagrams in red toothpaste on our bodies. As much as we confirmed The Prince of Darkness was a decent fellow who could play a wicked game of cribbage, she had quit in a blubbering frightened mess.

Our newest acquisition, the fourth in the last six months, had already fallen out of favor. She insisted on having an advance to buy shoes for stage. Our little siren of song was given one hundred dollars and proceeded to spend the entire C note on a pair of high-heeled, leather pumps. Pumps, she inexplicably kicked off two songs into our set because they hurt her feet. Pumps, we began kicking around the stage in our disgust since we’d all be hard pressed to make any money for ourselves at the end of the week. I had added incentive as her feet were horrific. Her heels were crusty and hard, with dead white skin, and looked like they could grate cheese. I remember not being able to eat dairy products for the longest time.

We hadn’t been too meticulous in the audition process. We needed someone quick, and decided to take the first girl who could sing the material. In retrospect it was a big mistake. Our new ugly footed vixen was quick to get on everybody’s nerves. Even Space’s self centeredness took a backseat to hers and it became evident, she too would have to go. Our best efforts to make her quit, didn’t seem to affect her at all. Foul deeds and trickery were brushed off as part of the initiation process as one would disable an annoying bug with a fly-swatter. This one wasn’t going to leave quietly. Then Space came up with the idea to just disband Shock Alice to get rid of her. Little did I know that he also had ulterior motives, and our guitarist Rooster in his cross-hairs. That’s where Wallace and Barlow come in.

Space somehow convinced Doc and Wally, the best thing for all concerned would be to join forces and develop a new project to get us into the more lucrative A circuit of bars. It would take us away from the dives, away from the matinees and shit money. Most importantly, it would take us away from our annoying female singer. I was in total agreement with this plan, because when we lost a singer I’d have to cover the material til a replacement could be found. Some guy singing Cyndi Lauper songs in a low register tenor just didn’t cut it from an audience point of view.

I still remember the night vividly. We were partying with Doc and Wally in their hotel room, after the final night’s performance for our respective bands. Our singer was out with a few of the local boys whooping it up, and Wires and Magic were busy loading the truck. Wally had been hanging all week with a girl he’d met and appeared to be having some problems with her. He was searching furiously through the room, overturning chairs, looking under mattresses, and riffling through drawers, while Doc, the girl and I stood watching him.

“What were you doing up here in the room while we were on stage?”

“Just waiting for you Wally.”

“What elks were you doing?” ( Wally always said elks instead of else.)

“Nutin.” (Apparently the girl always said nutin instead of nothing.)

“Well, I can’t find my frickin’ wallet and I wonder if you might know why?”

“I didn’t see no wallet.”

While Wally argued with the girl, Space drew Rooster aside, “Listen Rooster. This is the last gig. Shock Alice is disbanding. We are moving in a new direction that unfortunately you are not going to be apart of. We all wish you the best.”

“What? You’re blowing me off? This wasn’t about getting rid of our singer at all, was it? Shit! Is that ever pathetic. Have the balls Space to say it to my face at least. You don’t have to candy-coat it or spoon-feed me. It’s obvious. We don’t get along and you’ve been waiting for an opportunity such as this to blame someone else. Just admit it. I might be able to salvage some respect for you.”

Wally passed between the two, grumbling to himself, on his way to check the bathroom. As he rifled through the medicine cabinet and knocked over toiletries, Space began to smile and continued. “No need to make a scene Rooster. It is just as I said. We are moving in a new direction that you will not be part of. You want to put another spin on it fine. It doesn’t change the outcome.”

Wally reemerged from the lavatory spiting venom and pushed by them again.

“Make a scene?” Rooster said. “Ha— I just don’t believe this. The audacity— A word of advice Space. If you value your place in this regime, don’t let your ego get too big for it. The greatest dictators, and I do mean dick, always fall hardest.”

“Where’s my wallet you road-chub?!” Wally demanded.

“I didn’t take your wallet!”

“Yes you did!”

“I made you dinner with the little candied yams you wanted. Why would I do such a thing?”

“Get the hell outa here! I don’t want to see your face again!”

Doc objected, “Wally!”

The girl began to weep uncontrollably and ran from the room with her face in her hands. Wally slammed the door behind her. “Good riddance!” He turned to us. His normally tanned complexion was a deep maroon. The blade of his voice cut the silence. “Frickin’ road-chub stole my wallet!”

“Wally, your wallet’s right there under your bed you fool.”

Wally’s demeanor abruptly changed to happy and calm, “Really. Excellent! Thanks Doc.” The beams of light had pierced his dark skies and he scooted to the bed. Wally dropped to all fours and retrieved a small black billfold. He opened it and thumbed the ten and the two ones he found there.

“Your whole life savings, Wally?”

“Every penny counts out here. You know that, Doc.”

“You screamed at her over twelve bucks?”

“It’s not like I’m going to see her again after this gig anyways.”

Doc and I were in shock.. I, at what had just transpired between Space and Rooster and Doc because Wally had twelve bucks. Space had not only sandbagged Rooster, he had blown me out of the water too. Rooster and I had become close. After his unfortunate brush with the French language, I earned his trust by including him in on my little pranks. I had even let him borrow mustard from my food trunk. (If that’s not friendship, then I don’t know what is?)

Although this devious turn of events had surprised me, deep inside I could not leave in protest. My lack of solidarity for my brother in arms was selfish of me, I know, but I’d worked too hard to quit now. I vowed that Rooster and I would be reunited one day.

***

The sun was coming up when we returned to the rest of our partisans huddled together and shivering under a pile of blankets. We handed the gas can to Wires.
“Shit it’s cold in here.”

“Well it’s not like we could keep the motor running Virtuoso.”

Wally paid no heed to the comments and searched for his package of ham. It was frozen. He whapped it against the side of the truck. “Oh great! How am I supposed to eat this? What elks can go wrong?” He quickly climbed into a bunk and removed his boots much to everyone’s protests as the fowl stench of his feet filled the air.

“Wally for heaven’s sake cover your feet!”

“Oh right Sparky’s foot fetish thing.” Quickly he pulled them from sight as Wires returned with the empty can. The engine roared to life and our driver shifted into first. We were on our way again, leaving behind tracks of rubber, and a hairy mass of dead flesh to the growing glow of dawn.

“I’m hungry.”

“Wally!”

New release this week:

All right, Christmas is coming, and since it is, I'm not going to bother with what's new on the audio front. I'm just going to give you my recommendation of what you should have in your X-mas musical collection.

For the next four weeks I'm going to advocate collaborations of songs, so overwhelming, so joyful, so--- dare I say it?---Chrismasie, mating cats won't be able to compete with it.

For the Christmas season I recommend: Tiny Tim's Christmas Album

Friday, December 08, 2006

Linkin' Lincoln

Ok, I lied. I'm not really going to link Lincoln, or any president living or dead--- not that I see much of a difference. I am going to link the Mayor over at Mitchieville. Why? Because he has some funny ass Christmas shit going on at the town hall. Like the Ku Klux Santa, a must for anyone who saw the Kramer debacle a few weeks back.

You know, if it wasn't for the Mayor, I don't think I'd ever have the experience of feeling liquid shoot out my nostrils--- Jack Daniels, milk, what-have-you. Today, in fact, I think I shat myself.....just a little....while I was reading some of his posts.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's green and it's mean

Still having trouble getting into the Christmas vibe even though you've been swamped with advertisments since late October? Well, I'm here my friends. I want to make your yule tide experience complete and pleasurable.

The first thing you need to make the eggnog course through your Scrooge-like inards, is the appropriate tree. May I suggest artificial? And not just any artificial tree but the "Hulk Smashin' Spruce", holiday tree.

It has everything you need, from the official purple Hulk tree-base, to the angry Hulk tree top. I don't suppose you'd be very happy either with a tree sticking out of your ass?

Anyway, it's all here if you want to check out the particulars.