Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Song, Bad Video

"Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

Okay, first thing's first... the video has NOTHING to do with the song, which is about... er... people say, say, saying things to each other or something. Doesn't matter; like most Macca post-Beatles efforts, it's catchy, easy to sing along with, and totally incomprehensible. Seriously, take a listen to a Best-Of Wings compilation sometime. It's like the ravings of a madman, but uptempo enough to where you feel comfortable listening to it in your car. Anyway, what the song is most definitely not about is Depression-era swindlers selling fraudulent tonics out the back of a dilapidated pickup truck. And yet, that's exactly what we have here. And there's a magic show, but more on that in a minute.

My question to those responsible is this: Why are we rooting for them? Why are they "our heroes?" They're ripping off hard-working people in the middle of our nation's greatest economic crisis. Nothing more, nothing less. Oh sure, they try to qualify their behavior by showing that the ill-gotten proceeds are going to an orphanage (side note: shouldn't someone be watching MJ around all those kids?), but that doesn't change the fact that they're basically taking food out of the mouths of kids who just happen to have gullible parents. But, according to the video-makers, that's okay because they're orphans. Get it... ORPHANS!!! One can only assume that the original cut of "Say Say Say" included a scene of Paul and Michael garroting a man in an alley so they could bring the orphans more gruel money by stealing his wallet.

Once they leave the orphanage (don't know how those little bastards can sleep at night, honestly), they end up catching on with some sort of vaudeville organization in what looks an awful lot like a whorehouse. Not saying it is, not saying it isn't... just saying there's a lot of happy men in there and the women who aren't Linda McCartney are awfully tarted up.

Oh, speaking of Linda... was there ever a person in the music business who had less charisma on camera than her? They literally could have replaced her in this video with a tire from off an old Chevy conversion van or a large wedge of cheese without any discernible difference. I mean, I've got nothing against her at all... she and Paul were by all accounts a lovely couple; certainly better than a certain one-legged harpy I could name... but still. She's a black hole from which personality cannot escape, at least while being filmed.

Anyway... the magic show, or vaudeville show, or whatever the fuck it is they're doing. All I can take away from the last half of this video is this: Creepy clown make up. Totally unnecessary, completely blood-chilling, and it certainly lends credence to those outtakes of back-alley murders for cash. There's also some arrogant houndstooth suits and hostile seltzer-spraying going on, but mostly it's all about their grim visages of death and how they haunt my soul.

In the end, Linda lights fire to something on stage and, because the audience is made up of Frankenstein's monsters and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, they all flee into the street. Which I guess shows that Depression-era audiences were MAJOR pussies. Anyway, this distraction allows our hardened gang of criminals to escape mustached justice from a local sheriff, which means their reign of terror is far from over.

Sadly, we never got a sequel. And their own "The Girl is Mine" would have been the perfect song! Seeing as how it had nothing to do with the aforementioned plot line either.

Accessories: A Pictorial


We've discussed neckties on this site before... summation of my point: used to be anti-them, now I'm pro-them... so let's instead talk about how ties relate to funerals. If you're at a funeral and you're not too distracted by that whole grief thing... like if it's a distant relative that you heard was kind of dickhole anyway... here's a fun game you can play to kill some time before the reception. It's kind of like the Find The Hidden Pictures puzzles in Highlights Magazine, but without the Goofus & Gallant chaser. Okay, it's this: Take a good look around the room and find the guys who hardly ever dress up. You can locate them by their choice in necktie. Amid the sea of greys and blacks and respectful, muted tones, you'll see a splashy Tasmanian Devil Playing Golf print or a Salvador Dali Melting Clocks or a Keyboard or a tie that looks... in image AND shape... like a rainbow trout. Do a shot for every guy like that you find (you DID remember to sneak liquor into the funeral, right?). Parenthetically, these are the guys you're going to want to party with post-graveside service. You can draw a direct correlation from never dressing up and owning hilarious ties to knowing how to properly guzzle beer with a funnel.


Men stink. I mean, women stink too, but not as much because they're girls DOYE and they mostly just smell like flowers and sunny days and they don't ever poop is what I hear, but anyway, yeah men... smelly fuckers. Which is why we rub ourselves down with chemicals whenever we're trying to toss game at the ladies. We're tricking you... we want you to think that we always smell like... um... whatever it is that men's cologne is supposed to smell like. A sailboat? Boot leather? Ocean water mixed with testosterone in new car called "Butch?" I dunno... whatever, though, it works. Look at me. I got a woman and I'm basically just a trashpile with legs. Attractive, masculine legs that a soccer player would kill for, but still... trashpile, with all of the odor that implies.


This is the only accessory in the post that actually does something. It has a job. It's worth the money you spend on it because it, in return, will always keep you informed as to how late, exactly, you are to your next appointment because you just HAD to stop off for your fifth iced coffee of the day... seriously, dude, there's a fine line between just wanting to be peppy and being so addicted that you tried to strangle a barista who was a little slow getting your crack rock to the pick-up station... buy yeah, watches. Good stuff. Especially now that companies aren't cramming a million extra features into them like they used to. Remember, early 90s, when you could get a watch with a calculator and a pedometer and a radio and a world map and a navigational beacon and a deep fat fryer and a girlfriend that would love you forever and God. Literally, God was a part of these watches! Because God is a part of everything, at least according to the Bible. And the Bible NEVER LIES. Especially about time-keeping devices. Cellphones kind of took over the usless crap market, and that's just fine for watches. They'll just keep doing what they do.


The idea for earrings came about when, one day, a woman got into her husband's fishing lures and... because she had some pretty severe chemical imbalances and hadn't yet been accepted into strict, Jungian therapy... she hung them from her earlobes and ran around screaming, "Ooooh look at me I'm a pretty Christmas tree!!!" It pretty much took off from there. And you know, earrings are alright. I mean, they're pretty useless when you get right down to it, but I've seen women get all crazy for worse accessories, specifically those necklaces that are your name... because you might forget? You want to make it easier for greasy guys to hit on you? Didn't they teach you in Stranger Danger classes never to have your name where creepy dudes can see it? It only makes their stories about being a friend of your parent's more convincing. Anyway, earrings... they're fine. Just don't get crazy with it; everything in moderation. I saw a women on the subway the other day with two wooden planks the size of boogie boards hanging off her ears and I was forced to find some spray paint and scrawl on her forehead the words, "TOO MUCH!" Don't let that happen to you.


Gross. I mean really... a little is okay, I guess, maybe around the eyes, but c'mon ladies... enough with the slathering it on like you're painting a house. It's just frightening. If you took a random sampling of guys... like, frat guys and rocker dudes and guys who design computer games for a living and professional athletes and balding middle-management types... and gave them a choice between a fresh-faced girl with no make-up and a girl who was wearing every color known to man on her face, I'm pretty sure the general consensus would be, "Yeah, I'll take the first one. Not really into girls that look like they just headbutted a clown." So dial it back, 'kay? Guys of the world are tired of buying new pillows because you made ours look like modern art.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday Saturday Morning Hodgepodge

Yesterday was kind of a bust, what with the whole trip to the dentist and the subsequent root canal and the coming home SANS PRESCRIPTION (if you can believe that bullshit), so I figured I might as well take care of my blog-bligations today... Saturday... which is usually my time of the week for slacking and being exxxtra lazy and so on. Not that anyone reads ZFS! on the weekends, mind you... this is more of a "bored at work" type of website. Still, though... you're welcome.


So yeah, the dentist... LAME. I had been to this guy before, so I kind of knew what to expect, but he was such an asshole. Like, competent and everything... he didn't gash open my gums with a rusty machete, nor did he replace my sore tooth with a potted plant, say, or a festive lawn gnome... but his bedside manner made Dr. Giggles look like Patch Adams. I've never before had a doctor visibly roll his eyes when I asked a simple question; it was like something from an episode of House, minus the wit, intelligence, good writing, and handsome British men posing as Americans.

Anyway, otherwise it went pretty smoothly. The whole shebang is going to cost me about $700, which I'm told that's a fairly reasonable rate for a root canal + crown procedure, and... like I said... it seems like he did a pretty good job. OH, but one thing that did suck... right at the beginning, he was tapping all my teeth with this curved, horror-show, pick thingy to test for pain and... when he got to the tooth in question... he managed to tap his little sharp, scary implement right on the sweet spot, as it were. The pain was so intense, I nearly shit my pants. Seriously, I saw a GALAXY of stars and everything went all swimmy for a minute and somewhere, off in the distance, I heard Satan laughing his ass off.

It was way uncool. Lousy necessary dental work.


Okay, so I know I'm way behind on this... and I usually don't like dipping my toes into the fetid, gooey, celebrity sex-scandal waters... but how can one not talk about the VERNE TROYER SEX TAPE OH MY GOD I CAN'T STOP VOMITING?!?! I mean nothing against little dudes and their God-given right to get it on with ladies of regular size or whatever, but seriously... and I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone... no one wants to see that. Even less so than the Gene Simmons tape. Even less so than the Screech-gives-a-girl-the-ol'-Dirty-Sanchez tape. Sex is supposed to be a beautiful thing between two people who love each other, OR it's supposed to be really hot and raunchy and full of language that would make dockworkers faint onto chaise lounges like Victorian-era debutantes. What sex ISN'T supposed to be is a freak show grab for cash by nearly-faded stars from crappy Mike Myers movies. Ergo, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR TINY PENIS HAVE TINY SEX WITH SAD STRIPPERS, MR. TROYER!!!

All clear on this? Good.


Tonight, I'm going to a party hosted by Puerto Ricans in honor of their fifteen year old son's graduation from junior high into high school. It's kind of like a "quinceanera" but for a dude. Anyway, there's going to be FREE FOOD and an OPEN BAR and DANCING until they kick us the fuck out. A hell of a time is expected. I imagine you'll be seeing me on the eleven o'clock news, mooning from the top of a moving city bus while shotgunning rum like a frat pledge. So if anyone would mind Tivoing that, I'd really appreciate it. My mom likes to keep a video scrapbook of all my public appearances/arrests.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Teeth Drillin'

As I mentioned the other day, I have a toothache. It feels sort of like having my second molar hooked up to a car battery, but only when it comes in contact with food or spit or my tongue or the air. Otherwise, it's just this dull ache hanging around all shitty like a loiterer outside a 7-11 trying to pick up chicks by gesturing lasciviously at his crotch.

So, in about an hour, I'm going to have it "taken care of." At least I hope so... I called my dentist and screamed, "OWWWW!" into the phone and they said to just come in and they'd see what they could do. Personally, I'd be fine with them just yanking the thing out and then letting me go after it with a tire iron or some sort of crude spear fashioned from dental instruments and a mop handle.

But I guess we'll see. Keep ya posted, I guess, and if you hear any loud, girlish screams coming roughly from the direction of Manhattan... well, sorry, I have a low tolerance for pain.

Crossing His Fingers For Vicodin


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Let's Do Some Shots!" Part 3

NOTE: Since birth, roughly, I would estimate that I have done somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million shots. Give or take. Here now, the first chapter in an ongoing attempt to recall every single one. Which I realize is sort of an exercise in self-defeat, seeing as how I'm trying to remember the individual varieties of the very things that have most contributed to my Swiss-cheese memory. It's like rain on your wedding day, huh?

Nonetheless, let's get this party started! LET'S DO SOME SHOTS!!!

Vodka - Like being stabbed in the throat by a Russian made of ice. Or having your chest caved in by the middle of winter in Minnesota. Or drowning in a lake on Pluto. It's cold, is the point I'm trying to make here... at least, it should be cold. Some people don't store their vodka in the freezer and those people are worse than any serial killer you could name; yes, even the ones that store their victim's heads in the freezer, which kind of brings my point around full circle (not really). Anyway, doing a shot of vodka is great because it slips down all smooth-like... none of the burn like whiskey or potential felonies like tequila... and it doesn't even matter if you're shooting Grey Goose or Stoli or Georgi or whatever rotgut from the bottom shelf was on sale at the liquor store in the bad part of town, because ALL VODKA TASTES THE SAME!!! I know there are "experts" out there who claim they can tell the difference between the high-end stuff and the junk hobos buy using all nickels but those "experts" are LIARS! Also FRAUDS! And possibly the aforementioned SERIAL KILLERS! Vodka tastes like vodka, no matter what you pay for it (and if you're paying more than $9.99 for a bottle of vodka, then you're a fool wrapped in a doofus concealed behind a monolith called "Doye.")

The Stoplight - The Stoplight represents everything that is wrong with the current state of America's shot culture. It's a master's thesis entitled "You're Doing It Wrong," and here's why: The Stoplight consists of sour apple Schnapps, cinnamon Schnapps, and gold tequila all layered in a shot glass. Because when you do it like that, it looks like a stoplight! See... with the green and the red and the yellow... STOPLIGHT!!! Never mind the fact that those three liquors mixed together taste like shit! It's a visual pun that gets freshmen girls to take off their tops! We're all a bunch of babies who learned about drinking from watching The Real World: Las Vegas! Seriously, everyone at the Cabo Wabo Cantina... everyone at Senor Frogs and Coyote Ugly and ever college bar across the land... ENOUGH. You're missing the point so badly, the point has started to forget what you look like. The point is lonely. Good job, motherfucker... you've made the point cry with the retarded way you drink.

Flaming Sambuca - Or any drink, really, that you have to set on fire. Because there's nothing smarter that I can think of than letting drunk people wave around an open flame over glasses full of undiluted accelerants. Might as well have them investigate that gas leak while they're at it, or maybe they can set a hackey-sack aflame and do some neat tricks over near that lake of gasoline. The fact that the late-night bar scene isn't punctuated more often by shrieking infernos that used to be Business Majors proves the old adage that God looks after fools and drunks. And make no mistake... people who light their liquor on fire are both.

Bullshot - Beef bullion, Tabasco sauce, vodka, a little seasoning... it's more like a soup than it is a shot. But it is delicious and if you drink it first thing in the morning after a night of partying, it will attack your hangover like a pit bull running down a toddler. Three or four of these and you'll be raring to hop back on the Goodship Boogie-Down as it sails out towards the deep waters of Fun Time Ocean.

Cement Mixer - How mean? Sooooo mean. If you're unfamiliar... i.e. your friends aren't assholes... it's where you have a naive, unsuspecting soul who's just looking for a good time take a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream and a shot of lime juice, making sure that he swirls them together in his mouth before swallowing. Because science can be a cruel motherfucker sometimes, the Bailey's and the lime juice react all weird and the whole mix thickens and curdles into a sludge that's not unlike wet cement (hence the name). It's disgusting. And it makes a lot of people hurl. Though it should be pointed out that, if it's not happening to you, it IS hilarious. The looks on their faces ALONE is worth wasted liquor and eventual karmic backlash.

Losing Weight

I weighed myself last night and this morning I'm looking at all food like it's the proverbial devil with the blue dress on. Tempting, but evil... sure it tastes good all slutty and warm in your mouth (provided we're talking about, say, a double-bacon cheeseburger deluxe, which we are), but after the moment of ecstasy fades... after the remnants of beef juice are wiped away and all that's left is a daub of mustard on your shirt... that's when it strikes! Or, rather, it spreads out... to your ass and thighs and gut and man-boobs.

What I'm trying to say is, guess what you guys... I'm totally fat. Like, to an unhealthy degree. I'm the kind of fat that leads to people shaking their heads in a cemetery on a Wednesday afternoon while saying, "He was so young... but still, a body can only process so many blocks of Wisconsin cheddar and deep-fried Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Tragedy, though, that his heart exploded out of his chest like it did. Reminded one of a 4th of July celebration! But disgusting."

Morbidly obese is what they call the state I'm in. Morbid. As in, "you're gonna die, you fat sack of crap." I don't mind telling you how much I weigh... in fact, I think putting it out there is going to do me a world of good (and I'll get to why I think that in a second). So here goes... kiddos, your old pal C-dog is exactly one pound shy of a perfect bowling score. That's right... 299 pounds of steel and sex appeal and very little muscle tone and more blubber than most Eskimos see in a lifetime and Cheez-It crumbs and residual sorrow for the semi-demi-quasi-athlete I once was. Which, by the way, is one of the worst parts about all of this... I used to not be all that fat. I mean, I've always been a stout sort, but you know... there was a point in my life... and I've got the sexy pictures to prove it... where I could be called "in shape" and "physically fit" without back up from an ironic wink or the peals of a cranked-up sitcom laugh track.

And the fact that I've let that slip away blows goats, man. The cold, hard fact of the matter is that I'm about a month and a half shy of my 28th birthday... not getting any younger, though I'll be the first to admit that I'm not quite ready for an AARP membership just yet. But the older one gets, the harder it is to lose the excess weight. Laziness becomes ingrained like driving a standard or riding a bike or walking in high heels (all of which I do wonderfully, by the way, including the laziness). Old habits... bad habits... they take root and they ruin your life the way weeds can ruin a lovely golf course that goes ungroomed or a garden that gets left behind when the guy who tends to it dies because he's an enormous fat ass who people always assumed was a manager at Dominos because he constantly smelled like a pepperoni pizza.

Which brings me to my point: It is time to lose some weight. Now, I'm realistic... I don't think I'll be looking like a Tour de France winner by late August. I don't think I can just cut back a little and suddenly I'll get mistaken for Iggy Pop. I don't think that this will be easy. Because it won't. But it has to happen... like, has to. Which is why I'm bringing it up now, in public; I don't mind telling you how much I weigh because now it's out there, in the world, or at least it's in the brains of the people that read this blog. And that will serve as a motivating factor; me knowing that you know how fat I am and that you're judging me (in my mind, anyway) will serve as that prod to put down the bag of chips and take a walk around the neighborhood! It's better living through perceived guilt!!!

So yeah... the journey towards a healthy, slimmer C-dog begins today. I'm going to take it slow, at first. I'm not immediately switching from Italian heroes to a plate of mashed yeast or something because that would lead to a complete mental breakdown on par with that guy in A Beautiful Mind who thought he was being followed by the CIA. I don't need that. Being crazy and fat is just unacceptable. But still... the healthiness starts now. Counting calories, making an effort towards exercising more, enough with the lazy all ready... that sort of thing.

Fingers crossed, mon amis. Here's hopin' this takes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Banana Bonkers Busy

Today is one of those days that try men's souls. Or my soul, rather. The souls of other men can go to hell, for all I care. Everything is all about me, always, as we've discussed.

Anyway, yeah... today: Very busy.

First, I've got to take my cousin to the airport and make sure he gets through security without being mistaken for Osama bin Laden (they resemble each other if you squint). Then, I have to hop on the train and head to work, where I will then attend a long, boring, all-staff meeting about a bunch of junk that I only pretend to understand. Following said meeting, I've got to begin the long, arduous process of getting caught up after having been on vacation for the last few days (I expect to be fully on top of things sometime around the World Series). Finally, after airports and gross work stuff, I've got to meet Girlfriend at Penn Station where she'll be arriving after having spent a few days at a math curriculum conference (snore) up in Albany. I'm the official Bag Carrier. And Giver of Smooches as well, but you don't care about that because love is icky.

So all in all, I've got myself the makings of a full, rich, sort of irritating, long-ass day. You'll understand, I'm sure, if the blogging isn't quite up to it's usual level of stellar entertainment. And if you don't understand this... well, then... you can just die. Violently. Like, a death where the funeral has to be "closed casket" because they couldn't find a bunch of your face.

Tomorrow, though, I'll get right back to it. Promise!

Oh, and ps, I've got a toothache. Lame.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: 1937-2008

Audio NSFW, but that's the whole point

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Unforeseen Difficulty

This probably says a lot more about me and how I live my life than I'd really care for it to, but whatever... we're all friends here...

Said unforeseen difficulty? Goddamn it's hard to entertain someone in New York without taking them to a bar. I mean, obviously, it's not my cousin's fault that he's only fourteen... not a whole lot he can do about that... but still.

Example: We were in the city a couple of nights ago, waiting on a movie to start at the IFC Center. We had an hour and a half to kill. Normally, this would be prime time spent slamming back a few pre-film beers and/or shots to be covered at a later date right here on this very site. But noooo... bars FROWN on minors just hanging around while their older cousins get into a mental state of readiness for a movie about bikini-girls fighting zombies. They don't WANT me to be drunk enough to enjoy such cinematic offerings. Jerks.

So we drank a couple of Red Bulls by a fountain outside an insanely crowded gelato stand like a couple of assholes.

Again, not his fault... doye... BUT STILL.

I vote we lower the drinking age to however old my cousin is when he comes to visit. Who's with me?!?!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Texas Chain Saw, You've Massacred My Heart

I showed my cousin The Texas Chain Saw Massacre last night and, as is de rigueur for being fourteen and seeing that movie for the first time, his mind was blown clear across the room like patio furniture in the eye of a hurricane. And it was a fun experience for me, too... I've seen said movie, at last count, eleventy billion times and even though it occupies a high spot on my vaunted, holy Top Ten, there's no getting around the fact that you can only watch a chick get chased by an other-people's-face-wearing maniac so many times before it all loses some of it's punch or pizazz or electric boogaloo. But seeing it with my cousin, who is the same age I was when I got my first taste of Leatherface and his assorted, homicidal relatives, well, it was like being reborn into a wonderful world of brain-melting terror and throat-closing fear and things that go bump in the night... right before they impale you on a meat hook.

And I love it when that happens; when the old becomes sparkly fresh and new. It's like Springtime, but with classic 70s horror instead of trees and animals fucking and all that bullshit.

Anyway, I guess my point is this: Texas Chain Saw Massacre rocks, still and for always. See it again... for the first time!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shoes: A Pictorial

Flip Flops

Newsflash, everyone: Nobody wants to look at your toes. Even if you have nice toes (you don't, but hypothetically), the general population would overwhelmingly prefer to not have them shoved in their collective faces just because you're too goddamn lazy to lace up like a normal person. Really, have you looked at toes? They're just awful. All hairy and sweaty and with crap in between them like filth pockets from the Butt-Nasty Dimension. Even beautiful girl-next-door girls with cute smiles and hair that smells good and awesome taste in movies... their toes are a thousand different kinds of horrible. So you can only imagine what the rest of us have going on down there sub-ankle. Now, having said all that, I feel that in the interest of total honesty I should tell you that I wear flip flops or sandals or whatever all motherfucking summer long. Because I am too lazy to lace up, thanks. And my toes are like disgusting miracles!

High Heels

I'll be the first to admit that high heels should be awarded all sorts of medals of valor for their work in the Pushing Women's Butts Out There field... they get the job done, consistently and thoroughly, and for that we men can't thank them enough. Unfortunately, it's time for us, as a nation, to be done with high heels. That's right... their time has passed. Why? Because they represent Sexiness Past and we are now all about Sexiness Future. Here's what I mean: Sexiness Past is what we grew up with... late-night Cinemax flicks about strippers that were really cops or hookers that were really private eyes or stewardesses that were really strippers or hookers... ZZ Top video girls, you know... big hair and arrogant make-up and neon-lit barrooms and red dresses, etc. Sexiness Past is really about hyper-stylized sexiness... cheesy-sexy, in other words. And in our Age of Irony, we can't appreciate that anymore; it's like trying to fuck an episode of Vh1's I Love The 80s. That's why we have to make giant, leaping strides towards the new era, the modern version of what is hot... Sexiness Future. We're talking high-top Converses on girls... casual ponytails and minimal-to-zero make-up and record stores lit with daylight from huge windows and soft t-shirts that get down on their knees and beg for a snuggle. It's effortless and fun and it won't hurt your feet and everyone wins because, obviously, who would you rather be with... Shannon Tweed or that girl behind the counter who can tell you all about how Hasil Adkins will change your life? It's a brave new world, kiddos. High heels... you're out.

Goth Boots

For the love of God, what is it with you people? Are broken ankles all the rage? Do bands like Slipknot and Sevendust sing about how cool it is to spend a half hour taking off your shoes because you've got to undo nineteen buckles and a combination lock? Because, even if you're TOTALLY about living the Gothic lifestyle like a total wiener, these have got to be a constant, stumbling, uncomfortable annoyance on par with always getting picked on by jocks and how your thirteen pounds of eye make-up runs down your face when you get stuck standing in the rain because your mom's boyfriend is late picking you up from school AGAIN (school is so lame, I can't wait until graduation because after that I AM SOOOO OUT OF HERE). Seriously, just get some black Vans or a pair of Sketchers and draw pentagrams on them with Wite-Out. That's totally Goth and you can still run from the Vice Principal when he catches you huffing spray paint behind the gym.

Dress Shoes

I've mentioned many times in the past how much I hate businessmen and everything they stand for and how they're all frat-house rapists who only get jobs because their Dads know a guy who knows a guy and on and on and on... well, okay, so whatever, I tend to repeat myself. Like you're so perfect. I just want you to understand my point, which is this: Businessmen are the worst kinds of people. Ever. I mean, just look at their shoes... all black and shiny and dull and formal and with those hateful, skinny laces... ugh, why don't you just wrap your BA in Business around the barrel of a Louisville Slugger and bash my brains out with it, you meaty pile of evil? Go send a memo to The Devil about how you think he's awesome. Go draw up a spreadsheet of all the ways you're wrong. Just go; your shoes make my stomach hurt like bad tacos.

Clown Shoes

Something wasn't right about this picture... like, something was missing and I couldn't put my finger on it but these clown shoes... I don't know... they just looked wrong to me. Then I figured out what it was. Clown shoes just aren't clown shoes without a light misting of arterial blood that's drifted down from a freshly slit throat. Glad I figured that out because it would have bugged me ALL day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Friday Morning Hodgepodge

That's right... FRIDAY. What? What's going on? Did the fabric of time and space rip apart and now the days are just floating along all willy nilly like chunks of ice in a delicious, delicious mixed drink? Or, C-dog, did the infection from your thumb finally reach your brain, melting it like a Whatchamacallit in a microwave, all because you never learned that cat poop isn't the same thing as Neosporin (ps, it's totally not)?

Nope, neither of those things. The truth of the matter is this: Today is my Friday! Because I'm going on vacation! HA!!! Suck on that, people who aren't me!!!

Well, okay... technically I'm not going anywhere. Too pricey. But I am going to be off of work for a few days and, during this blissful time away from the cubicle and away from the stacks of invoices and away from the choking stench of my own failed hopes and dreams, I'll be entertaining a relative! My cousin Joss, specifically, who is a brainy, nifty 14 year old with an interest in horror films. Needless to say, he's coming to the right place. So we'll be doing a lot of that for the next few days, as well as some crap around the city... I've already reserved us a table at Scores for most of the week, for one thing. Signed us up for a fight club, too.

Anyway, should be just tons o' fun (much like myself). But fear not, kiddos... I will still be posting regularly, lest your lives teeter off their respective axises, sending your worlds into an oblivion tailspin that can only be cured by electroshock therapy. I'm just thoughtful like that.

Here's a bit of interesting... and here I'm using the broadest definition of the word "interesting" imaginable... trivia for you on this fine, Wednesday (Friday!) morning: Were you aware that popular children's nightmare fuel/puppet Howdy Doody had siblings? Really... Heidi Doody was his sister and Double Doody was his twin brother. They lived in Doodyville.
Doesn't this make Howdy Doody even creepier than he already is? To know that there's... shudder... MORE of them? Maybe it's because I'm gearing up for a long stretch of horror films this weekend, but I can't help imagining the Doody clan as dead ringers for the fine, meat-loving folks that populated that lonesome, dilapidated shack in the middle of the great Lone Star nowhere in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Double Doody wears people's faces and chases them around with a souped-up Craftsman, Howdy Doody lures them into the house with a few jokes and a friendly smile, and Heidi Doody... well... she breeds. Got to keep the family alive, you know? So they'll always be out there. Waiting... and hungry....
Yikes, I just freaked myself out a little!
Did the Lakers actually play in last night's Game 6, or did their bus break down somewhere between LA and Boston so they had to enlist a YMCA youth league to play in their stead? Because... and it's not that I could have done any better or anything... but seriously, I've seen mafia hits that were less one-sided.
Stan Winston... 1948-2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Let's Do Some Shots!" Part 2

NOTE: Since birth, roughly, I would estimate that I have done somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million shots. Give or take. Here now, the first chapter in an ongoing attempt to recall every single one. Which I realize is sort of an exercise in self-defeat, seeing as how I'm trying to remember the individual varieties of the very things that have most contributed to my Swiss-cheese memory. It's like rain on your wedding day, huh?

Nonetheless, let's get this party started! LET'S DO SOME SHOTS!!!

Jagermeister - A lot of people regard Jager as an evil drink and I must concede... they have a point. Weird, herbal, like something from off an old shelf in a castle in the Dark Ages, it has been known to cause doughy, middle-management types to behave like Kimbo Slice, challenging bouncers to fist fights that predictably end with their neckties securely knotted to the bumper of a moving SUV. Shots of Jager can also... and this I've seen with my own eyes... make a twenty year old girl vomit up a full Mexican combo platter in a manner so spectacular that it defies all description (think "explosion at the chili factory" and you're mostly there). However, despite all this evidence of it's wicked ways, I have exceedingly pleasant memories of Jagermeister and they all stem from one very unusual evening spent drinking shot after shot after shot of the stuff with the father of an old roommate. He was a German immigrant, and he showed up at our apartment to visit his daughter with a full bottle of Jager in tow; gotta love that kind of foresight. We stayed up most of the night, drinking and chatting and building bridges between our cultures and only going to sleep when it became clear that the evening was about to devolve into the singing of our respective National Anthems. I don't remember a lot of what was said that night (because, obviously), but I do know that it has forever cemented in my heart the wonder and the glory that is Jagermeister. It heals, kiddos. It is magic. But seriously though, be careful with that shit; it will sneak up on your ass like a Bed-Stuy mugger.

Blow Job - Oh haha, it's a drink named after a sex act. Can the cleverness of Spring Break bartenders reach higher heights? Wait... wait... YES... they put whipped cream on it! Like it's jizz!!! Oh my god, they've topped themselves; I am forever humbled, you bunch of community college drop-outs with tattoos of a pot leaves covering the entirety of your collective backs. But yeah, the Blow Job isn't a shot, really... I mean, it is, but it tastes like a candy bar and has dessert toppings on it and it's only drunk by extremely stupid people in extremely stupid situations. It's like if sorority girls and bachelorette parties controlled the world's alcohol supply. And it should be noted that the ONLY reason I've had one is because someone bought it for me as a joke. I swear to God. It had nothing to do with curiosity or experimenting in college or anything like that.

Cinnamon Death - Or something like that. I had this one in, of all places, Disneyland. I was there with my girlfriend at the time, "Sarah," and we had grown bored with the rides and the costume characters and all the silly, kiddie shit and just wanted to get plowed in the happiest place on Earth. So we headed over to Pleasure Island or Adultsville or The Part Of This Godforsaken Theme Park Hell That's Actually Got Booze or whatever the fuck it was called and were immediately upon exiting our water taxi greeted by a supermodel holding a tray of glowing test tubes. "They're shooters," she said in a voice somewhere between Edith Bunker and an eight year old dicking around with helium balloons, "try some... these are Cinnamon Aneurysms!" Or whatever. They tasted like a melted pack of Big Red chewing gum, mixed with the propellant they use to gas up the Space Shuttle, and it left me wandering from theme bar to theme bar with the distinct feeling that my head was hovering two feet above the rest of my body. In other words, Mickey Mouse can make a fucking shot and isn't that handy knowledge to have in your back pocket? Two of those and a trip on the Matterhorn and you're set for life in the fun department. Take the next forty years off, dude, and just chiiiiiil.

Ewok Teabagging A Mexican Trying To Cross The Border At Midnight - Okay, so technically I've never actually experienced this shot. And, truthfully, it sounds kind of gross... it appears to consist of whatever booze was just lying around the dorm room when it was dreamed up (including something called "Hpnotiq," which can't be good based on it's spelling ALONE). Still though... a name like that... well, it's retarded, obviously, but you got to give credit to the group of racist Star Wars-enthusiast alcoholics that at least made the effort to broaden our drunken horizons.

Mind Eraser - This was mentioned in the comments last week by our old friend Big Daddy and it is a shot only for the pros (of which I am one, doye). The thing about the Mind Eraser is that the stuff in it isn't all that special... it's just vodka and Kahlua and I think there's maybe some fizzy water in there, but not necessarily... it's the way you drink them that quite literally erases your mind. See, you layer the liquids; first the Kahlua, then the vodka, then the fizzy shit (if you're using that, you weenie). Then you stick a straw in the bottom of the glass and suck the whole affair down. Now, drinking liquor with a straw? It will fuck you up like a car crash. I'm sure there's some sort of science behind it, but I don't know what it is and I wouldn't care if I did... all I know is that it delivers the booze into your system a lot faster than normal and WHOOPS, there goes all your problems and your ability to walk in a straight line without veering off into a series of somersaults and soon you're asleep in the back of someone's van, dreaming and peeing and living life to the fullest.

Thumb: The Danger-ing!!!

Everyone have a nice weekend? Yeah, was it calm and fun and a magical experience that brought you and your loved ones closer together like an atom bomb made of hugs? Oh that's wonderful... just wonderful... eh, what's that? How was my weekend? Oh, well... you know... it was great for the most part, enjoyed the cooler weather, watched some movies, and... oh yeah...


That's right, kiddos... your one and only C-dog had a brush with death so shocking, you're probably going to want to read the rest of this article with a fresh tank of oxygen, or at least a bottle of your favorite grain alcohol, just to keep you from freaking the fuck out!

I'll wait.

What's that... you're way ahead of me on the grain alcohol? Ah, that's my readership... add a little food coloring to make it festive!

Anyway, so I'm at a bar on Friday night and things are rocking along status quo. A couple of beers, some good conversation, lovely weather on the outside patio... a happy hour like any other. Except for, waiting in the wings... breathless and slimy... lurked DANGER!!!

After a an hour or so, the need to pee shows up and says, "Let's get on with it, hombre," so I head on to the bathroom; a one-seater with a toilet (of course), a sink, a mirror, and... DANGER!!!

I do my business, wash my hands, and turn around, only to be confronted by this... (DANGER!!!):

I mean, obviously I'd seen it already because I'd latched it when I came in. And, you know, the one pictured there isn't the exact same as the one in the bar bathroom but... whatever... cut me some slack, here. After all... DANGER!!! Anyway, I go to unlatch it and, to my surprise... to my horror... I discover that it is stuck. Like, it won't move from the "locked" position. I tug it and I yank on it and that's what she said and suddenly (DANGER!!!) it very quickly (DANGER!!!) becomes unstuck in as violent (DANGER!!!) a manner as possible. What happened next was... well, actually, let me first introduce you to my thumb...

Hell of a guy, my thumb. Extremely nice, quick with a joke, never hurt a fly... certainly, he didn't deserve THIS:

That's right. MUTILATION!!! When the lock suddenly became unstuck, it somehow managed to lop off a big chunk of poor, Mr. Thumbs-a-lot, leaving him mangled, gushing blood, and crying with big, open-mouthed sobs like a toddler trapped in a burning building full of all his toys. It was a bad scene, man... real bad. I stumbled about the place, blind with pain and rage, covered in blood like Drunk Dracula (Drunkula), screaming and babbling all crazy and writing satanic messages on the wall like in Sharon Tate's bedroom... I smashed up the bar and set it on fire and stole a car and extorted money from the government and tornadoed the whole wide world.

But then, fortune smiled upon me. Like this: (SMILE!!!)

I remembered that, because I'm a super genius who always comes to the bar prepared, I had a trained and handsome nurse just a few feet away! That's right, our boy Todd... all gallant and with medical knowledge bursting forth from his beautiful brain... and lucky for me, he wasn't too drunk yet!

I scampered over to him and thrust my icky, destroyed thumb at him and shrieked, "HELP ME MR. DOCTOR MAN!!!! OWWWWWW!!!!!" And he lifted me up in a fireman's carry and started shouting, "We need a crash cart in here! Scalpel!!! STAT!!!" And suddenly, before I knew what was what, I was healed! (HEALED!!!)

Well, okay, not "healed," so much as "bandaged up and rubbed down with Neosporin," but you know... whatever. Healed enough to the point where I now owe Todd one boon. Specifically, if anyone takes a shot at him... with a fist or a bullet or a long-range tactical missile... I'm contractually obligated to take that shot for him. That may seem a little extreme, but that's how it is. (EXTREME!!!)

So anyway, I've got a tore up thumb. It hurts, but not too much... I'm way too manly to cry (um... anymore) about it. The only thing now is to keep it clean, covered, and infection-free. Because, seriously, we don't want it to get infected:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Let's End The Week On This...

That's the original, Japanese, one-sheet poster for the first Friday the 13th movie. Apropos, seeing as how today is Friday the 13th AND we're all going to get stalked and killed by the mother of a drowned retarded kid later on this evening.

That goes double for those of us who are currently being promiscuous at a secluded summer camp. YOU know who you are...

Friday Morning Hodgepodge

I know that you all live and die by my emotional state of well-being so, first things first, let me give you an update on yesterday's unexplained funk: I'm feeling better... maybe it's because it's Friday, maybe it's because Girlfriend and I had a lovely evening last night just hanging out, drinking beer, and watching a ton of episodes of Weeds... who knows? It probably has more to do with the chemicals in my brain rebalancing themselves or the aliens have stopped blasting me with their Sad-Face Beams or that unmarked bottle of pills I found on the subway, but whatever the case, I'm happy to be happy again. Although I will say this... being all funkified yesterday... totally lousy. All brooding and and sulky. I felt like The Crow. Even put on the make-up, which so didn't go with what I was wearing. But it all evened out because I saved the city from gang members or mobsters or evil businessmen or... um... whatever the hell that movie was about.


The Hot Wings & Blue Cheese Doritos Collisions are fucking delicious. I mean, they don't really taste like hot wings or blue cheese... all Doritos either taste like their version of salsa or their version of ranch, regardless of what it says on the package... but still, having both together in the same bag like a camping trip gone spectacularly naughty... best idea in the snacking community since the coating of pretzels with chocolate. And NO, I'm not being paid by Doritos for this endorsement. Because they are motherfucking stingy. Don't they realize that I hold sway over SEVERAL people?!?! I'm like a God, if Gods had almost no power and were doughy!!! Doritos, fall before my might, or at least give me some free chips!!! I command it and I also say, "please!"


Bit of site business: As you may have noticed, I started a couple of new, regular features this week... the thing about shots and the thing about albums, specifically. I think both of them are going to be a lot of fun and make ladies pregnant and heal cancer with an uppercut made of pure goodness and hope. And, for good measure, we're going to start another regular feature next week as well... something sort of in the same ballpark (or at least the same sport) as the posts about shots, but with the spirit of our dear, departed friend, ICFC.

The thing I wanted to mention, though, about all three of these new regular features is that... in order to make my life easier and to not have this blog become a total pain in the ass... I've decided to not have them appear on set days. Meaning, there won't be a schedule to speak of like their was with the aforementioned ICFC. Feeling like I have to have something done on a certain day, for me, sucks all the fun out of doing it... makes it seem like work, and work and I aren't really ever on speaking terms. So... that being the case... I'm going to try to do one of each every week, but the actual days on which they're posted will change with my moods, whims, and levels of laziness.

So there you go... oh, and the one about the albums might end up being a bi-monthly affair, as it's a lot of work (not that you could tell that from the writing). Haven't decided.


Good interview with our nation's new Top Chef over at the AV Club, for those of you who might be interested. I was hoping for a little more dishy gossip, or for her to at least call Lisa out as the worst person on the planet, but whatever. Still interesting.


And, I don't know... I guess that's it. I've already got a shit-ton of work to do today, as two of my groupmates are off doing their Summer Friday thing, so I should probably get on that. Pity me, kiddos. Inputting invoices and the tedium therein are all that lie ahead for yours truly. But it's okay. Soon it will be over. After all, as a great man once said, it can't rain all the time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Know What Will Cheer Me Up...

That's right. Sean Connery in a red sci-fi diaper with suspenders and thigh-high boots. That's what cheers my sweet, Texas ass the hell up. You got a problem with that?

No, of course not. Because you're hypnotized by Connery's grotesque porn 'stache and junior-high-art-teacher ponytail. You can't look away from all that leg hair. You're powerless to resist that happiest of happy trails. Man, they must have had good drugs in the 70s. Indeed, for there is no other explanation for his appearance in Zardoz, the movie from which this production still was taken. This road was paved with bricks of hash, held together by a paste made from cocaine and booze.

Anyway, I'm totally cheered up now. Well, sort of. Okay, not really, but I got a good chuckle out of finding this on my hard drive during a bit of boredom-inspired cleaning. Thought I'd share.

Funk (Not Like Bootsy Collins)

I'm usually Mr. Sunshine, happy-go-lucky, farting starbeams at a laughing cupid all flying around on a cartoon folk song dragon named "Love." Today though... blah... I don't know. Today, I'm in a funk. Dark clouds and apathy puddles and a thick, creamy smear of foreboding that feels like a wool suit on an August afternoon. I'm sweating gloom, kiddos. And I don't know why, either... that's what really gets my goat.

I mean, work is kind of lame. I'm over it, but who isn't over their jobs? Besides those people that actually love what they do, of course, but I'm not a hundred percent sure that those people exist. They're like the Yeti. But yeah... my job. Whatever. That's all I have to say about it... whatmotherfuckingever.

Other than that, stuff is pretty great. So what gives? Why am I funkalicious in all the wrong ways?

That wasn't a rhetorical question; I'm asking you, the readers, the ones who know me better than anyone else with the exception of Girlfriend, who wins because obviously. I need to know what's up with this because... no joke... me being in a funk is totally unacceptable.

I feel like a Leonard Cohen song up in here.

"Never Going Back Again" by Fleetwood Mac

This is my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. I don't know what that says about me... if anything. Feel free to speculate, though. I'm having one of those rare (for me, anyway) writer's block-y mornings where I'm trying to write and be entertaining and whatever but nothing is coming out. Mentally, it's like I've eaten a whole brick of cheese and most of a cow and I'm on the metaphorical toilet, straining to beat the band, but the bowl below remains unfilled.

Hopefully, something will dislodge later on and I can finally take the word dump we're all waiting for. But until then, hang out with Lindsay Buckingham for a few minutes. He nailed Stevie Nicks. So... he's got that going for him, I guess.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fire Drillin'

Not really anything to report... there was a fire drill at work this morning, but that isn't exactly groundbreaking journalism in action... I just wanted to mention it in the hopes that the phrase "Fire Drillin'" will get picked up by the population at large as a general euphemism for having sex.


Me and my lady, we was drinking beer all night at a Shakey's out by the interstate, but then we got cut off 'cause I punched the assistant manager in the neck... it's all good, though... my lady took me outside and we started fire drillin' right there behind a dumpster! She always had a thing for drunk guys who beat up on middle management...


Can I crash at your place tonight? My roommate's fire drillin' the crap out of his girlfriend right now and the noise is setting off car alarms all up and down our street.


My wife made me go see this awful chick flick the other day... it was called Fire Drillin' In The City...

See. That works awesome. I'm going to be just like the guy who invented "No shit, Sherlock," only a million, billion times more famous and handsome.

"Let's Do Some Shots!" Part 1

NOTE: Since birth, roughly, I would estimate that I have done somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million shots. Give or take. Here now, the first chapter in an ongoing attempt to recall every single one. Which I realize is sort of an exercise in self-defeat, seeing as how I'm trying to remember the individual varieties of the very things that have most contributed to my Swiss-cheese memory. It's like rain on your wedding day, huh?

Nonetheless, let's get this party started! LET'S DO SOME SHOTS!!!

Tequila - Obviously. With salt and lime or with a beer to chug immediately afterwards or with a big bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats first thing in the morning as an eye-opener before your day shift at the video store, nothing tops the tequila shot for sheer scope and majesty of alcoholic grandeur. Now, granted, too many tequila shots in a row can lead to bad things... felonies, mainly... but that isn't the libation's fault. It's YOUR fault, Mr. or Ms. Can't-Pace-Yourself; this is why you shouldn't learn how to drink on Spring Break. You've got to commit yourself to a year-round study program. It's hard work, sure, but your parents will be SO proud when you get your diploma, so just think about that during those all-nighter cram sessions. (in this scenario, a diploma equals the ability to drink an entire bottle of tequila without stealing a car)

Kamikazes - There was this weird period of my life... like, 2002 to 2004... where every bar that I went to was offering two-for-one Kamikaze shots each and every night and towards the end it SERIOUSLY started to creep me out. Because why Kamikazes? And why every single bar, including the ones that regularly let homeless guys use the bathrooms to take hobo showers and air out their socks? That being said, Kamikaze shots are okay. It's mostly vodka and lime juice with a little bit of triple sec thrown in so girls will drink them and then take their shirts off. I mean, otherwise why would they put it in there (triple sec is pointless)? Anyway, bars in the greater NYC area seem to have finally calmed down with the whole "foisting Kamikazes on the general public" thing, or at least I've stopped noticing it if it's still going on. Still, though... what was that all about? Does the Twilight Zone employ bartenders?

Flaming Lemon Drop - Hey, let's take the concept of doing a shot... a simple, pure action that requires no thought and in return gives only happiness and joy... and make it more complicated than your average college-level physics course, the one that's taught by that one professor with the stutter and the weird accent and you're pretty sure he slips into Russian without really being aware of it and you're going to have to drop the class now because you're an English major anyway and this is just TOO HARD. To make a Flaming Lemon Drop, you have to have like nine different kinds of booze and they all have to be mixed in specific amounts down to the milliliter and THEN you have to pour sugar on a slice of lemon and then burn it with a lighter and the wait until it cools and then suck all the burned sugar off the lemon and THEN AND ONLY THEN can you do the shot, but it's pointless because dawn is breaking and you've got an early-morning Government class in two hours and you should really shower because you smell like burnt hair because SOMEONE got careless with the lighter while trying to assemble your Flaming Lemon Drop. Not worth the hassle, this shot. You need that Government credit to graduate.

The Rob - This was a shot that my friend Rob invented at a party at his girlfriend's apartment. It was basically just a little bit of everything from all the bottles that were lying around, but because of the Butterscotch Schnapps it basically just tasted like a Werther's Original lost it's mind at a frat house and died of alcohol poisoning. Pretty good, though, if you like your shots sweeter than Oompa Loompa sweat.

Everclear - Not recommended. I've only personally done shots of straight Everclear a few times and all I can really remember about those occasions is an odd sensation of becoming unmoored from reality and soaring through different dimensions and meeting God and him giving me a high five and then waking up in my roommate's closet soaking wet and unable to understand simple concepts like shapes or colors. However, floating an inch or so of Everclear on the top of your Gin & Tonic or your Vodka & Coke or what have you leads to a good time dancing on the lawn with your friends, all of you in your underwear or, if you're lucky, EACH OTHER'S underwear. That's called "living life to it's fullest" and the hangovers are totally worth it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Closing Time: A Song-By-Song Discussion

General Notes

Well, if we're going to embark on a big, scary project together, we might as well start in some familiar territory. Familiar territory for me, I should say... maybe you're familiar with Tom Waits' debut album, maybe you're not; frankly, it doesn't matter. Because, after all, we're here to learn. And by "we," I of course mean "you." I know everything. (doye)

So yes, "Closing Time." The first album put out by one Mr. Tom Waits, a musician who's songs have been the soundtrack for some of the worst, darkest periods of my life. I've talked in the past about my drinking days... the six-month Long Weekend that was my time in LA, specifically... and if you were ever curious as to what was on my stereo as I sat alone on a futon with a bottle of Jim Beam and a growing suspicion that I'd made a horrible mistake, well, here it is. And away we go...

NOTE: Just so we're clear about this... the meaning given behind these songs, as well as the songs off any album I cover in the future, are MY interpretations. Whether or not they're ACTUALLY about what I say they're about is irrelevant, though I will check what sources I can find just so I don't look like a total dipshit. But be warned, if my way's more interesting, that's the way we're headed.

2ND NOTE: Here's the whole album, over at imeem, if you want to listen along with the discussion.

Track 1 - Ol' 55

One of the first things you notice about this album is that Waits' voice isn't all shot to shit like it is on subsequent works. Usually, he sounds like a car-crash bag of rocks sung up from the bowels of drunkard hell. On this album, and on this song, he sounds... well... normal, I guess. There's still some twinge there... a little gravel, a little growl... but it's not quite the full-throated choke and snarl to come. Which, of course, makes this his most accessible album; a good entry point into his catalogue, should you choose to walk down that particular musical road.

Anyway, "Ol' 55"... this is a song about a one-night-only love affair. A quick stop in the road for some doin' it before you've got to be on your way again. But, you know, in a good way. It talks about regret, sure... the narrator wishes he could have stayed a little longer... but the road calls, man, and he's got to answer. Just the way it is. A great start to the album, indeed. Plus, everyone loves a good, old fashioned song about cars.

Incidentally, a year after this album came out, The Eagles covered "Ol' 55" and did so with much greater chart success. Proving once again that people, generally, are idiots who like boring music.

Track 2 - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You

No shit, this is one of my all time favorite songs. It's the quintessential Tom Waits ballad, concerning as it does the aspects of falling in love in a barroom environment, and it is seriously embarrassing how badly I wanted the lyrics of this song to become my life. There was a time, kiddos, where I thought of myself as this sort of drunken Lothario... a liquor-soaked lover man who'd been around the block and knew the score and was wise in the ways of women and blah... blah... BLAH. It was all crap, of course; I knew nothing then and I know nothing now. But man, did this song do a number on me. It showed me a very particular kind of fantasy world... one that made my ever-worsening drinking problem look downright romantic, and adding romance (imagined or not) to a situation like that only makes it that much harder to shake off. I did, of course... eventually... and with a greater effort than I'm really capable of describing. But the song remains; a sepia-toned, whiskey-stained snapshot of an idyllic, dangerous time from my misspent youth.

Track 3 - Virginia Avenue

Tom Waits at his jazziest and most bluesy... this isn't a bad song at all, but it is the least interesting track on the album. Lyrically, it's pretty straightforward... a shambling drunk is looking for someone to tell his troubles to and isn't having any luck... and musically, it sounds very much of the late-50s, seedy nightclub world. As a mood piece meant to reflect a bygone era, it works just fine. But in that same regard, it's also sort of generic; it's a song you could find on a number of albums from the same time period. If it were to disappear off of "Closing Time" due to some sort of electromagnetic anomaly that only targeted the third song on early-70s Asylum Records-produced albums, it wouldn't be particularly missed.

Track 4 - Old Shoes (& Postcards)

Another song about leaving a woman behind as "the road calls me, dear;" a running theme, don't ya know. It's also a song that finds Tom Waits doing his best Bob Dylan impression, swapping out his blues-tinged piano for a folk-rock guitar and a loose, freewheelin' rhythm section. I wouldn't go so far as to call "Old Shoes" a great song or anything, but it feels a lot like a sunny-day road trip through pretty scenery somewhere out West. Above all else, it's catchy... there is a very distinct hook and this is important because, as Waits' career progressed, he abandoned traditional pop-song stylings for more complicated, inscrutable (though no less interesting) fare. Enjoy it while it lasts, in other words.

Track 5 - Midnight Lullaby

This is exactly what it says it is... a lullaby. On the surface, it's not that interesting of a song; it fits into the same bluesy mold as "Virgina Avenue," but with lyrics that are even less engaging. Unless, of course, you dig a little deeper into what exactly this song is all about. Superficially, it appears to be a song sung to a child who's trying to fall asleep. But, viewed from another, slightly skeezy-ier angle, it's ACTUALLY a song sung by an older man to his younger lover... nineteen or twenty, let's say... telling her to remember this time they've had together, to learn from it as she grows up and out of his (the narrator's) life. It's all about finding the layers, folks, even if they're... you know... totally made up.

Track 6 - Martha

Tom Waits pioneered the mass-marketing of Sad Old Bastard music to the world at large and this song is quite possibly his finest achievement in that particular subset of musical sorrow. The song is structured as a phone call from an old man, contacting the love of his life long after they've parted company, married other people, and generally gotten on with their lives. He tells her, in no uncertain terms, that she's always been the girl he's loved... that he was too immature to hold on to her when he had her... but that he'd like to take her out for coffee, just to talk about it all one last time. It is, in a word, heartbreaking. Lyrically, Waits has never been stronger... it's an evocative song like a shotgun blast to the face... and he's in a fine, emotive voice as well. The chorus says it all, I think:

And those were the days of roses,
Poetry and prose and Martha
All I had was you and all you had was me.
There was no tomorrows,
We'd packed away our sorrows
And we saved them for a rainy day.

Track 7 - Rosie

A great lost-love song; one that I listened to a lot late at night after a break up that was entirely my doing. Which makes the fact that I chose this particular song to binge on so totally fucked up. It's a guy singing about how his woman left him... left him with only a melody... and yet there I was, the guy who actually did the leaving, listening to this song and imagining that the girl I'd just left felt this way about me. How fucking narcissistic can you get? I blame the booze, but goddamn if that doesn't speak to something fundamentally broken within me. Anyway... Oh, also, the lyrics mentions a lazy old tomcat, which for some reason I find amusing. You don't hear a lot about tomcats these days, like they only existed in the past.

Track 8 - Lonely

The word "lonely" appears 31 times in the lyrics. Given that, it's unsurprising that this is a song about loneliness. Not anyone's favorite from the Waits catalogue by any stretch, but I do appreciate the fact that it sounds like it's being mumbled by a drunk guy on a bar stool right before he passes out into a puddle of his own sick.

Track 9 - Ice Cream Man

Seriously upbeat little number about the titular Ice Cream Man and his delivery of said goods. But, of course, we're not really talking about frozen treats here. Sample lyrics:

I got a cherry Popsicle right on time
I got a big stick, momma, that'll blow your mind

Um... yes. There's a joke in there somewhere about a "brain freeze," I'm sure, but I'm just not clever enough to pin it down.

Track 10 - Little Trip To Heaven

Tom Waits, a piano, and a backing horn for flavor... that's all it takes, kiddos, to create a ballad that makes this long-time loser want to get down on his knees and beg his girlfriend (Girlfriend) to please, for fucks sake, marry him... make him the luckiest son of a gun ever to live life looking through the bottom of a beer glass. It's romantic times a million cubed to infinity and beyond. I have this secret, somewhat-shameful fantasy of singing this song to Girlfriend at our wedding while all of our respective families look on awkwardly because, you know, I'm not that great of a singer or anything and no one else has ever heard of this song besides me and my fellow record store nerds. But whatever. It takes a lot to inspire gooshy feelings of Care Bear love in ol' C-dog... this song does it big time. Take that as you will.

Track 11 - Grapefruit Moon

And then the bastard DOES IT AGAIN!!! Another ballad, this time with an epic, Broadway feel, talking all about a guy trying to be a better man for the woman that he loves... striving for purity, as it were... and not doing all that well but fucking trying because he's in love and SERIOUSLY, Tom Waits was singing about me and my life back in the early 70s like an alcoholic Nostradamus and he didn't even know it. Or maybe he was singing about himself and he and I are so totally alike, we should be best friends or something. Yeah, that's probably it. Tom Waits and I are best friends, you guys!!!

Track 12 - Closing Time

An instrumental to close out the album. I recall hearing this tune as the booze finally got the better of me, sending me off into a drunken slumber only to awaken with a hangover like an atom bomb as I prepared to start the whole process over again. It's a good piece of music for that. And the same can be said for the album as a whole.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hypothetical Questions

1. If I were to, say, do more posts in a vein similar to this one, would there be a collective interest great enough to make it worth the time and effort?

2. And providing the answer to the above question is "yes," are there any specific albums that you smart, lovely people would like to see covered in such a fashion? I've got some ideas of my own, of course, but I always want you to think of me as an approachable blogger. I'm not a bitter, cranky ogre. I'm your buddy! (lend me money)

3. Also... just putting this out there, totally hypothetical, for grins only... nude photos? Interested? Not interested? Did I mention they are quite tasteful? Did I mention they can quickly become NOT tasteful, if that's where the interest lies...?

Horrifying Gifts: A Pictorial

NOTE: All of these items come from the bowels of the Taylor Gifts catalogue and can be found on display in only the worst homes and... let's face it... trailers throughout our great, shameful land.

Picture Frames That Are Also Creepy Dolls

These speak to a kind of loneliness that people don't talk about. Because it's easy to pretend that everyone is grieving on the same level, at the same speed, and is having a good ol' cry every now and then and that's about it and this too shall pass and every day it hurts a little less. But sometimes, loneliness and sorrow don't go away... instead they fester and rot and mutate into a creepy sickness that's like a long, dark staircase that descends into a bed covered in stuffed animals with pictures of loved ones for faces and they're real, DAMMIT!!! THEY TALK TO ME AT NIGHT, WHEN DARKNESS IS ALL THERE IS!!! You can try to tell me that these are "cute," but I'm sorry... mental illness isn't cute, no matter how brightly colored the stripes or frilly the lace.

Pianist Hand

It's a music box, see, and the fingers move along in time to the music like that's an okay thing to have around your house. Like it's not going to come alive and chase you around with a kitchen knife and/or strangle you in your sleep. But, take heart... as you're bleeding to death in the basement (because you thought you'd be safe there) or having the life choked out of you as everything turns grey, you'll get to listen to tinny, low-quality renditions of Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" and Joplin's "The Entertainer" and Chopin's "Minute Waltz!" Hopefully, you'll die before the Pianist Hand starts... um... "doing stuff" to your body!!!

Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit

Okay, not to generalize or anything, but I think it stands to reason that the people who do a lot of shopping from the Taylor Gifts catalogue probably don't look just a whole lot like Miss Spring Break 2000 up there. In fact, I think it's much more likely that they closely resemble something that would eat Miss Spring Break 2000 with extra butter and a jaunty lobster bib. That being the case, I wonder if the Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit comes with a weight limit? Because nothing ruins a romantic night faster than a dumpster-sized hole in the double-wide after 300 pounds of ready n' willing reaches maximum velocity around the same time that the pole explodes like the Empire State Building in Independence Day. Safety first, people.
Sleeping, Breathing Cats

These are great, actually, because now I've got definitive proof that there is no God. They're little robots that look like sleeping kittens, in case you're too stricken with terror to understand concepts right now, and the people that buy these have emotional problems that make cannibalistic serial killers look like well-adjusted go-getters who just happen to collect knives. If you want a cat, get a cat. It's really that simple. If you feel you can't take care of a cat full-time, then go visit a friend with a cat or volunteer at a shelter or watch fucking Animal Planet while clutching a dish towel for all I care. Just don't buy all the sadness in the world made corporeal in a velvety box of wires and pistons. That's like turning your back on life.
The Farting Bank

Heh... heh heh heh... okay... so you stick the money in it's butthole and it farts... heh... yeah... uncles of the world are uniting in laughter and, sorry, but I think I'm kind of there with them. I mean, yes, obviously this is as lowbrow as you can possibly get without actually making hand puppets with your own poop, but still... farts are, unequivocally, funny. And who hasn't wanted to cram some money up there just to see what happens? Anyone...? I mean, OBVIOUSLY the C-dog's never even thought about that, but I'm sure some of you have... ha ha... I'm not weird, what? Who said that? Why is everyone pointing and laughing???

Fine. FINE.
Pianist Hand, ATTACK!!!