Thursday, December 29, 2005

Suggested Reading List 1.0

I just finished reading, though the novel is not yet finished with me, Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane. The story follows a family in Northern Ireland from 1945 to 1971, though most of the drama, muted yet roiling, occurs in the 50s. The narrator is the third child, the second son, and unnamed throughout the pages. Delivered in brief chapters, and recalled like a dozen fragments of dreams the night before, the novel is thick with a suspense so persistent that even the lighter moments do not betray the ever-present haunting of the family's history. The narrator becomes almost an apprentice of the secrets, an archaelogist or even a curator of an invisible museum whose permanent exhibit is his mother and what she knows, may know, and may have told. Of what she keeps.

The secret involves the IRA, a former lover, an informer, an execution in error. And how the secret mutates in the son's understanding, as he ages in the novel.

The sentences are poetic in construction; the words themselves of a precise poetry, a simple poetry. And then a perfectly articulated description strikes from the page, thunderous, and like white lightning.

A factory opens down the road called Birmingham Sound Reproducers, employing many locals, and supplying many neighbors with cheap phonographs. The narrator's father plays three albums over and over, a collection of arias. One is described thusly:

It wound out from the black disc in long sorceries of sound.

I am a poor book reviewer, and typically can never coherently describe a story I've just read. I'm much better at song reviews, where emotion is at the forefront.

Reading in the Dark is unquestionably one of my top five favorite books, affecting me so strongly that rather than promoting it, I am more inclined to keep it to myself.

Like a secret.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Let There Be Slack!

What better time than the Past, which is a lot like Now and even more like Later for the teachings of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs to save you from your Conspiracy-soaked life? What else but the Church of the Subgenius can restore all that was not what it is now?

It's too late for Them, not You! Read about the High Weirdness Project, a modern re-telling of the "High Weirdness By Mail" Revolution begun by Rev. Ivan Stang in the 80's. Touted as "an interactive encyclopedia of the Differently-Saned," this site may be for you. I know most of you and I always assumed you were "INsane" but now I see that this is not the case.

Recall the slogan of the Subgenii: "Fuck 'Em If They Can't Take A Joke."

You KNOW who They are. You understand the Conspiracy. The Pinks and the Glorps are at the gate!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

War and War

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful. -Leo Tolstoy, author

Sunday, December 18, 2005

12/11/04 4:15pm Notebook Entry

we don't have free speech
our speech is moderated
by the goons in white rooms
who'll have us incarcerated

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We Have a Match!

Bush and Stalin -- What's the fucking difference? Can you imagine the gall of this alleged war criminal (not Stalin) being angry that America is up in arms about his secret National Security Agency spying on...Americans?

Aw, we're sorry, Mr. President. Please don't be upset. Keep surveiling us. We now know it's for our own good. You can forgive us though -- we're not used to you doing anything for the good of this nation.

"The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties," Bush said.

Except what he did is not in his power under our laws and Constitution. And just because he thinks it is doesn't mean it is.

"Today, what Bush said is he went around the law, which is a violation of the law -- which is illegal," said James Bamford, who has written two books on the NSA.

Remind me again what the Cold War was about? Explain to me the difference between Communism and Bush's understanding of Democracy? Can the Taliban sue this Administration for copyright infringement?

Maybe the president thinks KGB stands for "Komrade George Bush."

Unbelievable, this guy. He should take that puss off his fucking face and remember where he lives -- in America. Land of the Free (we're not) and Home of the Brave (he isn't).

In the immortal words of Barney Gumble, "Go back to Russia!"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Tomorrow, Friday 12/16, is Howard's final show on terrestrial radio! Oh YEAH! On to Sirius!

I started listening to Howard back in '82 (maybe '83) on WNBC when he was doing the Gay Lone Ranger bits. (Haw haw!) He was funny then and he's funny now. Undoubtedly, much of my humor was shaped by 23 years of Stern, and my daily talk is peppered with quotes from the show (everybody loves when Psaur and I do our Jackie impressions!)

These last few weeks of shows have been tremendous, especially this morning's when Jackie Martling came in. As great as Artie is, the Jackie presence is the funniest of all. Not that Jackie himself was the best part of the show, but the Jackie laugh, and the Jackie puppet, and all the Jackie impressions (especially that kid who says, "I'm Jackie the drunk man...") are perpetually hilarious!

All Hail the King of All Media. In the immortal words of Grampa Al, "Fuck the FCC...fuck 'em!"

Oh, and f-jackie! See you on the other side!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Repeating Offender

Alleged traitor, war criminal, and all-around knucklehead, George Bush ONCE AGAIN gave the same incorrect speech at a Republican fundraiser for Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., today.

Same old bullshit about "staying the course" and how pulling out of Iraq would be a "victory for the terrorists."

Apparently, his approval rating has gone up recently -- with whites, men, and Catholics.

Oh, brother!

Well, if white christian men think he's doing better, then let me be the first to apologize to him for saying he's fucking this country back to King Arthur's Court.

Those approving of Bush as of late cite his accomplishments in Iraq and with the American economy.

From the Associated Press: A recent report noted that the nation added 215,000 jobs in November, and Bush declared on Monday that "the best days are yet to come for the American economy."

Well, yeah. No shit the best days are yet to come. These are the worst days -- what other fucking direction are we going to go?

Said Charl-Deane Almond, a Republican from Bishop, Calif, "I think he's doing what he has to do. I appreciate him standing strong with all the pressure he's under."

You know, if I was fucking shit up at work every day and driving my business in the ground, I wonder who would stand by me and admire my steadfastness.

I'll tell you who -- no one! I'd be out on my ass.

It's only fair.

So it's the least we can do for George Bush, America's most famous employee.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Return to Groton Street

After reading Qner's recollections of Groton Street 1993, I remembered a poem he'd written for Report to Hell No. 4. I present it herewith:


Hanging out a window at 4 a.m.
knowing I can't do it
pouring a sweet-smelling all-purpose
cleaner into plastic cups and
proposing a toast -
swirling green
grinning contemplation
"One more shot of Mezcal!"
"One More Cup of Coffee!"
and soon Dylan's drawl fills
the room.
Hurling ourselves around
shirts untucked
brains unbuttoned
out spill spools of
broken poetry
futile plans
impotent threats
We're just blunt enough
to be brilliant
just a screwturn away
from genius.

From the Archives of The Reporters 1.0

From: Qner
To: psaur, threeball, newpagan
Date: 7/12/98
Subject: Re: The proof of my unquenchable faith

Borges and Bukowski had a baby, and they named it Psaur. Ginsberg was the surrogate, his limber oriface barely allowing the passage of Paul's large head.

Our group is small but strange. I think we know the king.

I challenge all the distilleries in Russia and Sweden to make a vodka that could sodden the prose of Psaur.

We are the babbling monkies in the head of today. Paul wears the crown.

Hail king monkey!


(I dug up a bunch of old emails of our small but strange gang pre-blogging with each other in the late 90s. Post-Golden Age of Report to Hell, though our prose and poetry have undoubtedly improved since then. Ours was an output to be appreciated, or exploited, more by the New Yorker or Paris Review types, as opposed to say, the City Lights crowd. I am, of course, talking, uh, bullshit.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Do You Listen To What I Listen To?

(Shaking up suburban weeklies' status quo...)

It’s that time of year when we must once again contemplate the age-old question: Who would win in a fight – Mannheim Steamroller or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?

I’ve never imagined it to be much of a fight, just a lot of dancing around the ring. The crowd grows impatient, shouting “throw a punch” and “knock ‘em out.” But to no avail. Just when the match is about to go down the tubes, a wise and wavering voice pierces through the grumbling. The Ghost of Burl Ives rushes to the ring, pushing his way through the throng of sweaty, frustrated spectators. Flipping over the ropes, he throws down the gauntlet and says, “C’mon, ya bubble-blowing Casio twits, I’ll pound the whole lot of ya!”

What follows is a brutal beating, absent any good will, charity or peace typically associated with the holiday season.

And with that joke, let me re-introduce myself to my remaining audience: the 40 and over crowd.

Since we’re on the topic…I mean, since I’M on the topic (I’ve got to stop speaking for others), here are my Top Five Favorite Christmas Songs.

She’s Right on Time (1982) – Billy Joel: It’s mostly the video, which I saw a hundred times in ’82 on HBO’s Video Jukebox (this was the dawning of MTV), that made me realize this was a Christmas song. The opening line “Turn on all the Christmas lights/Baby’s coming home tonight…” is also a hint. Although, I wondered “What’s a Jewish kid writing about Christmas for?” Joel, like me, is from Long Island. Although Jewish, he wasn’t raised in a Jewish household, and even went to Catholic mass with his friends. Me, I was Catholic, and so automatically (at least in New York in the 80s-90s), went to Catholic mass.

Everyone on Long Island is a Billy Joel fan, even if you don’t like him. In the pop pantheon, his is the voice of Long Island, much like Springsteen is the heart of New Jersey. You’re born on Long Island, you’re issued a thick guttural accent, and an 8-track of The Stranger.

One day in 1983, I was in Sears, in Hicksville (an actual town, with a name whose literal meaning did not occur to me until I was in my teens). Innocent Man (the follow-up the The Nylon Curtain, which contains the aforementioned song) had just been released, so I was there to buy the LP. An older woman approached me and remarked on the album in my hands. “Do you like Billy Joel?” I probably said, “Yeah,” or something. To which she offered, “I’m his mother.” I don’t know what I said, maybe “Oh!” I don’t remember the rest. She probably was. Billy Joel was raised in Hicksville, and I can’t fathom any street cred an older woman would have garnered fibbing to a 14 year old lame enough to be buying his albums in a Sears. (Sears was my local record store at the time – I’ve certainly come a long way. Thank you, Portland!)

Anyway, I’ve gotten away from the Christmas theme, but I’ve always wanted to document that experience for the two or three people who would even care.

Fairytale of New York (1988) – The Pogues: Two Oirish knackers sail to Amerikay. He promises “cars big as bars,” but ends up in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve.

The boys of the NYPD choirWere singing "Galway bay"And the bells were ringing outFor Christmas day

The best lines (issued by the fairer of the duet) aren’t fit for a family newspaper, but here they are anyway:

You *******, you ******,
You cheap lousy ******,
Happy Christmas your ****,
I pray God it’s our last

Ah, who but the Irish can distill the dark stuff from the joy?

Christmas in Hollis (1989) – Run DMC: My brothers and I repeat this verse every Christmas (and sometimes in, say, April):

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees

Later, a refrain begins:
Rhymes so loud and proud you hear it
It's Christmas time and we got the spirit

We do indeed have the spirit. “Christmas in Hollis” was the standout track on 1989’s A Very Special Christmas, a benefit album recorded to raise money for the Special Olympics. Overall, not the best album, but there are a few delightful songs on this collection, most notably Run DMC’s classic. I suppose my birth in Queens influences my appreciation of the song. Although where I spent the first five years of my life, southwest of Hollis (on the border of Brooklyn) was different from that neighborhood. Provincial as all the sections of Queens was, we all loved Christmas! Especially its top PR honcho, Santa Claus!

St. Stephen’s Day Murders (1991) – The Chieftains with Elvis Costello: A tongue-in-cheek fantasy of poisoning the turkey to rid yourself of family come St. Stephen’s Day. St. Stephen’s Day, as it’s known in Ireland (Boxing Day in England), occurs on December 26th, and brings with it many traditions (none of which typically include the offing of relatives). Costello and the Chieftains add a morbid twist to the misery of family at Christmas. It’s a grand song, with such illustrious lyrics as:

There'll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias,
Mixed up with that drink made from girders.
’Cause it's all we've got left
as they draw their last breath,
Ah, it's nice for the kids,
as you finally get rid of them,
In the St Stephen's Day Murders.

From a gorgeous album by The Chieftains, The Bells of Christmas.

P.S. – The “drink made from girders” refers to Irn Bru, a caffeinated Scottish soft drink. I recall on my visit to Glasgow that I cherished its thirst-quenching properties. Of course, I was staving off a massive hangover from being treated by the locals to an overwhelming amount of Teacher’s whisky, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

Father Christmas (1978) – The Kinks: A buncha Brit punks bust the gob of a storefront Santa, and empty his kettle of pounds and pence. The protagonist is the said Santa. The song is not an indictment of local bullies, but a suggestion to remember those of lesser means who might find themselves to forced to steal for provisions come the holidays,

Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine

This typed while I’m drinking down my wine! Let us remember that “Merry Christmas to all” means just that.

And so, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to you all! And may the music of this season (and all seasons) bring you joy and insight now and always!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ask Me Anyway: Holiday Edition

My latest bit of published work (for the local paper) is a bad advice column. That's "bad advice" column, not bad "advice column." Though you can be the judge. (Don't you fucking judge me!)

Ask Me Anyway: Holiday Edition 2005

Wherein MO'SH mocks and dismisses the curious concerning holiday traditions, etc.

When stringing lights on outdoor shrubbery, is the brightness or quantity of more importance?
Oh, I don’t know. What works for you?

What is the protocol for purchasing a kitten as a Christmas gift for a loved one?
Here’s my protocol if I receive a kitten as a Christmas gift: 1. I contort my face into a combination of bewilderment and condescension. 2. I question the gift giver’s sobriety when he or she chose the undeniably inappropriate present. 3. I go, “What?” as the giver runs from the room in tears and the remaining company glare at me. 4. I exclaim, “Well, then YOU take the cat!” 5. Indignant, I plunge my coffee cup into the eggnog and guzzle it like a Viking in berserker mode.

What’s the hot new gadget for this holiday season?
Glad you asked! I’m very excited about this one. It’s portable, even pocket-sized, and utilizes low-power consumption. Your choice of colors is almost limitless. When opened and exposed to light, myriad possibilities await you! It’s a book. Try one.

Gadgets. Indeed!

I heard that Santa’s Elves get paid in Christmas cookies. Is this true?
Where’d you hear that? Huh? I never heard that. That sounds about right, though. I recall a story by T-Bone Slim that made mention of a workers’ revolt in a far northern village. The year was 1917. With World War I still raging in the nations below, Santa’s elves accounted for nearly 95% of the world’s toy production. The Workshop operated 24 hours a day. Angered by the one-two punch of IWW organizer Joe Hill’s murder in 1915 by copper bosses in Utah, and the Everett Massacre of 1916, Eugene the Elf, head shopkeeper of the Wooden Train Division, set about organizing the toy factory into a Wobbly Shop, the archetypal workplace democracy model in which managers were elected by workers. Tragically, before a vote could be taken, Eugene was sent to France for woolen serge, ostensibly for utilization in a new dollwear design, and was lost in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The silhouette of pipe and pot belly outside the frosted windows chilled the semi-revolutionary spines of the elves. No strike occurred. No mention of wages or weekends was made. No tiny fist was ever raised against “Der Kringle” except to grasp a warm sugar cookie.

However, a myth whispered among some workers of the world contends the Red-Nosed Reindeer was named after Rudolf Rocker, one of the most popular voices in the anarcho-syndicalist movement.

Eugene, you still evoke a spirit!

Where did the tradition of hanging mistletoe over a doorway begin?
Mistletoe is a hemiparasite whose roots penetrate the branches and trunks of trees to feed off the arbors’ nutrients. It also produces its own food through photosynthesis, thus sparing it the designation of “full-on” parasite. The kissing ritual was big with the Greeks during the festival of Saturnalia long before any mid-level office manager wagged a sprig above his secretary’s beehive. The pig! Taking advantage of that poor girl because he knows she’s behind on her rent, and she’s paying for her mother’s lumbago treatments and her sister’s stenography classes, and she needs that lousy job so much she’ll put up with his gin-soaked kisses every holiday party!

Mistletoe – the Christmas parasite. How fitting.

Why the lump of coal if you’re bad?
You should be HAPPY it’s only coal. Before that, it was a lump on the head, courtesy of Santa’s cousin Strolch, a thick brute whose shoulders met his earlobes. On Christmas Eve, St. Nick tore his list in half, handing the punishable portion to Stolch, who would mete out punition with his meaty, hairy paw. Riding shotgun on the sled, Stolch let loose with a noiseless laugh, his slobber leaving a silvery trail across the northern skies.
For a thankfully brief period between Stolch’s timely demise and the issuing of coal to the unruly, another kind of lump was left in the stocking. Black like coal, but not from a mine, I assure you.

Leave us say eight tiny reindeer were involved.

Exactly how did eggnog come about?
First let’s figure out what “nog” is. The egg, we know. It shoots out of a chicken. Nog may shoot out of a chicken as well. I’m not sure. Nog seems like the wrong word anyway. Slog would be better. Eggslog. On second thought, let’s stick with nog. Which, as you know, keeps the egg in the punch bowl. Yes. That’s nog: a sort of coagulant. Or coagulating agent. Only, “eggcoagulant” was too busy for a beverage sipped from a small mug. So, nog it became – eggnog! Delicious eggnog! And what about those eggnog lattes? That’s a belly warmer, all right! Heck, there’s dozens of recipes for eggnog. Maybe even as many as twenty! George Washington was quite a fan of eggnog and whipped up his own concoction that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.

I cannot tell a lie: he was a drunk.

How did the Christmas stocking tradition begin?
Simple. When stockings were stuffed with gifts, the elastic gave out, stretching them beyond their intended sizes. But after the huge holiday meal, the stockings would fit their engorged hosts just right. Originally gloves were used, but your hands don’t usually get that fat after dinner, unless the bird is extra salty.

What makes you such an authority on holiday traditions?
The word, my friend. When, and how, to use it. Here’s an example: I am ending this column.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

"What really matters is what you like, not what you're like."

That's from High Fidelity, one of my favorite movies. It might not be the greatest film ever, but it speaks to me clearly, from so many angles. The most important being the quote above. For most of the world, that's the criteria that must be met if I'm to give you even a moment of my time. If it find your tastes deplorable, I find you deplorable. That's because I am a terrible person. A while ago, I came to the conclusion that I'm worse than I think I am. The notion occured to me in a revelatory fashion.

Your record collection is what is important.

The books on your shelf is what is important.

Your Top Five Movies is what is important.

I'm watching High Fidelity right now. On Oxygen. Oprah's channel.

But that doesn't matter.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Farewell, Angelina

I just finished watching Murray Lerner's documentary, Festival!, about the Newport Folk Festivals in the early 60s. My favorite performance was Joan Baez singing "Farewell, Angelina", which was written by Dylan (although his performance of the song wasn't released, and hardly known about, until his Bootleg Vol. 1-3 appeared in the early 90s). Baez's version appeared on her 1965 album of the same name (which I just realized I picked up for 50 cents a few weeks ago).

I don't think I'd ever heard it before, though it is hauntingly familiar, which might just be a quality inherent in the song. I find her version superior to Dylan's. She made of it a more mournful, but at the same time, inspirational tune.

One verse concludes with the lines:

While the make-up man's hands
Shut the eyes of the dead
Not to embarass anyone
Farewell, Angelina
The sky is embarassed
And I must be gone.

The documentary also reveals that Mary Travers was quite a piece. Judy Collins as well. And, I was kinda digging Joanie too. Those folkies were all right.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Viva Feebs!

The Feebs are back with a new member -- the old guy from The Throats! Check out Lucy Starcrest's pics of their first recording session!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Aerial, Oh!

Last night at the feeb's and Lucy Starcrest's house, the feeb was skimming throught the latest issue of the rock snob's missalette, Mojo, when he came across the cover story, an interview with Kate Bush, who after 12 years of public silence has released a new album. I expressed my known gentle lust for the author of "Hounds of Love." Later, Lucy Starcrest flipped through the magazine and flashed a photo of Deborah Harry circa 1980. Real nice.

The feeb remarked, "How'd you like to be in that sandwich."

"Yes, " I replied, "I'd like to be the meat in that Harry-Bush."

We laughed til there was no sound.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Yo, I Didn't Know That Shit! 1.0

I've been listening to U2 for over 20 years, since I heard the first strains of "New Years Day" on WLIR.

I never knew why Bono called himself Bono.

Then I looked it up on the Internets, and now I know.

Now I know that shit.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cheney Accuses War Critics of Dishonesty

Cheney stating he finds something to be dishonest is like Bukowski complaining to the bartender that his drink tastes too strong.

The vice president took umbrage at the remarks of Democrats, and certain Republicans, for coming to their senses and denouncing the bloodbath that is the War in Iraq.

Says the second-highest ranking traitor, "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone. But we are not going to sit by and let them rewrite history."

After the applause from his ass-sucking constituents, he continued, "That's OUR job!"

Cheney continued to neglect the concerns of soldiers' families, whom he considers no more worthy of his time than busboys and janitors.

Here's my new proposition I'd like all Americans to help pass:
Cheney is not allowed to be in the same room as the American flag. Ever.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Evolution of Man

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life."
John 14:6

Don't be ashamed of the origin of your species
(Adam and Eve ate ants off a stick).
Even though Moses threw his own feces,
God still decided to give him those bricks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An Event is a Special Occurence

Hey, NBC is broadcasting an "ER Event" on Thursday night!

This is the episode everyone will be talking about...

Dr. So and So is pushed to the edge.

A child will change the life of one nurse.

And one of their own...says goodbye...for good.

Or some shit like that.

That show is bullshit!

Bring back the original E.R.
You know -- the one with Elliott Gould and Corinne Bohrer.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My Favorite Poem


Bowed like a foetus at the long bar sit,
You common artist whose uncommon ends
Deflower the secret contours of a mind
And all around you pitying find
Like severed veins your earthly friends...

(The sickness of the oyster is the pearl)

Dead bottles all around infect
Stale air the exploding corks bewitch --
O member of this outlawed sect,
Only the intolerable itch,
Skirt-fever, keeps the anthropoid erect.

Husband or wife or child condemn
This chain-gang which we all inherit:
Or those bleak ladders to despair
Miscalled high place and merit.
Dear, if these knotted woods could wake
The dead boy and the buried girl...

(The sickness of the oyster is the pearl)

- Lawrence Durrell

Thanks to Moot's "Poem of the Day" for inspiration.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Own Private Alpo

There's a narcoleptic poodle in Idaho. Skeeter, his name is.

Though to see him in action (or inaction), he could've been named after any one of us.

from the Idaho State Journal (article by John O'Connell):

"For the past week, Skeeter has lived in and out of dreams, and his waking moments have been a dog's worst nightmare. When he attempts to eat, chase a squirrel, take a walk or even sniff another dog or a person he likes, he conks out. The condition, narcolepsy, is extremely rare in dogs..."

The video of this is astounding. At first I thought Skeeter was faking it, like he was tired of chasing the ball or jumping up on the couch. But when his legs gave out under him mid-meal, I became a believer.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Death of a Poet

My brother and I were discussing how little fanfare was made of the death of Nipsey Russell. In fact, our series of conservations about Nipsey began with, "Did Nipsey Russell die?" I don't even think it was because we thought we heard about it, as much as we somehow felt that he had died. Sort of like there was a disruption in the Force.

A few days later, my brother mentioned that indeed Nipsey had died. He was 80 or 81, and died of cancer.

I think we all love Nipsey. And will miss him, though not forget him. His name crops up often in our riffing.

From an article by Keith Phipps on AV Club, where he references a comedy routine my brother and I always bring up:

Anyway, my favorite Nipsey Russell poem isn't by Nipsey at all. It comes from The Higgins Boys & Gruber's classic parody of PYRAMID, where Dave "Gruber" Allen (as Dick Clark) asked Steve Higgins (as Nipsey) if he could favor the TV audience with a poem, and he came out with:

"Boy that PYRAMID's such a great show/
Really wish other shows were more like it in a way."

Goodnight, Funnyman!

Urine for a Laugh!

I saw a commercial the other night on...TBS? Yes, it was TBS, cuz I was watching America's Funniest Videos (yes, today is November 9, 2005). Anyway this commercial comes on for Urine Gone, which claims to do just that. Because, as we all know, "getting rid of stains and odors caused by cat, dog or human urine can be exasperating." Don't I know it! But what can I do? It's not like there's a place in the bathroom to dispose of your urine. So after you soak it up with a towel every few days, a little urine is still left behind.

Luckily, Urine Gone comes with a black light stain detector. Aha, there's urine in the corner. And the sink. And the window blinds.

Spritz, spritz, spritz -- it's gone! Urine -- gone! It is the damnedest thing!

My life is renewed! I love Urine Gone! I keep a bottle in the car. I take it with me everywhere. You wouldn't believe how much urine is floating around out there. Phone booths, confessionals, martini bars, even public showers!

But not anymore. Not on my pee-pee watch!

Let us take a moment and reflect on the awesome power of Urine Gone!

(The author, who may seem to be endorsing the above product, is not. He, in fact, collects his urine in Jim Beam bottles and stores them in a safety deposit box. He does, however, recommend that his bank purchase a bottle, maybe two, of Urine Gone, because chances are a black light stain detector will detect myriad urine stains throughout the branch.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yes, I'm Doing Starbucks Humor Now

Last week I went to Barnes & Noble, bought a New Yorker, then went into the adjoining Starbucks for my first Eggnog Latte of the season. I'm usually in and out of a coffee shop, and I also never read the magazines I buy. So I decided to stay and read. And I enjoyed it.

So I went out tonight to do it again, but I went to Borders which is a bit closer. I think they've got a Seattle's Best in there. Only I can't find a New Yorker there. Every other piece of journalistic and tabloid crap's on the shelves, but no New Yorker. Not that there's anything high-falutin' about that publication: I just enjoyed reading it last week (actually, it took me all week to read, most of which was done in the bathroom).

I was a little disappointed. Without much hope, I drove to a supermarket to see if they had a copy. What was I thinking? Who knew it would be so hard to find a copy of The New Yorker? Usually I have trouble finding some out-of-print album, like Bobbie Gentry's Delta Sweete, whose "swampy, folk-tinged combination of blues and country" (Stephen Cook, All Music Guide) drew comparisons to Dusty in Memphis.

Anway, mildly sullen and slightly downtrodden, I moped into the Starbucks next door to at least get my coffee.

I drank it at home. And then made these:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some Gin-Soaked Boy That You Don't Know

It's not so much things are funnier when you drink; it's just easier to laugh.

There's a copy of the latest issue of the New Yorker on the counter in my bathroom.

On the left side of my computer desk is a ticket stub from Domino which I saw a few weeks ago. It was for the most part pretty desperate, but I think I liked it despite having downed a grande black coffee just before going in and finding my heart was racing throughout , a condition further exacerbated by the excessive noise and rapid-eye editing of the film. Mostly I went to see it because I heard Tom Waits had a role in it and Kiera Knightley is real easy on the eyes.

I just finished watching three episodes of "Extras," a show I just got into thanks to a brilliant review by Qner. The show as well is feckin brilliant. I couldn't possibly think of a better end credits song than "Tea for the Tillerman." I think it's perfect. While there might not be all that much to picking out a soundtrack (we've all made dozens of mix tapes between us), sometimes a choice is beyond reproach.

Right. Well, carry on, vicar.

Mi Vida in the Bush of Ghosts

Hugo Chavez, Stinky to Bush's Lou Costello, is currently participating in the Summit of the Americas conference in Argentina where he will cross paths with, if not specifically meet, President Bush.

Mr. Chavez has repeatedly accused the Bush administration of trying to assassinate him and invade his oil-producing country. He is using the summit meeting to protest the administration's free trade message and to attempt a showdown with Mr. Bush.

Recently, Chavez, who has called Bush a "jerk", joked to reporters that he may give the US leader a scare at the Summit.

"I have something in mind," Chavez said. "I will walk to him very quietly and say 'boo.'"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Going to a Gumbo

I just got back from Safeway where I bought two limes for my gin (and something for dinner). Breezing through the frozen foods, the face of Smokey Robinson caught my eye. First I thought he'd gotten himself trapped in the freezer, but I came to my senses and realized Berry Gordy would never let that happen. A vested youth stocking glace eyed me cautiously, as I had yelped just a pitch higher than Bernadette Peters stepping on a slug. "Can I help you?" I asked, beating him to the punch. But he was already onto other adventures in the international foods aisle.

So I returned to Smokey, now realizing his face was on a box of frozen gumbo, Smokey's "The Soul Is In The Bowl " Seafood Gumbo, to be exact. Here was Motown's chief songwriter in their heyday (looking like Motown's chief songwriter in his heyday) gracing a box of frozen seafood gumbo. And according to its website, "Smokey is genuinely excited about his own line of food products!"

I'm not mocking Smokey at all. I love Smokey. Dylan didn't call him America's greatest poet because he owed him money. Byron would've shit his fucking pants if he ever read the lyrics to "Tracks of My Tears."

But I still haven't warmed up yet to Smokey's dreadlocks. What do I know though? When it comes to matters of hair and hairlines, you can cue "Tears of a Clown."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

i see a harkness

Agatha Harkness figures prominently in my comic book recollections. I just thought of her now for some reason. I must be out of my friggin' mind.

Memorial for Mugsy

On the Anniversary tape, there's a Neil Yuck performance from either when the show was going to NBC or leaving some other channel, or something. Mugsy, as Neil, sings a farewell song. It was sentimental back then, and now it's touching. Here's part of the chorus:

"Gone but not forgotten
Guess it's 'bout time to leave
If you're wondering if we'll ever be back
Well, you gotta believe..."

So long, Mugsy!

Message from Mugsy

From "Notes About the Making of the Anniversary Tape," written by Mugsy, that accompanied my collection of "The Uncle Floyd Show" videotapes:

Putting any kind of a perspective of the UNCLE FLOYD SHOW on just one two hour video tape is almost impossible. The show began on a cable access channel on UA COLUMBIA. There is no record on what the show looked like then. Floyd says it was a real kiddy show with real kiddies in the audience. A short time after that he also began to tape a show at the studios of channel 68, a UHF station in West Orange. He soon stopped the cable show to work at 69 exclusively. Although there were a few previous cast members at the beginning like PAT CUPO, the first main full time cast member to join the show was SCOTT GORDON. MUGSY followed a few months later. This was sometime around 1976. MUGSY left for a year and was replaced by DAVE BURD, NETTO, JIM MONACO and SKIP ROONEY. After JIM left MUGSY returned and a few months later CHARLIE STODDARD premiered. This was the basic cast. It was 1979 and the show might have stayed like that forever but for a few developments...

We have probably inspired a generation of comedians and TV shows and movies that followed but we stayed true to our humble beginnings...

An finally, BEFORE the Simpsons, before Pee Wee Herman, before Living Color, before Eddie Murphy, and of course AFTER Speed Racer, there was the UNCLE FLOYD SHOW.

Mail from Mugsy

Back in '01, psaur got me a boxload of Uncle Floyd Show videotapes for my birthday. He'd ordered them from none other than Mugsy himself! Mugsy was the chief archivist and historian of the show. The Priority Mail box contained the tapes and pages written by Mugsy about the show and the tapes. Almost as tremendous as the contents, though, were the drawings Mugsy had made on the box. There was Skip and Scott and Oogie! And even Captain Fork!

Here for you are the drawings...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween from The Lantern Fishworks

(a scene from The Lantern Fishworks Players' production of "The Revenge of Democracy"; here Cheney and DeLay are confronted by the Will of the People.)

Capt. Fork Lives!

If there had been a "Most Obscure Costume" category at Saturday Night's 4 th Annual Halloween Party, psaur would have surely walked away with the prize. Captain Fork, he portrayed, in tribute to the late Mugsy, of "The Uncle Floyd Show," who died the other day after a long bout with cancer. Mugsy, and the Floyd show, was a staple in Paul's and my grade school TV viewing days. Mugsy's many characters and offscreen antics sent us into fits of laughter back then, and still will today.

I'm sad to see that Mugsy's gone, but not surprised to see him live on!

Snap it, Pal!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Steal This Blog

Thursday night. Blogging at 8:50. That means there's nothing on TV. (Christ, did my TV hear that!?!)

"Survivor?" I'm not trying to be fashionably iconoclastic in my dismissal of that show (just as I'm not trying to be flippant in my declaration of dismissiveness). It's a drag. That show. Of course, I watch "Law & Order" 4 times a night. Every night. All three franchises (four at one point). I don't get tired of it. Even though I don't feel like watching "Criminal Intent" tonight. And so I'm blogging. Perhaps to be followed by flogging. Of a sort.

Here's something I wrote for the local paper when Vincent D'Onofrio was filming out here in Oregon. I wrote it a couple of years ago.

You can tell because I had a girlfriend at the time.

I'm still playing that "I'm from New York" card.

Looking for D’Onofrio

I found D’Onofrio, first, not knowing he was missing, or even existed to miss, in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” as Pvt. Leonard 'Gomer Pyle' Lawrence. His brilliant turn as the verbally abused, unbalanced, overweight recruit brought him critical acclaim, if not instant fame. “That was him?” I’ve been asked. The questioner is almost shocked as his own sense of recognition sets in. “Oh, yeah…”

The pivotal latrine scene so wracked my nerves that to this day I’ve been unable to give the film a second viewing. My hands had to be pried from the armrests by two burly movie ushers, one who threatened to rain blows on my skull with his flashlight if I would not relax my grip. (Audiences at future showings were forewarned to sit on their hands during the cardinal scene.)

Vincent D’Onofrio is best-known these days for his work as Detective Robert Goren, on “Law & Order’s” third franchise series, “Criminal Intent” (Sundays, 9pm, NBC), but he’s perhaps more popular (though less recognizable) as Edgar, the big bug, in “Men in Black.” Alas Edgar, like Joe Frazier, proved no match against the formidable skills of Mr. Will Smith.

“Thumbsucker,” filming now in our quaint coffee-fueled hamlet, features D’Onofrio as the father of the title character, played by Lou Taylor Pucci. The film also features Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swinton, Vince Vaughn and a local 12-year old actor, Chase Offerle.

I don’t know much about D’Onofrio. Though a huge film fan, I rarely follow the lives of the actors. I stop short of birthdates and birthplaces, having a strange attraction to regions in all areas of life. D’Onofrio, therefore, was born in 1959 in Brooklyn, NY, ten years before I took my place here one borough over in Queens, NY. Beyond that I am only familiar with his career. My interest in the actor (and any actor, writer, musician, etc. for that matter) typically ends there: with the artist’s work. So, I’m not really “looking” for D’Onofrio. I’ve never been interested in meeting a celebrity anymore than I’m interested in meeting a non-celebrity, which, as many an acquaintance will tell you, pales in comparison to my interest in meeting my pillow, face to case, after a double-shot of “Law & Order.”

What would I say anyway? “You were great in ‘Steal This Movie.’ What was it like working with blah blah blah…?” What more could I say than, “Hey, I’m a big fan.” Everyone, I would suppose, appreciates a little praise and recognition, even those who shy away from praise and recognition.

So why would I even write an article about a celebrity coming to town? Not the money – I get paid less for this article than a non-speaking crowd-scene extra. An actor, or the character he plays, can become a temporary part of your daily life. I watch “Law & Order” (all three incarnations) six or seven days a week, often two or three times a night. So my conversations are peppered with “L&O” references. Both my brother and sister-in-law do a mean Det. Goren as well – the halting speech, the hand gestures that begin at the shoulders. And often I’ll stop mid-bite and helplessly feel the stuffing of a spinach ravioli fall from my mouth as I pause again to consider the lithesome Jill Hennessey, late of the original “Law & Order” series.

And what of D’Onofrio’s appeal? My partner-in-crime-drama, a new yet ravenous convert to “L&O”, and aware of D’Onofrio exclusively as the husky and eccentrically intuitive Det. Goren, swoons over the “bad boy” aura of his performance, a designation settling beyond stereotype. What the media often refers to as “an unlikely sex symbol” emerges from his portrayal of the psyche-tinkering detective whose eyes see all while always seemingly looking inward, the stare elusive until utilized as accusatory intimidator.

She rolls her own eyes at my wordy exposition: “He’s hot – don’t be so complicated.”

D’Onofrio’s being in town, is perhaps akin to kin, distant, not even blood, passing through town. Or maybe it is even that certain connection people feel for natives of their own land. Here’s a fella who wouldn’t look at me quizzically when I announce I’m having a buttered roll for breakfast, nor comment on my pronunciation of words such as “cawffee” and “dawg.”

“Looking for D’Onofrio” becomes a metaphor for finding a once-prominent aspect of my character that has begun to fade with time. As I move through these years as an Oregonian, I shed the costumes and even perhaps the mannerisms of the New Yorker. I start to lose myself in the role, fearing the future not for what it delivers but for what it leaves behind.

My partner-in-crime-drama rolls her eyes yet again at my rambling pontifications: “Just say you’re afraid you’ll lose your accent – don’t be so complicated.”

Ah, whaddas she know? Let’s endis here. I gotta get my dawg some cawffee.

See -- "dawg", "cawffee." Yeah, I did that bit.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ohio Beer Truck at October Wedding

Yeh. The whole friggin' thing was fulla beeh. I dunno howda right beer come outtada right tap. It was magic or somethin'. I wished I had a beer truck made a' magic. Wid a lid'l yella bucket. And a plastic cheh. I hada stein dat I filled wid beeh. Buncha times. Dere was spaghetti and cake. And a buggy. Yeh, dat was good too. Congrats, bride and goon!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Meet My New Favorite Author

I just got back from Ohio where I attended (as Best Man, no less) my best friend's wedding, where he married a girl originally from that region (being a country setting 45 minutes from the Akron/Canton airport, though I know not in what direction). I took the opportunity on most of the six flights we took to and fro to read some J.P. Donleavy, an author whose books I've owned for years, yet had never read. (I am notorious for collecting books and putting them on my bookshelf where they remain untouched, unless I get a jones to alphabetize.)

He feckin' brilliant, and I was delighted at the following passage (as only I would be):

"My hard eye is suspicious of the disreputable and reputable alike. This is the behaviour of a New Yorker, which I am. But I am shy and thrive on people being nice to me and with friends I am found to be open, honest, warm, to the point of sheer insanity at times."

That's from the short story "Whither Wigwams." I love discovering authors, especially those whose books have always been in front of me. Now I see I have three more of his novels I can read. I'm full of the same excitement I feel anticipating what episode of Futurama the Cartoon Network is showing tonight. If they're showing any...

It shouldn't be surprising I'm still drinking that pinot noir from Canby.

I Might Be Drunk If...

...I'm laughing at the Jeff Foxworthy stand up act playing in the background. That's the danger of letting Comedy Central run without monitoring: lots of good stuff followed by lots of bad stuff. Still, I'm more afraid that it's not the wine (St. Josef's Pinot Noir), that it's just me. He's a whiter shade of Cosby. Christ, I'm about 10 years too late to be discussing Foxworthy. I think he was real big when I was living in Calabash, NC back in the mid-nineties.

Let me listen a bit...ha, ha, ha, shit, he's right!

He's goddamed right!

Friday, September 23, 2005

They Are On My Mind

My Favorite Band. I bet you didn't know that. Of course, I'm talking to those who know me. Otherwise, why would you know? Or not know, as it stands. There's something about Buddhism my philosophy teacher told me about how first, we "don't know". Then we "know." But someday, approaching enlightenment, we will realize that we "not know." Or something. Anyway, I just listened to this album. And drank a few beers. It's fucking great. Listen to "Love Me Not Tomorrow." Fucking gold. Great. Great! The lead singer, Bev, has the greatest voice I've ever heard.

Great's a funny word, now that I've written it a number of times. Great, great, great. Sounds funny. Like what Jon Lovitz said on an episode of Third Rock from the Sun, I think: "Tartlets, tartlets, tartlets. There -- the word has lost all meaning." Or something like that.

I did say "a few beers", right.

Right. Anyway, best band...ever!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Problem with Protest

First of all, I support protest. I imagine everyone supports protest when it is in protest of something or someone denying them a right, or privilege, or function or such and such. Some folks are against anti-war protestors, for instance (these would be people, I guess, FOR war). Therefore, theoretically, they might protest the ending of a war. So most people would probably be considered PRO-protest.

Protest today, however (and I'm referring to speaking out against the war in Iraq and against the present administration), seems to me to come across as a lot of what is referred to as "preaching to the choir."

But I guess the problem with protest is really my problem, because, despite my daily confirmation of the proud ignorance of many Americans, I'm still left slack-jawed by the percentage of polled citizens who still stand behind the war in Iraq and the present administration. I am notoriously ruthless towards dummies, and immediately verbally corral those who do not question authority with those who utter sentences such as "this is America -- love it or leave it," or ask me when I am sitting alone in public, "what are you reading -- a book?"

You know the type.

That's who the rhetoric of protest is aimed at, and for which it is meant to inspire independent thought. But that's not who it's reaching, I think. Protest, satire, and other forms of non-violent admonitions reach me. And if it's funny, I'll laugh, and conclude with an "I know."

I'm not saying don't protest; I don't know what I'm saying. But I'm fairly certain that no one I've mocked will ever read this (well, it's doubtful that ANYONE will read this, but if they do, it'll probably just be you.)

An exception to my latest blather, though, is the anti-war protest that has blossomed from Cindy Sheehan's establishment of Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, as she attempts to persuade President Bush to speak to her concerning the death of her son in Iraq. The gathering and its mission seems like it should be hitting America right in the heart.

Sadly, it may take a personal tragedy like the one that has struck Cindy Sheehan (and thousands more like her) to turn those many stubborn and selfish Americans around to see the possibly irrreparable damage done to our country by the current administration. There really was a time, I might have to someday explain to my nephews, when America was a respected country, admired for its freedoms and ideals, instead of feared and loathed by the rest of the world for its intimidation and imperialism.

Teddy Roosevelt, where are you?

Oh, yeah, yr dead.

Buddha Bless America.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

He Loves Me? No, He Loves Me Not...

Why does President George W. Bush, and presumably his whole cabinet, hate American Soldiers?
I don't know. He just does.
Perhaps because of some twisted guilt for ditching his own service. (I know his supporters say he didn't, but for those of you with even the faintest grasp of logic, and also an understanding of research, one can easily observe his ignoring the call of duty to his nation. Jesus Christ, I mean, come on...).
But here are some purported, and most likely verified, facts to back up my statement:
1. No exit plan, and hardly an efficient entrance plan either.
2. Too few soldiers completing too many tours.
3. Too MANY soldiers too ill-equipped to sustain "insurgent" attacks, i.e., insuffient armor, insufficient weapons, insufficient guidance.
4. A refusal to attend soldiers' funerals.
5. A refusal to even honor the soldiers' deaths by allowing American citizens to view their flag-draped caskets.
6. His insistence that our nation continue the illegal war in Iraq.
7. His lack of hesitance to send more soldiers to their potential deaths in his faux-christian obsession to dominate the world for the sake of Jesus Christ, who even now is spinning in his grave.
8. His lack of hesitance to extend our soldiers' stay in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an obvious physical and moral fatigue.
9. His dismissal of the will of the overwhelming majority of the citizens to end this fascist and treacherous invasion of a sovereign nation.
10. His selfishness, cloaked in hyoscisy, engulfed by a cheesecloth patriotism.

Bush and his cabinet do not care for Americans unless they are rich Americans, or rich Saudi Arabians, or rich whoevers. Every time he mentions God, he uses the Lord's name in vain, which is a violation of the Ten Commandments, whether you believe in it or not. And don't foget this one: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. You know what I'm talking about. And if you don't, chances are you're not reading this anyway.

I guess I'm just preaching to a handful of the converted.

Anyway, here's a bumper sticker I think I saw on the back of the President's limo (more bullet-proof than most tanks in Iraq):

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's Funny Cuz It's True...

President's Remarks at Victory 2002 Event
Remarks by the President to the Republican Party of Texas
Victory 2002 and Cornyn for Senate Luncheon
Hyatt Regency Hotel

Dallas, Texas March 28, 2002
12:15 P.M. CST

"You know, when I was campaigning in Chicago, in the general election, somebody said, would you ever deficit spend? I said, well, only if we were at war, or there was a national emergency, or we were in a recession. Little did I realize we'd get the trifecta." (Laughter.)

I know this is an oft-blogged quote, but it never loses its punch with me. I call the "culture of life" the "culture of laugh!"

Love & Chuckles,

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How to Properly Introduce an Irradiated Lizard

Part Two of my early poetry unearthings finds me dabbling in such poetic forms as the cinquain and limerick. Why I referred to the classic Japanese monster this way, I don't know. But it does jive with my Long Island accent and its peculiarities where pronunciation is concerned.