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...