Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday, January 27, 2006

How to snag that dream job

Here is a jpeg of a flyer I am passing out to every business in Austin. This proactive move will guarantee results. And how.

My life amounts to less than eight pieces of shit

Do you ever just admit to yourself, after 14 months of unemployment, while you're driving way out in the suburbs to your two-day temporary freelance editing gig at some huge ugly hellhole of a corporation, on the same day that someone who told you they were going to hire you for a pretty decent job sheepishly and embarrassedly recanted after interviewing someone with years' more experience, after the mother of all depressive breakdowns, after saying something stupid to your wife that made everyone cry, after half-seriously contemplating some hippy shit like hopping trains or walking from Austin to Mexico barefoot with only twelve pounds of mescaline and a bologna sandwich for company, that "I really fucking wish I was Ray Davies right now."

I am not even failing stylishly. This is not the life I envisioned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Strange items seen in public spaces in the last three weeks

1. A 28-oz. can of hominy on top of the mailboxes at my apartment complex.
2. A large Ziploc freezer bag, sealed, filled with 35-40 tampons in the parking lot of Waterloo Records.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When a shitty band beats up the singer from another shitty band, everyone wins

The water cooler talk when I was back in Lincoln, Nebraska seemed to be dominated by the recent bar brawl between the members of former local embarrassments turned on-again, off-again rock stars 311 and former Creed singer Scott Stapp. The story, as corroborated by eyewitnesses: a drunken Stapp hits on a woman in a bar, who happens to be married to one of the members of 311. 311 get pissed off, collectively, and beat the shit out of Stapp, collectively. Pretty funny story, right? It gets better. I see a little blurb about the bar brawl in the latest issue of "Teenage Panty Digest"* and 311 have come forward with their side of the story, collectively. They claim, contrary to eyewitness reports, that Mr. CreedStapp drunkenly approached them, out of the blue, and said this: "311, I am ready to fight." I fucking wish it had gone down that way. That's a beautiful sentence. Read it out loud, wherever you are: "311, I am ready to fight." That's a fucking mantra, is what that is. Scott Stapp, you are no longer the former singer for an unlistenable band with the worst album cover in the histories of music and graphic design. You are an American hero.

*Spin magazine

The worst song in rock and a couple of things that happened to me at the grocery store

For a long time, I argued that the Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" was the worst song in rock history. I argued this for several fortnights. Then, I heard a song called "My Humps" or "My Lumps" or "Lady Lumps" or some shit by Black-Eyed Peas. I briefly considered moving that song to the top of the shitheap, but, after careful consideration, I decided it was too calculatedly lazy. The Barenaked Ladies were actually trying. They were rapping, they were rocking, they were crafting pop hooks, they were attempting to be clever. Every move they made was labor-intensive, yet shitty. They remained the worst. Then, back in Lincoln around the New Year, I heard a song on college radio by Pedro the Lion. I don't know what this song is called, and I haven't heard any other Pedro the Lion songs besides this one, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that Pedro the Lion is not only responsible for the worst song in rock history, Pedro the Lion is the worst band in rock history.

In grocery store news, I was at the HEB today buying some food. They're completely rearranging the store, much to my consternation. I'm not the only one whose consternation was aroused. A mouse, whose physique I can only describe as healthy, ran out from under the shelves, freaked out for a few seconds, then ran back under the shelves. This mouse was nearly rat-sized, but clearly mouselike in appearance. He must have been eating well for some time, and is now pissed off. Also, in line to pay, an Indian youth asked me to take a picture of him next to his shopping cart. I complied with his wishes, for it would have been rude to say no, but I can only wonder why he wanted a picture of himself buying groceries at HEB. What a world, my friends. What a world.

Monday, January 16, 2006

My weekend

Guess who won the Pulitzer Prize this weekend? I did, jerk. What did you do? Watch reruns of "MASH" from your 3-legged chair? Losers.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Literary scandals and Jesus sandals

I don't know about you, but I think the JT Leroy and James Frey scandals are pretty stupid. I've never read any Frey, and I think Leroy sucks, though he was responsible for an early script of a movie I like a lot, Gus Van Sant's "Elephant" (Van Sant ended up writing the film himself), but if you like these authors' works, who cares whether Frey's memoir is either exaggerated or fabricated, and who cares whether Leroy is a 25-year-old man or a 40-year-old woman? Whether the work has any merit should be decided by the words on the page. Most artists are notorious bullshitters. Are we going to pay more attention to them or their work? I don't see any value in paying more attention to the artist than the art. If it matters to you that a writer is who he/she says he/she is, or that a memoir be 100% accurate, maybe you should quit reading books altogether. In Leroy's case, it's probably a self-generated marketing tool anyway. He's a hack. Or she's a hack. Who cares? If I found out Flannery O'Connor was actually an 80-year-old Chinese man who lived in a cave in the Ozarks, I'd still read her work with pleasure.

This reminds me of another non-story. If I have to read in the newspaper or see on TV another news report claiming that 2005 was a slow year at the box office, I am going to crack open a beer, eat some licorice, and yell at either the newspaper, the Internet, or the TV. This piece of bullshit has been reported in nearly every major news outlet. Movie attendance in 2005 was down considerably from 2004. That part of the story is true. However, 2005's box office sales were quite high, compared to recent years. 2004 was an unusually profitable year for movie theaters because of one film: "The Passion of the Christ." Churches all over the country bought huge blocks of tickets so their parishioners could see Mel Gibson's Jesus death porn on the big screen. Thousands upon thousands of evangelical Christians, who hardly ever go to the movies, went to the movies in 2004 to see their good buddy, Jesus, get his ass crucified, yo. 2004 has distorted the statistics and created this non-story. My question to the news media is: Why? Why do you want us to believe that no one went to the movies this year? Why do the corporate overlords that own the news media want us to believe this falsity? Is it just lazy reporting? A failure to look at all the data? Figuring it was true because it had been reported a couple of times elsewhere? Or is something more sinister involved? Are the movie studios (many of which are owned by companies that also own newspapers and television stations) trying to guilt-trip us into attending more expensive shitty movies, even though we already attend plenty of expensive shitty movies, by telling us that we aren't attending enough expensive shitty movies? Seems like a lot of time and trouble to try to convince people to do something they're already doing. Anyway, stop reporting this story, idiots! It's not true!

This has been My Two Cents by the corpse of Mike Royko.

The corpse of Mike Royko is an embittered grouch who has been writing a complaint column since the death of Mike Royko.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tales of small town life (episode three)

My maternal grandfather, named Raymond but called Joe since he was a kid, has a habit of buying things, ignoring them, and selling them in order to buy more stuff he's going to ignore. His backyard at any given moment may contain the following items, either whole or reduced to spare parts: RVs, trucks, tractors, pickups, boats, lawnmowers, a motorcycle once. He buys dogs with the same philosophy, though he waits until one dies before picking up another. I've never been too attached to my grandfather's dogs because they mostly hang out in the backyard with the revolving door of major purchases. It's easy to forget they exist. He had one dog that was unforgettable, however. This dog was named Jake, and the drawing that accompanies this post is my attempt to capture a bit of this lunatic mutt's essence. I've never seen a dog like Jake before, and I never will again. I don't remember my grandfather buying Jake, so I'm going to assume that a powerful bolt of lightning simultaneously struck a couple of dead dogs and a bunch of random shit in my grandfather's backyard, forging the tiny, ill-tempered beast we knew and loved. Jake was about the size of a three-month-old Labrador puppy, his ears stuck straight up, and he had a gummy, fangy overbite that made him look either constantly pissed off or like he had to do something vitally important in an incredibly small period of time. His eyes were wild and buggy. He was extremely fond of my sister, Katie, and my uncle Bill, and indifferent to the rest of the family and friends who were frequent visitors at my grandparents' home. Strangers, he bit. He lived a long goddamn time. One particularly harsh winter, he went missing for three below-zero days. He'd never run off before. We all assumed he'd died. My grandfather found him sleeping in a box of oily rags in the garage, simply not giving a fuck, content to be there. His most prominent attribute was his fur. Fur's not even a good word to describe it. Armor's a little more appropriate, but coat will do. It was steel wool. It was not similar to steel wool. It was steel wool. If you've ever touched steel wool, you've touched Jake. This was his fur. When I'm back home, all someone has to say is "Remember Jake?" and my brother and I will have laughing fits. He looked sort of like this photo, with more fur and determination. Jake was ugly, and proud of it. I've never admired a dog more.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Rex Reed, unintentional comedy genius

One of the joys of the new year is reading society columnist/former film critic/idiot Rex Reed's yearly tribute to those who died in his New York Observer column. The Onion doesn't even need Jackie Harvey's "Outside Scoop." They could just print Reed's column verbatim. Reed has turned hackdom into a fine art, and his tribute to the deceased is the finest example of his jackassery on record. Enjoy the strained metaphors, the celebrity asskissing, the sweeping conservative generalizations, the awkward prose, the poor taste, cranked up to eleven. A typical example of his obituary style is as follows: "This year, Elvis had to put his Hound Dog to sleep and went to that Heartbreak Hotel in the sky. We'll miss you, King of Rock and Roll." "Gandhi's next hunger strike will be in heaven. We'll miss the great pacifist activist, and the world will be a more hostile place without him. A class act all the way." I obviously made these two up, but you get the idea. This is how this man writes, and a major newspaper employs him. It's fucking astonishing. For those of you who can't make it through all five pages of Reed's obituary mambo, which will probably be most of you, here are my two favorites. I did not make these up. This man actually wrote these sentences, knowing the public would read them.

"Baby boomers who grew up glued to the boob tube watched the test pattern fade forever for Bob Denver, the goofy castaway on the brain-dead series Gilligan’s Island..."

"Simon Wiesenthal, the heroic concentration-camp survivor who dedicated his life to bringing the monsters of World War II to justice, stalked his last Nazi."

That last sentence is in such poor taste I am speechless. Rex Reed, everybody.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

This is bad

If anyone reading this can help me get a job, please do. In another two months, I will have only these options remaining: (a) live off my wife like a parasite (b) become homeless (c) kill myself (d) move into my mother's attic (e) kill myself in my mother's attic (f) become a homeless parasite, killing people in attics.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation

I have returned from the long trek north to the Middle West, from the rural panhandle and the capital city, the hometown and the alma mater, visiting the relatives gained through blood and the relatives gained through outdated civil ceremonies, the friends old and newish. I shat in many toilets, petted several dogs and cats, talked to children and the elderly, quaffed many spirits and intoxicants, ingested a delightful array of candies, cookies, meats, cheeses, et al., drove around in an oppressively beautiful fog the likes of which I have rarely seen, played the bongos to an ABBA song 'til my knuckles bruised... It was the summer of '69. No, that's not right. It was the Christmas of '05. Now, it is '06. I have resolutions four: 1) Get a fucking job. 2) Get in better physical shape. 3) Write even more. 4) Always live in the present. Destroy the past, ignore the future.

On an unrelated note, I was in a movie theater a few days ago, and I saw a movie trailer that looked fantastic. Fantastic means fucking terrible, right? Sorry, I just looked up the word "fantastic" in the dictionary. I am mistaken. What I meant to say was, I saw a movie trailer that looked fucking terrible. It seems the dream-makers in the imagination factory over in Hollywood, California have continued to blaze exciting new cinematic screensavers for our passive Coke-drinking ceremonies that take place in Masonic-esque institutions known as cineplexes. The latest shitsterpiece from Genius Land is a remake of seventies disaster turd "The Poseidon Adventure," helpfully renamed "Poseidon" so we don't have to go to the trouble of remembering more than one word when we take our retarded stepnieces to the Moronic Temple on opening night. I'm so glad those visionary empaths in Hollywoodland have the foresight to trim extraneous words from remake titles. Case in point: "The Bad News Bears." When I first heard about the remake, I was confused. I can only process three words at a time, so the information sounded like gobbledygook. Fortunately, Hollywood was listening to my confusion. The movie was renamed "Bad News Bears." Finally, I could understand the title. Thanks, rich douchebags in suits. Dropping the "The" turned the film from a will-miss to a can't-miss! In my book, they could go even further. Instead of "Poseidon," why not just "P"? The box office receipts will increase tenfold. Nevertheless, I will be first in line to see "Poseidon." I hear it's "Titanic" on a boat! Or "Die Hard" in a skyscraper on a plane in a boat! Or "The Wizard of Oz" with more tsunamis! Or "The Passion of the Christ" if Jesus was a boat! What would Jesus do ... if He were a boat? Ask a priest in a theater near you!

Enjoy this photo of my Christmas vacation. If you want to see more, look at my ladyfriend's Flickr page. There are many more where those came from, to be added at a later date. Warning: May contain trace elements of rat feces, peanuts, Dr. Mystery, Spacebeer, Plop Blop, Mary P Pants, Team Bartleby, Casual Ninja, June of 40Jake's apartment, and members of the Peabo Bryson cover band Papers.