Monday, May 29, 2006

A moratorium

I'm going to complain about something I've been guilty of in about a half-dozen posts, at least, but no one is innocent. This is turning into an epidemic. I'm tired of reading the word "said" used in the following way:
"I went to the store today to buy a purple hat. I found said hat at the corner store."
"Today, I murdered my broker and cut him into pieces. I then put said pieces in a plastic bag and shoved them in my freezer."
"I took a giant shit on my neighbor's lawn because he thinks Bud Light is less filling. I think it tastes great. What an idiot. I then set said shit on fire with a cigarette lighter."

This has got to stop, everyone. Occasionally, I will read through old posts to see if anything I have written irritates me. Often, many things do. I vow to never write like that again. Every time I noticed myself using the word "said" in this fashion, I winced. It doesn't read well. It makes me sound like a jerk. Let's all stop doing this, okay? I will stop if you will stop. I'm sorry I ever did it. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Absurdist non-sequiturs give the day some pizzazz!!!

A small part of my last job, and a large part of my current job, consists of reading down the margins of a printed page. Usually, the trail of type reads like "the of education an conference senator 85 to of then," for example. On beautiful and rare occasions, this trail of type spits out Lewis Carroll-worthy prose. Today was a good day for margin non-sequiturs. My three favorites:
"The ruler is the Christi."
"Free-floating genitals."
"Wash our company."

This also works with the words at the top of each dictionary page, indicating the first and last word on the page. Checking a couple of odd wordbreaks (I'm throwing around some job lingo like a bigshot), I magically happened upon these two delightfully delicious word pairings:
"Over-the-counter Oxblood"
"Numerous Nuts"

"Numerous Nuts" would be a great title for a bukkake porn/zany screwball comedy hybrid. It is a film I never want to see, but sincerely hope exists.

"What did you rent, dude?"
"'The Passion of the Christ,' 'Kangaroo Jack,' and 'Numerous Nuts.' According to the back of the DVD, Gene Shalit says "'Numerous Nuts' will 'get your rocks off, hilariously. I've never seen a film so chock-full of semen and laughs.'"

On a related note, has anyone seen the advertisement for Berries and Cream Dr. Pepper. If so, do you also find their slogan inappropriately hilarious? "Get berried in cream." I can't figure out if the fat cats at Dr. Pepper are geniuses or morons, but either way, this slogan is the best slogan of all time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Christopher Colum-balls

If you know me even a little, then you know I'm a cartography enthusiast.*
Cartography fact: There was a map engraver in the 1500s named Hieronymus Cock. It's true.^

*Fact not true.
^Fact true.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A message from the executive director

Can-Smashing Robot is required by its parent subsidiary, You're Fucked, Inc., to present a state of the union address by the executive director of American life, Gallimard Kennedy Bush Rockefeller Murdoch Lee Roth Bon Jovi Cheney Scalia "Arctic Monkey" Chillingsworth IV. Read and obey.

Hello all. I, Gallimard Chillingsworth (pictured above), have heard some reports of grumblings from the mostly college-educated lackeys and halfwits who write and/or read this blog. You complain of unfulfilling careers, lack of options, low pay, not enough vacation time, and a general sense of futile despair, with occasional rage at what you call "your worthless diplomas." All I can say is: Welcome to the real world, cocksuckers. Listen up, fuck-twists, and listen fucking good. Do you really think since you've read "The Great Gatsby" and written a few papers on the patriarchal reinforcement of traditional gender roles in network television car advertisements you have what it takes to make it to the top? Let me tell you how it really works, douchebags. Even in your irony-raped, Vicodin-addled, "Cosby Show"-TIVOing souls, you Generation X-ers still believe in that American Dream, rags-to-riches bullshit. Keep dreaming, panty-sniffers. I live in reality, jerk. I jizz money. I light the world's finest cigars with the world's finest denominations of cash. I work three hours a week... on the golf course. You know why? Is it because I went to college? Is it because I work hard? Is it because I'm talented? Not a chance, numb-nuts. I have a high-paying job because my dad owns the company. His dad owned it, too. That's how you get places, asswads. You're born there. Unless you're the next Michael Jordan or Keith Richards, you're stuck where you are, dumbshits. So get lucky or shut up. But look on the bright side, douchebags. You may have to constantly take shit, but at least you don't smell like it. You live in America, where soap is plentiful, thanks to guys like my uncle, who owns a soap company. You could be lying around with a distended belly, flies buzzing around your head, in some godforsaken Third-World land while a well-fed pseudo-Christian blowhard films a UNICEF commercial around your soon-to-be lifeless body. Someone's always got it worse than you, so quit whining. And remember, every minute you spend at your thankless, deadening, unfulfilling jobs, you're putting more delicious Omaha steaks in my ever-expanding gut. This has been the state of the union address. Goodnight, and eat shit, fuckface.

Eat my fuck, Dr. Mystery.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Contest winner

I have put all contest entrants in a hat, and randomly grabbed the winner. This month's free CD goes to Julia. Congratulations, Julia, on your random victory. I will make your CD soon.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Contest reminder

The turnout this month is weak. Come on, people. Write a sentence, possibly win a CD. Monday is the last day to enter. Don't be a sucker, enter this motherfucker. (last sentence written by Don King)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tales of small-town life: drive-in edition (Catholic version)

God bless the Internet. This is the actual marquee from the drive-in movie theater in my hometown. There is much I could write about this place. Could it be the sexy hideaway of passion from whence my film obsession was born? Could it be a nostalgia piece about how I was one of the lucky few born between 1975-1982, the last drive-in movie generation? Fortunately, those stories are going to have to wait. This story is much better. It is about how I grew up in a town so dreadfully empty and dull that my friends and I, in our absolute boredom, vandalized and disrupted one of the few places in town that offered any kind of alternative to shooting oneself in the face. We were so bored, we took out our frustrations on the things we loved. To the various owners of the Sunset Drive-In, c. 1977-1996, I apologize. However, I am not sorry. Here is my confession.
Dear Sunset Drive-In,
Forgive me, for I have sinned.
It has been seven or eight years since my last confession.
O my drive-in proprietor,
I am heartily sorry for having offended thee,
and I detest all my hijinks,
because I dread the loss of a three-month ban,
and the pains of missing such quality films as "Police Academy 6: Citizens Under Siege,"
but most of all because they offend thee, my drive-in proprietor,
who are all good, yo,
and deserving of all my nacho and popcorn money.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace,
to hijink no more and to avoid the near occasion of hijinks.
Here are the hijinks to which I am guilty:
1) At my friend Clint's birthday party, his older brother snuck us into "The Rocketeer." We hid under a tarp in the back of a pickup. He was the only one who paid. You caught us, since we all stupidly hit the snack bar for nachos during intermission. You let us off with a lecture. You knew that "The Rocketeer" was punishment enough.
2) In high school, that same friend Clint had an old van with tinted windows and a mini-fridge. Many of us in the back of the van never paid. However, I think we are even on this one. In fact, you owe me. True, I never paid to see "The Rocketeer." In my defense, I was so drunk during "Naked Gun 33 1/3" that I only watched 38 seconds of the film, and "The Flintstones" was so bad that we went to Clint's grandmother's basement to finish our weed. The way I see it, you owe me eight dollars.
3) During the bi-annual dusk-to-dawn marathon shows, some classmates got the idea to run around the screen while the movie was playing. This was a funny gag...for a while. We kicked it up a notch. Boo-yah! The Fourth of July was imminent, so a few no-goodniks and I had a carload full of ten-shot Roman Candles. A chance encounter with another classmate led to an inspirational bombshell. She was returning from a hard day at cheerleading camp, teaching a future generation of young women how to be vacuous second-class citizens, and the trunk of her car was full of glow-in-the-dark purple wigs. Could we borrow four, we asked? Yes, she said. Magic time. We were going to don the wigs, run in front of the screen during the middle of the film, and light ten of the ten-shot Roman Candles. One hundred firework explosions during a movie while four bored teenagers danced around in front of the fireworks while wearing glow-in-the-dark purple wigs! What could go wrong? Actually, nothing went wrong. The drive-in was a few miles outside of town. We parked on a dirt road next to the back of the screen, donned the wigs, grabbed a handful of Roman Candles and a lighter, left the car running, ran in front of the screen, stuck the Candles in the dirt, lit them, watched them go off, danced around in front of them, then hauled ass back to the running car, and drove away. It was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. That last sentence is very depressing. We got away with it, and we gave the people attending that particular screening something to talk about for a long time. I don't even remember what movie it was, but I do know it starred Goldie Hawn.
4) The running-around-the-screen fad ended shortly after our purple wig stunt. The owner was on amber alert, and was keeping an eye out for any troublesome teens. A classmate decided to run around the screen anyway, and was chased by the owner. Panicking, he ran into a fence and cut his hand badly, with the embarrassing result of being driven to the emergency room by the drive-in owner, the very guy who was chasing him. A few weeks later, the idea hit us. Let's change the letters on the marquee. The drive-in was only open in the summer on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Our plan of attack: a late, hot Wednesday night. I was driving that night, so I stayed in the car with the motor running, worst case scenario pending. My friends took a long time rearranging the words, and when they were done, I was a bit baffled. The marquee read "Ass Tit Rec." Now, ass and tit were solid gold, but what the hell was "rec"? I asked them when they got back to the car. "They were the only letters left, so we had to do something with them." Why not just leave them on the ground, I asked. "We didn't think of that," they said. Despite my questioning of their handiwork, a feeling of mirth could not be dampened by the infernal damnation of my need for explanations. We planned our next marquee attacks thoroughly, especially our masterpiece, "Help Fuck Santa." Unfortunately, it was only up for six hours. We had one last hurrah the summer after our freshmen year of college. A handful of us were back in town for the summer, and we were drinking at my house while my parents were out of town. Soon, marquee fever had us in its sexy, sexy grip. Not only was the drive-in calling out for a rearranging, but also the high school, right next door. The year after my graduation from the place, it had installed a marquee announcing school events. We split into teams. My brother, one friend, and I would hit the school, while two of my friends would attack the drive-in. Unfortunately, the school marquee had a protective layer of Plexiglas and a padlock keeping out hijink-makers. That did not deter us. We plundered my father's garage for many tools, and eventually sawed the fucker open. During our labors, several neighbors stepped out on their porches to see what the hell we were doing. Shit, I thought. We are busted. About an hour later, my drive-in friends returned, sweaty and confident. Ironically, nothing happened to my brother and I and our fellow school accomplice, but my friends who attacked the drive-in were visited by the police. Unbeknownst to us all, the drive-in owner had installed a hidden camera shortly after the "Help Fuck Santa" incident. My friends, who were witnessed by no human, were caught on tape. At the police station, the drive-in owner was exasperated, my friends told me. "Why?" he asked them. "What do you guys have against me?" He kept asking this, they said. He thought it was personal. No matter how many times my friends answered, he didn't believe them. But it was true. "We are just so bored," they said. "And you have a marquee."

One year later, he closed the drive-in. A few years after that, a particularly nasty hail and wind storm destoyed 75 percent of the screen. The Sunset Drive-In currently sits abandoned.

That is my confession, Lord of all Drive-Ins. What is my penance?

My son, you must repent for your sins by watching Lethal Weapon 3, Die Hard 3, Police Academy 3, and Short Circuit 2. Also, you must drink eight large Cokes, and eat three large nachos. One with jalapenos, two without. Do you accept your penance?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Tales of small-town life: Myspace edition

What it was like going to high school in my hometown, told exclusively through the medium of quotes taken from the Myspace pages of people who grew up there:

Life is what you make it!
Life is a dick, when it gets hard just fuck it!
Who needs the horse when you have the cowboy?
Open your mouth!
Forget day but today!
Heater's gettin' hot!
Will it mix with Dr. Pepper? He'll love it! Drink!
Hey What's Up?
To Love is to Live
life may not be fun, but it's a fun ride!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A lesson in living from an old man

Today, I was eating lunch at Denny's with my wife. At the table next to us, an old man and woman slowly ate huge platefuls of fatty food. The man must have been at least 193 years old. He was, physically, the oldest man I've ever seen. He loudly and cheerfully joked about many subjects in between mouthfuls of lunch. Before we got our food, he was finished. He began the arduous and methodical process of standing up from the table, assisted by a cane. It probably took him five minutes to get out of his chair. His back was badly bent at an almost forty-five-degree angle. He looked like an upside-down L. It took him 23 minutes to get to his car, parked right in front of the window through which I was staring. About 12 1/2 minutes into his journey, he stopped and spit out an enormous wad of yellowish mucus. Then he pulled a cigarette and lighter out of his shirt pocket and lit the cigarette. This man, who not only had one foot in the grave but also a couple of elbows and a knee, was literally beaming as he slowly inhaled and exhaled the smoke. It was something to see.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The paradox

If I were forced to estimate, probably at least 48-56% of my record collection is made up of guitar-rock bands on independent record labels. However, I thoroughly despise "indie-rock" as a generic musical entity. I have a hunch that if I were given entree to the deep inner machinations of the average indie-rocker, I would discover a hatred of sexual congress and black people, possibly unbeknownst to the indie-rocker him/herself. I guess what I am saying is that I would much rather listen to Thin Lizzy or Van Halen than Tapes n' Tapes or June of 44.

Friday, May 05, 2006

May caption contest

Here is the photo for this month's caption contest. The rules: leave a caption in comment form under this post. You may enter only once, but you have until the 15th to come up with something. On the 16th, all entrants will be written down and thrown inside a hat. One name will be drawn from the hat. That person gets a homemade compilation CD courtesy of Dr. Mystery. Last month's winner, Cloudhurler, is ineligible this month but may enter again next time. By the way, Cloudhurler, did you receive your CD? Good luck, contestants. Let the shenanigans begin. Whoo-ha!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tales of small-town life

In my hometown, the elementary, junior high, and high schools are confined to one city block, right across the street from my house. On this block are two brick buildings. The newer building's contents include the gymnasium, the cafeteria, the multi-purpose room, the principal's office and the classrooms for the junior high and high school and kindergarten through third grade. The older building, which used to house the high school, contains the auditorium and grades four through six. Besides these two brick buildings, there is a small white building housing the superintendent's office, a large weight room/football locker room, a large playground, a football field and track, a parking lot for the school buses, and a weird rectangular building I was in once that is full of janitorial equipment, tools, broken-down school buses, and a boxing ring, for some reason. I have a clear memory of seeing that boxing ring, but it really doesn't make sense for it to be there. Maybe it was only a couple of punching bags, but that's pretty weird, too. Two baseball diamonds sat next to each other north of the school. Little League, softball, teeball, and occasional adult league games were played there in the summer. Otherwise, the diamonds sat dormant during the school year. As a teenager, I would occasionally smoke pot in the dugout or take a leak on the diamond while drinking, but I kept my distance during the summer. I had better things to do in the sweet, sweet summer than watch or play baseball, the most boring sport in the world after football and amateur wrestling. But I digress. North of the baseball diamonds was pretty much a bunch of goddamn wilderness. A lot of grass, dirt, field, and trees, plus a few lead pipes. We didn't hang out there much, even though it was isolated enough to invite mischief, probably because of an unspoken but understood feeling of creepiness, palpable as humidity. You could hear coyotes howling there at night. In the day, it looked like a good place for a murderous child rapist to dump bodies, though the town was fortunately free of that particular brand of party animal. I lit a few illegal fireworks there once while listening to Eazy-E on a boombox (the height of my 12-year-old decadence), but mostly I stayed away. However, in the summer between eighth and ninth grades, while shooting hoops on the playground, a few kids mentioned that some marijuana was growing wild back there in no-man's-land. I was thirteen years old. I realize that a lot of kids are huffing glue and having sex and smoking dope and getting handjobs and snorting meth and shooting convenience store employees by the time they're eleven and a half, but all I'd done at that point was drink half a Michelob Light and take a few swigs of Crown Royal. I didn't know from marijuana, and my friends didn't either. To quote D. Boon, "we were fucking corndogs," as all thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds should be. We decided an exploratory bike trip was in order. I hopped on my little red dirt bike and headed for the weird area behind the school. My friends joined me. My brother might have been in on it, too. I can't remember. Anyway, we didn't ride very far. There it was. A shitload of cannabis, growing wild behind the school. We looked at it, though we realized we had no idea how to partake of the adventure it advertised. I decided to grab a bunch of the plant as a souvenir. I propped the generous portion of pot leaves up on my handlebars and rode merrily away from the wilderness. I must have looked ridiculous, a skinny, red-haired thirteen-year-old dork with a titanic helping of an illegal substance resting precariously between his lap and the handlebars of his bicycle, riding down the street on a summer day in clear, blue daylight. As it happened, the principal's secretary, Kathy, was walking down the street. She saw us, said hello, then did a cartoon-worthy double take. She turned around and stared at us, we stared back, and then we parked our bikes on my lawn. My dad was at work, and my mother was not home. We decided that this marijuana just had to be tried. What did we have to lose? Unfortunately, we were too dumb to the ways and rules of the world to understand the process of turning plant into smokable drug. I'm hip, I thought. I've seen "Sid and Nancy," I've listened to "Appetite for Destruction" and "The Best of the Doors" about a thousand times each. This shit's gonna come natural. How natural? Check out our process of pot preparation. We simply picked off a handful of leaves, tore them into tiny pieces, stuck them on a white piece of Xerox paper, rolled up the paper, and lit it with a match. This, of course, did not work worth a damn. We gave up, and got some nachos and Cokes at the R&W. I hid the rest of the marijuana plant inside my bass drum for a few months, then threw it away. The marijuana growing behind the school was the talk of the pre-high school town for a few weeks, until a clean-cut jock kid told his mother, who told the city, who sprayed the plant with some kind of weed killer. It would be three long years before my next encounter with pot, courtesy of an elaborate plaster bong in the shape of a monkey constructed by my friend Clint in art class and some shitty ditchweed scored from a friend's uncle. You had to inhale at the base of the monkey's butthole. It seemed to work, though I suspect this was due to all the plaster we inhaled, and not the terribly weak marijuana.