Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New all-possum format really takes off!

Adopt-an-opossum orphan of the week! This guy's name is Lil' Climb-y. His favorite show is Scrubs, his favorite musical group and/or artist is either the Pussycat Dolls or Englebert Humperdinck (he can't decide!), and he wants to wish all of you a Merry Christmas (he's a Christian and must be adopted by a Christian home)! Merry Christmas, everyone! Merry Christmas, Lil' Climb-y! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 03, 2007


No reason for this. Just thought you were as tired of looking at Kevin Smith as I was.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A history of unfortunate coincidences #3

This man's parents met and had unprotected sex at least once.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A history of unfortunate coincidences #2

Failed singer Mary Desti, the mother of film director Preston Sturges, forced her young son into a bohemian lifestyle he hated, flitting around from country to country and museum to museum on her rich businessmen husbands' dimes. She briefly dated Aleister Crowley, who called the young Sturges a "most god-forsaken lout." Desti also became close friends with the dancer Isadora Duncan. Duncan had a fondness for wearing long scarves. Desti founded a cosmetics company called Maison Desti. The company carried a scarf that Desti thought Duncan would love. She presented it to her as a gift. Duncan wore the extremely long scarf when she hopped into the 1924 Amilcar of an Italian mechanic she planned on sleeping with. Her scarf became tangled around a wheel of the car, choking and yanking her to her demise. Ironically, the car is often erroneously reported to be a Bugatti, perhaps because that brand of automobile was the nickname given to the mechanic by Duncan. Desti, who was there when Duncan got in the Amilcar, told reporters that Duncan's last words were "Goodbye, my friends, I am off to glory." Later, she admitted making this up to protect Duncan's reputation, whose real last words were "I am off to love." Desti's son Preston went on to become one of the greatest writer/directors of comedy in film history. His golden rules for successful comedy:
"A pretty girl is better than a plain one/ A leg is better than an arm/ A bedroom is better than a living room/ An arrival is better than a departure/ A birth is better than a death/ A chase is better than a chat/ A dog is better than a landscape/ A kitten is better than a dog/ A baby is better than a kitten/ A kiss is better than a baby/ A pratfall is better than anything."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Free Giveaway! First come, first served! Free!

Hey dudes and dudettes,
Those crazy limeys from across the pond sent me two of something when I only wanted one of something. If anyone would like an extra copy of this month's Mojo magazine and free CD, please respond first in the comments section for this post. One caveat: You must be in Austin sometime whenever or be in either eastern or western Nebraska during the Christmas holidays. I'm too damn busy to mail anything, so tough luck, chumps. Led Zeppelin is on the cover. Not the golden, glistening rock gods of yore, unfortunately, but the graying graybeards of today. However, these men have aged surprisingly well, with the exception of John Bonham, who did not make the cover. Particularly John Paul Jones. What a magnetically handsome man. A man's man. A suave man. A man who knows how to please, and how to tease. I am lost in his eyes, never to return. Oh John Paul Jones, take me away from all this hustle and bustle (in my hedgerow)! (groans, booing)
The magazine also features, according to the cover (I've been too busy to open the thing and verify whether it's all a pack of lies, containing only 76 glossy pinups of Lance Bass): Elvis Costello, the Pretty Things, AC/DC, Ray Davies, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, and the Beatles. The CD is a collection of British hard rock from 1968-1973, including The Pretty Things, Terry Reid, Slade, The Move, etc. Also the awesomely named Pete Brown & Piblokto!, and yes the exclamation point is part of the name. I haven't listened to it yet, but their CDs are usually pretty good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Overheard in American Lit class

"You know how much I love butterflies, right?"


"Whoah! Tennessee Williams is a man?"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What's the message?

I left a message for my wife yesterday that read: "Washing my car, back soon."
When I returned, I looked at the note and realized its confusion. It could be read as: "I'm washing my car. I'll be back soon."
"Washing my car and back soon."
This raises many questions. Would I be washing my back at the same time as I washed my car? Would I just be washing my back, or the rest of my body as well? And how soon? Doesn't the word "soon" look strange if you stare at it too long?

Monday, November 05, 2007

A history of unfortunate coincidences #1

In 1989, when Domino's Pizza's "Avoid the Noid" advertising campaign was at the height of its popularity, a 22-year-old schizophrenic in Georgia named Kenneth Noid believed the commercials directly targeted him. In retaliation, he kidnapped two Domino's employees and held them hostage. He forced them to make him a pizza, then demanded $100,000, a getaway car, and the Robert Anton Wilson novel The Widow's Son. They escaped. He turned himself in to the police.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Words to live by

Life explained, from the W.C. Fields movie Million Dollar Legs:
"Here in Klopstokia, all the women are named Angela, and the men are named George."
"Why not?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


A Halloween surprise over at our subsidiary, Decapitated Zombie Vampire Bloodbath.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

To make up for my lack of posts, here is a dirty joke

Fred's wife has been feeling strange for weeks, so she goes to the doctor and undergoes a series of tests. A few weeks later, the test results are in, and the doctor calls Fred into his office, alone. "What is it, Doctor?" Fred says. "Is she going to be okay?"
"I'm sorry, Fred," the doctor says. "I wanted to break this to you first. Unfortunately, we've had a chart mix-up with another patient, but the news isn't good either way."
"What's wrong?" Fred asks.
"Well, she either has Alzheimer's or AIDS."
"Oh god, what should I do?" Fred cries.
"Well," the doctor says. "I suggest you drive her three miles out of town and drop her off. If she finds her way back home, don't fuck her."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Thurston Moore is opening for Bright Eyes.
That's like having Keith Richards open for Ugly Kid Joe.
What the fuck?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week

I've said all I had to say about why I find Black's columns so revolting, so from now on, I'm going to let the man speak for himself. Here is the tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week, from his latest column, "Cat and Mouse."

"Last night, all through the night, I was so sweetly tormented, thinking about words, possibilities, and emotions, that I slept not at all. Tortured fever-thoughts about this column - not just the one you are now reading but the ongoing, weekly entity - kept me awake. Usually I know what I want to say but frequently don't know if I really want to say it."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ye gods

This is a companion post to my last one.
I don't think 30 is old, or 37, or 48, or even 59. But my jaw dropped today when one of my psychology professors said, "Most of you were in seventh grade when the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred." I am a young man of 30, but jeez, talk about an alienating statement. I almost felt...what? Shame? Embarrassment? What am I doing here? I've been having recurring nightmares this past month about having to re-do my senior year in high school due to some arcane bureaucratic snafu. But the nightmare is real!

I may be 1,000 years old, relatively speaking, but going to college for the second time has mostly been a good thing. I have my work ethic back, I feel more mentally stable, and the memories of my completely lost last three years are starting to fade. I feel alienated from the other students, but I felt that way when I got my journalism degree. Journalists are arrogant dicks, for the most part. Born not made. Who are these people I'm going to class with? I don't know why two of my classmates spent the entire lecture yesterday talking about "Desperate Housewives," I don't know why the guy on the bus wanted everyone to hear his cell phone conversation when it consisted of monotone variations of "Dude, that's badass," and I don't know why the girl walking in front of me down the street last Friday spent her entire conversation preceding every sentence with a monotone "Oh my god." I don't know why a girl in my psychology class responded to an opinion survey with the words, "I don't understand any of these questions. I don't get it. What are the answers to these questions?" I'm observing a fourth grade class every Monday this semester, and every single kid in that class is interesting. Unfortunately, I know all too well that two-thirds of those kids will change into astonishingly boring human beings. Something happens between grade school and middle school, some invisible hand tries to pound the interesting out of us, and most of us never make it out alive. This post is going in a different direction than I intended, so I'll just stop now before it degenerates into a diatribe about how trendy and lame the popular kids are. Kill everyone twice! Don't trust anyone under 30! Pina coladas for all!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back to School: Report #2

Not much has changed since my first time in college, but occasionally something happens that makes me feel 1,000 years older than most of the other students (though there is a person or two my age and older in all my classes, excepting the 101s). I don't feel much distance between my decrepit 30-year-old ass and their firm, luscious 20-year-old asses, but for whatever reason, many of these younger students' cultural references either don't extend past 1998 or are chronologically confused.
Example #1: In my post-Harlem Renaissance African-American lit class, I worked on a group project about blues music of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s and its relation to Zora Neale Hurston's prose. During a group meeting, a girl said, "Roberta Flack might be a good example. She was right around this time period, right? Or was she a little later?"
Example #2: In my American Lit class, we watched the first fifteen minutes of Peter Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller after reading the Henry James story. In the film, Daisy's little brother was played by Larry McMurtry's son James, who is currently an Austin singer-songwriter. The professor told us that the young actor grew up to be a musician and asked us if we knew who it was. One of my fellow students said, "Neil Young?" Keep in mind, he'd already told us the year of the movie's release, 1974.
Example #3: In my enormous 500-student psychology class, one of the two professors asked the lecture hall how many of us had seen A Clockwork Orange? Only about 30 people raised their hands.

I don't think it's necessary, or even that important, to have a rough estimate of when Roberta Flack's career began or how old Neil Young was in 1974, or to have seen the Kubrick film (his worst, in my opinion, though very appealing to people in their late teens and early twenties and extremely popular with that age bracket the last time I was in that age bracket, which I didn't think was that long ago but apparently some cultural shift has taken place and maybe these kids are all really into Barry Lyndon). I don't think knowing pop culture details and approximate dates makes anyone smart. I'm just surprised. Middle-aged co-workers at my last job were always saying things to me like, "You're probably too young to have ever heard of Jack Benny/Nina Simone/Paul Simon/Spiro Agnew, etc." and I was always taken aback by that. I always assume people are aware of at least a few things that predated their births. I mean, come on. By their logic, no one alive should have the slightest fucking clue who William Shakespeare or Abraham Lincoln are. Civil War? Never heard of it. Who the fuck are The Beatles? Spare me your arcane minutiae, Pops. This is the nineties. But maybe my middle-aged coworkers were right to assume I'd never heard of anything that predated 1977. Maybe my friends and I are Paleolithic weirdos for being interested in things that happened prior to "Desperate Housewives." But in my culturally deprived small Midwestern hometown in the early 1990s in the adolescent world of immediate-present-only, we watched Cheech and Chong movies, listened to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and knew that Roberta Flack was not an early 20th century blues singer. It wasn't all Alice in Chains, Encino Man, Bell Biv Devoe, Lorena Bobbitt jokes, and Clearly Canadian. We didn't live in a total vacuum. Does anyone remember John Tesh? Is there anybody out there who remembers "Manimal"? I have been left behind. Kool and the Gang are contemporaries of Emily Dickinson in the world of today's youth. My beer gut grows larger as my capacity to learn new technologies diminishes. The Grim Reaper takes my hand, and I sing Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy" as I slowly shuffle toward my demise. Remember me as someone who experienced my pop culture firsthand, not through Peter Griffin. Fuck the police. Welcome to the jungle. Do you like pina coladas?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week

Louis Black's column this week, "Knocked Out, Loaded," contained many of his usual flaws: awkward sentence construction; bizarre, paranoid, megalomaniacal attacks on those who dare to criticize the Chronicle; precious stirrings of his oh-so-poetic heart; status quo journalistic cliches presented as deep thought (example: "(Movies directed by actors) don't really work, and when they do, their obsession is clearly about the actorly, not the cinematic," a conventional film-crit opinion I largely disagree with, but I digress); and celeb name-dropping. The latter clearly presses my annoyance button the most. He really stretches himself this time, though, writing about the new Ethan Hawke-directed film, The Hottest State: "In my world, the first 15 minutes were perfect. Not perfect as in a nice job by a friend of a friend (emphasis mine) or a surprising achievement by an actor directing but in the most visceral way: The pleasures of the viewing experience were more sensual and physical than intellectual." What a convoluted and unnecessary way of bragging about being two degrees of separation from Ethan Hawke. What a sad thing for a grown (middle-aged!) man to do. That was merely the appetizer for this week's shameless entree:
"Years ago, my friends Maggie Renzi and John Sayles came to town for a car trip to West Texas. When they arrived, I excitedly exclaimed to John, '... and we can visit my friend Robert Rodriguez's set, where he is shooting his new movie, Desperado, in Acuna, Mexico!'"

Maybe I'm picking on a guy who may be just fine in person? No. I've been the unfortunate victim of three public speeches by Black, and he is his column. Before a screening of Terminal Island, he bloviated for 15 minutes about his friendship with Jonathan Demme, apropos of nothing. Before a Manny Farber art exhibition, he spent 15 minutes rattling on about his friendship with Leonard Maltin (or "Len," as Black called him). At an Austin Film Society event, he dribbled on and on about his friendship with Richard Linklater, which embarrassed me, in part, because Linklater was standing next to him waiting to speak. I was much more interested in what he had to say about AFS, but I had to wait a long, long time to hear it. Black's not the only member of the Chronicle to suck the air out of the room. If you are ever at an event in which Chronicle music critic Raoul Hernandez is about to speak, flee from the room immediately. If fleeing is not an option, find the easiest way to commit suicide. Hernandez gave a 20+ minute speech before a screening of Ernst Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait that included a seven-minute vignette about buying the laserdisc of Otto Preminger's Laura. I wanted to tear my eyeballs out and shove them in my ears. Black not only bloviates with the best of them, he hires master bloviators. He has assembled an unholy bloviating army of the damned! Get away! As fast as you can! For the love of God!

Religious Week continues

Born-again and fundamentalist Christians often mention a particular phrase, always worded the same way, that really grates on my nerves: "my personal relationship with Christ." What, are you fucking him?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Goddamn, if reggae doesn't get a bad rap. When people say they're into reggae, it usually only means that they own Bob Marley's "Legend," a pet iguana and a beer-stained pool table too close to the wall, have a seashell-necklace, a blonde ponytail, and some ditch weed, and are pissed off that the night has turned into a "sausage party." However, much like soul music, every reggae song from the 1960s and 1970s is good.

The following post has been brought to you by 4:17 a.m.

Our idiot-in-chief...

... is afraid of horses and thinks Nelson Mandela is dead.

Also, the house in Maryland where Frederick Douglass's slave master lived is currently occupied by Donald Rumsfeld.

And, Alanis Morissette lives in the former estate of Hitler.*

*I made this one up.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week

What a sad little man. The namedropping is cloyingly thick in this week's column, "Personalizing the Mythic." For some reason, Black attended the Toronto International Film Festival instead of sending his film critics there and decided to write a whole column about how he's "friends" with Jonathan Demme and John Sayles under the thin guise of recommending their latest films. In the first paragraph, he writes, "This year, even though any number of exciting films were being screened, for a variety of reasons, I only saw a bare handful. Two of the best of them (both by friends), Man from Plains and Honeydripper, are not only great movies that people should be excited about; both also have direct connections to Austin."
Both by friends? What a twat. That really makes me puke. Also, saying that two films out of a handful were the best is not really a colossal recommendation.
He continues in the pathetic, weaselly tones of someone who thinks that standing next to famous people makes him more interesting than, and superior to, a cabdriver or a cook or any non-famous human being.
"Characterizing these films as two of the best at Toronto actually underplays my enthusiasm. Friends were involved in making both films, as I've noted - but I have lots of friends who are filmmakers, so I'm very conscious about trying very hard not to confuse my critical sensibilities with the polluting effects of personal affection. These unique and powerful films blew me away."
I think what really blew you away was the hot air coming out of your mouth, carrying your corpulent husk all over Stupid Town and Jerkville. He goes into hysterics every time a John Sayles and/or Jonathan Demme film is released, piling up the adjectives and effusive gush. I like most of Jonathan Demme's films myself, and I think John Sayles is occasionally interesting, but what is the point of wetting yourself every time they release a film? What good does it do? And why does he have to mention Jonathan Demme in one out of three columns? And please have an editor look over your columns, I beg you. Using "very" twice in one sentence is very, very amateurish and very sloppy. Very. My blog isn't exactly slop-free, but I'm not dropping it off at every kiosk in town.

Here is the tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week (drinking game version). Take a tequila shot every time an adjective appears in this paragraph about Demme's new Jimmy Carter documentary. Call 911:
"Carter's continually understated decency is what absolutely electrifies the screen, especially when considered in the context of the overcharged partisanship of most others involved in this discussion [conflict in the Middle East]. Add in the insane, irrational, myopic nationalism championed by the current administration, and Man from Plains seems like a brilliant haiku rising above a mass of Edwardian English poetry. In fact, the biggest presence in the film is that of President Bush, though he is hardly ever mentioned. Carter's intelligent, deeply felt, and morally centered concerns serve as the most resoundingly deep and meaningful rebukes of this administration's intuitive, happily ignorant, inherently racist, unbelievably naive, self-righteous world-view. This film is so unbelievably loud and ringingly resonant because it is so quiet."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Back to school: report #1

This back-to-school thing is pretty weird. It would be less weird if I was a graduate student, but getting another undergrad degree is weird-beard TNT. Here's where it's OK: My teaching classes are full of people my age, older, and slightly younger, so that's not weird at all. It's nice having an age range of 19-50 in one classroom. My English classes are good. I get to read a lot of stuff I would probably have read anyway, or not read but wanted to, or not thought to have read, or hadn't heard of, or already read but wouldn't have re-read. My previous degree took care of the beginning English classes, so I'm only taking upper-class stuff. People in their early twenties are fine. I don't feel too far removed from them, and they seem okay. Here's where I'm struggling and feeling angry, stupid, sad, bored, and exasperated: the handful of generals I'm forced to take. I'm finding the 101 classes to be about the most difficult things I've ever done. I think something happens to your brain around age 25 that makes it harder to engage in rote memorization and test-taking. I'm having trouble memorizing things I don't care about. I always had that problem, but I could do it if I had to and crammed enough. Now, it's a goddamn insurmountable hurdle. I already paid these dues, motherfucker. And now my decrepit 30-year-old brain can only memorize facts I actually give a shit about. And I think I hate 18- and 19-year-olds more than any group of people on the planet. That may sound funny coming from someone who is planning on teaching high school, but there is a huge difference between a high school senior and a college freshman. Goofy, awkward teenager turns, overnight, into goofy, awkward teenager with responsibilities. Somehow, adult freedom turns these teenagers into jerks. And not just jerks. Stupid jerks. And these 101 teachers gear their lessons to these stupid jerks, and not the 30-year-old jerks like me, who really should have figured out what the fuck to do with their lives several years ago so they wouldn't be sitting in the same seat they were sitting in 12 years ago. For chrissakes, OJ Simpson is involved in another criminal imbroglio. It's 1995 all over again, and I have progressed exactly one inch since I graduated from high school. If Candlebox puts out a new album, I will commit suicide.

So, I'm pretty much going to have to drop my biology class because I'm a fucking idiot and not a visual learner and I'm too fucking old to be there, but I had my first classroom observation last week and I loved it. That made me feel good. Maybe I'm on the right track, even if I have to take three science classes, and Psychology 101, and an online Texas government whoop-di-do, and my old college roommates are well on their ways to Ph.D.'s while I sit in fucking Biology 101, completely lost. What fucking balderdash. Folderol! Fuck! Anyway, I observed a fourth-grade class, and will observe this class for nine more weeks, and it's nice to actually be reminded why I made this rough, tough, and undignified decision to play 18-year-old for the first three years of my thirties. (Although I have spent the last six years drinking beer, buying records, and going to movies while they worked their asses off.) A Reader's Digest condensed version of my first classroom observation.
Boy in John Cena shirt and girl with frizzy, curly hair staring at me in the office of the school.
Girl: We're half cousins.
They lead me to the classroom. I notice that we leave the school and are walking toward some kind of weird back entrance that doesn't look like where we are supposed to be.
Boy: We like going this way but lately they've been locking the doors.
The door is locked. The boy and the girl stand in front of the door for 30 seconds.
Me: Is there another way in?
Boy: Yeah, this way.
He leads me through doors that put us right where we were to begin with, and then to the classroom, which is just down the hall.
The teacher introduces me to the class, I tell them some things about myself. They introduce themselves to me. About half of them are shy and embarrassed, the other half outgoing and happy. One boy pumps his fist in the air and says the following: My name is Kevin. Yodelay-yi! Yodelay-yi! Yodelay-yi-hoo!
The whole class laughs, except for one surly young man with his arms crossed. He says: Yeah, he's funny. He's funny. He's funny. He's not funny.
Girl: He is too funny.
Boy: Shut up.
They discuss a short story they read the previous week. The teacher reads a passage describing a boy dressing for winter. When she reads the words "long underwear," the class explodes in laughter.
I like these kids.

Campus report: Current indie-rock fashion may be changing, if UT trends can be believed. I thought campus would be overrun with asexual anorexics in tight, ill-fitting, multi-colored clothes, sneering at everyone while sharing a single Ramen noodle. I've only seen two of these butt-nuts in 4 weeks. Oddly, everyone looks the same at the University of Texas as they did at the University of Nebraska 8 years ago, except that shoes are much more colorful, nobody wears flannel, and, of course, iPods are everywhere. Cell phones seem to be less omnipresent than I feared. Everyone carries one, but there's less constant chattering than there was the last time I ventured onto UT premises. That's a good sign. I'm still confused about how the craziest lunatics in town--I'm talking the craziest, the guys who can't figure out how to stop confusing Jesus with Mickey Rooney or stop talking to themselves or stop carrying around 68 plastic bags--can always seem to find a campus student union. If you think bugs are crawling on your skin and your name is 56 Galactitroid, how the fuck do you get it together enough to find the food court at the student union of the university?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tortured Louis Black paragraph of the week

Louis Black didn't write his column this week, so I've been forced to Google-search the archives and present a Louis Black blast from the past. Here's one from July 2003:

"For me, it's usually a bit disconcerting talking to people about (Robert) Rodriguez's films. Most viewers approach each film as an independent entity, while I see all the films as part of an ongoing process. As much as From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado, or Spy Kids knock me out, as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over truly dazzles, and as I eagerly await Once Upon a Time in Mexico, these seem like early chapters in what I'm betting is going to be an extraordinary body of work. The quality of what the Rodriguez/Avellán team has already produced just deepens my excitement and anticipation of what will be coming."

I just want to repeat one phrase from that paragraph, for emphasis: "... as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over truly dazzles ..."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Talkin' the retinal scan pamphleteering blues, or left-wingers are jerks, too

One of the disadvantages of being a non-traditional student taking a second tour of duty at Operation: Enduring University is that I have to hear a lot of class discussions I already wore out in those drunken, THC-fueled days of Talk Much, Think Little. One unfortunate byproduct of attending college is realizing that the neo-cons actually read their worthless manifestos and believe in them, while the supposed "good guys," the liberal students, just skim a couple of pamphlets and spout off a lot of ill-conceived nonsense that has nothing to do with actual human experience and mostly comes from a place of sheltered privilege. When I was visiting friends in Madison, Wisconsin last month, we saw a flier for a liberal youth group giving us the low-down on Bush's foreign policy, and also about the alternative policies, and unfortunate oppression, of that fantastic hero Hugo Chavez. Yep. These are the same people who've made a folk hero out of Fidel Castro. Just go to Cuba and ask the first gay man you meet how great Fidel Castro is. He could tell you some things you didn't skim in your pamphlet. That's just for starters. Unfortunately, this short-sighted stupidity is not just an American phenomenon. In my Adolescent Development class yesterday, we were discussing where we were on 9/11 and what our reactions were. We were paired off in two-person groups, and I was paired with a Panamanian woman. She told me, or, more accurately, lectured me that she had no interest in 9/11. She said we got what we deserved, that the United States fucked Panama over, that she and her friends and family took delight in that day, and that she didn't care at all about 9/11. I tried to tell her that the people being murdered that day were not the same people who were making U.S. foreign policy decisions, that those people never get what's coming to them, that a lot of people who were just trying to go to work got killed for no reason, that I agreed with her that most of the decisions my government made and makes are destructive, that Americans are too often xenophobic and/or apathetic, that we were finally seeing what it was like to live how most of the rest of the world lives, but that her callous attitude toward a massive loss of life was kind of fucked up and kind of a put-on to be shocking, but she didn't buy it. She was apparently unaware of the irony of her moving to the U.S. to attend a U.S. institution and reap the benefits of a U.S. education, so I sheepishly let her continue to be unaware of it. I myself was embarrassed and didn't want to sound like Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Lee Greenwood. But confusing the citizens of foreign countries for their government is supposed to be something we do. Isn't she supposed to know better? Quit stealing our short-sightedness, Panama.

"Panama" is also a great song by Van Halen. For more information, consult your local library.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I had completely forgotten...

...that I hate school. Why didn't I remember that?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Overheard on campus

I have finished my first week and a half as a second-time college student. Here's some stuff I overheard.

Girl on her cell phone, very loudly and desperately, on the bus: "I want to sleep with you tonight." Every single person on the crowded bus looked at her after she said this.

English professor to a student in the hallway: "Saul Bellow doesn't make my stomach move."

For more information on college life, see Teen Wolf Too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tortured Louis Black Paragraph of the Week

Black's column this week, "Wild and Delirious," was fairly coherent compared to his usual overstuffed style, but he did manage to slip in a few of his ridiculous tendencies. The unnecessary celebrity name-drop: "Years back, I was lucky enough to spend time hanging out with the king of softcore filmmaking, Russ Meyer... Film Comment ran an interview with him by Ed Lowry and me; I talked to him for the Chronicle; there were also times when we just hung out." The poor-sport attack on Chronicle readers who happen to disagree with him: "The gaggle of geese that regularly write in assaulting me and the paper are quite mistakenly convinced that their honking sounds pass for some kind of snide wit rather than just annoying noise." And, of course, the precious poet of the soul, who gives us the tortured Louis Black paragraph, or honking sound, of the week:
"Eyes closed. Involuntarily, I felt the flushing of all breath being pushed out of my body; like the characters in the cartoon 'Balloon Land,' I deflated. This occurred not physically but in almost every other way: My spirit gushed out like rushing, raging water from a 10-day storm slicing through a dam. It wasn't the writing but the thinking. I had nothing to say and no desire to say it. You, the readers, disappeared, while the flames of my passion went out and even the embers grew cold."

You're not writing the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Black. You're just farting out some ramblings in a local alternative weekly. Try to relax. Your "buddy" Russ Meyer didn't worry about embers growing cold. He liked big breasts and made a lot of movies about them. And they were good.

Monday, August 27, 2007

At least she cleans up real nice

Thanks to Spacebeer for bringing this to my attention.

New weekly feature: Tortured Louis Black Paragraph of the Week

Editors of publications are usually so busy editing that their writing muscles tend to become flabby and weak. Editing and writing are not always complementary skills, and many good editors are poor writers. Read any random editor-in-chief's letter or opinion column in any newspaper, magazine, or alt-weekly, and you will most likely find mediocre-to-atrocious writing. Why do editors need to have a forum anyway? Shouldn't they let the publication speak for itself? The most egregious example of editor-in-chief pen diarrhea occurs every week in Louis Black's columns in my city's alt-weekly, The Austin Chronicle. Black's sins are many. He has a painfully narrow repertoire of subject matter, writing about the same five topics interminably and interchangeably. He is an absolutely shameless and undignified celebrity whore, awkwardly namedropping famous friends and acquaintances in nearly every column, particularly Jonathan Demme. (Most embarrassing example: a column that mentioned his dog misbehaving included the sentence "That's no way for a dog who's just been visited by Jonathan Demme to act." I'm paraphrasing, but I'm not exaggerating.) His columns are too often mired in nostalgia for the 1960s and 1970s. He is humorless, arrogant, and has a bit of a martyr complex. He thinks his mundane observations are profound. He thinks his taste is exquisite. Most importantly, he's a bad writer. He's an editor, but I don't think anyone is editing him. His prose is an awkward pileup of too many words fighting each other for space. His sentence construction is tortured and often less than coherent. He seems to be working toward Beat poet stream of consciousness or Hunter S. Thompson controlled chaos, but he lacks the energy of the former and the discipline and talent of the latter. And if you're making Beat poets look good, holy shit, you're bad. Which brings me to our new weekly feature: The Tortured Louis Black Paragraph of the Week. Before we get to that paragraph, for those of you who don't live in Austin or read the paper, here is the first paragraph of his most recent column, "Turn to Sinatra," by way of introduction:
"Sometimes you just have to put some Sinatra on just as sometimes you have to put the Stones or Talking Heads or Amy Winehouse on. Other times it's Jefferson Airplane, Love, Steve Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, or Patti Smith, and even other times it has to be music you don't really know like you know the music of your blood and of your life. You have to put it on because you have to leave the linear, deny structured forms, destroy memory, and, as best you can, lose yourself in something else. Movies work for me in that way as well, except there is a bit of time, the buildup – long or short – before you just plunge in, flowing along with the movie as you always have and hope you always will."
Ugh. Can it get any worse? Yes it can. Here is the Tortured Louis Black Paragraph of the Week:
"There are days when you sleep and sleeping is all you can do. Other times are haunted by sleeplessness, when sleep isn't even really a memory but more an image contained in some fairy tale told to you a long time ago by one you thought you loved in a city rarely warm and too often frozen over."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Words of wisdom

from an interview with Paul Weller:
Q: You gave up being vegetarian in the early '90s - was that symbolic of something?
A: It was symbolic of 12 years of being fucking hungry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tales of Small-Town Life: Safety First Edition

The last time I was able to spend a significant amount of time exploring my favorite childhood and teenage places of leisure, I couldn't help but feel disgusted. The playground equipment outside my elementary school and the park near my parents' old house had been replaced by puffy, plastic, multi-colored pieces of shit. A large fence blocked the entrance to the railroad bridge near the lake, over the Platte River. This bridge's graffiti alone is a 40-year history of small-town teenage life, a record of who loved who, which class ruled, who sucked, who died, and how much ass Led Zeppelin kicked. Someone painted the Swan Song logo there. I drank on this bridge, walked on this bridge, ran on top of and underneath this bridge, and hung on tightly while a train sped by above, globs of bird shit loosened by the train's weight falling all around me. This is now denied, in perpetuity, to every teenager growing up there. Nearby, at the lake, I wanted to collect my thoughts near the rope tied to the tree at Stoner Beach (supposedly given its nomenclature for being a pot-smoker's hangout, but I never saw anyone smoke dope there, and everyone hung out there anyway), which we would grab onto tightly, swing across the lake, and drop ourselves into the water. Some of us even tried the bicycle/rope combination. Unfortunately, I couldn't collect my thoughts because not only had the rope been cut down, but also the entire tree. These desecrations were committed in the name of safety. A bloodless coup organized by asshole kids' jerk-off parents and aided and abetted by lawyers, park rangers, school administrators, and, why not, let's blame them too, fundamentalist Christians. These jive turkeys want to tear down the house of fun because of some misguided crusade to keep children safe. But you can't keep children safe. Because children are idiots. And they're bored. And they have great imaginations.
Personal example: Sometime in the mid-1980s, in the backyard of my paternal grandparents' house, no playground equipment, railroad bridges, or ropes in sight. I remember a backyard full of kids. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were visiting from their then-home of Germany, so my cousin and brother were there for sure. Probably some other neighborhood kids, too. We ran out of things to do, so I went inside and grabbed some plastic glasses from the cupboard. I started filling them with dirt from my grandfather's garden and throwing them in the air. If you threw the glass just right, the dirt would fly out in mid-air and briefly cover everything. I think I was pretending they were bombs. My brother and cousin got in on it, too, and we were having a great old time throwing cups of dirt in the air. I packed one pretty tight and fired it into the air as high as I could manage. My sister picked just that moment to run outside. I remember her saying, "Hey you guys," and then gravity called. The dirt-packed glass came down directly on top of my sister's head, cutting a gash in her scalp. The blood started flowing, my sister started crying and screaming, and we all ran inside in terror. I remember my mother's calm acceptance of the situation. We could not surprise her. However, my aunt flipped the fuck out. I remember her yelling, "They WHAT? With DIRT? WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?" My sister calmed down after a while, and we were forbidden to take anything from the kitchen outside. She didn't even need stitches, but she had a pretty nice knot on her head. So, you can build as many fences as you want, but kids are still going to do stupid shit.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The travels of Dr. Mystery

Hello everyone! I have updated my Flickr account for only the second time since the Internet was invented. I spent this past week visiting friends in Madison, Wisconsin and documented my trip via the digital photographic medium of digital photography. Check it out here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

2 Sexy Bob

Remember when I got that angry anonymous comment a few months ago (I believe he/she called me a "fucking piece of shit") about a badly written post I wrote three years ago concerning Old Austin vs. New Austin? It happened again. A tossed-off comment I wrote in a post more than TWO YEARS AGO about how much local semi-celebrity/rock-twat Bob Schneider sucked has garnered an impassioned, anonymous response. I hope it's the same person. Here is he/she's comment:
"See Bob Live...then try and say he sucks. He is amazing. Only music snobs that have only gone as far as his mainstream records would say something like that. He is probably over your head."

My response (because I am insecure enough to respond to each and every criticism I get):
Dear anonymous friend,
Peace be with you. We all love and hate different things. Taste is a fickle mysterious omni-sexual bean dip created by our psyches, geographic locations, friends, relatives, fetishes, angers, joys, intellects, temperaments, digestive successes and failures, and our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. You like Bob Schneider. I don't. Both easy positions to take, depending on our peer groups and loosely defined subcultural affiliations. However, I don't understand why you jump to the conclusion that I know Bob Schneider from his albums and not from his live show(s). I've never heard a Bob Schneider album and hopefully never will. I've heard a handful of his recorded songs on the radio or on CD samplers from magazines. I have seen him live, however. The very first time I visited Austin, with my then-girlfriend, now-wife and her parents to find an apartment for us while she went to grad school and to dump a bunch of our belongings in her cousin's garage, I saw Bob Schneider live. My father-in-law, a blues fanatic, wanted to visit Antone's. We went. Bob Schneider was playing. First impressions can be misleading, but I found Mr. Schneider to be a preening, mediocre, ambitious yet artistically bankrupt, arrogant dickweed whose songs were boring, calculated, and bloodless. He was the sonic equivalent of his then-girlfriend Sandra Bullock's film career. Additionally, I am puzzled by your assertion that "only music snobs that have only gone as far as his mainstream records would say (that he sucks)." Music snobs stop short at mainstream records, never going further? Zuh? Also, to be considered "mainstream," one has to have some sort of mainstream success. Einsturzende Neubauten have had more mainstream success than Bob Schneider (discounting the Sandra Bullock relationship--we'll just stick to music here). As for your last comment, is he over my head? I don't know. I don't find his music or lyrics horribly complex, but that could be my problem. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. My warmest regards to you and yours, anonymous. I might be able to dig up some high school reports you can critique if you're interested, though you have at least two more years of my blog entries to wade through first. Let's meet up for backgammon soon. Kisses.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Expletive-free July is over, bitches

I almost made it through July without swearing on my blogs. I slipped up once and wrote "damn," but nobody called me on it, so I owe no one a taco. Let the swearing resume. Fuck yeah!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Buggin' out

About an hour ago, an enormous flying black-and-red-striped bug came from out of nowhere, flew toward my head, and landed on the computer. I ducked and ran out of the room, grabbed the flyswatter, and came back in to do battle. I was gone for two seconds, and the thing disappeared. I poked around for thirty minutes, trying to draw it out, but it seems to have exited as mysteriously as it entered. It looked like an exceedingly unfriendly, sting-happy kind of insect, and was the size of a Volvo or cruiserweight championship contender. I must remain on my guard all night in case it returns. I think I'll have some tequila with a couple squirts of Tabasco in it to sharpen my reflexes. Where is it?

(When I started writing this post, a tiny bug crawled out from under the keyboard and I smacked it with the flyswatter. At least I got to use it. It's always so unsatisfying when the flyswatter comes out and the bug goes away.)

UPDATE: At 1:33 a.m., I killed a large flying beetle. I think it was a different bug. This must be Insect Invasion Night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two words

It's Wrestling Post Saturday on Spacebeer and Can-Smashing Robot! Whoo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

All art is quite useless.
--Oscar Wilde

Friday, July 20, 2007

We didn't start the fire

Several months ago, I was interviewed for a city editor position at The Onion. I didn't get the job. My hideously brief five-minute interview in the lobby of a hotel and failure to receive a promised follow-up phone interview tipped me off that I had somehow failed to make a good impression. (Since I didn't get the chance to really make an impression at all, I've always wondered what I did wrong.) At the time, I was stuck in a depressingly horrible office job after a year of unemployment (from quitting a job that, though kind of a drag, was 140% better than the place I ended up), and my failure to get the Onion job made me feel hopeless and depressed. To make matters worse, the person who got the job was my arch-nemesis. I'll refrain from linking to his two worthless bands because that's what got me in trouble in the first place. You see, if this person were a Native American, his name would be Chief Googles Self. However, this period of depression and hopelessness led to my decision to go back to school, turn my English minor into a major, and get a teaching certificate. I am glad I didn't get that job I really, really wanted so, so badly. I will be much happier performing a task that is necessary, valuable, and potentially rewarding for myself and the community than I would be pretending to care about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ("You don't happen to be a David Byrne fan, by any chance?"). Even if I fail miserably at being a teacher, at least I won't be filling the world with more pointless babble.

To illustrate my point, here are two questions asked by Chief Googles Self, the man who is better than me, in his interview with rock hack Britt Daniel of Spoon in this week's A.V. Club.
"Are you incapable of making a bad album?"
"When you say, 'You got no fear of the underdog/That's why you will not survive,' are you the underdog, or are you the one in fear of the underdog?"

Quick, give this man a Pulitzer!

(This post brought to you by Small Petty Man, Inc. and the Lemons Into Lemonade Society.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Too many cooks

Remember when David Letterman was on NBC, and his band played with every single musical guest, no matter how incongruous? What was up with that? I haven't seen many Letterman shows since I was 18 or 19, but I think they stopped doing this.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I give up

I was about 1/58 of the way through a post, but wisely gave up when I realized the topic I picked was enormously huge and unfathomable and suitable only as the basis for a fifty-volume memoir. What kind of idiot tries to do that all at once on his fourth drink of the night the night before the last day at his job? Whoo!

One thing I do want to salvage from that post is the phrase "the thing I love about teenagers is the simultaneous openness to everything and complete lack of quality control." To illustrate this point, allow me to mention some bands from my record collection, circa then:

Miles Davis
Spin Doctors
Guided By Voices
Better Than Ezra
Counting Crows
Alice in Chains
The Replacements
24-7 Spyz

To cut myself some slack, I grew up in a town of 1,500 people four hours from the nearest city with no access to MTV. But I'm still baffled. How could I be so wrong, and yet so right? (By this I mean, how could I like all these other bands, when the only one worth a damn is Spin Doctors?)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Access: Wood

I was reading and drinking beer last night with the TV on for a multimedia thrill ride, and "Access Hollywood" came on. Tempted to turn it off when the top story was Eva Longoria's wedding, I somehow found the inner strength to continue. After all, if I "weathered an era in pop culture called Bennifer, and [I] weathered it with strength," I could certainly make it through this five-minute segment. I'm glad I did. I think the dullards at "Access Hollywood" were too dim to have deliberately orchestrated this stroke of genius, so, even more delightfully, it appears to have been unintentional: The woman they sent to interview Hugh Hefner was named Cynthia Woodcock.

Note: Since this is a woman's name, I am technically not breaking my no-swearing-in-July rule.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Men first feel the prick of necessity, then the attraction of utility: next they become aware of convenience, still later amuse themselves with pleasure, thence grow dissolute in luxury, and finally go mad and waste their substance.
-- Giambattista Vico

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Expletive-Free July

I've faced a hard truth. I swear too much on my blogs. My god, what would my grandmother think if she were ever to stumble across any of this? I lightly season my spoken words with the occasional profanity, and I haven't heavily peppered my speech with trash talk since I was 16, but I swear all the assfucking time on my blogs. So, for the month of July, all three of my blogs will be profanity-free. If any of you catch me in a swear this July, the first person to point this out to me will receive one free taco of their choice (maximum $5 value). Good luck, gang! To prepare for this momentous challenge, I will send June out in a blaze of titty-licking, cock-stroking glory! Here is a maximum-strength profanity blasteroo of pottymouthed keyboardery to work these swears, real and imagined, out of my system:

motherfucking titty-sucking two-balled bitch
for the love of Mike
jesus christ (name in vain version)
meat and two veg
rock critic
fucking asshole
goddammit why the fuck did you do that
dirty sanchez
mother of all beershits
meat and two veg fucker
the ol' one-two-buckle-my-shoe
white reggae
a film by Kevin Smith
Pennsylvania mustache
damned dirty ape
the Dartmouth Powderball
"the county line"
giving them a root
The Gentleman of Independent Means
cherry pie
The Blueberry Shuffle
"meeting adjourned"
circle jerk
the inimitable Fran Drescher
fucky fuck fuck
the gigolo's lonely weekend
the Albuquerque handshake

See you fuckers for the filthiest August yet. Get fucked and die until then, ass-faced blowjob-craving dickweeds! And mention my blog to your young children and elderly parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as your favorite clergyman. July will be family-friendly!

Friday, June 22, 2007


I see that some creepo is already selling hipster t-shirts with an image of the dramatic chipmunk on it. Why can't we just enjoy things?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The best thing I've ever seen

(click on image to watch, make sure your sound is on)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This couch got boned

This just got brought to my attention, and it couldn't wait until morning even though I have an apartment full of people drinking booze.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I put in my notice at work yesterday. As of July 13, 2007, a new adventure begins. Unemployment Dr. Mystery returns, followed closely by Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School" Dr. Mystery. Then what? Teacher Dr. Mystery? This Didn't Work Either Dr. Mystery? Stay in School Forever Dr. Mystery? Fuck It All Thunderbird Wine Iron Maiden Dr. Mystery? Also, please refer to me from July 14 until I get part-time work or school starts as Dr. Leisure.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Circus hyenas

When these photos first hit the web and the magazines, it was reported that Nigerian debt collectors kept hyenas and baboons as pets/collection agents. No money? Guess what? A baboon will rip your balls off or a hyena will chew your balls off. Or a hyena and a baboon will combine forces to pummel your balls off. As exciting and frightening as this story may be, it is not true. These guys are actually a traveling circus troupe who have trained hyenas and baboons to do tricks. Still pretty amazing even though no one is losing any testicles. Why am I posting about this? I don't know. I just haven't posted in a while and these pictures are pretty sweet.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Someone vented some spleen at me

After four years writing this goofy blog, "the home of the bizarre rant" according to KFART radio's "Crazy" Doug Bonercock, I finally got my first hate comment. Someone really, really hates me. The odd thing is, they just left the comment this morning for a post I wrote two years ago that is pretty mild. I'm not going to link to the old post because I find it embarrassingly badly written (my post, not his/her hate-filled comment, which I find beautiful), but it was spurred by seeing parts of "Viva Les Amis," a documentary about a beloved Austin institution that closed down and was replaced by a Starbucks. Everyone in the documentary went on and on about how Austin was great in 1990 and how much it sucks now. My post was about how tired I was of hearing certain people in Austin constantly pine for the good ol' days, talk about how everything was so much better then, remain stuck in the nostalgic rose-tinted inaccurate past while being a bitter whiner about the present. Things change, youth fades, grow up, stop whining, the Alamo Drafthouse theaters weren't here 12 years ago and they're pretty great, etc., you get the gist of it. Not one of my better posts, but it angered someone so much he/she left me this comment:

"Please return yourself and everyone you know back to wherever you came. You suck you fucking douchebag."

Nice. I am confused about one thing, though. On returning myself and everyone I know back to wherever I came. I came to Austin, so I can't really return to it. That's kind of a "back to the future" dilemma, isn't it? I assume you mean "came from," but come on man or lady, if you're going to hate with power, you also have to hate with accuracy. I look forward to continuing our discussion over waffles sometime in the future, anonymous pussy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back to School

I'm in, officially. I'm going back to school in late August. I may be teaching your children someday. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Monday, April 23, 2007

I haven't posted in a long time...

...and I still have nothing to say.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Crustville, episode four

Read episode three here

Frank walks into the bar and sits down next to Bertie. Bertie hacks out a wheezy, longtime smoker’s laugh and offers no greeting.
“You still get any noise out of your bass?” Bertie asks as if they’d been in the middle of a conversation, though the two men haven’t spoken in months.
“A little,” Frank says.
“Bring it by the practice space sometime, if you’d like.”
“I’d actually been thinking about doing that. Tony tells me you got a downsized kid with a prosthetic right side playing keyboards.”
“Yup. He actually can’t play worth shit, but you can’t argue with a robotic claw when it comes to stage presence.”
“I bet that sets the yo factor on blast.”
“And even a blind chicken gets a kernel once in a while.”
“You got that right,” Frank says. “What are you doing drinking alone in this shithole on a Monday night?”
Bertie reveals a quick flash of annoyance but hides it with a grin. He’s up to something, Frank thinks, and he can’t decide whether to let me in on it.
“Waiting for Ronnie,” Bertie says. “He should be along soon. I hope.”
“What are you guys up to tonight?” Frank asks, hoping for some hint.
“Plans and schemes,” Bertie says, grinning and concealing. “Let me buy you a whiskey.”
Frank is about to answer in the affirmative when a blow to the center of his back knocks some breath out of him and almost upends his stool. His eyes water from the pain, and he looks up to see the large, meaty hands of Ronnie digging into his shoulder. The large man’s face is the color of a Roma tomato. He laughs heartily and wraps his arms around Frank and Bertie.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight, Frank,” he says. “What’s new and exciting, chief of staff?”
Frank rasps out his greetings, still trying to catch his breath.
“Where the hell you been, Ronnie?” Bertie asks, irritated yet curiously anticipating Ronnie’s excuse.
“You would not believe this shit,” Ronnie says, pulling a stool out from the bar and forming a triangle with Bertie’s and Frank’s stools. “I was getting my afternoon drunk on, to be ready for my evening drunk, and I had to take a piss. So I go to the bathroom, and I start to take a piss. And I look down, and I watch myself pissing for a few seconds, and I get kind of a funny idea. I think how hilarious it would be if I karate-chopped my urine stream. So I did it. I brought my hand down and I karate-chopped my urine stream. It was hilarious, man. Comedy gold. Of course, I ended up getting piss all over my hand. I didn’t think that part through. So I walk over to the sink, and I turn on the faucet, and nothing. There is no running water. Apparently, a water main broke on my block, and they picked right that moment to fix it. They just shut the water off like seconds after I karate-chopped my piss, so I have urine all over my hand and no way to wash it off. Only in America, am I right? So I zip up and button my pants with the hand I didn’t piss on, which is my left hand. That took about ten minutes. It’s not so easy to button your pants with one hand. I mean, don’t even ask me how I did it. At this point, the urine has dried on my hand, but I still really want to wash the hand, so I just start walking down the street until I get to a convenience store. I decide I’m going to wash my hand in the bathroom in there. This is about six blocks past my house, so they have their running water. I asked them. I made sure before I went in there. I didn’t want to get burned again. Here’s where it gets ridiculous, though. Just as I’m about to walk over to the bathroom, I run into my old friend Phil, and he reaches his hand out to SHAKE MY HAND! The hand that is covered in urine. I couldn’t do that to him, man. Phil’s a good guy. He fed my dog when I went to Lower East Crustville for a week last year. But I didn’t know what to tell the guy. I couldn’t think of some excuse to get me out of shaking hands with him. I can think of at least ten now, but my mind was drawing a blank at that moment. So I just turned around and started running. I ran all the way back home, and thankfully, the water was back on. But what the hell am I going to tell Phil now?”
“What the fuck?” Bertie says. “What did you just tell us?”
Through his intense laughter, Frank notices a sea change in Ronnie’s face. He glares at a tall, thin man with a white scar running from the left side of his nose to his bottom lip. His hands curl into fists and he narrows his eyes.
“I can’t believe this asshole shows his face in here,” he says and walks in the man’s direction.
“Uh-oh,” Bertie says. “I might need your help here, Frank. The two of us might be able to hold him back.”
“Wha?” Frank says, confused.
“Hey, child-beater,” Ronnie snarls at the man. “Beat your kids today?”
The man smiles at Ronnie and rubs his scar in an almost sexually threatening way.
“As a matter of fact, I did,” he says. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Let’s see how you like fighting a grown man, child-beater,” Ronnie says, jutting his chest forward and bumping it into the scarred man’s chest.
“This is getting tiresome,” the man says. “Beat your kids a couple times and everybody calls you a child-beater. I’m also a Seventh Day Adventist. Nobody ever mentions that.”
“Talking time is over,” Ronnie shouts. “Smashing time is now!”
Ronnie lunges for the man, and Frank and Bertie lunge for Ronnie. They are able to hold his arms back, and the scarred man leaves.
“Calm down,” Bertie says. “Save it for Devendra.”
“Okay,” Ronnie says, breathing heavily. “You’re right.”
“Wait, what?” Frank says. “Save it for Devendra?”
Ronnie and Bertie look at each other conspiratorially, then sheepishly.
“Should we tell him?” Bertie asks.
“Might as well,” Ronnie says.
“Tell me what?” Frank asks.
“You want to tell it?” Ronnie asks Bertie.
“OK.” Bertie says. “Frank, I found out some disturbing news yesterday through the friend of a friend. It seems Devendra Banhart has discovered, or more likely been tipped off about, the location and existence of Crustville. He has plans to make a compilation album of the so-called Crustville ‘freak folk’ scene and sell it aboveground. They’re going to find out about us up there, and our way of life is going to be over. Reliable sources indicate that he’s entering Crustville at midnight tomorrow night, and we’re going to be waiting. With lead pipes. We’re going to beat the fuck out of him. You in?”
“I’m in,” Frank says, and smiles. “The boys are back in town.”

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Caption contest postponed

We have a problem with our CD burner, defective discs, or glitches in the handful of CD burning programs we've downloaded, or some combination of all three, so I'm going to postpone the contest until we can figure it out. But the contest shall return, hopefully next month.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Did you know that former astronaut Alan Bean was also a painter? This is one of his paintings, called (I shit you not) "America's Team: We're #1":

Here's another one, "Lunar High Five":

Seriously, though, astronauts are badasses.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New blog

Hey everybody. I have yet another blog, this one devoted exclusively to my foolish attempt to watch all 101 horror films in the book "Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen." The blog is called Decapitated Zombie Vampire Bloodbath. Check it out at, if you dare. This is not an April Fool's joke.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Get Squiered

I think this video speaks for itself, but I do want to mention a couple of things. When I was a kid, this video was always on TBS's "Night Tracks," a Friday and Saturday night all-night music video show that I watched every week, filling the hole in my MTV-less, small-town cable world. Anyone out there ever watch "Night Tracks"? It was on cable, but nearly everyone I've ever asked has never heard of the show. Anyway, when I was a little boy, I thought everything was filmed on location. (Don't know where I thought "Star Wars" was filmed.) I'd heard the term "movie studio," but never paid any attention to what it meant. When I found out that many movies, TV shows, music videos, etc. were often filmed on fake replicas of towns, houses, streets, etc., my mind was blown. It seemed so weird and fantastical to me. So, when I was exposed to this Billy Squier video, I assumed it was filmed in Squier's apartment. I remember thinking how I'd like an apartment just like it, on the top of a skyscraper in a huge city. Good thing I was paying more attention to what I thought was a perfectly desirable home for a future grown man such as myself than to Mr. Squier's dance moves. Say what you will of Squier's dance routine, a repertoire I've dubbed The Closeted Kangaroo, but you've gotta admit he is not lacking in self-confidence.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I have been remiss in my duties as a blogger

I haven't posted in a long time. To remedy this, here is a picture of some clowns. Also, go see The Host. It's good.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Caption contest winner

I tried to post this hours ago, but the site was down. Anyway, thank you to all the contestants. The winter cap has spoken. This month's winner is AM. Congratulations, AM!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hall of Fame/Hall of Shame

Good and bad album covers from the Dr. Mystery music library

Hall of Shame #4
Silkworm - Italian Platinum
I love this band to pieces, but for this particular album's cover, they decided "fuck it, we're not doing one this year."

Hall of Fame #4a
Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley

#4b The Clash - London Calling

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hall of Fame/Hall of Shame

Good and bad album covers from the Dr. Mystery music library

Hall of Shame #3
Prince - Diamonds & Pearls
Never put a hologram on the cover.

Hall of Fame #3
Melvins - Colossus of Destiny

Monday, March 05, 2007

Talkin' Bear Mountain Saddle Creek Picnic Massacre Blues

March caption contest

Here is the photo for this month's caption contest. Click here for the rules. I also wanted to offer some words of encouragement from Randy Newman. I unwittingly set off a firestorm of Newman debate when I picked one of his album covers for my Hall of Fame. Regardless of his worth, the post was about the album covers, not the music contained therein. But keep it up anyway. I enjoyed it. Good luck, contest entrants.

"I will carry her across the threshold
I will make dim the light
I will attempt to spend my love within her
But though I try with all my might
She will laugh at my Mighty Sword
She will laugh at my Mighty Sword
Why must everybody laugh at my Mighty Sword?"
--Randy Newman, "A Wedding in Cherokee County"

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hall of Fame/Hall of Shame

Good and bad album covers from the Dr. Mystery music library

Hall of Shame #2: The Police - "Zenyatta Mondatta"
The Police were too busy rocking to come up with decent album covers (or album titles). Gaze into the shitty pyramid as Sting contemplates his future as a humorless twat. Andy Summers meets your gaze head-on, daring you to challenge the art direction and design of Michael Ross and Simon Ryan (I did not have this memorized. I looked at the liner notes. Please believe me.) Stewart Copeland, badass that he is, looks away, thinking only of the kickass drumming he will throw down later that afternoon.

Hall of Fame #2: Randy Newman - "Good Old Boys"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rack and roll

Remember when I punched the wall, causing a painting to fall and destroy our thermostat? The hijinks continued last week. I'm turning into a walking pratfall. Last Wednesday, I was bringing my fist down on my leg to emphasize a point about an "American Idol" contestant's shitty singing voice but I missed my aim and racked myself hard in the right testicle. On Saturday, I thought a water bottle I'd been drinking was empty and flipped it in the air and caught it. It still had a little water in it, and my glasses and face got drenched.

Texas A&M's press has I think cornered the market on boredom with an upcoming book I have been unlucky to proofread. The whole book is about twine! Twine, goddamnit! I proofread the index today, and while I think it notable that a scholarly tome was written about twine, it is even more notable that the index has entries for both Michel Foucault and "Weird" Al Yankovic.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Weekly Feature: Good and Bad Album Covers of the Week

Each Thursday, I am going to reach into the Dr. Mystery CD, cassette, and record collection and inaugurate one album cover into the Hall of Fame and one in the Hall of Shame. Sometimes I will explain my reasoning, sometimes I may have nothing to say. The music will not be judged and is irrelevant to my purposes here. These are all albums from my stash, so it's safe to assume that I like at least three songs on them.

Hall of Shame #1
Frank Black and the Catholics - Devil's Workshop
Frank Black has written many fine songs, both solo and as a member of the Pixies, but his album covers have grown increasingly shitty. This cover always makes me laugh. It is half-ass to the extreme! Welcome to the Hall of Shame, Frank.

Hall of Fame #1
Guided By Voices - Mag Earwhig!