Monday, December 1, 2008

Tonight I got stoned and took pictures of the Christmas tree. Here are the results, with my internal dialogue as the shoot progressed:

"Using flash is for pussies. This looks way much cooler. I actually prefer it blurred. Let me just balance this camera on the back of a chair in the middle of the room..."

"Wow. That looks cool. That looks like a book cover. I should write a book. What should it be about? Something related to Christmas, if I'm gonna use this picture I guess. Maybe some kind of family drama that comes to a head around Christmas. That's kind of limiting - maybe this isn't the cover for my book afterall. Lemme think about this later."

"If that first one was out of focus, this one was definitely good, I'm pretty sure. I wonder what a publisher would say if I actually tried submitting this as the cover for my book. Am I really taking pictures of the Christmas tree?"

"Offset - is this cool? I can't tell. This could be the cover for Spoon's Christmas album. I heard that guy was a cocksucker."

"This is like jeweled tree guts. I don't even know what I'm looking at! I left a Mama Celeste pizza in the freezer, right? Or did I eat that?, it's still in there. I ate the Zesty Four Cheese but there's an Original in there too. Or do I want some Cookie Crisp? My legs feel awesome."

"Even deeper into the tree. (What am I saying?) This would make an awesome desktop image. I better go with the Cookie Crisp. It's like 2 in the morning and I don't want to go bed with the Mama Celeste aftertaste in my mouth. Bagel Bites would be a different story. I wonder if anyone's died in this house."

"Wait - that looks kinda cool, all blurry and shit. Blurs are a picture of motion. Does that make sense?"

"I wish I had a sweater with color triangles all over it like this. A dark red one would be nice. Do I know anyone that can make one for me? I wonder what the going rate is on handmade sweaters these days? Wow I'm not even trying to fuck these pictures up."

"These look like Pac Mans...Pac Men...whatever. I'm getting tired of taking pictures. I wanna get into some shit. I wish there was somebody here who would bet me $500 that he could beat me in Super Tecmo Bowl, because I could use that money. Is it too late to start watching Fargo? Ahh fuck..."

"Wait - the living room looks awesome."

Friday, November 28, 2008

The tour is over! Long live the tour! My word on this tour was "horsehockey," as in "I am not putting up with this - take your horsehockey elsewhere." It never really caught on. What was a success, however, was when I started singing one of Murder by Death's songs that went "Women and gin/women and gin/both go together like the devil and sin" as "Women and kids/women and kids/what are we gonna do with all these women and kids?" (Or, alternately ending it with "get in that boat you women and kids!") It was our personal, interband joke until Billy and Zach got drunk and told them all about. Good thing they liked it too, and for the last week of tour we screamed out "Women and Kids!" between every song. Everytime it got to that line in the song, Adam would start to smile because he said he was trying not to fuck it up after we put it in his head. GAMES PEOPLE PLAY!

Speaking of which - Wizard Staff. Much has made about this, and a couple of our friends already played a round of this before we even got home. I covered the basic rules below, and here's an idea of what it looks like.

Here's a good example of Dagan, Murder by Death's drummer, standing next to his impressive staff. This is probably Level 13 or 14. (He made it to Level 17...and he's 5'8") Building the staff provides an incredible feeling of accomplishment, but the real fun is trying to drink out of it.

This is Level 14 Bilbo. After awhile, unless you're a good taper like Billy, you need someone to help you drink, or you have to stand on something.

Or you get entirely triumphant about it and just swill like a God.

Here's Zach, Zalamia and Billy with their completed staffs near the end of the night. (You can tell by Billy's face.) All three reached Level 14 before the party petered out, and all three claimed they could have gone awhile further. (I don't doubt this.) Rod and I made it to Level 7 and there's some absolutely pathetic footage of me trying to shotgun a beer. Dagan finished as the Grand Wizard and everyone had a serious case of the D.A.D.S. in a Dunkin' Donuts bathroom the next day.

With that said, I leave you with four things:

1) The new Beyonce song, "All the Single Ladies," has literally blown my fucking mind. I am in love with this song - it's the most creative shit I've heard in ages. The production is fantastically weird for a Top 40 track, with a rhythm track built around the clicks of a camera shutter and that really awesome droning keyboard swell on the choruses. (The way the bridge snaps back into the chorus at the end is pretty rad too.) And goddamn can they dance their asses off. And Big Ups Hova for locking that shit down...

2) "Couch Racing Accident." (Don't worry - everyone survived.) You really ought to watch this three times in a row, focusing on a different one of the riders on each viewing. I recommend starting with the guy on the far right and trying to count how many flips he does. Or try and estimate what continent his shoe landed on when it flies off his foot at :43.

3) Best four seconds you'll spend this minute.

4) Instead of doing all this blogging, I really ought to be prepping for the Gettysburg Tour Guide test that I signed up for this Saturday. I took it once before, when I was 17, and missed the first cut by a couple of questions. This is more a personal challenge that any sort of potential employment since I'm probably not going to want to spend most of my summer in Gettysburg; plus, out of 300 people registered to take the test, they're only allowing the top 20 scorers to move on in the process. But also let this put to rest any doubts that I am a gigantic fucking nerd.

(And on a side note, I would love to find time to write about the three years I did Civil War Re-enacting in high school. Some of it is as insane as you might imagine.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Albany, NY - We're in a Rodeway Motel tonight, about to begin a massive "Last Day Off of Tour" bash with Murder by Death that features a drinking competition known as "Wizard Staff," which they've been explaining to us over the last week. In the game, each beer can you finish gets duct taped to the bottom of the beer you're currently drinking, so that after an hour or three, everyone's walking around with tall aluminum pikes of Miller Lite cans...and shit just gets ridiculous. No one can piss before they become a Level 3 wizard, and the first to Level 10 gets to make a rule that everyone has to follow for the rest of the game. (The second player to Level 10 has to fight the first player.) Level 15 brings invisibility and I believe Level 20 makes you immortal. I'm still shaking a cold so I'm probably just on documentation duty tonight, unfortunately.

We've got six shows left, and even just typing that pains me. This has been the most fun month of my life for sure and trying to go back to everyday Baltimore is going to be like the feeling ten seconds after you get hit in the nuts, drawn out for weeks. I'll be curled in the fetal position in the bathtub if anyone needs me...

With that said, this past week has been the oddest leg of the tour. We played Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on Tuesday, and even though the show sold out over a week beforehand, the crowd was completely lifeless, even for Murder by Death. They were the least pumped 200 people in New Jersey to be at that show. We felt pretty bad after our set until we watched MbD and the crowd didn't even call out for an encore at the end. (Which they didn't play.) No one could figure it out, but we were all a little peeved by it. Nonetheless, we got a banging free meal out of it and stayed that night with one of the founders of Eyeball Records, which put out the first two My Chemical Romance and Thursday albums (along with MbD's first two albums).

Southpaw in Brooklyn was solid on Thursday with 250 or so paid, and we all got multi-track recordings of our sets, which was especially awesome because we all felt like we played the best set of tour that night. We haven't heard it yet but parts of it might end up on a 10" EP we have coming out in January/February.

We played 10 Pearl Street in Northhampton, MA on Thursday and it was decent, despite a cold, miserable rain that kept all but 70 or 80 folks away. We stayed in an old gabled house with a chick who kicked my ass RBI Baseball.

Burlington, VT on Friday was a fantastic surprise. None of us knew what to expect, though we knew it was going to smell like patchouli. The club - Higher Grounds - spared no expense for us, giving each band it's own dressing room with balconies that overlooked the room we were playing, multiple cases of beer and our hospitality coordinator in case we needed anything else. After load-in, we splurged on some local cheese and wine for the dressing room, then went downtown to check out the scene. I was pretty awed by what we found - it was definitely hippy-ish, but the town reflected the better parts of that stereotype. Everyone we met was really nice and laid-back, and homeless-looking college kids played guitars all over the Christmas-light-bedecked main street (which was closed off to traffic). The whole town sits right on the shores of Lake Champlain and when you're coming toward downtown from the east, it looks like you're going to drive right into as it looms huge and sparkling beyond the city lights. The end result was like Hippy Summercamp that never ends. After soundcheck, the club rolled out an amazing dinner spread, including a Salisbury-steakish veggie loaf and pumpkin cheesecake. We didn't play a particularly inspiring set - perhaps due to a bit much wine and cheese intake before showtime - but I didn't get the feeling much of the crowd was up for being rocked that night. We sold a miserable $31 of merch. Ups and downs.

We got up early yesterday to get to Boston in time to do some sightseeing. After scuttling around aimlessly for an hour, we found Boston Common and hopped out into a slight drizzle and driving wind. Zach and I found The Freedom Trail and followed it as far south as Fanueil Hall before the skies finally cracked wide open and the rains poured down...30 minutes before load-in. We trudged 20-some blocks back to the van and found Billy and Rod equally drenched and equally miserable. The show that night was at Cafe 939 on the campus of the Berklee College of Music, and we found out upon loading in that the show was sold-out and we only had 2 guest lists spots, after we already had 7 people en route to the show with the promise that they'd be allowed in free. (And tickets had gone up to $15 since it was the day of the show. And, as the ultimate kicker, it was a dry show.) Making matters even weirder was the fact that the entire staff was students - being talked down to by a 19-year-old soundman is a harsh lesson in humility. At least the crowd seemed to dig the shit out of it and we sold a bunch of CDs and I got the most fantastic roasted vegetable panini out of it. We drove down to the Rhode Island coast that night to stay with a friend of Rod's and wound up staying in a Hogwarts-looking boarding school where the friend teaches art composition. In the morning, we found surfers riding the waves on the Atlantic shore in 40-degree weather.

Six more shows, beginning with Buffalo tomorrow. We're going to Niagra Falls on Tuesday before heading to Pittsburgh, then Columbus, OH; Chicago; Ann Arbor, MI; and Cleveland before finally making it back home this time next week. Better go enjoy it while it lasts!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I don't have much time for posting, but I have much to say. Some other time, when I'm not typing ontop of our merch display at a club called "Steppin' Out" in Virginia Beach, which houses the guts of a once-operation mechanical bull in the dressing room and serves the worst crab cake on the planet. We've had much fun, seen some pretty awesome shit, played some of the best shows of our lives and learned a ton about being in a functional, semi-professional band. I'm just looking forward to being back in my own bed for three nights this weekend and having a total fucking blow-out at the Ottobar on Saturday - already 150 presale tickets and they're expecting that to double before doors open. Plus, we got bumped up to main support for that show so we're going on at 11pm instead of 10pm. The Omnipotent Being in The Sky Who May or May Not Be Real just did me solid...first one on 6,000 years!

And...William Elliott Whitmore is a force of nature. I dread following him this Saturday after watching him and his banjo blow the two rock bands off the stage for the last two weeks. One of the coolest things I ever saw was him on stage in Orlando, rocked back on his stool, stomping the wooden stage beneath him, eyes closed, pulling his voice from somewhere within him that I swear I can't find an equivalent of in myself. He's the real deal - authentic as fuck. Please come early to check him out if you're coming out...

Bobby Bare, Jr.'s "From the End of Your Leash" and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You)" have been my tour jams.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Firstly - this might end the election contest right here.

This is historically bad. I never thought it possible, but Sarah Palin is even worse than advertised - she knows literally nothing about anything. Within thirty seconds, Katie Couric is so pissed off at being asked to treat this complete dumbass as though she might possibly be fit for the office of Vice President that she let's the claws come out a little bit ("I'm just gonna ask you one more time..." with a dirty, dirty stare). Poor Palin can't even muster competent-sounding smooth-talk; instead, she just repeats badly rehearsed versions of whatever her handlers told her to say 30 minutes prior, with all the prepositions removed. If you listen really close during her pauses, you can hear the gears turning: "Think Sarah - think! What were you told to say?" The Biden-Palin debate is going to be the last three minutes of Commando brutal.

With that said, this might actually be my favorite news story, and certainly my favorite picture, of the year. I love it - McCain's people are setting up all these photo-ops to make people believe Palin could actually carry on a conversation with a world leader, and all the Pakistanis can do is stare at her tits. Maybe they're not seeing something we don't...not see? The shit-eating grin on Zardari's face is priceless - if he gets any happier, there's gonna be a stain on the rug.

Anyway, I think the world has spoken - Sarah Palin is a joke.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tour Notes #3

We're waking up in my new favorite city on Earth - Chicago. I'd never been here before our first tour last summer but now - on our fourth time through - I'm completely, totally enamored. We stayed with our manager yesterday and got the full treatment - we went swimming in Lake Michigan (unbelievably clear and warm, yet kind of unsettling for it's total lack of salinity - coming from the Coast, that shit seems weird); got high and rode longboards around the neighborhood at 11 at night; darted across town to catch the encore of Delta Spirit's show at Schuba's (spectacular...maybe the best band in America at this point); ducked into an authentic late-night jazz club where a blind organ player was absolutely destroying it (we were told at the door to keep it down while the band played); and then got maybe the best enchiladas I've had in my life at 2am. All we needed was to eat deep-dish until we shit ourselves at a Cub's game and the quest would have been complete. As much as I hate winter, I would buy a big-ass coat and move here in a heartbeat.

Just heard Billy cut himself on some glass on the beach and might need stitches...and we have to be in Rock Island, IL - 3 hours west of here - by 4pm. This comes after him breaking a rib on The Hurler at King's Dominion the day before we left for tour. He is a walking disaster.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tour Notes #2 (Nobody has was Tate has -NO SIR! - Nobody has was Tate has.)

Dateline - August 30th, 1:29 p.m., somewhere outside Louisville, KY

I'm lying in the bed of a man named Donald McDonald (for real). His daughter let us stay here while he's out of town and Zalamia and I - after marveling at the crucifixes everywhere and then discovering his sizeable VHS porn collection - stumbled across a magazine with his name on the mailing label. Sometimes life throws you a comedy bone.

Tour is picking up speed. I routed this one is a big counter-clockwise circle so that we'd hit our less solid markets (the Northeast and Midwest) early on, and then make our way down to our Southern wheelhouse. Thus far, it's looking a great idea. Chicago on Monday was good, although due to a fuck-up by the club booking agent, we went on an hour before he told us we'd go on and all the press our PR guy brought out to the show missed our set. But the crowd loved it and we got some banging-ass free vegetarian chili mac out of the deal. Then we played Columbus, OH on Tuesday to a mess of 17-year-old emo Christians who weren't much game for what we were selling, but the locals - Wing and Tusk - kicked major ass. Very Pedro the Lion-ish but much more fun...check 'em out of if you can find 'em.

But Thursday and last night were where things finally ramped up. We played a dive bar in Lexington, KY called Al's, after city planners saw fit to demolish our all-time favorite club (The Dame) last month to make room for a monster convention hotel. We crammed 90-some people into a Talking Head-sized club and things were crazed all night long...Zach played without his shirt on, Rod collapsed at the piano and had to be helped up, the crowd turned "Go Malachi" into a massive sing-along, and we closed with "Baby Jesus" for the first time in about a year. At this point, it's almost impossible for us to tell one show apart from another aside from crowd reaction, and this felt totally triumphant.

Last night was Louisville and a mess of people made the hour-long drive over from Lexington. Things played out like a slightly less-wild version of the night before, but the crowd was awesome and we got to do an encore again. Then we came back here and ate moonshine cherries and drank aged bourbon til 6:30 a.m. (Everyone's in remakable shape this morning, given those circumstances.)

Tonight we've got Cincinnati, and that'll be the last show with Junior Revolution, who have been with us since Tuesday. It should be pretty bangin' and I'm hoping the hot sauce salesman we met at our Cincy show in May comes out and hits me up with another free bottle. Then we've head back to Chicago to do a live taping for on Monday, and then finally return to our ancestral homeland in Fayettevile, AR on Wednesday and then spend the remaining two weeks criss-crossing the South. I got a chubby just typing that.

I probably can't do this story justice without the video that I shot, but we got to hang out at Bam Margera's place in West Chester, PA last Sunday. We stayed with Ryan Dunn after our show in Philly the night before and Bam came out to lunch with us the next day and invited us back to his place to see his collection of murals painted when his art director lived him. One features a zombie Reagan that says "Fuck Reagan - He's a Fuck Ass"; another has Lance Bass in an astronaut outfit with a rainbow over him as a space shuttle leaves him behind; a third has a bald Brittany Spears swinging an umbrella at the viewer while Osama Bin Laden peels out on her in a dune buggy; while the last has Osama in a Sixer's uniform spinning a basketball on his finger. And his driveway is a gigantic rainbow. And he has two skateparks. And he and Dunn are both cat people.

Alright...time for breakfast.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tour notes #1

We're on a brief pit stop in Baltimore on our three-week tour that started on Thursday, when we played Mercury Lounge in NYC. I found out the day before that we were playing the same night as Jennifer O'Connor, who's drummer is a friend of mine from Boston. Then they had John Agnello fill in backing vocals for a song, which almost floored me, since Agnello recorded more albums in my Top 20 than anyone not named George Martin or Brian Wilson. (Namely, the self-entitled Jawbox album and Shudder to Think's "50,000 B.C.", along with Girls Against Boys' "House of GVSB" which made a nice run with me in the he's recorded the Lemonheads, the Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr., etc. etc.) I didn't have the nerve to chat him up afterwards but I watched him from afar, picturing him and Zach Barocas building that weird-ass drum sound that starts "Livid." (And somehow not getting a boner.) Then the next day in Brooklyn we saw the bearded black dude from TV On The Radio, and the guitarist from The Mars Volta (separately). NEW YAWK!

I always mean to write this shit down for when Random House comes calling after we make it to the MTV Beach House and Zach manages to set himself on fire on the hibachi or something, but - until I get a better title - here's my first Nugget of Road Wisdom:

1) Celebrate the Small Victories - Yesterday our air mattress pump died around 3:30 a.m., just about the time when everyone was ready to lay down and die after a long day dealing with New York. So instead of shut-eye, we slept on hardwood floors and everyone was tired and sore all day long...a real kick in the fucking knickers. To make matters worse, we found upon leaving the city that the mechanic who replaced our shocks last month didn't properly hook the driver's side one up so it's been flopping and banging in our wheel well to the point that it looks like it needs to be replaced again. (There is a special place in hell for you, sir.)

So last night, after loading in at the club in Asbury Park (and finding out we were opening for a band called Jazz Pollution), we hustled to Target before they closed to buy a new pump and found that they were sold out of everything but the battery-operated kind, which never completely fill the mattresses. In a moment of sheer panic and frustration that can only come from three-and-a-half hours of fitful sleep, I asked a guy restocking shelves if they had any more of the plug-in kind in stock. Expecting Baltimore-style customer service, I was fully prepared to be told to fuck off; instead he walked five whole aisles over, scanned the item number into his handheld device, gave a seriously dramatic pause and said "Lemme grab some out of the back." I literally walked through the sporting goods section punching the air...I think I even spiked a football. Twenty minutes later, we had a new pump, a new outlook on life, and we even made it to Baja Fresh ten minutes before they closed.

Last night was a good night.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

When I think back on it, what upset me most about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair wasn't so much the gross abuse of elected power, or the obstruction of justice that followed, but that the most powerful man in the world settled for that. I mean, it's not like he admitted to finger-banging Rosie O'Donnell in a Shoney's bathroom (at least publicly), but the Kennedy's passed around Marilyn Monroe - the least he could have done was get caught getting an H.J. from Jenny McCarthy.

John Edwards, same thing. Sure, in a few photos his mistress looks comely (editor's note: Am I Henry James?), but you're trying to tell me Kim Catrall or Jennifer Love Hewitt haven't been waiting by their phones for this very scenario for years? STEP IT UP! You've got the "world's most powerful aphrodesiac" as Kissinger so memorably put it, and your career is careening over the cliff because of a run-of-the-mill MILF? I don't get it.

Take note of Nicolas Sarkozy. The French President gets dumped by his wife for a billionaire financier, and what does he do? Go down to Rite Aid and try to take home the pharmacy tech? Check the Craigslist personals? Nope. He picks up Carla Bruni and calls it a career. THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

God Bless Barney Frank
I know literally nothing about home finance. I suspect most people don't - that's why we pay people to understand it for us. This whole housing crises, from the little I've read, seems to stem from a wave of lenders who created a devious new brand of mortgage that had such low monthly payments that the principle was never actually paid down. Then the rug started coming undone and it's taken the whole economy with it. Fill in the blanks.

But at the same time, there's something to be said for common sense. If I were a single parent of three children whose main income came from running a home day care center, I would probably be a little suspicious if someone told me I could afford to buy a $545,000 house. That's more than half a million dollars - rudimentary math should probably tell you something is fishy. But now she's waiting to be evicted and, of course, it's entirely someone else's fault.

When the true story of this comes out, I'm sure predatory lending will be the main culprit. But how did so many people allow themselves to get THIS hoodwinked?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That last blog was boring. Here's something to get your pulse pounding a little.

Both William "Billy" Kristol and Daniel Pipes have said in recent days that there's a significant chance that Bush would want to bomb Iran should Obama win the presidency in November. (If McCain wins, both speculate that he'd be willing to punt.) Coming from anyone else this would be groundless speculation; but when it comes from two members of the same neocon elite that dreamed up the current Iraq War - and the remaking of the Middle East for which this is only the first stanza - it carries an ominous ring. If both of these guys are saying this independently, you can bet this is already sitting on Cheney's desk.

And before you think that no one is stupid enough to think this is a good idea, ummmmm....

Monday, July 14, 2008

I've been cooking a ton lately, spurred on by my belated discovery of Cook's Illustrated (home of "America's Test Kitchen"). Each recipe contains a tale of some peculiarity of the dish in question that the cook(s) felt needed to be corrected, followed by a fairly detailed discussion of the chemistry involved in tackling that problem. (Like why you should sprinkle broccoli with a small amount of sugar before you roast it, or why you should run potatoes through a ricer rather than straight-up mashing them bitches.) Then, their small army of cooks literally try out hundreds of variations before settling on one "best" recipe that pretty much always kicks ass. It's been awesome because I like cooking much more knowing the science behind parts of it, and I like knowing these recipes have been tested and tried won't be a waste of my time. I'm lazy! Some favorites thus far include black bean and corn quesadillas, a cheese omelet with mushrooms and thyme, and roasted green beans, which are seriously the best things on this planet...its like shriveled, green crack.

I've been tentatively diagnosed with a pinched nerve in my right elbow, which will be confirmed with a few tests in a couple of days. I have no idea how it happened and it's more annoying than painful, but there's a certain amount of muscle weakness in my right hand as a result, which bugs me out. The only way to treat it without surgery is rest and ice, and between softball and band practice, that's a tall order. We leave for tour again on the 21st of next month for three weeks, so hopefully my arm doesn't fall off in the interim.

Vampire Weekend. There's still room on this bangwagon, right? I wanted to hate the living bejeesus out of these guys for their deck shoes and cardigans and god-awful band name, but I finally gave it a chance and I seriously haven't had my ass kicked like this by a record in ages - like, listening to it all the way through at least twice a day for the last week. (And listening to it right now.) There are parts that are so "Graceland"-esque that it hurts, but the songs are so unbelievably good that it rises above being pastiche. The challenge now is following this one up with all eyes are on them, but if they can do it they're going to be one of the biggest bands in the world. For once, the hype machine got it right.
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa = My Jam.

(And here's two new songs they've been working out on the last tour -
Little Giant and White Sky.)

Forgot to mention two quick milestones that passed in the last few weeks. We played with the Hold Steady at McCarren Park Pool on the 29th and it was kick-fucking-ass...we managed to skirt in-between two thunderstorms and rocked it to about two thousand people. We got free shoes, flasks, headphones and a catered lunch...pretty damn decadent by our standards! The hipster blogs have been pretty divided on us, but it definitely felt like we had won alot of people over by the end of the set. Our favorite exchange was when some dude at the far end of the pool yelled, "You guys are awesome!" and somebody else yelled back "I concur!" Nerds!

And "Love Keeps Pushing Me Over the Mendoza Line" reigned supreme at The Wharf Rat's Tuesday trivia last week. (Known as "The Big Leagues.") Daley saved us by aceing the "Pullman vs. Paxton" category and a random Powder Puff Girls question, which none of had the slightest clue about. We got a growler of Old Habit (6.7%!) out of it and George and I drank until we almost pissed ourselves.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing Dixie until she cries."
- Jesse Helms on how he planned to welcome Carolyn Mosely-Braun, the first African-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, to her new office. He followed through on his threat by singing to her when the two shared an elevator.

"Well, thank you, I think."
- Helms's reponse - coupled with a salute - to a caller who thanked him during a 1995 appearance on the Larry King show for "everything you've done to keep down the niggers."

"White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories?"
1950 campaign ad written by Helms. In this same campaign, Helms doctored photos to show the wife of his candidate's opponent dancing with a black man.

"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."
- Jesse's 1988 analysis of the AIDS epidemic

"Degenerate...weak, morally sick wretches."
- Helms's description of homosexuals in a 1994 interview with Newsweek

"The University of Negroes and Communists"
- Helms shorthand for the University of North Carolina

Jesse Helms is finally dead. Forget all of the inspid panderings to some "legacy" worth celebrating that Helms allegedly left behind, and throw out all of the white-washed tributes the networks have churned out, devoid of any spectre of the damage and hatred he inflicted on people across this country. Helms was a shitstain on the fabric of this nation; the last of the great race-baiters who embodied the worst impulses not just in Americans, but in all of humankind. He couldn't even muster the decency and self-awareness of other former segregationists like George Wallace and Strom Thurmond, who both had the good conscience to recant their fomer views later in life. Helms was unrepentant evil to the very end, loathsome and despicable, who would have bordered on charicature if the totality of his heartlessness wasn't so terrifying to witness in another human being. He was a national embarassment whose death yesterday can only be considered a cosmic birthday present for a nation sorely in need of one.

"And you know when Jesse Helms finally dies, he's going to commit suicide in a washtub out back behind a pecan tree. He's going to slash his wrists and he's going to write in blood, 'I've been a bad boy.' But you know they're going to find the skins of young children drying in his attic, swarms of horseflies going in and out of the eaves, and on CNN, over and over, his wife going, 'I always wondered about Jesse's collection of little shoes.' Anyone that far to the right is fucking hiding a deep, dark secret." - Bill Hicks

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

""I’ve written my own sitcom that’s just been picked up by Nickelodeon that I start at Christmas. I’m the star of it. It’s a bit like Hannah Montana, but the black version."

- Scary Spice

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So Barack has finally secured the nomination - now the real fun begins. Speculation is going to be at DEFCON APESHIT until he names his Veep candidate. Naturally, the screws are already coming down hard to convince, coerce and cajole him into picking Hillary. I hope for his sake he doesn't. Here's a look at the cast of characters:

Joe Biden - Biden might be the only person in Washington unafraid of literally calling "bullshit" while on C-SPAN. That's his blessing and his curse - he's offered some of the most biting criticism of Bush's person and policies from the floor of the Senate, but he gives off this "I'm one stubbed toe away from dropping the F-bomb" kind of vibe. Plus he plagarized this British dude's speech in the late-80s and no one seems able to forgive him for that. If the Dems can spare him in the Senate, he'll be on the shortlist for Secretary of State.

Evan Bayh - You've never heard of Evan Bayh? The junior Senator from Indiana? Don't worry - no one else has either. He's a centrist Democrat from a battleground state who Bill and Hillary have been grooming since the late-90s, even taking him along to a Bildeberg conference (where he no doubt became indoctrinated into The New World Order.) He's telegenic and the fact that he comes from an unbearably flat state is said to make him valuable in the Midwest, but for one reason or another he always seems to run short of mojo. His middle-of-the-road stance on progressive issues - he's staunchly pro-death penalty, for instance - probably makes him an ill-fit for the "new beginning" motif of the campaign. He was on the VP shortlist for both Gore and Kerry, and briefly ran for president himself last year. You probably didn't notice.

Bill Richardson - In terms of credentials, Richardson's the headliner of this festival and his own candidacy for president should have recieved a bit more coverage. (You know...if we were into issues and all.) He's not much of a rock star, but he's the current Governor of New Mexico, and a former U.S. Representative, Ambassador to the United Nations, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy. The problem? He's hispanic, which means that by putting him on the ticket, you'd be asking alot of white people to vote for no white people - not gonna happen. Could be a contender for Secretary of State with Biden.

John Edwards - I've been an Edwards fan for a long time, and part of me still can't believe anyone thought Kerry had a better chance at beating Bush in 2004. Ideologically he's a good match for Obama, and his youth and fresh-scrubbedness certainly cries out "new beginning." But he's a fellow one-term Senator, which does nothing to counter the "experience gap" line of attack that McCain will surely run into the ground, and he wasn't able to deliver many of his fellow white southerners to the Dems as their Veep candidate in 2004. Plus, Edwards doesn't fit the modern definition of "effective vice presidential candidate," which has become longhand for "designated attack dog" - he sounds shrill and politician-y when he goes negative, and it completely erases the folksy charm that even put him on this list to begin with. Lastly, he could have really helped himself by supporting Obama back in February when it mattered, instead of meekly laying low until the nomination was all but sewn up...that was gut-check time, Johnny! I won't be shocked if he gets the nod, but I think he's more likely to end up our next Attorney General.

Wesley Clark - The Darkhorse. Clark balances the ticket by adding the heft of his military career - which far outshines John McCain's - without making the pairing bottom-heavy, as he's never held elected office. Plus, he's a hardcore Clinton guy, so you'd throw them the "Party Unity" bone without having to go whole-hog with Hillary. The first time McCain trots out the "appeaser" tag against Obama, all he has to do is turn around say, " approach has been approved by my Vice Presidential candidate, who - in case you didn't notice - is a four-star-fucking-general!" If he doesn't get the Veep nod, I'm sure his name will came up for Secretary of Defense.

Al Gore - The Real Darkhorse. Firstly, I don't think there's any way that Gore gets involved in this race - he's having way too big of an impact on the global environmental debate to be handed a new list of shit he can't say politically. He's the last of the Muckrakers (now that Nader's become a zombified cartoon of himself). And even if he was somehow coaxed out of semi-retirement, I don't see how it helps Obama any to be considered the policy lightweight on his own ticket - Gore is too massive to be the Veep at this point. The fact that he didn't run himself when he could have instantly moved to the top of the pecking order shows that he's done with running races. However, I'd be interested to see if they bring him into an Obama adminstration, possibly as EPA chief? Even that somehow seems beneath him at this point.

Hillary - The Quandry. What to do with her? Cast her out into the wilderness and hopes she never finds her way back? Thats not happening. (Although thats an interesting premise for Saw V, starring Hillary as herself.) Practice the art of keeping "one's friends close and one's enemies closer?" Maybe. I'm tough on Hillary - mainly because I think she's a piece of shit - but I think its a really bad career move to put someone so blantantly resentful and covetous of your success into a position where she can fuck your shit up on a daily basis. She will be the most meddlesome VP of all-time because she's going to treat the appointment like an extended job interview. Plus, caving into party demands and handing her the nod will just encourage her to continue throwing her husband's political weight around while in office - "Oh really? You don't like my idea? Well, then let's see what Bill's friends in the Senate think of what you're proposing. Good luck getting that passed!" It'll be a never-ending nightmare for him. If she's proven anything it's that she's the opposite of a team player, and do you really want a #2 that thinks they're the real star of the show? He might as well pick Terrell Owens. For his sanity and the sanctity of his platform, I think he needs to make a deal where she's promised a Supreme Court nomination if one were to open up during his term, or he promises to back her if she makes a move for Senate Majority Leader. But bringing her into the White House will be the biggest mistake of his career, and I think that he realizes this.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest...except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed." -Newton's Law of Inertia

So the summer seems to slowly be making it's way here, and I feel the need to get moving. Where am I going? Beats the fuck out of me. (Where are you going, and is there any room in your backseat?)

In order to organize my efforts into some sort of meaningful, coherent whole, I put together a Summer To-Do List. Its not very impressive:

- Get some fucking sleep
- Make some goddamn money
- Play drums everyday

- Take a walk everyday
- Smoke a doob everyday
- Maybe clean this place up a little bit

- Bat .600 in softball and a hit a pitcher with a line drive
- Squeegee my third eye
- Try valiantly to find time/money to visit Turowski out in Oregon, and Miller out in Bakersfield
- Make it back to Montreal (despite the fact that our currency is worthless even in Canada)

I saw this today
and was struck by the "two broad standards of sainthood: His life deserves to be imitated, and he has demonstrated a post-mortem power to help people who pray to him, proving he is in heaven with God." Just for fun, let's run that second part back - "a post-mortem power to help people who pray to him, proving he is in heaven with God." I think another small part of me just died. Are we refighting the Dark Ages, or is it just me? Anyway, this is all very reminiscent of Luke Katifiasz's legendary 11th birthday party, where my Level 3 Mage was able to cast "Mestil's Acid Breath" upon the She-Cyclops, as I was slayed by the troll archer. (It was really fucking mystical.) Afterwards, instead of canonization, we just beat Luke's brother's friend with pillows until he pissed himself.

Also, since Super Fresh did indeed have Choco-Nilla Rice Krispies on sale yesterday - just like I asked Satan - who do I talk to at the Vatican?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

When I Die...

...mount a cannon at home plate of Camden Yards and fire my body over the Esskay "Out-of-Town" scoreboard and onto Eutaw Street. You can even dress me up like The Bird, or maybe a big baseball, and if the money's alright, I hope someone ponies up for a big enough bang to make me the first man to truly hit the warehouse. (Fuck you Griffey.) And as I course through the air, gracefully arcing over the flag court and through the smoke rising from Boog's, I want Jim Hunter mournfully intoning over the PA - "See. You. Later."

I came across two interesting articles on about this prolonged root canal of nomination process the Dems are caught up in; the first delineates the differences between the pedigrees of the Clinton and Obama camps , while the second is about a few discussions happening behind the scenes on what it will take for Hillary to exit the race with "honor."

Basically, whats happening with Obama is like a coup within the Democratic party, as the Clinton insiders who have controlled the party for the last 17 years are being shoved out of the way by dudes groomed by Daschle and Gephardt. It really seems to be being sticking in Bill's craw, especially since he's spent the eight years since he left office setting his family up to be the new Kennedys, even going so far as to kiss his old nemesis, George H.W. Bush's ass. That's why he's on T.V. every other day, red in the face, veins bulging from his neck, spouting some half-thought-out nonsense that has been carrying a creepy, ominous undertone to it as of late. I can understand his anger - when people that owe their entire careers to them (i.e. - Bill Richardson) are jumping on the winning bandwagon and leaving the Clintons alone in the settling dust, its as much - if not more - a slap to his face as it is hers. Bill just simply can't fucking take it anymore, and he is definitely ensconced in the "shitting blood" level of angry.

As to the second article - leaving aside the negotiations over how much of her $30 fucking million dollars of debt that she wants Obama to cover before she bails - I don't believe for a second that Obama would seriously offer Hillary the VP nod, unless he is secretly a complete fucking retard. No matter how this breaks, she's going to spend the next four years trying to sabotage every move he makes so that she's in the discussion for 2012 - why give her a great shooting platform? And all this party unity stuff is a little far-fetched - why should he be the one to bear the brunt of the discord and disharmony that Clinton has spent a year of her life working to build? When this race could have been about issues, she made it as damaging and divisive as possible, probably due to the fact that if she had to explain her voting record over the past five years, she'd be losing even worse than she is now. I mean, she's the one who wouldn't let the Rev. Wright shit drop; she's one the who raised the issue of his attending a mandrassa when he was a child; she threatened to give all the juicy details of his past drug use to the press before he made it a non-issue by admitting it himself, like the adult she'll never be; she even drew attention to him not wearing a fucking flag pin! Now, she casts him as "unpatriotic" because he's sticking by the rules they BOTH agreed to with regards to the Michigan and Florida primaries, while she played dirty and is now trying to have those results admitted clean. She has done everything she can to ruin and defame him all in the name of politics, and party unity was a sacrifical lamb that she led to slaughter as soon as it became convienient. Now that she's got everyone foaming at the mouth, it's Obama's responsibility to bend over and take one for the team? Fuck that. She's the one who needs to make amends, and she can start by stepping up to the dais tomorrow - Memorial Day - and saying:

"I realize I've been a craven, power-hungry piece of shit in a power suit for the last year, and most of you have seen enough of me to last you a lifetime. I can't blame you - not only have I embarassed myself and my family (well, at least Chelsea), but I've actively tried to reduce the American political process to the level of a playground pissing match between incontinent seven-year-olds. Thankfully for all of us, you - the American people - have seen through me and have correctly identified me as the scheming, shit-eating low-life that I am, and all but the least educated among you have turned away from me in droves. This is good for America! In recognition of this fact, and as an acknowledgement of my true idenity as The Succubus sent here to destroy all hope that America might once again assume the mantle of 'civilized nation' where industrialized countries are concerned, I hereby announce plans to drown myself in sewage this evening while humming 'I'm Every Woman,' until the bitter, noxious end.

And following the suggestion of a creative supporter, I would henceforth like a cannon to be mounted at homeplate of Oriole Park at Camden Yards..."

Friday, May 16, 2008


Only three days left of tour. I am in fine shape and spirit aside from a pesky swollen tonsil and the requisite scrapes and bruises that always litter my hands by this point in any trip. We're in Chicago at our friend Sara's place and Zach and I are waiting on a pizza we ordered 45 minutes ago, which has long since lost any appeal, probably due to our discovery of a list of restaurant reviews that repeatedly described the fare of this particular joint as "vomit worthy." Billy and Sara are asleep in the living room, Rod's sleeping in the "art" room, and Zalamia is snoring so hard in Sara's bedroom down the hall that even with the door closed we have to talk over his racket. It sounds like he's either making an ice carving via chainsaw, or making margaritas on super-slow pulse. Its fucking savage.

This tour has been awesome - maybe my favorite one yet. The turnouts have been good, the other bands fun as hell, and the late-night hi-jinks pretty fucking stellar to boot. I don't want to be home, but I could sure as hell use two or three days spent high as hell watching baseball. Then I'll be good for another month.

Tomorrow Louisville, then Charlottesville on Friday. At least the latter drive will be scenic, as we cross the Blue Ridge south of Charleston, WV. Tomorrow is just five more hours of boring Indiana flat-land. I swear to Christ that state is the biggest piece of shit on the continent. That or Ohio.

Pizza just got here and was promptly downed. Capsule review - passable sauce, non-descript cheese, absolutely god-fucking-awful crust that we agreed could best be described as "hardtack." Its like Civil War pizza.

I need to go crawl into bed with Z., and give him the old "please fucking stop snoring" kick in the ass thats become routine this tour. My two going-to-sleep choices - The Louvin Brothers' "The Family Who Prays" and "Nilsson Sings Newman."

Over and out..

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Teacher #1: Who are you in for today?
Me: Mitchell
Teacher #1: Ahhh...all the kids think that she's out taking care of her dad again, but they don't know that he died a year ago.
Teacher #2: No he didn't.
Teacher #1: Oh...really?
Teacher #2: No - he's still alive...he only has one leg, though.

Friday, February 29, 2008

All Lost in the Supermarket

Sometimes the place I feel the most foreign in this world is the grocery store. I want so badly to be fluent in the language of taste, but instead I stand there looking at 86 different kinds of rice thinking "What the fuck is 'Basmati'?" I cook no-frills, and hence I eat like a hostage. Some days, I like to pretend this is part of some great existentialst suffering, like I have too much on my plate to care what the broccoli tastes like - "People are dying, man!" But in reality, its simply an acknowledgement that I have waaaaaay too many Monkees songs to track down to really give that much thought to what I'm putting in my body.

I've eaten badly for just about as long as I've been cooking for myself. One of these days, I'm going to start renting young children to put in my grocery cart so that when people look down at my purchases, I can just point at him/her and shake my head, laughing, as if to say, "Lady, do you really think I 'm buying all these little Gatorades for myself? And who but a child would buy two boxes of Bacon Better Cheddars when they're not even on sale? And the Fruit Gushers?! Fuckin' kids today!" Then I'll make a big show of asking my rented child why he really needs all three boxes of Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts.

But I have gotten alot better over the years. I remember the first time I successfully made an omelet that didn't look like it had already been half-digested - I was so proud of myself, you would have thought I cracked the fucking Rosetta Stone. I almost didn't want to eat it. For Christmas this year, I dropped $40 of grandmom's hard-earned money on a Bible-sized vegetarian cookbook, with the goal being to learn how to make two new dishes per week without making myself sick. I cracked it open just long enough to learn that "real" scrambled eggs are supposed to take 25 minutes to cook, and that I'd have to forfeit valuable spatula space to build a spice collection big enough to cook anything the proper way (and I have some primo spatulas, my friend). Needless to say, it quickly became entombed on the top of my dresser, beneath my St. Jude candle and the Christmas card my mom sent me from the dogs.

So for now, my cooking advancements are measured in inches. Why, just yesterday I discovered that if you use cinnamon toast to make fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, its pretty bad-ass. But don't use rye bread unless its just one of those weeks.

Save that shit for grilled cheese.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Things Neil Young Might Eat

- Plastic
- Ewoks
- Sand
- Lightning
- Too much birthday cake

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain - do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of tits." -David Brent

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"...were at one time it's most hopeless romantics."

Hoy Hoy Gentle Reader,

The title of this blog comes from a quote I distinctly remember coming across during my high school days; in fact, I've been attributing it to Ambrose Bierce ever since, as though there's some nugget of memory hidden upstairs that at one time or another made me absolutely certain of this fact. Unfortunately for me, Google's never heard of it, so either I made it up or the piper has finally come to collect his due for all those years of self-medication. Probably a little of a) and a little b).

Whoever said it, I happen to like it, and it's a thought that's kept me company in the depth of many a misunderstanding. I can identify with the idea of the cynic as being someone who's not out to discourage all around him/her out of a defect of personality, but rather as someone whose too great hopes and too fragile nature have conspired to create, at periods, a very agitated soul. OK, so maybe it does sound like a Conor Oberst pick-up line; my first cat was named Gobo and I actively tried to convince my parents to change my middle name to "Butch" when I was six years old - I'm clearly not cut out for naming things. My future children better hope my future wife is a woman with ideas.

Two-thousand-seven was a banner year for me; so much so, that 2008 has felt straight pedestrian so far. Milestones were a'plenty in The Year of the Pig - I left my day job at a non-profit/government agency after three years, with approximately 13% of my idealism intact; I moved out of my long-time apartment - one whose roof and deck I will be missing like hell in a few months - and into the swankest digs I've yet to lay my head (not that that's saying much, but still...); I saw large swaths of this country from the bench seat of a van, and met great people just about everywhere we went; I narrowly escaped eviseration via samurai sword; I made out with a girl for three consecutive hours (pro and con); and I reaped the benefits of gainful unemployment for six months, during which time my daily regimen consisted of bong hits, blueberry pancakes, Walt Whitman and long walks. By the time December rolled around, I sure as shit was sad to the see the year end.

But more importantly than all that, 2007 saw a marked increase in "me time," where, by the process of mental triangulation, I tried to figure out exactly where I was standing most times. I did alot of thinking. I did alot of re-thinking. I did alot of writing. I threw alot of that writing out. I tried to learn the difference between "valuable" and "invaluable." I did alot of staring at Christmas lights and stop lights and the few stars one can see through the Baltimore smog and tried to imagine myself as a beam of light making its way out to everyone around me. I wondered what I meant by that. The whole thing felt like pulling off an old scab thats clearly not protecting anything any longer, and letting the new, pink flesh soak in the air.

And now we've got The Year of The Rat, and I'm excited to put my new-found theories to the test. Then I'll know whether I'm totally full of shit or not.

But I don't reckon this space will be a bleeding heart parade too much; I'm still too uptight for that. If anything, this will be a respository of half-baked musings, which are still awesome because maybe you can still taste the batter and thats the best part of the cake anyway. I'm sure alot of it will be band shit because that takes up an ungodly portion of my time, plus its something I'd really like to write about. It might also be about my search for a money-making venture of some kind because I have 10 days of unemployment left as of this writing. Maybe its time to finally get that professional parallel-parking career off the ground?

Over and out...

PS - Will some male cat of the neighborhood please do something about this puss-in-heat thats been hanging in the alleyway for the last week? One more night of this, and I'm going to fuck that cat myself.

Listening to: Ben E. King and The Drifters