Tuesday, December 28, 2010

and to welcome in 2011

I'm gonna be guest bartending over at the L and L tavern, the place where most Lawrence Arms songs were born on saturday january first. It's gonna be a hangover cure to end all hangover cures. Cheap beers and lots of good people licking their wounds from the night before. Let's see if we can't make even WORSE decisions on New Years Day, eh? I may even bring out the ol' six string and hum a few bars if y'all can convince Kenny to bring in a PA system.

Okay, as you were. Go ahead and get back to sucking each other off.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday cheer!!!

Hoes, perverts, schlongs, dongs, dildi, dildae, cancerous plagues on the buttocks of our fine society, scholars and mongaloids, priests and little boys, sisters and cousins: welcome to the post Christmas, pre newyear hangover week that most of you sad sacks with jobs have been coerced into working through. One of the shittiest weeks in the whole year, especially if the person you’d like to be fucking is having their period, or you’re dying or you’ve got crabs or a prison sentence to start or uh…you get the idea, but even if you got great stuff for Christmas and no short supply of non-bleeding holes to bang, this week there’s nothing to do but sit around and stew in the putrid wafting stench of holiday farts, how much you hate your family and air travel and wait for new years eve and the subsequent herpes/abortion/court date that follows a night of unbridled revelry. What a time.
Of course, I don’t have any of these issues, because I’m dick deep in the joy of watching some small children discover the magic of the holidays. There’s a lot of pants shitting due to not wanting to move away from the Thomas the Train set and quite a bit of inter-toddler violence around the tree. Also there’s no room in any suitcase because all sorts of various dinosaur covered things are taking up all the space where my underpants used to go.
Yup. It’s a great scene. Plus, I got a nettie pot, a sterling butt plug, a cheese grater and six pairs of crotchless edible panties. They’re weird. They’re made in Indochina and they’re kind of the same material as fruit roll ups, but they taste a little like beef bullion. I shoulda been specific and asked for the ones that are made in france and taste like buttercream and olives, but I guess I didn’t REALLY care, and besides, it’s about to be a new year and what better way to kick it off than to rinse that frosting martini taste out of my mouth and party with the scent of powdered beef on my junk.

So, I’ve promised the best of the year list here in this space: my annual “it’s the end of the year as we know it” where I slaughter such sacred cows as the notion that you can’t talk about rimjobs during the holiday season and end of the year lists in general. Also, I make up a lot of ‘edgy’ sounding things so I can seem out there and wild. It’s one part routine, one part endless death march and one part whimsical imparting of taste. Just like every good year end list.
This year, I’ve been paying more attention than usual to year end lists. This is odd for a few reasons: 1) I didn’t do anything this year that’s gonna make any year end lists and 2) I didn’t listen to hardly any new music, so I pretty much have no fucking idea where my opinions stack up to all these various self-important turds who bestow these lists on the rest of us, and let’s be frank: these lists are the equivalent of a traffic cop giving someone a ticket for jaywalking. It’s a tiny little smug display of power that serves no purpose other than to flout the might of an otherwise pathetic and disrespected station in life.
The “Best Albums/Books of the year as decided by [random douche from some publication]” (very different than ‘best picture’ which is a corporate dick-suckathon with very little regard for quality) is quite simply, at its most altruistic, some nerd ranking art that he thinks is cool in the name of getting the artists on his list a wider audience. This happens somewhere in the neighborhood of 1% of the time.
More often than not, however, year end lists are a showplace for petty vendettas, elitist snobbery, ironic chuckling and in the case of a publication that has actual readership and even a tad of influence, these lists become the battlegrounds on which the dorky snobs with bylines wage their wars against the other, more bitter dorky snobs without bylines, the weaponry being an arbitrary list that cements, for Spin, Pitchfork, Punknews or whatever, certain records as better than others in some sort of weird time capsule. I’ve actually been reading tweets (I know…sad shit indeed) and articles where ‘music journalists’ delight in discussing how much their year end lists are going to piss off the readership of their particular publications. This seems to be common among journalists in various and extremely different rags. That’s weird. That’s weird for 2 reasons:
1) it’s weird that someone writing a list altruistically would be happy to upset the very readership that they should be trying to cultivate. That means that the motives are suspect as shit, frankly. What’s the year end list for, if not to be something fun to read? What’s the endgame if it’s intended to piss people off? Well, that’s easy: it’s dick thumping, and nothing more.
2) it’s impossible that someone should get pissed off about someone else’s opinion. It’s clearly not wrong. Opinions are, by definition the product of a single mind or group, so if you’re reading a list that’s horribly different than your own idea of the top records/books of the year, well, no shit. Someone else wrote it. Getting angry about it is the equivalent of getting mad of your buddy liking pickles on his burgers when you don’t.
The reason that these lists make people so angry and defensive is that they’re the battleground, as I said before, of jealousy (of someone having a popular platform for their opinion) versus smug superiority with almost no basis in reality.
So, enjoy your dumb lists, asshole journalists and dirty diapered snobs from the unwashed hordes. I’m off to the AVN’s! That’s a fucking year end award ceremony I can get behind (heyooo!)
Happy Kwaanza!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't say I never gave you nothin' 2010 edition

Our friend Ben Pier is famous for a few things: photography, good looks, a proclivity for the darker, more rear access zones to a woman's interior and generally being a good dude who's always worked with my band, the Lawrence Arms. He shot pretty much every photo we've ever put into a record. He shot the cover of Buttsweat and Tears and recently, while he was on tour with us on the east coast, he shot a video for Them Angels Been Talkin without us even knowing he was doing it. I think it's pretty great. obviously, whatever you think of my ugly mug, it's obvious that chris and Neil are very handsome and ben is extremely good at this shit. I'm going to visit family, so I'm not gonna be regularly updating this until the new year, so until then, here's my gift to you: Ben Pier's video for some song off some record.

Dig it, here!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Presenting: offensive grandpa.

I gotta say, hell in a handbasket, kids. That’s where we’re headed. As 2010 comes to a close, I look around and all I see is tubby men dressed as hockey playing clowns spraying each other down with cheap, off-brand cherry cola, shake weights and greasy dagos prancing back and forth like their abs and cross tattoos just got appointed to some sort of dukeship. It’s a disgrace. Black presidents, females in positions of power, tax cuts, tax hikes, some Australian telling the world what we think of Sarkozy as a leader (not much) and a bunch of goddamned terrorists runnin’ around and exploding the few good, god fearing folk we got left.

George Soros and NPR are controlling the fucking airwaves, and by extension, our minds…Burger King is serving a sick pizza/cheeseburger hybrid that will instantly turn anyone who eats it into a Mike Moore type: fat, sloppy, effete voice, sympathizing with Cuba and Marilyn Manson…you know, a soft faggoty sort of cancer on the zitty arse of our decaying empire.

And speaking of zitty arses, they’re curing HIV using stem cells now? That’s just GREAT! Now all the depraved sodomites out there can go bugger each other to their little hearts content and then just turn around and use the juice of sweet innocent murdered babies to cure their gay cancer and go back to taking the world over. This is the best thing to happen to the gay recruiters since Queer Eye got a twelve share, people. Fred Phelps is being picketed as a depraved, evil (obviously closeted, ragingly gay) bag of human waste while Neil Patrick Harris gets to host the video game awards? Has the world gone fucking insane?

I mean, we’ve got secessionist hillbillies from Alaska with real live retards and unwed daughter moms in their family tree trying to play as the moral center against a cigarette smoking Kenyan president who’s so hell bent on setting up death panels and putting queers in the military that he can’t even take the time to stop and prove that he’s not actually a Muslim. That’s a battle with no winners folks. And you know who loses? You, me, and most critically, your children. Think of them, why don’t you? Put down the Cheese steak and sex lube long enough to think of your motherfucking children for a change, eh?

And look at the fucking televisions, why don’t you? Everywhere you turn it’s some new fourteen year old trollop jazzercising her cameltoe across a writhing sea of naked bodies over to a bong in order to nationally televise themselves smoking some drug that I’ve never even heard of! We’ve got glory holes in our airport men’s rooms, people! And they’re talking about it on the news while good people like me are trying to eat dinner!

A few years ago, all our problems could be summed up in two words: “Britney Spears”. She was the crazy, drug addled pansexual provocateur with crazy eyes, a man haircut and a penchant for walking into restrooms with no shoes on that titillated the gays and the little girls and revolted the liberals and conservatives alike. And she was married to that loser with the sweatpants and the beard. Everyone hated him too.

Ah…that was a simple time. We had reckless hillbillies and vampires running the country and we felt like we could do anything and no one could stop us. We’d just lost a bunch of investment bankers in what can only be called a fair trade, because suddenly we were able to stomp all over the world, telling everyone to suck our collective sweaty dick and people just had to deal with it. USA! USA! Suck on that, Gorbachev!

Yup…those were the days: we were reckless and had no sense of consequences and we could blame all our troubles on one depraved white trash celebrity couple. There was no Lady Gaga. There was no meat bikini. There was no Levi Johnston’s issue of Playgirl. There was no girlish, crying republican speaker of the house. There was no sense that anything was less than awesome. We were careening towards heaven in a luxury sedan (american made!) driven by a drunken angel and we were taking out anyone stupid enough to step off the curb, be they man, woman or child.

Now, we’re headed to hell.

And just in time for Christmas. What a world.
Enjoy your holiday sodomy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

turn off that goddamned racket!

So, it’s the end of the year and a few people have been asking me to compile my ‘best records’ of the year. What they don’t seem to realize is that I don’t really listen to that much new music, and up until recently, I didn’t listen to music at all. This is actually strangely true.

I talk to my friend and bandmember Chris about this every once in a while. When you’re on the road more than you’re home, as we were, you’re exposed to lots of live music. If you figure you’re out on the road 200 days out of the year, even if there’s only three bands playing every night, including you, that’s still four hundred live sets a year that you’re sitting through just by virtue of being at your job. Now, I’m not complaining about that. Far from it. Being on the road and seeing awesome live bands is a great time, BUT it makes for some very specific needs and wants when you finally get off the road. First and foremost on the list of needs and wants? Quiet.

My wife used to be so confused about the fact that I hated having music playing in our house and that I never wanted to go see bands play when I wasn’t on tour, and it’s hard to explain. I love music. I really, truly do, but there’s only so much you can take, and once anything becomes your job, there’s a coloring of it that you can’t get away from. No matter how great your dream career is, you’re gonna have bad days at work. I don’t care if you’re a porn star or the starting center for the Spurs or a DJ or a travel journalist or a proctologist. Once your livelihood is tied up in something, there’s a yoke there that you can’t just cast off and it makes for a tension that wouldn’t be there if you were just indulging a hobby.

Does this sound like I’m being a snotty or ungrateful prick? I don’t think I am. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better job than seeing the world and playing music to people who want to hear it. It’s the best. But sometimes you’re sick, or you’re depressed or you’re feeling lazy, some days you just don’t want to do your job, just in the same way that everyone sometimes doesn’t want to do their jobs, and that creates this tension that’s easily relieved, for me, by silence. (picking up on this point, a bad day on the porn set has to be the worst. You’re sick or exhausted or just pissed at your sister or something and you’ve gotta sit there and pretend that you like having a gigantic wang transferred back and forth from your mouth to your asshole. No thanks. [this is actually more relevant to today’s topic than it may initially seem, because I bet {and of course, everyone’s different, and I could totally be wrong} pornstars don’t do a lot of double anal and gagging blowjobs when they’re just out fucking dudes at the club or home with their boyfriends…much like I don’t listen to music on the three days between tours]).

Well, it’s been a few years since I toured heavily and I’ve been able to start listening to music again. This year, I’ve listened to lots of good stuff and I’m gonna see if I can’t tell you a few of the jams that have really gotten me through the year. Lots of them are older things that I either just discovered or that I used to listen to, but haven’t in a while due to my ban on listening to music. Some of these are pretty new to me and others are a couple of my favorite staple songs of all time. Here goes.

DLZ-Tv on the Radio
Wild Hunt-Tallest Man on Earth
Rags and Bones-Nomeansno
Low Light Low Life-POS (even though I wish someone would have produced that chick’s verse a little differently. She kind of gets soft and warbly at the end of each line and I think it’s really detrimental to her flow [could I sound any whiter?]. In short, she’s got a good verse, and she can rap, but her execution, particularly at the ends of her lines, is going for something that I don’t think she pulls off. That said, awesome song. And what the fuck do I know?)
Harlem River Blues- Justin Townes Earle
Reason in My Rhyme- Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves
Bamboo Bones-Against Me!
Lost in Campaigns-Cobra Skulls
The Silver Tongued Devil and I- Kris Kristofferson
Steve Smith, Coal Miner Jr.- Sidekicks
Only the Good Die Young- Billy Joel
Skid Row-Broadway cast of Little Shop of Horrors (one of the best songs ever, if you can get past the cheese)
Sorrow-Bad Religion
Blasphemy-NOFX
I was Stabbed By Satan-K’naan
Watership-Trust Foundation
Saints- Honor System
The Calming Collection-Flatliners
No Control-Bad Religion
Clear the Air-OWTH
In the Flicker- Sundowner
Cruel World-Dead To Me
Fat Cats Bigga Fish- The Coup
Holy Diver- Dio
Get out of My Way-Rancid
I Just Want You to Know- OWTH
Die While We’re Young-A Willhelm Scream

Man, see…almost none of this shit is from this year. It’s mostly stuff I listened to a long time ago or missed out on. I like all these songs a whole bunch though, so there’s a little something for you to do if you get bored. Go illegally download these songs. Except the Billy Joel one…that dude needs money for booze.
Okay, I’m gonna go eat. Of course, I’ll be doing my annual “It’s the End of the Year as We Know It” entries later on. This was just a little exercise to see if I could, in fact do a top ten from 2010. Turns out, the answer is ‘no chance’.

Xoxoox

Oh, and I’m playing acoustic in Ft. Collins Co on the 21st of December at the Surfside 7 and in Denver at 3 kings on the 23rd of December. Various incarnations of the Swayback and Elway (passing days-that’s gonna be y’alls jam next year. You heard it here first, turds) will be playing too. Come buy me a beer. I only get one free pitcher in Ft Collins. Who can live like that?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

more self important bullshit

Yesterday I was asked the following in the sock drawer:

“Chris was quoted in an interview that you write songs in about "twenty minutes". Is this an exaggeration? Is he just unabashedly lying?”

In an effort to keep a semblance of a theme going, I’m going to expand on yesterday’s topic (see “get out your pencils, class” immediately below for part 1) and explain a little bit more specifically how I actually write songs.

It is in fact true that when I write songs I do it in about twenty minutes, but this isn’t because of any sort of deluded notion of super genius or quick wit, it’s just that it’s really the only way that works for me. To put it another way, it’s not as though I just casually shit out songs in 20 minutes but if I slaved over them for days they’d be that much better. That’s not at all how my brain works.

I, like many people, get lost in long projects. I lose all sense of perspective and forward momentum. I’m a pretty unrepentant revisionist and as such, the only way that I can maintain having any sort of output at all is to just kind of go for it, get it done and then live with the results.

This blog is a perfect example. There are times when I’ll sit down and write this for up to about forty five minutes, but those are days when I’m kind of flailing and don’t have anything to say and I’m grasping at straws. The vast majority of the time, and particularly if an entry is interesting (to me), it comes out in about ten to fifteen minutes. Here’s how it works:

I sit down with a really vague notion (yesterday is a perfect example. I was thinking about how I kind of wanted to write about the appropriate usage for the article “The” in rock lyrics) and just kind of start going. Unless my kid starts bugging me or I have to shit or something, I just sit and type until my thought comes to a logical conclusion. At that point I go back and tweak sentences that seem redundant or are otherwise poorly constructed and then I post it and it’s done. I suppose that I’m fortunate (?) to be able to think in a pretty linear and clear stream of consciousness and that I’m a good enough typist that I can pretty much keep up with it, but yeah. That’s how I write this thing. I get in, go as fast as possible and get out.

The reason I do this, as I stated before, is that if I stop to think, to borrow a mangled phrase from Larry King, my tongue gets in the way and I can’t see what I’m saying. Put another way, the second I start thinking, I’m overthinking and a huge traffic jam builds up in my mind, and I can’t get anywhere. On days when I’m really, desperately trying, just for the sake of having an entry every day, to crank something out despite the fact that I have no ideas, it’s murder trying to get into the groove long enough to put a couple of sentences together effortlessly (because, we’ve talked about that before, right? Sure we have. The main things human beings respond to, in terms of enjoyable consumption is effortlessness. That’s why we love watching Jordan dunk or Omar shred on the guitar, or Ronaldinho do anything with a soccer ball. Sure it’s hard, but it looks SO FUCKING EASY, and that’s something we all inherently admire, even in people’s appearance. That’s why being ‘put together’ requires a certain level of looking like you just threw something on and walked out the door. That’s why the situation looks like kind of a dildo but a scruffy Tommy Lee still moistens panties worldwide at almost fifty. One is all effort and the other exudes the illusion of effortlessness) and thereby create the shitty, snide prose that all you Dogs Of War have come to expect from this place.

And that’s the difference. Here, I feel compelled to write something every day, so there’s bound to be some turds that I have to slave over just to fill space, but it’s not like that with songs.

When I write songs, I start with a pen and a notebook and I sit down with an idea for maybe the first word or the first phrase and then I just kind of go. I write and kind of push through stuff that I think may be totally shitty and just write about as fast as I can til I’ve written about a page or two and then I stop, grab a guitar and try to set what I’ve just written to music. Once I have the music set up, as in, once I’ve played through the song once, and I’m happy with the chords/melodies, I get on my 8 track and record a real crappy guitar/voice version of the song as to not forget the melodies/not start getting into revisions before I’ve let it sink in. Then I go away, and leave it alone. I come back a day later and listen to the song as though I’ve never heard it (because by that time, I’ve forgotten it) and see how it holds up. The very best songs I’ve ever written usually end up being done at this point, no revisions, the exact words that I wrote on the page and the first set of chords that I tried out.

For example: On With The Show on Greatest Story Ever Told was written in about five minutes. The original draft of the lyrics are the exact lyrics as they appear on the album and the first time I tried to come up with some chords I came up with the exact chords that wound up being the arrangement of the song. The first time I ever tried to figure it out, it was more or less already done. It was like a clean shit with no wiping.

So, when I wrote that song, I realized something that changed the way I wrote songs forever. Namely, whenever you hear a songwriter talk about their process, inevitably, they’ll get to some song, usually a fan favorite and they’ll say the same thing “oh, that one just came right out of me in just a few minutes…it was almost like it was already written.”

In fact, almost everyone I know that writes songs will swear that the best songs they’ve ever written are these songs that almost come pre-packaged right out of their mind, so fast they can hardly keep up. I looked back at the songs that I’d written for the Lawrence Arms that were like that up to that point: Quincentuple Your Money, Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance, Minute, A Toast, Porno And Snuff Films, Boatless Booze Cruise, Necrotism, Dancing Machine, (to name a few) and asked myself the following: ‘if all the best songs are the ones that just come right out, what’s the point of slaving over the other ones?’ This was a huge turning point for me as a songwriter.

Since then, if a song isn’t pretty much done in 20 minutes, I abandon it. Maybe a lyric or something will stick with me and when I try to write something later on, I’ll incorporate the lyric (though this is usually somewhat subconscious), but for the most part, every song that I’ve written since On With the Show (the first song I wrote for TGSET) has been written in 20 minutes or less. That includes all songs off the last three TLA releases and the Falcon record.

Now, there have been a couple of exceptions here and there (especially in my new stuff, where I’m trying a whole different style of songwriting, including writing lyrics on a computer instead of in a notebook [big difference, believe it or not] and not demoing things at all until I can do full instrumentation demos) but for the most part, the only songs you have heard from me in the past 7 years have been written in under half an hour. That means, ultimately, that I have to write a TON of stuff to get to those special ‘clean shits’ because those just don’t come around every five minutes. When I’m writing an album, I usually try to write about three songs a day. Of these, 99% are so terrible that it can be pretty depressing, but when a good one comes out, man. It’s an awesome feeling.

This is just how I do it. Shit’s different for everyone, and like I said yesterday, my shit’s not that good, so take this with a grain of salt.
xoxoxo

Monday, December 13, 2010

get out your pencils, class.

So, I write songs. It’s one thing that I’m slightly good at, depending on who you ask, and I’ve come up with a lot of notions about what makes a song good and what makes a song bad. Mostly, I’m talking about lyrics here, because let’s face it, all my songs are the same six chords and actually, they’re mostly just three, just like most poppy sounding songs, but the lyrics are where you or I, as a songwriter can really get out there and make something unique. Does this interest you at all? Good.

Firstly, this is my take on a highly subjective subject so there’s a good chance that most of this is gonna be complete drivel to some of you, and well, many (I’d even say most people) don’t give two fucks about the lyrics of even their most favorite songs and as such, slaving over lyrics to pop music is a lot like working extra hard to shine up the bottom of your car. That being said, lyrics are my favorite part of a song, and the most important point of connection to my favorite artists and kind of the only thing I really have any sort of authority to speak about (have you heard me sing or play? Jesus…it’s rough) so yeah, get out your rags, because we’re gonna shine up this undercarriage real good.

Okay, Ben Weasel, super close friend of mine that he is, once said that there’s a concrete spot in songwriting where you can tell when someone starts to suck as a lyricist and that’s when songs stop being about “I” and start being about “you.” I think that’s what he said, at least that’s the way I remember it and it serves my purposes here, so let’s just leave it at that for now. Well, this is not entirely correct as I can think of a ton of songs that are totally fabulous that are completely “you” based (No Control, Filler, every gorilla biscuits song ever) but the idea of the exercise is dead on. It’s much easier to write a song about “you” than about “I” but you’re much more likely to get somewhere a lot more interesting if you keep it about “I”.

To put this in terms of an example, if you’re writing a love song (and probably 90% of all songs are love songs) to write about “you” (the person you love, the person that fucked you over, the person you really want to fuck) is okay. You can shower them with praise, tell them to fuck off, describe what they did that makes them so fabulous/shitty/etc. but that’s pretty much it. When you write the same song about “I” suddenly you’re writing about how much whatever they did broke your heart/made you fall in love/left you confused. You can talk about how YOU (the ‘I’ of the song) feel when you see this stunning beauty or great ass, and you have all these emotions that you can conjure up. When the song is about you, the songwriter, not the pronoun, it’s more interesting, but more than that, it’s got more room to really have a visceral impact on the listener, because you’re not just describing someone, you’re laying yourself out there, which is much more fascinating and nuanced than just talking about how rad/shitty someone is could ever be.

Neil Diamond has this hilarious intro to some live record where he spends way too much time talking about “writing what you know” and you, as a writer know “I” better than you know “You” 100% of the time. Also, if you’re serious about getting in there and stirring shit up, you’re likely to get into some weird areas of self reflection that can very often lead to good and interesting lyrics. BUT, don’t get carried away. Let me give you an anecdotal example of taking this kind of thing too far:

My friend’s band was trying out new singers in the late 90’s. One dude came into their practice space and they started playing and he just went for it, singing over the song even though he’d never heard the song before. Well, this was a fairly snotty, fast paced and quick stopping band and when the song abruptly ended about a minute and ten seconds after it began, the would be singer was still screaming and he just busts out with “you broke my heart you fucking biiiiiitch!”

He was not called back.

There’s nothing so gnarly as trite heartfelt garbage, regardless of how truly you feel it. You have to bring something interesting to the table. It’s never enough just to feel it. You’ve got a zillion words and ways to present ideas out there. Just “I love you” or “I’m pissed” isn’t gonna cut it. Ever.

My former band mate (and pop whiz) Matt Stamps, in trying to teach me how to write songs once pointed to an example of a local vocalist who had written a great song called ‘the fourth of july’ and while it was about him and a girl breaking up, it was also about the bombs exploding in the sky and the small town celebration where the breakup happened. The end results were pensive and kind of sad, BUT also an artfully rendered little tune about how the explosions in the sky were reflective of his internal feelings of anguish.

The big thing he avoided with this little trope was overt wallowing in self pity. That shit is always, ALWAYS 100% terrible. Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice tackles this issue better than I ever could, so check that out for more expounding on this theme.

Now, speaking of writing what you know, the last thing I’m gonna talk about here today, because my kid needs breakfast, is detail. The details in your songs are as important as the big hooks. I mean, the more specific you can get, 9 times out of ten, the better lyric you have. On a big scale, that has a lot to do with really specific places and settings. There’s no way that “Old Friend” by rancid would be as good as it is if it wasn’t being sung from the setting of an old tin van in the rain in Cleveland (while Tim is, from what I can gather, refusing to bone some girl). Beyond that, how great is it when Billie Joe sings about meeting his girl at the Berkeley Marina, or Coco from Gaslight talks about looking up at the quiet Edison sky, or Matt Skiba sings about the US Maple show at the Fireside? It doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of US maple and you don’t know where Edison is (though you probably guessed it was in Jersey, right?) It’s that sense of bringing your listener in, that you’re using that shorthand that you use with your friends that makes a song seem intimate, that makes it interesting, that creates that rapport that makes us as fans feel like we’re friends with the artists that write our favorite songs, even though they might be total dickheads in real life.

To take this further, I think that the article “the” should rarely be employed in songs. It’s too vague. If I’m writing about the streets in my neighborhood (to use a cheesedick example) and I want to convey that every day, like some sort of character from a 90’s pop punk song, I’m walking the streets in my neighborhood, I would say I’m walking THOSE streets or THESE streets or even THEM streets before ‘the’. Just making it that much more specific can be the difference between something cool and something kind of boring. Now, there’s totally room for “the” as well, when you purposely want to be non-specific. Take “Old Friend” again:
“Somewhere in America, in THE city at night. We were far from home, but you know it’s gonna be all right.”

That “The” is so awesome, because the notion that it conveys to me is that this could be any city and every night out there in that van on those roads, that feeling of being isolated and lost and excited and hopeful is present, no matter what city you’re in.

I dunno….like I said, highly subjective topic. This is just a little bit of what I think about when I sit down to write songs. Looking at my career, you probably shouldn’t put too much stock in this eh?

Okay, waffles are done. Gotta skate.
xoxoxox

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy birthday, Eric Halborg! Now back to me.

Okay, so I’m tweeting now (@badsandwich). I don’t really get it though. I mean, I’ve got it set up so if I text, for example “go get fucked why dontcha” that it turns up in my feed (is the shit called a feed?) but what’s with everything else? Like, I vaguely get that if I want to get toby’s attention, I can tweet “@redscaretoby is a total dildo” and that will somehow get reported to him, but does it get reported to him on his phone? On his computer? What the fuck? I don’t get it. What’s that noise? This music sounds like screaming to me! Oh! My hip! I’ve lost my medicine! Where’s the hash mark come in? Do I use that in a sentence like “man, how about those #cans? If I want to see a bunch of cans? I dunno. I really don’t know what the deal is with this twitter.

I dreamed about it last night though. That’s something. Usually, almost every night, I have the same dream. I’m having sex with a beautiful woman, but she’s got the face of Chris from my band and he’s got an Abe Lincoln beard and a stovepipe hat on (I guess another way to say this is that I’m doing it with an Abe Lincoln/Chris hybrid who has a vagina instead of a dick, but that makes it sound kind of gay) and then when we get up from that, I’ve got this gigantic dong, like two Pringles cans long and at least as big around as a slice of baloney (so, just a tiny bit bigger than my actual dong), and we have a good chuckle about how easy it is for me to suck myself off, and why do I even bother dealing with other human beings? Then we have fondue in the back of a mirror plated humvee and then usually, I wake up.

That’s the dream I have almost every night, but last night my dream involved twitter and all my followers and the notion that I’m further littering the already pretty gross internet with my unique form of uh…what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Useless drivel? Yeah, that’ll do. I guess though, if Sarah Palin can tweet, so can I, right? Of course I can. I mean, that chick on two separate occasions practically failed at passing Trig. Get it? Heyooo!

Okay, it’s not nice to make fun of a sweet woman who brutally and ruthlessly parades a special needs infant around the world at all hours in order to further her theocratic, fringe party agenda that promotes the destruction of the earth, the loss of basic freedoms, the war on small business, the middle class and the non-Christian world and of course the furthering and championing of the idea that stupidity equals honesty and patriotism somehow, because let’s face it: she’s pretty hot. And I’m sure she does depraved shit. Have you seen Todd? He’s gotta be a total ass man (and you know, if you do it in the ass, you’re still a virgin. True. Ask god.)

But this is the arena I’m in now. I’m a tweeter. A twitterist. I’m in the octagon with Palin and Kanye and Kim and Paris and man, I’ll be dipped in shit if they’re gonna do this better than me. I mean, I play to win, folks. That’s why my band is so popular and I’m so wealthy. And I’m gonna bring a new dignity to twitter. No C U FAGZ L8R shit for me, folks. That’s for your grandma Courtney Love and your great-aunt Lindsay Lohan. No. My twitterings (already more sophisticated sounding than tweets [you gotta start with the details, and work out if you want to fail in true, grand form]) will feature such lost traditions as punctuation and proper spelling. And you know, so forth.

So, my point is, fuck you Sarah Palin. Fuck you Kanye. Fuck you Courtney Love. You’re three people that I deeply respected before I started delivering my twitterings, but now, it’s on. It’s war. I fully expect to have more followers than Kanye by lunch time. Don’t let me down, slaves.

Now I just need to figure out how to work the twitter, and I’m set. Any advice?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New exciting media!!!

I'm tweeting. Well, that's the theory. If I can get my phone to recognize this shit, I'll be @badsandwich (is that how you write this stuff? I don't get this at all. I need a hot* woman [or team of women] with exposed breasts to show me the ropes here folks. Do you fit this description? Then come help me tweet.) Thanks!






*totally subject to like, whatever, you know. I'm not trying to harsh other people's ideas of beauty, bro.

crappin'

Good day everyone. Sorry about the delay (and subsequent short entry) but we're potty training over here, and man, it's a fucking hoot. Nothing like watching a toddler refuse to sit on the toilet and then shit his undies right on your couch a second later to really remind you what the important things are in life. Anyway, can't really stay and chat. Maybe I'll fill you all in on what the what for is in a couple of hours after the kids go to sleep and my wife goes out with her friends. Til then, look at this website (go to page 2 or 3 before you decide it's not worth checking out). It should kill a minute or two. And you thought you looked good naked. HA!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ruminations on a frigid wednesday

Man…good morning. It’s cold. It’s colder than a witch’s tit drinking bud ice through one of those Coors color-cold bottle situations. It’s colder than the Situation’s doorman during a Jersey blizzard. It’s colder than a brand new Elizabeth Edwards joke. It’s cold, folks. Heyo. Take my wife please!

My baby is crying. This is something that’s been going on for the last straight 36 hours or so and it’s no stretch to say by the end of the night last night, I was going nucking futs. I recall a friend of mine once saying “it really only takes about ten minutes for a crying baby to start making you crazy” and that’s true. It really, truly is. Yesterday, however, I woke up to this beast just screaming and that was at 5. By the time I put her older brother down for bed at 8, I’d had a fifteen hour day with a soundtrack that can only be referred to as “the wailing of baby girl in C sharp as a toddler screams ‘daddy! Daddy! Daddy!’ over and over again and points to various candybars and things that he’d like to have. Thrill a minute, lemme tell you.

Today, he’s found himself a kazoo. And it’s too cold to go outside. I mean, mo-ther-fu-cker. What do you have to do to get some peace around here: load your kids into the car and drive it into a lake?

Eh, that probably wouldn’t work, as then the cops would be all over the place and I’d be all bereaved and my wife would be screaming and I’d be screaming and then we’d see the kazoo laying there and just lose it. I’m sure I’d barf through my tears…Nope. That kind of thing’s not for me, I guess.

I guess I’ll say this for those people who take out their kids: I don’t know how they can do it. I’d be completely devastated if my daughter (the less interesting of the two by far, for now) lost even so much as a little toe. And that’s the kind of thing that, as an infant, you can really bounce back from. Even still, though, I’d be so bummed. God, when my wife cuts her fingernails (a task I’d rather die than attempt) and nicks her, I pretty much lose it. Hell, I can’t even stand this, where she’s just crying in the next room for no good reason.

But hey, that’s MY kids. I mean, I’ve got some sort of genetic imperative that makes it so I HAVE to love and protect them even if they’re awful, right (side note, there’s nothing that exemplifies the parasitic and revolting nature of the media as the swarm of jackals that descend upon the parents of [let’s say] Jeffery Dahmer the day after the story breaks and ask if, knowing what they know about what a horrible monster their son is, do they still love him…What kind of a fucking answer can you possibly have to that question? Either way, you’re horrible. An “Uh…nope?” pretty much makes you the reason that he’s into storing dicks in his freezer and an “Of course” makes you completely insensitive to all the victim’s families. Why would you ever put someone who’s just finding out extremely bad news [my kid eats other people] in that position?
(It’s like when you [assuming ‘you’ in this case is male] get in a fight with a woman: you have two options: beat her ass, in which case you’re a complete shitglob, or you get your ass kicked, in which case uh…wow, you got beat up by a girl. Nice one, guy. Does your husband know you’re out picking fights?)? Of course I do. But what about the other shit that people do? Things that aren’t harming their kids; could I do that stuff?

Like the people who just sneak up on motherfuckers with bats (for example) and beat them to death for no real reason? That’s pretty wild. I have such an aversion to the sight of blood or the sound of flesh ripping or being contused that it’s safe to say that there’s no way I could ever become a violent psychopath. No way. Even if the world changed drastically and that was the new way straight to the top: skinning dudes for their back pelts, I don’t think I could ever do it in a million years. I don’t even like the idea of fighting. I mean, I can and have in the past punched someone if the situation demands (I do whatever Mr Sorrientino says) but once it gets to stomping or stabbing, I’m out. That shit’s WAY too much for me. In fact, it’s so opposite to what I feel that I’m capable of, that if the chips were down, I’d probably rather fuck a horse than stab a guy (to bring this full circle into what standup comedians call a ‘callback’ to Monday’s entry “Horse Fucking”).

Okay, there are lots of mitigating factors: who’s the guy, what’s our relationship, what kind of horse, is there foreplay, what kind of knife, where do I stab him, is the horse at least kind of hot? etc. and let me put it this way: if the guy had in any way harmed anyone I love, and that goes from casual friends all the way up to my kids, well, I’d have no choice but to stab him, BUT, if the guy was even just a total asshole who’d never really wronged anyone I love…even if he’d wronged me (let’s take my mom’s ex boyfriend Michael Gratz of the famed hidden-shit-in-the-summer-house-debacle as a great example [I don’t recall liking him very much]) I think I’d rather fuck the horse. Regardless of equine hotness.

Yeah, okay, let’s be clear since of course there’s nothing so exciting as adding your own context to an outrageous statement: I’m in no way condoning horse fucking. In fact, I went and followed the link that one of my Dogs of War left in the Sock Drawer the other day and started watching that documentary called “Animal Passions” and I found it to be disgusting. I mean, I guess technically I don’t REALLY care, but when there’s a dude sitting there obviously checking out the rumps of a field of horses and talking about it lasciviously with his fellow beast-porker, it’s just so wrong, on such a visceral level, that I can’t get down with any notion of the horse not minding or anything like that. It’s gross, and weird and so, so terribly gross and weird.

BUT!!! I’d rather stab a horse (if you know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge) with me bits n pieces than stab a person (or an animal for that matter) with a knife. Even in the leg. It’s just not something I think I could do.

Okay, this little baby girl is going absolutely apeshit and she’s either shit her pants or she’s hungry. Either way, something tells me she’s not gonna do a goddamn thing about it, so I guess I gotta go.

Later Sackwashers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I wrote this at 5 am. Thank you children, for having such rigid schedules.

The world is dangerous these days. It used to be that if you, let’s say, got drunk at your cousin’s wedding and barfed on the groom right as he was about to say “I do” your family would be pissed at you, your cousin’s new husband would probably never, ever completely forgive you and when you finally got away from your family, your few friends that you really liked would have a good laugh at the idea of you barfing on someone and the subsequent family shitstorm. Then it would die.

Well, not completely. You’d still have your one cunty aunt who would never EVER stop bringing it up and your little cousin on the other side who insists that it’s “awesome” and you’d have an immediate family version of the Tiger Woods/Michael Richards/OJ syndrome where you’d never REALLY know what was going on behind those eyes that are looking at you, but generally, you get the point. You’d get to move on with your life and chalk it up to a bad day in a closed environment. Done.

Well, those of you who have all your chromosomes (and no extras!) probably already know where this is going. Nowadays, some kid gets filmed by his dad coming back from the dentist all high and the world laughs about it for eternity. And that’s not even really ‘bad’. God forbid you send a picture of your dick to your buddy because there are gonna be school kids in Bangalore giggling at your miley cyrus poster and droopy balls within the hour. The amount of ways that you can fuck up these days, the simplicity with which you can do it and the global totality of the repercussions is not only unprecedented, but it can make me freeze up like a man surrounded by snakes or tarantulas or scorpions or something if I think about it too much.

And the worst part is, shit that’s completely innocuous on its own can wind up biting you hard in the dick when new contexts are provided. For example, that fat dildo from Borat tried to sue the movie for painting him as a drunk xenophobe, but all the Borat lawyers had to do was go on that guy’s myspace page and find all sorts of evidence of him bragging about being a drunk xenophobe (I guess that’s not ‘innocuous’ per se, but you get the idea. Being a drunk xenophobe amongst your drunk xenophobe friends and being outed as one in a number-one movie are different things. Yes, sure, the dude is a total pud, and he agreed to be in the movie and while he was there he ended up acting like the turd that he is and he got what he deserves so uh…what am I saying here?) OR there’s that hillbilly old man that tried to get back at a bunch of cyber dorks that were fucking with his daughter….I don’t really know (or care to know) the story, but you know what? That chick was eleven and of COURSE she’s fucking retarded. She’s ELEVEN! So dude goes on the internet using old world solutions (talking a lot of shit about how deep in shit those who fucked with him are) to a bunch of new jack assholes who knew that he had no fucking clue what he was talking about and now he’s famously retarded and he’s probably on the mailing list for every NAMBLA chapter in the world and generally, his life is probably a little bit ruined. The consequences, old man, will never be the same. Indeed.

Or how about the fact that twitter and facebook and even myspace tend to indicate where you were at any given time in the past, so if you’re trying to lie to the cops or your boyfriend or your parents or you just honestly don’t remember where you were, you’re easily exposed as a fraud/asshole/mongo. Fuck, we used to cross into countries saying that we were there on vacation and we were musicians so we just liked having our instruments. Now, they google my name and BOOM! “Mr. Kelly, says here you’re in a band called the Lawrence Arms that’s scheduled to start a Canadian tour today.” “Hmmm…that’s odd. Where did you read that?” “Your blog.” And there you go. Fucked.

I mean, is it any wonder that everyone’s weird and cloistered and antisocial and doesn’t go outside? It’s a scary world out there. But the crazy part, the part that’s really, truly fucked up, is that the crazy world is actually INSIDE. It’s here, on the internet. When you’re getting your laundry, the old Chinese lady doesn’t say “you done goofed, boy” to you. When you’re sitting at the bar people don’t come up and tell you that you looked fat sucking that trio of cocks in that warehouse. They may recognize you, and they may think it, but they wouldn’t dare approach you. That’s the difference between the real life on here and the real life out there.

I mean, take me. Here, I’m your sophisticated overlord who can extemporaneously talk for hours on end about dog fucking and felching and Diddy Dirty Money and the sad shitsack that the world has found itself in these days…I can talk about how the notion that Julian Assange is being detained for being a rapist suddenly seems like a convenient way to turn someone perceived as dangerous into a monster in the public eye rather than something that seems to be the logical conclusion of a long investigation (because in what universe do people send agents into other countries to get rapists? [they should. Don’t get me wrong. They should. But they don’t. Ask Roman Polanski] and, AND this whole thing, it turns out, stems from Assange just being a complete asshole about using condoms during consensual sex, which is hardly an extraditable offense) but if you talk to me in person, I’m like the Matt Damon puppet from Team America: handsome and wooden. Retarded sounding and dead eyed with a penchant for staring off into space with my mouth open. Also, I say “Matt Damon” a lot.

The internet is an awesome place where we can all be the people that we would be if we had the attributes we really wanted (and subsequently wouldn’t wind up spending any time on the internet) and where women constantly ask for anal and video games are important and everyone has an opinion and who even gives a fuck about spelling? But it’s also weird. My kids will grow up and be able to see me doing awesome things on the internet, and they’ll also get to see me do horribly embarrassing things and they’ll be able to read things I’ve written in which I directly contradict my own parenting directives. This thing is crazy. No wonder we all need xanax and valium.

Speaking of, any doctors out there? I need some xanax and valium. I’m panicking about the internet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dog fucking.

What is it with the dog fucking? It’s gross. We’ve touched on this before in this space, but for whatever reason, it’s decided to baffle me again today. What’s up with the dog fucking and the pig fucking and the horse fucking and all that? Oh, what’s that? No. No. I’m sorry, you’ve misunderstood me. Of course I know why guys fuck horses and pigs and cows and sheep and dogs and goats and cats and monkeys and hamsters and weasels and frogs and porcupines and warmed up melons and couch cushions and so forth. It’s because they’re guys. They’ve got dicks and the desire to stuff said dicks in pretty much whatever’s around is perhaps not always prominent, but definitely at the very least latently encoded into every wang controlling brain area (probably the stem [heyo!]) in every male that’s ever lived. Ever.

No, I understand why men fuck animals: men are depraved and gross and (again) we’ve talked about all of this before. There but for a long term of unbroken solitude, just me and my goats, go I. AND OKAY, I’d like to re-state this point: it’s gross and wrong and terribly disgusting and there’s NOTHING AT ALL good that ever comes from a dude fucking an animal (pretty controversial point of view, eh?), but I get it. What I’d like to examine today is the women who let animals fuck them…that’s a whole other thing, innit?

Okay, firstly, women don’t want to fuck animals. Women barely want to fuck men and the women that end up doing things like animal porn tend to be (and I’m generalizing a bit here, so forgive me) total crack whores and demented borderline retards. There’s absolutely zero market for women watching animals fuck women. It’s all men. But who the hell are these men?

What man out there has decided that in the name of pornography and this one particular fifteen minutes that he’s gonna devote to whacking off this one particular time on this particular day, he’d like to watch a woman suck off a pig? It boggles the mind. I mean, there are so many women out there doing so many weird depraved things in the world of pornography that you’d think that SOMETHING uh…species specific could scratch this guys itch, wouldn’t you? You’d think, between all the myriad perversions that gross, twisted human beings have cooked up to try to stuff into or splash all over one another that the notion of a woman getting fucked by a Labrador retriever in front of a fireplace wouldn’t ever need to be something that happens, let alone gets filmed. But it does. It happens and it gets filmed and there are people that love it. Presumably.

I mean, I’ve never met anybody who’s told me that they enjoy animal porn. I’m just assuming that they’re out there somewhere because otherwise, why would it exist? The guy that films the animal porn may not like it. The woman sucking the horse dick definitely hates it, but someone in the production hierarchy is into it, or it would never be. That’s just gotta be true, right? Of course. So what is the mental glitch that makes you want to see that sort of thing (and yes, I’m referring to your proclivity for beastiality as a glitch. Call me closed minded if you must)? That’s the question for today. And I think I may have an answer. Ready ladies?

Okay, here goes.
Men have the worst and most completely fucked up relationship with female sexuality. All our lives we walk around doing pretty much anything we can to get someone to blow us. It’s the number one goal in life. It’s why there are big cars, successful athletes, mansions, guys like Ty Pennington etc. The whole thing (being alive) is one very simple minded quest. Now, if you’re gay, you’ve got some problems to overcome in the short term. You’ve gotta tell your loved ones you’re gay, you’ve gotta deal with the fall out, you’ve gotta soul search and be strong and find yourself a little more than your straight contemporaries, but once you do…boy howdy did you hit the jackpot! Did you say blowjobs? Getting a blowjob at a gay party is like getting milk at the grocery store. You can’t just walk in and expect it for nothing, but if you do the bare minimum of work, you’re walking out satisfied. Yeah, being gay is no picnic, and I don’t want to belittle how difficult it is to have to grapple with your sexuality in a prejudiced world, but man…the garden of delights that awaits you, boys…good on ya. It seems like it’s gotta be worth it.

BUT, if you’re straight, you’re dealing in a whole different kind of garden…it’s more of a hedge maze, and the fucked up thing is that as far as I can tell, it’s pretty much straight guys who made the whole thing so confusing and difficult. And they did it by being complete assholes roughly 100% of the time.

We walk around looking for a woman that will be kind enough to blow us. We beg, we plead, we take trains mammoth distances. We stand in the rain with boomboxes over our heads blaring awful post-prog-african-inspired-brit-pop-garbage. We go see dumb movies with John Cusack in them, we sit though horribly dull conversations, we buy things, go to school, learn trades, join bands etc. etc. etc. all in the effort to find women kind enough to put our dicks in their mouths. And what happens when finally, after our desperate search, like depraved and dying wanderers lost in a desert who come upon a fresh pool of clear, blue water, we’re finally lucky enough to find a woman who will actually blow us?

We greedily receive the blowjob and then we blow them off, or call them sluts, or make fun of them some other way, or subtly decide we’re better than them. It’s completely fucking insane! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? THAT WOMAN HAS DONE FOR YOU WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TRYING TO GET DONE TO YOU SINCE YOU WERE TEN! What are you, retarded? That shit makes women not want to blow us, and that, in turn, makes it harder to get blown, which makes us have to work even harder, which makes the eventual shittiness that we exude once said blowjob is completed that much more fucked up.

But there are reasons. Bad ones, but reasons nonetheless.

Firstly, there’s no doubt about it. Women have the power over men. Yes, yes, in the hegemony and with the sexism and the phallocentric world and all that, of course men have the power, but when the rubber hits the road, men, slaves to their dongs, need women to handle said dongs badly, and therefore need women way more than women need men (I realize this is a gross simplification of the male/female sexual dynamic and one that’s possibly very offensive. I’m not referring to emotional need here, just the basic primal urge to bone, which is [and I don’t think this is any surprise to anyone] very different in men than it is in women. Not better, not worse, just different. And that’s all I’m saying here).

There’s a power dynamic in place with a bunch of gross needy men walking around with their dicks out on the bottom, and the women who think they’re gross on the top. Once a woman is somehow wooed and the BJ exchange has happened however, the man, temporarily clear headed for that brief, fleeting five or six minutes immediately following the blowjob when he’s not actively looking for a blowjob, may foolishly see himself as being some kind of awesome conqueror, rather than the pathetic recipient of charity that he is. In an attempt to keep himself on equal footing (a futile task) he may then start acting like a total dickbag. I’m not saying it’s good or right. I’m just saying men are gross pigs and they act like assholes. Cool? Okay.

So what does this have to do with horse fucking?

Porn is fantasy. I read an article recently that eloquently stated that women in porn are not like real women sexually. That’s exactly why they’re in porn. Even THEY don’t really like to behave like that. It’s fantasy. Deep inside, we know this, but we hate to admit it to ourselves. We pretend to think that we could probably bang Bree Olson if she was sitting next to us at the bar, because uh…she’s totally always banging random dudes, right? But we secretly know the truth. Those women aren’t banging us…even the ones in the gross gangbang porn where five hundred guys line up aren’t banging us. They’re getting paid and they’re in an industry and those dudes are professional stunt cocks and there’s a whole business paradigm going on there and secretly we know that. We know that as porn consumers we’re buying into a fantasy that we’ll never be a part of where we sub in our small dicks for the mammoth dongs in the movie and pretend that this woman enjoys taking said dick out of another woman’s ass and sucking it, even though that can’t possibly be true.

But those ladies that fuck dogs would probably fuck just about anyone. Even you.
And I think that’s the appeal. Because I can’t imagine what else it could be. I mean, have you seen a dog dick? It’s fucking revolting. That’s the only answer, folks. That’s why your uncle has those weird VHS tapes. That chick probably would fuck him. I mean, she fucked a pig!

Friday, December 3, 2010

big dinosaur. Pornography.

My brother is a fancy big city lawyer. Well, that’s only if you count St. Louis as a fancy big city, I suppose. And actually there’s nothing too fancy about doing a deposition in Wisconsin wearing nothing but umbros and a ‘coed naked tennis’ shirt, but that’s exactly what he’s gonna be doing today, as someone mistook his carry on bag for their own last night. The phrase that my brother used to describe the perpetrator is not suitable for print here, but suffice it to say, he’s bummed at the mentally challenged person of questionable sexuality.

I mean, I feel his pain. He’s got nothing but the clothes on his back and he’s gotta give off the air of professionalism. And if he’s anything like I remember him, he just reeks of farts, so there’s that to contend with. That’s why my standard life-advice maxim has always been ‘never get yourself into a position where you can’t do what you need to do while high as balls and in nothing but a pair of cutoffs.’ It worked for Ozzy. It worked for Steve O and Henry Kissinger. It worked for Jayna Oso. It worked for the guy who created ALF. It can work for you too.

Anyway, speaking of things that are completely unrelated, have you guys watched the Dinosaur Train? It’s the story of a young, pre teen tyrannosaurus rex and his adoptive family traveling through time and space on a train run completely by dinosaurs in conductor outfits and southern accents. It’s one of the trippier things that you can watch at 830 in the morning and it’s also kind of mindbending because it’s full of paleontological jargon and long, ten syllable words, but, you know, it’s about time traveling dinosaur kids so there’s a bit of an intellectual disconnect that you can’t quite ever get over which really is saying a lot under the circumstances. It’s the kind of thing that you can probably ONLY come up with if you’re simultaneously a ‘wacky’ paleontologist and the type of guy who sits around all blasted eating peanut butter with a spoon and staring at your fingers.

The dinosaur train is apparently a huge hit. My kid loves it, and I see the characters on backpacks and stickers at the pediatrician’s office and such, but it’s on PBS which makes me think that if it weren’t for the marketing aspect, this poor, stoned paleontologist wouldn’t really be making a dime for his hugely successful hit. As it stands, I’m sure he’s got plenty of golden microscopes and jars of fluffernutter, you know, because of all the backpacks and notebooks and pencil boxes and stuff, but we’re talking about a huge hit here. If they could sell ads on the Dinosaur Train, this dude (or lady? Nah…probably not) would be filthy rich. I mean, fuck. It’s the only show that I’ve watched consistently this year. It’s kind of a bummer, but then I remember that I’m not making any money either and I stop feeling so bad for the guy.

Which brings me to my point. People can, and often do read this blog and refer to it as juvenile or puerile or purely scatological and therefore immature, and yes, yes, yes. It’s all that and less. This blog is little more than dick jokes, beaver discussions, poo humor and beer and boob enthusiasm. It’s working at a consistently low level as long as nobody dies and makes things too serious. But here’s the thing:

Critics have been known to refer to me as someone who has refused to grow up, or someone who still indulges in the childish pursuit of pornography and booze and hilarious anecdotes about dongs, but those are all mature topics. I didn’t get into the idea of wanting to see boobs until I was what….nine? Twelve? Well, twelve for sure. By twelve I think all boys are practically beating off to memories of geodesic domes, so yes, mothers, I’m functioning on the level of a twelve year old (who has a cool uncle that lets him drink beer). But you know who the real man-children of the world are? Paleontologists! They’re still indulging their interests that they developed when they were fucking two! Nobody ever gives them any shit for it though. I mean, it’s not really as though they’ve done anything practical except completely piss off religious nutjobs.

Nobody really gives two fucks about the way an Icthyosaurus’s tail protruded or which dinosaur was the smartest (it was apparently whatever the conductors of the dinosaur train are, btw) except for two year old boys. That’s the ENTIRE public interest in the science.

I mean, sure, we bring dinosaur bones to museums and tour them around the world and all that. But you know WHY those bones are popular enough to tour? Because in every country in the world, there’s a parent of a two year old boy pulling their fucking hair out trying to get them to not destroy what precious few grown up possessions they still have. They NEED to get them outside, if only to calm them down, so they take them to see the bones. Period.

There’s no adult interest in dinosaur bones. Nope. There isn’t. And ESPECIALLY no female adult interest. Paleontologists are, in fact, nothing but a bunch of manchildren who have hornswaggled our higher education institutions to fund them to indulge in a pretty useless infatuation that they developed before they stopped shitting their pants. And you call me a child because I watch pornography all day? For shame! The human asshole can do amazing things, people. Things that dinosaurs and their bones never dreamed of trying. AND, my interest in pornography is at the very least contributing to an economy (ha!) and perpetuating the stardom of several young ladies. That’s way more than I can say for any paleontologist.

Well, no. They’re entertaining kids…if I’m being fair. That puts them on the level of the Wiggles or Raffi, or DJ Lance (who is almost fifty by the way! I mean, he looks fucking AMAZING! If you’d told me he was 23, I would have believed it. Man…), but the difference is that Raffi teaches you about the color red and liking music and DJ Lance teaches you not to bite your friends, shit that you’ll keep with you until you die (unless you’re Marv Albert) while Dinosaur train teaches you a bunch of stuff with no practical application that will be tossed aside for eternity the second you see your older sister’s friend in a bathing suit.

I dunno…I used to love dinosaurs too. Maybe I could get a job doing that somehow.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

thank god for Diego and Dino Dan

Hey turds. How’s your morning? My kid’s a fucking maniac today. He’s running around and destroying things as though he’s out to prove that Dick Masterson’s theory that there’s nothing so inherently masculine (and awesome) as destroying something is a gospel-esque maxim (look up Dick Masterson and particularly his example about waiting in line to get a sandwich…it’s pretty good…no, actually, don’t bother. I’ll tell you. Dick Masterson is the guy who started Menarebetterthanwomen.com and he’s a youngish bald guy with a mustache and aviators who’s very articulate and funny, which makes me almost positive that the whole thing is an elaborate ruse that’s designed to just anger the shit out of people [though I’m nigh positive he’d deny that to his dying day] but essentially, he extols the superiority of the masculine over the feminine in all ways, all matters, all possible situations or subjects. Some of the writing gets really dense [or longwinded, I guess would be a slightly more accurate way to describe it] but generally if you can keep yourself from flying off the handle at his over the top misogyny [remember! It’s most likely a joke meticulously crafted to make you angry] it’s pretty entertaining. He mentions something about how a man’s impulse to destroy is so great that he’ll happily stand in line to get a sandwich just to throw it in the street and then follow that up by standing in the same line to get another sandwich just to throw that one in the street too. And that’s awesome for some reason [and THAT is awesome, because uh, well, if you were a man you’d understand how awesome it is to destroy sandwiches, I guess {that’s where the title of this blog coulda come from, folks. It’s a shaming device, like “bad dog!” but, you know, for doomed sandwiches}]).

Anyway, so this kid’s going nuts. He’s got Jelly on his nose. He’s pulled every petal off every one of the flowers on the table. He’s screaming and running around. He’s just opening the fridge and pulling shit out haphazardly and then eating it…at least he’s a good eater though, right?

That’s a big thing with kids: being good at eating. Lots of kids don’t want to eat, which, as Louis CK will tell you, makes you an insane person, because there’s an instinctive need deep in your soul to feed them, and if they won’t eat, it shorts your circuits. It’s like not getting laid when you think it’s about to happen: you get all hot and crazy and sometimes you’ve gotta go walk around the block in the snow just to calm down enough to do something as simple as just sit there and watch tv. Not that I’ve ever had this problem (I’m a level seventeen cocksmith, after all). Just saying. That’s what I’ve heard.

So anyway, yeah. My kid’s a good eater and it’s generally not a problem to get him to try new stuff (yesterday he tried salmon salad [made with hummus and siracha instead of mayonnaise…he hated it, said it hurt his teeth, but whatever. He tried that shit folks!]). It’s a small victory.

My friend was over last night and he was talking about how his daughter doesn’t really eat much because they used to let her watch tv during dinner (which led to her just kind of watching tv and pushing her food around), and now when she has to sit at the ‘big table,’ away from the tv, she’s pissed and won’t eat in protest. It’s a rough scene, but I can sympathize.

Kids are hard as shit to deal with because they’re people, and even when they’re little, even when they can barely speak, they’re as mentally complex as you or me. That leads to major difficulties in getting them to do things they don’t want to do. That’s why grown ups who need to get other grown ups to do shit they don’t want to do invented waterboarding and nipple clamps for car batteries and shit like that. But most people won’t do shit like that to their kids. They’re kids, and torturing kids is uh…wrong. It is. It’s just wrong. You heard it here first.

SO, you give up. You just look at the spot where you’ve gone tragically wrong as a caregiver, they won’t eat or they’re constantly showing off their dick on the playground or they piss in the potted plants or whatever it is, and you say, “ah, fuck it. I’m done trying to fix that particular problem. At least he says ‘please’ and ‘Thank you’ at the right time”, and you move on and pretend you have even the slightest idea of what you’re doing as a parent (you don’t. How could you?…unless you’re that Duggar woman in which case you’re fucking nuts and gross with a big flappy tent for a vagina). That’s why everyone you meet is fucked up and weird. Your parents gave up on you being a nose picker when they realized that your penmanship was at least pretty good.

And now you’re a total pervert because of it. Sigh.

See y’all at Sub T tonight? Cool.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

who's next!??!

Hey y’all. Thanks for bearing with me yesterday. I felt terrible. I was actually up all night tossing and turning last night too for some semi nameless reason, so today marks the uh…I dunno, ten zillionth day in a row that I’m exhausted. Whatever.

I’ve been out with the vampires in Pennsylvania. Did you know that there were vampires out there? It’s true. That’s what happens when you end a place name with –Sylvania. Vampires move in. It’s like how young white hipster kids move into black neighborhoods that suddenly become predominantly latino. Or cancer when it moves into your bones. I dunno. Listen, this vampire had the biggest house I’ve ever been in. It was pretty wild. Okay, I’ll start somewhere in the middle and go from there.

This guy’s name was Bam. Now, I’d never heard of him before but apparently he’s famous for having a big fat dad that he punches while he’s sleeping or something. I dunno. It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but he was obviously rich. His compound (it was too vast and sprawling to call it a house) had what looked like an airplane hangar on it, and a big treehouse and a gigantic mural of Osama Bin Laden on the garage and a ton of purple cars and…well, honestly everything was purple. So, keep that in mind. Every single thing at this guy’s zone was purple, from the tricked out go karts to the little display cases that held all the various suits of armor in the living room to the pool table and the giant TV.

Oh, did I not mention that this house was actually kind of a castle and it was packed to the gills with swords and armor and helmets and all sorts of wacky shit like that? Or that there was a radio station inside (where some guy from CKY interviewed me and my friend Matt [but left my mic off {I’m pretty sure}])Or that there was a dude there who spray painted his dick silver and stretched out naked on the couch (which was actually a backyard swimming pool sized beanbag chair) in one of these helmets while a dude named louie flipped said silver dick back and forth between his hands like some sort of slinky?

Yeah. It was a real scene. Look, I gotta drive my wife somewhere and take my kids to a museum or something, so I gotta run. Sorry to leave you hanging right when it gets good.
We’ll talk more about this another time.
xoxox

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Woah...

My car is dead and I don’t feel too far behind it. There’s something deeply cruel about small children waking up at six thirty. Don’t they realize that I need sleep? Sheesh.

Anyhoo, I had a great time this weekend and I want to tell y’all all about it, especially the parts that involve armor and giant Osama Bin Laden murals and a guy with a spray painted dick passed out in nothing but a helmet, but I’m gonna have to do it another time. I’m feeling pretty kicked in the balls this morning. You kids understand, right? Good.
xoxoxo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks!

Dogs of war! In my times of need, I’ve asked of you and you’ve provided for me and I’ve always been very thankful for your responses, whether it’s been a high ranking official at BOA getting me my bank records or a lowly street urchin bringing or mailing me a hat while I’m on the east coast or all of you that have sent me clam shots over the past two years. You guys have always been good to me and in honor of thanksgiving, I’d like to take this time to posit that I’m more thankful for you, my faithful pack, than almost anything else in my life. True. Group hug.

Well, I’m desperately in need of your help once again. As some of you know, I’ve been in the process of making a movie for the past year and a half. It’s almost done but one thing that’s really missing is a shot that I need to get that features a woman’s naked cans. It’s really crucial and I don’t know what to do. My wife won’t do it, and her friends all feel like their tits are too old for the job (and apparently, no amount of convincing from me will sway them) so I’m turning to you. Are you a woman with tits? Are you in Chicago? Would you be willing to show said tits in a movie that I wrote and directed? Your face will not be in the film, just your cans…and you can be credited however you like. It’ll take about an hour of your time tops and I promise no one will try to fuck you or be creepy at all…It’s just imperative that we get some canisters in for this last shot and as of now, I don’t have anyone who’s into it.

SO if you’re someone who fits the bill (female, with tits, down to show em and in the Chicago area) please, PLEASE hit me up at the email addy that’s linked form this page and we’ll be in business. Thank you so much.

I’m thankful for all of you, but especially those of you with viewable jugs.

Oh, and uh, of course you've got to be at least 18. No creepy stuff, folks. Like I said.

xoxooo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm a ninja!

Okay, what’s the deal? Is Yolandi even naked on the internet? Because I can’t find any pics anywhere. What’s up with those pictures of Ninja when he’s got no teeth on their website? Are those tattoos even real? I heard that they used to be sophisticated! How dare they uh…what exactly are they doing again? Um, oh, right. You guys may not all be familiar with Die Antwoord. I’m gonna give you the real quick version.

This is absolutely the last week that you will be able to live on earth and not hear about Die Antwoord. For the next couple of months, they’re gonna be a gigantic sensation from the clubs where the Situation hangs out all the way to clubs where Vincent Gallo hangs out and everywhere in between. They’re a South African rap group composed of a dude who calls himself Ninja, a hot (but totally fucked up looking) chick named Yolandi and a big fat guy DJ named Hi-Tek. Their music is bizarre and their appearance is even weirder. Ninja is, no two ways about it, a very charismatic and highly talented MC. That’s not really up for debate. Almost everything else surrounding this group, however, is.

Firstly, these guys are, in appearance and dress and attitude and everything are espousing a lifestyle and general image that they call “Zef” which according to my research is a combination of new and outmoded styles that combines to reflect the current street style/sensibility of the poor South African white youth. In that way, it’s not very different than being a hipster. It’s a little bit of Pink Floyd, some Biz Markie, cutting edge, purposefully ugly haircuts mixed with ironic yin-yang shirts, some winkingly bad tattoos, the worship of really cheap ways of getting fucked up (bad weed, malt liquor, etc) and a hardcore insistence that it’s all really legit. Oh, and it’s also notable that about a zillion other people who are doing the exact same thing all point at each other and decry each other for being posers. That’s a huge part of it, as far as I can tell. The difference is that with hipsters, American Hipsters (capital H) there’s been almost nothing interesting being produced by them (vice do’s and don’ts [in the Mcinnes days] being a notable exception), and with Zef, the only people I know of who identify with Zef are in this highly entertaining and polarizing rap group, so well…Zef is cooler. For now.

The BIG thing about Die Antwoord that’s interesting to talk about is that they weren’t always these sort of ghettoized quasi-juggalos with prison tattoos that they are today. In fact, in the last band that Ninja was in, he wore expensive suits and was (in stark contrast to how he looks now) extremely handsome and well put together. He’s clearly into high concept shit, and Die Antwoord is no exception, but there’s this backlash that’s occurring (simultaneously with their meteoric rise, which is exactly the kind of cultural synergy you need to truly get huge) where people are accusing them of being fake, of co-opting a culture that they weren’t born into and so on. “Die Antwoord is just pretending to be gross street rat scrubs that think Yin Yang tattoos are cool. Really, they’re sophisticated marketers and this is just the latest ploy to peddle their music” is something along the lines of how the criticism goes.

But I think that’s not only entirely retarded, it’s also missing the point so completely that it’s not just missing the point about Ninja, Yolandi and Hi-Tek, not just about Die Antwoord, or rap, or music, but art in its entirety.

Okay, so art has been completely commodified to the point where it’s essentially like dogfood or pizza these days, right? As soon as something is interesting, the next point is giving it a name and making money off of it, whether it’s painting, poems, books, videos, music, whatever. This strikes people as gauche, especially young people, which is highly unusual, because despite what they’ll have you believe, they’ve (we’ve) never lived in a world where art wasn’t a commodity. Now, of course there’s the internet which is a great Robin Hood that steals from whoever and provides free art to whomever else, be it books or music or movies or video games (which are DEFINITELY art, by the way), but that’s still not addressing the issue (or fallacy) of art as a commodity, that’s merely a way to get around it. If you’ve got a tunnel that goes from your prison cel underground and comes out in the woods half a mile away it doesn’t mean that the building your cel is in is no longer a prison. It just means you’ve found a sneaky way to get what you want in the face of competing interests. Get it? No? Whatever. Trust me. Art is commerce and anyone who tells you otherwise is A) a self righteous and highly delusional dipshit B) a smug asshole that thinks they’re better than you or C) an idealistic teen that’s probably no small parts A) and B). Oh, and there’s hippies too, but fuck them entirely.

Now, if we can accept that all of us have grown up in a world where art is a commodity and always has been, isn’t it just na├»ve to pretend it isn’t? That doesn’t mean it can no longer inspire, that doesn’t mean it can’t be heartfelt and come from a pure place that’s not influenced by a dollar sign, but to pretend that art is some kind of magical thing that doesn’t rightly exist in the commercial sphere is sort of akin to pretending that horses and steam engines are still the best way to travel or that leeches are the number one remedy for headaches. It’s just no longer true, no matter what you pretend, and more to the point, it’s NEVER BEEN TRUE AS LONG AS YOU’VE BEEN ALIVE, SO WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN GETTING THIS FROM? (rock and roll, it bears mentioning, has ALWAYS been a commodity, same with rap. There literally wasn’t a time when these art forms existed that they weren’t being actively peddled. NEVER. Just sayin.)

And so there’s a marketability factor that CAN play into something, especially something as transparently commercial as rap music: the most popular music with young people worldwide. Now, I’m not suggesting that you must mold and shape your marketability and persona (I mean, lord knows I never have…I’m really me, y’all) but lots of artists like to control every aspect of how a project comes together, from inception to construction to follow through, and there’s nothing wrong with molding and shaping an aspect of your art that’s gonna be there whether you like it or not. It’s like not wiping your ass because you’d rather pretend you don’t shit. You can do that, and maybe things will go just how you want them to, but you can also take control of that situation and make sure that you do your best to get things to go your way.

Which brings me back to Die Antwoord and the notion that maybe they’re pretenders. Who cares? Did Melville have to live on a whaler to write Moby Dick? Did Freddy Mercury REALLY have to love fat bottom girls (because, uh…), did Dostoyevsky have to kill someone and live with the guilt? Fuck no. It’s art. These people are artists and can create whatever they want to. “Legitimate art” is a completely subjective and stupid notion. No, actually. It’s not subjective. It’s just stupid.

If you think something sucks, that’s fine. But to deny the merits of something based on your own armchair quarterback notions of if the person who created it has a right to have created it….uh, fuck you. THEY created it. That makes it totally theirs. Sorry, critic. Sorry, bitter shithead who didn’t think of doing it first. No one gets pissed because Tom Cruise isn’t really a secret agent or that Eminem isn’t really raping his mother or that ICP isn’t really white and black, but god forbid you pretend to be poor or marginalized, or weird. Then you’re “Co-opting a unique culture” or “exploiting those who don’t have a voice” or some such other white guilt bullshit. It’s ridiculous.

If Zef style is what Ninja likes, then he’s allowed to be Zef. Period. Oh, he’s not allowed? Why? Because he has too much money? He brags about having too much money, so what’s your point? He can afford nicer clothes/tattoos/haircuts? Well, I’m wearing jeans that cost me 2 bucks because I like them. I can afford nicer jeans. I cut my hair myself, but I could potentially go to a barber. I’ve got tattoos that my friends have given me for free that look totally crappy. Does any of that make me phony? Of course not. Living within your means and enjoying things that you can afford or that are a bargain don’t make you an asshole. Sorry.

Hey, how about this! I listen to and make punk rock music even though I didn’t grow up in the suburbs and was never really disenfranchised and bored by design. I was no more disenfranchised and bored than any of my friends who wound up being lawyers (actually, I talk to my brother and he’s vastly more disenfranchised and bored than I’ve ever been, and he’s a lawyer AND his favorite artist is Mystikal or some such nonsense. Is that disingenuous? Should he be a punk just because he grew up in a suburbian dystopia and is smart enough to be frustrated with the way the world works even if he doesn’t like punk music? Does Ninja need to always wear a suit because he wore one once? Is an artist allowed to change and reinvent themselves? Can a person play a character that’s got less advantages than the person they were born as? Is Sasha Baron Cohen an asshole or a genius? OR both? Is he even allowed to do Ali G? Is there a difference between Rush singing about space and Ninja rapping about being a psycho? No. It’s all creative process/output and to put anymore importance on it than that is just to be a total asshole.)

It’s not your place, or my place to decide if someone is allowed to do their art. It’s our place to decide if it sucks or not. Period. And I like Die Antwoord. So there.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I hate starting things passively, but I’m going to in this case. There’s this guy that I’ve known since I was pretty young, about ten. We haven’t been friends that whole time. In fact, I haven’t seen or spoken to him in fifteen years, and that’s not because we had a big falling out or anything, it’s mostly because we weren’t really that close and it would have been awkward at best and most likely just painful if we had actually happened to run into each other.

You know the drill: lots of shared experiences in the past but no REAL connection creates a deep seated compulsion to carry on a conversation and an equally deep seated compulsion to end said conversation as quickly, yet politely as possible. In short, there’s nothing worse than running into someone from highschool that you weren’t really friends with, because you’re gonna sit there and exchange dumb pleasantries that take up about ten minutes but reveal exactly nothing and it’s all for the benefit of both of you not feeling like total shitheads, even though neither of you want to be stuck in said conversation. You’re all, undoubtedly familiar with this phenomenon.

Sure you are. Anyway…

This guy and I, however were, at one time long ago, in the same boat. Both nerds, we were the two guys in gradeschool who read other books on top of our schoolwork, and big, thick books, at that. Piers Anthony books, and Stephen King books and shit like that. We’d read them during recess and on the bus and walking down the halls and we’d trade books and every once in a while we’d have sleep overs and shit and dork out about nerdy stuff, but we were never tight. We were more just kind of drawn to each other because we were the only two people in the fourth and fifth grade that were into the dorky shit we were into.

This foundation led to us always being friendly even as we grew older, which was helpful since, as nerdy bookworm types, we were invariably around each other a lot. With the exception of my freshman and sophomore year, when I was living in the suburbs, this guy and I had almost every class together in grade school, middle school and high school. We were in all the advanced maths and Latin 5, and the fast track courses and special groups and all that type of shit. By junior year, we’d all taken standardized tests and when the results came back, he and I were (I believe) the only two National Merit Scholars in our class.

Now, by this time, we’d developed into very different people. He was active in student government and I took great pains to ditch school and leave the campus to go smoke cigarettes and drink coffee during student government. He was holding meetings with teachers and mentoring young students and I was dying my hair blue and blowing off my homework until the very last minute and playing in a rock band (he was in a band too, but it was a completely different kind of thing). In short, we’d become opposites, still friendly, but opposites. His dedication to scholarship was in stark contrast to my notion that school was kind of a waste of time and a prison for idiots, and a “slave farm” or some other such sloganeering idiot notion (a sentiment that I no longer truly believe, by the way…but I was a punk rock teenager and as such I had everything completely figured out).

Okay, so here’s the other thing about this guy. His drive was augmented with a highly competitive streak. This was something I was always kind of aware of, but after the whole merit scholar thing, it became kind of a thing between us. Every test, every essay, every report card that was handed out would be followed immediately by this guy asking me my grade and then showing me his (in retrospect I wouldn’t be surprised if he did this with everybody). Now, this was not something I wanted to take part in. I didn’t give a shit about grades, I didn’t feel like I was competing with him and since I felt like I was being forced into some head-to-head that I wanted no part of, the whole thing kind of bugged me, honestly.

There was, in my mind at the time a real conscious message in this constant comparison, that was, “Hey, BK, I’m gonna leave you in the dust” and I started to resent it, and by extension, him.

We applied to colleges. He of course asked me where I was applying. I had no interest in going to college and my only criteria for a school was that it be in Chicago so I could keep touring with my band. He had applied to all the ivy leagues, with Northwestern, the only school I’d applied to at all, as his safety. Whatever, right? I couldn’t have given two fucks about college and when he got into Harvard, I thought, “hey, good for him. That seems like a perfect fit: Two things that put unnecessary emphasis on grades and pedigree going hand in hand. Wonderful.”

Senior year, he became the student body president and after an incident where a young teacher showed up to a party and smoked weed with the ‘bad kids’ (me and my friends [and yeah, what the fuck was he thinking, eh?]) someone told the faculty and that teacher was fired. Rumors swirled that it was our beloved student body president, my competitor, who had narced, and though he took me aside and assured me that it wasn’t him, I had my lingering doubts and if I’m being honest, that was kind of the end of our friendship.

I started to see him as someone who was living for the exact opposite kind of world that I was into- a goody-two shoes-yes-man-square, as opposed to my…uh, I dunno…reckless awesomeness or something? This was, of course an extremely narrow view based in no small part on just the way we’d grown up and apart, and my desire to be selfish and lazy, but it persisted.

After college, I toured and toured. You guys know that story. This guy became a heart surgeon. Now, it’s hard to find something bad to say about a heart surgeon, especially one who dedicates himself to working in third world countries and with the destitute and with children, but the competition he’d started was, at this point alive in me, even though I hadn’t seen him in years (and for him had likely ended on graduation day). “Oh, good for him” I’d say, kind of shittily, when I heard about his great accomplishments (things that all parents from our highschool class were rightly very impressed with). I had my own gig, man, and I too was doing bold and exciting things.

But of course, that was just the surface. The truth is, I’d started playing in bands with all my friends and their bands, the Rise Againsts and Alkaline Trios and so on were blowing up, becoming careers and of course, my band was on a different track. I couldn’t help but feel that if I ever saw this guy again, that the scene in highschool with the report cards would repeat. “Hey brendan, what are your grades this semester” would be replaced with “so how’s your life path treating you?” and faced with a surgeon who’s wealthy, successful and travelled to more interesting places than I have, well, I’ve got nothing. In my deepest heart I feared seeing him because he’d won and I’d lost. He’d been right all along and I’d been wrong and I KNEW it now. And he’d know I knew, because he’s a smart guy, too smart to fall for any sort of “well, you know, livin’ the dream” kind of bullshit.

Well, that’s where it kind of was. I can honestly say that not going to any reunions at my highschool were fueled directly by this fear of seeing this guy and handing him the victory that (honestly) he’d earned. Until this week.

Apparently, this guy suddenly died early on Monday. Now, like I said, I don’t know him anymore, so I don’t have any details, but the rumors I’ve heard indicate that it was self inflicted. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that he was my age and there’s no cause of death in his obituary.

(I also realize that it’s kind of bad form to publicize a death, especially one so tragic, when you don’t really know the person or family, and that’s hardly my intent, so in the unlikely event anyone close to this individual reads this and finds it gauche, I’m so terribly sorry.)

All this time I was so afraid of this guy, and he was (if the rumors are to be believed) hurting so badly inside. I refused to let him ‘win’ a stupid intellectual competition that I’m sure he didn’t even remember existed when he was obviously grappling with darkness. I avoided this guy when I should and could have been encouraging and supportive, but I was selfish and I didn’t know and we weren’t really friends anyway and it wasn’t my place or anything but right now I would walk to the ends of the earth to show him this note and show him that he’d handily won if I thought that would make even a tiny bit of difference (which it wouldn’t. Again, he was a surgeon. I’m sure the trajectory of a third tier punk rocker from his highschool wasn’t exactly on his mind.)

But, I’d say “man, we’ve all got demons. We’ve all got darkness and shortcomings and we all feel inferior and small at times. Hell, you made me feel that way without even being anything but a stand up and decent guy. That's what life is. It's confusing and hard but it's also beautiful and surprising and confounding and spectacular” But man, ugh. It’s a punch in the gut. I’ll never see him now. I’ll never get over myself and be able to congratulate him for having a great career and talk about the fantasy novels we used to read as kids. Huh. Talk about a hollow and shallow ‘victory’. God.

Rest In Peace, dude. Sorry I couldn’t have seen you once more before you rambled on.

If any of you are hurting out there check out 1800SUICIDE or youspoke.org. Please, please please.
Thanks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

man! Man for sale!

Dudes, I gotta head to the free clinic to get my baby her latest round of vaccines. It’s gonna be something else, I tell you what. My wife’s out of town (in Mexico for fucks sake…probably not banging sexy, swarthy latin dudes with great mustaches and abs, but you never know) and I’m here taking babies to the free clinic like the madam in a child prostitution ring. It’s cool, but it’s leading me to the inevitable conclusion that I need to kind of sack up and get a job of some kind. This Mr. Mom shit isn’t all grocery store coupon poker and horny housewives. In fact, there’s been exactly zero of either of those things in the last two years. It’s a lot of Dora the Explorer, a lot of little tiny chunks of free time that are too short to do anything worthwhile in (so I just mindlessly surf the internet) and a lot of poo under the fingernails. Also, there’s some lunch dates with my more “jobless” friends, and the occasional beer, but for the most part it’s pretty standard issue “boring/rewarding” depending on who I’m talking to.

So, that presents the question, what could I do for a living? Hmmmm…..I’ve asked this before, to you, my dogs of war, and to myself. It’s not an easy one. I’ve got a degree, but it’s in filmmaking and due to my extended period of being on the road with my band, it’s no longer technologically up to date (and it’s in filmmaking, so uh…that’s like having a degree in “Burger King”). I can write some, and I’ve got writing samples right here on this very blog, but I think, if I’m not mistaken, that there are a few too many mentions of felching and dongs to really show my professional potential. I’ve also got a great looking dick, but I’m married, so porn’s pretty much out too. If I’m not missing anything, and I don’t think I am, that’s all of my positive attributes. All that remains is the same dull, unacceptable bullshit personality that every human being on earth possesses beneath their ‘winning smile’ ‘desire to succeed’ and ‘huge tits’.


What’s left? Service industry? That sucks. I’m tired of that. Retail? Don’t make me barf. I’m 34. Am I gonna be one of those old ass pizza men someday? That’s such a fucking bummer. Nah. I gotta get it together. Maybe I could be a heart surgeon or an English barrister or the queen or something? Well, no. Not the queen. I guess I could be king, but I guess there’s already someone getting that job. Sigh.

I could be in a rock band. That’s possible, right? Well, kind of, I guess. I mean, technically I could be, but it’s hard, and the music industry is kind of out of business and the amount of time it takes to get well known enough to potentially make a living being in a band is staggering and I’m a little too old for that now. I know that I’m already in a band, and that’s cool, but that band ain’t payin the bills. We ran that up the flagpole and aside from a few of you people with impeccable taste, the results were a little flaccid. I mean, after ten years of making records, you’re pretty much as big as you’re gonna get. That’s just the way it is, folks. So that’s not really an option either.

What’s left? I could do stand up comedy. That seems like a good idea. I’ll just get a wacky new persona and smash melons with a mallet and tell jokes about how my wife won’t fuck me and the black guy down the street gets his mail with so much more swagger than I do. How bout that? No? fuck. Okay, next on the list…um, um…how about food critic? Music critic? Literary critic? Oh, those things are no longer viable jobs because people get all their criticism from the internet now? Fuck. Hmmmm….How about famous Hollywood actor? Those people seem to have no discernable talent and make a lot of money. Yeah. Actually, yeah. I could do that. Watch this:

“I never loved you, angela!”

Did you believe that? I sold it, right? Totally. Also, I’ve got a great looking dick. Did I mention that? That should get me some roles, right? Yeah. Fer sure.

Okay, look. I’ve gotta go get dressed and head to the clinic. Hollywood, here’s your big chance. I’m available! I’m 34 but I could play a Mexican or a white guy or even a middle eastern guy in a pinch. Um, what else? My teeth are good and my diction is sometimes okay. Also, I’ve got a dead eyed stare that seems to be exactly what you’re looking for. Oh, and I’m at least as funny as that fat guy with the beard who seems to be everyone’s boyfriend right now.
Okay, that’s all. I’m out of here. Keep me in mind. I do nudity! Bye.

Send tit/beaver shots please! It’s all I have left keeping me strong, people!