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Friday, March 31, 2006

Take a Smoke Ride to Hell

As I work on my as-yet-untitled Max Beatty book, I listen to the Max Beatty playlist I set up on my Windows Media Player. I’ve got about 13 gigs of music on my computer, and out of that I’ve culled 11 songs for the Max Beatty “soundtrack.”

A song could have thematic links to the story, such as Tool’s Cold and Ugly, or it may speak to a plot element, like AC/DC's Whole Lotta Rosie, a gimmicky song that gets covered by Abby's band. Others may just be there for feel, like Clutch's live rendition of Coltrane's Equinox.

But there's one in particular that seems to capture the essence of what I'm trying to do with this story, and that song is The Bottle by underground heavyweights Hermano. (They're big in Europe.) Fronted by former Kyuss singer John Garcia, Hermano kicks out some of the grooviest riffs this side of grunge. Stoner rock is the official genre, I think.

The first few lines are the key:
You’re running around with the girl, man
She’s taking you the wrong way
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Listen to the whole thing here.

A Day in the Garden

From yesterday’s paper, a story about Colorado’s low unemployment rate. Ironic that shows up in the paper the same day I get laid off.

I have to say, I’m beat. Instead of resting on my laurels, I’ve been taking care of much delayed business. It was a nice day today, and that could mean only one thing: Yard work.

I cleaned out the tomato bed and started amending the soil in my containers. Also, when I was bringing the trashcans in, I discovered that some generous soul left me three mismatched tires and a cement ring as a gift, not to mention a shopping cart with half an office chair in it. The shopping cart I rolled to the edge of the block, the better for the rovers to pick it up, but I kept the tires and the ring.

A little paint, a little digging, and they became this:


With some mulch and a border, not to mention the flowers I’m going to plant there in about a month, it should be looking pretty good. Thank you lazy tire dumper man!

Speaking of flowers, I’ve got a tray of zinnias and a tray of marigolds sprouting as we speak. Today I also planted some chives and some okra in a container. I’m not sure okra can grow in a container, but it’s worth a shot.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The End

Today was the day.  I am now officially unemployed.  Packed up my desk, said goodbye to my co-workers, some of them friends, some of them not so much.  There are a lot of things I’ll miss, and a lot of things I won’t.  Luckily for me, my severance package was more generous than I thought it would be so I’ll have a nice cushion to figure out what I’m going to do next.

Go back to school maybe.  Do some traveling.  Work on the Max Beatty book.  And of course, get another job.

Right now, I’m alternating between two extremes.  First there’s this one, and then, more importantly, there’s this one.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

King Kong Ain't Got Nothing on Me

Music and Sundries

Today I'm officially part of the cool club. Thanks to my buddy Barney Boy over at Bonjour, Peewee, I got commenting privileges at all the sites run by Gawker Media, which includes such lovely sites as Gawker, Defamer, and Wonkette. Why is this so great? It's invitation only.

So I'm cool now, right? Here's my inaugural comment. Oh the wit!

The NFL's cracking down on end zone celebrations in an effort to make the game less fun, apparently. No more dropping to your knees and pointing skyward in thanks. No more spiking the ball. No more ball spins and chicken dances. Well...maybe you can still dance.

I never understood the resistance to this stuff. Sports is about competition, but it's also about thrills and celebration. Cracking down on end zone celebrations is almost like the NHL banning the post-goal group hug. It just shouldn't be done.

What would we do without John Stewart to show us the absurdities of cable news?

Woah. Sir Tom Jones is looking pretty scary these days.

Andrew Sullivan has been talking a lot about the "abuse of Christianity" by the religious right lately. He's making some good points, I think, but I also seem to remember him on Bill Maher shortly after the 04 election talking about how religious people don't like to be ridiculed. Maybe he's just a little late in seeing why non-Christians like me shake our heads in dismay at the fundies.

So for the Rolling Stone/MTV reality show application that I'm filling out, it asks for some writing samples. What better example than the music reviews I wrote for Blistering.com? It's been several years since I wrote them, and I had some trouble digging them up, but here they are, hours of entertainment right at your fingertips.

Cold - 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage
The Atomic Bitchwax - II
Union Underground - An Eduacation in Rebellion
Sixty Watt Shaman - Seed of Decades (Love this record)
Various Artists - Nativity in Black II: A Tribute to Black Sabbath
Various Artists - Strait Up: A Tribute to Lynn Strait
Clutch - Pure Rock Fury

And as a bonus, a concert review of Ozzfest 2001. It was kind of cool to revisit that stuff. I should do more of it, I think.

Also, one last thing I wanted to mention. I heard a Korn song on the radio and I'm starting to wonder if singer Jonathan Davis doesn't have a speech impediment or something. He always...always...pronounces the word "me" as "may." Not sure why that is, but sometimes it even works it's way into the rhyme, as seen in this example from Freak on a Leash:
Something takes a part of me.
You and I were meant to be.
A cheap fuck for me to lay
Something takes a part of me.
See, me only rhymes with lay if you pronounce it that way. Lame.

My New Pic

I got a profanity-laced message from Uncle Jim (pictured here with his hero) that had me rolling on the floor laughing. He's not too cracked on my new picture, and he's got a point. I look like I'm in pain, even though the intention was to look like I'm singing along to Pantera's Mouth for War or something.



Lucky for me, that's easy to change. In fact, I have just the picture. This one will help me with the ladies for sure.
Or maybe not.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Profits of Doom

I went to the eye doctor today and let me tell you, this guy was ancient. Back when he was learning optometry, Galileo was still perfecting the telescope. Hell, I don't even think the eye had been designed yet.

Here's a relevant story to my current predicament. Maybe by padding my resume I could get a better job and even more money...

Speaking of jobs, I think I'm going to apply for this one. Not sure if I'm ready to be a character on a reality show, but working for Rolling Stone would be awesome!

Colorado becomes the latest state to implement a smoking ban. The health and olfactory senses of nonsmokers is now preserved. In the next legislative session, I'll be proposing a ban on crying children and cheeseburgers. What? Don't look at me like that. I'm just following the tortured logic of this smoking ban thing. Crying children annoy me. And cheeseburgers, if you eat enough of them, will give you a heart attack. Making the world a safer place, one unneccesary law at a time.

Did you know that one of the Christian missionaries who was held hostage in Iraq and rescued last week was gay? That's alright. No one did. I know what you're thinking. A gay missionary? How can this be? Here's one clue: He's from Canada and they're not so uptight about such things up that way.

Will from MSNBC, who leads me to all kinds of treasures on the web, provides a link to this story. Will's take:
My reading of this is that Americans don't see any reason to be moral other than because it's commanded by their religion.
I wouldn't exactly say this is true, considering how many deeply religious people are morally bankrupt.

As much as I love picking on the nitwits who write for the National Review, it's a little too easy these days. Check out this nugget from Jonah Goldberg:
...it seems like there's growing respectability around the obvious argument that if you had fewer workers willing to be paid $1 dollar an hour you would have more jobs paying $2 an hour. And if such market forces were allowed to work themselves out, a lot more "Americans" would be willing to do work we've been told Americans won't do.
Does this guy even understand reality? The "market forces" he's talking about are the main driving force behind low wages. Undocumented workers are willing to work for $1 an hour because they need to eat and the companies who hire them need cheap labor. Now imagine if they suddenly demanded $2 an hour. If the companies pay them, they'll defray the extra costs on their clients. (How does five bucks for a head of lettuce sound?) If the companies balk, someone's going to starve....and someone else will be getting himself a low-paying job.

That's the market.

The American Prospect has more on this strange conundrum. This is the juicy part:
To open Jones Manufacturing in the United States, Mr. Jones must provide a minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air, clean water, a safe working place, safe machinery, plant-closing notice, parental leave, and labor rights; he must also comply with equal pay, age discrimination, disability, and anti-trust laws. Our standard of living is a cost of doing business. Today, Jones can go to China, which provides the factory and labor force for 58 cents an hour and none of the cost of doing business in the United States. If Jones's competition outsources to China, and Jones continues to work his own people, Jones Manufacture will go bankrupt.
The sad truth is that migrant labor, because it is basically a black labor market, is not subject to all the "standard of living" costs, and thereby very appealing to business interests. In a way, it's offshore outsourcing without the offshore part.

The guest worker plan might alleviate some of this "onshore outsourcing" by making migrant labor legit. I'd rather see that than our "standard of living" disappearing because of greedy multinational corporations whose only concern is profit.

Profit is good. But a healthy society is better.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Son of Abraham

Justacoolcat’s FFF this week got me to thinking about the Biblical story of Abraham.  It’s a sick story if you think about it, a man commanded by God to kill his son to test his faith.  The only redeeming factor in the story, I suppose, is that God stops him before Abraham drops the blade.

Obviously, I believe the story is more myth than history, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that it has some basis in fact.  Say Abraham really did hear a voice ordering him to sacrifice Isaac, really did take his son to the mountain and bound him on the altar and that his hand was stayed by more voices.

To me, that doesn’t sound like a pious prophet following the sometimes confusing will of God.  It sounds like the Son of Sam, a delusional psychotic with homicidal impulses.  Is it possible that mental illness, as opposed to divine providence, is the more likely explanation for Abraham’s story?

Scorpios


I forgot to mention....Scorpios rule!

Rockstar (In My Own Mind)

I'm a rockstar in my own mind. That's me and my guitar, Tiffany.

Every guitar should have a name. Eddie has Frankenstein. BB King has Lucille. I have Tiffany.

In honor of Coolcat, you can imagine that the song I'm playing is Breadfan. Make sure your imagination is working because I don't actually know that song. (Also, I seriously doubt it's played that high up on the neck.)

On another note, I watched the latest Harry Potter movie this weekend, and maybe I'm stupid, but I'm a little confused. If it's the Tri-Wizard competition, why is Harry allowed to participate? What's the deal with deatheaters? How come they didn't make Ron Weasley get a hair cut? And why didn't he ask Hermione to the dance? Jesus, man! She's beautiful, smart, and loyal, and she's right under your nose. All in all, I liked it, but I also felt like something was missing. Maybe it's all in the book.

This guy came up with an interesting way to spend Spring Break. He's got a bright future, this one.

I had no idea that the Church, a local danceclub, had such an international following. And to think I used to live a few blocks from there.

Crapsmack...I mean, Godsmack...released the track listing of their new album. I think I've heard some of them already. (Hollow by Pantera, Bleeding Me by Metallica, and No Rest For the Wicked by Ozzy.) I think it's about time these unoriginal poseurs go away.

Beware of moose.

A new sexiest woman poll came out from FHM and Scarlett Johansson came in first place behind Angelina Skanky, I mean Jolie. Here's the rest of them: Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Keira Knightley, Halle Berry, Jenny McCarthy, Maria Sharapova, Carmen Electra and Teri Hatcher.

I like Scarlett but I don't think she would have made my top ten list. Brangelina is out because she's disgusting. (Good heart, but let's face it...she's freaky.)

Here's my revised list (in alphabetical order):
Jessica Alba
Rosario Dawson
Salma Hayek
Keira Knightley
Sanaa Lathan
Lucy Liu
Eva Mendes
Brittany Murphy
Natalie Portman
Parker Posey
Why is it that FHM often confuses "sexy" with "skanky?" Hmmm, points to ponder.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

FFF#30 - Penthouse Letters Edition

FFF# 30

JJ's got the rules and your mama's got a glass eye with a fish in it.

But before you continue reading, I have to give you a parental advisory warning.

Last week I teased my readers with a little tale of star-fucking. I avoided the explicit details of my encounter with Madonna, but decided toflesh it out a bit more. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)

If Penthouse Letters aren't your thing and erotica makes you feel icky, you'll probably want to skip this one. It does get pretty explicit.


In the purple and gray morning, wisps of fog hung in the air like smoke. The morning chill creeped up my back and I rolled over in the sand, pulling the beach blanket around my shoulders. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing myself to go back to sleep, but the cold and the light of day made sleep impossible.

Huddled in my blanket, I sat up and looked out across the rolling waves of the Pacific, watching the water lap at the beach as the sea gulls flew in lazy circles overhead.
The memories of the night before started coming to me in flashes broken only by the screech of gulls divebombing for chum.

A lazy day at the pool. Movie stars sipping umbrella drinks poolside. Being seduced by the world's most famous sex symbol...

***
We spent so much time playfully kissing and rubbing noses in the pool that an angry Fillipino maid came out and howled at us in a strange pidgin language that we couldn't understand.

"What you doing? You go now!" was about the only coherent thing I caught before climbing out of the pool and wrapping myself in a towel.

"We go now," Madonna said to her as she got out and dried off. "You go change sheets." She hooked her arm in mine and whispered in my ear, "Don't worry. I know somewhere more private." A devilish grin played on her face as she wrapped a towel around her body.

It took her two minutes to call a limo on the house phone of the hotel, and another minute before it pulled up in front. We got in and Madonna told the driver to take us to the Santa Monica pier. He nodded once before raising the privacy screen and speeding off.

The windows were tinted so dark it gave the impression that we were driving through twilight.

"Have you ever made love in a limo?" Madonna asked. It wasn't a question. It was an invitation.

"Not yet," I said, reaching out with a finger and unhooking the knot on the towel around her chest. It fell to the floor, leaving her naked except for the damp bikini she was wearing. Her nipples were already getting hard, poking through her top like tiny pebbles.

I leaned in to kiss her and she turned away. "Ah ah ah," she said, ripping off my towel. Now we were both in nothing but our bathing suits. "Much better."

She leaned back as I kissed her neck, mewling for more. Her hand found the back of my neck and pulled me closer, guiding me lower. I pulled down her top, liberating her breasts and kissing them, taking a nipple into my mouth and flicking it with my tongue. She purred and arched her back, groaning with delight.

I moved down, licking a wet line from her breasts to her belly button. As I moved lower, she scooted lower on the seat and threw a leg over my shoulder. I kissed the mound barely concealed by her bikini, feeling a warmth and wetness that didn't come from the pool. I slid a finger under the bikini and moved it aside, exposing the damp pinkness underneath.

"Oh yeah," she cooed.

"Mmmburgle," I answered, my mouth too busy to form words. She responded by undulating like a go-go dancer, moving in rhythm to the lapping of my tongue.

Before long, she was panting out, "Yes, yes, yes! Oh YESSSSSSSSSS!" I didn't want to stop, but she put a finger under my chin and gently guided me up to eye level. "That was good," she said, her eyes misty with orgasm, "but what else do you have?"

At this point, I was threatening to split out of my shorts and I felt that animal aching that told me I had to have her. I looked out the windows and could see the beach approaching swiftly.

"Well?" she said.

I looked at her, trying to focus on her face and not the rest of her body.

"Do you have a condom?" I asked. This was Madonna, after all, and not the Starship Enterprise. Many men had been there before.

"WHAT?" she howled.

"You know, a rubber."

A look of anger flashed on her face and she pushed me away. She scooped up the towel and wrapped it around her body again.

"I don't know what you're implying, but I don't like it," she said. She pounded on the privacy divider until the driver lowered it. "Pull over," she said to him.

He pulled into a half-empty parking lot next to the beach and found a space. Once we were parked, Madonna glared at me. My erection had gone completely flaccid.

"Get out," she said.

"But, but..." I stammered.

"OUT!"

I did as I was told and stepped out of the car. She leaned out and said, "Just because I let you eat me out doesn't make me a slut." Then she slammed the door and the limo peeled off.

"But..." I said to no one in particular. She was already gone.



The moral of this story: Don't fuck with Madonna.

If it Bleeds, it Leads

More right-wing bitching about the media, in this case about the lack of reporting on good news in Iraq. The vast left wing conspiracy can be encapsulated in this sentence:
And you know why the MSM did not compare this year's celebration with those of the recent past: the comparison would have suggested progress, and that's taboo.
Of course that's the reason. The "MSM," motivated by intense partisan hatred of anything Bush, is deliberately suppressing the "good news" coming out of Iraq in favor of more gruesome stories about death squads and suicide bombs.

In the words of comedian Bill Engvall, Here's your sign.

Look, dunderheads, you can search and search and search for some good news in this Iraq mess, and you may even find it. But it's incredibly stupid, and disingenuous, to think the "good stuff" will ever overshadow the "bad stuff."

When have you ever seen a news story like this?

"Today, no homicides, bank robberies, or rapes were reported." Or, "Today, the forest is not on fire." Those stories are not news. And neither is this one, "Today, no one was killed during the celebration of Ashurah in Karbala." Those are descriptions of normalcy, the way things oughta be.

It's wonderful nothing happened. It really is. And it does seem to suggest at least some progress in the stabilization of Iraq. The apparent bloodlessness of the celebration as a stand alone story doesn't work. No blood, no story. It only works in contrast to years past.

Why should the media be obligated to make the comparison?

Updated: You want to know why there's not more "good" news coming from Iraq? Just look here and here.

Football and Illegal Immigrants

So I went downtown yesterday to pick up some tickets for an Arena Football game at the Pepsi Center later that night and I got stuck in this. I wish I knew about it, because I would have taken the highway. What should have been a thirty minute jaunt turned into an hour and a half one-way trip.

L.A.'s protest was even bigger.

Tom Tancredo, one of the several creepy Congresspeople my fellow citizens elected into office, took the opportunity to use an old INS joke:
While he wasn't at the rally, Tancredo said in a telephone interview that the crowd would have dispersed rapidly had Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers shown up with buses and started checking identification.
Better bring a lot of buses.

The Arena Football game was cool, even though the Crush sucked. They won the championship last year, but looked like anything but champions last night. Their first two possessions ended in interceptions and this same dolty quarterback fumbled at least twice. Those turnovers alone is enough to sink any NFL team, but in the highscoring AFL, it's even worse. By half time, the Crush were down by 30 points.

Unfortunately, I didn't see John Elway, the co-owner of the team, but at half time they did have some guys come out and give a demonstration of Australian rules football. Now that looks like a fun game to play.