Friday, November 25, 2011

BLACKOUT FRIDAY

When I worked at the theater, holidays were a nightmare. The days that everybody else had off were our busiest days of the year. Thanksgiving was particularly bad. People would try to escape their families for a couple of hours, or if they didn't have any other plans, we were the only thing open. The Friday after Thanksgiving was the worst. After people had been shopping for hours on their feet, they would come into the theater tired, irritable, and loaded down with bags of crap. They would buy tickets to whatever Hollywood piece of shit was released for the holidays, and shuffle with all the other sheeple into an overcrowded and overheated theater. On top of that, a ton of employees would call out sick for that day. We had them sign a contract when they were hired that they would be available and would work on the holidays, but firing them didn't help the day we were short staffed. After a grueling day of selling tickets, selling concessions, running around and putting out fires, and dealing with complaints, all the employees would go out drinking once their shift was over. That's why we started calling it "Blackout Friday."
Recently I heard Black Friday referred to as "the Special Olympics of capitalism" and I really can't think of a more appropriate description. At a time that we should be relaxing, enjoying food and family, corporate America has decided to turn it into a materialistic feeding frenzy. I'm not saying it's all their fault. If nobody showed up for their stupid sales, they wouldn't have them. Over the past few years the whole scenario has gotten absolutely ridiculous. The time that the sales start has moved back gradually, with every store trying to outdo the other one, until now some of the sales start on Thursday afternoon. What better way to spend your holiday than standing in line in front of a big box store in a parking lot with thousands of other mouth breathing greedy pathetic consumer feedbacks, waiting to buy whatever crap Madison Avenue says we desperately need. Well, enjoy it sheeple, but be careful out there because some people are getting violent about their consumerism as evidenced by this story. It's only a matter of time before we get our first Black Friday shooting.
On the other hand, tomorrow is "Small Business Saturday," so go out and support your local independent, mom-and-pop, neighborhood businesses. They are the ones that deserve your support. Now, a promotion like that is something I can get behind...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IF JEFFEREY DAHMER COULD HAVE RUN A 4.2 FORTY-YARD DASH, HE WOULD HAVE JUST HAD AN EATING DISORDER

It seems like I'm always defending my love of football. I understand that it's a violent, brutal sport. I understand that it receives an inappropriate amount of attention in our society. I understand that athletes get away with a lot of things that other people wouldn't, simply because of a hero worship mentality. Just because millions of people look up to them, that doesn't make them good role models. However, I have a love of the game itself. The mechanics of the plays, the competition and strategy, and above all the teamwork and comeraderie that can only come from battling in the trenches together to accomplish a goal.
The scandal which has unfolded at Penn State over the past week has once again cast an ugly light on football. Penn State has long been considered the pinnacle of college football morality. They have never been charged with any recruiting violations, a majority of their players graduate with a good education, and up until now they have had no other scandals. All of that was shattered in the past 48 hours. The incredibly sordid details that have emerged will erase the legacy of the winningest coach in college football history, and tarnish the image of the cleanest cut NCAA program.
If you're not familiar with this case, then you're probably not a football fan…or don't read newspapers… or don't watch TV… or don't have the Internet (how are you even reading this???). Everyone in America is innocent until proven guilty, but the details of this case are more about moral convictions then legal convictions. Edmund Burke famously said "All that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing." That is precisely what seems to have happened here. But first a little background:
Jerry Sandusky played defensive end for Penn State in the 60s. After graduating, he became an assistant coach, eventually working his way up to linebacker coach and then being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1977. Under his defensive leadership, Penn State gained the nickname "Linebacker U," and stunned Miami University in the 1984 Orange bowl by defensively shutting down the Hurricanes high-powered offense. It was assumed that Sandusky would succeed Joe Paterno as the head coach of Penn State, but when it became obvious that Paterno had no intentions of leaving any time soon, Sandusky retired in 1999 after a shutout win in the Alamo bowl, and the players carried him off the field on their shoulders. He went on to found The Second Mile, a community organization to help disadvantaged children.
Pretty amazing career, right? Well, it turns out that Sandusky was the worst kind of monster. A Monster that outwardly looks like a successful, well respected, pillar of the community, but who uses that disguise to commit acts of pure evil. He is an American nightmare. The kind, grandfatherly, coach who is secretly destroying children's lives. In 1998, Sandusky admitted to the mother of a child he was mentoring that he had inappropriately showered with her son. No legal action was taken at the time. In 2002, a graduate assistant coach at Penn State walked in on Sandusky raping a boy in the Penn State locker room showers. The graduate assistant returned to his office and called his father for advice. His father told him to leave the building. The next day, the graduate assistant told coach Paterno what he had seen. The day after that, Paterno told school officials about the incident. The police were never contacted, no attempt was made to find out who the child was, and the only action the University took was to tell Sandusky that he couldn't bring children on campus anymore. Clearly they knew something terribly wrong was going on for them to ban him from bringing children on campus, but I guess they felt he could do whatever he wanted as long as it didn't happen on their property. Everyone involved simply wanted to keep it quiet and not do anything that would harm the sterling reputation of Penn State. Apparently, nobody had the best interests of the child, or future children, at heart. Nothing was done, and Sandusky was free for the next nine years to continue abusing little boys. Both school officials have since been indicted for perjury for lying about their knowledge of this incident.
Sandusky has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault to children, ranging from 1994 to 2009. Nine victims have come forward, and undoubtedly there will be more since a man like this is an un-repentant predator. In a horrifying irony, his autobiography published in 2001 is called Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story.
I know there is a presumption of innocence, but the evidence in this case is overwhelming. Joe Paterno has insisted that Sandusky is innocent, but in the same breath he said that he and his wife will pray for the victim's families. If Sandusky is innocent, what victims? More importantly, how could somebody walk into a shower where a child was being raped and do nothing? How could a head coach find out that a child had been molested in his locker room by a man he had coached and worked with for 30 years, and not do anything about it? How could University officials find out about a molestation on their campus and not involve the police? How can all of this be swept under the rug for at least nine years allowing a hideous monster to pray on their community? For the same reasons that the Catholic Church protected, hid, and shuffled around pedophile priests for years. To protect the reputation of "important" men. To shelter a venerable and powerful institution. To not jeopardize a money making machine.
Joe Paterno announced today that he will retire at the end of the season. How noble of him. How nice of him to not force the University to make a tough decision about firing him. I saw an ESPN report today saying how "devastated" Paterno is by all of this. Like "raped in the shower" devastated, or "my precious reputation is tarnished" devastated? Some idiotic Penn State students and fans are rallying around coach Paterno. In their warped and distorted fanaticism, they value football victories, glory, and image over the well-being of countless children.
And that's why I always have to defend my love of football.
Because some crazy fans, overzealous media, corporate sponsors, and big business get their priorities way out of whack and give the game a bad name. I wish our modern culture would stop forgiving or covering up bad (and in some cases despicable) behavior simply because someone can throw a ball or coach their team to a victory, but don't blame the game of football itself for the actions of bad people. As evidenced throughout history, scandals and cover ups are a human condition, not just a sports condition.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

….. AND NOW A FEW MINUTES WITH ERNEST

Did you ever notice…...that when a person dies who was annoying, obnoxious, pretentious, self-centered, and humorless, we're supposed to be sad just because they were famous?  Why is that?  It seems to me that the sensible thing is that if we don't know somebody, and they didn't know us, then why should we care if they died?  Especially if that person was a grouchy pompous know-it-all who didn't give a shit about anyone but themselves?  It always amazes me when there's a big outpouring of sentiment after someone dies just because they were rich and/or famous.  Why is that?  It doesn't make sense to me.  You might say that's heartless, but maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon…
I once saw Andy Rooney talk about the cotton balls in aspirin bottles for 2 minutes.   Some people might find that amusing, but I found it incredibly annoying and useless.  I never liked his little "comic relief" nuggets at the end of 60 Minutes.  The whole "I'm a cantankerous old man who bitches about everything" routine got old after the first 10 seconds or so.
I had a friend who grew up in Fairfield Connecticut.  His father work for  Con-Edison repairing telephone lines, and rode into Manhattan every day on the same commuter rail as Andy Rooney.  He said that Rooney sat in the same seat every day and read the papers.  If anybody ever approached him  to say they were a fan or to talk to him at all, he was incredibly rude and told them to leave him alone.  As if he was so important preparing his stupid fucking routine for 60 Minutes that he did have time to say hi to somebody who actually liked his inane bullshit!  I firmly believe that a person's true character is defined by how they behave in the small moments when they think nobody is watching.
One of the funniest things I've ever seen is Ali G's "interview" with Andy Rooney.  One of my favorite lines is when Rooney says that he has " 50 books on the English language if you'd like to read one."  Eventually Ali G asks him if he is ending the interview "because I is black?" and then accuses him of being "racialist." Andy Rooney says that's not even a word , but the jokes on him because it really is a word.  It's a Brittish variation of racism, and was used correctly by Ali G.  Maybe you should've opened one of those 50 books Andy.
Enjoy:



...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RIDE THE DRAGON

The world population reached 7 billion people this Halloween weekend.  If that's not scary, I don't know what is.  I found out that the number of people on Earth has doubled since I was born.  Humans are the worst plague that God has ever sent down.  We make locusts look like child's play.  If this planet had a landlord, he would've called Orkin a long time ago.  Apparently all the wrong people are spawning too.  That's why my dad hated Mother Teresa.  Let me just pause for a minute to let that sink in.  Okay, here's why.  She advocated no birth control in areas that desperately needed it.  But that's a story for another post. 
I finally bought the Dragon voice recognition software that I've been thinking of getting for a couple years.  My weak typing skills will no longer hold me back, and this may mean a rebirth of this blog!  As a happy accident, it also turns out that the headphones and microphone that came with the Dragon software are better than my old headphones, so as I "write" this I'm listening to Pandora, and life is good.  Unfortunately, I look like Kathy, the Time-Life operator in those old ads, and my roommates probably think I'm losing my mind, talking to myself in my room.  I also sound like that old Molly Shannon skit on Saturday Night Live, yelling out punctuation.  Remember that character?  She was a grammar teacher who would say "Correct punctuation is important  EXCLAMATI ON  POINT  Without it COMMA we are like animals PERIOD"  I had to spell all that out.  Otherwise, the voice recognition software would just put in !  , and.  Ha ha ha ha (that's how it actually types out my laugh) 
As I was walking home last night, eager to try out my new toy, the goblins and ghouls and zombies and princesses were all out in force trick-or-treating.  My neighborhood, apparently, is a hotbed of Halloween activity, and the neighbor directly behind my house actually set up a fancy tent that stretched out from his porch.  It was called Fred's Garage, and drew quite a crowd.  Spooky sounds and music were emanating from it all night.  When I got home, I could still hear Fred's Garage through the trees behind my house.  He was playing The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels band, which I thought was pretty funny Halloween music.  I've always had a bone to pick with that song.  The devil clearly wins the showdown!  Everything about his solo is better than the human's.  Just another case of the devil getting a raw deal.  Maybe that's why I like Halloween so much, it's the one day where the devil gets his due. 
Well, that's it for now, but hopefully I'll be back soon with some more ramblings now that I'm not constrained by my suspect typography skills…

Saturday, October 1, 2011

MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS

I saw a funny photo the other day, so I posted it on my facebook page.  My friend JJ said that it should be turned into a motivational poster.  I thought that was a pretty good idea, and then I got a little carried away.  Here's the photo, and a few of the posters I came up with:







Feel free to submit your own version!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ONE LINE MOVIE REVIEW: B-GIRL (2009)

If every breakdance movie cliche ever created had a huge orgy at the UPN studios and spawned a baby that was a bad actor, and that baby took a shit, that shit would be the movie B-Girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THE BANGOR CHRONICLES: CHAPTER 3

I've been venturing into neighboring Brewer, Maine on my days off.  Bangor and Brewer are sometimes referred to as the "Twin Cities" locally.  I would argue that they are neither twins, nor cities, but that's a discussion for another post.
When I was in Brewer yesterday, I stumbled across the Super Twin Buffet.  Much to my surprise, the "twin" in it's name is not a reference to the two towns, but to the fact that they offer both Asian and American cuisine at the buffet.  I had read online reviews of the fabled Super Twin Buffet on Yelp and Yahoo restaurants.  All the reviews tended to focus on the low price.
Located in a strip mall with a bus stop directly in front of it's front door, the Super Twin Buffet does not have an ideal location for a place where you would want to go, ah, consume food.  Walking in, it resembled a bingo hall more than a restaurant.  The room was cavernous, with long rows of tables and chairs.  The outer walls were lined with booths.  I was quickly led to a table, and silverware wrapped in a napkin was placed in front of me and nothing else.  My waitress asked me what I wanted to drink.  She quickly returned with my diet Mountain Dew, and hurried off again without giving me any directions.  There were no menus or signs on the wall.  I guess everyone knows the drill.  I made my way to the buffet area.
There were six huge islands filled with food.  There was rice, ten different kinds of chicken, fried everything, salad, sushi, veggies, pizza, roast beast, and even mac and cheese.  One whole island was devoted to desserts, and there was a help yourself ice cream chest in one corner.  The decor of the food area was "shabby community center," with cheap linoleum tiled floors, and weathered fake wood paneling on the walls.
I got back to my table with my first plate and assessed the damages.  The crab rangoons were surprisingly good, but it was all downhill after that.  The white rice was passable, but the fried rice was spoiled.  The beef and broccoli was tasty, but the mystery meatballs were....mysterious.  The egg rolls were remotely edible.  Almost everything was straight from frozen directly to the fryer or oven, and I could just picture the huge walk-in freezer filled with generic white boxes filled with mass produced factory food.
On my second trip I tried some mystery fried nuggets (chewy), some onion rings (chewy), asian noodles (chewy), sesame chicken (chewy), and I couldn't resist getting some mac and cheese (chewy and sour).  My third trip involved salad, sushi, and some more rangoons and broccoli and beef.  The sushi was horrifying.  Fortunately, there were no raw fish components to any of it, and at least the rolls looked freshly thawed.  The fake crab rolls and shredded shrimp (??!?) filled rolls were easy to avoid, and I found a veggie roll that was bearable.  I think it had lettuce and rice in it. 
By then it was almost noon, and the place was filling up at an alarming rate.  People just kept pouring through the door.  All of the long community tables were starting to fill up, and the buffet area looked like a Koi pond after they throw the pellets in it.  On the big TV on the wall they were showing crazy Chinese gymnastic teams performing.  It was unsettlingly quiet in the dining room as people choked down their food and stared at each other.  If a prison and a retirement home had a kid, this is what it would look like.  And the humanity!  I felt like a skinny guy there, and if you've ever met me you know, skinny I'm not.
My fourth and final trip to the feeding grounds (yes- I am a glutton and a glutton for punishment) was entirely devoted to dessert.  I had butterscotch pudding (they still make that?!), chocolate cake (sugar air), carrot cake (no taste whatsoever), espresso cake (kinda......good!), a cream puff (delightfully stale), and a sugar cookie (I can neither confirm nor deny it's goodness).
I started hitting the Buffet Wall about halfway through the desserts, and had to hurry to finish before The Pain set in.  The waitress had dropped off my check with a fortune cookie and a curt "thank you" somewhere between my second and third plate after she had refilled my soda, and I got the distinct impression that dawdling was frowned upon.  Even though it was crowded, there were still plenty of seats, but I decided to leave anyway.  I needed to get some circulation going as quickly as possible.
I looked down at the check.  One all-you-can-eat buffet, one bottomless soda......$6.70 total!  Are you kidding me?  You can't get a sandwich and a can of soda for $6.70!  It seemed almost criminal to get that much food for that little.  It defied some sort of physics/economics law!  No wonder the place was packed.  I paid my check and stumbled out the door.  For the next four hours I groaned and winced as I thought to myself "Oh god, I'm so sick.  Oh god, I'm going to be sick.  Oh god, I'm so sick."  My fortune cookie said "You are magnetic in your bearing."  I not only felt magnetic, I felt like I had my own gravitational pull after that meal!
Of course, later that night I began to get predictably, inexorably hungry again.  I started to think about the Super Twin Buffet.  Maybe I'll go back tomorrow..... I mean $6.70?!?  Come on!
The food is atrocious, but the portions are awesome.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

THE BANGOR CHRONICLES: CHAPTER 2

Bangor is starting to grow on me.
Underneath a veneer of seediness, roils a current of content normalcy.  Usually, it's the other way around.  People are generally happy and laid back.  One of the things that impresses me the most, is that you don't see impatient people.  When people are waiting in line, they don't sigh loudly or exasterbatingly slouch their shoulders or look at their watch and roll their eyes.  They just wait their turn.  After living in Boston, which is chock full of people who love to be pissed off and in a rush, a more civil atmosphere is refreshing.
Bangor has little parks and benches everywhere, and it's the kind of place that still has a couple video rental stores (unfortunately an endangered species).  There are free movies outside in a plaza downtown every Friday during the summer.
As far as the economy goes, in the worst depression in almost 100 years (and it is a depression- don't let some statistical economist egghead blow smoke up your ass and say it's technically a recession.  It's a full blown depression), in one of the most depressed region of the country, I ended up getting a job at the first place I applied, at literally one of the closest businesses to where I live, at exactly the kind of place I wanted to work, so I can't complain.
Bangor is big enough that it has a couple malls, but still feels and smells like the countryside.  The University of Maine is in the next town over, so there are plenty of educated people, but very few pretentious people.  When you say "designer label" people think L.L. Bean, and those are my kind of fashionistas!  Besides, any town with a giant statue of Paul Bunyan is cool in my book.
The bottom line is that in Bangor, the buses run on time and people smile at you and say hello on the street.  And really, isn't that the most you can hope for from humanity these days?

Monday, July 18, 2011

RISE POKER CAPTION CONTEST

Guess who just won a caption contest??? Did you guess me?!? Good guess.
There were only twenty entries, but 1st place is better than 20th place!

Check out the photo HERE.

P.S. You should be playing on Rise Poker! It's free and it's fun. Not quite like the online games pre Black Friday, but it's Klonopin for heroin addicts. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

I DO NOT FREE BASE COCAINE

Thanks to Dr. Pauly for passing along this wonderful, heartfelt public service announcement.....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

TODDLERS & TIARAS

Holy crap.
When I found out about this show, my head exploded.  When I got done duct taping my cranium back together, I immediately tuned in to TLC to check it out (yes-  it's on The Learning Channel).
It did not disappoint.
It's never too early to teach young girls about superficiality, eating disorders, spray tans, narcissism, and the failed, misplaced dreams of their mothers.  I don't advocate violence as much as I did when I was younger, but I'll make an exception in the case of these beauty pageant parents.  They should all be taken out and beaten with extension cords, wire hangers, and barbed wire while being sterilized so they can't torture any more children.
The kids in the show are pretty entertaining.  My favorite was the little hyperactive girl who wants to be in horror movies, and punishes her mom by making her wear bunny ears in the audience at the pageants.  She has a speech impediment, so she refers to her beauty dress as her "booty" dress.  A Freudian slip in so, so, so many ways.  She is also on Prozac.
There is one little girl who is missing her front two teeth like a normal 5 year old kid, so they stick fake teeth on her before she goes on stage.
There is the token black contestant who the pageant emcee condescendingly calls a "real trooper" and "a wonderful girl" who just needs "a modeling coach" and "maybe a more appropriate dress."  She must have meant a more expensive dress, because none of those dresses were appropriate for a little kid.
The episode I saw was in Vegas, so they had a "Glitz" category instead of a bathing suit competition (even these nut jobs haven't gone that far.......yet).  For "Glitz," the girls dress up as showgirls, or strippers, or cigarette girls, or blackjack dealers and strut around stage doing horribly suggestive moves while their parents hoot and holler and egg them on.  It was truly a spectacle.  At the end of the pageant, the gigantic trophies are handed out and the tantrums of the losers begin.  Sometimes the little girls get upset too.  They also hand out a cash prize to the top girl. 
Wear a ton of trashy make up, strut around on stage half dressed, shake your ass, and get handed a bunch of cash.  Super positive lesson.  They even have the winner fan out the bills and pose for pictures. 
It's always great to see the next generation of pill popping, attention craving, stripping, head case, future meth heads and plastic surgery victims growing up.
It almost brings a tear to your eye.

Toddlers & Tiaras airs on TLC on Wednesday nights, and former participants of the show can be found in strip clubs and psychologist offices all across America.

Monday, June 20, 2011

THE BANGOR CHRONICLES: CHAPTER ONE

After a couple weeks embedded in the second biggest town in Maine, I have made some keen observations.

Bangor is the kind of town where:

.....all the half decent looking chicks are knocked up, and half the decent looking chicks are too.

.....EVERYBODY still smokes, but apparentely almost nobody showers.

.....every conversation on the bus is either about probation, child support payments, or a social security check.

.....people are small-town-nice, but still have a little bit of a New England chip on their shoulder.

.....you can still find a mailbox and a phone booth.

.....they don't have a rush hour.  It's more of a saunter hour.

.....welfare and disability are both considered viable career options.

.....everything is stuck 50 years ago.  Technology, social attitudes, vehicles, and (fortunately) prices.

.....there is still a video game arcade (look it up on Wikipedia if you've never heard of one) at the mall with a couple functioning pinball games.

.....a high school diploma still means something.

.....the most exciting thing that ever happened was when it burned down one hundred years ago.

.....you've never heard of it, but it pops up in songs all the time.  King of the Road, I've Been Everywhere to name a couple.

.....the most famous resident is the King of Horror (you can read more about Bangor in his books.  He calls it "Derry").

Friday, June 17, 2011

SEPARATED AT BIRTH?

It's time for another installment of separated at birth, where we examine pictures of two people and try to determine if they are long lost twins.
Enjoy!


 Here is Aaron from Intervention.  He is a mixed martial arts fighter who started acting in pornos, then got addicted to meth and masturbating while watching porn (great episode).  The insert is his possible twin, actor Josh Brolin.

 On the left is Jenni Pujols from Flipping Out (hilarious show), and on the right is her identical twin Julia Louis Dreyfus.

 Here we have Sig Hansen from The Deadliest Catch, and his doppelganger Bobby Fischer, one of the greatest chess players of all time.

I usually stick to reality shows for the celebrity look a likes, but there were a couple from the sports world that I couldn't ignore:

 Jim Carrey is coaching the Dallas Mavericks???!?

Little Wiley Wiggins from Dazed and Confused grew up to be San Fransisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecom!

Stay tuned for more......

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ONE LINE MOVIE REVIEWS

I used to do a one line movie review blog called Cut to the Chase.  It was short lived, but fun.  I got the idea after reading a beautiful one word review in The Onion of the Eddie Murphy vehicle Boomerang (1992).  The review was simply "Boomerwrong."  That remains a classic, and inspired me to write concise, accurate, one line reviews.
Some of my favorites:

Momento (2000)  .movie cool fucking Pretty

The Pink Panther (2006)  This remake is an hour and a half of single entendres.

Minority Report (2002)  My only regret is that I have but two thumbs to give this movie down.

Unbreakable (2000)  Unbearable.

Bowfinger (1999)  Steve Martin's funny little flipping of the bird to Scientology and Anne Heche.

Some of my favorite guest posts:

Avatar (2009)  "Avatar blue."  -JJ Bowman (this one is meant to be said out loud)

2012 (2009)  "A touching story of the end of the world that helps an eight year old girl get over wetting the bed."  -J. Van Dreason

Chairman of the Board (1998)  "Chairman of the b-o-r-e-d!"  -Norm MacDonald  (Norm MacDonald was not actually a guest reviewer.  He said this on Letterman, so I stole it.)

Now that I live in a town with $6.25 matinees (you heard me right- first run movies, all shows, every day, before 6pm are $6.25!!) I'm going to be seeing a lot more movies.  Here are my one line reviews of the two most recent:

The Hangover 2 (2011)  Formula falls flat in Phillip's follow-up to phenomenal first film.

X-Men: First Class (2011)  This movie should have been called X-Men: Third Rate.  It was like the director ate every comic book and crappy movie cliche and then vomited them up on the screen in a huge technicolor yawn.

Feel free to comment with your own one line reviews......

Friday, June 3, 2011

THE ROAD TO BANGOR

On our journey through life there are many types of signs. They can be omens, harbingers, or foreshadowing of things to come. In the case of my journey to Bangor, they were actual, physical signs.


When I got on the small West's Coastal Bus, the driver informed us that there was a new policy. He even tapped one of the sheets of paper that were taped up all over the bus. They said "No food on bus and beavages in plastic containers only." I don't know what a "beavage" is, but I guess it doesn't mean what I assumed it meant, because what I was thinking of doesn't come in containers at all.


I saw a few more signs along the twisting Route 1, including no less than three stores that advertised "Welding and Live Bait." Apparently that's a popular combo down east.


There was a store in a strip mall called "The Libinski Dance Studio." Wishing it was called "The Big Libinski Dance studio" was hoping for too much I guess.


My favorite though, was a simple, crudely hand written sign stuck in somebody's yard that just said "guns wanted." Now there's a twist.


When I got to Bangor, the signs continued. I got on the Bangor Area Transit bus (BAT for short, and yes, they have a huge silhouette of a bat on the side of the bus). There was a sign that said "Floors slippery when wet" and had a hilarious stick figure that looked like it was jumping up and clicking it's heels together while simultaneously throwing it's arms out like a joyous Keith Haring painting on meth. Next to that was a sign that said "No talking to driver." People blatantly defied that one. Everyone seemed to know each other. Unfortunately, the bus smelled like stale cigarette smoke, booze, and body odor, in equal amounts. Maybe that was an omen of what kind of town Bangor was going to be.


It seems to be the kind of town where burnout kids still actually play hackeysack. It's one of the last places where there are mail boxes and phone booths. It's the kind of place where there is a crazed person on every corner just waiting for you to make eye contact so they can ask for money or try to sell you something (I'm a little disappointed that nobody has actually offered me anything. I must be getting old). It's the kind of town where I read this in the BAT brochure's FAQ:


Q: Can drivers accept personal checks?


A: Yes, please make them out to “BAT Community Connector.”


Personal checks?!?? On buses?!?? Where have I landed? What century is this?


I have to admit that after a couple days, the place is starting to grow on me. After all, the other day I saw The Hangover 2 for $6.25! I've already met the town crazy lady, who walks around downtown shouting gibberish and pantomiming in a strange mix of sign language and charades. She is a dead ringer for The Simpsons cat lady. In the land of the Bangor, the one toothed man is king, and I feel like a Nobel Prize winner in every category here. Just when I started feeling a little too cocky, I went to a wine tasting at a shop where I had applied for a job, and they were using Reidel glasses and had a well planned and executed flight of sophisticated wines. There are surprises around every corner.


Hopefully a sign of things to come.

Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY, BANGOR, AND THE SIMPSONS

Happy Memorial Day everyone, although I don't know that "happy" is the correct term for a holiday honoring people who have died serving our country. Maybe "Respectful" Memorial Day is more appropriate?
I went to a really nice memorial service at the Eastport High School. Normally, the service is held at the cemetery, but the ground was too wet since it had just stopped raining. It was moving to see all the vets from every war, and remember the sacrifice of those that didn't make it. A little girl sang a beautiful song about a couple separated by war, and there was the presentation of a flag that had flown in combat during WWII in the Pacific on the USS Cony, a destroyer named after an Eastport naval hero of the Civil War. The ceremony had all the quirks (good and bad) of a small town event. This is going to be my last day in Eastport for awhile, and I'm surprised at how attached I got to this little corner of Maine wedged between the Atlantic and Canada.
I'm moving to Bangor tomorrow, and while I'm not too thrilled about the town or the job prospects, it will be a fun adventure no matter what. When I was in Bangor on Sunday dropping most of my stuff off, I realized why Stephen King lives there and has set so many books there. Lots of people wander around the town like zombies! You see dirty, disheveled people in tattered clothes shuffling all around downtown like Dawn of the Dead. There is a high rate of homelessness (in fact, the Bangor Daily News runs the homeless tally every day in a little info graphic box on the front page like a sports score), and the town has somewhat of a ghost town feel to it. A once thriving industrial epicenter in the early part of the 20th Century, Bangor has fallen into semi-ruin after most of the industries that fueled it slowly died.
But perhaps I'm overselling it.
No matter where you go in life, there are great people to meet, and opportunities around every corner. I plan on participating in the renaissance of Bangor, and having fun doing it!
On another note, my friend Henri (who's previous visit I wrote about here) just won a charity poker event run by Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson). First place award? He and a guest get to sit in on a Simpsons table read! I can't think of a cooler prize! Henri is the most knowledgable, die-hard Simpsons fanatic I know. In fact, I gave him an authentic Simpsons sailboat painting (*painting not authentic) as a gift once, and he called it the "most Henri appropriate gift ever."






He gets to bring one guest, but alas, he is bringing his friend from home. I'm second on the list, but it doesn't matter if you're second or 132nd on that list, because nobody in their right mind would turn it down. Any true fan of the show (like all good hearted people are) would quit their job and pawn their wedding ring to get to L.A. for that if they needed to! Well, here's hoping Henri's friend gets violently ill the week before the table read (nothing fatal of course, just incapacitating- I'm not a monster!).
Congrats again to Henri. When he won the poker tourney he was wearing a Ralph Wiggum t-shirt that appropriately said "I beat the smart kids!" On that note, here are the third and fourth Ralphies in my portrait series. I won't be painting for awhile, so the Ralph Project will be on hold indefinitely......
Enjoy!









Ralph Seurat Seurat











Cross-stitch Ralph



Thursday, May 19, 2011

BANGOR??? I HARDLY KNOW WHORE!

The town of Bangor, Maine is pronounced bang-gore, not bang-ger the way people assume, so instead of "Bangor? I hardly know her!" it's "Bangor? I hardly know whore!" which actually rhymes, and the joke is taken to a whole new.....ahhh screw it, let's just get to the story (which has nothing to do with whores anyway).

It was a cool and foggy morning as I left Eastport to drive to Bangor. You could barely see the ocean from the causeway leading to the mainland. It was good driving weather, and I had about a two hour trip ahead of me. Route 9, also known as the Airline Road, cuts from the far Northeast corner of Maine, where it meets Canada and the Atlantic, and heads towards the center of the state. It runs along a ridge of blueberry barrens and valleys for almost 100 miles.
As I cruised along at 80 mph, The Final Countdown by Europe came on the radio. I can't hear that song without picturing Gob Bluth (aka Wil Arnett) doing his magic routine on Arrested Development. The first minute of The Final Countdown is probably one of the best (read: funniest) beginnings of any song. The rest of it.........meh. Either way, the song made me laugh and put me in a good mood as I headed to Bangor to look for jobs and check out a place to move.
I rolled into Bangor around 1:30pm, too late to eat at the Friar's Bakehouse. It's one of the best sandwich shops I've ever been to, and yes, it's run by a couple friars who have a small chapel upstairs from the dining room. They bake their own incredible bread, and list the daily sandwich specials on a board with a big handwritten sign under it that says "No bread substitutions." A sign like that always makes a grouchy old cook smile and warms his heart. No substitutions. Beautiful.
While I was fantasizing about a lunch I couldn't have, I headed to a few stores to drop off some resumes. Silly me. Everything is done online now. I felt like Grandpa Simpson with my outdated dead tree technology in my hand , trying to get a job. The times, they aren't a-changing........they've already changed.
I gave up on my pavement pounding (that's sooo last millennium), and cruised around checking out the town. Bangor is a dreary little town on the banks of the Kenduskeag River. Thoreau visited the "Queen City" as it's called (I don't know why it's called that, but there must be about 300 jokes that I'm just going to skip) back when trains and steamships were the only transportation. There is a monument honoring the underground railroad named for Joshua Chamberlain, the Maine college professor, hero of Gettysburg, and medal of honor recipient (read The Killer Angels- one of the best war books ever written and a gripping account of Gettysburg). Bangor is also home to Stephen King and his predictably Gothic mansion. Across the river is a town called Brewer, and together they are the "Twin Cities." Having grown up in the real Twin Cities in Minnesota, maybe that's why I have a strange affinity for Bangor. There is also a giant statue of Paul Bunyan, another thing that would make any Minnesotan feel right at home. Across from the giant Paul Bunyan is Hollywood Slots. That's where I found myself killing a couple hours before my appointment.
If it's possible to call a casino "quaint" then that's exactly what Hollywood Slots is. The entire gaming floor is about the size of a Denny's. No table games, no fancy sculptures, no fountains, no nothing but a few rows of penny slots. There is a high roller area in the corner with $5 slots. It's been empty both times I've been there. I settled on a bank of Hee Haw slot machines. I guess you could say I'm a niche slots player. I specialize in redneck TV show slots. I did well at the Green Acres machine last time I was there, and at Foxwoods I always play the Dukes of Hazard game (when there isn't a three-deep line to play). At 20 cents a spin, I could kill a couple hours on Hee Haw.
I blew through my first $20 in about 16 minutes.
I got up and wandered over to an Airplane: The Movie machine and lost $10 without even inflating the auto pilot for the bonus round once. Enough of that. I headed for the video poker. Time to cut to the chase. I've been missing poker so much since Black Friday that I'll take whatever I can get. After 30 minutes of exactly break even play, I went back for another crack at Hee Haw. I had $10 to go before I hit the $40 loss limit that I had set for myself. I was a couple spins away from walking out $40 poorer, when I hit eight corn cobs on one spin. Now, for those of you who are not Hee Haw slots aficionados, corn= good. The machine lit up and starting making a loud pleasant chiming sound as it rang up my 20,000 credits.
I sat there staring at the flashing yellow border as the machine slowly tallied up my $200 jackpot. If I had been playing "max bet" ($2 per spin instead of 20 cents), the jackpot would have been $2,200. All the noise had attracted a small crowd, and I knew what was coming next. The ubiquitous lady in every casino with the gigantic "Tootsie" glasses on a chain, and her frequent player card dangling from a curly elastic bungee cord on her hip, came over and asked if I had been playing "max bet." Of course I wasn't, I replied. If you had, it would have been $2,200, she said. After I explained that I was just killing time, not executing a master gambling scheme, she said "Well, you've got to play "max bet" because you don't know when it's going to hit. You just don't know when it's going to hit....." her voice trailed off as she headed into the slots maze with that crazy glazed expression on her face to find the next machine.
You just don't know when it's going to hit.
Truer words were never spoken. I'm beginning to see how these casino places stay in business. I know it would have fallen on deaf ears to explain the simple math that if the bet is 10x bigger, then the jackpot is 10x bigger. Sure, it would've been nice to win the $2,200, but I was really happy with my $200 windfall on a 20 cent bet.
After the machine was done totalling up all of my credits, the weirdest thing of all happened. I saw my hand slowly reach out and deliberately press the "cash out" button. What the hell was I doing?!? The machine was hot! I was playing with house money! I still had an hour to kill before my appointment! Surely, you have to play a little longer and see what happens! I know exactly what happens next, and stop calling me Shirley. I would sit there playing a couple more credits, a couple more credits, a couple more credits, until I had given all the money back. I've done that, and I don't like that feeling. It's way worse than just walking in and losing some money and walking out. Giving back money you've won haunts you something brutal. I decided to stop that pattern, so I cashed my ticket and walked out of the little casino (well, I did drop $10 in a video poker machine on the way out. I'm not totally insane!).
I went to see the room for rent, it looked good, it was dirt cheap, furnished, and everything was included. I told the owners of the house I was interested, and they said they would get back to me soon. I hit the road and drove over the highest point of the Airline Road right at sunset. I could see all the surrounding hills and lakes clearly in the pink dusk. When I got home, there was an email saying I could have the room. Felt like a pretty lucky day all around. Then I remembered that I had a couple scratch tickets I bought at a gas station on my way home. I pulled them out and carefully scratched all the silver off to reveal that I had won............absolutely nothing. Ahhhhh, that's more like it. Sometimes winning too often gives a gambler an ominous feeling.
Time to start the final countdown for my move to Bangor (cue the music).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

PIN CUSHION

I would make a terrible junkie.
Not because I don't like to get loaded. Not because I don't have a Herculean tolerance. Not because I don't like to associate with the fringe elements of society. No, I have all those things in spades.
I'd be a bad junkie because it's impossible to find my veins.
I just spent all morning having four different women in two different locations jab a total of six different needles into me searching for a vein. And they were just trying to draw blood, not even inject sweet sweet Morpheus into me. I used to joke that my fear of needles is the only reason I survived the 90's, but little did I know that even if I had conquered that fear, I still would have had another hurdle to clear on the path to potential junkiedom.
Nurses have always had trouble drawing blood from me, but usually after one or two tries, they hit it. Not today. Today I spent an hour at the doctor's office while a medical student, a nurse, and a nurse's aid fished around in my arms and hands with sharp needles to no avail. They told me I was going to have to go to the hospital so they could try there. When I left the room I had more band aids and cotton balls taped to me than an epileptic after shaving. When I was at the reception desk getting my paperwork, one of the nurses walked by and I pointed to my arm and said "You missed a spot." That killed. The receptionists and even the doc couldn't help cracking up at that one.
I drove over to the hospital and the phlebotomist pro nailed it on the first try. She had a trick involving two tourniquets and a "butterfly" needle. She and her colleague scoffed at the incompetence of the nurses from my doctor's office. I think that was pretty catty though. My veins are tough to find.
I have a new found respect for the junkies I see on the shows Intervention, Relapse, and the movie Dope Sick Love. Once they've abused their bodies long enough, their veins start to collapse, and they have to search forever and end up shooting in their feet, neck, and genitals. No thanks. It was bad enough spending one morning with a needle poking and prodding under my skin searching for pay dirt, let alone doing it every waking hour, every day, for the rest of my life. Ugh. That is a brutal and tough existence.
Besides, it's like my drinking buddy Sean used to say: "If you can't get fucked up enough on booze and weed....then you've got a problem."

Friday, April 22, 2011

CREEPY EASTER BUNNIES

Thanks for dying Jesus......the candy is awesome!
We're celebrating Easter Throwin' Rocks style, with a gallery of the creepiest Easter Bunnies we could find.
Enjoy.........






Soul stealing bunny







Who's next? bunny

Old school nightmare bunny







The look on the little kid's face says it all bunny









Disheveled bunny
(I don't know if it's the rollerblades, the polka dot wallpaper matching the bunny's scarf, or his ratty tennis shoes, but for some reason, this one is my favorite)










Burn victim bunny










Bad touch bunny






Happy Easter Everybody!






Friday, April 15, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY

It was a dark day today indeed. The Department of Justice passed down eleven indictments for the heads of the big three online poker sites and their bank processors. I already wrote a rant to my poker buddies about the insanity and arrogant stupidity of the DOJ not charging a single broker or banker with the corrupt and illegal gambling that Wall St. did with the global economy, but going out to arrest people in the deserts of Las Vegas and Utah today and ceremoniously seizing the poker domain sites. The Vegas casinos are chuckling and rubbing their hands together getting ready to sweep in and take over the gigantic online poker market with a sanctimonious Uncle Sam holding their hand the whole way. The writing has been on the wall for a while now, and all the back room deals are already done. There had to be a way that they could have legalized the current system and taxed the hell out of it, but instead, the companies that have built the technology and the customer base are pushed aside so that the people who make campaign contributions and kickbacks can reap the rewards in this mockery of a free market the civic studies books have been lying to us about all this time. Wall St. gambles with other people's money and walks away rich either way, but for god knows what reason, the government feels the need to bail them out while at the same time passing the UIEGA which prohibits people from gambling with their own money online. After all, gambling is illegal. Unless it's credit default swaps, or a state lottery, or on every corner in America at stores selling scratch tickets, or on Indian land, or in Atlantic City, or Vegas, or Reno, or L.A. casinos, or on a boat moored two feet off of land in Mississippi. But not in the privacy of your own home. It's definitely illegal there. Thank god congress and the DOJ swooped in and put a stop to that. America is safe yet again from the horrors of somebody sitting back at home and actually doing something enjoyable in these bleak times. Thank the good lord. Tonight I don't even care that much about the hypocrisy or even the principle of the matter. I'm just sad. Sad that I can no longer play my Wednesday night home game online. Sad that another enjoyable activity has been prohibited. Sad that the only thing the government can seem to accomplish these days is to make life less fun, and do the biddings of big interests. Oh well. Maybe I'll just order some pills online, buy a jug of booze, and scratch lotto tickets all night and just be happy that I'm protected from the evils of poker sites.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

TALES FROM THE THEATER: THE ANTOINETTE SAGA

One of the joys of being a manager at a movie theater was being involved in the hiring and firing process. Mostly firing. Every once and awhile, an employee comes along that is a nightmare from start to finish. A truly cursed experience, but very funny once it's over.
Let me start at the begginning though.....
A woman came in to apply for an usher/concession position (we were pretty much always hiring). The GM came into the office in the middle of the interview. He was in a bit of a panic. We called him Mr. Bill, not because that was his real name, but because he had a habit of panicking at any given moment just like the little clay guy from old Saturday Night Live shows. ("Sexual harrassment?!?? Ooooooh noooooooo!!!!!!) His fear of lawsuits was overwhelming. In his defense, fear, paranoia, and panic were basically company policy. They were so afraid of wrongful termination lawsuits, that you had to write a person up about 30 times for the same offense before firing them. Rude, obnoxious customers usually got whatever they wanted in the hope that they wouldn't make waves. The ridiculous slip and fall scammers usually just got a quick settlement to avoid court. The irony in all of that was that this corporate culture of fear was responsible for causing one of the messiest incidents during my tenure at the theater.
Mr. Bill was panicked because the woman he was interviewing revealed that she was a Jehovah's Witness, and couldn't wear the theater uniform of pants and a shirt because she was only allowed to wear skirts. Up until this point she was a horrible candidate. She could barely speak coherentely, she had nothing but bad things to say about her previous jobs, and she had the attention span of a gnat. Mr. Bill wasn't going to hire her in a million years, until he heard that she couldn't wear the required uniform because of religious reasons. Visions of lawsuits danced in his head. She was also black, which made her a double whammy of discrimination terror: race and religion. (At corporate training, they said we have to be sensitive to our "urban environment" which was PC code for lots of black customers and employees)
Mr. Bill panicked, and hired Antoinette on the spot, despite overwhelming evidence that she was going to be the worst employee ever. We had no idea how bad she was going to be though. Ironically, right after she was hired, Antoinette said "You know, it's OK. I'll wear the pants." Oh, the ironing is delicious!
Antoinette proceeded to be a horrible worker. Calling out sick, complaining constantly, lazy, argumentative, and full of excuses. Actually, I guess that made her a pretty average employee at the theater. Mr. Bill continued to worry about her, and was terrified of any disciplinary action against her. He had invited his worst nightmare into the fold. A religious discrimination threat viper in the nest. A few months went by and we were resigned to the fact that we were stuck with Antoinette forever.
Until one weird evening.
Periodically at the theater we would clean out the locker rooms. Turnover was at about 400% annually, so there were always a ton of abandoned lockers and junk left behind. Twice a year, we would go through and cut off all the old locks and clean out all the garbage. This was not a pleasant task. The locker rooms were disgusting, and the women's was the worst (anyone who has spent any time as a janitor can tell you that women are way messier than men). We posted notices a week ahead of time that on the scheduled night everyone needed to bring their lock and all their possesions home, and anything left would be thrown out. We put a notice in with the paychecks, we taped a big sign by the time clock, we announced it at a staff meeting, and we put about 25 signs in the locker rooms themselves. You can probably guess where this is going.
On the night of the clean out, Van D and Chris went around to everyone who was working and told them that they were going to cut the locks off, so everybody should bring their locks and stuff down to the station where they were working for the rest of the night. And then they proceeded with the thankless task of cutting off old locks and clearing out old dirty uniforms, rotten food, and assorted garbage. Halfway through the process, they found a locker with a coat and a purse in it, so they sent a supervisor to find the owner. Antoinette barges into the locker room. She had heard that they were cutting off locks!!! How she had missed the dozens of flyers, posters, notices, and being told directly to her face an hour before remains a mystery that can only be explained by her inattentiveness, illiteracy, not caring, and general oblivious stupidity.
She was in a rage. Her lock had been cut, but that was not main problem. She claimed that some things were missing from her locker, most notably $300 cash and.......wait for it....wait for it....... "a blunt and a 20 sack of weed." OK, where to start here? First of all, I wonder what the Jehovah's Witnesses policy is on blunts and 20 sacks. Secondly, her paycheck was still in her purse. I don't want to make any sweeping judgements about her lifestyle, but she did not strike me as the kind of person who would still have $300 left from the previous pay period, besides, why didn't the "thieves" take her paycheck too? And in another twist of ironing, the two managers cleaning out the lockers were probably the only two people at the theater who didn't smoke weed! Besides, they were extremely honest people who simply wouldn't do anything like that. I forget if Antoinette quit, or was actually fired for openly admitting that she had drugs on the theater property, but either way we never saw her again. That is until a few months later.
About three weeks after the incident, Mr. Bill got a certified letter that Antoinette was suing him and the two managers for the loss of her "property." I am not making this up. The corporate lawyer flew up for the court date, and it would have been much cheaper to have just given Antoinette the $324, but for once they did the right thing, especially because two very honorable people were personally accused of wrongdoing. It turns out that on the night of the incident, Antoinette had confided in another employee that she had lied about the $300 "just to get some money" but insisted that her weed was really missing. That employee made a very good witness in court. The judge was a little bit taken aback by the whole proceeding, and the case was quickly dismissed, but not before a funny moment. Antoinette had claimed that Mr. Bill had left a message on her voicemail saying that it was his fault and he would pay her the money. When the judge asked to hear the voicemail, Antoinette didn't have a phone, so Chris gladly lent her his phone to use! Even with the borrowed phone, she could not produce her key piece of evidence. After the "trial," Antoinette apologized to everybody, and said something to the effect of "no hard feelings?" The feeling was not mutual.
Antoinette became sort of a funny legend that we would talk about at work parties, and we thought we certainly would never see her again. Then, about a year and a half after the whole debacle, I was at guest services doing some paperwork when I heard a familiar voice.
"Ernaaiest?" Antoinette always managed to add a couple syllables to my name. "Remember me?"
I couldn't believe she had shown her face there. I think my jaw actually dropped and I laughed in disbelief. Nothing could prepare me for what she said next.
"Are you guys hiring?"
I just smiled. I was incredulous. I had no credul. I suppose I should have expected that kind of foolish nerve from somebody who sues over lost weed. Then she put the understatement-of-the-year cherry on the delusional sundae.
"You know, I was a good employee. Well.........except for that one thing."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

CHARLIE OR CHARLIE?

A devastating earthquake and tsunami has hit Japan, the U.S. economy continues to reel, and there is full blown civil war in Libya. But who gives a shit about all that. What has Charlie Sheen said lately?!?
The frenzy of Sheen mania that has swept the nation is mind-boggling. Over a million followers in his first 24 hours on Twitter, hundreds of thousands views of his webshow Sheen's Korner ("you're either in Sheens Korner, or you're with the trolls"), and an interview on every talk show/TV magazine/morning show/podcast/blog/ham radio broadcast that exists. The t-shirts are rolling off the presses, the live shows are booked for Chicago and Detroit, and a "reality" show cannot be far behind. The overexposure of Sheen is quickly reaching it's tipping point. This will undoubtedly end up cult-like, with Charlie on the Island of Misfit Hookers somewhere in the Pacific with a big batch of tiger blood kool-aid. Just like the final scene from Charlie's favorite movie, Apocalypse Now, he'll be surrounded by his last few porn star and fanboy groupies, dripping water on the back of his neck asking John Stossel if he is an assassin. During the filming of Apocalypse Now, Charlie's dad Martin had a nervous breakdown from the pressures of the shoot, a bad divorce, and alcohol abuse. Coppola filmed it and used it as the opening of the movie. Now Charlie has been filming his own breakdown. The parallels between Apocalypse Now and Charlie's life are astounding. If you tried to contemplate them all, your mind would explode and your face would melt as your children wept over your dead body. He even wants to name his soon to be banged out autobiography, Apocalypse Me. I guess Charlie does surf after all, but he "rides the crest of a media tsunami on a mercury surfboard."
The meltdown will be televised. And tweeted. And live streamed. As I was watching the latest Sheen's Korner (I had to watch it strictly for research) it reminded me of something I had seen before, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it occurred to me. Geraldo Rivera's interview with Charles Manson! Both Charlies have a way of stringing incoherent rants of semi-truths together in a somewhat rhythmic bat shit crazy meter. They both can turn an insane phrase. They sound (and sometimes even look) so similar that I started wondering if I could tell them apart. I've devised the Charlie or Charlie quiz so you can test yourself.
Pick which Charlie said each quote (answer key at end):


1) “The real strong have no need to prove it to the phonies.”

2) "I'm tired of ignoring that I march to a different beat."

3) "I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don't think people are ready for the message that I'm delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love."

4) “From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.”

5) "Here's the good news. If I realize that I'm insane, then I'm okay with it. I'm not dangerous insane."

6) "People say you have to work on your resentments. Yeah, no, I'm gonna hang onto them and they're gonna fuel my attack."

7) “Ego is the man, the male image. Ego is the phallic symbol, the helmet, the gun. The man behind the gun, the mind behind the man behind the gun. My philosophy is that ego is the thinking mind. The mind you scheme with, make war with. They shoved all the love in the back, hid it away. Ego is like, "I'm going to war with my ego stick."

8) "You either love or you hate. You live in the middle, you get nothing."

9) “I can't judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie that you live in.”

10) "But you can't focus on things that matter if all you've been is asleep for forty years. Funny how sleep rhymes with sheep. You know."

11) " He's a Flying Tiger man, from Madam Shanghai's Shack. I just wrote him a letter today. "

Bonus Round:
A) " Pain's not bad, it's good. It teaches you things. I understand that. "

B) "Pain is a myth. Pain is as painful as you want it to be."


ANSWERS (but does it really matter?):
1) Manson
2) Sheen
3) Sheen
4) Manson
5) Sheen
6) Sheen
7) Manson
8) Sheen
9) Manson
10) Sheen
11) Manson

BONUS ROUND:
A) Manson
B) Sheen

Enjoy watching the rest of Charlie Sheen publicly imploding and disintegrating before our eyes....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DOGS VS. CATS

Dogs are men, cats are women.

Men are dogs, women are catty.

Dogs are stoners, cats are on acid.

Dogs sometimes cheat at poker, cats always cheat at poker.

Dogs are bodyguards, cats are assasins.

Dogs are linemen, cats are cornerbacks.

Dogs are loyal, cats are royal.

Dogs smell like old carpet, cats smell like cat food.

Dogs play catch, cats stare at you with disdain.

Dogs are smiley, cats are wiley.

Dogs eat poop, cats are finicky eaters.

Dogs are kindly strangers, cats are serial killers.

Dogs are Rodney Dangerfield, cats are Dennis Miller.

Dogs are good comforters, cats are good reverse pillows.

Dogs are Brian's Song, cats are Single White Female.

Dogs are a T-bone steak, cats are tuna tartare.

Dogs are lovable clowns, cats are misunderstood geniuses.

Dogs are color-blind, cats see in the dark.

Dogs are co-dependent, cats are fiercely independent.

Dogs are the sun, cats are the moon.

Monday, February 28, 2011

OSCAR RECAP

Every year I do an Oscar recap, but this year it was tough to get motivated. The Oscars were just so fucking dull. I was almost as bored with the awards ceremony as James Franco was. Almost.
The Oscars should have some element of surprise at some point, and there was none this year, unless you count Roger Deakins being robbed of the cinematography award by an overrated Social Network. Otherwise, everything was so predictable (except for a few of my predictions, which didn't take into account the Academy's total infatuation with English period pieces. Didn't they get that out of their system with year after year of Merchant/Ivory wins?).
The winners are supposed to be the best actors in the world, so why can't they give a good fucking speech on the biggest stage there is?!??!? I mean, come on! Enough with the long lists of make-up artists, agents, and their dry cleaners! Give a speech that means something and is memorable.
Well, maybe I'm just getting too jaded, but this year really was monotonous. It was pure torture just trying to get through it. Watching the Oscars this year felt like work. Boring, unrewarding, volunteer work at that. It should be about big Hollywood moments, but delivered so few that I figured I'd write my own headlines for the night. Some are satire, and some are wishful thinking.....

MELISSA LEO DROPS F-BOMB, BUT ACCEPTANCE SPEECH IS STILL LAME
Kodak Theater, L.A.- Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo provided the most exciting moment of the night by swearing on live TV, but then proceeded to ruin it by rambling on with the most embarassingly ingratiating speech since Sally Field. Well, what do you expect from somebody so desperate and needy that she took out full page ads begging for votes?

CHRISTIAN BALE'S BEARD ATTACKS TWO ESCORTS AT AFTER PARTY
Sardi's, L.A.- Best Supporting actor winner Christian Bale seems to be keeping a lid on his temper these days, but the same cannot be said for his out of control beard and moustache. At the Sardi's after party, two female escorts, who were there with Russel Brand, began teasing Bale for seemingly forgetting his wife's name during his acceptance speech, at which point Bale's beard (which had been spotted drinking heavily) flew into a rage before spitting at the escorts and throwing bits of food and soup that it had apparentely hidden earlier. The beard and the high priced hookers were separated and a barber was called.

OSCARS TROTS OUT KIRK DOUGLAS
Kodak Theater, L.A.- Confirming that he was still alive, Kirk Douglas presented the Best Supporting Actress award last night. As Douglas shuffled out, the entire world smiled awkwardly and clapped condescendingly. After struggling through his lines, Douglas tortured the nominees by not reading the winner's name in some sort of altzheimer's version of Punk'd. Many critics have said it is a commentary on how bad the ceremony was this year that a 94 year-old stroke victim provided the most buzz.

JULIA ROBERTS SUES ANNE HATHAWAY
Offices of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe, L.A.- The acrtress Julia Roberts has filed suit against Oscar co-host Anne Hathaway stating "There is only room in this town for one anorexic, overrated, gigantic mouth superstar." Roberts also cited copyright infringment over the nickname "Croc Mouth" and stated that she would seek a percentage of earnings on any fiesty, independent, adorable women that Hathaway plays in future chick flicks.

RANDY NEWMAN WINS OSCAR, IMMEDIATELY WINS SECOND OSCAR FOR SONG ABOUT WINNING OSCAR
Kodak Theater, L.A.- Ol' Randy walkin' to the stage, walkin' up the steps. He takes the Oscar...wavin' to the crowd. He's just a guy, who's even more annoying talkin', than he is a singin'.....talks some more, makin' the 'ol bad jokes, lookin' back on time.....got the old winnin' Oscar blues. Bumph-bumph. Thank you!

NEWLYWEDS CHARLIE SHEEN AND LINDSAY LOHAN DIVORCING
Municipal Court, L.A.- Sheen and Lohan, who were married moments before the Oscars by a Scientologist preist, announced on Good Morning America that they are getting divorced. Lohan cited domestic abuse and infidelity as the reason that their 3 hour and 45 minute marriage was ending. Sheen responded by calling Lohan a "devil bred snake" who has caused him "nothing but misery as she deprived me of a lot of my drugs" and didn't give him space for "Sheen time!" He went on to say that he hoped that Lohan would "get ebola virus and die. Only then would she be spared from the lightning bolts of my eyes." Sheen is shopping around a tell-all book about their short-lived, but tempestuous relationship. Bidding starts at one kilo.

Maybe they'll let Ricky Gervais host next year. That'd spice things up at least....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

OSCAR PICKS

It's already that time of year again. Prom night and the Super Bowl wrapped in one for Hollywood. Seems like a fairly predictable year, but we'll see what happens.
My picks.....

Best Soundtrack: The Social Network; Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross +

Best Song: We Belong Together; Toy Story 3 +

Best Animated Movie: Toy Story 3 +

Best Editing: The Social Network; Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter +

Best Documentary: Inside Job (but I'm really pulling for Exit Through the Gift Shop) +

Best Cinematography: True Grit; Roger Deakins x

Best Art Direction: The King's Speech x

Best Visual Effects: Inception +

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network; Aaron Sorkin +

Best Original Screenplay: Inception; Christopher Nolan x

Best Foreign Movie: Biutiful x

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo +

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale +

Best Actress: Natalie Portman +

Best Actor: Colin Firth +

Best Director: David Fincher x

Best Movie: The King's Speech +

So there you have them. Now go and win your office pool!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LITTLE KNOWN TRIVIA: "ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON" WAS NEVER UTTERED BY SHERLOCK HOLMES IN ANY OF THE ORIGINAL STORIES

I finally saw The Social Network the other day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't learn a damn thing, but it was a fun fictionalized tale of modern empire building. Plus, it had a really catchy Trent Reznor soundtrack. Aaron Sorkin's West Wing, rapid-fire, Abbott and Costello on meth dialogue was preposterous and got really annoying after awhile, but overall an intriguing character study (although, from what I can tell, a completely made up character). After watching it, I wanted to run out and buy a hoodie and some flip flops and create the next virtual drug that the world will become addicted to. Facebook has truly changed the course of human history. It has permanently altered how people interact globally, and in the recent case of Egypt, helped overthrow a government. First by helping to organize and rally support, and then by spurring people to action once the regime tried to deny people access to it. Technology, computers, and the internet are expanding at an exponential speed that not even the most prophetic sci-fi writer could have imagined. The cyber revolution will have a bigger impact on humanity than even the industrial revolution did.
That's why it was with curiosity, chagrin, and resignation that I tuned in last night to see the latest computer programming milestone. A computer that can play Jeopardy! against the best champions of all time. I have mixed emotions about these "challenges." Actually, it's not mixed, I just hate them. As an avid chess player, I was dismayed when Garry Kasparov's match with Big Blue was announced. Kasparov had beaten an earlier version of Big Blue, and now IBM was back with an updated version that had been basically designed exclusively to beat Kasparov. Big Blue had every game that Kasparov had ever played programmed into it, while Kasparov didn't have any of Big Blue's games to study to see how it "thought" and played. Kasparov lost the second game of the match in a dubious fashion and became infuriated and basically threw the rest of the match playing recklessly and angry. He had an extremely uncharacteristic meltdown and lost the match in a tantrum-like flurry of bad play. Chess is a mentally grueling game with subtle and intense emotional aspect that is completely removed in a computer. It is the pressure and mental stress of chess that makes it such an enduring and beautiful human endeavor. Sure a computer can analyze millions of moves per second, but if Big Blue played Big Blue, it would be draw, draw, draw, draw, on and on. There's no excitement in that. The heart of chess is two human brains straining against each other in total mental war. A cold hard computer can never replicate that.
When Jeopardy! announced that the IBM computer Watson was going to challenge Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, I thought "Great. Here we go again. They're going to 'prove' that a computer is 'better' at yet another thing I love." I prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best. After one day, Watson is tied with Brad, which is better than I thought would happen. The funniest moment of the show was when Ken rang in and guessed the 1920's for the decade that crosswords first appeared (also my guess). After Alex said that was wrong, Watson rang in and guessed..........the 1920's. The look that Ken turned and gave the Watson avatar screen standing next to him was priceless. Totally made the show.
As for the other questions that this challenge might answer (or answers that it might question in the case of Jeopardy!) are as follows: Can a computer be programmed with all the accumulated facts in the course of human history? Yes. Is a computer faster at reading an electronically delivered text question than a human? Definitely. Can a computer "ring in" faster with an electronic cue than a human eye to hand reaction? You betchya. There. I just answered all those questions and I didn't need four years, millions and millions of dollars, and a fucking three day infomercial for IBM to prove it! I'm surprised that Alex wasn't wearing a god damned trucker hat with IBM plastered on it. The argument that they learn so much by developing these projects is bullshit. Just do the research for useful projects and learn from that. Watson doesn't even have voice recognition! What the fuck? Even cars have voice recognition these days! Besides, Watson already exists. It's called Google.
So congrats IBM on a clever marketing ploy.
Will I watch the rest of the match? Yes.
Am I impressed?
What is no.

Postscript: Watson went on to destroy Ken and Brad in day two, but then in Final Jeopardy! guessed Toronto when the category was U.S. Cities. How the fuck does a computer who has been nailing complicated questions all day not even guess a city in the right country????????? (the number of question marks indicates my level of incredulity) How is there not a fail safe programmed in to keep Watson from guessing an answer that isn't even a viable option? Now, not only am I not impressed, I smell a rat.

Friday, February 11, 2011

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

I saw this ad in the personal encounters section of Craigslist under Men seeking Women......


Me: Late 50's ex-con, currently unemployed. I have a fear of water, so I rarely shower. I am 80 pounds overweight, but not really concerned about it. I'm a recovering alcoholic, although I've only been sober for a couple weeks, so I could relapse at any moment. I enjoy video games and sleeping.

You: Young attractive professional with a good income and a nice home. Must be a good cook and enjoy oral sex (giving not receiving). If you have children that's OK, as long as they know how to keep a secret. I am extremely racist, so do not respond unless you are white. No fat chicks please.


I wonder if he got any responses......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

10 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ONLINE

For the past few months, I've been studying for the Jeopardy! online test tonight. Along with some good old fashioned book learnin', I've also been using the internet to broaden my horizons. Here are ten things the interwebs have taught me:

1) 9/11 was a conspiracy by Ralph Nader and Michelle Obama to help fluxuate the gold market and make it easier for the Mayan aliens to land in 2012. I'm still doing a little fact checking on this one.

2) Playing at Chess.com, I've been learning the flags of the world by beating people from different countries. Interesting fact: Romania has the ugliest flag on the planet. It looks like something an E-tard would wear to a rave.

3) Porn is very popular.

4) After watching shows like Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, Tool Academy, and Millionaire Matchmaker online, I understand why the rest of the world hates America. Judging by these shows, it's hard to disagree.

5) Apparentely, a lot of people want to fuck their own life for some reason.

6) Playing poker online, I've started to learn time zones so that I can better calculate when to play against drunk people in different countries. There's nothing better than check-trapping a drunk Russian...

7) Really weird people go to Wal-mart.

8) Everybody on Twitter and Facebook thinks that they are celebrities, and that we want to hear every detail of their mundane and delusional existence. Not my friends of course...

9) This just in: The Onion is still the funniest fucking thing on the planet.

10) The English language has deteriorated to a series of consonants, grunts, numbers, and puncuation emoticons. Everything I read online looks like the name of a Prince song.

Wish me luck on my test!

Monday, January 31, 2011

POKER CONTENT

Well, I'm back on the horse again.
No, not heroin. I've never been hooked on that, but sometimes it feels as if poker might be just as addictive, and even more damaging financially. I mean, you can only shoot so much heroin into your arm at a time, but you can lose every penny you have, and then some, in less than a day of gambling.
Pokerstars introduced their home games, and it is genius. I spent a week recruiting new customers for them, revitalizing old customers, and depositing money into my long dormant account. The club is going great, and even though we paid over $50 in rake for three hours of poker last Wednesday, that's a little under $20/hour for a table, a dealer, and a bank to deal with the money so friends from all over the country can get together and play. I think it's worth it. Of course, now I have the poker bug again and have been playing a lot of online poker.
Well played Pokerstars, well played.
I've been playing on .10/.25 no-limit, 20-50BB fast tables. I think the play is actually worse at this level than at the lower blind tables I usually play at. Unfortunately, I've noticed a trend. There are hundreds of players at this level who buy in for the minnimum ($5) and wait wait wait, then go all-in pre flop no matter what position they are in or who has bet in front of them. They usually just pick up the blinds, but every once and awhile somebody calls. The players who shove usually have premium hands, but I have seen A-x a couple times. If they double up, they immediately leave the table. It's annoying and frustrating to play against players who use this no-skill, dishonorable strategy. If you call them, you know you're going to be coin flipping for half your stack (because like all good-hearted intelligent players, you've bought in for the max), and there is no way to get any action out of them unless it's pre-flop all-in.
I began to notice that a huge majority of these players were from China. Specifically Hu Nan, and Quizongh Houang (there is a chance I might be mispelling that. A 100% chance actually). Was it just that this strategy was wildly popular online, and since there were so many Chinese players it just looked like they were doing it the most, or is there some academy in those specific provinces with an Asian version of a Tony Robbins/Phil Gordon hybrid preaching to massive seminars, telling the emerging Chinese middle class that they can win big with the "Power of Min Buy-In Shoving!" I can just picture it now. A packed conference room at the Hu Nan Ramada by the airport, with hundreds of starry eyed poker wannabes furiously taking notes, as the guy with the headset microphone repeats the one, lame, simplistic mantra: "Buy in for the min, go all-in for the win" over and over and over. They probably hand out cheap plastic folders of "study materials" with their mascot, a cartoon Shaolin monk named Min By-Yen. They undoubtedly sell books in the lobby, but I can't see how they'd be longer than one page to explain their pathetic technique.
Or maybe it's a Chinese government scheme to exert even more power over the global economy. Maybe there are huge rows of pokerbot computers in a secret bunker in Xiang-Xhoung (again, with the spelling) province, where the world's wealth is converted to Yens, 20BB at a time.
Either way, the plethora of Chinese shove monkeys (that's not a racial slur, it's a poker slur) have made playing at these tables predictable and unenjoyable. I'm not surprised that next week Pokerstars is eliminating the 20-50BB tables at this level. If people are going to use this bullshit strategy, then they're going to have to do it at a higher level, where Pokerstars gets a bigger rake each time.
Well played Pokerstars, well played.

Friday, January 28, 2011

BAD TASTE

If you are easily offended, do yourself a favor and stop reading now.
It's the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Here at Throwin' Rocks, we have the deepest sympathies for the victims of that tragedy, but we also believe in the credo of "anything for a joke," and our dedication to always keep laughing even when things are the darkest. So while everybody else does touching tributes, and "where were you when..." stories, we are going to go in a completely different direction.
The Challenger disaster provided joke writers across the country an opportunity to really test the boundaries of bad taste. As a kid, I was amazed at the speed at which these jokes began circulating. And that was pre-twitter and facebook. Topical joke tellers and gossip mongerers have it so damn easy these days.
With no further ado, here are the best (worst) jokes about the Challenger:

What does NASA stand for?
Need Another Seven Astronauts.

Did you know that there were two seating sections on the Challenger?
Smoking and unrecognizable.

How many NASA astronauts can fit in a VW bug?
Eleven. 4 in the seats and 7 in the ashtray.

Where do New Hampshire science teachers go on vacation?
All over Florida.

What color eyes did Christa McAuliffe have?
Blue. One blew this way, and one blew that way.

How did they know that Christa McAuliffe had dandruff?
They found her head and shoulders all over the beach.

What was the last thing to go through the Challenger astronauts mind?
20,000 gallons of flaming rocket fuel.

Don't worry, we won't be doing this for the 10th anniversary of 9/11......

Monday, January 24, 2011

S*** MY FRIEND MK SAYS: PART II

It's time for another installment of S*** My Friend MK says. I met him at the theater, and his enthusiasm for life despite obvious problems has always inspired me.
His facebook posts are priceless. A few months ago, he signed up for 4square, or hopscotch, or whereintheworldami, or one of those ridiculous social media I'm-so-important-you-need-to-know-where-I-am-at-all-times GPS apps. The funny thing is that it always just says he's at his home address. Maybe he doesn't bring his phone on his trips to the mall or work. Wait, I know he brings it with him because he's always playing facebook Bejeweled Blitz on it (and crushing my scores by the way). I guess he only updates it when he's at home. Classic MK.
Here's a few of his latest status updates:


There are two things that people don't know about me: 1) I'm nuts and 2) I don't give a damn about it!

I got three things to do tomorrow: work, watch tv and then sleep not in that order :)

new songs ! "convoy" by C.W. McCall and "Jurassic Park" by the master movie mintro himself John Williams! yes I kick it like that!

I just want to say Merry Chirsmass to all and to all a good night, call me for a shift I'll punch out your light! to all my friends both great and not I hope you injoy what you have got! and people say I can't rap!

ok, I like to say frist and formost that I am fine, the tooth extrasion was a little bity naster than I or the dentice had thought, after TWO shot of novicain and a ues of a drill to slip the root in two to be pulled out, after I got home I was in bed and out cold. I'll be back to work tomarrow. on a light note I bumpped into Mark Wahlberg on Dorchester Ave. yesterday on the way to the Dot. Houes. see you all later.

[Insert epic voice] after month of waiting. after the going though blood, sweet and greenbacks, the Time is apon us. time to enjoy the sweetness, the awsomeness, the epic epic to end all epics, HALO: REACH! [/insert epic vioce] ok i'm done.

I'm just kicking back and watching Big Trouble in Little China on my Xbox, odd thing is that after all this time I did not know that the movie was a John Carrpiner movie? Or did I see from the beginning. Well night all

ok were's this big bad hurricane we were going to get? so far it only a heavy showers.

I think I'm haveing a heat induse brinstarm. I thought about Star Trek and Harry Potter the Harry, Hermione and Ron are almost like Kirk, Spock and Bones. now follow my resonning here Harry almost act like Kick fallowing his gut and headstrong. Hermione is the logical on of the three like Spcok is for the trek crew, Ron's the one that play everying out as it happens. I'll work on this more, night all


Don't ever change MK, don't ever change!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

TRUCKIN'

One of the best things for me about 2010 was having three really short stories published in the online magazine Truckin', which is edited by Tenzin McGrupp. He has been publishing Truckin' for nine years, and it is a labor of love. There are no ads or annoying flashing banners. There are no log-in pages or spammy email lists. Just creative and innovative fiction every month. Sure, Truckin' doesn't pay anything for submissions, but it's an honor to be among such passionate and dedicated writers, who range from rank amateurs to seasoned pros. Truckin' provides an outlet for free thought and expression, and hell, every once in awhile you might stumble across a great story! And it doesn't cost a penny. Mr. McGrupp himself is a little bit of a hack writer, but hey, aren't we all?

Since the name of the magazine is Truckin', I thought it would be appropriate to submit a road trip story. I ended up doing a trilogy of autobiographical travelogues. They represent three decades, three points in life, and three geographical areas. I can assure you that every word is true, and none of the names have been changed to protect jack shit.

Enjoy...

The Lone Horseman (the Midwest in the 80's)
NY, NY (the East Coast in the 90's)
Lost Angle Lease (the West Coast in the Ought's)

Thanks again to Tenzin for his tireless work on behalf of the written word, and he knows I'm kidding around with him. He's not even a little bit of a hack............he's a tremendous hack.