Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Night at Sean Kelly's

The last I time I left y’all, I was rolling out of Texas with a banjo on my knee. The one that we couldn’t dump at the garage sale. Reminds me of a girl that I once worked with who I ran into at a party. I apologized and got her a new drink and offered to pay for her dry cleaning. I think she misunderstood because I’m still getting bills from her dry cleaner to this day. But I digress. We started talking but instead of the normal boring chit chat that I so despise (like Mia in Pulp Fiction), I learned that she was taking banjo lessons. Apparently it was something she always wanted to do and now she was doing it. It was just quirky enough to be kind of sexy. I’m weird like that. But by default, that also made her too cool to go out with me. In any case, I’m sure she looks swell in her nice dry cleaned clothes at whaatever hootenanny she’s performing at these days. Speaking of hootenannies (or is the plural hootenannae? (someone contact the English department at University of Tennessee and let me know)) I was in New Orleans last month, but didn’t have a chance to post on my latest experience; however, walking back to my hotel late one evening I heard hootenanny type sounds coming from an Irish bar named Sean Kelly's. I’m not sure what the Irish call a hootenanny, but I’m sure they have a name for it and I’m sure there’s drinking involved. But I digress. I followed the sounds and even though I’m not a fan of the generic folk musician at Irish pubs, this particular performer rocking out on a bouzoukis drew me into the place. I didn’t know what a bouzoukis was until I met her. I always thought it was a flaming Greek appetizer or some sort of military weaponry. It’s really a Greek instrument similar to a mandolin except an octave lower. So I guess imagine playing your Hooters records on 33 instead of 45. If you’re too young to catch that reference, then just pretend the batteries in your Walkman are about to die. If you’re too young to catch that reference then pretend that your iPod is really jacked up and plays stuff too slow. I suppose I would have to also explain the Hooters reference (the band, not the restaurant), but I’m not really up on my mandolin playing indie or emo bands. Again, I digress. I grabbed a seat at the bar amongst the other ten or so patrons that littered the joint on a Monday night. The blonde on stage continued to entertain us with a mix of songs and witty, yet insanely improvised stream of consciousness ramblings, sometimes stopping down in the middle of a song to share what was on her mind. I love people that just let their mouths rip with whatever pretty and twisted thoughts that might be haunting their brain, and she was capturing my heart with every whacked out word. It was like Robin Williams with a guitar, except not as obnoxious or hairy and without that annoying manic preacher voice. Within a matter of minutes, she had either sung or spoken about Rush (one of her favorite bands), a Geddy Lee strap-on nose, Michael Jackson, a leprechaun, the Iraq war, Lorena Bobbit, her neighbor’s Christmas light display, and Margaret Thatcher. Soon thereafter, she confessed her hobby of writing twisted holiday songs, and went off-mike to sing us her version of I Saw Mommy Fondling Santa’s Balls so as not to offend the refined folk stumbling through the French Quarter. Just when you might think she is merely a novelty act, she asked if anyone had a request and someone randomly asked for song number four on the middle CD she had displayed for sale. She had to look it up, but then proceeded to deliver a beautiful ballad that would have brought a lesser man than myself to tears.

Unfortunately I had some work to finish before a meeting the next day, so I couldn’t stay out all night, follow her home and ask if she could keep me. Besides, I was wearing my tags and she surely would have returned me to Mrs. F’er (don’t expect a cash reward, perhaps just a dirty look). I felt bad for leaving so soon, but mostly because I didn’t want her to think that I thought she sucked or something. I’m weird like that, too. So I made sure to write a glowing, detailed review of her performance on a cocktail napkin and leave it on the windshield of her car. I wasn’t really sure which car was hers, so I just made my best guess (a 1999 Toyota Rav4) and made my way back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel (highly recommend Chateau Sonesta – old school all around with great A/C, awesome beds, big rooms and a statue of Ignatius J. Reilly (they should consider putting Big Chief tablets in all the rooms)), instead of getting to the work at hand I surfed the cable system for CNN Headline News so that I would know where to find the lovely Robin Meade in the morning, built a house of soap out of a bunch of little soaps borrowed from a housekeeper’s cart, had an imaginary business meeting with Crystal Bernard to discuss her next Lifetime project, played some air mandolin while thinking about how cool the Lovehammers would be with me on mandolin, and then did some research on Beth Patterson. She calls herself the “patron saint of least favorite children” on her myspace page. A reviewer on her record company page describes her stage presence as "a cross between a cobra and a puppy" and "innocent savagery." And how can you not dig a chick who doesn’t take herself too seriously and poses in her own t-shirts on her merchandise page? Here’s a sample.

Now to put it all in perspective, I haven’t bought any of her CD’s or t-shirts (although I’ve been watching her rock out here). But consider this a public service announcement on behalf of your local music scene before we delve into another season of Rock Star. There are plenty of rockers out there with a ton of talent that will never make it – not because they’re not good enough (actually, that’s exactly why), but because they weren’t in the right place at the right time (like married to Britney Spears) or don’t appeal to the mass market (sometimes that’s a good thing). You can take advantage of that by taking a chance and dropping into a bar to watch the next Marty Casey without having to worry about elitist bitches buying all the tickets and kicking your ass if you stand in front of them at the next show. Now go on and git and let me know how it works out for you.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


After I posted my self-portrait with my homeless man beard, it created quite the controversy. Some people thought it rocked and invited me to exclusive parties that I never knew existed. Thank you. I never knew that most soirees had a quota of bearded weirdoes to fill. Some people were disgusted and immediately hurled on their keyboards and sent me the bill. I’ve negotiated a deal with Dell and you should be receiving them shortly. Others didn’t give a crap. I can respect that. Most just pointed and laughed. But it was hard to distinguish how that was different than before I grew the beard. I could tell that my bosses were growing concerned since sending Captain Lou Albano out to meet clients didn’t exactly match their image of the firm, but they were afraid to say anything. That could be my favorite part.

I was pretty proud of the damn thing, so I did what any manly, hairy-faced guy would do and entered a beard contest. However, that’s obviously nothing one can do half-assed. It’s not like a wet t-shirt contest where you have a couple too many lemondrop shots and end up nipping out in full color on your ex-best friend’s myspace page. I studied all the beards that won previous contests, compiled a spreadsheet, sized up my local competition, groomed it like nothing I’ve ever groomed before, sprayed it with flaxseed oil, drank a shot of Pantene Pro-Vitamin Shampoo every morning, slept with it tucked carefully between the hardcover pages of Atlas Shrugged, and whispered motivational sayings to it when I thought nobody was looking.

Pretty soon the big day arrived. I took out my surfboard wax and put a fine sheen to it. I had plenty of wax since I don’t have a surfboard but I like to be prepared. Like, what if I get a surfboard for my birthday and everyone wants to go surfing that day, but I don’t have any wax and it’s Easter Sunday and the surf shop is closed? But I digress. I shaped it to perfection, put on my lucky boxer shorts and other assorted men’s furnishings and went to work. The competition wasn’t at the office but I couldn’t get the day off to properly prepare so I had to drag my ass in for a few hours. That shook my confidence a bit, but the show must go on. After work I managed to get to the arena early to relax, shoot some pool, and rub my beard on admiring cocktail waitresses. They swooned and my confidence was aroused. At least that’s what I think it was.

Then he walked in. I had heard of this bearded great and his name was on the top of my spreadsheet as the one to beat. We both breezed through the early rounds of the competition, easily dismissing opponents that sported everything from laughingly landscaped jawlines to the peach fuzz of misguided, yet eternally hopeful pretenders. The final round arrived and we faced off – literally. A hush fell over the crowd as they realized the history they were witnessing. After an intense pose-off we both stumbled wearily to our corners and waited for the judge’s decision.

I had a feeling that I had been beaten, and the final decision confirmed it. I had been defeated. No, I had gotten my ass kicked. I sat dejectedly in the corner with my O’Doul’s while the cocktail waitresses flocked to be rubbed with his beard. Mrs. F’er even got in on the action. I knew it was over and tried to remember where I had stored my razor 4 months earlier. Then my nemesis came over and shook my hand. It was as if he could tell what I was thinking and said, “You growed it, so you own it.” Those words of encouragement inspired me to believe that I should keep it. But I realized that I could never make the commitment necessary to take the beard to the next level like he had done.

I did keep the beard for my drive to Chicago. I would let it flail in the wind one last time as I drove the interstates to our new home. It was just like BJ and the Bear, except it was a U-Haul instead of a big rig and Mrs. F’er is way cuter than that monkey. When we arrived at Mom’s house to drop off our stuff, the neighborhood watch folks notified local authorities. After I convinced them that the truck was not full of crystal meth and I was not stealing my mother’s collection of beanie babies, I asked for a little help unloading but they apparently had other hippies to provoke. Mom took to calling me Charles Manson even though I repeatedly told her I preferred Jim Morrison. So I kept it couple extra days just to torment her while reminding her that I could have opted for a tattoo of a pole dancer down the side of my neck. And then it was time to go apartment hunting. I decided that I looked like one of those crazed cult leaders that might convince all the other tenants to meet me in the community rec room and drink some Kool-Aid so that we could go meet our supreme leader Andy Kaufman. Although I believe crazed cult leaders are protected under the Fair Housing Act, I didn’t want to take any chances so I donned the scissors and began hacking away. Several hours later, the whiskers had filled the sink and I looked like I was twelve years old again. Suddenly I realized how the guys in Metallica must have felt after they cut off their hair and sold out, man.

Sorry it took so long to confess, but I didn’t want to mislead you if you’re looking for me at the next Lovehammers or Captain & Tennille show. Stop by and say hello - I’ll be the guy without the beard.

In Memory
January 28, 2006 - June 2, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sid F'er's Clearinghouse - you may already be a winner!

Sorry I’ve neglected you so long, dear reader. If you haven’t been following along on our ever growing message board, I’ve been busy moving to Chicago. Turns out that U-Haul wanted $600 for a truck from Dallas to Chicago, so being the efficient money manager that I am, I decided I’ll just make a few trips with whatever I can fit in the back of my pickup truck. It’s taking a little longer than expected, but I’m nearly done. If you’re in the area and have a few hours (16), swing by and I’ll give you a few boxes to stick in your back seat. And I know for a fact that all of you don’t have Miatas, so I don’t want to hear it. Lazy bastards.

I decided to use the move as an opportunity to clean out all my crap. When I moved to Texas fourteen years ago I took whatever fit in my Nissan Sentra. So after I loaded up some clothes, my stereo, and some Little Debbie snack cakes, I had to break the news to my girlfriend that there wasn’t any room left for her. She offered to ride in a rooftop carrier, but I must not have fastened it quite as securely as necessary as I believe I lost her somewhere around Joplin, Missouri. Somehow over the last years I’ve managed to acquire mounds of ridiculous stuff such as dishes and beds. And a wife (She's not ridiculous, just a little silly). Mrs. F’er refused the rooftop carrier option and also insisted that we take a bed with us, so I capitulated and ordered a giant 17’ truck. For those people who are spatially challenged, a 17’ truck will hold pretty much whatever you would be able to fit into a parking space about 8’ tall. I like a good challenge.

The first step was to decide what could be tossed. Mrs. F’er obviously did not understand the importance of my Special Export beer truck driver shirt or my Hogballs basketball jersey, so we had a Wings trivia contest. I kicked her ass and the shirts got packed. Next I decided to “help” Mrs. F’er clean out her shoe closet. We had slightly differing opinions on what was necessary and reasonable, so we decided to kickbox for it. I had forgotten that she trained at a kickboxing gym last year, so she started packing her shoes while I put a bag of frozen peas on my face to reduce the swelling.

Next was the garage sale. Our old house was in a prime location – surrounded by illegal immigrants looking for used Molly Hatchet t-shirts and maps of Arkansas so that they can quickly assimilate to their new culture. We had garage sales in the past, so we had the process down. We set the alarm clock for the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. on Saturday, and I feign a severe case of bird flu to avoid getting up while Mrs F’er threatens to sell my beer can collection unless I drag my ass out of bed to stop her. We’re on the far end of our street and have not advertised the sale, yet the professionals are swooping the neighborhood positioning themselves to be the first in line as we place our valued John Denver 8-track collection on the driveway. After most of the crap is displayed, I take my signs down to the corner to direct the rest of the our city to our humble abode. Before the signs are even displayed, cars begin squealing their tires to make the turn down the street before anyone else. It’s like walking into a random bar and finding out the lingerie show is just about to start. That happened to me once and I learned what a lingerie show is. You have a couple very marginally attractive women in lingerie walking around selling raffle tickets for crap you don’t even want to win, but you’re drunk and think you’re going to score if you just buy enough tickets from them so that they can fulfill their dream of buying some wicked platforms and start stripping for the big bucks. I think I won a VHS porn tape that night. I never owned a porn tape before that, but it sucked so bad I couldn’t even include it on the ten cent table at the garage sale. But I digress. By the time I finish posting my signs and return to the house, there is a huge traffic jam with police directing cars and traffic reporters circling overhead in helicopters. I park 3-1/2 miles west of the house in the first available parking spot and hike back to assist Mrs. F’er and fix some Bloody Mary’s. Being the anti-social personality that I am, I usually just hide around the corner until Mrs. F’er hollers for further assistance. My Spanish is slightly better than hers, so I was called to negotiate on the washer and dryer with a local chica. Most of the locals have some rudimentary English skills, but this woman had none. I had sold my Spanish dictionary at the previous garage sale, so I was on my own. After speaking with our customer for a few minutes, I proudly returned to Mrs. F’er and reported that I wasn’t sure, but I had thought that I just might have sold the washer/dryer set for three roosters and a dozen homemade tamales. And there was a better than zero chance that I had agreed to personally fold her laundry for the next 12 months. I was sent back to lurk harmlessly around the corner. Business slows to a crawl by 10:30 a.m., and by noon we’re so bored that we mark everything down to ten cents just to get rid of everything and wrap things up. By 2 p.m. we realize that our stuff sucks so bad that people don’t even want it for a dime (except our wedding unity candle and a dead cactus), so we take the possibly usable stuff to a local charity and the rest to the curb for the next trash pickup.

Next, we sold four of our bikes. One to a friend, one on craigslist, one on a local bike forum, and another on eBay. Of course, we took the eBay money and turned around and bought another one, but we still reduced the fleet by three. The remaining bikes got loaded in the back of the pickup truck, which was subsequently loaded onto a trailer and attached to the back of the truck. It made us look like a really cool bike racing team, or a couple of dorks with a bike addiction.

Finally, Mrs. F’er’s car went on the auction block. I thought about doing a lingerie show and selling raffle tickets for it, but I couldn’t quite fit into my old baby doll PJ’s. So that nixed that idea, and instead we sold it to a dude at the bike shop who promised not to remove the Swinging Lovehammers bumper sticker. If you run into him, tell him the F’ers said hello.

Anyway, to make a long story not very short, in a massive game of Tetris, I managed to pack all of our remaining possessions into that 17’ truck, with a good 8” to spare, pointed the truck north, and rolled out of town with a banjo on my knee. Nobody would take the damn thing at the garage sale.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Rat's Ass

Do you love somebody? Do you kind of like somebody? Do you hate somebody’s guts? Is there somebody out there that you give a rat’s ass about? Is there somebody out there that you don’t give a rat’s ass about? Well, do it, then! Give them a rat’s ass. Or, get a rat’s ass and withhold giving it to them just to piss them off. That’s the beauty of The Rat’s Ass. It is the epitome of versatility.

I know you’re probably wondering what The Rat’s Ass is. It’s only the ultimate gift of love or hate one person could possibly give to another. It is a remarkable product that I have created centuries before its time.

Why waste your time giving flowers, candy or stuffed animals to your sweeties. Those gifts convey such ambiguity. I’m surprised they’re not at the root of more domestic violence cases. Think about it. When a man sends a woman flowers, what is she to think? Does he love her or is he hinting that she get off her ass and do some work in the garden? Or maybe he thinks she smells like a pile of manure and the flowers are his attempt to save the olfactory of her co-workers. Flowers tend to die. Is he implying that their love is short lived? Roses have thorns. It’s obvious that such a gift is a metaphor for conditional love and that there will be prices to be paid down the line. It’s just not worth it.

Let’s examine the tender act of bestowing a luscious box of candy, preferably chocolates. It seems harmless enough. The sweetness of the chocolates represents corresponding emotions between two people. You can believe that if you choose. Or, you can believe the truth. The truth is that the giver’s motive resembles that of the mean old witch in Hansel and Gretel, only this time she doesn’t want to eat Hansel, she wants to fatten him up so that he is unattractive to the other witches, so she won’t have to worry about losing him. That security coupled with Hansel’s diminishing self-esteem caused by the sudden weight gain allows the witch to treat Hansel like shit, inflicting endless emotional torment on him. And don’t think she won’t.

OK, maybe I’m being a little profuse in my assumptions. But, what about zits? Zits can be the side effect of the intake of too much chocolate. Where do you think the phrase, “Hey, pizza-face, get me another beer” came from? That’s right, from a box of chocolates (indirectly). If that sounds like love to you, stay away from my daughter.

There are countless other acts of charity in the name of nabbing a loved one - far too many for me to comprehend. Here is a list of some of them with their possible (probable) ulterior meanings:

Stuffed Animals – representation of artificial life implying artificial love. Your relationship is as fabricated as the polymorphic fibers that surround the stuffing.

Lingerie/Undergarments – “How about if you put out a little more often, huh?”

Balloons – Since most of a balloon’s volume consists of air or helium, which is invisible, so are the feelings of the gifter towards the giftee. Without the air, all that is left is a wrinkled sheath of rubber. I’ll leave the interpretation of this visual for the imaginative.

Jewelry – “Let he among you without sin cast the first stone” (or something like that). Most jewelry contains some sort of stone or stones. The act of giving jewelry is analogous with the act of pelting another with stones. The bottom line is the giver is declaring his or her superiority over the recipient, since only non-sinners pelt sinners.

Automobiles – “I think of you as a prostitute or man-whore.”

Cash – “I think of you as a prostitute or man-whore.”

Meat – There is nothing wrong with giving meat. Little conveys the meaning of love more than a box of frozen Porterhouses. Warning: if you ever decide to give your lover meat, you had better be prepared to say the words “I do”.

Obviously, the aforementioned gifts are capable of informing your sweetheart that your affection is genuine. But, as you have been shown, there is plenty of room for error and miscommunication. Can you afford to jeopardize your most heartfelt relationships by employing such precarious gift giving rituals? Don’t be an idiot.

With The Rat’s Ass, your feelings are literally spelled out for your honey, friend, enemy, boss, acquaintance, postman, or whomever else you want to give it to – or not give it to (explanation to come).

The Rat’s Ass can be construed as a form of a stuffed animal. What makes The Rat’s Ass different from the example of a stuffed animal gift defined prior is that, by cutting off most of the rat, I have, in turn, cut out most of the doubt inherent in the typical stuffed animal gift. The Rat’s Ass is fully equipped with a revolutionary feature I call the Torsonic Panel (see illustration). The Torsonic Panel covers the rat’s innards that would normally be exposed after The Rat’s Ass was detached from the rest of the rat. Just like the mess that is your emotional state, the rat’s entrails are barricaded by the Torsonic Panel as it acts as a message board to convey your true feelings to the beneficiary. Here lies the preeminent flexibility The Rat’s Ass provides. It can be a gift of love or a gift of hate or a gift of anywhere in between. Your message dictates the severity!

The Rat’s Ass is the perfect gesture of whatever emotion you want to throw at people. From Love to Like to Uncomfort to Itchiness to Uncontrolled Drooling to Hate to Indifference. It’s all covered.

Say you can’t stand a guy named Humus. You don’t care if this person lives or dies and he’s always bugging you. You’ve tried to be diplomatic, you’ve hinted that you want to be left alone and you’ve sent him a dozen rotten eggs. Nothing has worked. He just does not get the idea. Instead of having wasted years of your life tap dancing around the subject, all you needed to do was get yourself The Rat’s Ass with this appropriate message:

This Rat’s Ass was never and will never be given about Humus.

Whenever Humus bothers you, you simply taunt him with The Rat’s Ass that is not being given about him. He will be crushed and will eventually leave your life. But, remember that you can’t not give The Rat’s Ass if you don’t have The Rat’s Ass not to give. So you need to buy one from Leper Pop.

Consider this scenario. You’ve discovered that your longtime lover is secretly having an affair with a carnival worker. You want to end the relationship with definite closure, but you are worried that your partner will try to hang on because xe is very dependent. Simply send your soon to be ex The Rat’s Ass with this message:

You suck, this is the last rat’s ass I’ll ever give about you.

If xe doesn’t figure it out after that, you have a stalker on your hands, and you had better contact the authorities. Warning: The Rat’s Ass does not work on all stalkers!

Then there are the instances where you want to express your love. Do I really need to explain how to use The Rat’s Ass to accomplish this? Without getting too detailed, I will give you a number of sample messages you can use as references:

I give a rat’s ass about you. (obvious)

I love you. If I didn’t why would I risk declaring it on The Rat’s Ass?

You are the only one for me. The proof is in The Rat’s Ass.

I love you. What more do I need to do? Please get off my back.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I give The Rat’s Ass
Just about you.

So………do ya wanna do it?

I’m drunk and horny, even if you are only a goat.

With this Rat’s Ass, I thee wed…

The uses of The Rat’s Ass are infinite. There is no better method for revealing your true feelings about the people around you.

Now that I’ve convinced you that you can’t live without this extraordinary tool of communication, how do you get one? It’s simple. Just complete the order form that follows this article and send it to me with a check for around fifty bucks and I’ll get one out to you as soon as the check clears.

Remember, The Rat’s Ass is hand made. Also, keep a look out for other fabulous Rat’s Ass merchandise like:

The Rat’s Ass Pen and Pencil Set
The Rat’s Ass Toilet Paper Dispenser
The Rat’s Ass Ear Muffs
The Rat’s Ass Computer Mouse
The Rat’s Ass Enema Bag
The Rat’s Ass Onion Bloomer
The Rat’s Ass Surgical Bandage
The Rat’s Ass Lawn Mower Blade
The Rat’s Ass Big Note Maracas Book
The Rat’s Ass Nipple Ring
The Rat’s Ass Bag of Rat’s Asses
The Rat’s Ass Book of Commonly Used Elegies
The Rat’s Ass Alarm Clock
The Rat’s Ass Phlebotomy Kit
The Rat’s Ass Fondu Set
The Rat’s Ass Overhead Projector
The Rat’s Ass Chimney Cozy
The Rat’s Ass Rifle Cleaner
The Rat’s Ass Blunt Object
The Rat’s Ass Glass Bottom Boat
The Rat’s Ass Zipper
The Rat’s Ass Pearl Farm
And much, much more…….