Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lonely Sid NYC - Part II

Streams of soap sensually slid down the small of my back as I rinsed the urban silt from my skin. Sorry. I guess we can skip the details of the shower.

Being Saturday night, I decided that I would reserve a table and bottle service at a hot club for me and my cosmopolitan friends and dance the night away with the Olsen twins and Miss USA. Then I remembered that I don’t have time for that shit.

My actual mission that evening was to check out some of NYC’s finest comics so that I could talk myself out of a career in stand-up comedy by realizing I could never be as funny as Paul Lynde in the center square to block, Peter.

Peter Marshall: Paul, Snow White...was she a blonde or a brunette?
Paul Lynde: Only Walt Disney knows for sure...

But I digress. I would need some food first and agreed to meet a friend for dinner. We’ll call her Wendy in honor of the late, great Wendy O. Williams. We’ll also call her that because it’s her name. As far as you know. We decided upon Little Italy and would meet up at the Union Square station. Being the savvy traveler, I swooped into the subway, loaded up my MTA card, swiped it, and went through the turnstile to the E-B-V line. After double-checking the system map, I then realized I needed to be on the #6 line so I went back out the turnstile and swiped another savvy $2 to get on the right train. I eventually ended up at the Union Square stop, connected with my buddy, and then we took another train to another stop and somehow ended up on an unending street of Italian restaurants. They were all unfamiliar but it was a nice evening so we kept walking until we found a table near the street. I told her things are okay with me these days, got a good job, got a good office, got a new wife, got a new life and the family's fine. And it’s still rock n’ roll to me. The veal was good enough such that I didn’t feel too guilty for ordering it, and the people watching was spectacular. I got caught up on her career moves, her travels, and life in general, and then she asked me how my recent bout with cancer had been discovered. I’ve told the story several times before, so I went into autopilot and told her how I found a lump that the doctor had originally thought was a genital defect. As soon as I said it, I stopped. Something was different about the story this time.

Peter Marshall: Paul, is there such a thing as a female rooster?
Paul Lynde: Yeah, they're the ones who just go "a doodle doo!"

It took a second to realize exactly what I had said, after which I just busted up while she asked if I perhaps had meant “congenital?” The outside seating was rather close, so I’m wondering how many other tables enjoyed hearing about my genital defect over some gnocchi and Chianti.

Last time I was in NYC I got shut out of the Comedy Cellar since it only holds about 80 people and was sold out, so I ended up milling about the sidewalk like a clueless dumbass. Being much older and wiser, this time I made a reservation and started the walk over to Greenwich Village. About 15 minutes before show time our line was escorted through the crowd of dumbasses lining the sidewalk who weren’t smart enough to make reservations, and we were seated only about 20 feet from the stage but with a buffer of one row of tables in front of us. Perfect. Any closer and you’re part of the show, and I wasn’t prepared to explain to an audience of 80 people why I was on a date without my wife. It reminded me of the time I was at a conference in Philadelphia and we decided to catch a Philly game one evening – I ended up sitting next to a female coworker and was terrified they’d put us on the Kiss-Cam, because, hey, what chick would be able to resist an opportunity like that? Now that I think about it, when I went to the Sox game last month, my wife and her classmate took off for some food and left me there with his wife. And of course, that’s when they fired up the Kiss-Cam, again leaving me ducking under the seats pretending that I was looking for the condom that fell out of my wallet when I was paying the beer man. Imagine how awkward it would have been to have them come back and find us making out and blaming it on some silly scoreboard operator hijinx. “Sure you were on the Kiss-Cam….” But I digress. The lineup for the night’s show:

MC - Keith Robinson: He said “fuck” a lot, but it didn’t seem forced and he was fuckin’ funnier than most MC’s I’ve ever seen (including Hammer with those silly pants).

Lenny Marcus: The generic dorky middle-aged white guy routine, but he pulls it off better than most. His only credits on the schedule included MTV, but I’m wondering if that just wasn’t as an audience member of TRL.

Lisa Landry: Chicks aren’t funny. Next.

Just kidding. Kind of. She mostly joked about being fat, drinking too much and being married. Some good bits in there, and her set ended right before it became too tiresome.

Dan Naturman: You know how when you go to see a band and the opening act usually sucks, but every once in a while you get one that doesn’t. Dan is the one that I didn’t expect too much from, but ended up hitting it out of the park. I’m not sure everyone else “got” him, but that made it even better.

Sherrod Small: I liked his style. Very casual. Like he was just making shit up. And the gay hurricane impersonation killed. I’d like to catch another set from him.

Greg Giraldo: Last year Dave Attell did a comedy tour with three other dudes – Dane Cook seemed to get everyone’s attention before they all realized they thought he was funny only because everyone else thought he was funny. That lasted about as long as after-party at an Amway recruiting meeting and now there is a stampede for the bandwagon exit doors and not even a starring role opposite Jessica Simpson in Oscar contender Employee of the Month can save him. But after everyone dusts themselves off after tumbling from the Dane Cook Express, they can check out Greg Giraldo. Good stuff.

Dave Attell
: I’ve seen several of his specials on TV and was a fan of his Insomniac series, so I was pretty psyched to see him live. If you don’t know Dave, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Attell's material is what one would consider "blue". His point-of-view is that of the everyman, yet slightly imbalanced. He has an affinity for the bizarre, such as midgets and odd sexual encounters.

Attell often begins a joke in a relatively tame way, but then gets progressively stranger and ends in an obscene non sequitur. For example: "Sex is not important. What's important is that afterward part. When you're both naked and it's warm and you're watching the sun come up in the windshield. You look in her eyes, you look in her one good eye and help her strap on her leg and you know: you just fucked a pirate."

(For more Dave, click here.)

I enjoy a good sexed up pirate or dick joke as much as the next guy, but seeing him at the Comedy Cellar was both interesting and a bit disappointing. When one has an “affinity for the bizarre” you can imagine not quite everything gets processed the same as the common folk. So to me it was fascinating watching him throw every shade of blue against the wall to see which ones were masterpieces and which ones needed to be painted over. At the same time, I was a little disappointed it wasn’t a Best of Dave set, but the more I think about it the more I think I enjoyed seeing him work.

Peter Marshall: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body-- what is it?
Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn't neglected!

After settling the tab, I was politely given exact instructions on which train would get me back to my Pod without ending up looking like a lost tourist in Harlem at 2 a.m. Only one drunk/stoned hippie dude on-board, but otherwise a rather uneventful ride. I fell into bed, but not before setting my alarm for Sunday’s activities.

Peter Marshall: Paul, for a thousand dollars and a tie game, according to psychologists, do most people sleep better in their street clothes than in their pajamas?
Paul Lynde: Yeah, we call them winos.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Study in Fantasy

I’ve been studying lately. I didn’t feel like studying, and I was going to blow it off, like I did in college, or at the very least, wait until after Late Night with David Letterman was over and then start studying, and after an hour or so, decide it would be better if I went to bed, since any knowledge I might gain by studying that late would be worthless if I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I did that in college, too. As you can see, I was a multi-faceted studier back then. Nowadays, when I do get myself to study, my strategy is to skim through material hoping something sticks, similar to the way a blue whale scoops up euphausiids for a scrumptious dinner of raw euphausiids. If you looked at my brain, you would recognize that it looks very similar to the baleen plates that equip a humpback whale’s mouth. Or maybe it’s similar to the plate heat exchangers in a hydraulic oil cooling system. I always confuse whales’ mouths and hydraulic oil cooling systems. Then they ask me to back up and say it slower.

Speaking of euphausiids, I like words that have two i’s in a row. Like skiing, obiism, piing and The Godfather II. You don’t see that much in words. Not in English, anyway. It is ironic that most of us have two eyes in a row on our faces that we use to read words, including words with two i’s. You would think there would be more instances of that occurring in our language. Maybe the language writers didn’t want to be redundant. The lower case i is probably my favorite letter to write. Sometimes, when I’m writing a letter to an ex-lover or taking down a recipe or preparing an injunction, I will leave all the i’s undotted until I have finished. Then I will go on a crazy dotting spree and dot them all in one fell swoop. Sometimes it gets out of hand and I dot other things like the dogs, sandwiches or other dots. There is nothing more demonstrative than a dotted dot. I’ll even dot myself sometimes, which helps explain the enormous amount of freckles I have. And the gonorrhea.

I’ve been studying this week for fantasy football. I’m in four leagues. The first draft is this Saturday. If you don’t know about fantasy football and what a draft is, don’t bother looking it up or asking anybody about it. Save yourself from the geekitude. I wasn’t going to study this year, as I haven’t studied much in the past few years. My interest in fantasy football is waning. I mean, I still enjoy it – especially the drafts. The drafts are like bachelor parties, without strippers. Unless, of course, we decide to get strippers. And I still enjoy playing each week and watching the games on Sunday, but not enough to exert too much energy to the process. Which is why I wasn’t going to study.

So I planned to wing it this year, relying on a free cheat sheet downloaded from the Internet to help me decide which players to take for my teams. Then, earlier this week, I happened to have Sports Center on in the background while I was pruning my sasanquas, and I heard them say the name Marshawn Lynch. I realized I had no idea who he was. So I looked him up on the Internet and discovered he was the third string punter for the Saskatchewan Roughriders*, which is a vital piece of information for us fantasy football enthusiasts. Then I thought, “I wonder how many other players there are that I don’t know about.” Forty-seven, as it turned out. Well, forty-seven players who might have fantasy football impact this year, anyway. There are countless lineman nobody cares about. I then realized there would be no way to remember forty-seven players, so I decided to sleep during most of my study sessions. But that still counts for studying.

I used to be much more into fantasy football, especially with the draft preparation process. I would buy magazines as soon as they were published at the end of May, read them, highlight them, and update them with crayons when I learned new information. I would listen to sports radio 24 hours a day, waiting for snippets of information that would help me destroy my competition. I would trade my urine to NFL players for drug testing in exchange for inside information. In fact, Edgerrin James was declared Physically Unable to Perform after submitting my urine in a drug test in 1999 (not that Edgerrin was trying to hide any illegal drug usage – he just doesn’t like other people touching his pee). They made him do fifty push ups, which the NFL thought was impossible for him to do based on the physical health of my urine, to get out of it.

Something has caused my interest in fantasy football to dwindle over the years. Am I more mature now? Do I have more sophisticated interests in life? Do I now realize the insipidity of such ventures? Have I grown tired of winning all of the time? The answers to these questions are “not even close”, “does Muppet porn count?”, “what does insipidity mean?”, and “you have to win in order for that to happen”. The real cause is divorce.

I have correlated my diminishing will to make an effort in fantasy football to my state of being divorced. When I was married, preparing for fantasy football was a diversion to the marriage (not necessarily a diversion to the wife, since she was my fantasy football partner for a couple of seasons). Speaking of the ex-wife, I went to her birthday party over the weekend. She has hit an age milestone – I think she’s 30. I wasn’t sure what to get for her as a gift. The first thing that came to mind was shoes. Nobody ever buys people shoes for their birthday. So, I bought her shoes – a pair of casual, fashionable Sketchers. I’m not sure if she wears those types of shoes, but she better start. Actually, I’m guessing she’ll return them (gift receipt included), but it did produce a collective laugh throughout the party, which was my primary objective, and even a “You’re the best ex-husband ever” comment from one of her friends (yes, I got her number). Add to that the “The Lord is our greatest physician…” sympathy card I gave her serving as a birthday card (I wrote Happy Birthday on the inside with an eyebrow pencil) , which included a dollar and a free beer token from one of my local bars that she never goes to, and I’d have to say that I was the hit of the gift giving portion of the party. During the rest of the party I sat by the bar and looked cool, which wasn’t easy to do because I was a little gassy.

Without the pressure to divert from the shackles of married life, I have no impetus driving me to immerse myself into flawed speculation of gridiron future events. In other words, I don’t feel like reading about the possibility of Devin Hester becoming the next Reggie Bush. Now that I think of it, most of the other guys in my leagues are married, so they’ve been studying all summer. There is no way I can compete with that. Maybe I should remarry. Naaaaaah! Time to take another study session and get some rest. It’s going to be a long season.

* I know he’s not actually a third string punter in the Canadian football league, but just in case any of my fantasy football adversaries read this, I don’t want them knowing I plan on drafting Lynch in the sixth round**

** I don’t know what I’m worried about - like any of those assholes actually read anything except football magazines and sports web sites.***

*** Most of them are still waiting to feel their first boob, whereas I’m waiting on feeling my sixth.****

**** What do feeling boobs have to do with fantasy football?*****

***** That’s why we have to hire strippers for the fantasy football drafts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lonely Sid: NYC - Part I

I couldn’t believe I was walking six blocks to eat at a food cart on the corner of 53rd and 6th last Saturday. But I couldn’t have asked for a better day in New York City (as long as there isn’t something like Free Lap Dance & Blow Day that I don’t about) so I ventured onward, got in line, and like a pro confidently ordered the combo platter, extra white sauce, a little red sauce, and an iced tea. I almost scoffed at the mere five drops of red sauce he dotted atop the bed of rice, lettuce, chicken, lamb, tomato, pepper and onion but I remembered that my good friends on Yelp warned me that more than five drops could easily melt one’s teeth and gums (they were right). My only mistake was trying to pay with a $20 bill I was trying to break – I was chastised in a rather non-threatening way by the man in the yellow shirt (not the yellow hat, that would have been a Curious George story and this blog is mostly based in truth) and meekly handed over the $6 in exact change that I had in my wallet. There was an open spot on a nearby ledge between a somewhat primped older blond woman with her suspiciously unkempt younger boyfriend and a young Asian couple sharing the same combo platter, so I joined the others as I watched the parade of tourists look upon me and my foil tin with disdain as they ambled toward the Times Square Olive Garden. My meal totally kicked their meal’s ass at half the price and I got to eat outdoors, so fuck ‘em. Enjoy your Taste of the Venice Canal.

Well-nourished, I rambled north to Central Park to try and find a dead body for the next episode of Law & Order, but with all the sunbathers out there I couldn’t tell who was dead and who was alive and it became quickly apparent that they didn’t like getting poked with a stick even if it was for their own good. Luckily, there is plenty of other entertainment and people-watching on the weekend that won’t get one arrested. So I spent two hours wandering every inch of the park up to 72nd Street, except for an amusement park type section (Victorian Gardens) that reeked of kids, and we all know how they frighten and confuse me. I moved on and stumbled upon the SummerStage, which sounded more like the Big Easy than the Big Apple, and discovered it was the Celebrate New Orleans concert. I almost went in but they were checking backpacks and I was afraid of getting arrested because, hey, who knows what’s in that thing? Besides, the large crowd frightened and confused me so I sat outside on the grass for a few minutes and enjoyed the fine sounds of Jon Cleary for a while without getting jammed into the bleachers with a bunch of other cheap sons-of-bitches looking for a freebie. I continued on to find some street performers that were more hype than show and some performers that were better than ones I’ve paid to see (have I mentioned how bad The Cars sucked in concert? Not the New Cars, who I haven’t seen, but probably won’t so you’re on your own on that one). Further on up the road was a fenced off roller disco where I borrowed a sequined shirt and schooled the crowd with my junior high Le Freak routine. The hula hoop clinic was the next stop, but I didn’t want to show off (not to mention my disappointment at a lack of a “grinder girl” clinic. I turned around at Strawberry Fields (it was definitely nothing to get hungabout). In fact, I’m guessing one of the guys from Candy Flip must have died or something since there appeared to be some sort of memorial and a bunch of people were leaving flowers all around. I’m going to miss them. A trip along the main road back gave me a chance to gawk at hot roller girls like urban toreadors, scoff at bikers riding anything less than $1000, consider a career as a pedicab driver, realize I don’t like horses much unless they’re racing, watch just enough of a pick up soccer game with shirtless guys to not feel gay, yell at people in the row boats to watch out for the rabid ducks and feel very fit as I dodged tourists stuffing their faces with ice cream. Bottom line: Central Park rocks. If you’re in NYC for a weekend, Sid says definitely spend some time checking it out. I was there 2+ hours and wish I had had more time to explore.

I made it back to the Pod Hotel where my room was ready. Not so much rooms, hence the name. It’s more a very high-end flophouse for people that don’t want to otherwise pay $300 - $400+ per night. For about $129 with a shared bath, or $199 with a private bath, you get a very nice, clean room slightly smaller than a jail cell but without the dangerous roommate. I had a twin bed and a tiny desk compacted in my 6’ x 12’ room. Free wireless and an iPod docking station. What more can you ask for? Besides, if you spend more than 8 hours in your room on a visit to NYC you’re wasting your time and money and might as well just gone to Des Moines for vacation.

I showered up and got ready for my next adventure.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Leper Pop World Report

Bus Hero

Moist Rub reporting.

FREETON, NJ – A man was apparently trapped in a city bus after the bus ran off the road and crashed into a twenty-foot garbage dumpster at 2800 South 24th Avenue. The driver and the seven other passengers safely exited the bus. When rescue workers arrived on the scene, they were able to enter the bus through the main door, which was not damaged, and escort the man, Turlock Gibble, age 46 from Bunville, off the bus, unharmed. When asked why he remained on the bus after the crash, Mr. Gibble replied, “This is not my stop.”

Green Black Box of Death

StivOO reporting.

SUMMIT, IL – Searchers have recovered the “black box” from the wrecked 1991 Chevy Corsica that slid off I-55 Monday morning in heavy fog. The box -- which is actually off-green with a drawing of the entire Scooby Doo cast on the front panel -- contains critical information about the final minutes of the car’s journey and could prove crucial in determining why it plunged off the road early Monday morning. The front panel of the box had apparently been forced open in the impact, but NTSB officials were confident that the critical flight information in the box was intact. Although thorough ananlysis of the contents is just underway, preliminary review of the black box contents indicated half a ham and swiss sandwich, a diet Tab, and, in what may be the most revealing piece of data, a spent L’il Debbie snack cake wrapper, an NTSB spokesperson said.

The Perfect Ketchup

Sid F’er reporting.

WAXAHACHIE, TX – Local courier Jimmy Toncek recently lauded the service at the local Jack-in-the-Box after receiving the perfect number of ketchup packets for his fries on a recent visit to their drive-thru window. “I have to ask for ketchup every time I go through that durn place, and I usually get shorted on the ketchup or I get enough to last me through the next year. This time I didn’t even have to ask, and I had enough to dip every fry but not a speck more.”

Toncek often eats on the run, so drive-thru’s are most convenient to his schedule. His mobile office doesn’t have room to carry such condiments, as the interior of his ’86 Ford Ranger is often filled with important documents, maps and other tools of his trade. “She ain’t a pretty truck,” stated Jimmy, “but she gets me where I need to be.” He cited his recent Employee of the Quarter award as evidence of his reliability and efficientcy. His supervisor confirmed the honor, but also added that Toncek was the only courier that has worked at HotShot Messenger for the entire period.

Toncek wondered if the ketchup service was a result of a new management team at the local franchise, but hadn’t seen any “under New Management” banners hanging from the building. Calls to the restaurant confirmed that there have been no major changes to the management team, although Donna Schlemp was recently given the title of Assistant Shift Leader after six months of work as a team member. The manager that we spoke with believed this to be irrelevant, as Schlemp primarily works closing shifts during the week. Several team members that we spoke to on a recent visit said that the number of ketchup packets is an ongoing issue with most customers. Managers “continually rag” on the team to watch condiment costs, but it’s the frontline team that has to face the wrath of the ketchup hungry mobs each day.

It’s still unclear whether Toncek’s luck was of the pure dumb variety or if someone out there truly understands the importance of the condiment in each order. Toncek best summed it up saying, “I can’t tell you how it happened, but I will tell you that I’ll drive the extra 2 blocks to go to that drive-thru any day of the week.”

Hard To Swallow

Moist Rub reporting.

LA JOLLA, CA – Jenny Craig, one of the largest weight management service companies in the world, has promoted Monica Lewinsky to Vice President of Product Development. In the summer of 1999 Ms. Lewinsky, who is infamous for her inappropriate relationship with President Clinton, joined Jenny Craig as a spokesperson to promote a low-carb menu option intended to illustrate how “Jenny Craig Changes Lives.”

“It’s no secret that Monica was in desperate need for a change in her life at the time,” claims Patti Larchet, Jenny Craig’s President and Chief Operating Officer, “Since she had so much room for improvement, we figured it was a sure fire marketing plan.” “That is so not untrue,” agreed Ms. Lewinsky.

“To our delight,” adds Larchent, “we discovered Monica had a flare for developing innovative weight management techniques. Her only problem was that she had a habit of managing her weight at around 250 pounds instead of somewhere in a range healthier for her body type.” After her brief role as spokesperson, Lewinsky has spent the last seven years in the company as Chief Technician of Doughnut Procurement as a special assistant to the executive staff.

Lewinsky’s first weight management scheme allows the participants to eat as much food as they want. “The key is that all food should be swallowed whole,” swaggers Lewinsky. The philosophy assumes that since the food has not been broken down initially by chewing, most of it will not be able to be absorbed by the digestive system and will pass harmlessly through the bowels. “Humans weren’t meant to chew and have teeth,” Lewinsky told us, “that is why they’re always falling out. Besides, teeth get in the way sometimes.”

Jenny Craig plans to offer this novel weight management strategy to its clients this winter. Lewinsky anticipates, “At first, people will have to start out with something reasonable, like spaghetti. But with some coaching from Jenny Craig’s crack staff of weight management street professionals, they’ll be sucking down hot dogs, sausages, even full zucchini, like it’s a glass of water! If I can do it, anybody can!”

What’s next for this pioneer in the world of weight watching? “I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m leaning towards an all liquid protein plan.”

Dangerous Stools

Sid F’er reporting.

TOOLEWAH, TN – Record numbers of town folk turned out for yesterday’s city council meeting after officials announced extremely high levels of hydrogen have been found in the city’s water supply. Recent test results uncovered by this publication under the Freedom of Information Act showed levels of over 66% were routinely measured. Resident Billy Halliday felt he spoke for everyone when he said, “I’m appalled that this information has not been disclosed to the residents of this town -- God almighty only knows how long this as been an issue.”

Indeed nobody seems to have an explanation for the hydrogen, but Mayor Monty Houston promised an investigation into the matter that has everyone on edge. “I mean, we use water for everything in this town,” stated Mabel Smarmont, citing drinking, cooking, bathing and even sanitation. “I’m afraid to use the stool in my own home for fear of the dang thing blowin’ up real good while I’m on it,” said Smarmont.

Only local science teacher, Oliver Huckley, seemed unaffected at the recent meeting, as he tried early on to assure the crowd that their stools are in no danger. These comments only served to arouse suspicion and incite the crowd. Said Halliday, “It’s because of so-called scientists and their mad experiments that our natural resources are being endangered.” He later forcefully proposed that the council should consider discontinuing the high school’s chemistry program, as that could only lead to the further introduction of dangerous levels of chemicals in our environment. The council promised to discuss it at the next meeting after further study. “Maybe all them jackasses with their fancy bottled water know something after all,” concluded Smarmont.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Help Me Rondel

Remembering Rondel

When rondel form was brought to mind
By a swell pal I have never met
Ideas reveal as paths unwind
In structured verse of rhyming set

A crossword puzzle wrought unlined
Where clues are thoughts consciously whet
When rondel form was brought to mind
By a swell pal I have never met

Let verbal timbre such designed
Clear my head of confessions yet
For which I hold me in her debt
And let remind me of this kind
When rondel form was brought to mind
By a swell pal I have never met

Jellyfinger Redemption

(This rondel will make more sense if you view this when reading)

Tempting fate in a prostrate squat
Ass exposed to Jellyfinger
From cradle to my present lot
Times have brought me here to linger

While drink and smoke prepare my plot
Echos of a mammonth singer
Tempting fate in prostrate squat
Ass exposed to Jellyfinger

For days of health attend me not
I deserve this tolling ringer
Use of spoon or knuckled stinger
The Shaman's tool inspects my rot
Tempting fate in a prostrate squat
Ass exposed to Jellyfinger

Sonnet of Leper Pop (Stile Italiano)

One summer stretch not yet the dog
Xavier dared in excess rock
Reflections railed in rants of mock
Thereon taking form of blog

Opines fierce in rubble fog
Culling rouse in fervent flock
As they hoped to catch a pock
Like I Digress and Furry Frog

Though passion fixed on blond blue eyes
Some remained when the show declined
To inspire discourse if not sop
Incessant conceits eager to find
More enchanting eyes to entice the spies
Intent on reading leper pop

And a cinquain for the road...

Drudgery flume
Nosebreaths chew cud
Pathos etched by doom

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm Too Saxy For My Job

I’ve always found that I can usually achieve a level of mediocrity in almost all things that I try; however, I’ve unfortunately been unable to find that one thing for which I might achieve a level of greatness. Music happens to be one of those pursuits that fits into the former category. I’ve learned a few chords to keep myself amused on an acoustic guitar, figured out enough notes on a bass guitar to play in a garage band as long as you don’t expect me to throw down any John Entwistle bass lines, and I can play Mary Had a Little Lamb on piano with two hands. I figured that limited level of competency precluded any hope of a career in the performing arts, but my mind has been changed.

I’m going to cash out my 401(k) and get me a pawn shop saxophone. Then I’m going to work real hard memorizing just two songs, which is all that is required to be a street musician. I know this because there is a street musician on the corner where I work (no, I don’t work on the street corner, but in a building located on the same corner), and this saxophone player seems to be making a living by repeatedly playing Tequila and Theme from The Simpsons. Repeatedly. Like over and over again. Every day. He has wisely chosen a high traffic, extremely transient area near the train station where passersby are clueless to his limited repertoire and out of earshot by the time Pee-Wee starts his big shoe dance again. However, his more permanent neighbors are ready to stuff the silly Trix rabbit down his sax before we throw ourselves out our windows or relocate our office to Montana.

I shouldn’t be so hard on him. At least he’s doing something to try and earn a buck rather than just thrusting a paper cup in my face. And he did just add If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands, so he must be using his earnings for lessons. But he had better keep working at it, because as soon as I learn Theme from Sanford and Son and What You Need by INXS he is so going to have to find another corner.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


This post brought to you by You Tube...

Cowboy Mouth was the first band I saw live when I moved to Dallas years ago, closely followed by the great Reverend Horton Heat. Not a bad welcome. I don’t make it out as often as I used to but whenever I go to a bar or club, particularly those that have a younger clientèle, I usually have my ID ready if there is a doorman. However, I’m finding more and more often that I just get the “wave through” from them without even checking. Even if I try to hand it to them. I know I don’t look a day over 32, but just pretend you have a “card everyone” policy, buddy. Especially if I’m wearing a hat to cover my gray hair. Even if it’s my #1 Grandpa hat.

A recent headline read Illness Forces Hootie and the Blowfish to Delay Tour. My first thought – whose illness – one of the band members or the ticket holders? That was a little too obvious, wasn't it? I'm almost ashamed it was so easy. My second thought – wow, they’re still around? I’d never have guessed they’d still be touring to support Cracked Rear View after 13 years. Apparently Hootie has a staph infection and doctors have advised against performing too close to the livestock on the county fair circuit. However, Lollapalooza went on this weekend without them.

Since Chicago has been the home to Lollapalooza for the last three years, I’d thought I’d give everyone a live report.

Friday: Both at lunch and upon leaving work, I had to dodge countless dirty hippies, hopeless hipsters, and hot, yet obnoxious, coeds that were littering my workplace about a mile west of the event. I hear that they were all there to see this band called Daft Punk, who does not sound very daft and is not even the least bit punk. Those poor suckers are going to be bummed they just spent $80 to see a couple of French weenie guys in robot masks play some dance music. Give me a turntable and a Richard Nixon mask and I’ll play some Devo for y’all for half the price, you jackasses (thanks to Llama Butchers for the Devo link).

The band they should have been going to see: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Saturday: I didn’t go downtown since I spent considerable time the previous night trying to get dirty hippie smell out of my hair and clothes. Which is too bad, since I saw several bands on the schedule that grace my normally benign iPod. On second thought, maybe it’s best that I didn’t go because I surely would have ripped out my auditory nerves had I heard Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol spewing from the PA.

Sunday: Yeah, I skipped day three as well, but I did see the local news interview some old guy (over 25) who was there to see Pearl Jam. Besides, I probably would have just left after the 12:30 Juliette and the Licks show, and that certainly wouldn’t have been a prudent investment unless it included a Swedish massage. (Oh, and I’m serious about the Licks – they rock.)

So there you have it. I hope you had as much fun reading as I did attending. Unfortunately, I have a feeling you did.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Leper Pop Contest of the Day!

Note: this contest is over. Read below for amusement purposes only.

We all want to win a brand spanking new Leper Pop t-shirt, don't we? Well, pretend that you do.

To enter our fabulous contest, examine the picture above for a while. Try not to puke. Then, in your best English, write a story about the picture and email it to Be as short or as long winded as you feel necessary. The important thing is that our television is broken, and we need entertainment.

The best story submitted, as judged by Sid F'er, Moist Rub and Captain Break-It, will win a brand spanking new Leper Pop t-shirt**, as made famous by Marty Casey of Marty Casey and the Lovehammers.

(Don't write about Marty unless you incorporate him into the story that goes along with the picture at the top of this post. Who knows, he may have been the patient right before this one.)

We reserve the right to post any story sent to us. If it's really good, we may even claim it as our own. However, we won't post your name unless you say it's cool to do so. If not, we'll make up a name for you, like Flippa Carover.

Contest deadline: sometime later in the future, or when we get tired of reading the millions of entries.

Be sure to read the other rules from our lawyers in the fine print below.

Lawyers suck

** We have a limited number of sizes. We'll try to give you one that fits, but you may have to either lose some weight or start lifting weights to fit into it.