Monday, August 30, 2004

Cheops off the Old Block

I was reading today about the ancient Egyptians; more precisely, about their death beliefs and practices. The Egyptians pseudo-invented the ritual of embalming their dead in preparation for the afterlife in order to make the transition to the Sweet Thereafter as smooth as possible. Well, about as smooth as removing the dead brain tissue through the nostrils with a hooked instrument can be anyway.

The Egyptians believed that the physical body was resurrected after its interment in the pyramid in order to continue its existence in the afterlife. Therefore, great lengths were seen to the dead in order to properly prepare the bodies. They were carefully cleansed and equipped for their eventual journey before being sealed in their sarcophagi’s. Often, complete provisions were provided for in the tomb including food, slaves, tools, jewels, and sometimes even other family members in order to assist with the easy transition to the ‘Next World’. This is were the process begins to loose it’s grasp with me.

Now, if I were finally able to depart from this miserable existence and could drift off to Eternal Paradise as a free spirit without care, unencumbered by any shackles to this merciless world, the last thing I would want would be to have my family along in tow for the rest of eternity! I'm cool with all the personal effects and slaves to wait on me hand and foot, but my FAMILY? Never! It’d rather have my ‘Ka’, my ‘Ba’, and my ‘Akh’ (and whatever the fuck else it is that's to be judged) beamed directly down to the Underworld to be manufactured into something that would be scraped off Osiris's sandal after walking Anubis than end up on a neverending cross-country trip with my family.

Can you imagine going on a beautiful cruise through Heavenly Splendor down the River Styx and having your wife bitch at you the entire time? “Oh, Tutankhamun. Did you remember to pack the UV2 sunblock? I hope you didn’t forget to turn off the kitchen sink back in the Royal Palace!” Or the kids whining in the background: “Pharoah, are we THERE yet? I have to go to the bathroom!”

Likewise, all their internal organs were removed and systematically preserved in special ceremonial burial urns. Yeah, that’s mighty convenient all right! I can barely stand to carry around one suitcase when I travel abroad, nevermind having to look after and lug around all my internal organs in separate bags. What a pain in the ass! “Honey, have you seen my liver? I hope I didn’t leave it back at the hotel.” Or find out that my intestines have been mistakenly placed on a wrong flight heading for Hades. I wonder if they installed those little wheels on those organ urns so that they could be wheeled around the afterlife quicker and easier when trying to catch connecting flights?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Marti Gras Work Nightmare

I am amused at work these days to see the state of gaudiness at another cubicle a few aisles over from my own. With all the plastic sparkly strings of beads, pink flower garlands, dangly ornaments, etc, it’s like a Mardi Gras explosion has occurred on the site. Time to sift through the tacky rubble, and collect the painted body pieces together.

It’s a decorating disaster zone, the likes of which not even the Fab Five from ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ would go near. You need tinted welding goggles just to work comfortably in that cubicle lest your pupils should be irreparably damaged after catching a glimpse of intense light reflecting off one of the plastic Marti Gras beads. Even Carson the ‘Fashion Consultant’ wouldn’t be able to achieve an erection within 15ft of this particular cubicle. Jai the ‘Culture Vulture’ would no doubt just have a massive coronary attack and drop dead right on the spot the moment he laid his gay eyes on this fashionable faux pas.

Also included as part of this workplace installation art piece, is a shrine dedicated to the person who sits there (which it must also be noted, is the same guy that I also have a beef with over wearing see-through shirts, so that may lend to explain the immediate negative reaction I experienced to his taste in décor). There are numerous photographs of this same person posing, modeling, and mugging for the camera taped, stapled, and tacked to his cubicle walls in a complete collage of Gaydom.

Who wants a zillion photographs of themselves at their work desks? Isn’t that a little over the top? Who is so vain that they need to constantly stare at and admire their own beauty during the course of a grueling eight-hour workday? Shit, I don’t even check myself in the mirror before I leave to work in the morning, much less have to stare at a photo of myself karaokeing to ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ at the company picnic all day long. That’s more my idea of slow torture than it is for a comforting work environment. I’d rather stare at bull elephants mating all day *.

Who works at a cubicle decorated like that anyways, Elton John’s Bizarro double? Liberace is probably rolling over in the crusted purple satin lining his coffin right now as I write this.

* Which, as I understand it, is not a particularly pretty sight.

Pansy-ass Pandemic

(Inspired by a thread posted to on the ‘Terrapin Presents ’ message board and a lunchtime cafeteria conversation.)

Kids today have it easy. If kids of today were to travel back in time to when I was young, entering a playground would be like walking into certain death since they have been wussied in every way possible since pretty much the time of their birth. It has lead way for a significant all out weakening in the “Evolution of the Species”, in my humble oppinion. We are slowly evolving into whiney zoo plankton.

There was none of this nancy-ass plastic molded playground equipment with smooth, multi-colored, gentle angles, in nice non-toxic spongy mulch to prevent possible scrapes and bruising. We had cold monkey bars anchored in cement which only in came in cold, unforgiving metallic gray. It was not much different had we been playing in a scrapyard. The closest we ever had to protection were those hard-ass rubber coated tiles that were every bit as hard as the concrete, but it may limit your injury to a concussion instead of a full-on skull fracture. And we were LUCKY to have that stuff! More often than not, they just spray painted graffiti on the cracked concrete to give it that multi-colored kids play area feel. Also as it happens, that was the way we communicated with each other about the significant events that affected our neighborhood; like who-blew-who-where, and who had the latest inflection of Cooties.

The actual playground apparatuses themselves were even more foreboding when I was a kid, and playing on them was a bout as safe as playing Paddy-cake with Edward Scissorhands. In my childhood, climbing into the Jungle Gym was like entering into a medieval torture chamber. On the slides, you would be inflicted with third degree burns if ever you had the temerity to slide in shorts on a Summers day you would more than likely have to admit yourself into a burn clinic at the local hospital afterwards for skin grafts. And how about the well-thought out physics that went into designing the ingenious Round-a-bout, or “Barf-mobile” as it would be more aptly nicknamed? Place the kids on a single free-spinning axis point, and have them hold on for dear life as they are spun at mach 3 speeds until the massive built-up inertia hurls their bodies at incredible velocities so that they end up as splattered red stains against the brick school wall. Remember the wooden swing sets that we used to try and launch ourselves into orbit off of without ending up with splinters lodged in our ass the size of hockey sticks.

Remember the kid back in the day, who would show up at the playground wearing pads and a bicycle helmet? They inevitably ended up standing out from the other neighborhood kids like John Merrick at a swimsuit contest. No one exactly flocked to be their friend, did they?

We were harder as kids back then, and even though we had things tougher we just roughed it out and shook off the bumps, stitches, and broken collarbones and returned to the playground, business as usual. No lawsuits or nothing! If you take into consideration all the safety improvements that kids have now, as opposed to those available to us in the 70’s and 80’s, then technically those of us over the age of 30 should have been killed off long ago like a dinosaur with Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Shit, our babycrib's were covered with bright colored lead-based paint and the bars were separated wide and inviting enough to be one of those theme park photographic sets that you just place your face into the proper hole. “Look daddy, I’m a crib death!” We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets. In fact, we probably used those same cupboards under the sink and hid behind those inviting Economy sized bottles of Bleach and Draino when we played ‘Hide n’ Seek’. We drank straight from the garden hose without fear of contracting a deadly strain of Eccoli bacteria. Now, in order to share a bottle of coke with their friends, kids have to undergo prior blood work and be able to pass a standard HIV test *.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all that didn’t have joysticks controls the size of gear shifts, no 99 channels on cable bvideo tape movies, DVD’s, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal laptops, or Internet chat rooms. We had to go out and meet our own perverts and child molesters to take us out for ice cream!

We would spend hours building Go-carts out of old plumbing parts and then rode down the largest hill we could find at the speed of light as if we were reentering the earth’s orbit. Brakes were for sissies! We used actual trees to stop our momentum.

We punched and kicked and bit one another as part of the natural establishing of the neighborhood pecking order. We just took our lumps and immediately jumped in line behind the Alpha bully of the pack.

We made up games involving sticks and tennis balls that would inevitably leave welts the size of Rhode Island relief maps. And somehow we never managed to poke out any eyes. We left that for the high school Biology class.

Little League had tryouts and not everybody made the cuts. Those who didn’t make the team had to learn to deal with the humiliating shame and disappointment. And forget all that “everybody is a winner” horseshit. Losers were to be mocked and ridiculed mercilessly by the victors. Being a water boy was never cool unless you just liked to be hung from clothes hooks by your underwear while wearing athletic jockstraps on your face.

If we broke the law we were never bailed out. In fact, often it was our parents that were the ones that turned us in!

As a result, this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. We have just developed better and more efficient Immune systems to protect us. Those of us who have survived these old school tribulations do not fear germs or infestations. Hell, we can wipe our ass with our hands before we make ourselves a sandwich and not have to worry about contracting any communicable diseases. We could digest pure Bubonic Plague and still manage to make it into work in the morning. Young adults now who have had it easy inevitably have to voluntarily place themselves in quarantine each time someone sneezes within 15ft of them.

People under 30 are pussies! I see it every day in the new employees that are hired to work around me. They are the products of these spoiled, protected, and wussied generations of fashionably safe children. Before they have even so much as adjusted the settings on their swivel desk chair, they’ve been rewarded for having successfully completed the necessary training with a veritable treasure chest of company goodies. “Welcome to the machine!”

On their first day of work, the new employees arrive in their new company monogrammed golf shirts and wind breakers, and begin to spread out their new company brand water bottles, travel mugs, highlighters, erasures, pens, pencils, foamy stress reliever toys, fridge magnets, clip boards, binders, calculators, hemorrhoid cushions, etc, into their new office cubicle space. They look like a fucking Company Superstore! Are they qualified agents, or corporate gift stops? Those under 35 are simply accustomed to being given something for nothing. It’s all about the “stuff”. Meanwhile, beside them, is poor me in a bright yellow Black Diamond cheese product t-shirt with nary a paper calendar and a half-chewed HB pencil that looks like it has been worked over by beavers. Equipped with nothing more than a caffeine rush and a bad attitude.

It’s like being beamed into the plot of some half-assed “buddy” cop movie with the veteran street-smart officer** and the green eager-to-please rookie looking to learn the ropes. I feel like Sgt Ellis in ‘Platoon’ coming to the aid of poor clueless Chris Taylor and offering him friendly, big brotherly tutelage in the field in order to better prepare him for what lies ahead, as well as to avoid eventual run-in’s with the nasty tempered Sgt. Barnes authority figure. Pretty soon, I’ll be shot-gunning the newbie gift groupie through a spill-proof plastic company brand bottle as an initiation to the ruthless world of corporate call centers. Either that, or I’m Robert Duvall the hardened streetwise police officer teaching the laws of the urban jungle to a reckless gung-ho spitfire Sean Penn in ‘Colors’, even though the neon yellow cheese t-shirt probably makes me look more like the rookie Pac-Man than the knowledgeable, seasoned Uncle Bob character.

If I was given all those token company knick-knacks, I’d be selling them to other under-appreciated, disgruntled veteran collectors like myself who have become so accustomed to being offered not so much as a single soup bone for our services over the duration of our lengthy dutiful employ. We would probably be prone to breakdown helplessly in tears of joy if anybody were to single us out for our efforts and reward us with a company brand triangle highlighter or rubber squeezy star ***. Hell, most of us would gratefully trade our souls for a string of company beads just for a single nano-second of gratitude and recognition for our efforts. We’d make those Indians who sold Manhattan Island look like shrewd Jewish Used Car salesmen. “I’ll teach you everything you’ll need to know to succeed in this office place and eventually replace me altogether, but it’ll cost you that ‘Sick Line’ fridge magnet!”

We are not accustomed to having things as easy as these younger pansies, and we know the value of an honest days work. We don’t bring in notes from our chiropractors to qualify us to sit in proper special backbone aligning office chairs, and we don’t whine when there is no more flavored Creamer left in the cafeteria fridge for our coffee. We just rub some instant coffee crystals into our gums and flip over our garbage bins, take a seat, and begin slaving away at our desks through the regular daily grind with not so much as a second thought for our crooked spinal columns. Fuck that, we’re not nancy-asses!

* Bottled water was only to drink if absolutely necessary in crisis situations. Like 7th Inning stretches and nuclear Holocausts.

** I see myself being played by someone resembling a cross between Steven Segal and Rodney Dangerfield.

*** I wonder if this popular demand has given spawn to numerous Black Market company schwag bootleggers, counterfeitors, and scalpers of all novelty office toys and equipment?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Going for the Pink in Athens

Well, unless you’ve been living in a shoebox for the past 5 days, you already know that the official Games of the 25th Olympiad has begun and that the televised coverage of these events has superceded all other facets of normal broadcasting. I admit that I am not usually one to go all gaga over ordinary sport broadcasts, but I like to consider it my duty, as a member of the Earth's cultural elite, to tune in and follow the events of the worlds best athletes as they gather to compete for athletic supremacy. But after only 5 days of Olympic coverage I have to wonder: what the fuck is going on here?

When did the Olympic Games become so sissy? Trampolining*? Synchronized Diving? Rhythmic Gymnastics? Shit, there’s more pure athleticism involved in any Richard Simmons workout video. Welcome to the topsy-turvy, unsynchronised world of the 25th Summer Olympic Games. Like tens of millions round the world, we will succumb over the next ten days to the Olympic showcase of athleticism, competitiveness, grace, muscle and sheer will. But over these days we will also catch a glimpse of activities that will cause us each to draw breath and mutter, “The WHAT event? Is that really a sport?”

No wonder ticket sales to the events are at an all-time low this year. For this momentous occasion of the traditional Olympic Games returning to their original founding birthplace, I was hoping to see more traditional burley men, rubbed down with olive oil and dressed in nothing more than fig leaves, competing in manly events of physical prowess. Not 14 year old girls in leotard leaping around like show ponies. Hercules must be beside himself with rage at this unholy progression of his Games over time **. This new brand of uber-feminine competition is only going to serve to make my nads shrivel up to the size of pitted olives. Honestly, I'd rather watch old people jog naked.

I don’t mind watching parts of the competition when the synchronized divers shammy their nubile athletic bodies down between dives with a cloth the size of a bathroom tile, but the rest of the actual competition is just downright faggy. It’s not so much about sport anymore as it is about the pure rush of pherimones for the Hedonistic viewer at this point. The apparent inclusion of such events seem to be distinguishable less for competitiveness than for narcissism: activities rehearsed and choreographed so as to show off the grace and suppleness of the human form. But if I wanted grace and suppleness I’d go to the ballet, thank you very much.

When it comes down to it, I don’t enjoy watching any competitive athletic event, unless there is a noticeable grimaces of pain on the faces of the competitors. Like those you see on the faces of the athletes competing in the Iron Man Triathlon, the Decathlon, Weight-lifting, Boxing, and the Marathons. Hell, even the televised coverage of the Olympic Crapathlon on the morning after the courtesy Souvlaki Buffet provided for the Athens IOC Luncheon has more twisted expressions of competitive anguish than those that you see on the faces of any participant competing in the new Women’s Double-Handed Dinghy-470 ***.

I also have a beef with Men’s Gymnastics in general. The male body should not bend and twist that way! It makes me uncomfortable to even watch it. Someone like myself, who has the muscular body build of a German sausage, it’s discomforting, to say the least, witnessing another man contort himself into a position that in any other circumstance would have the rest of us in traction and unable to procreate in the future, or wind up on par with the same physical abilities as Christopher Reeve. It’s freakish and abnormal; like witnessing Linda Blair’s head twist completely around in the ‘The Exorcist’! I view any man that can do the leg spits in the same light that Matthew Hopkins would view any 17th century woman who liked to dance naked in the moonlight. It’s simply unnatural. “BURN HIM!”

I’m all for raising the Balance Beam bar on the old school classical standards of Olympic athletics. Let’s restore these competitive games to their original glorified level of Classical macho excellence. No more of these panty-waist show sports. This ain’t no dog show, this is INTERNATIONALLY SPORTING! Let’s make the athletes have to fight for their medal and improve these modern day wimpy events to make them more spectator friendly. Imagine little Ming Xao and Qui Sho Quong from China locked in mortal combat atop the 100ft diving tower, tearing into each other like rabid wolverines, before both leaping off and executing a perfectly timed synchronized Triple Summersault with a twist (which by the way, sounds like something that would be served at a Cocktail Bar along the Greek Promenade) into the pool below. Either that, or fill the pool with man-eating sharks. Medals will only be awarded to those with the best dive scores and those who can manage to escape the pool alive. It's time we put the actual "limp" back in "Olympics"!

Perhaps I should have been tipped off as to how this was all to go down while watching the coverage of the Opening Ceremonies 5 days ago. From the country that developed mathematics, democracy, philosophy, architecture, drama, astronomy, as well as many other forms of intellectual culture, I expected more orgies and Vestal Virgins. Something that would have had every Classics professor the world round spanking off if it would bring Aphrodite herself to life. As it was, with all the painted figures posing, dancing, juggling, and voguing, it was more like I was watching ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ on two hits of the brown acid. All that was missing was a good ‘Moody Blues’ soundtrack to play it all out to. Why couldn’t we just stick with the old founding principles of full frontal nudity, fig laurels, and plenty of olive oil like our original Greek Olympic forefathers? Of course, we could dispense the ritual of beheading the vanquished afterwards, in lieu of say, oh, forcing them to be pig-bellied by the entire ‘Polish Weightlifting Team’ live on Pay-Per-View.

* Which only could have been created by the same flaming genius who also invented the Two-Man Luge event in the Winter Olympics; two men in bodysuits lying on top of one another as they careen down a hillside on a tobaggan.

** Lord knows that Zeus wouldn’t mind since he probably would have turned himself into a cow by now so that he could stand outside the Olympic Village and ogle the female athletes in their competition tights, swimsuits, spandex bodysuits, etc as they leave and return from their individual competitions.

*** Which would closer resemble that of someone who is performing street Mime.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Walt Disney Sex Debacle

It has only become aware to me lately that Walt Disney has been wrapped up in an embittered court case and sex scandal involving one of it’s beloved characters, Tigger. Thankfully, poor Tigger was successfully aquitted some time early this month on the charges of fondling a 13 year old girl while she posing for a photo with her mom and the excitable bouncy loveable tiger. Pardon? Are you suggesting that Tigger is in actuality some sort of perverted pedophile, that instead of propelling himself along on his trademark springy tail, is actually the John Holmes of the ‘Hundred Acre Wood’, pogo-sticking his way through Disneyland in search of little innocent naïve females on his immense 4 ½ foot spring-action monster cock? .

I simply don’t believe that such a thing could have been possible, much less ever happened at all. Maybe I am completely off base here, but in order to pull off this supposedly scandalous act in full view of the entire tourist public visiting the famous theme park at the time, the accused Walt Disney employee must have had balls the size of Epcot Center dangling between his legs!

Now, it seems that the trademark Disney characters may not be able to randomly roam the famous Magic Kingdom anymore, but rather will be made available for photographs with adoring tourists only at prescheduled, carefully guarded locations throughout the day. How ludicrous is it to now be required to prearrange a photo shoot with Goofy through an arbitrary Disney agent if you ever wanted a souvenir picture of your visit to the Magic Kingdom for your wall? I can picture Eeyore now, puffing on a cigar and bitching to his booking agent over the office speaker phone about the number of public appearances he has been scheduled to make that day. “Cancel all my appointments, Mr. Eisner. I’m taking the rest of the afternoon off!”

Even if it DID happen, what’s so wrong with being fondled by Tigger anyways? Is Tigger not the overtly rambunctious type anyways? Hell, this may be the only ultimate compliment that this google-eyed, buck-toothed rugrat experiences in her entire life. She may still be bragging about it with the other spinsters at her retirement village when she’s 89 years old and living with 37 cats. “That’s right, girls. Tigger just couldn’t keep his paws to himself once he caught sight of this sweet boo-tay!” Or maybe there’s something deeper to this case than what has been thus far been brought to light. Maybe her mother was secretly upset that it was not she, but her 13 year old mutant child that got fondled, and this is actually a case of misguided jealousy and anger.

How about those of us that not only would like to be fondled by a Disney character, but who would actually look forward to it as the icing on the cake for our vacation experience? How are these allegations and possible repercussions going to affect us? Huh?

I think in lieu of recent charges, Disney should now create a new adult orientated thrill ride to cater to anyone specifically interested in having a more “hands on” experience with the beloved Disney Characters. It could be called “Winnie the Pooh’s House of Burlesque’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Sex Parlor’, or even ‘Aladin’s Harem of Whores’, where the more risqué visitors can go to get gang-banged by the Seven Dwarves, or perform any other forbidden acts of uber-perversity with their favorite Disney character. It’ll be great! While the kids wait in the 4 hour lineup outside ‘Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride’, mom and dad can mosie on over to ‘XXX-land’, loosen up with a few cocktails and take a Wild Ride of their own as daddy watches mommy get spit-roasted by Roo and Piglet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

On the Trail of Phatti Macrobus

There is nothing on this earth like a Grateful Dead concert. Nothing even remotely comes close to resembling it. Even those who are not official died-in-the-wool* Deadheads are sure to be guaranteed a memorable people-watching experience that would leave most professional sociologists scratching their heads and gaping in bewilderment.

Who needs the Wildlife Channel? Taking a stroll through the parking lot before the show is like going on a safari in search of big “gamey” hippies. This particular breed of planetary species has become affectionately known among regular concert-goers as the common migratory Tour Rat, or “Phatti Macrobus”. This strange creature is about as entertaining to observe in it’s indigenous habitat deep within the concrete parking lot jungles of arenas and stadiums throughout North America, as watching a herd of Sea Lions dressed as circus clowns. When I wander the rows of parked cars observing the various Cowardly Lion types, all passing glass pipes and bottles with the stealthy nimble dexterity of an Explosives Expert, I suddenly feel like the Crocodile Hunter wandering the outback on safari marveling at all these local primitive hippie beasts roaming at large. And then I feel the indescribable urge to jump one, wrestle it to the ground, hogtie it’s limbs behind it’s back and gag it with my belt, affix a special tracking device to it’s ear, and then release it back into the wilds of the parking lot once again.

Phatti Macrobus, or “Lot Kids” as they are sometimes simply referred to, all seem to look alike after awhile and begin to pass before you like a procession of Wookies in kitschy product advertisement t-shirts. They are just noticably different. They resemble a cross between a mechanical clapping monkey and an Ewok cranked up on too many speedballs. Where I used to subscribe to the notion that any large numbers of Caucasians dancing in close proximity should be hailed as a public offense and reason enough to immediately call in the National Guard and install Martial Law, and begin handing out the death sentences like they were Ganja Gooballs, I will admit that there is nothing more sexually provocative as the indigenous female dancing Phatti Macrobus in full traditional tie-dye regalia in her natural habitat. It’s all I can do to prevent myself from ogling the young supple twirling Tour Rat as her building inertia makes the hems on her patchy skirt rise up over her smooth calves and thighs, threatening to reveal quick glimpses of forbidden hippie muff…


Tour Rats are extremely territorial and competitive in regards to establishing the social rankings within their circles of influence on the concert grounds. They are as avid about their seniority and status as any disgruntled General Motors union worker. They can instantly, no matter what level of inebriation they are currently in,** prattle off any combination of personal statistics as they directly relate to the band, and their own concert experiences with all the accuracy of a Quantum Mathematician. They can proudly name the total number of shows they’ve attended, the total number of miles traveled between each show, and the detailed breakdown of the subsequent set list for each show without even batting an eyelash. You’d expect to see these Rats walking around with specially designed membership rings like pledging Frat students, modeling them to outsiders and passersby in order to obtain the certain levels of respect and admiration among their peers that they feel they are deserving of…it’s a status symbol like the length of horns on a mature rutting male moose.

You could almost create a ‘Tour Rat Bingo’ game to be played on the concert grounds before and after the show based on the guaranteed stereotypical character types you are sure to find in the parking lot. “Hey, there’s a dread-locked girl in a ripped neon orange sundress and armpits hairier than a Sasquatches ass…BINGO!” “All I need more is a drunken male college dropout in his early 30’s playing a ukulele and I’ll have Bingo”. “C’mon, where’s a grubby touqued Japanese girl with 8 toes walking a mangy pitbull on a hemp leash when you need one?”

These character images are in no way meant to indicate that your average Tour Rat is void of any culture. On the contrary, they have a thriving culture that rivals in complexity any of the world’s greatest civilizations. If “necessity is the mother of all invention” then certainly competition is the mother of all commerce. The Tour Rat has a highly specialized consumer trade alive and well in the venue parking lot, and they are irresistibly drawn to a printed sign. Any printed sign! Hand crafted signs made from old raggedy pieces of cardboard, resembling quickly printed ransom notes, are affixed or hanging by the thousands from every available neck, ledge, bumper, or counter top within a five mile radius. With all these advertisement sign’s about, it would sometimes seem as if you are passing through the ‘Want Ads’ section of the local newspaper. During a single 15 min jaunt through the parking lot and observing the detailed cardboard advertisement signs, you could stock up on groceries for the month, score front row tickets to the next Phish concert in Swaziland, get sized for a nice pair of tie-dyed underwear, pick up some nice mind-altering intoxicants, find a nice microbrew to compliment your mind-altering intoxicants, and make a deal on some used plastic patio furniture to bring home as a souvenir. Literally everything is available for purchase in the kingdom of the Tour Rat.

Spirituality is also commonplace among the Phatti Macrobus. Most notably of these New Age parking lot faiths, and perhaps the most recognized, is the “Twelve Tribes” cult that stalks the concert venue grounds looking for naïve impressionable minds with which to further populate their propaganda, as well as increase the coffers of their cult leaders. However, this Twelve Tribe phenomenon completely baffles me. Do they purposely send out the most wretched pathetic soul in soiled ripped clothes to tempt us into enlisting into their ranks of faithful zombie believers? *** Why would you subscribe to a religious organization that preaches the divine precepts of love, happiness, and spiritual prosperity when the person attempting to convert you looks like someone who just crawled out of a Famine Relief commercial? How is that motivational exactly? I half expect Alex Trebek to hop out of their bus**** and begin lecturing me on the plight of world hunger and attempt to coax me onboard with a graying veggie burrito. Boy, that’s sure some “Paradise” you have there all right! Before you can say “You’re harshening my buzz, man”, your trip wears off and you realize that you’re stitching wallets or dipping candles in some backwoods Draconian sweatshop in Island Pond, VT. Certainly, Yashua intended better for me than standing in a darkened and muddy parking lot gate handing out “the Elusive Dream” magazines that look like they were printed on recycled toilet paper to non-communicative passersby who have less coherent recognition in their eye than the inevitable flattened squirrel outside the gate in the middle of the road that I will no doubt be dining on after Grace later on in the evening with my Twelve Tribe brothers and sisters.

If you wish to experience Phatti Macrobus “culture” at it’s absolute worst, you need look no further than the venues bathroom facility come set-break. People flow in and out of this fetid wasteland like the mounting tides reacting to the moon’s gravitational pull. More to the point, it’s like being beamed directly into the Seventh Level of Dante’s Inferno. Definitely not for the weak at heart...or weak of stomach for that matter either. I would rather take my chances at visiting a Viet Cong POW camp between sets and risk being locked into a bamboo tiger cage that have to deal with the stalls in the venue bathrooms. And yet inevitably, you get the one dude who seems to hang out barefooted in the bathroom for the entire show dancing by himself in the back and trying in vain to sell whatever mood altering goodies from Aunt Hazel’s Magic Garden that he has available for hock. Yeah right, like I’m going to buy drugs from a guy who hangs out in a stanky, germ-infested bathroom. I wouldn’t even venture within 15 feet of him to poke him with a stick unless I had to, nevermind consider buying his wares!

* Which I suspect is the perfect term to use in reference to your average stereotypical Deadhead, since normally they would closely resemble something that would have long since expired and has been left to decompose in the same woolen cap it no doubt lived and breathed in for the better part of three decades.

** In fact, the more clouded their mental faculties become on whatever intoxicating poison they have willingly inhaled or ingested into their bodies, the more they seem to get BETTER in their instant recall abilities.

*** They would be more effective as the poster models for unemployed university dropouts.

**** Which happens to be named the “Peacemaker”. Wait, wasn’t that a really bad George Clooney movie that dragged on forever and ever and ever and...?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Case of the Hardy Boys Hoax

Lately, I’ve been going through all the old tokens and mementos that I’ve managed to keep from my childhood in a big unmarked cardboard box under the bed. Among all the faded hockey and baseball player cards, G.I. Joe comic books, and ratty old Star Wars action figures with broken swivel-arm battle grips, I found my collection of Hardy Boys mystery novels. What a discovery! So, I have been reliving my old fascination and interest that I had a young impressionable boy with these old juvenile mystery novels. However, now that I am a more enlightened adult and suitably more jaded with the real functional world around me, I find the whole Hardy boys trilogy significantly more queer than Richard Hatch sucking off Richard Simmons in the White Tiger Pit at Neverland Ranch.

I wouldn’t be so much fascinated now with the Hardy Boys adventures as I would be disturbed at the regularity of crime and seemingly supernatural phenomenon that exists in their quaint little North-East seaboard town of Bayport. As it seems to me now, I wouldn’t so much as dare to venture into downtown Bayport unless I was wearing a full suit of armor. By the sounds of it, I’d need an entire armed escort of highly skilled mercenaries just to pickup a box of donuts from Krispy Kreme. Certainly, what with all the zombies, smugglers, thieves, bootleggers, killer robots, vampires, werewolves, four-headed dragons, counterfeiters, swamp monsters, mummy’s, ghosts, dinosaurs, rogue agents, hissing serpents, specters, flaming swords, and wailing sirens, I would feel more secure strolling through the Main street of Baghdad during the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign in my underwear.

I’m sure their father Fenton Hardy, supposedly an Internationally famous super sleuth for the NYPD, was a master crime solver and all, but apparently he was really asleep at the wheel of his squad car when it came to solving crime in his own home town. So where did all this international notoriety come from when Evil Doers are running amuck in the streets of Bayport? Did his super sleuthing skills suddenly diminish when he returned home after a long shift at his New York Police Precinct? Or did he actually have a secret vested interest in the accumulated booty being smuggled, swiped and swindled from the local town citizens on a regular basis? I suspect a conspiracy is afoot!

Nor would I say that Fenton Hardy was ever going to win “Father of the Year” in the parental department either. Who in their right mind would move their family of two impressionable boys and an aging sister named Gertrude of all friggin' things to a place with such inviting locals as Skull Mountain, Wildcat Swamp, Pirate’s Hill, Smuggler’s Cove, Serpent’s Tooth, Coyote Canyon, Devil’s Paw, Skeleton Rock, and Vampire Trail exactly? Shit, why didn’t he just relocate them directly into a Clive Barker movie instead? It would have been much safer. I would have loved to have been able to hear that sales pitch from the local Bayport Real Estate agent: “There is a beautiful view of the sunset reflecting off the Outlaws Silver at the Haunted Fort this time of year. You can get there easily by taking the winding Shore Road past the Lost Tunnel and across the Spiraling Bridge, turn left at the Twisted Claw, and continue until you see the Sinister Sign Post pointing toward the Flickering Torch at the Old Mill. And oh, don’t forget about the Phantom Freighter that appears out of the fog in the Hidden Harbor at midnight. You can see it nicely from the Demon’s Den up at the Sinister House on the Cliff. Just make sure you watch out for the Mysterious Apeman and the Hooded Hawk.” Not exactly the reception I would be looking for from the local ‘Welcome Wagon’.

My other curiosity, is exactly what the fuck Chief Collig is doing all day that he has to rely on two horny teenage boys * to solve all the mysteries, secrets, and crime rings currently operating in his jurisdiction? Life must be sweet down at the Bayport Police Station. He and patrolman Con Riley must be all laid back on cabana chairs sipping margarita’s served in the heads of Masked Monkey’s and counting the Hidden Gold the boys found down at the Dungeon of Doom. Just the kind of authority figures you’d want watching over and protecting your community from the evil currently being spawed within the breeding grounds of Barmot Bay. Hell, I bet even Steven King wouldn’t dare venture into the place!

But still, the Hardy Boys kick the ass out of the Nancy Drew mysteries. It's pretty safe to say that one is not going to get too overtly worked up over something entitled the 'Case of the Haunted Carousel', are they? "Ooooooooo, a Haunted Carousel!" Give me a break! Likewise, the 'Ghost of the Lantern Lady' isn't exactly going to strike terror into anyone's heart, nor is the 'Chocoloate-covered Contest' going to have anyone quaking in their loafers with fear so much as it would have them running down to the corner store for Jersey Milk's. I am certain that is it a proven scientific fact that any over-exposure for any young developing male to any of this pantywaist poppycock would result in the drastic diminishing of the normal levels of healthy testosterone and result in having their nads shrink down to the size of boiled peanuts. In hindsight, I suppse the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy weren't so bad and that these old dusty novels really do deserve a place of distinction in that unmarked cardboard box of childhood souvenirs under my bed. I guess some things just shouldn't be questioned.

* And occasionally, two useless stumblefuck friends named Chet and Biff who would be spooked over a can of Scario’s, and whose greatest contribution to any case is clinging to one another in fear like a pair of latex shorts on Ruben Studdard.

Monday, August 02, 2004

10 Minutes with Webster

Ever have one of THOSE days? You know, the kind of day that has more ups and downs than Robert Downy Jr's probation track record. A day when you just feel as if life itself has sent Freddy Krueger to give you a rectal exam. A day where you wish you could just crawl back into your bed, curl up into the fetal position, and sleep long and hard...sleep until your teeth grow through the back of your head, pierce your brain, and kill you.

How do you personally deal with these kind of days? You just can't escape them anymore than you can breakdance in a suit of armour. Me? When i'm having one of those days, I fantasize about kicking the living bejesus outta Hollywood child stars. What can I say? I find it therapeutic.

Forget the fact that he's young, small, and cute, if I could could drag his pint-sized ass inside a WWE steel cage for a whole 10 minutes, here's how I would consol my poor frustrated self by mentally whooping the shit out of Webster.

First, I would work him over with my bare fists until he was driven down to his knees senseless and battered, and then I would bounce him off the ropes and run him headfirst into the steel wire mesh so that his head opens up like an overripe mellon. After he collapses back onto the mat in a crumpled heap, I would pick him back up over my head and slam his lifeless body back down with a body-cracking SLAM! Then, I would grab him by the ankles and swing him around and around with ever increasing inertia until his lifeless body is in complete midair and then release him at such a momentum that his body bounces off the wire cage with a sickening THUD!

Then, just to add insult to injury, I would roll him over onto his back, lean over his broken and battered corpse and menacingly sceam in his face: "you know what I'M talkin' about, Willis?!!" while slapping him repeatedly.

Then, I'd roll him back over and rip the 'Elmo' t-shirt off his back. After a brief pause to strangle him with it, I would take off my belt off and proceed to whip him like a government mule. You can hear 'ol JR colour commentating in the background: "OH MY GOD, THE CARNAGE!! SOMEBODY GET SOMEBODY IN HERE QUICK TO BREAK THIS UP BEFORE HE KILLS HIM!!"

Meanwhile, Websters tiny broken body would be writhing in the ring in utter agony as I proceed to stomp him mercilessly into the canvas.

But i'm not finished yet, "Bubba!! GET THE TABLE!!"

After setting up the table (conveniently stashed under the ring mat in an earlier Hollywood child star ass-whooping fantasy) I would collect Webster up and pummell him once more, just for good measure. After laying him out on the wooden table like a sacrifical lamb, I would climb to the top rope...and then "BONZAI!!" ~ I would leap 16 feet in the air and land my elbow directly on my child star target, driving poor Webster's beaten body through the wooden table with a great CRASH! ...that could just have easily been his undeveloped spine snapping like dry kindling as it is the splintering wood of the table. The very impact flings off his velcro 'Osh-Kosh-Bgosh' sneakers across the ring with the force. It's game over; stick a fork in him, he's done.

"How you like me now, little man?!!"

Okay, I feel better. Time to go back to work and face the rest of the day.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

If I were the Boss...

I like to consider myself a humble person. I know I don’t exactly “throw my hands in the air and wave them like I just don’t care”, but I would still love the taste of power on a more regular basis nonetheless.

I am someone who was born to be the the boss *; conditioned to have my own way and exercise my supreme powers with swift and brutal severity with absolutely no regard for the feelings of the lowly peons working beneath me.

I would be a larger-than-life Napoleon figure who would insist on being addressed as “my liege”, as I casually stroll through the aisles with my arms folded behind my back and randomly fire some pathetic rube for no other reason than he looked at me wrong, or their socks clashed with their Dockers, or because their pictures of Elvis or the Queen Mom at their cubicle work desk displease me.

I would lock myself inside my office for hours on end and crank Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” repeatedly while singing along at the top of my voice: “Like a Rhinestone Cowboy! Getting’ cards n’ letters from people I don’t even know, and offers coming over the phone”.

I would reinstate Medieval Feudal law and demand that each new employee, or “fresh serf” as I would refer to them, would be required to bring me a tribute in order to pay their respects and help carry any future favors I may bestow upon them**.

I would hire food tasters to sit with me at lunch and test my food for poison before I eat. Also, as supreme feudal Lord, I would demand that I have first relations with any new bride of any employee toiling in my office place Dutchy. I would outlaw all Queen music and ‘Dolphin Friendly’ food products - not to mention cord pants.

I would convert the ‘Prayer room’ into an elaborate Arabian Nights themed ‘Orgy Room’ complete with throw pillows, hookahs, incense, and Baba Ganoush-flavored body oils. All important business meetings will be held in this elaborate ‘Orgy Board Room’ and will not be convened until I am either completely satisfied, or my heart explodes from the extreme high levels of hormones.

I will have my morning coffee delivered to my desk each morning by a man in a poncho and big Sombrero leading a donkey, and I would insist on having Guinness taps installed in place of my office water cooler and hire an authentic English bar wench to wait on me hand and foot all day long or until I safely pass out under my desk in the recovery position.

I would disband the work “Social Committee” altogether. Forget about workplace moral, I would install a more drastic method of employee motivation that is bound to get results. If workers get a %100 mark on their “Quality Assurance” scores they will be rewarded with a puppy. Conversely, if they receive a failing grade on their QA scores, they will have a puppy beaten in front of them. Can you picture being strapped into your office chair with your eyelids propped open with toothpicks as someone flails a poor helpless puppy in front of you because you forgot to say “It is important THAT you contact us…”? How can this fail to get positive results?

“Sorry Johnny, you received only a %60 mark on one of your calls yesterday, so poor little Rex here is gonna get it!”

Also on the same vein of thought, I would have a kitten dangled over a tank of starving sharks and have it lowered a few inches proportionately each time work efficiency drops below %85. Failing this, I will have no other choice but to hook electrodes up to the employee’s genitalia to electrodes under their desk. I know I would be more inspired to nail perfect %100 QA scores if there was a threat of having 3000 volts run through my balls making my crotch look like a piece of overcooked Kentucky Fried Chicken with a bad Cory Feldman haircut.

* Even more so than Bruce Springsteen himself.

** Like allowing them to keep their job for another day.

Notes from the Ground Zero at Corporate Hell (Part II)

(This post is dedicated to workmate John Wall. Not because of any particular debt of gratitude but because he managed to read this entire blog in one sitting and still managed to maintain enough brain matter to be able to show up for work the next day.)

My workplace aside for a moment, there is an old workingman’s adage that says, “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the idiot customers”. Never has a sentiment held truer than it does at my current place of employment. Dealing with the common public in the unpopular capacity that I do on a regular basis is like part teaching Trigonometry to the mentally handicapped, and part wrestling werewolves with nasty cases of scabies. Basically, I would have more success communicating with syphilitic donkeys than I do now dealing with your average blue collar boob whose biggest contribution to his community has been ripping tickets at the ‘Tilt o’ Whirl’ during the Labor Day weekend carnival. The only real fun I have at work anymore is standing directly in front of the microwave in the cafeteria during lunchtime as I heat up my Lean Cuisine's so that my genitals are in perfect allignment with the emitted radiation, ensuring that I will be unable to produce any future generations of near-minimum wage zombies to further suffer in this stagnant corporate call center hell.

The majority of my day working as a “Negotiations Expert”, is spent arguing with people who have the basic financial aptitudes of Minute Rice, and for whom the mere mention of ‘Past Due Balance’ has their brains spiraling out of control within the vacuum existing between their ears, and you can actually hear the beads on their abacuses clinking back and forth with lightning speed in the background so fast that it threatens to set the very phone lines ablaze. Now, how someone can neglect to read their utilities bill and make the mandatory payments towards the services necessary to maintain any level of comfort and convenience is beyond me. Even more insane, is that they expect me to feel guilty for their own negligence. One would think that normally capable people would understand that to continue enjoying their corn pone and NASCAR broadcasts, it would be necessary to pay their gas and electric bills…but such is not to be the norm. It’s like trying to successfully explain how to complete a Rubik’s Cube to a blind man.

Working in a collections environment, stupidity has become the Bain of my very existence. I swear sometimes that the combined IQ levels of my callers wouldn’t amount to that a single Nerf Football. I’ve had premature ejaculations that had more common sense than some of my clients. How am I supposed to wrangle payments from people who are as broke as a $2 wristwatch, and were probably raised in the same loft and suckled off the teat of the same family cow? In most cases, if I were to combine all their managed monthly payments in the last year, I may be able to put together a nice fruit basket. As it is, I would like to be able to suggest to them to disconnect their gas and electric altogether and power their homes instead by lighting methane cow farts. It’s amazing to me that the indigenous livestock haven’t united and overthrown their human captors, and assumed complete and unrelenting control by now. I fully expect one day to find myself contacting a Bossy Milksalot in Bedford, IN about the overdue status of her electricity bills. Certainly the barnyard chickens, goats, cows, ducks, pigs, etc would have a better grasp of their own personal finances.

It is my wish, to aid my heated negotiations over the phone with these deadbeats regarding their delinquent utility bills, that I had access to an all-powerful flip switch on my computer keyboard. It would be directly connected to their homes utilities, so I could make furnaces suddenly flare up like an angered Tiki god, or have kitchen lights flash on and off like strobe lights at an Amsterdam Rave, to demonstrate my supreme control over their fate. It may be the only way to maintain discipline among these rural bumpkins who more than likely can’t even accurately read the menu at the local ‘Kenny Rogers Roasters’, much less their utilities bills which must look to them like the lesson plan for ‘Advanced Macro-Physics 101’.

It’s always MY fault that they are in the situation that they are. That’s just a given. These regular professional debtors are becoming as shallow to me as the plotline to the latest Steven Segal movie. They always have the usual gamut of excuses to explain why they haven’t made adequate payments. Just the other day, I had a woman who over the course of a two minute phone call had listed an entire cornucopia of ailments that she was currently suffering from rendering her unable to pay for any services that she was currently enjoying. This poor woman’s future wasn’t exactly as bright as the Summer Solstice sunrise reflecting off Yul Brenner’s forehead, that’s for sure! She listed: Type 2 Diabetes, Chronic Depression, Anxiety Panic Disorder, Peptic Ulcer, Chronic Sinusitis, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Chronic Migraines, Benign Positional Vertigo, Irritable Bowel Syndrome * , Fibromyalgia, Chronic Back Problems, and Chronic Lung Problems. Shit, instead of arguing with me about overdue bill payments she should be begging me to send her a shotgun in order to put herself out of her misery.

I think it’s high time we begin to teach these bimsters real hard lessons in financial responsibility. Instead of calculating monetary reconnection fees, and conducting background credit history searches, we should be determining their worthiness for their gas and electric services through the 'ol tried-and-true centuries old Burgundian Code methods…namely, Medieval ordeals of physical duress. If Billy-Bob Hicknuts from Muncie, IN can successfully manage to grab a heated stone submerged in a cauldron of scalding hot water, we will gratefully restore his delinquent gas service. Conversely, if Sally-Jo Corncooch can successfully have her nipples clamped with alligator clips to the battery of a John Deer tractor and withstand being shocked for two whole minutes with 15,000 volts of pure electrical current, we will rehook up her electricity at her farmhouse and even forget about another security deposit. Likewise, for every month a disconnect notice is sent out for non-payment of utilities, we’ll send out Lars and Ingmar in 10-gallon hats to chop off a finger until they manage to bring their account back to a current status one again. Or perhaps, we can send out Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie to live with them at their homesteads and fist their dairy cattle until their lingering delinquency can be properly rectified.

* I’m not sure what Irritable Bowel Syndrome has to do with one’s inability to pay their bills, but I’m sure I would instantly shit myself too if I had to open my monthly utility bills to see an owed dollar amount higher than the Gross National Product of Switzerland.