Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Manly Man's Guide to the Domestic Arts

“Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

What would have happened if Paleolithic man had stayed in the cave all day, lightly braising mammoth chops? The women would have had to hunt mammoth, and you know how women are. Instead of just driving the furry buggers over a cliff, they would have enticed their mammoth into a primitive barn stall, fed it leftovers, washed and curried it, and tied garlands of rawhide ribbons and flowers in its fur. Then, the next time you wanted to lightly braise some mammoth chops for the big game, the women would scream, “Kill Muffin?! You beast! How could you?” and start to cry. Before you know it, you’re starving, miserable, and sewing drapes for Muffin’s stall.

Cooking, housework, and home repair for that matter, are not natural instincts for old bachelors such as myself. Any day I can manage to just get my pants on is a good day. I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy or slovenly exactly, just that I’m not very skilled in the domestic arts.

I’m a completely helpless idiot when it comes to tools and appliances. In fact, I haven’t used my Dirt Devil vacuum for anything other than masturbating in years*. I’ll even go on record right now by saying that cooking and cleaning are, in fact, women’s work. It’s just doesn’t satisfy my strong masculine hunter/killer instincts…not even close.

Nowhere encoded in my male DNA are the instinctual desires to accessorize or housekeep. We hunt, hump, and from time to time, “tinker” with stuff. At no time do we feel the need to dust, do the dishes, or fold the laundry. Hey, who am I to argue with thousands of years of social conditioning and domestic evolution anyway? If the apron fits…**

Perhaps for those guys, who happen to find themselves in agreeable domestic partnerships, housework may have perhaps become more easy and understandable over time by means of osmosis. It becomes more of a learned behavior as opposed to an instinctual one. After all, a man can only be nagged about stuff for so long before he is finally compelled to do something about it ***.

For the rest of us hopeless bachelors, however, who have never been trained in the ways of housework, these simple domestic duties are about as important and vital as moldy cheese.

Sure, sure, there is the belief that all men are handy and inventive. MacGuyver led the world to believe that he could build a swamp buggy out of an elastic band, a pencil eraser, and an overripe cantaloupe, and in doing so gave birth to the notion of an advanced, adaptable, technologically gifted uber-man. But the real truth of the matter is, we dudes couldn’t even prepare a simple casserole if our lives depended on it.

At least I can’t. And, so, this home survival guide is intended then for all those other chauvinistic rubes out there, such as myself.

To ensure survival, the first obstacle to overcome for the consummate bachelor is that of the kitchen. Unfortunately, thanks to numerous scientific researches, one cannot live on take out pizza alone ****. So if you don’t want to rely on sucking on Bouillon cubes for sustenance, you eventually will have to develop some skills, no matter how trivial or mundane, in order to survive.

First you have to start with the essentials. A bachelor needs a fully equipped kitchen like he needs a hole in the head. Keep just these basics on hand instead:

Buck knife
Fire extinguisher
Box of Band-Aids
Bottle of Jack Daniels
Alka Seltzer
Duct tape
A long stick
An empty baked beans can *****

With these few items, any bachelor can prepare a four-course meal, as well as heal from it. Whisks, ladles, slotted spoons, cheese graters, garlic presses, vegetable peelers, potato mashers, and other such needless kitchen utensils only confuse the preparation process. You don’t have to be MacGuyver to figure out that you can substitute an old dress sock in place of a colander if you really need to.

The next obstacle to overcome for the bachelor manly man is that of the actual cooking. Nevermind learning to use all those fancy ass kitchen utensils, just understanding most recipes and package cooking directions is like expecting us to translate ancient Greek. I’ve seen supposedly “easy to prepare” dishes that required me to decipher and follow a set of coded instructions that involved complex calculations that would confuse Steven Hawking. That isn’t cooking – that’s high school Calculus class all over again!

However, you don’t have to be Chef Ramsey to follow most recipe directions. Just make sure you have access to a telephone with over a hundred pre-programmed fast food restaurants on the automatic dial instead. I have found that learning to pre-program all those numbers in your Nokia is far easier than trying to understand the preparation instructions on a box of Hamburger Helper.

All in all, forget about “cooking” and focus on getting a live-in Italian girlfriend instead who has learned those passed down skills from her mother. The rest will take care of itself in time. In the meantime, there's microwave dinners.

If you really must insist on preparing your meals yourself, forget the kitchen and take everything outside to the Barbecue. Outside, the tables are turned and we men are in our natural element. There’s simply nothing that comes more natural to bachelor men than grilling meat over an open fire. Just crack open a beer, throw some raw flesh on the grill, and stare and poke at it until it’s sufficiently burned. There’s nothing you can’t barbecue. Shit, you could probably grill the hell out a bowl of Cheerios if you were so inclined.

The only added tip I could recommend should you choose to take this route would be to be careful of grilling under low overhanging tree branches, awnings, or eaves troughs. And remember, spilling, or purposely adding your beer to whatever it is you’re barbecuing will only enhance the dish.

Beer is the manly man’s elan vital.

So now that we’ve identified a way to prevent starvation we can begin to focus on the even less pleasant and unnatural labors of actual housework.

I am going to sub-divide housework into the areas of “cleaning” and “renovation”. Neither are particularly desirable ways to spend the weekend, but will sometimes be necessary when you host poker nights or the fifteen minutes before your mother arrives to bring you leftovers. Usually both processes are hurried, disorganized, and thoroughly in vain; much like Sisyphus pushing his rock forever uphill.

Personally, I’d rather be the guest of honor at a Duke lacrosse toga party than be coerced into either cleaning my apartment or making those much needed repairs. At times I’m sure, the sanitary conditions of my apartment much have been on par with that of a Thermopylae field hospital, but whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!

Cleaning and home renovations are things that are really best learned on ones own. Only through repeated bruisings and scarring will you develop and improve your skills in these specific areas. I will still, however, try to give you some tips on how to make the whole tribulation less painful. Understanding that no man would ever want to do housework, these tips will hopefully serve to put you in the proper mindset in order to accomplish the task should it ever be deemed necessary.

1) Protective gloves are for pussies. Latex, leather, rawhide, cotton, construction, cut resistant, heat resistant, flame resistant, safety, whatever, save the gloves for the bedroom puppet shows. A true manly man would sooner dip his hands in battery acid than put on a pair of protective gloves to scrub pots and pans.

2) All cleaning and home repairs MUST be performed with your pants off. I don’t why, must that’s just the way the universe works. No matter if you’re changing a light bulb, replacing fuses, or cleaning up chip crumbs with a Shop-Vac, natural science demands that you remove your pants first for best results. Men just simply think better with their pants off. I guess, considering how much blood is usually being pumped to our swollen erections throughout the regular day, pants can significantly cut off the circulation of blood back to our brains when we attempt to do home repair. This also explains the loose waistbands of professional repairmen.

3) Just like having the right tools for the job, you must also have the right soundtrack. Ambiance is everything when one is engaged in housework. I find that the Doors are the preferred listening of choice when you’re working on plumbing-related repairs. Nothing beats listening to ‘Break On Through’ while you’re snaking a bathroom drain! Likewise, I would also recommend Parliament, or Funkadelic for your vacuuming; Robert Johnson (or other traditional Delta Blues) for dusting; Techno (or some other past-faced Electronica music) for all electrical repairs; Van Morrison for doing the dishes; Steppenwolf while waxing the car; Bruce Hornsby for folding laundry; and maybe, Nine Inch Nails, or Einsturzende Neubauten perhaps, when scrubbing the shitter.

4) Milk Crates are an immensely valuable item around the house, apartment, flat, squat, whatever. At times, they are more valuable than gold. If bachelors were allowed to control the world, plastic milk crates would be a tradable commodity on the Stock Market.

These versatile by-products of the Space Program can easily be procured by raiding the alley behind any local McDonalds. They have a thousand practical uses: bookshelf, laundry hamper, futon base, coffee table, bong stand, foot rest, filing cabinet, or the replacement step off the back porch. Gold I tellz ya.

5) Let’s get one thing straight: manly men don’t “decorate”. We “accumulate”. Don’t spend too much time beyond strategically placing milk crates around the room because you’ll only overload your circuits. Decorating, to manly men, might entail the making of a beer can pyramid in the corner of the room or hanging a nude picture of Cameron Diaz on the bathroom door. Apart from that, we just fill in blank space with our quickly accumulating wealth of doodads and gewgaws.

Bachelor’s are like blue jays in this manner. If our acquired collection of amassed stuff happens to lend itself together well, in something resembling a mildly aesthetically pleasing structured order, it was completely unintended and coincidental.

6) When it comes to pest control – move.

If reading recipe directions were difficult, than your mixing of chemical compounds in any regular run-of-the-mill Ant Trap, would result in the global outbreak of something that would make the Ebola virus look like a heat rash.

7) I have also chosen to include yard work as a form of housework. Suffice to say; yard work blows chunks. Anyone who’s sharper than a cue ball would instantly realize that yard work is an impossible on-going battle. In my opinion, clear cut the whole yard, pave it, and make it a basketball court, or horseshoe pit, or something requiring less maintenance instead.

I don’t understand how some men get excited about working in their yards. I can’t recall any historical records indicating that the Vikings, the Mongol hordes, Romans legionnaires, Zulu warriors, or any other significant ancient marauding civilization for that matter, ever gave two shits about their front yards. To think that our lawns are a pathetic suburban imitation of the pasture land or park surrounding an eighteen-century manor house is completely laughable. And since we don’t graze sheep in our flowerbeds or course deer down the driveway with a pack of greyhounds, what the fuck is the point?

Think of it this way: manly men have only been on this planet for four million years. Who took care of the yard before we got here? I think the real beauty of nature is that it doesn’t require to be dusted, vacuumed, polished, or dry-cleaned.

So leave it alone.

(to be con'd...)

* Don’t be so surprised! Just think about it: quick, convenient, and even deals with the mess afterwards.

** I would have said, “when the shoe fits”, but any self-respecting woman of mine wouldn’t be caught in my kitchen wearing shoes.

*** And, hopefully, that doesn’t involve anything resulting in a criminal trial afterwards.

**** One can, however, live an extremely long time through stretches of ongoing laziness during a playoff season, but it’s not recommended.

***** To collect the excess cooking fat and grease afterwards. It’s not just the sensible thing to do to prevent plumbing clogs and complications in the near future, but it’s the proper CANADIAN thing to do! I recommend using an empty can of Heinz Baked Beans. No other type of can or product brand will do. It’s even written into our national statutes and legal regulations I’m sure.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's Still Crock n' Roll to Me

(I know this topic has been done to death already – but it’s just too juicy a literary meatball to pass up on. Besides, it caters to my inane obsessive compulsive male nature to list things - and then mock them for all they’re worth.)

I have been busy organizing my CD collection over the last few days and I’ve made some startling rediscoveries about myself.

Some discoveries are rather odd; some are a bit embarrassing; and some just ain’t pretty at all. Yes, sir, it was ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ here this week at ‘ol Chez Tigerrabbit as I sifted through the stacks of old rock albums that have been piled on my bedroom floor for the past two years.

Most notably *, I was amazed at some of the crap I have listened to in my 33 years on this crazy rock. Apparently, “taste”, is something you only acquire after years of intensive immersion and multiple bong hits – and, as luck would have it, I’m a freaking Jedi Master at both.

So, below, for your scoffing pleasure, I have compiled twenty of the worse Rock n’ Roll nightmares to ever be recorded - the kind of crap that inevitably assisted with the steady deterioration of my brain over the years. Having seen the light - I would now rather listen to Yoko Ono perform ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ with her armpits than relive any of these circular turdlets of Rock history again.

1) The Police – De Doo Doo Doo De Da Da Da

Will somebody p-UUUU-lease explain to me what this smary English fucker is trying to say here exactly. Sting himself admits that the song was supposed to be “an articulate song about being inarticulate”. Even THAT doesn’t make any bloody sense!

“Don't think me unkind
Words are hard to find
The only cheques I've left unsigned
>From the banks of chaos in my mind
And when their eloquence escapes me
Their logic ties me up and rapes me
De doo doo doo, de da da da
Is all I want to say to you”

Bad Moon-June rhyming scheme aside, that kinda sums up the whole experience one goes through just in listening to this particular craptacular musical monstrosity. Other past “non-word” songs in history, such as ‘Doo Wah Diddy’, ‘Tutti Frutti’, or ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’, weren’t even this stupid. Sting claims that people who dismiss this song have not “bothered to listen to the lyrics”.

Pardon me? I guess I just expected that a former English middle-school teacher would have had more to share than this “doo doo doo” shit. If I wanted gibberish, you prick, I would just tease Special Needs kids at the mall.

2) Glass Tiger – My Town

The 80’s bastard love child between Duran Duran and Don Henley - minus the talent. Thankfully, this Canadian FM disaster would only go on to become the idiot’s Bachman-Turner Overdrive before slinking off into near obscurity. Just listen to this drivel:

“Bring the wind to carry me over
Lead me home to my town
Tell me when that breeze is blowing
Taking me home to my town”

It practically induces diarrhea on the spot. Just remembering listening to this song on the radio is giving me gastronomical pains. We should have collectively exiled them to Hans Island the moment they picked up instruments back in High School.

3) Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire

This is one of those embarrassing discovers I mentioned previously. Sadly, I used to enjoy this song when it was first released in 1989. Of course, once I developed some good musical style as I matured into an adult, I grew to realize that this song, in actuality, was nothing more than lame ass attempt at white middle class rap. Take that bitter pill all in for a second.

The random history references throughout the song make it seem like a disjointed term paper that was scribbled down the night before. War, famine, apartheid, murder, scandal, tragedy, dead celebrities, flipper babies, you friggin’ name it - Billy’s got himself a rhyme for it. What a tribute to our times to try and fit the entire cultural history of the twentieth century into a four minute shitzkrieg.

The fact that I still had this album lurking at the back of my collection for the past 15 years makes my skin crawl.

4) Guns & Roses – Insert any cover song they ever attempted.

I realize that this isn’t exactly a specific track that’s under scrutiny here, but the suggestion instead that nobody does a Rock n’ Roll a greater disservice at recording cover tunes than the ‘ol Gunners. If we were smart, we would have voted on and passed valid legislature preventing these Metal Gurus from ever attempting to play anybody else’s material ever again by punishment of death.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Sympathy for the Devil, Live and Let Die, and the entire Spaghetti Incident album. Nobody butchers a classic original like Axel. Nothing is sacred as Axel shimmies and shakes his emaciated skinny ass along to the artistically inserted power guitar solo.

He should just stick to modeling bandanas and inciting riots by drunken trailer park tailgaters and leave the business of Rock n’ Roll to the real musicians.

5) R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People

This is a song that is so annoying that it even makes the capillaries on the backs of your eyes swell and explode. In fact, it’s almost as if this song was written and intended to be this fucking unapologetically annoying – so much so, it almost openly mocks you as Michael Stipe chugs the verses along with his overly annoying uber-happy self.

“Everyone around, love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it, take it
There's no time to cry
Happy, happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine”

Somebody just fucking shoot me already.

Honestly, who doesn’t want to barf whenever they hear this lyrical fertilizer? Somebody take Michael off the goofers, slap him upside his head, and give him something really mournful to swoon about – like having your ass kicked for being such a pansy.

6) Donovan – Mountain

You repeat offenders to this blogsite will already know how I feel about this song. You know, the ‘ol “is it a mountain?” or “isn’t it a mountain?” debate - that old chestnut. I still haven’t figured out what’s going on in this song except that I have a headache already.

In my humble opinion, the best thing to ever happen to this song was the Allman Bros.

7) Beach Boys – Kokomo

The first return offering from the infamous Beach Boys sans Brian Wilson. Should have stuck to the surfing and drowning boys because this song sure sucks some serious ass! Besides the fact that this song brings to mind images of Tom Cruise in flowery shirts is curse enough – but it’s cockamamie lyrical rhyme is absolutely torturous to listen to.

“To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique.”

Whoah - give the ‘ol brain hamsters a rest there fella!

This devil song wasn’t even written by the Beach Boys. It was written by John Phillips of the Mama’s and the Papa’s. And you can just imagine how high John Phillips must have been back in 1988 to come up with that catchy inspiring verse. It’d be enough to push Brian Wilson back over the edge of insanity again – if he ever did came back in the first place.

They might as well have just pissed in Brian’s sandbox..

8) Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony & Ivory

You didn’t think I would forget about everybody’s hero Sir Paul, did you?

Remember these two numbnuts attempting to convince the races of planet Earth to co-exist together peacefully like the black and white keys on a piano? Sounds swell, doesn’t it. It still makes me laugh to consider it. I guess things just weren’t as simple as that in the long run considering the shit that would go down in the short years ahead. Rodney King, Coatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Al-Quaeda, New Orleans, the French Riots, the Gulf Wars…what was I talking about again?

Oh, yeah! Racial harmony- whatever, dudes.

I suppose nobody explained to these poor two Grammy Award winning queerbaits that, unlike World History, the white keys did not enslave the black keys into a hundred years of forced servitude and harsh cruelty.

Lesson learned: it’s easy to get along together when you both earn, like, a cajillion dollars and you’re the only ones who can afford the membership fees at all the fancy Country Clubs. But I wonder, between takes; who do you think served whom the tea? Hmm?

“Yes, Mr. McCartney. Right away, Mr. McCartney! Now you just holds your cup out, boss, so I kins scoop the sugar in it for you.”

9) Queen – Bicycle

This song is about as faggy as Elton John’s wedding. It pains me to see people lip-syncing to this song like retarded chimpanzees. But then again, so were all Queen songs. So no real surprise here either I guess.

This song makes me want to jab sharp instruments into my eardrums. The merest hint of Freddie Mercury’s voice makes my penis retract back into my body like a frightened prairie dog.

If I ever come to rule the world in some sinister Orwellian future – my first official act as supreme leader, will be to eradicate all earthly evidence of Queen’s existence from the records of time. My world is a Queen-free world; where men were men and listened to Led Zeppelin - not prance about on a stage in leather chaps crooning about joyriding the neighborhood on a bicycle and ogling fat chicks asses.

Where’s the dignity?

10) Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

Another song that makes you want to go ape shit and smash stuff. In the same vein as ‘Shiny Happy People’, this song just flaunts it’s general annoyingness and is just begging for somebody to drive a spike through Bobby’s chest.

For those of you who remember the cool MTV era, you may remember watching Bobby McFerrin slap his chest and flap his arms while he sang. It was like watching a handicapped child throwing a hissy fit in the aisle at Toys-R-Us.

11) New Kids on the Block – Hanging Tough

It was all crossed arms and pouty scowls as these fag pies tried to convince the world that they were “tough” guys. Too bad in reality they made the Sharks and the Jets look like the fucking Chinese Triads!

It was a black day indeed for Rock n’ Roll history the day NKOTB (for those of you in the know) peddled this prototypical boy band cookie cutter crapola.

"Everybody’s always talking about who’s on top
Don’t cross our paths cause you’re gonna get stopped
We ain’t gonna give anybody any slack
And if you try to keep us up we’re gonna come right back
And you know it...
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh…"

And to think that these coifed Mary’s may have assisted in paving the way for the likes of G-Unit.

Now THAT’S some scary shit!

12) Barenaked Ladies – If I Had a $1,000,000

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get the concept. I’ve heard it all before. I’ve masturbated myself asleep thinking about what I would do if I were ever to hit the lottery motherload.

Forget the houses, tree forts, exotic pets, green dresses, and K-cars (a nice reliable automobile); you know what the first thing I’d spend my $1,000,000 on given the chance?

Having your barenaked asses assassinated.

13) AC/DC – Big Balls

And I quote:

“I've got big balls
I've got big balls
They're such big balls
And they're dirty big balls
And he's got big balls
And she's got big balls
But we've got the biggest balls of them all”

Okay - that a lot of balls - granted. But, umm, do we really have to hear about them over and over again? And, well, if “she’s” really got “big balls” too, I REALLY want nothing to do with this party. I don't know about you - but that’s not how I roll.

“And my balls are always bouncing
My ballroom always full
And everybody comes and comes again
If your name is on the guest list
No one can take you higher
Everybody says I've got
Great balls of fire”

I suddenly feel all weird when I find myself listening to this song by the Aussie rockers. It makes me feel all dirty – and I’m talking real Internet chat-room dirty here! Male genitalia should be forbidden from being included as subject material for all Rock n’ Roll songs.

End of story.

Dishonorable mentions include:

Styx – Mr. Roboto
Nazareth – Dream On
Europe – the Final Countdown
Phil Collins - Sussudio

Just being excluded from the list of histories suckiest Rock songs is, no doubt, reward enough.

* Besides the fact that I have the ‘Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’ followed by ‘Oasis’, or that I apparently still remember all the lyrics to Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar Over Me’.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Paint It Stupid

Uh-oh, Rock n’ Roll’s rumor mill is abuzz once again.

This time with the late-breaking news story that Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards has suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling from a palm tree on the weekend.

It seems that ‘ol Keef, currently on vacation in Fiji along with his wife, Patti, and bandmate Ronny Wood, has somehow managed to seriously injure himself by attempting to climb the tree to retrieve coconuts at the Wakaya Club luxury resort. Was he getting so impatient waiting for the cabana boy to return with his next margarita that he was compelled to climb up the tree to fetch his own coconuts?

Boy, the service at these luxury resorts must really suck.

All these years of substance abuse and now here’s the chance that he’s going to be taken out by a palm tree - not exactly the type of indigenous fauna that one would expect to befell the great Keith Richards. The world sure is a funny place sometimes.

Here’s a man who probably snorts Ebola virus just as a little pick-me-up between breakfast and brunch. Now, here he’s whining about “dull headaches” after a little tumble in paradise?

Wow – that’s some fall from grace. Literally!

The rumor also indicates that ‘ol Keef will now have to undergo a special operation to drain his skull before beginning the European leg of the Rolling Stones 'A Bigger Bang' world tour in Barcelona on May 27.

Just think of the thick, polluted goo that’ll inevitably drip out his noggin once the drilling commences - decades of partying and bingeing have surely liquefied most of brain by this point. It’ll be like spiking into one of Courtney Love’s veins, or perhaps more like when ‘ol Jeb shot into the ground and found his a bubblin’ crude…oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea.

But whatever it is that they find in there, I’m sure it’ll be toxic enough to warrant immediate concern from most world environmental lobbyists. At the very least, I’m sure Greenpeace will have staged protests going on outside the his operation room in order to rally support to discourage the possibility of any illegal dumping of this toxic brain waste.

On the other hand, I should be so fucking lucky if I were ever to end my life at the ripe age of 62 by falling from a coconut tree on some tropical island paradise. Shit, throw in a complimentary buffet lunch and, maybe, a rerun of Mr. Belvedere on the lobby television, and this would be my ideal way to finally shuffle off this God forsaken mortal coil when my time is up.

It sure beats being found on the kitchen floor in a pool of bodily discharge, eh?

Now no matter what the story really is, I’m confident that Keef will somehow triumph and cheat death once again. After all, the original wild man of Rock n’ Roll has outlasted and, so far, outlived them all. And he’s no stranger to injury either. In 1998, he broke three ribs and punctured a lung after falling from a ladder while reaching for a book in his library. In 1990, one of his fingers got infected after he punctured it on a guitar string. In both cases, the Stones were forced to postpone concerts. The man is even rumored to have undergone an entire body blood transfusion once.

You think drilling a little hole in his skull is going to phase him now? The man already has the mental capacity of a soggy Fruit Loop; no amount of further damage instilled to his head is going to be of any real bother.

Nothing short of a thermonuclear explosion is going to stop ‘ol Keef from going on with the show!

Palm trees be damned.