Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Gonna get-get-get get you drunk, get you love drunk on my junk.

Just a little while ago, I wrote out a huge long post. But then when I tried to use the spell check, the page froze and I was out of luck. So we’re going to try again.
First off, before I get back to the spiritual journey, I want to send a shout out to my audience. Seanche, Sean-O, and Korean Meat Beater, I owe you all phone calls. I think especially Seanche. But I think David Gray said it best: please forgive me if I act a little strange.
Yes, I just put in the David Gray reference because maybe some woman will accidentally find this blog in a web search, giving me my first female reader. For some reason the gentler sex isn’t really that interested in what I think about Molly Hatchett. So anyway, Seanche, say Hi to the family for us.
The last time I talked to Sean-O, I was drunk at an office party. But it was mild as office parties go, since nobody threw up on the L and I didn’t have to pull anyone out of a tree. In fact it might have been the last story-full of any office party. Ever. But Sean-O, what’s the status on the blinds next door? Any chance you could just nail some plywood over their windows? Just make up something about an impending typhoon, or maelstrom, or Godzilla, or whatever comes off the Pacific Ocean.
Haven’t talked to Korean Meat Beater in a while, but I’m hoping to see him later this month in Vegas. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Meat Beater has been up to. Probably pretty much what you think. But since he’s not finding a lot of love action in Korea, I think he’ll probably be too busy to talk once he gets to Vegas.
So yeah, I’m going to Vegas. The last time we were there, we stayed in the Imperial Palace because it was by far the cheapest place we could find at the last minute. But this time we’re staying in the Luxor to hang out with the English Meat Beater and Ms. EMB, who are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary.
I have a couple new shirts and a supertight Speedo, so I think I’m pretty much ready to go. Except I can’t decide what book to bring. I usually like to bring a book when I’m out of town. It helps to fill the awkward points when, for example, somebody at Thanksgiving dinner asks me to say Grace.
These jokes felt so much fresher in my first attempt. Now it all just seems so stale.
Anyway, back to the books. Maybe I don’t even need a book, because I usually read before I fall asleep, but I’m expecting so much Marty-O lovin’ that there won’t be much sleeping. Ha haaa haaaaa…. *sigh*… *cough.* No, really, I might not need a book because I’ll be ready to pass out from all the free drinks at the casino.
I had the worst Scotch ever in Vegas a few years ago. His name was Ewan. No, seriously, I decided I was wasting the free drinks opportunity by ordering beer. So I opted for a Scotch and soda. I’d had one once before, at Spin on a New Year’s Eve, and it was good. But then again, Spin probably buys Scotch in bottles, not 2-liters.
Did you ever have a drink so bad that it sobers you up a little? That’s how it was.
But the other thing is that the books I’m reading now aren’t really poolside vacation reading material. The first is “Borstal Boy,” by Brendan Behan. It’s a memoir of the time he spent in prison and in borstal (Brit juvie) after being convicted in Liverpool in an IRA bombing conspiracy. It’s absolutely friggin’ brilliant, and it’s no kinder to the Irish than to the English. Seanche, I’ll send it to you when I’m done.
The other book is a translation of the “Heliand,” which is a Saxon retelling of the Gospels intended for an early medieval German audience. I wish I had known about it when I was back in college and early medieval hagiography was my thing. (Okay, who can come up with a less employable “thing” to be into in college? Not counting Sean-O’s hair grooming trends.)
I’m not sure which of those books will make me more of a leper. Poolside-wise. Any advice, gentlemen?
And while we’re speaking of the Imperial Palace and asking for advice, I want some suggestions on the best buzzkill karaoke songs to perform at the IP’s stripside bar. Here are some thoughts:

“Better Fitter” by Radiohead. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a vaguely facist set of self-improvement rules for employees, read by a computer, over an angry ambient background track.
“Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot. I actually knew the name Gordon Lightfoot without having to look it up. Shame on me. Bonus points if anybody’s left in the casino by the end of the song.
“Convoy” by whoever the hell. I think this was Sean-O’s suggestion. The only drawback is that it could be kind of a crowd pleaser. I guess. You’ve seen Vegas, right? Lots of sunburns, mullets, and novelty flip flops.
Mozart’ “Requiem.” All of it.
“Last of the International Playboys” by Morrissey. I’m a huge fan of Moz, and I love this song. But it’s pretty much unsingable except by a sexually ambiguous tenor Brit.
“Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin. The singer has to b-box the drum solos, including the extended 4-minute one, without hyperventilating. (Harder than it sounds. Trust me.)
Any song by that Japanese noise-rock band that I saw at the Intonation Fest last year. All the rock cognoscenti were like “this is soooo genius” and I was like “aaaarrrrrrrrcgh.” Bonus points if you use live mice instead of a Moog for the shrill squeaky parts. Yes, yes, I know, I just don’t understand it, and I’m sure it’s pure musical gold. But damn, what the hell was that all about? I thought the Green Line was going off its tracks. But apparently you can buy this album to put on your iPod and, I guess, drive your car off a cliff or something. Did you ever hear a song so unlistenable that it sobers you up a little? That’s what it’s like.
The extended remix of “Things Just Keep Getting Better,” by whoever the hell, remixed by whatever. It’s the theme from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” remixed to an absurd length. The Korean Meat Beater was complaining about it the night that I was drinking Scotch and soda. I said something like “but I thought you guys liked it when things get longer,” and he left in a huff. Ewan Huff, I think.
So let’s see if this post worked. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

Friday, May 26, 2006

But seriously, back to my chi

I've been trying to cut back on cursing. I'm OK at work, but we'll see what happens next time I'm at a bar.
I referenced the regional culture of cursing in an earlier post. The problem with Southern (or Southern-tinged) cursing is that the alternative cursewords are lame. In fact, I probably should say "cuss" instead of "curse," but for some reason the word "cuss" always annoyed me.
Anyway, I can't really walk around saying "gol' durn" and things like that. I'm not a one-man revival of O Brother, Where Art Thou. Yet. But I'm keeping the mandolins handy just in case.
So I'm working on some alternatives to my usual repetoire. The main thing I want to cut down on is the blasphemous "Jesus Christ!" There's that whole struck-by-lightning thing, plus also you never know who might get irritated when people blashpheme loudly and angrily at the donut shop.
I remember from my college days that the Buddha's name is Siddartha Gautama. So I'm going to start yelling "Siddartha Guatama!" instead of "Jesus Christ!" when a curse-worthy moment comes up.
I thought about other big religious names, and my opinion is that we need to rank them on (a) how satisfying it is to yell the name; (b) how likely the relevant believers are to kick my ass when they hear me blaspheming their important person; and (c) whether I think I'll remember who it is. Or was. Or will be. You know how this religious stuff works.
I had to rule out Methusela on criteria (a) Mohammed on criteria (b), and somebody on (c) but I can't remember who it was.
But Siddartha Guatama has some benefits. First, it's obscure enough that most people probably won't know I'm cursing. Second, I'm kind of figuring that your average Buddhist will be less likely to take umbrage and kill me. By umbrage I mean "a big rock."
There's also Athura Mazda-- I'll have to check on that one-- who is, I think, the bad guy in Zoarastrianism. Satisfying, exotic, and certainly obscure; but I don't want to accidentally invoke an evil being when my repeated cursing turns out to be just like an ancient summoning ritual.
Trusted audience, what do you think?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Spent the Day Bursting Bubbles. Luckily, Bubbles was OK with that.

My brother recently emailed me something that he thought I would blog about: his obsession with his kids. (He and his wife are the proud parents of a 1 1/2- year old daughter and a (-7)-month old.) I would only think it's strange if he weren't obsessed.
And that earlier sentence should read that the daughter is one-and-a-half years old, not that he has one (1) daugher who's 1/2 year old. Since my bread and butter is bons mots, I don't want somebody writing in to dispute my writing style by pretending to misread the sentence.
Avid readers (both of you) may note the template change. It's part of the New Marty Look. Last night my wife gave me a pair of white pants with thin red stripes. Rockstaresque! But the problem is, I can't be left to my own devices to find a shirt that looks OK with it.
So we're still hoping to get to Korea in a few weeks to visit the Meatbeater who has posted a few comments to this blog. I can't wait to see the apartment of a stylish young international playboy bachelor. When I was a dorky young domestic hustler, my bachelor apartments didn't feature drapes or a shower mat, and for a year I lived in a place that had bars in the windows. No, it wasn't jail. But it looked like the kind of place where a lot of people die at the end of a Tarantino film.
But my brother, the fertile one, had the best bachelor pad ever. It was a house that he shared with two other bachelors in Columbus. For the geographically-minded, he was on the west side of King Avenue between Hunter and Highland. I lived about two blocks west on Hunter in the creepy building. I'll give my brother and his housemates some credit for fashioning crude drapes out of sheets. But given that the didn't own a vaccum cleaner or any means of cleaning the bathroom, I think my apartment was maybe a little more lady-friendly.
There was one bathroom. During and after parties, it would reek of puke. At one big party at their house, a friend was in the bathroom puking up his soul, and I was outside the door waiting so I could get my chance to puke. Then I noticed the huge puke puddle in front of the bathroom door. So I just added my own contribution.
Ever wonder what happens when you never clean up puke on a carpet?
When they finally moved out of the house, we had to pour undiluted bleach all over everything. And replace some interior doors. And mop up the food. I don't mean "mop up" figuratively, as in, "well, let's go ahead and eat the last couple bags of chips." I mean, the potatoes under the sink had liquified and they had to clean it up with a mop. I know because I was there. (I went over to help clean up because, after all, I had done more than my share of puking, cigarette ashing, beer spilling, marshmallow-toasting-and-throwing-at-people, etc., in that house.) Now that I think about it, I don't know where that mop came from, or where it went.
Anyway, so at one point we knocked off for a break. One of the housemates had volunteered to go get breakfast for everybody who came over to help clean up. He came back with little powdered donuts, some Mountain Dew, and beer. We sat down on the kitchen floor to have breakfast as the smells of bleach, sweat, and cheap beer wafted past the sheet-curtains and onto King Avenue.
I'd like to say it was a spiritual moment, but instead we all started getting sick from the stink of bleach and liquified potatoes. Most of the dishes and furniture had been destroyed at the moving-away party anyway, so after a brief summit we said vaya von dios to the security deposit, left the cleaning supplies for whatever poor soul got the house next, and got the hell out.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fuck off, I'm centering my chi

Are you still here? Fine. Whatever. If you want to read my blog-- and apparently "you" basically means "my brother," and "now and then kind of by accident"-- then assume the full lotus and let's rock it out. I'd like to talk about my spiritual journey.
But first, I want to say that I'm pleased that I finally got a comment to my last post. Seriously, it is appreciated. What with my near-Safiresque obsession with grammer, I also enjoy the she/he/it double entendre.
It's springtime in Chicago. I can tell because the grizzly dudes who get change from cars at the light on Western & Leland have all peeled off a couple of of their coats. I've often wondered where the guys put their extra coats when they're working the cars; then I usually wonder what I would do if I were to stumble upon the pile of coats. Maybe I would leap into the coats like a kid into a pile of leaves. Except instead of being enveloped by the sweet, just-this-side-of winter scent of fresh leaves in the fall, I would get cigarette smoke, bus exhaust, booze, grime, and the sweat of someone who should have peeled off coats earlier in the season.
As life renews around me, I consider my spritual journey. Specifically 1979's "Evolution" album, which, according to Yahoo! music, finds Journey hitting their stride as they move farther away from jazz on their sophmore effort with singer... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (*thud*).
It's now hours later and I think we've learned quite enough about Journey. My spiritual quest reminds me a lot of the arcade game "Gauntlet." If you have enough quarters, you'll probably do pretty well, even if you're the incredibly slow and grunty barbarian without whom the screen can't advance, so the elves and Valkeries end up trapped in some corner of the screen, unable to get away from the onslaught of little ghosts until you finally drag your big ass (grunting the whole way) far enough downscreen so the elf could have moved, if he wasn't now dead.
We used to try to get four people at once to play Gauntlet. It was cool when you actually knew the elf you just trapped. But sometimes your playing partner would end up being the creepy pre-Goth-era guy with stringy hair who's probably what, early 30's?, who hangs around the preteen equivalent of Vegas because he doesn't have any friends except for the grunty barbarian and who just wishes he could meet a Valkerie, because she would understand him and in addition to the shiny breastplate would also be able to drive her spear right through the snickering asshole teenage punk who works at the UDF.
It doesn't really matter if nobody but Sean remembers Gauntlet or UDFs, because he's probably the only one who would be reading this far anyway.
But enough about Gauntlet. Next time I think I'll write about my spiritual journey.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ewe were always on my mind

Ha haaaaaaaa... the ewe jokes are just too easy, really. But I bet all of ewe are getting kind of tired of it. But this is my united blog of whatever, so ewe best get ewesed to it. Okay, I admit, writing "ewesed" for "used" is kind of a stretch.
Hey, audience, what's up out there? I gave you a full day to write comments about what was undoubtedly the funniest blog ever written about my future pallbearers. And yet you produce nothing. In fact, the only comment is from me. How freaking sad is that? Pretty damn sad.
A good friend of mine is a seriously good musician, and one of his former band's songs came up in the iPod shuffle. The song is called "Take the Keys," referring, of course, to his ardent support of Alan Keyes in the recent race for Senator here in Illinois. (On the off chance that he ever reads this-- in fact, it's an off chance that anyone will ever read this-- he'll be mortified.) No, the song's about love, or redemption, or loss, or cars, or car keys, but probably it's about me.
Anyway, I once used the phrase "take the keys" in casual conversation with him. He immediately asked me if I was ironically referencing his song. I thought to myself, "wow, I should say yes and reinforce the idea that I am such a deep friend." (How many commas should be in that last sentence? I've changed it several times and it still looks awkward.) But it was completely inadvertent.
So I've been thinking about the exhibitionist aspect of creative endeavors. Wouldn't it be weird to know that all your friends have heard these heartfelt songs about your life? Pretty much all my readers have surmised is that (a) I'm probably something of a jerk and (b) there's some serious sheep fetish thing going on lately.
But unlike my talented musician friend, I have no worries about somebody coming up to me telling me how that thing I just wrote _totally_ changed his/her/its life, and then I realize in a flash of horrible awkwardness that s/he/it _totally_ misunderstood what I was getting at. Of course, given that I approach my point with something less than subtlety, s/he/it would have to be paying as shockingly little attention to my blog as, say, I do.
Speaking of the iPod, it actually belongs to Mrs. O. Except since I take the train to work while she gets the car, I bring the iPod with me. So it's filled with all sorts of stuff that she doesn't like. And now that I've added the Monster Ballads 2-CD set of hair band power ballads, she's going to be pissed when she finds Steelheart on her iPod. And Slaughter. And Kix! Remember Kix? Am I ruining my hipster street cred?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The hardest thing about leaving Scotland? I wish I knew how to quit ewe.

Listen, we've done the pallbearer thing a lot recently, and I think it's time to put some of this down on paper. The first time I had to bear pall, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I was like a rookie linebacker: thinking instead of reacting.
Sooner or later I'm going to be the one in the box, and I don't want you guys screwing this up. You don't get a mulligan. So pay attention.
First, to whoever's the first one to hear that I'm dead-- go to my place and remove all the porn before my family gets in there and discovers it. I promise to do the same for you if you die first. Don't be squeamish. I helped a friend move once and ended up carrying his big-box-o'-gay-porn, and I didn't die from cooties. I died from massive tick infestation. Not the same thing. Anyway, I don't care what you do with the porn. I don't know if they take porn at the St. Vincent De Paul shelter. But I guess you could try. Just to warn you, though, they didn't take a leather couch of mine once because it was kind of beat up. And the Salvation Army didn't take a portable wet bar. What's that about? It was for f-r-e-e.
Second, for God's sake don't wear the super fancy dress shoes with the leather soles! You're going to squeak all the way down the church aisle, which is bad enough. What is worse is when you fall on your pious fashionable ass when you try to genuflect with a casket.
Third, at least make an effort to wear a halfway respectful suit. (Which, by the way, I assume you got cleaned sometime since the last Supreme Court nomination.) Save the Gary Glitter shit for the afterparty. Remember the golden rule of fashionable menswear: porkpie hats look sweet if you're in the Madness reunion tour.
Fourth, don't make a big deal about where you end up standing. You're probably not going to get an equal number of righties and southpaws. It's really not going to be that heavy. If you get six or eight guys together, you can probably lift my Thunderbird, so don't panic.
Fifth, keep your game face on unless you're absolutely certain that you are funny. My dad's cousin Pat got a laugh at my great-grandfather's funeral with the old 'struggling-under-the-weight' thing, but Pat's the kind of guy who can pull that off without looking like a total ass. I, however, am total ass material. So that's why I don't get cute.
Sixth-- and this kind of follows on #5-- you're going to have to work as a team. Try to make it look like you're kind of on the same wavelength. You'll probably have to take lots of little tiny steps while kicking the guy in front of you in the Achilles''. It's tricky, especially on stairs and if you have to make a turn.
Seventh, please try to make it look like you're not struggling under my weight. Yeah, I know, I'm not exactly Mr. Fitness, but I try to take care of myself, so don't make me look like Tubs McLardass.
Don't whistle.
Take out those damn iPod earbuds.
Don't spit out your gum in the baptismal font unless you want Father Westerhoff to kick your ass during the Mass. Do you really think anyone from my family is going to jump in there and bail you out? Speaking as a member in good standing of my family, I say No Thanks.
See if you can slip some Pogues sheet music to the organist. I like the lyric in "Streams of Whiskey" where Brendan Behan advises that it's better to drink than to cry.
And most importantly, remember this: they didn't come to see you. They came because an older relative shamed them into it. If they walk away from a funeral talking about the pallbearers, it'll be all over "Best Week Ever" in no time. Then some marginally talented b-lister will sweat under the bright lights trying to think of something funny to say about my funeral. I don't need that.
So if you follow the instructions, you're going to be the proverbial well-oiled machine. (By the way, did you get the well-oiled machine when you got the porn? Good. And hey, I don't care if you go ahead and smirk, pal, because I've already got my harp.)
If you just follow this simple advice, you'll make Tony Stewart's pit crew look like Keystone Kops.
Make me proud.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Perhaps the most personal post yet

Okay, this post has been heavily edited because I vented a little too much.
Here were the highlights: I work really way too hard for not enough cash at my day job. In the meantime, we're losing people left and right and those additional responsibilities are being spread out among few and fewer of us. Quoth the audience: "wah friggin' wah." Because you probably didn't check out this blog just to hear me complain. Did you? Because that would be soooo cool.
So I can understand why "friggin'" isn't in the Blogger.com spell check, but the word "blog" isn't? Huh? Maybe it's because I neglected the capital B.