Monday, July 28, 2008

He's troubled ... but I can save him : The Case of the Mixed Up Lawn Gnomes

There comes a point when a man looks back on his life and tries to justify his existence.
He thinks back about the people he has touched - both literally and figuratively. He tries to weigh the good he's done against the harm he has caused. He wonders whether he truly deserved ...

... Wait. You knew that 'touched literally and figuratively' line was a sex joke, right? Of course you did, Gentle Reader. I was wrong to underestimate you ...

... the gift of life that he was, well, gifted with.

In short - Has he gotten up to enough drunken mischief?

The answer is : No.
Of course not. Never enough.

My philosophy is that we were made in the image of our Creator - who happens to be a drunken ne'er-do-well with an odd sense of humour.

So I present to you the first of a monthly feature : My Drunken Shenanigans.

This is partly intended as a monument to a lifestyle that ain't easy. I'm like the Jesus of drinking - I get loaded so you don't have to wear that lampshade any way but vicariously.
Part of this is just trying to explain myself to my two future children, Blind Lemon and Innocent Bystander (isn't that sweet? A boy and a girl).
Truthfully? Most of this is just bragging.

This Month: Whose Fucking Pink Flamingo Is This?
One night. my friend and I who I will call ... (Neal hates it when I use his real name) ... Slappy drank quite a lot of either tequila or saki. I forget. It was twenty years ago but I think we were in our pretentious saki phase when Ne ,,, umm ... Slappy lived in the Crappiest House in Suburbia.
Slappy didn't even know the people who lived upstairs from him ... let alone the people who lived next door who would eventually call the cops ... but that is a lawn ornament-related story for another day.
We came to the conclusion that neighborhoods ain't what they used to be. Do you know the people who live next door to you? Would you be comfortable having them get your mail while away on vacation? Could you borrow a cup of sugar from them without feeling weird?
I thought not.

The only common trait the residents of the street had was an almost fetishistic love of yard decoration.
So we got to ... for lack of a better word ... thinking -- What if we traded everyone's lawn ornaments?
One garden gnome for one harp-playing cherub here ... One pink flamingo for one lawn jockey there ... I still feel kinda guilty about the Disneyfied Snow White we dropped and broke in the middle of the street. Still, as the saying goes, if you're gonna make an omelete you have to break a few Snow Whites.

We never meant mindless vandalism - we had a higher purpose. We wanted people to knock on their neighbors' door and trade their newly acquired concrete cat for their old ornate birdbath. We wanted street-mates to meet each other. We wanted friendships born under odd circumstances.

Okay, we were just loaded and we thought it would be funny.

I'd like to think we did just a little good that night. I really hope one person on that street made a friend the next morning because two drunken fuckwits were bored.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Employment? Is It Right For You?

Finding a job is really hard work.
In fact, it is harder work than actually working. I didn't much like working in the first place. Why would I like looking for it?
Being the town drunkard doesn't pay -- plus there is too much competition in Orillia.
Being a wise-ass pays slightly better but those jobs are few and far between.
Being a doctor pays really well, but I have the bedside manner of a drunken wise-ass.
That said, whisky, guitar strings and lap dances don't pay for themselves. Right now, Barb pays for them. GO BARB!
But eventually I'll ride that Sugar Mama into the ground - so to speak. In that spirit, here are a few job finding tips I wish someone had clued me into before I started my present, half-hearted, ultimately futile search.

Don’t punctuate your interview with Dukes of Hazzard style narration.
example: "Well how 'bout that... looks like Ol' Hipster done stirred up a nest a trouble and got his potential employer all riled up like a big ol' hive of yellowjackets!"
Potential employers find a fake southern accent and a banjo off-putting.

Your resume should not tell potential employers that you “only feel hopeful between (your) fifth and twelfth vodka gimlets”.

While on the subject of resumes, no employer cares about your interests. Really don’t mention your interests if they include the phrases “shenanigans and tom-foolery”, “dancing like a robot” or “reverse cowgirl”.

Also, resumes are no place to list your internal demons. In my case: Alcohol ... Internet Porn ... Pills ... Actual Demons.

‘Three-drink charming’ has only worked once for me in a job interview – and it wasn’t a very good job.

Never, ever shout “NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED” even if your potential employer says, “…and the doctor said.” The temptation will be very strong, but try to fight it. The very thought of it may make you giggle for days afterward but it won't get you the job. Trust me.

If you get the job, never quizzically say “Friend?” in a Frankenstein voice.

If you get the job, despite doing all of the things I told you not to do above?
Keep it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

If I Had a Million Dollars ... I'd Buy Some Blow

I don't think anyone saw this one coming.
Far be it for me to mock anyone for using illegal drugs -- aside from Andy Dick. Drugs are quite fun ... and if you use them people think that you're cool.
This past Wednesday, Steven Page, singer for the Barenaked Ladies took one step closer to becoming the Keith Richards of East York. He was arrested in upstate New York for possession of cocaine and marijuana.
This may hamstring the sales of the his band's latest album, "Snacktime", a collection of two dozen original children's songs.
Perhaps it won't. The Friendly Giant was, allegedly, coked to the gills. Mr. Rogers was more of a beer and Qualudes man. Mister Dress-Up, despite his lucrative CBC contract, loved to huff paint.
I genuinely hope that Page beats this drug charge. He's good at what he does - a certain Mr. George Laramee (though he denies it) and I once enjoyed a show of his at the Danforth Music Hall. He and his band do a lot for charity - various food banks, leukemia, Jack Layton. What he chooses to put up his nose has never affected me - or you I'll wager - in the slightest. Unless you are one of his three children, in which case: I'm sorry for what happened to your daddy and STOP READING THIS WEBSITE! IT ISN"T APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS! DON'T YOUR PARENTS EV ... uh, never mind.

In other news:

Christ just e-mailed and and asked that his name be taken off of the project. Christianity is now to be known as AlanSmitheeism ... Fuck You Nazis for trying to deprive us of all of our best comics ... 90210 was a horrible television show but it encouraged the growth of sideburns ... I miss the Beverly Hillbillies on television, Mostly I miss Ellie May Clampett. Christ, I'd like to have fucked her ... You can talk all you want about your Makarovs and your Lugers but the Colt .45 is still the best sidearm for scaring the fuck outta people ... Jesus, just Google Alan Smithee if you don't get the joke ... Scotch Whisky, Irish Whisky and Canadian Whisky taste pretty much the same unless you shell out for the good stuff ... the Leafs will lose many games this year but I hope they will be an unpleasant team to play against ... Did Freddy Mercury popularize the Big Gay Mustache? Was he wearing a Big Mustache because it was popular amongst the Gays? I'm just wondering ... Sometimes I think George Clinton's P-Funk just exist so white people can feel hip ... I'm gonna go off on Barb all Andy Capp-style if she ever belittles me in front of an optometrist again ... Wow, that Randy Newman really hated midgets. I hope he has smartened up ... Barack Obama and his handlers need to be cool - criticizing satire because dumb people might not understand is no way to gain my non-existent vote ... Quebec seperatists are angry Paul MacCartney is playing Quebec City's 400th anniversary because he represents a "second English Invasion" . A direct quote, that last one... Hmm - American Liberals or Quebec Separatists -- who has the thinnest skin?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Who is Mystery Dave ...

... and can I buy him a drink?

Sources as diverse as India's The Money Times, the UK's NME and Canada's Welland Tribune were reporting that the Ontario Provincial Police pulled over an erratic driver in Oakland, Ontario and, lo and behold, it was Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth with a giant head (insert your own joke here) suffering an allergic reaction to nuts (insert your own joke here).
Nice story, but Roth denies the incident. He has a pretty strong alibi with 20 thousand witnesses. He was busy on stage in New York at the time.
"I had no encounters or incidents with the police," said Diamond Dave, through his publicist. "The only thing I'm allergic to is criticism."
Ontario's finest waited with the man who claimed to be Roth until an ambulance arrived. He was whisked to the nearest hospital for one dose of epinephrine and two nurses, according to the excellently named Graham Rockingham in the Toronto Star.
Cubic Zirconia Dave, having recovered from his near fatal nut poisoning, reputedly hightailed it to the Liquid Lounge in nearby Brantford, escorted by two of Ontario's more dedicated healthcare professionals/groupies. Purely outpatient follow-up, no doubt.
The owner of the bar, Cheri Welsh, was sure it was Roth because he wore alligator shoes and, well, because he said so, according to Rockingham's article,
I can't understand his motives," she told the Star. "It's not like he was getting free drinks or anything. He was putting money on the table."
The fake rock star also jumped up on stage and performed the Van Halen classic Ice Cream Man with a local band.
You have to admit, Mystery Dave has style. He even pays for his own drinks. Bravo Mystery Dave, you are a first class hornswaggler.
The best part, though, is that neither the cops, the intake nurse or the bouncers bothered to ask for some identification. How do you get pulled over by police and not asked for ID? Wouldn't an Ontario heath card throw up a red flag? Some kid with a web browser couldn't have figured out that 'Dave' was actually on stage at Madison Square Garden at the time?

In related news a man 'POSING' as former VH singer Sammy Hagar was found panhandling in front of a Second Cup in Ajax. He was, by all accounts, thrilled with his $12.58 haul.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nonsense 101: A Comprehensive History of Incompetance

Welcome to the first in my series of lectures on the WORLD'S GREATEST FUCK-UPS.
When I call them the world's greatest fuck-ups, I mean no disrespect -- well, not much disrespect. Most of us are just regular stumble bums. The best of us are given to the occasional social faux pas.
Some of us have too much credit card debt. Some of us couldn't get laid in Reno with an 8-ball and a Gold Card. Some of us (ahem) are inconsequential poseurs with drinking problems.
It takes not only a complete lack of talent, luck or charm to be a world class sad-sack.
It takes intestinal fortitude. It takes perseverance. It takes testicles the size of bowling balls.


William Topaz McGonagall was a hand loom operator in 19th Century Scotland. Had he been born in 20th Century North America, I'm pretty sure his middle name would have doomed him to life as a stripper.
He may have been one hell of a weaver. Sadly, we will never know as none of his fabrics have survived.
He may have been one hell of a dancer. One erotic etching allegedly survived, but remains in the hands of a wealthy collector who wants to "maintain McGonagall's dignity".
What did survive was some of the worst poetry ever committed to print.
Academics rarely agree on much. The general consensus is, however, that McGonagall (Douglas Adams opinions notwithstanding) was 'THE WORST POET IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE'.

After finding his voice in 1877, McGonagall fired off his first poem in praise of a local vicar to the Dundee Weekly News. A sample - best read aloud in a thick Scottish burr:

"Rev George Gilfillan of Dundee, I must conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse,
Nor does it give me pain to tell the world fearlessly, that when
You are dead they shall not look upon your like again."

The editor smirkingly printed it with sarcastic 'praise' underneath. But, as many a journalist has learned the hard way -- there is no such font as Times New Ironic.

The encouraged McGonagall, tired of weaving tartan, set off on a twenty-five year bender of really crappy verse. Calling himself "Her Majesty's Poet" McGonagall would often write about the news of the day. His shining moment came when the Tay Bridge collapsed, plunging a train carrying 75 passengers to their death. It remains one of the worst railway disasters in British history. McGonagall was moved to write this memorial, if inaccurate, prose:

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time."

Six (sort of) stanzas later, full of the bizarre rhyme schemes, disregard for metaphor and the lack of poetic metre that characterized his work, he concludes:

"Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed."

He was also a Temperance advocate -- with good reason. Wife-beating, burglary and general naughtiness aside, a bartender was "the first man to throw peas at" McGonagall while reading his poems to a pub's clientele, according to his self-published autobiography.

McGonagall would have his revenge on the tipplers with immortal lines like:

"Then the Angel cried, "Thank God, Christ's Kingdom's near at hand,
And there will soon be peace and plenty throughout the land,
And the ravages of the demon Drink no more will be seen."
But, alas, I started up in bed, and behold it was a dream!"

In the wake of this poem, thousands of Scots stopped buying strong drink.
Oh, they kept right on drinking. They just stopped buying.

Some claim McGonagall was a pioneer in performance art; writing bad poems to get any reaction from his audience. Most say he was just completely oblivious. But despite a willingness to be pelted with eggs and vegetables for five pence, McGonagall died penniless in 1902.

In 2008, a book of 35 McGonagall poems, signed by the author, sold for $15,000 at an auction house in Edinburgh.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Canada Day

Belated though it may be.

The above T-shirt design is brought to you by the good people who support the Vermont secession movement.

In 2007, a poll by the University of Vermont's Center for Rural Studies found that 13 percent surveyed support secession from the United States of America, up from 8 percent a year before.

Why not? They were the first state in the union to outlaw slavery. They elected a Bernie Sanders, the first openly-socialist American senator, in 2006. They have maple syrup, beautiful foliage and they seemed very polite the last time I visited.

I hope you had a very smug and self-satisfied Canada Day. Though few of us had a choice about being Canadians, let us be thankful for that accident of birth. It could be much, much worse.

We now return to the previously scheduled drinking of beer, picking up after ourselves and complaining that the weather is either too hot or too cold.