Revenge of the son of too many words

5/26/06

Dood. Can you say whineybaby scaredy pants? Congress! Wot a bunch of pussies! First of all, the FBI police state gives them a bit of the New World Order treatment the rest of us are getting daily. One little warrantless daytime raid of an obviously crooked Congressfuck where everyone’s favorite jackbooted thugs found thousands of dollars of payoffs and these Congressmonsters are all:

“Boo hoo! The FBI? In our offices? This can’t happen in OUR America! I mean, I know we enacted the fucking Patriot Act that allows the guvment to put anal tracking devices into every warm-blooded sentient being from Alaska to Madagascar, compile ATM, Credit Card, and Medical Records, to purchase databases of personal Internet histories, record phone calls, intercept emails, use domestic surveillance to track and smash all dissenting parties in the Most Patriotic Police State ever..

“I know that we okayed the arrest and indefinite holding of American citizens without charges and that we’ve condoned US-run torture centers around the world (those armpits aren’t gonna blowtorch themselves)…

“I know that in a six short years we’ve overseen the dismantling and destruction of the last remaining vestiges that made this once-great nation better than a Bananaocracy like—say—Chile under Pinochet. I know that we’ve let corporate boot crush healthcare, bankruptcy, workers rights, energy policy, the environment…I know that we’re fundamentally and permanently restructuring the financial and tax laws in this nation to favor those already overwhelmingly favored by wealth and birth as we enact policies that destroy the middle class and have caused the inevitable descent of the United States of America into second-world status…but, NOW THIS IS HAPPENING TO US!

“See, you people have an advantage. You’re used to this. We’re not. You don’t mind the stripping of your Constitutionally guaranteed rights because the tee vee made you realize that you gotta be serious about fighting terrorism and this seriousness is demonstrated by the amount of liberty you’re willing to abandon. That’s your job. You make sacrifices. Just like the man on the tee vee told you to. And it’s…um…hard work. Liberty. 911. Terror. It’s hard work to give up your freedom, but America has never been afraid of hard work. Terror. 911. Freedom. Terror. Barf. Fart. Etc.”

And, get this. This morning, there’s a report of “something that sounded like a gunshot” in the parking garage across the street from where some Congressmonsters are meeting—and the entire city of Washington DC goes into fucking lockdown! Everyone under their desks! Deploy Helicopters to the National Mall, snipers on the Lincoln Memorial, Terror Alert Azure, DEFCON 1, alert the Mountain-Biking President that Washington DC is under attack and—what? It was an air hammer in an elevator? What! This was new underwear! Who dares to cause all this Congressional pantsuit wetting? We demand investigations! Arrests! We demand that a 5-foot wall be built around this elevator and that National Guard Troops be deployed to the parking garage to stop this from happening in the future! There! We’re tough! We’re proactive! Now…let’s take the rest of the day off, change our adult diapers, and go get drunk!”

The one time I called the cops after hearing the real emptying of a real AK-47 clip outside my real window and heard real bullets hitting real things, the cop on the other end of the line chuckled, said something mean about my neighborhood, and told me to stay away from the windows. The President wasn’t even notified.

So how much does this Chicken-Little-The-Sky-Is-Falling Mentality cost us? How much does the entire Congress cost us? Every limo, every robot with the earpiece and machine gun behind them, every investigation into obscenity…we pay for that shit. Billions and billions and billions…and what do we get? Our fucking tax money gets transferred to the very corporate interests who rape us daily and make life a fucking IMPOSSIBLE PAIN IN THE ASS so that their CEOs can rack up $400 million vacation homes. The CEO for the company responsible for most of the student loans in this country is currently building HIS OWN FUCKING PRIVATE GOLF COURSE. Do you have student loans? Do you enjoy paying that shitty interest? Do you like the fact that as of July you can no longer consolidate that loan for a lower rate? You like those dinnertime calls from creditors who bought your debt and are riding you into the ground? Do you like destroyed credit, looking into the bleak future without even the depressing option of bankruptcy available to you anymore? Do you like the fact that the painful loan chunk you pay each month from your $25,000 a year job that a $60,000 education bought you is buying FUCKING GOLF BALL POLISHING MACHINES for A FAT WHITE GREEDY DOUCHEBAG?

The answer is obvious: Outsource Congress. To India. Look. They’re not doing their jobs. They accidentally made the fines for saying “Shit” on network television 350 TIMES HIGHER than the fines for overseeing an unsafe mining operation with safety violations that kill 10 miners/human beings. Nobody would do that on purpose, right? It must be pure inefficiency.

Outsource Congress to India. Think of all the money we would save! We wouldn’t have to pay for their healthcare. Their salaries. Their airplanes. Their limos. Their franking privileges. Hell, we can cut their pensions right now. All these unproductive “retired” ex-Congresspeople…how much are we paying for them? Retired? More like “too old to be useful members of society.” If you’re not contributing, YOU ARE A LEECH. WHY SHOULD MY TAX MONEY BE GOING TO LEECHES???? STARVATION WILL TEACH YOU SOME LIFE LESSONS, YOU LEECHES!!!!!

We’re streamling in the USA. We’ve already proved that it works for the lower and middle classes. Ship jobs out of the country, and for the jobs that can’t be shipped, allow a steady supply of cheap immigrant labor to work for a quarter of the minimum wage. You know, for all those jobs that Americans won’t do…for two bucks an hour and no benefits.

Pretty soon, we’ll be soooooo efficient. Labor costs will go down to Zero. We will be a nation of machines that build other machines that are bought and used by yet more machines! We can cut humanity out of the market completely! We hook the ATMs up to the stores directly! We don’t need you getting in the way of our money anymore. Think of the savings! Think how great the compete destruction of your flesh-based existence will be for our American economy! We’ll be a great nation once again!

FRIENDS, THESE ARE GREAT TIMES!

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For those of you so inclined, my band just put out another record. It’s called, Even a Butchered Carcass Can Shine. You can buy it here, if you’re into that sort of shit.

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Finally, a vacation. I’m off to Honduras for a few weeks to catch up on some reading. Flying into Mexico City on cheap tickets and taking a bus into the jungle. I found a hut to stay in, $17 a week. It’s gotta be perfect, right? It better be. I hope I didn’t bribe the nurse to give me all those fake vaccination records for nothing.

Don’t pray for me. I mean it.

4/07/06

Okay, one last round of religion shit and I’m done. I’ll never bring it up again, if for no reason than to avoid an entire inbox of people who are praying for my soul. Well, hey! I just found out I’m getting laid off in two weeks because of a ‘project reset’! And my best friend from high school was found shot to death in her New Mexico apartment last week! Thanks, God! Keep up the good work, guys! My month’s going grrrreeeeaaaatttt!

From your letters…

Q: In stating your beliefs so strongly, haven’t you just adopted a dogma of your own? You’re being as hardcore an atheist as some born-again Christian is a Christian.

A: Exactly. Everything is relative to the individual and there are no absolutes. Unfortunately my belief system can accommodate this truth, whereas my born-again friend has to first pray the logic out of head and then beg for forgiveness from a man in the sky for ever attempting to be rational.

Q: Why do you feel like you have to tell us this stuff? It’s bad enough that Hollywood is liberal and anti-Christian, but so are all the media too!

A: Lady, aside from the fact that you are a braying jackass, you have the Presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the dime. Take it out and read it. It don’t say, “Atheists Kick Ass.” Quit whining. You won. Sit here with me, pour yourself a lemonade, and watch our country as it devolves backwards into a pile of innocuous goo.

Q: So your [sic] saying that people just showed up on Earth and everything is a mistake?

A: You make a strong point. There was probably some all-powerful king who lived in the sky and wanted to rule everything, and then there was probably an angel war in heaven which resulted in Lucifer’s expulsion. And he was probably plotting revenge, so it’s pretty obvious that there was some sort of garden paradise, a talking snake, and some slut that we’re all related to who ate an apple and made us all sinners. And now all the magic angels watch over us while we’re eating breakfast and driving to the mall and taking shits and are always fighting against devils for possession of our mortal souls.

That’s a much better explanation than, “I’m not really sure, but evolution’s the most credible explanation I’ve heard so far.” Thanks!

Q: Frankly, I’m offensive [sic] that you lump all Christians in together like we’re all bad.

A: Bad? I didn’t make the judgment that anyone was good or bad. That’s your job, right? Oh crap. Is your god sending me to hell for saying that?

Q: I don’t see why you feel you have to attack my beliefs?

A: Not really a question, but I’ll just say that I don’t see why you’ve adopted beliefs that are so difficult to defend.

Q: Don’t you think by casting your opponents in such disparaging terms you’re turning people who are in the middle away from your own political viewpoint?

A: As soon as Buzzed Nihilists for an Agnostic America run a candidate on a platform of free drugs, free guns, and subsidies for our struggling grindcore industry, I’ll clean up my act. Until then, you’re gay.

Q: I’m “gay”? Are you in high school or something?

A: Yes and No. I’m beginning work on a PhD in applied linguistics in the fall. I’ll be writing my dissertation on your ball sack. See how clever that sentence was? With linguistic ambiguity you don’t know whether the topic of my dissertation will be “your ball sack,” or whether my dissertation will be physically inked onto your ball sack. Guess what! It’s both!

Q: If you’re such a nihilist, why don’t you do us all a favor and kill yourself then?

A: Because the Seahawks are looking strong next season. Some good DL picks and we let go of some weak links…now we just gotta shore up the secondary. The loss of Hutch to the Vikings won’t be such a big blow to the offense if the defense can stop a few more drives. It doesn’t help that we lost Jurevicius, but at least he’s on the Browns. Be kind to him, Cleveland!

That’s all for now, losers. I’m moving again. Four addresses in eleven months. It’s a new Driver record! I’ll enlighten you troglodytes some more when I’m back up and feelin’ sassy…

03/03/06

HOW WOOD JESUS SWARE? IN ALL CAPITOLS!

Ah, yes. Violent threats from those defending a religion of peace. Thank you, tender emailers, for the physical embodiment of situational irony so lacking in my new, high-paced, on-the-go, young urban succeeder, active and important corporate lifestyle.

If God existed, maybe He could enlighten some of His followers as to the difference between “your,” “you’re,” and even “yore,” as in, “in the days of yore we burned witches and found verses in the Bible that justified slavery.”

To be fair, emailers with better spelling skills contend that not all Christians are bloodsucking, brainwashed freaks out to remake the entire world in the image of their own twisted, sick little fever dream.

Some Christians are perfectly nice people. Merely irrational.

To be even more fair, I routinely carry on theological discussions with a few perfectly intelligent and sane folks of the religious persuasion, my point generally being that nobody knows what happens when you die, all rhetoric on this subject has been crafted by humans with their own agendas and motivations, and that whatever its origins, the church has historically been a tool used to politically subdue large portions of the population and justify countless acts of genocide and atrocity.

They usually contend that religion is also a positive force that gives meaning to life, strength and comfort to its adherents, unity to communities, and concentrates all the goodness that humanity is capable of into actions of mercy and benevolence.

Yes, in ideal situations I will admit that religion does all of this. But so does heavy metal.

Then I usually contend that any sort of morality which hinges on coercion through threats of eternal damnation isn’t a true morality, just an ornately adorned infantile game of punishment and reward. They come back with saying that the “threats of eternal damnation” are only one way of looking at things, and then get super metaphysical and do these insane logical gyrations in an attempt to rationalize an inherently irrational proposal.

And then I say, “Yeah, but you also think a guy lived two months in the stomach of a whale.”

And then they say, “It’s just a parable.”

And then I say, “I thought it was the word of God.”

And then they say, “It is.”

And then I say, “So Jesus is a parable, too.”

At which point they’re busted. If they say yes to this, it calls into question the entire supernatural backbone of their religion. It turns it into a philosophy which makes it just another idea competing in an entire sea of ‘em.

If they say no, it means they’re cherrypicking incidents to strengthen the weakness of their cause, just like their shit-spewing spiritually retarded evangelical cousins.

Trust me. I grew up in the middle of Southern Georgia Baptistry, where unprotected teenage ass sex is tacitly encouraged because girls can keep their vaginal virginity until marriage, firebombing Planned Parenthood and shooting gynecologists makes Jesus happy, gays are a family-destroying scourge to be wiped from the Earth (and exploited to bring “conservatives” to the polls), protesting movies like Brokeback Mountain is a godly cause but ending child hunger is socialism, all youth pastors might as well have “child-molesting timebomb” engraved on the title page of their youth-group prayer books, and while God has blessed the chosen people with glorious whiteness, the colored people down the street are strongly encouraged to remain at the colored-people church down the street.

Then again, I’ve recently acquired a minister-in-law uncle who lives in the slums of Milwaukee counseling homeless addicts and street drunks to bring them into shelters where he and a bunch of other religious folks feed them, pay for their medicine, and struggle to get them off the fun stuff and into the work force. Ever been to inner-city Milwaukee? Them’s some tough digs.

I’m assuming the rest of you goddies fall somewhere in between.

So, obviously, if you’re not a born-again butthole foaming from your eyesockets because there’s a gay cowboy movie playing somewhere or the sex-toy ban in your community isn’t being upheld at the end of Sheriff Roscoe’s Winchester Defender, you don’t need to email me and justify your belief system—unless it involves diapers and superconductors. I need to know if anyone else keeps having that dream. I’ve got some theories, but I’m sort of stuck on this inverse logic circuit.

And for fuck’s sake, everyone stop praying for my soul and start praying that I get a company car, because vanpool’s turned into friggin’ high school Dramafest 2006.

“We now join the uncomfortable silence on the ride home after Jennifer’s secret emails badmouthing David’s ‘pussy’ driving style come to light due to Lester’s incorrect response to an email thread—all this despite the fact that Jennifer failed to attend her scheduled driver certification course last week! Add this to the smoldering resentment of Reggie and his decision to take a new rider from ANOTHER BUILDING without consulting the group, adding a third overweight butt to the dreaded slightly smaller back seat, five minutes to the total commute, and a strange, burning-plastic odor to the interior of an already olfactory-impaired Dodge Caravan.

Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of ‘Vanpool Place’ when Lester takes it upon himself to get the van waxed and demands the rest of the vanpool reimburse him while David interrupts this outrage and announces, ‘I lost the folder with everyone’s personal information in it so I’m gonna need new forms in duplicate along with signed photocopies of your FlexPasses.’”

Umm…could all adults please report to the dancefloor? You know shit’s bad when I’m the voice of reason.

02/21/06

Now, I know I’ve been away from the corporate workplace for nearly a century, but at what point exactly did the “let’s go get drunk at lunch” contingency get replaced with the creepy coven of born-again Christ vampires? “Let’s go pray at lunch,” just doesn’t have the same ring as “beers,  shots, and bathroom lines at T.G. McFucksuckers!” and—let’s face it—you’re creepy.

Is it just me? Anyone else suffering through this stupidity?

“Oh, do you have the new Evelyn Justice record? It’s righteous. Simply righteous! Here, let me blast it through my shitty 3-inch office speakers so everyone can hear it! This is ‘I Praise Him High to the Highest!’ It’s a song about eternal loyalty to something that doesn’t exist! There’s also a hip-hop song on the album I think you’d like. It’s called ‘2 Much Love 4 Da 6 Communions Dat I 8.’ It’s funky.”

And yes, Virginia, you do need a copy of the Bible on your desk at all times. MAYBE EVEN TWO.

Two Bibles. One reinforcing the other. The little one for when you’re on-the-go and the word of Christ must be sleek-footed and nimble to catch ears and hearts of the skittish and wily hell-goers-to. The big Bible for rock-solid revelations…a more permanent, authoritative, sturdy, lasting Bible wrapped in rich Corinthian leather, gold-gilded edges, awarded by a buck-toothed youth-group pastor as the blood semen ritual comes to ecumenical fruition.

A Bible able to goosebump coworkers at the distance of three cubicles.

“Oh, I noticed you looking at this pile of Bibles on my desk. Perhaps you would like me to read to you out of one of them? I’ve bookmarked the specific passages which reinforce the narrow view of the world I adopted in light of my repressive upbringing. I’d be happy to repeat someone else’s interpretation of someone else’s words to you. Currently, my church group is praying for laws that deprive adults of birth control—as laid out in the truth of the God’s word. Here we are, page 287. I think the truth of Ebenezer and the fire-breathing four-headed mule will really drive my point home.”

Everyone, put a sideways finger to your lips and, really fast, “Bluhbah-bluhbah-bluhbah.”

Come on. We all know that religion is a mental disorder. If I run around saying I’m filled with the love of Godzilla (which I am), I’m nuts. But if the holy spirit is in me well…meet me in the break room! We can kneel down n’ shit! Bow our heads and mumble! And oh, look! Instant friends! I’m part of something bigger than myself! It only costs my autonomy, curiosity, and self-determination! Yippie!

It makes sense why they keep getting hired though. Born-agains are bred to be perfect employees. They show up on time. They produce. They’re practicing for the next world, so they don’t mind wasting their time in this one. Hello, office work! They never come in hungover. They’ve been married since 18, so they’re on the hook with spouses and kids and all that shit. The gripping terror of an ultimate authority makes it easy for lesser earthly authorities to order them around. Following someone else’s rules just feels right. They equate the finer nuances of capitalist capitulation with spiritual duty. If they duck out early on a Friday, they’re not only endangering the financial goals of their team…they’re going to Hell!

It’s genius, really. Back when protestant Christian theology actually had some meaning…when it actually empowered peons, serfs, and beggars to consider themselves on par with kings and lords, the church began preaching, under the auspices of Calvin, that all the people who are going to be saved have already been saved and will remain being saved no matter what. Pray, don’t pray, go to church, drink all day, kill a hooker. It don’t matter. We’re getting in, and you’re not. So shut up about this equality shit and get back to work, while us big, important, saved people keep launching our land wars and exploiting the fuck out of your unsaved, mangled bodies. Your place is on the battlefields and in the wheat fields. It’s all about the fields. Reaping what you sow. We (the rich) grow you (the poor) like a crop, and we harvest you with our Bibles. And God says it’s cool. We know. Our priests talk to him all the time. In…uh…a language you don’t understand.

Back to the “modern” world, where 70% of Americans believe that there is an actual guy named The Devil who runs around hell with a pitchfork and finds ways to tempt humans into evils like overeating and masturbation. Now, ‘cos you’re a nation of consumers before you’re anything, you gotta consume in a Godly way. Buy shiny fish logos to slap onto the back of your car. (Don’t even think of carjacking me, Satan!) Wear t-shirts and jewelry proclaiming your Christian love. (Get thee back 500 feet, Satan!) Vocally support official wars waged by Christians you admire. (We’re killing them for you, God! Blessed be Your name!)

Actual spirituality? Well…the American God barely factors into it. Because…you can’t be a Christian and a capitalist at the same time. They are diametrically opposed belief systems. You cannot reconcile “mercy for the weak” and “survival of the fittest.” And since we can’t change capitalism, we change Christianity. And now there’s a bunch of creepy assholes taking over the break room and trying to get birth control pills removed from the company health plan.

Come on. You’re not spiritual. You’re terrified. You want security. You’re lazy. You don’t want to have to think about stuff, you want a template for life. You can’t deal with the fact that you’re alone, hurling through meaningless space on a meaningless chunk of rock, performing meaningless repetitions above a howling void of death without guarantees of justice, fairness, security, or health. There is only the gaping maw of death and you can kneel down before it or you can stand tall and flip it off. It doesn’t matter. It’s coming for us. And NOBODY knows what’s on the other side. So shut the fuck up already.

But if God actually existed, I’m sure sticking a metal fish onto your car would really make His day.

02/08/06

Football season’s over.

Glad to see my Seahawks in a Super Bowl. Too bad they didn’t win. Not exactly pleasurable to see the refs anally rape every single one of my fellow Hawks fans before tooling away in their brand-new Hummers with “Superbowl XL: Enforcing the Dominant Narrative” stickers fresh ‘n’ flat on the bumper, but hey. It’s football. The story was already written. After all, how could a bunch of latte-sipping liberal bitch Microsoft faggots from pussy states like…um…Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana compare to a good ol’ blue-collar town like beer-drinking Pittsburgh with all those steel workers and…hey…where did all the steelworkers go? And what’s that Shittsburgh beer? I See an Icy Light? Sounds like a Christmas display at an old folks’ home.

At least the fucking Giants didn’t win. Neither did the Colts! And football season is only nine months away! Go Hawks! Go Browns! Go Hawks!

Enough football. This sickness is my own. There are less-important fish to fry.

It’s been a while and I can’t even begin to detail the mess my life has spiraled downward into, but let’s just say it involves a vanpool, semi-regular showering, and waking up early to be somewhere five days in a row. IN A ROW!

Full-time job. Don’t know how you tools do it. Every morning you’re up. Every night you’re beat. In-between it’s a phenomenal waste of effort and energy. I’ve met my co-workers. Now I understand why there are so many shitty drivers on the road; there are so many shitty people in office buildings.

Poor me! Now I’m the one surfing the internet for something to kill the last half of the day. Too bad I don’t update my shit more. I’d have more to read. I gotta fix that.

Poor me! I get to hang out with “normal folks” every day now. Whooo, boy! Around the water cooler, lemme tell you, world: America’s still a bunch of pants pissers. A nation of frantic family men standing on kitchen chairs in their little Republican aprons shrieking, “Get the terrorists! Get the terrorists! I don’t have anything to hide! Tap my phones! Search my house! Install a camera under my ballsack! I think the Al-Kai-Aida is under the fridge! Dirty nukes in the pantry! PLEASE GOD HURRY I HAVE CHILDREN UPSTAIRS!”

The ability of this society to produce a standard human product is INCREDIBLE. Rugged individualists…I think most of them are in jail. Locked in books. Haunting movies. Me? I work next to a co-worker factory that produces co-workers. The trucks roll out each night and they’re shipped all over North America. They’re even in your town! Khaki pants…boop! Blue shirt…boop! Black leather Gap jacket…boop! Slurry sloppy goop hair…boop!

Hey, lookit mee! I’m all dressy like wot the man on the cable teevee told me wot to dress like! Now only if I weren’t got the fat diabetes and the ring worm!

Four months and I still can’t tell anyone apart. It’s been one conversation that never ends. The same conversation. In the same place. The same conversation. In the same place. At the same time. The same conversation. In the same place. At the same time. Always.

NO REALLY! TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOUR NEW TELEVISION SET! AND THE TELEVISION SHOW! YOUR FUCKING KID’S EAR INFECTION IS RIVETING! FUCK YEAH IT’S HARD TO FIND A BATHROOM CONTRACTOR YOU CAN TRUST! SPORTS! LET’S TALK ABOUT OUR MUTUAL LOVE OF SPORTS! AND SKIING! TALK TO ME ABOUT SKIING!

Anyways, I’m back. And pissed.

Fuck.

08/12/05

I’m Not Sure Why I Dropped that Mattress on You
(In response to whining, this column is available in full page size by clickin’ here.)

It wasn’t because you were fat. I don’t give a shit that you were fat. I may have had childish things to say about fat people in the past, but I’ve moved beyond the media-manufactured freak body image that keeps us insecure in our own skins and buying buttwash by the gallon. It sucks to be Mrs. Potatolegs in a Victoria Secret culture, especially if you buy into that shit. I can sympathize…or empathize….no, sympathize. Whatever having a body like Randy Quaid will get me. But it was great to see you, beet-red cheeks a’huffing and puffing, those sausage casings cranking pedal after polished pedal—out trying to get some exercise. Good for your heart. Stress reduction. One less car on the road. Can’t fault you there. That’s not why I dropped the mattress on you.

Maybe it was your bike. The shiny new bike, the expensive bike, the pristine and sparkly bike. The bike that was out on the road for the first time, fresh from the store, assumedly to be soon forgotten and garaged until the divorce. Blue and bold, sporting thirty gears—for the upcoming ascension of Mt. Vesuvius, no doubt. Yes, I think it was the bike that set me off. The bike worth ten times more than my beater Civic. You know how many bags of rice a bike like that’ll get you? I could live for a year off of what you paid for that bike. Hey…maybe this was thinly veiled class war. Could it be? Class war? Yeah, maybe that’s why I dropped the mattress on you. Maybe it was class war.

But it has to be more than that. I’m confronted daily with the excesses of income, and sure…there is a general disgust of shiny people that boils between my ribs. It’s not that I want what you have. Jealousy is not what I feel. It’s the fact that when you appear in public dripping with purchases, you carry this cloud about you like you’ve actually accomplished something. You’re like a dog with a new haircut, clicking its nails and prancing for ooohing company across the linoleum kitchen floor. A hopeful child star practicing smiles in a shopwindow reflection. You figure that through purchase of consumer goods, you can breeze through social signifiers to give us specific signs that inform us where you fit in this bizarre social hierarchy we find ourselves organized into. You think you’ve purchased the specific image of reality you inhabit. Perhaps advanced marketing techniques have convinced you that this pattern of consumer choice has elevated you to the point where you can, on your spanking new bike, huff and puff your fancy ride into an impoverished wolfman stuggling greasehaired and barefoot on the hot asphalt to wrench a queen-sized mattress from the back of a double-parked rental truck and address him as your social inferior. Bright yellow truck, flashing red hazards, beating black sun, and you—purplefaced and arrogant, inflated with irrelevant complaint.

Did you really put on eyeliner and blush before you put on that helmet? Do you think, in the scheme of things, a dash of designer perfume will help the degraded state of your palsied moral development?

Perhaps you believe society has become so tame that you can rudely approach a sweatdrenched guy who’s been moving furniture all day long, a man stinking openly of bloated corpses…you think you can roll on up on your million-dollar bike, squeeze your brakes to a stop, plop two biking booties on either side of the asphalt, and, catching your breath through the wheezing snot in your acid-battered throat, pollute the atmosphere with barking admonishments like “You’re blocking the bike lane!”

I’m blocking the fucking bike lane.

You actually had to stop? You actually had to harass me? You actually had to stop there, five feet from my struggle as your civic duty to all fatass Sunday bike peddlers and inform me that I was, shirt soaked, arms splayed, mattress arched and bouncing over my head, blocking your precious bike lane? Are those duraflame logs attached to your shellfish shoulders incapable of’ rotating handlebars fifteen degrees counterclockwise? Can you not check your advanced traffic monitoring system for overtaking cars? Call OnStar crying for emergency assistance? What did your GPS system say? Was there time to check the Oxygen blog for quick celebrity galpal advice?

No. You chose to stop. And yell at me. Are you friggin’ nuts?

For fuck’s sake, we were across the street from the Zoo! Who can be such a bitch one thousand yards from a baby elephant named Theodore? How can such pettiness exist on a street where peacocks call to penguins in the warbling ascent of each waning moon?

Do you think you’re in Elizabethan England? Menservants on your carriage, ordering we urchins around the sewer troughs on urgent pain of death? A whistle to the constable and three years in the clink? Or would Madam pref’r Steps and the String for a brutish Ne’er- do-well such as Meeself?

Obviously, you have never attempted to move a mattress by yourself. Obviously, people like you hire people like me to do things such as this.

It’s not that mattresses are inherently heavy…we’re talking issues of grip, balance, general awkwardness. Even with two people, the damn thing keeps collapsing on you. Mattresses don’t want to be moved. It’s completely against their nature. But you wouldn’t know that. You pay people to move your mattress for you. So I will tell you this in all sincerity: mattresses suck to move.

And they hurt when they’re dropped on you, I’ll bet. Why such violence on my part? I mean, I was sober. Violence is completely out of character for sober Mark. Confronted, I poured and poured over events in my past which may have triggered such reaction, repressed memories brought into immediate id-bliss upon the gleeful screams of primal Dionysian bloodlust…I envisioned your head exploding underneath your helmet, splattering downwards in an umbrella pattern of blueberry gore, chinstrap catching the top of your esophagus and slowly sliming its way to your kneefield like a slug on a saltslide…but why? Why, at that instant, did I hate you more than I hate existence itself?

Wait! I know what it was! Of course! It was your FUCKING SPANDEX BIKE COSTUME. Holy shit, what are you? An IV for a sperm whale?’ A three-hundred gallon water balloon? And…holy shit…is that Lance Armstrong’s signature silkscreened across your breast? Hey! Look at you! You’re just like Lance Armstrong! You were inspired by his story! You watched the Tour De France on the TeeVee! You dutifully read the Oprah-endorsed autobiography! Thus programmed, you dutifully attended a consumer outlet to assume the physical consumer embodiment of your new inspiration and, because you’re riding a tournament bike around the ZOO LOOP three times, you need a YELLOW FUCKING SPANDEX RACING SUIT to suck your sleek cottage cheese torso into proper aerodynamic biking shape because EXTREME AERODYNAMIC PRECISION IS MANDATORY FOR RIDING MY PERFORMANCE MACHINE THREE TIMES AROUND THE ZOO.

Now…I own a bike. Well, own is a strong word. I’m borrowing a bike. From a girl who got sick of tripping over it in her apartment. Girl bike? No sir. Mountain bike for a mountain girl. She’s taller than I am. And hot as hell. And I’m hopelessly in love with her. But back to my point: Since it got too sticky to ride the bus, I’ve been biking a good twenty miles a day, and guess what? You don’t need a day-glow Spandex diaper suit—fluorescent pink, safety orange, urine yellow, gangrene green or otherwise. Try a pair of cut-off work pants and a wifebeater. You’ll find that the bike works just fine. Pedals go around and around, wheels roll, brakes make you stop. Astonishing, huh?

And you don’t make anyone want to drop a mattress on you.

Yeah, it was the Spandex, and the Platinum n’ Pyrex Prada helmet with digital cardio readout via LED heads-up display and rearview optical photofluorescent camera, and the screwed-on Evian water bottle, and the self-inflating tires, and the Coco Chanel brakes, and the Support our Troops sticker, and—fuck! When you went to the bike shop, did you just put your gold card on the counter, spread your arms and announce, “squires, drape me in all accessories bikish in nature! Ravish me with unnecessary accoutrements, for my low self-esteem allows me the royal ability to maintain credit debts that would stagger the common yeoman! Let no piece of third-world plastic be too small or too expensive, for I will be traveling thrice around the zoo! And he who shalt get in my way shall feel the smite of my advanced consumer wrath! Behold, peasants, for this is my mad face! Grrrr!”

Yes, unnecessary Spandex. That’s why I dropped the mattress on you. That’s why you got knocked over. That’s why we all laughed at you. Because you deserved it. That’s why. To shut you up. To correct your obnoxious antisocial behavior in a way that would make an impression on you. And it seemed to. You pedaled off in a hurry and I believe you were an even deeper shade of red. Good. If I ever see you again, I’m going to throw a stick in your spokes, enjoy your hurled trajectory, and, as I relish the thud of torn Spandex on asphault, pull the racing wallet from your Lance Armstrong fanny pack and run ten rounds of Manny’s Ale for the lads down at Duck Island. And for once, cruel existence, Victory Will Be Mine!

07/30/05

London bombings? That sucks. You know what you guys should do to stop terrorism? You should take the fight to them. That’s how you beat a guy with a backpack: deploy artillery and attack helicopters on the other side of the world. It totally worked for us. London, you may have all the hot chicks, but you could still learn a thing or two from us Yanks.

And London, I hear you made some arrests of actual criminals who may actually be involved in the actual terrorist bombings. How cute! How na’ve! But wrong, wrong wrong, and wrong. How the hell are you going to scare the public into docile submission without a boogeyman driving from cave to cave while he updates his terrorist blog? Nope. Hey…you know what you should totally do? You should arrest thousands of people at random and keep them in isolated confinement to make it look like you’re making progress in your War on Abstract Concepts, and give the Security Moms and Promise Creeper dads something to occupy their sugar-knawed walnut-veneered minds. You should come over for a visit and see how well this works! America is awesome lately! Everyone come see! We love foreigners! We rape them with glowsticks and dump their holy books into the toilet! That’s how we outsmart guys with backpacks! So it’s back to the drawing board for you, London.

And poor Karl Rove. I’m sure he and his wife are really struggling through this whole treason thing together. I mean for someone who is so adamantly in favor of imposing Christian family values on a nation, his own family must be such a strong source of support and—wait…he’s not married? He’s never been married? We’ve got middle-aged unmarried virgin writing foreign and domestic policy for our nation? He better be careful, people might start some rumors. From what I hear, there are a bunch of hot, gay ex-prostitutes who have been mysteriously given unusual levels of access to the White House. Someone might get the impression that he’s not really a middle-aged virgin, but actually a hot-to-trot cock fox docking flocks of rock-hard jocks to knock his rocks.

Nah…we’ve just got a big, bald, pink perfectly heterosexual virgin running our country. Gay? No patriotic way. The gay issue has been disgustingly exploited to inspire the Caveman Vote and keep Team Smegma in power. No one could be that big of a hypocrite, could they?

06/8/05

Public Douchers! Dildo Washers! La La La La La!
Well, that sorta sucked. Five literature classes at once is probably my limit. But summer quarter, only three more classes, and I’ll have my degree—and then I’ll finally be qualified to contextualize dominant narratives of power as defining dimensions of ideological state apparatuses for a living. How much you think that gig pays?

So what have I learned after a year of school?

I’ve come to learn that my greatest fear in life is having diarrhea on the bus and my second greatest fear is sitting next to a person who has just had diarrhea on the bus.

God. The smell of the other bus people has really been getting me down. I don’t know why the guys with face scabies always sit next to me. Urine Jones. Booze Sweat Wilson. Poopy Poop and the 400 Diapers. They always find me. And my nose. On Monday, I threw my coffee up in my mouth. It’s that crank-addict smell. Like burnt electrical wires rewrapped in green meat. SHOULDN’T SOMEONE WHO SMELLS THAT BAD BE DEAD?

Obviously, I’m overworked. And now I’ve got a week off. And though I’ve moved to an even sketchier neighborhood, and even though I sleep on a torn futon on a cement basement floor I now have a garage AND a backyard which will provide me the space needed to develop Blind Wino Industries latest capitalist innovation, The Tai Chi Missile. Yes, kiddies, this is the one I’m going to retire on. Haliburton and the Carlysle Group have already expressed interest, and the National Park Service will listen to me as soon as I get my Republican campaign contributions in order. So, what is this new weapon of minor destruction that has the death machine all a gaga?

The Tai Chi Missile Defense System is a mobile unit capable of deployment to any public place where advanced PooDollar LimpWiener Radar instantly homes in on the nearest non-Asian practitioner of Tai Chi, arms itself, and deploys a personal rocket capable of exploding a single person—a kill zone three-feet wide. I’m still tweaking it because as it is, it only recognizes fat guys with beards, but that’s like 90% of public Tai Chi practitioners, so I’m confident we’ll have plenty of interest in this little baby. No longer will beach picnics be ruined by the sagging crane position, nor will a conspicuously obvious reorganization of the body’s energy meridians ruin a spirited game of kickball in the park. Negative effects? Kid, these missiles fucking run on positive energy!

As it says in the New Testament, “Tai-Chi-B-Gone!”

I do have a week off, and my band’s doing a little West Coast tour. Next week: Portland (2 shows), Oakland, Reno, SF, and Arcada. I’m not allowed to drive the van, so stop on by and buy me Jager shots. And bring earplugs and ponchos. Apparently, we’re loud and spit beer.

03/21/05

Pant…pant…pant….ugh. You ain’t heard shit from me in months because I’m busy trying to do seven quarters of English in four, because I figured I’m so fucking smart I could pull it off, but actually, I’ve got a big steamy turd for a brain because anything that would put me through reading 46 books cover to cover since New Years deserves to be flushed into the Seattle Municipal Sewer System, captured by conservative operatives, and re-worked into current domestic policy.

My brain used to say stuff like:

“Shit, it’s 2 already? Get two cases of beer, we’ll drink it under the overpass until Teddy’s opens at 6.”

and

“Any idiot who joins the army after a war starts is begging to lose a head. Especially this war. The fact he had two kids means that on top of being a sucker, he’s a shitty father too.”

It was a good spot to be in. Real enjoyable, one might say. But now my brain says stuff like:

“Chaucer’s Pardoner can be seen as a site of gender destabilization; a threat of the excluded Other that applies pressure to the narrow normative reality of sexuality and socially ascribed roles of gender identity.”

and

“In analyzing Murrow’s critique of the current state of poststructuralist semiotics and the ascription of its sign form to the study of post-Marxist models of consumption and production, it is quite obvious he doesn’t know his Stanley Fish from his Albert Fish.”

Hip hip horay! Invite me to your next party and I’ll dazzle your guests with tales of recovered feminist texts and Emersonian metaphysics!

The truly sad thing is, I’m having more fun with my current brain. I spend all day making up funny sentences with as big of words as possible, and then defend them with unnecessarily complex sentences, and by the end of the day I’ve created such an ambiguous mess of words, it all makes perfect sense and I’ve made some excellent points–none of which I’d originally intended to make. I’m sufficiently confusing! Give me my degree!

And now that I’m thick in the soup of schoolboy, propeller-hatted academia, I’m an expert in entirely new things. Like how much fucking bullshit I’m gonna have to eat to become an English professor, a condition enraged even more by the latest wave of attacks on college-learnin’ and college-teachin’ at the hands of columnist hacks who obviously bought their GEDs from shirtless guys in a doo rags. The closest these boners have gotten to an institute of higher learning is losing $1000 on the first round of their March Madness bracket (shortly thereafter penning an article vociferously decrying the social sin of gambling). Liberal my ass. Let’s frame it like this:

Question from a Total Idiot: Academia is a hotbed for liberals and liberal indoctrination. Why aren’t there more conservative professors in the humanities?

A: I’ve got a deal for you. Spend the next eight to ten years living in semi-poverty, isolated from normal human contact, spending up to eighty hours a week reading and writing on highly complex issues of borderline consequence to 99% of the human race. Pay? The gig pays nothing. And not only do you not get paid…you go tens of thousands of dollars into debt. And then, at the end of this ordeal, there’s a less than 20% chance you’ll end up with full-time employment in your field. Sound good?

The line starts here, bitches.

Oh wait, you mean you just want to party for four years, get a business degree, and go on to pull down $80,000 a year? Okay, Mr. Conservative. Say hi to David Horowitz for me at the next Consirvatives for Illitericy fundraiser.

What I can say across the board of all of my teachers is that they are united in this thought: any well-argued point can be a valid possibility, and, in the absence of convincing evidential proof (an issue in itself), multiple and differing interpretations can be simultaneously correct. Like, “I’ll grant you the possibility that your concept of God is valid, but, to remain intellectually honest, you might want to grant yourself the possibility that the Hindus may be correct on this one.”

Fuck it. Brain…off. Play station…on. I got two weeks until it all starts over again. Spring Break in my basement. See you under the overpass.

02/02/05

Busy. So stupidly busy.

But, on the good fun front, my band (Snitches Get Stitches) had a CD come out on Empty Records yesterday. If anyone’s curious, it might be in your local record store. If not, you can check it out at the label. It’s also available on Amazon. I know a bunch of you write for magazines and have radio shows and whatnot. Bug the label for free stuff. They love giving away free shit.

Also, in my absence, the emails have been piling up from people from around the world who keep asking me the same question: What the hell is wrong with your country?

I think I’ve finally figured it out.

So, basically every privilege we Americans enjoy since becoming economic actors of an industrialized nation has been given to us by Government–over the protestations of business–to make sure that the laboring classes didn’t revolt and overthrow the whole Federal system. The right to unionize, unemployment insurance, food stamps, welfare, labor laws, healthcare, right to sue, Social Security, etc. These were usually implemented during times of great turbulence–worker revolts of the late nineteenth century, the Great Depression, LBJ’s Great Society during the 1960s–and were deemed as necessary steps to spread some of the wealth around and keep just enough of the population happy enough not to pick up guns and start offing guys in suits, as was oft to happen in other industrialized nations of the world during such times.

Well…that was then, this is now. We, as Americans, have been effectively pacified. Through a complex system of economic control based in ideology, entertainment, and religion, we have been effectively neutered as a force to be reckoned with. You’ve seen us on vacation, right? There is no longer any fear of serious opposition to anything done in the name of the Flag and, as such, all of our privileges are being systematically removed. Hence cuts in healthcare, pensions, overtime, student loans, education, unemployment insurance, benefits, Medicare, legal retribution, the proposed dismantling of Social Security, etc. And because there is no credible opposition, the forces of business, which have always been running the show, now get to dictate our foreign policy strategies and, after a few effective tugs at the propaganda machine, that’s how we end up invading places like Iraq. And the same companies show us news reports of smiling women voting for the first time in their lives and we feel good about invading countries like Iraq. And then we wonder how the hell we’re going to pay off our insane credit card bill with our shitty job that we hate.

Just a thought.

Then again, we might actually be God’s chosen people, just like our President keeps saying. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants…

Oh, and a New Year’s resolution: I’m done with current events. Poop is poop spelled backwards. We’re doomed. There is no God. Everyone’s wrong. And that makes the whole world funnier.

12/17/04

Hey all! Because I’ve found a way to combine finals, going home for Christmas, a big freelance gig, and moving into my friend’s basement in the same two weeks, I’m gonna disappear for a bit. In lieu of anything of prurient interest in my life, I’d like to make my predictions for 2005:

* Abstinence-only education to replace biology, chemistry, and physics in all public schools.

* Bush administration takes Social Security to Las Vegas, puts it all on black. Morality Czar William Bennett drunkenly calls American people at three in the morning and apologizes for losing the country. Is then awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

* As this is a Christian nation built on the rule of God, Ten Commandments posted in every bathroom stall nationwide, along with a sweaty picture of Jerry Falwell and a 1-800 number advertising “hot Christian love.”

* Media finally gives up illusion of objectivity and saves money by constructing anchor-robots to read press releases from White House.

* Due to declining dollar and skyrocketing national debt, Lincoln Memorial put up for sale and is purchased by an old Hungarian widow for fifty Forints. It becomes a pretty good goulash stand.

* McDonalds goes all the way and launches “I’m a fat, selfish dick and I’ll shoot you in the face if you touch my hamburger” ad campaign. Sales, obesity, and gunshot wounds enjoy gains throughout each fiscal quarter.

* Outraged citizens push FCC to ban Monday Night Football from using the terms, “endzone,” “tight end,” and “ball.” And because it promotes the homosexual agenda, quarterback no longer able to put hands between legs of center. Football now passed face to face with a manly handshake.

* Combined forces of US and Iraqi armies finally defeat the Iraqi insurgency. A new, democratic Iraq emerges and becomes a beacon of freedom in Middle East, ushering in a Golden Era of Democracy that spreads to all nations in the region. Tooth Fairy elected president of Iran, Easter Bunny to head Syrian parliament.

* Bush forgets to turn off microphone and is caught referring to Kim Jong Il as that “fat little gook,” resulting in North Korea nuking Boston, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. Republican attack machine blames Kerry’s war record and gay marriage, but is obviously pleased to be rid of Democratic strongholds. Kim Jong Il awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom. Random Asian assigned to head Department of National Intelligence.

* Running on the issue of “values,” Adolph Hitler’s corpse elected Governor of Oklahoma.

* Ford launches the Remasculator SUV truck series, based on the 100,000,000-ton supertractor that pulls the space shuttle to its launching pad. Takes up entire parking lots and gets one mile to the gallon. #1 seller among suburban women because it “feels safe.” Recalled in 2006 for exploding back seats, breakaway steering wheels, and chlorine gas leaks.

* Bill O’Reilly shows cock and balls to national audience. Is subsequently awarded a Peabody and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

That’s all for now. Ride your pony right, huff a six-pack of dongs, and see you under the Christmas tree!

12/07/04

Oh, Alberta! Wot a fucking blast! OK, your food sucks huge ass unless a friend buys you a $30 steak (and I have been known to eat stuff from garbage cans) but, that aside, we had quite the time in your li’l province. First across the Rockies in a blizzard where we were forced off at Revelstoke (technically BC), and, after nearly coming to blows with a bunch of drunk sledders because we looked a little funny and were quite vocal about the fact that we didn’t like getting stared at by middle-management, beer-commercial losers with mustaches and burgerbellies who probably had Edmonton wives and golf handicaps…we got to be bestfriendsforever and even met up with the bastards the next morning to take some rides! (I gotta say, I’m one shitty snowmobile driver.) And I got to tongue kiss the drunkest, ugliest woman in all of Canada. All aboard the misery train! Woo hoo!

Look, any guy can kiss a pretty woman. I do it all the time. But to kiss a really, really, really awful person, ugly inside and out…that takes some fucking guts.

I am hoping my Girl will forgive me, but it was too good to pass up. She was in her late 60s and wearing gloves to her elbows, a tubetop, and Reeboks! And drinking Michelob Ultra. And smoking menthols. I know. I shoulda gotten her number. But I have a feeling she’ll be there the next time we hit the Canadian Rockies. Same barstool, same toothless grin leaking blackness from death’s gaping maw…

I french kissed an nasty, old, mean, wasted woman. Hell, yeah. What the fuck did you do today, punk?

Sure, the trip started out on shaky territory. I had the phone numbers of a bunch of y’all Canucks nice enough to email me–as well as a change of clothes, a toothbrush, a swimsuit, a pail of ephedrine, and some good metal for the trip–but passing out underneath the Thanksgiving table the night before, after telling everybody at dinner exactly what I thought of them…as punishment my hungover carcass was rolled into the car the next morning with only the clothes on my back. Which doesn’t sound so bad, except I’d already been wearing them for a week. Somewhere around Salmon Arm, the lads took a vote and I was forced to buy Canadian jeans, which, in the spirit of true hilarity, were immediately pulled off me underneath a stall door while I was trying to take a rest-area shit…and then thrown into a lake. Or, it might have been a river. And me, running around in sub zero weather in paratrooper boots and a pair of filthy boxers, swearing like Baptist, trying to fish them out of the slush with a stick. Now that’s a picture. Thank Allah for digital cameras. Wanna see a picture? No dice. I can only hope that the beavers are currently making good use of them. (The jeans, not the digital pictures.)

Lads can be so cruel at times. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t deserve it.

So much for tourism. Here’s our conversation at the border:

Border Guard: Where are you guys going?
Us: Canada.
Border Guard: Good one. Never heard that one before. Where?
Us: Calgary.
BG: Why the hell are you going to Calgary?
Us: Never been there.
BG: Let me save you the trip. It’s flat. It’s cold. It’s boring. The women are ugly. And the only thing to do there is drink.
Us: It sounds like the rest of Canada.
BG: That’s about right. Have fun. And for Christ’s sake, spend some money.

He didn’t even ask for ID. Good thing, too. I’m not supposed to be in Canada.

But to Revelstoke. And Calgary, which felt like a mixture of Boise and Denver, except that the average person had 50+ IQ points and was twice as nice. Because we were starving, freezing, and sick of walking, we ate and drank at some yuppie meatmarket hellhole on 17th street called Melrose. I see you folx up there got one of those generic people factories, too. They just keep stampin’ out guys with crew cuts, gold necklaces, Drakkkar, and leather jackets from the GAP. And the lost women who will sullenly marry them. Bad choice for food, for sure. Shitty pigeon wings, ketchup flavored nachos…

And then to the Ship and Keel. Or Boat and Pirate. Or something along those lines. Great bar, better crowd, but sheeeet. You Calgary girls are AGGRESSIVE. Now, it’s true I ain’t had no female companionship for over a month now (Dear Diary, it’s the longest stretch since 6th grade), but if you “ladies” think you can just walk up to a guy, breathe on his neck, and get in his pants…well, that’s just not the way I was raised. You gotta be 6’2″ to ride this ride. Where else? Night Gallery? Was that what it was called? Fun. Bob the Fish? Sorta stupid place, but the bartender fucking rocked. Hooked our shit up big time when he found out we were all ex-bartenders. And, according to him, I’m only the second person to beat him at his drinking contest. I did three shots of Jager, one at a time, before he could chug a Guinness. He was pretty close, but he didn’t know what he was up against. Although, in hindsight, it may have been an elaborate plot to get me drunk enough so that the lads could do something really mean to me…but it takes more than that to knock ol’ Driver off his feet. We drank late there and then ended up shifting the party to some riverbank where we shivered down a case of Moosehead with icicles on our noses, spitting beer and throwing bottles at the endless stream of hard-sell pot dealers, managing to stay out until we hit the road again the next morning…but it was one of those deals where we passed the wheel off every fifteen minutes and no one got any sleep until we parked in a gas station and frozed and dozed.

So…

Edmonton wasn’t quite as off the hook. We got a hotel room and napped, which apparently, is the most fun thing to do in Edmonton. Come on! Two years ago we partied in Kamloops and then tore Prince George a new one. You’d think we’d be able to raise a stink in Alberta’s capital! You do, after all, have the second largest mall in the universe. You party, right? Oilers abound? Alas, no. At least not on a Sunday. The city was dead; we were dead. I blame it mostly on alcohol poisoning, hypothermia, and the fucked up thing I ate at some frozen roadside chumbucket. It was a cold pizza crust covered with roast beef covered with iceberg lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese, covered with some sort of mayo/corn syrup dressing. Has anyone ever heard of this? Christ. Poop was shooting down my trouser leg fifteen seconds after I finished it and I had to wave away the angels who had come down for my soul. At least, they looked like angels…

So we fucked around in the boonies some more to no practical avail and then spent a couple miserable days snow camping and fishing without licenses (well…we had one)–and then we trucked it home. Got back last night, just in time to see the Seahawks blow a 10 point lead with 1:40 left to play on Monday Night Football. I swear to fucking Jesus, this is the hardest team on earth to cheer for. At least with total losers…you know they’re gonna lose. Like my old team, the Browns. At least I know they’re gonna lose. But the Seahawks always put up just enough fight to lift your hope, and then let it drop onto the black, jagged rocks of defeat. Always a 9-7 season where they lose the wildcard game. And they get paid millions of dollars to do it. But fuck it. Where am I going? Patriots? Any loser can cheer for a winner. America loves a winner. Me? I get mail. I know my fucking address. And I love Canada.

Go Seahawks!

Who would Jesus molest? Dude, you’re supposed to wait for your 40 virgins in heaven. Duh.

11/25/04

“It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!” is today’s catchphrase. Use it as much as you can. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Thanksgiving is my favorite drinking holiday–right before Easter, of course–and today me, the lads, and all the stragglers whose families are far away or evil will sit to a lush table of deep-fried turkey, tequila, egg rolls, French fries, green bean casserole, and Swedish meatballs, just like our founding Pilgrims did all those years ago, right after they ate the Indians’ shared harvest, and right before they started burning down their villages in thanks. I’ve called my editor–this year’s host–and he’s confirmed a nuclear arsenal of generic liquor and five boxes of white wine and, as per our agreement, I’ve secured the Thanksgiving fireworks! For those of you in the neighborhood, there will be quite a show on Capitol Hill tonight. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!

And as for my impending roadtrip, many of you from Calgary wrote with the putrid details of that city. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle! We leave late tonight and apparently, I will need to pack my snow spurs and my polar Stetson, as Alberta is arctic cowboy country, a real down-home spread of corporate juke joints and strip malls–all this says to me is “World Class Poutine.” And Tim Horton’s. And White Spot. And they say Canada’s done nothing great for the world. Three words: All Dressed Chips. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!

And, as a reminder, Kwanzaa is right around the corner, and I’ve got 80 first-edition books left. Signed. Kissed. Spooned. Fondled. Whatever…I need to buy presents this year too. So, consider the gift of spite this holiday season. Let’s have a real Thanksgiving miracle!

Go Flames!

11/19/04

“Who dat bitch dat sing like me? Oh yeah. Judy Garland.” –Old Dirty Bastard.

Big Baby Jesus 1969-2004

Now You Rappin’ 4 God

I don’t give two poops for hip-hop, rock, punk, metal, country, new age, or adult kkkristian contemporary. 70% of the shit is soap, toothpaste, boner medicine, pizza, military enlistment after a war starts, political parties…simple units to sell to gullible idiots. Duh.

The next 29.98% of the shit is a bunch of sisterpumpers prayin’ to their fake shiny Jesus to get noticed enough to make themselves into soap. If you get a chance to housesit, like I recently did, turn on MTV2. It’s REO Speedwagon with moussed hair and spike bracelets. Loud beginning…breakdown verse…oh oh…here comes the big chorus…now breakdown verse…now GRRRR! IT’S THE BIG CHORUS! LOOK AT ALL MY HIGH SCHOOL EMOTIONS!…ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Frankie Valli and the Punkrocking Punx! Did you see all our tattoos? The sweatbands? The haircuts? Our Taco Bell tie-ins with Tomb Raider 3: Tomb Raiders in Paradise?

And…

Oh wow, these rap kids are around a pool! And they’ve got a catch phrase! FUCK YEAH! APPARENTLY, THEY’RE HAVING SEX! WITH WOMEN! HUMAN WOMEN! AND ALSO THEY EARN ENOUGH CASH MONEY TO PURCHASE RETARD JEWELRY! THANK YOU ART! EXISTENCE MAKES TOTAL SENSE TO ME NOW! FUCK JUSTICE…GIMMEE A LEXUS! FUCK COLLEGE…GOTTA KEEP ME IN SKINS ‘N’ LEATHER! NO ONE CAN FUCK YOU BETTER…

Than the record industry. Mmm. Eatin’ images soft and smooth like ice cream ‘n’ factory fudge. Feeling cool? Okay, work the hair product in. Put on your puffy jacket. Check your face in the mirror. You’re late for your shitty job.

And…

.02% of music sneaks through and makes the world immeasurably better, makes us sad sacks way happy, forces a space in bleak reality we can inhabit beautifully–even in passing blasts–and it doesn’t matter what genre it’s in. And it’s never consistent, because genius hits on albums and disappears. What albums? Who cares. It’s different with anyone who really loves music. I gots mine. You gots yours.

The point:

ODB put out one of my favorite records of all time. Nigga, Please. Sure, there’s a bit o’ crap on the record, but it’s 4/5ths staggering genius. This is the sound of a brilliant and damaged human being falling apart. Listen to the way it’s pasted together. Last gasps. Raw desperation. Pain. Inspiration. Bad acting. Fading pride. So sad. So good. Real as fuck. The true hip-hoppers discarded it, rekkid critics decried the fall of Our Lady Bastard, I proclaimed it great from the first time I listened to it, but nobody would ever listen to me…even though my review got published in numerous rags (I know, I got the $190 in royalties to prove it). It’s the best 12″s of vinyl since Geto Boys turned pubescent murder fantasies into dancefloor classics–hands down.

And now he’s dead, so leave some clean needles on the corner and burn a disc from a friend.

“Jesus, I’m rollin’ wit’ you… Jesus, I’m rollin’ wit’ you…now gimme all my fuckin’ money.”–Dick Cheney, as paraphrased by ODB.

+ + + +

Hey! In our 3rd annual Thanksgiving Trip to Canada, (assuming I can still get in with my arrest on the ’03 visit) me and the lads will be tripping up to Calgary in attempts to get into a spirited argument about soft timber imports. We’ve never been, so if there’s anyone with a fucking clue of what to do in Stampede Country while we’re there, drop me a line. Anyone who wants to snort poutine and drop a few twoonies on the bar with us is welcome as well, although I must disclose the fact that we might all be suffering from the flu. The “We’re Coming to Calgary to Break the Hearts of the Six Cute Girls That Live There” flu. Yeah! And there’s only three of us! Take that, more socially advanced nation to our north that we actually like a lot!

Seriously. We’re T-Bird fans, but are the Hitmen in town? Do they need a PK line? We’re big. We want to help. We’re from a Blue State. We’ll bring our pads, but we might need to borrow some skates.

11/15/04

Okay, false alarm. I’m fine. Turns out I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Turns out you need more than three hours a night. Though my productivity has been severely limited, I am no longer being stalked by dead teenagers. The organs in my fridge were fried and ground into a semi-edible dip and brought to a party of Tier 4 Friends (Level: Casual Acquaintance/Wouldn’t Pick Me Up From The Airport/Don’t Know Any of Their Stupid, Boring Friends) where I claimed ingredient immunity as Grandma’s Secret Recipe.

“Is it vegetarian?”

“Um…there’s a tiny bit of chicken broth in it.”

Oh, and also the entire digestive tract of a fucking dead cow.

You know how parties go. By the end of the night, everything’s eaten.

“Hey Mark, do you want your Tupperware?”

“You can go ahead and keep it. I’ll get it next time.”

Like I wanted to clean that shit.

Oh, adult parties. Take the bus there and then wait until someone gets drunk enough to drive you back across town. There’s always good liquor and food, and the beer usually lasts past midnight. It’s not free though. You have to pretend to listen to people talk about things you don’t care about, and occasionally say things back to give the appearance of conversation. If I ever say, “that’s fucked, dude” to you, chances are you’ve been tuned out and I’m thinking about what kind of lunches I’m packing for the week. Also, if I ask what cologne you’re wearing…there’s no doubt. I’m making fun of you.

But I did bring a new game to the work-a-lots. Between balding guys in shiny black jackets comparing Blackberries in the kitchen (oh, I could have gotten the death ray option, I just didn’t want to carry around an extra adapter) and the painful painful sound of an investment banker loudly proclaiming that Modest Mouse has sold out(once you make over six figures a year, you should really slow down on the whole calling someone a sellout thing), while slipping into a coma on the couch, I introduced the living room to my favorite new pastime, “How Slow Can You Get Your Heart to Beat?”

You need deep breaths, a stopwatch, and someone to check your pulse. If you’re smart enough to invent the game, you make sure you’re sitting next to a nice-smelling girlie-girl when you show everyone how to play. I won. Twenty-four beats in a minute. That’s what the drunk checking my pulse claimed anyway. It was about half as slow the nearest competitor, although I was probably the only person in the entire city not doing coke on Saturday night. Nevertheless, I managed to pass twenty minutes of party time.

“Is there a trick to it?” someone asked.

“I was in Nepal,” I explained. “The monks taught us boredom coping techniques.”

I wish.

11/12/04

Two weeks without my girl and everything was fine–lonely but fine–and now I’m not so sure. I’m not so sure that everything is fine.

It happened yesterday. I read too much Walt Whitman and developed an insane craving for organ meats. Pancreas. Aorta. Bladders. Lungs.

I went to the store. They don’t sell bladders and lungs at QFC and the Pimplebot behind the glass will blink at you if you ask. So I bought some kidneys and some liver and ten marrowbones and two kinds of tripe–all this shit should have been cheaper–and now the spell of the open road has worn off and all these organs are sitting in the syrupy bottom drawer of my fridge and now I’m afraid of them.

Except for the marrowbones. I’ve eaten like ten. Marrowbones are the new pork rinds. Marrowbones are beef butter. I crafted a marrow spoon out of a broken penknife. I packed a marrowbone in my school lunch and forgot my spoon. Bone on bone. I think I broke a tooth and people pointed and stared but it was absolutely worth it.

And then today I read more Walt Whitman. “The Sleepers.” He travels into sleeping people’s brains. And then he goes into dead people’s brains. And I started thinking of those organs in the darkness of the refrigerator. It seems like the inside of a refrigerator is an awful place to be when the door is shut. Wrapped in plastic. Dead black. Cold. Moldy ochre stains and that recirculated-air stink. And then I started thinking about dead people dreaming and then I started thinking about dead people dreaming about me. I have lots of dead friends. One dead girlfriend. I dream about them all the time, like a time machine, and maybe I’m not dreaming about them; maybe they’re dreaming about me. Maybe they don’t know they’re dead. They all died pretty awfully. Suffocation. Car wrecks. A stabbing. A shooting. How many suicides…eight? Ten? And starvation. That one will creep me until I join them. Starvation. The girl starved herself to death. No small feat. She shows up a lot at night. I still remember how she looked in the last days. Swollen elbows, sunken eyes. She looked dead even before she died. She looked better after she died. At least they shut her mouth, at least she didn’t keep trying to get up from the bed and couldn’t because her body had cannibalized its muscles, at least she stopped making those rattled honking noises, at least she stopped giving us those terrified empty eyes. She knew she was dying. It took forever. Yeah. Jodi has to know she’s dead.

So why won’t she leave me alone?

It’s probably nothing to worry about. I bet I just need a hug.

11/08/04

So Nixon got reelected. Big deal! How bad can things get? We’re training the South Vietnamese army to take care of their own security, allowing us an eventual pull out of American troops and a new era of Communist-free democracy in SE Asia. And I think the rumors of bombings in Cambodia and Laos are just that…rumors spread by the anti-American liberals. We should trust the guys in charge. Liddy. Kissenger. Nixon. Poindexter. Good Americans, just like me. I like the cut of their sails.

People have faith in our President, and now, after thinking about it, so do I. It’s a matter of values. So imagine how pissed I get when I read stuff like this:

“By thoughtless devotion to money, our citizens are willing to destroy our great nation. Our leaders’ minds are unjust. They cannot contain their greed. Their wealth depends on crime. They seize and steal at random without regard for the public good or the sacred foundations of justice. Their deadly infection spreads throughout our city, rushing it into slavery, which wakens internal strife and war that kills so many beautiful youths.”

Hippy bullshit.

Hold on…let me see where that quote is from…some homo named Solon…594 BC…in response to the crumbling of something called “Athenian democracy”…Athenian democracy? Like Greece? Shit, they can barely get my omelet order right at the corner diner…and they tried to have a democracy? Hah! Nice try bozos! Now fix me a gyro!

+ + +

Speaking of homos, apparently some states in this nation don’t want all you fags and dykes renting their apartments, shopping in their stores, frequenting their restaurants, or buying their houses. Your higher than average household income is not wanted in these cities and states, so why waste tax money somewhere where your neighbors want to see you beheaded and impaled for sin? Move to the states that want you! Revenues here in Washington State are way down. We could use an influx of cash…um, I mean we’re all very tolerant here. You’re even allowed to hold hands in public without drowning in frowns! Like the Pilgrims, set your ships for new lands and immigrate away from the oppression that will not let you openly practice your beliefs. There are still parts of America that are free! And the bistros here are fabulous!

11/03/04

America isn’t a country. It’s a nursery school. We’re fat. We’re terrified. We’re easily confused. And easily convinced.

The only cities to actually get hit by terrorists voted against Drooling. Every real American city voted against Drooling.

But, look at the Idiot Curtain, red as a splattered Marine. Not a chance in hell the boogieman will hit Branson, and still they cower. Pussies. Burn the entire fucking Midwest down. Let it spread to the Plains. The South. Show them a picture of god. Send them off to war. Show them a picture of god. Kill their jobs. Show them a picture of god. Close their hospitals. Show them a picture of god. Poison their wells. Show them a picture of god. Fuck their children. Show them a picture of god.

Show them a picture of god. Show them a picture of god.

America deserves whatever it gets.

10/28/04

The next time we meet, a new president will have been elected; we will have chosen which millionaire we prefer fucking up our otherwise perfect lives. Obviously, I lean towards the lies of Kerry over the lies of Bush, and would suggest to my superior, cynical readers that you all actually show up and vote for Horsehead, and if not for him, then against the smug and cheap fascism of the Chimp in Charge.

Of course, there is the nihilist in me that wants four more years of the Bush junta–pure intellectual curiosity to see how bad things can actually get, both for the people of this country and the brown, other-religioned people around the world we can’t keep ourselves from messin’ with. Body counts. Tanks in the streets. Another big terrorist attack. Martial law. Re-education camps. Sean Hannity telling us all that it’s patriotic to inform our block supervisor of any prospective enemies of the State. Fuck it. I don’t have any kids to worry about. Let the blood run red in the streets! Four more years! Four more years!

I don’t know why Kerry would even want to inherit our upcoming Iraqi defeat; if our country survives four more years of Bush, the Republican Party will be completely fucked for the next twenty years. Unless Kerry tears open his suit to reveal an “S” on his chest, we’re probably looking at four and out for Democrats.

But, if he is elected, we’re going to see a great shift in the media. Instead of criticisms of a “War President” coming across as anti-American, we will see an attack machine scrutinizing every breath and heart palpitation. Unlike Smirky who can attack a country for no good reason at all, kill 1200 Americans, and lie about it without any serious consequences, Kerry will be impeached for taking an extra apple in the White House cafeteria. We will be subjugated to the messy details of a night in the Holiday Inn Milwaukee where Kerry got peanut butter on a pillowcase and refused to pay the laundering charges–a case taken up by a special prosecutor who will conduct a $10 billion investigation into Kerry’s seedy past while Congress cuts school lunch and Head Start programs to pay for it. Prepare yourself for Muffingate, Haircutgate, Gravygate, Ketchupgate, and everything else that the slime that want to rule this country can throw in his way to impede him.

At any rate, I’m sick of politics. So, that’s it. No more talk about it. If another person with a clipboard approaches me, I’m gonna trip her and stab her in the neck with her little greasy pen.

Barring massive terrorist attack (I’m dressing up like a zombie, I hope that won’t dissuade any first responders from treating me), I’ll be Halloweening in NYC this weekend, accompanying The Girl on her move to the Windy Apple, making sure she keeps her money in her shoe and doesn’t get swindled by the Three-Card Monte dealers at the subway exits. Manhattan, don’t mess with my baby. She’s got metal teeth and she kicks like an ostrich. Ugh, long-distance relationships. It’s gonna be some long, lonely months. Why couldn’t she have waited until sweaty summer, when sleeping alone is much more preferable? It’s dark and rainy here! Who’s gonna sleep until noon with me?

Cue in on Driver, standing in the open door of a battered yellow New York City taxicab on Avenue A. He is with The Girl, holding her as traffic honks behind them. He pulls back from a long, emotional hug and tucks a shock of brown hair behind her right ear. Tears are running down the face of The Girl. She can’t look at him. He softly pinches her chin and brings her face up to his. He looks her in the eye.

DRIVER: Girl, I’m gonna miss the shit out of you.

THE GIRL: Don’t forget me, promise?

DRIVER: Girl, I’m gonna remember the shit out of you.

They kiss. The taxi honks. Driver sits in the back seat and shuts the door behind him. Driver puts on his headphones. Slayer’s “Angel of Death” is brought up to a deafening volume. A Gatorade bottle full of corner-store chardonnay is chugged. The taxi pulls into traffic…the camera pulls out…the city expands before us…we lose him in the traffic.

(Update: Turns out the E train is about $30 cheaper than a cab from the Lower East Side to JFK )

On the other hand, maybe I’ll finally get some fucking work done…

10/15/04

What’s up with all the safehouses in Fallujah? It seems like we’re blowing up like, what, fifteen of them a day? Can you just bomb anything, hide all the bloody burkas, and then call it a safehouse? AND WHAT ARE OUR LEADERS DOING ABOUT ALL THE SPIDER HOLES?

Okay, I’ll listen to European email horrified at the American electorate’s stupid gullibility–no shit, it’s pretty horrifying, at least you don’t share the highway with these bozos–but I’ll be damned before I let anyone wave their crumpet and jam at American football. There are but three sports on earth and this is the order of their importance: American football (played in America. I don’t know what’s up with the fucking Barcelona Dragons), hockey, and…pulling up the rear…oh my god it’s been eighty-nine minutes and nobody’s scored yet…oh look…the Doritos are playing the Sonys…wait…the forward has totally flopped in the box…now he’s holding his knee and writhing in pain…I think he might be dying…no wait he’s taking the penalty shot…and there we have it…Sherpenshire 1, Gaggenborough nil…soccer. Period. But I’ll tell you what, as soon as you monarchy-having, warm-beer drinking Continental bonerbreaths stop booing black footballers every time they get the ball, THEN AND ONLY THEN can you comment on any aspect of the two superior sports.

Speaking of booing and the best sport on earth, my editor was kind enough to buy me tickets to the Seahawks game last weekend, and (before it all went horribly, horribly wrong) during the obligatory pre-game nationalistic bullshit (Join the Seahawks and local Boy Scout Troop 187 as we salute the Neutron Bomb!), with a hundred-yard flag fluttering a foot above the field, the name of our fearless president was invoked…and BOOOED. By a stadium of football fans, the most reactionary, blindly patriotic cannon-fodder to ever trudge the large snack aisle of a Wal-Mart. True, it’s liberal-as-fuck Seattle, but I didn’t see too many Subaru Outbacks in the parking lot.

Whose Democracy would Jesus fuck? Anyone involved here should be shot for treason. I’m absolutely serious. Shot in the stomach, on national television. Thousands of people are dying on all sides of war as we’re supposedly bringing democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, AND THIS IS THE EXAMPLE OUR LEADERS PROVIDE. This company is funded Republican National Committee and led by Nathan Sproul, a former Christian Coalition headlizard AND a former Republican leader. Fuck everyone, win.

And speaking of combining lizards and national television, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting is forcing all of their affiliates to preempt local programming right before the election to run a 90-minute Republican infomercial. But did you know that president and CEO David D. Smith was busted earlier this year for not being able to convince anyone to put their mouth his dick without paying them? Oh yeah…I got the family values right here…underneath my old sweaty balls.

Yes, sir. No, sir. Fuck you, sir.

GO SEAHAWKS!

10/08/04

Okay, a week of college down. How ironical that Rodney Dangerfield dies the week Driver goes back to school. So, ‘cos I thought I was a genius, I took on eighteen credit hours of literature classes. Hey, how do you feel about reading 250 pages a day? I love it! Oh yeah, how about four papers due a week? Five pages, double-spaced? Nigga please, I can crap out an A+ paper on the busride to class, on the back of a bar tab, with a golf pencil, sitting in a pool of bum piss. Maybe.

Ahh, the bus. Back on the bus. If you don’t ride the bus in your city very often, let me enlighten you to a certain economic reality. When a bus goes from one poor neighborhood to another poor neighborhood, they give riders the poop bus.

At the Metro station:

“Sir, I just can’t get all this caked feces off the seat! The dried vomit has formed a second floor, and rats have set up a checkpoint in the back three rows and control the entire rear of the bus. It’s really hairy back there, sir!”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll run it between the Central District and the university. What are they gonna do? Complain to the mayor? HA! HA! HA! HA! (Demonical Laughter, Thunder, Lightning.)”

So, I’m back in school again; it’s been ten years. This time, Pac 10 instead of Big 10. What have I learned so far? Well, when the prof puts “CLASS PARTICIPATION IS 25% OF YOUR GRADE” in big letters, up front on the syllabus, you should run as fast as you can to the registrar’s office and withdraw immediately. Holy shit. It’s like sitting through the worst office meeting ever, where the two most useless people in the company raise points merely to be noticed. I give you the dutifully recorded minutes of Wednesday’s class.

Professor: Before we begin, are there any questions?
Mouthbreather: “I think that Clytemnestra killed him because she was mad at him.”
Professor: Okay, we’ll get to that. Are there any questions over the material we’ve already covered?
Mouthbreather 2: “At the end of the play–”
Professor: We haven’t even begun talking about the play.
Mouthbreather 2: “I think the eagle symbolizes freedom.”
Mouthbreather 3: “In Indian mythology, the eagle symbolizes something like peace or something.”
Mouthbreather 4: “The eagle is our national bird.”
Mouthbreather 5: “I like birds. They’re funny!”
Mouthbreather 6: “Maybe Clytemnestra represents a bird!”
Professor: If we could just get to the first line of this play.
Mouthbreather 7: “In the middle of the play, there’s this one line…hold on…I can’t find it…um…about…um…an eagle…”

Emerson…take me away.

The debates. People have asked me what I think of the debates. First of all, they ain’t debates. They’re silly media events staged to keep spontaneity at arm’s length. Regardless, if you saw Bush speak and still trust him to operate anything more complicated than a snow-cone machine, he indeed should represent you as president. Cheney…well, like I said before, his big attack against Kerry was that Kerry voted against defense programs…programs that Cheney voted against, too. Feh. And then Kerry voted against Bush’s ridiculous military spending bill, which offered absolutely no restrictions on how the money would be spent. Congress later approved a more reasonable bill–if there is anything reasonable about an $80 billion spending bill to wage war on a country for no good reason. Somehow, this is “voting against the troops.” Feh. These guys are morally dead. Butchers. Liars. Profiteers. Bush tried to cut combat pay for soldiers after launching the war. If that doesn’t tell you anything, I certainly can’t.

I get a lot of inarticulate “you fucking liberals are all blah blah blah,” but I’m not on the party payroll. I love my guns and hate my government as much as the next Southerner and I’m no fan of Democrats…but, I am a realist. Politically, I’m in the mood for a home-cooked meal, and though the Democrats look like a dirty water, street-cart hotdog, the Republicans look like a half-eaten bag of Fun Yuns with thirty dead caterpillars at the bottom.

Feh. 150 years ago, during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, two candidates packed an entire field of farmers and laborers in Illinois. They talked from eight in the morning until noon, and then took a lunch break. They debated all afternoon, until dinnertime, and then everyone took a break for supper. And then, after dinner, the entire crowd came back and listened to them debate for another three hours. If you take the time to read the transcripts, you can see a masterful crafting of arguments, civil disagreement, and a gentlemanly, scholarly appeal to the intellect and reason of the audience. Politicians took the voters seriously, voters actually listened–for hours–and then made their decision, based on well-reasoned arguments. It was serious business all around. Though small and localized, perhaps one of the finest moments of American Democracy. Makes me think that the decline of our candidates can be tied to the decline of the constituency. Television has killed our patience to understand; pop culture and propaganda have done the rest. If we let someone else make our decisions, we deserve whatever we get.

I just want some adults in charge again. That’s all.

Oh, and these rumors about the draft? Sure, they’ve been downplayed (and satirized in Congress), but all you youngins’ should know that draft boards countrywide are quietly being reactivated. Now, the guv-ment says this is a normal thing to do in wartime, but the last time they rocked this option was in a little-known conflict I like to call Vietnam. And, if that wasn’t cheery enough, a provision of the No Child Left Behind act gives the military direct access to records of public high school students. “Hello, Timmy. You got an “A” in Mrs. Johnson’s physics class. Smart kid! How would you like to learn how to disable roadside bombs? We’ll throw in a free haircut. Hey mom, be sure to pack some body armor in his knapsack!”

But a draft. Isn’t that good news? All you brownshirts who write me death threats because I think the war is worse than useless might get to go fight for real now. You can actually kill your imagined enemies! In fact, I’ve forwarded all the email addresses I’ve collected from you war-loving folx to the draft boards and told them how much you support the war. I’ve been assured you’ll be put on the top of the list! Now, you will get the opportunity to leave your family, lose your job, and travel to a desert to defend corporate profiteering and a bullshit bureaucrat’s theoretical social-engineering doctrine. And, if you actually make it back home, you’ll have enough uranium in your nads to spawn an army of club-footed Mongoloid babies, and you’ll probably be killed by a “rare” cancer before you’re fifty! How’s that for patriotism? USA! USA! USA!

Remote Control President?

9/23/04
Hey Seattle, looking good! Nine schools in the Seattle Metro area are testing positive for toxic levels of lead and cadmium, and, because taxes are evil, there’s no money to fix the problem! And, despite the fact that the water coming out of the drinking fountains is the color of green Gatorade, school administrators have declared that that everything is fine. Damn the evidence! Nothing needs fixing. Let the teachers bring jugs of water for their students. They’re already buying the pencils.

Oh, the effect of lead on developing brains? Reduced information retention and decreased intelligence. No big deal. It will save the kids the braindeath that occurs once they become working adults.

In reaction, local conservative groups, led by former Seahawks disgrace and interception machine Jeff Kemp, have begun a campaign, based in the wealthy suburbs, to alter our state’s constitution and ban gay marriage. The amount of money that is going to be spent on bringing this VERY IMPORTANT issue to ballot is surprisingly similar to the amount of money needed to start ripping out all the school pipes and replacing them with ones that would stop poisoning public school children.

Physical poisoning of children with industrial, brain-destroying chemicals vs. possible moral discomfort. Actually helping human beings or using their existing modes of government to ram your narrow beliefs down their throats?

Throats, please!

Which is the modern face of American religion. Actually helping people in need is akin to communism (after all, none of this nasty poisoning would be happening if these kids were in private Christian school), but codifying one’s first-century supernatural beliefs into social policy is a higher calling.

Hell of a belief system you got there. Shall I dust off the gallows? Alert Cardinal Fang that his skills on the rack will be needed to teach the heathens to accept Proper Christ-inspired love into their hearts? Have you heard the Good News, brothers? The King Bush version of the Bible will be shaped like a dildo and shoot cash from its tip!

When are you real Christians (you know, those of you who actually live by the teachings of peace activist and leper advocate Jesus Christ) gonna rise up against these Born Again Bozos and fix your religion? You’ve got an entire generation of khaki-pansed power mongers wearing your savior like a diaper and shitting on the bedrock of your belief every time they open their anus-like mouths and evacuate their bowels into a microphone. They’re in your White House, they’re in your Legislatures, they’re on your TV, they’re in your bedroom, and they’re fucking with your record collections. They have declared moral war on secular (i.e., interesting) culture, and will not stop until all 583 cable channels are showing Christian puppet shows (although Fox News, already quite a puppet show, will remain on air to report upon the upcoming War Against the Worshippers of False Idols). The very foundations of your spirituality are being filled with blue suits, feathered hair, dogmatic fascism, impatient rapturists, corporate profiteers, and Pepsi Edge. Your “brothers and sisters” are no more than a mentally handicapped proxy army, used by the wealthy to squelch justified social dissent that should be rocketing the mob. I give the legitimate denominations another thirty years. After that, corporate-based worship groups will be in charge of America’s soul, assuredly pulling in a tidy profit as whatever nonsecular freedoms are snorted up their “I Gave Up Coke and Booze and Now I Get High on God” noses.

I’m mad for you true believers, even if I follow an entirely different religion.

I do, however, believe in football. GO SEAHAWKS!
* * *

Whew, not only was Janet Jackson’s nipple punished, Cat Stevens has been officially banned from US soil. Now, if we can just change the word “insurgent” to “happy-time hug machines,” we may win this War on Terror after all!
* * *
Big ups to Sean in Albany for the drink money. Thanks, bro. It helps more than you know.

9/15/04–A Note on Leadership

I’ve been to every Civil War battlefield, fort, and garrison in the United States, from Antietam to Bull Run to Gettysburg to Murfreesboro to Glorieta Pass. I’ve stood on the soil, sat on the cannons, used the aging restrooms, and combed the gift shops for gory postcards. I’ve been to all these sites because my dad is a huge American history buff, and he, as boss of the family, would spend a month of summer vacation driving mom and us kids from battlefield to courthouse to assassination spot to cabins of presidential birth under the pretense of educating us, but we knew he was just a big history dork. Nothing was too historically insignificant for him.

“See this, kids? This was Andrew Jackson’s chamber pot during the Battle of New Orleans. He used it for shaving too. Well, that was worth eight hours, right?”

So one summer, we’re off in the wood-paneled station wagon to Fort Anderson in North Carolina. Mom’s on the maps, and she tells my dad he’s made a wrong turn. But no, my dad’s been to the fort before (it was closed), in a rental car after a business trip, and he knows where he’s going. Now, my dad is an intelligent and rational man, but, like his son, is occasionally prone to lapses of temper control. And after about fifteen minutes of driving, it became clear that mom was right, that he had made a wrong turn, and that the station wagon was headed headlong into the ether. Did he ask for directions? Nope. Did he ask to see the map? Nope. He was pissed off and he kept driving the car in circles, apparently recognizing everything from his trip five years prior, yet completely unable to find the fort. Soon, we were completely lost in rural hell and were just trying to find a gas station so that our corpses wouldn’t be found on the roadside, skeletonized by a pack of Smoky Mountain cannibals. We eventually found this backwoods station with those old 50’s pumps, the old Coke machine, the greasy guy in the coveralls, the whole bit. We ate a gas-station lunch of pork rinds, sweet tea, and pickled eggs, and when my dad finally asked the attendant where the fort was, it turned out we were really really really far away.

We sat in silence, eating our gross eggs, pissed and slightly in fear of what dad, confronted with the fact he was absolutely wrong, would now do. After five minutes of quiet, he looked over to my mom, shrugged and said, “You were right.” And then he looked back at us and said, “your mom was right. Sorry, guys. We’ll get a real dinner in Raleigh.”

“Can I get lobster?” was my pre-teen mantra.

“No,” was its corresponding response, always spoken in total parental unison.

We eventually found the fort. The gift shop wasn’t much.

It was a televised discussion of “leadership” that reminded me of this minor childhood anecdote. Strong leadership isn’t making a decision and sticking to it in the face of contrary evidence. That’s what little kids do. That’s stubborn male pride. That’s frail masculine ego. That’s what pussies unable to admit they’re wrong do. It is not a sign of strength. It’s aversion to reality. It’s the mindset that escalated Vietnam, a war which ruined countless millions of family vacations.

“Bush was wrong, but I respect what a strong leader he is. He makes his decision and sticks with it,” was the party line five regurgitators were spewing into the reporter’s microphone.

That ain’t leadership. That’s poor judgment backed by someone else’s kid in a uniform. That’s the first 1,000 dead soldiers. That’s 13,000 dead Iraqi civilians. That’s $135 billion that could have actually been spent dealing with actual terrorism. That’s the largest deficit in history. That’s more tax cuts when millions don’t even have jobs. But that ain’t leadership.

Why hasn’t this bozo been fired yet?

Let’s put it another way. Imagine if you worked at McDonalds (an event whose culmination may fast be approaching) and were put in charge for two days. Let’s say it’s me. I only like the Filet O’Fish sandwiches. They’re the best. In fact, the first two customers of my shift order fish sandwiches, and this solidifies my positive opinion of the sandwich as the best sandwich ever. As boss, I ask my mustachioed sidekick. “Hey Miguel, Filet O’Fish is the best, right?”

“Si, sir. La pescada es muy bueno.”

So I stop production of all other sandwiches. Full-speed fish. No burgers, none of those nasty salads, no hot apple pie, not even those boxes of cookies. We are fish exclusive! I am the boss and I am not backing down!

Only the rest of the day doesn’t go so well. All these people want Big Macs and Chicken McTumors and Deep Fried Lamb Crunchers and whatever else should’ve been on the menu. There are 800 fish sandwiches piled on the counter, soggy and wasted. Worst sales records since Andy Rooney tasted the McRib.

But, because I’m a strong leader, I trust my gut. I don’t back down. I do the same thing the next day. Customers are pissed, my employees hate my guts, and the restaurant isn’t making any money. I’m an absolute failure. But I have stuck by my guns. And then the franchise owner comes in and says, “Well, we’ve had some rough days. I’ve lost thousands of dollars in business and most of my customers will never come back, but I respect what a strong leader you are. You make your decision and you stick with it. Here’s a raise.”

That’s exactly what would happen in the real world, right? You bet!

Unfortunately, thanks to Bush, my new raise would make me ineligible for overtime.

WEEKEND EDITION!
I never really got the time to talk about the Olympics while they were on, but I’d like to officially flip-flop on the position I once took on Olympic athletes. At one point in my dizzy youth, I wrote a Driverbox that claimed they were all losers. That they were wasting their lives repeating ridiculous movements for no other reason than to prove they were better at repeating those ridiculous movements than similar losers from other ridiculous countries. What I hadn’t realized yet is that life is primarily repeating ridiculous movements, and as far as ridiculous movements go, the High Jump beats the hell out of the 30000M Commute to the Deskjob. Also, putting a few years on the body, I have new appreciation for people who can even do a handstand on a diving platform, much less use it as a starting point for fifty flips–although I saw disturbingly few cannonballs and can openers off the high dive. What gives? Get me in that event, and I’m bringing a gold back to Seattle. Viking hats off to my Norwegian brothers for their masterful boating skills. Don’t worry about the medal count, kids. We’ll get ’em in Torino. And, lest I’m accused of being unpatriotic, the US volleyball team was HOT. Holy shit, I’d have those ladies over to Casa Wino for high tea and crumpets anytime. Of course, I’d have to do something about the fruit flies first…
* * *

Crushing Disappointment: Well, it’s official. My attempt to reshoot 28 Days Later using the entire cast of Sesame Street and starring Cookie Monster as “Jim” has been declared dead by the studio. Apparently, the fascists over at Henson Limited feel that rampaging Muppets wouldn’t be good for their “branding.” But I mean, if you look at the storyboards, the part where Oscar the Grouch gets blood in his eye and starts vomiting black bile into Ernie’s face…shit. It coulda been beautiful.

* * *

Helpful Cleaning Hint: When laundry piles become large and unmanageable, screaming “STOP GETTING DIRTY!” at your clothes will often yield results similar to cleaning.

* * *

Hey, freeloaders! Buy a book! I got 150 of the signed first editions left. My publisher’s reprinting the book in the spring, so it’s not going out of print anytime soon, but hey. That autograph. Whoa. That’s some powerful stuff.

09-03-2004
Oh man. What a speech Dick Cheney’s fistpuppet gave!

“We’ve suffered through wars!”
(That I started.)

“We’ve suffered though a recession!”
(That’s still going on.)

“We offered tax relief!”
(But not to anyone you know.)

“We’ve set standards in schools!”
(But haven’t funded them.)

“I’d like to read you a letter from a soldier!”
(Who also happens to be a member of a conservative Washington think tank.)

“We made veterans of Normandy proud!”
(And veterans of Vietnam shake their heads.)

“We will establish an ownership society!”
(Where do you want to invest your social security, Enron or Worldcom?)

“Faced with the choice, I will defend America every time.”
(As long as the Saudis are on board.)

“My opponent is a tax-and-spend liberal!”
(Anyone see where the budget surplus went?)

“We have turned the corner!”
(Right into the highest poverty rates in thirty years.)

“I am strengthening our intelligence infrastructure!”
(When I’m not outing CIA agents.)

“My daughters are spirited youngsters!”
(If they were poor, black, and unconnected, they’d be in jail right now, just like I would.)

“I am winning the War on Terrorism!”
(As long as you consider “winning” launching a distractive, inessential, hugely expensive war that’s made terrorism worse.)

“Nations stand shoulder to shoulder with the US.”
(I’d like you to meet my associates, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Scared yet?)

“We can’t let 9/11 happen again!” (Because then I’d have to go into hiding until it was all safe and Cheney’s undisclosed location has that old man smell.)

Yak yak, yakity yak yak yak.

Propaganda is the art of convincing people to adopt beliefs and take actions that are not in their own best interest. Thus, there is a segment of the American population who could watch Bush bayonet their children, and then immediately flip to Fox to watch an expert describe how the Dems were spinning it. You really want more Ashcroft? Rumsfeld? Rice? If you are unable to see this administration’s campaign for the sham it is, you deserve every bit of misery it will bring you.

The stupid will be punished by their own stupidity and be too stupid to realize it.

09-02-2004

Okay, when Kerry votes differently on two entirely different versions of a War Bill (one of which Bush unpatriotically threatened to veto), he’s a flip-flopper. When he votes for something like NAFTA and then, seeing its devastating effects on working people (i.e., changes his opinion after seeing some real-world evidence), he votes against it, he’s a flip-flopper. Ask any dipshit on the street what they think of Kerry, and quite dutifully, in Manchurian Candidate style, you will see the tiny neurons in their brains struggle to assimilate the appropriate response, the one they’ve heard over and over again. You can see it on their lips before they even say it. That “F” begins to form and you hear the words pounded, pounded, pounded into us by a propaganda monster, an embarrassingly obvious but well-orchestrated PR campaign to get those words in your head. Coke. Pepsi. Flip-flopper. Diet Slice.

Usually when you say a word enough times, it loses all meaning. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper. Flip-flopper.

Not in this campaign. I mean, “flip-flopper”? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s their big stick? Flip-flopper? When do the adults get to be in charge?

So, as we all “know”, Kerry’s a flip-flopper. So what’s it called when Cheney snarls from the podium and pounds Kerry for voting against weapons programs that HE HIMSELF DICK CHENEY voted against? And since when does rubberstamping every weapon system that comes down the pike measure one’s ability to lead? And what’s it called when you let Enron into your office, allow them to write US Energy policy, and then go duck hunting with a member of the Supreme Court while he’s deciding whether or not to let the public know what a for-sale sleaze you are?

Is there a word for that? If there is, I’ll bet it’s a lot worse than flip-flopper.
* * *

Last night I was blessed as Baphomet to bear holy witness to Khanate, hands down the best metal band currently alive. If they come to your town and you miss them, you are an idiot. If you do see them, you need eight beers, an ass-pocket of whiskey, and one immense bonghit in your system. Then…then you will understand.

09-01-2004
The Republican attack on reality continues. This is awesome.

First, I gotta hand it to Schwarzenegger. Even if he claims that as an immigrant, he was inspired by a debate that never happened (Nixon vs. Humphrey? Not in this dimension), and even if the extent of his plan to combat global terrorism has only been roughed out to “terminating” it–undoubtedly with a machine gun, a cigar, and a truck that’s rigged to take the jump, ride two wheels, and explode–I think he makes the strongest Republican fiscal argument to date when he claims that critics of the economy are “Girlie Men.” I mean, who better than a Austrian man so uncomfortable with his own masculinity that he spent literal decades building himself into a muscle-bound monster, oiling himself and prancing on stage in a little bikini to compete as ‘biggest man in the world,’ and constantly groping women to show them who’s boss, to really define what a “Girlie Man” is. Isn’t it always the bully who ran around the locker room calling everyone else “faggot” who you run into as an adult, and he’s brunching with his boy toy over mimosas and granola fruit plates on the sidewalk bistro next to the liquor store, muscular, stylish, and as groomed as ever?

This is the state of political debate in America: Anyone who criticizes us is a fag. And…um…the Bible says that’s bad.

Then Rudy “Everyone in New York City Hated My Guts Because I Was a Shitty Mayor and Then as I Was About to Leave Office I Stepped Up and Handled 9/11 Well (Especially When Compared to that Pussy of a President Who Hid in Nebraska for Two Days) and Then Rest of the Country Noticed Me and Have No Idea that Most of New York Still Hates My Guts” Giuliani compared George W. Bush to Winston Churchill.

I mean, besides your ears emanating thick blasts of blood at the sheer wrongness of the statement, can you believe how far these party toadies are willing to bend over for their paychecks? I’d even feel bad comparing the President to the new 7-Eleven BBQ Hot Pocket, because at least the Hot Pocket has a reasonable policy on Northwest salmon protection that doesn’t count farm-raised salmon in the total endangered species count. At least that’s what the label on the packaging said.

But is the comparison so far-fetched? I mean, they both had drinking problems, but Churchill managed to handle his boozing (and Lady Astor) without becoming a born-again Christian. A shining example to us all. But where the real comparison sticks is the fact that Winston Churchill was the Colonial secretary to Iraq in 1920, before the Arab uprising, when Britain invaded Baghdad on very flimsy evidence that turned out to be completely false and set up a puppet regime in the name of freedom that actually, if you can believe it, furthered the cause of British corporate imperialism. Like Bush, Churchill wanted to fight imperial wars on the cheap, and so approved the gassing of Kurds and Iraqis with chemical weapons of mass destruction left over from WWI and dropped on “Arab resistance” from airplanes. Um, 85 years ago. The Brits eventually got their arses handed to them by Iraqi nationalists, and, after massacring tens of thousands of Iraqis (mostly out of frustration) the British Empire declared complete moral victory and withdrew very quickly back to their foggy little island. Go to the library, pooper. Check it out.

“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes.” –Winston Churchill 1920.

Change poison gas to indiscriminant carpet bombing, and we see that the Republicans are, in fact, telling the truth. For once.

Girlie Men Alert!

Another Girlie Man! (scroll down to “Mourning Dad Crashes Grand Old Party”)

08-31-2004
Holy shit, this is Hilarious!

Band-Aids with Purple Hearts on them! Ha ha! Because to a rich businessman who never had to put his career on hold, leave his loved ones behind, and go fight in a stupid war, GETTING WOUNDED IN BATTLE IS FUNNY!

Just so you understand, these “people,” propped up in power by the corporations whose interests they serve, are sending kids that they wouldn’t even let use the bathroom at their corporate headquarters overseas to drop bombs on mostly innocent people, and when these kids get their hands blown off or blinded in a bullshit war…it’s not merely the cost of doing business…IT’S FUNNY!

Why stop there? Let’s put whoopee cushions in those cheap wood caskets! Here lies the body of FFFAAARRTTT! Ha ha! Novelty headstones that foam and expand under the tears of widows and children! We could put clown wigs on the corpses of dead soldiers and tie them to telephone poles to spell out MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. THAT WOULD BE SO FUCKING FUNNY, HUH?

Yup, that’s a wicked sense of humor they got in that Grand Old Party. I feel pretty safe with these people in charge. Lincoln sure would be proud.

And to quote an eloquent Texas delegate currently visiting New York, “I’ve not seen any protests, but I just saw a buncha queers trying to have a weddin.”

Amen, brother. Here’s your Band-Aid. Now lead us unto the future.

08-30-2004
Things keep getting worse for Kerry. Did you hear about the latest group to challenge his record? The People Who Watched Full Metal Jacket A Bunch of Times and Now Have Republican Slavemasters have recently come to the attention of the media, buying advertising in swing states that claims Kerry was never even born, proving he couldn’t have fought in Vietnam like he said. They also question whether or not he licked the blood off the knife in the satanic ritual where he slaughtered fifteen white babies while participating in blasphemous sins of the flesh with animals and family members. Also mentioned was the fact that he has voted fourteen billion times for the mandatory decapitation of senor citizens at age 65, spending the Medicare savings on purposefully impregnating 14-year-old Southern Baptists and forcing them to have abortions on pay-per-view Aljazeera. It’s an interesting story. Let’s see how it plays out.

Seems like Bush was right. It is safer to hide behind daddy’s tailored pant leg when your nation is asking for your service. Then there’s no debate over whether you’re a hero or not.

I love New Yuck! 500,000 people on 7th Ave? Beautiful. Look at that handful of crazy left wing wackos go!

Hey, Log Cabin Republicans! Jews for Hitler have announced you can crash at their places this week, as long as you help with groceries and Zyklon B.

08-20-2004
So much time has passed…so many things have happened. The death of Julia Child. Yeah, old people die. It happens. But Julia was one of the good ones. Bruce Lee, Emma Goldman, Muhammad Ali, George Orwell, and Nickolai Gogol are good ones too. I want to have communist propaganda-style posters of all of them hanging in a great hall, interspersed with burning torches that surround a long oaken table where the droogs and I cook banquets that come completely from The French Chef. We shall watch Enter the Dragon ten million times in a row. We shall all wear shabby overcoats. We shall punch and kick each other, in practice for killing fascists, moralists, and leaders of industry, in practice for beating the racist dogs and their racist masters back into their swiftboats, back into their free-speech zones, back into their spiderholes.

Spider. Spider. What else has happened? I got bit by a spider. A nasty, brown, reclusive spider that turned my elbow into a neon softball. Week and a half later, and it still looks like I stuck it in a deep fryer. Stupid spider. I mean, I’m the idiot who slaps people that stomp on spiders. I love spiders. I see one inside, I’ll capture them in a pint glass, take them outside, gingerly place them in the bushes, and pray a little pray for their continued harvesting of insects. And this is how I am repaid? But I am not a Republican. I will not judge all spiders by the action of this particular spider, whom I hope is rotting in spider hell as I write this.

What else? Fuck work. No more of these interviews, where you’re sitting there looking at the smug fucker, and they’re telling you the godawful details on the slot you’re clawing five other people for, and you’re thinking “my god, I’d rather stick my elbow in a deep fryer than suffer a week in this yawn factory,” but you’re nodding and saying things like, “Actually, I have much experience in streamlining systems, for example, in my last position…” and “well, I’ve never actually had a conflict with a co-worker because I’m really easy to get along with and I’m a real team player, but if I did have a conflict, I’d try to resolve it myself, and eventually go to a manager if I felt…” Where did these words come from? A book that told me how to interview. This mating dance is too bizarre. I’m not sure at what point I decided that my fun life should end up in an office. This is not the place for me. I need fresh air, free time, and books. I need to stay up late. I need to sleep late. Office work is abnormal. Worse than factory work. I’ve seen what it does to people. It turns them into domesticated goats. Robotic idiots. They express concern over things that do not even warrant comment. Oh, their concerns! They purchase idiot accoutrements and walk into the beige light with a yakity yak yak yak on their cells about what yakity yak yak had to yak about yakity yak yak yak while yak yak yakity yak yak yak and OHMYGOD DIDYOUSEE THEBACHELOR LASTNIGHT?. Egads. Not me. Not ever.

Unless it pays well.

So, in an act of fiscal defiance with overtones of financial suicide, I took out a loan and I’m going back to school in the fall. It figures that the year I become a Husky, the football team’s picked to finish 7th in the PAC 10. Doesn’t matter. That’s the thing about me. I’ll cheer just as hard for a loser. Maybe harder.

08-05-2004
Long week in the studio. Now I know how Whitney Houston feels (if you replace all the crack and Bobby Brown’s right hook with cheap tequila and 18,000 games of Tekken). Our upcoming release on Empty Records is recorded and sounding pretty damn good if I do say so myself. My vocals are way too loud, of course, but in a three-piece I always get outvoted.

So I’m catching up on sleep and a bunch of freelance gigs I accepted in full knowledge that I lacked any time to do them, proving once again that attempting to work with me is one of the worst mistakes anyone will ever make in their short, doomed careers. Then I’m off to Portland for the six billionth wedding of the summer (free food, free booze, and crying old ladies…what could be nicer?). Last weekend, me and the girlie helped cater our friends’ wedding at–get this–John Wayne Marina in Sequim, (pronounced “squim”) Washington, out on the Peninsula. They spent approximately $5,000 just trying to cover up pictures of The Duke in the reception room. The worst part of the weekend was losing yet another favorite pillow. The best part was burning the shit out of my mouth with a handful industrial dish soap that I mistook for powdered sugar. Oops! Good thing I wasn’t the pastry chef, huh? Or in charge of the cocaine…

But since buying my last job interview costume, I no longer dread weddings. Dumb shirt, dumb hair, dumb pants. I just tell everyone that I’m a soccer coach and that smoothes my poor fashion right over–and also explains why I keep blowing a whistle and kicking things as hard as I can at the reception.

Oh, and apparently, the ex-girlfriend reads these little missives from time to time–and gave me an ornery telephone call last week after taking a wee bit of umbrage at being called “Human Filth Producer Ex-Girlfriend Model 2000” in my last entry. I think it’s pretty obvious that I meant it as a complement, but let me clearly state for the record that the ex and I are good friends, and that she is a lovely person of above average intelligence and completely average hygiene, and that any digs I ever make towards her should not be taken as a personal attack per se, but as an attack on the Institution of Ex-Girlfriendism in general. There’s a long history of cheap shots and lazy jokes at the Institution of Ex-Girlfriendism, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna get cheated out of them simply because my ex-girlfriend’s a decent person with whom I get along with swimmingly.

07-27-2004
Roll out the moon boots! Bake me a pie! My motherfuckingpieceofshit downstairs neighbor finally moved! I haven’t really been relaying this drama, because it was uninteresting and mainly consisted of me having to kiss my landlord’s butt so I didn’t get evicted, but here’s the basic poop.

I’ve lived in this shitty apartment for over two years, since me and the Human Filth Producer Ex-Girlfriend Model 2000 broke it off. So what. I’m loud. I live in the trendy hipster bullshit part of town, so everyone’s loud. Everyone’s in bands. Everyone has people over after the bars close. The guy who lives above me has his kid two nights a week and is apparently training him for a Junior Olympics Marathon by putting lead boots on his feet and having him run back and forth above my head for seventeen hours straight. I suspect that Mr. Upstairs also portrays Gene Simmons in a local KISS cover band because he stomps around in dragon boots until 5am while he blasts awful techno and attempts to hurl boulders through his hardwood floors. It’s horribly annoying. It wakes me up. I live with it. That’s the deal, right? You put up with other people’s noise because you’re a loud, inconsiderate slob as well. I don’t have a job, I’m up at night, and I make lots of noise too. Let’s all be jerks!

So, like four months ago, I get a new downstairs neighbor. The FIRST night she moves in, she shows up pounding at my door at midnight. I’m not doing much, listening to a little talk radio and swearing at the little aliens on my Playstation. She has a lovely blue kimono and is slightly less shapely than a postal box.

“Let’s set something straight,” she says in a voice redolent of a dead turtle in a garbage disposal, “I just moved in downstairs and I have to be at work at 7am every morning, and I get up at five. That means I go to bed at ten. And if we’re going to get along, you’re going to have to keep it down up here. Am I making myself clear?”

Obviously, she works somewhere where she’s the boss. She’s a go-getter kind of woman that knows what she wants and doesn’t take no shit from no one. In short…intolerable. So, I compliment her kimono and ask her if she wants a beer. She declines. Rudely. Sorry, I say without a smile, I’ll try to keep it down. I slam the door.

So, a few days pass and then she shows up again, right at midnight, like a fucking witch alarm clock. My carriage of an evening turns into a pumpkin. I’m having a few people over, we’re drinking cheap wine and talking about books and there’s a little grindcore softly tinkling in the background, and she, in the same kimono, gives me the spiel again.

“And if this continues to be a problem,” she ads, “I will go to the manager.”

Right out of the employee handbook. If you cannot resolve a problem yourself, consult the nearest authority figure.

I say something to the effect of: “Look. Just because you go to bed after Jeopardy doesn’t mean everyone else has to. The douchebag upstairs from me is loud, my next-door neighbor is loud. Everyone here is loud. It’s a loud building. It’s a loud neighborhood. Our apartments are TWENTY FEET FROM THE FUCKING INTERSTATE for shit’s sake. Just put some earplugs in. That’s what I do.”

And then one of my drunken buddies started making fun of the little birds on her kimono and all negotiations go south from there.

So, over the next few weeks, I try to keep it down. I stop blasting music after 11:30 and stop having people over, and I start going out more. Fine.

Then I get a note in my mailbox from the Kimono Dragon complaining about all the banging I was doing on her ceiling, and how she was going to get me evicted if it continued. I had no idea what she was talking about, but nonetheless, I wrote her a note that told her about my poor mother staying with me while she underwent treatment at Swedish Medical Center, and how she has a hard time getting around with her walker, and how she has problems sleeping through the entire night. I apologized and told Kimono that I’d let my mom know that she was bothering people, and that we’d find other arrangements for her.

Fuck you.

And then I got another note complaining about loud music on a night where I DIDN’T EVEN SLEEP AT HOME. Obviously she’s attributing every noise around her to me. So I went online and printed out some brochures for a wonderful retirement community near our neighborhood and left them at her door with a note reading, “Maybe this place is more your speed.”

And all the while, every single apartment around me is constantly blasting music, having parties, setting off fire extinguishers, slaughtering goats, and now I’m tiptoeing around in foam shoes while everyone around me is having A BLAST. And then I get this note from the landlady:

“I am tired of dealing with noise complaints about you. You are not the only person who lives in this building. If I get one more complaint of any sort, I will begin proceedings to have you evicted from this building.”

And I freak out cos’ I certainly can’t afford to move, so I write a super sweet note to the landlady, with whom I’ve had plenty of polite hallway conversations, saying, “Marcie, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nobody has ever complained to me about anything since I moved here. I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to be quieter if I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m being too crazy up here, I’m barely ever home. Have you had complaints from more than one person? I feel really bad because I’ve obviously been bothering someone a whole bunch. You shouldn’t have to deal with these petty things. Here’s my phone number. Have them call me if there’s ever a noise problem.”

Fuck you, Kimono.

So, the landlady came up for a visit. We had a beer together and she told me what a pain in the ass Kimono was to deal with. We agreed that I could make as much noise as I wanted before 10pm, if I promised to keep it down after that. It was a deal.

Hello, boots. You want some real motherfucking noise to complain about? I started wearing my shitkickers around the apartment and REALLY making noise. Hammering projects. Oops, dropped a book. Oops, dropped another book. Oops, dropped a bookshelf. Miami Bootie Bass never sounded so good, eh, bitch? Really shakes those windows, huh? I’d leave my stereo blasting, go get some beers, and come back in time to kill the music EXACTLY at ten o’clock. After that, complete silence. Headphone city. Tippy toes. Staying over at the girl’s place. But then, the next day, as soon as I heard Kimono Dragon come home from work, Nigga Mikey stepped up to the 808s and started breakin’ off sum dirty Southern bass until the crack of ten. Oops, there went every single bit of canned goods in my pantry. There’s the couch being lifted and dropped thirteen times in a row. Hey, anyone wanna come over and jump rope for an hour? How about some ping-pong in wooden shoes?

It was so sad to see her go. Really. All those boxes by the door.

I stole her bathroom scale.

Bam…who’s next?

07-21-2004
After a weekend-long bachelor party at the Oregon Coast, I believe I have contracted amoebic dysentery, cholera, beriberi, or some other affliction that causes any sustenance taken orally to be launched out of my ass in a fiery spray of noxious fluid mere minutes after ingestion. Three days and rising. So what’s another possibility of hell? Diarrhea in a filth-caked gas-station bathroom while an enraged trucker with fourteen gallons of watered down coffee in his bladder pounds on the door.

I ate raw hamburger and now, I am going to die.

In other news, no jobby for Marky, although I got embarrassingly far into each interviewing process before being rejected. Apparently, I have too many outside interests to dedicate myself to the high demands of some employment situations. Duh, I could have told you that over the phone and saved all of us a bunch of time.

“Mr. Driver, what do you think of working 60-hour weeks?”

“I think I’m going to finally go to a dentist and get my broken teeth fixed. And then I’ll probably take my girl out to a really nice restaurant downtown, run up a $200 bill, and tip 25%. And then I’ll fix my credit. And pay off my Visa. And get a new pair of boots. And finally buy a winter jacket so I’m not wearing ten hooded sweatshirts everywhere. And maybe get cable. Get the moles on my back checked for cancer. Buy a new tuner for my bass. Set my folks up with a nice weekend in Chicago for their upcoming anniversary. Pick up the entire tab on a night out drinking with the lads. Buy a laptop that doesn’t have a broken off ‘U’ key. Replace my busted: walkman, VCR, driver-side window. Get a membership at the swimming center. Call in sick three weeks into the gig for a long weekend in New Orleans.”

“Um, that’s not really what I was–”

“Oh. I mean, I’m a team player and this is a great project and I’m willing to make whatever sacrifices are required to see this amazing shitbag to its glorious completion. I’ve never been adverse to hard work and I welcome a good challenge. Also, I’ll probably be hungover most mornings and, because your condescending, superior tone is already pissing me off, be constantly fighting the urge to slit your throat from ear to ear, yank your tongue through the bloody gash, and choke you to death with…wait, what was the question?”

Eh. Gotta stick with it. Keep trying. Quitters never win. But most winners are absolutely insufferable. Job interviews are insufferable. Especially when you’ve got a monster-sized case of the bottom burps.

Speaking of being hungover…

On a personal note, hoppy birthday to my editor and friend Roddy Chops who is now officially old, grumpy, and out of fashion. And hoppy divorce to Biggie Molls, whose decision to marry merely to attain the surname ‘Pizzaroni’ turned out to be, if you can believe it, a poor decision. Look out, Brooklyn; Molly’s back on the market. Seriously. Put on a poncho and clear a path.

07-12-2004

Back from the farm with the following lessons to be expounded upon at a later date:

* Milking more than one goat in a single hour is very difficult.
* Homosexuality is natural and very alive in the animal kingdom.
* Changing your clothes every four or five days is perfectly acceptable behavior.
* Before a chicken is wrapped in neat, little Styrofoam containers, it is very bloody, filled with shitty intestines, and a pain in the ass to pluck.
* Farmers are more hardcore than anyone that you know.
* Modern humanity’s separation from the land will be its doom.

But, alas, no time for more reflection. Came back to some good developments in the not-starving-to-death arena. I’m interviewing for three different jobs this week; two of them are second interviews. I’m actually tucking my shirt in. And painting my dead tooth with White Out. I doubt I’ll get any of them, because the universe knows that putting large amounts of money into my hands throws the whole “allowable amount of fun” thing out of whack…but the fact that I might one day make more than $560 in a month is a nice way of keeping my head out of the oven.

In addition, while I was gone my shitty punk band Snitches Get Stitches got signed to Empty Records, purveyors of such fine acts as New Bomb Turks, Murder City Devils, Kill Sadie, and others. We’re in the studio first week of August with CDs out by Christmas. Tentatively titled, I Liked You Better When You Were a Corpse, there will be nine tracks of music (including our runaway hit Kodiak with a Kojak), and a theatrical performance of the entirety of either Dr. Faustus or Henry VIII.

At any rate, I’ll be combing my hair for the next week or so. Sorry. But it’s summer in the northern hemisphere. If you live in that hemisphere you should really be outside. And if you live in the southern hemisphere, you should just be happy that you don’t live in the northern hemisphere. People are total assholes up here.

07-01-2004

Okay, it’s been 24 hours and no one’s given any money to my Free Saddam Hussein campaign. It appears that Ann Coulter might have been wrong and there may not be as much support for him on the left as I initially thought. But that’s fine. It’s a challenge. I enjoy a challenge. So come on, people! Let’s rehabilitate this guy! It really wasn’t his fault. He was just following orders. Sure, they were his own orders, but still…he was just doing his job. How can you fault a guy for doing his job?

Saw Fahrenheit 911 last night. The theater was too packed for me to enjoy the movie. I got wedged against the wall way up in the front, and I had to piss really bad the whole time. My full bladder wasn’t helped by finishing the Gatorade bottle I filled with Orange Cisco. At one point I was considering pissing back into the empty bottle, but there were two little kids sitting next to me, and I could see it all getting blown out of proportion and me ending up at some halfway house for sex predators with a really tweaked roommate, so I held it until the end of the film and then, instead of clearing a path for me, the entire theater crowd gave the movie a standing ovation…which seems really stupid because who are they clapping for? The projectionist? At any rate, I stayed until the end of the credits, because I thought there was going to be one of those hilarious clips at the very end of the movie.

There wasn’t. Don’t ruin your bladder waiting.

Thanks to Sherri for the suggestion of the chrysanthemum spray for my ailing lettuce. I think it may be too late to save the poor bastard, but it’s good to know there are edible poisons on the market.

Off to a real farm for a week. I hear there’s a new taco wagon in Creston, Washington. I will have a full report upon my return.

Happy 4th. Don’t get caught.

06-30-2004

Okay. Two recent developments have really bummed me out.

1) Although the peppers and the tomatoes are growing nicely (just ate my first Roma off the vine and the serranos have about a week to go), I have, in my studio-apartment farm, finally lost the lettuce to the aphids. It’s pathetic. I can’t get my pinching fingers into all those nooks and crannies. Soaps and vinegars have failed me, and now I will be nuking the lettuce in pesticides, making it inedible, and thus, attaining another Phyrric victory. Mutually assured destruction. Which is fine. I don’t mind losing, as long as my enemy doesn’t win. And as there is no Zima at hand, I just have to go out and buy poison, which leads me to my next point…

2) They just closed the only hardware store in my neighborhood. It was bought out by the grocery store across the street and gutted. My neighborhood contains the twenty most densely populated blocks in Seattle. Walking, I can be downtown in seven minutes. Within three blocks around my apartment there are fifteen dry cleaners, four hundred and sixty-eight nail salons, seventeen million dirty restaurants slopping out tepid bowls of Pho, nine organic pet supplement stores…and NOT ONE FUCKING HARDWARE STORE! You want a can of spraypaint? Tough shit. How about a nail? Well, you can buy the variety pack of twelve nails at the drugstore for $3.99. Drain stoppers? Bug poison? Extension cords? Replacement chainsaw chains? Spackle? Quarter inch ratchet nut? Fuck you, homo. Buy a car.

Hey free market! I have demands! Solve something! Now!

* * *

Free Saddam Hussein! Saddam Hussein political prisoner! Fine him and give him community service! Let him be free! Free the Saddam Hussein One!

It’s finally time to admit that yes, I am a Saddam lover. All the emails of hatred suggesting as such were correct. I was not against the war because it made little sense, or because 15,000 people were going to be unnecessarily killed. I didn’t really care that terrorism would actually increase, or that severing ties with governments we should have been coordinating terrorist busts with was about the stupidest way to combat terrorism I could imagine. I didn’t even care about the baldfaced lies the President used to stoke the populace’s unquenchable hunger for television war.

None of that mattered.

I loved Saddam Hussein. And I still do.

And now, because everything is back to normal in Iraq, he’s at risk. So, I am asking all my fellow left wingers to admit that they too, didn’t have principled stances against war. Admit it. You loved Saddam as much as I did.

So I am starting a legal defense fund for Saddam Hussein. If anyone would like to contact me and give me large amounts of money, especially hooked-up members of Saddam’s family, I’d like to work to soften his image in the US, and bring him back to the levels of popularity he enjoyed when we sold him mustard gas to use on the Iranians. Ideally, my campaign to clear the good name of Saddam “He Totally Rules” Hussein will culminate with a recreation of the historic handshake with Rumsfeld from all those years ago. After obtaining his freedom and clearing his name, we could lobotomize and castrate him, making him a suitable anchorperson for Fox News. Or a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

I know. It seems like a beautiful but unobtainable dream. But together, we can do it.

Also, I’d like to line up some couches for him to crash on after we spring him. I’m pretty sure the Kurds took all his money before locking him in the spider hole and ringing the Marines, so he’s probably broke. But I hear he’s pretty good in the kitchen.

* * *

Bought a signed copy of Clinton’s new book. Took it home. Killed three rats with it. Returned it to the store.

06-28-2004
Okay, so when the little dotted line on the hiking map you picked up at the ranger’s station lists the dirt trail underneath yer feet leading into the woods as “a difficult hike,” it does not, I repeat, does not mean difficult only for wheelchaired septuagenarians or the wheezing, morbidly obese. Mt. Constitution is four miles straight up and, you guessed it, four miles straight down, and the fact that there is a shaded parkway for cars to reach the summit means that after two hours of tripping over exposed roots and choking on your dry, swollen tongue you get rewarded at the apex by sunglassed walri cinched tight in fanny packs and cellphone conversations, honking and out-of-breath from slamming the car door and lumbering across the gravel parking lot.

There is no escape from cell phones. Anywhere. Even on top of a mountain, you’re is plagued by one-sided conversations.

“Yeah, we’re on top of a mountain. I don’t know…honey? Which mountain are we on? Mount something. She doesn’t know. Anyways, just wanted to call and say hi. How’s the golf?”

And on the bright blue waters of Mountain Lake, tiny bugs rotating over its pristine surface like electrons around a buzzing nuclei–the heavy, life-renewing musk of green cedar filling all corners of your lungs as the sun cuts shadows of gnarled giants fallen under–

Ring.

“Hello? Holy shit! Guess where I am! Kayaking across this kickass lake! It’s so fucking nice here! And quiet! Ohmigod! You know what movie was on television last night? Yeah! You saw it too! Kick ass!”

Anyways, fellow humans notwithstanding, six days in the woods are good for the soul. I absolutely didn’t want to come back. But come back I did. To a message that I was being reconsidered for a fancy graduate writing program because some other prodigy had backed out. There’s now an opening that me and some other dildo are supposed to fight over. I applied for it last year, got rejected, and forgot about it. Now it’s suddenly an option. How bad do I want it? Pack my apartment in a month, move across the country to shitty city, go $30,000 into debt? I dunno. I checked out the lit mag they put out last quarter. Nothing in it that I wanted to read. Most of it was better than my stuff in a flowery, literary sense, but none of it was very entertaining. Nothing good enough to inspire the monumental task of packing my record collection. What good is writing if you’re just showing off in front of yer buddies? People wanna READ goddamnit.

At any rate, there’ll be plenty of time to think about it while I spend next week on my friend’s goat farm. Apparently I’m in charge of weeding 50,000 square miles of scrub field and participating in an Eastern Washington ritual known as “mutton busting.” I’m not sure what that is, but I hope I’m allowed to keep my pants on. In trade for some labor, I’m getting eggs, cheese, homemade cherry brandy, three squares, and all the goats that I want to punch. I prefer tripping our hoofed friends, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste.

06-15-2004
Got a shitload of freelance to nail down before I go camping next week, so not much to say. Need some reading?

Home of the Brave? Notice the picture of the SF woman beaten for exercising her rights under a little thing I like to call the American Constitution. Go, Patriots, Go!

Time to buy a gun and learn how to shoot it. I’ve only got three and I’ll probably be using all of them.

And speaking of supporting our troops, since the US is now running its prisons on the old Soviet model, why not take a peek into the future with the classic anti-Stalinist piece, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

06-11-2004
Well, the aristocracy have buried their jester king and, as always, the common man gets drunk on the spectacle.

“He was my commander and chief (sic),” says a tearful mourner, wiping his impassioned face with a black hanky, “and now he’s with god.”

Barf. How many ceremonies do you fuckers need? “Now the corpse is on an airplane, now it’s in DC, now it’s at the Cincinnati World’s Fair, now it’s opening a Wal-Mart in Fort Collins, Colorado!” How long after the burial ’til Rove exhumes the body and ties it piggyback onto Bush’s little frame to help with his numbers?

Reagan’s death was already planned. You know that, don’t you?

“Okay, once the Dubya’s approval rating hits below 47%, we’re going to Operation Pull the Golden Plug.”

“You mean…the Gipper?”

“He already agreed to it. In ’87. Although things were a little hazy for him in those last years.”

Most President Beloved Ever. Most President Beloved Ever. Most President Beloved Ever. Most President Beloved Ever. Most President Beloved Ever. Most President Beloved Ever.

Yeah. The Olson twins are the most beloved actresses of our generation, and Stryper was the best metal band ever. I know a lot of youngsters unfamiliar with Reagan are hearing this whitewashed bullshit for the first time. Let me clear something up. While he was Prez, most people considered him a buffoon. A senile PR creation that burbled a continuous stream of confused apologies for the crooks of his administration. And making claims that trees cause pollution didn’t help his case. This entire propaganda campaign to lionize Reagan has been slowly building since Clinton unloaded his porn collection into the Oval Office and with Reagan torn in half by the ravages of Alzheimer’s, his image became fair game for countless vultures to steal and veneer over their own. Prepare for the complete extension of this sickness.

Reagan’s face on the $10 bill? Mt. Rushmore? Puhleeze. Put him on food coupons. Name a Port-A-Potty at Yellowstone after him. I liked him best on that JFA skateboard.

And fuck all y’all mailbombing me with demands to honor and respect the dead. As soon as NBC holds wall-to-wall coverage of the reinterment of the charred and butchered corpses of Central American children covered with the bloody fingerprints of his administration, I’ll bow my head an pray a little pray. Reagan lived a long, charmed life and died a painless death. People die. It happens.

Save your grief for Ray Charles. Growing up in rural Georgia, I sat through his rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” ten kazillion times, usually sung along with by hordes of honkeys who’d lynch the man if he showed up on Main Street after dark.

A blind black orphan who survived Seattle in the 40s (the black neighborhood defined by city ordinance and enforced with axe handles) and went on to invent and pioneer the genre of music we now call “soul.” He cut his way through this world without ending up a complete racist or a bitter asshole.

There’s my dead hero.

06-08-2004
23 Walleye.
15 Saugers.
7 Perch.
1 Northern.

Lake of the Woods, you got served.

My week away from “civilization” passed in five minutes. I don’t think I missed too much news. Apparently, Ronald Reagan failed to clinch the Triple Crown and his trainer over at the CIA quit in protest, all this while our current President attempted to link his own sad war to the brave bastards who stormed the beaches of Normandy and Omaha sixty years ago.

Nice try, dipshit.

Oh, Mr. Reagan. Remembering our “most beloved president ever”? I remember him. He was a dick. A dick who happened to be in office when doomed Soviet communism finally collapsed on itself. He taught the mujahideen of Afghanistan how to build bombs (including a young and impressionable Osama Bin Laden); funded right-wing death squads in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador and then lied about it; sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein; kicked thousands of mentally ill patients out of publicly funded hospitals and jumpstarted the homeless crisis we all enjoy today; declared war on public assistance while his military spending brought our country into the (now second) largest deficit we’d ever had; and ushered in the modern era of the Christian Right’s stranglehold of the Republican Party.

Awesome.

One thing you can credit the guy with is the reestablishment of American self-delusion after Carter was stupid enough to attempt to communicate with the public through rational, adult honesty. I mean, Carter was a shitty president, but I don’t remember Rosylinn laughingly suggest that the poor use water on their corn flakes when milk got too expensive.

Ironically enough, Reagan felt his greatest achievement was returning the United States to a position of leadership in the world, repairing its battered reputation and bringing back the respect of all countries on Earth. Oops. Sorry to explode your legacy, Mr. Prez.

But that’s ancient history, and after three days of bobbing on open waters in a 27-foot deep-sea cruiser drinking beer and killing minnows, I have absolutely no right to be even slightly irritated. At anything. Even my sunburned buttcrack. Though it was calm and sunny for most of the weekend, we took on a hell of a thunderstorm Saturday night, driving the boat full throttle through floating logs and lightning strikes while marble-sized hail cracked part of the windshield and tore the shit out of our gear. It was a long hour home and Pops didn’t let on how sketch the situation was until we were back at the lodge, chugging Leinenkugels in front of a cheezeball cover band with the world’s most horrible in-between-song chatter, “Are there any walleye warriors in the room? We know you all catch fish…but who here can dance?” The band was actually selling autographed pictures of themselves ($3 per band-member action shot, $10 for all four) and I talked to them about it during one of their breaks. “Dude, these are great pictures. Why are they so cheap? You could, like, triple these prices. Totally. Because you guys rock so hard. I loved your Outkast covers. Say, you didn’t get any extra drink tickets, did you?”

And, I might add, it was nice to be the most physically fit person within a 300-mile radius. Y’all have many beautiful things up there in the North Woods, but your swollen bellies are not among them. And I can see why. In a mere week of piggery, beautiful gorging, and bacchanalian over-stimulation, I put on ten pounds–this according to the scale outside the US Hockey Hall of Fame. No small feat, considering how hard I’ve been trying to get my beer belly back after years of sensible eating and moderate exercise. An extra chin. That’s all I’m asking for.

So, that’s the shinola on that one. I’m attempting to get back on West Coast time with a big week of catch up and push-ups ahead of me. The tomatoes are coming out sooner than I’d planned for and my publisher is upping the deadline for the novel, which might throw off the three-week camping trip I was planning for August. But them’s the breaks in the slow world of low-paying, short-run, independent publishing.

Now, let the naps begin.

06-01-2004
Off this week. Fishing in Canada. Go read a book.

05-28-2004
Well, the corn’s planted. The tomatoes are flowering. The serrano peppers plants are tall and ready to start giving fruit. Once those zucchini start growing, man…it’s gonna be impossible to eat them all, which means loaves of delicious zucchini bread. I’ll give my neighbors bushels of my beans. And the lettuce…there’s nothing better than lettuce picked right from the garden.

All of this, of course, is being grown inside my tiny studio apartment.

I am soooooo good at being unemployed.

Yes, while others slouch in front of the television, sleep until late in the afternoon, or foolishly waste their precious unemployment attempting to find another job, I have discovered countless productive ways to fill my day. Like apartment farming. Not only has it cost far more than any vegetables I will ever harvest, its causing water damage that will totally fuck whatever integrity was left in these trashed hardwood floors.

Bye-bye, deposit! Hello two withered greenbeans!

In my continuing decision to completely ignore reality, I bought some pumpkin plants earlier today, a healthy alternative to the vodka I considered chugging to recover from the federally mandated job-training program I was required to sit though, held at 8:30 (!!!!) in the morning. And what help they gave us! Guess what…these days you actually need a résumé to be considered for most jobs! And the Internet is a wonderful tool for finding places to launch your résumé and never hear back from ever again. (I think by this point we all know that Monster.com is a government plot to collect as much information on the workforce as possible, or at least test its capacity to pass bullshit off as fact.) And randomly calling businesses in the phone book and asking for a job does not constitute an official job contact…of which you’re supposed to log three each week to remain eligible for benefits.

Oh, the poor bastards in that class. I’m so glad I don’t have a family to worry about. With only a couple of scrawny cats to list as dependents, my unemployment ain’t quite the blow that it is to most folks–especially those suckers stupid enough to take pride in their work. Who see unemployment as personal failure. Chumps dumb enough to believe that if they just dedicated themselves to a company and worked hard year after year, the company would return that loyalty by not dumping them the first millisecond they became unprofitable.

Guess again, Peter Pan.

The place was filled with these crushed business types. They were taking notes, asking sensible questions, and giving anecdotes from their own employment histories to enlighten the class and win points with the instructor. They were ready to take advantage of all the services provided by the State of Washington, which actually are pretty considerable. Free Internet, free faxing, placement services, résumé workshops, mock job interviews, worker reeducation programs. I know what you’re going to say. That it’s a bunch of socialist government bullshit, the free market can solve every problem, and all social programs should be shrunken down to a size small enough to be drowned in a bathtub. We’re Americans and we’re supposed to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and starve with pride, because laying off workers while the board of directors double their salary is what America’s all about. And if you got a problem with that, you can go ahead and move to Mexico. That’ll learn ya. But don’t go to Canada. There’s nothing to see up there.

Shit, the bully boys can keep their lousy jobs. All I want in this world is bumper crop of pumpkins. Couch pumpkins.

Go Wolves! Go Flames! Go Chalabi!

It was really awesome this morning to see a room of down-and-out American workers trying their hardest to get another job, and then read how the Pentagon gave over $33 million (and classified info) to that slimebag Ahmed Chalabi, whom the CIA has since discovered to be an intelligence agent for Iran. You know? The Axis of Evil? Well, one of its agents was able to infiltrate the highest ranks of this administration, feeding them and their loyal media puppies a line of shit so thick, even a Bush daughter couldn’t snort it. It was his lies that were used to justify the war. His buddies at the Pentagon should be hung for treason, or at least shot in the knees for stupidity. If any of you conservative fucks want to keep talking about ending wasteful social programs, you might want to look down and notice the river of sewage you’re shouting from.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, those tomatoes by the drapes aren’t going to stake themselves…

05-26-2004
Just got back from standing in the rain for an hour to listen to Kerry speak down at the waterfront. I always feel a little Travis Bickle whenever I go to those things, probably because while the politicians are busy blowing each other in the limo and making the crowd wait, I play “spot the undercover agent and try to spook him.” (You guys should grow your hair out. You’re pretty obvious–even in the stylish North Face jackets.) Plus, I’m always rocking the unstable homeless kid look and usuallly make a scene by mixing it up with LaRouche Youth. “I thought he was still in prison,” is always a good opener, followed by the “Isn’t he the UFO guy? No? Well than who am I thinking of?”

Then, I start thinking how if I made a break for the podium and tackled the speaker, I’d get on the news and become a part of video history forever. Wear a blindwino.com t-shirt, get worldwide publicity, and just wait for the big bucks to start rolling in.

At any rate, Senator Hairdo spoke and I was reasonably impressed. I mean, at this point in American political life, I’m impressed when anyone at a podium can string an entire sentence together, but it was a good speech. I assumed he’d give the standard political turdfest hitting all the focus-tested words like “freedom” and, um, “freedom,” but despite the fact that he dug up some retired Marine to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance before he spoke (gag), it was straightforward, reasonable, and thankfully free of easy platitudes. Topics? American dependence on foreign oil, Bush’s failure to fund Homeland Security, Iraq, Healthcare, Energy Policy. He talked at an adult level and appeared coherent at all times, which I also appreciated. Before I saw him talk, I was of the Anyone But Bush camp, but eh. Kerry will make a decent president. Or at least he’ll actually appear presidential, which I’ll take at this point. I’d suggest that anyone who’s on the fence go see him talk. If anything else, it’s refreshing to see an intelligent man speak, even if he does do that ubiquitous half thumbs up, half “I’m making a point here” thing with his hand.

And I got to see the kid from Goonies in a smart, blue hat!

Afterwards, I ate a cabbage and potato pirogi in the Market Park and watched a bum give another bum a backrub. Sleeping on a bench must be hell on your lower lumbar region.
* * *

Fun Fact! Mark Driver loves, uses, and heartily endorses Old Bay Seasoning Powder. He even makes his own version of it using bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and celery salt!

05-24-2004

Way too much small talk this weekend. I don’t want to see another human being for a decade. Adult party Friday, adult party Saturday, semi-immature BBQ Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, adult parties have good snacks and very rarely run out of booze. They also have a lot of guys who wear those shiny black leather jackets and talk about their golf swings. And godawful music. And there’s always some dickhead who brings his hyperactive four-year old, and the kid will run around knocking over drinks until it gets a cigarette in the face and then the girl you’re hitting on gets all hyper-nurturing and you say something like, “that’ll teach the brat to run around like a fucking idiot,” and then she’ll call you a bastard and warn all her friends about you. Of course, you’ll be stuck in her head for the rest of the night because she’ll think that maybe under your sarcastic, unshaven, filth-caked veneer a pure and tender heart beats…which she knows is total bullshit but at least you’re not the guy in the shiny jacket howling for the host to play the Blues Traveler song again.

Speaking of hitting on girls at parties, I’m fast approaching two years with the current squeeze, still trying to figure out what the hell’s wrong with her. The private investigator I hired assures me she’s not working for the FBI or the CIA or attempting to get the $130.76 I owe to ATT Wireless from four years ago when I thought it would be “fun” to have a cell phone*. It has to be brain damage from substance abuse. Or a genetic desire to unnecessarily complicate and infuriate her existence. What possible childhood traumas could she have suffered to be able to deal with me on a daily basis? I can’t even stand to be around me most of the time. She’s fucked, for sure. But she’s hot too. The kid stays in the picture.

Four months into unemployment, and I’ve finished the rough draft of my new book, tentatively called Adios, Idiot. The publishing company that’s reprinting Just Another Empire wants to publish Idiot too, and we’re shooting for the end of the year for its release. One step closer to selling out completely. Prepare yourselves for my non-fiction crossover, Liberal Dipshit: How a Once-Progressive Tool for Global Communism Shed his Silly Beliefs, Accepted Jesus as his Savior, and Started Demanding More Foreign Massacres.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

*Actually forced on me by another woman who needed to be able to call me at any time and make sure I wasn’t having fun.

05-11-2004
Bad news. Seattle Barbecue Season was officially opened this weekend by the Official Stealing of My Weber Grill. No shit. I wander out into the sunny afternoon carrying the marinated chicken wings, the Caesar salad, the bottle of cheap chardonnay, the buttered loaf of sourdough…the girl’s carrying plates and a bag of charcoal of course…and the grill is GONE! My “backyard” is a shredded picnic table and a slanted spread of patchy grass next to my apartment building–common space shared with a condo complex on the other side of it–so anyone could have snagged it. True, I did get it for free when a friend of a friend couldn’t fit it into his San Francisco-bound moving van, but I already repaid the karma by putting up a note by the mailboxes inviting anyone so inclined to use it freely! Please, if anyone sees my grill…it’s large and red, smells like burnt habenero peppers, and is very lonely…polish away its tears and give it a good home.

Now, a little good news. My book, Just Another Empire, is going into a second printing. A start-up publishing company in Los Angeles has made an offer to republish the book, actually get it in stores, publicize it, and possibly send me on a book tour. We’re still hammering out details, but I’ve worked with the prez of the company before–he used to work at Big Gun Project back in the CrashSite days–and I’d trust him with my signed copy of the Bible. We’ll go ahead bravely and see where all the shit lands.

So that’s fucking cool. What’s not fucking cool is that seeing how my book sales are inexplicably pegged to Iraqi war deaths, I only have 200 books of the first printing left. So, if you want to get a signed, first edition, you better get on your little broomsticks and start flying.

Additionally, I know that along with the poorly chosen picture on the back of the book, there are also a few typos. We’re going to fix those. People have emailed me a few of them, but if y’all want to start sending them in, I’d really appreciate it. Even put you on a thank you page in the second edition.

Other than that, I’ve been super-busy writing. The rough draft for my newest novel (working title: Adios, Idiot!) should be done this week. I’m writing a piece on schizophrenia for Seattle art mag Rivet that’s turning out rather nicely. For a publication yet to be determined, I’m writing a longer piece on the psychological antifeminism and mind-control techniques put forth by the television show “The Swan”–which is proving to be a hoot–much more fun than it sounds. There’s a new collection of LA writers I’m trying to weasel my way into (come on, you don’t need ten people pretending they’re Bukowski in one volume), and I’ve possibly been wrangled to fix the dialogue on a low-budget zombie flick–in trade for a case of wine and getting to be one of the zombies.

And speaking of keeping my mind 100% occupied so I don’t fall into another fit of violent alcoholic depression, I invented a new quote. Spread it far and make me rich.

“Idle hands are Devil’s playthings because Jesus got all the idle minds.”–Mark Driver

05-10-2004
Okay, last time I’m gonna talk about this, but I keep getting emails that say this exact thing:

Nobody showed the victims of 9/11 any mercy. Nobody showed those four Americans killed in Fallujah any sympathy. Just because a few bad eggs blah, blah, blah…

And this perfectly demonstrates where we’re at as a country, morally and intellectually. That some Iraqi man randomly corralled by a midnight sweep in his neighborhood can be held in prison indefinitely and subjected to torture–because he’s an Iraqi, and Iraq is the enemy (even though we’re rescuing them)—torturing him is a great mixture of tactics and revenge…revenge for an act that he personally had nothing to do with.

Well, if not 9/11, he probably did something. Fuck him good. Find out what he knows. Better safe than sorry. Anyone see my Bible laying around? I’m late to church.

You might be interested to know that your own disposable war hero Jessica Lynch has publicly called for our nation to pray for the families of Iraqi prisoners. Remember her? The American POW whose captors treated her wounds and left her with a doctor before retreating? And then the soldiers stormed the hospital, roughed up some doctors, and edited the videos to make it look like they rescued her? And then when she refused to play ball with the propaganda masters because their stories about her didn’t match with reality, all the book deals disappeared and she was dropped from the public sphere? Yeah. That wounded veteran. She thinks there’s a problem too. You gonna call her a traitor?

And, lest we forget, the ENTIRE WORLD offered its sympathy to the United States after 9/11, and thanks to this Administration’s cowboy bullshit, we’ll NEVER have that again–Rummy’s Rape Rooms or not.

As far as a “few bad eggs,” look at this picture (second from the top). Except for the pile of naked men in the middle of the floor, it’s business as usual. Despite the waving flags, yellow ribbons, purple hearts, and fields of falling confetti at home, this is how it works on the battlefield. This is war. War is ugly. And brutal. Which makes it a shitty foreign policy tool. Great for killing lots of people. Great for defending your borders. Great for obtaining territory. Great for obtaining natural resources. Great for increasing the bottom line for profiteers. Shitty for rebuilding societies.

We can prevail militarily, but you can’t shoot a man’s children and then tell him it was for his country’s own good. Not in America, not in Iraq.

And that’s why we’re fucked.
* * *

Saw Supersize Me this weekend. Yeah, apparently McDonalds isn’t good for you. And vegan girlfriends are as annoying in 2004 as they were when I had one in 1994.

But the state of school lunches…ugh. It was nasty when I was in school, but at least it was actual food. And when my high school went to hotdogs and hamburgers, mom made me pack healthy lunches. But today? Some brat eats French fries, Twizzlers, and a pail of Mountain Dew for lunch every day, and we wonder why he’s such a pain in the ass to deal with?

I suppose he’s just in training to be a computer programmer.

05-06-2004
Happy Seis de Mayo, the traditional holiday where savvy revelers swoop down on bargain overstocked tequila and great deals on sombreros–fourth only to the fine holidays of The Day after Halloween, Easter Redux (a.k.a. Cheap Chocolate Bunny Day), and “Sorry I Had To Work On Valentine’s Day But Guess How Cheap These Flowers Were!”

It’s no secret that I hate the drinking holidays and, in protest, stay home eating watercress and sipping herbal tea while thumbing through gilded tomes of Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau. Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve…all total bullshit. The bars pack themselves with part-time drinkers who: a) can’t hold their booze; b) have no clue how to act in bars; and c) make every public bathroom in my neighborhood unusable by 9:30. Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo, hoo! Nice tequila shooter…where were you on Flag Day, bitch?

Eh, feeling lazy and I got a bunch of shit to do today, so I’ll just quote Paul Krugman quoting George Orwell on the universal truth of our time.

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”–George Orwell “In Front of Your Nose” 1946.

05-05-2004
Into the ol’ mailbag!

Dear Scumbag, you may be too drunk out in hippyland of Seattle, but for the rest of us, there is a war going on. These people are the enemy. Our soldiers have the right to do whatever it takes to save American lives over there, including coercing prisoners to talk. Every army does it, and has always done it. At least we’re not hooking them to bedsprings and electrocuting them. So fuck your liberal bullshit. It will make us lose the war.

Silly me. I thought we were better than that. I thought we were the good guys. I thought we followed the rules of the Geneva Convention. I thought that’s what separates us from the bad guys. Well, it used to. Now, even the Geneva Convention is a UN plot to subvert US foreign policy.

What extra information could possibly be worth the fact that the entire Arab world now equates “America” with “Being Ass Raped with a Chemical Stick”? Those grinning motherfuckers with the cameras have absolutely guaranteed that more grunts out in the sand are going to get arms blown off, eyes blown out, spines severed, and guts spilled. Which, in turn, will mean more little girls will get their faces peeled off in bombing raids and stray shots. More war widows, more corpses, more rapes, more dead prisoners, more flag-draped coffins. More soldiers in the field, more American families torn apart.

I thought conservatives supported families?

I don’t know who the fuck you are, but you should be arrested and shot for the filth that you write.

Arrested and shot? Just for a half-ass website? Sounds like there’s a job opening for you as a prison guard in Iraq.

Yeah, no wonder your (sic) unemployed. You have no respect for anything, not even yourself. I would not hire you in a million years you arrogant prick.

That’s a shame. You seem like you’d be a great boss to work for.

This is just too offensive. I can only hope our troops can’t read this. They’re defending your right to freedom of speech.

What? The Iraqis wanted to alter our constitution? Now I’m really confused.

Blah, blah, I’m offended, blah, blah, blah…

Where the fuck are you people from? Seriously? You don’t know one person in your life who holds strong opinions that are different from yours? Your flimsy ideological tent can’t withstand a little piss and vinegar? Doesn’t anyone out there have a sense of humor? An adult vocabulary? And do you think that by telling me that I offended you I’m going to apologize, pick up my flag, and get in line with the rest of you zombies?

You support this war?

Go fight it.

And then tell the rest of us how great and glorious it is.
* * *

Oh, and in completely unrelated news: this morning I cut a fart that lasted over a minute. It was amazing. The ammo? Ground turkey, beans, and corn for dinner last night, topped with five cans of Pabst. I ate some mac and cheese around midnight, and a handful of potato chips around 1. I woke up at like 6 am with this razzle dazzle feeling in my tummy and ran to the toilet where I could really get some reverberation and kids, it was miraculous.

Driver

05-04-2004

Hey Iraq! Smile for the camera! How you liking your democracy? Aren’t Americans awesome? What, you can’t take a joke? C’mon. We’re just hazing you. To join our Democracy Club! You’re getting off lucky! You should have seen what we did to the Nicaraguans!

Hey America! When your girlfriend gets drafted, will you mail her cookies and body armor? They’re planning on bumping the draft age up to 34, so maybe I’ll be keeping her warm on those cool Iraqi nights. It’s good news! Now everyone will get a chance to make the ultimate sacrifice for the right to sodomize liberated democracy prisoners–or would it be Saddamize?

Rumsfeld called the actions “un American,” which confuses me because I was told that anyone who questions the actions of our soldiers is unpatriotic. I mean, maybe stripping men naked and forcing them to masturbate on camera is actually winning the War on Terror? It makes about as much sense as invading Iraq did in the first place.

10,000 more soldiers deployed. 37,000 more National Guardsmen deployed.
No more jobs deployed.

Mission Accomplished!
* * *

Things not to say to a filthy, exhausted person lugging a flat tire across Puget Sound on the 4:50 am ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle:

1) Nice tire.
2) Dude, I like your tire.
3) You look TIREd
4) Looks like you’ve got a spare tire.
5) You ain’t gonna make it any cheaper taking your car across one piece at a time.
6) Heh. Where’s the rest of it?
7) Wow. You have a tire.

So we’re over in the old WWII bunkers outside of Port Townsend, the girl’s modeling for a photo shoot. Thursday afternoon, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I spend most of the day misbehaving on the beach and making everyone wonder what such a hot chick is doing with a foul-mouthed, immature bonerhead. We go to a party afterwards, I excellently karaoke “The Gambler,” and we stupidly miss the last ferry back to Seattle. It’s like 2 in the morning and I decide we’re going to drive the three-hour trip around the south end of the Sound instead of waiting at the ferry terminal for two and a half hours for the next boat. Flip a U-Turn in the dark and BAM, the front tire blows. After I changed the spare tire in the dark, we decide to sleep at the ferry terminal. When we wake up, the spare tire is flat. Of course it’s flat. Why wouldn’t it be?

So, I lug the tire I blew up onto the boat, to my apartment, to the tire store to have it replaced, back to the boat, and back to the ferry terminal–getting the same gawking stares and stupid comments at every point along the way. I could be bleeding from my eye sockets and ferry passengers would say stuff like, “hey, nice bleeding from your eye sockets” and “hey, I like the way your eye sockets are bleeding.”

Congratulations, sir. You are worse than useless.

So that was Friday, but Sunday was great. My band, Snitches Get Stitches, was up for Best New Band in the Seattle Weekly’s Music Competition Festival. I doubt we won, but we played with some fucking amazing bands, and I got to be on the radio, where I was able to slip in no fewer than three Barbara Mandrell references.

But like I said, we played with some great, great bands. The New Mexicans? Hooray. Playing Enemy? Holy shit. Akimbo? Goddamn it. Swarming Hordes? Well, I got too drunk and stumbled off before they played, but I’ve seen them before and they sure do satisfy. There are so many good bands in this city. It’s inspiring.

And if anyone sees my bass lying around somewhere, please do drop me a line.

04-28-2004

So there’s the Kerry medal stink. Did he throw away the medals and ribbons he won fighting and getting shot to shit for our country? Where are they? What did he do with the medals awarded to him by the military for showing valor and taking bullets like a man? Were his awards for bravery thrown into a garbage can? Were his medals of valor thrown into a river? Where are these officially sanctioned declarations of military honor?

If we’re so concerned about major issues like this, maybe someone should ask what George W. Bush did with all his war medals. Did he trade them for cocaine? Or use them to bribe the cop that pulled him over for drunk driving?

Oh, wait. You don’t get medals for blowing off the cushy National Guard stint that dad got you. Not yet at least. It’s still early in the campaign.

Sir, you’ve soiled your flight suit! Here! Wipe yourself with the Constitution!

So Spain’s outta the war, huh? Imagine that. 90% of the Spanish people were against the war from the start. Despite a brutal terrorist attack, democracy was used and the government that sent soldiers to war despite public sentiment got voted out of office. The winning side actually followed through with their campaign promises and pulled troops out.

Fair elections? Politicians who keep their promises? Who do they think they are, Canada?

Be prepared for the linguistic onslaught as the word “Spanish” is now wiped from the American language. Did you enjoy Freedom Fries? Well, now you’ll get to snack on Freedom Peanuts and Freedom Olives. Or maybe a little Freedom Fly to get the lady in the mood. The 1917 world influenza epidemic will henceforth be known as Freedom Flu and, people of Hispanic (HisFREEDOMic?) and Latin American origin…the language you speak will be henceforth known as “Freedom.”

Hey America, 52% of you think that WMDs were found in Iraq! Awesome!

Hey America, 82% of you think that experts agree that Saddam and al-Qaeda were in cahoots! Smashing!

Hey America, 59% of you think that the rest of the world totally supported our invasion of Iraq! Brilliant!

Hey America, pass me a beer. King of Queens is almost on!

04-27-2004

“Hello, loser, and thank you for calling the Washington State Unemployment Claims Telecenter. Because there are only three good jobs left in the state, we are experiencing very heavy traffic right now…”

Finally broke down, and now, for the first time in my life, I’m a dirty, filth-encrusted parasite on the ass of the worker. On the dole. And it feels GREAT! Finally, a government program that benefits ME instead of massacring foreigners. I been paying into this shit for years…now gimme, gimme, gimme!

This on the heels of being offered none of the positions I interviewed for. How about this start to an interview:

JACKASS IN SUIT: I see that you have extensive creative experience.

ME: Yes. That’s correct.

JACKASS IN SUIT: Well, there are absolutely no creative aspects to this job. Why would you want it?

ME: Well, I find the technology involved to be quite interesting, and the subject matter is certainly something that I–

JACKASS IN SUIT: I don’t believe that for a second. You just want a job. Any job. Am I right?

ME: I am looking for a job. That’s why I’m interviewing.

JACKASS IN SUIT: Okay, fine. Give me a specific example from your experience where you successfully liaisoned copyrighted content with third-party corporate partners.

ME: First of all, dipshit, “liaisioned” isn’t even a word. Secondly, just because your plasma television, your Humvee, your weight-gaining wife, and your bi-weekly round of golf ain’t making you happy like you thought they would, and there’s a huge gaping hole in your existence that makes virtually all experiences you encounter leave you feeling spiritually empty and completely unfulfilled–don’t poop in my pigpile, Jacky. I just want a job. So get on your little phone, get my dental benefits lined up, and then show me to my new office because I’m taking the rest of the day off to go skullfuck your daughter’s favorite sockpuppet.

Okay, I came up with some lame lie that left him unimpressed. “Do you have any questions for me?” he asked. Yeah. Do those hair plugs ever fill in? It looks like you’re growing a field of sorghum outta your scalp. Is it hard to get a tractor in there? Do you use very tiny crop dusters?

He thanked me for my time and showed me the door. Told the agency that I had an unprofessional appearance. Thanks, dick. Last time I put on my fancy codpiece for you.

* * * *

I just got an email for a pill that promises to make me “c-u-m like a p0rnst*r.”

How about not jerking off for a week. That’s the free way of doing it. Although, I suspect that’s impossible.

And for all you fucks selling GeNNERIK V1@gra or Organic Liposuction Pills, has anyone bought from any of your emails entitled, “no fukky for tiny dikky” or “ugly fatty sad with no friends”?

“Uh, hi. Yes, I’m answering your ad from the Internet…the one where I don’t have any friends because I’m fat and have a tiny dick…yeah. I’m fine. How are you? Excellent. Anyways, I’m…”

Is there a government agency where I can register my perfectly competent penis with a signed letter from my old lady saying that it works just fine? A genital-based do-not-spam list?

No. Because that makes sense.

04-23-2004
Is there anything more horrible than sitting though a job interview? I mean, the fake clothes, the dry throat, the canned answers to queries like, “Can you describe a situation where you gave good customer service?”

Nope. Now give me my first paycheck.

But they can be learning experiences. For example, from yesterday’s interview, I learned that my communication style isn’t professional enough to deal with external corporate partners. Isn’t that something that you can take, grow with, and apply to your life and make yourself a better person?

Fart.

GG writes:

So, you throw around a lot of big words. Do you know what any of them mean? Define ‘Intellectual Dishonesty’ for me.

Intellectual Dishonesty is making a knowingly false statement, or a statement that one does not actually agree with, in order to maintain the political viewpoint one has aligned oneself with. An example: Any right-wing commentator who saw Bush’s miserable performance at the Q&A section of his press conference last week and said something to the extent of “the president’s handling of tough reporter questions shows his true dedication to his policies and his steady oneness of vision” instead of admitting the appropriate cringing and slack-jawed amazement that the entire world experienced–this person is practicing intellectual dishonesty. Not a lie per se, but a twisting of one’s soul to serve one’s master, and one of the few tactics of political debate that should evoke the death penalty. Nevertheless, it has become the most popular form of public discussion.

Bible Revision Update: Beneficent and merciful lord Jesus Christ to stop treating lepers!

Have the Lambs of God contracted Mad Cow Disease? And will they get the story right?

Um, doesn’t it seem a little risky to employ policy makers who are actively looking forward to the end of the universe?

“Well, Steve, what do you think we should do with all this radioactive waste?”

“Who cares? We’ll all be in heaven soon!”

“But the barrels are leaking and–”

“Where’s yer faith, brother? Have you been saved?”

“But Uranium 4672 has a half-life of–”

“The only life I have is the spiritual one inside of Jesus Christ. Praise God! To the helicopters!”

To the bars!

04-21-2004
How Not To Bartend–Update

Check out this bullshit. I drag the lil’ lady out to a friend’s going-away party–it’s at this fake swank place that sells overpriced crepes by day and overpriced drinks by night (I certainly didn’t pick the location)–so we go to the bartender and order. I just get a pint o’ beer. Lady wants a glass of wine. “House red is fine,” she says.

“Um…we don’t have a house red,” bartender replies, with more than a squish of condescension. Duh, moron. ‘House red’ is code for ‘we ain’t celebrating anything special and I’m a student with a part-time job and I’m just here because I got dragged here so I just want your cheapest glass of red, without the rolling eyes, you steroid-ridden, bad-goateed jackass. Thanks, I’ll never come back, fuck you.’

Though they have no house red, he suggests a Cotes du Rhone. She says fine, whatever, and proceeds to have three glasses of it.

So when I pull up my tab, about an hour later, it’s $58.00. I had four beers and bought a shot fer my friend. “How much was the wine?” I asked the bartender.

“$11 a glass.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“It’s a good wine.”

“Thanks for the recommendation. You must have been out of the ’97 Barolo.”

So he snobs out when she asks for the house wine, and then suggests the most expensive glass on the menu. Yeah, she shoulda resisted the subtle intimidation and asked the price, but one hardly figures on such shittiness. He made his boss some money but totally fucked his tip. Fucking lapdog.

“This place is kinda cute,” the girl says when I come back from paying.

“Bartender sucks. We’re not coming back.”

And there you go. Two of Seattle’s biggest drinkers are now trapped inside for the weekend where they will watch network television and curse your name.

Yeah, yeah, you had expensive drinks. Big deal. If you’re stuck on such a budget you shouldn’t be out drinking.

People who aren’t on budgets say things like this all the time. Just like people with jobs get annoyed when you talk about not having one. Or when someone getting laid three times a day tells a friend who hasn’t had a date in two years to ‘keep trying! You gotta put yourself out there!’

Or someone who hasn’t had their hands and feet macheted off by Rwandan Hutus should never, ever bitch about anything–actually, I sort of agree with that…

You know the situation’s going to shit when you start shooting your own propagandists.

Three cheers for the occupation! When we kill civillians, it’s collateral damage. When they kill, it’s terrorism. Looking at all the bodies, it’s hard for me to tell a difference. Do the civillians we kill die smiling? Do they get to go to heaven? Maybe someone should ask Saddam Hussein how he managed to keep the peace. Oh, wait. I forgot. Evil.

Out tomorrow at job interviews, but Friday I’ll have answers to some of the hilarious hatemail I’ve been getting. Apparently, someone is going around me, contacting the owner of BlindWino to have me fired…and hilarity ensued. Also, I do get intelligent emails from people who disagree with me, so I’ll start making fun of them too.

Out and over,
Driver
04-20-2004
Weird weekend. Strep throat transmuted itself into bloody coughing and stomach pains. Ended up going out on Saturday anyways. Friends had a free ticket so we went to see Melt Banana and Fantomas, drank too much, ended up staying up until 6 in the morning playing video games. Slept all day Sunday, woke up at ten o’clock to run to the Funhouse, meet the band, and play to ten people at 1 in the morning. Didn’t eat, got wasted off of three beers. Slept all day Monday, woke up in time to make .35 cent wings at Wing Dome and watch my poor Canucks lose to the Flames…even after tying it up with five seconds left in the game. Just woke up now after twelve more hours of sleep. Still feel like shit, I could easily sleep all day today, but I’m bored of being in bed.

But there are actually job callbacks on my answering machine…second interviews…which supplants the fear of continued unemployment with the fear of actually having a job. These ain’t slouch jobs either. Commute to the East Side, there at 9 am, work hard, ten-hour days. I’m up for it, but I haven’t had a job like that in…um…ever. I mean, I worked 65-hour weeks as a bartender, but I was swilling Jagermeister for most of each shift, so that probably doesn’t count.

Good news, not only did Bush share US Iraqi war plans with a terrorist nation, the administration is now talking about bringing back the draft! Finally! That’ll fix that pesky unemployment rate.

Tax cuts for your boss and permanent war?

Four more years! Four more years!

Oh, man. I can’t wait until they start drafting. You think that Homo Marriage is going to destroy the family? How about a bunch of teenage corpses mailed back in imported coffins? Hard to raise a family with a dead dad. Just ask the 500 or so families currently trying to do it. That’s right, Holmes. They’re gonna take your freedom away and give it to a Big Man with Big Plans. Still think that politics are boring?

Good article on the occupation.

04-16-2004
Bush Economy Pie.

Servings: 3
Total cost: $1.60 (.53 per serving)

Silver-dollar sized handful of spaghetti noodles
6 eggs
‘ an onion

Cook spaghetti in salted water. Substitute own urine if salt unavailable. Drain. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oven-safe skillet to medium high. Dice onion and cook in oiled pan for five minutes until slightly translucent. Beat eggs in bowl with ‘ cup water. Add salt and pepper if you have any. Curse your jobless status loudly as your television plays that stupid anti-Kerry political ad that blows a few comments from ten years ago into a .50 gas tax that will destroy the family. Decry your hatred of the word ‘wacky’ and all those who would use it to a cold and uncaring universe.

Add spaghetti to skillet. It’ll stick, so be sure to dump the beaten eggs in immediately after. Stir the eggs around. Let pie cook for about five minutes, and then transfer skillet into oven. Watch some more television and wonder how exactly Dr. Phil manages to pass his daily infomercial off as entertainment for housewives. Then wonder exactly how a guy with a swollen beer gut can dish out advice on weight loss. Talk to television. Tell it that it might as well have Jenna Jameson producing abstinence PSAs while it’s at it.

As soon as Oprah’s infomercial is about to start, your pie is ready. Enjoy with small packets of Fire Sauce you swiped from Taco Bell after they wouldn’t let you use the bathroom. Check answering machine for job callbacks. Tell yourself that even though it’s only 4:00pm, you used to live in Indiana, and it’s 6:00 there now, and if you lived there now, you’d probably be drinking anyways. Open jug of cheap wine. Briefly feel guilt for using last of dwindling resources to purchase unnecessary alcohol. Flick off own reflection in mirror. Drink deeply. Repeat.

04-15-2004
Dan C, among others writes, “Hey genius, while you’re talking about how stupid Bush is, you might want to take a look at the fact that you’re dating all your entries ‘May.’ The last time I looked at my calendar it was April, which is, technically, the fourth month of the year.”

Mark Driver takes lessons from Team Bush as he addresses this potentially embarrassing situation.

(grinning like a hyena and talking in a piercing nasal tone)
You say that it’s April. Of course it’s April. Did we know this? Of course we knew this. Why did we put a 5 in the date instead of a 4? Were there reasons? Of course there were reasons. And are there people who know those reasons? You bet. I mean, there’s a chain of command. That’s called a system. And systems work in the ways that they were designed. To design a system…a chain of command…is the important thing. That’s just what we do. That’s how the system…our command…the people who actually make the system…that’s their jobs. To find the reasons. I mean…that’s just what they do.
(/grinning like a hyena and talking in a piercing nasal tone)

As a fan of the evil applications of language, I’m absolutely obsessed with the tirades of Donny Rumsfeld. That guy leaves a trail of slime from the podium–like a six-foot slug in a suit. I heard a soundbite from him this morning:

“You can’t predict the future, so why bother? Why try?”

Brilliant. Brah-vo. Yeah, why bother ANALYZING POTENTIAL RESULTS OF POTENTIAL ACTIONS. I mean, fuck it. Why try? But wait…isn’t that what, um, the CIA and Pentagon pretty much spend all their time doing? Of course, he was just weaseling out of having to really answer a question. It’s a game at this point. A fun, fun game with big, big prizes.

I would love to slap that guy. At a press conference. Knock his glasses off his smug fat face. That bitch ain’t never been in a fight in his life. He ain’t no soldier neither. What with that permanent sneer…that screechy voice redolent of a high school kid caught masturbating by his grandparents. Ugh. I bet he suffers from chronic halitosis and everyone’s afraid to tell him. I’d tell him. With my foot in his ass.

Real mature, Mr. Driver.

As I cut my $700 check to the IRS, I am somewhat touched by the irony that it’s going towards Dick Cheney’s government-provided healthcare.

Fucking socialist.

Love,
Driver

04-14-2004
“I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”–Abraham Lincoln

“We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”–F.D.R.

“You know, I just — I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn’t yet.”–George W. Bush, April 14, 2004

If you were this incompetent, you’d be fired. If you support this guy and you aren’t getting rich, you are an idiot. If you support this guy and you are getting rich, you’re a traitor. The trashheap has spoken. Nyeah.

Job interviews this week, so I got a haircut. No longer does a dead woodchuck reside on my head. Now, I look like I’m 10. I only have one set of interviewing clothes, so between the inquisitions, I’m stopping by the drug store for free applications of Fabreeze. Sound cheap? I know which brands of deodorants don’t have protective seals too.

Just picked up Neil Postman’s Technopoly. “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Sing it, sister.

04-12-2004
God, what a weekend. After months of cloud cover and drizzle, Mr. Sun came out and Mr. Driver spent two topless days beached on the shores of Puget Sound enjoying the simple joy that is Black Label beer while coming to terms with the fact that I will have strep throat for the rest of my life. It’s not getting any better, but it’s not getting any worse. A truce has been declared. Yet it remains…despite the fact that I’ve done my best to do its evil bidding, to spread it to as many people as possible…it remains…attacking me…under cover of darkness…wet nose in a dry throat…cough…swallow…fart…

I’ve been reading a collection of “classic” conservative writers–Adam Smith and the other usual bastards–and I gotta say that I feel sympathy for the real conservatives who’ve had their party jacked from them. Sounds great in theory, huh? A small, Constitutionally based government that promotes personal initiative and fiscal responsibility and operates within a true market economy that intervenes only when a third party is forced to pay for a transaction s/he wasn’t a part of (i.e. pollution).

Too bad its been exploded, sewn up, and mutilated for policies of governmental intrusion, deficit insanity, corporate handouts, the plunder of public lands, and dreams of a moral police state based in splinter teachings of hysterical evangelical Christianity.

And permanent war.

I guess what’s staggering from this side of the ideological fence is that actual conservatism has intellectually defensible positions based on thousands of years of logically developed thought–and the version we’re looking at now is hooey straight out of the Dark Ages…their messiahs poorly articulated, sensationalist, and absolutely hollow–morally, intellectually, and logically. Who listens to them? It’s like sitting in on a quilting bee with a grumpy bunch of hissing old women. Scared of ghosts and too caught up in layers of psychological goo and antisocial strangeness to ever score any well-reasoned points. Never met an argument that couldn’t be shouted down and hung up on.

Better luck next time, I guess.

(singing) Hey Mr. War President, play a song for me! I’m not sleepy and I’ve got no job to go to! (/singing)

At any rate, Satan has chosen a frozen cheese pizza and 500-degree oven rack to mark me with his visage.

How’s that for a burn? Mother may I play with danger?

Gassy,
Driver

04-09-2004
So my band’s up for Best New Seattle Band this year–as decided by the Seattle Weekly, everyone’s favorite over-40 paper. Sure, this rag is written for condominium owners with newborn babies, but it sounds impressive, no? We’re up against “new” bands that have been around for three or so years, bands signed to labels already, bands with members from Sunny Day Real Estate and Modest Mouse, the West Coast’s best metal band, and of course–a band that consists of two small girls, ages nine and eleven.

Which will make it extra funny when we win. Please, if you truly love me, you’ll go here and vote for Snitches Get Stitches (Man, Western Washington sure does have some funny city names. Tukwila. Edmunds. Kirkland. Shoreline. Burien. Sea-Tac. Tacoma. No wait. Those aren’t funny names at all. Sorry.)

Yeah, I know. Making bands compete is completely immoral and goes against just about everything real music stands for, but…we do get trophies if we win. And I think we get to shake hands with a bald, fat man while all the losers watch on…

The strep seems to have died down for now. I finally got mad enough to start ignoring it. Pretending I’m not sick. Move over echinacea tea with slippery elm and ginseng, tequila and taquitos are back online. Let’s see what that bacterial infection is really made of.

Spent 10 hours yesterday assembling art packages for a tobacco company for their latest marketing stab at Seattle’s youth. I hope my work makes someone start smoking. Seriously, have you seen how many people there are in the world? It seems like its getting harder and harder to score a booth at the bar lately. So, do us all a favor. If you have little self-control, enjoy following the herd, and possess a nihilistic hatred for yourself that makes you want to slowly dismantle your immune system over the next two decades and die a lonely, painful, smelly death…please smoke more and make some space for the rest of us.

Out and over,
Driver

Buy My Book!

04-07-2004
Strep Days Vol. 3. Swallowing difficult…urine dark brown…beer drinking…difficult…Hall of Douchebags…not helping… If I don’t get better in two days, I’m going to the Country Doctor, which one of my neighbors was nice enough to suggest for me. It’s a pay-what-you-can clinic here in the neighborhood run by the same sort of lefty scum that wants to topple global capitalism and eradicate illiteracy, the same sort of program that loses funding when brown people need some bombin’ in the desert. Maybe if Country Doctor changed its name to Country Preacher and propped a Bible in the window…

B.G. writes, “how can you be so glib about the increasingly unstable situation in Iraq? Don’t you realize our soldiers are in danger? Do you have anything constructive to add?”

Oh, I get it. Back before this war started and I was taking it seriously enough to attend every Northwest protest, to write letters, to call Congressmonsters, to call into radio talk shows, to conduct one-man inferno raids on message boards and chat rooms, to use hours of my time writing sub-par, over-politicized columns in hopes of changing a few minds–when I was doing what pathetic things I could to keep “our soldiers” home with their families where they belong… I was called, among other things, “Soft on Terrorism” (No, please blow me up), “un-American” (That’s not what my tattoo says), a “traitor” (Again, please blow me up), a “pussy” (Undoubtedly by someone who then ran out and enlisted for the front lines), and “French”–which is just simply not true.

So now that it’s all going to shit…now that the whole country is gonna bust out into a massive civil war, now that we’re going to kill 10,000 more people, probably lose 500 more of our own, nail together some sort of flimsy government, claim victory, and run away…now I have to somehow come up with a constructive solution? Are you fucking kidding me? Can we pull out? No. Can we stay? No. Will the UN help? No. Is “victory” possible? Yes, at the cost of thousands of lives, most of them civilian. Any military victory is going to be overshadowed by the fact that when the dust clears, nearly every Iraqi is going to have someone that’s been killed by us.

And, oh yeah, here’s your democracy.

This is why millions of people worldwide came together and said, “Wrong answer, zoobreath” in the weeks before this bullshit started.

And you’re going to tell me that our fake-war president, who didn’t have the nuts to fight in Vietnam and couldn’t even bother to finish his National Guard stint, who doesn’t have enough Texas in him to face the 911 Commission without his puppetmaster’s fist passed up beyond his balloon knot…this guy’s gonna lead us out of this shit? Have you seen him talk lately? I mean, unless he’s got his hilarious sketch comedy already written out for him (hmm, where are the blown-off legs of mutilated soldiers…not under the couch…ha ha…not in my desk drawer…ha ha…please enjoy your dinner quietly…) he’s like a baby deer caught in a low-beam flashlight.

It’s too depressing, too ridiculous, and despite all our media outlets putting Pravda to shame, WE ALL SAW IT COMING. So, now I make jokes and yell a lot. Maybe I’ll start sketching out ideas for the Iraq War Memorial I’ll take my kids to in twenty years. Tie a yellow ribbon. What else is there to do?

Driver
04-06-2004
Strep Days Vol. 2. Man, when you only get sick once a year, you might as well make it a blowout. I’m sweatier than Bill Bennett on a riverboat casino. I’ve declared a general quarantine in my apartment, mostly as not to suffer the indignity of those exposed to my garlic/ginger enemas. I’ve eaten three entire heads of garlic in two days. How do you do that? Well, you take a head of garlic, a chunk of ginger, throw them in a blender with two carrots and a little Clamato, whip it up into a frothy pink yuck, and gargle as much as you can. Chug the rest. Pleasant? Not really. Effective? Doubt it. Keeping vampires away? No reported attacks since Sunday.

Boop! Boop! New Boogeyman Alert! Boop! Boop! Wait, what has he been officially dubbed? Oh yeah, “Radical Muslim Cleric” Al-Sadr has been charged with murder–a charge not pursued by coalition officials until he got too big for his turban and started pissing off his American zoo guards. Boop! Boop! He’s got an illegal militia! And can bring tens of thousands of young men into the streets as fast as you can say “Guantanamo.” Boop! Boop! He took over a city! Begin the production of Al-Sadr t-shirts with a riflescope on his head. Boop! Boop! Prepare the Fox News Spiderhole! Spiderhole! Spiderhole! Pull down those riot visors, boys. They’re throwing those flowers HARD.

Wait, you mean we didn’t have a plan to deal with situations like this? Well then why did we ram this war down the world’s throat? Why were we in such a hurry to get in there and start blowing shit up? Like, we couldn’t even have an intelligent conversation about it without being called traitors. Oh, yeah, I forgot. Emergency times. And the President doesn’t like to read newspapers.

I’m reminded by the lovely lyrics of David Yow:

To all you dumb trusters,
With shit on your faces,
Got fucked in your asses,
And put in your places.

Anyone wanna run out and join the National Guard with me?

OK, new bet: Osama Bin Laden is apprehended on October 17, 2004. He endorses Kerry at gunpoint and retires to a maximum-security luxury condo in Kennebunkport, Maine. Complains that falafel doesn’t taste right in America. Retarded electorate salivates like the Pavlovian idiots they’ve been trained to be and reelects the Worst President This Country Has Ever Had.

And…I’ll still be unemployed.

04-05-2004
Another weekend killed. We went to a creepy Bavarian village in the mountains called Leavenworth, drank a shitload of beer and watched the fourth quarter of the Yellowjackets/Oklahoma game. I won $30 on the results, and spent my winnings in a basement restaurant on the German sampler platter: a knockwurst, a smoked pork chop, and a disturbingly smooth wiener. Kraut, potato salad, saut’ed cabbage, and a glass of wine sweet enough to dump on waffles. Living in a fake Bavarian village seems like a perfect precursor to accordion-assisted suicide. I’d be interested in seeing mortality rates and causes of death in that place. If nothing else, it must be hard on the heart when every restaurant in town slams a bratwurst in yer mouth and a stein of honey in yer hand.

Woke up this morning with strep in my throat. I’m mostly just worried about the $150 it costs to fix it down at Doc-in-the-Box–always a last resort. Been getting these since I was a kid. Worse than the flu but not as bad as flesh-eating bacteria. Usually, if I can stomach an entire head of garlic and a fist-sized chunk of ginger, washing them down with half a bottle of vitamin C–it ruins my stomach but kills off the strep. I’ll wear a necklace of chicken bones and pray to my spirit animal while I’m at it. Three cheers for American healthcare.

Yawn.

So let me get this straight…we’re paying private corporations $2000 a day per mercenary while we treat our enlisted people like this? Rock on, patriots.

Wait…weren’t they supposed to be throwing flowers? Oh, I get it. The situation’s a little more complex than “fighting evil.” I wish someone would tell that to the voices on the radio.

Slaughter the Innocents,
Driver

04-02-2004
Hey, welcome to the new gayness of this site. (if you hate change, you can set your browser here)As most of y’all know, I’m slogging my way through another book, and don’t really have the patience to write long columns on a regular-enough basis to command anyone’s attention, so I’m just gonna write a bunch of short shit in this spot on a semi-daily basis. I think this process has a name, but I prefer not to use it. I’d write more tonight, but I’m already two hours late to beers with the lads. And tomorrow, it’s off to the Olympic Rainforest where The Girl will accommodate my “We have to do it in the woods at least once a month” New Year’s resolution…the only resolution I’ve managed to keep. Not sure why it’s so important, but I wrote it in blood on a Denny’s menu, so I think that’s sort of binding…

Also, my band Snitches Get Stitches (MP3) just got nominated Best New Seattle Band 2004 by the Seattle Weekly. The whole thing is gonna be decided by–get this–Internet voting. Hopefully all my friends across the world (read:YOU) can come together and help stuff the ballot box when it goes live next week. Why not get the whole office involved? Stay tuned to here so you can Vote early! And often! The winners get felicitated by Mayor Greg Nichols and a Monorail stop outside their apartments, so we’re very amped about the whole thing.

Our playing leg of this gala celebration is some punk rock showcase in Pioneer Square on May 2nd at Doc Maynard’s with The Spits. Seattle folks, there a ain’t reason not to come, other than the fact it’s a benefit for homeless kids. And all you tough guys that keep mailing me death threats should show up and fight me for real so you can break my nose and finally get it out of your system. OR MAYBE AT LEAST LEARN THAT TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS VERY ’97 AND NEARLY AS BAD AS MIXING UP YOUR AND YOU’RE!

Kittens and Rainbows,
Driver