23 Mar

“Knowing is half the battle.”

-Roadblock, ranking member of elite military force, G.I. Joe

“I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so…scared!!”

-Jessica Spano after taking one too many caffeine pills on a very special episode of Saved by the Bell

Hello again, Gentle Reader. Time for one of my patented, long-form blog posts! I can feel your excitement; how it nourishes me. As you regulars are well aware, I’m kind of obsessed with the 1980s. And why not? It was a radical, super-awesome, amazing decade. The technology, the fashions, the casual cocaine use – none of it has been surpassed. I know this because I spent a bit of time in the ‘80s. Granted, there were a few oddities to be found in the decade (I cannot for the life of me explain all the goddamn neon colors), but there is one particularly curious nugget of nostalgia on which I’d like to focus today: the ‘80s obsession with the PSA.

“What does PSA mean?” you may be asking yourself if you’re a caveman – sorry, caveperson – frozen in ice millennia ago and recently thawed out. If so, let me be the first to welcome you to the wonders of the 21st century! Those big metal birds in the sky are called “airplanes” and we use them to travel. Those round-footed animals speeding right towards you are called “cars” and are also used for transportation. Please don’t hurl spears at them; they’re not food. Don’t worry, you’ll adjust and soon be bitching about the ridiculously slow speeds at which the entirety of humanity’s knowledge is delivered to your mobile device like the rest of us.

A PSA is a Public Service Announcement; basically a commercial for how dope it is to look both way before crossing the street or how totally bogus it is to burn to death in a fire because your parents didn’t replace the batteries in the smoke detector. And sure, they were pretty prevalent throughout the ‘90s as well and they’re still around today, but the ‘80s, man. That was the golden age of the PSA. There were so many that they clearly ran out of useful topics to cover. To wit, I present to you quite possibly the dumbest PSA of not just the ‘80s, but all time:

Did you watch it? If you did, I apologize because…

I’ve just sucked 30 seconds of your life away.


For those of you who didn’t watch it, here’s the rundown: Louis the Lifeguard is apparently a dwarf who lives on a dining room table in some David Lynchian nightmare of anthropomorphic, fully cooked foodstuffs. Though prepared for human consumption after having been either plucked from the earth or lain by chickens, they remain quite alive and bizarrely cheery.

That is until one of them starts to drown.

No need to fear though, Louis is on that shit. He sees a potato screaming for help as it sinks oh so slowly in a quagmire of sour cream and plucks it from certain doom. Then the purpose of the PSA kicks in as he sings the following:

Don’t drown your food!/In mayo or ketchup or goop./Yuck!/It’s no fun to eat what you can’t even see, so don’t drown your food!!!

There’s a lot to mentally unpack here. Again, the food is alive, but can apparently die if you douse it in condiments. The food WANTS to die, but only by your mouth and then only if you munch it in its purest, most unadulterated — hell I’ll just come out and say it — bare-ass naked form. It’s all very cult-like

More to the point, the sole reason this thing even exists is to keep kids from using condiments. It has no higher purpose. Not don’t smoke, don’t use drugs, don’t talk to strangers, but, “Hey fuckers, consider eating those fries sans ketchup.”

And is this really a path worth walking? To children, vegetables taste like the bitter remnants of their most terrifying nightmares sprinkled with dirt. Getting them to ingest them under any circumstances is a minor miracle. And let’s be honest: that doesn’t change much in adulthood, does it? Vegetables still taste terrible even to mature and refined taste buds; the only difference is that we eat them because we know we have to. Whenever someone says something like, “Have you tasted these Brussels sprouts? OMG! They’re so good!” I want to slap that person in the face and let him know that I know he’s a filthy liar and/or living in denial. Because I’ve tried the Brussels sprouts and they taste like they were dropped from the sulfuric butthole of some wretched, demonic hell-beast that itself was shat from the darkest, most putrid depths of the underworld. Besides, it’s not like adults ever practice what we preach to children. Have you ever seen someone eat a plain salad? No, you haven’t and if you ever did, you would assume that person to be insane and you would not be wrong.

Just look at this bullshit.

Just look at this bullshit.

Salads are terrible without meat, croutons, bacon bits, and some kind of dressing. So if a kid wants to slather some sour cream or ranch, ketchup or mayo on those vile, earthen abominations to make them slightly more palatable, who the fuck is anyone – especially Louis the fucking lifeguard –  to tell them otherwise? Fuck that guy.

That’s only the most egregious example of the commercial length PSA from the ’80s. Go to YouTube and search “’80s PSA” if you want to torture yourself by watching more, but there was another more insidious way in which the ’80s abused the PSA: the “Very Special Episode.” This was a PSA disguised as a sitcom so when you tuned in expecting laughs, you instead got the bait and switch treatment. The results were always traumatizing or at the very least uncomfortable and unsettling. You weren’t an ‘80s show until you had your own Very Special Episode. Whether it was Dudley getting groped by Gordon Jump on Diff’rent Strokes, Arnold and Kimberly getting kidnapped on Diff’rent Strokes, or Sam getting kidnapped on…Diff’rent Strokes (What the fuck, Diff’rent Strokes???), there was no shortage of ways to traumatize ‘80s kids to, ostensibly, make us aware of danger and thus safer because of it. Need examples other than Diff’rent Strokes? No problem: the above quoted Saved by the Bell was about the dangers of abusing “drugs” (in quotes because fucking caffeine pills are not drugs); Family Ties did an episode featuring an alcoholic Tom Hanks(!) getting drunk and wailing on Alex; Punky Brewster did an episode about Punky’s bestie getting locked in a discarded refrigerator and nearly suffocating; DJ had an eating disorder in an episode of Full House; Wesley got fondled on Mr. Belvedere; Mike got offered coke (the drug, not the sugary beverage) on Growing Pains; and, for the love of God, Steve Urkel rapped about gun control on an episode of Family Matters. Oh, and then there’s the time Kimberly suffered from bulimia on — Jesus Christ — Diff’rent Strokes.

This man should not be allowed to care for children.

This man should not be allowed to care for children.

I say all that to lead into my very own PSA. That’s right, this entire rant was a deception. I Keyser Söze’d you. Don’t be mad; my intentions are noble. Please tamp down your hatred and read on.

If you have a landline (and if you’re a Comcast subscriber they practically force it upon you), you’ve no doubt received or will receive a call from Microsoft or Google. These fine folks will inform you that your computer is in distress and sending out error messages and virus alerts in a desperate attempt to keep its poor head above water. How do they know this? They’re Microsoft and Google; they know everything. All you have to do is give them access to your computer and that pesky credit card number you have and they’ll happily steal all your money, files, and personal data for you. You didn’t want that stuff anyway, right?

I’ve researched this scam quite a bit because I get at least eight of these calls per day. Oh, and you cellphone only people sitting up there in your ivory towers, uh, whittling ivory or whatever and silently judging the rest of us? Yeah, they’ve started calling cellphone numbers too.

So what can you do? Well, apparently no one in authority is doing anything about this because they can’t be bothered to give a single fuck. I can only assume there must be some kind of fuck shortage for which they’re preparing.

“Whatevs, I’ll just block the number,” you say. “Ha!” I retort back because my wit is that razor sharp. Block one number, a new one pops up. They’re like Hydra in that way. Now personally, I like to answer the phone and pretend I’m both hard of hearing AND touching myself. That really makes them mad, which makes me happy because I draw my power from the bitterness of others.

I could just chalk this up as a mild annoyance, but they’re ripping people off — mostly older, vulnerable people. That makes them the worst type of parasite there is (yes, even worse than that one that swims up your peehole and makes its home there). In addition, I’ve read that they often say very inappropriate and vulgar things when asked to stop calling. This will not stand.

I implore all of you to mercilessly fuck with these people when they inevitably call you. Not all of you have the time that I do to alternately shout, “WHAT?” and moan in ecstasy to torment them, so I recommend picking up a police whistle or an air horn. When they go into their routine, blow it right in their ear. If enough of us start doing that, the calls will stop. We can do this!

Marriage Equality: Now What?

28 Jun

“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today.”

-that priest from The Princess Bride

“If you liked it, well then by golly, you should have placed a ring on it.”

-from the first draft of ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ by Dame Beyoncé Knowles

June 26, 2015 — a date which will live in infamy…wait, no, that’s December 7, 1941. June 26, 2015 is a date which will live in…what’s the opposite of infamy? Famy? Famosity? Fuck it, I’ll consult my Roget’s later and get back to you. The important thing to know about this date is that it was the date that the Supreme Court recognized the legality of same sex/gender marriage throughout the United States. Of course, seeing as you’re reading this on the internet, you have already been inundated with news about this for the last 24 hours or so. If this is the first time you’ve used the internet and mine is the first site upon which you’ve stumbled, hi! Did you know there is porn on the internet? Lots of it. Go ahead and check it out. Maybe bookmark this site and come back and read this in six months when you’re ready to look at something other than free boobies.

As I see it, the Court’s decision left people feeling one of three ways: super stoked, super bummed, or totally indifferent. If you’re super stoked it’s probably because:

  • You’re gay or you are the family or friend of someone who is gay and relieved to be recognized as a human being entitled to the same civil rights as everyone else…even though such recognition is long overdue. Seeing how some of us are still not over the whole Greedo shooting first debacle (seriously George? You can’t let us have a Han who is a loveable rogue who only acts in his own best interests when we first meet him? That’s why his saving Luke at the end is such a powerful moment! It’s called a character arc, goddamnit!!), I’m actualy kind of surprised it happened this fast;
  • You’re a divorce attorney or wedding planner pitching a raging money-boner (and it’s lasted way longer than four hours now. You should probably seek medical attention) at the thought of all those potential new clients; or
  • You had a sizeable wager riding on the outcome.

If you’re super bummed, it’s probably because:

  • You’re a homophobe or religious type who just can’t stand the thought of people with matching genitals settling down even though it affects you personally about as much as a mosquito farting in a tornado. Do you people just hate pairs? Do you wear mismatched mittens and socks? Are you secretly all Batman villains? Help me understand;
  • You’re a hipster douchebag who was a fan of gay marriage before it was cool and now that everyone else is onboard, “it’s just so, like, played out, man. Lame. And rainbows? Yeah, they’re cool…if you’re eight!” Man, that fictional hipster guy I just invented is a total asshole. Take your wispy-mustached, porkpie-hatted, skinny jeans-wearing ass to the vintage record store or something and leave us alone; or
  • You had a sizeable wager riding on the outcome.

If you’re totally indifferent…I have nothing to say to you. You should probably just take another bong hit and munch down on some Cheetos or Funyuns or something. Pro tip: get yourself a big bowl and mix a bag of Cheetos and Funyuns together for a tasty treat I like to call ‘Cheetuns.’ You’ll find that eating them is like having a flavor tiger maul each of your taste buds into death’s sweet embrace. Go now; there is nothing more for you here. You can thank me later.

As for the rest of you, here is a handy list of dos and don’ts to help you figure out how to act now that same sex marriage is the law of the land.


High five. A lot. This goes for both gay people and friends of gay people. High fiving is the ultimate in underrated celebration. Indulge in it!


Panic. I know for many opponents of marriage equality this decision will be the final straw that unleashes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They’ve been sitting in the green room sipping coffee and making awkward, weather-based small talk just waiting for their cue, and now they have it. Let me set your mind at ease:  if Zayn leaving One Direction wasn’t enough to set them in motion, you’ve got nothing to worry about.


Gloat. Go ahead, you’ve earned it. When the Orioles win the World Series I will be an insufferable prick about it for months. As a straight Caucasian with a penis, that’s about as good as it gets for me. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s liked to be denied a fundamental right for nonsensical reasons and then suddenly have it given to me. That’s probably as good as least 10 World Series, right? As this is not something I can really wrap my head around, I’m just going to shut up now.


Misunderstand. The Supreme Court’s decision does not DEMAND an end to opposite sex marriage. Gay militias will not be coming to your home to make you divorce your spouse and marry someone of the same gender. Of course, if you want to do that, you have the option now.


Be cool. If you’re happy about this decision, you should definitely gloat (see above), but within reason. Have some AMAZING parades and rallies, but try not to overdo it. Actually, you know what? Fuck it; overdo the shit out of it! You can get married now! You too can experience the hassle of wedding planning, in-laws that don’t think you’re good enough for their son/daughter, the soul-crushing ennui of just going through the motions for the kids, and, hopefully for most of you, the joy of spending a lifetime committed to the person you love.


Be a dick. You’re angry. You wanted the Supreme Court to invalidate gay marriage and it didn’t. Be gracious in defeat. I’m not saying to let go of your anger, but refocus it. There are plenty of worthwhile causes to be angry about. Hunger is shitty. Get angry about that. Ditto homelessness. How about getting angry that they won’t greenlight a sequel to the Firefly movie despite there being literally an entire universe of possibilities worth exploring? The point is, there are worthy causes that need your support and, yes, your anger.


Be happy. Regardless of where you fall on this admittedly divisive issue, life is good and worth living. It can be shitty at times and we don’t always get what we want, but it sure as fuck beats the alternative.

Don’t: Call it ‘gay marriage’ anymore. It’s just ‘marriage’ now.

And that’s the way it should be.

Spider, Man

28 Jan

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly; Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.”

-Mary Howitt

“You gotta be fucking kidding.”

-Palmer (to MacReady after Norris’s detached head sprouted eyes & spider legs and scurried away in The Thing)

This was not a blog post I was expecting to write, but something happened recently that turned my world upside down. It was so traumatizing that I feel the only way I can cope with the horror I experienced is to share the tale with you, Gentle Reader.  It seems like it happened only yesterday…possibly because it did in fact happen yesterday.

Spiders (from the Latin, AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!! KILL-ITKILL-IT!!!!) and I have a rather tenuous relationship.  It all started when I was a wee lad of 7. I was outside at twilight catching fireflies and possibly breakdancing and solving a Rubik’s Cube while singing Pac-Man Fever (it was so the goddamn ‘80s).

The '80s was basically this all the time. Those were simpler days.

The ’80s were basically this all day every day. They were simpler times.

As the day’s last light slowly faded and twilight became dusk, I saw a large spider descending from a tree on a gossamer thread. As I was in my firefly nabbing reverie and coming down from a pretty decent Coke high (That’s Coke, not coke. Although you’d be forgiven for making that mistake. I mean, sure I was 7, but it was the ’80s), I thought to myself, “You know what? I think I’ll grab the fuck outta that spider.”

You see where this is going. Spiders bite shit. That is the one and only thing that they do. Well, that and look and act terrifying.



So why did I grab it? I have no idea. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero, so maybe I was thinking super powers?

Naturally, the spider bit my hand and I dropped the black-hearted son of a bitch in an instant. Did it imbue me with any super powers you ask? Hell yeah it did! It gave me the power to scream super loud, secrete saline solution from my eyes, and bolt into the house calling for my mother. Apparently, only radioactive spiders dole out the awesome super powers.

On that day I declared a vendetta against all spiders. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best reason for a vendetta. It’s not like a spider killed my best friend in a knife fight, but it still pissed me off.

See, spiders are assholes. They lurk in the darkness waiting for unsuspecting prey to stumble into their invisible asshole trap. Then they stab it with devil teeth and turn it into the equivalent of the worst Jamba Juice smoothie ever…well, other than wheat grass. That’s just liquid evil.

Pictured: Devil juice

Pictured: concentrated Beelzebub

And have you ever wandered into a spider web? It’s a fucking nightmare. The threads melt right into your skin; you can’t get it off of you. I freak right the fuck out whenever I do. One minute I’m walking through air, the next, some horrible cotton candy-like fuckery is upon me and suddenly the world is ending. My brain immediately starts screaming, “What about the spider??? I don’t see the spider! He might’ve been in the web! He could be walking on my body or nesting in my hair!! STOP DROP AND ROLL!! STOP DROP AND ROLL!!!”

Spiders are seriously creepy and they like to hide. In things, it turns out. And that brings us (finally) to yesterday.

I’m a pretty oblivious motherfucker in my day to day life, but I’m truly unaware of my surroundings in the morning. Mornings and I don’t get along. I need about a gallon of coffee before me and Morning can even be in the same room.

The alarm sounded. Enraged, I stumbled out of bed, took a shower, and dressed for work.

I then sat on the bed, miserable, needing only to put on my shoes before I could leave the house. I put the left on with no issues, but as I eased my foot into the right shoe, something was…off. There was something in there up by the toe. Something soft.

It was the damndest thing. My mind didn’t know how to process it so it broke and I became two people. I had the following conversation in my head in the span of about 1/8,000th of a second. (I’ve helpfully labeled my two selves, Me and Brain. I have no idea who is who.)

Me: The fuck am I stepping on?

Brain: I don’t know, sock lint? Fuck it, jam your foot in there.

Me: I don’t know, man. Feels a lot bigger than sock lint. Even if that’s all it is, I need to shake it out or it’s going to drive me insane as the day wears on.

Brain: Okay, so it’s bigger than sock lint. It’s probably a cotton ball or some such bullshit. Jam your foot in there.

Me: Cotton ball? Even more reason for me to remove my foot and…holy shit – did it just move??

Brain: Are you fucking stupid? Cotton isn’t sentient or motile. Jam your fucking foot in there now!

Me: Fuck you, Brain, it did move! Evacuate the foot now!!

Brain: Fine you big baby. You’ll see: it’s a cotton ball.

I yanked my foot out of the shoe, turned it over and shook it as hard as I could. It hit the floor with an audible *PLOP*: a massive wolf spider. It looked like a racquetball with legs. You could’ve put a small saddle on its back and had a guinea pig ride it. (Can guinea pigs be trained to ride spiders like rodeo cowboys? Because that would be awesome.)  My eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Every ray of light in the universe felt like it was flooding my skull. I used all of my new superhuman eyesight to stare in abject horror at the beast. It was blacker than a crude oil spill in Dracula’s asshole at midnight and hairier than Ron Jeremy’s back and the Wolf Man’s ass cheeks combined.

Dark and fuzzy are the pertinent descriptors to take from this.

Dark and fuzzy are the pertinent descriptors to take from this.

My mind fused itself into a single consciousness once more as if it knew it was going to need full power for all the screaming. And so I screamed. And I screamed. Then for a change of pace, I screamed some more. I cursed at the spider, called him a dickhole, and demanded that he return to Satan’s ass from whence he was shat. These were hurtful things. If the spider’s self-esteem was damaged by my tirade, he didn’t show it. He just sat there and took it. What a seriously cool motherfucker. If John Shaft was a spider, this spider would give him wedgies for being such a dork.

Shit. Is my audience too young to get a Shaft reference? Do I even have an audience? Well just in case I do have an audience and they’re in that precious under-65 demographic, you kids just go ahead and picture someone really cool. Who do you guys think is cool, Neil Diamond? It’s Neil Diamond, right? Okay, so this was the Neil Diamond of spiders. Better? Moving on.

You're welcome, ladies.

You’re welcome, ladies.

I almost felt bad about raising my shoe and slamming it down upon his back with the force of a car hitting a brick wall at 300 MPH. Cool spider didn’t survive; my shoe was all right though.

I know what you unwashed hippies out there are thinking: “Why couldn’t you catch and release him, man. What’d he ever do to you? You think it’s cool committing hate crimes on Mother Nature like that, you fucking fascist?” To you I only say this: it touched my foot, man. What would you have done? Somehow I went to work, shattered. I don’t know that I’ll ever be right again. And sorry for calling some of you unwashed hippies. I’m just all out of sorts.

Prior to this, here was the list of the top three things that scared the living shit out of me in order of scariest to least scary:

  1. Mean ghosts (‘cause some ghosts are actually pretty chill and nice)
  2. Tall things (buildings from which I can plummet to my death, mainly)
  3. Motherfucking clowns (because obviously)

The updated list (as of yesterday morning):

  1. Shoes stuffed with spiders
  2. Mean ghosts
  3. Tall things

Shoes brimming with spiders shot right to the top of the charts. I don’t even think Thriller hit number one that fast. I didn’t think it would ever be possible to knock clowns off the charts, but here we are. And then there’s this bit of nightmare fuel:

This is a clown spider. Somewhere, a sadistic God is laughing manically.

This is a clown spider. Somewhere, a sadistic God is laughing manically.

There are no words. Fuck spiders, man. Just fuck them.

The Drunk Knight Rises

28 Oct

“With great power comes great responsibility. This is my gift, my curse.”

-Peter Parker

“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”

-Bluto Blutarsky

See? I told you it would only be a week and I got it posted in five days! Can’t believe you doubted me like that. I won’t even dick around on the intro. If you didn’t read parts one or two, well you’ll probably be confused. Of course, you could read this part first and then work your way back like Memento. Damn it. The story is probably better that way. Oh well. Let’s just finish this bitch.

An Unfortunate Incident, a Hero Rises From the Ashes

Now that I was good and tight, I was ready to interact with the partygoers. I approached (well, staggered over to) my coworker, Kyle. Kyle was (and remains) a HUGE professional wrestling fan. He liked (and still likes) to reenact fake moves as performed by his favorite wrestlers (Your Ric Flairs, your Hulk Hogans, your Doink the Clowns). Now Kyle was five years older than me (probably still is) which would mean he was…20 at the time? 25? Shit, can we get those Sucks at Math ribbons made up already? However old he was I believed (and still do) that he was too old to be a fan of professional wrestling. I stopped watching at 10 when I found out that shit was rigged.

On second thought, looks pretty real to me.

On second thought, maybe it’s TOO real.

I slurred something at him, God only knows what, and we began to fake rassle. What does that entail, you ask? Basically, you just kind of fake slap and punch each other. Yes, it is that stupid. In the course of these fake maneuvers where we weren’t making actual contact with each other, a fake shove got away from Kyle and he ever so gently kissed my chest with his palm.

Now at my level of inebriation that gentle push was tantamount to getting dragon kicked in the sternum by Bruce fucking Lee. My body responded in kind as I went flying right into the grill. I took it out and landed flat on my back on the concrete patio. Hot meats that had been searing only precious seconds ago rained down on my face and chest like grisly hail from an abattoir. I sat up, dazed. Literally everyone at the party was gaping at me. I offered a weak, drunken laugh then suddenly cold water was splashing all over my body. I looked for the source and saw my coworker, Zoe, dousing me with a hose. “The fuck…?” I managed to mumble and then I saw the smoke. The white-hot coals from the grill had landed on my ankle and smoldered there. This is either the most or the least ironic thing that has ever happened in recorded history: I had lied to gain entry to the party and now my pants were quite literally on fire. And here I thought that phrase was just a hackneyed children’s rhyme.

Too on the nose?

Too on the nose?

Once I was completely extinguished, people began to ask me if I was all right. Like most drunks, I was totally fine with nary a scratch on me. I stood up, soaked from head to toe and the laughter began. A better, more sober man may have decided perhaps it was time to leave as dignity had already hightailed it out of there hours ago. Not this guy. I brushed off my near immolation and stuck around for a while. Eventually Ben insisted we needed to go and he drove me home in my mom’s car. I guess he walked home? I have no idea. So concerned was I for his wellbeing that I never even thought to ask.

The Aftermath

After a night spent getting intimately acquainted with the family toilet, telling it all my secrets, sharing a meal with it, I awoke on the floor of the bathroom to a pair of very pissed off parents and a large railroad spike in my brain. How did that get there? Sure I couldn’t see it, but I sure as fuck could feel it. It felt like my entire body was packed with fiberglass insulation and my throat was drier than Anne Coulter’s lady business. Good God! I have never felt such thirst in my life. Needed a drink. My parents followed me into the kitchen and reminded me as I drank the coldest, most refreshing bottle of Canada Dry ginger ale I’ve ever had in my life that I was due at work in 30 minutes. I laughed, each chuckle setting off a throbbing sonic boom in my head. Surely they were joking. They were not. Going to work severely hungover was phase one of my looming punishment. Well played, parental units. Well played indeed.

I protested, but at 17 my parents still held dominion over me. I dragged my ass into work, my only goal for the day to remain vertical or at least slanted, but upright. As soon as I arrived, I noticed people smirking at me and whispering when I walked by. Apparently, word had gotten out. You’d think a group of coworkers would be able to keep the story of an inebriated high schooler drunkenly setting himself on fire to themselves, but nope. People continued looking at me and giggling behind their hands. It really threw off my grocery bagging game. Eventually my manager (Julius? Yeah, let’s call him Julius) approached me. A smug smile firmly planted on his face, he clapped me on the shoulder. “Heard you went to Liam’s party last night.” I felt my face flush redder than a baboon’s fiery butthole. “Yeah.” His smile widened. “Have a good time?” A small crowd of grinning cashiers had surrounded us. “Um, it was okay. Hey, I think it’s my break time.” At this point, I thought for sure I was getting fired. His grip on my shoulder tightened. “So you’re like some kind of superhero. I mean, you don’t have the best superpower, but lighting yourself on fire with charcoal briquettes without getting hurt is kind of impressive. You just need a name. How about…Grillman?” Grillman. Seriously dude, you couldn’t call me something cool like THE PHOENIX? I mean, I did rise from the ashes, goddamnit. But no, fucking Grillman: the name I would never be able to live down. The cashiers laughed and quickly spread the word that I was no longer Mike or Michael or even Baron Von Sexmuffin (Alas, no one has ever called me Baron Von Sexmuffin. *SIGH*).

Thousands of dollars wasted on tee shirts.

Even with thousands of dollars invested in tee shirts.

I was to be known henceforth as Grillman. By 10:30 that Sunday morning, everyone was referring to me as such. By late afternoon, people who weren’t even scheduled to work that day were coming in and asking me about the night before and my groovy new nickname. I went from mortified, to irritated, to eventually just bending over and taking it. There are worse nicknames, right? Still, man – THE PHOENIX. How badass would that have been? It wasn’t to be. To this day people still call me Grillman. And whenever they call me that in front of someone I’ve never met before I have to tell the fucking story again like some white trash version of the Ancient Mariner. Fuck. There was one perk though: from that day forward, I got invited to ALL the parties. Even the really sweet ones held at the bowling alley. Jealous? Fuck yeah, you are.

A Hero’s Legacy

I swore an oath that day on Neptune’s violently salty ballsack to never make an ass of myself in public again, an oath I was able to keep for nearly five consecutive days. Now I simply accept the fact that making an ass out of myself is a big part of who I am. However, I choose my spots carefully. I’m never going to pull a Will Ferrell in Old School and be the only guy streaking through the quad. [Quick aside: though I appreciate Mr. Ferrell’s dedication to getting bare-ass naked for that scene, I’ve always found a man dressed in a half-shirt, knee high black socks, and nothing else to be an underrated hilarious image. I don’t know why more comedies don’t show that to us. You listening, Hollywood? Get on that shit.]

And there you have it. A fateful mixture of cheap vodka, a wrestling superfan, and hot coals – an ordinary man becomes a superman.  It was my radioactive spider bite, my gamma bomb, my sex with a sentient dolphin (or whatever the fuck Aquaman’s origin story is). I didn’t ask for this power, but now I am forever cursed to prowl the fringes of society. And so I lurk in the shadows. Watching. Until I am needed. Until I am called upon.

To paraphrase one Commissioner James Gordon:

“Because he’s the lush Baltimore deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll mock him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our drunkard. He’s a silent boozer, a watchful barfly. A Drunk Knight.”

The Drunk Knight

23 Oct

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Well, after the longest “one week” delay in the history of everything I’m back to finish my story! Excited? You should be and you are. That’s why I love you, gentle reader, that’s why I love you.

Before I dive back into my tale, perhaps a quick recap is in order. For I well know not a single one of you remembers the first part nor will reread it. Bastards. Sorry, that was mean. I only hurt because I love too much. The recap:

•Using my super-rad twin powers of deceit and shamelessness, I hitched my wagon to my oblivious coworker, Ben, in order to attend a college graduation party to which I was not invited.

For This Guy. You Buying That?

For this guy. You buying that?

• I picked up Ben and tried to coerce him into scoring me cheap booze from a shady liquor store.

•He refused, forcing me to do the deed myself.

•I succeeded in getting a bottle of floor varnish masquerading as vodka (along with some orange juice) and we headed to the party.

•I wasted many, many words establishing the story laid out in the above four bullets. It’s okay because words are my soldiers and they died honorable deaths. If that previous statement made any sense whatsoever it would almost be poetic.

Anyway, without any further ado (wait, is it “ado” or “to do”? I‘d Google it, but I know that would open up a three hour rabbit hole that would somehow end with me drooling and glassy eyed reading plot synopses on Wikipedia of every third season episode of Three’s Company, and having no idea how I got there. Did I mention I have the attention span of a coked-up mole rat? Have you ever seen a mole rat? They look mental as fuck. In short, I really need a fact checker/editor.), let’s continue the story.

"I failed 4th grade three times. What of it?

“Yeah, I dropped out of 3rd grade. What of it?


By the time we got to the party I was panicked. Not being invited, I envisioned the guest of honor, Liam, dropkicking me in the balls for showing up to his party uninvited. That or maybe he’d just ask me to leave. Either way, I’d be mortified (and possibly have a heaping helping of ball pain to boot). Ben and I walked to the door and rang the bell. I steeled myself for the worst: “What if Liam saw us coming up the walk and grabbed a pot full of boiling water to hurl in my face when he opens the door? Man that would eat all the dicks.” In my mind, that was a plausible scenario. After a brief eternity, the door swung open. Standing there was one of Liam’s relatives. Sweet relief! This guy had no idea I wasn’t invited. Now if I could somehow avoid Liam for the rest of the night…

Naturally as soon as we entered, Liam appeared and walked over to us. He was drunk and seemed really happy to see us. There were no questions like, “What the fuck are you doing here?” or “Why haven’t my trained attack bees stung you to death?” thrown in my general direction. Didn’t matter, my nerves were still rattling around. He shook Ben’s hand, then mine at which point I blurted out, “Hey man good to see you. Congratulations! I got you a gift and left it on the gift table. I hope you like it. Thanks for having me!” We had been in the house for approximately 18 seconds. I had no gift, only a brown bag stuffed with shitty vodka and off-brand orange juice. And there was no gift table. As my brain fired a sarcastic “Seriously?” at itself, Liam grinned and said, “Thanks, man! You didn’t have to do that!” Yep, Liam was hammered. Lucky me! I was in and it was about to be on. Time to get boozy.

Party Like a Rock Star: Courtney Love Style

Feeling like a complete fucking idiot for that whole gift table comment and also feeling quite awkward for essentially being a party crasher, I tried to find a quiet corner to myself. That’s what people do at social events, right? Isolate themselves and pound hard liquor? I said hi to the people from work that I knew, went into the backyard, grabbed a red Solo cup (because of course), and poured myself a drink.

At 17, it’s safe to say I had no idea how to drink. You’d think it would be intuitive: pour liquid into round hole in face. Swallow. Repeat. But I had never mixed a drink before. All I knew was I needed to get that low-rent vodka in my body, STAT.  So I started pouring 50-50 drinks – that’s half vodka, half OJ for those of you who, like me, struggle with math. (We really need a ribbon to raise awareness for Sucks at Math. Maybe something in plaid? That always struck me as a confused color. Plaid it is.) I pounded the first drink. Nothing. Well, other than my throat and stomach experiencing a vaguely ‘on fire’ sensation. Clearly I needed to up the alcohol to juice ratio. I went up to 75% vodka (I think. Sucks at Math, remember?). It was harsher than tabasco sauce on a paper cut, but I got it down. Now I felt something, but I wasn’t sure if that something was just drunkenness or the fact that I realized right at that very moment that I was suddenly the most charming motherfucker at this party.



I went from wallflower to social butterfly in about 15 seconds. Still, I didn’t think I was drunk yet. At this point, I started pouring full glasses of vodka with a hint, a whisper, a soupcon of orange juice. OJ was now a delivery system for shitty vodka and, before I knew it, I had killed the fifth. I can’t tell you how long that took, maybe one hour, maybe two, but rest assured that I was dangerously intoxicated at this point, or what doctors refer to as “So Fucked Up.” I can’t recommend pounding a fifth of vodka at any age, but it was an especially poor choice for a 17-year-old with minimal drinking experience. Surely this would not end well.

You didn’t expect this to be three parts, did you, but here we are. The thrilling conclusion, including the event that changed my life, arrives next week. Seriously. What? Don’t give me that look. I swear, it’s already written.

Drunkman Begins

22 Jul

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Every superhero has an origin. This is mine…

It’s time for another story! Since so many of my interesting experiences involve alcohol, I’ve decided it’s time to start sharing them. It may surprise some of my regular readers to learn that I’m a big fan of the sauce… yeah, maybe not. I did lots of drinking when I was younger, but far less these days. In short, I used to party like a rock star, but now I party more like Michael Bolton soulfully singing over a Kenny G sax riff. Basically what that means is that about once a month or so, not unlike the Wolfman, I get into some sort of booze-fueled shenanigans. I’m not suggesting that the Wolfman boozes during his lunar romps, but that I too transform once a month… into a drunken fool. There always seems to be at least one occasion or night out each month that– wait, am I the Wolfman? Hmmm, bear with me a moment.

Evidence That I May Be The Wolfman:

-Have you ever seen the iconic image of Lon Chaney Jr. in his Wolfman makeup with his teeth bared? I have an under-bite just like that.

-I’m fairly sure that if you shot me in the face with a silver bullet, pummeled my skull with a silver cane, stabbed me through the heart with a silver sword, or strangled me with a silver chain, I would die.

-Full moons piss me off.

Holy shit – I’m the Wolfman! Wow. I learn new stuff about myself every day.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ve decided to start my boozing stories at the very beginning. This is when shit moved from interesting to legendary. Before I begin, a couple disclaimers:

1. All names in this and all booze-centric stories have been changed to protect the not so innocent. Well, all have been changed with the exception of my own. Everyone who knows me is already well aware that I’m an irredeemable degenerate.

2. To the kids reading this: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. No matter how awesome these things may sound, remember, I am a professional. Also, wear a helmet while you’re riding that goddamn bike. Your parents paid good money for it to just be sitting on the kitchen table instead of protecting your melon. Safety first.

It was the early ‘90s. House Party 2 had just taught the world a valuable lesson about the dangers of throwing an unsupervised pajama party; upon being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Mix-a-Lot (nee, Gary Mix-a-Lot) released that most righteously patriotic tune, Baby Got Back (try to listen to it and NOT get chills); the Scorpions continued the good work started by Sly Stallone in Rocky IV and choke-slammed communism into the dirt for good with the haunting whistle solo from their song, “Wind of Change;” and my drinking career began in earnest.

My coworker, Liam, had recently graduated from Towson State University, or as it’s known by exactly no one, “the Harvard of Towson, Maryland.” To celebrate this milestone, a graduation party was planned in his honor, as was the custom of the time. I overheard numerous coworkers at the grocery store (I used to bag the shit out of some groceries – jealous?) discussing the impending festivities and that a keg of beer would be in attendance. Holy balls – A KEG! I was still in high school and had to that point consumed perhaps three beers in my entire life. A keg at a party was a big deal…even though I hated beer. I knew I needed to go. Did it matter that I wasn’t invited? Not really. I cleverly offered to drive a coworker (Ben) who I knew had been invited to make it look like he had invited me. Like that? That’s my patented move. That’s right – I invented the ‘dick move.’ You’re welcome.

And it totally worked: I had a patsy to get me into the party, now all I needed was booze. Fuck that beer noise. I wasn’t feeling it. At that point in my life, the only other alcoholic beverages of which I was aware were wine coolers and screwdrivers. Even back then I knew only douchebags, 12-year-olds, and 12-year-old douchebags drank wine coolers. Screwdrivers it would have to be. All I needed was vodka and orange juice. Getting OJ, no problem; getting vodka to put in it? Problem. I wasn’t all that worried, though. See, Ben was also under 21, but since he was a few years older than me, I figured he could purchase the vodka.  He didn’t look 21, but he most definitely looked older than me. At age 17 on a good day I could maybe pass for 11. No way could I make the purchase.

On the night of the party, I picked up Ben in my mom’s sweet-ass ’83 Cavalier and headed towards the liquor store. I probably should’ve talked to him about this sooner because when I asked him if he’d go in and get me a bottle of cheap vodka, he flat out refused. Turns out he didn’t drink and didn’t think I was old enough to be doing so either. I know, I know – what a dick! I couldn’t show up at a party I wasn’t even invited to sans alcohol. What to do…

I’m fairly certain every neighborhood has that one liquor store. You know, the one that doesn’t ask too many questions. Questions like, “Do you have ID?” My neighborhood was no exception. Across the street from the local porno theater (Ah, the Earle Theater; It’s a church now. Seriously) was a shady liquor store with a steel grate in front of the door perpetually ¾ of the way closed. If I couldn’t get booze there, it wasn’t happening.

I parked out front and told Ben to keep his non-vodka buying ass in the car. Terrified (for a multitude of reasons), I steeled myself and went in the store. Having never previously set foot in a liquor store, I had no idea how awful this one was. It was basically the size of a shipping container, half filled with salty snack foods, half filled with cheap booze. I stood frozen in place for several moments, dazed by the fluorescent lights and the gravity of what I was attempting. It was like being in a heist movie only one where nothing was stolen and with more minors purchasing alcohol. Hmm, on second thought, I guess it was more like Superbad and I was playing the part of McLovin. Who knew my life would be the basis of a $100 million movie – a movie for which I was never compensated? I wonder if I can sue the producers of Superbad…

Uh, anyway I felt eyes on me. I glanced to my left – the grizzled, 1,000-year-old owner was staring me down like he lost something on me. I cleared my throat and moved my feet. I even started whistling (Wind of Change, naturally) because obviously there is no better way to imply you have nothing to hide and nary a care in the world than with a hearty whistle. If I only learned one thing from cartoons it was that.

Anyone who has ever rented a porno from the local mom and pop video store (you kids may have to search “video store” on the Wikipedia) knows you never just walk in and  to the smut; you pretend to browse the documentary section near the beaded curtain that separates the filth from , say, Krull and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. In that spirit, I cruised the salty snacks. I scoped out a bag of Funyuns, picked it up, and pretended to read the ingredients while simultaneously craning my neck to gaze at the bottles of fire water. I saw it on the end of the aisle: a fifth (750 ml for you European folks) of Wolfschmidt vodka. Never heard of Wolfschmidt? It’s not the most premium of beverages. In fact, this site refers to it as “the cheap hooker of liquors”; pretty high praise if you ask me. I grabbed a package of Corn Nuts, a Slim Jim, and the Wolfschmidt because when you’re underage, you can’t just purchase liquor. You have to buy items to distract the cashier and he’ll like forget to card you or something. At least I think that was the logic.

Nervously shaking, I brought my mismatched purchases to the counter where I tossed in a pack of strawberry Mentos, because why the fuck not. The proprietor stared at me for several long seconds while I heroically avoided eye contact. After what seemed to be an eternity, he grunted and began to ring up my purchases. Yes! I was home free. Perhaps I looked older than I thought. I confidently pulled out my Velcro-fastened Orioles wallet and removed $20 from the billfold. I held it out and he didn’t take it. It hung there in the open air between him and me, quivering slightly. My confident smile faltered as he once more began to eye-fuck me. He frowned then said, “You 18?” Shit. The jig was up. I panicked, then stammered, “The drinking age is 21.” This bit of knowledge must have completely thrown him for a loop because his face softened. “That’ll be $12.50.” Sweet! I had passed the test! I once more offered the $20 bill and this time he took it. I wanted to bolt, but I waited for my change. He didn’t offer to bag my bizarre cornucopia of items and I didn’t ask. I grabbed my stuff and got the hell out of there.

Next week: the story concludes with the party and the fateful moment where I ceased to be Michael P Brennan and became…The Drunk Knight.

The Big Lies

11 Apr

The 3 Biggest Lies People Tell

{AUTHORS NOTE: You may notice this post is slightly different in format from my usual ramblings. That’s because this started out as an article that I planned to submit to the bestest comedy site on the web, Unfortunately, I wrote most of this before reading the requirements for outsiders like myself to be published on the site. This is because I’m a dumbass. In short, this one doesn’t meet the criteria. I finished it anyway and here it is for your enjoyment. If anyone from Cracked is reading this and wants to publish it, let’s do lunch.}

People lie all the time; we can’t help it, it’s in our nature. In fact, it’s necessary for us to lie if we want to exist in a civilized society. When someone asks us how we’re feeling, we plaster on a faux smile and inevitably respond, “Fine.” We can’t tell the truth: that we hate them for asking that on a Monday morning and that if they don’t walk away now, our foot is going to get acquainted with their dicks at high velocity – people will assume we’re psychotic if we say that. If someone asks me what I had for lunch, I tell them, “your mom’s sweet ass.” Okay, that’s a lie (see how pervasive dishonesty is?). I usually just tell them, “I had a salad.” The truth, that I ate a bag of Goldfish crackers and washed it down with a pint of Old Grandad, is just too awesome for them to comprehend. It would quite literally cause their heads to explode.

We lie to each other so much that it becomes almost impossible to spot. However, there are three things people say that are always lies, to you, but mainly to themselves.

3. “I’m Classy.”

This often comes accompanied with the modifiers, “as shit” or “as fuck.” No classy person has ever had to insist to others that she was classy. Class is generally easy to define, yet hard to spot. It’s far easier to recognize what isn’t classy than to point out what is. That guy at the bar pounding Bud skull crushers and then belching the alphabet? Talented, but not classy. The girl with the leopard print everything and tattoo of Evel Knievel jumping his rocket cycle over her lady canyon? You want her phone number, but she’s not classy. Anyone you’ve ever seen at Wall Mart? Surprisingly classy as fuckballs. Here, let me illustrate further with a real life example.

One evening after work, I and a few coworkers headed out to happy hour at the local liquortorium. We were waited on by a young man named Sailor. Before you get mad at your brain for unfairly stereotyping this guy as a lacrosse playing, soccer watching, Abercrombie & Fitch wearing bag of dicks, allow me to assuage your guilt: that’s exactly what he was. In fact, we spent most of the first hour or so of happy hour (oxymoron?) mocking him for being a supreme frat-boy Douche Lord. After a while though, Sailor began to grow on us. He was actually kind of funny and had a very self-deprecating way about him. In fact, I downgraded him to Douche Viscount once he started throwing back shots with us. So what does all that have to do with “I’m Classy”? I’m getting to that. Christ, you’re impatient.

I don’t remember how (drinking – remember?), but we began talking about tattoos. Sailor mentioned that he just got a tattoo the night before and offered to show it to us. I admit to feeling uncomfortable yet intrigued when he unbuttoned his pants and turned around. He pulled his pants down just to the top of his ass crack and there it was, in cursive script: the word, “Classy.” See what he did there? Getting “Classy” tattooed just north of one’s coin slot is the opposite of classy! It’s ironic! At least, I think it’s ironic (someone call Alanis). Anyway, obviously Sailor was in on the joke. However, I think he missed the part where the joke was kind of on him since he, you know, permanently scarred his skin for a laugh that could have easily been gotten with henna dye. I can’t imagine a woman willingly engaging in sexual intercourse with a guy marked up like that, so enjoy having all of your intimate moments in the dark or with a sweater tied around your waist for the rest of your life. I hope he had no dreams of ever being a plumber; he’d get laughed right out of Plumber Academy with crack graffiti like that. (Can someone please start a Kickstarter campaign to fund Plumber Academy: The Movie starring Michael Winslow and Steve Guttenberg? I will love you forever if you make this happen. Plus, those guys really need the work.)

Still, despite all of the facts screaming otherwise, Sailor insisted to one of the girls in our group that he really was a classy guy. She just needed to get to know him. Such denial. Clearly an intervention was in order. I hope he got the help he needed.

2. “I’m Smart.”

This one is a little harder to quantify, but you’ll mainly see it being bandied about in comments forums on every page of the goddamned worldwide internet. For example, think of a movie you like a great deal. Got one? Good. Now look it up on the IMDB and go to the message boards. Within the first few posts, you should see one cleverly labeled, “This Moieve Suxxxxxx!!!!” The quality of the movie you selected doesn’t matter – it could be Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, or My Balls Itch: The Movie – those comments are lurking on the boards. Their sole purpose for existing is not to make a compelling, intelligent argument, but to bait you into a flame war where the original poster gets to question your taste and call you a moron. This is where you might wish to defend yourself and say, “Nuh-uh, I’m smart.” I hate to break it to you, but no, no you’re not. You proved your lack of intelligence by engaging this sack of fucks in the first place. You gave him what he wanted and he’s thus correct to call you a moron – Q.E. motherfuckin’ D. I saw someone try to win one of these arguments by writing, no shit, “I’m smarter than you, asshole. I’ve been in the Mensa since 2003!” Full disclosure here: I’m not a member of “The Mensa.” I have no idea if they issue membership cards or make you get a tattoo of a giant brain on your penis or what. I DO know that the organization is simply called, “Mensa,” without the qualifying article, “The.”

“Well,” you say, “just who in the holy fuck do you think you are? You think you’re some kind of Mr. Smarty-Smart Smart Guy or something? I hope you get the flesh eating bacteria on your ass.” Wow. Harsh words, hypothetical readers, harsh words indeed. No, I do not think I’m smart. I have evidence that proves quite the opposite.

One fine evening after imbibing a few gentlemen’s beverages, I found myself eating cold pizza and watching infomercials at 3am as I am wont to do. This particular infomercial was for cologne called, “Realm.” Intrigued? So was I. For 30 minutes, I watched confident men discuss the benefits of applying Realm to their naked skin and beautiful women talk about how the smell of those men made the pants melt right off their bodies. You see, Realm is crammed with assloads of pheromones. Pheromones give confidence to men and turn women into nymphomaniacs, so claim the makers of Realm. Naturally, there was simply no way my intoxicated mind could resist. I fumbled my credit card (with $500 limit – jealous?) out of my wallet and called the number on the screen because the internet wasn’t a thing yet (Fuck, I’m old). As I was placing my order for cologne that I had never smelled – its scent being it’s ONLY redeeming characteristic – some much more sober part of my brain spoke up. “What the hell are you doing?” it said. “I’m buying cologne with pheromones, goddamn it! Now shut up and leave me alone,” I retorted. The woman taking my order was a little taken aback as I had apparently verbalized this inner dialogue. Still, sober brain made kind of a good point. No problem, I had this. “Hey, does this cologne smell good?” The woman said nothing. I assume she must’ve thought I was still arguing with myself. “I only ask because I’d kind of like it to smell good.” She realized I was talking to her and offered, “Oh, I’ve never actually smelled it, but yeah, probably.” What a saleswoman. A smart person, drunk or not, would have hung up and shaken his head the next day over the $50 bullet he had managed to dodge. Not this guy. “Fuck it, how bad can it be? Here’s my credit card number.”

I then promptly forgot about Realm for 4-6 weeks until one day, a strange package arrived on my doorstep. Not knowing what it was, I excitedly opened it because, hey, a package. Once I viewed the contents, I could feel my face turning crimson with embarrassment as a hazy, drunken memory wafted across my brain, along with the thought, “Well, you did it again.” Still, maybe this was the one infomercial product that lived up to its own obscene hype. I sprayed it on my wrist and inhaled…

How do I describe the smell? Okay, imagine the filthiest hippie you can imagine – you know, one with a scraggly beard, crusty dreadlocks, who never wears shoes and has perpetually black feet. The kind of hippie who always wears a plaid poncho because he believes it hides the stains (but you can totally see the stains). The kind of hippie who only takes showers on each of the equinoxes because he’s, “one with Mother Nature, don’t be such a square, man.” Now, imagine that hippie died three weeks ago and his corpse has been putrefying in a small, windowless room during a heat wave. Still with me? Okay, now you enter the room and decide the best way to cover up the stench is to pour bong water and patchouli all over the hippie corpse – THAT is what Realm smells like: musk, ass, stale weed, body odor, and decaying hippie. If you hate yourself (or someone else), it is available for sale on Amazon. Just saying.

1. “I’m a Christian.”

Oh boy, this one’s a doozy. This is where you’re either going to fully embrace what I’m saying or completely turn on me. This is THE BIG LIE. It’s often preceded by, “You can totally trust me.” If you hear it, it’s time to hide your wallet and run for the hills because you’re about to be robbed and possibly violated. [DISCLAIMER: I’m not endorsing nor condemning Christianity, or attempting to slam any particular political party, just presenting my point of view.] People from all walks of life are guilty of saying this and then doing things that are the exact opposite of what an actual Christian would do. A few generic examples:

-Politicians who claim homosexuality is offensive to their Christian ideals… and then get caught working the glory hole in an airport bathroom.

-Television preachers who solicit donations from people who can’t afford to donate… because God wants them to be rich? I’m not really sure.

-Assholes who totally cut the line that time we camped out for Grateful Dead tickets because the Ticketmaster outlet at Hecht’s in White Marsh refused to recognize the officiality of campers’ names on a hand-scrawled list… okay, this one is admittedly a little more specific. I swear one of them told me he was a Christian, though.

A Christian is, ostensibly, someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. You know that guy, right? He was The Dude millennia before the Coen brothers directed The Big Lebowski. He showed up and said, and admittedly I’m paraphrasing here, “New shit has come to light.” An “eye for an eye” became “love your enemy;” he raised Lazarus even though he had the preexisting condition of death; he cured the lepers without worrying about copays or donut holes; he turned water into wine because it was a wedding and JC knows how to party; he even threw the money changers out of the temple because, seriously, fuck those guys.

A lot of this stuff is for the capital “B” Believers, but I don’t think you have to be religious to follow Jesus. His teachings are not a bad thing on which to model your life: be a decent guy, treat people as you’d like to be treated, always travel in a posse – these are all good things. The problem is that people conveniently forget these things when they become a hindrance to what they really want to do. Here’s one more hypothetical example to further illustrate my point:

Let’s say you’re sitting in front of your computer reading this article and you really like it. You like it so much you wish you had written it. Who can blame you? It’s fucking amazing. Your envy is understandable and also nourishes my soul (writers are a bit of an insecure lot). But what if it went beyond that? What if you started telling people you helped write it? Maybe we’re friends and you suggested I write the article. You should totally get writing credit because, damn it, you had a thought and that’s the same thing as writing. Maybe you find a way to put your name on this piece and actually place it above mine in the byline subtly implying that you were somehow more instrumental in making this article a reality. You’re a “Christian” though (so you’ve said) and this might conflict with your “beliefs.” Then again, fuck it, credit for stuff is awesome, so you do it anyway. Let me just tell you, you’d be an asshole if you did something like that – a major, major asshole. You’re also a really shitty Christian in this purely HYPOTHETICAL situation. Hypothetical.

So remember, whenever someone tells you they’re a Christian, they NEED to do that because their actions would never indicate it. In other words, they’re lying. Always.

Now, if that’s a fact, tell me, am I lying?

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

22 Mar

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post was copied and pasted from my soon to be defunct Posterous account. If you already read it there, there’s nothing new to see here, but you should totally read it again anyway.

“Nothing gold can stay.”

-Robert Frost

“Game over, man, game over.”

-Private William Hudson

Well, here we are – the end of the road. This will be my final blog post… on Posterous. Hard to believe I’ve been blogging here since all the way back in June 2012 – that’s ¾ of an entire YEAR. The world seemed so much purer then, so much more innocent. When I started blogging (Listen to me – “blogging.” I sound like an Apple Store genius!) back in June, the Mayan Apocalypse hadn’t yet occurred, “binders full of women” were things only possessed by serial killers, and Peter Jackson’s I Will Put You to Sleep and Lay Waste to Your Bladder was still known by its original title, The Hobbit. If you had decided to mark the date of my very first blog entry by getting pregnant, you’d have a brand new, shiny kid right now. Did anyone do that? I’m going to assume that at least one of you out there did, and I thank you. Would it be too much to ask for me to pick your baby’s first name? How about MichaelPBrennan? It rolls right off the tongue and it’s perfect for a boy or a girl. Again, I thank you. Oh, and you’re welcome.

So why am I leaving Posterous? Is it because I’m a word whore doling out sentences and paragraphs to any site that will let me shoot up in their bathroom? Well, yeah. It’s more than that though. See, as of April 30, Posterous is shutting down. For good. All this, these words, this whole place, everything, it’s gone… just gone. (Sorry, turned into Kyle Reese for a second.) Twitter bought Posterous last year and, instead of using it as a platform to integrate and promote their brand, they decided it would be much more fun to go ahead and shut the fucker right down. I’m not a marketing guy, so I can’t speak to the effectiveness of spite as a marketing tool, but it comes off as some Charles Montgomery Burns-level pettiness. I can envision the CEO of Twitter (Gary Twitter? Twitter McGoogle? Fuck it, I’m not looking it up.) rubbing his hands together with glee as he imagines all the innocent bloggers he turned into virtual Grapes of Wrath Okies, driven from our land and scouring the hardscrabble internet for a new home. What an evil bastard that guy I just imagined is.

So why did I even join Posterous instead of a more well-known site like WordPress or… all right, you got me – I don’t know the names of any other blog sites. Feel good about yourself for making me look stupid? Feel like a big man/woman? Is my attempt to shame you working? Anyway, I joined Posterous for the same reason everyone does anything: peer pressure. A couple of friends of mine were on there and they suggested I sign up as well. They said if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be cool. Even though my mom insisted that I would be cool no matter what and a really cool guy doesn’t cave to peer pressure, I just couldn’t take that chance. It’s the same reason I begged my parents to buy me a pair of parachute pants back in the ‘80s. [Quick aside: in case you haven’t figured it out, I have a serious case of self-diagnosed ADHD. As I sit here typing this, I’m watching Restaurant: Impossible, listening to my Christopher Cross Pandora channel, streaming an episode of Walking Dead on Hulu, playing Plants vs. Zombies, oh, and juggling. My mind is all over the fucking place. In fact, where was I? Oh right, parachute pants for some reason.] If you’re too young to remember parachute pants, stop reading now and know that I hate you. I will petition a wizard to grant me the power to steal your life force, not a Washington Wizard, a for real wizard. Besides, I already tried asking Gilbert Arenas when I ran into him in a Bethesda Target and all he did was threaten to shoot me in the face. I can only assume he gets asked that a lot.

Parachute pants were great. We seriously need to bring them back. [How does “bringing something back” work anyway? Are the Illuminati that run the world really just a bunch of ironic hipster douchebags selecting passé fashions to reintroduce for shits and giggles? That’s it, isn’t it? I knew it]. They had so many pockets. You could literally carry all of your earthly possessions and still have room for bus fare. No need to let loose change clang around in a single pocket – you could simply slip individual coins into each of the 73 parachute pockets and zip them closed. Voila: whisper quiet. Well, maybe they did emit a gentle swooshing noise when you walked that kind of sounded like a ghostly moan. And I guess those zippers did jangle a little. Wait… were my parachute pants haunted? Hold on – is Haunted Parachute Pants a reality show yet? If not, I call dibs. Please don’t steal that idea. You know, if I ever get around to writing that reimagining of A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Marley won’t be lugging rattling chains around, he’ll just moonwalk into Scrooge’s room in a sweet-ass pair of whooshing, jangling parachute pants.

What the hell? Did I seriously just spend two paragraphs talking about parachute pants? I swear to God I’m not high. Well, as far as I know. Maybe my work is secretly slipping us LSD through the drinking fountains (it would explain A LOT). Or maybe I just had a stroke last night or something. Regardless, I got way off the point of this post. Here is the pertinent fact: Posterous is shutting down and I am now set up at WordPress. I haven’t moved everything over there yet, but all the bloggy goodness is there and all my future posts, news, etc. will be there as well.

My new web presence can be found here:

It’s less clunky than my current web address, but not quite what I wanted. Just about every permutation of my name has already been registered by a bunch of tax-dodging, Neo-Nazis… probably. Admittedly, I’m making generalizations about people I’ve never met, seen, nor heard of. I’m right though.

So that’s it. I’m done. Come visit me on the new site and sign up for email alerts for when I post another one of these stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Until then…

Good night, sweet Posterous. I hardly knew ye.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

…And Miles To Go Before I Sleep.

7 Feb

Today is my birthday and I felt like posting something profound because… well, do I really need a reason? Give me a break, it’s my birthday. Now my attempt at profundity may completely crash and burn, but hopefully you’ll get something out of it. Either way, just tell me that you did. After all, I have no way of knowing if you’re lying.

I celebrate my birthday the same way most traditionalists celebrate Fesitvus: I reflect on all the ways I’ve disappointed myself in the past year and then engage in feats of strength. The only thing missing is the aluminum pole. I really ought to get an aluminum pole…

I find birthdays to be incredibly odd. It’s surreal to wake up one morning, feel no different mentally or physically, and yet suddenly be another year older. Here’s how the morning of my birthday has played out in each and every year of my 30s:

-I begrudgingly drag myself out of bed, shamble into the bathroom and gaze into the mirror at some old motherfucker with rapidly graying hair and dark circles under his eyes more prominent than the Lone Ranger’s mask.

-I point at mirror guy and emit a high-pitched screech just like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (sorry, that was a bit of a spoiler for a 35-year-old film). I do this because I don’t have a clue who that mirror guy is looking back at me, but that bastard has got to be a pod person. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

-I take a deep breath, sigh ruefully, and to my reflection repeatedly quote Ordell Robbie from Jackie Brown: “What the fuck happened to you, man? Shit, your ass used to be beautiful.”

-Finally, I cry silently for several uninterrupted minutes before I hop in the shower and try to forget that it’s my birthday.

In other words, it’s pretty much a day like any other.

I’m a self-reflective guy by nature and so each year on my birthday, I spend time thinking on the past year and years past. Somehow, I always manage to be surprised by the passage of time. The seconds continue to accumulate, threatening to crush me under their sheer voluminous depths. Naturally, this makes me feel a touch melancholy. But why? Why should I feel bad about getting older when it is so much more preferable to the alternative (you know, death)? Why does it bother any of us? Age is after all simply a number, not a definition… right?

I’ve spent some time ruminating on this and decided that we loathe birthdays because they are an annual reminder of our inexorable march towards mortality. Reminded of such, we lament the loss of youth and wish we could go back in time and lead a more perfect life. Moreover, youth is vitality. As anyone pushing past their mid-30s can tell you, the body begins a gradual (read: RAPID), but noticeable decline. Once started, it doesn’t end until the day when we slough off this mortal coil and cross over to the next plane of existence. Kind of sucks to think about – that every second we’ve spent outside of the womb has brought us one second closer to our inevitable demise. (It may help if you imagine the previous sentence being spoken by a Frenchman puffing a cigarette while leaning against a light-post.)

Age is the wisdom of experience. Based on that, I should be wiser than Gandalf, not yet as wise as Merlin, and with Solomon’s wisdom still light years away. Yet somehow I continue to pepper my life with poor decisions. Some recent lowlights:

-I bought cologne – an item whose sole selling point is its smell – off of a television infomercial. It did not smell pleasant.

-I paid money – cash money, mind you – to see the eye-rapingly awful, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, in a movie theater. If you’ve ever wanted to see a CGI Nic Cage piss fire, well, you probably already saw it too.

-I ate two 7-11 “chicken rollers.” It was after consuming multiple alcoholic beverages, but still – chicken in hot dog form does not occur in nature. I still have nightmares about their odd, rubbery texture.

-I picked up Jaws 3-D and Jaws the Revenge on DVD because I already owned the first two and needed to complete my collection. Isn’t that how hoarders get started?

In spite of all that, my Gandalf-equivalent wisdom is about to blow your mind. See, I think I’ve got this whole life thing figured out. If it strikes you odd that a man with a history (and present and future) of making terrible decisions thinks he has stumbled upon the meaning of life, I don’t blame you for backing slowly out of the room and running far, far away from me. But hear me out; I’ve got this. No matter what you believe (or don’t), the meaning of life – the key to all things – comes down to one simple concept. Are you ready? This is going to blow your mind:

Don’t be a dick.

That’s it. That sums up every religion as well as all moral, ethical, and philosophical codes of conduct. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Jedi – each one has that concept at its core. Instead of, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Jesus could just as easily have said (in his best Dude voice): “Hey man, why don’t you all try not to be such dicks to each other?” It’s the exact same concept.

I’m not all that religious or even spiritual (the heathens always like to break out “spiritual”), but I don’t believe that this is it. I think that there’s something else waiting for us after this life ends. I’m not going to say that it’s quite so facile or definitively quantifiable as heaven or hell, but I believe that there’s a lot that we can’t even begin to comprehend (at least according to High Times magazine – an unimpeachable source). I also believe that how we treat each other here is going to go a long way in determining what type of existence we have there. Our current existence is sort of like an asshole test. If you’re shitty here, you miss out on the coolest stuff in the afterlife. You instead receive the karmic equivalent of a kick to the dick.

So that’s it. That’s my profound birthday conclusion. In essence, live your life, help people if you can, but more than anything, don’t fuck up people’s shit by being a dick. It may be crude, but I think it’s accurate.

Things took sort of a weird turn there at the end, no? Believe it or not, this post was inspired by Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, (one snippet in particular) so I’ll end this post with the words that inspired it:

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

Blue Movie

24 Oct

What? Posts on back to back days??? The hell you say! It’s true. You see, something has been gnawing away at me since Friday evening and I had to get it out. First, let me give you some background: I love the movies. The movies are my life. I’m not sure what that says about me (other than I don’t have much of a life), but it’s true. For me, nothing surpasses or even comes close to seeing a movie in the theater. It is the ultimate experience. I’m the guy who has to be there opening day and I see an average of 4 to 6 movies a month at the theater. It is not uncommon for me to see 2 in a day and I’ve even seen as many as 3, so yeah, I’m a bit of a movie junkie (or loser depending on your point of view). However, more and more people tell me they don’t enjoy going to the movies anymore, not because of the movies themselves, but because of the assholes with whom they must share the viewing experience. I get it, I do. I can’t stand these bastards either, but we can’t let them win. What’s so vexing is that there are but 2 simple rules to follow in a theater:

1.       Shut the fuck up.

2.       Turn off and leave off your goddamned cell phone.

That’s it. Why is this so hard for so many?

Anyway, I had a very bad viewing experience on Friday that I captured in the open letter below. Before you judge me for seeing Paranormal Activity 4 the day it was released, understand that I love horror movies above all else. Most of them aren’t very good, but I love them anyway. Why am I explaining myself to you, Gentle Reader? Just read and know my pain.

An Open Letter to the Douche-Lord Who Ruined Paranormal Activity 4 for Me

Dear Sir,

Wow. It feels weird calling you “sir.” That seems so formal considering the awesome time we shared together at the movies. Still, “sir” is the only apt moniker for you at this time because we never exchanged names. I’ll go ahead and assume yours is Dick. Wait, no, we’re not doing that. It’s too crass and frankly, a little on the nose. I bet your name is Todd, or Tad, Chad, or Sailor – something that appropriately captures your douchey essence. Maybe you even have a mega-douchey nickname like J-Dog or Gator or Barry Manilow.  To make it easy on myself, I’m going to refer to you as Dude-Bro.

Now, Dude-Bro, is it presumptuous of me to assume you’re a complete and total, not even Summer’s Eve, but more like a generic-ass CVS store-brand douche? It is a rather scurrilous accusation to make, but understand, Dude-Bro, you were giving off some serious douche waves. In fact, you broke my Douche-Dar(sort of a radar for detecting d-bags – patent pending) with a single glance. Even without that device, my fists knew. Your face practically called out to them, begging to be smashed, or at the very least to slap that stupid fucking trucker cap that sat so jauntily askew atop your fucking idiot head right to the floor. And seriously? A trucker’s cap? I’m about 15 years older than you (give or take a decade) and even I know that shit was cool for about 5 minutes 10 fucking years ago. It’s all about pith helmets nowadays, Dude-Bro. I thought you knew.

So why then did I sit a mere two rows in front of you knowing in my heart that you were absolutely the type of prick that couldn’t keep his mouth shut even if there were two, side by side dicks shoved in it? Well, remember, it was opening night; the theater was a bit crowded. My options were to sit closer to you or to the negligent monster who dragged his toddler (I shit you not – HIS TODDLER) to see this movie. I thought I picked the lesser of two evils; I was so wrong. Kudos to you for showing me that I’m not yet so jaded that I can’t appreciate a nice surprise.  

Speaking of surprises, you had quite a few in store for me, didn’t you? You gave me a preview of sorts during the previews when you shouted, “Hell yeah,” or “Bullshit,” after each one, sort of a less refined critique than perhaps Pauline Kael would’ve provided, yet effective nonetheless. I like how you waited until each trailer was over and silence had descended once again before giving voice to your feelings. It was really smart because it guaranteed that (1) I’d definitely hear your commentary and (2) it really built suspense. I caught myself during each preview wondering if this was to be a “Hell yeah” or a “Bullshit.” And then you waited until the last possible second to deliver your verdict – what a rollercoaster!

Then the movie started and it was on. The Paranormal Activity movies are about a slow-burn, atmospheric buildup punctuated by tension-relieving shocks. You soldiered through all the quiet though, Dude-Bro, like a motherfucking boss! You knew that I and the rest of the audience needed your commentary during all the boring-ass bullshit. You were only too happy to oblige us. I love how you made inappropriate sexual remarks about a 15-year-old girl and how much you wanted to catch a glimpse of her bare breasts. I mean, you’re like a modern day Lenny Bruce pushing the boundaries and absolutely not being afraid to go there! And then, when you again tapped that deep well of inappropriate sexual remarks when the 5-year-old little boy got in bed with the same girl? Pure. Comic. Genius. Seriously, fuck Oscar Wilde, Dude-Bro, his wit is nothing compared to the likes of yours!

Oh, but you were only getting started. I really enjoyed how every single time the family cat made an onscreen appearance you uttered a very loud, “Meow.” Your comedic brilliance truly knows no bounds. Seriously, Dude-Bro, you could be the next Gallagher! I mean it. I don’t throw such praise around lightly, believe me. I also really enjoyed how you LOL’d long, loud, and obnoxiously every time someone onscreen was injured or killed. I mean, talk about macho! Ricardo Montalban isn’t even fit to scrub your underwear. Quien es mas macho indeed!

But you saved your best, most soulful work for the REALLY intense moments. That’s when you uttered a confused, “What the fuck?” each and every time. I really feel like I learned about you during those interludes. Wasn’t it Plato or perhaps Aristotle who first meditated on, “What the fuck?” Dude-Bro, I had no idea you were such a deep thinker. Pondering life’s biggest mysteries with you in the dark like we did really bonded us. I felt a connection. I’m pretty sure you felt it too.

And then finally, as the credits rolled, you unleashed it – your final bon mot – as if you knew how much I longed to hear it: “Bullshit! I was soooo over these movies after part 2, yo!” What a beautiful ribbon to tie around a perfect evening at the theatre. I hope you find the proper medium and an outlet for your vast creativity because the world needs to hear more from you. You are an artiste, Dude-Bro, and I salute you.

In closing, Dude-Bro, if you ever read this post I hope it destroys your Sarcasti-Dar (same as the Douche-Dar, patent pending, only for sarcasm). If you haven’t figured it out by now, you are a complete tool. You are the reason so many people stay home to watch movies rather than subject themselves to viewing them with the likes of you. Christ, even the asshole with the toddler had the good sense to take him out of the theater and not return when the kid inevitably and completely lost his shit.

Fuck you, Dude-Bro. Fuck you so goddamned much. I hope you get hemorrhoids.

Love and SOOPER big hugs,


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