Monday, December 27, 2010
2010 wasn't the most enjoyable year for the bearded one. But it wasn't all bad, there were highlights to accompany the low lights. I experienced all of the following in various portion sizes. And since I love you, and feel that since you keep coming back for more you're either glutton for punishment or love me back, I've assembled a list of what made this year a hybrid of bullshit and beauty. Raunchy and redeeming. But also, lets not forget that this is our first year together, that is, you and I, us dear reader, and if things keep going right, we might be headed for a Vegas wedding with an annulment included in the price. All right readers, let's roll.
1. Traffic citations
The fuzz got me for $300 after I made the mistake of pulling out in front of a bike cop while making a mad dash to Trader Joe's to get some bananas. Had I had noteworthy cleavage, I might have walked away from the incident 300 bucks richer. I'd have pulled my pants down to show some testicles, but I'm guessing cops respond differently to things like that.
2. Scholastic failure as an innate reaction to the prospect of having to address a lady and her face that was peeled off by a stop sign (true story).
That pretty much sums it up. That, and the fact that I'm afraid of needles and turn into a 3rd grader when I see them during routine doctor visits. So I'll never get to live my dream of wearing a white hospital coat while saying "Don't you dare die on me" or saying I need this or that STAT. So now I just demand things from people STAT. It doesn't work. They just think you're an impatient jerk. And I'll just buy my own lab coat, with those pens that look like a syringe.
3. What The Hell Happened To Your Eye?
I spent my 31st birthday fielding questions in regards to what bug, alien or overwhelming unimpressive siamese twin had decided to begin squatting underneath my right eyelid. There's nothing quite like having a nasty bulbous item grow to a tangerine-like proportion thus wrecking my session I had scheduled at Glamour Shots. I learned a few things from the 3 weeks of dealing with my bulbous facial friend: Nevada's healthcare system sucks, doctors don't like playing "cowboy", and even if you ask very nicely you won't get a ride on a helicopter unless you're in dire straits. I'm not talking about the guys that wrote Money for Nothing. I mean, you're losing lots of blood, a person is getting ready to emerge from your holy hole, or you need to be attended to by guys in lab coats yelling STAT alot.
4. I saw Devo.
The men from Akron, Ohio rocked my ear hymen and reconfirmed that they are the progenitors of nerd rock. Let the whipping continue.
5. I got back the Tom Waits bootleg the (expletive expletive expletive) from the Killers stole from me.
Yes, he fucking stole it from me. He's a rat bastard for that. And I hope he crashes his Lamborghini for doing it. Well, not really. But i hope he gets herpes. But who wins? I do. Cause I got back a recording of Mr. Waits' finest 2 hours in the mid nineties. And you know something? That guy was a creep, not Tom, the guy from the Killers. He liked to watch porn while other people were in the room. Porn viewing should be a solo act, out of general courtesy of others. But El Creepo liked to watch it while other people were in the room and referred to a woman's nether regions by the single worst slang term for said nether regions, that being "the gash". Holy beejesus that's nasty.
6. I found (insert your religious figure of choice you're supposed to find that leads to enlightenment, kind of like Waldo, but responsible for a lot more wars. )
I didn't "find" anyone in particular. Not Jesus, not the elephant with numerous arms,not Buddha. Not even the flying spaghetti monster. I guess i just found balance, enlightenment and a bread crumb trail of happiness I hope will lead to prolonged contentment and goodwill. Let's assume I found Waldo. Waldo illustrated to me that my purpose is being a good Samaritan. But also, I started reconsidering materialism and the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. And I realize that giving far exceeds gaining, projecting love exceeds the harboring of hate. So I do what I can, when I can. And it feels good. I think if i keep it up, that an eternal life of not wearing pants or having to shower because "the man" tells me I have to awaits me. And in my eternal life, the Afghan Whigs playing Gentlemen from start to finish. How often? All the god damn time. Why Gentlemen? Because it might be the best record of the nineties. That's why.
So dear readers, members of Homeland Security and those thinking that my "beard" is slang for a woman that a gay man dates to create a facade of heterosexuality (honey, please, yes I like the Weather Girls, but the Bearded one currently only bats for one team) as we march, sashay or bum rush our way into 2011, know that I love you more than you know and my heart radiates pure blinding love. Like a disco ball spinning to Staying Alive, my love shimmers and pulsates in pastel colored pants.
Goodbye 2010, you succubus of a year. Papa's got a new bag, and it's name is 2011. Cue the Neil Diamond, it's time to get shitty.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
You know, I thought I had you sussed out Vegas. And for the most part I did. You thrive on income mistakenly designated as disposable and the willingness of tourists who are obliged to sit and watch Wayne Newton gurgle Danke Schoen long after he has surrendered his ability to change facial expressions as a result of one too many trips under the knife. Yours is a haven of Ed Hardy movers and tiny dog in purse shakers. My love for you reminds me of those Don Henley songs I liked when I was 12 and didn't realize that Mr.Henley was just a yuppie who drummed for a band largely responsible for the proliferation of country rock. Yes he wrote songs about hotels in California. But he also wrote songs about the demise of relationships, the losing of oneself and I think he wrote a song about Tequila Sunrises too.
So I got to thinking about you when I found myself in one of your more unsavory locales performing community service to obtain some much needed extra credit as a result of my predilection for not reading any chapters assigned to me by an instructor teaching a course that encourages people to run into buildings on fire. I tried to explain to the instructor that I did in fact perform charitable deeds throughout the year by way of dressing up as a storm trooper, while raising funds for a local women's shelter. I do this while wincing underneath the helmet from verbal shrapnel sounding something like "Holy crap, that's a lot of nerds." Then there was the time someone sucker punched Vader, which isn't nice despite how you might feel about his actions in the Star Wars franchise (remember though, he did save Luke so he too deserves a break) but to compound the galactic bitch slapping, the attacker brought along an accomplice to help jump Vader. Vader clotheslined one, and punched the other guy in the face. True story.
When the teacher explained to me he couldn't award me any extra points for dressing up like a Star Wars character in my free time, I was forced to seek out alter options for charitable deeds. I stumbled across a program where volunteers fed the homeless at 8 a.m., every Saturday. I must admit, I was purely in it for the extra credit as I'm a chronic slacker who wants only a C but somehow manages a constant B or A. But I needed those 15 points, so Main Street and Bonanza on an early Saturday morning it was for me. The program is a relatively bare bones one, consisting of sandwiches and coffee in addition to donated odds and ends. All of the donated items are sorted through and organized over a series of tables. And I just stood there and watched as the people shuffled by, picking out various items of varying degrees of necessity. A jacket for the man riding a serious wave of crystal meth addiction, or shoes for a man that goes by the alias Mr. Miyagi. Even still, I wasn't affected till the women and children started filing in.
And that's when you surprised me Vegas. Like any other person you have or will, or need to break up with in your life, its the undeniably awesome, cute, sexy, hip streak or attribute that complicates the complications. Maybe she liked Sonic Youth, or maybe he had a great laugh that contained no snorts. Or maybe she was there for a death, or he was there for a birth. And you Vegas? I thought I had you pegged in all your superficial velvet rope glory or your ability to import the magic of other cities only to dilute it in a dizzying display of a neon lit skid row. And you know Vegas, I was right to an extent. But I was wrong in another sense.
For all that you exude on the surface, you harbor the antithesis underneath. For all that I knew that was rotten about you, somewhere in you someone is countering that odiousness. Yes, you are a transient town where everybody comes from somewhere, just not from you. But I realize now that you have heart, and soul and are not merely what you are illustrated as in ad campaigns and movies with dead hookers in the plot line. i realize you have people who care about and act to counter the despondency of others and that alone convinces me that you have potential Vegas.
So where does that leave us, Vegas? Well, I still think we should see other people. I still think I'd be happier with someone who likes public transportation. Someone that doesn't get as hot as you in the summer. Someone who enjoys a little bit of rustic character in their buildings. But I love you Vegas, I really do. And one day, you'll rise above the din of nay saying and prove them wrong. And by then, I'll be elsewhere but I'll know i can come back and what I'll do will stay with you.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I used to be a raging alcoholic. I'm not advocating it, glorifying it, or otherwise. But i'm not denying. You know that terrible song about how "everybody's working for the weekend"? Well, I guess I was just waiting out the week to end it with an asinine display of equal parts inability to hold ones liquor and an inability to consume that much liquor. And you know, I just didn't make the greatest decisions when I was drunk. And for the most part, I did what anyone put me up to when I was intoxicated. Which is how i ended up nursing a broken nose during the holiday season of 1995.
I was invited to my friend Phil's girlfriends house to drink and watch some movies. I forget the girlfriends name, but I know she was significantly older than Phil, or Chris. Or any of the teenagers she had milling around her apartment. She was 16 years Phil's senior, which in high school seems like the thing you'd want to have happen to you. When you're younger you think older people read the Kama Sutra and have "skills" and nothing seems more edgy than hooking up with your own Mrs. Robinson. Which as you get older, just seems like a feminized version of the guy that hangs out with teens just to mentally block the aging process. I knew a guy like that by the way. His name was Ed. He had the biggest set of breasts I'd ever seen on a man, and he went on to take too much LSD, then proceed to drop trou and run down Stewart Avenue naked till he was eventually put in a mental ward that looked like something Chuck Norris would have, no COULD have, broken out of.
Anyways, we're at the cradle robbing girlfriends house drinking when one of my friends, leans over and whispers into my ear that I should pour salad dressing over my best friend Chris' head. Chris used to be an gold medal winning alcoholic himself, long after I had quit, he continued the good fight. But Chris, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, wasn't nothing to fuck with. I never fucked with the Wu-Tang, but I failed to see a reason why my best friend status wouldn't ensure that I'd walk away from antagonizing Chris with little more than punch in the arm, or something similar. And never wanting to deprive my friends of a laugh, I walked over to the cradle robbers fridge and withdrew a bottle of salad dressing that could only be purchased at Costco, economy sized it was.
I walk behind Chris, lift the bottle over his head and squeeze as hard as I can, but only after I had removed the lid to ensure that the dressing poured all over his head. Chris was one of those guys that wore tennis visors tilted sideways, got tribal tattoos, liked 311. Chinese arithmetic and NASA combined could not formulate how Chris and I became, or remained friends, even to this day. And I guess I counted on that friendship to rear its head and save me from a respectable uppercut. Chris was wearing "fresh new gear" and the salad dressing "ruined his chances with the honnies" that night, so he said. They say that as the salad dressing made its way down his face, the dressing began to fill in the creases in his forehead, indicating he was leaving civil on a shuttle bus to incensed. Chris, now unrecognizable under a mask of Thousand Island dressing, gets up and turns to look at me.
I can't say a good portion of life's firsts are pleasurable. Drivers test, dentists office visit, open wound that needed to be sewn shut, sex. I can't say I enjoyed any of them the first time around. And getting my first uppercut for Christmas was certainly no different. Chris stood looking at me, shrinking in size as his muscles tightened, he stooped over and he slowly released his inner Hulk. I tried to offer him an apology but before I could get it out I was sent stumbling into the Cradle Robber's Christmas tree, breaking a host of gifts and ornaments underneath my weight. You know how in the old country and western movies when a guy punches another guy in the face, the guy getting punched flies back. Well, I didn't fly, but it lifted me off my feet.
He broke my nose. He sure did. The next day my eyes were blackened and the nose was swollen. My girlfriend, a part Creole transplant from Lafayette, LA who loved Sonic Youth, offered only "Who fucked you up" by way of consolation. I didn't appreciate that. And I swore I'd never talk to Chris again. It was 2 weeks after I had been punched when Chris called me to first apologize, which I thought was nice, only then to ask me how hard the punch was, rated on a scale between 1 and 10. I'm not even lying.
So my nose was broken, by my best friend no less. But i'm ok with that. Some people think broken noses are rugged looking and manly. I can assure you, it just makes me look like I had my nose broken. And did the wrong thing to a guy with an impressive uppercut. The moral? I guess it would be not to put anything past your best friend, do your best to not enrage an alcoholic and if you can't avoid taking an upper cut dont let your newly unconscious body land in a statutory rapists Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas, your buddy Luke
Sunday, December 5, 2010
It's poetry time!
When you feel alone
I know the way home
If you want to go
Lets leave right now
This love is an earthquake
One you will not shake
Yours is a steam train
That's soon leaving town....again
I'm running in circles
You're running on empty
Still surely regretting
That you ever met me
But love casts a shadow
That don't always follow
A sweetheart to the chain gang
And on to death row
... and then
you scratch the thought clean
maybe...till it bleeds
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I fully realize you hate, OK maybe not hate, but strongly dislike holiday music like I dislike Garth Brooks and Journey. Sometimes you think stores are under the assumption that piping "Jingle Bell Rock" through the p.a. pumps shoppers up to spend money they don't have like Creed propels a douche bag and Motley Crue propels a stripper. You may have grown tired of listening to the holiday staples long ago cemented into four weeks of December like Phil Collins' star on the Hollywood walk of fame in front of Mann's Chinese theater that is routinely peed on by both vagrants and those who feel that Genesis took a hit when he started singing.
I can't offer you a whole lot of advice on how to persevere through the holidays other than to rethink ill-thought gifts like sweaters bearing Garfield's likeliness (I got one of those), a shaving kit for preteens (I also got one of those), and those chocolates filled with trace amounts of alcohol which I actually tried to buy as a gift one year before I turned 21. Much to my surprise, the teen manning the register was quite the dedicated employee, loyal to his position and requested to see my ID proving I was old enough to purchase the chocolates. I pointed out to him that long before you caught a buzz off these chocolates you'd get a dual treat of raging acne and a diabetic coma. He then refused to sell me the chocolates. Anyways, its a rough world out there in holiday land and you need good music to aide in safely traversing from store to store to bar to bar to massage parlor. Now fill up your flasks and start your engines. Love your ghost of Christmas present, Luke
1. The Pogues-Fairytale of New York
This song is essentially two wretched individuals professing their love for one another whilst lobbing a vast array of insults at one another. Its set in New York around or on Christmas day and begins with the drunk, not the "slut on junk", finding himself in a drunk tank. Jingle Bells it is not, but it somehow manages to convey that sense of unconditional, unabated the holidays seem to bolster.
2. The Ramones-Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight)
This is the mighty Ramones' attempt at a holiday staple. The protagonist is telling their loved one that maybe we can hold off on throwing household items at one another and simply enjoy Christmas. This is arguably the fastest Christmas song you'll discover as the Ramones not only sang about sniffing glue, they did sniff glue and the notion that a Christmas song shouldn't be played at breakneck speed was lost on them. I rightfully so.
3. Tom Waits- Silent Night
Mr. Waits takes a stab at a the quintessential holiday tune of a dead horse that has been sung or whipped to death and somehow manages to dirge it up. I love this song as it sounds like Tom earnestly belts out the song yet most listeners recoil in horror wondering how the singer tricked his way into a recording contract.
4. U2- It's Christmas (Baby please come home)
Blame it on the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" production, but the cover of the classic penned by Phil Spector in 1963 by a Joshua Tree era U2 is a holiday regular anyone, even convicts, can fully endorse. It speaks of Bono's longing for his girl to come home and help him comb that awesome mullet he wore for a good portion of the 80's. But it also reminds you that the holidays aren't nearly as enjoyable or complete without that special someone in your arms, mulleted or not.
5. Vince Guaraldi-Linus and Lucy (Charlie Brown theme song)
The dark horse of holiday tunes, "Linus and Lucy" has the unenviable position of being the theme song to a cartoon about a manic depressive boy who balded prematurely, yet somehow emerges jubilant, swinging and undeniably identifiable. The song conjures up token memories of the Charlie Brown specials of yesteryear. Long before you had the sense to know that "Chuck" should be on Prozac and just assume that Peppermint Patty (future Indigo Girls fan? Discuss.) would yank the ball back before he ever had a crack at it.
Monday, November 22, 2010
When the cop asked if I knew English I knew I was getting a ticket or rethinking ipecac and blood capsules
As with any father, my fathers advice is subjective and sometimes liable to end you, well not you, me, in jail. My dad advocates Marxism and the picketing of businesses. He feels tipping was conceived by capitalists and as a hobby goes to churches of differing religious denominations to debate their version of the gospel.
Not surprisingly, it was my dad who introduced me to the common disdain people feel towards cops. He says some cops are corrupt, savage and in some instances murderers while in most cases they're just individuals working one of societies dirtier jobs. I asked him if any cops are like the cops in the show CHIPS or the Police Academy series and he said he strongly doubted it. I asked what I should do if ever I was pulled over. My dad said regardless of the infraction, always be respectful and courteous. He said an inordinate amount of "sirs" works wonders on cops accustomed to meeting an ordinarily abrasive driver anticipating a traffic citation.
I got my first ticket while doing 92 MPH in a 65 while en route to a baptism in Flagstaff. To be honest, I don't know why I was speeding up North to see my niece dunked in water, but I was. It was me, a copy of Let It Be on CD, which happens to be the greatest album the Replacements would ever record, and 270 miles of open road. I was in the middle of an air drum solo when I looked up to see a highway patrol vehicle following me and the officer seemed quite upset. I immediately pulled over and waited for the cop to come up to my window. It was my first time dealing with the police and I didn't really know what to expect. Do they taser first, then ask questions? What's the go to method of deterrence, mace or nightstick? The cop got to my truck and I just looked at him. To be honest dear reader, I really was scared. I thought he was going to beat the crap outta me. Ridiculous? Yeah, but it's not improbable. It's not like YouTube is filled with tasering reenactments much like they reenact the Delaware crossing in grade school.
So we both just looked at each other for a few moments. He then took out his nightstick and began gently rapping the window with it. I took this as a sign to roll the window down, which I did immediately. He then asks me a question that usually ends with a deportation, "Do you know English son?" I in fact did know English and told him so. He then asks for my ID, where I'm heading and why I'm speeding? Hoping the cop is a staunch Catholic, I immediately tell him I'm heading to a baptism. He then produces a clip board with paper work for me to sign, then tells me to step out of the vehicle. And this is where the way that we, that being you and I reader, interact with police officers differs dramatically.
When I've given the cop as many sirs, no sirs, thank you sirs, may I have another sirs, or yes I call my mother regularly sirs, and it's abundantly clear I'm getting a ticket, then I revert back to the 4th grade and proceed to ask the cop any ridiculous question my wild little brain can conjure up. This usually, not always but more often than not, leads to more questioning on the cops part. Questions that are a cops natural reaction to my questions. Samples: What drug is a straight ticket to jail? What's the highest number of bodies you've found in a trunk? Let's say my friend is holding, am I getting a ticket? If I had to be shot, which gun would I want to be shot with? And in the instance where I was rear ended and an overly inquisitive cop stuck his head in through the window of my truck, I sensed another "what kind of drug are you running" inquisition brewing. So as a preemptive measure I blurted out "I don't have any drugs". That cop didn't respond well to that. My sister dated a cop for awhile and I went hog wild on that guy with the questions. He eventually had to ask me if I had any warrants which I was proud to say I didn't.
My buddy Chris has figurative balls that are substantially larger than mine when it comes to dealing with the police. He has been roughed up, or some would say man handled by the police, but I'd have to say he had it coming on most situations. He had the gall to call a bike cop a pussy after the bike cop ticketed him for running a yellow light. Normally calling a cop a pussy earns you fleeting fame on YouTube starring in your own tasering video, but for some reason the cop let Chris go. Then again, this is the same police department that pulled Chris over nearly pickled twice, and let him go both times.
On a side note: I had an idea on how to get out of tickets that I ran by my Serbian friend Cocho, who didn't hesitate to tell me that I'd get arrested if I tried. Basically, first I get pulled over. Before the cop gets to my vehicle I take a swig of ipecac, which is a fast acting vomitive. in my mind, the serving and protecting part of the officers personality is going to overwhelm the ticket and harass portion and he's going to become concerned about my general well being and see to it that I get home safely. Which is more or less the same train of thought with the blood capsules. I figured if I popped one and made it seem as though I was experiencing a real gusher of a nose bleed, the officer would take pity on me and send me on my way. Cocho the Serbian pointed out that if the cop was to determine that my "blood" was corn syrup based that I'd be in a real world of hurt. He said I could take comfort in knowing that in his country I'd probably lose a finger for a stunt like that.
There's a point coming pilgrim, so here it is. People fear the police and I can't argue that they haven't given me reasons not to fear them. But I have no qualms about asking a cop wherever, whenever anything that crosses my mind and neither should you. I was dressed up as a storm trooper when I saw a cop shortly after I got a ticket earlier this year. I walk over to the cop, remove my helmet and proceed to tell him about my bullshit ticket. He said seeing me without my helmet was "fucking up the illusion for him." The last point is this: That whole adage my pops fed me about being nice to the cops to get out of a ticket? Pure bullshit. I put the spit shine on a cops ass every time and I'm 6 tickets for 6 pullovers. I'll find Jimmy Hoffa's bones and the chupacabra before I find a cop that responds well to my outgoing flurry of sirs. But remember kids, Bobby Fuller said I fought the law and the law won right before Dr. Dre, Easy-E and Ice Cube said fuck the police.
Love yer law abiding pal, Luke
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Solid, steadfast friendship is a funny, elusive thing. To make it through the perpetual changes of life and still retain a few solid friends, thats remarkable. I equate most of life's struggles to a war on what ever the case may be. To me, a declared solidarity to someone seems like a fair bet to ensure that you're coming out intact. If it's your spouse then you're declaring war on the general bullshit life presents be it In-laws, bills, etc., but if it's your friend, and i mean true blue friend, then you're essentially life partners without the protests and demonizing.
Admittedly, there's a lot of shape shifting and principle shuffling to be done as the years pass, and you lose some folks along
the way. Such is life, you accept these things as they present themselves and keep marching on. But some folks are easier to let go of then others. I had this buddy we're going to call Ted Nugent, who I used to pal around with back in High School. He was the yin to my yang, the chocolate in my pudding, the Abbot to my Costello (which ever one was more rotund would be Ted Nugent) or the Boss Hog to my Roscoe. We were more or less inseparable throughout the years and saw each other through many hallmark moments of our adolescence like my offering up my bedroom to Ted Nugent while I was at school so he could lose his virginity to the girl that worked the popcorn machine at the second run movie theater he was a door man at. Or when Ted Nugent witnessed my other best friend perform amateur Rhinoplasty on me by uppercutting me, thereby breaking my nose.
After high school is when things got weird between Ted Nugent and I. Ted Nugent fell in with a different crowd. A crowd that preyed upon his frustrations and discontentment. No, not the Crips. No not even a biker gang, though I think the sole reason a biker gang wouldn't take Ted Nugent was because he had difficulties with math and if the staple crop of the American biker is or was crystal meth and the selling of it their main form of income, one would hope you'd have your sales right when a man named Cobra is asking for his money. No, my dear friend Ted Nugent started running with the conservative talk radio crowd. At first he started off easy with Tom Leykis, who is sort of like the gateway drug to the more debilitating heroin that is Michael Savage. According to Ted Nugent, Leykis' modus operandi is that you should only have to take a girl to Sizzler to get to "happy town".Ted Nugent quickly moved on to Michael Savage, and therein lies the sole reason for the demise of our relationship. Our irreconcilable difference, if you will.
I'm a fairly passive, easy going guy who is extraordinarily difficult to piss off. But Ted Nugent took to reminding me of my "liberal agenda" every time I'd see him and eventually I had to illustrate a point for him. If there is an agenda, which I wasn't made aware of if such an agenda does exist, then I'm too lazy to follow it. I went to an Anti-Bush rally once, but only because it was hosted by a magazine i wrote for and I wanted to see the former singer of the Dead Kennedy's speak. I might vote regularly, but I don't put that much stock into politics anymore so to say I adhere to anyone's agenda would be off base at best. Though I'm committed to the agenda of a guy that makes pizza in Phoenix as his pizza might actually contain trace amounts of heroin, its that good.
As Ted Nugent delved deeper and deeper into the rhetoric of conservative radio, hanging out with him became a test of one's mental fortitude and ability to ignore comments like "When are you gonna knock Obama's cock outta yer mouth?" You know, one's memory starts to wane as the years mount, but I'd surely remember fellating the presidential wang. I would. And I'd want a ribbon, or plaque for doing it along with a large sum of money. Something I could retire with. And it's not simply a matter of differing politics. I support whatever you're into, really I do. Who you rally for means zero to me. If you're a Munchkin and you're pissed off at how the Wicked Witch is running Oz into the yellow brick covered ground, I'm more than happy if you and a horde of equally disgruntled knee high reachers, along with the Lollipop Guild protest and vote for better living conditions. Just don't preach if you're not preaching to the choir.
As a side note, I should mention something that Ted Nugent does when he's trying to belittle you. He starts to say in a roundabout way that you're not the smartest guy around, but completely fucks things up in the process. Sample: You're not the sharpest bulb in the box. It's hilarious and innocent and I love it every time he says it. I have decided that only on Ted Nugent's death bed will I explain to him that spoons and lightbulbs aren't meant to be smart just like knives aren't intended to be bright.
And so it is with dear Ted Nugent in mind that I ask for Hannity, O'Reily, Savage, Leykis and their ilk to not necessarily return Ted Nugent to his old state. The newer version of Ted Nugent,Ted Nugent 2.0, at the very least doesn't leave his porn out for the world to see. (I didn't think the porn industry could top the industry standard of 3 x's, you know XXX. That pretty much spells out the plot, the subplot and overall intention of the film for you. But some innovative, ground breaking cinematic visionary saw a threshold of x's that was meant to be broken and thus released a film whose title was proceeded by no less than 6 X's. I saw this film haphazardly left in the middle of Ted Nugent's room, picked up the tape and asked Ted Nugent if he thought the films ending left room for a sequel. ) No, I just ask the who's who of conservative radio to instill a sense of acceptance of others in Ted Nugent as to make him more tolerable and less abrasive. Ted Nugent's friendship is worth dealing with all those extra X's.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Prince says if the elevator tries to bring you down, well, go crazy or Things to fear more than political landscape change
With the election having passed, emotions on both ends of the political spectrum have been stirred and you may find yourself in a state of elation or dejection, depending on your placement on the political radio dial. You might be thinking that darker days lie ahead, and dearest cowboys and cowgirls, they might. You might be thinking that all your pothead friends that tell you a comet is going to strike Earth in 2012 and there ain't a goddamn thing Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis can do about it and you might as well max out your credit cards on lap dances and fur coats. But when you think about it, there are more pressing issues. Here's a users guide to issues more pertinent than individuals that appreciate Dennis Miller being elected.
1. Creed/Nickelback still retain a loyal fan base. Sweet Jesus, how is this possible? Messianic posturing on both parts aside, theirs is the music of the tin eared. When I hear their music, I feel like they've had their way with my ear holes and if you swabbed my ears they'd smell like the DNA of the lead singer of Creed.
2. Weight gain. I love pizza about as much as I love wearing old pairs of pants. Brie cheese is just as great, but brie cheese might be made from angel tears and heroin for its the perfect balance of heavenly and evil. It's definitely up there in the things that can help you lose sight of your junk while in an upright position.
3. Get A Life still isn't, and might never be released on DVD. In the late 80's, early nineties, Fox had a show that was based around a guy named Chris Elliot whose only aspiration in life was to be a newspaper boy. Fox didn't get it, viewers didn't get it, so it was cancelled. The shows premise is eerily reminiscent of the directionlessness experienced by many the 30 something, with an REM theme song no less.
4. Colonoscopies. You will get one one day, friendo. I'm a 2 time colonoscopy vet, compadre, and they're not that bad. Not as enjoyable as, say, soft serve ice cream or peeing outside, but its not the adulthood equivalent of a trip to the dentist that it's made out to be. Plus, they give you wallet sizes afterwards and Grandmas everywhere are a big fan of the wallet sized photo.
5. Going Crazy. I'm not talking about the "let's kick off our purple high heels, should the elevator try to bring us down" kind of crazy wee little one Prince sang about. I'm talking about dementia. My grandmother lived with it and I decided that Grams has officially checked out mentally when she emphatically insisted that I was an astronaut. I couldn't argue with her on that one. If it had been a janitor or short order cook, I'd have corrected her. But I liked the idea of me landing, or not landing depending on who you talk to, on the moon. But nonetheless, crazy could be on life's menu for some of us. With that in mind, I stopped using deodorant that contains aluminum. The problem with this is you only find these types of deodorant at places where people that normally eschew societal norms like masking funkiness shop (i.e. Whole Foods or Trader Joe's ). So its not at all surprising that you find that when you use their deodorant, you begin to smell like them. Fact of the matter is, while I'm minimizing my aluminum intake, I smell like a Phish fan.
6. Gay people still can't marry. You could argue this point, but I have trouble accepting that an army of KD Lang fans and men who can pinpoint with undeniable accuracy where the watershed moments lie in Madonna's career (I'm going with Justify My Love and Ray Of Light) threaten the sanctity of marriage. They can't threaten an institution whose sanctity was compromised a long time ago, I'd say sometime in the 80's when divorces really started to pick up steam in this country. The sentiments that marriage is based upon are sacred, or should be, but the actual legal process is anything but. And for what its worth, gay marriages might have better foundations than their straight counterparts as when you're denied something for so long and finally receive it, you seem more apt to take better care of it.
7. You're going to lose your edge. You will. I have. And a younger person will be the first one to point it out to you. I was playing the Beatles at a party and a young girl referred to it as "her Dad's music". I wanted to offer a hipster rebuttal, but i realized "Holy shit Luke, you're turning into a middle aged man. When do I start buying Don Henley Cd's"? In spite of that, I run all the time and listen to the Butthole Surfers despite the new sensation I'm experiencing in my left knee I've named "future knee surgery".
8. Back Hair. Most will dodge this bodily stigma of a bullet. Some like my buddy Brian, who possesses a mean swath of thick back hair, won't. His words: It's not the back hair that bothers me, it's the stigma attached to it. Uhm, yeah. It's one of many middle fingers life likes to extend to men as they age.
9. Paranoia while smoking weed. I used to be a gold medal winning weed smoker, till I started experiencing a certain level of paranoia reserved for short wave radio listeners and conspiracy theorists. And I loved smoking too. I really did. You know the wheels in your brain? Well mine are spun by gerbils on meth. Factor in paranoia and I could convince myself that a tactical team composed of highly trained girl scouts, former girl friends and Navy Seals were waiting outside my buddy's house to bust the door in, turn down our Afghan Whigs and interrogate us. What would they get us to admit to? I guess I could cop to an unshakable caffeine addiction.
10. Dane Cook will increase in popularity. There's a Billy Ran Cyrus element of magic to Dane Cook's career as he's insanely popular yet no one I know bought one of the millions of Cd's this guy, like Mr. Achy Breaky, has sold. A lot of America's tastes are formed around a type of laziness similar to lying on your side and waiting for an apple to roll into it. It is what it is. Still, Cook and Carrot Top could tour under the "Two Servings Of Awful" banner, and sell out shows from coast to coast. And so it goes.
Yer Pal, LMF
P.S.: Purple Rain beats out Lets Go Crazy every time.
Friday, October 15, 2010
You know the once ubiquitous REM song "losing my religion" isn't religiously based at all? "Losing My Religion" is southern slang for going crazy, or losing one's senses. I was raised Catholic, or at least there was a respectable attempt, albeit a failed one, at raising me to be Catholic. I can pinpoint when I decided that the Catholic religion was a Costco sized load of horse shit, and I was all of nine years old.
It was the summer of 1989 and I was spending my summer vacation in Flagstaff with my dad Charlie. Charlie, as wonderful a man as he may be, is also a staunch Catholic who abides by all its archaic, sprit depleting rituals and routines. One of the more preposterous routines Catholics entertain is the act of entering the confessional. This is where you go after you have committed an act deemed sinful by the church, or the throbbing sense of guilt the church has instilled in you, and you enter a small, low lit room to tell a Price Is Right Fan/AARP cardholder that you "done fucked up". Let's say you tell the person on the other side of the room that you really love Slayer (and lets be honest, who doesn't)? But Slayer promotes pure evil and the raining of blood (not necessarily bad things) and you know you shouldn't be allowing your soul to be sullied by the likes of Slayer. Gramps, not listening at all but instead contemplating Andy Griffith's career, knows nothing about Slayer and just tells you to go home and do an arbitrary number of prayers to cleanse your soul after listening to Slayer.
I suppose you could argue that some adults could use a moral compass and perhaps the church provides that, but in 1989 in was 9 years old. And there I was entering the confessional to tell Father Matlock Fan that I had....Well damn, I hadn't really done anything. I swore a lot when at least a miles distance from my mothers puritan ears. I had watched the Revenge Of The Nerds multiple times with my brother, but only because he insisted, dare I say demanded, multiple viewings as he seemed to really enjoy scenes with gratuitous shots of gratuitous 1980s pubic hair (i.e., big bushes) and the panty raids. These scenes instinctively led me to cover my eyes because unlike my brothers roaring hormones, mine were still lying dormant and naked women were still strictly filed under "gross". But I figured I should mention that movie and my dropping of copious amounts of F-Bombs to Father "Cocoon" Extra. He mumbled something about this many Hail Mary's and that many Our Fathers, I gave him the thumbs up and walked out of the confessional.
My father noted that my confessional time clocked in at less that 2 minutes. I explained to him that I didn't really have much to fess up to, so it was more of a drive thru f-bomb thing, and less of a murder/cannibalism sit down and fess up to a whole lot thing. He said he knew why I rushed through confessional, and it's because of that damned ring.....Ah yes, the ring. My sister was dating a guy that dressed like a biker, only like many guys that dress like bikers, didn't have a motorcycle, a job and was probably incarcerated at some point. Carey the Faux-Biker was no different. He was nice enough to me though. Nice enough to give me a ring that no 9 year old should have been walking around with on his or her hand. It had all the adornments a biker could ask for in their jewelry: spikes, kaiser helmet, skull. And I really loved the ring as I knew no biker gang would ever have me, not even to run their bake sale. Yes as much as I loved the ring, I had misplaced it somewhere in my Dad's enormous Station Wagon. So I had to locate my ring as it was as close as I would come to being a threatening, Hog riding, Motorhead listening biker, which is a phase substantially worse than your gothic or new wave haircut phase.
But yes, Charlie was right. My mind was not on my salvation, but fixated on that ring and how badly I wanted to wear it into my 4th grade class to lessen the amount of times I was referred to as "Lukey Dukey". So not being the type of Catholic to allow half-hearted confessionals, Charlie told me to "get my ass back in there". This is where my bull shit detector sailed into the red. I was cashed out as far as sins to divulge were concerned and I was being sent back into to tell Father Matlock Fan a fresh batch of indiscretions? To do this, I'd have to make things up as I really was a good kid and didn't do too many bad things. I could own up to the JFK assassination, expound at great length on how much I love all of those records Ozzy did with Black Sabbath and try in vain to convince a man of the cloth that if he gave War Pigs a chance, he might see its an anti-war song, which is something his man Jesus could get behind.
Instead, I just went into the confessional and remembered that my sisters had sent me to the store to get candy bars and soda, only to short change me. Lest I return home missing something my sisters had asked for, I decided to steal a candy bar. I mentioned that to the priest, who recognized my voice and asked "back so soon?" Seeing how I was repeat offender, he upped the number of Hail Mary's and Our Fathers and told me to "be good out there". I said "I will, uhm, Father". It was the last time I was in a confessional and one of the last times I was in a Catholic church. I could be wrong, but take your God of choice and ask them if they give a good God damn, no pun intended, whether or not I watched the Revenge of the Nerds, or dropped the F-Bomb? Ok, I know, the Baby Ruth. I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry for that one., but not the others. But you factor in the irrelevance in what I had done, and then my having to fess up to said god's representative in a room slightly larger than a closet and it starts to seem utterly ridiculous.
After that I stopped buying into Catholicism and started to rethink spirituality along with organized religions. I know you're looking for a morale of this story, dear readers, so lets see....Uhm, well, first off, if you're going to get into a fight that could result in a nights stay in jail, wear a biker ring as whoever gets hit by one of those things is definitely calling into work the next day. Also, if you're going to sin, and tell a man of the cloth about it afterwards, sin big. I'm not saying rob a bank, just go hog wild without committing murder or federal offenses. And lastly, know that while it is a wonderful film, Revenge of The Nerds is not worth eternal damnation. Congregation, please rise.....
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Upon entering my junior year in high school I thought that I should begin familiarizing myself with the inner workings of an automobile to better prepare myself for adulthood. I enrolled in Auto 101 as my knowledge of an automobile was non existent and I wanted to start with the basics such as an oil or tire change. What I got instead was enrolled in Auto 103, solely by human error, one of which no one at Western High School seemed all that eager to correct. I went to my counselor who was a burned out hippy who met my demand to be placed in an entry level class with the memorable line of "What do I look like, the appropriate class fairy?" My friend Dominic convinced me to stay in the class and that it'd be an "easy A dude". I didn't get an A, or a B, or a C or even a D in that class. I got an F. And apparently the F stood for fag, which is what I was referred to by numerous people in that class. Or some bastardization of my last name, something along the lines of Fretecinni, or Lucobuttafuco. Either way, it was a soul sucking experience that, for me, clarified why kids enter schools with assault rifles. Not that I was handy with a rifle. I wouldn't even feel comfortable cleaning a gun. But I could see why and how kids get to that stage.
Around this time, I had become quite the accomplished baker and shoplifter. Most people can only manage to excel at one or the other. Both taking a certain amount of finesse, skill and outright love for the craft. I'd bake to release steam after getting home from another day of spiritual gang rape at my high school. My focus was on cookies, with a minor in assorted cakes. I'd shoplift mostly at convenience stores, primarily gum, mints and magazines. I knew guys that did beer runs which wasn't my forte at all. If I was going to shoplift, it was with the intent to make my breath smell better, not get sloshed.
After an intense period of hazing at the hands of a few of my classmates, I went home and began to plot my revenge and the exacting of it. While I furiously rolled another batch of cookie dough into a dozen balls per cookie sheet, I experienced an epiphany: What if i bridged the gap between my two favorite extracurricular activities, shoplifting and baking and poisoned the the entire class? Well, ok, not poison, that's crazy talk. I was thinking more along the lines of baking (there's one skill) several dozens of cookies with industrial amounts of of Ex-Lax (shoplifted, of course, there's the other skill).
Not wanting to enter any prolonged period of incarceration, or compromise my ability to become a shriner when I got older, I worried about the legality of feeding an unsuspecting class of assholes cookies that would cleanse them of just about everything but their liver and soul. I reckoned the one to ask about such matters would be my Mom (I never said I was the sharpest kid). It went more or less like this: Me: Mom, lets say someone slips an entire class tainted cookies. What kind of time is that kid looking at? Mom: Luke, you will go to prison. Do you know what happens to people like you in prison? And I did. Yeah they come out with sweet tattoos and and big and buff, but its the showers and shiv's that concern me. Not to be deterred though, I went ahead with Operation: Auto Shop Colon Blow.
I baked the high powered cookies and brought them into auto shop. The other students saw them and started asking me for a cookie, some of them double fisting the cookies. You'd think it was strange for a guy to walk into an auto shop with several dozens of cookies, but seeing how the other elective I took was Home Economics, it made a great deal of sense. I have to admit that I felt bad when the innocent bystanders and the instructor took cookies, but in situations like these they're referred to as collateral damage and I wasn't in the position to single out those who could and couldn't partake of my delicious cookies. A few buddies in class knew about what I was doing, as did some of my teachers. I had teachers write in my yearbook that I should avoid feeding the general public in the future.
Looking back, do I feel bad? I suppose so. Did Auto Shop 103 have it coming as a whole? No, but a few did. I dunno, whats the worst that happened? I know a few of them didn't come to school for a few days. And a few of the main offenders found out about what I did, and thought it was hilarious. I'm just thankful I wasn't caught. And for both my pacifism and lingering love for baking. They both have served me well.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Once upon a time I was a kid who really really loved Halloween, possibly more than Christmas. Essentially, its the only day of the year you get to knock on someone's door, let alone a whole neighborhood's worth of doors, while dressed up like a werewolf and expect,no demand, they give you something for your effort in interrupting their dinner or viewing of American Idol. As we get older we reevaluate our willingness to do the things we'd otherwise dive head first into as younger versions of our older selves. I myself have thought about whether I'd spend an afternoon and on into the late evening methodically knocking on every door in the 89110 zip code of less than fabulous East Las Vegas all in the name of going home with a pillow case filled with the stuff that ensured my dentist would remain gainfully employed through my teenage years. And sadly, I have to say that the notion of doing all that walking for a bag of Smarties and the red headed step child of all Halloween candy, the orange or black "peanut butter" flavored candy, the true calling card candy of the tight wad, really just doesn't make sense to me anymore. Candy is to kids as prunes and fiber and the Price is Right is to the elderly. Very demographically oriented, which makes total sense. To that end, in anticipation of your Halloween candy purchases, I'd like to assist you in ensuring you make the right decision.
1. Chocolate: Nothing says big spender like a sports car in the drive way and a bowl full of chocolate of varying brands. On the occasion I'd stumble across a house where they were giving out full candy bars. It's amazing what a fifty cent candy bar means to a little kid, and I always assumed these types of people were loaded. The thought of changing costumes to return for multiple bars always crossed my mind. Remember: Chocolate is a win win. Unless its the retarded younger sister of chocolate which goes by the name of....
2. Tootsie (anything, roll, pop, etc..)
Another preferred tightwad staple, these candies tell the sugar to step aside and take the heavy lifting of dental destruction on as a labour of love as they rip out your fillings while confusing your tongue with what initially tastes like chocolate, only a much lesser version. Chocolate is Van Halen with David Lee Roth. Tootsie Rolls are Van Halen with Sammy Hagar or that guy that sang for Extreme.
I know at some point in the early 80's the candy companies spread an urban legend that people were sticking razor blades in apples. Needless to say, no one gave our fruit or let their friends take it. The average kid is going to wait till you close your door and do something ornery with the fruit, unless its me and the fruit in question is a pomegranate and then I'd do nothing but savour it as pomegranates are both expensive and delicious. But most kids are taking that apple and tossing it in your yard, at your dog, or stuffing it in your mailbox. Skip the fruit.
4. Orange and Black Peanut Butter Candies
Giving these to kids is the equivalent of paying them minimum wage for their trick or treating efforts. It's quite possibly the closest you can come to a candy equivalent of $4.25 an hour. I worked for $4.25 an hour, and it felt a lot like what I experienced when I'd dump out my candy at the end of a long evening of intense trick or treating only to find 2 pounds of these sons-a-bitches hiding at the bottom of my sack. My mom always brings up the kids in Africa and how they'd eat anything. They might pass on these as they try to proximate the flavor of peanut butter, with the texture of wet concrete.
5. Leaving a bowl of candy on the porch with a "take one" sign next to it.
Are you serious? This happened to me plenty of times and I'd like to say I did the good Samaritan thing which is to take a single pack of "Bottlecaps", then leave the rest on the doorstep. Kids are by nature, not thoughtful. And I certainly wasn't either, so I'd lift the bowl to my pillowcase and I'd proceed to dump the entire contents of the bowl in. The entire premise aims to take kids on their honor, and if the entire night is built on getting yours while dressed like a ninja, well then, I just did what I was supposed to do.
So that's a rough look at the candy spectrum, from crap to quality. There's some perennial favorites (Nerds! Pop Rocks, Blow Pop's) and others that somehow fought the good fight and managed to find their way into my pillowcase year after year (Smarties, Dum Dum's, Brachs Butterscotch candies, the preferred candy of eighty year old men). I'd like to thank all of those who have given and given well when it comes to your candy of choice. It's the chocolate that makes the blisters and blindly knocking on your neighbors door dressed as a 4 foot Frankenstein worth the effort. And for those about to trick or treat, I salute you.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
For Valentine's Day 1994, I bought my then girlfriend April Apple (honest to goodness) a Dinosaur Jr. shirt depicting a man raising a meat cleaver that was dripping with blood. I had to go to a local record store to trade a Metallica box set for the shirt as I had no money, Valentine's Day was fast approaching and my only asset was a Metallica box set. So my mom drove me to Record City to get the shirt. I came out of the record shop, excitedly holding the shirt I knew was going to be the Valentine's Day gift that rendered chocolates, flowers and cliche ridden poems obsolete. Blood diamonds, or a seminal shoe gazer band's shirt? Ladies I know the answer.
I showed my mother the shirt and my mother, bless her heart, was always one to offer a blend of advice that straddled a line between your garden variety parental advice, and unfiltered questioning of my general mental state that landed somewhere in the vicinity of "are you fucking crazy" a few times. I did ask my mom how I'd go about joining the Black Panthers. I was genuinely interested in becoming one as I thought they had a respectable image while being fully capable of backhanding someone. I had never backhanded someone, nor worn a beret and I was fully interested in pursuing both interests. My mom's response? Are you fucking crazy?
So anyway, I showed my mother the shirt and her response was: "Are you really going to give that to your girlfriend? What kind of girl would want that shirt? And what happened to that man's head? And why is he holding a cleaver? Are you on drugs, Luke? My responses were: Yes I'm going to give this shirt to April, not that I'll ever see her without it or any other shirt on as April had taken a vow of celibacy which didn't sit well with my raging teenage hormones. As for the man's head or the cleaver, there's just no telling. And the drugs? I smoked a heroic amount of weed in the 9th grade, which was a substantial factor in my failed attempt at passing Algebra.
I gave April the shirt and she loved it. She gave me a Rage Against the Machine CD and I loved it as well. We dated for a few more months and then we broke up. Shortly after she began dating an eccentric skateboarder who later knocked her up while she was still in high school. Looking back, if my desire to get laid could have overcome my fear of breaking bones, or road rash requiring more than a band aid, I'd probably have been a decent skate boarder. But I wasn't. And those who were made out like rabbits. Moral of the story? I'm not sure. I suppose you could say that gifts (especially Valentine's Day gifts as the holiday is a farce no one with a set of testicles really fully endorses, they just play the game as it's the path of least resistance to seeing the woman or man of their choice in various states of undress) should be more about feeling and true sentiment and not monetary value. People lose sight of that as they age. See, I wasn't fucking crazy.
Friday, September 17, 2010
As my infatuation with bowling grew, I began to feel like I needed an outfit that warned the general public that I had come not only lacking the basic skills to be an average bowler, but that I reveled in and enjoyed my mediocrity. I wanted my friends to pony up the money to get matching bowling shirts but no one felt the same exuberance and affinity that I did for bowling. So I lowered my sights from shirts to pants to simply shoes. I knew what the shoes had to look like. They had to be 2 parts rockabilly flames and 1 part stolen bowling shoes. I did a lot of things the average good Samaritan would frown upon when I was younger, and stealing bowling shoes was certainly one of them. But I needed some bowling shoes, and Sam's Town wanted to loan them to me indefinitely.
After I had procured a well worn, stinky pair of size 11 bowling shoes, I took them to my airbrushing friend to give them the appropriate flames that would shoot their state of existence from aged and stinky to what the equally stinky hippies in Flagstaff that saw my shoes called "mad money". Confusedly, I took that as a good thing. And after Andy worked his voodoo magic on my shoes, they were every part the side arm to my loan ranger, the garish gold jewelry to my Mr. T, the furry thong to my He-Man. I loved those shoes. I still do. Only, now I can merely love one of them. The left one, to be specific.
Awhile ago I was cleaning up the garage and put the other shoe, the right shoe, in a box that i intended to sort through and give the bulk of its contents to the Salvation Army. Somehow the box found its way to the porch where an unaware Salvation Army representative found it unbeknownst to him containing half of the holiest pair of bowling shoes ever worn. They say the pope and many preachers love to wear insanely expensive Italian shoes. I say fuck that! These shoes screamed brimstone and fire. Remember that Ozzy song "Miracle Man"? No? Well i washed plenty of dishes to it, so I do. He mentions brimstone and fire in that song, and you know that he's talking of that deep south, raise the roof off the sucka evangelical madness, and with the right hair, and right suit, these shoes would have completed the preacher ensemble.
Oh right, the Salvation Army....anyways so I immediately notice that the box was gone, along with my shoe. I called the Salvation Army and proceeded to have the following conversation with operator, who may have had the best intentions but did little more than mock my anguishing over my lost right shoe.
Salvation Army Operator: Salvation Army
Luke: Yes, I'm calling about a box that was accidentally picked up, that contained a shoe of mine.
Salvation Army Operator: A single shoe sir? Why do you want a single shoe back?
Luke: Well, it's a bowling shoe that I have certain connections to. I feel very strongly about that shoe.
Salvation Army Operator;: What does the shoe look like? Can you describe it for me?
At this point I realized she was fucking with me, and had no intention of helping me find my shoe. She just wanted me to pour out my heart about the shoes flames and yellow laces, which I did. She also started laughing, not out right belly laughing, but subdued laughing not unlike the sort that goes on at funerals or weddings when you shouldn't be laughing. I made a mental note of this as to remember what charity should and shouldn't get my old Motley Crue shirts and corduroy pants when the appropriate time arrives.
Salvation Army Operator: Flames? Wow, that sounds like a fancy shoe. Thing is, we gets thousands of items everyday and to search through dozens of trucks to find a single shoe is probably not something any of our workers would want to do.
Luke: Well can't you put out an A.P.B., you know, to really get the word out?
Salvation Army Operator: Sir, we're not the police, that's not what we do. I can ask around and maybe one of the truckers might have seen the shoe, but I'd say your chances of getting the shoe back are probably very slim. I'm sorry darlin'.
Needless to say, when it came time to part with my Motley Crue tour shirts and extensive collection of corduroy pants, the Salvation Army was not notified. It's hard to keep an eternal middle fingered extended in the general direction of a charitable organization, but I try my best. Oh lord do I try.
My beloved right, flame covered bowling shoe, RIP
Monday, September 13, 2010
It all started with my shortcomings. It was the summer after I had graduated from high school and i was suddenly blessed with a wealth of free time and no certain direction in life. I found myself spending more time with other individuals on their own undefined paths in life. Through boredom, or out of the necessity of frugality, we all started bowling together. I was never much of an athlete as someone of my build and abilities is better suited for working the Hot Dog on a Stick pump. Sports of every persuasion were never in my blood and I was fine with that. But bowling was different. Bowling is like a beacon of athletic achievement hope to the broken backed, overweight, chili cheese fries eating masses. It's essentially the only sport a pear shaped man can ever hope to excel in. Which was exactly what I wanted in my competition, ridiculously lowered standards and adversaries with beer bellies.
I'd like to say I was the Rocky Marciano of bowling, the greatest there ever was. But i just wasn't. Still, I took bowling seriously. Very seriously. You can't discount the small things in life, and just like anyone else, I like to win. Even if it is at the hands of a group of sub par bowlers. Having always had the upper body strength of an 85 year old man, or 10 year old girl depending on your outlook, I had to improvise in my rolling technique. I'd build up momentum and force by running about 15 feet up to the line where a sane bowler would normally roll and then I'd let the ball roll. Did this make even the slightest, discernible difference in my scores? Probably not. Did it render me vulnerable to attacks by lesser bowlers? Absolutely! Would this maverick approach to the plumbers sport nearly land me in a correctional facility? Sort of.
"He might have to go to the hospital, Luke". I remember being told that and recalling all the movies I'd seen with a man being loved in all the wrong ways in prison and how I thought that if I could set aside moral, ethical, vaguely religious issues aside, the main deterrent in my avoiding incarceration is the sanctity of my ass hymen being desecrated by a man serving life in jail. You see, just 15 minutes prior to seeing my friend blacked out on the floor of the bowling alley at Sam's Town, I was leading the game and needed to pick up a spare in the final frame to insure I was going to win. For whatever reason, there was an
unproportionate amount of beautiful women to strange looking men at the bowling alley on this night. I didn't pay the women much regard as I ran to toss my ball at the remaining bastard pins that stood between me and another small victory. At this time my childhood friend Chris decided he'd stick his leg out and send me sliding down the lane, ball in hand. Now all those women were shrieking and laughing like they were at a male strip club. One minute the bowling alley sounds like a wake, and the next it's One Night At The Apollo. A regular chucklehouse. It was the laughing that sent me over the edge, and I went into a fit of rage comparable to that of a small dog, more annoying and less intimidating.
I managed to exit the lane but not before falling again as the lane itself is extremely slippery and not intended to be stood on , or exited. As I made my way back to the group of fellow bowlers I saw my buddy Chris sitting there with a look of self-satisfaction chiseled onto his face. Upon seeing his smug expression, I lifted up my 13 pound ball and tossed it at him. I was ok with my actions till I realized where the ball was heading. Chris was seated and the ball landed directly in his lap. My soon-to-be-unconscious friend blacked out and hit the floor of the bowling alley. Gone were the unencumbered sounds of laughter at my expense only replaced by a now angry mob calling for my head. Life is funny like that. I had thought that after all those women witnessed my retaliation they'd hoist me high above their heads like the Ewoks lifted C3PO over theirs.
But no, everyone was calling me an asshole, which I certainly was for having did what I had done. But I wasn't concerned about what the now enraged bowling female masses thought of me. I was preoccupied with the probability of Chris being able to be make future performances in the bedroom or father children. After Chris came to, he crawled into the men's room to do some damage assessment. One of our friends followed him in, then emerged from the bathroom to inform us that the ball had merely landed on "the shaft and not ruptured his balls but I guess his shaft is black and blue".
A little while later Chris left the bathroom to return to our lane. I apologized profusely, not having intended to maim anyone while bowling that night. Chris reminded me of the time in December 1995 when he broke my nose with a fairly impressive uppercut. He said my dropping a bowling ball on his manhood should just about even us up. I thought that was fair.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Throughout the summer of 1992 I worked at The Downtown Diner in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. I was 13 years old. The owner of the diner was a Hawaiian man by the name of Dave, who incidentally was missing a digit after an unfortunate run in with a meat slicer and who was also a friend of my brothers. My brother happened to be the head cook who looked handsome even in a hairnet. My brother suggested to Dave that I wash dishes at the diner for extra money while I spent my summer in Flagstaff contemplating puberty, my rapidly expanding collection of Motley Crue tapes and all those bottomless hippy women I saw in Sedona who seemed to live in total disregard for grooming of the nether regions.
Dave hired me and I was quite content to spend my days listening to the speed metal cassette tapes the cook and his crew played while I was feverishly pumping out dish load after dish load. Sometimes I'd look at the Misfits postcard taped above the grill where all the meals were prepared. Other times I'd take a genuine interest in seeing first hand what is done to the food of the complaining patron. I'd have said my career as a dishwasher at a diner in a town loaded with hippies looked promising till the owner hired his sister-in-law who was an incredibly attractive bohemian of a woman complete with a nose ring, nice form fitting skirts and tasteful cassette tapes that offered me reprieve from the onslaught of Suicidal Tendencies and early Slayer I was quickly growing tired of.
Her name was Karen. She was in her mid twenties, which I saw as a mere technicality as I knew once she witnessed my dishing washing skills everything else would fall into place. One day she asked the cooking crew if she could enter two new cassettes into the rotation. The cassettes were Lenny Kravitz' Mama Said and U2's Achtung Baby. Despite my musical tastes being firmly situated somewhere between Warrant and Motley Crue, I recognized these two cassettes as being brilliant and liked Karen even more so. I often believed that my dish washing prowess ultimately thrived when Achtung Baby was played as it possessed all the melodies and beats that good dish washing music should, as opposed to Slayer's Reign in Blood which made the cooking crew work at a breakneck pace but made me yearn for more of Karen's tapes.
I'd say things were going well with Karen and i till the day I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake (all of which were normally provided to me free of charge by my brother the cook) and my beloved Karen charged me for the entire meal without even offering me a discount. She did mention that she didn't charge me for the bacon, though she should have. I thought pointing out that she overlooked the bacon was patronizing and I knew I couldn't love a woman who charges me for the very food I need to continue the crusade of washing the tsunami of dishes being pushed my way. I can't say I tipped her either, nor that I wanted to. Shortly after the bacon cheeseburger soured relations between Karen and I, Karen suggested to the owner that they find an older dish washer and he did. They handed me my last check and I ran to a local record store to buy a cassette of Motley Crue's Girls Girls Girls, plus a Cinderella CD I'm either too ashamed to mention or just simply can't recall. As an added bonus, my brother ended up hooking up with Karen. I didn't mind. I later bought U2's Achtung Baby and whenever I listen to it, I'm still 13, Karen's still 20-ish and I have yet to order that bacon cheeseburger.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A few years ago my buddy Phil had a very attractive female friend visiting him from out of state. The girl proceeded to commandeer the next few days of Phil's life as Phil knew that if he kowtowed to her impulses he stood a better chance of seeing her in some state of undress. First up, the girl asked to be driven up to Mount Charleston to go sledding. Phil and I drove her up to the mountain and afterwards she suggested that we should do karaoke later in the evening. I agreed to go with them only under the pretense that I was going to get out of going as I knew of my limited karaoke abilities and sharing them didn't appeal to me in the least. That is, until a beautiful woman asks me to do it and then I'm liable to die in a flurry of pelvic thrusts and vocal chord straining approximating a Tom Jones impersonation for said beautiful woman. Tammy (beautiful woman): Luke are you going to sing karaoke with us? Luke: Yes, yes I am.
I secretly hoped the karaoke bar we were heading to resembled the karaoke bar in Lost In Translation, you know, a crowd, screens, decent music. The karaoke bar we arrived at was located in a strip mall adjacent to UNLV, and wasn't so much a bar but a series of rooms where if you stood in the middle of the hallway outside the rooms the stereo sound of random strangers channeling their inner Celine Dion and Mariah Carey enveloped you and burrowed into your earhole like a tick that infects you with shitty music. So I watched my friends select their favorite songs then proceed to perform them or butcher them depending on your level of intoxication. One friend was singing the summer of 93's omnipresent single Nuthing But A G-Thing and it just so happened that I knew half of the song. When the parts of the song I was familiar with came around I snatched the microphone from my friends hand and spit out the rhymes like I knew what it was like to grow up in Inglewood or Compton. Truth be told, on one occasion as a result of my poor navigational skills I ended up in front of the two story doughnut adorned with the words "Randy's Dougnuts" that appears in many Snoop Dogg videos and just the sight of that doughnut got me panicky. But somehow I knew a good portion of the song and I sang it. Later on someone selected Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover" for me, which I knew well, and sang but only after drinking a great deal of plum wine. I was getting increasingly intoxicated off the wine, so I sat back and watched my friends desecrate pop staple after pop staple.
During one song i felt nauseous and before i could react, I felt what was easily a cup full of vomit coursing up my esophagus. I frantically looked around for a container, not wanting to interrupt the Theme from Flash Dance someone was actively vocally beating the life out of. There wasn't a container to be found, so I did what any courteous karaoke-er would do, I choked down that vomit. It's not an easy thing to do, you know. To defy direct orders from your stomach, essentially flipping the bird to its refusal of your belly full of wine, telling the stomach to enjoy both the ride and the alcohol. But I did, as I knew nothing kills the spirit of a lively rendition of a Kenny Rogers song like your friend vomiting on the table. So what did we learn, kids? Don't drink plum wine to excess without a bowl in front of you and if you see Randy's Doughnuts, you've probably taken a wrong turn at stabbing victim blvd. and are headed down car jacking lane. Yer pal, Luke
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Karaoke Diaries Part 1: This one's for the ladies. It's called "Hopelessly Devoted To You"? Oh hell no.
Karaoke is something that I've only done while being just a single gin and tonic shy of being pickled. There's a myriad of reasons for why I'm more than a little reluctant to belt out Journey's "Wheels In The Sky" in front of a room full of Japanese business men and assorted tourists mixed with the token locals. First off, lets just address the music selection part. You find me both a place where the karaoke machine has obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs, in addition to a room of people who want to hear obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs and I'll belt out Don't Go Back To Rockville or Jockey Full Of Bourbon or Just Like Honey like I was James Brown and Coconutz on East Desert Inn is the Apollo. Secondly, there's a reason why Sinatra's "My Way" has been banned in karaoke bars in some countries. Some songs were not meant to be butchered by a sloshed man fresh off his seventh rum and coke, clutching the mic stand like he's the singer from Creed. Right about now, you're asking yourself "Self, where is he going with this?". And I will tell you. You see, on two occasions I was that man clutching the mic stand fresh off my fourth gin and tonic as I'm a light weight. On the first occasion I was in Flagstaff, Arizona with some friends when my sister Faith, in a excellent display of how little she knows her younger brother, tells the karaoke maestro that I'd love to sing a song from the Grease soundtrack. This would prove difficult to do as I have never seen the movie or heard any of the songs, yet there I was being handed a microphone while not having the sense to read the song's title "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and offer a deal breaking "Oh hell no". After saying "I have no idea what this song is ladies and gentlemen" on the microphone, I proceeded to read the words to the song off the prompter, void of tone,melody, inflection and all the other elements that went into the pre "Physical" Olivia-Newton John gem. Faith then followed the Grease number sucker punch with a Sonny and Cher groin kick of a duet with "I Got You Babe". Now this song I knew. Faith filled in the Cher part and we carried the tune to the best of our inabilities much to the chagrin or enjoyment of the patrons in Gypsies, Flagstaff's after hours gay bar . Did I want to sing it to a room full of unsuspecting victims? Not a chance. Did I sing it anyways? I sure did. Did I learn my lesson and commit myself to staying out of karaoke bars lest I find myself at the mic with Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" queued up? Not at all.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The fact that Sheryl Crow wrote the most accurate account of how and why to leave Las Vegas is very frustrating in that she sucks
I know I told you I was leaving before. I know there's been other women with more promising prospects and yet I stayed with you. There was Austin, with her beautiful, eccentric oasis nestled in the country's largest state of Toby Keith fans and gun collectors. Austin even introduced me to an ice cream shop that combines ginger snaps with vanilla ice cream which given the right combination of disregard for my pants size and quality of life could easily lead to my turning into a big fat fuck. But no, I told Austin that my one true love, the chocolate in my pudding, the yin to my yang, the Chico to my man was Las Vegas. Then there was Denver. Denver is a little different from Austin as she's a mountain girl with conservative views who's more or less know for the shitty beer manufactured in her region. But Denver has hosted four of the Wilco shows I've seen, two of which were at the famous Fillmore. I know what you're thinking Las Vegas, get to the point Freteluco. All right you hussy harlot of a woman you, Las Vegas. My new woman is Portland. I spent some time with her, and I think this time its real. She just gets me. She knows that what I need most in my life is to live in the same town as Peter Buck and a doughnut shop that sells doughnuts with names like the Ol' Dirty Bastard and the Cock N Balls. She feels my desire to go from microwave-like temperatures to endless torrents of rain. She recognizes the void that existed in my life prior to consuming a grilled cheese sandwich on a converted school bus whilst listening to Lauryn Hill's debut cd. She says I'm not meant to be with a woman that has only Carrot Top and two dollar steak and eggs at 3 a.m. to offer me. I told Portland I loved her then I queued up the Talking Heads' Remain In Light and we did our thing for five earth shaking minutes. She asked me what I want to do next and I looked into her eyes which yes, are heavily overcast but clear up later in the day, and I told her she's the one for me and I will live with her upon graduation. She inquired as to whether or not I could live with both her rain and quality coffee but before she could finish I started to sing her my favorite Sheryl Crow song, albeit not in key, but damn if I didn't belt out that song.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
1st time efforts rarely result in triumphant returns. This rule of thumb can be applied to an assortment of situations, but we'll just get to the nitty gritty and say that in my case it was sex. All the awkwardness of an uncomfortably packed elevator, plus post-coital confusion, in less time than it takes to toast a pop tart. Truth be told, in less time than it takes to unwrap a pop tart. Her name was Danielle Friemuth. She was a highly sexualized woman 5 years my senior who had embarked on a conquest of sleeping her way through the 89110 zip code, which she almost succeeded in doing, if you exclude the elderly and children. She was 19, which really begs the question of why would a 19 year old want to sleep with a 14 year old anyway? My knowledge of sex and associated skills were limited to the love scenes I'd seen on Days of Our lives, which I'd watch with my mom when I got home from kindergarten and Magnum PI. I remember how my mom would go on about his mustache and its magnetic powers. I couldn't get past those awful shirts he'd wear in every episode.
Still, Danielle wanted me to want her, which I kinda did. She had enormous boobs, and the only bare boobs I had seen prior to Danielle's belonged to my 75 year old grandmother who I regrettably walked in on while topless and my mother, again with much regret. I was too young to fully grasp or appreciate the concept of an STD, the gift that keeps on giving, so following a friend, who followed another friend didn't seem as dirty then as it certainly does now. But I found myself alone with Danielle on New Year's Eve 1993 after having smoked a festive amount of weed and my inhibitions were on holiday.
We talked for a little bit, then started fooling around. I tried and failed to take off Danielle's bra, my approach less debonair and more kid opening a Christmas present. She saw that I was struggling with the bra and she did the coolest thing a girl/woman/confused man can do and that is undo the bra with one hand behind her/his back. You'd have thought Danielle's last name was Copperfield and she had just made something vanish as I was really that impressed and really that naive. After the bra trick she asked me what I wanted to do and I said I had no clue what to do. I could have figured it out, I suppose, but I was naive and confused. So she walked me through what comes so easily to rabbits and Mormons, yet somehow mystified me.
The beauty in how long things lasted lies in the truth of how long things lasted. People love to embellish about these types of things as its far more palatable. I say fuck that, dear reader. It was about 5 seconds later when I realized I knew nothing about nothing and all I could think of was being home. Danielle knew it was my first rodeo and she did something that was nice. She wrapped her arms around me and said "It's ok". I never forgot that.
Being 14 I hadn't the faintest clue how to react to my subsequent emotions and thoughts. Was this relationship legally binding? Is she pregnant? If so, what kind of father would I be not knowing how to fist fight or change my own oil, let alone work for a living? So I avoided Danielle for a while till she wrote me a letter explaining how I was an asshole. I later apologized for my behavior and we became friends again. Shortly after, she moved to an apartment on Maryland Parkway to start working her magic on UNLV's student body and it's students bodies.
I lost contact with Danielle till recently when a friend told me she was on Facebook. Not looking to revive anything, or drudge up the past, but only say hi, I contacted her. To my astonishment, she had no clue as to who I was, not even a hint of recollection. I guess the adage of "you always remember your first"does not apply to the deflowerer. I attempted to explain who I was to her and that I wasn't on a "what does it all mean" trip, finding myself playing ex-girlfriend bounty hunter as to explain my present day actions or mistakes. I simply wanted to say hello. And she couldn't remember me, my name, those ravaging 5 seconds or the subsequent awkwardness. She told me she was a school teacher in Oregon, a mother of 2 and a married woman. She explained to me that she had long forgotten about most of her past in Las Vegas and apologized for not remembering who I was, but she hoped she was "good for me" that night. And that was that. I had been reduced to a notch on a headboard that had been worn off by the shifting scales of morales and time, which is fine. And here's to you, Mrs. Friemuth.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Grams Freteluco was buried yesterday in the small Northern Arizona town of Flagstaff, home to many a woman with flowing locks of underarm hair and avid John Denver listeners. I left Flagstaff in 1988 so my experiences with my Grandmother after that were lessened but I always had a memorable time whenever I was with her. Years later I would come to realize that limitless youthfulness of hers wasn't fueled by an uncontainable exuberance or lust for life, to quote Iggy Pop, but rather good ol' fashioned brandy in copious amounts. She was a great grandmother. I'm not sure if there's a rating system for grandparents or if the quality of a grandparent is contingent upon how much slack they give up to the grandchild, but Katherine was pretty good. At age five, I took up the hobby of cross dressing and my efforts were met with a wrinkly thumbs up from Grams. I preferred her pearls as they really completed the "granny motif" I was going for, not Ru Paul or Milton Berle drag as I didn't want any of Grams' elderly neighbors getting any ideas in their senility addled minds. When I realized that enormous bras and panty hose weren't for me, I quit. Eventually I would resume dressing in drag, but only for Halloween as when you're a cheap bastard of a teenager as I once was, the prospect of buying a costume seems silly compared to wearing a female friends clothes for a night. Anyways, Grams was the sultan of the soup, the proprietor of the endless old folks home block party and could be counted on to send me five dollars for my birthday. She's buried in the vicinity of my grandfather Nicholas and while they divorced forty something years ago, they now have plenty of time to catch up on missed episodes of the Simpsons together (assuming there's tv, electricity and basic cable where ever they are) and bone up on their abilities to craft a wicked haiku. Or whatever it is you do when you're dead. Hail hail Katherine Freteluco.
Monday, July 5, 2010
After opening a birthday card the size of an LP record, I seriously believed the crew of To Catch A Predator was going to come through the door as I felt pervy just holding a birthday card with Miley Cyrus' 13 year old visage on it. To hear the 20 second loop of "The Best Of Both Worlds", searing the eardrums of the unsuspecting victim, reminds me that yes, the hell spawn of the man that blessed us with the Achey Breaky is hard at work polluting the pop culture waters, but also that somewhere there's a little girl that really digs this music. And that's all that matters.
Friday, July 2, 2010
So a pregnant woman, a spider bite victim and a shoplifter walk into a bar. Stop me if you've heard this one.
Upon realizing my eye wasn't going to return to normal without medical assistance, I found myself waiting for CAT scans and thus, in a CAT Scan waiting room. Waiting in this room were 3 individuals: a man in a wheelchair, his female companion and a white girl in a shirt long enough to obscure what short shorts she had on. They all looked at me and assumed I had been beaten severely, it was just a matter of who was going to voice this observation first. I tried to make small talk with the white girl who was fidgety and twitchy as all fans of meth are. Unfortunately, she was sitting to my right and my right side was most certainly my worst side at that moment so to entertain any sort of jailhouse-esque "What are you in here for?" conversation was probably not what she wanted to participate in with someone looking like I did at that moment. Surprisingly though, she responded with a sinister and creepy "Ho ho ho, female problems." Then she turned her head to resume watching Jay Leno. Then she turns back to me and says "What the hell happened to you?" Spider bite I say. Enter wheelchair bound man. He had not said word one up to this point when he says "Hell no that's not a spider bite, it looks like someone beat the fuck outta you." I assured him that that wasn't the case and that some bug assaulted me in my sleep. He said he'd seen his fair share of spider bites and what I had looked like a case of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and not a spider out for vengeance. I had to wonder what brought this wonderful man on wheels into the hospital and he explained that he was running towards a wall, jumped over it not knowing the ground on the other side was significantly lower and broke his foot when he landed. I was curious as to who or what he was running from to necessitate leaping over the wall in the first place. He declined to elaborate. He then told me that he initially felt terrible for having to visit the hospital after an exercise in such stupidity, but he felt much better after he saw me. He actually told me that. His female companion chuckled at his every witty remark like Wheel Chair Man was with the bastard son of Richard Pryor. My favorite moment was when a nurse came into the room to explain to the girl with the short shorts that the hospital would be unable to perform any x-rays on her on account of her being pregnant, This was news to the girl and the rest of us in the waiting room. I smiled a big toothy grin, so happy I was for her. If only she could have seen the twinkle in my eye from beneath the huge shiner resting on it.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The day before my birthday that just passed some rat bastard bug decided to have a taste of my eyebrow while I was asleep. I awoke to what I thought was a zit with a nasty temperament, only to have my eyelid begin to droop down to my cheek bone ala Rocky Balboa. As I began to resemble a byproduct of incest more and my old funny looking self less, I decided I needed to go to the doctors office to get an educated assessment of my optical malady. I saw two doctors and two assistants and they all started with something along the lines of "Who did this to you, or Who'd you piss of? I would have liked to have told them I was in a bar and got into a brawl in a place where there's sawdust on the floor and guys with bullets crisscrossing their chests sit at the bar talking of the nefarious acts they do for money or women. In just sounds more impressive than a god damn bug bit me. Or maybe i stopped a hold up at a Jason's Deli but not before the robber pistol whipped me. And as a reward the workers at the deli gave me my lunch for free after I regained consciousness. Nonetheless, it really just came down to a a bug and me. Bug one, Luke zero. I'm not leaving the house for a few days as I'm getting lingering looks from people that scream "Damn, who got a hold of you?" However, i went to Radioshack yesterday, and the guy that helped me had what appeared to be 10 percent of his conjoined twin remaining on the side of his head and I immediately felt at ease. I had hoped that what could come out of this is the bug bite could affect me eyesight forcing me to wear glasses thereby enabling me to realize my dream of wearing the kind of glasses worn by Elvis Costello or serial killers from the 60's. The doctor said not to plan on getting and prescription glasses anytime soon, but to get used to looking like I was married to Ike Turner for the rest of the week. I said that wasn't much of a consolation prize. I told him the glasses would offset what will surely be a head void of hair in the future and that I didn't have the gall to attempt the award winning, gravity defying come over my uncle has sported since the early nineties. He said he was sorry to hear about my uncles blue ribbon winning come over, but my Elvis Costello weren't in the cards, for now. I left his office and the receptionist looked at me and started to giggle while asking me how my day was going. At least she didn't ask who did this to me.