Does this beard make me look fat

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Julia Robert's mustache and my friends derailed career as a Michael Jackson impersonator

I used to walk by this mom and pop video store on my way to the convenience store when I was a little kid. There would always be posters for whatever movie was about to be released on then VHS (after beta, before DVD, feel old yet?). Most of the movie posters or the stars featured in them failed to capture my attention. Not Bruce Willis in a wife beater, hiding from European terrorists while dropping corny one liners like "Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker", a phrase that experienced a long after life on the play ground of my elementary school. You'd be playing four square and the kid whose parents thought it ok to let their nine year old watch that movie would pull a move on you that would send you back into line to wait for another turn. After which, he'd say "Yippe ki-yay motherfucker". Or the poster for Ghost with Patrick Swayzee and Demi Moore. Again, nothing too eye catching there, but I did notice that when Whoopi is possessed by Patrick in the movie, who proceeds to make out heavily with Demi, in all actuality, its still Whoopi. And as funny as she may be, you just don't want to visualize Whoopi in that situation. But I digress.

So one day I was walking past the video store and saw a poster that caught my prepubescent eyes. It was for a movie I knew little about other than Roxette recording a song called "It must have been love" for it and that it was about a hooker. I didn't even know fully what a hooker was, or what they did. But I liked the poster. It featured Richard Gere standing next to a nice lady in ridiculously long boots. Her smile was blindingly white, which would tell you that even if she were a working girl, she took time out of her day of soliciting sex to brush vigorously at least twice a day. And floss. And flossing is a pain in the ass, but she must have done it cause her smile was flawless.

On the strength of the smile and boots alone, I knew I wanted/needed that poster. My bedroom walls were bare as this predated the wallpapering of my walls with vaguely homoerotic images of Motley Crue wearing shirts that said things like "Suck It", while puckering for the photographer, who was probably a man, not a woman in fishnets and high heels as the look on their faces that screamed "First I'ma rock yer asses, then I'm taking on five of you at once" would lead you to believe.

So i started regularly asking the owner of the store if I could have the poster and he'd always tell me that it wasn't time yet. The general public hadn't fully soaked up the story of a hooker with a heart of gold, who just wants to be accepted by the guy that showed his junk in American Gigolo and his high society friends, particularly Jason Alexander who really had no room to be particular as he wasn't blessed with great looks himself. But then one day I walked by the store and the poster was replaced by a poster for a movie where Sylvester Stallone strives to arm wrestle his way into being a decent father. I immediately inquired as to what happened to the poster. The owner knew I had been stalking the poster and rolled up, then handed it to me.

I put the poster up immediately. And then it was just me, and Julia. And her boots. This was a great while prior to my hormones kicking in, so nothing nasty transpired between me and Julia on paper. I just looked at the poster, sensing there was a reason why I liked it, just not knowing why. Like when you'd see footage of Michael Jackson concerts in foreign countries and wonder why people were crying. They didn't know why either, I mean, he wrote Beat It, but he wasn't a Beatle. And so it was with Julia and I, completely platonic, utterly innocent.

Then one day I came home to look at my lovely lovely two dimensional Julia, only to discover that, much to my horror, (and I'm sorry if any kids are in the room but I can only phrase this one way) some dirty fucker had drawn a substantial, impressive mustache on Julia's upper lip. I knew my brother had something to do with this, and thought to draw penises pointed at the mouths of all the players faces on his baseball cards. Particularly Ricky Henderson, who continues to talk in the third person. Eventually I found out that my brother had been aided by my friend Chris' brother Mike, who was then entertaining delusions of grandeur of being Michael Jackson. He'd moon walk, then grab his junk, then expound at great length how Michael Jackson was pretty much responsible for everything great that ever happened in modern society. The combustible engine? Michael. Vibrating beds in hotels? Michael. Diffusing gang violence by interjecting yourself in a near brawl, then dancing while wearing a heavily zippered jacket? Michael.

I told them both they were rotten bastards, then turned to my now mustachioed Julia. She was still smiling, with her uncomfortably white teeth. But I knew that beneath her pink tube top, her heart was breaking. So, I took the tape off the four corners of the poster, rolled it up, then dropped it in the trash. I loved Julie but seeing her after she had grown a Geraldo Rivera stache was too much for me. Too, I dunno, weird.

Soon after that the walls were plastered with images of men flashing the devil horns, while wearing codpieces. I missed Julia, but I was comfortable staring at the men who wrote Dr. Feelgood, well at least for a little while. Yes, even in tights and codpieces amidst women who wore nurse outfits when I sensed there was no way a licensed nurse would be allowed outside a hospital in high heels, a mile of cleavage and micro skirts. And in the event I found another poster, I kept a space next to posters of Tommy Lee with feathered hair, just in case a mustache-less Julia entered my life. Here's to you Pretty Woman.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stickin' around for the great sleep and who really killed the radio star?

My friend just had to have his pet euthanized which I've only had the misfortune of doing once. I had a cat that developed a taste for anti-freeze, which ending up destroying the cats vital organs and I was forced to put the cat down. But that was the only time I personally played a role in helping a pet shuffle off this mortal coil. Most of my pets, bless their lil' hearts, did a variation on the treatment the Eskimos sometimes gave to their terminal elderly and that is shoving off into the great unknown without any intention of returning. I realize the Eskimos shoved Grandpa off on an iceberg, where as my cats simply chose somewhere other than being with me, and subjecting me to their inevitable medical bills and subsequent misery attached to the conditions those bills were addressing, to greet the grim reaper at. I respect that.

In all actuality, I've all but sworn off pets in the future. Regardless of the nature of care, the degree of attention they demand or cost, I see pet deaths as tremors in the grand death earthquakes of life and no doubt plenty lay ahead. I'd have a monkey though. Monkey's are funny, and if the pet was funny, then his death would be something I could fathom enduring. Monkey's need diapers though, so I'd have to think about that aspect before dropping the four grand monkey's will cost you. What does euthenasia have to do in relation to abhorrent quality of FM radio? I just don't know.

I don't know what popular tastes say about the country they originate in, but I have to think that China might one day consider overthrowing our country, prior to which great, intense discussions in low lit rooms with fancy tables would transpire about the logistics of such a thing. And then someone hoping to make a case for the idea would lower a screen and play a video of Will Smith's kid video (you remember the Fresh Prince? Yes, of course you liked that show. Who didn't? I mean, it was awesome. Well the Fresh Prince had several kids and one of them had a song written for her about the glories of whipping your hair back and forth) followed by a video montage of men and women trying to eat 6 saltine crackers in a minute or less. Great murmuring will ensue, with everyone wondering how the same country that generated Kerouac and Hendrix, Chaplin and The Ramones came to this? And you need only listen to the radio to hear what Elvis (not the fat one) was singing about when he said the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel.

I try to remain ensconced in a bubble impervious to pop culture, which is a difficult thing to maintain if you go to the gym. The gym is a crossroads of many things, horrid musical tastes, ill fitting clothes, triangular shaped men, men chomping at the bit to get naked in front of other men cause thats the sole joy and purpose of a locker room, right? And its at the gym where the likes of Will Smith's brood, Shakira, Avril, Creed and others desecrate the sanctity of my ear hymen, robbing it of its innocence. I try to offset the evil by listening to my ipod, but there's still the visual element. And I only avoid it so intently, because I'm the broken model listener. I know there's not an ounce of sincerity, nothing at stake and in the grand scheme of things, I gotta give my listening time to where its most deserved.

In all honesty though, I don't get too worked up by pop culture as I once did. I've come to realize people are retarded and lazy and willing to consume whatever in mass quantities providing the edges are rounded off and it smells nice. The faceless populace that drives pop culture reminds me of a paraplegic on their side, waiting for something to roll into its mouth. Where's this going? I'm not sure, partner. I've been sick for awhile. I need a hug. And something to make me feel warm and fuzzy. I guess whatever Lou Reed took to make himself feel warm and fuzzy. Peace out readers. Keep on keeping on.

Yer potentially virally infected friend, LMF

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentines: Phil Lynott and Bruce

Readers, esteemed colleagues, and members of the jury, the time is nigh to make your case for love, lust and your desire to be with the person your longing for long enough to begin forgetting things together. This Valentines Day, I'm a lucky guy in that I have enough love to evenly disperse across many hearts. First, Jacquie, part saint, part sinner, part saviour. A diamond in the rough. And then my other two. First is Phil Lynott. Deceased lead singer of Thin Lizzy. Writer of such hits as Jailbreak, Whiskey In A Jar, and Boys Are Back In Town. Phil was and remains a first responder to heartbreak. You get dumped, you throw on Thin Lizzy, pump a fist wildly in the air, maybe then glance at the photo of you and your former significant other dropping down a roller coaster ride in which you mostly just look old and goofy flashing dual devil horns. Then cue up Boys Are Back in Town as to finalize the break up and say that yeah, you left me devil woman, but things will get better. They have to. Right?

Cue the Boss. This is a multi step process. Phil Lynott is the first on the scene, then the Boss assesses the damage and diagnoses the problem. Anxiety in life? Born to Run, maybe Thunder Road. Really, really want to sleep with a girl you just know has seen Jerry Maguire? Secret Garden. Wanting the girl back, but not sure how to convey the feelings of playing host to the impending void and really, really not wanting to go back to "self-servicing" as much as you once did? Hmmm, Beautiful Disguise, Human Touch, I'm on Fire (more likely about sleeping with your neighbors wife, but still). I love Bruce because he sounds and looks like a mechanic that just has a great handle on everything in life and talks like he's from the rural South and not Asbury Park. Bruce is your ring man, squirting water in your mouth, wiping off the blood,sweat and puss resulting from the boxing match that can be a relationship, telling you to get back in there and take this one home, son. And you will. Because you'll be empowered by the Boss. He wrote Dancing in the Dark, so listen to him.

Now take her easy, especially if you live upstairs. You know the neighbors have to get to wondering when the bumping of the feet of the bed take on a certain pulsating rhythm.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beetlejuice: A ginger, a patriot and the best damn cat you could ever pick out of a box in front of K-Mart

It's coming on a year since I last saw my beloved Beetlejuice. A butt licker and bird murderer to some but a damn fine friend to me. If I was in a war and the army allowed me to bring a cat onto the front lines, I'd have brought Beetle Juice. He liked nothing more than to lick my dirty, dirty arms and to be honest, I loved nothing more than the feel of his slightly wet sandpaper textured tongue gliding down my forearm. Kinda like when you go to the primate area of a zoo to see the monkeys and such do really nasty things as their inhibitions have yet to kick in or form and all they do is sit there and lick each other or pick off dander and bugs. Only, I'm not licking my cat. That was purely a one way street. But he seemed to experience a obvious level of euphoria from doing so and a cats life is already predicable and bland so who was I to rob him of such a simple pleasure?

So Beetle disappeared and for awhile I assumed he was out sewing his wild cat oats, figuring he'd come back older,wiser, possibly a father of 10. Nope. He never came back. Fliers were flown and I asked several neighbors if they'd seen him, to no avail. Eventually I came to terms with the obvious and began the process of learning how to live life without the best damn cat since the first cat was born. He was probably highly revered in the cat world. I always suspected he had been a Green Beret as hit fighting skills were unmatched and his ability to kill birds was well known around the neighborhood. I intervened in a few instances where a dumb pigeon was about to go to the big pigeon poop covered roof top in the sky, and I tried to steer Beetle down a path of compassion, not blood thirstiness.

Yes, I realize I could reach into a box in front of K-Mart and pull out 10 bastard kittens, take them all home and wait to see which one takes a liking to licking my sweaty, stink arm. But it's not the same.

I don't know where Beetle went, who he's with, if he joined the circus and is wearing a little Kaiser helmet or found his way into a meal at one of those restaurants on Spring Mountain. But I know I miss him. I know I'm a cat widow if it is possible to exist as one. And I hope where ever he is, he's meeting his butt licking and pigeon killing quotas. Carving his way in the world, blazing a trail for future ginger felines to follow but never match.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My time with the Dead: Jerry was Santa's doppelganger and that woman should have had a shirt on

I saw the Grateful Dead a handful of times in the nineties and I if you've never been, then it might be difficult to appreciate the sensory assault that was a Grateful Dead experience. From the onset, my nose was put on high alert for the smell of patchouli and the hanging stink of unwashed hackey sack players. I must admit, I had no real prior knowledge of the Grateful Dead or their history outside of their lone hit on VH1 "Touch of Grey" that garnered them the unwanted attention of a great deal of jocks and weekend anarchists who saw a weekend of the Dead as a weekend of unbridled bedlam and debauchery. I knew the Dead's following had a penchant for VW's, not shaving (this was particularly evident in the female portion of the fan base who almost all had me beat in their wealth and volume of body hair), and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

In the interest of keeping it real, I should say that my main initiative in going to the Dead shows at the Silver Bowl was to sell LSD in hopes of turning a large enough profit with which to buy a bass amp. Not my finest moment, but at least it wasn't heroin or crystal meth, two drugs that are generally frowned upon more so as they've taken out more of your favorite musicians and actors than hallucinogens. From what I saw though, the lone upside of crystal meth is that your cd collection will always be alphabetized and your house will be clean. You might be emaciated and losing teeth, but your house and record collection will be in order. But really, if someone wanted to be hallucinating while mulling over why Bob Weir wears such short shorts or while the mandolin player takes a nine minute solo, all the while Smurfs are afoot, is that so bad?

So there I was, in the Silver Bowl parking lot, waiting for the show to start while I sold LSD to the Birkenstock wearing masses. In an effort to maintain quality control and be able to sincerely vouch for the illicit hallucinogens I was pushing, I gave my friend Robert a complimentary hit from my sheet of acid I had purchased at a wholesale price from some man who looked like he had little regard for general dental hygiene as his mouth looked like a lonely graveyard. I forget what cartoon was on the acid, but I always loved how people who manufactured LSD thought to turn the wholesomeness of childhood cartoons on its ear by placing the likes of Felix the Cat, Strawberry Shortcake and such on sheets of acid. Shortly after Robert took the acid, it was determined that I had been burned by that toothless hippy, putting the score at Hippies: 1, Luke: 0. Fine I thought, I'll sell the bunk acid at a bargain basement closeout rate, then beat it.

As I sold my LSD I walked around the parking lot to bask in the glory of what was referred to as shakedown street". People selling pot brownies of questionable potency, mentioning that the THC the buyer was looking to ingest was "in the butter, man", and that you weren't actually about to buy a really expensive, impotent brownie. People taking hits off balloons filled with nitrous oxide, promptly erupting in violet laughter shortly after. All types cooking anything vegan, raw or otherwise with only the thought of generating enough money to make it to the next stadium to repeat the process.

In a instance that may have been registered in the Cock Blockery Hall of Fame, I was offered a chance to tag along with my friend Randy (a girl), in addition to her friends Junebug and Love (also female) on the next Summer's Dead tour. They told me I could make grilled cheese sandwiches to earn my keep. I figured the grilled cheese market had surely been cornered by some entrepreneur in a Santana shirt, but I believed I could add something to the well worn art of placing cheese between slices of bread. I considered the law of average and how I stood a sizable chance of hooking up with one of them (marginally realistic) or maybe all three simultaneously (right up there with being knighted or driving a Ferrari on my ain't never gonna happen, buddy list). I liked my chances of success on all accounts while following the Dead in a VW van that had undetermined abilities to take us from Vegas to New York and back, and so I asked my mom if this was cool with her. Like the dictator in an apron she was, my mom slammed down an iron curtain of denial and said "Really Luke, think about what you're asking. I'm going to send you off with three girls to follow the Grateful Dead? No. Stop asking." And just like that, I was shot down. No hippy foursome, no grilled cheeses for the masses.

After I had sold off my sheet of fake acid, Robert and I went into the show. Our combined knowledge of the Dead's repertoire was maybe 2 songs, so we were at a disadvantage in terms of being able to appreciate what the Dead was doing. But to the uninitiated, the Dead looked like a bunch of guys from the movie Cocoon playing in a band fronted by a guy that looked like Santa, only after Santa had been present at the Kool-Aid Acid Tests, Woodstock, done yards of hits of acids, pounds of cocaine,weed and his one true love that would come to ultimately bring the long strange trip to a short, obvious conclusion, heroin. Even in his sixties, Jerome Garcia thought it wise to ride the H train from town to town, stadium to stadium. It's when Jerry decided that he wanted to tell Casey Jones to put the brakes on the H train that things went sour and Santa's doppelganger went to the big drum circle in the sky. William S. Burroughs theorized that if a junky remained in a state of perpetual kicking, he'd live exponentially longer through bypassing the withdrawals. Look at Keith Richards and you have to wonder if fully embracing the raging freight train that is a lifetime of excessive ingestion,injection, inhalation and copulation and try to say that there isn't something poetic about sticking to your guns, even if they're fully loaded with vices.

The shows that I went to were on a particularly sweltering weekend in May in 1995 and the heat inside the stadium was accentuated by things I'd never seen at 15 and probably will never see again. I was standing next to a woman who was easily over 200 pounds who was topless. By my estimate, her boobs probably found their way onto her lap sometime while Reagan was in office and she decided to birth the little hippies that were running around her sometime after that. She had a head full of dreadlocks and repeatedly took impressive, heroic hits of a joint. In the distance you could see a line of mic stands hoisted in the air by tapers hoping to capture the show. I could appreciate this. That was one thing about the Dead, that for all their mass merchandising and excesses, they still tried to bring a spirit of their early DIY ethics with them and allowing their fans to tape their shows was an extension of their ethos.

The Dead were impressive players who worked off vibes, feeling and the innate senses band mates inevitably develop over the years, resulting in marathon shows that routinely doubled the duration of most touring bands' shows. Their shows were broken into sets and when they broke for each set, you'd see a sea of people drop to the floor of the stadium to resume a mass smoke out that left such heavy clouds of weed smoke billowing out of the Silver Bowl, you'd thought someone had given tickets to arsonists, and they were having their way with one of the Dead's many t-shirt stands where you could buy a shirt with any combination of dancing skeletons, turtles or bears to commemorate a weekend you probably couldn't remember much of.

And there I was, in the thick of it. The Deadheads were generous were their drugs, you couldn't deny that and at some point someone passed me joints, acid , mushrooms and a balloon of nitrous oxide which I had to pass on as even though I knew I was subjecting my brain cells to adverse conditions, I didn't want to bring the holocaust to a full bloom. I can't recall what drug it was that turned my brain, if only momentarily, into pudding but I found myself in a situation of territorial pissings when I was so high I accidentally stepped on someones blanket, yes blanket, that was laid on the stadium floor and the angry man that looked like an old prospector told me to "step off the blanket".

I eventually found myself back in the parking lot, stumbling from grilled cheese vendor to VW bus converted into an apartment, garage, marijuana dealers office and place to wax poetic about the beats. By sheer chance, I stumbled across a friend who had been attacked in the only way you can be attacked by Deadheads, they had weaved extensions into her hair, gotten her really high, slapped a tye dye on her and had her espousing the glories of free love. She offered to extend some of that free love in my direction and I then knew while I could embrace the times and do copious amounts of drugs, I couldn't shag my friend in the back of a VW bus. For a number of reasons, but mostly the drum circles and nitrous vendors would have proven to be way too distracting and in my state, I'd have seen a garden gnome pull a zipper down the middle of her head and climb out of it.

So, I saw the Dead and they were great! Their fans, for the most part save for the guy that looked like a prospector and the 3 people that sold me fake drugs (yes, after being burned I was glutton for punishment and proceeded to buy 2 more sheets of fake LSD, so in regards to that, Hippies:3, Luke: 0) were awesome. I got to thinking about the Dead and I realized that there were more punk rock than you realize. They were never commercially popular in the pop radio sense, but they kept trucking, doing their own thing oblivious to the rest of their world. I do think what they became was an adulterated version of what they started off as, and that probably added to their end. That the band became this juggernaut of a touring machine, with a mass following knowing nothing else, there might have been an assumed obligation to stay the path.

Did I get my bass amp? No, I'm bad with money and I spent it on drugs, shirts, food, jewelry and gave some to some friends. But I did get an amp eventually when I got a job making pizzas where as luck would have it, I ended up working with a displaced Deadhead who was still coming to terms with the untimely death of his patron saint Jerry. I look back at the shows I attended as reasons for why I'd never make it as a drug dealer and if you're going to assume a career as a junky, stick it out to the wrinkly, Keith Richards "ma, he looks like he was embalmed" ending. Cause you know, if you stop the train too soon, who's gonna sing "Friend of the Devil"?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Poem: Two Blanks-by Gregory Crosby (big ups to the man for writing something so damn beautiful)

I could start a heart in your fire, & close
the grate, so the eye gets in your smoke.
I could start a riot in your ears just by
whispering our fate. I could start a car
in your ditch & spin my wheels & hum
along to your FM stations of the cross.
I could start a war in your peace with a kiss.
I could start a blister in your bliss,
a fight in your flight, a dream in your dross.
I could start a moon in your sun just by
turning away. I could start a night in
your day, an all day long in your up all
night. I could start a void in your abyss.
I could start down that road. End up with this.

Friday, February 4, 2011

2 kindsa love or the duality of your love

I'm not terribly fond of Valentines Day, and i never have been. Much like Christmas, Valentines Day is an additional opportunity for the whores of commerce to stand behind the woman, man, troll, lumberjack or Saint Bernard you love with arms folded and demand you prove your love through the procurement of chocolates, flowers, cards, maybe edible underwear perhaps. I think the most disingenuous of these, for me, is the greeting card. What better way to convey how you feel for the person who gets to see you in various states of undress throughout the month than to rely on prose ostensibly produced in Brill building-like settings or a sweat shop. You're letting sincerity hop in the backseat and bland, faceless sentiments drive your love life vehicle aimlessly down the highway of life. Bullshit I say, good people!

What's wrong with honesty? Acknowledging the core essentials seems so easy, yet so easy to overlook. It's like this, you say to someone I love you because you make me never want to get old. You make me feel at ease and the world make sense. I look forward to graying and balding in your presence while you begin to droop lower and lower in some parts, while remaining the person I fell in love with when we were contenders for the throne. Because if this comes to be my Love, then we beat the odds and Love won. And people,women, brothers and sisters of the congregation, we gotta let love win. If only on this day. Loves day. Can I get an amen?

And with that, I offer you some artists to enjoy while you and yours trip the lights fantastic. Hopefully you're both conscious, but if money was exchanged prior to any acts necessitating the removal of pants, then you should probably get a receipt for tax season is looming.

Wilco/Billy Bragg-Mermaid Avenue Volume 1 and 2- If you conceive with these records playing, your child will be born with a beard and smelling of chili. But within these songs are the ghosts of promise, times of bleakness, and last ditch resort love.

AC/DC-I've read that white people love nothing more than to create more white people while listening to Angus Young and company. If this is the case, that means a man dressed like a school boy ushered your brood out of your loins and onto an unsuspecting world.

Peter Gabriel-I can say that Peter inadvertently empowered a lot of shunned boys to hoist boom boxes outside their former girlfriends bedroom window. This probably resulted in more restraining orders than salvaged relationships. I'd say back to back playing of "So and Us" will result in twins. So be careful.

Air Supply-My brother in law once said to me "Dude, Air Supply. Works every time." I guess I'll never know.

Morphine- You couldn't go wrong with any of their records. They're as sexy as Creed is awful. They work in colors normally eschewed in music and they aim for the low end. Your low end. Which you'll be shaking, both sides. People used to thank Sandman for making Cure For Pain, an album that assisted in many notches on headboards. Here's to Mark for that alone.

Tom Waits- If the woman you're making time with has a beard, then she'll love Tom.

Motorhead- If you're on top of or underneath a Hells Angels member, then they'll love this. Motorhead is to bikers as Morrissey is to effeminate Latino guys.

The Talking Heads- If only on the basis of their rhythm sections ability to produce perfect sounds and time signatures to thrust the pelvic region to, they put out a 2cd best of called Sand In The Vaseline. End on Naive Melody while basking in the warm post coital afterglow, or before someone knocks on the bathroom door to ask what's taking so long.

Here's hoping this Valentine's Day finds you in the arms of someone who loves you, or at least loves you for the hour you paid for.
Your amorous friend,