Riker's Mailbox

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

JOCOSE

You may like foreign cars. You may like small cars. You may hate either, as a matter of fact, but with complete disregard to the preceeding, you will love this commerical for this small foreign car. The Citroen C4. That is all.


And before I forget, I finally have my gmail invitations. If you have any interest in opening a gmail account (the AMAZING-AND-COMPLETELY-WORTH-IT search-based webmail service from Google), then be one of the first ten people to get in touch with me and I will bring you into the loop. It's kinda like a gentlemen's club, really: Those who know about it love it, and everyone else hates them for being involved with it*. Except that there are way more naked chicks in gmail than at a gentlemen's club. Fucking spam**.



* Because they're so damn jealous and don't know how to admit that they want in.
** Gmail actually has great spam filters; I just needed something to tie my analogy together.

ORATORY 3

this is an audio post - click to play

So I received this great christmas gift, a 12 hour long dissertation from this man, Robert Kiyosaki, about better ways to manage your money and build assets. It's a very entertaining thing to listen to, case in point.

I am going to get rich, by the way.

Friday, December 24, 2004

RECRUDESCE

Ray Ward is back in Rochester. The insanity begins again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ORATORY 2

this is an audio post - click to play

One thing that might make that post make more sense is the following clarification: The Iraquis were the ones who set all those oil well fires in Kuwait. Oil well fires make lots and lots of smoke; I neglected to make that association to the report. Hope you can forgive me.

I'd have forgiven you, you thoughtless bastards.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

DIVERTISSEMENT

Damian's Pub, arguably one of the most pleasant bars in the city, at least for the college-aged types within our sphere of influence, hosted a delightful Christmas party for welcome patrons tonight, complete with drink specials, dart craziness, and beer pong insanity. A better portion of my twenty favorite people were in attendance having the time of their lives together, which makes me a happy badass. More people need to realize that the true meaning of the season is not to spend our hard-earned financial assets on people who are kinda okay, but rather to drink ourselves to oblivion to the goal of succeeding in base competition within the realm of beer pong amidst the audience of close friends.

I think I'm too inebriated to make any sense of what I'm trying to say. I'd be better off eating the fine meal prepared for me by my close friend and roommate's girlfriend, Christina. Eating great pasta dishes is all the way better than trying to write well while drunk.

Friday, December 17, 2004

INTERREGNUM

Having been one full month since my last posting, I found it necessary to doff my slouch cap and gear back up into the exercise of bloggery.

This should be a very easy entry to write, as I've only done six things since my last entry. Four of them involve snoring.

If you know me, (and if you're reading this, then you obviously do, at least to an extent that would be sufficient to claim so for the purposes of this statement), you have already realized that in one month's time, it's far closer to accurate to state that there are only six things I haven't done since my last entry. Five of them involve snoring.

In something of a reverse-chronological stream-of-consciousness oration, I will attempt to recap the last thirty days of synaptic backwash, hopefully to some grand conclusion. Or, hell with it, it'll just feel good to have written again.

Where's George. For those of you who've never seen or noticed the little stamp that appears with quasi-rare regularity on one dollar bills innocuously reading "www.wheresgeorge.com", you are missing out on a sublimely entertaining hobby/game which was created by a handful of dudes with the noble goal of doing something cool and fun and not trying to make money off it. Yeah, it's ironic, I know already, Alanis. Anyway, the creators of this site have built a powerful database system for the sole purpose of tracking the sightings of dollar bills with this stamp on them; the idea is simple: Have you ever wondered where a bill has been, how far it's traveled before making its way into your wallet? Want to find out where it goes after you've parted with it? Wheresgeorge allows you to enter a bill's information (series and serial number) into the database. If it's been stamped, then it's been entered before, and you'll be taken to a list of the locations and dates from other users who've entered the bill when it was in their possession. If you're the first person to enter a bill, you can stamp or write the web address on it, make the first entry, then see where it goes. It often takes a long time for a bill to surface, as it not only has to be spent and make its way into another person's hands, that person has to notice the stamp and take the time to go to the website and enter it for themselves. It seems dull and pedestrian to get excited about something that has such a slim chance of happening within the limit of modern man's patience, but sometimes surprising things come up. It's sort of a spin on geocaching, where the cache (no pun intended) moves from place to place. I personally do not start bills of my own, but when I come across one, I enter it. I grabbed one out of my register at Old Navy tonight (don't worry, I put a clean bill back. I don't steal money from work, just mints), to discover that I was the second entry on the bill. The initial entry was over two years ago, in Wyoming. Despite 'sleeping' for over two years, it traveled an average of two miles per day, as the crow flies. I want to save it until I'm out in California, just to throw another crazy leap into the bill's history. Next time you see one of these bills, take a moment to check it out; you might find an interesting story attached to the innocent little piece of tender we love to cast about with nary a thought.

Long Live Rock. So, I got out of work at midnight, and somehow found myself in Charlotte with best-friend Paige and best-friend-in-training Bill and Bill's-friend (name forgotten) about twenty minutes later. What we stumbled upon, at Nola's BBQ (next door to the infamous Penny Arcade), was the most bizarre, bothersome, unique, entertaining, laughable excuse for a concert we've ever seen. The Long Live Rock Show, which is like a band, or maybe an acting troupe who spend most of their time playing instruments, performing kind of a gig, kind of a play, but not entirely one of either, and definitely gay to the fullest, because they seem to believe that this was the best idea anyone ever came up with. The following is taken directly from the pamphlets strewn all over the bar:

THE LONG LIVE ROCK SHOW
A ROCK AND ROLL ...FANTASY
...DREAM
...STORY

Step into our working man's dream of becoming a rock star!

The Long Live Rock Show begins with our bored and frustrated working man stepping into yet another lonely hotel room, bemoaning his job and his life. As he falls exhausted onto his bed, he is visited by the Dream Fairy who grants his greatest wish: to be a rock star!
That's where the live rock concert begins!
As our "rock star" emerges from his hotel room to meet his audience (that's YOU!), he overcomes his fear, meets his dream band, and launches into a show containing the hottest rock from the 60's to today! The lights, the sound, the video all pump our average Joe toward achieving his goal
...and you'll be drawn into the dream!
See his "look" change as he travels through various eras of great rock and roll. Occasionally our star will "yawn and turn over" as the band entertains him in his dream... but you know he'll be back and you'll be right back in the palm of his hand!
As our star awakens from his dream, he'll wonder (and you may too) if it was ever a dream at all... and the show kicks right back in!
So, you can gather that these people are obviously very, very proud of themselves. I mean it, they really love who they are. They think it's the coolest thing that they're doing... whatever it is one would call this. What made the whole thing so remarkable is that they were good. It was a seven-piece band, all of whom were fantastic instrumentalists or signers. The music selection was phenomenal. They could cover Van Halen as well as they could cover Evanescence, and just about everything in between. They played Led Zeppelin like they were empowered by Zoso, the God of Melodious Ass Kicking. And between songs, various band members would take their turns bantering on about this that and the other, and telling inside jokes which the rest of the band found hilarious, though no one in the audience had a clue as to what was so funny. We stood there on the balcony (this venue was incredibly built, looking like massive dollars were spent in renovations and investments; we all took a particular liking to the place, and Bill, enterprising individual that he is, got around to talking to the bar's general manager, in an office amidst piles of money and other cool things, about reserving the place AT NO COST for a party in May. Evidently my band will be playing there for this party, so stay tuned for updates) and couldn't help but laugh throughout the whole thing. A lot of my laughter was fueled by enjoyment of great music. A lot more of my laughter was fueled by the sheer hilarity of 40-somethings running around thinking they were the shit with their own little pseudo-rock opera. I don't want to lie to you, I was very entertained. But it was bittersweet, in the sense that I was watching these people and realizing that I was being entertained by the exact thing I despise about the music industry. I was being entertained by that which I pray never to become. I HATE seeing great musicians wasting their talent playing other peoples' music. I'm okay with being in a cover band right now, because it's simply a hobby. We write our own music as well, and play a fair mix of both. Playing covers is not my livelihood. So many things feel wrong to me, spiritually, karmically, practically, when I think of people who make their lives out of being a super-polishedc over band. If they're so good that they can play Aerosmith songs more convincingly than Aerosmith can, then they're too good to be playing covers at all. They should be making their own music. Being the best cover band in the world, or even worse, a tribute band of any rank, either means you're a crappy writer but still want to cash in (= soulless fucknut), or too lazy with too little vision to be respected for your own talent ( = lazy visionless fucknut). Fucknut fucknut fucknut. And yet, the music got better and better throughout the night. The songs kept being awesome, and I kept enjoying myself. As I've been explaining to the people who've been wandering around my living room in the wee hours of the morning, it's like when a friend zaps you with one of those electric shock novelty toys and you go, "Fuck, that sucked! Now, gimme! I need to play this trick on someone." I saw this band play tonight. It hurt. But it felt good too. The jury is still out on this one, as far as my overall appraisal of the experience. But I don't need to know my feelings on it to know that I want to bring friends with me to see this again. Other people need to have this imparted upon them, just so they can share in it with me. I don't want to feel this alone. It's just too much. I made it home without incident and began to write this blog entry.


Shit. All this was just today. I don't think I have it in me to go through the entire month. Reader's Digest inspires me to synopsize the remainder:

Several close buddies of mine and I played paintball a week or so ago for Mark Skryzowski's birthday. The guys had a blast, the girls had a blast. Everyone was bitten by the bug; there were many first-timers out, and all of them loved it. We are going to play again and I can't wait.

I'm getting a dishwasher for Christmas. There's also a girl moving into the house in January. There are some compound and redundant benefits there. I can't wait, because I'm sick of playing mom.

The Jones Effect is back at it again. We're practicing weekly, and finally beginning to write some new material, which will be my first opportunity for contribution with Eric and Josh. We're all quite excited. Look for us to be playing at Steel Music Hall in January, at Nola's BBQ in May as previously noted, and probably several different places in the period between.

Old Navy is filling up with hot chicks. And cool chicks. Most of them belong to both categories. I will never leave that job.

Let's see if I can write again before 2005. One month is appropriate for bills, full moons, and menstrual cycles, but not for blog entries.

I'm so sorry I just said that disgusting thing about full moons.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

INTEMPERANT

I have to admit it, I had an absolutely astonishing, entertaining, and fulfilling day today.

But I'm going to talk about last night... simply because if you'd been there to witness last night as it happened, by comparison you'd give much less than a rat's ass about what I did today.

It all started harmlessly enough, with several friends and I continuing a home-beautification project, namely, insulating my attic to prepare it for future tenancy. We performed such tasks dutifully and accomplished much, as seen here:



My trusty work crew and I, highly satisfied with our accomplishments, decided to reward ourselves with a little good food and a lot of pregaming:



And that picture was taken before we got drunk.

So, a drink or two later, we were driven to Whiskey, where we rendezvoused with several people who liked buying drinks for complete strangers. By the end of the night, I actually performed a one-handed cartwheel into a wall on purpose; this made sense to me at the time, and I hasten to assume it was because someone offered me a free drink if I performed the aforementioned task for the audience that was the entire bar.

Now, I'm pretty sure that if I were a bartender (and I am, from time to time) and I watched a drunk man make a bet with a drunker man that he should perform a stupid human trick (and a potentially injurious one at that, and not just for the perpetrator... and by the way, that doesn't count as referring to myself in the 3rd person) for a rum and coke, I would refrain from serving either of them for the remainder of the night. But then, I guess that's why I love Whiskey (the bar, not the beverage; I'm much more of a bourbon person when it comes to the hard stuff)... they tolerate the drunkards because they are drunkards themselves. For that matter, they're drunkards with a stiff coke (the illicit drug, not the archrival of Pepsi) habit, which, while it invokes the 'tu quoque' fallacy against me, certainly puts them in the least appropriate position to judge me.

Before this transpired, we managed to get my dear former roomie Mary away from a term paper for, as she put it, "one beer, and then I'm leaving." I love Mary, because 'one beer' means, she'll have a beer with us, and then turn to mixed drinks for the rest of the night. She stayed at Whiskey for a couple hours as opposed to the half hour she promised she'd have to leave by, but she only had one beer.

After we were chauffeured home, I spilled my will to live (cleverly disguised as my last two boxes of mac n' cheese) all over the kitchen floor as I attempted to pour the noodles back from the strainer into the pot. After a heartbroken five minutes of sandwiching slain noodles between steamed and gooey paper towels, my fellow roommate Joe took pity on me and offered me the rest of the noodles he cooked up earlier. Actually, it wasn't pity; they were supposed to be for my fellow roommate Eli, but he had inadvertently passed out on the couch atop a pile of tools and fiberglass-laden bunny suits.

I don't remember much after that, but I woke up feeling refreshed, but exhausted, requiring me to naturally assume that after I blacked out I ran a marathon and ate a smorgasbord upon finishing before retiring to bed. When I woke up, I most certainly was not laying atop a pile of tools and fiberglass-laden bunny suits, so I had a better night than someone, at least. To top it off, I don't believe I was entirely sober the following morning when I called home to wish my grandmother happy birthday.

It was a good night.

And just for good measure (and to keep you from shoehorning me into the 'predictable' category), I'm throwing in a picture of my ideal woman. If you look anything like this, call me and we'll go out for dinner:


Thursday, November 11, 2004

RISIBLE

Your Whore-O-Scope

ARIES (March 21 - April 19)
You, like most Aries, would definitely do well to turn to whoring this month, as Jupiter's position tells you that street corners will see increased traffic. Avoid sleeping with Libras, as it is unlikely they will pay you for anything you do. You are most likely a redhead and talk far more than anyone wants you to; playing submissive roles will earn points from clients and promote repeat business.

TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
You are outgoing and always on the lookout for a good time. While this by itself would make you a good candidate for whoring, you are probably filthy rich, so you would have no need to put out for money... You will still have frequent sex anyways, which makes you a slut. For guidance in this arena, please refer to the Slut-O-Scope. Your boyfriend will get suspicious that you are cheating on him, so refrain from having sex with any of his close friends.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
You were born for whoring. Now is the time to find a reputable pimp and discuss employment arrangements. A Pisces would be an ideal pimp for you. You probably have an older sister; consult her for additional advice, as she's been in this position before. Your athletic body type would be more attractive if you'd stop tanning so much... right now you look like a pumpkin, and no one wants to fuck a pumpkin in the dead of winter.

CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
This is your first time addressing your desire to become a whore. Although you are nervous, your natural talent will shine through, especially if you get a boob job. Don't let parents' judgment steer you away from taking this major step forward. You are most likely a brunette, which is powerful for you, as your biorhythm compliments this approaching solstice. Trust your gut when a longtime friend wants to buy your services; he will fall in love with you despite the sex being terrible.

LEO (July 23 - August 22)
You are probably a whore already, but you don't want to stay in the rut forever. You are a lipstick lesbian with a fetish for lace. Score big points with the boss by sleeping with him and his wife; you will ensure a pay raise for yourself, plus you will have a good bit of blackmail in case he tries to screw you, figuratively, in the future. Protecting your own self now will ensure you stability down the road.

VIRGO (August 23 - September 22)
There's not a chance in hell you'd make you'd make money in this business. Don't even think of trying it out. You're ugly, morbidly obese, and you have a terrible personality to boot. Though whoring is not an option, you should still try to find sex. If you find someone who will sleep with you, marry him immediately, as you've found the last man on earth who would do so. There's no money in it immediately, but it's one step closer to welfare. If he's also a Virgo, take note that he's married already, but you'll likely never meet his other wife or children.

LIBRA (September 23 - October 22)
You will do anything for attention, which would make you a volatile whore at best. Sometimes you'd be outstanding, and other times you'll hardly make enough money for smokes. Your hair is probably blonde, but you spent at least eight dollars to get it that way. Mars and the Moon are teaming up against you this month, which will make your temper flare up more than usual. This will put you at risk of getting injured on the job. Only sleep with men you're sure you can overpower.

SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21)
There is a long history of whoring in your family, and you owe it to those who've laid the path out before you to become the best whore you can be. You are a Grade-A bitch, but you can get past that with moderate drug use. Stay away from the heavy hitters, though, as Pluto and Uranus will negatively influence the market for coke and heroin. You are going to have to make a decision that will strain your ability to do your whoring this month, but your family will eventually support you no matter what you choose to do.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)
You've been turning tricks for quite some time now. Younger inexperienced whores often come to you for advice and support. Be careful not to let it stroke your ego, however, or you'll make enemies. You assuredly have a venereal disease or two, so buy condoms as often as you buy beer instead of as often as you buy champagne. You don't have long to live, so take a poor runaway under your wing and teach her every secret of the business. Tell her she won't find her Richard Gere, but she might get a Hugh Grant.

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
You are beautiful, sexy and smart, but you have a screw loose. You're either bipolar or mildly schizophrenic, but either way, your alluring qualities only come out in small spurts. Instead of traditional whoring, you can ride the technology wave and make great money with internet porn. You only have to keep yourself in a good mood long enough to successfully film the take, then watch the money come in as videos of you getting friendly with a complete stranger circulate around the web. Good places to begin your job search are www.bangbus.com and www.cdgirls.com.

AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)
Whoring has been knocking on your door. You've been weighing this decision for a while now, and it's finally time to take the plunge. It just makes sense, since you've exhausted all other opportunities to find gainful legitimate employment. All your friends are whores, and it's only a matter of time before they convince you to join up with them. You've always believed you'd live a glamorous lifestyle, but it turns out you're just going to be a whore.

PISCES (February 19 - March 20)
Forget whoring. You need to find another Pisces to settle down with. He should be about 5'6" with dark hair, be a 23 year old electrical engineering student, and live in the Rochester, NY area. And his name should be Kevin Savino-Riker.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

SUSCEPTIVE

Okay. Bandwagon, ho!





You Are a New School Democrat



You like partying and politics - and are likely to be young and affluent.

You're less religious, traditional, and uptight than most Democrats.

Smoking pot, homosexuality, and gambling are all okay in your book.

You prefer that the government help people take care of themselves.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

ORATORY 1

Just when we thought cellphones couldn't get any more features, some wunderkind decides that we need a little more connectivity. They're even working on speech-to-text blogging, which could be cool, once you get used to dictating punctuation ("Hello comma mother dash fucker comma it's nice to see you again semi-colon you have to visit me more often period"). What with all the programmable key-entry macros and voice-activated dialing, I worry my fingers will soon atrophy due to chronic non-use. Makes me sick.

But who am I kidding? Being one to jump on the bandwagon, especially if I'm guaranteed a front seat, I embraced this wonderful technology as it currently exists and have decided to flaunt it here.

That's right, Prose Justice is now Cochlear-Enabled.

I don't expect that I'll use audioblogging too often, but when I do, it'll be a nice change of pace.


this is an audio post - click to play




*I HATE the word 'holla' but will knowingly and willingly use it in jest to promote the disrespect of the word. I suggest you all do the same.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Chupacabras Lives In The Wrong Neighborhood

So I'm posting about Halloween on what my computer tells me is November 1st. Fine. To my credit, I haven't slept yet, so this I'm still in the same period of consciousness as I was during the entire day of All Hallows Ween... so back off punk.

As I put on a costume corporeally in celebration of this holiday, I figure when I post my blog, it should be in proverbial costume as well.

So here goes, my blog, dressed up as a blog entry from Madness and Musings, a finely crafted and extensively entertaining blog penned by dear friend Ray Ward.


I think we all need a time or two every once in a while to consider our nation's status in the realm of internal health. Right now, there are clearly too many problems with our own infrastructure. And they're all associated with our flagrant disregard for natural balance. Obviously, I'm referring to the unnaturally large population of livestock in the USA.

Being the fattest nation in either of the world's known hemispheres, as calculated by the simple process of excavating a vast chasm beneath the surface of the country, erecting a gigantic scale within that chasm and using it to weigh the total mass of the country, then subtracting the combined mass of soil, building materials, personal property, large trees, domesticated and wild animals (with the exception of dogs; there are some fat fucking dogs out there and they don't deserve to be eschewed from scrutiny), all lakes and rivers, Joan Rivers (who is unclassifiable), vehicles, and birds who are not currently in the air, as estimated by an eleven year old in Wisconsin named Brian, thus yielding the total weight of humanity within our nation, which is then divided by the number of humans residing here, adjusted for the number of humans who are either in flight or currently jumping up and down, as estimated by a mixed-ethnicity centenarian in New Mexico named Angie-May, the result of which is multiplied by a correction factor that comes from a computerized number generator in the village of The Pentagon, OH, which is seeded by the number of seconds that have elapsed since President Lincoln was shot, resulting in a single quotient that is irrefutably accurate and is catchily referred to as the Personal Obesity Ranking Number, or PORN, which is then compared to the PORN from other countries as obtained by the same method (conducted in secret black-ops style missions by the Canadian Mounted Police), we have advanced our need to sustain such human fatness to an irreversible extent that requires an absolutely overwhelming number of fast-food restaurants to exist in close geographical proximity to each residential area.

Of course, this means that these restaurants require animal stocking on an order high enough to match the collective American appetite for skinned and heated cow muscle. And of course, an equal number of pickles, but I digress. The fact is, the amount of grazing space required to sustain so many animals is enormous, far larger than any gymnasium in fact, and vile individuals who operate under the obvious Mafia cover-title 'ranchers', are taking this land away from business industrialists to build up expansive 'ranches' to sustain these animals just long enough to grow them to proper killing size. These business industrialists, due to a lack of space for development here in the USA, are then forced to outsource their work to foreign children who have IQs of 120 but don't have the strength to walk on their own because their country's PORN is so inferior and they have no muscle mass. And that is why our infrastructure is going to shit.

And it doesn't stop there. "Chicken", a delicious synthetic food, which received its name because the cartoon picture that they decided to put on the product packaging looks uncannily like the actual farm animal that is famous for: (1) producing clouds of airborne feathers during periods of extreme distress, and (2) for being called "chicken", is being eaten at record-breaking rates; in 1998 these rates actually exceeded the maximum rate at which all the chicken machines in America could produce viable chicken food product, and the chicken-food industry began making chicken out of ACTUAL chickens to help meet supply. Now truckloads of incarcerated chickens can be seen leaving contrails of white feathers down every major highway in the country as they're transported from chicken 'ranches' to 'chicken kill-o-houses' for comestible preparatory purposes. Chicken kill-o-houses are HUGE. One Chicken kill-o-house could easily take up all the real estate in Louisiana, or at least as much real estate as can be found in one of those queer New England "states".

If this trend continues, the internet will collapse due to an unability to find enough space to keep building computers, which will be needed within the next six months, as estimated by the current rate of growth of Google. Furthermore, textile manufacturers will engage in bloody turf war with the IRS over valuable warehouse space. And people blame the president for the poor economy.

Kinda makes you wish you didn't eat so much, doesn't it, fatso? I can safely call you that because the internet is already beginning to collapse, and in fact, it does not exist anywhere in the world besides America, and since you're reading this, (1) you're obviously American and (2) you're disgustingly fat. If you didn't eat so much, the world would stop being so shocked by American PORN.

Is there a possible resolution to this woeful future? Not hardly. But I can tell you, things would have been much better if we imported a number of Mexico's most remarkable natural resources: the Chupacabras.

The chupacabras, seen here, is a fierce creature that looks like a batfaced wolf and walks upright on two legs, much like Mimi from the hit series "The Drew Carey Show". Its name, when translated from Spanish to whatever language this is, literally means "Goat Sucker". While one might initially believe this to refer to sexual behavior, let me clear this up immediately: Chupacabri have no genitalia. This was an evolutionary specialization; they reproduce asexually without genitalia, therefore them leaving no distraction from their solitary intrinsic life purpose: sneaking around and eating livestock.

What's unfortunate is that Mexico is a very lean country, in terms of their PORN, and they have hardly any livestock to speak of as a result. What few ranches exit in Mexico are constantly plagued by raiding chupacabri, stifling what piddly meat economy they have... far below levels that would be internationally respected. In the USA, however, these animals would be neither a bane nor a burden, but a shadowy health vigilante figure. Left to their own instincts, even a single clan of chupacabri could decimate five percent of the USA's obnoxiously large livestock supply within five years. Double the number of chupacabri and that timeframe is actually reduced by sixty percent, as estimated by the autistic daughter of the Mayor of Biloxi, MS. The resulting reduction in beef consumption should allow the United States to return to much healthier PORN levels.

I'll come right out and say it. The numbers add up. I will make a statement, loud and clear, a statement that is validated by the pain I feel when I look into the windows of American homes and find gargantuan children beating their huge parents for not providing second-dessert after pre-dinner.

America needs its own Goatsucker.

Not literally, of course, but imagine, if you will, a figurative goatsucker. Now, honestly, if there was a goatsucker for every household there'd no longer be a need for PORN, but that's far too idealistic and utopian. The PORN will remain a part of our lives until our entire species is purged of that hideous compulsion to thrust ourselves upon our meat and suck down the byproducts with grotesque zeal. So I submit, we cannot solve this problem in its entirety, but we can reduce its damaging effects upon our economy. We don't need a goatsucker per household; we just need one goatsucker for the country. Then again, maybe we already have one.

And I submit, he may be Richard Simmons. I know, he's laying low right now... but I have a feeling that he's planning an uprising against the livestock in this nation, and he's going to engage in a bloody rampage to rid the country of red meat. Of course, he'd keep the chicken, because it's so damned delicious, but at least the red meat will be gone and maybe some day we Americans will find that our PORN is something we can be proud of.

It hasn't happened yet... but just wait. It's coming.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

EPHEMERAL

"For the record, I'm faring rather well, and have a lot of overdue positives coming to fruition that balance out the misfortunes and difficulties past." - Me

Wow, so much has transpired since my last blog entry. I've been insanely busy with great big things (not 'great big' meaning 'really big'... more 'great big' meaning 'wonderful and substantial'), and as such I haven't had time to post.

This entry is something of a digital Post-It® note of candidates for potential blog entries that are due to be written, but with less of that gummy glue stuff on the underside:

  • Beautification of the Troup-Howell Bridge, and of Old Navy.
  • Week one of my New Ass-Kicking Job, and my Other New Ass-Kicking Job.
  • Songs I'm writing.
  • The girlfriend I still don't have.
  • Racing in automobiles.
  • Being back in Rochester and improving my home.

I'll take suggestions, as per the interactivity du jour of several of my fellow bloggers, as to which of the above listed topics should be elaborated upon.

Ahh, I've missed this. Blogging, that is. Before I lay down to sleep this morning (after 17 hours of employment I'm nuts I really mean it), I'm going to leave with two thoughts that have been in and out of my mind recently. They are as follows:

  1. The 'Family Values' ticket, which you can find on your garden variety voters' ballot, really means 'Undercover Christian'.
  2. Too many pregnant women abuse the 'eating for two' allowance. Babies generally weigh no more than 12 pounds, on the high side, at birth. Women should typically gain about that much weight in addition to the weight of the baby, which, for the mathematically retarded, is generously totaled to 30 or fewer pounds of extra pudge. What's with the gaining of 50 or 100 pounds during a pregnancy, and only losing 12 pounds when the kid pops out? Ladies, I have to argue. First off, 'eating for two' doesn't mean you eat twice what you used to eat. That second person is WAY smaller than you are. Second, 'eating for two' only applies DURING the pregnancy, not for the next two years. Maybe women need more practice at giving birth. I mean, just about all of the ladies who've had more than six children don't seem to have any trouble with it... if they did what some of these crazy pregnant chicks do, they'd weigh 150 pounds on the fucking moon.*

*Okay, sorry I got a little harsh on that last one. It's because I'm wicked tired and the drugs wore off already.

Friday, October 08, 2004

BELLIGERENT

I was unable to view the Vice-Presidential debate because of a scheduling conflict with an important family matter. While I intend to finish reading the transcript from that debate and comment afterward, it will have to wait, as I was fortunate enough to catch the second Presidential debate live. So while the opinions are fresh, I'll harvest the crop of them first and return to the VPs later. Comments tonight will be far diferent than those in my review of the first debate, primarily due to their condensed content. I'll get right to the point* this time.

Presidential Debate (again)
Bush-Kerry Round 2 was a dead heat. I will thusly award one half-point to each candidate, bringing the points total (as awarded, once again, by myself and myself only) to:

Kerry: 1.5 Points
Bush: 0.5 Points

I'll speak on Kerry first. The man had some zingers, again, but he conversely performed the verbal equivalent of holding his own hands behind his back to alow George to punch repeatedly at his unprotected midsection. Specifically, when Kerry allows Bush to use "The Wrong War At The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
" as a present-tense, ongoing sentiment. Bush said, "I don't think the leaders of the world will follow a man who says his war is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time," and Kerry just let him go with it. Kerry said what he said, once and only once, in response to a specific statement, and when read in context it showed nothing more than Kerry's disagreement with the way Bush chose to progress in the war. Bush, with no resistance whatsoever, has been allowed over and over again to use the claim as if it's Kerry's current and forever stance on the War On Terror®, implying that Kerry as president would ask nations to come join in a war by advertising it as the wrong war. Would anyone
Kerry was almost too offensive at times


Bush charismatic and witty, engrossed the audience, handled himself much more confidently than last debate, referred to the canned phrases less than last debate as well. Trying to convince people that it's simple yes/no in every case. Can't say 'raised taxes 200 times' and use that as foundation to say Kerry will therefore raise taxes for people he promised cuts to. We don't know what taxes Kerry voted to raise. What if they were all for the rich?




*This is largely because I can't make much of a point this time around. While I felt like an enlightened intellectual with useful information with regard to Round 1, this time I'm much more of a squirming amateur with

MEMORIAM

James Arthur Riker
March 31 1950 - October 3 2004


James Riker, like all memorable men, was many things to many people. He served the role of husband, brother, uncle, and friend, and in each capacity he served with love and devotion. But as I stand here, it occurs to me that of all the people in the world, he was the only one who could serve the role he served to me, and of all the people in the world, I am the only one who knows how it felt to have him serve that role: the role of fatherhood. As such, it is in this regard that I choose to celebrate him with you now.

My father's defining characteristic, as anyone could confirm, was that he was a creator, a builder. In every aspect of his life in which he had a passion, he used that passion to bring forth good things. It was intrinsic to him. He made it his career and he made it his hobbies; in each thing he created, he poured a little part of himself into it.

My father was also wise. He naturally assumed the role of 'elder' and of 'mentor'. You hear the ubiquitous claim from many young children, "My daddy knows everything!", and so it was with me at that stage of my life. But the remarkable thing was, as I grew older and wiser, as I opened larger eyes to a larger universe so vast in scope and so full of uncertainty, he still had all the answers. Even into my young adult life, I could come to him with any unanswerable question, and as always, my dad knew everything. That was a rare and remarkable gift.

He led by example, and as such, the one most important lesson he bestowed upon me is one that I will not fully comprehend the importance of until I have my own children: he taught me about fatherhood itself. He taught me exactly what kind of father to be and perhaps even more importantly, exactly what kind of father not to be.

Like all the things he created as a builder, my father put a part of himself into me, and I dare say he put more into me than into anything else he was responsible for. There is quite a lot of my father within me. I believe this puts me in a unique position to carry his legacy forward, and to take on the massive burden of that responsibility, because he was such a big person. If I can make myself as successful in life as possible, and do great things in my life, and become that mentor and that elder, and to lead by example as he did, then I will have fulfilled my duty to that legacy.

My goal is to become the greatest thing my father ever created.

Before I finish, I want to remind everyone here that while we all possess our own private and internal suffering, a suffering that is unique to each person and will remain until its purpose is served, we all as well shared in a greater outward suffering for the sake of my father's own suffering. But I will say this: whatever true suffering he endured, that suffering of his is past and gone, and so too should be the outward suffering that we extended to him. I submit that in its place we should present something positive. If my father left his mark upon you, if he impressed something of himself onto you that you feel, then I charge you: please nurture it, cultivate it, acknowledge it, and do not deny it; do not feel guilty that you have something of him that makes you feel happy, despite the loss of the man himself.

If all of you who care for him and have his mark upon you can join with me, and celebrate that part of him he left with you, then he will be with us forever.

-taken from the eulogy I gave at my father's funeral service on October 5, 2004

Thursday, September 30, 2004

POISE

Well, Johnny and Georgie did their bit. I apologize for the political theme of this particular blog entry; I don't like to promote or push my political beliefs upon people in order to influence theirs. I do, however, love to discuss my beliefs with other receptive individuals for the purpose of promoting enthusiastic dialogue, be their opinions different from mine, or correct.

In all seriousness, be mindful of the one-sided nature of blog publishing, and don't allow yourself to confuse the sharing of my opinion with you with the pushing of my opinion to change you. By the time you're done reading this entry, you will likely be able to guess who I intend to vote for, but remember I'm not trying to tell any of you to pick the same man. One thing I will push, however, is that we should all be concerned and motivated to participate actively in the privileges our citizenship offers, that we may affect the politics, as they will certainly affect us.

So, consider yourselves disclaimed, and while you're at it, expect me to do this again following each succeeding debate night.



Presidential Debate 2004.

Round 1, as called by myself: Kerry, by a narrow margin.

My opinions regarding the first night of debates, which covered the topics of Terrorism (or is it, 'Errorism'?) and National/Homeland Security: This was Bush's home turf. This is where he makes his bread and butter, and where he makes the most of his fans (redundantly he makes them with his religious affiliations, as those of similar foundation tend to be the same ones who support his military policy). Bush definitely kept with his theme of steadfast resolve, often reiterating himself throughout the night. I must say his smarter side began to shine through during the early period of questioning. He composed himself better than I expected him to, speaking confidently and clearly, without letting slip any of the dubya-isms we love to mock. He actually used the word 'denigrated'... I damn near shat myself. But it wasn't all good for the man; He disappointingly fulfilled some of my negative expectations, particularly toward the end when he started losing his patience and began throwing out cookie-cutter responses regardless of the topic he was supposed to address. Another favorite method of his was to make groundless claims, neglect to back them up with evidence (as the nature of each claim was illogical and false), and then try to stand by them to attack his opponent. Don't worry, I'll mention specifics later (look for the *).

Kerry was more confident, better spoken, and better prepared, it seemed, than was Bush. But this was expected. Everyone knows Kerry is a better public speaker than Bush is. What notable things he did, though, included managing the momentum of the night. Whether fielding his own questions, or rebutting Bush's answers to his questions, Kerry's words were the ones that punctuated the topics at hand. The 'definitive' overtone that is requisite to a good debater's message, was more often found coming from Kerry's podium than from the President's. Kerry definitely took control and soundly defended himself against the expected attacks of flip-floppery and softness. That being said, I also believe Kerry let Bush walk away with a few easy points. There were a couple of things Bush said throughout the night, over which Kerry could have absolutely ripped the man to shreds, but he left it all untouched. Again, I'll mention specifics later (look for the **).

Something worth noting... The debate format was as follows: a candidate is asked a question, and is given two minutes to answer. His opponent is then give 90 seconds for rebuttal. If the issue still begs resolution, one extra minute is allowed, 30 seconds to each candidate to further address their points. I find it interesting that it was almost always Bush who invoked the '30 second re-rebuttal' option throughout the course of the debate. This calls a very specific point-to-ponder to my mind. Kerry crafts a much better answer and rebuttal, in general. He play the game like it were chess, and here's what I mean - If the question is his, he speaks for his two minutes, and after Bush made his rebuttal, Kerry's point still stood on its own and needed no further reinforcement, either because Kerry's point was so solid, or because Bush was so ineffective at offering a counterpoint. If Kerry made a rebuttal, it often upset the point contained in Bush's preceding answer to the extent that Bush requested the 30 second re-rebuttal to attempt pick up the pieces. Of course, afterward Kerry took his 30 seconds and bashed it right back to the floor again. Bush was forced to attempt such a recovery at least eight times tonight, while Kerry did it twice at most.

That aside, the following pissed me off:

*Bush spent a lot of time tonight saying things like "You can't lead America when you call the war on Iraq 'The wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time'," to which I respond, "Why not?" Kerry said what he said (and interestingly apologized for saying it tonight; I would not have in light of what I'm about to say) at the beginning of the American deployment in Iraq, in reference to the fact that our troops were sent to Iraq from Afghanistan (where they were also sent haphazardly) while they were making at least slight progress in the hunt for Bin Laden, but they were sent without the support of the rest of the UN or our other allies, which neglected the primary objective in the War on Terrorism and yadda yadda yadda. Now, John Kerry has all the right in the world to say that this was the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time, because it summarizes the viewpoint he has had since this whole thing started (and has not actually waffled on): He believes our troops need support, and will support them since they're already stuck there, but he would not have sent them so quickly were he in power. He would have exhausted other alternatives before committing our troops in such a relatively high proportion, and he'd only have done it with the backing of the rest of the concerned world. Now, having these opinions, while I feel would actually increase morale among our active-duty troops, has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether or not Kerry would make a capable president. Bush tried to imply that Kerry's comments meant that he had no faith in America or in its armed forces, and therefore he can't be trusted to lead us. There is, in point of fact, no logical basis for this. Disagreeing with our unprovoked occupation of another country while there were more imminent dangers to address? Sounds like rational thinking to me, and in no way un-American. Sounds like a quality I'd like to see in the Commander-In-Chief of our armed forces.

Here's another goodie: When asked to clarify his plan to remove troops from Iraq pending its reaching stability, Kerry mentioned "changing the situation on the ground", specifically providing more equipment to our troops, and accelerating the training of Iraqis to promote self-sustainment. *In rebuttal, Bush simply said, "You can't change the situation on the ground when you disrespect the Prime Minister, " and then proceeded to explain that Kerry raised questions about the credibility of the Prime Minister of Iraq while he was visiting the U.S. Again I found myself asking, "Why not? What in the world does it matter what he said about the Prime Minister have to do with his ability to change the situation on the ground?" The two are in no way related. Changing the situation on the ground involves changing the allocation of our troops and keeping them at their very best, and keeping them there only for as long as necessary. That has nothing to do with Kerry's caution with regard to the potency of the Prime Minister of Iraq. If anything, Kerry's claims were about whether elections will indeed happen on schedule as both the Prime Minister and Bush promised. Kerry can doubt that all he wants to, and that makes no difference in his ability to perform according to his contrasting plan regarding that particular military operation. These are two of at least four instances in which Bush just flung these claims out there with no coherency or factual basis whatsoever.

My disappointment with Kerry, on the other hand, was based on his softness with regard to a few points Bush made. This was evidenced most clearly in the mens' closing statements, though it was evident several times earlier in the debate, as well. Kerry was pushing for international cooperation; he promised to revive alliances which have been stressed by our offensive motives of late, namely by changing that attribute. Bush made it clear that he wished to put America first, no matter what the cost. He promoted the idea that if we stay on the offensive, we will minimize the chance of facing threats on our soil. Kerry came off as 'we have to let the rest of the world give us the green light before we do anything big', while Bush turned it right around and came off as 'I'm not going to let the fate of the America and the Americans that I love rest in the hands of foreigners'. Bush did a great job of showing the contrast between the two mens' philosophies, while simultaneously reinforcing the notion that he is the strong 'Keep us on top' President. While Bush had one of his few exceptionally strong remarks in this regard, Kerry sounded like a soft 'Can't we all just get along?' hopeful. Not the way I'd have done it. Here's where my temper begins to flare a touch. I submit, not too humbly, that Kerry should have made a power move right exactly there. Kerry was pushing for international cooperation, and that was his ticket to trounce Bush in light of his angle, but Kerry didn't have the balls to step off the ledge. If it were me, I'd have made the following move: I'd say (and this is potential political suicide, but it's true and it's courageous to admit):

"The people of the United states must come to terms with one unsettling fact: The majority of the world sees the United States as the single greatest threat to the stability of the world. This brash imperialistic, self-serving attitude and action we partake in, is the sort of behavior that inspires wrath and causes a ubiquitous flare-up of animosity toward our nation. This is exactly why terrorists then try to attack us. We need to instead keep our humility. We cannot exist safely in a standoff against the rest of the world as George W. Bush said he'd plan to; continuing on this path will only further alienate us, and will therefore make us more vulnerable, more exposed to attack, and more likely to be attacked due to the thusly increasing hatred directed toward America. We are not above the world. I love the life I live because of all we have to offer in this great nation, but as much as I believe that our way is the best, there are plenty others who believe differently. There is plenty of remaining power throughout the rest of the world, and if they behaved at all like we have as of late, then our beloved nation would be war-torn and decrepit, just like the Middle East. George W. Bush says that offense is good for Americans. I say, what's good for Americans at the expense of others will never be as correct as what's good for Americans in accordance with others. That end can be achieved by cooperation with the world's nations, without losing any of our perceived muscle. We will continue to be the world's policeman, but we will refuse to be the world's bully. Following that course will keep us equally safe from existing threats, but far safer from new threats."

Now, back to what ACTUALLY happened -

As I said in the beginning... Kerry wins Round 1. But Bush will have an easier time keeping the presidency than Kerry will have taking it. If Kerry intends to take the presidency, he's going to have to dominate these debates and win favor by a landslide, because winning these debates by such a small margin will only afford him enough votes to make it an interestingly close loss.

Kerry has to fight for every victory, leaving nothing for Bush to pick up unearned. This may require taking the edgy road, and providing he can swing it as such, he'd make a damn strong impression with all the voters who lack confidence. This one might still be won in the trenches of the swing states, coincidentally susceptible to the potential influence of the currently floating and disjointed youth contingency. Time to put on our battle gear and fight for who we choose to support. I fucking mean it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

FARCICAL

Supposition #1: I am swiftly becoming incredibly close friends with a man named Jon Lewitt.

Validation for #1: The man has an uncanny ability to punctuate my stray thoughts and present them in pristinely-formatted synopses, especially in the realm of off-the-cuff humor.

Evidence for #1: Within a discussion about a friend of ours who is in the middle of the interview process to join the Peace Corps, Jon mentioned that he'd totally join if it were more 'dangerous and action-packed' than the actual Peace Corps is purported to be. He and I concluded, since we'd never find such an organization in existence, that we might as well create our own (as Jon put it) 'Peace Corps, but cool'. So I start rambling to make sure I'm up to speed with Jon, and say to him, "So, we're kinda looking for a Peace Corps that has elements more like 'Surviving The Game' or 'Fight Club', kinda... right?" To which Jon immediately replied, "Surviving Fight Corps!!" Brilliant.

Supposition #2: The first rule of Surviving Fight Corps is - You do not talk about Surviving Fight Corps or feed a family for only 49 cents a day, and always check the barrel.

REDUNDANT

My man, Andrey Hardy 3000, had a great little idea recently. He 's making an interactive group-participation entry over at his blog. He asks a question, and readers are encouraged to post their answers.

I so enjoyed this idea, and so enjoyed answering his first question (and so don't feel like expending the energy to write something different), that I decided to reproduce it here.

What follows is his entry:

Group Participation

This is the first of what will be a series of questions designed for reader feedback. I have anonymous posting enabled, so even the lazy people who wouldn't want to register don't have an excuse. ;-)


If you had it [it being some defining moment in your life] to do over again, would you? If so, what would you change?

Another thought and subsequent question: Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

And my response: Hmm. My firm belief that everything happens for a reason (though it's completely impossible to present evidence to prove this claim) Nicely answers your second question and sets the scope for my answer to your first:

I believe that each experience we have in life, good or bad, imparts a subtle influence onto our persona. Thus, we need both the good and bad experiences to define who we are today based on who we've been and what we've been through; it is largely due to these environmental extremes that weather away the parts of us that they do, that we became ourselves.

My point is as follows: Given the opportunity to change a pivotal moment in my past, I and everyone else presented with this chance, will obviously wish to change something that had a negative outcome. Nobody is going to go back and remove a good thing from their past. And so, what would I have condemned myself to, if I were to remove a bad thing which may have taught me how to cope with bad things? Maybe the next time in my life I encounter something bad, I won't have the skillset to overcome it as easily. Result? The more recent experience weighs in as a more substantial negative than it would have had I not changed the incident in my past. Then maybe THAT negative experience would impart on me the influence that should have come from the first one I removed. And as such, what did I accomplish? Nothing more than delay the learning of a life lesson. And in the end, it would be no different to me where I stand today.

I think it's a self-regulating process. The bad things are like a sandstorm that blasts away at your weaknesses, which encapsulate you. If a particular weakness is not demolished by the sandstorm early in life, then it will protrude from you, which makes it more likely to be blasted off during the next sandstorm. No matter which storm removed it first, though, after you've weathered both storms you can be sure that you will have the same fewer weaknesses.

Despite all this, I must admit that I have a terrible desire to go back and tweak little things that I'm sure wouldn't have a macroscopic affect on the outcome of my life. Namely, I wish I could sneak back in time and whisper into my ear the perfect retort when someone said something mean or rude to me. I was never quick enough to think of snappy comebacks as a child in school. And having had the rest of my life to think about it, I've finally come up with some real zingers. I don't want to go ahead and make the change that would have given me more balls to do this on my own in grade school and highschool, because I don't think I was ready to have those balls yet. But wouldn't it be harmless to nudge younger me in the right direction, so I could have one or two more moral victories than I actually had?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

NATIONALISTIC

Patriotic? Totally. Concerned? Absolutely. American? Damn skippy. AND, I'm young and poor, and I have a sense of humor. Where am I going with this?

The more appropriate question is where are you going with this? Hopefully,

Here. And Here.

Both sites were made to encourage young citizens like we, the bloggers and blog readers, to turn out and vote in the upcoming presidential election.

The first site, VOTE or NOT dot org, was created by Jim and James, the lovable chinks who brought us www.hotornot.com (sorry, got a little too patriotic there for a minute... to be fair, they're Chink-Americans), to promote voter turnout by holding two $100,000 sweepstakes (one person wins the hundred-grand; if he or she was referred to the site by someone else, that someone else wins the other hundred-grand... is 'sweepstakes' its own plural?) sometime around Nov. 30.

The second site, votergasm dot org, uses risque humor instead of money to spread its message. I strongly suggest that you read every single word within that website. It is painfully entertaining, and all that jazz.

I know this is only my second presidential election, but that takes nothing away from the levity of the following claim: this is the first election whose result I believe will have a direct and substantial affect on my life. I find it more important to be politically active today than I ever have before, and likely more than I ever will again... unless the guy I want doesn't win this time around, of course (wink).

Ooh, and before I forget... since we're sorta on the topic of politics, this fits in loosely:

You know how the word nerds like to mention that antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest word in the English language? It isn't. It's antidisestablishmentarianistic*. Take that, word nerds!


*I'm pretty sure that this isn't a valid word, actually, since antidisestablishmentarian would probably do the job as well as if not better than the word I came up with. But now that I think of it, antidisestablishmentarianistically IS probably a valid word with a unique and heretofore unfulfilled grammatical usage. HA, so those word nerds actually CAN take that!**

** I created the preceding footnote when I realized that antidisestablishmentarianistic probably wasn't a word; I just didn't want to lose that segment of my entry. But while I was writing my retraction, the realization came to me that I could one-up myself with the mention of antidisestablishmentarianistically. I know I could easily have scrapped both footnotes in favor of editing my original sentence to include the updated word choice, but I rather enjoyed using
words that exceeded twenty-five letters in length six times within one blog entry.

Friday, September 24, 2004

ILLUSORY

A duck walks into a bar and asks the bartender, "Got any grapes?" The bartender looks at the duck, disgusted, and says, "Of course not! This is a bar, not a grocery store! Get out of here!!!"
The next day, the same duck walks into the same bar, and asks the same bartender the same question: "Got any grapes?" Obviously, the answer to the question hasn't changed since the day before. The bartender responds thusly: "No, we don't! You stupid duck, if you come into this bar ever again and ask me for grapes, I'm going to grab you by the head and put a nail right through your bill and into the bar!" The duck leaves.
The next day, the duck walks back into the bar.
"Got any nails?"
"Um, no..."
"Got any grapes?"

"That has got to be the stupidest joke you've ever told here," said the bartender, Mac, who happened to be the owner of this particular establishment, the aptly named 'Mac's Shack', and he was dead right. The man he was speaking to simply nodded and grabbed a handful of beer nuts from a bowl, conveniently located next to the stool he'd claimed a half hour earlier, and sidled over to the front door. The man Mac was speaking to, whose proper name nobody ever bothered to learn, walked in and out of bars like his with a regularity that bordered on the ritualistic. In alone, out alone. Day One, Day One-Thousand. Who knew how many days he'd been doing this? Certainly not Mac, and he suspected, certainly not the man in question.

What he knew of the man, he'd learned from observation under the roof of his own establishment, coupled with the painfully embellished stories told to him by his patrons. They often claimed to see "Jokin' Joseph", as they liked to call him, acclimating himself to a stool at every bar for a twenty mile radius, which couldn't have been fewer than a dozen establishments, each and every day they defected to one of the other drinking holes Pennfield had to offer. By their accounts, the man was a veritable brew sponge, putting away near his body weight in cheap domestics, at a record pace, mind you, like it was spring water. All the while, he'd keep the bar or at least the bartender entertained by telling jokes of varying crudeness and wit. It was fair to say that most people liked the dirty ones best, which seemed to suit him well, as they were the ones he told with the most enthusiasm.

Such were the stories told of Jokin' Joseph, especially those told by Mac's patrons; these were the men who fed their addictions and anesthetized their angst most every night; they considered themselves lucky, at least subconsciously, to be fortunate enough to sit a mere forearm's length away from Mac himself, the unspoken yet undisputed deity of their particular brand of worship. He would stand there, facing them like a judge who never bothered to pass judgment upon them, which made him their closest friend. If only God had it so well with His believers.

These men paid for the life Mac lived. They paid for his bar, they paid for his mortgage, they paid for his childrens' education. They paid the price in money, and Mac paid the price in guilt, that he had such an easy time living off their pain. But Mac only got around to feeling that way in the wintertime anyway. The clouds crowded Pennfield's skies like kids in costumes crowded front porches this time of year. The darkness made people fluent in the language of their sadness, as Mac would admit. But it did something else too. The darkness provided a stage, a backdrop, against which Jokin' Joseph shined all the more brightly.

He wasn't a drifter; that much was rendered certain by casual observation of the man's ravenous appetite for alcohol. He was apparently wealthy enough to sustain his bizarre behavior, and evidently lonely enough to explain it. But he was funny. He was a practical attraction, the closest Mac ever came to getting entertainment at the Shack, and he didn't even have to pay for it. Granted, tonight's latest joke was a little on the weak side, honestly because it had nothing to do with tits or pedophiles or minorities, but usually the man was right on. Mac didn't mean to insult Jokin' Joseph; he'd simply made the mistake of thinking he was familiar enough with Joseph to razz him a little. Jokin' Joseph usually didn't let that sort of thing get to him, either. Evidenced primarily by his almost-too-happy-to-be-genuine disposition, everyone was sure that when Jokin' Joseph fell asleep, it was to the lullaby of his own sobs, the pitiful soundtrack of the man with nothing to live for anymore; they just hadn't witnessed it for themselves. Not that they'd want to. This was just the sort of discussion that substantiated the atmosphere at Mac's Shack.

"I said, I'd like a Bud, please! And just between you and me, tonight would be better than tomorrow..."

Swiftly escorted out of his ponderings by the loud guy at the end of the bar, Mac obliged and resumed his duties. That was enough thinking for one night, anyway. Jokin' Joseph was going to be fine, and Mac didn't need to worry about his potentially wounded pride. He continued to worry, regardless.

"Ya know," John Franklin said, "Ol' Joe's never left so quietly before... You ought'ta apologize to him next time he comes in, Mac. Maybe buy him a bunch of grapes or something." John Franklin was a character... Not any certain type of character, but a character nonetheless, and he had a talent for getting on Mac's nerves. How the hell does that man know to pick open a sore like that?, Mac couldn't help but think to himself.

"Maybe you could shut up." It was the best retort Mac could come up with at the moment. Despite John's ability to try Mac's patience, Mac didn't have much else negative to say about him. The man always paid his tab and he always brought friends with heavily-laden wallets. He was something of a wisecrack, not like Ol' Joseph, more the caustic type; John was the one who'd insult you for his own laughter rather than humor you for yours. In other words, Mac just didn't know what to think of him. But unfortunately, at this particular moment, John Franklin was far from being in Mac's good graces, and nothing irritated Mac more than knowing that John realized how badly Mac felt about shooing Jokin' Joseph out this evening. If only he had grapes to offer at his bar. Not that that would make any sense; the thought just emerged, as they do sometimes... Especially when last call drew near.

It was an hour later, and Mac found a few grapes on the countertop at his apartment that had not yet developed the telltale brown depressions that forewarned mild bitterness (the flavor), and mild penitance (the emotion),upon their consumption. He ate them, and chucked to himself, as he'd seemed to fall into a theme revolving around these, the fruit of kings. As he slipped into his bed, the only extravagant furnishing in his otherwise barren bedroom (sleep was something Mac cherished above most other forms of recreation, and he was very particular about his bed), a strange memory interrupted his train of thought: he was a child, and his father was lying on a couch, while he sat Indian style on the floor facing the television. He was eating grapes while Ed Sullivan was saying something or other about a movie star that promoted waves of laughter from either the audience or from a carefully cued laugh track, though he honestly didn't care, and at the time probably wasn't even aware, which it was. What he remembered was leaning up to give his father some of the grapes off his bunch. It was a docile gesture, entirely without significance except that it reminded him of a scene from a movie where some historical King Someone-Or-Other was fed grapes by a throng of beautiful slaves. Mac himself didn't feel beautiful, obvisouly, and he didn't feel like a slave, but boy, he sure remembered thinking of his father as a king. Not because of his father's benevolence or regal demeanor, since he lacked both, but because of his apparent omnipresence. It seemed that nothing good or bad that Mac was responsible for escaped his father's eye. The man was everywhere, between two jobs and a nasty gambling habit, he was just everywhere, or at least where he needed to be to catch wind of anything that significantly impacted Mac in his small childhood world.

Back in his bed, with the tang of natural juice still watering his mouth, Mac's last conscious thought before drifting off to sleep was, What my father had in his own way, I have in mine. I have my territory and I have my subjects. I am my own king today.

The next few nights at The Shack were bland. The crowd was typical and the money was consistent, but Jokin' Joseph was conspicuously absent. This went unnoticed by all but the regulars, and they wisely detected the impatience that would meet them if anyone brought it up to Mac. So the night went on, and blessedly, last call came and went without the intrusion of any unseemly worries or frustrating thoughts into Mac's mind. Mac drove home slowly, along the route he'd practiced driving drunk many times before (when a bartender mishears an order and pours the wrong drink for a patron, he customarily corrects the error and drinks the mistake; Mac made more mistakes tonight than usual), and pulled snugly into the compact parking space in the front of the apartment lot. He went to bed again after eating a couple crackers, as all his grapes had spoiled, and slept like a baby.

Breakfast was always a rushed experience, though not because he had to be up early; the bar opened at three in the afternoon, but Mac loved the morning as much as he hated being alone, and early morning quick breakfasts reminded him of a time when his children were still in school and his wife still lived with him. They'd always had breakfast together before running off to their respective obligations, his kids to the school and his wife to the newspaper office. They'd always read the paper together, always ending with Mommy's advice column, where she regularly comforted women who felt underappreciated by their husbands. Shocking that Mac hadn't seen the separation coming a mile away.

As much as it kept the painful memories dangerously present, this habit of reading the paper continued and to this day provided a bittersweet comfort that Mac learned to love. Picking up the newspaper this morning, Mac skimmed past the sports section, which didn't interest him, past the politics section, which disgusted him, and into the local section to see if any of his friends from the bar had gotten themselves into trouble. Instead, he found himself staring at a photograph of the wily and disheveled Jokin' Joseph. Skimming through the article, he distilled the following points of interest: Jokin' Joseph was actually named Montgomery Edins, he was a retired Army Colonel, and he was in the hospital with a broken leg. You have got to be shitting me found itself repeating in Mac's head as he read on about the details of the accident that caused the man's injury: He was walking down the road and decided to cross it at an inopportune moment, and was struck down by none other than a produce truck heading toward the grocery store with a fresh load of - ungoddamnbelievable - grapes.

Of all the ridiculous things to happen, this was a blue-ribbon winner. Mac swore to himself he'd never say a mean word to that poor man again. He didn't believe in karma, but he felt vaguely responsible just the same. But before the remorse set in too deeply, it was replaced by a fit of laughter. Mac was laughing at Jokin' Joseph one more time, the way he should have when he last visited The Shack. This laughter was not at a joke of Joseph's however; this one was of Mac's own devising. He had an idea, and it was too damn funny for him to bear.

He would visit Jokin' Joseph in the hospital that day, and he'd come bearing a particular gift. The irony was too perfect. And besides, if anyone would find the humor in it, it would be Jokin' Joseph. He decided to follow John's advice after all.



This blog entry was created because Joe Farnsworth suggsested that I write about grapes.

Monday, September 20, 2004

IMPUDENT

Fuck death.
I am goddamn sick of death.
I have lost all patience for it.
I have had absolutely enough of its smarmy bullshit and I am fucking finished with acceptance.

Tonight I learned that a friend of mine, the younger sister of one of my closest friends from highschool, was killed in a car accident on Friday. She was 20 years old. Her child is two years old. I spent an hour and a half waiting in line for my chance to console her surviving family members, watching death piss on the spirits of so many good people as they passed before me.

I tell you one thing for sure, I ain't never dying. I absolutely refuse at this point to do something so selfish as dying when it would hurt so many people I love and who love me.

At the very least, I ain't dying until I am the last person on earth that cares about me. The only way I'll die comfortably is alone.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

MELODIOUS

"Passin' the time like a joint I took too big a hit from"

Hmm.

Music.

Biggest thing in my life.

It's easy to say that, because I'm single right now.

But I digress, before I even make progress, no less.

I was disappointed by the prospect of being unable to play any gigs in the near future, due to my present obligations and priorities, but it seems that I can feel slightly less uneasy about it now. See, the source of my uneasiness came from the knowledge that I was the only thing keeping me from continuing to play out. Now, there's another factor to weigh which takes the blame right off me.

It would seem that Smutt Fest was the last public appearance, at least for quite a long time, of Joe Unglued.

Joe Farnsworth, my hetero life-partner and the namesake of Joe Unglued, is moving to California, like so many of my other best friends from RIT. The only difference is he's not working at Boeing like they are. Chances are, he'll end up on the left coast within a week or two, and within a month or two from then, we'll be seeing him on MTV2, mooning Carson Daly and rocking out like the devil was inside him.

I'm so glad about it, because Kane was too small for Joe Farnsworth. I'm sad, because I haven't clicked so well with another musician since the days of my first band, Absolute. And Joe and I, man, we wore the soles off our shoes as much as we wore our souls on our sleeves whenever we got on stage together. I'm jealous as hell, because this is the age, and the stage of my life, where I am so perfectly suited to just picking up my entire existence and displacing it, to experience the whole other world that is another part of this country, and I am already too tied down to do it. I know, it's mostly been my choice to get so tied down, but then there's also the issue of being so attached to my family. See, the one thing that is cool about not having a girlfriend right now is rendered moot by the fact that I can't just ship off and leave everybody Savino and Riker behind.

I guess I'll just have to get wealthy with a quickness, so I can go and visit all those guys out in them parts.

Meanwhile, I'm left here, now only in one band (and this doesn't mean that The Jones Effect is a consolation prize or anything - Eric and Josh are the best musicians I've ever met, and I am fortunate that they let me join up with them, despite the testament to mediocrity that is my bass playing), which is cool as all get-out, but for the fact that I need something else too. Being in The Jones Effect and being a part of Joe Unglued was fantastic because it provided a balance. I love being a frontman, which was a responsibility I shared with Joe; I do not love ALWAYS being a frontman. With Eric and Josh, I was able to sit back and let them take the band in its direction, and all I had to do was play my part. This was the contrast I'd been looking for, because I've always ended up being a frontman one way or another in my previous projects as well. Now, however, I'm no one's frontman, and after my experience with Joe, I don't want to play out by myself. Balance: upset.

Joe and I made what money we made, and gained what fans we have, by playing cover songs. We'd each written a handful of songs of our own, and played them infrequently at best. We always had the intention of writing songs together, as Joe Unglued, the Creative Bastards Who Make Their Own Rocking Music, but we never got around to it (for no damn reason, either). We've always had the heart to become an original creative body. To take a moment to be simultaneously complimentary and immodest, Joe and I have proven ourselves to be "smarter-than-your-average-bear talented" songwriters, or at least unique songwriters if nothing else. But the bars paid us to play songs people knew and liked already.

Anyway, I think Joe got tired of playing other peoples' songs while he knew he had music in him that couldn't be ignored forever. That's at least how I'm feeling about it. Whatever the real reason, Joe began recording music on a prolific scale and created what amounts to a full solo album of original material. And you know what? It's good. Really. Fucking. Good. It might not jump up and bite your ass with "look how awesome this is", but that's because of its great subtlety and nuance. It's the kind of thing you'll let play once from start to finish and say, "Yeah, that's good for someone who's not in the industry," then by the tenth time you've listened to it you realize that you didn't know shit about it the first time you listened. By that tenth time, it will all sound different, better, realer than anything you could find on the radio today. See what I'm talking about. And what else is cool, and will eventually lead me into my next train of thought, is that Joe's involving me in the process of making his album. He wants me to sing with him here and there, provide a little input from time to time. Makes me feel golden, lemme tell you.

On a slight side note, the only thing left for me to do is keep up with the Joeses, and record a solo album of my own. This is something I've wanted to do forever anyway, and now that Joe Unglued as a tangible entity is lying somewhere on an intangible pyre, the time has come for me to wipe the dust off long-ago-written lyrics and ideas and try to flesh out a bunch of my own musical musings. I'm off to a decent start, thanks heavily to Joe Farnsworth himself, with one track in the bag already, that features his magnificent drumming (next train of thought approaching). I'm glad he could be involved in my album as I am in his, just to further tie the ties between the two of us as partners in this whole shebang. Partly because it makes it easier to cope with the end of this stage of our musical partnership, and partly because I think it's good karma.

So, (next train of thought arrived) the next plan is to, after having both completed our solo albums, write an album together, like the Gods intended so long ago. Even if we have to do it from a distance... I'm gonna make it happen and we'll blow the lid off this piece. I don't care if I'm sending tapes via postal service (By the way, that's how the fantastic supergroup The Postal Service got their name; they thought it was fitting to name themselves after the medium by which they sent ideas back and forth to one another while writing their material in different cities) just to keep the channels of communication open.

Now, let me get one thing straight: Joe has that spark. He can do it on his own and be just fine. He has what it takes to make people notice and listen. He doesn't need anyone or anything else. He chose to include me in this journey despite that. For that I am obscenely grateful. But that aside, when Joe makes it big, let's just say there's a pair of coattails I'm riding straight to the top.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

VEXED

Ahem.

I must apologize for my rudeness in the preceding blog entry. I was rather irked (by the way, if there was a word related to 'irked' that defined one who performed irking, that word might be 'irker', which, I should point out, consists of the exact same letters used in 'Riker'. Coincidence? I think so) by the abrupt and inconvenient mood swing my computer chose to subject me to. But, after a long and busy set of days, or quite possibly weeks, I've regrouped and will attempt, to the best of my ability, to recreate this entry, and perhaps to garnish it with a little more than you'd have bargained for had you seen the original.

Here goes.

I have officially received my job offer from Axis New York, validating the prophecy that I will indeed triumph over Hellabitch (see CIRCUITOUS). But despite this much welcome (and modestly overdue) good news, I am still overwhelmed by my issues at home. To bring all the uninitiated up to speed in the least unsettling terms possible, my father is continuing his difficult battle with cancer, and the battle is about to end. For a plethora of reasons, I was unable to involve my father in, and in extreme cases, even inform him of, some of the largest affairs of my life, such as the purchase of my home, due to my reluctance to impart upon him any more food for stress. I refused to tell him anything that I knew would make him fearful and worried sick at a time when he had nothing to face but the worry and fear.

This was all remedied last week when I delivered to him a letter that took me the better part of a month to compose, that presented him with every detail of everything he deserved to know, up to and including my deep disturbance regarding the circumstances by which Cathie (Spouse 2.0) would have control over the assets my father chose to leave me in his will. It was a very rocky affair, delivering this letter, especially since at a time when I wanted nothing more than to make new wonderful memories with him, I was forced to discuss so trivial a thing as money. But, being a homeowner now, I have to look at things differently today. Everything is about security. I have to write my own will. But I digress. The long and the short of it is, so many people close to me have stressed that even though I did not have the heart to put this on my father at this time, it was something I honestly had to do. As you might imagine, Cathie had a thing or two to say about this, and she and I ended up going at it for a couple rounds of attacks and defense of each other's position. In the end, she understood that I had no reservations about her as a person, just about the lack of legal cement between the building blocks of my father's greater goals and intentions. In the end, Cathie and I were able to part ways respecting each other, and understanding a little better the view from the opposite side of the fence. But it's far from resolved, all the same.

And the bills keep rollin' in, to add crap icing to the shit cake. I will probably be on a leave of absence from Old Navy and push back my starting date for Axis long enough to make a difference back here in Elmira (in light of that 'irked' train of thought earlier, I believe I could validly define a new verb derived from my name, similar to the relationship between 'irked' and 'irker'. In other words, I'm going to start using the word 'Riked' to describe an instance in which I have a certain effect upon someone or something, as in, "You've just been Riked! Ooohhh!". Of course, I am the only person who would have the capability to Rike someone; for everyone else, 'Riked' is only something that could happen to them; This does not mean that I cannot be Riked myself. Just that no one else can Rike me. Oh, yeah, and the proper usage would dictate that in print you'd have to capitalize it regardless of where it appears in a sentence... just because I feel like being a dick about it. I still don't know whether it should be used to describe a positive or negative effect. Perhaps it could universally describe both positive AND negative , like the popular racial slur/title of 'cool' status, 'Nigga.') , which means I don't expect to return until after every project is done and every obligation is fulfilled. I just gotta hold out for the new job scenario of October, in which I'll be posting 40 hours a week in overnight shifts renovating the store. I'll also be ramping up on (daytime) hours at Axis during the same period, but it is unclear whether I will still be traveling to Elmira as often as I have been.

In the worst case scenario, I'll have to bid a temporary adieu to the social nightlife to which I am so accustomed. But hell, if Jesus can sit there in Heaven and have to listen to 10 billion motherfuckers practicing on their harps every day*, then I can certainly hold down 2 jobs and travel for a few weeks. The music might have to stop for a spell, as well, as gigs definitely occupy a great deal of time and energy. But, if you can sit where you are and not have to listen to me play for a month, then all the better for you.

On a lighter note, I recently purchased a new keyboard and mouse, both of which are wireless and snazzy like the Fonz. I am infatuated with them. Yes, it is true that I am one of those for whom 'nerd' can be a verb. Further happiness is as follows: I am still, despite not having seen this girl in weeks, smitten by her. I am confident that the relationship between us will advance soon. I know this by subtle intuition, though it might also be that I've been blinded by foolhardy optimism. Soon enough, I'll know.

Next entry will most likely chronicle my musical endeavors as of late, including, but not limited to, the Smuttfest Concert, my recent studio experiences, and maybe even a little surprise link, like this one to Riker's Media Repository.

*I'd like to extend credit to Richard Pryor for the Jesus joke.

FUCK

God I'm pissed off.

I spent the last hour writing, at the request of no less than a handful of friends, one hell of a blog entry. Not five seconds after I finished the last sentence, my computer just turned off. Didn't get to publish.

It was going to be called VEXED. I really thought it was good. Maybe I'll try to rewrite it, but not tonight.

Sorry guys, I tried.

Friday, August 27, 2004

CATHARSIS

One hell of a week, it's been.

finally done tearing things off my dad's house back in Elmira, which means I soon get to start putting things on it. Always fun when you get to play with power tools and lift heavy shit.

I'm going to interject with a few thoughts and lyrics in blockquotes between my ramblings in this latest installment. I need to do this before I forget them. You'll recognize them because they'll be red.

So, so many things have transpired as of late, all of which are collectively serving the purpose of returning me to fair emotional health. First: Kev might have a good job soon. In addition to volunteering to spend a month doing 40-hour-a-week overnight shifts renovating Old Navy for a month, I am expecting a job offer early this coming week (See CIRCUITOUS) in an industry which will lend itself well to co-op credit.


No, I'm not saved. But I implore you: Do not feel sorry for me unless you need to do so to reinforce your own faith. If you have to feel sorry for me for your beliefs to ring truer to you, go right ahead. If, however, you are as confident in your beliefs as I am in mine, then you already understand how well I feel, and I repeat... you do not need to feel sorry for me.

Second, I ran into an old friend this weekend, one who occupies a large piece of real estate in my heart (isn't that what they say? Location, Location, Location). I have loved her since I've known her, and due to abhorrent circumstances, we fell completely out of touch with each other and had not reconciled some inequities in our relationship for close to three years. Within three minutes of seeing each other for the first time since all this shit went down, we had successfully plowed through all the crap, rekindled our strong ties, and shed all that heartache and regret.

I've rehearsed this conversation so many times
I've rehearsed this battle over and over
I've played this scene out in the theater of my dreams for weeks on end
Because players is all we'll ever be in this fictional romance

We're going to stay in close touch and begin making up for all that time we lost being mad and confused about each other. This is such a weight off my shoulders. I can't wait for it to sink in that I have my best friend back.

Lover, you've been waiting for so long
To hear me tell you that I was wrong
I was selfish but now I'm learning to be strong
And I'll carry on

Love, it's hard to understand it all
But who wouldn't answer when Heaven calls you home
You're as perfect as today was long
So that's where you belong

God, I pray I still have time to hope
That those I care for learn in time to cope with this
If I could I'd take along with me
Our happy memories

Lord, I didn't mean to take so long
So please forgive me when I'm dead and gone
And let the children know they're safe at home
And speed me along

Another excitement is that I'm really bursting with ideas for songs to write. My buddy Joe, the other half of (and namesake of) Joe Unglued, has been doing a lot of studio work lately, and when I head down to Pennsylvania for our next gig over Labor Day weekend, we're gonna record a bunch of material. I also played a gig tonight with The Jones Effect. We had a blast and people enjoyed our set, though it was slightly disappointing inasmuch as the event was a benefit for Mercy Flights, a helicopter emergency-medical-transport service desperately in need of funding, and they just didn't have enough numbers to collect many donations. They didn't even net over a hundred dollars. But shrugging that off, we really played well. This was the first full electric gig we've been able to pull off since I've been playing with Eric and Josh, and I've been longing to put forth a more energetic show. Finally got my wish! See frustratingly small samples of our show here.

Okay, I can't end on that note. Just doesn't feel like an ending. Ahh, here's one:
No matter how tall or short you may be, in bed we're all the same height.