Quiz Flashback — What Instrument Should You Play?

The Devil's Kazoo

The Devil's Kazoo

After 38 years, the oboe is still a sensitive subject for you and your family. It helped shape the person you are today, a shell of a person riddled with multiple personality disorders.

It wasn’t your fault you couldn’t tame that plastic bastard – your tiny scarred lungs just couldn’t force enough air through that beaver-tooth reed.  You couldn’t play at home after the next door neighbor got home from work.  You weren’t allowed to play the oboe in marching band either.  You, you who could play Cole Porter and throw a perfect spiral thirty-five yards had to ding the freakin’ triangle out there on the football field.

And it wasn’t your fault that the oboes were cut out of the 7th grade band’s only recording; it was the first and second chairs who overwhelmed the entire woodwind section, thus depriving you of your fifteen minutes of fame.  The highlight of your musical career, reduced to a footnote on the back of the record, “oboes (D. Jones, L. Luce, T. Marie) cut from recording due to technical  malfunction.”

To your credit you emerged from that ordeal stronger but with a larger sense of entitlement.  Never again would your parents be able to control you as they gave in when you wailed, “It’s your fault — you ruined me with the oboe!”

Your dominant personality characteristic: your passiveness.

Your secondary personality characteristic: your aggressiveness.

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pots, Knots, and Opies

It’s official now.  I’ve finally acquiesced to the lure of the sea.  My mom inadvertently laid the foundation by feeding us kids tons of Star-kist tuna, red salmon (not pink and never Honeyboy), and shrimp.  She tried to fool us with a mackerel tainted salmon croquette impostor one time.  Like mackerel has a mild taste.  And I’m still the only yahoo I know who eats the entire shrimp, tail and all.  I bought the whole “it’ll make your bones stronger” campaign but when I was thirty-seven she admitted that the tails were just filler.

With all of this background info, it should come as no surprise that I would succumb to the flashiness of crabbers like Captain Phil and Captain Sig on the tv series, Deadliest Catch. Captain Sig is what you’d think an old salt would be like — he’s a chain-smoking lifer who lives for the crab season.  The kind of guy that bites the head off of a live herring just for good luck.  Captain Phil is much the same, except he’s really larger than life, what with his hawking up actual blood clots and all.

Deadliest Catch has been around for several years but as usual, we only discovered it this year.  The show details the daily lives aboard five or so crab boats out in the Bering Sea.  If it sounds boring, it’s not.  These boat crews and captains are extremely competitive and you get sucked in very quickly.  Pretty soon you’re talking in crabman lingo — pots, knots, and opies.  And when the guys pull up their pots, you find yourself estimating how many keepers are there.  I don’t know a crappie from a bass and I’m matter-0f-factly saying, “Must be ‘boot 450 crab.”  In a crappy Norwegian accent.

I’ve got it so bad that when I was supposed to be packing for a two week trip to England, I only left the Deadliest Catch July 4th  marathon for emergencies like bathroom breaks and chocolate runs.  I’ve visited the DC website, the boards, and in a sure sign of obsession, I am going to buy the x-box 360 game for some personal crabbing.  Let’s just hope I don’t become a chain smoking, f-bomb dropping ( wait, it’s too late for that one), sleep deprived video crabber.

Note to self: need more tats.

Captain Phil

Captain Phil

Published in: on July 7, 2009 at 11:06 am  Comments (1)  
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50 — the New 70

I recently turned 50 so I bit the bullet and had the medical exam that goes with it.  Heart’s good, lungs okay, bones hanging in there.  Cholesterol was 210 and the doctor prescribed a statin.  Uh, no thanks — I’ll try oatmeal first.  Had edema because of crappy leg veins but that’s nothing a few “footballs” (street name for oval shaped furosemide) won’t cure.  So basically I’m in about the same marginally mediocre shape I was in five years ago, except that my cholesterol is down eighteen points.

So what is my point? Well I had always thought that once you turned 50, you started listening to Lawrence Welk and playing Count the Floaters.  Turns out that’s not true.  You might still listen to alternative music or rock and decide that roller derby is your new passion.

That’s how I found myself at the Granada Theater for a Jenny Lewis concert.  Got there an hour early so we could get good seats since it was general admission only.  Stood outside in 100 degree heat for about thirty minutes before the doors opened.  Once we got inside, it was pretty dark but even as old as we are, we could see that there were no freakin’ chairs! We looked on the lower level and the middle level and thought, they must be on the upper level. I love Jenny Lewis’ music a lot but I wasn’t quite willing to stand on puffy legs for nearly three hours.

It was dark as hell but we started up the stairs.  Gingerly, I might add.  If you’ve never worn bifocals, you don’t know how tricky stairs can be. In fact when I first got bifocals, my mom said that everyone takes a spill within the first couple of years.  Anyway, as we climbed higher, there were a couple of chairs roped off in a few areas but that was it.  When we got to the top there was only a bar and a bathroom with another five or six steps.  No chairs for general admission.

So we started back down.  I crept along like Susan Hayward on her way to the gas chamber.  I was almost to the bottom when I must have become over confident.  Because there I was, dumped forward on both knees with first degree carpet burns on my hands.  First thought — F**K! And that’s F**K with a diphthong.  Second thought — Who slipped something in my drink? Third thought — Pop up fast so no one sees you! So I sprang up almost as fast as Kung Pow Tina (a roller derby reference) — now infinitely thankful for the darkness.  Maybe yesteryear’s teachers were right after all — humiliation IS a great motivator.

So I had a double bourbon and Coke so that I could pretend to be drunk and not just old, cursed the Granada, and limped out to the lobby where we exited, mumbling something about roofies.  A couple of guys in the band were practicing out behind the theater as we walked to the car.  As we were driving away, I thought I saw a shock of red hair in one of the band’s bus windows.

Was that you, Jenny?

Woman Down

Woman Down

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 1:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Quiz Flashback — What Goddess Are You?

You Are the Goddess, Hestia



You are Hestia, virginal goddess of the hearth and home.  You are the epitome of humility but then you take nothing for granted when you’re eaten by your daddy and regurgitated like bad premises for reality shows.

You are gentle and kind  and a natural born peacemaker but what are you remembered for — a traumatic incident with a minor god.  Priapus, the god of outrageously large genitalia, made a stealthy move on you at a slumber party.  Upon his approach, his ass made rubbing noises and you awoke and escaped before he was able to reload all his junk back into the wheelbarrow.

However, you now suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.  As a result whenever you hear something as innocuous as the rustle of middle-aged women’s pantyhose, you scream “Who dat?” and barricade yourself inside the nearest bathroom.

But you are a survivor.  And your hymen is still intact.

You are nothing if not resilient.

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 1:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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What a Farce

I just decided that I’ll never watch American Idol ever again.  How in God’s name did Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert! It sure ain’t because Kris is a better singer.  Kris, being the honest guy he is, said that Adam should have won.  Kris was clearly stunned.

Call me stupid but I think a little something called homophobia raised its ugly head again.   Too many comments on YouTube and blogs about how “creepy” Adam is.  Black fingernail polish is scary!   I don’t know why I’m surprised — some things never change.

I reckon there will be some revisionist history when Adam becomes a mega-superstar.  Everyone and his mama will swear that they voted for him.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blonde Bomber and the Other White Meat

Let’s take a little test, shall we. If you are between the ages of 48 and 60, who were the two biggest names in the entire history of roller derby? Ann Calvello and Joanie Weston, baby! I was always much more of a Joanie fan and I never knew why until the last couple of days.

The Blonde Amazon

The Blonde Bomber

Yes, they were both phenomenal athletes but they differed in their attitudes and styles. Joanie was very stoic and in interviews seems a little reserved; she wasn’t flashy and didn’t appear to wear much makeup. In those wrestling-like set up interviews before a match, she wasn’t a trash talker — she would show you on the track who the best skater was. And to me, she was the best skater. She was fast and strong and could take down two players with a double stiff arm. Joanie wasn’t afraid to throw a punch either. Whether they were real or not is not for me to decide.

White LIght

Ann "Banana Nose" Calvello & her lips, the other white meat

Ann Calvello appeared to be the polar opposite of Joanie. The old televisions of the late 60s weren’t that great so we boomers missed a lot of important details. It wasn’t until the other night that I saw a closeup of Ann. I was a little freaked out, to put it mildly. She was probably 65 with the darkest TBT (Tanning Bed Tan) I’ve ever seen on a human being. I could have dealt with that but she appeared to have lips identical to Jimmy Stewart’s in the desert thriller, Flight of the Phoenix. I thought maybe they were pure skin grafts from areas of her body that had never seen the sun but I was relatively sure every part of her body had seen the sun. Then I thought, well maybe it’s psoriasis or some kind of rare skin cancer. She also wore these huge dangling disc earrings and about fifteen huge rings. It did cross my mind that those earrings were just a decoy to take your attention away from the blinding white light that was reflected from her lips. Anyway, I just knew there had to be something wrong with her so I decided to do some research.

Turns out it wasn’t a terrible fire or a heinous disease. She cultivated that look — with pale lip frosting. I’m no fashionista but there was only one poster child for white lipstick. Julie Christie. A brawling skater who’s broken her nose twelve times just can’t pull that look off. Maybe the earrings and frosting were supposed to work together in tandem to lessen the visual impact of those twelve broken noses or her tattooed weather-beaten skin.

When I finally bite the dust and follow that bright light to heaven, I fully expect for Ann Calvello to be standing there in all her frosted glory, lips puffed out and illuminating the way. And if things are bad and I’m having to fight my way in, I’ll just let Joanie Weston clear a path.

Watch and learn.

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baby’s Head Soft Spot #7 — Chrissy Amphlett

In Your Face

In Your Face

I’ve been extra nostalgic about my twenties this week. Nothing will do that to you like turning fifty. Anyway, I’ve been going through music that I was obsessed with back then and a funny thing has happened — I’ve become entranced all over again with Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls. While much of the 80s music hasn’t held up well, old videos from the Divinyls still kick ass. The reasons are plain and simple.  Mark McEntee was a severely underrated guitar player. And no woman has ever commanded the stage like Chrissy Amphlett.

When my brother brought their first album home, I knew that Chrissy was fearless when I heard the lyrics, “I was just a red brassiere to all the boys in town…get me out of here.” That immediately gave her a vulnerability that you only understand if you’ve felt used or alienated. You could tell by her stance on the cover that she was in your face. There’s a story that Chrysalis Records wanted her to get her teeth fixed and she refused. Thumbing her nose at someone else’s idea of sex appeal. And then we saw the Divinyls on some tv broadcast of an outdoor concert in the early 80s. Chrissy was dressed in a school uniform and torn panty hose. She roamed the stage like a crazed middle schooler, simultaneously sneering and throwing her body around with abandon. It was totally exhilarating.

The Divinyls put out some great music throughout the 80s and then they had the smash hit “I Touch Myself” in 1991. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of that song –maybe because it made me a little nervous — it was great to see them finally get some recognition in America. Here’s “Punxsie” from around 1988.

The Divinyls disbanded  — or maybe disintegrated because it was never an official breakup — somewhere in the mid-90s. Chrissy went on to play the part of Judy Garland on stage with Hugh Jackman in Boy from Oz. And a couple of years ago, she went public with the news that she had had multiple sclerosis for at least five years and symptoms for around twenty years. In an interview she said that some days she can’t even get out of bed. What does she live for? The music. Always the music. So check this out — an almost 50-year-old Chrissy singing “I Touch Myself”. To you few jerks out there who have been making nasty comments about how she doesn’t look like she did twenty years ago, eff off. She’s still absolutely fearless.


Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Comments (6)  
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Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Because I’ve been thinking so much about Good Friday and Jesus, Easter and all its spiritual significance just naturally popped into my head. But in our house — because we were Presbyterians — Easter was always about the eggs. What should have been a celebration of chocolate bunnies was always a kind of sad day because all we ever got were those hard shell nasty candy eggs that had a shelf life of thirty-three years. Occasionally, we got Peeps but they weren’t so great either.

I did like painted, hard boiled eggs; I can remember decorating them a couple of times but the real trick was hunting those babies down before they started rotting. It was around this time — when we did three straight months of church — that I saw the movie, Cool Hand Luke. While everybody in America was obsessed with the “failure to communicate” line, I was thinking about that egg eating contest. The one where Luke was popping boiled eggs into his mouth like Red Hots.

So I decided to replicate that scene. I got my brother to witness what I thought would be my crowning achievement in life. I took that first egg and what the fuck did I try to do? Swallow it whole, that’s what. So there I was, swallowing and panicking like a Burmese python that took on too big of a family pet. It took about two or three minutes but I absolutely willed it down. Afterwards, I did not emulate Luke’s crucifixion pose but my brother did play Pontius Pilate and whack me on the back a few times.

My brother still laughs — at me, not with me — about that day. I’m still a little sensitive about what a dumbass I was. I’ve tried to do a little revisionist history and tell people that I had trained for the event and had my esophagus in game shape but no one’s buying that.

But still, I swallowed that bastard whole. And no one can take that away from me.

Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Cool Hand Luke About to Puke

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 3:20 am  Comments (1)  
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A Little Nod to Jesus

I had to work today but since it is Good Friday, I thought I’d give a little nod to Jesus. I briefly thought about driving to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to see the Great Passion played out in an amphitheater (with live animals) but I like my guilt and thankfulness to be squeezed into five minutes instead of three hours. Also, I’ve watched Divinyls videos all afternoon and I don’t think any actor could command the stage the way Christina Amphlett did.

Since I have music on the brain today, I’ll just pay homage by embedding a video that combines a Hollywood Jesus and a great rock song. It’s what Jesus would have wanted.

Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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See Dick and Jane Skin Sally


Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 7:06 pm  Leave a Comment