Star Wars — Episode IV: No Hope (or: “Paging Dr. Skywalker”)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

…there was a young boy named Luke Skywalker. Like many boys his age, Luke dreamed of becoming a Jedi, just like his father. He would stare up at the sky and dream of adventures among the stars. At first, all signs seemed to indicate that Luke was on the correct path for living his dream. His skills as a pilot were increasing daily, his latest achievement being that he could bulls-eye womp rats in his T-16; and they’re no more than two meters in length. However, things quickly took an unfortunate turn for young Skywalker.

It was as normal a day as any. Luke was raking the sand at his neighbor’s house, a weekly chore assigned to him by his Aunt Beru, when he was approached by an unsavory character whose appearance was not all that dissimilar from a relatively large shanty, or bodega. The overgrown slug-like creature spoke in a language unfamiliar to Luke, but his side-kick, an albino Rastafarian, translated. “Jabba says that you must do a job for him. Or you will suffer the consequences.”

“What’s the job,” asked Luke. “Will this interfere with my plans to become a Jedi Knight like my father?”

The shack sized fellow let out a bellow, and spoke again in his odd language. The Rastaman again translated. “Jabba says that he is your father.”

“No!” exclaimed Luke. “No! That’s impossible.”

“Ah-ha-ha,” laughed the Rastaman. “Stupid kid. Of course it’s impossible. Look at this guy! He’s like a small house. Between you and me, I don’t think he even has a penis. Hell, the only way to kill the son-of-a-bitch is to choke him with the chain of an enslaved bikini girl.”

Just then, the lean-to known as Jabba spoke in perfect English, with perhaps just a bit of a New Jersey accent, “I can understand you, you know.” He turned to look at Luke. “This guy’s my brother-in-law. Favor for the wife. You know. So listen, kid, you wanna make a few thousand credits really fast? I need you to take this box, get in your T-16 over there, and deliver it to a guy I know. Think you can do that? Do it once a week and you’ll have more credits saved up than you’ll know what do with. You’ll be able to finance your own rebellion.”

Being the naive farm boy that he was, Luke accepted the job. And so it began. Every week Luke would make a pick-up at Jabba’s palace, and then make a drop at a certain location. It was pretty simple. And easy money. That is until the day the stormtroopers picked him in his landspeeder doing 77 in a 45 MPH zone.

“May I see your identification?” asked the trooper.

“You don’t need to see my identification,” responded Luke.

“Excuse me?” said the trooper.

“I’m not the anthropoid you’re looking for,” said Luke.

“Outta the car, sir,” said the stormtrooper as he removed his sidearm from its holster.

“Move along,” said Luke.

“That’s it, you’re coming with me,” said the trooper as he set his weapon to stun.

When Luke awoke, he found himself in a holding cell. He could hear the voice of his Uncle Owen bellowing somewhere in the distance, clearly trying to barter for his release. But frankly, Luke didn’t want to be released. His chances of joining the rebellion now were no better than the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field: approximately 3,720 to 1. And if he couldn’t pilot a fighter among the glimmering stars that surrounded those two magnificent suns, then life just wasn’t worth living.

But he was released. Not only that, but he was released a second time just three weeks later. After his first arrest, Luke knew he’d never be a Jedi, so instead he started mainlining Essence of Sarlaac — the trendy drug of choice among kids his age. He was back in the local lockup within a month. Things were going downhill for Luke, and they were going downhill fast.

Once he was released for the second time, Luke moved out of his Aunt and Uncle’s hole in the ground and moved into a much cheaper high-rise on the wrong side of the Sand People tracks. Down on his luck, and nearly broke, it didn’t take much for Jabba to convince young Skywalker that his T-16 skills made him the perfect candidate to transport large quantities of controlled substances across the sandy dunes of Tatooine. Jabba’s interplanetary contacts, Indiana Solo and some Wookiee named Huey or Louie, would drop the main shipment at a rendezvous point, Skywalker would pick up the merchandise and bring it to the designated warehouse. It was going to be a walk in the park.

Unfortunately for young Skywalker, it was a very short walk. Unbeknownst to Jabba, Solo, or the Wookiee, Imperial Agents had been wire-tapping Jabba for years. Luke Skywalker got caught in the middle. As you probably know, Tatooine had recently passed a 3-strikes/no-tolerance law. This meant that Luke had to serve no less than ten years in prison. There was no escaping his fate now, his destiny lay in a cell.

It was during this time of incarceration that Luke found an interest in medicine. He began meditating. He put his faith in his knowledge of an unknown force called pilates. It was with this strength of body and mind that Luke was able to transform himself from a youth-gone-astray to a full-fledged educated pre-med student. Within weeks of his release from prison, Luke was able to take his medical board exams. He passed with flying colors.

Luke encountered another setback, however, when he attempted to look for a job. Unfortunately for young Dr. Skywalker, he lived in a time when all medical professionals were actually robots. In fact, there hadn’t been a non-robotic doctor of the non-proctology practice in well over 300-billion parsecs. This left Luke with just one option: become a proctologist.

Oddly, due to many individuals’ fear of being examined rectally by a robot, business was booming for Dr. Skywalker. He became so famous throughout all of Tatooine, that people started referring to him as Dr. Luke. He even had his own self-help television show for a period.

Which brings us to the sad conclusion to our story. On one particular afternoon, Dr. Luke was treating a pair of Siamese twins. It seems that they were suffering from a pretty severe case of hemorrhoids, exacerbated by the fact that they were congenitally joined at the sphincter. These were his last patients of the day, so after treating them for their affliction, Dr. Skywalker suggested that he take them to the local cantina where he might buy them a couple drinks. In this age of disconnected robotic medical treatment, Dr. Luke found that taking the “human” approach was a nice touch that his patients always appreciated.  The twins agreed to accompany Dr. Luke to the cantina, and with their inflatable donut pillows, they set out on the short walk.

Upon entering the cantina, the trio was enveloped by the echo of the familiar music that became sort of the theme to this particular establishment. Luke always liked the tune, personally, but frankly, on karaoke night it got a little old. On this night, however, things weren’t fated to go as usual. Before they could even descend the steps into the main bar, the bartender yelled up at Luke and his companions.

“Hey, we don’t serve their kind here,” said the bartender sternly.

“Huh?” said a confused Dr. Luke.

“Your ‘roids. We don’t want them here. They’ll have to wait outside.”

That was the final straw. Dr. Luke reached beneath his white lab robe, next to his stethoscope, and he pulled out his lighted rectal examination sabre. His intention was to demonstrate to this bartender that his companions did not, in fact, have “‘roids” (as he so callously referred to them), for he had cured them of that affliction.

In a moment of tragic misunderstanding, however, Dr. Luke’s world changed in a heartbeat. First, he heard the bartender scream, “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!” That was followed by a searing pain in his right shoulder. But when he looked down, he did not see his shoulder. Rather, Luke saw only the floor below; upon which laid his severed arm.  Standing over it was an old man in a brown robe.

Luke screamed out in pain, “My arm! What have you done, you fool?”

“Who’s the more foolish?” said Obi Wan calmly. “The fool? Or the fool who follows him?”

“What? What the hell are you talking about, old man!? You just sliced off my arm! You just sliced off my examining arm! I’m finished! Ruined!”

“Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them,” said Obi Wan.

“My eyes can WHAT!?” screamed Luke. “My arm is laying on the floor, just between your feet there. See it? What’s deceiving about that, you sick bastard?”

Luke moved as if to strike the old man with his remaining arm, but the old man was too quick for a weakening, one-armed doctor of proctology.

“If you strike me down, I will be become more powerful than you can imagine,” said Obi Wan.

“Shut up, psycho!” yelled Luke. “Get me to a doctor! Please! Leia! LEIA!”

Just then the sound of a blaster rang throughout the cantina, and Luke fell to the ground, dead.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid,” said the shooter. “Besides, proctology is for assholes.”

With that, the cantina band began playing again. Obi Wan returned to his bar stool and ordered another Rob Roy. The Siamese twin/former hemmorhoid sufferers quietly backed out of the bar. And as the cocky shooter headed toward the exit the bartender called his name.

“Hey! Dr. Richard Kimball! Who’s gonna clean this up?”

The man just flipped a credit coin in the direction of the bartender.

“Sorry ’bout the mess,” he deadpanned. “But it was the one-armed man’s fault.”

THE
END

William Henry Harrison — The best president ever?

For awhile I’ve been toying with the idea of changing baseball allegiances from the Cubs to the White Sox. The Cubs have been frustrating of late (and by “of late” I mean, of course, for the last 102 years). But I’ve decided that there’s simply no way I could ever become a Cubs turncoat. It’s just not possible.

However, what I can do is change my allegiance to my favorite president — naturally. Like so many others, I do admire Abraham Lincoln. He’s probably been my favorite for the longest. I even have a bust of Honest Abe in my apartment. But for years my favorite president has been Millard Fillmore. Mostly just because of his name. Millard. Fillmore.

But as of this morning, I’ve decided to switch. My new favorite president of all time is now William Henry Harrison — the 9th Commander-in-Chief of this nation. My reason for this switch is simple: he was in office for too short of a period of time to really do anything wrong. Who can criticize me for backing a president who was in office for 31 days. The biggest mistake of his presidency might have come just moments after he was sworn in when he gave the longest inaugural address in history. Had he known his actual term in office would be so short, perhaps he would have shortened his speech and gotten to work.

Of course, there are those who argue that his term was short because of his speech. It was nearly two-hours in length, and given on a cold, rainy Washington day. And Harrison ultimately died of complications from pneumonia stemming from a simple cold. It’s since been proven that weather can’t really give you a respiratory illness, but the fact remains, he didn’t wear a coat or hat as he gave his speech. He also happened to be the oldest president elected to office until Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. This sort of tells me that it’s pretty unlikely that his mother was still alive to tell him to put on his wraps.

Basically, I’m backing this guy on the potential of what could’ve been. Who knows? Had he been able to go full-term, maybe he would have been the one to write the Emancipation Proclamation. Or invade Normandy. Or solve the Cuban Missile Crises. Who can really say.

But if that’s not reason enough, he was also penniless when he died. Now that’s something I can definitely relate to. In fact, Congress voted to give his wife a presidential pension. Even better, she was granted the right to mail all of her letters postage free. Sort of the precursor to email, maybe? She should’ve started her own catalog company with that pension.

There you have it. I still root for the Cubs, and now I’m gonna start shopping for a W.H. Harrison Fathead..

My Bid For Presidency

As the primary elections begin to heat up for the big election next year, I’m reminded an article I posted on Negative Waves a few years back. I thought I’d repost it below for your enjoyment.

Since I’ve been so lazy lately as far as writing here, I figured the least I could do is pull out some old stuff for your enjoyement. I’ll try to get back to writing fresh stuff soon.

I’ve decided that I need some more excitement in my life. I need a part-time job or something. First of all, I could use the extra cash. Second of all, I just feel like I could really stand to fill my free time a little better. So I decided that I should analyze my talents to decide what I might be good at. So here’s a list of my talents, all six of them:

1. I’m tallish.
2. I can make farting noises with my hands.
3. I can drive a car with a manual transmission.
4. I can juggle three easy to catch objects for anywhere from 5 to 38 seconds.
5. I’m good at standing behind podiums.
6. I like to sit around and have people tell me stuff.

So naturally, I realized that the part time jobs that would work best for me would be a cashier at Barnes & Noble, a bartender, a taxi driver, a grocery stock boy, or the President of the United States.

I think being President might pay the most, so I decided to go ahead and apply for that job. It turns out though, that you can’t just apply for it. You also have to get elected or something. And apparently not even by a majority vote, from what I understand. So that sounds good to me. I’m announcing that I’m running to be hired as the president of the United States.

So my job application says that I should list reasons why I would make a good president. This was sort of like the time I got the job at Sears Paint and Hardware and they asked me why I’d make a good hardware store employee. I said, “I would make a good hardware store employee because I’m tall and can reach the paint on the top shelves.” That did the trick, I think, ’cause I got hired.

So since I need to be elected by you, the general public, I thought I would share my list of reasons why you should vote for me for president:

  1. A TV in every bathroom and an armed guard in every driveway.
  2. I’ll get our girl scout troops out of Iroc Z Camaros.
  3. I will declare war on the real villains in this world, people who chase an inside straight and get it on the river.
  4. I haven’t taken a vacation that’s lasted more than five days in years. So I won’t expect to have to do that.
  5. I’ve never tried heroine, but I love a good gyro.
  6. I will pronounce words correctly on national television.
  7. Though I may look funny, I won’t give funny looks unless I’m trying to be funny.
  8. I’ll leave a child or two behind. (But not yours, I swear.)
  9. If I have a dog in the White House that son-of-a-bitch (literally) is gonna be a great big, bad-ass German Shepherd-Pitbull mix, and it’s gonna be angry. Really, really angry.
  10. I won’t invite winning baseball/football/basketball teams to the White House. I’ll make them invite me to each of their houses, the rich bastards.
  11. My vice-president will be Dave Chappelle.
  12. I’ll sit in the coach section of Air Force One. (But I’ll get the whole row to myself.)
  13. I’ll take half of the Federal Reserve’s cash to Vegas and put it all on black. If I win I’m going to the Bunny Ranch. If I lose, I’m taking the other half and going to the all-you-can-eat shrimp bar.
  14. I’ll change the National Anthem from the “Star Spangled Banner” to “Hammer of Love” by Bad Company.
  15. When giving my State of the Union Address, I’ll always wear a Hawaiian shirt and be drinking a Singapore Sling. Every time I say the word “crisis” I have to drink.
  16. I’ll challenge the heads of state of other countries to games of Golden Tee in exchange for natural resources.
  17. If the time comes for us to go to war with a country possessing nuclear capabilities, I’ll hold a contest to see who gets to push the button. Who knows, it could be you!
  18. I’ll give a full pardon to Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver and personally induct them into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
  19. My election victory party will be held in the Grotto at the Playboy Mansion, and Fred Durst won’t be invited. In fact, James Caan will be personally in charge of my guest list. We’re gonna party old school.
  20. Ben Affleck will be immediately executed for crimes against the state. Namely, reproducing.
  21. I’ll take control of the National Hockey League and I’ll make some changes. I’ll make the goal bigger, I’ll get rid of icing, I’ll take away the goalie’s stick, and I’ll get rid of the sport of hockey.
  22. I’ll take the Pledge of Allegiance out of the classrooms. I’ll replace it with the reciting of the lyrics to “Rockin’ Into the Night” by .38 Special.
  23. I’ll make it a law that people have to post their cell-phone numbers on their car bumpers so we can call the idiots to tell them how much they suck at driving.
  24. I’ll change the national bird from the bald eagle to the middle finger.
  25. When Superman saves the Eiffel tower from a bomb planted beneath an elevator by sending it into space and the resulting explosion sets free three alien criminals from their two-dimensional glass prison and they come to Earth demanding to meet the president, I won’t hide behind my vice-president. And the first thing I’ll do once I get rid of them is send a memo to Superman asking what the hell he’s doing helping out the freakin’ French in the first place.
  26. I will change the official term “First Lady” to “My Baby’s Momma.”
  27. At press conferences, I’ll be the one who gets to ask the questions.
  28. I’ll legalize gambling in the District of Columbia.
  29. I’ll change the Columbia so it will become the District of Poopfaces.
  30. I’ll consider changing Washington D.C.’s name to Washing A.C./D.C.
  31. I’ll replace “God Bless America” with “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic.
  32. I’ll get to decide what to name hurricanes. Instead of sissy names like Katrina or Rita we’ll have names that will scare people away and save lives. Like Hurricane Gotti, Hurricane Bundy, or Hurricane Bea Arthur.
  33. The White House will be painted a different color so as to be more racially friendly. Perhaps eggshell.
  34. Women’s beach volleyball will be assigned it’s own major network. 24 hours of women playing volleyball on the beach!
  35. I’ll make my sister the governor of Florida after I’m president.
  36. All Washington D.C. sports teams will use my name as their moniker. The Washington Wizards will become the Washington Mikeys.

So remember, come election time, say “yes” to Mikey for President.

Iggy Iggy Coco Pop: The Rant of a Drunken Music Lover

Here’s the thing I love about music: I didn’t know that Peter Frampton fronted the band Humble Pie. I also didn’t know that Iggy Pop fronted The Stooges. Hell, I didn’t even know that The Stooges were as awesome as they are until I downloaded their albums this afternoon after reading that they were one of Lester Bangs’ favorite bands.

That’s why music is music is music. Because there’s always something new to learn.

I could have told you that Buddy Holly died in that plane crash because he won a coin toss with Waylon Jennings for the final seat, but somehow I neglected to recognize the importance of every CBGB band that some people detest, others revere, and most have simply heard of (or never heard of). But much like the New York punk scene of the 1970’s, every city has its Blondies, its Ramones, its Talking Heads, or its Stooges, or even its MC5 in Detroit. But while some of us were listening to Donald Fagen and Steely Dan, others were listening to Rod Stewart and The Faces. While some were listening to the Eagles, others were listening to the Carpenters. While some of us were listening to Nirvana, others were listening to Paula Abdul. Is there a right? Is there a cool? Is there a wrong? Is there a lame? We’d all like to think so. But for each of us, it is what it is.

It is what it is.

It actually is a bit humbling, to be honest. Because I sometimes try to think of myself as a music snob. I collect music. I have over 12,000 songs in my iPod and I somehow feel that this makes me an authority on music. It doesn’t.

That pisses me off.

The fact is, I love music. I once bought a Jane Wiedlin album because it cost 99 cents and she appeared to be half naked on the cover. But I still listened to it. And one way or another, that’s a good thing. That’s all there is to it. My tastes in music don’t make my knowlege any greater than anyone else’s; but I will say that I’ve read an awful lot of music books. My open mindedness towards all sorts of music has led to this pak-rat frame of mind that I seem to have when it comes to albums. I was one of those guys that would buy the cut-out Jane Wiedlin album in the super-bargain bin at mall record stores when everyone else was buying RATT albums. I skipped the “hair metal” stage because I was listening to Elvis Costello.

I’m thankful for that. Because RATT sucks.

Elvis Costello was around before RATT even knew how to tune a guitar.

The thing is, RATT can’t be discounted as significant in the evolution of music. They were a part of the heavy metal scene in the 1980’s. That much is undeniable. Does their significance make them good? No! Are you fucking crazy? They were a band that knew how to put together a bunch of chords. Beyond that they could play the part. They had big hair, tight clothes, and they oozed sex. Guys wanted to be them because guys thought that every member of RATT went to bed with a different Playboy model every night. Who among you reading this can even name a single member of the band?

Let me help. Here’s a list of every musician who’s played with the band: Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotzer, Stephen Pearcy, Robbie Crane, John Corabi, Juan Croucier, Robbin Crosby, Jizzy Pearl, Keri Kelli, Marq Torien, and Michael Schenker.

Maybe I’m an idiot (and more often than not, I am) but none of those guys are any more significant to me than my mechanic is.

They had one big hit: “Round and Round.” A decent song. But one that had more to do with timing than it did with quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing that song after I’ve sucked down 15 keg beers out in the middle of a field out in the middle of nowhere. But is it really a “good” song? Sure. Fine. But should RATT have sold 10-fucking-million albums? No. No they should not.

I just don’t know how to express the importance of music these days to those who care about it. There are so many genres now that it’s hard to really accept a single sound as one’s personal favorite. I mean I love classic rock, but I also love the music produced by artists like Kanye West, Timbaland, Mos Def, and so on. I love the New Wave punk sound that was the Talking Heads and Blondie, but I also love the New Wave electronic sound that gave us Yaz, Depeche Mode, Erasure, and New Order. At the same time there are bands like Squeeze, the Smithereens, XTC, and They Might Be Giants who all fit significantly into the hierarchy of modern day music. But they’re also all but forgotten. You show me a 13-year-old kid who’s familiar with “Making Room For Nigel,” and I’ll show you a parent who I would be proud of.

The question is: how does one successfully reconcile all these various tastes without compromising one’s aesthetic stance on rock ‘n’ roll? Is it possible?

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Music isn’t about what’s cool. In fact, it’s the opposite. Music is about what we feel when we hear it. If I hear an uber-twangy, rock-a-billy, drink-a-long acoustic anthem and I love it, I can’t apologize for that. For whatever reason, it moved me. But if you tell me that you love a laranx-laden, thrash metal, symphonic-wanna-be piece of trash, I can’t fault you for it either. I have to accept that you happen to be in-tune with that particular sound at that particular time. But don’t expect me to appreciate it for the same reasons you do when I can’t possibly relate.

At the same time, don’t you dare fault me for my tastes when you have no idea what my taste buds crave. If you’re eating a delicate chicken dinner, are you going to pour a thick, rich port wine down your throat at the same time? Perhaps, if that’s to your taste. But just because protocal dictates that red wine goes with red pasta sauce, doesn’t mean that a person who suffers from tannin alergies should subject themselves to the havoc that their body would have to endure upon consuming such a beverage when they decide to order a meal consisting of ravioli in a thick, red, meat sauce.

If you like disco with your burger, than order it.

Don’t judge others based on their knowlege of music, or lack thereof. But more importantly, don’t judge others based on their tastes. You don’t know what they had as an appetizer. And more often than not, they didn’t know that they could order off the menu.

The Dollyrots at The Note

This is going to be my second post in row where I gush about a live music act. But just like the Wolfmother show, this one is completely justified. There’s a little trio out of Los Angeles that go by the name The Dollyrots. They played last night at The Note here in Chicago’s famous Wicker Park.

dollyrots-1.jpg

I think I first learned of the Dollyrots about three years ago. My pal from the band The Tallest (aka. Sherman Yorkshire) brought back their first album after playing with and befriending them while The Tallest were on a west coast tour. I listened to it once and fell in love with them immediately. First of all, Kelly’s voice is as soothing as a ride on a four mile slip ‘n’ slide down a gradual incline on an eighty-four degree summer morning. I don’t know about you guys, but that happens to be one of the most relaxing scenarios I can imagine. The amazing thing is that one wouldn’t normally expect the lead vocalist of a pop-punk band to have a soothing voice, but she does. It almost defies explanation.

Now couple that with her ability to turn a phrase like the following from “New College” off the first album, Eat My Heart Out, and you’ve got a superstar band in the making.

Julia spent all her money powdering her nose
She’s not letting go
She’s stripping, at Pleasures
For her upper habits that her tiny scale will measure

But I think my favorites off Eat My Heart Out come down to two songs:
1) “Goodnight Tonight” — a listful lullaby that would make a Joan Jett and Joey Ramone love-child drift off into sweet slumber and sleep soundly while having wonderful dreams that might include something like Frank Black tap dancing all over the face of Phil Spector.

2) “Wreckage” – It’s hard not to hear this song and want to jump around. I love blasting it from my car with the windows down while driving aimlessly around the city.

But really, the whole album is sensational. In fact, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their great cover version of The Ronnettes’ “Be My Baby.”

dollyrots2.jpg

But now they’re out on tour in support of their new album, Because I’m Awesome. At the risk of sounding really, really dumb, the album really is awesome. Sorry, there’s not many other ways to put it. The title track was actually featured on the TV show “Ugly Betty.” They also had two songs (“Goodnight Tonight” and “Kick Me to the Curb”) featured on an episode of “CSI:NY.” An episode in which they actually also guest starred.

I’m convinced that this band is bound for stardom. As far as I’m concerned, though, they’re already stars. In fact, it was really a weird experience seeing them play last night. I’ve been such a huge fan for the past three years that I sort of felt like I used to when I was in high school and a band would come through town. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm for catching my favorite bands has waned a bit. Don’t get me wrong, my passion for music hasn’t diminished in the least. In fact, it’s probably grown. But as we get older I think we lose that spirit that we used to have when it comes to going to see great shows. I mean I remember in high school when bands like The Cure or Depeche Mode came through town, my buddies and I would get so excited. We couldn’t wait to get out. But I suppose with age comes that lame “been there, done that” mentality that sort of takes the fun out of life.

Last night, though, I felt like a high schooler again. It was cool.

And remember how in my last post I mentioned that I shook hands with Wolfmother lead singer Andrew Stockdale? Well, eat your hearts out world, because last night I not only met and chatted with Luis, but I also got to meet and chat with Kelly. But wait! Not only that, I actually got a goodbye hug from Kelly! That’s right, suckers. We hugged. It’s true. I told my beautiful girlfriend that I couldn’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure Kelly grabbed my ass. Kat responded by saying that if I wanted to believe that Kelly grabbed my ass, than she’d believe Kelly grabbed my ass. But I’m pretty sure Kat doesn’t really believe that Kelly grabbed my ass, mostly because I know that Kelly didn’t grab my ass, therefore, I can’t actually believe that Kelly did grab my ass.

I sort of thought that if I wrote the phrase “Kelly grabbed my ass” over and over again that it would make it true. It didn’t. But at least now if I Google “grabbed my ass,” I should find my way here pretty quickly.

Seriously though, I have to thank Sherman for introducing me to Luis and Kelly. It was clear that the two of them were glad to see an old friend from an old tour, and they were both incredibly sweet and gracious. Kelly even gave me a Blackheart sticker (“Because I’m Awesome” was released on Blackheart Records) which is now secured firmly and proudly to my own bass case. But I did buy myself a Dollyrots hoodie, which I’m actually wearing as I’m writing this. I’m for sure the coolest kid on my block now.

dollyrots3.jpg

Anyway, I really can’t believe there weren’t more people at the show last night. I sort of thought that I might be screwed by not buying tickets earlier. But it was a Sunday night I guess. I just can’t wait for them to pass through town again.

The other cool thing about becoming a Dollyrots fan is that I’ve found a bunch of other cool bands a result. For example, Go Betty Go is an all girl band that the Dollyrots frequently play with in L.A. I’ve seen them listed on bills together on their MySpace page and decided to check ‘em out. As a result, I bought both their EP and album. And the Dollyrots are also featured on the compilation album, “Shiragirl’s All-Girl Stage Crew, Vol 2.— Not Sold In Stores.” There are a handful of acts featured on this album that I’ve grown to be a fan of as well. It’s definitely worth checking out.

What can I say, I’m going through an extended girl punk-band phase. Not long ago I even bought an album by The Donnas on vinyl.

But the headlining act last night was a Chicago band that also happen to be friends of the Dollyrots called Bang! Bang! They were equally fantastic. As a guy in a band, it was almost hard to watch these two bands on stage knowing I didn’t have the same stage presence that each member of both The Dollyrots and Bang! Bang! had. They both put on great shows.

If you see this Kelly, Luis, and Chris, it was great to meet you, and in case you can’t tell, I very much look forward to your return visit. And Kelly, the crayon written note you wrote when sending me stickers and buttons so long ago remains one of my prized possessions. Thanks for a great show experience.

Everyone else, do yourself a favor and click here to buy their CDs.

Another letter from a reader (The Mr. Boffo Incident)

I recently received the following letter from a fan:

Dear Mikey,
Please don’t laugh at me, but I’m one of 2,485 Americans that suffer from a very rare brain condition called Nogetus DeBoffo Disease. There is still very little known about this strange condition, but what we do know is shocking. Almost immediately upon the onset of the disease, the carrier of the condition ceases to maintain the capacity to understand single-panel comic strips such as Ziggy, The Lockhorns, Family Circus, and of course, the strip for which the disease is named, Mr. Boffo.

It is not known what causes this condition to take over the mind of such a select few individuals in this country. But a group of doctors working in conjuction with the Tribune Syndicate has developed a theory. It appears that through their extensive research, it has been determined that readers of the funny pages who tend to read their strips in a particular order have been exposed to a combination of eye stimulants that, individually, would be harmless to the human receptors, but combined, they form a deadly mixture of ink, newspaper grain, and adoloscent humor that can be crippling to the brain’s primordial lobe region.

But there is a separatist movement in the medical field which has seen a small cluster of doctors coming out against the aforementioned theory. This group of doctors, known simply as The Mary Worths believe that the problem is genetic. They believe that an extremely miniscule percentage of newborns are brought into this world missing one-twenty-fifth of their humor chromosome. The Mary Worths hope to prove this theory through extensive stem cell research.

The fact remains, Mikey, that I am one of the unfortunate souls who has spent his whole life traumatized by his inability to grasp those simplest of life’s little pleasures. And that pleasure is the single-panel comic. You can’t possibly know what it’s like to find yourself gathered around the office coffee maker as everyone admires the new Ziggy cartoon that someone posted on the company bulletin board. Faking a laugh can be a traumatic experience in its own right, and I challenge anyone to live in constant fear of the inevitible happening: “Hey there everyone, let’s see if Greg can tell us why this Ziggy cartoon is so darn funny! Greg?”

I can’t take it another day. So in a last ditch effort to keep from flinging myself into a wood chipper, I’ve enclosed a few single-panel comics in the hopes that you might be able to help me wrap my tiny little brain around them. I have no where else to turn. Please, can you help?

Signed,
Not Gettin’ It Greg

Dear Not Gettin’ It,

It just so happens that this is a field in which I am a trained expert. You’ve come to the right place. Let’s get right to it.


Clearly, poor Ziggy lost his luggage. Upon inquiring about its whereabouts, he’s informed by the friendly customer support representative that his luggage was sent to another country. Once again, poor Ziggy finds insult added to injury when it’s determined that the French luggage collectors actually became offended at the sight of Ziggy’s luggage, and decided that the best course of action would be to throw it away, rather than send it back to the place from whence it came. This is funny for several reasons: 1) Ziggy just has no luck with anything, let alone luggage; 2) the stereotype that the French are arrogant snobs is perpetuated with some effectiveness; and 3) the woman relaying the information about Ziggy’s luggage is doing so with a high level of earnestness, thus providing a subtle undertone of implied irony. But really, it just comes down to Ziggy’s penchant for bad luck.

Moving on:

This one is particularly funny. Let us break down why. For starters, it is expected that the reader know and understand that Don Juan was a man well-known for his ability to woo and bed women on a regular basis. It is expected that the reader recognize that Don Juan was a master of turning a seductive phrase at the most romantic of moments, thus rendering his female prey unable to resist his charms. However, what cartoonist Joe Martin has done here is substitute his Uncle Leon for Don Juan. The first reason this is funny, is because Uncle Leon is a much funnier sounding name than Don Juan. Secondly, the reader is expected to infer that Uncle Leon is still lamenting about the missed field goal that cost his team the big game (presumably the missed 45-yarder by Mike Vanderjagdt which cost the Indianapolis Colts a trip to the 2006 Superbowl, a game ultimately won by the team at whose hands the Colts were dealt defeat, the Pittsburgh Steelers). Thirdly, this is not the sort of question one would normally expect a gentleman to ask a lady when he is attempting to win her affection. Finally, the ultimate punch-line occurs when the reader accepts that this alternate-universe that Joe Martin created is one in which a line about the what-should-have-beens of NFL football serve as a spoken aphrodesiac. Ah, if only this world was real, and our current reality just a cartoon.

Next:

Mr. Lockhorn has arrived home from work and he’s hungry. His statement implies that his wife, Loretta, isn’t much of a cook. That’s pretty funny.

Last but not least:

I think we can all relate to this one. What we’re dealing with here is a play on words. The author of the comic is drawing a comparison to real human life. As it happens, there are things out there called “gay bars.” These are establishments at which people of a certain tendency tend to gather. In this case, it’s assumed that dogs that don’t wear collars are considered a different breed of dog. They tend to sniff the butts of the same mutts, if you get my drift. They use the fire hydrant as more than just a deposit point, if you see what I’m saying. These are dogs that often travel in fudge packs, if you take my meaning. Therefore, it just makes sense that they should have their own drinking establishment. This is funny because these two collar-wearing breeder dogs have wandered into a bar in which they don’t belong. Good stuff.

Okay, one more:

Ziggy has been drinking and doesn’t recognize a quality television program when he sees one. In this episode of CSI: Sesame Street Big Bird was shot and killed while attempting to thwart a robbery at Mr. Hooper’s liquor store. But Ernie suspects that the case isn’t as cut and dry as that. With the help of The Count, Ernie discovers that there were one…two…three…four…FOUR bullet casings on the floor of Mr. Hooper’s liquor store, ah hahahaha! Ernie takes these to Oscar who determines that they were fired from the same small caliber, nickel-plated .22 caliber handgun that was discarded in his garbage can by a large, brown, furry, four-legged muppet with a trunk not unlike an elephant’s, and a tendency to be self-loathing and depressed all the time. Brothers and bail bondsmen Cookie and Telly Monster arrive at the home of one “Snuffy” Snufalupagus and inform him of their intention to present him to the authorities. Snuffy goes cooperatively, and is placed in a holding cell. While in the cage, Snuffy finds himself in a mortal tussle with his cell mate, Grover the Glove, known assassin. Grover was picked up selling counterfeit letter G’s in the alley. As it turns out, the bust was all a big setup. Snuffy finds himself with a shiv buried deep in his trunk as he’s ultimately killed by Grover. The blue assassin struck again before vanishing in into a cloud of chicken feathers. He’s not heard from again. Meanwhile, the post-mortem forensic results indicate that Snuffy was not the Big Bird shooter after all. And through a magnificent stroke of luck, Sesame Street officials stumble across a piece of red fur stuck under the fingerhoof of their dead Snufalupagus. Further tests reveal the fur belongs to one Elmo “Maddog” Timpowski. He’s brought downtown where he cooperates and gives the Sesame Street authorities a full confession. Sadly, after prison guards fail to subject “Maddog” Timpowski to a full body and cavity search, Elmo strangles himself with the human hand on which he has come to rely for animated body movement and well-timed, comic relief providing giggle spasms. The episode ends with a despondant Kermit the Frog unveiling the details of the tragedy to the local Sesame Street media. Elmo is survived by his mother, Elmo’s Mommy, and his uncle, everyone’s favorite former gameshow host, Guy Smiley.

I hope that helped. As always, feel free to drop me a line.

The Creation of Jim Morrison

From time to time, I like to answer questions from my fans. Feel free to email me at bloggymike@yahoo.com with your questions. Here’s today’s question:

Dear Mikey,

I happen to a big fan of the Doors and Jim Morrison, yet I really know nothing about Jim’s early years or how he fell into the band. Can you enlighten me?

Signed,
Rider on the Storm

Dear Rider,

Hmmm. How to explain the legend of Jim Morrison?

Many years ago, there was a tribe of travelers that came to be known as the “Doors.” There are many oral traditions that carry on as to how this band of weary-eyed souls came to be known as the “Doors.” However, only one is held as truth.

The story begins with the tribe’s leader, a man known as Maurice Joseph Rising. It just so happened that this man was the owner of a local hardware store that specialized in porch enclosures, specifically, the installation and repair of screen doors for those porches. Now it’s widely known that Maurice Joseph (his friends came to call him MoJo), was a firm believer that doors held the key to all things in life. When we’re born we enter through a spiritual door, and when we die, we exit through a similar one. The time spent inbetween, however, is time spent searching for the door that will lead us to a level of understanding that might help guide us through this crazy ride called life. He also believed very stongly in the use of double-paned, screen-replaceable, weather-ready outer doors.

Now, it just so happened that Mr. Mojo Rising was also wildly fascinated with the field of meteorology. In fact, he combined his two passions, doors and weather, to create a theory about the “Doors of Precipitation.” His thesis on this basically broke down to: “When it rains, close the door.”

After a short time spent searching for a way to spread his message, Maurice Joseph met a group of musicians who had a desire to touch lives, but no message to spread. As you might imagine, this was a fated match made in heaven. Mr. Rising was instituted as the leader of this tribe.

No sooner did MoJo join this humble feast of friends than they encountered a problem. Following a very late night of theologous discussions around a campfire, they happened to fall asleep on a stretch of beach known as “Jesters’ Crest.” They also weren’t far from a small town known as Morse — a town famous for it’s soft stance on obscenity laws — but that’s neither here nor there. But as it happens, when they awoke, they found that they had fallen victim to the ambitious pranksters for which Jesters’ Crest was named. Our heroes found themselves in the center of an enoromous sand castle that had been erected all around them. They were completely surrounded by seven foot tall walls of sand.

Scared and confused, one of the younger players in the band of traveling musicians began to experience what can only be considered a nervous breakdown. He turned to MoJo Rising to look for guidance, but he was so distraught that his words came out terribly garbled.

It is believed that the young songsmith was trying to say, “The waves maybe will wash away the sand and we’ll be able to swim for Morse or someplace.”

In actuality, the words came out, “Save me before we’re washed away, Jim Morrisonface.”

No sooner were these anxiety-driven words uttered than the four of them froze and looked at each other. It was clear that as the leader of this tribe, Maurice Joseph Rising — Mr. MoJo Rising — was being told by his young accompanyist, speaking in tongues as the medium for a higher power, that he must assume the name of Jim Morrisonface.

Eventually, the “face” was dropped from the last name. To this day, scholars are trying to pinpoint the exact time and cause for this change, but aside from a few scientific theories and other random conjecture, it remains a mystery.

Having once again had fate step in to play a vital role in his evolution, Jim Morrison recognized that he didn’t have time to revel in his new identity. Rather, he had to act quickly in order to preserve his tribe. Once safe, the four of them could travel the world, spreading their message. From whiskey bar to whiskey bar, from L.A. woman to L.A. woman, from normal people to those people that are strange. He knew that he couldn’t let this be the end. His message must reach both angels and sailors. This moment felt like a newborn awakening.

He looked around at the four walls of sand by which they were imprisoned. He took a deep breath and looked around at his fellow tribesmen.

“These walls are sand, they are penetrable,” said the wise sage.

“Yeah, but how do we get over ‘em?” asked one of his companions. “It’s not like there’s a back door, man!”

“We must break on through,” said Jim Morrison. “We must break on through — to the other side!”

And with that, he ran at the wall, breaking through the sand as if it was nothing more than, well, sand. The group was free.

As the four men stood on the outside of their sand prison, they took a moment to relish that freedom exists. At that exact moment, a line of cars happened to be passing on the road just above them. El Caminos, tricked out and lowered, rolled by as latin salsa beats floated out on the air, surrounding the four traveling messengers.

So powerful was the line of cars, that the tribe’s leader had no choice but to simply state, “A Spanish caravan.”

The others nodded.

The rest of their history is pretty well documented in a movie called, of all things, “The Doors.”

But that’s how it all began.