Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays: What New Year's resolutions are we making?

Special extra resolve edition!

15) Locate the gym we joined last January.

14) Watch everything we TiVo’d in 2008 by the end of 2009.

13) Read more book reviews so we’ll seem more well read.

12) Stay in Iraq until the job is done (repeat).

11) Throw off investigators by using pig Latin when discussing the illegal sale of political offices.

10) Reduce butter habit to three sticks a day.

9) Switch to decaf before some other chattering asshole gets his lips stapled shut for talking while we’re trying to get the numbers to accounting before the month end!

8) Remove all art flicks from Netflix queue so that we’ll actually watch what’s in our Netflix queue.

7) Write the first presidential memoir in pop-up book form.

6) Take a drink every time the change we deserve is changed into the compromise we expect.

5) Join Alcoholics Anonymous three days after the inauguration.

4) Vow to stay in soul-crushing dead-end job until market for ditching it all to pursue your dreams improves.

3) Stop Twittering about our boner status.

2) Write more complex, nuanced, intelligent humor instead of falling back on easy dick jokes.

1) Quit lying.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays: What's being stuffed in our Christmas stockings?

Special 12 days of Christmas therapy edition!

12) The last of the forensic evidence.

11) Pack of smokes and candy-cane shank (prison only).

10) Our own personal “massager”.

9) Invisible lump of clean coal.

8) Deluxe Blu-Ray of Fred Claus: The Director’s Apology Edition.

7) Gift-wrapped subpoena.

6) Something kind of wriggly and bitey.

5) Collectible Santa’s reindeer cockrings.

4) Slightly used cookies.

3) Wad of singles and VIP pass for the Champagne Room.

2) Personal trimmer and copy of It’s Not You, It’s Your Nose Hair.

1) Print-out from some gay country music dancing blog wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Travel safe, stay warm, and drink heavily if it makes the family more bearable.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Favorite 11: 2008

It’s one more critically significant than 10!

Best-of lists are officially supposed to praise the best artistic achievements of the year. In reality, they are designed to cause validation and irritation. The validation comes from being able to positively answer questions such as: Did I buy the “coolest” or “bestest” records? Am I “in the know” culturally? Do I have the same opinions as people who get paid to do provide their opinions?

On the flip side—and where the real entertainment value lies—is the irritation these lists bring: Why did they include The Bestest, when I heard it and thought it sucked The Mostest? How could those eyeglass-wearing hipster doofus elitist cobags not recognize the brilliance of The Overlooked and their tour de force, Too Cool for the Critics to Recognize Because They’re too Busy Sucking off The Bestest? And, perhaps the greatest hit of best-of irritation: I’ve never heard of these groups.

However, I think the Internets have made the best-of list a more useful feature, especially for music, because now you can hear the songs or albums that get selected. I was trolling the Bestest List Evah, as I do every year, and I found some new songs that I had overlooked that I really liked. Even better, I got to hear some other songs that gave the irritation quotient the hat trick: I don’t know who the hell this is, and now that I’ve heard it, I don’t know why the hell they picked them over The Overlooked.

So, with that in mind, what I’m presenting here are my favorite tracks of 2008, in something resembling my favoritest order. I like them, and I like turning people on to music they might like, too.

At the same time, there’s a lot of music I missed this year, and I like when people turn me on to music I might like. Because, at the end of the year, I don’t listen to music to find validation or irritation, but to find more favorites. So lay it on me in the comments: Who were your The Bestest?

11) “Inní Mér Syngur Vitelysingur,” Sigur Rós. The irony with doing a favorite eleven is that I had no problem at all coming up with my ten favorites. Then I got stuck at eleven. I went back and forth between “Lost Verses,” by Sun Kil Moon, “I Will Possess Your Heart,” by Death Cab for Cutie, and this track by Sigur Rós.

I finally decided on Sigur Rós because they are from Iceland. Now, I realize that Iceland is actually quite green, and that Greenland is quite icy, and that this explains why the Vikings died out, because they inadvertently kept travelling to their icy deaths when they thought they were going someplace lush and green for vacation. However, there still is a lot of ice and snow in Iceland...much like there is where I live. And while the winter-inspired song I would write would be called, “Punch Me in the Nuts (So I Can Feel Something Other Than How Cold I Am),” Sigur Rós write beautiful, uplifting songs that feel like snow on Christmas...after you’ve already done all of your travelling.

10) “Oxford Comma,” Vampire Weekend. This one came up in the Random 11 just a short while ago. It’s one of those songs that instantly rooted itself into my brain, being both catchy and memorable. The whole album conveys the feeling of a summer full of longing, love, and loss, interspersed with parties on someone’s deck while grooving to the surprisingly good house band and drinking ice-cold Red Stripe (hoooray, beer!).

9) “Whose Authority,” Nada Surf. There is nothing quite like a great sandwich. I enjoy a night at a fancy restaurant with creative cuisine that paints a Jackson Pollack on my taste buds. But, as enjoyable as that is, there’s something uplifting about a great sandwich, when you have oven-fresh bread, crisp lettuce (that’s real lettuce, not that iceberg shit), cheese that’s just started to melt, mustard that spars with you a little, and meat that’s been cooked just enough to make sure the animal is dead but not enough to make it seem like something other than meat (vegetarians, feel free to substitute the best eggplant ever planted). Nada Surf makes those sandwiches all the time. They won’t surprise you, but then again, you’re not listening to them to be surprised. You’re listening because it’s lunchtime and you want a goddamn awesome sandwich.

8) “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife,” Drive-By Truckers. The Lovely Becky really, really hates the book The Lovely Bones, to the point where it became a joke among our friends to ask her if she liked the book. Part of the problem with that book is that the afterlife, and the reaction to being in it, seems completely fake. That’s not surprising, considering that no one knows what an afterlife—if there is one—will feel like.

That’s what makes the Drive-By Truckers so special. They write hi-definition lyrics that paint the most evocative pictures, to the point where you can see the blood-stained tub full of meth, smell the burning of a moonshine still deep in the woods, and even feel the sadness, shock, anger, and eventual hope of a man who just died, looking down from heaven at his two daughters and a beautiful wife.

7) “Hollow Man,” R.E.M. Accelerate was their All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and I love it for the same reason I loved U2’s album: because they managed to summon what made them awesome in the first place without sounding like an R.E.M. cover band. There’s nothing terribly original about this song, but it’s delivered with such energy and conviction that it doesn’t matter. Watching them play on The Colbert Report emphasized the point even more: they looked like they were having fun. Michael Stipe and fun—who would have thunk it?

6) “Death to Los Campesinos!” Los Campesinos. I am not a fan of bands who include their names in songs, but they managed to avoid the triple-Lindy sin of naming a song and an album after themselves (which I believe was pioneered by the thankfully-forgotten Living in a Box, who had a song and album named Living in a Box).

I am, however, a fan of Los Campesinos, because Los Campesinos are fans of fun. Every review I’ve read of them says that they are “fun,” which makes me feel unoriginal for using the same description, but it’s just too apt not to repeat. Much like Vampire Weekend, they had me from the minute I put the CD on for the first time. Even better, they manage to sound young without making me feel old, like they would invite an old guy like me to dance with them out of the goodness of their young hearts and not so they could make fun of me afterward.

5) “Kim and Jessie,” M83. Of course, I am getting older, old enough to not only know that many of the kids today are ripping off the 80s, but also to own the cassettes they’re stealing from. I can name that original chirping Casio riff in three notes.

However, I like a lot of that 80s music. Beneath the slickness and greed, there was a great deal of originality and heart if you knew where to look. “Kim and Jessie” has that heart. It’s a song that doesn’t just sound like the 80s—it is the 80s, from the synths to the drum machine to the breathy lyrics to the outro guitar solo to rock things up just a tad. It’s clearly written by someone who understands what made the great music of that decade great, making it a blast from the past that doesn’t feel retro or kitschy, just really awesome.

4) “White Winter Hymnal,” Fleet Foxes. As much as I make fun of the harsh winters here, I doubt I will ever live in a place more beautiful than the Upper Peninsula. It’s one of the unfortunate rules of life that natural beauty tends to keep to itself in the middle of nowhere. If you want natural splendor, get ready to have no culture. If you want fine dining and theater, get ready to smell urine in the gutters during the summer.

Fleet Foxes could be the soundtrack for the UP and any other place that has fresh air and a million trees and people who can talk about “beaver dams” without snickering. This song in particular is a morning sunrise coming out of your speakers, and the whole album keeps that fresh air blowing into your ears.

3) “Ion Square,” Bloc Party. I love the slow build to the loud climax, where a song starts out quiet and ends sounding like it can fill an arena. That structure can always get to at least second base with me. No song followed this structure better this year—in my humble, contacts-wearing hipster doofus elitist cobag opinion—than “Ion Square.” Like the name if the album it comes from, Intimacy, it begins with a quiet, pillow-confessional quality. As the song continues, it builds, yet it never loses that intimacy, even as singer Kele Okereke belts out lines that reach not only the nosebleeds of the arena, but the guys in the parking lot who couldn’t get tickets. The kicker for me, though, is when the song grows on the low end, the bass building from a whispered conversation to a throaty rumble that counters the high vocals. This will never outgrow my car speakers.

2) “Sequestered in Memphis,” The Hold Steady. I played this song more than any other song this year. It’s got a great hook, tells a seedy story, and rocks in the way only The Hold Steady can rock. There’s a line here, She said I know I look tired/but everything’s fried/here in Memphis, that I wish I had thought of. But what really cemented it for me was that it showed some growth from one of my favorite bands.

It’s a difficult thing to figure out how to grow as a band. Too much change confuses the fans. Witness U2, R.E.M., and this year’s WTF band of the year, My Morning Jacket, who made some music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Cameo record. Staying the same, though, leads to getting stuck in a rut (Weezer is a good recent example.) As much as I love The Hold Steady, they play the kind of music that’s high-risk rut material: guitar-driven, classic rock-influenced tales of beer-soaked woe and high school angst, with the added geographic limitation of songs locked in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“Sequestered in Memphis” managed to avoid the rut while staying on The Hold Steady highway. It smells of the same stale smoke and desperation, but tells a new story, in a new locale, with a soundtrack that sounds just a bit more grown up. And that’s why I played this one over and over again, belting out Subpoenaed in Texas/Sequestered in Memphis all summer long...when TLB wasn’t around to make fun of my singing.

1) “Skinny Love,” Bon Iver. The first time I listened to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, I was floored. I had never heard a record that sounded so naked and bare, yet fully formed and realized. It was also haunting and yet uplifting, like a ghost who scares the shit out of you before telling you he’s just letting you know grandma is okay in heaven and, no, she can’t see what you’re doing in the bathroom.

I had that kind of moment a few years ago when I heard “Naked as We Came” by Iron and Wine, and I had it again this year when I heard “Skinny Love.” The first time I played it, I wound up playing it over and over for probably an hour. The lonely guitar, the plaintive vocals, the chorus that still crushes me, even after all those listens. The whole album is amazing, and this is its most amazing track. It’s not surprising that it was recorded in a cabin in northern Wisconsin during the winter—you can practically feel the wind blowing in and see the snow through the icy windows. If I could only play one song from 2008, it would be this.

So there we go. The Random 11 will be back January 2. I am hoping to use my time off work to finish some posts that I have been dying to write. Have a good weekend, and find some music that warms your soul during this Arctic blast.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays: What are we being indicted for?

10) Loving too much and way over our credit limit.

9) Double-dipping.

8) Being too sexy for our shirts and especially our pants.

7) Calling "shotgun" when kidnapping someone on our beer run.

6) Executive producing National Lampoon’s Insider Trading.

5) Running the world’s largest Fonzi scheme and illegally selling Henry Winkler to multiple investors.

4) Being a confused old man who has no idea how all those shiny new gifts kept getting into the house. Where’s the crime in that?

3) Shooting first, reloading, shooting again, lobbing a few grenades, making sure no one is still moving, and then asking questions.

2) Being too stupid to live, let alone run a state.

1) Um, which one are we talking about?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Random 11

It's one more random than 10!

It’s been a sleep-deprived week here at CJSD Enterprises, Ltd. Our little Libby decided last weekend to start waking up 2-3 times during the night again, which would be awesome if she was throwing a rave and providing us with a ton of drugs to help us stay up all night. It’s hit The Lovely Becky the hardest because this new schedule came during finals week, when she’s at her busiest with grading. But it’s certainly made me pretty damn sleepy, which has made my brain rather mushy and unfunny, leaving me with only enough creative energy to think of posts like,“Poop. Heh heh heh.” Which, now that I think about it, would be kind of a funny post.

Anyway, it’s all perfectly normal, or so say all the baby books, but that doesn’t make it any easier, does it? I really wish the authors of said books, when saying you should let your baby cry, would post evidence that they wrote such advice at 3 a.m., while their babies were crying. Like the writing was full of typos or soaked with tears of fatigue or devolved into tangents on the intrinsic humor of the word "poop."

Of course, I know these experts are right, much in the same way people who are thin because they have no taste buds and get Tantric orgasms from doing crunches and step aerobics say I would lose weight if I ate less “bad” foods and worked out more. That doesn’t make it any less annoying or reduce my desire to push down on the bench press bar when they need a spot.

In all honesty, though, parenthood has been grand and Miss Libs has been a very easy baby by most baby-measuring standards. So the real answer, as usual, is that I am a wuss. An accusation I would be more upset by if I wasn’t such a...okay, let’s have some music, shall we?

1) “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)”, The Ramones. The original title of this classic Ramones track was the parenthetical part, but Johnny “God Bless President Bush” Ramone thought it was offensive to President Reagan. So un-punk.

2) “For No One,” The Beatles. Such a pretty McCartney ditty. And you don’t get a lot of clavichord and French horn in rock. Speaking of which, it’s funny how seemingly insignificant phrases become staples of your linguistic arsenal. I used to read the Letterman Top Ten books pretty religiously (shocking, I know). One of the lists—something about surprising revelations—had this entry: “Mr. T: gayer than a French horn.” That stupid little phrase has stuck with me for nearly 20 years, all because I read it in a silly little book, probably while I was in the bathroom.

3) “Living Loving Maid,” Led Zeppelin. The most lyrically-challenged great band of all time? Don’t get me wrong, I loves to get the Led out in the cheesiest, classic-rock-radio-Zeppelin-rock-block manner. But the other day when I was at the gym, “Misty Mountain Hop” came on. Great song, perfect for working out, but seriously, the lyrics? Not only nonsensical, often unintelligible. “Living Loving Maid” falls into that category, as do probably 80 percent of Zepp’s songs. I just find it kind of funny.

4) “White Mystery,” Minus The Bear. Where I currently live is a bit of a white mystery, in, “why would all these white people choose to live here when all they see is white for six goddamned months out of the year.” No, I’m not bitter like an Alberta Clipper.

5) “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues,” Robert Johnson. Seems like a perfect song for the this week.

6) “Monsters,” Band of Horses. One of the best songs from one of my favorite new bands. They have a penchant for off-kilter melodies that still manage to root into my brain, delivered with an earnestness that never feels forced or melodramatic.

7) “Night of the Living Baseheads,” Public Enemy. The samples really knock my block off. It also sad that so much of what Chuck D sang about then is still true today.

8) “In My Bed,” Amy Winehouse. There’s no way I’m crawling under her covers without a hazmat suit and a scuba tank full of penicillin.

9) “Lola Stars and Stripes,” The Stills. Big, serious, mopey rock that would have sounded more appropriate 20 years ago. It almost annoys me, but I dig the big beat and the jangly bursts of guitars, so I overlook the annoying aspects. I’m so easy.

10) “Sad and Lonely,” Secret Machines. Speaking of big and easy...I get suckered in by the huge, John Bonham beat of this song. As much as I love indie rock and the independent spirit of bands like Guided by Voices, my heart belongs to rock music that sounds huge. Lo-fi is great, and hearing a song that sounds like it was recorded in someone’s bathroom often lends an immediacy to the work you wouldn’t get in a big schmancy studio. But the drums always suffer with those kinds of songs, and there are times when I need my drums to explode out of my speakers. So this song always gets cranked when it comes on.

11) “All This Time,” Sting. My favorite solo song of his, and frankly, one of the best he’s every written. It’s catchy, it’s clever, and it’s impeccably arranged. A shiny, bouncy way to head into the weekend.

Next week: My 11 favorite songs that I heard this year. Every other cobag gets to do a best of, so why not me?

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays: What concessions are we making in exchange for our bailout?

10) Manufacturing new Ford Piñata hybrid that explodes with sweets when rear-ended.

9) Allowing new car czar to call “shotgun.”

8) Providing own knee pads and Blistex when reporting to Congress.

7) Designing new CEO engine that purrs like a kitten instead of braying like a jackass.

6) Giving union members dental coverage only for first five years or 50,000 chews.

5) Securing G.O.P. votes by making Jesus fish standard on all new models.

4) Offering a free “lube job” to any citizen presenting a recent tax return in the alley behind local dealership.

3) Agreeing to have every all bailout checks treated with RustBelt-oleum.

2) Replacing benefit-driven workforce with one that runs on chicken-fried sushi.

1) Installing new GPS system that shows precisely where the fuck all of this is heading.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Random 11

It's one more random than 10!

Yesterday, I was humming along, listening to tunes while I was working (yes, actually working). I have all my music on an external hard drive because my old desktop hard drive isn’t quite big enough for it all. All of a sudden, the music stops, iTunes locks up, and the hard drive starts making a clicking noise.

Ruh-row. Houston, we have a problem.

I restarted and re-connected and ran diagnostics and swore oaths, all to no avail. My drive of less than a year appears to have bitten the digital bullet.

This is precisely why I will never fully embrace the digital age. I am definitely an electronics geek, and I love being able to have all my music on a device smaller than the calculators I used in high school science class. But still, it’s frightening how gigabytes of data can just go poof because Gigabyt, the Norse god of data storage, wakes up on the wrong side of Asgard one morning and takes it out on you. I want the soothing reassurance of having rows of CDs and books and game boxes on my shelves, knowing they are there for me if I have a digital meltdown.

I luckily have said music collection on my iPod, and most of the other stuff on the hard drive is on other hard drives or flash drives or CDs or those IBM data cards with the holes in them. I just hate the backup pyramid scheme we have to go through. I need to back up my hard drive and then back up that back up and before I know it, I’m in a hall of mirrors where I see myself stretching out in 20 directions toward infinity, not knowing which image is the original one.

So today’s list goes back to my pre-home office days of using my actual iPod instead iTunes to do the Random 11. Hopefully the iPod won’t go belly up before I can get a replacement hard drive and download the hack I need to move files from the iPod to said hard drive, because Apple omitted that convenient feature at the behest of the RIAA to combat piracy, which would be fine if we lived in the Unicornverse where everything was perfect and your hard drive never died a sudden, horrible death.

1) “More Than This,” Roxy Music. So 80s in its sound, yet it still sounds timeless because of Bryan Ferry’s voice.

2) “Oxford Comma,” Vampire Weekend. Features not only a grammatically themed title, it uses the word “diction” in the lyrics. This debut album was one of the best summer CDs I’ve bought in a while. I really like the video, very Wes Anderson.

3) “The Wizard,” Black Sabbath. VH1 Classic, my new go-to channel for all things music, ran a pretty entertaining series of documentaries on heavy metal called, of course, Heavy. The series showed Sabbath in their prime, including Ozzy being Ozzy. Watching that footage, it’s hard to believe that he went from singing about sorcerers and black magic and iron men to pitching cell phones for Samsung. That has to be weirder than some of the acid flashbacks he’s had.

4) “Lazy Susan,” Oakley Hall. I saw them open for Calexico a couple years ago, and they were just very unremarkable. They were enthusiastic, they put a lot of energy into their show, and they weren’t bad. It’s just that you could hear better versions of this heavy Americana music from a lot of other bands. It’s like the ingredients are there but something goes wrong in the baking.

5) “Go! Go! Go!” The Blasters. See, then you have a group like The Blasters. Their 80s take on rockabilly wasn’t that much different than the original rockabilly, but they managed to turn up the energy and tweak it just enough to be really good, even if it wasn’t very original. Such a fine line between stupid and clever.

6) “Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand,” The Who. Too much flower power for my taste here. It reminds me of “Listen to the Flower People.” And, of course, here I am ripping off two jokes from another movie to use as my own. Ah, hypocrisy. It’s a shame they can’t make a combustion engine that runs on that, because we could make a car that could drive to moon and back on one tank.

7) “2007, The Year Punk Broke (My Heart),” Los Campesinos! A recent Song of the Day entry at Three Bulls. A record that just oozes charisma, like that person in high school who was so nice and fun, she could navigate multiple cliques and be friends with various groups of people who would normally despise each other.

8) “Tenderness,” General Public. Speaking of high school...This was one of those songs I wouldn’t let myself like when I was a little metal head (see also: Duran, Duran) because, you know, I was 15 and a fucking idiot about not wanting to seem soft. But it’s truly a great single. It doesn’t have the timelessness of something like Roxy Music. Instead, it’s like a little gem locked in a time capsule, making you happy you found it because it’s truly of its time.

9) “Optimistic,” Radiohead. I like Kid A, the polarizing Radiohead album, a lot. It was the first album of theirs that I ever heard all the way through, and I loved it for being so cold and robotic—unusual for a man who hates Pink Floyd for the same reasons. Like I said, I’m a hypocrite. In fact, “Optimistic” is the least enjoyable song for me because it’s like Radiohead chickened out and threw in something that sounded like an Ok Computer b-side, so the fans wouldn’t completely flip out.

10) “Catch Me Now I’m Falling,” The Kinks. Old Kinks songs that talk about how fucked up things were in the late 70s really are perfect for our current economic climate. Which is unfortunate for us.

11) “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” Jay-Z. I can’t help but think of Chappelle’s Show because of a sketch where he keeps yelling for someone to “turn my headphones up” while recording his new rap song. This one still gets the booty muscles grooving, though.

Have a good weekend, and hug your digital media tonight, while you still can.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Skanktity of Marriage

In a very large and expensive-looking kitchen, DICK, a 50-ish man, sits at the table, reading the paper. His wife, FAITH, about 20 years his junior, sets the table.

It’ll be nice to have all the kids home for Thanksgiving, don’t you think, hon?

It’ll be better when Consuela shows up with the turkey and gets all this cooking done. I swear, supervising the help is so stressful.

DICK (grabbing her hand)
Don’t you worry your pretty blonde head, sweetheart. You manage the help much better than my other wives did.

They give each other air kisses without actually kissing. Dick turns back to the paper.

I can’t believe these homosexuals are getting so upset about this Prop 8 stuff. Thank God we voted against it.

I know. Marriage is sacred. If they started getting married, it’s like all marriages would be meaningless.

Exactly. And I don’t want our marriage to be meaningless.

There’s a knock at the back door. At the same time, the kitchen phone rings.

FAITH (walking to the back door)
I’ll get the door. It’s probably Consuela.

DICK (answering the phone)
Thanks, hon. (into the phone) Hello?

Faith opens the door. A strapping young man, DIEGO, stands in the doorway.

FAITH (startled)
Diego? (harshly whispering) What the hell are you doing here?

Mira, I cannot be away from you, señora. Te amo, Mrs. Faith.

DICK (looking over his shoulder as he whispers into the phone)
Barbara, why are you calling me on my home phone? What if Faith picked up? (pauses) Well, I sure as hell care if she finds out about us.

He sees Diego in the doorway. He waves.

DIEGO (waving back as he whispers to Faith)
Mira, run away with me. We can get married.

FAITH (speaking loudly)
Why, Diego, I thought I told you the pool didn’t need to be cleaned today. (To Dick) Who is that, honey?

Um, Bob Johnson. Boring work stuff. You know that Bob, never takes a day off.

They both give each other cute smiles, wrinkling their noses at each other, before turning back to their conversations.

DICK (into the phone)
Of course I care for you, Barbara. But I told you when we started this affair that I care about my marriage.

FAITH (to Diego)
Are you out of your fucking mind? Run away with you? To where, the pool house?

DICK (loudly)
Look, Bob, you’re going to have to work this out on your own. I have to go now. You have a Happy Thanksgiving.

As he hangs up the phone, a woman's voice yells through the receiver:

BARBARA (yelling through the phone)
Go to hell you son of a—

FAITH (loudly)
Now, Diego, I don’t need you to come back until Monday. Just remember, you come to work on the days Dick goes to work, comprende? You have a nice Thanksgiving.

Faith closes the door as Diego protests. She locks it and turns to Dick. They smile and cross the room to embrace.

I love you.

I love you, too.

A young man, CHASE, enters. His face is stubbly, his clothes wrinkled, and he looks like he hasn’t slept in a couple of days. On his arm is CANDY, a tan, thin woman with a giant chest and a bad red-haired dye-job. Dick and Faith turn to see him.


Hi, dad. Hi, Faith.

Who’s this?

Candy, this is my dad and my stepmom. (to Dick and Faith) Dad, Faith, this is Candy...my wife!

What? You were only in Vegas for two days?

I know it’s crazy.

CANDY (chewing gum as she talks)
What can I say? I saw him while I was dancing and when he slipped a dollar into my....

CHASE (interrupting)
I saw Candy at her, um, place of employment, and after watching her in action, I fell for her. Over the next 22 hours, I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

It was fate.

Yeah, we didn’t know if we should do this, so we let the roulette wheel decide. I told Candy to pick a number...

I picked red 21 ’cause I’m 21 and my hair’s, you know, red.

FAITH (aside)
Yeah, the bottle is red.

And red 21 came up! We drove through the wedding chapel and here we are!

DICK (waits a beat with his arms crossed sternly before breaking into a smile)
Congratulations, son! (He hugs Chase.)

Dick, don’t you think this is a little sudden?

Nonsense. That’s what they said about us, honey bunny, and look how happy we are. Welcome to the family, Candy.

Thanks...Dad! (They hug.)

Another young woman, HOPE, walks into the kitchen.


Hi Mom. Hi Dick. Hi Chase. Hi...woman with Chase.

Candy, this is my stepsister, Hope. Hope, this is my wife!

Get out! I’m getting married too!

FAITH (excited)
You are?

DICK (concerned)
Who’s the guy?

HOPE (reaches into her purse)
You mean, who’s the daddy? (She pulls out a pregnancy test.)

You’re pregnant, too!

Yep. And he’s a lawyer!

Faith and Hope shriek in happiness and hug.

I don’t know, Hope, is this a good idea?

It’s fine, honey. It just like what happened with my first marriage.

DICK (relaxing)
You’re right. And you're doing the right thing by getting married. (He hugs Hope.)

Someone slams into the back door. Dick walks over and unlocks it. CHAZ, Chase’s older brother, enters.

Hi Dad, hi everyone.

The family gives Chase a series of half-hearted hellos. They don’t appear happy to see him.

I hope you don’t mind, but I brought someone with me.

DANIEL enters.

This is Daniel. My...husband.

Spouse, dear, we said we weren’t going to conform to these sexist hetero naming conventions. (To the family) Happy Thanksgiving!

The family stares with their jaws open.

Your husband?!


Yes, we just got back from Massachusetts.

The family erupts in a series of protests.

Oh my god, could you show less reverence for marriage?

Yeah, you’re making a mockery of it.

And it’s so immoral.

Chaz, how could you? I told you not to bring your...friends...here, and you bring your...whatever he is? I will not have the institution of marriage insulted under my own roof during Thanksgiving.

Chaz gets upset. He turns to Daniel.

I told you they wouldn’t understand. Come on, Daniel, I think Denny’s is open.

Wow, they really are just like you said.

They depart.

So appalling. Thank goodness California isn’t Massachusetts.

I know, and I’m sorry all of you had to see that. Let’s gather ’round and say a prayer, so that God will show Chaz the path to good, wholesome, committed love.

They gather around the table and bow their heads in prayer. The phone rings.

I’ll get it.

Dick leaps from the table.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we reacting to the stock market?

Special extra volatility edition!

15) Sell! Sell!

14) Buy! Buy!

13) Fuck! Fuck!

12) Turning stock options into a papier mâché noose.

11) Telling the kids they won’t be going to Harvard.

10) Telling the kids they’ll be paying their own way for community college.

9) Converting to lesbianism and making Suze Orman our sugar mama.

8) Using 401k statements as rolling papers.

7) Officially un-retiring by turning in Wal-Mart employment application.

6) Conducting insider trading so we’ll get arrested and have some place to live until the market rebounds.

5) Exchanging stocks for more stable commodities like anthrax, mustard gas, and weapons-grade uranium.

4) Popping Wall Street into the DVD player and masturbating to our wildest free market fantasies.

3) Taking down our Alan Greenspan Fathead.

2) Switching client dinners from steak tartar and coke to McRibs and crack.

1) Rubbing Henry Paulson’s head for good luck.