Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Today is the 16th wedding anniversary for myself and The Lovely Becky. We’ve beaten the seven-year itch twice and have change to spare.

I apologize if this sounds a bit smug, because for a lot of people marriage is work, but being married to TLB has been the easiest experience of my life. I am one of those fortunate people who found the person they are supposed to be with. I don’t necessarily believe in the idea of soul mates. Had TLB and I never met, I think we could have found other spouses who would have made us happy. But I am convinced I found the person I would be the happiest with.

The reason why being married to TLB has been so easy is because I am so at ease with my wife. We spend so much of our lives putting up fronts. Even with close friends, there are often barriers between who we really are and who those friends see. I don’t have to do that with TLB. I get to be myself with her, and that is refreshing. In fact, I am probably more myself with her than I am with myself, because I have an exceptional ability to bullshit myself, whereas she sees right through that.

We have that level of comfort where it’s like we share each other’s brains, without the socially awkward requirement of having two heads on one body. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know exactly what the other person is thinking. In fact, it’s gotten to a level of comic specificity. We might be at a park with lots of other parents, and I’ll lean over to say to TLB, “You know what’s an awesome look? Having your camouflage T-shirt tucked into your jeans so that we can see your cell phone holster.” TLB will smile and say she was just about to say the exact same thing, because our ideas of what looks ridiculous and how to mock said ridiculousness are perfectly synchronized.

Some men have trouble with marriage because they miss the excitement of the new (see Woods, Tiger). And that’s certainly a trade off. At this point, there are probably few surprises left for us. Every once in a while TLB uncovers some new wrinkle to my personality that she didn’t know existed, but it’s often just a bigger reveal of a pre-existing neuroses that she’s known about for years. I think about it like a favorite movie, like Pulp Fiction. Sure, when I first saw it, it was immensely fun to experience the twists, turns, and lines for the first time. However, the reason Pulp Fiction is my favorite movie is because I am so familiar with it. I revel in knowing every line, every scene, because knowing what happens on the surface of the film allows me to dive deeper into why I love it so much. I also have more fun watching it now because now I can anticipate the parts I like the best—OMG, Travolta’s about to stick the needle in Uma Thurman’s chest, I love this part!

That’s why I love being married to TLB. Do I know the story now? Sure, more or less. But it’s also my favorite story, which makes every day with her like seeing my favorite movie. Minus the crazy rednecks trying to sodomize us, of course. And TLB is also the only one who knows what’s in the case.

1) “Take It Easy,” The Eagles. Another reason for making my marriage work is that I was built for monogamy. I have enough trouble trying to drive with one woman on my mind, let alone seven. TLB sometimes jokes about me having an affair, and I tell her a) she would know instantly if I was, to the point where I may as well arrive home with a t-shirt that says “Yes, I’m having an affair,” and b) I’m not interested because an affair would cut into my video game time. When would I be able to save the princess?

2) “And I Will Be With You,” The Mr. T Experience. I am convinced that if I had not met TLB when I did, I would have gone through my 20s writing stuff like this. The funniest band to every sing about unrequited love.

3) “Revolution,” Bang Camaro. TLB loves me despite my love of hair metal, both the real thing and imitations like this. This sounds more Def Leppard then Def Leppard does these days.

4) “Pressure Drop,” Toots & the Maytals. I’m not sure if it makes me more white or less white that this is my favorite reggae song. I dig the combination of the urgent vocal with the laid-back rhythm.

5) “Experiment IV,” Kate Bush. TLB’s two musical calling cards when we first started dating were ‘Til Tuesday and Kate Bush. I am glad she introduced me to them.

6) “Catholic Pagans,” Surfer Blood. Probably an apt description for us. The two of us are irrevocably Catholic in our mentalities, even if as we find ourselves more unreconciled with the church than ever. There is no way either of us would ever convert to another religion, including atheism. We just find exorcisms too fascinating.

7) “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” The Smiths. Did Morrissey intend for us to laugh at this? Because that’s the reaction I’ve always had. It’s a stack of flapjacks made out of tears and pining, covered with a sticky syrup of sighs.

8) “Letter From an Occupant,” The New Pornographers. I have always been jealous of the way TLB sings. She has a heavenly singing voice, whereas mine is more like deleted scenes from Dogma in quality. I like playing any Neko Case songs because her voice is right in TLB’s singing sweet spot.

9) “Video Killed the Radio Star,” The Buggles. And MTV killed music videos.

10) “Situation,” Yaz. In the early days of synth pop, what was it like to write on a synthesizer, before one had a bevy of preset sounds available at the touch of a button? Did groups like Yaz sit around discussing the sounds as the keyboard player tried them out? “Nah, too boopy. Nope, too blippy. No, no, no, way too farty. Hold on, hold on, give me slightly less farty but just a touch more blippy. Okay, now add just a smidge of boop. Perfect!” This also reminds me of going to this under 21 New Wave dance club with TLB, where we would go and shake our groove things. Never underestimate the power of farty synths, electronic drums, and a masculine-sounding female singer to bring two crazy teenagers together.

11) “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” Led Zeppelin. In honor of TLB, I will make this Random 11 un-Led-ed. Let’s try again.

11) “Master of Puppets,” Metallica. Goddamnit. Stupid iTunes, I need more love of my life, less metal up your ass. Take three.

11) “The Winner Takes It All,” ABBA. Sigh, the things we do for love.

Happy anniversary, baby. I will play ABBA for you to the ends of the earth.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we recouping our losses?

10) Holding up bank until they agree to buy our house at the price we paid for it.

9) Cutting back grocery expenses by wearing our deluxe cargo pants to the buffet.

8) Putting all our money into Glenn Beck Teardrop Futures.

7) Selling superfluous offspring on eBay.

6) Developing combustion engine that runs on worthless stock options.

5) Leaving behind dead-end field of investment banking for the dramatically explosive growth field of ice road trucking.

4) Draining all that pesky water out of the Gulf of Mexico so it’s easier to recover our valuable oil.

3) Scanning our last $100 bill and printing our way to financial freedom/free room and board for the next 3-5 years.

2) Following the classic Wall Street advice of selling high after buying blow.

1) Setting off hydrogen bomb in the hopes that it resets our portfolio to 2004.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

I downloaded—correction, purchased—Winger’s “Seventeen” this week. Had I suffered some sort of blunt force trauma to the head? Returned from traveling in a time-warping hot tub? Lost a bet? No. However, amid my purchasing of Dio tracks from eMusic this week, I fell into a bit of metal nostalgia, and lo and behold, there was Winger’s debut, glaring at me with its glowing eyes. And while I may find the idea of Winger grotesque and incomprehensible, deep down in places I don’t like to talk about at parties, I want “Seventeen,” on my iTunes, I need “Seventeen” on my iTunes. I dig the music and the swaggering cockism of the lyrics entertains me, even if this song could probably double as an anthem for the Catholic church if you changed the gender of the pronoun in the chorus. Besides, “My Sharona” includes the infamous line, “I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind,” and that’s considered an 80s classic, so I said fuck it and clicked the download button.

I told The Lovely Becky about said purchase. “You shouldn’t have told me that,” she said.

Oh shit, I thought. Had I actually done something so stupid I had lost the respect of my wife? I had always expected this day to come, I just never thought it would be triggered by a Winger purchase. “Why not?” I asked.

“Because I’ll make fun of you for it.”

Whew, what a relief, I had only provided a case of insult ammo. “I don’t care,” I said. “You’ve made fun of Rush for 20 years, and I love Rush. In fact, I’d get on my roof and yell, ‘I love Rush’ to anyone passing by.”

“You were embarrassed when I made fun of you for owning a Lita Ford CD.”

That hurt. I paused, then quietly said, “That’s because that is embarrassing, and I was secretly ashamed.”

Some pleasures are simply too guilty to admit and drag you down into the depths of embarrassment like a millstone around your neck. Congratulations to Winger for just barely beating out "Kiss Me Deadly" in my Hall of Shame.


1) “Tribulations,” LCD Soundsystem. One of the most fantastic covers of a non-existent 80s song that I’ve ever heard. Seriously, I am almost positive I danced to this once with my hands over my head and my pants tight-rolled. Love how the little guitar solo in the middle adds just enough rock to the house party.

2) “Girls Got Rhythm,” AC/DC. My most cranakable rock band. No matter how loud my speakers are when a Bon Scott-era AC/DC song comes on, I instinctively turn them up even more.

3) “Shirin,” Jens Lenkman. Not a bad song by any stretch—actually quite good—but after the AC/DC lead-in I feel like I just slammed on the brakes of my IROC-Z at 120 mph. Also, this song reminds me that one of the things I'm going to miss most about Marquette: my hair stylist. Not making that up.

4) “Nothing Achieving,” The Police. Sting’s later antics aside, they were an incredible band, and incredible for completely different reasons with each album. This is them at their rough, early best, when they were still punk but could actually play their instruments.

5) “Carl Perkin’s Cadillac,” Drive-By Truckers. Probably neck-and-neck with New Pornographers on my list of bands I’d like to see live…which may happen because I’ll soon be living in a place that gets acts other than the Country Bear Jamboree. And especially for TLB: the video is from The Blue Note in Columbia, MO.

6) “I Am a Scientist,” Guided by Voices. The best two-and-a-half minutes of rock from the 90s.

7) “Add It Up,” Violent Femmes. Funny, this song actually came up in e-mail conversation today –Tickle’s friend Fög called it the greatest rock song ever. Quoth Fög: “It has all the essentials. There is cussing, sex talk, great solos both electric and bass, and you can’t turn it up loud enough.” While it’s not my greatest I can’t argue with any of that. Don’t shoot shoot shoot that thing at me….

8) “Seasons in the Abyss,” Slayer. Slayer is not my cup of dark black tea, but I do love this song. There’s a slow build of epic menace at the beginning before the band kick out the jams and rock my face off. Also in my top 5 of all-time favorite drum fills.

9) “Away From the Numbers,” The Jam. Much like The Police, they were awesome for completely different reasons as their career evolved. They were good enough to slow things down and still sound pretty punk, with Rick Buckler hitting his tom-toms like they owe him money.

10) “March of the Pigs,” Nine Inch Nails. The Morrissey of anger. I SCREAMED AND I SCREAMED AND I SCREAMED, OH DID I TELL YOU HOW I SCREAMED?

11) “Metal Health (Bang Your Head),” Quiet Riot. A song so metal, it got Kevin Bacon arrested in Footloose. Now make no mistake, Quiet Riot were Winger terrible, a total joke of a band who couldn’t write their way out of a leather codpiece (when your two biggest hits are covers of Slade songs, that should tell you your career will be short-lived). But somehow these studded savants managed to write one of the all-time great metal anthems. This still hits right between the eyes: the driving rhythm, the guitar riffs, and most of all the insane vocals from the late Kevin DuBrow. It is on my Must Be Cranked list, and dare I say I turned it up louder than “Girls Got Rhythm” today. I want to literally feel it rattling my ribs a little. So a tip of the cap to Quiet Riot: the large turd pile they produced did provide fertilizer for one magnificent black rose.

Have a head-banging weekend, literally or figuratively.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: What will we find out during the series finale of Lost?

10) Ben Linus commits an act of betrayal so terrible, he kicks his own ass.

9) The present, past, future, and sideways timelines converge to form an explosive “flash reacharound.”

8) The castaways defeat the Smoke Monster by trapping it in a giant cigarette filter.

7) During a time-travel sequence, Desmond runs into Scott Bakula, who helps Desmond lead the show to cancellation.

6) In order for the castaways to return home, the island demands a sacrifice of Kate’s top.

5) Sawyer finds a script called, “Series Finale.” He turns to the last page, only to find it blank. “Son of a—,” he says as the screen cuts to black and “Don’t Stop Believing” plays.

4) Jack encounters a freak Socratic Vortex that forces all of the show’s questions to be answered with more questions.

3) Out of all available travel options, the survivors escape by constructing a raft out of Hurley.

2) The real source of the island’s mysterious behavior: a deranged Bobby Brady rubbing a tiki he calls “Alice.”

1) The cast turn the wheel and wake up on a new show called Found, set a mysterious customer service counter that may or may not be purgatory.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rock In Peace

The world's a little less interesting without Ronnie James Dio in it. The first time I ever heard him was watching the video for "The Last in Line," which also doubles as the best episode of Voyagers ever.

It's funny because, while I was not really a huge Dio fan, I was a huge fan of Dio, if that makes sense. He embodied everything that I found entertaining about heavy metal. So R.I.P, RJD.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Sometimes when life is stressing you out, you just have to step away and get a sub sandwich. Thank you, Jimmy Johns, for knowing just what I needed.

Speaking of which, I read an Atlantic article about the expanding porkitude of the American population and how most of the ways you think you can lose weight are fool’s gold. One of the things it talked about was the problem of psychological eating: consuming food to make yourself feel better. I then found it ironic that an article about how we’re gobbling our way to a permanently fat future (and that there’s not a whole lot we can do about it) depressed me to the point where I wanted a piece of pie to feel better. And that's my problem: I love psychological eating. There is nothing that a piece of delicious fatty food cannot make better. Football? Chicken wings. Kid’s birthday party? Cake and pizza. Hot sex? Pretty much everything in Mickey Rourke’s fridge. If I have my choice between feeling great and feeling great while eating a stack of Walker Brother’s pancakes, guess what? I’m choosing “b” seven days a week and coming back for dinner on Sundays.

Which is precisely why I and so many of my fellow Americans are completely fucked unless they find a way to make broccoli taste like a hot fudge sundae, a thought so depressing it makes me want a hot fudge sundae.

1) “Different Names for the Same Thing,” Death Cab for Cutie. I have been pondering the idea of different names for the same thing as I watch my daughter learning to talk. It has to be pretty damn confusing to babies that there are different names for the same thing. Why is it “dog” and “doggie”? Or why does “kitty” refer to young cats and big cats? Why are you assholes trying to confuse me? I’m just a baby, for Christ sake!

2) “California,” Semisonic. Is there a more fucked state in the country right now than the Golden State? A state so poor I believe Moody’s is downgrading them to the Golden Showers State. It’s pretty bad when having a futuristic killing machine as your governor seems like the least of your problems.

3) “Harden My Heart,” Quarterflash. Underrated as far as one-hit wonders go. The vocals find a nice spot between Pat Bentar and The Motels, and the saxamaphone tarts up the otherwise simple music. It’s a perfect track to kick off any “fuck you” post-breakup mix-tape, which is yet another reason why it’s too bad we no longer make mix-tapes. I also wish they still made videos like this.

4) “Oh Caroline (Live),” Cheap Trick. It has to be a little odd to have your career defined by one concert. It’s one thing to be a one-hit wonder and have one song hang over you for the rest of your life. But with Cheap Trick, despite not being one-hit wonders, they are pretty much defined by one gig, to the point where their songs sound odd to me without the accompaniment of screaming Japanese girls.

5) “Inertiatic ESP,” The Mars Volta. Filed under Bands I Should Like But Don’t. My wanky prog side should guzzle this down like a Hummer slurping cheap unleaded, but I think the problem is they wank too much. Just when they find a good lick or groove or movement or whatever, they cock it up with something else, seemingly for the sake of just cocking it up. Yes, even I sometimes believe less is more.

6) “Woods,” Bon Iver. Autotune must be stopped.

7) “Making Time,” Creation. Thank you, Wes Anderson, for introducing me to this overlooked British Invasion gem. The production locks it in the 60s, but as a certain Project Runway winner would say, it’s still “fierce.”

8) “Little Secrets,” Passion Pit. I’m glad the weather is getting warmer again because this music is tailor-made for cranking while driving with the windows open. High probability of me table-dancing if I heard it in Vegas.

9) “A Pot in Which to Piss,” Titus Andronicus. From a conceptual album about the Civil War, recorded by a loud Jersey garage band whose band name references Shakespeare and whose last album referenced Festivus. Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up. Not everyone’s cup of tea but definitely mine. It’s like Ken Burns’s Civil War Block Party.

10) “Black Gold,” Southeast Engine. Almost memorable. One of those tracks that I’m happy to hear when it pops up, but not enough to seek out. A bit like Turducken: a blend of too many tastes when I would rather just have turkey. Still pretty good with gravy, though.

11) “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen. I’m linking to The Muppets version because it is too awesome and Libby loves it. It’s really, really difficult to combine “ridiculous” and “awesome,” but I firmly believe this is the most awesome ridiculous song of all time. Queen managed to make the rock equivalent of What’s Opera, Doc?, the famous “Kill the Wabbit” Bugs Bunny cartoon, absurd and comedic, but also skillful and epic. That’s a pretty good standard to shoot for.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top Ten Wednesdays: What are we covering up?

10) Shallow grave.

9) Herpes (just 'til we're married).

8) Our backyard tiger pit before the kids' birthday party.

7) That less-than-fresh feeling.

6) Erection we got at the blackboard when drawing a Venn diagram made us think of boobies.

5) Parasitic twin.

4) Portion of Oval Office tape where we drunk dialed Sarah Palin.

3) Fine print that bequeaths first-born child after two late payments in a row.

2) Our natural reptilian skin (just 'til we've enslaved humanity).

1) Pretty much everything with Febreze.

Friday, May 07, 2010


I am on sick baby duty today, as our little girl has a little viral infection. So no rocking out for me.

It's also a historic day as my brother Tickle, he of the annoying Eminem voice, is also becoming a dad today. He and his wife will be welcoming a baby girl. During the pregnancy, they started calling her Tina, named after a certain wonder llama from a cult film. So for the last few months, we have been trying to lure her out by telling her to come get her ham. I guess it finally worked.

The interesting thing will be seeing how this affects my brother. As hard as it is for me to believe he will be a father, I know he'll be a good one. However, I also wonder what reproductive domestication will do to his wild side. I know he'll be a good, responsible dad when needed, but what about when he's released back into the wilds of Vegas? We were already discussing going there next spring for my cousin's bachelor party, and can't help that Tickle will be like a Sigfried & Roy white tiger released from its contract into the jungle for a few days. I don't think it will take him long to find his claws, and all of his pent up Call of the Wild instincts may very well explode the minute his feet touch the Vegas Strip. I've already said that under no circumstances will I room with him, unless the Doctors bring heavy sedatives along with the IV bags.

Speaking of unleashed wild animals, we had a black bear wandering around our neighborhood this past week. He was sitting in someone's yard just a few blocks from our house. I don't even want to think about how I would react if, while out on a walk with Libby, I saw a FREAKING BEAR DOWN THE STREET. It reiterates that I am much to Zsa Zsa to be here in this rustic setting. The only bears I want walking around my street are the pro football-playing kind or the hairy gay man looking for love kind. Those I can deal with.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we cleaning up the Gulf Coast oil spill?

Special ever-expanding disaster edition!

11) Building a coastal sea wall out of Depends.

10) Sending in crack team of Jiffy Lube commandos.

9) Setting it on fire to send a message to any other oil rigs that are thinking about spilling.

8) Launching the new Dyson Disaster Vac. Because the only thing that sucks harder than a catastrophic man-made disaster is a Dyson.

7) Building a complete replica of the Gulf Coast along the South American shore, tricking the oil into going the wrong way.

6) Sinking a tanker full of Oxy Clean.

5) Letting Red Lobster use the slick to create its new Petroleum Popcorn Shrimp (available in 5W30 and 10W30 flavors).

4) Offering Michael Brown as a sacrifice to Poseidon

3) Giving the Coast Guard authority to detain anything that behaves like a slow-moving oil spill.

2) Having oil industry lobbyists wade into the slick and scoop up the oil in their deep pockets.

1) Harnessing the same energy source used to construct oil rigs that will never, ever cause an environmental catastrophe: wishful thinking.