Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Musicians (part 1 of ∞)

I’m a musician and I have decided to chronicle the unfolding saga of my musical “career” gig by gig. The main goal is, of course, to stop you or your offspring from considering this as a money-making option. Let me make it clear that I play in cover bands. These are bands that play other people’s songs to entertain drunken patrons who do not want to hear songs they don’t know while they’re getting inebriated (shitfaced, pissed, sauced, plastered, Boris Yeltsin). If you don’t get paid playing an instrument then you are not a musician for the purposes of my crusade. So if you want to play in your garage along with your favorite records and do a really killer drum fill that is supposed to end on the “1” with a crash but ends up continuing for a few extra 16th notes, because you don’t know what a metronome is, keep at it. By the way, I will generally use drum references because I’m a drummer. If you’re a guitarist don’t worry about metronomes because none of you can play in time anyway.

October 25th – Gig opening for an AC/DC Tribute Band
Pre-show rigmarole:
The “leader” of the band wanted us to arrive at 6 p.m. because the contract said 6 p.m. load in. This was, of course, a ludicrous request which I completely ignored as sound check was at 8 p.m. and showtime 9:30 p.m.
On my way to the gig, he called me twice asking me if I was close to arriving. It was similar to having a really possessive girlfriend calling you at 2 a.m. asking where you are while you’re trying to have sex with another girl. Very annoying.
The point is if you’re not going to listen and become a musician don’t show up 4 hours before the gig to set up unless you want to get Boris Yeltsin before the show.
The other three members of my band did show up at 6 p.m. because they keep listening to the “leader”. If we were Dominicans I’d refer to him as Trujillo right now. Needless to say they were bored out of their little musical minds by the time I arrived at 7:30. I set up in 20 minutes and was ready with time to spare for the sound check. After that was done there was another hour of useless standing around. Obviously at 8 p.m. there is no one in the bar but the staff so if you’re one of those dudes that likes to hit on chix (I like to spell it with an ‘x’) you will be greatly disappointed.
The band was lifeless throughout. I imagined I was in that bar Obi-Wan took Luke and I was playing in the house band with a bunch of robots ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"). I spent half the show staring down at my snare drum. One of the architectural gems of this venue was that the stage was behind a load-bearing beam. That beam was right in the middle as you looked out. So it was obstructed view musical theatre. At one point I was watching the singer and it looked like he was serenading the beam. It didn’t respond to his advances. The stage lights above the drums shone down and reflected off my tom heads straight into my face. The glare from said lights smashed me in the face like a million suns. I needed SPF 80 but there was none to be found. A pair of sunglasses would have helped a lot but then we would have had to do that Corey Hart song or risk pretentiousness. I sweated profusely throughout that torturous hour and was worried that the thirty something white trash chix in the audience were going to smell me afterwards. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry because I didn’t talk to any of them. That’s one of the myths you need to tell your kids about. Musicians don’t really get chix. Well maybe sometimes they do, but not as much as you think. Trujillo can get them but he’s tall, good looking and uses Magnums so I’m not sure if his musical skills have anything to do with it. It's a matter of great debate amongst the great unwashed artistic masses.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Orleans

New Orleans! The jewel of the Mississippi. Fought over, bought and sold by legendary politicians and despots. It's the birthplace of Jazz (that's that sometimes obnoxious musical form we all pretend to like) and the home of a famous vampire.
New Orleans is called the Crescent City by residents but there is another nickname borne of bad novels and subsequent media creativity. That name is The Big Easy.

The city, by many accounts, is crime-ridden, corrupt, water logged and decimated by nature, poverty-stricken and thus the population has dwindled. Life there doesn't seem very easy. I am certainly no expert on the matter and have never been there due to my morbid fear of the swung triplet feel and Voodoo but I feel The Big Easy no longer applies to this place. A more apt name is The Big Difficult. New Orleans either needs to go back to being the Crescent City, which I feel is potentially divisive due to the fact that a crescent image stokes fear in Islamophobes and Selenophobes everywhere, or get a new nickname.

The campaign to stop calling New Orleans the Big Easy starts now. We must protect the misguided tourists, beatniks, wanderlusters, musicians, gypsies, medicine men and bedouins that might end up gravitating towards this mystical land thinking it's easy to live there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reply to English Speaking Tips from Renowned Scientist

Good evening to all the Disencouraged,

A gifted wordsmith has forged a witty reply to my original post (10/5/08) using his best hammer and anvil which he bought at Walmart who put hard working Americans out of business in the name of laissez-faire capitalism and causing rampant loss of....but I digress. (Sorry Ms. Rand!)
He works for peanuts (even though he spent $140,000 and 8 years of his life getting a BullShit, MoreShit and a Piled Higher and Deeper) at a large drug producing behemoth and in his spare time likes to pick apart my arguments. His main point is that language is dynamic, not static and flows like water (if you're a Taoist - if you're not, it flows like a canal that needs dredging) so people should be allowed to say "aint" and "I funna get crunk later holmes!"
I like to give unequal time to opposing viewpoints so I give you his reply to my diatribe on the evils of speaking the King's (not Elvis) English flippantly. In closing, the Mr. Pink font is....yeah not an accident.

I find your animadversion of our present vernacular to be quite illuminating however validated in a myopic and imprudent temper.

As I'm sure you, in your infinite wisdom, know that language is a dynamic entity ruled by various shaping influences which lend to language subtle nuances which become manifest in turns of idiomatic phrase, vernacular of the hoi polloi as differs from that of the bourgeoisie, colloquialisms, slang (Urban Dictionary), etc. In this fecund garden of the tongue we find the scarce fruit of many a permutation: that which has come to fruition is the culmination of plethoric pruning from the supple branch of speech.

For example, consider the hollow and rotting trunk of that once prodigious language whose aurelian flame has long since been extinguished (Alas! Luceo non Uro!), but whose progeny flourish and thrive. Could not Latin be saved? No. It simply became engulfed by the tide of mutability, to be seen in shadows but live nevermore.

Moreover, take into account the geographic influence on language; as a grain of salt dissolving in a swimming pool so too does language dilute proportionally to the distance from its origin of inception.

A second retort to your sardonic editorial regards an exceedingly interesting footnote to your ask vs. aks (axe) entry. Given the aforementioned condition that language is a malleable organism, it sometimes comes to pass that the continuum of change inevitably causes reversion. Does not the water in a swiftly moving river occasionally eddy back on itself causing little whirlpools amidst the pervasively puissant current? Aye, here’s the rub: approximately 500 to 800 years ago the correct English for “ask” was indeed “axe (aks)!”

See for yourself:

Language is indeed a fickle mistress. Who knows but that in a few hundred years the phrase “cynical Greek prick” may be a term of endearment.

One can only hope.

P. Adam Lukey IV, Esq.

Writer's Block

Once upon a time

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Impatient Passengers

Hello fellow public transportation rider. Why do you get up way before the train/bus stops risking injury to yourself and fellow riders? Have you visualized getting off this train (with the discipline of a Shaolin monk) so vividly and resolutely that it is not possible for you to sit your ass down until the train actually stops?
Recently one of these monks got up way before the stop for reasons unknown to us non-meditating Westerners. Unfortunately, unlike the actual Shaolin monks, who are schooled in all kinds of bad-ass Kung Fu, their wispy white beards floating through space and time as they lay an ass-whooping on any invader silly enough to breach their fortresses of solitude high in the Chinese mountains, this dude lost his balance like a gymnast from Krzygistan, who with her size 12 foot had no chance of staying on the balance beam (she was just there to compete for all the disenfranchised of the world), and fell headlong on a pregnant woman that looked like she was at least 14 months pregnant. His bulbous, semi-bald head (the Propecia is NOT working sir) hit her square in the middle of her belly. I was hoping her water would break and the discharge would drown unbalanced, balding Monk boy. But what if they had asked me to perform CPR? I wouldn't have done it under any circumstances. They could take away my membership like they did to Jerry and Newman for not saving the pool boy. I was fine with that. His fate turned out to be simply a level of embarrassment equal to giving your first public speech in high school freshman speech class. His face turned some sort of bizarre red color, almost purplish but not the least bit regal, and then this buffoon did actually speak and say he was sorry. We all looked at him like he was an alien, lost in the wilderness, unable to find the mothership. 
I've seen people trip over their bags, fall in a spiral holding on to a pole like a stripper but without the flexibility, skill or sexuality, careen to the other side of the car like a pinball, use another passenger as a cushion to break their fall, or hang on one of those one-hand loops and sway like a monkey orgasming after eating a catnip tainted banana.

The moral of the story is sit down until the train or bus stops. Don't worry you'll get off in time. It's almost a certainty. If I was George Zimmer I would guarantee it. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Questions for Cub Fans

Are you over the age of 25?
Do you live somewhere other than Wrigleyville?
Does your idea of a good time not include abusing alcohol to the point of blacking out, then sleeping with girls that are less than stellar physically (ugly), followed by a Sunday spent in a state of torpor equalled only by a hibernating bear?
Have you ceased discussing the good 'ole days in college (last year)?
Have you eschewed the backward baseball cap and flip-flops (dude no one wants to see your hideous feet) as a fashion statement?

If you answered YES to all of these questions, I have one last question for you.
Why are you still a Cubs fan?
Switch allegiances. Do it now. There are 29 other perfectly good ball clubs you can root for that actually have a chance of winning a championship in your lifetime.

--If you are a father do not let your son grow up rooting for perennial losers. A child's psychological maturation is a delicate matter. Why risk it by making the child a Cub fan? It is your duty as a parent that the child grows up in a positive atmosphere with a sense of pride. You cannot have pride if you root for the Cubs. You can't. Why do you think those people that frequent Wrigley drink so much? They are self-medicating. They know how it is going to turn out. 
--If you are a mother it is your sacred duty to stop your husband from destroying your child psychologically in perpetuity.
--If you are an uncle/aunt you must use subterfuge to switch the kid over to the Light Side. Ideas: Innocently buy him a Reds cap; an Ichiro jersey; a Marlin mug or best of all: take him to a Brewer or White Sox game. Both parks are close enough to your house and both were built after the Neolithic period unlike Wrigley.
--If you are a Godfather you need to avenge Sonny's death.

I hope you have been disencouraged from aligning yourself with the Cubs. Think about it. Deep down, where your logic is being suffocated like a skinny dude sixty-nining a 300 lb woman, you know I am right. Kids! Say no to drugs, drunk driving, and the Cubs. You will be infinitely happier and thus live longer. 

The Management  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

English speaking tips


1) The word nuclear is pronounced nuclear and not nucular. Let me slow it down for you. It's noo-clee-er. Say it with me...noo-clee-er. Nuclear. Just because President Bush and Jack Bauer mispronounce it doesn't mean it's right. 

2) Coupon is pronounced koo-pon. Not Q-pon. Do you know why the product Q-tip is not pronounced koo-tip? Because it's not spelled Cou-tip. So get out your coupon (koo-pon), go to the store, and get that .50 cents off on Q-tips (not Cou-tips).

3) The phrase is "all intents and purposes" not "all intensive purposes". Please refrain from being retarded. Thank you.

4) Irregardless of what you may think, irregardless is not a word. The proper word is regardless. Do us all a favor and leave out the I-R. If you learn this skill you won't sound quite as stupid in conversation (although you probably are).

5) Do you like coffee? Do you ever drink expresso? If you answered yes you're a liar because it's "espresso" Starbuck not "expresso". Ahab is going to throw you overboard if you keep mispronouncing it. X marks the spot but is not included in the spelling of this drink. 

6) Have you ever axed someone a question? No, of course not. You can axe someone to death but you can't axe them a question. It's ask fool not aks. A-S-K. Pronounce the letters in the correct order. Thanks a lot!

7) You might read the first six and say "hey Mr. Disencouragement I could care less about your grammar tips." Well valued reader my reply to that is it's "I couldn't care less" not "I could care less". If you say you could care less you're saying that you do have some level of caring about the first six tips. So if you truly don't care to learn your mother tongue properly you need to say "I couldn't care less".

Your homework assignment is to see if Disencouragement is a word. 

Stop playing Guitar Hero, watching TV and texting that chick that doesn't like you and read something. Learn your language properly. 
For all intensive purposes you generally speak it okay. But I'm aksing you to study a little more. Irregardless of the fact that caffeine is bad for you and gives you a headache like a nucular bomb, drink some of that expresso you bought with your q-pon if you need to stay awake.
Loved by linguists everywhere!