Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Believe In Something Worse (part 2)

Our favorite cell phone company has a new billboard. This time, instead of the kid in a box symbolizing the prison we all live in, we have two fools competing over which one gets the longer half of the wishbone. I don’t need to tell you what happened. It split evenly down the middle and so both of them will now “believe in something better”.

How can the universe grant two wishes at once? Two winners at the same time? No way. There has to be a balance. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. It’s yin and yan, black and white, Montagues and Capulets, dogs and cats, Paris and Nicole. Our favorite cell phone company is misrepresenting the rules of the universe to sell more cell phone contracts. We cannot let this aggression stand. We need a counter campaign explaining that the Gods of Chaos will not rule our lives. There must be Law. And the law is: only one person gets a wish from a chicken bone.
Also, PETA is extremely upset about this add. An actual chicken was killed and the wishbone extracted with an unwashed hand to get this ad photographed. Do not screw with PETA or they will throw flour or eggs on you. Of course, if they throw eggs aren’t they killing unborn chickens? Discuss.

Cell Phones = Human Bane

And yes I am a huge hypocrite because I have one. That doesn’t lessen my disdain. I am their slave too. We will be emancipated. The Lincoln of our times will show up and abolish this for something better. Maybe that’s what the ads mean? Hmmm.

In conclusion, I’d like to report seeing a woman take a left turn out of a strip mall, drive straight into the median, jump the curb and run completely over the sign that was there. See the Do Not Enter sign on this median? This is a good example of what she ran over.

She killed this poor thing. Ripped it right out of the concrete. Then she gets back on the actual road but instead of just driving on she stops and gets out of the car presumably to see if the sign is all right. It wasn’t. This is all I witnessed. You’re probably wondering how it is possible to miss the road and run over a sign bolted to the concrete of the median dividing the road aren’t you? Your mistake is in assuming that this stupid woman was actually looking at the road and had both hands on the wheel. Neither of these things happened. She had one hand on the wheel and one hand on a…CELL PHONE!!!!! See her conversation with her friend about why her husband didn’t find her attractive anymore was more important than personal safety so she killed the poor sign and tomorrow she’ll do it all over again and who knows? She may kill an actual person next time. Hopefully, it’s not you.

Brought to you by Disencouragement.com and The Abolish Cell Phones from Automobiles Society

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flea Markets

I have finally learned why these places are called flea markets. The probability of actual fleas or some kind of flesh eating airborne bacteria attaching themselves to a part of your body, as you are strolling around the stalls, is very high.
I went there on the false assumption that I could find collectible books. What I have forgotten is that no one reads anymore and any collectible book is most likely to be found in the crawlspace of some 80 year-old lady with 13 cats who has retired to her small town of Nowheresville, Iowa.

This marvel of modern bazaars was located on the southwest side of the Chicago area. A gray, depressing mishmash of aluminum sided houses with pickup trucks parked in the driveway, train yards, truck terminals, quarries and warehouses. There is no hope here, only beer, football, hunting and the inevitable terminal illness, which goes untreated due to lack of insurance.

If you wish to purchase kitschy junk that has no value like wood carvings that say “Bill’s Lounge” or “Live Free or Die”, an Uncle Sam lamp or a VHS tape version of the movie Corvette Summer dubbed in Spanish then this is the place for you. Barack Obama was at the front and center of this cavalcade of crapola. Many of the upstanding businessman there were selling framed pictures of him with the White House in the background or framed pictures of him on the covers of fine publications like Ebony and Vibe (I have a subscription to both of these. Don’t hate!). The winner of the Useless Obama Junk contest hands down was the t-shirt with an airbrushed picture of the new first family hugging with, you guessed it, the White House in the background. Someone is going to buy this and wear it. For the love of God why? I understand having pride in your community. I’m Greek. If Mike Dukakis had won the presidency in 1988, I guarantee you I would not have bought a shirt with his picture on it. My ethnic pride only goes so far. Of course, Dukakis was a toolbox and Obama is actually cool but I don’t need a t-shirt that has Malia and Sasha on it. It’s overkill. It’s like using a bazooka to hunt deer. Obama has become a cult of personality in the bizarro world of Flea market patrons.

Do you like looking at attractive people? If you answered yes stay the hell away from flea markets. There were Asians, Africans, Hispanics, Europeans and others who still haven’t been categorized by anthropologists. The ancestry made no difference. These people were the grounds at the bottom of a cup of Turkish coffee, the gum on the sole of your shoe, the itch you just can’t scratch, the shingles on your otherwise unblemished skin. Hideous is a word that comes to mind. Another one is ugly. I anticipated unprecedented ugliness so I dressed accordingly and I didn’t shave. I wore an Old Navy charcoal fleece jacket, black fleece sweatpants with a red stripe down the side and a skullcap with some kind of mythic bird of prey on it. My scarf was apricot. The Diesel jeans and Pumas stayed in the closet. If you’re going to explore the jungle you better look like the natives.

Believe it or not, I did not go home empty handed and it wouldn’t be a good day at the flea market if you didn’t haggle with one of the faceless ones. My first purchase was 5 avocados from a round-faced Mexican boy, whose adoring mother was looking on. They were a dollar each. I said to the kid “One dollar? How about 99 cents?” He smiled and shook me off. “No”, he said, “One dollar”. I was in the mood to haggle but to save 5 cents just didn’t seem worth it. I gave the little avocado tycoon five dollars. After this purchase I went outside to the cold winds where the real men had set up shop. I ran across a guy selling Mach 4 razors. I’m Greek so I need at least 10 blades on my razor to get a smooth shave. Right now they’re only at 4 blades. There is room for improvement. The technology has not caught up to the bamboo chutes coming out of my face every day. I said to the man, “How about $8 for these?” He was selling them for $9. He said “No. These are $16 in the store”. I said “Come on you don’t think I’m beautiful? How about $16 for two?” He laughed and gave them to me for $17. So I saved a cool dollar. It kind of made up for the fact that the Mexican kid screwed me out of 5 cents earlier. He gave me my change and asked for a tip. If I had tipped him I would have lost the $1 gain so I declined although I think he deserved it for amusing me. He bagged the two boxes of razors and my parting reply was “There are actually razors in these boxes right?” He really liked that one. I hope that exchange made his day. I will remember it fondly.

So unless you really like avocados or need to shave going to a flea market is a fruitless endeavor. Did you catch that pun? It was totally intentional. Unless avocados are vegetables, in which case, I have insulted punsters and botanists worldwide.

Flea Markets have the following to offer the weary shopper:
Ugly people
Bad products
More ugly people

I hope I have disencouraged you from going to these places.

Purveyors of Wisdom, Eaters of Avocados.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Your Definately Not A Good Speller

This is going to be short and sour. I realize the American education system is substandard and only slightly better in the rankings than the schools in Antarctica but you and you’re should not be confused.

YOUR – Pronoun. Possessive case of the pronoun YOU.

So if YOU possess an ounce of education you will not use it in place of the contraction YOU’RE

Examples of incorrect usage:
Your really pissing me off.
Your an idiot.
Your retarded.
Your quite the wordsmith.

Examples of correct usage:
Billy Ray this is YOUR vase. These are YOUR things.
Your blog is didactic and your tone is offensive.
Pardon, pardon but your dog is pissing on my shoe.

YOU’RE – a contraction of YOU ARE 
This is for lazy people who would rather not hit the space bar and then an A and for people who just really despise the letter A and want to see it in as few words as possible.

Examples of incorrect usage:
You’re tennis balls are lovely.
You’re llama has fine fur.
You’re ancestors spit on my haircut.

Examples of correct usage:
You’re the goods.
You’re the Duke of New York hey number one.
You’re quite possibly the greatest blogger in history.

The fly in the ointment:
UR – text message shortcut that can be used for YOUR and YOU’RE.
This two letter super word may be the future of the English language. Linguists cannot give it their seal of approval due to the fear of being ostracized by their peers but one day I think it is going to win the war.
If you use UR you can cleverly avoid the pitfalls of incorrectly using your or you’re.

I hope this has been a fun learning experience and one last thing….

Definately is spelled DEFINITELY. There’s no A in it so this should be good news for the people that hate the letter A.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Musicians (part 2 of ∞)

October 31st – Helloween

So you want to be a musician? Are you sure?
Yes, aspiring musicians, this gig was hell musically, frustrating sexually and a transportation nightmare. The cracked pavement of our crumbling streets that I was forced to traverse was a metaphor signaling the barbarians are at the gates.

The Journey
It only took 75 minutes to get to the gig due to the fact that I got off at an exit a mile north of where I should have. Why you ask? Because my mind was overwhelmed by the disdain I have for Chicago expressways (an oxymoron) so I wanted out, like a guy that just got married, as soon as possible. An unsafe U-turn into on-coming traffic and I was back on the Snailway towards the most horrific excuse for a street in Chicago – Addison.
The gig was a few miles east of the exit, across the street from the greatest architectural abomination of the modern era – Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, every street going east from Addison to Irving Park, was infested with four-wheeled metallic insects. Single file they moved along at a pace that the Slowey turtles would have approved of to a final destination that would leave them unfulfilled, despairing of something better for their lives. Those Olympic walkers who look like drunk Emus when they move could have gotten to my destination quicker. The last few miles took as long to get through as the first twenty did. If “it’s the journey, not the destination” is true then we’re all screwed.

The Destination
This gig was epic in its lack of musicianship (we played like four kids from the short bus given random instruments and asked to “entertain” the social worker without tripping on the drool coming out of our ill-shaped mouths and liquifying the floor but alas we failed.) and for an amount of amazing long legs from the female of the species that I haven’t seen since the last Victoria’s Secret network special. There were at least 19 women wearing nurse outfits. I’m not talking about those hideous, acutely non-sexual scrubs that they really wear. I’m talking about this:

Porn Nurse – the only kind of nurse I want. I was praying to the Gods for some kind of disease. Nothing fatal, maybe a curable bout of leprosy or some kind of mutant shingles. Anything…please God I beg you. But then you come back to Earth (the horror!) and realize a real nurse would be middle-aged with pockmarked skin, a bad case of halitosis and weighing a significant amount more than the woman in the picture.

The Search For Sleep
I got home at 4 a.m. Why did you get home at 4 a.m. Mr. Disencouragement when the gig ended at 1:30 a.m.? Well because after a show you have to summon your inner teamster and breakdown and load gear into various cars and talk to people milling about afterwards, especially if they are wearing a nurse outfit. But the main reason is that the Snailway at 3 a.m. was down to one lane so it was like driving in rush hour traffic during a work week. I had to get off the Snailway and take side roads home. I don’t remember the particulars but I do remember stop lights turning red along the route for no reason. There weren’t cars coming the other way. It’s 3 a.m. after all. Then of course I got stopped by a freight train in Des Plaines. These blockades tend to anger a tired half asleep musician on his way home. I was so hungry by the time I made it to the promised land I seriously considered giving up vegetarianism and finding an all-night burger joint.

Suffer for your art kids!