Sunday, April 30, 2006
It got me to thinking, though. If indeed I could have been killed, that makes about a half-dozen or so times I have almost died, over the years, in really stupid ways. There was the time falling asleep behind the wheel, at the end of a 13 hour trip, just about 3 miles from my house; there was the time working with Ol' Uncle Frank, when we burst a gas main in tht building we were working on and I was almost exploded; oh yeah, there was the jumping into the lake and breaking my neck a la Christopher Reeves; Hmmm, let's see, almost exploding my Volkswagon; Drinking a whole bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 (wait, that's a time I FELT like dying). The point is, I, again, nearly met my end in a way that would have been really embarassing to have to read about in the paper. It didn't even faze me. I know that there is a higher power out/up there, and they are merciful, in that, they continuously spare me from such an embarressing fate. Or they might have a really good sense of humor. You know, it didn't even cross my mind to cancel the fish-trip. At this point in my life, I know a much more bizarre fate awaits me in the end: like probably being accidentally stabbed in the head by a knife-juggling Mime, whom I accidentally startled mid-routine to ask him the time because I left my watch on the dresser. So I say unto thee, whomever, bring it on! The fishing was lousy, and I broke the end of my fly-rod too boot, but God-Damit, take that, you Jeesly Moose!
Though I will say, I'll be driving a lot slower through Rockwood next time.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
or . . . (How Jeff Tweedy learned to stop worrying and bring the fucking rock). During my vacation last week I attended the Wilcos sold-out show at "The Merrill in Portland. (Portland is a town on the east coast). After what I can only describe as the bravest opening act I've ever witnessed, the band (the wilcos) took the stage . . . they gave it back some 2 and a half hours later . . . smoldering. Now, I've seen the "new" lineup during the YHF tour, but the new "New" lineup is fucking amazing. Tweedy has (wisely) left most of the guitar histrionics to Nels Cline, clearly the superior guitarist. Tweedy was in great form and perfect voice, the sound was great. At one point Tweedy joked about taking a lead-singer type of exam. The funny thing is . . . you could almost believe that he took some "front-man" courses as the usually dour Tweedy seemed to be replaced by some kind of giddy, joking, stepford-replicant of his former stage persona. Every rendition outshone their respective "studio take" save for "Spiders(kidsmoke) wich managed to be as obnoxious as the version they released on AGIB. A throwaway track like "Late Greats" was injected with enough pomp that you could swear you were listening to "The greatest lost track of all time". "King Pin" was a welcome return to their "Being There" days without sounding at all like "been there". If this show was any indication of what's in store for us with the next Wilco release . . . outasite!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
It has oft been said that there is a very fine line between brilliance and stupidity. Actually, I don't know how often I've actually heard that saying , specifically. To be honest, I think I just made it up. Point is, there are times when you should listen very carefully to those nagging second thoughts that crop up in the back of your mind when an idea strikes your fancy . There are good ideas, then there are times when too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
Mud-Wrestling, Brilliant... Clam-Chowder Wrestling, Stupid
Teqilla Shots, Brilliant... Jello-Shots, Stupid
Party Favours from the Dollar Store, Brilliant...Tie-down straps for your canoe from the Dollar Store, Stupid
Having your wife cut your son's hair to save money, Brilliant... Having your wife cut your hair to save money, Stupid
Liquor before Beer, You're in the clear, Brilliant...Cigars and Beer, then Everclear, Stupid
Blowing out your tire as you're heading into the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, turning around and having it repaired as a preventative measure, Brilliant... Saying, "fuck it, what are the odds of blowing out TWO tires on one trip", and keeping on going, Stupid
Doing a Polka version of "Freebird", Brilliant... Putting it on your set-list evry night, Stupid
Starting a potentially funny bit like this in your B'log, Brilliant...
Running out of ideas in the middle, Stupid...
Anyway, watch out for tose nagging doubts, and keep your fly wet.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Speaking of Easter, this Priest, a Rabbi, a Pollack and a Frenchman walk into a Pub. They sit down at the bar to order their beer. The Bartender walks up to them and says, What is this, some kind of joke"?
He he hoo, get it? ahem...
Anyway...same bar...an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walk in an sidle up to the bar. They order their favorite Nut-Brown and commence to embibe. Coincidentally, and for the sake of the story, three flies commence to simultaneously land in each of the patrons' drinks. The haughty Englishman, of course, is disgusted, sets his drink down and leaves the Pub. The Scot, non-plussed, picks the fly out of his Newcastle, and continues to drink. The Irishman, on the other hand, picks the fly out of his drink, indignantly grabs him by the wings, and shouts, "SPIT IT OUT, YOU DIRTY BASTARD, SPIT IT OUT".
Jees that reminds me, this guy comes home from work all exited and says to his wife, "Honey, pack your bags, I just won the LOTTERY".
"Oh boy", she says, "That's fabulous. Should I pack for the Beach or for the Ski Mountains"?
"I don't give a damn", he says, "just pack your friggin' bags"!
There was a lot of excitement last week when the National Geographic published the Book of Judas, the long-lost “Gnostic gospel” of the Lord’s very own Johnny Damon. Of course plenty of other apochryphal books of the Bible have floated around for centuries, including my favorite, the Lost Gospel of Oprah. ( “Goest, thou, girlfriend!”)
None of these, according to most Christian scholars particularly changes the nature of the faith.
Still, some of the “rejected” books of the Bible are worth perusing. The Book of Methuselah, for instance, tells the story of the oldest man in Genesis, who finally expired at the age of 969 years. “And lo,” sayeth woeful Me-thu-she-lah unto his great-great-great-great-grandson. “Thou didst not even call me, although thou were’st in town.”
Then there’s the Second Book of Ruth, which tells the little known story of Ruth’s husband, Boaz, nicknamed “Babe” by her beloved. In the end, the Babe gets traded to the Yankees, and Ruth’s people enter a period of mourning that is not broken for eighty-four years.
“But then their suffering wast rewarded, and the Lord sayeth unto Derek Lowe. Thou hast been chosen to Shut Out the Cardinals. And Damon the Hirsute shalt homer in the first, and lo, Trot Nixon too shalt hit a two run double in the third.” And there was much rejoicing in the City of Beans.
But only those with faith of adamant should undertake the challenge of the long-lost book of Middle School Jesus.
The text, found in a papyrus backpack in a cave near Egypt, sheds new light upon the Lord’s “tween” years:
“Turn offeth that thing,” sayeth Joseph to the Lord. “And helpeth me in the Shop of Carpentry.” For he was sore with labor, and the Belt Sander was unclean.
“Let me saveth my game,’ sayeth the Lord. “For the Play-station has great memory, like that unto the heart of God. Just giveth me a second.”
“I said now and I meaneth now,” sayeth Joseph. “Don’t maketh me ground thee.”
And Joseph sayeth some words unkind, and soon his heart was filled with sore regret.
“I am sorry I losteth my temper,” sayeth Joseph. “But you kids spendeth way too much time online.”
“I forgive you,” sayeth the Lord.
The Book of Middle School Jesus also contains a number of hitherto unreported miracles. Most compelling, in my opinion, is the Miracle of The Book Report
Completed in Seconds.
“And there was at that time an edict from the Lord’s instructor, Mrs. LeChance, that all the children in the land were to be taxed with the creation of a Book Report. The Lord put his project off until the last minute, and Mary was sorrowful at heart.
“And then the day before the due date, Mary said, Art thou not going to work on the report thou hast been assigned? For it is due tomorrow and I shallst not be doing it for’st thee.
“And the Lord pointed toward his backpack and there was a host of angels, and lo! he removeth from his notebook a manuscript illuminated with gold, showing the main characters and describing the plot, where before the page had been blank!
“But Mary remained sorrowful.
“I don’t like you reading those Harry Potter books,” sayeth Mary. And her heart remained uneasy.”
Finally there is the sobering account of Career Day at the Gallilee Middle School (mascot: The Fightin’ Rabbis!”)
“And in camest the farmer who spake of his vocation, and also in camest the exchanger of coins. But the Lord showeth no interest. And then camest the trainer of camels, and likewise the vendor of falafel. But the Lord showeth no interest, and makest much to fidget at His desk.
“And at last Mrs. LeChance sayeth unto the Lord: Jesus dost thou have no interest in thine career? Wast will thou do when thou graduatest from high school?”
And the Lord smiled, for he hadst been asked a question for which he hadst been long prepared
“What dost thou think?” sayeth the Lord. “I’m working for my Dad.”
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
It's 5am; the alrm's going off. Time for another nut-crunching day of hard labor in the sweaty streets of Cambridge Mass. It's August. It already feels like it's about 80 degrees, even down in your cellar appartment. Get up and get showered, out the door, coffee slurping out of your Cumberland Farms travel mug, doughnut sticking out of your pie-hole, as you try to catch the 6:10 train to South Station. You roll into the parking lot just as the train is arriving and make it on just by a blonde C-hair. By 6:40 you will be rolling into South Station and if your timing is perfect, and you can run downstairs to the Red Line, and catch the absolute first subway to Ashmont, then get of at Kendall Square, and sprint like Bob's your uncle 6 blocks, you will make it to the job-site on time. Barely. However, if you miss the absolute first Red Line train, your whole plan is screwed. You'll be 4 minutes late and have to face the consternation of the Frenchman, Bert, the job Super. He knows you've been late a lot lately and has no sympathy whatsoever for your plight. He, and the rest of the crazy French -Canadian bastards who are doing the sheetrocking on the job, have been up since about 2am, having commuted from Manchester N.H. He doesn't care that you'd rather wind a tech screw into your left testicle than drive, or park, in Boston.
The fuckin' commuter train is like a sauna and you didn't even get a chance to pick up the Globe yet. The forecast calls for another scorcher: Hot, Hazy and humid, up in the 90's. What better way to spend the day than up six stories in a scaffolding, putting up sheathing like a slave on a big hot brick building.
But wait. Not today. At that very minute, you hear a voice. 'The voice'. It starts out kind of faint, and you look at the guy next to you as if he said it. But he's sleeping into his Sports Section. Then you hear it again. The voice says, "Fuck it, there ain't no way you're going to work today". What. "You heard me. Don't go in. What's the difference. There's 40 other guys. You won't be missed. Bert won't even realise you're gone". But I have to. It's my responsibility. "All you have to do is get off the train, walk across the platform, instead of going down the escalator, keep going straight out the door and take a right. There'll be a newspaper machine on your right. Pick up the Globe, like you should have done a half-hour ago. Keep walking across the channel until you come to that breakfast place over by the 'All-Day' parking; you know the one, with the big piles of onions on the griddle that simmer all morning. Get the #2 breakfast. Read the paper and have a nice big coffee". But, but...you say. "But nothing. Then you go back in town and head for the North End. There's a park up there..Columbus Park or something. You sit there and read that paper until it's finished. Buy another coffee if you need, but do not go near the Red Line or anywhere near Cambridge".
The voice goes on like this for a while, in great specifics about how you should alternatively spend your morning, rather than sweating your sack off sheetrocking. You, of course, have your doubts, being a responsible, practical young man. But soon the train pulls slowly around the corner from Mass Pike to Chinatown. The sun shines of the metal skyline of the Financial district in just a certain way, and you say to yourself, "he's right. There ain't no way I'm going to work today".
Long story, short: North End, through the Theatre District, 'oh look a used record shop', 'lunch in Chinatown'?. Great idea. 'Look at that. The 1:40 Attleborough Line leaves for Sharon in about 15 minutes. How about that. You catch the train back out of town having had a most satisfactory morning of 'any-fucking-thing-but work' in your favorite city, and have a most restful nap on the uncrowded return trip, dreaming of not-sheetrocking.
When you get back to the pad, you decide that a nice dip in your kindly landlords' pool might be a perfect capper to a perfect day. You get into your shorts and slip into the pool just as your favorite old Uncle J.J. comes home from a hard day at the job-site, with a big box of Heinekins. Lord, does it get any better? He slips one into your hand as you shlump into your favorite floatie. You slip the beer into the coozie after a satisfying swallow, and say to yourself, with utter conviction: "to think, I could have been working today".
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Don't You Call Me Dude
Don't Call Me dude, cause if You Do, I get's as Evil as a Man Can be.
You Can Call me the Govenor, You Can Call Me Hoss,
You Can Call Me the Commsihner, You can call me the Boss
Just don't Call Me Dude, don't call me dude
Don't dude me dude, cause if you do, I get's as evil as a man can be.
You can call me Slimmy, you can call me Red,
Call me Sir, or any name instead,
Just don't call me dude,don't you call me dude,
You call me dude, I think that's rude, n'I get's as evil as a man can be.
I ain't ridin' the range, ain't got no ten-gallon hat,
My spurs ain't janglin', I ain't wearing no chaps,
So don't call me dude, don't you ca-a-a-l me dude.
If you dude me dude, and put me in the mood,
I get's as evil as a man can be.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I have recently married into a family where outdoor recreation, Fly-Fishing in particular, is a big part of their tradition. I have always enjoyed being outside, but I wouldn't exactly call myself a hard-core fisherman, by any means. But being a good sport, I went with my brother-in-law to one of his favorite fishing streams and he tried to teach me the fine art of fly-fishing. We met some of the local guys, we chit-chatted about what was biting, and on what, and where they were biting. I don't know, but it seemed like I couldn't get a straight answer out of those guys. It seemed like they were stringing me along, patronizing me almost. Tell me Bigfoot, you're pretty slick in these affairs, I'm told. How can you tell if a fly-fisherman is lying? I'd hate to think I was being duped.
Neophyte in Norridgewock
How you can tell if a fly-fisherman is lying is the same way you can tell if a politician is lying: their lips are moving. Fly-Fisherman are not what you'd call the most effusive bunch you'd want to meet. Getting honest fishing information from most fly-tiers is about as easy as getting 'cuttsies' in the Junior high lunch-line on Pizza Day. It ain't happenin'. They are most fearful that if they give you any information, no matter how trivial, you might be the one hauling out a 13" slimy brook trout out of the water, not them.
You ask them how the fishin's goin', they say, 'oh alright'. You ask how many fish he's caught, he'll say, 'oh, I jest kept one'. 'Kept' is a word that means, in effect 'caught'. If a fly-tier says he's only 'kept' one, that means he's only 'caught' one, even though it's meant to imply he's caught and released many more. If a fisherman says he hasn't kept any, that pretty much means he's been skunked. Asking a fly-fisherman what they're biting on and you'll get an answer so vague that you'll swear you're talking to Tricky Dick Nixon. And asking about the size of his fish is asking for an answer about as accurate as if you were asking him the length of his penis.
Yeah Neo, you're being played alright, but not because you're a 'newbie'. We all do it. When in Rome, lie like the Romans do. You say nothing. Play dumb. It's better to look like you haven't caught a fish since 1987 than give up a precious advantage to another bloke who's only going to Bogart your favorite 'fishin' hole'. They lie, you lie. Avert eye-contact and keep the possibly revealing small talk to a minimum. Even if they see your fish creel flipping and flopping, earnestly claim you haven't seen a fish all day. Call it paranoid, but it's not paranoia when they're all out to get your fish. That's my best advice. But you didn't hear that advice from me.
Keep your fly wet.
Look for Bigfoot Chester's regular column at www.totallyout.com . Bigfoot is neither a licensed counselor or a Registered Guide, so don't think of litigating for poor advice.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
It was the best of times, it was also the Best of times. Way back in the day, as we like to say. Back in the Glory Days, talkin' 'old school'. Not 'Little Red Schoolhouse' old , but still, old-school, never-the-less.
The Van-Doggen Brotherhood gather at T-Bone's Webster St. appartment. Congregate- around eight- don't be late- to get your drink on and get in some pre-game preparations:
Doggen powdered? Check
Skinny Black tie? Check
Hair feathered back? Check
Trousers cuffed? Check
Paco Rabanne liberally applied? Check
One last swig, and it's off to the pub for a little pre-party party. Put a couple of more 'Rusty Nails' into our coffins and chain-smoke like your crazy AuntEdna from Ipswich. Notice a few 'jolie jeune filles' down the bar a ways. Shag reaches into his tackle box and pulls out the old 'English Accent' routine. Excellent effort, but no dice. Time to blow this popsicle stand.
Gingerly, off we go around the corner and down the street to Benjamin's After Dark. A little Bar-band Rock and Roll and ice-cold Scotch; good for what ails you. Singing along with Buffalo Chip Tea, local legends, to Bruce Springstein... "A-Romeo and Juliet...Sampson and Delilah..." good times. But all good things must come to an end, and the siren call of the Bounty Tavern proves to strong.
Roll up into the Bounty, Rat-Pack wannabees. The bouncer knows us all by heart. The bar maid comes up and tugs on T-Bone's tie. I get into Wing man formation. It's go-time. Ton-Loc is right on time with the Funky Cold Medina and the females are lookin' fine. Circle, loiter, reconnoiter, make the rounds and chit-chat the line-up of usual suspects.
Open up our tackle boxes and adjourn to our favorite spots. Shag reposes in one of the back booths, butane lighter set for incinerate, smoking like Keith Richards and trolling heavily. Stovepipe assumes the position on the Dance floor doing the 'Lazy Snake'. T-bone takes out the 'Diamond Dave' down at the bar; a sure-fire winner..."looks like you'll get some leg tonight for sure... tell us how you DO". P.T., by this time robbed of his suave approach by his last Gin and Juice, just now starting to grip his Cerabellum, eyes the passing females with about as much sublety and panache as a hungry hyena eying an ijured young antelope, straggling back from the herd. His tackle box is empty; it's about time for the ol'Buck St. Shuffle.
Some nights the Van Doggens heed the siren call of the Bounty's many Temptresses. They are legend:
Midge, Morgan, Psycho-Dyko, Map, The Thomas Hill Disaster, The ring-o-Rosie of Death.
But not tonight. There will be other nights for the Funky Cold Medina, but tonight it's up the hill, back to T-bone's appartment, arm in arm, rewriting history, with a quick stop at the 7-11 for a Captain Aham sammich and a bag of chips. Up the heartbreak hill of Buck St. you stagger, smoking and joking, just as it should be. "Hey, there still might be a couple of coldies in T-Bones fridge, n'est pas"? Life is good. Back up to Webster St. to the friendly confines. One last 'cold and refreshing ' and you fall asleep on the recliner, to the strains of MTV, crumbs on you face, clutching you Captain Aham like a Binky. You sleep like a big drunk baby.
That's the way I remember it, anyway.
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Beer never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the Beer comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to drink as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, Beer remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Beer.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
On my next to last night on Easter Island, I went back to the rim of the Rano Kau volcano with Tito. You think I’m making this up? Last week I was on assignment for Conde Nast Traveller magazine, on what is literally the most remote island on earth, over 2000 miles off the coast of Chile.
I’d spent the week tracking down the story, racing around Easter Island, more properly known by its true name, Rapa Nui. Now, as I prepared to take my leave, I wanted to come back to this sacred place for reasons of my own.
As Tito set off to view the petroglyphs with a couple named Tom and Joan from Denver, I sat down and looked at the Oceano Pacifico, taking a moment just to stay still. “Is a good place,” Tito had said to me. “To talk to your ancestors.”
So I set about doing just that. I lay back in the long grass, feeling the tropical sun on my face, and thought about the road that had led me here.
Suddenly, I felt a stab of pain in my back. Whatever this was, it burned like fire. I’d been told there were scorpions on the island, but I until now I hadn’t thought they’d view me as an adversary. Anyway, everyone said the scorpions were no big deal—they were only “little ones.” A bigger threat, supposedly, were the black widow spiders.
Tito heard me cry out, and he came back and checked me out. “Bee sting,” he announced, and a moment later removed a stinger from my neck. “You okay?”
“I’m okay,” I said, and Tito headed on to Orongo with the Coloradoans.
As I sat there, I thought about my father, who had been massively allergic to bees, after once running over a yellowjackets nest with the riding mower, and with a sudden thunderclap it struck me: my father had died twenty years ago this very day, on Easter Sunday. In all the exploring of ruins and moai and the traveling halfway around the world, the anniversary had managed to slip my mind.
So I closed my eyes and thought about my father, who had died of melanoma, and I tried to reach out to him in my heart. And as I lay in the hot tropical sunshine, I suddenly felt his voice speaking to me.
“Jenny,” he said. “Put on some sunscreen!”
Which I did, and I pulled my hat down over my forehead, and I thought about the old man for a while. He was a good man: sweet and kind and funny. Then his spirit told me something else.
Later, when I got back to the van, Tito asked me what I’d been thinking about, and I told him I’d had a conversation with my father, who’d died twenty years ago to the day.
“Yes?” said Tito. “And what did he say to you?”
And at that moment the big fat tears rolled down my face. “He said---“ I began, but I couldn’t finish the sentence, as I began to weep among strangers, on top of a volcano. Tito looked embarrassed. “You no say, you no want to say,” he said, but I pressed onward.
“But I want to say,” I told my guide.
“Okay,” said Tito, “Tell me.”
“He said—he is alive,” I said, and the tears poured down.
Tito nodded. “Is good, if you think is good.”
We all got back in the van. Tom and Joan, who’d looked on horrified as this conversation proceeded, were silent as we drove down from the volcano’s rim, tears still spilling down my face. Finally Joan said, “And what did your father die of, so young, Jenny?”
I sighed. How could I tell them what was in my heart, tell the story in a way that would make sense?
“He died,” I said. “Of a bee sting.”
“Oh, Jenny,” said Joan. “I’m sorry you lost him.”
As we bumped down the road, I also realized another thing. He’d died, in 1986, on Easter Sunday. And where was I now, twenty years later to the day? Easter Island.
“He is not lost,” I said. “But risen.”
Is good, if you think is good.
Monday, April 03, 2006
- We've been following your newspapers and Television broadcasts and had become increasingly concerned over the last few years about what's going on in the MiddleEast, and what we had thought was "crimes against you Man-a-tees". Imagine our embarrassment. Nevermind, and keep up the good work.
P.S. "Save the Everglades"!