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Circus of the All Stars

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much into sports. I’m not rabidly against them, much in the same way I’m not religious but don’t run around blowing up churches. I simply choose not have them affect my life. This works pretty well unless the All-Star game is being held locally and I work spitting distance from the ballpark.

Yesterday afternoon, I ducked out of the office and walked to the nearest corner store, about a block away. Security was heavy and the cops had blocked off several streets. Despite the increased police presence, scalpers were still in full force. I have no idea how much the tickets cost, but seeing that event parking was going for $45, they must not have been cheap. It was hours before the game started but the streets were packed with sports fans, milling around and buying knockoff hats and jerseys to show their support for their team.

This struck me as odd. It was the All-Star game. There were no teams in the usual sense of the word. Perhaps one was supposed to root for their favorite league, but I doubt many people have much of a preference. They like the Giants or Red Sox, and hate the Yankees, but that’s about it. The event is all about the individual talent, as evidenced by the the Home Run Derby the day before where top sluggers got pussy-pitched to see how many balls they could knock out of the park. This provided all the thrills of actual home runs without the inconvenience of there being any real challenge.

After work, the game was on as I sat in the Argus having an evening cocktail. One of the leagues was winning, but I didn’t pay much attention until the seventh-inning stretch. Two women took to the field then. One played an Uber-Casio keyboard thing while the other sang. The sound on the TV was off so I couldn’t tell what was going on. I hoped that since this was San Francisco, it would be some sort of performance art where the vocalist showed her disdain for the patriarchy by eating her own tampon. No such luck. The song ended and the camera cut to an outsized Old Glory blowing gently in the breeze.

This was way too wholesome for my liking so I ordered another drink.

A “Stable” Relationship

Mandy St. John, varsity cheerleader and homecoming queen, woke up in her bedroom located on the second floor of her parent’s affluent suburban home. The wallpaper depicted unicorns and rainbows and a portrait of a blond, blue-eyed Jesus hung above her bed.”It’s my eighteenth birthday,” she said aloud. “I sure hope Daddy buys me a car.”

At that moment, the door was kicked in and a shirtless fat man in leather pants and an executioner hood entered, leading a huge stallion by the reins. Hot steamy breath shot from the animal’s nostrils as one of its front hooves pawed at the hardwood floor.

“Time to party, bitch!” the man said. “I’d like you to meet my equine friend, Ball Lightning. He’s going to pop your little Christian cherry.”

“Eek!” she screamed. She stared with horror and disbelief at the beast’s huge, erect…

We interrupt this blog entry to announce that an About Dave page has been added to the site. Thank you for your attention and keep reading Poison Spur.

Saturday’s Huevos Rancheros

I go to Playa Azul
You know I dance like a fool
And then I drink and then I pass out
In a puddle of drool

Playa Azul is a restaurant on Mission street, about a 10-15 minute walk from my house. It specializes in mariscos, including a yummy seafood cocktail and their signature nachos with crab meat and melted cheese on a bed of ceviche. They also have a full bar.

Despite the allure of these dishes, I usually go there for breakfast and order my usual huevos rancheros, served with rice, beans, and plenty of jalapeƱos in the sauce. It’s a little early to do any drinking so perhaps the above ditty I penned in honor of the place is a bit misleading. Going there is one of life’s joys though, even if I limit myself to coffee and food.

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day (or so I’m told), I should, as a good nutritional citizen, get comparably excited every morning. But let’s face it. The pastry out of the vending machine or bagel I eat most mornings just isn’t going to get the same reaction. The same goes for bigger meals. A “Grand Slam” at Denny’s, while filling, is really nothing to get worked up about.

Not everybody shares my love for desayuno dyspeptico and that’s fine. There are plenty of breakfast options in San Francisco. We are not limited to Denny’s or iHop. Every time I waddle home from Playa Azul chewing antacid tablets and clutching my gut, I feel blessed to live in a town that has something more to offer than strip-mall America.

Dateline Argus Lounge

Scribbled into a spiral notebook last night about 8 pm

It’s the kind of summer night I expect in San Francisco, low clouds clinging to the hills to the west, ready to roll over the Mission district as soon as darkness falls and the temperature drops. We do have our hot spells that keep the marine layer at bay and the temperature balmy long after sunset. Fortunately, those don’t happen too often. They make tempers run short and you end up with husbands beating wives, wives beating husbands, and wives beating wives. OK, the wife-on-wife violence is pretty hot but they seldom, if ever, let me watch.

But I digress. I have just been poured my third drink and the jukebox is playing some old jazz, the sort one hears in the background of any bar scene in an old “Twilight Zone” rerun. Life is good, at least clear enough, and my mind is still plenty clear to plot my next move.

I like that I’m writing more now. It allows me to confront my own mediocrity as a wordsmith and through the sheer power of repetition, have some of that mediocrity give way to genuine competence.

The Beer-Fart Executive

It had to happen. Sooner or later, I was going to cop a snobbishly superior attitude and post about how I don’t watch much television. That time has come. Lucky you.

If you think I spend TV prime time in a cafe reading Camus and wearing a beret, think again. I am no intellectual, pseudo or otherwise. I am an alcoholic (hi Dave!) and choose to pass those hours perched on a barstool. While my local does have a TV, a big plasma-screen monstrosity in fact, it is usually tuned to a ball game or the like. Not my thing. Unless a sporting event consists of two women battling it out (preferably with vibrators), I tend to focus my attention on my one true love, my drink.

One of the reasons I don’t save money by staying home and drinking there is that I might find myself having to watch TV. As much as I like think of myself as the kind of serious boozer who can amuse himself by drinking Old Grand Dad straight out of the bottle while sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, I do need distractions. In a bar, conversation and eavesdropping fill the void. At home, there is the idiot box. And what gems await me if I turn the damn thing on? I am treated to stuff like David Caruso on “CSI: Miami.” For those of you who are unaware of what effects prolonged exposure to this drivel can have on the human psyche, check out this video on YouTube:

For the true couch potatoes, that’s years of wasted existence condensed into just over seven minutes. It’s a miracle they haven’t all hanged themselves.

There was a movie that came out when I was a kid called The Barefoot Executive, starring a pre-Snake Plissken Kurt Russell, who discovers a chimpanzee with the talent of predicting which television shows will get the best ratings. The film teaches a valuable lesson. No, I don’t advocate letting a prescient primate pick the fall line up. From what I’ve seen, the networks have been doing that for years. The point I’m trying to make is that as idiotic as that movie was, it provided and entertaining viewing experience by virtue of its hairy co-star.

So what I propose for “CSI: Miami” is to get rid of David Caruso (he’s used to career setbacks anyway) and replace his character with Sheriff Bobo, the meanest law-enforcement chimp to ever don a cowboy outfit. While we’re at it, toss all the pseudo-science sleuthing as well. What was an hour of tedium and cheesy one-liners becomes five minutes of pure entertainment. Bobo runs onto the set, flings his excrement all over the crime scene, and beats a confession out of the prime suspect.

I would gladly stay home to watch that.

Learning from Nature’s Mistakes

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding home on BART. The train wasn’t that crowded but I decided to stand near the door rather than risk sitting next to someone with a relaxed sense of personal hygiene. When we stopped at Civic Center station, I woman got on pushing a stroller by me.

I looked down and expected to see an infant or toddler. Instead, what looked up at me was some sort of retarded midget, old enough to have smile lines. This person grinned a mindless little grin, expressing a sentiment of “Hi, what’s your name?” or possibly “I like to go to the pet store and eat mice.”

I never found out which. Like most cowards presented with an uncomfortable bit of reality, I looked away and pretended he wasn’t there.

One of the worst aspects of human nature is our tendency to distance ourselves from the misfortune of others. More often than not, it’s completely unnecessary. That guy in the stroller was dealt a lousy hand but I’m pretty sure that whatever ails him isn’t catching. Yet, we will spare no ugliness in convincing ourselves that catastrophic bad luck could never happen to us.

Some take the morally righteous tack and may react to the stroller guy something like “Only fornication could produce such a vile offspring. They have disobeyed God’s law. Behold the homonculus, proof positive that contempt breeds a familiar.”

OK, most people aren’t that harsh, at least not out loud.

I usually deal with the situation by thinking up something comically grotesque. My coping mechanism in this instance was “To fight terrorism, we’re going to need a lot of these mutants. Imagine a phalanx of them, drooling, gibbering, and armed with meat cleavers. Charge the enemy with that kind of fighting force and we’ll convert every one of those rat bastards to Christianity (after they’ve finished pissing themselves with fear, that is). Praise Jesus!”

I can be a real shit sometimes.

Tequila Sunrise Superman

Superman, at least as an engaging character, died in 1978 when the movie came out. I was a teenager at the time and as such, my attention was directed far more toward Wonder Woman than the Man of Steel. Don’t get me wrong. Truth, justice, and the American way were all laudable goals but none of them could hold a candle to a chick whose anatomy defied gravity and who enjoyed tying guys up with her golden lasso. Still, I went to see the Superman flick and left the theater shaking my head in disappointment.

To be honest, I enjoyed most of the movie. Christopher Reeve, who could not only walk but fly back then was well suited to the title role and Margot Kidder was still on her meds, making her a competent Lois Lane. The biggest problem I had was the Superman character was lame from the get go. He had way too many powers. As long as he steered clear of kryptonite, he could save the world without breaking a sweat.

This does not make for exciting storytelling. When you think about it, the only real challenge Superman ever faces is arriving in the nick of time to stop the forces of evil. In the 1978 film, even that was thrown out the window.

If you recall, Big S missed a crucial deadline, allowing Lois to get buried alive and leaving her dead as a stump. No matter, he just spun the earth in reverse to make time move back to the point where Lois was still breathing.

If you think this just ruined the movie, think about what it did to the Man of Steel’s work ethic. When you schedule gets that flexible, the tendency to procrastinate increases and after a while, your whole life goes to hell.

So let’s move ahead 23 years. It’s September 11, 2001, shortly before noon. Superman is lying in a bed littered with empty Cuervo and Donald Duck orange juices bottles. He wakes up and rubs his eyes. There are 48 messages on his answering machine but his head hurts too bad to deal with them just then. He turns on the TV and sees what everybody else saw that fateful day.

“Well, fuck me with a speeding bullet,” he muses. “This is going to get a lot worse until it gets any better. I’ll do the time-reverse thing and fix all this shit when I’m in the mood.”

The world is still waiting.

Three-Step Program

Alcoholism is a disease. While there is no cure, I have found this to be an effective treatment:

1. Avoid Jager shots. The same goes for tequila, Everclear, or huffing paint thinner in a back alley.

2. Order club-soda backs when drinking whiskey. Not only will a few pints over the course of an evening save you a world of hurt the next day, the bubbles tickle delightfully when vomited through the nostrils.

3. Knock back a Red Bull when you start to flag. You want to feel chipper as the evening progresses and the appearance of other bar patrons starts to improve. Stronger energy supplements, especially those of South American origin, are to be eschewed as they can lead to paranoia, erectile dysfunction, and sophmoric stupidity one tries to pass off as insightful wit.

This has been a Poison Spur public-service announcement. Please enjoy responsibly.

Salad Days Revisited

People who know me now are often shocked when they learn that I was a frat boy in college. I suppose that’s fair. I’m sure my old fraternity brothers experience some sort of cognitive dissonance when remembering that they let me join. No matter. I moved up to San Francisco so I could fly my freak flag full time and they do whatever it is that Republicans in San Diego do for fun. I wish them all well.

This is not to say I’ve completely lost contact with the old gang. I still get email from time to time, keeping me up to date with the other alumni. Fortunately, I’m still young enough to not dread the news of someone’s death in each and every electronic newsletter.

Today’s news was about Rob Ilko, who is current running for San Diego City Council. If you live in District 5, you may want to consider voting for him. I don’t know his experience or his stand on local issues, but can vouch for his character. If you’re looking for dirt, I doubt you’ll find any. You see, he and I were at a lot of the same parties and I never saw him do anything truly disgusting. He can behave himself. We need that quality in government.

But what do I know? It’s been over twenty years. I sent this email just to make sure he’s on the up and up.

Dear Brother Rob,

Congratulations on your foray into the world of politics. I have no doubt that if elected, you will prove to be a fine city councilmember. I only have one question. Are you amenable to graft? You see, commercial real-estate development is one of my many interests and I would like to build massage parlors and adult bookstores next to the elementary schools in your district.

Now we both know that such business ventures may cause an outcry among concerned parents and other killjoys, but not to worry. Never underestimate the persuasive power of a burning tire hurled through the living-room window.

You just keep the zoning commission and law enforcement looking the other way and we’ll both be rolling in dough.

Fraternally Yours,

Brother Dave

So far, he has not taken me up on my offer. I am impressed and you should be too. Please vote for him both early and often.

I’m Back

I took some time off from blogging. It wasn’t that I had run out of things to say. It’s just that my words were best said after five or six whiskeys and yelled at some woman at the other end of the bar who wasn’t going to fuck me anyway.

This was a waste of my muse. The world is full of people who won’t fuck me and if I feel the need to yell, the “Caps Lock” is my friend.

God bless