Going out on a Limb

I don’t like it when pandas die. I know this may not be a popular position, but I have never been one to shy away from the tough issues. Several weeks back I read an article about a panda who was released back into the wild, and died shortly thereafter. I wrote song lyrics about how this tragedy affected me on a deeply personal level. I would like to share these words with you now so that you too will see how important it is for cute animals to survive. Enjoy.

I just polished off another cold beer
I get in my car and I put it in gear
Plowing through pedestrians, I feel quite ecstatic
Got my hand on the stick though I drive an automatic

Get drunk, beat off, and kill
By Jove, I think I will
I’m just that kind of guy
But dead pandas always make me cry

Take albino from the bar to the tanning salon
I lock her in the booth and turn the power on
Some onanistic lovin’ as I’m laughing at her plight
She is not the only one who is bubbling white

Get drunk, beat off, and kill
Your holy water’s swill
I answer Satan’s call
But dead pandas always make me bawl

Chugging down a 40 in the pediatric ward
If a machine saves lives then I’m pulling out its cord
And if you haven’t guessed, it’s not just happenstance
That I’m doing all this with my hand down my pants

Get drunk, beat off, and kill
I’ll never get my fill
I am the one you scorn
But dead pandas always make me mourn
Get drunk, beat off, and kill
Indulge me this one thrill
Forgive my homicide
For dead pandas show my tender side
They do!

Clang, Clang, Fiddle, Tweak

This is going to be brief. After a few gripes (thanks Betty!) about how the site has pages marked “Under Construction” for over a year, it’s time to do something about it.

I’ll be adding a Dave’s Page section, which is a bit silly because most people who read the blog know me personally, but what the hell. I’ll also add a links page to whisk you away when you’re sick of my nonsense, and a page for those who don’t know my email addy to send me messages.

There will no doubt be improvements in the future and I’ll get to them when my drinking schedule permits.

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sarYH0z948

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

Earth in the Balance

Not to worry. The pugs will return. In the mean time, please take a moment to be enlightened by the following public-service announcement:

Every so often, a movie comes along that really makes you think about the effect we human beings have on the planet. No, I’m not referring to An Inconvenient Truth. I know a lot of you are saying, “Ooh, Al Gore! He should have been president instead of Monkey Boy and even though his wife is a real buzzkill, we just love him.” These are all valid points but just hear me out.

The movie I’m talking about is Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. Monday night’s bartender brought the video to work with him and played it all the customers. I must say that I was impressed. I was also drunk. That and watching the film with the sound turned off inspired me to read a plot synopsis from IMDB in order to fill in the gaps.

This research confirmed what I began to suspect after my third drink: this was the most important environmental movie ever made.

In the film, a malevolent behemoth piggybacks to earth on a meteorite and starts devouring pollution (hey, it could happen). Now then, reverse logic might dictate that a creature living on a diet of Japanese industrial waste would shit bonsai and cherry blossoms. Not so in this case. Instead, Hedorah (the Smog Monster) spends his after-meal time spewing flatulence more noxious than an old Chevy Impala with a dead rat in the oil pan.

Something must be done. But if you’re familiar with movies of this genre, you already know that the Japanese military is about as effective against giant monsters as it was against the Enola Gay. Therefore, it’s up to Godzilla (née Gojira) to save the world. Needless to say, Big G tears Ol’ Smoggy a new one. The movie ends with people realizing that their polluting ways have brought calamity upon themselves and humanity better clean up its act pronto.

The movie was released in 1971. Think about what the planet would be like if we had heeded its message then. For one thing, we wouldn’t have to endure some political has been who thinks enough of his message to drone on about for almost two hours but not enough to put on a rubber suit and start laying down the smack.