Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Jackass

My parents recently celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary. To commemorate the event, I thought I'd share a story I wrote about them three years ago with the blogosphere...

The lovebirds began their 39th wedding anniversary like many other couples do. It's how they ended it that left me scratching my head.

Dad started off the day by leaving a dozen roses for Mom to find in the refrigerator. Later that evening, they shared a romantic candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant, exchanged cards and gifts. They were well on their way to a perfect evening.

Then they went to see the movie Jackass.

"We didn't even know it was a TV show," Dad said. "We'd never heard of Jackass."

Added Mom: "I thought it might be a heart-warming movie about a mule, kind of like Walt Disney's Gus. But I should have known it was trouble when the ticket seller laughed that a 58-year-old woman said 'Two for Jackass, please.'"

For others who don't know, or live in a Footloose-esque town that doesn't allow dancing, Jackass started out and still is a half-hour stunt comedy show on MTV. The movie featured stuff that was too gross to show on regular TV.

The craziest stunts performed by Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the creative yet demented Jackass cast included:

1. A guy going into a hardware store and taking a dump in one of the floor model display toilets.

2. A guy who shoved a matchbox car up his colon, then went to the doctor for X-rays (a T-shirt of the X-ray is one of the many movie collectibles available).

3. Countless stunts that involved trauma to the testicles.

Not the type of movie people with senior citizen discount privileges tend to go see in general, let alone on their anniversary. But leave it to my Mom and Dad to mistake Jackass for a romantic comedy.

They were fish out of water in the theatre and wanted to bail, but Mom didn't want to be impolite and leave while others were trying to enjoy the flick. So she spent most of the 87 minutes with her eyes covered like a kid in a horror movie, occasionally asking Dad "Is it OK to look yet?"

"We had no idea it was going to be that kind of movie," Mom said. "We just heard some critic on the radio give it a really good review."

Apparently it was some local jackass critic from Fargo, not Roger Ebert. Mom didn't know the critic's name, but chances are he wouldn't like Citizen Kane or Casablanca because no one got kicked in the nuts, threw up, or drove toy cars up their asshole.

"What made it so awful was the fact they weren't acting," Mom said, trembling. "It was real. They did such terrible things to their bodies, I couldn't stand to watch. I spent most of the time with my coat over my head."

Dad said the anti-chick flick probably wouldn't receive any Oscar consideration with the exception of maybe a best supporting actor nod to the guy who pinched a loaf in the plumbing section.

"Guys crapping, barfing and kicking each other in the balls - they call that a movie?" Dad asked. "When's the last time you saw Paul Newman take a shit in public or Robert Redford try to stick a Tonka truck up his ass, then try to make a movie out of it?"

I'd never seen it, but chances are Mom would want to see it if the macabre movie actually starred those two actors. She still thinks they're hotties. Knoxville, Steve O and the rest of the Jackass gang were a different story.

"Did you at least like Wee Man?" I asked, thinking the cast's little person might have been a tiny bright spot to the ordeal.

"Wee Man?" Dad wondered. "I don't remember him. Why do they call him that? He must have pissed on someone and I missed it."

Mom was particularly horrified when the Jackass cast stuffed fireworks up their rear ends and detonated them. Equally disturbing to her were the guys who tied "bottle rockets to their dongs."

"They call those things bottle rockets for a reason," Mom said. "The ass isn't meant to be a launching pad, and a dong can't head into space without the rest of the astronaut!"

Dad summed up the whole event nicely: "We've seen a lot of shit in 39 years together. Jackass ranked right up there. But if we can make it through that movie, we can make it through anything."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Give My Wife a Hand (Turkey)

I ate enough yesterday to feed a third world country. I didn't mean to, but my wife and mother-in-law made such a spectacular Thanksgiving Day meal, it just sort of happened. I felt like that anaconda that swallowed the alligator most of the night. Thankfully, I haven't met the same fate and burst open yet.

I do have one other worry. They say eating turkey makes you tired. If that's the case, I may end up being a real-life Rip Van Winkle. If I don't post for 20 years, you'll know why.

Besides feasting and frolicking with family, Thanksgiving brings out another tradition in me. I'm a pretty crafty fella and every time the holidays roll around, I get flashbacks of doing grade school projects. I usually perform these tasks for fun and to surprise my wife. She loves it when I make her handmade cards, and doing one would keep me out of the potential food coma for a little while longer.

I only met her when I was 28, so she never knew me as little Rocky. But I'm still a big kid at heart, so I make her warm and fuzzy handmade stuff (usually out of construction paper) on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc., so she knows what she would have gotten from me on those holidays if we had known each other in grade school. Hopefully she would have loved me back then no matter how many cooties I had.

This year, I made her a "Hand Turkey" again. If you are unfamiliar with these, it is where a first or second grade teacher would have you place your hand on a brown piece of construction paper and spread out your fingers. Then you would draw an outline of your hand before cutting it out.

The spread fingers are supposed to be the turkey's feathers. The thumb is supposed to be the head. Then you decorate your Hand Turkey according to kiddie fashion sense.

Check out my 2005 creation. And you know what they say about guys who make big-ass hand turkeys. ;-D

I gave it to my wife and excitedly told her I made it all by myself with no help from my parents. She was so proud of it; she hung it up on our refrigerator. She was also impressed that I used safety scissors, cleaned up my mess from the dining room table and hadn't eaten any paste (it would have spoiled my appetite).

I like making cards for my wife because I usually don't fare well in trips to the Hallmark store. I can't ever seem to find cards that tell her what I want to say. Then again, maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. I say some pretty goofy shit.

I've made some other construction paper masterpieces for her since we've been together. Two of her other favorites follow...

First, I present this lovely Valentine I made for her in 2003. It is a big bumblebee that features the punny phrase "Bee Mine." That one really gave her a buzz.

I'd like to go into Martha Stewart's office and throw that card on her desk and say "You don't need your Apprentice TV show to recruit talent for your company. I think my bumblebee resume speaks for itself. I wrote 'Bee Mine' with Egyptian crayons and the paper is yellow-dyed papyrus. I am one crafty fucker. Hire me."

Second, there's the Valentine I made for my wife last February. It marked our seventh year together, and I was "itching" to do nothing but make her this card to show my love. I fashioned a heart to look like a shovel with the phrase "Seven years later and I still dig ya." She dug it.

She's a great sport, and she definitely tops my "What I'm Most Thankful For" list. I'm glad she appreciates my sense of humor and style.

She also always encourages me to keep pursuing my dream to write for a living some day (I actually did this as a journalist once - now I'm hoping for more of a David Sedaris or Chuck Klosterman type career). She suggested I start a blog, which has been a tremendous creative outlet for me. I'm so lucky she supports my dream and my attempts at humor writing.

So besides love her to death, the least I can do is make her a few silly little cards.

I'm also thankful to have an audience. In all honesty, when I started writing this blog, I figured only family and friends would read it. I never would have imagined I'd "meet" so many through this blog.

I have been truly stunned by the number of people who have visited my blog, and am even more surprised by the people who come back to read more. It is such a humbling compliment and at the same time a wonderful source of motivation to get this kind of support from people I have never met in person.

It really means the world to me to make people laugh or put a smile on faces through my writing. That is such a rewarding feeling. Especially when these same people are such talented artists of the written word themselves, and hook me on a daily basis with their work. If you can't tell, I really enjoy the blogosphere.

Thank you for reading, and commenting. I'm not sure how long it will take for me to "make it" as an author and get published, but I am certainly enjoying the journey so far.

Belated disclaimer: OK, sorry, I should have warned you that sometimes I am just like a maple tree. Big and sappy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Follow That Bird Flu, Part 2

Part one explored what would happen if Sesame Street aired a gloom and doom message about "Big Bird Flu," which could potentially ravage the globe and kill thousands (mostly children).

Due to Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop's uncanny ability to put their kiddie audience in the throng of real-life crisis issues, I thought of some additional character tie-ins to other actual health issues. Here's 10 more:

Kermit the Frog Warts - Despite what the tabloids claim, Kermit insists the warts around his mouth and on his tongue are just a skin condition caused by a "food allergy" and not the result of a tryst with a tainted toad in the swamp.

"I eat pigs in a blanket every morning before I get out of bed, so maybe it's that," Kermit admitted. "What can I say, it ain't easy bein' green."

Sesame Street News gossip columnists have pointed the finger at Miss Piggy, claiming promiscuous porking on the Pigs in Space set may have led to Kermit's ailment, which the couple vehemently denies.

No matter where the pesky pimples came from, they sure are a hassle. Luckily for Kermit, there's Valtrex. And it's gonna' be a brand new day once they figure out how to formulate that shit for frogs.

Guy Smiley Game Show Face - This illness only affects game-show hosts. It involves being such a work-aholic that you take your work home with you and that personality takes over your life. Smiley has it so bad he will introduce anyone he sees to the "studio audience" that is no longer there. He will yell "Yayyy!" and spew a lot of fake energy, all the while keeping a clownish grin permanently planted on his mug.

He tells his muppet friends to "come on down" rather than "come here" and he makes them answer stupid trivia questions for "points." When out shopping, he hands a store clerk a check for $1,000 and tells them he'll "take the ceramic dalmatian for $280 and put the rest on a gift certificate."

Instead of asking his muppet wife what she wants for dinner, he forces her to make a choice for what's behind door #1, door #2 or door #3. Then when she finally picks something, he tries to make her trade it for what's behind a curtain or a box. There is no known cure.

Typewriter Guy Typing - This is similar to "cutting," but even more macabre because the typewriter guy actually types messages onto himself. It starts out as depression, but eventually the paper is not enough to type on, so the machine alters himself so he can peck out messages on his arms or eyeballs. If he really wants to get a message across he'll type on the same spot over and over again for a bold statement. Therapy and white-out are usually enough to erase this illness.

Elmo Speech Impediment - This little red furball speaks in a falsetto voice and constantly refers to himself in the third person, as if he's a professional athlete. The need to sound squeaky gives him the compulsive need to spend the last 15 minutes every hour babbling bullshit about a place called Elmo's World. He is wildly popular despite these annoying traits.

He could be cured easily by working with a voice coach and a grammar teacher, but that would mean losing all the money from whoring himself out as any type of stuffed animal imaginable from Tickle Me to Chicken Dance.

Two-Headed Monster Split Personality Disorder - This is pretty much a freak of nature. It is much more complicated than a split personality within one mind. This monstrosity seems to have one body yet has two heads - possibly the result of some muppet inbreeding (does Sesame Street Unpaved mean up the dirt roads to Muppet Hillbilly Country?).

Each head has its own thoughts and agendas, which means the two heads have to work together to accomplish anything. This is easier said than done because the two heads can be bull-headed at times (they even have the horns to prove it). Both heads agree on one thing - Stuck on You with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear sucked.

Beetlemania - This was a term coined for the mass music fan hysteria caused from the "insect invasion" and their hit songs "Letter B", "Thinking of U", and "Hey Food." Eventually, some Japanese muppet hooked up with one of the members and broke up the band.

Each of the quartet went on to have successful solo projects. The Lennonesque bug was eventually assassinated (stepped on, actually) by a crazed fan, but his music and the band's legend lives on.

Yip, Yip Men's Syndrome - This is 10 times worse than the ass-kissing ailment at the workplace known as "The Yes Man." The muppet version of this overly positive mental state had its name shortened because instead of just telling management a simple "Yes," the muppet martians go to the extreme and say "Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip Yip, Uh-huuhhh, Uh-huuuhhh."

No matter how asinine the task, the "Yip Yip Men" will swear the task will be completed on time, even when they know damn well it won't. They do have one thing going for them: They can't be fired or these Martian muppets would tattle to the government about their "illegal alien" status.

Harvey Kneeslapper Injury - This obscure character was famous for his practical jokes, especially when he'd ask others if they "wanted one." When they said yes, he would slap a #1 on them and then laugh himself into a waterfall of tears, many times even soiling himself.

He laughed at his own jokes incessantly, and over-exuberant knee slapping led to complete tears of his ACL and MCL before the 1978 PBS season, ending his prankster career. Tragically, he pulled the same #1 gag on his surgeon and then died laughing in the operating room.

Forgetful Jones Muppet Alzheimer's - They called this clumsy cowboy "forgetful" because he usually forgot everything he wanted to do or say. That's putting it nicely. Too young for muppet senility, Jones is obviously showing symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease.

Maybe they'll finally get him the treatment he needs when he gets "forgetful" one morning, kissing his horse Buster goodbye before throwing a saddle on his girlfriend Clementine to take her for a ride.

Fat Blue Muppet-Pattern Baldness - It's bad enough that Fat Blue can't seem to get a decent waiter, taxi driver or other service employees to adequately serve his needs on Sesame Street. He's usually in a hurry and in a bad mood. To top it all off, he's bald - a rarity in the muppet world. Most bald humans had hair at some point. Fat Blue is bald because that's how he was made.

There's no Hair Club For Muppets to help him out, and he doesn't have enough hair of his own to perform radical hair replacement surgery. A monster or grouch would probably be willing to lend him a few tufts, but the problem is, Fat Blue has become a bald icon, like the Mr. Clean of muppetdom and is pretty much stuck as is.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Follow That Bird Flu, Part 1

While the rest of the planet is worrying about the spread of the bird flu epidemic, all's quiet over on Sesame Street. This is surprising to me because usually Sesame Street and the Children's Television Workshop are not afraid to put their characters through real-life situations as learning tools for their kiddie audience (example: death of Mr. Hooper). I think it's time to get the youngest generation worried sick about bird flu and other potential plagues, and what better show than Sesame Street to deliver the message for us?

The show can tell kids about the even more dreaded Big Bird flu. It starts out with just the sniffles, but the next thing you know, you've broken out in yellow feathers. If you grow a beak and stretch out to over 8 feet tall, big bird is definitely the word. The fever that follows can make one hallucinate that they have imaginary hairy elephant friends, who later on turn into real-life friends. Freaky shit.

Kids will naturally ask their parents about Big Bird flu, and then parents can do one of two things: A) Spill the beans about the actual bird flu epidemic and be open about any and all diseases and effects; or B) Lie and say the only way to avoid Big Bird flu is to brush your teeth, clean up your room, eat your vegetables, take baths and do all the shit that they never seem to want to do without parental intervention. Most parents will probably go with Plan B.

If Big Bird flu is not enough, it's up to Sesame Street to bring many more muppet strains of diseases and ailments to the forefront. You can start out by telling them about Barkley's Bad Case of Worms, Buster the Horse's Hoof and Mouth Disease, and even worse, Gladys' Mad Cow Disease. If that doesn't get their little hearts beating a little faster, I doubt they'll still be singing "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street" after hearing about the following:

Mammoth Morbid Obesity - This is 100 times worse than morbid obesity because the sheer size of the victim can swell to over 3,000 pounds. It is not uncommon for him to have unsightly, scraggly body hair and sometimes dental hygiene can spiral out of control with the growth of tusks. The victim breathes heavily and can't seem to speak a sentence without the words "Gee, bird" in it. Strangely, the biggest cause of death is not complications from diabetes, heart disease or other disorders of the heavy-set, but rather walking into tar pits and becoming hopelessly trapped, then suffocating after sinking below the bubbly black surface.

Cookie Monster Bulimia - Tragically, this is not an intentional eating disorder, but rather is the act of eating cookies so fast that it makes one toss his cookies. Just the sight of a cookie sends the Cookie Monster into a psychotic feeding frenzy where he turns his tonsils into a punching bag, pulverizing the cookie(s) into crumby shrapnel by cramming them into his mouth repeatedly without chewing.

PBS spokesmen have said Cookie Monster has turned over a new leaf and is not as crazy about cookies any longer. Give me a break. His name is Cookie Monster, and he ain't gonna be singing "C is for celery." Don't buy any bullshit that he's in a 12-step program called Cookies Anonymous, either.

"Me eat healthy foods because cookies are only a sometimes food," Cookie Monster would lie to the camera before breaking down. "Oh, who me kidding? Me not vitamin C monster. Me get cookie bouquets from fans all the time. Me have 10-pack-a-day habit that includes Oreos, Chips A'hoy, and Mrs. Fields. Cooooooookiiieeeeeeeee!!! Mmmunchmmmunchh!"

Oscar the Grouch Dysentery - This sad disease evolves when you not only live in your own filth, but in the filth of others. Like Oscar, the worst cases actually live in trash cans, and are against recycling programs of any sort. They are the cliff divers of dumpster diving. They accept any type of garbage to be thrown at or on them, including dangerous household cleaners and animal carci. Hair eventually becomes green and matted, but the victims are usually busy making up lyrics and then singing delusional songs about how happy they are to be living in such a dump (example: I Love Trash!).

Count OCD - Even vampires with obsessive compulsive disorder crave counting more than sucking blood out of victims or turning into a bat. They may start out counting to 10 or 12 to show off, but eventually it escalates to 20. Once that is mastered, counting becomes an obsession, counting everything and anything, driving all of those around them to put in earplugs, or in more severe cases, drive a wooden stake through his muppet heart to shut his purple ass up. Typically finishes any counting with a slow, methodical laugh. The Count almost died when he tried to keep up with counting how many stockholder dollars were lost during the Enron scandal.

Bert Beastiality - A constant case of jaundice is the least of our unibrowed friend's worries. When he started going "birding" without binoculars, this was the first sign of trouble. I guess one can become pretty sexually "confused" when you have some puppeteer's hand up your ass for your whole life. It might not even be Bert's fault - he may be guided by that unseen hand. Eventually the disturbingly fowl behavior was accepted by Bert, who was so overcome with denial at first, he made up a song - "Doin' the Pigeon" - to try and masquerade that the act was innocently about dancing like a bird, not deviant dirty dancing. Once he tires of pigeons, new song and dance numbers will follow, possibly including "Chokin the Chicken", "Rockin the Robin", "Poppin' the Penguin", and "Bangin the Blue-Footed Booby."

Ernie Rubber Duckie Allergy - The good news is Ernie is not allergic to condoms. The bad news is, this is an allergy to solely the latex used to make rubber duckies, by far Ernie's favorite tub toy and song subject matter. It was difficult to detect at first because it causes the skin to look wrinkly like a raisin, much like one would look after soaking in the tub for a long period of time. Prolonged exposure to the latex is not fatal, but it can cause one's laugh to be reduced to a spitty gurgle.

Grover Vertigo - This terrible dizziness disorder all starts with a demonstration of far and near. If the running back and forth isn't enough to cause extreme exhaustion, the yo-yo effect of it all takes its toll on the optic nerve and creates light-headedness, nausea and sometimes hysteria. This can also happen to muppets in the service industry - like Grover the waiter - who are too dense and high-strung to realize that the fly in the diner's soup is not an actual insect, but the diner is simply showing off his spelling abilities with alphabet soup. By the time Grover finally realizes this, he faints from utter exhaustion.

Telly-phone Sex Addiction - This is the affliction of being obsessed with muppet phone sex lines with a twist. "Telly-phone" addicts typically make their calls in the dark and just want to hear monsters heavy breathing. They long to be frightened into an orgasm. Hardcore addicts usually only have their freakiest fantasies satisfied by requesting a few toots from the Honkers.

This post was brought to you by the number 4 and the letter Q. 4Q. Get it? Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Don't duck the question

For the first time ever yesterday, I called a Chinese restaurant without the intention of ordering food. I just needed to have a nagging question finally answered.

What the fuck is mock duck?

I saw it on a takeout menu and have been wondering what it really is. Mock duck? Does that mean it's a fake duck? Is this a fancy way to say pigeon?

"I have no idea," my wife admitted. "Who cares? It probably tastes like chicken anyway."

That answer was amusing, but it didn't satisfy the reporter in me. One thing was almost certain: It couldn't be a rubber duck because they are not edible. With the Minnesota Vikings game over, now I could focus my full attention on getting to the bottom of what mock duck actually is. I've had real duck. It's really good. Mock duck doesn't sound very tasty.

My definition of mock duck? When Elton John would dress up in those ridiculous outfits for concerts in the 1970s. But I doubt the restaurant was serving him with sticky rice.

It was time to get some answers, so I decided to call the phone number right on the take-out menu. A peppy young lady answered the phone.

"Hello, can I take order?"

Me: "I'm not sure yet. Maybe you can help me decide. What exactly is mock duck?"

"It cheap."

Me: "No, I don't need to know how much it costs. I was wondering what it is. The name makes it sound like fake duck? So, is it a chicken who liked to swim once in a while?"

"No, I told you it cheap."

Me: "What? A cheap duck? Do you mean a seagull?"

"You crazy."

Me: "I'm crazy? You're serving something called mock duck. If you can go to a nice place and get duck under glass, what do you serve mock duck under? Plexiglass? And you still haven't told me what type of bird the cheap duck is."

"No, cheap. Like goat with no horn. Cheap. Baa-baa. Baby cheap."

Me: "Oh, you mean sheep. I got you now. You mean it's lamb? So it's not even a bird?"

"No duck. It baby cheap."

Me: "If it's lamb, why the heck do you call it mock dock?"

"When cheap meat get cut, it look like duck."

Me: "And they call it mock dock because of that?"


Me: "If you actually served duck would you cut the meat to look like sheep and then call it SPAM lamb?"

"I not sure. Maybe. You like try order of mock duck?"

Me: "I'm going to have to think about it. I will call you back."

I never did. Now a different question was stuck in my head. What the hell is mock crab? I suppose that's a piece of cut fish that looks like the shape of a damn crab. Well, I don't plan on calling a seafood joint to find out for sure. And I sure as hell am not going to ask a pharmacist what mock crabs are as his explanation would probably make me lose my appettite. Although he probably has some kind of mock shampoo that would clear it all up in a few days.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bizarre Bazaar

I drove by a neighborhood church advertising its fall carnival today and it gave me a flashback of how sometimes these events are more bizarre than bazaar.

It was back in 1980 or 1981. My family lived in north Florida, where our church was throwing a bazaar complete with games, prizes and fun for the whole family. The organizers even planned to "broadcast" some music from a new 8-track system and asked parishoners to bring in their favorite tapes.

We'd been to events like this before. No one ever brought any decent music, meaning we kids were subjected to the tortures of 10-12 straight hours of christian and gospel music. My sister and I lobbied for Mom to be a trailblazer and bring some current music. She was pretty hip, so we didn't have to do much talking. She chose two of the hottest soundtracks of the time - Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy - pretty ballsy selections to bring to a church party.

I knew Mom wouldn't approve, but I snuck my KISS Destroyer tape along anyway, hoping to crank "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud" to get the congregation rockin', then slow it down with "Beth."

The lady running the music booth, who I'll call DJ, was a nutjob censor who probably spent her spare time burning books. DJ ignored Mom's two contributions to the music selection and seemed to be content just showcasing her own gospel music collection.

After hearing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" for the 13th time, I finally decided to make my move. I went over to DJ and unveiled my KISS 8-track and begged her to play it. I almost got down on my knees, but we were outside church, not inside.

"I will not disrespect the church grounds by playing this filth," DJ snapped. "Do you know what KISS stands for? It's an acronym for Kids In Satan's Service. If you keep listening to this garbage, you'll end up being a devil worshipper!"

I attended the Catholic elementary school on the church's grounds and was somewhat of a hellion, but I was hardly the satanist Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had enlisted me to be. I just liked their rock and roll music.

Mom overheard part of DJ's devil worshipping speech and told her that she needed to start mixing up the music a bit and playing the other parishoners' tapes. OK, maybe not KISS, but only because they were too loud, not because they wore makeup, leather and platform boots. A couple of other mothers chimed in and agreed it was time to shake some booty like John Travolta.

Once Saturday Night Fever started playing, the place started rocking. People were strutting around the place to "Stayin' Alive." Kids were asking the priests and nuns to dance. It was getting really fun. Other people got some balls and went out to their cars and brought in their favorite 8-tracks too.

Things were hopping. I won a wonderful carrot cake during the cakewalk to the tune of "Jive Talking" by the Bee Gees. Take that, DJ! People wanted to hear the Saturday Night Fever 8-track in its entirety again, so put that fucking Jim Nabors tape down, bee-yotch!

People were dying to hear Urban Cowboy next. Parents and kids were two-stepping and square dancing on the basketball court having a great time. But then all hell broke loose, and The Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" was playing.

DJ tried to make it through the song, even though it tells the tale of a kid named Johnny who bets his soul he can kick the devil's ass in a fiddle-playing contest. The crowd was boot scootin' to the beat until near the end of the song, when Charlie Daniels utters the ever-famous "Devil, come on back if you ever wanna try again, I done told you once you son-of-a-bitch, I'm the best that's ever been!"

At that point, DJ screamed and yanked the tape out of the player. She just went fucking Footloose on my Mom. She threw the 8-track tape at her and publicly chastised her for bringing an 8-track with profanity on it at a church event that involved "God's children." Except me. I was a KISS devil baby.

DJ ranted and raved and pretty much said Charlie Daniels was the anti-Christ for saying "son-of-a-bitch" in that song. He was also "going to hell for glorifying gambling and potentially giving his soul to Satan." She looked at me when she said Charlie Daniels was "10 times worse than KISS." DJ probably had an acronym for The Charlie Daniels Band, too, but I was afraid to open that can of worms. Before her holier than thou tirade was over, she might have even threatened to outlaw dancing in the entire county.

I didn't get it. I heard them read the word "ass" straight from the bible in church once, but DJ didn't snatch the good book away from the priest and bitch him out. Ass was way worse than son-of-a-bitch in my book.

Mom was totally embarassed, but my friends thought she was the coolest lady ever because she made DJ play the "son-of-a-bitch" tape at church. You could hear a pin drop at the bazaar now, so DJ tried to save face after going psycho in front of the whole congregation by getting the party rocking again.

"No worries, my people, I will now only play the current music without all of the filth that foul-mouthed redneck Charlie Daniels and his devil band call music," she said hysterically, almost crying. "I promise from here on out with God as my witness, I will play nothing but clean music with clean language for good clean fun."

The next tape she put in was Blondie. Let's just say the tide was about to get pretty fucking high for DJ, and she wasn't wearing capri pants. The second or third song to play was "Rapture." This made my dirty little friends and I laugh because we knew the lyrics for this song included the words "finger fucking." DJ was totally clueless when Debbie Harry sang that part, prancing around like she was auditioning for American Bandstand. She mistook our cheering and laughing for her choice of music and idiotic energy. But the real source of our amusement was the fact she flipped out over "son-of-a-bitch," yet "finger fucking" didn't even warrant the blink of a fake eyelash.

The next tape she played was my friend's favorite. It was Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones. The second song to play was "Start Me Up." My friends and I laughed even harder because we knew the whole song was about getting laid. Even better, towards the end of the song, Mick Jagger would sing "You make a dead man come" not once, but twice!

DJ was clapping along and yelling for everyone to sing along. If only she knew all the words. "Start me up!" she squeaked. "Yeah, wooooo!" She was more annoying than some 13-year-old from Buffalo making a request on MTV's TRL.

After the bazaar, Mom went to retrieve her Saturday Night Fever 8-track. DJ scolded her to be more careful what music she brought next time and to screen it for profanity. Mom was starting to feel bad again, so I decided it was time to speak up.

"Don't worry, ma," I said. "Your 8-track just said 'son-of-a-bitch.' She played shit later that talked about finger fucking and making some corpse come. She's just pissed because your Urban Cowboy 8-track wasn't dirty enough for her."

DJ almost fainted. Seriously. After Mom picked her jaw off the sidewalk, she dragged me away from the area, telling me that "11-year-old boys don't talk like that." I felt bad because I thought I had embarassed her again.

When we got in the car, I thought Mom was going to give me a good ass-chewing. Instead, she started laughing and thanked me for having such a good ear and pointing out what the lyrics to those songs were. However, she told me I shouldn't use those words or sing those verses aloud, especially around DJ.

Then Mom put in my KISS tape and cranked "Shout It Out Loud" for the drive home.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sticky Situation

When I was in elementary school, I used to dig stickers. My teachers would paste them on my schoolwork if I did a particularly good job. I hadn't thought about stickers much since then. Until Tuesday.

That's when I went to the school on Selby Avenue near my home to cast my vote in the city of St. Paul's mayoral election. The place was practically deserted. I filled out my ballot, fed my sheet into the meter and headed for the door. But before I could get out of the gymnasium, a sweet little old lady grabbed me by the arm.

"Hey, sonny, aren't you forgetting something?" she asked.

"Ahhh, I don't think so," I replied, checking my coat for my wallet and keys.

"What about your 'I Voted' sticker?" she asked.

"Oh, that," I said.

"You want one, right?" she asked.

"Maybe... do you have a scratch and sniff one?" I joked.

"It's not scented, but if you'd like I can scratch it and then you can sniff it," she said.

The old gal was pretty funny, so I agreed to take one of her stickers. She started to hand me the sticker, but then pulled it away at the last second.

"Waitaminute," she said. "You're not going to wear it, are you?"

"Ummmm, probably not," I admitted.

"Why not?" she asked. "Don't you want everyone to know you voted?"

"It doesn't matter to me," I laughed.

"Well, it does to me," she chirped. "Come over here."

I walked a few steps forward. She peeled off the sticker and just pancaked it on my left man hooter. No worries about the sticker coming loose anytime soon.

"There, much better," she beamed before sitting back in her chair to await her next victim.

"So let me get this straight: I have a choice who will be the next mayor of our fine city of St. Paul, but I don't have a choice about wearing this sticker?" I teased.

"That's right," she said. "Now get out of here, sonny."

There was no getting out of this sticky situation, but that was OK with me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Better Scares Come in Pairs, Part 2

Last week, I gave some examples how Hollywood could revitalize its horror genre by having more cross-over films involving scary movie characters, like Freddy vs. Jason (an extremely imaginative way to resurrect two dead-tired characters - Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Vorhees from Friday The 13th fame).

It was such a scream coming up with some new blood to add to the horror cross-overs, I decided to add a few more to the list. Here are 10 more big-screen ideas that Hollywood should hook up:

Firestarter vs. The Ring girl - It all starts out innocently at Perkins, where the Ring girl has just finished coloring her placemat with crayons while awaiting her breakfast. Firestarter is jealous because the Ring girl didn't go outside the lines once, and she also successfully completed the maze on the first try, so she torches the Ring girl's placemat. Later, while the Ring girl is bent over in the wishing well trying to fetch a cheap plastic toy, Firestarter pushes her into the well. No one, not her parents or even the Perkins manager, notices for 20 years. Firestarter, now grown-up and banging musicians, watches a weird video she got from Blockbuster and then gets a phone call that she'll be dead in 7 days. Firestarter spontaneously combusts and burns her house down, also killing the Ring girl, who was calling from the basement.

Mr. Hyde vs. Mothman - The Mothman originally is seen by hundreds and seems to be warning various people about an impending disaster. But then the messages stop because some lady left her porch light on all night. The Mothman flies around it psychotically for 7 hours and ends up so dizzy he lands on the side of the house to rest. Unfortunately, it is the Dr. Jekyll residence and the doctor turns into Hyde just as he walks outside to grab his morning newspaper. Hyde sees Mothman on the wall, rolls up the newspaper and pancakes the Mothman's ass.

Frankenstein vs. Halloween's Michael Myers - Myers tries to track down Frankenstein for more of a thrill kill challenge. He thinks he finds him living with Tonto and Tarzan. It is a total misunderstanding because Frankenstein, Tonto and Tarzan are actually all Saturday Night Live players who think they just buzzed in co-star Mike Myers to rehearse a skit. Once inside, the Halloween Myers tries to start his killing spree until the SNL Myers shows up dressed up as Linda from Coffee Talk. At this point, Dr. Sam Loomis bursts into the room and takes both Myers into custody just to be safe.

Phantom of the Opera vs. Ron Pearlman's Beast - This should have been an interesting showdown with a great soundtrack, but the music is cut short fairly quickly. It all starts when the Beast confides in the Phantom how pussy whipped he is over beauty Linda Hamilton. The Phantom is so overwhelmed by the smutty details of Beast's love story, he starts diddling on his organ. When Beast realizes the Phantom isn't pounding on his keyboard, he is so disgusted, he kills him with a piano bench.

The Shining guy vs. Psycho Norman Bates - The Shining guy decides to vacation at the remote Bates Hotel. Bates waits for the Shining guy to take a shower so he can knife the shit out of him. The Shining guy goes insane before cleaning up, and decides to chop through Mother's door with an axe. Norman tries to change into his mother's old lady killing clothes, but he can't get his girdle clasped correctly and his nylons get stuck, leaving him easy prey for the Jack attack.

Maximum Overdrive machines vs. I Know What You Did Last Summer guy - It all starts when the dude in the rain slicker gets mowed down by a car on a lonely, winding stretch of road. He waits for a group of teenagers to try and cover up the crime by dumping his body, triggering a new killing spree. But he's just left on the shoulder like a roadkilled raccoon. When he gets up, he sees there are about 50 vehicles patiently waiting to run over his sorry ass again, led by that Joker semi.

Headless Horseman vs. Pinhead from Hellraiser - Pinhead taunts the Horseman, telling him he should ride sidesaddle and asking if he just got a haircut. The horseman covets Pinhead's head, even though it resembles a big-ass pin cushion. The horseman eventually decapitates Pinhead, but pricks his finger while trying to retrieve the head. While the horseman looks for a band-aid, Pinhead's body steals the horse. When the horseman tries on his new noggin, he realizes he looks like less of a jackass using a carved pumpkin for his melon rather than looking like he is undergoing radical acupuncture treatment.

Chucky vs. Snuggle Bear (after burial in Pet Semetary) - The Snuggle Bear is tragically killed when he is accidentally tossed in the dryer during a fabric softener commercial. The director decides to bury the Snuggle Bear in a local Pet Semetary despite warnings from a creepy old fart that it is near an ancient indian burial ground. Chucky auditions for the part as the new Snuggle mascot, hoping it will lead to him getting a real human body. Eventually, the Snuggle Bear returns from the grave with a case of supernatural rabies and rips Chucky to shreds.

Creepy hillbillies vs. Zombies - The Night of the Living Dead zombies take a Wrong Turn and end up wandering into the West Virginia "hills," where they are frightened to hear constant dueling banjos music. "You got a purty decomposing face," a hillbilly voice calls out to a zombie. The hillbillies quickly kill most of the zombies except the ones that are deceased relatives, who they marry (again).

Beetlejuice vs. Bat Boy -The Weekly World News calls Beetlejuice for help to rid their newsroom of their most famous cover story material. Editors grew tired of Bat Boy buzzing them near the water cooler, and hanging upside down from the ceiling while demanding all the lights be turned off. Beetlejuice tries all of his creepy antics to spook Bat Boy away, but ends up using a tennis racket and a fishing net to capture him.