Driving Druggy: A Cautionary Tale

My family has some family friends with some of the wildest stories. Their latest anecdote is too outrageous not to share.

This past summer, after the family went out for a pizza dinner, the son, Red, needed to pick something up from Wal-Mart. Red parked in the lot as far as he could from the store, explaining to the others that he was going to "walk off" his dinner. While the family waited for their son to return, they spotted someone stumbling around the parking lot with a shopping cart. Not only was his gait awkward, they found it odd for someone to be wandering in their direction, hundreds of yards away from the other cars in the lot. When he got close enough, they recognized this individual as the drug-addicted brother of their daughter's new boyfriend, who will henceforth be referred to as Druggy.

Once Red got back, they asked him to go check on Druggy to see if he was okay. Semi-coherently, Druggy explained that he had been shopping with his girlfriend until they got in a fight and she left the store. Druggy proceeded to search all around the parking lot looking at each car in order to verify whether his girlfriend had in fact abandoned him altogether. Friendly folks looking to help this strung out guy in trouble, the family offered to drive Druggy home. Druggy had nothing but two large air conditioners in his cart, which they helped him load into their car.

Druggy couldn't provide an exact address, instead vaguely describing a location. In the process, Druggy passed out in the backseat. Red drove to the sketchy spot, whereupon he woke Druggy up. Was this Druggy's home? He wouldn't, perhaps couldn't, confirm. The family helped unload the air conditioners, but Druggy wouldn't allow them to bring them inside, asking them instead to just leave them on the porch. The family objected, insisting that he couldn't leave such expensive items outside in an unsafe area for people to steal. Rather than relent, Druggy said that he'd be right back before entering the house and closing the door behind him. After waiting five to ten minutes for Druggy to return, the now thoroughly confused family opted to just drive home, leaving the air conditioners out on the porch as initially requested.

Deciding this was just the bizarre behavior of a drug addict, they dismissed the incident altogether, until a couple of weeks later when Druggy was arrested for stealing two air conditioners from Wal-Mart. They were mortified to realize they were unwitting accomplices in the crime. As luck would have it, however, the reason they avoided being implicated in the crime as well was because they had parked so far away from Wal-Mart that they were out the vicinity of the security camera.


Happy Holidays

C: Hanukkah doesn't lend itself to sexual references like other holidays. Like Thanksgiving has "stuffing" and "giblets" and Christmas has "stocking stuffers" and "coming down the chimney," but there's nothing suggestive for Hanukkah.
L: Light my menorah?
T: Spin my dreidel?
K: I last for eight days.


Favorite 50 Songs of 2008

It’s become an annual tradition to share my favorite songs of the year with you. This year I’ve posted the files of the music so you can sample the songs and/or download the ones you like by clicking on the player. OR, if you trust/correspond with my taste enough, maybe you’d prefer to just download all 50 songs in one big package deal. That’ll take a little while to download, but then you won’t have to click them all individually and you’ll have them all to peruse at leisure. At any rate, I hope you enjoy:

Kevin’s Favorite 50 Songs of 2008

50. Hey (Shut the Fuck up, Boy) – Peter Bjorn and John

In 2007, Peter Bjorn and John had a monstrous hit with “Young Folks.” At the conclusion of 2008, I’m liking this foul-mouthed song from their newest album, to be released in 2009.

49. Going On – Gnarls Barkley

While they might not be as ubiquitous as they were in 2006, Gnarls Barkley still produce tracks to which I love to dance and smile.

48. The Twist – Frightened Rabbit

Make no mistake: this ain’t no Chubby Checker cover. The hook from this Scottish band might be just as catchy, although in an entirely different way.

47. Be Ok – Ingrid Michaelson

So catchy it borders on annoying, “Be Ok” is well-intentioned and vulnerable enough to make it an underdog favorite of mine.

46. Touch the Hem of His Garment – Basia Bulat

I love Bulat: she’s brilliant. Last year she earned a top 10 placement on my list, and this year her sole release is commendable as well.

45. Each Year – Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot is a peppy young band out of Syracuse, New York that put out a solid album this past year. I hope to catch them live at some point soon.

44. Half a Person – The Welcome Wagon

You’ll see more from the Welcome Wagon much higher on the list. In the meantime, I like how they’ve covered this song from the Smiths, pepping it up and making it significantly less scary.

43. Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis

Though I found her latest work with her band Rilo Kiley to be disappointing (admittedly, I had high expectations), Lewis demonstrates herself capable of still writing great music.

42. Run – Gnarls Barkley

“Run” is a second good track by Gnarls Barkley from their latest release.

41. Time to Pretend – MGMT

The first of three MGMT tracks, the breakout stars of the year. Rightfully so, too, since they’re original and fun.

40. One (Blake’s Got a New Face) – Vampire Weekend

My favorite songs from Vampire Weekend, “Oxford Comma” and “Walcott” charted last year, when I described them as up-and-coming. Oh, remember the time! This one’s fun, too, though, and it’s about plastic surgery! Actually, probably not, but the lyrics are ambiguous enough to leave wiggle room… Speaking of lyrics, as I’ve mentioned previously, the last two lines, “Oh, your collegiate grief has left you dowdy in sweatshirts. Absolute horror!”, are genius.

39. Me And You – Slow Club

This tune is giddy songified. Scream, clap, and stomp. I love a blend of male and female vocals, especially when it turns to call-and-response.

38. Run to Your Grave – The Mae Shi

Repetitive, innocuous, and goofy. Screaming never sounded so good.

37. 2 Atoms in a Molecule – Noah and the Whale

These Brits make some fun folk rock jams. Look for them again much higher on the list.

36. Electric Bird – Sia

Demonstrating her amazing vocal talent, Sia trills her way through this pretty song.

35. Better Than This – Keane

This isn’t your father’s (read: whiny) Keane. If you only are familiar with their former big hit and interminable downer “Somewhere Only We Know” than you’re missing out on the cheesy pop fun these guys are capable of.

34. Blind – Hercules and Love Affair

This out-and-out dance club song is inexplicably entrancing. With a good beat and bizarre vocal work, it’s certainly memorable.

33. Dance Dance Dance – Lykke Li

Swedish indy sensation Li has a cute-as-a-button voice. It doesn’t get more saccharine (yet non-carcinogenic) than this song. She’s adorable, she’ll grow on you.

32. Handlebars - Flobots

An angry, simple, catchy hook: think Eminem, without the negative associations.

31. Cold Shoulder – Adele

Adele has a stunning, unique voice in the Amy Winehouse vein (Jocelyn tells me that they both attended the same school, so it might not be a coincidence), which has earned her four Grammy nominations. While her big hit is “Chasing Pavements,” I’m partial to this one, as it has a bit more action.

30. Sea Lion Woman – Feist

Following up having two songs on my 2007 list, Feist scores again with this clap-along ditty.

29. Calabria 2007 – ENUR & Natasja

I’m later than Natasja Saad (RIP, girl!) on this one. Even though the title indicates that it was remixed and re-released in 2007 (it’s been around since 2003), it didn’t top the US dance charts until 2008, so I’m including it. While preparing this chart, I looked back at last year’s chart and noticed Preston asked in the comments section “where’s Calabria 2007?” Truth is, I wasn’t familiar with it yet. Well, Preston, it’s here now, saved for 2008, as it was always destined to be.

28. Bottle It Up – Sara Bareilles

She’s not going to write you a love song. Actually, she just did. But this one is better than last year’s chart-topper, “Love Song,” so, you know, forgive her.

27. Ultimatum – Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is an acquired taste, and now that I’ve acquired it, I’m totally on board. His voice is so proper and regal, it took me a dozen listens before I realized that this song is fairly dirty.

26. Bruises - Chairlift

“Bruises” is indy cuteness to exponential powers. The vocals are unique and understated, and when she hits that one note, it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

25. Human – The Killers

“Are we human or are we dancer?” ask the Killers. If that’s an attempt to be profound, it fails. Nevertheless, after my initial dismissal, this song continues to grow on me, even if the lyrics do not.

24. Disturbia – Rihanna

Following up her #1 hit on my favorite songs of 2007, “Umbrella,” Rihanna “Disturbia” released this haunting electronic dance smash.

23. Let It Rain – The Courtesy Line

I’m not sure I can articulate what catapults this song from every other indy rock song to greatness, but it has a certain catchiness that lingers in my head for days.

22. Electric Feel – MGMT

MGMT does, in fact, “shock me like an electric eel.” This song serves up some unapologetic campy fun.

21. Stalker – Lous XIV

If the title weren’t indication enough, this song is creepy – yet catchy. This band tends to strive for offensive material.

20. I Wish That I Could See You Soon – Herman Dune

Playfulness abounds in this tune about long distance love, particularly the call-and-response between the lead singer and his “angels.”

19. I Could Say – Lily Allen

With soulful vocals laid with a good dance beat, this song is from Allen’s next album, to be released this coming February. In fact, I enjoy all five of the leaked tracks I’ve found thus far, prompting me to feel sorry for making such an offensive comment.

18. I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You – Black Kids

Even if they refuse to teach you the steps, I dare you not to dance to this song. I dig the flippancy, beat, and gender ambiguity.

17. Black Fur – Fredrik

This is my lullaby of 2008. These Swedish voices come together to make something pleasant yet soothing.

16. But for You Who Fear My Name – The Welcome Wagon

A reverend and wife make up The Welcome Wagon. Their new album Welcome to the Welcome Wagon was produced by Sufjan Stevens and the influence is evident. I am so into the harmonizing and hand claps here.

15. Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon

I didn’t get this song at first. A “sex on fire” metaphor is obvious, if not completely dumb. But the singer’s voice is crisp and unique, I wish I could sound that sultry.

14. I Stand Corrected – Vampire Weekend

The one ballad-esque song by Vampire Weekend is also one of my favorites. After skewering pompous and pretentious people throughout their CD, Vampire Weekend delicately attempts to “apologize” to them.

13. Lost! – Coldplay

Truthfully, I didn’t want to like the new Coldplay album. I thought Coldplay had reached a Dave Matthews Band level where although people are paying fortunes to see their concerts, it’d be easy to ignore them. I’m glad the band found ways to reach me in spite of my other intentions. The strong yet uncomplicated backing beat is contagious.

12. You, Me, & the Bourgeoisie – The Submarines

This song is catchy enough to have it’s intro played in an Apple ad; I think they should have included the vocals, too, because they compliment the track well. When I close my eyes, I could swear I’m listening to the Cardigans. That’s a good thing, by the way. Bonus point for using the word “bourgeoisie.” Additional bonus point for not saying “bougey.”

11. Ottoman – Vampire Weekend

“Ottoman” is not on their debut LP, but part of the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (despite starring Michael Cera, I seem to have intentionally missed that one) soundtrack. The music is still good, intelligent, and self-referential, providing promise that Vampire Weekend will have a long, relevant career.

10. New Soul – Yael Naim

This song exhibits some genuine personality that is rare to find in music. The best song by an Israeli since “Hava Nagila.”

9. Tane Mahuta – The Ruby Suns

The instrumentals are peppy. I don’t need to understand the lyrics for the infectious tune to make me happy.

8. Song Across the Sea – Casper & the Cookies

Stripped down to a refreshingly sparse level, I find the lyrics haunting – and that’s not just a pun for the band’s name.

7. American Boy – Estelle & Kanye West

Just as West’s public antics were overriding my respect for his talent, he teams with Estelle to make the most exciting mainstream song of the year.

6. Night – Roommate

This is a cover of a song by (the?) Rhombus, but, try as I might, I can’t track down the original. No matter, as it’d be hard to top the whistling, chorus of voices that descends into a round, and subtly amusing lyrics.

5. Viva la Vida – Coldplay

This song is epic, and as I mentioned for Coldplay’s other song on this list, it surged into my head despite my prejudice.

4. Shape of My Heart – Noah and the Whale

I cannot pinpoint what about this song endears itself to me so, but it does. Between the horns and the passion served light-rock style, I’m convinced.

3. Sold! To the Nice Rich Man – The Welcome Wagon

Talk about plastering a smile on my face. This band is my happiest discovery late in 2008. So much is happening in this song, and yet I still want more.

2. Kids – MGMT

If you had told me that I would fall head over heels for sound effects of kids screaming over electronica, I’d laugh in your face. Leave it to MGMT to record a danceable tune that captures the fun and freedom of childhood.

1. I’ll Be Glad – Bonnie “Prince” Billy

I’m struck by the soulful simplicity of the music and lyrics. Less is so much more here that it emerged from nowhere to become my favorite song of the year. It’s all about the last twenty seconds, with the rush of harmonizing voices yielding a mix of emotions. Beautiful.

There they are. Again, you can download all 50 songs at once if you’re so inclined. Also don't hesitate to react, argue, or even list your own favorite songs of the year. I'd love to hear what I've been missing out on.


I Despise the Duggars

Are you familiar with the Duggars? They’re fuckers. Literally. How else do you give birth to eighteen kids? That’s right, eighteen kids, with the most recent baby being born just a couple of days ago. Her name is Jordyn: a “J” to match the first initial of each of her siblings, and a “y” to remind us that her parents are uneducated.

Sigh. Someone needs to tell them that sex is not a vacation: you don’t need a souvenir to prove you’ve been there each time.

Frankly, this repeated reproduction disgusts me. I genuinely believe that being that procreative is a crime against humanity. As I see it, the Duggar parents are some of the world’s worst offenders, right up there with Hitler. At least Hitler can’t be accused of contributing to the overpopulation crisis.

Don’t let that tasteless joke detract from my point. It might seem counterintuitive, but propagation of our species is not contingent solely on breeding, but responsible and limited breeding. The Duggars are shirking any sense of responsibility and blissfully popping out kids. Overpopulation is a legitimate global threat; when the media annually touts this married couple as “heroes” and “saints,” it glorifies irresponsible behavior and sends the wrong kind of message.

That’s not my only gripe, though. It’s just so vain. How conceited must you be to think your genes are worthy of being replicated nearly twenty times? Brad and Angelina have some terrific genes and a strong desire to parent, but even they have the decency to adopt most of their kids.

While I’ll buy that it’s possible for the parents to “love” all of the children, you can’t convince me that they receive all of the attention or direct nurturing that kids should be afforded. It is impossible to adequately care for that many children simultaneously. If this were a group home or orphan care center, it would be shut down for being understaffed.

What’s woefully overstaffed is Mrs. Duggar’s vagina. I love this image floating around the interweb:
Vagina: It’s not a clown car.

This last Duggar pregnancy required a C-section, which must be nature’s way of saying “Enough!” Apparently, the baby was turned sideways, but I have difficulty believing that her undoubtedly stretched vagina couldn’t slip that sucker out in spite of it all.

Will the couple stop? Nope! They are quoted as saying they are looking forward to having more. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were pregnant again already. There’s no better place than a hospital bed to get frisky. Plus, I imagine placenta makes a great natural lube.

The fashion sense of this family is dreadful, reminiscent of the members of the polygamist compound. Maybe that explains the situation: Mr. Duggar longs to be a polygamist, but being the jealous type, Mrs. Duggar just promised to carry the full load herself – in her womb.

Oh, and of course these kids are home-schooled. Why have just a couple of dumb kids when you can burden society with a dozen and a half of them? What happens when the siblings’ teacher is perpetually on maternity leave? I suppose every day can be part of summer break when you don’t even know what the seasons are.

The Duggars are a rare breed of media whore. They’ve fallen into this unfortunate cycle (menstrual?) in which they are only relevant as long as their family expands; to maintain their position in the limelight, they must keep having kids. Think of all those one-note celebrities (Gary Coleman, Paris Hilton, etc.) who must perform their same shtick to be granted attention. Generally these individuals turn to drugs; Mrs. Duggan might be the first such “star” to have an addiction to epidurals.

What’s worse is the Duggars would never recognize that they are fame-seekers because they believe that they are on a mission from God. As they see it, God blesses them with children so that they have a platform from which to spread the Gospel. Browse their website and you’ll find that there’s nothing subtle about their proselytizing. I do owe the Duggars some credit, as they have reawakened my faith. I’m praying again… praying for menopause.

Though our opinions clearly differ greatly, I do share one viewpoint with this hyper-Christian family: I’m not pro-choice…  I think abortions should be mandatory.


Sleepaway Camp

In addition to the awesomely horror-ble film Troll 2, Alex introduced me to Sleepaway Camp, which is just as terror-ific. True to its name, Sleepaway Camp is a campy 80s film with a thin premise and cheesy acting. I love it so much that I recently watched it for the second time this year. It’s not a typical horror movie in that it rarely even attempts to be scary, mainly playing out like a bad, melodramatic teen film.

Sleepaway Camp also holds the distinction of featuring my favorite cinematic villain ever: Judy. Ohmguh, Judy is outrageous. Before we even catch a glimpse of her, a camper reveals that Judy has sprouted some breasts since the previous summer:

Just kidding, those aren’t her breasts. Believe it or not, that’s all man, baby:

That’s actually Ronnie, an absurdly jacked camp counselor. He exclusively wears muscle shirts and the world’s tiniest shorts, all too often putting his penis prominently on display. The male campers also have questionable fashion tastes like midriff-baring shirts and tight cut-off jean shorts. Evidently, the 80s were super queer.

Anyway, back to my love, Judy. She’s a witch. Judy is so over-the-top, she could seamlessly slip into Saved by the Bell canon. In every scene, she literally saunters in out of nowhere and announces her presence with some needlessly cruel comments. Plus, she emotes like nobody’s business: her face rapidly fluctuates between expressions, none of which are remotely pleasant or attractive. All of this awesomeness is accentuated with an oversized side ponytail. Trust me, you’ve got to see Judy in action.

Sleepaway Camp does not feature any notable actors, though James Earl Jones’s dad appears in what is probably the most offensive African American role since minstrel shows.
Whoever Earl Jones serves as a foil to two characters: the camp cook, an unnerving child molester and the camp’s owner, Mel. While Mel is not a child molester per se, he doesn’t exactly reject the sexual advances of one of his young camp counselors. Really, though, who wouldn’t love this face?
The whole film strives for ridiculousness, including one of the more sensationalist death scenes I’ve ever seen: shoving a hot curling iron up the victim’s vagina. (Relax, it’s implied rather than depicted, if that is, in fact, cause to relax.)

But unlike most films of this genre, it’s not just about amassing a body count. There’s so much more! Several inches more, even.


As a media scholar, I’m anxious to discuss all of the socio-political implications of this film, but I refuse to give it away. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.

I can make it easy for you, too. Someone bootlegged the film and put it in its entirety on YouTube. If you’re a stickler for quality (by which I mean video quality, if overall theatrical quality is a priority, you should probably skip it altogether), then you might prefer to rent it.

Watch Sleepaway Camp on YouTube.



Terri: She needs to stop working for her husband and find another job.
Kevin: I'll take her job. What is it?
Terri: Working with horses and cleaning up after them.
Kevin: I actually have experience shoveling horse shit.
Terri: Really?
Kevin: Yeah, I could get references even.
Terri: And you have a Masters degree.
Kevin: Except that's practice shoveling bullshit.


You Will Be Missed

While I try not to be dishonest or overly insincere, certain situations arise that require an emotional or heartfelt response even when I have none to offer. For example, someone passes around a farewell card for a parting worker (which I’m really good at, by the way,) particularly one that I’ve only interacted with only a couple of times or just plain found annoying. Fortunately, I have a go-to sentiment that typically suffices: “You Will Be Missed.”

“You Will Be Missed” is perfect, because it doesn’t commit me to anything. It’s not “I Will Miss You,” so I have neither have the obligation to miss the person being referenced nor the pretense of doing so. Instead, I am referring to the fact that someone is going to miss you – it just won’t be me. Plus, “You Will Be Missed” does not offer a specific timeline. It simply suggests that at some point down the road, I’m sure the act of “missing” will occur, if even in someone’s fleeting thought. “I Miss You Already”: now that would be a disingenuous load of crap. Not “You Will Be Missed,” however.

I use the same sentiment when discussing the death of an acquaintance. It tends to be super awkward when mutual friends express grief over the passing of a person I didn’t much care for or know well. Rather than looking like an asshole by contributing nothing to the conversation, I chime with a head nod and “He Will Be Missed” to appear sympathetic. I’m not emotional about the situation, but clearly other people seem to be missing this fool, so I’ve done nothing but express the truth by acknowledging this fact.

One reason “You/He/She Will Be Missed” is so successful is that it’s a cliché, used so frequently that no one stops to analyze its meaning. Its popularity masks my intent and, indeed, when I hear someone else use “You Will Be Missed,” I’m not sure whether ey are using it because it’s a common phrase or because they mean it in the way I do.

Everything has always gone smoothly with so-and-so “Will Be Missed” until I tossed it into a conversation while discussing someone who had died.

“I’ve always hated that phrase,” a friend replied. “It’s so impersonal. It’s like getting around saying that you will miss the person.”

I point out that that is the brilliance of the phrase, excitedly listing the aforementioned reasons for why it’s the perfect choice of words.

“So basically you’re admitting that you said that on purpose and you’re not even sad about him dying?” my friend expressed with disbelief. “That’s pretty… tacky.”

Oh, right. Discretion is the only way to avoid being seen as an asshole. Keeping it an unspoken secret should be rule #1 for “He Will Be Missed.” Starting now, I guess.


House Hunting

I found a new home!

No, actually I just found this photo at a flea market a few years back, and I love it. Click the picture to see it full-sized and marvel. It's iconic.

I can't bring myself to crack a trailer joke. In all honesty, once while "between homes," I lived in a trailer for two weeks. Solidarity with my grumpy brother!


A Run-In with the Police

After an underwhelming hour of lesbian karaoke, Lindsay and I drive to a 7-11 and pick up some forties. I ask where we should take them, and Lindsay suggests a park. I inform her that, it being 1 am, technically the parks are "closed," but Lindsay says that she doesn't care. We sit on the miniature bleachers of the baseball field and shoot the shit for a while, drinking our Cobras concealed in brown paper bags. Though a little cold, it's pleasant. I've been in this park at later hours more times than I can count and, without getting specific, I have done far worse things than sipping on malt liquor. Never once have I encountered any trouble.

Wouldn't you know it? A police car shows up, then another one. Other than mine, there is one other civilian car parked in the lot and apparently the police officers find some people in it and begin to interrogate them. At a safe distance and shrouded by the dark, Lindsay and I quickly stash our beverages behind a trash can then proceed to innocently sit at a picnic table and have a conversation. Lindsay panics a bit, but I tell her we'll be fine as long as we play dumb to the trespassing business and not mention the public drinking (or urination for that matter -- the restroom is locked, so I help myself to home plate.)

Both police cars flash their high beams on us so I proceed to wave like a dumbass to demonstrate that we are friendly people, not scum. They read out my name, which they must have obtained from looking up my car's registration information, so I answer.

"The parks are closed!" one officer shouts as we walk closer to them. "Do you live at [address]?"

"Yes," I reply.

"Then should know that this park closes at 10."

"I'm sorry, I wasn't aware," I plea.

"All of the parks in town close at 10 except for the wilderness park," responds the officer.

"When does the wilderness park close?" Lindsay asks, as if she remotely cares. I realize that she is inquiring as a way of making casual conversation and seeming less drunk, even though it just serves to incriminate her more. Oddly, he directs his questioning to me.

"Have you been drinking?" the officer asks me.

"No," I reply.

"Really?" he asks again.

"Well, a few hours ago," I say, wondering if I look that horrible. Granted, I'm flinching, but that's because there are two sets of headlights shining directly in my face.

"Have you been drinking?" the officer asks Lindsay.

"No," she says.

The officer believes her, apparently, telling me, "You should let her drive. Get out of here."

This puts me in an odd predicament, because I am the one who is not too impaired to drive, and I cannot say the same of Lindsay. Good call on that one, copper. For the sake of safety and legality, I disobey the officer's instruction and take my position in the driver's seat. The officers watch me do this, so I'm pretty convinced that they'll pull me over shortly thereafter, but as I've beaten a wrongful accusation of DUI in the past, I figured I could handle that again. Instead, the officers speed off down a 20 MPH road going about 50 MPH just because they can. I'm perplexed by them, because what the hell are their priorities? They successfully "protect" their town by removing two people chatting in a park after dark, but then turn a blind eye to someone they believe to be intoxicated operating a motor vehicle. Ugh.

Me driving isn't the only order I disobeyed: within three minutes, we are back in the park. Since more than anything we wanted to reclaim our 40s, I drive us in a circle, park on the street, and we dash through/around sprinklers to where we hid our beverages in order to retrieve them. I mean, those things are like $3 a pop, we are not about to ditch them when they're half full! Rebels with an insignificant cause!

That is my daring run-in with the law. Behaving like a teenager is the only way I manage to have fun these days.


Fuck Yes. Poop, I Would Eat Hers.

Two days after Thanksgiving, we took the dogs for a walk up a very steep hill (for realz, your treadmill can't even replicate this incline). At the top, we were afforded a fabulous view of the cityscape and freeway only partially clouded by pollution. As an added bonus, there was a woman crouched at the top urinating. I don't think she was anticipating passersby, so she covered up her embarrassment by greeting us with a very enthusiastic "Hi!"

Piss was hardly the worst thing being dropped onto this peak, as there was litter all around. Noticing a scratched upside down CD, I flipped it over with my foot to see if it might be of interest. What I discovered was nothing short of a Thanksgiving miracle: a porn DVD. Free porn!

I know what you're thinking: "But Kevin, have you never been on the internet before? There's free porn everywhere." Yeah, but it's more special when the porn comes to you. It's like destiny! Plus, there's something more authentic about real porn. I say that as if it's live in front of me, while really it's still being mediated on a screen. Nevertheless, the DVD still tops the computer: who doesn't prefer their boffing without the buffering?

Of course, we all watched it. You know what they say: when life hands you fake, nubile breasts... Unfortunately, the DVD, entitled Euro Cherries, was not too entertaining. We had hoped that it would involve bad story lines performed with equally awful fake European accents, but for the most part, there was little to no plot or dialogue. Most of the "stars" looked pretty busted. On too many occasions, the close ups showed some unfortunate acne on their butts, which led us to coin the phrase "assne." Our favorite clip was the exception to the rule, in which two male doctors use their stethoscopes on her nipples and vagina before asking when the last time was that she had sex. She simply answered, "No baby!" Ultimately, the docs deem that her problem is that she is "wet" and then prescribe their ailing female patient with sex. Kind gents that they are, they take the liberty of helping her with that, too. Oh those Europeans. If this is what it means to have socialized medicine, I can finally see why American conservatives are so opposed.

After indulging in porn for a period, we all got into one of those moods... not horny, but childish. We played Preston's favorite game of typing "inappropriate" words into the online dictionary and listening to the pronunciation audio. It wouldn't be fair to dismiss it as altogether immature, because it was also educational. Did you know how to pluralize your favorite sexual body parts?:
Penis? Penes.
Vulva? Vulvae.
Clitoris? Clitorides.

How about the adjective forms of your favorite STIs?

It won't say butthole, but it will say bolt-hole, which we found to be an acceptable alternative. I could listen to the earnest pronunciation of AIDS all day long, and I don't care if that's wrong. Feel differently, and you're just a [CENSORED].

Other things I learned:
a) When pronounced in this way, lubrication is a very sexy word.
b) A Dick Test is "a test to determine susceptibility or immunity to scarlet fever."
c) The word abortion is a synonym for "atrocity." Talk about a charged connotation.

While Preston and I would look up words, giggle, and repeat, Jessica started looking for pictures of poop on the internet (was there an explanation for that other than alcohol, Jess?) which led to the discovery of this fascinating image:

What? Huh? Gross. Awesome!

This image inspired us to type full sentences using the words we had just learned and have the computer's robotic voice read it back to us, the same feature I figured out how to use exactly three years ago today. This new game extended the fun for at least another full hour. I thought it would be a good idea to make a dance remix using our favorite phrases, but I was little too intoxicated and easily distracted.

Since then, however, I've had the opportunity to craft a song throwing together our silliest (read: most offensive) words and sentences. Let me warn you, it is awful in every way imaginable. First of all, I have no experience looping music and mixing audio, so even if I were to have a day job, I certainly wouldn't be quitting it to pursue this line of work. Just remember, it's the thought that counts. That might be the wrong phrase to use considering the "lyrics" are utterly thoughtless and intentionally crude.

Without further ado, with two ways to download and stream it, here is our song, "Fuck Yes. Poop, I Would Eat Hers."

Fuck Yes. Poop, I Would Eat Hers.

Yeah, that "song" is an abomination. An abortion, even. (See? I did learn something.) If you want to include that on your holiday mix CDs, feel free.


Degree Mastered

Suppose you spent nearly two years and $40,000 on a Masters program. After writing hundreds if not thousands of pages of tedious essays and committing yourself to living in debt for years to come, don't you suppose you'd frame and cherish your diploma?

Or... while looking for a scrap piece of paper, would you turn the diploma over to scrawl a "be right back" note about housework?

Now that you already written on it, would you then scrawl an angry missive about your significant other's parent, before thinking better of it and subsequently tearing it off to destroy the evidence?

Look at that respect for higher education. Don't worry - that's not mine, I think I gave my graduate school diploma to my parents or something. That said, as someone who has been on the job market for a lengthy period of time, I've come to wonder whether my degree is worth the paper it's printed on. At least this friend is putting that to the test -- and putting it to good use!


Grade C Moron

While I was working as a high school teacher, during one of my classes, a few problem students used my computer to do research online while I assisted other students at their desks. When I heard a familiar "DING" error message come from my computer, I moseyed over to check what was going on. By the time I reached them to monitor what they were doing, everything looked to be on the up-and-up. Because it was these particular students, however, I had a momentary doubt, but I knew I'd never be able to prove anything, so I just dismissed my suspicions altogether.

After the period ended, I sat at my computer and entered scores into my grading program. At one point, I mis-clicked and the computer sounded with a "DING!" Suddenly, I was reminded what that noise I had heard earlier was. That particular "DING" was not a general computer sound, but unique to my grade book. Those rats must have been invading my electronic grade book! I compared the students' averages to the ones in my backup file and, sure enough, one kid had generously found a way to transform eir D into a C.

The kid could have easily gotten away with it. Had I not so soon thereafter provoked the error noise myself, I would have forgotten the incident altogether. And while I might have noticed if they switched it to an A, the discrepancy between a D and a C is not too big at the beginning of the semester when grades fluctuate wildly due to the small number of graded assignments. I didn't ever keep backups of the grades, so if I hadn't accidentally made another error that same morning by hitting "Save As" instead of "Save," I wouldn't have had a second copy of the most recent grade report to compare the altered grade to. At any other point, if someone were to change eir grade, I most likely would not notice. Yet through a comedy of errors, I had fortuitously been able to catch this scam and I wasn't about to pass up this opportunity.

Dispite my believes too the contrary Im not more smart then Mr. [Kevin].

I used this sentence as the daily grammar exercise for this same class during our next meeting. They fixed it up to read "Despite my beliefs to the contrary, I'm not smarter than Mr. [Kevin]."

"Good," I said. "But you're still not smarter than me. Know that."

"Why are you saying that?" a student asked.

"Because," I began. "There are certain students in this classroom who don't seem to get that. Apparently, while I so generously allowed some students to use my computer, they took advantage of that trust."

"What did they do?" asked a student not involved.

"Changed some grades. I knew all along -- that whole time I knew what they were doing. [That was a lie.] I just didn't say anything then because I didn't have time to deal with it at that moment. [Another lie.] I knew I could catch it later by comparing it to my backup files. [Lie.] You don't think I wouldn't keep backup files, would you? [Lie, lie, lie.] It is so easy to catch a student who does this. [Lie!]"

At this point, the guilty party made panicked face before slamming it against eir desk.

I continued. "I don't think I need to say who did it, but I assure you that this student will be punished severely."

The student's head continued to slam against the desk. The kid didn't need to worry, however, because that last statement was just as much a lie as the rest of them. Like most of my threats, it was empty; I hated discipline, and it would take a lot of effort to successfully get the student in trouble for this offense. Besides, it was victory enough to make the class think I was so smart and on top of things. In truth, I had just lucked out and felt dumb for not cluing into it sooner. But for the first time after being their teacher for nearly six months, my students verbally expressed respect for my intelligence.


Friar Tuck's

Lindsay, Amy, and I went for a ride late Thursday night, looking for something fun to do. We passed a bar, Friar Tuck's, that looks like a castle from the exterior. For years now, my friends and I have talked about visiting this sketchy bar because it seems both hilarious and gross, but we had never made it inside. We came close once, getting as far as the parking lot. Two carloads of us pulled in and we surveyed the scene inside via the open door as we drove by. I can't accurately articulate what it was we saw, but it simultaneously unnerved each one of us. Rolling down our windows, the members of both cars quickly conferenced and decided that none of us felt comfortable exiting our cars, so we abandoned that plan for new ones.

On this past Thursday night, Friar Tuck's had a sign advertising karaoke. Lindsay encouraged us to go. Initially, I expressed my hesitation, but then reconsidered since it would surely provide the adventure for which we were aimlessly searching. We drove by the entrance three times, peeking in each time, before deciding that we were actually up for it.

The bar was filled with angry-looking dirty dudes and the women who love them. (The picture above is from the bar's myspace page and provides a pretty good idea.) The average patron wore black and had three visible tattoos. The floor was sticky with spilled beer. In a room on the side, baseball capped jocks cheered while playing beer pong. In spite of the scuzzy-ness, the bar was standing room only. We hovered in the back until an end table freed up. I grabbed us a pitcher of Budweiser (that seemed to be the only beverage anyone was drinking), deciding against lapping up the four cups of beer spilled on the tabletop by the table's previous patrons.

The karaoke performances are subpar and boring. Rather than watching the singers, I devoted my attention to a toothless woman who stood less than five feet tall and was twice the age of everyone else in the bar. She sat amongst the surly young folks who seemed to permit her presence but largely ignore her. This yokel troll would bop her head and bounce her pink sweatshirt-ed breasts to whatever song was playing. She drunkenly caressed a mullet-ed man who could easily have been her son and he did not seem to protest. I appreciate the yokel troll on several levels: she was absurd, unintentionally entertaining, and she was the only reason Amy, Lindsay, and I didn't look like the most out-of-place people in the bar. I pointed the troll-lady out to Amy, but since she had slept funny the night before, she had hurt her neck and couldn't turn her head to the left in order to observe her.

After a short amount of time, Lindsay was beckoned to sing her staple song, "Welcome to the Jungle." Since this was the type of crowd that listens to Guns-n-Roses in their leisure, there was audible excitement at the opening bars of the song. Unfortunately, it was difficult to hear Lindsay because the backing track was far louder than the microphone used for vocals, and she didn't receive the usual fanfare. At least the lesbians know talent when they see it.

Amy was called soon thereafter to sing Hanson's "Mmmbop." She had done a hell of a job with that song in the past, so I suggested it again that night as a joke, thinking she wouldn't have the guts to try that song in this type of bar, but good on her for accepting the challenge. Again, it was hard to hear the vocals during her performance, but "Mmmbop" was entertaining nonetheless as it was just the song that prompted the yokel troll to get off of her stool and go right up front with two surprised young men boogying with a toothless grin. Amazing!

I was deliberate with my song choice, selecting the Violent Femmes in order to fit with the tone of the bar. I didn't want to come across ass being "too Broadway" in front of a bunch of ex-convicts. (I'm sorry, that's not fair -- I'm sure some of the Friar Tuck clientele have never been caught for their crimes.) It didn't go so hot, because a lot of the song requires a low voice, and I can't sing low loudly, so I just sort of mumbled as the backing music outdid me until halfway through when the screaming starts. When done right, you're not singing "Kiss Off," you're screaming it. I generated a fan up front, who was digging it and gave me a hug afterward and tried to chat me up. I wouldn't say he was hitting on me, that would never fly in this setting, but I wasn't a fan of his douchey brotherly love either, so I brushed him off and he trotted back to his game of beer pong.

I started to feel bad for having stereotyped the bar so severely without having been in it. In truth, it wasn't so bad. Well, actually, it was bad, but it wasn't nearly as scary as I had thought it would be. Just as I was expressing to my friends how I could see myself coming back again, a fight broke out a few feet away. One guy, intoxicated and irate, threw punches at another while the one blonde lady in the bar (that means she's a hot commodity, obviously) stood between them trying to get them to stop. Fists continued to fly, however, and suddenly the aggressor had pushed his victim onto our table. I reflexively (and successfully) grabbed the pitcher before it spilled as Lindsay was coated with cigarette ash that shot in her direction during the scuffle. Meanwhile, Amy, who can't turn her head to the left if you recall, knew something was happening immediately beside her, but couldn't see it.

We backed away from our table, leaving it to the fighters whose standoff continued for another minute before the bar managers forced the aggressor outside. The yokel troll who had seemed nervous during the altercation seemed to forget what had just occurred more quickly than a goldfish, almost instantly resuming her routine of smiling and clapping to the music. My friends and I contemplated leaving, but hesitated when we saw the puncher pacing just outside the bar, waiting for the other guy to come out so he could "fuck him up."

After twenty minutes, we weren't feeling anymore comfortable with the situation, and decided to bolt. We didn't see the ejected patron in the parking lot, but we did get to overhear a curse-laden relationship squabble. While I wonder whether a certain element of danger might be what karaoke has always been missing, I'm not sure I'm going to be rushing back anytime soon.


Children's Waltz

It’s been quite some time since we’ve celebrated a Free Design Friday. That’s a mistake I’d like rectify with the family band’s song “Children’s Waltz.”

Don’t worry, the song’s title isn’t literal, though it does manage to hit upon the only thing more annoying than children dancing: childish questions. Contrary to popular opinion, The lyrics stop just short of asking, “Are we there yet?”
Children’s Waltz
The Free Design

What makes a tree grow tall?
Why does a leaf turn to gold?
What makes the morning dew?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew.

What makes a raindrop fall?
Why does the nighttime grow cold?
What makes the sky so blue?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew.

Why are the stars so tiny?
Why is the sun so bright?
Why is the moon so shiny,
when it only comes out at night?

What makes a robin call?
Why is a grandmother old?
What makes a kitten mew?
I wish I knew. I wish I knew.

First of all, you couldn’t waltz to this song if you tried. Second of all, most of the answers to these questions could be found in an elementary science textbook. This does not speak well for home schooling, Free Design.

For your reference, as well as Free Design’s, I’ve gone through and typed each of their queries into http://www.Ask.com (RIP Jeeves!) and linked to the first relevant website with an answer. Well, all of them except for “Why is a grandmother old?” – that shit’s just dumb.

Seacrest out.


They're Free, I In-Cyst

When my friend was experiencing a series of mysterious medical ailments, a doctor recommended getting ultrasound photographs of her pelvic region in the hopes of better understanding the situation. After receiving her results, another one of her doctors asked for copies of the images to look at, too, so she took them to a copy center to make duplicates. Noticing the ultrasound photos, an employee at the store jumped to conclusions and wished my friend congratulations. Agitated by the unknown condition of her health and unwilling to play nice, my friend put him in his place. “I’m not pregnant,” she told him pointedly.

Awkwardly, he stuttered as if he could find the words to rectify the situation. A fellow mortified employee handed my friend her copies. When my friend attempted to pay for them, the second employee said, “Just take them.

We both agree that the free copies were worth the humiliation.



Black Friday has always struck me as a gross tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bargain hunter: I clip coupons and research deals online. I do this partially because I am cheap and partially because I achieve a discernable thrill out of saving money.

That said, I hate excessive consumerism. Black Friday is not really about the saving, it’s about the buying. People shouldn’t be so excited that they are willing to camp out overnight in the cold surrounded by a hundred other grouchy strangers to buy things that, though discounted, will still put them in debt.

People also shouldn’t be so enthusiastic to shop that they trample someone to death and hospitalize a pregnant woman, as was the case in Long Island. They did realize they were at a Wal-Mart and not a Bon Jovi concert, right? Having been to many a Wal-Mart, I feel pretty confident in saying that there’s nothing in the store worth unhinging the doors and subsequently cramming through the entrance, giving no consideration to the people next to you, let alone below you.

Apparently, after the police arrived to retrieve the body, shoppers refused to leave the store as managers attempted to close it down. Alice showed me a video of a covered body being wheeled on a stretcher next to a shopper wheeling a television in a cart. You want proof that people are greedy and without common decency? You want proof that our desire to buy things has gone too far? Well there you go.

On the same day, two men shut each other to death after a fistfight between their respective (yet clearly not respectable) significant others broke out by a cash register. Though it is uncertain as to whether these slayings were the result of a merchandise-related altercation, it does speak to the hostile atmosphere of consumerism. I believe that the media is missing the point by continually highlighting the idea that people would have the gall to bring guns to a toy store. I guarantee that that same store had dozens of products with realistic depictions or replications of guns, so having real guns in the store doesn’t seem that absurd to me – but I’m not going to get on that rant right now.

Coincidentally, a few days earlier I was perusing the shelves at the liberry (I know, I know, I’m a socialist) for a book about the Supreme Court when I came across a horribly titled book, Is American Society Too Materialistic? The answer struck me as obvious, but the book claims to present both sides of the issue in the form of short essays. On a whim, I grabbed it, half expecting to return it unread a few weeks later. After the events of Black Friday, however, I was inspired to read it. It wasn’t good, so I will simply return it soon; I’m sure glad I didn’t buy it.

In preparation for moving out of my house, a few months ago I got rid of about 40% of my possessions, donating what I could and throwing out the items that couldn’t be salvaged. It’s funny how most of the things I did hold on to have no value except on a sentimental level. My trinkets, clippings, and used goods aren’t desirable to others.

Since I’m “in transition,” (yes, I’ve been saying this for a while now), I can’t handle anymore tangible objects. When I say I don’t want anything for the holidays, I mean just that. At this point, things just bog me down as I try to find a new place to relocate. I’m all boxed up, and I don’t need any additional boxes.

I know it’s considered “evil” or “unpatriotic” to encourage other people not to buy things given the state of our economy, but I think that’s crap. I can’t claim to have a firm grasp on our economic situation, but I have done some reading and attended public lectures to try to understand it better. One thing I do understand is that many businesses were spending money they didn’t actually have. Now the government is spending money it doesn’t have (by borrowing it – plus interest!) to “fix” our current situation. Spending money is not a cure all. The majority of Americans are in debt because they spend money they don’t have on non-necessities. Even more than a financial issue, it boils down to an environmental one. We dedicate so much of our finite resources and energy to material items that are often quickly disposed.

I’m not a total Scrooge: I think gifts can be nice. I like giving gifts when I know the recipient will use/appreciate it, and likewise like receiving them when I can use/appreciate it. But I hate this mentality of gifts being compulsory, that you don’t love someone unless you buy em something. Consumerism for the sake of consumerism is stupid, irresponsible, and even deadly.


Quince Dresses

In 8th grade, I was instantly fascinated when I first learned about Quinceañeras in a short essay in my Spanish textbook. As described by the book, a Quinceañera is a lavish party of wedding-proportions to celebrate Latina girls' fifteenth birthday. Families save money for years to pay for an elegant dress, limousine, and reception of epic proportions. Because it seemed so absurd, I wanted desperately to attend. Of course, growing up, I did not know a single person of Mexican heritage, so I never had a chance to be invited to such an affair, though I was able to attend the affluent white alternative in the form of my Jewish friends' Bat Mitzvahs. They're both cultural events tied to a religious ceremony with a large price tag attached, except that at Quinceañeras there are more tiaras and fewer yarmulkes.

Once I moved to California, I met people who had actually attended Quinceañeras, and I lived vicariously through their tales. I made it my goal to eventually be invited to a Quinceañera so I could experience one firsthand. On one occasion, a friend and I heard of a Quinceañera occurring nearby and considered crashing the reception. Instead, we developed a working title for a screenplay: Mom, I'm Pregnant and It's My Quinceañera. In combining a cultural rite of passage with an unexpected biological one, it had all the workings of a dramatic, captivating film. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, someone else seemed to think so, too. Quinceañera is a film with that precise story line, but with a less catchy title if I do say so myself.

While I still haven't been to a Quinceañera, I came as close as I ever have this past weekend. As a teacher to a predominately Mexican-American student body, Jessica has attended several Quinceañeras, not that I'm totally jealous or anything. One of Jessica's students lent Jessica the "official" video of her Quinceañera, and of course I didn't turn down the offer to view it. When Daniel saw the DVD's cover, he asked if it was a porn. I can't fault his misperception because the grainy, low-quality photograph of a young woman making a sultry pose with a showy cursive pink title could easily be slipped into an adult film store without notice.

The video was nothing short of ridiculous. It starts with our almost-fifteen-year-old in what looks like a slip while frolicking on the beach and splashing in the water. Later at home, she pretends to fall asleep and with the magic of some special effects, she wakes up wearing her dress. Then she poses with it on a bridge, in a meadow, etc. According to Jessica, this girl is a rebellious anarchist type who didn't even want to have a Quinceañera, but here she was primping and posing, playing the part of debutante. It made me feel a little sad.

Skipping ahead (we fast-forwarded, too), the reception was the best part. Here, our birthday girl and her escort (her much older cousin! Jessica claims that that's customary) dance, as do about twenty of her friends. For weeks, these kids rehearse choreographed dances to perform for the girl's family. Alas, these kids aren't on So You Think You Can Dance, they're more like a couple dozen Cloris Leachmans, minus the bravado. They all act a little too-cool-for-school, not wanting to seem as if they're enjoying themselves or the odd dance moves that they're doing to differing beats.

As I stared with wonderment at the lack of synchronization, I noticed that kids are also outfitted nicely, with the boys in tuxedoes and the girls in matching "bridesmaid" dresses. It occurred me that since friends tend to be of the same age, a lot of these poor kids must have to go through this ritual and literal song-and-dance several times in the span of a year. Jessica acknowledged that my theory is true, and that those girls have to buy those dresses each time, an expensive undertaking for the girls who are asked to be in several Quinceañeras. If they can't afford the dress, they have to turn down the offer to be in the reception.

This conversation inspired a new screenplay idea:

Miley Cyrus stars in:

Quince Dresses

Premise: When Miley's father gets a job promotion, Miley's whole family must move from their entirely Caucasian small town in the Mid-West to an exclusively Mexican-American community in southern California. After some initial trouble adjusting, Miley's quest to make friends works a little too well, as she finds herself being asked to participate in numerous Quinceañera celebrations: fifteen to be exact. Amassing a collection of frilly, unattractive dresses, Miley must deal with her jealousy of always being the bridesmaid, yet never being Latina enough to have a Quinceañera of her own.

Conclusion **WARNING -- SPOILER**: As Miley begins to throw a temper tantrum, her father throws a surprise Sweet Sixteen birthday party where Miley is permitted to wear a slutty outfit rather than an unflattering dress, shares a keg with her friends, and is gifted an expensive new car. In the absence of choreographed dances, religious ceremonies, and cousin-dating, Miley's party is a raving success, elevating her to the status of the most popular girl in school.

Let me caution any would-be idea poachers that while I was willing to let my Mom, I'm Pregnant and It's My Quinceañera concept get away without a fight, I will sue you aggressively if you try to make Quince Dresses. This'll be my million dollar idea, and it'll be the only way I can afford to pay for my own child's Quinceañera one day. That's right, you can bet that regardless of my kid's gender or ethnicity, my kid will have a Quinceañera; after all, you only turn quince años once! Plus, it might be the only way I ever get invited to one.