Thursday, March 30, 2006

Books we would have if famous authors wrote restaurant reviews, cookbooks and dinner guides instead of fiction

(I haven't seen a list post in a while, so here's one.)

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender is the Chicken / The Great Gatsby’s Guide to Dinner Parties for the Aloof / This Side of Potatoes

John Steinbeck: The Wine of Wrath / Of Mice and Men - Cheese for all occasions

Stephen King: Currie / The Bread Zone

Harper Lee: To Eat a Mockingbird

Thomas Keneally: Schindler’s Wine List

Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange Sauce to Die For

Hemingway: The Cake Also Rises

George Orwell: 19.84: Dinner for under $20

Ayn Rand: Atlas Sautéed

Truman Capote: Marinated in Cold Blood

Sue Grafton: A is for Apple Pie / B is for Baking / C is for Cookies (that’s good enough for me)

Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes are Watching the Pot – And it’ll never boil

Flannery O’Conner: A Good Cheesecake is Hard to Find

William S. Burroughs: Naked Lunch

Happy Reading

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From Communism to Christianity, with copious amounts of butt-kicking

While perusing NewsMax the other day, I noticed something fierce blinking rapidly at the top left of the window. Unable to focus on the article I was reading (it was either about John Kerry's hotel room demands or baby seals fighting back in Canada... my memory was instantly erased), I clicked the link. That's what you're supposed to do online when something is blinking at you: you click it.

I never expected to enter into the world that I did. In big bold letters across the top of the page, it read: 1000 year-old Christian fighting system revealed! What followed was a crazed gaggle of paragraphs with random sentences highlighted, and other random sentences centered in blue. It was like buying a used text book from a mental institution. But, after using every last ounce of strength I discovered the following:

There is a Russian/Christian Orthodox method of disarming someone that is vicious, fast, and used by some super-secret group of soldiers called SPETSNAZ.

This is clearly an amazing website... so I've taken it upon myself to pull some quotes that the webmaster has highlighted or boldened in hopes that you will go and immediately sign up to become a killing machine.

[I'm not altering any of the spelling or capitalization, just so you understand the awesomeness.]

• This Ancient Russian Military System Is The Key To Dominating Without Fear... Without Anger... And (Most Important), With a Simple "Moral Psychology" That'll Make YOU Unbeatable!
• Well guess what? Vlad has finally released his "next level" in Russian fighting
• I'll admit, this "Russian Disarming" fighting style looks weird
The "Power Base" Comes From LOVE.
• This Is NOT A "Hug Your Attacker" Program Or Some Religious Lecture.
• Of all the people on earth, it's the Russians who understand the triumph of love for family and country over hatred and evil.
• And let's not forget about Hitler.
• 20 million!
• When Good People Fight Back Without Fear... They WIN.
• And trust me... there's plenty of goons walking the streets right now who — if you stood by and did nothing — would gladly rape, kill, and destroy everything you hold dear, then sit down for a hot meal without giving you or your family a second thought.
• "loose-body" techniques
Try And Cut A Rope Without Pulling It Tight.
• And the vicious natural "whipping" motion of your arms and legs makes stripping away any weapon as easy as taking candy from a baby.
• "brain freeze"
• devastating "slap-shots"
• You'll swear you're watching "The 3 Stooges".
• Russian "dirty tricks"
• smooth-as-silk "psychic core"
• These fighting secrets are so savage, no one can stand against them
• There Is One "Catch".

Are you as speechless as I am?

I thought so.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Strangest Thing I've Ever Seen?

I was helping my friend BM move into a new apartment on Saturday morning. It was filled with usual moving day activities... carrying things up and down stairs, packing them into a U-Haul, unpacking them out of a U-Haul, re-carrying things up and down stairs.

It was during the loading process of the second truckload that something happened that, at the time, I called "the strangest thing I've ever seen."

BM was loading into the truck a regular, ordinary floor lamp when I looked down the street and saw two 20-something girls walking up the street each carrying a regualr, ordinary floor lamp. I instantly felt that I was in the middle of a turf war gone wrong. BM and I stumbled into a neighboring gang's territory and they sent out female warriors to snuff us out!

I made a joke about moving floor lamps, and we all laughed, but then things took a downward turn... I declared the situation, "the strangest thing I have ever seen." and then instantly felt that I overstated how strange the situation actually was. Sure, how often do people run into each other while carrying floor lamps down the street? But the strangest thing ever? What was I thinking!?!

This situation was, at best, oddly coincidental. I overstepped social boundaries and felt ashamed. Then, I felt completely lame. I admitted in front of two girls I've never met before that this meeting was the strangest thing I have ever seen! What kind of sheltered life must they think I live?

I just wanted to take an offical stance in case word is spreading. I don't want you hearing this story repeated in your local coffee house or grocery store and thinking that it is indeed true. The lamp encounter was NOT the strangest thing that I have ever seen. I was wrong. I don't know what exactly is the strangest thing I have ever seen, but I do know it is alot stranger than that. I promise.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Designated Peril

Drunk people are obnoxious. This is particularly true when said drunkards are your friends. While drunk strangers can be easily ignored – or at the very least easily left behind – you are stuck with your drunk friends. You have a certain responsibility toward your drunk friends. You have little choice but to valiantly suffer the slings and arrows of their drunken ramblings, drunken rages, and sudden drunken needs to collapse upon your shoulder like giant loose sacks of drunken ground beef. And, through some unexplored mystery of the universe, when you are a sober designated driver you become the focus of all drunken misbehavior.

Last night, two other Cellar Dwellers and I convened at a local watering hole in the quaint locale of Chippewa, Pennsylvania. For those who do not know Chippewa is a Native American word meaning “suburban development”. Well, it quickly became apparent that some of us were in a drinkin’ adventurin’ mood. So, my two compadres – whose anonymity I shall protect by referring to them as Boe and Jen – and I struck upon the ambitious plot of drinking our way to Ohio. After reconvening at Boe’s house, we all piled into the Maroon Zoom – my happening automobile – and headed into the great unchartered Western lands toward that mysterious, quasi-legendary land of Ohio.

We made a few quick perfunctory stops in good ol’ PA. We were silent bar assassins, moving through the inky night, appearing only for the briefest moments in order to zero in on our kill. In this case ‘our kills’ were usually a quick shot or a beer. Then we were back out into the foreboding night. The siren call of drinking the same beer in Ohio that we could drink in Pennsylvania at roughly the same price was overwhelming.

So, onto Ohio we traveled. Of course by this time, in strict keeping with my position of DD, I had stopped drinking. Boe and Jen however were completely undeterred. They poured beers, Jack and Cokes, and various ill-advised shots down their gullets with detrimental abandon. As the noxious potables took their effects, my companions' moods became noticeably changed. They become looser, louder, and truer to their base selves. In short, they became assholes.

I hate to name names but one friend – Jen – became particularly insufferable. While Boe was content to shoot other drunks – or as he refers to them ‘his people’ – in sloppy games of pool, I was left to entertain Jen all by my lonesome. Jen – for lack of a better term – was smashed. He was sloppy. He was by turns goofy and belligerent. I tried to keep him occupied with the jukeboxes at various establishments. This worked ok for a while, but eventually both he and I ran out of quarters and dollar bills. Then I had to listen to his play by play of all the songs he chose and why.

At one point, I decided to call my girlfriend – who for blog purposes I shall refer to as The Wonderful One – since she lives a long way away and I miss her. Of course, Jen insisted upon taking the phone from me and began complaining loudly and incoherently about this particular jukebox in this particular bar. This went on a much longer than I would have anticipated. Thankfully, The Wonderful One seemed amused by Jen’s drunken ramblings. Although, she did note that Jen was way too intoxicated to work a jukebox – The Wonderful One is very particular about her music and does not trust it in the hands of the wasted.

Eventually, the hour grew late and we decided it was time to once again heed the call of the road taking us back to our native land. Now, when you’re a DD, the drive home is where the real fun begins. You see, for some reason – I think it may be encoded into the male DNA somewhere – as soon as drunk friends get into a buddies car, things get stupid. Almost immediately, Jen began slapping me – hard – on my right shoulder from the back seat. I tried to explain in the nicest terms at my disposal that I was driving and could kill all of us if he insisted upon distracting me. Jen kept on slapping. I still can’t lift my right arm above ninety degrees. Eventually, Jen got bored with me and began slapping Boe in the back of the head or something – I wasn’t looking, but every so often I heard Boe exclaim ‘Ow, you F---‘. Boe began rambling on about making pancakes – or something – it was pretty choppy. At some point, someone began throwing pretzels around the car. So, now pretzel shrapnel covers almost all the plush maroon interior of my auto.

I did manage to arrive safely back at Boe’s estate to deposit my buds to their slumber. After practically lifting Jen out of the back seat, everyone got inside in one piece. Jen did, however, have the sudden desire to race to the door. Once inside, Boe and Jen began cuddling on the couch. This is odd because they are both boys – Jen’s just code for Ben. Then Jen crawled to a separate couch and fell dead away. Boe was passed out precariously one-third on the couch, one-third on the coffee table, and one-third suspended in mid-air. I thought I might want to rearrange him, but decided I didn’t really care. I drove home to sleep in the peace and comfort of my own bed.

So, take this as a warning all you potential DD’s out there. It is a perilous job fraught with untold dangers, annoyances, and douche-baggery. It is not for the weak nor is it for the faint of heart. It is a job for real men, men who are at least 120% man. It is also not a job for someone without a vacuum to clean up pretzel bits from throughout his vehicle.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Zombie FAQ's by Mike

I was recently sought out by two of my Dweller-pals to answer a few questions about zombies. They regarded me as the resident expert on the subject, and I was happy to help. My answer satisfied them so that I thought it would be helpful to further elaborate for the world to see.

James: What happens when zombies eat everyone? What will they eat if there aren't any humans left?

Zombies are forever cursed with hungering after warm flesh. When someone dies and rises as a zombie, a part of their brain is instantly drawn to the living Man. This idea of a tumor-like development within the zombie brain is discussed by many in the field of zombie entertainment. George Romero, the father of the entire zombie sub-genre (despite the fact that he always thought of them as "ghouls" instead of "zombies"), coined the classic phrase "destroy the brain or severe the head" which describes the best way to stop a zombie. Their primal urges all stem from their brains, or as Michael Arnzen in his poetry book "Rigormarole" calls it, their Resurrectal Cortex-- the thing that makes them hunger.

That said, being that the zombies are already dead, they don't necessarily need to eat humans to live. In fact, they don't have to eat to survive. What's going to happen to them if they don't eat? Are they going to die? No. They'll just hunger. Because that is part of the zombie plight, that is their eternal punishment: they have to roam the earth forever wanting some grub. It's like eating an unbelievable steak while on vacation. You may never get back to that vacation spot to eat a steak like that again, but the want for another steak like that could always remain in the back of your head.

There are a few instances in what I call "the good zombie films" where one sees what happens to zombies when they don't eat: nothing. They simply continue to shuffle around, moaning and occasionally knocking things over. The guys who asked me this question had just finished watching the re-make to "Dawn of the Dead". In the film, as with the first version, when the zombies aren't chasing their living meals, they are just walking around the mall (like they used to do while they were living). They aren't falling over because of starvation. And in the new film, it doesn't even appear that they care about dogs.

So as a final answer: Nothing will happen to zombies if they don't feed on humans. However, something will happen to you if you get too close to one.

Ben: Do zombies need to sleep?

This question sort of relates to the first question. Because zombies do not need food to survive, they technically don't need sleep either. Some of the most basic functions that keep humans alive don't even apply to zombies (and as we've seen in "Land of the Dead" they don't need oxygen either). And so while zombies don't need to sleep, they might be able to reach something close to that.

There is some good evidence in a few zombie films that show zombies sort of "vegging out" or slipping into a sort of daze. They aren't necessarily dipping into the dream world, but instead just close their eyes and stand still, waiting for someone to come by and startle them. You'll sometimes see a character walk into a room filled with dead bodies, and think that he or she is safe... only to find that hidden amongst the bodies are some zombies who appear to have been taking a nap. It may be one of those things that just sort of happens to zombies because they feel the human urge. Since there are so many memories and feelings left within zombies, reminding them of what they used to do as humans, it makes sense that they would "feel" like they should pretend to sleep.

So as a final answer: No, zombies don't need sleep, but they can sometimes veg out.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


That's right. Freakin' potheads. I'm sick of it. People say it's not that harmful for you. Well, I'd like to find a way to change that and make it very harmful and then give them more so that they die. There are people now wondering if I have a vendetta. First of all, I'm not Italian so I don't think I can have one. Secondly, I would have no problem with large groups of the population mysteriously disappearing. I'm looking at you poor people living off of my money.

So, of course this is related to my less than rewarding job at a video store. I'm like the PhDs that work at Barnes and Noble. I'm a diamond in the very rough. I hate potheads. Inevitably there is a pothead that come into Blockbuster mere moments before we lock the doors. And then they think they have beaten something and begin a slow trek around the store. Let me use what happened within this very hour as an example.

First of all, they DRIVE! Stoned out of their minds and driving. Good choice? I say ney ney. They drive into our tiny lot and park dangerously close to MY car.

Secondly, they think they're louder than they are. This guy was talking and barely audible up close. But he was on the other side of the store and trying to ask me questions. I yelled "What?" to him, not once, not twice, but thrice, and he just repeated what he said not raising his voice one decibel. And EVERYTHING is funny or makes them angry. Depending on what kind of pothead they are. I'm guessing other potheads can tell by staring blankly into their bloodshot eyes.

Thirdly, Pot apparently makes you retarded. Not stupid or slow, but actually retarted. No, I take that back. There are retarded people that have their shit together way more than potheads. Pot seems to turn the whole world into one of those puzzles with four big pieces with pegs in them for kids my son's age. And two of the freakin pieces are missing. They can't put anything together in thier minds. It's like they're 80 and suffered a head trauma on a construction site. They can't distinguish between a movie for sale with a big red sticker with a price and a rental with no price on it.

Fourthly, they never have enough money. Maybe it's cause you spent it on pot. Side note: It pisses me off when on welfare check day, a myriad of people come in and spend fifty to a hundred dollars buying movies instead of possibly clothes for their children? Hmmmm. Bastardos!

Fifthly, and this has nothing to do with tonight. They should not be parents. When your 12 yo daughter has to explain stuff to you, PUT THE BONG DOWN! There's a couple that I'm positive sells drugs because they buy a crapload of stuff each time, pay for it with fives and tens in cash and their small (5yo) children are directing them through the store. See kids! See what crack can get you? This illustrious life.

Sixthly, the world doesn't run on tokin' time. We are close, closing at midnight. Wendy's is closer with the drive through closing at 5 am. But when you have 14 hours in a fay to rent a movie, why come when you have five minutes left and try to start a conversation with someone who gets only 15 minutes to close the store? Come earlier, not halfway between the top high and back to normal. Jackasses.

The only good thing is occasionally they will buy a lot of snacks.

Okay, I feel a little better. I recently was seriously trying to figure out how someone could become a superhero and stay financially solvent. I haven't got it yet, but I'd like to. I'd like to make a crime fighting group of regular people who use unconventional weapons, mostly blunt objects like bats and golf clubs. Drug dealers wouldn't see us coming. Mwah ha ha.

Mike the Tall