Saturday, January 28, 2012

Listening To "The Jupiter Menace" Soundtrack, Drinking Crystal Pepsi, Eating A Priazzo, Reading An Etiquette Hell Thread And Late For My Spin Class

Okay, that's not my first choice of titles for this post, but Blogger made me shorten it. Originally, what I wanted was "Watching 'The Jupiter Menace' in my underwear while listening to Tangerine Dream, drinking Crystal Pepsi, eating a Priazzo Milano and reading a groomzilla thread on Etiquette Hell made me late for the spin class I haven't paid for yet because my last Ginsu knife order put me over my credit limit." Better, right? I know! What it lacks in succinctness, it more than makes up for in inaccuracy.

I wasn't really watching "The Jupiter Menace." I was actually watching my old VHS tapes of Live Aid. The only copy of "The Jupiter Menace" at Erol's was defective. I just thought it sounded cooler. Have you seen "The Jupiter Menace?" I have, but I don't remember it. Cool electronic soundtrack, though. I think. Can't really remember that, either.

And it wasn't Crystal Pepsi. It was Cherry Smash. What I was eating was, regrettably, actually a Priazzo Milano, one of the more heinous insults Pizza Hut ever hurled at Italy. But clearly did not exist yet, so obviously I made up that part. I wasn't reading at all. I was drawing an animated first-person perspective of a space battle involving tie-fighters in the corner of one of my Peanuts books. Used green pen for the laser beams, red for the explosions. It was pretty kick-ass.

Now, you don't have to know me very well at all to realize that there was no spin class. Are you kidding? Me? In a spin class? I don't even know what that is. Sounds like something washing machines do to my clothes - that part of the cycle that makes the machine sound like there might be a big dog in it. I assume it's some sort of fitness thing, based on conversations I've overheard about it, so yeah - I was NOT late for spin class. It was Pilates.

Okay, confession time. I've never owned a Ginsu knife, let alone multiple Ginsu knives. But it's not like I haven't tried. I've made several attempts to own a Ginsu knife, but something always seems to stop me from completing the order. You've been there, I'm sure. It's late at night. Your Discovery Channel special on the unique song of the Poison Dart Frog of Costa Rica (titled "Peep Peep Peep Peep Peep Peep") has just ended. You're about to go for the remote to search for something else to stare at, to avoid going to sleep for a little longer, because you know that once you go to sleep, it will be tomorrow, and who needs that? And there they are, cutting shoes and cans and tomatoes like master chefs. Look at that! It's like it's really, really sharp, and it stays that way! "How have I lived all these many empty years without one of those magical things?" I pick up the phone. It's toll-free! Ooh - it's ringing! It's a wrong number. It's some auto parts wholesaler, and they're closed. Commercial's over. Number, forgotten. Next time, hours of insomniac TV later, I actually write down the phone number. But my call is answered by my then future-wife [Maris], and she sounds hot, and for reasons I'll never quite understand, she flirts with me. When I finally remember to ask about the Ginsu offer, she talks me out of it. She's not good at sales. She hates sales. She's going to quit. We meet for Mountain Dew and Priazzo Milano and get married soon after.

Oh! Most abject apologies are in order. I have another correction to that title. I almost forgot - I was most certainly NOT sitting there watching Live Aid and all that nonsense - in my underwear. I would have gotten yelled at, no doubt. No, I was wearing my terrycloth running shorts and a raincoat. No, wait - that was my Atari-playing getup. I don't know what I was wearing for the Live Aid Tapes Marathon. I bet it was stylish, though. Yeah, no. It wasn't stylish. We're all friends, here. It was definitely not stylish. But it was blue. Or greenish-blue.

Wait! Don't go! I have a point! I wanted to talk about blog titles and the blog posts about which they mislead us. I used to find it amusing, reading a title like "Things I Wish I Hadn't Said In Job Interviews," clicking on the link and finding some drivel about the dangers of having a cat on the kitchen counter when you use the toaster. Yawn. I get all fired-up to read something that sounds bizarre and clever, like "How To Make Your Own Vicodin With Master Hand In The Flowerpot," and it ends up being some mommy blog, and the post is a horribly-written, error-filled, droning narrative of the "funny" things somebody's 6-year old said at the dentist when they gave him the ha-ha gas. Blech.

I think some of these bloggers may actually be doing this on purpose. Found one today called "The Party Was Just Getting Good When The Cops Showed Up, And Then It Got Even Better." It was by a blogger who goes by Eight Arrests, No Convictions. How could it not be at least a little bit interesting or entertaining? I'll tell you how. It was about a Longaberger basket party, and the cops were at the wrong address. That was it! I looked at some other posts on the blog. Even the blogger's pseudonym was a lie. No evidence of arrests or arrest-worthy behavior, and nothing remotely fun to read. Total rip.

So, please don't give your blog or its posts super-weird titles if you aren't going to back them up with some serious Mark Leyner-esque prose. Okay?

And it wasn't Live Aid. It was "Saved By The Bell." And I was drinking Coke.

In my underwear.

Monday, January 16, 2012

700 Hoboes: Lord Dan X. Still Standing.

The next hobo on the list is Lord Dan X. Still Standing, and writing about him is extremely exciting to me. This is because he is number seven on the list (yes, I'm still going through the names in order), so when I finish talking about ol' Dan X, I will have achieved the call-your-mom-and-tell-her-to-turn-on-channel-four-worthy milestone of one percent completion of this ridiculous project. Which reminds me -- any new readers (haha - I just launched an outward-bound spray of Patron Resposado, nasally. New readers. I slay me.) should note that I did not make up these marvelous hobo names. They come from John Hodgman's hilarious book "The Areas Of My Expertise," and I do not have his permission to use them. I figure if each and every one of you nice readers were to run out and purchase a copy of this book, it would make him just that much less angry with me, should he find out about my use of his list.

Lord Dan X. Still Standing was one tough hobo. He rode the old Union Pacific rails throughout his 20s and 30s, during the '20s and '30s. His toughness was not an innate characteristic; it was a trait made necessary by his own inflated sense of self-worth. For a while, he had tried to call himself Czar Dan X, but when the great hobo known as Czar King Rex The Glorious Leader caught wind of it, well, that was the end of that.

It probably isn't fair to call Lord Dan X self-important; he was really more of a know-it-all. He was at least somewhat noteworthy in that he was one of a small minority of hoboes would could read and write, beyond the cryptographic signs and messages his kind left for one another on telegraph poles and such, and he mistakenly thought this skill could help him lord over his boxcar brethren with his fantastic knowledge of everything. He was wrong - on a couple of levels.

There were many things hoboes hated - yard cops, winter, padlocks, debutante balls - but the two things they most reviled in each other were literacy and bossiness. Lord Dan X was just literate enough to be exceedingly bossy. He would read a found bit of newspaper and instantly become a leading authority on world events (in which hoboes had absolutely no interest), or baseball, or the weather. He corrected his fellow hoboes' grammar, lectured them on politics, told them where and when to camp to avoid weather or cops and harangued them about their health and hygiene - all with an utterly intolerable air of intellectual superiority.

As a result, he was beaten up a lot. He was beaten with sticks, rocks, stop signs and cans of beans. On several occasions, he was nearly beaten to death. But he always got back up. Before long, he added the defiant "Still Standing" to his moniker. He didn't learn anything from his beat-downs. He never stopped trying to impress and control his fellow drifters with his vast knowledge. The beatings continued. He kept getting up. In 1940, he became one of only a few hoboes to successfully leave the vagrant's life behind. He won a seat in the Texas State Legislature as the last Tory candidate in our nation's history. His bossiness continued in that venue, as did the beatings.

But he kept getting up. He was Lord Dan X. Still Standing.