Friday, July 29, 2005

The illustrated man

I've always sworn up and down that I'd never get a tattoo, but today I actually thought of one I want: A picture of Optimus Prime riding on the back of a dragon with a naked chick holding on behind him. Man, that cool-ass tat would be getting me free beers and thumbs-up signs from every guy ever. Now I've just got to think of one for the other arms that'd have similar effects on girls.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Murry Wilson, Rock & Roll Dad

I might be four years late in finding this, but then again, is a parody of long-deceased Beach Boys father/manager Murry Wilson any less timely in 2005 than it was in 2001? Nevertheless, Murry truly was an asshole for the ages, and cartoonist Peter Bagge and comedian Dana Gould have really nailed the pop-eyed patriarch.

Murry's legacy is a complex one. He's reportedly the reason that the Beach Boys' were recorded in mono, owing to a childhood beating he gave to Brain that left him deaf in one ear. On the other hand, the boys' early success was due in no small part to his tenacity as a manager. He recorded a vanity album called The Many Moods of Murry Wilson, but to be accurate, the tracklisting should have gone like this:
Side A
  1. Angry
  2. Cranky
  3. Jealous
  4. Resentful
  5. Uptight
  6. Furious
Side B
  1. Abusive
  2. Violent
  3. Controlling
  4. Cruel
  5. Larcenous
  6. Berserker rage
The only bigger asshole in the history of the Beach Boys -- Mike Love -- has a complex legacy too. He's been an immense jerkoff over the years, but seems to have had the best interests of the band at heart (he made the Beach Boys into a joke, of course, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions). What's more, I seem to remember reading that that Mike was the only one who would stand up to Murry in the early days, and I even recall that Mike actually punched him out once. It's hard to know who to cheer for in a Murry Wilson/Mike Love fight, but I have to go with the guy who never forced his genius son to squat and shit on a newspaper in front of the entire family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scotty beamed up

He's Dead Jim. James Doohan -- Star Trek's immortal engineer Scotty -- entered the undiscovered country this morning, succumbing to pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease (aka "transporter dementia"). In other words, his lungs and brain had had all they could take and they couldn'a taken any more. I suppose it's too much to ask that he'll be discovered trapped in a transporter feedback loop 75 years from now -- he's dead already.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Happy birthday, Satch

Today's celebrity birthdays, according to 24 Hours:

  • Singer Linda Ronstadt is 59.
  • Drummer Marky Ramone (The Ramones) is 49.
  • Guitarist Joe Satriani is 49.
  • Actor-director Forest Whitaker is 44.
  • Actress Brigitte Neilsen is 42.
  • Actor Brian Austin Green is 32.
    • Here's what I find interesting about this list: They had various possiblities for the obligatory celebrity headshot that accompanies it. For example, they could have gone with a photo of Linda Ronstadt from the late 60s to mid-70s, when she was one of the most deliciously cute women ever. Scientology be damned -- she was the only L. Ron I could ever get into worshipping. But instead, they went with rock instrumentalist Satriani, who's only really a cult hero to guitar shredders.

      It raises the interesting proposition that 24 Hours may in fact be published from an alternate universe in which good ol' Satch's technical wizardry somehow made him an internationally known superstar -- or, at least, more of a household name than that dork from 90210 and that big blonde cougar who inexplicably hooked up with Flavor Flav on The Surreal Life 3.

      Wednesday, July 13, 2005

      Apiphobia! My terrifying encounter with the Killer Bees

      A post at the I Hate Horses blog prompted this humiliating recollection from my youth. Naturally, I reproduce it here.

      I was maybe eight or nine, and it was the golden age of the WWF's national expansion. I saw an promo for the Wrestling Hotline during of the Saturday-morning programs, and curiosity got the better of me. I dialed the 976 number (and took a hiding from my mom for doing so when the phone bill eventually came in).

      The phone picked up. "This is B. Brian Blair!" "And this is Jumping Jim Brunzell!" came the voices. Oh my god! It was the Killer Bees!

      I was so panicked to be talking to the actual Killer Bees that I got flustered and hung up. I'd thought I'd just get some guy who worked backstage and had some info. Lord Alfred Hayes or Billy Red Lyons at most.

      Finally, realizing that it was pretty rude to hang up on the Killer Bees, I thought I'd better call back and apologize. I took a deep breath. You can do this, I told myself. You can talk to the Killer Bees. I worked up the nerve and dialed. The phone rang.

      The phone picked up. "This is B. Brian Blair!" "And this is Jumping Jim Brunzell!" came the voices, exactly as before. It was then that I realized I was talking to a recording (and yes, I probably did start actually talking before realization fully set in).

      I felt like an idiot. I wasn't a grown man hanging around with his heterosexual life partner in matching bee-themed underwear, mind you. They were the ones who even dressed like bees in their off-hours, not me. But I still felt like an idiot.

      Wednesday, July 06, 2005

      Really, I think she's just been basically eating a lot of cocaine

      I normally rely on SamuraiFrog over at Electronic Cerebrectomy for my morbidly obsessive Lindsay Lohan-related blogger needs, but I can't resist weighing in here:

      The formerly boobalicious starlet has recently been dipping into Lara Flynn Boyle territory with her sudden weight loss. "People lose weight when they grow up," an annoyed Lohan explained in the April issue of W, attempting to dispell the rumours about possible drug addiction or an eating disorder. "They lose their baby fat." (In my experience, the opposite is in fact usually true. I myself must have put on 30 pounds since I was her age. That's 75% muscle and 25% spontaneous penile growth, I assure you.)

      There's more to it than the maturing process, obviously. "I got a trainer ... Just old-school working out," she told People magazine. I'm not sure what kind of training program he's got her on -- she sure hasn't been putting on muscle. As for her diet plan, the forum posters over at bodybuilding website Testosterone Nation have come up with some interesting details. Here's her supposed diet:
      Breakfast: 2/3 egg whites and veggies and one banana

      Lunch: 3 slices of turkey, chicken or ham with lettuce and tomato

      Snack: 2 hard-boiled egg whites OR one apple

      Dinner: Salmon fillet cooked with one tsp. olive oil and one cup of vegetables

      Snack: One frozen fruit bar
      As one poster observes, this shakes out to about 675 calories per day -- maintenance calories for a 51-pound person.

      It's a sad thing. But try not to think of it. Just go remember her when she was young and lush.

      Monday, July 04, 2005

      Report: Spitting in face of Christ reaches all-time high in Mississauga

      Back to work today after a week's vacation in San Andreas, and I've already rediscovered one of the joys of commuting via Mississauga Transit's public transportation system: the chance to spend quality time in the company of the batshit insane.

      Today's specimen was sitting in the middle of the bus, which goes against the old rule I've heard about that being the safest place in which to sit because all the friendly psychotics sit as close as possible to the driver while the unfriendly ones sit as far way as possible. He looked a bit like Black Jacques Shellac, the bad-tempered lumberjack from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, though he obviously wasn't a good French Canadian Catholic, as he had the quirk of repeatedly expectorating "I spitinthefaceofChrist! Ptuh!" He chanted this several dozen times in the exact same William-Shatner-meets-the-Iron-Sheik intonation. The woman sitting in front of him eventually got up and moved. I didn't see any actual spittle flying, but you can't say it wasn't still a wise move on her part.

      I never won any Sunday school attendance awards, but after a while even I started to get cheesed off at the disrespect he was showing his fellow passengers. A mental case like this clearly ought to have been in some kind of hospital, and part of me was fixing to put him in one. However, unless you're planning on the next day's headline reading LOCAL MAN BEATS LUNATIC TO DEATH or LUNATIC BEATS LOCAL MAN TO DEATH or -- quite possibly, considering the complete lack of common sense involved in getting into an altercation here -- LOCAL LUNATIC BEATS LUNATIC TO DEATH, there's just no point in making matters worse by trying to shut a guy like this up. Even making a snide comment isn't a good idea.

      L'esprit de l'escalier -- or literally "staircase wit"-- is a French phrase referring to the clever things to say that one inevitably thinks when it is too late, such as a cutting, Dorothy Parkeresque retort to an earlier jibe that suddenly occurs to one only when he is on the staircase, leaving the party. An example in my case might be to tell the guy on the bus, "Okay. We all get it. Nobody likes Christ. Now knock it off!" which only now strikes me as being kind of a funny thing to say in the circumstances, if only to watch how the other passengers reacted. But surely there must be a word for the things you do think of at the time, but are held back from saying by simple good judgment.1 We have the phrase "holding your tongue", but I'm not sure it captures the specific nuances I'm looking for (or maybe it does, but doesn't sound as smart because it's not in a foreign language). Maybe the Germans, who have their own expression for "staircase wit" (Treppenwitz) and who also gave us such useful terms as Schadenfreude (the "shameful joy" that one sometimes finds in the misfortune of others) have a word for this, but I've got nothing.

      What I did have were some perfectly servicable lines that went unused: the saccharine and sanctimonious "Jesus loves you, sir; the observational "Phew! It smells like you pissed in the face of Christ!"; or the aggressive "Christ asked me to say, 'Right back at you, buddy!'" punctuated by a loogie in his face. These are the things you don't say at the time, and these are the things you don't even shout from the bus window after he gets off, because your judgment is alerting you to the fact that there's an outside chance that a psycho who suddenly appears on your commute home might become part of your daily routine, and if you want to avoid having him go berserk and gnaw on your face the next time he sees you, you should just let him sit there and hate on Christ all he likes.2 This is why you wear headphones and sunglasses on the bus, your judgment reminds you. Just let him be.

      "Agree or disagree, you've got to at least admire his ability to really stay on message," I eventually said to the driver after Black Jacques Shellac finally got off. The driver smiled sadly and nodded, and I wondered how many unused lines must float through the poor bastard's head every day given the sheer number of crazies who take public transportation but just aren't worth dealing with.

      1. The word I'm looking for is not "cowardice", ass.
      2. In theory, every time you get two lunatics together, a violence fight ought to break out, since one's going to be provoking the other, and the latter doesn't have any good judgment to tell him to just let things slide. Yet you don't see this happen much. Do lunatics just avoid each other, or are they remarkably tolerant?

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