40

08Apr14

Whew.

This is a hard one.

Okay.

Lordy, lordy, guess who’s forty? That’s right, it’s me. And it certainly isn’t these non-milestone-celebrating idiots. Perpetually thirty-nine, you dead losers? Jack Benny called, and he wants his bit back. Also, his life. Like you.

Like you, Dylan Thomas. “Do not go gentle into that good night/rage, rage against the dying of the light?” Big talk, considering you were lying comatose in your deathbed while your wife was the one threatening to murder people and eventually getting put in a straitjacket and committed to a psychiatric institution. Maybe we should just make “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that’s the record!” your quotable quote, although apparently you were lying about that one too.

¡Oye! Che Guevara! You know which other Cuban icon got riddled with bullets and ended up postered all over dorm room walls everywhere? Tony “Scarface” Montana. Weird how Al Pacino is worth over $200 million today and enterprising capitalists have made at least that much marketing your image to college freshmen, huh? Isn’t it ironic how you ended up doing about as much for the Communist cause as a picture of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue?

And you, Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters: Well, I guess you proved that McPhattery will get you nowhere. You know drifters are supposed to murder other people, not end up dead themselves, right?

Amelia Earhart … well, maybe you don’t belong on this list at all. I mean, there’s a chance that there’s a 116-year-old crone hobbling around a remote Pacific Island right now. If that’s the case, Carmen Sandiego, isn’t now the time to come out of hiding and start adding something to CNN’s incessant coverage of disappeared Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370? Get on it, Dora the Explorer.

Trivia: “Stonewall” Jackson believed all his life that his left arm was longer than the right and usually held it up in the air to equalize his circulation. Until the Battle of Chancellorsville, when he had to have his left arm amputated due to injuries. Congratulations, “Stonewall” Jackson! Your left arm is no longer longer than your right! Also, it was buried separately from the rest of you and no one knows where it is now, or if they do, they aren’t saying, which is where we get the verb “stonewall.” True story.

Speaking of stonewalling, I’ll give you this, Georges Vézina: You had a hell of a glove hand. Heck, you even caught tuberculosis. What a cool customer you were, Chicoutimi Cucumber. L’Habitant silencieux. But you were never cooler and more silent than the 1926 NHL postseason, when you put in a Vezina Trophy-winning performance as deadest goaltender.

Anna Nicole and Davey Boy Smith: What a lovely couple you make. Anna Nicole used to take drug injections in her buttocks, and the British Bullcrap used to drug his wife before bed so he could give her a hot beef injection in the butt. You’re a match made in heaven, where you probably aren’t.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X: What a lovely couple you make. No, I actually mean that one. I mean, King was a serial adulterer and Malcolm X was a pimp. Despite your philosophical differences, you were both men of God who were kind of dicks to women, weren’t you?

But hey, speaking of God, let me see if I’ve got Pascal’s Wager right. Basically, you can choose to believe in God or choose not to believe in God. If you choose not to believe in God and you’re right, it doesn’t matter because you won’t exist either by the time you’re in a position to find out. If you choose not to believe in God and you’re wrong, you’re also going to learn about the existence of the Devil pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you choose to believe in God and you’re wrong, well, no harm done; you still lived a virtuous life. But, if you choose to believe in God and you’re right, well, jackpot—eternal bliss. And you used this as a proof of God, Blaise Pascal? Sounds more like a proof of your cowardice, insincerity and self-interest, which you’d think God would see right through. How is it working out for you these days anyway? Did you know that bearded homophobe from Duck Dynasty is going around parroting your argument? This is the same guy who said “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. … There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. … But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” This is the fellow logician with whom you’ve aligned yourself, Pascal you genius. Stick to math.

Whoa, that ran long. I guess I had a lot of anger stored up. But who’d have guessed I’d be doing more with my undergraduate degree in philosophy at 40 than Blaise Pascal? Modern medicine, I guess. Okay, rapid fire now:

Bartholomew Roberts? More like the Dead Pirate Roberts.

Uday Hussein? More like “You dead, Hussein.”

Frédéric Chopin? More like Frédéric Show-Panned-by Critics. (They were talking about your funeral. It sucked.)

Klaus Nomi? More like Klaus No-More. More like Klaus Nobody-Likes-Me, because I’m a creepy fey weird-ass singing clown. Turns out we’d rather our mimes keep silent. Not a problem now!

Dennis Wilson … you know what? I still miss Dennis Wilson. Dennis Wilson’s was the first celebrity death where I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard about it. I was nine years old. My parents were newly divorced. I’d always loved the Beach Boys and had spent many an hour reading their personal notes to fans on the back cover of my dad’s LP of Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). One always stuck out: “They say I live a fast life. Maybe I just like a fast life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. It won’t last forever, either. But the memories will…” That was from the handsome one who later became a bearded drunk, the one with the same first name as my dad. And with his passing, another little piece of my childhood died.

Whoa, paging Dr. Freud! Jesus, I need therapy! Forty years old, and on some level I’m obviously still thinking of a drug-addled pin-up boy who wrote songs with Charles Manson as my dad. I am messed up.

But you know what else I am? Forty. Unlike all these dead idiots! See you next year, folks! See you in hell, dead idiots!


Following up on a conversation about Oxford’s controversial word of the year from a couple of months ago, your favorite reclusive former internet humorist Jay Pinkerton sent me an unusually verbose one-line missive this morning asking, “Sick of selfie yet? I can ask again in six months.” Gradually becoming increasingly aware that he’d tricked me into essentially writing a blog post, I responded as follows:
I don’t really have a problem with “selfie.” I don’t personally hear it overused, and it’s at least useful in its descriptiveness of a common occurrence. We’d still have selfies if we didn’t have the word, though I’m open to the argument that having a word for it means more of it. Anyway, what I’m really trying to say here is that I don’t want to get rid of the word “selfie.” I just want to get rid of the narcissistic millennials who take them.

That just reminded me that I haven’t checked out Lake Superior State University Banned Words List for this year yet. Since we’re there, let’s briefly look at the rest of the list:

Twerk: I have to say that this one set some kind of land speed record for going from obscurity to ubiquity in mainstream circles. A year ago, I didn’t know it. Nine months ago, I was ashamed to say that I did, or to have anyone look at my YouTube history for the previous three months. Six months ago I was explaining it to my wife, and three months ago I was explaining it to my mother-in-law. One question, though: Didn’t this just to be called booty-shaking? Another question: What was wrong with just calling it booty-shaking?

Hashtag: Ugh. Yes. There’s no reason to ever say this out loud. The hashtag key used to be known as the pound key, and that’s what I want to do to people who say the word out loud: pound them mercilessly. Remember how lame Joe Biden sounded in the 2010 debates saying “That’s a hashtag fail” in a misguided attempt to sound hip and with it? Now I see old people doing the same thing in commercials. Saying “hashtag” aloud is the rapping granny of 2014.
Twittersphere: The layer of hot air immediately above the troposphere. Zing. I’m not totally annoyed, but isn’t “in the Twittersphere” longer than “on Twitter”? I don’t see the usefulness. However, the suffix may be more useful for describing certain parts of Twitter. Maple Leafs Twitter, for example, is the Barilkosphere, and Edmonton Oilers Twitter is the Oilogosphere. That may be useful shorthand in a 140-character world.
Mister Mom: People are saying this? People are really, as LSSU’s writeup implies, celebrating the 30th anniversary of a Michael Keaton movie that isn’t Batman? I don’t believe this at all. I wonder what Michael Keaton would be saying about this if he were alive today.
T-bone: People are suddenly annoyed at this particular metaphor for a particular type of automobile collision? 2013 was the year it broke out of casual conversations and onto the airwaves to be intoned solemnly by news broadcasters. Truly the age of gravitas is over, if so. We’ve officially reached the point of the Banned Words list where the cranks are allowed to vent. Fine, Kyle from White Lake, Michigan, you hate “T-bone.” What do you suggest we replace it with? Just paint your suggestion up there on your posterboard sign and take it to the street corner where you rant about Obama being a Jew alien every day.
___ on steroids: Okay, I’m with them here. Not that this is suddenly ubiquitous, but this is hacky material and overdue for retirement. It’s just a shade less cringeworthy than ending a sentence with “… not!” like you’re Mike Myers from 1992 or your mom from 2013. “___ on steroids” is of course a relative of “___ on crack,” which suddenly makes it seem a little relevant to 2013 after all. This was of course, the year Rob Ford responded to his crack scandal by vowing to lose weight and sought the aid of a personal trainer who had been convicted for trafficking in banned substances. “Rob Ford is a mayor on crack, on steroids” was a very possible headline this year.
-ageddon. -pocalypse: Mostly weather-related, mostly annoying. I do look forward to the media unironically reporting on a municipal administration’s unpreparedness to deal with a particularly heavy snowfall in a controversy dubbed Snowmageddongate.

Intellectually/morally bankrupt: These are overused for a good reason. I’ll give them up when politicians achieve intellectual/moral solvency.

Obamacare: Yes, it’s actually called the Affordable Care Act. And Reaganomics was, in large part, the Tax Reform Act. I can’t see how Obamacare is more laudatory or derisive than Reaganomics. Each encapsulates each man’s signature policy in a memorable way that ties it to the chief executive responsible for it. Let each of them wear it, for good or for ill. And one thing’s for sure: I’ll take each of these over Orwellian bullshit nomenclature designed to stifle reasonable dissent like the PATRIOT Act, which surely only treasonous America-haters could oppose.
Adversity: “Heard often in the world of football.” So what? It’s a tough sport. You try playing a gladiatorial sport on frozen turf in a snowstorm. You know when you really hear the word “adversity” a lot though? After a football player’s career flames out after three years and he’s struggling to provide for his family because he has no skills and never learned to save, or when he’s struggling to remember his children’s names because of chronic traumatic encephalopathy from years of concussive punishment. Don’t try to take away one of the only four-syllable words a football player ever learns.

Fan base: What’s wrong with just using the word “fans” and why do we need to inflate one word into two? Well, I might argue that “fan base” has a different shade of meaning from “the fans” in that it refers specifically to all of a sport team’s (or entertainer’s or whatever) fandom in a particularly single, monolithic way. It’s like distinguishing your readers from your readership, or your Twitter followers from your Twitter follower count. There’s a useful distinction when talking about increasing your fan base, from a corporate/marketing/bean counting standpoint.


Lots of things ended in 2013, the three most important being Breaking Bad, the Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez relationship, and the papacy of Benedict XVI, in that order. But lots of people ended too, some more so than others. Let’s face it, there’s dead, and then there’s really dead. Glee star Cory Monteith, for example, doesn’t make the cut, as his death was merely a cover version of other more famous deaths. But these people? They’re the deadest of all.

10. James Gandolfini

“The first time you make fun of a celebrity death, that’s the hardest. I don’t give a shit if you’re fuckin’ Wyatt Earp or Jack the Ripper. First one’s tough, no fuckin’ foolin’. The second one … the second one ain’t no fuckin’ Mardi Gras either, but it’s better than the first one. ’cause you still feel the same thing, y’know … except it’s more diluted, y’know it’s … it’s better. I threw up on the first one, you believe that? Then the third one … the third one is easy, you level right off. It’s no problem. Now … shit … now I do it just to watch their fuckin’ expression change.”

9. Paul Bearer

Crossed off the Alive Wrestling Managers list—and taking his gimmick to the next level—in 2013 was William Moody, also known as Percival Pringle III, also known as St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, but best known as Paul Bearer. An actual real-life mortician turned wrestling manager, Moody put the “morbid” in “morbidly obese.” (And also, at a peak weight of 525 pounds before spooky gastric bypass surgery, the “obese.”) His death came as no surprise; when last seen alive, he looked decidedly pale and deathly. Did Paul Bearer’s protégés Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, and Vader serve as his actual pallbearers? Are his actual ashes now contained in the mystical urn constantly carried around by the Undertaker? Given his great devotion to the wrestling business and the fact that his death was immediately worked into an angle on Monday Night Raw in a way he would undoubtedly have delighted in, let’s just go with a shrill “Oh yes!”

8. Stompin’ Tom Connors

No matter what you may have been told about troubadour/panderer Stompin’ Tom Connors, it’s weird that Canadians see him as a national hero when he got that name for stomping a man to death over a $600 debt. He was basically a drifter who did prison time. If you want to call that a hero, fine, take your chances. Like, you might hear an amusing song about potatoes, or you might get stabbed and stomped to death. It’s your call. Yes, unlike that American pretender Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom really did kill a man just to watch him die. Well, that, and to get back his $600. The saddest part of the story is that the guy that Stompin’ Tom stomped to death was the Littlest Hobo’s original owner, dooming the poor mutt to wander aimlessly forever in search of a new home. True story.

7. Conrad Bain

Most loved him as Phillip “Mr.” Drummond. To others, he was the Bain of their existence. Cut down before his time at a mere 89, Conrad Bain is the latest victim of the Diff’rent Strokes curse that has previously claimed Gary Coleman, Dana Plato, and Nancy Reagan, and he’s presumably keeping Gordon “The Bicycle Man” Jump from molesting young boys in heaven now. In a way, Philip Drummond was the Angelina Jolie of the 1970s. Except that he took in a couple of poor black children according to their mother’s wishes rather than stealing them from another land, and he didn’t obviously treat them worse than his natural-born child, and he also continued to hold down a job instead of just swanning around like the Queen of Sheba all the time.

6. Paul Walker

Every halfwit on Twitter rushed to make jokes about how ironic it was that a man who gained fame through a film series about reckless, irresponsible street racing should die in a car crash, in a phenomenon that might well have been hashtagged #2fast2soon. This is about ironic as porn star John Holmes contracting and dying of AIDS, you chuckleheads. That is, it isn’t. It’s either a coincidence or a consequence, depending on whether his fast-driving film persona bled into his real life. Irony is a situation that’s the opposite of what might have been expected—for instance, a man named Walker dying while driving.

5. Chris Kelly

Warm it up, Kris / I’m about to / Warm it up, Kris / Get off my back; I just told you I was about to. Chris Kelly was clearly under a lot of pressure leading up to his premature (and—let’s face it—wiggity, wiggity, wiggity wack) demise by drug overdose. How could he follow peaking as a 14-year-old kid with the temerity to bill himself as “Mac Daddy”? Would the two members of Kris Kross someday be murdered in some kind of Strangers on a Train situation? Would the undertaker place him face-down in his coffin, or just put his suit on backwards? Had he missed the bus on building a musical legacy, and would his name be totally krossed out of the history books? Well, no matter. Mac Daddy is with Vanilli now, in one-hit-wonder pop-star duo heaven.

4. Elmore Leonard

PROLOGUE
It was a dark and stormy night. Author Elmore Leonard, who had a long, bespectacled face and white receding hair and a goatee, moved slowly around his living room, which had a couch, two chairs, a crackling fire, and a bookcase filled with his many books, such as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch. Suddenly, all hell broke loose! Elmore Leonard had a stroke! “As surely as I was born in New Orleans, I gar-on-tee that you have killed me with your awful writing!” he moaned, clutching his chest. “You should have read my ten tricks for good writing!” he admonished gravely. “Why did you never read my endlessly republished ten tricks for good writing?

3. André Cassagnes

If you don’t think it’s a big deal that the inventor of the Etch A Sketch died, give your head a shake.

2. Annette Funicello

Film and television lost many of its luminaries this year, such as adult film stars Harry Reems and Peter O’Toole. A year ago, we had Jonathan Winters; now we have global warming. Special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen’s body was, according to his will, stripped of his flesh and his skeleton displayed with a sword in its hand, probably. Troubled That ’70′s Show actress Lisa Robin Kelly passed of as-yet unrevealed causes, but you can do the meth—er, “math.” (Kelly is survived by her husband, Robert Joseph Gilliam, who reportedly immediately began dating actress Christina Moore.) But perhaps the greatest loss was on the other side of the silver screen: that of film critic Roger Ebert, whose writing dripped with humanity and wit. “The most striking element … is the intelligence of the language,” wrote the man without a face in his 1993 review of Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face, and the same was true of him.

On the other hand, this list hasn’t had a single woman on it yet, and let’s be honest: Do we want to look at a picture of Roger Ebert from any point in his history? Or do we want to look at cutie-pie original Mousketeer Annette Funicello? Thought so.

1. Nelson Mandela

He was a progressive voice of wisdom despite his many years in servitude as a so-called inferior. After being banished from the eyes of the world by the powers that be, he re-emerged to have a remarkable second act and forge unlikely alliances with former enemies. And when he died, the world mourned. But enough about Brian Griffin, the talking dog from Family Guy. Released from a decades-long imprisonment, Mandela became president of his country only four years later, which, to put things in perspective, is exactly the length of time between The Shawshank Redemption and Deep Impact, two films he is sometimes believed to have starred in. Who will replace great, inspiring humanist figures such as Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama as they pass from the world’s stage? It’s really basically down to Jaden Smith now.


X-mas XI

08Dec13

Ten years of holiday music compilations is a nice round number to stop at, so naturally I did another one. For the eleventh consecutive year, there will be no “Santa Baby”. The point here, as usual, isn’t to recycle tired old holiday treacle; it’s to compile a collection of wintry songs you can listen to in July to beat the heat, if you so choose. Also, I’ve been unable to bear “Santa Baby” since the time I saw Eartha Kitt go 20 grand in the hole on Celebrity Jeopardy. Something about the thought of jolly old Saint Nick giving it long and hard to a mentally handicapped woman skeeves me out, I guess.

There is soulful late-’70s saxophone suitable for, say, seducing a mentally handicapped Catwoman, on this compilation, however. Deal with it. What’s more, that’s not even the worst thing on here. There’s something on this compilation that is truly horrible. Something that will take you down the road to madness this holiday season. See if you can guess what is. Here’s a tracklist.

     1. Boots – The Killers
     2. A Doe to a Deer – Los Campesinos!
     3. Almost a Full Moon (Let’s Make Some Soup) – Hawksley Workman
     4. Green Grows the Holly – Calexico
     5. She Screams Christmas – Frightened Rabbit
     6. In the Bleak Midwinter/Lonely This Christmas – Sam Airey
     7. Old Toy Trains – Nick Lowe
     8. Hannukah Blessings – The Barenaked Ladies
     9. Christmas Wish – She & Him
     10. That’s What I Want for Christmas – Holly Golightly
     11. Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! – Sufjan Stevens
     12. Stranded in Snowville – The Winter Sounds
     13. Christmas Isn’t Christmas – The Boy Least Likely To
     14. All That I Want – Vanessa Peters
     15. Winter Wooskie – Belle & Sebastian
     16. Winter Song (acoustic) – Screaming Trees
     17. Let’s Make a Baby King – Louise Taylor
     18. Snowstorm – Galaxie 500
     19. Goin’ South – The Beach Boys
     20. Winter – The Rolling Stones
     21. Holiday Road – The Walkmen
Did you guess what I was talking about? No? Then you’ll just have to download it and see. And for the first decade’s worth of compilations (detailed exhaustively previously), it’s all available in one big file. Enjoy.

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Before I was a married man, I was a single man. One of the best and worst parts of that was having housemates; I used to live with a brain-damaged woman named Toula who, while occasionally frustrating to live with, at least made for good stories. Here’s a lost Toula story I meant to post about five years ago and just found in my draft folder. You can tell it’s an old story because, at that time in history, phone books were still useful items instead of vestigial nuisances:

As you may know by now, my housemate Toula is brain-damaged. By “brain damaged,” I don’t mean “stupid”; I mean “as a result of a car accident”, which does in fact mean “stupid”, but which I hope captures the depth of her stupidity.

Last Friday, I had to confront her about a disturbing problem that keeps cropping up: rather than put my mail on the kitchen table on her way back from the mailbox, she often takes the liberty of just assuming I don’t want it and throwing it in the garbage.

(This seems to be her natural impulse when something is delivered to our house. When the new phone books arrived—one for each of the four housemates who each have a separate phone line—she kept one and threw the other four away under the assumption that we only need one phone book per house, and that no subscriber need feel entitled to one of his own. More recently, a Telus Yellow Pages arrived, so she threw away our apparently redundant copy of the White Pages, and put the Telus Yellow Pages next to our copy of the Bell Yellow Pages. When asked why she threw away our only useful phone book, she replied, “Well, it had been there for a while.” When reminded that it had been there for a while because it was a very useful item, she said, “Well, nobody seemed to be using it.” This is true; at the precise moment she threw it away, no one happened to be leafing through it.)

But back to the mail. My concern was that she kept throwing my credit card applications—which she perceives as junk mail—straight into the recycling bin, leaving me open to fraud and identity theft. My credit rating isn’t much to brag about, but it certainly wouldn’t benefit from someone filling out an application in my name and charging everything he could to a bogus credit card. I explained this to Toula, and added that one should never throw out a credit card application without shredding it, to prevent wily tricksters from ruining one’s credit rating.

“Well, there are lots of ways people can commit fraud,” Toula said in her defence.

“True,” I said. “But I would rather they had one fewer way. So, please do not throw out my credit card applications.”

Returning to my room, I paused, then said to my visiting friend, your favorite Internet humorist Jay Pinkerton, “That just didn’t sink in, did it?”

“It didn’t sound like it,” said Jay.

Sure enough, Jay was right. When Tuesday came around, I checked the mailbox. Empty. I checked the recycling bin. Full. Once again, she’d thrown out one of my credit card applications.

I waited all day and when she came home, I confronted her. “Do you remember what I told you on Friday about throwing out my mail? In case I wasn’t completely clear, let me reiterate: Do not throw away my mail.” Instead of apologizing, she got indignant, apparently because I was nagging her. “Did I do anything else wrong today,” she asked sarcastically.

“Probably, but I’m only concerned with this.”

“You keep bringing this up!” she complained.

“I’ve mentioned it twice,” I said. “I only bring it up this time because you completely ignored me the first time and because it’s important.”

“Well, it’s just a credit card application. Those things are nuisances.”

“It’s my nuisance. Why would mail addressed to me bother you?” I asked. “What if I got something important you mistook for junk mail and threw out? What if, god forbid, I should actually want to fill out a credit card application?”

“Well, you just started nagging me when I came through the door,’ she complained. “You didn’t even ask how my day was.”

“Fine,” I said. “How was your day? Did you have a rewarding day throwing away my mail? Did you just interfere with mine or did you commit mail fraud all over the city? How was work? Was it four hours working in the mailroom, then another four of custodial services, or did you streamline things by just combining the two?”

Well, I was going to say all of that, but she went upstairs in the middle of it. Judging by my earlier attempts to address the topic, she probably would have either misunderstood or failed to hear it anyway.


Monologue #12

13Aug13

All right, now pay attention. First of all, Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. “Oh, Debbie. Hi.” Two, you always call the shots. “Kiss me. You won’t regret it.” Now three, act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be. “Isn’t this great?” Four, when ordering food, you find out what she wants, then order for the both of ya. It’s a classy move. “Now, the lady will have the linguini and white clam sauce, and a Coke with no ice.” Five, respect the cock! And tame the cunt! Tame it! Take it on headfirst with the skills that I will teach you and say no! You will not control me! No! You will not take my soul! No! You will not win this game! ‘Cause it is a game. You want to think it’s not, huh? You go back to the schoolyard and you have that crush on big-titted Mary Jane. Respect the cock. You are embedding this thought. I am the one who’s in charge. I am the one who says Yes!… No!… Now!… Here!… And it’s universal, man. It is evolutional. It is anthropological. It is biological. It is animal. We… are… men! And six, now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.


Image

1. Formation
“The only time this much havoc had been wreaked by this few a number of people, you need to go all the way back to the Horse Semen of the Apocalypse!”—Arn Anderson

***

2. Domination

“That’s right, Tully and Barry might be out celebrating right now, but we are still weeks away from the match that matters when the gold is on the line. How did you say it, Arn? Diamonds are forever, and so are the Horse Semen? And just as appropriately, the Horse Semen are always, always, golden. Whoo!—Ric Flair

***

3. Retirement

“Well, the fact is, I got nothing left to give. But being the man that I am, my last act formally as a Horse Semen, I got one last challenge. And that is to you, Curt Hennig. And don’t misunderstand me. It’s not for a fight. You got something special. What my challenge is to you, Curt, is to stand beside my best friend, Ric Flair, and lead these two men back to the glory and the prominence that the Horse Semen once had. And I’m going to tell you what your prize is. It’s not a spot in the Horse Semen. I’ll give you my spot.”—Arn Anderson

***

4. Reunion

“Now, somebody told me that the Horse Semen were having a party tonight in Greenville! Bischoff, is this what you call a great moment in TV? Wrong, because this is real! Just like the night in Columbia, South Carolina, when you looked at me—tears in my eyes—and said ‘God, that’s good TV.’ It was real! Arn Anderson passed the torch. This guy, my best friend, is one of the greatest performers who ever lived, and you squashed him, in one night. Then you get on the phone and tell me, ‘Disband the Horse Semen. They’re dead. Disband the Horse Semen.’ I looked at myself in the mirror the next day and I saw a pathetic figure that gave up and quit! And for that, I owe the wrestling fans an apology. Because it won’t happen again! Bischoff, you are a liar, you’re a cheat, you’re a scam, you are a no good son of a bitch. Fire me! I’m already fired!”—Ric Flair


Monologue #11

18Jun13

You’re a son of a bitch, You know that? She bought her first new car and You hit her with a drunk driver. What? Was that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Greene. I don’t know whose ass he was kissing there, ’cause I think You’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman—a warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to Yours but praise His glory and praise His Name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since You took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. It doesn’t even carry guns. It just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That’s all it can do. Gratias tibi ago, Domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I’ve committed many sins. Have I displeased You, You feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico. Increased foreign trade. Thirty million new acres of land for conservation. Put Mendoza on the bench. We’re not fighting a war. I’ve raised three children. I have an M.D. from Harvard, I am board certified in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery, I have been awarded citations from seven different medical boards in New England, and I am never, ever sick at sea. So I ask you: When someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn’t miscarry or that their daughter doesn’t bleed to death or that their mother doesn’t suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock, who do you think they’re praying to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, and you go to your church, and, with any luck, you might win the annual raffle, but if you’re looking for God, he was in operating room number two on November 17, and he doesn’t like to be second guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God.


“Who was that Greek guy who used to feud with ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie?”

“‘The Golden Greek’ John Tolos.”

“Right. Not to be confused with ‘The Golden Greek’ Jim Londos.”

“I think all Greek wrestlers are just called ‘The Golden Greek.’”

“Except ‘The Golden Greek’ Spiros Arion, later known as the Iron Greek.”

“Not to be confused with the Iron Sheik.”

“Not to be confused with the Golden Sheik.”

“Not to be confused with Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie.”

“Not to be confused with Greek Adnan Al-Kaissie.”

“… You just made that guy up.”


39

08Apr13

Well, another year has gone by, and I’ve outlived yet another crop of idiots. Yessiree, I’m thirty-nine friggin’ years old today, so read it and weep, all you losers and quitters from history who died at thirty-eight. Oh, you are so stupid. You have to be good to get to this age, and face it, you are no good.

What’s that? I got lucky? No, Roberto Clemente, you are lucky. You’re lucky your plane crashed while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Why? Because dying a martyr makes everyone remember only your talent and not that you were actually a real jerk while you were alive. You are the John Lennon of baseball, Roberto Clemente.

And I have good news for you too, Eddie Guerrero. Yesterday was Wrestlemania, and you faced a lot of competition, but you retained your title as World Cruiserweight Champion Deadest Wrestler. Congratulations on your hard-fought victory over life!

Speaking of great champions, let’s not talk about Sonny Liston. Let’s talk about Muhammad Ali, who I hope is standing over Sonny Liston’s grave right now, still yelling, “Get up and fight, sucker!” Because, as bad shape as Ali is in right now, Sonny boy, he could still take you any day. Because you took a dive and stayed down for like a 1.5-billion-count.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore?” Give me a break. There’s no coming back from the dead for you, Emma Lazarus.

Remember that Bon Jovi song “Bad Medicine,” Sam Kinison? Of course you do; you were in the video. Well, you know what else is like bad medicine besides your love, Sam Kinison? Getting in a head-on collision while driving your car, because they both kill you. Oh! Oh! Ohhhhhhhhhh!

Rhapsody in Blue? How about a rhapsody in screw you, George Gershwin?

Marie Prevost, you were a winner who became the doggie’s dinner. Which makes you a loser, unlike me, because—to borrow a phrase from your day—I’m the cat’s pyjamas!

Well, Harry Chapin, your prediction came true: The cat’s in the cradle with a silver spoon and some other garbage like that, and now you are just like your dad. Because your dad’s dead too. Although he outlived you by like, a lot. He only died four years ago, at 89. So you spent 30 years in heaven wondering, “When you comin’ home dad? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then.” Well, good news: You’re both dead, like father, like son.

Now you, Dimebag Darrell—you’re my favorite death metal guitarist. What’s that? You’re really more of a groove metal guitarist? No, you’re definitely more of a death metal guitarist now. Trust me.

And here’s a tip for you, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: Next time around, try playing a regular guitar instead of a ukelele if you want to play down the fact that you weigh like eight hundred pounds. Or maybe strap on a cello. Wow, I just can’t believe I outlived a fat Hawaiian guy who weighed like eight hundred pounds! Boy, who saw that coming? As a matter of fact, like eight hundred more people died in the time it took me to type your name. Try being smaller and having a smaller name next time, dummy.

Speaking of which, hey JFK Jr. and FloJo: RIP—and eff you.

Oh, Mary Wollstonecraft. I loved your Frankenstein. What? No, you wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman? Hey, did you ever get around to wrapping up the trilogy with A Vindication of the Rights of Ghosts? What’s the hold-up? Oh, yeah, that’s right. Well, c’mon. I’ll get out the ouija board and you can dictate. C’mon, lazybones.

Guillaume Apollinaire, meet Federico García Lorca. You have a lot in common. You both died at exactly the same age—13,953 days old. One of you died in the Spanish Flu Pandemic, the other in the Spanish Civil War. And nobody has any idea who either of you are. Good work keeping your names out there.

Remember how your wife said, “Let them eat cake,” Louis XVI of France? Well, I’m eating birthday cake today. What are you eating? Eat shit, Loser XVI of France.

Daniel Pearl, you are so—okay, no. Forget it. Sorry.

Corey Haim? More like Corey Lame. Oh yes. Now this is more like it. Oh, this one is especially sweet. I had to put up with girls slobbering all over you when I was 14. Now you’re gone, and all those 14-year-old girls are mine, all mine.

Once again, I’m alive and you’re dead. Way to go, idiots!




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