Friday, January 29, 2010

You Think You Know Me But You Haven't Got a Clue

This was always one of my favorite John songs:

Great guitar and piano riff; fucking stupendous lead guitar break!

But man! Did this song ever get screwed over!

It was recorded in February of 1968, but not released until January of 1969, as part of the sound track album for the animated movie Yellow Submarine. It was one of four new Beatles songs on the soundtrack album for that film - an album that is, by far, The Beatles' crappiest ... even worse than Let It Be, which is saying something. Yellow Submarine ran to album length only because side one was fleshed out to six songs with the inclusion of  the previously-released songs "Yellow Submarine" (duh) and "All You Need is Love", the former having been released in the Summer of 1966, the latter, Summer 1967.

Side two of this alleged Beatles album is comprised entirely of incidental music from the movie, and none of it is Beatles music; the seven instrumentals on this side were all written by George Martin, the Beatles' producer.

It need hardly be pointed out that the Beatles themselves wanted nothing to do with this film; it was made only because they were contractually obliged to supply United Artists with a third film. The Beatles didn't even do the voices of their own cartoon counterparts in the film - voice actors were hired, instead1. This being the Beatles' attitude toward the film, it should come as no surprise that they didn't bother to write any songs specifically for the film - they just handed over songs they already had in the can that remained unreleased because they were considered to be of inferior quality.

One of those songs was "Hey Bulldog".

What a shame! Because I agree that George's "It's All Too Much" and "Only a Northern Song" and Paul's "All Together Now" are pretty unremarkable - crappy, even ... by Beatles standards. But "Hey Bulldog" is a truly great song.

To add insult to injury, the "Hey Bulldog" sequence in the film Yellow Submarine (see video above) was removed from the final cut2! The best new song in the film ended up on the editing room floor.

The Beatles recorded "HB" at around the same time they recorded "Lady Madonna", which was their Spring 1968 single. It was decided that they needed a promotional film for "LM" because the Beatles would be away in India when it was released and therefore wouldn't be available for interviews to promote it. And so a crew was allowed in to film the Beatles as they recorded "Hey Bulldog"3. The footage was edited randomly and used to accompany "Lady Madonna":

(Dig John's farrrrrrrr out mutton-chops!)

Then, years later, someone realized that the actual song the Beatles were recording here was "Hey Bulldog", and the footage's sequence was restored and synced to the recording of "HB":

This was truly The Rodney Dangerfield of Beatles Songs: It got no respect ... no respect at all.

When "Lady Madonna" was  released in mid-March 1968, it was backed with ... George's "The Inner Light".

So "Hey Bulldog" got dissed again. John (who wrote "HB") didn't seem to mind. He never thought much of the song, especially the lyrics4. But what a single "Lady Madonna"/"Hey Bulldog" would have been5!

Originally, there was no bulldog mentioned in the lyrics of the song (though there was that "Sheepdog/ Standin' in the rain"); the song was renamed "Hey Bulldog" after Paul started barking at the end, after which he and John riffed the iterated "Hey Bulldog!" ending.

A remarkable song, especially considering that it was conceived and recorded essentially as an afterthought.
1 To the Beatles' apparent surprise, the film turned out to be a pretty groovy bit of psychedelia - clever and eminently entertaining (with a screenplay written in part by none other than Erich (Love Story) Segal!); after seeing a rough cut, they were impressed enough by the film to agree to appear in a live-action cameo coda.

2 In the US version, at least. In Europe, it was retained. The sequence was put back in the US theatrical reissue in 1999 .

3 This is the only film that exists of the Beatles recording a song in the studio.

4 Which, you can plainly see, neither he nor Paul committed to memory before recording the song - they're reading the lyrics from a sheet of paper as they sing it.

5 I don't mean this as an insult to "The Inner Light", which is itself a pretty song.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Confessions of a Lazy, Fat-Assed Fuck

Monday morning was like Spring here in North-ish Central Joisey. Not in the flowers-are-blooming-birds-are-singing-bees-are-buzzing-so-let's-fuck-like-bunnies sense of Spring (i.e., the "good" sense); but in the it's-raining-an-inch-an-hour-outside-and-has-been-doing-so-all-night-and-shows-no-sign-of-letting-up-and so-but-then-even-tho-it's-55-degrees-outside-in-January-it-still-feels-cold-and-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-I-don't-even-feel-like-fucking sense of Spring (i.e., the "less good" sense).

Now, I like Spring1. It is quite possibly my favorite season. When Falls rolls around, the people you know - co-workers; friends; family members; other bloggers - will all be rushing to tell you how much they lurrrrrrve the Fall. And I guess those people are entitled to their opinion. But by the same token, I'm entitled to mine.

And it is my considered opinion that all of those people are fucktarded.

Because what season comes immediately after Fall?


And those same fucktards people will all then be falling over themselves to tell you how much they loathe Winter - and for some very valid reasons. Not the least of which is that Winter is the season in which pert-near everything on Earth dies. I don't understand how people can be so in love with the season (i.e., Fall) that is Winter's - Death's - harbinger. And what I don't understand, I feel the need to label, which is my way of making sense of the senseless.

And so I label these people fucktards.

I feel much better now. You?

Because Spring also has nice weather, just like Fall; the big difference being that as Spring progresses, the days get better; whereas Fall's weather gets worse and worse, colder and more miserable, with each passing day; Fall is the inexorable march toward the entropic heat death of Winter. Fall is nothing but Winter's handmaiden.

Not to put too fine a point on it but ... Fall is Winter's dirty, pox-ridden, meth-addicted, two-dollar whoo-wer. Sure, you enjoy riding her ... at first ... till that day a few weeks later when you wake up to that excruciating burning sensation in your dick when you pee.

Spring would never give you an STD!

But my point is, it was like the bad kind of Spring on Monday, with the rain and all2, and I woke up with my head swimming because a lot of the time, when the seasons change (especially from Summer to Fall and from Winter to Spring), any illness I get typically manifests itself as vertigo; sometimes vertigo-plus-other-symptoms, but vertigo for sure, it seems3. And so on Monday, my head was swimming so badly in the morning, thanks to the weather, that I felt nauseous and the room seemed to be swaying back-and-forth and I did fuck-all in terms of any exercise and I just called out sick from work because I didn't think I could even drive.

By Tuesday, I felt well enough to go to work, but any sudden moves of the upper body still brought on head rushes and room-swayage; so I didn't run that day, like some kind of goat-fucking pussy.

And then yesterday - Wednesday - I also did nothing and the head rushes and feelings of room-swaying were almost totally gone, so there was no excuse. Just the creeping lazy fat-assery that comes with giving myself permission not to exercise for two days in a row. To make matters worse, yesterday they had a retirement luncheon for a woman in the Cataloging Dept4 and I ended up eating like 5 pieces of Chicken Marsala, and then couldn't stop eating the whole goat-fucking afternoon.

I was a total Fat-Ass.

This morning, at least, I managed to get in a 4.65-mile Kankle Run before the snow started. Managed a pretty decent time, too, considering.

The transition back to (nominal) Winter did not exacerbate5 the vertigo- which was nice.

Now to attempt to stem the eating ...
THE Publishing Event of The Spring:

Due in June, I think.

Promises to be even better than fucking a goat.
1 By which I mean actual Spring, not these fucked-up random warm days in January.

2 Yeah and but so now, as I type these words, it's Thursday morning and fucking snowing here in Mid-ish Central Joisey, where I work, and it took me like a fucking hour to make my normally 40-minute commute to work.

3 And if the phrase "for sure, it seems" strikes you as in some way contradictory, GO FUCK A GOAT! Because I meant it to be. So don't bother telling me to fix it because I don't take grammatical advice from goat-fuckers.

4 Most libraries call their cataloging department "Technical Services", which is what ours used to be called till like 2 years ago when the TS foax decided to re-name their Department "Acquisitions and Cataloging" because they felt that was a better description of what they actually do back there. So now they go by the truly ugly moniker Ac-Cat. And their chosen mascot is a cat, of course, because this is a library, after all, and Everyone Knows Librarians Love Cats, and my library is not about to overturn any Librarian Stereotypes.

I think they should have chosen a goat, but had they done that, someone probably would have fucked it. Whereas the cat is still a virgin. Pffttt!  Pussy!

5 If you ever feel the need to fuck a goat, consider exacerbating instead. Because even though exacerbation is also a sin, it's not as bad a sin as goat-fucking.

Worst sin: fucking a fucktarded goat. Totally unforgivable.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meet the New Boss ...

Glenzilla today:
Just think about this for a minute. Barack Obama, like George Bush before him, has claimed the authority to order American citizens murdered based solely on the unverified, uncharged, unchecked claim that they are associated with Terrorism and pose "a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests." They're entitled to no charges, no trial, no ability to contest the accusations. Amazingly, the Bush administration's policy of merely imprisoning foreign nationals (along with a couple of American citizens) without charges -- based solely on the President's claim that they were Terrorists -- produced intense controversy for years. That, one will recall, was a grave assault on the Constitution. Shouldn't Obama's policy of ordering American citizens assassinated without any due process or checks of any kind -- not imprisoned, but killed -- produce at least as much controversy?
Obama, unsurprisingly, is a true Democrat: The only "controversial" policies he's willing to stand behind are the blood-thirsty right-wing policies of his Republican predecessor. This is exactly what I expected and is exactly why I did not vote for this Assassin/Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.

I know quite a few Democratic Party Hacks who still - still - think I owe them some sort of apology for voting for Nader in 2000, claiming, absurdly, that that somehow made me responsible for the election and subsequent policies of George W. Bush.

Well, fuck them.

Where is their apology to me and the rest of the country for their man's adoption of every single one of Bush's authoritarian policies? Where is their apology for the Democrats' support and sponsorship of these policies from 2001 to the present day? Where is their apology for the Dems' unwillingness to offer any meaningful alternative to right-wing authoritarianism? Where is their apology for the fact Obama and the Democrats have the exact same contempt for the rule of law as Bush and Cheney did and do?

I knew Obama was not going to be a very good president.

But I actually had no idea he'd be George Dubya Bush-level bad.

Just as Nader said about the two parties: Tweedledum and Tweedledum-er.

Take your pick as to which is which.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kwestionable acKwisitions

When I went up to the reference desk this morning to do my shift here at the library, the first thing I saw was the following item on the New Titles Cart1:

And (may Jebus give us all strength!) this is how the description of the tome on the inside flap of the dust jacket begins:
In 1977, blood from each member of the rock band KISS was drawn by a registered nurse2 and poured into vats of red ink and used for printing the band's first comic book.[...]
It continues from there, but I think you get the point.

What a rip! Because nowhere on the flap does it say that this compendium of those Klassic KISS Komix (KKK3) uses any of their blood! I suppose they're all anaemic by now (because they must all be in like their 60s) and afraid to let anyone draw blood from them - even a registered nurse.

I was in my teens when KISS first made the scene and they never worked for me: not as a band, not as Kamp Konfection, not even as a sign of the apocalypse. I just couldn't take anything about them seriously, even at the unripe age of 14. And they simply weren't amusing enough in any meaningful way to work on the comedic level, either. They were like a band that was unaware that they should be unaware that it is a joke to say your amps go up to eleven4.

They are a band so lame, even a caveman5 couldn't love them.

True fact: Teh KISS Compendium was lying on top of a tome of Prince Valiant Comics from 1937.

I just knew those guys were into little boys with pageboy haircuts!
1 Or "Kart"?

2 "[R]egistered nurse"? Pffffftt! Pussies! What happened to DIY, KISS?

3 The new KKK! Now with 90% less evil and 50% more Stoopid! (Which brings the Total Amount of Stoopid (TAoS) up to 150%!)

4 FYI, jiif: That's an anachronistic reference to a movie called This is Spinal Tap. Just so's you know.

5 FYI, jiif: This is a reference to an aging hipster named "jiif". Just so's you know. And if you are, in fact, a member of (or should I say "a tool in"?) the KISS army, I apologize for thinking you (cave)man enough to have more taste than that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chrome Dumping Makes You a Man

We — Ian, Teh 'Bride and I — had a hard time getting together with my brother and sister-in-law to exchange gifts this Christmas season — schedule conflicts were worse than ever this year.

We finally hooked up two weekends ago at their condo in Center City Philadelphia.

So while SiL and Teh 'Bride talked girl talk over in the corner, and Ian just generally ran around like an idiot, Teh 'Bro and I sat and kinda watched the football games (with the TV sound off because we didn't care who won since Teh Iggles had already been eliminated because they blow) and listened to the SiL's iPod shuffling its way through various songs, as iPods are wont to do.

At one point, "I'm a Man"1 comes on, and I know it's the Chicago Transit Authority version because it has that distinctive opening bass line to it. And I say to Teh 'Bro, "Who did this one originally? Spencer Davis?"

And he sez, "I always thought this was a Chicago original."

Losing confidence in myself, I pussyishly concede early, saying, "Maybe I'm confusing it with some other song by them."

So we both appeal to Teh SiL2, asking her, "Was this a Chicago Transit Authority original?"

And she says, "Yeah, I think Teh 'Bro3 is right: This is an original song by Chicago."

So I stood corrected.

For the time being.

Luckily, you don't just get to vote on what is factually true and then get to believe whatever answer garners the majority or plurality of votes4. There is in theory still this nagging necessity of holding your beliefs up to the harsh light of what we laughingly call "the real world" to see if they — your beliefs — stand up to the scrutiny that comes with that juxtaposing and consequent comparison.

Well, long story short, the "I'm-a-Man"-is-a-Chicago-T-A-original belief did not stand up to this scrutiny  ... that is, once I got around to scrutinizing it. Which I didn't remember to do until like a couple days ago, or roughly 10 days after the fact.

Because — guess what?— "I'm a Man" was indeed originally performed by Stevie Winwood and the Spencer Davis Group.

And I confirmed this by going to Youtube and finding this:

There is, of course, very little point in doing something like this — revisiting an old dispute and finding out you were in fact not on the losing end of that argument, but the winning end —  unless you intend to rub it in the face of the "victors" as you belatedly and callously strip them of their Victory Crown; which I did by e-mailing my findings to Teh 'Bro and Teh SiL5.

I softened the blow by pointing out that whoever posted this particular youtube video of the SDG doing "I'm a Man" included the lyrics, which I never knew — other than the "I'm a man, yes I am and I can't help but love you so" part. This lyrical ignorance is not my fault, though, because in both the SDG version and the CTA version, the various singers sing the song pretty mush-mouthedly6.

But what really caught my eye was this last verse:
I got to keep my image
While suspended from a throne
That looks out upon a kingdom
Full of people all unknown
Who imagine I'm not human
And my heart is made of stone
I never had no problems
And my toilet's trimmed with chrome7
I pointed out to Teh 'Bro what lucky bastards S. Winwood and the rest of the SDG were; because you know you've really hit the REALLY BIG TIME when you're taking dumps on toilets trimmed with chrome8.

He agreed.

I think this lyrical observation helped him get over how wrong he was and how the moral of this story is that he and his wife should NEVER doubt me on issues of Faith, Morals, and Music, because I'm infallible when speaking ex cathedra, which just means "from the seat".

And I think you know which chrome-trimmed seat I mean.

Here's the three-hour-long Chicago Version of "I'm a Man":

1 No, not the Bo Diddley song. The other one. There's no spelling test in the one I'm talking about1a so I approve of it. Whereas Bo asks you to spell "Man". And he takes his time about it. "That's spelled M" ... musical interlude ... "A" .... more music ... come on, Bo, say it Say It Fuckin' SAY IT — SAY "N"!

And then, finally, "N".

Bo's song is just too stressful for me.

1a Though in some versions, there is a short test of state capitals at the end.

2 Yes, only Teh SiL, not Teh 'Bride. Because when it comes to music from the '60s — or, for that matter, any music that involves human agency of any kind, by which I mean music that was not completely created by synthesizers and computers and autotuners to make "stars" out of "singers" who have rock hard bodies and can dance a bit but can't, strictly speaking, sing — when it comes, as I was saying, to actual music, Teh 'B., sad to say, is utterly useless. She hates music made (sung; played) by real flesh and blood people. So we did not appeal to her in this dispute.

And she was glad of it.

3 She didn't actually call Teh 'Bro this. She called him "The second-sexiest Heisenberg."

Tough shit, SiL! You're too late! You had you chance with me! You made your choice!

4 Unless you're a fundamentalist Christian and the issue is Evolution. Then ... it's Fuck The Facts. (But marry them first.)

5 Yes. I am that much of a dick.

Have we met?

6 Steve Winwood sings everything mush-mouthedly.

I suspect he's a genuine mush-mouth.

7 I am not convinced these are the actual words SW sings, but every site I cross-referred these lyrics with had either these lyrics or CTA's variant (see FN8, below). So this assertion w/r/t the toilet/chrome lyric is hereby elevated to the level of "fact" by popular acclaim, despite what I say about facts and voting supra.

8 Chicago Transit Authority never made it this big because they changed this line to "And my body's pretty strong". But don't cry for their collective colons, because it's possible that, on those "Saturday[s] in the Park",  the Chi-town guys just waited till no one was looking, went behind a tree, dropped trou and took a dump there. No chrome, but, hey, at least they're not holding it in.

Because isn't that what that song is secretly about? If not, what, exactly, do these lyrics mean:

Singing Italian songs
Eicay vare, eise narde
Can you dig it? Yes I can

That's Italian for, "Excuse me while I void my bowels behind that shrub!"

The song then goes on to ask whether you can dig that and you, blissfully ignorant of what you're about to agree to dig, groovily reply that you can, indeed, dig it.

I don't blame you for feeling betrayed.

Real Classy, Chicago guys!

And if you ever get the opportunity to take on a dump in a toilet trimmed with chrome, you really ought to go for it. It's possible, if you're not used to such cloacal luxury, that you might not be able to go, due to ... um ... O, let's just say "performance anxiety".

Know what I hear helps in those situations?


Yeah, you'll be pooping in a jiify8a.

8a As it were.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hey Jude

First saw this on hey dullblog

Golden Slumbers Fill Your Eyes

Last night was Ian's school's 4th Grade's Winter Musical Performance. Ian was in the chorus.

One of the songs they performed was "Fairest Lady". I had never heard this song, or heard of it.

Here it is (but this is NOT Ian's school performance, btw):

But I have heard of the Beatles and this song:

Golden Slumbers

"Golden Slumbers kiss your eyes/ Smiles awake you when you rise"! Lyical Rip Off, composer of "Fairest Lady"!

Just not of the Beatles.

Because Paul took some of the words for "Golden Slumbers" from a 17th century poem by Thomas Dekker.

I never knew this until I was in graduate school and was reading poems in an anthology called The Golden Hind: An Anthology Of Elizabethan Prose And Poetry and I saw this:
Cradle Song:
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.
Care is heavy, therefore sleep you,
You are care, and care must keep you ;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Paul never tried to hide this fact; but, oddly, I had never heard about this genesis of "Golden Slumbers" until I stumbled upon it myself in my early 20s.

I have to say, I prefer Paul's tune in "GS" to the one used for "Fairest Lady". (This is only to be expected, though.)

After the concert, I told Ian: "You sang a Beatles song! Kinda ..." And when we got home, I played him "Golden Slumbers".

He didn't care for "GS" - probably because I insisted on playing it over and over and loudly singing along.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Drop City

I just finished reading Drop City by T. Coraghessan Boyle. More recently, Boyle started going by the moniker T.C. Boyle, which makes sense, because it's pert-near impossible to guess the correct pronunciation of "Coraghessan" from seeing it written. (It's "Cor-AG-hessan, accent on second syllable", by the way1.)

Okay, so thanks, TC, for changing "T. Coraghessan" to "TC" and sparing us all the embarrassment of possibly asking for one of your novels in front of someone who does know how to pronounce "Coraghessan" and getting the pronunciation woefully wrong and looking like a Philistine to this hypothetical and judgmental dilettante bastard. Except also Fuck You, T.C., because your actual name, the one you were born with, is Thomas John Boyle - and I can fucking pronounce every single one of those names without any help from the literary cognoscenti who are just waiting to laugh at my ignorance - but you, when you were 17, decided it would be cool to change "John" to "Coraghessan", which latter I think must be Gaelic for "Dickhead". And then but so over here you admit: "My friends call me 'Tom'."


I take it back; I think "Coraghessan" must be Gaelic for "Mother-fucking Dickhead"2!

But anyroad, Drop City.
I picked it totally at random, for no other reason than that it was one of the many T. Dickhead Boyle novels that were sitting on the shelf here at the library; I don't think I was unduly influenced by the fact that it was the only Boyle novel that had a jacket that somehow spoke to me for reasons I can't quite articulate or put my finger on.

Now you're probably thinking those are all girl-asses on that cover, because what kind of sick fuck would put guy-asses on a book cover and expect it to sell to anyone other than closeted "manly" Republicans like Mark Foley and Rush Limbaugh? But the thing of it is I'm pretty sure at least some of those asses are dude-asses because the novel is set in 1970 and is about, in part, this hippie commune called "Drop City" (which, come to think of it, is probably how T. Mother-fucking Dickhead came up with the novel's title - Woohoo! My very first critical/literary insight!) and so since they're hippies, they all have long hair - so the hair is no help in establishing gender. And even though some of the asses depicted on the cover are more shapely than others, that's still no dead give-away as to which are girl-asses because there are dudes in this world who have some pretty shapely asses (me, for instance, but don't you fucking DARE look - or TOUCH - if you're a dude!); and then also all the hippies are lying face down so there's not like, say, a stray tit or hint of labia or (heaven forefend!) a bit of hairy nutsack peeking between any of those ass-cheeks to clue you in to the gender of the body attached to any given ass.

Which, not to beat a dead horse, here, but ... which is pretty fucked up, because what if you're the type3 that is easily suggestible, the type that gets so overly stimulated by visuals that he ... does things4? And then later it occurs to you5 ... Hey! Was I doing ... um ... that while unwittingly looking at a dude's ass?

That's just wrong on so many levels. (Approximately three.)

But anyway, the book:

It was okay. I had never read a TC Boyle novel before, but made a mental note to check him out at some point back when tfh was still blogging and she instituted a "Literary Tuesday"6 and she encouraged other running bloggers to use Tuesday posts to write about books they liked, also; and some of us took her up on that, at least (in my own case) until commenters began to complain; and tfh, in one of her lit posts, recommended a novel by Boyle (which one? I don't remember); I'd deliberately never read Boyle because seeing the movie version of The Road to Wellville was, for me, so traumatic - because the movie really, really blew - that I was put off reading him, blaming him, for some reason, for the movie adaptation/crime against humanity. Well, maybe not blaming him. But avoiding him because of it. Just in case.

And I knew that that was unfair.

So I finally gave Ol' T. D'head a chance and, as I said, the one I chose, Drop City, was okay. Boyle writes well, but far more conventionally than I had expected. For some reason I was expecting Thomas Pynchon-weird7 but Boyle is nowhere near that inventive or off-the-wall. Drop City basically juxtaposes two kinds of drop-out-of-society types: The hippies, who move their commune from California to Northern Alaska to escape the plastic-fantastic workaday world they abhor; and the self-sufficient Alaskan trappers (one in particular) who also have a profound distaste for "society" but do not share the hippies' we're-all-bothers-and-love-will-conquer-all outlook.

It's an interesting perspective. Boyle doesn't do a whole lot with it, though. The novel is not particularly well-plotted and Boyle's narrative voice isn't strong or unique enough to make up for that slight deficiency. Drop City managed, nevertheless, to hold my interest the whole time and I read it pretty quickly.

I am thinking of trying another of Boyle's novels in the near future.
This morning I ran 8.14 miles at a 9:05 pace. I had to force myself to get out there because I was NOT into a run at ALL this morning, but once I was out there it went well. I had plotted out a 7.3 mile run but, as you can see, I improvised nearly another full mile and could have gone much further except I had to get home and get ready for work.

All-in-all, not a bad run.
1 Another quintessentially fucked up Irish pronunciation. I can say that because I'm Irish. But not as fucked up as the pronunciation of Dun Laoghaire, an Irish town just outside of Dublin that my bother, his wife and I needed to get to at one point during our vacation in Ireland back in 1989. So we kept asking people, "How do you get to [our attempt at a phonetic pronunciation] Dun  Lo-GAIR?" That got us a lot of shrugs and puzzled looks. Till we showed our map to this one guy and he looked at the place we were pointing at and said, "O! You mean [actual pronunciation] Dun Leary!"

Fucking bog-trotters and their fucking jaw-breaker "language"! Erin Go Fuck Yourself!

2 "Tom", of course, is Gaelic for "asshole" - but that's common knowledge. 

3 Which, for the record, I am not.

4 And I think it bears repeating that I am not this type and nothing happened between me and this book cover. We're really just good friends, is all. O, who knows, another time, another place? Something might have happened. We'll never know.

5 N.B.: you. Not  me.

6 Or it might have been "Literary Wednesday" - I don't remember; and there's no way to check because tfh disappeared from the blogosphere like a year ago.

7 That, by the way, is my idea of a High Compliment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

News Flash: You're Going to Die

And sooner, rather than later

This morning I did what I have decided I am going to refer to as my Weekly Kankle Run, so named because once a week, I run with a 10 pound ankle weight strapped to each ankle.

Now, you would think a mere twenty pounds would not make that much difference in your speed and endurance, but, assuming the ankle-strapped person in your hypothetical is me, you'd be wrong. O, so wrong.

Because with those weights strapped to my ankles, I'm barely able to run 4.5 miles; and, in fact, this  morning, I ran a mere 4.3 miles. I'm pretty sure that when I first started doing these runs, way back in December of aught-nine, I did one that was 5+ miles - possibly two. And by 5+, I mean like 5.1.

Which is great, because even though I don't recall, offhand, how far I ran on my first kankle run, I do distinctly recall that I wanted to abort the run almost immediately because it was uncomfortable-verging-on-painful in a myriad of ways. But, idiot that I am, I stuck with it, thus proving I could do it and thereby damning myself to a future of having to do it again ... and again ... and -

You get the point.

After that first run, my left ankle had a pretty painful blister on it; and I gave plenty of thought to using that as an excuse not to do any more Kankle Runs. But of course the ankle toughened up and never blistered again1 after that, so there went that excuse. right out the window.

Normally, I am able to average well below a 9-minute-mile pace on a 4-5 mile run. But on my first Kankle Run, my pace was something ridiculous, like 11:35 or something. I was quite happy when, earlier this month, I managed a 10:41-pace over 4.6 miles. And even though today's was an 11-minute-mile pace, I'm not too displeased because I didn't get much sleep last night and it was all I could to to keep myself from aborting, or at least shortening, this morning's Kankle Run.

But I didn't.

Plus, I stopped at about the .4 mile point of the run to prop my left foot up on a hydrant and tighten the weight, which came loose because, like an idiot, I had put it on over the bottom of my sweat pants again. But at least I was unidiot enough to stop and fix it.

That little hydrant stop cost me about twenty seconds, which, if subtracted from my overall time this morning, gives me a 10:54 pace.

But who gives a fuck because as J.D. Morrison reminds us, we're all going to die, anyway.
1 It also helps if you put the weight on securely and tightly. Which means don't strap it on1a over the bottom of your sweat pants because the sweat pants will pull out1b and the ankle weight will then be loose on the ankle and it will go up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down1c the whole run, and that's how you end up pregnant. Or, no! That's how you end up with a blister on your ankle.

1a O, for godsakes, stop snickering! So I said "strap ... on" - so what?

Actually, that is kinda funny.

1b Because the sweat pants don't want to make a baby and be forced into a shotgun marriage with the ankle weight. Because let's face it - the ankle weight can give you a good time, but you don't want to marry it because - let's not mince words, here - the ankle weight is a bit of a whoo-wer.

1c Is it just me, or is this footnote getting kinda suggestive and hawt? It's not just me, is it?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Real Life Palindromes

Palindromes are these perfectly bogus little linguistic constructs that read the same backwards and forwards. They irritate me. They think they're soooo cool!

Fuck you, palindromes! And Uoy Kcuf, too!

In the real world, things never work out quite so sweetly as they do for these sheltered, elitist, $10-a-bottle-wine-drinking1, liberal (probably) East Coast (most likely) palindromes.

So HERE are some REAL WORLD palindromes for you. 

WARNING: These, being REAL WORLD palindromes — not hoity-toity Ivory Tower ones — are harsh, disturbing and pointless2. They also are not, strictly speaking, palindromes because they don't quite read the same backwards as they do forwards, but that's merely me showing my contempt for that arbitrary palindromatical "rule" — FUCK YOUR RULZ, palindromes!

Okay, now without further ado, The Real World: Palindromes:
A man, a plan, a 'canal' — anal sex! Aw, come on, honey, I'll be gentle ... O, I see. You have a headache tonight. Again. Typical ...

Able was I ere I saw Avatar —  after seeing which I became nerdishly obsessive about it — painting myself Smurf-blue and getting all 'Na'vi' this and 'Pandora' that, etc. —  and now my friends have all abandoned me, calling me an 'Avatard', which they helpfully explained is a subset of the group known as 'Fucktards'.

Able was I ere I saw Elmo —
(The lament of people with kids under 4 who just don't have the time or energy to go see Avatar, but are forced to watch Sesame Street 10 times a day. In The Real World: Palindromes these foax are vastly superior to the Avatards, who, as noted above, are just Fucktards with blue faces who think they can speak a non-existent language from some non-existent moon.)

Madam, I'm Adam and that bulge in my fig-leaf is not a gun ... I think it means I'm happy to see you.

A slut nixes sex in Tulsa? NOT ON MY WATCH! I'm a man with a plan about a 'canal' and I'm willing to pay extra to see my plan come to fruition! So GIVE IT UP, slut!

Dennis and Edna sinned — because Dennis was a man with a plan who is more persuasive than I am, lucky bastard.
End Real World: Palindromes.
Yesterday, I ran 11.53 miles in 1:51:20, which is a 9:41 pace. This is not too shabby because, for the first time in month, the run included a climb up the foothill of the Schmatterhorn about 2 miles into the run. I did it without any pain to either knee, merely having to endure the usual searing pain in my lungs from running beyond my sucktastic abilities. But that's okay — I'll live.

Now I am actually thinking about attacking the Schmatterhorn itself, which I have not done in probably more than a year — this is eiother stupid or heroic. Possibly both.

Note to self: Come up with inspirational palindrome for summiting the Schmatterhorn.

Also, for the first time since the Turkey trot in November, I'm thinking of entering another race — possibly in February. Nothing big — a 5k.

We'll see.
Now, here's "I Am The Walrus" from the Beatles. More nonsense verse, is why.

Supposedly, the "Eggman" was a reference to Eric Burdon of the Animals who allegedly got off on breaking eggs on women during orgies. What a weird fetish! If a Slut in Tulsa nixed sex with him, I would totally support her decision.

1 Ten dollars?! What? Are these palindromes made of money?! Plus, bottles? REAL wine comes in boxes, you sadistic, self-important bastards, and REAL AMERICANS shun that, even, vastly preferring beer, which also comes in boxes (called "cases"), in side of which are bottles. So everybody in the packaging (and landfill) industry's happy.

To sum up my point, buy beer. Unless your name is like Bob or Otto or Lil or something — then go ahead and buy your stinking elitist wine! I want you to! Because I peed in it.

2 Because that's how I'm keepin it real, yo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hysterical penny lane video

Saw this at hey dullblog.

Public Service Announcement

The owner and proprietor of fourinoneblog welcomes all punk-@$$ capital letter-impaired readers and commenters.

But ONLY punk-@$$ capital letter-impaired readers and commenters.

That is all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Like Pagliacci Did

Originally, I went to youtube to try to find a video for the live version of "Gloria" that is featured on the Doors Boxed Set [Disc 2].

The Doors performed Van Morrison's "Gloria" quite a number of times, and many of those performances are up there on youtube - but I could not find this particular version. I wanted this one because J. Morrison (no relation to Van) gets especially explicit on it - which he always kinda did, but he takes it to a new level on this version. At around the 4:15 mark (the song is 7+ minutes long), he ad libs the line: "Now why don't you wrap yo' lips around my cock, baby?"

This line seems to get Ray Manzarek, the Doors' keyboard player, especially excited, because he lets out a heartfelt "Woo!!" immediately after Jim utters this line.

But it gets funnier (and weirder); because Manzarek can't seem to get Jim's cock out of his mind and he keeps adding more suggestions as to what should be done w/r/t Jim Morrison's penis: "Suck it!" "Taste it!" "Eat it!" "Lick it!" etc.

By this time Jim has moved on to other suggestive lines, like "Wrap yo legs around my neck" and "Wrap your hair around my skin" [? Uh ... yeahhhhh, Jim, that sounds hawt] - but Manzarek, over a minute later, is still grunting out background lines about Jim's cock!


Get a room, Ray!

So, um ... because I couldn't find this hilarious (to me) version of "Gloria", here's Smokey doing "Tears of a Clown" instead.

Because ... uh ... not finding the Doors song made me sad?

Yeah, okay.
In other news, I went for a 4.6-mile run this morning. Today was my day to run with the ten-pound weights on each ankle. I was not into it, but I did it. In 49:30, to be exact, which is like a 10:41 pace, which sounds like a horrible pace (and it is), but when you consider my first runs with the weights on took me about eleven-and-a-half minutes per mile you can see that there has been some improvement.

What I'd like to do at some point is get under the 10-minute-per-mile mark.

The weighed runs do wonders for my creaky knees. So even if I don't improve my time, it' is worth continuing to run with the extra 20 pounds.

I'll Kill

"If you'd only fucking listen to me"! Hysterically funny parody of a Paul song from The White Album.

The actual Version

Sunday Trucker Christian Motherfucker

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Thing Money Can't Buy


Last night, Ian decided he wanted to watch an episode of The Simpsons before bed. We had DVR'd the episode "The Old Man and the C Student" - in which Bart takes Grandpa and the other seniors in the Old Foax Home on an unscheduled outing - so Ian and I watched that together.

When Bart and the old foax exit the home, the show launches into an homage to/parody of the famous scene in A Hard Day's Night where the Beatles temprarily break out of the prison of their fame1 and run around idiotically in an empty field outside the studio they were trapped in2. The soundtrack for these antics is "Can't Buy Me Love"3.

The Simpsons parody nicely recaptures some of the iconic images from that scene:

Now, Ian kinda knows the song "Can't Buy Me Love" because his Old Dad is such a Beatles-head - but it occurred to me that 10-year-old Ian certainly would in no way comprehend what this scene was referencing. How could he? He's never even seen AHDN.

So I paused the DVR and said: "Hey Ian, did you know that this part of the show is kinda making fun of a Beatles movie?"

"The Simpsons were in a Beatles movie?"

(*Sigh* I guess that's better than "Who are the Beatles?")

"No, but a way long time ago, the Beatles made a movie called A Hard Day's Night, and there was a scene in it just like this one. That's what they're doing here - they're making fun of that."


This was a better response than, "Who cares?", which Ian would, at this point, have had every right to ask. I belatedly realized that he really didn't need to know what this Simpsons scene was referencing to enjoy it. So I kinda just dropped it - told him it really didn't matter.

I did, however, manage to get him to understand an different reference in the same episode: I explained to him why the old guy, Jasper, said "You sunk my battleship!" every time a number was called out during Bingo at the Old Foax Home. (Ian has the electronic version of Battleship. It actually sucks far worse than the old non-electronic version that has been around since I was a kid because the electronic version takes forever to set up - and then it doesn't work right.)

When Ian got that reference - which he hadn't, at first - he thought it was hilarious. He kept laughing and  trying to say, "You sunk my battleship!" in a gravelly Jasper voice because "It's only funny when old people say it, Daddy!" he explained to me.

1 The "plot" of A Hard Day's Night - insofar as it can be said to have one - is kinda A Day in the Life of The Beatles during the Height of Beatlemania ... with the added twist that Paul's Grandfather is along for the ride because "'e's nursin' a broken 'eart." But at one point, Paul's Grandfather grouses: "Look, I thought I was supposed to be getting a change of scenery. But so far, I've been in a train and a room, and a car and a room, and a room and a room" - he's sharing the claustrophobic existence of four young men who are so famous they dare not venture outside lest they be mobbed by fans.

(Norm [the Beatles' manager]: The place is surging with girls!
John: Please, sir, sir, can I have one to surge me, sir, please, sir?
Norm: No, you can't!)

2 George's sarcastic "Sorry we hurt your field, mister!" at the end of the scene - said to the old guy who informs the boys that they're on private property - was always, for some reason, one of my all-time favorites lines from the film, which is just chock full of great lines and scenes.

3 "CBML"would be used again in the film, during the Keystone Kops-like chase sequence near the end.John had written "I'll Cry Instead" for the film - possibly for this very sequence - but the director, Dick Lester, didn't like the song, so they just used "Can't Buy me Love" again. "I'll Cry Instead" is a pretty up-tempo song, but I'm not sure it would have worked in either sequence, mostly because of the lyrics, which are a bit of a downer. Clich├ęd, yes - but still a downer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fris-Qui The Dog

Sir Fris-Qui the Dog woke one day quite agog for he realized he lacked any zazz
He slept on a dais with liberal bias but his razz had run out of ma-tazz
I'm fukt, Fris-Qui thought (with his nutsack so taut) Cos I don't want to sniff my own ass
But what else can I do? Who'll sniff it? Not YOU! - O, now, Fris-Qui, why must you be crass?
("Fris-Qui" is pronounced "FRIS-kee", because he's a french or perhaps french-canadian chien. Point is, he lacked zazz, which is pronounced "zazz" in any language.

(Except french.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Numbers; Irish Lawyer Joke

This past Saturday, I was able to do a 12.2-mile run in 1:56:25 - a 9:30 pace. I had absolutely no pain in either knee, though I was a bit winded. Still, I can't be too upset with the pace. I think doing one run per week of 4-5 miles with those 10-pound weights tied to my ankles has helped both my wind and my creaky knees.

Last week, I ran 13.25 miles in something like 2:10:00. I'm pretty sure that's my longest run ever.
My wife and I took Ian (our boy, 10) to visit with my brother and sister-in-law yesterday. We met them at their condo in the Art Museum area of Philadelphia and finally exchanged Christmas gifts. Because of busy schedules - theirs and ours - this was the first opportunity we had to get together for Christmas.

Had a great time. Got some good beer from my brother and sister-in-law, PLUS two tech shirts, one of which was long-sleeved. SCORE!

On Friday, my bother, who is a lawyer (he works for the Chief Justice of the PA Supreme Court), sent me this joke, which I find hilarious even though I'm not a lawyer. Maybe because I'm Irish.
In its original form, this story is sourced in the west of Ireland, where the plaintiff is pursuing a particularly dubious claim. The judge (this is an old story) is Ascendancy, Anglo-Irish, Trinity College. The plaintiff's barrister is a wily Celt. The exchange goes something like this:

Judge: Mr. Houlihan, is your client aware of the maxim in pari delicto potior est conditio defendentis?

Counsel: My Lord, in the bogs of Connemara they speak of little else.
What I could have used in the middle of my run Saturday: WATER! (And maybe somebody's daughter.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Janet Tied Her Kirtle Green ...

Fairport Convention's version of the ballad of Tam Lin is essentially a feminist tale recounted in a world where men still think they are in control but seem obtusely unaware of who wields the real power: women1. The ballad takes its title from the name of its main male character, which is in a way part of its subtle subversiveness; for its real hero is not Tam Lin - who, though now a captive of the Fairies, was once an "earthly knight", but is almost entirely passive throughout and is, in fact, in need of rescue like an archetypal "damsel in distress"- the ballad's real hero is Janet, whose character is largely defined by her rejection of passivity, her refusal to be ruled by men and her insistence on being an aggressively active agent in deciding her own fate ... and Tam's. Janet is by far the strongest and most assertive character in the ballad, surpassing even the Queen of the Fairies, the ballad's second-most assertive character - and also, significantly, female. "Tam Lin" turns the standard Mediaeval trope of two knights battling for a fair maiden's hand on its head; for "Tam Lin" is a tale of two female characters, Janet and the Fairy Queen, battling for the right to possess a man.

The song begins with a male voice - most likely that of the Janet's father - issuing a blanket prohibition to "maidens all":

I forbid you maidens all
that wear gold in your hair
To travel to Carterhaugh
for young Tam Lin is there 

None that go by Carterhaugh
but they leave him a pledge
Either their mantles of green
or else their maidenheads

Janet's immediate response to this proscription, her very first act in the ballad, is to tie "her kirtle green/ A bit above her knee" - a vaguely sexually suggestive image, needless to say - and head straight to Carterhaugh, the forest where Tam Lin dwells. Once there, she plucks one of the forbidden roses and Tam appears to reprimand her; symbolically, she deflowers him, a significant reversal of the usual gender roles2. "And why come you to Carterhaugh/ Without command from me?" asks the elf-knight Tam Lin. "I'll come and go ..../ And ask no leave of thee," Janet defiantly replies.

These gender reversals continue throughout the ballad.

Janet is impregnated by Tam but refuses to be shamed by it or bullied because of it:
Well up then spoke her father dear
and he spoke meek and mild3
"Oh and alas Janet" he said
"I think you go with child."

"Well if that be so" Janet said
"Myself shall bear the blame
There's not a knight in all your hall
shall get the baby's name."
Janet then returns to Carterhaugh to learn how to rescue Tam from his apparent fate of being sacrificed by the Fairy Queen to infernal powers. Tam explains:
... [A]t the end of seven years
she [i.e., the Fairy Queen] pays a tithe to hell
I so fair and full of flesh
am feared it be myself
I so fair and full of flesh - this, it need hardly be pointed out, is an unusual way for a knight to describe himself. It sounds more like how a Bold Knight might describe his Maiden Fair.

Janet rescues Tam by pulling him from his horse on Halloween night and holding on to him as he undergoes a series of protean changes:
"Oh they [i.e., the Fairies] will turn me in your arms
to a newt or a snake
But hold me tight and fear not ...

"And they will turn me in your arms
into a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear not ....

"And they will turn me in your arms
into a naked knight
But cloak me in your mantle
and keep me out of sight"
Janet holds on to Tam as he manifests a series of fearful and intimidating personae - a newt; a snake; a lion - intended to frighten her until, ultimately, his true nature is revealed: a helpless, naked man in need of salvation through a woman's resolute strength and determination - the ballad's final and most telling reversal.
1 This hardly makes the Fairport Convention version of the ballad unique - most versions of "Tam Lin" have this proto-feminist torque to them.

2 Although it should be noted that Janet does indeed leave Tam the "pledge" of her maidenhead and is impregnated by him. The reversals implicit in the ballad go only so far.

3 Interestingly - and oddly - the  blanket prohibition-issuing father of the opening verses is now, in the face of Janet's presumably shameful out-of-wedlock pregnancy, "meek and mild" ...  adjectives typically associated with women in Mediaeval ballads and tales.

Tam Lin Song Lyrics
I forbid you maidens all
that wear gold in your hair
To travel to Carterhaugh
for young Tam Lin is there

None that go by Carterhaugh
but they leave him a pledge
Either their mantles of green
or else their maidenheads.

Janet tied her kirtle green
a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carterhaugh
as fast as go can she.

She'd not pulled a double rose,
a rose but only two
When up then came young Tam Lin
says "Lady pull no more"

"And why come you to Carterhaugh
without command from me?"
"I'll come and go" young Janet said
"And ask no leave of thee".

Janet tied her kirtle green
a bit above her knee
And she's gone to her father
as fast as go can she.

Well up then spoke her father dear
and he spoke meek and mild
"Oh and alas Janet" he said
"I think you go with child."

"Well if that be so" Janet said
"Myself shall bear the blame
There's not a knight in all your hall
shall get the baby's name.

For if my love were an earthly knight
as he is an elfin grey
I'd not change my own true love
for any knight you have."

So Janet tied her kirtle green
a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carterhaugh
as fast as go can she.

"Oh tell to me Tam Lin" she said
"Why came you here to dwell?"
"The Queen of Fairies caught me
when from my horse I fell

And at the end of seven years
she pays a tithe to hell
I so fair and full of flesh
and feared be myself

But tonight is Halloween
and the fairy folk ride,
Those that would their true love win
at mile's cross they must hide.

First let pass the horses black
and then let pass the brown
Quickly run to the white steed
and pull the rider down,

For I'll ride on the white steed,
the nearest to the town
For I was an earthly knight,
they give me that renown.

Oh they will turn me in your arms
to a newt or a snake
But hold me tight and fear not,
I am your baby's father.

And they will turn me in your arms
into a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear not
and you will love your child,

And they will turn me in your arms
into a naked knight
But cloak me in your mantle
and keep me out of sight".

In the middle of the night
she heard the bridle ring
She heeded what he did say
and young Tam Lin did win.

Then up spoke the Fairy Queen,
an angry Queen was she
"Woe betide her ill-farred face,
an ill death may she die

O, had I known Tam Lin" she said
"What this night I did see
I'd have looked him in the eyes
and turned him to a tree."


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ian's Sense of Direction

Ian had a social sciences test before the Christmas break. It was basically about the physical and human geography of New Jersey.

I helped him study for it. He didn't get the marked test back until this past Monday. He did okay - he got a 75% to be exact1.

Sadly, because Ian didn't bring his textbook home, we couldn't study the maps that were going to be used in the test, so he got all of the map-reading questions on the test wrong.

Even this one:

Use Map 1 to answer the following questions:

1. What direction would you have to travel to get from Cape May to Trenton, NJ?

Ian's answer: "Left".

Fucking fascist teacher marked that wrong!

When I read that answer I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Luckily, Ian was in bed at the time and didn't hear me - he hates it when I laugh at something he didn't intend to be funny.

Man, I love that boy.

He makes me laugh no matter how down I may feel!
1 He'd've done a lot better if he'd just remembered to bring home his social studies textbook the weekend before the test. He brought home the teacher's handout describing what would be on the test ... but without the textbook, we had no way of knowing what the "correct" answers would be. E.g., one of the questions she had on the test was something along the lines of "What precious resources can be found in NJ?" Without the textbook, we had to kinda research this ourselves (Ian, of course, didn't remember what it was the teacher wanted) - so we came up with zinc, copper and a few others. Ian dutifully memorized these and vomited them back at the teacher when the question came up on his test.

But they were "wrong".

Correct answer: "Crushed stones".

Crushed stones - yeah, I know that feeling.

Meatish Sweetballs

R. is having a party after work today.

I don't usually go to these things, but I decided I had to go to this one because it may be the Goodbye Party for B., the Head of Reference, who has announced his intention to resign some time in November. He and his significant other are moving to Arizona.

I asked R. if I could bring beer; she said she had plenty but that I could bring either an appetizer (e.g., cheese and crackers) or a dessert of some kind. Or nothing - she didn't care.

So this morning I sent her this e-mail:
Just FYI:

I’ll be there, but I’m not coming empty-handed.

I will be bringing my World Famous Meatish Sweetballs, so called because they are not made of meat – at least, not from any animal you’d have heard of … hence “Meatish”; and to compensate for this lack of real meat, I add tons of sugar – so … “Sweetballs”.

When you bite into one, you’re guaranteed to exclaim: “Yummy! I can really taste the balls!”

My Meatish Sweetballs will look and taste exactly like whatever dessert is on sale over at Shop Rite.

But don’t be fooled: I made them myself.
Yeah because I'm that guy at work who abuses the e-mail system thusly.