Wednesday, July 27, 2005

colorado mountain bike action shots

[tim] once again getting used to that fucking helmet...

Monday, July 25, 2005

lollapalooza - chicago - 05

My sister moved to chicago from washington DC last august, and promptly moved into a large two bedroom apartment (paying rent so low it's a crime) and a high-paying manager's job at a local non-profit. She can credit both of these scores to ME.

a) I hooked her up with the apartment when my friend Chris and his wife moved to L.A.

b) I kept dating this girl I couldn't stand (I could indirectly make fun of her to her face and she had no idea what I was talking about. Or where she was. Or what was going on... I question if she's still learning her colors and shapes) because she's a headhunter and was working double time to secure my sister a job at a solid firm, and a place within my cold, hardened heart.

oh yeah,

c) my dad and I (sorry, I must mention, my parents drove a rented truck full of all of her shit from DC to Chicago over night, while she rocked hard to bar time and caught a flight the next morning) moved all of her furniture and boxes into her new place before she even got there after landing at O'Hare.

So, anyways, she has been slowly repaying the favor. Earlier in the year it was announced that Lollapalooza was returning and that it would make ONE weekend appearance in the country... at Grant Park in Chicago. No tour, rather one location/one weekend. The initial deal was paying $35 for a weekend pass (both dates) without seeing any of the line-up.

My take on it was one of total indifference... my sister's was "it's going to be in Chicago? it's only 35 bucks? fuck it!" and she picked up a block of tix. good move, sis.


So anyways, I attended Lollapalooza '92 and Lollapalooza '93 in Chicago. It was a time and a place for me at that age, but it also seems that it truly was a fertile period for music as well... the comebacks on this festival line up reads like early 90's revival: pixies, weezer, primus, dinosaur jr., digable planets, liz phair, DJ muggs (cypress hill).

what seemed revolutionary then (lineups consisting of rock, metal, hip hop and brit rock acts) is standard now. I thought that the set up for this (6 stages, spread out) achieved the mixed bag concept better than the earlier version. why? because you were free to roam around and check out whatever act you wanted at this year's festival, whereas before you were stuck in the same spot on the grassy hill, which made for a long, tiring day in the sun.

my recap:

I rode the pista to my sister's place to pick up my ticket. It was 90 degrees, overcast and muggy. I chatted with her hungover friends from New York and DC, then biked down to the venue to meet up with my pal Pat who was already there.

I walked through the gate and heard Perry Farrell performing the song "pets" on the kids stage for about 80 people. I walked over and couldn't believe the luck: Perry was performing this little suprise concert in front of a pool of about 30 kids and 50 parents who were all around my age. After "pets" Perry sang some b-side throw away song about dolphins called "aqua".

A girl about my age with a baby in her arms turned to me and said "this is awesome." I smiled and said "I agree", then I pointed at the group of children that Perry was singing to like the motherfucker was Barney, and said, "that guy used to be a heroin addict."

Perry sang another song and then thanked everyone for coming. It was fucking cool.

I met up with Pat and we caught ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead who put on a loud, crushing early afternoon hard rock show. Points for their front man ripping on sponsor Budweiser and that shit brew they distribute worldwide, but points taken away for busting up the drum kit at the end of the show. The Who trashes their instruments (it's been done), and... you're... who?

Next we met up with my sister and her crew and caught a nice hard fucking performance by the Kaiser Chiefs, an outfit from the UK.

Pat and I each like Cypress Hill, so we walked across the street to the planet stage to catch DJ Muggs' set. I wasn't carrying, so this was a logical stop to find some smoke. It wasn't difficult -- it was everywhere.

There was a short girl with a fine body and small tube top with jeans dancing in front of us, displaying her stripper moves. I guessed that she was 33 and had been fucking since around the age of 12 (which would give her over 20 years of experience -- an expert), Pat guessed that she was a 33 year old stripper in Indiana with two kids and had received "the bad touch" my an older male family member before finishing 4th grade.

Next to her was a pair of couples: your typical chicago chach guys and their dates. I could tell that one couple had been dating for a long time (the girl had that drunk at wrigley field girl beer gut/fat ass), and that the other couple was new.

I actually felt kind of bad for the guy dating the new girl, because although she was a total angel that any man (even a fag) would break any and all laws of decency to fuck, she was a total pain in the ass. she didn't even bother to look like she was having fun, and her date was doing the best he could to keep her happy. she kept wandering off to make a cell phone call, or to sit on the grass by herself. The other girl and her boyfriend looked at their friend working hard to please the angel brat, with the kind of look that can only say "your new girlfriend sucks shit."

A little hi, we walked back to the main area and towards the Billy Idol show. I was discussing my disdain for Billy Idol's approach to rock with Pat...

Billy Idol had like three wardrobe changes, and rock music is not about wardrobe changes -- wardrobe changes are for Cher...

Rock music is about covering your t-shirt with sweat and/or blood, and then tearing it off and throwing it into the audience, killing a can of beer and then stage diving into the audience... being body passed to the soundboard and then back again, and then being fished out by security and tossed back on stage... all within a three minute guitar solo.

THAT is "rock music", "Billy Idol" is a 50 year old nostalgia act.

While "punk rock" act Billy Idol crooned "Eyes Without a Face", an early 30's girl behind me sheepishly smiled at me and waved me over. She was really, really drunk on beers (it was around five in the afternoon), and said "you are the cutest thing that I've seen all day." I could tell that it was a balls thing for her to say to someone (even loaded), so I spent some time talking to to her. She was nice. I gave her a cigarette and told her that Pat and I were going to go catch the Black Keys, then we disappeared into a crowd of 30,000.

Pat and I met up with his cousin Mike just as the Black Keys began their set. The two piece was really good, and I was marveling at the guitar work when I noticed a few girls moving our way. I caught a glance from the hottest of the three and she approached me. She was fucking fine, she looked like a 23 year old Christy Turlington with her fine bred chiseled face and tall slender kick ass body. She was dressed the part too, with a pair of high cut shorts and sleeveless shirt. She had to carry her small purse.

She told me that she was from Lake Forest (this terrible enclave of horrible, obnoxious, super-wealthy white people who breed the worst trustafarian scum imaginable... they also always name drop "Lake Forest" when given the chance to speak during any conversation... they rival New Yorkers, in this sense). She told me that her name was Jess, and introduced me to her friends. They were typical spoiled, rich brats. I watched my mouth.

I could tell that this was happening and that Jess was super fucking hot... and young, she graduated from college in '03. she told me that she worked in human resources, but hated it. I asked her if she talked to nervous people everyday and she said yes. I bet she speaks to nervous men constantly. she said that she and her friends were going to see the pixies, and I told her that we were going to see the pixies too. she told me and her friends that she had to use the bathroom, and left me, my friends and hers.

Pat and Mike wanted to go grab a spot before the Pixies took the stage. Jess was still gone. I weighed my options:

a) let those two dudes take off and hang around with Jess' friends who I didn't know and hadn't talked to... other than to question if my awful skank co-worker's father is still the mayor... waiting for the girl to come back from taking what I imagine was a monster shit in a port-o-john, and then walking to the pixies stage and not being able to find Pat and Mike

b) say goodbye to Jess' friends, and go to the pixies' show.

I opted for option (b). I figured that I'd probably see Jess somewhere in the crowd and capitalize on our introduction later. Besides, hanging around reeks of "loser".

Did I mention that I'm partially retarded? Of course we didn't see that amazing piece of ace again, there was like fuckin 33,000 people walking around. Pat wanted to know what my problem was... was I becoming half a fag? A girl who would never look him in the eye approached me, and I decided to slip away. Fine. Agreed. Stupid. Beyond that, he reasoned, she was from Lake Forest, which equals riches. I had to remind Pat that residents of Lake Forest are like the fucking British aristocracy... they're fucking useless and they only marry their own kind.

So I'm getting into "bone machine" when I notice a beautiful blonde (no engagement ring) about 15 feet away from me. She looked very familiar, and I almost immediately thought that I knew who it was...

In 1993 I had dropped out of college and was slowly losing my shit as my first relationship disintegrated in Madison, WI (read "catch"). That year I worked at the Discount Den, and this beautiful, athletic blonde came in a couple of times and smiled at me and flirted with me. I also recall going to a BBQ with some friends from work, and that blonde girl and her friends. I talked to her for a bit, but I had my girlfriend Kelly to deal with, and was probably headed off to see her anyway.

I remember thinking way back then "shit. should I scrap a 4 year relationship - that's going to shit - for something that has no guarantee?" What makes this all the weirder, in the past 12 years or so, I've actually thought of THAT blonde girl maybe three or four times... as if to ask "what would've happened...?" I've also questioned "I wonder whatever happened to that particular girl?"

Flash forward to the pixies show at Lollapalooza in Chicago, 2005. I'm not 19, I'm 31, and there's this blonde that looks a lot like the Madison girl from years ago. The blonde girl in the crowd caught me looking at her and smiled. I decided that I had to find out if it was her.

I approached her and said "excuse me, did you happen to go to UW-Madison?" I looked closely at her face, she appeared to look much younger than the girl I'd met so long ago would probably look now.

She smiled and said "yes." I asked her if she lived there in 1993, and she said that she had, that she'd graduated in 1997.

it was her.

I said, "I thought so, I've met you before. I lived in Madison and worked at the Den, and I've met you before."

She told me that her name is Jen, I told her that mine is Tim. I gave her and her friend a cigarette. We talked for a couple minutes, and she had no recollection of me. Which isn't suprising because we didn't know each other, and that we had been passing strangers 12 years ago during another life.

At first she seemed flattered, but then it was a bit awkward, and I think that she got a bit freaked out... which is obviously not what I'd prefer, but what can you do... we're dealing with a random sighting... I'm sure that I appeared to be either psychic or insane.

The pixies set ended and jen and her friend said goodbye and walked away... all we are is dust in the wind. The universe is mysterious.

Jen, if you happen read this stupid, profanity-laced blog for any reason whatsoever, please contact me here. or leave a comment. I'd like to buy you coffee and bum you some smokes... we'd figure out pretty fast if we're the same kind of people or not... I suppose that this is an example of "stranger things have happened."

Completely floored by the universe colliding, Pat and I walked over to digable planets and caught an excellent hip hop show complete with a live band, and lots of j's getting passed to me by incredibly beautiful women. Saturday was one of those unusually cosmic days of good fortune.

If Jen doesn't see this (imagine that), maybe I'll run into her again in another 10 to 20 years, or so.

Sunday had a totally differnt vibe than Saturday. It was fucking hot with blinding direct sunlight and a 100 degree humidity to contend with. It was the kind of hot that kills shitloads of senior citizens. It was so extreme. This cut down the number of people in attendance by a bit (and also lost both Jess, the totally fucking hot Lake Forest girl, and Jen, the beautiful athletic blonde who thinks that I'm psychic).

Todd joined Pat and I for the day, opening with Los Amigos Invisibles, a fucking 100 degree party at two in the afternoon. Their guitarist is amazing... look for them.

I found that scouting for hits wasn't such a problem. All you have to do is conduct a little bit of profiling before approaching for a hit. When you want to catch a buzz at a show, and have confirmed that there's shit in your midst, consider the source...

(a) anyone younger than 22. they'll immediately let you take a hit. they won't be sure if you're security, a cop, or merely a rad 31 year old.

(b) women. they'll always give up a hit to a polite boy. stick near them, girls who smoke shit are cool.

(c) any odd numbered group of boys and girls... say three guys and two girls. they're not exclusive, and their circle is easy to penetrate because there's a third wheel.

do not approach
(a) anyone who is clearly insane. if they look anything like andrew w k, and you're stupid enough to still approach them for anything, you deserve whatever happens to you.

(b) any even numbered group of boys and girls... you're dealing with two squads of boyfriend/girlfriend, which really means that you're dealing with a team... a team that has equal veto power, plus the imagined belief that they're in charge of the world together. Avoid. they suck.

We caught Satellite Party, the new Perry Farrell project. I got to say that I'm a fan of Perry Farrell, and other than Jane's Addiction, not much else that he's fronted... I thought that the last jane's addiction record was only as good as it didn't suck as bad as it easily could have.

I figured out Perry's stage moves as well: he's doing a Mick Jagger/Iggy Pop impersonation. Perry rocks.

Arcade Fire was excellent. It was fucking bloody fucking hell with the sun beating down and the dust blowing. it looked like fucking Iraq. Stage hands handed out several hundred bottles of water. it was needed.

We caught Spoon with my sister and her friends. I was so tipsy from the bud that I caught here and there, plus the whisky I'd snuck in and mixed with Sprite (it tasted like warm Sprite with whisky mixed in 100 degree weather and direct sunlight) and foamy beer suds going to my head.

I told her that I figured out who Spoon sounded like: the Counting Crows with a hint of Supertramp. Sorry, Spoon fans.

We went to check out famed Chicago DJ Derrick Carter spin some house music as the sun set. Thirty-five repetitive minutes of that took us back to the main area to see Death Cab for Cutie.

I didn't know any Death Cab, and can now say that "they write songs that your girlfriend likes." Sorry, Death Cab fans.

Widespread makes me want to rest my mouth over the business end of a shotgun, so we got the fuck out of there and biked home.

I was crashed and passed out by 10:30 p.m.

40 year old virgin

This just looks fucking funny.

It's the British site, so they show some titty and at the end of the clip there's an old man at Circuit City saying:

"life isn't about sex, it's about love... it's not about fucking and balls and butthole pleasures... pussy juice cocking... the shit stained balls... rusty trombone... dirty sanchez... cincinnatti bowtie..."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

pixies :: dead

In anticipation of seeing the pixies again at this weekend's Lollapalooza in Grant Park, the pixies' dead...

you crazy baby bathsheba, i wancha
you're suffocating you need a good shed
i'm tired of living, shebe, so gimme

we're apin' rapin' tapin' catharsis
you get torn down and get erected
my blood is working but my, my heart is

whaddyah know?
you're lovely
tan belly
is starting to grow

uriah hit the crapper, the crapper
uriah hit the crapper, the crapper
uriah hit the crapper, the crapper

pixies :: dead mp3

colorado, 13 July - 19 July 05

On Monday morning of this week I woke up around 9:15 on my pal EP's living room floor in his rented condo in Boulder, CO. His wife J had already taken off for the day, and his dog Sagan was staring at me. EP was boiling water for coffee, and I got up off the floor to pack a one hitter.

EP had to go to his bike store job, and I had the entire day to myself. He left me keys to the truck, Sagan's leash and driving instructions to the mt lily trail just outside of Estes Park. I checked email and found that an ex girlfriend is getting married. I decided to bury that for future mental examination. I got hi, I got the dog into the truck and I got on the road.

Mt Lily is a good 45 minute drive from Boulder, passing through some of the most fantastic natural beauty in the United States. I asked myself over and over what the fuck I'm still doing in Chicago, when it's become obvious that after seven years of living here it's kind of run its course...

I'm finding the city to be more of a pain in the ass than usual lately. Considering that I could look for a job in the Denver area, I'd rent a small apartment or cottage - at least a half hour out of the city - and live on the mountain with a mountain view.

All the shit I like to do outdoors is there, whereas this city can only accomodate long distance bike rides, and not much of anything else. even that is a pain in the ass with all of the fucking guidos and dickheads with large trucks on the street... since when is being a fat piece of shit revving SUV engines at a stoplight a cool thing to do? Fucking Italians.

Anyways, I'm missing the positive mental clarity provided by the west, and hating on the metropolitan commuter smells like some old man shit himself on the train a half hour late for work where nobody does anything but talk smack anyways. bullshit...

Wednesday the 13th was a travel day. EP picked me up at the Denver Airport, had a beer and hitter waiting in the truck, and we drove into Denver to meet up with my 25 year old still in college total flake druggie sister to score some shit for the week.

She's dating this dude who looks a lot like that dude in the Tao of Steve. He's a physical therapist for babies and grows bud with the medicinal license he somehow got from the government. This was my first time meeting him and I thought that he was pretty cool. We crashed on the floor and were out of there by 10 a.m.

Thursday July 14th
We drove through to a camp site and set up shop. We drank tea and assembled el scorpio. Paranoia ran a bit high after sampling some of EP's mushroom tea. I wasn't sure if EP or one of the animals in the forest was plotting to kill me, so I kept a swiss army knife handy in my backpocket, and a watchful eye on my comrade.

The heavy drugs soon wore off and we ate hot dogs off the fire and looked at the new issue of Playboy.

Friday July 15th
We drove straight through to Winter Park to begin two days of downhill mountain biking.

This is downhill in a nutshell:
you take a chair lift up about 2,500 feet with your bike hanging on a hook next to your seat on the lift, and from just like skiing, you get to the top and have several runs to choose from. All of the runs we rode down were pretty much the same: single track through wooded areas, switchbacks, and cutting across ski runs. The trails are fucking steep and loaded with large rocks, tree roots, loose gravel, and dirt. You end up riding your back brake the entire time because if you loosen up, you end up going way too fast to handle the trail.

So your hands begin to hurt from the constant braking (make a fist for 40 minutes straight -- it's like that), and your arms get tired from the constant jackhammer motion of the bike fork riding over all kinds of obstacles on the trail.

However, your mind switches over to a purely reactionary, spatial problem solving at 22 mph mode and you get into a zone. You're surrounded by large solid objects (like, "trees") -- that could seriously fuck you up -- but your athleticism and coordination keep you from wrecking.

I wrecked twice: once going too slow down a pass with too much dirt (I got a dirty arm), and the second time from riding off the trail from going too fast (I cut up my hand and scraped up my forearm). EP wrecked once in a spectacular wipe out. He was a bit shaken, but fine.

See, EP really fucking likes to point it out when you crash, or slip, or fuck something up in some minor way. That's fine, that's human. He loves to tell his wife about it immediately so that they can both get a laugh out of it and remind each other that EP is the greatest in the universe.

However, when EP wrecks like he did that day, it's like the fucking end of the world... he's injured, his wreck is horrifying, and he's lucky to be alive... so, there's great concern. I didn't want to laugh at him, but his wreck was a wild one and didn't look like he could have gotten hurt. He was fine, we moved on.

Saturday July 16th
We drove to Keystone for another day of downhill. Keystone was better than Winter Park, and more challenging. I would recommend Keystone over Winter Park, but only if you've downhilled before (Winter Park was actually a really good warm up for Keystone). That night we drove back to Denver and had dinner with EP's wife J and a few of her friends in her teaching program. We were beat, a glass of red wine nearly knocked me out.

Sunday July 17th

EP had to work at the bike store, and J had a paper to write, so I got out of the condo with my bike and smoked and biked around Boulder. There was an art fair going on on Pearl Street, so I went to check that out.

Boulder (and it seems all of Colorado) is full of totally fucking hot women in their 20s out doing the type of outdoor shit -- like ride a bike.. everywhere. -- that I've adopted into my lifestyle that the clueless money lusting women in Chicago haven't figured out.

Beyond that, the hot women in Boulder actually make eye contact and smile at you like you're a fuckable human. And when I say hot women, I mean toned bodies from physical activity, sun kissed skin, and real social skills.

None of this high gloss make up with a fucking $500 purse the size of a TV remote control, and way too obvious materialism petty cunt attitudes. Oh, I guess you might say that I'm over the crazy bitches in Chicago. Make that the midwest.

Go ahead materialistic crazy bitches... marry that fat fucking piece of shit with male pattern baldness. However, don't be suprised when your old, aging ass is dumped at age 45 for a younger model... that's the deal, retard. You've got a shelf life for that ass.

Anyways, where's my mind?

So that night after EP got off of work, we took a pair of tubes down to the Boulder river and tubed down through the submerged rocks, waterfalls and heavy current in two feet of water. It was extreme. For real.

That night I took EP and J out to dinner at a mexican place. We got hi in the truck and began to name and number all of the jobs we've had. By my count, I've had 23 jobs in the last 17 years. I drank two Fat Tires and left a shitty tip for the hair gel year round tan west coast boy waiter who appeared too stupid to handle tying his own shoes.

Monday July 18th
So I find out that ex is getting married, and drive Sagan the dog to Mt. Lily to climb and contemplate.

Whenever I've found out about ex's getting engaged, I've always thought about the same thing: I'm happy for them. I'm happy for them because they found someone that they want to marry who actually wants to marry them. I know with full certainty that I would not want to be married to any of my ex's. I know this because I know that we cannot get along. That's been proven.

Regarding this ex's upcoming marriage I have a few different thoughts because this particular person is much different from the rest. This one seems to be following in her mother's footsteps -- a person of horrible decision-making skills who is an alcoholic and most likely mentally ill -- and that makes me blue.

It's because this particular girl has so much more going for her than she knows, and because she hates her mother's example (her mother recently got married for the 7th time in Las Vegas to a fellow alcoholic who she met at a fucking airport bar after dumping husband #6). This girl is following in her mother's footsteps.

I totally loved this girl more than anyone I've met in the past 10 years. She's flawed and fucked up and fragile and free spirited. I cannot imagine dealing with the shit hand she's been dealt in her life, but she's also evil.

I used to be in great pain because she was my partner and she fucked everything up and left. I wanted her to be my friend and my woman, and sometimes when I saw little girls in public, I'd see my ex's face. It hurt me. She told me that she loved me but couldn't be with me. That went on until I cut her off in an especially cruel way (I, too, am capable of evil).

That was a calendar year ago, and now she's getting married. I can't say I blame her, because what else is she going to do? She's an emotionally disturbed drug addling totally broke cocktail waitress with no education. And she's 31 years old. What the fuck else could she do besides sell out and marry some jagoff with a lot of money. Hot women like my ex can do this because she's manipulative and a survivor.

So, finally, I hope that she's happy. I know that I made her happy on a spiritual level, and that when I finally rejected her (I had to get her out of my life), that must've hurt... but considering how badly she fucked with my head and heart, it's justified. She simply doesn't know any better and was probably really hurt when I shut her out. It really hurt me to do it.

All of this sent her in the direction she's in, and when I consider what that means, all I can think is that that's weak.

Reader... always remember this:



I flew back on Tuesday night. I checked my email and got a very positive message from my pal Carney about a woman who works with his wife that I met at his house party before my trip. She's a knock out, and I made a good impression. Which is good because I thought that she was pretty cool. I'll take her out next week and see how it goes.


The universe has been openly talking to me over the past year. I've been watching for signs and listening. I think that I'm on the right path.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

NYC bike messenger rat race

This is my favorite video of all time... a bike messenger rat race starting in central park and racing through the city traffic with a video camera mounted to a rider's helmet.

this is what it looks like to ride a fixed gear through chicago traffic.

this is about 5 minutes of pure adrenaline... watch this shit: you will freak

NYC bike messenger rat race video

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Widespread Commentary on Dorito’s New Spokesman Saddam Hussein

From Advertising Monthly

Last Thursday Frito Lay unleashed its boldest ad campaign to date:

eXtra BOLD Doritos endorsed by Saddam Hussein.

…consisting of TV, radio, print, outdoor and Internet spots, the campaign centers around Saddam Hussein imprisoned on a remote, heavily fortified and protected, south pacific hidden U.S. military base island.

The TV ads portray captive Saddam Hussein sitting in his 8’ x 10’ suspended cage in a low-lit airplane hanger, surrounded by countless machine guns, German Shepards and military attack robots.

Saddam Hussein escapes his troubles by devouring bag after bag of eXtra BOLD Doritos. Saddam Hussein then looks into the camera and says in broken English, “With Doritos, I Win!” – the new campaign’s tagline.

Obviously re-dubbed in English by American Ha Ha Funnyman Robin Williams (employing a stereotypical – bordering on outright racist – middle eastern accent… and hamming it up), the film speed is slowed during Saddam’s endorsement creating a visual effect reminiscent of the poorly dubbed Asian karate films released in the United States during the 1960’s and 70’s.

The radio ads feature the sounds of mortars, explosions, gunfire, bullet ricochet, swords clanging metal against each other, German Shepards barking, and a distant emergency foghorn. The listener is purposely left unaware if the situation is taking place on a battlefield or inside of a sensory deprived torture room. After 20 seconds of chaotic warfare sound effects, the sound of a Doritos chip is bit into and chewed with satisfaction and Robin William’s middle eastern towel head Saddam Hussein impression states the campaign tagline “With Doritos, I Win!”

The print campaigns feature full page ads of an official U.S. Government released photo of Saddam Hussein sitting in his underpants eating a bag of Doritos with the tag “With Doritos, I Win!” emerging from a thought bubble above his head. This image is also being widely spread across the internet with the campaign’s e-card promotion.

Frito Lay spokesperson Burt Vernon said “the campaign promotes Doritos as an extremely pleasurable experience, taking even the second most notorious man in America away from his worries, and to a place that only eXtra BOLD Doritos can take you. It’s reminding consumers that “With Doritos, I Win” …it’s about finding nirvana, really. Frito Lay is extremely proud of this promotion and of our excellent new and improved eXtra BOLD Doritos.”

# # #

From Zell Miller

The liberal media has once again weakened America by taking our most prized trophy in the War Against Terrorism, and creating a harmless, almost sympathetic, figure out of a butcher like Saddam Hussein in the new eXtra BOLD Doritos advertising campaign. This is the kind of imagery that weakens America’s resolve to kill all terrorists by making the enemy seem like anything other than what he is: a God-less instrument of bloodlust and evil.

Considering Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the tragic events of September 11th and that the advertising agency – Dot Communications…a known financial contributor to the unsubstantiating and disturbing MoveOn.Org, as well as other socialist, America-hating organizations – responsible for creating this resolve-weakening message… is based in New York City! You would want to believe that the ad agency would show more compassion for the surviving families of 9/11, or that some members of the ad agency may have felt it inappropriate, but this is what happens when there are no set standards for common decency in broadcast.

Or this is what happens when the terrorists infiltrate our media and begin to spread messages designed to weaken our purpose in the War Against Terrorism. By showing Saddam Hussein as “one of us”… enjoying a bag of eXtra BOLD Doritos and declaring that he wins, the liberal media is effectively telling you that the enemy is you and that you should not believe that America will win the War Against Terror.

The liberal media has attempted dismantle the America that I love – and that I know YOU love – since the dawn of mass communication. Spreading anti-American thought and ideas and attempting to tear down the norms of decent society… they even tried to take over the United States with communism, if you can believe that… and we all know how that went for the Soviet Union… their God-less blanket of repression lost.

Frito Lay, Dot Communications, and any broadcast channel that delivers this type of message is a menace to our American way of life and should be stopped.

Please join my support of the new broadcast amendment to the Patriot Act, which deems that the government shall establish an advisory board to review any and all messages – from any source – with a political angle or political implication embedded with in its message or imagery.

Help keep America united and strong… please contribute to my re-election fund to ensure that our children enjoy the same freedoms and open society under God that you and I have grown to love and would die to defend. God bless.

# # #

From Sean Penn

The White House has gone too far this time with their obviously endorsed Doritos advertising campaign starring Saddam Hussein. Stringing Saddam up like a puppet for entertainment purposes is the exact sort of thing that you’d see in a country like Germany in 1939. This is exactly what they’re doing.

Consider that the White Hose started the war in Iraq, and it’s not going as well as they would have thought. Beyond killing 100,000 innocent Iraqis and almost 4,000 of our service people, they’ve got no exit plan to end the killing.

The American people know that we’re being lied to and that they’re not facing the truth, so they dig up their best bounty since the invasion and film him eating Doritos in his underpants to remind you of what a pathetic figure he is, and how powerful we are because we are humane… and oh look! Saddam likes Doritos! He can’t get them in Iraq, and now – in the end – he can see that America is superior.

I found it very telling that Frito Lay considers Saddam Hussein the second most notorious man in America. Who’s the most notorious? Who’s no-tor-i-ous? Who’s bad? Not Michael Jackson, he’s guilty… the correct answer would be Osama bin Laden, the fanatical crusader who ordered September 11th – not Saddam Hussein – and started this world war by striking first. I guess the government didn’t have any recent pictures of Osama bin Laden available, seeing as they can’t find him.

The White House is almost boasting their biggest catch because that’s all they’ve got, and they’ve got to remind everyone who voted for Bush that they’re on the right path and that they’re getting results and making America safer. I question if it’s harder to drive through the border from Canada, or to drive across the Iowa stateliness into Nebraska. Maybe you have to watch for speed traps set by bored cornfield patrolman driving into Nebraska.

When it comes down to it, the White House is lying to you, and this advertisement is just another example of the government’s control over the media in this country and the propaganda that it distributes under an umbrella of closely linked networks.

Don’t believe it, and don’t pay for it. As an American you have the freedom to chose: to not believe the lies, to not give up hope for the future, and to not purchase Doritos ever again. If they’re the choice of Saddam Hussein, and when he eats them he wins? Fine. If Saddam Hussein is a winner because he chose Doritos, let him be.

I can choose to be a winner in other ways! Like, for instance, that I have the freedom to write about my opinions and all of these sorts of ideas anytime I want, like this one… the one you’re reading right now… on my blog,

I win because I got over 3,000 hits last week when I wrote about how the White House wants to go to Mars… but how that doesn’t make any sense because the war in Iraq costs a billion dollars a month… and because there are children starving in poverty here in this country… and because the Patriot Act is openly taking your freedoms away from you.

They’re lying, don’t buy it. And don’t buy Doritos!

# # #

Pearl Jam: USA Today's Greatest American Rock Band

USA Today article.

And though the results were close, there could only be one winner. So, without further ado, I present your top pick for the greatest American rock band of all time:

Pearl Jam.

This is in 2005.

Why is Pearl Jam the greatest? Here's what you said:

•They've stayed true to themselves. "Instead of selling out with videos and constant press coverage, they pulled back at their height, and focused on the music," wrote Willie McNabb in El Dorado, Ark. "They belong up there with Neil Young, Zeppelin and The Beatles because they never compromised their integrity, which is really all any of us have."

•The music rocks. From Atlanta reader Tom Baker: "They've continually reshaped their sound, album after album, and are still making great, vital music 12+ years into their career. What else could you want?"

•Their records sell ... "... because they're good, not because they've been hyped to death by the media," McNabb added.

•There have been scores of imitators. "How many Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder knockoffs have invaded rock radio since Ten?" asked Scott Jordan, another Atlanta fan.

•Their concerts are first-rate — and affordable. Jake Mohlman from Barrington, R.I., praised the band for keeping ticket prices low. "It's unique in an era when most artists gouge their fans to the limit," he wrote. "Likewise, releasing their shows on low-cost bootlegs brings a new dimension to seeing one of their shows."

Interesting selection for greatest rock band, but keep in mind that this is in USA Today... a daily newspaper for people who admittedly don't want to know shit about anything, and who prefer big colorful pie graphs to actual investigative journalism.

The rest of the list has some questionable runners up (this is the USA Today reader list... plus my asshole commentary):

2. Aerosmith – Living proof that quitting drugs kills creativity. Aerosmith is eagerly awaiting the next Bruce Willis/Michael Bay/Nicholas Cage/Michael Bay action film extravaganza (Armageddon, The Rock, Gone in Sixty Seconds) to release their new power ballad that sounds fucking EXACTLY like the power ballads they've released every other summer for the past 15 years.

3. Van Halen – Why are they even on this list? They haven't released anything with any merit since their greatest hits collection a couple years back… reminding us that diamond dave beats the shit out of sammy hagar, and both of those cats got dumped for the likes of gary cherone... ex lead singer of Extreme. yeah, good move.

4. The Eagles – In 1992, The Eagles decided to tour for $100 a ticket, and now everyone who used to charge $20, now charges at least $45. Thanks a lot. Assholes.

5. Journey – You've got to be fucking kidding me.

6. Guns N' Roses – Have not released new material since 1993. Let me remind you that that was over 12 years ago.

7. The Grateful Dead – I had hoped that this band (and their annoying caravan duped into believing that they’re anything OTHER THAN CONSUMERS) would vanish after Jerry died TEN YEARS AGO this summer. No such luck.

8. Queensryche – Huh?

9. The Doors – The Doors died with Jim Morrison. The Doors still toured with the lead singer of the cult last year. I think that that sucks.

10. R.E.M. – Have not put out a decent record since 1996's New Adventures in Hi Fi. 1996 was nine years ago.

11. The Allman Brothers Band and Fleetwood Mac (tie) – Who wants to see these creepy old hippies? Make a mental picture of Stevie Nicks’ pussy. Right now. Yeah, no thanks.

12. Metallica – Watch Some Kind of Monster, the documentary on Metallica. They're hee-lar-i-ous! Lars Ulrich’s dad look exactly like Gandalf the wizard in Lord of the Rings.

13. KISS – No make up, no fireworks, what've you got left? Merchandising and no talent.

14. The Ramones – These guys are dropping off by the year. Apparently nobody sees 55 in the Ramones.

15. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival (tie) – For me, torture is listening to Bruce Springsteen… true torture is being trapped at one of those infamous 4 hour Springsteen concerts. I'll slit my wrists before having to endure nineteen minutes of "The River."

16. Dave Matthews Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd (tie) – It just occured to me that The Dave Matthews Band IS Lynyrd Skynyrd.

17. The Beach Boys – This is a nostalgia list, right?

18. Nirvana – Take punk, hardcore, power pop, stadium anthems, guitar hooks and distortion and suddenly you have a new movement to market to the lucrative 18 to 34 year old demographic.

19. The Replacements – This is an interesting selection. I didn't realize that the musical taste of the average USA Today reader extended beyond Bon Jovi.

Rounding out the list is ...

20. Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi fucking sucks. That Triumph the Insult Comic Dog bit on Bon Jovi is so fucking funny that I wet myself, and had to pause it twice because I was in tears. video.


I've been questioning copywriting for the past six months.

Because I consider it to be a bullshit profession. I really question WHAT, if ANY, real working skills I'm developing, or if I'm just seriously wasting a lot of time.

I got a new direct boss about six weeks ago. I had the opportunity to get a look at his resume and talk to him during the interviewing process, and I knew right away that I wanted to work for him.

With over 20 years of hardcore Chicago advertising creative experience, SB is an asskicker among the weak and the tame. He has had the copywriting career that I wanted when I graduated from college seven years ago and decided to move to Chicago to write ads.

Fortunately, SB is a fucking cool guy, so we're getting along very well on many levels, and that's great.

Last week after a particularly long day, the department director dropped the credit card down at the Rock Bottom rooftop and began buying drinks. Most everyone took off after a couple rounds, but SB and I stuck around for another hour talking honestly about the profession and about what I wanted to do with my career.

It was good because SB believes in constructive encouragement. There's no bullshit, and I respect that.

I told him that I thought that writing was a scam and a bullshit job. It almost knocked the air out of him because I seemed sincere.

He said,

"Of course this is a bullshit job! You had to have known that getting into it. We mess around with fucking words all day... That's not a real job.

However, if you do this long enough and you get good enough and can talk your game up enough, you can develop an expertise that no one can deny or touch, because nobody can write, and writing scares people. That is your advantage. And that justifies your career.

Let me put it this way: you're probably innately more intelligent than 50% of the lawyers out there. Nobody questions the advice or recommendation of a lawyer because the law is foreign language to the lay man. The same thing goes on with writing. It's foreign language to almost everyone. And yes, it's all a big fucking joke."

Finally, a true mentor.


A final thought on writing:

Writing is a lot like sex. At first you do it because you like it. Then you find yourself doing it for a few close friends and people you like. But if you're any good at end up doing it for money. --Unknown

Saturday, July 02, 2005

puget sound, august 2002

A few weekends back I met up with my old friend EP and his large family in Winona, MN for his college graduation. He started college in 1992. he got a teaching degree,.. following in the path of his mom and step dad Al. Al was our middle school principal.

One time when I was 12 I named the middle school’s newspaper The Raider Review and I got to choose between a gift certificate to the mall or a lunch with the principal. I decided to go to lunch with Al.

We went to this piece of shit small town greasy spoon and had a decidedly easy-going chat for an hour. Today – 18 years later – it’s one of Al’s favorite memories of being the principal. He always asks me why I chose to have lunch with the principal and I never give him a real reason. My mom thinks that it was because I was receiving the honor of lunch with the most powerful man in the school.

EP has been with his wife J since 1993. He’s known her about a month longer than I have. I was the best man in the wedding. Since then she and I – and a revolving door of colorful others – have driven cross country and back, camping and partying along the way, to meet up with EP. Or to travel with EP to fucking fantastic locations.

EP and his wife J and I and youngest brother B biked – with attached bike trailers – and camped 240 miles of Puget Sound and the surrounding Olympic national park in 2002. It was incredible.

We biked all of our equipment from my Chicago apartment to the Amtrak station downtown and took the train – two nights in coach seats – to Seattle.

The train is a total head game. It’s like being locked in Old Country Buffet for two days:

You have four cars to roam [which you’ve instinctively mapped out – finding all dead ends – within the first 45 minutes] all in coach,..

an opened up windowed car for looking at landscape and chats with middle aged people [on their third marriage/fourth whisky at 10 in the morning],..

a convenience store/bar [where it doesn’t matter how long the line is, the convenience store guy/bartender takes his sweet ass time. It takes fucking forever and you’ve got no say in the matter. Because you’ve got nowhere to go anyway],..

and a smoker’s car. We quickly learned that the jet exhaust toilets on the floor below coach were ideal for exhaling bats of the trader green. I had fantastic chats with drunk middle aged couples while totally stoned. You choose your poison.

At night they showed movies. They would never tell you what the movie was going to be that night. No matter who or how many times you asked. I kind of appreciated that though,.. it created a low level of needed anticipation because you were so fucking bored [you can only read so many books, magazines, day old newspapers, Amtrak brochures, listen to so many CDs, try to take a nap so often]...

SO FUCKING BORED that you actually brought it up in conversation with middle aged drunks and your bored friends. Finally at dark they turned the VHS tape on to two 26” mounted TVs in the bar car.

One night it was harry potter and I fell asleep an hour in. The next night it was the Britney Spears movie Crossroads.

Crossroads is remarkably disturbing. I don’t know if it was made for 11 year old girls or if it was made for their fathers. There are several awesome shots of,..

Britney taking a shower with her full figure sillowhetted in the steam,..

Britney wearing this high engineered perfect tit scoop bra and kissing -- and about to agree to fuck -- this loser kid,..

Britney in a bikini rubbing oil on her hot, tight 19 year old body,..

There was this 10 year old loser kid sitting ahead of us who was fucking freaking out when Britney would change her shirt [while poorly acting out a scene about her friend’s most recent abortion… I think it was her 4th. Is that too many?] because the little motherfucker was seeing shit that was giving him 2” inches of manhood, and because his mom was nowhere to be seen to tell him to leave the room. J thought that he looked like he was getting away with something.

In this situation I’m going to believe that Crossroads was also made for middle aged suburban dads, 10 year old boys and two appreciative 28 year old men stuck on a damn train for two nights.

We got off the train in Seattle and biked to the downtown hotel that J had got us for super cheap. Smoked some shit, sat in the 7th story open air pool and went out to get some great thai and look around. Seattle is one of my favorite cities. We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island the next morning.

I learned pretty fast that bikers get preferential treatment in Washington. We get on the ferry first at a deep discount/we get off first. Every campground in the state is lawfully obligated to give bikers and hikers a spot even if they’re sold out. Because of this they have excellent walk in campsites far away from the RV parking lot. They’re usually thick and secluded, and sometimes on a bluff overlooking the sun set over the Pacific.

We rode over four incredible bridges. The first was the most intense because I followed EP towards the sidewalk edge and then back onto the shoulder of the bridge. J rode up onto the sidewalk and had to bike the distance of over 150 feet on a 20” wide “sidewalk” [with two panellier saddlebags]… with a three foot drop down to the roadway and cars speeding past on one side, and on the other side there was a handrail [overlooking a 200 foot drop] running at the same level as the frame of J’s bike. When we met up at the other side of the bridge, I walked up to the sidewalk and was horrified by the size of the walkway and low height of the handrail. And then I tried to think of all of J’s options while biking that entire 150 feet of bridge. I had to sit down.

I found that with the bike trailer attached to the back of my bike, that my top safe speed was around 28 miles an hour. My bike computer kept a very accurate read. I figured out 28 miles an hour the first time we came on a long descent that stretched over a mile. I let my bike – a full suspension Trek VRX mountain bike (very poor choice for the trip} – speed up to around 35 miles an hour. The trailer hitch began to violently shake at the hub of my back wheel, to the point where I was slowing down with the brakes and leaning back but strategizing and preparing for a violent bike crash. By 28 miles an hour the bike was controllable.

Bike trailers add a completely different physical balance to a bike. They’re a bitch to lean against anything, because combined the length of the bike and trailer is easily 10 feet long. And heavy. Getting going is slow, all wide turns, and real weight to stop when slowing to a traffic light. However, once the momentum is rolling, the bike and trailer are very fast, solid and gentle to maneuver.

Everyday we camped and biked 40 mile days through 10 mile wide valleys [which sustain constant 10 mile an hour headwind] and challenging foothills. I ate a lot of peanuts, drank a lot of Gatorade and tea, and always picked up a coffee.

Before the trip my apartment had been broken into and all 300 of my CDs,.. and all 50 of the DVDs my friend who worked for 20th Century Fox gave me,.. and all $9.87 of my laundry change in a pint glass,.. was gone. Some nimble little fuck broke in through the window above the back door and made off with my shit one Wednesday in June. I got a police report, reported it to the insurance, made a comprehensive list of the shit that was stolen, and had a $5,000 check cut to me within 48 hours.

So I outfitted my trip to the pacific northwest. I got all big money and bought two CB radios that worked as CBs and AM/FM radios and weather report frequency and it’s waterproof and easily clipped onto your handlebar. It was awesome. Sometimes we’d talk to children at campsites. We’d try to organize beer raids on camp coolers after dark. We’d ask the kids if their parents had beer?.. and if they did,.. what was their campsite number? Most of these children were around 8 years old. We adopted CB handles. EP was “Captain Insane-o” and I was “Maximus Sunburn.” J thought that we were misbehaving and didn’t make up a CB handle.

One time we were about bike from a campsite on the water, across a large/high bridge in an area called Deception Pass. We were on the water’s edge and I was looking at pebbles. I saw a small, smoothed over black pebble and put it in my pocket [I kept that pebble in my pocket for almost two years. One day it came up missing]. We took a couple of photos and began to psyche ourselves up for the ride over this enormous bridge. I turned on the CB radio and began scanning channels. I found a frequency with a mother telling her children to come up from the water to have breakfast. When they were done speaking I said “mommy! We’re about to ride our bikes across that big bridge!” A couple seconds later the mother said “be careful.”

Riding ten hard miles into a valley headwind is hard. It makes it even harder when you have the constant reminder of the tall foothill you’re going to have to bike up – once you actually get to it – on the distant horizon. Tedious, draining, bored riding calls for the morale boost provided by the classic rocks stations we picked up in the middle of nowhere. Classic rock like eddie money and zz top and van halen is a fucking boost when jammed on two small travel CB/radios while you’re tired and getting your ass kicked by a mountain. Sometimes we mess with the acoustics of the radios if we were riding alongside the wall of the hill blasted away for the road. If we rode in the same spots, and aimed the radio speakers in certain directions, we’d almost get stereo sound.

At night after setting up camp we left all of the trailers and bags and rode lighter bikes to a restaurant for steaks or fresh seafood. When you’re not paying for a car rental, gas or hotel rooms, you can afford steaks and fresh seafood every night. One night we were biking back to our campsite from the nearest small town [that was about 5 miles away] and a car pulled up alongside as I was racing down a hill at 40 miles per hour. The window came down and a beautiful blonde Canadian girl asked me in a normal voice, “where is the camp grounds?” I said “about 2 miles ahead” she thanked me, and they drove off. What was awesome about it is that we were speaking at a normal volume [the volume you use when you’re indoors], and we were moving at around 40 miles per hour.

We spent a couple of days in Bellingham and then took a much much nicer Amtrak Cascade train to Everett to meet up with EP’s younger brother B, who drove up from Eugene, OR to join our trip. I’ve know B since he was 6 years old. He grew into an All-Conference athlete and scored a touchdown during the high school state finals at Camp Randall in Madison, WI [where the University of Wisconsin plays]. I’ve seen the video of it at his parent’s place. Al is B’s biological father and EP’s step brother by marriage, because Al married EP’s mom.

We drove into the Olympic national park and ditched B’s car. We biked over 10 miles on the road winding along side a mountain lake. When we got to the guard’s post for the del sol hot springs resort we were told that reservations stopped in an hour and ten minutes, and it was over 8 miles uphill to the resort. B said that he’d do it, and we slowly followed. It was an ass kicker. Two hours later we reached the resort and B had already staked us a site. We set up camp and walked through a visually intense stretch of young tall white birch and florescent Kermit the frog green two foot high grass. At then lay the drive up to the resort parking lot. It was built XXXXXX and featured two large hot spring pools full of Europeans and Asians, one large lane pool and several freezing cold showers with pull ropes. The people at the resort told us that they hadn’t seen bikers in years.

For two full days and nights we smoked and hiked to mountain waterfalls, dipped into frigid mountain streams, and sat in the oily and fucking disgusting hot springs pools with Europeans and Asians. Nobody but the help was speaking English. It’s hard not to stare when you’re super fucking high,.. sitting in an oily hot springs pool in the midday sun with an 88 year old Asian man who is speaking Japanese to 7 or 8 other Asians sitting next to you,.. and a 58 year old fat German woman is sitting across from you,.. staring. You remedy this awkward situation,.. and cleanse yourself of this international bodily fluid run off ooze shit,.. by walking over to the shower and flash flood dropping cold water over your heated body,.. giving your whole shit a 20 second shock of mountain stream.

We biked down to the guard post in 35 minutes and said goodbye. We biked past the 10 mile mountain lake and I got some great action shots. That night we drove to a camp site on the shoreline of Puget Sound, across the bay from Seattle and 2 miles from the next morning’s ferry. J and I drove to the grocery store to buy food to cook out and a case of beer and bottle of wine and a four pack of wine coolers and two 6 packs of local microbrew. We decided to move the drinking to a picnic table out on the beach. B said that he’d carry the firewood and fire, and I watched him pick up and balance two burning logs with two dry firewood logs across 70 feet of sand to the fire pit,.. where he dropped the two burning logs and cracked a beer. We got piss drunk and I slept in the car because a camp boss picked up, and held onto, my sleeping bag,.. because,.. [???] I guess that the camp boss thinks it makes perfect logical sense to pick up a lone, bundled sleeping bag from a fully set-up campsite.

The next day we had to leave on the train at 3 pm, so we drove into Seattle’s downtown,.. near the train station,.. and parked the car. We check all of our shit into Amtrak and walked to the waterfront. We had been talking about, stressing over and conserving green the past couple of days because we were almost out. This was a legitimate issue. Trust me, you have to have weed to get through three days and two nights on that fucking train.

Our trip was blessed with good karma. The night before we even left Chicago to begin the trip, EP and J and I took a late ride through Chicago to the paved bike lanes along Lake Michigan. It was an early August clear summer night, which didn’t explain the 7 and 8 foot waves crashing up the bike path and against the flood wall. The force of the water was stronger than I’d estimated, and pulled with true force when I biked through it. Our feet were soaked. We rode back through the city.

Walking from the downtown train station in Seattle, we came across more and more foot traffic and hundreds of posted fliers directing us to motherfucking Hemp Fest. We had located the pot at the end of the rainbow. Within 10 minutes I bought everyone a brownie. We ate them and felt nothing. No jitters. We walked around looking at the booths and the kids and the belly dancers and the people with snakes and the punk midgets with tattoos and the live bands. EP and I bought the same sweet black hemp wallet for $5 each. I wish I’d gotten more. Mine is torn to shit and the company went out of business. You can’t even find Manastash on e-bay.

We split for awhile to gather supplies. I walked down to the large rocks on the shore and quickly found a west coast kid selling shit. He was engaged in a lot of small talk with the kids around. He asked me about what I’d been up to and I told him an abbreviated story of the entire bike trip, and our train leaving for Chicago in a couple of hours. He seemed genuinely interested. He gave me a nice amount of beautiful west coast green in an empty cigarette box and I re-joined my friends.

We walked back to B’s car and I started to feel psychic pushes from the brownie kicking in. EP said, “well I guess we’re going to find out what was in those brownies.” The shit then started to kick in and I saw a trail. Two Seattle cops came in off of the stairway and walked past watching us frantically try to gather any loose items we owned from B’s car. I began to question if we were on psychedelics or just weed. My paranoia began to fuck with me. I started to silently question if they were going to search our bags and pat us down at the train because of Hemp Fest. They hadn’t checked in Chicago, but it might be different here. I stuffed the cigarette box I bought from the beach into my jacket’s inside chest pocket and put on my sunglasses to hide. We carefully walked to the train and said farewell to B.

Nobody checked for shit. I found my seat and read three newspapers cover to cover totally stoned on a 8 hour weed brownie. The rest of the train ride EP, J and I had a casual leave each other alone approach, which was welcome and wise. The train ride back was long but manageable. Finally back in Chicago, we biked back to my apartment, they loaded up and drove back to Wisconsin, and I crashed.

So anyways, I went to lunch with EP’s step dad Al – the principal – when I was a kid, and now that we’re all adults, everything’s loosened up a lot. During my toast at EP and J’s wedding I told a story about how when we were in high school EP used to always snag a beer or two at a time from Al’s garage beer refrigerator, squirrel them away in hiding spots until he’d amassed 14 or 15, and then we’d drink them. Al’s taste in beer ran from Red White & Blue to Grain Belt. We’d each struggle through can after piss warm can of Red White & Blue because it was all that we could get our 16 year old hands on, and because it was the principal’s beer. EP’s mom – Al’s wife – always brings that one up, and reminds me that EP’s grandmother and all of his relatives [who apparently don’t really know him] were there. EP’s mom is that way though, you couldn’t call his house after 8:30 on any night of the week. She didn’t care who was calling, she’d tell you that EP could not come to the phone, and would please not ever call after 8:30 ever again.

Al makes inappropriate comments about women when it’s just guys around all the time. I was making fun of him for drinking a bottle Grain Belt telling him that even at 15 I knew that Grain Belt was cheap piss. Al said “you know, there’s only one thing better than Grain Belt beer,.. you know what that is? Two women at the same time.”

Later he offered me and a couple other guys a stick from the pack of this gum that looked like it had been in his pants pocket through the washer twice. I told him “I don’t want any of that.” He asked why, and I said “because your wife washed those when she was doing your laundry.”