July 4th Mix, or America: Still Better Than Mexico in Several Social and Economic Indicators

Once again, a holiday mixtape that's late or early by several months.  I think I'll lay off the profanity and get right into the juicy mix-meat, shall I? As always, mix them up however, and certain songs (living in Americas, swimming songs and anthems were extremely overrepresented) can be cherry picked. For instance I barely like Radiohead, but understand that people think they're Audio Jesus, so I put National Anthem on there. It would not be played at a Sheldon T Scranton BBQ. Believe that.

  1. Constructive Summer - Hold Steady
  2. America - Neil Diamond
  3. America! - Bill Callahan
  4. July, July! - The Decemberists
  5. Rock, Flag, and Eagle - Charlie Kelley
  6. What's Left of the Flag - Flogging Molly
  7. America You Look Good, Reuben's Accomplice
  8. National Anthem - Radiohead
  9. Anthem - King Tuff
  10. Anthem - Cerebral Ballzy
  11. 9-5er's Anthem - Aesop Rock
  12. Intl. Player's Anthem - UGK
  13. Summertime Thing - Chuck Prophet
  14. Saturn Missiles - Aesop Rock
  15. BBQ - Wendy Renee
  16. Point Breeze - Marah
  17. Rocket - Home By Hovercraft
  18. Looking Up - Eels
  19. Fourth Night of My Drinking - Drive By Truckers
  20. American Music - Violent Femmes
  21. Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
  22. Living in America - James Brown
  23. Living in America - The Sounds
  24. Livin' in America - Black 47
  25. Living in America - DOM
  26. American Girls - Homie
  27. Young Americans - Bowie
  28. Kids in America - Muffs
  29. American Cheese - Electric Six
  30. Bottle Rocket - Go! Team
  31. American Slang - Gaslight Anthem
  32. New England (probably helps if you live there) - Johnathan Richman
  33. American Dream (+Prelude) - Killer Mike
  34. American Girl - Tom Petty
  35. Last American Virgin - Oxford Collapse
  36. Do Miss America - Ryan Adams
  37. North American Scum - LCD SoundSystem
  38. New American Language - Dan Bern
  39. Mexican Americans - Cheech & Chong
  40. Gunpowder - Black Joe Louis and the Honeybears
  41. American Jesus - Bad Religion
  42. Half Steering Half Eating Ice Cream - Spymob
  43. Swimming Song - Loudon Wainright
  44. Swimming Pools - Kedrick Lamar
  45. Swimming Pools - Thao Nguyen
  46. Swimming - Killer Mike
  47. Back in the USA - Chuck Berry
  48. Revolution Rock - The Clash
  49. I'm Your Brave Little Soldier - The Eels
  50. Go Outside - Cults
  51. Outside World - XTC
  52. Happy Song - Shantee
  53. We're Gonna Live in the Trees - Robyn Hitchcock
  54. Treehouse - I'm From Barcelona
  55. Walking Under Green Leaves - Spymob
  56. I Write Summer Songs For No Reason - Acid House Kings
  57. Green Grass - Tanlines
  58. President - Dan Bern
  59. Keep on Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
  60. Please Visit Your National Parks - Oxford Collapse
  61. Freedom Park - Marah
  62. Big Weekend - Tom Petty
  63. Massive Nights - Hold Steady
  64. Fly Fly Fishing Poles - Spymob
  65. Summertime - Beck

So I made the best roadtrip mix in the world. Here it is, with songs grouped by category. Songs that belong in more than one category are in whatever category I feel like putting them in because I am neither Melvil Dewey not Aloysius Decimal.

Super American Countryass Truckin'/Hoboin' Songs
Rock, Flag and Eagle - Charlie Kelly
Eastbound and Down - Jerry Reed
This is One Hell of a Truck - Parry Gripp
The Show is on the Road - Paleface
I've Been Everywhere - Johnny Cash
Big Mamma-Jamma - Parry Gripp
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Good Woman, Good Truck, Good Life - Parry Gripp
Nice Motherf@#*&g Truck - Parry Gripp
Girl on The Billboard - Del Reeves
Honk if You're Lonely - Silver Jews
The Road Goes On Forever (And the Party Never Ends) - Robert Earl Keen
Highway Halo - Old Crow Medicine Show
King of the Road - Roger Miller
Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
In The Air - The Handsome Family
Truck Drivin' Man - Parry Gripp
Truck Driving Man - David Allan Coe
The Righteous Path - Drive-by Truckers
Down That Dusty Trail - Robert Earl Keen
On The Road Again - Willie Nelson
Movin' On - David Allan Coe

Honky Tonkin'
Ain't Got No Home - Clarence Frogman Henry
Mess Around - Ray Charles
Amos Moses - Jerrry Reed
Jambalaya - Buckwheat Zydeco

Super American Driving (Non Countryass Division) Songs
Driving Song - The Jessica Fletchers
Big Big Road - Sam Means
Long Haul - Voxtrot
Rollin' Crumblin' - Tom Rothrock
Rollin' and Tumblin' - Bob Dylan
Goin' Out West - Tom Waits
Cannonball Run Theme - Ray Stevens
On Our Way - The Jessica Fletchers
Honk and Wave - Limbeck
Everyone's in the Parking Lot - Limbeck
Rockford Files Theme - Mike Post
Wheel You To Canada - Dan Bern
The Drive Will Do You Good - Sure Juror
The Golden Path - Chemical Brothers feat. The Flaming Lips
America! - Bill Callahan
Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
The High Road - The Feelies
American Highway - Ezra Furman & the Harpoons
The Wheel - Bill Callahan
Punk Rock Radio - Marah

Haulin' Ass
Tick of the Clock - The Chromatics
Roadrunner - Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
4000 Miles - Blackalicious
300mph Torrential Outpour Blues - White Stripes
Beat the Clock - Sparks
Murdermile - The Kills
Making Progress - Electric Six
Rolling/Nectarine - Hooray For Earth
Running Out of Time - Hot Hot Heat
Need More Time - Epoxies

Places I Drove To/Through
San Francisco B.C. - Silver Jews
The Road To Bakersfield - Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
Yosemite Theme - The Go! Team
Pacific Ocean Blues - Dennis Wilson
Sequestered in Memphis - The Hold Steady
88 Seconds in Greensboro - Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
Nutbush City Limits - Ike & Tina Turner
Christian St. - Marah
I'm from New Jersey - John Gorka
Within a Mile of Home - Flogging Molly
I Love New York City - Andrew W.K.

Warren Zevon***
Mama Couldn't be Persuaded
Nighttime in the Switching Yard
I Need A Truck
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Backs Turned, Looking Down the Path
My Ride's Here

Tom Petty***
Running Down a Dream
You Wreck Me
Turn This Car Around
Time to Move On
Six Days on the Road (as Mudcrutch)

Pains in the Ass
The Wacky World of Rapid Transit - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Hard Road to Travel - Jimmy Cliff
The Road - The Kinks
Nowhere Fast - Blackalicious
Gridlock! - Electric 6
Long Line of Cars - Cake
None Shall Pass - Aesop Rock
Stop - Against Me!
Green Light - Jaime Lidell
Red Lights - Holy Fuck

Catastrophic Wrecks
Wrecking Force - Voxtrot
Drunk By Noon - Handsome Family
DUI - Har Mar Superstar
Tombstone Every Mile - David Allen Coe
Rent a Wreck - Suburban Kids With Biblical Names
Big Joe and Phantom 309 - Tom Waits
Accident and Emergency - Patrick Wolf

Windows Down Bumping Awesome
Situation - Making Friendz
Ya Lil' Crumbsnatchers - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Mother's Day - Ezra Furman & the Harpoons
Nighttiming - Coconut Records
Age of Consent - New Order
Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues - Mclusky
All Wrapped Up - Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
Tunak Tunak Tan - Dahler Mende
I Can't Wait - Big Baby Jesus
New Soft Architect  - The Weather Machines***
Life During Wartime - Talking Heads

Blue Collar Bustin' Yo Ass Songs
Labor - Aesop Rock
My Name is Cheech The School Bus Driver - Cheech Marin
This Fucking Job - Drive By Truckers
I Hate My Job - Cam'ron
Mr. Blue Collar - Rhymefest feat. Malik Yusef

Runnin' From Johnny Law
Guilty As Charged - Dewey Cox
Nightcall - Kavinsky & LoveFoxxx
Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip
Dukes of Hazzard Theme
Alabama High-Test - Old Crow Medicine Show
Cops on Our Tail - The Raveonettes
Pacific Coast Highway - Kavinsky
Escape Artist - Sage Francis
Flashing Lights - Kanye West
Pop Shit - Dirt McGirt****

The Vehicle
No Brakes - The Bravery
Transmission - Radio 4
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Rumble of The Deisel - Les Claypool*
The Waning Moon - The Hidden Cameras**
First Gear - The Rapture
Rental Car - Beck
Rearview Mirror - Pearl Jam
Jesus Built My Hotrod - Ministry
Bitchin' Camaro - Dead Milkmen
Go-Go Tech - VACo
Don't Stop Living in the Red - Andrew W. K.
Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire
EZ Pass - Har Mar Superstar 
Radio Radio - Elvis Costello
Stuck Between Stations - Hold Steady

Running on Nothing - Fucked Up
Running on Empty - Jackson Browne
Running on Faith - Eric Clapton
Running out of Turbo - The Sounds
Carbon Monoxide - Cake

The Actual Road
Endless Black Ribbon - David Allan Coe
Bridge to Nowhere - Sam Roberts
Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
Neighborhood #3 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Blessed Highway - Home By Hovercraft

Too-Clever-By-Half Bits of Themework (First 3 and Next 2 To be played in order)
Prologue - Chains and Black Exhaust
Yeah Yeah - Blackrock
Epilogue - Chains and Black Exhaust
The Large Marge Monologue
Big Joe and Phantom 309 - Tom Waits
Nothing But Flowers - Talking Heads (Drive through Midwest America before you shit on this one)

The Greatest Driving Song Ever
Wicked and Wierd - Buck 65

*About boats, so what.  The lyrics work 90% for a truckin' mix.  Blow me.
**Wiperblades foley effects.  Pretty rad.  Also listen to Underage by them.  Awesome song about preteen sex.  Enough of these watchwords in our site and the misdirected pedophile traffic is gonna vault us to whatever happens to a popular blog.  I guess a book deal, and then a "Why give away the milk when you can sell the milk for more?" style immediate cessation in any new posts, Stuff White People Like Style?
***There's a lot of Tom Petty and Warren Zevon on here because they are the best.  There's a ton of David Allan Coe on here because he never wrote a non-trucking song, and some are pretty good.  The Weather Machines were the best, and that they didn't catch on in '06 is something you're going to have to square up with your God for at some point.  Most of the guys are now in the Mystery Pills, just as awesome, and I will cut your throat in your sleep if that band goes under.  Yes.  You.
****Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is better than playing a song with loud, sudden cop sirens in the background when someone who doesn't know the song is driving.

Labels: , , , , ,

Chang-a-langle Bells!

So this is about a Christmas Mix.

First off, fuck you, I'll post whenever I feel like it.  Second off, I meant to write this up last year but didn't because of not doing it, so it's actually over a year late, and not a few months as you'd stupidly supposed.

Ass of you and me.

Here goes nothin! As usual it's up to you to put these in whatever order you like.

  1. Big Sale - Parry Gripp
  2. Another Rock And Roll Christmas - Gary Glitter
  3. Holiday Road - Lindsey Buckingham
  4. Wise Man - Desmond Dekker
  5. Fuck You If You Don't Like Christmas - Crudbump
  6. Christmas Duel - Cyndi Lauper vs. The Hives
  7. Get Behind Me, Santa - Sufjan Stevens
  8. Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
  9. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues ft. Christy McCall
  10. It's Christmas so We'll Stop - Frightened Rabbit
  11. Memphis Christmas - Star and Micey
  12. Whiskey Christmas - Darby O' Gill and the Little People
  13. Dominic The Christmas Donkey - Lou Monte
  14. Party Hard - Little Isidore
  15. Linus and Lucy - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  16. Father Christmas - The Kinks
  17. Holly Jolly Christmas - The Format
  18. New York Is a Christmas Kind of Town - Marah
  19. I Want an Alien For Christmas - Fountains of Wayne
  20. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty
  21. Merry Christmas From the Family - Robert Earl Keen
  22. Faith - George Michael*
  23. Jesus Built My Hotrod - Ministry*
  24. Electronic Santa - Blazer Force
  25. Hooray For Santa Claus - Parry Gripp
  26. Holly Jolly Christmas - The Format
  27. My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder Than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees - Joy Formidable
  28. Why Can't it Be Christmastime All Year - Rosie Thomas
  29. Toys - The Epoxies
  30. That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! - Sufjan Stevens
  31. The Ice Storm - The Go! Team
  32. Valley Winter Song - Fountains of Wayne
  33. Holidays - Miami Horror
  34. A Gift For Melody Lane - Avett Brothers
  35. Spirit of Giving - The New Pornographers
  36. Bizarre Christmas Incident - Ben Folds
  37. Toy Jackpot - Blackalicious
  38. Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - Eels
  39. Is This Christmas? - The Wombats
  40. Joe Christ - Dan Bern
  41. Waters of Nazareth - Justice
  42. Holly - Sleigh Bells
  43. Chimbley Sweep - Decemberists
  44. Mr. Mistletoe - The Electric Fields
  45. Red Eyed Santa - Dick Smith
  46. I-pod X-mas - Hello Saferide
  47. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Boris Karloff
  48. The Lonely Jew on Christmas - Kyle Broflofski
  49. Christmas in Harlem - Kanye West
  50. Christmas Vacation - Mavis Staples
  51. Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year - Jackson 5
  52. Jesus Christ Was an Only Child - Modest Mouse
  53. Havin' My Baby - Think About Life*
  54. Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day - Ted Leo
*Certain songs may have a somewhat tenuous connection to Jesus, presents, winter, snow, what have you. If you've heard these songs, and it's even occurred to you to question their place on this list, you are a Communist.

Labels: , , , ,

The Halloween Mix Bodhisattva

First off, I know exactly what the hell the title means. This fucking mix could have transcended to a realm of pure energy years ago, but it chose to remain among the scum and filth of this world to show you the way.

Before you get to see the mix, a brief word about how you've been fucking up your Halloween mix all these years.

First of all, Halloween is not actually about Satan, devils monsters and such. No one celebrates Halloween to legitimately be scared. Kids do it to dress up like their favorite cartoon characters and pass out in a puddle of chocolate vomit at the end of the night. Adults do it to have an excuse to act like immature little kids again, and pass out in a puddle of regular vomit at the end of the night.

Therefore black/death/speed metal does not belong on a Halloween mix. Unless your Halloween party is a bunch of pimply 14-year-olds with aggression problems playing D&D in your parent's rec room, this is totally inappropriate. However, music that puts forth a "spooky" air, but is still fun to listen to, i.e. The Horror, or Fresh Blood is great. It reminds people that they're at a theme party, but they enjoy it, also. Crazy right?

Examples: http://www.cinemablend.com/music/The-Official-2008-CB-Music-Halloween-Mix-Tape-13108.html Tracks 2, 10 and 21. This is after he makes the same argument I just did.

Secondly, if you're the kind of music nerd who's got enough music to make theme mixtapes for parties, it's going to be hard to remember where the "killer" is 'mongst all the "filler". But some of these mixtapes look like the person went to the itunes search bar and just typed "ghost", "Monster" "Vampire" etc in and added whatever got coughed up. "Werewolf" by Cat Power, and "Zombie" by the Cranberries might seem like they'd fit if you don't give two shits about what you're doing. And Christ help you if put Vampire Weekend or some such on there. The only one who sees the Artist Name and Track Title are you. Everyone else just listens to the music. Nothing about the Starlight Mints' Rhino Stomp suggests it'd work in a Halloween mix, but by God, it does.

Example: That last blog, tracks 4, 14, 18. Edgar Winter's Frankenstein? Don't Fear the Reaper? Fucking Donovan?!

http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/WFMU/blog/Creative_Commons_Halloween_Mix This is probably the ugliest mess of hipster "obscurity trumps everything" I've ever seen. Like two of these songs work.

Thirdly, and I think I may be the first person in the history of the internet to realize this, but we used to be ten years old. That's why Halloween is awesome, regressing to that time. And what thought consumed our every waking minute all the way through October? Fucking candy is what! What kind of goth nerd gets so wrapped up in the fake spiderwebs and construction paper bats that he puts Black Sabbath on a Halloween mix and neglects "Candyman", "Sugar High" "I Want Candy" et al.?

Fourth: the Monster Mash. It is just horrible. It's obvious, it's not a fun song it's not good music and you can't even listen ironically to it since it gets played every year at every party like clockwork. "The Blob" however, is awesome.

Fifth: Even if the song is awesome, and it's got a cool title and all, if it doesn't fit or flow, it's out. Fela Kuti's Zombie is awesome and fits, but at 12 plus minutes, it'll be bringing up the rear or departing. Sex and Candy is almost too on the nose, but it's slow and not really superfun. It's on probation. Gorillaz "November Has Come" is a cute little bit of themework, but I couldn't get it to fit so out it goes. Gotta be flexible.

Sixth: Like every Mix on the internet seems to be broken up into one or more groups of like 10-15 songs. This isn't 2003, you don't have to burn this shit to a cd. It can be as long as you like, and since your party will hopefully be going for more than an hour or two it just makes sense to make it super long.

Here they are, in no particular order. A mix three times as long, ten times as fun, with more angles to it than your average unimaginative haunted house album that tends to get made. You're welcome. I'll probably be adding and subtracting all the way up to the 31st so if you've got a suggestion let's hear it.

Michael Jackson: Thriller, obviously
The Hives: Abracadaver
Oingo Boingo: Dead Man's Party
Genesis: Justice
Do The Know It's Hallowee'n: The North American Halloween Prevention Initiative
The Horror: RJD2
Wolf Like Me: TV on the Radio
Awoo: Hidden Cameras
Date With The Night: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Engwish Bwudd: Man Man
Scarecrow: Martin Rebelski
Howlin' For You: Black Keys
Satan Said Dance: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
God Bless The Dead: 2Pac
Heads Will Roll (Dance till You're Dead): Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Return of Evil Bill: Clinic
Zombie: Fela Kuti
Halloween: Aqua
Rhino Stomp: Starlight Mints
Boogie Monster: Gnarls Barkely
Curse of Millhaven: Nick Cave/Bad Seeds
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!: Nick Cave/Bad Seeds
Candy for Everyone: The Late B.P. Helium
Fresh Blood: Eels
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps): David Bowie
Eyes of the Night: Starlight Mints
All Alone: Gorillaz
Chase The Devil: Eagles of Death Metal
Voodoo Lady: Ween
Lollipop (Candyman): Aqua
The Blue Wrath: I-Monster
Nightmares: Clipse
Chocolate Pope: Electric Six
Ghost Town: The Specials
The Mask: Danger Doom
The Blob: The Five Blobs
M1 A1: Gorillaz
Dracula's Wedding: Outkast
Sugar High: Coyote Shivers
Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: Tracey Jordan
Sex and Candy: Marcy Playground
Goodbye Horses: Q Lazarus
Pretend We're Dead: L7
Ghostbusters Theme: Ray Parker Jr.
A Nightmare on My Street: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince:
Tootsee Roll: 69 Boyz
The Robots: Teddybears
The Boy Least Likely To is a Machine: The Boy Least Likely To
Mr. Vampire: Torches
Monster: Kanye West
Posed to Death: The Faint
Paranoiaattack: The Faint

Suggested by Brendan:
Skulls: Misfits
Halloween: Mudhoney

Consider the game elevated.

Also, This


Cloisterfuck Hash

So, I'm the designated "quote" secretary "unquote" of the local hash club, which means I write down the minutes of the run/bar crawls. Being that this is the only funny thing I've written since I've moved out here, and nothing's gone up since Freshman took off for Meheeco in July, I figured I'd post it to give our obsessive readership something new to look at.

First, the Good News:

The ever-striving perfectionists of the Metro Transit Authority decided to spruce up the A line for our arrival to the Cloisters this past Sunday. While they weren't quite able to finish on time, we understand that these things don't hold to a strict timetable, and we all look forward to seeing what they decided to do with the place. Fortunately the weather was just right for a 20-block hike up the mountainside.

Then everyone's favorite members of the local constabulary, Officers Nunez and Silvano stopped by to say hi and volunteered to give an impromptu lecture on local drinking regulations and good citizenship. They were so impressed with our group that they invited a select few of us to part 2 of the lecture series at the courthouse downtown. (For those of you who like Law and Order, part two is when the prosecuting attorneys browbeat you and any family members they can drag into the interrogation room with grade school level pop psychology while your defense sits dumbly in a corner until you fly into a rage and blurt out a full confession) A formal invitation was extended to the officers to join our club.

Finally the hash was off, over hill and dale, down cliff and up. I provided plenty of checks to keep the hahsers together and chit-chatting as well as to give them valuable looking for things practice. We all arrived at the City II Bar, which has amazing specials Friday night, or at least that's what I think the regulars were telling me through their tracheotomy holes. Beer was poured and fun was had, I imagine, being that I was immediately off. Just outside the door, the bartendress and her friend asked me how everyone knew to come to the bar. I directed her to the day-glo green chalk "On-In" written on the sidewalk with a series of arrows leading up to it that she was standing on, explained that that was us, and extended a formal invitation to the hash to both of these osteoperotic maids of the bar.

The hash then got a valuable lesson in history as they proceeded through New York's historic Spinning Rim and Car Wash and Sidewalk Sneaker Sale District. The headlines and great men and women to rise from this fertile soil are far too numerous to name here. They then proceeded into Hibridge Park and were sent up a cliffside covered in loose dirt. As they climbed huge sheets of topsoil and trash rained down over them, and they were able to get a look at both the geologic strata that make up our beloved island and valuable artifacts from yesteryear that demonstrated how people lived back in the olden times of yore. Once they got to the top, they traveled around ball- and BMX- parks looking for flour. Fortunately I had given the local children invaluable truth-telling lessons, as its never too early to instill good character. Hopefully they were of some help to the pack.

Finally, a mere 6 blocks away from the on-in, those crazy, fitness obsessed bravos that make up our hash decided to run in random directions for about 45 minutes, to really blast their glutes before they called it a night. Meanwhile I became fast friends with Jimmy, the local manager of Mi Nido Taverna who told me all about how to spot a whore (pretty much every female in the bar) and what to do in the sticky situation where what you thought was a regular girl turns out to be a whore and demands money. It was pretty much an hour of stories about for-profit blowjobs. Anyway, we got talking about soul music and he loaded the jukebox with money to give us free tunes for the rest of the night. Needless to say, a formal invitation was offered to Jimmy to join the hash.

By this time I had become so besotted that I forgot what was hash cash and what was my money and bought $30 worth of $2 beers because happy hour was ending and then used what was left in my wallet to buy fried chicken. The pack arrived right then, and there was much rejoicing. Stain sang his favorite lingering eternity of a song, Just Rick almost got his head bashed with a pool cue for addressing someone in Spanish, and Just Sean got a front row seat to the whole drunken mess.

All of which brings me, with great reluctance, to the bad news.

A bunch of whiny jerks made me drink beers for stuff I didn't even do and now it's morning and my head hurts.

Until next month, you bold centurions!

Type A-Hole

On the Lyrics of "Maneater," by Hall & Oates

She`ll only come out at night, the lean and hungry type
Nothing is new I`ve seen her here before…Watching and waiting
Ooh, she`s sitting with you but her eyes are on the door
So many have paid to see what you think you`re getting for free
The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a jaguar
Money`s the matter, if you`re in it for love, you ain`t gonna get too far

(Oh oh, here she comes) watch out boy, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes) she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes) watch out boy, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes) she`s a maneater

I wouldn`t if I were you, I know what she can do
She`s deadly, man, she could really rip your world apart
Mind over matter, ooh, the beauty is there, but a beast is in the heart

(Oh oh, here she comes) watch out boy, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes) she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes) watch out boy, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes) she`s a maneater

Ooooooooooh ooh (Oh oh, here she comes) here she comes
Watch out boy, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes, watch out) she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes, she`s a maneater) Ooh, she`ll chew you up
(Oh oh, here she comes) Here she comes, she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes, watch out) She`ll only come out at night, oo
(Oh oh, here she comes) Here she comes, she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes, she`s a maneater) the woman is wild
(Oh oh, here she comes) here she comes
Watch out, boy, watch out, boy (Oh oh, here she comes)
Oh watch out, watch out, watch out, watch out
(Oh oh, here she comes) Yeah yeah, she`s a maneater
(Oh oh, here she comes, she’s a maneater) She’s watching and waiting
(Oh oh, here she comes) Oh, she’s a maneater

I believe the preceding are the lyrics for Hall & Oates 1982 single "Maneater." The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that same year! Way to go, Hall & Oates! Furthermore, the song was supposedly inspired by actress Kelly LeBrock, who starred alongside Forty Minutes of Hell favorite and accomplished bluesman Steven F. Seagal in the 1990 film Hard to Kill. Critics are divided on whether or not Seagal's greatest achievement is the cover of his 2005 album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, or the title of the ninth track of his 2006 follow-up, Mojo Priest.

I know what you're thinking - that all this was just an elaborate excuse to post the video at the bottom of this post - but you're wrong -dead wrong. It was all just an accident - a happy accident.

Editor's Note: For full effect, sans Reggie, the clip above should be watched repeatedly until enlightenment is attained and the viewer transcends samsara and achieves moksha. Devotees of Mahayana Buddhism may choice to leave the material realm and become a bodhisattva, although it should be stated that Forty Minutes of Hell remains strictly neutral on this course of action.

Labels: ,

On Southeastern Massachusetts Conservative Talk Radio

I've been doing a lot of driving lately, which is rather unfortunate. Driving on Cape Cod in the summer is rather arduous, as most days of the week you have to navigate through a ridiculous amount of traffic that is either heading down Cape for vacation or trying to get off to go back to work. Since I lack the skills necessary to function in everyday society, namely remembering what day it is, I tend to get stuck in this traffic on a regular basis. Full disclosure: I also lack the ability to spell the word necessary right in under three tries. It's my personal Sisyphean task.

Furthermore, I never manage to bring a sufficiently varied amount of CDs with me so after an hour or so in the car I usually end up hammering the seek button repeatedly until something tolerable or interesting pops on. We actually have a decent selection of radio stations here, such as WMVY and NPR as well as stations in both Spanish and Portuguese. WBCN (which is actually changing formats very soon) is intermittently tolerable, even though they don't seem to realize that music was recorder both before and after grunge. But, man cannot live on This American Life alone and once WMVY starts heading into what I like to call painfully white blues-rock I've been known to almost careen off the road reaching for the dial.

It is my to my everlasting joy, then, when I run across a local conservative talk show. This is actually more difficult than one would think, assuming one does not live in Massachusetts. Turns out this little universal-health-care-havin' state can't actually support a full-time FM conservative talk station. Only one station comes in on my dial, and they seem to do everything from home improvement shows to Red Sox games to screaming nutcases literally shouting about "those people" when talking about certain Harvard professors. But we're getting ahead of themselves.

Everyone is familiar with the national icons of conservative talk radio, or contalkro, is it will henceforth be known, such as Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity. The basic premise, as far as I can tell, is "white man talk crazy get people riled." It has been my experience that local contalkro shock jocks have to think outside the box to draw attention to themselves over the national boys. This makes for an excellent listen. Even more so when you find yourself in an area that is not traditionally conservative. Giving these guys a smaller base from which to draw just amps up the insanity, like going from Aladdin Sane David Bowie to "I'm going to share an apartment with Iggy Pop!" David Bowie. More fun for the whole family.

Back when I lived in Pittsburgh, my roommates and I would watch a lot of Honsberger Live!, the TV version of local host Fred Honsberger's show (that's his delightful mug up above). Basically, Honsberger was good bet for entertainment on a summer weekday for three under and unemployed people in their early twenties. If I recall correctly, one of us was unemployed entirely, one was financing his day-to-day existence by doing psychological studies at Carnegie Mellon university, which were only on weekdays, causing him to compare his existence on weekends as "like a wildebeest going through the lean season," and another had a job as a deliver driver that regularly left him at home or at the abode of Jason Jones waiting for a call. We had a twelve month lease that was paid over nine to ensure that students didn't run out in the summer, meaning that we were temporarily rent-free.

See that? That's what we in the biz call "verisimilitude." Now back to the Hons...

His job was basically to drum up outrage over local and state topics, something that frequently left him short of topic points. Since he couldn't regularly rant about Hillary Clinton (though lord, did he try, even placing a framed picture of here with a line through it so it was always visible just over his right shoulder), he would regularly concoct inane and poorly thought out arguments, sometimes seemingly on the spot. The experience sometimes mirrored the TA in this classic Mr. Show sketch. Here was where having the show on TV came in handy: you got to see the expression on his face as he stared at the camera while he tried to build up outrage over the existence of a twenty-two pound lobster. Sadly, I couldn't find a clip or any other references to Honsberger's angry demands to be fed the lobster and exultation after it's demise. Let's recap: a man was paid to rant for several days about his disgust that a freakishly large lobster was being displayed in an aquarium instead of being cooked and eaten. Shortly before Bubba died, he was even offering hundreds of dollars for the poor bastard so he could eat it. And there was not a trace of irony or self-awareness to be found.

I bring this up because the local contalkro blows Honsberger out of the proverbial water. Despite his burgeoning lunacy, Honsberger at least realized that the thing hanging in front of his face was called a microphone and served the purpose of recording his voice so that it could be broadcast across the land. He did not feel the need to shout at the top of his lungs for a full hour. Listening to someone shout things about Obama, fascism and socialism as loud as they can while a caller, who is actively agreeing with them, tries to out-shout them is a rare moment of divine unintentional comedy in our increasingly post-modern and irony-laden world. I've started toying around with the idea of somehow transmogrifying this into a team Halloween costume, but I have the feeling the joke would wear thin after a few hours.

Tragically (or perhaps not), it's the very environment that produces this lunacy that limits it to no more than just a few hours a week. There aren't enough people to support more than one or two of these shows, but the scarcity of air time causes those that do to throttle up their particular brand of crazy to compensate for it's brevity. I can't seem to nail down when the shows come on, or even who hosts them because Cape Cod gets either Providence or Boston stations depending on where you are, what time of day it is and possibly even the dew point. I'm saying they're unreliable. Have we made that clear? Let's move on.

This makes actually stumbling across one of these shows even more rewarding. Remember back when Family Guy was on it's first run on Fox and how the network would jerk around their time slot like a blind hooker with an inner-ear infection? I think I enjoyed watching those episodes more because each one came like a total surprise. Now I feel that way about New England contalkro. To paraphrase everyone who has even had cancer ever, every time I find one of these shows accidentally is a gift.

In other news, you can now watch every episode of TJ Hooker on youtube. You're not going to, because you don't want to, but you can.


On Cockfighting

As is contractually obliged by the Terms of Service of this here website, I am required to state in the opening sentence of this post (notwithstanding a brief exclamation, such as "Oh!" or "Yikes!") that it has been quite some time since I wrote on this blog. I've always found this to be a somewhat irritating and definitely pointless exercise, as it assumes that the person who is reading whatever you wrote is both incapable of scrolling down and has no long term memory. The lawyers have been appeased, so let's move on.

Since my last post, I've left Korea, hoboed from Mexico down to Peru, flew to Texas and then continued hoboing all the way to Massachusetts, where I have been trapped in a sort of sensory deprivation chamber (called "Cape Cod" by it's surly and enigmatic inhabitants) that has led me to start blogging again to avoid a complete crushing of the soul and mind. Seriously, people: today I purchased this. I have no idea why. I've never read any of it or known anyone who has. I don't own any comics or graphic novels and can't fully explain why the first one that I've chosen to buy is a 1300 page monster. I already have about six thousand pages of books to read because every time I go past the local Salvation Army I go in and buy six books. Honestly, I don't know who these people are who are giving these books away. On the last run, I picked up books by Don DeLillo, Phillip Roth and Thomas Pynchon. Apparently there's a refuge of postmodern literature professors hiding out in the woods behind my house. But I digress.

I've decided to use this space as a sort of mental clearinghouse for the types of things that I think incessantly on while locked up here. It's entirely possible this could continue once I go back to Guatemala in a little under a month, but let's not hold our collective breaths, because holding our breath for that long would be stupid and pointless and would undoubtedly kill us all. And who wants that?

Answer: this man, most likely.

I'm sorry. That was an absolutely shameless and inappropriate way to shoehorn my favorite website into this post.*

Have you ever heard of a journalist "burying the lede?" If not, then rest assured that you're witnessing a right powerful example right now.

I've been reading a lot of sports news lately for several reasons. One is that I've started getting the New York Times and their sports coverage is paltry at best. Two is that I spend a lot of time dicking around on the internet when I'm supposed to be studying for the GREs. Full disclosure: that's only two reasons, making the earlier claim of "several" somewhat inaccurate. Would you rather have me list a litany (alliteration!) of superfluous and half-baked reasons or would you rather have an already overlong, verbose story continue on unnecessarily longer? Don't answer that, I finished typing this a long time ago and I can't hear you. Did your parents drop you on your head as a child? Ridiculous.

I got distracted there for a minute and completely forgot how I was going to segway this into my actual topic, and honestly, this was the best I could come up with. I might be a little rusty.

Back in April, I rolled into a little place called Banos (note: I can't seem to figure out how to type non-English letters) in Ecuador. It's basically a small resort town about four hours southwest of Quito that is one of the most popular vacation spots for Ecuadorians; mainly for it's natural hot springs. Being set in a temperate place that looks like this doesn't hurt either. At this point in my trip, I had completely stopped planning more than twenty-four hours in advance and got on the bus in Quito because I had a half-baked plan to wander into the jungle to meet a friend of a friend, whom I had never spoken to, and hang out with a jungle tribe for a week. Needless to say, this plan fell apart almost immediately after it was hatched. I somehow arrived and managed to find a decent place to sleep even though I was landing right smack-dab in the middle of Holy Week in a country that takes their Catholicism a wee bit more serious than most. That said, pretty much everyone in Banos appeared to be celebrating Holy Week by getting very, very shitty. And by going to cockfights.

Not only is cockfighting legal and encouraged in Ecuador, it's also practically the national sport. To quote Lonely Planet, "a town ain't a town without a cockfighting ring," which, if I ever found some sort of Jonestown-type utopian settlement, will be the official town motto. Ecuadorian cockfights are a weekly, bring-the-kids type affair. The fact that we were sitting in a concrete building watching pairs of roosters try to kill each other for sport on Easter Sunday seemed to be of little concern to anyone in attendance. The mystery liquor that was being served at the arena bar may have had something to do with this.

But first, the building itself. Located several kilometers outside of town and down a shady alley behind a gas station stood the square, whitewashed building festively adorned with a painting of a pair of roosters facing off in boxing gloves. In actuality, the roosters are outfitted with sharp razors on their feet, but that failed to make the painting any less awesome.

The fact that cockfighting is legal here made the building's dodgy location a little mysterious. Why was it way out of town and not visible from the road? It makes the experience of entering the building a little anticlimactic, as those expecting a horde of chain-smoking Asian men yelling and waving thick wads of bills and shouting and generally carrying on (read: me) are disappointed to find something slightly more sane.

Each bout is preceded by all the interested parties crowding around a ping-pong table in the corner and thoroughly inspecting the two pugilist birds for an ungodly amount of time. The inspections, in the early parts of the night, can take up to thirty minutes. It should be noted that the length of these inspections tends to decrease as the night goes on, people get a little more mystery corn juice into them and a general attitude of "fuck it! Gamblin' time!" pervades the air. Regrettably, bets are placed in an entirely civil and sense-making manner that is absolutely nothing like Bloodsport or The Deer Hunter.

The fights themselves are not actually to the death, or more accurately, are not meant to be to the death, but if a rooster happens to die, then so be it. There are actually rounds, between which the owners tend to give little rooster-themed pep talks ("That rooster is fucking your hens! HE IS FUCKING YOUR HENS!") and do really creepy things like blowing on the rooster's head bloody head and sometimes even putting it into their mouths. I dimly recall that UFC lacked rounds until they started reforming in the mid-to-late-nineties, although I can't seem to find evidence of this. I plan to bring this up to John McCain if I ever meet him, probably because I can think of nothing less appropriate. Anyways, you should probably read closely, because this next piece of information will come in very useful if you're ever turned into a rooster and forced to fight another one.

There are two forms of rooster attack. One is the old-fashioned head peck, used like kick-boxers use punches - not really to kill, but just to wear down their opponent. As anyone who has ever cracked their forehead on something knows, scalp injuries bleed like hell, and be assured that for poultry it's no different. Feel free to go back and read the second sentence of the previous paragraph now. The other is to leap into the air and attempt to pin the other rooster's head to the ground. This is where the aforementioned razor blades on the feet come in. Repeat until one is dead or the owner decides he's had enough, which I suspect has something to do with salvaging that tasty, tasty cock meat.

I am absolutely positive the previous sentence was the worst thing that I have ever written. On the other hand, I think I deserve some sort of medal, or perhaps a collection of fancy cheeses, for making it that far without a single dick joke.

Actually, this is how roosters behave outside the ring. They just manage to do it without seriously hurting each other. While puzzling over this quandary, I remembered a comment a friend, whom I trust implicitly in all matters sub-legal and ethically questionable, made while telling a story about his Thai drug dealer and the mini-bike said drug dealer had bought for his Buddhist shrine. I believe the story consisted mainly of the dealer relating the quality and price of the bike along with the relative difficulty of getting it up the stairs. This dealer also trained roosters, and the admission of this fact led to the following exchange:

Fellow Listener: How exactly does one train a cock to fight?
Storyteller: I believe they torture the shit out of them. Anyway ... (Continues to extol the virtues of various opiates)

All this goes on in a pit surrounded by people yelling helpful comments such as "Come on, red!" and "Come on, white!" as well as the occasional drunk gringo getting a little too into it over the two dollars they bet on the fight. The crowd ranges from those who one would suspect would frequent cockfights, namely grungy men of indeterminate age who seem to know way, way to much about rooster physiology (picture the main character from The Sun Also Rises as a mustachioed cockfight enthusiast and you have the picture) to entire families from two to 102.

Admittedly, our crowd was a little light, it being Easter and whatnot. The final match of the night, which was the first one that I finally got around to betting on, actually ended in a tie. Someday, when I compile the list of most amazing things I've seen, I don't see how that is not going to crack the top five. It's like flipping a coin and having it land on the edge.

Here's the point where I'm probably supposed to take some sort of moral stand on everything I've just described or perhaps use it to describe some sort of greater human truth. On the other hand, I have two rules in life, one of which is to not get worked up over or read too much into events that take place outside small towns in Ecuador. I'll sum this up by asking the online Magic 8-Ball a series of questions

Will I ever train roosters to fight as a living or hobby?
- "My sources say yes."

Is cockfighting inhumane?
- "No."

Is a town really a town if it lacks a cockfighting ring?
- "Don't count on it."

Will that fact that I left the ring without paying for my Arroz Con Pollo ever come back to haunt me?
- "Concentrate and ask again."

Since I don't like taking orders from inanimate objects, and much less a simulacra of an inanimate object, here we must part. I promise further entries will be much shorter than this.

* Author is not actually sorry.

Labels: , , ,

Join Zipcar!

Join Zipcar and get $50 in free driving!

Just When You Think You're Out... Now with alt-texty goodness!

So I figured I was done ranting about Korea, and I am after a manner of speaking. This is a rant in Korea's favor. I'm watching motherfucking Anthony Bourdain and I have to write this or punch out the TV and then go to the hospital to have my had stitched up compliments of Lutron, who has apparently not canceled my Blue Cross. Class act, those guys.

So I've noticed some common elements in every travel related article/show/blog about Korea. They are as follows.

1. Everything in Korea is wonderful.

2. Kimchi is the spiciest thing on the planet. It is so goddamn fucking spicy that anyone who eats it instantly goes blind. And then dies. From the fucking spiciness. Also everyone in Korea eats it all the time.

3. Seoul, the capital city and entirety of the country, is positioned on the southernmost tip of Korea. The only place to go from Seoul is north, to the DMZ, at which it is appropriate to act as though this is the first time you were ever made aware of the Korean War.

4. Soju is this wild, wonderful, delicious nectar! See: 1.
4. a)Also there is nothing else to drink yourself drunk on.

5. Korean restaurants are all as modern and plastic as a McDonald's.

6. Korean cuisine consists wholly of kimchi, bulgogi, fish-head soup, BBQ and one AND ONLY ONE other from this list: silkworm bugs, nasty chicken pieces, or bibimbap.

7. There are Norae-bangs, (Karaoke joints) and DVD-bangs, (DVD joints) all over the place. There are no other types of bangs. There are also many other things to do.

8. People drink a lot! Sometimes in these, like, tents.

There's nothing wrong with broadening horizons, and if you're only going to be there for a couple of weeks, Korea is a cool place to check out. But every one of the things you see in a show about Korea is bullshit, as detailed in the following point-by-point rebuttal.

1. This isn't a Korea thing, all travel shows act like this with all countries. No one would make a show about a place just to bitch about it, and no one would watch if they did, but am I the only one who hears condescension in the obsequiousness that get lavished on any place featured in a travel show? Everyplace is perfect, everyone is wonderful, etc. etc. I dunno about anyone else, but this is how I speak to children. Yea our culture is materialistic and shallow, but people are, on the average, the same anywhere you go. Half the places I've been in have had a homegrown "Dancing with the Stars" playing on the dive bar TV.  Every culture is extremely shitty in at least one way. (When in doubt: StatisWhat has two thumbs and is NOT the most racist thing on this page?   Me! For once.tically speaking, your culture's police force will probably truncheon the living shit out of you for making the above point.) Yet all travel writing acts as though every other culture in the world is populated entirely by impossibly generous, wonderful, hedonistic holy men/women. Find me one Lonely Planet article about a culture that does not contain three of the following words: (Hospitality, Spiritual, Generous, Ancient, Smiles, Magical, Lust-for-life, Laid-Back, Know-How-To-Party and if we've recently bombed the shit out of them: Hope-For-The-Future). People are the same in Korea as they are in America, Russia, Haiti, anywhere you could name. A little dopey, often douches, far from perfect, but on the balance ok. Yea Americans suck, and yea you'll meet cool people if you look. The same holds for everyone - it's called the human condition. I understand feeling like we need to apologize via fawning compliments to the rest of the world, becuase of colonialism and mercantilism and Cromwell and and slavery. But don't forget: that was WASPs, and everyone hates them anyway. Traveling is fun, but for god's sake, you should be allowed to comment on the fact that you can smell shit everywhere in Korea and not be a racist.

2. I read an article by Brooks or Friedman or Rich or some Op-Ed dick-at-large* about how Engrish would change the way "proper" English is spoken, because since more people worldwide speak it badly than speak it well, badly would become the new well (Those of us who taught English know it would become the new finethankyouandyou). I imagine an ideawhore like that was the first white guy to sit down to a plate of kimchi. "Very spicy" they told him. After a bite he thought "...Well, it certainly is seasoned, I guess that's what they mean, but who the hell am I to correct someone on the use of my own language?" And so the myth was born. And of course, since we must never, ever, ever, never ever, nerver, never imply a foreigner is incorrect (see #1), it has now become unassailable. Kimchi isn't bad, but no one has ever had to chase it with bleu cheese to get the burn out of their mouth.  And yea, Koreans eat Kimchi with everything, we eat bread with on or in almost everything.  It's the kind of boring fact you mention once and move on to the interesting stuff, which never happens because:

3. Fuck Seoul and every pampered, damp-assed, entitled wey-gook in it. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful town in the same way as New York is. And Seoul weygooks are all whiny, solipsistic posers in the same way lifelong Manhattanites are. Here's the thing about Seoul. It's not fucking Korea. Korea is getting pointed at in the streets like you're John Fucking Merrick. Korea is asking "uh-dee CGbuhwee" and getting "No English" back. Korea is eating the same 6 foods every day until dog becomes a viable alternative.This is what everyone in Seoul looks like to everyone who's not  Korea is fleeing to every nook and corner of the country on the weekend until the true nature of you confinement becomes despairingly clear. Korea is not arguing with a Nigerian over the price of a belt buckle. Korea is not not learning Korean "Because, like, everyone speaks English already, you know?" Korea is not never wondering if you've wandered into a mob bar and should wander back out again, nowish. Korea is not trying to decide between burritos, gyros, or Indian buffet.  And I'm not bitching about my experience.  Being a conspicuous, befuddled, completely alone foreigner for a year is how I managed to get through Russia sans getting stomped without knowing how to say even "hello" until I got off the plane.  It would be nice to show how the other half lives. (Literally, as 23 of 48 million live rural, or as it's known in Korea: lruulrlrlurl) And seriously, Yes-the-DMZ-is-the-main-attraction, Yes-the-Korean-War-was-horrible. But standing on the line, pinching your face up and saying "This really makes you think you know? Really drives it home." should be punishable by bludgeoning with a fucking history book.

4. Soju is Satan's taint-sweat. It's gasoline in a bottle. Scratch that, it's watered-down, sugared-down gasoline in a bottle. It's an oily rag from becoming a molotov cocktail, and firebombing something with it is much more responsible behavior than actually drinking it. Tony-B couldn't say enough good stuff about it when the cameras were rolling (#1 again), but the whole next day of shooting, until the evening, could not shut up about how hungover he was. He wears a thumb ring and is sarcastic and makes constant mention of his bad-boy status, so I suppose he's something of a bad-boy, which means the average viewer chalks his ass-dragging up to his incessantly referenced hard partying lifestyle, but those of us who've had it know. Drinking Soju doesn't so much get you drunk as give you a minor stroke, though it can be hard to tell the difference until the next morning
4. a) God-Dammnit someone drink Baekseju on camera! That shit is great, just as strong, and it's not made by going to CVS and rebottling the rubbing alcohol. Now I know the idea is to "educate" people, but is anyone really educated by talking about kimchi and soju? If they don't know about it already, fuck 'em. It's time to cut the Sarah Palin's of the world loose. If they want to know what were talking about let 'em read a fucking book for once.

5. The Korean restauratuer's superstition, somewhat like that of baseball players on a streak, is that renovation is bad luck. A traditional Korean restaurant is wooden, chairless, and inexplicably always empty. If the toilet isn't a hole in the ground in an unattached building out back, you aren't eating in a Korean restaurant.

6. See 4.a) Fuck's sake people, let's start assuming some accumulated knowledge on the part of our audience. Anyone who hasn't at least heard of Kimchi, Bibimbap and Korean barbecue is probably not going to be watching a food show about Korea in the first place, n'est-ce pas? Koreans do have some wierd cool food, I bitched about the sameness of the cuisine because the good stuff is about five times as expensive as the regular shit. There are restaurants dedicated to tofu, octopus, deep sea monster fish, hell, Makkali places! Twelve bucks gets food and rice wine enough to make me feel good about having come to Korea. The food is never the same, i.e. Kim's Kitchen for those of you who've been there, and is always crazy. Piles of spiced up tofu, whole fried fish, pancakes PANCAKES holy shit the pancakes I almost forgot! Korean pancakes are awesome, and I have yet to see anyone eat one on TV. They're all too busy explaining to the putative 3-year-old mongoloids who are the audience of all television what kimchi is and how spicy it is.

7. Ok. There are Norae Bangs. There are DVD bangs. If you teleport when you get drunk as I do, you might find yourself in a video arcade or holding a replica AK, mid burst, in a shooting gallery. You probably won't though, because there are three things to do in Korea. Sing in a norae bang, screw your girlfriend in a DVD bang, and waste your whole life in a PC bang. I would love to meet the cinematographer on this show because I have not seen the word "PC" in any "Yep, we're in Asia alrighty" shot of buildings covered in the Korean moon man letters. There is a PC bang for every man woman and child in Korea and they are always packed. If you're good at mental math you've already gotten the joke, I'll wait here while the rest of you go back. Of course, that's only a slight exaggeration. Koreans love PC bangs as much as they love Kimchi, if not more, but you will never see the inside of one on TV because ten grown men sitting silently and chain smoking while they play WOW next to eight hyperactive kids on the same computer screaming about who gets to play the mariocart ripoff next is the most depressing thing on the planet earth, and several other planets besides.

8. This has more to do with this article than the show but oooooooohhhhhh GANG! Am I getting sick of this kind of shit! This is not travel writing. This is jerking off about how well traveled you are and how many wild places you've checked off your big list without bothering to stay long enough to learn anything about the place. This cumdumpster rattles on and on about shit that anyone who's visited Korea has already seen about ten minutes after getting off the plane, interspersed with free advertising for his dickhole friends' blogs. In the New York Fucking Times! These ballbags only get away with it because essentially no one's ever been to Korea. The equivalent would be "My buddy at www.newyorkfelcherabouttown.com invited me down to New York City, or as they call it: 'New York.' Imagine my surpise when we stop to eat - right there in the street! My friend bought me a "dirty water dog" from a man on a cart! I'm so fucking well traveled! Do I win? Have I won yet? Do I have more cred than anyone else?" Jump in the Han and, if your skin doesn't melt off first, drown. Anyone who's spent a year in Korea could pull a more interesting, funny, insightful article out of their ass in about five minutes on any random hungover morning than what passes for travel writing. I could probably do it, if I bothered to edit and didn't express myself mostly through harangues.
Fun Fact, The Mustache is the face's
*This has nothing to do with the main topic, but I had to get it off my chest: can we round up all these people in some type of camp, or if that the word "camp" offends, jail? At what point do people lend you their credulity so that any sort of nonsense, ass-backward bullshit idea you come up with is taken as "outside the box thinking." These men are charlatans and assholes. Brooks simplifies everything to absurdity, Friedman makes up contrarian bullshit, and Rich is just an ass. Any "big" idea that attempts to lay out the forces shaping our world politically environmentally or economically in a simple enough format to become a bestseller and get your mustache on television is by definition pseudo-scientific middlebrow horseshit. The world isn't easy folks, and this half-wit doesn't have any answers.

Labels: , , ,

Back to Normalcy

Since none of the hijackers of this site are in Korea anymore, I decree this blog will go towards the mainstream of blogdom, i.e. ripped off content from other, funnier sites, in lieu of anything original and or interesting.

I've been enjoying these too much to not mention them, and I hope they continue long after the inauguration:

Bush Tumbles Wildly Down Washington Monument Staircase

Crocodile Bites Off Bush's Arm

Bush Passes Three-Pound Kidney Stone

Bush Dragged Behind Presidential Motorcade For 26 Blocks

Bush's Eyelid Accidentally Nailed To Wall

Single-Engine Cessna Crashes Into Bush

Nothing quite like mean-spirited kicking a of man after he's been down for almost two years. The last decade wasn't a total waste, we'll always have Bush to kick around...

Revenge is a dish best served after you've practically forgotten all about it.

Oh yea, my boss back in Korea was a shitbag. Almost slipped my mind. I've intended to put some mean stuff up on the internet about those dickholes for a while now, and I procrastinated so long I almost forgave and forgot. What a nightmare that would have been. Anyway this isn't going to be funny, it's just so that if anyone is thinking about going to work there and googles "Iksan YMCA" like I did lo those many months ago they'll actually have something to go on. The place isn't on black- or graylists because only because no one updates those anymore, so this is a public service, sort of like how we raised the word dykepile to prominance in google searches.

First off. Iksan is a small, economically depressed town in North Jeolla which is frankly a bit of a backwater province. This has a lot to do with Koreans' own internal prejudices about the place and its people instead of something intrinsically wrong with the folks, but just be aware that if your recruiter tells you that it is a bustling city of 300 thousand people a short trip from Seoul, it is not. All true Korean cities are enormous, if there aren't over a million people, it's really more of a town than a city. It's also 2 hours and a half from Seoul. By bullet train (KTX). It is reasonably close to Jeonju, a fun town, and as one of the few foreigners in Iksan, you'll be given a lot of license to act like an ass with no consequences, as the people won't know what to do with you. It was also originally named Iri, but was consolidated with a bunch of tiny towns and villages and renamed. The population of the city proper is around 150 thousand.

Secondly. The nominal head of the YMCA, Mr. Lee, is a kleptomaniac in the clinical sense of the word. He can't be near someone else's money without taking a piece for himself. He tried every scam in the book, amateurishly, and almost landed himself and his wife in prison over it. However, since Koreans hate causing embarassment, and nothing is more embarassing than being called a thief and sent to jail, the authorities seem content to give him a do-over every time he sends his round-eyes packing and brings in a fresh set.

He started by deducting everyone double the official income tax rate, and pocketing the difference, essentially skimming 3% off everyone's paycheck. Since Iksan is a small pond and he is a relatively big fish, we could get no help from the local tax office, and eventually had to take our case to Seoul. When he got a call from the national tax office, he began lying like crazy, telling them a) he wasn't deducting extra from our paycheck, although everyone had the stubs to prove he was, b) claimed he had already given the money back, which obviously was seen through in about the amount of time it took the words to get out of his mouth, and that c) he was going to give the money back, which he did, after telling me I was fired for calling the authorities on him. I told him to Ja-Di-Ga, in so many words, and that was that.

Next he had us work three weeks of unpaid overtime, to the tune of four thousand dollars a head. Negotiations over THAT took us until the end of the contract. Long story short, the teachers had neither the ability nor the spine to present a unified front, half the teachers gave up and got nothing, half of the teachers caved for two hundred dollars, and I was able to shake him down for a cool nine hundred for myself.

After that we learned that he wasn't paying into our pension fund. The first three months he paid in nothing, and following that, he paid in whatever he felt like, for whoever he felt like. Some people would have nothing put into their account one month, the full amount the next, and a fraction the month after, while others who were making the same wage had completely different contributions each month. Despite the brazenness with which he did this, we had to bring it to the attention of the Pension office that our salaries weren't going through perfectly normal wild fluctuations from two thousand to zero every month, we were being embezzeled upon (from? at? towards?) This is what nearly landed him in jail. Funny thing is, he did the same thing to a pair of teachers the year before, except one was ethnically Korean, spoke the language, knew the customs, and was as sick of his shit as I was. She and her boyfriend got their money paid them plus damages, all we got was our own money back.

Finally, he announced that through an unforseen scheduling conflict every Western teacher noticed the first week, we'd have to go home a few weeks early. We all needed a change so we happily accepted, but what the YMCA didn't tell us is that Korean law only obliges an employer to pay you your year end bonus if you work 365 days exactly. The plan was to "pro-rate" our bonuses, but word leaked before zero hour, and with two thousand dollars on the line most of the teachers were able to locate their balls. we got our money and got out.

Third. No one is interested in helping you. As you may have noticed, none of the local authorities have the wits or the will to stop him, and you have to be doing their job as well as yours. If you are a weygook, you aren't really a person. He had to pay a fine for stealing from a teacher who looked and spoke like a Korean, but he was only told to give the money back when he took from us. The Korean liasons at the YMCA are terrified of losing their job, which in that country, and especially that area is a big deal, and Koreans are very averse to conflict. This means that the liasons will not pass along "troubling" messages to the boss, lie to your face about the YMCA's aims and actions, and even in one instance, spy on you to curry favor with management, even if they are also being stolen from. As for the fellow teachers,

Fourth. You will be working with the biggest bunch of twats, lunkheads and deviants you've ever seen in one place. Anyone can do this job, and anyone does, including some nasty wierdos. One of the teachers found himself in some serious trouble when he was caught teaching adjectives by rating the girls looks and showing them pictures of bikini models. The fourteen year old girls. He followed that up by cursing out a schoolboy, which is a HUGE deal in an Asian, respect based country. He'd been giving everyone the heebie-jeebies for while, and as this happened about two weeks into the first time we'd been actually monitored the questions of what he did for an entire semester when no one was looking were even more uncomfortable. To wrap the story up, he was not fired because it would have been inconvenient to fill his place on short notice.

The Iksan YMCA: Perverts, kleptos, and doormats. I'm sure it's similar in many schools in South Korea, and anywhere you go you'd be rolling the dice on ending up in a situation just like this one, but this one is a sure bet for bullshit and headaches.

The lessons to take away form this is: Mr. Lee will steal from you any way he can. When you ask for your money back he will plead poverty, play childish interpretation games with your contract or out and out threaten you with firing. No one is interested in coming to your aid, and since I imagine that we will soon be the internet's premier search result for both "Iksan" and 6 girl prepubescent dykepile anecdotes, you can bet your ass you'll have to deal with more creeps than we did. Good Luck!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

A brief primer in Capitalism, for my dear friends, the Russians

Russians are the friendliest most outgoing people, in well, Russia. At least top 5 most. Anyway, that all changes when they sit across a counter from you. There's only one person in the world more infuriatingly bad at her job, and she works the Japan Railpass counter at the Busan international Ferry Terminal, but the poor girl can't help herself, she was kicked in the head by a horse. Number one cause of death in Korea, getting kicked in the head by horses. The Silent Killer. Anyway, you get the feeling that the Russians are as bad as they are because they hate you, specifically. The inability to get anything you need from them is only made worse, or better depending on your point of view, by the fact that they look so damn miserable that there's nothing you could do, in their view, to make their shitty life any worse. Which means you can't take vengance, because it's already been taken, by life. Kindof a "Do you see the glass half full or empty?" kinda thing. I personally see a young lady, but if I squint just right, it's a candlestick. But one reason its so hard to get anything from them is they seem to have literally forgotten how to buy and sell things in their seventy year experiment with the kind of shitty ideas people grow out of sophomore year of College. I've decided to write this up in the interest of public education.

Rule #1 If you don't have what I asked for, you don't have what I want.
Pretty elementary. If someone shows up at your kiosk on an island in the Neva river not sure whether I'll die of windburn or frostbite first, and asks for a bunch of fried pierogies, a cold apple Danish is not an acceptable substitute. Nor is a precooked, prepackaged hamburger you pulled out of the fridge. Tangent: Precooked, prepackaged hamburgers are unacceptable substitutes for everything, including death by starvation. If your job is selling shit, and you didn't bring shit to sell, you aren't doing your job. When I don't want to to my job I call in sick and play XBox all day, but different strokes.

Rule #2 Money, like friends, comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
One of the many ways money is just as good as friends. The only people who get away with demanding exact change are busdrivers. And not always either (see: Korea and Estonia, thanks guys) When you sell something for the equivalent of 87 cents, people will probably pay with a $1.00 bill. Bringing nothing but fives is a very bad idea. Not only will you not be able to sell any of your food, but when you get all pissed off because you've already heated it, and now who the fuck is going to pay, the foreigner will laugh in your face. Incidentally, the Russian word for Ajumma is Babushka. I don't know why certain countries turn women into retarded, hateful quasi humans by 50 but there it is.

Rule #3 Watch Swingers. Sometimes you gotta give 'em the shit for free.
Yea, capitalism is about buying and selling, but for God's sake, certain things in life you don't charge for. Air's free, and so are misdemeanor crimes like jaywalking and public drunkenness, as long as enough people are committing them along with you. So where the fuck to you people get off charging for bathrooms? I'm not just talking to Russia here. All you Euros* are on the hook for this one. Dickens was like 200 years ago, its time to get serious. If you have to burn 25% of the world's gas to pull your car over whenever you need to piss and not have to dig around for change, then so be it. That's civilization. At least no one over here's dad puts food on the table ten piss-cents at a time. You even have to pay if if you're already paying for something else, like in a restaurant or train station. The absolute worst was this train station in Poland. There was actually a list of different prices for the "services" they provide, from the sink you can shave in, to the sink you can wash up in, to the sink you can brush your teeth in, to the toilet, oh fuck it you get the idea. They also had one roll of toilet paper, at the front desk. So not only are you put in the position of saying to a stranger "I need to poop please," you actually have to give him/her a rough estimate of how messy it's going to be. I just yanked at that thing like I was gonna play Mummy in there. Fuck him.

*In the interest of fairness the country with the best handle on this is Korea. In America, you often have to be a patron or sneaky to use a bathroom in a business. In Korea, you can walk in anywhere at all like literally just wander into a bank, and there's a public restroom where no one hassles you. It's pretty cool.



Add to Technorati Favorites
Subscribe to this blog's feed
[What is this?]