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.

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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.

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