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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

COMING SOON!!!

Dear readers-

I'm sorry that I haven't posted lately but I have been one busy sumbitch, what with the barbecue joint, and my freelance stuff and all that shit. I'm currently working on researching a fun article that some of you have been contacted for input on, and it's sure to open a floodgate of comments. Anyway, give me a few days and I promise that you will have fun with it. Just bear with me.

Oh, and for those of you out there in the internet ether who are fellow fans of international comics, avoid — AVOID LIKE THE MOTHERFUCKING PLAGUE!!! — the new Asterix book, namely ASTERIX AND THE FALLING SKY. I have been a rabid fan of the Asterix books since 1973, and while I have not read all of the 33 entries in the series, this is the first one that makes me say that the series is seriously dead and creatively bankrupt, and that breaks my heart. CAVEAT EMPTOR, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

And one last thing: check out the old band Radio Birdman, a group that predates and sounds a hell of a lot like my second favorite band, the Damned. I HIGHLY recommend the SUB POP compilation RADIO BIRDMAN: THE ESSENTIAL (1974-1978); If the Damned ever claim that they never heard these guys, then they are outright liars. I may love them, but they sound a LOT like Radio Birdman, both musically — to a certain extent — and vocally. But then the vocal thing can also be applied to Glen Danzig's work with the Misfits, since he clearly was biting off of the Damned's Dave Vanian... and Elvis.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ASS-KIN ROBBINS

Travel back with me now to my misspent youth in Westport, Connecticut, during the late summer of 1979 for one of my fondest childhood memories.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and my friend Enrico and I had just gotten out of a matinee at the long-gone Fine Arts IV movie theater, our young heads full of zest for life and a driving desire for some post-movie ice cream. Luckily for us, the local Baskin and Robbins ice cream parlor was two doors down from the movie house.

We shelled out our money and walked onto the streets of downtown Westport with our chocolate cones held high, frosty cocoa orbs mounted upon hard cones, truly scepters for two young kings of New England existence such as ourselves. Yeah, it was a terrific day and nothing — I mean NOTHING — could ruin it for us.

Heading back to Enrico’s house, we waited at the curb for the light to change. Suddenly, we heard a loud voice yell, “Hey! Hey, you kids!” Our heads whipped around and we beheld a naked, hairy white ass protruding from the passenger side of a dilapidated Chevy; the exhibitionist in question had actually sidled out of the driver’s seat and stuffed his turd factory out of the window for our shocked delight.

Never one to miss an opportunity for mischief, Enrico’s evil mind instantaneously formed a plan of action and with speed that would have made the Flash green with envy his arm shot out and lodged his ice cream, hard-shelled cone and all, right up the driver’s unprepared ass. The cone shattered with a sickening crunch, and the frozen dairy confection mingled with the shrapnel elicited a scream of pain and horror from the mooner.

The air turned chartreuse as a litany of profane language spewed forth from the car, highlighted by the sight of the guy stuck at the now green stoplight as he clawed great hunks of chocolate ice cream from his violated ass-crack like a grizzly bear digging its way into an underground beehive. The honking of annoyed drivers stranded behind the buttcheek miner nearly drowned out our own raucous laughter as we ran to Enrico’s house.

Ah, sweet bird of youth…

POPEYE SPEAKS

A phenomenon I have observed since moving to NYC sixteen years ago — !!! It’s been that long? — is that of older men drunkenly hanging around all day, shooting the shit at local Spanish-run convenience stores, or “bodegas” as we locals call them. Similar in concept to but more liquored up than the black-run barber shop where dudes sit around philosophizing (read “bullshitting”), these salsa-salons can be quite something to see, even to those of us who do not habla Espanol. For example, while living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side I had the singular pleasure of witnessing several Hispanic homeboys ranging between fifty and seventy-some-odd years of age singing a Heineken-fueled rendition of Meatloaf’s then-current hit “I Would Do Anything For Love,” or as they slurred it, “I Wuh Too Ennytin For Luff (But I Hwon Do Dat).” And let us not forget the just as fondly remembered sight of a would be mugger snatching an old lady’s purse while not watching where he was going and consequently running nuts-first into one of those solidly-rooted metal stumps for anchoring fire engines when the high-powered hose is in use. Upon hitting the pavement in testicular agony, the moron was jumped by about twelve bodega philosophers and beaten within an inch of his life while the old lady, whose stolen bag had been returned, laughed at his biblical ass-whuppin’.

Anyway, about an hour ago I strolled over to Jany’s meat market, a combination bodega/butcher shop, in search of beer and custom-sliced breakfast bacon, and while I waited for Chato the butcher to work his magic, who should wander over from the crowded gathering in the rear of the store but Popeye, a neighborhood rummy so nicknamed because of his physical and linguistic resemblance to the beloved and often incomprehensible cartoon sailor. Popeye is the lone white member of the back area cast of characters, and until today I thought he was Irish, but more on that shortly.

When he wandered over to me he shakily clutched two dollars in anticipation of his next bottle of freezer-chilled Heineken, and then he stared directly at me, recognition bringing his attention into focus.

“The whole fucking world is crazy,” he said. I nodded in agreement as he amended his comment with “The whole two-legged race is crazy. The Lord gave us a fucking brain, and look at how we use it…” It was then that I noticed his accent was kind of odd, perhaps middle-European or something.

He continued: “I mean, look at Martin Luther; he had a great idea and look at what they did to him. I’ve been to more countries before I was thirty than I can remember… Fucking Iraq…Iran…I lived in both and they fucking stink!!! If you believe in the stories, they say that paradise was right there, but for what? They’re just killing each other over it… Fucking two-legged race… That’s why I love my cats…”

“Why, them soldiers, they’d make us walk on a plank about two feet wide…for exercise! Exercise! I had them on one side, and the fucking Germans on the other… On a fucking two foot plank? And you know the Jews? If they could not produce… as a woman, you know? The old ways say that she must give you another woman, for having the children, you know? Even if you get the ugliest bitch in town…”

“And rather than walk the plank, what if you ran off into the desert? You know that when a woman can’t produce they call her cunt ‘the underneath,’ like the desert? Well they wanted to give me the ugliest bitch around and I just said forget that; I’ll just jerk off and shoot my come in the desert. Right into the sand! You hear me? Right into the fucking desert sand!!! Aha ha ha ha haha hahh!!!”

I had absolutely no fucking idea what the hell he was talking about, so I just stood there nodding in feigned understanding, praying for the swift arrival of my bacon. It soon arrived and as Popeye bought himself another libation he shouted to me, “Hey! Stay safe and don’t let the two-legged race make you crazy! Ha ha ha ha!!!” Too late for poor Popeye, apparently.

Friday, January 20, 2006

OOH, THAT SMELL: MOUSE WARS 2006

Sorry about not posting for a while, but I had to work a week long shift to allow a co-worker to spend time with his mom before she returns to the old country; no major adventures to report anyway, so no big.

Anyway, for the past few days I noticed a pungent stench within my tiny abode, namely the scent of the enemy gone tits ups. You guessed it, another mouse went on to meet its maker and left the mini-stink bomb that was itself as a final “fuck you.” The problem was finding the tiny corpse in my notoriously cluttered flat and disposing of it ASAP.

As well as I could I tore my place apart, searching out the usual trap-laden areas and came up with bubkes. It went on like that for days; pulling out my stove, book cases and refrigerator to no avail, burning incensce all the while and tearing out sizable chunks of my Jim Kelly tribute ‘fro in frustration. Then, tonight, just rummaging around under my horribly crowded sink cabinet, I found Mickey Mort, half-cannibalized by one of his brethren, lying on his side like some rodential odelisque.

Rather than be overjoyed by the discovery I was rather confused since no traps were laid under the sink; that space was a labyrinth of cleaning solution bottles, plastic shopping bags for garbage or recycling uses and assorted junk, so I figured that a trap would be wasted there since it would be a bit of an obstacle course even for one of my diminutive foes. Lesson learned: do not underestimate the very tiny. Hell, I should’ve know that after all the stories I’ve read or seen about Ray Palmer, Hank Pym, Salu Digby, the crew of the Proteus (they traveled through a dude's venous system and destroyed a tumor in his brain!), and even the Borrowers, for fuck’s sake… But I wouldn't want to kill any of them!

I removed the critter and searched for clues that would explain the site of death, finally cleaning the place out in the process, and found an unexpected answer. About two months ago I grew ever more irritated at the building’s annual rodent infestation and went to the store for my usual round of traps. I purchased a box of what I thought were Tomcat brand glue traps — yeah, yeah, I know you activists out there are gonna bitch, but get it through your heads: I love animals, but on the subject of vermin infesting my residence I AM NOT ON YOUR SIDE, so deal with it. And besides, every single one of you has cats, so I really do not want to hear about it — but what I purchased turned out to be those poison pebbles that you can just spread around and I have a problem with poisons since you never know where they can turn up, so I just chucked the unopened box under the sink and forgot about it. Why I didn’t just toss it into the trash is beyond me…

Well, apparently the claims on the box proved true and the little sumbitch couldn’t resist chewing through the box for the tasty-yet-lethal munchies within, and consequently paid with his life. And in doing so, shared the poison with his family who had clearly feasted upon his mortal remains. I have not heard any of the frequent nighttime skitterings, so I would guess that the other mouse/mice have also joined the Choir Invisible.

Anyway, thank you Tomcat brand. Please send me a promotional t-shirt and i will proudly wear the motherfucker!

Monday, January 09, 2006

PRECINCT CHICKEN

The other day I had a hankering for one of my periodic infusions of KFC, better known to those of us who are unafraid to date ourselves as Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I knew of one such location near the barbecue joint where I work, perhaps not so coincidentally near Greenwood Cemetery. Sadly, a large number of NYC chicken joints attract the dregs of humanity in the form of junkies, beggars and sundry criminal types, most of whom are, sadly and embarrassingly, my fellow highly rhythmic individuals. Many such establishments are frequently held up by firearms-wielding latter day Zulus, and since it’s perceived as “boogie-on-schvuggie” crime no one really cares, so the locals who frequent these establishments have adapted and learned to accept the unscrubbed interiors and six-inch-thick bulletproof glass battlements, along with the uncouth antics of the walking minstrel show rejects who infest them. If you want an in-your-face catalog of every negative black stereotype go to nearly any KFC in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx — not so much Manhattan anymore since most of them have been co-opted into the Reise restaurant conglomerate and can now be found in areas frequented by tourists and other such white people — and be prepared to cringe.

So anyway, I got off the bus near 28th street and trekked over to the KFC on Fourth Avenue. I entered and was astonished by the gleaming, obviously germ-free surfaces and floor, and the complete and utter lack of bulletproof shielding. The clientele consisted of a handful of Asians — who actually cleaned up after themselves when they finished their meal, unlike most of my highly rhythmic brethren at the one near my apartment — several elderly Hispanics and three black people (myself included, and the other two were an elegant lady and her well-behaved four-year-old), and the staff were all white kids…

“Have I stumbled into an alternate plane of reality?” I asked myself as my mind frantically grasped for an explanation as to how a chicken joint that was fit for humans could exist in this location, just a stone’s throw from an equally immaculate White Castle, the infamous burger chain/colonic Chernobyl that also caters to an unsavory segment of the population.

And then I realized what was up: located directly between the two restaurants was the neighborhood police precinct. The local cops appeared to be a well-fed lot ó there is also a Dunkin Donuts across the street, and Heaven forfend that anyone should fuck with a gorging-source for our Boys in Blue…

These restaurants had to be the safest places in the area, and the staff of both smile cheerfully, secure in the knowledge that only the most cracked-out idiot with a death wish would ever entertain the thought of robbing them at gunpoint. So if you’re in the area and in the mood for secure bad eating, do drop in.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

One of the fun things about maintaining this blog is having some of the regulars at the barbecue joint as fervent readers of my ramblings, presumably entertained by the true-life narrative revolving around the place where many of them eat their fill and get soused on an almost daily basis. However, with a few exceptions, most of the regulars do not ever get to witness the parade of lunatics and losers that I often chronicle, and some began to wonder if my tales of drunkenness and mental illness were merely figments of my febrile imagination. Allow me to provide a case in point: two of my regular attendees and readers are Chez and Jayne, a charming and genteel couple with whom I hit it off immediately. I'd say that I see either or both of them on about four out of my five days/nights on duty, and they had yet to behold the spectacle of the random loonies who periodically cross over into our little barbecue world.

Until the other evening.

Chez pulled up a seat at the bar shortly after 5PM and proceeded to get his drink on while waiting for Jayne to join him after getting off from work. About a half hour later a rotund, middle-aged man appeared at the door and stared at it quizzically for a few moments; I could almost see the mice running on the treadmill in his cranium in an attempt to fire up his synapses enough to process exactly how to gain entry into the joint. His ham hand unsteadily grasped at the space opposite the door handle, and after about a minute of my boss and I gazing in wonder at his futile efforts to open the door from the wrong angle he sussed out the problem and stumbled in.

In one of those rip-the-needle-off-the-record moments the fellow blearily scanned his surroundings and presently locked his gaze on my boss, who was behind the bar and therefore the man to talk to in order to obtain volatile libations. My boss and I exchanged a knowing glance in agreement over the guy's fucked up state, a condition that he instantly verified by mumbling something rather unintelligible that was apparently "I want some more shots!!!"

Now let me tell you in no uncertain terms that this guy was majorly shitfaced — and I should know from such things — at a mere 5:30PM, so there was no way in hell that my boss was going to serve the dude; for those who do not know, it's against New York State law to serve liquor to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and this guy was in no way coherent.

My boss politely refused the guy any more liquor but made it clear that we would be happy to serve him soft drinks or food. Our ever-on-the-ball waitress/goddess, Tracey, breezed over to the table where the walking amalgam of gin sugars had situated himself and sweetly walked him through the menu with the patience of a saint, a task made all the more difficult by English being the guy's second language, and none of the staff are even remotely conversant in Polish. After Tracey successfully skirted the language barrier, the guy finally agreed upon a pulled pork sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese.

While waiting for his sandwich the walking wasted gestured wildly, apparently irked because he thought our ceiling was dirty, and he suggested that he'd be willing to repaint it for us. That bit of grasping for work led to him asking if he could do general chores for us for cash (or so I thought), a notion politely rebuffed by my boss.

Presently his sandwich arrived, and when Tracey set it down in front of him he stared at it like it was a serpent, coiled and ready to strike at him. This standoff went on for the next ten minutes or so, and when he finally scarfed into the sweltering swine flesh I fervently placed a silent prayer to whatever barbecue gods there may be that the dude wouldn't blow Thunderbird-marinated chow all over the table.

During all of this Chez — remember him? One of the subjects of this entry? — sat wondering how the staff puts up with such nonsense on a daily basis, all while girding his sensibilities with steady doses of Budweiser. Soon, Jayne showed up and joined her husband at the bar, and was swiftly brought up to speed on the unfolding dramedy. At that point Tracey gave our bombed guest his check, and the guy then managed to convey to us that he was homeless and had no cash. He wandered into the men's room, and upon coming out he spotted Jayne, whom he walked up to and said "I'll see you later," apparently confusing her for Saint Tracey of Greenwood. He then packed up his belongings and departed. What the fuck could we do but let him leave? My boss concluded that by letting the guy off he was scoring points for his own personal karma, so what the hell?

Once the deadbeat cleared out, Chez and Jayne went off for about a half hour about finally experiencing what I write about and extending kudos to the staff for our seemingly endless patience with this sort of shit.

Welcome to my world, motherfuckers.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006 WILL BE A FUCKING GREAT YEAR FOR US HOKUTO NO KEN GEEKS

Folks, I believe that the new year will be great for a variety of reasons, but I just got the best piece of news I've heard in a hell of a long time: starting in March the will be a brand new FIST OF THE NORTH STAR - HOKUTO NO KEN to us purists - theatrical animated film for the next three years, finally doing justice to the awesomeness of the manga. The first of the new films focuses on what is in my opinion the most undeniably badassed segment in the warrior epic, namely Kenshiro versus Souther, a SERIOUSLY BADASS motherfucker if ever there was one. Go to http://www.hokuto-no-ken.jp/ and once you enter the site click on the trailer.

God DAMN, I wanna see this film!