Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Hecho en Mexico

Sitting in Baja, reading a self-help law book with the following note on its Library of Congress page:

This product is not a substitute for legal advice.
Disclaimer required by Texas statutes.

Texans needing a reminder that personal interpretations of the law should take a backseat to actual legal advice when considering action. Hmmm. Sounds sorta familiar... can't quite place it...

Today's FOCR: "Breaking the Law," Judas Priest, British Steel

Friday, September 26, 2003

Anybody who has a telephone must appreciate the irony of the telemarketing industry righteously defending the principles of free speech. Free speech that doesn't include the words "No," "No, thank you," "I'm not interested," ""I'm hanging up now," "Please stop talking, I'm hanging up," "For the love of god, my long-distance coverage can't matter this much"...

If somebody comes to your door and won't leave, you have the right to call the police. If an individual makes unwanted harassing calls to your house, you have the same right. Yet, if a business entity wants to call your house, tie up your line, and argue with you, that's free speech.

Talk about an industry that does nothing for its own reputation. During a recent radio piece on "Do Not Call" legislation, a telemarketing spokesman tried. He said this, almost to the word: "We work very hard to not be annoying." Our promise to you: Mitigating Our Nuisance Is Job One. Why would a valid industry have to defend its right to irritate? The Small Barking Dog Association. The Loose Fan Belt Guild. Impacted Waistband Boil Confederation. These concerns don't seem compelled to defend themselves, yet their products still seem to flourish.

Of course, the magic word is invoked in the debate: jobs. Oh, the jobs. Jobs will be lost. We can't lose the jobs. Anything that eliminates jobs is evil. At a time when America's economy is bleeding shitty, low-paying jobs, we need to staunch the flow.

So here's an idea. Telemarketers will need jobs with flexibility to work from home. America needs teachers.

[SFX: Phone rings.]
CHILD: Hello?
PHONE (VO): Good day, miss. Am I speaking to a Brittany Sander... ston? Sandington?
CHILD: Sanderson.
PHONE (VO): I am sorry about that, Miss Sanders. I'm calling with some good news from Fractions.
CHILD: I'm not interested.
PHONE (VO): But Brittany, did you know you can say "one-half" instead of "two-fourths"? What's your current expression for half of something?
CHILD: I'm hanging up now.
PHONE (VO): "Two-fourths?" "Eight-sixteenths"? Now, Brittany, let me tell you why saying "one-half" gives you the same great expression while saving you time AND syllables..."

Today's FOCR: "Add It Up," Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

From the Headlines:


"Coalition of the Willing" Increases By One

Today's FOCR: "Me Against The World," Lizzy Borden, Visual Lies

Monday, September 22, 2003

a haiku for gordon jump

now in heaven when
people say, "hey there, big guy,"
two heads are turning

The man who delivered the funniest TV punchline involving turkeys (without "jive") has died. "Mullets," take a lesson: that's how working with Loni is done.

Today's FOCR: "WKRP closing theme," music by Tom Wells, singer believed to be Jimmy Ellis

Double Shot: "Queen of the Forest," Ted Nugent, Ted Nugent
(Reportedly the first rock song played by Johnny Fever)

If only The Man In Black had lived to see this.

How high are the feces, Mama? / Three feet high and rising.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

I know, I wrote about this last week while guesting for The Spoonbender, the Shaolin master of jibes, gambols, songs, and flashes of merriment.

But it's still on my mind. Something is in the air about curses. Particularly, perennial losers struggling against curses. The Boston Red Sox and the "Curse of the Bambino." The Chicago Cubs and the curse of the billy goat. At this moment, these two teams could possibly be on the verge of... ahem.

Yet a hapless, hopeless wonder has broken through. The Hanshin Tigers (Osaka, Japan) have broken the Curse of the Colonel. As in Sanders. Believed to have been cursed for 18 years by none other than Mr. Eleven Herbs and Spells, the Tigers just won the pennant this week.

This has me thinking. Maybe there's hope for our blame-free, shame-free, sue-happy society: curses. Tired of being mocked for suing those who cause you to be fat because you eat their fried food, thrown through windshields just for choosing to ignore seat belts, or unable to avoid being burned when you (as is your wont) pour hot coffee on your loins? Yet blaming yourself is still too alien and weird?

Look no further: curses. You're cursed! Gas prices too high? You're not too dependent on oil... there must have been some tramp who had a heart attack mid-sink-bath at the Arco. Back from the pauper's grave... wreaking revenge on light-truck owners!

See? Vaporous superstition is much easier to deal with than responsibility.

This is big. Curses could be the new biorhythms.

Today's FOCR: "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland

I would love to be the first person on record to point out my long-held genius discovery that Strange Brew is the funniest take on "Hamlet" not written by Tom Stoppard. Two bumblers, a spooky place called Elsinore, an heir whose father was killed and replaced: it's all there. "Hamlet" with belching. Sadly for my hope, I just saw my genius on All-Movie Guide.

I will now put forth a new theory: Now, Voyager (1942) is the evil, dirtier twin of Fatal Attraction (1987).

Forty-five years older than Fatal Attraction, Now, Voyager has more shocking infidelity action. Sure, a mentally unbalanced woman and an unhappily married man become drawn to each other. Duddle-lah. The movies keep pace there. But then Now, Voyager takes a swift lead and heads down Dirty Bird Lane.

Unhappily-but-devotedly married Paul Henried meets Bette Davis on a cruise while he's traveling on business. They immediately have eyes for each other.

Instead of straddling in a freight elevator, when they get alone, they... smoke cigarettes, after he suavely lights two double-lighty-style and hands one to her! Over. And. Over. Again.

Instead of loosening a pedestal sink with their primal thrusting, the animally attracted couple... remain fond of one another!

Stranded on shore, they camp together, and... don't have sex! He kisses her sleeping lips! Once! For. Almost. Two. Seconds.

Instead of the obsessed woman making his life a living hell and threatening his entire family, she... leaves immediately, and never calls him! Not. One. Time.

And then, when they meet by chance later, still aching for each other, the desperate lovers profess their undying love and... do nothing! And part!

Instead of killing and cooking her unattainable lover's child's pet, she... selflessly devotes herself to his misfit daughter without him knowing! Becoming the girl's best friend, spending a fortune on her, and curing her psychological problems! Free. Of. Charge.

When he discovers her actions toward his child, he grabs... her! And says they can pretend they're married and in love! They can even pretend the girl is THEIR child and confer on her upbringing! And. Never. Ever. Touch.

It's "Hiatal Attraction." A tale of sneaking around and being in romantic, celibate love.

I feel dirty.

Today's FOCR: "Do Ya," Electric Light Orchestra, A New World Record

Friday, September 19, 2003

Lately, the thought of selling plasma has been tempting. But I get furious at the thought that I have to sit there and bleed, just for some rich guy's fancy thin TV.

Today's FOCR: "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)," AC/DC, Highway to Hell

Thursday, September 18, 2003

From the Mess-with-Your-Headlines:

Despite the fact that over 60 percent of Americans were led to believe otherwise, President Bush denied today that he ever made the connection between a "Hertz donut" and something edible.

Critics of shoulder punches rubbed their bruises and swore they'd try it on someone else. Like Lieberman. No, he'd take forever to get around to asking for it. Dean. Yeah, Dean. He looks like he'd like a nice "donut." Heh heh. Ow.

Today's FOCR: "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who, Who's Next

I'm not saying Wisconsin is fat... but when they have to stop playing "Jump Around" at Badgers games because of structural concerns...

Today's FOCR: "Big Bottom," Spinal Tap, This Is Spinal Tap

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

From the headlines:

Gore to Bush: Tell Fla. Supreme Court To Cancel Calif. Recall,
And Then We Cool. Right? We Cool?

The Chicago Expat Index:

California Words I'm Tired of Hearing (TOH Index)
"carbs" (CRBS) -5 1/8
fog D/B/A "marine layer" (MRNL) -1
"Sig alert" (SIGA) -12 5/8

California Words I Still Enjoy Hearing (SEH index)
"Bustamante" (BSTE) + 7/8
"Topanga" (TPGA) no change

Today's FOCR: "Damn Good," David Lee Roth, Skyscraper

Monday, September 15, 2003

The name? Well, it goes back to the heady days of 2000, back when (to paraphrase, then contradict, Freud) a roll of duct tape was just a roll of duct tape.

In those dying days of the Internet boom, some of us would collect album-rock MP3s during the day, unplug the headphones at five o’clock, and engage in some virtual Jukebox Neroism, fiddling as the Internet money machine burned.

Every day, my friend, every day was a Twofer Tuesday.

Just a little long-distance dedication to the legions who were fooled into sinking the best 18-hour days of their 20s and 30s into a “family-not-a-company,” then found themselves abruptly un-adopted... but only after having generated a whole lot of coin for somebody else.

Today’s FOCR (the one that started it all):
"Frankenstein," The Edgar Winter Group, They Only Come Out At Night
Cough, cough. [SFX: Thump microphone]