Straight Heat of the Day: October 8th, 2010

October 8, 2010 by

Furry Lewis…Lay My Burden Down…I need to add some old-timing blues singers to my posse…increase my street cred…


Making Mom Proud

October 8, 2010 by

Spotted this on a train station platform in N.E. Philly. Must’ve brought a tear to Mom’s eye to encounter such warm wishes during her morning commute. (Since her sweet son wrote part of it in pink, it’s hard to read where it says, “Have a good day at work….”)

Caul of the Wild

October 7, 2010 by

Everyone knows a baby’s primary use is to infuse pale and purposeless existences with meaning. But, Did You Know? Babies have lots of other uses. Suggested use #7:


God, Help Them

October 6, 2010 by

The Pew Research Center has released the results of its poll measuring Americans’ religious knowledge. On average, Americans managed to answer correctly only 16 of 32 questions.

A fully-recovered Catholic, I took special delight in this finding: “More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ.” Um, guys? This ghoulish tenet is key in distinguishing your branch of Christianity from its close-as-clones cousins. Embarrassing. Or encouraging, depending on how you look at it.

Am I done being smug? Almost, but not before admitting that I was pleased to read that atheists and agnostics performed better than all of the religious denominations in answering correctly 20.9 questions on average. Don’t be jealous: None of us atheists could get elected to the presidency any time soon and few of us would be wise to identify ourselves as non-believers at the jobs we can get, so allow us this small victory and then check out the rest of the findings and take a shortened version of the quiz yourself here.

This is England

October 5, 2010 by


Madding Come Monday

October 4, 2010 by

In my next life I’ll be hitting the stage as the best backup whistler the world has yet seen and you can come to my show unless you persist in acting like a pernicious cunt and a twaddler. Until then, tide yourself over with The New Pornographers performing “Crash Years” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (85% of my delight in this song comes from Neko Case singing the lyric, “Above the madding crowd they’re ruined….” I just like the sound of it and won’t bother trying to explain it or myself.)

The Woods Will Never Tell

October 1, 2010 by

My brother and I went hiking in the backwoods of Maryland recently. It was brilliantly sunny, nothing in the sky but some circling turkey vultures as we stepped through the forest. We sheared through a thicket and found ourselves presently in a clearing, or, what was once a clearing….the forest had evidently taken notice of a lengthy lack of human presence and begun to silently encroach on what was once its domain. In the center of the now-overgrown clearing was a red barn and a modest shuttered house, both abandoned and both in the beginning stages of dilapidation, no doubt aided by the gathering army of vines and tendrils of ivy snaking up the sides. My brother was bent on investigating further but both were curiously locked: a rusty ferrous lock on the barn-door, unyielding entrances on the abode. We didn’t loiter long after; there was something just so sinister about the abandoned barn. The whimsical Charlie Chaplin-esque face it was sporting turned blank, eldritch and aged, when you caught it out of the farthest corner of your eye.

We left, strains of Tom Waits’ Murder in the Red Barn lingering on the meager breeze…

Happy Hour

October 1, 2010 by

Friday springs into view and stands before me grinning proudly like it’s been here all along, like it hadn’t run out on me a week ago, leaving me to pine for it like a prisoner in an oubliette pines for the retina-searing blast of light overhead. But Friday is sometimes a too-cheerful chum, a beamish brat who needs a cuffing like the one Denis Johnson deals out in his short story “Happy Hour.”

The day was ending in a fiery and glorious way. The ships on the Sound looked like paper silhouettes being sucked up into the sun.

I had two doubles and immediately it was as if I’d been dead forever, and was now finally awake.

I was in Pig Alley. It was directly on the harbor, built out over the waters on a rickety pier, with floors of carpeted plywood and a Formica bar. The cigarette smoke looked unearthly. The sun lowered itself through the roof of clouds, ignited the sea, and filled the big picture window with molten light, so that we did our dealing and dreaming in a brilliant fog. People entering the bars on First Avenue gave up their bodies. Then only the demons inhabiting us could be seen. Souls who had wronged each other were brought together here. The rapist met his victim, the jilted child discovered its mother. But nothing could be healed, the mirror was a knife dividing everything from itself, tears of false fellowship dripped on the bar. And what are you going to do to me now? With what, exactly, would you expect to frighten me?

Friday’s power to liberate is myth, one we give ourselves permission to credit collectively, but one I’d not dispel, even if I could, because a world without a grimy happy hour is world I’d not soon look upon.

Terse Verse O’erheard

September 29, 2010 by

Chorus of Kids: Yeah, with your best shot!

PigWoman: It’s, “Hit me with your best shot!”

Gabriel, get the fuck off that truck unless you want to

Get cracked.

Woman’s Roommate: Quit shouting like that. It’s 7:00

In the morning. The neighbors are going to get a petition

To get us kicked off the block.

PigWoman: I don’t care about no petition. I ain’t

Going nowhere. These neighbors can




Chorus: Hit me with your best shot!

-neighbors chatting outside my window, S. Philly, Sep. ’10

Warnock St, Friday, 11:05 AM

September 24, 2010 by

At one end of my block, sanitation workers are inspecting the illegal dump that has sprung up over the past few days. Yammering at their side is my drug-addict neighbor. She has her arms thrown wide as if beseeching the heavens for redress.

At the other end of my narrow alley of a street, a police officer is arguing with my fat, shirtless neighbor while a man from the gas works looks on.

In the middle of the street, artfully arranged and looking like a portent or a sign left by a clan specializing in dark arts, is a single severed pigeon’s foot.

Something’s got to give.

The Hater Report #51

September 24, 2010 by

1)  USA loses #1 ranking.  Falls behind India and China as a preferred place to invest.  Great.  So now our country is worse off than a nation that still has the Plague and a regime openly enthusiastic about Child Labor.  That’s just tremendous!:  (LINK)

2)  Another day, another homophobic Bishop accused of coercing teenagers into sex.  Strange things are afoot in the Catholic Church.  These scandalous stories are becoming about as regular as my morning cup of coffee…but we shouldn’t worry.  He’ll explain everything this Sunday.  I’m expecting a steamy sermon:  (LINK)

3)  I like Russia more every day.  You couldn’t pay me to live there, but I do greatly admire their rugged, no-nonsense manner of handling business.  For instance, take their approach to crooked politicians.  They’re considering branding the left hands of Russian legislators convicted of taking bribes.  Beware the man with the mangled paw:  (LINK)

4)  Mini, famous for their tiny cars, has broken out of the box and introduced an electric scooter at this year’s Paris Auto Show.  Hipster-doofuses around the world squeal with delight.  As if the sleek, eco-friendly vehicle wasn’t already trendy enough, the scooter’s horn plays Florence and the Machine:  (LINK)

5)  The Queen of England tried to access the State Poverty Fund to heat her palace.  Are we still allowed to behead monarchs for reckless spending…Marie Antoinette-style? What if we bum-rush the palace in filthy clothing whilst brandishing pitchforks?  No?  Still no good?  Ah well…it sure would have been fun:  (LINK)

Terse Verse O’erheard

September 23, 2010 by

“I like the fruit-on-the-bottom ones.

They’re the best type of


-coworker putting a hruting on the English language as per usual, Sep. ’10

Straight Heat of the Day: September 22nd, 2010

September 22, 2010 by

The Specials…Gangsters…Live on Saturday Night Live…1980…this week is dragging…every person I run into seems to have the same feeling…desperate for Friday…time for a midweek break…rocksteady ska style…

Terse Verse O’erheard

September 22, 2010 by


The maggots are




-neighbors’ kids after the maggots they’d plucked from the garbage and arranged atop a shoebox gradually broke ranks. South Philly, Sep. ’10

The Hater Report #50

September 21, 2010 by

1)  Today’s DADT Vote is apparently “too close to call.”  I know the perfect way to break the stalemate…Sword Fight!:  (LINK)

2)  It’s almost October and you know what that means…it’s about time for the Christianists to fire up their annual cry-fest over the perceived (and hilarious) War on Christmas.  This year should be particularly fun with conservatives taking the gloves off, upping the ante, and releasing a feature length film.  “Christmas with a Capital C:  Putting Christ Back in Christmas” is an inspiring tale about a lone man’s struggle against a hell-bound liberal to keep a manger scene displayed in front of city hall.  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that Jefferson D’Arcy from Married With Children (famous for once saying,Since the wives are downtown feeding dinners to the homeless, shouldn’t we be at the nudie bar feeding dollars to the topless?”) would turn out to be a crusading God-Warrior:  (LINK)

3)  Christine O’Donnell is now facing ethics charges for her misuse of campaign funds to pay for her personal expenses.  She was forced to spend campaign dollars to pay her rent and utilities because she had no tangible income.  It’s comforting to know that we live in an era where you can be unemployed and still run for Senate:  (LINK)

4)  A Wisconsin District Attorney sent deviant sexual text messages to a domestic abuse victim whose boyfriend he was prosecuting.  Wow.  If that wasn’t disturbing enough, he went on to invite her on a date to an autopsy.  I mean, I could see where he was going with his thinking.  Choose a woman with a deadbeat boyfriend so you’ll automatically look like the man in a side by side comparison.  Not a bad move, but he really blew it when he introduced a dead body into the mix.  That’s classic Negative Ball Game:    (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: September 21st, 2010

September 21, 2010 by

The White Stripes…Ball and Biscuit…Live at VH1…New school shred with deep, old school roots…Jack White may just be the last living musical legend…from here on out, we’re stuck listening to synthesizers and drum kits sprinkled with a liberal seasoning of angst…

Enter The Void (Gaspar Noé, 2009)

September 21, 2010 by

There is a virulent strain of contemporary French cinema that quite frankly repluses me with its particularly savage yet highly aestheticized shows of pathological sexual ugliness, utter lack of humanity, and sadistic visceral violence. This exteme incarnadine undercurrent seems to manifest mainly in flat-out horror films: Martyrs, Inside, High Tension, etc., but other genres are not immune to the trend. Consider, for the purposes of this post, Gaspar Noé’s most (in)famously flagrant film, Irréversible . Even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve most likely heard of it and the atrocities within. Seems to exist solely to hold the prize number-one spot on the derelict brooding college freshmen’s “Fucked-Up Movies to Watch” list.

Sometimes though, for whatever reason, there is something worthwhile to be found amidst the abhorrence and surprisingly to me, Noé’s new piece Enter the Void proves deeply worthwhile…in a certain respect. My interest in movies about the endless cycle of fucked-up people interacting with other fucked-up people in a vortex of meaninglessness and emptiness has waned to almost nothing over the years, but this film’s visual spectacle is Un. Matched. I have no idea how Noé actually constructed certain scenes or images; the camerawork and imagery is so stunning, so innovative, that all I can do is blankly marvel at the incredible sensory cauchemar unfolding on screen.

Like a dream though, the film is destroyed by too much scrutiny into content: I’m letting you know now, it’s terribly over-repetitive, showing a handful of “key” scenes over and over until all emotional impact dissipates. At times it is monumentally stupid and naive, and at other times…just plain ole dull. Scribbled in fat, blood-and-semen-stained capital letters Noé spells out basic, elementary statements about life, death, whatever…it doesn’t matter. Just give in and let your mind absorb the thrilling visual display and you will be occupied for days with hazy, lurid reflections of the trip. For all the ugliness in the story (and there is a lot), I’d plug myself back into the Void in a second, just to have the cinematic experience again.

Apparently, the dude is in the process of pairing down the film from the 161 minute (!!) version I saw at a midnight screening, which I think bodes well for future intrepid filmgoers, especially if he hacks off some of the scene repetition which really causes the movie to drag. However, whether its some bloated version or a “nicely” tightened package, the film merits your attention for its unprecedented visual flair.

Destruction by Durian

September 21, 2010 by

I’ve recently been fantasizing about non-violent ways to get rid of my trashy neighbors. I say “non-violent” not because I’m opposed to violence, but because I’m not good at it, lacking as I am in physical strength, courage, dueling pistols and spring-loaded triple daggers. So I’ve been thinking I’ll leave a giant durian on their front step in the night and see if it doesn’t undo them.

Since these pig neighbors don’t stray from their sties, they’d never have encountered the fruit before. Perhaps they’ll timidly poke it with a stick and, getting no satisfaction that way, call animal control to come have a look at the thing, at which point they themselves will be carted off since city ordinance states unattended livestock may not lounge about the streets eating Vicodin.

Perchance they’ll think it an ensorcelled token, a sign of divine approval, and fall to fighting over whose turn it is to bed down with it on the greasy rag piles that serve as mattresses in that house. I can easily imagine a woman sapping her saber-toothed boyfriend, tossing aside the still-unnamed toddler she used as a club, and scurrying off with the durian to ply it with offerings of stubbed out Newports and a few prized ounces of good-drinkin’ cough syrup. By week’s end, the neighbors will have done each other in and in the final moments of my mind’s movie the durian rolls over the lip of the top step in the house (dropped by its final owner? possessed after all?) and goes bumping downward toward the exit.

I hope this works, because if it doesn’t and I resort to throwing a punch, God will take one look at my left-hook, lick his thumb and forefinger, and snuff out the sun.

The Hater Report #49

September 20, 2010 by

1)  Christine O’Donnell dabbled in witchcraft.  Why not?  At this point, there’s not much that she could do to surprise me.  Short of a guest appearance in a snuff film, she’s got all the crazy bases covered:  (LINK)

2)  Tony Perkins, Supreme Overlord of the Family Research Council (aka The Fun Police), is a slobbering moron.  Over the weekend, in an attempt to attack the premise of gays in the military in light of the upcoming DADT vote, he claimed that countries that have allowed gays to serve openly no longer fight wars, instead opting for lavish, limp-wristed, effeminate parades.  Israel, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France all respond in kind…extend arm, raise middle finger :  (LINK)

3)  The Old Spice guy is pretty masculine but he’s got nothing on Christopher Hitchens.  Even in the grips of cancer, he has the testicular fortitude to stand by his principles and skip his own prayer day:  (LINK)

4)  Obama brings the heat!  Asks Tea Party, “Identify, specifically, what would you do?”  Their response was predictable but entirely unhelpful…“We’ll do what we always do.  Make signs, scream, cry, slang racism, eat Burger King, appear on “Cops”, smoke meth, and sleep with our siblings”:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: September 20th, 2010

September 20, 2010 by

Freddie King…Live at the Travis County Jail…1976…the blues have the power to touch even  the most jaded of men…the boys on the block still say to this day, “That was the first AND last time we saw Leon cut rug”…

Loping with Strandbeests

September 20, 2010 by

I will move to the beach, sit still for years while my mustache grows to cover my mouth and sand and sun harden my hide. I will breathe quietly, shallowly, until strandbeests, Theo Jansen’s magnificent wind-powered “kinetic sculptures,” accept me as one of their own and I can at last travel with the pack. Check them out in this clip and promise me you’ll watch this video in its entirety, okay?

Their ways appeal to me: Never speaking, steady ambling for the sake of ambling. I’ve passed many an hour in similar fashion in my apartment, walking until I encounter a wall, turning on my heel, and striking out boldly in a fresh direction until I inevitably encounter, if not another wall, some obstruction which I cannot pass or be bothered to circumvent, the question of circumventing necessitating as it does irksome questions of fastest route, to say nothing of safest route, and the less said about surest route, the better. No doubt I cut a fine figure while ranging across my apartment thusly, but how I yearn to join the ranks of these beasts and shamble together into the shimmering elsewhere.

The Hater Report #48

September 17, 2010 by

1)  109 MPH winds slam New York City.  Looks like God is finally wreaking his long-predicted havoc on the lair of the godless liberals.  You better watch out San Francisco, if what I’ve heard from the conservative Christians is true, then you’re sure to be next!:  (LINK)

2)  Friday Fun!  The 8 Greatest Political statements ever featured on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia“:  (LINK)

3)  Putin poised to run for the Russian Presidency in 2012.  His worshippers have yearned for the day when their fearless leader would storm back into power, shirtless, astride the back of a fire-breathing dragon, slaying his enemies with a 12 foot broad sword, and restoring honor to the barren throne.  A modern-day Conan the Barbarian:  (LINK)

4)  In case it’s been forgotten in the wave of her endorsement successes, Palin is still an idiot. Watch in awkward disbelief as she can’t even name the candidate that she so strongly supported in New Hampshire.  Whenever I picture her brain, all I see is a hamster running on a wheel to a soundtrack of calliope music:  (LINK)

5)  The Definitive Christine O’Donnell Primer.  Everything you ever wanted to know about this mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.  You literally won’t believe your eyes.  Her stupidity is staggering.  I wouldn’t let her wash my car, let alone vote on my country’s legislation:  (LINK)

Terse Verse O’erheard

September 17, 2010 by

“What we should do with these women on welfare

Who keep having babies is strap them

Down and have a doctor

Cut out their


-coworker’s modest proposal for making the world a better place by way of limb restraints, forced excisions, and sanity-rending screams, Sep. ’10

Straight Heat of the Day: September 16th, 2010

September 16, 2010 by

Rage Against the Machine…Know Your Enemy…Live in Hultsfred, Sweden…2000…unbelievable, game-changing group…I’ll never forget the sheer intensity when I saw them live in Philadelphia…the stadium was lined with riot cops and the venue refused to serve beer…you know things are going to get wild when them’s the rules…