Wednesday, March 31, 2004

this is an old email from my former housemate. This is so funny...

Hey Brendan
Thought I'd better email you and let you know why the
apartment (including your room) are in such "array".
Thurs. night about 11:30, I'm watching porn in my room and
I open up a condom so as not to starch my sheets. As I
tear open the wrapper of what's supposed to be a black,
lubed condom I get a finger full of white powder and a
grey looking rubbery thing - post 9/11Panic, put it back in
the wrapper and double plastic bag it...Wait, maybe it's
just a talced nonlubed condom in the wrong wrapper. I go
to the Lifestyles website to see if such a thing exists, it
doesn't. Panic again! Call 911, Wait. I can't, this
place is Pot Central. It's not just the bong, dug out,
growlight, in your room which would get a thorough
going over as well as the rest of the building in the event
that the white powder turned out to be something, it's
the whole apartment. Sticks, stems, seeds and other
droppings all over the rug, a coffee table with at least
$20 worth of pot and pot by-products trapped in, on and
around it, lots of whatevers handy paraphernalia, etc,
etc. See, the CDC doesn't come to your door for the
suspect white powder, the cops do, and once you let them

So I spent the next 12 hours cleaning up. First I went
through the apartment on my hands and knees picking stems
and seeds out of the carpet. Then I gathered together all
the paraphernalia. Did a quick clean around the computer
desk and in the horticulture closet Spent over 2 hours
just cleaning off the coffee table glass and scraping out
the residue, pot and byproducts that got trapped in and
around the glass. Next I cleaned up the kitchen and
bathroom (more stuff in both places). Next vacuum, vacuum,
vacuum and one more time around the entire carpet on my
hands and knees.

Finally I call Ray at about 11:30 Fri. morning to see if he
can come by and hold all this stuff and the pot for a day
or two. He says he's at work and won't be off til Sat AM.
My plan is to put the pot and paraphernalia elsewhere, call
Lifestyles, see what they say and if they say call 911,
can finally do so without fear of running into a zealous
cop and possibly jail...this sucks, I'm exhausted!
As a long shot, Hail Mary I go over to the Catbox to look
for Kevin. Long story short he helps me out. I go home
and clean for another 2 hours then call Lifestyles.

According to Lifestyles the powder is most likely just a
pharmaceutical dusting of corn starch and magnesium oxide
and the condom probably got missed during the lube process.
They tell me to mail it back to them and they'll check it
out. before I mail it I call poison control, the health
department and 911...nobody seems too concerned. Whew!

A year ago you could call this raging paranoia but since
9/11 the world has become a much scarier place and the
country has become much more of a police state. Your
paraphernalia is resting comfortably in the horticulture
closet and your pot is back in the freezer.

But all this brings up a pretty serious situation for me
and for you for that matter. At Hazel Ave for at least
most of the time all drug activity was confined to your
room, bong safely in its tube, etc. Here the entire
apartment seems to be either paraphernalia(push pins,
pieces of aluminum foil, guitar string ends etc), or ash
trays (rugs, tables glasses, etc).

About 2 weeks ago as you were going out the door to Sam's
Place I got a really bad arrhythm and was about to call
911, fortunately the episode subsided after about a minute.
It dawns on me now, thank God I didn't call 911 we both
could have wound up in jail. You probably haven't taken
many if any 911 rides but I have. And at least 90% of the
time the cops show up before the paramedics. In my
experience(and I've heard horror stories from others) most
of these cops are surly and belligerent and would just love
to happen to look down and see some seed or stems...if they
can't bust heads at least they bust gasping heart patients!

I guess my point here is to ask you to contain the pot and
paraphernalia to your room(the other morning I got up and
found the bong proudly displayed in the kitchen window -
remember, Mr. Bishop HATES us!)

The idea that I can't call 911 without first thoroughly
cleaning up the apartment scares the hell out of me. In a
real cardiac emergency cleaning wouldn't even be an option.

We can talk about this when we see each other again but I
think this is a very real concern. I don't think it's too
much to ask that common space(including the fridge and
freezer) remain "clean", and legal.

Oh yeah, I put Laura's $20 worth back in with the rest of
yours, I think at this point it would be more than a little
hypocritical to buy it...but thanks for remembering and
leaving it out for me.
SEPTA sucks. Of all the loathesome things about Philadelphia, and there are plenty of loathesome things about this place, SEPTA is the absolute worst. Until New York went up to $2.00 a ride, we had the highest rates in the country, which they're thinking of hiking again; the ontime percentage SUCKS; SEPTA's transit maps as posted in the stations, unlike those offered in New York, Montreal, and just about every other city in the world (do the google search yourself), provide no details of the surrounding neighborhoods and are useless for out of towners (more detail is provided on the paper timetables, but these are only available on the trolley itself -- and you'll notice that you can't find a copy of SEPTA's route maps on their site); the stations themselves are filthy (can't find a link, but believe me, the Broad Street line is disgusting and dank, while the El stations always seem to smell like a wet dog). The booth operators don't give change, and half the token machines don't accept bills! Not only that, but most stops don't even have token machines available to begin with. The token system is obsolete anyway: in New York, Chicago, and I believe Boston, they use some variety of the Metrocard system. Speaking of, in NY transfers are freee between bus and subway within a certain time frame (smart cards), and the subways run all night long. SEPTA charges 60 cents for a transfer, and most lines shut down between 12:30 and 1:00, including many of the buses.

By the way, upon inspection, Boston's T seems to be as much a mess as SEPTA, except it only costs a $1.25 to ride and it serves a far broader area. So that's STILL better than SEPTA.

I went to dinner with my folks last night and got into 30th Street Station around 10:00 on New Jersey transit. I headed up to SEPTA's regional rail concourse to buy tokens, but god forbid that SEPTA's regional rail have any convenient overlap with the subway surface lines. That would make people's lives a little easier. So I walked out of the station and across the street in the rain (there was once an underground concourse betweem 30th Street Station and it's associated trolley/EL stop, but SEPTA shut that down years ago). I went down three flights of stairs (pity the fellow in a wheelchair; the elevator, installed over the past month or two, was out of order) and bought my tokens. No sooner had I put the token in the stile than I saw the familiar blue flashing light: SEPTA trolleys weren't running underground tonight. Diversion route 10 blocks away; take the El. Damn problem was I wanted to go to the White Dog, which has a late night happy hour, with $2.00 pints. Their beer selection is really good too, and I was hoping to grab a trolley for three blocks.
So I sacrificed my token, and walked out of the station grumbling. Walked through the rain to the White Dog, where as usual the woman behind the bar was somewhat of a cunt making me question (again) what's the point of bad service and a surly attitude? I sucked down 2 pints, and vowed to get on the trolley for free at the 40th Street diversion stop. That's actually not that tough of a vow to meet, because when the trolley is on diversion, they don't ask for far at 40th Street. So I stomped up the street in the rain, which was comign down harder, bitching about SEPTA all the way.

It wasn't even my trolley. I just wanted to get close to home. The guy sitting next to me was telling me about his job doing security for the Electric factory, a local venue. "I mean, I expect a degree of bullshit like drunk people or fighting at most of the shows we do, like Limp Bizkit and shit like that. But man, this was a Bob Dylan show, and there were people acting up like they all bad. Some dude tried to get in a fight wit me, and accused me of attacking him. Dumbass frat boy muthafucker..."

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This site is so starkly terrifying and beautiful, I can't stand it. Thanks to cruel for the link.
It's a tour through Chernobyl. I'm half-drunk right now, listening to Tom T. Hall's "I Love."
It is the perfect soundtrack to this slideshow.
Holy shit... the longer I look at these pictures, the more nauseous I feel.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Condi's on "60 Minutes" right now. Blah blah blah... it doesn't mean shit if she won't testify publicly and under oath.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I had a yummy Vietnamese tofu hoagie for lunch today: seasoned tofu on a hoagie roll with cilantro, shredded daikon and carrot slaw, and slices of raw jalapeno pepper. Oh man are they good; the flavors are so unique, the heat from the peppers doesn't even bother your taste buds. I was eating the hoagie in front of my computer reading the news when one of the jalapeno slices almost fell out. I pushed the jalapeno back into the sandwich and kept munching. MMMM, boy.

Sandwich consumed, I began to peruse some of my favorite porn sites. One thing led to another, and I decided to take care of business. Pants around my ankles, I was quite a few strokes into that business when I noticed a distinct burning sensation coming from my member. Fuck! I forgot about the damn jalapeno juice all over my fingers! Fuck fuck fuck!

I jumped up and ran for the shower. Hot! Hot! Hot! Oh my God ohgodohgodohgod! I turned on the water as quickly as I could and jumped in. YEAAAGH! Torment; even lukewarm water was too intense to wash the burning oil off my poor inflamed dick. Ouch ouch! I kept placing my pecker under the stream of water, then jerking back and turning down the water temperature, all the while soaping up my region in a desperate effort to stop the burning. Finally, I got the water to the point where my dick was safe... but if any other part of me went under the water, I'd get hypothermia.

Serves me right. I feel better, now by the way.
Being Republican means never having to say you're sorry:

Dr. Frist said that to apologize "on behalf of the nation was not his right, his privilege or his responsibility."

"In my view it was not an act of humility, but an act of supreme arrogance and manipulation," Dr. Frist said. "Mr. Clarke can and will answer for his own conduct, but that is all."

No taste and no class:but then, what do you expect from a man who during his college days adopted cats from the local animal shelter, promising them a good home, for the express purpose of performing medical experiments on them?
Is that site too left-wing? Well, here's another one; and another.

Bill Frist is a disgusting sick fuck. You wanna know what else he does? he makes money off abortions performed at the hospitals he has serious financial interests in at the same time he's trying to make abortion illegal. And this was reported at the right-wing Free Republic, nominally Frist's allies.
Yeah...a real class act. By the way, this creep's phone number in Washington is (202) 224-3344.

More on Crazy Condi

First of all, thanks to Alex at lexandromeda for forwarding me this great picture of Condi. Dude, if this keeps up, Condi's gonna blow a gasket.

Ok, now it looks like Condi's gonna appear on 60 Minutes to take swipes at Richard Clarke. I predict trhat this is going to go over like a lead balloon?
As the Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and the New York Times , and the LA Times have pointed out again and again, Condi refuses to appear and testify under oath, as Mr. Clarke has done. And the fact that she appears on television to make all these claims that she won't attest to under oath makes her look like she's talking trash, which she is. If there were any validity to what she's saying she'd testify publicly and under, as even Republicans like Bill "Liar" Frist are saying.
Condi can talk as much shit as she wants on 60 Minutes... but until she's under oath, it's all a load of shit. And can you trust that face?
Ugh, I'd rather wake up in bed with my grandmother. The dead one.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Condi's saying she'll go back and testify to Congress again... but not under oath.
The chutzpah...

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The military death toll in Iraq is pushing 600, and George Bush is making light of the missing weapons of mass destruction.

Is this funny?
Surreal day. Condi's behaving like an agent of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Bush is making jokes about his reputation, and Lynne Cheney's writing dyke pulp.
I may have to start taking LSD again to feel normal.
This is too funny: Lynne Cheney's pulp lesbian romance novel.

And if you don't believe me, pay a visit to or the New York Daily News.

Now I'm not gonna say that Lynne Cheney's a lesbian... but perhaps the apple don't fall far from the tree.
My father likes to make the argument that the nation state is obsolete in the world of multinational corporations, and idea he can explain better than I. Basically it boils down to that in more and more cases, it's multi-national corporations that are calling the shots in terms of global policy.
That's is up for debate of course, but that's not my point.
Check this article out:
As you probably know, Condoleeza Rice has refused to testify publicly on the 9/11 commission... but as Nichols points out, "Rice took time out of the middle of the day to address a secretive gathering that included global media mogul Rupert Murdoch and top executives from television networks, newspapers and other media properties owned by Murdoch's News Corp. conglomerate."
What the fuck?!? It's like the administration has turned into a real-life version of a James Bond Movie. I'm visualizing Murdoch as that guy with one arm from "Dr. No," saying something along the lines of "Excellent progress, Dr. Rice. And I may presume our robotic super soldiers are ready to pacify the population?" while smoking an incredibly long cigarette and stroking a persian cat.
What next? Is Dick Cheney gonna start throwing a sharpened hat at his critics?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

from this sunday's ny times.

The Things They Wrote
One year ago today, America suffered its first casualties of the war in Iraq: a helicopter crashed in the desert near Kuwait City, killing four marines, while two others died from small-arms fire.

Last fall the Op-Ed pages published excerpts from letters home of some of the men and women who died in Iraq. Since then, 176 more soldiers have been killed, according to the Pentagon, bringing the total number of military casualties to 570. Below are excerpts from among the last letters that some Army soldiers had sent home to their families.

Excerpts from letters to his wife from Second Lt. Todd J. Bryant, 23, of Riverside, Calif. Lieutenant Bryant was killed on Oct. 31 by a homemade bomb while on patrol near Fallujah.

Friday, Sept. 19, 2003

I lack the words to express the whirlwind of emotions I am going through right now. We are still in Iraq, one day from getting to our base camp. So far the road has been safe, but tomorrow we get into Indian country: there have been numerous attacks along our route and frankly I am scared. Tomorrow I may see if four years at West Point and $250,000 of taxpayer money has produced an effective leader. I don't know if I will sleep tonight but I will try.

The image that keeps appearing in my mind is of you at the end of that aisle as your dad put your hand in mine. All I think about is that — and how we have joined together for life. That is why I must do my best and come home safe to you. Your family entrusted you to me, and I can't take care of you if I don't take care of myself. I love you with all my heart.

Monday, Sept. 22

Today things did not go so well. We rolled out on a mission in the early afternoon. Right before we were supposed to turn around and come back we got shot at. I'm O.K. . . . These armored Humvees are pretty good but I'd rather have my tanks. We had one other guy wounded but thank God neither were serious.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Well, today we got in all kinds of contact and thank God nobody was hurt. I keep pressing the commander to try and find out how long we will be here. He doesn't know of course and says he can only speculate. The thing is if he says six months and it turns out to be 12, that will kill morale. Morale is already very low here, as you might have guessed. No mail, lots of work, the heat and bad chow will do that to a unit.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Today was fairly uneventful. We had a mission in the morning with no incidents, thank God. Then I went to church when I got back, which was nice. Being here has made me appreciate so many things, it's funny — little things like going to Wal-Mart or IHOP. I love you so much, Jen, and I miss you more than anything. I really don't want to spend another day away from you as long as I live. I guess when I get out in three years and nine months I'll have to find a job with no business trips ever.

Monday, Oct. 20

This place is scary. It is awful to be so young and wonder every day if you will see tomorrow. Any day we don't have a mission, like today, is a good day. I try and think how much longer it is until I go home but realize any time I roll out the gate is dangerous. As far as I know we are still only scheduled to be here until March.

Saturday, Oct. 25

Today was quite disturbing. We were doing our usual route clearance when we got the call on the radio that a civilian convoy had been attacked about eight kilometers in front of us. We sped up and secured the area so we could begin giving medical assistance. There were already a couple of Bradleys there by the time we got there. So we dropped off our medic and began to pull security and had one of the Bradleys call for a medevac and we secured a landing zone for the helicopter to come in.

Well, one Suburban had been hit by a bomb and they ruptured the gas tank, causing it to catch fire. Two people died and one got rushed to the hospital before we got there. Everyone else was huddled behind one of the two remaining vans. One guy was an American contractor and he had some British bodyguards. The second van had three bodies in it, one of which was pretty gruesome because the guy's spine was severed and his head just hung there. They died as a result of small-arms fire, probably AK-47's. Made me feel good to be in an armored truck.

Thursday, Oct. 30

Today we woke up early for a mission. Went and did a route recon and came back. Right before I lay down to take a nap we got the call that there was a protest at the front gate and we had to go pull security. That lasted for 4 1/2 hours. So by the time we got back from that we had other stuff to do, so no napping for me.

But every cloud has a silver lining and mine was when the mail came! Six letters and a package! Wahoo! I have the best wife in the world. . . . All your letters were wonderful and totally made my whole week and will probably carry into November.

Excerpts from a letter to his mother and stepfather from Capt. Pierre E. Piché, 29, of Starksboro, Vt. Captain Piché was killed on Nov. 15 when his helicopter crashed near Mosul.

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2003

I can say that I will be home by early February. . . . I am definitely looking forward to being out of the military. It was good for what it did for me, I don't regret it, but it is time to go. I see the future holding a lot more deployments. . . . I am proud to defend my country but I don't want to be defending it constantly for the next 10-15 years.

I am looking into both teaching and law enforcement when I get out. Either way, I still want to be doing a job that has a positive impact on the world. I am not some idealist who thinks I can change the world but I can still be doing some sort of good. I want to be able to believe in what I am doing. I prefer the teaching route because it has a more predictable schedule and I can blab about politics and history all day long (something I enjoy anyway). I had some good teachers growing up and I think it would be pretty cool if I could do what they did.

Excerpts from an e-mail message to her family from Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh, 19, of Taylor, Mich. Private McGeogh was killed on Jan. 31 near Kirkuk by an I.E.D., military parlance for an improvised explosive device.

Monday, Jan. 5, 2004

Hi, you guys, what's going on on that side of the world? Things are O.K. over here. Today when my section rolled out of the gate we saw someone drop a can on the ground, and we thought it was an I.E.D. So I stopped right away and backed up. We got out and pulled security. Then we called Charlie Company out to take a look.

Well, it ended up not being an I.E.D. I felt a little embarrassed, but at the same time I knew that we had done the right thing. And I have full confidence in the people I work with — if they felt if anybody's life was in danger, they would do everything in their power not to let anything happen.

Anyway, that was the most exciting thing that happened today — so far. Everything here is good and I'm doing good. . . . I am very thankful for having such a caring and loving family! I really can't wait to get home. I can't wait to see everyone, I really miss you all soooooo much — if it weren't for you guys, I would have never been able to make it through all this.

Excerpts from letters to his mother from Specialist Robert A. Wise, 21, of Tallahassee, Fla. Specialist Wise was killed on Nov. 12 by a homemade bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.

Monday, Feb. 24, 2003

So far I've been in a sandstorm (twice), I'm working on my third one as I speak (or write). I've also had the pleasure of experiencing a "sand-bomb." It's not what you think, but it is very interesting. When the wind is blowing really strong, it fills the tents, but when the wind stops, all the air rushes out of the tent and causes the sand to literally explode into the air and covers everything in a fine coat of dust. Yeah!

Every morning I wake up, and it's like a scene out of the movie "The Mummy." I get to shake the dirt out of everything, including my face and hair. One day I'll get a hold of a camera and I'll send you some cool pictures.

P.S.: You will be proud to know I have finished reading "The Hobbit" and "Halo." I've started on "The Lord of the Rings." That book is a workout both physically and mentally.

Wednesday, April 2

In case you were wondering, I stink. The kind of stink that you can only find in the desert. We call it "the scent of the Desert Rose." It's what you get when you haven't had a shower in over 20 days. Thank God for baby wipes. I had to get a filling replaced. I was chewing some gum and crack! — I don't know how, but it broke and started to splinter in my mouth.

On to more positive news. Since I left Fort Stewart, I've read: "The Hobbit," "Halo," "The Lord of the Rings" ("The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers,") "Aliens vs. Predator: War" and "Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, Volume II." Nothin' like a little boredom to get ya in a readin' mood.

Well, I hope everything back at Fort Living Room is going well.

Thursday, May 8

Rumor has it that we'll be on a plane home June 22, so keep your fingers crossed. I'm really going to need your help setting up a budget when I get home and making sure I stick to it. I know the only way I'll complete my goals of paying off my car and getting all of that furniture for our house by the end of the year is by paying attention to what I spend my money on.

Well, I'm runnin' out of things to write about. I love you and I miss you. Tell everyone I said hi, and one day I'll get home.

P.S.: There's no place like home (click)
There's no place like home (click)
There's no place like home (click)
Damn, it didn't work again!

Excerpt from a letter and e-mail message to his family from Sgt. Michael A. DiRaimondo, 22, of Simi Valley, Calif. Sergeant DiRaimondo, who planned to be a paramedic firefighter, was killed on Jan. 8 when his helicopter was shot down while on a medical evacuation mission near Fallujah.

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2003

Life is so precious. Living day by day in good health or just happiness is probably what makes me happy right now. I try not to think that what I do makes me happy. Just being alive, having a wonderful family, good friends, watching the sunrise morning after morning — that's what makes me feel good. I think people take their lives for granted. Some just haven't hit that part of their lives where they stop and say, "I am such a lucky person to have the life that I have."

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004

New Year's Day was very busy for me. It started at 5 a.m. and went on for hours. Mission after mission. I had eight patients that day. I lost one of them, but there was no helping him when I got to him. That was sad, but we all must move on. It's sad to think that I can see that and then just go to lunch like it never happened. I'll always remember that soldier, though.

Most guys don't like it because you see a lot of gory stuff. But I see it as training for the future. I've been thinking about my future a lot lately. Who knows what's gonna happen, right?

... and here's some comments from me. Fuck George Bush and his war. i hope he fucking rots in hell and has to soak in a pool of his own burning shit. I hope every one of these dead soldiers, who are braver than I will EVER be, haunts his fucking ass until he goes insane and claws out his own eyeballs. I hope his children get cancer and die. I hope the same for every single person in that administration. And while I'm at it, fuck the New York Times, specifically Judith "I'm in bed with Ahmed Chalabi; hey, where'd that movile bio-lab go?" Miller; David "I sound increasingly desperate and unhinged on the Lehrer Hour" Brooks; William "Still flogging the Czech connection" Safire; and of course, Elizabeth "I heart Bush" Bumiller. True, the glorious New York Times is against this lousy war-- but look at the record. Stifling coverage of massive antiwar rallies all during last year; ridiculing Blix and the UN inspectors; giving plenty of press to the pro-war crowd, and precious little to those of us who believed from day one this whole adventure was a big fucking scam.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Hey, it's injured soldiers (I'm waiting for some quotes to add to the Courtney Goes Bananas story). This is Bush the Liar's fault, as the New York Times gets around to pointing out.
...and then, Courtney Love went bananas.

By this time, most of you have probably heard the news that Courtney Love was arrested in New York City this week for whacking a guy over the head with a microphone stand. But what you probably didn't know was that she did this at my band UncleFucker's cd release party. Or that the whacking also involved a Telecaster?

All this started out innocently enough as we were preparing for the big CD release gig at Plaid, this oh-so-hip club on E. 13th, between Broadway and 4th Avenue. I was downtown searching for green body paint (our theme for the evening was St. Paddy's Day Green, and my plan was to wear green body paint, a cape made of a green bath towel, and too-tight whitey-tighties) when Izzy gave me a call. "Check your email man, I just updated the bulletin. Turns out Courtney Love is playing this week and will be putting in a surprise appearance at our gig!"

"No way," I replied, "That's NUTS!! Is it still free?"
"Yeah, so far as I know," said Grizzly. "Look, I gotta go..."
We hung up, and as soon as I got a chance I checked my email. Sure enough, there was Izzy's message:

Courtney Love and UncleFucker tonight!!!

So, it turns out that Courtney Love is such an UncleFucker fan that she muscled her way on to our bill tonight at Plaid!

This was confirmed this morning by Plaid's promoters and I don't know what time she is planning on going on and I didn't book the bitch myself so don't call me back with a million and four questions. But as far as I am told, this is definetly all true. If you have any other questions call Plaid directly at 212 677 5772.

We welcome Courtney with open arms 'cause there is nothing cooler and more punk than killing your rockstar husband and getting away with it!

See you tonight fools! And have a happy ST Paddy's day!

Slick Dick Grizzly

Well... this was going to be an adventure, I muttered, as I paid for my body paint.

The rest of the day was spent shuttling our amps and instruments over to Plaid. Plaid is a pretty big room; I believe the capacity is about 1000 people. We started setting up our amps, and got through soundcheck pretty quickly.

So where to begin? How about we start with the fact that almost everyone in upper management at Plaid was some kind of uber-hipster wannabe, looking like they just stepped out of some Kenneth Cole or Calvin Klein ad? Everyone had really cool hair, especially this one guy that was going so far out of his way to look like that Owen Wilson guy from "The Big Bounce" (which I understood was a big blowjob). His hair was so prettily tousled, and his clothes accentuated his skeletal frame. There was some woman dressed up in a bright green cocktail dress, looking like for all the world like Miss Yvonne from Pee-Wee's Playhouse. These two, and an entourage of other beautiful people kept going in an out of the management office, emerging ever more coked up each time. Owen Wilson-boy's eyes were rolling in his head, and if I had grabbed him by his feet and held him horizontal, I probably could have used his teeth to saw enough wood to build a deck in my backyard. You could practically hear the enamel getting ground down every time these self-important yutzes walked by.

I worked in the restaurant/ bar industry for a long time, and I can tell you from experience that one of the most obnoxious things on earth is a coked-out staff. They think they're being really efficient and industrious, but all they really manage is to be repetive, rude, and contradictory all at the same time. And we had a dozen of 'em at Plaid. "Where should I put my cases?" "Put it here, no wait put it there, oh who cares, i'm too busy to deal with this shit...." We ended up moving piles of gear at least three times before management decided on an appropriate storage area.

This is about when we found out that our free event was costing $20.00 at the door. Courtney's "surprise" appearance wasn't. To Plaid's credit, after some negotiation, they agreed to sort out our fans from Courtney's and grant them free admission.

Other than the chaos surrounding management, the night went smoothly enough. The opening bands, Alabama Black Snake and The Giraffes, were great (I'd provide a link for ABS but none exists yet). The Giraffes in particular kicked my ass. Very Mudhoney, and deliciously slobbery drums combined with a bass that just didn't quit. I'm listening to "I'll Be Your Daddy" (on the MP3s sample page, and I have to pause to pump my fist and make devil signs. We got on stage in time, and for a band that had only 3 practices the weekend before the show (after a 3 month hiatus) we were remarkably tight.

It was after we got offstage that things began to get wacky. The management was in the backstage area (itself nothing more than a hallway leading to a service exit and a flight of stairs leading to a basement kitchen) attending to Courtney Love. Courtney herself was sitting on the stairs discussing her setlist with one of her bandmates. She was slurring her words and rambling. I peeked around the corner, and we made eye contact for a second; her bleached hair looked like she'd just escaped the tornado to Oz, and she must have stolen her eyes from the Sammy Davis Junior Museum. I had been tempted to ask for an autograph (I'm a dork like that), but thought the better of it and melted into the wall. "We're nah na not gonna play that one," I heard Courtney mumbling. "Cus cus she'sh not that gr great a shinger, y know she'ss alwaysh flat."

Apparenly, management had forgotten that we'd agreed to let Courtney's band use our gear, because no less than four different hipsters approached me about our amps and guitars. One guy asked me twice. I was explaining to him that everything was taken care of, when Courtney lurched around the corner and spilled herslef onto some guy. "This.. this is the guy," she slobbered. She looked like Simpsons character. "Courtney, time to play," someone yelled, and she whirled toward the stage, almost tripping over her own feet. I followed the circus out into the music room. I can't say I'm much very interested in Courtney Love's style of music, so after a song or two, I gravitated through the doors into the front bar.

I was in the middle of my second pint when I saw a phalanx of 6 New York policemen march across the floor and toward the stage. Oh great, I thought. One of the managers just probably got popped for cocaine. "Hey Katy, what's up?" I called as I saw Katy walk by. "Dude, Courtney Love went nuts and hit someone, I think!"
"What? No way!"
"Yeah, and I think it was with Alabama Black Snake's guitar!"
"Holy shit!," I said and went to go take a look. I bumped right away into a very distraught Chris Tarbell, ABS's guitar player. He was cradling a broken Telecaster. His broken Telecaster. "Dude, what the fuck happened" I asked him.
"Man, she fucking smashed my guitar, that fucking bitch!
Actually, it's not fair for me to try to recap what Chris said, when he can speak so eloquently for himself. Here's what he emailed me:

I have never been a big fan of Hole or Courtney Love and have always been suspicious of her success as being the result of her marriage to Kurt Cobain rather than her talent. Regardless of that, my band being fairly new and unknown, I was really excited that we had the opportunity to open up a show headlined by Love.

Right before Courtney and her band went on, people from the club and Love's entourage were frantically pleading with someone from one of the other bands to loan them a guitar to play. They asked me, and hesitantly I agreed to loan them my guitar. I specifically remember one woman named Peggy, who I believe is one of the owners or managers of Plaid, saying that I had a "good heart" for loaning my guitar and that if they
"break a string or anything, they'll take care of it." Yeah, right. Anyway, me being a little gullible and star struck by the fact that a famous rock star was going to be playing my guitar on stage, [I] was kind of siked, if not slightly worried that something might happen to my guitar. But I figured my worries were probably unfounded.

I couldn't see that well from where i was standing, actually the other guitarist in my band had a really good view of what happened, but Courtney never even played a
note on my guitar that her people had been begging so hard to borrow. She
strapped it on, plugged it in, and then said something like "I don't fuckin' feel
like playing guitar tonight" and then just dropped it on the stage. I was so pissed. The later in the set, after she threw a mic stand into the audience, splitting that poor guy's crowd. I looked on in shock and horror as my guitar was held high above the crowd by a sea of hands grabbing for it. One of Plaid's employees pushed through the crowd trying to retrieve it for me , but it ended up back on the stage.

As the set ended, and Courtney was coming off the stage I pushed frantically through through the crowd to try and get to her, screaming obscenities at her and ready to kill. She didn't hear me I don't think, and I was intercepted by Lyle Derek, her porducer of events for New York. He was like "No, no, no, just chill out man, don't worry we'll take care of it. Don't scream at courtney. You have to understand she's had a hard life
and been through a lot lately. We'll compensate you, how much do you want
for your guitar?" My guitar is worth $1000 and it was really fucked up, so I told him I needed $1000. He promised he'd take care of it, but I know now that he was full of shit. And what the fuck, Courtney Love has had a hard life? Fuck that bitch, I have a hard life too. I can barely pay my bills every month and I'm a struggling musician in local rock band who can't afford to just go out and buy a new guitar. She can afford any guitar she wants, whenever she wants.

In any event, almost a week later, I have still not received compensation for my broken guitar. I was not able to meet face to face with Courtney's manager, and she (Janet Billig Rich) has not returned my polite message I left on her office voicemail. Lyle Derek
turned out to be a worthless pee-on who promised me compensation but then the next day told me I should just "sell my guitar on e-bay" because I'd probably make more money that way, and that what happened was "just rock'n roll and you're going hurt your band by making a big deal out of this." What a piece of shit that guy is. Chris Whittemeyer, Courtney's guitar tech, who I spoke with over the phone and who at first seemed as though he could help me out, mysteriously stopped returning my calls. He was mad at me because I "didn't go through the right channels" in order to get
compensated for my broke instrument. I got my guitar repaired instead of contacting him right away. He claimed he could have had my guitar fixed for free at a local Fender authorized repair shop, or immediately had a brand new guitar shipped from Fender to me. The thing is, how the fuck was I supposed to know that? I didn't even know who this guys was until days after the incident. Shouldn't Courtney's manager have put me in touch with him right away and settled the situation? The two things that upset me
the most about this whole situation are that:

1) Courtney lack of respect for another musician's instrument. I don't care how big of a rock star she thinks she is, there's no excuse for behavior like that, and it's certainly not "rock 'n roll" in my book to behave like that.

2) The fact that no one from Courtney's management or the club came to me as soon my guitar was broken and attempted to rectify the situation. Why should I have had to run around for days making phone calls and trying to track down people to help me when the bruden was on them to come to me? I loaned them my guitar at their request, therefore it was their fucking responsibility to deal with the outcome of that.

So now, I am left with a repair bill I can't afford to pay, and a guitar that is fixed, but will never be the same again. For the record, the neck was bowed and had to be replaced, the tone know was completely broken off and had to be replaced, the pick up switch was missing the tip and had to be replaced, the internal electronics were fucked up and had to be tweaked, and there are three large dents/ paint chips in the body that not able to
fully be filled in. The only thing I can say is, what comes around, goes around.
Payback is a bitch, Courtney.

Indeed. Courtney was led away in cuffs.
Ok, first of all, here's a great new video from MoveOn, where Rumsfeld gets NAILED lying through his teeth on "Face the Nation."
Enjoy. And make a call to Congress while you're at it.

Friday, March 12, 2004

OK, let me get this straight.
First, the Bush tax cut was going to save the economy; then it gave us a giant deficit. The it turned out to cost a whole lot more than the Bush people claimed it would, leading many in Congress (especially the Dems that voted it) saying they'd been bamboozled. I'm correct, right?

And then there was the war in Iraq, which was going to be quick, cheap, and easy (like Jenna Bush). Now not only is the war still going on, the cost has skyrocketed because the Bush administration gave Congress faulty numbers, right? And as I've posted previously, a lot of these shenanigans have been deemed deliberate.

And then there's been the recent flap about the Bush administration playing politics with science, omitting references from reports, skewing results, rewriting (or writing out) naterial in the service of its own political agenda.

OK, so now we have Medicare "reform". Can you guess where I'm going with this?

"The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan."
I don't trust Kerry either, but Dean's doing the right thing.
Bush needs to go. He needs to go now.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

One of the funnest things about blogging is the linking from blog to newspaper to blog... you can just keep delving and linking.
For instance, I got this article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which goes on a bit about kerry calling his Republican critics ""the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen."

This article had some of the funniest statements I've read in years, and that doesn't even include Santorum's sanctimonius and hypocritical comments about Kerry's "outside the bounds" remarks.

No it was these back to backers:
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, "This concerted effort to convince the American economy is in the tank is simply not accurate."

DeLay said Democrats "haven't produced anything but hate and that's what is disturbing."

Mitch should be talking to the 3 million people that are out of work. Or maybe he didn't read the report that said not only did the economy take on far fewer jobs than necessary (21,000 instead of 130,000), most of these jobs were in the government. And Delay should take a look at the record... a record that I found after posting my gleeful reaction to these comments on atrios's message board.
God bless the blogosphere. It just keeps going and going and going...
This otherwise prosaic and ho-hum op-ed from The Daytona Beach News Journal has one sentence that really seems to stand out (the rest of the paragraph included for context)

"That the administration is cashing in on the dead is not unusual. President Lincoln did it to great effect at Gettysburg. President Reagan did it movingly in Normandy, on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, when the 1984 presidential election was conveniently within sight. Most presidents do it badly, so most have the grace to leave the dead in peace once the speeches are over. President Bush has been doing it gracelessly and cravenly for two and a half years."

"Tastelessness" seems to be the hallmark, not only of the Bush administration, but the Bush family in general. Not the kind of tastelessness that leads you to partake in John Waters movies or collections of poirot dolls, but the kind of tastelessness and lack of tact that comes when you're become so accustomed to your own life, you simply can't see past your own nose. I have no doubt Bush won't backtrack on those 9/11 ads because he (and the people who surround him) doesn't really see anything wrong with the ads.

Bush's bad taste is the tastelessness of the nouveau riche: the kind of tastelessness that equates money and power with class. But money and power don't equal class: it's not something you can buy. You can see this tastelessness in the behavior of Bush Senior, who famously vomited on a Japanese diplomat and was so out of touch that he didn't know how a supermarket scanner worked back in the late 1980s. You can see it in Bush Jr.'s photo-ops at sporting events that displace paying customers, or take up the resources of small towns and then refuse to reimburse local governments for their police and fire expenditures. Or hiring actors to portray firemen in September 11-themed ads, because "it's cheaper" than hiring real firemen (not that many firement would come out to support a Bush effort anyway; they've had their funds cut by you-know-who as well). And the examples go on and on and on.

Don't just throw Bush out because his administration is a bloodthirsty relic from the cold war with a 19th century mindset. Throw the bums out because of their utter lack of taste and class.

And while we're on the subject of Salon, here's another great article (thanks to atrios, one of the best blogs on the net, and based out of P H I L L Y ! !), describing how the Bush administration helped ferry the bin laden family out of the US in the hours after September 11.
Why Brendan, you're asking, why on EARTH would they do that??

Can you say "Business ties between the two families that go back years?"
Can you say "One of Bush's major backers is not only his financial connection to the binLaden Group, but is a good friend from back in the National Guard days"? (Big props to John S. who runs sugar in the gourd, spinning the old time fiddle music while he spins left)
I knew you could!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The New Pentagon Papers: a must read from Salon. get the day pass. It's worth it folks. Karen Kwiatkowski, an inisder at the Pentagon, speaks out.
letter to Greg easterbrook at the new republic.
unfortunately, this never reached him; thr's server bounced it back at me.

Greg, I read your bit on Canadians fearing global
warming would result in environmental refugees and
they want to prevent that
from happening.
You seem a little scornful of that sentiment (clever
Tim Horton's reference though), which you should
Although I live in Philadelphia, I spend a lot of my
time in Montreal, where my girlfriend and newborn
live. My impression of the Canadians is that they're
a country that has done a lot to protect and preserve
their national identity: a lot of people don't know
this, but a certain percentage of television and radio
programming in Canada must feature Canadian shows.
this is to mitigate the influence of the USA's
overwhelming entertainment juggernaut. They also have
a very strong sense of national community, which I
suspect is part and parcel of the rejection of the
separatists in the 1990s.
Now imagine your average Canadian looking south across
the border at the United States, waging a needless
intolerant war against its own people in the form of
the Drug War, the FMA, the dismantling of the social
safety net, and the refusal to provide health
insurance to its citizens (say what you will about
socialized medicine Mr. easterbrook, it cost my
girlfriend and I absolutely NOTHING to have a child in
Montreal and our day care costs $35 a week; the costs
of childbirth in the us seem to run from $2,000 to
$20,000, with day care costing $100s a week)-- and you
see a population in complete opposition to your very
real values of allowing gay marriage; of
decriminalizing marijuana; and of taking care of your

Would you be pleased about environmental changes that
would drive the most conservative population (the deep
south, most likely to be affected by heat waves,
hurricanes and tropical diseases) of your conservative
neighbor to try to set up shop within your borders?
Please sir, no more cracks on our neighbors to the
Brendan Skwire
PS: Tim's kicks ass.
So Brendan, how's that unemployment schtick treating you?

Well, let's put it this way. I'm sitting at home right now watching Judge Mathis and blogging. Television has taught me many things. For example, I've learned that Sharon Osborne looks like Lady Elaine Fairchild and that Paris Hilton looks like Mr. Peanut (best when choosing the "classic tap" option). I've also learned about boohbah. Don't EVER let your kid watch this show. Adults however may wish to partake in some recreational pharmaceuticals, and indulge-- I watch a half-hour of Boohbah in the morning and it's like I did a half dozen bong hits followed by a dose of LSD.

Happy hour still starts every day around 5:30, except I don't go to bars anymore. I drink at home for a third of the price! I've always believed that drinking at home and buying by the case was cheaper, but stubbornly, I've always gone to bars. And for what, other than to talk to drunk people? I'm spoken for, I can't be prowling from dames. Now that penury has driven me into the house, I find that when i do go to bars, I'm offended by the prices as well as the people. I don't miss it: by the time I'm done with cooking dinner and watching back-to-back-episodes of The Simpsons, I've had three beers. No way do i want to do anything at that point, other than get ready for bed. I apply for jobs over the internet, so there's no need to leave the premises unless I really need to, like if I have to grocery shop. If I need sun, I sit on the back porch and drink my coffee there. I clean my house everyday, vacuuming, sweeping, washing windows, clearing the yard. I bench press every other day. I save tons by cooking at home, and I eat better too. Lots of beans and rice. Surprisingly, lots of Indian food. Once you've bought the spices (heavy on the cumin, coriander, and trumeric) the only expensive ingredient is ghee. Other than that you're buying stuff like frozen spinach or kale (89 cents for a 10-ounce package), potatoes, canned tomatoes, fresh ginger, and chili peppers. I can make a week's worth of food for under $20.00 usually.

On the other hand, the poverty sucks. It really sucks. The last time I collected unemployment benefits was back in 2001; about a year later, the University of Pennsylvania challenged my claim, and unfortunately won the mediation session. What it boils down to is that while I was under no obligation to pay back the money I was awarded, if I didn't repay, any benefits I was entitled to in the next 3 years would be garnished by one third until the Department of Labor and Industry had recouped its losses. The result? I make about $218 a week, instead of the $328 I should be getting. The poverty makes it impossible for me to juggle all the bands, parenthood, and commuting to Canada. Thus, after next week I am either quitting or going on extended hiatus from Unclefucker until I have some real income coming in. Unfortunate, but what canya do? Once Melissa and ol' Sammy are living down here, my time is going to be freed up somewhat, but for now, everything's tight.

Oooh, look at the time: it's Beer-thirty, so you'll pardon me as I down some suds. they're Sierra Nevadas. I spent too much money on them last night: I got a little gift from God yesterday, when I found out that Penn still had a paycheck waiting for me. I got out too late to hit the distributor and bought a 6-pack at the bar. If you're familiar with Pennsie's liquor laws, you know I took a hit on that sixer.

Lately I've been buying cases of Red Bell's Philadelphia Lager. They're a lot better than Yuengling lager in terms of taste and potency (for soem reason i was able to drink like 10 yuenglings a few days ago and it was like I hadn't drank a drop; go figure). For the quality it's really cheap, which leads me to believe that the company may have gone out of business and they[re getting rid of the stock at bargain prices. Too bad, because that's some good beer.

ooh, look at the time again. Time to watch the Simpsons...
It's been a month or more since I blogged last, but now that I've finally gotten my hands on a wireless router, the doors aare open again for me to vent my enlarged spleen in html format.
So... what all should I rant about today?
Oooh, here's a nice series of letters to the Philadelphia Daily News, all about Mel Gibson's magnum opus, "The Jesus Movie".

I love the first letter:
OP-ED writer Stephan Rosenfeld admits he frequently drags the name of Jesus into the gutter by blaspheming him and then profanes the Scriptures as "fiction."

Despite the fact that without evangelical Christian support, Israel would hardly have a friend in the world [EXCEPT FOR THE UNITED STATES, THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD -ed.], and despite the fact that many true Christians suffered and died at the hands of Hitler as well (some like Corrie ten Boom for sheltering Jews), and despite the fact that true Christians revere the Jews as God's chosen people, Mr. Rosenfeld claims to fear anti-Semitism. I have seen NONE as a result of this film.

John A. Teets, Horsham

You also have to really appreciate the leap of logic made by writer Rick Bauer, who claims not only is Mel's fil not anti-semitic (and I have to admit, i haven't seen the film and don't plan to: I think Mel Gibson sucks as an actor and his historical dramas are weak shadows on the really over the top MGM epics), but rather Jews are anti-Christian. The comparison between Spielberg's proposal to do a film on the Inquisition (which will no doubt be deadly serious, deadlier tedious and blatantly prey on the audience's emotions a la "Schindler's List, a movie I have NEVER been able tos it through) and Mel Brooks' screwball comedy "History of the World Part One" is not only intellectually dishonest (and deliberately so), it's ludicrous.
So there's some spleen. More to come as I sit here unemployed and looking at internet porn.