That's Just The Booze Talking

Thursday, December 15, 2005

There is a Place Past the Blues I Never Wanna See Again


You’ve seen us waxing David Berman’s car in a very unselfconscious and public way on more than one occasion, and his contribution to Black Book magazine’s “guilty pleasures” feature has us breaking out the Turtle Wax™ all over again. We’re just going to go ahead and cut-and-paste the whole thing, because a) you don’t really want to click over to Black Book in the first place and b) Berman’s ha ha will more than make up for own lack of same. Suffice it to say that we are probably going to have to enroll in one of those funny little 12-step programs once we come out on the other side of the holiday season and its many fetes; in fact, we may join a 24-step group, because we could probably use the exercise that extra flight of stairs demands.

So:

David Berman on Shania Twain: “Shania Twain’s best album is Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits. Roll back to 1996 with me if you would, when she was still hustling up and down the charts; a lot of her male fans, taking her highly realistic video come-ons literally, had energetic-outdoorsy-marriage-with-constant-sex fantasies about this brown-haired video squiggle dancing here on a sun-bleached dock in pink capris. From the panoply of North American sluts came this bride of the common man. While Madonna tended to bacterial outbreaks, Shania had a cup of coffee and a giggling proclivity for anytime fucking waiting for you when you got home.

“After your three minutes were up, the hardest part was re-transitioning yourself to the reality that Shania didn’t really love you in that sweater like you had her say to you in your mind. ‘Get a hold of yourself,’ said your inner success coach. ‘She’s into Mutt. Mutt makes her sound good. She’s saving it all for Mutt. And they live on top of a mountain in Switzerland. You’re just above sea level material, my friend, and you always will be.’ Ultimately, guilt is not the word for this feeling. Shame is closer.”

Also, for the supernaturally observant reader who sent us an email accusing us of “biting on” this guy’s schtick, we are thinking of a word and that word is ‘doiiiiyyyyy.’

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Get Off the Bandwagon, Put Down the Handbook



Not only did we have our holiday work party this week, but we were also asked to do a guest spot on a little-watched cable network and bloviate about the future of some fucking thing or other, even though a) yesterday found us resembling nothing so much as John Entwistle like maybe four minutes before he pulled out of the hooker, clutched his chest, went “Urkk” and collapsed in a pile of spunk-heavy sheets, and b) at the time we could maybe string together a series of three words, which, unfortunately for the producer of the show we were on, came out in the kind of rasp Tom Waits might make after spending all night guzzling King George scotch* and performing cunnilingus on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s skeleton.

Of course, we still kicked ass, reducing a certain liver-lipped media pundit to bouts of sputtering apoplexy, such was our deft and skillful manipulation of a set of data points that we completely made up on the way to the studio.

One thing we will say: Live TV is the single weirdest fucking thing you can do with your time, as it relies on each participant sticking to a series of peculiar mannerisms and conventions which, if executed in real life, would make one look absolutely bobcatshit crazy. In a studio show where there are two or more guests and a host, each participant is isolated in a different building, with the pundits perched in a sweat lodge with a generic background tacked up behind them and the black maw of a camera pointed up their respective nostrils. While your opponent launches attacks from New Jersey or wherever, you just sort of sit there, trying to appear brittly composed and smiling at the air in front of you like an old man thinking back on how great it was when gasoline was 5¢ a gallon and he still had full use of his penis. Because the camera can alight back on your face without a moment’s notice, you sort of have to keep this dazed Laura Bush look on your puss, while trying to think of a blistering, yet witty salvo to fire back in your own defense, even though what you are doing is essentially talking to yourself in a dark room while about 114,000 people watch you struggle with not calling Tucker Carlson** a douchebag, let’s say. And then you get those little oral spasms that can range anywhere from the setting and resetting of one’s mouth into a thoughtful moue to the kind of ragged and abrupt contortions of the mouth that are so severe that it looks as though you’re doing breathing exercises to prepare for, say, Tosca or something. And there’s also the weird hand gestures you use to punctuate even the most banal thought, like you’re Clinton working your way up to a blowjob denial. “You know, Tucker [emphatic fist pump, thumb clenched over knuckle of first finger], I think what you’re going to find in 2006 [fist stops pumping as monitor spied out of the corner of the field of one’s vision reveals that you are engaged in something that looks suspiciously like the Universal Whack-Off Gesture] is a reinvigoration of the traditional blah blah blah [fist opens up, palm is turned to the host as if you’re offering him a Tic-Tac]….” Etc.

So that happened.

Later, we stumbled across this while casting around for pictures of Scarlett Johansson’s wobbly bits, which supports our assertion that Hollywood types like to pretend that they’re loaded down with all these little quirks in order to seem more likeable. And while we’re happy to include her in our sad and ridiculous fellowship of ritualistic OCD behaviors, we’d like to point out that tidying up one’s hotel room prior to the maid’s morning clean-out is neither obsessive nor compulsive but rather just good manners. That said, we’d like to offer this quick quiz that will help you identify whether you are truly OCD or if you’re just trying to make excuses for being in The Perfect Score, which come on already.

Are You Down With OCD? A Psychological Quiz For All

1) You order the Cobb Salad at your favorite eatery, but when the waitress comes back with your chow, you discover that the chicken and the avocado ARE TOUCHING, thereby leaving unpalatable green marks on the bird meat. You then:

a) Ask the waitress to bring you a new salad, one that doesn’t feature avocado-stained poultry.
b) Gingerly brush the avocado marks off of the chicken with a napkin. Request new napkin.
c) Hide under the table, making faint mewing sounds.

2) A friend drops by your apartment with a bottle of wine. After uncorking, how many times do you have to tap the cork against your left leg in order to ensure that your friend won’t be killed on her way home?

a) 12.
b) 50 times on the left leg but then a quick succession of raps on the right patella, because you can never be too sure.
c) Don’t worry about the cork. Shouldn’t you be counting your forks?

3) Your money is arranged in your wallet by:

a) Denomination only, with larger bills at the back, by the five ATM receipts that must be there at all times.
b) Denomination and age. The newer, multi-color bills are to stay in the back, ensuring that you spend the older, smaller portrait bills first, thereby limiting your exposure to germs.
c) Denomination, age and serial number. This takes some getting used to, but if your money is not in the proper order, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN?

4) When you wash your hands, how long does it take?

a) However long 150 Mississippi is.
b) Depends. If we’re talking soap out of a dispenser and in a public restroom, it’s two squirts per hand. You really want to scrub, so figure about a minute and a half per hand, depending on how hot the water gets. Also, have a paper towel ready so that you can turn off the taps without touching them, because after all, people touch the taps right after they get out of the stalls, so touching a tap is like more or less putting your finger inside someone else’s haphazardly wiped anus. We’re talking the kind of environment where microbes send their kids when they want to learn how to kill more humans. Same goes for that door handle.
c) Don’t know. It’s a bit like trying to count the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop™. Sooner or later, you bite down, lose count or the owl in the tree takes a shit on your head, thereby exposing you to potential Avian Flu contagion and eventual death. Rule of thumb: Go into the bathroom with your iPod and cue up any song by Godspeed You Black Emperor. Don’t stop washing until the song stops playing.

5) When you’re lying awake at night, what’s on your mind?

a) Germs.
b) Is the soap in the dish by the bathroom sink facing the Right Way, viz, is the logo side up and legible? And is it centered properly?
c) How many stamps are in your top right desk drawer? Twelve? Thirteen? Hmmm. Better get up and count them. Twice, just to make sure.

*An off-brand that can generally be found in some of the less robust urban centers South of the Mason-Dixon line, usually in the sort of liquor stores where they do a brisk business in root beer Schnapps. Also, in keeping with one of Ray Smuckles’ more perspicacious insights about liquor and socioeconomics, it tends to be shelved down on the bottom shelf with the rest of the rotgut. (“Closer to the floor, is meant for the poor/closer to the lights, is more like for if Bono comes over.”) King George comes in a nifty 3-liter plastic bottle, so that when you invariably drop it down the stairs or off a fire escape, the contents will not be disturbed, ensuring that you’ll be able to get enough of the stuff down to develop a nice case of Jake Leg sometime down the road. As you may we imagine, it is Bad Shit, to be avoided.

**Not really. Close enough, though.