This poetry’s so bad, it broke out of jail and knocked up the warden’s wife….
The Best Captain
“We’re trying to settle an argument,” the nerd said to me.
“Who was the best captain – Kirk or Picard?”
I looked at the nerd incredulously.
“The best captain,” I said, “is Captain Caveman.”
The nerds just looked at me…
“He’s the world’s first superhero… The first.” I said.
“He had three teenage girlfriends.
They went on hilarious and sometimes scary mystery missions.”
The nerds kept staring. After a long pause one asked:
“What about Captain America?”
“What about fucking yourself?” I said.
Then I walked away.
Fucking nerds. They don’t know anything.
The scientist handed Agent Franks a pipe
and he smoked it.
Immediately he felt a rush. It was amazing.
“This is incredible!” he shouted.
“I feel like Mickey Mouse is giving me a reach around!”
“Right?” the commander said.
“What are we gonna do with it?” Agent Franks asked.
“That’s the thing,” the commander said. “I don’t know.”
After thinking for a minute, Agent Franks got an idea:
“Let’s give it to black people,” he said.
“Why would we do that?
Why should they get this miracle drug?”
“Just look at all they’ve been through…” Franks said.
For the next 3 hours and 27 minutes
Agent Franks recounted the country’s history of racial oppression.
“So, you see,” he said in closing. “They deserve this.”
Everyone in the room applauded.
In their hearts, they knew Agent Franks was right.
A few weeks later,
the first shipment of crack hit California.
Things did not go as planned.
Agent Franks was given a promotion.
Chuck Norris zipped up his dress and blotted his lipstick.
“Chuck Norris isn’t a drag queen,” he said to himself.
“He’s the Drag King.”
Child Star of Bethlehem
“Hey Jesus,” I said.
“Whatever happened to that stuff the three wise men gave you?”
“What?” Jesus asked.
“The gold, frankincense and myrrh…
What happened to it?”
“Oh,” Jesus said trying to act nonchalant.
“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
Then he frowned and looked sad.
That’s when I knew…
“Your parents took it didn’t they…”
“I have to go,” Jesus said.
Then he left the room.
I pulled out my notebook
and went to the page marked “Xmas List”
I wrote “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh” under “Jesus”
“I hope it’s not too cliche,” I thought.
Then I wrote down “New Sandals” just to be safe.
It’s good to get your Christmas shopping out of the way early.
Less stress around the holidays.
It was my birthday and all the boys bought me giant cake.
Suddenly a topless woman popped out.
“Cake Monster!” I yelled.
I punched her in the face.
It was then that I realized the cake was hollow inside.
“We’re too late,” I said. “She already ate all the cake.”
Zarlor the Lizard Man got home
and took off his Donald Rumsfeld mask.
His wife Cynthia peaked her head in from the kitchen and asked:
“Is it almost done? Have we enslaved the human race yet?”
Zarlor was frustrated.
“Not yet Cynthia… God, you know, I just got home.”
“Okay,” Cynthia said. “I just thought it’d be done by now.”
“Yeah. I know. I thought so, too,” the Lizard Man snapped.
“But this kind of thing takes time.
You wouldn’t believe the level of bureaucracy involved.
Cynthia paused for a minute. Then she asked:
“Do you want to refurbish the dwelling this weekend?”
“Oh for fuck’s sake Cynthia!” Zarlor shouted.
He stormed over to the bar and poured himself a drink.
“Well, you keep putting it off…”
The Lizard Man said nothing. He just drank faster.
Then he turned.
“I need some fresh air,” he said, whipping the door open.
“Zarlor!” Cynthia shouted.
The door slammed shut.
Zarlor got in his car and put it in reverse.
As he did, Zarlor Jr. ran from the house screaming.
“Daddy!” he shouted.
Zarlor hit the brakes and looked his son in the face.
Then he pulled out of the driveway and headed down the block.
“I’ll come back,” he thought to himself.
“I just need to take a drive and clear my head.”
Deep down he knew it was a lie. Zarlor just kept driving.
Baltimore – One year after a wanton gang of thugs and criminals ransacked the city of Baltimore, Maryland, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today unveiled a monument to the riot’s first casualty – the CVS located on the corner of North Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave.
“I hereby dedicate this monument to the CVS that stood so proudly in the face of lawlessness, and the unprovoked rage of a mob drunk on its own power,” the mayor declared in triumph.
The CVS, an enduring icon of perseverance and courage, never returned to business after being looted and set ablaze by marauding vandals.
“It’s hard to believe it’s not here, anymore,” said Burt Hamilton, a Baltimore resident currently living in Roland Park. “It’s such a senseless and tragic loss. How could this happen in 2015? Why and for what?”
Indeed, few remember what it was that spurred the godless horde on its path of carnage and destruction in the first place.
“It’s because they were angry about being poor, right?” asked one of the ceremony’s attendees. “Or did we win something? Was that the year the Ravens won the Super Bowl? I don’t know. They’re just animals, I guess.”
While the motive remains murky at best, nothing can replace the value the retailer provided to the community.
“Sadly, the CVS on North and Penn can never be replaced,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of the nation’s second-largest retail pharmacy chain, valued at $114 billion. “However, Baltimore residents can still enjoy access to the seven other CVS locations in the immediate vicinity.”
Also on hand at the unveiling was officer John J. Hunt, who stood courageously amid a contingent of 20 other officers holding riot shields to ward off any further onslaught.
“I just did what any other officer would have,” Hunt said accepting his Medal of Honor. “I’m sworn to protect and serve. Whether it’s a CVS or City Hall, it doesn’t matter. I’m part of that thin blue line standing between businesses and government property and those that would destroy it in some fruitless, symbolic act of frustration.”
Following the monument’s dedication, the mayor and chief of police led a procession through the surrounding area, stopping to lay wreaths on sites that once hosted a check-cashing store, a 7-11, and a deli.
If you have some time to kill, or just want to take a stroll down memory lane, head over to Atari.com and play some of the games.
They’re nothing special in the context of today’s entertainment, but it’s easy to see the appeal, especially to someone back in 1972.
Atari didn’t invent the home video game system, but it was certainly a pioneer. It brought a vivid imagination and programming innovation to a fledgling industry.
Yet, somehow, it doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves. Nintendo gets far more credit, even though it was really just standing on Atari’s shoulders.
I think that’s largely because of the video game crash of 1983. A collapse as spectacular as Atari’s tends to come with a loss of credibility.
Age could have something to do with it, too. My fondest gaming memories are Nintendo-based. I’m not sure if we even had an Atari when I was small. (We actually had an Intellivision.)
So the Atari 2600 is rather mythic to me. I’m familiar with the games, but I’ve never really played them.
As a result, I’ve never played E.T. – the video game, which has legendarily won the title of “Worst. Video Game. Ever.”
Though, that’s exactly the reputation “Atari: Game Over” seeks to confront.
Screenwriter and film-maker Zak Penn travels to Alamogordo, New Mexico in search of the fabled Atari El Dorado.
That is, legend has it, that dragged under by the abysmal failure of E.T. the video game, the dying company, with its last gasp, dumped millions of unsold cartridges in a landfill. They did this in secret, under the cover of night, like top-secret government agents burying a defunct nuclear warhead.
Penn isn’t the only one interested in such lore. He’s aided in his journey by Joe Lewandowski, a former employee at the Alamogordo dump, who has spent years investigating the alleged dump site and convincing the local government to let him excavate it.
I honestly don’t know. But whatever the reason, the Atari generation clearly felt strongly about this. Hundreds of Gen-Xers travelled out into the middle of nowhere, braving desert heat and a Dust Bowl-level sandstorm just to watch construction equipment dig up trash.
The catharsis of the event is most palpably felt by Howard Scott Warshaw, Atari’s ace engineer and the genius behind the E.T. game.
I’m not being sarcastic when I say genius, either. While many video game players panned E.T.’s playability, its formulation was a stunning technical achievement.
Bound by an absurd deadline, Warshaw was tasked with creating Atari’s flagship game in a matter of weeks. Even with modern technology video games take months, and even years, to design, code, craft and polish. Warshaw had just weeks.
It’s hard to blame Warshaw under those conditions. After all, he’s not the one that told Atari to spend a rumored $22 million for the rights to license Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie and then rush to get it out by Christmas.
Yet, that’s precisely what happened.
Howard Scott Warshaw, who was probably the greatest video game designer of the era, unquestionably a pioneer in the field, took the fall not just for game, but the collapse of Atari as a whole.
The poor bastard. He’s not even a game designer anymore. He’s a psychologist that works exclusively with other computer geeks in Silicon Valley.
How sadly fitting…
So for me, the emotional thrust of this movie wasn’t in the nostalgia it dredged up for games I played as a kid, it was Warshaw tearing up at the sight of his past literally being dug out of dump and laid before him.
But unlike the ignominious burial, this event was celebrated by the gaming community his art touched so deeply.
Indeed, sometimes, making the very worst of something is an achievement in its own right.
As such, every spring he chooses 24 tributes to participate in the first ever Drunk Hunger Games.
No, I’m afraid you don’t get to actually see it. Nor do I.
All we have is this Hunger Games simulator. It’s not ideal, but it at least offers a glimpse of how it’d all play out.
Two dozen tributes – entertainers, politicians, even historical figures – hand picked by yours truly to compete.
Who will live and who will die? Who will emerge victorious, the sole winner, drenched in the blood of their rivals?
Let’s look at the tributes and find out…
District 1: Kim & Kanye
They’ve got the privilege, but do they have the necessary grit and guile? No, probably not. But who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise us…
District 2: Donald Trump & Sarah Palin
What’s that loud, grating sound? Oh God… Maybe everyone else will just commit suicide…
District 3: Pit Bull & Madonna
There’s something to be said for persistence and these two just refuse to go away.
District 4: Tom Brady & Bill Belichick
They’re fierce competitors, and they usually find a way to win. It may not be ethical or even legal, but they find a way.
District 5: Vladimir Putin & Benjamin Netanyahu
One a former KGB agent, the other a former-member of the Israeli Special Forces. Will might make right?
District 6: Walter White & Frank Underwood
Two of television’s most feared and revered masterminds. A very capable pairing, indeed.
District 7: Bill Cosby & Spanish Fly
Nothing funny about these two. They’ll have the game won and be out the door before you even wake up.
District 8: Robert Durst & Jeffery Dahmer
Cold blooded murderers. Capable of anything.
District 9: Robin Hood & Lil Jon
Robin Hood disrupts the social order by flouting the upper class. He lives off the land, easily eludes authority, and is good with a bow. Remind you of anyone?
District 10: Sun Tzu & Confucius
Maybe the greatest military tactician in history paired with one of the world’s greatest philosophical minds. Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.
District 11: Darren Wilson & George Zimmerman
It’s easy to win when you’re the only one with a gun… That won’t be the case here.
District 12: A Shred of Decency & Darwin
I’m really pulling for these two. So far, they’ve failed to even slow any of these tributes down. This is their chance to make amends and re-establish order.
Let the games begin!
Bibi, Walter White, Frank Underwood, Bill Belichick, George Zimmerman, Lil Jon, Sarah Palin, Madonna, Jeff Dahmer, Confucius, Robert Durst, Kim K., Vlad, The Donald and Darwin – all run away from the Cornucopia.
To no one’s surprise, Spanish Fly finds a canteen full of “water.” Yeah, okay Spanish Fly.
However, a curveball comes when both Robin Hood and A Shred of Decency take sickles from the Cornucopia.
I really applaud Decency’s aggressive approach here. It’s long been the whipping boy of many of these tributes. It’s out for revenge.
Pit Bull grabs a first aid kit. SMART. People will be gunning for you, Pit Bull.
Also, an unlikely alliance forms, as Darren Wilson, Bill Cosby and Sun Tzu work together to get as many supplies as possible. I can’t see this bond lasting. I think it’s just a one-time thing.
There is only one death in the whole melee…
Tom Brady steps on a land mine. There is no referee to save him.
Obviously, I was hoping for more out of the “Bloodbath” Round, but whatever. It’s a wily group. We continue…
Things heat up as the day progresses.
Spanish Fly breaks the ice with the game’s first kill, “overpowering” Donald Trump. Nicely done Spanish Fly. That’s strong aggressive play, right there.
But that’s not all.
Robert Durst, the cold-blooded murderer that he is, wants to make a statement, too. He shoots an arrow at Kanye West, but misses, hitting Sarah Palin instead.
Just like that, District 2 is eliminated on the first day.
I can’t say I’m surprised by this. Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are loud and annoying as fuck. They’re also weak.
However, I was surprised by the early exit of one Walter White. Heisenberg may be a master cook, he’s no survivalist. He falls into a pit and dies.
Finally, another motley crew forms, as Bibi, The Coz, Pit Bull, Darren Wilson, and Human Decency hunt for other tributes.
In other news, Madonna and Jeffery Dahmer practice archery, while Robin Hood fishes. Vladimir Putin discovers a cave he can invade. George Zimmerman injures himself. And Kim Kardashian and Frank Underwood think about home.
At night, four cannons sound in the distance, as the tributes consider the respective fates of Tom Brady, Walter White, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump.
Night 1 falls and District 11 can’t get out of its own way.
As George Zimmerman spends the night tending to his wounds, Darren Wilson unknowingly eats toxic berries and dies.
He is the only death as Bill Belichick gets an inexplicable reprieve from Madonna.
The rest of the tributes break into groups, sleeping in shifts, and huddling together to keep warm.
Violence is relatively subdued on Day 2.
The only death comes when Sun Tzu begs Robert Durst to kill him. Durst reluctantly obliges.
Darwin gets fruit from a tree, while an unknown sponsor sends food to Vladimir Putin.
Kanye and The Coz injure themselves, while Kim, Frank Underwood, Pit Bull, and Bibi flee danger through the use of deception.
The day’s big event comes when Madonna, Decency, Coach Bill and Spanish Fly raid George Zimmerman’s camp, while he’s gone. Good. Fuck him, I say.
Robin Hood, who to this point has only gone fishing, picks flowers. His confidence is legendary. So, too, is his ability to live off the land and dodge the law. He’s going to be tough to take down.
Night falls and the cannons sound for Darren Wilson and Sun Tzu.
Later that night Spanish Fly claims its second victim, severely injuring Confucius before putting him out of his misery. That puts an end to District 10, Chinatown.
Madonna and Darwin kill Lil Jon, while Robin Hood (the other half of District 9) quietly hums.
Again, Robin Hood is known to be a little cocky, but I really hope he starts to take this more seriously. Get your head in the game, man.
George Zimmerman is once again snake bitten, as Bill Cosby destroys his supplies.
Pit Bull suffers night terrors.
Day 3 is relatively uneventful.
Camps established by Madonna and Common Decency get raided.
Frank Underwood explores, while Bill Cosby seeks out higher ground.
Blood thirsty Robert Durst hunts for more tributes.
After three days, we’ve lost only seven tributes. Robert Durst and Spanish Fly lead the kill count with two lives a piece.
[Note: There’s an error on this graphic, Lil Jon is deceased.]
More blood is spilled on the third night of the Hunger Games.
First, Vladimir Putin shoots an arrow directly into Jeffery Dahmer’s head.
Then, Kanye West attempts to climb a tree, but falls to his death.
A grieving Kim runs into Bill Belichick, but he lets her be. Belichick is clearly playing defense with Tom Brady no longer on his team.
Pit Bull looks at the night sky. In the distance, he hears George Zimmerman scream for help. But no one comes.
Little happens on Day 4. But there is one death.
Frank Underwood, Robert Durst, Spanish Fly, Pit Bull and Bill Belichick track down and kill Madonna.
It takes all five them to subdue the beast. The old broad certainly put up a fight.
The night brings more death with it…
Benjamin Netanyahu finally makes good on his tough talk, stabbing Robert Durst with a tree branch. It’s a grizzly end for The Jinx, who was living up to his lethal reputation.
Kim, distraught over Kanye’s passing, and Spanish Fly, overcome with the guilt of its misdeeds, join in a double suicide.
In a rare act of kindness, Vladimir Putin lets Darwin into his shelter.
Robin Hood stays awake all night. Frank Underwood sleeps like a baby. And Bill Cosby quietly hums. Curious. What will he do without his beloved Spanish Fly?
Day 5 is a bloodbath.
Pit Bull and Darwin team up to take out Robin Hood.
George Zimmerman, who couldn’t handle a 16 year old in a fist fight, somehow overpowers Vladimir Putin and kills him.
And Bill Cosby bashes Bill Belichick’s head with a rock.
Cosby is clearly pissed about losing Spanish Fly. I’m afraid for the rest of this field.
Suddenly, we’re down to just seven tributes:
Pit Bull, Benjamin Netanyahu, Frank Underwood, Bill Cosby, George Zimmerman, Shred of Decency, and Darwin. The latter of which is our only complete team remaining, District 12.
I felt like D12 were clear underdogs at the outset. I saw Donald Trump strangling the Shred of Decency and Sarah Palin shooting Darwin from a helicopter.
Instead, they’ve been a pleasant surprise.
Another surprise has been Pit Bull. I thought he’d be among the first to go. Yet, not only has he survived, he’s racked up two kills – instrumental in the deaths of both Madonna and Robin Hood.
Darwin has two kills, as well. Prior to partnering with Pit Bull to eliminate Robin Hood, he helped Madonna kill Lil Jon. Clearly, he had some kind of beef with District 9, the Fo’ Richer or Fo’ Poorer crew.
Zimmerman is just slimy. I’m not surprised he’s still alive, but I can’t believe he took out the ex-KGB agent Putin.
George Zimmerman spends the night alone, while Pit Bull, Decency, Bibi, The Coz, and Frank Underwood track down and murder Darwin.
As with Madonna, it takes a village to get the job done. I have no idea why A Shred of Decency would conspire to kill his own teammate. I suppose there can be only one winner.
I guess they all felt Darwin was their biggest threat.
Some parting words…
Day six starts slow…
Bibi and The Coz team up to hunt other tributes, but they come up empty-handed.
Then it finally happens…
George Zimmerman once again proves himself a detriment to humanity.
Aside from maybe Frank Underwood, there’s no one left to root for…
RIP District 12.
Ugh. It’s getting ugly. Here I am reeling from the sudden disappearance of District 12…
And Frank Underwood goes down.
It’s Netanyahu with a spear to the stomach.
Sorry Kevin Spacey.
Pitbull spends the night alone, while Cosby and George Zimmerman huddle for warmth.
George Zimmerman will not win the Hunger Games.
Pit Bull does the world a favor and strangles him.
Meanwhile, Cosby has Netanyahu on the ropes, but let’s him go.
I gotta think he’ll come to regret that decision.
It was all a ruse!
Amidst the darkness, Cosby pulls a page out of Bibi’s own playbook and stabs him with a tree branch.
Pit Bull can smell the victory. I’m pulling for him, but I wouldn’t sleep on Cosby. (Literally.)
It all comes to an end…
“Pit Bull is unable to convince Bill Cosby to not kill him.”
What? Did Pit Bull honestly try to engage Bill Cosby in some kind of diplomacy? Or was he just begging for his life?
It’s no matter. Cosby is the victor.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming. Bill Cosby has nine lives. Any man that can survive literally 10,000 rape allegations obviously has enough Teflon to slide through the Hunger Games.
He knows when to lay low, when to attack, and when to slip into the shadows.
The final placements….
I’m surprised Walter White didn’t do better. With his MacGyver-like brain for innovation and his comfort with making ethical compromises, I thought he was a shoo-in for the Final Four.
Ditto for Sun Tzu, who went out like a punk.
Vladimir Putin had a respectable finish, but I’m amazed he didn’t come away with more kills. I think that’s largely to blame on the high number of suicides and self-deaths we witnessed.
Conversely, I didn’t expect A Shred of Decency or Darwin to last long in this group, but they put in a respectable effort.
Finally, I greatly underestimated Pit Bull. I threw him in there as a patsy, thinking he’d be fodder for Vladimir Putin or Heisenberg, but he really showed me something. I was definitely rooting for him at the end.
Alas, it was the Great and Powerful Coz that proved to be too much for this field. Together, he and Spanish Fly had seven kills, making them the most prolific killers by far.
I walked into Donald Trump’s office,
and found him shaving a red-assed baboon.
He was bald and oily, and he looked startled.
The Donald, I mean. Not the baboon.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he said.
“That I’m shaving this baboon,
and that I’m going to use its hair as a toupee.”
I frowned and nodded my head ‘yes’.
“Well, that’s not it,” he said.
“I’m shaving this baboon to have sex with it.”
“Oh,” I said. “I guess I’ll leave you two alone then.”
“No,” Donald Trump said. “Stay.”
I stood there for another 47 seconds.
We made silent eye contact the whole time.
It was awkward.
I came back a few hours later
to deliver the bankruptcy papers.
As I came through the lobby
I saw the red-assed baboon leaving.
He was wearing a trenchcoat and sunglasses.
He looked ashamed.
I don’t think the money was worth it.
(Pictured: A red-assed baboon. Though not necessarily the red-assed baboon I saw Donald Trump have sex with.)
Kanye West won the award for Best Celebrity.
He walked up to the microphone and said:
“First, I’d like to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
through who all things are possible.”
I looked over at Jesus angrily.
He kept his eyes on the TV, refusing to acknowledge my glare.
I was about to say something like “Way to go” or “Nice one, Jesus.”
But then Kanye said:
“Psyche. This is all about me tonight. Me and Beyonce.”
Jesus breathed a sigh of relief.
Next up was a tribute to flood victims
who died in the Great Asian Tsunami.
Jesus got up to get more popcorn.
I didn’t say anything.
The 4th of July
The 4th of July fireworks were beautiful.
They really took the edge off the sacrifices that would come next.
“Don’t worry,” my mother whispered in my ear.
“They’re not like us. They’re just ants.”
It was hard to think of it that way, but I got used to it.
After all, the Antpeople had landed five years ago,
and they sacrifice humans everyday.
(Pictured: Antpeople- Left: Shaman, Right: Garth)
“We have nothing to fear, but fear itself… How’s that?” FDR asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m afraid of clowns.”
FDR looked angry.
“I’m just saying, I’m not afraid of being scared.” I said.
“I’m afraid of clowns. Clowns and polio.”
Now FDR was really angry.
“Look, write what you want,” I said. “I’m going bowling.”
I bowled a 230. It was pretty cool.
The Wal-Mart clerk handed me the gun from behind the counter.
“Are you sure you should be selling these?” I asked.
“All the people in here look like suicide risks.”
The clerk thought for a minute and said:
“Yeah. But they’re the type that kill themselves slowly…
With Twizzlers, Coca-Cola, and poor life decisions.”
It was a fair point, I thought.
I took the gun and started aiming it.
“So what are you planning on doing with that gun?” he asked.
“Me?” I said. “I hunt people for sport.”
We both laughed.
“Seriously, though… Lock the doors.” I said.
The Bag Trap
“I’d sell my soul for a doughnut right now,” Greg said.
“Try something else! Think big!” I shouted.
“A doughnut? What are you Homer Simpson? Sell it!”
Greg took a minute and tried again.
“I’m just sooooo poor,” he moaned. “I’d do anything for money…
Even sell my soul…”
Suddenly the room filled with smoke
and The Devil appeared.
“Rrrrreeealllyyy?” he hissed.
“Now Jesus! Now!” I yelled.
Jesus jumped from behind the couch
and sprang at Satan with the bag.
But it was too late.
He was gone with a poof.
“Damn. Don’t worry Jesus.
We’ll get him next time.” I said.
Justice Is Served
When we entered the juror room,
half of us thought the defendant was innocent.
The other six thought he was guilty.
We argued until we got hungry.
When it came time to get food, half us wanted pizza.
The other six wanted Chinese food.
“I’ve got a compromise,” I said.
“If you six agree to get pizza,
then we’ll agree the defendant is guilty.”
In the end we got pizza.
And I was the best jury foreman ever.
(Pictured: Pizza with a Side of Justice)
The Deer Hunter
I was hunting a deer with the new gun I’d bought at Wal-Mart.
I was about to shoot it when it shouted “Stop!”
I was like: “Whoa! Deer, did you just talk?”
It was all: “Yeah. Don’t shoot me, okay?”
I asked why not. After all, I’d come that far.
The deer answered with a question of its own:
“Why do you want to shoot me?”
“Gotta shoot something,” I said.
“Are you going to eat me?” it asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” I said.
“Am I really that delicious?”
“Well, I mean, not as delicious as cow, or chicken,” I said.
Then we both yelled in unison:
“Then why don’t you go kill a cow or chicken?!”
(I knew I’d walked right into that one.)
“Because that’s too easy,” I said “Cows and chickens don’t run.
They’re too slow and duh-.”
I was cut off by the sound of a double-barrel shotgun being cocked.
“Don’t fucking move,” a voice said from behind me.
I looked at the deer grinning.
“Who’s slow and dumb now?” he asked.
He took my gun and then tied me naked to a tree.
I just had to stand there and watch
as the cow, chicken and deer left with my stuff.
“At least we’re not gonna eat you,”
the cow said as they walked away.
“Boc-Boc- Bah- Bah-Bitch!” the chicken said.
When I talk to people about writing I usually tell them that I can write anything… except poetry.
I just never developed a knack for it. To this day, I don’t understand what an iamb is. And I’ve looked it up at least a half-dozen times. I don’t know what meter is. I don’t understand it, and I get frustrated thinking about it.
Given this ineptitude, I’ve avoided poetry for most of my life.
But no more.
Rather than running, I’ve declared war on the form, with this newest Drunk & Humble Feature: Bad Poetry.
Jesus Rides Behind Me
I was riding my motorcycle through the Nevada desert,
By Area 51.
When I saw Jesus on the side of the road.
I wasn’t looking for him, like so many people are.
He was just there, standing in the dust and the sun.
“Jesus Christ!” I shouted, in disbelief.
Jesus smiled sheepishly and waved.
You’re not supposed to yell out the names of famous people when you meet them.
I felt embarrassed and started to drive on.
Then I turned back.
“Hey, Jesus,” I said. “Do you want to join my motorcycle gang?”
He held his hands up and shook his head.
“C’mon. It’ll be fun,” I said.
Jesus looked down.
I could tell he was uncomfortable.
After a pause I said: “You don’t know how to ride do you?”
I smiled a little so he knew I wasn’t judging him.
He smiled a little too.
He knew he’d been busted.
“Here,” I said, tossing him my helmet.
“Climb on back.”
Jesus looked up at me, still smiling, and put my helmet on.
He got on back of my bike and we rode off.
Jesus had his arms around my waist.
It was a glorious day.
The Oracle emerges every February 2.
He blesses us with an early spring or curses us with more winter.
Our prayers and offerings weren’t enough this year, and the little bastard cursed us.
He crawled from his hole, stroked his beard thrice and said:
“You will spend another six weeks shivering in winter’s cold, unforgiving shadow.”
Then his eyes glowed white and he went back inside.
One woman screamed and killed herself on the spot.
It’s an ugly affair, Groundhog’s Day.
But without it, there’d be no order.
I was walking through Monument Park.
Sometimes I go there to read.
By one of the benches, there was a mime and a clown.
The mime was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on a saw.
It made me uneasy.
One phrase just kept repeating in my head: “Fuckin’ weird.”
I walked past them and found a separate bench.
A few minutes later, they came by.
They were throwing a ball to people who would throw it back.
I couldn’t concentrate on my reading.
I just kept praying they wouldn’t engage me.
Thankfully they didn’t.
Eventually, I walked away chuckling to myself.
Again thinking “Fucking weird.” over and over again.
Who wants to be a mime? Why are people clowns?
Did they meet as a mime and a clown?
Or did they make that choice together?
The Pope Goes Nuclear
Jesus and I sat in the fallout shelter eating cans of peaches.
It’d been three years since the pope declared thermo-nuclear war.
I could hear the mutants roaming above.
“Maybe you could talk to him,” I said.
Jesus finished chewing his peaches, swallowed, and said:
“Funny thing is, I don’t really know the guy.”
“Oh,” I said. “Well maybe your dad then?”
“Mmmm,” Jesus said grimacing. “We’re not really on speaking terms.”
“Oh,” I said.
I was out of ideas.
“Yeah, to be honest, He abandoned you guys a few thousand years ago.
Just gave up, and walked away.
He’s got a new planet now. That’s why you guys had, like, Hitler and AIDs and stuff.”
“Oh,” I said. “Well, I’m gonna give it another hour.
Then I’m gonna go womp those mutants with this crowbar.”
The Break Up
I was lying in bed next to a girl I’d been dating.
We’d just had sex.
I farted really loudly.
It shook the bed.
My cat laughed.
I laughed, too.
“Like it or lump it,” I said to the girl.
Then she farted really loudly.
“Ew. Gross.” I said. “That’s not funny.”
We broke up.
In the Army
Of all the officers in the Army,
Sergeant Jazzhands was the toughest.
“It’s almost like he’s compensating for something,”
one private said to me.
“Yeah,” I said. “I bet he has a small penis.”
The parking lot was crowded, but I’d found a space.
I was just about to pull into it,
when another man with a truck cut me off.
He took my space.
I got out to confront him and a heated argument ensued.
Then, out of nowhere, aliens landed about 10 feet away.
I felt so small.
Here I was in a country with racism, inequality, and The Bachelor.
In a world full of famine, war, and suffering.
In a universe so vast, aliens with foreign technology travel billions of miles to investigate a distant planet,
Just to find me arguing with some asshole over a parking space.
As I was paralyzed by this moment of clarity, the alien emerged from its ship.
“I come in peace,” it said.
I looked at the man I’d been arguing with.
We both kind of laughed.
And then I shot him.
It was my parking space.
I handed the gun to the alien before the police showed up.
That’s how I started the war with the aliens.
What’s it about? People grappling with varying forms of corruption in China.
Who’s in it? Wu Jiang, Baoqiang Wang, Tao Zhao
You’ll like it if… you can handle subtitles and moderate violence. If you’re curious about China. And if you like good movies.
China has always been a mysterious country. Whether it’s behind a great wall, within the confines of a forbidden palace, or cloaked in the shroud of bureaucracy, China’s inner-workings are always obscured from view.
Centuries of invasion and exploitation have left the country notoriously distrustful of outsiders. China is decidedly introverted – a characteristic that’s been exacerbated by its autocratic leadership.
So it’s fascinating, and in a sense comforting, to see the kind of vulnerability laid bare by A Touch of Sin.
The movie’s brooding atmosphere, violent and sexual overtones, and critical view of public policy got it banned on the Mainland.
But its rich characters, robust storylines, and forceful direction got it nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival,with director Jia Zhangke winning the award for Best Screenplay. (Both the movie and Jia could have won an Oscar, too, but it wasn’t eligible since China banned its official release.)
I didn’t know it before I saw this movie, but Jia is a big deal.
Another one of his films, Still Life, won the top award at the Venice Film Festival. He’s a subversive force China, a country that takes its censorship very seriously.
Rather than present an idealized version of China that Beijing wants people to see, Jia focuses on a more authentic depiction of life in the world’s fastest developing economy – specifically the alienation and disorientation felt by so many Chinese people.
A Touch of Sin divides its focus among four main characters, all of which are driven to violent acts, and in some cases, ends. They’re mini-tragedies that play out against the grim backdrop of a rapidly industrializing nation. (All of them are based on real-life incidents.)
At a small coal-mining village in Shanxi, the air is rife with both soot and corruption. Government officials operate on a plane separate from the local workers. They fly high in private jets, soaring over motorcycle taxis and train wrecks.
In Dongguan, wealthy businessmen choose from a buffet of high-priced prostitutes, while factory workers down the road churn out cheap clothes and iPhones.
In each case, the gears of cold, mechanical progress grind on, lubricated by human blood.
It may not sound like there’s much in common with the U.S. experience, but in truth, the stories are eerily familiar. If it were cast with white, English-speaking actors, it would be easy to picture these stories unfolding in the United States or Europe, as opposed to China – a country that is considered an ascending power that will inevitably challenge Western hegemony.
At its core, this movie is about a country whose social and political structures struggle to keep pace with the evolving desires of its people. It’s about a population of farmers-turned-factory workers-turned consumers. It’s about people overwhelmed by the stress, indulgences, extravagance, disparity, and violence that money can bring.
It’s about the high human cost of wealth.
These stories play out so graphically, with such humanity and vulnerability, that by the end, China doesn’t seem so mysterious at all.
It’s a struggle that dates back to the Plebeians and Patricians of Ancient Rome. It was personified by the populist crusade of Robin Hood in the Middle Ages. And it was settled quite violently during the French Revolution of the Enlightenment, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and all the strikes and skirmishes in between.
It endures to this day, obviously, with the 1% vs. the 99%.
So it’s no surprise that a such a timeless conflict has its ballads.
Honestly, there are so many songs about the subject, the ones I list below are chosen practically at random.
And yet, it’s all so terribly one sided. Every single song written on the subject seems to come from the side of the poor/working class.
I couldn’t find any songs about suppressing wages, circumventing the tax code, or buying a vacation home.
I’m not going to speculate as to why. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
In any case, here is a small sampling of what’s out there…
16 Tons – Merle Travis
When I was a kid, we used to sing this song in music class. It’s kind of a weird thing for a bunch of kids to be singing in school, when you think about it. But I remember wondering back then what exactly the “company store” was.
Well, now I know that these were basically just stores that sold food and other daily necessities. However, they were owned by the company that employed you.
Not only that, most of the low wage workers rented rooms, beds and sheets from their employer as well, effectively sending their entire paycheck right back where it came from.
Eventually, this gave rise to the company town – entire towns owned and operated by a private company.
The most famous of those was Pullman, Chicago, which was owned and operated by the Pullman train car company in the 1880s. This ultimately ended in disaster.
The economic panic of 1893 crushed Pullman’s business. The company slashed wages, but kept prices in its company stores, as well as the rents on its houses. The result was one of the largest strikes in U.S. history – the nationwide railroad strike of 1894.
Some 250,000 workers boycotted Pullman, riots caused $80 million in damages and 30 people were killed before the government stepped in.
It’s easy to forget that people died striking for things like fair wages and an eight-hour work day. But it happened.
The roots of class warfare run deep in America.
Kill the Poor – The Dead Kennedys
They say punk is dead, and in a sense, it is.
But the dream lives on.
Never before, or since, has musical rebellion been so direct, so hostile, so abrasive.
As a movement, punk rock was a direct assault on contemporary values – one that eschewed capitalism in favor of a lawless anarchy.
It raises the stakes far above the battle for decent wages and a respectable living to a fight for our very souls.
It’s not just about capitalism now, it’s about materialism. To a punk, the working man is stuck on a treadmill – a circular pursuit of material excess meant to keep us all in line.
He is governed by unjust hypocrites. Social orders are established not for the public good, but to protect and expand the interests of the elite.
Hence the lament of Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys whose morbid, hyperbolic satire set the standard for punk rock class warfare.
In “Kill the Poor,” Biafra sings of a world in which the wealthy finally exterminate the poor using a nuclear bomb…
“The sun beams down on a brand new day
No more welfare tax to pay
Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light
Jobless millions whisked away
At last we have more room to play
All systems go to kill the poor tonight…”
You almost wonder why rich people don’t do it – just eliminate all the “takers,” “thugs,” “punks,” and “welfare queens” in one fell swoop…
Maybe because if they did, there’d be no one to pick the crops, scrub the toilets, and clean the dishes.
Thatcher Fucked the Kids – Frank Turner
At the height of the 1980s U.S. punk movement, Ronald Reagan was the living embodiment capitalist excess, cronyism and inequity. As such, he was and a frequent target of the U.S. hardcore punk movement.
So too was his British counterpart, Margaret Thatcher.
In fact, you could make the case that Thatcher was even more loathed.
This woman was so hated that when she died in 2013, “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” topped the UK iTunes chart for online downloads. (Punk song “I am in Love With Margaret Thatcher” got the number six spot.)
In his song “Tramp Down the Dirt,” Elvis Costello – who I always thought of as a mild-mannered guy – tells Thatcher: “There’s one thing I know I’d like to live long enough to savor. That’s the day when they finally put you in the ground. I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.”
Where does all of this animosity come from?
Well, as with President Reagan in the U.S., there was a push towards privatization and away from government services. Public housing was sold off. The social safety net was scaled back. And the tax burden was shifted from the rich to the poor and middle class.
All of this created a situation whereby the late 1980s a small portion of U.K. was enjoying a boom, while the rest was suffering.
And so a lot of British people hate Margaret Thatcher.
That includes Frank Turner, a musician whose song “Thatcher Fucked the Kids” falls into the small “fuzz folk” or “folk punk” niche. It carries the same angry punk ethos but shifts the focus from ripping guitar chords to melodic arcs and lyrical story-telling.
It’s a satisfying melding. Sometimes, punk can be too grating and folk too boring. So you mash the two together and there’s a nice middle ground.
Changes – Tupac Shakur
It goes without saying Tupac died too soon.
But in addition to that obvious tragedy, one of the things I find so unfortunate about Tupac’s career was that the content of his music shifted from social plight to self-aggrandizement and childish feuds.
He went from rapping about police brutality, drug addiction, single mothers, sexism, and life growing up in a poor community, to rapping about drinking Alize, fucking groupies, and killing his enemies.
It was a huge waste of a mind, and a voice, that could be so profound, so incisive, and so transformative.
The song ‘Changes’ is kind of obvious or cliché, but it’s also Tupac at his best. You can see how many of the thoughts he posits remain relevant 20 years later…
“Cops give a damn about a negro,
Pull a trigger kill a nigger, he’s a hero…”
“We ain’t ready to see a black president…”
“There’s war on the streets and war in the Middle East
Instead of a war on poverty,
They got a war on drugs so the police can bother me…”
So it’s really no surprise that when he wasn’t smoking weed and downing thug passion at a club, Tupac managed to build a movement, what he called “Thug Life.”
People hear that phrase and think it’s just gangsta slang, but it wasn’t. Thug Life was a call for change. It was a philosophy that recognized of the failings our socioeconomic system, but also advocated for improvement from within.
On the one hand, Tupac never blamed anyone for doing something illegal or outside the system to survive or get ahead. If you need to sell crack to feed yourself or your family, then you need to sell crack.
That’s just the way it is.
But on the other hand, if you’re just an absentee father, running the streets and shirking your responsibilities… Well, that’s a problem, too.
I look at where so many 90s rappers ended up. Dr. Dre is hawking Beats. Ice Cube is doing family-friendly movies. Snoop Lion is doing whatever the hell he’s doing. I wonder what Tupac would be doing if he were alive today.
Would he be out there selling 2pac brand liqueur? Or would he be saying some real shit?
I wish he were still around, and that more wisdom and maturity would have come with age. I wish he would have turned away from all the trouble that money, guns, and hos bring, and instead focused on the social plight he opined on with such sincere poetry.
I wish he refined the Thug Life message and reached his full potential as a powerful voice in American society.
On one level, Tupac’s death is the same tragedy we see every day – the tragedy of another young black male lost to gang violence.
But it’s also the tragedy of a man who was strong enough to survive five gunshot wounds, but weak enough to succumb to the material excess wrought by his creative talent and entrepreneurial success.
It’s the tragedy of a visionary artist, a genius, whose mind couldn’t navigate the booby traps inherent in our society to fully exploit the opportunity that abounds.
What’s it about? A rich kid finds out the super-city his father presides over owes its existence to the exploitation of an underclass of workers. Trouble ensues when a mad scientist sends a robot woman to lead a rebellion.
Who’s in it? The pertinent figure here is three-time Academy Award-winning composer Giorgio Moroder. It’s he who spent three years restoring this German film, a large portion of which was lost. It also features music from such 80s luminaries as Pat Benatar, Billy Squier, Freddie Mercury, Bonnie Tyler, and Adam Ant.
You’ll like it if… You’ve been waiting for someone to mash H.G. Wells’s Time Machine up with George Orwell’s 1984 and lay a rad 80s soundtrack over it.
Time. This movie is all about time – the past, present, and future.
It was originally made in 1926, it’s set in the year 2026, and it was updated and restored in 1984.
That’s right. This is a silent film set to a modern soundtrack (modern in the 80s that is).
So how does that translate exactly?
One way I’d describe it is to say it’s a lot like watching the Wizard of Oz while playing Dark Side of the Moon.
Old-timey visuals – visuals whose ambition and imagination far exceeded the technical capabilities of their day – are mashed up with a modern soundtrack that is far more appropriate to the content than it has any right to be.
Another way to describe it would be as a rock opera of sorts, along the lines of The Who’s Tommy, or Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Basically it’s like a 1980s music video that transcended its purpose as a promotional tool to establish itself as art its own right. (They were a rarity but they existed.)
However, that has far more to do with the movie itself, rather than the score. After watching this version of Metropolis I looked the original up on Youtube.
The original score lends the film far more gravitas. That is, it’s tempting to call Giorgio Moroder’s Metropolis campy, but I think that goes a bit too far.
Suffice to say, there are a few parts where the music doesn’t quite fit the film’s aesthetic. Still, I found such disconnects more amusing than distracting.
It’s also more entertaining. No doubt, the original Metropolis is a masterpiece. But it’s also nearly a century old, so it’s a bit of an adjustment for the modern viewer. If the modern score is campy, the original is tedious and archaic.
The music notwithstanding, the acting, though silent, is remarkable and the story is timeless.
It’s a good movie.
So if you’re in the mood for something different, give it a shot. You have to be open-minded though… or high.
The AV Club runs a feature called HateSong, in which (quasi-) celebrities talk about why they hate a certain song.
It’s good feature. You can actually feel the burden of torment lifting from these people’s shoulders as they rail against the instrument of their torture.
I yearn, desperately, to share in their collective catharsis.
Many worthy songs have been chosen… but one has not.
Somehow, none of the subjects interviewed by the AV Club have hated on the song that’s tortured me (and all of us really) for more than a decade.
Well, that changes right now.
Today, I usurp the AV Club’s feature and tell the world why “Kryptonite,” by 3 Doors Down, is the worst song ever made.
I’ll get to that in a minute but first off, just look at the assholes in that picture up top.
I mean really LOOK at them.
Gaze upon their faux-hawks, their chain wallets, and their thrift-store chic. Look deep into their dead-eye gazes and tell me if you see anything resembling a soul.
That one guy is wearing not one, but two cross necklaces. He’s like fundamentalist version of Mr. T.
This is the band “3 Doors Down.” And yes, that’s 3 Doors Down, not Three Doors Down, even though EVERYONE in the universe knows we spell out numbers under 10.
And guess what, I looked up how they came up with that dud of a band name on Wikipedia:
“When the three men were walking through the town, they saw a building where some letters had fallen off its sign, and it read ‘Doors Down.’ Since at the time they consisted of three people, they added the ‘3’ to create 3 Doors Down.’”
Amazing. You can name your band anything. You can pull words out of a hat.
You could call your band: Slippery Onion, the Hospital Bombers, the Jolly Green Giants, the Doormen, Midgets Ride at Sunset, Peabrain and the Mulefuckers… Literally anything.
But these jags put maximum effort in exerting no effort whatsoever. There couldn’t possibly be a less inspired way to name your band. They might as well have gone with “Guitar. Bass. Drums.”
So right from the outset, these guys are an uninspired farce.
But then there’s this dickpunch of a song…
As many of you no doubt remember, Kryptonite came out in January 2000, which is fitting, because it put an exclaimation point on the greatest period of regression in the history of music.
Indeed, the decade of the 90s began with innovative and awesome bands like R.E.M. and Guns N’ Roses, passing the baton to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. At the same time, hip-hop truly evolved with Run DMC and the Beastie Boys giving way to 2Pac, Biggie, and NWA.
Yet, somehow we closed out the decade with rap acts like Puff Daddy and Sisquo on the one hand and “rock” bands Nickleback and Creed on the other.
And so in 2000, we’re left with this shit-ass band, 3 Doors Down, which is really just a generic, souless, cacaphonic fuckwagon.
This band is the equivalent of this…
It’s a hydrogenated mush that offends your palette with its banality. It tastes so much like cardboard that it tastes like shit.
And it’s emblematic of everything that went wrong with music in the 90s. We went from anti-corp grunge and indie rock – bands who idolized the DIY, hardcore punk bands of the 80s – to an inauthentic, commercialized derivative.
And Kryptonite is the end product. It’s an imitation of an imitation.
It’s not even a motel painting; it’s the painting of a motel painting, of a motel painting.
And this unforgivable piece of shit has followed me around for a decade and a half. It hit No. 3 on the the billboard Top 100 chart. The album sold 6 million copies. It was No. 1 on the Modern Rock chart for 11 weeks. That’s three months, an entire summer!
This thing was played ad nauseum, and each time it killed a tiny little part of me. It’s a succubous, a leech that feeds off the cringes of its hapless listeners.
And sadly, for that reason, it will be immortal.
At some point in their lives, my kids will hear this song. It will play in the background of a movie about the 90s. They proabably won’t even notice. Only I will notice, and no matter how quietly it plays it will reach a level of unspeakable loudness in my head. I will get a headache from it.
That shitty guitar riff will kick up and this human tampon of a singer will call out his hellish refrain:
“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman…”
The song’s lyrics don’t even makes sense; they’re completely contradictory to one another.
Look them up for yourself, because I’m not going to reprint them here. They should never be reprinted anywhere… at all… ever. They should be abolished and forgotten like some ancient druid chant that summons the dead.
Fuck this stupid ass song. And fuck 3 Doors Down.
Note: If there’s a song that gnaws at your soul the way this one chews on mine, by all means write me an e-mail about it and I will post it. (Or if you’re too lazy, just tell me what song it is, and if I hate it too, I’ll shit on it for you.)