Tag Archives: Humor

Big Brother Is Watching You Pee

Last night Fresh Hell and I descended into the Cellar in Cambridge for some tasty grub and satisfying brew. We had ourselves a delightful repast and then decided to then head over to the Plough and Stars. Before leaving the Cellar, however, I needed to visit the loo. There I learned this:

Big Brother Is Watching You Pee

Great. Not only can Big Brother see into my living room, but now he’s also watching me pee. Looks like Killroy is too. Perverts.

I think this little addition is best sung to the tune of the Who’s Christmas song in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original version, not that Jim Carey abomination):

Shut Up Doris

After yucking it up over the grafiti, Fresh and I wandered over to the Plough and Stars, where we enjoyed the sounds of the Cranktones. The best part is that today, I’m no worse for the wear.

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

This morning I awoke to the sweet clang of the recycling truck. Today is Friday! I am so happy! I thought, singing my old Friday Song in my sleepy head. Or, I sang until I remembered that I had once again forgotten to take the recycling out. Then I started reciting “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out,” and envisioned waste overflowing the confines of my apartment and spilling onto the street below:

At last the garbage reached so high
That it finally touched the sky.
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come out to play.
And finally Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout said,
“OK, I’ll take the garbage out!”
But then, of course, it was to late…

— Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends

Hrmph. Happy Friday indeed. Anyway, I thought today might be a good day to resurrect the Sassy Sundries, my occasional weekly roundup of things personal, political, and nonsensical. In a blatant ripoff of the Bean Counter in the Weekly Dig, I assign points to each item and then tally them up to reveal just how my week went.

Here are the week’s Sassy Sundries:

The unemployment figures for February came out today. I am in good company—651,000 of us lost jobs last month. While personally, unemployment has treated me well, our economy has officially landed in Hell in our handbasket. Minus 651,000

Rush Limbaugh, the ignorant hypocritical prick, misquotes the Constitution he accused President Obama of bastardizing. At the beginning of his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, he bellowed, “We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty. Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness.” In so speaking, he bastardized the Declaration of Independence. By making Rush the de facto leader of the Republican Party, the conservatives have given us an even bigger present than Sarah Palin. Minus Five for Rush, Plus Two for the future of the Democrats.

The International Criminal Court indicted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes. The government there then retaliated by ordering the expulsion of all aid workers. It’s unknown how the Court intends to follow through with the indictment, but right now many people are suffering. An old friend of mine is working there. Not Sure How to Rank

Earlier this week I met Date’s best friends. It went well. Tonight I meet more of his friends at a party. Plus Five

I never thought I’d hear Karl Kassel, of NPR fame, put his gravitas behind the news that a foot of snow fell in New Hampshire. Unless, of course, it happened in August. Less than a foot fell here, and you’d think that the flakes ushered in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from all the national attention they received. Minus Two

This week marked fifty years of Barbie. For fifty years, girls have learned that their bodies would never be good enough. Oh, and how to make her get it on with Ken. One of these days, Barbie! Poof! Those boobs are going to sink to your knees. Minus Two

President Obama holds a healthcare summit yesterday to begin to address one of the issues that has gotten us into this catastrophe. Ted Kennedy (now an honorary knight) was able to make an appearance. I’m not sure if Obama will be able to pull off what others have tried and failed to achieve, but I am hopeful. Hope counts for something. Plus Two

Total Plus: 9
Total Minus: 651,009

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: -651,000

No Bad Feelings or Regrets . . .

Psycho Kids

Alpiner Kuntsverlag Hans Huber, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Nothing warms the cockles of my heart so much as finding a kitschy treasure. I scour flea markets and bazaars for little pieces of tacky delight, and sometimes I find gold. One of my prized possessions is this postcard, sent in 1965 from the Netherlands to a certain Marty Shulman of the Bronx.

I bought the postcard for the sweet, drunken young blonde things in their Alpine splendor, but when I got home, I flipped the card over and realized that the true gem was the message from Joan and Martin to their friend Marty.

Psycho Kiddies Postcard Back

It reads as follows:

7/3/65

Dear Marty,

We are having a good time getting drunk every night on wine so that we can hardly get back to the pensione. However, there are no bad feelings or regrets in the morning, as we scourge ourselves of these sins by spending our days looking at everyone’s religious paintings.

Write + come to see us soon.

Joan and Martin

P.S. You can come now as we have rugs on the floor

I can add nothing further except to wish you all no bad feelings or regrets in the morning!

Disney, My Heart’s Devotion! Let It Sink Back in the Ocean!—Another Eavesdropping Story

Last Friday evening, before Fresh Hell played “It’s Fun to Smoke Dust” (see post below), you could have found us at a packed bar in Union Square. There we had discussed, among other things, Florida. Specifically, how much we hate Florida. “See,” Fresh said, “when I think about Florida, I don’t feel so bad about global warming . . . Florida is just going to go away.”

I shook my head. “Ah, Fresh. You really do know how to push buttons, don’t you?”

“Come on, now!”

She had a point, I suppose. Maybe part of a point.

Anyhow, like I said, the bar was crowded. A birthday party had gathered at the end, and the hostess asked Fresh and me if we wouldn’t mind moving down, so we did. We talked some more, and then I had to go off to the loo.

Three women, friends, were already in the stalls when I arrived, and they were gushing about one of the friend’s upcoming vacation.

“Aren’t you excited about going to Disney?”

“Yes! It’s going to be so great. I know I haven’t been there in, like, ten years, but it’s going to be so great!”

“Oh yeah. There’s so much to do there as an adult.”

“Shops, restaurants.”

“It’s just so clean!”

They all flushed at the same time, and came out discussing Magic Mountain. Upstairs, they rejoined the birthday party.

Hmm . . . Maybe Fresh is onto something.

Fundamentalists Are Dope! Queen, Backward Masking, and Sassy’s Warped Education

Friday night while driving me home from an evening out, Fresh Hell played Lobsterdust’s mashup “It’s Fun to Smoke Dust” (Queen vs. Pastor Gary Greenwald vs. Midfield General) from Best of Bootie 2008. Overlaid on Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” is Pastor Gary Greenwald’s passionate sermon about how the song contains an evil “backward masked” message, saying, “It’s fun to smoke marijuana!” (Thank you, Freddy, for stating the obvious via satanic technology). I’d heard the mashup before, courtesy of Date, but I hadn’t really listened to it. Now that I was listening, it sounded very familiar.

“Wait a minute! I’ve heard this before! Is this from Hell’s Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll? We had to watch this movie in high school!*”

Even though Fresh knows I was raised by fundamentalist Christians and had to go to fundamentalist school, sometimes my knowledge of such things still manages to surprise her. I thought perhaps it might surprise you. Here is a tale of an attempt to inoculate me and my fellow inmates against what fundies call “The World.”**

Sometime during my junior year in high school, our Christian Education teacher, who had also been our eighth and ninth grade history teacher (she had an associates in physical education), decided that my class had grown too worldly and that we needed to be aware of the dangers of backward masking and other messages hidden in rock and roll music (aka “Worldly Music”). To that end she had signed out the school’s VCR (usually reserved for showing anti-premarital sex videos) and told us that we were going to watch a movie during class. That movie was Hell’s Bells.

Oh, Hell’s Bells. Made in 1989 at the height of the satanic cult scare, it saw the Dark Lord’s sooty fingerprints everywhere. The early middle-aged narrator, still sporting a mullet (all the better to appeal to “the youth”), left no stone unturned. From the usual heavy metal suspects to the Bauhaus, XTC, and the Cure, according to him every genre had but one, singular goal. To turn young people into knights in Satan’s service (yeah, Gene Simmons. We’re onto you).

While degenerate rock musicians peddled messages of sex and drugs as a matter of course, far more insidious was the phenomenon known as backward masking. Hidden in certain rock and roll songs, were messages discernable only when the track was played backwards.*** The subject of these messages? Pure evil. Groups like the PMRC blamed backward masking for everything from suicide to Satan worship. Listen to rock? Become a zombie for the devil.

Most of the examples of backward masking in Hell’s Bells had to do with worshipping Satan, but Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” announced that it was fun to smoke dope. So I guess when I was bopping my head, skating around the roller rink, I should have been thinking about toking up instead of shooting the duck. Sigh. I’d always misheard lyrics.

Thing was, when mullet guy played the backward masked message to “Another One Bites the Dust,” it didn’t sound a bit like “It’s fun to smoke marijuana!” It sounded like this:

Eetssss nnn te kehhh erijNAH!

Excuse me? Don’t you think Satan would make himself a bit clearer? I was trying rather hard not to laugh, but some of my classmates couldn’t help it and started snickering. That pretty much did it for the effectiveness of Hell’s Bells. We weren’t going to be burning our Led Zeppelin albums and replacing them with Steven Cutis Chapman any time soon.

When our teacher left the room to return the video player, Queen was all we talked about. We tried to figure out what the heck was going on. “That didn’t sound anything like marijuana!”

A number of us tried, but the young Smokestack imitated the backward masking best. She’d grunt and yell, and then someone would follow with “Hey hey!” and we’d bop our heads to the tune in our head. At some point, someone (maybe it was me, but I don’t remember) realized that the backward message sounded a heck of a lot like “Another One Bites the Dust” written backward:

TSUDEHTSETIBENOREHTONA

That clears things up. Of course it says, “It’s fun to smoke marijuana!” Hail Satan! Pass the bong!

Among other oddities, Queen’s supposed backward masking has become a symbol of our warped education. So when I got back home after hearing Lobsterdust’s mashup, I immediately sent the following e-mail to Smokestack:

Run. Do not walk. Google directly “Best of Bootie 2008,” and download the Queen song. You will laugh yourself peeless.

She replied with the suggestion that we use it as a theme song to our next reunion.

*The particular sermon in the mashup was not drawn from the documentary, but the message is the same.

**“The World”—To fundamentalist Christians, existence can be bifurcated into two groups, Christians (meaning born-again fundamentalists—no Catholics or “mainline” churches welcome) and everyone else. Everyone else = “The World.” The customs and music of the others are viewed by fundamentalists as the slippery slope leading directly to the Bad Place.

***It is indeed possible to add a “backward masked” message to an album track. The new wave band the Waitresses added a backward masked message on “I Could Rule the World if Only I Could Get the Parts,” and then slapped a warning label on it. I’d heard the story, and when I was in college, I convinced my computer science geek friend to feed it through his computer. The message? “Anyone who believes in backward masking is a fool.” Genius.

I Need a Mister

So the other day, I e-mailed a freelancer to see if he wanted some work. He lives in California, and thrives on impossibly hot weather. Yes, he replied, he wanted the work, but he needed a little bit more time, as he and his family were headed off on vacation in Palm Springs. “It’s going to be hot, really hot,” he wrote, “but there are lots of swimming pools and misters.”

The heat here must have gotten to me, because it took me a bit to figure out what he meant. Misters? Men make things cool? I had this picture of Venetian gondolier-like men, in their stripey outfits, rushing hither and fro, fanning the good people of Palm Springs. The image made me laugh. Then I got it. Oh. Mist. Water. It’s not stripey men—it’s water.”

I wrote back the freelancer, granting the extra time. By way of conversation, I added, “It’s hot here, too. I think I’ll need a mister.”

This is what I got back from him:

So when you said you might need a “mister,” I wasn’t sure what you meant. Was that some East Coast way of referring to a date (I need a date)? Then I realized I had said there are “misters” in Palm Springs . So I didn’t know if you were saying it would be hot in Boston, too, or you were making a play on words. In any case, it gave me five minutes of amusement, which is always nice.

Yes, amusement is nice.

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Well, that’s better. Instead of reporting on six months’ worth of news, I only have to recount seven measly days. I think I can handle that.

Wow! Blogville remembered me! Thanks for the response to my resurrection posts. You all make me feel so loved. It’s been great to read about how you’ve all been faring since I dropped off the face of cyberspace. I’d like to do it more, but I’m afraid I still work for the Interweb Nazis. I can’t visit you all as much as I’d like, but I’m trying.

What a great night. As I type, a beautiful full moon fills the sky outside my window. It rose a beautiful pink (I don’t care what Nick Drake says, it’s not going to get me) and now shines a pale yellow. I grilled me up some veggies earlier this evening and hung out on the patio. This weekend’s shaping up to be filled with Shakespeare on the Common, Somerville’s Art Beat, the beach, a Haymarket adventure, and friends. No complaints here.

Enough blabbing already. It’s time for the Sassy Sundries, my weekly tally of things personal, political, and nonsensical. It feels good to be doing this again.

The Obama campaign shows a complete lack of humor by trashing the New Yorker’s brilliant satirical cover. Man, we the readership are on your side. Relax already. Minus One

For the first time since the seventh grade, I have short hair. I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but I’ve received nothing but compliments. It’s done a lot to erase the memory of that old beauty-school student hack job. Plus One

Job hunting. It sucks. Figures I’m finally ready to move on during the worst economy in forever. If anyone has any advice, please e-mail me. Minus Two

The Red Sox scrape their way into first place before the All-Star break. J.D. Drew gets the MVP for the All Star game, and A-Rod is fending off rumors about Madonna. Heh. Plus Three

Dumbass W opens up lands to oil drilling. Will it solve our energy crisis? Nope. Will it give welfare to greedy corporations? Yep. Minus Five

Hardboiled Wonderland at the End of the World. What took me so long to read this? What was I thinking? Genius. Will write more when I’ve read more. Plus Three

Had my boy juju going last weekend. I have no idea what kind of cosmic alignment took place, but I had several young men making a point of letting me know they appreciated me. Must remember to wear sundress more often. Plus One

Total Plus: 8
Total Minus: 8

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: Even Steven

I’m with the Folkie?

I don’t normally pick up Stuff@Night, the “hip” little guide to Boston nightlife (the Dig’s Media Farm usually sums it up nicely), but I grabbed the “Welcome Back” issue on Saturday en route to Chinatown after I realized that I had somehow forgotten my book.

As I perused the contents, I spotted an article on thirty ways to shake up one’s nightlife routine. Being of the never-go-home-the-same-way-twice school of life, I decided to check it out. You can read the tips on how to get arrested and/or die of alcohol poisoning yourself, but I would like to focus on the advice for how to become a groupie for an evening.

Night 28: Become a groupie. Channel Kate Hudson and the Band-Aids in Almost Famous, then choose an up-and-coming local musician as the new object of your obsession. Arrive early to secure your front-row spot, and after the band’s set, flirt, schmooze, or buy your way backstage for a personal meet-and-greet with your new favorite. We suggest starting small at more intimate venues like the Paradise Lounge(969 Comm Ave, Boston, 617.562.8800), Johnny D’s (17 Holland Street, Somerville, 617.776.2004), or Club Passim [Ed: Click on the link] (47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, 617.492.7679); you’ll probably have more luck, and lesser-known artists will be more appreciative of your affection.

Now, I have nothing against getting up close and personal with the band. If that’s on your life-experience checklist, then go for it. As with risqué dancing in public, however, there is a place for everything. Somehow, I suspect that a venerable folk club where nary a word is spoken during a performance and where the strongest drink you are likely to get is a very virginal raspberry lemonade is not the best place unleash your inner Pamela Des Barres.

I realize that Stuff@Night probably did not intend to send its readers to the hospital after they binged on alcohol from brunch to dawn (see Night 17), and that many of these tips were given with toungue planted firmly in cheek. With this little gem, however, I wonder if Stuff@Night had other, more sinister, plans up its sleeve. I know that I for one would certainly pay good money to see befuddled folk musicians fending off throngs of tarted-up young things determined to seduce them.

At least, I hope that Stuff@Night is filming a comedy instead of just demonstrating complete and utter cluelessness.

In other local news, tonight Andraste, Fresh Hell, and I will be meeting up for drinks. Should be a great time.

My First Setup

Poor Dive. His well-meaning relations and friends keep trying to set him up with ugly, American-fat women with “lovely personalities,” and he wishes that they would just stop. His tale of woe reminded me of the first time someone tried to marry me off. It happened when I was barely fifteen.

My mother had a friend named Katherine. Katherine was from the Old Country, and she loved me. She would go on and on about my hair and how beautiful it was. Once for a school project I interviewed her and her husband on tape about how they escaped the Nazis and then the Soviets in Poland before they came to America. In the middle of the interview, she cried, “You haf beauuuuutiful hair. You washen?” When I had to play the tape for the class, pandemonium ensued. Everyone asked me if I washed my hair on a daily basis for the rest of the year.

Well, since I was so beautiful, Katherine was absolutely horrified when she learned that my mother had not yet arranged a marriage for me. Not wanting me to become a spinster (good thing she’s passed on—she’d be horrified to know that I’m still single), she had decided to take matters into her own hands. First, she invited me over to give me cooking lessons. Under her gruff tutelage, I learned to make tea cakes and other niceties for the table. I liked to bake, so these lessons were fun for me. “You haf tu cook to pleaze a man!” she’d say. I giggled, thinking to myself that I had tu cook to pleaze my belly.

Satisfied that I had the proper skills, she decided to start making inquiries (without telling my mother—or me—of course). When she had found an eligible man, she called my mother and asked her to send me to her house for coffee. I tromped on up the hill to her house, and when I got there, I noticed that she’d gotten out the good china and had set a table for two. “Oh! Are we having fancy coffee, Katherine?” I asked. Katherine smiled.

There was a knock on the door, and in walked a man in his late fifties, dressed in a suit and tie. He was also Polish, and he smiled at me approvingly. “Sit! Sit!” Katherine barked at me. I sat. So did the man. Katherine poured the coffee and set out the cakes. “She isth very good cook!” Katherine told the man.

“I didn’t make these,” I explained to the man. After Katherine had set us up, she left for the kitchen. This is weird, I thought, but didn’t make much of it. Apparently she wanted me to have coffee with the guy. Maybe he wanted to talk about college. We had a little chat, drank our coffee, and ate the cakes. The man kept smiling at me in a very strange way, but I just chatted away.

The snack done, I told Katherine that I had to go. “I have dancing lessons in an hour,” I explained. “See!” She said to the man, “She danz. She talented!” The man smiled again, and I said goodbye and tromped back down the hill to my house.

No sooner had I arrived home when the phone rang. My mother answered. It was Katherine. My mother listened to what she had to say, shot me a very quizzical look, and sternly explained to Katherine that she didn’t think it was a good idea. I could hear Katherine saying, “But they talken! They laughen! It ist a good match!” My mom’s face started to wrinkle and she was starting to laugh, but she kept her voice firm. “No, Katherine. I don’t think that she’s ready for that” and hung up the phone. Then she collapsed into peals of laughter.

“Katherine tried to set you up with a geezer!” She gasped. “That man! That man you met wants to marry you! You’re fifteen!” She barely got the words out.

“What????” I said. “Eeeew. She wanted me to marry him? He’s older than Daddy!” I felt funny.

My mom continued to laugh, “Oh my!” she’d say, wiping her eyes. “Oh dear! Oh hee hee hee!”

Katherine, on the other hand, thought my mother was insane and didn’t recover quickly from the slight. My mother decided that I wasn’t to go to Katherine’s without supervision. Eventually, however, Katherine tried again. This time she called my mother.

“I haf another man for yur daughter. He tall. He smart, he handsome, he young. He going to be doktor.”

“No, Katherine,” my mother said gently. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I know you mean well, but we don’t do things like that here.” And with that, Katherine gave up.

Katherine died when I was in college, and I couldn’t make it home for the funeral. My mother called me afterwards, very apologetic. “Oh, Honey. I think I blew it. You know that last guy Katherine wanted to set you up with? Well, I met him. He was young, tall, and handsome. He is in medical school. He’s really nice. He also has a girlfriend. I’m so sorry. Perhaps I should have listened to her.”

Oh well. I guess I shouldn’t complain about being single.

Skunkwater Memories

Two ladies—we call them Skunkwater Lady I and Skunkwater Lady II (sometimes Jr)—habitually bathe in knock-off perfume in the ladies’ toilet where I work. You might think that I use the word “bathe” hyperbolically. I assure you, I’m not. The thick, wafting clouds of Eau de Icky-Sicky-Sweet I and II are deadly. Every day, the Skunkwater Ladies freshen up their scent right around lunchtime, rendering the bathroom a Superfund site for most of the afternoon.

My coworkers and I have thought about posting signs, something, anything to stop it, but we aren’t entirely sure about how to go about putting the kibosh on skunkwater application without creating an international incident. It was during a strategizing session/bitch fest about the Skunkwater ladies last week that I was reminded of this tale from my youth.

Boys of fashion and taste sported Polo for Men by Ralph Lauren when I was in high school. They would strut past me, and my stomach would flip, my heart would beat faster, and my palms would get just a little bit sweaty. I would feel faint and look after the studly juniors and seniors with love and repressed lust (I went to a Christian school). Oh, how I wanted them. When I finally got a boyfriend of my very own, he wore Gucci. It wasn’t the only thing about him that disappointed me, but it was high up on the list. I never realized my dream of falling into the arms of a Polo-wearing senior.

Years passed. Polo had been eclipsed by other scents (beer appealed to me quite a bit at the time), and I had largely forgotten about my obsession with it. I was working in a deli before I went off to graduate school, and one day I was adjusting some containers of potato salad when I caught a whiff of something. My palms got sweaty, my heart fluttered, my head swam; I nearly threw up all over the containers of potato salad. Bleurgh! What is that stench? I couldn’t place it right away, but there was something familiar about the scent. Then, in a flash it came to me. It’s Polo! This realization was quickly followed by the thought, Wait a minute . . . Polo reeks?

As I was puzzling this over, I had an epiphany: Polo makes me sick! It wasn’t love! It was nausea!

Liberated from years of unrequited passion, I shrieked with laughter. That poor customer. He had no idea why I was running away from him at top speed.