Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If I Can Be Serious for a Minute...

Have you ever had a paralyzing anxiety attack? One in which it hits you like a freight train…BOOM! And you break out in this cold sweat as the blood drains down the soles of your feet?
Your stomach turns upside down and you get so antsy, you wear a hole in the carpet while looking for a protective rock to hide under? Well, it happens to me pretty much once a year. I know it is coming, but I don’t know when exactly…until it is too late. Then, my eyes lock on it. It senses me. And I run wildly through the darkness seeking a safe haven. It catches my scent and chases after me. My heart races. I know what it is. I know it will find me. Or, worse, I will find it. Blindly, I run into an opaque alleyway, clutching randomly at trash cans, cardboard boxes, anything I can find to hide behind. Then, like a hellhound on my trail, it stalks me slowly. I can see its eyes. I can see the foam dripping from its waiting fangs. I can smell the death it ruthlessly levies. I am consumed by this paralyzing anxiety as I slip down into nothingness. It has entrapped me since I was a child and continues to do so to this day. I am forced to face the thing I have been petrified of beyond comprehension for most of my life. I would be calmer in the face of the Devil incarnate that I am when I am forced to look…at…THIS!!!

Now, I could give a rat’s ass that he turns out to be a warm, cuddly albino teddy bear once that cranky little Hermie yanks out the thing’s bum tooth. The thing is called, in legend, the Abominable Snowman. “Abominable”, as in, "detestable", "loathsome". It’s not the Kind-of-a-Little-Pissy-When-He’s-Suffering-From-The-Cavity-Creeps-But-Simply-A-Doll-Once-His-Dental-Hygiene-Is-Taken-Care-Of Snowman. Abominable. This thing rips limbs from bodies, flesh from bones. It has an insatiable bloodlust that can only be satisfied by tearing apart backpackers in the isolated, snowy woods of my backyard. I don’t think the Nepalese ever saw this thing get all googly-eyed and then put a star on top of a pine tree. Unless it was accompanied with the endoskeleton of some dude in a parka and snow shoes. And his googly-eyed son of a bitch has scared the ever living hell out of me ever since I was in Garanimals.

I put on the TV tonight and it was there. I cowered in a fetal position, fully dressed, in my bathtub, not unlike Diane Court’s father in Say Anything…when they figured out he was ripping off all the old people.

So, to take my mind off of this hideous creature, I decided to play both Siskel and Ebert to some classic Christmas specials. Sit back and enjoy. Unlike me...who is scarred for life.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - This one sucks and you have to believe me that it is not just because of that terrifying brute that scares me to near-incontinence. I said NEAR-incontinence. Let’s look at this one a little closer. First, there’s some weird talking snowman that’s supposed to be Burl Ives. I don’t remember Burl Ives looking like Charlie Chan. Ah so. To boot, this one really provides a great lesson for all the kids out there…bitch and whine all you want, preferably in an annoyingly nasal voice of undetermined gender, about your lot in life (after trying to deceive everyone) and then get your dream job handed to you on a flourescent red platter. Who does this reindeer think he is? Terrell Owens? The only worse lesson in this crappy special is the idea that elves can be dentists. Give me a break. And what’s with this Island of Misfit Toys? I’ve seen the real-life equivalent of these things…they’re called carnies. Final grade: F-minus.

Frosty the Snowman - Sucked. First of all, it masquerades as a Christmas special even though the only thing it has in common with Christmas is that they both take place in the winter. Good job, guys! You nailed the season! Only had a 25% chance of doing that. Second, Jimmy Durante flying around telling the story of some snowman trying to keep from melting? JIMMY DURANTE?!?! Methinks it is time to update some of these specials. How about Tony Montana narrates "Frosty the Abominable Snowman", where, instead of a button nose and two eyes made out of coal, it is the actual proboscis and torn out retinas, corneas, and irises of poor climbers of whatever mountain the horrid beast currently haunts? And instead of keeping it from melting, they are desperately trying to rid the world from this scourge, this menace, this thing that makes me nervous. "Say ‘ello to my li’l flamethrower, snow person!" I have issues. Oh yeah. Final grade for Frosty: F. As in, F-off.

Fat Albert Christmas Special - Loved it. One word: Mushmouth. Four more words for you: Mebby Chribsmabs Fabt Alberbt! Final grade for Fat Albert: I’ve love to give it a "Hey hey hey!", but will have to settle for a Beeebee Plubs.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - Call me cliché, but it still kicks ass. Best. Casting. Ever. Boris rules. Oh and yes, I like Nirvana’s "Nevermind" too. So piss off. Final grade: A friggin plus.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Despite the facts that the title character is an unpleasant, moaning pain in the ass, I get an ice cream headache trying to figure out what team Peppermint Patty is on, and if Snoopy is a beagle, then I am an Affenpinscher, this is another classic. Linus’ soliloquy about the meaning of Christmas is on par with Samuel L. Jackson’s diatribes in Pulp Fiction (but with slightly more heart) and the show also features a shamefully underutilized insult: “blockhead”. Charlie’s final grade: A-. Or as Woodstock would say: "'''""''""''. And I’m just waiting for that blockhead to start crying about not getting as good a grade as The Grinch. Save it, Big Head with One Squiggle Hair Boy.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens and Thurston Howell III go together like Simon and Simon. I dig it. Final grade: B+.

The Year Without a Santa Claus - First of all, what's with this "a" business? "A" Santa Claus? I was under the impression that there is only ONE Santa Claus when you don't count those winos that work at the mall. Well, most of this one sucks. Is this the one with Kris Kringle, bearer of the most ridiculously thick animated red beard in history? And then like a week goes by and he’s assumed his alter ego, lost most of his hair, the rest of which turned white, and packed on a couple of hundred? Yeah, most of this one sucks. The only good things about this one: Heat Miser and Snow Miser. They're rocking. And whacked out flap-door animated mouths rule too. Final Grade: The Year Without Santa Claus: C. The Year Without Santa Claus Without Heat Miser and Snow Miser: F-plus.

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town - Wait. Maybe this is the one with Kris Kringle, bearer of the most ridiculously thick animated red beard in history. And then like a week goes by and he’s assumed his alter ego, lost most of his hair, the rest of which turned white, and packed on a couple of hundred. First of all, Dim don't do needless apostrophes in titles. Steee-rike one. And what in the name of the Magi is Fred Astaire doing narrating this? FRED ASTAIRE?! We need to update this bad-boy. Get me John O’Hurley from Dancing with the Stars stat. The only thing this special has worth its weight in coal is Burgermeister Meisterburger. The best Christmas special bad guy after the Grinch, of course, and he who shall not be named…Final grade: C-minus.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas - The apostrophe here is OK, since it is in title of the Clement Moore poem of the same name. This is the same Moore who rolls around like a tumbleweed inside his coffin every year when this dreck is shown. When I think of a great holiday combo, I think of candy canes and sugar plums (whatever the hell they are). I don’t think of creepy animation and a talking rat. Final grade: F.

Little Drummer Boy - Funny, the one Christmas special that actually kinda deals with the events around Christmas and why we celebrate is also one of the ones that sucks an amazing amount of ox and ass. Don’t you get me wrong (don’t you get me wrong) <=subtle lyrical nod to my cyberpals Rust and JG and a movie they like, the whole Jesus being born thing is a great story. Dare I say, the Greatest Story Ever Told? Mmm? But the drummer boy really takes the pipe. Great, you can’t afford gold (understandable), frankincense (OK, maybe it was expensive back then), or myrrh (no one even knows what the hell that is, so you could pass ANYTHING off as myrrh!), so what else could a newborn baby use? A friggin drum serenade. Great job, Tommy Lee. Why don’t you just try to rock him to sleep in a jet propulsion laboratory while you are at it. The story behind TLDB: A++++ (Dim’s not down with eternal damnation, thank you very much). TLDB himself? He can kiss my pa-rump-pa-pum-pum. F-minus.

Oh, by the way, I just looooove being suffocated with these Christmas specials as early as November 25. Thanks network TV!

And don't you dare even get me started on Baby New Year...

Sleeping with the lights on,


Monday, November 28, 2005

…And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

JG had a great post on her blog a couple of weeks ago that dealt with companies using pop songs for their commercials while completely disregarding the actual meaning of the song while peddling their pieces of crap. It's oh, so true. I can’t wait for Viagra to shell out some cake for the rights to Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-A-Ling”. Or for Caribbean Cruise Lines to show a gala event on one of their boats while AC/DC’s “Big Balls” cranks in the background.

And while my brain had a complete library full of these commercial offenses, when it came to responding to JG’s post, it became readily apparent that a night of Molson Canadians (theme song: Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage”) had permanently erased them from my hard drive.

But watching TV the other day caused me to see two commercial offenses as disturbing, if not more so, than the “inappropriate lyric” commercials: The commercials that take an existing pop song and then re-write a few lyrics to match whatever it is they are selling. How can artists agree to sign over the rights to a song knowing that this is going to happen?? Granted, usually the artists are one-hit wonders and ripple sure can cost a lot these days, but do these people have any pride?

Example #1. (and if you can think of any more, please post them. A nice bottle of Shiraz caused me to only remember these two and that’s only because I wrote them down the second after I saw them).

Applebee’s is using Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You” to hawk some special where you pick two things from the menu for the price of, well, two things from the menu. But, here’s where these Applebee dudes get clever. As the song is, with the lyric, “Doctor, doctor, give me the news. I’ve got a bad case of loving you”, it could have worked. Personally, I have never had to seek medical attention because of my infatuation with steak with chimichurri sauce and coconut shrimp, but hey, to each their own. Instead of leaving the song as is, however, Applebee’s gives it a little twist. Instead of “bad case of loving YOU”, the guy in the commercial (NOT Robert Palmer, natch), sings “I got a bad case of loving TWO.” Get it? Pick two menu items? Loving TWO? Now, that’s just piss poor. If this was a commercial featuring the Coors Light twins, I can almost understand this debauchery, but Applebee’s? Not to mention some of the song’s other lyrics are wildly inappropriate:

“I know you like it, you like it on top
Tell me mamma, are you gonna stop?”

Well, Applebee’s, if we are still talking about food here, I’d like it known that no, I don’t like it on top. Please put the sour cream for my baked potato on the side, thank you very much. And my waitress, “Mamma” her name must be, better stop with the crushed black pepper on my Caesar salad when I say to…I don’t need to be sneezing on my croutons.

The thing that really frosts my fanny about the whole thing too is how unabashedly obvious they are about the lyric they changed. Listen to the commercial. The fake Robert Palmer guy wants you to know that he isn’t singing “you”. He’s singing “TWO!!!!” And he’s taking credit for that re-write, he’ll have you know. It would be like me singing the national anthem before a Bruins game and starting it off, “O say can you see? By the dawn’s early POT ROAST!!!” And then stopping and looking around with a self-satisfied look on my face. “Hey, I know the tune’s a classic, but it needed a little updating. That ‘pot roast’ thing? That was ALL ME, baby. Next time I see this song in print, I want to read: Lyrics: F.S. Key, Dim.”

The other example I can remember is Kraft using EMF’s “Unbelievable” to pimp some crumbled cheese monstrosity that not only adds a nice flavor to your salad, but also will bind you up for the next 3-5 days. So, you ready for this one? Out of the whole song, they use merely two words. Granted, one is a contraction. But two words. And one is a Frankensteinian version of the title. And because of the rest of the song so has nothing do with crumbled Muenster bits, he sings these two words OVER and OVER again in the course of the commercial. And those two words are:

“You’re crumb-believable”.

I heard this and wretched and gagged like I just washed down my Applebee’s “Pick Two” with an Ipecac Margarita. First of all, what the flying fuck does “crumb-believable” actually mean? Did Kraft give this two seconds of thought? Did they think all consumers are suckers for crumb-believably bad puns? “You’re crumb-believable.” “Gee, thanks! You smell like popcorn.”

Is it a compliment to be crumb-believable? Or is the concept of their new product (which since the invention of cheese people have been able to do on their own using, uh, cheese and a fist) just so space-age that they had to bastardize the first 90s one-hit wonder song they could find that would cost them just a bottle of Maddog 20-20 and a Big Grab bag of Funyuns in order to herald this new marketing miracle?

I’m boycotting both Applebee’s and Kraft’s cheese balls because, god forbid, I order a cheeseburger at Applebee’s and the waitress, Mamma, comes out and puts some crumb-believable cheddar on it, I may just have to bludgeon someone to death with a ramekin while singing Tom Jones’ “The Young New Mexican Puppeteer”.

And no one wants that to happen.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

15 Great Shows and 1 Kick-Ass Flick

Well, since I dropped the ball and forgot to get Black Crowes tickets when they went on sale, it probably means my 2005 live music schedule has come to an end. And that's not so bad considering what a fantastic year it was. Not a bad show to be found. So, in an effort to NOT have my year-end lists come out in March, I decided to get a jump on things and do my Top 15 Live Shows of the Year. Here we go.

15. Kaki King at the Stone Church, Newmarket, NH, 08/12/05
14. Willy Porter at Club Passim, Cambridge, MA, 11/11/05
13. Bob Mould Band at the Paradise, Boston, MA, 10/04/05
12. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals at Avalon, Boston, MA, 05/17/05
11. Willy Porter at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse, Franklin, MA, 05/14/05
10. Kristin Hersh at the Paradise, Boston, MA, 01/28/05
9. Snow Patrol at Avalon, Boston, MA, 05/21/05
8. Neko Case with the Sadies at the Roxy, Boston, MA, 02/12/05
7. Richard Thompson at the Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA, 10/25/05
6. The White Stripes at the Opera House, Boston, MA, 09/20/05
5. Jeff Tweedy at Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA, 11/13/05
4. Wilco with My Morning Jacket at Agganis Arena, Boston, MA, 06/24/05
3. John Butler Trio at the Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA, 10/02/05
2. Richard Thompson at Newburyport High School, Newburyport, MA, 08/07/05
1. Queens of the Stone Age at the Roxy, Boston, MA, 03/28/05

That's it! No long, boring commentary from yours truly. I'll save that for my regular posts.

Oh, Christine and I saw this flick yesterday. It was friggin fab. Go see it.

So, tell me. See any good shows or flicks this year? Give it up!

- Dim.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving! Please Pass the Rant.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving, citizens of Dim City! Take a moment to recall the things you are thankful for this year. Special gratitude goes out to the men and women serving the U.S. overseas. Second of all, it’s “Happy Thanksgiving”. It’s NOT “Turkey Day”. In this day of cancelled Halloween celebrations and holiday trees (instead of Christmas trees) at the risk of offending some easily ticked-off wacko with no better battle to fight, let’s let this holiday keep some of its dignity.

“Happy Turkey Day” is one of those phrases that just sends electrical charges of pain and aggravation up and down my spine. It’s really on par with “Look, honey, 'Everwood' is on!” and “Hey Dim, it’s catheter time!”

“Happy Turkey Day” implies that we are celebrating the turkey. We’re not. And the turkey is most assuredly not happy on this day. It would be like calling July 4th, “Hey, Happy Redcoat Day!” Not sure the Redcoats would find that terribly accurate. If you think we are celebrating our game hen, just ask him. We’re not honoring him. We’re eating him. Big difference. So, unless you want to start eating everything that you are celebrating with these holiday phrases, let’s knock this shit off. If you chow down on the corpse of Christopher Columbus every October or gnaw on a nice poplar every Arbor Day (which will actually do wonders for your digestive well-being if it only followed Wheel of Cheese Day), feel free to call it Turkey Day. In fact, the only ones allowed to say “Happy Turkey Day” under these rules are Hannibal Lector and he isn’t real as well as some select undead zombies that, despite the SciFi Network, I am insisting are also not real. For Lector, though, “Happy Heart Day” on February 14 really does refer to his dinner. For him, that day also luckily happens to be Chianti Day and Fava Bean Day. (Insert creepy mouth noise here).

So, let’s keep things straight. It’s Thanksgiving. Give thanks. For eating a turkey. Well, and other things, too.

Second of all, when you pass out snoring eight seconds after you shovel the final forkful in your pie-hole, don’t blame some mystery mickey chemical in turkey for it. What is it again? Trichinosis? L-tryptophan? I-triptoverthecat? That thing. It’s bull. The real reason you can’t make it past halftime of the Cowboys game is because you had turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and squash and corn and carrots and gravy and a biscuit and cranberry sauce and a piece of apple pie and a piece of pecan pie and a piece of custard (“Hate to see it go to waste”) and a drumstick while people were cleaning up (barely audible whisper of “Anybody want this?”). You ate a volume of food that would have turned an ardent insomniac into Rip Van Winkle. So when you awake from your “Turkey Day” coma, von Bulow, blame yourself. Not the bird.

And while I think of it, what exactly is a “fixin’”? Turkey with ALL the fixin’s. I didn’t grow up down South, but I thought that “fixin’” was a southern person’s way of saying “I’m getting ready to…” As in, “I’m fixin’ to leave the trailer park. There’s a twister a-comin’!” And before you get all uppity and call that comment stereotypical, ask yourself when you last heard someone say, “I’m fixin’ to write my thesis” or “Just fixin’ do perform brain surgery.” Apparently, fixin’s on Turkey Day refer to all the side dishes I mentioned above that caused sleepy-time. Two words. Two very different meanings. I don’t get it.

Oh well. Have a nice Thanksgiving, everyone. Eat a lot of turkey and getting-ready-to-do-somethings. You might sleep straight through the weekend, but that’s what Turkey Day is all about. Bastards! Now you got me saying it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I've Seen the Face of Evil...

...and it is this:

Would someone please explain to me what the hell this is?!?

Don't say, "Hey Dim, isn't that the crazy-ass evil baby sun thing from the Teletubbies?" Because I already know it is the crazy-ass evil baby sun thing from the Teletubbies. But what IS it? WHY is it?

Is it their god, their maker? The one that gave them all weirdo DirectTV antennae on top of their head and visible zippers running up their back?

Is it their puppet master, who pulls the string and makes them do all of those goofy dances?

Is it their X supplier?

And what's with their names? LaaLaa? Po? Tinky Winky? Dipsy? All sound like things you shout into the big porcelain telephone after a few too many Long Island ice teas. Come on...admit it. You've knelt there, praying for death, and blabbered "tinky winky!" at the water while your own body rebelled against you. Et tu, stomach?

I think this kids' show is completely off its rocker and it has nothing to do with the four Schmoo wannabees who look like they ate too many Lite Brite pieces and somehow grew a TV set in their belly that likes to play white noise that undoubtedly transmits dastardly messages from the crazy-ass evil baby sun, into their phallic antennae. (Hey, Dipsy, I've seen the commercials. They say if it stays like that for more than three hours, you should call a doctor!)

Well, OK, that goes a long way into me thinking this show is off its rocker.

All the kid shows I remember watching while growing up all seemed so normal, so not drug-induced. Why do we have to be subjected to the crazy-ass evil baby sun? Why can't there just be normal and well-adjusted children's programming like in the good ol' days?

Well, I'm off to visit my green pain-in-the-ass friend who lives in a trash can after consulting with a hairy elephant that only I can see.

Good night. And don't let the Fraggles bite.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Scary Stuff

Logged on late to check the score of the Red Wings game. Not living anywhere near Detroit, I usually have to rely on the internet to check up on the games. I know the game started, because at one point, I saw that Nashville was up 1-0. Then I checked and it read PPND next to the teams.

Hockey games never get postponed. All of a sudden, I didn't feel so good about it. I was hoping for some sort of power outage at the arena or something. Instead, it was this.

The Wings have had their share of tragedy in the recent past, like what happened to Vladdie Konstantinov back in '97. That one was tough to take. This one is fixing to be tough too.

Seems like Jiri is doing better, but for God's sake, man, if a single doctor advises you to hang it up, hang it up. You're 25. You've won a couple of Stanley Cups. Don't roll the dice on a game.

Get well, Jiri. Tonight, the name on the back is more important than the name on the front.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Concert-Going for Dummies

Me and March are big-time live music fanatics. I’ve been to like 15 shows this year and he’s been to even more. I was just at two last week and, surprisingly, everyone in attendance was pretty cool. But that isn’t always the case. And far be it from me to pass up the opportunity for a good rant. So, here I go. Consider this a “Concert-Going for Dummies” piece.

You know, before even dealing with yahoo concert-goers, it's bad enough that I have to endure a Torquemada-like request for information from TicketBastard or one of its demon-seed brethren prior to charging me a sum for concert tickets that's roughly the financial equivalent of getting a colonoscopy with a branding iron. Oh, and speaking of that, what's with all the charges? I'm getting pretty aggravated with paying 40% over face value for a ticket, just because they want to charge me for the "convenience" of ordering it through them (like I had another alternative, that didn't involve spending the night outside of a closed ticket booth, eating Fritos and peeing in an empty beer bottle) and for "handling" the tickets.

OK, here's something. It's REALLY convenient to sit at a computer for an hour and a half and clicking on a little "buy now" icon (after filling out unending requests for personal data), and have the little hourglass thingy pop up and sit there and sit there and sit there and mock me and sit there and mock me. And then, it's even MORE convenient to get that message "Server is busy. Please try again later", which assures me of getting a seat in a different postal district as the venue. And then, as if it hasn't been convenient enough, I have to RE-ENTER all my crap and go through the process again, ad infinitum, until I am left with seats on the Crab Nebula and an ulcer the size of Tommy Lee' know.... Can I please pay for that? Dearly? With one of my limbs? One that I use a lot? Whaddaya mean I have to re-enter my credit card information?!

And what's with this handling fee? I have to pay $7.50 a ticket for you to handle it from the printer to the envelope? I'd love a piece of that racket.

OK, back to me being pissed off at people at concerts. Please take note of this stuff, because I'm not doing it for you as much as I'm doing it for me. I just want to have a good time at a show without having to deal with idiots. If you happen to see an idiot at a show, please try to convince him to follow some, if not all, of these guidelines to become less idiotic. If you ARE one of these condolences. Now, knock it off.

First things first. Attire. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, wear a musical act's shirt at a concert. Hey, Sparky, I know that you are a Kiss fan not because you are wearing a Lick It Up tour shirt. I know you are a Kiss fan because WE ARE AT THE FREAKING KISS SHOW! AND YOU PAID $150 TO WATCH PAUL STANLEY SLOWLY MORPH INTO LIZA MINNELLI BEFORE YOUR EYES AND CROON "LOVE GUN" TO YOU!!!!!! Wearing the shirt of the band you are seeing is the absolute, number one, unforgivable Cardinal sin of concert-going.

Following closely behind it is wearing a shirt of a different band than the one you are seeing. Because people always try too hard to be different and wear a shirt that they hope will make the band stop, mid-song, point, and genuflect at the coolness of the shirt you have. The ONLY possible exception is if it is a band with which Mike Patton is somehow affiliated. I actually encourage the wearing of that, not only to concerts, but also weddings and other semi-formal occasions. Any time is a good time for Patton. But don't go to a Moby show, wearing a Joy Division shirt, because, one, it's dumb, and two, no one listens to Joy Division anymore. Not even you.

This one is for the ladies: Stop trying to rebel against your over-protective father with what you wear. A concert is not an excuse to "break out of it" and wear provocative clothing that should have no business on your body. I can't stand the people who walk around all gussied up with a "I wear this stuff all the time" look about them. The only ones who really look like that all the time are the redneck mulletheads and none of these rules apply to them. They rock hard, drink tons of beer, and can do whatever the hell they want.

So, wear something that you would normally wear. I highly doubt that your office manager gets a kick out of you looking a cross between Siouxie Sioux and Wednesday Addams when filing papers and I highly doubt that your roving Domino's store manager will allow you to deliver an order of cheesy bread wearing nothing but a bra and a skirt hiked so high, one can see your kidneys. If they WOULD allow such workplace attire, I'd like a large sausage and mushroom and an order of buffalo wings.

And the whole groupie thing is really getting tired too. So, stop dressing like you're actually going to get a little something-something from the band. Do you really think that Mick Jagger is thinking of you, with ribald thoughts in his brain, when he sees your eye makeup, fishnet stockings, and a shirt so tight that it makes you slightly rotund torso look like a Vienna sausage? He's just trying to get through the show without defecating on himself. Besides, you're too old for him.

Next up, if you are at an outdoor venue and people are hanging around in the parking lot, DO NOT crank up your stereo. I don't care if Marconi himself installed the damn thing. And even worse are the people who crank the entire discography of the band you are there to see. Just in case people didn't know who was playing. And there is always someone who has a louder stereo who is playing the same exact thing as you. And you have to outdo this guy in a fit of woofer and tweeter envy, causing both of you to distort the sound beyond recognition and causing everyone else to cultivate a deep, bottomless hatred for the very band you are there to see after hearing them sound like a cross between a jet engine and Joshua from War Games.

Which brings us to more personal social activities. A good rule of thumb is to leave me alone. Just because we are there to see the same band, does not mean we are pals. It doesn't mean that we have more than said band in common. In fact, I can take a nano-second peek at you and immediately find roughly 13 million things about you that I'm not crazy about (starting with your facial hair and slowly getting more personal), so just back away. If you want a hug and affirming pat on the back from someone with whom you have something in common, go to an AA meeting. I'm just here to see the band.

And, in case you were wondering, I don't have an extra (fill in the blank) and I can't spare a (fill in the blank). I have rationed out exactly the amount of food, beer, cups, snacks, tickets, condoms, cigarettes, and money needed by me and my associates. Bugger off.

Once inside, the idiocy usually continues. One of the more annoying things are the people obviously not sitting in their correct seat (this is also HUGELY in effect at sporting events, but that's a ramble for another day). I propose some sort of electronic tracking device on the ticket. The ticket is juiced and calibrated with its corresponding seat. So, if a person sits in the seat assigned by their ticket, all is well. The juices neutralize each other providing the concert goer with a pleasant entertainment experience. However, if a person tries to sit in a seat without a ticket, or in a seat that is different than the one assigned by their ticket, they are given a non-lethal, but unforgettable electric shock that tells them "You are being an idiot. Sit where you are supposed to."

Anyone who shows up late, is not allowed in. It's not like these shows take place at 7:30 in the morning. You only had ALL DAY to get there, for crock's sake. And in a general admission show, if you show up late, you stand in the back. I can't stand these dinks that show up as the lights are going down and then steamroll their way to the front of the stage in a fog of Bud Light, nachos grande, sweat, and Drakkar.

Once in the show, shut up. You can yell and cheer after the song is over up until, but not after, the next one begins. Anyone in the mood to have a running conversation with the person next to them about the objectivist theories explored by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged and how it relates to how they can't get laid, really needs to be flogged about the head and neck with a blunt, metal object. Repeatedly.

Also, quit yelling out song titles for the band to play. Unless there is a public address announcement roughly along the lines of "The band doesn't know what to play. They do, however, possess the ability to play every single song in the history of music at a moment's notice, so feel free to yell out any song title that comes to mind at the precise moment that the other fifteen-thousand people yell out different song titles and the band will be sure to get to it. As a special bonus, the first person who yells out "Freebird" gets a free punch in the nuts.

And if you are gonna yell out a song title, yell something obscure for the love of God. It's like going to a Nickelback show (Note: I have never attended, and never will attend, a Nickelback show. I am merely placing myself there artistically for the benefit of my argument. Rest assured, as soon as my argument is made, I will return, screaming and in need of therapy) it's like going to a Nickelback show and screaming "Play 'How You Remind Me'!!!!" Like the band is sitting there going, "What was our money song again? What is the only hit we will ever have? Can't.....quite....think of it...."

Finally, stand still. I know, out of all of these, that this one is most likely to fall on idiot ears. People sure do love to mosh. And I am one that can admit defeat. So, despite me imploring you not to, if you MUST mosh please follow these rules of etiquette:

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but moshing went the way of the dinosaur around the same time as the last good Pearl Jam album. But if you are one of those people who really likes throwing their drunk, sweaty flesh into the flesh of equally drunk, equally sweaty men, then by all means. But before you put on that muscle shirt, those earrings, and that University of South Carolina hat with COCKS emblazoned on the front, it is in your best interest to learn a few simple rules of etiquette.

1. Pick Your Spots - not every show you see is conducive to slam dancing. Look around first and gauge the crowd. If the scary looking people are moshing, then it is probably OK. If the only ones doing it are an underage kid with an Iron Maiden tee shirt and some chick who is dancing the Elaine Benes, you may want to pass. Also, check your ticket. If it has the word "Rollins" on it, you are in the clear. If it says "Backstreet," well....

2. Work the Perimeter - if your fellow moshers are old-school, a pit will form and most of the damage will be contained to the inside. Hang out around the edge of the pit first to get a feel for exactly how much hurt you are in for. Once you come to terms with the fact that you may be just nanoseconds away from having a jackboot surgically implanted in your ass, go on in. If there is no pit and everyone is just running around maniacally...get out. The place is on fire.

3. Keep Your Elbows Down - it may have worked wonders for Bill Laimbeer in the paint, but unless you want to get up close and personal with a tattooed pro wrestler wannabe with more holes in him than Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth, leave your elbows at your side.

4. No Crowd Surfing - you know how lame it looks when those arena-rock fans flick their Bics during the power ballad? Well, crowd surfing is the moshing equivalent. Besides, nothing riles up a monster with a bolt through his nose more than getting clocked in the mouth with one of your Doc Martens.

5. Don't Mosh Angry - if you encounter a fellow idiot who is blatantly disobeying the rules of moshing, your best bet is to call it a night and go hang near the bar. It is likely that the offender will not be in a learning mood and any attempts to educate him will result in multiple hematomas. Pogo your ass out of harm's way and live to mosh another day. Note a little caveat about pogoing: You know what they say about swimming after you've eaten? Well, triple that for pogoing. After downing a thousand Icehouses, some undercooked meat hopefully belonging to a beast of some kind, and a unique delicacy called a "gooball", if you're not careful, you're liable to yak up not only the buffet you devoured hours before, but also every semi-solid in your digestive system going back to the now-petrified Necco wafer you got on Halloween, 1983 if you get rambunctious too soon. No one (except for GG Allin and he's dead), especially Bad Religion fans, likes getting vomited on.

6. Bow Out Gracefully - this is rather difficult to do when you just got kneed in the groin, but never let them see you in pain. And keep your mouth shut. You may think it is cliched, but when you try talking after you just got the jewels rattled, you really do sound like Barry Gibb. Stand up as straight as you can, go over to the tee shirt stand and ask the guy when Clay Aiken is coming to town.

See? It's really pretty simple to not be an idiot. So please, help me to help you to help me to have a good time at concerts and take heed. And don't even think of singing along with the band...

And if you made it through this totally laborous post, first, thank you. You are truly a dedicated resident of Dim City. Second, please join me in wishing Rusty a very Happy Birthday!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stop Selling Your Kids' Crap!

I work in a joint that has an on-line classified ad bulletin board, where people can conduct intra-company yard sales, look for roommates, give away useless things that are cluttering up their basements so you can clutter up yours. Stuff like that.

One of the more disturbing trends I have noticed in this ad system is the sheer volume of parents peddling garbage for their kids. The only good thing about this on-line classified ad thing is that I am not subjected to these parents actually arriving uninvited at my desk pushing boxes of mint patties in my face, sending me on a one-way trip to Guiltville if I don't oblige and at least take a box of Samoas off their hands. Samoas weird me out, because they are one letter away from being a box of Polynesians and that just gives me the creeps. Anyway, it really gets my goat to see all of these adults pimping for their kids' schools and recreational activities.

At the risk of sounding really old, back in MY day, my parents wouldn't dream of selling my crap for me. If I wanted to take a school trip, or pay for sports programs, or wear casual attire in high school (yes, I went to a Catholic high school and they would bribe us by allowing us to wear casual clothes if we sold our quota of school crap.), I would have to get my sorry ass out there in the cold, rain, snow, whatever, and knock on the doors of people that, for all I knew, could have been pedophiles or, even worse, porcelain doll collectors. And I would sell my adolescent tush off. I even perfected the whole "Milk chocolate, caramel, or crisp?" follow-up question, if I was lucky enough to get a begrudging "OK" from the person whose soaps I just interrupted. I might have gotten door after door slammed on my runny little nose after lugging boxes of candy bars uphill, both ways, in three feet of snow, but it gave me character. And it also proved to me that I definitely didn't want a career in traveling chocolatiering.

And my success, or lack thereof, in hustling cheap Nestle knock-offs prepared me for the next step up in fundraiser merchandise. The magazine subscription. Now THERE'S a good're sitting at home, hanging out , and the doorbell rings. Some acne-riddled kid asks you if you want to buy a magazine subscription. Not exactly an impulse buy, magazine subscriptions. "You know, before you came to the door, I never much thought about it, but now that you are here, it dawned on me that I want to drop 36 clams for a year's worth of Better Homes and Gardens. Sign me up, Clearasil Boy!" Quite the awkward situation as well to have to regrettably inform the wise-ass 19-year-old kid under house arrest on the other side of the screen door that my list of available rags doesn't include Juggs.

Then, there was one time I was in Cub Scouts and they would give you this albatross called "a kit", which was a cardboard suitcase full of the most obnoxious and useless knick-knacks imaginable. Who wants to buy a salt and pepper shaker off of a friggin Cub Scout? You are old and want to get helped across the street, you find a Cub Scout. If you need a potholder that has the thickness of rice paper with a kitty cat on it, you go to Target. The "kit" did little to advance the collective cause of the Cub Scouts, but did wonders to cultivate my deep rooted xenophobia and misanthropy. Thank you Cub/Boy Scouts! I didn't read the fine print on the motto: Be prepared to loathe your fellow man.

And the whole "whoring myself out for the uniformed man" process was humiliating. I had to pitch every sorry piece of shit I had. "Well, if you don't want this lovely trivet set, perhaps I can interest you in purchasing this ruler that has a calculator built-in. I can't tell you how many times when measuring something with a foot-long ruler that I have had to figure out the square root of 829. And now you can do it both in one crafty device! And it's only $12.99!" (Hey, it was the 80s...we had fancy stuff back then too. It just cost us a whole lot more. These days, you can get a calcu-ruler in a box of Fruity Pebbles. Back then, you needed to wait for some sorry-ass Cub Scout to come to your door).

I swear I would have an easier time selling beastiality convictions with a side order of leprosy.

But all of that was a good growing and learning experience.

Now, all of these parents I work with are their kids' bitches. There are roughly 14,000 seemingly grown-up grown-ups all trying to sell Girl Scout Cookies at the same time. "Hey, you can't throw a rock without hitting a Girl Scout selling cookies, but buy them from my kid instead! She's the only one who has peanut butter patties (aka. "Tagalongs"...not sure what the hell that's all about). Well, not really, but I'll lie if I have to in order to get your business. Help me help you get the coconut clusters you crave!" Personally, I love the ones that are a little too enthusiastic in their sales pitch: "It's classic cookie dough fundraiser time again!!!" reads the ad. Holy shit!!! Really??! This is SO weird, because I was just looking at my watch and saying to myself, "When the hell is it going to be classic cookie dough fundraising time again? It's been far too long since I have last parted with some of my hard-earned dough for a 3 pound tub of sugar". Yet, on the other hand, it seems like it was just classic cookie dough fundraising time! So, either time flies when you're a Keebler frickin' Elf, or some other brat beat your kid to it.

I have nothing against these kids selling this stuff themselves. Personally, I am just not a big purchaser of cookies, cookie dough, raffle tickets, construction paper, car wash vouchers, nuts, magazines, and photos of myself in compromising positions. So, don't take it personally, kid, when I tell you to bugger off. Now's a good time to learn that not everything you do is "cute" and deserving of me shelling out my beans with an assuring pat on the head for you and a mouthful of cavities from last year's Grandchildren of the Daughters of the American Revolution's sticky taffy drive for me.

But parents...stay out of it, huh? This is the first step of a very dangerous path of being an asshole parent. Selling crap for your kids. Step two is punching your kid's soccer coach in the throat because he didn't play Timmy enough in the second half.

Besides, sending your children out in the elements to sell all sorts of trash puts hair on their chest. And who doesn't want hairy-chested offspring? Not to mention, it's something to have on their resume when they apply for that lucrative Avon job after realizing that the whole Boy Scout-as-a-lifetime-vocation gig just ain't gonna pan out.

Not answering the doorbell,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My New Favorite Food and My New Favorite One-Hit Wonder

I have a new favorite food. It's called:

Light syrup.

Have you tried this yet?!? It's like crystal meth without the arrythmias and the cops chasing you down when you have no shirt on trying to arrest you like that TV show...what's it called?...oh, yeah. "Cops."

I can't stop eating these things.

"Fruit in a plastic jar" sounds so uninspiring. But "Mandarin oranges in LIGHT SYRUP." Sorry, but with apologies to Emeril, that just screams "BAM!" to me! BAM BAM!

Everything should be served in this nectar of the gods...light syrup. I might actually consider chowing down on some calves' brains if they were in light syrup (hint, hint, Calves' Brains Association of America....")

You ever see the video for Men At Work's "Down Under"? The part where the guy, the singer with the fucked up eyeball, stuffs his face with some wacked out cereal during the whole, "She took me in and gave me breakfast" line? That's me with my light syrup.

Thank you SO much, Dole food company. Thank you for taking something completely pure, natural, and healthy and turning it into something that is about as good for me to consume as carburator fluid. But, man, it is quite the delectable treat.

Switching gears, tonight, I heard yet another song that I really, really wish I wrote. Here it is:

Devil's Diary by the Caulfields

Here in hell's hammock just thinking up deviltry
Planet-wide panic's a hat that's so old
I'd rather write about her in my diary
Could she be mine without selling her soul
Dirty deeds from a demon seed
Don't excite me anymore
Is there one girl
Just one girl who says

I'm bigger than Jesus now
And I love her
I'm bigger than Jesus now
Up above her
I'm stage diving off the church of the holier than thou
And I'm bigger than Jesus now

He's got his uptight white virginal followers
I've got these metal chicks dumber than rocks
Dated one once but I hated the music
And all her ex-boyfriends were there on the bus
It's never good to be "understood"
By a girl in acid wash
And God only knows what it is that I really want
Guess I could ask but he's not the best confidant
Puts me down in the Biblical sense
In this basement apartment with hell-to-pay rent
There's one girl
Just one girl who says

I'm bigger than Jesus now
And I love her
I'm bigger than Jesus now
Up above her
I'm stage diving off the church of the holier than thou
And I'm bigger than Jesus now...

If you are unfamiliar with this, go immediately to iTunes and buy it. ***

The Caulfields haven't done crappity ass before or since, but this song is:

Enjoyed a nice dinner and some wine with the wife, heard some Caulfields on the iPod shuffle, ate some light syrup. And now it's raining like a sonofabitch. I dig the rain. Quite the night.

Hope you had some light syrup tonight. Or at the very least, rocked out to "Devil's Diary".


***Post-post addendum: What kind of Commie website is Apple's iTunes?! They don't have the Caulfields there! The horror! OK. Go here and buy the whole CD for $2.99. That tune is definitely worth the extra two clams.

10,000 Words

Me and March are big-time music geeks who love to create lists and stuff like that. Our year-end "best of (insert year here)" lists of our favorite CDs are quite elaborate. As you will see.

I came up with an idea to do our favorite album covers and while my list ended up being in no order and by no means complete, it consists of 10 that I dig. I'll let the pictures do the talking for once:

Bad Religion - Recipe for Hate

The Clash - London Calling (sorry to steal that one too, March)

Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting

My Morning Jacket - Z

Rush - A Farewell to Kings

Soundgarden - Louder Than Love

The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute

Toad the Wet Sprocket - fear

Tricky - Nearly God

The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm Getting Fat and Really Need a Haircut

I must be part bear or something.

Invariably, when the fall/winter comes, I mysteriously pack on like 20 pounds and proceed to look like absolute garbage for the next 5 months. It would be OK if I hibernated or something, but I actually go out in public like this. Not good.

Part of the problem is that my level of activity drops into the negative range when the weather gets cold around here. Another part of the problem is that I consume beer and fried food like it was manna from heaven. And it is. But even manna needs to be eaten in moderation.

I don't mind outdoor activities, mind you. Me and the wife enjoy walks and even got into bouncing up and down with sneakers on this past season. Some call this "jogging", but I found myself going much further vertically than horizontally. Maybe I'm not doing it right. Maybe I am just lazy and don't understand why I need to run anywhere, when I have a perfectly good car that can get me where I want to go in a fraction of the time and perspiration.

We also invested in some exercise DVDs and these exercise pads that we put on the floor when watching said DVDs to keep our rug from smelling like an old sheepdog when we are done destroying our bodies. One of the DVDs has some woman instructing us on such torturous activities as "lunges" and "squats". I might not be Jack LaLanne, but I fail to see the benefit of such exercises if I do them for 15 minutes and then spend the next week and a half in a wheelchair, unable to walk, because it feels like someone sheared off my hamstrings with a machete.

The second DVD we had was a little more up my alley. This one was "8 Minute Abs". In time it takes me to listen to a Coheed and Cambria song, I can have a rock solid set of muscles in my stomach that will be covered by a shirt and completely undetectable 99.9% of the time. We pop that one in and there is a guy instructor who has a ripped physique and a hairstyle that makes me wonder if he was in A Flock of Seagulls at one time. And then the spandex. I can't forget the spandex. Lots of it. Electric blue with yellow lightning bolts. He looked like Shazam's cousin. You know, the one that was a florist/poet by day, crime-stopping ab maniac by night. That one.

Anyway, the horror of that tape lies in the fact that this isn't just a one-shot "8 minute" iron maiden for your bread basket. Uh-uh. I need to devote 480 seconds EVERY DAY to just to start to possibly look like Shazam's cousin. I'm sorry. I just don't have the intestinal fortitude or the interest in daffodils for such a commitment.

Sure, we COULD go to the gym, but that would require us to exercise among of an entire building full of Shazam's cousins and Dyna-Girls. I'm a little self-conscious in these scenarios and end up setting the weight machine thing to some Schwarzeneggerian number to "show off" and then proceed to rip my arms from my torso, like in that "All Steroid Olympics" skit on Saturday Night Live. Besides, I don't get the whole "weight lifting" thing. First of all, the weights are so, how to put it...heavy. Second, it is completely impractical and unnecessary to lift weights. If some guy is changing a tire on his car and the jack gives way and the car falls on him...sorry, that's what Superman is for. I ain't lifting it. Let Krypton Boy do it.

So, that explains why I am getting fatter.

Now, I haven't had a haircut in over a year and I'm bearing more than just a vague resemblance to this guy:

In hair only. Not wardrobe. Hell, if I walked around looking like this, I could justify lifting weights and working on my abs.

So, now my hair is just this out-of-control atmosphere that surrounds my head. I recognize it is out-of-control. It's hard to deny when I wake up with it in my mouth. But I'm lazy and don't want to get a haircut. Besides, look what that did for Sampson. I'm already pissing and moaning about exercising and "lifting". Imagine how much gnashing of teeth there would be if I was even WEAKER!

Finally, I'm growing some weird mustache, chin thing beatnik facial hair-type science project. Honestly, it looks like there was a power outage halfway through me firing up the Norelco. Not sure what this is all about either. All I know is that we picked up our wedding photo albums last weekend (after 13 months) and I was clean-shaven with a short haircut in all of the shots. And everyone kept looking at them saying, "Dim, look at how nice you look!" I understand the underlying context though. Which is, "What the hell happened and when did you get a job living under a bridge and eating children on their way to school?" This telepathy rules.

Anyway, I'm getting bigger and hairier and don't really feel like doing much about it now.

I'm going to have a beer and some Chicken McNuggets. It's 5:00 somewhere.


Friday, November 11, 2005

'Tis the Season


I went Christmas shopping today. I absolutely have to have EVERYTHING done before Thanksgiving or I am a total and complete basket case. And I don't throw that phrase around liberally. Phrases like "shit-be-damned!" and "this is the best spinach and artichoke dip I ever had", I throw around constantly. But if you hear me utter "basket case", you should think to yourself, "uh-oh. Dim means bidness."

Things I hate about shopping:

1. People. All of them. Every single last one of them. From the old people walking four centimeters an hour while admiring the call-girl attire at the latest female clothing store-du-jour to the ankle biting little brats yelling, crying, and slobbering over some over-priced piece of plastic that their spineless parents will have for them in about a month and a half. But none endure my silent wrath more than the pushy shoppers. Yeah, lady, you really needed to elbow me out of the way of that synthetic zebra-patterned sweater that's of such a size that it would be considered "roomy" on a friggin wooly mammoth. I'll let you figure out what "ho ho ho" really means.

2. Parking. This one is obvious. Everyone hates parking. I somehow made it to the mall 15 minutes BEFORE it even opened and still managed to get a lousy spot. And with parking, comes three other pet peeves. The asses who leave the mall with armfuls of parcels and walk to their car, while I am trailing them stealthily, like a paparazzi, only to get to their car, open it up, put their packages in, and then GO BACK TO THE MALL!!! Guess what? If your meathooks can't carry anything're done. I believe Bruce Cockburn had a song called, "If I Had a Rocket Launcher". I wish I had one too, Bruce. Teehhhee...I typed "Cockburn".

Pet peeve two is the shopper who actually gets into their car, but then decides to pontificate aloud on the fall of the Byzantine Empire nuance by nuance before backing out of the damn spot. I sit there, with the rhythmic click of my blinker, taunting me like the Telltale Heart while this doofus is doing long division while applying Chapstick to every crack and crevice of their devil-lips.

The third is probably my own fault, but I HATE losing my car in the lot. That happened today. Twice. And when I say "losing my car", I don't mean looking for it in the wrong row. I'm talking about looking for it in the wrong zip code.

3. Prices. I might not be Pythagoras, but I know a ridiculously high number when I see it and I may not be Andy Dufresne, but I know when someone is giving me the business down there (not from any personal experience, literally, mind you). And I may not be Gene Wilder, but I almost certainly also know very little about molecular biology. Whatever. You know what I mean.

4. The Temperature. I get it. It's wintertime. But the funny thing about wintertime is that they have these really neat things called "coats" that people put on to keep themselves warm while outside. Now, I realize the outside of the mall is, naturally, outside, but taking it one step further, the inside of the mall is inside and therefore doesn't have to be kept at a temperature resembling the second ring of hell. I shouldn't sweat in a mall. Ever. As soon as my skin starts feeling prickly, I'm out of there. Outside. Into the freezing cold. With my sweat. Catching pneumonia.

5. The Smells. OK, I hate perfume. But the thing I hate more than perfume is 100 different kinds of perfume all attacking my sinuses at the same time. Usually sprayed haphazardly in the air by a mall employee whose choice of eye makeup makes Tammy Faye Baker and Alex from A Clockwork Orange look conservative.

Oh and to top it all off, I had a salesperson say the word "irregardless" today. I almost blew a gasket right then and there.

I'm done spouting venom for awhile. Deck the halls and all that stuff.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I (Heart) Irony

Seen in two separate posts on various and sundry message boards today:

"Your an idiot"


"There morons!"

The latter of which was NOT supposed to be "There! Morons!" followed by a pointing motion. It was short for "they are morons".

Ahhh...irony...sly friend of intellectuals, covert enemy of dum dums everywhere.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stick a (pitch) fork in 'em!

Me and March are big-time music geeks. He has a love/hate relationship with, a widely read internet rag for music news and reviews. My relationship is more along the lines of this masochistic hate/despise.

I wrote this a bit of time ago and those smarmy elitist musical snobs at Pitchfork must have gotten wind of my clever and downright hilarious plan to spoof them. So what to the bastards do?? Take away the ratings guide for their CDs. Thereby rendering my entire piece superfluous and incomparable. Well, if you never had the pleasure of reading Pitchfork’s guide, something that made about as much sense as hearing “War and Peace” being orated in pig Latin, let me assure you…It was lousy. So, Pitchfork, if you think that getting “sneak peeks” at my material and thusly altering your site, cowardly I might add, in the hopes that I would call back my Dogs of Ridicule…at you I scoff. Now, on with the piece proper. And don’t call it a comeback, faithful readers, I’ve been here for years.

My name is Dim and I read

“Hi Dim!”

OK, it’s even saved as one of my favorites. It’s only a matter of time before all my teeth fall out and I’m reduced to selling maps to Marky Mark’s house on the side of the Southeast Expressway.

This isn’t something I am proud of, believe me. Between their smug news articles, their smug album reviews, and their all around smugness, whenever I leave the site, I’m left with an overwhelming feeling of smugtitude and the vague sensation that I have been talked down to. Egotistical, megalomaniacal, frustratingly inconsistent, snobby. The site is all of these. They slam the latest Wilco, yet possess enough audacity to revel in the audio euphoria that is the latest release by Mechanical Hybrid Jerk-Off, which is only available via import from Belgium, where they are nationally loved.

Yet I read it every day.

Multiple times a day.

But beyond all these things I hate about the site, the one aspect of pitchfork that maddens me most is their nebulous review system. Oh, try to go there and find an explanation of their numeric grades, why don’t you. On top of it all, you need a PhD in the Dewey Decimal System and an Ovaltine decoder ring from A Christmas Story. And you WON’T find the decoder ring on that site anymore my friends. This is because, in addition to being all of those horrible things I mention above, they are also out to ruin me! Smugly stealing my journalistic thunder is just one of their myriad of unforgivable transgressions. I mean, bringing the hate all over the Mars Volta’s “Deloused in the Comatorium”, but giving a 7.0 to a band called “!!!”?? Granted, I have never heard a single note from the band Exclamation Mark Exclamation Mark Exclamation Mark (which HAS to be what they call themselves), but with a name like that, or even Exclamation Mark Cubed, it HAS to be bad.. Right? Right??!!!

So, bowing in concession to pitchfork’s Heaven’s Gate-like following, I present to you my own pitchfork-inspired rating system in my undying hopes of making Dim City even a fraction as successful as that online music magazine juggernaut… I’d even settle for a fraction of the hits to So, put on your purple robes and Nikes and look for Hale Bopp. The Hell Train’s a-comin’.

The Rating System

0.0 – 0.3...Worst. CD. Ever.

0.4 – 0.7...Almost the worst. CD. Ever.

0.8.......Pretty bad, but there are some CDs that are even worse than this one, if you can even wrap your Phil Collins-lovin' cranium around such a concept. What the hell is a "Sussudio" anyway?

0.9 – 1.7...Woah, this really sucks. Not sure what differentiates it from the other suck-ass ones though. Hey, howsabout some pie?

1.8 – 2.1...Woah, this sucks. Really.

2.2 – 2.6...Really. This sucks. Woah.

2.7 – 3.8...This is horrible. Or for our Spanish-speaking readers, "Donde esta la zapateria?"

3.9 – 4.3...This is terrible, which isn’t quite as bad as horrible and much better than horrendous, but not nearly as good as stupendous, which is totally different though it sounds a little like it. Whoa! Slushy headache!

4.4 – 4.9...If this were a test, it would get an “F”, but because we are idiots, we’ll say that this is not horrible or terrible, but not good or great either, which is technically like a "C-" or a 7.1, but what the fuck?

5.0 – 7.0...Some good songs. Some aren’t so good. I think. Hey, anyone have a copy of "Kid A" lying around? Thom Yorke is soooooo rad! And that girl guitar player they have with the awesome cheekbones is just precious!

7.1 - 7.3...This sucks. Confused? Good!

7.4 – 7.9...Not too bad. Kinda good. Partly cloudy, partly sunny. What the hell does it matter? We all die in the end. Bonnie "Prince" Billy said so. We all see a darkness, Bonnie. We all see a darkness.

8.0 – 8.3...This is almost the best thing I have ever heard in my life. Then again, I’m 36 and still live in my parents' basement, so unless it is the soundtrack to Galaxian, I really don't have much to compare it to.

8.4 – 8.8...Wow, I actually don’t hate this too much. It’s still not up to pitchfork standards, but it isn't audio ipecac like all the others are. Almost worthy of caressing my cochlea. Ooh! That sounds dirty!

8.9 – 9.2...Good but not great. Wait. I mean, great but not good. Awesome, but not really really good. Tremendous!!! Where's my nitrous?

9.3 – 9.8...The Kate Beckinsale of discs. There is none better in the whole entire world. Wait. Galaxy. Wait. Solar system. Whichever one's bigger. Galaxy or solar system. Infinity times infinity. Hey, is Lindsay Lohan legal yet?

9.9...Oh my God. I just crapped my pants!!! Twice!!!!! And I kinda liked it! Not just the CD...the whole crapping my pants part too. Don't tell Freud!

10.0...Radiohead (a.k.a. God. On the 7th day, he actually created OK Computer, so go screw.)

So, there you have it. My PAINFULLY laborous rant against pitchforkmedia. Hey, pitchfork! Get bent!!! Unless, uh, you're hiring. me? OK?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yo ho ho and a barrel of of Bacardi Limon

This story cracked me up.

Now, I'm not a big proponent of stereotypes, but come on. Pirates on speedboats using rocket-propelled grenades? Blackbeard is rolling over in Davy Jones' locker as we speak.

We need to come up with another name for these dudes. Sea assasins. Water warriors. Ocean obliterators. Something that sounds like a professional wrestler's name. Pirates, these men, are not.

I have this vision of pirates and that vision must be upheld. These doofuses hardly conducted themselves in a piraty manner. Times may change, but standards must remain.

- Ratty ship with torn sails with a Jolly Roger flag? Nope.

- Primitive weaponry, like muskets, cannons, and hurled rotten scurvy fruit? Definite nope.

- Captain of said ratty ship has at least one peg leg, an eye patch, and a parrot companion. Well, the story didn't specify, but I would fathom this one is a big nope as well.

This would be like the headhunters on Gilligan's Island chasing the Professor and Mary Ann with bazookas and napalm. "Lovey, be careful...that native appears to be commandeering a Stealth bomber in our general direction."

This is why I hate the media. These guys aren't pirates! They're hooligans on jet skis. Let's call a spade a spade, matey.

50 men on a dead man's chest indeed. Humph.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bird Flu and BJ's

No, not THOSE BJ's. I'm talking more along the lines of wholesale clubs.

I really don't intend this blog to be me just blabbing about stuff that I'm sure no one cares about, but I was thinking of these wholesale club prices this weekend while I was in New York.

Now, I happen to belong to BJ's Wholesale Club, mainly because they have OK prices on large amounts of meat and I can actually buy a container of olive oil roughly the size of an Elsinore Beer vat from Strange Brew and not have to cash in my IRA.

So, I was in BJ's getting four pounds of butter. FOUR POUNDS OF BUTTER!!!! When it dawned on me: I really don't like this joint. And I think it has to do with the clientele, present company excluded, of course. But I just find that more and more of these people seem really shady in the checkout line. And I study them. Why the hell is this dude buying a 50 gallon jug of bleach, a cut of meat that looks like it was taken from a brontosaurus, a 83-pound carton of goldfish crackers, and blue jeans? That's just whacked. Something not right in the noggin.

And there was this one lady there with five kids, who were all probably three years apart, yet none of them were twins and her looks and personality made the "My doctor says I have to take a laxative" lady from David Lee Roth's "Yankee Rose" video look like Kate Beckinsale and conduct herself like Miss freaking Manners. I couldn't wait to get me and my butter out of there faster than you could say "can I have a pallet of kitty litter".

And then there was another lady behind us in line. Someone (not us) had left one of those colossal shopping carts near the checkout line. Strangely, this thing seemed to be lined with the pelts of 4 or 5 Oscar the Grouches. Don't ask. Anyway, this lady behind us starts contorting her face and wretching her body because this titanic cart is in her way. And she asks me, buyer of only four pounds of butter, "Is this yours??" Now come on. I'm not a big dude, but even my girlie man hands and biceps are able to corral four pounds of butter with minimum to moderate effort. I look back and shake my head. Instead, I really wanted to say, "Are you out of your mind?? All I have is four pounds of butter! No! The cart isn't mine. And why the hell are you buying 3 metric tons of pickled cauliflower???"

So, if you are good looking, have an IQ north of Cro-Magnon man, and not a sociopathic whacko, please join one of these wholesale clubs. Let's balance things out a little.

On to the bird flu. This reeks of Y2K to me. Bottled water, canned goods (both things you can luckily buy in bulk at BJ's). End-of-the-world type stuff. Now, I don't care if this is a government conspiracy or not. I'm certainly not going to get my feathers ruffled, so to speak. They keep talking, "IF this thing mutates..." Well, IF hostile cucumbers from the Horsehead Nebula decide they don't like the color silver of my Ford Taurus and want to irradiate me..." I just can't be bothered. I just have more important things to worry about. Like who the hell really needs a 256 ounce can of cumin??

Anyway, if you are really worried about the bird flu, here's my survival guide.

1. Don't eat bird shit.

2. Don't sleep near bird shit.

If you are able to somehow wrestle your will from doing these two tempting things, you should be in the clear.

And if I start a blog entry in six months with "Alas, dear cyberfriends, the bird flu has me in the clutches of its large talons. I have sprouted clucks and have begun tilting my head to the side when looking at my dinner. The end is nigh", feel free to remind of this post.

And don't bother writing to me telling me how misinformed I am about this. I already know I'm an idiot.

Cover your mouth when you cough,


Thursday, November 03, 2005

First Entry

Oh, the peer pressure. Blog this, blog that. No one should really care what I have to say about this or that. You probably don't. I'm doing this because I am currently drunk. Not really. I want to get back into writing and this seems as good an outlet as any. The fact that I am drunk has nothing to do with it. Well, not much anyway.

OK, here's the scoop. I go by "Dim". Many meanings. An adjective. A movie character. An antonym. Easy to spell.

Here's the first installment of Dimmings.

What is it about semi-bad news that makes people want to be the first one to let everyone know about it? I'm not talking about REALLY bad news, like a family member dying. But semi-bad news. Like someone you've heard about dying.

"Hey, man, did you hear? The dude from Blind Melon OD'ed"

"No, really?"

"Seriously, you didn't hear before now? I'm the first one to tell you?"

"Yeah, what's the big deal?"

"Nothing. Nothing. Are you SURE I'm the first one to tell you this?"

"Dude, shut up. I'm going to go listen to the Bee Girl song."

I'm guilty of this too. The other day, Theo Epstein, General Manager of the Boston Red Sox, unexpectedly quit. This, mere hours after the local rag published a story saying he was signed, sealed and delivered.

As soon as I found this out, out came the DimPhone. I called all three people I knew who would care. First one, Joe. "Are you fucking shitting me???" was his perfect response.

"Yes! I mean, no! I'm not shitting you! But yes! I got to you first!"

Not sure what great sense of accomplishment one gets for breaking semi-bad news stories first. But whatever it was, I got it.

Next up, Pest. Unfortunately, I don't have good a good memory for phone numbers, so I needed to consult the Dim Cellphone, which has a library of numbers stored in it, which completely obliterates whatever miniscule memory of phone numbers I do have. I manage to figure out the fancy contraption and call Pest. He doesn't even say hello.

"Joe just called. He told me."

"Joe? Called you? With the news that I found out? That son of a bitch! Stealing my thunder! I discovered that Theo quit, you hear me! I will have my vengeance!!!"

Luckily, all this was said in my inside voice, or Pest may have called the authorities.

By the time I got to Adam, he was already in the car and heard it on the radio. All major new outlets broke into their regular programming (which I think is pretty much "Dr. Phil" and and re-runs of "That 70's Show"). Billboards were taken out. Goodyear Blimps flashed the news on their gargantuan sides. Even Dr. Phil mentioned it. The air was totally out of my balloon. I could actually hear the muted trumpet play: "wah, wah, wah, wahhhhhh."

So, I did what any other rational person I know would do. Jumped on as many message boards I could with "hey, I hear that Britney and Kevin are having marriage troubles!"

It's not the Blind Melon dude OD'ing, but it'll do for now.

Thems are Dimmings. By the way, I have a problem with brevity. That's some semi-bad news for you. Hot off the presses.


Oh, and special props to this guy. A little clue for you all. Yes, the Walrus was Paul, but who is this dude? (No cheating now...pretend your right click button is broken. Unless you are a lefty. Then pretend your left click button is broken. Just pretend your damn mouse is broken. Or not.)

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