Reversing the Numbness

Friday, March 30, 2007

Let's Go, Mountainers

We may have been snubbed for the NCAA tourney, but West Virgina sure came through in the NIT. Too bad the graphic designer who made this T-shirt didn't. We might as well have just burned a couch down on the floor of Madison Square Garden.

Friday Music

It's Friday. Tonight the fam and I leave for a week at Nags Head. The weather forecast is looking good, for the first week of April. I have four really good bottles of wine packed up already. I'll buy a pound of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee down there. Thomas Hardy and Jude the Obscure are coming with me. Quite stoked.

I'm now taking music suggestions to help set the scene.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What's in a Name?

I don't let work bleed over to this blog very often, but I've been meaning to share with you guys the most recent Japanese pro racer to try his hand at the American series: Yoshi Fukudome.

Wow, right? That's one heck of a last name. It's probably like Smith or Jones over there, but here it takes on a whole new meaning.

Another name that always amazes me belongs to the lead singer of local band Sandra Black. He's a real cool dude and I really like the band, but I have to wonder how things went for Billy Zweiner (pronounced 'Zweener') in high school. Or grade school, for that matter. In fact, when I learned what his last name was years ago, I assumed it was a funny stage name and brought it up with him the next time I saw him.

Me: "Dude, what's your real last name?"

Billy: "Zweiner. Why?"

Me: "Oh, nothing. Damn, is it really this late? Gotta go!"

It's an awesome rock 'n' roll name, but like I said, it must have been murder as a kid. If it were my last name and I had a boy, I'd name him Niles. The 's' creates a necessary pause that just might get the kid out of some trouble.

If my last name were Fukudome, I wouldn't even give my kid a first name. What's the point?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More on Monkeys

I know geto boy is starting to get freaked out by all the monkey talk, but I just wanted to make the point that baby monkeys, like the adorable little chimp pictured, are about as sweet a little creature as there is. I have no doubt that this monkey will grow up to be a rat bastard, but in its infancy it's really quite endearing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Children of Men: On DVD

A while ago I posted about Children of Men, one of the most awe-inspiring movies I've seen in a long time. If you missed it in theaters, it'll be out on DVD on Tuesday. It's exceptional; I highly suggest renting it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Name That 'Do

Six rockers. Six different 'dos. Can you name them? If anyone gets F right, I'll buy and send you a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces.

As Much Fun as Barrel of Monkeys

As I alluded to in an earlier comment, one thing that can brighten almost any dreary scenario is imagining chimpanzees or orangutans dealing with the situation instead of you. For example, I am currently going through a home crisis with a leak in a kitchen wall and ceiling whose origin is as of yet undetermined. This is pretty crappy, but I smile when I think about a chimpanzee smashing my wall up with a hammer and inspecting my pipes. When I say, "have you found the source of the leak?" he just shakes his head, and proceeds to smash a nearby lamp with the hammer. See? Now that's funny.

When a judge is yelling at me, I imagine a monkey assigned as his court crier. "Have you called for a jury panel?" The monkey (wearing an official blue court officer blazer, of course) throws the phone across the room and screeches.

There is no end to this. Get pulled over by a cop, just imagine a monkey in a little highway patrol helmet holding a radar gun.

Lets face it, primates are our closest cousins in the animal kingdom and therefore the easiest to anthropomorphrosize. However, If your imagination is too limited, I strongly suggest finding a copy of the 1981 movie Going Ape, starring Tony Danza as a generic down on his luck guy who stands to inherit a large sum of money if he successfully cares for three orangatans and their zany custodian (played by an Italian speaking Danny Devito). Hi jinks and hilarity ensure when hit-men attempt to kill the orangutans in order to keep Tony from getting the money. Of course, the simians are the real stars of the show as they foil the bumbling hit-men time and time again .

Check out this clip. You won't be sorry; just don't be surprised if the next time are in line at the DMV you find yourself laughing at the thought of chimpanzees taking license photos with the camera pointed in the wrong direction. And then actually issuing the license. And then you explaining to a cop why your driver's License photo is a close-up of a chimpanzee's nose. See, thats funny.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Zee, Updated

Here you go, getto boy. Hoop could have done a much better job.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Apologies to all WVU fans, just wanted to spread the love.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Working in the motorcycle industry, I've certainly seen my fair share of tattoos, but until now I've managed to keep my skin ink-free. That's all about to change.

You've seen full-arm tattoos, or sleeves. Well, I've decided to get a pant leg. Yep, I'm going to cover my entire right leg with the final frame of Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. Sure, it's dismal, but I usually wear jeans anyway.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Bass Player Has Chops

... and he can also play. Here's a classic Bowie performance of one of his best songs, "Starman."

Monday, March 19, 2007


I caught a commercial or a show or something on TV tonight and saw that Gene Simmons recently got a facelift, and it reminded me that I've wanted to tell you guys that KISS may be the worst band that has ever lived. Seriously. Sure, they're good businessmen and all; they knew they sucked so they invented personas and put on the makeup and all that crap, but it was all bogus. The best thing that ever happened to them was when uptight parents started thinking they were Knights in Satan's Service, because that created an atmosphere of rebellion that fooled generations of youth into thinking they're actually good, or that they're actually heavy in some way. I'm sure some people listened to them just to piss their folks off, but I'm also convinced that many people were fooled into thinking this band actually has some sort of talent. They don't.

I don't have a problem with their "show," per se. When David Bowie wore make-up, it was cool because his music also kicked ass. Same goes for Alice Cooper. I can even get into Marilyn Manson. All of these people care or cared about the music at least as much as the show. KISS? They cared about selling dolls and lunchboxes and make-up kits and hooking up with groupies. Only one of those things is rock 'n' roll.

Name a good KISS song. "Strutter"? That's a horrible song. "Black Diamond"? "Cold Gin"? No, those are horrible too. And "Rock 'n' Roll All Nite" and "Beth" are two of the worst songs I've ever heard. And what did they do when they felt the changing of the tide in the music industry? They made a disco record. (Remember "I Was Made for Loving You"?) Hell, they even managed to make the worst movie of all time, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.

I'm not saying there haven't been bands that have made worse music than KISS, but all things considered, KISS may just be the worst band of all time.

The A Confederacy of Dunces Excerpt of the Day

If you're currently suffering the dreadful misfortune of never having read A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, allow me to give you a short moment of salvation, direct from its hallowed pages. Part 2 in a series.

"What's this hanging out your bag?" [says the policeman]

"What do you think it is, stupid? It's a string for my lute." [Ignatius, our hero, answers]

"What's that?" The policeman drew back a little. "Are you local?"

"Is it the part of the police department to harass me when this city is a flagrant vice capital of the civilized world?" Ignatius bellowed over the crowd in front of the store. "This city [New Orleans] is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, Antichrists, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians, all of whom are only too well protected by graft. If you have a moment, I shall endeavor to discuss the crime problem with you, but don't make the mistake of bothering me."

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Dregs of Humanity

I don't know where you guys were in 1984 and '85, but I could often be found in front of the television watching the classic but short-lived Jason Bateman sitcom It's Your Move. Jason played a high-school scam-artist named Matthew Burton who was constantly at war with his mom's boyfriend through one prank or the other. I freakin' loved that show.

It lasted 19 episodes, but I really only remember the two-part show featuring the band Dregs of Humanity. This band was just another of Matthew's schemes, of course -- the musicians were actually just laboratory skeletons dressed up like metal musicians and hooked up like marionettes. They ended up getting huge, and before the lie got completely out of hand, Burton sent the band off a cliff to their demise. Nobody ever figured out that they weren't a real band. (Read the Wikipedia entry for more on this episode.) Any time I've ever heard the word 'dregs,' I've instantly thought of It's Your Move.

I ran across the word today, then hit the Web. It sure was surprising to look on YouTube to find this. If you liked this show too, you're going to want to follow that link.

Safe Sex: The Next Cold War?

As in, a thing of the past. A knee-jerk reaction to an outdated fear of our parents' generation. That's right, folks. Our kids won't have to worry about pesky condoms or dreaded abstinence. Why? Because the president of Gambia recently announced before a group of foreign diplomats that he has cured AIDS. Yes, you read that correctly. The president of the the impoverished African Nation of Gambia has cured AIDS. President Yahya Jammeh. Not DOCTOR Jammeh, mind you. Surprisingly, he does not have a background in medicine or science at all.

Apparently, his ancestors came to him in a dream, and gave him the cure for AIDS. Lucky for his constituents, all it takes to cure the deadly AIDS virus is a mixture of about 7 different herbs and spices.

Its the 21st Century. Medical breakthroughs occur on daily basis. We have successfully mapped the human genome and we are teased with staggering possibilities of stem cell research on a daily basis. It is somewhat disconcerting that the most significant advancement since the polio vaccine amounts to seven herbs served up in a recycled syrup jar in a third world country. But there you have it. After all, it was on, so it must be true.

Friday Music

It's Friday. I need music suggestions. Feed me, Seymour!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sometimes Visualization Helps

Zee, I thought it might help if you could actually see what you'd look like playing the "Flying V" on stage. Please forgive my crude skills; I am only an editor, after all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Band of the Day

The Hold Steady. If you only have time for one song, try "Southtown Girls."


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cash and Cash on Dylan

To Bid, or Not to Bid...

I have been seriously toying with the idea of bidding on this guitar. I am truly torn. It'll wind up running me about $140 when all is said and done. That's not much for a guitar. Of course, that might be too much for what would amount to a visual gimmick.

I mean, seriously---no one in their right mind would think a clear lucite Flying V-style guitar from e-bay would sound good (or play well, for that matter).

BUT, I have always wanted a real Flying V; I just can't justify spending that kind of cash when I know in my heart of hearts that it would never be my main guitar (I'm just not comfortable with the odd weight distribution). So this would be a cheap alternative.

As for the obviousness of the gimmick itself: that's OK, it kinda fits in with what my band is all about. We're a straight-out, no- frills, five-chord Rock & Roll band that celebrates beer and girls. Most of our influences are from that period in the 70s when NYC, L.A. and London were converging to lay the foundation of what we commonly think of as "punk rock." The gratuitous visual certainly fits in with the "glam" aspects of where we're coming from. In fact, out of everyone in the band, I think I have longed to pull off a mild glam thing the most. Note I said "mild." I draw the line at make-up and flat-out drag.

On the con side, its still 140 bucks that I'm not sure I wanna say goodbye to (not including the cost of a case or a gig bag), plus whatever cash I'd have to pay a luthier to set it up so that its playable at a show (mind you, I'm not freakin' Andres Segovia). Its also another thing I'd have to lug to a show for the sake of 2-3 songs.

*Sigh* Decisions, decisions. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

Monday, March 12, 2007

My Flash Mob Idea

About a year and a half ago or so, flash mobs were getting a lot of press. Of course this gave me an idea which, given the warm weather of late, I should probably have brought up a couple of weeks ago. But I didn't remember it until yesterday, so I'll bring it up now and maybe we can make it happen next winter.

I'd like to organize a different kind of flash mob. We -- and by we, I mean any of you who are close to Morgantown, preferably if you have access to a pick-up truck -- wait until we get a very big snow. It needs to be good packing snow, too. When this happens, we all get together with a couple of pick-up trucks and build the body parts of eight snowmen. We don't put them on top of each other, but we do decorate the individual parts with coal, sticks, carrots, holly, or any other cool, bio-degradable stuff we can think of. Then we load up the trucks and wait until the middle of the night. This would work better if it's still snowing, so there will be next to no traffic.

Next, we drive downtown and quickly assemble the snowmen -- two on each corner, opposite sides of the street, at the corners of High St. and Willey, Fayette, Walnut, and Pleasant -- and we take off.

Finally, an photographer accomplice follows us down the street and shoots some photos, just in case some humbug destroys the snowmen before the morning traffic begins.

It's performance art. We take not credit. We only use bio-degradable stuff so we don't break any littering laws. It would be unprecedented; eight snowmen on High St. If we want to really take it to Calvin-and-Hobbes-type levels, we could even make the snowmen on opposite sides of each corner interact with each other.

It could make for a fun evening.

Friday, March 9, 2007

My Bonnie

Two days ago we were hit by the biggest snowstorm of the year, but today we reached 60 and I could smell spring in the air. Spring means lots of good things, from warmer weather to more sunlight to blossoming trees and so much more, but for me, the best thing of all is getting back on my motorcycle. I have an '04 Triumph Bonneville T100, just like the one pictured but a few years older. Clearly it's got a vintage look to it; it doesn't look much different than the ones Steve McQueen used to ride so passionately. Before I take it out, though, I need to get it up to Wexford, PA, to have the dealer give it the once over, because I don't know the first thing about keeping my bike running smoothly and safely. It just so happens that my boss has a Ducati 749S that needs a little love, too, and there's a Ducati dealership in Wexford as well. It might even be the same place -- I'm not sure. So we're going to take our bikes up at the same time in the back of his new Toyota truck, which is supposed to arrive in a week or so. What a sight that's going to be -- a vintage looking Brit bike, bare bones as a new bike gets, and an Italian work of art and speed that's worth nearly three of my bikes and goes nearly twice as fast.

Bossman likes his Duck, and I think it's pretty cool too, but as far as I'm concerned, my Bonnie is the best bike in the world. And when I fire it up and feel the fresh West Virginia air flowing up my sleeves, and across my face, that's when Spring will really be here for me. I'm not sure how much longer I can wait.

Robby & The Maniacal Hot Dog Man

OK, I know I am treading close to "beating a dead horse," but I just can't stop thinking about this. Note that "Letter III" was the one that I reproduced below, and "Letter I" was actually the reply that I received.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Miroslav the Vampire Slayer

After all of the hell Slobodan Milosevic rained down on Serbia throughout his years of tyranny, I can't say I blame Miroslav Milosevic (no relationship) for driving a three-foot wooden stake through his heart a year after the dictator died in prison while on trial for war crimes. Hey, he could have been a vampire, and imagine what an asshole he'd be if he were undead.

The thing I don't get, though, is how he's so sure he pierced his heart if he just drove the stake directly into the ground. Isn't there a casket? Certainly they didn't bury the dude in a burlap sack in a shallow grave. I mean, without digging up the casket, breaking it open and literally shoving the stake directly into Milosevic's chest, I think the chances of splintering his pumper with the stake are about as good as Serbia winning the Olympics.

Is this how vampire hunters operate these days? God help our souls if there's an outbreak of undead.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

More on the Jesus Tomb Thing

I don't want to talk too much religion (or politics) on this board, but I saw the Discovery Channel special on the Jesus family tomb a couple of nights ago, and a strange idea occurred to me. (If you've been under a rock and you don't know the gist of this claim, Google Jesus Tomb before reading the rest of this post, or look at Spooge's previous post on the subject.)

One of the basic beliefs of the Christian religion is that Jesus is going to return to earth. As I was watching a scientist perform tests on what the filmmakers claim is Jesus' DNA, I got to thinking: What if somebody were to clone that DNA?


A Quick Dose of R.R.C.

Sorry U2 fans, but its funny 'cause its true!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Attention Time Travelers and Nice Aliens

Back in 2001, a close friend forwarded to me a random e-mail that wound up in his inbox. He stated only that is was "easily one of the strangest e-mails [he] has ever received..." This would become the first in a series of three pieces of "Crazy Correspondence" that found their way to me during an odd two-month stretch in 2001. This is not meant to disparage anyone suffering from a serious mental illness, mind you---but hey, funny is funny. Faithfully re-created below (including original spelling, grammar and syntax errors) is this first piece of "Crazy Correspondence." Enjoy!

If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!

Also if you are from any of the following planets and can help me as mentioned please reply:

I come to you for help and need a way of doing this in the following way exactly in such a way that there will be little or no danger. I come to you in peace. Trust and honesty is an absolutely must!!

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed. I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!

I need to be able to:

Travel physically back in time.

Rewind my life (including my age.)

Be able to (remember what I know now) so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with after I go back.

I am in great danger and need this immediately!

Only if you are a time traveler or nice alien and have this technology please send me a (separate) email to:


As you can see, this was not typical "spam." There were no solicitations to sell any products or promote any websites. This cat was clearly schizophrenic.

In an effort to help, I e-mailed him. While I was careful not to fully validate his insane beliefs, I alluded to the fact that I have travelled to many a far and wondrous places. I went on to imply that I had great wisdom. I told him that in all my adventures, I learned that the most powerful force in the galaxy is the human spirit and its will to overcome and succeed against great odds. I implored Robby to stop seeking answers in the past, and to focus positive energy on his present, and all would turn out well. I was sure that my inspirational words could change his life.

He replied. He insisted that his step-mother was poisoning him and begged me to share my time-travel tech with him.

So much for trying to use his own psychosis as a force to change his life for the better.

I sent Robby another e-mail, but he stopped responding. I tried again a few years later, and the e-mail was returned stating that it was an invalid address.

I hope he is doing OK.

Who Sold Me On a Band of Horses?

I just turned on a Pandora station I previously created for a group called Band of Horses, and I loved the song I heard. Did somebody tell me about them here on RtN? I can't figure out why I made that station, or who told me about that band.

Anybody else know/like them?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Book of Lies

My old friends Rick and Mike are two-thirds of the Charleston, S.C.-based Book of Lies, and let me tell you, these guys are good. I worked with both of them for years at Camelot Music back in the '90s, and Rick was a huge influence on me in many ways, particularly on my tastes for music, books, films, etc. At the time, he had the biggest collection of CDs I'd ever seen, and I'd often hang out at his place almost until daybreak listening to or watching stuff I didn't even know existed. I would go so far as to say that hanging out with Rick changed the way I think in general.

He's also a hell of a guitar player and song-writer, and I listened to him play countless songs through the years, some his own, some written by others. All of these years later, he, Mike (drums), and Bobby (I've never met him, but through association I'll assume he's a good guy) are putting that talent together in a package that I think rocks. Please take a second to check them out.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Friday Music

I'm taking suggestions for music to listen to tomorrow, new or old, any genre. Any ideas?