Monday, May 31, 2010

My Eighth Grade Journal:

The Spring Musical

Wednesday, March 23 1988

Today, they posted signin sheets for the spring musical, Up Your Wall. Turns out I'm doing it this year, but only because Matt switched the signup titles and I thought I was entering the Dungeons and Dragons Gamers Club. When I went to the first meeting, I said I wanted to be a wizard, and Mrs. Royce said, Well, that's nice, but you're going to be playing the part of Randall, the Concerned Citizen. She gave me the script and I saw I was in a musical and I said this was bullshit. Royce got mad and told me if I didn't show some appreciation for culture and the arts, she'd make me the Flatulent Male Cheerleader instead. When I got home I told my mom what happened, and she said Listen, buster, if your grades are as bad as they were last semester, you won't be doing any musical at all. Then she saw my face, and said, No, I mean if your grades don't pick up, you will be doing that musical! Then I got all confused and she told me to go away. My brother laughed at me when I told him and said I couldn't sing for shit. Then I called Matt and yelled at him, and he laughed at me and said he wanted my autograph. I'm going to get revenge on them all.

Tuesday, March 29 1988

We had our first practice today. Royce asked if I could make a falsetto note, and I said no, but my grandfather has a falsetto teeth. Then she sent me out of the room for a minute. When I came back in, we were learning steps to a number called "Video Game Fever." Andy Richter got to dance with Lori Bundt, who's totally hot, and the whole time he was doing it, he was smirking at me and twirling her around so I could see up her dress. That part I didn't mind so much. But then Royce gave me my first line for the number, and told me I was supposed to say it strong and loud. So I went, "What's wrong with kids today?" Then she told me to do it with more feeling. So I tried, "So what's wrong with kids today?" and she said no, my rhythm is all off. So I went "So what's wrong with kids today?" and she said no, you're not passionate enough. I said that was because I wasn't dancing with Lori, but then Lori heard me and blushed, and everyone else started laughing at me. Royce had to send me home so she could get everyone calmed down again. I swear I'm going to get revenge on them all.

Monday, April 3 1988

Oh God. Got demoted to background chatter today. How humiliating. Instead of taking front stage and projecting something about something being wrong with whoever these days, now I have to stand in the background with that loser Jacob, shake his hand during the big number and watch Andy dance with Lori. Royce said, don't worry about it, this is much less pressure for you. I said I can take pressure. She said Really? and made a sudden motion towards me, and I squealed and hid behind Jacob. She said, Okay, calm down, and then she sent me to go try on my costume. My costume is stupid. It's a Hawaiian shirt with a tan jacket. Who wears those shirts? I look like a geek. One of Lori's friends, Katrina, came up to me and told me Lori liked me. I said Really? and the girl squealed and ran back to her friends and said Oh my God, he believed it! Tomorrow I'll find Katrina's lunch and spike her sandwich with sugar from the cafeteria floor.

Tuesday, April 4 1988

Had to serve a detention today. Principal Johnston caught me in Katrina's lunch. Apparently she's diabetic. I tried to tell him what happened, but I don't think he was listening. When I finished the story he said, Well that's nice, and Who are you again? and Mmmm. Sandwiches. His eyes looked glazed. When I got home, before I could open my mouth, Mom told me she didn't even want to hear about it.

Thursday, April 6 1988

Two days until opening night. I now have a total of three lines: "Kids today"; "That sounds like a plan!" ; and "I've got homework to do." I told Mom and Dad about the show and Mom said, We'll be there. Dad said, How long will it last? and Mom said for him to encourage me. Dad ruffled my hair and said, Good job, kid, I'm proud of you. Mom said, He hasn't done the show yet! and Dad said, Well now's my only chance to feel proud before it actually happens. Mom said, Have a little more faith in him, but I think Dad is onto something. I still can't remember all my lines.

Friday, April 7 1988

At lunch today, Royce asked me if I could say any of my lines. I made it as far as "That sounds like kids today!" and she rolled her eyes and told me to report to the choir room for practice. We drilled the lines for half an hour, but all I could come up with was "I've got a plan for kids" and "Homework today!" Royce said, If you flub this performance, I'll slap you silly. I said What's the big deal? and she said This musical is my ticket out of this dump. George Abbot will be in the crowd tonight and once he sees my talent, good-bye junior high nincompoops. I said, Like me? She said, No. Other nincompoops. I would get revenge on her, but I think the musical will take care of that by itself.

Saturday, April 8 1988

The show started at 7, but we finished early. At 7:35. Royce watched me mouth "" before she yanked me off stage and gave my lines to Russell, the Drama Queen. Andy got caught making out with Jacob backstage, and the two of them got sent home, so I had to take Jacob's part. Which meant I had to shake hands with myself. I thought I'd get to dance with Lori, but she was all like, Eeew, and I told her to stick a cork in it, so I got in trouble again. Every time I was on stage, Matt kept holding up signs from the middle row saying "DOUCHEBAG," and I kept losing my place after I saw it. Mom caught him doing it once and smacked him on the head. Dad kept looking at his watch. After the second act, I went backstage to do my homework so I could get better grades and not have to go through all this again in the fall play. I later found out that George Abbot thought our production of "Up Your Wall" was "somewhat more tolerable than a vasectomy with no anesthesia" so I guess Royce will be at school on Monday. I have to go finish my math now. My test is Monday and Mom is still whaling on Matt downstairs.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Making Amends File #324

To: Jimmy Spazoli
Re: Your Getting Caught with Gabrielle Uniger

Jimmy, you probably don't remember me, but we went to high school together. We didn't have any classes together or anything, but we passed by in the hallways once or twice. You were usually holding Garbrielle's hand and stealing kisses before classes and mushy, lovey things like that.

You probably never noticed the insane, burningly jealous stares boring holes into your thick, drug-addled head from across the lunchroom, and you most certainly didn't notice the furious stare from a social misfit firing at you through the walls of the DunEnd Motel on Route 72 after senior prom, where you took Gabrielle and the two of you went at it like lust-crazed weasels. Until, that is, the police and your parents, tipped off by an anonymous phone call, bust down the door and took you to the station to process you for statutory rape.

You didn't notice that stare coming from me, because it wasn't coming from me. I don't know who would have had that much rage towards an idiot like you with a hot piece of ass he didn't have the brains to appreciate (what was it, three other girls on the side, Casanova?). But I do know that, when the chips were down, I didn't offer any words of commiseration or support. And I should have.

I'm so very, very sorry, Jimmy.

All the best, etc.

P.S. You were so busted! Dude, you should have seen your face!

Making Amends File #323

To: Gabrielle Uniger
Re: Our would-be high school romance

Gabrielle, you might remember back in high school that annoying kid who sat behind you in study hall and stared down the front of your shirt all the time. The kid who made hooting and kissing noises whenever you walked by him in the hall. The kid who was caught with a photo of a Playboy model with your yearbook photo glued over the head.

Well, I was friends with that kid. And I stared down the front of your shirt too, only I was much more subtle about it.

Anyway, I am here to make amends for our disgraceful and disgusting behavior. You deserved much better than the lascivious and perverted leers of a couple of prepubescents like us. Your low-cut shirts, slit skirts and bared midriff clearly demands more respect than we were apparently willing to give. I'd also like to express my sorrow over your tragic prom night and your leaving high school early--I'm sure you wound up being a terrific mother and that Jimmy Spazoli wound up being a terrific father.

All the best, etc.

P.S. You are a filthy whore.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Happening (Happens): An M. Night Shyamalan Film

Starring Alma, Jess, Julian, Eliot...and me

Scene 1

ELIOT: Something's happening!
ALMA: What is it?
ELIOT: The trees! The grass! I think...I think nature is communicating with itself!
ALMA: Oh my God!
ELIOT: In order to protect themselves against humanity's damage, they're releasing a toxin that causes self-destructive--
ME: This is stupid. (Goes outside to mow the lawn in cleats)

Scene 2

ELIOT: We can't be too close to each other! Nature is starting to fight back!
ALMA: Oh my God!
ELIOT: We'll be okay as long as we don't band too many people together--
ME: This is stupid. (Goes outside to bulldoze landscape and install landmines)
ELIOT: No! (dramatically)Don't go outside!
ME: Why? The guys are coming over. We're going to carve our initials into all the trees. (pause) And set fire to them.
ALMA: Oh my God!
ME: What? What?

Scene 6

ME: Wait...what? You mean all that green stuff out there--
ELIOT: Nature.
ME: Yeah, that. You mean it's making us kill ourselves?
ELIOT: Well, I explained all that twenty minutes ago while you were beating the lawn with your rake--
ME: Ah! Ah! Fuck! Let's get the fuck out of here! (breaks down crying)
JESS: Calm down, guy.
ME: (sobs) I hate trees! I hate grass! I hate you, kid!
JESS: God. What a pussy.

Scene 7

JULIAN: We've got to be calm.
ME: Calm. Right. Because there are a bunch of pissed-off Ents outside trying to make us all put bleach on our breakfast cereal.
JULIAN: Calm down, man. Here, want to hear a math problem? If you get paid one cent your first day--
ME: Stop telling me to calm down or I'll stick this log up your ass.
JULIAN: Look, no reason to get testy. I'm a secondary character. I'll be dead in about twenty minutes anyway.
ME: Good point. You want to smoke some of those leaves over there?
JULIAN: Only if we play a few hands of Texas Hold'em while we do.

Scene 8

ELIOT: (into phone) Julian! Julian! I think Julian just killed himself! He's not answering his cell. He must have caught the toxin!
ME: Yes...the toxin...(throws bloody log away, pockets Julian's wallet)

Scene 17

CRAZY OLD LADY MRS. JONES: I guess I should let you all into my house. But don't touch any of my--
ME: This is stupid. (sucker-punches her, throws her outside, goes in house)
ELIOT: Okay, I'm with you on this one.

Scene 20

ELIOT: The wind! It's coming our way!
ALMA: Oh my God!
JESS: I'm scared!
ELIOT: Don't worry. We just have to approach this scientifically. First thing is to get Jess to safety.
ALMA: Right. Because she's young and vulnerable.
ME: Hey Jess! Let's go outside and play hide and seek!
JESS: Um, is this really the right--
ME: Tag! (Pushes her out the door of the house, locks it behind her) You're it!
ALMA: Oh my God!
ELIOT: But what good does that do? The wind will still--
ME: No time to explain! Eliot, I need you to go outside and douse those crops with kerosene. Alma, spray all the bushes with Axe Body Spray!
ALMA: Oh my God! Oh my God!

Scene 26

ELIOT: Okay. I just ran outside to be with my wife and newly-orphaned best friend's daughter, and the toxin that's making people kill each other has mysteriously dissipated.
ALMA: Wow, that's...unrealistically lucky.
ELIOT: We must make sure we respect nature from now on. We must learn from this lesson.
ME: We must light a bonfire out of hay and chrysanthemums in memory of all the poor dead bastards. (starts spraying gasoline)
ELIOT: Oh crap...!
ME: (hacking at foliage and laughing maniacally) Who's your daddy? Yeah! That's right, bitches! Kiss my carbon-emitting, oxygen-gobbling ass!
ELIOT: Hey, Alma, let's have kids.
ALMA: Okay.

The End

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Comebacks to the beautiful, entrancing woman in my life which I've been too cowardly to deliver

While watching Raising Arizona)
HER: So where does this movie take place?
ME: Wasilla, Alaska. Duh.

While cleaning house
HER: Hey! Hey!
ME: (pulls iPod earphones from ears) What?
HER: Why do you wear those things while you're cleaning? Then you can't hear me yelling at you!
ME: Why do you ask questions and then immediately answer them?

While drinking beer recklessly on a Sunday night when I should be grading papers
ME: Could you get me another beer while you're up?
HER: Won't that be your fourth one?
ME: No. It'll be my third one. The next beer will be my fourth.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Suggested Curriculum Revisions for the State of Texas

Recently, the state of Texas voted to rewrite their secondary education curriculum to make sure it reflected conservative, Christian values. Without question, the following passages need to be chopped, in order to ensure the continued moral development of our children. These passages are filthy and perverted. Strike them from the record. Now.

"Close to our bows, strange forms in the water darted hither and thither before us; while thick in our rear flew the inscrutable sea ravens."
--Moby Dick, Chapter 50

"It has ever since [I came to Boston] been a Pleasure to me to see good Workmen handle their Tools."
--The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, p 57

Quince: If that may be, then all is well. Pyramus, you begin.
Enter Puck, from Behind
--A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene 1

Palin lays down law on neighbor reporter

Palin lays down law on neighbor reporter

Former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin reported on her Facebook page yesterday that freelance writer Joe McGinniss is renting a house next to hers in Wasilla in order to write a book on her.

Palin, concerned about privacy and lifestyle violations, immediately spoke to police, who issued a series of edicts limiting McGinniss' activities and intrusions, including:

--no attempts to impregnate any female members of the Palin family

--no open discussion of the origin of dinosaurs or the Big Bang in front of Trig

--no attempts to "friend" Palin on facebook

--maintain a low volume on the radio while listening to NPR; also, copies of the New York Times will not be left out in public where Palin fans might catch a glimpse of them

--routine submissions to backyard touch football games and skeet shooting with Todd

Pathetic Moments of Triumph I am Currently Reliving

Episode I: 1993, Lake Zurich Blockbusters

My friend Jen and I are out getting a movie to watch at my place. Jen asks me if she can drive my mother's 1990 Honda Accord back, since she's got her drivers ed test coming up, which will determine whether or not she'll get a license, which will, in turn determine whether or not we'll get to hang out this spring and summer vacation.

I agree and fork over my keys. We switch places. She fixes the seat. Adjusts the mirror. Turns towards me and gives me a confident, humorous smile. Puts the gear into drive. And crashes into a bush in front of her--she'd meant to put the car in reverse, but had been too busy adjusting the mirror and smiling confidently to note her direction.

I was reassuring. I was confident. I was sympathetic.

I didn't smack her in the mouth.

A true moment of triumph.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bardcast has podcasts on multiple topics. I'm going through them to see if there's anything I want to steal for the seminar next month.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Area English Teacher "Fucking Fed Up" with Palin's Language

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A suburban high school English teacher has gone on the record as saying he "can't fucking take" another lexical or semantic gaffe by conservative pundit and former vp nominee Sarah Palin.

The teacher, whose name is not being released, made it clear that Palin's upcoming book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, was the primary source of his frustration and that Palin herself was setting the oratorical bar lower than ever.

"How many different ways can this woman bitch up the English language?" the teacher asked at a recent press conference. "Bad enough she's adding 'ey' to the end of any word she doesn't like. Now this."

The teacher explained that what made Palin's book title so inelegant, and "fuck-dumb as a manure pile in the living room," was its asymmetry.

"You can reflect on Family. You can reflect on Faith," he said. "But how in Christ do you reflect on Flag? Does she mean Reflect on a Flag? On the Symbolism of the American Flag?

"Me Sarah Palin. Me reflect on flag," he added. "I need a drink."

Palin's campaign manager, Lou Trillo, defended Palin's title choice.

"[The English teacher] may not see it as a matter of choice, but then, neither do a lot of these cultural liberal elites," he said in a brief press release. "They want you to abide by the government. They want you to abide by what they decide is best for America. But Sarah is a rogue. This is what she does."

The teacher countered Trillo's statement by telling him such assertions were "unfuckingfounded" and that he should get his boss to "shut her damn cake hole."

"'Flag' is a definite reference, not a generic noun," he said. "Language is sacrosanct. So you can take that crap and blow it out your ass."

Palin herself declined to comment, saying through intermiediary sources only that she was "riding in car" to go back home so she could "think about speech" she had to deliver in Boise later that week.

The English teacher, meanwhile, said he was throwing in the towel on teaching grammar and syntax and going home to get high.

"If the political right won't speak English correctly, how in hell can they argue that it should be our national language?" he said. "Language is a tool. In the hands of the ill-suited, what could be a sharp scalpel for incisive and revealing commentary becomes a blunt cudgel used only to grab attention, not deliver information.

" 'Reflections on Flag,' " he added. "My cock-filled ass."

"I used good grammar...and almost bought into domestic terrorism!"

Palin's next book already making waves. Shallow, empty waves...

CHICAGO--Confidential sources, and page seven of today's newspaper, have confirmed that former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be releasing her second book, titled America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag.

Palin mentioned the title during a recent speech at the Rosemont Theater yesterday, where she riffed on President Obama's "hopey changey thing," the "lame-stream media" and other clever onomatopoetic noun phrases designed for subliterate would-be voters. The new book will most likely sell like crazy, given the popularity of her first book, Going Rogue.

However, sources close to other sources (who never leave the house) revealed that Palin had gone through several other possible book titles before settling on America By Heart.

Lou Trillo, Palin's campaign manager, said the conservative pundit had thought about titles such as Talk to What's On the Hand: Tactics of a Pundit for the People and What I Meant Was Spill, Baby, Spill: How Oil is Good but Something Clean Would Be Better.

"And for the record, she didn't write [those titles] on her hand," said Lou Trillo, Palin's campaign manager. "They were all neatly printed on a big yellow legal pad. With stickers and ponies by the good ones."

Palin fans are already rampant with speculation about what domestic and international issues plaguing the world Palin will be writing about.

"I'm thinking...Faith? I bet she reflects on faith," said Dustin Eckhardt, general manager of the Twin Rivers, Idaho Borders.

"Balls," countered Robbie Cruz, Chicago tax accountant. "She'll be reflecting on Family. Doesn't she have a kid who's dying or something?"

Trillo declined to comment on specific content of the book.

"There will definitely be a lot of reflecting on the many facets of America," he said. "The former governor is a rogue. It's anyone's guess what she'll reflect on next. Even she's wild to find out."

Palin gestures with flinty frontier toughness for her flinty Midwestern tough audience.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Rushed Review of Me and Shakespeare, a memoir by Herman Gollob

A lot of what Gollob has to say in this admittedly riveting memoir makes me want to punch him in his erudite, enthusiastic mouth. Basically, the book takes us into his golden years of retirement and his blossoming interest in All Things Shakespeare: reading the plays, studying the plays, teaching them, watching them and interpreting them. His interest becomes your own, if it isn't already, but for me, it's a bit too hard to stop being jealous/resentful of him long enough to roll around in his commentary and life story.

Gollob edited books for forty years, consorting with authors the likes of which I shall not see any time soon. He retired comfortably, and picked up a passion for Shakespeare after a staging of Hamlet. He dove into the texts, learned everything you could expect an autodidact to learn, and dove into teaching Shakespeare to an adult education class. He took trips to the Folgers Shakespeare Library in D.C. and got a day's pass to the Reading Room, where he uncovered a Whitman essay and incorporated it into a paper. He traveled to Oxford to study the Bard for three or four weeks. He put together a damn good argument concerning Shakespeare and Judaism. He talked to celebrities and professional playwrights, developing his sense of drama and waxing enthusiastic over what Shakespearian gems he's unearthed over the years. And he ends his memoir with plans to get an M.A. and teach as an adjunct, while still developing his own curriculum for the adult ed course and maybe even teaching how to perform the plays, a la Shakespeare Set Free from the Folgers. Nifty, Herman! How do you find the energy?

Oh how I envy this guy. (His memoir is full of tragedy, loss and striving, I should point out, but I will overlook all of this at the moment.) He fights (and wins) his school for a two-hour course over a three-week period with no bathroom breaks, and determines to limit discussion, arguing (rightly) that extended classroom banter does not yield material for those seeking to learn explicitly. He turns down a chance to teach Freshman Comp, arguing (idiotically) that forty years of book editing is just as painful as grading all those essays (oh really?). He downs pints of ale in London and wallows in history and literature every chance he gets. And every other sentence begins with a literary allusion. "As I stood there on the bridge, I found myself thinking of Psalm 43..." "As I watched Frank Sinatra chat up my wife, I found myself reflecting on what Feste had to say about youth in Twelfth Night." Go fly a kite, Gollob. And guess what? My Reading Room pass this summer will last me a month, not ust a day. Suck on it, Herr Professor.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due. Gollob is passionate, informed and witty. His zest for Shakespeare is contagious--I'm not one to go in for Bardoloatry myself, but some of it does wind up rubbing off, even in spite of hardhearted jealousy over someone reveling in that elusive second act of American life, Fitzgerald notwithstanding. His 300+ book will get even the most devout Philistine running for a Shakespeare fest, or at the very least chasing down some of his gobbets and observations (I'm starting with his oft-quoted Shakespeare and the Jews myself--he cites the book at least two dozen times and it looks pretty interesting). If I can just get through the next thirty-five years of work without losing my sanity, maybe I can pull off what he manages...provided books haven't been replaced by mind-texts or something.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It used to be, Bill O'Reilly was who I went to when I needed something to vent my spleen upon. Now Hannity fits the bill.

Sean Hannity complained about Bill Maher tarring all Republicans as racists by having two commentators on (both black, I think; one from the left, one from the right) and talking over the guy on the left. Standard Operating Procedure, from what I can tell. Only thing is, he quotes and cites evidence against himself, and nobody calls him on it.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: HBO talk show host Bill Maher was typically classy on his appearance on ABC over the weekend. Here's what he had to say about members of the Republican Party.


BILL MAHER, HBO TALK SHOW HOST: I would never say, and I have never said, because it's not true, that Republicans, all Republicans are racist. That would be silly and wrong. But nowadays, if you are racist, you're probably a Republican.


HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction, James Peterson, assistant professor of English and Africano [SIC] studies at Bucknell University. And Congressional candidate from California and the 37th District is — Star Parker is with us.

What — he is saying, basically trying to advance the narrative that, if you're conservative, if you're a Republican, you are racist, right?
Parker, even if he wanted to bash Maher, could have still responded, "Well, Sean, actually you're misquoting him, based on the video clip you just fucking played." Nope. Par for course:
STAR PARKER, CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Right. To intimidate. Again, they throw out racism every opportunity they get.
Eh. Maybe, in addition to being a Republican, he's also dyslexic. (Whoops, did I just call all Republicans dyslexic? I'm sure it'll come out that way.)

There's plenty to throw at Maher, to be sure. But why is it that Fox's favorite target for "liberal bias" or "liberal venom" is always cable talk show comedians and satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? Who's this "they" Star is referring to, late night cable?

I'm still trying to figure out the headline of this story: "Bill Maher Plays Race Card." What race card? I thought that was when you used your race to get a special privilege or something, like, "Hey, you're just denying me a mortgage because I'm black," or something. Maher is making an accusation; isn't that "wielding the race club?" "Beating it with the race stick?" Man, I hate bad metaphors.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Limping Dogs Debut at Lamplighters (But First, a Word on Their Origins)

I'm in my basement trying to coax my mutant, mentally handicapped chihuahua out from under the couch so I can go to a rock concert. Typical drama in this household: it's 6 p.m. and I'm due at Lamplighter's in Palatine for the debut of an exciting act, a once-in-a-lifetime assemblage of musical talent and sensibility. And some serious balls, too--this is a trio of trend setting rock stars (if "trend setting" is a euphemism for "aging, irate drunkards who will play for beer pretzels") that are making their mark tonight. I have observations to record, quotes to obtain, Colt 45 to chug and beer pretzels to procure.

But my dog, bless his stupid little heart, is making marks of his own. Since I'm in a hurry to leave, after having dozed off in front of the TV and after he's gotten himself comfortable, my mutt with the brain of a fruit fly has decided that now would be a pretty good time to take refuge under the couch so as to trap me at home, swilling vodka and neglecting my journalistic responsibilities.

"Come here you little rodent," I growl in my most threatening voice (which usually sends hardened study hall delinquents into hysterics) and fishing at him with a broomstick. "Get out from under there or I'll popsicle you with this thing."

Batman sneers at me and lifts his leg threateningly. From past experience, he knows full well that the most violent act I'm capable of committing against him is a wagged finger in his face. Even that is rare--Batman tends to snap at anything he thinks might be food, and I need my finger. I love my finger. For reasons I will not get into here.

"Put that leg down," I warn him. "I told you--save that for when the band is here. They're not. They're at the bar and I've got to go cover them."

Batman growls, farts, and squeaks out a bark. The subtext is clear: Fuck the band. Stay at home and let me bathe your elbow with my tongue.

It's no use. I'm trapped. I don't dare leave him in the living room--he'll systematically tear every cushion in the house apart, and then pee on the remains. For Batman knows. He knows the power he holds over me, over the band, and over contemporary rock music overall. While I'm chasing him around, working up a sweat and wondering aloud whether or not I could make a good pair of gloves out of him, Chris Dewey, Bryan Park and Kim Laibach are taking center stage, howling their greetings and flashing three-fingered devil's signs at a crowd of adoring fans. The Limping Dogs are ready to rock.

A legend has been born.


It all started when Batman stubbed his toe.

I'd taken him duck hunting yet again, which was proving to be somewhat troublesome. Someone once told me chihuahuas are from the desert, don't handle water well and don't know dick about duck hunting, but I figured that was hooey. Every time my dogs so much as heard a geese honk, they were off running, barking their fool little heads off. So I figured they must be naturals. Oh, true, I had second thoughts the first time I put Batman in the marsh and he sunk up to his eyeballs and I had to fish him out and clean mud out of his mouth that he'd eaten in an effort to escape. But never let it be said that my dog's slow start is any mark of my own skill as a teacher.

This time, though, I'd dropped my duck hunting gun in the water, and since it was unable to fire, I'd resorted to using it as a club on any ducks within reach. Of which there were none. Besides, Batman was being a dick, insisting on avoiding the water and preferring to be carried in my flak jacket, grunting all the while. The one duck I did manage to get close to bit me on the hand, and it was then I decided I'd better go home and see what Kim, who is, after all, a doctor, could do about it.

When I came home, I found my wife-to-be at her drum set, with Dewey on the guitar, Park on the bass and Chris Tso blowing notes out of a hooch jug. This setup had become quite common over the past year and a half, as the four of them experimented with several kinds of music and talked idly about ditching their spouses, S.O.s and pathetic day jobs in order to rock the suburban open mic scene. I'd tried to be supportive by stepping around Dewey's gyrating guitar solos while doing laundry, or agreeing to experiment with LSD with Park in the backyard. But truth be told, this time I was in no mood to be accommodating. The duck bite was starting to fester, and the world was dipping and swaying alarmingly as I stepped up to the band. At the moment, Dewey was performing an electrifying guitar solo on a Fender Stratacast, Park was belting out Primus riffs, Laibach was doing a Keith Moon solo and Tso was weeping frustratedly on a nearby chair, jug dangling from his girlish grip.

"It's just not coming out right," he sobbed.

"It's okay, man," Dewey said, making a halfhearted gesture of reassurance. "You've only been playing for four years."

"We need to start thinking about a schtick," Laibach announced, twirling a drumstick with one hand and stuffing a fig bar into her mouth with the other. "Something radical. Original. Groundbreaking. Moneymaking."

"How about we use old Celtic runes and do some songs about Tolkien and Arthurian legends?" Park suggested.

"How about we paint bats and what not on our faces and stick our tongues way out?" Laibach offered. "Also, we could set Tso on fire."

"I think we should do a hard-core Satan worshipping act," Dewey said. "It's what the kids are into these days, right?"

"I can't play this thing," Tso cried, chucking his jug into a corner and retreating into the kitchen to sulk by himself.

There was a lull in the conversation at this point, which is when they noticed me. "Hi," I mumbled. "You're all still here. Good."

"Who's he?" Dewey asked Kim absently.

"What do you want?" Laibach demanded. "We're really busy."

"Where's that roast duck you promised?" Park asked.

"My dog didn't retrieve it," I lied, putting Batman down on the floor. "All he did was stare at the duck, bark at a squirrel, run on the docks and poop." Batman, taking umbrage at my criticism, ran back towards me and peed on my shoe. I swore at him and made as if to kick him.

"He's limping," Laibach observed, taking a long pull from her bag of trail mix.

"He stubbed his toe on a duck that was already dead," I said. "Which reminds me. I got bit. Do I have anything to worry about?"

"How the hell would I know?" Laibach retorted. "I don't know human medicine."

" was a duck."

"Well I'm sure it'll be all right." Laibach squinted at Batman, chewing her lower lip thoughtfully. "He's limping," she repeated.

"You're right," Dewey said, his own gaze narrowing on Batman. "He is limping."

"I'm only asking because this duck was foaming at the mouth," I interjected. "Can ducks get rabies? I mean, I don't want to sound like a wimp or anything, but..."

"A dog...a dog that's limping," Park muttered quietly, his eyes riveted on Batman's trek across the floor in order to continue dribbling on my sneaker.

"He's a dog," said Laibach.

"A limping dog," agreed Dewey, catching on. "My God, that's too stupid not to work."

"He's a Limping Dog," Laibach announced. "And so are we."

"I think my hand is infected," I sulked.

"That's brilliant, Kim," said Dewey. "I mean, aren't we all Limping Dogs deep down inside?"

Park spun his bass in his arms and cracked open another one of my beers. "To the Limping Dogs!"

"Call an ambulance," I begged.

"To the LD's!" yelled Laibach.

"To the Limping Dogs!" announced Dewey.

"I got my hand stuck in the jug!" Tso yelled from the kitchen.

And thus, the legend began. No, really. For real.


Of course, I'm not at the concert to enjoy it. The debut performance drew a crowd the likes of which Palatine had not seen since the Michael Richardson poetry slam of 2007. The earth moved. Records for standing ovations were broken. The Dogs managed to seduce an entire demographic with retro folk songs and Dewey's unbounded contempt for the crowd, sandwiched in between sets in the form of rambling, drunken monologues. And while Kim received three marriage proposals (seriously considering only one or two, she later assured me) and Park had a urinal memorialized in his honor by the bar owner, I was surrendering to the band's six-pound, blob-like namesake.

"Look, Batman, there's a bunch of crotches for you to sniff at the bar if you come out of there," I plead with him. "I've got a deadline, okay? Just come on out."

Batman bares his tooth at me and dribbles on the nearby remote control. "All right then," I grunt, utterly defeated. "You win. Animal Planet: Late Night Confessions it is."

Batman yips triumphantly and beings doing victory laps around the sofa.

"Help!" I hear from upstairs. A whiny, defeated tone to rival even my own. "Now I got my dick stuck in the jug!"

And thus, another legend was born. But seriously, the hell with that one. Go try your luck with the last legend--the Dogs are playing a bar near you soon, and the beers are going for half price.

The mighty Batman rests up after an exhausting afternoon of doing nothing. In front of him, the Limping Dogs perfect their opening number: "My Dog Hunts Ducks but My Man is a Dick."

An Indian comic I found today while surfing the web on my iPhone while waiting for Kim to relinquish the laptop that is rightfully mine, so I can finish my own comic (which probably won't be as good, but still, it's the principle of the thing, you know, and besides, what's she doing that's so imp...)

[Rest of heading deleted due to extreme boringness--ed.]

Click on comic to read the whole thing. This guy is a riot. Makes me wish I were a gay Indian.