Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Editor Submission Filler: Insert Witty Subtitle Here

As sent to me:

Pls insert this as filler. Hilarious and not as inappropriate as the subject line suggests.

Give the People What They Want

And what they want is porn. Or at least Olympic athletes with porn-sounding names.

It's gonna be a fillerful kinda week. So, not unlike any other week.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Honeymoon Updates, One Pic at a Time

Because I am lazy, but also swamped at the Cracker Factory.

I call this one "Falconry, bitches"

Friday, July 27, 2012


From across the Pteromyini world, squirrels of all shapes and sizes are coming together in London to root for a pair of our own in the 2012 Summer Olympics. 

60kg American Greco-Roman wrestler Ellis Coleman comes by his "Flying Squirrel" nickname on the strength of his signature takedown, seen here:


The Oak Park, IL native actually has a pet squirrel named Rocky (natch), and while he's unlikely to take home a medal, he's already at the top of the G:TB podium.

In what might pass for a bizarre coincidence if one didn't know of Scuridae's plans for world domination, the U.S. delegation in London boasts another Flying Squirrel. 16 year-old Virginia Beach native Gabby Douglas earned her moniker as a result of her inordinate bounce and athleticism. Unlike Coleman, Douglas is one of two Americans favored to contend for all-around gold, and is poised to lead the U.S. women to their first team gold since 1996.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I think you know who we're pulling for.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Eve Music Meld

You guys want to celebrate the world's sports party with some Bhangra, funk, rap, and jazz? Of course you do.

Also, Rapinoe!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gheorghe: The Olympic Team

Phelps. Bolt. James. Lochte. Durant. Household names, all. They'll no doubt be joined by the electric Missy Franklin, or England's own Mark Cavendish, or whatever young American gymnast flips herself skyward with reckless enough abandon to capture our easily-won and commercially-influenced hearts. We celebrate these and all the other phenomenally skilled and dedicated athletes readying for the impending start of the 2012 London Olympics.

But quite a different quartet are wearing the colors of Gheorghe Nation (purple gingham check and cream, in case you were wondering - we let Clarence's daughters pick them this year) this quadrennial. We won't bore you with 'they're all champions' platitudes. They're not. But they're all Olympians, which is something everyone reading this would give an arm (or at least a flap of extra skin) to be.

We're uniting behind these four because they don't have anyone else to do so.  Marathoner Guor Marial, sprinter Churandy Martina, shooter Philip Elhage and swimmer Rodion Davelaar make up Team Gheorghe, and we couldn't be prouder. Marial hails from South Sudan, a nation so new and lacking Olympic sports organization that it's not recognized by the IOC. The latter three are residents of the Dutch Antilles, formerly an independent territory of the Netherlands, but now a transitional municipality with no recognized athletic teams. For once, the IOC did something right, allowing all four to compete under the IOC flag in 2012.

Martina is the most prominent member of Team Gheorghe, finishing second to Usain Bolt in the 200m in 2008 before being disqualified for a lane violation an hour later. You can rest assured the GTBOC will not stand for such shenanigans this year.

While he's not fronting the legendary prog-metal performance art ensemble that bears his name, Marial runs track and cross-country for Iowa State. His PR of 2:12 is good enough to compete for a spot in the top 10-20 in London, though he's not really a medal threat.

Davelaar, a senior at the University of Florida (in fact, it's his relationship with Mark that started the ball rolling on Team Gheorghe) competed in the 50m freestyle in Beijing, finishing 57th. He grabbed a silver medal at the 2010 CAC games, which I assume is a made up event.

Finally, Elhage took 45th in the 10m Air Pistol in Beijing. His twitter (@pelhage) bio is fairly impressive, noting that he's a " Olympian, Developer, Promoter & Entrepreneur". G:TB could use all of those things, with the possible exception of 'Promoter', as we've got the Teej doing a fairly good job in that role. But if Elhage can score good Dutch weed, we might have to at least give him a deputy position.

We note for the record that Team Gheorghe is conspicuously lacking in female members, so we're trying hard to convince Saudis Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani (judo) and Sarah Attar (800m) to join the squad. The Saudi government added women to its team under duress, with heavy international pressure ultimately wearing down the Kingdom's sports ministry. Ladies, just so you know, we'd be happy to have you. And not in the way Clarence is thinking.

 In 1996, I was fortunate to spend part of the Atlanta Olympics in the company of Brian Hyde, a 1500m runner on the U.S. team and W&M grad. Though he flamed out in the preliminary rounds, his stories about his experience as it happened (not to mention his ridiculous volumes of impossibly cool free gear) made me and the others with us impossibly jealous. While it's too late this year to get ourselves to London, we're thrilled to know that we'll be able to make up the official party for Gheorghe: The Nation in Rio in 2016. And really, who'd choose London over Rio given the option?

Best wishes to all of our athletes in London. And don't be alarmed if a tall, pale fellow speaking with a difficult-to-place accent shows up in your Olympic Village room. That's just Otto Wolfcastle. He's with us.

Monday, July 23, 2012

After The Songs of Summer Have Gone

I haven't been as itinerant as usual this summer, because my mother-in-law was dying of cancer in our living room. She finally gave up the ghost last week, after a long and brave struggle, but before she went, she required an enormous amount of care. This was mainly provided by my wife, and so I had to pick up the slack around the house . . . which generally meant doing the dishes and taking our children to the pool. My wife definitely got the short end of the stick: while I was swimming laps, she was flushing TPN lines, applying alcohol swabs, administering meds, and making phone call after phone call, probing the bowels of our byzantine health care system.

Instead of complaining about the situation (which would have been in character for me, but pretty gauche, considering the circumstances) I decided to make the best of it. I needed something to occupy my mind, which was constantly replaying the "dead collector" skit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and so I created a task for myself.

I decided I would learn and memorize some songs on the guitar, and my goal would be to play them at the open mike night that we now have rotating around town. Since I got back from teaching overseas, I've played a lot of guitar, and recorded a lot of music, but I never developed a set of songs I could play live.

When I was overseas, it was a different story. In Damascus, my buddy Matt and I learned somewhere between 40 and 50 songs, and we played them at parties and the Marine Bar and when we took group trips out into the desert. We would perform anywhere. We played '90's rock: Weezer and NOFX and Blink 182 and classic stuff: Kenny Rogers and John Prine and Pink Floyd and Tom Petty; and, of course, some cheese: Bon Jovi and Poison. We had a long hand-written list of songs we could perform, and it always astounded me that we had them all memorized.

Then I moved back to Jersey, had children, got a speedy internet connection, and and got lazy. I still had a few songs memorized . . . songs that I sang in class for particular lessons, but other than that, if I wanted to play a song, I simply Googled it. Why spend the time memorizing lyrics and chords, when I could rely on the giant uber-memory of the internet? Now I could free my mind for other things, like figuring out how the Higgs boson completes the standard theory or how to replace the flapper inside my toilet tank. And, of course, I started recording my own songs . . . but who wants to hear those when you're at a party? Plus, my music got so weird and dense that it was essentially impossible to play live.

Lately, I've been places with my guitar, and it's embarrassing, because besides a few old favorites, I don't have many songs in my repertoire, unless I pull out a computer. So I am dedicating this summer to memorizing songs-- and, as I like to do with things like tacos and Canada, I am going to keep track. I am going to try to memorize 100 songs. I doubt I will complete this during the summer, but I will get as far as I can, knowing that when school and soccer starts, my brain will slow down and be occupied with other things. I think I can do it by New Year's Eve.

I've got a couple that I already know:

1. Ramblin' Man (Allman Brothers)
2. Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones)
3. Delia's Gone (Johnny Cash)
4. Church (Lyle Lovett)
5. Every Rose Has It's Thorn (Poison)

This summer, so far I have learned:

6.  Space Oddity (David Bowie)
7.  Carmelita (Warren Zevon)
8.  You Don't Know How It Feels (Tom Petty)
9.  King of Carrot Flowers (Neutral Milk Hotel)
10. Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)
11. Loving Cup (Rolling Stones)
12. Holland 1945 (Neutral Milk Hotel)
13. The Cave (Mumford & Sons)
14. Heavy Metal Drummer (Wilco)
15. Rich Girl (Hall and Oates)
16. Hang Fire (Rolling Stones)
17. Life During War Time (The Talking Heads)
18. Lodi (Creedence)
19. Five Years (Bowie)

There are also loads of songs that I know half-way, but I'm trying to avoid those until the end. Right now I'm concentrating on songs that I have never memorized. I find that I am getting better at it as the days wear on, and while I have a fairly good memory, it's not an eidetic one. If I don't consciously work to memorize something, then I don't remember it. And if I don't review, things disappear. I am always amazed when Zman pulls hip-hop lyrics out of his ass. They seem to reside permanently in his brain. The same with Clarence and his memories of our days at William and Mary. I am going to have to consciously review these songs on a schedule to keep them in my brain. I have no idea what that schedule will be like as the list grows . . . this is definitely a mental experiment. Will I grow better and better at memorizing chords and lyrics? Or will my brain become "full"? How often will I have to perform the songs to keep them indelibly etched in my head? How many beers will it take to erase them all? Will I remember any of the songs after OBFT XIX? Only time will tell.

Anyway, I am taking requests.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

This Fortnight-ish in Gheorghe

Playing against type this week, I ventured out on my own a couple of times to find drinking and dining options in the Twin Cities. Among the highlights, I discovered Surly Furious, a fantastic IPA turned out by Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center, MN. A perfect balance of hoppy kick and smooth quaff, Furious jumps immediately into my top 5. It'll be a love affair from afar, sadly, as the nearest retail outlet carrying the good stuff is in Winona, MN, a hop, skip, and 793.5 mile jump from my house in Virginia.

Titans WR Kenny Britt got a DUI. In other news, my kids yelled at each other, the garbage truck came on Tuesday, and Shlara drooled over Adam Scott.

The Olympics begin in earnest on Friday (though the US/France Women's Soccer match kicks off on Wednesday - don't miss it). Stay tuned next week for G:TB's wall-to-wall preview coverage. Or a bunch of inane filler. You win either way.

My tour of Sentence of Dave-recommended books is well underway. I recently completed Stephen King's 11/22/1963, which I highly recommend. The story of a schoolteacher who travels through time in an effort to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing John Kennedy, it's equal parts thriller, wry comedy, and thoughtful digression. Forgive the time travel conceit - the book's far less about science fiction than it is about human dynamics.

After I finished 11/22/1963, I started both Mark Leyner's The Sugar-Frosted Nutsack, and Neil Stephenson's REAMDE. It's kinda difficult to review a book before completing it, but I can say that both of these are epic in very, very different ways. (Not Jim Rome-style epic, but vast and complex and dizzying.)

Finally, back to the well one final time for our Doofus and his Bride, with never before seen (unless you're on Facebook, and really, how many people can say that?) footage of the actual ceremony itself, starring the happy couple and a breakout new star in the role of Male Officiant.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lemons, Lemonade

All things considered, I've had very good luck in my years as a business traveler. Sure, I've had the occasional delayed flight, the odd shitty hotel, or cancelled rental reservation. But until yesterday, I'd never been unable to get to my final destination.

I suppose it was bound to happen.

And so I put on my best Gheorghe face and make the best of things. My misfortune is your boon, my misadventure your window into a whole new world. Friends, I give you: Florence, KY.

As you may know, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is in Kentucky (the name is a bit of a giveaway). Boone County, KY, to be exact. Home to fabled outdoorsman Daniel Boone, the county sits just over the Ohio River from Cincinnati. As I scrambled to find a hotel room and avoid the cots being wheeled out at Gate B24, hotels.com rescued me with a room at the Days Inn Florence. (It also suggested a room at the $200/night Cincinnatian Hotel downtown, which sorely, sorely tempted me and my corporate credit card. Please be sure to tell my bosses how frugal I was with the company's money.)

Florence (I would call it beautiful Florence, but it mostly seems to be strip malls, interstate, and light industrial parks) is the largest city in Boone County, clocking in at just over 29,000 souls, 92.44% of them white. (And 0.06% Pacific Islander. I do believe I met that guy at the Chick-fil-a.) Founded in 1830, the town is working hard on having something of historical significance added to its Wikipedia page. Perhaps my visit will qualify.

The town is the home of former Alabama and Seattle Seahawk (and Washington Redskin) great Shaun Alexander, who ran for 3,166 yards and 54 touchdowns for the Boone County High School Rebels. In his senior season. Florence also boasts the pulchritudinous Sheree Paolello, loose-tongued news anchor for WLWT, and a water tower with a wonderfully silly story:
Originally the tower advertised the up-and-coming Florence Mall, as part of an agreement by the mall developers who donated the land for the tower. However, because the mall was not built yet, the tower violated highway regulations, and the city was forced to change it within a short deadline. Rather than repaint the entire tower, they simply painted over the two vertical lines of the "M" to create a "Y". The intent was to change it back when the mall was built, but the local residents liked the tower's new proclamation, so the city decided to leave it as it was.
Allegedly, according to the good people at Delta (who lied to me at least twice yesterday), I'll be headed homeward at 1:55 this afternoon. I don't envy the folks sitting near me on the plane, as all my clothes have been stuffed into a suitcase with foul-smelling workout gear. Until then, howdy from Florence, and may the road rise to meet you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#doofuswedding: The Aftermath

The measure, I think, of the great times in our lives is the amount of joy we get from them. I've been to one other wedding in my days that ranked with #doofuswedding on that account. Much love to the bride and groom as they depart for the Emerald Isle, and big ups to the G:TB staff members and friends who attended, in the flesh or in spirit.

The Doofus Overlord himself sends the following photos from his honeymoon planning:

And in this picture, you can see Clarence, Mark, Teejay, Mrs. Teejay, rob, Shlara, Jerry, KQ, Greg, Igor, Marls, and Whitney, in no particular order.

One of these is larrrrger than the others. And one much slighter.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

#doofuswedding 2

Congrats Teedge. Everyone at G:TB wishes you continued happiness.

Friday, July 13, 2012


This is how I choose to picture the various participants, guests, and hangers-on attending this weekend's nuptial festivities as they descend upon the Nation's Capital:

And this is how I choose to picture the Teej at this very moment:

Thursday, July 12, 2012


A clip from the greatest love story ever told in honor of the pending nuptials of two of the great people in our little corner of the world or any other. May the Doofus Overlord and the Bride of Doofus avoid life's fire swamps, and may I be the only rodent of unusual size you encounter on your journey.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pinch Hitting

At Gheorghe, like everywhere else in the 'sphere, we often pause to acknowledge the passing of those folks whom we have enjoyed for whatever reason.  The G:TB roster is filled with cinema enthusiasts, and so we tip our caps to recent departees Richard Dawson, Andy Griffith, and Ernest Borgnine.  Even people who weren't necessarily onscreen but brought us love stories that generated interest for Shlara or Rob (Nora Ephron) or interesting stories of degenerates the rest of us love (Henry Hill). 

Somewhere in our diligent pursuit of such acknowledgment, however, we missed one.  (I blame the interns here at Gheorgherica.)  Someone who contributed directly to comedy film greatness, if just once . . . and if very indirectly.

Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbón . . . Manny Mota (Mota . . . Mota . . . Mota)

Pedro Borbón closed out his final inning on June 4.  Here's to Pedro, a damn fine reliever in the Big Red Machine years, and here's to Manny Mota (who's alive and well), for reasons that are obvious.

One thing that always bothered me, though: Pedro Borbón and Manny Mota were never teammates, not once.  I thought perhaps that they might have played on the same NL All-Star team, but Borbón never made one.  Manny Mota never could have been called upon to pinch-hit for Pedro Borbón.  I mean, do you know what it's like to fall in the mud and get kicked... in the head... with an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does. It never happens. Sorry, that's a dumb question... skip that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dunh Dunh...

Several members of the G:TB editorial staff and a fair number of our readers have spent time on Chatham, MA's Nauset Beach. It's fair to say that we're glad we missed out on this kind of excitement.

The kayaker in question, Walter Szulc, was making his maiden solo kayaking voyage when the 12-14 foot great white shark started checking him out. "Look at my chest and arms," said Szulc. "I'm a meaty bastard. No wonder the shark wanted some." (It's possible that Szulc actually said,  "I had a deep swallow, that 'Oh my God' moment, then I just paddled," as reported in the Boston Globe, but nobody trusts the Globe anymore.)

Note that the shark in question waited until my family and I left Chatham (we lunched at my cousin's coffee shop/deli on the same day as the shark sighting) before sniffing around homo sapiens. I flattened a chipmunk with the family truckster during our visit - seems word got around about my Lord of the Cape and Islands badassery.

Reporters are still making calls to determine why Dave was in the foreground of this scene.

Reader Submission Filler

Exactly as sent to me:

"If you really needa da filler. Ravioli, Testarosa, Northa Brunswick, Da Vinci..."

Five minutes later:

"Also I was behind a North Brunswick cop car today and the bumper sticker said:
"Report Crime!"

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Great 2008 G:TB Roy Hibbert Bet

In light of this news...
I would like to bring up one of the more classic comment threads in G:TB lore. It also included a bet about the man reference above, Roy Denzil Hibbert. Jump back in time with me to January 10th, 2008...and a random clip of Yao Ming dunking on Malik Rose.

I was going to simply paste the wager here directly out of the comments, but that thread is fucking hilarious, so you need to go back through it and read it. To see that Geoff really, really, really lost that bet to Dennis.

Maybe Roy will have Dennis over to swim in his pile of money as the bet winner, a la Scrooge McDuck. Then again, swimming in a pile of gold coins sans pants seems a very sandusky thing to do, now that I think about it.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Dog Dave of Summer

     I recently acquired my first dog. This is a big deal for me, because when I was young I was afraid of dogs. My parents attributed this fear to an incident that happened when I was an infant. They were pushing me along in my stroller, and a German Shepherd ran up and jumped on me. My father pulled the German Shepherd off me, yanked his crook away from him, and hit him over the head with it, while saying, “Nien! What’s wrong with you! Scaring little children like that!”

     In the meantime, while the German Shepherd was apologizing for his despicable behavior (he blamed the errors of his country for his low self-esteem) the German Shepherd’s dog-- a border collie, of course-- jumped into the stroller and bit my fat little arm. And ever since that incident, I was afraid of dogs. I should point out that I was also afraid of the slide, the teeter-totter, the spinning jenny, and meatloaf. So my fear of dogs was probably less about the incident in the park and more about being a gigantic pussy. But don’t worry,  like Ernest Hemingway, I made up for this early cowardice later in life, by drinking heavily and getting into bar fights.

     My parents could have remedied my fear of dogs by getting me my own pet dog, but that didn’t happen. My mom is a neat freak, and she couldn’t stomach another hairy mammal living in our house. My dad is an Italian-American, and so, according to his worldview, animals belong on a farm, in a zoo, or roasting in the broiler at 450 degrees. And I’m pretty sure my parents are scared of dogs too.

    My wife is not scared of dogs, and over the years I got used to them as well, and so several months ago, we adopted an abandoned dog from Georgia. He was slated to be gassed, and I think they were going to torture him as well, so we did a very good deed. My children love him, and I love the fact that my children are not scared of dogs. I feel like a real man when I’m walking him-- he’s a tough looking mutt, black and athletic with short hair, a cropped tail, and spooky yellow eyes-- and people often shy away from him. It’s the closest I’ll come to brandishing a gun in public. Little does anyone know that this dog uses the same technique as Sir Robin when he is confronted with danger: run away! run away!

     I love taking the dog out in the early morning. It’s meditative (aside from when you have to bend over and scoop up his warm feces from the wet grass with a little plastic bag . . . that part isn’t meditative, and if you’re hungover, it will induce vomiting). Despite the fecal hardship, I love walking the dog. It’s an escape from the bustle and chaos of my house. It’s my time to think. In fact, I’ve had some of my deepest, most profound thoughts while taking Sirius on a stroll. I’ve jotted some of them down for you to enjoy:

    1) Go poop! Go poop now!

    2) Please go fucking poop. Neither of us want to be out here. It’s raining.

    3) Stop pulling on the leash. Stop pulling the leash or I’m going to kick you in the ass . . . I swear I will . . . okay, that’s it, I warned you . . . here it comes . . . except there’s a nice old lady walking her miniature Schnauzer and she’s looking this way and so I would never kick you in the ass because you’re a good dog . . . so this is how I stretch my legs because I’m a soccer player and sometimes I kick my legs to stretch them, yes, lady, this is how I stretch my legs when I’m walking the dog so you don’t need to call PETA, because sometimes, by mistake, when you stretch your legs, you kick your dog in the ass and anyway, if I didn’t rescue this dog he’d be dead anyway, gassed to death in Georgia, so stop judging me . . .

  4) Please go poop. I need to go to work.  If you stop sniffing around like an epileptic vacuum and poop, I promise I will never kick you in the ass again.

  5) Wow! Sometimes dogs poop twice. I should bring two bags . . . but I didn’t, so be cool.

  6) Why won’t that poop come off your butt? Shake that poop off, that’s right shake it off! Dammit, it’s stuck. Let me scrape it with this stick . . . that’s not working . . . okay, here’s a used napkin on the ground, I’ll pick that up and wipe it off . . . oh weird, there’s stuff still in there . . . oh, that’s right! You ate a mitten the other day. Let me just pull this long cotton strand out of your anus . . . hmm . . . this used to be a white mitten.

     I am definitely not a dog whisperer. I am more of a dog hollerer. 

     I do some of my best dog hollering when I’m biking with the dog. I own a product called The WalkyDog Hands Free Bicycle Leash. It’s essentially a metal rod that connects to your bike under the seat and juts out perpendicular to the wheels. A bungee cord runs through the rod, and, if you are brave enough, you can attach this bungee cord to your dog’s collar. And don’t let the cute name fool you. The WalkyDog Hands Free Bicycle Leash marketing people worked a long time on coming up with a name that sounds safe and innocuous. This is total bullshit. They could have easily called this product The Sling-Shot Canine Powered Kiss Your Family And Your Ass Good-bye Because You’re Never Going to See Them Again Unless There Is An Afterlife Rocket Bike Attachment. I have also had some profound and interesting thoughts while using this product with my dog. Here are a few:

     1) Ahhhhhhhggggggg!

     2) Please don’t poop . . . no, don’t stop and poop, I don’t have one of those bags . . . we’re going for a bike ride . . . who needs to take a shit in the middle of a bike ride? Okay, do it quick, I’ll look over here at the river and pretend I don’t notice you pooping . . . so then I don’t know your pooping, and then we’ll make our escape . . . the ranger will never catch us, I’m on a bike and you’ve got four legs.

     3) Oh shit . . . a bunny . . . ahhhgggg!

     If you were lucky enough to witness number three, as three lesbians at a picnic table did, then this is what you would have seen: me biking along the Raritan River, without a helmet, my faithful dog running along at my side, until a bunny rabbit scampered across the bike path, directly in front of us-- from left to right. My dog, who was on my right, chased the rabbit, and so he ran directly perpendicular to the motion of the bike-- setting up an interesting physics equation-- which was further complicated by the fact that he ended up on one side of two large metal garbage canisters, and I ended up on the other side. The rod and the bungee cord that connected us hit the garbage cans, stopping my bike and my dog dead in their tracks. The garbage cans fell over, spilling cans and bottles. My dog’s head popped from his collar, and he ran in a circle once and then rolled on his back, traumatized by the crash. I flew over the handlebars of my nice new mountain bike, and while I was in the air, I thought: why didn’t I wear my helmet? My nice new helmet? Because I’m too cool? No! Because I'm an awful, stupid hypocrite! I make my children wear helmets! But I'm too good for a helmet? Now I’m going to be punished for my hypocrisy! I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair because I attached my dog to my bike with a bungee cord and didn’t take the logical precautions!

     But I didn’t land on my head . . . miracle of miracles, I landed on all fours, like a cat (I didn’t tell my dog this because I didn’t want to upset him). I slowly stood up, brushed myself off, and examined my hands for scrapes . . . and-- praise the Lord of Minor Miracles-- there were none. I was like a gymnast who stuck his landing off the vault. The universe was rewarding me for not wearing a helmet. I decided to take this as a sign, and I have not worn a helmet since.

     Despite this minor miracle, I still had the awkward job of righting the garbage cans, putting all the bottles and cans back into the cans, getting my dog's collar reattached around his neck, getting my dog reattached to the Walky Dog Hands Free Bicycle Leash, and finding my six year old son, who was riding in front of us and never saw the crash. He had disappeared somewhere into the bowels of the park.

     You’d think that the three lesbians, who couldn’t have been ten yards from me and saw the whole thing-- including the fact that my small child had rode off into the unknown-- you'd think that they would have offered to help, or at least applauded my feline agility-- and if you’re wondering how I knew these women were lesbians, it is not because I stereotype people because of their haircuts . . . it is for two very good reasons:

      1) my town is full of lesbians

      2) if these women were straight, they would have ripped off their bras and panties and thrown them at me, and then swooned at my feet, in celebration of how I handled myself during this spectacular crash.

     Instead, I felt like Kitty Genovese. Once I got rolling again, they chuckled at me, as if to say: stupid boys and their toys. And they were probably right to think this, but still, when Sirius and I are racing along the path in the park, me pedaling furiously, him loping along, mouth open, tongue out, and someone in front of us hears our thunder, when they turn and see this human/ animal/ mechanical juggernaut flying towards them--  two large hairy mammals, one atop a giant mountain bike with 29 inch tires, the other attached to a tautly stretched red cord protruding from a metal rod-- when they see us hurtling towards them, they drop their cell phones, they leap for the side of the path, they grab their children . . . they get the fuck out of our way . . . and that’s awesome.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

G:TB Exclusive! An Interview With The Higgs Boson!

Science buffs are probably aware the folks at CERN, using the Large Hadron Collider, think they glimpsed the ephemeral and all-important Higgs Boson on Wednesday. The infamous boson was only in existence for a billionth of a billionth of a second, which was too short a time for the physicists present to ask any pressing questions, but I was lucky enough to buttonhole the boson at an afterparty in downtown Geneva and conduct a short interview.

Dave: Scientists often refer to you as "the God particle." Are you okay with this? Do you think it's blasphemous? Unwarranted? Accurate?

Higgs Boson: More like the goddamned particle! Ha! Watch me now!

At this point in the interview, Mr. Boson-- who was perched on my notepad-- disappeared from view and reappeared on the left buttock of an attractive French woman in a short skirt. She jumped, spun around, and looked crossly at me. I shrugged my shoulders and pointed to the Higgs Boson on her ass, but by this time Mr. Boson had teleported himself deep into the cleavage of another attractive woman, so it appeared as if I was simply pointing at this French woman's curvaceous bottom. She stomped off. The Higgs Boson then reappeared on my notebook again.

Dave: Can you please not do that again? That was very embarrassing and I can't teleport.

Higgs Boson: It's in my nature! I'm all boson! Hung heavy, baby, hung heavy!

Dave: I hear you've been working on a memoir. Can you give us a preview?

Higgs Boson: I tell all! All! And I have been around. I have been in a million billion places at once! I am gravity-- if you see what I mean-- and I have seen the effects of gravity. It's not pretty, to see what happens to a nice rack over time, but I can put it forward or in rewind. The same with a behind! Make you lose your mind. Live in all times. I am swine! Goddamned!

Dave: Are you pleased that the "standard theory" seems complete now? Are you proud to be the final part and particle?

Higgs Boson: The only thing standard about my theory is that I like a nice round ass!

Dave: That doesn't make any sense. You don't make any sense.

Higgs Boson: Doesn't matter because I'm large! Famous for being famous! That's how I like it! And I am outey!

After that last remark, the Higgs Boson disappeared in a puff of smoke, but I consider myself lucky to have had a conversation this long with him. Perhaps the next time he appears, I can ask him whether the universe will expand forever, dying of entropic heat loss, or if it will implode back on itself, triggering another big bang . . . which is something I often wonder about when I'm sitting on the john.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Heroes and Villains

Last night I watched immeasurable douche Mike Love perform to many thousands of people, and I loved it.  Weird.

As I mentioned yesterday, there were two reasons that I set aside my disdain for the performer and shelled out quite a few bucks to take my whole gang (my two kids, girlfriend, her two kids, and a French exchange student . . . more on that later) to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater – my least favorite venue in the area – to sit in 96-degree heat and watch a show put on by a reasonable facsimile of a group my parents enjoyed in the 1960’s.

As I type that, it seems even more implausible that I dug it, but I did.

The first reason I jumped at the chance to see the 50th Anniversary tour of the Beach Boys was that I hadn’t ever before.  Those of you who’ve seen my ridiculous, not-quite-obsolete collection of compact discs knows that I am what they call a “completist” (my parents call it “idiot”), passionate about getting pretty much everything into my collection.  I’m just as bent on seeing shows. Although the spending money I had (and blew) in the 1990’s pre-kids has largely waned, and it’s not quite as simple these days, I still have a dosage of fanaticism that neither doctors nor prudent significant others can cure.

I’ve said it before, I take some sort of bizarre personal contentment in the fact that I saw Jerry Garcia and Joey Ramone (not to mention Dee and that curmudgeon Johnny) before they passed on to the great gig in the sky.  I’ve seen some bucket-list RnR HoFers who are still kicking, acts like Springsteen and The Who and Neil Young and Ray Davies and Bob Dylan (who was lousy, but still . . .).  I planned to see the Stones with Flynn but waited too long.  I’ve seen the Allmans with Dickey, the Beasties with MCA, and The Black Crowes with both Robinsons. I saw Jimmy Buffett and Aerosmith before they were total jokes.  When I missed bands before they parted ways, I was happy to see them when they regrouped: The Police, The Pixies, The Pogues, Phish . . . really, and band that begins with a P.  And Devo, and Violent Femmes, and Camper van Beethoven, and many more. I’ve seen Ween and the Flaming Lips, which everyone with a sense of humor should do.
There are still many more on that list.  But now I’ve seen the Beach Boys.  Check.

Our friend Otis has a story I always remember, because it’s the king.  He saw Elvis in concert.  He was 7 or 8, and his folks took him to the show.  Yes, this makes him even older than I am, but it’s also a pretty cool conversation piece.  My parents never saw the King in concert, and none of their friends that I know did, either.  But one of my fraternity brothers did.  Kinda cool.

And here’s the segue to the second reason I was there last night: because I could bring my children.  When my daughter Zoe was too young to know any better, I began the process of influencing her musical tastes unduly.  And the first band she ever loved was The Beach Boys.  Favorite song: “Help Me, Rhonda.”  And the look on her eyes when I told her we were going to see them in concert far, far outweighed the look on my completed rolled-up eyes when Mike Love told the crowd last night that he loved his first car back in the 50’s but loves the Bentley he now drives even more.  (Seriously, what a prick.)

Yes, once or twice last evening I wanted the sweltering heat to claim a heart attack casualty in an Aloha shirt and a red baseball cap onstage . . . but mostly I was thrilled to be there.  We had seats in the 10th row or so, and my little girl was, like Loverboy, lovin’ every minute of it.  As the dads out there know, that would be reason enough to go, and reason enough to enjoy it.

Except . . . I really liked the show.  For myself.

The band(s) sounded spot-on, and included that appendix because there were – count ‘em – 14 people on stage.  Somewhere in the middle of the show, it dawned on me . . . ah, this is probably the assemblage of Mike Love’s touring band, Al Jardine’s as well, and maybe even Brian Wilson’s guys.  These people have been “Beach Boys” or something akin to it for, in some cases, decades.

Anyway, it was a big group with the three truly original living members and a couple of other “original” guys; I guess it’s hard to keep Bruce Johnston out of that club when he’s been playing with the group for 47 years or so.  The sound was big, and it sounded great.

Somewhere in the midst of it, I had to let my guard down against Mike Love, dammit.  He simply is the voice everyone has known on so many of those old hits.  That nerdy, nasally voice that displays less vocal talent . . . but you know what?  They’re classics, and they blazed through 46 songs (!) in two sets and an encore and left nothing on the table.  Love’s banter made me want to dismember him and burn his ballcap collection (they showed yearbook photos on the big screen – he was pretty damn bald in high school), but in the moment of “I Get Around,” when the lights got bright and the crowd was cheering, eh . . . it was fun, fun, fun, and the reason I go to shows as often as I can.
In 1988, when Axl was on top, he was a total dick – but he was an awesome lead singer.  I listen to “Mr. Brownstone” and think that if he could’ve held it together, I’d be going to hear him today . . . but he didn’t.  (You can’t be an ass AND suck.)  Same with a lot of people on the list – I don’t want to have a beer with them, but when they’re on . . . yeah, I’ll buy a ticket.

So, make no mistake, last night only confirms that Mike Love is still a douche.  But he fronts my daughter’s first favorite band, an all-time music group for the ages, and a collection of old dudes who can still put on a show the reminds me why I love rock and roll.

Happy Independence Day.

Monday, July 02, 2012

You Need Us On That Wall

While most of our readers are removing storm debris, vacationing in various bastions of elitism, arguing that John Roberts is a patriot and/or traitor, or otherwise engaged, we remain vigilant against mankind's most existential threat.

To wit, a pair of stories crossed our desk over the past several weeks, one seemingly humorous, the other portrayed as scientifically significant, and both portending grave danger.

First, the not-at-all sensationalist keepers of the journalistic flame at Huffington Post uncovered a gem of a science story from our friends across the pond. Seems the EU Commission, um, commissioned a video to get girls more engaged in science. The video's dated visuals and Thomas Dolby-esque theme are enough to make us renounce single-payer healthcare, but the insidious threat in this story comes from a correction to the original HuffPo story, as follows:

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the large hadron collider as a large "hardon" collider. Unfortunately, that's not what it is.

It thinks humor is the way in, friends. If we laugh at the little 'hardon collider', we won't pay attention to its nefarious designs, will we? Stay strong, friends. Laughter is what it wants from you. Laughter, and just a few of your atoms. At first.

Later, Talking Points Memo noted that the CERN scientists doing the LHC's bidding hope to announce that they've found the Higgs Boson on July 4. I know what you're thinking: what the fuck is a Higgs Boson, and does it have anything to do with Magnum, P.I.? That's what they want you to think, rather than focusing on the fact that they're preparing to make an announcement on America's Independence Day. While we're celebrating our Americanness by gorging on processed meats and blowing shit up, they'll be doing European sciency stuff.

While you're half in the bag trying not to blow your fingers off, I'll be manning the LHC task force hotline. You can thank me later.