SurlyZ Is Grouchy

Pissed and loving it

No More Father’s Days

Thirty years ago today, my biological father was arrested and taken away, never to be heard from again. I remember it well because it was Flag Day and Little League practice was cut short so everyone could go to church and pay tribute to the American flag, which was the tradition at the time.

My friends and I walked back to our neighborhood, ran from Crazy Lady McGee’s mean-ass beagle and had a brief rock-throwing war before we split up and went to our homes.

When I walked through my front door, I heard strange sounds coming from my parents’ bedroom. My mom was still at work, and my dad was supposed to be out on a major drug deal “that could change everything,” as he had bragged at the dinner table the night before.

Back then I had the courage of a horror movie teen scream queen, so I walked back to the bedroom and swung open the door. I immediately saw that he was right about everything changing. His dealing had caught up with him. My father was handcuffed to the bed and getting roughed up by a cop who paused to pick me up, toss me in my room and warn me to stay put.

I heard them go out the front door, and I burst out of my room and out of the house and chased the car down the street until it was out of sight and I was out of breath. It was the last time I saw my dad.

To this day, I’ll never forget that image of the brutish officer in her black leather uniform as she beat my dad with her whip. And I… wait a second.


The Greatest Game Ever Played

When I was a 7-year-old American kid, I frequently engaged in a game called “Steal from Herb.” This game was the brainchild of a friend of mine who I’ll call So-and-So to protect his identity. Old So-and-So, as I never called him, came up with this game primarily because he was a little bastard and secondarily because theft is a victimless crime. Let’s be honest, you can’t take it with you.

So-and-So lived next door to a man named Herb (pronounced with a hard H, for all you dumbfuck stoners), a middle-aged fellow who seemed to enjoy a quiet, unassuming existence with his wife and cat. But he had a shed full of tools in his backyard, which was his first mistake. His second mistake was not locking the shed. His third mistake was not staring vigilantly at his shed every second of the day and night. So if you’re trying to identify the real criminal in this story, it’s Herb.

The game worked like this: Herb would settle down for a pleasant evening of dinner, TV and not making love to his wife. Or he’d run errands to keep from making love to his wife. Or he might have a mild heart attack and get rushed away in an ambulance, all in an effort to keep from making love to his wife. And believe me, she wanted it and had the lingerie to prove it. They really should have splurged for curtains.

So once Herb’s attention was drawn to anything other than his shed and wife, we’d leap the fence separating So-and-So’s backyard from Herb’s and slip into the toolshed. There, we’d peruse the selection of carpentry tools, gardening implements and Playboy magazines and take a few of each. Then we’d ninja our way back over the fence with our loot.

We didn’t know anything about fencing our ill-gotten gains, and we sure as hell didn’t want anything to do with the tools (an aversion I harbor to this day). The Playboys were more interesting but in a limited way because we were 7. So we would usually replace everything a few hours later, which added another element to the game. Plus, we didn’t think we could get in trouble for unstealing things.

This game lasted a few years until we found a Hustler behind the laundromat at the apartment complex I lived in. Suddenly, Herb’s mild tastes in pornography didn’t quite, oh let’s say, provide the penetrating look into love that we now craved.

But I’ll always have fond memories of being as close to a Dickensian Artful Dodger as my upbringing would allow. Next time, I’ll talk about my experience as a Peeping Tom. As soon as I have some results to report.

Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Play That Funky Music, White Boy

I’m not a purist by any means, but something about white guys playing funk or the blues rubs me the wrong way 9 out 10 times. And that’s coming from someone who likes to be rubbed all ways.

Let Blues Hammer demonstrate what I’m talking about:

White people need to stick to country, folk, heavy metal and, as much as I wish it didn’t exist, filk. A little blue-eyed soul every now and then never hurts (I’m looking at you, Hall & Oates). Hell, I don’t even mind if they rap. We’ve seen a lot of white success in hip hop from the Beasties to Eminem to Rappin’ Ronnie.

It would also be nice if white people would stop having Renaissance Faires and Hell Houses. I don’t know why I lumped those two things together. I guess because they both make me feel like wailing and gnashing my teeth and kneecapping people with my kneecapping bat.

Advice to All the People I Encountered Today

Classic Rock Radio DJ: First of all, I shouldn’t be listening to classic rock radio. I’m so burned out on it. I’ve heard the same predictable playlist over and over every day for decades. But sometimes I feel the need to experience something known and comfortable, like when you find an old, worn, raggedy sweater in the back of your closet and have sex with it. So I air-drummed my way through Heart’s “Magic Man” after I turned on the radio this morning. And here’s my advice to classic rock radio DJs: Shut the fuck up when a song starts and stay shut the fuck up until the song is over. Treating a song like it doesn’t begin until the singer starts singing makes you an asshole. And when a song has a definitive punctuated ending instead of a fadeout, let us hear that instead of saying something like — and this is a direct quote — “Abracadabra, bitch.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate that phrase. In a different context, I would consider you a hero of neologism. Instead, I hope you choke to death on your thick, stupid tongue.

That’s all the people I encountered today. Being a recluse is pretty awesome.

Signs I’ve Grown Old

I don’t automatically change radio stations when I hear a Jackson Browne song.

I talk about how much movie tickets cost in “my day.”

I’ve considered getting a newspaper subscription just for the obituaries.

I deposit pennies into my checking account.

I forget that I don’t have kids, so I get mad on holidays when they don’t call.

I like liver and onions.

I say things like, “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore” and “By golly” — sometimes together.

I think Diane Rehm is hot.

I’ve prepared a few cryptic remarks for when I’m on my deathbed.

I cut my arm on a cotton ball.

When I turn out the lights at night, I have to wear glasses to know it’s dark.

I can’t set my VCR.

I have a VCR.

I vote.

Running with the Devil

I’ve started running for exercise, as I do every few years. The longest span of time that I’ve stayed with it is six months. Six of the worst months of my life, not counting the six months I had HIV (I didn’t think I’d ever get over that!).

I forgot how liberating running can be. Specifically, I’ve been liberated from a pain-free life. Now everything hurts all the time. My bone marrow is sore. I put Icy Hot on my fingernails. I pay someone to massage my teeth.

I used to say that I only run when something is chasing me. But now I’m considering letting myself be caught, no matter what, with the hope that being torn apart by a mountain lion or butterfly or whatever will take my mind off running. But I’ll try to keep it up for now, in honor of the late Caballo Blanco, which is Spanish for “See what running gets you?”

I’m also determined to start every paragraph in this post with “I” to demonstrate my dedication to the egocentric spirit of social media.

I did it.

Unused Tweets, Vol. 1

People call me un-American when I tell them I don’t like coffee, ice cream or our troops.

Why do I get embarrassed when the dog licks herself in public even though I’m making a killing on this fetish website?

You have to admit, Hitler had some ideas.

Vases are for pansies.

My jabs and hooks are effective, but I really need to work on my uppercuts if I’m going to have kids.

The only thing stopping me from being a serial killer is my respect for human life. Just kidding. Where’s my knife?

Summer is just around the corner. Watching. Waiting. Masturbating.

R.I.P. My last brain cell that remembered Busta Rhymes.

News Roundup of the News 05/22/12

  • That privately financed rocket that you nerds won’t shut up about launched early today and didn’t blow up or anything. The deep pockets backing this space horse is the implausibly named Elon Musk, who started PayPal, an Internet site for male prostitutes. I’m all for private space programs because NASA is to me what helping poor people is to Republicans: tax dollars that could be better spent killing foreigners.
  • Mentally disabled actor Tom Cruise may star in a remake of the John Sturges western The Magnificent Seven, which is itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, which is itself a remake of David Fincher’s Seven, which is itself a remake of The Magnificent Seven. Not all of that is true, but I hope it’s enough to confuse Tom Cruise so that he bails on the project and goes back to brainwashing his sham wife.
  • My boy Kevin Durant and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked the hated Lakers out of the NBA playoffs, and OKC fans responded graciously: by shooting eight people. Believe me, no one likes shooting Okies more than I do, but when you start firing into a crowd like that, you don’t know if you’re hitting only Okies. You might hit an innocent Texan who strayed a little too far off the path to get a closer look at the circus freaks who inhabit the Sooner State. As my pastor always tells me: Check IDs first, shoot later.
  • The popularity of beauty pageants continues to wane in the U.S. Nobody pays attention to these meaningless processions of vapid beauty anymore, and only the most desperate contenders enter the competition. Nevertheless, I wish the best of luck to… Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? What? Those aren’t even names.
  • Ernest Borgnine is still alive. [UPDATE 7/8/12: He’s not. R.I.P.]

Where My Pessimists At?

My grandmother: “I just think the world will probably end before too long.”

My grandfather: “You promise?”

See? I’m not the only one backing the Doomsday 2012 campaign. I know there are experts who insist that the Mayans didn’t actually predict the end of the world, but there is scientific consensus among more expertier experts that the first group of experts are assholes.

It’s time to stop hiding our heads in the sand and start hoping for the best: total annihilation. Worst case is that some of us survive. But I’ve been preparing for that scenario for the last three years.

Violence Is Never the Answer, Unless You’re One of Three Specific Stooges

I just finished all 5 1/2 hours of the 2010 French mini-series Carlos about the Marxist revolutionary/terrorist Carlos the Jackal, and here’s what I learned:

  • Terrorists smoke a lot of cigarettes. Almost as much as the Ghostbusters in their first film. So are the Ghostbusters terrorists? I know shitload of pacifist ghosts who would say yes.
  • There are a lot of countries in the world. More than just the United States and the moon. And their interrelationships are so much more complicated than the copacetic one between Americans and moon men.
  • Similarly, there are a lot of languages. Old-skool 70s leftist terrorists spoke more of them than your average United Statesian. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We need to be teaching American children foreign languages as soon as they enter terrorist school.
  • LOOK OUT, ANWAR SADAT!!! Everyone’s gunning for you, man. I may be a little late with this warning.
  • I’m all about fighting oppression and down with the imperialist pigs and all, but tell me again how violence helps. Your hero Che Guevara might still be alive if he’d tried to spread Marxism with hugs and puppies. And not the ol’ puppies-with-guns trick.
  • People have problems. It’s one thing for us to be insecure, paranoid, jealous, greedy, quick to anger, suspicious, backstabbing, stubborn and willfully ignorant on a personal level. But when we globally amplify our human failings, shit gets what Noam Chomsky would call “cray cray.” So let’s all pause for a moment of reflection. Unless a terrorist just threw a grenade at you. In that case, you should dive now and pause later.