Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good Music is Good For You, part III

AKA Popular Black Music - It ain't just gospel and hip-hop.

I was originally going to name the previous post Cult of Personality, but upon looking it up, I learned that the term actually applies specifically to political figures. Shows how much I know. But it did inspire me to post about Living Colour, one of the greatest rock bands of the late 20th century, and sadly a band that burned up quickly and fell into obscurity. One of the rare all-black punk/rock bands, they successfully and brilliantly fused rock, punk, rap, funk and soul music into a wondrous mixture. Their first album, Vivid, was a shock to the system of music fans everywhere at a time when popular black music meant Bobby Brown or, God forbid these days, Whitney Houston. But Living Colour was the real deal - talented instrumentalists (Vernon Reid, Muzz Skillings, Will Calhoun), intelligent songwriters, and Corey Glover's amazing singing talents all combined to truly, for the first time in a long time, create something that was brand new. Their second album, Time's Up, was a bit more experimental, and didn't garner quite the same popularity as Vivid. Sadly, by the time their third album, Stain, came out, they were on their way out. All three albums are good for different reasons, but I will always remember Vivid as the one that opened people's eyes. Here's Love Rears It's Ugly Head, from Time's Up. Enjoy.

Since we're on the subject, next up is Bad Brains.

Now this was something truly innovative, though not even remotely mainstream. Bad Brains, out of Washington DC, blew the doors off my world when I was 13 (though they'd been around since 1982), and I've never looked back. Long before Living Colour, there was Bad Brains, the first (and possibly only) all black reggae/hardcore punk band. They were loud, fast, serious Rastafarians, incredibly political and intelligent, almost incoherent at times, but poetic in their lyrics and amazingly talented in their music. Gathered together by Dr. Know, the guitarist, they were most well known for H.R., their tumultuous lead singer (who once recorded the vocals for a track from a prison pay phone). Sadly, after numerous independently released albums and a couple of major label ones, they disbanded. They went through the motions in the late 90's, trying new lead singers, but could never recapture the magic. This is one of their more accessible songs, I Against I, off of the album of the same name. I'd recommend that, Rock For Light, Banned In DC or Quickness. Do me a favor and really listen, and let me know your thoughts.

Proof that there is a God, and that he is angry and spiteful, part II

For part one scroll down, or you lazier folks can click here.

Where was I? Oh, right.

"I heart Britney more than I heart world peace"

OK. I know. I know, ok? I know whoever this twit tween is, she doesn't really love Britney Fucking Spears more than she loves world peace, whatever that is.

Does she?

Honestly? I'm not so sure. Look, there are a million ways one could go with commentary about a statement so in(s)ane.

I could talk about the rampant vapidity of young people, hell, of the majority of people in the world today.

I could talk about the sad state of affairs when people spend more time on the internet writing useless crap to strangers (ahem), rather than get out there and actually do something useful. And no, I don't mean go out and save the whales or aggressively recycle or protest the war. I mean go out there and play in the sun or make a friend or fuck, learn something. Read a book. Although, stopping the war and saving the whales would be useful too.

I could talk about how pathetic it is that a young girl, probably in middle America somewhere, is so blinded by our cult of celebrity that she latches onto a drunk, white trash, pathetic no-talent who can't keep her fucking underwear on, and cries that she just wants to be someone, and that she has so much to say, despite the fact that she can't fucking SPELL.

And the truth is... it's all of that. It's more than that. It's none of that. All I know is it's sad and it's frustrating.

The truth is, in a sick way I'm as guilty as the next person. While this random girl (and I hope it's a little girl - I suppose it could actually be a grown man *shudder*) is obsessed with Britney, I am occasionally equally obsessed with her, but in reverse. I'm fascinated by the train wreck that is her life. Which is no better, really. Honestly, sometimes those of us who criticize those douchebags* for being douchebags are just as guilty as those who obsess over them. I mean, aren't rants like this another form of obsession?

On second thought... no. No they are not. Because I'm not obsessed with Britney Spears, or any celebrity for that matter. I think that George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are fucking brilliant actors. I think Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman and Catherine Keener are beautiful and amazingly talented. But fuck if I want to meet them. I could care less about what they'd be like in my world. Look, here is a random sample, in no particular order, of famous people I think are awesome for various reasons:

Christian Bale
Barak Obama
Tom Brady
Trent Reznor
Lebron James
Nelson Mandela**
Steven Soderberg

Truthfully, with the exception of the 2nd to last one, I have absolutely no desire to hang out with any of them. I could care less what their dinner conversation would be like. I just admire their talents. And if/when one of them starts acting like an asshole, then I suppose it gets interesting and becomes something to talk about. But to be honest, posts like Chez's, which I linked to above, aren't obsession, because he talks more about substantive issues than the majority of other bloggers out there. Certainly more than me. Fuck, most of my posts are about music, my dogs, being drunk, or weather-control conspiracy theories. And more importantly, he talks about other things besides celebrity worship.

But that's not the case for many people. I remember listening to NPR a few months ago and Robert B. Parker was on. You know, author of the Spenser novels, etc. I actually enjoy his books, as much as one can enjoy such mindless machismo-oriented brain candy. But there were callers who were, and I'm totally serious, calling and saying how someone like Spenser should be fucking President!

How did it come to this? When did we as a culture become so obsessed with strangers on the television that we ceased to recognize reality anymore? There are probably a million causes, ranging from The Beatles to that fucking bitch Oprah. People who became larger than life, and so prevalent that people began to think of them as a part of their lives. Harry Knowles is actually a lesser example of this - someone who came out of nowhere, but gave normal people a common link, to the point that now they think of him as their friend. Hell, he hosts giant movie gatherings that people fight to be a part of. People, just get a few friends together and rent a fucking movie. Jesus.

As usual, I don't have a point. I guess I'm saying that we spend far too much time thinking that the strangers we see on the television and the newspaper and yes, on the internet are actually a part of us. They're not. They're actors and musicians and frequently they're assholes who just happen to have a gift for which there is a high demand. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the people around us, and became more fascinated with the strangers behind the glass in front of us.

Do I have a solution? Of course not. But then, I think I'm doing ok. I have a life - a wife I love, a home I'm thrilled with, a job I feel is important that I enjoy, and great friends and family. I've got shit to occupy my time, so I don't get sucked into the cult of celebrity. Yes, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, writing rambling nonsense like this... but I'm ok with it, because it's not an obsession. In fact, I think blogging is, for the most part, a good thing. It's basically a digital diary, and I've read some truly amazing stuff and actually encountered some truly amazing people through it. But they're real. They're not around me, but they're not behind the glass, either.

That's the important part.

*Chez, please don't take that as a criticism. It was a brilliant piece, and worth writing. I just used it as a launching point.
**My sister, lucky bitch, actually did have dinner with Nelson Mandela once. True story. Some other time I'll tell it.

Finally, in case anyone cares, if I had to pick five strangers to have dinner with, it would not be anyone famous I've mentioned here. It would be him and her and him and her and her. That's right, buckos. I'm gonna start e-stalking you. Sleep tight. Keep a light on.

Proof that there is a God, and that he is angry and spiteful

There are a million ways to amuse yourself on the internet. Probably more than a million. Some people like the porn, some people like to surf blogs, or sports sites, or steal legally download music or spend the whole fucking day reading random Wikipedia entries, or looking at Anne Hathaway. Some write blogs, hoping to amuse others. I am not ashamed to admit I have done all of those things. But there is something that transcends all of those things. Something that cannot be topped, something that will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and possibly pee your pants.

I am speaking, of course, of the IMDB Message Boards.

Now, a bit of history. Way back when, I was an AICN junkie. It's devolved into one of the worst sites on the internet, but at the beginning, it was actually a pretty cool place for total movie dorks, which I have freely admitted to being, to get together, read some scoops and bitch/talk about movies. It is now the worst kind of masturbatory bullshit you will ever see assembled. People do nothing but call each other faggot on the talkbacks, and Harry Knowles has exploded into a juggernaut of ego and nepotistic, favoritist elitism. Yes, several of those words I just made up.

^The aforementioned Mr. Knowles ^

Then, there came IMDB. IMDB is like heaven to me. It is an endless stream of movie trivia, a beautiful orgy of useless facts that would endlessly amuse me. It would literally arouse me, and not just because you could find pictures of Rachel Weisz's cleavage. Sweet mercy is she beautiful. Let's take a moment to reflect:

But then... the zenith of interweb brilliance - the message boards. A wonderful haven for people to ask inane questions (what religion is Sheryl Crow? Is Matt Damon right handed? I heard Ron Perlman only has 9 toes! How tall is she?) and spout worthless opinions about all manner of things, internet-scream at each other, and generally make asses of themselves. I refuse to post, but I did sign up for an account simply so I could view the comments. It's free, and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

But then something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong, and this is where what little humor there was in this post goes down the crapper. I used to think that reading tween comments about Britney and Hilary and Jennifer and all those other mouth-breathing wannabes was endlessly amusing. And then I stumbled upon a poster who made me weep for the future. I'm serious. I forget the topic, I forget her name. All I remember is her little catch-phrase at the bottom of her post which read:

"I heart Britney more than I heart world peace!"

Read that again. Take a break, go throw up. Let me know when you're back.

I will continue this in a bit. But I'm about to head home. I promise I'll finish my thoughts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Random bullshit that wastes your brain

I lived like a slug this weekend - ate too much, drank too much, slept too much. I felt like I was 22 again. Only heavier. But dammit, when the weather is as crappy as it's been, what the hell else am I gonna do? I also watched Crank, starring Jason Statham. I'm trying to figure out if it's brilliant or terrible. One thing's for sure, it's not boring. Anyway, because I have nothing better to do, I'm doing one of those obligatory facts-about-the-blogger posts. Here we go, random bullshit about me:

  1. I'm turning 32 in two months. Somebody get me some Vicks Vap-O-Rub. And plaid pants. And goddammit, get off my lawn!
  2. I've been married four years. But we started dating 12 years ago. Jesus.
  3. The only US states I've actually visited are all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington DC, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Nevada. As you can see, I confine myself to certain regions. I've been to Florida once, but otherwise I'm scared of the south.
  4. Countries I've been to: USA, Canada, South Africa, England and Jamaica. Not terribly worldly, I know.
  5. Despite living here for more than 20 years, and speaking no language other than English, I am not an American citizen.
  6. People tell me that I'm big, but I rarely see myself that way. I'm 6'3" and weigh 210 pounds. I know, I know. Interestingly, when I graduated high school I was 6'2" and weighed 145. I was a skinny mutant freakazoid.
  7. My favorite movie of all time is Big Trouble in Little China. I didn't say it's the best movie of all time. I said it's my favorite. Second is Ghostbusters.
  8. My favorite TV shows are Entourage and The Wire. Actually, they're my favorites by default - they're the only shows I watch.
  9. Leading into: I watch almost no television. Right now I watch maybe 2.5 hours per week. That goes up in baseball season. By a lot.
  10. If I could pick three places to be on a summer day in Massachusetts, they would be, in order, on a boat in Scituate harbor, at a daytime Red Sox game, or grilling in my back yard.
  11. I have seven pets. Yes. Read it again, it still says seven.
  12. I have one sibling. My sister, who is 36.
  13. My two greatest fears are death of loved ones and fires. I'm terrified of my house burning down.
  14. I don't believe in God, fate or destiny. However, I do believe that if I don't wear my Troy Brown jersey while the Patriots play and I'm watching at Tim's house, they will lose. Similarly, I believe that I cannot wear it at home, but I must wear my Patriots hat. I believe my wife is bad luck and cannot watch games with her. I am deadly serious about this.
  15. Speaking of pets, here are all of the types of pets I've had, by number, over the course of my life: 8 cats, 3 dogs, 1 snake, 2 lizards, many fish, 3 frogs, 1 toad, 2 turtles, 1 tortoise, 3 parakeets, 2 chickens, 3 ducks, 2 lovebirds, 1 rat, 1 hamster, 2 gerbils, and 1 guinea pig.
  16. I have several addictions in life. Some of them are: smoking, music, movies and sex. Not in that order.
  17. There are approximately 25,000 songs in my iTunes folder.
  18. I drink but rarely get drunk. I've mastered the maintenance buzz, which makes my mornings much easier.
  19. I have not tried crack or heroin. Unfortunately, I think that's the end of the list of drugs I haven't tried. On the bright side, booze and occasionally grass are all that I partake in now.
  20. When I was a seven, I was obsessed with having my clothes match, and used to wear blue shirts, pants, socks and shoes regularly. Because I was a freak show.
  21. Some jobs I have had, not counting this one: Property Manager, Homeless Shelter manager, receptionist, construction worker, cafeteria dishwasher, coffee shop, factory assembly line, paper boy.
  22. I have studied four languages, and cannot read, write or speak any of them. French, Spanish, Latin and Afrikaans.
  23. I am incapable of going to the beach and not going in the water, unless it is wintertime. My love for the ocean is exceeded by few other things. I've vowed to never live on a non-coastal state ever again.
  24. I come from a pretty tall family. My sister is six feet even. My mom is the shortest at 5'9".
  25. My first girlfriend was 5'11". The next was 5'9". My first college girlfriend was 5'8". My wife is 5'3". My parents are horrified that we might have wee runty little kids. I am too.
  26. In all honesty, some of the greatest days of my life were: The day I got married, the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and the day the Red Sox won the World Series.
  27. The worst day of my life was the day my parents moved back to South Africa.
  28. The only foods I refuse to eat are pickles and olives. I will literally try anything once. And I mean anything.
  29. I used to have four ear piercings. Now I have none.
  30. I have four tattoos - one on each arm, one on my ankle, and a large one on my back. I got them at ages 19, 20, 21 and 31.
  31. Between the ages of 12 and 14, I broke six bones and two teeth, over the course of 3 incidents.
  32. One of the incidents was when I broke my thumb in history class. Yes, you read that correctly. The rest were bicycle accidents.
  33. I cannot justify spending more than $40 on any single item of clothing, except possibly for shoes or jackets. However, I will spend $75 at a book store without blinking.
  34. I once dyed my hair purple. I was in my punk-rock high school phase, and it went with my Misfits t-shirt, multiple piercings and combat boots combo. I bought all my clothes at Army-Navy stores.
  35. Now I shop at Old Navy and dress like my dad. Though, to be fair, my dad is pretty cool.
  36. I moved to the suburbs and promptly became obsessed with my lawn. It's creepy and strange and I can't... stop... fertilizing... send help!
  37. I am terrible at baseball but very good at Wiffleball. I suck at pool and foosball but am excellent at darts.
  38. I suck at tying my shoes.
  39. I can't drive a stick-shift. I simply never learned.
  40. I think Oprah is a sign of a world gone mad. Also Nancy Grace, Lindsay Lohan, Dick Cheney and Rachael Ray. They are all people drunk with power. Or in some cases, just drunk.
That's all for now. Have a splendiferous day.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I might have to re-think the whole global warming thing...

It's 4 degrees right now in Boston. Four. Quatro. Quatre. With the wind chill? -10. Minus TEN. That's actually too cold to translate.

Holy fuck. And you know what Lewis Black said - "if the weather man says it's 4 degrees, but with the wind chill it's -10... well then it's MINUS TEN, asshole. Don't tell me what the temperature is if conditions were perfect!"

On the bright side, I went to college in Wisconsin, so I can always look around and say, "eh. I've seen worse."


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back and blogging

Well, I'm back from Philly, with all sorts of tales to tell. The trip was actually very good, with only a couple of missteps. I'll do some more detailed posts, but here are the goods and the bads.

  1. Getting there in record time. The only advantage to leaving at 1:00AM - no traffic whatsoever. We made the 350 mile drive in a little less than 5 hours.
  2. The dogs didn't pee in the car.
  3. We managed to see almost everyone we wanted to, except for one friend who had to cancel because her friends were sick.
  4. Mrs. TK was a rockstar and offered to visit her grandmother alone, which was awesome and I need to do something extra-super nice for her.
  5. Didn't get too drunk. Just drunk enough.
  6. Hung out at Bill's (he of the stripper girlfriend), and saw my cousin. Got my cousin and Bill to exchange phone numbers, which is good because my cuz is somewhat introverted and needs a social circle.
  7. Saw Coleen and Greg's new house. It's awesome, despite being 1.5 blocks from Col's mother's house, which is a little weird.
  8. Saw Brian and his wife, who is now pregnant. Congrats! Scary!
  9. Made it back in excellent time as well, despite taking the GW Bridge/Cross-Bronx at 3PM.
  10. Watched Audrey the Beagle and Baby Emma (Wife's cousin's 2 yr. old daughter) become best friends, in what was one of the top 10 cutest scenes ever.
  11. Baby Emma's daddy got arrested for having 45 POUNDS of pot in his car. FORTY-FIVE POUNDS. This is good because he was a scumbag. He will not be missed.
  1. Leaving at 1:00AM on Thursday night/Friday morning.
  2. I'm fairly certain my mother-in-law is an alcoholic. More on this later.
  3. The Patriots lost to the Colts. Boooooo!
  4. An unbelievably depressing visit to my wife's friend, who is 50 years old, has 2 small children (3 & 4) and a completely loveless marriage.
  5. The Colts beat the Patriots.
  6. Did I mention the Pats lost? Motherfuck.
  7. (late addition) 45 Pounds of pot is now out of circulation. Nice catch, Matt.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bad music is bad for you, but sometimes it's awesome

OK, I know I'm late to the party on this, but I couldn't resist posting it. It's a mashup of two Nickelback songs, one played out the right speaker, one out the left. And they sound... exactly... the... same...


It's brilliant. And it goes to prove how utterly awful a band this is, by exposing that they really only have one tune, just slight variations on it.

There's a big difference between bands that have a "sound", and bands that totally lack originality. Social Distortion, one of the greatest punk rock bands of my time, had a sound. Any time you heard a track, you knew it was them. But that was a good thing - they had a technique, a formula (without sounding formulaic, if that makes sense). But nothing like this. This is just derivative crap.

Anyway, to make up for it, here's a little Social Distortion. I saw these guys in concert in college and they were amazing. Shame their latest album is... well, not so good. Here's "I Was Wrong", from White Light, White Heat, White Trash.

Well, I'm off to the Illadelph for a few days to visit the in-laws and the Philly friends. I'll try to post some time, so neither of you will be without me. Have a splendid weekend, kids. Be safe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Good Music is Good For You, Part II

Today, we start with Cee-Lo Green.

Before there was Gnarls Barkley, there was simply Cee-Lo. With a great, high-pitched rasp that somehow comes out unbelievably smooth (or smoove), and a talented batch of guest stars, "... Is the Soul Machine" is a truly great, relaxing, but very innovative album.

Gnarls Barkley is talented, to be sure, but to me it seems like a combination of the lesser works of two great talents. Cee-Lo is better, more sophisticated on his solo stuff (or with Goodie Mob), and Producer/DJ Danger Mouse has to rein himself in a bit on St. Elsewhere. He's far more talented a DJ than this album displays (and it displays a lot of talent, don't get me wrong). But if you want to really glimpse Danger Mouse's abilities, check out either Danger Doom, with MF Doom, or download The Gray Album from somewhere, the remix of The White Album and The Black Album. Another personal favorite is his work with Jemini The Gifted One (although Jemini, that dumb bastard, is currently locked up).

Anyway, here's "Gettin' Grown", from Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. Not his best song (though still good), but all I could find on youtube.

Completely changing gears, another favorite group of mine is The Drive-By Truckers.

There are a billion labels out there - alt-country, cowpunk, psychobilly, etc. All I know is this: These guys are seriously good. Great country twang, innovative use of guitars, some beautiful, stirring songs (listen to "Late for Church"), revolutionary in their social commentary, and brutally honest in their depictions of southern living, they continue to impress me with each successive album. Similar to (but smarter and better than) Reverend Horton Heat, and less wildly rambunctious (but more authentic) than Southern Culture on the Skids, this proves that there is such a thing as great country music, as long as it's not that yee-ha Brooks-and-Big-and-Dumb crap the CMT Awards likes to swallow up.
Here's "Never Gonna Change", from "The Dirty South". Listen closely, the lyrics are both brilliant and tragic.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this moment of self-indulgence. It took far longer to do than I expected. Let me know your thoughts.

It's so cold I think my heart stopped

Remember a few weeks back when I said I like the winter? Well fuck that noise. It's NINE DEGREES outside right now. NINE. Single digits. I think my ear wax froze. Don't get me wrong... I've been through some serious, no-shit cold weather. I grew up in New England. I lived through the blizzard of '78. Not to mention the blizzard of '91, '97 and '05.

Hell, I went to college in Wisconsin. Here's the thing about UW-Madison. It's an awesome school. Great programs, good professors, helluva town. But it's madness that people live there permanently. Lewis Black summed it best when, talking about Minnesota (same damn thing), he said something like "I can't believe that long ago, settlers came here... and fuckin' stayed". The winters are B-R-U-T-A-L. I remember my freshman year, we got 14 inches of snow.

In April.

That shit ain't right.

That same year, at one point it was -15 degrees. For five days. That doesn't even factor in the wind chill. Which is also insane, particularly since Madison is an isthmus, so the wind is like being sliced with a very cold razor blade. Even worse, not once did those fuckers cancel class. Sub-zero temperatures, snow storms, ice storms... nope! Get to class you layabouts!

Anyway. My point? As usual, I'm not sure I have one. But I know two things:
1. Going from 70 degrees to 9 degrees in a span of 10 days is fucking horrific. This should be how we torture terrorists. Just make them sit through a few days of sunny New England, and then without warning, drop the temperature by 60 degrees. Seriously, who do I have to talk to about this?
2. Again, fuck a bunch of El Nino. Don't tell me this is some random weather pattern. I'm not buying it. Because I've lived here for a long damn time, and it's only the last few years that El Nino has been discussed. I think something's up. I think someone's hiding something. Sinister forces are at work here, people. And all of you fucks are just taking it lying down. Like I said before, where is the panic about this? I feel like Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon. The fucking world is about to end and no one is listening to me. I think that one or all of the following things are to blame:
  • Global warming. Ice caps melting, fucked up weather patterns.
  • An evil genius at work. Could be Dr. Doom, could be Dick Cheney. Fuck, they may well be the same person (hmm...). But someone somewhere is fucking with the weather and simultaneously lulling the world into complacency about it.

So go ahead, America. Keep driving your giant SUV's and emitting your greenhouse gasses and living in ignorance. But someday, you'll wish you'd listened to me. Someday, when Matt is up to his ass in snow drifts and New York looks like a graveyard of giant popsicles and it's so cold you've forgotten what your testicles feel like and we're living under the cruel jackboots of super-evolved evil winterized nuclear cockroaches, you'll wish you'd heeded my advice. Damn you, America! DAMN YOU! *shakes fist at God*

*deep breath*

Whew. Maybe I got a little carried away there. I drank a lot of coffee today. But in all seriousness folks... it's goddamn freezing today. Wear your mittens.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

You stay classy, San Diego

See also this, which is hilarious.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Information you don't need

So before I headed out today, the following telephone conversation took place:

Tim: Hello?
TK: Hey, what's up.
Tim: Oh, you know. I'm almost there.
TK: Almost where?
Tim: Um... orgasm?
TK: Really? Huh. . . Well. . . this is awkward.
Tim: A bit.


TK: You want me to talk you through it?

Hope you enjoyed your weekend. I'm gonna go collapse.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Today will be a day that shall live in infamy

Well, my own personal infamy, anyway. It's been a low-key weekend... I went out to dinner with Mrs. TK on Friday night, to a lovely little restaurant in Dedham, MA called Isabella. Good food. Cute place. The table next to me was a horror show. It was a woman and her very elderly mother, and the entire conversation was about the elderly woman's future, or lack thereof. It was brutal, and much louder than it should have been. At one point, we overheard the daughter say, "Mom, we have two kids in college... we can't afford to find you a place to live until you die."

Sweet Jesus. Some fuckin' people. I can't imagine ever saying something like that to my mom. I wanted to punch the bitch.

Anyway. Saturday the wife left for work. She's doing two straight overnights, so she usually doesn't come home at all. Which means I live like a dog for two days. Yesterday I had what can only be called a video game bender, where I played PS2 for about 10 hours. I'm now trying to re-learn how to blink. Dork-out! During that time, Audrey the Beagle took it upon herself to grab a couple of cardboard boxes and chew them into teeny-tiny bite-sized pieces in my study. When I found the wreckage, she pranced around it with that "Look! Look what I did! Isn't it great!?" look. Meanwhile, Ceili the Wonder Dog is looking at me like Jay from The 40 Year Old Virgin: "I don't hang out with him! I work with him, and that's it! I tried to introduce him to a few nice people, and he made a fool of himself. I don't mess with him baby. That's not me."

Today is the infamous day. The Patriots play the Chargers in a game I'm terrified to watch. But I will. And then afterwards, I'll either celebrate or console myself with a friend of mine at some dirt-hole bar, since it is his birthday. We both have the day off tomorrow, which means things will get ugly. While many of my friends are smart, sophisticated people, this particular one is not. I love him to death, but he's a borderline degenerate. It will be a raucous evening of Miller Hi-Life and Rye Whiskey. Welcome to Hangovertown - population: me.

To keep this post from being too dull, here's one of my current favorite songs. "Alive With the Glory of Love" by Say Anything. Sure, they're a little derivative, but who isn't these days?

Anyway, that's all I got for now. I'm trying to think of something neat to write about tomorrow. Any ideas? Let's drink about it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Week in review (now, with 70% less rage!)

OK, enough of this maudlin crap. I'm determined to get out of the funk I was in a couple of days ago. So here's some fun stuff that happened this week:

  • I found out I'm probably going to need knee surgery!

Oh. Shit. Yeah, that sucks too. And my knee hurts like you wouldn't believe. Let me try again.

  • I agreed to go visit my in-laws next week!
Motherfucker. OK, I'll give it another shot. Note: I love my in-laws. I do. It's just... well, visiting them for five days? I mean, they can be a lot of fun. They can also be totally boring. And yes, I just totally used totally that way. Go screw. But at least I'll get to see some of my Philly friends, which is awesome. Because while I don't particularly miss the Illadelph, I do miss some of the very good friends I left behind when I returned to Boston. Even if they don't visit because they're lazy pricks. I'm looking at you, Ben.

Even better, I'll get to see my boy Bill, who, despite being a total weirdo, is a great friend. He was one of the guys I went on a Vegas trip with last year. We used to work together (he didn't get laid off). And, he is dating (and living with) a stripper. Which is simultaneously awesome, creepy, sad and full circle to awesome again. And knowing Bill, we will spend an entire day roaring drunk, watching football, while he bitches about the loss of Iverson and I bitch about the Celtics looking like the JV squad at a school for retarded kids. Then we'll argue about who was better all-time, Wilt Chamberlain or Larry Bird. Then I will punch Bill in his bitch-ass mouth. Kidding. Sadly, only about that last part.

If I'm extra-special super-duper lucky, I'll get to go visit my wife's grandmother. She's really a lovely woman. If by lovely woman, you mean nasty, unpleasant bigot who once called me "one of the nice ones". She also sometimes calls me Ian. My name is not Ian. Nor has it ever been in the TWELVE YEARS (dating and marriage) that I've known my wife. Next time she does it I'm calling her Leroy. Oddly, I think she genuinely likes me. I just think she'd like me more if I was white. And I'd like her more if she was -

  • I finished watching Season One of The Wire. Seriously. Stop what you're doing, stop reading this, and go rent/buy these DVD's. Trust me. I'm not joking. Stop fucking reading and go get them. It's hands down the best show on TV.

OK. Are you back? Did you finish them? That was quick. Pretty damn good, huh. Yeah, who loves you?

Anyway, not to cut this off abruptly but I gotta go. I'll probably post something tomorrow. Have a good night, kids.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Feeling better now

Sorry, my last few posts were a bit glum. I called a few Philly friends last night and most of them (but not all) made it out unscathed. I also went to the Celtics game last night, which was fun, despite us losing.

Anyway, I'll be booked up for much of today. But here's one of the things that always makes me feel better, from one of my favorite movies. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


That's all I can say.

350 of my former co-workers just lost their jobs.

Thanks a lot, Bush. Yes, I blame him. Him and that sycophantic power-monger Alphonso Jackson.

Shit. I got some calls to make.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Anybody got 4.2 million dollars?

I was going to write this long rambling post about how frustrating my day at work was, but I've changed my mind because a) I just wrote a long rambling post, and b) it'd just make me angrier. And frankly, that would be pretty goddamn angry. So I'll try to keep it short, but honestly, this post is more for my sake than yours.

So here's the thing. I work in the field known as "Low-Income Housing". Known in the vernacular as "the projects". Basically, the government gives us a certain amount of money, and between that and the rent we collect (based on the resident's income), we manage and maintain housing for poor people. There are many types of agencies that do this, but I work for a housing authority. It's one of the bigger ones in Massachusetts, and as you can probably imagine, it's not exactly easy work. Working with low-income (read: dirt poor) families is frustrating, fascinating, fun, infuriating. There are days when I absolutely hate my fellow man. There are days when I wish I worked in corporate America for big money. And there are days when I sit back, put my hands behind my head and think... Man. I fuckin' love this job.

Today was not one of those days. Why? Because we're doing our budgets for the next fiscal year. And, surprise, there isn't enough money. I won't lie, I'm ridiculously liberal when it comes to things like welfare, social security, and housing. I believe that we as people of moderate to wealthy means have a duty to pay our taxes, and we will not always benefit from them. Some of what we pay goes to helping those who lack the proper means, education, or whatever to take care of themselves. This includes food stamps, free day care, and low-income housing. It's part of the price you pay to live in a "civilized" society.

Doesn't work so well right now. We're broke. We've got buildings in dire need of repair, leaks, infestations, we're short-staffed and frequently underpaid. We've got a crime and drug problem that we're struggling to stay ahead of. The government, in it's infinite wisdom, has created a system of inspections that are unbelievably (and intentionally)harsh. The kicker? If your properties fail the inspection, what happens? They cut funding.

And without funding, you can't fix the problems that led to the failure in the first place. See where I'm going with this?

Now, I work for one of the better Authorities out there. In fact, it's something of a model agency, which is awesome and much better than when I worked in Philadelphia, or Boston. But it's still tough. And today, after listing all of the crucial things that we need to do to keep our buildings safe and clean, and to develop programs that would empower our residents and lead them on the road to self-sufficiency... well. We listed all of those things, and then cut them to pieces. Because we don't have enough money. We need about 6.5 million dollars. We're receiving about 1/3 of that.

Incidentally, the B-2 Stealth bomber costs about 2.2 billion dollars. The cost of the war to date? Approximately 357 billion dollars. In case anyone's wondering? For less than .2% of the cost of one bomber, I could fix every housing problem in my city. For less than 5% of one bomber, I could fix every housing problem in my state. I ran the numbers on the site above, and for the cost of the war itself, we could have paid for a year of Head Start for 47 million kids. Or hired over 6 million teachers. Or provided over 17 million four-year college scholarships. Or given 213 million kids health insurance.

Let's just say this is not a day when I am proud of our government. But I am proud of the people I work with for soldiering on, as I am every teacher, doctor, parent and child who works their way through this.

Shocker, this was longer than I intended. I'll try to make with the funny tomorrow, but right now... I don't really have it in me.

Aw mom, everyone's doing it! Or, thoughts on race.

OK, so I tried that goofy myheritage.com face recognition thing, where you upload a picture of yourself and it tells you what celebrities you look like. Obviously, I had some spare time last night to undertake this incredibly complex scientific undertaking. Here's what it told me:

Paul Walker
Patrick Dempsey
Johnny Depp
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Raul Gonzalez (who the fuck?)
Zinedine Zedane
Jesse Bradford
Enrico Fermi (my personal favorite)
Luke Wilson


So I tried it again, with a different picture (longer hair). Only four duplicates: Walker, Depp, Bradford, Wilson.

Hey, I'm totally cool with looking like Paul Walker or Johnny Depp, as I've heard women say they're cute. Ignore the fact that Walker couldn't act his way out of a wet sack. But let's be real people. Other than the fact that we have facial hair and, you know, ears and eyes, there ain't that much in common.

The lesson? The website is shit.

But it did get me thinking. The truth is, I don't really look like anyone. And you can blame South Africa. As you may or may not know, South Africa is made up of three main ethnic groups. Blacks, Whites, and Coloureds. Now before anyone gets into a hissy fit over the word "coloured", please understand that this is not the colored that Americans think of. It's a legitimate ethic group in SA. Since there has been so much intermingling of ethnicities, there now exists what is essentially a large number of mixed-race people, who have come to identify themselves as part of a larger group. And that group is Coloured. Typically a mix of any or all of the following: White, Black, Indian, Asian, etc. I, for example, am Black-Indian-Scottish-French-Malaysian. Seriously. I'm a veritable stew of ethnicities.

My point? Try to picture what a Black-Indian-Scottish-French-Malaysian person would look like. Good luck. Let me know what you come up with. So when I moved here, I really didn't look like anyone. I didn't look like the white kids, I didn't look like the black kids, and we didn't have too many Indian or Malaysian kids, so that was moot. As long as I have lived here, I've never looked like anyone. No one's ever come up to me and said, "you know who you look like?". I've been mistaken for Hispanic, Native American, Inuit (seriously), pretty much everything. I get great service in Indian restaurants, and on more than one occasion waitresses in Mexican restaurants have called me "Papi".

Anyway, it was somewhat strange. It's weird to go through life with no real identifiable ethnic group. Most people may not think about it much, because you're used to knowing a lot of people that you can, ethnically speaking, associate yourself with. Me? Not so much. Also, I get asked. A LOT. Which is also weird. Particularly since I don't have a simple answer. I can't just say, "I'm Brazilian" or "I'm Norwiegian". I can say, "I'm South African", but I know that's not really what people are asking. What's equally interesting is that on the rare occasion when, in the USA, I come across another South African, they will instantly recognize where I'm from.

Which is part of why going back to SA is so wonderful, yet odd for me. I've lived in the US since 1985, so the majority of my life has been here. And when I go back, to visit my vast and crazy family? Everyone looks like me. While my family still has a sizable diversity of appearance (light/dark skin, huge differences in height), there's no chance you'd be surprised to learn they're my family. I love it. But it's weird. We're all varying degrees of tan, we all have black hair, and most of us have freckles. It used to drive my wife crazy, because she was sure she'd never remember who was who. It also doesn't help that my family has names like Clive, Agnes, Noble, Ashley and Robin (both boys), Avril and Yvonne.

(Incidentally: Tan, black hair, freckles. I know, your first thought was Paul Walker, right? Fuck myheritage.com)

Where am I going with this long-winded rambling? I have absolutely no idea. And I don't want anyone to think that I'm some pathetic loner because I can't find someone who looks similar to me and spends his time planning to blow a hole in the world. I honestly don't care - I've got a great circle of friends, and I'm perfectly happy here. But I thought you might find it interesting.

By the way, I married a lovely, lily-white Irish-American girl. My plan? The slow, inexorable mongrelization of the human race. Muhahahaha!

Look upon me, and tremble.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Fuck a bunch of El Nino

El Nino? Global Warming? Who knows. All I know is this: On Saturday, January 6th, 2007, in the frozen wasteland (as my wife used to call it) of New England, it was 71 degrees. I'm sorry, but that's just fucked up. Something ain't right. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful day. Mrs. TK and I packed up one of the dogs (Ceili), met up with a couple of friends and went hiking in the Blue Hills. It was great. I was in a t-shirt and pants, and perfectly comfortable, even warm at times.

I was in a t-shirt, people. In January. Shouldn't we be panicking? Running for the hills, screaming the sky is falling? Shouldn't there be rioting in the streets, profiteering... dare I say it... MASS HYSTERIA!* I'm another 60 degree day away from stockpiling guns and dried food in the basement and waiting for the Apocalypse.

I know I shouldn't bitch, but the truth is, I like the New England winters**. I like the crispness to the air, I love the snow. Sure, the commuting is a nightmare, but dammit, I just blew 600 bucks on a damn snowblower, which is now might as well be a gas-powered hat rack.

I don't know what to think anymore. But if any (or either) of my readers has an opinion, let me know. But make sure it's here on the blog. Because I'm shootin' any motherfucker that gets on my property trying to steal food.

* I was going to show the Ghostbusters clip, but for some reason Youtube won't let me embed it. So here's the link. It remains consistently hilarious.

** My wife doesn't understand this. She hates the winter. She calls me "the world's worst African".

Good music is good for you

Feist is something I discovered relatively recently , and have promptly chewed through all of it. You should too.

This video is brilliant in it's simplicity. So just enjoy. Then go buy Let It Die.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Jets fans... see you next year. We'll take over from here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hell Yeah

Sometimes a picture of a big fat man says it all.

Go Pats.

That is all.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A glimpse into the life of TK...

Here are some fun things that have taken place recently...

1. I got pulled over.

I know this doesn't sound funny, but damn if it wasn't hysterical. I was headed down Route 1 south in Norwood, MA, on my way home. Buzzed by a state trooper car. Next thing I know... flashing lights, siren... FUCK! I've had bad luck with staties in Mass, big goddamn lantern-jawed Hitler-youth-in-training that they are. Then this conversation took place:

State Trooper: License and registration please.
TK: Here you are sir. (note: I am incredibly polite to cops. You should be too.)
ST: You know why I pulled you ovah?
TK: Honestly? I have absolutely no idea.
ST: Hm. You know how fast you were going?
TK: Um... Fifty-five?
ST: Well, then I guess you know why I pulled you ovah.


TK: But... um... the speed limit is fifty-five.
ST: What?
TK: Yeah. It's forty-five back that way, and forty-five once you pass those lights up ahead, but it's fifty-five on this stretch.



ST: Aw, Jesus. I'm sorry.
ST: I apologize, sir. (hands back paperwork) Uh... be careful when you pull back onto the road.


Truly bizarre. And awesome. And makes me fear for our law enforcement community.

2. I witnessed, and then participated in, the following conversation.

The scene: Work N' Gear store, just before Christmas. I'm just trying to buy a pair of work boots. Find them, and while waiting in line, witness this:

Store employee: That'll be $65.99
Fat Annoying Woman: No, that's not right. Those pants are on sale.
SE: No, they're not ma'am.
FAW: Yes they are. There's a sign right there that says 20% off.
SE: Yes... but that's for the clothes on the rack the sign is attached to. These pants are from that rack.
FAW: Well, the sign outside says "Huge Sale"...
SE: Yes. And there is a sale. But these pants are not part of it.
FAW: Don't you think that's false advertising? I think it is. I think you're tricking people.
SE: Ma'am, the sign doesn't say everything is on sale. It just says there is a sale.
FAW: (to me) Don't you think that's false advertising?
TK: Lady, I so don't want to be involved in this.
FAW: Well. I think you're basically lying to your customers. *snatches credit card away from SE* I'm not coming back here.

She walks towards the door, I walk up to the register.

FAW: Haven't you ever heard of "the customer's always right?"
TK: (sotto voce) Not when the customer's a jackass.

Store employee cracks and starts giggling. Woman storms out in a huff. The best part? My boots were on sale. And no, there was no sign near them. Sweet.

3. The following conversation took place in my kitchen.

Mrs. TK: So, I went to the gynecologist today.
TK: Um... swell. Thanks for letting me know. I guess. How... boy am I gonna regret this but... how was it?
MTK: Fine, I guess. No more or less uncomfortable than usual.
TK: OK. That's all you gotta say.
MTK: She said my uterus looks great.
TK: What? She really used those words?
MTK: Yup. I, apparently, have a great-looking uterus.


TK: You know, that's sort of strange. I mean, I've never gone to the doctor for a check-up, had him look me over and say, "Hey - nice balls." You know?

and SCENE.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why I hate Oprah

I started this rant on Pajiba.com, but have now decided to unleash my full vitriol on my home turf.

Start here.

Oprah built a school in South Africa, a lovely, elite estate for 150 girls to attend. For 30 MILLION EUROS. THIRTY MILLION. 30,000,000.00 Euros. That's almost 40 million US Dollars. For 150 students. It will apparently have luxury accommodations.

So, because I'm South African too, and have to watch my family who still lives there struggle to afford an education, I did a little research. My curiosity was spawned by a post by a fellow Pajiba reader. Here's what I learned.

There were 3500 applicants for Oprahs little compound. Whoops, I meant school.
She picked 150 of them. To spend 30 million Euros.
30 million Euros/3500 = around 8500 Euros per person.

Had she chosen to, she could have instead spent 8500 Euros per applicant.

Annual tuition for the undergraduate program at University of Cape Town (on of SA's top schools) is approximately 11,000 Rand (Rand=South African currency).

8500 Euros= about 78,000 Rand.

So. Fucking SO. Oprah could have instead sent 3500 kids to study for FOUR FULL YEARS at UCT, paid for their books, lodging, and probably bought them fucking cars as well.

OR, she could have sent 7000 kids to UCT for four full years.

But instead she's dumping it into this pathetic fucking vanity project, where she can create 150 little fucking elitist automatons. And the remaining 3350-6850 kids can go fuck themselves.

So, why do I hate Oprah? Because she has the same elitist Western egotism that makes so many people worldwide resent people like her. She has this vast fortune, and could do so much good. But instead she makes these little pet projects that she can plaster her fat fucking face all over, and tell the world, "oooh, look how fucking good I am for helping the little poor kids". When instead, had she done a little fucking research, she could have accomplished something phenomenal, and helped thousands more. But of course, those kids wouldn't have had her face on every goddamn book cover. Congratulations, Ms. Winfrey, on creating a brand new class of haves and have-nots, you egomaniacal fuckhead douchebag*.

Fucking hell. I'm gonna need a dozen drinks to calm me down now.

*Thanks to Deus Ex Malcontent for reminding me of the brilliance of this word.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolution, schmesolution

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. Let's get that out of the way. I don't think that something as simple as the date on the calendar should somehow warrant changing your life. Why not choose your birthday, or St. Patrick's Day, or Secretary's Day? It makes no sense. So instead, I've decided to list the prominent things that happened to me over the last twelve months, and what I've learned from them. Thus, in no particular order:

1. I hurt myself. A lot. Over the past 12 months, I managed to:
a) Slam my thumb in my car door without any assistance or outside reason. Result - a giant bloody mess that took weeks to heal.
b) Drop a gigantic rock on my toe. Result - same as above.
c) Broke a rib. Mrs. TK somehow persuaded me to go skiing with her. I foolishly agreed, despite never having skied before. I thought, for some insane reason, that maybe I would try snowboarding instead. On my third bruising trip down the bunny hill, I flew ass over teakettle, put my hands out to brace myself, and managed to break a rib... on my own fist. Yes, I basically punched myself in the chest and broke a rib.
The lesson: At thirty-one years old, I am still as clumsy as I was when I was 14. Sad, but true. Actually, maybe I'm somewhat less awkward. Between the ages of 13 and 15 I managed to break my left arm three times, my right arm once and broke two teeth. Seriously. Ow.

2. I began drinking in moderation. Part of it is that I now live much farther away from my friends than I used to... I live about 20 miles from Boston, so going out and getting hammered becomes much more risky. So I've tempered myself somewhat. Unless we're hanging out at my house... then all bets are off.
The lesson: I am becoming a grown-up.

3. I got a new job. Which was awesome. I moved from being the manager of a low-income housing development in Boston, which had three shootings and one stabbing in six months, to working for a Housing Authority in a position of... gasp! management. It's strange. It's weird, telling people older than me what to do. And it's amazing. I have never been able to say this before, but I absolutely, positively love my job. This is momentous.
The lesson: Fuck grad school. At least for now.

4. I bought a house. Which was terrifying. I mean really, knee-knockingly terrifying. But I can never complain about it, because I really love the place. It's small, it's far from Boston, it's so goddamn suburban that it makes me sick sometimes. But it's quiet, it's cozy, and it's got a gigantic yard with a fence around it, so my dogs (and I) can run around with reckless abandon. Add in the hammock factor and summers have become a whole new level of wonderful.
The lesson: OK, now I'm really a grown-up.

5. I officially gave up on two friends. This sucked. Two people, one of whom was the best friend I had in college, one who was an ex-girlfriend who became a great friend, that I was very close to. But I'm a believer in giving what you get, and frankly, I was giving way more. I can only suffer unreturned phone calls and emails to empty spaces for so long. So after a couple of years of trying to maintain... I've decided to move on. Painful? You betcha. But it beats the alternative, which is constant disappointment and frustration.
The lesson: Life goes on, and one can't waste it hoping for something that won't happen.

6. I learned how to make friends. This was weird. And I know it sounds weird. But I've historically been terrible at it. Up until recently, almost every friend I'd had was a friend I'd known since high school, or friends I made in college (which doesn't count as making friends because you are forced into it by not knowing anyone and by a shared love of drinking). But for the first time I've succeeded in making good friends without help.
The lesson: I'm not sure what the lesson is.

# 7 will be it's own post, because it's long and detailed and fairly emotional, so doesn't seem to fit here.