Monday, October 13, 2008

Hepatitis: Not referenced nearly enough in Zagat's Restaurant Guide

I've never really been the type of person that needs business cards (at least, beyond the fabled "Stunt Cock" business cards that nearly got me thrown out of "Buzzcut" Stipek's[1] Desktop Publishing class). It's entirely possible that one day, though, I could wake up as that sort of an asshole. If so, serious consideration would be given to billing my profession as "Amateur Sociologist". Bad information from worse people can prove an invaluable resource, oftentimes more so than that of an allegedly reputable one. For example, nothing proves that the Stones are better than the Beatles with such succinct effortlessness as the negative Amazon reviews for "Exile on Main Street".

As for those who say Exile isn't an album but a place, I'm not sure I'm into the mystical stuff, but I left that place about 1975 and I don't care to go back there again. I guarantee you nobody has bothered to clean up the half-empty beer bottles, the bloody needles and the discarded condoms.-Some Jerkoff

That comment makes a pretty convincing argument. At least, the argument that his wife presumably began cuckolding him before the ink could even dry on their sham of a marriage. Now, with his better half galavanting around town with a bottomless glass of White Zinfandel, the man devotes nearly all of his free-time to tireless labor in his garden. In no way is it hyperbole to marvel aloud at his horticultural feats. Selflessly, though, he deflects all compliments given to him, and his finely manicured lawn. The real hero? The garden claw. Cultivating, weeding: important steps, no doubt. But the AERATING. Loosening the soil, letting oxygen penetrate the roots. The implement, friends, deserves the credit. He is merely a humble steward over a small patch of earth.

The reason I lead with this anecdote of questionable relevancy is that it helps to illustrate the core values that define my love for New York City's very own, Patriot Saloon. A cursory peak at it's rating on metropolitan booze bible Yelp suggests mediocrity. Look closer, though.

One reviewer spends over four-hundred words, begging and pleading for you to turn tail and run from this terrible, terrible place. They find it's mere existence an affront to decency. Akin to The Animals' definitive performance of "House of the Rising Sun", they caution you to avoid ensnarement in it's tentacles of moral decay. These people obviously reek of fucking cowardice.

Ignore such clowns. Their limp pulses and bourgeois sympathies comprise a cage far more inescapable than the steel bars Michael Bolton sang of. In fact, run contrary to the wishes of these callow, fragile naysayers. Rather, welcome the evil. Roll around in it. Marinate. Let it seep in, mingle with your blood. Make friends with the great Satan. You no longer even control your will. You are a mere vessel for terrible things. Democracy and reason left when you entered. Abandon all faith, forsake hope. You are Krang, and loathsome intent is that creepy brain thing in it's belly. Needless to say, it's intoxicating.[2] Don't listen to me, though. Listen to these excerpts from reviews lambasting the establishment:

I walked by today and the chalkboard outside said, "Wanted: Shameless Slut Bartenders"

I don't care what their reasoning is, that's offensive.


And I always do throw up from the Patriot. On the street. In the cab. In the apartment lobby.


I have to admit I have never bought a drink here. But my sister worked her for a short period of her lifetime and the stories she told me were both priceless and very very scary.


Seriously, are leather bustiers really acceptable to wear before 9:00 PM?


Do not go upstairs at the Patriot Saloon, especially not at 7 pm on a Tuesday night when folks up there have been drinking since noon!

I am a huge dive bar fan and the cheap prices are oh-so-tempting (so is the fun Hank and Cash music) but ladies stay downstairs! The second me and a co-worker hit the 2nd level a dude fell out of his bar stool..this then lead to ice throwing and drink splashing. If it was a Saturday-more power to em' but a Tuesday night at 7? Lay off the lunch hour shots!


cheap beer is always nice, but a dive bar that needs its bartenders in pasties to establish atmosphere is too seedy for me.


This place is trashy and demoralizing. Will make you feel dirty and smell like piss.


Saturday was probably my least eventful trip to the Patriot ever. Yet, I still managed to wake up at 86th street, traveling on a Bronx-bound C train, at 4:30 in the morning. I live in Queens. For those unfamiliar with NYC geography, it's comparable to going out for drinks in Haiti, and coming out of a blackout in the Dominican Republic. Getting home isn't an impossibility, but you certainly complicated things for no good Goddamn reason[3].

After drunkenly pissing in a corner of the train station (my coronation as an official New Yorker, as far as I know), I apologized to a bum, dozing on a bench, for my uncouth behavior. He sagely nodded with understanding. In my shape, I needed to purge my system of toxins far more than he didn't need to see my limp dick, mere minutes before sunrise. That man was a saint, and I commend him both for the depths of his empathy, and for using the New York Times as a blanket (The Post is unfit even for sheltering vagrants from inclement weather).

I spent most of Sunday uncontrollably convulsing, shades of Michael J. Fox. If an AIDS patient got on the train after me, they would've hurriedly moved to the far end of the car, scared that whatever the fuck I had could overtake their fragile immune system. Still, though; totally worth it. In honor of the mighty Patriot, here's a smattering of the kind of hillbilly shit I play on their jukebox.


Jerry Lee Lewis - "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)"

David Allan Coe - "You Never Even Called Me By My Name"

Tanya Tucker - "Delta Dawn"

Roger Miller - "Chug-a-Lug"

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard - "Pancho and Lefty"

For those who don't approve of the latent white-trash streak running through me, I present to you an offering of Mystikal. If you somehow don't like David Allan Coe or Mystikal, then you probably blow. Hard.

Mac & Mystikal - "Murda Murda, Kill Kill"

By my math, he gets out of prison in January 2010. Needless to say, that will be absolute crack rock. Sadly, Mac will be locked up for much longer. In either case, both men have deep catalogs that more than justify "putting the tank on your casket". No Limit ain't never left, yadadamean?

[1]Though it's tough not to be secretly enamored with any female whose celebrity doppelganger is Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes.

[2]Pun not intended. Trust me. We're all better than that.

[3]An artists conception of my retardation

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Really Should Know Better

It's rainy, the playoffs are on, and the Mets and Yankees are only identifiable by their dental records. After spending an afternoon watching the Brewers completely take a shit on me [right down to the pseudo-rally cocktease (exacerbated, of course, by Brad Lidge's annual post-season meltdown raising my hopes)], the Cubs jump into a 2-0 lead in the second game, and I head to the train for a night of work.

Since the bar is dead, the crowd consists entirely of bro's, and the weather is fucking abysmal, I slap on my crutch playlist of arbitrarily-arranged classic rock obscurities to keep me entertained during my six hour marathon of self-indulgence and free Sam Adams.

Top 5th, no outs, bases are empty.

The Rolling Stones - "Happy"

Top 5th, 1 out, no men on.

Rafael Furcal walks.
Top 5th, 1 out, one man on.

"James Gang - Funk #49"

Russell Martin flies out.
Top 5th, 2 outs, one man on.

Manny Ramirez walks.
Andre Ethier walks.
Top 5th, 2 outs, bases fucking loaded.

Ryan "Cum" Dempster gives up a grand slam.
4-2 Dodgers.

The place erupts with cheers and high-fives from NY baseball fans, and the only voice of dissent is the word "Fuck", screamed out of the DJ booth, followed by the sound of me punching something hard enough that typing this is difficult.

As Furcal crosses home plate, the James Gang ends.

Up next:

ZZ Top - "Jesus Just left Chicago"

If I, in any way, jinxed them, I should be subject to African tribal genital mutilation. God Fucking Damn It.


I realize that I'm long fucking overdue for an update. Furthermore, it is in no way an update to anyone that a) the Cubs do this to me every year, and b) I have anger issues. I assure you I will finish a real post in the near future, and that it will give you all the joy of an Anne Geddes photo[1], but with far less latent-pedophilia. To tide you over in the meantime, enjoy Elephant Man[2] acting like a complete maniac over a sample of the Benny Hill theme song.

Elephant Man - "No Tikkle"

[1]Just so we're on the same page, that is supposed to be a vagina, right?

[2] Note: Do not engorge yourself on salami, and then google "Elephant Man". You may think you're gonna get this, but you're way more likely to get this. Or this. Lesson fucking learned.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mr. Bad Example

When I was in 8th grade, shortly after moving to Wisconsin, I was taken under the wing of my aunt's chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking boyfriend Jeff. Assessing my juvenile sense of humor, emotional retardation, and memorization of the Led Zeppelin catalog as the marks of a kindred spirit, Jeff launched a platform to be implemented across various taverns and living rooms around Northeastern Wisconsin: to get fall down the stairs shit-faced and talk endlessly about music[1]. The first time I met him, he took my cousin Kali and I out in his Thunderbird, driving 90 mph down rural Illinois roads and shouting about how much he liked Cracker[2], and how the original T-Bird's featured a radio that got louder as you accelerated. This initial exchange set the template for most of our future interactions, and likely most of my fondest college memories. In hindsight, of course, the fact that I could barely get into a PG-13 movie at the time is mildly troubling. God willing, my reckless streak lasts long enough that I can one day afford my children such a divine opportunity.

Once our meetings started occurring at regular intervals, Jeff's schizophrenic record collection gave me an opening to plunge into Primus[3], Patsy Cline, and all points in between. To this day, I consider myself lucky that I had someone to introduce me the Dead Kennedys and the Circle Jerks, particularly at an age where I staunchly supported the artistic merits of Bush[4]. Shit, he even took me to see the Statler Brothers in Milwaukee, only to get hammered and spend the entire time shouting about how Harold should go solo[5].

It was truly a golden era. Yet, times passed and things changed, as times and things are prone to do, and Jeff dropped off the face of the earth. Even in his absence, though, the music lingered. None more so than his favorite artist, Warren Zevon. Zevon, known to most for the 70's radio staple "Werewolves of London", spent the better part of thirty years writing dark, complicated, and often hilarious songs about sex and death. A true pioneer, he explored the core motivational aspects of our mosts carnal behaviors, while most of his Southern California contemporaries were too busy writing vapid odes to geography, and banging underage prostitutes[6]. While an asshole like Don Henley will be haunting my children's children from the factory-radios of their flying cars, Warren is unfairly relegated to a historical footnote, like he's fucking Mungo Jerry or something[7]. As my record collection grew to greater and more ridiculous bounds during my high school years, I tried to fill in all of the bizarre corners of the music world I had obsessed over when I lacked any sort of income. However, Zevon's relative obscurity (and a lack of follow-through that lingers to this day) truncated all attempts to move beyond my initial dubbed cassettes rather quickly. At that point, it was easier to enjoy my weather-beaten copy of "Excitable Boy", and just plunge instead into the noisy indie rock that seems to find all shaggy-haired, ego-maniacal high school boys.

Fast-forward to my sophomore year of college, the first of multiple attempts for Ryan and I to merge like Voltron. The majority of my waking hours consisted of blasting old rap, playing NBA Jam, and blacking out from malt liquor. Ryan's days were fleshed in by the full time job of bottling his escalating rage over the success of DJ Sammy, and writing an electronic composition that consisted of the word "attention" being modified and distorted endlessly until I began to weep. In summation, we were both terribly lame, and on vastly different pages. It would be completely justified if Ryan and Anthony (present day) were to hop into DeLoreans and beat some fucking sense into our 2002 incarnations. Respective failures aside, though, our team-building exercise ran like a well-oiled machine: tandem viewings of David Letterman. Now granted, between Wop Wednesday (named for the drink, not the Italian racial epithet), night classes, house parties, and various other distractions, we'd only catch it intermittently. But the times we did watch Letterman were always our equivalent of a 1950's nuclear family reconnecting around the dinner table[8].

One night, after a virtually non-existent monologue, Dave sat at his desk and explained that the show's format was undergoing a one-time-only deviation from the norm: it was to be devoted entirely to Warren Zevon. Recently diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer (mesothelioma), his doctor gave him the ominous prognosis of mere weeks left to live. Being close friends with David on both a personal and professional level, Letterman dedicated an entire show to him, in an effort to draw attention to Zevon's dynamic body of work. For the next hour, Warren, always sort of a dark cat, told a series of dry, hilarious anecdotes, all illuminating the stark, bleak truth[9]. Then, he performed three selections from his epic back catalog, straining to hit each note as his cancerous throat fought back against him. Needless to say, Ryan and I were profoundly affected, and both of us plunged much further into his body of work; devoting radio shows and personal income to his celebration, and pulling a pretty thick John the Baptist routine on anyone we thought we could convert[10].

Since then, Warren has been in and out of our lives. Some friends, such as Simeon and Melissa, have responded well, and connected on the level that we envisioned at the start of the exercise. Others clutch their rosary beads, in desperate hope that my streak of musical necrophilia ends sooner rather than later. One crucial obstacle to our crusade has always been that we lacked a tangible way to communicate just how staggering the Letterman episode truly was. CBS only replayed it once: the day after his death. Furthermore, they attempted to quash any YouTube linking, and assailed tape traders on the internet as well. Years later, though, Warren's wife and children have finally emancipated a load of his non-traditionally released material from draconian copyright law, and it's been well worth the wait.


To begin, here's the second, third, and fourth clips from that night's episode. When combined with the initial clip (posted above) it amounts to about 95% of the total content from that night. Due to either Viacom reappraising the internet's role in entertainment (unlikely), or the cobwebs of disinterest shielding the clip from their view (far more likely), this epic piece of history is at least currently available to spread dude's gospel.

Warren Zevon - Interview Part 2/"Mutineer" (live on Letterman)

Warren Zevon - "Genius" (live on Letterman)

Warren Zevon - "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" (live on Letterman)


Secondly, the good people at have spent over a decade stockpiling an amalgam of multimedia documents, in the hopes of creating a comprehensive online library. One of the most interesting segments of their collection is the recorded music wing. Since most business-minded people fear what new technology could do to their bottom line, your average musician on is either someone whose works have been considered public domain for years (old folk/blues recordings), independent musicians (who aren't selling anything anyway), or hippies that think the internet is a magical tapestry of puppy dog tales and ethereal hokum (the Grateful Dead).

However, in an effort to simply expose the world to the genius of his works, Zevon's children and ex-wife have signed documents allowing any live recording which doesn't fall under an existing contract to be shared for free on the site. While wading through the 71 concerts(!!!) currently available may seem initially daunting, I assure you that the gold there (ranked according to rating, set lists, and year of production) makes the exercise well worth your time. Here's a few selections, mostly early stuff. The newer stuff is amazing as well, but some of the production works better after you're acclimated to his work. These cuts hit you from the jump.

Warren Zevon - "Carmelita" (live radio performance w/ Jackson Browne)(12/08/1976)

Warren Zevon - "Desparados Under the Eaves" (live radio performance) (10/13/1976)

Warren Zevon - "Mohammed's Radio" (live radio performance) (10/13/1976)


Finally, here's a couple more live clips of Zevon, including a few other Letterman appearances. His post-1980 work is very Leonard Cohen-esque, where a lot of the production choices aged terribly on the studio renditions, with an over-reliance on synthesized instruments and clunky arrangements. The songs themselves are still impeccable, though, as evidenced by the lyrics I've also linked below. Not everything reaches this great height, but it's all still pretty phenomenal.

Warren Zevon - "Renegade" (live in Atlanta, 1993)

Warren Zevon - "Mr. Bad Example" (on Letterman)

Warren Zevon - "Lawyers, Guns, & Money" (on the BBC)

Warren Zevon - "Splendid Isolation" (on Letterman)


[1]...and hating the Jews, but I mainly just nodded and nervously smiled during that part.
[2]This is actually my favorite Cracker song, but the nuanced tone doesn't lend itself quite as nicely to the finer points of reckless child endangerment.
[3]Though I would like the record to reflect that in many cases, I was already aware of the artist from my television obsessed youth. I mean, no self-respecting child raised by Time Warner Cable in the early 90's could possibly forget "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver".
[4]Oh Gavin, in retrospect your fame truly is as comical as his presidency. Even if I still embarrassingly hum along with "Swallowed".
[5]Trust me. The elderly, western-clad people seated all around us were not nearly as amused as I was.
[6]Y'all have no idea how close I came to naming my blog "FuckYouDonHenley".
[7]I won't delve too much into Zevon's fascinating back story, because that's what Wikipedia is for, though I will say that the recent book written by his wife is fucking revelatory, even for people that have zero interest in the man, or his works.
[8]"240 women sharing 3 showers? What is this - Vassar?"
[9]When asked if he's learned anything now that he's living on borrowed time, Zevon replied "I guess I've learned to enjoy every sandwich". If I ever say anything even half that clever, put it on my fucking urn.
[10]After deliberating, I decided to link to Ryan's account of this tale, in spite of the fact that it's better written, contains far less superfluous garbage, and was written like two years before I got around to covering it. Hopefully that act of writing karma will deflect any of the heat that I deserve for writing my most masturbatory blog entry yet, employing some pretty abominable syntax in the process.