Wednesday, December 31, 2008

for those who have never once played

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

as the New Year approaches

This is it, good people; my last post of 2008. And it's just a pinch bittersweet. For while a New Year offers new opportunities, one also has to recognize that a temporal window has been closed -- forever. Or until someone patents that elusive flux capacitor.

Still, I'm not really one to look back. I was once so sentimental I almost couldn't function in this oh-so fleeting world. Now? You could say I've toughened up just a little bit. I've built up some calluses in my soul.

That's not to say I can't get hurt. I can get hurt. I get hurt all the time. Like today, for instance. You see, originally, to celebrate the ringing in of a New Year, my wife and I were going to go wind-surfing with Helen Gurkelbee in the Columbia Gorge. But today the phone rang and it turns out Helen's board has a major crack in it. Long story short? Adios, wind-surfing in the Gorge.

Still, I'm big on flexibility. A person should always have a contingency plan -- and we did. So this year, instead of wind-surfing in the Columbia Gorge, we'll have our traditional New Year's celebration (i.e. doing jello shots and playing some rousing games of Hungry Hungry Hippos) at home -- with Helen G. And I, for one, cannot wait.

Happy New Year to whomever might be reading this, and, to all, a good (and safe) night!

Monday, December 29, 2008

godzilla ice cream

"A-nd sometimes I/just ain't in the take my place/and laugh with the loudmouths."
- The Replacements, 'Here Comes a Regular'

And so a new year approaches. I'm just a bit ambivalent about this. Don't get me wrong, I -- like most everyone, I assume -- can't wait to slam the door on this f------ year. Still, I've always resented the implied obligation that comes with a new year. You know what I'm talking about; that 'gosh, what better way to celebrate a New Year than by getting completely obliterated?' vibe that permeates the universe about this time. I mean, I'm sure there were times that Godzilla just didn't feel like trashing Tokyo.

I'm often the same way.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

new band name

Do you know what would be a great name for a rock and roll band? Elephant Gerald!

Think about it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Gun Show

Deltoid Force
I prefer my Delts
to my Lats.
Nothing against
my Lats.
I just like my Delts

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a little Q and A

Q: What do you think about humanity?

A: It's the only hope we have.

Happy Holidays, folks!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday letter

Holiday Christmas Wishes
From the desk of Henry J. Rifle
Volume 7

Dearest chums,

First, this will likely be my last Holiday letter. It's not a big thing, and don't worry; I still plan on being around. However, my experience has been that you can only jab at a broken window so many times before you slice your hand to ribbons (i.e. sometimes it's best to move on, so you can start breaking new windows).

2-nd, it is with a sober heart and great relief that I note the passing of another year. I think I speak for a vast majority of us when I say 2008 will not be missed. In a nutshell, it's been a vile and nasty concoction we've all been stuck sucking. Of course, the same can be said for every second of the last eight years. If I were Barack Obama, the first thing I'd do is buy a round of mouthwash for everyone in the whole U.S.A. Yes, dear friends, the time at last has come to rinse.

Of course, now that our country has been morally, spiritually, and financially strip-mined, that begs the questions, 'What next?' and 'Where do we go from here?' Good questions. It would be even better if someone had some plausible answers. I think in the short-term, we, as Americans, have to focus on the small things and pray that some of the bigger things take care of themselves.

First, the days are now getting longer. More daylight means more productivity -- and more time to wash our cars. One should never underestimate the increased sense of self-worth one gets from driving a clean automobile. Let's see...oh, there will be new episodes of 'Burn Notice' in January. It's a program on the USA Network. Quality tee-vee show. I highly recommend it. Hm..

There's also the Super Bowl! And with the Super Bowl will come another round of zesty commercials! The great thing about those commercials? If you don't like one, just be patient. There will be another one right afterwards! And, worst-case scenario, even if it's a God-awful commercial, you're still only out 30 seconds of your finite lifespan. Not too shabby!

Um...well, you know, it's easy to be cynical. The bottom line is, this country has been here for two hundred and thirty some years. It's not unreasonable to think it will be here for quite a lot more of them. My advice to you in these uncertain times? Be cool. And by cool, I mean cool, not the jerkwad-esque, 'hey, I'm wearing sunglasses, look at me, I'm cool!' way. I'm talking the real thing, not something you read or saw in a magazine. If everyone does that, why, I expect we'll be just fine.

All the best to you and yours,

Henry J. Rifle

this isn't really a blog about whales

"I'm Mike D and it's been proven."
- Beastie Boys, 'Jimmy James'

"Whales are ambassadors of the deep."
- Ancient Atlantean saying.

Well. First off, this is not a blog about whales. Though I admire whales greatly, writing about them day in and day out isn't what I set out to do. And so I'll set that fork aside and move on.

I don't even really remember what set me down that road, but it brought to mind one of my favorite stories. It's actually probably an urban legend. I should probably check it out on, but it's Sunday night and I'm tired. So let's just roll with it. Basically, I read this article in a magazine once. The article was about 'lost' records, promising recordings which had either been shelved, lost or abandoned. One of the lost records they discussed was a record Mike D (of the Beastie Boys) had supposedly recorded after falling and hitting his head. Allegedly, it was a country record -- at least that's what this article stated (which more and more I'm thinking had to be a spoof). Anyway, that kind of fascinated me. I'm not the biggest Beastie Boys fan in the world, but I admire them. I also like country music and Mike D is my favorite Beastie Boy. So if this record did exist, I would buy it. Hell, I'd even buy a record player, so I could play it. And if I bought a record player, then I imagine I'd likely buy a pipe too.

There isn't much point in owning a record player if you don't own a pipe, let's be honest.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

mackerel daze

'First the glass, then the leaves that pass, then comes the snow..'
- The Replacements, 'Here Comes a Regular'

'Excuse me while I kiss the sky.'
- Jimi Hendrix, 'Purple Haze'

Minneapolis Landmark
Someday I hope
we have enough money
to live comfortably
on the shores
of Lake of the Whales.
To wake up each day
beneath blue skies,
a warm cup of coffee in hand,
whales breaching just
two hundred yards offshore,
and the morning sun
the IDS Tower
off in the distance...
what in the world
could possibly
more inspiring
than that?

A stale bagel on a train
in Grand Central Station?
Yeah, somehow
I don't think so.

* A side note: If this was someone else's poem, I might be liable to say something like, 'That's not too bad. Do you have any poems that aren't about erections?'

A lot of people don't know this but I could be a real jerk if I wanted to be. It's a suit in my closet that I rarely wear, but it fits me - to a T.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

more songs about whales

Depth Finder
I'm only as crazy
as I need to be
to make it
a given day.

But I
go deeper
if conditions
require it.

Killer whales
got nothin'
on me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

track leaker

It occurred to me the other day that it's probably fortunate I'm not in a band. First, I can't play any instruments; I have no formal training as a musician. Second, I'm not a very good singer. I'm a passable mimic (meaning I can sing some songs the way I've heard other people sing those songs -- on their records), but I have no vocal style of my own. Not to speak of.

However, what concerns me most is the fact that I would undoubtedly be a track leaker, were I to be in a band. What I mean by that is, in this modern era, after recording a particularly groovy song I wouldn't have the patience to wait for our record to come out. On the contrary, I'd be on the web, leaking that track like air from a tire.

Behind me, in the recording studio, my mates would be congratulating themselves, saying, 'This song is going to change the world!' Meanwhile, I'd be online, posting the song free to all, muttering quietly, 'Yes it is, mates.'

Then they'd be like, "Hey, Dan, what are you doing over there on the computer?" And I'd be like, "Just finishing up an email to my Aunt Tilly. There we go, 'hugs and kisses to you and Wallace,' and...send! Alright, then, it's time to celebrate! Who's up for nachos?"

A few days later word that the track had been leaked would filter back to the boys and I'd have to feign some serious outrage. "Who could have done such a thing?" I would bluster. "Who would have?! This no laughing matter. This is deadly serious stuff!" Then I'd pound a clenched fist into the flat of my other hand. I might even kick the mixing board. Then I'd turn to the rest of the band and say, "Look. I'm not going to rest until I figure out who it was that leaked that track. I'm going to make it my mission in life -- you can count on that. And when I find him, well, my friends, it will not be pretty."

Then someone in the band would inevitably say, 'It was you, wasn't it?'

And I would say, "Yup. Yes, it was." And they would depart, leaving me alone in the recording studio.

Rock and roll is a lonely business.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bruce Frickin' Campbell

So last night my wife and I went down to the Lagoon Cinema to see the one -- the only -- Bruce Campbell. He was/is in town to promote his new film, 'My Name is Bruce.' The film itself is no classic. But if you know Bruce Campbell and care about his work, it passes the time enjoyably enough. However, the high point of the evening came when Mr. Campbell himself appeared in person after the movie for a raucous Q and A session -- and both he and it rocked!

The guy definitely knows how to play a room; he's funny, witty, acerbic. He clearly has affection for his many fans, but he's honest with them. He calls them out when they take their geekiness too far and he doesn't indulge their fan-boy fantasies with pointless discussions about sequels that will never come to pass. The guy also carries himself with just the right mix of self-regard and disdain. And he's not afraid to have a good time, or to mock himself or his image, as evidenced by this fine commercial:

With his looks and charisma, he probably could have been a leading man. But it's a B-list heart that beats in his chest, and God bless him for staying true to that.

After seeing him last night (and you can see him tonight, too, at the evening showings of 'My Name is Bruce' -- if you live in the Twin Cities Metro area and have a ticket), I'm convinced that when NASA finally gets around to sending a human being into outer space, that human being should be Bruce Campbell. He's not Abraham Lincoln.

He's better.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

on the subject of dough

'You keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo/what a thing to do!'
- The Beatles, 'Baby, You're a Rich Man'

'We work twice as hard to get/half as much/eternally in debt.'
- The Honeydogs, 'Test Tube Kid'

Well, first of all, in the next few days I'll be publishing what I've come to call 'The Cheese Post.' The Cheese Post has been percolating in my brain for the better part of two years. I've come close to writing it several times, but I've never quite pulled the trigger on it. The time just wasn't right. Now? I feel the time is right. So look for that soon. It's not going to change anyone's world, but it might come as close as I'll ever get to laying down some kind of personal philosophy. Or maybe it will help me understand what it is that drives me forward, which, to some extent, is money. Like it or not, all of us are on the clock. Not all of us want money, but all of us NEED money. We must have it!

Which brings me to my next subject: Money. I myself am quite conflicted when it comes to money. I mean, I like to think that I'm not entirely money-driven. That being said, I like money. One of my teachers in Graduate School (a lovely woman who's no longer with us, alas) noted that all of my short stories involved money. My characters either had too much money or, more often, not nearly enough of it. When she said that to me, I felt kind of busted. I thought to myself, 'Sure, all my stories are about money, but that's only because I'm completely obsessed with the stuff.' And that's not completely true, but I do feel like I should have more money than I do. I suppose all of us feel that way.

Anyway, my mad desire to have enough cash to fill a large bathtub several times over has gotten me into some fairly serious jams. Like that night several years ago when I was detained at the Canadian border with a fake moustache and a suitcase filled with bogus Canadian $5 bills. That was NOT my best get-rick-quick plan ever, though it's right up there near the top. What was I thinking? That moustache looked ridiculous over my goatee!

You know, you win some and you lose some. And sometimes you're lucky enough to get away with a hefty fine and be released on your own recognizance. I guess the main thing is not getting too hung up over money. And if you want to be rich, it's really not that hard to get that way. The first thing you do is start thinking like a rich person. The second thing you do is acquire a lot of money.

Could it be any simpler?