Sunday, February 27, 2011


1977: I went to see Star Wars at the Plaza theater the day after it opened. At that time it was just another sci-fi movie, but I was totally jazzed. The Star Wars tv commercials had had me hooked for a month. Then again, six years later the commercials for Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn also had me hooked. Whenever the Star Wars trailer would air I'd scootch right up to the tv screen despite my mothers protestations that if by some miracle I didn't go blind my eyes would most certainly at least become square in shape. I needed to be up close though, for the finale of the commercial when a Tusken Raider pops up suddenly, hooting directly at me and brandishing his gaderffi stick. It used to scare the holy living bejeezus out of me every time, and I loved it, giggling away like the goofy 6 year old I was, heart pounding from the scare as well as the anticipation of seeing Tatooine's indigenous Sand People on the big screen.

We weren't exactly flush with cash back then, and going to the movies was a luxury we could rarely afford. My mother recognized the joy the magic of the movies gave her burgeoning cinema junkie, but there was no way we would be allowed to waste perfectly good money indulging in overpriced treats from the Snack Stand, even my own money! Her solution was to pack us a lunch.

Because I was an incredibly cute blonde-haired blue-eyed 6 year old, it was my job to smuggle in the cans of RC Cola and paper lunch bags stuffed with homemade popcorn saturated in salted butter for me and my socially inept sibling. All of my clothes were oversized as they were hand-me-downs and my brother was overweight, so I concealed the verboten delicacies beneath them. The Plaza Theater was a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I had to be cautious. For added dramatis personae I slouched my shoulders, hunched over, and dragged my leg ever so slightly in an attempt to augment my ignoble appearance. The idea was that the Imperial Ticket-Takers would take one look at me and either take pity on me or be disgusted by my impecunious state and quickly usher me to my seat without delay. My destitution would be so apparent that if my deceit was by chance discovered they would show clemency and turn a blind eye to the forbidden snacks from the outside world. I remember the warmth of the popcorn against my stomach, contrasted by the coolness of the pop cans clamped under my armpits as we shuffled through the line of eager moviegoers like droids for sale being paraded out of a sandcrawler. I remember my heart racing like I was in Midnight Express and had heroin strapped to my midriff, however I played it cool, just like Han Solo would have, and entered unmolested. 

As the theater darkened and the now familiar Star Wars theme began to blare, and the accompanying crawl rolled across the screen transporting me to "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."  I produced and rationed out the contraband, smugly smiling at my ingenuity and cunning. I felt like I was imbued by some power that was surrounding me, penetrating me, binding the galaxy together. "Don't get cocky, kid" my brother sneered as he snatched his now slightly sweaty RC.

I wedged the greasy popcorn parcel between my knees, not taking my eyes from the screen, refusing to miss a single second, my lips silently reading along with the scrolling introduction. Part IV? What the fuck? Had I missed something? Twenty-two years later I'd get my answer: not a goddamned thing. As the first Destroyer loudly coasted into frame I vowed to not blink for the next 120 minutes.

I reached for the popcorn, already knowing that it would be over-salted, and suddenly felt like something was not quite right. It was if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Weird...oh well. As my fingers touched the first piece of popcorn, the grease soaked bottom of the cheap paper bag ruptured, spilling every single last kernel onto the sticky cinema floor.

Son of a Nerf Herder! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Men have a special relationship with their penises (penisis, peni?). It is a bond that is forged at birth and continues until the day they die, and, depending on your religious slant, maybe even into the afterlife, only bigger. Just like the good book says, “To Infinity, and Beyondith”. I think that was Luke 3:16, or maybe it was Leia, whatever. There is nothing rude, lewd, or lascivious about this. It’s not even necessarily about sex inasmuch as it is about evolution. Men can, and will try, to procreate well into their golden years, whereas women begin to lose this proliferate ability as early as their late 40s. It's written into our code man, our DNA. We are slaves to it, making us poor males victims. 

The idea behind this is directly related to the survival and propagation of the species. Men have the ability to sow their seed multiple times a day, with multiple partners so as to create as many offspring as possible. This is not a popular theory as it flies in the face of monogamy and therefore societal norms, unless of course you are Mormon, or a 16 year old mother of 3. Men are like the noble lion that has 6-10 lionesses in his pride, and copulates up to 40 times a day. Rowr. Blame Darwin and his infernal theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest. I believe the popular vernacular is "Don't hate the player, hate the game". Personally I'm against further propagation of this species, but that's another shirt altogether. I digress.

Freud taught us primitive knuckledraggers about the 5 stages of psychosexual development and instinctual libido that develops at birth, the third stage of which is the Phallic stage that commences around age 3. Freud proposed that the stifling or repression of the fixation on ones junk at this stage could result in trauma that manifests as a lifetime of neurosis. Basically our  genitalia define us, and if we don't respect its whims and needs it will mess us up. Big Jim and the Twins are rulin' the roost!

Which brings me to pathetic fallacy. Men often treat their members as though they are a separate autonomous entity, allowing it to think for them and make tough decisions, often deferring to it and having heart felt conversations, or losing arguments with ol' Blackbelt Jones. This leads to countless regretful and embarrassing sexual interludes that can be easily mitigated and justified by placing the blame squarely on Dr. Feelgood's head, and not ones own. This anthropomorphic treatment almost always culminates in the time-worn tradition of The Naming of the Penis, which dates back to Socrates.

All across the globe, at some point in their lives, boys take sword in hand and dub thee (insert penile nickname here). These appellations range from the obvious and banal (Spike) to the colorfully descriptive (Big Man On Campus). Familial appellations are further testament to the bond between a boy and his bits, but can often be ill conceived. There is the trite and cliched (Big Mike), the strange and concerning (Mr. Jenkins), and the poorly marketed (Dougie Jr, or L'il Josh).

When I was 7 years old I begged my parents to take me to the cinema to see Superman, starring Christopher Reeve. A comic geek from an early age I pestered my family daily for a month before it's release to please please please let me see The Last Son of Krypton on the bigscreen. My father being somewhat of a sci-fi geek himself caved and ensured we had tickets for opening night, and as promised I believed a man could fly. I left the theater excited, running through the crowded parking lots with my arms extended in imaginary flight, making swooshing noises as I zipped in between the exiting patrons, and my father adroitly balanced keeping tabs on my locomotive whereabouts while simultaneously pretending I wasn't his hyperactive offspring.

It wasn't until 2 years later with the release of Superman 2 that I realized that although the first film was a fun and impressive milestone, it was also a little flaccid. I mean this was Superman, the Man of Steel, an alien of limitless strength and power...and his main obstacle was foiling a real estate swindle?
This was corrected in Superman 2 by pitting Big Blue against not just one nefarious foe of equal physical abilities, but THREE! Oh the smackdown that ensued left me in near rapture, a breathless 9 year old having an extended geekgasm. Supes' three adversaries left an indelible impression on me; I was aroused by the long legged and sexy Ursa, the mute brute Non terrified me, and the regal and powerful General Zod was just the coolest, badass motherfucker I had ever seen. When he dominates the Oval Office and cooly demands of the President of the United States to "Kneel before Zod", I precociously knew right then and there that I had found my as yet untried unit's namesake: ZOD, aka The General.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I meet a lot of people when I wear this shirt. If I'm stationary long enough, like in line at the local Yarn Barn on senior's discount day or I happen to be performing one of my rare sidewalk tableaus ("The Gold Rush" being a favourite of street theater aficionados), I always notice people trying to discreetly read the panels of this action packed tee. When I catch them staring intently at my heaving pectorals I like to politely smile and tell them that the exciting conclusion can be found in my pants.

Sadly, unless it's laundry day, there's a good chance I'm speaking the truth.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Boys are dumb. I'm sure there is empiric evidence to attest to this, but I'm talking from experience. In grade school the girls were primly dressing dolls and hosting sophisticated tea parties, pinkies daintily extended as they sipped their imaginary Orange Pekoe. The boys would crash their polite soiree, pull their pigtails, call them "Girls" like it was a derogatory term, and then slouch away like Neanderthals in high-tops. At this point one of our gang would pose the following: "Wanna throw rocks at each other?". Go ahead, mull it over. Throw rocks. At each other.

Yep, we'd load up the pockets of our GwG's and Ruggers with hard and sharp projectiles to hurl with great velocity at your nearest and dearest friends exposed heads. This may have been an evolution of a primordial urge to just throw stuff. I was a pioneer in this field, always looking for new and improved ways to advance the art of throwing stuff. Fluffy snowballs would progress to hard compact slushballs soaked in dirty water, and invariably this evolved to freezing them into lethal iceballs.
I was the first to realize that crabapple wars took an a whole new dimension by using rotten mushy produce, and patented the now infamous "Kinder Surprise". This unique innovation involved carefully trapping a wasp that was feasting inside the fermenting apple with your thumb. When the decaying fruit exploded upon contact on an unsuspecting pal it would release the now ornery wasp from its pulpy prison, and seek the nearest target for retaliation.

The playing field itself was subject to review and construction. There was a small forest bordering our school that substituted for all our warzones, from the balmy jungles of Vietnam to the frozen Tundra of Hoth. It abounded with trees both deciduous and coniferous, some a century old, others mere saplings, all implements of war. Long grasses and massive flowering bushes offered ample hiding places to lay in wait and ambush a marauding band of Cylons. But there was only so many ways to lay siege to the thorny brambles of The Legion of Doom before it gets stale.

To add some reality to our fantasy we would secretly sneak into the forest after dark and engineer elaborate pitfalls, tripwires and Ramboesque deathtraps. There were catapulting-face-slapping saplings held bent with invisible fishing line, wipeout-inducing-shoe-sucking-saturated mud patches camouflaged under a carefully arranged layer of brush and needles, and the coup de grace: a four and a half foot deep bear-pit filled with dank dead autumn leaves. The leaves a mere courtesy to give the human prey a softish blanket to lay on while waiting for the paramedics to splint both tibia and fibula. War is hell.

But here's the truth. Boys aren't dumb, that generalization is just a gross misnomer. We were well aware of what we were doing and what the outcomes may well have been, in theory. We had a good idea that fashioning a giant human slingshot using an inner-tube stretched taut between two trees may end in stitches (and it did), and that there was a good chance intentionally bellyflopping from the roof of the garage into the pool would be agonizing and require an ice-pack (and it did). But what we need is to find out For Sure, in Practice, like junior scientists. Fearless adventurers we live for the Experience and The Knowing.

In retrospect, throwing rocks at each other was pretty dumb though.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

What better representative than the Silver Surfer, the premiere ambassador of Peace, Love, and Eternal Grooviness, to celebrate a day that necessitates going out of one's way to recognize romance through the power of confectionery.
The Silver Surfer reminds me a lot of myself when I was young: a sleek near-naked silver idealist possessed of the power cosmic, traveling throughout the cosmos, a hippie harbinger of good will and benevolence absolute. As far as superheroes go, could they make this guy any more ridiculous? Wait, did I mention that his mode of transport is a surfboard? This is the equivalent of putting a spoiler on a mini-van.

I don't really have a Valentine's Day tale to share with you because my beautiful wife and I don't really celebrate the day. It's not that we are too-cool-for-school pathetic and aging hipsters, because where we come from we have a word for those guys: douchebags. I'm also not going to nauseate you by smugly proclaiming we celebrate and recognize our unbridled love for each other daily even though it's true because that would just be smug and nauseating. No it's simply because we're not competitive, and love, notably Valentine's Day, is a competition. Vying for ones affections, beating out the other suitors, buying the most expensive gift or planning the most romantic evening because you know your significant other will be comparing notes with their peers the next day, a competition in its own right. The marketing for love is competitive as well, delegating carats and specific expected salary expenditures on what it will take to get that special albeit shallow someone to love you forever. I once saw an ad for a lingerie store that appealed to women's innate insecurities by proclaiming "If you won't wear it for him, someone else will". I actually kinda liked that one.

The Valentine's Day Contest begins well before we have untangled the concept of love or our hormones have been released from their feeble prepubescent cages. It starts with those damnable cards. Not those overpriced and saccharine Hallmark cards that you get your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, but those small and flimsy perforated business card sized sentiments populated by a speech impeded Tweety Bird postulating that he tot he taw a Valentine's or Batman uncharacteristically asking "Would you be mine?". You know the ones, we all got them. Well maybe not all of us, and that's the point. School and it's microcosm of elitist cliques is difficult to navigate and survive as is without sanctioning popularity contests like Valentine's Day. In a precursor to social networking and amassing "Friends" and "Likes" you would compare how many Valentine's Day cards you had each been given during afternoon recess. I have to admit that I usually did alright, but I always felt bad for the kid who had the fewest. It was setting a lonely stage.

My grade school was very small, only three hallways shaped like a capital "I". You were stuck with the same 30 malcontents from Kindergarten until Grade 8. And the dames, well they were slim pickings. There was the spanish girl whose bosom developed well before we did and it frightened us, the smart girl who liked to pop her zits so she could examine the pus under a microscope, the jock who prided herself on being able to kick any guys ass who also frightened us, and the new girl. She wasn't like the rest of the girls, mostly just by virtue of being new. She had pale alabaster smooth skin, long blonde hair like spun gold, and the lightest blue eyes. When I got a Valentine's Day card from her depicting He-Man holding his sword aloft and proclaiming "By the power of Valentine's, Will you be mine?!" I was immediately smitten and filled with a feeling of boundless joy. I strutted across the courtyard like a sixth grade Tony Manero, the only sounds I could hear were my heart thundering in my ears and my white faux-Converse Sparx crunching on the gravel. I walked right up to the new girl, took a deep breath, flashed my brightest Starbuck smile and said "I will". "Um, like you will um what?" she replied. I coyly held up the Masters of the Universe Valentines in my sweaty hand. "Oh that", she said, "My mom MADE me give one to EVERYONE in class", and promptly returned to her conversation about My Pretty Pony or Punky Brewster or crushing and devouring men's souls or whatever it is sixth grade harlots commiserate about.

I just looked her up online after I typed this; divorced, three kids, and easily a good buck ninety.
If love's a competition, I win.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I was wearing this exhibit of embroidered awesomeness one day when I was suddenly overcome by an overwhelming hankering for a hunk o' cheese. I quickly pulled into a pizzeria located in one of the thousands of cookie cutter strip malls cluttering suburbia, and promptly made my intentions known, "I'll have a large quattro fromaggi with double cheese, stat!". The pimply faced artisan's vacant gaze conveyed that my forcefulness and spontaneity may have impressed and unnerved him, but I would be penalized for my lack of preparedness, "20 minutes" he drooled. Well played pizza boy, you won this round. 
As I bided my time exploring the meretricious and tawdry bazaar, a veritable treasure-trove of plastic delights from the far-off and mysterious orient, I realized Pizza Boy had forgotten to ask my name. Panic swept over me. What if they gave my melted cheese extravaganza of the gods to an interloper? Had this been a ruse cleverly orchestrated by my newly acquired nemesis?  When I nervously returned for the pie 20 minutes later, my otto fromaggi was patiently awaiting me like an old friend. An old friend that smells like cheese. My pizza boy adversary was nowhere to be seen, undoubtedly lying in wait, watching, scheming. My stomach tightened, how would the new pizza girl in front of me know that that particular pie belonged to me as much as I belonged to it? Was she in cahoots with Pizza Boy? Was this Pizza Boy in disguise? She smiled, flashing a mouth full of twisted metal and wires. A CYBORG! But then without question or discourse she happily handed me my steaming box of curdled coagulated dairy. Both it and the bill were labeled "For Spider-Man". 
I still have that bill proudly displayed on my refrigerator in the spot unjustly proud Mom's usually reserve for the paste fume induced spastic mess they delusionally call their toddler's "art". Whenever I'm feeling blue I look at it and say "Yeah. I AM Spider-Man". It doesn't really make me feel any better, just kinda fractured.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I have always really dug the Creature From The Black Lagoon. All of the Universal Monsters for that matter: The Creature, Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, King Kong, The Mummy, the whole gang. I don't know if it's that I identified with these poor mistreated creatures inasmuch as I just never really viewed them as the villains. Now this may be my misanthropic tendencies asserting themselves, but the real villains are the humans and their misdirected animosity. Take the Creature and Kong for example: the awesome looking gill-man and gorilla have been living peacefully in their secluded lagoon/island paradises, and its man that comes barging into THEIR turf uninvited, trying to assert dominance, remove them from their home, and profit off of them. I have but two words for you: Eminent and Domain, and I call bullsh*t sir! I'd defend my property from trespassers with extreme prejudice as well! Maybe the Black Lagoon was harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction.

When I was a kid we had a kindly, generous, and well-to-do friend of the family. What they were doing commiserating with my progenitors of dysfunction I will never know, and to be honest my assumption of their wealth is based purely on the fact they had an indoor swimming pool. I don't remember any other aspect of what I again assume must have been a palatial estate other than said interior lagoon except that on it's tiled cerulean wall there was a framed Creature from the Black Lagoon poster that had the caption "Who Peed In My Pool!?".
35 years later I have to admit it was me Mr. Shahoppaglue, I contaminated your pool with pee. Pee and self-loathing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The one that started it all.

I love this shirt. It speaks volumes about me and the twisted band of miscreants I have come to call my friends. Simplistic and no nonsense, it conveys everything you need to know at a conservative glance. Much like its wearer. Jack Burton. Me.

Except I'm not Jack Burton, although that would be pretty awesome.
My 'Merican amigo Chris understands my obsession with tees and pop culture, and my sense of humor. He instantly recognized that I was destined to one day wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon my troubled brow, but in the meantime I would need to make due with this cotton masterpiece. 

He presented it to me as an early Christmas gift mid December as we celebrated the season at our traditional Chinese restaurant with a French name and Korean servers, Le Chinois. I gingerly unwrapped it from its newspaper housing and triumphantly held it aloft for all to bask in its crimson glory. Flecks of Moo Goo Gai Pan and Three Ingredients Taste (a delicious concoction of mixed vegetables, chicken, and an as yet determined third ingredient) spat forth from my grease smeared lips as I turned to my beautiful and tolerant wife and loudly exclaimed "HOLYLIVINGFUCK, THAT IS FUCKING TITS!".

The heads of every patron (none of them Chinese, French, or Korean) collectively snapped towards our beer bottle cluttered table. An ecstatic grin from ear to ear, I held the tee higher and turned it toward my now rapt audience so they too may appreciate its awesomeness. My wife gently put her hand on my wrist and calmly asked "You do realize we are in a public place?". 

My response to this rhetorical query of the obvious was a simple reminder, "It's OK. I'm better than all these people". This may seem arrogant or drunkenly obnoxious, but should simply be taken for what it was: The Truth.

I don't recall anyone requesting them, but our Server delivered our bill and fortune cookies shortly afterwards. We wished Chris and his wife a Merry Christmas and parted ways as we live several cities apart.

Halfway home I received a text from Chris inquiring as to whether I had tried on my new shirt yet. An hour later my cell phone rang resulting in an impromptu coitus interuptus, it was Chris excitedly asking if the shirt fit (I'll pause to explain that my ringtone at the time was a Dalek angrily declaring "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" at increasing volumes, my wife found it disquieting).
An email from Chris the next day at work "Are you wearing The Shirt?". I wasn't. 

This continued daily for 2 weeks. 

I LOVED the shirt, but just hadn't had the opportunity to wear it. 
Having exhausted all the other conduits of communication Chris resorted to the one he knows I vehemently loathe and I received a message through FB (a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the digital depot to Homewreckers and Desperation, but for me a necessary means to an end). "You ever gonna wear that shirt or what? I have the receipt if you hated it that much". I was prepared this time and was actually wearing it, and advised him as much. "You're just saying that. You are a LIAR. Lies make Baby Jesus cry". 

Chris knows which of my buttons to push and finds it very funny to do so on a regular basis. I knew this friendly harassment would continue ad infinitum. He is both psychotically persistent and persistently psychotic, so I took a picture of me wearing the Tee and replied by posting the image you see above.

Chris was happy, and immediately went off to devise his next plan of torment. A byproduct was that several other people on FB "Liked" it as well. 

And being a whore for other people's approval, an idea was born.

Having a collection of literally hundreds of awesome T-Shirts, I could be Liked hundreds of times over. I decided to share them with the world. 

With you. 

You're welcome.