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Kids Love Carl Weathers

Spotted in the claw machine of my local Steak n’ Shake: an officially licensed Apollo Creed plushie (seriously, the tag had a United Artists logo). Too bad he looks more like Michael Winslow. Man, if Michael Winslow had played Apollo Creed Rocky would have been one short-ass movie.

In a related story, yes, I know my phone is prehistoric.

A Messed Up Guacamole Story

I have a friend who hates guacamole. I asked him why and he tells me: one summer when he was a child growing up in Pennsylvania he begged his mom to take him to Florida for vacation. The mom said they couldn’t afford it or didn’t have the time or whatever, but my friend just kept on bugging her. Eventually the mom says, “If you can find a way to get to Florida this summer, you can go.” This was meant as a bluff, but my friend took it at face value. He asked every teacher he knew at school if they were planning a trip to Florida for that summer. When he finally found one who was, a twenty-something female driving down for a college reunion, he asked for a ride.

Amazingly, she said yes.

So they go in this station wagon, and along the way the woman picks up a friend. They drop off my buddy with his family for a week or two and then they reconvene to head back to Pennsylvania. Well, at some point teacher and her friend had gone avocado picking (I know, right? Who does that?) and they had filled the entire car with avocados. I mean that in the literal sense—these avocados weren’t in boxes, they were just piled into the car like munitions. There was no room for my friend to sit, so they carved out a body-sized space in the rear bed of the wagon amongst the largest amount of loose avocados and he had to just lay there like this was a completely normal occurrence.

A side trip to Chattanooga (again, what?) provided enough time for all the avocados to go bad. At some point during the return to Pennsylvania, the teacher driving took a really hard turn, and my friend who was lying next to all these rotten avocados was thrown into them face-first. In the blink of an eye he found himself covered in rotten avocado junk. What’s even more messed up is the two so-called adults in charge did not take him to a hotel or a YMCA to shower off. He had to wipe himself down with a towel.

I know this sounds like the subplot from an episode of “Leave It To Beaver” but my friend swears it to be true, an honest tale of horror from our modern era. I guess I’d be scarred too.

Somehow no lawsuits were filed in the wake of this incident.

Everybody Has Lost A Father

I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by investment in late night talk shows. There’s gotta be a prescription medicine I can take to stop caring about this stuff before my own pretty alright mind completes its inevitable transition to clam chowder.

At any rate, Colbert’s a genius, he commits, he’ll give us plenty hilarity in Dave’s chair before fatigue sets in (and it will, it always does). For some reason when I heard the news today the above clip from “Strangers With Candy” was the first thing that came to mind. Classic.

Q: Where Are You Right Now RE: Star Wars 7 Excitement?

A: Same place where I am with Ghostbusters 3. It’s possible Star Wars 7 will crush it Rocky Balboa-style…and yet I accept there’s a chance we’re looking down the barrel of Phantom Menace 2: This Pod Is Still So Wizard. Who knows? It’s a crapshoot. Disney’s gonna churn out a few more Star Warses either way, because those two words are a license to print money. Thus, if J.J. Abrams decides to give Chewbacca a pair of very prominent nipples we’re gonna hafta live with it for six or seven years.

Come On Over, Shoot The Shit

Still the reigning champ of Nirvana songs in this cobwebbed mind. A stellar performance here, and also you can see Kurt clicking his jaw to keep time. Deceased celebrities: they’re just like us!

Genius Switch Finds Off Position

Letterman’s retiring in 2015, which I guess means I have a year to finish that papier-mâché statue of him I got an “incomplete” on in ninth grade art class. It was always my intention to send the end product in to “The Late Show,” but the hair wasn’t coming out right and somehow giving up on this statue didn’t affect my final grade…so I did. Even though I’ve not done any papier-mâché since I’d like to believe my skills have somehow improved and Dave will be thrilled to receive his pulpy likeness as he exits stage left.

An Annotated History Of Never Realized Book Projects (2002-10)

This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.

Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.

Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch/direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.

Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.

Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative/literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.

Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants/employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?

Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.

My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.

Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.

Dave Brockie: 1963-2014

Shocking news: band management has confirmed the death of Gwar mastermind Dave Brockie, the brash Virginian who under the guise of barbaric alien Oderus Urungus lead rock music’s most infamous horde of interstellar invaders for three riotous decades and through thirteen studio albums. Although his character was allegedly 43 billion years old, Brockie was a mere fifty.

Gwar (GWAR for maximum effect) could only have been spawned in the mid-eighties, a bizarre, bombastic mutation of the Sam Raimi horror movie aesthetic and Judas Priest. Part of the reason they lasted so long was Dave Brockie’s charm. He made this hulking pig-like creature named Oderus a fun and funny character, a robust yet occasionally confused conqueror who could make you chuckle even as he threatened to disembowel all of your relatives. Brockie excelled as ringmaster during Gwar’s live performances (think “Krofft Superstar Hour” meets Dante’s Inferno); his quips were often just as impressive as the giant foam rubber penis spraying fake ejaculate.

I feel exceptionally fortunate that Dave Brockie let me interview him “out of character” for This Music Leaves Stains. He proved just as rollicking and comical as himself, and out of all the people I spoke with he probably had the greatest passion for the Misfits. Dave was emphatic in his love for all the Misfits albums, everything the band had ever done, and seemed to just marvel at their very existence. This was the only point of the book process where I wished I was making a documentary, because I knew there was no way I’d be able to convey Dave’s special brand of enthusiasm via print.

Dave Brockie’s death is more surreal than any other in a long time. I hope he’s at peace. My condolences to his family, friends, and every other Gwar-lovin’ scumdog on the planet.

The Case For Ghostbusters 3

Rocky Balboa turned out pretty good, at least good enough to crush the endless Rocky 5,000 jokes. Stallone of all people managed to concoct a satisfying bookend to a decades-old property with a skeleton crew of the original talent. I’m putting my faith in Sony/Aykroyd/Reitman to do the same.

That said, if the climax of GB3 gives us another giant thing walking through NYC I will put a voodoo hex on all involved. No one will be spared, not even the innocent Aykroyd children.

Unsolicited Hyper-Local Post-Grunge Radio Stunt Memory

“Playing a song on loop is a common publicity stunt to mark a radio station’s format change,” SFGate assures its readers, many of whom might fear Latino Mix 105.7′s decision to go non-stop Nelly is actually some sort of Trilateralist/Illuminati signal aimed at Zeta Reticuli/the Lizard People to let them know the time for full global invasion/permanent McRib reintroduction is nigh. I’m taking that over the more depressing “some of our readers might be too young to have any kind of understanding of terrestrial radio practices.” Oh, you young people and your companions! I vex you!

When I was a high schooler in Central Florida this alt rock station popped up called 93.1 (the) KRO (have always assumed they were trying to snag some of that dark heat from Brandon Lee’s Crow). KRO announced their arrival with twenty-four (plus?) hours of Pizzicato Five’s “Twiggy Twiggy,” a.k.a. that “out there” Japanese song Beavis & Butt-head ripped into on an episode of their show. You remember. Beavis & Butt-head cracked a lot of jokes about the one guy in the video looking like Chip from “My Three Sons.” Is any of this even registering as English to you dumb kids?

KRO did several other Twig-a-thons before turning country in 2000, to ring in the New Year or Halloween or an event of real significance like Larry the Cable Guy’s birthday. I remember my friends and I being all a-titter a week in advance of one of these broadcasts. “Twiggy Twiggy” was considered by many at that time to be one of the most annoying aural properties ever created, and I think we reveled in the fact that it would be inescapable to a certain extent. Of course, anything is annoying after twenty-four hours, even Larry the Cable Guy (I know, heresy).

Hats off to the fearless broadcasters who keep this practice alive. I could barely commit to anything past eight minutes when I was a college radio deejay. I think I faded Black Flag’s “Process of Weeding Out” halfway through every time I put it on.

You kids have to know Black Flag. I’ve seen you Photopasting with the logo on the e-mails! THE E-MAILS!

YOU DAMN KIDS, GET OUT OF MY ROCK GARDEN!

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