Monthly Archives: July 2010

i vant to suck your ballvs


I’ve said this before: there’s so much I can’t talk about on this blog that it boggles the mind. One thing in particular will make for years of entries down the road, but another – our actual careers – remains frustratingly impossible to discuss. However, there is one thing I’m willing to go out on a limb on… or, as they say, there is one thing on which I will go out on a limb: fucking vampires.

I am so goddamn sick and tired of vampires I can barely see straight. When I was a kid, there were two vampires: the laughable one from old movies, and the Count from Sesame Street. In middle school, Anne Rice started her vampire novels, and I thought the attention to detail and the historical scope were cheesy yet awesome. Now you can’t swing a dead cat around this town without hitting a vampire script, and it’s just so… simultaneously boring and confusing.

I think the Twilight movies are turgid snoozefests, but I do see the appeal for tween girls – you’ve got a sullen female protagonist falling for a wickedly-handsome (and Morrissey doppleganger) eternal teen who loves her with a white-hot passion but can never actually penetrate her sexually. I mean, that’s goddamn perfect. The only problem is that in the plot, NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.


it’s the eskimo blood in their veins

As for the other shows, like True Blood and Vampire Diaries and the other ones in development, I have to confess, I don’t get it. It’s not that I’m old, or hopelessly out of touch, I just genuinely can’t fathom the appeal. Our buddy David Petrarca directed the last True Blood and it was GORGEOUS and I STILL don’t get its popularity. And can someone please explain the vampire/werewolf hostility? Are they morally different somehow, or do they just hate each other because the script says so? And if that’s the case, where are the mermaids?

And while I’m being a crusty old fuck who farts in his golf pants, the amount of blood used in the ad campaigns – which includes Dexter, by the way – makes me nauseous. The spattering, the dripping, the gore… I’m not offended by the subject matter, just the constant, constant use of a liquid that is only released during excruciating pain. It’s just not, like, funny to me anymore, or something.

As far as cultural memes go, this one has lasted far too long. I’ve had it. Or at least I have until Tessa and I are suddenly paid $6 million to write “O-Negative – The Bloodlove Jugular Chronicles” for Chilean television.

o’er the ramparts


Man, what a list to choose from! It’s amazing how much there is to hate in this country, considering it’s one of the best ones there is. I have a soft spot for Finland, but the weather’s terrible. France would be awesome, but then you’d have to speak French. And New Zealand is supposed to be fantastic, but then you’re on the bottom of the Earth.

No, America is what we got, and like the Ren & Stimpy Show said about Log, it’s better than bad; it’s good. Many of you mentioned our unfathomable pride in being so fucking ignorant, so that gets a special medal emeritus, as well as anything about Dook. But enough of my yakkin’. Let’s get to the awards.

Runners-up in the Things I Hate About America contest are:

Ellani – “prudishness and so-called religious morality while being the world’s largest porn consumer” – and, might I add, the creator of the “Saw” movies. Truly, this country deserves a 51st star on the flag… for Hypocrisy!

Dean – “People leaving grocery carts in middle of parking lots.” Absolufuckinglutely.

don’t get me started – “excessive packaging.” Perhaps one of my own pictures is better than words:


tregen – “Two Senators per State.” Yes, yes, 360 million times yes. This bizarre quirk in our Constitution makes Wyoming – which has less people than goddamn TUCSON, ARIZONA – horrifically over-represented in our nation’s decisionmaking. And it doesn’t help that it’s largely governed by right-wing robots.

kjf – “lack of a national rail system. (and no amtrak is not a national rail system).” I concur wholeheartedly.

the other lee – “Kraft ‘Parmesan cheese’ that comes in those green cardboard tubes.” You left out that it smells like actual barf.

chm – “Atlanta” Hee hee. That’s awesome.

Bridget – “platforms which give sarah palin/liz cheney any kind of credence or credibility.” Many of you mentioned Sarah Palin, but Bridget nails it with the nimrods who are constantly giving Palin airtime – otherwise she’d be just another yahoo in a jumpsuit at the Fairbanks Walmart. Yes, I know the First Amendment gives cable news the right to blah, blah, blah, but you can still loathe them.

xuxE – “beta male singer/songwriters.” THANK YOU! These motherfuckers have damn near killed rock & roll. You can say I’m a British high-harmony artpussy, but I would put XTC or fuckin’ Phoenix up against Puddle of Mudd and Creed any day plus twice on Tuesday.

Tammy O – “The Defense of Marriage Act.” Along with xuxE’s mention of Prop 8, this merits special attention. When it’s no longer acceptable to humiliate and subjugate the Gays, you have to wonder where Republicans will turn.

Mairinpgh – “Fennel.” It takes a village to come up with something you’ve always hated.

And here are your three winners…

Anne – “The extreme evolution of American ‘rugged individualism’ into blind self-interest and an utter lack of empathy.” Profoundly said, and probably the most worrying thing about having a child – it’s hard to raise a kid when this country’s default setting is “go fuck yourself”.

caveman – “sporadic/arbitrary McRib availability.” Totally lost it on this one. By the way, my wife doesn’t get how important seasonal fast-food offerings are. I once got excited that it was March because that meant Shamrock Shakes™, and she looked at me like I was huffing solvent.

jp – “people who say there’s no racism.” This strikes me as the most indicative of America’s laziness and failure in general, because I feel like I hear those people all the time. It takes a willful disregard for the facts on the ground, it takes an ego so large that it assumes omniscience, it dismisses suffering as “old news”, and it’s always said by some white guy.

So there you have it! If I didn’t mention you, it’s because your entries were so wonderful that I couldn’t choose just one. Until tomorrow… accentuate the negative!

i met ‘er at the door with a loaded .44


Yes, we went to Santa Barbara for the largest fireworks display on the central California coast, and it was stunning. Yes, I choked up a little and felt the old pangs of pride from being raised in this country, the long midsummer nights buttressed by sleepovers and orange Push-Ups, banana seats and crushes on the girls at the other barbecue, wooden tennis racquets and hair scented with glorious chlorine.

But mustn’t dwell on the past. Must keep our righteous indignation flowing so that we stay sharp. In that critical vein, please give me your contribution to the following list: Things I Hate Most About America. Yes, I know you love America, ya old fool, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hate things in it. And yes, I know things are worse in Albania, let alone Somalia. Stick to the exercise!

I’ll start…

• corporate personhood

• Wheel of Fortune

• pride in ignorance

• hot dogs come in sixes; buns come in eights

• the NRA

• Antonio Scalia/Clarence Thomas

• American Cheese

Yours? The best/funniest/most trenchantly observant item wins an embarrassing piece of tourist Americana from right here on Venice Beach!

i could take a train or fly away



I have to tell you about Summer Burkes, an old friend and one of my favorite people on the planet. English majors, life coaches and screenwriters talk endlessly of “being an individual”, but hardly anyone in America is brave enough to actually do it. One glaring exception is Summer, who has now lived enough lives at the tender age of thirtysomething to fill several graphic novels.

In Chapel Hill, she was the “Summer” behind (in my opinion) Ben Folds Five’s best song “Where’s Summer B?” as well as being the inspiration for their biggest hit “Brick”, which played endlessly as she traveled the world, initially unaware of its existence. She moved to the Mission in San Francisco in the late ’90s and was, for a time, the Bay Guardian’s best writer. Then she toured the country with the performance-art-bike-showCyclecide, injuring herself so badly that she came to my wedding aided by a cane.


upstate NY, Aug ’03

Just as I thought she might disappear into a maelstrom of clowns, alcohol and ACLs, she suddenly moved to New Orleans right after Katrina hit. My love for the place is something I’ve droned on about many times, but spontaneously picking up and moving down there takes a bravery I no longer possess. And just as she threw herself into a place still reverberating with loss and devastation, she found herself at the epicenter of the worst manmade environmental disaster in history.

Only Summer would then gravitate even farther south, onto Grand Isle, Louisiana, the place where oil now saturates the coast, the sheets of viscous liquid now falling everywhere as black rain. And sure enough, she lands on the cover of USA Today, and again on the Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” site shown at the top of this entry.

One of the many curses of the 24-hour cable news cycle is the inability of any journalist to keep the public focused on anything for long, and until the next horrifying event in the Gulf, a jaded electorate’s eyes are starting to glass over. But if you believe some scientists, that event is nigh; we might be en route to a methane-triggered tsunami that could destroy the entire Gulf Coast, that the sea floor is irreparably damaged and needs a nuke to stop the collapse, and that the oil will gush unabated for decades. There’s also plenty of people saying none of that will happen, but one truth remains obvious: it’s fucking historical devastation.

Having spent the post-9/11 months in a PTSD non-functional anxiety haze, I know first-hand the feeling of undeniable dread, and that’s the world Summer is living in right now. Currently her blog is a first-hand account of the descent into that dark place, and it is required reading. Since our last email, she has actually evacuated from her home and is heading west, mostly because the Corexit dispersant that BP is spraying all over southern Louisiana was making her staggeringly sick (she ain’t the only one).

Summer is many things: cranky, brazen, judgmental, but she’s also unbelievably intuitive, and the last ten years have not been lost on her. When the Man said there was no Gulf War Syndrome, he was LYING. When they said the air was safe at Ground Zero in Manhattan, they were LYING. And when they say Corexit is harmless, they are sterilizing your ovaries and FUCKING LYING. This is not tinfoil-hat looniness, it’s the math.

Either way, Summer remains the person I want on my side, apocalypse or no. I want my daughter to take ass-kicking lessons from her. I wish a clean wind at her back as she takes a much-needed break from the darkness currently bubbling endlessly from our nation’s underbelly.


found this last week on a roll of film taken in early 1999 – click for bigger