Joseph Devens: Level 5 Google Local Guide, Volume 1

The following Google reviews you are about to read are real. All of these places have been reviewed by me after visiting them, and fairly, for the people of The Google Corporation. My stunning work as a freelance critic has earned me level 5 status. There are only 15 levels. I have been singled out and awarded a free movie coupon by the people of The Google Corporation for the wonder and relevance of my unpaid criticism. I haven’t used it yet. I’m saving it for Mary Poppins. None of the names or typos have been changed to protect anybody.

 

FRY’S ELECTRONICS

This place is the golden goose of electronics. They have everything. They have stuff you didn’t know was real yet. Most of the employees know what they’re talking about and can answer questions about these technologies you’ve only dreamt of. They have wires and all kinds of things. This place is set up like an Old West corral, or a square dance hall or a ranch or something. It’s a real theme place. The theme is savings, because you will pay more if you go to Best Buy, and I guarantee Best Buy won’t look like an early 1990s LAN party come to life. It really looks like Jurassic Park Ground Control in there. Like a square-dance Jurassic Park. These are the people you want helping you with your computer. I’m talking about your older brother’s Star Trek High School friends, remember? With the hair and skin problems? Remember the one who started going bald at 18? That guy works here, and he’s a genius. Don’t go anywhere else, because you won’t find what you’re looking for, and that is my promise. Five stars.

 

NEWK’S EATERY

This is a delightful Italian restaurant. Not Italian like big bowls of hot pasta and saucy meat, this is lighter fare, like lunch and supper eat-with-your-hands options. Like a deli, but with other stuff. Noodles, you know. This food is good, too. It actually tastes like real Italian people might eat it and say things like, “Yes” and “That’s right.” I like to eat The Italian Sandwich. This is a sandwich with all kinds of hot Italian meat, cheeses, peppers, crispy Italian bread, sauce, and Italian spices. Onions. Pepperocinis. They have a toppings bar with large jars of peppers, garlic, pickled things, and breadsticks for free. (They are like very long, skinny crackers in a package of about 10. Not hot for dipping in oil, like you may be thinking. Still very crunchy and delicious with a banana pepper.) The service is warm and kind. They won’t kick you out if you go in and it’s almost time to close. I wish I was there right now. I wish I was eating The Italian Sandwich right now. Plenty of sauce. Five stars.

 

CHUY’S

Chuy’s is the Garden of Eden of Mexican food, and you will eat all the snakes you can. (It is not a buffet house.) The snake is enchiladas. The Tree of Knowledge is the happy hour beef trough. The knowledge is hot cheese. Get ready. Chuy’s has its own flavor. The flavor is salt and jalapenos. They put it on everything. If you go to Chuy’s, you will meet Elvis. He is not alive, settle down. He is on everything, and t-shirts. And you will see his face in a tortilla, like Mother Mary. Call the news station. They are obsessed with Elvis at Chuy’s. I mean Elvis Presley, not Elvis Costello. There is a foreign-themed restaurant that is obsessed with Elvis Costello, but it is Italian food. Chuck E Cheese is obsessed with Elvis Costello. And they have attractions. The attractions are 8-foot robotic mice and the stegosaurus. They play in a animatronic mouse/dinosaur jug band called Jackie and The Nightmares. Pyrotechnics. Chuy is better because it is a place of dreams coming true, if your dream was about endless beef. Go there today and start living, friend. This is Flavor Country. The flavor is salt and jalapenos. Four stars.

 

MICHAELS CRAFT STORE

“Michaels” does not sell refrigerated black forest ham pieces. Don’t go in there expecting bread pieces or a fine salad bar, either. Yes. I would be lying to you if I said to you that the stuff they sell at “Michaels” isn’t food. It is. But it isn’t very good food. Unless you like to eat paint and large picture frames. Or Twizzlers. Twizzlers they sell at the check-out as an impulse buy. More like “re-pulse” buy, gross. Twizzlers are the acrylic paint of candy. Also, this place sells holiday stuff four months before the holiday takes place. If you do not wish to see a Dracula or The Wolfman and Skeleton dancing with Uncle Sam and Mr. Menorah on Valentine’s, then stay away from this restaurant immediately. They also make up fake holidays just to sell me some more paint I have to eat. Four stars.

 

IHOP

We waited half an hour for our orders to be taken by the young man. We waited an additional hour for the food to arrive. The place was not crowded. Three other tables were seated, served, tended and turned before we saw pancake one. There was an entire, large green pepper top half and stem in my fried chicken sandwich. I was almost choked by it. The bacon was presented soggy, then sent back, then returned burnt—the ultimate irony. The fried chicken sandwich was dripping with sauce, no question, but that was the only jewel in this crown of pure international disappointment. Our meal was comped by the manager after a complaint was firmly yet tastefully lodged. The young man who was our waiter was as accommodating and apologetic as anyone who had just learned how to drive a car could be. And we were kind to him—despite his clearly overwhelming incompetence—for, though slighted by his employer’s gross negligence, it could be said that, in the words of Dante, “…our spirit, which had left us, returned.” One star.

 

TACO CASA

“Taco Casa” simply means “House of the Meat Suitcase” in Spanish. In French, it roughly translates to, “Meat Mouth House of One Thousand Grease Meats.” In ancient China, tacos were used as paper. All you really need to know is that, at this place, the suitcases are large, and filled with hot meat bites for your mouth. The tacos here are pretty greasy, but they are good and large, and filled with plenty of meat. Cheese, lettuce, sauce, you know the drill. When I look at a taco from Taco Casa, I whisper, “Que lindo eres,” which is followed by a wink of my left eye. It is true what they say in ancient China: “Taco Casa is for lovers.” I hope they mean lovers of fine tacos, because I eat here by myself usually. The sauce amount is adequate. Yes, Virginia, there is a restroom and wheelchair accessible parking. Except at this taco house, it is called Nachos del Baños. Three stars.

 

CICIS PIZZA

“United In Uniqueness” is painted on the wall of this Cicis Pizza. The thinking person postulates: If uniqueness is a uniting commonality, none are truly unique. Commonality is the very antonym of uniqueness. The brainless, contradictory adjective phrase failure of all miserable, brainless, contradictory adjective phrase failures. Thank you, Cicis Dregs Of Humanity Pizza Buffet. The dollar-and-a-half price increase your board decided to gouge from your already poverty-stricken clientele since last pure desperation brought me to your greasy depression trough over a year ago for sustenance surely went toward their Mensa dues. Extra kudos for rebranding out that pesky, elitist (and what Chomsky The Pedantic Asshole would probably call “absolutely necessary”) apostrophe from your company name’s logo. Please inform the many other Cicis associated with your illiterate diabetes conglomerate that I noticed and appreciated this shrewd push for total brain atrophy. Most importantly, thank you for filling my hemorrhaging mind, body, and soul with doughy hog semen and for the instant and inhuman regret I experienced upon exiting the Hellmouth of your debauchmentmongering obesity junglescape of pure Italian garbage nightmares and muttering to myself with a groan, out loud, “If I only had one free time travel voucher, I’d use it to go back and stop myself from going to the pizza buffet. I wouldn’t kill Hitler. I’d use it only to stop myself from eating the pizza. I don’t care if I go to Hell for my unthinkable selfishness. I hate myself more than I hate Hitler. God in Heaven, I’m so sorry.” This is truly where Anthony Bourdain ate his last meal. One star.

 

AGUIRRE’S TEX-MEX RESTAURANT

Imagine yourself in Mexico. I mean really down in there, where the flavors are fresh, exciting and unsuspected and the culture grows from a tradition of passion and authenticity. Now you’re inside Aguirre’s Tex-Mex Restaurant. Imagine you’re in Manhattan. You see a tiny place carved into the cityscape, bustling with attractive locals and glowing with warm neon light seduction. There’s an aquarium in the window with a single, massive sea fish of more colors and sparkling medallions than the very rainbow itself not even swimming around, just hovering blimp-like in the water, making St. Joseph himself tearfully displeased with his own lacklustre coat and looking right deep into your hypnotized eyeballs—her gaze is a dare to come inside. To where the fine smells are. She winks at you. “Honey, didn’t The New Yorker write something excellent about this place in Tables for Two?” you ask without breaking the intimate gaze of the mystery siren fish of your childhood sopapilla fantasies. “Yeah, I think so,” says whoever it is you’re with. (They are long forgotten and might have even ceased to be, except for their verbal confirmation of the review you read a while ago in some New Yorker.) You go inside. You bathe in desire, having instantly fallen straight into the carnival dunk tank of pure, zesty smells. The giant fish leaps out of the aquarium and shapeshifts into Santa Claus. Now you’re inside Aguirre’s Tex-Mex Restaurant. You will never expect or anywhere else taste the ingredient festival of these family recipes. Pineapple butter. Nutmeg. White wine. Saffron. Lemon mint. Dove tears. Sage, rosemary and thyme. Listen to Simon & Garfunkle and Prince. They know where to eat. Aguirre’s Tex-Mex Restaurant. Their sauce array belongs on commemorative stamps which splash the hungry tongue with flavor when licked. They await you with smiles. You wink back at the fish and whisper, “Que lindo eres.” Five stars.

 

TEXAS ROADHOUSE

Yee-harr! Come on down to the Texas Road House Of Noise! The Yee-harrinest, boot-scootinest, scoot-horse-inest, dang-blastedest, noise-noisiest noise factory this side of the Pecos! Where the jean shorts are tight as horse grins, the gravy flows like the mighty Pecos, the chicken steaks are fried in pure Nascar lube, rattlesnakes are the mayor, the women are seven feet tall, the men can fit their whole fists inside their very mouth holes to scare away the mayor, the hats hold more gallons of pure hog grease than the mighty Pecos, the moustaches grow prouder with every Nascar lap, the carpet is peanut waste, the Pecos is crawling with stray, noisy children, and the children and babies are encouraged to SCREAM AS INHUMANLY LOUD AS OH MY GOD POSSIBLE! If your body is looking to fill its salt, grease, beefsteak or noise quota, this here is sure dad-blasted the ding-dang place to come! And bring the li’l pardners along with yeh. BUT ONLY IF YOU TEACH THEM TO SCREAM EVEN LOUDER THAN THE WAITSTAFF! Yeeeeee-haaaarr!! Three stars.

 

ORLANDO’S PIZZA

So I’m eating a homemade pizza (which actually tastes like it was made from the shingles of somebody’s home) at Orlando’s “Famous” Truck Stop “Pizza” Parlour—which is quaintly swamp-nestled just close enough to the dirty freeway to still hear the rumbling traffic, but deep enough into Leatherface territory that you wonder what the meatballs are made of—when I hear a familiar Garth Brooks hit through the speakers. I’ve heard it a thousand times, but now, for whatever reason, I finally pay attention to the lyrics. My brow furrows. I drop my half-eaten shingle. I slowly look up and say, out loud, “Mother of God, has this catchy and popular country/western song always been about the brutal, premeditated murder of an adulterous wife by her jealous husband in front of her own children whose body is then thrown into the bed of a diesel truck and driven to a waiting, empty grave?” The parlour is silent. All eyes laser beam to my lonely table under the speaker where I sit stunned and instantly exposed. “Yes,” says Garth Brooks, who is now suddenly behind me eating a whole pepperoni log. (Then I thank him for finally taking all country/western songs to their logical conclusion.) When I regained consciousness, I was behind the wheel of my car. The moon was bright. How long had I been driving. How long would I drive. One star.

by Joseph | no comments | permalink

Mormon Halliday

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I fear the only measurable display of confidence you will glean of my soul this day, Father, blooms and withers before you now as a single teardrop in the ocean of eternity, serving for but a flicker of the candle to underline this warning: Today’s confession is a real doozy. Grant me the strength, Lord, to disclose every humiliating detail of my soul’s most recent stray into flamboyant debauchery, and the faith to entrust this stumbling tale of a crumbling failure crutched only by the helpless spectre of his own knotted shame unto your shepherd on Earth, of whose ear I implore patience, and heart, forgiveness. It has been twenty-seven years since my last confession.

I was approached last night in the parking lot of the gas station where I enjoy my nightly glut of caffeine, nicotine, and Colt 45 by an eager, smiling Mormon girl who asked me if I had yet heard the good news of Jesus The Christ. “No ma’am, I have not!” I lied, then continued listening to and engaging with her, nodding and tilting my head like a mesmerized car-keys dog the whole time, and asking her absolutely the most genuine, condescension-free, nonconfrontational questions I could squeeze out of my cold, black heart for well over an entire hour, in the near-frozen grip of a dead-middle winter’s eve.

And I didn’t do it out of boredom or cruelty, and I didn’t do it out of a latent Freudian desire to throw aside my shackles of reason, logic, and a quality kindergarten education to right my wandering soul with a compass calibrated by a whoopie cushion of daffy horseshit rivaled in absurdity only by that of every single other religion ever dreamed up by sadistic old men who love making tax-free bank telling women and children what to do with their bodies, no offense. I did it simply out of my astonishingly sincere respect for her unexpected warmth, enthusiasm, and fearless dedication to a calling I will never understand, and the kind of sheer, runneth-over kindness that can only come from the bottom of a fellow Christian’s good-natured heart’s desire to imagine her naked for an entire hour. Mother of God, she was pretty, Father.

Her name was Sister Halliday—to my ears, a microsonnet too beautiful to christen even the world’s nicest filthy shrimping boat. She was 20 years tight, her painterly visage patently outclassed the penetrating symmetry and neotenic kinderschema of the most adorably-taffy-pulled Stanley Kubrick Pixar character you could ever dream up, and she radiated enchantment and gorgeous loveliness like just the creamiest, glowing oil painting you’ve ever seen come to life and dance around like Frosty The Sexman. Her teeth were huge, and sparkled with more dazzling Parisian intensity than the bridge of the Starship J. J. Abrams Lens Flare Porn, shimmered as pearly as the gates of Heaven’s Gate itself, and tore at my very heart meat with all the voracious, sexy pointiness of Bowie’s original, messed-up English badger teeth, and her silky butterfall of perfumed, blonde hair was as golden and full of holy magic as her underpants.

Sister Halliday, who flashed a darling smile and insisted I call her “Hallie,” presented me with a brand-new copy of the much-maligned Book of Mormon, which she carefully removed from the modest missionary’s satchel they made her pay for herself—along with all of her other travel expenses—with the money she’d earned as a hairdresser back in Arizona before abruptly quitting her job, scraping together her savings, and devoting the following eighteen months of her life to the unpaid suckering of parking lot strangers into Sunday mornings trapped in a house of worship called a “ward”—A designation, which, on its worst day sounds like the part of a hospital, prison, or prison hospital where they melonball chunks of your brain straight into a dog’s mouth right in front of you, and even on salad days still conjures a brutalist concrete rectangle full of people so bored with the tedious mythology of the most famously-buoyant Jew who ever lived, died, and rose from the grave with nary a scratch, that they decided he should Tinker Bell his ass to upstate New York and bury LSD everywhere.

You could tell from the size of the book that she only had one copy in there, and it was plain from her economical trembling that she was reluctant to casually throw around expensive, perfect bound copies of disconcertingly-thick drivel manifestos she had to pay for herself. She’d been saving it, Father. Saving it for somebody she felt certain would become more passionate about reading the entire thing cover-to-cover in one furious evening than finally solving The Mystery of the Obnoxiously-Tottering Patio Table. Somebody who would never spring-load it, say, into the kneeler of a Catholic church pew, rigging it to shoot out like a jack-n-the-box of pure What’s-this-Mommy?-terror right to the shins. No offense.

And the worst part, Father? The worst part is that I was that somebody. I wanted to be, anyway. Part of me. Part of me wants to tear out of this room right now and run all the way to her arms. Tear up the very sacrament I know in my heart to be the only real ticket out of this room, any room, in any prison of only doubt, and find her in Flagstaff. Hand in hand down some rusty, firebrick road where toasty sails of flickering, candlelit desert winds move us as one—in and out and in and out an in and around the finally-simpatico heartbeats of man’s many-colored collection of holy books. Because I love her. Is that my sin, Father? Expanding my definition of Christ to include the healing beauty of this bonkers Nancy I met last night in the parking lot of that gas station down there, y’know, the uh, this 24-hour deal they got down by those ritzy strip club, uh…bo—bowling allies? Father? Down by the airport? Is it? A sin? I’m in love with an idiot, Father. Tell me what to do.”

“Well. For starters, you can stop calling me “Father.” It’s…still me. Sister Halliday. That’s right. And we are still loitering in the freezing parking lot where—oh, my gosh!—I have been waiting in patient horror for you to exhaust yourself from belligerently outlining your seemingly bottomless cornucopia of hateful and surreal objections to my chosen faith, and repeatedly demanding my signed, handwritten confession to “selfishly murdering national treasure Bill Paxton in a jealous Branch Davidian warehouse explosion of bratty celestial-wedding-tackle bogartary” while articulating your gross and baffling lust for my enormous, glowing badger teeth, and draining 40s from the trunk of your car for the better and absolutely worst part of the longest hour of my life. Message received loud and clear, mister. Bye.”

“Please don’t leave me, Hallie Cat. Not like this. I must see you again or I’ll go mad, you see? I need my wittle Tin-Pan, badly! I wish to be baptized in your soaking wetness. Name a spot, pick a time, and I will be there draped in more bells than you can even count on those delicate yet fiendishly-nimble ticklers.”

“OK, that’s…well—OK, fine. You can see me Sunday morning. At 11 AM. During worship. But strictly in a platonic, creamy-dancing-Star-Trek-free educational context surrounded by hundreds of witnesses. And you have to convert. That is paramount.”

“I see. And what happens to me if I do not. Do that.”

“You die sad and alone, and your miserable spirit wanders the boring antechambers of limbo for ever and ever and ever, OK? Now. If you’d still like to come, we should exchange…I guess..phone numbers. I, uh…right. I mean—OK. Look. Just, please. Look—look at me. Pleeease do not make me regret saying that. OK? Great. Gimme the number.”

“555-3825.”

“Is that…is he jok—are you kidding me?! Are you..5-5-?…oh, my GOLDEN GOODNESS HORSESHOES, DUDE! C’MON, MAN! CHEEZ-ITS H. CREPES! THE PHONY PHONE NUMBER BIT IS AS THREADBARE AS THE WIDESPREAD IGNORANT DENIAL OF JESUS CHRIST’S WELL-DOCUMENTED AMERICAN BIRTHPLACE OF BUMBLEBEE, MISSOURI! Look, if you don’t want to come? You DO! NOT! have to come! Trust me! Good evening, sir!”

“Halliday, wait—please wait, Sister Halliday. I’m sorry.”

“(Long, heavy sigh). What is it.”

“It’s…nothing, Sister. I—I guess I just wanted to feel your tortured, sweet-n-sour breath snake through those filthy glam squirrel teeth one last time and honey my chapped Cornish face hens for good luck. Boy. I love you, Sister, but that pretty head of yours will never snap the big rats in half, if you catch my pinkeye. You will always be the one that ran away.

…And then she slapped me! With all the tragic, bitter melancholy of the very last poor Irish bugger to fiddle himself straight over the grotesque, inverted hull of the RMS Titanic and into the frigid ocean of eternity. And I never saw her again. What am I to do, your Honor?”

“Anything—and son, I mean anything—do everything and anything you can think of that does not include serving on this jury, you twisted son of a bastard. Look at me, son. Right here in my mamma’s eyes. You are dismissed, juror 20197! Bailiffs, please escort this psycho the hell out of my courtroom. And may Jesus Yankee Doodle Christ have mercy on your soul.”

by Joseph | no comments | permalink

I’m Gonna Wear That Hole Right Into My Hair

You will never experience a more beautiful efficiency than this video of Andy Warhol eating a Burger King Whopper in 1981.

Listen to that sound. It actually purrs! That’s real film, too. Remember when movies were sensual? Remember right now in your head. What do you feel? I feel sexy. Movies were sexy because they were sensual. Movies were sensual because they were made by and for the senses. Senses are physical tools which interpret sensual stimuli in helpful ways. Emotions are helpful when you’re trying to interpret artistic stimuli. What is it saying? How is it touching? Why am I looking at it? Those are all questions you can easily answer yourself with the helpful emotions art helps you feel. Because hearing, touching, and seeing are all senses. Which are sensual. And sexy. And fun! If you don’t feel anything, it’s not art. And it’s no fun.

Digital stimuli are fantastic if you’re looking for efficient homogeneity, but listen to that bag. What sounds like that bag anymore? Bags don’t even sound that way in real life. Which is why this is art. That bag would sound perfectly like a perfect bag if this film had been made today, which is perfect if you love hearing bags sound like bags, but listen to that warm, ambient street noise out the window. It’s probably not as far away as it sounds. The space is enormous. Feel the sunlight filling up the room at the very end.

If you imagine away the haircut, Andy Warhol was not a weird guy at all. Do it, it’s fun! Watch the video, except imagine that the bottom of his haircut is the entire haircut. Now what do you see? It’s just a guy eating a hamburger. Which is probably how he saw himself, too. Just a guy who eats food out of bags.

Except he looked at the bag. For a long time. Way longer than we would have looked at the bag. He fell in love with the bag! And why not? It’s a perfect bag. Check it out. It’s just the logo. That’s it. Two colors on white. Red and orange. It makes you feel hungry, right? And two words. “Burger” and “King.” And you know those orange shapes are a bun because you know those words are the meat. Because they’re red. And the letters are plump. Juicy, even. And even though “burger” is a much longer word than “king,” they both take up the same amount of horizontal space on top of each other. Like beef patties! It’s perfect.

But Andy knew nobody would love that bag the way he did unless he made it imperfect. Nobody would’ve cared if he’d held up a can of soup on the subway and said, “Hey! This is cool, right?” And that was unacceptable to him because he wanted people to care. Because he cared! And he only cared because of the nice emotions he felt when he sensed that kind of stuff. Stuff like that turned him on, and my guess is that he wanted to turn us on too. If for no other reason than to be a nice guy, and isn’t that weird at all? So he got a bad haircut and turned himself into a 7-foot logo. Like the bag! He made the bag sound to everybody else the way it sounded to him. Which didn’t sound like a bag at all.

Everything was always “That’s great!” with Warhol. Probably because he actually thought everything was always great. He was easy to please because he looked at stuff way closer than other people and saw the hidden pleasures. A piece of yarn becomes the coolest thing in the world when you’re stuck in a room for a week with nothing but a piece of wire. Maybe there’s a mouse but you can’t touch it. Andy just got there faster. And he expressed himself with the same perfect efficiency. But most people don’t do that. So most people said he was “weird.” Like this video. This video is really something. It’s also really nothing! And that’s the best part. It’s weird on purpose to show how boring it is. Which makes it interesting! And interest is how the senses introduce you to fun emotions. It’s sensual! So it’s art. But most people don’t do that. So most people said he was “weird.” Like this video.

Well the only weird thing about Andy Warhol ever did on purpose was that goofy haircut. But he did that on pupose to help us see beyond efficiency to sensuality, and then back to efficiency. To us, represent pure efficiency. Which mean they disposable for doing her job, Amy. Warhols saw the efficiency of the beauty of and the beauty and effectively. figured out that the only efficient way to help sexy feel around efficiency was to convey the sensual data of efficient sensual was to make them sex with a mouse far less eif.fectein or it’s Horseshit? This guy, I dunno man, this guys maybe hes a some kinda asshole? And I don’t, and oh boy I really some a doctors all about my head hurts and a bad, and oh boy and! my heads And a really a high? Fever!. Ate it. Driank it! no,don’t. Drink drank bean ban bean can’t screen man bean bean ink can soup beans can cans from 1964? Becau You all you guys see this semitransparent mouse creeping outta Warhol’s pants, right? Amy? Andy? I fuck this invisible mouse? IT DOESN’T COME OUT! hELLOMK* ,/ ???_

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by Joseph | no comments | permalink

“Rent! Rent! Rent! Rent! Rentrentrentrentrentrentrent! Rent! Rent! Rentrentrent! Rentrentrentrentrentrent RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!RRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” —Actual lyrics from one of the songs in the subtle and layered-with-thoughtful-subtext Broadway musical, Rent.

“THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE WOMEN IN RUBBER FLIRTING WITH ME, GIMME A BREAK!” Is something a professional actress just screamed with total sincerity in front of an audience full of mesmerized, giving-a-shit people, none of whom immediately exploded with the kind of laughter your brain reserves only for when you accidentally walk into a mortuary and see Barney the Dinosaur giving Ronald McDonald the most enthusiastic blowjob he’s ever received, and who were taking her, and the rest of the cast of Rent, completely fucking seriously, and relating to them big-time.

Please somebody explain Broadway musicals to me. Because I obviously don’t get them. At all. It’s not their fault, it’s mine. I am either physically incapable of feeling the emotions these people are clearly trying very hard, loud, and with maximum cartoonish flamboyance to make me feel—because trust me, it isn’t poetry when I say that all I can think of when I see them is Barney the Children’s Dinosaur—or I just don’t get it on even a basic level. What EXACTLY am I supposed to feel. And why don’t I feel it. Am I feeling it? Are you sincere. Or a joke? Because nobody besides me is laughing. Who has these emotions. How does what you’re doing right now evoke, then satisfy, these baffling emotions in others. How is what you’re doing right now not a hilarious parody of just the most embarrassingly stupid thing there ever was. This isn’t criticism or judgement, this is me asking for help. Google won’t help me. I am not at all ashamed to admit in public that I am too stupid to understand and enjoy the vocabulary of one of the most popular artforms in America.

And it’s not a gay thing. Everybody loves musicals. Gay, straight, it’s a secret, who cares. It’s not that. I am perfectly capable of communicating with gay people without cringing after just twenty seconds and clawing the sensory organs right out of my very body, and I do so with great relish, pleasure, and satisfaction as often as I can with the many bouncy homosexuals I am thrilled and honored to call my dear friends. OK? So it’s not that. And I know all musical theatre is not the same as Rent. I love Gilbert, Sullivan, and Sondheim every bit as much as I love making love on women, the boobs of which I squeeze with great relish as I recite the entire Modern Major General song TO THE FUCKING LETTER because that’s how much I love it. Yes. Enough to memorize the whole thing. And it was one of the very first things I did as absolutely soon as the cartilage of my baby brain matured into the kind of brain meat that is capable of memorizing the daffiest fucking tongue-twister in the world set to music. It has nothing to do with where I pay to bury my face every Wednesday at La Quinta. And again every Thursday, next door in the Denny’s restroom.

So. What have we learned: Broadway musicals present emotional stimuli on purpose. That information is presented, as far as I know, with full sincerity. Everybody I’ve ever met or heard of is capable of receiving that information, effortlessly processing the information, ruling it sincere without a moment’s doubt, then continuing to watch the musical like it’s Death of a Salesman. By which I mean, NOT screaming in Planet Of The Apes: The Musical style hysterical laughter, or wishing they were Helen Keller. Broadway is a billion-dollar—yes, with a “B”—industry, so obviously it is not irrelevant niche horseshit. Gay people star on Broadway. Straight people star on Broadway. Both gay and straight people enjoy paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a seat on JFK’s filthiest, most noisily-clanking baggage carousel, where they pretend to watch the gay and straight stars of Broadway sing and dance like Barney the fucking Dinosaur through tiny opera binoculars. And lastly, I value physical contact with the human vagina above all other vaginas vegetable, animal, and mineral.

And that’s the end! Because that is absolutely the most sense I can make out of most Broadway musicals. Sorry.

by Joseph | no comments | permalink

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas! It may be your LAST?…Boy, are you absolutely married to these exact lyrics, Hugh? Because Jesus Christ, man. Does this song come with a warm plate of barbiturates?” —Judy Garland

From all of us at Whale, happy holidays! No matter which one you celebrate. Just as long as you are among those most dear to your heart. Love, warm wishes and hugs, your dear friend, and as long as the point of the holiday you celebrate is to worship Jesus Christ and no one else, and celebrate his totally made-up birthday. If he was even born at all. And that’s it. The rest of you can go to Hell. And you probably will. And Happy Hanukkah! And I sincerely mean that. But NO Muslim or Jewish stuff. That is paramount.

Decks Of Halls

“But Joseph, Hanukkah’s already over! So who’s laughing now, asshole?” —Chinese heckler

“Still me. At Jews! Who have already opened their measly 8 presents and will cry kosher salty tears of regret and jealousy as they watch me rip open my 12 — count them, TWELVE! — bacon-wrapped presents all at once tomorrow morning, most of which will be birds doing cool stuff, and none of that stuff will include being mesmerized by the miraculous bang achieved by the buck they spent on some stupid lamp oil that never really did anything other than what lamp oil is supposed to do in the first place, which is lame and boring. When Jack-N-The-Box accidentally throws in an eighth stuffed jalapeno into my box of seven stuffed jalapenos, I don’t abandon my king and worship the stuffed jalapenos.” —President of the United States of America, Donald J. Antiochus IV Epiphanes

by Joseph | no comments | permalink