Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Madman December Carol (excerpt 2)

If you have not read the disclaimer first, please do so here:

From Chapter 2

At the entrance to the grocery store among the commotion of the man ringing his Salvation Army bell and the shoppers entering the store was a little girl standing in front of her mother. She was handing out little slips of paper to anyone who wanted one and Ken out of courtesy took one and read the hand written note on it while walking into the store. He stopped on the other side of the entrance then walked back outside and said to the girl, "You should not be handing out these slips of paper. You spelled ..."

Her mother angrily walks in front of the girl to confront Ken, "Who do you think you are telling my daughter to not hand notes to people? Do you know what is written on the note? It is John 3:16, the bible verse which explains whose birthday we are celebrating in two days."

"Yes, I know what it is. She spelled the word perish with an a."

"So? Who are you, some kind of spelling expert?"

"Since I have played for the National Scrabble Championship, I would consider myself one. If you want people to respect and pay attention to the message, it should be spelled correctly." Ken replied while walking back into the store with his daughter who was talking with the girl while their parents argued.

After getting the groceries while walking to the exit, a little kid runs in right front of Ken and his daughter, trips over his own two feet and ends up landing face first into the back of a stroller. Ken looks over the crying kid as the mother tries talking to him in Spanish as a bilingual store employee tries to calm her down. Seeing that the situation is being handled, he walks away with his daughter. As Ken gets to the door, he hears the woman screaming frantically and catches her eye as he leaves the store.

On the way towards the parking lot, Ken noticed the mother and kid were gone but the Salvation Army person was still ringing his bell and shouting Merry Christmas and as usual, Ken ignored him. Apparently annoyed with what he saw earlier, the worker with his bell walked up behind Ken, rang the bell next to his ear and shouted, "I said Merry Christmas!"

Wincing in pain from the sound, Ken turned around and to the surprise of the bell ringer, grabbed the bell out of his hand and threw it into a garbage can. "What the ****'s wrong with you?" screamed the man as he went to retrieve his bell.

Ken screamed back even louder, "You're ****ing lucky that I didn't take that *** **** bell and shove it up your ******-****ing ***!" Turning to his daughter who had a ringside view and speaking in a much calmer tone, "Remember, parking lot."

A few hours later the doorbell rang at Ken's house. It was the police. Ken nervously asked, "What can I help you with today?"

"By any chance were you at the grocery store earlier today with a little kid?"

Feeling impending doom Ken nervously replied, "Yes."

"Did you see a little kid trip and hit his face on a stroller?"

"It happened right in front of me. I was walking to the door with my daughter when he fell. Since someone was talking to her in Spanish, I figured I could not help."

"Can we take that as your eye witness to what happened? It would add to the report. Is this the correct spelling of your name?" the officer shows the sheet as Ken signs it. "Ok, thanks for your time, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Ken reluctantly replies. After closing the door, he breathes out a big sigh, "That was scary."

Later that evening, while he is on his computer, his daughter approaches him.

"Are you doing you radio show now, daddy?"

"Yes, I Am."


"I'm about to go live on the mike, you want to join me?"


Ken speaks into the microphone, "This is the madman on the loose and you are listening to the Larry Csonka birthday special as the hall of fame fullback turns a year older in a few days. I am not alone here in Hardcore Gaming Studios. The little girl you heard screaming in that last song is here with me. So are you excited about the next couple of days?"


"Nice. We had one interesting time at the store today. Didn't we?"


"You think that adventure would make an interesting chapter in a story?"

"I don't know."

"I have a lot more music to play. You have anything else to say?

Giggling, "Can you smell that? I just farted."

"If anyone had a doubt that this is my kid I think they have been removed. Here is Bob Rivers," Ken turns off the mike and starts the music. "Damn, what did you eat, kid?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"real" music

A couple of years ago right after changing the CD that I was listening at work, someone came up to me and asked if I listen to any real music. Curious to what was meant, I was told that real music consists of original songs done by people or groups that play their own instruments. I asked, lead guitar, bass guitar, drum, and maybe a third guitar, keyboard or even trombone and was told yes. I shrugged my shoulders and the person walked away. I then hit the pause button and listened to the Ookla the Mok CD Super Secret which has all original songs performed by people who play the instruments I described earlier. As the first words of the CD were sung (Mr Potato Head), I cracked a rare smile at work and continued what I was doing.

Most people associate comedy music with Weird Al Yankovic. He has been doing this over 30 years and most of the songs people know from him are parodies songs that were popular when the parody was written. I have many times tried to explain that Weird Al has done more than parodies. Over the past 30 years he has released 12 original albums that have 140 total tracks on them and 6 songs on the internet since his last album was released in 2006. The breakdown of the type of songs is here:

Recent parody - Any song that is a parody of a song released within the past 5 years and the songs most people know (Eat It, Smells Live Nirvana, White and Nerdy)

Classic Parody - Any song that is a parody of a song that is over 5 years old (Yoda, Jurassic Park, The Saga Begins)

Polka - Except for the 3:39 polka version of the six minute song Bohemian Rhapsody, the Polkas consisted of a medley of 15-30 second excerpts of songs strung together in a group. Except for the time he did all Rolling Stones songs in a medley, they have been recent songs Al could not work separately as a parody.

Style Parody - An original song that sounds like it was done by a different artist. Over the years, he has done this to Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Devo, and Talking Heads, and more recently NWA, The Beach Boys, and USA For Africa, and the Doors.

Original - An original song. Some of them were theme songs for the tv show or movie.

Other - One straight cover and one instrumental.

I did not include songs that were never released due to not getting permission and/or only performed at concerts. From what I could recall, most of them were parodies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

clearing the brain

Over the past couple of years I have had unconnected pieces of a story develop inside my head. Last year I decided to connect them and throughout the past 12 months developed and for the most part completed it.

Currently titled "A Madman Christmas Carol" one can imagine it applies the Dickens' classic story to me. It contains situations I have encountered over the years and random thoughts about potential future situations many of which I do not expect to encounter.

While writing it, I soon discovered that most people whom I know can not for various reasons read it. However, I decided it would be possible to post edited excerpts from the story.

In the excerpts I decided to skip some things in between. I placed a divider ***** to designate that.

Even though I have basically completed the story, it is still a work in progress and whenever a thought gets into my head about a change, I will make it.

A Madman December Carol (excerpt one)

From Chapter one. ***** means material purposely not put in this blog.

It was a holiday lunch at any common workplace. The employees mostly in shirts with their names on them were enjoying food their supervisor brought. At one end was a radio playing a CD of songs of the holiday season as most everyone was talking and laughing. At the other end there was a person quickly and silently eating his food watching everything with a cynical look on his face.

In an attempt to get him involved, someone walked up to him and asked "Why weren't you at the company's holiday party, Kenny?"

The person stopped concentrating on his food and looked at his dark blue shirt grabbing it just below a patch with a name scripted on it and then peered disgustingly back. "Er, Ken."

The reply which seemed to automatically come from his lips as it had been said many times over the past few weeks when asked if he was going was, "Since I have to get my daughter after I leave, I can't drink alcohol. Since they serve Pepsi there, I won't drink that. I would also need to leave before they serve any decent food. For me there is no reason to go."

She rebutted, "Why not go just to hang out?"

With an annoyed look coming over his eyes he replied, "It took me years to learn how to forget about this place and the people here once I am no longer within these walls and I really can't do that at the party. Anyway, if I want to be ignored around the people I work with ..."

"Huh? Tell me. You want to say it."

"Never mind." Trying to change the conversation, "I am really not a good social person outside the comfort zone of my house or while working. In most social situations, I usually end up silent in a corner until someone comes up to me. Yes, even in the group I hang out with, the same thing can happen."


At this time the supervisor starts talking about the past year and his hopes for the new one and then opens up the presents his employees contributed to get him. While cleaning up shortly afterward someone else asked, "So what are you buying your daughter for Christmas, Ken?"

"As usual, nothing"

"O.K. For that football player who was born on December 25?"

"His name is Larry Csonka. Anyway, with how things are, I really can't buy her anything. I don't have the money."

writer's note: It is revealed later in the story that since store credit and gift cards were used to obtain presents for his daughter so it was accurate to state that nothing was purchased.


"Won't your daughter be disappointed that Santa won't get her anything?"

"My wife ruined it for my daughter a couple of years ago while my kid was praising Santa for getting her something by telling my daughter that it was me who got it for her."

A few hours later when it was time to go home, since the building was closed the next couple of days for Christmas, the supervisor greeted everyone on their way out with a handshake and a hearty "Merry Christmas!"

Ken reluctantly mumbled, "Merry Christmas."

Someone else shouted, "Merry Christmas, Ken!"

"See you Monday," was the reply as he walked out the door.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

double cheeze burger, onion rings and a large orange drink

As requested by one of the readers, I am doing this week's entry based on the many problems and experiences I had getting food from restaurants and fast food places. To be honest, I used to be a far worse customer than I am now expecting the same quality I expect from the work I do from people who make their living flipping burgers. I have gotten to the point where I now realize that mistakes should be expected especially when ordering something that is not normal. As someone who eats food well cooked and without any liquids on them (with rare exceptions) having problems with ordering food becomes common so I try to order food that does not require special handling.

This chart basically describes the types of situations I have had:

To explain, held onions meant that they gave me everything but onions when onions was all I had wanted to get. The two WTF are for the one waitress who refused to get me the salad I ordered unless I put dressing, oil or a squeeze of lemon on it and for the Subway employee who put everything on my sub, told me I would like it that way and then after I asked him what was his problem offered to punch out of work and settle our differences behind the building.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bonus list

Looks like someone wants me.

For some reason I can not believe someone would walk into a confessional, ask for a blessing and confess that they are a Cubs fan. Though I would question the judgment of the person, I do not see how that can be a sin.

I also realized that had I instead of taking a few hits from a joint while celebrating my team's title in 1986 and shot myself with heroin, meth or smack, I could have avoided one damaging thing to my soul while also avoiding the pain, aggravation and discomfort of donating blood.