Archive for May, 2010

17th May
2010
written by Jeff

Last August, I wrote a blog post about what I termed the “doucheification” of Washinton Avenue. This lead to a story in the Chronicle as well.

Since then, life on the Jersey Shore of Houston has continued unabated. Walter’s remains open as they supposedly search for a new home base.

Today, I ran across a story in the Chron about how one of the bars is bringing live music to Washington Avenue at the Salt Bar. Let me just post the excerpts and leave my comments.

The owners of Salt Bar on Washington Ave. have started a songwriter night, hoping to provide a venue for original work and, perhaps, build a live-music scene in Houston from the ground up.

Elecia Wheeler and her partners opened Pearl Bar on Washington Ave.three years ago. When they discussed opening a new watering hole next door she had a stipulation: “If we open a new space, it’s going to focus on live music.

“I want people to know that there’s so much great talent here in Houston,” Wheeler said. “You hear all the people, they’ve moved to Austin or they’ve moved to Nashville or they’ve moved to Branson. I want people to know they could come to Houston or stay in Houston and producers will come here looking for them.”

First off, Ms. Wheeler, if you were SO concerned about having live music on Washington Avenue, why not keep Mary Jane’s alive in the Pearl Bar? That venue had a long tradition of live music dating back to when it was called the Bon Ton Room and the Arc Angels were among the regulars.

Second, if you truly wanted to build a music scene from the ground up, why not encourage the same from your neighbors – Pandora (formerly Rhythm Room), Front Porch (formerly Cosmo’s), Blu Salon (formerly Satellite Lounge) the small bar next to Walter’s (formerly Silky’s Blues Bar)? There are MANY former live music venues along the half mile stretch of road just waiting for revitalization.

Finally, who from Houston has ever thought moving to Branson was a viable alternative. Austin I get, even Nashville, but BRANSON?

But, there’s more…

Wheeler said she wants songwriters to get on stage and present original work, to share a bit of themselves.

[…]

For now, the event will continue to feature both invited, established artists, and newcomers with a song or two to share.

Croucher describes the evening as something of a hybrid between a songwriter showcase and an open-mic night, “Which is very Houston, really: a weird convergence of everything.”

Ok, so your decision to bring live music to Washington Avenue has resulted in a Tuesday night open mic night? That’s it???

There are quite a few of those all over Houston. Mucky Duck has one of the most well-established and well-attended in the area. There are great blues jams on Monday’s and Tuesday’s in numerous locations, none of which would think to consider itself a “showcase,” understanding what they are, which is a chance for musicians to hang out and jam, maybe test out some new material on an audience.

If you REALLY want to help, Ms. Wheeler, how about having live music five nights a week at Salt Bar? Do your open mic on Tuesday. Bring in bands for happy hour Wednesday and Thursday with full on music nights Friday and Saturday. Maybe once a month on Sunday, coordinate afternoon or early evening performances with other venues on the street.

Speaking of which, how about getting together with your sister venue, which could still conceivably put on shows (though I know they won’t), or with Walter’s, right across the street. Convince some of the other owners to suck it up and put on a live original band a few times a week. Imagine the impact if 9 out of 10 of the venues up and down Washington had live music even three nights every week?

If you are truly serious, don’t put on an open mic night on a Tuesday and then expect every musician in town to drool at the prospect of a gig on Washington Avenue and don’t expect this sudden infusion of one night a week to make everyone in the city think we’re on the road to Sixth Street.

Look, I commend your desire to have live, original music on a stage in the heart of what is rapidly becoming the most popular entertainment destination in Houston and I will HAPPILY eat my words the day your Tuesday night open mic turns into an every-day occurrence along your thoroughfare, but please don’t expect any of us who have any history with this city to appreciate all the hard work it took to set up a mic and some speakers and invite people to play for free at your bar on a Tuesday night.

Photo by kshilcutt

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13th May
2010
written by Jeff

My mom and I have a unique way of celebrating our mutual birthdays and Mother’s Day. Her birthday is May 1. My birthday is May 7 (Yes, you forgot it and I’ve deleted you from my Evite list as a result, so no more cat birthdays or cartoon marathon parties for you, sucka!). Mother’s Day is usually right in between or very close by.

Rather than trying to celebrate three holidays – and both of our birthdays are national holidays in several countries including Latvia and Burkina Faso – we choose to get together in the aftermath and celebrate quietly. We had lunch today and it was quite enjoyable.

But, when looking for birthday cards for my mom last week, I got the distinct impression that Hallmark, American Greetings and the rest of them are trying very hard to just nail it when it comes to card sentiment. Gone are the “Hope you have a wonderful birthday” and “You’re an awesome mom!” now replaced with long-winded and flowery language most of which don’t apply to me or my mom.

If they are going to do that, I figured it might be my shot to try my hand at greeting card writing – my fourth lifelong ambition after dunking a basketball without a trampoline, training to be a ninja and becoming the world’s first cyborg ninja who can dunk a basketball without a trampoline. Here are some suggestions for the greeting card magnates, who, we all know, are the heads of the secret world government. Duh!

Outside: Special thanks for my mom on her special day.
Inside: When I was born in that prison hospital and sent to an orphanage, my life seemed pretty bleak. But, once you got yourself out of the joint, it was only 15 years before you came looking for me – and begging my adoptive parents for cash. It took guts to be a crack whore and almost never bug me for money when I was in college. What I’m trying to say is, thanks for not kidnaping me as a teen and whoring me out for smack. Love Always!

Outside: To a great mom on her birthday.
Inside: Sure, you’re not my mom, but you should really be honored that I’ve chosen you to stalk. I keep that lock of hair I clipped from your head when you were sleeping with me at all times. I feel so close to you and, in truth, I am. I’m outside your window while you are reading this. Hiyeee! I love you SO much. Don’t ever leave! Seriously, don’t. xoxo.

Outside: To mom from your baby boy.
Inside: I know you are lonely since that bastard took off with that stripper and I’m the only thing you have left to fill the empty void in your existence, but don’t you think it’s a little creepy to buy yourself a birthday card and give it to yourself from me? I’m still an infant! Goo goo, gah gah means I love you!

Outside: To a crazy cat lady on her birthday.
Inside: You smell like cat pee and you’re close to having your house condemned, but you are one hell of a gal and all of us at county services love you. See you soon!

Outside: You are one bad ass mutha!
Inside: Sincerely, Samuel L. Jackson.

You’re welcome, Hallmark.

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12th May
2010
written by Jeff

There’s nothing quite as hot interesting as a good Dear Abby letter. Call me old fashioned. Call me silly. Call me Dr. Awesome (trademark pending). Whatever the case may be, I dig Abs and her homespun wisdom. It’s been a while since I had my own installment, so I thought I’d answer a couple of her letters myself. How hard could it be?

DEAR ABBY: I am 35 years old and the mother of two children. The oldest is 4 and my little one just turned 1. My mother-in-law had gastric bypass surgery two years ago. She lost a lot of weight and looks great, having gone from a size 16 to a size 4.

My problem is the comments she makes about my weight in the presence of others. For example, “Do you see that ‘Cate’ is so big-boned and I am so petite?” It hurts, and I don’t know what to do about it. What can I say to her the next time she says something like that? — “CATE” IN OKLAHOMA CITY

Dear “CATE” IN OKC –

By those quotation marks, I assume your name is not “Cate” but rather something completely different like “Catherine” or “Catonga,” so I’ll leave you to your anonymity because, let’s be totally honest here, Catonga is a horrible name. What is wrong with your parents, Catonga?

So, your mother-in-law lost a bunch of weight and now she’s criticizing you for being “big boned.” I’m sure Abby would suggest you be polite and mention how hurtful this is to your mother-in-law. I would take a different approach. Perhaps, the next time she brings it up, you could say something like, “That’s so true. I mean, remember when you were so goddamn fat, we were praying for the day when you’d get lipo or hop on the Jenny Craig bandwagon? Hell, I remember my husband saying that he wished you would start Rockin’ to the Oldies, but he figured you should do what you want since you are so old and close to death.”

If that doesn’t work, Catonga, just thank her for the fact that she gave birth to your husband who, despite her diminutive stature, carries a “big bone” of his own. That should break the tension.

Your Buddy,

Jeff

P.S. You really should think about changing that name, Catonga. Maybe that’s why you are fat because of your embarrassment over your name. Poor Catonga.

DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-30s, blond, blue-eyed, tall and slender. I am health-conscious and physically active. I have had a seven-year marriage and a relationship that lasted for four — but for the last five years I have been unattached. It took me a while to get used to being alone, but I have realized something that everyone needs to know: Being single can be very satisfying.

I clean my house; it stays clean. I have no extra dishes or laundry to do. There’s no toothpaste left in the sink. The toilet seat stays down. I can relax in front of the fireplace because no one is trying to get my attention.

My checkbook is always balanced, with no surprises. I can go to bed at night and sleep without having to spend half the night explaining why I’m not “in the mood.” I wake up refreshed in the morning without having to share someone else’s challenges.

I’m free to come and go as I please without the burden of anyone else’s expectations. And, if I’m feeling social, I can get together with a male or female friend and go out and have a good time.

Please reassure your single readers that it’s OK to be single, and not to allow their well-meaning friends, family or society to try to convince them they “need” to be in a relationship. If they’re happily single, as am I, they can remain that way and life will be just fine if they let it be. For me, it’s the only way to be. — HAPPILY SINGLE IN SEATTLE

Dear HAPPILY SINGLE IN SEATTLE,

I’d just like to say on behalf of all men, THANK YOU! You being single is the best thing that could happen to us and we’re glad you agree. Please remain that way so that no unsuspecting man becomes ensnared by someone as clearly annoying and conceited as yourself. You’ve saved us all a great deal of pain.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I need to dump clothes on the floor, empty an entire tube of Crest into the sink, pee on the toilet seat and bug the crap out of my girlfriend who is attempting to ignore me in front of a roaring fire place. It’s a challenge, I know, but it’s the life of most dudes like me.

Thanks again!

xoxo

Jeff

Finally, perhaps one of the great letters of all time:

DEAR ABBY: I think my husband may be a cross-dresser. Last night while “Roland” and I were cuddling in bed, I felt his legs and they were smoother than mine. I asked him why he keeps shaving his legs and stomach, and then it dawned on me. Roland has sent me e-mails hinting about dressing up.

One year, he purchased a pair of high heels, saying he wanted to dress up like a woman. I examined them the other day and there is evidence that they have been worn more than once. My lingerie drawer is sometimes a mess, and sometimes my clothes are a bit out of place. I believe my husband dresses up while I’m out of town on business trips.

I’d kind of like to see him dressed up, but I’m afraid he might look sexier than me. Lately Roland has been asking me if he can join me when I go shopping for clothes. He does chores around the house (vacuuming, ironing, dishes), and if he enjoys cross-dressing, I say he can wear any outfit he wants. How can I tell him I know what he’s doing? — WISE TO HIM IN FORT WORTH

Dear WISE TO HIM IN FORT WORTH,

I would just like to point out a few things I was wondering while reading your missive.

1. You asked him why he “keeps” shaving his legs and stomach (ew!). So, he’s been doing this for some time and it just dawned on you something might be amiss? Have you considered taking a class on paying attention? Just a thought. I’m sure Dallas has many lovely community colleges that offer such educational opportunities for someone such as yourself.

2. He TOLD YOU “one year” that he bought high heels and wanted to dress up as a woman. Um, are you perhaps mildly retarded? There is probably a test for such things. You might want to consult a physician.

3. Your lingerie drawer is a mess and your clothes are out of place. Ok, dear, now I’m worried. I’m thinking brain aneurysm. Go to an emergency room immediately!

4. You are concerned he would look sexier than you in YOUR clothes. While you are on your way to the hospital, you might want to contact a therapist about your low self esteem issues. I think it’s just grand you accept your husband as he is, but I just don’t know what to say about your belief in his cross dressing hotness.

I’m just concerned here, Debbie. I call you Debbie because of that porno about Dallas and I don’t really think they have one about Ft. Worth. Maybe Fanny Fucks Ft. Worth, which has a nice ring to it, but I can’t confirm that is a real film. Since you are so into this cross dressing thing, once a team of physicians has cleared you for active duty, maybe you should consider making a cross dressing porno about Ft. Worth. You could call it Freaky in Cow Town USA or maybe something simple like Ft. Worth Cockyards, you know, instead of stockyards. It’s a play on words, Debbie. Oh, right, you have a brain injury.

Ok, best of luck.

Rainbows and unicorns,

Jeff

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11th May
2010
written by Jeff

First, don’t ask me to explain where I got the image to the right. Frankly, I wish I could erase from my memory some of the things I had to see to bring you this blog post. Suffice it to say, you reading and commenting on this post will have meant all my suffering was worth it. I mean I work and I slave for you and all I ask in return is a little gratitude…a little compassion. Is that so much to ask after having to sift through Avatar anime porn for YOU?

What was I talking about? Oh, right…

So, this woman got preggers while her husband was off fighting a war, you know, for our freedom and all. When he returned and just blatantly assumed she had been sleeping around on him, she explained that she had been impregnated by aliens satanists 3D porn. And, can you believe the guy was suspicious at first? Jeez, his wife waits for him while he’s off killing terrorists and when he returns home to find his wife had a black baby (did I mention they were both white? no?) all he can think is that she’s cheated on him. The NERVE!!!

Finally, he realized the truth.

US military man Erick Jhonson came home from a stint in Iraq to find that his wife was pregnant. Clearly he assumed she had an affair, but his wife Jennifer claims the “other man” was actually someone a little less physical.

It seems he actually buys her story, however. “I see it as suspicious. The films in 3D are very real. With today’s technology, anything is possible,” he said.

What’s even more interesting is that both Jennifer and Erick are white, but the child is black. Jeniffer claims the kid looks like the black pornstar she had been ogling. She also claims this was one of the first times she’s watched porn and only went with friends for the 3D effect.

God, way to go, Erick! Just come home and blame your wife of diddling some guy from the gym or your best friend or some guy from church or, better yet, the guy from the guy, your best friend AND a guy from church. You’re so cynical. Look what the military has done to you. Even your wife can see it.

“Even though my husband believed in me, my marriage could be at risk,” Jennifer said. “But he knows I’m faithful.” It just shows you what joining the military does to your head.

Jennifer explained that “a month after watching the movie, I started feeling dizzy and the results were positive.”

SEE! How was she supposed to know that giant black penis on the screen was actually reaching into her vagina and filling her with babies? It happens ALL THE TIME! Just last week, I heard of a guy who had his kidney stolen at an IMAX movie. It’s called TECHNOLOGY, Erick!

All I can say to both of them is that I hope the baby isn’t an anime baby because those things are freaky. I’ve never seen one in person, but I’ve seen what they can do on screen and all I’m saying is that I don’t want the world to end because some anime baby gets mad and expands itself to swallow up the universe. Scientists have been warning us about such a thing for centuries and if women keep getting pregnant via 3D porn, it could happen, people.

By the way, if there is one thing I never want to see in my entire life, it’s a 3D penis, particularly on a giant screen. I don’t really want to see a 2D penis on a giant screen and 3D is like totally one worse than 2, which is, needless to say, terrifying. I thought the Human Centipede (I’m just telling you right now, do NOT click that link – you’ll thank me for that) freaked me out, and it totally does, but 3D penis seems much much worse. Although, having your mouth attached to someone’s butthole in the name of science is pretty bad too I guess.

(But not as bad as a 3D penis – *shudder*)

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10th May
2010
written by Jeff

This past weekend was a straight JAM. My birthday was Friday, complete with dinner, drinking and much enjoyment of all things fun and totally awesome, which is to say, ME! Ha ha, I’m so modest and sweet and sexy and badass all at the same time. How do I do it?!

Saturday night was Ben Folds at the House of Blues courtesy of my fantastique (yes, I intended to use French spelling and, no, I’m not a communist) girlfriend, Cathy, who, I am required to say by law, is right 99.9 percent of the time. I am not required to say that she is amazing to the power of awesome, but omitting that fact would be like putting Baby in a corner and NOBODY puts Baby in a corner (more on that in a sec).

Bottom line: the whole weekend rocked. But, what exactly do you do on Sunday night after a long, relaxing weekend when you are still awake and dreading having to go back to work the next day? Naturally, you go to dinner, wait until pretty much every video place in town is closing and then rifle through movies and tv shows at said stores as quickly as possible until you find something worth watching before checking out as they lock the doors behind you, natch! It was SO worth the effort.

First, I want to mention my phone conversation with Movies: The Store, the really cool video place on Richmond at about 5 minutes until 10pm. C and I were at Borders and thought that it would be silly to spend $30 on a movie we’d never seen, so I called Movies to see if they were open or would even be willing to remain open an extra 5 minutes or so to rent us something. This is what I got:

Me: How late are you guys open?
MTS: We are closing in 5 minutes at 10.
Me: Five minutes? Damn!
MTS: Dude, we’d stay but we are going to catch a movie right after we close.
Me: No worries. Thanks so much!

Seriously, how awesome is a store that probably would hold the door for you if they weren’t going out to see the very thing they sell? It’s symmetry and logic and stars colliding to create black holes and all that science shit that means perfection in the universe without even trying.

Anyway, as we made our way to checkout with some probably crappy $30 movie, we saw the $8 bin and, lo and behold, to what did our wondering eyes appear but the 20th anniversary edition of Dirty Dancing. I might have expected Havana Nights, but not the original. This, I am told, is a favorite of C’s youth, which made it an automatic buy. Out the door we went armed with Baby, Johnny, that guy from Law & Order and Newman from Seinfeld – all in one movie together!

It should be noted – oh, and I noted it – that it is curious the two seminal dance flicks of a generation (meaning Gen X, not you Gen Y kids who have to live with Honey, Step Up and Step Up 2 the Streets – hell, you didn’t even get Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo!) – Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever – both had male leads named Johnny. Also, Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze were in Red Dawn together as well, which doesn’t matter except that it is one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever watched and…WOLVERINES!!!

We unwrapped the packaging and found inside a booklet containing Dirty Dancing merchandise. Items included posters, CD’s, talking pens, projector keychains, a 2008 calendar (year of the DVD release) and apparel, which is the point of this whole blog post.

Oh, you thought you were going to get a detailed review of the DVD or some insight into youthful rebellion and the modern class system or a discussion on the pains of growing up in the turbulent 60’s as portrayed in the film? HA HA HA!! Have you ever READ this blog before? Oh, you haven’t? Ok, well…uh…what I write about on here are things like ninjas and light rock songs from the 70’s and the genius of Dear Abby, so you might want to reconsider why you are here. Seriously. If you hate vikings and vaginas and vikings with vaginas, this is NOT the place for you. Ok, glad we got that sorted out. Anyhoo…

Before I get to the apparel, let me just point out the honorable mention of this merchandise package, Dirty Dancing: The Video Game. I wish I could make this crap up, but check out the description:

Have the “Time of Your Life” with the new Dirty Dancing video game. Work alongside the team of the Kellerman’s resort, through a fantastic variety of fun minigames and earn camp dollars to purchase Dirty Dancing memorabilia, cabin furnishings and the all-important dance lessons with Johnny and Penny. How will you fare in the end-of-season dance contest?

I’m nearly speechless, but if you know me (and you do you sassy little mynx!), you know that will never happen even if my vocal chords were severed and my throat ripped out by that guy in American werewolf in London, you know, when he was a werewolf.

So, back to the apparel. There were message tees and classic logo tank tops. I was halfway surprised they didn’t have leotards given the proclivity of those in the film. During the “teaching Baby to dance” montage (shockingly similar to the “teaching Rocky to be black” montage in Rocky III, which both utilized songs with “eyes” in the title – coincidence? I think not!), C noticed a startling amount of leotard usage which prompted me to wonder (out loud because I’m annoying like that) why they would be wearing leotards and fish net stockings for rehearsal and why Baby would bring those items to a summer retreat in 1963, long before the Olivia Newton-John aerobics craze of the early 1980’s. Moving on.

My favorite item of apparel in the mini catalog was, as you might imagine, a thong. Yes, a thong. No, it’s not because I like women’s underwear. I swear, if I had a nickel for every time you came on here and perverted what I was trying to say, I’d be rich and famous and full of win. In fact, you should just pay me for that rude remark. Yes, I heard it because I’m spying on…I mean…you know what, nevermind. Let’s forget we ever talked about this. Look, a squirrel!

You know, nothing says “classy” like Dirty Dancing written across the front of your panties. Now, I can’t read the tiny writing all over the rest of the undies, but I assume they are clever quotes from the film or clever takes on them like:

You’re about to have the time of your life.
Welcome to my playpen…baby.
This is my dance space.
Put your pickle on my plate, college boy.
I’m known as the catch of the county.
I carry a watermelon!

See how perfectly those work out! They should hire me to write things on women’s underwear. It would have to be before someone put them on though, because I have a girlfriend and I’m not a total perv despite your heinous assertions to the contrary. If I did get such a job, I wouldn’t want to be limited to simply writing catchy one-liners or hilarious witticisms. Maybe poetry or algebra equations or even random verses from the Bible though “He wept” is all I can remember at the moment and I’m not sure that would be the hottest phrase to see on your girl’s drawers. But, I must press on in this new career and seek out all avenues of opportunity because, NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER.

See how I did that? I wrote this completely nonsensical paragraph that was really a total waste of pixels just so I could tie up the whole blog with a quote from the movie. Damn, I’m good. It was so completely worth it. It’s like that time I wrote a blog post about Dirty Dancing and how they sold thongs in their catalog insert and…wait. What just happened? Either I’m in the Matrix and they just changed something or I’m caught in a temporal causality loop like that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Those are the only two things it could possibly be. Or I just forgot what I was doing and that’s crazy talk. My money is on the causality loop because it’s like a black hole and those things are the BALLS!

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