‘Gilbert what’re ya starin at

 c s’D










By the time my 21st birthday finally rolled around, it had been pretty well established that I was something of a problem drinker.  To put that in perspective, it was my junior year in college.  If a bunch of college kids think you’re a problem drinker, that’s saying something.  But I was looking forward to turning 21, because that meant I could finally really start to drink the right way — the way God intended me to.

However, a big birthday blowout didn’t seem to be in the offing for me.

It seemed like my buddies sort of wanted to blow it off totally, because I had long since acquired the aforementioned reputation, and God only knew what kind of disgraceful episode a night of free drinks at bars for yours truly would entail.

Fortunately for me, there was a guy in our group who wasn’t so much in college as he was in the Navy.  And Mark wasn’t just in the Navy — he was on a submarine, and I guess those guys are known as extra psycho.  This guy fancied himself quite the dignitary at one of the local nudie bars, and once he realized that my upcoming Big Day was being met with anemic response, he stepped up and insisted that I mark my 21st as his very special guest at Pacers, on Midway Drive across from the Sports Arena, in the shitty Loma Portal section of San Diego.  Nudie bars and naked-lady stuff in general had always fascinated me, so while I was a little leery of what this guy’s VIP treatment might entail, I was pumped to go along.

A couple of the stoner buds in tow, we headed out for the big night.  Keep in mind also that there had been considerable “pre-gaming” going on that afternoon.  I don’t know whose idea it was, but it seemed like a good idea at the time to stop off and load up at Arby’s on the way to the nudie bar.  If I recall correctly, Arby’s had some kind of promotion going to compete with the concurrent “2 Big Macs for $2” deal at McDonald’s.  The bottom line is I probably loaded up with 4 or 5 pounds of processed reconstituted glop, inhaled hastily in the back seat of my roommate’s ’82 Civic.

I don’t know how long we actually lasted at Pacers.  I do know that Mark’s idea of really doing it up right for a guy’s 21st included forcibly pouring into me a lot of alcoholic drinks that even I considered questionable.  The kinds that featured a lot of watermelon liquer, and that you set on fire.  And they all had porno names — there was the Screaming Orgasm, the Pussy Lips, the Throbbing Boner, the Money Shot, the Double Penetration…I’m sure there were others.

After a couple or 30 of those, I somehow made it to the men’s room, where all of the Chocolate Fetishes — along with the 5 pounds of Arby’s salinated meat-product agglomerate (with zesty cheesy BBQ sauce!) — promptly wound up on the floor of one of the stalls.

I take it I emerged from the men’s room around the time one of the bouncers, with a kind of resigned annoyance, took Mark aside and said “Man, you gotta get your friend outta here.  He’s scaring the girls.”

These days, I’ve managed to steer clear permanently of the watermelon liquer.  But I’m still working on the scaring-girls thing.

Drift Away

Dobie Gray

Drift Away


Nearly a full two decades before an erstwhile (and now again) Darius Rucker decided not to tie his Timberland boots, proto-Hootie Dobie Gray came up with a full-voiced good-timey chorus and not much else, and conquered MOR radio.

Playing now at a Safeway near you, “Drift Away” politely announces itself with something that sounds like a generic ringtone, followed by some dead space in which one would assume is contained the first verse of the song.  There likely are words to this verse, too, but whatever they are is anyone’s guess.  In fact, the lyrics to the verses of “Drift Away” could likely be lost to history.  But no matter, because soon enough here comes Dobie, calling on his “boys” to give him “the beat”, because of course he wants to get lost in their rock & roll and . . . yeah.  Whoops — I guess the boys didn’t hear him.  Hey boys — give Dobie the beat and free his soul already, so he’ll shut the hell up.

At this point you may be saying to yourself, “Who in the hell is Dobie Gray??”  Nobody seems to know.  After releasing his opus on the pre-Mayer masses, he was never heard from again.

As each repetition of the wordy exhortation gets lost and drifts a-waaayyyy, it’s followed by a sort of pregnant pause, which suggests nothing more than an aspiring Dobie/Hootie, sitting on a bean bag chair someplace trying to come up with the rest of the song and drawing the proverbial blank.  But after three minutes and change of such fruitless attempts, the whole extravaganza does, mercifully, drift away.

If you thought that anything like “Jeez, how much longer are they gonna keep buying this?” would ever creep into the minds of those writing the script, let alone the likes of Dwight Howard, you’d be wrong.  The people who are still on board are obviously on board for the duration.  For the rest of us, the time to get off the ride is now.

The NBA is hemorrhaging credibility by the day.  The day when it ceases to become a viable competitive sports enterprise may have already passed.  The “deal” orchestrated to get the latest Superhero to the latest Dream Team was as convoluted as it was inevitable.  Whatever was the point of the labor dispute that cancelled the first third of the season last year, it certainly wasn’t the plight of the Milwaukee Bucks or New Orleans Hornets fan — assuming there were any of those left even then.

Before this decade is out, look for the league to consolidate into a single traveling exhibition squad, to be known as “The Los Angeles Lakers Featuring Lebron James”.  Perhaps one of the logos of a current NBA “small-market” team (the Sacramento Kings come to mind) could be salvaged to act as the Lakers’ patsies — the Washington Generals to the Lakers’ Globetrotters.


Ever seen a 60-year-old man crowd-surf?  Well, I have.  Last night.  Wait…I figure he’s gotta be at least 50…let me check Google.

Back.  OK, he’s 53.  But Eric Reed Boucher a.k.a. Jello Biafra showed a bunch of largely puzzled kids at the Boardwalk in Orangevale Wednesday night that, while resembling someone who just finished nine holes at the local muni, he can still get up there and flagellate quasi-political-revolutionary shtick that blew by barriers of credulity thirty years ago, and now seems quaint amidst a landscape of pugnacious thugs like Bill O’Reilly and Nancy Grace.

Purple-haired, mascara-smeared kids — who likely weren’t even born yet when the Dead Kennedys broke up — perhaps were expecting someone a bit more iconoclastic to represent the “DK” patches they proudly sported on the backs of their ripped jean jackets.  They gamely attempted to look interested as Jello stopped in between songs to yell about Dianne Feinstein.  I asked the guy next to me, “Do you know who Dianne Feinstein is?”  He shook his head.

“Holiday in Cambodia”?  Try “Holiday When You Find One Person Here Who Can Find Cambodia On A Map”.  No, he’s actually saying “Pol Pot”, not “Grow Pot”.  See, Pol Pot was…never mind.

Interestingly, when Biafra and backing band the Melvins (uber-professional bog-rock boilermakers who frankly ought to know better) came on for an encore nobody seemed to want, the guy removed his shirt (!) to reveal a physique which resembled a landslide while launching into a tirade to introduce “Rock & Roll McDonald’s”, which is about how fast food is bad for you and makes money for big corporations.  “A BIG MAC HAS 26 GRAMS OF FAT!  A QUARTER-POUNDER — 28 GRAMS!!”

I was sure to hit the drive-thru on the way home.  I got a #2 combo, large.  Apparently they don’t do “Super Size” anymore.

The Douche Song

Manfred Mann (“…and The Earth Band”?)

The Best of Manfred Mann


The ’60s popsters who gave us “Doo-Wah-Diddy” somehow morphed into the bloviating outfit responsible for this unrepentant classic rock radio staple.

YES, we KNOW the lyrics are NOT, “…wrapped up like a DOUCHE, another boner inna night”, but . . . well, yeah they are, for god’s sake.  Listen to Manfred hork (“horking” is like “yarling”, but more esophageal) the line over and over and OVER again and then seriously try to convince yourself that he’s anything other than wrapped up like a douche, another boner in the night.  You can’t.

FUN FACT:  The Douche Song was actually written by one Mr. Bruce Springsteen.  No, seriously.  While obviously too embarrassing for The Boss to have his name closely associated with it, hallmarks of his are there amidst the syllabic pummeling, like decaying boardwalk-carnival imagery — “…the calliope crashed to the ground”.  But wordy-within-an-inch-of-your-life was apparently not wordy enough for the brothers Mann, as after the first instrumental break, we hear TWO vocal tracks, singing DIFFERENT lyrics, overdubbed over one another.  You’d think, “Jeez, that would sound like a mess — like a colossal recording-engineer screwup or something”, and you’d be right.  BUT — unmistakable in the mess is Manfred with his voice torqued up into a higher register, shouting, insistent that whatever is indeed “WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCHE!  ANOTHER BONER INNA NIIIIGHT!”


Led Zeppelin

Physical Graffiti


The song goes on almost literally forever, except for those times when it stops entirely so that Robert Plant can go, “OOOOOOOOOHHHEEEEEEWWWW.”

No classic rock radio staple better illustrates the axiom that classic rock is neither classic, nor rock, than this monstrosity.  FUN FACT: Sometime in the ’90s, rapper Puff Daddy remade the song, which made possible a horrifying appearance on TV’s Saturday Night Live alongside a Mathers-esque Jimmy Page.  Diddy’s retread, gobbled up by rap audiences oblivious to the stupefying ubiquity of the original, showcased his mad skizzilllzz as he sampled and looped the Zep instrumental track which already sounded like it was sampled and looped, and then yelled over it.