My hamster


This is Falafel; I bought him from a pet shop, and I don't trust these people to be able to tell boys and girls apart. I chose a unisex sort of name on purpose, but this little fella was in a cage marked 'Female Syrian Hamsters'. Later, when I saw him carefully licking what were definitely male naughty bits, I realised that my lack of confidence was totally
justified.

I combed his fur with a toothbrush before taking the photo (not the same one that I use to clean my teeth, I hasten to add), so he looks all neat and smart for the camera. He was very well behaved while I did this; Herbert would not have tolerated this kind of treatment in a million years, so it was just as well that she had short hair.

(By the way, for any readers not familiar with my hamsters, Herbert was a female hamster sold to me as a male. I wonder if pet shop staff know where babies come from ...)

Course



From today's blog takes a new direction.
That's all, nothing more ...

MP3 Friday

It’s the end of the year, which means record companies are going to try to squeeze out yet another Beatles retrospective rather than offer anything new (though to be perfectly fair, I think the Smiths had four albums proper and, like, twice as many greatest hits collections).

As such, the well is a bit dry for this last MP3 Friday of the year. Therefore, I give you a few songs I’ve been holding onto for a while. Oh, and remember a while back when I said the pickin’s were so slim that one day I’d have to pass off Big Star as a new band and just hope for ignorance on your part? Heh, heh, well …

But, as usual, there are three caveats:
  • Caveat number one is that there are some Web 1.0-ers out there still under the assumption that the VCR will spell the end of the movie industry. If that is you, then grab a brown paper bag, take a few deep breaths and, I’ll remove the MP3 link.
  • Caveat number two is that these MP3’s are links to other sites and can disappear at any time. It’s not magic, it’s just that people have shit to do and can’t wait for yer sorry ass to spend twenty seconds on your T1 knockin’ back downloads.
  • Caveat number three is that I’m poor like America’s math and science skillz and can’t afford what I can’t download for free. Therefore, I vouch for the song and only the song. If the album walks up to you and asks you for five bucks and says I said he’s good for it, tell him I said he’s full of shit.
Well, that’s about it. Enjoy:

TED LEO
Army Bound (demo)
Some Beginner’s Mind (demo)
What’s so awesome about Ted Leo? Oh, nothing much really. He’s just a guy, like you and me, who happens to kick ass with an axe and an attitude like he was some modern day Joe Strummer or Paul Weller. I could keep talking about him and how he may be the best thing in rock today, but you’ve got that John Mayer disc to buy and I wouldn’t want to distract you from douching in the New Year.

BIG STAR
Jesus Christ
Biographies of this band will rightfully tell you that they influenced everyone from Smashing Pumpkins to the Replacements to any other band that rocked, ferociously, yet still wore their heart on their sleeve. However, those same biographies also will say the band were around in the early ‘70s, which is just a lie: b/c MP3 Friday is all about the new shit. (And fyi: There’s really no reason to post this track other than it’s nice to belatedly add it to the list of cool Yule-tide rock songs).

THE BEES
Listening Man
Somehow the English pull off white soul better than Americans, despite the fact that we invented the damn thing (well, we pushed a poll tax on the people who did). At any rate, here’s what it would sound like if Jackie Wilson fronted the Wailers and couldn’t cook worth shit (honestly, marmite is the nastiest crap I’ve ever tasted).

GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS
I Will Never See the Sun
They’re Midwestern Canadian Torontons; they’re indie; they like writing songs with a waltz beat. And honestly, how long does it take for you to listen – for free – to an mp3. Two minutes? Not to mention, you’re reading a blog right now: You’re not busy, so get to listenin’!

Today’s lesson: Thank you to the blogs who make this blog look like it’s got something to say about music and the world in general:
sixeyes

gorilla vs. bear

Chromewaves

Locust St.

The Hype Machine
So long. Have a great weekend and happy new year.

Looking for friends, no benefits

It's in the female chemistry that at least two or three nights out of the week, women find themselves needing to be in possession of two items: a man and a paycheck's worth of Cosmo's. Those are their Jordaches talking and whether those genes come off at the end of the night is anyone's guess. (Though, men, if you'd like a tip to increase your chances, I'd suggest getting her friends drunk and THEN focus on her: You can ruin her exit strategy and convince her you care about her friends' good time all in one fell swoop.)

But women are a little more attuned to their biology than men are to theirs. And they know that even if their chromosomes are telling them to hang out with men, that they can interpret that command any way they see fit. And so, they'll occasionally spend their night in the company of the kind of men who prefer the company of most any kind of men. That is to say, men who can complete the lyric: "Clang! Clang! Clang! goes the trolley ...".

It's less about man-hating than mental sanity and may occur for a variety of reasons:

  • For instance, there's evidence to suggest that we men have no intention of giving up fart humor.
  • Or perhaps women are tired of men who never learned that spooning and a handshake aren't fungible.
  • Or, it could be that, in a misplaced effort to be funny, we've used terms like "clam" and "tuna trap" with our outside voice one two many times (which would be "one").
  • And then there's the category we'll just call "ethnic jokes".

But whatever their reason, it's undoubtedly a valid one. And so, women will choose to don they now their gay apparel in order to recover the energy they need to hear another straight man stammer, "Sorry, I ... I thought you might be into that."

What they may not realize, however, is that men get sick of the rat race, too, and must step back and take a break from it all. We tend to fill in those blanks with porn but even that gets old after a long, long while. Eventually, you've seen everything or discovered your limits, one, and end up critiquing and comparing and wondering why a particular camera shot is, like, 90 per cent cock: Because, sometimes, even straight porn looks like a postcard from the Washington Monument.

That's why I have decided that there needs to be a male/lesbian equivalent of the fag hag relationship. "Lez lads" was the first name I came up with. And then there was "Dyke Dudes". But they're both kind of clunky. A "Swiss Miss" has a much better ring to it, but the connection between a man and his lesbian friend with that of an attractive nation with inviolable borders probably isn't so obvious.

But those sort of details we can worry about later. All I want to know now is whether there are women out there who are willing to share a few drinks within the DMZ of sexuality. I figure lesbians and men have a lot in common: We can both be pretty cynical; we can both get pretty tired of society defining us; and we can both get pretty tired of straight women who say they will and then they won't.

So, if that sounds like you, ladies, and you need a man to share a pint and trash talk about past relationships, then you've found him.

But, for ANYONE who's read this far -- be you man, woman or "independent" -- then please help me coin a term for the relationship between a man and his lesbian friend/drinking partner. You may respond by email here.

Please include your favorite term from above -- Lez Lad, Dyke Dude, or (coming at it from the other angle) Swiss Miss -- or create one of your own. And include an essay of no more than a few hundred words as to why your choice is the best.

The winner will receive something I'm sure, and will be announced in four weeks time or as soon as we get more than one entry. Whichever comes first.

Today's lesson: Perhaps it's my imagination but it seems like most musicals are geared toward women and homosexual men. And if that's the case, then we have something else in common: We both hate fucking musicals.

Random airport tirade

Why are we banning liquids when we should be banning children? I say, you can't carry them onboard if they don't fit in a plastic bag.

Today's lesson: Fortunately, the airport DJ is playing "Waiting for a Girl Like You" from Foreigner's "4" album. I would hate to think what my nerves would be like if they played something crappy -- like the next song, "Passionate Kisses" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Random observation

XL 102, a rock station here in Richmond, VA, doesn't seem to recognize the irony every time they announce "...Nirvana, on Richmond's station for NEW rock ..."

Today's lesson: It must've made them sad the day that had to throw away all those Foghat albums.

Merry f'in Christmas

Christmas shopping sucks all kind of balls. For example, these kinds of balls:
  • I was tired of shopping the moment I started. My first stop was Barnes and Noble and the second I walked in, I spied a pile of books on Tai Chi and thought: "I wouldn't mind Tai Chi if didn't involve so much damn reading."
  • The book I want to see -- not read, just see -- is "Puppy Splattered Brains" by Mitch Albom: I hate that guy.
  • I like how in the Short Pump, VA, Target "Cleaning Supplies" is located directly across the aisle from "Women's Wear", while "Men's Wear" is directly across from games, TV's and fun stuff.
  • You know, Christmas is the one time of year you get to see guys who would otherwise be fishing day-old bagels out of the garbage, dressed in dark coats and top hats, trying to get you to shop at Schwartzchild. And really, isn't that Christmas?
Today's lesson: That's, roughly, 20 presents for 17 people (plus one granny's birthday present) in a little under five hours. ... Too bad I never passed a gun store. Sure, they SAY it's a week. But this is Virginia.