Thursday, May 20, 2004

In Other Words AKA Project Moon Bar

With the help of my physicist friend Dr. Lando S. Dundelinger, I am in the planning phases of constructing a small vessel capable of taking myself and five companions to the lunar surface where I plan to construct the Moon’s first and only space bar which I plan on calling “Moon Cheers”. The vessel is a pyramid-shaped pod outfitted with a small bridge for myself and my pilot, a sleeping quarters, a common area (with kitchen), and a miscellaneous disposal room complete with a vacuum tube which will shoot all refuse into space.

To fuel the ship, Dr. Dundelinger has created a devise that will harness the mysterious ultrasonic, subetheral alpha waves that emit from our brain on a daily basis. These are the same waves that the government monitors, and why we all must line our dwellings with aluminum foil, shiny side out.

The device is a specially manufactured colander constructed of pure, concentrated gallium-arsenide alloy. Iridium wires wrapped in tantalum foil connect the colander to the specific alpha wave departure points on the skull. Dr. Dundelinger has used his many years of experience in phrenology to determine these precise departure points.

The colander is then plugged into the vessel’s engine just like a car battery. The only difference is that the wires that make the connection are a very precise weave of platinum, copper, and rhodium. Theoretically, the brain-powered vessel should make the trip from our secret airstrip in the hills outside San Francisco to Phil Fish Memorial Crater near the Moon’s equator in 17 hours, 10 minutes.

Because of the unusual but predictable patterns of brain alpha waves, we must use six brains to power the ship. Past experiments conducted with less than six brains have resulted in the catastrophic destruction to both the test subjects and to any living thing inside a ten-mile radius.

Dr. Dundelinger took part in many of these early government experiments in the early 1960’s. Though his personal records of the experiments were destroyed, his anecdotal tales are enough to scare the feathers off a live chicken. The vivid description of one test subject’s eyeballs melting literally made me sick.

Fortunately, Dr. Dundelinger made certain to store certain bits of information that could not be taken by the government when he was discredited, and later fired in 1965. One bit of information that he made sure not to forget, was lining the iridium wires with tantalum foil. The tantalum foil prevents interference from non-governmental brain wave scanners. The interference from these non-governmental brain wave scanners was highly diluting the power of the alpha waves as they left the brain. Tantalum foil acts as a filter, making the wave transfer impenetrable. The only waves the foil doesn’t stop, sub-gamma waves, are completely useless unless one wants to monitor how much someone secretly likes the television show “Dharma and Greg.”

Phase Two of Project Moon Bar (construction of the vessel) should be complete by the end of the month. Phase One consisted of us testing the brain wave engine. Myself, Juan the tambourine player, Homeless Pete, The Truth Mustafa, X Freedomrider, and Oliver Twist Squirrel Man took part in Phase One. We strapped ourselves into a 1990 Ford Festiva L and hooked the engine up to our 6 colanders designed by Dr. Dundelinger.

Phase One was a success. We were able to drive from Barrow, Alaska to Key West, Florida without once having to stop for gas.

Phase Three should begin after the vessel is constructed. As Dr. Dundelinger is very secretive about his space engine, I cannot share any further details about Phase Three. Suffice it to say, launch date is set for June 6, 2005.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Happy 81st Birthday Bea Arthur!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson

My favorite baseball player of all time would have to be Robert Vavasour Ferguson, or
Bob Ferguson for short. Bob played on many teams including the New York Mutuals (1871), the Brooklyn Atlantics (1872-1874), the Hartford Dark Blues (1875-1877), the Chicago White Stockings (1878), the Troy Trojans (1879-1882), the Philadelphia Quakers (1883), and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (1884).

Bob's best season was probably the 1878 campaign with the White Stockings when he was third in the league in batting (.351) and fourth in RBI with 39. Ferguson was a fan favorite that year at Lake Front Park.

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather Oscar Albert Jones was in Troy, New York at Haymakers' Grounds that fateful day in 1881 when "Death to Flying Things" hit his only career home run. It was the highlight of Oscar Albert's life.

Life in the 1870’s was particularly tough on Oscar Albert Jones. He was still living down the ignominy of his great- grandfather Nigel Jones, the man who killed George Washington. Because of this, Oscar Albert was generally shunned by most. His only friends were the oddly-shaped rocks he collected and named after his favorite baseball players such as
Art Allison and Caleb Johnson.

He was forced to move from town to town to avoid the large, angry mobs that were still bitter over the death of their country’s founding father. Once, in Peoria, Illinois, a crowd hog-tied Oscar Albert and dragged him behind a horse all the way to Chicago where they dumped him in Lake Michigan. The journey took six days and was described in an article in
Harper’s Weekly. The author of the piece, Arthur Charles Van Gelder Bach, was later awarded a Presidential Medal of Honor by Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 for his eloquent work.

As it turns out, the people of Peoria helped out poor Oscar Albert greatly. During the fourth day of his “death drag to the City,” as the Peorians called it, Oscar Albert decided that if he lived through the ordeal, he would surely end his life. On the sixth day, when he was eventually dumped into Lake Michigan, with great fanfare I might add, Oscar Albert finally felt he would be able to fulfill his destiny and once and for all end the horrid curse that was the Jones name.

Soon, the crowds dispersed and headed back to Peoria. Oscar Albert slowly regained consciousness and walked out of the water. He was hopelessly depressed. His only desire was for no one to notice him until his ultimate task could be completed.

He headed up one of the random streets heading away from the lake searching for the tallest structure he could find. He soon came across the Union Base-Ball Grounds where there was a baseball game going on between the Chicago White Stockings and the New York Mutuals. The structure itself wasn’t particularly high, but Albert had never seen baseball played at the professional level, live in person, so he apprehensively approached.

He entered the park and took a seat on the bench near the third base dugout. It was then he noticed the smooth play of the young third-baseman for the Mutuals, one Bob Ferguson. His play that day was inspired. Ferguson went 5 for 5 with 2 doubles, a triple and the game winning hit in the top of the tenth.

Oscar Albert walked up to the fence and called out to the third-baseman. “Great game,” he said. “Thanks kid.” He then looked around nervously and started waving his hands. Oscar Albert queried about the activity. “The flying things! They’re everywhere!” Bob then started screaming and ran into the dugout where he hid under a pile of bats. A minute later Bob sprinted out of the dugout with a pistol and began wildly shooting into the air. “You will die!” he shouted repeatedly.

One of Bob’s teammates,
Rynie Wolters walked up to Oscar Albert and explained that Bob was deathly afraid of the imaginary flying objects that surrounded him. Bob felt they were plotting against him and that the only way he could ward them off was by hitting epic doubles into the left or right field power alleys. Whenever he hit one of the epic doubles, he’d scream out to his invisible demons, and to the opposing players whom he felt they were conspiring with, “Death to Flying Things.”

True, it was quirky, but Bob was a great player so his teammates overlooked his idiosyncrasies. Of course it wouldn’t have mattered either way as Bob was also the manager of the Mutuals.

Oscar Albert was fascinated by Bob. He asked for a job with the team. As he had never played ball, he was denied. He soon left the park and stole a horse from one of the stables nearby. As fast as he could, he rode off to New York.

Upon his arrival, he approached every newspaper in town demanding to be hired as the baseball writer for their newspaper. All eleven dailies rejected him, as the Mutuals had. They only wanted “professional journalists” for their beloved papers. If any literate person could be guaranteed a job writing for a newspaper, 25% of the country would already be doing so.

Defeated once again, Oscar Albert sadly took his stolen horse to Central Park and dejectedly sat under a tree. Oscar Albert was broke, hungry and still sore from his six day “Death Drag” from Peoria to Chicago. For a while he contemplated chopping up his horse and eating it. But then he had a revelation. His obsession with Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson changed his outlook on life. He no longer wanted to end his life, but follow Bob Ferguson.

It was at this point that a haberdasher from one of the local haberdasheries noticed Oscar Albert quietly sitting with his horse and approached them. Apparently, the horse that Oscar Albert had stolen was a world champion thoroughbred. Certain clues should have lead Oscar Albert to suspect as such, particularly the fact that Oscar and the horse had made the 719-mile trek from Chicago to New York in 24 hours.

The haberdasher, noting Oscar Albert’s down-and-out appearance offered to buy the horse for $1,000. Oscar Albert gladly accepted the offer. With the influx of cash, Oscar Albert was able to purchase a small Victorian house on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (not coincidentally, right next door to the house Bob Ferguson was born in), another horse for personal transportation (whom he later named “Death to Flying Things”), and a near-bankrupt newspaper called the Brooklyn Spoon.

Oscar Albert turned the Brooklyn Spoon into New York’s first sports-only newspaper. As the Owner/Editor of the paper, Oscar Albert used the incredible fortune he had amassed from the sale of his stolen horse into a Brooklyn legend that remained in print until the day he died in 1894.

The paper itself, was strange to say the least. It almost exclusively reported on the day-to-day activities of Bob Ferguson even after he had retired from baseball. Oscar Albert’s obsession with Ferguson was so pure that he only hired reporters that looked exactly like Ferguson.

Soon after the paper began publishing, Bob Ferguson became quite scared of Oscar Albert Jones. He had obviously heard the stories of Nigel Jones, but Oscar Albert seemed to be far more demented than his famous relative. It got so bad that Ferguson could no longer see the enemies that drove him to greatness, the invisible flying objects. The daily paper that greeted Ferguson each morning at his Brooklyn home had taken their place, and no amount of power-alley doubles could drive his new enemy away.

Ferguson went on to have a fruitful career, though never quite reaching the heights he had reached before my great-great-great-great-great grandfather got into his life. Ferguson died May 3, 1894. The shock to Oscar Albert was great. He releases an epic 800-page issue of the Brooklyn Spoon the next morning commemorating Ferguson’s life. Later that night, Oscar Albert Jones died of a broken heart.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Rainbow Living, 07/04/1987 – 05/09/2004

Sadness all around. Rainbow Living has purchased a one-way aisle seat on flight 477 to that wondrous Cat Wonderland in the sky. Rainbow Living died when he wandered into the old Klondike Tower in West Wendover, Nevada just as the building was being imploded to make way for the new and improved Jack Lancee Tower Casino and Lounge. It’s not the first time one of my cats has been killed wandering into a soon to be demolished casino, but it certainly is the saddest time.

Rainbow Living was the first and only offspring of one of my 13 original cats, Jug Bando Aurilia. Rainbow Living lived on in the grand tradition of Jug Bando despite being one of only seven known hermaphroditic cats on the North American continent. He/she didn’t let the affliction affect him/her in any way, shape or form.

Rainbow Living will always be remembered for his/her meowing on my 1988 album “Where Have All the Cats Gone?” Without his/her beloved cat calls, the album would have been a complete failure. In fact I even received a letter from my estranged, and incarcerated ex-tambourine player Fang after its release. As the letter was written in ancient Aramaic, I have no idea what it means, but after seeing “The Passion of the Christ” I have some idea. Regardless, as Topo Quo Paralack used to say “Never think, only mean!”

I will be having a funeral for Rainbow Living tomorrow at People’s Hill in my adopted hometown of Springtime, Nevada. Services will begin at 5:00 AM. I’ve arranged for Overheid-gecontroleerde Radio van Holland to have a special presentation of the following songs that Rainbow Living meowed on:

• The Amalgamated Circumstances
• Where Have All the Cats Gone?
• Ik Houd Van U Houd Van Een Vis Houd Van Andere Vissen
• Spectacular Journey To Cat Wonderland
• Feelings, A Tone Poem

Rest in Peace my furry friend. I’ll make sure to leave bowl of goat milk out for you.

Monday, May 10, 2004

"Perfidious advertising kills and I don’t want any blood on my hands."


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Down and Out in Butte, Montana

I hate to be a pessimist, but I think my stint as a street performer in Butte, Montana may finally be over. I’ve traveled all throughout this wonderful nation, as well as the wonderful nation to the North, and have always managed to make at least enough money to feed myself and my merry band of misfit cats, fellow musicians, and assorted followers. Butte, Montana is the place I finally hit the wall.

Maybe I should have seen the warning signs two months ago when I awoke in that fateful gutter on Green Tree Street behind what I can only assume was a social club of some variety. It wasn’t as if I awoke on my own, either. It seems a very large man dressed in black leather pants and a thick red flannel shirt was poking me with a stick. As my eyes focused a bit I noticed the man looked quite familiar.

“Tito?” I asked.

The man turned out not to be Tito.

“I am not Tito!” He mumbled assertively. My eyes focused a bit more until everything was crystal clear like Ho-John’s Famous Belgian Vodka. Clearly it was not Tito. Tito had his name tattooed across his forehead due to an unfortunate drunken night on the town with my old oboe player. What my blurry eyes assumed to be an Old English font tattooed “Tito” was actually a disturbingly misshapen eyebrow, which coincidentally spelled out “Tito”, but in Arial font.

The man I misidentified as Tito said nothing more. He let his actions spell out his emotions by beating me with his stick. He hit me all throughout my torso and on my arms and legs. As I had been asleep for a long time, my arms and legs were unable to function properly and I couldn’t move to save my life, which I’ve subsequently been told isn’t the least bit ironic.

All I could do was to crawl into the fetal position and scream in as high a frequency as I could muster. As I screamed, I attempted to use a secret Ohlone pain-blocking technique I learned as a boy growing up in an irrigation ditch northeast of Santa Cruz, California. I used the power of the Ohlones to focus on the odd looking stick the man was beating me with. Then it struck me. The man wasn’t beating me with a stick at all. In all the confusion I missed a very important detail involving the man who had awoken me that fateful night in that fateful gutter on Green Tree Street.

The man wasn’t beating me with a stick, but with his own leg. I looked to where his leg should have been and noticed a gaping blood-stained hole liberally covered with what had been my shirt and pants. At least the mystery as to why I was naked was solved.

I implored the man to please stop. He said nothing, but for the first time I noticed that the furious rhythm of his beating was slowing down substantially. Soon he toppled over and fell to the ground.

“We don’t like strangers in Butte” were his final words.

Soon the police came. They arrested me for violating the Patriot Act. It turns out that Arnold Rampkin, the man who attempted to beat me to death with his own leg, was a newly minted member of the Department of Homeland Security Freedom Force 2000. The officers that arrived on the scene assumed I was a part of some miscellaneous Islamic sect hell-bent on destroying America. Their proof lay before them in a bloody clump.

I was held without bail for 144 hours at the local jail. During my unfortunate incarceration I was forced to watch hours and hours of the television show “Full House” commercial-free. It was strangely refreshing. I think there is a lot of misunderstood wisdom in that show, particularly from Dave Coulier’s stirring portrayal of Joey Gladstone. The interaction between Coulier’s Gladstone and Bob Saget’s Danny Tanner is particularly brilliant. They’re like a modern day Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I don’t want to sound blasphemous, but I would one day like to remake “The Passion of the Christ” as a comedy starring Dave Coulier (as Jesus) and Bob Saget (as his loyal sidekick, Sandy Koufax).

On the 145th hour, I was released. Juan the tambourine player saves the day again. It turns out Juan was lurking behind a dumpster just down the alley filming the entire thing on his beta-max video recorder. Juan followed me down to the police station on his Honda scooter. He pantomimed his story to the authorities. Two hours later they successfully deciphered Juan’s story (Montana folk don’t understand pantomime too well) and procured the beta-max tape. 141 hours later, the state’s only beta-max VCR arrived from Miles City and the police saw the truth.

Apparently, Arnold Rampkin exited the social club, saw me lying on the ground and began ordering me to get up in the name of the United States Department of Homeland Security. For twenty minutes he yelled. On the 21st minute, Arnold Rampkin became so angry he reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a Swiss-Army knife, and began slashing away at his left leg. 11 minutes later he had finally detached his leg. He knelt down on his remaining leg and a cut off my clothes with his now dull knife. He covered his wound, hopped up and began poking me with his leg.

An auspicious beginning to my time in Butte, to say the least. Despite my full exoneration, the local press continued to blame me for Rampkin’s death and dismemberment. Every time I found a spot to perform, scores of protestors would show up. It was worse than when I toured England in support of my 1998 concept album “Lady Di Killed Jesus”.

So I must leave Butte forever. Maybe I’ll check out Helena.

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