Thursday, March 5, 2009
Beers In Heaven & The Rules Of Pigeon Racing
Admitting sickness is a sign of weakness. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt a hearty flu coming on only to have my admission be met with, “You know there’s something going around,” as if to say no matter how bad you think you may have it someone else is always more fucked, far out, and beyond repair than poor little you. A good friend of mine once shared a secret for continuous health; don’t stop to honor the symptoms. Carry on just AS IF. In other words, power through. Act like you’re not sick and don’t ever say you’re sick. It’s actually terrible advice but for some reason it makes me feel better sometimes. And keep in mind while at the upcoming “Dead Reunion” that no matter how much acid you take there will always be someone there who is more freaked out than you, someone who has taken more acid, and if I had to guess I’d say specifically, Jerry’s cousin, Terry Garcia. He’s the one who’s probably taken the most acid.
It’s not that easy to die. I proved this in the wee morning hours of March 2, 2009, as I foolishly yet reluctantly drove home from Scotch Plains while the worst snowstorm to hit NJ in two years was peaking. We timed it perfectly so as to be traversing the Bayonne Turnpike extension bridge running on fumes around 4AM during the height of the blizzard’s intensity. March can be a douche.
Jerry Garcia, pronounced GAR-SHUH, Kanye West, and an actual grizzly bear are standing at the gates of heaven. God says, “OK. So, I gotta ask you all, what’s with the bears? Bear, you’ve lived a life of hibernation and ferocity. Sometimes you bite through people’s skulls and rip their eyes out leaving them just enough strength to hang on with so they can later appear on television wearing cheap sunglasses only to remove them at the crucial moment revealing their face with eyes sewn shut. And sometimes you’re all cuddly resting up in caves. Kanye, first you were rapping with your jaw wired shut. Now, you’re wearing the wild scarves but the kid on the album cover dons a cartoon bear costume and he’s late for school but he still has time to register or change his glasses or something. Even though you’re always giving me mad shout outs in your jams I still haven’t understood why D. Lee believes you to be a genius. And Jerry… All of those cute little teddy bears and super savvy Grateful Dead merchandise items somehow got you into the ice cream business. The three of you are enigmas to me.”
The actual bear responds uttering a very bear-like growl.
Kanye quips, “Yo Peter, turn me up in the headphones. Yo, God, I give you shout outs ‘cuz you helped me power through. My obsession with cartoon bears in my artwork stems from a trip Jay Z and I took to Japan in 1993. We went to all these Japanese schools and we realized that all the little shorties were sportin’ these bags with all these lil’ green froggies on ‘em. Jay was like, ‘Yo, K, those lil’ motherfuckas are cute. Yo, do me a favor. Brush that frog’s shoulda off real quick. And check out that Hello Kitty gear all these little Beyonce’s are reppin’. Yeah, Jay, that shit is selling like hot cakes to boot. I think I’m gonna incorporate some of that in my packaging to help me sell more albums one day except I’ll use like a cute baby bear or something."
Jerry Garcia, in a southern accent not unlike one used by a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, interjects, “Oh I get it God. This is a mash-up intervention, like healing through cross-pollinating the genres or something, right man? Very clever. Nice touch with the ice cream business comment too. I really appreciate that, man. I actually learned that the best way to smuggle the heroin I was doing all of those years on the road was in those little Grateful Dead teddy bears we’d sell for $19.95, pre-economic crisis, throughout the seventies and eighties, man. $19.95 then is the modern day equivalent of about $199.50. Do the math God. I think we honestly sold about two hundred and thirty-five million of those bears, man. That’s a lot of money for me to buy heroin with. We’d load those lil’ fuckers up, you know stuff the shit out of ‘em, and put them under our bus, man. Customs never had a prayer in detecting the truth. Hell, we had a dummy set of them too that our chief roadie, who’s name happened to be Cubby, would wind up offering to the customs agents as a token of gratitude. The customs agents of course thought they were so darned cute, and couldn’t resist bringing them home to their children. Ah, Canadians, so damn friendly sometimes. Bein’ a hippie was good for those kinds of things, man. You could literally get away with murder ‘cuz everyone always thought you were mellow. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t really dabble in the lycergic though. I’d see freaky electric spider webs and shit. Heroin was MY champagne. After a nice laid back gig of taking way too much meth-amphetamine and making more noodles appear than a street vendor in Hong Kong, nothing was more relaxing than cookin’ up and tyin’ one off, man. You know I owe it all to those cute little tye-dyed teddy bears, man. I always thought we had a lot in common you and me, God. You’re omniscient and you allow people to feel comforted by letting them pray to you all the time. I was trying to channel that with my noodlin’ and sellin’ of ice creams.”
The overarching point here is not so much a punch line as it is a stark reality. Cute little animal characters sell millions upon millions of records and hippies get away with murder because everyone thinks they're laid back.
Eric Clapton: a hippie that got away with murder. How? The answer being the difference between an eight pound of cocaine and a baby. Thanks again D. Lee. How did they reward Clapton for writing shitty song upon shitty song during his sham of a solo career? With grammys and MTV Moonmen. Tears In Heaven, I would get so pissed when that video dominated MTV air play because it cut into Guns N' Roses' videos being played. Bad Love, nails on a chalkboard. Getdown Sally or Waydown Sally, whatever it's called, aurally offensive. After Midnight, terrible. I Shot The Sherrif, not only offensive, but celebrating the fact that hippies murder in it's very title, albeit a cover song from another laid back hippie's catalogue. Cocaine, nah-nah-nuh-nah... so-lame. Laila, co-written with a dude who bludgeoned his mother to death, the list goes on.
Barack Obama made history. There is certainly no question about that. But how did he do it? The Shepard Fairey “Hope” rendering of President Obama was a severely overlooked component to Obama’s Chester Cheeto-esque heist of power. By the way, the new Cheetos commercials, if anyone hasn’t noticed, are sinister. In one of the ads a person who has recently eaten an entire bag of Cheetos gets back at a foe by wiping her cheesy hand on the back of the unknowing recipient's white shirt. And in another, a gal uses Cheetos crumbs to lure a flock of pigeons to interrupt an annoying cell phone talker by swarming on her while she’s dining at a sidewalk cafe. The Cheetos commercials represent the dawning of eye for an eye renegade marketing which appeals to a base common denominator, revenge. The Cheetos commercials represent the 'reverse psychological companion' to the aforementioned fuzzy cute bears. The subliminal tactics of the Cheetos commercials serve the same purpose and can be just as effective for moving units. Case in point, whenever I'm rolling late night into a gas station there's no chance I can resist that huge three dollar and seventy nine cent bag of Puffy Cheetos. Is it the underlying promise of revenge that enables me to reach so freely for the orange bag or is it the craving for emulsified cheese powder? But I digress.
Evidence of the Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster’s efficacy recently came to light in speaking with my great-grandmother, a ninety-seven year old Italian-American. My great-grandmother confessed to me that the only reason she voted for our freshly elected president was because she believed McCain was running against none other than the Pope. Flabbergasted, I asked her what exactly she meant by that. John McCain clearly did not run against the pope. McCain clearly lost to Barack Hussein Obama. I assured her. I asked why she was re-writing history and attempting to pass it off as common irrefutable fact. My great-grandmother says, “Whadda ya talkin about? Everywhere I-a-look I see deez-a pretty posters that a-say “a-Pope-a” with a handsome guy on them. So I thought it was a bit strange that no one told me he was-a-finally a-running. But then he came to Yankee stadium and he went to talk-a to Bush so I just-a-figured, you know? But really those-a-posters looked so nice I thought nothing bad would come of it. I saw the real Depression. The only stimulus package the government offered then was a-steel-a-rod-a-home-a-Polio kit. I’ll be honest I was little bummed when I found out Obama wasn’t really the pope. I felt that Italian senior-senior citizens everywhere were cheated. But I read in a-Rolling Stone-a that he hangs out-a with-a Bruce Bon Jovi a lot and that he listens to the Grateful Dead so I think he’ll be a-pretty mellow. I’ll tell you what’s not mellow though, this a-toikey. It tastes a-like-a shoe leather.”