Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Saw a Dude Take a Dump Outside in Daylight

Some of my friends have wonderful stories about crazy homeless people.

I have the trump card.

One day, I was walking from where I worked at Carter's in Downtown, New Bedford, to a bank across the block called St. Anne's to deposit a check.

Along the way, I noticed a suspicious looking individual hanging out by the dumpster behind Naughty Dawgs. He didn't look crazy or homeless, but he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which was rather disconcerting.

He had long, wavy blondish hair and a slight beard, and was wearing cargo shorts. Basically, he looked like the average dude I'd see at a Pearly Baker show at The Bullpen.

(To my out of town readership: Pearly Baker is a Grateful Dead tribute band. The Bullpen is where they play their shows. Depending on your cup of tea, Pearly Baker are either the best or the worst thing ever. What I'm saying is, the dude looked like a burnt out hippie, and may've been.)

The thing that really got me about this guy was his shadiness. When I walked by and glared at him, he didn't make eye contact and kind of walked around the Naughty Dawgs dumpster; hid almost. Then I crossed the street to the bank, and the dude started scouting around the dumpster again. Maybe he lost something, I thought.

As I entered the bank, I looked out of the entryway and noticed the dude had made his way behind the dumpster, in between the dumpster and the building. When I got in the bank, he disappeared from view. Just dropped out of sight.

I walked to the window and noticed the dude squatting behind the dumpster.

I hurriedly made my transaction at the bank. When I left, the dude was nowhere to be found.

I was curious as to what this idiot was doing behind the dumpster. So, I walked over there to take a look. I thought he may've been looking for a partially concealed place to shoot up, and expected to find a used sharp.

Instead, I was greeted with a rather sloppy looking dump. I didn't stay too long to find out particulars, but I do know the guy wiped his ass with Dunkin' Donuts napkins, because there were shitty napkins all over the place.

I was going to tell the owners of Naughty Dawgs what happened, but didn't want them to think, even subconsciously, that I'd taken the shit.

And I felt for the guy. How many times had I been in similar situations? A man about to shit himself, in need of a toilet with none to be found. Pure torture.

So, I went back to work.

The next day, my buddy Jake and I were walking to Naughty Dawgs for lunch.

"I saw some guy taking a shit behind the Naughty Dawgs dumpster yesterday." I said.

Jake laughed. "You're full of shit, man."

"I'm not. You'll see."

And sure enough, the shit was still there. The wind had blown around the shitty napkins a bit, but one straggler remained, clinging to the turd for dear life.

That day, Jake learned never to doubt me again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Herzog: Great Book, or Horror Show? You Tell Me

Every weekday, I listen to NPR news. I'm especially fond of a segment called "You Must Read This". It's basically writers recommending works by other writers.

And everybody knows nobody knows good writing like other writers.

This week, Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, talked about how when he gets into a funk, he'll open Saul Bellow's Herzog to a page, any page. Start to read. And immediately, the blues just lift away like dew under a noonday sun.

Funny. I read Herzog and a passionate fury takes hold of me.

A synopsis: Herzog tells the story of a man named Herzog. The well-built son of Jewish immigrants, young Herzog gets his PhD and a bit of fame in academic circles. He marries. Gets divorced. Remarries. His new wife kicks him out. She's having an affair with his one-legged best friend.

He moves out to the Berkshires and begins writing letters. To newspapers. To fellow academics. To the dead.

He just writes. He doesn't send the letters.

He has a few lady friends, but there are some issues there. He tries to make amends with his ex-wife, but there's no making amends. She hates him. He goes to a therapist with her, and the therapist makes it seem as if everything is his fault. His divorce lawyer agrees with his wife and his therapist. His former best friend is laid back to a fault, attempting to remain Herzog's friend while he's fucking his wife and bathing his daughter. The best friend's ex-wife blames her situation on Herzog and verbally tears him to pieces.

Long story short, Herzog takes a gun from a relative's house and has some wild plan to kill his wife and her lover, then kidnap his daughter and make a run for it. Then, he can't go through with murder. So, he picks up his daughter....

And gets into an accident. The cops find the gun in the car. News of the gun gets to his ex-wife.

Uh oh.

Some analysts refer to Herzog as the first truly Jewish character in modern literature, but I don't see it. Then again, I'm not Jewish. But if I'm going for Jewish, I'll read Philip Roth. He's got being Jewish down to a science. Or at least I think he does.

My main gripe with Herzog, as a character and tale, is that the entire time I'm reading it, I just want to reach into the story and slap the shit out of Herzog and Bellow. Herzog the man's basically a study of impotency, and Bellow breathed life into him.

Herzog's a gifted academic who writes letters he never sends. He's a decently built man who doesn't beat the living shit out of the one-legged ex-best friend who's fucking his wife. He's a consistent failure, and that just gets old after a hundred or so pages, never mind four hundred. The whole time, I was just begging him to snap at somebody. Tell his wife off. Tell the lawyer to go fuck himself. Rip off his friend's prosthesis and beat the fuck out of him with it.

Point: If you want to read Herzog without reading it, read Bellow's Seize the Day. In my humble opinion, it tells the Herzog story without the length. At 120 or so pages, Bellow gets quickly to the point with Seize the Day. You get all the same impotency as Herzog. All that great Bellow style Eugenides goes on and on about. And the ending is far better. So there's my "You Must Read This".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Smartest Television Ever?

A couple blogs ago, I mentioned something about a chef doing something dirty with the mashed potatoes.

I'd hope never to eat such potatoes.

But, if I was forced to eat those potatoes, I'd gladly do so... as long as the Swedish Chef made them.

The Muppet Show had to be one of the smartest shows on TV. It was a consistently hilarious skit show.

And, unlike a certain other consistently sucky skit show (I'm looking at you, SNL), Jim Henson and company moved on to other projects before The Muppet Show ever came close to becoming a pathetically lame caricature of itself.

Oh, how I mourn the loss of entertaining television! There are only a few decent shows left.

Until I expand a little more on good TV, enjoy this clip from The Muppet Show.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Swear, All of This is Au Natural, Baby!

Fresh off the Belgium presses: Doping officials showed up to the Belgian bodybuilding championships to test for steroids and other controlled substances.

And the bodybuilders fled rather than face testing.

Every single one of them got dressed.

And ran out the door.

It was a shocking event for the doping officials. Shocking... even though last year, 22 of the 29 bodybuilders tested positive for steroids.

But is it really shocking that bodybuilders use performance enhancing substances to look the way they do?

Judging from the picture above, I don't think so.

I have intimate knowledge of bodybuilding. For roughly five years, I was a serious bodybuilder. In the beginning, I made quite a few fast gains. But eventually, I plateaued - reached a level of strength and size that I just couldn't get beyond without help.

What'd I do? Not steroids. I took creatine to aid muscle growth and retain water. Swallowed horse pills of amino acids to help my muscles rebuild after workouts. Gulped down glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen my joints. Jumped on the androstenedione bandwagon after Marc McGwire admitted to using the stuff as a steroid like substance to aid growth and strength. Forced down 3500 calorie Weight Gainer to gain weight during power cycles. Chewed Ephedrine and caffeine pills to cut down during tone cycles. Day and night, ate like a beast.

Oh yeah, and I took protein. 90 plus grams during my power training cycles - way more than recommended for proper liver and kidney function.

I plateaued many times, and I'd take more stuff and change my workout routines to get out of those ruts to meet new goals. But eventually, my weight topped out at about 190 pounds. I stopped making gains in the gym. I'd come to that point where steroids were the next logical step.

And I had more than a few friends willing to help me take that leap.

But there, I balked. Suddenly, I wasn't so enthusiastic about being the most jacked 5'8" dude at the party.

OK. So, this decision coincided with a very attractive girl at a bar saying she was scared of me because I looked like I'd just gotten out of prison. And I'd reached a crossroads at college. Basically, it was spend 3 hours a day at the gym to look like a hardened criminal, or spend an hour at the gym and the other 2 studying and writing to get a college degree.

Long story short, the gym lost out. I just wasn't willing to devote everything to bodybuilding. And since I wasn't planning on doing it professionally, I made the right decision.

What I'm getting at here is talent, genetics, and training only gets you so far. The human body just wasn't meant to carry 300 pounds of muscle on a 5'10" frame (that is the size of former Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, pictured above to the left, during competitions. He weighs 325 during off periods. The other, more recognizable gentleman is The Governator himself... another former Mr. Olympia, and no stranger to steroids.) The only way you get to that point is with lots,

and lots,

of help.

It takes a serious commitment to gamble with drugs like steroids, HGH, synthetic testosterone, and diuretics in order to get the build that bodybuilders do.

To recover from injury like professional wrestlers.

To give an aging lineman a little more strength coming off the line.

This isn't a condemnation of bodybuilders or any other athlete. And this isn't a condemnation of performance enhancing drugs.

Far as I'm concerned, if you're willing to go to such extreme lengths for the perfect body, for that home run swing, for the extra kick at the end of a marathon, or to keep that twilight career going a couple seasons longer, more power to you. And if performance enhancing drugs will get you to those greater human limits, why not do them?

OK. There are very good reasons not to do them. They're against the law, and against the operating rules of most sports.

But hey, who cares about rules? Everyone's doing them. So you do them, too.

And get caught.

Whatever you do, don't bullshit me. When caught, don't whine and say your doctor fucked up. Don't blame it on asthma medication or your wife. And, whatever you do, don't run out the door like a goddamned pussy when the federales appear to screen your orange piss.

Have the balls to come out and own the issue, and I'll continue to respect you. Don't, and you're a big, dead-to-me moron piece of shit.

Roger Clemens.