Archive for the ‘Holidays in Hell’ Category

Music for Our Times

November 28, 2008

Please remember that today you need to spend a lot of money that you don’t have in order to save our economy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

November 27, 2008

It’s a great day in post-racial America. The usual eye-rollingly dull Thanksgiving at the in-laws in going to be a little more interesting this year. This may wind up as a superior Thanksgiving post than previous efforts.

Instead of just deadbeat brother-in-law and in the midst of a divorce sister-in-law showing up, we have the added treat of my wife’s niece bringing her boyfriend.

He’s (looks around, stage whispers) BLACK!*

My wife’s family is not what anyone could charitably describe as “progressive”.  We will see just how well the facade of civility is maintained over the next couple of hours. In all honesty, I expect everyone will be on their best behavior.

A little background: Mrs Sarcastro has known about this for quite a while and was the one who broke the news to the rest of her family. My mother-in-law’s reaction was the best. It sums up her Always Look On The Bright Side worldview. After being informed of not only the boyfriend, but of the real possibilty of having a cute little bi-racial grandchild one day, the MiL’s reaction was,

“Well, I guess he could be President one day.”

Stay tuned…

UPDATED: Boring. Not only was the meal bland so was the niece’s boyfriend. Poor kid barely said a word. For the most part this can be attributed to the niece’s father, the aforementioned deadbeat brother-in-law. He’s in his forties and met some 24 yr. old babe about two weeks ago. As is his usual mode at family gatherings, all conversation and attention must be focused on him. So, in front of his children, he went on and on about how hot this sweet young thing with the fake rack is and how he’s never been happier. Stay classy, deadbeat.

Did I mention how flavorless the food was?

*This is an in-joke. I was at the home of a parent of a prominent local politician who held forth on the state of things in Greater Antioch by proclaiming, “Antioch was real nice before all of the (looks around and whispers) “Blacks” moved here.”

He was standing in his own living room when he made the statement.  I’m not sure if he was worried that some black folks may have inadvertently wandered into his home and could be eavesdropping so that’s why he was trying to be discreet. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

From The Archives

January 21, 2008

I’m so lazy and uninterested in the tempest in the teapot over here, I’m not going to spend my day off doing anything more than “copy” and “paste”. That, and going to see “Soul Plane 2”, of course.

From 2006:

A few generations from now, the people who knew and remembered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will all be gone. His life, legacy and tragic death will not exist in the memories of those who were there to witness it first hand. He will, as he is now to many Americans, only be seen as some figure from the distant past with no bearing, relevance or emotional impact on the people of tomorrow. Kind of like Dan Quayle. We tend to go from exalting our national heroes to parodying them once their memory is no longer fresh. Think of how many President’s Day sales have some local actor dressed as Washington or Lincoln trying to sell mattresses or waterbeds or used cars for the big holiday weekend sale. We haven’t reached that point with King. Yet. Imagine a film clip of the famed speech at the Lincoln Memorial with King’s rolling baritone proclaiming (thanks to todays digital special effects) “I have a dream! A dream that affordable car stereos, DVD players and televisions will be found at Electronics Express! Get your hoopty tricked out with the latest ear-shattering bass amplifiers only $99.95!” My former partner in filling the empty days of military life and I came up with that years ago. Although his crowning achievement was “Shoot if you must, this old gray head/ But don’t spare the great taste of Cheez Whiz!”

Like ol’ Marty needs me to denigrate his legacy. That’s why he had children. Evidently, the King children were not forced to get jobs once they grew into adulthood and are squandering their inheritance. Just like the British aristocracy used to! The King Center will probably be sold to the park service so that the King children can’t use it as their personal piggy bank anymore.

The other legacy that this holiday brings us is the photo-op showing how much Senator Bloviate and Congresswoman Opportunista care about the struggle for civil rights by showing them mugging for the cameras at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. I used to work with a guy who was an actual member of that church. He hated the King Day celebration. He hated the Hollywood phonies and Washington glad-handers who would descend upon Sweet Auburn like a pack of hyenas bringing their vulture pals from the media with them. These celebrities would then elbow out the actual people who attend that church the other fifty-one times a year. He had nothing but scorn and derision for the whole affair. They wouldn’t let him in his own church, the one that his tithes and contributions support, because of all the “VIPS”. Pity that all the big shots so interested in helping the little man, won’t let the little man in the door. We shall overcome indeed.

In honor of the holiday weekend I watched many black oriented films and television programs. One of which was American Pimp, directed by the Hughes Brothers. Nothing shows how ugly stereotypes are created like showing the actual people who inspire and perpetrate stereotypical behavior. Sure, it wasn’t as good as Pimps Up, Ho’s Down, but what is?

Ok, one thing that is better is The Boondocks. I can’t shut up about how good this show is. The Boondocks episode about Dr. King coming back in the 21st century was a classic. After getting an eyeful of our life thirty eight years after his assassination and seeing what has happened to black culture in the interim, Dr. King says, “Is this what I took all them ass whippings for?”

Amen, Reverend.

And now, a cartoon:

Christmas Blasphemy

December 23, 2007

**Fairytale of New York banned. Then not banned. Clearly, the BBC is run by bundles of sticks. One day, Coble and I will duet on that tune at the imaginary Nashville Bloggers Christmas party.

**Speaking of bundles of sticks, my Fascist wife is enforcing the banned book list around the house. She went into my Amazon wish list and deleted all the atheism books, and probably a lot of stuff she just didn’t like, so that Christmas present buying relatives wouldn’t see them. She has specifically banned the latest by Hitchens. It isn’t allowed in the house. A more cunning and devious man might have checked it out from the Antioch library and be reading it at work. The AV Club has an excellent Christmas interview with Hitchens.

**Let me say this about the Led Zep reunion. Massively over-hyped and about twenty years too late for me to give a shit.

**I’m sure I probably saw the Star Wars Holiday Special when it came out, but like any traumatic childhood experience, there are some things so horrible that the conscious mind intentionally represses the memory of.

**In the battle between U2’s version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and the Darlene Love version, I have to go with U2. If we were comparing a recording of one of Darlene’s appearances on Letterman, then I might change my mind. However, the original studio version doesn’t hold a candle to her high energy live takes. Phil Spector just murdered the arrangement.

**The in-laws gave me Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!) I’m sure they weren’t aware of the content. Within the first fifty pages, we’ve got a picture of what may or may not be Bob Barker’s testicles and gems like this

After criminals and babies, seniors are the most coddled segment of our population.

and

Arbitrary rules teach kids discipline. If every rule made sense, they wouldn’t be learning respect for authority, they’d be learning logic.

Get out of my mind, Colbert!

**Edward Razorhands, er, Sweeney Todd hit theaters this week. Has anyone else noticed just how much Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter resemble one another? Tim Burton is one sick freak.

**If you were shocked by the little Spears girl turning up pregnant about the same time she got her driver’s license, then you are even more retarded than she is.

**I leave you with Ricky Gervais’ brilliant rant on the state of celebrity from the Extras Series Finale. Watch the whole thing.

When You Wish Upon A Bar, or Things To Do in Disney When You’re Dead

September 27, 2007

If you can imagine Vegas without gambling, strippers, desert and atomic testing, then you have a good idea what Orlando, FL is like. Specifically, I’m talking Reedy Creek Improvement District. You probably know it better by the more tourist friendly moniker Lake Buena Vista. I expect it to be where I spend eternity as punishment for my sins.

Mrs. Sarcastro has a conference to attend. I have nothing to do but roll around Disney all day.

Wednesday–We caught the redeye to Orlando. The bus from the airport played the most obnoxious and cloying video pimping the Disney theme parks that I have ever seen. You already have us hostage. I understand it is your corporate mission statement to make sure I don’t have a cent to my name when I leave, but give it a rest.

We get checked in to the Coronado Springs right about the time the bars closed. Shit. This is already starting to suck.

Important safety lesson from Mrs. Sarcastro: Leering at hot little blonde in the airport is not only strongly discouraged, but not appreciated or tolerated.

Thursday–The gift shop is naturally branded with Disney characters. Including sundry items like snacks and personal hygiene products. There isn’t anything they won’t throw a licensed character’s cartoon mug upon. I kept looking for Minnie’s MaxiPads. The ears are super-absorbent wings!

The television choices in the room include six different channels dedicated to Disney attractions in six different languages. In fact, all the channels are owned by Disney. The exceptions are the local stations, which have a fuzzy reception which is indicative of, pardon the expression, bunny ears.

Coronado Springs is a sort of faux-Southwest/Robert Rodriguez paradise. In an ironic twist, most of the other guests around us are from Central and South America. It would be like us going to vacation in a foreign resort made to look like a suburban strip mall next to a Holiday Inn by the interstate. Except the margaritas are $8.25 without tip.

Lunch for two, which would run about ten bucks in the aforementioned suburban strip mall, ran just under $40. Refills were complimentary, provided you bought the ten dollar complimentary refill cup. My wallet wants to buy a rape whistle. Sadly, the rape whistle is $30 and only comes with either Mulan or Snow White plastered on the side.

The Mrs. is blowing off the conference for the rest of the afternoon. We’re going to the Magic Kingdom.

Fear and Loathing In The Magic Kingdom

It was somewhere around the entrance gate when the Fear began to take hold. All you need to know about how the world works is to go through security at an airport and through the front gate of the Magic Kingdom within a 24 hour period. The TSA folks at the Nashville airport lounged about the security checkpoint like a crooked road project. Six cousins of a campaign donor watching one guy work. There was one 300 pound lump of shit lumbering around aimlessly, shuffling between gathering up plastic bins and marking time until Uncle Ray gets him a supervisor job.

Contrast that with the smoothly efficient operation at Disney. There was a bag check and a, wait for it, FINGERPRINT SCAN. Let me see if I can make sense of this, the Walt Disney Corporation has a better handle on who is on their property than Homeland Security has regarding who is flying on commercial aircraft or entering the country. Say what you want about Disney, at least the trains run on time.

The park wasn’t very crowded, but there were enough people for it to be a drag. For reference purposes, a significant part of my childhood was spent about fifteen miles from DisneyLand. So, I go back a ways with the Magic Kingdom. This ain’t my first rodeo.

As far as the rides go, here’s a quick rundown of what we hit.

Space Mountain–As great as I remember the year it opened in Anaheim in 1977. I laughed and yelled until my face hurt.

Buzz Lightyear’s Shoot Up Deal–The Mrs. kicked my ass on that ride. I’m not saying she cheated, but I’m not saying she didn’t either.

It’s A Small World–They need to rename this the Hall of Mildly Offensive Stereotypes With Creepy Puppet Children. Drank the water. No acid. Although these bats are annoying.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride–Gone, but not forgotten. I refused to go on the Winnie the Pooh atrocity out of respect.

Splash Mountain–Please no one tell Al Sharpton about this ride. They’s playin’ Dixie and a bear who represents a black man winds up in a noose. When the ride was over, I asked the drones in the attached gift shop about where I could purchase the movie that the ride was based on. She gave me a blank smile and didn’t answer.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad–Thirty-five minutes in line for three minutes of average roller coaster.

Pirates of the Caribbean–The addition of Captain Jack Sparrow is downright creepy. The amount of Pirates crap in the gift shop will make your head explode.

Swiss Family Robinson Tree House–Always a favorite even though there is nothing really to it. I just admire the workmanship, I guess. Since I was a kid, I wanted that damn treehouse. The one in Anaheim is now Tarzan’s Treehouse. That sucks monkey balls. It probably has a lame ass Phil Collins soundtrack, too.

We wanted to hit more rides, and maybe we did, but the morbidly obese people tooling around in scooters, the foreigners bowling over people who walk in their path, the crying children and lack of a place to get a decent adult beverage made it imperative to leave. Immediately.

On the way out, we hit the big gift shop on Main Street. Let me say how disappointed I am by the dearth of Scrooge McDuck on any of the crap they were peddling. Hell, there wasn’t that much Donald Duck for that matter. Oh, but Grumpy is the new “It” boy, apparently. It reminds me of when Warner’s tried to market Tasmanian Devil as the icon of everything “EXTREME!” back in the nineties. Every mouth breather with $100 in a coffee can under his bed went out and got a “Taz” tattoo and t-shirt. Mrs. Sarcastro wanted a Grumpy hooded sweatshirt. I wanted a Vanessa Hudgins blow-up doll.

We both left disappointed.

Friday–I need to find something to do. The $9.95 for 24 hours of internet connection is almost up. We are going to have lunch, then I’m going looking for Walt’s head in a drum of liquid nitrogen a bookstore and a pub.

Sunday–Going through the receipts in my wallet and a wad of cocktail napkins scribbled with cryptic gibberish, I am able to piece together what has transpired over the preceding 48 hours.

The Disney staff of genius copywriters described Coronado Village as “a celebration of the diverse cultures of colonial Spain and ‘ancient’ Mexico”. A million dead Aztecs are laughing their asses off at that one. Funny enough there was a conference being held for some such thing that had representatives from every Latin America country there. They all dressed in their nicest suits, dark with a corn flower blue shirt. It looked like a thousand little Alberto Gonzaleses everywhere. Contrast that with the fat Norte Americano guests who were invariably attired in their finest fanny packs and t-shirts that were at least a size too small. This is the same resort that used the word “besieged” to describe the over-price full service restaurant, Maya Grill. We opted to eat at the Pepper Market for most of our meals. I have had better meals in a Tunica casino buffet. They couldn’t even do the “Mexican” food right. It was awful and over-priced.

I bolted for Downtown Disney, the Mrs. would join me after her meetings. Things were going to be looking up for me now. The Virgin Megastore had at least one subversive employee who secretly hid a few copies of Carl Hiassen’s polemic Team Rodent amongst the stacks.

The Mrs. found me bellied up to the bar at the Irish pub, book in one hand, glass of Jameson’s in the other. We then went over to Bongo’s for some Cuban food. It was ok. For the price, it should have been better than ok. I did get a shot of Cafe Cubano. So instead of being just drunk, I was wide awake drunk.

I wound up with a cigar at one point and more Cafe Cubano. And more booze. I was a straw hat away from heading for Havana and setting myself up as dictator-for-life.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur.

Getting back on that horse the next morning at the hotel bar didn’t help matters. Damn, those mojitos are a tasty treat. By the time we got to the airport, I realized that a raspberry danish and a gut full of rum was not an ideal strategy for air travel. So, we got something to eat at the Orlando airport.

The best goddamn meal I had all weekend was at the Romano’s Macaroni Grill at the airport. Thanks for nothing, Walt.

We got home to see our precious baby son in record time. As he looked up at me with his big brown eyes, I realized “Shit. You are going to make Daddy take you to Disney one day, aren’t you?”

Epilogue–I still can’t figure out why there was no Scrooge McDuck bric-a-brac for sale. Is there a legal dispute between the estate of Carl Barks and Disney?

I guess I’ll settle for this:

Available in the hotel gift shop!

Wee Robbie’s B’Day

January 25, 2007

haggis.jpg

In honor of the poet on his grand day, listen to Address to a Haggis.

Make it a point to have a wee dram in honor of Scotland’s greatest poet.

Or read his time honored poems like,

Nine Inch Will Please a Lady

Come rede me, dame, come tell me, dame,
My dame, come tell me truly,
What length o’ graith, when weel ca’d hame,
Will ser’e a woman duly?
The carlin clew her wanton tail,
Her wanton tail sae ready;
I learn’t a sang in Annandale,
Nine inch will please a lady.

But for a countrie cunt like mine,
In sooth we’re nae sae gentle;
We’ll tak’ twa thumb-bread to the nine,
And that’s a sonsie pintle.
O leeze me on my Charlie lad!
I’ll ne’er forget my Charlie!
Twa roarin’ handfu’ and a daud,
He nidg’t it in fu’ rarely.

But weary fa’ the laithern doup,
And may it ne’er ken thrivin’;
It’s no the length that gars me loup,
But it’s the double drivin’.
Come nidge me Tarn, come nodge me Tam,
Come nidge me o’er the nyvle;
Come louse and lug your batterin’ ram,
And thrash him at my gyvel.

If that isn’t to your tastes, try Cock Up Your Beaver.

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu’ sprush,
We’ll over the border, and gie them a brush;
There’s somebody there we’ll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Rainy Monday Blues

January 15, 2007

In honor of the holiday, here are some prank calls to C-SPAN.  Totally not safe for work, by the way.


—–

Only 363 Shopping Days Left

December 26, 2006

As soon as the kids went to their father’s house, we took down the tree and rid the house of all things Christmas. By ‘we’, I mean Mrs. Sarcastro. I spent that time laying on the couch, watching the Arrested Development marathon on G4 and trying to read Jared Diamond’s Collapse. Needless to say, the Bluth Family got the better part of my divided attention.

We went to Sarcastro Mountain for an early Xmas and made it back in time for the 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon on TBS. We would have watched it back on the mountain, but my brother loaned out our sacred family DVD copy of it to someone. He’s not sure who. Or why. Or when.

I made sure the truck was packed with a portable DVD player and a slew of classic Looney Tunes. It was a life saver and kept conversations like this from taking place:

Kid: An essay has five paragraphs!

Adult: Well, technically that’s true, but…

Kid: A paragraph has five sentences!

Adult: I know they are teaching you that as a guideline, but…

Kid: Yuh-huh. My teacher said so.

Adult: Why can’t an essay contain six paragraphs if you have that much info to relay?

Kid: That’s not what the teacher said. (Kid then relays a by rote recitation of the elements of a five paragraph essay.)

Adult: But what about this arbitrary five sentences to a paragraph nonsense? What if it only takes four to get the idea across?

Kid: Then in the fifth sentence, you have to say “I liked it”, or something.

Adult: Oh, that makes perfect sense, then.

This paragraph only has one sentence. Maybe two if I really stretch it.

Upon opening their presents Christmas morning, I had the distinct feeling that they felt like they were doing us a favor. Despite the fact their mother spent the equivalent of the Gross National Product of Yemen on satisfying their unquenchable thirst for high end gaming platforms and associated software. It must be terribly depressing to get everything you could possibly want for Christmas.

We have yet another family get together scheduled for tonight. Out of town relatives and such. This may drag on until late in the week. I’ll be glad when it is all over and life can return to some semblance of normalcy. Whatever that is.

Even The Hypno-Dog is burned out.

rosexmas2.jpg

—–

Because The Hypno-Dog Commands It!

December 24, 2006

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

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From The Sarcastro Family.

You Blockhead

December 10, 2006

There are plenty of other reviews and summaries of the events last night. Many of them with pictures! A couple of shots from the ol’ tequila bottle and we were off to the races. I got to meet quite a few folks, like Glen Dean, RUABelle, Ginger, saraclark and Kate O. It is always good to get to know the other folks in the community. What I didn’t bargain on was being asked, “Why are you such a jerk?”, upon entering the Mothership. Oddly enough, that was pretty much the welcome waiting for me when I got back home, too. Anticipating the cold front over my connubial bed kept me out of jag’s bottle of Beam. Turns out, that greeting came to pass because I had pissed off Aunt B about something that she took way out of context. If this weren’t the 465th time this had happened, I probably would be more concerned. As usual, I will have to eat a bowl of shit and all will be right both at home and abroad.

Regrettably, I didn’t get to really meet some of the other bloggers. I saw Muffy Wong and B-dub during the evening, but never got a good chance to say hello. Unless, I’ve already met them and forgot. I’m beginning to think I have a medical condition called prosopagnosia. A few weeks ago, I met Busy Mom for the second time. Well, the second time for her. First time for me. Again. This has happened on a few occasions. It happened with Rex L. Camino last night. I looked right at him, he looked at me dead in the eye. My brain is telling me I know that guy from somewhere. Finally, I had to ask someone. I forget who. I thought I saw Bill Hobbs coming in the door, but fuck me running, it could have been anyone.

This same thing happened at a college alumni golf tournament I played in a couple of years ago. I walked into a room full of people I had known for years and didn’t recognize a soul. How they recognized me with the Green Arrow mustache beard combo and the extra forty pounds remains a mystery. After I had redeployed to the bar to try to figure out what was going on, one of the strangers came up to me and re-introduced himself as someone I had known since Reagan was in office.

This afternoon, we are going to Mrs. Sarcastro’s company Christmas party. Very few of her coworkers I actually know and should be able to remember who they are.

In the meantime, enjoy this version of Charlie Brown Christmas as performed by the cast of Scrubs.