Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Den of Inequity


During my four years amidst the haze of college insobriety, I had the occasion to live in several different domiciles. Some of these residences, especially the legendary B102 apartment where I spent my junior and senior campaigns, were less than desirable to say the least. I even made a map of B102 showing all the places inside and outside where party-goers had used the contents of their stomachs to do a little bit of interior decorating. There was also the time that we moved the couches to discover to our surprise that the color of the carpet was actually not originally brown. One would think, then, that I would have been prepared by my previous experiences to exist in any sort of hellhole, regardless of how foully polluted. How wrong you would be to think that.
Circumstances beyond my control, involving some sort of very bizarre breakup, which I will not go into at this time, led to a last second need for a place to lay my weary head. Or simply put, my dumb ass was homeless and in desperate need of a bed. My friend Chris was kind enough to lend me his extra room for two weeks as I awaited an opening at the adjacent complex, which we had nicknamed Hoodwinds over the years. Trust me, Hoodwinds was a major upgrade over what I was about to endure. If I had dropped my shit on the ground and crashed there for a few days I probably would have been a lot happier. It only took me a few minutes inside my friend's abode to realize that I had made a major mistake.
To take in the entirety of this monstrosity would cause even the most heartless bastard to run screaming from their computer monitor, so I will go over with you one step at a time the extent of this anti-cathedral, this insult to all that is holy.
The first thing I saw upon entry was the living room, which was dotted with trash and beer stains. The adjacent kitchen was blessed with a sink overflowing with dishes and circled by fruit flies. Nothing I hadn't seen before. There was even a perk. A Playstation gaming system where we could entertain ourselves! So much beer had been poured onto the Playstation, however, that you had to put an object on top of it to get it to properly close. The machine also had a dual purpose - due to its stickiness it was a great flycatcher.
Flies were not the main problem in the living area, though, the floor was the domain of the fleas. They were everywhere. It took only a short time and a few red bite marks on my legs to realize that I could not walk around the apartment without wearing at least a pair of socks (and no I wasn't naked otherwise you dirty bastard). The fleas of course, were a feature of the whole house and their existence emanated from my favorite part of my bedroom.
The bedroom closet was the location of a boogie monster that haunted the first few days I spent in my temporary home. Chris, it so happened, was fond of keeping pets. He usually had a cat, but the last one had run away or committed suicide, so when I moved in he had a lovely ferret. This unfortunate animal was locked inside a cage and enclosed inside the closet. In my bedroom, not his. Sharing the ferret's enclosure was a pile of his own feces that made the Great Pyramids look like lame two story condos - it reminded me of the pile of skulls Tamerlane the great would erect from the corpses of his vanquished foes. Lucky for me and probably for the creature itself, the poor beast did not have to share accomodations too long, as it died on my third day there. I was, of course, forced to tell the animal's owner of the sad event of its passing. That conversation went something like this:
Me: Chris, I think your ferret is dead
Chris: No he's not, he is just resting. Beautiful plumage, the Norweigan blue.
Me: All fucking day? That's quite a nap. (Chris goes into the room and pokes the ferret with a stick)
Chris: I guess you are right.
So where could I go to escape this madness? The hall bathroom - I could just draw a bath and hide from the horrors of the rest of the house amidst a heaven of bubbles and hot water. Upon entering, it quickly became apparent that my soapy paradise was not to be, for thriving in the tub, and the sink as well, was the most impressive exhibit of mold and mildew I had hitherto seen. In fact, it is a sight I hope will never to be surpassed should I live to be as old as Liz Taylor looks. The brown scum that encircled the inside of the shower was feet thick in spots. I was scared to even approach it for fear I could be pulled inside and devoured by it and turned into a mold-covered zombie dedicated to destroying the human race for all its crimes against the fauna of the Earth. Needless to say, although there was plenty growing, the water sure as hell wasn't flowing. Any hot water excursion I would be taking would have to done in the master bathroom.
Compared with the horror I had just witnessed in the hall bathroom, Chris had an almost pristine place to shower. There was no mold in the bathtub, no mold in the sink, and the water actually worked! Yet another miracle of modern plumbing in action. Since I am sure you are waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes. Are you ready for it? Certain? There was a huge mass of vomit on the floor - right in the center of the room. The kind soul who had deposited his insides there had been considerate enough to dump a considerable volume of Comet onto the puke. This mess could have been easily cleaned up, but it was a matter pride for Chris that the perpetrator finish the deed himself. After a week it became clear to myself that the previous owner of the barf, who we will name Scott for the purpose of this exercise, was not going to be paying us a visit any time in the near future. Yet still the mess sat there, taunting us into inaction. Why I ask you, should I be the one to deal with the issue? Caught in this web of laziness and stubbornness, I finally broke free and forced Chris (with my help) to clean up the apartment - and then, with my two weeks of purgatory over, I moved on to my own den of iniquity over at Hoodwinds. I had escaped, but the memories still wake me screaming to this very day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Charleston, The Mecca of Southern Cuisine


In recent years the Greenville restaurant scene has witnessed an increasing influx of cuisine rooted in Lowcountry tradition. Shrimp and grits, crabcakes, and fried green tomatoes have all become staples in many of our local establishments. The source of much of this gob-stuffing grub is the city of Charleston, home to numerous restaurants and cooking schools that are on the cutting edge of the chef’s knife. I decided that as a respected correspondent for a restaurant paper of some international note, that it was my responsibility to get to the bottom of just exactly what is going on in that ancient city that is driving people’s taste buds into fits of revelry unknown outside of an ecstasy-fueled rave. Also, I was invited to a wedding and would be there anyway (see this blog's original post for my thoughts on marriage). As a result, I took a trip down to Charles Town, as it was once known back in the day, and spent a weekend sampling the vittles and libations that are as bountiful there as 6’5 transvestites at a gay bar.
I arrived in the Holy City, as Charleston is known as due to its church-dominated skyline and love for Krispy Kreme (I will now lie back and soak in the boos), around nine in the evening on a dark and stormy Friday night. I met up with my friends and we chose a rendezvous point in the Market, the area where vendors hock hot sauce, sweetgrass baskets, and T-shirts etched with such witticisms as “I Eat Dirt.” Our destination proved to be Wild Wing, which as many of you who have not been on an extended acid trip know, has expanded to our fair city. Okay, so Wild Wing is not an example of Charleston cuisine, being that Buffalo wings are from some evil place in the frozen Yankee-ridden North near the fourteenth colony. The restaurant chain was, however, formed in the Lowcountry and this particular location always has live music, which is what the crowd wanted at the time. In addition, they serve buckets of beer six at a time, rather than the usual five, so things quickly spiraled out of control. We greatly enjoyed the atmosphere, which featured a soon to be betrothed chap toting a bowling ball chained to his leg. He seemed to be unable to hold onto his ball, continually dropping it on the floor and causing a loud thud and no doubt a smidgen of damage to the wooden floor. This act might have been funny once. Once. Sadly, the festivities came to a close around the midnight hour and I resolved to spend my Saturday immersed in the flavors of Charleston.
I emerged from a fitful sleep to see a warm, sunny day. I knew that meant only one thing. We must make a pilgrimage to Vickery’s. I gathered my friends and we headed off to Shem Creek, which is located alongside the water in Mt. Pleasant, just a short trip over the Cooper River from Charleston, a journey that has lost its excitement since the demolition of the rusty pile of steel that composed the previous bridge. Driving over that stucture taught you to appreciate life, since it was the closest you would probably come to death on any given day you crossed it. Once we arrived at the restaurant, our original intent was to sit in the deck area, but when hurricane force winds blew one of my friends out into the harbor we were forced to move inside. We were unable to recover the body, but we did have an impromptu burial ritual involving a coffee can and grandma's ashes. I figured they were just sitting there rotting on the mantle anyhow. After the funeral, those of us still amongst the living returned to Vickery’s and sat down for seafood as fresh as any you can find excepting the bowels of a sperm whale. At any number of restaurants located on Shem Creek, you can watch out the window as shrimp boats arrive with their daily stack of murdered crustaceans. Yes, murder most foul. And delicious! For our meal, we tried some Charleston staples like boiled shrimp, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and a Cuban sandwich (which I am told is from Cuba, but I believe that is a Communist lie planted by Fidel Castro in order to facilitate the overthrow of the American government). Everyone was satisfied by the meal and we quickly forgot about our dead friend Donnie, who loved bowling. Fuck it dude. We paid the bill and returned to our domicile to prepare for the wedding festivities.
The wedding ceremony was held at four inside the MUSC chapel in downtown Charleston. After a nice fifteen minute nap in my pew, it was off to the reception, which was held back in Mt. Pleasant at Boone Hall Plantation, where locals tell me the Union surrendered to the Confederacy, bringing an end to the Civil War. After the owners hid their slaves in the basement, we were allowed onto the property and got the party started right, some would say we got the party started quickly. The whores de overs (if you can’t spell if, sillify it) were exceptional. The tuxedo-clad servants brought us she crab soup and fried sweet potato balls, topped with a delightful mustard-based barbecue pork. After the main course of beer and wine, we moved on to the desert dishes (or as some call it, supper), the most impressive of which was a take on the local piece de resistance, shrimp and grits. Shrimp and grits is usually served in a dish with cheese of some sort, but in this instance the shrimp was served in something of a gumbo, with the grits in a separate dish, to be added and mixed at your leisure, sweet Larry. The result was a taste explosion that caused my tongue to become as happy as a pedophile at a 4H convention. I ate until my stomach could take no more, developed a case of bulimia, and quickly went back for more like a drunk to a bottomless trough of booze (dare to dream). Suddenly, the slaves broke into open rebellion and we were asked to leave. The night ended all too soon and so did my excursion into the realm of Charleston cuisine. I had learned and eaten a lot, but knowing Upstate chefs are catching up to the talented Lowcountry mavericks (word copyrighted by John McCain) of Southern cooking gives me a reason to return - and to gorge myself like a disgusting pig wherever I may go in our vibrant community.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Music Test


Hi there boys and girls! I have just returned from completing a delightfully delicious music survey. The process took a mere two hours and I was paid fifty dollars in return for my efforts. All I was required to do was to listen to short ten second song clips, decide if I was familiar with the song, rate it, and say whether I thought the tune was overplayed, underplayed, or three little bears perfect. That seems like pretty good pay for simple work, doesn't it? In reality, the music test was two hours of virtually unendurable hell that could not be considered worth any amount of money. I was given a pencil to complete the necessary forms, but at times it seemed that little stick of wood could have done a lot more good if I had broken it in half and jammed the pieces into my ear until the eardrums were as useless as the guy that hands you a towel in the restroom of an upscale dining establishment.
The survey in question was administered by a group that runs three different channels in my current city of residence, Greenville, SC. The recordings I was cursed by Satan's minions to hear were composed of the tunes played on 93.3, which is the "new" music station here in town. I put the word new in quotes because this channel is nothing of the sort. I would divide their playlist into three separate categories. First, they play classic rock like Zeppelin, Floyd, AC/DC, etc. Great musicians surely (except for AC/DC who sucks the taint of a hermaphroditic orangutan), but certainly nothing there that could be considered new - unless you are a former resident of the Jurassic period recently thawed out of the ice cube you have spent the last couple milennia trapped inside. Then, maybe, it might be slightly hip. The second grouping of music they spin is composed of the grunge revolution. Some pretty good stuff from the early 90s, when there were a lot of original bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, for example. Again, however, this music can not be called new by any stretch of the imagination. As much as it might pain those of us that remember the release of "Ten", it came out over fifteen years ago. Now may be a good time to sit down before you trip over your walker in shock. If you can think of tunes that ancient as new, then I have a brand new 1992 Camry to sell you. Being new, you can count on it being in good condition. Remember, hubcaps are highly overrated. The final dish of music served at 93.3 consists of groups like Creed, Staind, Puddle of Mudd, and Seether. These folks have been putting out albums over the last decade and I not going to argue that you couldn't call at least some of the stuff played by these douches new. I would, however, argue with the classification of their output as music. It is more an assault upon the ears, but even more so upon human dignity itself. They have not a shred of talent between them so don't go listening for a new chord, much less a song about anything meaningful. These folks are either still in high school or those halycon years were the peak of their emotional growth. Their cumulative cookie cutter craptacularity can't even add up to an opening slot on the upcoming Motley Crue tour. At least those guys openly admitted they didn't give a shit about the music and just wanted to get laid. Out of over 600 songs I listened to, at least 200 were of this variety and frankly I did not rate many of them because I could not tell the songs apart or even bear to hear the full ten seconds. Some people say that the feminists and queers are to blame for everything that goes wrong in this nation. If we are going to point fingers at a group for earning the USA the wrath of God, then I would prefer if we could choose these no-talent ass clowns. I hereby proclaim that 9/11 was Nickelback's fault.
Sadly enough, many stations with similar formats exist all around the country. The main culprit is Clear Channel Communications, a megalithic corporation that owns a huge portion of the radio market - in fact, with 1200 stations to their credit, they control more of the industry than any other company. It is very easy to spot one of their "new" music channels, no matter where you are in the United States. They will play the exact same garbage listed in the previous paragraph with very little variation. Could the survey I filled out help to change their playlists? Although I assure you that I did my best to give their music the lowest scores possible when I thought it appropriate, I doubt very much that my opinion will really matter very much. Even if those in charge came to the realization that the members of Disturbed are borderline retarded, the process didn't allow for those taking the music test to make any comments. I was given no opportunity to ask how they could fail to play bands like At the Drive-In, The Shins, Placebo, Les Savy Fav, and many others. In fact, I suspect that those at the top are just going through the motions - they don't care at all what we think. I remember being taught as a young student that America was a Melting Pot, where many different peoples from all over the country came to find a better life. They would, over time, assimilate into our society, leaving the part of their culture that made them different behind. In reality, things haven't gone down quite like that. This country has been, throughout our history, a place where different cultures and ways of thinking were able to subsist side by side even if such coexistence was tenuous at certain times and places. Ours has been a country like no other in the world's history in that regard. Some of that uniqueness is dying, however, as powerful segments in our society like Clear Channel push a menu that is lacking in variety and in substance. We truly our melting together into an Orwellian world where those in authority know best and their is no need for us choose from a variety of possibilities. Culture is watered down and spoonfed to us in formats that have been predetermined by computers and surveys that decide what the "average person" wants, then tailor programs and playlists towards the middle. You have to work very hard to find that which is exceptional and different. The majority of people just don't have the time necessary to search outside of few available options. As a result, creativity and quality are slowly being bred out of the system until they may disappear altogether.

P.S.: Who knows, maybe other people who took the survey like what the channel plays. If so, I am moving to Canada.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Romero Rules


Director George Romero is the godfather of the zombie genre. Those creeping undead, inexorably marching towards your house are his responsibility. Ever since directing the low-budget classic "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968 and "Dawn of the Dead" in 1978, Romero has established the rules under which the world of zombies operates. The famed director has another zombie movie, entitled "Diary of the Dead" coming out this month, so I thought it was time to take a look at what makes his creations tick.
So what are these creatures and what makes them act as they do (besides the instructions given to them by the director)? According to sources which cannot be named for national security reasons, the word zombie originates either from the West Indian word jumbie or the Bantu, zonbi, which when translated means student of the boring professor. These monsters are corpses that have been re-animated by some means - either supernatural or scientific (think Frankenstein but a wee bit less brainy). Speaking of brains, zombies conduct a relentless search for the tasty insides of the human skull. Former human and current zombie cook Emeril Lagasse recommends the medulla oblongata be preceded by a nice mango sorbet and accompanied by haricot vert and a creamy hollandaise sauce. For further recipes just visit his site at www.emerils.com and go to the section entitled "Meals of the Mind".
Human beings who are bitten by a zombie, even if they survive the attack, will eventually become undead themselves. If you want to know what it feels like to be one of these creatures, just watch all of the "Police Academy" movies in order. By the time those wacky cops get to Miami for the fifth installment, you too will be covered in your own saliva and fecal matter, wondering where you can find a new brain.
What should one do when being approached by zombies? Well there is not much point in having a conversation with them, as they pretty much have a one track mind devoted to your cranial consumption. No matter how many brains they ingest, they don't seem to get any smarter. You could run away since they walk like they are drunk enough to be offered a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. There tend to be a lot of them, however, making a confrontation inevitable. So, even if you are vegan peace-loving hippie it is time to grab the chainsaws, baseball bats, hammers, and any other assorted weaponry you have around in order to properly deal with the situation. Anything from the Medieval Period adds a huge "cool" factor, but it may be more practical to have a shotgun with unlimited ammo (these do exist, just watch any Michael Bay movie ever made for real life examples). After grabbing your armament of choice, you will want to shoot and/or batter the approaching undead repeatedly until all movement stops. Some zombies simply insist on pestering you for vittles regardless of any personal anatomical damage they might undergo, so remember - there is no such thing as overkill. Also if your friends get bitten, they have be dispatched as well. They will soon be seeking your frontal lobes as an appetizer alongside the rest of the buffet line, so it is time your friendship came to a conclusion. If you have feelings of remorse, just picture the friend having sex with your significant other. You will either be turned on or given the impetus you need to do the deed. You also may want to persuade the soon to be deceased buddy to put you in his/her will first if the time and legal documents are available. Oh and don't kill Rob Zombie, he is just a wannabe, not a real zombie. He might take it as a compliment - it is best just to ignore him.
Hopefully you are now equipped with the information you will need to deal with any potential zombies that visit you at home, at work, or at the mall in order to make important social commentary dealing with such issues as racism and consumerism. If you have any questions, make sure to call the Worchestershire sauce hotline at 867-5309. Further info can be found by watching such cinematic classics as "Zombie Chicks in Chopper Town." Good luck and Godspeed!

Zombies eat human flesh
Which part you like the best?

"Cats, Sex, and Nazis" by Nomeansno

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My God


I believe in only one God. The true God who rules us all and without whom there would be nothing. My God is money. You can call me moneytheistic if you like. I bath in hundred dollar bills, use them as soap, shampoo, and body wash. I bow down to gold and silver as well. Anything of value is worthy of worship to me. The one God takes many forms, but it all comes down to one basic precept. Acquire more. When you are done accomplishing that, get off your butt and attain more still. My God is never appeased - there is no such thing as enough. Anyone that gets in the way of my quest for money is crushed, wiped away like a speck of dust from an end table. There can no room in my religion for pity. None for welfare. I don't know these people. They are of no concern to me. Just obstacles in the way of my accumulation. An obstacle easily overcome, because my crusade is all-consuming - no one can stand in the way of my God for long. I have faith that those who work for me will find new ways to increase revenue. Why? If they fail, their employment will not last long. So they find corners to cut, they cheat, they lie, they steal (for me but never from me) in order to stay in their jobs. That is the dogma by which they live. Do not question the pursuit of money. Don't think - just survive. They are but rats scurrying to and fro at my whim. Not human. No, certainly not. I pay them just enough to keep them hungry, to keep them coming here in hopes of a better tomorrow. One that will never come. My God is not for these simpletons who live on the lower rungs of Maslow's hierarchy. They are losers in Darwin's game. I am not one of them. The game of life and its rules are made by me and my ilk. I have the yachts, mansions, cars, wives, stocks, etc. to prove it. They say he who dies with the most wins. I believe that mantra and I live it every day. Never get in the path of my God. It is too powerful for you to ignore and so am I. So just go your merry way, keep your head down, and if you are lucky, perhaps my God will shine down on you as well. But not today. We need to make cuts and trim payroll. You understand.

When one makes twenty million
10,000 people lose
What keeps that one from
swallowing a shotgun?

"The Irrationality of Rationality" by NOFX

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Polar Bears or How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love Coca-Cola


I like polar bears because they are big and white and cuddly like a giant teddy bear. I want to love them and squeeze them all over until rip me in half like a rag doll and eat the meat out of my body like a man dying of hunger devouring the crablegs on a Chinese buffet, the blood shooting in spectacular arterial bursts reminiscent of a July 4th's fireworks show. Viscera would splatter to the floor, making abstract patterns of gore that even Picasso would be ashamed to call his own.
I was recently insulted by a commercial for Coca-Cola that featured my good buddy Ursus Maritimus (that is a fancy scientific word that means polar bear). This particular ad involved a cartoon bear of the polar variety partying hardcore and drinking Coca-Cola (a drug!) with a bunch of happy-go-lucky cartoon penguins on an animated and idyllic icy island (if you like ice, which these species do seem to). Red flags immediately went up in my mind and sparks of anger shot out of my body as lightning bolts fire from the fingers of the mighty Zeus. I am no scientist, but even someone as ignorant as myself can recognize a geographic impossibility. Penguins live in the South Pole and polar bears live in the North Pole. I would not care too much about this clear error if not for the fact that the commercial was clearly intended to be shown to children. Now you might say to me, "I don't know how you ever got out of your straightjacket, much less found a computer to post this on you freaking psychopath, but dude, it is just a cartoon, don't take it too seriously." I have to respectfully disagree, this is a matter of dire importance. We have to face it, our country is going straight down the crapper because the younger generation is the least intelligent we have raised up to adulthood since the 1800s, a bygone era when people were so mentally enfeebled they did not even know how to make TVs or cellular phones. We simply cannot afford to continue feeding such gross misinformation to our youth. They believe pretty much everything they see on TV or that they read in the papers (check that, they do not know how to read, unless you count the Harry Potter series). Some of them even used to think that words emanating from President Bush's mouth were occasionally true (see Iraq, original reasons for invasion of).
There is also the matter of the polar bear being shown as a playful animal rather than a cold-blooded killer. They do not play with penguins, but if they did they would use them as hors d'oeuvre's rather than companions at their raucous North Pole throwdowns alongside the more traditional fare of cute baby seals. Say your young son or daughter is walking down the street and sees a polar bear. They may start to engage in revelry with it, in imitation of the action depicted in the commercial. You would soon be making a gruesome trip to the coroner's office to identify the torn body of your deceased child. This ad is no laughing matter! Coca-Cola's ignorance spreading campaign must be stopped in its tracks before our children become caffeine-addled, polar bear-hugging, and geographically incompetent. We cannot allow the idiots of today to become the gruesome casualties of tomorrow.

P.S: I just saw on CNN that all the polar bears have fallen into the ocean because of global warming or some such liberal conspiracy theory. It is now okay to show them in fake situations since they are more like a unicorn than a real species. If Coca-Cola can arrange for a commercial where I dance with a cartoon polar bear and hug it and squeeze it, the corporate masters may be forgiven for the dastardly act ranted about above.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Website of the Month


If you have not a good honest guffaw at the expense of others recently my friend, you are in luck. Just travel down the Internet road to the visit the wizard of hilarity that is mulletsgalore.com. Sit back, have a beer, and delight in this gift ignorant rednecks throughout the country give to us each and every day. God bless America, the land of the free and the home of the mullet!

P.S.: If you are wondering, that is a midget.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The General F***ing Retires


Today the world of sports was hit with a crushing blow to the jaw as Coach Bobby Knight has finally decided to call it quits after over thirty years coaching college basketball.
"I just fucking felt like there was not a goddamn thing left for me to accomplish in this fucking game anymore cocksucker. I am sixty-seven years old for fucks sake. I am getting too goddamned old for this shit," the coach stated in his retirement news conference.
Knight had reached some impressive milestones this year, spent coaching at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He won his 900th game, cursed out his 20000th ref, beat up his 150th player (for his own team), and got into his 9000th confrontation with some random guy at virtually any place he goes. There truly is very little left for the man known as "The General" to do in the realm of basketball. He has even been fired once in his career. God knows the man who let Knight go was hiding in Hitler's bunker at the time of the announcement.
When asked what he planned to do during his retirement, the always lovable Coach Knight snarled,"Practice firing my fucking rifle at pictures of you ass holes so I don't have to come to your house and fuck you up in person."
Knight's son Pat will be taking over the team for the remainder of the season and the foreseeable future. When asked if he planned to conduct things differently than his celebrated father, Pat remarked,"Fuck no cocksucker, get the fuck out of my face you human filth, I got a goddamned practice to run here.

Henry VIII Part IV: The Magnificently Obese Years


Warning: This is the fourth and final installment in a series of posts telling the story of Henry VIII from the viewpoint of a historian with serious dain bramage. If you are scared - run on to a simpler post! If you ain't skeered then by all means indulge, but you should probably scroll down and read the previous three posts first so you can get caught up with meanderings of the now massive monarch.

In 1536 Henry had suffered a jousting accident, which caused severe damage and ulceration of his leg. During the last decade of his life Henry started to assume the appearance that we commonly associate him with, that of a rather roundish basketball of a man (see above for what Henry would have looked like if he were African-American). And like that rubbery round object, the king bounced back quickly from his disastrous fourth marriage to Anne of Cleavage. Within a month of their annulment, in fact, Hammerin' Hank was strolling up the aisle once more, this time accompanied by the luscious beauty Catherine Howard. Henry's luck with wives continued, though, and as it turned out, Cat (as I call her) was a complete whore. To be honest, she was a slut since she did not even charge money for her personal favors, which she gave out like candy to everyone at court from the highest lord to the lowest pissboy. Seriously, she went down like the cure to the plague was hidden in the shaft of each man with which she came in contact. Why anyone would be so brazenly whoretacular while married to a monarch who had already earned his merit badge for sadism is hard to fathom. Nymphomania is the obvious diagnosis. So after a couple years of head-bangin' behavior from the queen, Henry divorced and imprisoned her. One of her lovers was lucky enough to be drawn and quartered - which is a fun way of racing horses that I highly recommend! Several months later, after clearing it with Pope Henry, the king had Catherine executed as well. Reader's Note: I suggest listening to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" now as it fits the moment quite well.
So those of you who can count to six will know that we have reached the final marriage of Henry's lengthy rule. Who would be the little lady earning the hand of the flabby, ulcer ridden, and delightfully flatulent king? Thomas Cranmer, who was now Henry's lead advisor (everyone else was dead) found the lucky piece of lass. Her name was Catherine Parr and she herself had already been betrothed two times. Both of her previous husbands had died and left her a widow. One would have thought that Henry might have seen a pattern here, but he was too busy being King of England, Wales, and Ireland, heading up the Anglican Church, and fighting random wars with those French pansies, to have any time left to remove his head from his own ass. Had he done so, he might have spotted the Black Widow effect Parr seemed to have on husbands before his own death in 1547. Why Henry died has been greatly debated. Syphillis, diabetes, and complications from his old leg injury have all been proposed as the possible culprit. Regardless of the truth, the old dirty bastard was dead and the son he had fought hard to bring into the world was now king.
So what did Henry VIII accomplish during his forty years on the English throne? The heir thing he was so obsessed with did not work out too well. His son, Edward VI, died only five short years after his father. His oldest daughter Mary, took over after Edward and also ruled only a short time. Her main accomplishment besides contributing to alcoholism was the execution of Archbishop Cranmer, the one person her father had forgotten to kill during his reign. The last of Henry's children to take the throne was Elizabeth and although she reigned for over forty years, she did not have any children. Hey she was the Virgin Queen, her odds were not too good. Her death in 1603 brought about the end of the Tudor dynasty.
Henry's major accomplishment was the creation of the Anglican Church, severing England's connection to the sun-worshiping, heathen papists in Rome. Also, according to Henry's Topps mass-murderer card, he is credited with a career total of 72,000 executions. Such a total insured him entrance on the first ballot into the Tyrant hall-of-fame. The six wives, too, are a record for an English monarch. What king would not be proud of the killin and lady drillin Henry got done during his reign?

Friday, February 1, 2008

A Musical Intermission

Up late talking to a good friend, listening to music and it randomly came to me to ask him for his favorite five albums of all time. So I guess I have to pony up mine. Please let me know yours too. If you don't remember how important you are, who will? Only rules - no greatest hits albums, live albums are fine. So in honor of "High Fidelity," here are my top five.

1. Tool - Aenima
2. At the Drive In - Relationship of Command
3. Johnny Cash - Live at Folsom and San Quentin
4. The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
5. A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step

Henry VIII : The Newlywed Game

Writer's Note: This is the third part in a four part series. Go to the previous posts if you would like to know what the hell is going on here. And yes this appears to be about history and you may think you are going to be bored to death, but trust me - if you want to read a cool story, please perservere.

When we last left you, Henry VIII had divorced Catherine of Aragon and created the Anglican Church, severing the power of Rome in England. Thomas Cranmer was made Archbishop of Canterbury and wrote the Common Book of Prayer, which was used as the liturgy (fancy term for the words you mouth while you are in church feeling guilty about checking out the organist). He also composed a lesser known work, Canterbury Tails, dealing with his youthful escapades as a gigolo in Sussex.
Henry would now marry a local hooker named Anne Boleyn (she wasn't really a prostitute, but it makes this into sort of a "Pretty Woman" sort of story - maybe we can get that Julia Roberts chick for the film version now). Historians have been unable to determine the actual year of Anne's birth, so we will say that she was between the ages of 4 and 923 when she married the king on a cold January day in the year of our lord 1533. The newly wedded couple was hopelessly in love, so much so that Henry granted Anne's request that he exile Cardinal Wolsey, her archenemy. Luckily for Wolsey, Anne did not request a wedding cake made out of the Cardinal's organs and a special viscera flavored icing. Yummy, viscera! The end of Wolsey's influence meant the rise to power of Anne's good buddy Thomas Cromwell. If you thought Wolsey was untrustworthy, man wait to see what this douche does!
Her main goal, like the previous queen's (I love a story that involves multiple queens), was to pop out a male child for the good of the realm. Like her predecessor, Anne too was unable to produce anything but a useless vagina, this one going by the name Elizabeth (no way this useless babe would ever make anything of herself).
*Author's Note: Remember I am not the evil misogynistic bastard that created this story, I am just retelling it in a more interesting fashion.
Back to our tale of madness and woe! Henry soon tired of Anne's failures to birth an heir and her desperate attempts to paste a dildo onto her second child did not fool anyone. Mr. VIII had no further use for Boleyn and had her charged with incest, treason, witchcraft, and raping small animals (okay I made one of those up). The double-crossing Cromwell (I told you not to trust him, but did you listen to me???!!) assisted the king, managing through delicate methods (chopping off fingers,toes,etc. - trust me in the 16th century that was playing nice) to convince members of the king's court to admit that they had slept with Anne. Boleyn, whose head was soon to be rolling, was also accused of sleeping with her brother, George, a relationship recounted in "Taboo 4: Family Matters." As a result, King Henry had Anne and George executed. Time for wife #3. Should we even bother giving them names at this point?
The next in line was, Jane Seymour, the most beloved of Henry's wives and also the star of "Live and Let Die" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." She had caught the Round Mound of Rebound's eye as a lady-in-waiting for Anne and after the previous queen lost track of her the part of her body above the shoulders, there was an opening for Jane to fill. She became queen in 1535. Seymour was loved so much by Henry for the simple fact that she was the first of his queens to succeed in the task of delivering him a male heir, Edward. The birth of his first son brought joy to Henry, but unfortunately brought very little to Jane. In fact, she died during the process. Kind of a bummer for her. Things didn't work out so well with Edward either, but that is a story for another time and being that Henry is depressed enough, we may want to save that bad news for later. It was 1537 and the lord of all of England was once again in the market for a new queen.
King Hank was somewhat depressed and stayed single for three years. In 1540, though, his advisor, the wicked and desperately depraved Cromwell decided that had to change. He knew that Edward was a weakly boy and that they needed some insurance on the heir front. Therefore, Cromwell arranged for the king to be married once more. Knowing how well the first marriage to a foreigner had worked out, the councillor pursued a betrothal to a German woman who went by the name of Anne of Cleavage or something like that. Henry was shown a painting of her by the great artist Hans Holbein (see picture up top) and the monarch acquiesced to the arrangement. Sadly, the woman in the picture did not resemble the awful hag that showed up at the English court (keep in mind if you made an aristocrat look ugly in a painting, they might in turn make you dead). In addition, Anne was scared of sex. Henry, in turn, was scared of having coitus with this revolting specimen of womanhood that had shown up in his bedroom. His penis was said to run away and hide whenever it caught sight of her. The marriage did not even last through the end of 1540. Henry the pope granted Henry the king (busy guy, huh?) an annulment on the basis that the marriage had never been consumated. The monarch was also furious with Cromwell with setting him up the marriage in the first place. He had his lead advisor executed and intentionally chose an inexperienced headsman who took three chops to finally sever the neck (if Henry was really such a bastard he would have had the guy use a dull butter knife).
So we have four wives down and two to go. Only two of them even had to die. So Henry wasn't such a bad guy, was he? I will leave it to you decide as we move to the exciting conclusion of our story. See you then kids!