Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving blessing.

"I tell you, I got nothing but thanks this year. The good Lord has kept my spirits up, my friends healthy (except in a couple instances) and the reaper at bay. The sun shone, the sweet cream rose, and we woke anew each day. Thank you Lord, for this greatest gift, the gift of each new day. Many types do not think how lucky they have it just to open their eyes and take in the air. So on that note, let us enjoy this feast of your bounty, Lord. Amen. Thanks, man. Cool."

That was the toast I said at Thanksgiving. I don't usually trot out all the religion because I know lots of guests would get uncomfortable, but I was moved this year. It has been a pretty hard couple years to be an American. We live in constant fear of every building exploding and every bridge being hit by a 747 the moment we are going across it. Plus, earthquakes, E. coli, cross-contaminated chicken-prep surfaces, more than 2.5 drinks per week, secondhand smoke, salmonella, mad cow, limp-leg syndrome, and torqued-up gangster kids with puberty lip. You see how it is. Maybe we read too much news. I doubt French people walk around thinkin' that their chicken coop has two pounds of grey lightning hooked to a trip on the cage door latch, or that some dipshit from Fremont is gonna come over and ice 'em because he listened to too many Eminem mp3s.

Anyhow, I meant it, you know? I'm glad we have these holidays. Helps us think of other people. Speakin' of other people, we had a pretty mellow little scene at my place this year. Lyle is in Scotland doin' some research, Pat is on the lam, Cornelius was in the hospital because of Pat, and someone said they thought that Todd might be dead. It was just me, Téodor, Roast Beef, Philippe, and A-nu$$$ from the Sexual Homeboys, that band that used to be on my label. Apparently he had a falling out with the S.H. That's cool, because I always thought he was the real talent. Glad to have him back in my corner.

We had a brined, deep-fried turducken, a regular roasted Willy bird turkey, oyster/sausage dressing, whipped potatoes, sweet potatoes, green goddess salad, a Smithfield ham, puddings, a Cornish game hen bar, bacons, brown and white gravies, prime rib, savory mince pie, sweet mince pie, pumpkin pie, ice creams, a taffy-pulling station, two chopped up pineapples and a chocolate fondue with various dip-ready cookies, candies and fruits. To drink we enjoyed a couple cases of '97 Mayacamas Pinot. Delicate enough to go with any dish. We finished with this port that turned out to be pretty hinge so we set the extra bottles up on the lawn and had a little firing range while we smoked.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I forgot to tell you about what happened at McDonald's!

Damn, cookies! I went to McDonald's like I said and ordered food enough for me and Téodor (two Big Mac meals, super-sized, each with apple pies). The first Big Mac had the Monopoly Park Place playing piece, and the second one had Boardwalk! I was a little high (like I said, I had smoked to make it seem believable that I would order that much food) so I immediately got all paranoid that I was gonna lose the game pieces and the million dollar prize. I wondered if they could take the prize back if you were high when you won it, and if I was so high that I was gonna leave them on the table when I left, all that stuff. Real carefully I tucked them into my wallet and consumed the food at a normal speed. Téodor never showed up to eat his half, so real carefully I started to eat that stuff too. By the time I had polished it off I was feelin' pretty sick and had to put my head down on the table for a second.

Next thing I knew I guess a couple hours had passed because I was completely dehydrated and there was this big puddle of drool on the table. My coat felt pretty funny — apparently teenagers had wiped ketchup on the wax paper burger wrappers and stuck them all over my back and shoulders. These had dried pretty well so I couldn't pull 'em off without a lotta pain and maybe some hair loss. Plus, they had smeared mustard all over my glasses and I couldn't see too well. Like a flash I checked for my wallet: you guessed it, the little bastards had boosted it. The winning game pieces were gone! I felt like I was gonna puke, and lord knows I had the ammo, but luckily I held it down. I sat and caught my breath. There is a right way to get smoothly out of any situation if you think hard enough, and I applied myself.

I decided that the first thing I needed to do was go to the bathroom and get cleaned up. The men's room was out of order so I knocked on the ladies' room, which was empty. I soaped and scrubbed the sink and made a little warm bath in it, and had just started to clean my glasses off when a lady barged in with some kid. She started screamin' and I bolted, burger wrappers still all stuck to my body.

I guess the manager had finally gotten around to calling the police about the passed out, trash-covered bum in his restaurant, because when I ran out I got intercepted by two badges who wrestled me to the floor. Needless to say, they didn't buy my story about getting the winning game pieces stolen offa' me by some kids, and they certainly didn't believe that I played golf with Sergeant Callahan. Pretty soon I was downtown gettin' booked, and a wino with real bad snot runnin' outta his nose was completely staring at me.

After about two hours Bill (Sgt. Callahan) walked past the holding tank. By this time I had managed to remove all the wrappers and pat my hair down, and the wino had let me wipe my glasses off on his shirt, so I looked more like a nice guy who'd maybe had too many the night before than an insane high maniac who wore garbage and attacked women in the bathroom at McDonald's. Bill took one look at me and gnashed his teeth.

"Those morons," he growled.

He unlocked the cell door and I strode out.

"I told those clowns," he said, "to call you about the wallet we recovered off some skater punk who got hit by a truck. Looks like they thought you were the driver." He made his old "aaargh!" sound and raised his fists in the air, the same thing he does when he misses one of those two-foot putts of his.

"Oh," I said, "no trouble, Bill. You're buyin' on Sunday though!" (we were playin' in a foursome with Mayor C and Leo who owns the Caddy dealership, and those guys like to get pretty lit up after a round.)

Before you could say Rusty Nail I had the wallet back, game pieces intact! Bill even had an officer drive me back to the pad, and I found five bucks tucked between the seat cushions in the cruiser.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What's Wednesday for?

What does a dude do on a Wednesday? They're doin' that Monopoly thing down at McDonald's, maybe I'll go try my luck. Last time they ran this contest I just won a Big Mac and some small computer speakers at Best Buy, but that don't keep me down. Maybe I'll get Téodor to go with me and we can hit the driving range later.

But what if Téodor wins a huge prize that could have been mine if we'd bought our food in a different order? Here's what I'll do. I'll call Téodor now and ask him to meet me in an hour at Battori Uomo, to help me choose fabrics for new suits. He has to walk past McDonald's to get there, and I'll flag him down, food for two already bought and all the game pieces removed. I'll give him a story about how I wasn't as hungry as I thought I was (maybe act kind of high) and can he help me out. I hate to see McDonald's food go to waste.

I guess I should smoke a little now just to make the situation more believable.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Good news! I ain't got junk funk.

Man was I sweating as I waited for the STD test results. I was doin' that thing where you keep pickin' up the phone to make sure the dialtone is workin', which is damn stupid if you think about it. I'd slam the receiver back down all quick, but then get paranoid that I'd slammed it down TOO hard and check again.

Anyhow, Doc Andretti finally called (on my cell, actually) with the results of the test and they were all negative. I ain't got gonorrhea, I ain't got syphilis, I ain't got the 'chlam, and nor does Mr. Ray suffer from the big grand-daddy, the Hi-Five. Phew. Man, I always get so worked up over medical tests. I always think that the same day I get any sort of test done, they're gonna realize I only have fifteen minutes to live and ask if I've made any arrangements. I watch too much ER, is what it is.

In celebration of of my sparkly-clean blood and urine, tonight's party had the theme of Sexual Health Awareness. I had big bowls of contraceptives and lubes and plugs and stuff, and I hired the Trojan Girls, a crew of models in these awesome clear bodysuits. They went around and passed out Jäger shots and pamphlets about STDs that are asymptomatic. A spoonful of sugar, you know. I've always said that.

I couldn't really think up a food and beverage theme that went along with the safe sex concept, so I just had a burger bar and a sushi guy and a Belgian french fry stand. Real creative, I know. Big counter with about twelve of our brews on tap and six gals pullin'. Just a normal straightforward party. Got some local Neil Diamond cover band called Neil Before Us, folks dug that alright. No major incidents, a real pleasant time. I'm gonna watch some ESPN and hit the hay. Got a big day tomorrow: I'm cookin' my practice turkeys for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Fine, then.

I guess kind of by my own intentions and also Tina's intentions, I ain't seen her in like two weeks. I think we sent this one back to the kitchen, folks. No dice, no go.

It ain't surprise me, really. I knew when we were havin' all the fall-back-into-it rush that that was the only thing we were really enjoying about it. That rush. The rush.

You do what you can when you feel that rush. It's a free drug, and it's made of sex. It's made of loins slowly sliding over each other, and maybe shit is unprotected. Sorry.

My shit was unprotected. Yeah, it was. I am ten kinds of anxious while my double-blind HIV test comes back tomorrow.

I played it all clay dick and now I'm payin' the price with worry. Man, NEVER let yourself slip like that. It ain't worth it. I'm tellin' you this here now.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What Did Ray Do!

Heh. Oh, man. This week was definitely not a repeat of last week's disaster. Let me tell you why.

Did you hear about how a couple of months ago, Oprah gave a brand new Pontiac to every single person in her TV audience? The whole thing was staged as a surprise, where audience members were told that under their seats was a little box, and that one of the boxes had the keys to a new car in it. They all got their boxes and then, on Oprah's cue, they opened them. Every single box had a new car key in it! The place went nuts. Extremely average women were crying, hugging each other, jumping up and down...Oprah had engineered one of the biggest media coups of the year.

I thought, hell, if Oprah can do it, so can Ray. My portfolio has been performing like a stallion this year, and the music royalties have been particularly pleasing. Why not spread the wealth a bit? I'm never gonna use half of it. On that note, I decided to stage an Oprah-type talk show as my party, only instead of seats it would be general admission, so folks could mill around and dance and stuff before I took the stage.

I had the local theater union come and build a proper talk show arena, but with a couple excellent fast food options around the perimeter. We got booths from "Hot Baked Potato, A Concern," "Steam Dog" (a franchise of hot dogs which are cooked using only steam, ensuring a better skin snap), "Aussome Lamb" (grilled Australian lamb by the chop or by the rack), and "The Wurst Men" (excellent German-style sausages cooked and served by guys dressed as famous criminals, such as Al Capone, Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein).

Oh, it ain't lost on me that a lot of these shows secretly create crowd enthusiasm by handing out tons of stuff to drink. To get folks most peppy we had a few counters that served Jack and Coke, rum and cola, and vodka with Red Bull. No beer kept them from havin' to go to the bathroom every five minutes and missing any part of the show.

Anyhow, it seems like every time you turn on Maury Povich or Jerry Springer or whatever, they're showcasing some run of the mill white trash problem, like morbidly obese parents who are upset that their estranged daughter is marrying a rash model, so I took my cue from them. The guests on my show were this local East Achewood family that was all pissed because the mechanic dad only made thirty bucks a day but spent twenty bucks a day on smokes. I told them I'd pay them fifty bucks each and they were primed.

You may be asking yourself how a big audience prize giveaway fits into all this. Hold on.

Well, we got the crowd goin’ with some AC/DC and Boston, and before too long they were ravenous for entertainment. We trotted the guests out one by one, announcing who they were, and each one got huge applause and hooting. There was the chubby slut daughter, the fat son who only played video games, the fat mom with the carpal-tunnel wrist things and a foam neck support, and then the dad, who came out smoking and pumping his fists in the air. He looked lean and tough, his shop sleeves rolled up to reveal several tattoos. They took their seats, each one separated by a standing bodyguard.

I had everybody raise the roof for a few and then got down to my intro. This was a family torn by an addiction, I said. “A smoking habit of four packs a day is driving a financial stake into this family’s well-being,” I said. The dad pumped his fists again and the crowd went wild. The slut daughter and the mom folded their arms and glared at him, while the son just sat and looked at his own shoes.

I asked the crowd how they thought the family should deal with its problem. One by one I walked along the front of the stage and took opinions. At first I got the usual stuff, like “he should quit smoking and care about his family!” Real obvious. One guy said that the dad only smoked as a way of dealing with the stress of being a parent, and this got a pretty good round of applause. The mom even started to clap for a second, before she folded her arms again and renewed her glare.

We did a few more audience Q&A and then I knew it was time to let the bomb drop. I was juiced. I had been waiting for this moment all night. We had all the people in the smoking guy’s family stand up, and we asked the audience to be silent while I made a “very special announcement.” Folks hushed real quick and the spotlights danced around the stage, one fixed on me.

I took a pause, and then, in a clear voice, I asked it: “Ladies and Gentlemen, you have a choice tonight. What would you prefer: that this family is sent on a two week intensive family bonding and therapy session, or that one of you gets a grass-fed, sixteen-ounce Omaha steak?” I pointed the microphone at the family, and the crowd went silent. Then I pointed it at the crowd, and they went wild. Back at the family; silent. Back at the crowd; whooping and deafening applause.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” I continued, “Your choice is clear. Each of you received an invisible stamp on the back of your hand when you arrived tonight. ONE of you received a stamp entitling you to the free steak. Variegos, hit the lights.” (Variegos was the union kid who was running the lights.) At this point all the lights cut and a blacklight went on. I asked everyone to look at the invisible stamp they had received on the back of their hand. Just like on Oprah, the crowd went crazy: they ALL had the winning stamp!

The bodyguards escorted the family offstage while a new crew put charcoal Weber grills where they had once sat, and the crowd went to claim their steaks. Soon folks were grillin’ and swillin’ and just all kinds of pumped to have won. It was a great night, and the beautiful scent of charred beef filled the air.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I should have seen that coming.

Okay, sometimes certain ingredients shouldn't be put together. In this case, the ingredients are two pallets of tequila, inexpensive machetes, and a Friday night crowd. In retrospect, I should not have had a party with the theme of tequila and machetes. Looking back, I know that now.

First of all, a machete isn't as easy to handle as Michael Douglas makes it look (Romancing The Stone, 1984, Zemeckis). The incredibly powerful performance by Machetes de Fuego made good machetemanship look so simple and easy that all the dudes in the crowd were convinced that they too could juggle six machetes or fillet a giant salmon in two lightning-fast strokes, if given the chance. Extremely unfortunately, this was not the case.

Since machetes were for sale at the party, and that performance was so inspiring, pretty much everybody shelled out for their own machete, and soon all sorts of challenges and contests sprang up. Two dudes staged an underwater machete fight in the pool...have you ever had a lot of liquor and then tried to do strenuous underwater activity? Let's just say that it makes you pretty "seasick." Before too long their little battle turned into big surface slicks of half-digested doner-kebab and mezcal. That was a lame thing to be skimmin' outta the pool come Saturday morning.

More serious damage was yet to come, though, as the night wore on. This guy Supreme, one of Lyle's buddies from some old kitchen job of his, decided that he could do the machete juggling thing. Before too long a mis-timed machete had sliced his right thumb off at the base, and he fell to his knees all screaming and crying and holding the stump like Luke Skywalker.

This was just a sign of things to come.

Another guy, some mechanic dude I had invited from earlier in the week when I was pickin' up the Escalade after its 500-mile maintenance, decided that he could swallow a flaming machete. The doctors say that he'll never speak again, and I say he's damn well never gonna work on my car again. What a bonehead.

Sothar, this big silly dude we always been kinda chummy with, got pretty jerked up on the mezcal and started mocking the guys from Machetes de Fuego. They are a real serious bunch, and they were not into watching some chubby guy in Lakers shorts and a "Got Blumpkin?" tshirt making fun of their craft. He stepped over the line when he grabbed one of their sacred machetes and hacked up one of their prop saguaro cactuses, so they took him out behind the garage for this ancient form of machete torture. I don't want to say too much about it, but it involved horizontally slicing every inch of his chest very slowly with machetes. When he finally passed out, they put a weird green beetle down his throat. I didn't watch the rest because I left.

I don't usually do this, but I ended up calling the cops on my own party. Sgt. Bill don't do me no harm, and his officers just came and broke it all up and confiscated the machetes. There were some pretty bad wounds, and there was a lot of property damage (all the plants in the yard had been hacked down to the root, including my nice Japanese maple), but on the whole...well, next time I throw a party I am probably gonna run the concept past a few dudes beforehand.