Of Mice & Men

Tongue-blackening taste!

I read an interesting scientific paper the other day because that is that is the type of thing that I do with my free time; I read scientific papers. Or at least that’s what I tell people, because people are narrow-minded and judgmental and if I tell them that I actually spend all of my free time drinking shoe polish and lurking in the plus size lingerie department at Walmart, they act as if they’re better than me, which is clearly bullshit because… Well, to be honest, I can’t think of a good way to end that sentence. But my point is, fuck those high-horse motherfuckers. They don’t bother me! Not as long as I’ve got another Kiwi and Coke at the ready.

Anyway, I did actually read an interesting scientific paper the other day. In a nutshell, scientists (who have clearly had a few Kiwi & Cokes themselves) have been able to implant false memories in the brains of sleeping mice. Because, you know, priorities! Sure, there are millions of people who go to bed hungry every night, and AIDS is running rampant in the Third World, but goddammit, someone has to figure out how to confuse the shit out of mice!

These scientific heroes, as it turns out, hail from France. If you think about it, this makes sense. After all, you’ve got plenty of money left over for scientific research when your entire military budget is used to buy white flags. But what is clear is that these scientists have fucking had it with mice (probably because they threaten their cheese supply). These are the methods by which French scientists are now able to bewilder mice:

  • They can turn mice memories on and off
  • They can convert a positive memory to a negative memory (I use alcohol for this)
  • They can implant memories of things that didn’t happen into the brain of a sleeping mouse

I think that last one has some real potential. For instance, if we convinced mice that they used to be rich and powerful players on Wall Street until they fell under the Satanic spell of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, who turned them into mice, then we could kick back and watch the hi-def CNN footage of a horde of enraged mice descending on Wall Street, rending flesh from bone in an orgy of vengeful and squeaking violence. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? Ok, maybe you’d need a couple of Kiwi and Cokes to appreciate it properly.

Occupy Wall Street Plan B

Occupy Wall Street Plan B

Incidentally, I spent some time trying to figure out what Janet Yellen’s official title is. First of all, since Dr. Yellen is presumably lacking in the dong department, the word “Chairman” seemed wrong. So I thought it might be Chairwoman, which sounds ok to the ear, but her title is actually “Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System” which is confusing because while she may not be winning any beauty contests any time soon, she certainly doesn’t look like a fucking chair.

Complicating matters is the fact that she is also the “Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee” which can only lead to one conclusion: Janet Yellen is part clownfish, able to change genders at will, and part naugahyde recliner. Just like Alan Greenspan.

Ok, since I’ve pretty much bailed on any pretense of having a narrative thread to this post, I’d like to discuss how Rosemary Clooney ruined my life.

Recently, I became engaged in an online battle of obnoxious and insanely catchy retro-commercial jingles. It started with a jingle for a deodorant commercial and went sharply downhill from there. Seriously. Florence Henderson got involved. It was brutal.

My lasting contribution to the battle was this gem, from the early 80’s:

This is how my brain works: I will forget to remove my car keys from the ignition of my car before getting out, locking, and then closing the doors because remembering not to lock myself out of my car would take up valuable space in my brain currently dedicated to remembering the Coronet jingle, and the name of the hateful woman who sang it, Rosemary Clooney.

I’m joking, Rosemary Clooney probably wasn’t a hateful person, I just harbor ill will towards anyone who sticks a fucking commercial jingle in my brain for 34 fucking years. I mean, shit. 34 years from now, whether or not I will remember my own name is an open question, but I bet you any amount of money that I will be able to instantly recall the Coronet jingle.

But what bothered me wasn’t so much the jingle, which I’ve learned to live with thanks to electroshock therapy and hashish, but the commercial itself. You see, the last time I saw that commercial, I had no idea that Rosemary Clooney had a nephew that would go on to become famous. No one did. He was a 20 year old nobody, blowing dudes for cash in a YMCA men’s room in Boston. Or maybe that was Ben Affleck. Look, the point is, I didn’t know who George Clooney was at the time.

But when I watched the commercial the other day, my overactive brain made a few quick connections that will haunt me to my grave:

  • Hey, you can really see the resemblance between Rosemary and George Clooney.
  • Rosemary Clooney looks like George Clooney had sex with Bea Arthur.
  • Oh, fuck, I am never going to get that image out of my brain.
And now, neither will you. Sorry.

And now, neither will you. Sorry.

On to less gut-wrenching fare… A while back, I ran across a guy who was unabashedly rocking out to Billy Joel in public, even though tarring and feathering Billy Joel fans is no longer a misdemeanor in most states. Well, the wonderful Spring weather in Phoenix (it was 80 today) has people all across the valley driving with their windows down, which resulted in me pulling up next to a guy who was absolutely fucking jamming out to this song:

All right. First of all, let me state for the record that the Beatles are fucking awesome, and they deserve every bit of credit that has ever been thrown their way. They single-handedly made rock fucking cool, taking it from the Pat Boone era to the Take-Drugs-And-Grow-Hair-Down-To-Your-Ass era, and if that isn’t a win in your book, then your book is pathetic and wrong, and I hope you die of chlamydia.

But Julia is not a Windows Down song by any stretch of the imagination. That’s not to say it isn’t a good song. It’s a well written and touching tribute to John Lennon’s mother, who tragically died after being attacked by rabid badgers, which I remember very vividly although to be fair, I must admit that I’ve had some French scientists hanging out at the house lately.

Anyway, even if it’s a good song, that doesn’t mean it’s a Windows Down song. The windows often stay up for good songs, just as the windows can come down for a bad song. For instance, American Band by Grand Funk Railroad is a Windows Down song, even though it is utterly horrible:

I have no idea why all these terrible TV shows were used in this video, but it seemed fitting somehow.

This song is an acceptable Windows Down song because how else are you going to tell people that you are both coming to their town and willing to help them party down?

A couple of other notes about this song: Grand Funk Railroad apparently stays at hotels that require actual detectives (“The hotel detective, he was out of sight!”), which is like, what the fuck guys? Try and stay at hotels that aren’t in such high-crime areas, by which I mean no more tour stops in Detroit.

Also, it is worth noting that if you go down to the local train station and ask how much a ticket on the Grand Funk Railroad is, you will get odd looks and nothing more. Railroad folk are incredibly dull and have no sense of humor.

So American Band is a Windows Down song, but Julia is not. Here’s a rule of thumb: If the song currently being played can be described as “kick-fucking-ass!” then the windows may come down. If, on the other hand, you or anyone you know has referred to a song as “moving”, windows up.

You also have to take into account the Shame Factor. I grew up in Chicagoland in the 70’s and 80’s, and during that time a certain local band was very popular and so you could not go more than five minutes without hearing a song by Styx on the radio. In my mind, they became synonymous with youth, and so I will always smile when I hear a song by Styx being played on the radio, which luckily doesn’t happen very often because by most measures, they were pretty fucking horrible.

God damn…

So if Too Much Time On My Hands came on the radio, I would roll the windows up, turn the sound down a bit, and pretend that I was listening to local sports talk radio or something, making sure not to let anyone in a nearby car figure out that I was enjoying the same horrid song playing on their radio.

Styx: Is it any wonder I’ve got toooooo much…

Me: (subtly claps twice well below window level)

Styx: …time on my hands!

And if anyone caught on and called me on it, I would deny it and tell them I was doing something much less shameful:

Other Driver: Hey! HEY!

Me: (rolls down window) Yes?

Other Driver: Were you clapping along to Too Much Time on My Hands?

Me: NO! No, I was just… Masturbating! Yeah, I was masturbating! Just sitting here in traffic, masturbating away! I certainly wasn’t listening to and enjoying Styx, haha!

Other Driver: Yeah, right. You sick fuck.

I mean, seriously. How shameful is liking Styx? Did you watch that video? Here are the members of the band:

Dennis DeYoung, who's into perms, arm garters, and LSD.

Dennis DeYoung, who’s into perms, arm garters, and LSD.

Tommy Shaw, who was apparently unaware that even in the 1970s, aquamarine jumpsuits weren't a good idea.

Tommy Shaw, who was apparently unaware that even in the 1970s, aquamarine jumpsuits weren’t a good idea.

The dude who invented the BumpIt.

The dude who invented the BumpIt.

Gopher's sister.

Gopher in drag.

Some registered sex offender who routinely does shit in that coat that ruins trenchcoats for the rest of us.

Some registered sex offender who routinely does shit in that get-up that ruins trenchcoats for the rest of us.

Jesus, why didn’t they just get John Wayne Gacy to play the tambourine while they were at it?

Let’s face it, I have entire tracts of my brain that I need those French scientists to wipe out, and not in the usual “Oh, fuck, I woke up and the chick in bed next to me looked like Mr. Magoo” kind of way. I mean, Rosemary Clooney as the offspring of her nephew and Bea Arthur? Jesus God, that’s the kind of thing that would send a person scurrying off to Crazy Stu’s Discount Lobotomy Hut.

All right, I’m going to wrap this up with something that may or may not surprise you. A long, long time ago, when my liver was less than 1 billion beers old, I lived in Tucson and shared an apartment with good friend, long-time reader, and DoD Hall of Fame commenter Squatch. Now, I’ve known Squatch since college, and we shared a lot of strange experiences together, such as the time we freaked out at a toll booth in Chicago on acid. So it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you that one time we hatched a plan to crash the Special Olympics by acting retarded.

Now, in our defense, I must say that what amused us (which is the term I’m using instead of “made us laugh beer out of our noses”) was the idea of someone so hyper-competitive that they would even consider of doing this. And yeah, the mental image was pretty fucking hilarious too. (The medal ceremony included many juice boxes.) But we were goofing on the idea itself. We wouldn’t actually do something so horrific and insensitive. No one would.

Or so I thought.

Enter the nation of Spain, which was stripped of their intellectual disability gold medals in basketball at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games when it was revealed that 10 of the 12 members of the team were faking the stupid. I guess they got caught when they started solving quadratic equations at halftime or something.

So I wanted to take this time to publicly congratulate Squatch and myself, who are no longer “the worst human beings on the planet” as my then-girlfriend opined when informed of our plan. It took 21 years to clear our good names, but justice prevailed, and we plan on celebrating with a juice box. Or failing that, a Kiwi and Coke.