Bruce McCulloch – Lets Start A Riot. A review

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Bruce McCulloch is my favorite Kid in the Hall and not just because I know a lot (a surprising number) of Dave’s nor due to my past ownership of a terrier.   He is/was my favorite because he came across as a smarmy, hyper funny, uber-intelligent prick when we watched KITH in high school.  I aspired to be like him.  I emulated him. (I can probably blame this decision on my complete and utter lack of sex in high school.  I can probably blame this decision on my two teeth that got broken on my nineteenth birthday when I decided to walk up to two fashion-hecklers at a bar and point out that “at least we don’t look like we just crawled out of the Doc’s” (a local skid bar).  Whap. Down I went. Bouncers descended.  Out the door went the offenders. “Happy Birthday dumbass” (said in Brucio’s voice).

When I saw that he was releasing an autobiography entitled “Let’s Start A Riot” I immediately logged into Amazon and pre-ordered it.  I have of late noted a number of celebiographical books coming out of people that made an impact on my life and pushed it to the top of the list.  John Lydon and Billy Idol will have to wait.  It arrived, early, on a Friday.  I was finished it by the following Wednesday. It was that good that I crammed all of it into my head as quickly as my schedule would allow and I am nothing but the happier for it.

It is a good book.

It chronicles his life from being a kid with a father who drank too much and a mother who tolerated said father for only so long (oddly, just like my life..) to his comedy years on television with KITH till today.  Let’s Start A Riot is full to the outer edges with hilarious, poignant and at times terribly sad stories of this surprising man, husband and father’s life.  I can only whole heartedly encourage you to pick it up, pay for it, and read it.  You will have a hard time putting it down and when it is over you will look upon this comedic genius with a different set of eyes.

Thirty Helens agree:

Five out of Five

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The Murder

It was the perfect crime
It too fair loads of time
A planning trip, could be no slip
To end her life, sublime

A lover, long lost years ago
Of tormenting him, she made a show
Upon his mind, a taloned grip
She really had to go.

A trip was won, cross ocean blue
And he arranged to travel too
Scoped all lengths of crowded ship
Oh days long past she’d rue

Watched from afar, she sunned and drank
Lost all thought of ships that sank
Stumbled, bumbled, dress with rip
Out he came from darkness, rank

Waves were high, the ship flew up
She slipped, saw him, lost her cup
He grabbed her legs and with a flip
She shot down, while screams flew up

Into a stair he slid with stealth
Her death would bring him gold free wealth
The ocean deep they in storms grip
His joy would bring him mental health

But the sea rejected her, not her time to die
A toss of wave, a lick of wind, on lower deck she’d fly
He downed a drink, a fiery nip
She gasped, a tearful cry…

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Not sad!!

Am I a sad person?  No.

 Am I an overwhelmingly happy person?  Not usually.

Does this confuse the fuck out of people?  Yes. 

Why? Because we live in an age of masks.

When I was a kid, riding my bike around town on a Sunday afternoon (desperately trying to find a “friend” to hang out with) I was often confronted by friends of my older family members.  They would say “you look so serious all the time” which made no sense to me.  I cracked (bad) jokes, often somewhat inappropriate to the audience, all the time.  I smiled when people and I interacted.  I laughed at pretty much everything that I found humorous out loud and  unabashedly (which was a wide assortment of things ranging from dogs chasing tails to fat people slipping on ice).   I was always polite and pleasant when I knocked on people’s doors to see if my “friends” could come out and play.  I guess really, truly, the fact that I didn’t walk around with a grin plastered on my face when I wasn’t amused (or sucking up to someone, a parent or a “friend”) made me look “serious” to bystanders.

I have seen people who are always smiling or at least happy.  It’s frigging creepy.  It is off-putting (so to speak).  It is as far as I can tell not because the people are always happy, but because that is their stock expression, their standard way of being.   These are the kind of people that when someone rear-ends them (with a car, not late at night at a party) jump out to see if the other person is okay and then says things like “well, people make mistakes.. that’s why we all have insurance”. Whereas my reaction is to look in rear view mirror, take account that nobody in my car is injured then quickly determine:

a) If the driver is hot, 

b) I can justifiably pound the piss out of the person who hit me (assuming she isn’t hot),

c) Push them off a cliff and drive home assuming I am unscathed.  (Revenge makes other bad situations vanish for a while but is a sweet, sweet, luxurious gift you rarely get to open…

d) (Assuming she is hot) does she need a blanket or a backrub.

Perhaps this is some weird connection to some biblical teaching about turning the other cheek or letting Romans nail you to crosses without fighting back or something equally illogical.  Perhaps these people are in truth seething with vile poisonous flaming fury inside and they are really, really good at hiding it.  Maybe that’s why when someone DOES snap and take out the occupants of a pharmacy with a cheap katana they picked up at the Walmart guns and knives department, their family says “they seemed so, nice, I cannot imagine they did this”. 

Perhaps I am just a little too serious.
But I guarantee you, smile of no smile, I have no plans on buying that katana or pushing your car off of a cliff. 

Especially if you are hot.

Signed
Mister Not Sad

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When The Dark Came

It was a cold, bitter wind that blew through the town one late evening mid-December when the phones began to ring.  One, then another, then another and if you stood on the street and cupped your ears, you would hear them in all directions.  When people answered their phones, they could only hear the voices of other citizens doing the same.  Hundreds of “hellos”, hundreds of “who is there”, hundreds of hang-ups, many of them angry as the phones would ring again and again. Then at once, the ringing stopped.

Then minutes later, some parents, angry with what had just transpired in the midst of Sunday dinner, or Sunday football, or other Sunday family traditions, turned around and wondered who turned the lights out.  Then when the lights came back on, wondered where their children had gone, wondered who had left the back door open, what had happened, what was all that yelling outside, who was that, screaming.

And the sky above the town full of stars and cloudless cold night went dark.

And the wind blew.

And Johnnie, who had fallen asleep in his room while reading, leapt to the window that he kept open just a crack for he liked the cool breeze on his face. He looked out and saw night and looked up and saw thick blackness above that seemed to coil and curdle before his eyes.  And he recognized The Dark.

And Janie who had been listening to music as she drew, heard her parents talking to a neighbor, an upset neighbor, at their door.  “No” they hadn’t seen Tommy.  “Yes” their phone had also rung. “Yes”, they would help look.  And they yelled to her and she rushed to the phone and called Johnnie as she looked out into the street, people yelling, talking, shining lights in bushes and sheds and she too looked up and saw it.

And the dark hung above the city.

And the wind blew, cold and bitter and found its way into the seams of the searchers clothing.

And the children were gone

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What I did last weekend. Sept 29

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The Mistake

Crushing, pounding, wrenching sadness
Washing o’er the gathered mob
Resulting from their vile black madness
For wandering few who’d rob
They strung them up and hung them dead
Ropes around their necks
Kick chair, jerk body, still head
Blood from noses, flecks
Then from the road a screeching lass
Who yelled, “..proceed no more!”
The twitching stopped, wind still as glass
Our boys were back from war
They left so young, they aged in battle
Many years ago
And now necks broken, gone death rattle
Lives of sons did flow

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Care not I

Why do I care
Why do I bother
Its such a waste of time

I pull out my hair
Don’t talk to my mother
Glorious social net crime

I just couldnt care
If all of them died
If they fell to the ground in a heap

But I proffer my ware
My laughs though I cried
And at night ‘pon their visage I creep

And they cling to my word
Like an oracle I
Though the knowlege I spake is mere grot

And they act like a herd
A chip wagon chef I
And the pestilence verbage I’ve wrought

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Janie Saw It Too

Johnnie and Janie became the fastest of friends.  They became almost inseparable.  They watched television.  They wandered the streets, the parks, the cemeteries.  They went to movies, the mall, the library.  When the next autumn came, they began to attend the same school and from there, the friendship went beyond the norm.

But they never spoke of The Dark

They shared secrets, loves, sorrow, pain and happiness.  Their families became close and they all shared vacations.  They shared dinners as one, picnics as one, birthdays and Christmases as one.  The two families became inseparable, which suited them fine as none of them truly felt welcome in the town they lived..

But they never spoke of The Dark.

Johnnie spoke of his insecurities; his odd likes and dislikes the things he liked and the things he feared.

Except for the dark.

Janie spoke of her anxious ways, her esoteric preferences and her lack of friendship among the other girls at school. She spoke of the fire that claimed the lives that she was blamed for.

She did not speak of The Dark.

Yes. Janie had too seen The Dark.

Janie was at summer camp, three years previous, standing by a lake, avoiding the jeering of the other girls.  Janie was watching a fog bankrolls across the water, a wall of white, glowing in the morning sun.  Janie watched as a shape, a deep black shape, pointed, sleek, swimming shark like through the fog.  As the mist hit the shore, Janie dove to one side, her catatonic state broken by a sound from behind.  As she dove, the shape turned her way.  The sound that broke the spell was one of her many tormentors attempting to push her into the waters.  The shape took the other girl and with a snap, was gone.

She lay panting. She lay sore from striking the roots of a nearby tree.  She lay quiet, still, as the shape circled then slid off back to the lake.  She rose and headed to the cabin, unaware that the girl who slept above her would not be returning.  Unaware that the girl had even been behind her.  Unaware that she had escaped death.

But she had seen The Dark for the first time.

It would not be the last.

For she or Johnnie.

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Watermelon

It was a late summer day in September, 1995, when I decided to grow up.  I was twenty nine.  I had been separated two years previously from my first spouse and when not in “dad mode” (we had joint custody and equal time with The Boy) I was either at work, planning to go out with my friends, out with friends or recovering from being out.  Yes, I did play soccer and yes I did coach soccer (women’s soccer) and did other miscellaneous things like play board games and minor hobbies but primarily, I didn’t like to be home alone at night and that meant out to the clubs. 

Downfall, imminent.

I had been single for the most part of the previous ten months and had recently started seeing a couple of women (dating) on and off and decided when invited to an end-of season soccer dinner that I would go.  It wasn’t my “thing”; I didn’t like “events” but the plethora of women, athletic, mostly single, women, was a big drawing card for me, so I dressed casual but “eventy” and headed off to the gig. The dinner was for the most part uneventful (apart from my getting “the eye” from a cuteish player from a different team) but for whatever reason I told one of the women players that I had been dating on and off that I was heading home to sleep. 

Aside: a truly nice person, though very protective and a bit clingy.  The fact she was three inches taller than me freaked me out though.  The fact she was a cop more so.

Leaving the dinner, a friend and I decided to meet other friends (no surprise) at a local dance club and play some pool.  It was a Monday night so the crowd was thin and we assumed it would for the first time in a VERY long time be an early evening.  Then, they arrived.  Two women soccer players, one being the one that gave had given me the flirty look earlier in the evening, the other, a sadly better looking though unattainable red-head mortician (true story).  We played pool, chatted, my advances cast aside by Morticia, we left the club and the alternate and I went off to another club to drink, dance and as much as I planned otherwise, to split up at the end of the night never to speak again (though I planned to get Morticia’s number first).

On the way to the club, I was proffered a clue that I should simply turn off on a side street and go home, not following her beat up Honda to the other end of town.  I felt all of a sudden as if the world was underwater. She hit the brakes in front of me for a streetlight turning orange and I had to slam on mine in response.  I skidded twenty or more feet to a screeching stop knowing full well that I was now too drunk to be driving, yet I was off to drink more.  Clues aside, we continued.

We arrived, bribed our way in to the packed club, danced, drank, drank, ate, and drank.  In what seemed like minutes (but was in truth hours) we got into my car, drove dangerously to my place, got in bed and due to a lack of contraception, promptly fell asleep.  “No” she said “It’s not happening”. The next morning, still three sheets to the wind, we boinked (after inspecting her bellybutton piercing!), woke up, ate, showered and I drove her to her home to meet her father in the driveway who would have to drive into the city to get her car later on that day.

We never spoke again.

More importantly, I never saw the mortician again.

I arrived back home and began to feel terribly unwell. It was as if the gods of partying decided my fun was now over.  I did the math.  I had spent over one hundred dollars on the evening on cheap drinks alone, not accounting for those at the event nor the ticket for such.  I almost died.  I slept with a stranger (with a bellybutton piercing!  my first!), risked death dropping her off smelling of booze to her father at the end of her driveway, forgot to call in sick to work (a few hours later I did) and now felt like I was going to die from alcohol poisoning.

I took gravol, advil, tylenon, water by the bucket.

I sat on my balcony in the hot sun to cook the poison from my system.

I ate rice.

I drank ginger ale.

I watched depressing daytime television.

I decided I needed to start exercising (I hadn’t for a few years) and as an ex-runner, I needed to start now.

I showered (third of the day), dressed in “going for a long walk” gear and started walking the five kilometers to a local mall.  I had seen watermelons on sale there the night before. 

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon would be the start of the new me.)

The walk was Death Valley hot.  Dusty, loud, un-fun.  Double-plus un-fun.  I made it to the store and promptly walked to the frozen food aisle sticking my head and half of my body deep into the stand up cooler for a few minutes pretending to look at frozen lasagna. I selected a Gatorade and a large watermelon. 

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon would heal me.)

I paid and walked home, sweaty, grumpy, thirsty (oh, hey, look, (half way home), I bought a Gatorade!) cursing myself for not at least having the HUGE UNGAINLY ROUND SLIPPERY WATERMELON put in a bag.

(I love watermelon.  Watermelon is my penance.  It will cure me.)

I arrived home.  I lay on the living room floor and slept for two hours.  I woke, carried the watermelon to the kitchen and promptly ate almost half of it.  I lay on the couch and reflected on the day, the night before. I answered the phone when my on-again, off-again insanely tall cop girlfriendish person called and agreed to go play pool that night.  Yes, she could pick me up. No, I didn’t want to go for dinner first as I wasn’t feeling well. No, I wouldn’t be drinking.  Yes, I would go running with her next weekend. 

I needed to get back to being myself.

Did she want some watermelon?  Yes?  Good. I’d bring her half of one.

Watermelon is good.  I love watermelon.

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Duck You

duckoff
I don’t understand people. Okay, that is inaccurate, I don’t understand people. No, let me try again. I DO understand why people do the things that they do that I find irritating, silly, moronic and/or plain old dopey, I just don’t understand why they do. No. Again, words fail me. I Understand the biochemical reasons, the evolutionary reasons behind the actions of other humans. Everything can be explained. Everything can be tied back to survival mechanisms. That said, I don’t understand people.

DAMN.

That keeps slipping out.

I get why people do things I think are frankly idiotic. I do, I really do. I just don’t understand people.

Fu…

NO. I guess my problem is that I fully and completely understand that people are ducking boneheads and, why does my computer keep changing duck to duck. Ducking, fuckity duck fuck. Aha. Fuckity isn’t a real word and unlike duck there is no single letter right beside the first letter of the word I typed that the ever omnipotent Microsoft (that apparently knows to capitalize itself) thinks I meant to use. Duck, duck, fuck. Wait. Hold on. Duck. Corrected. Duck fuck duck fuck duck.. Okay, now I am confused. “Duck duck” is okay.. wait. Why did it change the second duck to duck this time.

Okay. Fuck. If I put a period after it, it’s accepted.

Duck
Fuck.

Apparently it’s okay to write that I am attending a duck puck. Puck? WTF?

What the duck.

My name is Mister Duck. Fuck.

Oddly, unlike old school MS Word, duck ahem “duck” ahem “duck.” Oh Jesus H Christ on a stick. F.U.C.K. doesn’t even show up with the little red wiggly “I don’t know this word” line that appears under fuckity I can see it right there, now) so I cannot even right click on it and say “add to your prudish dictionary that capitalizes Microsoft and Jedi yet doesn’t know one of the oldest and most used “bad words” in all languages on our planet”.

I guess I will try to fix that later.

I don’t understand tucking people.

Tucking. That’s new. What’s wrong with ducking.

Duck I don’t understand fucking people. Woah. Hold on.

People make me crazy. There. I understand why people do the irritating things they do because they feel compelled to do such things due to biochemical and emotional reactions based on millions of years of survival based evolution. Most of all, I don’t understand women. Okay I do. I DO understand women and the things they do and why they do the things they do, I just don’t understand why they would not want to fight evolution and stop doing the crazy shit (aha! Shit and “aha” are good to use!) they do among themselves and not around the rest of us.

Not all women. I wish to make that clear right now, I mean just the ones at the back of the train car I am in who haven’t shut the duck up for the past two and a half hours.

Where are my fucking headphones.

Huh?

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