Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday Cipher #17 - The Widow's Faulty Engine

Oh no! The widow's car won't start! If she doesn't leave soon, she'll miss the team-picking for the Girl Scouts' annual hairshirts vs. skins hockey game! As a trained masseuse you'd love to help, but the engine seems to have been replaced by a magical word puzzle! Solve the puzzle and the Girl Scouts will surely give you cookies for helping out their biggest fan!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: E equals P.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I came up with the idea for the aqualung one day as I was holding a burlap sack of kittens under the water. I thought of a way I could live underwater while these kittens died so easily." - Jacques Cousteau

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Love Critical Analysis

Here are my professional thoughts on the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" as performed by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine
I knew he must 'a been about seventeen.

The record machine? We're off to a bad start. First line and I'm confused. What the hell is a record machine? Is Joan Jett (and presumably the Blackhearts as well) in some sort of factory? I mean Factory Records started as a club called The Factory, and then the record label was called that, but I don't think there was ever an actual factory involved. Other than in the production of records of course. The physical production of records, not records being produced, like in a studio. Whatever. Either way I think this kid's gonna loose a finger in that machine. He's probably only seventeen, too, so he really shouldn't be operating machinery, let alone dancing while doing it. I mean, when I worked in a deli clerks were required to be at least 18 to operate the slicer, so I imagine the same holds true for some sort of industrial record press.

The Beat was going strong
Playin' my favorite song

This is of course a reference to British ska band The Beat, known in the states as The English Beat. They may have been playing a show in the factory. It's possible one or more of the members worked in the plant and they jammed on breaks.
[See also Mingus in the Classroom Conboy, pp 183-190]

An' I could tell it wouldn't be long
Till he was with me, yeah me

An' I could tell it wouldn't be long

Till he was with me, yeah me singin'

This concerns the aforementioned underage machinist from the first line. Joan Jett anticipates being with him in some capacity. Perhaps she's going to take him to HR and get him some safety glasses or make sure he's even allowed to operate that machine.

The machinist and his v-neck shirt

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby

A dime? I realize this song was written in 1975, but still, a dime? What did that get you, like half a song? In the mid-to-late eighties when I used to play my jams on the jukebox at Round Table Pizza I think a dollar got you five songs, so maybe that is how much one play cost in 1975. It just seems cheap to me. 10 songs for a buck? That's a lot. I think that the dime must have been the standard unit of jukebox currency for something like 70 years, and it just got you fewer and fewer plays over time. In 1940 a dime got you like 58 songs. Or a live performance of one song by the real-life Glenn Miller band. By 1975 it got you one song. Maybe not even that. Maybe she wants him to put another dime in the jukebox because the last one is almost up. It's like a peepshow booth window where you have to keep pumping in money to keep it up. [Take that last sentence however you please.] That's also why she asks for more money to be put in a number of times throughout the song. This shitty jukebox plays 18 seconds of a song before you have to feed it another dime. And it only takes one dime at a time. If you haven't heard the "time is about to expire" klaxon yet your next dime just falls through the slot, and the exit hole is about two inches off the floor so you have to pick up your dime off the nasty linoleum. While I'm talking about jukeboxes, allow me to digress.

I really dislike these newfangled Internet-connected jukeboxes that bars have nowadays. I always thought that a jukebox was a great indicator of a bar's atmosphere. If you don't like a single song on a particular bar's jukebox, you probably should not be drinking in that bar. Now the music on the bar's speakers is determined by what asshole wants to dump in money to download his jam from the Internet. I've even been to bars where a couple slots held CD's from regular patrons. Also, it seemed to me that the ability to pick a great set from whatever music the bar had available was a key skill for the habitual bar-goer. Your friends would always like to see what you picked and give props if props were deserved. I don't think it's that fun to go out and pay to listen to the same songs I would play at home from my personal music collection. Also, you never knew when your set was going to play, and it made it so much better when your songs came on. There was always a chance that some dude put like ten dollars in there right before you and your songs wouldn't come on before you left, but that was fairly rare. Now most 'boxes (that's what they call jukeboxes on the coast; they actually pronounce the apostrophe) allow you to play your song next for additional credits. Theoretically people can prevent your songs from ever being played. I've seen it happen. Some bros hang out by the 'box and talk about college and continually pay to hear that awesome Dave Matthews song next until some drunk chick wants to hear "Sweet Caroline" and your songs never come on because you decided to play fair and let the music play in the order it was put in. And this download nonsense. It enables some bad shit. I was at Don's Mixed Drinks once after it had started to go downhill and they had installed an Internet jukebox. Some hippie downloaded and "play[ed] next" a Phish song. Thanks to these contraptions the whole bar was treated to a fucking live Phish track that was seriously like 18 minutes long. I bet the hippie thought he was really clever, too. I bet he thought, "Wow, not only is this an awesome jam, but it's so long the 4 dollars I just spent is totally worth it! That's like 22 cents a minute, man". Not that a hippie would really do the math on that. It would be more like "It was like four bucks, but that's like... um... a TON of music, so...". Lastly, these things are freaking expensive. I know I can't get 5 plays for a buck anymore, but I think a dollar gets you 1 1/8 credits on these things. And with the option to pay to download or "play next" your song a person could spend like $13 to hear "Sex Dwarf". Which is of course why these exist. Just like the old style 'boxes, it's about the coin, not the rock 'n' roll.

I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

I don't get the "take your time" part. "So, mosey on over hear and eventually we'll dance. Not to this song, because it will have ended some time ago, but that's really my fault for telling you to take your time." Maybe the dancing is him taking his time. Maybe he's got to go do his dishes or something but instead he's taking his time and dancing with her. I suppose she could be saying the dancing itself would not be rushed, but would be enjoyed leisurely. That doesn't jibe with my concept of dancing to rock 'n' roll, but I may be wrong about the whole concept; I don't really dance.

He smiled so I got up an' asked for his name
That don't matter, he said,

'Cause it's all the same

I love this dude. He has disdain for names. He's like "Whatever, it's just a word for somebody. They're all the same. Pffft. Names." Have hipsters turned their cynicism and irony on names yet? 'Cause this dude just won. I have no idea, but I imagine hipsters currently have somehow ironic names. Maybe men named Leslie and Tracey(Tracy Morgan doesn't count because he's hilarious and clearly not a hipster) and Warren. Women named Agatha and Gertrude (Trudy). But this dude totally just won. He's like "Oh, you use names? Right."

Said can I take you home
where we can be alone

It's not entirely clear, but I think this is the machine operator speaking these two lines. He cuts the crap. He doesn't even put up with shit like names, so you know he cuts to the chase when it comes to propositioning women. Life is nasty, brutish and short at the record factory. One second you're pressing a never ending stream of 3 Doors Down albums and the next your pulped phalanges are on their way to making "Kryptonite" skip and ruining Alpha Sig's circle jerk. You have to grab love when you can.

An' next we were movin' on

He was with me, yeah me

Next we were movin' on

He was with me, yeah me, singin'

Joan and the machinist relocate to another location, presumably a filthy apartment above a tattoo parlor.

I love rock n' roll

So put another dime in the jukebox, baby

I love rock n' roll

So come an' take your time an' dance with me

I think rock 'n' roll is a metaphor for sex. Joan loves it. I'm not real sure what she means by the "So put another dime in the jukebox, baby" thing though. If the jukebox "plays" rock 'n' roll(sex), then the dime makes it possible for the jukebox to play(commence) the rock 'n' roll(sex). So the dime is him feeding her drinks. But that makes her the jukebox. Does that work? Maybe dancing is the sex metaphor. I don't know, screw it. The line "So come an' take your time an' dance with me" refers to her concerns about premature ejaculation.

Said can I take you home
where we can be alone

Maybe now they are going to relocate to the other person apartment for more sex? Like, Joan is sick of hearing the buzz of the tattoo gun coming out of the shared air ducts and wants to go back to her place because she lives over a laundromat and it always smells like fabric softener there, which is nice.

Next we'll be movin' on

He was with me, yeah me

An we'll be movin' on

An' singin' that same old song

Yeah with me, singin'

The video is confusing as hell too. It follows the basic plot of the song - Joan arrives at a bar, a young man is dancing by the jukebox, they party together. But evidently the song that he is jamming to on the jukebox, which as Joan stated is also her favorite song is this song. The underage guy in question is also the bassist for The Blackhearts (Gary Ryan). So according to this video Joan somehow wrote this song (I know, it's a cover. Deal with it) about meeting this stranger(Ryan) with a guy who was already in her band(Ryan again), and he's the same guy, and they are listening to this same song before they ever met one another. That's some nightmare Escher bar that Joan frequents. I imagine myself drinking an everlasting mug of beer that I'm busy brewing with my wife that I have not yet met although she gave me the recipe some months ago. And of course the band is shown playing for excited bar customers.

These people love rock 'n' roll

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Cipher #16 - Sammy the Whale's Dilemma

Sammy the Whale has a whale of a problem! His fiancée just came back from Baseball Fantasy Camp. While she was there Carol(that's Sammy's fiancée's name, and yes she's also a whale) left a drunken voice-mail that gave Sammy the distinct impression that she had just slept with one of the other campers. She didn't say anything definite, but he's pretty sure she screwed some guy from Tampa. Should Sammy sit down with Carol and try to get to the bottom of this in a calm manner, or should he tell her about getting loaded and nailing her sister Margaret when Carol was in the hospital six years ago having ovarian cysts removed? Help Sammy solve the code below and save his marriage?

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: K equals Q.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"There was a little misunderstanding with that whole 'Emancipation Proclamation' thing. It was supposed to be a couple days off to say 'thanks', then straight back to the grindstone. They all seemed so happy I didn't have the heart to correct the error." - Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Forgot about Her Adamantium Coated Skeleton

I'm supposed to believe that 8 grown men can't carry Elizabeth Edwards' casket and need wheels under it? I bet that's where they hid Curly's gold! Tacky, I know. It's too soon, I know. Sorry, but this is actually what went through my mind when I saw this picture: "That coffin can't be that heavy, they must have put something in it, like bars of gold!" It reminds me of the end of the original Ocean's 11.
Also, what are they going to do about those stairs?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Metal Head

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago. It was probably written in 2001, maybe 2000. It's got sexy content. It appears here in its original form.

Metal Head

I love your Metal Head.
I love the sound it makes
When it bumps my head board.

Your reality distortion chip
Blows my mind
It forces horrendous
Thoughts into my brain

Your metal head is the most

Sometimes I try to
Crush it when we fuck
It always bruises my fingertips
Like my hips bruise your pelvis
I could squeeze 'til the cows
Come home, and it's still hard

I love your sexy metal head
When you come down the hall
To my apartment
And you reek from the sex
We're about to have

You've got your impenetrable
Metal head and your
Bag of Hostess products

Your crotch has soaked everything,
Not just your clothes.
The carpet squishes with every
step you take down the hall
And people start calling me from
Eight blocks away, complaining
About the smell.

A Ding Dong falls out of
Your bag as you turn to
Knock on my door.

The cigarette held by your metal jaw
Pushes against my door
And the smoke circles
Around your metal head.

I know it's you, because I
Can't see anymore
Your reality distortion chip
Has blinded me for now.
I can also smell the
Saturated carpet
I don't know if we'll ever
Leave here again.
One or both of our lives
May end in this apartment.
Maybe tonight or in forty years.

I wish I knew what was in
Your metal head

I can hear three distinct clicks
In your metal head when
you light a new cigarette.
You've eaten five Ding Dongs in
The past half hour.

What do you think in your metal head?

I'll try to crush your
Metal head again tonight
Just because I know I can't
You know I'd cry if I did.

I love your metal head.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fun Fact #4 and Others

Fun Fact: Cyborg, the 1989 sci-fi action flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, was actually born from aborted attempts at a Masters of the Universe sequel and a Spider-man movie.

Funner Fact: Masters of the Universe was originally intended to be one of the many big-screen adaptations of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. The main difference in writer David Odell's vision of the classic tale? Jane falls in love with the Wolfman. The Wolfman later became the character of Beastman in Masters of the Universe.

Funner and more Furious: Odell's original script was later turned into the smash hit Eyre Bud, which coincidentally opened the same weekend as Eyre Force One (itself an adaptation of Emily Brontë's only dog novel, Wuthering Bites).

Fun Fact: Tokyo Drift: Cyborg 2 was Angelina Jolie's first starring role. No shit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Cipher #15 - The Tooth Fairy's Revenge

The Tooth Fairy has decided to pay you a magical visit in your bed! Unfortunately she's up to her eyeballs in gambling debt and wants her money back. The good news is that she's willing to return your baby teeth. The bad news is that she intends to shove them back into your gums unless she gets her $20 back with interest. Decode the secret chant below and send that bitch back to hell!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: O equals T.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"Who would've thought that going to a fancy dress party in an electric wheelchair from the trash would snowball like this? I mean, Christ, I graduated from culinary school." - Stephen Hawking

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hitler Bad, Vandalism Good

Here's a few screen captures of Wikipedia vandalism I've run across recently. Wikipedia vandalism is one of my favorite surprises. Sadly I don't have a picture of the best instance I've ever seen; It was an article on Jonathan Livingston Butthole. Classic.

An entire section of the Space Age Pop
article devoted to "hoe nads with my go nads"

The article on the Guns N' Roses tune "Mr. Brownstone"
contains a reference to Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho's
play of the same name. While one of Cho's plays was indeed called
Mr. Brownstone, whether he was in fact a "cool bro" is
open to debate.

A bit of trivia from the Nicolas Cage
film Vampire's Kiss.

Not a credible source my eye. Although to be fair, many more reputable sources have also published false information. For example, diabetes was invented by a mischievous editor at World Book Encyclopedia and in 1952 an Encyclopædia Britannica article on Eleanor Roosevelt referred to her as a "butt slut".