Friday, May 30, 2008

Drinking With Wolter

Today on Drinking With Wolter, we will be reviewing the Cheap-assed Margarita. As with all of Wolter's Potent Potables, this will be made with inexpensive liquors from around the house.

First, we need a reviewer. Some schlub who can tell us exactly what he likes or dislikes about a Cheap-ass drink. But who fits that bill?

Sorry. No alt-text.

Ah, yes. You'll do nicely, Wolter.

Now what can we use to make this drink?

Hey, I just couln't come up with any.


Besides, it's not like you're paying to read this.

A 2/3 full bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold. The official Only Tequila Sold Downstairs From Wolter's Apartment.

And a supporting cast? No triple sec, huh. Time to improvise.

I mean, if you were, maybe I'd feel bad.

GrandMa should be an adequate replacement for...EMPTY!?!?!?!

But, would you pay for this?

Okay, let's just cheap this all the way...Peach Schnapps it is. Now, we set up the blender. This particular model is made by Oster. But any brand will work.

And how much, if you would?

Okay, Wolter. Gently open the frozen mix (Store Brand Strawberry Daiquiri, for those playing along at home). Gently...Gently...

I'm just...asking.


Because, I mean if you did...

Okay. Small cleanup break. Let us add the tequila, using the time-honored "rinse out the mix container with booze" method.

I'd put a little more effort into it.

Now, add the schnapps.

Instead of doing this while drunk.

Hey! Save some for the blender, Wolter!

Now to add some ice. Let's check the depressingly empty freezer.

By the way, did you see that Cubs game today?

There it is! Right next to the bag of frozen "Tilapa."

Just top that puppy off. Very nice. And take a break to wipe the camera off, Sticky Fingers!

You think after Lilly coughed up 7 runs in the first three, we'd be out of it.

Let's rock. Here's an exciting Adam West angle of the blender being powered up:

But, no.

And hopefully deliciousness will ensue...

What a comeback.

Now didn't I have Margarita Glasses? Hmm...maybe not.

I love this team.

What to do? What to do?

Right now the White Sox are on.

Well, Dr. Scotch isn't in his office...

I hope the (Devil) Rays hand them their asses.


Hawk and DJ are the worst announcers in all of sports.

Now, let's see about the actual taste of this concoction.

And I'll tell you that for free.

Not really tasting the peach.

Because, once again, you sure ain't paying.

Swish it around, Wolter, paying careful attention to the nose.

I'm on my third of these.

Still nothing, huh? What do you taste?

They are pretty potent.

Strawberries with a hint of tequila? And, are you legally blind, now?

And it'll be nine minutes until my freezer burnt food is done.

I take that as a no.

I hereby declare this tasting a rousing success!

Well, thanks for stopping by. The Slog appreciates your visit. And I'm sorry if you have Netscape, because you probably won't be able to read this message. But that's ok. There really isn't any alt-text in this entry.

And, for the record, I am currently cooking the "Tilapa."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Suppose What's Left of My Hipster Cred Will Be Gone

...after I say this incredibly uncool statement:

While listening to Led Zeppelin on my iPod, I came to the realization that "Trampled Under Foot" would, if scrubbed of Robert Plant vocals and the soloing near the end, with the addition of a Scottish baritone singing about dancing in a nightclub, sound like a Franz Ferdinand or Kaiser Chiefs song from 2004.

That is all.

Oh, and for the record, I am listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Travelin' Band" while I type this.

I will be turning in my thick black glasses at the nearest Reckless Records, and promise to only drink PBR when I am legitimately broke.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Red, Gold, and Green

So, Ali and I were sitting at a gay bar in Boys Town a few Tuesdays back, drinking some fruity1 blender drinks, while watching videos for some of the gayest2 music ever made. That probably requires some backstory, but you're not going to get it, because The Slog always hits the ground running.

Most of the music was of the generic thumpa-thumpa-thumpa repetitivo crap, but mixed in were a few 80s songs that had, oh, I don't know...a rudimentary song structure. The best of the night was "She Blinded Me With Science," if that helps you get a notion of the range of quality I had to work with. I'm not quite the nostalgic 30-something that some are about the 80s. I know they have a dark underbelly, best left unexamined.3 But, man-oh-man, each blessed slice of pre-1986 music played was like an oasis between large stretches of single-word-named women with pitch-shifted voices warbling over a drum machine.4

One such song was the ever popular "Karma Chameleon," by Beauregard Quentin "Boy" George, Esq. When its familiar strains of relatively inoffensive pablum hit my ears, I was overjoyed that for at least 3 minutes I wouldn't have to see The Undead Corpse of Madonna kickboxing Justin Timberlake on a car. Or whatever the hell I had just witnessed. By this point I was in some sort of stupor that was only marginally caused by the booze slurpee I was nursing.

At this point Ali, who wasn't nearly as tanked as she would later get,5 asked me: "So, what the hell is this actually about?"

Me: "The song?"
Ali: "The song. The video. Everything. It's kind of like Showboat, but..."

I fumbled about for an answer. I spouted some junk about it being about Boy George singing about nothing because he was Boy George (or something like that - I forgot to bring my stenographer with me. Again.)

But you deserve more than that, Alexandra. Not much more, but a little more. So here goes. My half-assed analysis of "Karma Chameleon."

To begin with, I will unfortunately have to gloss over the video aspect. Yes, the video is basically Showboat mixed with Roots mixed with "The Safety Dance" mixed with what appears to be Adam Ant's6 Wedding Party. But that actually makes it one of the more cohesive videos of its time. So, I can't help you there, Alibear.

I also can't help you with any musical questions, as you well know I am tone deaf and essentially unable to learn the simplest information about composing. But this is Boy George we're talking about here, so I'm going to assume that no one reading this gives a wet fart about his song structure.

So we move to the lyrics. Now you're talking my language. English. More or less. So with only a little further ado, I give you:

The Annotated "Karma Chameleon"

The words of B. George are blockquoted in "Arial," the Official Blog Font of the New Romantic Movement.
Desert loving in your eyes all the way
Clearly, Mssr. le Georges' is having an encounter with a lover that withholds affection, analagous to the way a desert withholds adorable kit foxes from the rest of the world. Either that or the lyrics site I visited has a typo and the proper line is "Dessert loving in your eyes all the way," which could mean that the song is an ode to what's left of Val Kilmer's career:

Jim Morrison, the 'My Dad' Years.

I suppose I should not throw stones, as that could well be me in a few years, if the McRib is ever put into full seasonal rotation.7

Moving on, let's look at the rest of the stanza, which really needs to be parsed out. Here it is in its entirity:

If I listen to your lies would you say
I'm a man without conviction
I'm a man who doesn't know
How to sell a contradiction
You come and go, you come and go
Ok. Now lets look at this line-by-line.

If I listen to your lies
We've hit our first genuine snag. One interpretation (the one I personally subscribe to) is that this desert-eyed rogue is an inveterate liar, and therefore never to be trusted. Under this implication, it is clear that Boy has never really listened to his lover's words. Which makes the relationship a hollow lie, and reveals a truly dark and hideous worldview that would be better reflected if it came out of the mouth of William Atherton, or some other bearded functionary. The other interpretation is that said lover is occasionally dishonest, as we all are.8 However, to read this into the song is to say that somehow Chico Jorge9 is subconciously aware of the lies, and filters it out. This is evident, because the second half of the line,

would you say

proves Steve10 has no idea what this person says when lying. So I must ignore this interpretation as needlessly convoluted.

I'm a man without conviction
Steve's lover is saying that Steve is a man without conviction. However, as established in the the first line, Steve's lover is lying (either situationally or constantly, this holds true for both interpretations above). This is a clear case of Material Implication, which is as close to a logical truth as anything, as shown in the following syllogism (wherein A=Steve's desert-eyed lover [hereafter DEL] is making a statement, and B= The statement is a lie):

If A, then B
Therefore B

So Steve is making a claim that DEL is actually claiming Steve is a man of convictions. Clearly, Steve is an arrogant ass. Note I put the syllogism in Courier, the Official Blog Font of Logical Verities.

I'm a man who doesn't know
How to sell a contradiction

Again, DEL is a liar, so Steve is, in truth, a masterful salesman, who knows exactly how to sell a contradiction. However, in a very strange way of recursion, that means that Steve himself sells conflicting truths in the same manner as DEL. Which means nothing Steve says can be trusted. And it also means that you can trust Steve implicitly. Which means this song is either profoundly stupid or the pinnicle of Sincere IronyTM.11

You come and go, you come and go
The first of Steve's contradictions for sale. Who knows who's coming and going at this point? Well, Steve does. But that aint for sale.

Now we hit the very crux of the dilemma:

Karma karma karma karma, karma chameleon
This is indeed fascinating, as it clearly combines High Medieval Christian numerology with Hindu mysticism and herpetology.

Note that Karma is repeated five times. As anyone who read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in High School knows, it's got a lot of alliteration and is really hard to read, so you might as well skip it and copy off the D&D nerd who actually read it. And as anyone who read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in college, where they actually had to write a paper on it knows, five is a highly significant number, which represents (in the form of the Pentagle on Gawain's shield):

Fyrst he watz funden fautlez in his fyue wyttez,
And efte fayled neuer þe freke in his fyue fyngres,
And alle his afyaunce vpon folde watz in þe fyue woundez
Þat Cryst ka3t on þe croys, as þe crede tellez;
And quere-so-euer þys mon in melly watz stad,
His þro þo3t watz in þat, þur3 alle oþer þyngez,
Þat alle his forsnes he feng at þe fyue joyez
Þat þe hende heuen-quene had of hir chylde;12 really didn't help my point. Let me provide a translation for those of us who don't speak the Midlands dialect of the 14th century (italics mine):

For first he was faultless in his five senses; and his five fingers never failed him; and all his trust upon earth was in the five wounds that Christ bare on the cross, as the Creed tells. And wherever this knight
found himself in stress of battle he deemed well that he drew his strength from the five joys which the Queen of Heaven had of her Child.13

Much better, right? Right? Note that there are four "fives" in the quote, much like the four "Karmas" before the comma separating them from the fifth in the lyric above, this is a nod to the notion that perfection of fives is only allowed for Christ.

Add this numerology to the concept of Karma, which I believe any of my readers should be familiar with, and you see that Steve is playing a deep game about the nature of inner gifts versus outer pride. And all of this will soon come back to haunt both Steve and DEL as Dame Fortune Spins her Wheel.

Bet you didn't know Vanna was so important to Human Destiny. Don't say The Slog never taught you nothin', kid.

And really, who doesn't think chameleons are neat-o?

If you don't like these guys, you're no Friend of the Slog.

For the record, both of the preceding quotes were in Verdana, he Official Blog Font of Arthurian Source Material.

You come and go, you come and go
Oddly, this line is now redolent with the meaning missing from its first occurence. Fortuna lashes against Steve.

Loving would be easy if your colours were like my dream
Per Wikipedia, the Official Source of All Truth and Knowledge In Our Current Dystopian Climate, red-green colorblindness is prevalent in roughly 7% of the male population. It's a somewhat safe bet to assume both Steve and DEL are male (This is Boy George we're talking about here), so it is not a large leap to assume that one or both of them suffer from some inability to percieve color14 in the same fashion. It is also safe to assume that Steve and DEL both dream in color,15 despite Old Wives Tales To the Contrary.

Red, gold and green; red, gold and green
Note two of the three colors are red and green, the most commonly confused hues in colorblind subjects. They are also the traditional colors of Christmas, a holiday originally founded on the notion of generousity and giving, but since given over to the Gods of Commodity Consumerism. The third color, gold, which is clearly equally discernable to both parties is so obviously symbolic that it is almost an insult to the reader's intelligence to note that this verse is clearly a counterpoint on the failure of modern consumer culture to meet the spiritual needs of the participant. Everything is indeed for sale, and Steve (like his spiritual predecessor, Willy Loman) is being crushed by Fortune's Wheel, as evidenced by the events that spiral out of his control.

Of course, the repetition of the phrase within the line is simply to make the song catchy.

There are alternate interpretations that suggest that the colors relate to the mercurial nature of the chameleon's own outer coloration or that "red, gold, and green" is a veiled reference to the Rastafarian religion. On the first point, after being so lyrically astute, would Boy George be so damn obvious in the chorus? I think not. And as for the second, no amount of pot smoking would make someone want to dress like this:

My eyes! They burn!

Oh Jesus (no pun intended)...there's more to this song? Another frickin' verse? And a bridge? Ok...

Moving on:

Didn't hear your wicked words every day

As mentioned before, Steve refuses to hear what DEL says, deciding long ago that all is lies.

And you used to be so sweet

DEL once worked for a renowned Belgian chocolateer. You can look this up.16

I heard you say

Ah, selling us contradictions again, eh Steve. I'm beginning to doubt that you're even named "Steve."

That my love was an addiction

This line is troubling. How can love itself, as a concept, be an addiction? Love can be addictive, in theory. And an addiction can be mistaken for love. But Love qua Love <> an Addiction. Even Homer nods, so we must assume this is an error on the songwriter's part.

When we cling our love is strong

Clearly Steve (or Boy George himself) is being either naïve or disingenuous. Love clings when it is at its weakest. A strong lover can relax, confident that the object of his or her affection returns this affection. Another strong signifier that Steve's reality is a dangerous and shifting thing.

When you go you're gone forever

The mix of a Christian afterlife and the notion of of Karmic retribution from the chorus are suddenly and violently belied by this sudden rejection of the spiritual. I suspect this isn't meant to be a simple statement of an Atheistic or Agnostic worldview, achieved through soul-searching and application of science and/or logic to empirical data, but rather an expression of the nihilism inherent in what Steve likes to pretend is his soul.

You string along, you string along

Petty bitching from the now very unlikable Steve.

At this point the chorus is reprised. The juxtoposition of new knowledge on Steve's character and personal ethos adds a harrowing note to the original message.

Then we are taken to the bridge.

Every day is like survival
You're my lover, not my rival
Every day is like survival
You're my lover, not my rival
This is the point in the song where I differ from nearly all interpreters. As I have stated previously, Steve is a truly unreliable narrator when relating his relationship to DEL. The reason for this is clear to me, and can be truly grasped by following the simile:

Every day is like survival

to its logical conclusion and then juxtaposing it against the plaintive cry:

You're my lover, not my rival

Is every day like survival? If you define "survival" as the arc of a human life, then yes. The ancient Greeks were aware of the concept, in which the Ages of Man were converted to times of the day in the Sphinx's great riddle.

In the beginning of the day, the Sun (Son?) rises, and begins its arc to full Physical Maturity at Noon. From this point, though the height of Emotional Maturity (the Afternoon, the brightest part of the day), in to Decline (dusk) and Death (Night). And all of this is repeated, ad infinitum, as Vanna spins the Wheel.

Steve cries desperately to get this diurnal cycle to end with words, but the words:

You're my lover, not my rival
Are not really addressed to DEL at all.

For there is, in point of fact, no DEL to cry out to. Or rather DEL is a construct, a conflation in Steve's mind of his own vivid livng soul (as he percieves it) and the mortality of his body. He is, ultimately, trying desperately to learn to love the decay inherent in his own body and life, and not compete. The lines are repeated as The Wheel turns, in the vain hope that Fortuna will hear those words and stop long enough for those twin facets of Steve's shattered psyche to join in a "Lover's Embrace."

But Dame Fortune is as deaf as she is blind, and the cycle continues. Verse follows chorus again, like the waves crashing endlessly against the rocky cliffs of endless Time.17

So, I...hope that helped, Ali.

  1. Fruity as in flavored like fruit, not in the sense of a slur.
  2. This is also not meant as a slur, but the night's playlist was, objectively speaking, super-duper gay. Although the dance music cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" bordered on Sincere IronyTM in its brash awfulness.
  3. And that's my excuse for leaving the Goonies entry so-half-assedly incomplete after so long.
  4. Which, when put that way, sounds oddly awesome to me. It isn't, however, when put into in practice.
  5. As evidenced by her baseless accusations of Slogger Self-Urination on my previous post.
  6. The most beloved person in the history of Laos, and the face of my Destroyer..
  7. I also aopolgize for the not-so-funny alt text. I'm just pleased as punch that I actually figured out how to do alt text.
  8. I really did break that mirror, Mom.
  9. Okay, I'm officially out of ways to say his name. From now on I will refer to the narrator of the song simply as "Steve."
  10. Hope you've been checking the footnotes as you go. The saps who haven't have no idea who Steve is. Losers.
  11. You may ask yourself, "Can't it be both?" Well: yes and no.
  12. Taken from the e-text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, and Revised by Norman Davis, which can be found here. The Slog provides credit where credit is due.
  13. Taken from a modern translation of the same by W. A. Neilson, which can be found here.
  14. Or "colour" as many of Our Friends In Foreign Lands Dealing With a Surplus of Vowels insist on spelling it.
  15. Ibid.
  16. This blatant untruth should be the canny reader's first clue that the nature of his-or-her own reality is suspect in this narrative. Perhaps The Slog itself is not the Dispenser of Ultimate Truth that it has to-date advertised itself.
  17. Well, that ended a little differently than I had originally planned it when I started this blog entry two weeks ago...

Monday, May 5, 2008

In Which Wolter Urinates On a Highway and Does a Little Naked Plumbing

So, how was your weekend?


Well, I'm batting a thousand so far, thanks for asking.

Sure, I could be all Sabermetric and admit that it's a pretty small sample size. Two visits are certainly not an indicator of my entire potential. But right now I am 2 for 2 in getting tanked in the state of Wisconsin.1

It's actually surprising how little I've seen of WI. I live in Chicago, no more than an hour away. But,'s an achievement to get me north of Lawrence these days, and I'm right by the 4400 block.2 In all honesty, it's an achievement for me to walk my damn dog some days. Especially if it's raining. Or below 50 degrees out. Or above 60.

And the drunken sample size is skewed even further when you realize that one of the two trips to America's Dairyland was for Germanfest3--an occasion where I managed through sheer willpower to be, quite possibly, the drunkest member of my family in attendance (no mean feat when the twin specters of copious beer and the societal acceptance of lederhosen are combined). The very notion of Germanfest may seem a tad...unsettling for some, given the poor track record the Teutonic folk have about going, well, a little "overboard" celebrating their culture. Thankfully, German Americans are far less likely to join a Bund these days, and Germanfest is--like any other gathering of tubby caucasians in America--largely an excuse to drink keg beer and Jäger bombs. Oh, and there's a far greater likelihood of spätzle. And oompah music.

Adding to the statistical anomaly, my second visit was for Ali and my friend Lisa's surprise birthday party. I think it would be incredibly rude if I ever failed to get embarassingly schloshed4 at a friend's celebration. It'd be like Radiohead refusing to play "Creep" live...oh, wait...

Anywhoo, believe it or not, I didn't actually make altogether that much of an ass of myself that night (as I acquiesced to being cut off after an indeterminate number of drinks5). I mean, at one point I insulted the Brewers a little bit (but I wisely steered clear of Farve) - but it was done in a good natured way. In fact, by the end of the night, Lisa's brother and I (as well as Dr. Scotch's assistants, Nurse Bourbon and Intern Lager) were contemplating the Cubs and Brewers melding their team into one super-team6 that would whip hell on the rest of the NL. Booze heals.

A couple of waters later, and Ali and I were ready to drive home (Ali didn't have very much at all, and was clearly stone-cold sober before we even hit the Taco Bell7).

Well, one spilled Mountain Dew later,8 we were flying down the highway towards The City Vienna Beef Built. I kinda had to pee a little, but I was okay. I could hold it. We were making good time. Really good. I mean, it was nearly 2am. Traffic was nonex--


Okay. Suddenly it's bumper-to-bumper for as far up as I can see. And it's not creeping forward. It's stopped. Moments later, we saw and heard the sirens.

Creeping through northern Illinois' newest parking lot was a huge fire truck, an ambulance, police cars, and a tow truck. Oy.

Did I mention I had to pee a little?

It was becoming, "I have to piss. A lot." Technically, it was becoming "I have to motherfucking piss. A lot." But this is a family blog, and I didn't want to offend anyone with my italicized stress.

I turned to Ali and said, "Man, it's a good thing I've sobered up, or I'd probably just stroll out onto the highway and whizz all over the median." We chuckled.

Time passed, slowly. Inexorably.

The median was calling me. I tried not to answer. By this point I was at least 97% sober. Not a good percentage for public urination. Especially with a built in audience of other cars.

I did what I always do in these situations. I complained. Ali said, "I think you should just do it. That way I don't have to hear you complain about this any more." Given that oh-so-supportive declaration, I decided to go ahead and do it.

I hopped out of the car and went to hop the concrete barrier. Hey, that's not a median. It's a closed off lane. I crossed the barrier, and went to the other side, where I decided to urinate across the second concrete barrier (to the lane with sporadic traffic going the other way. Screw 'em. They weren't stuck). This barrier was about 3 inches below my crotch, by the way, so I had to aim out a bit. But the alternative was stand out in the open with my junk flapping in the breeze, and as one can tell from this blog, I am an intensely private person.

So I start to go.

And go.

And go.

And a spate of cars came around the bend in that lane.

I moved instinctively to hide myself from view, which caused a bit of blowback. Grr. One they were gone, I resumed my position and kept going. This was getting comical. Well, not to me. As I was sitting there, wondering when I might, oh I don't know, RUN OUT OF LIQUID WASTE, I heard a roaring noise to my left.

It was a car zooming by me from behind.

The lane wasn't closed.

Which meant I was basically standing in the middle of a highway lane in pitch darkness, pissing on another highway lane in pitch darkness.

Eventually, the laws of physics asserted themselves, and I ran out of ammo. But not before three more cars, probably filled with nuns, or orphans, or every girl I had a crush on in high school, whipped behind me.

I should mention each passing car was another occasion for blowback.

I finally skulked back the car, fully expecting a round of applause from the inordinate amount of immobile cars. Thankfully, that was not to be. We eventually started moving, got past the wreck, 9 and made it home. I slept like a stone for many, many hours.

Oh, I also did some naked plumbing this weekend.

  1. I know. As of right now, I'm no better than when Tuffy Rhodes hit those three dingers on opening day for the Cubs, only to suck himself right out of American baseball. Although, old Tuffy still holds two homerun records: Most homeruns by a foreign player in Japan, and most homeruns by a guy named Tuffy anywhere.
  2. Chicago geographical reference placed by the Gideons.
  3. "Anschluss Free Since 1946!"
  4. Not to be confused with "Anschlussed."
  5. More than 5, but less than 10.
  6. Not really sure who would play first on the team, in hindsight. Derrekles is my personal choice, but where do we put Prince Spaghetti Night (sorry...Fielder)? I'd probably trade him for like 2-3 pitchers, as both teams seem to have a rotation composed largely of spun sugar. Oh, and we both agreed that the Cubs essentially ending Turnbow's career was a favor to our Sausage Racing Friends to the North. Like putting down a particularly untalented rabid dog.
  7. Did I mention we hit the Taco Bell? Not literally. But I needed sub-par pseudo-Mexican food to complete my transformation into Guy Who Is Actually Sober, Not Just Thinking He's Sober. Also, I needed a Mountain Dew. I always order a Mountain Dew at Taco Bell. This is because I hate myself.
  8. That did wonders towards putting me firmly in the Guy Who is Actually Sober category.
  9. On a down note, that looked like a really horrible accident. Hopefully no one was sitting in the passenger seat, as there really wasn't one left.10
  10. Here is a painting of Yoda with Bob Marley to help you get past that last, downer footnote: