Welcome to My Brave Battle, the Beatific Blog of Comedian Jared Logan. Here you will find: New jokes / News about all the HOT shows I'm doing / Inside info on what Jared Logan is wearing this season / Shockingly explicit run-downs of my most recent sexual conquests / Recipes / The Funny Thought of the Day!
Can’t Escape the Flo
I’m reading this article about Richard Dawkins’ recent twitter gaff and all the sudden there’s Progressive Insurance’s Flo staring back at me.
If this were thirty years ago, and I was reading this article in a magazine, do you think Flo’s stupid face would be grinning at me while I’m reading the following text?
No! Because there would be an editor whose job it was to look at the ads and go “Hey, Progressive! Maybe you don’t want Flo’s happy face hanging out with 1000+ words about rape?” And someone at Progressive would go “Oh jesus! Of course not! Please put our ad beside a different article in your magazine.”
But magazines are dead and we don’t need editors anymore. Instead we have the internet. And internet no understand human emotion! Internet put picture of inane smiling woman beside article about rape and pedophilia. Did internet do wrong? Internet sorry! What is human sadness? What is human love?
And Flo is ubiquitous. Flo is inescapable. Flo is in our water supply now.
Let’s also talk about Flo for a minute. Enough with Flo. Get a new ad campaign, Progressive. We are done with Flo because you’ve shoved her down our throats every four minutes for what feels like ten years.
(Just checked and it’s only been six years, but god it feels like at least a decade.)
Face it, Progressive. It was never a good idea for an ad campaign to begin with. Let me see if I understand… Your idea for your campaign was “a funny woman works in a featureless white space where they sell insurance.” Brilliant. So simple it’s almost not even an idea at all.
But, and forgive me for being presumptuous, maybe that’s not quite enough of a premise to support SIX YEARS worth of ads that you play endlessly around the clock?
What is your advertising budget? Infinity? Infinity dollars? I see these commercials in my sleep.
The woman who plays Flo, Stephanie Courtney, must be very rich by now. I’m sure she’s tired of playing the “character” and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word. I hope her money keeps her warm in a world that hates her.
How many people will call her Flo in public before she finally has that breakdown where she just screams at everyone in the grocery store “MY NAME IS STEPHANIE! STEPHANIEEEEEEE!”
Her life is going to be hard enough, Progressive. Let her have her freedom.
And let us have our freedom from your repetitive and grating commercials. It’s time to re-brand as a company that looks to annoy me way less over the next six years. Maybe even change your name, do a complete redesign, because it will be a cold day in hell —which I imagine is a place just like the windowless white room where Flo works in the commercials — before I ever give money to Progressive Insurance.
1) Please stop making these commercials
2) Please fire Stephanie Courtney aka Flo
3) Please quit interrupting my rape articles
STOP THE FLO.
I Watched a Movie: Touch of Evil
Starring Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh with a cameo role by Marlene Dietrich.
Touch of Evil is a classic film noir directed by Orson Welles. The very first shot is a close-up of a time bomb being armed and tossed in the trunk of a car, then the camera follows the car as it slowly idles through the streets of a Mexican border town, weaving between hundreds of pedestrians who are out for a night of drinking. Watching it you’re thinking “Run! There’s a bomb!” but you’re the only one who knows. As the car crosses the border into America, it explodes, killing its passengers, and sets up the mystery that puts the characters into play. Hell of a way to start a film, and a great example of the cinematic genius Welles is known for.
Charlton Heston, playing a Mexican-born narcotics detective without the barest hint of an accent, gets involved in the investigation because he’s on the scene when the car blows up. He quickly starts butting heads with the enormous presence of Detective Harry Quinlan, played by Welles himself. The plot concerns planted evidence, corruption, alcoholism and murder. All classic noir themes and all embodied by Welles’ character, who is really the star of the show even though he might not technically be the protagonist.
Welles is huge in this movie. I mean physically. Seriously, how did he get so big? He is gigantic and whale-like, and I say that as someone who is sensitive to the plight of the extra girthy. But the weight works for his character and nobody plays old movie drunk better than Welles. He puts in an excellent performance as a boozey monster cop who railroads suspects and will do anything to protect his deteriorating reputation.
Welles’ is the meatiest role. Heston and Janet Leigh don’t have a lot to do in this movie. Heston repeats the same beat of “I’m going to prove you’re corrupt!” with straight arrow candor about twenty-nine times. His acting here is competent and dull. I’ve never been a fan. Janet Leigh struggles to endow her character with a real personality and succeeds despite the fact that she’s written as a flat maiden-in-distress. She’s much more fierce and formidable than Heston in all of her scenes.
The plot technically makes sense but gets weird in spots. The movie has Heston doing really active things like looking up information in the hall of records. He keeps putting off contacting his wife, whom we all know is in horrible trouble. Leigh’s subplot has her trapped in a hotel room harassed by 1950s Mexican street youths who kidnap her, inject her with drugs and plant (gasp!) reefer on her person. She’s unconscious for most of the second half. Meanwhile Welles is lying to people and framing people and murdering people and doing all kinds of interesting things. If you’re going to direct a film, go ahead and give yourself the best part.
The real power of the film is in how it completely captures the noir ethos. The bad guys are bad and the cops are worse. Everyone is trapped in a dirty dangerous place with no way out. By the end of the film, one of the characters is floating face down in the muck with a bullet in his chest. The twist that solves the mystery of the planted bomb is almost a shaggy dog joke. But that doesn’t matter. The movie was never about the mystery.
According to Hollywood legend, Welles told his producer to give him the worst script in the pile and he’d make it into a great movie. It’s an inspiring attempt, with some great sequences like the opener and the climax where Heston tails Welles and his partner through an oil field. But despite all of Welles’ craft, this movie is a B picture. It’s grimy and cheap. No amount of talent could class this picture up, and maybe that’s for the best.
The studio distributed the film as a B movie, the second half of a double feature with another film called The Female Animal. Put that one on your list. The cut of Touch of Evil I own (on DVD! I’m sticking with it!) is a restored version based on Welles’ notes. It had to be restored because after Welles finished his final edit, the studio re-cut the whole thing and released it in a shortened version, with footage shot by another director plugged in. Welles’ original cut is lost and he died before this restored cut was created in 1998. Apparently the studio version puts credits and music over the nail-biting opening scene, which is just objectively a stupid idea. Why do studios do these things? I guess someone in an office had to justify their job by screwing with another man’s masterpiece. It’s just a little surprising that they would jerk the chain of Orson Welles. I mean this was the man who made Citizen Kane! But I guess Kane wasn’t lauded as the greatest film of all time until a couple decades later. By that time Welles was old and fat, drunk and bitter like Detective Harry Quinlan. Life sadly imitates art. If our lives are movies, we all hope we don’t end up living in a film noir.
WHAT IS LOVE? (BABY DON’T HURT ME)
What is the nature of love? Some comedians think it’s something you believe in, like aliens or Jesus, because I hear them say they don’t believe in it.
In songs, it’s usually something you lose, but none of the singers seem exactly sure of what it is. The narrator of the song by Roxette only realizes that what she experienced “must have been love” once it’s over [now]. Lou Gramm of Foreigner pleads “I want to know what love is” but then admits that he needs you to show him.
Bob Marley seems the most confused. “I want to love you” he sings, “And treat you right / I wanna love you every day and every night”. He goes on “We’ll be together with a roof right over our heads / We’ll share the shelter of my single bed” but then after all that he asks in the chorus “Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? Is this love? That I’m feeling?” Geez Bob, if you don’t know at that point then who does?
The Beatles said it was “all you need” which probably seems true until it’s all you have.
Millions of hours of music on the subject and nobody can get specific. And specifics are required, desperately. Millions of people are looking for love. How are they going to find love if they don’t know exactly what it is?
I’ve been with my girlfriend for four years and I recently asked her to marry me. I think a man in that position should have a solid answer to the question “What is love?” So what is it?
First, it’s not sex and that’s where a lot of guys get confused. It’s cliché at this point to say that guys confuse sex with love, but they keep doing it, stupidly, so it constantly needs bringing up. The fact is that all the thrills of foreplay, fellatio, intercourse and ejaculation are secondary to the outrageous high of realizing someone wants to have sex with you. That’s what men are really hunting when they go out looking for bodies to bang. Those men just want to be liked. The thrill of physical stimulation never gets better than the thrill of acceptance, the thrill of knowing that you are interesting to someone else.
Sex can be good or it can be bad. With me it is often quick. But the first kiss with another human being is always an over-the-moon mind-blowing experience. If you do not share this feeling, then you are having a mental health issue. Seek a therapist or a support group or a facility to check yourself into. A first kiss, even if you’re a quadruple divorcée and a former porn star, should always make you see stars. I am sorry that this is corny but it’s corny because it’s universally recognized to be true and it is so life-affirming that nobody will shut up about it. The first kiss is that moment when you realize “this person wants me.”
So If you try to convince me that you really just want sex, I don’t believe you. I believe you are embarrassed at your human need to be wanted. And I sympathize, but I think we all need to get over it. Getting the most out of life means exposing your vulnerabilities over and over. For example, I’m not a great writer but I’m posting this blog. My point is that if an orgasm is really all you want, then go masturbate by yourself in a dark room.
And that’s not to say that everyone should be looking for a spouse and trying to start a family. Those are fine goals but they’re not for everyone. And they are also not love. Love is not a wedding and love is not a family. There are plenty of weddings and families where no love is present. Sometimes it feels like weddings and families are boxes people are checking off on a scorecard that doesn’t exist.
I believe that the greatest pick-up artists in the world truly fall in love, briefly, with the person they’re going to have sex with that night. They become fascinated with their query and accept that person, totally and sincerely. That’s why they are the best pick-up artists in the world. And I believe the best marriages are built on decades of tawdry one-night-stands with your spouse. It’s that total acceptance that lets you be a filthy, dirty degenerate in the bedroom.
So love is total acceptance. Which is sort of a boring answer after I’d built it up like my take on it was going to be really clever and original. Sorry about that.
Total acceptance is something that requires a lot of work, because even when you accept a person, initially, you’re going to find things about that person later, after you’ve dated for a while, that are hard to accept. You’re going to find out that this person occasionally binge-eats White Castles when he’s feeling sad, and doing this makes foul garbage farts blast out of his butt all night, or that he has a foot fungus that he’s been struggling with for years. These are just fictional examples I made up out of my head.
Everyone has these horror-show secrets and getting to know someone means meeting all of the skeletons in their closet. Think about the secret things you know about your platonic friends. Some of them are terrifying, right? You probably just felt a chill run down your spine. But you’re able to accept those people anyway. And they don’t even reciprocate with HJs and BJs! That’s good.
So I’m not really sure how to help single people on Tinder and E-Harmony except to say that when you are out there dating you need to be honest about the fact that you’re looking for acceptance. And you need to make an honest effort at accepting other people. It takes enormous, colossal reservoirs of empathy to accept other people. We all need to develop those reserves. People talk about making sure not to settle, but they need to talk more about learning to surrender.
(Who settles? Nobody settles now. Settling was more of a 1953 problem.)
This is my answer to the question what is love:
Love is when she comes over to your apartment to help you manage your finances, which she shouldn’t have to do because you are a grown man. And she is helping you do your budget and she asks you how much do you spend per month on your gym membership. And you say “thirty dollars a month”. And she says “Thirty dollars a month?? Wow, that’s a cheap gym.” and then you burst out sobbing “There’s no gym! I lied! I lied about going to the gym!” and you cry and cry.
And she still has sex with you later.
Recently Read Books
Sorry, it’s been a while since a posted. Here are some books I’ve read recently.
This is an awesome history of Islam by the writer of Zealot, another book I enjoyed. The most fascinating chapters for me were the early ones, detailing the life of Muhammad and the birth of the Islamic faith. We’re talking visions from God, magic, betrayals, narrow escapes, epic battles. Some of the struggles and horrors of these early episodes in the birth of the faith are profoundly moving. Seriously, there should be a movie of Muhammad’s life. Of course, any artistic license in the movie would probably really piss off fundamentalist muslims, which is something you don’t want to do.
The later chapters weren’t as good as the early ones. The problem is that Islam is a faith that splits over and over and increases in complexity and you can feel the book groaning under the sheer amount of history it has to convey. All the major points seem to be covered, but sometimes you feel like you’re getting the footnotes. This is a quick & dirty history of Islam, but the argument could be made that it is impossible to cover this belief system in 300 pages.
Still a high high recommend for anyone who needs an introduction to the faith (I did!) and loves a good popular history.
I love the Napoleonic Wars era, so for a long time I’ve been interested in reading the Hornblower series by C. S. Forester. It’s an 11-volume saga that tracks the career of a British naval officer, named Horatio Hornblower, from his youthful days as a midshipman until he becomes an Admiral. I love taking on a big, long series of novels and I like anything where you get to track a character’s entire life over many years. It usually takes me many years to read the books, so it’s like I grow old with the characters.
This first volume is pretty damn great. It’s eight different stories or novellas from Hornblower’s early career. These are adventure stories of fighting men and great galleons firing cannonballs back and forth. What makes them unique, and superb, is that they are always structured around a central problem that Hornblower must solve using his wits. Hornblower is no strapping he-man. He’s a bit of a wimp, and he’s kind of uptight (in a wonderfully British way). But he’s very very sharp. He doesn’t miss anything, and he’s good at using his smarts to get himself out of tight spots. I’d recommend this to any guy looking for fiction that treats on what it is to be a real man, because that’s what these stories are about: being a grown-up. making the right decision and taking responsibility for your actions.
My only regret is that I started with this book, labeled as Volume 1, but which was really written after many of the other volumes. Forester went back and filled in his character’s past after the character had a following. The next one I read will be the first novel that was written, which is entitled Beat to Quarters.
Before he tragically began suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007, Terry Pratchett wrote 40 Discworld novels. If you’re not a super-dork like me, you probably don’t know that Discworld is a humorous fantasy series set on a world that is a flat disc on the back of four giant elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle flying through space. A really bad way to describe these books is to say they’re Monty Python meets Blazing Saddles meets Lord of the Rings. That description gives you an idea of the style, but captures nothing of the genius.
To be honest, as a serious fan of the fantasy genre (is serious fan an oxymoron or just a stupid thing to call yourself?) I was put off by these books for years. The paintings of cartoony characters and comic sans style fonts on the covers made me think I’d be getting 300 pages of bad puns. I hate puns.
But I couldn’t ignore how much people LOVED these books and recommended them over and over. So recently I picked up Guards! Guards! which is widely regarded as one of the many high points in the Discworld canon.
What a great read! Great characters, tight plotting, a clever mystery, cool twists — but most of all it’s just hysterically goddamn funny. I was worried about corny jokes or a setting that doesn’t really cohere so much as it exists to deliver gags. I got neither. This is master class writing.
The plot of this one revolves around the guards that show up in every fantasy story as extras to be beaten up and/or slain by the dashing hero. What’s their life like? Terrible and hilarious under Pratchett’s pen. The plot also concerns dragons and I’ve never seen a better treatment of the mythical beast in any other book I’ve read. Sorry George R. R. Martin.
The best thing about Discworld as a series is that you don’t have to read the books in any particular order. They’re loosely ordered around certain characters that recur throughout the novels, but each book stands alone and you don’t have to read the previous one to understand the current one. The other day I picked up another one that he wrote later in his career and I’m reading it right now. Because I’m hooked.
High recommend for anyone who enjoyed Monty Python and/or Harry Potter. Seriously, former Potter fans should check this entire series out. It has a similar internal logic, but loses some of the sentimentality in favor of laughs.
I learned about this book from The Guardian’s 100 Greatest Novels of All Time list: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/oct/12/features.fiction
The Guardian described it as “overlooked” so I decided I’d read it. That way I can describe myself as someone who reads overlooked books. Also, I’m a sucker for a meaty 19th Century novel.
The Black Sheep is very entertaining. The pacing is excellent. The chapters are short and you never feel like your plodding through a morass of descriptive prose. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s what a lot of 19th century novels are like.
Not this one. As you read, you feel as if you’re just hanging out with your Uncle Balzac and he’s telling you the local gossip. It’s pretty damn juicy. The plot concerns two brothers. One is an artist, the other a soldier. Their widowed mother loves the soldier unconditionally and loves the artist… well, a little less. Of course the irony is that the artist is poor, but devoted to his family, while the soldier is a drinker and a gambler and an all-around bad egg. Then there’s the family fortune that is in the clutches of a sniveling estranged brother, who is of course controlled by a sexy femme fatale and her lover who are determined to take it for themselves. Who will control the inheritance? And will the mother ever learn to appreciate her one devoted son?
Balzac is funny. His characters are lively and recognizable. The scenes of Parisian life contrast well with the scenes from provincial life. The dual settings of the novel bounce off one another in interesting ways, like the personalities of the two brothers.
This book has a lot to say about personal character. What type of person can make a fortune in this world? Is it better to be pious and poor, or ruthless and rich? When we train someone to be a soldier, are we training them to be forever dissatisfied with the little humilities and everyday doldrums of civilian life? Lots of really interesting questions answered interestingly by interesting characters. If you’re a Dickens or Dostoyevsky fan, but you want something a little lighter, this is a perfect book for you.
OK! More later!
Who Knew Man Vs. Food Would Have So Many Levels??
The first time I saw the show Man vs. Food, I was disgusted. Then I was fascinated. Then I was vicariously over-eating along with the rest of morbidly obese America. Wait, don’t change the channel! He’s moving to the fried pickles!
If you never saw the show, it’s basically what it says on the box. A man named Adam Richman eats disgustingly large portions of unhealthy food. You watch.
If you think about it, it’s the perfect reality show. It’s a mindless premise combined with on-air footage of someone doing something naughty. In this case, instead of getting drunk, fucking or fighting, it’s a man eating bucket-loads of spicy fried chicken, bacon battered beef burgers and chocolate pancakes. It’s so wrong! But it’s still family friendly.
The show’s a hit. It’s been on the Travel channel for six years. Too bad they had to get rid of it. The star, Richman, finally said enough is enough and re-worked his contract to relaunch it as a more health-conscious show, Man Finds Food. He also lost a ton of weight: http://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/man-v-flab
It’s remarkable to me that they didn’t realize this was a horrible premise when they titled the show Man Vs. Food. Adam Richman’s enemy in this show is food. Could we be more blatantly obvious about this man’s emotional eating habit? The food is an antagonist. It’s not a choice, it’s an attack. The food forces you to eat it. Pastrami sandwiches are animating themselves and prying his lips open, then mouth-raping his gullet, angrily. “We’ll teach you, Adam Richman!” they anthropomorphically cry as they wrestle with his small intestine in an effort to give him painful diarrhea every day of his life.
And I love how he changed it to Man Finds Food. As if he just happens to stumble upon food while taking his daily stroll. He’s just walking along and there’s a sandwich on the ground. ”Oh, look!” he says, surprised and mildly bemused, “Food.” Considering the food, he decides that he has no real feeling about it one way or the other. ”It’s just food” he says nonchalantly in every episode “I can take it or leave it.” Then he adds “I’m certainly not angry at it.”
But he is angry because recently on social media — the place where everything bad happens — Adam Richman posted a pic of himself in a suit that he’s going to have taken in. You know, because he lost all that weight. He figured why not post a lot of pictures of himself as a thin man and do a lot of bragging about it online. Because he has such a healthy relationship with food. He added the hashtag #thinspiration and that got a bunch of people online to call him an asshole because apparently that hashtag is used by posters on a lot of pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia sites.
Here’s the angry part: Responding to the criticism Richman first said “Do I look like I give a fuck?” which of course started a flame war which ended with him telling twitter followers “Grab a razor and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you” and “The only thing fucked up was your dad’s decision to go without a condom.”
The new thin Adam is so much happier and easy going! Losing weight = losing stress!
Richman apologized for the comments but his apologies sucked. They were all “I responded to hate with hate and for that I’m sorry.” Translation: “They started it!” Apologies not withstanding, The Travel Channel has now postponed the airing of Man Finds Food indefinitely. Certainly the innocuous Man Finds Food title is no longer appropriate. But perhaps he could relaunch his relaunch? Let’s inject more honesty back into the franchise. Here are some titles I’d like to suggest:
Man is Extremely Defensive When it Comes to Food.
Man Has a Very Complicated and Emotionally-Wrought Relationship with Food.
Man Will Figure Out How to Defeat Food One Day! Then Man Will Be Complete!
Man Starves. Are You Happy Now?
Food: My Personal Satan, starring Adam Richman
But I joke. Let me get serious for a moment.
Adam Richman, I consider myself your colleague. Not in terms of stardom or even professional skill. But in being fat. We are fat colleagues. And you know, and I know, and the world knows, that our problem isn’t with food, or twitterers, or the entertainment industry. It’s with ourselves. May I humbly suggest a brand new show, debuting this Fall on the Oprah Winfrey Network…
Man Vs. Himself
It’d mostly be just Adam and a therapist working through this shit.
Don’t Listen to the Cat Stevens Album ‘Back to Earth’ When You Are High Because You Will Freak Out
In December 1977, Cat Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He denounced the music industry and vowed never to return to popular music.
But according to his recording contract, Yusuf still owed Island/A&M one more “Cat Stevens” album. It turns out that massive lawsuits are something even seekers contemplating the infinitude of Allah’s grace must worry about. So in November of 1978, Yusuf “Cat Stevens” Islam recorded Back to Earth, pretty much against his will. The album was released in December 1978.
On June 14, 2014, I, Jared Logan bought said album from a sidewalk sale in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, preceded to return home to my apartment, lit up a bowl and played it on my record player. Bad idea.
Yusuf’s voice rang out loud and clear from the hi-fi. The bitterness at his unfair treatment by the music industry was there and it was unmistakable. The album starts off innocuously enough, with the track Just Another Night. On the surface, a fairly standard Cat Stevens song. But early in the track, a lyric clued me in that the Cat Stevens vibe was off.
”I was dying” Yusuf sings “but for you it was just another day.”
The line “Just another day” he sings like this: “JUST! ANUH! THUR! DAY!”
Later, another lyric goes "So you took me and you dressed me well/ All for your friends to see / Drained my body calmly till / There was no more left in me"
Why are bodies being drained? I was high and this bothered me. I thought Cat was going Back to Earth but Yusuf was being sucked dry!
The next track, Daytime, was quite pleasant, so I figured the threat I had detected on the first track was all in my head.
But the next song, Bad Brakes, was percussive and brimming with barely-restrained aggression:
"Bad brakes, whole car shakes / Looks like I’m heading for a BREAK DOWN!!!!"
…Yusuf croons. Well, he croons the first part but yells “BREAK DOWN!!!”
Maybe I’m headed for a break down, I thought. I don’t feel stable, necessarily. Am I having a break down?
The entire song is about being pulled over by the cops. Who wants to hear that when they’re high?? I didn’t appreciate it and it’s not what I expect from Cat Stevens. Cat Stevens would say “I gave the cop a flower and he let me go/ whoa-oh-oh-oh” but Yusuf gets detained indefinitely. He probably gets a cavity search.
But, then, again, the next track, Randy, was generally fine. I mean, it was pretty somber. It was definitely not a pick-me-up. It was about forbidden love, ostensibly with some guy named Randy? I don’t know. Cat sounded sad.
I’m being paranoid, I thought. I can’t handle marijuana. I’ll just flip it to side 2 and I bet it’ll all be right as rain.
But it was only going to get worse.
Side 2, Track 1, entitled Last Love Song is an embittered and petty accusation. The passive-aggressive obloquy is audible even to someone who isn’t blazed. This dirge contains the lyrics:
"Did you think that you could just shake my hand with a how-do-ya-do?"
Yes. I did. I thought that I could just shake Cat Stevens’s hand but—
"If you don’t want me" whines Yusuf "Maybe I don’t want you."
“Stop fooling yourself” he demands “I know your show too well.”
Am I fooling myself? I do put on a show, I thought.
Side 2, Track 2 entitled Nascimento begins suddenly, like an ambush, with quick-tempo 70s electronic twang. For some reason the pace of it reminds me that overpopulation is a problem. When the sax breaks in, it does not help. It’s entirely instrumental, the only instrumental track on the album, and the effect it had on me when I was high was to make me wait, in terror, for words that never came. WHERE ARE THE WORDS??
Side 2, Track 3, Father, just strengthened the album’s ‘Rollercoaster of Fear’ affect.
"Father! Oh, Father!" Yusuf cries. He asks ”Is it true what they say? That life is a dream?”
Great, I said to myself, now he’s questioning reality.
"Won’t you take me with you / out of this maze?/ And away from this place?"
"Show me Show me Show me the way! / Before they grind me down!/ And bleach me gray!"
The final song (that I listened to) is Side 2, Track 4, New York Times.
The first lyric is:
"Cars choking your child to death / but you don’t wanna see. / Cause you only think about yourself / How blind can you be?"
I caught the lines:
"Sniper on the rooftop! New York!"
"Not fit for a dog in New York!"
"You need a gun to walk into New York!"
Did I mention I live in New York?
All of these lyrics say nothing of the growling, sardonic tone that Yusuf takes on this track. He is gleefully caustic as he veritably spits his hatred of New York.
I shut the record player down around the time Yusuf sang:
"Girl dead on the 26th floor / But no one knew her name / found her body behind the door / Too young for the game."
The last line I heard was "Devils in the subway in New York!"
I shut it down. I was high and in a panic. I didn’t even finish the album. I had a glass of water and watched some cartoons but I didn’t recover for hours.
According to the album jacket, the final track on the album is called Never and that is the amount of times I’m going to listen to this album again.
Nobody should have to listen to this. High or sober, I don’t want to hear Cat Stevens’ life fall apart, but set to music.
Cat Stevens once famously sang “If you want to sing out, sing out.” But not if you’re going through some shit. I mean, say, you’ve denounced your former life and decided everything you stood for was a lie? Maybe don’t sing that out. Definitely don’t sing it out while I’m on drugs. Please.
The Wikipedia entry on this album says that Back to Earth was a flop for Cat and performed very poorly on the Billboard charts.
I have a huge gut. I’ve had it for about ten years. It’s terrible.
A couple months ago, in Los Angeles, I suddenly had this horrible pain in my lower gut.
I thought my appendix had burst. I called my mom who is a nurse and she said if my appendix had burst I’d be dead already. She said it was probably my gall bladder.
I asked her what kind of medicine the doctor would give me to make it better. She said gall bladders don’t get better. You just have to get them taken out.
I was in Los Angeles for pilot season for a couple of weeks and I’d dropped my healthy eating routine. I was drinking a lot and getting Jack in the Box for dinner at 1am. My particular drug of choice at Jack in the Box was something they called ‘The Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger.’ I’d eaten like 10 of them in a month.* I was sure this change in my routine had broken my gall bladder. The anger and guilt at having done this to myself was tremendous. I had jack-in-the-boxed my internal organs. I needed to have an Ultimate Bacon Surgery.
When we were little we had toys we’d leave out in the rain or under the porch and you would come back later and the toy would be ruined and I remember feeling this deep shame and regret at not doing the simple, easy thing and just taking the toy in the house and putting it back in the toy box like mom told us. This is a little like how I felt about my body at this time.
When I went to the doctor, I was hoping she’d tell me I didn’t need surgery, that I just had some embarrassing fat guy issue. Like she’d come out and say “Mr. Logan, you have a super-fart that’s on deck. And you need to push it out of your fat butt.” And that’d be the end of it. But after she looked me over and poked my fat gut, she still didn’t know what was wrong. So she ordered a CAT scan.
That’s like an X-ray of your entire body that can see what’s inside all of your organs. I was terrified.
When you go to get a CAT scan they make you drink this weird fluid that will help them see contrast on the scan. The nurse came out and waved this beaker of foul-smelling stuff in front of me. I said “Is it bad?”
She began her response “It’s an oil-base…”
I said “Stop. Stop it. Stop right there. When someone asks you about this drink you should never start by answering ‘it’s an oil base.’ That’s just definitely the wrong way to answer.” I really said that. I was agitated.
Then I drank it and it was fine.
They took me into the room for the procedure and the CAT scanner is this big white metal donut you lay down in. I noticed ‘Danger: Radioactive’ signs all over it. I also noticed that the nurse performing the scan leaves the room and runs the machine from another room with thick, radiation-proof walls.
They put more fluid in me, this time through my veins with an IV. It feels weird. It feels like you are a plastic bag being filled with warm water. My crotch felt hot. Not in a sexual way. It’s like having to pee but not having to pee at the same time. Of course, that’s how I describe everything. The big metal donut scanned me.
It took me five days to get the results. Was it cancer? Would I need to have my organs removed? Had I broken my body? Did I murder myself with hamburgers? Was I going to explode? Was my anus broken? Would I have to poop in a colostomy bag? Did I have a hernia? Were intestines sticking out of my butthole? Was my abdomen about to collapse? Would I have to drive a Rascal everywhere?
Then the results came back: nothing. Nothing was wrong. Everything was completely healthy and in good working order.
After we got the results I asked the doctor and she said “Yeah, I don’t know what it is.”
I went back to eating healthier and exercising and it went away.
*Probably more than that
Guns in Movies
I watch a lot of old movies from the 40s and 50s. In those films, every time someone pulls out a gun, it’s a really big deal. The music swells and hits a foreboding note. Everyone raises their hands and backs away. ”Put that gun down, Mac!” pleads one of the characters “You don’t know what you’re doing! Just put it down!’
If a gun goes off in an old movie, the movie is over! If the bullet misses, it’s a miracle. If it hits a person, that person dies and the film is a tragedy.
Now I ask you what happened over the course of 40 years because in the movie Robocop, within the first half hour, Robocop shoots a guy in the dick.
And that’s not even mentioning Rambo and Bad Boys and Terminator and Terminator 2 and Lethal Weapon…
All I know is, the people that made those old movies had all served in World War II. So they were familiar with what guns do to people.