Archive for March, 2012

25
Mar
12

FEAR and Furry

(I’ve gotten away from Legal Disclaimers — see about author if you are insulted by anything I’ve written.)

I’d promised a review of the Las Vegas ‘Popovich Pet Show,’ but something I didn’t mention was the band FEAR was playing in Santa Ana California last weekend. This will be a ‘compare and contrast’ style post, similar to what we all learned in English 101 in college. For those who visit the Shortbus on a regular basis, I apologize for how long it has been since I’ve posted. Work has been strange this week.

First, here is a small brief about the pet show, Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. Gregory Popovich’s animal show happens a few times a week in the V Theater at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops, in Las Vegas. This is the early show of many held in the theater, our show time was at 4pm, and that was the late show for the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater.

For those of you who are not familiar, FEAR is an early eighties punk-rock band who had two albums, one named, ‘The Record’ and the other, a dud by comparison, ‘More Beer.’ Both were written mostly by singer and rhythm guitarist Lee Ving. Lee and the drummer were the only two original members left in the band performing at The Galaxy Club in Santa Ana.

Lee Ving did bit acts for Hollywood in the eighties, but he was better known for his wild songs like ‘I Don’t Care About You’ (lyrics– I’ve seen an old man have a heart attack in Manhattan. Well he just died while we just stood there lookin’ at him. Ain’t he cute?) and ‘I Love Living in the City’ (lyrics– Bodies wasted in the street, people dyin’ on the street, but the suburban scumbags, they don’t care, just get fat and dye their hair!)

Both of these shows have a couple things in common, neither show allowed us to bring cameras. This is too bad, because now I’ll have to work hard to describe what I experienced. As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. The other similarity for these two shows is that both Popovich and Lee Ving are over 50-years old. In fact, punk-rocker Lee Ving is over 65. One last article of common ground is that both Gregory Popovich and FEAR disapprove of their fans stage-diving while they perform.

With Popovich, C-Jane had gotten the tickets in exchange for a pint of blood. With FEAR, I paid $25 bucks and went with RJ, BigDeal, and Smurfy. C-Jane doesn’t do six-band punk-fests.

I’ve never introduced RJ, BigDeal or Smurfy. They are oftentimes found in back of the Shortbus to Hell, but rarely are they in the spotlight. RJ is a professional Best Man and for $100 he’ll keep your soon-to-be wife’s ring safe and sound, but you better pay him first. BigDeal hired RJ for his wedding next week and instead of taking BigDeal to a titty-bar for his bachelor’s party, RJ took us to see FEAR. Smurfy is Irish, and that is why he is called Smurfy. You say that doesn’t make sense – well, life doesn’t always make sense, alright?

Talking about Gregory Popovich, he has saved many helpless animals on death row at the Lied Animal Shelter and turned them into stars of the stage. There were about five dogs, seven cats, one parrot, and two rats that were among the cast, as well as four humans. The Comedy Pet Show was extremely funny for everyone under the age of thirteen. We got a couple chuckles from the show, but we were really happy to be in the back of the theater amongst the shadows since this was predominantly a kid’s show. C-Jane and I were likely the only adults in the theater without kids.

FEAR gave many older kids (18+) an opportunity to use drugs without the supervision of their children since the Galaxy tickets said “Adults Only.” FEAR was accompanied by 5 other bands, including Splntr, El Nada, and the Yeastie Boys. The four of us took balcony seats despite Smurfy’s want to get closer to the stage.

That’s ‘Shortbus-Wookie’ to you Jabba the Cat

Popovich had one stage diver – a cat that was trained to leap 15-feet into a blanket held by dogs wearing firemen hats and uniforms. The dogs seemed very happy with the arrangement, but the cat didn’t seem so sure. FEAR on the other-hand, Lee Ving got pissed at a stage diver who’d kicked the cord out of his guitar in the middle of the song ‘Beef Bologna.’ He then yelled at security, forcing the stage divers to find new and improved ways to leap into the swarming mass of moshers.

El Nada had two punk rock girls come onstage. One stood in the background and did the twist, the other girl showed off her tape-covered nipples to everybody in the Mosh-Pit, and then to us in the balcony enjoying our beer. Popovich also had lots of pussy on his stage, only his were pussycats. He had cats that could jump through hoops and a parrot that could play basketball.

Tear it up, Grandpa!

I felt out of place at both shows. Popovich made me feel too old. The show was cute, and geared towards kids. At the FEAR show, I just felt old. Watching all these old guys playing to a crowd of people as old as I am showed me just how dead the punk scene is. It is deader than rock and roll, and that is pretty dead.

All the band members except The Yeastie Boys were as old as me and my friends if not older. The Yeastie Boys were younger and dressed like clowns but sounded like something I don’t listen to, so I didn’t. Outside of listening to FEAR, I found the music as being just loud and noisy. I enjoyed my beer and the punk-rock girls – all two of them, the rest of the show was a sausage-fest. (That’s not absolutely true, there were a couple other women/girls at the show, but they were a definitely the minority.) Outside of El Nada – the barrio punk band – and RJ, everybody was white.

FEAR was fun to listen to, but I enjoyed hanging out with my friends more. I knew all the songs FEAR played, but it felt like going to watch my dad rock out. “Tear it up, Grandpa!” When I was much younger and enjoyed punk-rock, I didn’t realize that Lee Ving was as old as my dad, and I didn’t care because he was cool and anti-establishment. Now the anti-establishment movement is dead, it died with Occupy Wall Street, a big turd in the punchbowl. Punk is dead, rebellion is stupid, and protest is futile.

Luckily, we still have Popovich Comedy Pet Theater to raise our spirits.

(Today’s disclaimer – None of the pictures in this post are owned by me. I found them all over the internet and used them. Some might see this as stealing; I see it as spreading knowledge and art. C-Jane asked, “How would you like it if someone took a chapter of your book and let the world read it?” I said, “If it is only a chapter, thank God for free marketing.” However, most of them came from Wikipedia, and the others came from the Popovich pet show page.)

16
Mar
12

The Killer Awoke Before Dawn

Before you read the following review, I want to tell you that Michael Faust, the sequel is expected to be released in June. I spoke with Jeremy Kline a month ago for a brief moment. I’m excited to see what the sequel looks like. Lazarus Cane was a very fun read.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Those of you who frequent the Shortbus know I love disclaimers. So, here we go with a whole list of them.

1) Although author Jeremy Kline and I have the same publisher, neither D.B. nor Mr. Kline had asked me to write this, (and both would rather I not write about them, given the bad reputation of the Shortbus to Hell.)

2) I am not a book reviewer, I am a creative writer. If I read a book and it moved me to write a creative piece about it, I will tell all – the good, bad, and ugly. (I will review books for authors after establishing a relationship, meaning only after I’ve abused them at least once, and they want more – except Chuck. You’re no longer welcome on my bus and have been kicked to the curb.)

3) I buy all my books, and I’m talking paperbacks, not e-books. Meaning — I paid for my opinion.

4) For once I didn’t have to steal; Jeremy Kline released this picture of his book-cover to me without fore-knowledge of my lack of style.

Now, let the beatings begin!

Here is a very brief depiction of the novel, Lazarus Cane.

A doppleganger (AKA mimic, AKA shapeshifter) is hunting down serial killers in the US and killing them. But, a shadow-organization similar to the FBI is hunting Scott Cane, who is the doppleganger. This is a thriller with sci-fi adaptations.

Lazarus Cane begins with a bit of lesbian action. Hot lesbian action, and tastefully done. It got my attention, but my initial feeling was that it was just a gimmick. But wait…

Let me back up a couple paces, I had just thrown away Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted after reading the first hundred and seven pages of ‘what the hell do you call this?’ I promise I will never read another of Chuck’s books – I am so done with you dude.

So when I started Jeremy Kline’s book I was still holding some residual apathy after Chuck’s junk. It took fifty pages before remembering that I wasn’t reading mass-market garbage, and by page eighty I knew Lazarus Cane was going to be a satisfying read.

The lesbian scene in the beginning turned out to be very important to the creation of all the characters in this book. All of them were very identifiable and easy to accept – all of them – even the bad guys. It turns out that Jeremy Kline is really good with characterization.

Mr. Kline uses very short chapters to move his story along at a quick pace. Sometimes, a little too quick. There were a couple points where I’d wanted to relish in a potentially bloody scene, but was sent to the next chapter. When certain bad guys are getting their just desserts, Jeremy Kline’s keen ability as a writer whipped my blood-lust into a frenzy, but Mr. Kline still pulled his punches. Lazarus Cane is his first novel, he may have been nervous about bloodying my nose, but I can take it. (Off the record, I pulled a couple punches in my first one too.) With that being said, I did not expect ‘a Tim Marquitz’ level of violence and mayhem, but I had anticipated a little more of ‘the ugly’ in this book.

Lazarus Cane is truly a fantastic read, but you must push beyond the very beginning to see how fantastic this story is. In the first thirty pages, the characters appear stereotypical like Dexter/CSI/Dragnet type of caricatures, but by page ninety, they had all fleshed out and satisfied a deeper interest than my original opinion. The three main characters in this volume were strong and memorable. Upon reaching the end of the story, I was pleased to see that Mr. Kline is going to use them in at least one more novel, and hopefully a couple more.

The idea of Lazarus Cane fits the definition of ‘dark fiction,’ but the blood I’d thirsted for was delivered like a fine-looking stripper who refuses to take off her top. She’s standing there, she is super-hot and we know she’s got a good jumblies, but “for Christ’s sake, take off the top already!” As I got closer to the end, the darkness that I’d hoped for did become thicker and complimented the masterfully directed tension with a few unexpected twists. Figuratively, I said, “Oh thank heaven, she’s taking it off…” but she’s still wearing pasties over her nipples. (In other words, a villain or two could have died a bit more violently and I’d have been pacified.)

Yay!

If I was a reviewer and I intended to score this read, I’d give Lazarus Cane a 7.5 to 8.2 on a 10-point scale. Have no doubt, this is a thrilling read, and the strong characters made for a refreshing page-turner. As Mr. Kline unfolded his story, the drafting and layering kept me intrigued. The greatest asset to this book was the interactions between the many characters felt solid and believable. Jeremy Kline’s ability to convey doubt, as well as to raise cheer is very adept. There were many satisfying revelations along the journey of this story.

I will be looking for his second book to add to my shelves.

13
Mar
12

Dirty Little Thing Called Love

(I’ve gotten away from Legal Disclaimers — see about author if you are insulted by anything I’ve written.)

In the U.S.A. liberty is defined by owning a gun.

I own one, but it doesn’t make me happy. What am I going to do with this stupid thing? I can’t use it for what it is intended. I can’t shoot people with it. Well, I guess I could, but it seems what I’m really doing with the pistol is waiting for some asshole to break in and steal it, and then I can wait 12 to 20 hours for the police to show up so I can report it stolen.

Still, it is my right and I believe in protecting my rights. So I am a steward of a gun and can use it efficiently and effectively. I don’t know how many countries allow their citizens to own a gun. Do you? I doubt it is many, but anyway…

In Amsterdam liberty is defined by buying an orgasm. It is a woman’s right to sell one, and every person’s right to have one. I might give up my gun for that type of freedom.

Just outside the Red-Light district in Amsterdam

There are over 240 windows in the red light district, and behind each window is a European woman (or shemale, so be careful); all have been given equal rights to trade orgasms for money. She (or he-she) is protected by the police and is not legally treated as a criminal. Pimping is illegal and pimps will be arrested, but sex-workers will not be harassed by the police. We were informed that there were many police in the Red Light District and they take sides with the girl in the window. CLUE : don’t act like you would to a street-walker here in the States or you’ll go to jail.

How can this be? Clearly sex is not as dirty as here in the States. But I could only look. For one brief moment, it was like I’d bought a Wonkabar and upon opening… I found a golden ticket! “Yay, hurray! I got a golden ticket and I’m going to Wonkaland!”

And C-Jane says, “But Big J, you are diabetic.”

If you are single, have no fear, most of the window prostitutes look great. 99% were foxes. (Shhhh! I told C-Jane only 40% of the sex-workers were doable… and just barely.)

Maybe skinny girls are too bony for you. Have no fear, if you have a taste for heavier women, then look along the central church over by the kindergarten. Yes, you heard me right, across the alley from a church, where the bigger window-girls wave to the passing kinder-kids.

Got to pee? This was right outside the church doors on the side of the walkway.

If you like boobies that include a man-unit, there is a Shemale corner in the south-east of the district. I hid behind C-Jane as we walked through that part.

I took no pictures of the working women, or she-men. That is considered rude, and might even be illegal.

What is not illegal in Amsterdam is the Banana Bar. We did not go in there. The Banana Bar might have been a little too liberal. Or, is the word I’m looking for, ‘Scary.’ I mean, why a banana? Bananas don’t belong up there. It’s all sticky and mushy. Who’s going to eat that now?

Very sexy at the Sex Museum

We’d gone to the Sexmuseum the night before and it had been quite unsettling. See the cute picture of the butt with eyes? It’ll fart on you as you pass. Or, as you ‘pass’ it will ‘gas.’ That last sentence defines the sexy-factor of the Sexmuseum. If you don’t believe me, look at this picture here.

Your eyes are not tricking you, one mannequin is giving a ‘blank-blank’ to another mannequin.

Imagine a three-story-tall building containing the entire history of porn – but only until 1970. The razor hasn’t been invented yet, or at least not for proper grooming.

See the museum! Big dorks painted on Egyptian plates, 1880’s pictures of hairy guys with even hairier women, and let’s not forget live-action dioramas with mannequins offering ample views of their glued on rug-o-liscious lap-animals. It wasn’t sexy. It kinda made me want to throw up.

Having had a day in the red-light district, what more could I do in Amsterdam? I might have one last idea to write about. See you in a few days.

(We saw the dog show, and a post will be coming soon.)

10
Mar
12

C-Jane’s Super-Secret Mission

(Notice I’m using my own pictures this time, proving I was really there. I’m going to try to be on better behavior now that an assortment of international people have found the Shortbus. There will be no more talk of dandruff or impacted poo. I hope my bad-sense of humor will translate well – and if it doesn’t, then just like our President is often forced to say, I’ll say, “I’m sorry.”)

As I’ve said many times before, Calamity Jane is super-important. The companies she works for pay her to fly all over the place. This time they bought her plane ticket and five days lodging at the Lloyd Hotel. I’m not super-important, so I had to pay for my own plane ticket. Because the nature of this meeting was super-secretive and about human rights, it had to be done in Amsterdam, one of the few places on EARTH where human rights and liberty are still cornerstone values.

Inside the Lloyd

Look how big our room is.

Enough of my free-love hippie attitude! F those people! Let’s bomb the poor and talk about life pressed between luxury’s ample tits. (Now that wasn’t a nice thing to say. How rude.) Our room had great personality compared to what is standard in the US. See the picture above, those big Dutch windows opened up, allowing fresh air to circulate. There was a giant kitchen with an ugly table that might have at one time been a cable spool. Add a couple chairs, and a couple of sinks, and that makes up the central living space.

Stairs to nowhere

There is nothing down there. Dead end.

Here is a set of stairs bending around and leading to a locked door.

Sleeping arrangements were cozy.

Sleeping arrangements were cozy.

Our bedroom we’d coined the ‘Sleep-Closet.’

Bathing room.

Wash and relieve all at the same time.

But look at the bathroom. Yes, that is the shower over the toilet. You can get clean and poop at the same time! Cool, eh? See the squeegee against the wall; we were to use it to push the water into the drain. Unlike at our home, the shower was wonderful, there was an abundance of hot water and the pressure felt relaxing. Perhaps peculiar lodging, but for us this was an adventure.

Incredible is the only word to describe the hotel’s food. Every morning, fresh OJ, coffee with real cream and real sugar, fresh baked croissants and a variety of select breads, cheeses made from cow’s milk, fruit, deli-sliced ham and beef. This was real food, not American-pseudo-food. It was the type of food people are supposed to eat, real food like before KRAFT, Coca-Cola, and Tyson’s began poisoning every American. Each morning of our stay at the Lloyd, we were fed like we were human beings – not like at Hampton Inn Carlsbad, where we’d been fed powdered eggs and freeze-dried potatoes for $149 per night.

Another difference of the Dutch versus US citizens is the Dutch are not fat. If we saw a heavy person, it was either my reflection in a window or it was another American. Not only is the food good and REAL, but everyone in Amsterdam also exercises. The Dutch Government has made it difficult for residents to get parking passes, plus the streets are intentionally made very pedestrian and bike friendly. It takes an automobile forty-five minutes to cross the city, yet by bike it takes only twelve minutes. Roads are a real pain in the ass, most are tiny streets filled with thousands of pedestrians. Oftentimes, the roads are one-way and sometimes dead-end unexpectedly before a canal. Rental cars have got to be the biggest tourist scam in Holland. We did not fall for that one. We love public transportation when it is efficient and safe, as it is in Amsterdam.

Biker Friendly

Rows and rows of bikes outside the Artis Zoo.

Be very careful of the red trails of pavement snaking across the city, these are bike lanes, not pedestrian paths. It took a couple days for us to learn this one dangerous fact – the bicycle has the right of way. We walked everywhere and spent a lot of time in the red light district, which will be my post after the ‘stupid dog show’ next Tuesday.

07
Mar
12

The Miracle of Time Travel

(Next week, C-Jane and I are going to a ‘Stupid Dogs that do Stupid Tricks’ Show at Planet Hollywood. Clearly, we are not ‘Dog-People,’ but the show should be a nice deviation from the awful hell that is sobriety. Jesus, save me from shooting myself. Here is the beginning of a series of old posts about Amsterdam.)

Time-travel sucks. Wake up Tuesday at 7am, pack, get a ride to McCarran International at noon, and after having my shoes checked for bombs, fly until landing in Memphis at 5pm, eat some nasty airport BBQ, get on another plane, fly against the sun for nine-hours, finally land at Schiphol Amsterdam at 11am on Wednesday.

Amsterdam Pictures
This photo of Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The best part of my flight was the redneck from Memphis sitting in front of me held the Guinness World Record for the worst dandruff in the world – 9-hours of scalp-flakes in my food, beer, and lap. Yuck. I’ll make sure to pack a whisk broom next time. American airplane food is shit to begin with. Speaking of shit, there is nothing like fun times with constipation while in a foreign country, thanks Delta for 24-hours of bowels filled with indigestible food-like-substances.

In Switzerland, the true capital of the world, everything is written and spoken in four languages, but not in Holland. Disorientation becomes compounded when everyone ‘speaks’ English, but everything is written in Dutch. Catch the train from Schiphol to Centraal Station, then get on the tram, don’t exit at Kattenburgerstraat, but one more exit forward at Rietlandpark. The Lloyd Hotel is right there. Jesus, what time is it now? Hell if I know.

Calamity Jane is a master traveler. I’d have given up and curled into a ball upon the floor, but she charged into the fray, damn the disorientation. She got us to the hotel as I only stood dumbfounded.

But from the moment we landed in Schiphol, the mood changed. What is that feeling? Oh, I remember, this feeling is called ‘liberty. The crushing oppression of America slips off as ‘freedom’ replaces it. The airport is quiet, benevolent, and welcoming.

Amsterdam Photos
This photo of Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Not at the money exchange. 600 US-dollars transfer to only 385 Euros. Yikes! Freedom IS expensive. (5 Euros is the average cost for a pint of Amstel, 2.6 Euros for a one-hour tram ride, Stoli Vodka – 7.5 Euros.) Needless to say, we didn’t drink too much in the new morally ambiguous utopia. (Actually, the Dutch people have fine morals; they tend to believe that people make their own decisions and thus face their own consequences. No need to strangle the rights of their people. Holland is for the Dutch, visitors need to remember this fact and adjust to their culture while exploring their wonderful environment.)

The next post will be about the Lloyd Hotel.

(I seem to have lost all my pictures of the Netherlands, so I borrowed two showing places we’d been. I believe C-Jane has a hidden stash of photos. I hope so, or I’m going to need to amp-up my descriptive abilities for the next post.)




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