Unpleasant Twisted Cynic's-ville


Groundings, “Santa’s”, and e-mail

While my parents boxed the trinkets and furniture from their Florida home in preparation for their end of the month move to Central America, my father found this:

Deal with the kids

A contract made by my brother and myself dating back to December of ’93 that reads exactly as follows:
“December 4 1993
if you take us to Santa’s we promise we will behaive if we dont you mai ground us for a month
expires January 1
sign
Christophe Frochaux
John Frochaux”

You can tell that contrary to my earmark, my brother had already established a working signature long before he penned up this here agreement, though I will say that it’s pretty endearing to see my infantile attempt at creating a signature just for the occasion. If you examine my signature (the one on the bottom) you’ll find that many of the elements found on Chris’ J. Hancock can be found in mine; it almost appears as if I’m using Chris’ as a template for signature making. Cue the “endeared public” sigh.
By “Santa’s” we were referring to a somewhat popular Miami theme park (fittingly named “Santa’s Enchanted Forest”) that opens every year during the x-mas holidays.
In hindsight, this really paints my parents as severe and overly strict reactionary-types (something they aren’t in the least). Seems like the only way we could manage to obtain a trip to the theme park was through documented bargaining; I mean, a month of unspecified punishment in exchange for a trip to the amusement park? Talk about all the eggs in a single basket, you’d think “Santa’s” was made of candy that made you grow wings and video games.
I’m sure I objected to offering this sort of collateral, but my brother has always been known to drive a pretty solid bargain so I’m sure I caved after one of his often-persuasive speeches, I’m pretty sure that in a passed life Chris was a Snake Oil salesman in the old west.

In the end I do remember going to “Santa’s” that year and really getting a kick out of it. Over the years I grew, and like many things when you grow, “Santa’s” progressively lost a good amount of its luster; I began to notice the carnies, the people, the allowance factor, and before I knew it the desire to attend “Santa’s” had just faded, only leaving behind entertainingly written contracts for my father to e-mail other folks in the future.

Thanks dad.

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Ramones, Murder, and Youtube.

During my daily news-read, I came across this very disturbing article about Linda Stein’s (Ramones’ manager at one point) murder, something I hadn’t the slightest knowledge of.
Linda Stein worked with the Ramones for many years before going into real estate, and was responsible for booking the band’s infamous appearance in London’s Roundhouse in 1976, which turned out to be one of the most pivotal moments in the band’s career, if not the most; an event that defined the future of punk rock. I
won’t go into a long-winded diatribe about the origins of punk rock, but I will say this: The Ramones created and defined punk rock, Malcolm Mclaren just found a way to massively cash in on it.



TV Party Tonight!

As I placed one of my coveted Fredric Brown novels (thanks Dad) on my bookshelf, I realized that it was time to knock off for the eve. The night was run of the mill, and the urge to drift off into dreamland seemed to be a couple of bus stops away. Being a slave to non-conformity and a routine dogmatist, I dismissed the idea of turning on the television as quickly as it came; NOTE: I’ve come to the conclusion that as technology becomes more widespread, television only perpetuates itself as a medium that is plagued with passive aggressive non-sense that panders to the weaker realms of my persona. After a fleeting spell of emotional blitzkrieg courtesy of my inherent inability to break away my sense of integrity, I decided to placate my self-conflict by firing up the old boob tube, and fire it up I did. I undauntedly flipped through vast tv-scapes plagued by assortments of contaminating publicity that informed me of and very discretely ridiculed my acne, weight disorders, inability to dress myself, as well as other breeds of rather discouraging short comings of mine that Clear Channel thought I should be reminded about right before bedtime; for a second I was overwhelmed at the thought of my newly discovered personal inconsistencies, I felt the insomnia begin to rap at my door, but just like that, my worries were countered and comforted by a gallant voice that told me that I was not completely at a loss. According to the voices coming through my TV, all cures to said disorders were available at the small (risk-free) fee of $19.95; heavens, this is why I count my lucky stars every night, fortunately for us we live in a modern society where most solutions are simply a card-swipe away. Its nice to know that we can buy, rent, adopt, (whatever you’d like to call it) children in third world countries for only ten cents a day, now if that isn’t peace of mind from the Bargain Bin, I really don’t know what is. But I digress.
After a few minutes of steady soldier-like trudging through the rotting carcass and shrapnel ridden cable-scapes I was ready to memo out an “abort mission” communiqué to my troops. As luck of the draw would have it, just as the MEDEVACS and Apaches were touching down, I surfed onto what at first glance seemed to be some sort of Comedy Network/Channel. I collected myself and decided to tell the troops to stand-by and hold their positions as I further inspected the images that flashed through my screen. Once the analysis was through I realized that all the ducks were fixed neatly in a row, this was hardly uncharted territory; the channel’s content seemed over the top, the “hosts” seemed to be quite sarcastic, and the general production value seemed to be geared towards someone with a very short attention span; two and two together, this was either (another) poor man’s MTV, or it was most certainly a comedy channel. Before I go any further I’d like to make it explicitly clear that I’m well aware that getting down on religious fanatics is synonymous to shooting fish in a barrel (by the way; easier said than done, as proven by Penn Gillette), heck its become damn-near faux pas, that aside I will also like to point out that its one of my favorite pastimes. Back to my TV watching experience:
Comedy or not, whatever it was that I was witnessing on my TV, it was so strangely comedic it almost came off as conceptual art. It was a no holds barred, no punches pulled, thong in crack protestant rock n’ roll show, complete with rock n’ roll aesthetics and lest we forget attitude. I had landed on a local protestant network, and I was just in time to witness the holy onslaught of a protestant “nu-metal” band, I couldn’t believe my luck. Just as my senses began to corner into frenzied overdrive, the camera guy sent me an indirect TV treat by giving me a detailed close up of the man behind the microphone, whom for this performance had chosen to go with stage attire resembling that of Slipknot, or any other band that’s ever been on stage at the Ozzfest for that matter. It was also very endearing to see their jumpsuits decorated with what appeared to be numbers from bible passages.
Just before our rockin’ protestants broke into song, the masked and jump suited lead singer in a kind of raspy demonic voice went into a long inaudible rant (certainly about the advantages of god and/or being down with Jesus; I heard a couple of “he is risens” and “god rocks” somewhere through out the mask-muffled diatribe), to which the adoring public responded in immeasurable yelps and amens. I was beside myself, these rockin’ children of the lord really knew their audience, and boy did their audience love ‘em for it. I mean, really. I don’t exactly remember how many black sheep of god stocked the band’s personnel, why with all the masks and uniform jumpsuits it was difficult to keep track, but all I can say is that it was nothing short of an on-field baseball team. All masked, all dressed, all-in-all pretty confusing stuff.
All of the sudden the boys let ‘er rip, they went into what appeared to be the first number. Drop D (DADGBE) guitars and some serious jumping and head banging, all in the name of god of course. I was taken aback by the whole matter, it was now abundantly clear to me that the only thing that could be more awful than the real Slipknot would most certainly have to be a rosary and bible totting clone of just that. As things began to really cook and my urge to turn off the TV began to fade, my train of joy came to a derailed halt. The image on the screen froze (YIKES!), and a big red circle with an “X” running through its center appeared over the frozen image of god’s take on corporate rock. As you can imagine I was slitghtly confused by that moment. “What exactly is it that I’m watching”, I asked myself. A second later, just over the “X”ed out circle appeared some text that read “The message is clear, but the actions are not”; more befuddlement, more arthritis of the mind. “This is not in the name of god…” “This does not speak the language of the lord…” an angry voice processed over the image with the circle and “X”. Just at that moment, out of the corner of my screen came a stout, and rather ugly man in a neatly pressed shirt and tie. With conviction in his eye, he appeared to be looking directly at me as I attentively sat waiting for him to give me a good reason as to why he’d brought such an entertaining moment to such a abrupt, and need I say sour stop.
“Don’t be fooled!” said the fat man in a stern judgmental tone, “god does not approve of this, this is by no means in the name of the lord…” “…this has temptation written all over it!” he huffed as beads of sweat formed on his forehead whilst angrily clutching a bible in his right hand. “The only thing clear about this inappropriate celebration of god’s word is the fact that it is designed to mislead you, it beckons you to stray from a path, the path that is righteous, the untainted path!”, harsh words from a harsh looking individual. I actually sort of began to sympathize with the band after a couple of sentences, this guy was really lacing into them. I decided I’d sit in for a spell and allot the man with an ill disposition a just amount of leeway to explain himself, but after hearing the phrase “the lord doesn’t want you to…” about sixty times, everything began to strike a sourly familiar chord inside of me regarding my days in grade-school, so I went ahead and gave him the old heave-ho. Magically the TV went off.
As I lay in my bed that night waiting for the day to close the register on me, I had a near epiphany, a fresh new idea dawned on me; It wasn’t just me, I came to the conclusion that its not just agnostics, atheists, common folk, non-religious folk, folk singers, George Carlin, ballerinas, painters, auto-repairmen, Marilyn Manson, etc… that enjoy the slamming of overzealous god nuts, god nuts themselves enjoy participating in this wonderful sport. I know it sounds like a stretch; it even seems to cancel out. But I think it makes sense to say that self-righteousness and fun are not necessarily mutually exclusive, just look at Steven Colbert.

Ok,
John