’tis the season for janklow to be annoyed with the holidays

happy holidays, internet!

such a sad little Charlie Brown-style tree
fittingly, my Oakland Raiders stocking is sad and empty, except maybe for tears

once again it’s the time of year for bad weather and children to demand TOYS TOYS TOYS! listen up, you little brats, the problem is that you don’t get beat enough! you don’t need toys! when i was your age, i walked through 5 miles of snow just to get to toys, but then again, i wasn’t allowed to buy anything because we needed all of my child-labor wages for coal to heat our house. so you think about that, you little ingrates!

and i haven't grown an inch since those days
photo of janklow’s childhood christmas, circa 1890

where was i… oh yeah, anyway, generally speaking, i hate the holiday season, which i consider to end around St. David’s Day (which is like St. Patrick’s Day for the Welsh, so it’s all about drinking as far as i am concerned) after beginning around, say, Halloween (all about drinking in a robot costume). at this point, i mostly get a lot of sass along the lines of “but janklow, why do you hate the holidays?” well, i have my reasons! okay, so, the reasons:

working on the holidays: so, look, i get that you American holiday-lovers want to travel through the air to take smoked turkeys (that are so god-danged JUICY) to your loved ones in Montana and the like; i can respect that, you know, it’s the season for family and all. and actually, i like to work on the holidays and be safely away from potential family dramabombs and the like. what i DON’T like, however, is when people pack bags filled with 99.5 pounds of gift-wrapped packages and ingredients for dinner into their baggage and travel ON the holiday (rather than before or after). i AM going to have to open your packages and food, you see, so what i’d recommend is that you pack the paper and NOT wrap your gifts, and then call ahead and ask Aunt Sally to run to the damn store and pick up that super-rare salt for you. please.

holiday music: i don’t like the super-early start to the Christmas season that we get IMMEDIATELY after Thanksgiving; i especially don’t like the fucking Christmas music. unless it’s the dogs barking Jingle Bells, TURN THAT SHIT OFF. and don’t turn it on again. (and if it’s the dogs barking Jingle Bells, okay, you can play it once.)

family drama: so, you know, my general policy on the holidays is to go to work and root through people’s bags all day long, but on occasion i’m actually off and then i have to figure out how to handle dealing with the family, because they’re not all as awesome as my grandmother. my standard policy is to start drinking shortly after i get up and stop drinking shortly before it kills me; anything in between is “safer” in a medical sense, but not necessarily “safer” in a holiday sense. i will just say that ridiculous family drama that did NOT involve me still resulted in me enduring, during the 2007 christmas celebration, one of, if not THE, most awkward moments in family history. luckily, i was safely lubricated with alcohol, so like a drunk in a car accident, despite the horrifying crash, i was thrown clear and survived!

but, i don’t want to sound like a total curmudgeon here (lest i get attacked by Carol Kane and a hooded ghost and end up freaking out like Bill Murray in some holiday film), so let me just say that i WILL admit to an occasional bit of holiday awesomeness:

ZOMBIES!!!
“not suitable for children under 3 years”: truest words spoken about this toy yet!

it’s a zombie playset! come on, if that doesn’t say merry christmas, then what the hell does?

the greatness of rock screams (or at least rock screeches)

at work the other day, we had a conversation that involved Quiet Riot, and while i grant you that that’s basically NEVER a good thing, it did get me to thinking and not just about Quiet Riot sucking hardcore at the whole music thing: rock screams, when done well, are pretty cool. and so i further thought that we should commemorate them. and yes, ordinarily, this is the kind of thing i would celebrate 13 of, but hey, i’m a little short right now. so you’ll take what you get and you’ll like it! or just be disappointed with me, that’s generally what i do.

Zack De La Rocha, ladies and gentlemen
fuck the sound, this is what a rock scream is supposed to LOOK like

Led Zeppelin, “Immigrant Song”
i’ve always been prone to talking a little shit about Led Zeppelin, whether it’s that they’re overrated when compared to the Beatles or the Who or the Rolling Stones, or that they’re prone to containing possible pedophile band members, but either way, they DO rock pretty hard, and when they get it right, they get it right. and it doesn’t get much righter than Plant’s proto-metal yowling on this song.

Rage Against The Machine, “Killing In The Name Of”
granted, there are many better RATM songs out there; “Killing In The Name Of” isn’t one of my personal favorites at all, and frankly, i’m likely to skip this track completely if i was to play this album (or rather, skip this album in favor of later, better ones). and it’s not like Zack De La Rocha limited his rock/rap screaming to this one track, and other occasions may have been more quotable (say, “anger is a gift”). however, there’s definitely something to a rock scream when it makes legions of middle-class kids yell “fuck you, i won’t do what you tell me” in seeming support of De La Rocha’s intensely left-wing lyrics. i’m just sayin’.

the B-52s, ladies and gentlemen
oh, shut the fuck up already, you know damn well that “Rock Lobster,” well, rocks

the B-52s, “Rock Lobster”
granted, there isn’t really a “rock scream” going on here in the traditional sense, but let’s bear two things in mind: a) i’m not sure that Fred Schneider is capable of anything more in terms of “rock screams” than he reaches here while belting out “ROCK LOBSTER,” and b) “Rock Lobster” is one of the greatest songs of all time. and i take every possible moment here on the internet to remind people of that fact. and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Sepultura, “Ratamahatta”
i’m not really sure if you count what Carlinhos Brown was doing on this song as screaming (or rock screaming, for that matter), but whatever it counts as, it’s surely one of the most awesome – and ridiculous – things i’ve ever heard committed to a compact disc.

the Reverend Horton Heat, “400 Bucks”
at the end of the song, the good Reverend just goes absolutely nuts and raves about his 400 dollars and the woman that scammed him out of it and a need to possibly murder her to get it back. now, it’s not that i’m trying to endorse that particular sentiment – no matter how much the lady in question deserves it – it’s just that it’s one awesome rock scream-rant-yell-whatever it is. and it closes out the song perfectly.

3 Inches Of Blood, ladies and gentlemen
i will never, ever get tired of referring to this album cover

3 Inches Of Blood, “Destroy The Orcs”
not that i was just making fun of this band within the last 24 hours… but seriously, the entire song is one ridiculous rock scream devoted to the concept of killing the orcs, slaying the orcs, and destroying the orcs. oh, yeah, and spilling their blood. we absolutely cannot forget the need to spill the blood of the aformentioned orcs.

the Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter”
yeah, okay, this is a background vocal and so it’s kind of a weird selection, but Merry Clayton screaming out said background vocals is one of the things that really makes this song the classic that it is. Jagger’s not really built for those kinds of vocals anyway, and as far as making the song sound ominous and apocalyptic … well, mission accomplished, Merry Clayton. you may hang a banner on an aircraft carrier as you see fit.

Roger Daltrey, ladies and gentlemen
it might be hard to tell from this photo, but the greatest rock scream of all time lives inside this man

the Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
there really is no debate about this: when Roger Daltry lets out his all-time classic “YEEEEAAAAH,” more than a mere rock moment in a rock song, it confirms why the Who were possibly THE hardest-rocking band of all time. there will never be another rock scream as perfectly archetypical as this one.

…unless of course Jesus Christ himself comes back to earth to record a cover version of “Destroy The Orcs.” fingers crossed!

shuttle etiquette and Belgian handgun fever

so as you can imagine, i can get a little bit annoyed with people out there in Radio Land and their failure to conform to what i consider the rules of “proper behavior.” and i back this up with the knowledge i gleaned from all those Miss Manners-based lectures my father gave me when i was acting up as a youth. uh, did i say Miss Manners? i meant Chuck Norris! and he taught me his karate skills, which shall be used against people who disobey in the manner(s) i describe below!

riding the work shuttle
i can probably save the time telling you that you should a) give up your seat to ancient ladies and b) stop putting your bag on the seat next to you on a crowded shuttle. yeah, you’re defending your personal space against really fat guys and really stinky guys, but as a matter of principle, it’s just rude. however, let me tell you two things that you shouldn’t do on a crowded, now-standing-room-only shuttle, both of which were personified by the same guy. one, if someone (say, me) is standing in front of you, don’t fucking stare at me with a creepy look the entire ride to the employee lot. but secondly – and this is more important – don’t get up right before the shuttle arrives and push past everyone standing so as to be the first one off. that’s just fucking pathetic.

holding the door open at the gas station
okay, this is old ground (and i may have mentioned it in regards to trips to Minnesota), but ladies, seriously, if someone holds the door for you, YOU SAY THANK YOU. it takes next to no time and it’s one of those “acknowledge that other people exist and did something nice for you.” i single out the ladies because at the test gas station i go to near work, while i thank guys that hold a door for me and men thank me back, the ladies never thank anyone. you know those nice things that people do for you that we think they should just do, like holding doors open? if you take them for granted, PEOPLE STOP DOING THEM. step your game up, ladies!

the whole bluetooth headset thing
yes, YOU, with that bluetooth shit that lives in your ear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, until it gives you brain cancer and you finally die: you’re not cool because you wear it, you’re not important enough to need to wear it 24/7, and you need to take that shit out of your ear. NOW. let’s not mention the fact that babbling loudly on it in public as if no one else is there is lame as hell; let’s not mention the fact that people who talk on it while in the middle of a transaction at a store should be stoned to death Shirley Jackson-style (and yeah, i think both of those apply to cell phones as well). let’s just mention this: if you’re wearing it so much that it LITERALLY wears a hole in your face, well, there’s nothing more to say than “you are pathetic, oh so pathetic.”

…and in belated news: new gun!

the FNP-40: Belgium’s version of the, uh, technically Belgian Browning PRO-40
after waiting a surprisingly (and distressingly) long time to be allowed to go pick up a gun i had purchased (i don’t even want to get into all of THAT nonsense), i was finally allowed to drive south and get my hot little hands on the Belgian/Virginian pistol known as the FNP-40.

from Belgium with love
sorry, no Belgian paratrooper shirt to go with this image, i’m afraid

while it’s clearly not all black like everyone knows i like, i was forced to “man up” and go with the silver-and-black, Raiders-style look. but on the plus side, it’s all small and comfortable, comes with three (as opposed to two) magazines, and even a fancy plastic FN box!

from Belgium with love
ooo… accessories!

but it’s sort of annoying that Federal makes Hydra-Shok ammunition in 9mm, and .45 ACP, but not .40 S&W. their premium HST ammunition will have to do instead. oh well!

R.I.P. #21

recently, free safety Sean Taylor, of our hero’s official backup football team the Washington Redskins (aka the patron saints of my grandmother) was shot and killed in his Florida home; it’s all been very sad and very covered in the news, so i suppose a post about it is in order. so since there’s a few different ways for us to view this whole situation, so let’s break it down a few ways:

Sean Taylor, RIP
even when trying to murder my beloved Raiders on the field, respect was due

melancholy
really, there’s pretty much two ways that most people are coming at this story: either it’s a terrible tragedy or he totally had it coming because he was a thug. now, bear in mind here that i was never the largest fan of Taylor for the one major reason of him spending a few years unable to fully behave on the field; however, this last year’s gone differently, and i’m not one unwilling to admit that it’s possible a young guy who’d been pampered socially and vastly rewarded financially would both start off immature (and having it show) and end up, shockingly, growing up. as someone who i think wrote for the Washington Post (a paper i generally despise with a religious passion) said, it’s a little sad that NOW we get to hear stories about him and his family and friends and teammates and kids that makes us say “hey, he wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought.” but more to the point, it’s also a pretty large douchebag move to spend the week after someone’s death saying “he had that shit coming” unless he was, you know, in the midst of something a) criminal or b) completely retarded when it happened … neither of which was the case. in the end, now he’s up there in Football Heaven tackling God with Sam Mills and Pat Tillman.

Sean Taylor, RIP
and the Lord said: and i will strike down with great vengeance and furious anger those that are Cowboys

vengeful
forget the basic “he was a Redskin and a player we loved and now we’re totally pissed off at the killers” thing; what gets me most annoyed was the attorney(s) for the four kids accused of this crime playing the whole “they’re confused, they’re scared” card immediately after their arrest. granted, it’s their job to defend their clients, which they’ll do in this case by appealing to the fact that they’re young kids and everything, but it’s pretty goddamn annoying to hear someone who broke into someone else’s house for the purposes of stealing from them and THEN found it necessary to shoot them (rather than, say, just running the fuck out of there) purporting to be completely terrified about a situation that they don’t know how they wound up in. here’s a hint: you wound up in that situation because you went to someone’s house to steal their shit. period. there you go.

Sean Taylor, RIP
Greg Williams, why don’t you go ahead and lose your motherfucking MIND

mercenary
so, this is a big loss for the team from a talent point of view, but also, it’s my understanding that while the Redskins will not be paying his salary next year (for the record, Snyder notes that they’re setting up a $500,000+ fund for Taylor’s daughter), the cap effect from his paid-out bonus accelerates and increases the amount of literally, if blackly humorous, “dead money” on their payroll next year. frankly, unless the team is responsible for murdering their player, they shouldn’t be getting socked with a greater financial penalty for having someone murder their player. so there it is. and the Redskins couldn’t even win that Buffalo game for him. now THAT is tragic.

(also, i was going to do a whole “celebrate the new and overdue gun” thing here, but it seems a little out of place, so, uh, next week!)