Archive for March, 2010

As a kid, I attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Hubbard, Ohio. My uniform was sharp-creased navy blue dress pants with a crisp white shirt and clip-on tie. We had ‘lay teachers’ (ordinary civilians), but we were also taught by ruler-wielding nuns who smacked palms into submission. The pain told the brain and body to obey.

One tormentor-in-habit used to give me an open-hand whack across the chops because she thought I was tormenting her on purpose with my ignorance in math. I wasn’t– I really was that stupid with the ‘new math’, and her instilling fear in me certainly didn’t help matters. I’d laugh at her slaps (being class clown, I had to save face) which only get her angrier. But at least she’d let me sit back down again with one cheek out of four stinging.

I was subjected to some pretty inventive disciplinary actions by nuns: holding erasers with arms outstretched for long stretches of time or kneeling on the floor and placing my nose into a small circle that the nun had drawn on the blackboard. Gitmo had nothing on the good Sisters.

'Sister Smile' sang, and I swooned.

Regardless of my dark nun memories, I have fond memories of my angelic, idyllic nun: The Singing Nun, Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile), AKA: Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers, a Belgian woman of the beads who recorded an international hit song “Dominique” in the teeth of Beatlemania. She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show (I remember it and was captivated– it would be years later when nuns would subject me to their disciplinarian ways). They made a movie of her life where a younger, prettier woman played the good Sister–Debbie Reynolds.

The real Sœur Sourire had a guitar, a song and an angelic voice. The song “Dominique” would occupy a warm cubbyhole in the corridors of my consciousness. Years later, when the real nuns disciplined me, I would hear the joyful song of The Singing Nun and feel comforted. I believed She of the guitar would never have subjected me to pain. But I could have been wrong in my assumption, after all, she never had to teach me math.

Enjoy the song from the movie and let it take residence in your psyche. If you have a nun tale to tell, do tell. I harbor no ill will at the good nuns, they’re all saints to me. Some of the saints had a mean right cross to the head.

Tiger's new wingman majored in bro-code

Many people were not surprised when it was announced that Tiger Woods would play in the upcoming Masters Golf Tournament, but the latest Tiger news may stun the world off its ever-loving spinning axis: Tiger has selected Jesse James as his official ‘Wingman’ during his Augusta stay.

“Tiger’s a master at the Masters,” said Ernie Whintfee, Augusta guy’s guy. “He’s put up some good scores at Augusta National and some great scores around the Augusta night scene. But Tiger knows he needs help this year after all the press he’s gotten, so he’s recruited Jesse as his wingman when he makes his August rounds. There’s quite a field this year with a really cute waitress working at Chili’s and some real babes working the Outback. With Jesse at his side, Tiger gets an experienced wingman, an operator in his own right, and a dude who knows the bro-code through and through. Tig and Jess will be a dynamic duo that’ll be tough to beat.”

Jesse is in dutch with his ball ‘n chain, Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, for allegedly having sexual relations (the legal term is “hankious-pankious”) with tattoo model Michelle “Bombshell” McGee and allegedly other women he’s not married to. “Jesse’s got a lot of free time on his hands,” said Mr. Whintfee, “and if he can help Tiger, he’s determined to do so. That’s the kind of stand-up dude he is.”

Sandra Bullock is rumored to have an Oscar she wants to personally deliver to Jesse’s skull, and Tiger’s wife, Elin, reportedly has a 7-iron in hand that may hinder Tiger’s successful return to Augusta.

Who could possibly refuse the adorable cuteness of Snowpuff? Surrender, you are powerless to her!

Snowpuff, quite possibly the cutest kitten to ever grace a litter box, has great ambition intertwined with her adorability– she wants to rule the world! And it’s working. People across the globe are selling their possessions and donating their money to Snowpuff.

“I’ve never seen a kitten with an adorability quotient that rivals Snowpuff,” said Dr. Thomas F. Suttencroft, a respected authority in Cuteness Studies at Harvard University (official slogan: Where brains get even brainer still!). “Even her name ‘Snowpuff’ is as delightful as can be.”

Whiskers & Charlie in happy death-free days

Dr. Suttencroft exuded a regal air as he continued his learned commentary with a rubber-tipped wooden pointer in hand.

“Back in 1926, there was an adorable kitten named ‘Whiskers’ who was the cherished pet of little Charlie Woodrunner in Stonesboro, Pennsylvania. Many said this kitty was the cutest feline ever, until one dark day when the delightful furry scamp lunged at Charlie’s throat and savagely ripped his jugular vein to shreds. It was a tragedy when Charlie bled-out and made a terrible mess of the Woodrunner living room. Whiskers was arrested, placed in pawcuffs and put on trial for murder. It was the trial of the century that year. After 16 hours of heated deliberation, a jury returned a guilty verdict and the judge sentenced the precious kittykins to death. Whiskers was placed in the lap of a man convicted of vandalism who was seated in the electric chair. Many people thought it odd they put to death a man convicted of vandalism, but there was no one on death row so someone had to be ‘the lap’ for the cute kittycat to sit upon. Those who witnessed the execution of the vandal and the darling kitten reported the last words of Whiskers were, ‘I’ll see you in hell, Charlie Woodrunner, and I’ll teach you not to pet me constantly!” The nation was mortified that such cuteness had turned bad. It was an adorable story that turned quite tragic. But I do not have that impending sense of evil from Snowpuff— she seems like the real deal to me and I am fully devoted to her cuddly lovableness.!”

Millions of people worldwide who have pledged undying devotion to Snowpuff and her delightful adorability. If you’d like to become part of this global sensation (peer pressure is good!), sell your worldly goods and send the proceeds to me c/o The Lint Screen. I’ll see to it Snowpuff gets the money and you don’t end up like Little Charlie Woodrunner.

His given name is Lawrence Travagliante, a mouthful for sure, and the kind of name that’d bust the bank if you were printing softball jerseys.

But millions of rock fans know him as Kid Leo, the greatest rock DJ of all time in the opinion of this half-deaf boomer. Kid Leo’s still doing his stuff 4-7 PM on Little Steven’s Underground Garage on satellite radio (channel 25 Sirius, channel 59 XM). “Little Steven” is Steve Van Zandt (AKA Miami Steve), legendary E. Street Band guitarist, Tony Soprano’s main man, Silvio Dante, and evil music pusher.

Rock 'n roll music is Satan's soundtrack, beware, childrens!

If you’ve never heard Kid Leo, you’ve never heard rock radio as it was meant to be, before the days of heavy rotation vanilla corporate rock.

From 1974 to 1988, Kid Leo spit into the microphone at WMMS-FM (The Buzzard) in Cleveland. Back then, the format was called ‘Progressive Rock’, a fancy way to say album rock or whatever the hell vinyl the DJ wanted to play. From ’79 to ’87, WMMS was named Radio Station of The Year by readers of Rolling Stone (this is a bit of a cheat as legend has it the #1 vote was the response “Radio sucks”). Still, WMMS was a force and one of the main reasons the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame is located by Lake Erie. Kid Leo was one of the key drivers of WMMS. I was an avid listener, when the signal wafted into the outer reaches of northeastern Ohio.

Once, a buzzard ruled the airwaves. Imagine.

The Kid’s voice is gruff, like a Harley Davidson engine on a cold morning. He speaks in beat-influenced hipster slang patter, making the English language his bitch.

He’s the guy your parents warned you about when you were growing up, the one who had no job, smoked one Pall Mall to light another, smelled of stale whiskey, swore colorfully, had a stack of well-worn Penthouses, drove a muscle car way too fast and would happily buy you and your under-aged friends some PBR on the sly–providing there was a six or so in it for him.

He knew all the bands and all the songs, with an unrivaled record collection, and would craft a playlist that’d have you riding an emotional roller coaster– like you had a fist in your gut. At the end of his musical journey, he’d deliver you exhausted and begging for another ride ‘round the track.

Before the days of manufactured boy bands, ‘focus-grouped sounds’ and crossover media megastars, Kid Leo identified and gave air cover to interesting, compelling artists he thought were worth hearing–– Springsteen, Bowie, Patty Smith, Pretenders, Ramones, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Mink DeVille, Graham Parker and The Rumour, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Waits, on and on and on. He nestled them in deep tracks of great bands and great songs from obscure bands you felt shamed for not knowing.

It was an audio stew that continually coaxed your fingers to dial the volume control knob louder and louder and louder still until blood trickled on your shoulders.

On Friday’s at 6PM, he officially ushered in the weekend for northeast Ohio by playing Springsteen’s Born to Run , and it was like the green flag had been dropped.

Kid Leo conjured musical magic that made beer taste better.

He ended each shift with his guttural signature, “It’s time for me to punch out and wash up” and that about said it all. Kid Leo worked in the rock and roll mill, manufacturing one hell of a good time. At the end of his shift, he was dirty and spent. And so were his listeners.

If you’ve never heard him, he’s worth the price of admission to satellite radio. Join Kid Leo during one of his work shifts, work up an honest sweat and see if you don’t agree he’s the best there is and quite possibly the best there ever was.

Me Irish pride swelled last night to see a cheery green bow tie made in China promoting a Belgian-owned beer company celebrating the Irish holiday dedicated to Romano-Briton.

Yes, you can taste tears in Guinness.

Surveillance cameras reveal Al-Cowda infiltration into the United States. Be afraid!

The nation is girding its collective loins in response to new reports from The National Security Agency that Al-Cowda is posing a serious threat to the United States. The NSA has raised the security threat level from cool ‘n creamy soft amber to smokin’ hot, radiant pink.

“We’re just worried sick,” said Deputy Administrator Thomas Dundstun, “our intelligence is showing a significant infiltration of bovine enemy combatants on American soil. We’re not sure if they’re mildly upset cows, somewhat angry cows or mad cows. But they pose a very real and dangerous threat to homeland security.”

The NSA has captured pictures and video footage of cows being transported across state lines and in the parking lots of Cracker Barrels. “If these Al-Cowda agents are enjoying blueberry pancakes and crispy bacon, I fear for our way of life,” said Agent Edward Sustean. “If they’ve somehow managed to master opening small bottles of maple syrup with their hooves, I can’t imagine how much trouble they could cause if they set their evil minds to it. God help us all if they’re shopping in the Cracker Barrel gift shops. We could see a very real and serious shortage of Porter Wagner and Roger Miller CDs, not to mention candy sticks and adorable home decor bric-a-bracs!”

If you see any suspicious bovine activity, scream your throat raw, flail your arms wildly, run and dig a deep hole to crawl into and take cover.