Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It Stops Wasting the Lotion in the Basket

It has to understand something. Lotion costs money.

Yes, it rubs the lotion on its skin whenever it's told. But it doesn't take huge handfuls of the stuff and smear them all over itself until most of it gets on its clothes.

It dabs. Doesn't it understand how to dab? It takes a tiny bit and rubs it in thoroughly. Then another. That's how normal people put lotion on. Even I understand that, and I'm a serial killer with a girl in my well.

Listen. It's not using generic Rite-Aid lotion for 99 cents a pop. It's using goddamn Nivea, which goes for $5.69.

If it uses a bottle a day it's going to cost more than $300 by the time I get it fat enough to make a housecoat. And if I had $300 for a housecoat, I would have bought one by now and it wouldn't be in my friggin' well. Isn't that right, Precious? Yes. Precious gets it.

Does it think I'm made of lotion?

It's totally going to get the hose again.

Your Playlist Is Ruining This Group Suicide

We made a pact, Steve.

And part of that pact was that we all had tasks to perform. Stacy stole her sister's credit card and got us that great last dinner, and the car rental. Todd got the pills from the clinic where he worked. I've written most of the statement we want to leave behind for the newspaper. Your job -- your only job -- was to come up with about two hours of music to set the mood. It's not that difficult. We need something somber and beautiful. This is it, man. You really think three songs from The Joshua Tree is going to do the job?

I let that one go. And when we heard all that crap from the Garden State soundtrack, I thought about how sad you were after Lisa left you, and I figured you were too depressed to make decisions. I was ready to just say goodbye, and leave this world, even though while I died I knew I'd be thinking about that tool Zach Braff, which is really, really messed up. I told myself it was fitting, because I didn't want to live in a world that had Zach Braff in it. Anyway, I was trying to let you slide.

I was trying. But then came that song from Evanescence. Jesus, Steve. I know we've all lost our will to live. But what the hell are you thinking?

Radiohead. The National. Will Oldham. There's plenty of music to kill yourself to, Steve.

You're not even trying, and that's what's really sad. In fact -- wait... IS THAT FUCKING COLDPLAY?!

I wish the phenobarb wasn't kicking in right now, because I really want to be able to beat the crap out of you. I hate you Steve. Lisa was right to leave you. I can't die listening to "Yellow." I can't.

I am breaking out of this storage unit. I'm... doing it. Gimme the key, Stacy. Stacy? Ugh. Can't reach it. Can't... Well, that doesn't work.

"Yellow." Unbelievable. I hate this world.

We're Not Going to Let A Hell-Portal Spoil This Family Vacation

People, listen up. Hello! Jamie, Tyler, get out of the back and look at me. You too, Keira. I want four sets of eyes looking at me right. Now. Honey, you too. I know, I know, but gimme a minute.

We're on vacation together. Because we love each other. We're a family. That's all that matters now, not who broke the Pentagram Seal we found next to that abandoned cottage. Being a family means you care about each other. And we're willing to forgive and move past things. I think we all share a little blame here, and if we start pointing fingers, where does it end? Right now, we're out for a little drive in the minivan, and we're having fun, and if we reach the FEMA rescue station just a few miles away, everything is going to be fine.

Now, we've all seen and done some things that put everyone in a bad mood. Some days on vacation are like that. Keira doesn't even like the beach, because it's hot out, but she came along and she found that great place where they sold sunglasses. And your mom certainly didn't think she could use that entrenching tool to help us fight the things in the cellar, but she was really, really good at it. Wasn't she?! Everybody, clap for mom and Keira! Yay.

Okay, so you see it's all about attitude. We're going to have to make it to safety, and some of the shambling things might come back with their ghost breath. And even if that happens we're going to get through it together, and without teasing each other if someone wets his pants, or screams. And then we'll have those candy bars I've been saving in the cooler next to the ammunition and antibiotics we looted from the clinic.

I know, Jamie. I hear the scratching. Don't look. No! Don't. You listen to me, Mister! Ugh, okay, honey. Stop crying. Stop crying, okay? I told you not to look. No, that's not grandpa. It's just his body, and daddy had to back over him, because he was trying to break the window and get in. I want you to plug your ears real tight, because Daddy's going to put this in reverse again, and...

Shhh. Keira, don't tell him what you just heard. That's mean.

Okay, who wants to sing? I want to hear some singing!

95 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. 95 Bottles of Beeer! You take one down, pass it around...
95 Bottles of Beer...

Jamie keep your head down. Daddy has to shoot that thing before we can leave.

No, it's NOT GRANDPA, okay?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Billy Ray Cyrus Charges: Satan Responds

As you may know newspapers have recently revealed details of an interview with Billy Ray Cyrus in which he claims his family is being attacked by Satan. Goblinbooks contacted the devil for a reply, and he agreed to give us an exclusive interview on condition that it be published in its entirety in a straight Q&A format.

Goblinbooks: Thanks very much for agreeing to this.
Satan: Not at all. Not at all. Always happy to set the record straight.
G: Really?
S: (Laughs.) Well. Maybe not always. Anyway I want to come right out and say "Guilty as charged." I did it.
G: That's amazing.
S: Yeah, well, usually I don't like to tip my hand, but we're proud of this one. It gives people a real chill to realize that talent like this always comes with a dark price. The drinking. The drugs. The years of hard living and destructive fame. All me.
G: Well, I...
S: And the music! There is something so hauntingly right about "Your Cheatin' Heart," that you just know the guy behind it is utterly and completely lost.
G: Excuse me --
S: Some of my better work, really. And I have a record, as you know.
G: Excuse me. I'm sorry, but you seem to be talking about Hank Williams.
S: Of course! Lost. Utterly.
G: No, that's not what -- the interview is about Billy Ray Cyrus. The recent accusations he made that you're attacking his family.
S: (Long pause.) What?
G: He recently made a charge that you are ruining his family.
S: (Chuckles.) I'm really embarrassed by this.
G: Not at all.
S: The voicemail you sent -- I just kind of skimmed over it. I heard "country music" and my mind just went to Hank. It's my-- well, as you know I'm very busy.
G: Yes, yes.
S: So... who is this guy?
G: Billy Ray Cyrus.
S: Okay... gimme a sec. (Click of intercom) Janet, honey, bring a file in... Silas.
G: Cyrus.
S: Sorry, Cyrus. Willy Bob Cyrus.
G: Billy Ray.
S: You heard that? Okay, thanks. Now, you... stay put if you don't mind. I'm a fast reader. I'll get up to speed.
G: No problem, sir.
S: I have a lot on my plate lately, I -- have you been following things in the Mideast? Oh, here it is. Thanks, you. Now, just... a... minute.

(Satan reads for several minutes, before erupting in laughter. He laughs for a long time, but eventually regains his composure.)

S: Okay, okay. Sorry. I'm ready to give a statement. You ready?
G: Shoot.
S: Let me be very, very clear. I'm the prince of fucking darkness, here. And don't you edit that out. I'm the prince of fucking darkness. I caused the holocaust, most of the big plagues, and I've been handicapping popes since the 4th century. I don't have the time to... I... Son, you know what causes hillbilly drama?
G: What?
S: Hillbillies. I don't have to intervene. Nor do I really want to. Okay?
G: I understand.
S: Some toothless redneck sends his daughter to Disney, they put the money hose on her, and she goes into a stripper spiral... This is like salmon swimming upstream. This is just how it happens.
G: It's evil, though, right?
S: I know where you're going with this. Okay... Yes, I am the ultimate author of all evil. Yes, that evil includes earthquakes and mass murder and cancer, and everything else, but it obviously also includes the fact that Disney churns out child actors who crack up their Escalades and keep Charlie Sheen on speed dial.
G: Yes?
S: ...but 99% of that crap is on autopilot. I don't get directly involved. No one does. We'd never get anything done if we had to individually make every Cyrus family a train wreck. Do you know how many of them there are? Ugh. Look, when we created that part of America we were thinking about slaves and religious bigotry and eventually meth labs popping out of every backyard shed. Large-scale evil with a capital E. This is so...

G: Do you think they're going to hell?

S: Heh, well... I'm not going to lose sleep over it one way or the other, but... Where do you think the guy who wrote 'Achy Breaky Heart' should end up?

G: Good point.

S: Gotta fly.

G: Thank you very much. Always a pleasure.

S: Be seeing you.

G: You too.

S: Yeah but I mean it. (Chuckles.) Bye.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Apocalyptic Breakfast Foods

I recently took a trip to the supermarket that turned into a terrifying window on our nation's eating habits. Sure the freezer aisle has always had a selection of scary foods, things you wouldn't even want to leave out in your trash for fear of killing the local raccoons with complete pancreatic shutdown. But lately it seems to have... worsened. And for some reason the most downright scary foods are the ones that begin the day. I began taking pictures with my cellphone. I felt like that guy screaming in the back of a truck full of pods at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

If anyone is out there, please... please. Help me put an end to this.

Bagel-fuls: You need to stop buying foods where everything you want to spread on them is already squirted into the middle of the food, probably with some kind of caulking gun-style device. That moment where you have to go get the knife from the drawer and a jar of jam from the fridge is crucial. It's the moment you begin to think about portion control and whether or not you're really all that hungry. It's the last moment before the madness takes over and you wake up on the floor of your kitchen from a cream cheese-induced coma and the dog is licking the bottom of your feet and whining, because her stomach hurts and she can't stop. Jesus, just slow down.

Griddlecake Sandwiches: Listen very carefully: A pancake is its own separate breakfast food. Yes, it's flat and it has flour in it. But that doesn't mean you can just slap anything -- peanut butter, deli meat, cheese steak -- between two pancakes and call it a sandwich. If they had pancakes in Biblical times this seems like it would have been specifically prohibited in Leviticus.

Confetti Pancakes: Does this even look like food? It seems to belong to the same category of quasi-food as that multi-colored stuff in fruitcakes. You might find a GI Joe head in there.

Strawberry Granola Real Fruit Pizza: Obviously it's not pizza. But they use the term, because "pizza" is subliminal code for "bad decision food." Once you've told yourself you're going to have pizza, you have also agreed that maybe a box of wings and ranch sauce are okay too, along with those cinnamon abominations that Domino's makes, and then you do Jager shots, and soon the strippers arrive, and by the time the cops break things up you have done things that can't be undone. In the South, this usually also involves handguns and a shirtless visit to your common law wife, with whom you're having problems.

Okay, fair enough. Just... don't begin the day like this.

Country Breakfast Casserole: The teenage kid who stocks the shelves tucked this in at the bottom rack, where you can't get a good look at it. Even he knew it was bad. If he had more time he would have hidden it away like they did in that last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It seems to have a mixture of everything you'd have for breakfast in rural America: eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast, some crushed-up Marlboros. And if you split it six ways, and then spend the day working in a field it's probably fine. But if you zap-fry this in your microwave, eat the whole thing, and then drive to your cubicle job you're going to have a blocked neck artery and blood spraying out your nose by 10 am.

The Grave of Ambrose Bierce

Bierce is one of the great writers of horror and black humor in American literary history. His classic short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, is the kind of thing you read in junior high, which crept into your brain and changed it subtly and forever. And The Middle Toe of the Right Foot, is a classic haunted house story.

But one of the things he's most legendary for is his disappearance. One day in late December 1913, he headed off for Mexico and just dropped off the face of the earth. It's a mystery that still bedevils the literary world... but there are clues that suggest it won't stay unsolved forever. Time magazine has a decent short piece on some of the facts surrounding the vanishing of Ambrose Bierce. One important fact is that Bierce himself seemed to welcome his death, and made no attempt to hide it. In a letter to his family he writes:

[I]f you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think that a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs.

A website called also has a good article about Bierce's disappearance, and the different theories surrounding it... some crazier than others. Some people believe he didn't go to Mexico at all, just used it as a ruse to throw people off his trail and killed himself in the Grand Canyon area. Others believe he stole an ancient Mayan artifact called the Skull of Doom before vanishing completely.

But a priest in Sierra Mojada, Mexico has actually erected a gravestone marking what he believes is the grave of Bierce, based on a local story about a gringo being executed by authorities for espionage (Read it here.) With our ability to test DNA it seems to be a great place to start.

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