Oct 23, 2002

Dumb stuff I’ve recently read on my way to work and my humble reaction to it

“Arms are for hugging.” - Bumper sticker on a Ford Excursion.
Someone has to fight for all the oil and gas that fuels your ridiculously huge vehicle.

“Remove for Rodeo.” – Billet aluminum hitch receiver cover on a 4-door V6 Nissan Frontier short bed pickup.
What kind of cowboy drives a short bed 6-cylinder?

“I ain’t never been to Vegas but I’ve gambled all my life.” - License plate frame on late ‘70s primer-painted Corvette, which sported a smashed quarter panel, dented fender and broken taillight (just on the right side).
Based on the appearance of the car, it’s hard to argue with that one.

“North 405 connector one lane only through November 15.” – Posted on digital Cal Trans sign, which explains the recent 55 southbound traffic jam that adds an additional 20 minutes to my commute.
I give up.

How traffic & a small bladder enriched my life

McKinnley, La Sierra, Magnolia. As I slowly passed exit after exit on the 91 Freeway last Friday evening, I couldn’t hold it any longer. I had no choice but to exit Tyler and find the nearest restroom and since I’m a self-declared concierge of public bathrooms all over the western United States, I knew that one is conveniently located near the west entrance of Nordstrom’s at the Galleria.

The Galleria parking lot was crawling with pedestrians and I nearly ran over a couple of mollies as I cruised by Nordy’s in search of a parking spot. Like running over a motorcyclist or a bicyclist, I would’ve felt horrible had I hit the two teenage girls because it would’ve been like injuring my own kind. You see, mollies and mall rats are common law siblings and since I spent five and a half years working at a mall I’m an honorary mall rat. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I hate to shop, but damn, I love the mall.

After dancing to the bathroom and then strolling out quite relieved, I could hear the mall calling my name so I figured, what the hell. I’m already here and I’ve been sitting in traffic for over an hour. Might as well stretch my legs. Then I remembered that the Hot Topic has a damn fine collection of hard-to-find CDs, so I made a b-line for the modern day commercial watered down version of Thrash in San Bernardino (that’s a whole different tear-jerking story). Of course, on my way out of Nordstrom’s I passed the hairpiece-clad grand pianist, the freak show at the makeup counter and the pushy shoes today/cars tomorrow salespeople.

Hot Topic was all decked out with Halloween garb but I didn’t pay much attention because the music isle is the size of an attic crawl space and I was concentrating on flipping through CDs without nudging the annoying employee that was re-folding t-shirts to my left. The hired hands at that place irritate the hell out me. My dad used to say that in order to get a job at McDonalds, you had to fail an IQ test. I think at Hot Topic you take a test that proves you're a poser, then you get presented with a nose piercing, some bad fashion advice and finally, a Hot Topic lanyard making you an official employee.

Anyway, what happened next was purely out of this world. I have no ideal what lured me to the “T” section of the CDs, but there in all its glory was a CD with a promotional sticker that read, “For fans of The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.”

The CD was from a band called The Tossers and while I was excited to have made a new discovery of punk/folk Irish influence, I was horrified at the title of the CD. "Communication & Conviction: the last seven years." The last seven years? The last seven years? Over the last 15 years I have spent hours on end investigating, studying and researching that drunken genre of music and in the last seven years I’ve never ran across any mention of The Tossers. What the hell?

That was Friday. Since then I’ve given The Tossers three spins and by the second go-around I was hooked. They’re a perfect blend of Flogging Molly and The Pogues and even have a Gallic female vocalist that chimes in on a few tracks. I’m a sucker for female rockers, especially those with accents. Meanwhile, the lead male vocalist of this mystery band issues a rough MacGowanesque rasp to his lyrics, while the rest of the eight-man ensemble literally kicks your arse with fast and furious drums, mandolins, bass, banjos, violins, tin whistles and guitars. And with song titles like "Thirty Days In The Hole," "Finnegan’s Wake," and "Seven Drunken Nights," how could you go wrong? I doubt the band is pure Irish because they don't curse much, so most likely my mom will like them. I'll have to do some deep research to get a bit of history on them.

This morning on the way to work I listened to The Tossers again. Their music is so involved and intense that by the time all 21 tracks are completed, I'm exhausted - but in a good way. Another successful trip to the mall.

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