A Reasonable Conversation with a Nice Polar Bear.

April 28, 2010

I went to the zoo the other day and started chatting with one of the polar bears, like I usually do on Tuesday afternoons.

“There are two kinds of people in the world,” I said.

“How convenient.”

“There are those of us that talk with polar bears at the zoo, and those that do not.”

“You mean the crazy and the sane?”

“Careful with the pejoratives,” I said. “If it wasn’t for those of us that talk to polar bears, your days would be so much less interesting.”

“Okay,” she said, “fair enough.”

“And besides, just because some of us are crazy, doesen’t make as all crazy,” I said. “I mean you’ve got you’re Polar Bear fetishists and whatever…”

“Oh Yeah.”

“And, I mean, you’ve got the guys who are just, like, really out there,” I said.

“Them too.”

“But they’d talk to anything,” I said. “To them you’re no different than like a shoe or a wall. They’d be talking regardless of whether or not they thought anybody was actually listening.”

“Yeah,” she said, “Glenn Beck was just up here a little while ago. Talk about crazy.”

“Exactly,” I said, “That dude’s nuts.”


A Chance Meeting: David Koresh

April 27, 2010

Savior? No. Crazy? You bet'cha.

I was walking down the street a few days ago, paying little attention to where I was going when I bumped into someone. As I looked up I noticed that the stranger looked an awful lot like David Koresh. “You look just like David Koresh,” I said, feeling super clever.   

“The one and only,” Koresh said in a weirdly calm voice. “Come with me my son and I will tell you my tale.” I agreed on the condition that we stay in well populated areas with lots of fire exits. He then told me one of the strangest stories I’ve ever heard. I mean I’ve said some weird shit in my day but wow. The stuff that came out of this guy’s mouth was SUPER crazy. He told me about this theory he has on how hotdogs are the perfect embodiment of the soul’s struggle to be released from its mortal coil. That’s why they explode in the microwave.

We grabbed a drink later on while he told me about why the sun has issues with its mother. I ordered a beer and he ordered wine.

“Couldn’t you have just gotten water?” I laughed. He didn’t seem amused at my miracle humor. He started talking about his new-found fondness for the word “Otter.”

“It is slippery in my mouth,” he said, “like the meat of the animal it represents.” I told him I was going to need a stronger drink.

A Several Small Animals Anecdote: Marmot Soup.

March 26, 2010

SSA Loves You

I was cooking the other day when someone asked me for a taste. “Man,” they said, “what did you put in this?”

Love, motherfucker,” I said, “don’t you know I lived in Asheville, North Carolina. There’s so much peace and understanding floating around down there you don’t know who to hug first.”

 “It’s just that I’ve never tasted anything like this.”

“Clearly,” I said, “You’ve never tasted marmot.”


“That’s marmot soup.” I said.

“Whatever, man.”

“You know what the secret is to a good marmot soup?” I asked.

“Shut up dude.”

“It is love my son. Love.” I said. Then I turned off the burner, kissed their forehead and skipped joyfully away. “Enjoy the Marmot!” I shouted.

A Chance Meeting: Saddam Hussein

March 16, 2010
Evil Dictator. Smooth 12 foot jumper.

I was walking down the street today when I saw a man that looked just like Saddam Hussein. “I thought he was dead,” I thought to myself.

“Nope, still kicking,” Saddam said.

“Holy shit, he can read my thoughts.”  

“I’m not reading your thoughts,” he said, “You’ve been talking out loud this whole time.”

“I should really apologize to this woman I saw before I ran into you,” I said. “So wait, you’re him, I mean-uh, you’re you, you’re really Saddam Hussein?”

“Yeah,” he whispered, “But let’s just keep that between us. There are some folks who are still pretty unhappy with me.”  Saddam motioned for us to walk and talk. He spoke openly about his ordeal. I guess it had been weighing on him pretty heavy. The execution had been a fake, the guy on the cell phone video was an imposter. “Why do you think they leaked a cell phone video?” he asked. Pretty easy to fake one of those. For a while he had to stay cooped up in this tiny apartment in Red Hook. These days it seemed like most people had forgotten all about him so he’s started trying to get out a little during the week. He said he was on the way to play some basketball with some friends and asked if I wanted to play. How could I say no?

Let me tell you something about Saddam Hussein. He has a great mid-range jump shot. Smooth as silk. Trash-talker too. It became a little easier to remember that he had recently been employed as a brutal dictator after seeing him on the court.   I wanted to bring it up. I kept trying to work up the nerve to ask him about it. The murder and the genocide. He seemed so agreeable now. Like a hip basketball playing grandfather. I could never bring myself to do it. I’m supposed to call him Thursday for some two-on-two.

Jerry the Love Mastodon Takes Letters From Readers OR Love and Arson: Burned by the Flames of Desire

March 3, 2010

Fire Love

Dear Jerry the Love Mastodon,

Lately things just haven’t been the same between my wife and I. I’ve taken to staying out later and later and it’s gotten to the point now where I stop at the bar on the way home and stay until they throw me out. Then I stumble home at four a.m. stinking of booze and cigarettes and get in a loud fight with my wife. Last week the neighbors called the cops. Now I’m staying in a cheap motel in a rough neighborhood. You’ve got to help me Love Mastodon, I’m at wits end.

 — signed Heartbroken in Hoboken

Dear Heartbroken,

It’s like my father used to say: “Women: drink too much when you’re with them, get arrested when they leave you.” Most people would tell you to go back hat in hand and make an effort to rekindle the romance. I’m not of that school. I suggest a new hobby. Drinking clearly hasn’t worked out. Maybe its time to shake things up. Seeing as how hard drugs are probably readily available in your new neighborhood, it seems like the logical next step. You’ll meet new people, you’ll try new things. I can’t see any reason not to move in this direction. Arson can also be a thrilling distraction for a man in your condition. Many a night I’ve “let it all hang out” by setting a friend and/or family member a-light while they slept. Sure they get mad, but burns heal. You’ll be forgiven. In fact, the more I think about it, nothing says “take me back or else” like a Molotov cocktail through the bedroom window. You don’t have kids, right? You’re going to want to slash her tires so she can’t chase you down. It’s important to remember that this is a long-term strategy. She’s gonna be pissed for a while. You’ll need a clean escape and a place to lay low for a while. Especially if the fire gets out of hand. Let me know how this works out.


And NOW Several Small Animals Besmirches the Name of a Founding Father in — Thomas Jefferson: Psycho Killer, Rapist.

February 19, 2010

Terror of Monticello

Born to a prominent Virginia family in April of 1743, Thomas Jefferson was raised with every advantage available to a young man in colonial America. It is difficult to say, then, exactly where things began to go wrong.

From a late memoir we learn that the death of Jefferson’s father had a profound effect on his early life. Only fourteen at the time of his father’s death, Jefferson began to slip into a dark world of fantasy. The following statements come from a report by Jefferson’s counselor at William and Mary, made when Jefferson was just 16 years old:

Jefferson: “My mother told me when she worked on death row and they took that dude into hanging and his head popped off and went down them 13 stairs and rolled over by her, it scared the shit out of her. (chuckles) you know, and I said ‘wow, that sure is a far out trip moms.’”   

Counselor: “Come off it Thomas, your mother never worked at a–.”

Jefferson: “The head popped off, yeah. She was living in the Blue Moon Café and she hit a dude in the head with one of them bottles of uh, Jim Beam Whiskey. She tried to hustle a few dollars on the corner, but there wasn’t no money…”

Counselor: “WHOA! There is no way that’s true Thomas. You shouldn’t s–”

Jefferson: “Are you so white and pure? (pauses)  So, when she jammed this whiskey bottle upside that clown’s head, he went down and she took his bread. ”

During college Jefferson became a member of a secret society known as the F.H.C. Society. Though little is known about his position within this organization, it has been proposed that it was during this time that Jefferson gained his taste for control and dominance. When asked by a reporter about his time within the secret society then President Jefferson had this to say:

“I used to have to lay down and get my ass whipped till I couldn’t walk. No one fault, make strong, good pain, understand pain. Not bad. Pain’s not bad, it’s good. It teaches you things. It teaches you things. Like when you put your hand in the fire, OW! You know not to do that again. Yeah I understand that.”

Perhaps nothing sums up the strange and troubled existence of Thomas Jefferson better than this exchange as recorded in My Remarkable Journey by Larry King:

“We were out on the porch one day in late March when Thomas looks at me and says,

‘You know what I like Lar?’ He always called me Lar.

‘No,’ I said, ‘what do you like Tom?’

‘Killin’,’ he said, ‘killin’ and a-rapin’.’”   

On Space Monkeys. Part Two.

February 17, 2010

Perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Space monkeys are so rarely found outside of this town these days that the non-resident may ask, “What is a space monkey?” A fine question. Space monkeys are – no surprise here – monkeys who have been used in space programs and, more commonly due to the lack of living primate space veterans, the descendents of monkeys who have been used in space programs. Not all of the monkeys that were flown into space survived, indeed most of them didn’t, but a few of those who did managed to breed afterward. The results were shocking. Space monkeys who had traveled in space, when they mated with regular earth monkeys, produced highly intelligent babies. Actually, when the first of these monkey babies were born, the doctors on duty thought that they were mal-formed. A hyper-intelligent space monkey for whatever reason is larger than a regular monkey but has only the strength of a fairly athletic human of about the same size. In addition to this, the doctors were quite concerned with the more common occurrence of sleep apnea in the new breed of space monkey descendents. This, they attribute to their ability to speak. This strange ability is made even stranger when you learn that they are usually proficient in several languages. It is unclear whether this is related more to an attempt by the monkey community to overcome “dumb monkey” stereotypes or more to an innate knack for language. There is certainly a lot we still don’t know about the science behind the origins of these strange creatures but unfortunately due to the strength of their civil liberties union all testing has long since ceased.

The handful of true space veterans in town live with their children as they lack the intelligence granted their offspring. It seems unusual until you realize that plenty of us humans live with similar arrangements. The children keep their parents in much the same way one would keep a pet, except the normal owner-pet bond is of an abnormally profound depth. If you’ve never had the chance to eat dinner with a second-generation space monkey and their parents you’ve missed out on a truly strange evening. I have had the weird pleasure of attending one of these dinners, and let me tell you, I have never once in my life before or since been as thoroughly uncomfortable as I was at that table. The evening began when the space monkeys let their parents out of their Kennel. It was a well stocked and generously sized kennel, of course, but when you’re keeping monkeys –even if they’re your parents – you’re gonna have to keep them in a cage some of the time. Space monkeys may lack taste and class, but they’re no slobs. They can’t have semi-domesticated monkeys tearing the place apart even if they are mom and dad. But for special occasions – holidays, dinner with guests and the like – the parents are let loose to mingle with the rest of the guests. I’ve heard of other parties, larger gatherings, where other space monkeys come over and bring their parents as well. Imagine if you will, a room with six or seven humanoid monkeys calmly discussing politics while twelve to fourteen wild monkeys destroy the place around them. I’ve never actually witnessed one of these evenings but my more curious half wants badly to see it once before the last of the original space monkeys die out.

On Space Monkeys.

February 15, 2010
Do the Monkey.

I guess in general I can’t find much to really complain about.  Nothing especially interesting anyway.  Sometimes I’m a little hungrier then I’d like to be, sometimes a little lonelier but it all passes pretty quickly.  It’s just these goddamn space monkeys. I don’t know.  They get to me.  I try to be tolerant I really do.  I find myself getting upset and I remind myself that they’re monkeys.  They act like people and talk like people – except for that weird speech impediment they’ve all got – but they’re monkeys.  We’re not even the same species, we’re going to have some different viewpoints.  There’s just certain things that no matter how hard I try, they get right up under my skin.  I once made the mistake of moving in with a space monkey.  It must have been early summer the way the banana peels began to smell in the heat.  It’s a smell permanently trapped in my nose, one that makes its presence known at unpredictable intervals with uncontrollable intensity.  I’ll be eating dinner with a friend and all of a sudden all I can smell is rotten banana and dinner is over.  It’s really an unfortunate affliction.  Trying to sue a space monkey for emotional distress is seriously challenging.  The Space Monkey Civil Rights and Liberties Union (or SMCRLU) retains some of the best and most aggressive attorneys available and with the ambiguous nature of legal precedents involving space monkeys, it can be a real mess in a courtroom.

Now I mostly steer clear of the space monkeys as best I can but every once in a while there is the unavoidable encounter and I just get so frustrated.  I know I’m not supposed to feel that way, it’s wrong to dislike a space monkey for being a space monkey and I hate myself for it sometimes but Jesus Christ these fuckers get on my nerves.

It started on a Sunday, I remember.  I was sitting at a bar around noon having a brunch of Screwdrivers and Pabst blue ribbon beers when a crew of space monkeys walked in and started making a ruckus.  They were the rudest bunch of… I want to say people but sentients is the currently accepted PC term to describe both the human and monkey population.  In any case they were rude.  They screamed orders at the bartenders they were overly loud in a room that before their arrival had been semi-filled with quiet alcoholics nursing their drinks like medicine, they were mean and derisive towards everyone who even so much as tossed a look their way.  They felt invincible, above reproach.  They were taking advantage of the kindness that had been shown them by the community and abusing it badly and I told them so.  I was nearly booed out of the room, I was told to be more understanding and tolerant by drunks that didn’t like these monkeys anymore than I did.  They were just too afraid and guilty to say so.  I immediately began to see a problem.  Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and say, “a douche-bag is a douche-bag”, regardless or race, creed, color or species.

On Being Eaten

February 13, 2010

Well, this can go down a few ways. In the wild they’ll just start eating you as soon as they get you down. This means there’s a good chance you’re gonna be alive for more of it then you really want to be. Your best bet is that they take you by the throat from the get go. Kill you right off. Many predators are not that thoughtful or kind. In fact, good money says more than a few of them get off on your being alive while they go at it.  

Then there’s captivity. Many times this can make being eaten alive look like a walk in the park. The thing about captivity is that it’s sometimes every bit as painful as being eaten alive but it lasts so much longer. You’ll bleed to death or lose consciousness in a matter of minutes when you’ve got a lion chowing down on your entrails. In captivity, they keep you alive for years. Unless you’re veal. That would, of course, have its own disadvantages.

All this thought about being eaten of course tends to lead one to a search for meaning. Is it more noble to be eaten by a bear or a lion then to become, say, dog food? Or a McDonalds hamburger? In the words of the great Wesley Willis, “McDonalds hamburgers are the worst.” You can easily imagine that there is some utility in becoming a bear’s dinner. It’s the circle of life, as Disney tells us. But a Big Mac? Far from the circle of life, if you become a Big Mac you are likely contributing to someone’s untimely demise. McDonalds does not sustain, it destroys. You die just to become an agent of evil, your death contributing to other deaths. Heart failure, type 2 diabetes in children. What the fuck is that?

For my money, if I’m going out as an unhealthy indulgence, I’ll tell you exactly what I’d like to become. Slow cooked barbeque. Now, I’m not a pig (and I’d tell you if I were, I know a number of great pigs. They get a bad rap but they’re tremendous folks, those pigs) and being from North Carolina I believe very strongly that barbeque equals pork. No exceptions.  But if we could stretch the rules, that’s the artery clogging food product I’d most like to become. If you’re going to be an unhealthy meal you should at least taste good. Not like McDonalds. I guess what I’m really saying is that I’d rather be eaten alive or tortured in captivity and slowly roasted in a barbeque pit then become a McDonald’s hamburger.

A Lemming Seeks to Clear Up a Misunderstanding. Then Gets Angry and Threatens the Human Race.

February 13, 2010

I am Lemming. Hear me Roar.

Dear several small animals,

I’d like to start by saying thank you for allowing me this forum to clear up some false rumors that have been floating around about my people. Let us begin.


 Lemmings do not and have not ever engaged in mass suicide. The now ubiquitous video clip that shows huge numbers of Lemmings jumping to their death off of a tall cliff was staged. Seriously. Our people were pushed off the cliff by Disney executives. That is not mass suicide. That is mass murder. That we have not since risen up against the humans is only a sign of our tolerant and gracious nature and not to be confused with weakness. To underscore the dangerousness of under estimating the power of the Lemming people I come before you today with an ultimatum. Enough is enough. We will no longer sit back and allow our good name to be sullied by silly humans. You are a dull and capricious race and we have no more patience for you. You are the ones who engage in mass suicide. Jonestown, Order of the Solar Temple, Heaven’s Gate, the Japanese generally. Don’t try and project your worst qualities onto us.

As I said I come bearing an ultimatum. This rumor of suicidal Lemmings, with all of the pop-culture references included (I played Golden-Eye, we are not amused by the “lemming award”) must cease. I don’t care what this takes. Public service announcements, special Lemming awareness days for first and second graders, you do whatever you have to do. But know this: If in ten years time that rumor has not been sufficiently dispelled we will attack. We are already enriching Uranium and expect to have the entire Lemming community equipped with fully operational nuclear weaponry by 2012. Please don’t let it come to this. You started this rumor, now fix it. Or else.