Friday, May 28, 2010


1956 -- Warwick Kerr brings the first queens to Brazil from Africa.

1957 -- Swarms escape from Rio Claro Apiary and begin process of Africanization by mating in the wild and displacing European honey bees.

1965 -- Following reports of mass attacks in Brazil, TIME magazine runs a story on the phenomenon and uses the term "killer bee."

1976 -- "Killer bees" reach Venezuela, and within a few years, hundreds of deaths are attributed to them.

1981 -- Roxx Regime form in Cypress, CA.

1982 -- First Africanized bee swarm is discovered in Panama.

1983 -- Roxx Regime change name to Stryper.

1984 -- Stryper release The Yellow and Black Attack.

1985 -- Stryper reach Top 40 with "Winter Wonderland."

1986 -- Africanized honey bees enter southern Mexico.

1987 -- Stryper play a show in Hidalgo, TX, the first such attack on U.S. soil.

1988 -- On July 15th, 82-year-old Lino Lopez becomes the first fatality from "killer bees" at a Stryper show in Brownsville, TX.

1990 -- Stryper undergo processes of deafricanization and dechristianization, release Against the Law featuring songs with secular lyrics, and return to their natural habitat.


There can be no debating that Barq's is the best-tasting root beer on the supermarket shelves today. I mean, no root beer is exactly terrible (and that includes the seventy-nine-cent Richfood brand in 3-liter tankards). Compared to the bite of Barq's, however, most other root beers don't even have teeth.

Despite my nearly 300 completed rounds of Putt-Putt (the sanctioned Putt-Putt, not some unchallenging kiddie course littered with jungle animals on every hole) in 2000, I have not even lofted my club once this year. Damn, I still love the game and all. It's just that I don't feel the need to play as much, having achieved my long-time goal of shooting under 30 three times last year. Why have I given up? I'm not even close to attaining my PPA (Professional Putters Association -- yes, Putt-Putt has its own pro tour!) card. Those PPA guys AVERAGE 26-28 per game, whereas my current lifetime mean score is approximately 1.5-under-par (or 34.5 per round). But for those three tour-de-courses in '00, my alter-ego John Daly Jr. was as close to being a "professional" something as he'll ever be.

I've told many people that when I turn forty, I'm gonna become a full-on Jimmy Buffett fan. The loud shirts, the sandals, the margaritas, the Corona's -- heck, I'll even play his songs from time to time. Sing one with me: "I've done my share of smuggling/And I've ran my share of grass/Made enough money to buy Miami/But I pissed it away so fast/Wasn't meant to last/Wasn't meant to last." Let's get another round: "Can't you feel them circling, honey?/Can't you feel them swimming around?/You've got fins to the left/Fins to the right/And you're the only bait in town." Waitress: "I like mine with lettuce and tomato/Heinz 57 and french-fried potatoes..." Alright, I'll stop ordering from the Holiday Inn menu, or else this pirate will be looking at forty alone.

In 1981, my bushy-haired, third-grade self was selected (by whom, I can't remember) to model the new line of Dukes Of Hazzard pajamas in the school's fashion show. Though I hadn't expressed interest in modeling, my mom encouraged me to go through with it. "Hey, It's a free pair of pajamas..." After some pleading, I told her I'd participate in the show. We picked up the pajamas at Leggett's in downtown Portsmouth (what part of that "town" wasn't "down"?). They were a banana-pudding color, not the red or orange I had hoped they'd be. Shit, the General Lee wasn't yellow -- why were the pajamas? The next morning, I went to school, dreading the 11:00 assembly. Shortly following that hour, I changed into the pajamas and wondered when I would make my entrance. The fashion-show coordinator told me I would be first on the stage. She also placed a teddy bear in my hand. Wonderful! I was already embarrassed enough by the yellow bed clothes, and now I had to hold some stuffed toy in front of everybody. Well, the curtain opened, which signaled me to do my walk. To the choruses of "Oohs, Aahs, and Awws" from adults in the audience, I clutched that bear as if to strangle it, did a couple of twists 'n' turns, and headed backstage as quickly as possible. My GQ Jr. day was done, and I never wore those clothes again.

Two weeks ago (7/7/01), Lovie and I were invited to a party. Our mutual friend Pedro told us to be there at 5:00 PM. The celebration would be held at a girl named Melanie's house. She's a nice person and very friendly, so a fine time would be had. We both got there around 5:00, like Pedro had said. No cars were in the driveway or alongside Melanie's house. The place had the look of its occupants being on vacation. I walked up to the porch to ring the doorbell, only to see a note which read: "Due to this house recently being burglarized, we are no longer answering the door. We're sorry for any inconvenience." Lovie and I drove off, looking for a pay phone. At a 7-11 with a ghetto-type clientele, I called Melanie. Answering machine. Then I gave Pedro a ring. Answering machine. Lastly, I tried reaching an expected guest named Mike. Answering machine. Done with the phone-tag, we sped to Mike's house to find out what the hell was going on. He tried calling Melanie several times, finally connecting on the fifth or sixth dial-up. She and some party-goers had been in the backyard all this time. Lovie and I headed back to Melanie's. Though we were the sXe-est people at the gathering, the two of us enjoyed talking to others and watching drunks literally fall down. Thanks for having us, Melanie. But next time you throw a party, take down all unwelcome signs.

If you're a white male between the ages of 40-56, you've probably owned The Steve Miller Band's "Greatest Hits: 1974-78" at some point in your life. Would this demographic also be behind Miller if he were to run for President of the United States? Heck, he already has a platform: 1)Feed the babies who don't have enough to eat. 2)Shoe the children with no shoes on their feet. 3)House the people living in the street. However, with "Fly Like An Eagle" being used to promote the USPS, Miller seems to be in line for another position. That of Postmaster General.

By and large, "Roseanne" was a fine TV program. The stories were mostly believable and the characters were well-developed. Unfortunately, the show had many overblown moments. During one half-hour, a plot device of Roseanne wanting ten minutes alone in the bathroom was turned into a Broadway musical. This gaudy exhibition proved two things: 1)John Goodman can't sing and 2)Roseanne REALLY can't sing. How about Roseanne's mom coming out as a lesbian? Wasn't that grasping for controversial straws? Why did Roseanne have to win the lottery? Because she no longer wanted to be "middle class," even on television? Should I mention the way the series wrapped up? The Conners weren't "real," rather, subjects in a book Roseanne had been writing. When the show's run ended, so did HER story. Arguably, so did Roseanne's credibility.

Tombstone Mexican Pizzas are muy tasty!!! They're more like gigantic tostadas than Italian-styled pies. My favorite is the Nacho Grande, but all of the varieties are worth sampling. No added toppings are really necessary, but I like having some salsa on the side for dipping. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Insert Tombstone. Bake 17-19 minutes. Ole!

My "Song With The Worst Lyrics Award" goes to "Ordinary Average Guy" by Joe Walsh. Don't take that the wrong way -- he's done some fine stuff like "Life's Been Good," "Rocky Mountain Way," "Walk Away," and "In The City" (I'll always think of the closing scene in "Warriors" when hearing that song). Also, his acting turns on "The Drew Carey Show" fit well with the "Cleveland Rocks" 'tude. But it's so damn hilarious that a major label let a former member of the respected Eagles sing, "We go bowling at the bowling lanes/Drink a few beers/Bowl a few frames...We like to spend Saturdays in the yard/Pick up the dog doo/Hope that it's hard/We're just ordinary average guys." The song was in light rotation on AOR stations for a couple weeks, before completely disappearing from radio. When they found the door, Ordinary Average Guy was asked to leave. It wasn't a hard decision.

Don't those kids-who've-decided-not-to-smoke TV spots have a "New Jersey" look and feel to them?

Shifty @ The Taphouse Grill, Norfolk, VA (6/29/02)

Feeling thirsty and miserable (not to mention hungry like an animal from a Duran Duran song), my designated driver/good friend jOhn A. and I took full advantage of this establishment's name as we tapped a table hours before showtime for burgers and brew. My half-pounder was cooked well-done with cheddar, while Mister A's contained more pink than a "Where The Boys Aren't" video. The drawn Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tasted refreshing to my palate. Though jOhn'd had a hard day at the biblioteca, he made his beverage a Mike's Soft Lemonade (water mixed with squeezed juice). Since I'm not nearly the lush I had been circa Nine-Tee-Six at Root-For-Tee-Four, jOhn's non-alkie concoction also became mine for the evening's duration.

Some excellent pre-set jams (Jim Carroll, Pretenders, Jackyl, Stones, Mavericks) whetted the appetites of those starvin' for RnR (read: Rock 'n' Roll). However, one person didn't have the "stomach" for loud music. Covering her ear holes with toilet tissue and making freaky hand gestures at passers-by (as if to say, "I...CAN'T...HEAR...MYSELF...THINK!"), this momma type was obviously looking to RnR (read: Rest 'n' Relax) at the Naphouse. Another attendee came across to jOhn and me as an industrial arts teacher, with his funky red pants, patterned shirt, eyeglasses, and '50s hairdo. He would later prove himself to be consciously hip like a member of They Might Be Giants. The giveaways: 1)His shoes were too much from a modern time period and 2)He was very sociable.

Shifting out of idle gear, the band wasted no time with a pedal-to-the-metal greeting of Cheap Trick's "Hello There." Shifty were ready to rock, even if the Charmin lady was not. Their loud 'n' twangy rawk bled through the raised speaker system, cutting deep like the post-Replacements one-off blades Bash & Pop and Perfect. Fast cars and women mean lots to Shifty (made abundantly clear by their desire for doin' it doggy-style in order to watch NASCAR and an ode to Sheriff Roscoe -- complete with actual "Dukes of Hazzard" TV snippets..."Uh Guh Guh!"), as the band revved El General Lee full throttle with Daisy in tow. Montrose's "Bad Motor Scooter" was another borrowed mode of transportation given a good ride. "Route 66" is quite a long way from Chickasaw County, and Shifty rolled down that scenic stretch with the omniscience of a trucker tryin' to accrue miles by taking long outta-the-way laps (St. Louis to Hazzard via Nawfuck). The band was thanked for their horror business at the Misfits' "London Dungeon" and reminded by the walking-corpse gatekeeper Jerry Only that Jersey is a no-left-turn state. Ain't no mystery in regards to pumping your own gas -- a crime punishable by eternal misery in Hell (AKA -- one night in the Camden, En Jay city jail). Not to worry, Shifty's faces were kept clean and their hands free of Amoco Ultimate droplets. Cleanliness is just as important in the underworld; can't have no dirty dead.

The Horehounds - No Time For You EP (Rapid Pulse, 2002)

Some of you Nawfuckians and other fuckfaces in general out there with muy bueno taste should be aware of Head Hound Sambone Rock 'N' Roll Motherfucker from his stint in Big Bobby And The Nightcaps. An excellent hybrid of The Pretty Things and The Real Kids, the 'Caps kept my pitcher pouring in at least five venues that are now defunct. Reassuming the role as a guitar great, Sam has added lead vocals to his repertoire in the 'Hounds. Along with bassist Josh and drummer Ash (who once was behind the kit for Buzz-Oven, if you can belee that), the band's three cuts here offer the controlled power of Radio Birdman, the sleaziness of The Devil Dogs (Steve Baise produced this slab), and the spare-change riffing of John E. Thunders. "The Ex-Sex Thing (Is The Next Best Thing)" is, in the words of Sambone, "about fucking your ex-girlfriend." "Oh Yeah" could
be an invitation of sorts, but "No Time For You" is certainly RSVP for stay the hell away. Rod Stewart once sang his thoughts concerning mornings; The Horehounds wake up to a similar alarm clock.

Adolf And The Piss Artists - Zero Hour (GMM, 2001)

Without hearing this album, you still somehow get the impression that APA ain't singing the praises of The Plimsouls. Songbooks from Peter And The Test Tube Babies and The Partisans would more likely influence the battle hymns of this choir. Opening tick "March Of The Piss Artists" (instrumental) evenly blends into "Abrasive Punk," hinting at the can't-sit-stillness yet to come. Abrasion does not overpower melody, however, as evidenced on "Terminators," "Stand Alone" and "Social Force."

When brawn and bounce collide, APA hit on something akin to the classic tandem of Charlie Harper and Nicky Garratt at their very best. More break-neck moments like "Death Of Honor Part II" and "Pushed Aside" suggest an insulin-dependent Charged GBH/Anti-Nowhere League with piss 'n' vinegar (more the latter than the former) dietary restrictions. Grace Jones-ed with a cover from The Richest Entertainer In Britain Who Hasn't Done A Duet With Michael Jackson.

The Swingin' Neckbreakers - Live For Buzz (Telstar, 1993)

Scored this snazzy lil' gem for two smackeroos at a Vaaa Beeech pawn that's tucked in a corner adjacent to a Car Spa. I'm sure the employees of said establishment would charge considerably more to give the Caddy hearse on the back cover a spit-shine. Fourteen hot-waxin' tunes which applicate like the Lyres' most fiery rubs. You'd swear Mono Mann's behind the buffing of "You," "Same All Over The World," and "Little Pink Medicine." Though The Sonics' "Boss Hoss" has been Turtle Wax-ed one too many times throughout the years, the 'Neckbreakers maintain much of its original luster. You know, after twisting for 35 minutes at the Spa, I'm convinced that Little Richard deserves a Once-A-Year Car Polish more than Nu-Finish. Disagree? SHUT UP!!!


Question from my stick-man ShitForBrains in Ohio: "Somebody on a random Internet site listed Big Country as one of the best bands of the '80s. I've never heard of them. Anyone know if they're good?"

Dude, at least get their "Best Of...". Couple of their members had been in a band called The Skids before BC charted (whose Scared To Dance LP is great, galloping-up-the-hills Scottish R'N'R -- me thinks The Edge from U2 had swiped the guitar sound of the stand-out tracks and claimed it for his own ends). Anyway, Big Country had a huge hit with "In A Big Country" (you know, the one with "guitars that sound like bagpipes" and lyrics, "I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert/But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..."). What an excellent number that was (don't the vocals remind you a lot of Andy Partridge from XTC?). Others from the comp worth a sheep's organs include "Fields Of Fire," "Wonderland," "Harvest Home," and "Peace In Our Time."

Definitely pick it up, if you can dig on some XTC or early-'80s Oingo Boingo (Elfman had a lil' Partridge thing going on, himself).


Theresa was a woman whom I wouldn't have normally found attractive. She was too thin-boned (approx. 155 lbs.), had limp 'n' dirty hair, and wore long dresses that revealed nothing in the way of leg. Her conversations would invariably concern witchcraft. Now, Theresa wasn't one of those poseur, black-clad, goth girls who live on the Peninsula and swear by Marilyn Manson. The place where she dwelled was scarier than even Transylvania, much less Newport News (Portsmouth, VA), and the sonic impulses that permeated from her $8.00 Emerson portable stereo were more frightening than anything the Antichrist Superstar could ever concoct (Michael Bolton). Quite frankly, Theresa scared the hell out of me!

Yet she won me over by: 1)exposing her breasts at a company picnic; 2)scratching my back with her long, orange-painted fingernails; 3)hopping on my lap in front of fellow employee "Craig The Preacher Man" and asking, "Can I be your pussy?"; 4)whispering in my ear that she wasn't wearing any panties; 5)demanding that I carry her up and down the workplace stairs for two weeks. Suddenly, going to work became a pleasure and not a chore. Theresa piqued my interest enough to the point where I asked her to have dinner with me. Instead of "yes," she replied, "Oh, I'd love to Gunther, but I've got seven hungry dogs and the clothes on the line." Though I liked her paraphrasing of the Kenny Rogers classic "Lucille," Theresa disappointed me with her coming out as one of those "dog people." You know, the kind who will buy two ounces of Ramen Pride noodles for their own meal and two-hundred pounds of Purina Dog Chow for Rover's. If you were to visit one of these people's homes, it would smell like the cook had prepared an unsavory stew of dogpiss, dogshit and mothballs. Looking at Theresa now, I began to imagine that her apartment reeked of this mixture.

Work became boring once again, as I sat at a minimum twelve-cubicle length from the orange-fingered pussywoman. This avoidance pattern continued for three weeks, until I saw Theresa attempting to cross the intersection of Lynnhaven and International Parkway at 4:30 in the afternoon. I turned my Horizon around and caught up with her in the mall parking lot. Theresa explained her car troubles to me. Her Chevette wouldn't start, and she tried running across the road in hopes of catching the TRT bus back to Portsmouth. The bus had already come, so she decided to walk home. I asked Theresa with amazement, "How in the hell does one walk from Virginia Beach to Portsmouth? Are you going to jog through the tunnel or what?" Without waiting for an answer, I told her to get in the car if she was interested in finding a quicker way home. Theresa accepted my offer. During the 70-minute drive, the only topics she discussed were witchcraft, dogs, and pretzels w/mustard. Why the latter was mentioned I know not, but it had echoes of the "Can I be your pussy?"-era Theresa I'd liked. Before she stepped out of my car, I told her to let me know if she ever needed a ride. Theresa said, "Thank you, Gunther" and kissed me on the cheek. That was the last time I saw her.

Sixteen days later, my co-worker Joyce (who swept the 1993 Miss Phone Sales Awards) delivered some disturbing news concerning Theresa's death the night before. The location? Intersection of Lynnhaven and International Parkway. The situation? She'd been trying to cross the busy road in order to catch a bus.

If transportation is a problem and someone offers you a ride, by all means take it. Never try walking from Virginia Beach to Portsmouth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Two youth basketball coaches, whose odd motivational techniques had drawn the ire of many a parent, fouled out in the game of life last Thursday.

Tommy Thomerson and Jason Shanabarber, both of Portsmouth, won six consecutive Hampton Roads Day Care (HRDC) league championships for Kinder-Care between 1994-99.

Although their success had garnered them much respect in the coaching fraternity, Thomerson and Shanabarber's "Win whatever it takes" philosophy permanently sent the pair to the showers.

During the '00 playoff-stretch run, an opponent, Kimbi's Playworld of Virginia Beach, presented evidence that two players on Kinder-Care's roster lived out of district. Starting center Isabelle Andrews (23 months) and power-forward Nolan McCarthy (19 months), also from the Beach, had been originally slated to attend Kimbi's on a partial scholarship.

Thomerson and Shanabarber, needing help in the front court, made a counteroffer that the much-sought-after recruits could not refuse. Among the perks of the substantial package deal were free child care, compensated Gerber photo-ops, and unlimited vouchers for 144-count boxes of Kirkland Signature diapers.

Prior to the Kinder-Care vs. Kimbi's contest, the Andrews/McCarthy-led squad had made milquetoast of the competition, outscoring their foes by a combined 827-14 margin.

HRDC commissioner Phyllis Tucker, concurring with the findings, ordered Kinder-Care to forfeit 15 games in which Andrews/McCarthy had participated and levied fines toward Thomerson/Shanabarber for violating the Diaper Act.

Unhappy with the ruling, Kinder-Care's men-in-charge plotted to exact revenge upon Kimbi's. Frantically pacing the sidelines dressed in giant milk cartons and nothing more, Thomerson/Shanabarber screamed back-and-forth tirades at Kimbi's starting five. Heard through the stream of profanities were words of discouragement such as, "YOU KNOW WHY YOU DON'T GOT GAME? CAUSE YOU DON'T GOT MILK!" and "WHOA! THE BASKET'S THAT WAY, CHIEF!" This Bob Knight-esque couplet earned the coaches a technical foul. Thomerson/Shanabarber, incessantly grabbing their throats and crotches in hopes of trying to alter Kimbi's offensive set, drew a second technical and an automatic ejection. Kinder-Care's coaches, on the short end of a 72-25 sticking, left Kimbi's Arena with a parting comment of, "HEY, WHEN YOU GUYS ARE DONE DENYING YOUR LITTLE BEVERAGE PROBLEM, WE'LL BE IN THE FRIDGE!"

Several hours later, Thomerson/Shanabarber were found crushed in a blue SPSA can on the 400 block of Quantico Street in Portsmouth. Because the container was deemed safe for recyclable items, no charges were filed.

The Onyas - Get Shitfaced With The Onyas (Au-go-go, 1997)

Twelve slices of prime, bad-ass rock 'n' roll that's tailor made for Cosmic Psychos/Lazy Cowgirls types. Longtime fans of the Psychos certainly will take to these fellow Aussies, from the opening shots of "Weapon" to the popular Down Under death wish "Hit By A Tram." In between are the Hasselhoff-free sounds of "Nightrider," sights of a "Real Tight Arse," and the ever-tricky dealings with a "Pornbrokeher."