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Archives: Aug 2007

The last breath of a dead music festival

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

 
You can tell how lame a music festival is by how much surface area is sold to advertisers. As a festival gets less relevant, the owners will do everything they can to squeeze the last few dollars out of it. If there’s ads taped to the ground, you’re probably going to have a shitty time.

The Warped Tour not only has ads on the ground, but also ads taped along the sides of each port-a-potty. I’m surprised a man didn’t pop up from the toilet hole to inform me of a sale at Hot Topic. If you were unable to blink, you’d literally spend 100 percent of your time at The Warped Tour viewing ads. The whole venue is a cleverly constructed trap.

But hey, the most punk rock thing you can do these days is not be punk, right? So setting up the festival grounds on asphalt and then selling bottled water for $5 is awesome! Too bad nobody thought to call Johnny Rotten and have him do live ads for Hollister between each band’s set. I’m sure he would have if someone informed him that being a shameless douchebag is the new not being a shameless douchebag.

How is Magic Johnson not dead yet?

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

 
I’m not a mean man, just a curious one. How in sam hell is former basketball player Magic Johnson still living? He found out he had HIV in 1991. Here we are, 16 years later, and the crazy bastard is still alive. Still alive! Nobody else with HIV lasts this long.

Tennis player Arthur Ashe? A little over 10 years. Author Isaac Asimov? Nine years. Porn star John Holmes? Only a few years. Liberace? 43 years with AIDS, but he also had a cape that allowed him to fly and a magical ring that changed colors according to his erection, so to hell with that guy. He’s not a typical case.

I wonder if Larry Bird would still be alive if he had gotten HIV around the same time. He and Magic had quite the rivalry back in the day, and I don’t doubt that the two of them would have been mighty competitive in this area as well. They probably would have been comparing white blood cell counts every week as if they were fantasy basketball scores.

Your bank hates you. They hate you so very much

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

 
It’s the bank’s job to take my change. It’s their job, damn it. If I’m a member of the bank and I have $37.40 in pennies, and I’d like to change it for $37.40 in nickels, that should not be disputed. If I would like the teller to then build a little house out of my nickels, that should not be disputed either.

I am The Customer, and The Customer is always right. If I put my money into the bank, their tellers should do anything I say. If I walk in one day and proclaim aloud, “You know what would make this bank better? Everyone wearing cowboy hats,” then the next time I arrive the whole bank should be wearing cowboy hats.

Being a member of the bank is not like a membership for book of the month or rotary clubs. A bank membership involves all my money, reader. Being a member means giving them everything I have. I’m giving my bank more benefit of the doubt than I give my own parents. This willingness on my part should mean something. It should grant me their upmost respect and service, even though I haven’t had an account balance above $80 in nearly seven years.

High school reunions are for townies and meatheads

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.

 
Getting an invitation to your high school reunion is like being summoned for jury duty. You feel it’s your responsibility to go, yet you dread it like a colonoscopy. I was “summoned” to my high school reunion recently, and chose not to attend. I’m sure my fellow classmates are hunting down reunion dodgers as we speak, finding ways to inflict upon us the boredom we missed.

My reasons are simple: I hated everyone in high school, so why would I want to see them again when they’re older and more boring? If I had been valedictorian at graduation, my advice to the class would have been, “You should all go die in a car crash together. Soon.”

Still, there’s a little part of me that wants to see how my former classmates are doing. I don’t care if they’re happy, I just want to make sure they’re less happy than me. If they are happier and more successful, I’d at least like to mock them for gaining weight or losing their hair. If they’re happy, successful, thin, and hairy in a good way, then I’d like to beat the living hell out of them. If they’re stronger than me, then I’d settle for keying their car.