Archive for November, 2008

In Praise of Barbarian Hockey

November 30, 2008

Longtime readers and historians of the Ken Socrates World News Organization will certainly remember the man called Ozzy McGurt. For the many years he served as Editor and Head Writer for the KSWNO Sports Department he was most definately difficult to miss, that’s for sure. In fact, the only thing that can match Ozzy’s talent and his determination to bring incisive, relevant sports reporting to the public is his dimensional girth. Standing 6’6” tall and weighing in at over 380 lbs, the “internet’s biggest authority on sports” has become a force to be reckoned with in athletic journalism in the same way Godzilla is a force to be reckoned with on Monster Island.

Of course, even a global news machine like ours proved too small for the man mountain of righteous rage, so he moved on, establishing his own empire at the powerhouse nocandyasses.com where he holds forth on all things sporting.

A while back, when my favorite hometown team, The Boston Bruins, had reached an abysmal low point (trading league MVP and face of the franchise Joe Thornton for a bag of practice pucks and half a jar of Ben Gay) and it seemed there was no hope, it was Ozzy who showed up in Beantown and tried to help make things right. As always, when we get together, shit gets broken and maybe not all our plans came to fruition but suffice to say the OZ-man not only lifted my spirits but showed both myself and the B’s what it takes to stand up and be a real man. This is, after all, the man who invented the term Barbarian Hockey.

It’s safe to assume the Bruins management paid attention to Ozzy. They fired the oily little weasel who traded Thornton and brought in a guy with an actual NHL resume. They spent a few bucks the right way, bringing in genuine All-Star talent in Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara. They stocked the farm system and now the team is brimming with amazing talented youngsters like Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Blake Wheeler and David Krejci.

Better than that, though, is that they returned to a style of hockey that Boston fans truly love; a tough, in your face, hard-hitting, take no prisoners style. The way the Old Gods played it. Guys like Cam Neely and Terry O’Reilly. Guys a little further back who established a presence on the ice, especially at the old “Gahden”, that earned them the nickname The Big Bad Bruins. Back then, it was true. You didn’t come into Boston expecting an easy night. You came with extra ice packs and tylenol because you knew you going to leave a little worse for wear. Guys further back, still, like Milt Schmidt, a man who surrendered three years of his pro-hockey career to serve in the Canadian military during World War II. Guys who command your respect when you meet them.

So now, it’s getting back to that. The current Bruins provide an intense style of game with an emphasis on defense and an opportunistic, balanced, four-line attack. Along with that, there is a new attitude on the team, a sense of team unity, that allows no teammate to go undefended, no offense to go unpunished, no enemy to leave unscathed. It looks like this at times, as Milan Lucic puts the exclamation point on a recent Bruins win over the hated Montreal Canadiens and ornery defenseman Mike Komisarek.

Yeah. That’s exactly the sort of thing we’ve been missing all these years. That kind of swagger is bringing the pride back to town in a big way. It’s putting fans in the seats again, it’s making games must-see viewing.

Yes, folks. In a city full of recent sports champions, where you are measured not only by your record and your rings, but by your heart, the Boston Bruins are suddenly relevant again.

And for that, Ozzy McGurt, we thank you.

You Bastards

November 28, 2008

Which one of you put the turkey carcass in my bed last night? Y’know, I like a good practical joke as much as the next guy, especially when I’m the one pulling it, but that was just flat out lame. I mean, we’ve all done our own version of the Godfather horse head under the covers gag (my personal favorite, the time me and Joey Santiago from the Pixies stole the head of that T-Rex from the Boston Museum of Science and left it in Frank Black’s water bed) but just slipping some turkey bones in between the sheets is a bit weak.

Who was it? Gorman? Ozzy? Crispin Glover popped in for pie so my money’s on that sonofabitch. You’re better than that, Crispy. Don’t tell me you’re getting old and losing your touch.

That said, whoever it was that somehow managed to fill my toothpaste tube with gravy…? That was pretty good, I have to admit. That took the kind of warped, bloody minded determination I can appreciate.

Just remember though, boys.

Payback’s a bitch.

What, Thursday Again?

November 27, 2008

Don’t have much time right now as the annual Socrates Late November Mid-Week Poultry Feast is in progress here at The Compound and I think they want me to go outside to judge the homemade explosives competition. I’m pretty sure Uncle Cloyster, the potato farmer from Northern Maine, is once again a heavy favorite with another of his PVC and plastique masterpieces. Not to worry, though, all the craters we make in the West Field come in handy in late December when we do our yearly live ammo re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge.

Today we battle a bulge of another kind. I’ve already let my belt out three notches and the second round of hors d’oeurves isn’t even out of the oven. We do things big here, as you might imagine. For instance, what you would call Pigs in Blankets we call Wart Hogs in Industrial Insulation. The turkey this year is a 37 pounder (god knows what sort of steroids or radiactivity this thing was subjected to to make it grow to such mutant size levels). We’re going to try and cook it over a spit out back. In fact, I need to head out there and make sure the concussive charges from the explosives contest haven’t knocked it over.

Anyway, to all my friends scattered about the globe I wish you a wonderful day of rampaging gluttony and extensive, quality napping. Those of you with money riding on Detroit going winless this season look to have a care-free day, so enjoy that. My own bookie will have a quiet day. The only wager I’ve placed is that, at some point, Donovan McNabb will vomit on the sidelines in the Eagles/Cardinals game.

When are they going to move this goddamn holiday to a Sunday or something? I mean, there’s already football on on then.

Peace, everyone!

A Voice In The Dark

November 27, 2008

I was rather intrigued and quite happy to find a comment in my last post from none other than the esteemed Dr. Horatio Von Darfaulker. Many of you know that he is a great friend and colleague of mine from way back in the days when the KSWNO was just a handful of confused but dedicated young journalists self-publishing a fledgling newsrag that we hawked on street corners and in coffee houses, even gave away free on the subway sometimes.

Let’s be honest, that paper ended up starting more fires in the bottoms of trash cans near the Bus Station than it did give anyone cause to sit down and read it. It was back then that I first met Darkfaulker. He had been around ages, it seemed, so much more informed on the shadowy goings on in the world that we were so intent upon delving into. How many nights we tried to ply him with Absinthe and hand-rolled cigarrettes so he would tell us a few tales. When he did, we sat with mouths agape, drinking it in like hairy little sponges.

These days, Dr. Darkfaulker is a busy man. Take, for example, his recent escapades with the dangerously alluring Sophia The Utterly Wicked. If that doesn’t send shivers up your spine, then chances are you’re an invertebrate. And that’s only a small slice of what life on a daily basis is like for a man who walks in between shadows, slips in and out nightmares, drifts through our reality and countless others, one minute a wraith, next the black hand of an otherworldly justice that would drive most men goose-honking insane just to consider it.

So when I do hear from him it’s always a pleasant, if somewhat unsettling surprise. I know the good Doctor is out there and retains a certain fondness for our little gang, no matter how the organization has grown over the years. Deep down I think he knows we both fight the good fight in our own certain ways. That he found the time during his neverending battle against the creeping evils of the world to drop in is a considerable honor and I do appreciate it.

And, yes, even though the demands on his time are literally monsterous, he nonetheless makes himself available to the general public on an intermittent basis to respond to queries from concerned people worldwide. If you should have the sort of question that, when you ask it, causes ordinary folks to shake uncontrollably while their eyes bug out and spittle flies their mouths, then maybe it is best posed to The Man Who Knows in his regular column, Answers in the Dark. If you’re prepared to hear the answer, that is.

On top of that, the man is a genuine poet and musician, and a damned talented one at that, as is plainly evident right here.

Sort of makes the rest of us look like slackers, eh?

Just be glad he’s out there, folks. Because, if it ever happens that he’s in there with you…well, then… you’re Faulked.

Farewell and Adieu, My Fair Spanish Lady

November 26, 2008

Edit: Anyone searching for actual information on this song, please visit here. Thank you.

Today is the day all turkey’s dread most. The Turkey Apocalypse reaches it’s bloody apex as all those folks who really like their birds fresh are out there behind the barn, chopping off heads and pulling feathers. It’s the last day of the carnage, the day where you find out whether your ticket will be punched or you have a temporary reprieve. A stay of execution, at least until the tryptophan wears off and the Two-Legged Eaters awaken from their naps, hungry for more.

It must be someting akin to Robert Shaw’s character in Jaws describing how, when he was in the water after the USS Indianapolis went down and the rescue ship had at last arrived, those last few moment’s waiting to be pulled out of the water were the worst of it all. Are you going to live or are you just another feast for a hungry carnivore?

Can you hear the conversation in the turkey pen, as a grizzled old survivor tells his tale?

“Uncle Jim Bob has got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at you, he doesn’t seem to be livin’ …”

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m a meat eater. Big time. I’ll gorge myself on turkey flesh as much as anyone tomorrow and go back for seconds and then gnaw the shit out of a leg or wing like a mangy neighborhood dog ransacking the garbage cans. Guilt free, too.

At the same time I hope that, when the karma bus for the human race arrives, it won’t be in the form of 20 foot tall, intelligent, space-faring Grizzly Bears who decide that celebrating a historical moment in their history will require the yearly, ritualistic consumption of those tasty, carbon based homonids two solar sytems over.

I, for one, am not lookin forward to having an ass full of seasoned bread crumbs as my final epitaph.

Stuff that.

A Happy Place For An Angry Man

November 25, 2008

You’ll note that under Friends of Socrates, the name Gonz O’Lager links you to a friendly little place called The Bourbon Asylum. TBA, as we call it on the street, is a sort of sister blog to this one, and not just because we’re two girls who both look good in poodle adorned sock-hop skirts. No, it’s more than that; it’s about content and theme and attitude. Really, it’s about carving out some space for yourself and your mind, such as it may be, where you can cut loose, hang loose and let the mad dogs loose. It’s about standing up straight, no matter the beating you’re taking, and giving it right back to the pricks.

It’s like Jake LaMotta. “You never got me down, Ray. I never went down.”

Maybe it’s Guy Shit, yeah, I don’t know. Doesn’t make it a bad thing.

Though TBA has been around a bit, it seems Mr. O’Lager, in a moment of crystalline rage and defiance, has laid before us what can only be seen as his version of The Prime Directive. A clear statement of intent, a heraldic definition of what it is we’re trying to do out here/in here. There stands a man not afraid to run his Jolly Roger up the flag pole and here’s one sailor giving it a sure handed salute. And with more than just one finger, too.

So check out Persona Non Writer and all the other posts over there and be glad that you did.

Then, saddle up and ride with us for a bit, cowpokes. We’re not entirely sure where the trail will take us but the scenery and company are sure to be worth the trip.

Not to mention the whiskey.

9:32

November 25, 2008

Is all it takes to see if you’re the sort of person who would enjoy themselves at one of my parties. Listen and watch the following all the way through with the volume up loud and if, by about the six-minute mark when that third song starts up and the guy in the wolfman suit is going completely bat-shit on stage, you aren’t absolutely rocking out of your tits then maybe you’ll want to just discard those invitations right when you get them, especially the ones I’ve signed in my own blood.

Give it a go and see.

Sometimes Screw/She’s My Wolf/You’re Gonna Die

Ah, yes. What wonderful chaos.

That was, by the way, a fairly recent His Name is Alive gig featuring One Wolf. Great, great music and a completely insane performance. Loved it.

Anyway, maybe we’ll be seeing some of you up here sometime.

Cheers.

DIY Ken

November 24, 2008

When you see the words “joint” and “compound” in association with me, admit it, the first thing you think of is Reggae Night at the Bunker.  And it’s true, the Party Wing, as we call the southwest section of the Compound, which features three bars, a heated indoor pool with jacuzzi, a mini-soundstage and dance floor, full home theatre and various comfortable “conversation” suites, has seen it’s share of smoke filled, bass and drum thumping, dreadlocked free-for-alls but, in this case, it’s not what I’m referring to.

No, this is that other sort of plastering I’m talking about.  As you might know, The Compound is always in a state of ongoing renovation.  It’s never quite reached a state of construction that I’m completely satisfied with so I tinker and adjust and add and remove all the time.   Recent example, the combat cage I assembled in the basement in what is now the Thunderdome Room, which those of you who attended that post-apocalyptic, post-punk theme party in August are probably still having nightmares about.

What you might not be aware of, however, is how much of this work I do myself.   Yeah, it’s not easy, I know, considering the near limitless demands on my time as writer, editor and manager of one of the world’s most powerful, influential news organizations, but there are times when a man just has to get in there and get hands on with his shit.  So yesterday, before I ever sat down to compose a single line of text, ol’ Ken had the putty knives, the drywall saws, the joint compound and plaster and all necessary implements out and was bearing down on a remodel of one of the common dining rooms here.

What it will be when I’ve finished, who knows.  Not a dining room, that’s for sure.  Possibly a room full of shelves for the various collectables I’ve accumulated in my years of world travel.  Gorman Moloko tells me that, if it looks good, I can put his entire action figure collection on display.  Fuckin’ fabulous, Gorm.

Anyway, it’s not that I don’t trust contractors to do the work.  Sure, they’re overpriced, lazy, most of them are addicted to prescription pain-killers and would otherwise be hopeless indigents if they didn’t know how to pound a nail, but they’re essentially good guys.  No, it’s just a matter of pure Ken Socrates pride.  The feeling of doing the job yourself and getting it done right is almost as good as publishing the latest scathing expose on another Republucan internet porn scandal.

It was about 11 pm last night, then, that my helper and I finally finished grinding out our workday and only then, after most of the dried spackling was washed off, was I finally free to sit down and put pen to paper. 

And you wonder why I’m essentially a hunchbacked, worn down, pain wracked nub of a human being these days.

 

Sheesh.

Slap Happy

November 24, 2008

Now, everyone knows that the greatest sports movie ever made is, without question, Slap Shot.  Not that there aren’t viable candidates to add into the debate, such as Bull Durham or Eight Men Out or Unholy Rollers, but any sports fan with even the smallest appreciation of film and/or hockey understands just what an essential piece of work Slap Shot is.  It’s hilarious, smart, irreverent and does a great job of defining and satirizing the sometimes absurd, sometimes glorious, up and down relationship true fans have with the chosen team of their obsession.  Utterly seminal, it is, and you know it.

A good friend recently mentioned Slap Shot 2 to me and it sent shivers down my spine to even think of it.  Of course, it reminded me of that scrap I got into with Stephen Baldwin at a charity hockey event at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston a few years back.  Each year celebrities gather to play a game against the Bruins Alumni to benefit The Cam Neely Foundation For Cancer Care Denis Leary, the prick, is often there, as is Lenny Clarke, Tim Robbins and Alan Thicke. Even Michael J. Fox gets out there from time to time.  The crowd goes absolutely apeshit watching that squirrelly little bastard scoot around the ice, I’ll tell ya.  Warms the heart.

Anyway, one year I’m there lined up on right wing against none other than S. Baldwin.  So, after a period or two of me giving him my less-than-glowing review of Slap Shot 2 and repeatedly asking which VH1 celebreality show he thought he’d end up on, he loses his cool and we have to drop the gloves for a little tussle.  Now, you all know damn well Ken Socrates can handle himself in a scrap but the problem with fighting a Baldwin brother is that you never know what the fucker might be on.  Lucky for me, ol’ Stevie had nothing more than a few no-doze and a couple of Long Island Iced Teas in him and about 20 seconds in I had his jersey over his head and was feeding him left uppercuts like chocolate bon-bons on Christmas morning.  When it was over, there were a couple extra chicklets on the ice and they weren’t mine.

Steve took it well, though, and went on to star in a couple of low budget, made for TV b-movies on the Sci-Fi Channel shortly afterwards so no harm done.  His brother Alec left a particularly nasty voice-mail for me but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t long after that he figured out what a bad idea doing that sort of thing was.

Baldwins. 

So tonight, as I wander aimlessly about the ‘net, I find this.

slap031

 

Paul Newman, my old friend.  It might not be such a bad thing that you kicked it before you had a chance to see something that grim.

Someone needs to take my belt away before I decide to join you.

Rubbernecking

November 22, 2008

Friday Night Live-Blogging.

 

Stay alert, comrades.  The night is young.

So, as some of you know, I haven’t exactly been in tip-top condition lately. Physically speaking, I’m the sort of car wreck that Ted Kennedy would’ve really appreciated back in his heyday. Hell, maybe even more so now, who knows. 

But, then, a diet of takeout food, energy drinks, chocolate chip cookies and random blood pollutants will do that to you.  Mix in extreme lack of sleep, obsessive overworking and a vicious chest cold that’s giving me the sort of coughing fits than can burst blood vessels in your brain and you have the perfect storm of bodily debilitation.  No doubt, this organic shell I currently occupy is in some damn rough shape.

Anyway, I never claimed to be a Tour de France champion, did I?  Fuck, one day trying to live like I do would make Lance Armstrong chop off his other ball in flat out surrender. True, I covered it once but only for two days because after they caught me and Forrest Whitaker ransacking the meds box in the back of one of the paramedics vans, they revoked my press pass.

But that’s why you like me, isn’t it?  Because of my amusing flaws?

To quote Pete Fijalkowski:

Oh slow down,
Take a good look at me.
As they cut me,
From this body.
Oh, my car crash,
Has come,
To town.

Sure, I get run down sometimes.  Beat up.  Get all wrapped up in various little whirlwind ideas and the next thing you know I’ve neglected myself right into a biological abyss of sorts.  I forget that the body needs attention, too.  Thankfully, The Valkyries, my leggy, all-female security militia, are always here to remind me of that fact.  One or two of them can even cook, too.

The cough medicine I’m using tonight is absolutley great, by the way.  Three and a half bottles in and I feel completely fucking fantastic

Whoooeeeee!