Thursday, December 1, 2005

Sci Fiction Con

Dear Friends,

    The Hard Taco song for January is called, "The Only Girl at the Sci Fi Convention," and you have every incentive to download it right now.
    To be frank, I don't much care for science fiction myself. Besides the familiar fact that there are no female science fiction fans, most of us don't know much about this strange genre. When I first started diving into my research for this song, I thought that I would come to respect or at least appreciate the champions of this unusual subculture.
    Surprisingly, I was wrong.
    Science Fiction Conventions, or "cons," are billed as a gathering place for like-minded individuals to discuss common interests. The disturbing truth is that the science fiction world is a tangled web of contentious factions. The conventions are simply the arena for these feuding sociopaths to engage in gang warfare. 
    The Trekkies hate the Warsies (Star Wars fans) who like to beat up on the MSTies (Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans). Everyone wants to kill the Whosies (Dr. Who fans, who are unusually ugly.) The BFF's (Babylon 5 fans) are complete savages who pretty much hate everybody while the Earth F. Conflicties (Earth: Final Conflict Fans) mostly just loathe themselves.
    Within the subset of Trekkies, there is a divisive hierarchy. It would be social suicide for a boy whose family follows "Deep Space Nine" to go out with the daughter of an "Enterprise" fan. The muddy waters run much deeper than that, though. James Doohan, who played Scotty in the original series, was found dead in July. The official coroner's report lists pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease as the causes of death, but the ugly truth is that he was stripped and tortured to death by a gang of "Voyager" zealots. In my opinion, violating a demented 85-year-old in his own home is entirely wrong, especially if he has pneumonia. 
    But these guys don't care. Most of them have the dangerous triad of autism, antisocial personality disorder, and pimples.
     Casual fans who go to these conventions looking to buy Quantum Leap trading cards are completely unprepared for the world of hurt that is in store for them. If your shirt says "Gene Roddenberry is God," someone will kick your ass. If you take a second series Jar-Jar figurine out of its original box, someone will kick your ass. If you conjugate a Klingon verb in the wrong tense, someone will kick your ass. If you try to be non-confrontational and fly under the radar, someone will kick your ass. That just makes you an easier mark for the "He doesn't like you. I don't like you either," line. 
    The trick is to find the one guy in the convention center who is smaller than you and beat him to a bloody pulp in a public place, such as in front of the Peter Mayhew autograph booth. You won't have real street cred until the Battlestar Galactica crowd thinks you're a maniac. Only then can you move among the panel discussions and costume contests with a certain degree of impunity.
    Just make sure you have an emergency escape plan for every situation. For instance, if an overweight teenager in a Stargate Atlantis shirt starts bludgeoning your face with the butt of a plastic light saber, you will want to distract him by throwing a pile of Enterprise blueprints into the air as you head for the nearest exit sign. (See Exhibit A)
    If the exit is blocked, you will need a backup plan. Carefully follow the specifications in the blueprints (see Exhibit A again) and build a functioning life-sized replica of the Enterprise. Then, go to the transporter room and beam yourself to a safe distance.   
    Don't forget to download the song, because it may start a dialogue about a lot of these issues.

With warmest regards,

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Please Forward to Everyone You Know or We All Suffer

Dear Friends,

    The Hard Taco song this month, "The Only Serious Thing," is now available for download. This is the low-hanging fruit of the musical world, so take it now while it's ripe.

    Meanwhile, please forward this email to twelve (12) other people, and your wildest dreams will be CAREFULLY CONSIDERED. This is not a hoax! I already sent it to twelve people and the next day when I got home my towel rack was fixed and also my wildest dreams had come true. Here are third person testimonials about people who thought this was a hoax and ended up regretting everything:

1. A homeless guy thought things couldn't get any worse for him, so he deleted the email without forwarding it to anyone.  The next day he was falsely convicted of first degree high treason and had to travel over several time zones just to be executed. 

2. This one girl didn't believe in jinxes or computer curses, even though everybody told her how wrong she was, including the president of her company. She turned off her computer without forwarding the email to anyone, left her house and immediately got lost at the first intersection she came to.

3. Do you know those factories filled with rotating robot arms that bolt big pieces of metal together all day? Well, this guy who declined to forward this email got his foot caught in the conveyer belt at one such factory, and got sheet metal bolted to his upper and lower body over and over again. Finally, at the end of the assembly line, the robots (which were well-built) sensed that something was wrong, and flicked his metal-encased body into a reject bin rather than sending him to market.

4. An old man forwarded the email to everyone he knew, but it was only eight people. The next day, all eight of his friends were swallowed whole by a number of different animals. When word got around that the man had no living friends, no one would hire him for a real job and he had to live out the rest of his days ringing a bell in front of the grocery store like an idiot.

5. This other lady fell into a bottomless pit for unrelated reasons. After falling straight down for nearly fifteen minutes, she forwarded the email to the right number of people, and pretty soon her wildest dreams came true.

With warmest regards,

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Surf Rock USA

Dear Friends,

Do you have a crush on a cognitively-impaired girl, just because she's good at surfing? In other words, is the girl you long for a truly gifted surfer but basically retarded?

If so, the new Hard Taco song, "Surfin' Savant" is going to help you sort out your issues/feelings. It took a lot of unpleasant surgery for me to be able to sing four parts at once, so I hope you enjoy it.

Did you know that before hormones drove me into rock music (and herbal supplements drove me back into new age music), I had a brief career on the semi-pro surfing circuit? This picture of me is HUGELY EMBARASSING, but you have to take it in context... I was ten years old and the style in those days was for surfers to wear 4/5 length pants and flesh-colored knee pads.  I'm the second one from the bottom in the left column...

Nowadays, I only take my board out a few times a year, when I really need to unwind and completely CLEAR MY MIND. Paddling out to sea, the burdens of the daily grind evaporate, and troubles seem to vanish magically from my mind. I can't recall the boring details of my workday, or what I had for breakfast, or whether I took my pills that morning. I lose the ability to remember my address and who the president is. I forget what my sister looks like, and how to make Legos fit together. I have word-finding difficulties; I can't do dot-to-dots or figure out which side of the comb to push against my head.

Anyway, you may wish to brush up on surfer jargon before you download "Surfin' Savant." Let me get you started. Surfin' California surfer jargon for Surfing (the apostrophe replaces the G).  However, to Mexican surfers, SUR FIN means "South End," a popular surfing destination in South Carolina near Georgetown (which is called 'eorgetown in California, and Pueblo de Jorge in Mexico.) Keep practicing.

With warmest regards,

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Keep Smokey Out of your Britches

Dear Friends,

Break 27, put her up to 27, John. Cotton mouth Hand here, looking for a pit park with the motion lotion between Watermelon 500 and Dome Town. Taking my freight shaker here on the backslide at double nickel in the granny lane. Just pulled a dragonfly past the chicken coop when I got my doors blown off by a beaver bobtail taking the hammer lane at triple digits. She's out dropping alligators when I see her get shot in the back by a County Mounty at a bear trap two yardsticks South of Derby City. That's the Four-Roger. Keep your nose between the ditches and the Smokey out of your britches. All the good numbers, over.

If you're thinking, "What the #@&*!?" you're probably not a teamster. If you're thinking, "What the "@!&*#?" you're probably dyslexic and not a teamster. Either way, I sprayed you with a light volley of trucker jargon in order to get you keyed up for this month's experimental Hard Taco song, "King Trucker."


Who is the King Trucker?
The King Trucker is the guy that drives the truck that hauls other trucks. Usually there will be two or three tractor cabs stacked at an angle behind the front one. This truck is the undisputed paramount sovereign of the interstates. We may find the trucker caste system to be barbaric and misogynistic, but let's face it... it works. Here is the chain of command in common CB slang.
1. KING TRUCKER - supreme oligarch dictator-in-charge of truck power
2. Thermos - A gas or oil tanker
3. Double Quad - A truck that has 44 wheels instead of 18
4. Rolling Ranch – A cattle truck
5. Parking Lot – A car carrier
6. Ice Box – A refrigerated truck
7. Skateboard – A flatbed truck
8. Dry Box – A plain 18-wheeler with a boxy white trailer
9. Bobtail – A tractor with no trailer
10. Tard Box - A Short Truck. (According to trucker code, the driver is customarily retarded, and it is rude to make eye contact with him.)

You might not have a lot of respect for The Hand (as we truckers call each other), but trucks are an important part of our economy. The reason there is always highway construction is that trucks are much heavier than cars and cause the asphalt to crack. Someone has to put tar in those cracks, and that person often uses the money they earn to buy toy trucks, completing the cycle and keeping the market "bull-ish."

With Warmest Regards,

Monday, August 1, 2005

You Have Pet a Chicken 1 Times

Dear Friends,

This month's Hard Taco song, "Give Up the Kibble," is now available for download! Put 500 copies of it in your iPod shuffle and go for a nice long jog!

Have you ever wanted to start a charitable foundation, but couldn't find a worthy cause? Would you like to see your name on a wall somewhere under categories like "Sponsor," "Patron," "Benefactor," or, "Supreme Beneficent Godfather of Philanthropy?" Well, you're in luck. As soon as I find someone to front the money (roughly $300) I am going to build the world's first and largest...

The concept is so simple, it's amazing nobody has done it before. A webcam will be installed in a real petting zoo, allowing around-the-clock visuals of docile barnyard animals. The arrow icon will be replaced with an open hand, and when the mouse button is clicked, the hand will close its fingers in a gentle scritching motion. Much like animals at a real petting zoo, the online animals will not react to the contact in any way.

"Traditional" Petting Zoo

Contemporary Petting Zoo

When I was six years old, I broke out in hives after my first (and last!) visit to a petting zoo. I'll never forget the day the doctors told my parents that I am allergic to sheep dander, and that I would never be able to go to another petting zoo again. 

As the years went by I became a troubled teenager, spiraling into a cycle of self-destructive behavior. I came this close to losing everything. Finally, when a court-appointed social worker badgered me into joining a support group, I learned that I am not alone. A lot of kids with farm-related allergies hurt themselves and the people they love as a way to fill the void left by the absence of petting zoos.

It has been a long and difficult journey back from the edge, but my burden is lightened by the knowledge that by building an online petting zoo, I have the ability to help others like me. I look forward to a day when everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of rubbing a goat behind the ears without getting watery eyes or itchy throat.

Plus, it's not just for asthmatics! Here are some other people who could benefit from an online petting zoo:
- Urban children and/or prisoners who do not have access to a traditional Bricks-and-Mortar Petting Zoo
- Farmhands who want to "practice their chops" after hours when they are back at the farmhouse.
- Children with no hands, who would otherwise not know how real livestock respond to human touch. (Note: The answer is that they don't respond, as mentioned above.)
- Australians. They don't have mammals in Australia, so most of their petting zoos are stocked with marsupials and kiwi birds.
- Shift-workers who only have the time to pet animals between the hours of 2am and 7am.


Friday, July 1, 2005

Lost in Translation

Dear Friends,

The new Hard Taco song, "O Lover, Drowned Lover" is now available for download!

Here is that same phrase in Spanish, courtesy of a free online translation service:
¡La canción Dura nueva del Taco, "Amante O, Amante Ahogado" está ahora disponible para la descarga!

Which, when translated into English, means:
The new Hard song of the Plug, "Lover OR, Lover Drowned" is now available for the discharge! 

Which, in French, is:
La nouvelle chanson Dure du Bouchon, « l'Amant OU, l'Amant A Noyé » est maintenant disponible pour la décharge!

Now back to English:
The new song Lasts Cork, « the lover OR, the lover Drowned » now available east for the disposal! 

To Portuguese:
A nova canção Dura a Cortiça, « o amante OU, o amante Afogou-se » leste agora disponível para a disposição!

Back to English:
To new Hard song the Cork, « the lover OR, the lover Drowned » you read now available for the arrangement! 

To Russian:
К новой Твердой(Трудной) песне Пробка, " любитель(возлюбленный) ИЛИ, любитель(возлюбленный) Тонул " Вы читает теперь доступный для договоренности! 

Back to English:
To a new Firm (Difficult) song the Fuse, " the fan(amateur) (beloved) OR, the fan(amateur) (beloved) Sank " you reads now accessible to the arrangement! 

To Italian:
A una Società nuova (Difficile) la canzone il Fusibile, " il ventilatore (il dilettante) (l'amato) O, il ventilatore (il dilettante) (l'amato) Ha Affondato " lei legge adesso accessibile alla disposizione!

Back to English, and IN CONCLUSION:
To a new Society (Difficult) the song the Fuse, " the fan (the delights) (loved it) OR, the fan (the delights) (loved it) Sank " she reads now accessible to the disposition! 

That's just the teaser. I have actually subjected ALL of the lyrics of this song to the same process of multiple translations. Check out both versions and let me know if you think I should re-record the vocals with the translated lyrics...

With Warmest Regards,

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

A Tree Ring Circus

Dear Friends,

Dendrochronology is the science of studying tree rings to learn about climate changes. A master chronology can be created by lining up pieces of wood from different eras. For instance, let's compare the rings of three trees using these pictures I scanned in.

o) ) ) ))  ) ) )) )  )                             Dead tree 1
     o))  ) ) )) )  ))  )    ) ))                 Dead tree 2
             o)) )  ))  )    ) ))  ) )) )         Living tree

Now we can make a master chronology that looks like this:
o) ) ) ))  ) ) )) )  ))  )    ) ))  ) )) )

Using this method, the bristlecone pine of the White Mountains has been traced back almost 9000 years continuously.

The most relevant use of this science is to date pieces of wood. For instance, scientists were able to prove that the log cabin in Hodgenville, KY that was supposedly Abraham Lincoln's birthplace wasn't actually built until the 1950's!

Yes, and even more startling was the analysis of the two wooden beams used to make Jesus' cross. Dendrochronologic dating demonstrated that the horizontal crossbar wasn't nailed on until almost 500 years later! This proves what many historians have suspected for years... Jesus was actually crucified on a single vertical log.

The ramifications of this discovery will have on Christian symbolism are significant. Pope Benedict XVI has wasted no time decrying the horizontal portion of the cross and is spearheading a movement to have all of the horizontal shafts removed from the world's crosses. In a recent address, the pontiff pleaded with the Catholic community at large to start by dismantling the horizontal portions of church crosses, and then work down to smaller crosses like wall-hangings and jewelry.

The Vatican has also demanded that thousands of paintings and stained glass windows be altered in accordance with this new evidence. Antonio Paolucci, a renowned art historian and curator of the Uffzi Art Museum in Florence, called this edict "an outrage" in a recent Washington Post interview. "Many of these works were painted by the great masters hundreds of years ago," he stated, "and to paint over them is most profane form of vandalism." He recommended instead that the collected works simply be thrown out.

As the final step of his plan, Benedict XVI plans to have the letter "t" replaced with the letter "l" in religious words like Christian and Vatican. For instance, Catholics will be called Calholics (except for Irish Catholics, who will continue to be called Alcoholics.) The Pope is expected to formally condemn the 90 degree angle later this week, and a delegation of Cardinals is convening to decide whether 180 degrees should inherit the tem "Right Angle."

The discovery has also shone light on another ancient controversy. Many theologians and historians believe that Christ may simply have had no arms, obviating the need for a horizontal crossbar. Support for this theory has been strengthened by the observation that many of Jesus' contemporaries, such as Venus de Milo, also suffered from armlessness. As it happens, the New Testament is filled with references to Jesus' legs, trunk, and head, but his arms are never mentioned. Furthermore, a traditionally-limbed person would most likely carry something up a hill in their arms, but Jesus suspiciously bore the cross on his back.

Finally, in light of these changes, vampires have grudgingly agreed to be repelled by a vertically held piece of wood.

The Hard Taco song for the month is called, "The Dancingest Boy in Town," and it is about a boy named Sacha who used to go to my summer camp. This song is an extended dance mix which means that it is about 1-2 minutes longer than it should be. The extra 60-120 seconds should be used for dancing or thinking about dancing.

With Warmest Regards,

Sunday, May 1, 2005

The Secret Life of GERMS

Dear Friends,

White tigers, and to a lesser degree dinosaurs, are extremely popular on account of their rarity. Who would want to hang out and watch TV with a squirrel or a bat if they could watch the same TV but sit next to a white tiger? Prevalence and popularity are so inversely proportional, in fact, that the most common animal of all is probably the most ostracized. I'm speaking, of course, of the germ.

I'm not saying the germ doesn't deserve some of its notoriety, but it is probably the most misunderstood animal you'll ever meet. I have tried to keep an open mind, and learn about germs without being judgmental. It's been really eye-opening and helped me to appreciate the world as one big neighborhood rather than a series of single-family homes surrounded by water. Here are some facts about germs to help you feel like you're part of a neighborhood.

1. Germs are not ticklish.
2. The germ's favorite kind of Jell-o is called "agar", which is always circular and 1 cm deep. Unlike humans, germs do not like to suspend fruit cocktail in their Jell-o, so 1 cm is deep enough.
3. Liquid soap is very harmful to germs and should not be consumed unless you are positive you want nothing to do with germs.
4. The idealized germs rendered in science textbooks create an unrealistic physical ideal that fosters feelings of inadequacy among normal germs, who are not perfectly rod-shaped and don't have such evenly spaced cilia.
5. Germ Warfare was banned under the Geneva Protocol of 1925, but Germ Fanfare is generally felt to be rousing and inspirational.
6. If all of the germs in the world were lined up end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back six times. This many germs in a line would make for a very exciting game of "telephone."
7. If left unchecked, the germ that causes Senior-itis can cause full-blown Party Fever.
8. One time a germ was abducted from his parents as an infant and raised by people. Even though he didn't know the truth about his past, he recognized a lullaby that his mother used to sing him and it brought back all kinds of really deep memories.
9. Unlike germs, I AM very ticklish. If I ever need a pedicure, I would like to get an epidural beforehand.
10. Individual germs are good at both crimes and crimefighting, but their colonies are so large (>100,000) that the crime-doing and crimefighting germs tend to offset each other. Therefore, germs do not cause a net change in the total amount of crime that takes place.
11. Under the coverslip, germs look round and smooshy, but in their natural habitat, most germs are shaped like pyramids or shamrocks (or sometimes scissors.)

After a couple months of rocking you about the face and head, we're going to tone it down a little for the May Hard Taco song, which is called, "We All Die Young." If you are either too drunk to find your hands or simply nostalgic for your childhood accordion, this song will likely reduce you to tears.


Meanwhile, don't forget that back issues of the Hard Taco Digest are available for your enjoyment. I have entered into a multi-million dollar agreement with Google, whereby you can find old Hard Taco Digests by "Googling" any of these terms:
Crucified Goat-Demon, Giving Swirlies, Beating an Old Grocer, Christian Psychobilly, Turkish Levitra Substitute, Boobless Calculator Code, Tangible Pithiness, Surgically Darkened Armpits, Hemiparetic Nun, Fine Higgle, Chinese Pants-soiling, Fake Shredded Lettuce, Logbert, Enormous Calves.

With warmest regards,

Friday, April 1, 2005

My Mom's Poems Kick Your Mom's Poems' Asses

Dear Friends,

If you're not in rabbinic school, you may download the new Hard Taco song, "Dovetails" right now.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to one of the greatest bards of the modern era. She is one of the most prolific contemporary American poets, and yet she has never been published... until now. I speak, of course, of my mother, Roberta London. For years I have been haunting the auction houses, scouring garage sales, and scanning through endless reels of microfiche at the Library of Congress. At long last, I have acquired what I believe to be the largest anthology of Roberta London poems anywhere in the world. Now, for the first time ever, these poems have been published online, and they are available exclusively to readers of the Hard Taco Digest. Included are such great works as "You Put the Meaning in the 'F' Word: 'Friend'" and "To Spartacus Fartacus Upon the Occasion of His Recovery From Lumbar Laminectomy of Level 3/4 and 4/5." See here to enjoy this robust collection of long, elegant poems.


Speaking of things that are long and elegant, yet robust, I am totally obsessed with the Hummer Limousine! You may have seen these on the streets, but you might not realize that they are the most fearsome military apparatus on the planet.  The Hummer Limo can transport up to 22 armed soldiers over some of the world's the most rugged and uninviting terrain. It's the only stretch limousine with 9.1 inches of ground clearance, a 37.5 degree approach angle and the capacity to ford up to 24 inches of water! It also has 3 plasma screen TV's, a wet bar, a fireplace and a mirror ball. Most of them have been deployed to battle zones already, but there are a handful back in the states, and they are available to civilians for rental! Here are some common scenarios in which you may choose to rent a Hummer Limo:

1. It's prom night, but the school gym is being fumigated, so the dance has been moved 800 miles north into the heart of the Yukon tundra.
2. You need to transport a squad of green berets into enemy territory for a rescue mission, but you forgot to put them through basic training first. If only you could secure a vehicle that has an X-box so they can play HALO on their way to the mission...
3. A dozen of your most important clients just flew in from Japan, and they wired a message to your office saying that they want a "Disco Party in a Volcano." It might be a mistranslation, but do you really want to take chances with a two million dollar account?

The Hard Taco song for April is called "Dovetails." Those of you that are rabbinic students may now download it. I just wanted to make you guys wait to give everyone else a chance for once.

With Warmest Regards,

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Compost Toasties

Dear Friends,

Hard Taco records different types of songs, which are powered by different forms of energy. There are acoustic songs, which are powered by "kinetic energy," and electric songs, which are powered by "compost."  For those of you who don’t dabble in thermo-environmentalism, composting is the process of harnessing organic chemistry from clinical rot to power up some awesomely loud electric guitars.  The bad news is, the only things I routinely throw away are meat and metal shelves, neither of which is recommended for composting. In fact, I have to make three or four special trips to the grocery store a week to buy things that will eventually rot, like fresh cabbage and pizza crusts. When I get home, I place them directly onto the compost pile. One month later, we have enough electricity to record a medium-length song!

By the way, conventional electricity is measured in terms of watt-hours, but power is measured in Newtons, which is what we use (more expensive, but better sound quality.)

Anyway, that explains why we generally only record one song a month, and it also explains why I spend a lot of time in grocery store checkout lines.
If I happen to glance at the front page of certain periodicals every now and then, it's only because I'm checking them out for composting purposes. Now, I don't actually read tabloids, but I have noticed a disturbing trend that I find interesting for medical reasons.  Last week I saw a headline that read, "300 pound Kirstie Alley Collapses." One shelf below, another one said "Rosie O'Donnell goes on Binge, Collapses at Ranch." Do you see what’s going on? As it turns out, the endpoint of obesity is not heart disease or diabetes, but actual bodily collapse.
For those of you who have never seen someone collapse, it is much more dramatic than merely falling down. The way it works is this: You're gaining weight, gaining weight, and one day you reach a certain critical mass, cross some invisible threshold, and BAM! You suddenly undergo a violent process that is a cross between having a stroke and being instantly deboned. The other major feature that separates collapsing from traditional diseases is the emotional response of onlookers. Heart attacks, for instance, are generally felt to be terrible, while collapsing is usually described as disgusting and pathetic.

The Hard Taco Song this month is called "The Sewing Circle Kills Again." For the next 1000 years, everyone will think of this song whenever someone mentions "cool" and "March '05" in the same sentence. BELIEVE ME. After that, those words will probably remind people of something cool that happens in March, 3005. I don't recommend waiting that long. Get in on the ground floor and download this song today!

With warmest regards

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Animal Planet Hates 2/3 of My Offerings

Dear Friends,

  What was your favorite world in Super Mario Brothers? If it's the one where Mario navigates through a giant treacherous outline, you're going to feel right at home with the Hard Taco Digest this month.

I. New Album is Here and, in Theory, Awesome
II. Hard Taco's TV Debut
III. Bravo and Oxygen Get First Dibs at the Reject Bin
IV. An Apology

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I. New Album is Here and, in Theory, Awesome

The new Hard Taco album, "Forced to Breed in Captivity," has arrived as of today, and it is theoretically awesome. I realize that "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by the Eagles is your favorite song of all time. Therefore, to keep the universe in balance, it is your karmic obligation to make "Forced to Breed in Captivity" your favorite album of all time.

Here’s the skinny. Eleven remixed, remastered versions of some of your favorite songs from the Hard Taco Project website over the last two years, in an enitrely different order. Now add in four previously unreleased songs, and cute cover art. If you're breathing too hard to keep reading, go lie down with your feet up on a table for a few minutes. Oops! You just crushed your Cassingle of "Peaceful Easy Feeling." I think it's a sign!

II. Hard Taco's TV Debut

This is moderately exciting, and entirely true. A one-minute Hard Taco Song, "RunPuppyRun" is being used in TV commercials for the Discovery Network's upcoming TV event, "Puppy Bowl," which will air during the Superbowl on Animal Planet.  I went to the Animal Planet website to find out a little more about the show. Apparently, Puppy Bowl offers "the chance to simply watch puppies. Settle in and prepare to ooh and ahh as they play, eat, sleep and interact with each other." For three straight hours. During the Superbowl.

Naturally, this comes as a major blow to an already ailing FOX Network. Coors, Levitra, and Radio Shack can finally shift their advertising dollars from a handful of nerdy "football enthusiasts" to the largest untapped demographic... people who like to watch puppies interact with each other. But it gets better... these dogs actually sleep! On televsion! You want to talk ratings? Nielsen himself is probably popping a boner in his grave just thinking about it.

I know what you’re thinking. You can’t miss the Superbowl because after all these years, the Eagles are playing. Honestly, they’re really not that exciting any more. The lineup has changed a lot over the years, and if you don’t believe me, go look at the credits on that Cassingle you just broke.

III. Bravo and Oxygen Get First Dibs at the Reject Bin

The sad truth is that for every stupid jingle that gets picked up by a major cable TV station, one, and sometimes as many as two stupid jingles are turned down.  That is why I uploaded three short songs this month instead of one. "RunPuppyRun" is there, as well as two asinine ditties that were summarily rejected by Animal Planet, entitled "Puppy Bowl" and "Pooch Punt."

I realize now how confusing it must have been to them that one of the songs was called "Puppy Bowl" when that was also the name of the show. I bet the Animal Planet upper management, with their third quarter earnings reports and matching cummerbunds, are highly trained in effective boardroom communication. Nevertheless, this song must have confused them.  "Excuse me, Ms. Vice President of Emerging Markets, do you refer to 'Puppy Bowl' the song or 'Puppy Bowl' the show? Christ, Eileen, get a hold of yourself! (Slap!)" For nearly an hour, they were all waving their arms around in the air and howling like monkeys, jumping up and down on their lacquered executive tables. If one of the interns hadn't dove across the table, grabbed the CD out of the CEO's hand, and hurled himself out the 40th story window, the whole network would have gone belly up within minutes.

As you can see, my psychological defense mechanisms are fairly complicated.

IV. An Apology

Finally, I apologize for using the word "boner," especially in a manner that could be deemed disrespectful to any deceased media ratings moguls. Next month, I will ask Paul McCartney to write the Hard Taco Digest for me.

With Warmest Regards,

Saturday, January 1, 2005

A Compendium of Lesser Known Natural Disasters

Dear Friends,

  SENSITIVE TOPIC ALERT. I am going to be talking about tsunamis now. If you aren't ready or not bright enough to discuss tsunamis, read no further, because tsunamis are the subject of this essay. I'm going to start by asking myself, "What, exactly, is a tsunami?" I think we all know enough about common natural disasters to have a healthy fear of earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes and tornados, but tsunamis were never really on the radar until very recently. Thanks to the international media, we are all learning about things like how to tsunami-proof your workplace and why a tsunami is worse for people who live in ravines than people who live on hummocks.

  However, tsunamis are just one of a considerable list of lesser-known natural disasters which should incapacitate us with fear. Go to your file cabinet right now and grab your most recent homeowner's policy, because you're going to want to know the extent of your coverage for each of these Acts of God.

MUDSLIDE: This one is pretty self-explanatory. When you put mud on an inclined plane, such as a mountainside or the roof of a church, it slides down, blanketing everything in its path in warm, relaxing mud. If you see a mudslide headed your way, be sure to wrap your hair in a towel and put cucumber slices over your eyes.

CYCLONE: Thinner than a tornado, but more conical than a twister. As you know, the National Weather Service names hurricanes after people, such as "Hurricane Andrew." Cyclones, on the other hand, are named after concepts. In 2004 there were cyclones named Justice, Ambiguity, and Virginity.

HOT GEYSER: The scariest thing about hot geysers is that you never know where or when they're going to erupt. Sometimes you hear a gurgling noise right before it goes, but by then it's PRETTY MUCH TOO LATE FOR YOU. If Jerry Bruckheimer really started thinking about hot geysers, I think he'd realize how much dramatic potential they have.

WHIRLPOOL: Every year the lives of thousands of poor, inner city kids are claimed by whirlpools, but you almost never hear about it. You can bet that the first time some middle class white girl falls in a whirlpool they'll be forming a new cabinet position to figure out how to stop them. I, for one, want to go on record having said, "George W. Bush, whirlpools have always been here, whether you like it or not."

TYPHOON: A typhoon is sort of the gobstopper of tropical weather patterns. Basically you start with a common eddy. This is surrounded by a cloudburst, which itself is surrounded by a zephyr.  A small typhoon can be easily confused with a nor'wester, but the larger ones often have the ferocity of a line squall with all the stubbornness of a raging Chinook or a low pressure system.

STAMPEDE: While not technically a natural disaster, a stampede can be just as dangerous. Most laypeople think the best way to avoid a stampede is to stay away from large herds of animals. NOT TRUE.  Travelers have been trampled to death by as few as three buffalo if they are pissed/startled enough.

FLASH FLOOD: The main difference between a standard flood and a flash flood is that the latter tends to occur just when you start to relax and think you are no longer in danger. I know people who tied an inflatable dinghy to their chimney, which is wise. They did not, however, inflate it ahead of time, which is unwise. If you think you're going to have time to blow up a whole dingy during a flash flood, you're not just stupid, but stupid and drowned soon.

FJORDS: I think James Michener died in one of these, but that might have been a dust bowl.

MONSOON: When these are far away, they make a pleasing baritone sound like the instrument for which they are named. However, don't get too close because they can cause both wind and gusts.

TARPITS: These have wiped out entire races of civilized prehumans. The more people and livestock a tarpit consumes, the larger it becomes. There is one in Los Angeles that they weren't able to stop for hundreds of years until someone thought of hosing it down for a long time.

  I don't have space to write more, but I also did research on cave-ins, meteorites, sunspots, glaciers, locusts, eclipses, and sleet. Feel free to ask me about any of these topics if we run into each other.
  The Hard Taco song this month is called "Accidents Happen," and it's another chapter of the Hard Tack Medicine Show. If you haven't been keeping up, here is the back story. Osric the Fop has vowed to kill Good King Stereotypies (rhymes with "carry lot o' peas") because of something unsavory the king did a long time ago. However, Osric is distracted from his task by the King's unprincipled wife, the Exotic Queen Stasia. He is so distracted, in fact, that she becomes pregnant. Osric soon realizes that this predicament could actually be an opportunity to recruit the Queen to help him with his mission.

  If you are too worried about typhoons and magma to download the new song, I don't blame you. When you're ready, it will be there for you.

With warmest regards,