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An Independence Day Toast
July 4, 2012

Here's to the privilege of raising our glasses in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” We are grateful for unequaled liberties that allow us to freely and continually make terrible choices about work, women, and who we call "friend".

From the “mountains to the prairies” we are inspired by some of the most spectacular and diverse bars, taverns and pubs on our planet. From “sea to shining sea” we are privileged to spend a July afternoon in the perfect air conditioned darkness of a well-stocked drinking establishment of our choice. We have the freedom to choose which spirits move us and which lies to tell.

Here's to a celebration of being grateful for the ability to have a fully paid holiday and for the ability to say "fuck all the worries of the world".

Here's to Interstate 15, linking California to Las Vegas, which is paved with the blood of American Indians who gave their lives for the right of the white man to spend the weekend in a drunken stupor, gambling whoring and living in idiocracy.

Here's to the right of all Americans to sit in their own yards, yelling at their own kids while watching them blow off their fingers with fireworks purchased while on vacation in substandard countries such as Mexico, from real Mexicans, who were gracious enough to give up the great southwestern states for us to have these freedoms.

Here's to the right of all Americans to piss their pants and carry on conversations with nobody but themselves.

Here's to nosey neighbors who can't seem to mind their own fucking business.

Here's to our many different perspectives and ideologies. But, more importantly, here's to the ability to know which of those perspectives and ideologies are wrong and the freedom to tell the owners of those fucked-up viewpoints that they are wrong and to go fuck themselves.

Here's to stinky pussy.

Here's to “liberty and justice for all”.

Cheers big ears!

Memories of BOOZA-PALOOZA 2013 
June 16, 2013

Reno is a benjo ditch filled with drunken cabbies, ugly prostitutes and ignorant bartenders. It’s a shallow grave dug especially by, and for, two-bit pimps, wanna-be players and degenerate gamblers. It’s a last stop for drop-outs, quitters and the outcast. What the fuck happened to these people? They’ve given up trying to get it on with the American Dream. Hell, most of these fuckers never even made it to first base. Now they’re barely content to masturbate to it as they watch it from an abandoned doorway. They’re all desperate and doomed and I can’t help wonder what sliver of hope they still possessed when they decided to make Reno their home instead of swallowing the black metal end of a really long shotgun and pulling the trigger with their toes.

On Friday morning, Allen, Khan, Angel and I piled into Allen’s Subaru Outback and pointed the Pleiades Star Cluster hood emblem north toward Sacramento, and then east on the road paved with good intentions toward Reno.

Sure, we’ve all been to Reno, Las Vegas, or Tahoe for one reason or another. But this trip is different. It’s a pilgrimage, an open proclamation of reckless fun. It is a chance to play a giant game of Fuckaroo with the Reno locals. Oh, imagine the fantastic possibilities...

We were on our way to Booza-Palooza. It's an annual drinking festival that a group of friends and I started 14 years ago.

For some forgotten reason, we decided to go in search of the best Irish pub in Reno. The internet gave two-thumbs-up to Foley’s, Ole Bridge Pub, and others that have already slipped my mind.

So, we took a cab several miles south on Virginia Street to Foley’s, but were immediately disappointed. Fuck. We let the cab driver take off; we should have asked him to wait a few minutes while we checked the place out. We won’t make that mistake again.

The place is a fairly decent looking cookie-cutter chain-restaurant-looking place. We found out later that it used to be a Hooters. The staff was courteous and responsive and the place was clean. But they didn’t allow smoking and there was a family with little kids celebrating a birthday party for one of the children. Bad sign. What kind of savage actively plans to get drunk around a bunch of kids? We all knew what would happen and it would not end well. So we downed our Guinness and immediately walked outside to hail another cab.

Our next stop was to be the Ole Bridge Pub, but the cab driver couldn’t find it. So, he dropped us off about a block away and made us walk around until we found it. Once inside, we found a really stupid bartender who was not interested in bartending at all. There were a total of six customers in the place, but even that volume pushed her past the limits of her abilities as a bartender. To top it off, they didn’t allow smoking either.

Still, we stayed for a couple of hours drinking pint after pint and several cocktails and a few shots. We even played a dice game where, by rolling, it was determined who would choose a drink, who would pay for the drink and who would drink the drink.

A poorly constructed Long Island Iced Tea put me over the top.

“Fuck you! Hey bartender, fuck off! You fucking cunt!” Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my buddies, who seemed oblivious. Time to move on.

Again, we hailed a cab and asked the drunken cabbie to take us to an Irish bar with the following characteristics:

•Must allow smoking
•Must have a pool table
•Must have darts
•Must have dice
•Must be dirty

This cab driver knew just the spot. A few minutes later, we were deposited into the small parking lot of Corrigan’s Irish Pub. We walking into a cloud of smoke and stale beer with surly-looking locals who were clearly trying decide what to make of us. Pool table. Check. Smoking. Check. Darts. Check. Dice. Check. Dirty. Double check.

We even noticed that there was a large hook hanging down from the center of the ceiling with what appeared to be splattered blood on the ceiling itself. We resolved that the hook must be there to hold a Chinese Fuck Basket and that the blood stains were an accepted consequence of its use.

We started off with a round of reasonably cold Guinness and quickly recognized that undrunk people drink good beer and drunk people don’t give a shit. So we switched to cocktails.

In what seemed like only a few moments (but it could have been several hours), one of the regulars came over and struck up a conversation with us. We talked about golf… Actually, we may have talked about other things too, but I was so drunk that I only recall a hazy conversation about golf.

The golf conversation guy was there with his brother, 80-year-old mother and maybe some of the other people at the bar. I have no fucking idea. But I do recall that his mother sent us a round of drinks. It was sweet of her, so we bought her a round and challenged her to a spirited game of dice. Same game that we played earlier. She happily accepted our provocation and the game was on. Several other regulars joined in as well.

We must have played for hours. I seem to have lost a little time.

I do recall that we came up with the greatest idea for a television show in the history of broadcasting. Relatively Famous would feature semi-famous relatives of real famous people. Frank Stallone, Don Swayze and Roger Clinton were a few names that we tossed around. We’d get about a dozen of them and make them live in a house together for a few weeks and film the entire thing. Kind of like the old VH1 show The Surreal Life. For some reason, this was the funniest thing in the world for about a half hour. Maybe longer.

We eventually left Corrigan’s and may have visited other bars. This is part of the timeline that none of us can confirm. We do, however, remember that one of our cab drivers told us about a defunct S&M club that had been located in Douglas Alley, an area just across the street from Cal-Neva Hotel and Casino. I have no idea why he felt compelled to tell us about the “buy-one-ass-whoopin’-get-one-free” specials that the place used to run.

Somewhere during the night, there was another cab driver who tried talking us into letting him take us to an oriental massage parlor. He kept stressing the point that "these girls will do anything!"

Khan decided to challenge him "Anything?"

"Anything," the cabbie confirmed.

"Anything at all?" Khan pushed.

"Yes, ANYTHING!"

“Like a rub and tug?"

"Anything."

"What about a plug and tug?"

"Anything."

Even while plowed, I knew what Khan was doing. I've seen it a million times and it never gets old. He was going to push this poor guy until he found something that even he would find out of the question. He continued.

"Can we hit them?"

"Anything."

"Can we murder them?"

"Anything."

Clearly the cabbie wasn't going to back down.

At some point, we made it back to our hotel, but I have no idea what time it was. I also know that we continued to drink and went down the street to Harrah’s to play cards, but I can’t recall any details except for a conversation with one of the dealers. She was a young blond who was very nice and had absolutely no idea what to make of us. For some reason, the subject of Gingers came up and she informed us that she had siblings who were Gingers. We informed her that Gingers are the result of anal sex, are sub-human and cannot be trusted. She may have agreed. I have no fucking idea and I didn’t give a shit what she thought. The only thing I knew for sure was that we were not physically ejected from the casino. And for that, I am still disappointed.

I don't recall going back to my room, what time I got there, or if I even went on my own power. What I do know is that I was rooming with Allen and he came in at some time after me. Maybe five minutes? Maybe five hours? But I remember hearing him fumble and stumble into the room.

“Ignore that nightmare in the bathroom,” I yelled into the darkness, referring to the collateral damage from a full day of heavy Guinness and Rum intake mixed with a pinch of greasy food. “The human system was not designed to handle that sort of pressure.” Allen didn’t seem to notice or care one way or another. He’s never been able to accept the notion - often espoused by members of AA - that you can have just as much fun undrunk as you can drunk. And, clearly, neither have I. The bathroom was the accepted result of a job well done.

For those poor sons-of-bitches who show up with any dignity at all, Reno has a way of stealing it. But, it’s not like Las Vegas, with its Disneylandification of a life without morals. Reno is the real deal. If the entire City of Las Vegas is a theme park based on a real city, Reno is that city. What happens in Reno not only stays in Reno, it probably gets murdered in Reno as well. It’s a place where anything goes, but without the phony glitz and glamour that Las Vegas slaps on it. It’s a city without direction, and the folks who live there are all a part of that culture. They have no direction. There are no hopes or dreams left. If they have anything resembling a soul, they need to get out while they can.

But don’t get overly worked up. Reno has its downside too.

Shitty Bartenders 101

So, there you are. Ready to sit down in a nice, cool, dark bar. Ready to order your favorite drink and relax. What could be better than that? Wait. Where's the bartender? The dick-bag fuck-stick is more interested in doing anything BUT getting you a drink. He's too busy fucking around with his phone or catching up on the latest bullshit with another employee or kissing up to another customer.

What happened to the good old days when the bartender understood that the most important thing in a bar isn't the selection of booze, the address, or the decor? None of that matters without the customer. Without the customer, the bar would fold and the bartender would be out of a job. Seems like a pretty simple concept. Right? Unfortunately, there seems to be a new crop of bartenders who are either unable - or unwilling - to grasp this concept.

I'm not talking about walking in while it's busy. I'm talking about a time of the day or night when NO bartender has an excuse to make you wait for a drink. Even I don't expect a bartender to stop and discuss the details of the US Open or the NBA Playoffs or my latest tales from Las Vegas when he's super busy. I'm a fairly reasonable man. What I do expect is that the bartender understands the dynamic between me and him. It's simple. I tell him what I want, he makes it, I drink it and I give him money. If any part of this breaks down, there's a problem. If he can keep me in drinks while I'm sitting at the bar, he has completed his basic duty. If he has a good personality and is efficient, I'll keep drinking and spend more money. If he ignores me, is distracted with personal bullshit, or doesn't give a fuck about doing his job, I will take my money elseware. Why should I have to put up with bullshit when I come to the only place on earth where I can get that peaceful, easy feeling? For christsake, it's called “happy hour” for a reason.

It's really simpleMoney.

I'm here. I'm a customer. I have money and want to spend it on a drink. Your job is to make one and set it down in front of me. How fucking hard can this be?

Yes, we all know that you are in charge of the bar. Don't be a dick.  I don't give a shit if we agree on which team is the best in the NFL, or what day of the week it is. And, I really don't care if you like me or not.  Just act like you do. It's your fucking job.  If you insist on always winning, you will always lose, so don't argue with me. I'm here to pay you. Don't fuck up that relationship by being a dick.

Fill an empty glass and empty a full ashtray: You are there to take care of the customer.  Just do it.

Quit fucking around on your phone and get me a drink.


 
National Drinking Days
Saving The Economy, One Drink at a Time



Saint Patrick's Day 2010 has come and gone.  Traditionally, it's the biggest single drinking day in the United States, and this year was no different.  Americans spent $4,500,000,000 to celebrate.  That's a lot of Guinness, Jameson, Irish Car Bombs and Cabbage!

With spending like that, every state, county and city government that allows the sell of alcohol sees a spike in their sales tax revenues.  It's a huge day.

To help understand the impact of the green holiday on the economy, one needs to look no farther than the Fourth of July.  Each year, Independence day shows that America's patriotic spirit cannot be slowed by economic woes.  Citizens spend $3,000,000,000 on beer, burgers and bottle rockets.  That's a lot of money too.

But, no matter how you look at it, St. Patrick's Day still leads the spending race by 1.5 billion dollars.

This isn't a statement which questions the patriotism of Americans.  It's simply a fact about how Americans spend their hard-earned cash.  Once broken down, it's clear that the two holidays are designed differently.  For example, Independence Day is celebrated by attending more large-scale, organized events.  Things like firework shows or church picnics.  On St. Patrick's day, Americans tend to head to a pub or restaurant to get their fill of Guinness and corned beef.  At the end of the day, it's simply more expensive to celebrate on March 17 than on July 4.  We are clearly ready, willing and able to celebrate a holiday which is primarily based on celebrating the Irish culture through booze and food.

America needs its own St. Patrick's day.  Well, maybe not its own St. Patrick's day, but something similar.  Clearly understanding that the four and a half billion dollars which is spent to celebrate all things Irish doesn't get send to Ireland, but stays on our shores and in our own banks, this seems to be a no brainer.  This type of holiday is good for the economy.

So, where to start?

First, we need a day...

People tend to spend more for a holiday when the holiday falls on a weekend, rather than on a particular date.  So, rather than assigning a date, a particular weekend should be chosen.

While looking at a list of holidays, August is a glowing standout as the month with no major holiday.

Restaurant owners recognize that their busiest days tend to fall on the first weekend of each month.  It's because people generally get paid on the first and tend to splurge a little while they have the cash to do so.

Based on this, the new holiday should always fall on the first full weekend of August.  It's a lot easier to figure out than when Easter is going to be!

Next, we need a theme...

If we were being completely honest, the theme would be "Drinking Booze and Eating Food," but this will never fly.  Ultra-conservatives and most religious organizations wouldn't get behind it.

For it to be successful, the holiday must force most people out of their house.  One of the reasons for the success of Saint Patrick's Day is that most Americans don't know how to prepare traditional Irish fare, so they have to find a place that specializes in Irish food and drink.

If all Americans are expected to embrace this new holiday, than it needs to be somewhat patriotic; it should be something that says "we're Americans and we're gonna eat and drink to celebrate" without actually saying it and without cutting into the Fourth of July's corner on the market.  Maybe "Celebrating the Cultures that Make America Great," or something like that.  People will be encouraged to experience other cultures through food and drinks.

Finally, we need a name...

Regrettably, "National Drinking Days" is probably out as a choice of names.  "Melting Pot Days," or "Great American Food and Drink Days" will probably be better. For the time being, however, we'll call it "National Drinking Days."

So, every year, starting on the first Saturday in August, we will all be expected to have a bottle of Lion Beer in an Indian restaurant, drink Caipirinhas at a Brazilian Steakhouse, sip sake, toast with Tequila, and have a few belts of Beefeater.  It is our duty.  Salut!



My New Year's Resolutions for 2013

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. So, many people make a declaration to achieve at least one goal that they think will help them feel more complete. Some of the most popular of these resolutions are spend more time with family and friends, get in shape or lose weight, and quit smoking.

But remember, these vows are generally made by people who are drunk.

During the closing hours of 2012, while avoiding a handful of old friends who were a bit overly-sentimental and overly emotional ("I love you man, give me a hug...that's not a real hug. Come here... I love you asshole..."), I decided to make several resolutions of my own. My goal is to complete the following wish-list of accomplishments by the strike of midnight on December 31, 2013:

Sit in on an AA meeting



I have an ongoing rule that anyone I meet, anywhere at any time, may trade a 30-day, 60-day, any-amount-of-time sobriety token for a free drink. No questions asked. I will simply stop what I'm doing and accompany them to the nearest bar to buy them the drink of their choice. I will then relieve them of said token. Many years ago, I started announcing this plan to anyone who would listen. I figured I'd have quite the collection of chips by now, but not one person has ever taken me up on my offer. So I've come to realize that there must be something more to the whole AA thing than first names only, 12 steps and a bunch of coffee.  I'm not saying that I plan to drink the cool aid, I just want to see what goes on during the meetings. My goal is to observe and report.

Track down the true owner of my first fake ID

When I was 19-years old, a stranger approached my and asked me if my name was James. That is not my name but he was holding a wallet in his hands so I answered yes. He handed over the wallet to me and I immediately saw why he assumed it belonged to me. James Lascot from Felton, California looked a lot like me. But James was five years older than me. The wallet also contained $100 and I was broke. Double score.

I've long since lost track of the California Driver's License, but this year, I plan to track down Mr. Lascot, repay the $100 and thank him for a two-year head-start at drinking in bars.

Experience Drinks in Twelve Bars during one Twelve-hour period

Unless you are in Las Vegas (which, by the way, does not count) it's not as easy as you would think. The goal isn't to run in, have a drink, and sprint to the next bar. Instead, it is to enjoy my drinks in each place, visit with the bartender and other patrons, and truly experience each place. I did this last year and had a blast. I think this will become an annual tradition.

Get in a bar fight

Funny, after years of professional drinking, I've never once been in a real bar fight. But, I can't tell you how many times I've reflected on a good night of drinking and thought to myself "That guy was such a dick. I should have knocked the shit out of him." Before the year is over, I will get into a bar fight. And if I make it to December 31, 2013 without finding someone who truly deserves to get punched in the face, I will feel sorry for the poor bastard that I swing at before the clock strikes twelve. 

Work as a bartender

I paid my way through college by working as a bartender. Greatest job ever. But it's been a few years and I'm starting to slip. I've started to lose patients with bartenders and servers who I think are incompetent, and I might be starting to be one of those customers that I used to despise. I think it's about time I go back into the trenches and experience the world of drinking from the other side. Basically, it's time for me to make sure my attitude is properly tuned.

Take a hobo to happy hour

The homeless need lovin' too. And what better way to show a little kindness than to take one out for happy hour?

Try 100 new drinks

I’ve tried a lot of drinks. Probably more than most humans. Strike that. I’ll bet anyone $100 that I’ve tried more cocktails than anyone they know. Plus, I know what’s in each one of them. Remember, I'm a professional drinker, mother-fucker.

With that out of the way… I’ve noticed that I have a very short list of go-to drinks. Rum & Coke, Guinness, Jameson & Ginger Ale, and Gin & Tonic. Pretty much in that order. I do this because I know I like those drinks. It took years to find out what my favorites were, so now I stick to them. Why fuck up a good thing? Right? The older I get, the less adventurous I am.But, being flexible and adventurous in what I drink should be a mark of maturity and adaptability. This year, I plan to say yes to every new cocktail I come across. I just hope there’s 100 drinks I haven’t tried.

Crash a wedding (or other large formal event) and propose a toast

I just want to show up, have some drinks from the open bar, eat, and propose a toast to the happy couple. When I leave, I want to hear a few people whisper “who was that?”

What You Favorite Drink Says About You

Boilermaker
10 years to retirement, when I can spend all day in the bar drinking boilermakers.

Bud Light
I spent all my money on baseball, football and basketball jerseys.

Budweiser
America! Fuck Yeah!

Budweiser Platinum
You are still trying to find a replacement for the delicious nectar of the gods known as Zima.

Colt 45
You enjoy this cold 40-ounce malt liquor because you happen to have some left over from the third time you became an unmarried mother.

Cosmopolitan
Your life sucks, except for that one evening a year when you get to hang out with your friends from high school and pretend like you are one of those cunts from Sex In The City.  When the night is over, you will return home to your ugly kids and controlling husband.

Crown Royal
You are the one person who truly believes that you are special.

Cuervo Gold
Although you think you know it all, you’re an incredibly gullible loser who will always be within one paycheck from welfare and will never be worth a shit.

Gin & Tonic
You are similar to a vodka drinker, but you stink the next day.

Goldschläger
You are a fucking jerk and would be doing the world a favor if you just got cancer and died.

Grape Press
I like butterflies so much I got a huge one tattooed on my chest so no one will notice where my boyfriend hit me.

Greyhound
“Well, I’ve got some vodka but nothing to mix it with… wait… I have a grapefruit tree in the backyard. Let’s fucking party!”

Guinness
You enjoy a really good dark beer and don’t mind shitting in a bucket.

Gin & Juice
Because Snoop said so.

Jack Daniels
You want to have a good time right now because you won’t have any more money ‘till the first of the month.

Jagermeister
You are a huge fan of blacking-out and punching your friends in the face.

Long Island
 Iced Tea
When you want to black out but just don't have the time.  It's four-drinks-in-one, plus some soda to make it work fast and sweet & sour to make it drinkable. Let's fucking do this!

Louis XII Cognac
You consider yourself to be the best and most important person in the world.  You enjoy masturbation more than sex.

Margarita, Blended
In addition to having its own song, there’s nothing that says “I’m ready to have a party that will end up with me breaking glass in the street” more than this drink.

Margarita on the Rocks
You are a tight-assed accountant and need to loosen up.  Your only chance at getting laid is to drink about ten of these

Martini
Ah, yes. Nothing says success and wealth quite like a Martini, except for maybe real success and wealth... or, maybe a nice car.

Michelob Ultra
I don't go to the gym, but I want you to think I do.

Pabst Blue Ribbon
I was lame before it was cool to be lame.

Pina Colada
I got so much ass in the 70's when cocaine was cheap.

Red Wine
You are boring and you find no pleasure in life.

Rum & Coke
You think you are a pirate.  You are not kind to anyone, including yourself.  Everyone who knows you thinks you are an asshole, and you always piss-off strangers.

Saki Bomb
"I hate sushi, but I want my date to fuck me, so let’s kill the taste buds."

Salty Dog

“Well, I’ve got some vodka but nothing to mix it with… wait… I have a grapefruit tree in the backyard... wait... and salt! Let’s fucking party!”

Screwdriver
You really don’t drink very often, do you?

Seven & Seven
You have a terrific mustache and fond memories of the Disco Era.

Sex on the Beach
"See my drink? huh?!? huh!?! Any takers???" <Sigh> "No mom, we're not going to the beach."

Singapore
 Sling
The best days of your life ended when you returned stateside from the Korean War Conflict.

Single Malt Scotch
You cannot be trusted. You try to put on an air of sophistication, but you have a secret stash of German kiddie snuff porn.

Southern Comfort
You lack genuine skill and confidence in everything you do.  You are a dipshit and should probably just kill yourself.

Tequila Sunrise
"All you have is Tequila and OJ?"

Vodka Tonic
Your home has beautiful off-white walls, beige carpeting, tan furniture and decorative taupe accents.

White Wine
Your shit does not stink... Truly.

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