Wednesday, June 1, 2011

‘DOWN FOR THE COUNT ON THE CANVAS OF LIFE’ (Or, ‘LIFE ON THE COLORADO’)

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On Saturday morning, I hung my P.O.W./M.I.A. flag from the house in honor of Memorial Day, and then brother Napoleon, DiscConnected and I left for Oatman, Airheadzona, and Laughlin, Nevada – the latter being a gambling resort area directly across the Colorado River from Bullhead City. Surely you’ve heard of Bullhead City!



Originally, we were supposed to be accompanied by some friends from L.A. – Pooh and Cranium – but they were No Call/No Shows, so they’re fired. But we went without ‘em; that’ll learn ‘em!

On the road, we listened to Free, Van Morrison, and Tom Petty.



About an hour out of Phoenix, our conversation, as it often does, turned to cooking poetry musicals sports. The three of us analyzed like experts the rise and fall of Mike Tyson. We discussed the shocking 1990 upset, when the fearless Buster Douglas – who was determined by most boxing analysts to have a less than zero chance of beating the undefeated Tyson – knocked out the champion in the 10th round.

I mentioned how Tyson was so discombobulated after being knocked to the canvas that rather than trying to get up as soon as possible, he fumbled around with his mouth guard. As I said, “Uh…Hellooo! Getting that mouth guard back in wasn’t exactly priority number one at the moment.”

This became one of our earliest developed themes: At some point, everybody takes their turn in life, crawling across the canvas on all fours and fumbling with their mouth guard; life knocks everybody out sooner or later.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exrpoc6GP60

We got to Oatman just as soon as we got there. Oatman is an old gold-mining camp now famously known for the wild burros that wander the roads and sometimes tie up traffic by standing in the middle of the main street in town.






[A jackass petting a jackass.]

[Jackass ass.]

[Gold nuggets can be found just lying in the Oatman streets. Mining-made-easy!]

I was glad we made the trip to Oatman, having never been there before, but I was slightly disappointed. Except for a single bar, a post office, and some houses on the hillsides, the town is just one gift shop after another – each one nearly identical to its neighbors on either side.

DiscConnected bought a stiletto from a "Wicker Man", and Nappy and I kicked ourselves for the duration of the trip because we had not thought to take a picture of the "Wicker Man". Nappy felt the entire town was full of Wicker Men and Women.

We did stop in for a beer at the only bar in town – a dreary, bland place that is in serious need of competition. Jimmy the bartender had all the personality of a bleached burlap sack coated in curdled lowfat milk. At one point a man and woman entered and sat at the end of the bar and Jimmy said, “Hey, what are you two doing in town?” The man replied, “We came up here to see you.” I immediately turned to Nappy and said, “Can you even imagine how boring it must be where those two people live?”

We dinked around in town for maybe an hour and then headed for Laughlin, Nevada.

As soon as we had checked into our rooms at the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall, we took the boat up to The Edgewater Hotel & Casino to hit the all-youz-can-eat dinner “buff-it”, where we discussed amongst ourselves how bad Phoenix drivers are.

Afterwards, we played a little video poker at the bar and “took the edge off”. I ordered a martini but didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I haven’t really enjoyed the last 3 or 4 martinis I have had. I fear I may be losing my taste for them. Please pray for me!


[Taking off the edge at The Edgewater. Martini to the left of me, losing poker hand to the right...]

Nappy and DiscConnected had strawberry daiquiris, and recalling that passage from my book manuscript ‘The League Of Soul Crusaders’, I felt jealous and was determined to get a daiquiri before I died:

The rest of that day we spent lying under palm trees on the knoll near the outdoor bar and we had the waitress bring us a steady flow of daiquiris. A stranger and his wife passed by and he stopped when he saw us. “You know, I haven’t seen you guys without a drink in your hands for three days”, he said. This was the first time we had noticed the gentleman, but apparently we had made our presence known on Santa Catalina Island.
~ ‘The League Of Soul Crusaders’
Chapter 16 – ‘Twenty-Six Miles Across The Sea’ [1982]

While at the Edgewater bar, DiscConnected was attempting to argue that sometimes “liberalism” is acceptable. I put my foot down: “NO! No Liberalism, EVER!”
“But let’s suppose you have a woman,” DiscDude insisted, “You would want her to ‘put out’ liberally but to spend your money conservatively. Right?”
“OK, you win”, I conceded. “Sign me up”.

I got my chance to order a daiquiri when we wandered down to the Colorado Belle and sat on her “deck” watching and listening to a covers band play. The frozen drink concoction machine there didn’t churn out strawberry, so I was forced to drink a peach dakuhree from a guitar-shaped cup. It’s bad enough I drank a peach dakuhree - damned if I’m gonna spell it correctly too! In fact, I wasn’t even going to mention the peach dakuhree at all, but DiscConnected threatened to “out” me on his blog, so I figured it was just better to come clean about it myself and beg your forgiveness, confessing my sin and acknowledging that my reputation has been left in tatters.


The frontman for the band had a good personality and he knew how to entertain an audience. Musically, the band was all over the map but most of it could be categorized as '1970s Top 40'. They covered ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Southern Man’ (apparently apologizing to Neil Young for having covered ‘Sweet Home Alabama’), and they sang that song about the man who was “meaner than a junkyard dog”.


The entire time, I was trying to think of who the lead singer (in the red shirt) looked like. He was a slightly heavier version of… hmmm… someone, that’s for sure.

Long about the time they played ‘Only The Good Die Young’ or that Jimmy Buffett hit ‘Daiquiriaville’, I’d figured it out. Bobby Darin! The singer looked like Bobby Darin. So I actually laughed out loud when a song or two later the bloke sang ‘Mack The Knife’. And he sang it very well, too!

I asked DiscDude, “Doesn’t the singer look a bit like Bobby Darin?”
Disc replied, “I don’t really know what Bobby Darin looked like. I only know about him from the Kevin Spacey movie”.
So, I said, “Well then, doesn’t the singer look a bit like Kevin Spacey?”
Disc said “No”, but he was as wrong as I was about “Liberalism”.

After the set, I spoke with the singer and he told me that not only does he love Bobby Darin’s stuffs, but people have often told him he looks like Darin. See? It wasn’t just me!

Disc was going to ride the boat on the Colorado River and Nappy and I agreed to meet him 30 minutes later at the Pioneer Hotel boat dock. When Discman never turned up at the Pioneer boat dock, I began wondering what had happened to him. That’s when I suddenly realized that Nappy and I were waiting at the Golden Nugget boat dock. Uhp! We’re idiots!

[A photo I took near the Golden Nugget dock while waiting for DiscDude to arrive at the Pioneer dock.]

In the Pioneer Gambling Hall, Nappy, Disc and I bellied up to a watering hole called ‘The Watering Hole’ where we played some more video poker. Nappy and I had margaritas while Disc slugged down pina coladas like a geriatric guzzles Geritol. He was making Nappy and me look like pikers, and here we’re the ones with booze hound reputations! (DiscDude also did all the driving on the trip. What a vacation animal!)

Rather than have a second margarita, I changed jackasses in midstream and ordered a Black Label and soda in honor of my friend Anniee.


Pretty burned out now (but, dagnab-it, none of us intoxicated - don'tcha hate it when that doesn't happen?) we retired to our rooms. The room Nappy and I shared was a smoker’s room because it’s all they had left. Neither of us smoke, but as I said, “Heck, for only twenty-five dollars a night, I’ll gladly sniff all the smoke odor right out of the curtains and the carpeting”. Fortunately, however, the room did not smell of smoke at all.

Nappy had forgotten to pack his toothbrush and asked me if I had a spare. I did.

At 5:00 AM the alarm on Nappy’s cell phone went off - he had forgotten to disable it, the jackass! It awakened me right out of a dream I was having in which Will Rogers was dispensing to a mass of people pastrami sandwiches and vanilla ice cream with blueberry topping, but he was being very “un-liberal” with the blueberry topping. (Go ahead and analyze that dream for me. I’ll wait.)

Dang that brother Nappy! I was unable to get back to sleep after the 5 AM wake-up call that I sure as hell had not requested! So I was pretty exhausted all of Monday (and still haven’t fully recovered yet).

At 8 AM, after having showered, Nappy tells me he failed to pack a decent t-shirt and wants to know if I have a spare. Being one of those rare guys who, as much as 52% of the time, doesn’t have his head up his... uh... place where the sun don’t shine, I did happen to bring a spare shirt. But before loaning it to Nappy, I seized upon the golden opportunity to use those great lines from the movie ‘The Deer Hunter’. I said:

“First it’s a toothbrush, now it’s a t-shirt. This is this! This ain't something else. This is this! From now on, Nappy, you're on your own.”


Click link below for the FULL "must-see" scene . . .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4onhv63jom8

We met up with Discman at the car; I stowed my stuffs (minus my money, which I had donated to the "Save The Casinos" fund the night before) and then had an all-you-can-eat (although we couldn’t eat that much) breakfast “buff-it” at the Pioneer before heading across the Colorado River to Bullhead City, Airheadzona – where the driving skills and general intelligence noticeably diminished immediately. ;o)

We stopped long enough for me to take a couple pictures of my traveling companion, Muddy, sitting on the dock of the b-- Bullhead City.

[Muddy on the Bullhead City, Arizona side with Laughlin, Nevada, across the Colorado in the background.]

[Muddy couldn't eat another bite: he's stuffed.]

Then we hit the Hastings Entertainment store (I call ‘em “Hastinks”), where DiscConnected connected with a couple Muddy Waters discs and I bought Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass classic ‘Whipped Cream & Other Delights’, containing the gorgeous instrumental ‘Tangerine’. I showed it to Brother Nappy and he said, “When I was a little kid, that album cover... did things... to me.”
I replied, “Yeah, you and about six million other little boys... including me."



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82zmuzDM7d4

On the way home, we listend to Albert King, Booker T., and ‘The Best Of Bill Cosby’.



About 20 minutes outside of Phoenix, in a desolate area, the “Check Engine” light lit up on the dashboard of DiscDude’s car. So we pulled off the side of the road, popped open the hood and checked to see if the engine was still there. It was, so we drove on home.

And that’s how I spent my Memorial Day weekend. What did you do with yourn?

Incidentally, if you’re one of this blog's more well-read “Followers”, then you undoubtedly realized that the second part of this blog bit’s title - ‘Life On The Colorado’ – was a reference to the Colorado River, and the whole thing was actually a nod to the famous Mark Twain book ‘Life On The Mississippi’.

If you hadn't already caught that before I ‘splained it to ya, then yer just plain ign’ant as all get-out.

[Uh... Sorry for that crack about you bein’ ign’ant. Sometimes my evil alter ego escapes and wreaks havoc until I am able to coax it back in with promises of whipped cream and
dirty women.]

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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15 comments:

Marjorie said...

This post made me laugh several times and also shake my head at you. You and your buddies are goofy. But I won't hold that against you if you won't hold it against me that I must ig'nant.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MARJORIE ~
"Goofy"?
I thought we were like... ultra-cool!

Actually, if it made you laugh several times then I succeeded in my attempt to perform alchemy: it was a totally uneventful trip and Nappy - who is ordinarily hyper as hell and funny as a box of toads - was feeling poorly the entire time, so I was attempting to turn jackass droppings into gold. As I said, I was attempting "alchemy".

I thought the highlight of this blog bit (and it surely ain't sayin' much) was the line: "that Jimmy Buffett hit ‘Daiquiriaville’.

You know that song, right? If so, then you ain't THAT "ign'ant".

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...

STM,

So I finally get back to reading your blog and as luck would have it, it's a "trip story". You know how I always love these most!

Glad to see you're still bloggin, awhile back you had mentioned you were on the verge of quitting.

Btw you can't start losing your taste for martinis, because that would leave me as the last man alive under the age 65 who drinks them. Though you can't go wrong with black label either. :) Good stuffs.

WP

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

OL' WP ~
>> . . . awhile back you had mentioned you were on the verge of quitting.

Yeah. I'm STILL on the verge of quitting. I'm ALWAYS on the verge of quitting. One of these days I'll step right off that verge... and land on a ledge.

>> . . . you can't start losing your taste for martinis, because that would leave me as the last man alive under the age 65 who drinks them.

Not so! I didn't say I would stop drinking them simply because I've lost my taste for them. Does a vampire stop sucking blood just because he no longer enjoys the taste of the stuffs? A man's still gotta LIVE after all!

I'll drink 'em whether I like 'em or not, because I know they're good for me. Gotta keep takin' my medicine!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

What'd I do last weekend? I went to Phoenix. Someday we'll coordinate something where we can meet up. Wish you guys had been in Oatman last time I went there. My wife wasn't very impressed by the place. I think it's kind of a cool place to get to, but one definitely has to make an effort to go there and there isn't that much there except those donkeys, heat when it's hot, and some kind of interesting desert scenery.

Never been to those casino towns--guess I should take a jaunt over there one day. Let me know next time you guys go.

Plugged your blog on someone's blog but looks like either no one came over from there or they did and quietly sneaked away without saying anything. Well, I warned them.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOID ~
I'm afraid Oatman isn't going to make my list of 'Favorite Old West Towns'. It's worth seeing as a brief stop on the way to "Somewhere Else", but it's definitely not a final destination location, in my opinion.

Nah, no one new has been by here that I know of. But thanks for the plug anyhow. (Would you mind telling me where you plugged it? Got Link? Me's jus' curious now.)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Had to go back to find it. Here is the link:

http://queenofenglish.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/your-turn-to-brag-for-others/


Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOID ~
Thanks for the kind words, Brotherman!

>>...His approach is often humorous with a good deal of sarcasm and satire.

Wot, me sarcastic and satirical? You sure you wuzn't thinkin' of some other bloke's blog?

I liked how you used the term "blog bits" in your comment. You done had been payin' attention after all, ain't you wuz?

I gives you an A+ for that stuffs. (Thanks!)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Pooh Lynth said...

FIRED? We don't connect for a few days and next thing I know you're in Oatman and that very dangerous place Laughlin. Sorry I missed it. How about Labor Day?
JW,
Pooh

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

POOH LYNTH ~
Yes, FIRED!

Don't "JW" me!

Nappy and I took the time to clean nearly 35% of our house in anticipation of your arrival but... you never did had arrived!

Yes, almost 35%! How're we supposed to get that wasted time back, huh? Tell me?! And to think that we even mopped some of the floors to impress you beeztards!

Sorry, man, but we will NEVER forgive you for that.

You know the rules: No Call/No Show = FIRED!

You owe us each a pizza! And we want LaBarbera's pizza.

Alright... we'll settle for just "alright pizza" from Pinocchio's.

But... No Pizza, No Peace!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

mousiemarc said...

It's a good one brother.


Brer Marc

Pooh Lynth said...

In order to be a No Call, No Show...you had to know you were on the schedule. I only had a few sentences with Cranium...and....forgive me..but my age...is showing...I kind of forgot it was May...let alone Memorial Day until i been had seen this post. I'll aks the boss if i can go out and play for Labor day.
JW,
Pooh

Sheboyganboy 6 said...

I thought you were going to quit drinking while continuing blogging!! Boy, was I wrong!

I, too, really enjoy your travelogues. Even though it was clear that this was not the most eventful journey you've taken, it was a fun read and I wished I'd been there. Except for all that boozin'. I'd fit in with you guys about half the time, and half the time you'd think what the hell is THAT milquetoast bastard doing here?

JW? Jesus wept?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MOUSIEMARC ~
Thanks, Br'er!


MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
Glad ya enjoyed it.

>>...I thought you were going to quit drinking while continuing blogging!!

Where in the world did you get an insane, inlame idea like that? It's only the boozin' that keeps me bloggin'!

>>...JW? Jesus wept?

How soon they forget!...
"JOHN WAYNE".

It's what a real man says to a real man after using the word "love"... just to ensure that his buddy understands that he hasn't suddenly gone all "Boy George" on him.

(Something Pooh and I came up with back in our League Of Soul Crusaders daze.)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

. . . AND POOH ~
The Email archives don’t lie! This looks like it was pretty well agreed upon to me, but then what does I know?...

Pooh To Me, Feb. 9, 2011:
Hey Man,
Cranium suggested memorial day for a road trip to arizonie....whattdya tink?
JW,
Pooh

Me To Pooh, Feb. 10, 2011:
"Cranium" suggested Memorial Day for a road trip here? Wasn't that the day that I myself suggested? Why you wanna give Cranium credit for my idea for? I want my credit, damn-it!

Yeah, Memorial Day is a good idea - whoever had it. That way we can all go somewhere together (Prescott? Payson? Anytown?) and Nappy and I will get a "road trip" out of it too!

Pooh To Me, Feb. 10, 2011:
Well, I knew I heard it somewhere! You know it ain't easy being fiddy.

“GUILTY! Thank you. That is all.”

Well, you are absolved for your mediocrity, Pooh. And to be honest, Bro, we were even slightly relieved you didn’t show up because we still had 65% of the house to clean, and we didn’t want y’all to find that we still live like the same pigs we were back in the house on Bay Street!

So, you are forgiven for the No Call/No Show... BUT! ...we still want the LaBarbera’s pizzas. (Although Nappy says he’ll settle for the Bruin t-shirt.)

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underpants’