Wednesday, May 23, 2018

You May call Me LORD

I can’t believe it. I was ordained as a Kentucky Colonel for less than a week before I wrote an entry all about the experience, my newfound powers and my future plans as a Colonel (sorry, French Foreign Legion, I’ll get to you soon). And yet, here I’ve been living with a newer, more esteemed title for the last three years and I have failed to acquaint you with this knowledge.
For you see, I am LORD JOSHUA OF HOUGUN MANOR. Or Lord of the Manor for short. Lord Josh if you’re nasty.

It’s true, I am the Lord of Hougun Manor, near the banks of Coniston Water in Cumbria, in northwest England. It is one of the three northernmost counties in England, yet it was the only Cumbrian area documented in the Domesday Book of 1086. The title of Hougun Manor comes from the Old Norse word “haugr” which means ‘among the hills’. This exemplifies just how much control of northwest England the Normans had up until 1092, when William II of England beheaded Norman Fell, Norman Rockwell and Norman Reedus, thereby ending Norman influence in the region. Isn’t history fascinating?!

The estate is a picturesque expanse of 90 acres (or 132 farthings for my European friends). It’s been deemed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England. I have no idea what any of that means, but you can tell it’s clearly important, what with all of the words being capitalized.

The estate is rife with all types of scenic shit. There’s the “Old Man of Coniston” a climbable peak at 2,635 feet (6,325 leagues). As well as Torver Beck, the only river with both a first and last name. Old Torver “The Raging” Beck empties into the aforementioned Coniston Water, the THIRD LARGEST LAKE IN THE DISTRICT! Isn’t that amazing? My pants are wet with excitement!

“But Josh*”, you’re saying, “what does this mean for you? What newfound power do you wield?”
The short answer, my child, is that there’s simply no way of knowing just how vast my eminence is. It’s quite unfathomable. But if I do manage to make my way across the pond to my august manor, there are a few things I would amend. As a Lord, it is not only my duty, it is my honor to humbly 

bestow my grace upon the quaint folk of my estate. Here are a few of my new commandments:
-All boiled meats shall be banished under penalty of flogging.

-Henceforth, the names for dishes will no longer be stupid nor nonsensical. That means you Toad in the Hole, Spotted Dick, Bubble and Squeak, Welsh Rarebit and Benedict Cumberbatch.
-Don’t like the Imperial measurement system? Too bad. I feel that you, my loyal peasants, need a good healthy dose of American Imperialism! Miles, yards and feet for everybody!
-So as not to confuse your legal tender with your weight, your money shall no longer be called “pounds” Instead, they will be referred to as “Cyber Credits”. Because that sounds dope as shit.
-Anybody named Liam will henceforth be called Len. Anybody with the last name Smythe will change it to Smith. Anybody named Liam Smythe will be killed on sight.
-Once per fortnight all shall be forced to watch three episodes of “Meet the Kardashians” just to remind my peons how good they have it under my rule.
-A Big Mac in every pot and an El Camino in every garage.

Anyway, that’s just a small taste. I have big plans in the way of mandatory tanning sessions and American slang reeducation. Soon a bright day will dawn in the nooks and crannies of my Manor.
It’s good to be the Lord.

*Umm, Lord Josh please, lest we forget.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Well, it sure as hell took me long enough, but we’re finally here! My 300th Eighty-Four Glyde entry. You’ve come a long way baby! Of course it took my lazy, thin-skinned ass 12 years what I had planned to do in six. But oh well, better late than never, right?*
Over the last twelve years that I’ve been airing my inner demons via bad jokes and pointless observations about white people. I’ve had quite the existence. I’ve been sent to Iraq twice, I’ve moved nine times, have had six or seven jobs and assassinated four heads of state. Never a dull day for me!**
I started Eighty-Four Glyde in 2006, during my second tour in Iraq. This is a matter of historical record and can be easily verified in any reputable library. (Side note: with all the biopics they’re making these days, when are we gonna get a movie about that Dewey chap and the creation of his decimal system? The world awaits eagerly.) I started writing for a few reasons. I’ve covered them in depth in previous entries, so I’ll just skim here. I was a journalist in the Army and enjoy writing. I always liked the humor columnist Dave Barry and wanted to do something similar. This year was also when MySpace was gaining in popularity (I have no MySpace jokes. I’m going to let Tom rest in peace.) and it made a great platform for people trying to write, discover their talents and spread their work to the world. Unless you were Tia Tequila who chose MySpace to publicly document her decent into madness and obscurity.
I’ve covered a lot of topics over the years, from movies to Japanese porn, all the way to movies. It was truly a comprehensive list of subjects. I tried to never get political, though this blog has existed during Republican and Democratic leaders in office. Presidents come and go.
I took a year off in 2017. My head just wasn’t in the game and couldn’t think of anything funny that didn’t also open the door to my own issues. And I wasn’t ready to be that open to a bunch of (nonexistent), faceless people online. So a break seemed in order, perhaps maybe something more permanent.
You see, there’s been a huge shift in Internet content. People used to enjoy reading stuff online. But tides have changed. Amateur videos on YouTube are all the rage right now. These days people are more into images and symbols (like Wing Dings) than words. Why write the word “penis” when you can just post an eggplant emoji? (Also who decided that shit?) they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and much easier to read. Lazy millennial bastards!
Sorry bout that. Anyway, with the sea change taking place online, people like me have to translate their skills because blogs and their ilk are relegated to the outskirts of the web. They still exist, they just get fewer visitors these days. Like your grandfather in a nursing home. Gee, that sounded darker than it should have. Let’s brighten the mood!
Everybody raise your Zima high in the air! Let us celebrate the past 12 years and 300 entries and pray (in English) to god I get some kind of book deal soon so I don’t have to do this for another 12 years!

**Still wrong.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Show Us Them Pearly Whites

I like to watch television. I’m just old fashion that way. It’s an American tradition, dating back to the first broadcast, when Thomas Edison strip-teased for Dr. John Watson, all the way to when Snookie strip-teased for an audience of absolutely zilch. I’m proud to be a part of this grand tradition.

Of course television, as the ever-evolving organism that it is, has been changing. This is only natural. As the medium grows, it’ll become bigger, its voice will deepen, it’ll have certain urges and hair will grow where there was none before. Wait, what was I talking about again?

With the invention of “Curated Television” * with devices and platforms, such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Netflix and Skynet, people can now watch the shows and movies they specifically want, thereby cutting out superfluous channels, (I’m not entirely against this, I only have sports channels in case the Testosterone Police show up to do an inspection) and commercials.

It’s the second one I draw offense at. People need commercials. They’re vital. I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Hell, I’ve even previous written at least three columns about them. Now, don’t get me wrong, commercials can really suck, (I’m looking at you General Insurance Company) but they can also be very innovative and/or funny, especially ones involving Jean Claude Van Damme doing epic splits.

But there is one thing about commercials that now seems to be standard and bugs the shit out of me: people smiling like they’re deranged.

I understand that for some products, it makes sense for people to smile, like toothpaste ads, or anti-depression medication commercials. Maybe even the occasion beer or Doritos spot. But these days, marketing companies are taking it too far. I’ve recently seen commercials for cars, pillows, cell phones, underwear, the very concept of cooking and even bleach. where people grin like maniacal goons.

Why do they do this? Not everything is inherently funny, or worth smiling at. There’s even a meme called “Women Laughing Alone With Salad” where somebody googled that phrase and came up with a surprisingly large amount of stock pictures of women doing exactly that. Who came up with this concept? What are women laughing at salads supposed to convey? Why didn’t anybody stop these mad men before these generic photos were taken? We may never know. It’s baffling.

What’s even more testicle-shriveling stupid are the commercials where the people are so ecstatic about the product they’re trying to sell you that smiling isn’t enough, they must DANCE! As spastically and incongruously as possible. And for once, black people don’t get a pass for automatically being better dances. In this endeavor, all races are equally bad.

I recently saw a series of commercials for a furniture delivery company where people are so excited about their dinning room table set appearing out of thin air that they must dance their dignity away, never to be seen again. Then, they drop their magic phones on the ground as the song accompanying the visuals implores them to “drop the mic”, because leave it to a furniture company to get with the times in terms of slang, right jive turkeys?

You all may not notice this phenomenon, (you will now dammit!) But I have, because I’m just that observant. And once seen, it cannot be unseen. You can never purge yourself of what your eyes will have beheld. Just pay attention sometime and you’ll wonder to yourself “Hey, why is that lady smiling like a crazy person while looking at that Tide Detergent pod? What does she know that I don’t?”

Always wonder, my friends. Always wonder.

*The very phrase is an abomination.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Notel Motel

I’m a sucker for motels. I love ‘em! I often wish I was a white guy traveling salesman in the 50s and 60s so I could witness motels in their heyday.*


I imagine myself driving in my 1958 Chevrolet Emasculator, on Route 66, listening to Whitey McCracker & The Honkies (best music outside of Pat Boone. Much easier on the ears than those punk kids with their Rock and Roll or those damn beatniks with their bongos and jazz cigarettes!) As the sun sets in the west, I decide to pull over at a roadside diner to get a cuppa joe and eat the blue plate special (typically dry ass turkey with red-eye gravy, or warmed-over meatloaf that was conceived in Satan’s own oven many decades ago and is now old enough to vote) while looking over the day’s sports scores (go L.A. Sharks!).

After dinner, I’ll amble across the gravel parking lot to the adjoining Motor Hotel and bar. I’ll gulp three or four scotches (neat) and suck down half a pack of Pall Malls. Then, when my loins are suitably girded, I stagger over to the check-in counter and get a room key from Gus (or Mac, or Hank, something like that) and meander to my cabin, Room 5. I walk in, enjoy the splendor of the gleaming majesty that is American craftsmanship, design and execution, before peeling off my smelly 1950s loafers and falling face first on a quality bed with good, clean sheets. Dead to the world.

I wake up in the morning, make my way back over to the diner for three cups of coffee and my usual morning porterhouse steak with whiskey syrup. Then it’s back on the road on my way to Toledo. I hear only good things about that place and feel it would be a great market to sell door-to-door lock-picking kits.


Doesn’t that sound like fun?! That’s the life for me man! Long, lonely, monotonous days on the awesome highways and byways of the U S of A, and lonely, monotonous nights in tiny, horrendously maintained places where the wretched go to die. Throw in the occasional hooker (missing AT LEAST two teeth) and large quantities of gut-rotting booze and that’s living the American dream!

I know what you’re thinking, “Josh, motels are gross, you’re gross, and I think much less of you now for learning this about you, and I didn’t even think that was possible!” To which I say “Fine, then you’re not invited to my birthday party at the bowling alley this year.”

Let’s break down the attributes of your average motel. We’ll name it “The Discharge Inn”:

-It’s dirty (starting off vague and general here).
-The sheets haven’t been washed since snap bracelets were a thing.
-The walls are so thin you can hear somebody thinking in the next room.
-The pillows are oddly damp.
-That one light just won’t turn on and it makes that corner of the room exist in eternal darkness.
-What’s that sound?
-The bathroom contains its own ecosystem.
-The tap water is yellow and chunky.
-The bathtub just growled at me.
-Oh, hi Norman Bates.
-Seriously though, what is that sound?
-The carpet goes up to my ankles. Are carpets supposed to grow like hair?
-Listening to other people having violent, brutal, animalistic sex does not a good lullaby make.
-A free, secondhand high from the copious amount of weed overtly smoked everywhere.
-Plenty of free, preused condoms at your disposal.
And so on and so forth. And I have to admit, all of that is true. And worse. And that’s why I LOVE MOTELS! The more it looks like the scene of some grisly murder/suicide, or like a coven of CHUDs live there, the better.

I have been known, in the past, to just take pointless, random road trips. I hop in my car, point it in any direction and just go. My only rules are: 1. No Interstates, 2. No particular destination, 3. Motels when possible. This leads me to some very off-the-map places. At the Lakeview Motel, in Fannettsburg, PA, I met a curious collection of inhabitants. Lakeview was a cabin-style motel. The weird thing is that, of the dozen or so cabins that were there, all were occupied, yet I was the only customer. You see, everybody else just lived there. On my left side was a middle-aged woman, to my right was her daughter and granddaughter, (both grandmother and daughter worked at the honkey tonk behind the motel. I’m not entirely sure how living at a motel works. Do they have mailboxes? How does rent work? We may never know. Oh, and by the way, there was absolutely no lake to be viewed at all. Lies!

Once, a long time ago, I heard on the radio that according to the rules of salesmen on the road, that they’d buy porno mags, “use them” and then stuff them under motel mattresses for the next traveling salesman to “use.” Of course, I had to see if this was true. Six years later, after checking under mattress in dozens of motels, I finally found what I had been looking for. At some shitty motel in Battle Creek, Mich. (Sadly, I also discovered that there were three giant holes in the mattress created by a somnambulistic smoker. I was stuck in that room for a week.) Yes, I touched the magazine. No, I did not have direct physical contact with it. I went full on HAZMAT when I touched it, much like the Kardashians’ laundress does when handling their underwear. And also yes, the pages were sticky.

Anyway, that’s enough grossing you out for today. I’m on my way to my annual road trip, this time to Breezewood, PA., the “Town of Motels”.

Now where did I put my blacklight?

*And to drink at work and sexually harass and debase women AS GOD INTENDED!