Thursday, August 24, 2006


I was introduced to a new word today, courtesy of Dooce. “Bershon is pretty much how you feel when you’re 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you’re also way too cool to really even DEAL with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner.”

We have all felt this way at some point in our youth, and our bershon usually coincided with a family get-together, which somehow always included the dreaded photo-op. I was no stranger to bershon, and was recently reminded of just how disgusted I used to be when I had to pose for a photo.

Like when I was a freshman in high school (c. 1988) and got my new marching band uniform:

No, I'm not from Canada, but our school mascot was the Mountie. Yes, as in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. What cooler uniform could there be? Here are some of the finer acoutroments of this stylish ensemble:
  • White cotton gloves
  • White vinyl gauntlets
  • White vinyl spats (with straps that cake up with ice when marching in snow)
  • Black wool mountie hat (which I am holding in my right hand so as not to mess up my sweet mullet

Next in the lineup is the backyard photo when I got my letter jacket. I know you are asking, "I thought you weren't an athelete, Jake. What sport did you letter in?"

Marching Band.

That's right.

Oh, I was soooooooooo cool. You can't see the sweet mullet too well in this picture, but check out the size of those glasses. I had the bershon look down cold in this picture (c. 1989). I had a look that could cut you like Freddy Krueger's glove. Which, I made for my Halloween costume in (I think) eighth grade.

Notice the missing glasses in this picture. I didn't get contacts until 11th grade, so I was as blind as a bat in this outfit. The sacrifices we make for accurate Haloween costumes. There is a Flickr tag for "Bershon", so if you want so see more sullen teenagers in awkward poses, check it out. If you have your own pictures to add, do that too. I did.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shuffle Up and Deal

Ok, here's the deal: Put your iPod-iTunes-MusicMatch-200 Disc CD Changer-Vinyl Jukebox-whatever on "Shuffle" and tell us what the first five songs that come up are, and what they mean to you. No cheating, no skipping, leave nothing out. If its some obscure album filler, too bad. Tell us what the rest of the album did for you. Here's my go at it. I will write these as the songs are playing.

Cowboy, by Kid Rock. Funny how this one came up first. If you have never seen me drunkenly shout through this one at karaoke, you are surely deprived. It takes a minimum of a pitcher of Amber Bock to get me to write this one down on the little slip of paper on the table in front of me, but that just adds to the enthusiasm with which I perform the hip thrusts when I shout “…then paint his wife white, unngh!”

Dead Horse, by Guns N’ Roses. Probably my favorite song on either of the Use Your Illusions discs. Starts out slow with just Axl and (I assume) Slash on an acoustic guitar. A couple of verses in, I can just imagine Slash smashing that acoustic as Axl screams and the band kick it into full-out metal mode. I don’t know if they did a video for this one, but if they did, it can’t compete with the mental movie I have always had of this song.

Here I Go Again, by Whitesnake. Wow, more pop metal? I have such a diverse collection, I would have thought something a little less AAR would have shown up by now. You are all going to think my musical tastes run along the same lines as Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler’s in Airheads. A great tune from Jr. High, ‘m surprised I have it in digital format. I had the tape of this album, originally.

That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, by Elvis Presley. I could make up some bullshit about how my mother always used to listen to this record when I was a little kid, but that’s just not true. Big E has a spoken word bridge in the middle, undoubtedly inspiring a thousand knock-offs like Boyz2Men and their protégés.

Primal Scream, by Motley Crue. One of the three original tunes that the Crue was able to record before kicking out Vince Neil after the Dr. Feelgood tour. They ended up putting it on their Decade of Decadence compilation. It just kind of bums me out when I hear it, because it was really the last of the original Crue songs. They haven’t been the same since. Oh, and I hear the band is touring with Aerosmith in the fall, but since Tommy is doing his Supernova thing, I assume there will be a ringer behind the skins for Motley?

Okay, five songs isn’t enough to get a real taste of my collection. Next up were:
King of Comedy, by REM
Working Man (Live from the Different Stages album), by Rush
I, Zombie, by White Zombie
Meat Plow, by STP
Seether, by Veruca Salt
Just a Girl, by No Doubt
Pencil Thin Mustache, by Jimmy Buffett
Breed, by Nirvana
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, by Elton John

That's enough.... now it's your turn.