Archive for July, 2009


Excerpts from Time/Life Books “Amateur Handyman” Series

July 17, 2009

As you may have noticed, the Time/Life Book team has been hard at work cranking out title after title on nearly any subject (a partial list here). Today we bring you an excerpt from the Amateur Handyman Series Vol. 4 – Holy Fuck! Water’s Not Working! The Amateur’s Guide to Household Wiring.

Don't be intimidated by electrical wiring. It's as simple as it looks.

Don't be intimidated by electrical wiring. It's as simple as it looks.

Welcome to the Time/Life “Amateur Handyman” series. We would like to thank you for your purchase and point out a few new features in these latest editions:

1. Due to recent cutbacks in our editing department, the Amateur Handyman series is now overseen by Joseph Zimmer (Editor – Fish and Wildlife) and Marcie Whitman (Editor – Potpourri and Knickknacks; currently under investigation for what authorities believe to be “botched arson” stemming from an electrical fire. She is pleading “innocent.”)

2. By opening this book, you agree to our Terms of Service (Appendix A), which includes releasing Time/Life Books, our “experts” and lowest-bidder authors from any responsibility for damages incurred due to badly written or poorly informed instructions.

3. You also (by opening this book) release Time/Life Books from responsibility for any mental anguish or duress caused by our constant referral to our “experts” in quotes (both in the foreword and throughout the book itself).

4. If this book was ordered online, refunds can be obtained by shipping the unused portion to Time/Life Books, guaranteed overnight, insured and with signature verification (at your expense). Your gift certificate (good for its equivalent value in Time/Life Books Amateur Handyman series books) should arrive in the area of six weeks to never.

5. If this book was a late-night impulse purchase, utilizing our 800 number, your credit card will be charged a restocking fee and the cost of prepaid shipping box, which will be sent to you (inside of a much larger box) C.O.D. You may also be subject to relabeling, resealing and other box-related fees. These charges will appear on your credit card statement as “Teen Shemales Gone Wild!”

6. If you borrowed this from a friend or the library, or perhaps are just flipping through it at the bookstore, punch yourself in the face repeatedly. You can stop as soon as you purchase your own copy at the full retail price. Cheapass.

Chapter 1 – Installing a Ceiling Fan in the Basement

Tools you will need (Note – some of these tools may be hard to find or not actually exist.):
Wire (purchase double what you may actually need; you’ll be fucking up a lot)
Wire Cutter
Wire Stripper
Wire Restripper
Wire Uncutter
Ohm Meter (tests resistance – you’ll receive a mild-to-fatal shock if proper resistance is not present. If you are somewhere near the correct range, the Ohm Meter will give you a number that you can “Google” for correctness)
First Aid Kit
Emergency Contacts
Next-of-kin Notification Form (Appendix B)

Step 1. Make sure you have all your tools gathered in your work area. Are you really interested in making several trips up and down the stairs? Or are you just going to resort to banging nails in with the pliers or the end of the flashlight?

Step 2. Locate the junction box. Start yanking down ceiling panels until you come across it. Unless it’s in the wall. It should look like a metal box and be full of wiring. Be gentle, though. Those ceiling panels will need to be returned to their proper spot. Consider marking them with letters or “This End Up” with an arrow pointing to the ceiling.

If you see more wiring than is listed in these instructions, please ignore and proceed to optometrist for color-blindness testing.

If you see more wiring than is listed in these instructions, please ignore and proceed to optometrist for color-blindness testing.

Step 3. Prep for wiring addition. Open the junction box. You should have at least four different wires, all colorfully capped. You should see red, white, blue and green. (For our colorblind readers, veer a rojo, blanco, azul y verde.)

Step 4. Uncap the blue and green wires. You will need to intertwine your new wiring with the existing lines. Grasp the green wire… wait! You did shut off the power via the fuse box, right?

Step 5. As soon as you can move again, shut off the power via the fuse box. You may also want to clean up any urine you may have left at the spot of the “incident.” Water is a helluva conductor. Now with the power shut off, you may notice that it is way too dark to work in the basement, especially at this time of night. Besides, the hardware store closes in, like, half an hour. Take five. We will continue this tomorrow morning.

Step 6. Welcome back! Let’s retrace our steps and get the power turned off. At this point in the day you should have plenty of natural light to work with. Perhaps some sunlight, too. (Ha! Just some “drunken, incompetent electrician” humor! Go ahead and use that sometime.)

Step 7. Now with your two new lines attached to the blue and green wires, you should be able to fire up the fuse box and check the resistance with your Ohm Meter. (Forget all that crap about “red wire” or “blue wire” like you see in the movies. They all lead somewhere expensive and are full of deadly juice.)

If you detect a burning smell, don’t worry. That’s just electricity’s way of telling you it’s still working, despite your lack of skill. Same thing with the flames. They will go out eventually.

Oh, fucking awesome... Thanks for nothing, "lifesaving device!"

Oh, fucking awesome... Thanks for nothing, "lifesaving device!"

Step 8. OK. At this point, you will want to remain calm. Where is the closest exit? OK. Where is the closest exit that is not behind a wall of flames? With effort, we can probably fit through that window. Let’s try that.

Step 9.You may want to contact your insurance agency as soon as possible. Be vague about the details, emphasizing words like “pre-existing” and “power grid fluctuations.” This would also apply to your conversation with the fire department. (For more information, see Appendix C – Goofus and Gallant Present: Dealing With A Suspicious Insurance Company.)

Coming up in Chapter 2 – Rebuilding Your Life, Using Qualified and Expensive Contractors.



Fancy Plans Presents: How to Be a DJ

July 16, 2009

Yes. Being a DJ is this fucking cool.

Still on a brief hiatus… originally posted February 28.

The phrase “Everyone wants to be a DJ.” has never been more true than it is now. But should everyone be a DJ? Should you? What about that guy? What about if he wore a cat-in-the-hat hat?

Ask yourself this question: “Are my musical tastes superior to everyone else’s?” If this answer is “yes,” than DJing is the career path for you.

While other how-tos may waste your valuable time with instructions on beat matching, practicing and other such non-essentials, Fancy Plans is here to get you into the action!

Let’s get started.


Room Two, aka the "Broom Closet"

Choose a Name
Don’t underestimate the value of a good name. You will need something short, catchy and original in order to stand out in a lineup of 20 other DJs on thousands of discarded flyers. Some DJs have taken on other personas or nicknames (DJ Tonka, DJ Hell, DJ Qualls, DJ Pro Tools) while other have had more success with a single name (Uberzone, Sasha, Dubfire, Trentemoeller, Ableton). Be creative. Misspellings are not only welcomed, they’re encouraged (Deckwrecka, Boys Noize, DJ Doc Rok, DJ Demonixx, teh Internet LOL).

Choose Your Genre
To put yourself ahead of the pack, pigeonhole yourself into as small a genre as possible. The harder it is to define what the hell it is you’re playing, the easier it will be to appear to be doing it correctly. Some suggestions are microhouse, fidget, minimal, techstep, happy hardcore.

With your new, incredibly obscure brand of music in place, you’ll be able to look down on those who seem irritated, bored or have left the gig completely. They just don’t “get it.” Those who do “get it” will plant themselves on the nearest wall/bassbin or hover in front of the DJ booth stroking their chins thoughtfully. Your local record store will also appreciate your genre choice as they will finally be able to start cleaning out the “Misc” bin.

Put Together Your Set
As you may have noticed, raves and other DJ gigs are not about spontaneity, “working the crowd,” or any other form of mutual enjoyment. Any gig you DJ at should be about you and your amazing, but obscure track selection. If your skills (can also be spelled with a “z” for more wackiness) and track selection are dialed in, your crowd should be unable to tell whether they heard one track or ten over the last hour.

Some do’s and dont’s for building your set:

DON’T Line up the hits
Although your crowd may have spent a lot of money on tickets, drugs and absurdly expensive bottled water in anticipation of a good time, don’t insult them by playing tracks they recognize and/or like. This may work for the Fatboy Slims, Paul Oakenfolds and Judge Juleses of the world, but you do not want to be sucked into their world of drugs, groupies and steady income.

Yes. They can be taught.

Yes. They can be taught.

DO Educate your crowd
As discussed earlier, your musical tastes are beyond reproach and you have finally been given the opportunity to show the world how much their record collections suck. Granted, a lot of your rare picks may go over their heads, but they will be better people by the time their cascade of jeers and water bottles has chased you from the decks (Fun fact: “decks” refers to the wood that generally composes the floor of the DJ booth, much like the “decks” on a boat! Better bring your sealegs LOL!)

Quick test: if they’re dancing, they’re not learning. If the dancefloor seems poised to erupt in an actual good time, hit the unappreciative Neandrathals with some Aphex Twin, Autechre or Labradford.

DO Be aware of your surroundings
As if the general hostility from the dancefloor area wasn’t enough to contend with you may have to fend off ill-informed clubbers who would like to request music, other DJs and their considerable disdain, and irate club owners who would like to express their irritation with your set having chased most of their money out the door.

DO Get paid in advance
This is crucial. Due to your unparalleled genius, you’ll only be invited back by the most masochistic of promoters.

We hope this primer gets you started on your path to stardom, local or otherwise. Future installments will cover other tangential information such as:

Choosing Your Medium – Vinyl, CD or Laptop? Battling the Purists.
Beatmatching – Not Worth the Effort?
DJ Lingo – Decks, Wheels of Steel and Beyond
Advanced DJ Lingo – Trainwreck, Punters and Beyond
Getting Gigs – Does Your Immediate Family Member/Significant Other Own a Club?
Unfortunate Haircuts – Your Ticket to Fame?
Club 69 Remixers Guide – Add a 4/4 in One Easy Step



Profiles in Uselessness-the White Male Protester

July 14, 2009
Troubled youth misunderstands point of last week's Nike protest

Nike's unexpected sponsorship allowed the rioters to upgrade their "rock-hurling" capabilities.

In a temporary lull… enjoy something you may have seen before (originally posted March 30, 2009).

White, suburban upper-middle class.
Upbringing voted “Most Oppressive” by self, other suburban whites.
Takes Earth Day off from work (also Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday).
Use variations of “green” like the rest of us use “fuck.”

Under-employment history:
Part-time barrista, 2Girls1Cup Coffee Shop
Fired for: Failure to meet minimum “awareness” level.

Part-time server, Murphy’s Raw & Uncut Vegan Restaurant
Fired for: Not transsexual enough.

Part-time cashier, Weighty Pretensions Alternative Bookstore
Fired for: Failure to meet minimum facial piercing requirement.

Part-time clerk, Rolling Stoned “Record” Store
Fired for: “Failure to imply that tobacco pipes and accessories could be used for more recreational (and illegal) drugs.”

Intern, Aging Hipster Records
Fired for: “Failure to attend either of two US festivals from 1982/83; constant use of ‘I wasn’t even born yet!’ excuse.

Part-time Assistant Shirt Folder, the Gap
Fired for: “Failure to meet harsh requirements of a 15-hour workweek.”


Jeff regretted two things; the bowling balls in his backpack and the flag he had eaten at the last protest.

Petitions Signed:
– Vegan Co-op Bill of Rights
– Initiative for Continued Use of Inflated/Imaginary Statistics
– Animal Testing Ban at Purina, Iams
– Di-hydrogen Monoxide Ban
– Tax the Rich (More)
– The Berkeley Womandate
– Free Market Expansion
– Save the Seagoing Mammals
– Increase Our Double-Standard of Living Now!
– Free Leonard Peltier
– Free Everything for Jobless Slackers
– Repeal the Death Penalty
– Death Penalty for Corporate Polluters
– Mandatory 15-Hour Workweek

Unusually tall leprechauns protest lack of adequate charm protection.

Unusually tall leprechauns protest lack of adequate charm protection.

Quotes from roommates, employers, family:
– “And now you’re homeless. Hope that’s ‘oppressive’ enough for you. Gather up your shit and your empathy and get the fuck out.”
– “I’ve seen more mental and physical activities in coma victims.”
– “Unlike you, the housework isn’t going to spend all evening ‘doing itself.'”
– “A ‘free market’ refers to unfettered capitalism, you retard. It has nothing to adjusting goods and services prices down to $0.”
– “Just a pointer for your next interview: try to wear something that isn’t tie-dyed or covered in marijuana leaves.”
– “You’re lucky most of the reflexes and motions needed to keep you alive are involuntary.”
– “Maybe you should start your own business in the fragrance industry. You could start with ‘Lazy Ass,’ a heady blend of patchouli, bongwater, sweaty dreadlocks and failure.”
– “Ah… spending the day ‘fighting the power’ from the couch again, I see.”
– “Your political views and sexual inadequacies are swiftly turning me into that rarest of creatures, the lesbian Republican.”
– “You are aware, ‘sir,’ that we do have a pre-employment urine screening policy.”
– “I just really, really want to punch you in the face right now.”
– “Ah, ‘sticking it to the man’ by failing to show up for work again. Right on, bro.”
– “In all my years running this commune, I am proud that I have been able to bring out the best in every member. I guess every streak has to end…”

Best case scenario: another Ralph Nader.

Unfortunately, this will be another bus/bike-riding busybody who’s going to save the world through their bold plan of making hemp bracelets and growing some vegetables in a window box.

Truly useless, these disenfranchised youths will spend several (if not all) of their years living off other people’s money: mom and dad, roommates, taxpayers. By solely choosing to spend a majority of their time breathing, they have already taken more from the world than they can ever hope to give back.

With their bold stances and corporate logos, they unite to push the developed world back into third world conditions and the third world back into the Stone Age through a ridiculous set of standards and complete disregard for the welfare of their fellow man. Somehow making the world more difficult to live in makes it “better.”

They rail against the fundamental right for its imposition of a belief system while loudly proclaiming the inferiority of nearly every person around them for failing to lockstep into an “Earth First, Humans Last” ideology.

All hail the white male protester, the odd man out in the Benetton tapestry that is the world. Consumed by liberal guilt, one can only hope that he continues to toss his vote in the Green Party trashcan every four years and gets run over by the very bus he’s waiting for before he can do any lasting damage.

So, go ahead, you fucking jackass. Break that window. Maybe you can be part of that perfect, random act of kindness: the beating given to you by an overworked and underpaid cop may give him a reason to smile today.



Heavy Rotation Vol. 6

July 12, 2009

Another set of fine tracks with no particular logic binding them together. As always, all are highly recommended. Some are old favorites while others are recent headspace additions. Enjoy. And be sure and check out previous Heavy Rotation editions you may have missed…


Zombie Zombie – Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free
Hailing from France and forever in love with John Carpenter and Goblin, Zombie Zombie produce some of the best atmospheric electro on either side of the ocean. This is their debut single, which sounds like a track or two from The Thing soundtrack. Oddly enough, their video agrees with that.


British Sea Power – Waving Flags
A soaring, anthemic tune that falls somewhere between Pulp’s Common People and the Killer’s Read My Mind. It also travels somewhat adjacent to the Arcade Fire’s work only with much less latent busking and sincerity. A wide-open, unabashed pop anthem with a twist of bitter snark.


Finitribe – I Want More (Row Row Row the Boat Mix)
A proto-industrial dance outfit that saw a majority of their work released on Chicago’s Wax Trax label, Finitribe are perhaps most notable for being Chris Connelly’s first project. Despite his later work with Pigface, Ministry and the Revolting Cocks, Connelly tends to be a bit more melodic and introspective when helming his own ship. Have fun trying to get the synth work out of your head after listening to their update of the 1976 Can tune.


Toadies – Possum Kingdom
A swaggering thug of a love/obsession/murder song, with a little religious warp thrown in. A huge set of riffs and hooks help drag the listener under, while the lead singer repeats what you may have thought was a rhetorical question four minutes ago: “Do you want to die?” Catchy as hell, and twice as dark.

I’m not gonna lie
I’ll not be a gentleman
Behind the boathouse
I’ll show you my dark secret

I’m not gonna lie
I want you for mine
My blushing bride
My lover, be my lover yeah

Don’t be afraid
I don’t mean to scare you
So help me Jesus

I can promise you
You will stay as beautiful
With dark hair
And soft skin, forever

Make up your mind
Make up your mind and I promise you
I will treat you well
My sweet angel
So help me Jesus


TV on the Radio – Wolf Like Me
The best love song ever written from the viewpoint of a werewolf. The lyrics are spine tingling and the tune itself rocks harder than this band ever has and probably, ever will again. Thunderous, spacious and brutal with some of the most wonderfully twisted lyrics you’ll ever find yourself singing along to.

Say say my playmate
Won’t you lay your hands on me
Mirror my malady
Transfer my tragedy

Got a curse I cannot lift
Shines when the sunset shifts
When the moon is round and full
Gotta bust that box gotta gut that fish

My mind’s aflame

We could jet in a stolen car
But I bet we wouldn’t get too far
Before the transformation takes
And blood lust takes and crave gets slaked

My mind has changed
My body’s frame, but God I like it
My heart’s aflame
My body’s strained but God I like it

Charge me your day rate
I’ll turn you out in kind
When the moon is round and full
Gonna teach you tricks that’ll blow your Mongrel mind

Baby doll I recognize
You’re a hideous thing inside
If ever there were a lucky kind it’s
You you you you

I know its strange, another way to get to know you
You’ll never know unless we go, so let me show you
I know its strange, another way to get to know you
We’ve got to move, here comes the moon
So let it show you, show you now

Dream me, oh dreamer
Down to the floor
Open my hands and let them
Weave onto yours

Feel me, completer
Down to my core
Open my heart and let it
Bleed onto yours

Feeding on fever
Down on all fours
Show you what all the
Howlin’s for

All files in one zip. Link will open in new window – Heavy Rotation Vol. 6


[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]

Fancy Plans Guide to Minnesota

July 11, 2009

Due to made-up complaints about the lack of any real information and glaring omissions in our Guide to Wisconsin, our fake editor suggested that we be more thorough in our next guide. We responded, “I’m not sure if we can cover more ground, or do so with more accuracy, but we can certainly give you more words.” So here it is, in all its verbose glory, the Fancy Plans Guide to Minnesota.

Shortly after this lovely handcarved welcoming, Minnesota will also welcome you with a hefty speeding ticket

Shortly after this lovely handcarved welcoming, Minnesota will also welcome you with a hefty speeding ticket

Minnesota, the bleeding heart misfit of the Midwest, has always been willing to shake things up. Whether requesting vegetarian meals at the all-Midwest 4th of July Barbecue or hatching grandiose light-rail schemes like the little-Portland-that-could, Minnesota has always known how to put the “awkward” back into “awkward social gathering.”

As the only state Mondale carried in the 1984 election (remember kids, the District of Columbia is not a state: it’s merely a holding cell for politicians, lawyers and gun-toting criminals), Minnesota is routinely belittled for its election track record, which it refuses to better, thanks to its preference for C-list celebrity politicians.

Minnesota has pointed out to its Midwestern siblings that the 1984 election fiasco wasn’t aided by Mondale’s paint-drying personality or his selection of a power-hungry woman for a running mate. This really didn’t work until the 1992 election, when the powerful Clinton-Clinton ticket destroyed the original George Bush. With W.J. and H.R. running things, ornamental vice president Al Gore was free to write books, perfect his Powerpoint-fu and invent the internet.

Minneapolis' Most Famous Citizen: Corporate Division

Minneapolis' Most Famous Citizen: Corporate Division

As the larger and more thug-like half of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis is a true melting pot, bringing together several disparate cultures, most of them corporate. Whether it is members of their three professional sports teams, retail giants like Target or Best Buy or citizens of multiple nations displaced by city planning and gentrification, Minneapolis has it all.

Mall of America
In perhaps the United States’ greatest paean to mediocrity, Minneapolis is home to the largest mall in America, the Mall of America. Despite early indications that this would mean a greater variety of stores, the reality is that the Gap and the Old Navy now reside on five or six floors rather than the usual one or two.

Thousands of fascinating landmarks and businesses; none of them reachable by car

Thousands of fascinating landmarks and businesses; none of them reachable by car

St. Paul
The fairer (and more alcoholic) half of the non-fraternal Twin Cities, St. Paul has responded to Minneapolis’ Marcia-like domination by building the most contrary and diabolical street system known to man.

St. Paul’s unnavigable maze of one-ways, dead-ends and suddenly choked-off main arteries are the subject of much hatred and fear. Referred to by locals as the “Devil’s Grid” or “Fucking Bullshit,” this Escher-like conundrum is blamed variously on foreigners, early locals (mostly foreign) and Satan.

The average directions for a simple Point A to Point B trip become worthy of inclusion to the higher mathematics portion of the SAT and Mensa applications, what with their essay-length answers and complete mockery of solid measurement like “as the crow flies.” Even brute force computing remains stumped as MapQuest will routinely cough up solutions like “You can’t get there from here” and “DOES NOT COMPUTE.”

If you choose to battle St. Paul’s street system armed with a GPS, be forewarned that the screen will often begin flashing a pentagram overlay and the voice program will emit only bursts of Silent Hill-esque static and the screams of the damned.

Now under new Russian botnet ownership!

Now under new Russian botnet ownership!

Outlying Areas
Travelling a few miles north of the Twin Cities will bring you into the unmapped and barren Yukon Territories. Despite its presence in the U.S. for over 150 years, the area remained uncharted and sparsely populated, mainly due to its brutal winters and constant harassment of locals by rogue Mounties. Most likely contains a great number of trees and lakes, but even the most sophisticated satellite photos have shown little more than a thick cloud cover which brings the humidity to well over 100% in the summer (June-July) and hardens to a permanent ice cap during the winter (1858-present).

Travelling south will bring you to some of the famed institutions of the Midwest: the world famous Mayo Clinic, located in the Rochester Medical Complex and something that goes great with Mayo, the Spam Museum located in Austin, Minnesota (Austin was asked to leave the Republic of Texas due to its left-wing sympathizing and yearly hipster influx during the South by Southwest Music Festival).


Lavender and gold - the manliest colors in the spectrum

Lavender and gold - the manliest colors in the spectrum

Minnesota Vikings
Run by entrepeneur and hafling Zygi Wolff, the Vikings are the perennial also-rans of pro football. The Vikings take the field dressed in the most manly of colors, purple. A succession of faulty quarterbacks (rivalled only by the Chicago Bears) generally turns the Metrodome into a thunderous arena of boo’s. The Viking faithful return every year, with the hope that this may be the season in which they return to the glory days of the ’60s and ’70s, when they were known as the second best team in pro football four times.

As the season winds to a close, they are usually lucky to be the second best team in the NFC North. The offseason is usually spent (by fans and players alike) drinking heavily, being arrested for boat-related sex scandals and brainstorming with the Buffalo Bills.

The Twins mascot, some sort of a large rodent, welcomes the EMT crew to the lower level "Hard Drinking" section

The Twins mascot, some sort of a large rodent, welcomes the EMT crew to the lower level "Hard Drinking" section

Minnesota Twins
Hailed as overachievers due to the team’s lack of New York type money to throw around, the Twins actually tend to achieve exactly what their payroll numbers would indicate: an outside chance at a wildcard spot and an offseason of dollar stretching and coupon clipping.

The Minnesota Wild, featuring a panther that has gone feral due to a large, yellow brain tumor

The Minnesota Wild logo, featuring a cougar or something that has gone feral due to a large, yellow brain tumor

Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota North Stars, having played for several years in the most unlikely arena (Dallas, Texas), have recently been supplanted by a new hometown favorite, the Minnesota Wild. Named after an adjective, the Wild are among the latest in a new wave of pro team names that mean nothing but look pretty fuckin’ sweet as a 4-color logo.



Fancy Plans Guide to Wisconsin

July 7, 2009

Pull up a chair, netizens. Time to fill your head with facts that you were too bored to learn at school. In an effort to put the fun back in information, we have made up this new word: Funformation! The exclamation point always makes us giddy, deep in our girl parts.

Enough pointless rambling. It’s time to get down to the pointless facts. The Official Fancy Plans Guide to Wisconsin.

From the Algonquin word Ouisconsin, meaning “Kegger By the River,” Wisconsin is known mainly for its two chief industries: producing beer and purchasing beer. Escorted to the border and tossed out by clean living Canadians, Wisconsin is the “prodigal” Canuck state which will never be allowed back into the Great White North, not even if the Queen Mother weakens during her later years.

Other states have tried interventions to limited success, the most recent being Michigan’s, which was spurned with, “Who the fuck are you preaching to, asshole? You don’t even have a job!”

Misleading Chamber of Commerce pamphlets and trade magazines will point to burgeoning cheese and agriculture industries as a way of distracting the average tourist from the sight and smell of the general population, which is usually in an advanced state of hangover. Competing hotels will even go so far as to leave Tillamook Cheddar on your bed pillows at night.

Another Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce meeting commences

Another Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce meeting commences

Major Cities
Milwaukee, the enabler of the state (and states around it; I’m looking at you, Minnesota) was built by German settlers looking for a place to produce beer, their homeland’s favorite beverage (outstripping Dr. Pfefferschnausenn nearly 3-to-1). These hardy Germans began cranking out medium-to-low quality lagers beginning in the mid-1850’s and still continue to this day with no discernible uptick in excellence.

Milwaukee’s breweries have given the world (mainly the Midwest) such beers as Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and the triumphantly named, Milwaukee’s Best. A careful perusal of the beer labels early in the night will reveal ribbons for various “Best in Show” designations, usually awarded by drunken local judges. Tour guides at the multitude of breweries will be sure to point this fact out, several times as well as reminding you that bottled water is for “fags.”

Local watering holes include: The Drunken Rant, The Elliptical Argument, The Whitest Place on Earth, Open at 7 AM, DUI’s Tavern (“Within Walking Distance of Anywhere that Matters!”), The Rolling Blackout and college favorite, Tipsy McDateRape’s.

Wisconsin is proud to host three major sports teams: the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Bucks. As you may have noticed, two of the three teams are named after professions, as is the workmanlike professionalism of the local binge-drinkers. Former team names include the Assemblers, the Caretakers, the Meter Readers and the Sandwich Artists.

Bud Selig gives an attractive sportscaster the "look"

Bud Selig gives an attractive sportscaster the "look"

Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers, Wisconsin’s entry into the major leagues, are owned by baseball’s interim commissioner-for-life, Bud Selig, who moved his team from the American League to the National League in the dead of night, hoping to find a weak NL Central that would allow his generally sub-.500 team to stumble into a wildcard playoff spot.

Selig and his team have not been successful in that respect, possibly due to drunken players and managers. Selig has, however, endeared himself to millions of baseball fans by raising serious conflict-of-interest questions and allowing All Star games to end in ties. Selig’s detractors refer constantly to his Janet Reno-esque looks and his near-constant BAC level of 0.12%.

Another wasted Packer passes out in the end zone

Another wasted Packer passes out in the end zone

Green Bay Packers
As the NFL’s only publicly-owned team, the Packers enjoy sellout after sellout due to the misconception that alcohol in the bloodstream raises body temperature. Attending a home game can be a daunting experience for an outsider, as the game itself is only tangentially related to the 8 annual meetings of the half-undressed, half-body painted team owners.

God help you if you manage to purchase an endzone seat and are called upon to help an intoxicated and winded Packer to his feet after a rare touchdown. While colorfully referred to as the “Lambeau Leap,” it really has about as much to do with acrobatics as my acid-addled crawl across the carpet has to do with my “dropped contact.”

The Milwaukee Bucks mascot fakes another injury to avoid embarrassment out on the court

The Milwaukee Bucks mascot fakes another injury to avoid embarrassment out on the court

Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are a relatively uninteresting NBA franchise, whose collection of white locals who can’t jump are an embarrassment to a town that’s pretty hard to embarrass. Especially after this past New Years, when Milwaukee was caught pissing into Lake Michigan, just slightly after it drove its Neon into Iowa’s cornfields.

The Bucks enjoy competitive games with their Midwestern rivals including the Vancouver Grizzlies, the Minneapolis Lakers and the Dinkytown Fighting Whiteys.

Drunk as fuck

Drunk as fuck

Famous Citzens
No discussion of Wisconsin would be complete without a mention of their most famous inhabitants, Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney. These drunken and promiscuous roommates moved to Milwaukee during the Great Beer Rush of 1959 and were acquaintances of Arthur Fonzarelli, a young hoodlum who terrorized Arnold’s Drive-In with his leather jacket, boyish good looks and constant physical abuse of Arnold’s jukebox.

Miller: High on Life

Miller: High on Life

Quick Facts

State Bird– Scarlet Crested Combover (not to be confused with New York state bird, the Sean Puffy Combover)
State Haircut – the Trucker Hat
State Slogan – Happy Hour 5-9 PM! Kids drink free!
Soup of the Day – Cheese
State Flower – The, uh… hop
State Song – (Who Hasn’t Been) On Wisconsin!



Fancy Plans… Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 7 (Diminishing Returns)

July 6, 2009

 The rock and roll machine hums on, not dead as critics say, just resting. Those who have honestly assessed the situation have noted that the humming is actually coming from the life-support machine, not from rock and roll itself. Unfortunately for the supposed heirs to the rock throne, rock and roll’s will has not been updated since 1964.

Exhibit A in a civil suit filed by the Ramones, citing "immeasurable damage to our reputation"

Exhibit A in a civil suit filed by the Ramones, citing "immeasurable damage to our reputation"

Goo Goo Dolls
Cute as a bug’s ear and twice as disposable, the Goo Goo Dolls have spent the last decade or so studying at the Jon Bon Jovi School for the Bland. Like their namesake, they should probably be discarded, like any other toy, by the age of consent, at the latest.

For U.S. citizens, this would be the age that allows you to begin throwing your vote away and catching bullets in the armed forces. Other countries, not so much. In Islamic countries, your age of consent may be as low as nine, so be prepared to toss your shitty music and dated morals out the window along with most of your human rights.

It probably helps ease the virgin-crunch in Islam heaven, what with all the arbitrary shuffling of the preferred age of consent. Jihad!

This was third on Google's Image search, so I'm going to assume it's correct...

This was third on Google's Image search, so I'm going to assume it's correct...

The Band
An ambiguously-named collective whose claims to fame include being Freewheelin Bob Dylan’s touring group and the bane of marquee signing everywhere. Anchored by Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, The Band became the ne plus ultra of everything music and band-related.

This talented group became everything anyone could hope for in a The Band, covering musical ground as disparate as country, roots rock, garage, disco, big the band, ragtime, post-rock, folk, jam the band and some of that old time rock and roll, as espoused by Bob “Pete” Seger and his Coors Light Silver Bullet The Band.

Most likely best known for their hit single, We’re An American The Band, for all I know. For more information on The Band, consult your World Book Encyclopedia (see also: Band).

In the twilight of their careers, the Birthday Party begin an ill-advised foray into disco

In the twilight of their careers, the Birthday Party begin an ill-advised foray into disco

The Birthday Party
Of all the ironically-named post-punk groups, the Birthday Party is perhaps the most ironic and definitely the postest. (Until the next edition of the Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll, at which time we will probably delight in some rich, promiscuous irony, as per the FDA’s recommended daily requirement.)

If your average birthday party wasn’t so much about pointy hats and crappy streamers, but rather laden with psycho-sexual undertones and bleak nihilism, then this was your Birthday Party. If Nick Cave stood up at your party and offered a toast which highlighted your father’s murderous past, your mother’s years as a junkie and your own pointless and doomed upbringing, then this was not just a birthday party but The Birthday Party. If your presents included a revolver, a bible and a whiskey bottle, then congratulations! Happy the Birthday to you!

Time to start living each day like it’s your last. Because it probably is.

During the middle eighth, the harp plays itself

During the middle eighth, the harp plays itself

To this day, the best-selling Irish artists of all-time (take that, Thin Lizzy!), Clannad is a loose confederation of wood elves, faeries, nymphs and anti-social binge drinkers. They perform traditional Irish and Celtic music meaning only pub-related instruments are used, and the singing, which resembles drunken rambling, is actually Gaelic, the native tongue of various wood sprites.

Should you have a chance to catch this group of Irish poets performing sober, you’re probably lying.

Come on, God. Take him now.

Come on, God. Take him now.

Following the footsteps of Stryper in an attempt to sell God-rock to the kids, Creed is led by Scott Stapp’s energetic bellowing and embodiment of Christian ideals: drunken misbehavior, fleecing Christian youth, crossover success and incredibly shitty rock.

Creed’s undemanding grunge has earned them millions of undemanding fans and the attention of Jesus Christ’s lawyers due to Stapp’s blatant appropriation of the patented “Jesus Christ Pose.” J.C.’s lawyers argue that this pose was trademarked over 2000 years ago through an arduous registration process which included being tortured and killed by Romans.

Scott Stapp has fired back with a tersely worded, “Whatever. I do what I want.”
The lawyers have replied with “Remember. He brought you into this world and He can surely take thee right back out.”
To which millions of people responded, “Yes! Please do! Send a killer robot back in time to kill his mother if you have to!”

The Jesus Lizard can be safely raised in captivity and lives on a diet of Spree Candy Tarts and ignorance

The Jesus Lizard can be safely raised in captivity and lives on a diet of Spree Candy Tarts and ignorance

The Jesus Lizard
Named after the absolutely true story of Jesus and His bible friends’ mounting and taming of free-range dinosaurs during the Earth’s formative years (before they were all mysteriously “disappeared” and carbon-loaded solely to confuse scientists), the Jesus Lizard wax theologic on potent noise-rock tracks such as, My Own Urine, Tight and Shiny, Rodeo in Juliet, Dancing Naked Ladies, Killer McHann, Post Coital Glow, Skull of a German, Pervertedly Slow and Wheelchair Epidemic.

Anka subdues yet another Pat Boone fan with his icy stare; imposing pompadour

Anka subdues yet another Pat Boone fan with his icy stare; imposing pompadour

Paul Anka
Too easily written off as just another 50’s teenybopper, Paul Anka was more than just a miniature Italian heartthrob. He gave Tom Jones a hit with She’s a Lady and wrote My Way for the then-unknown Sex Pistols.

A legion of snot-nosed bloggers have taken cheap shots at Anka, myself included. This particular besmirching occurred in a comment where I insinuated that Anka was too “edgy” for Pat Boone fans. In reality, many things are too “edgy” for Pat Boone fans, including:

  • coloring outside the lines
  • “California stops”
  • several of the “darker” After School Specials
  • new release parties that begin at midnight
  • widescreen format DVDs
  • Axe bodyspray ads
  • the Disney Channel after 7 pm
The Japanese know shit music when they see it

The Japanese know shit music when they see it

Eric Clapton
6And the Lord said You shall have no other gods before me
7And a voice came from the back of the gathering, questioning these words
8Moses. God. Eric here. Hi. Longtime fan, first-time caller. Lots of people have been referring to me as God and I really haven’t been stopping them. Is this a problem?
9God said Let me take this one, Moses.
10If you’ll take a look further down this list… where is it… here:
11You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
12I think that should answer your question, Eric. That actually covers more than one area, but I’m not going to get into that now. Back to you, Moses.
13Moses said, Eric, they’re calling you God? How is that possible? What are they calling Jimi? Seriously. He’s twice the guitarist and four times as well-hung. God? GTFO!
14Eric, abashed, said I have been known to play the guitar in a pleasing fashion and to be quite skilled for an Englishman. Why, I have even been known to—
15I’m going to cut you off there, Eric. Moses is right. Your best known song is about adultery, for the love of Me. And then you went ahead and watered it down with that terrible acoustic version, which is only suitable for coffehouse background music and shareholder’s meetings.
16Not to pile on, Eric, but while God has got you nailed on Layla, let’s not forget Tears in Heaven, another stillborn waste of time—
17Look, I’m classically trained and I have got quite the body of work. I have performed for the Queen and Richard Branson. Have either of you composed a hit song in the last 30 years? I think not. You just think you can sit up there on your mountain and take cheap shots—
18Cheap shots? Are you hearing this, Moses? From a guy who thinks it’s ok to be called God. I though Scott Stapp was bad, but this guy…
19I hear you, God. Well, time to pay some bills. We’ll be back with more commandments after this quick break for the good people at the Burning Bush Gentleman’s Club…



Heavy Rotation Vol. 5

July 5, 2009

Another week, another set of fine tunes to soundtrack whatever activities you have planned for a fine 4th o’ July weekend. Whether it’s yardwork (those corpses won’t bury themselves!), a family outing (those corpses won’t bury themselves, kids!) or just hanging around the house waiting for law enforcement to arrive (What did I say about the corpses? Kids? Who remembers?), these insta-classics will warm your heart and swallow your soul. Who’s ready to testify?

Click here for previous versions.


Fuck Buttons – Race You to My Bedroom
Nearly ten full minutes of apocalyptic electronics and fuzz, all slowly and steadily building like the little fucking psychedelic engine that could. There are lyrics, although none that can be readily deciphered. Brutal in an impeding doom sort of way.


Holy Fuck – Super Inuit
A very high-quality live capture of the Fuckster’s in concert. Powerful drumming, lots of electronics tweaking and what sounds like a flute somewhere in the mix. Add some Suicide-esque echoed vocalizing and we’re off to the fucking races. Best served loud.


SALEM – Haffa
The claustrophobic sound of drowning, occasionally punctuated by Casio-quality handclaps and drums. Dirty, gray and suffocating. Suitable for the whole family, although probably not yours. Yours either. Maybe play it through once or twice first before calling the kids in to gather round the hi-fi.

Video for “Dirt.”


Belong – Late Night
So you say you like that drowning feeling you can only get from SALEM? But the handclaps and cheap-ass Casio drumwork are too “pop-ish” and leave you feeling like you might survive the encounter? Enter Belong, who remove the rhythm section and bury the vocals even further, turning the drowning feeling from unintentional to self-inflicted, with their cover of Syd Barrett’s Late Night.


m83 – Teen Angst
The amalgamation of one man’s quest to make the perfect My Bloody Valentine song, only using sequencers and synthesizers instead of guitars and $500,000 of label-destroying funds. Staccato bursts of drums, soaring vocals and a propulsive set of keyboard washes. Highly recommended.

All files in one convenient zip. Click thru to download (link opens in new window).

Heavy Rotation V. 5

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]



Profiles in Randomness: Roberto

July 4, 2009
Roberto, pictured here with beloved friend and longtime companion, his Stabbing Knife

Roberto, pictured here with beloved friend and longtime companion, his Stabbing Knife

One of the all-time great minor characters from anywhere at any time, Futurama’s Roberto is a stabbing robot. This is not a malfunction or distressing sign of sentience, but rather his whole purpose. Evidence exists in this clip, in which Roberto (and Bender) are both in line for a compliance upgrade, to better mesh with Mom’s (a worldwide monopoly) new 1-X Robot.

Another appearance has him sharing a room with Fry at the local insane robot facility and terrorizing him all night long by practicing his stabbing.

How insane is he? Bender and Fry run into him while in line at the bank, which Roberto decides to rob (again).
Bender: I like your style. Robbing the same bank twice. Classy.
Roberto: The first time was to just case the joint and rob it a little.

And, of course, this interjection: You’re not made of Tuesday!

As is my style, I have completely and shamelessly co-opted Roberto’s love of stabbing to serve as shorthand for the irritants in life which make me feel a tad homicidal. Without further ado, an incomplete and disorganized list of the things in life that make me reach for my “stabbing knife:”

  • Centerfield by John Fogerty
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band
  • Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders
  • Barbie Girl by Aqua
  • Nearly every piece of mainstream country that has been released in the last 10 years
  • Nickelback
  • Any time Bono opines about anything
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Child actors
  • Menthol cigarettes
  • Patrons who order complicated drinks in establishments that serve their drinks in plastic cups
  • Birthday songs in chain restaurants
  • The RIAA and ASCAP
  • People who have decided their pot usage is a “lifestyle choice” and are now sticking it to the man by being underemployed for life
  • Overuse of current slang, ironic or not
  • The ethanol lobby, in charge of lightening your wallet, breaking your car and shoving your food supply into your gas tank
  • Militant anti-smokers
  • Moral panics
  • People who get “outraged” at pretty much everything
  • Fox News – just because you’re louder doesn’t mean you’re correct
  • Jay Leno
  • The TSA (“They took my stabbing clippers!”) and anything other elements of our blossoming police state, all done under the guise of the “War on Terror”
  • Nearly every motherfucker in Washington, DC (except this guy, who has never taken an earmark)
  • Wacky morning DJs
  • The “comedians” of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour
  • The frat boy mentality
  • The New York Yankees
  • Warning labels
  • Paul Ehrlich

Feel free to add your own particular triggers in the comments. I’d love to see what you hate…



Fancy Plans Guide to the All-New Hardy Boys Adventures

July 3, 2009
After rolling the 2d12, Joe Hardy accidentally summons a "Lumbering Wildcat"

After rolling the 2d12, Joe Hardy accidentally summons a "Lumbering Wildcat"

A quick primer for those of you unfamiliar with the Hardy Boys series of rubber-stamped mysteries.

Frank and Joe Hardy – Fearless, intrepid, fastidious, square. Always just a step or two behind the perpetrators, needing just one more seemingly random coincidence to break the case wide open. In a word: insufferable.

In real life, the only break from peer-group ass-beatings these two would get would come during brief respites as their peers rested and massaged their ass-beating limbs.

Chet– Their “chum,” as he is referred to. Incessantly. Exists solely to provide very occasional comic relief and to ask a stream of questions leading to expositionary dialogue. Some samples:

“Fill me in on the details.”
“Run that by me one more time.”
“How did you know X was involved with Y?”
“How do you figure?”
“Has anyone been referring to you as ‘meddling kids?'”
“Recap the story so far and update us, I mean me, on any recent developments.”

Dad – Shows up in disguise during the last quarter of the book, offering some key insight or piece of damning evidence. Of course, we won’t know this until he shows up in the final chapter to rescue the boys from certain death/dismemberment, usually with some serious law enforcement in tow.

As always, he’ll deliver several paragraphs of exposition detailing his side of the case, which is always something he’s been keeping an eye on for awhile. However, despite his “investigation” he can’t be bothered to make an arrest until his offspring are staring death in the eye.

Mom: Who knows? Busy making cookies and enjoying a constantly empty house?

Which brings us to the here and now. While this series would seem to have joined the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew in the been-there, done-that annals of old-timey serials, there is, of course, money to be made by tapping the nostalgia of their original readers to purchase books for their kids and grandkids.

Here’s what the publishers have lined up for the next wave of Hardy Boys mysteries:

The Case of the Missing Homework
With the day winding down, the insufferable brothers race the clock to remind their teacher that their promised homework hasn’t been assigned yet, much to the dismay of Chet and their other classmates.

The boys soon find themselves in a hairy situation as several of their fellow students gather outside the school to beat their fresh-scrubbed asses. Their dad arrives in the nick of time to defuse the situation, congratulating them on their honorable behavior and taking them out for a malt.

The Riddle of the Mysterious Sext
Someone at the boys’ high school is sending racy pictures and garbled text to their cellphones. Can the boys find the vowels they need to unravel who exactly wants to “do2hawtbros@1nce”? Their dad shows up just in time to confiscate their phones and, consequently, get arrested for possession of child pornography.

The Haunted Amusement Park
The boys are invited to spend a week at Wonderland Ranch. Mystery is soon afoot as the boys discover an eerie lack of “ranch style” animals and an overabundance of “Jesus Juice,” served by monkey butlers.

After several attempts to speak to the owner (who never shows his entire face and refuses to exit his oxygen chamber) about their concerns, the boys lapse into a drunken sleep, occasionally interrupted by disturbing dreams. Their dad shows up at the last minute to rescue the boys and collect a $20 million settlement.

Unfortunately for the boys, no one had used the word "chums" in over 40 years

Unfortunately for the boys, no one had used the word "chums" in over 40 years

The Curse of the Mexican Mule
The boys run afoul of local smugglers during their spring break trip to Cancun. They sober up quickly as they become entangled with a local drug cartel. Badly wounded after their attempt to “talk things out” with the local drug lord (“It’s not just the language barrier, Joe. It’s their awful Mexican ideals!”), the boys are left for dead in the heat of the Sonoran desert.

Their dad cuts short his business trip to Las Vegas to answer the boys’ distress signal and introduce them to their new mom.

Note: This is the first time the series has featured the phrases “full cavity search” and “America’s tough, but fair, drug policies.”

The Purloined Art
The boys assist the RIAA in hunting down the last known Kazaa user in the U.S., a Mrs. Robert Saperstein, whose granddaughter has left 11 songs in a shared folder. Although the computer isn’t functional due to its last Windows Update occurring in June of 2000, the boys, with help from their dad, ensure she gets what’s coming to her: an $880,000 fine and another black eye for the music industry.

The Hometown Incident
A wave of brutal vigilante violence sweeps through the boys’ hometown, spurred on by their success as teenage servers of justice, legal system be damned. Sack-of-doorknob beatings, kangaroo courts and weekly lynch mobs are the norm.

The boys attempt to calm the crowd by explaining that their amateur sleuthing is worlds away from brutalizing random teenage shoplifters, but the boys’ “can-do” spirit and sickeningly cloying speech patterns only fan the flamers. Cooler heads prevail once the boys’ father shows up to paint the town red, rename it “Hell” and declare martial law.

The Secreted Body
A mysterious letter sends the boys to beautiful New Jersey to hunt for the long-missing Jimmy Hoffa. They are soon warned away by colorful locals who “wouldn’t want anything to happen to that mother of yours. When this fails to get a response, they change the veiled threat to cover that “get-out-of-certain-death-free card of yours. You know, your dad.”

The boys find themselves bound for a watery and anonymous death when their father shows up and smooth-talks the boys to freedom, using mainly several million in unmarked bills.

The Runic Photo
The boys uncover an old picture depicting an ancient runic language. They circle the globe looking for the key to unlock the code, visiting ancient Sumeria, Mesopotamia and the local library.

They remain stumped until an anthropologist at Johns Hopkins points out that they are in possession of a badly faded segment from the dust jacket for Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Their dad arrives just in time to laugh his ass off, before getting stoned with the good doctor in his basement.

The secret is: gets you drunk for cheap

The secret is: gets you drunk for cheap


The Errant Portal
During a quest to retrieve an overdue book for the school library, the boys stumble across an inscription containing the “God number,” which allows them to travel freely to and from the past. After an extended visit to yesteryear, the boys return to find the world nearly destroyed.

The boys and their father speculate on what could have triggered this cataclysm:
“When Chet called Mother Theresa a whore…”
“When Joe shoved Einstein down that flight of stairs…”
“When Dad knocked up Joan of Arc…”

Their dad makes a few quick jumps and everything is soon back to normal. Or is it?
Note: It is.

The Case of the Missing Uncle
The boys discover that their Uncle Art never returned from his trip to Sweden. A discussion with Aunt Margaret only further confuses the matter as she is now living with Aunt Amy, whom they had never met before.

Before the boys can delve any deeper into this matter, their dad shows up to give them “the talk.” Dad explains, “Remember when I got a divorce from mom, because of you two?”
“You said that wasn’t our fault!”
“Your mom said that. Anyway, it turns out that she left because she didn’t like herself and wanted to be a different person. So… Art divorced your Aunt Marge so he could be someone else who definitely isn’t your Aunt Amy, so let’s have no further questions about either of these two perverts whom you will never be seeing again.”

The Darkest Hour
With their business winding down due to a lack of interest or remaining, unincarcerated criminals, the boys begin hawking their mystery-solving skills door-to-door. They begin to help/annoy the locals by finding answers to their problems. Here are a few:

The Mysterious Machine
Not really considered canon due to A.) its crossover with the Scooby Doo characters and B.) it being a piece of very sexually explicit fan fiction, dealing with the van being in a near-constant state of “a-rockin,” often with Scooby himself involved.