The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kicking it Andy Rooney style!

Just some random musings that I couldn't build a whole blog around. Like Andy,I'm not actually looking for answers to these.

Did you ever notice how people want your honest opinion until they actual get it?

Did you ever notice how when people parody porn music ("bomp chica wow") it's cooler and better than ACTUAL porn music?

Did you ever wish you had kind of an anti-Tivo where you can tell it which programs to ignore as you're flipping channels so you don't have to expose yourself to the two seconds of Mind of Mencia until you realize what it is and feverishly punch buttons on the remote to escape? It should also learn what programs you despise based on what you avoid and you can also enter in helpful keywords, like "Pauly Shore".

Do you think babies are naturally cute or were just naturally selected that way over the centuries to keep people from drowning them?

Did you ever think you'd live in a world where 3 of the biggest role models for teenage girls have or will go to jail?

When is a straight man going to have a reality series on Bravo?

Did you ever notice how much of the time when someone says, "it's not about the money," they still keep the cash?

When Abe Vigoda ACTUALLY dies, will anyone believe it? (For anyone that doesn't get that, check this)

Religious people have a lot more faith in God now than during biblical times, when God was a lot more chatty and miracles were as common as nickels, but they were still surrounded by doubters.

What did we, as a nation, ever see in Tom Green? Does he ever call Dane Cook to warn him what's in store?

They're coming out with a Underdog movie! I've been waiting for this since I was 7! Or I would, If I didn't stop waiting when I was 10.

Theme restaurants really need to calm down when putting up bathroom signs. I'm not a bloke, a hombre, a muchacho,a buoy, a duke, a cowboy, an Elvis or an Elroy(Atomic billiards in DC)and I'm certainly not a gentleman.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Oh-So-Wrong Predictions

We can talk as much as we want about how things will happen in the future until the day "the future" becomes the present and history can decide how full of shit you are. Like at the beginning of every football season for a decade and a half where Redskins fans say,"This is our year!" (note to non-sports people: they're always wrong). I'll freely admit which one of these gems are mine. I'm limiting myself to me or people I know.

"'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is it for Nirvana. David Geffen has Nelson(remember them?) to make him money, Nirvana's just a one hit wonder." Some dude, late 1991.

"If Bush gets elected, I'm moving to Canada!" My Dad 1988
"I'm voting for George W. Bush!" My Dad, 2004

"George Lucas has had this story in the works forever, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, how could the Star Wars prequels suck?" a friend in 1998, I'll admit I shared his optimism.

"How can they compare Huey Lewis and the News to Men At Work? Men At Work are here to stay!" Me, 1982.

"Marriage is a pointless sham, created for families to join their property and livestock. It has nothing to do with love or human nature." My pal Dale, circa 1994. This fall he'll be happily married for 7 years.

"The 80's are too ridiculous to ever come back." Me, late 1989

"I think (interchangeable politician) is really going to make a difference!" way too many people (including me), way too often.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Love Bacon!

No, in all seriousness, I really love bacon. From the fields that cover the hills and the animals that graze on it to the all the unwed mothers, Iowa is an undoubtedly fertile place.
Where this really makes a difference is the quality of the meat. My uncle has been staying here as he's fixing up the house and loves it. "These steaks were mooing yesterday!" he'd say as we'd grill up animal flesh enough for he and I and his lucky dogs.

I've always eaten plenty of meat myself, so I've been making out like a bandit. Other than the occasional indulgence of bacon on a sandwich, I didn't eat much of the swine until I got to Iowa. I joked to my Dad that I had eaten every part of the pig since I've been in Shenandoah from the rooter to the tooter, although I did eat scrapple growing up, so the full rooter to tooter precedent may have been set in Delaware.

Bacon is truly magical. It is the main reason people say, "It must be bad for you if it tastes good" because nothing tastes quite as good as it is bad for you as bacon. Bacon is next to impossible to screw up making as long as it gets cooked all the way through; if it isn't, then(unless my mother has lied to me) it's unspeakably dangerous. This was the reason she cooked it until the only difference between the meat and fat was the residual color left after any other characteristic had been burned off.

Even though burned to a cinder bacon is still worth the price of admission to me, I like it a bit more raw, so just the fat curls up, like it senses it's own preciousness and wants to make the trip to mouth just that bit shorter. Just let the skillet have it's way enough to change it from dangerous to delicious, THEN GIVE IT TO ME!


Put the bacon on the stove and watch it sweat it's golden greasy goodness. It's one of the only foods, along with grapefruit, that employs it's own defense system when you try to enjoy it. The grapefruit is armed with a juice squirt that always seems to hit the eye no matter where you put your spoon, while the the strips of bacon bubbles up pork napalm shooting from the frying pan with unpredictable power.

Bacon is what truly separates from heart of hearts vegetarian from the meat eater with the guilty conscience that became vegetarian. The properly prepared portabello mushroom can be a somewhat satisfying steak facsimile, but bacon is often what that subgroup of vegetarians miss most of all meat, regardless how many "Gluten Strips" they might have.

The canine contingent of the house always close by me and my uncle during any phase of food preparation, consumption and disposal. But they stay a reverent distance away when bacon's cooking, at least I like thinking it's reverence, it's probably just because they know their worst case scenario is to get the greasy golden goodness of what's left drizzled over their kibble.

They can't bring themselves to think about the REAL worst-case, that my uncle and I are felled by the massive amount of bacon grease we've been ingesting before we can get to the drizzle ritual.

I Love Bacon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RIP:The "Paper"

Anyone that saw So I Married An Axe Murderer will get that reference when I break the sad news that the Weekly World News is printing it's last issue on August 3rd after 2 weeks of re-print issues so no going out with the bang WWN deserves.

I first started reading it when I was dating my first great love, Cessi. "Haven't you ever read it before?" No, of course not, it seemed silly. But I was about to discover something that was to be quite the force in my adult life: ironic humor.
The Weekly World News is more than a tabloid, it is THE tabloid. Whenever you see a parody tabloid headline like "I was seduced by a space alien disguised as Jay Leno," that's mainly because of WWN (in fact that headline was from the WWN).

Even though the actual paper is not even in the area code of the truth, in Men In Black, they said that every story was true, a frightening concept considering how many Biblically-themed "The World Is Ending Next Week!" stories. God's a little out of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones jurisdiction. Even the story that Mike Myers's mom followed in Axe Murderer turned out to be true. (Should I have said "Spoilers" or has everyone seen it?)

My reading of WWN had dropped off to about nothing by the time I had started working at a convenience store that sold the full range of tabloids. The National Enquirer had the greatest percentage of possible truth, their celebrity stories were bullshit but the human interest type stuff that they would sometimes print would be true. Really. The Globe and the Star split the difference between the celeb-centricity of the Enquirer and the "strange but un-true" Weekly World News. It was a little harder to discern what maybe true. I read once about some Australian chemists that developed a musk that wives can secretly spray on their husbands to keep other women away that seemed slightly true until I realized that the chemists names were the same as the rhythm section of the Pixies.
The Weekly World News has no such pretense, any credence given it's "reporting" will justifiably will be used against you in any future argument regardless of what Brenda Fricker(Mrs. McKensie in Axe Murderer) tells you.
I started reading it again in between customers and nothing much had changed, Elvis and JFK were still alive and impregnating space aliens or some such. Among other features I had forgotten, Dotti Primrose and Ed Anger were still contributers. Dotti is proclaimed as "America's most outspoken advice columnist" with is true if your definition of "outspoken" is like the WWN, aggressively abrasive. The letters, big surprise, were fake, but the love still shone through; She replied to a lesbian taking issue with Dotti's characterization of all lesbians as crew-cutted bull dykes with a “Dear Butchy,” wrote Dotti(even through the letter was signed "Sharon"). “I had to use kitchen tongs to open your letter because it was so covered with yucky lezzie germs.”
Ed Anger, true to name, has a hair-trigger rage and is so conservative that he makes Bill O'Reilly look like Karl Marx. His book:

I noticed around the O.J. Simpson trial a sea change in tabloids, with all following more in lockstep with the Enquirer and started guess what "stars" were gay and how bad they looked without make-up. But the Weekly World News always kept it real, real fake, real fantastic. But as I often ask these days,"keep it real, compared to what?"

I'll admit I've lost touch with the Weekly World News yet again, I didn't realize that they had replaced Dotti with the much more "aw-shucks" personable Dolly, but I think it's telling that the biggest ads on the WWN website are offers to sign up to get daily e-mails from Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ways Men can call themselves "Asshole"

To get the concept straight: these are things that men can identify themselves with to actually call themselves "asshole" to me. They can be called these things by other people and they CAN use it to identify themselves as long as the appropriate amount of irony and eye-rolling are employed.

auteur- it reeks of pretension, the best part of living in Iowa is the lack of that.

Renaissance Man-No one even knows what that really means:jack of many trades, master of none

Bon Vivant- I grant a one-person only exemption to Kinky Friedman.

Stud- This is something no mind minds being called, ironic or not. But call yourself one, and you've reached creepiness on a lecherous gym teacher levels. It's almost like a magic spell that instantly grows a mustache on your face and makes you sweat baby oil. FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T DO IT!!

Feminist- Remember, it's when men identify themselves as such. Henry Rollins said it best, "Old people have no idea what it's like being young and men have no idea what it's like to be a woman." It's one of those things that seems good on paper, but every man that I've never known that called themselves a "feminist" was completely full of shit, including myself.

Any astrological sign- unless, like I said, irony is properly engaged. Just remember, it's a slippery slope.

Intellectual- I am not anti-intellectual person, just a anti-someone-calling-themselves-an- intellectual one(otherwise known as the Lisa Simpson Syndrome, by me). During a conversation, a girl I worked with called someone she knew a "pseudo-intellectual". I told her all intellectuals are pseudo, they are just ignorant in a different way. There is a lot to be ignorant of in this world.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Things that suck about being bald.

I talk a lot about being bald, but I like to think that it's partially because I think insecure men can learn a lot from my experience, if I may be so bold. I could bore you with it, but only if you volunteer, click here for part one and here for part two. But hasn't always been domestic beer and frozen pizza.
1. Being over reliant on hats.
The first time I ever shaved my head it was when I worked at a convenience store. I went into the walk-in cooler to restock beer as I often had, until my newly bare skin felt a slap of cold air that the meager layer of hair I used to have protected me from. People always told me growing up that we lose most of our body heat through the top of our head, when you're bald it's easy to believe, you can feel every bit of it as it leaves you, unless you've got a good lit to keep it in.
This has it's advantages, it's almost impossible to leave your hat anywhere when it's cold and/or rainy. There's nothing like a icy raindrop on the pate to jar the memory from you.
But God help you if you can't find one before you leave the house. As a bald man, if you can't your hat, on the coldest of morning you are not leaving. I've worn a hot pink winter hat with a big sparkly ball on the top than go hatless. I'd do it again, but hopefully I won't have to.

I almost forgot (a miracle considering all the work outside I've been doing lately) the importance of the summer wearing of the hat as well. Without the proper covering, the top of my head would be like a solar-powered suspicious mole generator.

2. Getting ALL the hairs in place.
If there is a strip of your hair that is an 1/8 of an inch longer than the rest, you and most people wouldn't notice(assuming you have hair). If I had a eighth of an inch high stripe of hair sticking out of my scalp, I'd look like a mental patient.
With the laziness of repetition of the act and the time constraints I've often had, I sometimes get a little sloppy with the Mach 5, only to look in the mirror in horror later what I left hairy. The best thing is to shave often, then the spots you miss aren't as noticeable.
And don't get me started on those back of the neck hairs, if those aren't dealt with properly it looks like I'm wearing a hair dickey.

3.Being compared nearly EVERY bald celebrity.
It's what I refer to as a "lazy" comparison use to most tenuous glue of reason to hold two things together. Dr. Evil,Mr. Clean, Dave Attel, even Wooly Willy (among many others).

Someone I didn't know very well asked me,"Has anyone told you you look like that guy from Sex and the City?"
I replied,"You mean the bald guy?" I didn't know if there even was a bald guy on that show, but if you've heard that song as much as I have, you know how the chorus goes.
I added the "nearly" because the two I haven't gotten is Michael Stipe and Moby, but my friend Lonnie used to get compared to those two constantly (more lazy comparing if you ask me).

4.Having obscene amounts of hairs everywhere else.
Bald men tend to have more body hair than people with healthy scalps. It's a bit of a hormonal catch 22, the back hair growing extra unbound/free testosterone (not as cool as it sounds) is a symptom of male pattern baldness. Occasionally someone will notice this and say something like,"Isn't that funny, you're bald but you have so much hair...", like I didn't already realize how ironic my body hair is.
To be completely honest, if the I had the choice of having hair on my head or no hair on my back, I'd pick a hairless back every time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This Is My Pop: three years after

Three years ago today, I released my CD This Is My Pop. As a life-long music lover a long time songwriter and performer, it was a bit like a thesis illustrating what I've learned from music thus far. It gave me that connection to the music that had saved and ruined my life, I had a tangible contribution to pop culture. Regardless of the fact that I've sold maybe 30 of them and 600 of them are still in my friend Shawn's attic it was absolutely worth all the effort. It makes me sad when my musician friends can't listen to CDs they've recorded because the project got away from them in a way that sours the end result. For all the lofty acclaim that I was positive This Is My Pop would receive, rocketing me to rock stardom, or at least the chance to be financially self-sufficient playing music, the main goal that I had was to create something that I liked first. And I still love it and am very proud of the achievement.

One of the most satisfying aspects of the experience is the fact that fate has made it possible for me to give a copy to some of the people who have been a direct musical inspiration to me:Bob Mould, Ted Leo, Fountains of Wayne, Lou Barlow, Electric Six, Jon Spencer and Christina Martinez among others. I've also given copies to people who I just liked; when people have asked me,"How do you feel about people downloading for free," I can honestly say, "If they download it, there's one less I have to give away."

In tribute to the album that no one gives a shit about(except me and my mom of course), the rest of this week will be devoted to it, with regular posts here and there. I'm making it downloadable on myspace, 5 songs at a time, changing every two days. I will also be talking about the making of the album and the meanings of the songs.

The album is available on itunes and other outlets for pay, but I am willing to give it away. If you have a suggestion of how to post it to make it easy of people to get or if you want me to send you mp3s through e-mail let me know at
The songs on myspace

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Truth is funnier than parody:Part 2

Just this weekend I learned about the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel being built in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It's going to be the world's first underwater hotel, 20 meters below the Arabian gulf. Here, in what we used to think of as the future, we may not have flying cars or condos on the Moon, but we can live UNDER THE SEA!

Dubai is how the Arab world does their own version of Las Vegas, without the inherent sin except for the deadly one, pride, linking the two cities. As anyone who has ever hovered over Dubai on Google Earth knows, these nuevo really riche are in it to win it, but this still seems about about a Charlton Heston appearance away from a total disaster("I warned those damned the Dubinians, this hotel is DOOMED!") .

Oh, I almost forgot the best part, the hotel itself will be the one of the most blatantly phallic structures ever.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Truth is funnier than parody.

I just saw this commercial and it seems like a parody of a Lifetime Channel original movie right down to it's "cracker,please!" title, but it's the real deal.

Miss New Jersey- Girl Gone Mild?

Everybody has been talking about the excessive press coverage certain recent events have received, to the point that I don't even have to mention the most egregious example of it. But I recognize there are a lot of Us Magazine readers out there who want to be constantly apprised of celebrity developments.

But the story I'm surprised is getting any attention is the "Racy" photos that almost brought down Miss New Jersey.

Have I seen the same photos that they're talking about? The ones that somebody thought they could blackmail her with? I don't think they warrant that kind of tearful apology in the world we live in. We know WAY too much about celebrities lives, they constantly have pictures from the night they'd rather forget plastered all over the tabloids, we know if they shave their private parts in a few of cases we can see them give and receive oral sex.

This is unbelievably tame even by beauty queen standards, she was just Miss New Jersey, the last Miss USA did coke and reportedly got into some hot beauty queen on beauty queen action. I think these kind of photos are the LEAST Miss New Jersey should have in her skeleton closet, but by today's standards are nothing we can't handle.
Now have a nip slip or panty-free upskirt and we'll have to have a talk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Secret Language of Musicians.

As an avid student of the history of pop music as well as a performing songwriter, musicians in general are a lot more full of shit that non-musician music lovers could ever realize. People who become famous musicians in an effort to prolong their adolescence, much like people who make the snap decision to go to grad school as they approached graduation.

I hope my musician friends don't mind if I spill some of our secrets.

When a musician says:"My band broke up because we had creative differences."
The truth is: "Some guys in the band were happy with simply being terrible, but some wanted to suck in a new and exciting way!"

Musician:"I don't do drugs."
Truth: "I just smoke pot, eat the occasional mushroom and drink. A lot."

Musician:"This is the band's favorite album of ours."
Truth:"This will be your least favorite album of ours."

Musician:"The whole band really contributed to this one"
Truth:"We are so bereft of ideas, we actually asked the drummer his opinion."

Musician:"Illegal downloading has really hurt our album sales."
Truth:"Downloading is a good scapegoat to keep us in denial that people don't give a shit about us any more."

If the press says that a new album is:
"Ambitious" it means the songs are a lot longer and may be linked in some thematic fashion by an convoluted story.
"Challenging" means that there are a lot of weird sounds.
"Atmospheric" means the band got a lot of new effects petals that they just HAD to use.

Musician:"He left the band."
Truth: "We fired him."
vice versa works too.

Musician:"I don't really pay attention to music critics."
Truth:"Critics really fuckin' hate me."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fun History Facts

History is a myth that men agree to believe.

I hesitated to write this post, I felt that most of my "fun facts" were things that a lot of people already knew; until I did an informal poll that suggested these facts were not as widely known as I had thought. Please excuse me if I've wasted your time.
Most of these falsehoods were represented as facts from either high school or college teachers.
I ave to credit Robert Wohl and his "Assume the Position" shows on HBO for driving home the point made in the quote used at the beginning, I learned the 4th fact (and half of #3) from it. In the newest "Assume The Position" he used my Hedy Lamarr fun fact, so I guess we're even.

1. Napoleon has been used as history's ultimate example of the overachieving short dude but, considering the standard of the time, Napoleon Bonaparte was of normal height.

2. The Pennsylvania Dutch are actually German. They were the Pennsylvania "Deutsch" but it got twisted in to "Dutch"in our unique method of cultural assimilation.

3. One of the concerns I was taught about the historical journey of Christopher Columbus was the popular notion that the world was flat. Actually the world was generally though of as round hundreds of years before, but when Washington Irving wrote a biography of the fateful trip, he added the concern for sailing over the edge of the world to spice up history a bit.

4.During the Revolutionary War, he traveled hundreds of miles on horseback to warn of a British Invasion from the Boston area all the way to Philadelphia. His Name? Israel Bissell. Who? Exactly.

5.My roommates college history professor told him that while it was getting prepared of sexual congress with the queen, a horse was accidentally dropped on Catherine the Great and killed her. This was the result of a rumor about the queen during her life taking on a life of it's own as "true" history told with a "wink,wink". It's like the rumor about Richard Gere's gerbil, if history said he had died of his fictitious gerbil wounds. There was also the rumor that she had died when she broke the toilet she was sitting on and died from the injuries.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Adventures in 10th grade biology

One of the most time honored traditions of high school biology is animal dissections. Mrs. Fisher,my teacher, heralded our upcoming frog-cutting experiment with the pleasant tar-like smell of the melting of thick black wax into pans. That was where we were to pin down "subjects" as we cut them open and compared their organ to ours, some of the kids had done it in seventh grade, but this was going to be different. In 7th grade they had a giant vacuum-sealed bag stuffed with frogs that were long dead, for this one they were going to be alive.

Mrs. Fisher offered the bounty of extra credit for anyone who caught frogs for our dissection. Delaware had a lot of marshy areas, so it was pretty easy for the right kids to get plenty of "extra credit". Frog killin' day came with jar after jar of pissed off frogs leaping their way towards the lid of their jar in a futile escape effort. These local frogs were a lot bigger than the seventh grade ones and with strong legs to make themselves as big a nuisance as they could be with their desire to stay alive and everything.

Mrs. Fisher told us the first thing we were going to have to do was "pith" our frogs; we'd use a tool to poke through the spinal column to paralyze the amphibian while keeping their organs working as we poke around in them.

My lab partner and I picked an average sized frog while across from us while my classmate Julie and her lab partner picked the biggest frog I had ever seen in my life. We pithed our respective experiments and crucify them with t-shaped stainless steel pins into the black wax belly up for the slicing.

As we all did our first incisions together, it became immediately apparent who had incorrectly pithed. Those ones started wriggling as violently as one would expect if they could feel someone cut into them and were still able to express their displeasure physically . When Julie pithed her's she needed to have her partner's two hands to hold it. As it turned out, what she did didn't paralyze it, but knocked out until the frog organs were completely exposed.

The pins in the wax that had contained the struggles of the other frogs were no match of this behemoth frog when he came to. He immediately pulled the pins on his hands out of wax and tried to use his increased momentum to get his legs out, flopping so furiously the wax pan starts jerking around the lab table as all of us are following it with our eyes, scalpels in hand for protection.

And we needed it, the pins were still in the frog's hands as he wriggled around, flailing his pins at us like they were samurai swords as he tried to get himself free. His organs flopping around became like a second line of defense, if the whirling pins of death didn't stop you maybe the slimy organs will!

Julie looked right at me and said,"Pete! Kill it!"
I don't remember exactly what I did,but I suspect if I did something I was proud of I'd remember it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I miss you.

I miss blogging, I really do. I apologize to the ones and ones of my readers that I have not posted recently. I think that even acknowledging the "darkness" of my blog makes me a unique blog person along with my penchant for fact-checking and critically rereading my post to make sure they're worth posting. I have been writing posts too, a lot of them, I'll try to post something every day this week, they just weren't ready to post.
I actually have been writing for the book, I'm up to about 225 pages; I'm guessing I have about 50 more to go. But, the more pages I write, the more I remember I'll have to.
So here are some funny videos that I found at Videocracy on The Onion.

1.Herve Villechaize sings! This clip generates a unique kind of self-contained Schadenfreude where you feel both the shame and the joy yourself.

2.Another reason I glad I didn't grow up in this time, with video cameras everywhere and instantaneous world wide distribution. I would done something as navel-gazing and pointless, but not nearly as funny.

3. Another battle lost in the class war. I thought about the time Fox first aired The Simple Life, full scale class war would break out. The long ignored perception that 95 percent of the wealth in this country was controlled by 5 percent of the population coupled with the constant jackassery of the children of said 5 percent would cause us to rise from our microwave burritos and take part in "aggressive redistribution" of wealth.
But I was wrong. Paris Hilton (so famous for nothing, Paris Hilton doesn't just describe a person, but the kind of celebrity she represents) is as big as she's ever been.
And a girl calls her mom stupid for giving her a Lexus.