Friday Fives – quit yer job


If you could quit your job and pursue your hobby full-time with financial security, what hobby would you pursue?

Writing.  I enjoy all writing.  Obviously, I prefer the kind of writing where I can inject my opinions, perspective, and humor.  However, I think I would even enjoy mindless drivel like writing for People magazine.  I mean, as a full time job?  Yeah, writing is great.  I do it anyway… why not get paid?

If you enjoy my writing, and I truly hope you do… here is some more.  There is this site we are on right now, of course –  I also have a site that is just my music writing.  Quite pleased with myself, that url is Maybe I am  Get it?  On social and popular culture issues, I pretty much am confident that I am Correct.  Music, though, is subjective… so why be a dick about it?  I also used to write for Blogcritics, and have done a good little bit writing for various guitar magazines.

Oh, there is also my newest endeavor – Remember the 27.  This is a website specifically dedicated to looking at the phenom of rock stars dying at 27.  I assume you have heard of it… a freaky disproportionate amount of rock stars die at age 27.  It goes back to the 60s, with Brian Jones, PigPen, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse… and on and on.  Oh… how about this, the original 27 club member – bluesman extraordinare >   Robert Johnson

What’s a hobby others have taken up that just baffles you?

Golf.  I am neither for it, nor against it.  I just don’t get it.

What was your’s father’s hobby? Is it relevant now?

Running.  No.  In fact, one of my favorite HST books (and the last long form book he ever wrote) is about running.  At the time, 1980, it was a hip new odd trend.  So… Rolling Stone sent Hunter to Hawaii too look at this phenomenon.  Side note – this very book is where I took my pen name, Lono, from.

What is your mother’s hobby? Is it relevant now?

tennis.  Yeah, still being played.  That sport is not lost on me, I think it’s terrific.  In fact, in case you are curious just exactly how incredibly Caucasian I am… when I was young… mom sent me to tennis camp at the nearby country club.  I don’t thinks that was so much to teach me strength and sportsmanship… but just to get me the hell out of the house during summer.   Well played, mother.  Well played.

What do you imagine your favorite superhero or celebrity’s favorite hobby is?  

Eddie Vedder?  I think we can safely assume he spends more time than he cares to admit googling me.


The Lono Travel Thai-aries® – Bangkok Red Light District

That picture is a bit much, isn’t it?  Well, jackass, you are the one who clicked on the link  to read about the Bangkok sex shows. 

First, start here

Second, I have gone ahead and given the travel thai-aries® it’s own page.  Look above, see the ‘what I am reading, about me… etc’, it is there.  This is if you want to skip over my usual brilliant blathering and get straight to the Thailand and Southeast Asia fun.

There are a lot of hyperlinks here, they are all safe to click on at work except for the very end.

This is a story about Pat Pong, the fabled Red Light District of Bangkok, Thailand. In order to discuss this adventure, there will be words and situations that may make you blush. So, if you are easily offended… then definitely read on – and stop being such a pussy about everything.

We knew our hotel was very close to the Red Light District, easily within walking distance. We knew this because every time we told a taxi or a tuk tuk driver where we were going (our hotel), they would say “Ah, you mean red light district. It’s ok with me. I take you there now.” This was actually helpful, as in the end we didn’t bother explaining our hotel.  We would just say ‘pat pong’.  No one believed us anyway about the hotel.

It is composed of about 3 small city blocks. It is sex clubs, supposedly… but we think it’s a myth, maybe. This area may have been notorious for sex, but in the last 20 years it is more notorious for scams. If you google the red light district (go ahead and do that at work, I dare ya!  Make sure it’s an image search) you will find stories of people getting shaken down, hustled, drugged, robbed… all kinds of nasty shit. The rule of thumb seems to be NEVER go into these clubs… and certainly never go in alone.

What they advertise isn’t sex. At least, not in the sense of a guy and girl getting is on. Though, that is likely available. Mostly what they offer is weird voyeur stuff. Most famous is the ‘ping pong show’. I’ll let Wiki take it from here.

The Ping pong show is a form of stage entertainment that takes place in strip clubs, most often in Thailand. The show consists of women using their pelvic muscles to either hold, eject, or blow objects from their vaginal cavity. Ping pong balls are the most iconic objects used, but others include long strings, whistles, pens, cigarettes, candles, darts, spinning tops, razor blades and chopsticks. Another activity is the shooting of goldfish into a bowl, or stuffing a rather large frog inside to see how long she can keep it in.

Yeah, there is a wiki page for that. Can you believe it? I was with my wife, so I don’t know how that colored my experience, but it didn’t seem to make them shy.  My wifey is awesome.  She was as curious about all this as I was.  Each bar has at least one guy out front approaching people. They show you a laminated menu with various sex acts to watch. Every store front/bar had the same menu. So, I am guessing there is a single owner over the whole thing. Problem is, you see, it seems no one ever gets to see the sex show. They lure you in, charge you a LOT, and then lure you in more… but the sex show never seems to happen, unless you have a ton of patience and money.  I am speaking anecdotally, as I never went in to the clubs.  There was a period after we had been drinking and I needed to pee so bad.  However, I knew if I used these clubs I would come out $300 poorer, and likely pregnant.  Of course, that is why we kept no more that about $20 in cash when we went out anywhere.

It seems no one ever sees the show, so we (the wifey and I) questioned if there even was a show. I named it the Great Pumpkin – talked about, promised, discussed, but never happens. Here is a shot of the menu. I would prefer to embed it below, but maybe you are at work.

This guy summed it up on Trip Advisor with many less words than me.

Patpong is two small narrow streets and is a red light zone.  Its safe enough, but if you venture inside some of the red light bars expect to get seriously ripped off, and the police won’t do much to help.

Oh, I forgot to mention this. Bangkok, and Thailand in general, is incredibly, and impressively, gay friendly. There is a whole other sex and class of people known as ‘lady boys’. Interesting article here. These are gay men with their male junk still in tact, yet they present themselves to society as women.  You often can’t tell if it is a boy or girl until they speak. The Pat Pong district had a whole gay section too. It not only included bars with men dancing out front in tighty whiteys that looked to be about 15 years old… but hair cut places. These were hair cut places specifically for gay men. It was to get the ‘gay cut’. You may think there is no such thing as a gay haircut, but you would be wrong. As Meese once said about pornography, I will say about gay hair. I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.

In closing, I got you something.  Since you came all this way, and stayed and read this far… I found a ping pong show for you.  Someone snuck a camera in, so the footage is grainy, but unmistakable.  I didn’t want to be a tease.  You came here for a ping pong show and you shall get one. The footage is interesting.  Maybe because I am happily married, or old, but there isn’t anything erotic about this… to me, anyway.  Needless to say, don’t watch this at work.

I have to say I had a lot of fun researching this post.

Lono Travel Thai-aires® – the Thai Massage

First, start here, please.

If you know about massages at all, you have heard of the vaunted ‘Thai massage’. You haven’t? Good news, I am here to tell you about it.

If you are a dude, odds are you have never gotten a massage. I know why. You may say that’s for chicks. Or, I don’t want a dude touching me. Whatever, I don’t want to hear your excuses because I know the real reason. You are afraid of massages because you may either: fart, or get a boner. These are very reasonable fears. I had them, until I finally got a massage. Now, I LOVE them, and get them often. I have never had a problem with either of the aforementioned threats. So, stop being a pussy and go get a message. It’s amazing.

With that being said, let’s talk about the ‘Thai massage’. It is a specific manner and technique of massage. It involves the masseuse using their entire body to contort your body.


To many people, my wife included, the Thai massage is a miraculous and happy and relaxing thing. However, if you are as broken as I am, not so much. Imagine this: imagine I made a bet with you. Let’s say that I bet you that Tony Romo will throw an interception in their upcoming title game that will cause them to lose the game. It’s an easy bet, he has done it 5 years in a row. You say he won’t. Let’s bet.

If I win, you have to get a torture massage. You get a massage from his guy, and it will be the most painful thing you have ever experienced. Like, water boarding type pain and fear. If you win, I buy you a happy sexy relaxy massage with candles and topless girls and one of them will give you the happy ending. And, they are playing your favorite CD and feeding you shrimp scampi in the meantime. That is if you win.

Now, what if I told you the outcome of both massages is exactly the same?

What if I told you will come out of the torture massage even happier than you would have been with busty mc handjob? THAT, my friends, is the essence of a Thai massage. It is very physical, and painful, and laughably awkward. When done right, though, it is insanely effective. The first people we went to were in Bangkok, and was recommend. That was a top dollar fancy schmancy place. For a full hour message, I paid upwards of $8. $10, with tip. Yeah, shit is cheap there, it’s awesome. I spend more than that here just on tips. She was able to finish by cracking my back. Since I have a chiropractor, I knew that was EXACTLY what I needed… especially after spending 2 days on a plane!

I went for 3 subsequent massages, and none were as good. Mostly, just painful.  How many swear words do you know?  Guess what?  After a proper Thai massage you will come up with a few more.  After a bad Thai massage?  Several more!  For the record, though, my wife loved them ALL. She is physically in superior shape. So, if you don’t have back problems like I do, go for it. Find a Thai masseuse. I would recommend, if possible, to do this in Thailand. While I am sure there are qualified people here, you would probably pay about $200. For that, you can almost fly to Thailand and get one there.

Push Polling – evil fun with politics


I want to talk to you about ‘Push Polling’.  It’s a political trick, and it works.  There is an off year election coming up, so I want you know these tricks.  People say ‘negative campaigning doesn’t work’.  They are wrong, it almost always works.  Push Polling is kinda awesome and brilliant.  It’s also wrong, really deeply morally wrong.

So, here is what Push Polling is.  Let’s say the candidate’s name is Lono.  Let’s say you are the opposition to Lono.  In this scenario, Lono is a Democrat and the opposition is a Republican.  It’s a fair generalization, as this tactic was pioneered by the GOP.  So, they call you and say “if I told you that Lono wanted to murder puppies who don’t pay taxes.  Is that something you would support?”

Now, this is nonsense.  However, now I have to answer questions about puppy murder.  Now the headline in the papers says “candidate Lono denies puppy murder”.  Now, when you type in ‘Lono’ in google, it will auto-complete ‘puppy murder’.  It’s fucked up, and it works.  Shit, just me writing this article will connect those words together.  That is why I use the pseudonym.

Hunter Thompson did this to great effect against Ed Muskie.  He thought it would be funny to spread a rumor that he was hooked on Ibogaine.  It was brilliant, and of course evil.  Most importantly, it worked.  Now this poor Muskie guy is defending himself against a totally fabricated claim.  In fact, when you Wiki ‘Ibogaine’, this scandal comes up.

While in Wisconsin covering the primary election for the United States presidential election of 1972, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson submitted a satirical article to his editor at Rolling Stone accusing presidential nominee Edmund Muskie of being addicted to ibogaine. When Rolling Stonepublished the piece, many readers, and even other journalists, did not realize that Thompson’s assertion was facetious. The claim was completely unfounded, and Thompson was surprised that anyone believed it.[69]

Continue reading

Friday Fives – music?

1. Do you play an instrument?   Why or why not?

 Yes.  I can play bass guitar and some piano.  Mostly, I play guitar.  I started on trumpet.  It was a mean instrument, in every possible sense.

2. How have you changed since high school?

 I am much more open minded about situations.  Everything used to be black and white.   A right side, and a wrong side.  Now, I see that things are much nuanced.  My mother taught  me to see both sides, and it has served me very well.  I realize as I grow older that the only true currency is time.  I am not even saying I don’t waste time.  Wasting time is my favorite thing to do.  I mean, I choose to spend my time only with people who bring me up or make me happy.

negativity or paranoia are simply not an option.  You were interesting to get drunk with in college, but now you just seem crazy and sad.

3. Will your memoir be a Hollywood blockbuster?

will it be?  Ever see ‘Avatar’?  That was my story, and it’s kind of a big deal.  Jesus, you hayseeds don’t even have 3D yet, do you?

4. If you have an itch do you scratch it?

if I can, I get my wife to scratch it.  That is somehow more satisfying.  Also, my itches are always on my back… where I can’t get to.  Something tells me this question is a metaphor for something bigger.  Ok, I will play your game.  What is my ‘itch’?    Here are my coming mid life crisises….  I want to sky dive, and spend a summer in Alaska.

Back to the literal interpretation of the question > I am pretty serious about backscratching.  I keep a bamboo backscratcher at my desk at work and one on every floor the of house.  I LOVE getting my backscratched.  It is a childhood thing.  I was getting a massage two weeks ago, and I asked the lady if she could just scratch my back for an hour.  For the record, the answer was no.  Also, I think that totally creeped her out.

5. Would you rather: Listen to a hot licks electric guitar or wicked pickin’ acoustic guitar.

easiest question to answer – acoustic.  Acoustic guitars are my favorite things.  I love them above trucks, and most women.  In closing, I beg you to watch this.  Seriously.  Over and over again.


Friday Fives

1. What’s your name or alias?

Lono.  Wanna know where I got it from?  I may have told you this, not sure.   I have always been a Hunter Thompson fan, big time.  You know that by now.  I was reading Curse of Lono from him. It’s my favorite of his long form fiction.  Anyhow, I named my cat in college ‘Lono’.  Then, we got evicted because of the meathead frat assholes who lived above us.  We got blamed for them hucking beer bottles at cars in the parking lot.

So, I went to stay with my buddies at the smurf house.  I took my cat.  For whatever reason, as some way to likely bother me, they called me ‘Lono’.  It stuck, and it’s stuck.  The original name comes from a Hawaiian god.

2. What are your abilities?

Nothing for you to concern yourself with.

3. What’s your main goal as an all-powerful villain?

The destruction of the religious right

4. By what means do you go about trying to accomplish this?

Compassion, joy, and knowledge

5. What’s your fatal flaw or weakness?

Compassion, joy and knowledge

* that picture up there at the top… that is an original piece of art from my friend Kermit.  More on that later, I promise.

Friday Fives

snow style >

1.  When was your first snow storm?

well, I should qualify this with some boring and oft repeated data.  I grew up in Phoenix, so I didn’t get to see snow fall from the sky until a teenage trip back to Buffalo, NY… where the other half of our family lives.  I remember we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Grimsby for Christmas and it snowed Christmas eve.  I can’t begin to tell you how tickled I was, and how meaningful it felt to me.  I remember running outside and stamping ‘Merry Christmas’ in the street in the snow.

I thought this would be a welcome memo of joy for morning drivers.   By the time I got back inside and warmed up… I looked out the window to size up my masterpiece.  It was gone!

Gone!  erased for all time.  Being from Phoenix, I didn’t quite understand the physics of snow.  Yeah, the new snow covered the old snow (bearing my tidings) in about ten minutes.  In Buffalo, they call that ‘lake effect snow’… and it ain’t no thing to them.
2. When was your favorite snow storm?

Probably my first blizzard in Denver, Oct 2007. We had moved here in February of that year from AZ.  It was my first blizzard ever, and was terribly romantic.  We were in an apartment so crappy that it literally snowed through the gaps in the window sills. Also, we were too poor for cable back then, and our broadcast tv didn’t work for shit.  So, we were genuinely surprised.  However, we had a big fireplace and had met some friends in the building and made a party of it.  We had 8 foot snow drifts by morning, and we both had to dig our cars out for jobs we eventually didn’t have to go to.  We loved it.  We had never seen the sky unleash a holy white terror for 16 hours straight like that.  It was humbling!

3.  Comfort foods?  Desert or savory?

savory, I guess.  My favorite food is sammiches.  A well crafted hot sandwhich is the best thing on earth.   Safeway makes a really good one, get the ‘Chicago South Side panini’.  Make sure they add your lettuce and tomatoe after they toast it.  Also, Crazy Jerry’s sammiches are just about a vice.  I get there once a week.  Unless you live here in South Denver, you have no idea.  You will, though.  Come and visit.

4.  Ever had a car accident in winter weather?

Yes, it was the moment I knew I had to get a  truck.  In college, I lived in Flagstaff, AZ.  Flagstaff is higher than Denver (7,000 feet, vs Denver’s 5,200) and we got crazy snows.  I was delivering Chinese food for years in college to make ends meet.  One day I was out delivering (or is it… derivering ha ha) in a huge snow storm.  I got stopped at an intersection and my little Honda slid on the ice into a pick up truck in front of me.  Crash!  It was mortifying, because if my insurance knew I was delivering food, they would not cover me (or her) for the damage.  So, as I walked up to make sure the driver was ok, I slid the Chinese food into the trunk.  Done!

So, the front of my Honda was destroyed.  $5,000 in damage, as it slid under her pickup truck.  The good news was it did nothing to her pickup truck.  She thought the whole thing was funny.  She said we didn’t need to call the cops (it would have been my ticket, see.  Rear ending always is.  Failure to control vehicle… i have a couple of those tickets).  She said her boyfriend wouldn’t even notice.

*** it is pertinent I mention the boyfriend angle because she was really cute.  See, my buddy Jaime and I picked up two chicks we met in a car accident in high school, and we combined cars and hung out together all night.  Weird way to pick up chicks, but it worked… after they t-boned us from running a stop sign. Strange, but totally true.  I lament to report I did not get the opportunity to t-bone them.  If you know what I mean.  Maybe not a way to meet girls after all.  What the hell did I know?

Anyhow, at that moment, I realized I should really get a pick up truck.  Six pick up trucks later, I have driven or owned nothing else since I crashed that little Honda.

a postscript to that.  Years ago I was driving up in Boulder in a snow storm and a similar thing happened.  I had stopped at a red light and a little tiny Geo metro railed into the back of my Toyota truck.  I went back and found his car buried underneath my towing receiver hitch.  It totally destroyed his front end, and all I had (once we drug him out) was some of his red paint at the bottom of my hitch.

with absolutely zero bucks in damage, I knew I had to pay it forward.  The kid was freaked and said he didn’t have insurance.  I told him don’t sweat it, we are cool, he is free to go.  I wonder if that dude is driving a truck right now, telling a similar tale.  not really.  I don’t really care.

5.  Would you let Carl Kipper be your designated driver?

yes, I would.  We are into the tail hours of the ‘blizzard of 2009‘, and so with my office being closed most of today and most of tomorrow, I have had a few drinks.  That is what we do for blizzards, drink and watch movies.  Truth be told, this wasn’t much of a ‘blizzard’ at all.  I only have about a foot of snow outside.  Regardless, I do not drink and drive.  Carl is on point.

Now, here is something maybe you didn’t know.  Did you know that a ‘blizzard’ isn’t really about snow?  It ain’t.  Blizzard is a weather condition regarding wind and visibility.  Blizzard conditions are often declared long after snow has stopped.  This is your blizzard cheat sheet > snowing at one inch an hour or more, and winds of 20 MPH or more simultaneously.  We certainly had that today.

Really, though, today wasn’t much of a blizzard.  A blizzard is when you open your front door and there is an 8 foot wall of snow because of drifts.  A blizzard is when you open the garage, you can’t see your pickup truck.  I have been in plenty of those here in Denver.  They are awesome.  Today was just a decent angry snow.  Good thing, it was the first snow of the year.

big tangent there.  Sorry.  Yes, Carl is my driver.  Carl is many things to me.  Today, though, Carl is my driver.  Carl is my lover.  Carl is my gal!

in closing, remember what the snowflake has taught us.  You are unique, just like everyone else!