Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's What We Dude

Readers! Man, are we glad to see you. These last few months...they have been dark times indeed. I mean, the nation's unemployment troubles has our President chanting for jobs. Children are peddling their annual bicycles of homework-related grievances. And the weather. Oh my, the weather. She succumbed to Mr. Dogg's prophecy, and in fact dropped as if it were excessively hot.

If that dated rapference doesn't emphasize how dark things have gotten, you should turn the light off and read it again.

Thankfully, 6 weeks ago, something happened. With the arrival of three wonderful letters, brightness once more entered our lives. The visible silence was eradicated as "the logo" (which will one day become the flag for the United States of America) graced our televisions. Ladies and gentlemen, the NFL had returned.
Grid-ion King
Football came back. The unbelievable rage of a 162-game baseball season was taken out on so many receivers cutting across the middle -- and we got to watch the whole play develop. As we mourned the loss of not one, but All My Children, we turned to the gridiron to provide us with over-the-top safety drama.

At the center of the pigskin, the pig dermis if you will, football is about emotion. Hearken back to the days of Matthew Stafford's rookie season. We all watched as the man delivered a damned near impossible 38-37 comeback, throwing the final touchdown of the game with a shoulder injury that would end his season, all while the clock read zeros. In a landscape of 32 fan-domes, there wasn't a dry eye in anyone's house. The men choked backed tears and slow-clapped the moment into history, softly whispering, "that's boy's got heart." The women, they...didn't really notice.

Sport is the rare arena in which guys are more prone to having feelings. (That's right, f-bomb). We laugh, cry, cheer, and beer when it comes to watching the game. Want to know why? Because this is what male friendship is all about, damnit!

In an ideal world, right now you should be hearing the sound of a record being spun backwards by a 70s DJ and watching everything wave into ambiguity. It's time, kids, to throw down a lesson flashback style.

I am about to explain something that was alluded to in 1994 by everyone's favorite fictional wealthy scamp: Ri¢hie Ri¢h. During a ceremony in which an absent Richard Rich Sr. is awarded a set of gold-plated socket wrenches, Ri¢hie accepts the gift on his father's behalf, explaining, "I know my dad loves socket wrenches. I love socket wrenches. If my mom knew what a socket wrench was, she'd love it too."

There, that should make it clear as day. Good night everyone!

Oh, it's still very confusing? Well, you see, what The Pagemaster was getting at is that men share a bond forged in gold, and mothers spend all their time worrying that they look like Dr. Conrad Murray's most famous victim. With that said, The Sometimes would like to take some time(s) and explain to the ladies out there exactly what our society's socket wrench of male friendships is all about.

Gather round in a circle, gentlewomen, as we learn the complicated intricacies, gossip, he-said-he-said, and all around cattiness involved when two strange men upgrade their relationship to bosom-less buddies.

...actually, c'mere a minute. My months of research for this blog post are making it really clear that none of those things are involved in dudeship. Here's what it actually takes:
1) One introductory hand shake and name exchange.
2) Saying the word "man" during an initial conversation. Ex. "Those (insert local disappointing sports franchise here), man" + "I know, dude" = BFFs

Update: Tom's begonias are currently doing great
That's how two men become friends. There's no further investigation into each other's clique, jewelry, dresses, or significant other. It is all about respect for your fellow man. Singular.

This very fundamental base can lead to regular head nods, out of place TV references, and many more handshakes. It may even lead to a meaningful bromance -- aptly named because it sounds like an actual word, and men are fine with close fraternal relationships. Try calling the friendship two women share by the same convention, and you have "Sismances". This could either be a Greek philosopher or some sort of rare uterine disease.

I wish I could elaborate further, but really, that's it. Two guys can become friends just like that. Sober, too! Ladies, I recommend observing this theorem in action the next time you're at a social gathering and witness two men meeting for the first time. Your socks? Oh, they'll have been understandably knocked off.

Little Mac's uppercut is guaranteed to leave you barefoot
With this newfound understanding of Social Chemistry, what with the bonding, you've completed the prerequisites for Social Organic Chemistry. Unfortunately, I cannot teach it to you at this time, as my peers and family have informed me that it's just too sticky a topic, what with the bonding. Let us instead take solace with the new found daylight in our lives, for it will soon need saving.

Socket wrench to me,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Summer, You're Drunk

Awwwwwwww we're black y'all. We're black y'all. We're blacker than black and we're black y'all!

Oh, I'm sorry. We started off meaning to say "back" but couldn't resist the allure of black power-- which, for the record, has never suffered a major outage.

Forget all that though, friends, how have you been? I gotta say, you look a little taller. And did you lose some weight? Readers, you lookin' foine! Oh this? Nah, just a t-shirt I had laying around, you know. But listen, there's something we wanted to tell you.

So we know that this time when we said we were going out for milk, we didn't come back for five months. We just want you to know (in the same Robin Williams to Matt Damon tone) that it's not your's not your fault.

Honestly, we went to the store, saw a poster for a motorcycle festival, and one thing led to another. Long story short, we have the best leather vest tans going right now.

So let's put all that behind us, curl up under the ceremonious make-up Snuggie, and have ourselves a nice box of Franzia. What do you say?


Breathe it in, kids. That's the body odor of mother Earth, and she is not wearing dewodorant. The weeks of incessant humidity are a wonderful reminder that the blades of our household fans simply can't cut it anymore. It is clear now that the air has been shampooed, and therefore must be conditioned.

We at The Sometimes heartily support the miracle of centralized air just as much as we support the practice of social gatherings. Where do these two phenomena intersect? That's right, Chuck E. Cheese's and the movies. We should only concern ourselves with the latter, though, because apparently being hot and sticky is frowned upon in a ball pit full of screaming infants.

A purple popsicle? You grapist!

A timeless American tradition, the theater is the place where buttery popcorn is transferred from a clogged vessel to a clogged artery. Where countless teenagers seek out private seats in a public forum, so as to engulf each other in a game of minor league tonsil hockey. Yes, it truly is the place for kings.

Throw a full-blowing air conditioning system into the mix, and the only thing hotter than those barely legal teens is Kevin James' sizzling performance in the fast-paced, beastility-filled thrill ride Zookeeper.

You can play video games in the lob...Hey, wait a minute. That's not an accurate description of Zookeeper at all. Let's take a look at what the 'ole online edition of a newspaper says. Okay, found the review. Hmm...he's a what? Oh alright, that makes sense. And he can do to animals? Oh, like Dr. Doolittle! What? What do you mean it's nothing like Dr. Doolittle? It's the same exact supernatural ability. That's like saying there's nothing in common between Michelle Bachmann and a white NBA player -- come 2012, a black man will continue to dominate them.

Alright, after having voluntarily added "zookeeper review" to my search history, I've learned two things. One, the only misinterpretations I made about this film were about the plot, setting, and characters. And two, it is impossible not to fall in love with Kevin James based on his cuddly frame and winning smile. I completely get what that Allegra Cole sees in him.

Still, I can't find any proof that this movie is actually enjoyable. No proof. Proof. Proof....

Hot damn, that's it!

Besides very long hallways, staircase lighting, and ticket checkers who heed Beyonce's infamous advice ("to the left, to the left") half of the time, what does every movie theater have? That's right, a concession stand! And what fills these fantastically overpriced vending stations? Why the popcorn, soda pops, and diabetes-sized candy bars, of course.

While all of these items may help partially alleviate the torture of sitting through The Smurfs, they will not make the experience enjoyable.

Enter the savior: Booze.

Bar Wars: You R2Drunk2Drive

Before you drink that idea down, imagine this. Having recently witnessed the annual glory of the Fourth of July, I defy you to tell me that the following scenario is not quintessentially American:

You're sitting in a giant megaplex watching Bruce Willis continue his assault on the world's accented terrorists in Die Hard 6: Explosions and Breasts. You lean slightly forward and grab your 50 oz movie theater sized, special edition ice cold Budweiser. Relaxing your chubby rear against the plush cushioning of your seat, you tilt your head back and take a long, refreshing pull. Just as McClane does a back flip off of a flaming helicopter, guns a blazing, you feel the soft kiss of centralized air on your brow.

You have just achieved the real American dream.

I mean, think about it. Not only would we enjoy the comments my black brethren already yell at the screen, but we would join in on the fun. Every single one of us has wanted to shout "Bitch, don't open that door!" at the top of our lungs. This would finally make that a socially acceptable reality.

For theater owners no doubt reading this small town blog, I offer you the possibility of never again having a lull in the box office. Say it with me: daily drink specials.

Those of you currently dealing with the oncoming anxiety of the Netflix price hike will soon find yourselves back in a theater seat. It is here where I implore you to imagine how great the next two hours spent watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes: of the could have been. Come back to us with feedback, please and thanks.

In the interim, know that the Sometimes is thankful to be back on your browsers, mobile or otherwise. We missed you guys and dolls.

Roll the credits,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

p.s. This is totally unrelated, but based on the recent internet craze, if you see someone "planking" just do the right thing: walk on them and pretend there's a sea of shark infested waters below your feet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Groce, Dude

The feeling of excusing ourselves for long writing absences seems to have become commonplace. We should start every post with a Simpsons-couch-gag style apology. Today's flaky excuse? One half of the Sometimes (sadly) has left Chicago for literal pastures, but things have now settled. So, let's get blogrolling.


Just as the Bulls and the Sheens begin to embrace the word "win", the season that starts with the same three letters is making its well earned exit. Snow is about to enter its annual "why do I even bother?" phase, and the Sun, having finally lost those extra Holiday pounds, is feeling hot again. Soon, attractive women will begin to come out of hibernation, and men around the world will rejoice.

National Geographic Presents: The Cave of Babes

Yep, everything is really coming up Derricks.

Here's usually where you'd see a negative twist brought upon by a positive introduction, but damnit all if things aren't feeling just a bit better these days.

I mean, it's almost picnic season! The time to sit in the middle of an emerald colored park, on top of a plaid blanket with frisbee in tow, is nearly here. Can't you just smell the games of pick up badminton about to end with heated arguments regarding the meritsof Pauly D's DJ certification? It's the type of family atmosphere that can only end once the cabs are, in fact, here.

In true MTV Cribs circa 2004, and even Yogi Bear fashion, let us dive into heart of our day out -- the pic-a-nic basket.

You've got your sandwiches, ranging from egg salad to chutney. Your wines, coca colas, and more wines. Your grapes, nuts, grape-nuts, and Chex Mix. Oh yeah, you've got it all.

Along with all of these delectables by your side there is, however, a belief that the food you've brought with you is going to be consumed now-ish. Fresh sandwiches don't tend to do well in the real world. Ever seen one try to do it's taxes? No? Wait one second. Oh, Tom!

Why you should always save the pickle for last

My mom has always been in charge of the picnic menu, and lately I've been missin' her kitchen. Having recently moved away from Mother Jones' fabled cooking, I've found myself in food limbo. The high quality nourishment that I'd become accustomed to has suddenly disappeared, and the old adage of working to put food on the table has become an ironic punch in the jejunum.

The circumstances have led me to my local grocery store. It is here that I've discovered something. Given a lack of unoccupied fridge space, and a weakness for gimmicks, my shopping cart mocks the world's dietitians.

Let me break it down for you, as a list of my "must buys" at the grocery store:
- Flamin' Hot Cheetos, the perfect compliment to a Subway sandwich.
- Diet Coke, all the brand name without any of the flavor.
- Scooby-Doo and/or Spongebob fruit snacks, they're gelatin free!
- Granola bars, mostly just to rationalize the rest.

That's pretty much....oh, and Pretzel M&M's...what I regularly self-checkout. (Just a quick aside, wouldn't it be perfect if all self checkouts had full size mirrors?). During the "payment method" screen, while coming to terms with the fact that secretly we all share a 3rd grader's diet, is when I made a bit of a discovery.

Peeking over, legally, I think, at what's on the conveyor belt for other shoppers, I've found that it's startlingly easy to pick out who shops for one.

Required reading for last week's rose ceremony

Dead giveaways to finding a solo shopper? How's two lists in the same blog post sound?

1) Frozen dinners. These flavorful sodium injections are a mainstay in a lonely man's cart. At least with a name like Michelina, the illusion of eating with a woman is there.

2) Giant bags of miscellaneous chips. If you're thinking that no one pony tailed man could possibly eat all of those chips in a single sitting, you'd be right. Mostly, it's for the convenience of having them Xbox-side during fictitious video game sporting events.

3) Hostess brand anything. Sure, Ho Hos and Twinkies have delightfully playful names, but the last time they were enjoyed around people, Billy Madison was trying to trade his banana for a Snack Pack.

Health peanuts of the world, I call on you! If we want supermarket sweeping change to come to our aisles, we're going to need your help. The Sometimes is making a plea to all you attractive women out there to do your part. If you see a bachelor shopping, his cart barren of essential nutrients, place your palm on his shoulder, lean in, and whisper, "you could use some vegetables." Don't be alarmed if everyone around you is aroused... you're just that good.

We're telling you, these sensual messages will be the first great stride towards a leaner country! You can do it ladies -- you have to. The fate of summertime beach bods depends on it.

Checking out,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elevator Action Jackson Five

The Super Bowl bye week is an interesting time in America. Football fans across the country have just come off the most exciting Sunday of the year, and in their staunch refusal to watch the Pro Bowl, will wait another week to satisfy their thirst for helmet to foam-dome tackles.

Yes, it's the week we realize that the networks' mid-season line ups are disappointing as always, and the "State of the Union" has once again crowned Miss Illinois its champion.

She lives just off Michigan, too.

The nation collectively twiddles its thumbs, looks around the room disinterested, and engages in a two week long version of the waiting game during this bye week, eager to see what commercials they'll find on the other side. It's as if we're stuck in some sort of limbo -- the white cloud, no-clue-where-I'm-headed kind, not the fun, Caribbean, how-low-can-I-go kind...although, the two should consider joining forces. Nothing like Red Stripe-fueled dancing prior to the afterlife. That's what I always say.

The whole period of inactivity is akin to one's time spent in an elevator -- a transport system of which I am now somewhat of an expert. I'll explain in just one second. First you'll have to let me just reach across your shoulder, and press the button for Fun. Almoooossssst got it......


Readers, it's time that you and I had a talk about getting high. I know you think that it'll be scary and dangerous, but don't worry. As long as you understand what you're getting into, it can be neat way to pass the time. I promise, at some point you'll come down, and everything will be fine.

Outside of Disney World, elevators are generally a dull, boring place. M. Night Shyamalan certainly proved that last year with Devil. Yet it is here where we face life's tough questions, such as: What is with that close door button?

This circular selection has been around for decades, and in that span, it has been pressed billions of times by hurried businessmen, doctors, and kids who just can't hold it in that much longer. The design appeals to all ages and literacy levels, foregoing words for two hieroglyphic triangles pointing towards each other, locked in a never ending game of Chicken.

The real issue, though, is if the damned thing actually works. After hours of research, we here at the Sometimes have found that the close door button is undoubtedly a placebo. It works in a strange manner -- simply creating a way to pass the time until the doors are good and ready to close, while simultaneously generating the illusion of work being performed. Ingenious.

Ah, to be newly married

Closing doors is one thing, but the elevator experience also provides a forum to opening ears. The gentle ambiance oft-reserved for museum scenes in movies is actually the distant cousin of, you guessed it, elevator music.

The tunes, played at the non-Spinal Tap setting of 3, are a welcomed relief from the deafening silence experienced between asking "What floor?" and saying "Have a nice day!"

The playlift is made up mostly of muzak. The genre has the kind of lite songs you've only heard at Great Clips, but still somehow know all the words to. It's mostly peaceful, but if you're lucky, you may catch young Michael, Tito, and the lesser ones singing you songs about the alphabet. Well, at least the first 3 letters.

Sadly, I've noticed that fewer and fewer elevator venues are choosing to play anything at all. It's probably because, these days, everyone is always wearing headphones.

The next time you find yourself in a quiet ascent to the 9th floor, do your fellow man a solid. Take out the ear buds, set your iPod to full volume, and blast the hell out of Come On Eileen for the duration of your trip. You won't regret it.

I wonder if she'll say anything

Now, not all Elevator Action is conducted on your old Nintendo Entertainment System. There will be times in your life when you're ready to board the mighty beast, only to notice a collection of people waiting inside. It is here when your inner critic takes over, and you do a quick body scan of the other riders. You know, the up-down.

At The Sometimes, our concern for the well being of our readers is somewhere in the upper half of our priorities. With that said, keep in mind the following rule-of-thumb: When entering an elevator, evaluate all current passengers as if you have the knowledge that in a few moments, you're going to be stuck there for a while.

Don't try to figure out a reason as to why that would happen, as time is of the essence.

First, find whoever it is you're most attracted to, and stand next to them. In case this turns out to be a Chilean Miners situation, surely you'll need some lovin'. Plus, you don't want to get stuck with the smelly one, do you?

Second, identify what roles you want to assign to everyone once you come to a halt. By being vocal and delegating the work load, you'll seem like a leader and a hero without doing anything of real consequence whatsoever.

Finally, stay side adjacent and don't get stuck in the middle. Real estate will be at a premium during the stoppage, and in the land of metal walls, the leaning man is king.

Follow these rules so that you'll feel less guilty about judging everyone, and to make the whole ride go by that much faster.

This bye week may have left us Chicagoans with feelings of regret and jealously, but let's not worry about football, and instead take the literal high road in our boxy, metal friends.

I'd love to stay and chat about other things but, you know the kids are at home, and the wife, she's always a....

....close door, damnit!
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!