It has come to my attention through a very recent acquaintance that there exists a product called "Bombardier British Military Dry Gin." I have found very little evidence of this product's existence beyond this website, which refuses to ship the product to Indiana.


I don't know if this gin is any good, nor do I know if "British military gin" is any different than ordinary dry gin. What I do know is that I must find out. If anyone in the Sphere of Influence has seen this product for retail sale and/or knows anything about it, please let us know in the comments. You have the full faith and credit of Ginandtacos, Inc. behind you if you are willing to purchase and ship this product to us – monetary repayment will be swift, but your real reward will be in heaven.


Different people have different hobbies, different obsessions, and peculiarities that may not be readily understandable by observers. I accept this. Star Trek fandom, for instance, makes absolutely no sense to me. But many people make a lifestyle out of it. So be it.

Recently I found myself looking around the interweb in an effort to find Apple Fanta for a friend who got addicted to it in Europe and now cannot locate it. If the interweb has taught me anything, it has taught me that just about everything is available for purchase and delivery to your front door.

In the process I uncovered one of the most incomprehensible subcultures I have yet come across: the rare soda community. Soda, a.k.a. pop. The soft drink. Yes, it appears that there is a seedy underbelly to American society that feeds the needs, cravings, and obsessions of people who are addicted to (or otherwise interested in) discontinued or rare soda.

It loses its value if removed from the original packaging

To wit: Soda Finder ™. Specifically, direct yourself to the "discontinued" page. I would not have previously thought that anyone would spend $300 for 12 bottles of Pepsi Blue, but I would have been in error. Just look at some of the beverages for sale and the prices they fetch. 12 cans of Mountain Dew Pitch Black II (distinct from Pitch Black I in that it adds a "sour grape bite") for $30 plus shipping? I'm sorry, but that's a level of committment I just can't comprehend.

The eeriest part is how closely this mimics any other seedy subculture – porn or anime, for example (look at the above photo and tell me you couldn't just as easily picture that guy holding an action figure). You have your casual dabblers who participate in the subculture only miminally (Playboy or Dragonball-Z in our analogies) and want to find a mass-produced but slightly obscure product like Caffeine Free Vanilla Coke. Then you take another step over the line and have people who have a very specific set of interests within the genre (Girl-on-girl porn or 1960s Japanimation) like sub-categories of Mountain Dew. You also have the import crowd (notice the section for "Canadian Imports" like 7-Up Cranberry Splash). I can only imagine there are soda conventions that would make the average Ren Faire or Comicon look like the Mr. Universe pagaent.

Lastly, in the seedy underbelly of a culture that is already a seedy underbelly, you have the people who take it into the great beyond: scat porn or hentai, for example, or in the case of our soda culture, Surge or Sprite Aruba Jam ReMix. They are the dirty, shameful people whom the rest of the genre's fans do not like to talk about.

Everyone knows they are there and everyone fears someday becoming one of them. It starts innocently enough as an effort to find some Diet Mountain Dew LiveWire. Then it consumes an ever-increasing amount of the person's life until one day they find themselves unemployed, unshaven, and sitting in front of the computer in their underwear scanning the internet for Barq's Diet Red Creme.

I will never look at the soda aisle in the same way again.


Too bad Kevin Smith didn't join the 27 Club. It worked for Hendrix and it worked for Joplin. Cobain, yeah, it worked out for him too. Step 1 = do something amazing. Step 2 = die before you can start doing subsequent and inevitably disappointing things. Step 3 = be immortalized.

Let me state the obvious before we continue; I fucking hate Kevin Smith. He is probably the most overrated, underwhelming figure in a profession that is fairly bursting with overrated, underwhelming figures. It is truly amazing how much this person sucks while still somehow being taken seriously (albeit with dramatically decreasing frequency these days).

Had he the good sense to just drop deap (O.D. and suicide would have both been acceptable) after Clerks he probably would have been remembered pretty fondly. Oh, don't get me wrong. It's not nearly as good of a film as many claim it is. But like that mediocre nobody who gets a full page in the high school yearbook after he hangs himself, Smith could have benefitted in perpetuity from a one-and-done approach.

Which brings me to the climax. In case Gigli, Jersey Girl, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back weren't enough to make you taste bile, he's currently wrapping up the production work on Clerks II. No, this is not a joke or a rumor. Insert the Bill Hicks "sucking Satan's cock" noise here.

I wonder if the executives at Dreamworks just walked into a room, dropped their trousers, and said "First one to suck it gets a $15 million budget and 2% of the adjusted gross." Smith would undoubtedly leave many shattered bodies in his wake as he maniacally dove toward the cash-dispensing genitalia.

Too bad you didn't die 10 years ago, Kevin. There would have been all kinds of fawning tributes. Now there isn't enough mouthwash in the world to get the taste of shame and Harvey Weinstein's wang out of your mouth, and when you finally leave this world you will be remembered primarily for being the visionary who tapped the potential of the Affleck-Lopez team in two separate films. See you in 10 more years on a reality program based on washed-up celebrities!

Are you both drunk and homeless?

I know that at least several readers must be homeless drunks. It just stands to reason. Luckily, if you are exceptionally drunk, a modern trend seems to indicate that soon you will get free housing.

Stylish urban dwelling which is sure to have some bitchin' parties

A recent project in Seattle will house 75 of the cities hardest core alcoholics. However, you should not make the mistake of thinking that it is easy to gain admittance. Simply drinking a bottle of Mad Dog and passing out on the street does not qualify you for downtown rent-free living. These people have had to seriously make a lifestyle of it. Public record needs to indicate that you have been an alcoholic for at least 15 years, and have failed at treatment at least 6 times.

I know what you are thinking. This is some kind of new fangled alcohol abuse treatment program. Not in the slightest. The residents of this facility are free to drink as much as they want. The only condition is that they have to behave appropriately on the streets and in the building or else face eviction. The reason for this is obvious.

In stark contrast to the opinions of fraternities around the nation, Bill Hobson, the program director said:

"Drinking is not an excuse for behaving badly"

Why did the city of Seattle spend 11.2 million dollars to build a building to house drunks? Well, there is the obvious benefit of them not dying on the streets. The other side of the coin, which I am sure held some weight with the city council, is that this is actually cheaper than dealing with them. Apparently the costs of police and medical attention for these 75 people is far greater than the cost to house them. Basically, it would seem, that Seattle is saying that as long as they keep their boozehoundery confined within the walls of 1811 Eastlake Ave it is fiscally responsible for the city to pay for them to live there. If you are one of these 75 individuals, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you were costing Seattle more money per month to contain your drunkeness than the average cost of rent in that area- good times.



"Troy, it's MacArthur Parker…..I've got a hot part for you. Ever hear of Planet of the Apes?"

"The movie or the planet?"
"The new Broadway musical starring you as…the human."


There comes a time in every man's life at which he realizes, "Yes, this is clearly the role I was born to play." Replace "man" with "band" and you could say that moment has arrived for Tremendous Fucking.

Mark the calendars, kids. On Saturday, April 29 at the fabulous Second Story Nightclub in even-more-fabulous Bloomington the annual Monroe County Humane Association benefit show sets the stage aflame with rock awesomeness. I could give you a list of bands and urge you to come. That might persuade you and it might not. But before you decide, try this on: the show has been painstakingly organized as a Touch & Go tribute.

MacArthur Parker called us and said "Ever hear of the Jesus Lizard?" to which we replied "The son of God or the reptile?" After a moment's confusion, it suddenly became clear that we are now the Jesus Lizard. At least for one night. It is beyond any shadow of a doubt the role we were born to play.


While this should be more than enough to convince you to cancel the prom, call a babysitter, sell your home, and come to the show I'd be remiss if I didn't add that also appearing will be Brainiac (Sump Pumps) and Shellac (Push-Pull). Who knows, some other surprise guests may end up on stage as well.

With no false modesty, I can't begin to tell you how much ass this is going to rock. I'm giving you an unconditional "No bands-who-didn't-practice" guarantee, which is crucial to the execution of any tribute show. We have been sequestered in the TremLair diligently pounding away at a face-melting selection of JL songs.


If you close your eyes, you can almost picture David Yow wagging his exposed genitals in your face. Upon opening them you will be relieved to find out that it is merely a clothed Pat Hawkins.


Welcome back to work, Illinois and Wisconsin.

"But Ed," say the rest of our viewers, "today is Tuesday. Please lay off the pipe." With this comment you betray your non-midwestern heritage. Be not ashamed. Allow me to enlighten you.

The first Monday of March is, in select states, Kasimir Pulaski Day. On this day one does no work, nor does one attend school. It is a state holiday set aside for the express purpose of honoring with sausage the life of an important Revolutionary War icon.

In the 18th Century thin mustaches indicated masculinity. Today they indicate Frenchness.

Count Kasimir Pulaski was born near Warsaw in 1745 into Polish nobility. An ardent lover of freedom, he fought on the side of Poland, Lithuania, and other parts of the Slavic world in their war against the Russian Tsar. He maintained his revolutionary zeal and, at the conclusion of the Russian conflict, he emigrated to the American colonies to aid their fight against British tyranny.

Pulaski was the innovator of many cavalry tactics that remain in military use to this day. The title of the most brilliant cavalry strategist of all time is usually given to Nathan Bedford Forrest, but Forrest founded the KKK. Pulaski didn't. Advantage: polack.

After playing an important role in several Revolutionary War battles, often fighting alongside Washington, Pulaski was mortally wounded in Savannah, Georgia. He died shortly thereafter. Interestingly, his remains have never been conclusively accounted for. Various accounts have him buried at sea, cremated, interred in a Georgia plantation field, or returned to his native Poland.

Pour a Zywiec in honor of our homie (is Old Style more appropriate at this point?) proclaiming "This goes out to all my polaxxx." Others may think your behavior strange, but it is natural for people to criticize what they can never hope to understand.


Many people (including several students who have just emailed me) wonder how/why in the heck South Dakota just enacted a piece of legislation banning abortion in the state. In other words, how can a state law exist in contradiction to a federal one?

This law is what we call a "ringer" for the court system. The law was passed for the sole purpose of being immediately challenged in court, thereby giving the federal court system an opportunity to pass judgment on it. After all, the Supreme Court can't reverse its precedent without having a case on which to rule, can it?

Isn't it an amazing coincidence that they introduced (and subsequently passed) this bill into the legislature immediately after Samuel Alito was confirmed? Amazing. The planets must have been lined up or something.

Rosa Parks' act of civil disobedience was elaborately staged and organized by civil rights groups. Everyone knew the policies in place, and they knew that the best remedy was the legal system. They just needed a plaintiff. A ringer, if you will – a person to carry the complaints of everyone who had been affected by segregation into the federal courts.

South Dakotans are not stupid. They know that this law is unconstitutional. By passing it anyway, they're rolling the dice that the court might be willing to reconsider its established precedent rather than simply rejecting the law out of hand. Best of luck to them and the myriad interest groups who put them up to it and finally have their ringer on which to expend millions of dollars in legal defense.

Adolescence on VCR.

I wonder if my years alternate in quality. 2005 was a great year. Though I'm hoping for a Q2 rally, 2006 has been a rather shitty year so far. After raiding my family's storage closet and the Internet, I decided to get the VCR out of the closet and do a bit of age regression in the past week. Here are the two tapes in question.

Clue II: Murder in Disguise, The VCR Game Did anyone else ever play this in the 80s? My family never really did board game night, but we did play a lot of this game. I remember watching the tape endlessly when I was 5 years old, the same way another kid may watch their favorite Disney movie. I'm glad to see there are some fan sites out there. Sadly the first Clue game in my mom's closet is in Betamax format, but watching Clue II, just as a movie, was every bit as wonderful and lame as I remember it.

A friend of mine had a DVD movie trivia game that we played, where every 4th question or so was based on a movie clip from the disc. Screw that – why doesn't anyone bring this game back? The VCR version was a pain in the ass because to re-watch parts for clues involved an endless amount of rewinding fast-forwarding; a track-skip button would be perfect.

Swindle (1991). I don't know the correct way to go about explaining this, but I will do my best. I don't know about other men, but when I was around age 13 there was a Cinemax adult movie where everything made sense. Both in what was depicted on-screen, and in how a male audience member usually reacts to said movie. For me that movie was Swindle. It may creep some of our family-values crowd (among others) to explain it in this way, but I think of this movie as "my first" movie. Do other people have such "a first" movie in their minds when it comes to cable softcore movies? If not a "first movie" per se, a Cinemax movie they feel some sort of strong allegiance to? (please leave the titles in the comments, anonymously if you must)

I don't know exactly what month or what year I watched the movie Swindle, but I can tell you with a large degree of certainty it was around 1:00am. I believed I saw the movie twice, at which point (hence the ephemeral nature of softcore) it disappeared from the airwaves. I was in a discussion of good versus bad softcore movies the other week and realized on some level I idealized this movie though I didn't remember much about it. I found a cheap, used (*ahem*) VCR copy online, took a deep breath, and ordered it. The deep breath was necessary because I was worried that a lot of the stuff I find sexy, erotic, etc. about women, something that I think of as being essential piece of who I am, would be derived from what was an awful, cheaply-produced throwaway softcore movie. The movie was awful (why did people do those things to their hair in 1991?), but thankfully any correlation was stuff I already remembered and not enough to scare me or make me doubt myself as a person.

This got me thinking about my age group, the ones who grew up with Cable television but not the Internet. Every age group has a knee-jerk reaction against what the kids these days are like (myself more than most, I was a camp counselor once as a summer job), and good arguments can be made against their music, clothes etc. I have to wonder about their access to porn. Not in the Tipper Gore "we must protect the kids!" way, but in a "these kids never had to stay up till 1am to try and catch The Bikini Car Wash Company" way. The Internet gives them a billion bikini-less car washes at their fingertips. They didn't learn the hard way that USA Up All Night was never, ever going to show a naked boob on the air, they didn't have to smuggle an adult magazine the same way a terrorist may try and get plutonium, and they never came up with complicated ways of taping shows on the VCR while leaving no evidence that it took place. All they have to do is type a word into google's image search and everything is right there. Forget Grand Theft Auto – I honestly believe the lack of having to sit and wait till 1am for your naked T&A is what's destroying the character of the kids these days.

I am equally worried that I have such detailed opinions on these matters and that I'm having a hard time turning this into a platform from which to run for office.