Thursday Night with Kountertop (Pt. 4)

I can’t lie. I was shocked that Jeff was actually signed up.

He began to make the slow walk up to the stage. He was staggering and was having difficulty making it. In fact he was so slow getting up on stage that the David Lynch character wannabe in the corner kept saying his name over and over again.

I should point out what I may have failed to point out earlier. Although this was a form of karaoke, there was not a monitor that told you when or what to sing. They offered you a sheet of paper with the lyrics printed on it, but that will only take you so far if you don’t know when you are supposed to sing those words.

As Jeff made the long stagger up to the stage I proclaimed to my table:

“Watch this! This is my boy! He is going to sing Last Dance with Mary Jane. It is going to be awesome.”

Jeff finally made it to the stage. He didn’t have a sheet of paper. He didn’t need a sheet of paper. This man was a lead singer. He was big back in 1993. He once opened for Sheila E.!

I assume that most readers are somewhat familiar with the song Last Dance with Mary Jane or as it is actually titled: Mary Jane’s Last Dance. The song goes something like this:

She grew up in a Indiana town,
Had a good lookin’ mama who never was around.
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on an Indiana night.

Well she moved down here at the age of eighteen,
She blew the boys away; was more than they’d seen.
I was introduced and we both started groovin’
She said, “I dig you, baby, but I got to keep movin’ – on.
Keep movin’ on.”

Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain.
I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again.

Well I don’t know but I’ve been told, you never slow down, you never grow old.
I’m tired of screwin’ up, tired of goin’ down,
Tired of myself, tired of this town,
Oh my, my, oh hell yes – Honey put on that party dress.
Buy me a drink, sing me a song,
Take me as I come . cause I can’t stay long.


There’s pigeons down on Market Square,
She’s standing in her underwear.
Lookin’ down from a hotel room,
Nightfall will be coming soon.
Oh my, my, oh hell yes, you got to put on that party dress.
It was too cold to cry, when I woke up alone.
I hit my last number, I walked to the road.


Jeff took the microphone. Kountertop started playing the song. When it came time for Jeff to start singing, he opened his mouth and the following came out. Well, this is an approximation of what came out:

“shoen aoind aodnin daguiw aneal nakdn”

It was complete gibberish. It is possible that he got about every fifth word right, but the rest was absolute drivel. He didn’t get better as he went along. He continued to allow gibberish to escape his lips, then he would get lost.

To defend my boy, Jeff wasn’t the first person to get completely lost. Whenever somebody would get lost, Kountertop would start singing until they found their place again. They had to help Jeff out about 3 or 4 times. Whenever they would start singing, he would start crooning along again. He would get the rhythm correct and I would say be in the ballpark of the notes. But the noises that came out of his mouth that should have fit together to form words and phrases seemed to be random noises. They fit together to only make more random noises.

But to defend my boy Jeff once again, I don’t think he was the worst performer of the night. Before him was a girl that performed the Limp Bizkit version of Faith. Not only could she hit a note, she didn’t know the lyrics past the first verse and she didn’t know the way the song went. She didn’t have the rhythm of the song. She came in at the wrong spots. She didn’t come in when she was supposed to come in. I felt bad for her. I’m sure many people have done karaoke and thought that they knew a song and nailed it for one verse, but then realized “I have no clue what comes next”. In this situation she didn’t have a monitor to help her out. Kountertop helped her out, but by the end of the song she was just standing on stage screaming. I suppose that is not completely inconsistent with Limp Bizkit though.

To further defend my boy Jeff, people at my table compared his performance to Bob Dylan. I have been to a Bob Dylan concert. I have walked out on a Bob Dylan concert after 4 songs. I did this in Bob Dylan’s hometown. When my group walked out of the concert, the ushers tried to stop us.

“Where are you going?”

“As far away from this garbage as we can get.”

“If you leave you won’t be able to get back in.”

“You promise!”

“You guys don’t like Bob?”

“Why can’t you just move and let us leave? No we don’t like Bob. He sucks. He is a synonym for overrated.”

When we got outside some of us gave our tickets to a homeless guy. Although it was a chilly October night and I don’t think that they let him in to the show, I consider that to have been an act of cruelty and not an act of charity.

So as Jeff got lost and Kountertop helped him out again I said, “No. At least this is funny. Bob Dylan is just sad.”

Mercifully for most of the patrons of People’s, the song did eventually come to an end. Jeff staggered off stage right. I wondered if I would talk to him the rest of the night. He had to know that his performance was subpar, even for karaoke standards. I figured that there was at least a fair chance that he might just collect his things and tried to drag what remained of his dignity home with him.

Another part of me wondered if perhaps he had no clue about the depth of his awfulness. He might be so drunk or wasted that he thinks that he was awesome.

It didn’t take me long to know what was on Jeff’s mind. As soon as he got off stage he came straight to me.

“I screwed that up.” Only he didn’t say screwed.

“You weren’t that bad.”

“I was terrible. I got up there and I forgot the words.”

“I noticed that. You could have used a sheet of paper.”


“You could have gotten a sheet of paper with the lyrics on it. They have those up there.”

“They didn’t offer me that.”

“Well, you can go home and practice and come back next week.”

“I was terrible.”

“You are too hard on yourself.”

I said that just to be nice. However, when I said those words, they seemed to have a deeper effect on him. The look on his face changed as if I had given him the keys to enlightenment.

His voice got kind of serious. “Do you really think so?”

“Yeah.” I said this in a tone that was way more condescending than I intended.

It was completely lost on him.

“You really think I’m too hard on myself?”

“Well, I don’t know you all that well, but I think you are beating yourself up too much. So you forgot the lyrics to Tom Petty’s song. I bet if you were singing your own songs you would have owned this place.”

“You might be right.”

Then Jeff turned and headed towards the bar.

Up on stage a girl was bruising up an Incubus song. It seemed that everybody else had their fill of Rock Star Karaoke. We began to collect our things.

Shannon turned towards me and said, “You’ll have to write a blog about that guy.”

I said, “I don’t know if that is blog worthy.”

Then I smiled. I think she knows that what my standard for blog worthy is pretty low.


I would just like to add one final bit to the story. We did book Kountertop. They will be performing on July 18th. I don’t have much sway with many people, but if I do decide to make a push for some of you to come to ONE Ames on the Halfshell concert this summer this is the one I think that you should come and see. This is the one band that I was active in booking. You might get more pressure from me as that date approaches. In fact, count on it.


This has been bothering me for awhile. There are these giant cutouts near the intersection of Highways 17 and 141. Does anybody know why these things exist and what it is that they are trying to promote?






Somebody please tell me about these things.

Thursday Night with Kountertop (Pt. 3)

I returned to my table.

I enjoyed the company of the people at my table for a few moments. Up on stage at this time was two guys singing in AC/DC’s TNT. The were pretty dreadful, but they were entertaining. One guy sported a Danzig shirt. The other guy cracked out his air guitar at nearly every conceivable opportunity.

I was deeply locked into the performance when Shannon got my attention.

“Check out your friend.”

She pointed over toward the woman that had asked for a light. Jeff was making the moves on her. At least I think that is what he was doing. It looked like he was just trying to rub up against her.

“Now do you admit that he is scarier than Larry?”

Shannon actually conceded my point, “Yes, he is scarier than Larry.”

I was actually surprised that she had admitted that I was right but I did not get a moment to gloat. A male friend of the woman that Jeff was romancing got up and grabbed Jeff and pulled him off of her.

Jeff tried to make his case, but the guy just gave him a little nudge and told him to go away. Jeff retreated back to his table. Then he looked back to me.

“I don’t know what that guy’s problem is. It is none of his business.”

So I told him, “It was worth a try. Maybe when you get your music going again?”

“I can’t get my music going because I don’t have a car.”

“But you have a job now. You’ll be able to get a car pretty soon.”

“I have tomorrow off.”

I’m not really sure why I said what I said next. I think it is because I had considered taking the following day off to watch the Way of the Cross in Des Moines, but I had decided it wasn’t worth it because I was less than impressed by the fact that they put wheels on the bottom of the cross.

“You have Good Friday off. That’s cool.”

“I’m celebrating Good Friday tonight.” He raised his drink to me in case I had missed what he meant by celebrating Good Friday.

“I suppose that is one way to do it.”

Then he got really serious.

“Is Jesus important to your life?”

“Yes. Jesus is very important to my life?”

“That’s good. Jesus is important.”

“He’s very important.”

“When I broke my back it took me 6 years to recover. If it wasn’t for Jesus I wouldn’t have made it. Even now I get so depressed. Sometimes I get so depressed I don’t want to go on. He is the reason I keep going on.”

“I’m glad for that.”

Then I returned to my table.

The extremely unfunny David Lynch wannabe guy in the corner said something that I didn’t really think would ever happen.

“The next competitor has been bugging me all night about when it would be his turn. Jeff, it is your turn. Get up on stage.”


This Morning

I was kind of surprised when I woke up this morning and looked outside to see everything covered in a thick blanket of snow. It was an unpleasant surprise to find that nobody on the highway wanted to drive over 40 while I was on my way to work.

I did take some pictures before I got in my car to head to work.







I wanted to take some more pictures on my lunch break, but when I got out to my car I was given another surprise. A flat tire.

A New Gig

Shannon started her new gig with United Way of Story County. Her new job is worthy of a press release and she needed a head shot for this press release and their website. I got the pleasure to take this picture and below are some of the results.

The Winner, I Think


My Old Friend Black & White

But this one is my favorite

I think we put in a good day’s work.

Thursday Night with Kountertop (Pt. 2)

I walked towards the lonely gentleman. I’m a nice guy, but I wasn’t sure I wanted him to join our table. I decided to join him at his table.

“So are you going to go up there?” I asked him.

“I’m a lead singer. This is what I do. This is nothing for me.”

“But are you going to go up there?”

“Wait until I get up there. I’m doing Last Dance with Mary Jane. You know it?”

“Yeah I know it.”

“I’m a lead singer. That is what I do. Wait until I get up there.”

“Are you signed up?”

“Yeah, I’m signed up. I’m tenth. I’m doing Last Dance with Mary Jane. These people suck. Wait until I get up there.”

“I look forward to it.”

I knew that this guy was drunk or high or some combination of drunk and high. I am pretty sure that he had been drunk for quite some time because his breath reeked of stale alcohol and every word that came out of his mouth was drenched in an odor that I don’t care to ever smell again.

I moved back to my table.

Peggy asked, “Did you make a new friend?”

“He says that he is a lead singer in a band.”

“What is the name of the band?”

“I’ll have to find out.”

I was kind of doubting that I would find out, but I have to admit that although I was 50% sure the guy was full of it, I was a bit curious to find out if he was in a band. He didn’t appear that he could be in a band, but I had to remind myself that I’ve known a lot of musicians in my day. A few of them are/were way more screwed up than this guy.

I said to Shannon, “You can say what you want about Larry, this guy is way scarier.”

“He is not.”

Somebody new took the stage. I think they sang Zombie by The Cranberries. Charby had predicted earlier in the evening that if we were able to get Shannon to go up on stage, this is the song that she would pick.

It turned out that he was double wrong. We couldn’t get her to go up on stage. She would not have picked this song.

Shortly into the song I could hear my friend from the next table yelling:

“You suck.” Then he looked over at me and said, “Wait until I get up there. I’m doing Last Dance with Mary Jane.

My curiosity got the better of me. I went back to his table.

“So you are a lead singer?”

“Yeah. That’s what I do.”

“What is the name of the band that you are in?”

“I’m not in a band right now. I don’t have a car. When I get a car I’ll get my music going again.”

At this point a waitress interrupted our conversation. She was carrying a full pitcher of beer and she sat in down on the table. The guy began looking through his wallet, but determined that he didn’t have enough money to buy the pitcher that he ordered. He waved her off. She picked her pitcher of beer back up and returned to the bar.

The guy turned towards me and stuck out his hand. I grabbed it and shook it.

“My name’s Jeff.”

“Uh, Chris.” In a moment of weakness that does not make me proud,I thought about giving out a false name.

“I just got a job. So now I can get a car. When I get a car, I’ll get my music going again.”

“What was the name of your band?”

It seemed that he didn’t hear that question or didn’t want to answer it.

“Back in 1993 I was big. I opened up for Sheila E. Then I moved to Colorado.”

“Wow, Sheila E. that is something.”

“Yeah. Then I got a DUI and got in a car accident. I broke my back. It took me 6 years to recover.”

“But you have a job now. That is a good thing.”

It was then that a woman with an unlit cigarette in her hand broke up our conversation.

“Can I get a light?” She asked.

Jeff found his lighter and lit her cigarette. She thanked him and returned to her table. I looked at Jeff. He looked like he was about to fall over. I think he might have looked genuinely happy.

He turned to me and said: “She can do anything she wants to me, you know what I’m saying?”

“I suppose that I do.”

Jeff watched her in silence for a moment. I thought that this would be a good chance to get back to a table where I enjoyed the company of its occupants on a less Tod Browning level. However, the moment wasn’t long enough. I was not able to make a clean break.

Jeff snapped out of his lust fueled alcohol haze. He pointed to Shannon and Jamie.

“You hustling those girls?”

I have to admit that this question took me somewhat by surprise. I wasn’t sure what the best answer would be to protect the table. Was he afraid of competition? Was he looking for a wingman?

“No, not exactly.”

He pointed to Shannon.

“That one is really good looking. But I can tell that she is with that guy.”

Then he pointed to Charby. Charby is married, but not to Shannon. However, I kept that fact to myself.

“Oh yeah. They are together.”

Then he pointed towards Jamie.

“When that one first came in I thought she was a guy. But now I can see now that she has all the right parts.

I wish that I had an adequate way of portraying the way that he said those last four words. My best effort is to implore you to imagine the most leering manner possible.

“She’s married.”

This night was the first night that I had ever met Jamie. I don’t know if that statement is true or not, but I think that it is.

Then Jeff looked back at the woman that had asked for a light.

“Do you think I should ask her to dance?”

Did I think that he should ask her to dance? No! Not in a million years. Before I responded he continued with his thought.

“It doesn’t look like she is with anybody.”

I made a snap decision. Perhaps it wasn’t the best decision, but it was in the best interest of my group. I decided to throw that woman under the bus.

“You should ask her to dance.”

“My only problem is that I only have enough money to buy her one drink. I don’t think that is going to get it done.”

I don’t have great enough command of the world of mathematics to even make an estimate of how many drinks it would take for it to get done, but I gave Jeff a small bit of encouragement.

“You are a lead singer.”

He looked at me like the fact that he was a lead singer was completely new information to him.

So I continued, “Maybe when she hears you perform, one drink will be more than enough.” He still looked at me kind of confused. So I threw out one last thing, “Women love musicians.”

He finally responded, “It looks like she isn’t with anybody.”

I decided that I had encouraged him enough.

His attention returned to the person on stage.

“These people suck. Wait until I get up there.”

I told him that I was going to go back to my table and I turned around and made good on my word.


Usher Observations

I’ve been an usher at church the last two weeks. I usher again this coming Sunday. At first I was a little bit leery about being an usher. The main problem is that our traditional worship service begins at 8:55. That means to begin fulfilling the many usher duties (handing out bulletins, taking attendance, collecting tithes, taking compliments on how good you look in a suit and tie… the list just goes on and on) you have to be at the church at 8:20.

Getting to church that early is a bit of a struggle for me. Actually getting to church at 8:55 is a bit of a struggle for me. I’m not sure why. I don’t have to get up any earlier than I get up for work and Saturday nights are not a big social night for me. In fact, it is rather frequent that I don’t make it to the church on time. I frequently have to pull the move where I sneak in when people are shaking hands and greeting one another, which is about 5-10 minutes after the service has started.

Being an usher I can’t pull that slick move. The bulletins aren’t going to hand themselves out and who are the people going to tell that they look good “all dressed up”.

However, I have realized that their is a plum benefit to being an usher that more than assuaged my doubts about the position. More than offset my fear of screwing something up during the big time Easter service, but I need to give a bit of backstory before I explain this benefit.

I was hoping to lead of this entry with a picture of the FUMC’s cornerstone, but I just never made it down to the church to take such a photo, so I settled for the picture of our outdoor cross. If memory serves me, the church was built in 1890.

Now I don’t know how much it has changed over the last 100 or so years because I wasn’t around in 1890. However, in the Fellowship Hall, there is a picture of the sanctuary from 1893. The sanctuary has changed since 1893, but the pews in the picture appear to be the same pews that are in the church to this day.

On a personal note, I really like the picture of the sanctuary in 1893. I love old photographs. I love old photographs of places I know even better. What I don’t like is that whomever put this picture together, put the mat in wrong side out. What should be the back of the mat is facing out. It annoys me a little bit, but that is my own set of baggage.

I made a trip to Living History Farms the last time I took some vacation time from the computer mine. While I was touring the 1900 Farm, I heard a couple of guys comment to Shannon about how people were shorter back then.

This was the highlight of the tour for me. I knew what was coming. I know it is a deep felt issue for Shannon that people learn that people were not shorter back then. I had heard this information from her before.

She calmly explained to them that people weren’t shorter back then. Furniture was smaller back then. Dressers were shorter because people had less clothes. Beds were shorter because people slept sitting up.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of Shannon’s statement. She took the time and energy to do the research. What she says is undoubtedly true. However, when I sit in our church’s 1890 era pews almost every Sunday, I have to wonder if she checked on the average height of Methodists from the 1890 era. Almost every Sunday that I’m packed into that dinky little pew, I feel like Methodists must have been shorter in 1890. I feel it in my legs and knees.

The plum benefit of being an usher is legroom. I don’t have any when I sit in the pews. It is infinite when I am an usher. I am basking in it. I’m bathing in it. If I haven’t made it clear enough yet, I’m loving every second of it.

When you are an usher you get to sit outside of the sanctuary. You could say that having to sit outside of the sanctuary is a drawback to being an usher. I don’t think it is really much different than being inside the sanctuary. When Andrea leads a prayer she says, “I invite you to be in an attitude of prayer”. I think the attitude just outside the sanctuary is the same as it is in the sanctuary.

So I’m looking forward to one more week of legroom and then it is back into the sanctuary with the rest of the sardines.

My Happy Easter

I feel like posting some pictures from Easter.


Carla & Mom Watching Egg Hunt

Egg Hunt

Neighbor’s Dog that Doesn’t Shut Up


Alexis Sorting Eggs

Teresa Displaying the Maturity of her Years



Jason, Carla & Brandon



Teresa Crocheting

Vacation Pictures

I also had supper with Shorty, Doris, Tim, Rebecca and Nate. Doris told us the joke that their Pastor (Pastor Rod) had told the congregation on that day. I thought it was kind of funny.

“The elders of the church decided that since Easter was coming up they wanted to have a really special speaker for the Service. They thought about it for a bit and they decided that they wanted the most knowledgeable Pastor they could find to give the sermon.
So they went to him and he turned them down.
They thought about it some more and decided they should get the most eloquent Pastor to give the sermon.
So they found the most eloquent Pastor and asked him, but he turned them down.
They went back to the church and thought about it some more. They decided that they should get the best looking Pastor they could find to give the sermon.
So they found the best looking Pastor and asked him, but he turned them down.
They went back to the church and thought about it some more.
Then one of them said: “Well we can still get Pastor Rod.”
They all decided that was a good idea and they came to me and asked me to give the sermon on Easter Sunday.
I told them, “Yes.”
After all, I had already turned them down three times.”

I hope you had a Happy Easter.

Thursday Night with Kountertop (Pt. 1)

I spent my Thursday night engaged in Jaycee activities. It started at 6 PM with a new member orientation ran by Shannon and Charby. The highlight of this meeting was getting a new pen.

My New Pen

I have a reputation for being an elitist because I think Dan Brown is a talentless hack and you have to be a first-class moron to enjoy the movie Transformers. I am not an elitist, except for when it comes to pens. Frequently when I’m put in the unenviable position of having to borrow a pen I will look at the first pen that is offered and say, “don’t you have something that doesn’t suck?” This pen meets my high standards. I take great joy in writing with it.

After the orientation was a Membership Meeting. This mostly consisted of the guy that runs the ISU Organic Farm giving a presentation on organic food. That was interesting. I learned that organic food is not a diet. It is not necessarily healthier. It doesn’t cost much more to produce. It is just more expensive because of the laws of supply and demand.

After the meeting the Band Selection Committee and a few others went down to People’s to scout a band for Ames on the Halfshell. At this point we have only one slot open and the band Kountertop came highly recommended.

When we left Buford’s, the meeting spot for the Ames Jaycees, we were split up into a boy car and a girl car. The boy car included me, Charby and Todd. The girl car stayed behind at Buford’s for a long period of time to file paperwork or something. That car held Shannon, Jamie and Peggy.

The boy car was supposed to blaze a trail and secure a table in People’s. Meanwhile the girl car would catch up with us later.

Soon after we hit the interstate it became apparent that nobody in the boy car knew the location of People’s. We had part of an address. People’s is on 3rd & Something. That something was most likely Court, but that wasn’t for certain.

As it turned out, People’s was harder to find than we assumed. We must have driven around downtown Des Moines for 20 minutes without finding anything. We even went out to the East Village. Finally after driving around the same 4 block area for the fifth time, we parked. I don’t think that we parked because this had been my suggestion about 15 minutes before, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I got out of the car and started walking around and looking for people that knew the Des Moines area well.

Meanwhile Todd called Peggy to find out an exact address for People’s. As it turned out, I was standing right in front of the address, only the building didn’t say People’s, it said Legend’s. There was a sign that said that People’s entrance was around the corner.

We went around the corner and after a half block found a minuscule sign that proclaimed the presence of People’s. As it turned out, People’s was in this building that we had driven by at least 5 times, but it was on the third floor.

When we got where we were going, there were strange sheets of paper on all of the tables.

Strange Sheet of Paper

As it turned out, this was not a straight concert. This was karaoke with a live band.

I was not blessed with a beautiful voice. I have done karaoke on a handful of occasions. However, there is no way I would consider doing karaoke with a live band. It is one thing to waste the time of some DJ, but it is quite another to waste the time of actual real musicians.

The girl car group arrived shortly before Kountertop took the stage. They had no problem finding the bar because of the groundwork and trailblazing that the boy car had done.

Shannon came back to the table with a drink that was called Yellow. Apparently you can order drinks by color at this bar. That made me slightly uneasy because Nate and I had an idea a few years back that will one day make us millions. We are going to make a market a brand of alcohol called BW. The types of BW will be labeled by color. We are going to have a Periwinkle and a Fuschia and a few other colors.

Soon after everybody was at the table Kountertop took the stage. They were dressed in a consistent theme and were all wearing ties.

I said to Charby, “Wouldn’t it be badass if they were a punk cover band.”

“That would be pretty sweet.”

“I would love to hear some Ramones or New York Dolls…”

“Or Sex Pistols”

“Or The Stooges”

“Or the Dead Kennedys”

“I would love to hear some Jello Biafra. California Uber Alles or Stealing People’s Mail.”

“Or some Dead Milkmen”

“If they played The Badger Song that would make my night. But I would certainly settle for The Clash. If they play The Clash, I say we book them right now.”

I have to say that I was highly impressed that Charby brought up both the Dead Kennedy’s and the Dead Milkmen. I’ll definitely have to keep my eye on him.

Kountertop played the first chords of their first song. Somehow along the way I had managed to convince myself that they were playing The Clash. This was going to be phenomenal. A few seconds in I realized that they were playing Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning. Not a bad song, but if they would have played London Calling or Lost in the Supermarket, that would have been something.

After their first song was over, Kountertop announced that they would play a few songs and then the karaoke competition would begin. They gave the directions that if you wanted to participate in the competition that there was a guy sitting on a couch in the corner of the bar. You had to go check in with him.

Kountertop next played a song by The Pixies and then Folsom Prison Blues, which is one of the greatest songs of all-time. Then they stopped for the karaoke competition to begin.

While they were waiting for people to sign up, the guy in the corner began to speak into the microphone that had been placed in front of him.

I have two impressions of this guy. He was backlit and in a corner. This made his physical appearance mysterious and his voice to feel somewhat disembodied. His voice was monotone and never fluctuated. It gave me the real strong feeling that this guy could have been a character from a bad David Lynch movie that had all of his scenes left on the cutting room floor.

My second impression is one of incompetence. My old boss was blazingly incompetent. I don’t feel that there is a word in the English language that properly encompasses just how inept he was at his job. Any characteristic you would not want in a boss, this guy had it. He was lazy. He was negligent. He was capricious. He didn’t know what he was doing. Why did he keep his job? His father-in-law owned the business.

This guy in the corner with the monotone voice must own the business. He spoke for almost 10 minutes in between the time that Kountertop played their last song and the first karaoke contest hit the stage. He told many an unfunny joke. He made many a pointless observation. He tried to engage Kountertop’s lead singer in witless banter. He was so unfunny that it was painful to endure. The only thing positive I can say about the time that guy started in on the microphone is that it was surreal. It was like being transported to another universe where a lifeless, bodiless, monotone voice amuses only its self.

After about 5 minutes of this I leaned over the table and said: “This is exactly how I imagine hell.”

Only this wasn’t hell. It only felt like an eternity. Finally a guy took the stage and the competition began.

The first guy sang a song by The Eagles, I think. He was actually pretty good. I figured maybe all of the people performing tonight would be pretty good since who would want to waste the time of live musicians by going up there and sucking.

The next guy up there proved that my faith had been ill placed. The next guy up sang Radar Love. He was pretty bad. In fact I was not able to keep my attention focused on his performance despite the fact that I consider Radar Love to be one of the Top 5 Greatest Roadtripping Songs of All-Time.

My mind wandered. I thought about whether or not they would play the space sounds at the end of the song. Then I began to look around the bar.

I made eye contact with the guy sitting by himself at the next table.

“This guy sucks! Wait until I get up there!” He said to me.

“Are you getting up there?” He started to walk towards my table, so I got up and walked towards him.