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80-Proof Through the Night

Jul. 1, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So OK, some of you’s may have detected that my usual heady froth of spewed steam was nowhere vented in last week’s gazette. So cry me a river, like a guy can’t get tied up with more important matters once in awhile than trying to instruct a bunch of knuckleheads on what to think, what the fock. And since I’m one of those journalists from the old school who still believes in the value of slapping down an honest tip on the bar upon closing time, I will report fairly and accurately as to what the fock happened.

One week ago, instead of slaving away for the nearly 30 minutes it takes me to cook up my weekly gumbo, I was pumping out a pilot for a TV talk show. Why? I’ll tell you why: With this online Internet crowd gleefully proclaiming—and my money still says “prematurely”—that newspapers are going down the toilet, I thought it would be a practical career move for me to answer the number-one question on the lips of demographically big-time Gray America, which is “Where will the next Merv Griffin come from?” (And speaking of newspapers in the toilet, I like the question I heard awhile back that wondered about what it would be like if the computer

Internet was discovered before the newspaper was, and how now every Tom, Dick and Dickless would be marveling about the convenience of newspaper, especially when it comes to performing one’s morning constitutional. What, you’re going to unplug your monitor etcetera, then carry everything into the bathroom and re-set it up every damn time you got to take a crap? I think not. The rolled-up newspaper under your arm as you mount the porcelain throne is a much more convenient source for news in such a circumstance. As long as man, woman and perhaps child is full of crap, I predict the newspaper will never cease to be a boon companion to the anal-bound.)

Anyways, my show is a talk-about-currentevents-for-the-locals gabfest, like what you get with your Charles Sykes, your Mark Belling. I’m the kingpin who asks the questions and breaks up the fistfights. The panelists are a carefully selected bunch of guys unusually adept at pissing away their time for no monetary gain, whether they know it or not. We recorded this initial effort up by my pal Ernie’s brother-in-law’s sui generis cabinwith-outhouse-facilities just north of Hayward, Wis. We recorded it there on Ray’s old Sears video camera ’cause that’s where we were and we needed something to occupy ourselves during the downtime of the area’s annual Musky Festival, which is the reason we were up north there in the first place, what the fock.

What follows is a snatch of the transcript of what transpired, intended to whet thine whistle of all you potential buyers out there in digital media land:

Art: I’m Art Kumbalek and welcome to “Milwaukee Speak Easy.”

Ernie: That’s the name of this show? I want to be the host.

Julius: The name sucks.

Art: Cripes, you guys, you’re not supposed to say anything until I introduce you. And watch your focking language, would you? OK, joining me today to examine the issues are my buddy Julius who used to work over at Ladish; Ernie, lots of loading dock experience; Ray, currently laid off…

Ray: Praise the lord.

Art: Herbie, an asbestos-industry retiree and now a cog in the wheel of the health-care system; Little Jimmy Iodine, former cardboard-box stacker, now does odd jobs in the neighborhood and stuff like that; and Emil—where the hell did Emil go?

Ernie: He went to get the focking beer. You think we’re going to do this with no beer, you are focking nuts.

Art: Ok, guys. This recent spate of celebrity death—Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Gale Storm. How much does so-called “character-issues concerning character” play into our iconic reverence for these gods vis-vis the iconic status we were led to believe they wielded before they croaked?

Herbie: You talk like a sausage, Artie. You really do.

Ray: I think Mr. Jackson’s shocking death by heart attack came about a second after he looked into a mirror for the first time in twenty-five focking years. Ba-ding!

Little Jimmy Iodine: Artie, I just got to say, and I think most Americans will agree, that the first appearance of Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #5 made not only a great character but a great issue, to boot.

Julius: Fock Dr. Doom. Batman’s the best and greatest character, always was, always will be.

Art : Interesting point. Do you think Batman’s more likely to be a registered Republican or Democrat? Let’s go ’round the table. Ernie?

Ernie: I don’t know what the fock you knobs are talking about. And where the hell is Emil with the beer, for christsake?

Herbie: Buck two-eighty says Bruce focking Wayne’s a Republican.

Art: How do you support that theory, Herbie?

Herbie: The guy’s got dough up the jock, plus he’s about as tough on crime as they come. Christ, the guy’s parents were gunned down in the street when he was a kid for crying out loud. Put all that money together with a yen for vigilante and I smell Republican guano, I kid you not.

Emil: Hey guys, how the fock’s it going. I got the beer. Can you believe they still got Rhinelander up here? Two cases for five bucks!

Julius: You got screwed.

Art: Guys, may I remind you we’re still taping and now we’ll have to go back and edit that shit out? Let’s get back to the topic. Little Jimmy suggests that Batman may be a Republican, given his status and dough. Might that suggest, then, that Superman may lean left, given his day job as a reporter for a metropolitan newspaper daily, not to mention his alien background?

Emil: What the fock is Artie talking about? (The film got broken here, so we had silence for awhile ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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