Smashing Everything With A Bat

Venting is good when you’re in a safe space to do it. This website is mine. I am about to do some venting after this shitstorm of a news cycle.

Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here smashing the windows with an aluminum bat.

A Bosnian war criminal drank poison in court today and that was the most sane thing that happened in the news.

Right now I want to get laid, smoke some crack and punch a dog. Not all at once, obviously.

Question: what do Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor and Geraldo Rivera have in common? For one thing, they all suck in the areas of their so-called expertise. For another thing, each of them have been credibly accused of some sort of impropriety with women. Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor both lost their jobs today. Geraldo decided this was the hill he wanted to die on and defended Lauer, but then a clip emerged from the ’90s where Bette Midler told Barbara Walters that in the late ’70s Geraldo and his producer pushed her into a bathroom, forced her to sniff amyl nitrate poppers and groped her breasts.

Geraldo Rivera has been a pathetic wreck of a public figure for longer than I’ve been alive and when he finally croaks the people who can’t stand him won’t be bothered to celebrate.

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Dear sweet Ishii, I hope you are as pure as the driven snow.

Leeann Tweeden alleged that Sen. Al Franken groped and sexually harassed her on a USO tour in 2006. At first I thought it was bullshit ginned up to take everyone’s mind off the Roy Moore shit going on in Alabama. Then three other women alleged some impropriety. And he keeps apologizing and claiming he’ll do better. I don’t know what’s going on. I know that Rep. John Conyers is not apologizing. He’s defending himself over three allegations of sexual harassment and at least one settlement.

Sexual impropriety and abuse of power is not a partisan issue. Hypocrisy is caked on the walls of Congress like shit against the stalls of a freshman dorm bathroom. It’s like both parties are saying, “Look, what our guy did is not good but you should see what their guy did! That’s the real creep over there!”

To be fair, nearly every Senator on both sides of the aisle has condemned the actions of Roy Moore and say they believe his accusers. And yet, the outcome of Alabama’s special Senate election remains in doubt.

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Unrelated.

The biggest creep of them all is sitting in the White House going batshit crazy and tweeting like a madman. It’s hell to look at this crazy person and think he is the leader of the free world. He’s a star so he can do whatever he wants. He can grab women by the pussy. That’s fine, apparently.

Why is it the people who are in charge of making legislation are the least accountable people in our country? Don’t you just want to grab them by the collar and go “WHY ARE YOU ENABLING THIS? IT’S ROTTEN! IT’S FUCKING ROTTEN!”

What if we all went to a Senate committee meeting and drank a bunch of poison and then the Capitol Police had to drag our corpses out? If you gotta die, do it in style. I read that in the Bible, near the back.

 

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The Female Alan Partridge

I just read the dumbest, funniest article. Seriously, I needed this. Thank you, Vogue. The article in question is a list of forty things to know by the time you turn forty. The writer is someone named Molly Guy, who appears to be the female Alan Partridge (the Steve Coogan character, not the XTC frontman).

Why was I reading a Vogue article? Well, it was on Twitter and I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter. This article is from February but I’m only reading it now because I’m not in Vogue’s target market. I’ll turn forty next March and I’d like to discuss her points as someone who lives in flyover country.

Things to do every day: Meditate, call your mom, say thank you. Hold open the door. Help carry a stroller up the subway stairs. Give up your seat. Give a Clif Bar to a homeless person. Drink water. Have an orgasm. Do 25 jumping jacks. Write a postcard.

True story, my cell service went out the other day. I went to the post office to fetch a postcard (long lines, amirite?). I searched around for a homeless man and when I did I gave him the postcard with directions to my mom’s house and a Clif Bar (230 calories) for motivation. Then I took the subway home and orgasmed twice while thinking about the power I exerted over the homeless. By the time I got home, my cell service returned and I forgot to meditate or do jumping jacks.

That British rock star with the blond shag and blue Mustang from the Whiskey Bar who ripped your heart in half at the age of 18 will one day be a thinning-haired has-been who calls at two in the morning from his East Village walkup weeping: Come fuck me, where’d time go? I blew it, I blew it, I blew it.

Don’t blind item me, Molly. Spill the tea. Ooh and fancy you for getting into a drinking establishment before age twenty-one. You minx.

   Pressing snooze is never a good idea.

After that long day of taunting homeless men with Clif Bars I’m going to need to sleep in. Not only is the snooze a good idea, it’s necessary.

Learn to code. Learn Photoshop. Learn InDesign. Learn another language. Learn to play pool. Learn to change a tire. Learn chess and stick shift and American history and how to stuff a chicken. Learn to upholster a chair. Despite what your left-leaning liberal arts education instilled in you, reading, writing, and creating is a luxury not a right. Entitlement is thinking otherwise.

Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family. Choose a big fucking television. Choose a big fucking computer. Learn Photoshop, learn to code. Learn Ruby on Rails, invest in the railways, conquer your enemies, become Jane Galt.

Smoking cigarettes is the stupidest thing you can do.

Even worse than hitting snooze?

 Cocaine is not cool.

But it’s not as bad as smoking. Smoking killed John Belushi.

 A bar of goat milk soap makes a good gift.

Sure, if you want to lose friends. Otherwise, get “Goats Head Soup” by the Rolling Stones. That’s the album with “Angie”.

 When one of your friends from fifth grade develops stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma and spends Christmas in quarantine, quit bitching about your problems. You already have everything. Take stock. Give thanks. Real wealth is health.

If you have the time to count calories, then you have too much time on your hands.

I don’t know if you know this but everybody has a daily calorie needs, depending on whether they want to gain weight, maintain weight or lose it. Bodybuilders might want to gain mass, fat people like myself want to lose it. Counting calories is a smart thing to do. What are you burning when you do those jumping jacks? Calories!

I’m beginning to think you’re a bad friend, Molly.

When you laid out at Johnny Depp’s pool. When you were invited but declined (idiotically) to attend seder with Gwyneth. When Axl Rose said you had pretty eyes. When David Spade called you from the green room at Letterman. When Madonna, pregnant with Lourdes, looked you up and down at the Beverly Hills Barneys. When you saw the movie Trainspotting with Leonardo DiCaprio. When Julian Schnabel swung by to say hi. When you drank lychee martinis with Liv Tyler. When David Blaine levitated in the parking lot. It was all fun and games for a good minute, wasn’t it, and every old party girl has some stories up her sleeve. One day you can compile some in a small paragraph for a few people to read.

Oh fuck off already.

Wait a minute. . . how come you didn’t say the name of that British rock star from earlier? Is it because it might actually reveal something about you? “I almost went to seder with Gwyneth. I drank martinis with Liv Tyler. I got kick-fucked by a member of Def Leppard.” Not as glamorous, I guess.

I apologize to Def Leppard for bringing them into this debacle.

Contrary to what your mid-20s, intoxicated, star-fucking, smeary-eyelinered self might think, the warm, worn body you have now is beautiful. It has housed and fed two humans who like to lie on your lap and legs like furniture.

Wait a minute. . . you’re a mother? How do you have time to raise two kids with all this other stuff you’re doing. What with the helping moms up the stairs and totally avoiding cocaine! Have your kids ever tripped over the names you drop or does the nanny pick them up?

By the way, my mom called me and she said a homeless guy came by her house saying I had sent him with a postcard to give her but when she got it there was nothing on it. Drat, I forgot to put a note on it!

During Hurricane Sandy, nurses and doctors from NYU’s medical center carried 20 premature infants from the neonatal intensive care unit down nine flights of pitch-black stairs, each one swaddled in blankets and a heating pad, manually squeezing bags of oxygen into their lungs. The floor slippery and wet beneath their feet. Secretaries and security guards lit the way with their cell phones. Not one newborn was hurt on the way.

Seriously this is a heart-warming story but I don’t know what it has to do with what I’m supposed to know by age forty. Perhaps this is part of a bigger list of bad things that Molly has scratched out.

  1. Smoking
  2. Babies in ICU wards dying
  3. Cocaine
  4. Snooze buttons
  5. Counting calories

Is everyone on board here?

 

 

Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young To Die

I wonder how alone the average person feels in their life. As Thanksgiving nears its’ ugly gray head, I feel increasingly lonely. My give-a-damn is at a low level.

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“Will you love me?”

Life changes and yet it stays so consistent year to year. The state of the world may change but nothing is as evergreen as that internal feeling of dread and impending collapse.

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Sometimes your feeling of impending collapse is reinforced by outside forces.

The mail piles up in the box. I can’t bear to go get it. Walking is good exercise. I can’t bear to do it. I’m not in pain. It’s not too cold. I just can’t. My therapist tells me to journal every day. I just can’t right now.

As so many go back to revisit their families and old hometown friends, my world grows small. I will spend a few hours with my family on Friday evening. That will be it. Some people make multiple trips on Thanksgiving because they have in-laws and such. Not me. I have the family I left behind. I see them twice a year tops, on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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“He wishes you were his real dad.” “Yes. This I know already.”

I wouldn’t feel like such a stranger if I just stayed in touch more often. But I don’t want to. I don’t know what to say or how to relate. I’m the blacksheep, the only child my mother had. Her sister had three children. Two of them had children. The other one moved to Texas this year. I’m the eldest of the four of us.

Solitude is good and even necessary at times, but the holidays curdles my solitary instincts and I’m reminded of who I am and the choices I’ve made and the path I’m on. I question all the wandering I’ve done. There is no going back. My life’s choices and circumstances have brought me to this point.

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“Will you be my father?”

Years ago, I tried to make my persona larger-than-life. I did it because I felt smaller than life. Only now do I understand that. What creates this insecurity in us? And what we do to chase to fill the void within. Look at the man in the White House. The void within him may very well be viewable from space.

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So many troubles in my life could have been avoided if only I had learned how nice it is to be life-sized instead. Is there such a thing as ‘better late than never’ when it comes to lessons like this? Dear sweet Gob I hope so.

I guess my two main points are: 1. You’re never too young to rock ‘n roll and 2. There’s a little bit of Donald Trump in all of us.*

(*I didn’t mean that in a gross way)

 

Sleeping On The Sidewalk (I’m Too Broke To Buy All These Reissues)

Suggested listening: “Sleeping On The Sidewalk” by Queen (vocals by Brian May)

 

Every band eventually turns into Kiss if they have enough success. Cash-ins, repackaged content in new or old formats that are suddenly fashionable again. Box sets, coffee table books, overpriced tickets to amphitheatre shows to hear soundalike renditions of the classics. Greatest hits, greatest zits, tits, fits and your very own Monopoly game.

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I always wanted proof no one wanted to spend time with me.

Some of these tchotchkes are endearing. Maybe the best thing Kiss ever did was their innovations in the pinball machine industry. For years, the Flaming Lips sustained the gummy bauble industry.

But it’s all tchotchkes. Kiss pinball machines, Queen Monopoly games and books of 3D photography, Flaming Lips gummy brains, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie charging Fleetwood Mac ticket prices for a tour with no Stevie Nicks, while Stevie charges likewise for a solo tour, Revolver and Pet Sounds on 180-gram vinyl at your local shoppe for $25.99 or six concerts with a near identical setlist on a thumb drive with a shitty costume packed in. They’re all tchotchkes in the end. If only Malcolm McLaren understood that, then he’d have died on a bed of gold bricks.

Kiss may be the most cynical, cold-hearted group to wring money from a fanbase but they are far from alone. There’s a big market for cashing in on fan nostalgia or the idea of the past for those who weren’t old enough to experience it the first time and Queen is eager to get in on that. Some of the biggest fans of Queen were born well after Freddie Mercury died in 1991. Queen stopped touring in 1986 and their last US concert was in 1982 and yet the Internet has made and kept they and their late singer relevant.

Which pair of guys would you rather have lunch with if you could choose? Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons from Kiss, or Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen? Unless you’re a sado-masochist (that is to say, a hard-core Kiss fan), you’d probably choose Brian and Roger. And it’s not because they’re better people, but they are far better at the soft sell. Something about amiability and grace. You couldn’t imagine either of them being banned from Fox News for hitting people in the head with their book or saying a new stupid thing at least fifteen times a year like Gene does.

(I have no idea if Gene being banned from Fox News speaks ill of him or is a sort-of badge of honor considering that FNC was home of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly for decades. I can’t believe they didn’t offer him his own show.)

I get bitchy because I can tell when my favorite bands are not being straight with me. It’s all part of the great r’n’r swindle, folks. You want me to pay through the nose? It’s your price, you name it. I guess I’ve had it with hype. I hate hype when a new artist comes in with a load of it so when it’s a rehash of old stuff that was bought already it’s even worse. Just don’t burn me too often or too hard. You suck my wallet, you blow my head.

Anybody got that 40th anniversary News Of The World package yet?

We Didn’t Start The Fire, Pt. 2

Obviously there would be no “We Didn’t Start The Fire, Pt. 2” without the original by the late great Billy Joel so let’s take a moment to pay respects to him even though he admitted this was far from a good song.

I started part two in 1999. Part one ends in 1989, so if you want a recap of 1990-1998, you’re on your own because this song is only five minutes long and I didn’t even mention the Enron scandal or any of the Patriots victories in the Super Bowl.

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Billy Joel, still alive

First verse:

Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Star Wars episode premiere

Phantom Menace, Yankees pennant, Napster is here

Bill Gates is getting rich, Slobodan Milosevic

NATO, Kosovo, new kinds of techno

Time Warner, AOL, Dot-com, what the hell

Bush-Gore, earthquakes in El Salvador

9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11

9/11 Never forget ELIAN GONZALEZ

Chorus:

We didn’t want this bullshit/No we didn’t want it but we fuckin’ got it/We didn’t want this bullshit/No we didn’t make it but we gotta take it

Second verse:

Tiger Woods, race riots, Anthrax, Patriot Act

Shoe bomber Richard Reid, Homeland security

Friendster, freedom fries, No Child Left Behind

Big Fat Greek Wedding, Euro currency

Soldiers back in Iraq, Kobe Bryant teamed with Shaq

Lebanon, space flight, Hussein war crimes

Dave Chappelle’s Show, but Chappelle is a no-go

Spacecraft Columbia, ELIAN GONZALEZ

Repeat chorus

Third verse:

Myspace, Live 8, Kanye West, Janet’s breast

Everyone forgets to blame motherfuckin’ Timberlake

Britney married K-Fed, Paris is an airhead

Simple Life, Simon Cowell, Guy Fieri’s Flavortown

Filipino mudslide, Asia is destabilized

US torture ban, redeploy Afghanistan

Truck bombs, Barry Bonds, reality TV

Daily Show, Barbaro, Chris Benoit’s family

Repeat chorus

Fourth verse:

Facebook doing well, Stock market goes to hell

Vladimir Putin, Guns ‘N Roses back again

PC, PS3, and the Nintendo Wii

Or I could get a Mac, my President is Black

Oxycontin, HD, King of Pop RIP

Kardashians everywhere, why am I supposed to care?

Repeat chorus

Fifth(!) verse:

Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat

Social media crap overtaking lives

Wikileaks, Fox News, sexual harassment suits

Gamergate, the Fappening, everything is happening

Race riots in the States, everyone is full of hate

Cops wearing cameras now, not guilty anyhow

Podcasts, legal grass, bitcoins, hashtags

ComicCon, Donald Trump, Earth is a fuckin’ dump

repeat chorus

end

 

 

 

Am I Back? Is It For Real This Time?

You can love something and still be burned out by it. That was me when it came to performing live. I started feeling the burnout sometime around 2010. Between being the singer for Technology Vs. Horse and my solo project Kentucky Prophet, I spent a lot of weekends performing, especially as both grew popular locally. We and I took gigs just about anywhere people would have us.

For example, Kentucky Prophet played the half-time show of a roller derby bout in Louisville bout (went badly), a basement in Carmi, Illinois (teenage girls licked chocolate sauce off my chest, so it couldn’t have been that bad), and a curb in Evansville (not bad) and a mostly-empty coffeehouse in Greenbriar, Tennessee (at one point the only other things in the room were a rooster and goat).

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Me in 2011, just before a drunk walked up to the mic to declare me the worst singer ever. (Photo: Solidarity Photography)

Technology Vs. Horse performed at a disc-golf tournament convention in Bowling Green (we were ignored), several public libraries (varying degrees of success), my old high school in Beaver Dam (ignored again), a giant shed in Glasgow (for mostly teenage Juggalos who hated us) and a basement in Carmi, Illinois (the same one as above, no chocolate sauce this time).

You can see how I might have gotten burned out.

Of course, we also played bars, coffeehouses, house parties, music festivals so it wasn’t all disaster and stupidity but for a long time it felt like a dark cloud followed me every time I dared hold a microphone. By 2015, I was down to playing about three shows a year with or without the band. I didn’t miss it.

I say all that to say this. Last night, I did it again. And it felt good. And it sounded good. And I was happy with how it went.

I played a show at PG in Evansville, a place TVH played in the past. I did a show with Father Mountain from Nashville and Rare Dog Days from Owensboro. And not only did I use to loathe playing shows in the past, I use to loathe the other bands. But I had a good time listening to and watching these two. Live music is typically more fun especially local bands. You get a better sense of what they really are than their recorded stuff.

I went on first. I was happy to go on first. Played seven songs but it took me a long time to do them and they’re relatively long numbers. Like at least four minutes a piece. I enjoyed doing it. I didn’t have the dread or the butterflies like I had in the past. It was enjoyable and exciting.

What changed? It wasn’t music or performing. It was me! I’m different now. I’m not the guy I used to be, which is a good thing in many ways. The old me used to dread performing.

Before nearly every TVH show Kayla (bass player Matt’s wife) would always ask me if I was excited and I would always say no. Always jittery, just wanting to get it all over with so I can relax. My hands shaking, my body tense. I didn’t feel that last night. The dark cloud was gone. Nervousness and dread had turned to excitement. Positivity bred itself.

After all the bands played, Todd (the PG owner) gave me this green paper. I think it’s called. . . money? We seem to have had a decent crowd that night and enough people paid the cover the bands all received this. . . money? I forgot such things were possible!

In case you’re interested, here are the titles of the songs I played: “Chem. Toilet Town”, “Stuck In FLA”, “Runaway Star”, “Learning To Live Without You”, “Sets Of Knives”, “Someone Worth Knowing”, “Jesus Without Mary”, “Call Center”.

I just realized that was eight songs. I am that damn good.

Just A Singer With A Song He Doesn’t Deserve

Suggested listening: “In My Defence” by Freddie Mercury

Brian May is supposed to be a lot smarter than this.

Of all the people you could have found to direct this movie, you picked Bryan Singer? And why? Because you didn’t trust Sacha Baron Cohen to treat the legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury with respect.

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This young man probably has stories that would make your ears bleed.

I’ve been a Queen fan most of my life. I hope this movie never sees the light of day. Just because it has Bryan Singer’s mitts on it. What a goddamn nightmare. This could have been a Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle directed by David Fincher and it could have been out years ago. But you didn’t want that, Brian (and Roger Taylor).

You wanted a movie about Queen, not just Freddie Mercury. Everybody in Queen wrote a #1 hit song. Not even the Beatles did that. Brian, you made your guitar as a teenager. Nobody does that. John Deacon built your amp. The whole band may have been a collection of geniuses critical to the band’s success.

But you seem to not be able to understand that FREDDIE MERCURY IS MORE INTERESTING THAN YOU. He’s not here anymore. A legend, a meme of positivity in a world gone seemingly off the rails. A man with a complicated inner life in the context of the world around him and it’s lack of acceptance for what he was.

In the early ’70s, Mick Jagger and David Bowie were banging 14-year-olds. A few years later, here comes Elton John and Freddie Mercury and people think they’re the weirdos for because they bat for the other side at the time of their greatest commercial success.

What’s the worst thing you hear about Freddie Mercury? There is no call-out culture around the guy. And now Brian and Roger have hired the ultimate trenchcoat creep to film his (and their) life story.

Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury and it’s a big role for him. I hope he succeeds in that role. I want this movie to be good, but the man behind the camera is such a poison that I don’t know how I can possibly give this my money when it comes out.

I don’t want to link to the allegations. I don’t want to lay them out here. Google may be your friend on that one, readers. If anything taints the band’s legacy it is decisions like this.

And the indignity of Brian May shilling the Queen Monopoly game.

On The Turning Away

The story doesn’t end with #MeToo

That hashtag was a monolith. We are not alone. We are too many. We are stepping out of the darkness that was created for us.

It was a struggle, painful, freeing and beautiful. The unburdening that came and the love that was shown in return. Survivors opening up and finding support where they needed it and where they least suspected it.

Now what do we do?

I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I thought about what was ahead of me and the life behind me. The self-destructive patterns I had developed and repeated throughout my life. How many of them began when I was a child?

The next step after #MeToo is an individual one. As we each have a story, we each have our own paths and our own personal roadblocks. Is the path of a woman who was raped in college different from that of a preteen child who was molested?

That does not necessarily make it a private journey. If anything, there is a greater support system for victims and survivors than there was, say, a month ago. We need each other now more than ever, especially as we begin to see that compassion, empathy and respect fail to flow from our highest and richest institutions.

You and I are on the ground floor. We are in the real world and we can try to heal ourselves and be there for each other. Am I crazy? Am I too hopeful?

Or is all of this a child who never grew up getting carried away?

I want my childhood back. It was ruined, taken from me. I want to do it again so I can get it right. All the things that I did wrong then I continue to do.

I’ve taken a big step. Now I have to take more of them. I’m tentative but I’m excited.

The Beautiful Men Of Puroresu

I would like to lighten the mood a little and talk about Japanese wrestling, or puroresu. As you probably know, I am a pro wrestling fan. I used to watch WWE but eventually I began to feel like the child of a drunk alcoholic father with a Great Santini complex while watching the program. So I sought out alternate forms of sports entertainment, puroresu among them.

I find puroresu fascinating because it clashes with the stereotypes of Asian masculinity. The perceived emasculated, suit-and-tie salaryman. Naturally, most of the stereotypes came from America. The subservience of Charlie Chan and Hey Boy from Have Gun Will Travel.

Having said, I would like to share with you some of my favorite characters from the wild world of puroresu. Flamboyant, rugged, and beautiful. These men would be international superstars if pro wrestling were not controlled by a mentally deranged 71-year-old American impresario.

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Kazuchika Okada is just shy of thirty years old and is the top star of New Japan Pro Wrestling, the biggest promotion in Japan. Famed for his finishing move, the Rainmaker, Okada is the current heavyweight champion in NJPW. It is not uncommon for his matches to last thirty minutes or longer (a match against Kenny Omega this summer went to an one-hour time-limit draw). Puroresu is scripted much like WWE but nevertheless it takes much stamina to wrestle that long on a regular basis.

New Japan and their parent company Bushiroad have positioned Okada as their major attraction, putting him in commercials where he plays Milla Jovovich in a card game.

Because when you think of Magic The Gathering-type card games, you think Hollywood starlets. At least it isn’t the WWE making movies with the Flintstones or Scooby Doo. Know your audience.

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A man for all seasons

Kota Ibushi competed briefly in the WWE, but he is far better known for his work as a freelance wrestler. He has competed mostly for NJPW and Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), where he indulged his crazy side.

And when I say “crazy side”, I mean Ibushi might be clinically insane. Very few people wrestle falls-count-anywhere matches on a campground and fire roman candles at their opponents (and self).

It is said that genius is close to madness, but I don’t know how much genius is in that deranged mind of his. For all his craziness, it’s important to note how brilliant he is in the ring and it is his in-ring work that drew people to him in the first place.

Shine on, Kota, you beautiful bastard.

Katsuyori Shibata is crazy in a different way. While Ibushi’s form of violence is comical and endearing, Shibata’s is frightful. If you watch no other clip here, watch this thirty-second clip of Shibata headbutting an opponent. . . with the volume up.

What you just heard was the sick smack of two skulls for real. I don’t know if Shibata knows that wrestling is scripted. I’ve never seen a man bleed from a headbutt when he was the guy who gave the headbutt.

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Clearly, he should’ve dickslapped the guy.

There is something beautiful about that kind of self-sacrifice. Wrestling is hard enough on the human body, but Shibata’s damn-the-torpedoes disregard for his own health is beyond the call of duty. Dare I say, unnecessary.

I say “unnecessary” because it is unlikely that Shibata will ever wrestle again after a match with Okada in the spring. A long match and a vicious headbutt from Shibata combined with dehydration caused him to suffer a subdural hematoma. After emergency surgery and much therapy, he is doing better but the odds of a doctor clearing him to compete are nil.

On a lighter note, we have the “Timebomb”, Hiromu Takahashi, who is beautiful in his pure eccentricity and flamboyant weirdness. For one thing, his ring jacket has the logos of about eight different punk bands. When he was New Japan’s junior heavyweight champion, he kept referring to the title belt as “Mr. Belt”. And then there’s his friend Daryl.

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Hiromu with Daryl. Note the probably unlicensed use of Raymond Pettibon artwork on the jacket.

Daryl is a stuffed cat toy. After Hiromu lost “Mr. Belt”, he used Daryl as a coping mechanism. I’m not kidding.

Also he accused his opponent Will Ospreay of being a cat.

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Speaking of Dragon Lee, the two of them had my favorite match of 2016. It was a violent high-flying crazy match that I recommend wrestling fans check out.

And the guy on reddit is wrong. There are no obvious reasons why Will Ospreay should remind anyone of a cat.

I would be remiss if I did not include YAMATO, one of the top stars in Dragon Gate. By comparison, YAMATO is far more sedate and might be the most conventionally attractive person here. Just look at him.

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Look at the puppy dog eyes. One could get lost in them. Observe the long, flowing locks.

Those locks were on the line in a six-man cage match called “Dead Or Alive”, another one of my favorite matches last year. The first five men out of the cage won and the last man in got his head shaved. Luckily, YAMATO’s mane lived another day.

My favorite piece of storytelling in this match occurred when there were four men left in the cage. YAMATO had scaled the top of the cage and was on the verge of escaping when he looked down and saw his tag team partner Doi being held to the ground by the others. Doi waved him off but YAMATO faced with the choice of escape or saving his partner chose to return to the battle, winning the crowd over.

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Bathroom selfie game is tight, player.

YAMATO’s finishing move is called ‘the Galleria’. No, I don’t know why he named it after a mall in Southern California. Maybe he’s a fan of the movie “Valley Girl”.

Finally, we close with DDT president and wrestler Sanshiro Takagi. While not a beautiful man, he has a beautiful thought that I’d like to share with you.

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