According to last week’s episode of “Modern Family,” Christmas occurs on December 16th to accommodate everyone’s travel schedule. If this is true, not only is shopping season happening earlier and earlier, but Christmas itself continues to encroach upon the calendar too.

So far be it from me to deny the inevitability of the season. It’s important that I put my Christmas list out there for all the CJS Regulars to see. But you won’t find any Kindle Fires, Xbox 360s or copies of Rad on DVD on this list. This is E Dagger’s Impossible Christmas List. This is where I put all the stuff that no one could ever hope to obtain. If you find it, you’re my new best friend and possibly my new lover (Lady E says: Hands off, fuckers!). So, what’s on this list? You’re but a click away.

Happy holidays, bitch!

PB Max Bars

Apparently thought up by a marketing executive at the Mars Company, PB Max Bars were made of creamy peanut butter and oats on top of a square-shaped whole grain cookie, enrobed in milk chocolate. In 4th grade, my friend Matt and I would sit next to each other at lunch every day, mix our chips together (Ever had Sour Cream & Cheddar Ruffles mixed with Nacho Cheese Doritos? It’s awesome) resulting in what we called “salty lips,” conclude lunch with a milk chugging contest, and enjoy the shit out of the PB Max Bar.

If this product sounds familiar, it’s because in Happy Friday 54, I went on a profanity-filled tirade about how good this thing was. From the post (which also referenced former Keebler product Magic Middles: “PB Max bar and Magic Middles! I don’t forget much, but somehow these two logic-defyingly delicious concoctions fell out along the road somewhere. Son of a fucking bastard those two things were good! Fuck!”

Sales of this thing were awesome in its short time in our lives, so why can’t we have it today? Let’s throw it to Wikipedia, that provides an actual book cite for this factoid: “According to former Mars executive Alfred Poe, PB Max was discontinued due to the Mars family’s distaste for peanut butter, despite $50 million in sales.”

That’s right, the Mars family ain’t like peanut butter. I want to kick these guys in the dick. First of all, who the hell doesn’t like peanut butter? Soulless children of Satan, that’s who. And secondly, what a shithead way to run a business. When I did some further reading on this topic (No, I don’t actually have time to read articles about candy tycoons in case you were wondering, but their termination of this product left me totally mystified), the Mars brothers remain leery of Peanut Butter M&Ms, and are hyper-critical of its performance.

No more PB Max and a perpetual Sword of Damocles hanging over Peanut Butter M&Ms while the marginal-at-best 3 Musketeers gets to live on uncritically. The world isn’t fair.

New Belgium’s Loft

I’m tempted to say New Belgium Brewery’s seasonal offerings were better when I was in college, but that’s probably unfair. Most things were better when I was in college because a) I was in college where the world was easier and more fun; b) I was easier to please in general; and c) Those things exist solely as memories which we tend naturally to overrate anyway.

Yet I still recall with great clarity just how fucking light, balanced, good and perfect Loft was while drinking it on the patio of Sullivan’s during the summer between first and second year of graduate school. The following April (which is apparently when summer begins, if seasonal beer releases are to be believed), we looked for it, and one of our favorite bartenders informed us that Loft was no more, and to be replaced by Skinny Dip. He also told us that Skinny Dip was basically Loft slightly modified and with few calories. Bitchin’, right?

Wrong. Skinny Dip tasted nothing like Loft, or at least like the Loft of my memory. In contrast to the light deliciousness of Loft, Skinny Dip tasted like the broken spirits of a thousand enslaved orphans – i.e. not good. Thankfully I wasn’t alone as both Hart and Lady E shared their disdain for the new Skinny Dip. New Belgium Brewery’s tasting room, which we frequented often, has postcards that they’ll mail for free, so I wrote one back to them that said:

Dear New Belgium,

Skinny Dip sucks. Bring back Loft!

Sincerely,

[Dagger]

Hart agreed and wrote this in support on an entirely separate postcard.

Dear New Belgium,

I agree with [Dagger].

Sincerely,

[Hart]

We thought this was hilarious, but with the benefit of hindsight, I realize the pile of postcards they must have received daily from the drunks in their tasting room almost certainly found their way straight into the Tasting Room Suggestions file located conveniently in their dumpster. Regardless, Skinny Dip sucks, Somersault is thoroughly fine but forgettable, and none of New Belgium’s seasonal beers hold a candle to Loft. Or, at least my memory of Loft.

More albums from Bon Scott

I’m as big a fan of the Brian Johnson era of AC/DC as anyone (with the possible exception of Brian Johnson, who fell into one of the coolest rock gigs on the planet and improbably succeeded in it), but the vast majority of AC/DC’s best songs belong to the Bon Scott era. Both of my personal favorites belong to Scott: “If You Want Blood, You Got It” and “Highway to Hell.”

The difference between the two comes down to one basic philosophical viewpoint that puts the two diametrically opposed. Scott’s songs reflected how hard it was to be a rockstar while Johnson’s songs celebrate how great it is to be a rockstar. The latter is fun. Go to any wedding, and “Shook Me All Night Long” is almost certainly the best song you’ll hear all night and everyone loves it. But the former is more meaningful. Which isn’t to say that it rocks any less, it’s just wrought with more feeling. Highway to Hell is one of AC/DC’s best headbangers, but the certainty with which Scott predicts his own demise is both unnerving and sort of energizing. It’s just so nakedly honest, it’s invigorating.

I’m sort of torn about wishing for more Bon Scott albums though, because without his exit, there’s no Back in Black, which is easily one of the best albums to listen to from start to finish. And Johnson’s tribute to Scott in the title track is probably the best eulogy ever written. If I were to die suddenly, that’s exactly the type of tribute I’d like – never forgotten, always beloved, and your legacy lives on through us. And it rocks! Wow. Fuck yeah!

Still, considering Dirty Deeds, TNT, Whole Lotta Rosie, and a ton of other righteous tunes, it would have been good to see what else Bon Scott could do.

Style from the movie Empire Records

I don’t want this just for myself, I want this for everyone. Last weekend I came home late after a good night of parties, friends, and live music and was too keyed up to sleep. Luckily Empire Records was on one of the movie channels, which I proceeded to watch in its entirety. This movie is pure music nerd, 90’s nostalgia catnip.

In a Confessional we ran in September of 2009 asking for people’s favorite fictional universes, CJS Regular Jitterrawks talked about this movie. “I’ve always sworn that if Empire Records ever truly existed, I’d quit my job and get hired there in a second.  The people who work there really care about music and each other… I’d get to screw with shoplifters, heckle washed-up has beens and potentially see Renee Zellweger in nothing but an apron…  Who doesn’t love a place where you get to play music all day and goof around on a roof?”

Well, since a movie where the future of a record store is threatened by a corporate chain and pre-dates the music industry internet apocalypse, let’s forget about the quaint notion of saving the record store itself and focus on something we can actually bring back: fashion!

Let’s start with the chicks. Corey spends the entire movie in a tiny sweater, an even smaller skirt, and killer boots. Gina wears a low cut cardigan, and yes, a tiny skirt. Even Deb, who shaves her head right at the beginning of the movie, looks hot in tight jeans and a tank top with a red bra strap peeking on her shoulders. In short, these chicks look hot, ready to fuck all movie, and yet don’t look like the glitter-covered turbosluts walking around today. It’s sexual, but understated with a feminist edge. And that’s how I likes my women!

For dudes, it’s pretty much whatever you want it to be. Lucas dresses like a Manhattan hipster. Mark is standard punk/metal/skate kid with t-shirts and cool jewelry. Berko rocks a greaser rockstar look. And A.J. – Jesus God, A.J (see above). That’s a look I so desperately wanted to pull off after watching this movie, and couldn’t in a million years. His big oversized sweater, his crazy checkerboard shirt, the patch on his jeans, the necklaces, that tortured artist haircut- God, I wanted it! I was going through an identity crisis at the time and couldn’t figure which social clique I fit into so I was torn between wearing a bunch of Nike shit like a preppy jock, and clothes that better reflected my burgeoning interest in music. I pulled off neither particularly well. It wasn’t until I got my first leather jacket that I finally began to have a semi-decent grasp on who I wanted to be. Weird how something so seemingly trivial could make such a difference.

I wish I could go back and have the courage to dress how I wanted to. But like the vast majority of high school kids, I was a coward, and it all seems like such a waste of energy now. So for Christmas this year, I’d like a do-over. Except now I’d probably lean more toward Lucas than A.J., but that’s life.

A freak injury to Steve Garvey on October 5, 1984

I realize above I said we couldn’t go back in time, but this is as much a gift for humanity as it is for me. October 6, 1984 was the date of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres. What happened that day? The Cubs jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the 4th off homers by Leon Durham and Jody Davis, which Steve Garvey quickly erased with an RBI in the 5th. The Padres took the lead in the 7th thanks to Garvey again who singled in another run, which was followed by a pass ball that put the Padres up 5-3. In the 8th, the Cubs tied the score thanks to Keith Moreland and Davis again, but just to make sure the Cubs knew it Steve Garvey’s cock in their ass, he blasted a homerun in the bottom of the 9th to cap off an extraordinary 5 RBI day. Steve Garvey basically single-handedly dismantled the Cubs that day.

So for E Dagger’s Impossible Christmas, let’s say Steve Garvey accidentally breaks his fingers while slamming the door of his car. Or falls down the stairs carrying some deer meet after hunting with Todd Helton (who would be all of 11 years old in 1984). Whatever the case, let’s say Steve Garvey unquestionably (but temporarily – I’m not THAT evil) injures himself and is unable to play. He’s then probably backed up by Tim Flannery (lifetime .255 hitter) or Champ Summers (who batted all of .185 that year, the last year of his career). The chances of either of those two idiots doing similar damage is nigh impossible, so all other things being equal, let’s say the Cubs win that game.

They’re off to the World Series where the imposing Detroit Tigers await. The Tigers are a fucking juggernaut going 104-58, best in all of baseball by 8 games with a team that includes Lance Parrish at catcher (AL starter in the All-Star Game), Lou Whitaker at 2nd, Alan Trammell at short, Kirk Gibson in the outfield, and Jack Morris anchoring a ridiculous rotation. The Tigers destroyed the Padres 4 games to 1, completing a dominant season. But…

In this fantasy scenario, the Cubs have just overcome 39 years of futility to reach the World Series and sit poised to erase 76 years of failure to actually win the World Series, so the euphoria takes them to victories in the first 2 out of 3 games alone. Game 4 sees a dramatic walk-off win by The Sarge (Gary Matthews, driving in Sandberg and Dernier) that propels Wrigley into a frenzy. And Game 5 sees Rick Sutcliffe (that year’s NL Cy Young Winner) shut down the potent Tigers offense with filthy stuff for 8 innings until he turns it over to Lee Smith for the 3 out save preserving a 2-0 win that happens because Sandberg (the NL MVP that year) doubled in Dernier and Cey in the 6th. Cubs win! The Cubs are the champions!

So why does this matter to anyone else? More specifically, why is this as much a gift to humanity as much as it is to a 3 year-old E Dagger who can’t appreciate it?

Because if the Cubs win the World Series in 1984 they’re no longer the whiniest, most annoying, braying, entitled dickheads on the planet. The Cubs become just another team, and rooting for them becomes no longer a cause or a status symbol, merely something Chicagoans do. The world is saved from people like Mike Wilbon who pontificates about the Cubs constantly. No one has to ever hear about a billy goat ever again. And most importantly, everyone is spared from the wrath of poor Steve Bartman, who didn’t deserve the scorn of halfwits everywhere, including, most importantly, Steve Bartman himself.

If the Cubs had a championship in their hip pocket, I wouldn’t be ashamed to root for them on account of the petulant queefs who shoot sneering, shrill self-loathing out of their goateed craws at families in opposing parks who no longer exist. If the Cubs wrap up a championship in ’84, a whole cottage industry of sorrow ceases to exist, and my “Cubs Win!” video from ’84 serves not as a sad reminder of how long it took them to get good, but a proud declaration of a historical franchise.

My Cubs fandom comes with less self-loathing, more pure glee, and one less thing for Flickerbock to complain about.

Now that’s an impossible Christmas request! What do you want that you can’t possibly have? Discontinued candy bars and seasonal beers? Music from dead rockstars? Another night with your grandfather? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can do to create a Christmas miracle. Although unless you want an article about TV shows or dressing nice for a wedding or something, miracles not guaranteed.

Happy fuckin’ holidays, everyone. More holiday cheer to come…

edagger@crujonessociety.com