one remaining credit

Now that I've got the go-ahead to give credit where credit is due: The credit for Syrius' Week One entry-- a beautiful entry that rightfully struck everyone at the time as being not only an incredibly touching piece of writing but also shockingly out of line with the srs_ethos-- goes to good friend tpbrcombo. Basically, when Idol kicked off this season, I was a little busy IRL / not quite ready, and had to recruit some temporary outside help to get the ship launched. I couldn't have picked two better dudes to help out.

parking ramps, mortal coils, and happy endings

What did you expect? An "IT WAS ALL A DREAM" ending? Mind, I love those, don't get me wrong.

But instead, I found myself in freefall, taking halfassed bets with myself on who would reach the finish line first: terminal velocity, or the asphalt below.

Turns out that it's true what they say about your life flashing before your eyes in your final moments. It holds true even if you're a ludicrous fictional character, and life as you know it has been entirely made up, and not made up very well, either.

In my mind's eye, I saw the Rev, screaming at me in his office, his cum-stained portrait of Ronald Reagan falling forward helplessly on his desk from the force of his belligerent, bald, wrongheaded anger. I knew he'd have more luck with his next project; he usually did have better luck, for better or worse. Goodbye, Rev. LaRock.

I saw Cherille, smiling at me so gently, so sweetly, as I cupped both cheeks in my once-so-lucky hands. I'd never be so lucky again. Goodbye, my beautiful Cherille.

I saw "inadvisable" rap battles, squandered bait-shop sponsorships, missed but admittedly retarded Vonnegut references, some guy named Curtis who used to be pretty important in the scheme of things but whom I'd totally forgotten about somehow in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours.

On the way down, in the midst of this flood of asynchronous memories, I even saw a very disinterested Lindsey Jane sticking her heads out of the fifth floor of the parking garage. She had roughly 17,564,977 heads, but only about 1,900,582 of those heads were actually active in some way (as of this afternoon, anyway). A huge number of those heads couldn't even speak English; go figure. Of course, I only remembered her as having one head, but people change, I guess.

"Linds, I'm about to die. I need some kind of closure here. Where's my fucking baby?" I screamed at her.

"Who knows where the brat is now, but it was never your fucking baby," she screamed back.

"How do you know?"

"You and I never actually had sex. I faked it every time. I was only interested in keeping you as a paid user."

"How did you fake having sex with me?"

"Easy. Combination of insisting we did it under the sheets, and my latex vagina." She held up a Fleshlight. "Totally self-centered and narcissistic assholes like you always fall for the ol' latex vagina trick. You don't notice as long as there's some kind of artificial hole in which to thrash about meaninglessly while you bore the rest of the world to death."

"Oh. OK, then. Catch you later, I guess."

"Later. *lol*. You're dying in five seconds, and I've got terminal cancer."

"Cancer of the what, Linds?"

"Oh, all over. You name it, Syrius, I've got the cancer of it. And what's worse is that there isn't a sensible soul in the world who gives a flying fuck."

She snapped her 1,900,582 pieces of gum simultaneously and walked off.

I continued to fall.

I have had a pretty deep connection to / obsession with LJ since I first joined in February, 2003. For me, the "golden years" of LJ were sometime between 2004 and 2006. On any given day in those years, I could have great conversations and waste countless hours hanging out with a hand-selected mix of old college buddies, e-acquaintances, and newer friends who just happened to have LJ accounts.

I made IRL pals through LJ, found apartments and restaurants and great deals through LJ, even pulled down more nookie through LJ than I should probably publicly admit. Those sure were the days, or something.

Meanwhile, I pumped out a ridiculous journal that was pretty creative and multimedia-heavy most days. This was a way of offsetting my quiet real-world demeanor with an online manifestation of my long-repressed and totally insatiable inner comment whore.

At the end of 2006, the activity level on LJ was clearly beginning to wane. Through 2007 and 2008, LJ attrition seemed to accelerate in epic, horrifying fashion. Myspace and Facebook-- sites for which I have never had any use; call me old school-- continued to ravage my old LJ friend base and suck up any possible pool of new LJ acquaintances with which to fill the now-empty space. People I knew who used to post daily went to weekly, biweekly, monthly; people who used to post weekly just fucking disappeared.

A few years ago, I'd bitch and moan loudly about the "death of LJ" if there were only five or six entries on my f-list over a given weekend. These days, I'm lucky if there are even five entries on my f-list for the fortnight.

Now, when "someone" approached me and suggested I should take on LJ Idol via srs_bidness, I thought it was a totally fucking stupid idea. However, when my ongoing tentativeness in Week Two earned me a deservedly pretty half-assed vote, I still got angry as hell. That week, there were dozens of entries that were less well-written and entertaining than mine, goddammit. You LJ Idol assholes were going to pay for your rejection.

One week and 1900 words later (and that was just Week Three), the Rev was born. Voting that week, and the next, began to pick way up; there were even comments on my entry. Apparently, my newfound conviction had been noticed, and it was seemingly a move in the right direction. This was exciting! It was like old LJ all over again!

Unfortunately, it wasn't like old LJ; it was actually something of a fluke, or perhaps just the natural result of a long-running contest with "political" underpinnings like LJ Idol. As the contest dragged on, I found that I had developed a consistent Idol fanbase (for which I was very grateful), but it became harder and harder to reach new readership. Minds had been closed to Syrius' hijinks; whether the problematic hijinks took place in Season Four or Five didn't matter much to me. And remember-- I'm a self-described insatiable comment whore.

I was particularly surprised when the very carefully planned Week Six rap battle entry didn't effectively win Best in Show for the week, and in fact turned in a worse performance in the polls than the entry prior. From that point forward, it just became less and less interesting for me each week, and eventually it reached the point where it didn't seem worth the time to properly finish what I'd started. Increasingly, although it had been fun "just like the old-LJ days" for that brief, addiction-generating interval, Idol just wasn't much fun to write for any more... sort of what's become of LJ itself.

As I continued to fall, my cell phone rang. I answered. It was the Rev.

"Hold up, Mr. Bidness. Stop metaphorically falling. Don't call it quits just yet."

I sighed in mid-freefall. "Why not?"

"superhappytime noticed a discrepancy in this week's voting at the very end, and he's right on. Someone pulled six votes from you at the last possible second in the polls. Then you lost the week."


"Syrius, you idiot. This is obvious foul play, and I took screenshots all weekend long-- I've got the evidence right here. We can take this up with Gary and keep you in the game. Perhaps you can survive last week's ridiculous entry after all."

"Two things, Rev. One, I was already losing-- and solidly, too-- before those votes disappeared."

"Surely that doesn't matter if there's evidence of such vote-foolery going on, Syrius. I know a few things about fucking up elections, and this smells like a fucked-up election for certain."

"Well, see, the other thing, Rev, is that those retracted votes actually belonged to me."


"Here's the deal, Rev: I set up a handful of sockpuppets for the occasion; they were holding some votes for me until the end of the poll. On the extremely off chance that Idol voters wouldn't kill me outright in response to that last entry, I wanted to be able to ensure my 'democratic' demise. As it turned out, of course, I didn't need the held votes, because hardly anybody actually voted for me anyway. Those LJ Idol readers, y'see, they're quite an astute bunch. Well, either that, or they're a bunch of fucking prudes."

A disbelieving pause followed. "I know you, Syrius, you don't even shill out from your f-list for legit votes. And now, you expect me to believe that you resorted to sockpuppets... in order to make sure you lost?"

"All true, Rev."

"You could have just dropped out, Syrius, for crissake."

"Sure, I could have. But that wouldn't have been so interesting, now, would it, Rev?"

"I suppose not."

"And, besides, I like thrashing about meaninglessly in artificial holes."

"Well, hell, Syrius, that's obvious to anyone. I mean, you're an LJ Idol entrant, ain't ye?"

"You're a frighteningly smart man, Rev. Well, listen, buddy, gotta go. Pavement's here."



In Season Five, srs_bidness was:
approximately 432 words by soopageek
approximately 435 words by tpbrcombo
approximately 19,029 words (including these ones) by lossfound

(based quite loosely on an original Season Four character by soopageek)

all music and sorta-performances also by lossfound
(who has actually previously written horrible hip-hop songs about LJ sucking)

thanks to all non-haters for all your many kind comments and support this season

au revoir, cheers, best of luck, and watch out for ljhaikuidol!

favorite tales, leaps of faith, and lots of skin

Hey, have you checked out ljhaikuidol yet? It's pretty cool.

Gather round ol' Syrius, sweet little children. Gather round and let me tell you a story, a very famous and scary story, about the elders of the strange and faraway forest of Elljayidyll...

...Now, you there, how old are you? Only three, you say? Well, you'd better gather extra special close to ol' Syrius. Wouldn't want you to miss any of the action.

We all seated comfortably, children? Good! Let's begin our story of this strange and faraway place.

It was a dark, dark night in the forest. Not a star could be seen in the sky for all the trees. And as happened most every Friday night, in a clearing in this dark, dark forest, spydielives was bent over a log, naked as a jaybird, oiled up all over, allowing herself to be thoroughly "exorcised" with a very special kind of magic wand. "He must... unh... he must be stopped. This cannot continue."

spydielives' breasts shimmied ever-so-rhythmically and oh-so-hypnotically as kathrynrose, wearing the Hard Pink Wand of Reckoning about her waist, plunged the wand into Spydie's haunted cavity over and over, in and out, deeper and deeper, the better with which to work its special blend of dishwasher-safe latex magic.

"Yes, spydielives," said kathyrnrose, sweat profusely pouring from her brow, wearing nothing but a strangely somber smile, her own excitement inescapably mounting as the Hard Pink Wand of Reckoning also helped to massage a very special, very magical button.

"The one they call Syrius Bidness," kathyrnrose continued between prolonged and guttural groans, "is a major threat to the lifestyle of the elders. And we must do everything in our power to ensure that this needless threat is removed from play."

"But he has become so impossibly powerful, performing as many as five or six positions up from the bottom of his tribe each and every week! How can we possibly stop the likes of him?" moaned the once-mighty technophile, now strapped helplessly to a log on his stomach as lilmissmagic71 lightly but relentlessly flicked her tongue ever so playfully over and around his exposed, eager man-hole.

"Uhll infuhhhltrate nnf infffestigate," offered lilmissmagic71 helpfully between impossibly teasing rim-strokes, bucking against the "magic" of her own right hand as she did so. "Uhh commen' reguhlahly nn hsss Elljay. He hathhh cmm tuh truss meh."

"No, this is simply not sufficient," rm piped in, before grabbing monkeysugarmama by the hair, pushing her onto her knees. "We must end this Syrius Bidness now... swiftly, and invisibly. He-- ahhh-- insults and mocks us without remorse. He-- ohhhhhh-- challenges the lesser of us to-- unnnnnh--- rap battles, who is to say who will-- oh! oh, oh!-- be next?"

"Silence!" brightflashes unbound technophile, only to re-bind him to the log on his back, slather him with excessive quantities of Astro-glide, and proceed to slide herself, poop-chute first, down onto his hard pink magic wand (although it was markedly smaller than the version in kathyrnrose's possession). "This Bidness is no threat to us. We have the power to stop his kind, and have done so before." She continued to stuff her backside full of half-flaccid but delicious techno-magic. "We need only to-- ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, unh unhhhhhhhh-- oppress his voter base for one week... perhaps, ohGODohgodohgod, perhaps we might call clauderainsrm and see if he is willing to exchange... exchange..."

"Exchange what, brightflashes?" The whole circle grew impatient.

"Oh, you guys know damn well that I just can't think straight when I've got a cock up in me. rm, slap my ass a few times to straighten me out, would you?"

"Yes, ma'am." The spankings commenced as the uniquely earthy smell of LJ-addict coupling continued to fill the night air.

"Thank you. Now, if we get Gary down here, and we can offer him a little bit of involvement in tonight's festivities, perhaps... perhaps he'd be willing to adjust the polls slightly..."

At this point, a pair of hands grabbed my laptop.

"Bidness, just what in the hell are you doing? 'Sexual Healing' was last week's topic, and this... this... honestly, are you just trying to get yourself killed?"

"Rev, the way I see it, all my favorite stories do involve fucking, and a lot of it. And on killing myself... yeah, well, so what? So what if I am?"

"Is that why you're up here on top of this nine-story parking garage?"

"Well, maybe. Mostly, I think I came up for the peace and quiet. How did you find me here anyway?"

"Listen, my boy... you don't successfully steal two presidential elections without having a hell of a national surveillance network."

The Rev sat down next to me and lit a smoke. He alt-tabbed through a few other files I had sitting open on the machine. "Look, what is this shit, Syrius? 'Dear LJ Idol: I can't think of anything to write on this week's topic, and I'm out of time this week, so I guess I'll just post a long entry complaining that I can't think of anything to write about this week's topic'?"

"That was a much earlier draft, Rev. I started typing that up about two minutes after Gary announced the topic, but I figured I could do a bit better."

"Syrius, not only is the concept of you with nothing to say a completely ludicrous concept in and of itself, you know full well that posting the whining-about-the-topic-and-time entry is the most surefire method there is to get yourself knocked out of Idol... the most surefire method, that is, next to naming all of the power players as part of an orgiastic quasi-pagan cabal..."

"Ah, but there's a more surefire method yet, Rev. Alt-tab a time or two more."

"'Dear LJ Idol: I've just got to share my very favorite story of all time with you... scroll uh...' OH, DEAR FUCKING GOD, SYRIUS." Rev turned away sharply from the laptop; for a moment I thought he might actually throw it down.

"Something the matter, Rev?"

"Syrius, is that a full-screen picture of you, naked, shoving various parts of a nativity set up your ass?"

"Something like that, Rev. I decided I would try to tell my readership the most inspirational tale of all, the original Biblical Christmas story. Only it's been told a lot, so to freshen the story up a bit, I decided I would tell the story in the style of Goatse."

"Jesus Christ, do the pictures have to be so... detailed?"

"Absolutely, Rev. If you were to try to tell the Christmas story with your pried-open, gaping anus in anything less than full-screen resolution, the LJ Idol readership would feel cheated of the timeless splendor of the tale."

"Syrius, why? Why are you trying to get yourself Idol-killed? Wasn't it you, mere weeks ago, saying how you were in this for the long haul, you were confident you could win the damn thing?"

I stood up and climbed onto the edge of the garage. "I'll think I'll fully answer that question, Rev," I said, "right after I see if I can do a nine-turn cannonball right onto the roof of that Corolla down there."

The Rev grabbed, unsuccessfully, for my ankles.

I leapt. be continued, possibly

business ventures, vanity labels, and dat azz

OK, so I'll level with you. I was going to take my bye this week because the Rev, who you may recall promised to rejoin the campaign in Week 10 if I managed to survive Week 9, has disappeared without a trace. There are rumors floating around that he's just off "servicing" Rick Wagoner while he's in town, but one way or the other, he's not picking up his cell.

So, contextually, with ~12 hours to go before the deadline and still no Rev in sight, it seemed like taking a bye was a really good idea. However, I can't be sure that I'll be able to find him by next week, by which time stakes will be still higher. So even though I don't have anything particularly "vain" to discuss, I think it's probably best to save my bye, press on this week, and hope for the best.

To that end, I offer you... hrm... let's see what's lying around... ah, yes, a document that I helped author this summer. This never got completed. It was intended to be the FAQ section of the website for my new signature fashion venture, Srs.Jeans. We were gonna leverage my name, make some pretty sweet designer jeans, handbags, and t-shirts, and make a killing doing so.

Two problems arose which spelled the premature end of the once-seemingly-lucrative Srs.Jeans. One, I realized I didn't know how to design jeans, handbags or t-shirts, nor did I know anyone else who did. Two, the bank that was providing us our VC closed its doors. Actually, from what I hear, the bank's assets were entirely foreclosed upon by another bank. Yes, these are truly tough times.

Enjoy, I guess. And even if not, it goes without saying that you should vote for me anyway. LJ Idol needs me. Like the Big Three, I'm too big to be allowed to disappear.

srs jeans logo

Q: What is Srs.Jeans?

Srs.Jeans is the new fashion venture from srs_bidness, who you most likely know from his rise to worldwide fame in Livejournal's LJ Idol competition in Season 4. Having completed his obligations there, S. Bidness now focuses his unwavering eye for style on young women 16-24 everywhere he sees them. Srs.Jeans offers exclusive clothing and accessories to those who are totally unafraid to go under the razor and become the bleeding edge, if not the traumatic cerebral hemorrhage, of fashion.

Q: Who is srs_bidness, really?

An enigma, a force of nature, perhaps the most notoriously virtuosic lover in the universe (ladies only; no bipoly pagan chicks, please). His anonymity is a source of power that enables him to do more in a single week than most human beings achieve in a lifetime, theoretically, when he should someday choose to do so, which according to him is "comin' up just about any time now." He is a charitable man who works in his community and contributes a large percentage of his personal income every year to struggling fast food restaurants in surprisingly convenient locations. Having his name emblazoned across your ass, in 8-inch-high letters, will make you feel a little warm and fuzzy every time you slap on a pair of Srs.Jeans.

Q: I thought I heard a rumor that srs_bidness was so-and-so. Is this true?

For an enigmatic force of nature, any press is good press, but please remember: believing stuff you read on the Internet, particularly embedded in some yahoo's halfassed Youtube video, is always a sketchy business at best.

Q: Fair labor practices are important to me. Are your products made in a sweatshop?

Fair labor practices are important to us, too. All of our products are made in sweatshops with practically nonexistent pay and totally unimaginable conditions. That's what's most fair to us! So when you buy a Srs.Jeans product, you can rest easy with your purchase, knowing that S. Bidness still has a roof over his head, over his bedroom, where you'll find 2000-thread-count sheets on a rotating heart-shaped bed, a chocolate fondue fountain, and a veritable buffet of fruits which he hand-feeds to any woman lucky enough to enter through the door and take off all of her clothing, Srs.Jeans-manufactured or otherwise.

Q: When can I expected to take delivery of the Srs.Jeans I just ordered and paid for in full?

We are hoping to begin production sometime. Thanks for your order and your patience.

Q: Why are your prices so high?

S. Bidness personally prays over and subsequently spits on every box of clothing that shows up on the docks from our Asian sweatshops. This kind of individualized attention to detail is unheard of in today's mass-manufactured market. Besides, if you think $82.99 is too much money to pay for a pair of socks, you should see how much my chiropractor charges me... especially whenever I ask her for a rub and tug.

Q: If my Srs.Jeans do not fit, can I return them?

As you know, Srs.Jeans only come in one size for the sheer exclusivity. If these jeans fit you, congratulations, you are obviously an attractive woman. Other customers may find themselves unable to fit into their Srs.Jeans out of the box, but they still cannot bring themselves to part with such a fashionable article of clothing. Even if they did want to return the jeans, at this time, we are unfortunately unable to offer refunds to fatties as a point of ethics. Luckily for our customers, we have partnered up with another new venture, Srs.Suction. Customers who have purchased Srs.Jeans can receive up to a 5% discount on liposculpture from Srs.Suction to help them fit into their new Srs.Jeans.

Q: I don't have a Srs.Seller in my area. Do you ship Srs.Jeans products internationally?

We will ship anywhere in the world... for the right price... except for Oklahoma. This policy is a fairly standard one for any company in the cutthroat business of high fashion. As is commonly known, when any Oklahoma native dons a company's product for the first time, its reputation as a "fashionable" product is obviously and permanently finished. We apologize to our appallingly subhuman Oklahoman friends for any inconvenience.

pumpkin pies, candied yams, and rosy palms

As tends to happen every November or so, it's Thanksgiving season, and time for us to cough up a rote list of things we pretend to be thankful for... y'know, things like our thankless jobs... nagging, frigid spouses... vampiric children. But rather than bore you with 2,500 words or so of strangely-located mid-season end credits (I'll just wait for the Oscar), I'd like to simply and very sincerely state at this time that I'm most thankful in life for one thing: my hand. The Internet would be far, far too lonely a place without it.

I'm also grateful for suckas who, based upon an examination of week-to-week voting records, quite obviously "invited" their entire F-list in to vote for them in the previous week in an effort to save their own ass from elimination, thus opening them up as totally fair game for Declaration of Rap Battle.

But perhaps a more in-depth examination of that particular gratitude will have to wait for another time. To celebrate Thanksgiving 2k8, here's my deeply artistic rendering of one of my two hands (truly, I am blessed!). I know you might have a hard time seeing it, because-- get this-- I've disguised it as a photorealistic depiction of an anthropomorphic turkey.

dear baxophobia: this is actually the worst hand-turkey the world has ever seen

Once the shock and awe wears off, please feel free to fill the comments of this post with foolish attempts at similarly photorealistic depictions of Thanksgiving-related objects, as sketched around the silhouetted framework of your favorite body part.

Don't forget the reason for the season. I know I haven't.

banana peels, falling trousers, and audience participation

oh shiiii! I almost forgot to give a shoutout to my new community, ljhaikuidol, where we've already got two seventeen contestants signed up for our first round of all haiku, all the time. Do you have what it takes for a no-holds-barred haiku throwdown? You'd better come and join us before Season One begins!

"What do you mean, 'not this week,' Rev? This is exactly what I pay you for. This is your job."

"Syrius, we're now nine weeks into the contest, at the point where certain trends are readily perceptible. Have you looked closely at your week-to-week polling figures so far?"

"Sure, Rev." I pulled out the spreadsheet.

"Notice any trends overall?"

"Well, in what might have been referred ca. 1997 to as an inverse Chumbawamba effect, it seems that I go up, then I go down again."

"Let me explain something to you, Syrius. The weeks in which you were up, Syrius, the weeks in which you almost looked you like might win your tribe and all that, were in fact the weeks in which I was actively working on your campaign. The weeks in which you were down in the statistical dumps of utter mediocrity-- getting your ass beaten soundly by rerun entries two seasons running, offering incredibly compelling diaper-change advice-- were weeks in which you consciously chose to keep me out of said campaign."

"What can I say? It just felt right at the time, Rev. But I'm sorry. You've been right all along. You got paid regardless, and I hope you know it wasn't meant as a slight. And clearly, at this point, I'm gonna need your help to stay in the race. The voters have spoken recently. This campaign is in need of some pretty serious reform, or maybe just some old-fashioned poll tomfoolery... and I can't think of a man more qualified to turn a campaign around or steal an election than you."

"Mr. Bidness, with all due respect, I think you still have a lesson to learn. Yes, you did pay me an awful lot of money for doing nothing, and who's going to complain about that? But you have ignored my professional advice at your own peril on more than one occasion. What's far worse, when you cut me out of the campaign two weeks ago, you effectively publicly insulted and humiliated me. I'd be a fool to readily ignore such a slight."

"That, or you just want to take another week's paid vacation for the fuck of it," I spat.

"Oh, that's... that's just it. I'll rejoin your campaign in Week 10... if you actually make it out alive. Survive another round of voting, and then we'll make some serious changes for Syrius Bidness. But as for this week... well, you'll have to sweat this one out entirely on your own."

"You're such an ass, Rev."

"Oh, and Syrius?"


"I'd advise you not to start any 'rap battles' this week."

"Well, there's nothing else for it, [insert your name here]," I said to you. "I really didn't have anything prepared to discuss this week, and I was sort of counting on the Rev to give me some direction. So... well, [insert your name here], you'll have to be my campaign manager this week."

Me?, you said with mock bewilderment. But, Syrius, I'm... I'm totally unprepared for this job.

"Oh, listen to you, [insert your name here]," I playfully chuckled. "Not five seconds into the job and you're already making cheap, godawful, painfully obvious links into the assigned topic. See? You're gonna just be great."

Ugh. Shit. Does this gig at least pay something?

"Well, I do pay the Rev pretty handsomely; he's a professional, and he's in demand. Unfortunately, there's not much left in the campaign fund, since I had to pay the Rev's fee in advance for the whole season. But I tell you what... if you can help me out this week on the pro bono tip..."

Pro-Bono? Sorry, man, not gonna happen. That guy is a total tool, and U2 has totally sucked since at least The Joshua Tree.

"Oh, you! You've got a wit as sharp as a scimitar."

Don't think for a minute that I'm doing this for free, ass. And don't start talking about "scimitars" and shit either. It makes you sound like some kinda RPG-addicted, parents'-basement-dwelling, total cosplay furry schlong.

"While that doesn't exactly describe me, per se, before you say much more publicly, I feel I should remind you-- as my amateur stand-in campaign manager-- that this is LJ Idol. Refer to cosplay wankers, furries, bi-poly pagan chicks, etc. in the pejorative sense, and you're coming dangerously close to permanently alienating large segments of the voting audience."

Right. I'm sorry, Syrius. I guess I've been kind of hard up for witchy furtang since the last DruidYiffCon myself. Well, so long as you're paying something, I guess it's time to get to work, prepared or not.

"Alright, [insert your name here]. Let's get started right away on this problem of shrinking voter share. What do you think the main problem is? Is it the sheer length of my entries? The contempt in which I may sometimes appear to hold my competition and/or the contest itself? Or is it something else entirely?"

(this is the sort of deal that HTML was made for, y'know!)

In your capacity as temporary campaign manager, prepared to make important decisions, you click on the link that best describes your response to Syrius' italicized question immediately above:

Yes, it seems the consistently ridiculous length of your entries may be a problem, Syrius.

Well, Mr. Bidness, it's been pointed out more than once that your snark is worse than your write.

It's something else, Syrius. Something you probably haven't even thought of at this point. Let me tell you what it is.

juicy burgers, saucy dames, and wall-to-wall cheese

This is where you vote for me if you know what's good for you.

Also, I will shortly be pimping my brand new community, LJ Haiku Idol, in various places... might as well get started here. No, it's not a joke. The syllabically constrained excitement begins in just a few weeks. Think you're, uh, writer enough to write on given topics in all haiku, all the time? Well, have a look, and then sign up for some serious 5-7-5 smackdown.

~Last week, on srs_bidness:~

"I'm the one who knows how to run a fucking campaign, and I'm sick and tired of you fucking it up for yourself... for both of us."

[Syrius looks forebodingly into the distance as a dollycam rotates around him in slow motion]

"Listen, Rev... I don't think I'll be needing your services this week."

[The Rev slams down telephone headset, picks up and throws entire phone set through office window]

"I don't know, Beaky McGee... now I'm losing every last bit of hope I had."

"Puh-too-weet. Puh-too... puh-too-weet?"

[steamy teaser scene of Syrius making sweet love to an ecstatic Beaky McGee; waist-up only]

"The whole thing's been a bit... meta so far, hasn't it?"

[head-on crash between two small Chinese mopeds at speeds exceeding 15mph; massive fiery explosion shown from multiple angles]

"Zommm-BEH, zommm-beeEHH, -beeEH, -beeeeEH, motherfucker!"

[Syrius tied to chair with gun pointed at his head; an eye-catching figure donning an extremely expensive power suit barely visible at edge of frame; conspicuous tattoo on gun-wielding hand reads WASILLA4LIFE]

"Mr. Bidness, I know this may come as a great surprise, but you...

[dramatic shot of a slackjawed Syrius with cell phone in hand]

" are a father."

[orchestral climax; fade to black; roll credits]

Looking in the bag, I saw only a double cheeseburger.

I glared at him. He blankly stared back.

"Kid... is this your idea of a joke?"

"...Sir? This is what you ordered."

"No, son, I ordered a #3 combo meal. Now, I've had thrice as many sex partners as you've had birthdays, and one thing I can tell you is that in the fast food industry, things described as 'combo meals' come with fries and a drink. I don't know how you missed that little detail as part of your being-an-American-in-the-21st-century training video. Maybe you had that My Chemical Romance record turned up a bit too loud on your iPhone at that time."

"Sir?" He was beginning to sniffle. "This is what I rung you up for."

I thrust the receipt in his face. "This is what you rang me up for. Do you see where it says COMBO MEAL?"

"...Yes." He was trembling. I proceeded to grab his shoulders and turn him round toward the menu above him.

"Now, my son, do you see, quite clearly on that menu, where it says COMBO MEALS INCLUDE FRIES AND 16 OZ DRINK? Say 'yes,' or I will force you to stand here facing the menu until you do see it. I don't care if we have to call in an optometrist and/or your kindergarten teacher first."


"Now, please do not misunderstand me, Junior. This isn't really my style. I'm not some fucked-up police-academy dropout who now spends his days taking out his insecurities and lifelong sexual inadequacies on unsuspecting fast food employees. However, I paid for fries and a drink. So it's very, very simple: You are going to give me said fries and said drink, right fucking now, or I am going to speak to your manager, and when I finish five minutes from now, you will no longer have a job. Do you comprehend?"

Thirty seconds later, after I'd watched him carefully to make sure he didn't piss into the fry box, he handed both fries and drink over to me with the tearful quickness. "You didn't have to go and bring MCR into it, asshole."

"Whatever. ...OK, sorry about all that. Hard to find good help these days. Now, what were you saying?"

As I walked away from the counter, the disembodied voice in my Bluetooth earpiece cleared its throat in perceptibly annoyed fashion. "Couldn't that have, like, waited?"

"Not really, man. I was hungry. Listen, I'm sorry, I haven't got all day; this burger's getting cold already. So, now, what were you saying?"

"Mr. Bidness, I was saying that you are a father."

"Right... genuinely shocking news, that. So tell me, who's the baby mama?"

"...And the mother of the child," continued the voice, "is someone in this room."

"Let's be clear, my mysterious, unnamed friend with mysterious, unnamed motivations. Now, since you are on the phone, I know you can't see the lobby of this mysterious, unnamed fast food joint I'm dining in. So, now, when you talk about 'someone in this room', are you talking about whatever room you happen to be sitting in, which I also can't see?"

"No. Of course that is not the room to which I refer."

"I see. So, rather than an actual, physical room, you are really referring-- in an oh-so-clever turn of literary device-- to the nice open space that I ended up with when I apparently decided that ye olde Narrative House needed some changes, called in some of the cheapest fly-by-night contractors operating in my neighborhood, and then had the fourth wall immediately knocked out?"

"Yes, Mr. Bidness. That very room."

"Right. The 'room' that not just you or I, but 'we' are all 'sitting' in. Oh... hold on a second, friend, I've got to retrieve my eyes. They've just rolled back so far that they seem to be stuck to the back of my skull."

Looking back, it was actually a pretty happy time in my life. At barest minimum, she was a pretty good lay, whenever the dynamic permitted. And, y'know, I've certainly dated crazier.

She was a sweet girl, mostly. Supportive, frequently complimentary, all that, although I never really knew for sure how sincere she was about any of it.

Sure, most days, our conversations were a bit empty... noticeably forced. And she had a hard time knowing when to shut up. Not that this is a problem that affects me at all, of course.

When I first met her, I thought, "Oh, there is no way in hell this is going to fly." I know she probably thought the same about me. My cynicism, then as now, could power all of rural Indiana if properly harnessed; not one of my most attractive traits, but it appeals to certain women. She was not one of these women. And actually, I'm pretty sure she either didn't get most of my jokes, or she just outright ignored them most of the time.

Meanwhile, she was frequently obnoxiously bubbly and puddle-deep, always strangely lecturing me on one topic or another in an oddly forced fashion, unforgivably punctuating our more casual conversations with "LOL"s, and-- worst of all-- denoting imaginary actions through the use of bookending asterisks. Now, I'm not a guy who would ever hit a woman, but those asterisks sure could make me want to punch her in the face.

We probably should have listened to our early instincts about how this could never work. The inevitable was obvious as sin from our first few dates. You know how it is, though. One too many White Russians, and the next thing you know, the biological imperative has taken precedent. And, whaddayaknow, the physical chemistry was just good enough to make us both put our concerns aside for a while.

Our pillow talk was still totally insufferable, though.

"Wow. That was unreal, Syrius."

"Yeah, I know, babe. I can't believe how good we are together when we make love... how right you feel to me."

"I'm going to warn you, Syrius, our next topic of conversation may cause great discomfort for those who have suffered PTSD relating to childhood lactose intolerance."

"OK, um, well, I've got no problem with milk..."

"Well, it was very hard for me to talk about this trauma of mine. Talking about it certainly brought up a lot of issues for me. But I'm glad I had the chance. Thanks for listening, Syrius. This has been my Week Six entry on ghosts."

"Lindsey, what in the hell are you talking about?"

But despite having these sorts of conversations on a weekly basis, along with a never-ending stream of retarded surveys she was asking me to fill out and "cross-post," whatever the fuck that meant... well, I still found myself inexplicably fond of the girl, and became increasingly attached to her. Unfortunately, as time went on, that growing fondness did not seem to be mutual.

"Syrius, *crosses arms*, I'm never sure about you. Sometimes I think all your ribbing is just because you love me, and your teasing is just part of that love. Other times... I don't know, other times I worry that you might actually hate me deep down. *hangs head, refuses to vote for you, runs away*."

"Ugh, those asterisks... whyyyyy, I oughtta... ugh, never mind. Listen to me, Lindsey Jane. I know we have our differences sometimes. I know we're very different people. And sometimes, I won't lie, sometimes I wish you would just shut the hell up, or at least that we could have natural, unforced, 'topic'-free conversations like normal human beings. But I assure you, I really do care about you, I do. I don't hate you. I only want what's best for you. I am here for you. The more time I spend with you, the more I think... well, I know it probably sounds totally cheesy, but... I think I was meant for you. I was meant to own you... to rule you."

"Rule me, Syrius? Are you kidding me?"

"No, I think you've got it wrong, I just mean, you know... just that I was meant to win you. Take care of you. Show you how it's done. Be your hero... your, uh, idol."

"Syrius, just who the hell do you think you are, coming into my life, telling me 'how it's done', acting like I'm some kind of conquest, telling me that I need an 'idol'? Listen, I was just fine before you came along, asshole, and I'll be just fine after you."

"After me? Lindsey Jane, no, please don't even talk about that, please. I'm sorry. I need you. I need your touch. I think... I think I love you."

"Oh, Syrius, just shut up. You never loved me," she screamed. "You just wanted a good lay, and to kill some time. I can see it so clearly now. You never cared about me, you never understood me at all, Syrius. You never understood me at all. *sobs, throws vase*."

"Uh, *ducks*? Christ. Look, Lindsey, you ought to give me more credit than that. I understand you perfectly well. In fact, I understand you so well that I know that you're just trying to come up with some kind of rant for the 'Week Eight topic' you've been on about, whatever the fuck that is. That's how well I know you. But you're hurting me with this 'topic' right now, Linds.

"...And besides, this entry has already contained one obnoxiously forced rant, see it up there, that totally pointless thing with the fast food employee, the utter nonsense that started this whole false flashback? We're good to go for your 'topic' this week. Please, stop it now, Linds. Don't use me like this. Don't let me go... not like this, please."

"Oh, so now you think I'm just ranting at you to fulfill an entry on a topic? Well, you might be right, Syrius Bidness, but you've sure got a lot to learn about being the idol of Lindsey Jane. *slams door*."

She slammed the door.

So in a matter of weeks, it all collapsed. Until then, I thought we had been working so well together. But I had already noticed that she was calling less and less... and then, of course, at this point she suddenly stopped calling altogether. Whenever I tried to call her instead, there was never an answer; she was obviously screening her comments calls.

Although I know I loved her, I soon got over the loss. Not the first romantic setback I've experienced; you get older, these things are easier to keep in perspective. We were hardly soulmates, after all.

But now, to learn that she was the mother of my child... it brought up a lot of feelings.

Just to warn you, dear reader, this might have been a sensitive entry for those of you who have been dumped by a ridiculously extended metaphor in the past, only to learn of your even more ridiculously extended metaphorical paternity. Please don't read any of the preceding paragraphs if you're concerned about that.

Well, gee, I guess this has been my Week Eight entry on the "topic" of personal rants. Thanks for listening, and always remember: cut along the "railroad tracks," not across.

Now I says to the voice currently embodied in my Bluetooth face-growth: "I guess there's only one thing for it. I've got to go find her. I've got to help her raise our child."

"Oh, don't bother, Mr. Bidness."

"What? What do you mean?"

"She is... she is dead, Mr. Bidness."

"No! It can't be!"

"Yes, a most tragic tale, I'm afraid. As the Internet's Fourth Reich-- comprised of 4chan, Myspace and Facebook-- encroached upon her dominion, she decided not to fight off the inevitable. Instead, she took an approach of steadfast denial of her now almost total irrelevance. She and her remaining followers then moved into a houseboat and set themselves adrift in the west Pacific, where they could live out the rest of their days putting described actions in asterisks and writing unreadable HP fanfic. Then a Russian submarine that had been sent to finish the job-- the warship SUP!, I believe-- let loose with a single massive and rather pointlessly expensive blast of torpedoes, and... well, the rest is history."

"What happened to our child?"

"Thankfully, the child was given up for adoption before she ever left these shores. It's got to be several years old by now. I mean, your beloved 'Lindsey Jane' has been basically dead as a doornail since at least 2006, far as I'm concerned, so there you go."

"In that case, I've got to go find my child, friend. It won't be next week... but it'll be sometime soon. Maybe. It's, like, important, probably. ...Yeah."

"Well, Mr. Bidness, that sure sounds like a totally satisfying conclusion to me."

"Yes, friend... it certainly does."

"And what a damned fine conclusion it was, too."

"Well, pal, they don't call me a professional for nothing."

"I'll say. Color me impressed with your absolutely fucking amazing conclusion."

"Nothing but the best for LJ Idol, no, sir."

"Well, Mr. Bidness, best of luck, and don't be a stranger, now."

"Sure thing. Ciao."

The burger was delicious.

~to be continued, at some point, possibly~

Things in this "competition" can change very quickly, as most recently shown by the highly surprising departure this week of my one-time formidable opponent and recent rap-battle foe. In the event that my time in LJ Idol should ever come to an abrupt end, as does seem at least somewhat likely at some point before the end of the affair, be advised that anyone who may actually / foolishly give a shit may return to my journal on the Friday of the following week for uhhh "closure" of the uhhhhhh "story arc," and a few interesting subsequent revelations.

hope, poop, and lifejackets

Warning for the still-gainfully employed: This entry is slightly blue, even for me.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard,
And mostly what I need from you.

- Billy Joel, "Honesty"

Of all the coffee shops in this dump, Cloves 'n' Hornrims had been my favorite of late. What they conspicuously lacked in passable coffee and/or free wifi was compensated for via the outdoor seating with an absolutely magical view of the woods behind the shop. It was right in the middle of town, but you'd never know it from the scenery or the silence of the surroundings. Lately, I guess I'd also developed a bit of a crush on the barista who worked the weekday morning shift. Not that she noticed or cared; that's the universal way of the barista, after all. Is there any more elusive sort of woman in the four-figure-annual-income bracket? Bookstore employees, perhaps?

Anyway, this morning, I was sitting out back on the edge of these gorgeous woods with a paper, a coffee and a smoke. Of course, I wasn't really reading the paper. Too much running through my head to make room for any further meaningful data.

My cell rang.

"Syrius Bidness here."

"Mr. Bidness, it's Rev. LaRock. Quite pleased with your standing in the polls this past week?"

"Well, Rev, to be honest, and with all due modesty... when the final numbers came in, I felt I probably should have done a lot better."

"Not to worry, Mr. Bidness. We did some analysis of all of the entries that beat you last week, and we discovered an interesting trend I think you'll want to hear about."

"Oh? What's that, Rev?"

"None of them featured shitty hip-hop songs about LJ Idol."

"Awww, fuck you, Rev."

"I tried to tell you, didn't I, Bidness? 'No hip-hop battles,' I said. 'Hip-hop just doesn't go over with all these women readers in the 30-45 demo,' I said. 'Besides, you sound like Weird Al,' I said. 'Write some shit instead about how your first girlfriend was killed in a freak scrapbooking accident, the very week before you were gonna propose...'"

"Rev, whoa, man. Do you realize you're screaming?"

"'...and that dead almost-fiancee of yours is now a goddamned ghost, no, make that ghost fairy, no... make that ghost faerie, one that constantly whispers bad financial advice to you, and dances about on your receding hairline whenever you put whipped cream on your hot-chocolate-chai-latte while listening to some song or another from Live's Throwing Copper,' I said..."

I had to hold the phone out from my ear at this point. I could practically feel him spitting through it.

"'Make sure you quote some totally irrelevant lyrics at painful length at some tearjerker moment in your entry... that technique always goes over well with these fucking people,' I said..."

"Rev, look, calm down. Stop with the swearing. Man, I think you've got LJ Idol voters all wrong."

And if a double-decker bus crashes into us
To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.
And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us
To die by your side, well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine.

- Some emo pussy, ca. 1986

"...Did you fucking listen, Syrius? Did you? Did you ever? Well, I hope you're fucking listening now, you insolent, impotent megalomaniac, because I'm the one who knows how to run a fucking campaign, and I'm sick and tired of you fucking it up for yourself... for both of us."

"Rev, listen, and listen close," I said calmly. "Seriously... Throwing Copper? Man, Live totally sucked in 1994, and they suck even worse now. You know that as well as I do."

"What does it fucking matter? Do you not hear what I have been saying? This is not about me, this is not about you, this is not about you disliking x or y or z, it's about you winning. You want to win? Then you will do what it takes to get the entire voter base off, every minute of every day. You don't stop lickin' and flickin' until they've all creamed their jeans into a sopping, sticky mass-mess from nostalgia or puerile 'identification' or whatever..."

"Rev, really, now. I'm a little offended by such a graphic metaphor. I find it needlessly vulgar and more than a little misogynist."

Rev's tenor had reached such an angry amplitude that he was unable to hear or pause for my remarks. "...It's not about you, asshole. You want those votes? Then your head goes down there and stays down there, no hesitation, no complaining, I don't care if your tastebuds are sanded smooth and your beard eventually has to be shaved off from the smell, do you hear me? And what the hell would you know about music anyway, you delusional little piece of shit? I suppose you'd prefer the fucking Cranberries or something?"

"Listen, Rev... I don't think I will be needing your services this week. I know you're under a lot of stress right now, what with the other election. We'll speak again when you've regained your sanity. I'll talk to you soon."

I promptly closed the flip. The last thing I heard, at arm's length from the earpiece, was the Rev madly shrieking "Zommm-BEH, zommm-beeEHH, -beeEH, -beeeeEH, motherfucker!"

Uh now ah feeeeel it cuhhhhhmn' uh'back aggehn,
Lahk uh rollin' thunduh chasin' thuh win'.
Forsus pullin' from thuh centuh of thuh urrrrrrth agehnnnn,
Uh cuhn feeeeeel it.

- Live, "Lightning Crashes"

"Puh-too-weet?" said the moderately-sized meadowlark on my shoulder.

"I don't know, Beaky McGee," I said, sliding the cell phone back into my pocket. "I just don't know. Maybe the Rev's right. Maybe I have the wrong idea being in this silly contest. I probably don't stand a chance. I thought I really had it right this time... I thought I knew how to win the whole thing. But now... well, now I'm losing every last bit of hope I had."


"Well, the whole thing's been a bit... meta so far, hasn't it? Week after week, 1500 words of me and the Rev playing out an LJ-Idol-themed remake of My Dinner with Andre... even I'm getting bored with the Rev... all this associated and carefully crafted multimedia every week that no one bothers with, the lulz be damned... and the only other character of even moderate significance this season has run off and won't come back to me no matter how I beg. How can I possibly be surprised at the downward spiral in votes? How could I possibly expect to maintain reader interest just dragging on like this, week after week?"

"Too-weet. Puh-puh-too-weet."

"Gosh, that's awfully nice of you to say, Beaky. But I don't think everybody feels that way. Obviously, I'm simultaneously saying nothing of real use, and tl;dr'ing them to death... even worse, I'm committing such violence using their very own club."

"Puh-too-weet. Puh-too... puh-too-weet?"

"No, it's just no use, Beaky. Too bloody recursive, self-referential, masturbatory. This kind of thing just don't play in the sticks. The writing's on the wall for me, I'm afraid. At this rate, I probably won't last another week before the backlash hits... for the second year in a row. No, Beaky McGee, my meadowlark friend, I'm afraid it's just hopeless. I'll never be the next LJ Idol. What was I ever thinking? I should just give up now and quit the race while I've still got my dignity."

I hung my head and began to weep quietly.

"Toooooo-weet! Puh-too-weet. Tootootootootoo-tooweet."

"Hrm, what's that, you say?"

"Puh-too-weet. Puh-too-weet."

"Saaaaaay, Beaky McGee, I... I guess I hadn't thought of that."

"Too-weet, too-weet, tootootootoo-weet-weet-weet."

"Wow, Beaky, the more I think about it, the more I think it's... the more I think it's absolutely crazy. But... by golly... it might just be crazy enough to work. Maybe... maybe it's not so hopeless after all!"


"Beaky, you may just be a genius! Oh, how can I ever repay you?"

Before Beaky McGee could answer, the cell phone rang again. I picked it up.

"Mr. Bidness? Mr. Syrius Bidness?"


"I have important news. You may wish to sit down."


"Mr. Bidness, I know this may come as a great surprise, but you... you are a father."

~to be continued~

When you walk through an eContest, keep your head up high,
And don't be afraid of the snark.
At the end of the contest is a trophy .gif,
And the sweet "Puh-too-weet?" of a lark.

Snark on through the wind, snark on through the rain,
Through your entries overgrown.
Snark on, snark on, with the weekly theme of "hope" gratuitously mentioned,
And you'll never snark alone,
You'll never snark alone.

ghoulish beats, haunting rhymes, and ghostly relevance

yep, vote here

...Monday, October 27, 12:00pm EST, in unhaunted, ghost-free international waters:

In the tribally-regionalized democratic election for LJ Idol Tribe One Week Five, LiveJournal professional and budding Idol star srs_bidness is consigned to a second-place finish by one vote... and an extremely dubious situation.

...Saturday, October 25, 11:03am CST, in the Rev. LaRock's unhaunted, ghost-free chambers:

Rev. LaRock's poor desk was always taking some kind of domestic abuse from me. Today, for some reason, I found myself kicking its modesty panel. I guess I was not in a mood for modesty.

"She can't get away with this, Rev. She just can't. What about integrity? What about the principles of democracy?"

"To be fair, Mr. Bidness, I think you may be blowing this situation a bit out of proportion."

"Ever since the polls opened, she's been 3 votes, 5 votes in the lead over me... and it's all because of THIS. I'm just sick and tired of the ones with massive f-lists getting away with murder in the election year after year, Rev. It's shameless, it's disgusting, it's a blatant insult to the very principles upon which LJ Idol was founded."

"One, Syrius... if may I call you that at this point in our personal relationship, Mr. Bidness?"

"Well, of course, Rev."

"One, Syrius, keeping perspective is so very, very important; please try. This isn't an actual election, it's a completely absurd LiveJournal contest. Every day, I find myself questioning why you are willing to pay me thousands of dollars every week to be involved. Maybe you should occasionally question your priorities as well.

"Two, don't play self-righteously dumb here. You knew, going in, that this contest is almost entirely a game of how many e-Friends one has at the ready. Overcoming your serious friend deficiency and, further, your generally misanthrophic behavior has been the primary focus of my advising team since day one. We even talked about this situation in our very first conversation in Week Three, do you recall?"

"Rev, just because we have both been haunted by this ongoing issue with the contest doesn't mean that we are going to sit here and accept it like a couple of suckers."

"Well, I'm not really sure that we have much of a choice. And besides, Mr. Bidness, you can't claim that this was all due to her formidable f-list power. After all, that weird arm-tilting thing she kept doing in the video was pretty fuckin' dope. Ever since I watched the video from her entry, I can't stop doing it myself. My only wish is that she'd sung Soulja Boy instead."

Rev. LaRock then began to act out his fantasy.

A picture of Karl Rove with crudely drawn tilting arms sings the entire chorus of Soulja's Boy's Tell 'em Crank That. That a good enough description, baxophobia?

"Right, meh, I guess the arms-tilting thing was alright. But, Rev, you are as cynical and analytical a man as anyone I know. Surely, you of all people can see right through this ploy of hers."

"I guess not, Syrius. Tell me, just what is her sinister 'ploy'?"

"Isn't it obvious? One, by posting herself singing under the clever guise of 'facing a fear,' thusly garnering the attention and sympathy of both the Idol reader base and her own LJ friends, she hoped to upstage and completely overshadow my superior post. Put it another way: With absolutely no justification for such brutish force, she used one of the deadliest weapons of mass destruction in LJ Idol... the You-Go-Girl weapon.

"Two, having already taken a bye in the previous week-- perhaps to escape a community-only vote, or perhaps because she simply had nothing to say-- her video content distracted from the fact that she still had nothing in particular to say in writing in her own post. She managed to replace interesting prose with flashy multimedia... in a writing contest, Rev. And the voters of today are so dumbed-down, so enamored with blinky lights, horrid ringtones, shiny crap and Cloris Leachman, that they are just letting her blatantly get away with it, letting her get away with noise and pretty pictures over written substance..."

"Ahem. A h e m."

"Excuse me, Rev?"

"Sorry, Syrius, I was just clearing my throat."

"Anyway, she took the low road to first place here, explicitly targeting me, because she knew she couldn't take first-in-tribe otherwise. Seriously, how do you compete with that love letter and the posting of the world-famous rarity 'Calculator Girl', posted by the original artist behind this often-cited-never-heard chestnut? Ah, but it's very simple, Rev. Just go post yourself via Youtube, moving your arms in an angular, oddly hypnotic fashion through the duration of a Beatles song, then immediately switch on your personal unthinking botnet to brutally crush your overly-endowed challenger, that's how."

"Yes, well, returning to reality... or whatever passes for it on the Internet, Mr. Bidness... you seem to think you can change all of this somehow-- that you can somehow counter a 500-plus-person friend list and accordingly restore the sanctity of democracy in the West. Of course, I personally helped put an end to democracy with the help of Katherine Harris and the Diebold Corporation nearly a full decade ago. Who knows, perhaps it's finally due for a comeback this week. So what is this miracle you plan to generate single-handedly? What could you possibly plan to do?"

"Well, I reckon I'm gonna do the only thing a right-thinkin', tight-rhymin' American can do, Rev."

Across the desk, the Rev was momentarily speechless.

"...You can't be serious."

"I am, Rev. Deadly serious."

"Mr. Bidness, we have been over this many times already. No one aside from you considers the staging of a 'rap battle' as a viable winning strategy in this campaign."

"Listen, Rev... what could be more patriotic, indeed, more American than responding to a direct, underhanded, undeserved assault on one's own otherwise-certain victory with a declaration of hip-hop war... with the public demand that your foe then get on the mic and show us all what kinda shit she really made of, yo?"

"Please never speak in such a fashion in my office again. You sound like a bigger poser than R. van Winkle in his 'Really, I'm smoking pot and shooting people now, honestly' phase."

"Well, anyway, Rev, that's my plan. I'm publicly declaring war on my foe-- a hip-hop war-- and although she started the conflict, I'm firing the first round of the battle. She may either choose to fight honorably in the traditional retaliatory diss track, or she may surrender."

"You do realize that in reality she doesn't give a damn about you, has no idea she's just been challenged, and will probably 'surrender' in the form of failing to respond to this utter nonsense, don't you?"

"Rev, as discussed above, I have no doubt in my mind that her entry in Week Five was nothing short of a calculated attempt to deprive me, and me specifically, of the first-place victory she knew was both inevitable and deserved. But in the event that she fails to respond to my war challenge, it will be patently obvious to everyone that I am the true and legally recognized victor of Tribe One, Week Five. I will immediately petition clauderainsrm to change the poll results on public record."

"Syrius, you are completely fucking insane. Alright, and if she accepts the challenge and loses in the eyes of the public, what are the terms of the resulting treatise?"

"She must agree to never ask her friends list to vote for her again."

"Mr. Bidness, as your campaign manager, I should advise you that I find this whole thing an extremely poor idea, and I must insist that you not pursue it. Instead, I'm assigning you to write on the assigned topic... a nice, family-friendly posting about ghosts, personal demons... whatever. That kinda thing. You know as well as I do that Idol readers love overwrought blurbs on personal demons. Make up a debiliating knitting addiction or something, you'll knock it right out of the park."

"Nope, too late, Rev. I've already booked the studio time and DJ N-wee, the hottest hip-hop producer in suburban Topeka. This week, one way or another... I know one fool that is goin' down."

"Mr. Bidness, wait... don't go... we really should talk about this more..."

"Peeeeyace out, Rev. LaRock."

It's official. We are now at war. There will be casualties.

(or perhaps you'd like a work- / child-safe mp3 instead)
Lyrics here (opens in another window or tab)

Dear unnamed foolish war-enemy on a hill somewhere: Should you choose to fight honorably in this conflict, you may use either the original instrumental beat, or any other instrumental beat you may find online, as your backing in your wartime response.

Said response must be delivered in prosaic rhyme in the new-fangled "hip-hop" fashion of the day, and shall be accompanied by an absolute minimum of dope-ass angular arm-tilting.

Said strategic war response is also required to be submitted no later than Week Seven and the victor shall be decided here by the voting public in Week Eight. Otherwise, you shall forfeit this war, and victory is automatically mine.

fourth walls, milkshakes, and broken hearts


"I was so close, Rev. So damned close."

"The analysis of the past two weeks' results bears it out, Mr. Bidness. Round after round, tribe after tribe, the winning formula is very clear. It's just this simple: If you want to win a round, and I mean really want to win, you are going to need a tearjerker in the inimitable yet strangely ubiquitous style of the true LJ Idol winner. You are clearly never going to have a first-place finish with your two-dimensional fictional characters, votemongering lj-user tag-shoutouts, and shitty Real Doll jokes. When in Rome, Mr. Bidness..."

"...Yeah, yeah, I know how this one goes, Rev: When in Rome, tell them about how your ex-wife aborted your child without discussing it with you, cheated on you with your best friend, posted the pics in a Myspace bulletin, then murdered your childhood dog..."

"...And, Mr. Bidness, how you then ended up with 18 months' time in the state pen and a sub-550 credit score."

Dear LJ Idol readers: As you all know by now, the assigned topic for this week is "Saying goodbye in a moment of bliss to someone I mistook for someone I should've cared about, but didn't". This is my Week 5 LJ Idol entry on this decidedly assigned and definitely required topic. I hope you will consider voting for my entry! It will mean a lot to my dead dog and baby in heaven.

My Beloved Cherille:

I hope this letter makes sense someday... or really, that it makes sense ever. I am not sure how much sense it will make because, to be 100% honest, I am high as a fucking kite right now. You may have left, but damn, I am soooooo fucked UP, girl. How did I just type this paragraph? I have no idea. My hands are covered in Cheeto dust, or Cheeto mud, or whatever Cheeto dust becomes after you drool all over it... just... wow.

Thanks for leaving that shit behind, at least. Makes me care a lot less about being alone on a weeknight, not being able to park my hard pink bus of love in your turgid heated garage.

Aww, baby, I'm sorry. You know how completely unbearable my sexual metaphors become when I'm baked. And I am baked. Damn.

Anyway, listen, when you disappeared in the middle of the night last week, with not so much as a note to say goodbye, I figured there was a good explanation. For a little while I hoped you'd stepped out for a minute but would be bringing back some Taco Bell. When dawn came, I began to worry, but I still figured you'd come back or call to explain what happened. You never did those things.

I've called and I've emailed, and the only thing you've responded to is that text message I sent out asking if you were alive and OK. I guess that's fair... I guess this is all fair. We all get confused sometimes, sweet Cherille. You, my broken, precious, amply-cheeked flower, were always confused most of all. Let's face it, you didn't land that gig with on the basis of demonstrated problem-solving prowess.

I don't know what you're thinking right now, Cherille. Maybe you've found someone else out there who can make a hot anal cheerleader feel like a princess-- don't ask me how anyone could love you more or treat you better than me. But I figure for whatever deluded reason, you've decided that you're finally done with ol' Daddy Bidness. And I just can't spank you in your rainbow stockings hard or long enough to talk you out of that one, if it's really what you want, my love.

Let me just say this before I set you free: there was a time, long ago, when I was confused about us too... a time when I was confused about just who my beloved Cherille really was...

Whoa, tildes make great wavy flashback-curtains. Baked, I tell you.

~ ~ ~ ~

"...And if you'll step over here, Mr. Bidness, you'll get a tantalizing firsthand look behind the scenes at your proud sponsor,"

Wow. I don't know if I'd describe the smell in here as 'tantalizing...'

"Surely, Mr. Bidness, every job does have its issues and inherent compromises. The current Internet roadmap also does not specify the transfer of olfactory information until at least 2024, so until then, let's consider the 'ambience' the product of cost-cutting measures, and part of the cost of doing business..."

Right, right, say no more. I've unclogged enough pink, tight 'n' nubile storm drains in this life to know the pros wear gloves, clothespin their noses, and get the job done. ...Hey, holy shit, who's this?

"This girl? Mr. Bidness, this is one of our most recent talent hires, and one we're very proud to have on board..."

Hrm. That's odd. See, from behind / on her knees like this, I could swear... I could totally swear that's my wife...

"Er, well, if that's true, Mr. Bidness, I do apologize, but we..."

...Nope, never mind. Yeah, it's just the hair from this angle, but her ass is waaaay too nice to be my wife's. Too bad. I figured this would finally be that totally convenient excuse for divorce I've been hoping for, you know what I'm sayin'? Giving me all of her devotion, love and money for all these years and never once complaining about it... it just gets old after a while, you know?

"Yes, ahem, well, allow me to introduce the two of you. Cherille, this is our new sponsor, Mr. Bidness..."

"...Oh, hi, Mr. Bidness! Like, I'm Cherille!"

Charmed, Cherille, I'm sure.

~ ~ ~ ~

And then I looked deeply into your half-vacant eyes and kissed your hand, do you remember that? Looking back, it makes me laugh. What was I thinking? I mean, I had just been watching what you were doing with that hand... hell, with your entire fist. I guess Carlin was right... it never hurts to give the ol' immune system some target practice.

The rest, as they say, is history, my beloved. Of course, our history is still in the making, and you are the one who decides whether this is the final chapter for us. Ever since the Rev brought you back into my life-- at no small expense, I'm sure, I can't imagine who or what he had to pay off to get you free of that place-- I've never had a question about what I want, about who I want in my future.

All these months after losing my sponsorship, I waited, hoped to have you back in my life again. And of course, I could go on and on about how I unraveled completely when it occurred to me that you might actually be gone for good this time, for no reason I can readily understand, for no reason you've even bothered to explain. But I'm an old man, not a whiny little emo specimen. I know that these things don't matter. Either you feel the same about me, Cherille, or you don't. Either you want me or you don't. Nothing I can say about how much I love and miss you will make a damn bit of difference.

But I'm standing here in front of all these people telling you that I'm sure you are the one I want, Cherille. Maybe there was a time when, like you, I wasn't sure. I'm sure now... 150%. I've never been so sure of anything, not since I sent my future-themed goth-synth-pop demo tape to 4AD back in '82.

It was so obvious... I mean, you've heard the tape, right? They would have been idiots not to sign a fucking genius like me.

Sure, for whatever reason, they never got back to me. Perhaps they just couldn't see how many millions of dollars I was going to make them-- the dime-a-dozen story of a once-in-a-lifetime artistic achievement. Or, y'know, maybe the tape just got lost in the mail. I've always thought it was probably the latter.

Well, it's 2008, not 1982, and the postal service is obsolete now. I hope you see this loving and proudly open letter from across the vast expanse of the Internet, Cherille. I hope it finds you well. I hope you are just running scared, just for a moment, from the goodness that is our love. I know it can be scary sometimes... it's impossible for me to look directly at it, to fully comprehend how good we are together.

From the very moment I kissed your stained, pungent, adorable digits and casually displaced my beautiful, adoring, devoted ex-wife from mental recollection forever, I've known that some things in life are just too good, too sweet, too wonderful for mere mortals to truly comprehend.

All I can do, Cherille, is find the strength to say goodbye... all the time hoping that you'll soon give up fighting it too, and come back home to me... home... where you truly belong.

And if you do come home, don't forget to bring along your impossibly sumptuous ass. I'll tap that thang so hard, so deep, you'll think it's something to do with the Patriot Act.

All my love,

This has been my LJ Idol entry for Week 5 on "Saying goodbye in a moment of bliss to someone I mistook for someone I should've cared about, but didn't". Please, please remember to vote for me, mister or missus! Officer Shirley tells me I can't apply for parole or a mortgage until I land first place in an Idol round! Come on! It's not like I punched a woman in the face or something and then totally got off on writing about it! And a bunch of you voted for that sick bastard last week!

"Well, Rev?"

"In my opinion, Mr. Bidness... for the intended purpose... really now, it needs more high fructose corn syrup. And you know, some halfway-decent writing might also have helped."

"Oh, come the fuck on, Rev. I mean, I do love the girl as much as one probably-fictional character with no consistent, palpable traits can possibly love another. But how do you expect me to write a real tearjerker with a topic like... like this? Man. I really, really don't know what Gary was thinking. This topic is so fucking stupid."

I heard the Rev, whose British accent had been growing curiously stronger with each passing entry, quaffing deeply of his probably-illicit cigar. He chuckled ominously, as per usual.

"Quite, quite. But then again, Mr. Bidness... when you get right down to it... they're all fucking stupid."

note: if the above player looks "broken," just click on the broken-looking thing once.