3 Authentically Irish Ways to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

Originally written March 3, 2017 at Tradition Brewing Co.

3: Get a Tattoo

We’re all Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, but why relegate your false heritage to some arbitrary calendar date? Be Irish for life with a tattoo.

Popular Irish tattoo selections include four-leaf clovers and Celtic crosses. But if you’re the sophisticated type (venti moccachino with two shots of Bailey’s), get an Irish proverb done in the original Gaelic. Here’s an idea, pro bono*:

“Is iomaí slí muc a mharú seachas a thachtadh le h-im,”

(There are many ways of killing a pig other than by choking it with butter.)

Tip: It is unsmart/unsafe to get tattooed while under the influence of alcohol; get your tattoo before you start pre-gaming the day prior so that you can show it to some gingers the next day and goad them into buying you shots of Jameson’s.

*pro bono means it’s so Irish it’d impress Bono.


2: Kiss People… They’re Irish

These days the term “mouth rape” gets tossed around like a wad of gum in an aggressive make out session, so understand that the slogan on a stranger’s tee-shirt will not hold up as written consent when you’re on trial. With that said, wear your own shirt and ask people to smooch you. Make a game out of it. With the right demographic and frequency –say, at the local Saint Patty’s Day parade- you just may be able to cop a buzz from the whiskey breath.


1: Don’t Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

Nothing’s more Irish than unrequited stubbornness. A true Irishman does not need a catholic holiday to guilt him into drinking himself belligerent; it’s a daily dinnertime ritual. Instead, walk to the nearest Mexican cantina and order a large frozen margarita. Even if your genealogical heritage is as far from the Emerald Isle as Stephen Hawking is from his own attic, it won’t take a pint of Guinness to summon the desire of your inner banshee to urinate all over the Lucky Blarney Stone (or the lucky dumpster behind Plaza Azteca.)


Your Bachelor’s Degree is a Participation Trophy

Originally written December 4, 2016 at Dog Street Pub

I worked very hard to earn the only participation trophy I ever received. They also gave one to the kid who sat in the grass picking at his own jock strap, but I earned my trophy, damn it!

Cries ring out from the country clubs and nursing homes about how the millennials were ruined by the participation trophy. “Something for nothing,” they say between phlegmy harrumphs. “You’re fragile and entitled, all of youse!”

I showed up to every practice and played my guts out. I put up with the coach’s shithead kid. I was hit in the face by errant soccer balls, I fell and got scraped, bruised, and bloodied. For what? Fun? The love of the game? I only played because at that age you simply participated in seasonal sports without question. It’s the type of social buy-in you continue to experience in adulthood, like playing Secret Santa at the office Christmas party or secretly fat shaming Sheryl at the office Christmas party. She offered to bring cannolis and then proceeded to only eat the cannolis. At least back in my soccer days, people like Cheryl made good goalies. Now look at her.

I fear that this same attitude is the reason I ever attempted to go to college. High school Ethan was a terrible student. Still, my teachers and guidance counselors insisted that I would never get a job without a degree. I would never be taken seriously. All my peers were doing it. So I went to college. I showed up to every class. I studied. I put up with the weirdo professors. (Side note: Those who can’t do, teach. But if you can’t do, then what freaking business do you have teaching?)

Quitting school was the most fun I had in college. I realized that the degree I aspired to was just another social buy-in. I very well cannot tell you that every degree is otherwise worthless, but I can tell you that you don’t have to be a top student in your class to get one. “D’s” may not actually get degrees, but if you show up, participate, and try your hardest, you are practically guaranteed a “B,” and “B’s” get degrees.

Every class has its valedictorian, has its jockstrap kid. Every average student in between –likely the ones who tucked away their participation trophies without a second thought- will still earn his or her respective degree.

As for me, I learned my lesson. I’m going to sit out here in the grass watching the other kids play, scratching at the itch of my own jockstrap.

Tacos and Vinyl: Obscure Record Review (Dream Hog by The Suburbs)

I know. I should have ordered pork tacos for the album with the pig cover. My chi has been off since I ordered carnitas for the album with a cow on the cover, and now in beef I have balance. Yin and yang and whatnot. No ragrets.

And here to upset my chi once again is The Suburbs’ Dream Hog E.P.

Dream Hog could be the soundtrack to an 80’s movie montage of the nightmare fuel inspired by its own cover. That’s not to say that it is bad.

Side A is four songs of pizzicato riffs set over obligatory 4/4 rhythms and laced with fun, oriental inspired simultaneous guitar and synth runs. At times the vocals come together in a baritone gestalt so gloomy and sinister, I was certain that they were being breathed down my neck.

The B-side is 45-RPM club mix of “Waiting” from side A, aural candy for anyone already a fan.

Dream Hog is a slight veer from The Suburbs’ dance style post-punk into poppy new-wave, but unlike many similar bands, they charm and infect without being obnoxious. If there is any downside to the album, it’s that it is never lyrically profound. Club crowds rarely care for lyrics, but The Suburbs had a penchant for unsettling lyrics which could have taken a darker tone on Hog. Instead we got straight-forward gloom which never manages to juxtapose in a satisfying manner; plenty of yin and not enough yang.

Tacos and Vinyl: Obscure Record Review (Jukebox of Paris by Ronney Abramson)

Tacos are salvation, and I mean that spiritually as well as anecdotally. While I’m certain you can find nirvana somewhere between the cilantro and the sriracha, sometimes you just need a buffer between your soul and, well, this:jukeboxuse





…singer-songwriter/Daria-prototype Ronney Abramson’s third and final R&B/pop/rock album, Jukebox of Paris.

The album starts with the promising “Trouble”, a raucous R&B track with a strong, punchy bass line. Then the album dips down into slower rhythms and never picks back up. Slow rhythms in R&B are sexy, and the rhythm section here does its job. It’s the songs themselves which hold the album back.

At first listen I had to wonder if Abramson just couldn’t sing; she holds back on what should be emphatic notes as if nervous that she might actually be heard… on her own record. But the woman can sing. The frailty in her voice best serves the blandness of the songs; a more fierce vocal performance would have made melodrama out of otherwise light lyrics. The album is sweet even when it’s sorrowful, even though it wants to be passionate.

The R&B genre has long served as the musical mood for nights of passion with your significant other. Jukebox might better set the mood for a night of cuddling on the couch with an accent pillow and Daria reruns.

Bawstin Lawgguh: An Open Love Letter to My Favorite Beer

Baby, I swear it’s not product placement.

Originally written December 12, 2016 at Park Lane Tavern

I don’t root for any sports team. If I like a band, I purchase rather than pirate. Only one entity in this world is worth squealing in the presence of, despairing in separation from, crushing the tracheas of naysayers and opponents… at least figuratively, and on social media, and sometimes of waitresses in restaurants that dare exclude it from their libational ouvre…

Boston Lager, my bubbly, well-balanced bae,

I’ve coveted you. We were celebrating with rare steaks in San Angelo and when you disappeared at the end of the meal, so did my soul. And that glass, that tulip shaped glass you wore… I kept it. Snuck it home in a lady-friend’s purse, I did. Sniffed it just once before cleaning it and adding it to the shrine. How it sparkled, like the tears I shed whilst on the toilet expelling my penance for ordering that steak cooked rare. I am a greedy fool. You bring it out in me.

I’ve fought for you. I was turning 23. Every time that waitress came out to take my order I asked again if she had you in stock. She never did. She probably didn’t even know it was my birthday. I implored the manager –no, threatened her employees to have you in stock at once; no other beer would do! But she couldn’t give you to me. So I told her I’d have a whiskey. Also, I had a Blowjob Shot, an Irish Car Bomb, and -not one, but two Four Horsemen. It was my birthday, after all.

I’ve paid for you. And you ain’t cheap.

I’ve loved you. They call you the old man’s beer. They wait for the seasonal wenches in October and Winter and Summer, but I remain true. You were there first, you are there always. Your exotic dark caramel body begs to be cupped by these gentle man-hands, hoisted, and cherished. I could practically drink you in. Nope, literally. I can literally drink you in. You’re beer.

Baby, I swear it’s not product placement. It’s the real deal. Cheers to us.