It had been a while since I'd last been dragged to a karaoke bar. It had been such a long while, in fact, that back then, I couldn't even pass the excruciating time with a game that not-so-new trends now make possible. On a recent visit to Armida's, for instance, I discovered that these days, I can American-idle away the hours by making bets on whether or not the singer has a tongue ring (extra points if you can confirm it before the chorus). At Armida's, after much research (the piercing is often easier to hear than it is to see), I determined that there was about a 25 percent chance I would be listening to a tongue-ringed songster. Another favorite new game is predicting how many Usher posers will hit the stage; I was lucky to see only three in two hours. One of these impersonators chose to forgo his diaphragm and sing a rendition of "I Want to Get Freaky With You" directly from his groin. Based on his bumping and grinding, Paula Abdul would have been on him like Tom Cruise on Katie Holmes -- at least while the cameras were rolling. I decided to cool down from the faux Usher with faux rum (or would that be faux tequila?). The bartender tried to talk me out of trying Ciclón -- the Spanish word for hurricane, used to label an alcohol that's 90 percent Puerto Rican rum, 10 percent Reposado tequila and lime -- by saying that the bottle had been sitting on the shelf for weeks with no takers, but I decided to give it a Go-Go's. Ciclón & OJ ($4.25) was odd yet palatable, a fitting end to a palatable yet odd evening.
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