Archive for April, 2011

Brimming With Bad Advice

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

So I have a friend who lives in the Liverpool area and we sometimes talk (type) via that Blackberry Messenger thing. It’s free, and he’s often drunk there when it’s the middle of the day here, so it provides occasional minor entertainment. As you know by now, I’m always looking for free ways to waste time.


Teeth tattooed with royal couple

This wanker actually got this tattooed on his teeth. He's the first one you should execute as part of the revolution. Sinister, indeed.

But I digress.

This morning he writes me “Have you heard some wedding is going on tomorrow?” which actually was news to me. I mean, I realize the older spawn of Charles and Diana is getting married, I just didn’t quite know when. At first I thought it was last Sunday (yes, Easter. I didn’t realize it was Easter either. Sue me.), which someone actually LAUGHED AT ME for. I think it’s a sign of intellectual superiority to have no clue what’s going on with the friggin’ royal family. I also pride myself on not being able to name any of the Kardashians except Kim. Anyway, then I thought the wedding was this coming Sunday until, well, the text this morning. Who gets married on a Friday anyway?

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, did William get his dad’s unfortunate choppers or what? No amount of braces can tame the gigantic teeth that are Prince Charles’ pedigree.  Hmmmm…. Do those people have a last name? Or is it like Cher? Perhaps i’s just “Prince Charles” and call it good.

Prince William smiling

Those are Dad's teeth for sure.

So back to the story: Trying to be polite, I write back and say “so I take it this is a big deal – vicariously – for you all?” It was a vicarious big deal for most of us when Obama became President, so I can relate.

So he says something about how he’s uneasy with it and that it seems sinister and something about incest and a bunch of other stuff that basically confused the hell out of me which ultimately led to ANOTHER revelation (this one much more significant than mistakenly thinking they were getting married on a Sunday) which is that the royal family actually wields some kind of power.

This I did not know. I thought they were just figureheads, but my friend tells me “The Queen is the head of everything. There is only a government by her consent. There is no constitution here. It’s all protocol/ritual.”

This is where my advice-giving kicked in, and it was good stuff. Thus, it didn’t seem fair that my friend – who, again, spends a lot of time drunk and is unlikely to actually act on anything I tell him – be the only Limey in possession of this insight.

Prince Charles grimacing

You can get plastic surgery for the ears, but the teeth are what they are.

So sit down, shut up, listen and learn. You can thank me later when you’re all buying yourselves Aston Martins with the money you split from the ransacked royal coffers.


You know you want to. It’s high time. It’s been almost four hundred years since Oliver Cromwell. Besides, all you’ve got going on over there is the X-Factor and Papa John’s pizza. A revolution will give you something new to discuss during the pub quiz.

Here’s what I advise:

1. Sink a few ships full of tea or throw a few boxes into the nearest body of water. This will make much more of a statement if it’s English Breakfast or Earl Grey or one of those. Save the Oolong to drink with your next Chinese Takeaway.

2. Do this while screaming a catchy slogan. “No taxation with representation” is a bit hackneyed, so I’ve taken the liberty of coming up with a few new ones for you.

Prince Charles windblown

This one is included simply because it made me laugh.

“There will be executions until we get a constitution!”

(Actual executions optional.)

“No more Queen Mother: I’d like to see her smother!”

(Look, I’m on a time crunch here. This is the best I can do off the top of my head.)

“The royal family looks like a bunch of chimpanzees!”

(These are getting downright weak. I’m going to stop here.)


3. Write a manifesto. Get someone with good handle on fiery, highfalutin, and occasionally incomprehensible language like “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” and “no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”



4. Force poor people to fight for you

Revolutionary soldiers

This makes it look a lot better than it probably was.

This is key. What I suggest is that you become mayor of somewhere and then pass a law that the only way out of the draft you just started is to pay you one million pounds. Everyone who can’t come up with it has to fight. Instant army, easy breezy. Also, make sure there’s an inadequate supply of shoes, clothes, and weaponry. Nothing gets a man fired up like having to tramp around in the wet mud without shoes while being stalked by someone with a working gun. He’ll fight with his wooden pistol just to take the boots off the other guy. Again: candy from a baby…

5. Set lots of stuff on fire. Anarchy is all about uncontrolled street corner fires.

6. Boycott all British goods.

Happily, Papa Johns is not British, so you should be fine.


You’re welcome in advance. Good luck and enjoy your revolution!



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That’s Ms. POM Wonderful, to you.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

File this one under ‘phoning it in’: while wasting time as I so often do, I happened to run across some lunacy from my home state.

POM wonderful

When this stuff first came out, they were advertising the heck out of it on the DC subway system, and I became obsessed - I HAD TO KNOW - and bought some. Proof positive that I am as much of a sheep as anyone.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, the city of Altoona, PA will change its name to “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” after the latest film by sarcastic documentarian Morgan Spurlock.

The city is changing its name for 60 days to make some money — and to help Spurlock make a point about the proliferation of advertising in American life. But the thing about Spurlock’s newest movie is that it’s sponsored by companies who’ve put their name and product images into the film, which argues against such behavior, humorously but strenuously.

Still, the premise didn’t stop 15 businesses — including POM Wonderful, a Los Angeles-based juice company that paid $1 million to be title sponsor — from bankrolling the movie with product placements, plus seven other companies that signed on to promote the film after the fact A key sponsor is Altoona-based Sheetz, Inc., a family-owned convenience store chain with about 400 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Sheetz said it was Spurlock’s idea to have a secondary premiere, hopefully in a town that would name itself after the movie. Sheetz helped sell the idea in Altoona, and the locals seem enthused by the concept.


Hell, I would live in a Sheetz for a few months for the right price.

Customer, Jeff Tauber, 53, said he had read about the city’s name change in the paper. ”I remember when I first read about it thinking, ‘I’m not wild about that name’ — but the more I thought about it, I kind of like it.

At least I’m not related – as far as I know – to Jeff Tauber, 53. I could be. I have relatives in POM Wonderful Presents etc. etc. I’ve been there several times. In my defense, it was long ago and the few memories are foggy. My primary recollections involve my aunt and uncle’s house: my dad eating pig’s feet, the giant satellite dish they had in the back yard, and the time their dog ate crayons and sprayed a rainbow of poop on the snow. (If you were living under the false impression that I enjoyed a glamorous or exotic childhood, that illusion has now been shattered.)

If you ask me, this name change is kind of an embarrassment, although I think possibly more so to the sponsors (pouring money into a film criticizing advertising) than the fine, if not rather gullible, folks of Altoona.

However, who am I to judge?

For the enough moolah, I’d be willing to make a documentary called “Stuff You Need” and promote the hell out of the highest bidder. SunChips™? Buy, buy, buy! Four Loko™ caffeinated alcoholic beverage? You know you need it! I will plug whatever needs to be plugged: no questions asked.

Four Loko Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverage

Apparently this stuff makes you loco.

Let me top that: if someone offered me a million dollars to change my name to POM Wonderful and wear a Sheetz uniform (or whatever) for 60 days…well… I think the title pretty much says it all.

Bring on the polyester and the hair net. I’ll be in the back drinking some Four Loko™ caffeinated alcoholic beverages and attempting to levitate. Don’t get too close. I throw a mean left hook.

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(Just Like) Starting Over

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I have recently realized that I am a George Person.

The Beatles iTunes

This is the picture - the one used by iTunes last year - that caused the epiphany.

For a long time – during my own extended (and yes, hairy legs and armpits and partial dreadlocks and all of it. Don’t judge. I was young and foolish then.) dirty hippie phase –  I thought I was a John person, but I now realize the error of my ways. Granted, I could write about two hundred blog posts on the errors of my ways alone, but regret is a useless emotion.

I think I’ve mentioned that I rather hate Paul. I do. It’s nothing personal (or is it???) but just a few bars of “Listen to What the Man Says” can send me screaming from the room. Even the Musak version is intolerable. And “Someone’s Knocking At the Door?” Well, I just hope that someone is a hired assassin with orders to shoot to kill.

I don’t give a shit about Ringo either way, and let’s face facts here: although obviously superior at the art of survival and avoiding embarrassing marriages to one-legged gold diggers, Ringo is no holds barred the ugly one (or, in Jersey Shore parlance, the grenade.) If he wrote any songs, I don’t know about it, so luckily he’s at least relatively blameless in my mind.

So anyway, if a gun is held to my head and I’m forced to choose – or if I happen to name a blog after a latter-day John (and probably Yoko in some form. Seems she had her paws on everything.) song – I will state George as my favorite. And as it so happens, he was rather a hottie (at least in profile). And I do very much like the song “Here Comes the Sun” although the rest of the Beatles catalog is what I expect to have to listen to should I be unfortunate enough to one day find myself  in Hell.

I am the Walrus

My god, is this real? I get the sense this is real. I hope at least Paul and Ringo have the good sense to be embarrassed.

I hate it all; even the ‘classics.’

Blackbird: take those broken wings and hobble yourself outside…quietly.

Yesterday: Whine, whine, whine, whine, whiney baby whiner whine.

Yellow Submarine: Anthrax to my ears.

Can’t Buy Me Love: I’m sure the boys now realize the error of that sentiment. Poverty can nuke love, but money can certainly get you back in the door.

Eleanor Rigby: Ghastly

Sexy Sadie: Weren’t you listening? I hate it all. I don’t care that they’re a treasured and iconic band and people around the world love and worship them. You can have them. Give me The Stones or Jimi Hendrix or Muddy Waters or Leonard Cohen any day and keep that LSD I am the eggman sitting on a cornflake crap to yourself.


In other news, I think I mentioned that I had planned to be done with the rough draft of my new book on Friday (as in three days from now.) Not so much. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

Well, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under, but what they say is the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Why do they say that?

Here Comes the Sun lyrics

This is a very sweet song.

Well, enter the internet with the following enlightenment: “The saying is adapted from a line in ‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men /Gang aft a-gley.’”

Anybody got a translation on Gang aft agley? Apparently that was how we English-speaking types once said “often go awry.” Something tells me my  plan to build a time machine and return to the days of the American Revolution could melt down in simple language barrier/semantics problems.


Wouldn’t that be a funny short story? You return to some romanticized, celebrated time not THAT long ago (250 years doesn’t seem THA T long, really) only to find you can’t understand a goddamned word anyone’s saying.

It’s the little things really…

So where was I? Book not done in three days.

Why not?

Woman rethink entire plot and find self re-writing 21 chapters in one week. Woman no happy, yet realize this good thing in big picture.

Be glad I picked this and not a picture of ovaries.

Why I’ve started talking like a caveman I have no idea, but the bottom line is that I ended up going over the story with someone last week (Thursday, I think?), realized a character I wanted to add and one I wanted to delete and a general inconsistency with my main character and some plot twists and overall storyline strengthening that would be beneficial…and then I couldn’t bring myself to write the final chapters. It made no sense without first fixing everything else.


So there you go.
And there I go: back to extended editing/rewriting so as to keep to my schedule (sort of) and be done with the rough draft NEXT Friday.

Then I’m going to work on a romantic comedy screenplay where there is absolutely no time travel, but extensive use of the word “ovaries.”

Just kidding.


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A modern day Buddhist koan

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Written by me, for you.

If milk is a liquid, and cheese is made almost entirely from milk, and Trader Joe’s Aged Gouda is – allegedly – cheese, then why won’t it melt?


Trader Joe's Gouda

A Dutch masterpiece, my ass.

Chew on that – literally and figuratively – for a while and see if you don’t achieve enlightenment.


I didn’t, but that’s probably because I was ticked off after a failed thirty-plus minute attempt to melt the stuff into some grits, followed by having to pick each of the rubbery chunks out by hand and throw it angrily into the garbage disposal. A task as gross as it was irritating. I have other irritations chafing my sensitive hide, as well, but I will save those complaints for a later time, as I’m sure you have your zazen to attend to now.



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Stupid Pet Trick? Check.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

In reality, I probably  have no shot of getting him to recreate this in a public and/or on-demand forum, but I’m enjoying fantasies of appearing on Letterman or even some daytime lameness, like Live with Regis & Kelly.

Do your part, and spread this thing far and wide. The dog comedy world needs more dog comedy.

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