Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another Great One Gone

Every now and there is someone's death who should not affect me but yet does.  When Peter Falk died last week, I felt a real loss.  I have enjoyed Peter Falk ever since I seen Robin and the Seven Hoods.  He portrayed Guy Gisborne.  After that I would notice him as a guest star on various television programs.  He always stood out; an unintentional scene stealer..  Then he became Columbo.  Not only was he my favorite TV cop, he was also my parent's favorite.  But he was more than a humble rumpled crime solver.  He was the story teller in "The Princess Bride" and the story writer in "Tune in Tomorrow."   "Tune in Tomorrow" is one of the best Radio Soap Opera satires that has been written, and the success of the movie is mostly on his shoulders.

As a comedic actor he was tops.  Watch him play the Sam Spade parody in "Murder by Death."  Or as Paul Reiser's father in "The Thing About My Folks."  He's fantastic as the title character in Elmore Leonard's "Pronto."  He also shines as the 100 year old Rocky Holzchek in "Roommates."  This one is a true story.

When Peter first tried to get into the movies, he met with legendary Harry Cohn. President of Columbia Pictures.  Cohn told Peter, "Why should I hire you, when I can hire another actor with two eyes for the same price?"  This determined Peter even more to break into the movies.  Whereas Cohn thought nobody would be interested in a one-eyed actor, the public reacted in the opposite way.  Peter had lost his left right eye to cancer when he was three years old.  Being so young, he never looked at it as a handicap, and he proved his merit right as well, if not better, than everyone else.

As a guest on Craig Kilborn's show in 1999, Kilborn ask Peter to "Use the words 'Falk' and 'you' in a sentence". Falk chuckled a bit, touched his nose, and replied simply: "Falk . . . you!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whats Up, Doc?

I went to the doctor today.  Every time I go I weigh five pounds more than my previous visit. I definitely got to quit going to the doctor.

Statistically, there are more old drunks than old doctors.  I should live to a very old age.  I have the odds on my side.

Dirty joke time...
Doctor tells patient, "You have to stop masturbating."
Patient says, "But why, Doc?"
Doctor replies, "It interferes with the examination."

Henny Youngman joke...
"Doctor gave me six months to live.  I told him I couldn't pay his bill that fast.  He gave me another six months."

Another dirty joke...
Woman tells her doctor, "That Kentucky Jelly you gave me tastes terrible."
Doctor replies, "Not Kentucky, its KY Jelly!"

The bill for surgery is highway robbery and they know it.  That's why the doctors wear masks.

And finally...
Medical history was made today.  Baby Joey was born without eyelids.  Doctors, after performing circumcision on the boy, used the foreskin to create eyelids.  The operation was successful and praised throughout most of the medical community.  The few dissenters were quick to state they worry that Joey may grow up to be cockeyed. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Road Restraints

I am convinced that there is a network of drivers on the road with the sole purpose of delaying me in traffic.  This network consists of the elderly who move slowly in front of whatever lane I drive and the teenagers who pull alongside me and blast bass vibrations to shatter my windshield and eardrums.  The elderly make sure I catch every light and the teenagers pull right along side with their bombastic noise.  Even with my hands pressed firmly over my ears, the bass beat vibrates my head to the point of bringing tears.   As I wait for the light to change, so I can escape this torture, I see that all lanes are clear sailing.  Then right before the light changes, another elderly putz turns from the cross street into my lane.  The light will change and the teenager keeps pace with me, ensuring that I cannot pass the old people.  When I am fully established behind the elderly, the teens zoom off and all the other traffic in that lane speeds up.  It is impossible to get over since I am traveling at five mph and the lane I wish to be in is going fifty mph with no breaks in between cars.  If by some miracle I do manage to switch lanes, another old fart will magically appear creeping along in front of me and the slow driver I had just passed will find his gas peddle to accelerate off into the distance.

Semi-truck drivers are also in on this conspiracy.  Anytime a road has been merged down into one lane, I can guarantee that even at three in the morning if there are only two vehicles on the road, they will be me and an eighteen wheeler that cannot get out of first gear.  Guess who's in front.

Of course this network does not confine their assaults to the open road.  They also find me in parking lots.  At first they will trick me into thinking parking spots are available close to the buildings, and right before I get there, one of them will slide into the spot.  When I finally find a spot at the back of the lot, and I leave my vehicle, the network will commandeer the spots on both sides of my car.  When I return I find my car straddled like a hot dog in its bun.  I will wait for one of them to return and move their vehicle.  It does not happen and, frustrated, I decide to access my car another way.   One direct method is having me squeeze through my door, usually leaving several layers of skin on the door frame.  Or sometimes, when I don't care how much I tear and soil my clothes, I will go through the trunk into the back seat and over the headrests to take my place behind the wheel.  Whenever I complete one of these entrances, as soon as I am ready to start my car, the drivers of the cars on both my sides will mysteriously appear and drive off.  I know these people were watching, waiting for me to make an unorthodox maneuver to claim my driver's seat, before showing themselves.  They always leave me with the feeling "if I had only waited another two minutes."

Another trick the network pulls on me, is relocating my car when I park in a large lot.  I am not sure how they do this, unless they have duplicate keys, but I will park by post A-14 and when I return, I spend countless time looking for my car before discovering it at HH-29.  I may be wrong about them moving my vehicle.  It may be that they take down, shuffle the "Lot Markers" and replace them in any willy nilly order.

The whole point of this post is to state that I am aware of the "Irritate John When He Is Driving Network" and if you are a member, I want this nonsense to stop.  It is not funny.  It never was and never will be. So stop it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Season of Dogs and Beatles

I attended a high school reunion over the weekend.  Seeing certain people triggered adolescent memories. I shall relay one of those memories right here, right now.

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named Dennis.  Dennis had a dog named Daisy.  It's strange that I can still remember that dog's name.  I have relatives who's name I can't remember, yet I can recall Dennis' dog's name from forty odd years ago.  To make this even stranger, I only have one distinct recollection about Daisy on one particular day.

On this day, when we were about ten or eleven years old, Dennis brought me to his house to listen to his latest record.  He had, and I can still see this album when I close my eyes, a Vee Jay double album that was called "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons."   Vee Jay records had taken the albums "Introducing the Beatles" and "The Golden Hits of the Four Seasons," repackaged both into a double "International Battle of the Century" album set, sold, then requested that you vote for your favorite songs, send the ballot (which was the album jacket) back to Vee Jay records, and they would tally the results.  This was a very effective marketing ploy.  Countless young girls, and a smathering of young boys, bought album after album to stuff the ballot box.  I cannot recall if the Vee Jay ever announced a winner.  Publishing the results would put an end to the album sales, and I am fairly certain that Vee Jay would not want that.

Anyway, to enter Dennis' house, we would have to go through the connected garage.  As we traipsed our way to the inner door, we passed a big cardboard box with an old blanket spread out inside it.  On the blanket was Daisy.  As I looked over at Daisy, she suddenly plopped out a puppy.  Dennis remarked nonchalantly that Daisy had been doing this for a while now.  There were six or seven brand new puppies strewn all across the blanket, their eyes small slits that were yet to open.  There were meager whines emitting from some, while others were fast asleep.  I was dumbstruck.  Never in my life had I seen new life come into existence.  It was such a wondrous thing to behold.  Dennis behaved like his dog gave birth on a daily basis and he was bored with the whole process.

Dennis insisted I leave the dogs to fend for themselves, and accompany him inside to ascertain the better of the bands.  Reluctantly, I followed Dennis to his record player.  It has been too long ago for me to give you our detailed results for the Battle of the Bands, but I know the Beatles won out.  It was such a lopsided match.  Now, if it had been Beatles vs Rolling Stones, that would have been a fair fight. 

I wish I had recalled this tale last Saturday when I saw Dennis again.  I wonder if he would remember it differently.  I will have to ask him at the next reunion, ten years from now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plastic People

I went to use the facilities and forgot to take the remote with me.  When I returned, Linda had found the clicker and had put on a program called "The Talk."  I could not believe my eyes.  This was some kind of sci-fi horror interview show.  There was a plastizoid Suzanne Somers.  Her face, stretched smooth of wrinkles and other human features, had been frozen into a demented baby doll expression, forever smiling, eyes unblinking.  She was sitting at a table trying to blend in with the human females who regularly host this show.  It was an impossible task, like switching a Raggedy Anne doll with a human baby in a hospital maternity ward and expecting the parents not to notice.   Anyway, these four women and the cyborg Suzanne greet their guest, a house-of-wax Barry Manilow.  This was a very good likeness of the 1970's Barry Manilow.  It moved and talked just like the real Barry.  I refused to be fooled.  Everyone on the program pretended this Madame Trousseau creation to be the actual Manilow.

The female hosts took turns welcoming Barry by giving him a kiss.  They stood in line with the thigh master spokeswoman being last.  I sat in a horror struck anticipation, waiting for the two animatrons to  bash into each other.  I knew that the faces would collide, shatter and fall from their heads, mixing the shards of the Barry/Suzanne features into an inseparable pile at their feet.  The stone-faced Barry accepted kisses from Holly Robinson, then Sharon Osbourne and Julie Chen.  When Leah Remini finished her kiss it was Suzanne's turn.  The porcelain people clinked loudly like glasses being toasted as Suzanne's lips connected with Barry's cheek.  I was amazed that both faces remained intact. It was like dropping an egg, watching it fall to the floor and then not break.

Barry sat at a piano and the women sat along side.  They would have Barry play bits of their favorite songs and then ooh and ah.  During the idol chatter between riffs, it came to light that Barry and Suzanne were old friends and go back over thirty years.  I wondered if they had gone hand in hand from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon.  I can picture their conversations over the years: "Suzanne, your surgery has healed completely."  "Your's too, Barry. Wanna do it again?"  "Let's go!"

It took a while for me to get use to these new facial features of Barry and Suzanne.  I finally was able to look at the TV without the urge to run screaming from the room.  Yet, I do think that CBS should have put a parental warning before the show; "Rated NC-17.  Please be advised. The following program contains graphic images that may be disturbing and not suitable for all ages."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hair I Go Again

I want to know what in the hell is happening with my eyebrows.  There are several hairs on each one that grow as fast as weeds.  About 5 or 6 hairs that group together and spiral upwards forming strange curls on my forehead.  I can lick my fingertips and smooth them down, but this is only a momentary fix until I grimace or smile.  I even tried hairspray to keep my  eyebrow hairs contained in the eyebrow area.  A few expressions later and the wild hairs are curling up again.

So why not cut them?  For some reason, the long hairs of my eyebrows have taken the place of the shorter hairs to the outside.  If I flatten the long hairs, my eyebrows appear normal.  If I was to cut them to the proper length, then the outside of my eyebrow area would be hairless.  It would look as if I had shaved them from the center on out, leaving little half inch strips on each side of the bridge of my nose.

I may have a solution.  If I were to let the wild eyebrow hair grow out a couple inches, and do the same with my newly acquired ear lobe hair, I could tie the two together.  That way my eyebrows would be held to their designated shape and I would have at last found a use for this tangle of lobe whiskers.  Since I'm on the subject of facial hair, I should mention the nose.  With nasal hair you can comb it down into your mustache and blend it in.  You can fool people into thinking your mustache is thicker than it really is.

Speaking of mustaches, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Adolph Hitler all wore the same style mustache.  Two out of the three famous people were comedians.  Both Chaplin and Hardy wore the style before Hitler.  So why is it when someone wears that type of mustache today, we only associate it with Hitler?  It is considered politically incorrect to wear this facial hair design.  It's a shame that Adolph had to spoil the unique style for everyone else.  He also ruined the name Hitler.  Try to find a Barry Hitler or Susan Hitler or a Little Mikey Hitler anywhere on the planet.   No can do.  Now try checking a 1920 New York City phone book.  Fourteen listings for Robert Hitler alone.

Muttonchops is another facial hair style that is hardly being grown anymore.  I wonder if this is because "muttonchops" sounds like something you would order at a Steak House.  "Yes, I'll have the muttonchops medium rare, with the baked potato and a side of cole slaw."

I will leave you with one last look at a unique mustache.

"You're looking swell, Dali.."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shopping With Linda

I take Linda to Wal-Marts. I drop her off at the southernmost door and go park the car close to the northernmost door. I then enter the store and head in the direction that Linda is shopping. I take my time walking the lenght of the store. I hope that we will meet somewhere in the middle. I find her around 30 minutes later. She has only made it 20 feet into the store and she is looking at garden hoses. We do not need a garden hose. She knows this, but she still has to look at the wide variety of garden hoses available just in case we have to replace one of ours. She imagines our current hose could become victim to the notorious "North American Garden Hose Thief."  You know, the guy who replaced Bin Laden on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted. So I leave her to her own devices after we agree to meet up by Subways, a place in front of the registers where I can sit and be easily found. To kill time until then I go perusing the store.

First I head to the book department. I read a bit of a book called "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." The author claims to have found a lost Abraham Lincoln diary that tells about how his mother was murdered by a vampire and ever since he has spent all his free time hunting down the blood suckers. This is a top selling book in the horror section of nearly every book store throughout America. Give it a gander next time you are in a B. Daltons or other book merchant shop.  Also by the same author: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Next I go to the computer department. I price their laptops. They appear cheap both in price and quality. People get what they pay for. Do not purchase a computer from Wal-Mart. There are some low priced ones that may be worth the bucks. But you will want more than a basic system, and the one that you really want is overpriced. Trust me on this. If you are looking for a deal on a new computer, find a weekend computer show where a variety of venders set up stands to sell their products. Never buy a computer from Wal-Marts or Best Buy or Sears. You are better off buying at a trade show or on-line.

Finished looking at PC's I go over to the DVD's. I haven't bought a DVD in over two years. The last one I bought I paid $18.95 and now I see that same one for $2.95. Makes me happy to know that my DVD collection has depreciated at the same rate as my home. I play no favorites in my world.  Blu Ray discs are the current trend.  Blu Ray is to DVD as CDs are to 8 tracks.

I have wasted almost an hour and a half.  I decide to work my way over to Subways  In the middle of the store I spot Linda.  She is in the pharmaceutical section looking at bottles of vitamin C.  I approach her and ask what she's doing.  Linda says she wants to buy a jar of chewable C.  The orange flavor C sells for two dollars more than the multiple flavor C.  She hates the taste of most of the multiple flavors.  But does she hate it enough to make up two dollars worth?  I leave her to her conundrum.  Any input I could offer would be immediately ignored (I know this all too well) so I offer none.  As I walk away, I notice Linda's cart.  The only item in it is dog food, two twelve packs.  She has spent over two hours shopping, getting her halfway through the store, and all she has selected for purchase is dog food.

Not knowing where I am headed, I seriously consider seeing a movie at the Multiplex Theater a mile away.  The only problem is, if by some miracle, Linda finishes shopping before I get back.  It is fine for her to keep me waiting for hours, but if I kept her waiting for two minutes, I would never hear the end of it.  She still brings up the time I bought the wrong brand coffee creamer.  That was in 1994.

I enter the Home & Garden department and plop into a cushioned lawn chair.  It is so good to be off my feet.  I close my eyes and try to relax to the max.  I am on verge of sleep when I hear a child ask, "Mommy, is that man dead?"  I open my eyes and look at the tyke.  His mouth drops open in shock.  This must be the first time for the little boy to see a corpse come back to life.  His mother is embarrassed by her son's remark and apologizes to me.  I give my shoulders a "what-can-you-do" shrug.  Mother and child hurry away from me.  I shut my eyes again and manage to fall asleep for a few minutes.  The overhead florescent lights are intrusive and will not allow full slumber.  The all too brief nap does not refresh.  It has the opposite effect and I feel more drawn out.

From where I sat, I could see the Women's Clothes department with Linda unfolding blouse after blouse.  After examining twenty or so unfurled garments, she refolds all she has undone.  Before we had left the house, Linda promised me she would not be shopping for clothes.  I know if I were to confront her, she would claim she is not shopping but only browsing.  I don't see the difference.  That does not matter to Linda.  She will argue to her dying day that browsing has nothing to do with shopping.

I watch Linda for fifteen minutes before she moves on.  Hopefully over to the Food section.  I do not want to follow her to see where she goes next.  If she ended up anywhere other than Food, I would be screaming with frustration.  I will not risk a public breakdown.  I mosey over to Subway.  I plan on staying in the sandwich shop until Linda completes her purchases and is ready to leave.

At Subway I buy a bag of chips and a soft drink. I take up residence in a corner booth where I can see a good portion of the checkout registers.  I play a game with my chips.  I eat only one every time I can think of a Beach Boy song.  This should occupy my mind with something other than Linda's marathon shopping spree.  "Help Me, Rhonda" and chip one is eaten.  "Fun, Fun, Fun" for chip two.  "Sloop John B" and I am rewarded another chip.  "California Girls."  "In My Room." "Good Vibrations."   Chomp, chomp, chomp.  I get the surfing songs, "Surfing Safari," "Surfin' USA," "Surf City," "Surfer Girl."  Next I recall the car songs: "Little Deuce Coupe," "409," "Shut Down," "Little Honda."  I finish off the bag with "Be True To Your School."  Still no Linda at any of the checkouts.

Doing another mental exercise, I try to remember the words to "Be True To Your School."  Under my breath I start singing... "When some *da*da*da* fellow tries to put me down by saying his school is great.  I say now wait a minute... Whats a matter buddy aint you heard of my school?  It's number one in the state.  Be true to your school.  Like *da*da*da* colors fly..."  I wonder how close I got to the actual lyrics.

An older women in the booth behind me taps my shoulder.  I turn around to hear her tell me, "I think it starts out "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down...""  She is pleased to give me this information.  She smiles proudly.

Her husband ( I assume this.  He is a man around her same age sharing her booth.)  starts tapping his plastic fork to keep beat with his humming of the tune.  I accompany him by whistling along.  She waits until the appropriate stanza and sings softly, "When some loud mouth braggart tries to put me down by saying his school is great..."

Across the aisle at another booth sits a thin man in his late forties.  He sings a little louder, "Now wait a minute buddy aint you heard of my school?"

The thin man, the older lady, and two more people in the order line sing together, "It's number one in the state!"

Now everyone in Subway sings out the chorus: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."

The older lady: "Like you would to your girl."

Everyone again: "BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL..."

Just the men sing: "Let your colors fly..."


Now the rest of the shoppers in the Wal-Mart's checkout lanes shout. "DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT!!!"

Suddenly someone is grabbing my ear and yanking me to my feet.  Linda pulls me through the crowd of singing customers.  Wouldn't you know it, just when I was starting to have fun.  She says to me as she leads me out of the store, "I can't take you anywhere!"  After loading the car with groceries and such, we drive off while the people inside the store continue singing.  Linda says, "You always got to start something, don't you?"

Looks like I'll be hearing this one over and over again for the next twenty years.