Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Home Sweet Home: The Ugly

My parents live in a small town. Though the town is getting more big chain stores (Chili's, Walgreen's, Arby's, CVS Pharmacy, etc.), it's still primarily made up of two kinds of people: The hard-working Everyman and whitetrash. Naturally, my mom sees the new "Super" Wal-Mart as a great thing: "Have you ever seen such a huge Wal-Mart? And it's so nice inside." Wal-Mart Supercenters: the new rural landscape. Shoot me. In the face.

Then there's the roads. They still resemble the surface of the moon and are about as smooth. Fifteen years and they still look like shit. WTF is the mayor getting paid for? And don't even get me started on the empty/abandoned buildings that are being left behind in droves, while newer, shinier building are being built (and abandoned) in their wake. WTF? Then there's the clusters of whitetrash yards: weeds...dirt lawns...assorted sun-bleached toys...yards doing double duty as parking lots... *sigh*

We eat lunch at a local drive-in, where my parents know the owner and we run into some people from church that I haven't seen since 1989. We make small talk. They're still nice as ever, just older, grayer, more hunched. Bittersweet reunion.

Then there's the new generation of Podunkvillains. Directly in the booth behind my mom are Mr. and Mrs. Whitetrash and son. The mom, wearing a light purple tank top, upper arm tattoo (tasty), halfway hanging off the booth seat because sitting next to her, her hefty hero of a husband, wearing a stained white T-shirt with something car-related on it, giant-lensed eyeglasses, balding, yet still maintaining that Riff Raff look that's so popular these days. He smacks and reaches across the table. He's a keeper. Then, here comes the biggest mystery of them all: their son. His back is facing me. I assume he's Hispanic because he's so friggin' dark. As it turns out, he's just REALLY tan. White features. He must work outside or like most of the hillbillies in the area, go sans shirt a lot. He's wearing a sideways-cocked baseball cap, gray wifebeater and two little dangling loop earrings in each ear. So, here's the kicker: He's beautiful! Seriously. He has a face that could adorn magazine covers. It makes me sad. As "negative" as it may sound, I know how it's all going to play out: He'll stay there, get a job in a garage, fall under the spell of poon, father a litter and be there (or a neighboring town) for the rest of his life. Very depressing. What a waste. Such Potential.

My father works at a "retirement" home. It's a relatively new job for him (6 months or so) and he really seems to enjoy it. I can tell. It's all he talks about. I'm happy he's happy. He's always been one of those people that always has to be doing something. Having owned his own business for 35 years, he's a people person. He's currently the 'activity coordinator' (i.e. he drives the old folks around in a van) for the retirement home. We meet him for lunch at his workplace the next day.

We arrive around 11:30 and enter the building. The building is actually very interesting and has an interesting history. The original building was built in the early 1900's, burned in the early 1920's and was reopened as a hotel in 1927. The 7-story building is (allegedly) currently being remodeled. I thought the building had a creepy feel to it. Not getting all crystal-rubbing/windchimey or anything, but it just feels depressing. The lobby reminded me of the hotel in The Shining. There's plenty of interesting architectural elements, but again, it just depressed me. Lunch was good, if a little on the bland side, but then it's retirement home food for people with a retirement home palate, so I doubt spices are top priority.

Looking around at all the elderly people, hunched over, in T-shirts, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. was disheartening. I realize we all get old, but retirement homes seem like the kind of places where people go who've been abandoned. While we go about our lives of cable TV, restaurants, friends, etc., they're left to shuffle around, reading the newspaper, the large-print edition of Reader's Digest, assembling insanely complicated jigsaw puzzles (trust me, I LOVE puzzles, but these puzzles would leave Stephen Hawking going 'fuck this shit!') and looking forward to trips to the Dollar Store, train rides and other assorted 'activities.' Like when I see mentally-retarded people, I often wonder "Are they happy?" I had a cousin, Janice, who was mentally-challenged and paralyzed. Contorted and bedridden from early childhood (victim of a surgical procedure gone wrong), I remember visiting her when I was growing up. She couldn't say many words, but because of her love of dolls, I could always make out the words "baby, doll and yeah." You could joke with her or be silly and she would laugh. I was heartbroken all over again everytime I visited her. Even then, I often wondered "What kind of life is this? Is she happy? Does she know what's happened or is it like being trapped and not being able to escape?" I can only hope that she's in a better place now. Maybe my assumptions are wrong. Maybe these people are happy or content at least.

The visit to my Dad's workplace culminates with him taking us upstairs to meet a friend of his who's staying there. As it turns out, he is in the process of leaving. He owns an RV and travels a lot. His apartment wreaks of smoke. He's giving all his belongings away. He says he has no use for any of it and that he has nowhere to store it. Chair/Ottoman, loveseat, assorted tables, lamps, nightstand, etc. All must go. He offers for us to take whatever we want. I feel conflicted because A) I don't even know this person to be TAKING his stuff from him (re: guilt) and B) I'm strangely enticed to look.

I kind of keep my distance, smiling politely and standing in the doorway. My dad calls me to the bathroom, I go and he points out a painting. It's actually pretty groovy. It borders on Renaissance festival, but on the other hand, it's also very kitschtacular. He asks me if I want it. I dunno...I still feel weird taking this stuff. I say "I dunno. It is cool." He takes it off the wall and says 'Here, take it.' I take it and emerge from the bathroom feeling like I just stole something. The man keeps offering various things, the Chinese screen, the coffee table, the plant. I actually would like the plant, so I say "okay" to that and my mom goes to get it out of the windowsill, while I stand in the doorway, holding this huge painting of a mermaid. I tell him 'thank you' and we leave like thieves in the night while the man calls after us, reminding us that he has to get rid of all this stuff if we want to come back later and get anything else.

So...I get home and my Dad calls to see how the car is handling. I tell him all systems are go and then he informs me that...he went back and got everything. E-v-er-y-t-h-i-n-g. I wanted to die and kill him at the same time. Let me explain: My parents and I lead very different lives. Their house drives me IN-SANE. It's cluttered and dusty and unorganized. They never throw anything away and spend their money on stupid shit instead of common sense things. They don't listen to me, so I've given up offering to help them get it under control or get organized. My dad wants to throw everything away, while my mom thinks everything is a potential Antiques Road Show contender. In other words, I'll be left to weed through all the shit when they're both dead. SO much of it is going in the dumpster. It makes me sad because it's SUCH a waste of space. I just want them to live in a nice home with multiple living spaces, not confined to 1 of three rooms in an eight room home. I've finally washed my hands of the situation, but it's still a source of stress for me. Maybe I haven't really washed my hands of it.

So, when he tells me that he took ALL the furniture, my first thought was "It's official. He's insane." He needs all that shit like he needs another lawnmower (don't even ask). They have no room for it. He's been bitching about the house for over a decade now, and then he goes and does something like this? I just don't understand it. We have 2 warehouses, one of which is loaded with shit they keep claiming they are gonna sell. Yeah, right. That shit will celebrate it's 11-year anniversary this June. Now this. Cuz Lord knows we need an apartment full of furniture that's absorbed God only knows how much cigarette smoke. What a treasure trove. Jesus Christ. I could live to be 100 and never understand my parents.

Part 3 of 4

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Home Sweet Home: The Bad

So, if you've read part 1, you now know that I am stranded in my hometown until my car is ready at 3:00pm the next day. Prepare yourself for the Bad portion of the visit, presented in bulletpoint format. *deep breath*

• I'm sitting on the floor in the middle of the den, looking through the books I bought earlier in the day at the only (used) book store in town. My mom, sitting in her chair, whips out 2 bulging envelopes...filled with grocery store coupons. Here's the conversation that ensues:

Mother: Look what I saved for you! Coupons!
Me: (knowing she's been saving coupons for decades) Ooh, wow. Thank you!...I'll look through them when I get home (knowing full well 'we're' going to go through them right now...whether I want to or not).
Mother: ...and none of them have expiration dates (red light #1), so you can use them whenever you get ready!
Me: That's great. Thank you, I appreciate it! I'll look at them later.
Mother: Oh you're welcome. Here's one for Parkay Margarine ( we go).
Me: I don't use that brand. I buy Bluebonnet.
Mother: You don't? But it's 50¢ off.
Me: I don't use that brand. I'm just telling you. these coupons even have barcodes on them? Lemme see that Froot Loops one. God, mother, how old are these anyway? *Laughing* I can't use them if they don't have a barcode, I'll blow some poor cashier's mind. They won't take them if they don't have a barcode to scan. You know what a barcode is, right?
Mother: No, what's that?
Me: *looking around for a point of reference...I pick up a nearby box of Kleenex and turn it over* THIS is a barcode. If they don't have this, I won't be able to use them.
Mother: *completely ignoring me* Triplex, you like those?
Me: What? LOL! They haven't made that cereal since 1987.
Mother: Oh. Lemme see what else is in here (what follows is our back & forth conversation):
Pert shampoo?
What? I don't even know if they still make that anymore (as it turns out, they do).
Dinty Moore soup?
I don't eat that.
Okay. Soft 'n Pretty toilet paper?
LOL! They don't make that anymore either. Besides, I use Cottonelle.
Chester's Prepopped Popcorn? You like popcorn.
What the hell is that? I've never even heard of that. I use microwave popcorn.
Rice Krispies?
Yeah, I buy those. I'll use that one.
Apple Raisin Crisp?
They don't make that anymore.
They don't make that anymore either.

This goes on for another 30 minutes. Here's just a sampling of what followed:

• Save 25¢ on California Pretzels (never heard of them)
• Save 10¢ on any 7 flavors of Pearson Candy (what?)
• Save 25¢ on Kotex Light Days PantiLiners (forget the fact that it's circa 1980, I don't have a vagina)
• Save 15¢ on Tender Vittles (circa 1982 + I haven't had a cat for nearly 10 years)
• Save $1 on High Point Decaffeinated Instant Coffee (huh?)
• Save 15¢ on any size bottle of Listermint (back from when they still came in glass bottles...turns out they actually still make this product. News to me)
• Save 25¢ on Arrid Extra Dry (circa 1983)
• Buy 3 cans of Tender Chunks Dinners and get a fourth FREE! (circa 1981 + I don't eat dog food...yet)
• Save 25¢ on New Freedom Maxi or Mini Pads (again, vagina-free here, folks...circa 1982)
• Save 10¢ on Honeycomb Cereal (there's a picture of the kid from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters on the box, if that tells you anything)

*For any skeptics who may be thinking "Oh, he's exaggerating," here's a visual for you.

Naturally, I somehow manage to break my only pair of sunglasses. Great. It takes me forever to find a good pair that A) fits my head and/or B) has a lens shape that doesn't look too retarded (AKA Xtreme snowboarder/NASCAR fan). So we're in the car, running errands before we meet my Dad for lunch, and I'm trying to bend the earpiece so that I can at least make them somewhat useable. We get out of the car, I'm talking to someone and *plink* one of the earpieces completely falls off and falls to the ground with a metallic tinkling sound. I'm standing there in mid-sentence with sunglasses dangling diagonally on my face. I throw the fuckers away.

Back in the car, I'm squinting like crazy (being a hermit, I'm very sensitive to sunlight). I finally just close my eyes and rest my head on the passenger side window. My mom rifles through the storage compartment located between the two front seats, hands me her sunglasses and offers for me to wear them. Wonderful. So, there I am wearing white-framed sunglasses (complete with fashion bar across the top), circa 1982, lenses big enough to double as dessert plates, looking like a disgruntled Carol Channing with a thyroid condition. At the next stoplight we're parked next to someone I went to high school with. I die a little inside.

Every stop is a 10 minute purse rummage: The bank (rummaging for check to deposit. The one she just had in her hand less than 5 minutes hopelessly lost), The gas station (gas card), post office (P.O. box key), Water bill (payment), getting back in the car (car keys), change...Kleenex...gum...a pen... An hour and a half I will never get back. My eyes glaze over. I marvel at how she's managed to escape being pummeled by assorted townsfolk.

The 45 minute ham sandwich/hot dog saga. My Dad comes home telling us how he wanted a ham sandwich for lunch. He went "everywhere" : Jack in the Box AND Whataburger (forget that there's a friggin' Subway in town):

Dad: No one makes a ham sandwich. I went to Jack in the Box and they didn't have one, but offered me a chicken sandwich. I told them I didn't want a chicken sandwich, I wanted a ham sandwich. They didn't have one, so I went to Whataburger and they didn't have one either. I ended up getting a chicken sandwich. It wasn't that good. $3 they charge me! For a sandwich!
Me: (I'm on auto-pilot, having heard this story for decades) How dare they!
Dad: Everything is so expensive these days.
Me: They should just give it away.
Mother: (chiming in) You know who has good prices, that place where we get those footlong hot dogs.
Me: Sonic?
Mother: I can't remember the name. You (my Dad) know where I'm talking about. Where we got the hot dogs that time.
Me: Sonic?
Dad: Yeah, those were good. I can't remember the name either.
Me: The place across from where K-Bob's Steakhouse used to be? (Sonic)
Mother: Yes! That's the place. What's it called?
Me: *deep breath* Sonic.
Mother: Yeah, they have good hot dogs.
Me: *blink*

Part 2 of 4

Monday, May 29, 2006

Home Sweet Home: The Good

My lawnmower ceased to function 3 weeks ago. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my father who then insisted that I bring it home to get it fixed. I'd been putting it off for weeks but knew I had to go before my lawn got outta control. I'd been trying for weeks to pry Ms. Fossil's yardman's contact info from her and just as I was about to throw in the towel, she cracked; my lawn, front and back, got mowed. I knew I could wear her down. Thirty-five dollars well spent.

But I still had to go home. I'd promised, but I didn't wanna. I strapped the lawnmower down and headed out.

An hour and a half later, I pull into the driveway of Podunkville. My mom was at the door before I could get the gate open "Who goes there?!" As much as I bitch, it's still nice to know someone out there is looking forward to seeing you. I say "It's me. I'll be there in a minute, I need to unload the lawnmower." My father looks at it, takes out the spark plug, sprays something into the socket and 6 minutes later, the fuckin' lawnmower is purring like a kitten. Of course. As it turns out, I'd just 'flooded' it. Three guesses who didn't take shop in high school. Thanks to my incompetence, I now have 8 more hours to kill. Good going, Kirk.

Since this is the positive portion of my trilogy, let me cut to the chase and just list the things that made me smile and/or chuckle while I was home:

• Rubberbands around a bottle of rubbing alcohol sitting next to my mom's chair in the den. Presumably from the cigar they call the local paper.
• Kitties! My parents' cat just had a litter of 5. The runt was the sweetest. We hung out a lot.
• Prologue: Our house has a lonnnnnng hallway down the center. My parents' bedroom at one end of the house, the den at the other. I go to the bathroom and head back to the den when my mom starts talking to me from her bedroom while she's 'fixing' her face. I acknowledge her from the hall and continue on to the den...she's still talking. I get something out of the den, come back and she's still talking. Never loud enough for anyone without sonar to hear. FLASHBACK! I'm in high school all over again, getting ready to leave for school and she's doing the exact same thing. Ah, memories. Sweet, sweet, dysfunctional memories.
The best enchiladas at the locally-owned drive-in. Wow. And excellent homemade salsa. None of that shit out of a jar.
FLASHBACK! Mother and Daddy joking with each other like they used to. Still cracks all three of us up. Wow. Haven't seen that in a long time. I guess their personalities are still intact somewhere beneath all the endless conversations about prescription drugs, assorted ailments, funerals, etc. It's nice to know.
• Meeting the people where my dad works. They all seem to love/appreciate him so much. He's still a people person.
• My mom cut the crusts off my egg sandwich. She never did that when I was growing up. Strange, yet somehow comforting.
• Drinking ice cold water from the underground spring-to-faucet water system they had installed in the backyard. Heavenly.
• Prologue: My dad ended up finding something wrong with my car while driving it, so it's in the shop at some guy's place...until tomorrow. I'm stranded spending the night apparently. Yeesh. My mom not only washes the clothes I'm wearing, apparently she ironed them too. Sigh. She must really love me. Even I don't iron my own clothes.
• Laughing with my parents over lunch at his workplace. Their sense of humor is also still intact. Nice.
• Talking to my Dad about politics, immigration and the judicial system. Surprisingly, we're on the same page with most of it.
• Seeing my mom's "housecoat" hanging on a hook behind the bathroom door, blue with an embroidered birdcage with a flowing ribbon wrapped around it, flowers and birds.
• The boxes of crap my mom has collected for me since my last visit. More shit I don't have room for, but can't resist taking home anyway: Photos, books, assorted memorabilia, memories. I'll be sifting through it for weeks. And I thought I was a packrat!

Part 1 of 4

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Message from Kirkkitsch...

I recently took some old disposable cameras into Walgreen's to have them developed, having no recollection of what was on any of them (they were dated '2004,' if that tells you how organized I am. LOL!). This is one of the photos. Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend! *Click the image to visit The National Hot Dog Council's website!

I Won! I Won!

So I get home yesterday, and check my e-mail and find out that I won second prize in the Mrs. Baird's Great Grocery Giveaway! Woo hoo! I entered online with the code from a box of Mrs. Baird's donuts. Though I didn't win the Free Groceries for a Year, I did win second prize of $50 in groceries! According to the notification e-mail, I should be receiving my cash card in 4-6 weeks! Bomb Pops for everyone!

*For a special Memorial Day grocery surprise, click here!

Friday, May 26, 2006


Sorry this is late, but then, like they say 'Better late than never.' I had an unscheduled overnight stay in The Land of the Rising Hillbilly (AKA my hometown). But more about that delicious slice of life later next week. It may even be a two-parter, I'm still working on it (with pictures!).

Today's post will probably be the beginning of a new regular series of posts, ripped-off inspired by Loup and Cheryl. I come across sooo many images of male actors/celebs that I like and have images of, but no idea what to do with them to get them "out there." Think of it as Pimp-Lite. So, I will now be posting them here on the blog periodically. Some faces you may recognize, some you may not. Until I can come up with a better title, the posts will simply be referred to as 'Mancandy.' Meet Marco Hofschneider.

[ Click the image for more information ]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

So, I get home a few days ago, after being gone all day running errands (dentist, optometrist, grocery store, etc.). Having just had lunch at Taco Bueno, upon entering the house I set my drink cup on top of the entertainment center while I go about unloading various sacks and bags. I then go to check my e-mail and see if anyone I know is online

No sooner do I sit down than I realize that I've left my drink somewhere. Being the scatterbrain that I've been lately, in the short time I've been home I've already forgotten when I sat it down.

I start searching from room to room and ah! there it is!, sitting on the back of the sink in the kitchen. I go pick it up, take a big ol' sip...then realize...this isn't the cup I just brought home. This is the empty cup I dug outta the trash 4 days ago and emptied the old vegetable oil from the Fry Daddy into! And don't think my teeth didn't look like I'd been eatin' Oreos. M-m-m! Fry Daddy silt! ACK! Aaaack!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stop the World - I Want to Get Off

I wanted to title this post "Just bury your head in the sand and wait for your fuckin' prom!," but it was too long. The first article is a bulletin that is circulating around Myspace right now. The second is an article a friend of mine sent me yesterday.

They say history repeats itself and this bullshit is giving me flashbacks to the 80's when Heavy Metal music was to 'blame' for everything from suicide to Satanism. Some people seriously need to get a life and some parents seriously need to start doing their fuckin' job instead of foisting their kids on the rest of us, then come a-runnin', 'outraged' whenever their kid gets bitch-slapped. Enough already!

Who's to blame?

Anybody happen to catch Nightline Saturday night on ABC? In case you didn't, one of the hot topics discussed was MySpace. It is no secret to anyone who reads the newspaper or watches the 6 o'clock news that MySpace has been in the limelight because of "sexual predators" trying to "abduct and corrupt" the youth of the world. To this I say bullshit! I see dozens of profiles a day showing 14 year old girls dressed like sluts, wearing four inches of make up and 32 layers of eyeliner, displaying their age as 18 years old and profile lines stating "Oh, I'm So Sexy" or "Hey There, Wanna Check Up On It?" Come on! The youth of today's world are already corrupt enough due to the undying need to be "older" than they really are. I seriously doubt there are tons of people on MySpace stalking "innocent young girls" who just happen to have tramped up profiles and ages 4 years greater than their own.

On Nightline, there was a story of a 12 year old girl who was a drug-addict and attributed it all to MySpace. She claims that MySpace allowed her to easily find drug dealers in her area, as well as older men to have sex with her. Now, at the age of 14, she has been checked into a drug-rehabilitation clinic and has been away from her family for 5 months. Her parents would rather place the blame squarely on the shoulders of MySpace instead of their daughter, who even admitted that at the age of 12, had already tried weed, crack, X, and had slept with numerous guys older than herself...but of course, it wasn't her fault, it was all because of MySpace.

Once again, COME ON! When are parents and children going to stop passing the blame and grow up enough to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their children.. Parents, monitor your children online, take some responsibility for YOUR children. Children, if a profile name sounds like something that comes out of a cheap horror movie, like "DARK ANGEL OF DEATH WHO EATS THE BRAINS OF GIRLS"...chances are you DO NOT WANT TO ADD THEM AS A FRIEND. Apparently there is new legislation in Congress now to block MySpace in all public schools and public libraries across the United States. All because little girls want to act grown and don't want to accept the consequences and parents don't want to accept the fact that their "innocent little girls" are posing as 18 year old crack whores trying to buy drugs.

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - High school students are going to be held accountable for what they post on blogs and on social-networking Web sites such as The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said. District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member.

Mary Greenberg of Lake Bluff, who has a son at Libertyville High School, argued the district is overstepping its bounds. "I don't think they need to police what students are doing online," she said. "That's my job."

Associate Superintendent Prentiss Lea rebuffed that criticism. "The concept that searching a blog site is an invasion of privacy is almost an oxymoron," he said. "It is called the World Wide Web."

The social networking Web site allows its nearly 80 million users to post pictures and personal information while communicating with others. District 128, in Lake County north of Chicago, has some 3,200 students, about 80 percent of whom participate in extracurricular activities, according to school officials.

This is retardery of epic proportions. Since when did the schools become the morality police? Isn't instilling morals 'n shit the parent's responsibility? Whatever happened to being a teenager? I was at the dentist office the other day and they were playing a local radio station over the speaker system and the topics was 'single moms.' Women were calling in debating the whole working mom vs. stay-at-home mom dynamic. There was no shortage of tearful phone calls, yadda yadda yadda. At one point I just laughed outloud from the ridiculousness of it all. Fuck, get over it already! I'm so sick of the whole victim mentality. People have to work for a living. That's life. These people act like we're still living in the fuckin' 50's. Reality check: It's 2006, the economy sucks and there's a thing called The Internet out there!

Like I told the dentist when he asked me what I was laughing about, I said "I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old, but I think everything has been made so unnecessarily complicated these days. Everything is so over analyzed." He agreed, then I went to go have the barcode on my forehead scanned, so my bank account could be debited for his services.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Casey Spooner

Meet Casey Spooner, my latest crush. He's the lead vocalist for a group called Fischerspooner. I bought the album a while back, but I am still loving it. I recently caught their video for Never Win and fell in love with Casey all over again. I can't stop watching it and I LOVE the song (reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, which I've always loved as well). I think one of the reasons I like this video so much is that I 'get' a lot of the references (A Clockwork Orange, Elton John, The Police, KISS, Madonna, etc.), which is an interesting commentary on the fact that no matter how hard you try, you can't recapture your youth. At least that's my take on the video.

Casey never ceases to impress me with his ever-changing personas and imaginative music video concepts. One part performance art, one part infectious beats. I hope you enjoy the video and maybe even get their CD, Odyssey. It's loaded with great music from beginning to end!

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's the Deal With Ann Romano?

I've been exploring the OnDemand feature my cable company offers. I've watched movies I'd never pay to rent, tried my hand at a few karaoke songs (forget about trying to keep up with the lyrics to Sir Mix-A-Lots' Baby Got Back!), discovered new cartoon favorites and have generally killed a lotta time.

So, I started watching one of the "classic" TV shows offered: 1970's/80's One Day at a Time. I vaguely remember watching it off and on when I was younger, but to be honest it never really appealed that much to me. It definitely jumped the shark once Glenn Scarpelli joined the cast, maybe even earlier. He thought he was the Tiger Beat crowd's answer to Adrian Zmed...but he wasn't. God, he was annoying. Personally, my favorite character was only on the show for 1 season: Ginny Wroblicki (played by Mary Louise Wilson). She played the sassy, oversexed neighbor. She was great.

One thing that always wore me out about the show (and annoys the shit out of me now) is Ann's (Bonnie Franklin) neverending "explosive" outbursts. She's forever being outraged by something and stomping around pitching an overactive fit, like some kind of red-headed sprite. Her tirades were hammy enough to have a sandwich named after her. Plus, her name always made me long for spaghetti topped with aged Romano cheese.

So here's the thing I just don't 'get' about the show. Out of the dozen or so episodes I've watched, Ann seems to be the sexual pawn, on multiple occasions, when it comes to her career. She's forever being asked to wear "something sexy" to impress a client, getting assignments because she's "sexy", etc., etc. Um, whu? Was she really that big of a sexpot? Even by 70's standards? Personally, the shitball Joey Lawrence-circa-Gimme a Break-bowl cut she sported was a major yick factor, but then I'm gay, so maybe I'm not the best judge of what straight men find "sexy." And don't even get me started about the first time she started not wearing a bra. Fried eggs anyone?

Personally, I liked Barbi (Valerie Bertinelli) best. She was funny, cute and kinda square. The episode that comes to mind when I think of the show is when the cast performs some kind of charity talent show and she lip syncs Don't Go Breakin' My Heart, dressed as Elton John, complete with piano, signature outrageous glasses, costume, etc. It was my favorite episode. In retrospect, I think maybe Julie (McKenzie Phillips) sang with her, as Kiki Dee. Julie. Whatta weirdo.

Epilogue: My favorite episode just came to OnDemand. As it turns out, I was wrong about 2 things: 1) Barbi and Julie actually sing 'Don't Go Breakin' My Heart,' not lip sync, and 2) It wasn't a charity show, it was a New Year's Eve performance at a retirement home...oh, and Ann did a tap number dressed as Shirley Temple...ACK! My eyes! My eyes!!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

No Fighting, No Biting

Earlier this week I posted about reporting some old man's lack of driving skills to 911. What was intended to be a lighthearted post seems to have escalated into some kind of personal vendetta which was neither the intent or the subject of the post. I consider a lot of you to be 'friends' in the sense that I care about you and enjoy interacting with you online, so I hope everyone is mature enough to take this post in the manner in which it's intended.

As far as my blog goes, it's just that, my blog. Like anyone else on the Internet, I'm going to blog about what I want whether you happen to agree with me or not. I'm not here to validate your opinions and you're not here to validate mine. My opinions and experiences are my own and whether you choose to agree or disagree with me that's entirely up to you. For anyone who's a regular reader, you should be familiar enough with me by now to know, for future reference:
A) Real or virtual, guilt trips don't work on me
B) You're entitled to your opinion, just like I'm entitled to mine
C) Play with fire and you're going to get burned
D) I live in a little place called Reality, where things aren't always fair, people don't always agree with me and people don't subsist on hugs and happy thoughts

And Nathan, I don't necessarily see you (or anybody else, for that matter) as the "bad guy," but here's where I stand on your accusations:

• I didn't "lie" when reporting the man's driving. I never said he was swerving, drunk, distraught, etc. I said he was driving erratically, which he was. Erratic is defined as "deviating from what is ordinary or standard." I consider driving 15mph or less in a 40mph zone "erratic."
• Was I being petty, sure, I'll admit to that. I'm also willing to admit if it hadn't been him, it would've been somebody else. There must be a concentrated dose of "handicapped" people with licenses where I live because 80% of the time I end up behind one either in traffic, at stop lights or in shopping venues. It may not be your experience, but it is mine.
• There are no free passes when it comes to reckless driving, whether you're exceeding or impeding the speed limit. Not driving with the flow of traffic is just as disruptive as exceeding the speed limit. Internal stimuli is not a valid excuse when it comes to endangering the lives of others.
• And as far as me 'stepping in,' I don't take it upon myself to diffuse situations that I didn't create. You chose to make the story personal by attempting to emotionally blackmail me into apologizing for something that I have no reason/intention to apologize for. That's just how the cookie crumbles.

There will be no more comments from me in regards to this post. I've said my peace. The end.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The nurturing caregiver in me is all about support. No, really. I mean it.

[ Click to engorge enlarge ]

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Recent Conversation With My Mother

Prologue: My mother is not decrepit, fragile or otherwise incapacitated...yet you'd never know by talking to her sometimes.

Me: Hi, are you busy?
My Mom: No, what's going on?
Me: Can you hear me okay? I'm on the cell phone.
My Mom: Yep, I can hear you just fine. What's going on?
Me: Well, I just got finished with the eye exam. As it turns out they don't have to dilate my eyes to give me a new prescription for eyeglasses.
My Mom: Oh, well that's good.
Me: Yeah, and the exam was only $45 and since the insurance premium is $35, I'm not gonna bother sending them the paperwork. I thought it was going to be more expensive.

So anyway, I finish the exam, they give me my prescription and I walk next door to get the glasses I picked out yesterday. The girl that works there said that the particular frames I picked out wouldn't be compatible with my prescription and that I needed to find a different pair because supposedly, with my particular prescription, the lens will be too rounded and will pop out of the frame that I picked. Which, I think is bullshit because I have a pair of glasses like it right now.

So she picks out some other frames for me, but none of them are wide enough. So I said to her "But you can order larger frames, right?" And she said "No." So I said "So, you can't order larger frames or you don't?" Then she began to give me song & dance about how certain frames no longer in production, yada yada yada , etc. Then she tried to pick me out some fuckin' expensive Gucci frames, like I'm some kind of idiot.

It was so obvious she had this whole speech memorized, which is bullshit because I talked to Derik the other night and he just got new glasses, and has been wearing glasses since he was a kid, and he said that they can order wider frames, but they want to sell what's in the store and not deal with special orders, which sounds about right to me.

So I told her I was going to look around at some other places and that I might be back later. Soooo, this means I'm gonna have to go to the mall now, which I HATE. So anyway, that's the glasses situation right now.
My Mom: You may have to get one of those plastic things to put over your teeth when you sleep, if you're grinding your teeth at night.
Me: *insert sound of the needle being pulled off a playing record* What?
My Mom: You may have to get one of those plastic things to put over your teeth when you sleep, if you're grinding your teeth at night. Like I have.
Me: ::long pause:: What are you even talking about? Are you trying to talk to someone there or is the TV on? Are you distracted?
My Mom: No, I'm listening.
Me: Well, I don't think you are because I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm talking to you about my eyeglasses and you're coming outta left field with some shit about a mouthguard.
My Mom: Yes, I understand.
Me: Understand what?
My Mom: I'll show you what I'm talking about when you come down (to visit).
Me: *deep breath* Okay. Are you listening? What I'm saying is that we're talking about two completely different things and I don't think you understand that. Let's say you and I were talking about, I dunno, ORANGES and then, without warning, in the middle of the conversation I start talking about airplanes. Would that make sense to you?
My Mom: Yes, it would.
Me: Okaaaay then. I gotta go. Talk to you later.
My Mom: Okay hon, I love you.
Me: I love you too. Bye.

Face Value

For those who follow the news, I'm sure some of you are familiar with yesterday's heartwarming television debut of Tony Snow as the newly appointed Speaker of the House. During the press conference he was asked by a reporter about his yellow wristband. All that was missing was a wide-eyed "What, this old thing?" from Snow. According to an srticle in the Sydney Times Herald:

Snow responded: "It's going to sound stupid, and I'll be personal here," Mr Snow, a colon cancer survivor, said of his bracelet. Then, he choked up. Unable to speak, he raised his hand, gripped the lectern and drummed his fingers while 10 seconds of silence passed. "Having gone through this last year," he continued, then lapsed into another silence. Finally, he added, "it was the best thing that ever happened to me". Nine more seconds of awkward silence followed as Mr Snow struggled to regain his composure. "It's my Ed Muskie moment," he quipped, referring to a Democrat who once appeared to cry in public. The joke got a big laugh.

For someone who's a fellow Cancer survivor and advocate of the whole 'Live Strong' movement, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when Snow made reference to "Lance Anderson," later correcting himself when reporters were left scratching their heads: "I think I called Lance Armstrong `Lance Anderson'''

Afterwards, newspaper articles were brimming with words like "personal," "brave" and "real." What a debut! What a guy! What a crock. I'm so not buying it, but then I also didn't buy the whole "Excuse me while I experience a feeling" schtick when Anderson Cooper did it while covering the Katrina crisis. Walter Cronkite getting emotional while reporting on Sept. 11. That I bought. It felt genuine.

The position of White House Press Secretary has a history of being filled by those with news media backgrounds. Snow is no exception, being a former news anchor and talk show host. I think he garnered the kind of reaction he was fishing for.

Personally, I thought the fad of the Live Strong bracelets (developed by celebrity/Cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong, in conjunction with Nike) fad had come and gone. You know, like the other cause du jour: AIDS ribbon, red Kabbalah bracelet, etc. The current one being (and still going strong, especially in political circles) the American flag pin. And that's just one of the reasons the whole episode smacked of publicity stunt. Don't get me wrong, I think the majority of the 'awareness' ribbons/wristbands originated from a genuine nobility, but I think a lot of it has degenerated into slacktivism or, in this case, public relations emotional manipulation. Personally, my new favorite ribbon du jour is The Bacon Ribbon (obesity awareness). To be honest, I don't know who or what to believe anymore, which is both disheartening and potentially dangerous. I'll just ad this latest performance to the growing list next to prescription medication, the medical profession, charities, the news, panhandlers...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The 80's Called: It Wants Its Hair Back

I love Myspace. Ran across this charmer on Myspace recently while browsing and had to share. Soak it all in, baby!

Some random comments:

• Who doesn't love vampires and vikings?!
• Been playin' guitar for 25 years? Actual or Air guitar?
• Am I the only one that finds it ironic that he misspelled the Italian word for "understand?" re: capece
• "Avid concert goer?" The heck you say!
• These are current photos. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Amy Not-So-Smart

A few weeks ago I bought the movie Just Friends on DVD. I debated on whether or not to buy it because I thought the premise was pretty weak, but my love of Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris won out.

In addition to Reynolds and Faris, there was also a really great character actor named Fred Ewanuick. Very cute. I actually liked him even better than Reynolds in this movie. Very likeable and cute.

For those not familiar with the movie, here's the basic synopsis: A man comes face-to-face with old high school crush -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer. Pretty generic.

Long story short, I didn't like the movie. What a waste of money. Even Reynolds couldn't salvage this one for me. BUT, here's the whole reason I wrote the post:

Months ago, back when the movie was hitting theaters, some of the cast members did interviews with various shows, hawking the new movie. Co-stars Amy Smart and Chris Klein were two of those people. One of those interviews was conducted by one of the correspondents of David Spade's show on Comedy Central, The Showbiz Show.

The mock interview was intended to be an attempt to find out what the movie was about, who the stars were and other general promotional information. What the interviewees didn't know what that it was all fake. What ensued was hilarious and eye-opening.

Hilarious because it was seriously pissing off co-star Amy Smart and eye-opening because it showed everyone what a self-important diva she really is. Personally, I'd never even heard of her pompous ass before and after seeing her behavior during the interview, have zero interest in her or any of her future projects. Besides, I don't see her being around too long anyway. She's definitely interchangeable with half of what passes for "celebrity" these days.

In the beginning of the film, Reynolds appears in a fat suit, played for laughs, as a nerdy, lovesick suitor to Smart's character. With that background, the interviewer asks Smart what the movie is about. She tells him and from there on out he "absent-mindedly" keeps referring to the movie as Shallow Hal (another movie where the fat suit schtick was used with similar results), only to be corrected by Smart on multiple occasions before he begins catching himself before saying the title each time.

After a continued quasi-confused interview, Smart is getting very snippy, making snotty faces and throwing some serious attitude, going so far as to inform the interviewer that he's wasting her valuable time and she has more important things to do than deal with this interview. The interviewer apologizes and brings the interview to a close by thanking his guests Chris Klein and Reese Witherspoon. ROTLMAO! The look on her face was priceless! I thought I was gonna DIE! I about peed my pants laughing. Smart's eyes flickered with hatred as she informed him that she was NOT "Reese Witherspoon!" Then, just when you think it couldn't get any funnier, the interviewer leans in to shake Klein's hand and goes in for a hug and kiss from Smart, who is super-pissed and angrily pushes him away while exclaiming "Get offa me!" Television gold.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dirty Birdy 2

So I'm driving home from the grocery store last week and I get stuck behind this golden oldie for 4 intersections and over 10 blocks. He's driving maybe 15mph. It's a 40mph zone. I keep thinking I'm gonna get an opportunity to pass him at some point, but the one other lane is filled with all the other people passing the both of us.

So, since I obviously was going to be here for a while, I decided to put my digital camera to use and snapped this picture. When I finally got home, I thought to myself: "Why just blog about it? Be a good taxpayer/citizen and report it. After all, this person could be dangerous!"

So that's just what I did. I called 911 and using my concerned voice, I reported him for driving erratically. I mentioned that he had a blue handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror and that I hoped he wasn't prone to having seizures or anything (out of concern, of course). They asked what direction he was traveling and the nearest intersection I saw him at, as well as the make/model of the car and the license plate number. After I complied, they said they'd notify the police in the area and have them be on the look out for him.

I hope he got the help he needed.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Reminder From Kirkkitsch...and Mr. T

I just wanted to remind everyone that this Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day. Now a word from Mr. T...

*Click here for the kickass REMIX!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Book Sale Finds

Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book © 1970
Collector's Guide to Cartoon & Promotional Drinking Glasses by John Hervey © 1992
First Films: Illustrious, Obscure and Embarrassing Movie Debuts by Jami Bernard © 1993
The Calvert Party Encyclopedia: Your Complete Guide to Home Entertaining
Scary Tales Vol. 9, No. 36 © 1983
Grimmy Inc.: My Dad Was a Boxer by Mike Peters © 1999
A Newberry Halloween: A Dozen Scary Stories by Newberry Award-winning Authors © 1998
Batman: The Caped Crusader's Greatest Adventures
The Manly Handbook by David Everitt and Harold Schecter © 1982
* Isn't it weird what becomes "collectible" and what doesn't? I think I paid maybe 50¢ for this and it sells for $20 and up on eBay. Maybe it's because one of the authors now exclusively writes books about serial killers. LOL! How strange is that?! I thought the name sounded familiar.
Tomart's Price Guide to McDonald's Happy Meal Collectibles by Meredith Williams © 1993
Never Get Too Personally involved With Your Own Life by Tom Wilson © 1975

*Not Shown:
Famous Brands: Chocolate Classics © 1985


I'm probably behind (again) on blogging about this, but have you seen the new images of McDonald's new makeover? *After 30 years without a major design overhaul, the 51-year-old fast-food giant is adopting a hip new look. *BusinessWeek's words, not mine.

I've included some images here. Go here for the full story and/or to see more pictures of the future interiors of a McDonald's near you.

And never fear, apparently good ol' Ronald McDonald himself is getting a new "eXtreme" makeover too. Click here for the full story.

Personally, I'm skeptical. This may have gone over well in Australia, but I just don't see American McDonald customers being remotely urbane enough to keep the momentum of such a contemporary interior going for very long. And while I'll always be a sucker for good design, I also don't see the McDonald's crowd "hanging out" and reading...anything (and yes, I eat there too sometimes, so I can say that with a clear conscious). I give any upholstery on those "hip" new chairs/couches, a shelf life of 3 weeks before they start looking like McTurds. Eh, who knows. Maybe I'm underestimating the general public...but somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Guys Gone Filed: Vol. 7

Obviously the first guy is my favorite. Perfection. However, the guy in the bottom left-hand corner is pretty darn delicious as well. Then there's the guy in the baseball cap, directly to the left of Homicide T-shirt guy... *sigh* Dreamy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Raymond Burr

I've been on a Raymond Burr kick lately. I think he's just gorgeous, and what a great voice. Did you know he was gay? I didn't! So beautiful, inside and out. I just ordered three of his movies on DVD: Crime of Passion (1957), Blue Gardenia (1953) and Love Happy (1949). You probably know Burr from his popular TV show characters Perry Mason and/or Ironside (my personal choice of the two). However, here are some things you may not know about him:

• While filming Perry Mason, working 6 days a week and grueling hours, often to the point where he didn't go home at all, he would still find time to cook the night before for all the cast and crew at the end of each episode's shooting.
• He had over 30 foster children (his only child died from Leukemia)
• He donated over $30 million to universities
• When he purchased his Fiji island, he built the infrastructure (e.g. schools, plumbing) for the native islanders before he built his own house.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mental Goulash 10

Okay, I know it's been a while since I've done one of my Mental Goulash posts, so just know that they're nothing more than multiple fleeting thoughts and commentaries that I've had over the last few months that didn't really warrant an entire post.

[1 & 2] I recently paid a visit to a nearby store called Talk of the Town. I lovingly refer to it as the Hobo Sto'. The reference comes from the fact that it's a store frequented by those on a shoestring budget. The store is nice and clean, but definitely a "no thrills" store. A great place when you're running low on cash. Nothing wrong with that! The "fabulous" need not apply.

They sell all kinds of stuff that isn't "technically" bad or expired, just "old" by the average grocery store's standards. You know, the kind of place you can find Halloween, Valentine's and Christmas candy June. Cereal with movie tie-ins for movies like Shrek, Star Wars Phantom Menace and the first Spider-Man movie.

Anyway, I like to drop by from time to time mainly because they have things that I like that have been discontinued + they carry some different brands I can't find anywhere else. For instance:

I know it's silly, but you should know me well enough by now to know that I am a sucker for nostalgia and fun/colorful design. When I saw this box of Piggly Wiggly brand cornflakes, I had to get them. First off, I really miss Piggly Wiggly and we haven't had them in Texas since the late 80's. Also, I thought the cartoon scarecrow & crow were really nice. AND, the bonus? I think they're better than the Kellogg's brand!

Second, I completely wiped them out of the now defunct Fizz-Its, by Scrubbing Bubbles. They're effervescent toilet tablets. There are 10 to a box. I used to use them all the time...before they magically disappeared from the chain stores' shelves. Well, good ol' TotT had them! Jackpot!

[3] Behold 7-Eleven's latest sandwich: The P'EatZZa Sandwich. The queerest name ever. Their promotional people deserve a kick in the nuts for this one.

I took the time to poke around on the Internet and research it and it seems destined to be a dud. Everyone is pretty much unanimous that it's a disgusting idea. I dunno. I've seen worse. *ahem* McGriddle, anyone?

[4/5/7] Do you suffer from headaches and/or lack of sleep? I know I do. Actually, I have several friends who suffer from painful migraine headaches. I'm always on the look out for something new to deal with either ailment. Well, I recently found something that I think is ingenious and actually helps me. It's called Head On. It's a homeopathic form of medication, if that makes a difference to you. It's basically like a giant tube of Chapstick that you apply directly to your forehead. So smart! It comes in 5 formulas (only 4 shown here): Pain Reliever/Sleep Aid PM, Migraine, Tension Headache, Extra-Strength and new Sinus Headache.

The particular Walgreen's where I purchased mine had all of the varieties BUT the Extra Strength. I opted for the Migraine and the PM versions. I can tell you that the Migraine version didn't completely rid me of my headache, but it quickly conquered (for me the most painful part of any headache) the throbbing/pulsating that accompanies my headaches. Coupled with an Excedrin Migraine gelcap, it was a winning combination. Also, I am finding that I also really like the PM version. I am forever suffering from insomnia and it helped me get to sleep faster.

For those wondering, it does NOT stink and is not greasy, in my opinion. I actually love the way it smells. For some reason it reminds me of a mixed drink smell. Cost; $7.

[6] The other night while I was sitting in my car, behind a flashing railroad crossing barricade, I heard the train whistle blow and before the train got too close I saw a fox running down the track, the train hot on his heels. The fox got off of the tracks before anything dire happened, it was just a strange sight to behold considering I was downtown near the public library. Those crazy foxes and their their love of reading.

[8] Nick Lachey seems to be the "it" boy du jour when it comes to the tabloids. Personally, I've always thought he was dreamy, so I say BRING IT ON! BTW, if you haven't purchased he latest issue of Rolling Stone (the one with a caricature of Dubyah sitting on a stool wearing a dunce cap with the title: "The Worst President in History?"), then you just gotta! Juicy shirtless pic of Nick and an interesting and in-depth, though frustrating, article on Dubyah.

Nick's new album, What's Left of Me debuts this Tuesday.

[9] Why is it so fuckin' hard for fast food restaurants to maintain a fresh container of iced tea? I've finally learned to just dispense a little in my cup now, and smell it first before filling my cup with ice and blindly filling it. If it smells like a soured washcloth that Bigfoot's been using to wipe his ass, then I know to go with a soft drink instead. I must be a soured tea magnet (not to mention, the lone child in the restaurant magnet and panhandler magnet) because I am forever being victimized by it. Lazy mofos!

[10 & 11] Behold the picturesque Meatball Marinara that Subway is currently hawking. I like Subway...normally, but their new excuse for "toasted garlic bread" and savory meatballs leave a lot to be desired. First off, as a rule I normally leave the "toasted" subs to Quizno's. Subway seems to be under the impression that just because they have a hot box they call an oven, that that's all it takes. Hardly. And their garlic bread is nothing more than you choosing whatever bread you want and them spreading a dollop of this lame garlic butter concoction across the bread and tossing it in the oven for 3 seconds. See those brown things on the second sub? Yeah, those are meatballs. They'd obviously been "marinating" (read "burnt") for the last day and a half. When I opened the sandwich up to photograph it I had flashbacks to the scene from Alien where the alien pod begins to open, however Ripley was nowhere to be seen. I was on my own.

Needless to say, I won't be going back anytime soon. The food/service just hasn't been up to par lately. I blame the management for NEVER being around and recently hiring some disgruntled teens and leaving them to do everything the day shift didn't do. Typical.

[12] And while I'm on the topic of Gen Duh (I'm tired of differentiating between Gen Y and Z. From now on they will now be referred to as Gen Duh), here's a few recent encounters with them.

A) While sitting in a densely populated Taco Bueno having a later dinner, one of the employees approached a booth of 6 Gen Duhs and offered them some free nachos that someone had ordered and didn't claim:

Employee: Anybody want a complimentary* order of Bueno Nachos?
Gen Duh: Silence. Mass confusion. They all have that deer in headlights look on their collective faces. Somewhere a lone cricket chirps. I sit and watch, fascinated at the stupidity. Gen Duh looks confused, mouths agape.
Employee: FREE FOOD. Want it?
Gen Duh: They all slowly begin to come to life, gauging each others response before slowly declining the offer.

*Word with more than one syllable. First mistake.

B) While sitting in a nearby Subway one evening, having yet another late dinner, I am the only customer in the establishment. The lone employee (a card carrying member of Gen Duh) is busying himself pushing in chairs and rearranging the chips display. I sit quietly reading my newspaper and eating my Spicy Italian sub. The radio, tuned to an "urban" radio station (whatever happened to "R&B"?) is playing overhead. The song changes and I hear "Dayum! Dat's ma JAam!" then Master Rhee proceeds to transform from a privileged white youth into a faux streetwise Usher wannabe. I half-heartedly expect his "grill" to be riddled with gold and his pants to fall below the equator to expose the top of his underwear.

Welcome to the future, folks.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Say What? Vol. 9

[ Caption this! ]

The Ultimate Measure of Man?

I ran across this article, from March of this year, while looking for images of Johnny:

Johnny Knoxville has confessed he has a small penis. The star says he wishes he was well-hung like 'Jackass' co-star, Pontius, but instead has to live with his less than impressive appendage. He revealed: "I have a penis like 'an egg in a nest'.

"It looks like a light switch. Seriously. A fucking light switch. "Pontius has his penis out all the time. He's got a sweet one! Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it!"

I don't care. He's still my sweet baboo.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursdays With Kirkie

[1] This is one of the two courtyards/sunken gardens located directly across the street from the courthouse in downtown Fort Worth.

[2] One of the many parking facilities in downtown Fort Worth. I love this sign. It looks even more amazing lit up at night.

[3] Dunno why this struck me as funny, but it did (I'm weird like that). This is the side of one of the older downtown buildings. The entire side is covered with lightbulb sockets/lightbulbs. Out of hundreds, only this one was lit.

[4] The front of the courthouse building. The circle embedded in the rectangle at the top of the center row of windows is a repeated architectural element over each of the interior courtroom entrances.

[5] I had a nice, long, relaxing lunch in the courtyard adjacent to the one pictured in image 1. I was the only one around besides the birds. So peaceful. This was my chair.

[6] One of the many quaint little eateries in downtown Fort Worth: Piranha. I haven't tried their "killer sushi" yet, but I plan to. Just down the street from where I ordered lunch...

[7] Zippy's All American Grill makes a mean club sandwich and fries. Among other things: hamburgers, hot dogs, frozen custard...

[8] The view from the top of the steps leading down into the courtyard where I sat and ate lunch. It had just rained and everything was so green and lush and smelled so clean. Wish this was my backyard!

[9] Proof that I gots tha cheese. Close-up of my $6 check issued by the courthouse. Dollar store here I come! Watch out!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Recent DVD Purchases

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Season 2. © 1971
What's New Mr. Magoo? Mountain Man Magoo. Vol. 3. © 1977
Comments: I found this little gem at a library book sale a few weeks ago. I didn't even know Mr. Magoo was on DVD! Apparently this is just one of 3 volumes! The DVD contains 6 episodes, one of which is a "haunted house" episode. Those are my favorite! Retro fun!
A Man Apart. © 2003
Comments: Whenever I go to Fort Worth I always pass this pawn shop off the freeway that I can never seem to figure out how to actually get to. Well, I finally did last week and boy was I glad! Not only were their DVDs $5 (not unlike most pawn shops now), but they also had a HUGE selection in another case, all priced at...ONE DOLLAR! Woo Hoo! The cool part was that they weren't all the usual cheap dollar store fodder, but actually big-name titles released by major companies. Very cool indeed. This was one of those $1 DVDs. Vin Diesel for $1? I'm so there!
Moving Violations. © 1985
The Cheap Detective. © 1978
Comments: One of my favorite movies of all time! I've been wanting this DVD for years, but it never seemed to go below $14, and that was used! Had to snatch it up recently when I saw it on for $6.
Thumbsucker. © 2005
Four Brothers. © 2005
Comments: Another $1 DVD. I've been meaning to rent this one, but why rent when you can buy? Turns out, it was a really good movie. Though the movie's setting was contemporary, it felt like a good old-fashioned 70's movie. GREAT soundtrack. I will definitely be buying the soundtrack.
Brokeback Mountain. © 2005
Mona Lisa Smile. © 2003
Comments: Another $1 DVD. I don't know why I like this movie so much. I think it has something to do with the whole "shaking up the system" schtick. Also, Kirsten Dunst plays a terrific bitch. Again, another great soundtrack!
The Addams Family. © 1991
Elizabethtown. © 2005
The Giant of Marathon. © 1959
Comments: Steve Reeves. Need I saw more? ROWR!
Sinbad of the Seven Seas. © 1989
Comments: You know how I love me some Lou Ferrigno! Double ROWR!
The Forsaken. © 2001
Comments: Another $1 DVD. I've never seen this movie but there is so much eyecandy in it (Kerr Smith, Brendah Fehr & Johnathon Schaech), that I couldn't resist! God, Kerr Smith is just too damn HOT! Triple ROWR!
Jarhead. © 2005
Comments: Love me some Jake Gyllenhaal! Quadruple ROWR!
The Money Pit. © 1986
Modern Problems. © 1981
Comments: I hate the cover that the people at Anchor Bay came up with for this DVD release. Just awful, right down to the font. Why can't these people just leave well enough alone and just use the original poster art instead of wasting money and resources on a shitty cover in an effort to make something old "new" again? I've posted a picture of the original poster art, which to be honest isn't all that great, but is heads and tails better than this new abomination.
Thank God It's Friday. © 1978
Wild Palms. © 1993
Comments: GREAT early 90's TV series. Hurray for cyber epiphanies! If you are a fan of the surreal (think Twin Peaks meets Rosemary's Baby...kinda), rent it if you get the chance!
Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber. © 2005
Comments: Another $1 DVD (thank god). I only bought this because Joey Lawrence is in it and has a shaved head. Something about him is super hot, but at the same time he is majorly producted-up, even when not in character. He's one step beyond metrosexual.
Cinemania. © 2002
Comments: *See this post
Just Like Heaven. © 2005
Silent Rage. © 1982

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh Say Can You Tennessee

To commemorate Warner Bros.' release of the Tennessee Williams Film Collection today (contains the films Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone), I thought I would share with you some of my favorite passages from a book I'm currently reading, written by Rex Reed: People Are Crazy Here*. The book has 40 chapters, but I've only made it to Chapter 23 so far (It's an interview with actress Doris Day). The book is great. A fascinating time capsule of 1974. Rarely does a book make me laugh outloud, but this one does! It's written in such a style, it makes you feel like you are actually there without being too wordy as to lose your interest.

I remember seeing Rex Reed in cinebomb Myra Breckenridge and thinking he was sooooo hot. A little too fruity for my tastes, but visually he was lookin' gooood. The book was written 4 years after the movie was released, but I've included a scan of him from the book jacket (click his photo to see a current photo of him today). Niiice. Unfortunately time has not been kind and not unlike the once super-sexy Tony Curtis (click his photo to see a current photo of him today), he has grown exponentially fruitier and more bloated with each new year.

Yeah yeah, I know "But Kirk, everyone ages. You'll be old too someday."I know, I know. But some people just sail down that slippery slope faster than others.

By the way, allow me to be sidetracked here for a moment. Speaking of Tony Curtis, I don't know if you're aware of this or not but he is one of the members of AMPAS (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Apparently he refused to watch nominee for Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain, denouncing it saying he had no interest in seeing it and that "Howard Hughes and John Wayne wouldn't like it." I can't help but find this ironic since he's always (to me anyway) come off as MONDO gay (and I'm not just saying that because he's a homophobic old coot). I don't care if he has been married 5x and spawned numerous children, I always thought he was nursing some serious chin burn. I'm probably wrong, but I'm just sayin' he looks superqueer to me. On a side note, I feel like if you are going to sit on the panel of AMPAS, the very least you can do is watch the nominated films. Otherwise I think it's not only unfair to the people involved it's also extremely unprofessional.

Back to the book. Chapter 2 is an interview with American playwright, Tennessee Williams. Here are a few favorite excerpts:

Scene: Rex being introduced to Williams' entourage at a restaurant in New Orleans:
...a young muscular beachboy named Victor Herbert Campbell, twenty-one, the latest in a line of secretaries and traveling companions. "You can call me Vic," says the young man, "it's short for Victor."

"Hah!" snorts Tennessee. "You mean, short for Victim." The beachboy blushes and returns to his steak.

Scene: Walking through the streets of New Orleans, talking to Rex Reed:
"This reminds me of the time I did The David Frost Show. He asked me if I was a homosexual in front of millions of people. I was so mortified I didn't know what to say, so I just blurted out, 'I cover the waterfront,' and the audience cheered me so loud he said he guessed he better break for a commercial and I said, 'I should think you would.'"

"All the charming people I've ever known are a little bit mad. I am very suspicious of people who appear to be outwardly happy all the time and have always regarded them as somewhat simpleminded."

"Victor, take a picture of me in front of old Andrew Jackson's statue covered in pigeon shit."

Scene: Seated at the Edwardian Room of the Plaza hotel, having just ordered, a waiter with a rather large behind passes the table. Tennessee reaches out and pinches it:
The waiter hurls around, his fists doubled. "What the...oh it's you, Mr. Williams....what are you doing in town?"

Tennessee looks innocent-guilty, like a choirboy who has just been caught sneaking a bullfrog into the collection plate. "We ah heah fo' Holy Week," he says, exploding with laughter. The waiter leaves, laughing too, and rubbing his derrière.

Scene: Discussing how for several months he was under contract to MGM in 1943, as a screenwriter. On how his written version of Senso did not transfer well onto the screen. It had been completely rewritten with only one original scene left intact. On that scene:
...a scene in a bedroom with two people waking up in a bed. There was a line that went, 'There's always a sound in the room when you wake,' and Visconti (the director) had a fly buzzing around. Of course that's not what I meant at all. When I wake up I always start belching. There's always that sound of getting rid of the poisons from the night before.

* I highly recommend this book. You can pick up a used copy for as little as 75¢ at A fun read that you won't be able to put down! I promise!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Say Hello to Juror #6

I arrived for the voir dire, which we (re: the potential jurors) were told would last an hour. Mine lasted almost 3 hours. WTF? I've never been through the whole process so my idea of what it was going to be like; sat down at a table in a room and asked questions by both the defense and the prosecution, was very different than what actually took place.

I arrived early, went to the 8th floor and waited outside the court room where the voir dire was to take place. While I sat and read my book I noticed that one of the Defense lawyers passed by several times in a not so subtle attempt (I think) to size me up. I was eventually led into the court room by a bailiff that reminded me of a friendlier version of Boss Hogg. As it turned out I had to actually sit on the witness stand, mic et al, next to the judge. Also present were the court reporter (not the cute one I mentioned earlier. DAMMIT!), 2 bailiffs, the Defendant, the Defense lawyers and the Prosecution lawyers. Needless to say I was a little intimidated, but I think I did a good job of keeping my composure.

After being sworn in, the Prosecution introduced themselves and one of them began going over certain legal terms (via a PowerPoint presentation) and telling me how "interesting" he found some of my answers on my questionnaire. The majority of his questioning was to make sure I understood the legal jargon and what it entailed. During his line of questioning the defense objected maybe 3 times (alleged coaching). This was slightly nasty. The Prosecution and the Defense were obviously not on good terms.

So then it finally came time for the Defense to question me. While one of the lawyers prepped his slide presentation I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the Prosecution lawyer who had just questioned me was leaning back in his chair, looking at the other Defense lawyer (the one seated) who was giving him a death stare. The Prosecution was doing this arched eyebrow thing as if to say, "Ha ha! Whatcha gonna do about it, bitch?" It was all very hostile and made me very uncomfortable. I was surprised that he was being so blatantly unprofessional. It was a real eye-opener for me.

Speaking of insights, before I forget, here are some other things I initially noticed about each side on the first day of jury duty last week:

• Neatly dressed (ironed, etc.)
• Stoic/Emotionless
• Kept their hands behind them when approaching the bench ("unthreatening")
• Smiled more
• One lawyer's shoes were dirty and very sloppy
• One lawyer's suit jacket didn't match his pants

Just observations, but sometimes the little things can give you some insight into what someone is really about.

So, the Defense begins questioning me and at one point the Prosecution objects and after going back and forth and back and forth with each popping up and down, the judge eventually asks me to please leave while he "talks" to them. I get escorted back out into the hall where one of the guys who was sitting next to me last week (#7) is waiting to be questioned next. I look at him and say a friendly "Hi!" and he gets this scrunched up look on his face like something stinks, looks at me and says nothing. WTF is that about. Fuck you four eyes. See if I try to be nice to you again, prick.

So, I get called back in and they explain how sometimes they have to discuss things, etc. I say "I understand" and we finish up with the questioning. Again, I get asked to leave and wait out in the hall. They'll call me back in to let me know if I am to be on the jury or not. I come back in and they tell me that I am indeed on the jury.

The trial is set to begin in early June and the Defense lawyer said it could last anywhere from 1-3 months (joy). Of course I can't reveal the nature of the case, but let's just say it deals with some major elements. I'm more than a little nervous knowing that I'm going to play a part in deciding someone's fate.

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