Monday, July 31, 2006

Deja Poo

I went home today to get the inspection sticker on my car renewed. This is the "conversation" I had with my mother over lunch. Keep in mind that we've been having this exact same conversation since 1990. Apparently she's under the impression that I subsist on a diet of sugar, sugar and more sugar.

I merely mentioned that I was going to buy a glucose test and see what my glucose level is since I am in the process of making my first doctor appointment in years. I envision the doctor diagnosing me with the ailment du jour "borderline Diabetes," so, I want to be sure I'm informed before I go. Call me paranoid, but I think it's gotten to a point where people are being giving these lifetime sentences of overpriced prescriptions that aren't necessary, all in the name of the insurance premiums and I think it's bullshit. I don't want to become a automaton statistic, so I think the best defense is a good offense.

Mother: Have you been eating a lot of sugar?
Me: *sigh* Nooo. Why do you always ask me that? You and Daddy are the ones who are ice cream, pie, sundaes and cake fiends.
Mother: You know what they have at the dollar store?
Me: Lots of cheap crap?
Mother: *hmph* Noo, they have these cookies that are made with that sweetener...I forget the's like sugar without the sugar...
Me: *SIGH* Splenda.
Mother: That's it! They have that in them and you can't tell the difference. They taste just like the real thing.
Me: Then you should buy some. I've told you a million times I don't like Splenda or Equal or any of that artificial sweetener crap, except Saccharin.
Mother: Sugar sugar sugar dollar store sugar sugar sugar dollar. Dollar sugar store sugar sugar , sugar.
Me: Why do we always have this conversation?
Mother: Well, do you eat a lot of sugar?
Me: Yes. Yes I do. I can't get enough of it. Sugar sugar sugar .
Mother: That's not good for you. You know they sell that stuff that's like sugar, but it's not.

Rinse and repeat for 6 minutes.

P.s. I've talked to friends who have aging parents and/or grandparents and apparently this whole dollar store obsession is not an isolated event but a universally-shared experience. One of my friends was just telling me how her grandmother buys a lot of her cleaners there and how she (my friend) always sarcastically asks her 'which colored water she wants to clean her bathroom with this time.' LOL!

And don't think I'm completely anti-dollar store, I'm not, but you know what? At some point you have to tighten that death grip on your coin purse and spend that extra $1.39 and get some fuckin' BRAND NAME shit that will get the job done! The dollar store has plenty of good things to offer (Fabuloso, Bleach, Kleenex, DVDs, candy (yes, I eat candy, goddammit!), etc.), but it also has it's share of bullshit. You have to have that internal filter in your head that tells you what's crap and what isn't. My mom thinks it's ALL fuckin' golden! Just like the piles of shit at their house: it's all potential treasure. Geez Louise. Don't get me started...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Harvey's Candy Panties

Growing up, I was never a big follower of the whole Charlie's Angels phenomena. I think a lot of it was because I was too young at the time, plus the fact that even if I was a teenager with raging hormones, they were raging for those moments when Lou Ferrigno would rip out of his clothes during an episode of The Incredible Hulk. But that's neither here nor there. My point is, I never really followed the series, but have recently 'discovered' it via OnDemand and I'm lovin' it!

Some observations:

• I'm sure this will come as no surprise to any straight males out there, and is obviously why the show was so popular (critics didn't coin the phrase 'jiggle TV' for nothing). However, being gay and not ever really thinking about it, I've noticed an abundance of nipples, especially from Farrah Fawcett (whose appeal I just never understood. She uggy...though I did dig Saturn 3) and Jaclyn Smith...not so much from Kate Jackson (I'm still watching episodes from Season 1). Farrah consistently looks like she's smuggling 2 gumdrops under her blouse.

Jaclyn Smith's character, 'Kelly' drives me NUTS every single time she sneaks into a possible suspect's office and snoops around! I HATE THAT! I know it's silly, but it seriously stresses me out. Every time! LOL! Of course, she gets caught from time to time. She's such a bad liar.

• Speaking of Jaclyn Smith, I LOVE the episode where the Angels go undercover as "high fashion" models. Esp. the scene where JS is posing for pictures outside near a pool and has her props (a straw hat and her luscious locks) and one of her signature moves to 'spice' up a photo is to tilt the hat sideways. And she's SO into it. All serious, yet sassy....ROTFLMAO! OMG, that makes me laugh every single time.

• I love Kate Jackson. She's my favorite Angel. I seem to be in the minority on this one, but I don't care. I always thought she was the coolest one. Though, as you can see from the screen capture (which I couldn't help but share), she looks super lame in a 70's-style nurse's cap. I laughed my ass off when I saw her enter the hospital room for the first time. I was waiting for her to ask the patient 'You want fries with that?'

• As much as I love the 70's, the show has some laughable fashions, acting and scenarios. I esp. love how no one ever puts 2 and 2 together and ponders why 3 hot chicks just happen to come on the scene during/after a crime. What a coincidence! Rheee!

• It cracks me up that 'Charlie' is such a pussyhound. We get it already. You love pussy. Pussy gives you wood. Young pussy is good, but multiple young pussy is better. You're a stud. Now go get that penicillin prescription filled, Hot Stuff.

All in all, I'm enjoying watching the series. I want to get Season 1 on DVD, but I'm not sure about the other seasons. I'll have to see how they 'feel,' what with Cheryl Ladd replacing Farrah and Shelley Hack (WTF?) replacing Kate Jackson. I must admit though, that I do like Tanya Roberts, so maybe I'll pick up around Season 5 (plus, that's also around the time they aired the Mr. Galaxy episode, the next to last episode which revolves around a bodybuilding competition and co-stars one of my favorite 'old school' bodybuilders, Roger Callard. ROWR!).

P.s. If you're wondering where-the-hell the title of this post came from, it's the name of an 'erotic' underwear company owned by one of the lecherous old men suspects in episode 2. FYI.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

She Put the 'Boob' Back Into Boob Tube

I love Elvira. Ever since I started watching her now defunct show, Movie Macabre, back in the 80's, I fell in love with her and her deliberately cheesy style of humor. Movie Macabre set the groundwork for my future loves: Mystery Science Theater 3000 and B movies. I learned early on that not all movies have to be big budget and star-studded, to be enjoyed.

So, that's why I recently got the urge to read her short-lived '97 series of 'young adult' horror-themed paperbacks. I've been aware of the series since the early 2000's, but just recently got around to tracking them all down (all 3), ordering them and reading them. The three titles include: Transylvania 90210, Camp Vamp and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf. So far I've read 90210 and Camp and just received Werewolf today. The books are such fun, light reads, they transport me back to the 80's when I was still haunting the Young Adult section of the bookstore, looking for the latest installment in the Twilight or Dark Forces series. Back when I'd be so enthusiastic about finishing a book that I'd have it read within hours, instead of days, like I do now. Good times.

The books are total Elvira from beginning to end. Like Elvira's schtick, the books are brimming with pop culture references, cheesy one-liners and bad puns. I love them. If you're looking for a macabre, fun escape, heavy on the cheese, then by all means, check them out! A great spirit lifter! My only complaint: They stopped at THREE!

Transylvania 90210- Elvira's new next door neighbors consist of a hunchback and a vampire. She takes exception to their feeding habits and plans to send out the unwelcome wagon, with the help of her friends Luke Berry, Shannon Doheny, Jason, Tori, Tiffany and Brian.

Camp Vamp- The reluctant chaperon to the Happy Campers during an outdoor excursion, Elvira gets closer to nature than she is comfortable with and must rescue her charges from a legendary killer beast.

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf- Not believing her friend Whitney when he tells her he has become a werewolf, Elvira becomes alarmed when Whitney's full-moon personality emerges, and she decides to rescue him before the neighbors start shooting silver bullets.

P.s. Double feature episodes from Elvira's Movie Macabre, will begin being released this Fall to DVD (Sept. 19)! To read more about them, click the hyperlink!

Also, Elvira is slated to begin her new reality show this Fall, where contestants will compete to win a one-year contract to portray the character in various personal appearances!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One Down, Two to Go -or- Doi!

[ Click image for full story ]

Homeless Man's Honesty Pays

Homeless Man Receives Rewards Worth $4,000 for Honesty

DETROIT (AP) — A homeless man from Detroit is finding out that it pays to be honest. Charles Moore, who found and turned in nearly $21,000 worth of U.S. savings bonds in the trash, has received rewards worth $4,000, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Moore, 59, was originally given $100 from the son of the deceased bond owner, but residents here and in other states decided that wasn't enough.

A Belleville man sent him eight trash bags full of bottle returns and a bowl of coins. Three people pledged a combined $2,500, while two Troy businessmen donated $1,200, a shopping spree at a men's clothing store and a lead on a job. "I was thankful for it," said Moore, who lost his job in Toledo as a roofer, moved back to his native Michigan and can't find a job.

David C. Smith, of Albuquerque, N.M., pledged $1,000 and said that if a homeless person found bonds belonging to them worth $21,000, they wouldn't have thought twice about what to do. "We would have given him the whole amount, period," said Smith. "No questions asked."

Moore said he plans to use the money to find an apartment.

He was searching for returnable bottles in a trash bin when he made the discovery last week. Moore took the bonds to a 24-hour walk-in homeless shelter operated by the Neighborhood Service Organization, where a staffer made some phone calls and tracked down the owner's family.


Today's edition of Mancandy felt a bit blasphemous initially, what with Jay being a "man of God" now, but I thought 'What the heck! I still like him and nothing can erase those wonderful 80's memories,' so I said 'what the H-E-double hockey sticks!' and went ahead as planned. Besides, not unlike the words quoted by John Corbett in the recent comedy, Raising Helen: "I'ma sexy man of God, and I know it." I feel Jay would fall under that same category, so enjoy.

Remember Jay Underwood? I sure do! I remember falling in love with him, back in 1986, when I first saw him in the movie The Boy Who Could Fly. He was just so beautiful to look at, and to this day I still love that movie (plus, Mindy Cohn was in it, and you know how I love me some 'Natalie' from The Facts of Life). Some of you may be familiar with him from the made-for-TV Disney movies, Not Quite Human, which I liked, but Alan Thicke played his "scientist" father, and he (Alan) got on my nerves. Then there was 'Bug', the oversexed boyfriend from Uncle Buck, and lots more B movies and roles in various television shows. The latest thing I've seen him in was some Advil commercials, where he is looking HOT, BTW. He's sporting some stubble now and it looks sooo good on him. SIGH.

Anyhoo, I Googled him a few weeks ago and discovered that he's now employed by Calvary Bible Church, out of California, as one of their youth pastors. In additional, he's even authored a sermon or two. Initially I was crushed, because, as you know, I tend to associate organized religion (specifically Christianity) as a one-way ticket to Hatesville, but in Calvary's defense, I have yet to sit and completely read their 'What We Believe' portion of their web site (I'm afraid to...I'm not sure I wanna know if Jay has been brainwashed or not).

So, since I'm unable to find a physical/e-mail address to send him a request for an autographed photo, against my better judgement, I'm going to make an attempt to contact him via his e-mail address at the church. I made a promise to myself a few New Years ago that I would make a concerted effort to contact and receive autographed pictures from the people whom have brought me enjoyment/inspiration throughout my life. Unfortunately, I was too late with the late Anne Bancroft and some others, but I have to continue to try. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Pitfalls of Judging a Book by Its Cover

Today's post involves potty humor, so if you're easily offended you might want to look elsewhere today

As you know, I am a slave to visuals. I'm one of those people who judges a book by its cover, in whatever guise it may take: books, movie rentals, food packaging, product packaging, etc. If it looks good, I'm sold (within reason).

So, I normally buy the Pop Secret: Homestyle brand of microwave popcorn. I'm not a big fan of the industrial-strength-yellow-colored butterrific style of popcorn. I want some buttery/salty flavor, but if it's lemon-yellow I'm out.

A few weeks ago (probably more like a month ago), I went to the movies (I already forgot what I went to see...yeah, it was that good) and bought a drink and a small popcorn.

NOTE: For someone who loves movies as much as I do, ironically I'm not one of those people who feels like the movie "experience" isn't complete without popcorn. I like it and all, and probably eat more at home than I've ever eaten at the movie theater, but I'm more of a drink person. Maybe even a hot dog (if they're even ready, which they usually aren't when you go to see the first showing). I have multiple reasons for not being an avid popcorn-at-the-movies fan: [1] The popcorn is usually too salty/stale, [2] It's messy and I always emerge from the theater feeling like I rubbed a porkchop on my face, [3] I always end up CACK!ing like a cat horking up a hairball, because a kernal husk has gotten lodged behind the back of my tongue and [4] Recently, the rich, buttery goodness they pump over the corn makes my sphincter do the Electric Slide (pun intended).

Halfway through the movie I begin to have intestinal woes. I shift in my seat, do The Clench and pray that the movie is only an hour and a half instead of the usual 2 hours. Once the credits roll, I do the Boot Scootin' Boogie through the lobby and parking lot until I get to my car. Once home, not unlike The Night Before Christmas, away to the bathroom I 'flew like a flash.' I learned two things that day: [1] Never say 'yes' to pumped buttery goodness at the movies and [2] there's something lost in the translation of Cottonelle's Triple Roll (mainly thickness). Never again.

SO, I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago (the newly remodeled Tom Thumb...I'm not's too dark now and they play that "old school" weirdo muzak over the speaker system. It's like shopping in Stepford), and was strolling down the popcorn aisle, when a box of Safeway brand microwave popcorn caught my eye. I was instantly transported back to what I'd think the 70's drive-in intermission ads must have looked like. There was the retro-striped popcorn cup, brimming with delicious-looking popcorn, an old tyme salt shaker like the girls/guys who worked at the concession stand might have used to shake over the popcorn and a bright pink soda that could have easily been served from one of those cool old 'bubble'-style soft drink dispensers like they used to have at the theaters back then. You know, the kind where the soda fountain had a large clear bubble that was literally bubbling beneath the surface with colored soda. SIGH. I was sold. I had to buy some. I wanted the box art and thought 'you can't mess up popcorn, right?'

Fast forward to last Saturday night. I decided to settle in with a horror movie and thought 'hey, let's try some of that popcorn I bought.' I made some, it popped great, looked and smelled great. I tasted it, it was delicious! It had that "old school" real corn flavor that so many of the microwave popcorns seem to be lacking these days. I poured out a small bowl of it, leaving over half a bag sitting on the counter (I'm struggling to maintain some sense of self control when it comes to portions lately). I go sit on the couch and start watching my movie. After about 35 minutes, the movie begins to lag, so I decide to go get a refill on the popcorn and check my e-mail.

I'm checking my e-mail when I feel gassy...but what happens is no run-of-the-mill fart. It's something much more sinister; the fart with somethin' extra. Before you know it, like a thief in the night, the Gravy Train had struck (sans bowl), and like some demented stork, dropped off its own little bundle...but it wasn't joy! I grimaced, thinking to myself 'oh dear god, no!' I grabbed a fistful of Kleenex from the box nearby, cupped my ass and kept low to the ground as I attempted to stay in a somewhat seated, yet mobile position, while I smuggled a sloppy joe in my shorts. Once in the bathroom, I did my part to deplete the ozone layer and rued the day that I ever bought Safeway brand microwave popcorn.

This has been a public service announcement from Kirkkitsch.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I Don't Like Mondays

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's Hard Out There for a Primp -or- Drama Preen

A while back I took some screen captures of one of the authors of the Left Behind series of books, Tim LaHaye, being interviewed on Good Morning America.

Those unfamiliar with the Left Behind series (they're like crack to people here in Texas, natch), it's basically just more of the same ol' fire 'n brimstone rhetoric that we've all heard before: Christians= good/Everyone else=bad. As one reviewer put it: "Stop hijacking Jesus. Start listening to God. Stop ruining God's message. God decides who goes to heaven. Not some writer." Don't they know hijacking Jesus is big $, esp. in the red states?! Yee haaaw! Bring on the Jesus Juice and Oracle Oreos (chock full o'prophecies!), I'm gonna hijack like a muthafucka, yo!

So, here's my question: For someone who's such a homophobe (he's one of those types that doesn't "hate" gays, but he's 'praying for them'), is it just me that finds it ironic that this guy looks like he's played his share of skin flutes? When I first passed by the television and saw him being interviewed I thought he was going to be discussing his role(s) in the revival of Victor/Victoria. Seriously, is it just me?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Say It, Don't Gay It

Okay, let me preface this my saying I realize that I said that my jury duty ramblings were concluded a while back, however, this is something that took place during that time and I wanted to blog about so here it is.

One day, towards the end of the trial, some of the men and women got into a movie discussion. From time to time throughout our 'tour of duty,' various jurors (usually Darth Tater) would struggle to remember the title of a particular movie, and even though I knew the title, I wouldn't say a thing. I know it's petty, but eh, it gave me some cheap thrills. Anyway, the topic of Brokeback Mountain came up and naturally, all the men clammed up and went into macho-mode, priding themselves on not being homo enough to see that movie. Only two of the women, Chiffon and G.I. Joan would admit to seeing it and were discussing it. Since I wasn't asked or involved in the conversation, I just sat back and listened and observed (but I did throw in my distaste for Michelle Williams' performance being nominated instead of Anne Hathaway, which in turn "outed" me, I suppose).

While the women were discussing how sad the film was, Kenny Rogers with a Sunburn was preoccupied making gay jokes to the guys sitting next to him, Kojak and Pucker Pants. It was something oh-so-clever about butt sex and it proved a comical hit with all the men within earshot. Those wacky breeders!

Meanwhile, Chiffon and G.I. Joan were still discussing it and G.I. Joan said something to the effect of "I thought it was sad that they couldn't be together. I don't 'condone' it, but I think they should be able to be with whoever they want." To which Chiffon replied, with some comment about how "that" (re: being gay) didn't matter to her and how she had a friend whose daughter way gay, etc. It was at that point that Chiffon's stock soared, while the homophobes showed their true colors. I never looked at those people the same again.

First off, let me preface this whole ordeal by saying this: Whenever I go into a situation where there are going to be a bunch of people whom I don't know, the thought crosses my mind of 'How would these people react/interact with me if they knew I was gay?' At the risk of sounding like a martyr or like I go into any and all social situations LOOKING to be rejected, that's not it. Seriously. It's not like it preys on my mind the entire time, but the possibility of being the 'lone gay' (Hi Ho silver pattern, away!) amongst a group of straight people, DOES enter my mind because, not unlike the jurors, I've been in situations where people are nice TO YOUR FACE and should they know/detect that you are gay, put on that brave facade of "That's cool," but in reality they AREN'T okay with it. Personally, I'd rather know who's who and bypass the 'nuances.' Like I said, the foray into gay jokes/comments, really showed me who's who.

However it got me to thinking later on that day, while on the drive home: Could I be friends with someone who didn't approve of me/my lifestyle? I told myself 'Hey, it's no big deal, someone doesn't have to approve of homosexuality to be your friend. That's like saying "If you don't like meatloaf, you can't be my friend." People are going to have different mores and such, just roll with it and don't dwell on it too much.' Then the question still lingered and I put it into this perspective. Saying that we're friends, though you don't 'approve' of me, is like telling a black person "As a rule, I usually don't even like black people, but you're the exception." After asking some of my friends and getting their perspectives, it was unanimous, I don't think I could, with a clear conscious, befriend someone who, in the back of their mind, was disapproving of me. It may seem like I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, but that was the conclusion I ultimately ended up coming to.

For me, personally, the whole situation ranks right up there with those people you see on television trying to justify their bigotry with passages from the ultimate scapegoat, The Bible. The ones who claim that they don't 'hate' us (gay people), but they're "praying for us." I think that's the definition of a back-handed compliment. "We don't hate you, but we know you're going to Hell unless you change your wicked ways, so we're praying that YOU change." Fuuuuuck off.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Currently Reading

The Funhouse by Owen West (AKA Dean R. Koontz) © 1980
Synopsis: Once there was a girl who ran away and joined a traveling carnival. She married a man she hated and begat a child she could never love. Now Ellen has a new life, a new husband and two normal children. Memory is drowned in alcohol and prayers--neither of which will save her kids from what awaits them in The Funhouse.
Comments: This book is based on the screenplay for the 80's slasher of the same name directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). This has always been one of my favorite horror movies, so I thought I'd read the novel, again. I remember reading it in intermediate school, but was too young to see the movie. That's how I got to know a lot of the 80's slashers, through their movie tie-in paperbacks. My parents didn't really care if I saw the movies, they just didn't want to accompany me. LOL! So, since I had free reign over my book choices, I got some exposure to my future love of slasher movies, via books. Pretty sneaky, sis!

The Curse of the Undead © 1970
Synopsis: Why is the vampire story so appealing? Why are brilliant talents drawn to tell and retell tales of the undead, the unquiet one who must return to feed on the vitality — the blood — of the living? What draws us back to read about Dracula and his fellows — monsters from the grave who seduce all sexes and ages to feed their foul hunger? Here are classic vampire tales from the 18th century to the present — from the gloomy and the terror-stricken tombs and castles of tradition to the spaceships of science fiction. Stories for readers who long to feel the cold hand on the heart, the creeping of the flesh, the sleep-destroying night fears that lurk on the edges of the enlightened modern mind.
Comments: I just picked this one up at Half Price Books in the 'Nostalgia' section. So many people bypass all those great old books just because they're "old." Pure reading treasure pleasure! You can't beat it for $2! Besides, where else are you gonna find some of these great stories? Certainly not on the new release wall, that's for sure!

American Gigolo by Timothy Harris © 1979
Synopsis: "I made love to women for money, some of them old enough to be my mother. But that isn't why I'd ended up in prison. The truth is very much stranger and a lot more embarrassing. I did something I'd always considered myself incapable of doing. Something a gigolo is never meant to do...the one thing which no one will believe possible of someone in my profession. I fell in love." That's the voice of Julian Cole, the arrogant, ambitious, but appealing "Beverly Hills Casanova"...a man whose own illusions about his life make him dangerously vulnerable to the rich, ruthless dolce vita world that uses him, bribes him, and eventually frames him for murder.
Comments: I love this movie (I have the German movie poster framed and hanging in my computer room), so when a friend of mine who lives 3 states away, told me that she ran across a copy at the local Goodwill, I nearly pooped my pants. Why, you may ask? Because I have never seen the movie tie-in version of this particular movie. Ever (and you know what a bibliophile I am). But I've always wanted it. Well, long story short, she was generous enough to send it my way (though I think my incessant whining may have had something to do with it too).

My first encounter with the novel was at my babysitter's house, back in the early 80's, when I stumbled across it in one of her Reader's Digest Condensed Books. It wasn't until years later that I actually saw the movie, but once I did, I instantly fell in love with it and it's star, Richard Gere. Needless to say I am still a big fan. ROWR!

The Envelope Please...

Here are the winners of my blogiversary giveaway:
Group A:
Sadly, there was no interest in this group
Group B:
Group C:
Group D:
Group E:

It looks like luck really is a lady! Congratulations everybody! Please e-mail me with your shipping info at your earliest convenience. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Upcoming DVD Releases

In addition to the numerous titles listed below, there are two DVD titles being released in the fall that I am really looking forward to. One of them is the release of the complete series of the 1971 Saturday morning cartoon Groovie Goolies!! The DVD boxset is slated for an October 14th release, in plenty of time for Halloween! ($30)

For those who may not be familiar with the show, here's a synopsis courtesy of TV Shows On Groovie Goolies" features a cast of legendary monsters who get themselves in all sorts of wacky predicaments, as they joke, dance and sing their way through each episode. The hyper-colorful series stars the residents of Horrible Hall; Frankie, Wolfie, Drac, Mummy, Hagatha, Bella LaGhostley, Boneapart and a wealth of other animated tributes to classic monster movie icons. In each episode, the Goolies offer an abundance of goofy gags in "Weird Window Time," a segment reminiscent of the classic "Laugh-In" series. Each episode ends with an original Groovie Goolies rock song presented in the form of a wildly animated music video.

Next up is an original "movie" that aired on Comedy Central back in 2003, called Windy City Heat. For those who have either not heard of it or seen it, I must INSIST that you locate, rent, purchase a copy as soon as they are available on September 26th.

I attempted to write my own synopsis of the "movie,", but just can't seem to get it quite right, so here is a synopsis courtesy of Comedy Central: This made-for-cable movie may well stand the test of time as one of the most elaborate practical jokes ever televised -- or, at the very least, one of the cruelest. Perry Caravello is an actor whose talent does not quite reach the level of his ambition, but that has not stopped him from pursuing the vain bitch goddess success for nearly ten years. During this time, comedians Tomy Barbieri and Don Barris, proclaiming their undying friendship for Caravello, promise him that, some day, they would help him get his big break in a high-budget action film. The dream seems within Caravello's grasp when, at long last, he lands the starring role of "sports private eye" Stone Fury in the upcoming Chicago-based film Windy City Heat. There's only one problem: There is no such film. The movie, and the grueling events leading up to its "production date" (including an outrageous meeting with the supposed Japanese "money men"), are all part of an outsized hoax, cooked up by Barbieri, Barris, and director Bobcat Goldthwait. Need we add that the hapless Caravello is kept in the dark right up the moment that the director shout's "That's a wrap"?

I know it may seem hard to believe, esp. with how jaded we can all get when it comes to what's scripted and what's 'reality' what with the slew of "reality" shows thrown at us on a regular basis. HOWEVER, rest-assured this is real. I don't care what anyone over at IMDB thinks, you can tell this is happening for real. You'll agree once you see the 'star' Perry Caravello's personality. I've talked to friends at length about this show and we all 'get' it and agree we went to school with or have known someone like Perry at some juncture in our lives.

When I first saw this movie, I laughed so hard I nearly choked, I cried, I almost pissed my pants (wait'll you get a load of the movie tie-in 'action figures' of the cast!!!). This is some seriously GOOD SHIT. I've since shown it to several friends and they told two friends and so on and so on and so on... You can check out Perry's MySpace page here. If you read his blog comments or the comments on his profile page, you'll get a small glimpse of just how oblivious he really is. He's definitely a personality to be reckoned with. Guaranteed hilarity!!

[R]= Rental [P]= Purchase [PVC]= Buy Previously-Viewed if Cheap

Galaxy High: Vol. 1 © 1986. Now Available [P]
Comments: I loved watching this cartoon on Saturday morning in the 80's, so boy was I surprised when I read that volume 2 was coming out (July 25th). I didn't even know volume 1 was out! I better get crackin'!
The Ellen Show: The Complete Series © 2001-2002. Now Available [P]
Comments: Actually, I just bought this DVD "boxset" this last weekend, so technically this went from a 'want' to a 'have.' I loved this show and had all the episodes recorded on VHS, so I was happy when I saw that it was being released to DVD. The only that kinda irks me about this DVD release is that there are just TWO discs, so why put them in two slim cases when they could have just as easily been put into a duel DVD case. All that excess packaging seems useless.
Basic Instinct 2 (Unrated) © 2006. Now Available [R]
She's the Man © 2006. Now Available [P]
Comments: I won this DVD since I wrote this post, so now it too goes from 'want' to 'have!' Wheee! I'm sure it'll be corny, plus I can't stand Amanda Bynes for the camera, but there are cute guys in this movie, so I'm appeased.
Flash Gordon: The Complete Series © 1979-1980. Now Available [P]
The Incredible Hulk: Season 1 © 1978-1982. Now Available [P]
Comments: Naturally, this would be released right after I just bought the elusive "Best of" boxset. Whatever. I still contend it's not a "Best of" boxset without the episode Alice in Disco Land. I LOVE that episode! It's Discoriffic!
The Benchwarmers © 2006. Available July 25th [R]
Final Destination 3 © 2006. Available July 25th [R]
The Beast Must Die © 1974. Available July 25th [P]
Comments: I love this movie. It was previously released on DVD but eventually went OOP (out of print) before I got around to picking up my copy. One of the reasons I love this movie is because of the campy 'Werewolf Break' that takes place halfway through the film, where the movie comes to a hault and a big clock comes up on the screen, giving you time to figure out who the werewolf is! What a great gimmick! I love it!
The Comback: The Complete Series © 2005. Available August 1st [R]
Comments: I never got around to seeing this series, but PopBytes raved about it so much, and I love Lisa Kudrow so much, that this is a must-see. Can't wait!
I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer © 2006. Available August 1st [R]
Comments: I know, I know. You're probably thinking "God, could they milk this franchise any further?" Well, I can't help myself. I love teen slashers and I love the killer in these movies, so I know I'll be checking this one out.
The Mr. Moto Collection: Vol. 1 © 1937-1939. Available August 1st [P]
Comments: I LOVE the Mr. Moto movies! So, on the one hand I'm really excited/glad that they are finally being given an official release to DVD, however, it does piss me off that they are not releasing them all once. They only made 9 of them, which could have easily been released as a boxset (2 disc, 2 movies on each disc), but instead it appears that 20th Century Fox would rather rape potential customers by stringing it out into TWO volumes, so instead of charging $42 for ALL the movies, they can charge $42 for FOUR of the NINE movies, then turn around and do it again when they eventually release the remaining 5. Grrrrr!
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth © 1992. Available August 8th [P]
Comments: Fun movie. Never-before-released to DVD. Hot main character, J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt)
Prison Break: Season 1 © 2005. Available August 1st [P]
Comments: Dominic Purcell. Need I say more...okay, okay...Wentworth Miller ROWR! Oh, and also a great, suspenseful television series!
Brick © 2005. Available August 8th [R]
Hong Kong Phooey: The Complete Series © 1974-1975. Available August 15th [P]
Comments: I love Hong Kong Phooey. Always wanted the HKP lunchbox. Can't wait to get this one, though the Hanna Barbera DVDs are considerably overpriced. For fans, only. P.s. I just read that there is going to be a HKP movie released in 2008. I don't even wanna think about how shitty it's going to be. Look what they did with Scooby-Doo. SIGH.
Scary Movie 4 (Unrated) © 2006. Available August 15th [R]
Comments: I want to see this movie for three reasons: Craig Bierko, Anna Faris and Regina Hall as Brenda. She cracks me UP!
Some Kind of Wonderful: Special Edition © 1987. Available August 29th [P]
Comments: You know how I feel about all these "special" editions that keep being churned out, long after you've already bought the "old" edition. Well, this is one of those rare movies that I like well enough to buy the 'special edition' of. We'll see. It depends on what the special features are. Love this movie, though.
Friends With Money © 2006. Available August 29th [R]
Nip/Tuck: Season 3 © 2005. Available August 29th [P]
Comments: First off, I dunno why there are TWO covers for the Season 3 boxset unless they are doing that bullshit like Sex and the City did with season 6, where they released it on TWO sets of DVDs (Season 6: Volume 1/Volume 2), for a total of 8 fuckin' episodes, for $40? I don't think so. Man, people are still pissed about that shit (re: Sex and the City Season 6 packaging/price gouging). If you don't believe me, read all the negative feedback it got over at

Anyway, I'm still not sure what the deal is with the two cover art versions of Season 3 of Nip/Tuck, but according to, it will contain 6 discs, which is about par with the previous seasons, so maybe when I saw the covers they were still in limbo about which one to use.
The Other © 1972. Available September 5th [P]
Comments: This is one of my favorite creepy movies. Not necessarily bloody-creepy, but psychological-creepy. Even if you don't buy it, at least put it in your NetFlix queue.
Escape to Witch Mountain/Return to Witch Mountain ©1975-1978. Available September 5th [P]
Kinky Boots © 2005. Available September 5th [R]
• Supernatural: Season 1 © 2005. Available September 5th [P]
Comments: I love this television series. Could Jensen Ackles get any more beautiful? Ai yi yi. A must-have tv series boxset.
Star Wars © 1977. Available September 12th [PVC]
Comments: SIGH...{deep breath} Though I am not a hardcore Star Wars fan, I do like the movie for it's pop culture contribution as well as being a fond childhood memory of growing up in the late 70's. However, I think that walking goiter, George Lucas is a real shitbag for fucking over his movies' fans yet again by releasing yet another version of the original Star Wars movies (which he vowed he would never do) to DVD. I wanted the original versions of the movies (not with the "new & improved" shittacular CGI effects added in back in '97) to begin with. Now that they are finally being released a mere thirty years after their release, my interest is waning. I'll buy these eventually, but I will never pay full price for the shit. Ever.
The Empire Strikes Back © 1980. Available September 12th [PVC]
Return of the Jedi © 1983. Available September 12th [PVC]
Inner Sanctum Mysteries © 1954. Available September 19th [P]
Grotesqueries © 1930's-1940's. Available September 17th [P]
Comments: Though this DVD release is strictly for the fans of the 30's and 40's, it's one that I am very much looking forward to. Here's a quick synopsis: Before the classic monsters were immortalized on the silver screen there were Grotesqueries; a devilish collection of chilling short reel features both animated and live-action from the dawn of cinema through the 1930s, Interred here are the eerie telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the Germanic conjuring of Dukas’ famed and frightful The Wizard’s Apprentice and the ghoulish, graveyard merrymaking tale, The Ghosts’ High Noon. Also featured are more macabre tales of ghouls, ghosts, goblins and mummies in classic animation shorts from the likes of the legendary Felix the Cat and Tom & Jerry. So prepare to journey into the beginnings of cinema’s netherworld with this collection of things that go bump in the dark of the theater and the confines of nickelodeon.
Little Boy Blue © 1997. Now Available [P]
Comments: I didn't even know this was being released to DVD until I saw it at Target recently. I've been holding onto my VHS copy for years, never expecting that such an obscure title would ever make it to DVD. Well, it finally did, and even though I'll still be holding onto the VHS (it has better cover art), I'm happy to see that this Ryan Phillippe favorite is now available in DVD format.
Rock 'n Roll Nightmare © 1987. Now Available [P]
Comments: Though I'm still looking for this one (no one around here is selling it), I'm determined to get it. I sold the VHS on eBay ages ago, when it was long OOP and going for a lot of money. Now that it's on DVD, I can bask in the hunkitude that was John Mikl Thor of the 80's heavy metal band, Thor. I say was because...well, let's just say times (and people) change. Ahem.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What I'm Listening to: Vol. 9

Aztec Camera: Stray © 1990
Comments: LOVE this entire CD. The range in style is great, from the single The Crying Scene to the surprisingly Jazzy/retro Over My Head. Though released in '90, it takes me back to my Cure-loving days of the 80's. A must-have. For a mere 75¢ over at, you just can't go wrong!

Ladies of Jazz Remixed © 2004
Comments: Having fell in love with the Verve Remixed CDs, I bought this one for the same reason, assuming it would be potentially as good if not better. I can safely say it is not better. However, there are some good remixes (with the original artists singing the lyrics, just like on the Verve Remixed volumes), but they're not all great. The stinkiest one of all? Happy Birthday as sang by Marilyn Monroe (and I know a good remix of MM songs are possible because I have a dynamite remix of Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend). Wow. Stinky with a capital 'S.' Some of the better remixes are done on the Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne songs. Worth checking out, but don't pay retail for this one.

Lords of Acid: Rough Sex [ CD Single ] © 1996
Comments: Don't you hate it when you buy something you KNOW you had once, but either can't find or, ahem, sold? I know I do! That's one reason I held back as long as I could on re-buying this CD single. That was until I found it at a used CD store for $1, so that made me feel a little better about buying it AGAIN.

Girls Against Boys: Freak•on•ica © 1998
Comments: I was tempted to leave NO COMMENT on this one, but I guess I will. Let's just say, I bought this one blind, assuming it would be as great as some of the other stuff I'd heard from this band. Unfortunately, all these songs sounds exactly the same: bad. Avoid.

Nina Simone: Sugar in My Bowl: Best of 1967-1972 © 1998
Comments: I looove Nina Simone and this 2 CD collection does her justice. I found it for a mere $6 at the used CD store up the street, in like-new condition! Great compilation!

Big Band Remixed + Reinvented © 2006
Comments: Again, another irresistible CD concept. Big Bands REMIXED. But don't be worried, it's done in such a way that it's not obtrusive of the original. Absolutely great idea. Some artists include: Artie Shaw, Pete Fountain (my dad's favorite), Benny Goodman, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown and lots more. Another must-have.

5 Star: The Greatest Hits © 2004
Comments: I must be the only one around here who even remember who-the-hell 5 Star is. I distinctly remember loving their music videos and songs All Fall Down and Let Me Be The One. GREAT Pop song memories...sigh. Definitely check them out. There's not a single song that won't leave you singing along.

Re-Bop: The Savoy Remixes © 2006
Comments: I couldn't resist buying this new Electronica meets Lounge take on old Savoy classics by such original artists as: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Jordan, to name a few. *I haven't received this one in the mail yet, so I can't give you a review just yet, but it looks promising.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Raging Spirit That Dwells Within Me

I'm so excited! Yesterday Spicy over at Celebrity Smack! posted a contest to make a banner for her site, so I entered it...and won! I'll be getting a copy of the DVD She's The Man, which is slated for release this Tuesday. If you're not familiar with the title, it's a teen comedy loosely based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It co-stars Channing Tatum, who is super-dreamy (see for yourself). I'd already slated it as one of my DVD wants, so this is kismet! Click on the banner to check out Celebrity Smack!

BTW, in case you didn't know, I design banners (like the ones you see over at BlogExplosion), and buttons. If you're interested, e-mail me and ask about my 6-pack special (2 banners, 2 buttons, 2 mini buttons)

*If you 'get' the title of this blog post, I'm green with envy!

Don't Fear the Cheaper

I was talking to a friend the other day and we discussing how we were 'taking charge' of our clutter and cleaning out the bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets, etc. My friend was saying how she had so much overstock of things like deodorant, etc., while I was saying that I had hoarded enough shampoo to keep Johnny Depp's and Ethan Hawke's hair clean (an altogether alien experience, I'm sure) well into the year 2009. We both wondered what our 'deal' was, since neither of us grew up during The Depression, which seems to be the excuse our parents always used to give us as to why we had stacks of Cool Whip bowls stacked under the kitchen sink, for those last-minute church potlucks, picnics, funerals, leftovers, etc.

Well, I dunno about my friend, but here's my excuse: Walgreen's clearance rack. I love it! I embrace it with gleeful relish nearly every time I pass by it. It's got so much great stuff! For instance, I was lamenting the fact that Suave had discontinued their Chamomile shampoo, so I've been using it sparingly, savoring it's clean scent. So my eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning (while plugging in the Christmas tree lights with wet hands), when I saw a ginormous bottle of Chamomile shampoo made by Herbal Essense...for $2 no less! Wooo hoo! It smells just the same and there's enough to refill my Suave bottle, at least 2 1/2 times! And don't even get me started on the time I bought the, now discontinued, Tide StainBrush for .75¢ -or- the time I found the (now also discontinued) Dawn Power Dish Brush 2-pack replacement heads for $1.25! Whew, I'm getting lightheaded...

Viva la Walgreen's clearance shelf!

Behold My Sweet Baboo

I recently bought a used copy (in mint condition) of the Jackass boxset, for $20! I've been wanting it for a while now, but couldn't bring myself to pay $45 for it. I love my Johnny, but not that much. Afterall, I already had volumes 2 and 3 of the Jackass set, so I'd just be buying it for volume 1, the bonus disk and the booklet. And oh what a booklet it is! This picture was inside and I love it. Just look at those meaty mancakes. Squid suit or not, I'd still give him some kisses!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm Gonna Git You Pucka! + Summer Fashion '06

Welcome to the summer of The Pucker! I've noticed this disturbing trend lately and felt compelled to document it so that you, my dear readers, will continue to be the kind of informed consumers that I know you can be. Don't let this happen to you!

A: The reason I took this photo is 3-fold: [1] I didn't realize short shorts had made a comeback with anyone outside of the cast of Hee-Haw. [2] The material the shorts were constructed from was so sheer I could see the blue star on the ass of her panties. Seriously. Unfortunately you can't make it out that clearly in this photo, but trust me, it wasn't hard to see in reality. Maybe if you look really closely you can make out the faint blue outline of a star. Is this supposed to be "sexy?" I just felt bad that she couldn't afford better quality shorts. [3] The Pucker.

B: First off, I apologize for the grainy quality of this photo. I was caught off guard when this Pucker moment presented itself. I was just leaving the grocery store, studying my receipt, when I suddenly had to break out the camera and take this photo. The legs are kinda beeftacular, but Gatorade Man needs to liberate his shorts from his crackular region.

C: This Puckerpotamus has a delightful story tucked away in her photo. I was at Hollywood Video browsing through the previously-viewed DVDs. I was on one side of a the shelf, Puckerpotamus and daughter were on the other side. The daughter (in her early teens) picks up a copy of the DVD Saved! and says to her Mothra mother, while pointing to Macaulay Culkin: "Isn't he the guy that was in Home Alone?" to which her mother snorts "Yeah." Then the girl says "I heard he was gay."(the word 'gay' said in a hushed tone) The mother replies "I dunno if he's GAY...he looks it." The daughter shoots back with "How? (does he look gay)" The mother, sensing my presence ('cause I'm so gay) said something in super-secret whisper-y tones that I couldn't make out. Now I'll never know how not to look super gay. DAMMIT!

Instead of making me angry, it makes me kinda sad that there are parents out there already shaping mindsets for their litter. Talk about vicious cycles.

The Summer Fashionista of 2006

A: The Modified Wedge. If it was good enough for preppy boys in 1988, it's good enough for our budding fashionista. Now that you're in the style loop, make your appointment to get one today! Ultra manageable! [ Print this photo out for your hair stylist's easy reference ]

B: Bulging, toned biceps are all the rage this summer. Get started on yours today! Don't be afraid to be labeled 'dainty.' Feel the burn!

C: The faux leather Le Bag is back with a vengeance! Seen here in Olestra Caramel, it's also available in a stellar array of fecal favorites! Plenty of room for those must-haves: Oreos, Pringles, fudge! Has built-in insulated compartment for popsicles, summer's must-have elixir on a stick!

D: The Pucker. It's the latest fashion craze for summer! Just gather excess fabric in the nether region of your shorts, Capri pants or other attire worn below the waste and tuck discreetly into your crack. If only all the hottest trends were this easy!

E: Shoe divas worth their weight in Payless Shoes* know that the red blood-engorged heel is this summer's mark of distinction. Easily obtained by eating foods high in sodium, this is a look even the fiercest diva can accomplish. *As seen at the Callous Hut.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Blogiversary Giveaway: My Favorite Things

Recently My So-Called Strife celebrated it's 2-year blogiversary. This year I will be giving away some of my favorite DVDs, CDs and books. I've included hyperlinks to each item so that you can make an educated choice when choosing which group you'd most like to win. All the items are a combination of new and used, but are all in great condition.

Here's how to enter: E-mail me with the group you'd most like to win as the subject of the e-mail and your name in the body of the e-mail. That's it! I'll put the e-mail addresses for each group into a hat and choose one at random. All e-mails must be sent by Tuesday July 18th. I'll post the names of the winners one week from today, on July 19th. If you're one of the winners just e-mail me with your shipping address. I'll notify you by e-mail once your prize has been shipped (FOC). Good luck!

Giveaway is open to everyone, regardless of location or lurkability

Group A (DVDs)
Bosco and Friends

Group B (DVDs)
The Rules of Attraction
Garden State
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
The Greatest Sci-Fi Cartoons of All Time

Group C (DVDs)
MST3K: The Wild World of Batwoman
Classic TV Commercials: Over 75 vintage TV commercials
Dance Hits
The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Jet Pink

Group D (CDs)
Splendor: Movie Soundtrack
Yaz: Upstairs at Eric's
Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter
M People: Elegant Slumming

Group E (Books)
Barrel Fever and Other Stories- David Sedaris. Audio book (cassettes) narrated by David and Amy Sedaris
Dork Comics #7- Evan Dork N
Holidays on Ice- David Sedaris
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams- Kim Deitch. Graphic novel

*By the way, for those wondering what the relevance of the picture of Matt Keslar, to the left of the first paragraph is, I put it there because I think he's is super-hot and also because he's one of the stars of the movie soundtrack I am giving away, Splendor. FYI.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Breaking News or Faking News?

AOL recently posted this video on their main page, questioning it's authenticity. I think it's real...and kinda funny. Especially when she goes "..concerned with the rise in violent criii...RAHR!" LOL! What do you think?

Trial & Error

Once you get in the courtroom, it hits you that this is very REAL. You're about to be presented with facts in various formats (crime scene photos, autopsy photos, testimony, evidence, plus you have to factor in body language, etc.) and then be asked to make a life or death decision based on those facts. And, for me anyway, not being able to take notes makes me even MORE nervous that I'm going to forget some vital piece of information, so I'm under additional stress to pay very close attention to anything and everything seen and heard.

Behind each set of lawyers (The State/Prosecution and The Defense) are a set of people. We all noticed this right away because one individual out of each set is literally staring a hole through each of us all throughout the trial. I assumed these people were there to gauge our reactions, body language and overall behavior, in order to 'report' back to their individual employers (Prosecution/Defense) as to how effective or ineffective they're being, as well as to give them an idea of which way the jury is leaning (guilty/not guilty). As it turns out, I was right. I was determined to maintain a constant look of no emotion on my face, while everyone else was going through every range of exaggerated emotion possible (which I thought was kinda stupid, if you ask me) in full view for everyone to see, I was stoic. Why should I make their spy job easier?

Here are the trial highlights:

• Since I made an effort not to sit next to Darth Tater, I had a sneaking suspicion that he was sleeping DURING THE TRIAL. I detected a change in his breathing, which to me said 'SLEEPING,' but since I sometimes couldn't see him, I wasn't sure. And the few times I DID see him, his eyes were technically open, if not barely. As it turns out he can sleep with his eyes OPEN! Great. Everyone was getting pissed that this ADULT man could not stay-the-fuck awake for 1-2 hours at a time and Chiffon got Law & Order on us and informed us matter-of-factly that this behavior (his sleeping) could be grounds for a mistrial. Concerned, we asked the bailiff about this and she told us just the opposite (re: his sleeping could not be grounds for a mistrial). La dee da.

• Throughout the trial, G.I. Joan was ultra-picky about everywhere we ate lunch at (chosen by the bailiffs, open to suggestions), which to an extent I can understand, but NOWHERE we ate in the 2 weeks we were there, did she ever not complain. Towards the end of the trial I overheard someone ask her "Do you ever eat out?" and she said that if she did, she always asked to see the kitchen first. Control issues? You betcha!

We had to (1) eat at places that could accommodate all of us at one table or at least within a close vicinity, and (2) could not eat at places anywhere near the courthouse, and (3) had to eat somewhere where we could be served quickly, considering we had to be back on time or the trial couldn't commence. Personally, I liked most of the places we ate at, but then I'm not the white-glove-type. I don't sit and obsess about what the kitchen looks like, if the people preparing our food are wearing body condoms or lose sleep wondering why the place didn't offer a sugar-free dessert or low-cal salad dressing. Gimme a fuckin' BREAK! Common sense tells you that when you are eating somewhere that prides themselves on 'home-cookin' and/or genuine Texas BBQ, don't be craning your neck to seek out a low-carb substitute for bread. Fuck off. Eat or don't. It's that easy. If you're that goddamn delicate, pack a lunch!

• Apparently a trial has 2 phases. I had no idea. During phase 1, after all testimony is given and all witnesses are called (by both the Prosecution and the Defense) the jury is released to come up with a verdict of guilty or not guilty (of the actual crime). Before we begin deliberating, as a group, we choose a foreman (Chiffon threw her name into the proverbial hat and everyone else was like "eh, okay, whatever."), deliberate, then call for the bailiff to let them know that we've reached a decision. In our particular case, the evidence was so overwhelmingly in the favor of the prosecution that we all unanimously found the defendant 'guilty' within only 15 minutes or less of deliberation. Once the judge asks if we've reached a decision, the foreman declares that we have and reads the unanimous verdict. THEN the judge calls out our last names one by one (eek! Remember, the defendant's family is in the courtroom, not to mention the defendant had ties to the gang, The Crips!) and asks us if this is our verdict and we have to say 'Yes sir' or 'No sir.' Stressful.

THEN the trial goes into phase 2 (The 'punishment phase,' since the defendant has been found guilty), where the Defense brings in another string of witnesses and so-called experts, in order to sway the jury into leniency when it comes to the punishment phase. In this particular case the death penalty was one of the options. So for those jurors who were all excited to think the trial was over, they were sorely mistaken. Practically another mini-trial begins right after the first one, so we were there for another week.

• While sitting in the SUV one morning, waiting for one of the jurors to arrive (they were 5 minutes late, big deal), Kenny Rogers with a Sunburn was pissing and moaning about how some people are always late. I made the comment that I was paranoid about being late (esp. considering that court can't begin until all the jurors have arrived, not to mention that you're keeping 13 other people waiting...13 other people you have to deal with on a daily basis in a small, confined area), so I usually arrived way too early.

Later that day, out of nowhere, I got seriously depressed, so when I got home I immediately went to bed (around 7). I wake up at...8:20am!! I forgot to set the fuckin' alarm! I have exactly 10 minutes to get to Fort Worth! OMG! I fuckin' freaked OUT. I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, threw a bunch of stuff into a bag and hauled ass. I called the bailiff's office and informed them I was running late and asked if I should just meet them at the courthouse or go ahead and meet them in the parking lot, as usual. They told me to go ahead and go to the parking lot and that they would notify the bailiff that I was running late. I arrived at exactly 8:15, feeling terrible that I had to make everyone wait.

• Towards the end of the trial, the Defense called an "expert witness," some old man that I immediately took a disliking to, if you can call seething hatred "dislike." He was some 83 year old retired medical examiner and reminded me of a Nazi. Seriously. Basically, he was brought in and coached (I say coached because, judging from his testimony, he obviously had a script he was sticking to, never swaying from it) to say that in his "medical expertise" that the child in question's (the little 9 year old boy who was beaten/starved to death) 250+ wounds/scars did not contribute to his death, trying to tell us that the little boy aspirated on some food. What-the-fuck-ever! His continuous poo-pooing of the idea that this child was starved to death (which he was) was seriously pissing me off, not to mention his smirky face and inappropriate laughter throughout his questioning. Basically, making light of something that was NOT to be taken delicately, going so far at one point, upon hearing the child's first name, to laughingly ask "Oh, heh heh is that his name? heh" Fucccccck off! I wanted to leap across the jury box and pound his fuckin' face until his head had no recognizable shape.

Before the Prosecution or the Defense can approach the witness/bench they have to ask the judge if they can do so. Every single time. So, when the Prosecution requested permission to approach the bench, the old fart said "It's okay with me." then everyone giggled and laughed, thinking that was oh-so-cute and comical. What a sassy, spry old man he is. Isn't that cute? I sat there stoic. I didn't find his little antics remotely amusing. He knew exactly what he was doing and was very hostile towards the Prosecution. My point: I hated him SO much that I was staring a fuckin' hole through him, so much so that I ended up breaking blood vessels in my right eye. I hope he chokes to death on HIS own vomit.

• At one point, on the last day of the trial, while we were listening to closing arguments, Darth Tater is sitting next to me (my luck ran out and I was finally seated next to him) and I heard him fuckin SNORING! I looked over and he was fuckin' ASLEEP, chin resting on his chest, out cold. I panicked and instead of having the forethought to kick him with my foot (which would have been much more discreet that what I ended up doing), I poked him in the ribs. He awoke with a startle and gave me this look like 'what are you doing?!' I thought 'fuck him' and went back to listening to the closing arguments. Less that 5 minutes later, I hear him snoring AGAIN. This time I kicked him and he returned, yet again, from slumberland. What a fucktard.

• Once we were released to deliberate, the process ended up taking around 3 hours. This time around we had to decide if this person should be sentenced to death or sent to "life" in prison. I find that they call it "life" in prison, somewhat anticlimactic since the person would actually be up for parole when she was in her 70's. In order to return a verdict of death we had to agree unanimously. There were about 5 of us (me included) that were having problems sentencing another human being to die. We knew going into the trial that this would be a possibility, but it's A LOT different when you actually get to that point in the trial and have to make a decision. For the other 4 people who were on the fence, I think their dilemma was more of a biblical one. Since I don't have that cross to bear, so to speak, that was not a factor for me. Mine was more of a inner struggle of conscience. Could I live with my decision or would it always come back to haunt me? In the end, we all unanimously decided to find this person guilty of capital murder and sentence her to death. It was a really intense, hard, complicated choice to make, but we made it as a jury.

Upon entering the court room with our verdict, again, the judge asked the foreman if we'd reached a verdict and she told him that we had. Once the verdict was read, the judge called out each of our names to ask us if this was our verdict. He then read the sentence to the defendant, who displayed ZERO reaction/emotion. Her lawyers were more emotional than she was. The judge then informs the court that a member of the victim's family may now address the defendant/court for a brief statement on behalf of the family. In this case (since the mother of the child is also in custody, awaiting her trial, in regards to the part she played in the murder: it was a lesbian relationship, btw) it was the little boy's great aunt. She'd testified a few days ago, so we'd seen her before. She approached the stand and was very eloquent. I about lost it when she began to cry while addressing the defendant. I think just about every one of us were on the verge of tears, even the 'macho' men. It was very emotionally draining. Once we were dismissed and recessed back to the jury room, everyone broke down. It was very sad, but also very unifying.

And that my friends is how the jury duty process works. This concludes my ramblings on the matter. To read more about the trial, click here and here.

Part 4 of 4

Nick is Ick

I just picked up this new issue of OK! magazine and all I have to say is...what-ever! He's just so homely. No one will ever love him again. Never ever. Ppphhllt!

God, he's hot.

Monday, July 10, 2006

1(4) is the Loneliest Number that You'll Ever Do

I received a letter a week before the trial was to begin, instructing me where to park and at what time. Though the letter said court began at 9am, I arrived MUCH earlier, scared that I wouldn't be able to find the parking area (somewhere I'd never been before, but found surprisingly easily, thanks to Mapquest). I was at least an hour early and saw various people standing beneath a bus stop at the front of the humongous parking lot. Two things I noticed right away: [1] There were no benches at the bus stop (I came to the conclusion that it was a homeless person deterrent) and [2] the bus actually picked you up across the street. WTF? Not sure if I was to catch a particular bus or what (the letter just said we'd {the jurors for this case} would be picked up), I called the office of the bailiff assigned to the case and asked. The woman who answered (not the bailiff), just told me to catch the bus.

I went and stood under the bus stop awning, next to a woman who looked like she knew what she was doing, and struck up a conversation. It turns out she was one of the jurors on the same case as myself and she gave me the low-down; Since we'd already been assigned a court/case, we were to be picked up in ANOTHER vehicle, driven by the bailiffs. The people who were to catch the bus were people who hadn't been assigned courts yet. Whew! I was so glad she was there because I would have been on one of those busses otherwise (one of the other jurors actually did, which I can't blame him, the whole process wasn't explained very well at all). Some cocky guy with a cup of coffee, came striding by, instructing us that the bus actually picked us up across the street. He was obviously very proud of himself, almost preening, while "informing" us. So, it amused me when Chiffon haughtily told him "We're being picked up in another vehicle." He was all "Ooh la la " and she explained that we'd already been assigned a court/case, but thanked him just the same. That shut him up and he shuffled away with his tail between his legs. LOL! Meanwhile, Flo's mom sauntered up, wearing a sparkly pink top, matching capri pants and plenty of Aqua Net in her hair and quickly exclaimed in a peeved manner "There's no seats! Hmph!" She was one pissed off, sassy senior citizen! Just then the twin SUVs arrived back in the middle of the parking lot and Chiffon and I started towards them.

By the time we got there, others had began to assemble and the bailiff in charge of us introduced herself (we'd met her previously the first day we arrived for jury duty, as well as the other cast of characters: Defense/Prosecution/Court Reporter/Judge). She called role, handed out juror badges and then went over the rules. Our cell phones would be collected before we entered the jury room (where we sit when court is not in session or we are not at lunch), but we could have them when it came time to go to lunch. No pictures of other jurors (dammit!), etc. etc. She informed us that different judges have different rules and that this judge does not allow notes to be taken while in the jury box, but does allow small bottles of water to be taken in with you, discreetly. Also, no shorts; business casual only. And the one rule that surprised me the most: we are not allowed to discuss the trial amongst ourselves (not even behind the closed doors of the jury room) until it is time to deliberate. I had no idea. I can understand not discussing the case outside the courthouse or while having lunch together in a public place, but not at ALL? But, if you think about it, I guess it makes sense. This was you can't shape someone's opinion/perception this way, so I guess it has a certain logic.

We were told that this case may have some television coverage and that a lot of reporters had already called the office, inquiring about the case specifics. We were assured that nothing would happen and that they (the bailiffs) had us covered. We would be collected here in the parking lot each morning at 8:30am, taken to lunch together in the same vehicles and returned to the parking lot at the end of the day: All as a group. Well, there goes my plan to pack a lunch and catch up on my reading for the next two weeks. Oh well, I guess being sociable won't kill me.

We arrive back at the courthouse, after getting to know each other by being packed into the SUVs like sardines (3 to a seat). I never felt so self conscious about my weight. Oh well, it's not like everyone else is dainty either. Once at the courthouse, we're escorted through the back entrance where we go through a metal detector and up to the 5th floor (we also get our own elevator: jurors only). Once on the fifth floor we are ushered to the jury room, located directly behind the court we are to be jurors in. Once everyone has said their tearful goodbyes to their cellphones (they're deposited in a locked drawer in a desk outside the jury room), we're locked into a small room containing a large table, 14 chairs, 2 bathrooms, a water cooler and a tea cart holding coffee and magazines. There's a buzzer near the light switch, so if we need to talk to the bailiff.

Everyone takes a seat and tries their hardest to look aloof and unaffected (super cool!). Jane Brown suggests that we go around the room and introduce ourselves, so we do. Some people slowly begin to talk and we find out that everyone but 2 people have actually done this before (been a juror): Chiffon and G.I. Joan.

Tomorrow, we enter the courtroom; the thrilling conclusion!

Part 3 of 4

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Other White Meat

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Vogue's Gallery

Here are the cast of characters from jury duty. Remember their code names, it'll help you to understand future jury duty blog entries.

Chiffon- So named because of her love of the fabric of the same name. Never at a loss for words. Definitely relishes the role of alpha female. Religious. Mother of multiple children. The only one who deduced I was gay, by her sly question addressed to me: "Have you seen A Touch of Pink?" Her suspicions were confirmed when I said 'yes.' Alert Nancy Drew! *In retrospect I wish I'd said "No, but I saw Pretty in Pink. What's Touch of Pink about?" That would have gone over as well as the brief, yet revealing Brokeback Mountain conversation the others had the day before.
Darth Tater- So named because, not unlike the song by The Police, I could hear every breath he took. He claimed it was allergies. Whatever. It's called being fat. I know, I've heard a similar excuse of 'asthma' from one of my 400lb blind dates upon reaching my apartment on the 3rd floor. I also like to refer to Darth Tater as ZSnorro because he was forever falling asleep, yes, even in the jury box!!! Whoever was sitting next to him was designated the official snooze alarm. Father of multiple children.
Pucker Pants- This guy weighed 98lbs and every time he was seated in the SUV with anyone that weighed over 138lbs, he did everything but get the vapors, primarily clenching his butt cheeks like they somehow supplied him with the will to live. I even caught him wincing and literally pounding his forehead with his fist once. I studied him with a look of disbelief on my face. And before you say "Maybe he was claustrophobic," no he wasn't. We also packed 16 of us onto the elevator and he seemed just fine with that (I had the forethought to check). YET, when he lagged behind long enough to wrangle the front seat or the roomier 3-seater directly behind the two fronts seats, he was drama-free. Religious. Father of multiple children.
Kenny Rogers with a Sunburn- This guy let us know on multiple occasions that he didn't mind speaking his mind; in the car, in the jury room, in the parking lot... Okay, we get it, you're the Sid Vicious of jury duty. He also knew everything about anything (AKA Mr. Wizard). No children, but gushed about his niece/nephew.
G.I. Joan- This woman was ex-military, no frills and to the point. I instantly pegged her as a favorite. She was one of the few people who didn't appear to be wearing that permanent "I just had a lobotomy"-smile on her face during conversations. She was real. I found out just how real later on. I found out how real A LOT of them were. Religious. Mother.
Cab- One of the youngest of the group. I dubbed him Cab because he, not unlike myself, loves the old Jazz standards: Cab Calloway, Lena Horn, Duke Ellington, etc. He was also the sharpest dresser out of all of us. Man, he had some great taste in clothes. Everyone was forever teasing him about his extensive wardrobe, which, personally, I never understood. If you ask me, I think it's because though chronologically not that old, mentally, most of these people were already in their fuckin' twilight years. Father. *Burned me copies of Cabin in the Sky and St. Louis Blues (1929 version) onto DVD-R! Very nice!
Pringles- So-named because of his mustache, which rivaled the guy on the Pringles potato crisp logo. Breath that could kill birds in mid-flight. Even with gum. Health nut. Father of multiple children.

Red- So-named because he had red hair. Nice guy. Seemed the coolest out of all of the men over 30. May be engaged to his cellphone. Father of multiple children.
Def Tones- SO-named because of his hearing aid and the fact that he rarely removed his iPod Nano. Health nut. Wannabe father: "We're (he and his wife) trying to get pregnant." Naturally, this was met with nipple-hardening cheers from everyone. I'll never understand why we, as a society, get hardons when people mention their having a kid. "Penis, meet Vagina. Break out the General Foods International coffee!!" Whatever.
Jane Brown- This woman was a big James Brown fan. She'd met him many, many times over a period of decades and brought the photo album to prove it. How cool is THAT?! Soft-spoken. Mother of multiple children. Religious. Not a fan of potty humor. Her usual response: "That's disgusting!" And that was to the tame stuff. Oh to have Tourettes....sigh
Roadrunner- Perpetually busy woman. In love with her cell phone (as were 90% of the other jurors). Great business cards. Soft-hearted. Religious. Mother of multiple children.
Me- Drinks a lot of water. Coughs & clears his throat at inopportune moments. Caught himself before he absent-mindedly blurted "I'm starving!" when it came time for lunch on the first day. Could not relate to anyone. The bringer of communal gum. Single (no mystery there). Not religious. No children.

• Alternates •

Sorority Girl: Alternate #1. The second youngest person on the jury. Never really said much. No children (what?!!).
Kojak: Alternate #2. Shaved head (balding/thinning hair, like most men who shave their heads after 30 then try to pass it off as 'hip'). Likes golf, his cellphone, Texas and anything everyone else liked. The atypical straight Texas male over the age of 30. The fart monger I blogged about previously. Father of multiple children.

All in all, everyone was a good person at their core. I liked some more than others, though I got along with pretty much everyone (it's all about the fake smile...remember, I worked in retail for decades). Some were charm-free while others made better impressions.

Part 2 of 4

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Trial by Ire

Okay, I must come clean. I initially was all set to rip on the entire process of jury duty, the people, etc. However, having spent 2 weeks (scattered over a 3 week period) with these people, I'm having a hard time convincing my conscience of going along for the ride. I'd planned on turning the whole experience into a week of posts, but instead have opted to narrow it down to just 3 posts. However, this doesn't mean I've completely washed my hands of the episode, just that I'll attempt to be somewhat more restrained than usual. Naturally, I'll have to pepper my posts with periodic bursts of cynicism, scathing and observational humor, because, let's face it, that is part of the reason you come here....right? Either way, on to post 1:

I've been called for jury duty just once before. It was years ago (maybe 6?) and the particular case I was asked to consider was one about a woman who claimed that she'd been the victim of a sinister soft drink display in a grocery store. Sizing up the woman, her monetary demands and the fact that my own father had been assembling similar soft drink displays for all my life (plus the fact that he'd told me numerous, NUMEROUS stories of people who made a living "injuring" themselves in various ways in numerous grocery store establishments), I was already jaded about the entire process. Having always had more than my share of opinions (solicited or not), I had no qualms standing up and telling the lawyers this. Naturally, I was soon excused.

That was my first jury duty experience. My most recent one started out similarly, but in this particular case I was chosen. This particular case has many components & charges: Capital murder (9-year-old child)/child abuse/starvation/deadly weapon/kidnapping. I won't be going into all that much detail about the case, but will ultimately be posting links to various articles that appeared in the local newspapers, so that you won't be left completely in the dark. My focus will be on the how the judicial process works and observational humor amongst the other jurors. And since I've already blogged about my voir dire process, tomorrow I'll be introducing the cast of characters (AKA jurors).

Part 1 of 4

*Epilogue: Okay, I lied, I guess technically I did end up blogging about jury duty for a week. Oops.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Like to Watch...and Complain

One thing I had time to do while doing the whole jury duty thing last month, was to sit and observe. Each morning I would arrive early and sit in this middle of this huge parking lot, in my car, and watch other people arrive then board the buses that would take them to the courthouse. Here are my observations:

[1] Men don't run when they're late. Out of the 3 weeks I sat there and watched, I noticed that 95% of the men, even if running late, did not/would not RUN to catch the bus. Women, however, DID on a regular basis.

[2] Straight Texas men over the age of 30 have a uniform: Polo-style short-sleeve shirt with collar (stripes were the most popular, while solids were a close second), khaki pants, belt with goldtone buckle (rarely saw silver on men over 30), sunglasses and cellphone clipped to the waist of their pants. This description applied to about 99% of the straight men observed, though 1% opted for a Hawaiian-style shirt in uncolorful/neutral patterns.

[3] Straight men make no apologies. I caught myself early on, saying 'sorry' waaaay too many times: If I bumped into someone, if I didn't let the seat down fast enough (so the others could get out of the back of the suburban), if I reached across someone to get my backpack, etc. Straight men are just not as self-conscious, I think.

Example A: I go to the bathroom while at the cafeteria one day during lunch. The bathroom was set up where the first door opens up into a foyer where the sinks/towels are, then that room has another door that goes into another room where the stalls/urinals are. I us the bathroom, flush the urinal (meanwhile another juror has come in and is at the urinal next to me as I'm leaving) and open the door to go into the foyer to wash my hands. No sooner does the door close behind me (the one where the urinals were) than I hear the other juror blow a fart that would rattle the ceiling tiles.

Example B: The juror room where all 14 of us are crammed is SMALL (*see diagram). One major drawback to this is that you can hear everyone pee. Every trickle, every splash. If broadcasting your bathroom progress is a phobia of yours, you're outta luck cuz outside of using the bathroom at whatever restaurant you happen to be having lunch at that day, it's your only resource.

That being said, I never imagined that anyone would have the audacity to take a dump in one of the bathrooms in the juror room. So, needless to say, I was flabbergasted that no just one, but 2 of the jurors (one man, one woman) DID, sans air-freshener, no less! And there was a full can in each bathroom!! I'm no prude but I personally found this appalling. My perspective is that under the circumstances (a small, enclosed space shared with multiple people) this is just something you do NOT do, not to mention not even having the common courtesy to use the air-freshener provided. One of my close friends disagrees with me saying that he doesn't see what the big deal is. I say "you had to be there."

[4] Straight Texas men do not like to carry anything with a strap when it comes to storage devices. It's a handle or nothing (i.e. briefcase). It's the whole "this ain't no purse!" mentality. The ultimate man-purse: something in leather, faux leather and no handle. Just carry under your arm...not purselike at all.

[5] People love to talk about their job, especially spewing forth hopefully impressive-sounding job titles. The bullshit was flying for days. You couldn't escape it the first week (while A LOT of them, men mostly, never got out of business-mode). It was the equivalent of dogs sniffing each other's assholes; everyone trying to out-success each other. I loved that one woman simply and unpretentiously said she was an apartment locator. Period. The end. I immediately liked/respected her for that. For me, there is nothing more bullshit that someone who tries to impress others with overblown titles.

Example: One man in particular made me chuckle (internally, of course) when he was asked what he did for a living. He said something like "I'm a floor consultant for a major corporation" (or some such shit). Naturally, the guy asks what that entails and the guy gives him a sketchy idea of what he does. Translation: He works at Home Depot (i.e. "major corporation") and helps customers find shit in the store (i.e. "floor consultant"). Why couldn't he have just said that to begin with?! That'd be like me telling people (if I installed cable TV boxes) that I was a "Optic recreation technician." Whatever. Who gives a fuck? I find it very depressing that so many people's self-worth and identity is wrapped up in their occupation. It's just a job. Ugh.

[6] The stereotype that men get hardons over sports (esp. golf) and electronics really is true. Toss in offspring, Jesus and income and you have the typical straight, married Texas man's conversation repertoire.

[7] And last, but not least, this is more of a commentary than an observation persay. Besides business, I've OD'ed on dinner conversation that involves healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, diet, carbs, saturated fats, sugar vs. sugar-free, protein shakes, etc. When I hear someone who weighs 99lbs exclaim "I gained 6lbs last week!" or "I have this great smoothie I make with fresh fruit and protein powder..." or "I do 4 hours of cardio...blah blah blah" I want to shit in my own hand and use them as target practice. Seriously. I am so fuckin' tired of hearing about it all! Are people really this fuckin' boring? I'd rather alphabetize my canned goods than listen to this boring, humorless prattle that's passing for 'conversation.'

Once, I interjected with "I just read an article where this woman had wrote in and said her parakeet suddenly died one morning while she was making scrambled eggs. As it turns out the pan she was using had a Teflon coating and apparently the fumes it gives off causes parakeet's brains to hemorrhage." A cricket chirps. Five people are looking at me like I just said "Who likes pussy?" After a few attempts not unlike this one, I finally stopped trying.

Happy 4h of July

Monday, July 03, 2006

Wax On, Wax Off

This weekend I was watching a repeat of one of my favorite shows, Clean House. For those who may not be familiar with it, it's a show on the Style channel where a group of people go into a families' home, clear out the clutter, sell it at a yard sale and then use that money to remodel/organize 2-3 rooms in their home.

So, yesterday's family consisted of 3 members: Father/mother/daughter (shown). I've already talked to one of my friends about this, but I'm curious what you think, for no other reason but to see if I'm alone on this: At what point do you help/educate your child on appearance? (yes, I'm talking about the little girl's unibrow and mustache) My friend thinks I'm pure evil for even mentioning it, and to an extent I can see where he's coming from, in regards to possibly giving your child a complex, etc. about their appearance. He seems to think that I'm from another school of thought/reasoning because I am not a parent and that if I were a parent I wouldn't even notice these things because I'd love my child so much that I'd see beyond the surface and that the extent of my unfaltering devotion would cause rainbows to shoot outta my ass and blind those around me with their brilliance. He claims I'm entering stage-mother territory, but it's not like I'm making her get her teeth capped, or slapping the Twinkie outta her hand. I'm merely trying to help her look less like The Amazing Mumford and more like the pretty little girl mommy knows she can be.

Ahem...but seriously, I think there is no way that I could not notice something this glaringly obvious. Yes, I realize she's "just a child," and she could turn into a wolverine for all I care, BUT I would feel compelled for her to look her best at any age and quite honestly, I think it'd drive me insane to NOT do something about it if I could (providing it wasn't traumatic). My stance would be to not make a big production out of it, just introduce it as a part of the everyday grooming that "big girls" do. That's it. No long-winded song and dance, just do it and get on with our lives. If you were going to breach the topic (if at all), at what age would YOU attempt it? Why, or why not.

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