Monthly Archives: December 2008

Movies!

Let’s give it up for some East Coast roundball.

Celtic Pride

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh

What’d They Expect?

I’d been shoveling for around three hours by now between work and home. It is what it is so I keep moving forward. I don’t know what it is but people you know often like to stop by to let you know they’re in the comfort of their vehicle while your toes have crawled up your legs into your scrotum.

They always do the same thing, they only open the window a crack. You see this move often at gas stations. Window opened just enough to slip a twenty through. You can barely hear the mousy voice squeeze through the slit.

“You look cold.”

“What’s your clue, Magoo? The extra scrotum visitors?”

Not being someone who has read this far they adopted a clueless stance at my callback. So I decide to let them know just how right they are.

“You’re right, I’m cold. As a matter of fact, I’m so cold I’m not going to shit until spring so there’s always something warm in my body.”

I’m sure, as she drove away, we were both thinking along the same lines. But, because I’m not a mind reader I’ll leave you with what I was thinking,

“Why do people bother?”

What Do You Do?

I was talking to this woman who asked what I do. I truly hate that question because if I tell them what I do daily I get stuck with them telling me horror stories about something that happened to them, someone they knew, or someone someone they knew read about. I don’t have that kind of time.

And I always feel bad telling them I’m a writer. Yes, people do give me money for it so, technically, it is my work but, to me, it sounds pretentious.

‘Yes, my brain is so filled with wonder I must subject you all to it!’

And if I say comedy writer that’s even another level of weird. They always ask what kind.

“Hopefully the funny kind.” Is my standard response. But when pushed, and I always am, I start listing things. My words have stuck to every audio and visual medium, many paper forms, various verbal arts, and many of our finer walls and sidewalks.

It’s always funny when someone tells my girlfriend how lucky she is to have a personal funny man on call. She rolls her eyes and grunts while I explain she’s not a fan. As a matter of fact, for as much hate mail as I get, I’d have to say she’s my #1 Anti-Fan.

I always love the expression of confusion that covers their faces. I smooth it over by telling them I don’t mind.

“It’s one less copy of my books I have to give away.”

Then I do a few minutes of jokes to show them that, the closest person to me notwithstanding, many people do find me humorous.

But, because I am who I am, I often answer the question with some randomly created position. I think of it as a mild and cleaner (most of the time) form of Tourette’s. A random stranger will ask what I do, my mind tumbles and stumbles and out comes,

“I’m a urinal cake inspector!”

“I sculpt ice cube trays out of ice.”

“I’m a lifeguard in a gene pool.”

I once told someone I was inspector 14.

When this lady asked me this very simple question, one you’ve been asked many times and handled each time deftly, I don’t know what came over me. Oh, yeah, that’s a lie. I know exactly what came over me and so do you. I’m an asshole.

But how this came out of my head, as usual, I had no damn idea. That, my friend, is true. I often wonder who’s more surprised at what pops outta my mouth. I think they’re more shocked whereas I’m used to it. But it’s always interesting for me.

“I’m a director of casket marketing.”

Wha??????

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be concerned about me. I’ll handle that chore for all of us.

I could tell the woman had no clue as to how to respond. Again, I’m pretty used to that so I just engage mouth and carry on.

“I’m the one who got all major league sports, including the Asham World Curling Tour and the Brazilian Football Confederation, to use their logos on our caskets. That was a  big one.”

Sometimes a nugget of information from the day will creep into these psychotic episodes. This time it was Brazilian soccer. Earlier in the day someone was going on and on about it. Before that, I was clueless it even existed. But, you use the information that’s frying in your brain pan.

It’s around this time I know the person is pretty much done talking to me. And, although I’m happy about that, it’s here my little head jiggles out one last tidbit.

“I’m exceptionally proud of my latest idea. We call it the caskitty.”

You know, on second thought, maybe you should worry about me some.

“What we do is take a picture of your treasured cat and create it’s likeness around the casket. We can put the head at either end and the cat can be standing or curled up sleeping. Our R&D people are having a little trouble stabilizing the legs, but I’m sure we’ll be ready to roll them out by the second quarter of next year.”

In the end, this only proves a couple of things,

1) If I only used my mind in the production of good I’m sure the world would be a much better place.

2) I sure do have a way with people.

Whenever I speak, they go away.

Home For Xmas

I ran into a guy I’ve known for a few years, not well, but I don’t know most people well. He’s a good enough guy, pretty happy generally. A while ago he told me he was shipping out. As with everyone else I know who’s been shipped to Iraq or Afghanistan this decade I wished him the best and to get home safely. Some have heeded my words, others haven’t.

This guy is telling me that, as his days grew few, his nerves grew worse. I’ve heard that from many people. The closer to being discharged the more their mortality plays with their heads. His discharge, as happens too often, had been changed a few times. So, this time, it was less mortality then wanting to get back for Christmas.

“Every day I’d sing the line, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ to try to make it true.”

His mantra worked. He’s here. Right in front of me. Able to touch his family and friends. Able to be home for Christmas.

“And it bothers the fuck out of me.”

He told me how he didn’t expect to get blindsided by the disconnect from his family and friends. How even the song, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ causes his stomach to tighten. He wasn’t prepared for the guilt.

“All I can think of are the guys and the ones who got to come home for Christmas in body bags.”

I won’t bore you with the details. They’re nothing special I’m sorry to say. I’ve heard it since I was a kid laid up in a military hospital listening to guys tell me they’d shoot my toe off because so I wouldn’t experience what they did. Knowing these guys it’s good they found another way to keep me out. It seems the only son of guy who died on active duty was safe. Unless he enlisted. And, trust me, many of those guys kept in touch with me. Just to make sure. I’m happy to say I still have all my toes.

While listening to him, phrases kept jumping around my head. Jarring phrases. I knew I’d write them down. I also knew it would be with no idea what form they’d take. After he left the words came out quickly in somewhat lyric form.

I’ll be home for Christmas
just in a body bag.
An RPG left me DOA
so I’ll be coming home
for the very last time.

I’ll be home for Christmas
but don’t try to see me.
It won’t be worth the effort because
the parts of me you held
aren’t here. They’re over there.

I’ll be home for Christmas
just like I said I would.
I didn’t want to be over there
but was. If only so
you’d be home for Christmas

I’ll be home for Christmas
but think of those who won’t.
I hope they never join me and will
be back home for Christmas
for more than one last time.

Requests!

Yeah, I do ’em. Not often but it happens.

Last night a friend of mine asked if there was going to be any ‘holiday’ bit out there.  I’m not one to write ‘holiday’ themed stuff but he said he remembered that I had, in fact, done one. He was right so I told him he could come here and find it.

Find it?!?!?

Himself?!?!?

Silly me.

So here it is, a rebroadcast of a bit most of you haven’t read so I don’t feel that bad about bringing it back for a second helping.

Christmas Tradition:

http://tinyurl.com/4kmrf7

FotC Sneak Peek

Check out a preview of the new season!

http://www.funnyordie.com/flight_of_the_conchords

Jesus Rides Shotgun

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that announces gawd is someone’s co-pilot. I always speed up to check out the passenger. Okay, you caught me. I’m a star gawker. But I’m always disappointed. I thought he’d be much bigger.

Then there is the rare occasion someone tells you that in person. What’s the response to that?

“I hope it’s the hugging, Ward Cleaver-like gawd and not fire and brimstone one. All those locusts would make driving a bitch.”

It’s even rarer when someone tells you Jesus is their co-pilot. I guess they figure the old man is busy or don’t trust that, at his advanced age, they haven’t pulled his drivers license. I know some old people I wouldn’t trust using a zipper much less human annihilation.

He looked at me expecting a response so, being a guy who likes to fulfill expectation, I told them that had to be annoying. You’d always have to follow his directions (even if you knew a short cut), he’s always bragging about what a big shot his father is, and, although they’d make awesome cup holders, he’s useless when it comes to handing over change at the toll.

It was then I realized I’d exceeded his expectation.

And I didn’t even get to the good part about having him as your co-pilot. When he holds his hand out the window it makes the exact sound as a police siren. It’s like parting the Red Sea.

Nothing Going On

I ran into someone who’s always working a scheme. They’re always of the get rich quick variety yet, more often than not, end as a make his wife sick variety. He’s not a bad guy nor is he lazy (if he spent as much time working as trying to cash in he’d be an asset to any company). He’s just, how do I put this delicately? Gullible? Delusional? Oh, wait, got it. Fucking stupid.

For every ponzi, pyramid, pathetic scheme he latches onto all he has to show for it is fourteen friends who’ve changed their number and a six month supply of ass cream in his garage. His garage looks like the museum of failed scams.

I’ll admit to going out of my way to avoid him when he’s in the flush of a new stratagem. It’s not that I don’t want him to succeed it’s just that every time he’s on the upside of the endeavor I just want to take him to his garage and rub his nose in all the shit on display.

“Bad dummy! Bad! Bad, dummy!”

But that’s not my place.

That’s more of a divorce judges function.

He comes into my office dejected. His latest sensation, a mall kiosk that sold computer generated etchings of loved ones on the tunic of an acrylic bobblehead Jesus closed due to, in his words,

“The shitty economy.”

“I don’t know. You may be underestimating the creepiness of a see-through son of gawd.”

I can see the resignation in his face. It’s not the first time he’s heard something like that, I’m sure. It’s also near the time when he’s coming to the conclusion he’s going to need a larger garage.

He asks me what I’m up to so I do the latest bits from here. After I’ve done about twenty minutes he asks what I’ve really been up to. I know he’s not asking about yard work or personal stuff. After a failure he usually comes by to see if I’m working on anything that’ll snap him from his doldrums.

I tell him I’m not doing anything. I completed a big project, tossed out a book that was dropped, but nothing else. I don’t have any projects. Sure, I have my own things I should be working on, a greeting card company asked for some things, spec things but, the truth is, since the big project ended, I haven’t picked up any more work and I’m just not in the mood to work on my own stuff.

“Not you, Chris!” He says reminding me of the kid who came up to Shoeless Joe Jackson.

“Yeah,” I admit. “I haven’t even written any new t-shirts.”

As truthful as that is, he won’t believe it. Why would I lie? Right now I’m just a productive member of society from sunup to sundown. I don’t have any new ideas but I do have less ambition. It’s like when people come up and I don’t make them laugh. They always think something’s wrong. There never is. Sometimes, as I always tell them,

“I just don’t feel fucking funny.”

But this guy won’t take that there is absolutely nothing going on. No secret or non-secret projects. Nothing other than being a normal, work-a-day member of society. And this seems to depress him. Which depresses me. Not because I’ve let him down. Because I didn’t get to tear him apart to accomplish it.

So I decide to cheer him up. String him along. Tell him I’m hard at work on something. I just didn’t want to tell him because it’s so early in the development phrase. He tells me he knew it! He knew I was trying to pull a fast on over on him! He knew better! He now demands to know what this secret project is.

What, indeed?

I need to think of something but what? It has to be something so patently absurd, so market bereft, maybe even a little insulting, that even this guy, who’s never seen a multi-level marketing scheme he didn’t like, would have to see through.

“I’m working with a guy to design and market yarmulkes that look like a bald spot.”

For a moment I think I have him. So I pour a little more into it.

“We’re going to have many different hair colors and baldness types. It’ll seem invisible on bald people and those with full heads of hair can see what they’re in store for.”

Now I’ve come up with some stupid ideas in the name of comedy (like the hamster ball playpen for babies) but this has to be another one. I watch him waiting for the moment when rational people look at me and say,

“Stop being a retard, ya fucking moron!”

But it never came.

Well, he does have the mall kiosk for another two months.

Seasonal Songs

Yeah, yeah, here’s my yearly thimble of cheer. Be careful it’s spiked.

I know you’re probably still reeling from last years entry but this year is actually a song I love. Since the 70’s there’s been a force on the Boston music scene, Rick Berlin – http://rickberlin.com/ – and he’s created some of the most impressive bands and music within this vibrant scene.

In the 80’s he fronted a band, Rick Berlin: The Movie, I happened to see at a Christmas show at the late, lamented Channel. They played this song and I was blown away.

Not that I wasn’t used to being blown away by this man (in Somerville at Jumbo’s – I think – he played a set by himself called Rick Berlin Backwards and it was one of the most electrifying one man shows I’ve ever seen) but everything about this song was magical.

There really isn’t much more I can say that’ll make it any better so, without further hor dourves:

I’d be remiss if I forgot my little Kosher cowpokes:

As Sartre said. . .

. . .and I seem to prove on a daily basis,

“Hell is other people.”

I walk out of a grocery store where a religious group was congregating. They were passing out pamphlets and things when I walked in but I walked past ignoring them. When I came out this one guy tried to block my path but I slide past as he said,

“Are you going to hell?”

Without turning around I answered,

“Why? Do you need a ride?”