Monthly Archives: April 2010

Live To Ride. . .

How much do you love riding? Probably not as much as this guy did. David Morales Colon, 22, was shot to death April 22 in Puerto Rico. For his wake, Colon was embalmed and mounted on his Honda CBR600F4i with full Repsol colors.

The work was performed by the Marin Funeral Home in San Juan, which also made headlines two years ago for presenting the embalmed body of Angel Luis “Pedrito” Pantojas Medina standing up in the corner for his own funeral.

Colon will be displayed on his Honda until his burial, scheduled for later this afternoon. As for the bike, it was reportedly a gift from his uncle and brought by his family to the funeral home for the wake. There’s no word on what will happen to the motorcycle after the funeral, but for now, ride on, David, ride on.

http://blog.motorcycle.com/2010/04/28/manufacturers/honda/not-even-death-can-stop-him-from-riding/

Advice

I don’t know why, but, when people come around, not actual friends, more acquaintances but more often downright strangers, asking for my opinion this Crash Test Dummies lyric plays in a loop over and over in my head,

“My mouth says things that aren’t so wise.”

I try not to do it (okay, not too hard but you have to admire me for trying at all) but it just flows that way.

Like a tornado made flood down Meth Avenue and Cousin Fucker Boulevard at The Busted Heine Trailer Park.

A guy was talking about having trouble getting his kid to do blah de blah de fucking blah. I have no idea it was just one more in a long line parental units not adding up.

It wasn’t anything drastic like getting him to stop peeing someone else’s pants. It was something easy like not sticking his tongue on a frozen pole or playing colonoscopy doctor with the dog.

Again, at first, I’m actually there, trying to be helpful but when the standard ‘generic’ help ideas don’t work (“Make him wear a ski mask.” “Don’t leave the sink snake on the floor.”) I start to become, oh, what is the term?

Annoyed.

You see, in my experience there are only so many ways to rectify a situation. See flaw, deduce reason, repair flaw. Sometimes it takes time to find the cause of the flaw (for instance, the kid keeps dropping fly balls. Hit him hundreds of balls, analyze action, adjust action, repeat until you discover the kid has an astigmatism. Repair. Back to field. Discover new problem. Change activity because, now that he can see the ball, he’s afraid of it) but it can be done. Many times it’s nothing more than paying attention or finding the proper phrase to motivate.

But I often find the person who asks me for advice seems to have no actual desire to repair the situation. They either want to harp on the flaw, prove they’re doing their best (when they could have been doing something they wanted to do), or they just want to bitch about the state of their life.

Either way, that’s when I disengage. Which is when my brain breaks off the chain and starts gnawing at the fabric of good taste.

I don’t want to. I never start out wanting to trash anyone. It’s just that after I’ve tried everything I can to help to no avail I wave you off like a cold Vegas blackjack dealer.

“Yeah, it’s tough, I know what you’re going through. It’s like when we threw the kid into the deep end of the pool so she’d get over her fear of being thrown.”

At the end of these situations I’m always seen as the bad guy. No one gives me credit for time served or actual help offered. Noooooooo! All they remember is they came to me for help and all I did was bite them in the ass.

Maybe we need a stronger chain.

Giving Back

I know this will come as a shock but I do give of my time and services for worthy causes.

It’s not that I volunteer, exactly. It’s more like volunteering is thrust upon me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not forced community service (since my probation ended) it’s more that I wasn’t exactly planning it at that time.

What happens is I get a call.

“Chris can you do this?”

“Chris can you do that?”

And, because I’m a hell of a guy no matter what you think, say, or write in restraining orders, I usually say yes.

So I do a web site, write copy, work a production. Mainly, my only skills organizations find useful. I’m never asked to work the front desk for, I fear, glaringly obvious reasons.

This time I was asked to direct a group of talking head PSA’s. It’s pretty simple. People stand/sit/gesture in front of a camera and I capture it on the medium of the day.

I get to the studio and there are six people of various levels of renown milling about. I go in and see if there are any time issues, special instructions, peccadilloes of the stars. Pretty much they’re a chilled group.

I said pretty much.

One guy, who’s name will remain hidden in an anals of assholes everywhere, is being somewhat disruptive. He’s talking while I’m talking/he’s trying to chat with people who are trying to listen to me/he’s a bag of regurgitated lima beans in a Bearnaise sauce.

“Okay,” I say before going to each one to make sure we can get this done rapidly, “Make sure you check your script in the teleprompter. I want to make sure you get it done in one and there are no issues with the script.” Almost everyone takes some time to check out their script.

I did say almost everyone.

I notice one guy hasn’t. I’m about to shoot the first bit which means his time to do this simple procedure is over. I herd everyone away but make one stop to the person who’s running the teleprompter, someone I’ve worked with in the past, and ask them for a favor.

Let’s see if you can find the favor.

We start running through the set-ups. They’re running fast. The third guy up (because he was being nothing but a distraction) hits his spot and we roll. He starts doing his PSA perfectly, I will admit, and it’s going just fine.

“So,” he says to personalize the spot as he nears the end. “If you’re like me and sometimes find yourself juggling too many balls in your mouth. . .”

I told him to check the copy.

He was flipping out but, we’re good at this, by the time we rolled the teleprompter back, his miscue was long gone.

Wouldn’t you know? After that he was a perfect gentleman.

Just Thinking

The only difference between an ex-wife and the government is the government keeps fucking you after you send them a check.

A carnival and paying taxes have a lot in common. After the ride I feel sick and ripped off.

Rocker Melissa Etheridge and her actress partner Tammy Etheridge have split after nearly nine years. When reached for comment David Crosby said, “I hope they don’t think I’m taking the kids.”

It turns out that Elizabeth Taylor is not going to marry her 49 year old manager, Jason Winters. Which is a shame because I picked out quite the gift from their registry at The Scooter Store.

A very conciseness guy I know came up to me and asked, “Would you you like to come to a fund-raising dance for MS?”

“Hell no!” I said. “That’s just mean. It’s like having karaoke for stutters.”

A kid I know is graduation high school so they have to do a final project. This kid is asking people a question and videoing their answer.

“What advice would you give kids graduating high school?”

Now I do know the answer I should give. Something uplifting, solid, useful. I don’t know what it is but I can never seem to accomplish that. He pointed the camera at me and I said,

“Never patronize a psychic with a doorbell.”

“If this is a lite beer…”

Solemn Occasion

No doubt you’re aware that I can take an uncomfortable situation and make it worse. Not for me, I don’t often feel uncomfortable.

I figure once you fart in front of ten thousand very quiet people you’ve pretty much pinned the embarrassment meter.

This skill, I’m loathe to call it a talent, manifests itself quite often in my day but it seems to enjoy itself at solemn occasions.

Like funerals.

I don’t do anything bad, like try to pick the pockets of the dead guy, but things happen.

Trust me, I go out of my way to avoid people in situations like this. I was in the car listening to a lecture; I know what the evil look means; I know what amount of shit I’ll take on the way home so I keep my head down and mouth shut.

Doing that has given me time to think. Things go wrong because people say stupid things at times like that. Instead of maintaining a silent decorum they need to speak.

The thing is, if they’re talking to me, I’ve tuned them out by the time they say something stupid so it passes.

It’s when they open with it or, even worse, sneak up and drop a ditty in my lap that I react.

“Well,” this well meaning person began. “At least he died doing something he loved.”

What the fuck does that mean? I loved hockey and almost died on the ice. I’m sure if I got up to Saint Peter wearing a hockey helmet and elbow pads I would have rethought my last shift on earth.

To make matters worse, due to my protective gear, he’d probably send me to the short bus side of heaven.

But I’d make the best of it! I’d become the Jim fucking Thorpe of heavens special olympics. See? There’s a bright side to everything if you think like a lunatic.

“At least he died doing something he loved.”

Yeah, he loved tennis but I’m sure his last match left a bad taste in his mouth. I’m betting just before the guy dropped he thought,

“Damn! I could have stayed home and watched TV.”

I look at the guy and, without forethought (maybe I should implement some of that) or sense of propriety (I should check into that too) I said,

“Do you think anyone said that at David Carradines’ funeral? He loved Thailand. And jerking off while hanging.”

The guy gets unnerved and beats a hasty retreat. Which is too bad because I had others who died doing things they loved. Mama Cass*, Keith Relf, hell, I know Belushi and Farley loved to party.

But it got me to thinking, such as, what would you say at a hypochondriacs funeral?

“Fuck! She was right!”

All I’m saying is, give the situation what it deserves, contemplative silence.

Because, otherwise, experience tells me, things can go down hill pretty fast.

* Yeah, I know Cass didn’t choke on a ham sandwich, but, as long as the legend lives, the joke works.

Old Buddy

I was at a fundraiser where a few comics were scheduled. I was just popping in to help out a friend. I doubted I was even going to stick around for the comedians. I had a deadline to write some monologue jokes so really was pressed for time.

I’m standing at the bar (always time for that!) when someone comes up behind me and slaps me on the back. It was a guy I knew but probably haven’t seen in double the amount of time we were acquainted. He’s an and I wrote some jokes for his fledgling stand up career. I was glad to see he was still doing it.

I was a little surprised to hear he was using pretty much the same twenty minutes we’d created. He always had trouble writing. He said he’s written bits but if they don’t get laughs right off he loses confidence and dumps them. But, he’s likes doing it a few times a month, makes some extra cash, makes people laugh so good on him.

“Do you have anything I could use? I mean, even for tonight.”

I really didn’t and didn’t really want to put any effort into it. It’s not that I minded doing it, it’s just that I didn’t have anything. I didn’t know the guy the fundraiser was for (I’m friends of the guy running it) and knowing it’s a clean night I couldn’t give him any Tiger Woods jokes I’d already written for the monologue.

Then it hit me.

Okay, hit is kind of strong. Slightly touched is much better. But, knowing this guy, it would be a good fit. We scurried around looking for something to smear on his face and some towels. Everything came together so we went to work.

We smeared a little blue, easily removable substance (I don’t know what it was. We got it from his wife) on his face and coated a hand towel with it. When his name was called he walked through the crowd wiping the crap off his face. Everyone’s staring at him as if he was just face deep in Hooker Smurf as he nears the stage.

He stands up there for a few seconds, still wiping. When he thinks he has everything off he says,

“Hi. Sorry about that. They didn’t tell me until the last second I couldn’t work blue.”

Out & About

We were hanging around a local establishment during opening day of the 2010 baseball season.

It’s not something I recommend. For me. You can do whatever the hell you want but, for me, being in a roomful of screaming yobbos isn’t one of my favorite experiences.

Not that I’ll lash out at anyone having the time of their life, it’s just that if I’m doing something I like to give it all my attention. Which I find quite difficult when some guy with Jager stained lips sweating like a monkey with electrodes strapped to it’s balls is yelping in my ear every sixteen seconds.

Call me truculent.

We get to the establishment and it’s packed. The only redeeming factor is we know a bartender who sets up a seat in the service area for my girlfriend. Visiting a place in the off season has it’s privileges.

The good thing about that is we’re out of crushing contact with the assembled throng. They’re still around but we have a little breathing room unlike most others.

In our vicinity is one of those ham-fisted twats I mentioned earlier. He’s decked out in the finest baseball apparel one can purchase at an authorized dealer.

It always strikes me as odd when someone dresses in the regalia of the event they are attending. You’ve never seen anyone wearing a breastplate an an opera have you?

He’s wearing a $175 jersey, $34 cap, $150 wristwatch, $1,400 14k gold ring, please don’t think less of me but I stopped him there. I didn’t need to know about his underwear.

And, yes, all of these amounts and authentic merchandise run down came from the person in question. Without prompting from me.

So, having spent two grand on items I could see, you’d think this guy was an uber fan. He got his shot to strut his stuff when Dustin Pedroia hit a game tying two-run home run. He whoops and glad hands me while I nod and say,

“Yep, that was quite a timely dinger.”

He startles for a moment. Rolls a thought in the sludge that is his head and says,

“Yeah, ah, what’s a dinger?”

The night went, more or less, like that. Runs were scored, drinks were spilled, Yankees, it was screamed, sucked.

Slowly, as the game ebbed to it’s heroic conclusion, the crowd thinned. For the first time we’re sitting there quietly sipping our beverages with the bartender.

The conversation, as is it’s wont, wandered to cats. The bartender and my girlfriend can talk cats until the cows come home.

They;re exchanging tales about how the cats won’t give them a moments peace. How they follow them from room to room. I’ve often, to incredulous blank stares, said I want to name a cat spot because they’re like follow spots.

Crickets, I know.

They trade stories about the cats following them into the bathroom. My girlfriend says Brutus (top left on the banner) will even open the door.

“Mine doesn’t have to do that. I live alone so the bathroom door is always open. Gross, I know.”

“Are you kidding?” My girlfriend says. “We have conversations on the toilet.”

“In our defense,” I hasten to add. “It is a very large toilet.”

With that the clock stuck that bewitching hour when, if we don’t leave, we’ll have to help scrape vomit off the floor.

And I didn’t even get to tell you about the young lady who told me she lived alone because ‘they say I’m unstable.’

I sure was curious about who they were.

Let’s Show Some Respect!

There’s a humorist in the house!

That’s right! I’m not just a lout with language anymore! No wanker with a dictionary any longer! I’m an honest to Murgatroyd humorist.

In a soon to be published book about the greatest movie of all time, Slap Shot, I was called a humorist!

Of course, it was by a guy who doesn’t know me. And IS Canadian. So we should wait for the official results before processing bets.

What I’m babbling about is a friend of mine, Ken ‘Toe’ Blake, is, without question, the biggest fan of Slap Shot in the world.

I say that even though I have a sign autographed by cast members and the scriptwriter stating that I am the #1 fan:

sign

Ken, obviously, has many friends who love the movie. One of his friends, Jonathon Jackson, had an idea for a book which became, The Making of Slap Shot: Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made.

book

Between you and me, they could have left out the word hockey.

Ken lead Jonathon to me because of a short script I’d written, ‘Cause My Family Has Money, and it turns out Jonathon added that little fact to his book.

I haven’t read the book but Ken was kind enough to let me check out the naughty bits about me.

The humorist.

Here is an excerpt from The Making of Slap Shot: Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made by Jonathon Jackson:

An even more bizarre yet hilarious Slap Shot project is an unproduced “mockumentary” called ‘Cause My Family Has Money’, written by Boston humourist (there it is! Right there in print!) Chris Zell. It takes its title from a line in the original film’s script, spoken by Lily Braden to Reggie Dunlop when he asks her why she talks dirty. In Zell’s work, the line explains how a well-to-do family can buy everything desired by the heart of a man who becomes fanatically obsessed with a particular film.

“I’ve always wanted to write something Slap Shot-related yet not a sequel or rewrite. Something that captured the spirit of the thing but stood on its own,” Zell says. “I didn’t have rights to use the characters anyway so if I was going to spend time doing something on spec I’d rather do something I knew I could get away with.”

Zell became friends with Ken Blake, which took him into the realm of what he calls “the world of extreme Slap Shot fans.” And they’re out there, of course, the ones who ask the Hanson’s obscure questions about the time on the score clock. They’re the ones who compile treasure troves filled with logical fan items like jerseys and baffling items like tickets held by extras who sat in the War Memorial seats during Chiefs games. “Pucks and posters and trading cards that weren’t a twinkle in the eye of the Universal marketing department were now sought after by fans, many of whom weren’t even born when the film was released,” says Zell, who was both appalled and fascinated by what he observed. His fascination turned to inspiration and, over a single weekend, he created the character of Fred Henderson.

“Fred, from childhood, was very bright and obsessive. One year he decided to watch every movie released in 1977. That all changed on February 25th when he watched Slap Shot. From that moment on his life was focused on this movie. I’m not talking about just watching it every day, that’s a given. He needed to collect everything, know everything and know everyone connected to the movie. I’m not talking about the tidbits and trinkets someone like Ken collects, that would never be enough for Fred. He needed, and would get, everything. The locker room, Joe McGrath’s office, the Hanson Brothers parade float. I thought about what every collector would covet and gave it to Fred.”

Fred tried to date and live a normal life but gave up when the one girl he liked not only drank root beer, her name was Anita. His wardrobe consisted not only of Chiefs jerseys but also of the clothes of both Reggie Dunlop and Joe McGrath, as well as each item of clothing from the infamous fashion show. Fred’s other possessions include, among many other items, the Federal League trophy, Jim Carr’s wig, Dickie Dunn’s typewriter, Reggie’s boxer shorts, Ned Braden’s jock strap, the opera glasses used by the old lady who wanted a better look at Ned and, disgustingly, the needle and thread that Chiefs trainer Charlie was using to sew “Killer” Carlson’s lip back together before he went after Barclay Donaldson the second time. As Zell puts it, his work is something even casual fans would find funny, but it’s full of “inside jokes that. . . people in Ken’s tribe would eat up.”

So there you have it. In print. I am humor man!

Now my only problem is trying to figure out how I’m going to break it to my friend, Fred Henderson, that I created him.

Good luck, Jonathon! I hope the book is a huge success.