Thursday, October 31, 2013

Saving my old home town, one building at a time

My old home town of Benton Harbor, Michigan has been doing hard times and a bad economy long before it became fashionable eveywhere else. It's been a rough four or five decades. However, in recent years, there's been a grass-roots resurgence with artsy types taking over some of the old buildings and re-opening them as viable, small businesses. Boutique shops, coffee houses, that kind of thing. It's not a return to the town's glory days as a manufacturing hub for companies like Whirlpool and Clark Equipment, but that ship has sailed off anyway. What it is is a sign of life, which is something the city lacked when I lived there over 30 years ago.
Recently, a woman named Sherry Miller got in touch with me (presumably via this blog, or at least because of it) and told me about a campaign that she and her husband Tom have launched for the purpose of refurbishing the old Farmers & Merchants Bank building at 92 West Main Street and turning it into an arts center with a performance space.
As you can see, it's a good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness bank building with lots of columns and marble, the kind of place where men in three-piece suits and hard shoes were very serious about the money business. In other words, classic. Sherry asked me as a former resident with a platform to speak out if I would help spread the word about their efforts. I still have a soft spot for the place and I'd love to see anybody who wants to make things better there succeed so I said sure. Plus, all through high school, I had a crush on this girl whose sister worked there. The girl turned out to totally not be worth the effort (owes me $150, as a matter of fact) but her sister was really attractive, so you know, not a complete waste of time there.
The Millers are coming close to their deadline so here is all their info. I realize the appeal might be limited to residents and former residents or those who really have a keen interest in seeing old buildings restored, but what the heck. Check it out and if you're so inclined, pass along a couple of bucks to help them out, okay?
Here's their fundraising page:

And here's a Facebook page with photos and more info:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween, 2013

Once again, Halloween is here. That means it's time to celebrate an annual rite. No, I don't mean being allowed to crossdress in public without catching grief.

"What? It's Halloween! It's just a costume, that's all! Don't look for any kind of greater meaning in it. I still like football or whatever. Sheesh."
 Although that's swell too. But no, I'm talking about re-posting the only actual traditionally formatted joke, I've ever written, which is as follows...

Knock knock
Who's there?
Ow who?
Werewolves of London.

Get it? Get it?? If not, read it aloud and then watch this video...
Now do you get it? HA HA HA HA HA HA!!
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Welcome to Very Short And Specific Celebrity Impression Theatre

Good evening and welcome to Very Short And Specific Celebrity Impression Theatre. Today, I will be portraying actor Sean Penn in our presentation of "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds". There will be no intermission during "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds" so snacks and soft drinks will not be served in the lobby. However, if you enjoy "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds", please stop by the box office on your way out and pick up a flyer that lists the remaining productions this season as well as information regarding subscriptions for next season. Those interested in donating or volunteering should stop by our patron services desk.
Funding for Very Short And Specific Celebrity Impression Theatre productions like "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds" is made possible by a grant from the Milkhammer Trust. We'd also like to thank our corporate sponsors for supporting our production of "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds". Of course, it would be impossible to present "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds" without the efforts of our volunteers, so a huge thank you to them on behalf of the cast and crew of "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds". And without further ado, please enjoy "Sean Penn Wants To Watch a Specific YouTube Video But There Is a One Minute Commercial That He Can Not Skip After Five Seconds"


"Sean Penn": Darn. (clicks some other video and watches that instead).

Thank you, thank you. You're too kind. Thank you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

You read the book, now drink from the cup!

"Hey, is that a T-Rex?"
Yeah, I said 'forest creatures', duh.
Here's a new item for sale: The Ridiculously Inconsistent Cup.

Actually, it fails to live up to the name in that it is really quite reliable. It will always hold a beverage for you to drink unless you break it or otherwise render it unusable as a beverage container, dumbass. Hey, look how much purple is on it!

This handy, dandy item, adorned with the cover illustration by Jessie Stehlik from my book, "A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury", was originally produced in a very limited quantity as Thank You gifts for the team who helped produce the book. Now I'm going to have more made and sell them to you, if you want them. The illustration features a robot reading stories to lovable forest creatures. Impress your co-workers by having the weirdest coffee mug in your entire company. It will be a great conversation starter and a way to drive more traffic to this here blog and maybe even help sell some books. Check it out:

"Well, here we are again, at work, drinking coffee."
"Another day closer to death at least"
"Yeah, that about sums it up."

Ugh, they're the worst. Don't be like those assholes. Be like these assholes!

"Well, here we are again... Say, what's with that weird purple coffee cup, Karen?"
"It's a Ridiculously Inconsistent Cup, Doug! The artwork is from an awesome book titled "A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury" that compiles all the best material from this awesome blog, "A Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness"
"Really, Karen? Awesome? Totally awesome? Are these things really awesome, in that they inspire awe? Like I'll be awestruck if I read them?"
"Well... no. But I'm banging the author so I'm sort of obligated to say that."
"Were you planning on telling me about this, Karen?"
"No, Brenda, I wasn't."
"Cool mug, Karen."
"Thanks, Doug."
"Oh, can it, Doug. Tool."

See? Conversation starter!
If that doesn't inspire you to buy an overpriced coffee cup, I don't know what will. Somebody asked me, "do you expect to make a lot of money with this?", and I said, "of course not; what's funny about that?". Anywho, if you want to order one or a dozen (actually, if people ordered dozens at a time, I would make money AND that would be pretty funny), please visit the online store at

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I've been shirking my Unbelieva-duties

There are lots of pictures we're tagged in out there
now, yet I keep returning to this one. Hey, if it
ain't broke, don't fix it.
With my personal living situation turmoil behind me, things have settled down and I've been taking stock of stuff that may have suffered when I was unable to devote adequate attention to it.

Let's see: Still got my job(s). Okay, good. My cats are alive. Nice. My vehicle hasn't been repo'ed or stolen. Whew. Personal relationship(s)? Nobody's perfect.

Anyway, one thing that I'm not sure I've ever adequately plugged promoted is The Unbelievables.
The Unbelievables is a writing project helmed by myself and my partners Jeff Hickmott and Michael Noble.

THE MYTHOS: "These dudes are bad. Bad clothes, bad hair, bad attitudes. From the secret files of The Kitsch Bitsch come ... The Unbelievables! One day, three altruistic rogues (Jeff Hickmott, Michael Noble and Clark Brooks) were lounging around the raquetball club when they decided to use their unique skills and senses of style to form a non-government affiliated, multi-jurisdictional, not-for-profit crime & injustice fighting organization and The Unbelievables were born. Originally, their adventures were chronicled in the top-secret files of The Kitsch Bitsch but now, they're exploding in your face with a web site all their own: If the sexy, action-packed adventures of men in double-knit, polyester fashions with un-ironic mustaches and macrame underwear turn you on, you're really going to dig ... The Unbelievables!"

THE TRUE STORY: Jeff, Michael and I are all writers who have mutual on-line connections (specifically. one Marissa Rapier) and had known of each other primarily through our creative output. We had discussed working together on something, some day, but none of us were ever motivated enough to sit down and put a plan together so we didn't. One day, Jeff's sweetie pie Laura, for reasons known only to her, was visiting The Kitsch Bitsch's page on Facebook and thought it would be funny to tag Jeff and I in a photo of two hirsute and bronzed gentlemen in terribly small, tight and shiny bathing suits. This put us in a position of having to justify the tags, which we did by inventing some fercockt tale about being studly private eyes. Laura thought this was great fun and tagged more photos. Somebody thought it would be a good idea to drag Michael into the madness so that happened. This went on for months and somebody (I honestly don't recall who) said "You know, this could be the thing we do together!" and the other two (I honestly don't recall who) said, "Yeah, great idea! Let's get going on that right away!" so of course we didn't. Then one day, several weeks later, out of the blue Jeff said (I recall this quite clearly), "I've set us up with a blog on line. It's live already so we need to start filling it up with content" and with an official endorsement from The Kitsch Bitsch herself, we've been at it (more or less) ever since.

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: Crime-fighting adventures. Sex. Music. Style tips. Life lessons. Grown-up villains who look like children. Senseless violence. Advice. Twins. Snacks. Sex. It's like an issue of Penthouse come to life. Or maybe, an issue of Highlights. Somewhere in the middle, probably. Actually, a female acquaintance once described it as "Spinal Tap as crimefighters". However, my relationship with her ended, um, abruptly, so aside from this, I'd ask that you not put a lot of weight behind her opinions on matters involving my participation.


  • More often than not, it's pretty funny. I'd say roughly 67 times out of 71. 
  • And the four "eh"s are usually at least weird. 
  • We publish three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). 
  • If you like wacky, kitschy retro stuff, you'll probably be entertained most of the time. 
  • It's free.
  • We have a Twitter* and a Facebook page and we like interacting with people*.
  • You are out in the real world helping people, making a positive difference in the lives of others, dedicated to improving the quality of life on this planet for all and probably not even reading this.
  • You don't like things.
A FUN FACT (TRUE!): Jeff, Michael and I are scattered around the globe (I'm in Florida, Jeff is in England and I've learned it's easiest to just say that Michael is "out west") so we've never met in person. We did talk on the phone once, though.

SOMETHING COOL: The Flaming Schwartzkopf Experience wrote and produced a theme song for us. There's even a video (see below...nearly 300 hits)!

* I'm not sure any of us remember the password for the Twitter account so we don't really interact much through that. But we get some good back-and-forth on Facebook. It's fun, check it out. Don't cost nothin'.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A ridiculously inconsistent guide to the World Series

In case you're not a sports fan, you are probably not aware that something very important is about to happen: The World Series. This is a seven-game series to determine the world champion of all the baseballs. That means we will know who the best baseball team in the world is and that team will be allowed to have free french fries for a year! Again, if you're not a sports fan, I'm here to give you everything you need to enjoy this grand spectacle.

Our two combatants are the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: I have been to St. Louis once, to serve as a groomsman in my friend Jenniffer's wedding. During the reception, one of the other groomsmen, a bridesmaid and I snuck out and went to Ted Drewes which is a place that serves frozen custard and is a St. Louis landmark. There, we ran into a bunch of Cardinals fans who were celebrating after attending a playoff win over the Colorado Rockies. They were cool. We had fun.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE BOSTON RED SOX: Red Sox fans are assholes. The only fans worse are those from Philadelphia. At least Red Sox fans are people. Rude, obnoxious, stupid, marble-mouthed drunks who talk like they've suffered a head injury and only cheer for their teams when they're winning, but people.

WHO WILL WIN? If there is a just and merciful God, not the Red Sox. I mean, I hope the Cardinals do.

FUN FACT: The Tampa Bay Rays, a wildcard participant in the playoffs (in spite of spending a mere fraction of what other teams do on payroll) but not going to the World Series, again, are a team full of charm and personality.

FUN FACT: Some of the Red Sox players grew beards.

FUN FACT: There is actually a secret law that prohibits teams from Boston and Philadelphia competing head-to-head for championships in any sport because that many assholes in one spot at the same time would be really, really bad. The Eagles played the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX only because Super Bowls are played in neutral sites attended exclusively by high rollers and actors who just happen to have a new show that will be cancelled within six weeks on the network broadcasting the game. Not enough Boston and Philadelphia fans are able to get time off from their jobs of vomiting on children to travel to New Orleans or Miami to create that much of a noticeably more negative impact on those hellholes.

FUN FACT: I hate Red Sox fans.
FUN FACT THAT ALL SPORTS FANS ALREADY KNOW: Broadcasters are trained to hate your team. Here's what it happens in their secret meeting before every big match-up in every sport:
NETWORK GUY: Don't forget to say only negative things about (your name here)'s team and only positive things about the opponent.
PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: Got it. Because taking a bias and sticking to it regardless of what actually happens during the game is the best way to drive consumrs to our sponsors.
NETWORK GUY: It's the only way!
COLOR GUY: Excuse me, how often should I say something wacky, archaic and/or borderline offensive?
NETWORK GUY: Why don't you fire one off now?
COLOR GUY: (sighs, puts on deliberately tacky sportscoat and a silly hat) Jumpin' Jackie Robinson, the Negroes in this league just keep gettin' better and better!
PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: Ha ha! Classic!
NETWORK GUY: Aren't you forgetting something?
COLOR GUY: Oh yeah. (clears throat) Budweiser me!
PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: Ha ha! Never gets old!
COLOR GUY: (to himself) I was supposed to die some time during the '70s.

FUN FACT: The eventual goal of every sports broadcaster is to stick around long enough to turn into a clown, a beloved catch-phrase spouting buffoon who is a caricature of the professional broadcast journalist he was at some point in his life, hopefully with side gigs playing an even more cartoonish version of himself in video games and movies while also shilling appeteaser specials for a national chain of horrible neighborhood-style tavern/eateries.
 There are, of course, notable exceptions

Friday, October 18, 2013

Well, that oughtta show... us?

I had this long, angry screed about the government shutdown accomplishing absolutely nothing and finally coming to an end before a global calamity could occur all written and ready to go, but I wasn't happy with it so I deleted it. I'm as fed up, embarrassed and dismayed with the utter stupidity of the situation and the people responsible for it as anybody (and "anybody" at this point also includes a lot of people who were originally at least partly responsible for the rationale behind it, if not the actual shutdown itself) but angry political punditry is not what I do. At least it's not what I do well. Folks like Peter Schorsch are much better suited to that than I am, so I'll happily leave it to them.
Still, I felt obligated to say something. And being as I've just admitted that it's not an area where I feel confident in expressing myself, I'll let the numbers speak and we can all just foam at the mouth or shake our heads or whatever feels right. I just hope that beyond whatever our initial, visceral reaction is, we remember all of this when the elections roll around again.

  • 16 days.
  • A $24 billion hit to the U.S. economy.
  • A 6% reduction in the projected GDP growth for the quarter.
  • $152 million lost per day in travel spending.
  • $76 million lost per day by visitors to national parks.
  • $160 million lost per work day due to government employee furloughs.
  • 385,000 initial unemployment claims last week.

"Member of Congress who are refusing to raise the debt ceiling (or raise taxes) until their ancillary demands are met are acting immorally, since they are refusing to pay the debts they themselves authorized. " - conservative Christian Joe Carter

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Post-dream follow up

Sometimes I have really intense dreams. I don't mean nightmares, although I have those too. What I'm talking about are dreams that are like action movies; harrowing but not hopeless situations. Often these dreams feature people I know in real life. Sometimes, these dreams are so intense that when they're over, even though I know they're just dreams, I feel obligated to check up on the people who were in them. Is that weird? Maybe. Too bad, though. It's something I do to make me feel better. Of course, they're always fine, being as dreams aren't real and they aren't a shared experience, so they don't even have a recollection of the experience that never actually happened. Still, I like knowing they're all right.

The other night, I had one of those dreams and my friend Mary was in it. She and I used to work together before she got out of show biz to go into nursing. That's admirable, I think. She also moved away and I haven't seen her in four or five years. But here's the note I wrote to her:

 Hi Mary,
I had a dream last night and you were in it. It was scary and realistic and I haven't talked to you in a while so I felt like I needed to check and see if you are okay. In the dream, it was you, me and some other unknown person (they kept changing to different people, which is an annoying thing that happens in dreams). We were in the middle of a park and there were a whole bunch of huge tornadoes all around us. We were all running around trying to survive. Also, in this dream, you were a cop. At one point, you broke a whole bunch of windows for seemingly no good reason (you said "I'm a cop!" at the time, which is how I knew you were one). I'd ask you what that was all about but it was my dream, not yours, and I doubt you'd have a good answer. I woke up before it was over but I assume we all survived, so that's good. You aren't a cop now, are you? You're already a nurse. You can do whatever you want, of course, but I don't think it's necessary to be all the emergency jobs. What I'm saying is don't be a cop. Let some other people pick up the slack. Do they even have tornadoes in Denver? I dream about them all the time, I think because I grew up in the midwest. Anyway, I hope you are doing well, not a cop (although if you are, that's your business and it's fine) and not breaking windows just because you think a job gives you some sort of unbridled authority to do so. - Clark

I haven't heard back form her yet. I hope she's okay.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dearly beloved...

The other day, a life-long dream of mine came true. Well, a dream I've had since April of 2010, the day I became an ordained minister.

A while back, my friend Rachel got in touch:
"Am I remembering correctly that you can marry people?"
"We may be in need of your service. I believe we (she and her ex-husband Tom) may get re-married so that we can do a VA loan for a house. I will let you know if we do."
"Yes, please!"
"It will be simple. You basically just have to sign the license. We can do it at Jimbo's."
"How romantic. Right in front of the fresh pickles."
"We can do it over lunch and it will be done, clean and simple. That's all we want."
"I understand exactly what you want. No Santa jacket, no ram's horn, no drummers."
"Right. None of that."
"Yes, but I do have to sing a song. My philisophical doctrine requires it."
"I love you but I don't think Tom would go for that..."
"It doesn't have to be a long song but everybody at Jimbo's must listen to it. Now, does Tom have a favorite Broadway show? I could do something from 'Guys and Dolls' or 'Oliver'."
"Um, I would have to say no. He's not a Broadway kind of guy."
"Ugh. Fine. No song then. It will be fine. Non-traditional and unorthodox but fine. Fine-ish, anyway."
"Can you do Friday at noon?"
"Yes, that will do, my child."
"Now, who will be wearing the helmet? It can be either of you. Your choice."
"Yes, the sacred ceremonial helmet."
"Assuming you're providing it, I guess I could wear it. If it's absolutely necessary."
"Of course it's necessary, especially in lieu of no song and of course I have one. It's very classy."
"All right, If you say so."
"How many bridesmaids will there be and please rank them individually on a scale of 1-10 in terms of loose moral standards. 10 being 'The Best' and 1 being 'unlikely to put out'."
"It's just going to be the three of us so I guess you'll have to pick up a waitress. I have no idea how loose any of them are."
"Ah. No song, no bridesmaids. Not ideal but I can make it work."

I was really excited. Finally, I would get to commit my first real, live wedding! We met at Jimbo's last Friday. I got there early and then Rachel got there. Tom was a few minutes late and after a few runaway bride jokes, he showed up. We ordered lunch and got things underway.
I looked over the paperwork. "Yes, yes, everything here seems to be in order." "It is in order", said Rachel. "It's a one-page document from the county that requires three signatures. All you have to do is add yours." "All in good time", I replied as I arranged my ceremonial paraphernalia. First, I produced a copy of The Good Book. Since it was a non-denominational wedding, I didn't bring a bible and figured I would just use A Good Book. The only book I had with me was A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury. Pretty good book, I think. Amazon says so anyway.
And then, with much fanfare, the ceremonial helmet.
"Okay, seriously, what's with the helmet?"
"What? It's ceremonial."
"It's a hard hat."
"Right. In this case, it symbolizes your commitment to hard work, the hard work required to make marriage work. Also your commitment to safety, and that's always important. Plus, it's gold which symbolizes money. That's good, right?"
"It says 'Clark Equipment' on it."
"Yeah, well, it's my helmet."

Then it was time for the legal disclaimer...
"Now, we're all straight here, right?"
"Yeah, no gay people are participating in this ceremony in any way, correct?"
"Um, yeah, I guess."
"Good. It's very important that it's stated for the record that any mockery, farce, lampoon or spoof directed in the general direction of narrow-minded people who have made it their solemn duty to defend the sanctity of the sacred rite of marriage is being done in the complete absence of any homosexuals whatsoever. Whatever damage is being done to one myopic and archaic definition of the venerable institution here today is entirely the responsibility of straight people. Agreed?"
"Yeah, sure."
Having gotten everything established, I began the ceremony...
"Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life
Electric word, life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here 2 tell u..."

"Okay, who had the cheeseburger?", the waitress interrupted. "Oh, that's mine!", Tom said. I offered, "I'm not done yet" and Tom said "We know but, hey, food's here and it's gonna get cold, so...". He had a solid point so I pushed on...
"Tom, do you take her to be the woman who will live in your new house?"
"I do."
"Good. Rachel, do you promise to clean that house and cook the meals and stuff?"
"It's just a wedding vow. It doesn't mean anything. Come on, food is getting cold."
"Okay, sure. I do."
"Then if no one here objects... Rachel, go ask that guy over there if he objects."
"Who? The guy with the banana pudding?"
"I'm not asking him that!"
"Then ask if I can have some of that pudding."
"Would you come on, please?"
"All right then. By the power vested in me by the Universal Life Church via the internet, boom, you're married!"
Suddenly I felt powerful. I felt alive! I had just directly impacted the fates of two human beings. A warm feeling of goodness surged through me. I felt the true meaning of being an ordained minister for the first time, an agent of a higher power, on Earth to go forth and do good works. That, or it might also have been the shredded pork sandwich I'd ordered for lunch, which was excellent and that Rachel and Tom paid for.

Friday, October 11, 2013

When one door opens, someone may lose an eye

This is a door inside the office where I work:
It's a problem.
There's another one on the other end of the office. They're both problems.

Not the doors themselves. They've both been there for a while and have never caused any trouble. But up until about a week ago, the little window you see was clear. You could see through it. Not anymore. Management was concerned about people outside peering in and so they had them frosted with some kind of opaque coating. This has been a source of great concern among some of the people I work with in this office.

"Ohmygod, that isn't safe!""I just know I'm going to open that door and hit somebody on the other side.""Assuming somebody doesn't hit you first!"
"I know! What were they thinking?""I know! Somebody is going to get seriously hurt.""Ohmygod, I know!"

What I take from this is that some of the people I work with have somehow lived their entire lives up until now without ever encountering a door that doesn't have a window in it.
Oh well. I guess they'll be dead soon.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A trivial pursuit

Believe it or not, I used to be a competitive athlete, with a much stronger emphasis on the competitive part than the athlete part. Not that I wasn't a good athlete but something about participating in sports would get me really fired up and I'd get into it to crazy degrees. Even though I was usually among the biggest kids on the field, I rarely played like it. I dove head-first, chattered incessantly and got really pissed off when things didn't go my way. I was a classic "red ass", a term usually applied to 5'6" slap-hitting middle infielders from the Dominican Republic, not 6'3" slugging first basemen from the Midwest.

These traits tended to endear me to teammates and aggravate opponents which is exactly how I wanted it. I was once thrown out of a church league softball game for swearing. While protesting the ejection, I asked the umpire to tell me exactly what I said, not because I doubted him but because I honestly didn't know. He said there was no way he would repeat it and was so angry he wanted to fight me. I'm sure he was right but I still don't know what I said. It must have been really bad. I probably called someone or something either a cocksucker, a motherfucker or, most likely, some colorful combination of those bon mots, enhanced by a shit or bitch or two.
I'm still a passionate sports fan but now that I'm no longer an active participant, I'm not wired as tightly. I'm happy when my team wins and sad when they lose but I recover pretty quickly either way. I'm fortunate in that regard because I'd be a mess. I know some people who are and it's not pretty. Or healthy. People like that are not fun to be around unless you're their teammate actively involved in a sporting event. I assume this part of me died when I hung up my cleats for the last time and I'm glad. As it turns out, it might have just been hibernating all along, lying dormant until awakened.

A while back, I met a friend at a local Irish pub for dinner. As we were sitting there, there was an announcement that the weekly trivia contest would be starting soon. I figured that would be a fun way to pass time during dinner. And it was. But something happened about three questions in...

  • There were numbers being written down on sheets of paper.
  • Somebody was keeping track of the numbers being written down.
  • There were rewards (prizes) at stake for who had the best numbers.
"Wait a minute", I thought. "I know what this is. This is sports! That's what this is!" With that, a switch was flipped and I got serious about it. Suddenly, fellow diners passing leisure time in a contest were opponents, standing between me and triumph. I needed to destroy these cocksuckers. My dinner companion left before the end, leaving me there to intently battle to the death, if necessary. I listened intently and hunched down over my answer sheet, shutting out any and all distractions. I don't remember paying my tab but I guess I did. I pumped my fist when I'd get an answer right and stare down at the floor and blurt out expletives when I'd miss one. My reactions feeding directly off the emotions demonstrated by those at the other tables as the answeres were read off.
I finished tied for fifth. Out of the money but I was competing against whole tables of people who were playing as teams. At least I didn't get thrown out for mouthing off.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Moving right along

Part of moving is getting rid of some of your old stuff, which gives you an excuse or reason to get new stuff. Whether you view that as an opportunity or a chore depends on how you feel about shopping and/or spending money, I guess. Me, I'm not what you'd call cheap (I have a real problem resisting impulses some times; after an ill-advised visit to Craigslist the other day, I haven't completely talked myself out of buying a pinball machine yet) but shelling out big dollars for things makes me anxious and I often experience regret after wasting cash on something silly so I try to limit my big spending to things that are absolute necessities. I got rid of a lot of stuff when I moved, including almost all of my furniture and housewares, so I've had to replace some of it just to be able to live.
The last time I moved, it was my first time living on my own since I was a kid and I went out and bought all kinds of crazy things with the idea that I would be entertaining all sorts of social gatherings. "My many charming party guests are certain to be amused by these napkin holders!" Yeah, that didn't really work out. The one time I had company over, it was an occasion for me to show off the apartment before going out to dinner. One of them looked around real quick but didn't even want to sit down before hustling everyone out and off to the restaurant. She said later it was just because she was hungry but it made me self-conscious about my things and I never invited friends over again.
This time I was smart and went practical. I stocked my whole home with one trip to WalMart, where I bought:

  • One set of sheets
  • One pillow
  • One comforter
  • One bath towel
  • One bath mat
  • One sauce pan
  • One skillet
  • One plate
  • One bowl
  • One fork
  • One spoon
  • One multi-purpose knife
Boom. I'm all set. I already had a coffee cup that I was given as a gift (thanks, Donna) so my beverage needs were covered. Someone offered to custom build me a desk for $1200, but what do I need with a desk? A place to organize all my important paperwork? Ppphht. Nonsense. A card table would suit me fine. Even better, I found what appears to be half of a standard card table at WalMart. Perfect.
I also bought two metal folding chairs. Why two? Did I suddenly think I was Donald Trump and I needed to sate my lust for extravagant creature comforts? Not exactly. It's a matter of practicality. Observe...
Sleeper sofa
Two chairs, three different pieces of furniture!
Sometimes, I am a genius.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Cool people out there doing cool stuff

As I make preparations to get up and running again, I'd like to dedicate this space today to some people who are already doing things that are pretty neat.

Tom Megalis, father of Nicholas, has an exhibit of original artwork opening today at Translations Art Gallery in Canton, Ohio. "CURIOSITIES: New work by Tom Megalis" will run through October 26th.

In other Megalis family news, we're still on for an interview with Nicholas, the King of all Vines, just as soon as schedules and stars (mostly schedules) align. In the meantime, his new single "Forget It in a Day" is out. Here's a link to the video. Also, his first album "Praise Be, Hype Machine" is now available on iTunes.

Believe it or not, there are people not named Megalis doing cool stuff.

This is Jacqueline Kabat and she is working on her documentary film, "Comedy Improv Can Save The World". She's using comedy improv as a means of therapy and a teaching tool. It's all based on teaching people to connect without judgment, trust and collaborate with one another. Here's a link to the site hosting her fundraising campaign where you can learn more and make a pledge. I've already made my thoughts known on how much I love these kinds of campaigns. Also, Jacqueline is someone who has said nice things to and about me, which means, naturally, she is deeply in love with me. So obviously I've already made my pledge.

Last but certainly not least, our old friend Jeremy Gloff has a new album out. Jeremy has had a hell of a lot of crap come his way this year, something to which more of us than not can relate. The result is "Inside of Blue Buildings", his 18th album and a celebration of 20 years as a professional musician. Jeremy is a good dude and he's an artist that truly puts his heart and soul into his work. Check it out for one or both of those reasons.

Jeez, I'm feeling pretty lame now. Guess this is as good a reason as any to get off my ass and do something, huh?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

I'll shut up now

After what seems like two solid months of angst over my housing situation, I finally closed on my new home late Monday. During that two months, I know I was a font of unrelenting despair. "My home, my cats, my worldly possessions. Me, mine, I. Wah, wah, wah and blah, blah, blah."
Ugh. What a drag.
Now that the whole thing is totally resolved and in the rear view, I'll stop being mopey and boring and complaining and depressing and annoying. After all, I have a lovely new home, my cats are safe and happy, the cable guy arrived in plenty of time to allow me to see the series finale of Breaking Bad, it's almost hockey season and my beloved Rays are in the postseason. It's a beautiful time to be alive!
As I promised previously, good and fun stuff is coming. Stay tuned.
This is my new home. I'm seriously considering having it painted purple. What do you think?