Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I think I see what you kind of did there

The other day, I was watching TV and at several points, a commercial for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was aired. It's a credit card for rich people that offers rewards and high interest rates. With a higher end clientele, Chase offers a level of service that's not available to Joe and Jane T-Shirt. This was evidenced subtly by something I noticed in the commercial.
I looked for it on YouTube but it's not there so I can't share it with you but here's what happens...
We see a guy walking along a beach and he's on his phone. We hear the person on the other end say something like, "Thank you for calling Chase Sapphire. This is Stacy from Springfield. How can I help you?" and the man on the beach gets a big comfortable smile on his face.
Why? Because he's reached a customer service rep on the phone? Most of us feel some sense of relief when that happens because we've usually been on hold for an extended period. Relief, not happiness. No, I think it's because the customer service rep he's reached is Stacy from Springfield, not Swapna from Surepally.
"Stacy's at lunch. Can I help you? Hello?"
We've all heard... and made... jokes about companies outsourcing their telephone customer service overseas, much of it to India. This is nothing new. Yet, most of us still dread having to deal with those reps. It could be anything from outright xenophobia (if not outright racism) to just dreading what we anticipate to be a painful interaction further complicated by having to deal with someone with whom we have little in common (which is basically what xenophobia is, just so you know).
Is Chase saying, subliminally or overtly, that you don't have to worry about it and can bring your service issues to a good, ol' fashioned, all-American white girl named Stacy... if you're a customer of "preferred" status?
I don't know. Maybe.

Monday, July 28, 2014

ESPN is unwatchable and Stephen A. Smith is the worst

As somebody who loves sports and works in the industry, I should absolutely love the wall-to-wall, 24 hour access to sports provided by ESPN. There was a time when I did. Their flagship news and highlight show, SportsCenter was informative and entertaining. And I loved their block of Sunday morning programming, anchored by Robin Roberts. It featured an intelligent and reasoned debate show in "The Sports Reporters" and "Outside The Lines", an investigative news show hosted by Bob Ley. Some of that stuff still exists but the quality of shows like that has been tarnished and overrun by the rot of what the network puts forth now. ESPN pays short shrift to sports it doesn't have a contract to broadcast, especially irksome to those of us who enjoy hockey. It's also more interested in itself as a brand, sponsoring their own line of video games, apps and logo-emblazoned trinkets than it is in doing their job. Worst of all, their programming now relies heavily on different shows that feature a bevy of bombastic "personalities" ranting and raving incoherently about a variety of topics, many of which branch out beyond the umbrella of sports. Turn the network on at different, random times throughout the day and there's a 50/50 chance you'll see people yelling at each other about something stupid. The worst of these is a show called "First Take" and it stars the two most obnoxious, ill-informed and grating broadcasters on the whole network, the dueling, braying jackasses known as Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.
"This is what I have to say about the matter: Hee Haw! Hee Haw!"
"If I may offer a retort, only louder: HAW-HEE! HAW-HEE!!"

ESPN should be for someone like me what C-SPAN is for someone who has a stake in the day-to-day actions of government, and it just isn't. Not anymore and not for a pretty long time. It's less than useless. It's bad. Especially when it comes to Smith sharing some really stupid ideologies. A while back, there was this beauty regarding gay people (as part of a discussion on St. Louis Rams rookie Michael Sams):
"I am a proponent of most of the causes the gay community has fought for. And I think that it's wrong how they've been prejudiced against. But having said all that, I think it's important to recognize that that doesn't mean [you] have a right to [people being] comfortable with you."

And then last Friday, while discussing the NFL suspending running back Ray Rice for two games due to a domestic violence incident, we got this genius-level dissertation on The Ladies' role in preventing these incidents:
"It's not about him, then. It's about you, and here's what I mean by that. We keep talking about the guys. We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don't know how many times I got to reiterate that. But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I'm going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I'm going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I'm going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I'm going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I'm going to be tempted to do. But what I've tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I've done this all my life, let's make sure we don't do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it's law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn't negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let's try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn't happen. Now you got some dudes that are just horrible and they're going to do it anyway, and there's never an excuse to put your hands on a woman. But domestic violence or whatever the case may be, with men putting their hands on women, is obviously a very real, real issue in our society. And I think that just talking about what guys shouldn't do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn't happen. We know they're wrong. We know they're criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice's case, he probably deserves more than a 2-game suspension which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there's real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them, because we've got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don't think that's broached enough, is all I'm saying. No point of blame." 

Seriously, Why would I want to watch that shit?
"Duh, something stupid delivered in a condescending manner topped off with more duh."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Paid forward

Since getting my Magic Bullet four weeks ago, I haven't eaten solid breakfast food since. No eggs, bacon, sausage or hash browns. I love that stuff but somehow I don't miss it. I guess it's eaier to give up a vice when you have something good with which to replace it. However, I have retained the vice of enjoying coffee in the morning so I still patronize the McDonald's drive-thru for that.
Last Thursday morning at McDonald's for coffee. When I pulled up to the cashier, she said, "Today is your lucky day; the person in the car ahead of you paid for your coffee!" Huh. How about that? I've heard of that happening before but never been on the receiving end or even seen it happen to anyone. I waved at the driver ahead of me who must have been watching the whole thing in their mirror. They waved back before moving on. I pulled up to the pick-up window, they drove off and I never saw them again. It was a nice feeling and I immediately thought I needed to repay the gesture by doing the same thing for some other stranger the very next morning.
That's what I did and these are the (at that point, unwitting) recipients...
Turns out there were two people in the car who were getting full breakfasts. I guess I could have taken the opportunity to prosthelytize at great length about the merits of starting one's day behind a delicious fresh fruit smoothie instead of greasy salt bombs (no offense McDonald's, but that shit is, well, shit) but I haven't been at it long enough to do so and also, nobody likes that. In all, I ended up losing about $10 in the two days combined transactions, but that's okay. It was fun enough to be worth it. I watched the "victims" fall in line behind me, being the only person in the world who knew what was about to happen to them, that a small gesture was about to make their day a little better, at least for a moment. It was very much like pulling a prank, except nobody got hurt or even embarrassed. Yet in spite of that, it was still fun somehow.
I just saw a story yesterday online about a guy who met a soldier at an airport and ended up paying for a weekend's vacation for that soldier and his family. One of the comments on the story was from someone who said they wished they had enough money to do stuff like that. That is a very impressive gesture and I'm sure it was appreciated, but you don't have to do anything on that grand of a scale. You can do something similar for mere pennies.
Or less, if you're creative. When I worked at the Sun Dome, I used to look at the ticket manifest prior to a concert and pick twenty or thirty names at random. I'd give those names to Shannon, our production manager, and he would program messages saying "THE SUN DOME WELCOMES _____ TO TONIGHT'S SHOW" that would run on the scoreboards before the concert started. Sometimes those people would seek out a member of management to ask why they were being welcomed and we'd tell them, "we're just happy you're here." Zero dollars spent to make someone's night just a little more special. Pretty solid investment, I thought.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

No longer my heroes

Like most American males, I grew up reading comic books. Specifically, comic books featuring superheroes. As such, the heroes featured in those books are part of my upbringing. And as such, it saddens me a little bit that it's getting harder to recognize those heroes.
(WARNING: What follows is almost entirely an old man rant that steers awfully close to complaining about how youngsters today are a buncha lazy, good-fer-nuthin' numbskulls who don't even know how much better things were back in the good ol' days. If that kind of thing doesn't appeal to you, I would kindly suggest that you tune out now and get off my lawn.)
I first started chafing over this issue in 1989 when Tim Burton's "Batman" came out and superhero movies became a genre. In that movie, Batman showed up in an all-black rubber suit. He looked cooler than Adam West in the old TV show and I understand you have to make stylistic changes for movies. It was jarring though. Then the X-Men came along and they all wore black suits and not the distinctive costumes they each wore in the comics. Later, Spiderman became a movie franchise and Peter Parker no longer relied on an apparatus worn on the wrist to shoot webs, but secreting web fluid from his body, like an actual spider. Okay, those all make sense. I don't care for those changes but I understand them. Director Joel Shumacher took over the Batman movies and his first great idea was to put the characters in suits that accentuated their nipples. Nobody understood that one.
Somewhere along the line, though, the comic books changed to reflect the look and tone of the movies (sans nipples, thankfully). They also started major plot shifts and re-boots. Superman got killed. Batman had his back broken. Characters were being killed off and brought back in different forms. For the most part, I went with the flow, even though I didn't really like it. For one thing, I really don't read comic books anymore. The last time I read one was an issue of The Avengers, in which all the characters were outfitted with a sardonic world view. Back in the day, only Spiderman dared to riff and quip wise during his fight scenes. Now all of them were firing off snarky commentary. This, I recognized as a direct result of the success of the Iron Man movies, or more accurately, Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Because in the comic books I read growing up, Iron Man wasn't particularly charming and he definitely wasn't the big deal in the Marvel Universe that he is now. Sure, he was the leader of The Avengers, but he was a recovering alcoholic and pretty somber.
Things really turned sour for me when Captain America, my very first favorite comic book hero, showed up on the big screen with wings painted on the side of his head. Painted wings! In the comics, he had actual little wings on the side. In the same way I like Superman and Batman better with their briefs on the outside of their tights, I want Captain America with actual little wings on the side of his head. I know none of those things make sense but that's how I grew up with them and that's how I like them!
This was when it began to dawn on me that the comic book super heroes were moving on without me. That the timeless characters now belonged to new generations of fans and that they would be adapting to suit their needs and wants, not remaining stagnant to suit mine. This was tough to swallow but I really had no choice in the matter. That didn't stop me from railing against some of the changes, though.
Earlier this year, it was announced that they're going to take a stab at re-booting the Fantastic Four movie franchise, this time with a black actor playing Johnny Storm/The Human Torch. Of course, I hated this idea and upon registering my displeasure, was accused of being a racist. I was ready for this, though, and had a counter-argument. If they feel they want to have a black actor portray a member of the Fantastic Four, fine. Let's cast him as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. Making him the Human Torch means you either have to waste valuable screen time explaining why he has a white sister in Sue Storm/Invisible Girl or explaining how they aren't brother and sister anymore. Meanwhile, Reed Richards is one of the most brilliant minds in the Marvel Universe, he's the leader of the Fantastic Four and he'd be married to a white woman in Sue Storm. Why can't that character be played by a black actor and who's racist now?
In spite of feeling like I win that argument, more changes that sadden me continue to come down the pipe. Most notably last week's announcements that Thor will now be a woman and worst of all, my beloved Captain America is going to be killed off (again). Well, it's actually Steve Rogers who has always been Captain America will be replaced by the more-than-worthy-successor Sam Wilson, his former partner The Falcon. But still.
Things change and so do people, even fictional people who are perfectly fine the way they are. This is something I have no choice but to accept, even though I don't have to like it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"Clark is Famous" - A guest post by Carrie Bailey

If you have a web site of any kind, it can be a blog or an online store or anything really, you know how exciting it is when you suddenly see a sudden, unexplained surge in traffic. After the initial thrill of seeing your numbers spike, you immediately want to know why. Sometimes that's a question that's impossible to answer and you have a bonafide mystery on your hands. However, most of us are unwilling to accept that as a satisfactory resolution.
Such was the case when Carrie Bailey found a crazy surge in traffic to a post on her site where she interviewed me. Of course, I'm in love with her so I'm thrilled about anything that draws her attention to me but I have no idea why that happened. I'm not equipped to address questions regarding me and popularity. As a vibrant, creative woman , Carrie has her own ideas. She also loves writing and coffee and me, although maybe not in that order. That's why she wrote this:

Clark is famous. Not famous like being photographed on the red carpet - nominated for an Oscar - dating younger women who’ve been under the knife more times than they’ve spelled their own name correctly. Not that. Not yet. But, he is officially a real talent. One-to-watch. The elusive up and coming of the writing community. Hold the fruit when he takes the stage. He has fans.

Yep, Clark Brooks has clawed, joked and tickled his way from obscurity to a guaranteed source of viral internet traffic. He is a man in demand.


Just this week, his interview, Clark Brooks: My Favorite Funny Man, on Peevish Penman received 1400 hits. Overall, he’s been read more than 9000 times…on a blog, which has been archived for over a year. Seriously, that’s like selling out an open-air venue in Antarctica. If Clark Brooks was a stock and not just another golden personality, now would be the time to buy.

Clark has got the funny.

So, now that we know we’re all about be the people who knew Clark before, it’s time to take action, take advantage and capitalize on his popularity before he hires a team of bodyguards.

And just as show of goodwill to everyone about to share my good fortune, I’ve complied a list of 20 favors everyone should ask of Clark to make sure that all of us little people get a cushy place on his bandwagon.

Get his home telephone number – Pay your rent or mortgage for the year by selling a small slice of Clark’s privacy to the media. Don’t worry – he’ll understand.

Have Clark sign a book – It doesn’t have to be his book necessarily. We just need a sample of his John Handcock that is clear and easy to forge for when his biography is released.

Take pictures with Clark – At least a dozen. Find him at Christmas party, in the street, at home and snap, snap, snap! You’re going to want enough so you can post one or two a year online and make it seem like he’s still willing to hang out with you.

Become an Officer in the Official Clark Brooks Fan Club – Oh yeah, we can all skimp a little fame for ourselves by being the people that knew Clark and at the same time profit from charging a minor membership fee for administrative expenses. I’m thinking $350 annually or $50 per month.

Invite Clark to Vegas, get him drunk and marry him – You get one shot at being the lucky woman with the fat alimony checks. Of course, I did just hear that gay marriage has been legalized in Florida, so the competition might get a little intimidating with 100% of the population in the running, but when are you going to find another opportunity like this? Nope, this is a once in a lifetime chance to be his ex.

Volunteer to work as Clark’s bodyguard, chef, PA, housekeeper, laundry person, accountant, head of security, media representative, wardrobe specialist, dog groomer, social media specialist, lawyer and/or hairstylist – Stay close to the funny man. Even if Clark doesn’t have a dog or hair, you need to apply some lateral thinking to wedge yourself into a permanent position in his life. But, you’ve got to practice your sob story for when the day comes that he wants to hire someone who knows how to do the job…and pay them.

Loan Clark money – Whatever funds you have or can raise, get them NOW and send EVERYTHING to Clark. The signed promissory note stipulating a 219.99% interest rate is crucial. But, if you can’t get him to take your generous offer of support, review favor number two on this list and use what you’ve got to pay off the witnesses. Then, pat yourself on the back. You’ll be sending all your kids to the college of their choice!

Raid his house and loot his personal possessions – Possibly the most dangerous option on this list and not exactly a “favor” in the traditional sense of the word, having and owning something the man once used is in everyway an absolutely wise investment – whatever it may be. Alternatively, you can dig through his rubbish bin.


It’s so much harder than it looks. I’m personally distraught about what it’s going to do to him. Being famous can change a man. All the people he thought he could trust are sure to turn on him just for a piece of the spotlight or a miniscule profit (Not me, Clark!).

It’s just not fair.

I know.

And I know you’re thinking, “I could never take advantage of Clark Brooks.” But, that’s just one moral hurdle you’re going to have to jump. In the time it took me to write this post today, his interview was read another 650 times. There’s no stopping
it. And there is no stopping the funny man.

Yep, the time to ask Clark for a favor… is now.
Guest Post by Carrie Bailey

Aw, look how cute we are together when we wake up in the morning. Especially you, Perry Block. LOOK!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sure, we're making progress...but what about the cake?!?

On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission voted unanimously for an amendment that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification. Unanimously, as in liberal and conservative. It's a step closer to erasing a 1995 vote that excluded gays, lesbians and transgender folks from civil rights protection. This same group recently voted unanimously to remove a ban on county recognition of gay rights events and displays that had been in place since 2005. These are pretty stunning developments. As recently as 1997, you could still hunt lesbians for sport (in season, with proper licensing) as long as you used the whole lesbian, the way Native Americans used all the parts of the whole buffalo. And up until 1993, you could legally seize a gay couple's home if you could hold their house keys high enough above your head (while standing flat-footed, of course; fair is fair) that they couldn't reach up (no jumping!) and take them back away from you.
This would seem to indicate that as a group, all of our county commissioners are capable of making decisions that move us forward and benefit the greater good of all citizens without regard to party politics. That's tremendous and something all voters should feel pretty good about. Of course, not everybody sees it that way, however. This is a comment on the Tampa Tribune's story:
"...This amendment means people that have personal convictions or beliefs contrary about LGBT lifestyle could face a lawsuit. Example a bakery declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because of their personal belief can now be fined because this is view as discrimination."
Obviously, this is a reference to the bakery in Colorado that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple and all the argle-bargle that followed that. What I like is how all the consequences of this as a social and/or religious matter are now measured in cake-based terms. Yes! Has anyone considered the ones affected the most by these decisions? What about the poor, delicious cake?!? Uh, I'm pretty sure it's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Dacquoise, you son of a bitch! What is the impact of these decisions in terms of cake? Who's going to make the cake? Who's not going to make the cake? Who's going to eat the cake?* What about the cake? WHAT ABOUT THE CAKE?!?
Similar to how I learned that a crowded movie theater is the only place where you can get in trouble for yelling "FIRE!", who is at risk of being sued unless they forsake their religious beliefs to make a four-tiered yellow sponge cake, filled and frosted with a smooth, rich vanilla buttercream and almond marzipan and fine raspberry preserves providing sweet accents to the creamy filling is the only thing I'm going to think of from now on when someone yells "GAY MARRIAGE!!" in a crowded movie theater.

Of course, one could point out that nobody in Florida can make a wedding cake for lesbians even if they wanted to because gay people can't marry each other in this state. And that's the real problem here, at least as someone who can legally marry people sees it. I'd like to point out that I'm very good at that, with a current success rate of 1.000%. Bakeries are always going to make their money because people are always going to love cakes. And tortes and pies and cookies and cupcakes and... Meanwhile, the ban on same sex marriages that currently exists in the state of Florida effectively restricts me from marrying two thirds of all possible combinations of eligible male and female wedding participants. Throw in the the fact that a bunch of the remaining 33% are already married to each other and there's only, what, about 20 people here that I could possibly join in holy matrimony. That's some bullshit there.

I guess it just further illustrates that it's great that we're making progress but we have miles to go before we sleep, people.

* I, for one, am going to eat the cake.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bad date(s)

I've had lots and lots of dates over the last few years. Some have been pretty good. Most have been awful, like my most recent one.
I had two tickets to see Morris Day and The Time last Saturday. I mentioned this to somebody I thought didn't hate me. Her response was to tell me about a friend of hers who is "really nice and lots of fun. She would love that. You guys would have so much!" Me, in possession of an extra ticket and apparently incapable of ever learning the most basic of life lessons said sure. I don't know why I don't just adapt a relatively reasonable and minimal-risk approach to dating like picking up what may or may not be tranny hookers on Nebraska Avenue but I guess I'm just not that bright.
She put us in contact and we exchanged text messages and pictures. It turns out that this was where things went off the rails, a full 48 hours before the actual date. I showed up outside the Mahaffey Theatre and recognized her immediately, sitting on a bench outside of the box office. She looked confused. "You don't look like your picture", she said. "I don't?", I replied, genuinely surprised. "That's weird. It's the most recent picture I have on my phone. In fact, it's the only picture I have on my phone."
The picture I sent, me with Lynne Koplitz, taken on May 22.
"Well, it's okay", she said. She got up and we headed toward the box office when she stopped, turned to me and said, "why didn't you just send a picture of yourself? It's no big deal." Well, except now it is, I'm thinking. I don't need my integrity challenged by somebody I've just met. I said, "Show me the picture you think I sent you." She thumbed through her phone and eventually came up with something that looked kind of like this:
It wasn't a young, care-free Casey Kasem but a guy who kind of looked like him
"I didn't send you that. I have no idea who that guy is and I've never seen that picture before in my life" She just shrugged and said "huh". I didn't really want to drop it but I thought that things might get better, so I did.
Things didn't get better.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that while I do not have direct knowledge of Hitler ever having sex with my grandmother, that this date was worse than that. I feel comfortable in making this statement because if Adolph Hitler had shown up at some point during the date via some sort of time travel device and said to me, "I'm about to have sex mit your grandmother. Vould you like to come along and watch?", I'd have probably said yes. Sorry, grandma, but I was not having a nice time.
  • She had at least eight drinks.
  • She got up to use the bathroom at least eight times.
  • We were in seats 35 and 36. That means she climbed over 35 people (including me) approximately 32 times.
  • She took great satisfaction in smuggling two bags of Fritos past the ushers who were enforcing a "no food in the auditorium" rule.
  • She kept telling me I was funny, which I normally love, but I wasn't trying to be funny. In fact, I was going out of my way to not be funny. Or appealing or even friendly eventually. Such as when I started live Tweeting about what a shitty date it was. "What are you typing?" "Some disparaging shit about you." "Ha ha ha ha! You're so funny!" "Yeah, okay." "So do you want to go somewhere when the show is over?" "Oh, I don't know. I'm kind of hoping to be murdered in the parking lot." "Ha ha ha ha!"
  • Fritos. Seriously.
  • At one point, she said, "I'm into black guys." I'm not sure how a white guy is supposed to react to his date telling him that during a date, but for my part, it was an enormous relief. Shortly after, a young (college aged, like 22 or 23) black kid, came up the aisle on his way to the lobby and she said, "Here, watch this." She stopped him and said, "are you Pam's son?" He just said no and kept walking. "See? How come I can't get black guys to like me?" I had so many questions and against my own better judgment, asked all of them. "What was that? Were you trying to pick him up? Was that a pick-up line?" "He looked like my friend Pam's son. Pam is my best friend and she's black." " do you want to hook up with your best friend's...excuse me, your black best friend's son?" "No, no, I didn't really think he was her son. That was just a conversation starter. An ice breaker" "No, it wasn't. It was question, a question which he answered with one word and went about his business. There was no ice broken. I suppose he could have said, 'who the hell is Pam?' which would be a longer response but that's still not really a conversation." "So what should I do to get black guys to notice me?" "Well, I didn't expect to be put in the position of having to speak on behalf of young black men, but..." "Ha ha ha ha ha!! You are SO funny!" 
  • During the show, she asked me, "what did he say?". Who does that during a concert?? It's annoying when elderly people do that during movies. This was a Morris Day and The Time concert! "What did he say?" "He said, 'I'm about to walk a hole in my Stacey Adams'" "What's that?" "It's a brand of shoes". "Ha ha ha ha! He's so funny!"
Morris Day has been wearing, and singing about, these shoes since 19effing81.
I don't know if she ever figured out where that other photo came from and why she didn't get mine. I have given strict orders to the person who paired us up to not tell me if she ever does. And also to never try to fix me up with any of her nice and fun friends ever again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

And that was what time it was

At this point, there aren't many musical artists that I'm dying to see live in concert that I haven't already seen. The list shrunk by one on Saturday when I finally saw Morris Day and the Time play at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg. Well, it wasn't all of the original Time. No Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson or Jerome Benton. It wasn't even the Time 2.0 which is the band portrayed as Prince's rivals in Purple Rain. Being a fan of the whole Prince Mineapolis multiverse since I was a kid, it would have been nice to see those guys (seriously, was Jerome too busy?). As it stands right now, there's some legal matters that complicate things when it comes to the Time, mostly because Prince still owns the rights to the band's name. When the original line-up gets together to record, they do so now as The Original 7ven. Meanwhile, Morris Day can put a band together with just about anybody in it and tour as "Morris Day and the Time" and that's who I saw. It was still a great show though, with original members 'Jellybean' Johnson on drums and Monte Moir on keys. They put on a great show; how could they not, with the ever-charismatic Morris Day fronting them? Of course they played "The Bird" and (show closer) "Jungle Love" which everybody knows from the movie, along with "The Walk", "Wild and Loose" and "777-9311" which got airplay back in the '80s as well as "Chocolate" and "Pandemonium" for the benefit of true, long-time fans (like me). It really was a great night, in spite of my date being an utter train wreck, a story I will tell here on Wednesday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Finally! A new podcast! Sittin' around talkin' with Lynne Austin

Well, looky here! After a three-month hiatus (which is Latin for slacking off), here's a brand shiny new podcast for you!

Remember when I interviewed Lynne Austin on the blog way back in 2009? Of course you do; it's only the most popular post in the history of the ol' purple blog (thank you so much, perverts looking for naked pictures of the original Hooters Girl!!). Well, that was five long years ago and lots of stuff can happen in five years, such as her becoming one of my favorite people and probably the most organically funny person I know. Hence the necessity for a new interview! Except La Austin doesn't do interviews anymore, so this is just us having a conversation about various things. If you think you know all about the woman who was a Playboy centerfold, a baseball wife, a radio personality and of course, the face (and other stuff) that launched a billion chicken wings, you might be surprised by what she has to say.
So hear it is, The Ridiculously Inconsistent Podcast with special guest Lynne Austin. Enjoy!

Also, you need to know that she did make me some homemade butter and it was delicious.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Classic joke, classic customer service problem

A Jewish grandmother is watching her grandchild playing on the beach when a huge wave comes and takes him out to sea. She pleads, "please God, save my only grandson. I beg of you, bring him back." And a big wave comes and washes the boy back onto the beach, good as new. She looks up to heaven and says: "He had a hat!"

Gabe, before I send this out, take a look and tell me what you think. Thx. -G
Hey lady,
Uh, you're welcome?

Well, while the response is merited, it's kind of beneath You. Why don't we handle this one departmentally?
- Gabriel

Good call, Gabe. That's kind of what I thought. Take care of passing this on, please. Thx again. -G

Hey guys,
We need you to handle this situation, please. Feel free to utilize whatever measures necessary to make her happy. This is coming straight from the top!
- Gabriel

Wow! Okay, well, we'll see what we can do.

'ppreciate it muchly!

Dear ma'am,
We have received your complaint regarding your grandson's lost hat. As you might expect, we get hundreds, if not thousands of drowning victims on a daily basis and dozens of them are wearing hats for some reason. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the ability to maintain and manage a Lost and Found Department and are unable to return his hat to you. Actually, we do have a pretty extensive Lost Department; you are more than welcome to explore our extensive archive yourself, although you may find that to be cost prohibitive. We would recommend simply incurring the relatively minor expense of purchasing the boy a new hat. We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to offer you some compensation in the form of sea shells, free of charge. Many people find them very pretty and use them in a variety of ways to decorate their homes. Simply stop by any one of our convenient beach locations all over the world and pick them up, as many as you want. Again, we're sorry that we're unable to grant your request but we hope that you will continue to patronize us. We value our cuctomers!
The Ocean

What am I going to do with a bunch of shells from dead sea creatures? Why can't you just find the hat and return it? How hard can it be to find one hat? This just happened!

We understand your frustration. Please understand that we have a vital role in maintaining the global eco-system and our resources are all allocated to that effort. While it may seem like a simple task to simply return your lost item (such as was miraculously accomplished in the case of your grandson himself), the fact is that our vast network of tidal surges and powerful undercurrents could very well have carried the hat to Puerto Rico by now. We just don't know. Again, we value our customers and understand that you have been inconvenienced. We would like to offer you some free fresh seafood as a gesture of apology. Certain varieties of fish are quite delicious! Simply stop by any of our convenient locations, catch as many as you like, take them home and eat them.

The Ocean

What do I look like, a fisherman? How is a fish going to protect the little pisher from sunburn? You want he should wear a mackarel on his head? My son Peter married a shiksah from Minnesota where they have 10,000 lakes. They never have problems like this! Some fercockt lake in the middle of nowhere offers better service than the largest bodies of water in the whole world? Such a disappointment you are.

I knew I should have just kept the damn kid in the first place. Oy gevaldt.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Seeking some assistance for a friend

Oh hi! (Imagine you just walked in on me and I'm sitting at a wooden desk and building a model ship or something. Also, I'm wearing a cable-knit sweater.)
How was your holiday? If you got time off to enjoy it, I mean. If you didn't, how was your same regular work schedule? Same and regular, I'll bet. Geez, I'm sorry about that. Holiday or not, it's Monday and we're all back to our regular routines, so let's not live in the past, all right?
:: SEGUE::
No, instead let's live in the future, where hope is abundant and the possibilities are endless. With that in mind, I'd like to request your help on behalf of a friend and her future. The lovely, charming and talented Marissa Rapier, who has contributed to this very blog in the past, is facing some difficulties right now resultant from that most asshole-ish of all asshole diseases, cancer (FUN FACT: Her old blog's URL is now a porn site and today's entry is titled "Keep Your Tits Quiet" which is kind of amusing in an ironic fashion. I'm not including the link but you can Google it if you're so inclined.). She's recovering now but she's a single mom, obviously missing work and treatment is expensive. If you're able to pitch in, please do so by visiting this site. As always in these cases, anything will help. Thanks in advance if you're able to contribute. It's understood that everybody has their own problems and it's hard sometimes to spare cash on somebody else's behalf. If it helps for the sake of perspective, keep in mind that some people have all those same problems plus, through no fault of their own, they also have cancer dumped on them.
Seriously, cancer needs to fuck off already.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day 2014!

Hey there! It's July 4th, which here in America is Independence Day. That's the day that we fought the Revolutionary War back when soldiers wore band uniforms and wigs. It's also the title for a science fiction/action flick that came out a few years ago and is probably on TV right now. If you haven't started watching it, don't because it's awful. Really, really stupid. If you have, eh, go ahead and finish it. It's not that bad.
Anywho, I presume you're off to celebrate the holiday. Hey, me too! For that reason, you know, no new material for you today. But it is Friday and I still feel obligated to entertain you three days a week. So here's a video of a gentleman eating a sandwich.

Naw man, I don't know his name or anything about him. This was the first thing that pops up if you search "guy eating a sandwich" on YouTube. I don't even know what kind of sandwich it is. It doesn't matter. You wanna know why? Because freedom, that's why. Because in this country, on this special day, he is free to eat any kind of goddamn sandwich he pleases. Or not eat one, for that matter. The Taliban, the Westboro Baptist Church, the Tea Party, various unaffiliated nihilists, the British. Nobody can mess with that. DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS! (seriously, you don't want to do it)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

More concerns about nature and how it's out to get me

On Monday, I wrote about the climbing vine that tried to steal my wind chime. That entry resulted in this comment bveing posted by one of my writing partners, Michael Noble:
"If I were you - and I'm not, so you know - I would keep one eye open when you go to bed at night. That plant could be a renegade Triffid or something and you might have pissed it off. Better yet ... I'd move if I were you. Or at least get a dummy that looks like you for a decoy just in case."
Well, that's just great. That's coming from my writing partner, you guys! Who has my best interests in mind more than a writing partner? That's correct; nobody. if he thinks it's a serious threat, THEN IT IS!!
There's proof beyond Michael's trepidations that this is a legitimate threat. Here's one of the vines on Tuesday morning at 9:00AM...

And here it is at the same time this morning...

It looks like it grew nearly six inches in 24 hours. That's fast!
Obviously, I'm not equipped to handle this. I've never made a dummy of myself before. My first instinct is to get a pumpkin to use as a head and then take some of my clothes and stuff them with more of my other clothes. Since I already pretty much look like a pile of my clothes (specifically if someone were to leave a pile of my clothes on the ground next to the Goodwill box and they were rained on for a couple of days), I guess that would mostly work but I JUST DON'T KNOW!
This plays directly into my already-instilled fear that if something happens to me, I'll be missing a week before somebody notices and that it will be another week before they decide they should come looking for me. And that's if I die from natural causes like some woman stabbing me. It doesn't take into account being murdered in my sleep by a sentient weed that can hide my entire house with camouflage. This is something I'm going to need to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, if you guys don't see me for a couple of weeks, you know what's up.