A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

28 April 2006

Half Daze

Whose half-brained idea was it who came up with half days at school? Did someone decide they'd stick it to the people who go back to sleep after they drop their children off? Did they get mad at the people who made more money than them and figure "Well if we throw in six half days a year...they'll have to either take the whole day off or leave at lunchtime...and that might get them fired...then they'll have no recourse other than to work at a school for what *I* make and that'll teach them to make more money than me." Or did they plain not think the whole thing out to start with? I'm betting on that one.

Now if you are like me...and those 10 people out there can sympathize...but I don't ever get tired. I have this whole "reset" thing I do. It goes something like this: Once in a while I'll actually get tired...and if I don't act on this 10-15 minute threshold of time...my window of opportunity...my portal to sleepiness, as it were...I "reset" and get wide awake again. And my whole life I've never been able to sleep the "regular" time other people do...I used to just lie there and go "Oh...2:00 a.m"....toss toss..."Oh...3:00 a.m."...etc., until I had to get up at 6:00 to go to school or work. So...since I don't work, I don't even bother to go to sleep or try...until after my kids go to school. Then it typically takes me a couple hours to fall asleep...that puts it at about 10-11:00-ish...then I don't have to get up until around 2:00 to get them at 3:00. So, this half day thing really puts a crimp in MY sleep schedule.

But I take Ambien now or I don't sleep...and sometimes it kicks in quickly and 15 minutes later my typing is getting kinda wonky...the computer screen changes from flat to rounded and I realize I should probably just call it a nite. Other times, three hours later and nothing. That's what usually happens...so that's why I'm not going to bother taking one tonite as I'll be driving in one of those Ambien-induced hypnotic trances you've been hearing so much about (hey, there's a future blog idea)...and undoubtedly eating something at the same time without realizing it. But now back to the half day issue I have such an issue with.

I cannot be the only one this half-day thing displaces...and each time they have one at my daughter's school they never have after-school care...so it's not like these working people can just take advantage of that. No...they have to leave work early or not go in at all. So, considering this whole premise here, wouldn't it be logical that the school would either make it a full day...or have the WHOLE day off? Oh, I know the concept of "sleeping in" is lost on the majority of people here in Alabama (at least everyone I've ever spoken with)...I think the whole state wakes up all nice and chipper about the time I turn off the television to go TO bed. But there are SOME people who are from out of state who live here who have actually slept in on weekends...and maybe they'd welcome the opportunity to do it IF they had the whole day off.

So, either way...with or without taking Ambien, I'll be going off half-asleep to pick my daughter up tomorrow...and you can bet there's a whole bunch of people who won't begin to hear the half of it for taking off, too.

26 April 2006

Me Afraid...Me Very Afraid

Long before there were disclaimers on television warning about content, there was "Night Gallery". In the early 70's, "Night Gallery" routinely spooked adult viewers, but to a child of approximately 10-years-old, it was downright frightening...and I think I owe the onset of my fear of scary films to none other than Rod Serling. Rod, whose scariest feature nowadays if he came on television would be the fact he's smoking a cigarette, left an indelible mark on me.

I remember in my carefree youth watching "Lassie", "The Wonderful World of Disney", "The Brady Bunch" and then one unsuspecting nite, an episode of "Night Gallery" which scared the bejeebies out of me. It was one where a little girl befriends this "thing" she finds, this seaweed-type monster that follows her home, kills her friend that she's having a tiff with, and then in the end she winds up weeping openly over its stone-encased carcass, proclaiming her affinity and affection for it. Oh...I've watched it since and it's totally mundane, but to a child who has to go to sleep...alone in bed in a house next to the woods...oh it CAN come and get you...and it will. I had nitemares well up until the time I stupidly agreed to see "Halloween" at the movie theatre in Lumberton, New Jersey, with my girlfriend. Lumberton, you see...is just a hop, skip and a 'jump on top of your car' from Haddonfield, NJ. Haddonfield is where "Halloween" takes place...never mind it takes place in Illinois...all I remembered was seeing that "Haddonfield" sign...and the realization we were only a few miles from one just like it. Even the IMDb states in their Halloween "trivia" section that Haddonfield, NJ is the home of their screenwriter, Debra Hill. A fact that I didn't learn about until recently...talk about eerie, huh?

Oh, I was okay after the film...walking out to the parking lot...until we got into my car. Remember the scene where Michael Myers is on top of the car? Well...envision me going down Rte 38 (let's just say "our I-85") and suddenly thinking some guy's trying to bust his way inside via my roof. Then picture me after I dropped my friend off and drove all the way back to my house...back thru the woods, around the lake...all the while with some maniac atop my VW. So I made it home...you'd have thought the nitemare would've ended there, huh? Think again. Before bed I looked in my closet, under my bed, back in my closet, and under my bureau...do you KNOW the clearance of an average bureau??? A cat can't comfortably fit under there for cripes sake! Now the clincher...ready for this? I did this for years...YEARS...yes, years. It was my obsessive compulsive disorder ritual. It was, I admit it...I'm not afraid...well, not afraid to admit it at least.

Why am I even mentioning this? Because sure enough while I sit here all alone at 1:30 a.m., there WILL be a scary movie advertisement on. It will be right before I go to bed...okay, in three hours...but it WILL come on. The 'scare du jour' lately? "Silent Hill". I avert my eyes quickly...hit the TiVo pause button and wait until the designated time seems to have elapsed. But the damage is done...it's already IN my head...the mere title of any cinematic concoction such as "The Ring", "The Shining", and "Psycho" is enough to do it for me...I don't even have to know what it's about...just the fact someone deemed it scary is enough for my imagination to make it much worse than it probably is. Case in point...I read "The Exorcist" when it first came out...I think I should have seen the film instead. Consequently, I can't even watch a documentary on exorcism...in fact I'm surprising myself by even typing the words. I am indeed a scaredy-cat. I fear I am the consummate wimp.

So, if the scary "slash" horror movie industry had to rely on me for their revenue they would have died out...in some horrible, tortuous way...years ago. So I won't see "Saw"...I won't watch "The Watcher" and I'll be damned if I'd look in my basement...if I had one.

24 April 2006

Board is the Word

"Science Rules!" Oh, shut up, Bill Nye...isn't it time they find a replacement for you anyway? Okay, I admit, I did like Bill...he was fun...getting together your child's science project at T-minus 10 hours...isn't.

Oh, she did all the required things...grew her gross restaurant table germs nicely in the Petri dishes our doctor friend kindly provided...photographed them every other day...kept a little "growth" log...BUT we all failed to realize that we'd be hunting the elusive "science project display board" after she inadvertently messed up our one and only...and apparently Montgomery's one and only.

We have no choice in the matter, we are forced to make the trek down to the Montgomery Office Depot...but only to find there are none on the shelves. My daughter and I walked around and around and couldn't find them...so off we go to ask directions as to where they might be hiding them. The guy we asked was actually more than helpful...hey, I've had massive problems with the Office Depot employees here in town...MASSIVE. If you aren't a people-person...ya know, maybe you shouldn't work WITH people. But that wasn't the case with this guy...and usually I do tell on the good employees, but time was of the essence here and it was fast approaching 5:30. This worker informed us that the only place that science project boards could be had weren't IN Montgomery...none at Walmart, none at Target, none anywhere...except the Prattville Office Depot...to which I responded, "Considering this is the time of year that all the science projects are due...why didn't you guys stock up?" I knew he didn't know but that didn't stop me from asking...not like he ran the store...but maybe he should be.

So, off we go to break the sound barrier to get to the Prattville Office Depot by their 6:00 closing time. Luckily we did. I think there's another science project IN there somewhere but there's always next year. Oh...by the way...the Prattville Office Depot...rules! It's a LOT nicer, newer and each person we ran into was incredibly helpful...especially this one man who kept asking us if we needed any more help with the poster boards...informed us that he was putting more out...and are we sure we found the one we needed.

But let's rewind a bit. When we first get out of the van I noticed a woman and her teenage daughter getting out of their vehicle. Thoughts of "If they think they are grabbing the last project display board they got another thing coming" were dancing...make that coursing thru my brain. And sure enough, they headed straight for the boards...but I won...as I can usually sniff out where anything is in any given store. A trait I feel isn't going to be isolated on any DNA molecule any time soon...and maybe for good reason. Alas. But there was no need to intercept this unsuspecting poor lady and her child anyway, as the Office Depot guy was already running interference...he'd been doing it all day. Everyone in Montgomery was apparently making the pilgrimage to Prattville this weekend to buy these things. Had I been entrepreneurish I would have bought a bunch and sat outside and sold them at triple the price...but as I said earlier, time was of the essence.

So, here we still sit...counting down the hours to go before we are done...and we WILL learn our lesson...at least until next year.

22 April 2006

Award From Our Sponsor

"Oh...I'm not going to win. I'll never even get nominated. I'm not what they are looking for."

Just what am I talking about...again? Why, the Mother's Day contest the Montgomery Advertiser is running. Oh, it's not that I am not a good mom...I'm just not the "typical" mom.

Personally, I think I'm the 2nd best mom there ever was...okay...maybe the 3rd...14th...337th? I would like to have had me as a mom...if I didn't have my Mom, that is. She never won any "Best Mom" contests either. We never nominated her...I never did. She just wasn't "typical" enough. Mothers who don't fit that "cookie-baking cutter" image don't typically win these awards...so typically no one bothers to nominate them to begin with.

I don't bake cookies, I don't hang around at the school, I don't run the local chapter of the Girl Scout Troop, I don't have dinner on the table at 5:30 every nite. Not saying at all those aren't admirable qualities...just saying I don't do them. I do, however, watch my kids like a hawk...no panel of toy watchers ever had to tell me which toy they could or couldn't play with...as I WATCHED them. They never got into any cleaning products or ate any plants or sat in the cat litter box chowing down...as I WATCHED them. They were awake...I was awake. They crawled where they weren't supposed to crawl...I moved them back. My daughter is almost 11 and I still hold her hand in the parking lot and in a lot of stores. When my son started driving and drove himself to college...he called me when he got there - he called me when he left. Call it overprotective...but I called my mother each time I went somewhere out of town (even overnite Atlanta trips)...and I called her upon my return. Just because one day I became an adult didn't mean she stopped worrying. I knew she worried...I grew up but never stopped being her child. It didn't hurt me to call...and I'd give nearly anything to be able to call her now. You see, she died Halloween, 1999.

She never baked cookies either...never hung out at school...never did those other things...but she was always there. I told her everything...oh yeah...EVERYTHING. She was my best friend. She rode bikes with me when I was a kid...she jumped rope with me when I learned...she tagged along to the mall with me when I got my driver's license...she knew who it was when I played Jethro Tull, U2, or Peter Gabriel...she even went to a Genesis concert with me in Philadelphia...and knew the songs. All the younger people in line were amazed..."You LIKE this music?? Wow, I wish MY mom would listen to the stuff I like...she'd never come to a concert." She wasn't just 20 years older than me either...she had me when she was 42...there was a definite age gap there. She didn't see it...neither did I. You see, she wasn't your "typical mom". And she never won any awards.

So...I sit back, content that my 18-year-old son still kisses me goodnite, still wants me to play video games with him, still bothers the heck out of me with the songs he listens to...and doesn't get all bent out of shape to have me be seen in the same car as him. We joke around ALL the time...and can put those MST3K people to shame ANY day when we parody a movie or television show. In fact he's calling me now to come in his room to look at something. How many parents of 18-year-olds can boast that? I'm also content that my daughter talks to me constantly about Border Collies and Papillon dogs that she sooooooo wants to get one day...and a whole bunch of other things I won't get into (hey, I have been known to ramble a tad).

I am also content that, like my mother, I will never win a Mother's Day award.

20 April 2006

Jersey Girl

As many of you have read in my previous blogs, I am originally from New Jersey...I lived in Jersey for 26 years. You can take the girl out of Jersey...but trust me, you can NOT take Jersey out of this girl...even tho I've lived here for 16 years. Oh...I know...everyone from New York and most places make fun of Jersey...even Craig Ferguson has made fun of Jersey on numerous occasions...and he's from Scotland. What are the chances New Jersey is made fun of IN Scotland? Okay, okay...I'd say pretty good.

So we are a comedic wasteland in Jersey, not unlike well...um...um...the toxic waste dumps we have so many of. We aren't New York, we're New York "Lite"...so altho we have the attitude there...THEY get all the glory for it. Oh...there's glory in having a New York attitude, but a Jersey one? Hey...we got Tony Soprano...and we recently had a contest to give Jersey a whole new slogan...you can probably guess how many sent in had the words "Tony Soprano" in it. I'd guess 1/3 of the 11,000 sent in. In the end, Jeffrey Antman of Passaic won with "New Jersey, Come See For Yourself". It was probably shortened from "New Jersey, Come See For Yourself Where the Bodies are Buried"...but you know...it wouldn't fit on the license plate.

Have you ever noticed we are the only two-word state that can go by its "last name"? Jersey. You don't ever hear anyone say they are from Dakota, York, Carolina, etc., it just doesn't happen. But you CAN be from Jersey...and no, it's not "Joisey"...I never in my 26 years of living there and subsequent visiting EVER heard anyone pronounce it "Joisey". I think we made that up to mess with people...oh we'd do that, we would. Oh, we mess with people in other ways, too...but if I told ya, I'd hafta kill ya. Hey, that's a joke...no, seriously...it is...don't let that slogan sway you.

I think we also have the uncanny ability to spot one of "us"...it's like some strange secret thing going on...kinda like the Freemasons...only we admit we have secrets. C'mon, someone knows where Hoffa is, after all...and you can bet they're from Jersey. But it's true...whenever I see someone on a talk show...my ears prick up and I watch for a little while...my little Jersey radar goes off and I'll go to the Internet Movie Database to see where they are from...and sure enough...Jersey! It has NOT failed yet. I even can spot them in a restaurant like the time I'm eating at City Grill (haven't been there yet...you should)...and I hear this guy talking...I home in on it right away...he's GOT to be from Jersey! I am not in the least shy, so after they get their check I saunter on over and confront him about it...sure enough...yep...and we start talking Jersey for a while.

And when someone who lives in Alabama from Jersey talks to another person from Jersey the subject of how you just can't get a decent hoagie or cheesesteak (yeah, I know they are FROM Philly...but we can do 'em, too) WILL come up . Why no one here has made a killing setting up an authentic Jersey hoagie (or for you Alabamians..."sub") shop is beyond me...unless, like Hoffa, it's a deeply buried secret.

18 April 2006

Eggs To Dye For

Did I miss my stained-glass window of opportunity? Can I still talk about...Easter egg hunts? I'm still sick and now on antibiotics to deal with the noises in my head...I said "noises"...not "voices"...so you can relax. But at least maybe I have a logical reason I can blame on this delay.

When I was growing up, there wasn't much they talked about that killed you in the food realm...except for mayonnaise. "Don't leave mayonnaise out in the sun...it can kill you." I don't know about you, but the odds of us taking the mayonnaise jar out to play with it as a kid and then decide we were hungry and wanted to have a snack...were pretty much nil. We could eat raw beef, we didn't need to cook our hamburgers until they registered 160 degrees inside...we touched other things after we stuffed the turkey and yes, we actually crammed all that stuffing INSIDE the cavity...and we could have runny eggs without worrying about salmonella.

Not only that...but we could dye them the nite before Easter and have our parents hide them after we went to bed. Oh...anyone over the age of, uh...my age, knows what I'm talking about. It was like a lesser Christmas...but with candy instead of presents...plus we got to play "hide and go seek" with deadly egg products. If only we knew. Why we were so enthused with searching for dyed eggs is beyond me...c'mon it's an egg...this is way before the plastic ones that you hid money in. So...on our expedition we would go...usually right after church in our fancy clothes. And back in my day, that meant wearing my new dress and pastel-coloured coordinated coat, shoes, hat and gloves. Yes, gloves...and of course the dye would rub off on the gloves but it didn't matter as we only wore them once anyway. Along with the hat, coat, shoes and dress.

Okay, so off we went...we were kids on a mission...and if you had siblings, this mission was a big deal. "Must get more eggs than the others." Again...why? I don't know! So...we searched in the house...behind the sofa cushions, under the sofa where the cats and dog routinely played, inside the old Grundig shortwave radio/record player, inside shoes, out in the yard under more unsanitary things...and then we were told to stop...that we found them all...or more often, we just gave up looking. And if we gave up looking, you know what that meant...one day, in the not too distant future...someone will "find" an egg...in some state of science project deterioration...and of course that someone will have to crack it open to look at and smell it...and ask YOU to smell it, too.

So, there we were...with our stash of multi-hued eggs...invariably with shells that cracked in the boiling/dying process the nite before, so when you peeled the shells off, the white was always shades of purple and this awful sickly green colour. Doesn't matter if the egg was red on the outside...the stain inside was always going to be purple and green. A little known fact...PAAS actually stands for "Purple And Awful Sickly green"...well, they left off the "G" as it didn't sound or flow right. Oh I made that up...yes, it's silly, but I am still sick. Actually PAAS was invented by Newark, NJ drug store owner, William Townley. He named it after "Passen" after the word that his Pennsylvania Dutch neighbors used for Easter. So, in a nutshell...or in this case, eggshell...New Jersey trivia to boot.

And then our pre-Easter meal feast commenced. We actually ATE them...well, we ate a couple...the rest got smashed up in a bowl for egg salad with some mayonnaise. That is, AFTER we brought that jar back inside.

15 April 2006

'Breakout' of the Randomness

I am soooooooo old. How do I know I'm soooooooo old? Have any of you of the age of...say...remembering the 70's clearly...tried playing any video games lately? Oh my expertise ended with Space Invaders...and damn I was good. I confess...I never got into pinball...I had friends who were into pinball...I freaked out each time the thing said "TILT". Maybe, if I'm lucky, four or five of you out there reading this will understand what I just said...I am soooooo old.

I also never played Pac-Man...Ms Pac-Man or anything you had to put a quarter into. I did, however buy an Atari USED. How pathetic is that? A used Atari...it's a game player, people...remember "Pong"? Ever heard of "Pong"? Oh...go ask your father...sigh. I did...I bought one LONG before you could go ONLINE and go to eBay and bid on things...ready for this? I had to LOOK in the paper for someone actually SELLING one. Then I had to physically GO to their house and buy it. You might not actually believe this...but I still have it...along with the 10 games I bought it with. Oh...there was Pong...Asteroids, some really bad Skiing game...and like six others I never played and then there was the coup de grace...Space Invaders!

Oh, I soooooooo ruled playing Space Invaders...I would kick everyone's butt. Well, remember, this was on an Atari game system...but I soooooo pwned people. Well, back then we called it "creamed". But I was good at it.

Now back to my original question...have any of you "older people" played any video games lately? I have an 18-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter...both can annihilate me. This is how I see it - anything more complicated than a typical Atari joystick...ain't gonna happen. This newfangled thingy you use has like 8 buttons...how do you REMEMBER where 8 buttons are, let alone WHAT they are and what combination you have to push to do things? Nowadays you go online...get cheat codes and become invincible. In Atari you just got killed...you started over again and you got killed again...until someone told you some tidbit of info like "Psssst...Pac-Man ghosts only go in ONE direction"..."Dude...you gotta be kidding me...how did I NOT figure that out???" Only we said "man" and not "dude"...again factor in the age factor.

But I sit and play Super Smash Bros. and One Piece Grand Battle...with my ONE character, "Sir Crocodile" or "Mr 0" as he's called...and I just found that out...I just pick the same guy...and I still suck. Stick with the same guy...there's 19 of them and each one does special attacks and a secret attack and you grab the fruit and it gives you power and you grab the crystal and you get more lives and what the heck am I doing? I press buttons randomly...no purpose...randomly. My son lets me win periodically..."Oh you are doing good...see? You won this time...you are getting better." Oh, right...press the "A" button three times? I have to stop and look down to SEE which one IS the "A" button...and it's the BIG button. I am sooooooo lame...I am sooooooo old. I am soooooooo pwned.

12 April 2006

Café olé?

I don't like coffee...which is strange when you realize that both my mother and father predominantly drank it all the time. In fact, I don't ever remember my mother drinking anything but coffee. So, in my case, the apple...or the bean, as it were...fell far from the bush.

I know people who drink coffee...I know people who drink a lot of it...and I know people who seem to only drink it to be seen...you know the types, the "I'm toddling off to Starbucks to get a Mochalochafrappalino" ones. Okay, fine, you DO that. I'll save $5.50 and have a glass of wine or something instead...and you can bet it won't have some frou-frou name neither.

Now I'm not saying that I've never drank coffee...but I'm rather in the "on" mode every waking second, so I am one of those people who doesn't need a jolt of caffeine in the morning...and I certainly don't need one anytime in the evening...so when I drink coffee, I "cheat" and drink the decaffeinated kind. Oh, sure...I have the ritzy coffeemaker to make it in and everything...hey, if I'm NOT going to drink a product, I'm darn well not going to drink it in style. So, I researched on Coffeegeek.com and found myself a "lovely to look at, lovely to drink from", elitist coffeemaker. Personally, I've used it about three times. But back to morning jolts and I don't mean people who live next to the San Andreas Fault Line...I'm talking java, black gold, cup of Joe, morning brewski...whatever you want to call it.

Well, there are a myriad of ways to get that coffee fix into your body during the day or nite without actually having to wait in line or brew some up yourself...there's all sorts of coffee-flavoured candies, ice-creams...there's coffee-flavoured tea for heaven's sake. And there's coffee-flavoured liqueurs...Kahlua which manages to get more sugar content in it than pure cane sugar comes with naturally...and then the Starbucks coffee-flavoured liqueur...which tastes much stronger in the coffee department, so chances are I'll never buy another. And I'm sure there are tons of other coffee-flavoured things...even chips and coffee-flavoured breads...and if they aren't out there yet...wait...they will be.

But for now, there's a new one on the block...or should I say BLOK? Coke has decided to get into the "Jolt Cola" type of marketing strategy...only adding a taste of coffee to their concoction besides the extra caffeine and sugar. Hmmmm...

My friend wrote me of his run-in with this new Coke at a sampling station in New York City just this past week. I commented to him that his description of the event sounded very much like what I try to convey in my blogs...so he said that I could "appropriate that theme" into my blog if I so needed an idea. I took "appropriate" to mean "feel free to say what I just said and put it in your blog"...as you can well deduce, I grant myself a lot of leeway...so, here's an actual comment penned not only by my "screenplay co-writer"...but someone who actually loves coffee (and the ensuing side-effects thereof I think)...

A few days ago, there were some young people on 7th Avenue handing out free
samples of "Coca-Cola BLAK," which is "Coke with coffee essence," at 8:00 in the
morning (yawn!), so I stopped and said to one of them, "Can I just look at it,
and if I don't like it, give it back to you?" He said, "Sure," and handed
me one. Then he said, "You'll give it back to me." I read the
ingredients list, and of course it's pure Coke with "coffee essence" as the
fifth or sixth ingredient, so I went "ew" out loud and handed it back to
him. He took it and said, "Told you so."

I guess "BLAK" is supposed to be a cutesy marketing way of spelling
"black," as in "I take my coffee . . . ," but in my case it was more a spelling
of the sound I made when I thought about someone putting all that sugar and
caffeine into himself!

I am not a health-food Nazi, as you know, but it does seem as though at
some point you could just inject amphetamines directly into your carotid artery
and get the same results.

So, they couldn't even give the stuff away at 8:00 a.m. to people on a busy New York City street...to people who actually LIKE coffee...what does that tell you?? Will Coke BLAK be destined to run the same course as New Coke, Vanilla Coke, and all those other Cokes that seem to appeal to 2% of the population? And why didn't they call it Mocha Coke? That would have seemed so much better than BLAK. Will we see some really bad commercial on TV with a guy on his way to work, eyes falling shut...and a voiceover from above saying "Don't black out on your way to work...BLAK out instead!" Oh...it might happen...I've seen those Snickers commercials...and you'd think NOTHING could get worse than those...well, okay, this isn't worse than those...but given the "proper" ad agency...who knows.

10 April 2006

Sick of it All

Well, I was doing just fine...everyone I talked to had gotten sick except me. Then this weekend my daughter came down with something and yesterday it was passed on to me. In fact within just a few minutes of talking to my friend online, I got considerably worse and had to scrounge around the house for medicine which ended up not working. Then I ended up not taking an Ambien last nite, and if I don't take an Ambien...I'm not going to sleep. Consequently, I haven't slept yet and my extremely brilliant mock up of "The DaVinci Code" verdict and the right to write books was done by Craig Ferguson last Friday...and I'm not going to plagiarize off of him...uh...no comment.

So...this is the end of my very short blog. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel like doing something...anything...as today I sure don't.

07 April 2006

Out With the Old...In With the News

Everyone gets to move up a notch come June. Well, not everyone, but everyone who falls below Katie Couric...jobwise. Sure...didn't you know? Katie replaces Dan Rather's stand in, Bob Schieffer; Meredith Vieira replaces Katie's old job at "The Today Show", someone's going to replace Vieira's job at "The View"...and so on and so forth. So, we all move up one place...except for Schieffer who has to go to the back of the line because he's too old. Too old...like Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were.

Oh, c'mon...didn't you know? They probably spent millions of dollars doing surveys and paying those consulting firms whose only real job it is...is telling you how to do things "better". Of course, it's always just based on speculation...so if you want a dream job...become one of those. People pay to hear you tell them what to do. Not that you know...but you have scads of paperwork to back-up your analysis. I can get scads of paperwork to back-up nearly everything I say if I go on Google...but no one pays me for the privilege. So...Katie is demographically in a niche that hopefully is going to pull in younger viewers. Younger viewers who don't bother turning on the news anymore...they read it at their convenience online, get it from "The Daily Show", and read it on their iPods commuting to work. Most aren't even home by the time the national news comes on...and this is where they must figure Couric will excel.

Who watches "The Today Show"? People getting ready for their jobs? Well just snippets of it, but I bet most people who watch "The Today Show" are probably stay at home types, those getting their kids ready for school...those busy working from home...and/or those taking care of their parents...oh, there's a whole lot of those coming of age...it's true. These are then the same people who will be home in time to watch the news when it rolls around...so who should they trust but someone they've been watching for eons. Who even KNOWS Bob Schieffer? What did he do? Some White House correspondent? Some guy on 60 Minutes...Dan Rather's brother? But Katie is a household name...and product placement is everything...so let's place her in that slot.

Wait...isn't Katie too perky...she's been hosting the morning show for 15 years...how is she going to make the transition to evening news? Believe me...the woman is 49 years old...she's had two children...ain't too much perky on her any more...so I'm sure she can make the change just fine. And at 49, she should be getting ready for it any year now. But seriously...I used to find her exceedingly annoying...but I believe in the last few years she's mellowed...she's settled in and is more aware that she can be serious, and can be taken seriously...without having to resort to cheerleader-type enthusiasm. Sure, she's still a little quirky...but if I were making $14 mil a year, I'd probably be all loopy, too.

And so, we all move up a notch...which, considering that I'm unemployed...I'm not too sure where I fit in...but I'm still ahead of old Bob Schieffer. But I can't help but think CBS would be ahead if they just rehired Dan Rather...and NBC would be ahead if they brought Tom Brokaw back. Sure, they aren't as young as Couric...but I don't think I need to have a consulting company to figure out they'd pull in the figures they want. Go figure.

06 April 2006

Be...cause célèbre

"What's Nick Lachey up to since his split from Jessica Simpson?" "Who did Tara from 'The Bachelor' go to 'Ice Age 2's premiere with?" "The person who came in 22nd in last year's 'American Idol' is sporting the next celeb-baby-bump!" Who cares? I don't know of one single person who cares. In fact, when I ask them if they care, they vehemently deny it. I see people on TV go on and on about how they could care less who these "destined for future performances on 'Dancing with the Stars'" celebrities saw or spoke to, dated, or smooched. So if no one cares, that brings me to only one logical conclusion: Those "People"-type magazines are making this stuff up because it's filler. "Hey, did Jennifer Aniston do something today? No? Okay...key up that story about that guy who once dated Princess Diana's sister's friend...and run it on page 2...where everyone can see it. Make sure you put "Princess Diana" in big letters on the cover...with maybe a nice photo of Prince William underneath. Why? Because we can...and if we hype it up enough...you will believe someone cares enough to want to know...and odds are, you will want to know, too." Most people...are followers after all.

Face it...couldn't you live the rest of your life without knowing the reason behind the breakup of Matt LeBlanc's marriage? I know I could. Now his soon-to-be-ex will have her own personal paparazzi crew following her for the next month. How bad must it be to be the "lesser celebrity" photo snapper guy? All these other ones are off taking photos of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes going somewhere to dinner...you are tasked with taking photos of Kato Kaelin parking their car...and undoubtedly someone will be emailing Gawker.com with those very details.

What? You haven't heard about Gawker.com aka GawkerStalker? A website whose main purpose in life is to provide you with up-to-the-minute geotracking of celebrities. "I just saw Harrison Ford get out of his car in front of Bergdorf's"...and all of a sudden...it's public knowledge. How bad is that? Now, I would love to attain some celebrity status...but I certainly wouldn't want a tail on me 24-hours a day...and I certainly would not want some site detailing to the drive-by-shooting public where I am at any given moment. Enter George Clooney. I've never really been a fan of George Clooney...nor do I know who he's dating, what he ate for dinner last nite, or what kind of car he drives. I do know, however, that he has a villa in Italy that Brad and Angelina Jolie did NOT get married at like every single magazine had hoped. But he's standing up to these people and decided he would try to sabotage their site by rallying his friends and others to text message, email, however they get their info...in...bogus sightings of celebrities. Atta boy, George...I like how you think. Just because these people make more money in one movie than most of us will make our entire lifetimes, does not give us the right to invade their privacy THAT much.

Just imagine...for every 10 "I love you Julia Roberts...I've seen ALL your films...when are you making another?" letter her "letter opener person" opens up...there's probably one or two "I love you Julia...and NO ONE but ME will EVER love you AGAIN...P.S...I know where you are right now as Gawker just updated their map" (okay...I realize that by the time she'd get the letter...she wouldn't be there anymore...but it was just for dramatic effect). THAT is the realism I would NOT want to face being a celebrity...and the reality that no matter how low you are on that 'Celebrity Food Chain Pyramid'...there's someone out there photographing your every move and quite a few who now know your every move...if even for an instant. Do we really need another Rebecca Schaeffer or John Lennon incident to wake these people up to what they are really doing?

04 April 2006

The Best at Being Worst...and Proud of It!

Well, seems it's that time of year again...the dreaded deadline looming ahead like so many ravenous vultures...like so many you lose count - even if you have one of those fancy hand-held metal clicker things that can be punched to 999 before it resets back to zero...then I guess you have to mentally remember that it spun around one whole time already, kinda like when you're dealing out cards and the phone rings and interrupts you midway and you forget who gets the next card, so you just start all over again because someone probably looked at your cards while you were gone anyway. Yep, the 15th of April is fast approaching and soon everyone will be asking each other, "Did you get it in on time? Did you get your entry in?"

"What the heck is she saying??" you might have asked yourself...and what about vultures? Is she talking about the IRS? Accountants? Huh...cards??? "Nay", say I...I'm talking about 'The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest' also referred to as the 'It was a dark and stormy night' competition. You might have read about it when I won the Grand Prize in 2003. Oh, c'mon...it was on the front page of the Montgomery Advertiser...surely you couldn't have forgotten that? Well, okay...maybe you did. Sigh. Let me then enlighten and elucidate...

You see that long sentence I started my blog off with? The one that goes on and on and on and on. Well, that was intentional..and not just because I am a bad writer (oh, keep the remarks to yourselves) but because I was, at least in 2003, proclaimed as the BEST at being the worst. I won the dubious distinction of writing the worst opening line to a fictional novel...and that opening sentence, above, is a little bit like what you'll see in the competition. Need a better, er...um...worse...example? Here is my winning entry:

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.

The rules can be found on their home page...but they are relatively simple. Write the opening line for a fictional novel...make it bad...but make it enjoyably bad. Longer is not necessarily better, but it seems they do tend to favour longer entries...but be careful on your punctuation...there's only so many words you can string together before it gets too monotonous. Monotonous doesn't cut it...badly well written does.

So, do you have what it takes to make the cut? Cut might not be the best choice of words...don't cut...but rather elaborate. Can you write famously bad...to get 14 minutes of fame? All forms of glory can be headed your way...I was interviewed on CNN Live (yes, in the daytime)...and a bunch of other radio/tv stations from California to Australia...I showed up on over 7000 hits on Google...more than Alex Trebek; less than Mel Gibson...my name and entry was in newpapers, literally from Albania to Zimbabwe...I even made the front page of USA Today. In a nutshell, I loved it...can you tell? Okay, so Letterman never called...and Conan O'Brien's people said I probably couldn't fill up six minutes of airtime. Uh huh...right. And Craig Ferguson wasn't around yet...what a pity. But I do try my best to get the word out to people who might not necessarily know about the contest because it really was both a fun experience and an honour to be chosen. Thank you again, Scott Rice.

(Professor Scott Rice, of San Jose University, is the originator of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which has been running continually since 1982.)

02 April 2006

"The Name's Blonde...Jane Blonde"

Gentlemen prefer blondes...blondes have more fun... Take your pick...but you have to know that blondes do stand out. How many female blonde sex symbols can you name? Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot. Now the brunettes: Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch. Sure, there's Gina Lollobrigida (oh think back, people) and Rita Hayworth...but even Rita changed her hair colour more times than you can count (especially if you're blonde)...and her then husband, director/actor Orson Welles, made her dye her hair blonde for "The Lady From Shanghai"...knowing all too well blonde wasn't her shade. Did I mention their marriage was on the skids? Again, I digress...but all humanity knows that, "In the valley of the blonde... the ones with the Midas touch are king"...well, queen, really.

And where would we be without the blonde joke...the consummate airhead...the idyllic counterpart to the less than bright guy...someone to make HIM feel special. The shiny bright object of desire in the bar that all men gravitate toward like a moth to a flame. Have I left out ANY stereotypical blondisms? Maybe one...but maybe I just had a 'blonde moment' and forgot?

I felt some responsibility to explain myself...to vindicate myself...to clarify to those of you who have been reading my blogs and have noticed that I pick on "blondes". I hold absolutely no animosity towards those of the blonde persuasion. I, myself, have been a blonde on more than one occasion. I was even BORN a blonde. I did, however, feel the wrath that nearly all blondes experience. I was even told once...okay...many more times than once...but one stands out in particular...long before those sexual harassment suits came about...that, and I quote...nearly verbatim, altho it's been a few years..."My...I thought you were stupid because you were blonde...you really ARE intelligent, aren't you?" This was at a Civil Engineering staff meeting on an Air Force Base where I used to work. And it was said by someone, let's just say, high up there in authority. Now, I'm not a fool...and not being a fool, especially of the blonde variety, I used this type of mentality to my advantage. When you are blonde and somewhat pretty...people will grant you concessions...people don't expect much from you...it's true...don't believe it...dye your hair. When you do more than what is minimally expected...people nearly worship you. I was placed on a lot of pedestals in my day...and they were all of my doing...chances are if you are placing the fair-haired lady in your office on one...she led you there. Don't even try to deny it...she's much more savvy than you give her credit for...and most times, unfortunately, will ever get credit for. And those are the blondes that I do NOT refer to in my blogs.

The ones that I do pick on...are these types...and usually they aren't even natural blondes. The people who rely on their looks...the ones who think they can slide by each and every time with a wrinkled brow look that, really, only Hugh Grant can pull off...and he's not even blonde! Sorry...we know you aren't blonde either...chances are there's a lot about you that's not real...we could start pointing out a couple if you'd like us to. That laugh you have? The one in the restaurant or bar...the one that grabs everyone's attention like nails grating down a chalkboard? The cackle? Yes, that's about as attractive as that shade of yellow you sport on your head...at least find a colourist who can manage to find a shade that has been IN the Crayola crayon box...one that is known to man? Anyway...you know the type...the superfluous...obnoxious, "no one can be THAT stupid, can they, Jessica 'Chicken of the Sea' Simpson"? Or wait...is that just a clever marketing campaign and you've really got a 160 IQ? Hmmmm....nah.