Advertisements

Category Archives: Entertainment

A Forgotten Limerick

Faux Snooze

Looking through some of my old writings, many of which have never been published (some because they’ve never been finished,) I came across this limerick. It’s dated December 3, 2013.

Fox newscasts, so chock full of hate
Render truth an impervious gate
They so often dissemble
We can’t help but tremble
With hope they will soon meet their fate

Advertisements

Simple, Stupid, & Punny

I’m glad we decided to purchase Photoshop. I’ve been playing with it and sometimes I even get a little serious, spending some time learning how to use a tool I’m unfamiliar with. This wasn’t one of those times, though being able to select a small part of one photo and layering onto another requires a bit of patience and a reasonably steady hand. The latter I find difficult at times, as I have inherited essential (or familial) tremors from my mother, and there are times when I have a great deal of difficulty pointing and clicking in the right place. When I was back at Rocketdyne (2015 – 2017) there were times when I couldn’t easily log onto my computer in the morning because me hands were shaking so bad. At any rate, this here should be clear to anyone who knows a little Russian history and something about hand tools.

If you’ve seen one Russian, you’ve seen ’em all

PS – I’m not posting this for any reason other than I created it, it’s been shared on FB and Twitter, and I just want to have it somewhere that doesn’t disappear essentially forever. There’s nothing special about it, other than that it marks another bit of practice I had using Photoshop.


Was Binky a Unicorn?

Being the unabashed patriot that I am, I refuse to take anything about our country so seriously as to not be capable of mocking it, especially when it’s so richly deserved. I’ve been holding on to this specific cartoon of his for at least 25 years, as it (somewhat) mirrors my attitude toward reciting the pledge. As a member of one of my local Rotary Clubs for over four years, I recited the pledge quite frequently, at the beginning of each weekly meeting. My Democratic Club recites the pledge at the beginning of every monthly meeting. I no longer speak those words

I am only willing to pledge my allegiance to the human race; not to a particular nationality that I happen to be a part of though, to be clear, if we are attacked I will do everything in my power to defend my friends, my family, and my fellow citizens. I consider myself a patriot, but not a jingoistic one and I prefer we move toward seeing—and dealing with—the world as if we are all fellow citizens of this one planet. The only home we currently have, and most likely the only one we’ll have for centuries to come.

The original I’ve been holding on to all these years

Note there is no date on the cartoon above. I was guessing it was sometime in the 90s that I cut this out and saved it (I just scanned it, after all these years.) I decided to search a little and see what else I could find, including a copy of the original in a Google image search. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this version, below. I found another one that looked slightly different, but it was severely cropped and difficult to figure out.

Iteration numero dos

OK – So I found another one, also dated, which is two years younger than the one above. Of the two above, I have no idea which one was published first, but I’m going to suspect it was the first one I put up there. This was around the time I had started working at Rockwell International’s Rocketdyne Division and I needed to keep myself grounded in what I consider to be reality, meaning I didn’t want to fall into the mental trap of supporting what my government does blindly. I’ve always questioned authority, but working at Rocketdyne was a whole new experience for me. Prior to that job, I had always worked in small—very small—business, most of them employing no more than four or five people.

This is how it looked when I found it—stretched out

Somewhere, and I have no idea where that somewhere might be, there is a cartoon where one of the characters begins the pledge saying “I play the legions.” I remember this very clearly, but I don’t for the life of me remember where I encountered it. Having posted this, perhaps I will conduct a thorough search to see if I can find it. I’m not holding out much hope, but one never knows.

PS – In searching for a little more info, I came across an interesting column from 1988 in the Orlando Sentinel, entitled “‘I LED THE PIGEONS TO THE FLAG . . . ‘ BACK TO SCHOOL AND A GARBLED PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE,” which has some pretty interesting tidbits that kids have thrown into their recitation, though in their case it’s quite unwittingly. Matt was taking liberties wittingly, I’m sure.


Cherry Choppers?

Who’da thunk it?

Give ’em hell, George. I heard his call sign was “Oak Mouth” or “Fir Face” or “Cherry Choppers.” Something like that. Nobody knows (except for Mango Mussolini) how courageous and valiant he was at the Battle of Covfefe, during the Bowling Green episode. Given how anachronistic the whole affair turned out to be, it’s no surprise he was awarded both the Air Force Combat Action Medal, and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. Our Air Force wouldn’t be the same without his stellar service.


Doggone It!

I was a Wiener Clerk at the Wiener Factory back in the early 70s. “We may be contumacious, but we’re never revocatory.” “Tell us how long you want us to hold the onions.” The owner wrote every bit of graffiti in there . . . and the moderately risque stuff in the toilets out back. I think my favorite dog was the coleslaw and cheese, though a good old fashioned kraut dog still hits the spot when I’ma cravin’.

I worked there throughout my first year of law school, 1973 to 1974. It was a decent job at the time. The owner, whose first name—Gene—is all I remember, was a former English teacher and stockbroker. He was a bright, somewhat tortured guy, but he treated his employees with respect, which is frequently not the case.

We used Gulden’s mustard, which we thinned just a bit with pickle juice, adding a significant bit of extra flavor. I often wonder if anyone actually noticed. I think the hot dogs were Vienna’s natural casing wieners, and we got the knackwurst and one other type of sausage from a small sausage maker in Burbank. Alpine sounds about right. We used fresh egg buns, which we steamed before serving so they were nice and soft. We also sold a shitload of German potato salad. I don’t think we had fries, but I just don’t remember.

Flooky’s made a damned good hot dog as well, and I was sorely disappointed a couple of months ago when I was returning to Simi after an appointment at the W.H. Kaiser Med Center. I was planning on having a Flooky’s hot dog (or two) only to find out they had gutted the place. I don’t know if there’s a Flooky’s left in the SFV.

I still crave a good hot dog probably a lot more frequently than is healthy for me, but I was raised on the damn things. I love a good, kosher, natural casing wiener with gulden’s mustard and a hearty sauerkraut on top of that. I also love mustard, relish, and onions, as well as mustard, chili, cheese, and onions. Hell! I’ve been known to slice one lengthwise and eat it between two pieces of rye bread with some mustard. It’s just a mini bologna, after all.


Dimple or . . . ?

I wore a suit and tie for many years. I’m not super vain, but I do like to present a sharp image when called upon to do so, and one of the most important things is how you dress. Many years ago I read a book by John T. Molloy, called “Dress For Success.” If memory serves, one of the most important items in any man’s wardrobe is his tie. The tie must be silk, it must be of a certain pattern and color (though there are numerous styles considered acceptable), and it should have a well-tied knot with a dimple which, believe it or not, takes a bit of practice to execute well. Below is an example of a well-tied (looks like) four-in-hand knot. Actually, it’s so symmetrical, it looks a bit like a Windsor knot, but I’m pretty sure it would be thicker if it were.

The Perfect Dimple

Another thing I learned from Molloy’s book, again if memory serves (I read it right after it was published, in 1976 – the year I graduated Law School), is that young men wear their collars too tight and old men wear them too loose. Then there are men who can’t admit how old they are and who hang on to images of their self that may enhance their self-esteem, but which make them look a bit ridiculous. In the below case we have such a man. Note how he has no dimple in his tie, but his collar is too small for him, creating a classic, oblivious man’s neck dimple (or neck vagina, depending on how uptight you might be).

The Perfect Neck Vagina

I’m not entire certain what this says about a man, but I have my ideas. You, of course, are quite free to develop your own opinion of what this says about any man, let alone this particularly egregious example.


Did Someone Say Newsletter?

I suppose you could say newsletters are in my blood. My father was the radioman aboard the USS William H. Webb during the second World War and one of his duties was to publish a newsletter for the crew. I remember looking through and reading his saved copies of each edition as I was growing up. I may even have some of them in a box in the garage somewhere, though I doubt they have held up all that well. They were printed on some pretty flimsy paper to begin with. I don’t think archival was part of their thought process.

Over the years I’ve done my share of newsletters, ranging from merely creating a SoCal edition of The War Bulleting, a publication out of Berkeley, California, that documented what was happening in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and the activities we were engaging in to protest our nation’s involvement, to a newsletter I created for my local golf course that garnered me lots of free range balls and rounds on the course, sometimes with a pro who couldn’t help but give me some instruction during the course of a round.

So . . . a series of events have convinced me it’s time to go through all my papers—and I have a ton of ’em—and organize, scan, and recycle as many of them as I can, memorializing what I find here on my blog. I also intend on gathering some of it into book form and see if anyone cares to read it.

Here’s the only saved edition I have of a newsletter I put together for the Student Bar Association of the University of San Fernando Valley College of Law. I’m a bit miffed to discover I didn’t put a date on the damned thing, so I can’t be sure if I published it in 1974 or 1975. Now that I think about it, I believe I was the 2nd year, full-time representative to the Student Bar, so that would have been ’75 . . . a mere 44 years ago.

Note the simplicity. There was no computer involved in any aspect of this publication, as PCs did not exist at the time. I’m pretty sure the headlines were stick-on letters I had to apply one at a time, and the copy was all done on a typewriter, though it may have been an IBM Correcting Selectric, because I was working as a secretary/clerk in a small law office in Beverly Hills at the time.

I’m surprised the paper held up as well as it has over all these years. It’s yellowed a bit, but it was still reasonably malleable; not brittle and parchment-like, as I suspect my father’s newsletter would be if I could find them. Then again, they’d be around 75 years old now.

I have also found a bunch of newsletters I created for Rocketdyne, as well as menus and promotional items I designed over the years, when I wasn’t working at Rocketdyne. I’ve also found some strange things I created as jokes during my tenure at what we called “The Rock.” I intend on sharing all of them.


A Photoshop Fever Dream

I can’t take credit for this concept, but I can take credit for executing it in my ongoing quest to get better and better at Photoshop. I think I saw something like this on Twitter and I wasn’t happy with how it had been done, so I thought I would take a crack at it myself.

This is only two layers, but it took a bit of work to get Air Force One selected cleanly enough to delete everything else that was in the picture with it. That’s what takes the most patience at this point; selecting what stays and what gets removed when layering a series of photos.

Frankly, I wouldn’t wish this on the crew or staff along for the trip, but if Trump was on it alone, this represents one of many scenarios I’d love to see. A massive aneurysm is another. My favorite, however, will be arrest, trial, conviction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and imprisonment. That would be ideal.


He Found a Clam!

I don’t make it a habit to post much from Twitter or Facebook here, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one. Our dog, Angel, paws her tennis balls while holding a rope or another ball in her mouth, but she’s nowhere near as animated as this bad boy.


Dandruff of The Gods

Indoor Aspen Lift Line

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I spent a few years in the business of helping others, shall we say, adjust their perspective. In the late seventies and early eighties I lived in Playa del Rey, California, a small town with an inordinate number of bars squeezed into a couple of blocks less than a quarter mile from the beach.

I frequented one of them more than the others, as it was almost literally across the street from my front door and, in the business I was in, I only needed to be able to get home quickly once in a while. The bar is still there and, if you watch TV, you may have seen it in a few shows. It’s called “The Prince O’ Whales.” I practically owned a stool there and had asked them to carry The Glenlivet when I first started frequenting the place. They were kind enough to oblige me and I have no idea how many cases I personally went through in the few years I spent much of time there.

However, this post has precious little to do with where I lived, how I survived, and how much Scotch I drank in my thirties. It’s actually about an article that was printed in the November 12, 1981 edition of Rolling Stone. It was written by P.J. O’Rourke. If you were an adult around that time, and you’ve not encountered this before, you may really enjoy it; it’s quite funny . . . and mostly (reasonably close to) the truth.

I have searched high and low for a reprint or a .pdf or URL where I could find the article in its entirety, but it doesn’t seem to exist online. Fortunately, I had made a copy of the pages and recently I took the time to re-type the entire article. I thought it was excerpted from his book “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People,” but it appears the first edition of that book was in the late eighties. Regardless, I have always found O’Rourke’s sense of humor—at least on this subject—pretty damn entertaining. Enjoy!


MODERN MANNERS

Beyond cocktail coquetry.

Cocaine and etiquette are inseparable; they go together like cocaine and, well, more cocaine. But why should courtesy be so important when “Sinus highballs” are passed around? Why shouldn’t we behave the way we behave with other drugs—burrow stupidly in the refrigerator as though we’d smoked marijuana or run naked through the streets killing policemen as though we’d taken PCP? There’s no firm answer: In fact, cocaine would make killing a policeman easier, since he’d be much less likely to turn into a 9-eyed moon demon while we’re trying to wrest the gun from his holster. Yet such behavior could not be less appropriate to the ingestion of “Alkaloid Chitchat Flakes.

Cocaine demands gentility from its partakers, perhaps because it’s such a sociable drug. MDA is a sociable drug, but it makes people so sociable they’ll screw a coffee-table leg. That’s not good manners if the table has an expensive lacquered finish. Or it may be the price of “Talk Talcum” that inclines us to courtliness, though heroin, too, is costly, and repeated use of that turns people into Negroes (Reagan administration statistics clearly show.) Most likely it’s the special magic cocaine performs upon us all that ignites our civility and refinement. Cocaine makes us so intelligent, so quick, witty, charming, alert, well-dressed, good-looking and sexually attractive that it would be unthinkable to be rude under its influence. True, there are exceptions. Cocaine doesn’t always do that to you. But it always does it to me. And that’s plenty of reason for people to behave.

THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR SELF-SACRIFICE . . . AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT PEOPLE

The most important thing to understand about cocaine is, no matter how wonderful it makes us feel or how interesting it makes us act, it is bad for our bodies. This is the basis for all etiquette surrounding cocaine use. And this is why it’s never bad manners to go off alone and fire some “Nose Nikes” and not share them. To risk your own health while protecting the well-being of others is the only honorable thing to do. For the same reason, when offered someone else’s cocaine, you should Electro-Lux as much as possible for their sake. If there isn’t any left to take, they will be less inclined to destroy their mucous membranes, become psychotic, suffer heart palpitations or die from an overdose.

However, for reasons unknown to medical science, there are people cocaine does not harm. Important people who might be able to help someone’s career are never injured by cocaine, no matter how much they’re given. Neither are famous writers or actors or other personalities with whom many people would like to be friends. Also unaffected are extraordinarily good-looking, sexy people. In other words, the type of person reading this article seems to be immune to cocaine’s deadly consequences.

The detrimental effect of a “Cerebellum Blizzard” on others, though, cannot be overstated. There was a washed-up musician who hung around a well-known New York nightspot mooching drugs. He turned into a dangerous psychopath and tried to bore several people to death. My own younger brother took too much of my cocaine, and the result was a painful bloody nose. Another unfortunate case involved a vendor of the item itself. He had, no doubt, sampled too much of his own wares and began to threaten people with violence just because they owned him small sums of money . . . well, relatively small. A mysterious informant—who, honest, felt really bad about it—was compelled to turn him in to the police. (Jail is a famously discourteous place.)

THIRTEEN COMMON PROBLEMS OF ETIQUETTE EXAMINED

1 – How to Serve

Nothing is more awkward than taking out a vial of “Granulated Money” in a bar or restaurant and having everyone you know expect to get some. If you try to pass the “Powdered Trapeze Act” to some people and not to others, you may get hit over the head with a bottle. And that’s bad manners. Instead, excuse yourself inconspicuously, saying something like, “Well, I sure have to go to the bathroom, and so do Robert and Susan and Alice, but Jim and Fred and Bob don’t have to go.”

Parties present the same problem. In the past, such secluded spots as coat closets and dark corners of the butler’s pantry were used for spontaneous lovemaking. Nowadays, these nooks and crannies are crowded with people taking drugs. But there is still charm in an old-fashioned excuse. If you would like to give a “Peruvian Speed Bump” to Eileen, an attractive woman who’s a power in the entertainment industry, but not to her unemployed boyfriend, Mark, you can always say: “Excuse me, Mark, I thought Eileen might like to blow me in the laundry room.”

2 – When to Serve

One of the delights of an “Adenoid Snack” is that it’s appropriate at any time of night or day, often for several days and nights in a row, though perhaps everyone’s favorite moment to take cocaine is right after a great deal of it has been taken already.

An increasingly popular time to make your snout play “Selsun Blue” with the “Dandruff of the Gods” is before an elaborate dinner. This brightens table talk, lets guests enjoy staring at the food and arranging little lumps of it in patterns on their plates, and gives the hostess many valuable leftovers. (An oyster souffle, for instance, can be reheated and fed to the pets.)

Another favorite moment for an “Inca Pep Rally” is the second the dealer arrives with the gram. However, some people find it difficult to figure out when that will be. This is because cocaine dealers operate on Dope Dealer Savings Time, which is similar to Daylight Savings Time. Just as Daylight Savings Time is one hour later than Standard Time, Dope Dealer Savings Time is one hour later than you could possibly imagine anyone being.

3 – What Implements Should Be Used?

There are any number of devices on the market for taking cocaine. Some are amusing or even useful in carefully measuring portions to make sure everyone gets too much. But most sophisticated drug users still prefer the rolled-up $100 bill. Better yet is a $100 bill folded over and placed inside a wallet. If you have a great, great many of these, people will find a way to get cocaine up your nose.

4 – What Else Should Be Served?4 –

Most people enjoy a couple of thousand cigarettes with their “Face Drano.” Other mix “Indoor Aspen Lift Lines” with multiple sedatives to achieve that marvelous feeling so similar to not having taken drugs at all. But everyone, whether he wants to or not, should drink plenty of whiskey or gin. If you smell strongly of alcohol, people may think you are dunk instead of stupid. (Whatever you serve, overflowing ashtrays, wads of bloody Kleenex and empty Valium bottles can be arranged to make an attractive centerpiece.)

5 – Who Pays?

There’s considerable debate about this. Some say the guest should pay for cocaine as a way of saying thank you to the host. Others say the host should pay for cocaine as part of the entertainment. Most people, however, believe society should pay for cocaine by having to watch maniacally self-indulgent movies, fragmented TV sitcom plots and fractured and pathetic live performances by brain-broiled comedians and pop musicians wound up tighter than a Hong Kong wristwatch.

6 – Topics of Conversation

. . . one of the things you’re really getting into is cable TV which is going to be like the rock & roll of the Eighties because everybody’s going to be hard-wired into 240 channels and there’s this huge market for software already which is why you’ve got this programming development deal together that right right now is a class at the New School but is almost sold to Home Box and is going to be an hour a day that’s part news but like part entertainment too like this New Wave group that you’ve already done three minutes on with mini-cam on quarter-inch but you might turn that into a documentary plus maybe a docudrama for PBS because it’s this sound that’s sort of Western Swing but punk but ska which is all in the interview you got with the bass player that you’re going to publish in this magazine you’re starting which will be all the complete cable listings for all of New Jersey with public access stuff that isn’t listed anywhere plus like interviews too and . . .

Just because your mouth is moving much faster than your brain is no reason not to carry on an engaging conversation.

7 – Romance

If you have taken too much cocaine and are unable to become aroused, try talking into your partner’s genitals. This gives a fair imitation of oral sex. However, if you have taken even more cocaine, try not to rape anyone you know.

8 – An Important Question

If a man gives cocaine to a woman, is she then obligated to go to bed with him?

Yes.

9 – Another Important Question

If a woman gives cocaine to a man, is he then obligated to go to bed with her?

Jeeze, I didn’t realize it was this late! I’ve gotta run—gotta get up and go to work in the morning. Plus I feel like I’m coming down with something. Mind if I do another line before I go?

10 – How is a Dealer Introduced?

It can be a problem knowing how to introduce your dealer. Is he a friend? Is he an employee? Or is he a dead pumpkin if he sells you another load of Dexamyl cut with Portland cement? In fact, there’s no proper way to introduce your dealer socially, because no one ever deals cocaine. They just have a little extra. You see, a very special friend of theirs—who was in Peru on different business entirely—brought back, as a personal favor, some incredible rocks, which are also pure flake and happen to be crystals, too (unless this gram-ette of alleged narcotics is so hopelessly filled with muck that it’s indistinguishable from Nepalese temple hash—in which case it will be given an exotic name like “Mudlark of the Andes” and a spurious history having to do with Spanish conquistadors and Indian headhunters). So no one ever deals cocaine, but they’ll give you this little extra they’ve got, for you know, what they paid for it, which is unfortunately $150 a gram, but really, man, this is special stuff, like the Indians used to get by rubbing a coca bush between two Spanish conquistadors’ heads.

11 – Is It Polite to Refuse?

It’s probably not bad manners to refuse cocaine. It might even be very gallant to turn down a spoonful of “Platinum Maxwell House,” but it’s hard to be sure, because, so far, it’s never been done.

12 – What to Wear

Many people believe it doesn’t matter what they wear while taking a dose of “Brain Tabasco.” Some people even take it in the nude (not counting a gold Rolex). But, as in every other social situation, clothes do matter. Richard Pryor is an example of inappropriate cocaine dress. If he had been wearing a nice, conservative Brooks Brothers suit and an oxford-cloth shirt, he would have escaped most injuries. Unfortunately—as is so often the case in today’s increasingly informal world—Mr. Pryor was wearing a polyester sport shirt decorated with Jamaican bongo drummers and dyed in colors visible only to bees. This went up like a torch. Wool, long-staple cotton and other natural fibers have superior flame-retardant qualities.

13 – What is the Polite Way to Refer to Cocaine?

Never call it “tootski.”


%d bloggers like this: