Archive for August, 2011

 

RING

Should we tell Mr. Hitchcock that it's my mom? (not pictured here)

Should we tell Mr. Hitchcock that it's my mom? (not pictured here)

 
“Hello…?”
“Hi Ma.”
“Well, I’ve been called a ‘bitch'” She began, (That was me, ages 14, 15, 27, 28 & 39)
“I’ve been called “Hitler” (My uncle Brian called my mother this during Christmas 1996. She’d been acting like a control freak (surprise, surprise))
“and now I’ve been called “The Antichrist”
 
I was calling my mother back because she had called me an hour earlier and woken me up. I am generally less than polite when woken up by the phone and I am ashamed to admit I barked at my poor mother calling with hurricane survival tips. I don’t remember exactly what our conversation consisted of as I hadn’t had any coffee yet, but I do recall saying at least three times  “Yeah yeah, ok  I’ll talk to you later.”  Which isn’t really that rude except when you’re saying it in the middle of another person’s sentence.
 
“…and the weatherman said that the winds could reach over 100 mph, so you should duct tape your…”
 
“Yeah, yeah, ok… I’ll talk to you later.”
 
So, I was calling to apologize for my grumpiness above and beyond the call. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that this is a rather common apology on my part and I am blessed to have friends and family members who are accustomed to my grouchy grumble mumble chumble, and take it in stride in addition to forgiving me.  Frankly I was more interested in this Antichrist business.
 
“Well I was on my porch, and I saw one of the Appleton’s throw trash off of their porch so I called him on it.”

 

Bad Appletons

Let me pause here and explain who the “Appletons” are and the issues between them and the Anti-Christ. Recently my mother sold her condo and moved to a less expensive apartment in a small city with a high crime rate.  Her new apartment is quite beautiful, and is in a reasonably nice section of her new, crime-ridden city. Right and to the rear of her apartment are her neighbors who she has dubbed “The Appletons” after the street they live on “Appleton St”. The Appletons are not one family, but rather a collective of poor, noisy and low class Puerto Rican families. This is not a dig on Puerto Ricans. I have made many friends over the years from that island and they have been sweet, kind, smart, honorable and hardworking people.  Every nationality, race, etc. has their less than savory element.  My gang too, the pasty Caucasians, has no lack of drunks, chronically unemployed and lovers who have not figured out the intricacies of the condom. This is not a piece about political correctness, socio-economic dilemmas and issues and so forth.
 
The Antichrist’s building is kitty cornered with the Appleton’s and their back porches are facing a vacant lot, which the Appleton’s have transformed into their dumping ground and play space for their three thousand small children.  Recently the city my mother moved to passed an initiative to give free mattresses to the poor. The Appleton’s took advantage of the cities largesse and replaced their old mattresses with new and threw the old ones off of their porches and into the vacant lot that they share with the Antichrist and their other neighbors.
 
Immediately after moving in my mother decided that the adjoining vacant lot was going to be her new project.  I understood this as it is certainly an eyesore.  Plus I don’t visit as often as she would like and her need for disapproval was at a low.  After she set up her new abode she had mentioned going into the vacant lot and picking up the accumulation of litter there.  I admired her gumption, but warned her that in all likelihood the Appleton’s will not view her efforts as a call for pride in one’s neighborhood, and that in short order the lot would certainly fill up with trash again.  The Antichrist answered me with a dismissive “oh I know, I know…but I am on a mission.”

 

Not exactly her view, but something vaguely similar. Nice, huh?

She started by calling the city’s department of health and sanitation to see if she could get the trash picked up from the mattress graveyard.  This has been done to a small degree. Then my mother questioned neighbors as to the Appleton’s history.  Her new, non-Appleton neighbors had nothing very positive to say about them.  The general neighborhood consensus of the Appletons is that “They play music, litter, fornicate, pump out babies at an alarming rate and fight with each other. In addition to this they avoid employment and education and they scream in Spanish a great deal.  Having been raised and reared by the Antichrist I knew her capacity for disapproval.  She quite literally had enough to blanket the better part of the east coast in addition to her son.
 
My mother waved and chatted with a few of the Appletons when she saw them the first few times after moving in.  She has a set of shelves that she put on her back porch to hold plants and upon seeing it one of the Appletons yelled over to her asking if she “wuz gonna keep dat?”  She also ran into the Appleton’s landlord and asked him what the story was.  He replied patiently and good naturedly that they have a “hotel mentality” in regards to their residence in his building.  In other words, it’s not theirs so they don’t care what it looks like, it’s upkeep etc. Attitudes such as this have discouraged the landlord from putting any effort into making improvements or even basic maintenance of the building.  It was a classic poverty chicken/egg scenario.
 
My mother had been dubbed the Antichrist an hour prior to my apology phone call.  As I said she was on her porch and one of the Appleton’s had thrown some trash off of their porch.  My mother took issue with this and piped up about it.  This is something I have inherited from my dear mother; a poor sense of when to STFU as they call it in cyberland.  After my mother’s rebuke the trash slinger looked over and told her to mind her own beeswax.  My mother retorted that it was indeed her beeswax as she lived there too and this was also her view and neighborhood.  Another Appleton, a woman piped up and started to get into it with my mother.  My mother pointed out that they have children and did they want their children to see this and grow up to be pigs?  Something about this statement brought flashbacks of my childhood flooding through my brain, with vague memories of questions as to how I could live in such a pigsty. Mothers love that word. 
 
Now trashy, low-rent people do not like to be called bad parents. I’ve never understood it, but it’s true.  To quote comedian Chris Rock in his famous “Niggas vs Black People” routine 
 
“I take care of my kids”
“You’re supposed to,  whatcha want a cookie?”
 
 
I have seen this behavior before.  Young parents with their infants in strollers hanging out at 2 or 3 in the morning being remarked upon by others and getting very defensive about it.  The overwhelming neglect and ignorance is maddening, but it’s a fool’s errand to get into it with this type of person.  They don’t know any better; they don’t want to know any better and will only get angry and defensive when called on their unacceptable behavior.
 
I also know, but fear that my mother does not, that when you start a back and forth with trashy, ignorant, poor people whether they are black, white, latino or what have you, they get loud, and other trashy, ignorant and poor people within ear shot start to join in until the one confronting them is shouted down, or in some cases beaten by the mob.  Having heard this back and forth a single male Appleton went out on his porch, looked over at my mother and said “You’re the Antichrist.”
 

This was my mother’s cue to go inside, or maybe that was when her phone started ringing with my calling to apologize. Either way she went back inside.  After listening to her tale I cautioned her to leave the Appletons alone.  She may be in the right, but this issue was on a bad course and she needed to recognize that.  Luckily on this rare occasion, my mother, the Antichrist agreed with me.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Posted: August 28, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Advice, Life, Observations
Tags: , , , ,
 
We all know the parental cliche of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”  Actually, I’m not even certain that it is still a parental cliche.  I see lots of either apathetic or overly indulgent parents these days.  I’m sure the latter would never say anything like this to their precious little darlings, and the former just don’t care.  Also, my upbringing was very foreign to what children must contend with these days.  I went outside without supervision, I got spanked, and (gasp) my parents and teachers actually said “No” to me.  It’s a wonder I survived.
 
The sentiment of that cliched expression is nice I suppose, but I also wholeheartedly disagree.  I think if you have something negative and entertaining to say…shout it out loud my friend so that the cynicism can echo through the hills and valleys.  Just think of all the clever and funny quips, complaints, insults and observations we’ve heard in our lifetime.  Surely we are better off having heard them and laughed at someone elses expense, OR if they were directed at us, we took pains to change, or took steps to pain the person who said it.
 
Look, I’m all for being positive and sensitive.  I’m just saying that being less than pleasant or nice has an important place in life too.  Who wants to live in a sweet sunshine and strawberry pie, my little pony-world?  Not me.  If not for people saying the occasional less-than-nice thing we wouldn’t have South Park, The Sex Pistols, George Carlin or any comedy for that matter.  I think the term needs to be updated.
 
“If you don’t have any thing nice to say, at the very least be a creative and witty asshole” 

or maybe telling Junior 

“You know, if you keep saying things like that, you’re going to run into an angry and thin skinned fellow who will almost certainly inflict a great deal of physical pain upon you”.  In my opinion, that is an important bit of wisdom for a 5 year old.
 

The world needs mean people and mean statements so we appreciate kindness. There is a new anti-bullying craze going on now.  This is the backlash from a poor girl from Ireland who got picked on mercilessly to the point of suicide. When I read that story or when it comes up I get very upset.  It happened near where I grew up so my mother followed the story.  I saw pictures of the teenage girl.  She was so pretty and there was an intelligence behind her sad eyes.  She was from Ireland and moved to Hadley, MA.  She must have felt so alone.  I was bullied as a child and did my share of bullying.  It taught me to be both sensitive to others and develop a sense of empathy, while also making me stronger and tougher.  I fear that the anti-bullying campaign, like many well intentioned things will go too far.  My solution would be to arm the smaller and weaker kids. 

“Honey, here’s your lunch, your Ritalin and your chemical mace, now give mommy a kiss and have a good day at school” 

Fast forward to lunch time.  “Gimme your milk money fag” 

PSSSSSS  “AHHHH MY EYES!”

 
I should probably pursue a career in early childhood development.

Terminology

Posted: August 24, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , ,
I am a huge fan of language, slang and terminology.  Times change and language changes with it.  New technology, sociological criteria and all kinds of factors add to or take away from the vernacular of the day.  I like to make up my own terms from time to time and try to get them to stick.  Strangely though I feel a small pang of resentment when people do start using them, like I should get a commission or something. OR, I should get the recognition for introducing the term…of course this type of thinking is a fool’s errand.
 
I have come up with a couple recently.  To be perfectly fair, I developed most of them with friends, so only one is truly mine, and mine alone.
 
1. “Shitty” – noun   A shitty is when someone checks their caller I.D. before picking up their phone, and ignores your call.  We can all picture this.  The phone rings, they pick it up, see who is calling (i.e. you) and they choose to ignore your call.  Often prefaced with a groan of annoyance or an eye roll. You know they got your fucking call.  They just pulled a shitty on you my friends.
 
“You hear back from that girl from the club yet?”
 
“Pffft  I called her 3 times.  She’s pulling a shitty”

2. “Pip” – noun   Being a pip is when you work hard on something, while someone else or other people get more credit for it than you do for the end result. This term comes from Gladys Knight and the Pips
 
That twat Sandy got a promotion for that TPS report thing we all worked on.
 
Yeah, well she’s Gladys Knight and we’re just a couple of pips.
 
3. “Bait and Switch” – verb   Bait and Switch is a scam and a term used in retail advertising, to get customers into the store with promises of a sale or deal that doesn’t exist.  Once they are in the store they will buy something else.  In the modern era, bait and switch implies a deliberate misrepresentation or misrepresentations of ones self in a social media setting with the intention of hooking up with someone via an online social or dating site.  Posting 20 year old photos, or pictures taken 50 lbs ago are classic examples of bait and switch.
 
“How did it go with that guy you met online?”
 
“Oh man, he is 50 lbs heaver and I think those photos were taken in the 80s.”
 
“Ah the old bait and switch huh?”
 
“Yeah, I fucked him anyway”
 
“Repuke” – verb  Credit goes to Gow for this one.  To repuke is when someone approaches you in regards to an area of expertise that you have and then rubbishes your opinion or suggestion.
 
Mr Smith asked me if I could fix the website, and after I told him what needed to be done, he repuked me

The Towering Inferno

Posted: August 21, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment
Tags: , , , ,

Yay! The Towering Inferno is on!

 

Nothing better than a 1970’s disaster film. There were plenty of them and I have been blessed to enjoy them twice and with two separate perspectives. First I saw them as a young lad either in the theaters or on one of the three networks ‘movies of the week’. (There were only three networks back then youngsters NBC, ABC and CBS. No cable, no MTV,no “reality TV”, no Martha Stewart, no DVDs or videos. If you missed something at the movie theater it was at least two years before it made its way to network TV. One also had to get up and turn a knob on the TV set to get it to one of the three channels. If you were unlucky enough to be the youngest child sometimes you had to fiddle with a TV antenna while the rest of the family bellowed instructions at you. “Little to the left, no…no you just had it… now to the right…the right..the OTHER right…OK stay right there.” My grandfather would make me stand for hours at a time with one hand on the antenna and my other hand pointed in the direction of the TV station until my grandmother caught him and put the kibosh on that. Grandpa felt my work as antenna boy “built character”…but I digress) Now I can enjoy them as a bitter, middle aged man with the benefit of youthful pharmacological experimentation enhancing my appreciation for the arts.

Top o' the line, back in the day

 

Suffice to say when a movie came on TV that you had either seen in the movie theater and liked or had missed, you were psyched. As I said, the 70s had lots of disaster films, which makes sense, as the 70’s, as far as I can remember, were, essentially a disaster. Here are a couple links to support my statement. When I Googled “70’s Disaster Movies” there were literally too many to choose from.

 

http://www.amazon.com/25-70s-Disaster-Movies/lm/R139BE6FRM4C0O

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_film

http://boxofficemojo.com/features/?id=2064&p=.htm

The 70’s Disaster Film was a cash cow and something to keep Hollywood agents busy until cocaine became more popular in the 80’s. Every single one of them had lots of celebrities. I tried to see all of them, and would then spend the next day at school telling my friends in gory detail everything that happened. There were at least 3 or 4 “Airport” movies followed by the last two digits of the year in which they were made. Airport ’75, Airport ’77, Airport ’79… You get the picture. The premise was always the same…Plane crashes into mountain, into ocean, pilot is drugged and it was up to some washed up star to save the day. “Captain, we’ve just lost two engines, and the radio is out!!!” “Not to worry, I think I saw Ricardo Montalban back in first class…get him up here right away, he’ll know what to do.”

"Where da white women at?"       Oh . . . wait . . . sorry . . . wrong movie

"Where da white women at?" Oh . . . wait . . . sorry . . . wrong movie

The Towering Inferno had bad actors/celebrities in abundance. Richard Chamberlain, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Newman, and best of all….OJ Simpson. Yes friends, “The Juice” was there in all his handsome, afro spouting glory. He was an athlete, super star and household name back then. (Later he would reinvent himself as husband of the year and civil rights activist.) People actually went to see movies because OJ Simpson was in them. I have a theory that he would still be a cinematic draw today. If he would only abandon his golfing and fiction writing and find the right agent. Reality TV has been looking for the lowest common denominator ever since one of the “ladies” competing for Flavor Flav’s love dropped a deuce on VH-1. OJ could do a “The Bachelor” type show with vapid blond bimbos vying for the chance to be the next Mrs. Simpson. Of course he would need a catch phrase as he dismisses a different girl every week. I’m thinking “You’re dead to me” might work. As Oscar Wilde said “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” People protesting a film is free press. I once suggested having an OJ Simpson film festival at a local art theater. The manager said he’d get back to me, but hasn’t done so yet. If he steals my idea…..

"Can you dig it? I knew that you could." Oh, uh, wrong movie again.

 

The Towering Inferno was about a one hundred and twenty-something story skyscraper that goes tits up in a blaze. The fire department is helpless as their ladders don’t go past the 15th floor, and the elevators are out. Worst of all, it was the 1970’s, and everyone was wearing polyester prints, so the potential for second and third degree fabric burns were running at an all-time high. the good news was that Steve McQueen was the fire chief, so he drove there very quickly, plus OJ was on the 80th floor and you just knew he was going to make it, and finally Robert Wagner was there because…well he looks great in a circa 1970’s style tux.

To rescue the people trapped on the upper floors, choppers were dispatched. The people who were attending a gala affair on the top floor were very brave and civilized shouting “Save the women!” and “Let the women go first!” Luckily, there were no radical 1970’s feminists in attendance. Of course there is the token rich sleaze ball that jeopardizes everyone’s life. In this cinematic gem he was played perfectly by Oscar Award winning drunkard; William Holden in a red tuxedo. Never trust a man in a red tuxedo.

As I sit and watch, more and more over the hill and past their prime stars keep popping up. Fred Astaire.. well surely he can’t die. Paul Newman played the architect who designed the soon to be toasty tower. Sadly, no one thinks to chuck him off the 90th floor to test the wind velocity while letting him know what they think of his design. The only disappointing thing about the film is that not one single person had the gumption to make the obvious, but distasteful joke of asking for a light.

Sharing a Planet

Posted: August 17, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , ,
I have many expressions and terms that are specific to me.  My close friends and family understand my unique terminology and I’d like to think they appreciate it to some degree. 
 
To give you an idea, here are a few examples.
 
The Mail or Moving the Mail – This has to do with bowel movements and regularity.  “Boy that black coffee really moves the mail.”
 
Fluffy Foldy –  Laundry
 
YumsFood, Eating  “I’m going to have my yums now.”  or “I need to call you back I am cooking yums.”
 
Jesus Land – The Midwest or any rural area abounding with politically backward and or ignorant people
 
Lobster in Your Jock Strap / Stepping on Your DressBad news or causing people problems. “I don’t mean to put a lobster in your jockstrap, but I need you to work late tonight.”  or “My mother is really stepping on my dress lately.”
 
Me Monkey(s)Selfish, self centered people, oblivious to everything and everyone.
 
You get the idea.  I probably didn’t need to translate these, as they are used contextually.  You’d have to be a serious dysfunctional to see me carrying Tide and fabric softener stating, “It’s Fluffy Foldy time” and not be able to figure out my meaning.  Some of these expressions are mine and all mine.  Others I have heard and loved or were a group effort. 
 
Another favorite comes from my friend Steve which is “Why must I share a planet with these people?”  I think Steve and I may have been discussing Sarah Palin when he said this. The interesting thing is that Steve is not the perpetually angry ogre that I am.  It takes some serious offense or stupidity for Steve to utter this phrase, whereas I can barely walk 10 feet without saying or thinking it.  Every day I am bombarded with people whom I just wish would find another Earth…people obliviously text messaging while “walking” in front of or into me, Reality TV “stars”, politicians, etc.  There is no shortage of people I have no desire to share this planet with.
 
Even a heavyweight contender curmudgeon like myself finds things they love from time to time.  Everything can’t suck…just most things.  Frankly, I think I get a better appreciation of life’s little nuggets. 
 
Take today for example.
 
I was just about to turn off the news, which I watch everyday for anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours before I inevitably change the channel in disgust, and  I was so happy to catch this brief story.  Sadly the “news” didn’t deem it important enough to open a small window in the lower corner of my TV so I could watch it unfold… but very often good things come in very small doses.
 
Today in Texas a fellow grabbed a six pack and after imbibing a few, stole an industrial forklift, scooped up his dog and went on a slow speed chase down the highway, almost hitting cars, giving people the finger and throwing empty beer cans at them as he drove past.  These are the kind of people I ENJOY sharing a planet with.  He was driving slow and no one was hurt…plus, he took his dog along. 
 
Of course he was shirtless as that is mandatory for these kinds of episodes.  I bet when he finally makes bail his dog will be psyched to see him.  How is that for loyalty?
 
I have had a similar idea before, but have never had the gumption (or enough beer) to try it which is to put on a hockey helmet and a hospital gown, steel a steamroller and drive around laughing maniacally, while playing Wagners “Ride of the Valkyries”
 
Either that or take a chainsaw to jury duty or to a job interview.
 
Witnesses posted footage of the incident on YouTube
 
I only wish someone had put a song to this footage…maybe “Proud To Be An American” or “I Need A Hero”.  Of course the beauty of this event, besides no one getting hurt is the stellar spontaneity of it.  I found myself wishing I was ridiculously wealthy so I could have paid his bail ($100,000 by the way.  Sounds reasonable) and taken him out for a beer to get his side of things.  I also found myself wishing he had called a friend on his cell phone and maybe tried to pick them up.  “Hey Cletus,  Ah’m in yer neighborhood, whatcha up to?”

Your Children, My Smoking

Posted: August 15, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Observations, You & Yours
Tags: , , , , , ,

I was originally going to call this piece “Your Brats, My Smoking”, but then I thought, ‘Why start out with negativity? There is plenty of time and space for that as this piece progresses.’

Come to think of it “brats” would be a more accurate title, as brats and the parents of brats are the issue and not children. Parents are a huge part of the issue. Before any parents have a grand mal flip out and start telling me about how difficult parenting is and how I wouldn’t fare any better, save your breath. I have a fair idea about how difficult children are and that’s why I have taken pains to avoid having any. This is why in my 25 years of being sexually active I have yet to slip one past the goalie.

Recently, a couple of restaurants have made the high profile and oft debated decision to not allow children under a certain age to dine at their establishments. This has been met with debate from both sides. I’m sure one can easily guess where I stand after reading the first few lines of this article. Yes, I am one of the big, bad, clueless, compassion-less, selfish meanies who doesn’t have one ounce of patience for small children. Yes, I know your little darlings never act up in any way, or if they do, they’re “just being kids” and I should be the grown up in this instance.

Yeah? Well I’m not gonna, and you can’t make me.        

You decided to have children. You are responsible for them. In addition to feeding, changing and teaching them, you are also responsible for paying for things that they break and ensuring they don’t disturb the grown ups. There are zillions of family friendly and small kid based and themed restaurant, and people have the nerve to challenge the ridiculously few culinary refuges for adults who want a quiet night? Wow, do you need a fork lift for your cojones? They seem awfully big.

Not only do badly behaved children ruin adult experiences with noise and other childhood hi-jinx, they put the adults in an awkward position. So don’t think of it as your children bothering others, because I know that you seldom if ever do. Think of it more that our boiling rage is focused on YOU mom and dad. Yes YOU. We know how kids act. Most of us have been there. What you always fail to realize is that nature has given you an evolutionary immunity to children (YOUR children) that the rest of us don’t have. You quickly develop a finely tuned editing process to the noises your children make. Otherwise, you’d never sleep. You are able to determine when they are going to cry for 30 seconds or if it will be 20 minutes. You are able to determine if they are having fun and if they are going to escalate or if it is a momentary giggle. You have grown and evolved to understand the delicate nuance of every noise your child makes, what it means and when and how it needs to be addressed.

Know what it sounds like to the rest of us? A brat ruining our dinner. Know what it looks like to the rest of us? A brat ruining our dinner with oblivious parents standing by allowing it to happen

Let’s take a quick look at grown up behavior for a moment. Inevitably people will read this an accuse me of being childish. Ha, you have no idea how childish I am…the difference is I don’t scream in restaurants…except of course, if there are noisy children dining there too.
So lets say an adult acted like a grown up and went to a table where there were children screaming and acting out. Suppose they smiled and asked nicely if they could speak to one of the parents for a moment please… then they asked pleasantly and politely…”Hi, it’s my anniversary and I wanted to have a special dinner with my girlfriend at this fine dining establishment. I was wondering if it would be possible if you could ask your children to sit down and stop yelling? It’s really messing with the quality of our dining experience. Frankly we can’t afford to eat at places like this every night, so it’s really becoming an expensive and unpleasant experience… Really? Thanks, you’re a dove. have dessert on me.”

That’s fairly straightforward and adult isn’t it? Of course lots of parents would be incensed at even being asked politely, but it beats this reaction by a country mile.

“Hey Mike and Carol, you wanna maybe shut Bobby and Cindy’s traps before I take ’em in the back and stuff ’em in the ice machine? I’m trying to get laid tonight and you’re messing with my chances.”

Yes, I think it safe to say that many a parent (not all) would be put out at such a polite and frankly reasonable request..So who isn’t acting like the grown up now?

Here are my responses to everything a parent might have to say on the subject.

“They’re just kids. Kids make noise”
“Yes they do, so how about keeping them out of quiet places ’til they outgrow it”

“I’m entitled to a night out too”
Yes you are. Hire a sitter or see if grandma has a date tonight and leave the kids with them

“It’s a free country”
No, it really isn’t and it’s especially not a free restaurant NEXT!!

“This restaurant is open to the public”
So you wont mind if I invite two smelly winos to sit next to you, take off their shoes and play “Hey what does this smell remind you of?”

“You have no idea what it’s like to be a parent”
And after observing you, the prospect terrifies me.

“It takes a village…”
Yeah? Well I’m not one of the Village People.

The self righteous indignation of these parents reminds me of fascist non-smokers. I am a smoker and I am well aware of how unhealthy it is as well as how intrusive it is to non-smokers. While there is little to no justification for smoking, the behavior of the No Smoking Nazis leaves much to be desired.
I have partaken in many a debate about smoking legislation. No smoking in restaurants…OK, I get it. No smoking in bars…hmmm. This law was bulldozed through in NYC, and yet Mayor Bloomberg never ran on any anti-smoking platform. Therefore my black lunged brethren and I never had a chance to vote on it. Seems a little unfair.

I was managing a bar at the time and both tobacco biggies R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris were offering to pay for separate ventilation systems in bars and nightclubs, or to build separate rooms as smoking lounges. It wasn’t even considered for one second. This is my problem with the rabid non-smokers. Even when they aren’t exposed to it, they seem to get a big and lively bug up their asses in regards to someone smoking…anywhere. So we smokers were forced out into the elements to indulge in your yucky little addiction. But, of course, it didn’t stop there. It never does.

Then the non-smokers started complaining about the smokers outside. One expression I hear when a non-smoker is making their case is “blowing smoke in my face”. Exaggerate much? No one blows smoke in anyone’s face except in the movies. On an online discussion group I recently read about a woman who felt put out because “Every time I walk by a smoker with my children I have to pick them up and run past them telling my kids to hold their breath.” Um, hysterical much? I’m sure your children will grow up to be neurotic little me-monkeys just like mom.

Once while waiting for a flight I found a “Smokers Lounge” at JFK airport. It was gorgeous. Wood paneling with free coffee drinks and snacks, beautifully ventilated and not a single non-smoker had to be exposed to one-step-below-child-molesters that are smokers. Yet, sadly, predictably, on my next flight it was closed. Why? Because the non-smokers just couldn’t stand for us to have a place to smoke. There was no exposure to our smoke…children were not allowed in, so what is the rationale?

In closing, I would like to say that it really takes some serious namby pamby whining to get a curmudgeonly grouch to address these non issues. Wouldn’t we be better served focusing on real issues? You know… like old people in front of me taking too long to pay for their groceries.

Scarface

Posted: August 12, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Entertainment, Me & Mine
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Yay! Scarface is on!

 

From FilmBuffOnline.com

From FilmBuffOnline.com

 

 I love this silly film. I don’t love it in the dumb assed “gangsta” way. I think it is one of the top American comedies of all time. I have owned almost ten copies of the film on DVD or video over the years. At least 5 or 6 copies were thrown away or hidden by my ex-girlfriend Gail. I can’t really blame the poor girl. I have always fancied myself as having one of the all-time great Tony Montana impressions ever. After viewing the film I would spend the next week to ten days strutting around our apartment with that belligerent frown and working the impression into every conversation Gail and I would have. 


“Eh, Gail…It’s jor mother on de fon. Jew tell ‘er I said to say goo’bye to de bad guy.”


Then, after she ignored me, I’d try to speak to her mother while Gail held me at bay with her arm.


“Hey mamma, whatchoo doing?”


One of my many faults is to take anything I find to be funny or entertaining too far. Poor Gail. She was a reasonably good sport about the whole thing.


Having very poor impulse control, I still slip into doing Senor Montana at odd and inappropriate times. Job interviews, presentations at school, jury duty and the like. Unfortunately the more inappropriate the occasion, the more fun it is to become Tony. It’s probably for the best that I don’t drive. I have too many anger issues and I would certainly be pulled over on a regular basis. Of course my skewed and questionable judgment would compel me into thinking “Maybe Officer Friendly would enjoy some Tony Montana”


“May I see your license and registration please?”


“Eh, Le’ me tell jew soneting mane, H’okay-e?”


“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”


“Why don’ choo try sticking jor head up jor ass….see if it fiss.”


“Step out of the car please Sir.”


Then, because of the difficulties in appropriate restraint that have gotten me into trouble my entire life, we would have a Rodney King revisited type of situation.


If I weren’t such an incredible slob, I would totally invest in a white, 70’s style disco suit with some gold chains. Who knows, it might be a good look for me. I just don’t recall Tony having gravy stains on his white suit.

It's just a click away. Should I? (www.summitfashions.com)


On YouTube there is an Asian fellow from England who has a great clip on how to do a Christopher Walken impression. I would like to do a similar clip or maybe an instructional booklet on how to do a proper Tony Montana impression. Other people are gifted painters, surgeons, accountants, chefs…Me? God has gifted me with being able to sound like an over the top, cult film drug dealer. Here are a few tips on doing a successful Tony Montana:


Facial Expression: A sneering, exaggerated frown, with a hint of smelling something unpleasant. Practice in a mirror.


Vocabulary:


H’okay-e = OK (“Dass H’okay-e, another quaalude, chee gon love me in de morning”)


Dass = That’s


Dee = The


Cockaroshez = Cockroaches (“Fok Casper Gomez and fok de foking Diaz brothers, I bury doze cockaroshez”)


Mane = Man


Kiz = Kids “Jew lie kiz? Jew know I lie kiz”


Chee = She


Jew/Choo = You


Jors/Chores = Yours


Prollem = Problem


Tole = Told “I tole jew, don’ ever fok wit me, but jew wounna lissing, well, look at chew now”


Expressions:


“Dass H’Okay-e”


“Another quaalude chee gon love me in de mornin”


“Pussycat, jew know wha chew prollem ees? Jew got nothing to do wit chore tine…Be a nurse”


“Chee nah for jew”


“Gotta get organize”


…..and the best of all “Jew nee people lie me, so jew can poin jor fingers ang say ‘Das de bad guy’, so say goo’nie to de bad guy”


Hint: Avoid using “Say ‘ello to my little fren.” It’s too cliché, and there are much better lines in the film.


The other key to having a funny Tony Montana is to use it with random and inappropriate abandon. Don’t do it at parties, at bars or on a date. It will be tempting, but all it does is give license to people who suck at Tony Montana to keep saying “Say Hello to my little friend” over and over until you laugh out of courtesy, or stab them. Save your Tony for unique and clever occasions.


At the proctologist: “All I have in dis worl is my word an my ballss and I don break ‘em for nobody”


During a Tax Audit: “Eh, whatchoo got? I’m washing dollars”


or for the ladies “My womb is so polluted, I can’t even have a baby”


You get the idea. Have fun.

 
I got an email today about a special screening of Scarface later this month. Perhaps I should go and ruin or enhance the cinematic experience with my impression and commentary. I can’t see anyone going who hasn’t already memorized the film.


Check it out at

SCARFACE Gets A One Night Re-Release On August 31

http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/2011/08/03/scarface-gets-a-one-night-re-release-on-august-31/

Meh

Posted: August 9, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Observations
Tags: , ,

(RING)

“Hey”

“Hi”

“How’s it going?”

“Meh”

I just love the term “Meh”. Given my rants and raves I should probably hate “Meh” as it is generally used in text and IM speak. But, strange as it sounds, I like it.

I don’t know who first coined the term “Meh” but I would love to meet them and give them a hug or buy them an ice cream cone or a beer depending on their preference. I am guessing the originator of “Meh” is a drinker. Ice cream is just too damned cheerful.

I like the term “Meh” for a couple reasons. First, it describes my attitude toward most of the things on God’s green Earth to a tee. “Meh” is nothing good by any stretch, but it’s not horrifying either. “Meh” is “Your cholesterol is a little high” but it is not the wrong answer on an AIDS test. “Meh” is slightly sucky or a bit of a let down. It’s at least a disappointment, and curmudgeonly miserable little turnips like myself need terms like “Meh” in our extensive arsenal of complaint.

Going back to the cholesterol levels and AIDS test, could you just imagine going for the results of your annual physical exam, the doctor looks at your chart, makes a face and says “Meh”.

It’s probably not a great response after sex.I think if a woman said “Meh” to me after lovemaking, I’d spend the next three weeks in a deep depression, wearing sweat pants, ordering in and not leaving the house.

Another reason I like “Meh” is that it is a segue into complaint and bitching. And I LOVE complaint and bitching, especially if I’m the one in possession of the bitch ball. Once “Meh” has been typed and sent, or less frequently uttered, it screams for a response of “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“Meh” can run the gamut from “I got my period” to “I lost my wallet” to a long and entertaining tale of a woeful day, week or month. What’s even better is that those who employ “Meh” are usually entertaining in their grievances. I don’t wish any ill on those I love or like, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy a well told tale of a sucky day.

Yes, I am quite fond of “Meh” It seems to be a word custom made for me. “Meh” reminds me of a condition I frequently suffered from as a child which I called “Blah”

“Mommy?”
“Yes”
” I don’t feel good. Can I stay home from school?”
(Feeling my forehead) “Don’t feel good hmmm?”
“No”
“What’s wrong? Your stomach?”
“No”
“Sore throat?”
“No”
“What’s the matter?”
“I just feel…’blah’ ”
“Blah hmmm?”
“Yeah”

Mom wasn’t buying my diagnosis. I tried the “Blah” and it’s vague symptoms several times before realizing that my mother only accepted strep throat and fevers as a reason to miss school. “Blah” was a real condition. I am proud that at such a young age I was already resisting authority and structure. They might be able to make me go to school, but I’ll be damned if I was going to learn anything. It’s also interesting to note that tormenting teachers and recess treated the symptoms of Blah.

Funny thing about “Meh” is that people are more interested in hearing about a “Meh” day than they are about an awful day. The difference is that “Meh” is entertaining,where as an awful day’s description is bound to depress.

Meh is interesting in that when it describes someone’s day, we want to hear about it, but if it is used to describe a book, movie, nightclub, restaurant or CD; no one would want to experience it. Why is that? Do we secretly delight in the crappy days of our friends, family and co-workers? Of course we can’t sound or act like we enjoy the crappy days of those closest to us. That just wouldn’t do.

(RING)
“Hello”
“Hey, it’s me”
“Hey”
“How are you doing?”
“Meh”
(Obvious delight) “Oh, wait a second, let me get a drink, I want to hear this”
(CLICK)

I have had several friends tell me they delight in my entertaining and witty litany of complaint and bad days. They giggle at the minutia of my coffee being made wrong, and of subway trains slamming their doors in my face after I dash to catch them. Then I have other friends who don’t come over to play so much because of excessive bitching. Make up your mind people. I get confused.

Palookaville

Posted: August 3, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine, Observations
Tags: , ,

Tonight I am watching the famous 1975 boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Chuck, “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner.  The fight is famous in that, then unknown writer and actor Sylvester Stallone watched the fight and was inspired to write the book and screenplay to Rocky, which he also starred in.  Chuck Wepner was a journeyman fighter and who knows how he managed to get a fight with the heavyweight champ. Maybe Muhammed Ali needed a new car and told his management “Find me someone to beat up”.  Phone calls were made and Chuck just happened to be home. 

Grand Poobah / Grand Palooka

Grand Poobah / Grand Palooka

For some reason, and in keeping with his “palooka” title I pictured Chuck Wepner having a voice similar to that of one of Fred Flintstone’s cronies. “Da-e-y, I’ll take da fight”  Today Chuck Wepner does occasional commentary for various boxing show and bios, so his one big night didwork out for him to some degree after all. As in the film Rocky, Wepner toughed out the fight, even knocking down Ali in the 9th round. He made it all the way to the 15th round before it was stopped, and fights don’t even go that long anymore. It was a clear moral victory for the palooka, and who can’t appreciate that kind of event, since most of us are closer to palooka Wepners than sleek, sexy Muhammed Ali’s.

 
 
 

It is also interesting that it was 1975 and the audience was decked out in bad hair cuts, afros and a sea of fugly polyester and plaid leisure suits with collars so wide that if someone were light enough they could jump off of a building wearing one and glide safely to the ground.  Good God the 70s were an ugly generation. I honestly can’t think of an uglier era.  My favorite part of the fight is that some genius decided to let Redd Foxx and James Brown act as commentators.  Redd Foxx had a hit TV show at the time and was actually pretty well versed in boxing, so I can kind of understand his being there.  James Brown speaks his own, original version of something that vaguely resembles the English language.  I am loving his commentary between rounds and I wish he had been asked to comment on more fights.  “What did you think of that last exciting round James?”  “Well, zab  du du da Wepner, zabba niht niht left hook, zubbo zub Ali”… “Um  I think you said it all there James.”   “Wow, what an exciting round. James?”   Zibba du du nah nah noonnie nah Ali, zibba zab zab going to the body, zib nah”  ” Interesting point James,  I never thought of it in that way”
The concept of the palooka (isn’t that a great word?) has been on my mind a great deal lately.  Various dictionaries don’t give very flattering definitions of the word, so I suppose I must define it myself, or rather re-define as I have been feeling rather “Palooka-ish” myself these days. To me, the palooka is the everyman. They are marginally talented in their own ways.  They’ll never be great, but there is something essentially human about them … a toughness that is both physical and emotional. A palooka is the father who works two crap jobs to give his kids everything.  A palooka knows life sucks and that happiness comes in small and infrequent doses, but they soldier on anyway…even managing a smile or a laugh once in awhile.

 
Statue of Joe Palooka in Oolitic, Indiana

Statue of Joe Palooka in Oolitic, Indiana

Palooka’s are tough. I don’t know how tough I am. I suppose it’s not really for me to say.  I have had moments of toughness I suppose, areasin which I am reasonably tough…but I can be a whiny little dork too.  I have also been feeling more blue collar recently. I like Palookas. I enjoy their company (especially while drinking)
Palooka, Lummox and Malarkey are terms that need to come back in style.  I say wear your Palooka badge loud and proud. Not everyone can be special…that’s the whole point of special.  The world would be a horrible place if everyone was beautiful or talented. Being a Palooka is often a step up for many. The palooka gets it done. It might not be pretty, and will certainly lack finesse, but it gets done. Palookas have an important place in society. Sure, I don’t want a palooka performing surgery on me… but I’ll knock back a couple of cold ones with or have them help me paint my house any day.