Thursday, September 29, 2005

When Country Wasn't Cool

OK, there are a couple of scenarios where time definitely slows down to an unbearable Dali clock-melting pace: when you’re running on a treadmill, attending Mass at any time other than Christmas Eve, watching an episode of “Family Matters”, or when you’re onstage at a comedy club and the crowd is looking at you silently wishing they could use their eyes to give you diphtheria. Or mesothelioma. Or something else that attorneys who advertise during daytime talk shows say you can sue for. If it were up to last night’s audience, I would have spent the last 18 hours wrapped in a smallpox blanket. Wearing an asbestos sweater. And watching Steve Urkel.

Last night was Round 2 of the Blue Collar Comedy Contest and yeah, I’m not blue collar enough. Apparently, they don’t want the blue collar to be attached to a polo shirt with a little crocodile stitched on it. Let me back up and say that despite my Nell-like Appalachian upbringing, my mother ingrained a sense of, uh, entitlement into her children. Our house was pretty much the intersection of Vanity Fair and the Dixie Classic Fair. Anyway, somehow I made it to the second round of this contest, which is sort of a dubious achievement considering that Round 1 featured a guy who spent most of his stage time hiding behind a stool, popping up occasionally like he was in the middle circle of the Whack-a-Mole game.

Let me interject that the local WB station was promoting this contest which explains both 1) why there were only 8 people in the crowd and 2) why said people smelled of Skoal and some type of jerky—and not from eating it…my guess is that they were capable of making their own. Actually, that’s a lie… there were some other attendees who were all part of the speed-dating crowd that comes there every Wednesday. Trust me, I’ve been on several unintentional speed dates, all of which ended with them racing off, Prefontaine like, when they heard my answer to the question “So, you screw on the first date?” Apparently, they were hoping that I didn’t.
Still, I was watching the crowd as they walked in and realized it would be easier to find Paris Hilton’s hymen than to make them laugh. Yes, that phrase alone will guarantee an additional 400 site views. Hooray!

Anyway, they set the lineup for the show and I was first on the list, which for me was the comedy equivalent of watching that creepy video in The Ring--you just know you're doomed. Seriously, the guys in the audience were expecting Blue Collar Comedy, not "Nancy Drew and the Mysterious Jokes about Babies"--and really didn't want to see a woman onstage unless she's dancing to a Whitesnake song.

So I begged and pleaded to be moved down the lineup card but it wasn’t happening. I was up first. Consequently, if you would like to recreate the sense of general awkwardness that occurred for 6 minutes while I was onstage, I suggest that you wait until an intimate moment with your partner and then start singing “Oh Mein Papa”. Or Suzanne Vega’s “Luka”. Yes, that’s about right…mid-pelvic thrust start shouting lyrics about child abuse. Congratulations and welcome to my life!

Do I think I would’ve made it to the next round if I’d been further down the list? Actually, yeah. Do I think I’d win? No, not really. There are some really talented comics left. I just think that it would’ve been a lot less painful. And I may have even scored some free jerky.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mail Bashing

What is it with me and the mail-related postings? Today I went to the post office to buy some stamps. I could really care less which mini-portrait graces the corner of my envelope, so I grabbed a dozen of the Ronald Reagan ones. I take them to the counter and Jim, my Postal Buddy, says, "Oh, the Reagans, an excellent choice." Look, Jimbo, it's not like trying to match the right wine with the right meat...I didn't know that you should pair a dead president with letters to your relatives or slap an abstract painter on your pharmacy bill, but I'm pleased to know I passed the test.

Anyway, he asked if I was a collector. Um...apparently going right for the Gipper stamps has catapulted me far above the amateur stamp purchase. Only a novice would have gotten the flags or the "Love" ones. Hell, I'm guessing they'd still try to lick 'em. Retards. I was like, "Nope, just needed some stamps." I'm not kidding, Jim's entire demeanor changed and he looked as though I'd just taken a shit in a Priority envelope. He acted like my decision to mail my gas bill was somehow demeaning to Ronnie's memory, like I was the only person who was going to let his little face get cancelled. Yeah, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it Ronald Reagan whose corpse got paraded around the country like "Weekend at Bernie's: White House Edition"? I believe he was passed around more times than Tara Reid at Senor Frog's but somehow I'm tarnishing his legacy? Holy shit, imagine the chaos that would ensue if Bonzo the chimp had gotten his own stamp? I'm sure it would go well with a nice cabernet.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Sticker Born Every Minute

I’ve had it with the return-address labels. It started with the American Lung Association (A-Lung, if you’re into that Stuart Scott nicknaming thing) who used to send me 500 tiny labels all adorned with pictures of cardinals (the birds, not the Catholics…although, oddly enough when I was a little kid and would have to attend mass every Sunday, they would encourage us to pray for the Cardinals, at which point I would go home and dump out my Topps cards and earnestly bless St. Louis’ baseball team. For some reason, I always spent extra time on Bruce Sutter. I was a dipshit.) Besides, what do cardinals have to do with healthy lungs? Cigarettes do a lot of weird shit, but I have yet to see a smoker cough up a bird.

Confidential to RJ Reynolds- Could you please make this happen?

Regardless, it’s totally out of control and now every organization that could possibly want a donation now sends tons of tiny labels, all with clip art pictures that I do not want my creditors to associate with me. Although maybe if the Visa people see the horribly drawn bald eagles (they sort of look like Snuffleupagus) provided to me by the VFW, they’ll be stirred by such a sense of patriotism (or pity) that they’ll waive my late fees. (On a related note, you know your credit card bill is out of hand when you really need your finance charges to be broken down into monthly payments.) Either that or they’ll see the shitty little fire truck drawn by a Special Olympian (not a gold medal winner in the Art category, obviously) and know that my debt should be erased since I obviously can’t afford a ball point pen to write my own address and must rely on those tasteful little gems.

Anyway, I guess I kind of understand their rationale. They want you to make a donation, so they’re making it easy for you by saving you 3 seconds and potential carpal tunnel syndrome by eliminating the need for you to write your personal information. If they really want to help me out, how bout they send me 500 stickers that look like twenty dollar bills? And maybe the kid that draws the trucks and the eagles could be exempt from that project. I think that these organizations should help themselves: maybe instead of mailing hundreds of thousands of address labels, they should just use that money to, um, support their causes. Who still sends letters anymore, anyway? You’re truly on the cutting edge, VFW. Maybe next month, you could send me some Betamax tapes or a steam locomotive, or some serfs for my feudal plantation. Actually, the check is in the mail, if you promise to hack up a cardinal.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Take Care of Yourself and Each Other

OK, it's Friday night and I'm at home, drinking a glass of milk, wearing my free Sports Illustrated long-sleeved t-shirt (in their default size, 4XL, because apparently no one smaller than Mount Saint Helens gives a shit about sporting events) and watching the Red Sox game. My sexiness knows no bounds. The worst part is that if the game had been rain delayed, I was going to watch part of my 12 DVD set of last year's ALCS and World Series...after explaining to my handsome boyfriend that no, ALCS is not what killed Lou Gehrig. I wish I were kidding. Seriously though, the day that box set came in was the greatest day of all time. Those discs are like porn to me--Spectravision can keep "Searching for Bobby Fister".

Is there any greater tribute to a motion picture than when an adult film bastardizes its title? And why do I know that an actor named Dick van Dyke was in both "Titty Titty Bang Bang" and "Cherry Poppins"? Take that, imdb.com.

Moving on... Jerry Springer sometimes disappoints me. Why can't he put together an entire show that stays on topic? I mean, he'll have 4 couples that dress as cocker spaniels and spank each other with loaves of bread and then randomly the final guest will be a transvestite and its lover. C'mon Jerry, if you can find 6 people who have sex with trees, surely you can fill the whole hour without having to tag on a love triangle involving three Klansmen. (Suggested adult film title: "KKGay") I really think he's at the point of his career where he can't be shocked by anything. In fact, I'm not sure he has human emotions. He's like Data from Star Trek or Johnny 5 from "Short Circuit", without having to hang out with Steve Guttenberg.

Does anyone else think of that Guttenberg anytime the Guttenberg bible is referenced? Because sometimes I catch myself thinking, "Three Men and a Baby, Police Academy, AND a printing press? Damn, that guy is GOOD." And why does everyone in the world remember that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin? Does anyone have a clue what the cotton gin is? And was Cotton Weary the worst name for a movie villain ever? Discuss...

OK, Rick Sutcliffe was just talking about A's 3rd base coach Ron Washington who apparently lost his home during Hurricane Katrina. Tragic, yes, but then Mr. Sutcliffe said that Washington was building a new home, a 5 bedroom one, in which he and his wife would live and he would also invite--and I quote--"all of his parents to live with him". If you need four bedrooms to house your parents, then I believe there's a Jerry Springer episode waiting for you, too...right after that woman who screwed a pine tree.

OH! Speaking of dead wood, congrats to Kevin Federline for producing yet another child.

In honor of Britney's baby, I like to think that somewhere in a television studio in Chicago there's a pre-operative transsexual dancing to herself, singing "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet A Woman." Because that would be off the charts with the awesomeness...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Everyone Report to the Dance Floor

1) Don’t worry kids…no, I have not been carried off by inhabitants of the Carolina Raptor center, but thanks for asking. On a side note, how much do I wish that the Raptor center housed the actual dinosaurs and not a couple of heavily sedated hawks who flap their wings twice and look bored as hell in exchange for some raw chicken. I was running a couple of days ago and saw a hawk holding some sort of hamster or something in its large talons (to be read as Napoleon Dynamite). It was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk and, although I am hardly Sam’s Club Val-U-Sized I’m still bigger than a bird—but this thing didn’t move. It stared me down with its little eyes, like I was going to go all Richard Gere and swipe its gerbil. No kidding, it freaked me the hell out. If I were an Indian (you know, the kind you can’t have a mascot named after), I probably would name my first child Squatting Hawk. Or Richard Gere.

2) In all seriousness, much love goes out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. And Michael Wiltz or Rob Savoy, if you happen to ever read this page, please email me at the address above. I know I haven’t talked to either of you in a while, but I’ve tried lately without luck. Here’s hoping I just have old phone numbers and that you (and your families) are both safe somewhere. I hope every relocated evacuee has the opportunity to make new, prosperous lives for themselves…and secretly a part of me hopes that a practicing Voodoo Queen ends up in rural Idaho, where she terrorizes people at the local Albertson’s by asking where she can find some marmot claws or feral cat tongues, all the while sticking pins in a small, stuffed likeness of the store manager.

3) A friend of mine just bought a bicycle, probably because he had to sell his youngest son to the Nike factory in order to fill the tank on his Kia. HIS DAMN KIA! Anyway, before he bought the bike, the local bike shop made him take a class on proper bicycle hand signals, for turning, stopping, and pointing out to other motorists where his pelvis is after he’s run down by a FedEx truck. Anyway, what good is it for the bikers to know the signals if none of the *drivers* do? Some dude on a Schwinn can stick his left hand out all he wants—I don’t know whether to high five him or give him change for a $10. Either way, I hope I can get a new pair of running shoes out of it.

4) Again with the running—because I’m basically Forrest Gump. On long runs, I try to go through neighborhoods with a lot of reconstruction because, yeah, I need the Porta-Potty. Now I wasn’t very good at Spanish in high school (“The cow has a beard” is not a super-helpful phrase) but I can recognize the word for “mother” and the word for “whore”, and I’ve found that both of them are scrawled pretty frequently on the Porta-Walls. There’s also frequent reference to a woman named Maria, as well as some diagrams that—if anatomically correct—make her look like she’s packing a trash compactor between her legs. I’m also willing to bet that in several instances, the words “mother”, “Maria”, and “whore” may reference the same woman.

Another bathroom story…driving home from Charlie Goodnight’s last week after a show best described as a big ball of suck, I stopped at an Exxon station to pee. When I have to go, I don’t even pretend to be a customer. Some people will linger in there, acting like they’re debating the merits of Slim Jims vs. Combos or wondering why a large box of condoms is known as “Family Size” before they eventually sneak off to the restrooms. Not this kid. Anyway, there was a line at the ladies’ and my bladder was about to break a levee of its own so I ducked into the men’s room. Um, nasty. I’m pretty sure Typhoid Mary’s kitchen was higher on the hygiene scale than this I-40 gem. Anyway, some misguided patriot had taken it upon himself to edit the condom dispenser by scratching out the word “French” and christening them the “Freedom Tickler”. Granted, the glory of his act was somewhat negated by the fact that he spelled it “Freedum”, but whatever. Ten bucks says it was Toby Keith.