Things I Learned At Work This Week

I work at a radio station.  Sometimes things are crazy, sometimes they’re surprisingly dull.  But I’ve been doing this crap for nigh on twenty years, so there are very few surprises. But as I age, I realize that I’m surrounded by a crew of children.  And I mean that in the most literal sense: I am older than everyone in this building now, and some of our salespeople could feasibly be my children.  They were born about the time I was graduating college.  Damn.

Anyway, this was a good week to learn things from our salespeople.  Like, for example, how little some of them know about stuff that I find very important or fascinating.  I’m not calling our young sales staff stupid; quite the contrary, some of them are very bright.  They’re just…green.  And young.  (Did I mention how young they are?)

We’ll throw in a free remote! Also, I just shit my pants!!

Example number one: One of the cuties in the sales pit asked what I was doing for Halloween.  I proudly answered that I would be going as Captain James T. Kirk.

She stared at me, and I couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I stood there, looking around, waiting for her to say something. And so she did.  She replied “You mean Kirk?” and pointed at one Kirk T. Flatter II, another member of our crack sales team.  Kirk shrugged, because he “gets it” and probably hears jokes about his name every goddam day.  I then tried to explain the history of the U.S.S. Enterprise, but got more blank stares.  Okay. I learned that no everyone is a geek. Fair enough.

I take it all back. They’re both Captain Kirk. Fine.

Later in the week, I had a more fulfilling convo with a Senior Member of our office staff.  Now we’re talkin’. We discussed childhood candy, and I learned that I was not the only kid to collect their weekly cash and then make a mad dash for the local convenience store for an exercise in fiscal responsibility (or at the very least a lesson in worth.)  See, our old Kwik Pik had the standard Aisle O’ Sugar (sometimes called The Golden Mile or Cavity Alley) that featured the usual strata: Snickers, Milky Way, and the like, i.e. the Premium Candy was at the top shelf, and ran at least fifty cents a piece, sometimes more.  Right below that was the B-list candy.  Clark Bars, Charleston Chew, and their ilk. Third shelf was Lemonheads, Wacky Wafers, Lik-M-Aid, Laffy Taffy, Chick-O-Stix.  Finally, the lowest shelf was for those in steerage:  five cents (or LESS!) per. We’re talking That crappy PAL gum.  Bazooka gum.  Jolly Ranchers (not the big ones.  Those were one shelf up, and if you sucked on them long enough you could fashion a shiv in case a playground rumble got out of hand.  Absolutely true.)  But the lesson was always this:  Johnny has $1.25 in assorted change.  Should Johnny go big and pick up two Butterfingers with change to spare or buy Big League Chew for EVERYONE?!?!  In retrospect, I see why my parents let me blow all my money on candy and comic books.  There was a tangible risk/reward system.  That is, until the store put in a Ms. Pac-Man arcade cabinet, and any fiscal conservatism went right out the fuckin’ window.

THANKS A LOT, OBAMA!!!

Back to the cute little 20-somethings in the sales department.  One of them wore some sort of crocheted afghan-looking skirt.  Conservative.  Nice.  Like something draped over the back of grandma’s couch, only with much less cat hair. I asked her if she made it herself.  “It’s knit,” she responded.  Okay. I wanted to learn some more, so I inquired whether it was “knit” or some sort of macrame, and what the difference was.  She didn’t seem to understand my question, so I got a little smarmy and asked if it was fabricated from some sort of nano-particles.  Her reply: “What are those?”  Okay, you got me.

So again, I learned a couple of new things.  One, nobody in this country knows anything about science and two, I am so glad I met, fell in love with, and married my wife, because there’s no WAY I would be getting laid in the current state of the world.

No, really.

The final lesson of the week was from a dude who works down the hall producing a local sports-talk show.  Like everyone in radio NOT doing sales, he’s poor and worries about his job.  But like many of us, he’s also learned that he’s probably not making enough to fire.  In other words, finding people to do what we do and do it well for LESS than we’re getting paid is a longshot, so we’re reasonably safe.  Anyway, this guy mentioned that he’d just gotten a text from his mobile provider telling him his bill was overdue.  I thought that was awesome.  I learned that yes, apparently your cell phone company will keep your phone service going even if you’re behind in your payments…so that they can tell you you’re about to have your service shut off.  That’s fantastic.

“Eligible for upgrade? The fuck is wrong with THIS phone?!?”

See, kids? You really do learn something new every day.

I Want ANSWERS!!!

Last night my Sweet Baby (the lovely Heidi L. Watson, pictured) and I sat down to watch “The Hunger Games.”

Mmmmm!! Hot wife alert!

Heidi had already seen it, but thought I’d enjoy it, so I Redboxed that shit and away we went to cinemaland right in the comfort of our own home!  And it was a decent flick.  I won’t do a full review because you either already know all about it or don’t give a shit.  But I will say that it was a film that had the effect of being better as a whole than it was while watching it.  In other words, it was like I was holding my breath for complete greatness through the whole thing and felt like it never quite got there, but then as the credits rolled at the conclusion of the film, I found myself wishing for more.  I wanted to know what happened next, and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you launch a successful franchise.  But I had a few questions, none more glaring than this: (KIND OF SPOILER-Y STUFF AHEAD.  Nothing major, but you’ve been told.)

One of these two doesn’t make it. I TOLD YOU!! SPOILERS!!

In the film, the “Show” has a bunch of producers and is done on this futuristic soundstage/holodeck construct.  And the directors can add trees, fire, daylight, or rampaging, wild, Zuul-like dog-beast things to the mix to make life more difficult to the contestants.  Based on this technology (in the film: I’ve never read the book series) they can whip up whatever they want at the push of a button.  Cool!  Okay then, here’s my problem:  WHY DON’T THEY WHIP UP SOME FOOD FOR EVERYBODY?!? For God’s sake, there are people starving to death out there in the Districts!

Scotty accidentally typed NON-Scottish food, and, well…

“Wait, that’s the whole POINT!” you argue.  “The Capitol wants to keep the people hungry and subdued.  Sure, they could make a bunch of bison or something for the people to butcher and eat, but then they wouldn’t be all…uh, hungry…and, uh, restless.  They’d be more docile, like full-bellied people tend to be, so…wait…wow!  You’re right!  A poor, hungry populace breeds discontent and resentment for those that have more…so, yeah.  Okay, Turner.  You’re right again.  YOU’RE ALWAYS SO DAMNED RIGHT ALL THE TIME!!”
I know, child.  I know.  Or, how about this?  Let the people die and whip up some virtual miners to get the coal (seriously?  They still mine coal?  WTF?!?) or even a constructed army to keep the people in line.  It just seems like they’re using this technology all wrong, that’s all.  And if these animals and such aren’t real at all, just super-realistic holograms, then…then how do they kill people?  Is it like the Matrix?  In other words, if you believe this weird wasp thing has stung you with psychedelic venom,then your brain “makes it real” with honest-to-God bad trips and night sweats?  Okay.  Whatever.

I AM WILLIAM RIKER, AND I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!!

But I have a few more general, non-Katniss-related questions…

Like, why didn’t Wile E. Coyote just order a goddam pizza already?  He’s a scrawny dog living in the desert, and yet he has ordered from ACME supply company the following items:  a rocket.  Roller skates.  Bird feed.  Iron buck shot.  A super-sized magnet. A “Bat Man” outfit (copyright lawyers had to be ALL OVER that one.) Etc.  Um, order up some MRE’s or something, dude.  Let the bird go.  (Another theory: the RoadRunner is either a hallucination born of starvation or a digital construct, and Wile E. is actually a tribute from District 4.)

MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!

Why does a gynecologist (or any doctor, really) leave the room while you get undressed?  I mean…they’re going to see the good stuff anyway.  Also, how many times a year does an attractive female doctor have to deal with erections while either checking for hernias or testicular anomalies in men?  And the PROSTATE?! Fuggetaboutit! Like a phalanx of man-wood each year!

Pictured: NOT a real doctor.

How much wood COULD a woodchuck chuck?  And why?

Even better? How much Woodchuck could a woodchuck CHUG?!?

Finally, why can’t I get the theme from the 2009 Star Trek movie out of my head?  Seriously…it’s omnipresent. (Actually, I already know the answer.  It’s because Michael Giacchino is an amazing composer, that’s why.  Gott DAMN!!  He’s done everything from “The Incredibles” to “Super 8.” Check out his work HERE.) Also?  I think it’s time to write another Star Trek-themed blog.  Like I haven’t just kinda done that.

Fact Up Beyond All Recognition

Here are some facts that I made up.  Use them to sow discord, panic, and confusion.

Approximately 2.3% of humans are deathly allergic to ice.  Luckily, most of them live near the equator.

Gene Kelly was an ordained minister, and used to perform secret marriage ceremonies for all the gays in Hollywood.  He did so under the alias “Reverend Lockwood.”  Sometimes the ceremony would conclude with a  song-and-dance number and at least four transvestites.

“Dank” is used today to describe particularly sticky, hairy, mondo weed because back in the 60’s some stoner in Amsterdam didn’t know how to write or pronounce “dank je!”

The sound hyenas make is actually nervous laughter, as they are very self-conscious and don’t like being photographed.

OMG, this one time this guy TOTALLY overdosed on Tums and the EMT’s were all like “quick!  Get him something spicy!!  Poblano peppers, stat!”  He almost died, but like, there was this Qdoba’s just down the street.

The “gram” as a unit of measurement was a nod by Phillip Metric (father/creator of the Metric System) to his late grandmother.  The family generally referred to her as “Gram” or “Grammy.”  In fact, Thomas Edison was so taken with her (they almost married!) that he named the Gramophone after her as well.

Think about that the next time you pick up a gram of dank while watching the Grammys.  Seriously.

Notions.

Going through some of my notes (take good notes, kids.  You never know when there’ll be a quiz.) Making observations.  Pondering things.  Coming to realizations and conclusions. Here, then, are two of them.

The modern music video was invented by the late-60’s early-70’s classic “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”  Seriously.  Remember that cartoon?  The original.  Not that Scrappy-Doo blasphemy.  Anyway, in the second or third season, they started adding these chase scenes near the end with Scoob, Shaggy, etc. running back and forth, avoiding the “monster” by hiding in cupboards, in and out of rooms in a long hallway, running SMACK DAB INTO THE SPOOK and then turning, running in place for an agonizing second before shooting off again…and all the while, this insipid Davey Jones-style pop music played in the background.  For example, fast-forward to about the :45 mark of this classic…

There wasn’t any need for this sort of montage, really, except to fill time. But the effect was solid, and the producers/directors continued using this device even into the more modern incarnations and movies, such as “Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School.”  The only difference was the use of more modern pop-punk Save-Ferris rip-offs, but they’re still there.  But take a moment to consider cartoons and television in general before, say, 1972.  Can you imagine an episode of “Dragnet” with a long musical montage of Joe Friday kicking open doors and rousting hop-heads?  (Actually, that sounds pretty awesome.) Or if that famous candy-conveyor-belt bit from “I Love Lucy” had a cool Perry Como ditty playing behind it?  It just never occurred to anyone to do that.  Then, about ten years later, bands started making their own Scooby-Doo chase scenes to promote their tunes; they just forgot to add Scooby-Doo.  However, note that Matthew Sweet’s ‘Girlfriend’ video was almost completely re-purposed anime footage.  A few years later, Mr. Sweet would cover the Scooby-Doo theme song.  THAT’S what you call full circle, ladies and gents.

Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you the tale of the early-90’s. When Matthew Sweet was a rock star, and not…well…whatever he is now.

Another observation:  I have been showing my dick to fewer and fewer people.  True story.  People that know me are aware that I have a penchant for showing my junk off in the most inappropriate places and at the least beneficial times.  I do this primarily to shock people and to sow chaos, naturally.  But recently, I just…well, haven’t had the desire.  I wondered if perhaps I was growing out of my adolescence (since, you know, I’m forty-fucking-TWO now) and being responsible.  But let’s be honest:  it’s still me. Me and my penis.  So I have two hypotheses:

ONE: Everyone in Ft. Wayne has been privy to my casual “Hey, is this gum?” trick (wherein you open your fly and pull part of your scrotum through it.  Looks like pink, chewed gum at first.  Watching the realization of what they’re actually seeing creep onto your victim’s faces is priceless.  Hysterical.)  All manner of men and women have seen my casual dangle, and so there are none left to shock.  “Yeah, Turner, we know.  It’s your piece.  Great.  Can we get back to work now?”  It’s to the point that when I wear my kilt people just roll their eyes instead of fleeing in terror.  In other words, the flashing of twig and berries has lost its shock value.  Dammit.

“Soooo, nothing? Nothing at all? Damn.”

TWO: I haven’t played much hockey lately.  See, hockey players LOVE showing their units to anyone and everyone.  I think there’s some latent homosexuality to some of it, sure.  But it’s also because hockey guys LOVE chaos and pranks, and there’s no more surefire way to enjoy both than with a simple “Hey!  Look what I found!  ZZZZZZIIIIIPPPP” at a buddy’s wedding reception.  Pure comedy. Remember Johnny Upton in ‘Slap Shot’ when forced to do the fashion show?  (If you haven’t seen ‘Slap Shot’ then kindly remove yourself from my presence until you correct this.  Thank you.) That movie got so much right, and the hockey/sexuality/brazen penis talk is spot-on. I think there’s also the male-domination factor.  Literally, it’s dominating the other males by showing the ultimate in confidence.  Letting everyone see for themselves how grand or miniscule your babymaker is.  That’s a risk most won’t take, and the guy who DOES whip it out is afraid of nothing.  Not your judgement, your sense of decorum, your thoughts on his girth, the authorities, the wrath of his girlfriend…nothing.  It’s a big testosterone-fueled chest-thump of sorts.  And since I’ve been away from hockey a bit, my instincts have waned.  I’m out of shape.  I’m a fat, slovenly shell of who I once was.  Time to whip my dick out.

YES!! They TOTALLY bought it!

That One Gal (Swingers Edition)

Thank you, Netflix.  Yes, your lack of new releases and DVD-Only versions of some classics frustrates the holy hell out of me.  One thing the Netflix gang does do well is keeping me in touch with some of my casual friends, the ones I haven’t seen in a while.  “Running Scared” (the Billy Crystal one, not the Paul Walker travesty) made it back to the Instant Queue and so did “Swingers.”  Damn, what a great flick.  Hard to imagine that it’s sixteen years old!!  Before Charlie Sheen, if you saw someone wearing a retro silk shirt and a chain wallet, you knew they were money, baby.  And the scene where Mikey calls Nikki’s voicemail…over…and over…is so agonizing.  The fact that–

Wait.  I’m getting ahead of myself.   The point of this blog entry is to underscore the amount of hot tail that you forgot was in this film.  And we might as well start with Nikki.  You remember Nikki, right?

Girl LOVED her some olives!

Yeah, Nikki.  The young lady from whom Mikey FINALLY gets some digits, baby, ’cause he’s this big fuckin’ BEAR, man.  The young lady with whom Mike immediately blows any chance of romance by calling her voicemail (sorry…it was 1996, so technically he called her answering machine) that same night, breaking a cardinal rule about waiting to ring up a beautiful baby.  Guys everywhere know that scene so well…because we’ve all friggin’ DONE IT.  It’s painful.  It’s excruciating.  We feel so bad for Mike, and scream at the screen for him to “stop, for the love of God!”  But part of the magic of that scene is knowing that Nikki is pretty hot.  Not just that she’s cute, but also confident and quirky.  We’d all love a chance to play “bear versus bunny” with her.  She was kind of an alt-chick.  The last person you’d expect to be a professional cheerleader, no matter how pretty she was.

Holy hell…GET HER SOME MORE OLIVES!!!

Yep, that’s Nikki.  Rather, that’s actress Brooke Langton portraying Annabelle Farrell, head cheerleader of the Washington Sentinels in the enjoyable TNT network staple “The Replacements.”  Apparently, Brooke has been in plenty of stuff like Melrose Place for years.  I still, however, cannot understand why she hasn’t become a superstar.  She’s gorgeous.  She seems to have a sense of humor, and she can play various types of hot chicks.  I mean, she’d make an excellent Catwoman.  Instead of, well.  Yeah.

Next up?  That one incredibly hot chick from Swingers.  Remember her?

Oh, yeah! Sure! (Actually, no. WHO?!?)

Maybe you know her better as “Girl With Cigar.”

Oh. Wait…that’s the SAME PERSON?!?

Yep.  The actress (who has obviously aged REALLY well) is Blake Lindsley, and she probably gets voicemails meant for Blake Lively.  When that happens, Blake Lindsley probably cries quietly to herself, wondering what might have been.  Even though the character in Swingers is simply credited as “Girl With Cigar” she makes the most of a relatively small role.  And it looked like she was going to be a breakout star, because the year after Swingers, she finally played a supporting character with an actual name…and we saw more of her skin, which is always welcome.

Everyone remembers this scene. EVERYONE.

In Starship Troopers, she was “Katrina” and it looked like she was on her way.  Seriously, in two years she appeared in two of the most-watched flicks of the late-90’s.  And sure enough, she parlayed her hot streak into roles like “School Teacher” in Glimmer Man and “Wife” in Ground Control. Wait…what?!  “Wife?”  That makes “Girl With Cigar” look like “Lady MacBeth!”  It’s too bad, because she seems quirky and fun.  Plus, she’s a natural redhead.  Another ten years and she’s Felicia Day.  Somebody should really give her another shot.  Seriously.

Now it gets serious. Ladies and gentlemen, Heather Graham as Lorraine and her amazing lip-bite.

Grrrrrr…daddy like!

Heather was no rookie when Swingers was released, having appeared in…get this…seventeen movies prior to this one.  That being said, her biggest role in cinema had probably been that of  “Mercedes Lane” in the amazingly over-rated (no, I mean it) Corey and Corey vehicle (I meant that, too.  I’m funny like that) License to Drive.  Of course, unlike Blake’s followup the next year, Heather’s was a blockbuster titled “Boogie Nights” which received three Oscar nominations and featured her full-frontal nudity as the now-famous Rollergirl.  Since then, Heather has appeared in a  bazillion movies, including recent hits like “The Hangover” and an amazingly sexy run on the TV show “Scrubs.” 

Speaking of television, I first discovered young Heather in a role most have forgotten…

Who cares about Laura Palmer? We’ve got Annie Blackburn!!!

Yep. Annie Blackburn from the incredible “Twin Peaks.”  Kids today don’t appreciate how much this show gave them.  Nowadays people flock to cable shows like The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy for their weekly dose of “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!?!”  But that just really didn’t happen prior to Twin Peaks.  It’s really fodder for a whole different blog entry, but imagine people meeting in coffee shops (this was pre-internet, people) to discuss last week’s episode of “M*A*S*H” or “Starsky and Hutch.”  It just didn’t happen.  And for me, Heather Graham’s Annie was the most amazing character of all, because she was so goddam beautiful with those Bette Davis eyes (THAT’S why she was in Swingers, I’ll betcha money) but she retained this air of innocence that was very rare in that sick, surreal setting.  Sigh.  STILL the best lip-bite ever.