Before and After

So, Motia (Mo-TEE-ya) says that I should blog more, and I should. Lately, though, she’s been very specific, suggesting blog subjects and the like. The nerve of some people. Telling me what to do. Directing my behavior. Punching me in the arm. Expecting me to get drunk at the company Christmas party.

I think she might be a prophet.

Anyway, we had a discussion the other day regarding certain moments when you realize that nothing will ever be the same. Events or moments in one’s life or in society, the arts, that forever change the medium. Rock ‘n’ Roll music is one of those. For example, in 1957 Elvis finished the year with the number one single on the pop charts with “All Shook Up.” The number two song overall? Pat Boone with “Love Letters in the Sand.” Yes, Pat Boone. By 1958, Pat dropped to #24 overall, and in 1959 he didn’t have a song in the top-100. Obviously, this was a more gradual change, but the point was made: rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay.

But let’s narrow our focus a bit. How about we look only at three different things that happened within the last thirty years or so. And we’ll keep it to one medium: cinema. There have been all sorts of innovators in film, and you could go back to Citizen Kane and Casablanca and discuss how groundbreaking those films were (and let’s be honest, I probably will one day) but I’ve narrowed it down to three events/watershed moments. We’ll start with perhaps the most obvious.

CGI

The original TRON was the first major Hollywood film to utilize the ground-breaking technology of “Computer Generated Imagery.” However, not only were the effects crude and clunky, but they only accounted for a small portion of the overall special effects.

Eerily lifelike.

Eerily lifelike.

The rest were old-school makeup, prosthetics, matte paintings, and colorizing/color replacing most of the footage. That same year, moviegoers had the piss scared out of them by John Carpenter’s The Thing. Carpenter’s film relied almost entirely on Bob Bottin’s stop-motion and puppetry (with a slight assist from the legendary Stan Winston) to create horrific and terrifying creature effects. However, within a couple of years after TRON’s theatrical release came 1984’s The Last Starfighter. In just two years (or less, since the movie was in production well before its release date) the ability of CG artists had leapt light-years ahead, rendering 3-D Gunstars that, while terribly crude by today’s standards, were still pretty cool.

Yeah, try and TELL me that ain't what a spaceship looks like, son.

Yeah, try and TELL me that ain’t what a spaceship looks like, son.

And in less than ten years’ time, we had Doctor Grant marveling at a herd of brachiosaurs. (Even though the famous velociraptor kitchen scene was done mostly by guys in dinosaur costumes.) Now we enjoy everything from Shrek to the Transformers series and everything Marvel Studios has produced. Think back to the “crawling spider-head monster” from The Thing. If filmed today, it would be completely rendered in CG. Would a CG version be better? Creepier? More realistic? Possibly. In the right hands, maybe. But the fact is that no studio would do it old-school today. Old-school SFX are still out there, but there isn’t a studio head in the business that would risk a shot like that without doing it CG.

Not to be confused with the Headcrabs from the Half Life series.

Not to be confused with the Headcrabs from the Half Life series.

Batman Begins

The argument could be made that 2000’s M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable was the first “realistic” super hero movie. But it wasn’t until Christopher Nolan helmed Batman Begins in 2005 that things got, well…serious. We’ve all grown jaded by the words “gritty reboot” but that’s exactly what Batman Begins was. After Joel Shumacher pretty much undid all the good work begun by Tim Burton’s time with the Caped Crusader in the late-80’s, ol’ Bats needed a new start. And when you spend the first part of the film showing millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne studying with ninjas in order to become a lethal assassin, people sort of forget about nipples on the Batsuit.

Until now.

Until now.

The phenomenon took off. Maybe it was perfect timing. In a post- 9/11 world, maybe glib one-liners and a vibrant color palette didn’t belong anymore. And yet, people still needed heroes. Enter The Dark Knight. Through three brilliant films, Nolan made us re-think exactly what we wanted from a comic-book movie. The ripples were felt as far away as M.I.6, as the following year a new, lean, hard, and violent-as-hell 007 debuted in a (all together now!) gritty reboot of the James Bond franchise. Casino Royale was also a dizzying success, and now even fluff movies like Guardians of the Galaxy contain enough gravitas (um, Peter Quill’s mom dying of cancer to start the goddam movie?) to make them feel “real.” Real enough, anyway.

Judd Apatow

Okay, this is actually the thing that got Motia and I talking about this concept of game-changers. I’d mentioned re-watching the original Dumb and Dumber recently, and here’s the thing: it’s really not that funny. Sure, it has its moments, and everyone can recite a handful of lines. But it just falls flat. What happened to cause such a diminishing return? Judd Apatow.

Apatow had been working for a while, writing, directing, producing, and often re-writing scripts for other people. Not many people watched Freaks and Geeks when it originally aired on FOX, probably about as many people as enjoyed The Ben Stiller Show (another example of Apatow’s handiwork.) But in 2004, Apatow produced a little film called Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Then he wrote and directed The 40 Year Old Virgin. And then Knocked Up and Talladega Nights. He produced films like Superbad and Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, and Bridesmaids.

God damn.

In fairness, ol’ Judd had some turkeys in there, too. Year One, for example. And he co-wrote Don’t Mess With the Zohan. But when you look at the scope of comedic films he’s had a hand in over the last two decades, it’s hard to argue that he’s the King of Comedy in Hollywood. There’s a reason for that. Remember how we just discussed the gritty nature of superhero movies since Batman Begins? Comedy works the same way. Judd’s movies generally (not always) have an element of reality in the midst of all the ludicrous shenanigans. I mean, you can watch his films and know those characters. Yes, there are absurd people like Brick Tamland, but there are also kids drawing dicks and foul-mouthed best-friends. Jilted lovers and chronic pot-smokers (pun intended, if redundant.) You know those people. The plots for 40 Year Old Virgin and Bridesmaids could absolutely happen in real life. And as much as it was panned, I even found the Anchorman sequel to be a biting satire of modern cable news media. That’s reality, folks.

The plot of Me, Myself, and Irene could not ever happen. Ever.

Like anyone would seriously believe that these two, would...uh...oh.

Like anyone would seriously believe that these two would…uh…oh.

Speaking of which, I’m not saying the films of the Farrely Brothers or Adam Sandler or Mike Myers aren’t good, or even funny. Kingpin has some of the best sight gags ever, and even though it doesn’t hold up very well, Austin Powers was a fun little movie (and the sequels weren’t terrible, really.) It’s just that after Judd Apatow, when I watch those other flicks I feel like an adult listening to 8th-graders tell jokes. 8th-graders can be hilarious, but most of their humor is sort of one-note: farts, gays, lady parts, etc. And all of those subjects can also be hilarious in the right context. But if that’s all you’re going to give me, I grow tired of it all very quickly. Thanks, Judd Apatow. You’ve ruined me for stupid comedies.

The Story So Far.

 

Most episodic television programs begin with a “previously on…” montage of scenes that lead right up into that evening’s episode.  Tigh and Starbuck have an argument, Baltar has a conversation with Six, and so on. Maybe it’s Rick and Daryl running through the woods, Carl doing something stupid, and then a closeup of Maggie screaming “RUN!” Whatever. Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice, The Blacklist. Lots of programs use that storytelling technique.

Wanna hit Starbucks?  Nah, she's out playing pyramid. ZING!!

Wanna hit Starbucks?
Nah, she’s out playing pyramid.
ZING!!

 

Other shows just go right into the latest episode, basically telling the viewer “If you don’t know what’s up, we’re not going to slow down and fill you in. Keep up, already.” Breaking Bad was great at that. Before the titles, you’d see Walt up to some sort of nonsense in the desert, or Mike doing something shady, or some seemingly unrelated shot: a pink stuffed toy, charred and water-logged, floating in a swimming pool. The writers and directors on those sort of programs usually do a masterful job of weaving it all together by the end of the episode. (Or by the end of the season, at least.)

Does this look a little pink, man? ZING!!

Does this look a little pink, man?
ZING!!

 

The point is, I’m not sure what sort of show this is. (I know it’s not a show. It’s a blog. I get it.   I’m not stupid. WHY YOU ALWAYS GOTTA CALL ME STUPID?!) But I do feel like filling you in before I begin the next episode. Because the next episode is a must-see, can’t-miss rollercoaster ride of thrills and excitement! The San Francisco Chronicle raves “Totally engrossing form start to finish” and the Indianapolis Star writes “It’ll have you guessing right up until the very end!” My mom adds “IT’S A BLOG!! SHUT UP AND GET ON WITH IT, ALREADY!”

 

Okay.

 

 


We OPEN on a dusty western street at dusk. Smoke or some other haze almost totally obscures the sinking, orange blob of sun, distorted and watery through the ripples of heat from the desert below.

 

IN THE DISTANCE, a vehicle approaches towards us down a twisting dirt track (editor’s note: in the first draft, this was a DURST track, and Limp Bizkit played underneath for the whole scene. You can see it in the DVD bonus features, although you won’t really want to.)

 

A MAN (We’ll come to know him as TURNER) stands in the street, facing the approaching vehicle. TURNER wears Wayfarer sunglasses and holds a smoldering, half-smoked MARLBORO CIGARETTE with about an inch of ash on the end.

TURNER doesn’t seem to notice, his vision fixed on the approaching car…or beyond it. It’s hard to tell, because, you know…sunglasses.

 

TURNER takes a drag of cigarette, and exhales slowly.

 

TURNER: Mo-teeeeeee-ya…

 

He tosses the butt to the ground.

CLOSE on the heel of his cowboy boot as he grinds the cigarette into the dusty street.

 

In the BG we see the car more clearly: it is a tan-and-cream colored late-model sedan, like a Lincoln Mark V. The hood ornament is a mounted longhorn steer’s horns.  (editor’s note: in the original shot, the car actually seems to hover about a foot off the ground, while the theme from Twin Peaks plays underneath the scene.  Also, for some reason, the bull’s horns are replaced with twirling chains of chocolate-covered cream-filled long johns, but since no one could remember why it was written that way, this portion of the script was written off as simply “drugs” and forgotten.)

 

CLOSE on TURNER as he smiles.

 

We PAN DOWN the length of his torso, coming to HOLD on the ridiculously large, chrome revolver on his hip as he UNCLASPS the leather strap holding it in place. (editor’s note:  originally, producers wanted the revolver to be two silver-dollar pancakes stapled together.  No one knows why.  Everyone involved in the creation of this episode was terribly hungry.  And tripping balls.)

 

TO BE CONTINUED!


 

 

Well, no. Not really. But damn it, now I have to wrap it up. Guess I’ll have to fill you in next time. It’s a really good story. No, it is!

 

See you next time on “TURNERWATSON.COM!!”

 

(That doesn’t make any goddam sense.)

 

 

Tee Totalling

Within the framework of this blog (as well as in real life) I’ve often lamented the loss of style in the modern world.  I’ve droned about hipsters, men without hats, pomades, etc. but must admit that there’s one item of casual dress that I wholeheartedly embrace:  the time-honored tradition of the T-Shirt.  I am such a fan that I must periodically return to my overstuffed t-shirt drawer and begin the painful process of weeding my collection of ratty, threadbare shirts.  It’s horrible.  I hate getting rid of my treasures.  So much so that I clutch tenaciously and feverishly to at least two different favorites, and in reality there are way too many.  Once as black as the darkest night, now they’re sort of light charcoal, and so theadbare and worn that when held to the light they resemble some loosely-woven mesh.  Cheesecloth, maybe.

However, the field must be tilled ever so often and fresh soil risen up to the daylight.  That’s what I do.  I churn my shirts, so to speak, and the ones that haven’t been seen since last summer are the first to go.  This process brought some old memories to mind, specifically thoughts of old t-shirt fads long gone.  Today’s Realtree fad will soon fade, and hopefully those ubiquitous “KEEP CALM AND BLAH BLAH BLAH” shirts will disappear from public consciousness, at least until the great retro 2010’s craze of 2025 rolls around, at which point reproductions will fly off the shelves again.   Certainly some trends will continue as they always have: throwback soda and candy logos, band tees, beer and sports teams…these will never perish from the chests of frat boys, hipsters, and concert-going blue-collar types. Ever.

The same can’t be said for these bygone relics…

 

Big Johnson

Technically, these shirts were introduced in the late-80’s, but they really seemed to take off circa Spring Break 1994.  Seriously, you couldn’t go to to the mall, the sports bar, or the beach without seeing some dude with a Big Johnson shirt.  The whole gag consisted of thinly-veiled sexual innuendos, like “Big Johnson Surf Boards…If It Swells, Ride It!” or “Big Johnson’s Casino…Liquor Up Front, Poker In The rear!”  They seem dated now, and the jokes are so stale they’re probably made of the same material as your basic M.R.E.  But the catchphrases were brand-new at the time, and twenty-something bros found them hilarious.  I mean, who can argue with this gem?

Subtlety.  A lost art.

Subtlety. A lost art.

 

Hard Rock Cafe

This one makes me a bit sad.  The Hard Rock Cafe still exists and seemingly thrives, most notably the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, as well as vacation destinations such as Myrtle Beach and exotic Detroit.  However, the corporation seems to be just as dedicated to spreading the good old-fashioned American rock-n-roll experience to the rest of the unwashed world, with locations in Jakarta, Angkor, and Phuket (how that never made it to a Big Johnson shirt, I’ll never know) in addition to European strongholds like Oslo and Amsterdam, because there’s nothing else to do in Amsterdam, right?  Duh! The sad part is how the internet and cable television have sort of taken the mystery and adventure out of seeking out a place to get over-priced (but still pretty tasty) burgers whilst surrounded with all sorts of rock-n-roll memorabilia.  I remember sitting in the New York Hard Rock (see, that even sounded cool in 1988), scarfing down a burger and Dr. Pepper, while overhead loomed the awesome, gnarly axe-shaped bass guitar of the God of Thunder himself, Gene Simmons.  Nowadays, I can go on Ebay and shell out some hard-earned PayPal cash and own the sonofabitch.  (The axe, not Gene Simmons, although if the price were right…)  I could also order a Hard Rock t-shirt from the comfort of my living room, and never have to spend time at an airport or drive the six-plus hours to Toronto’s Skydome (that’s what they used to call Rogers Centre) to get the same exact shirt I picked up there in 1991.  The excitement, the discovery, the Kerouac-like feeling of literally being on the road, going somewhere; maybe somewhere you’ve never been.  The pride you felt when you pulled the shirt on and left your apartment and somebody read the words “Hard Rock Cafe Miami” and met your eyes with a look of envy and wanderlust.  Those days are over.  Thanks a lot, stupid fucking internet.

The SkyDome logo had a snappy, ultra-modern redesign.  This was it.  No, really.

The SkyDome logo had a snappy, ultra-modern redesign. This was it. No, really.

 

Hypercolor

I must admit that I was never cool enough to own a Hypercolor t-shirt.  Apparently, I was the only human in North America that walked the streets with a regular old shirt that didn’t change color when someone held their hand on it for like five minutes.  For the uninitiated, the whole gimmick was due to a revolutionary dye that changed tint when it experienced a change in temperature.  You’d put on a purple shirt in the coolness of your bedroom, go out to catch the bus in 80-degree weather and MOTHER OF GOD!!  MY SHIRT IS NOW RUSTY ORANGE!  Then they got tricky and started printing the damn things in tie-dye patterns, so it was a swirling cauldron of ambiguous chromatics, dizzying and dazzling onlookers and passers-by.  “WHO IS HE?!  A WEATHER-LORD OF TIME AND SPACE?!?  ONE OF ELTON JOHN’S BAND MEMBERS?!  YE GODS, LOOK AT HIS MAGICAL ATTIRE!  BEHOLD HIS COMING!”  Plus, yeah; when someone gave you a hug, you could totally see where they put their arms around you.  Show-off motherfuckers, gettin’ hugs and shit.  Some bullshit, right there.

Show me on the shirt where he touched you...

Show me on the shirt where he touched you…

 

I know I’m leaving some out.  I decided against the brand-name trends, like United Colors of Benetton, Gotcha!, et al., because that sort of thing is in constant flux.  Remember when a couple of years ago you saw FUBU everywhere?  Yeah.  But hey, feel free to suggest others in the comments section.  Especially you youngsters that might remember stuff from the turn of the century that old guys like me sort of missed. (Those shirts Guy Fieri wears, for example.)  On second thought, nobody mention Guy Fieri.  The rest is fair game.  And as always, thanks for reading.

 

John Legend Proves There Is No God

It’s been a crazy busy summer.  You’d think that after being fired from my midday radio gig that I’d be lounging around with nothing to do.

Not so.

In addition to searching constantly for the right gig, I’ve been playing daddy day-care for my two amazing (and yet sometimes very high-maintenance) boys.  I also served a two-day stint as a juror for a case involving five different felony counts.  Oh, and I’m going on vacation with my family next week.  (Hell, we made our rental deposit back when I had a full-time job.  Might as well use it.)  But during the crazy roller-coaster ride that marked the last month-and-a-half, I did find time to make the following observations.  Nothing too great, just a little something to keep the ol’ SEO chugging along.  (The interwebs are filled with folks searching for things like…)

 

John Legend Proves There Is No God

It’s not just a snappy, click-bait title.  In fact, I should’ve titled this thing “John Legend Did Something Amazing to This Toddler.  You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next”  or perhaps “Doctors Hate John Legend, Because He Discovered This One Trick To Reducing Belly Fat.”  I mean, that’d start a virtual STAMPEDE to my blog.  Sadly, the simple truth is this:  I’ve come to the conclusion that if there is a God in the traditional sense, then he/she is a sadist.  Forget about the AIDS and Ebola running rampant through Africa.  Pay no attention to the clear-cutting of rainforests in the Amazon to make way for superhighways and World Cup stadiums.  Don’t fret about the changing salinity of our oceans and the unsettled nature of the over-fished and finned shark population.  No.  None of that matters.  God hates you.  I know this.  It’s the only possible explanation for hearing that GODDAM “ALL OF ME LOVES ALL OF YOU” or WHATEVER THE HELL IT’S CALLED EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR FROM THE TIME I WAKE UP UNTIL THE TIME I GO TO BED.  Seriously, I have a ska-punk station on Pandora.  Motherfucking John Legend shows up there.  Scanning your terrestrial radio dial?  Good fuckin’ luck.  And for the sake of all that is good and kind in this world, do NOT step foot into a department store or mall.  It’ll find you.  HE will find you.  John Legend.  He’s waiting.  He knows.  He’s coming for you.  For all of us.  And it’s all God’s fault.

Behold...Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

Behold…Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

 

New Parking Lot Idea

Speaking of the tween-filled over-air-conditioned halls of the local mall(s), I had the greatest idea the other day.  Automakers need to add a new indicator, much like turn signals and brake lights, that would tell other motorists “I’m just straightening up, not leaving.”  Think about it: busy holiday shopping season, you’ve cruised around the entire sixty-acre parking lot with no viable parking results, when suddenly you see the flash of back-up lights and think “HALLELUJIA!!  BUILD-A-BEAR, HERE I COME!” Only to have your hopes dashed against the rocks of commerce as you realize that the silver mini-van was simply trying not to crowd the maroon Durango in the next parking stall.  Now, what if there were a pulsing blue light right below the third brake light?  A serene, lovely lamp that would tell passers-by “Move along, friend.  This spot ain’t available.”  Everyone would be much better off.  When your kids screamed “There’s one!  There’s a spot!” you could sadly shake your head and say “No, hon.  They’re just flashing blue.”  Maybe one day the technology for such an improvement in our fine American-made automobiles will exist.  Our lives will be much improved, despite the continued presence of John Legend and his death-anthem.

Sorry about the epilepsy, BTW...

Sorry about the epilepsy, BTW…

 

Sturridge.

Been watching a lot of World Cup footy, and as a Liverpool supporter was sadly not terribly shocked to see Luis Suarez go all “28 Days Later” during the tournament, as this ain’t his first buffet. His subsequent departure to Barcelona was almost a relief, although I harbored fear for the Pride of Merseyside’s continued attacking dominance.  Then I remembered that we still have Daniel Sturridge, and he started the season without Ol’ Bitey and was a forced to shoulder the goal-scoring burden pretty much all by his lonesome.  During this soccer-related reverie, it occurred to me that “Sturridge” is exactly how Charles Barkley would describe the passengers belowdecks in “Titanic.”  See, like this: “Man, all them folks wouldn’t have drowned if they hadn’t locked up them doors to sturridge.”

[INSERT "BITE TO EAT AFTER THE MATCH" JOKE HERE]

[INSERT “BITE TO EAT AFTER THE MATCH” JOKE HERE]

Chap Stick.  Hee Hee.

I emptied my pockets the other day and found my Strawberry (a somewhat rare flavor) Chap Stick.  I giggled, because for some reason my brain decided to say “Chap Stick” with an old-school stereotypical  Cockney accent.  See, I think that maybe in olden days, maybe during the Industrial Revolution, the term “Chap Stick” might’ve been a good slang for the male member.  “Ow, g’wan wi’ ye.  She ain’t got naught on below them petticoats.  Just wait, love, I’ll be showing ‘er me Chap Stick straight away!”  Oh, how I laugh and laugh.

 

Thank you, internet.   Thank you.

Thank you, internet.
Thank you.

 

 

I Didn’t Choose the Pug Life…

I’m a cat person.  That is, I prefer cats to dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, dogs are swell;  they just ain’t my cuppa tea.  Friends’ dogs?  Hey, they’re A-OK.  Any pooch I can play ball with or run up and down the beach beside for a few hours is cool in my book….as long as I can go home without the burden of canine companionship.  I imagine my thoughts on man’s best friend are much like the attitudes of those folks unburdened by children who find themselves at a family gathering which includes toddlers.  You know how it goes.

AUNTIE: Oh, she’s so cute!  Oh!  Look at her little face!  I just want to eat it up!  Who’s a cutie pie?  You are!  Oh, yes you are!  Oh, can I hold her?  Wow, she’s so tiny!  OOoooOOO!  She’s smiling at me!  Yes she is! She–

[VOMIT APOCALYPSE!!]

At which point the stunned, soaked, smelly relative hands the wailing kid back to the parents.  Quickly thereafter, auntie swears to NEVER give birth to living young. Ever.  She even considers a life of celibacy, just in case.

Now, all that being said, pugs are pretty goddam cute.  I’ll give the little bastards that much.  I mean, look at this guy.  His name is Gene.  He was so named because his tongue, usually lolling out of the side of his mouth by a good eight inches, so resembled that of legendary KISS bassist/God of Thunder Gene Simmons that the moniker was perfect.  Personally, I think he looks more like Samuel L. Jackson, but hey…diff’rent strokes.

Say "what" again!

Say “what” again!

My lovely wife and I agreed to foster Gene for a while through a great organization known as Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.  They do great work finding loving homes for otherwise neglected or abandoned animals.  I know, I know…who in their right mind would pay top dollar for a purebred pug an then simply walk away from it?  But it happens.  Sometimes the new pet owners have sorely underestimated the financial cost of owning a pet or the time required to care for a living, breathing, furry member of the family.  Sometimes it’s an even sadder tale:  Gene’s human mom succumbed to cancer, and he needed a home.  Simple as that.  My wife and I, the good-natured, animal-loving liberals that we are, offered to keep ol’ Gene for a while.  It was sort of trial run for us as well, as we’d considered adding a small dog to our two cats and two human boys.  The boys wanted a dog, and we decided that the middle of the worst goddam winter in Ft. Wayne history was the perfect time to add another animal to our home.  Not just another pet, mind you: no, another animal which required closely-monitored feeding (pugs will literally eat anything and everything) and trips outside to the bathroom.

You know what love is?  I’ll tell you what love is.  Love is going out in negative-ten-degree weather and shoveling a 40-by-20 patch out of the two-foot deep snow in your backyard for an animal to defecate in.  Love is hoping that the plows come through again so that you can take the little bastard on a walk around the block.  Love is picking up what seems to be a chewy Lincoln Log from the couch because somebody didn’t get outside fast enough.  Love is putting the kitchen trash can up on the counter top so that the lovable bastard doesn’t knock it over and dig through it to find the empty microwave popcorn bag you threw in there last night.  Love is dealing with pug breath in your face at 5:30 am.  Love is your cute little ball of energy barking incessantly at the inflatable Santa Claus in the front yard.

But, yes, love is also a warm, fuzzy, full belly presented to you out of trust and affection.  Love is also the squeals of laughter from the kids as that stupid beast chases his tail around and around and around until he falls over from dizziness.  And, okay, fine…love is the feeling of happiness as Gene goes off to live with his forever family.    Was it worth it?  The heartache, the angst, the frustration?  Fine. Sure.  Okay, yes, unquestionably.  Did I tell myself “never again?” Damn right I did.

So, yeah.  This week we’re sitting for a friend’s pug.  Goddammit.  His name is Mr. Chubs.  He looks like this.

Taken shortly after eating a one-pound bag of Iams cat food, I shit you not.

Taken shortly after eating a one-pound bag of Iams cat food, I shit you not.

And when he goes back home this weekend (awwww, so soon?) I will be quietly relieved.  My cats will be delighted to have my lap back.  I will be pleased to not have fawn-covered hairs all over everything and thrilled not to worry about stepping into what seems to be melted Tootsie Rolls on my way to the restroom.  The thing is, I’m a cat person and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Hell, I’m proud of my status.  The entire internet exists because of cats (citation needed.)  Cats have even given me some of my favorite expressions; you could even say they’re the ‘cat’s pajamas!”  And scooping a litterbox in the safety and elemental comfort of my garage in January is infinitely preferable to picking up steaming piles of dog waste at any time of year. So will I ever welcome dogs into my house again?  Absolutely not.  No way.  100% negative on the doggie-sitting.  All done.

Aw, who am I kidding…

 

 

Jokes aside, kindly check out the good folks at Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.  Browse the pooches, foster a dog, make a donation.  And may the odds be ever in your favor…)

 

Radio, Radio…

I recently stumbled  upon a snippet of an old radio show I used to do.  The show was called the TnT Morning Show. We chose that show title because in its first iteration, I was joined by the amazing Tommy Collins (currently co-hosting the TnA Show on Wave 104 in Myrtle Beach.)  See, it made sense:  [T]ommy and [T]urner.  TnT.  When Tommy said “FUCK THIS SNOW!!” and returned to the Carolinas, the show continued with me and Parker [T]homas.  Here’s the insider tip that you might’ve been able to figure out regarding Parker:  his last name isn’t really Thomas.  We made that shit up to make it fit the TnT thing.  In fact, when I asked him if he minded adding a surname to his moniker, he shrugged and said “Yeah, sure!” and I handed him a LaBatt Blue and the rest is history, including the part where the little bastard up and left for Los Angeles.  Now you can hear Parker afternoons at 94. 1 WVIC.  When Parker took off, the third iteration of the show began with Barry [T]hickk (hey, at least he was already using that name!) until we got bumped by the syndicated Bob & Tom show in a cluster shake-up.

Anyway, here’s the break in question.  The “Safety Pop” in question is none other than Mr. Nathan Fast, a kid who will eclipse Ryan Seacrest in terms of visibility in the next five years. (Fact. Mark my words.)  The kid is HUGE and began his radio career as a lowly intern at 98.9 The Bear.  The Natalie you’ll hear was also an intern, and now runs Bark Like a Cat Media with her husband.  Not bad, kids.  Anyway, here it is.  Click the title to play…

Touching it, Dora, and Life.


 

How old is that thing?!  I mean, we mention MySpace for God’s sake!  Wow.  I brought this up to the attention of the parties involved, and Parker sent back this YouTube video that some listener put together.  A listener.  Someone that heard (and somehow recorded) a bit of our show and then put together a tribute video of sorts with pictures from our old MySpace and Facebook pages.  Never before have I been so flattered and totally creeped out at the same time.  The great thing about it is that it features one of my favorite characters, Fat Wal-Mart Lady.  Yes, she’s still out there, active on Twitter and Facebook and sometimes slumming at the Dollar Tree.  Brace yourselves…

So there’s a little walk down memory lane for ya.  Note to self:  I absolutely MUST dig up some old Tommy and Barry clips.  I’m sure they’re laying around somewhere.  In the meantime, we’ll always have MySpace…

Hollywood Scuttlebeat!

I’m running out of clever names for these fake celebrity news blogs, so sorry for the lame header.  But goddammit, these are so much fun.  Let’s dive right in to the fake movie stuff…

Royal Reboot for Kiwi!

The non-stop runaway success story that is New Zealand’s wunderkind Lorde doesn’t show any signs of slowing down!  The teenage pop sensation recently signed on for the long-rumored reboot of 80’s teen flick  “Say Anything.”  Of course, curious readers would assume that Lorde would be recreating the role of Diane Court, originally made famous by Ione Skye in the original 1989 classic.  Not so fast!

lorde

Lorde models the prototype GHEToBlstr mp3 player (designed by Beats by Dre) that plays a key role in the film.

“Well, that was the original idear, but when they came to me and offered me the paht, I toold ’em straight away that it was the lead or nuthin’!”  Yes, movie buffs, it’s the ol’ gender switch-a-roo, with Lorde playing the part of Layne Dobler, a troubled young skate rat who desperately tries to woo the out-of-her league male love interest (rumored to be Josh Hutcherson.)  “I figger I’m almost Australian, so should be right spry enough a catty-wampus to dinkum’ up a todger all owly-like!”  Amen to that, sister!  Shooting for the newly-titled #NEthing begins this summer.

 

Ryan Reynolds Racing Reprise!

ryan goofy

It’s been a hit-or-miss few years for heartthrob and abdominal muscle Ryan Reynolds.  But it looks like that luck is changing, as Ry-Ry has signed to lend his voice to a sequel to the Netflix hit kid’s movie “Turbo.”  The project got the go-ahead when Dreamworks purchased iPhone game maker Republic of Fun after their recent bankruptcy.  The game studio had a modest hit of sorts with ‘Slug Wars’ for mobile devices and tablets.  Could that be a hint of things to come for America’s favorite gastropod and his pals?

“Well, obviously we’re taking Turbo in a bold new direction.  The initial thought was to do it as a prequel, show all the snails as babies.  Then we realized that they would all be terribly slow babies.  And it just got weird,” Reynolds recently told reporters.  “But with the recent rights to the title [Slug Wars] we’re going to have the wacky bunch of slimy molluscs actually join the War on Terror.  There’ll be a lot of NSA-style commentary and the Patriot Act gets sort of scrutinized and it’s just a great way for kids to learn about how the government really does have their best interests at stake.  I mean, the shell, right?  The shell on Turbo’s back is a great analogy for personal privacy or something.  I don’t know, really.  I haven’t read the script, but hey…freedom, right?”  We couldn’t have said it better!

Jurassic Sam?

One voice from the first film that will likely be missing from Turbo 2:  Slug Wars [working title] will be that of veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson.  Of course, Jackson is no novice when it comes to voice-acting, and has been featured in numerous animated flicks.  No, the real reason why the classy Sammy J might miss out on the fun this time around is due to a crazy busy schedule that has the actor moving…and might just have him running from prehistoric monsters!

"This is how I imagine Mr. Arnold looks now.  See, he ain't got time for yo' sh*t."  - Sam Jackson

“This is how I imagine Mr. Arnold looks now. See, he ain’t got time for yo’ sh*t.” – Sam Jackson

That’s right, you heard it here first:  20th Century Fox is working on a super-big super-secret project that is rumored to involve a return to Jurassic Park!  Jackson has been fairly tight-lipped, but let the following slip during the Red Carpet during the London premiere of Captain America: Winter Soldier…

“I mean, here’s Mr. Arnold, right?  Smokin’ cigarettes and sh*t right there at the computer.  G*d d*amn, that’s some hard-core sh*t right there.  You know right away that he’s a bad mother f*cker, maybe the baddest on that motherf*ckin’ island.  So he goes to turn on the power, and it’s like ‘a skinny-a*s velociraptor gonna take him out?’  H*ll, no!  You know he’s out there somewhere, waitin’ to pop a cap in some dino’s a*s.”

But what about the fact that Mr. Arnold has obviously lost an arm to the dangerous dinos?

“Did you see this motherf*ckin’ movie right here? [CA:TWS]  Bucky got him a motherf*ckin’ robot arm.  That’s some serious sh*t right there.  I mean, motherf*cker catches Cap’s f*ckin’ SHIELD with that thing!  Now, here’s Mr. Arnold, right?  He’s lost an arm, but they got all kinds of science sh*t on that island.  Who’s to say he didn’t grow it back?  Clone it or some sh*t?  Or maybe he’s just that bad-a*s that he only needs one arm.  H*ll, Nick Fury only got one eye, right?  You gonna f*ck with Fury?  Didn’t think so.  Nah, Arnold is out there.  Maybe he swims to Costa Rica or some god d*amn place.  All’s I know is that they wanna make a movie, and I aim to be in that mother f*cker.”

Sounds like we’re all taking a welcome return to Jurassic Park sooner than we think!

 

[NEXT WEEK IN CELBRI-NOOZ: SPIELBERG DISHES ON HIS LATEST PROJECT! “IT’S NOT GODD*AM JURASSIC PARK, SO QUIT ASKING.”]

Tuesday Tips

Okay, so, not really “tips.”  But since I’ve over-used words like “Randomity” and any variation thereof, I had to come up with something.  Besides, there is one very strong recommendation in today’s blog, so the title is technically accurate.   Somewhat.

A little.

Okay.

Let’s jump in.  Item number one:

It’s St. Paddy’s Day, NOT St. Patty’s Day.

We (and by “we” I mean “Americans”) just celebrated the storied, auld Hibernian Holiday celebrating the great Irish (probably Scottish, maybe English or Welsh) Saint Patrick.  Yanks, as many of you know, enjoy a great deal of cultural stereotyping and drunken foolishness whilst celebrating the life and times of a Christian martyr.  We dress up in plastic green Bowler hats (or are they Derbys?) and drink watery American light beer with food coloring in it because…fuck, I really have no idea.  Prettier puke?  None of that matters, however, as I was trying to make a point and got sidetracked.  Probably because I was (am) drunk, being that at least a third of my lineage is Irish, as I am a good old-fashioned American Mutt.

'MURICAN MUTT!!  (Get it?  It's not too subtle?  Okay.)

‘MURICAN MUTT!! (Get it? It’s not too subtle? Okay.)

Anyway.

Something that sort of irks me is the ongoing misuse of “St. PATTY’S Day.”  I mean, it’s not the worst thing in the world (no, that’s the use of “DUCK Tape” in lieu of “DUCT tape”) but it just sort of grates.  I mean, I get it: Patrick.  Shortened and made more familiar.  Patty.  Sure.  Makes sense.  Only, that’s not the dude’s name.  Not originally.  It was/is Padraig.  Irish.  Padraig.  Ever heard of a police van (or other vehicle) called a “Paddy Wagon?”  That originated in an interestingly double-sided bit of stereotyping/profiling.  See, they’d send out the cops to round up the drunken brawlers in places like New York, Boston, and Chicago, and as we all know, the only drunken brawlers of yesteryear were Irish.  Hence, they sent out the “PADDY Wagon” to haul the lot to the drunk tank.  Not a “PATTY Wagon” although if Mr. Krabs had his way, that’s exactly what it’d be.  The fun counterpoint here is that most of the arresting officers and regular beat cops in those same cities were, you guessed it:  Irish.  Sean Connery in “The Untouchables?”  Yeah.  Lots and lots of Irish cops rounding up Irish drunks in their goddam Irish getups drinking their goddam delicious dark red, amber, and brown beers and anyway, it’s SAINT PADDY, YOU ENGLISH COCKSUCKERS!

Ummm...I don't know how to tell you this, Ireland, but other than potatoes, well...

Ummm…I don’t know how to tell you this, Ireland, but other than potatoes, well…

Speaking of the Irish (the OTHER Irish) let me drop some cool Mexican futbol knowledge on ya…

The UNAM Pumas = University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

I love me some footy.  Sure, hockey is always going to be number one in my book, but goddam…LOVE me some footy.  Particularly the English variety.  Italian, Spanish, French…they’re all a bunch of diving pussies.  (Except for Messi.  Messi never falls.)  Maybe that’s because he’s from Argentina, and South American and Central American footy players seem to be made of sterner stuff.  Anyway, my favorite Western Hemisphere club team is Club de Fútbol Universidad Nacional A. C, otherwise known as UNAM Pumas.

I’ll be honest, the main reason I began supporting this Mexican side was their logo.  I liked the kitty-cat head and the way his nose sort of reminded me of the steps of a large ziggurat (that never looks like it’s spelled correctly) and the color scheme.  I really dig the gold and blue colors.  They look regal, clean…and, yes, somewhat familiar.

Regal.  Yes.  Regal as a motherfucker.

Regal. Yes. Regal as a motherfucker.

That’s because they are directly copied from the University of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.  Seriously.  The Pumas were almost a direct copy of ND’s American football team.  See, the Pumas began life as a college club team.  To this day, they play at a college stadium and the acronym UNAM stands for Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México or “The National Autonomous University of Mexico.”  Back in the early decades of the 20th Century, American Football was more popular in parts of Mexico than good old-fashioned futbol.  The UNAM kids asked the Notre Dame guys to come down and teach them Futbol Americano.  The Notre Dame guys left a big impression, along with a ton of their warm-ups and training gear.  It was a great cultural exchange, despite the fact that South Bend still doesn’t have very good Mexican restaurants to this day.  Eventually the Mexican club embraced European football instead of American, went pro, and here they are. They still wear the Notre Dame colors and still rock their university affiliation and I think that’s awesome.

Regal.

Regal.

Read Hawkguy.

Okay, I know I tend to geek out here.  My buddy Ray likes it when I go on my quantum-physics = Buddhism tangents and such, but goddam it, sometimes the best thing in the world to talk about is something geeky.  My blog, my interests.  Sorry, gang.  And now and then I also try to enrich your life by giving you tips.  Brothers and sisters, I have a big one for you.

Hawkeye.

No, not the guy from M*A*S*H who happened to be named after a James Fenimore Cooper character and Daniel Day Lewis dreamboat.  No, I’m talking about the archer who wears purple.  Marvel Comics’ blatant rip-off of Green Arrow.  The pretty much useless dude in The Avengers movie.  That guy.  Hawkguy.

Guest-starring John Goodman

Guest-starring John Goodman

I have my friend, the brilliant and handsome Professor Tony DiSanto, to thank for recommending the most recent iteration of the Hawkeye character.  Prior to the moment when he said “DO IT, ASSHOLE!  PICK UP THIS BOOK!” (I may not remember Tony’s exact words with 100% accuracy, but it was something like that) I honestly didn’t give two shits.   Hawkeye was always the “trick arrow” guy and stupid.  His mask was designed to look like Wolverine’s, only it had a big “H” on the top.  Seriously, Marvel?  You took Captain American’s “A” and made it a consonant and…those stupid cuffed pirate boots…and…and a hover-scooter…and…just no.  How about no?  NO.  I mean, sure, I enjoyed Jeremy Renner’s interpretation of the character, and in retrospect think they should have used him better in Joss Whedon’s blockbuster flick.  But overall, there just wasn’t anything about the dude that drew my attention.

Navy and purple are usually such a great combination.  Don't know what went wrong here...

Navy and purple are usually such a great combination. Don’t know what went wrong here…

Then Matt Fraction stepped in.  I can’t say this strongly enough:  the Hawkeye book(s) are some of the most brilliant storytelling I’ve ever read, especially from a major publisher.  Added to the writing (which is clever, smart, exciting, and sometimes a bit dark) is the amazing minimalist artwork.  The color palette is perfect, and little touches like the obvious placement of a strategic old-school Hawkeye character’s head over the current Clint Barton’s privates during a naked fight remind you that yes, this is a comic book.

Head.   Giggle.  Snort.

Head. Giggle. Snort.

But when he tells an entire section of one story through the eyes of Clint’s rescued pooch (Pizza Dog!) you see just how clever Fraction really is.  Wow.  Seriously, wow.  At times heartbreaking, other times hilarious,  I can’t recommend it enough.  Even if you hate comics (or if you’re a hipster that usually shuns the big labels) you owe it to yourself to pick up the trade paperback compilations (I got mine at the Allen County Public Library) and dig in.  This series, more than any that I’ve read over the last few years, show why comics are their own art form.  The nimble written prose of a great novel and the stylized visuals of an art-house movie;  it’s neither fish nor fowl, and that’s what’s great about it.  Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye.  Check it out.

21 Hours in Vegas.

As some of you that read this blog know, my “real” job is as a midday jock (Disc Jockey) for 98.9 The Bear in the tropical paradise of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  So a quick bit of backstory for the tale you’re about to hear:  the radio station had an on-air contest, the grand prize for which was a trip to Las Vegas with yours truly.  The winner would be taking a guest, and so would I.  Since my lovely Sweet Baby could not take the necessary time off, I chose my friend and beer-league goalie Nick Farkas.  Farkas is a seasoned traveler, making trips all over North America in his role as a union representative and adventurer.  The trip was to take place between Saturday, February 1st and Monday, February 3rd.  A quick trip.  Essentially two night in Vegas.  Sounded wonderful.

Saturday, 2/1/14.

12:20pm I text our winner, Eric, to tell him we’re on the way to the Ft. Wayne International Airport.  He responds that he’s actually flying out of Detroit, since it’s closer for him.  I wish him well and tell him we’ll hook up out in Las Vegas.  For some reason, he and his buddy are staying at a different hotel: the Hard Rock Casino.  Farkas and I are at the Embassy Suites.  Hmmm.  Okay, that’s cool.  I didn’t anticipate spending much time in the room anyway.

1:06pm – I receive a call from an unknown 800 number.  The caller leaves a voicemail.  I check it.  Uh-oh…bad news: our flight has been pushed back.  We arrive at the airport, my lovely wife drops us off.  Nick and I go in.  Looks like there’s been a problem with the plane getting here from Atlanta.  Fucking Atlanta.  (This is a bad bit of foreshadowing.)  I inquire as to any other flights to Detroit (for our connection to Vegas) as I’m concerned that we’re really going to be pushing it, time-wise.  Our Detroit-to-Vegas flight leaves at 3:30.  We originally were scheduled to leave Ft. Wayne at 1:45.  As the clock creeps towards 2:30, I know it’s going to be close.  I am told that there are seats on a flight to Atlanta that evening, then to Vegas.  However, another airline employee says that no, that isn’t the case.  I tell the airline guys that we’ll soldier on, and worst-case, we catch a later flight out of Detroit. I call and leave voicemails to my bosses advising them what’s up and promise to keep them posted.

2:20pm – Halfway through security, a TSA guy comes running over saying “WHOA! WHOA!!  I can’t let you fly!”  He explains that the boarding pass that I’ve shown him…and that he has signed off on…is for Sunday the 2nd.  I think that’s got to be mad.  He read it wrong, maybe.  I look at my boarding pass to see that he’s absolutely right.  Somehow the airline has misunderstood or something, and has us flying out of Ft. Wayne the following day.  Fuck.  Farkas and I grab our crap, get out of line, and stumble sock-footed back to the ticketing desk.  One dude says “uhh…I thought you were leaving tomorrow.”  I explain that I’d JUST TOLD HIM that we were trying our luck in Detroit.  His supervisor straightens it out, prints new passes with our original flight times, and away we go.  Again.  Through security.

2:35pm – We sit on the goddam tarmac for an eternity.  Finally, we’re airborne. One last check of the flights out of Detroit shows that the departure has been pushed back to 3:40.  That’s good news, as minutes count.

Despite Nick's goofy mugging, neither of us was pleased.

Despite Nick’s goofy mugging, neither of us was pleased.

3:20pm – The plane  lands in Detroit.  Looking good.  Then we taxi.  3:30pm.  I look up exactly how far our departure gate is.  Holy shit.  Imagine a capital “H” on its side.  Got it? Our plane would be pulling into the lower-most, furthest-to-the-left gate.  Our plane to Vegas was in the upper-most farthest-right end of the “H.”  Fuck and fuck.  Okay.  We’d run.

3:30pm – Farkas and I (along with a couple of guys in Chive gear who are are also heading to Vegas) perform a “Flying-V” to get out of the gate.  Luckily, we’re all carrying our only luggage.  We run.  And run.  There’s a weird sensation that occurs as you sprint down one of those moving sidewalks and then reach the end:  it’s deceleration trauma, as your legs think the ground beneath you is still moving.  Of course, it isn’t.  My knees are already shot, so this jarring experience each time is annoying and painful. It  happens again and again and is unnerving each time.  I look back and see Nick is falling behind.  He stumbles, puts his hands on his knees.  He’s spent.  He’s done, and we’re halfway through the tunnel to the other side of the “H.”

The tunnel between concourses at DTW.  It feels about two miles long.

The tunnel between concourses at DTW. It feels about two miles long.

I ask if he wants me to run ahead.  He nods assent, then bravely tries to pick up the pace again.  I leave him, running as fast as my leopard-skin creepers will carry me.  Up the escalator, taking a hard right, moving sidewalk, floor, moving sidewalk, the gate is ahead, none of my travel companions is nearby.  Not sure what happened to the Chive guys.  Don’t care.  See the gate.  Rush to the desk. Look at the video monitor…

It’s gone.  The door is shut.

A Chive guy runs up behind me, tells me that  I must’ve been “flying” through the terminal., adding that  “I took the tram, and you beat me by thirty seconds.”  He mentions that he’d seen our plane pulling way from the gate literally as I arrived.  Wouldn’t have mattered.  Farkas was still back there somewhere.  Then I see him, and he knows from my face that we’ve failed.

3:45pm – The gate agent is a delightful, helpful lady.  She informs me that there might be a couple of seats on  the 7:55 to Los Angeles; the flight continues to Las Vegas.  I tell Nick that I’m running down to the help desk immediately, in case the seats disappear.  He elects, wisely, to stay there at the gate and rest.

3:50pm – Another long sprint, only to find a sea of humanity at the Delta help center.  I see the Chive guys talking to an agent.  I finally get one of my own, and she steers me to the bank of old-school black wall telephones.  I pick up a handset, talk for a while with the female voice on the other end.  No flights.  None at all, not even on their “partner” airlines.  She mentions that there’s a 6am flight to Atlanta, then to Las Vegas.  We’d be getting in around noon, Vegas time.

Fucking Atlanta.  Fuck.  I ask about where I’m supposed to stay, am given a number to call for a “discounted” hotel.

4:10pm – I grab a couple bags of complimentary Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips and two little Aquafinas.  I consider taking the whole damned basket. As I walk back to Nick, my phone rings.  Jeff Davis.  Jeff is an independent promoter.  He works with record labels and brokers deals with radio stations to “promote” artists/bands.  Often, he gets the record labels to pay for things like hotel stays as a way of saying “thanks for the support!”  Indies are the only thing standing between a radio station and payola charges.  They’re the middle-men, the brokers.  They keep things above-board and within FCC and FTC regulations.  Anyway, Jeff asks how things are going.  We chat.  There’s really nothing he can do, and I know it.  He wishes me luck.

4:45pm – We wait outside in the brisk Detroit air for our shuttle to the Days Inn near the airport.  And wait.  And wait.

This.  This was our "sanctuary."

This. This was our “sanctuary.”

5:30pm – The Days Inn.  With the airline “discount” it’s sixty bucks.  The station petty cash will have to pay for it, cutting into our “fun money.”  Whatever.  We check in, throw our bags in the room, head downstairs to the bar for something to eat.  Trish the Dish (nobody calls her that) is our waitress.  She seems amiable in that hard Michigan way.  Starving, Nick and I order a basket of shrimp and some burgers.  We guzzle a couple of Labatt Blues while we wait.  Then we wait some more.  Nick playfully hints that we’re sort of hungry.  Trish points to the order window and says “See how many orders he’s got on his wheel?”

Okay then.  Wonderful.  I love Detroit.  Finally, a couple of beers further along, we see a plate of shrimp in the window.  Our hopes are dashed when a different waitress grabs it and hands it to a guy who JUST SAT DOWN at the bar.  Vegas feels so very far away.  Finally, we eat.  Nick showers.  I text Eric and tell him that we’ll be in tomorrow, good luck, holla if he needs anything. I hit the sack, knowing that we’re going to be up at 4am.  It’s about 8:30pm in Detroit, Michigan

Our room number couldn't have been more perfect.

Our room number couldn’t have been more perfect.

Continue reading “21 Hours in Vegas.”

Q & A, Part Two

**Cracks knuckles.  Sips Scotch.  Exhales.  Turns to keyboard.**

Here…we…GO!

Into part two.  Moar questions answered!  (And thanks for liking my Facebook page.  Seriously, it means a lot.  If you haven’t yet, feel free to visit it on the right-hand margin over there. I’ll wait.               Got it?  Good!)

Leslie asks “Is you mother still writing?”

Leslie and I are old theater cohorts, and she’s asking, literally, about my mom’s writing career.  Many people don’t know that my mother used to write romance novels.  She started out at Harlequin Romance, doing those monthly soft-core romances that you mom likes.  She dabbled with other publishers, and actually had a few books out with her name above the title.  In other words, her books said “LYNN TURNER” and then “NAME OF STORY” underneath.  And yes, Lynn Turner was a pen-name.  She took my middle name (yeah, so?  Lynn is just as masculine as…as…like, Dale or something) and first name, transposed them, and BAZINGA!  Fun fact:  later on, as the internet became “a thing” mom would do Alta Vista searches (remember AltaVista?  It was the Google of the mid-90’s) for “Lynn Turner” and found out that…SURPRISE!  Lynn Turner was a 90’s porn star.  Anyway, sadly, it’s been a  while since mom published anything.  She contributed a few items to anthologies and such for old editor friends, but nothing of late.  Perhaps she should start blogging…giving tips to aspiring writers and such.  Hint-hint, mom.  (Then again, she could be my editor, as I just finished a damned manuscript and have no self-control…)

This is actually still available for your NOOK reader!!

This is actually still available for your NOOK reader!!

A very special query from my dear friend Joe:  “Why do you do this on a weekly basis after our hockey games … Stand like Captain Morgan while holding a beer wearing ONLY your birthday suit or if I’m lucky you’ll throw on a shirt, but that’s it ?!?! I’ve seen your hog more than I’ve seen my own. Welp, see ya later.”

For those of  you that don’t know, Joe is one of my very best and dearest friends ever.  And I’m 43 years old, so that’s saying something.  Anyway, Joe is also the drummer in the band RAINS and my linemate on our beer-league hockey team.  Next to Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum, he’s the most famous guy I’ve ever shared the ice with.  But his distress comes from the fact that, yes, I often throw my “hog” out for display.  See, my “hog” has gotten me attention in the past (due to its shimmering, glistening beauty…and a purplish vein on the side that spells out ‘radiant’ in cursive and OH GOD, STOP TYPING!!)  Anyhoo…ol’ Joe’s penis has been known to cure blindness and make the crippled walk.  It also, ironically, has crippled non-believers who won’t accept that it is the ultimate power in the universe and STOP TYPING!!  NOW!! THAT IS AN ORDER!)

Rather than post a picture of my "hog" I decided to remind you that 'Back in the Day' is available right now on iTunes.  Ahem.

Rather than post a picture of my “hog” I decided to remind you that ‘Back in the Day’ is available right now on iTunes. Ahem.

Daniel (or, as we call him in da Fort ‘Porch’) has a good ‘un:  “Why are you a closet case for your love of Batman over Spider-man.. or.. what attracts you to Spider-man and when did you first feel that chub?”

I intend to do an entire blog about Spidey, who is the super-hero with whom I most identify.  He really does deserve his own blog, so deep are my affections for ol’ Web-Head.  But my Batman love isn’t closeted in any way.  I love Batsy. In fact, Batman and Ambush Bug are my all-time favorite DC Comics characters.  And if you don’t know who Ambush Bug is, please do yourself a favor and run (RUN, I SAID!! MOVE YOUR GODDAM FEET!) to your nearest (local) comic book store and inquire.  They’ll steer you right.

Ambush Bug: the ORIGINAL Deadpool.

Ambush Bug: the ORIGINAL Deadpool.

Time for one more?  Okay.  One more.

Finally, this question from Jess:  “How do you balance family/real life with the bear?”

She’s referring, of course, to my primary job, which is hosting the midday show on 98.9 the Bear in Ft. Wayne (but with online listenership spanning the literal globe!  Wae’aye, Newcastle!)  The thing is, the radio side of my life is part of my “normal” life and vise-versa.  See, nowadays radio guys are just like audio bloggers.  We use our lives as show-prep.  By that, I mean that what happens to us away from the radio station informs upon the show itself.  Follow?  John the Mexican talks about his new house during his show, Barry Thickk talks up his latest blowjob adventure (SPOILER: it was with a LADY!)  Hell, I just had my kids in to do a show with me AGAIN.  This, because I am sick and tired of trying to find childcare during this hellish winter that we’re having in the midwest. The point is that if you have a family, and you’re going to do radio, well…they’d better just get used to the idea.  This isn’t TV or movies.  You don’t get to shoot the scenes and go home.  You work at it, constantly.  24 hours a day.  Your life is show-prep, and radio is your life. That’s just how it is.  Concerts, remotes, appearances, guest-judging wet t-shirt contests…it’s all part of your life, and the other way around.  It’s why radio is so trying, demanding, and exhausting.  It’s also why it’s so blissful.  If you’re gonna stay in this biz…and I’ve been doing it for over twenty years…you learn that there’s no other way.  Radio = your life.  And the other way around.

Of course, sometimes your life demands that you hang with Corey Taylor.

Of course, sometimes your life demands that you hang with Corey Taylor.