Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breaking the Silence

Alright, I guess this has gone on long enough. Time to fess up. I guess I'm just going to have to accept that after all this time, I was wrong. For years I've wondered what "take out TCP" means in the song Respect. I thought maybe TCP was some kind of drug. I sure as hell didn't know what "rese" was. But it turns out the correct lyric is "Take care, TCB." TCB stands for "take[ing] care of business"

That somehow makes even less sense than taking out TCP. First, why say take care, followed by TCB, when the "TC" part means "take care"? That's redundant. And why throw in an acronym when you just finished spelling a word? It just seems like that would invite confusion. What's even more confusing is according to Wikipedia, the lines:

Find out what it means to me
Take care ... TCB

are not even present in Otis Reading's original version of the song. He did add it later, and apparently there's some debate over who actually used the line first, but my question now is, if it wasn't even in his version of the song, what did he have in it's place?

Did anyone know the actual lyric prior to reading this? Are you not shocked? The only reason I know is that I looked up what "take out TCP means" one day after wondering my entire life. Even Tiny Toons thought it was take out T-C-P.

I guess if I'm completely honest, that's not the only thing that's been bothering me. See, I have Yahoo set as my homepage, but they completely rearranged the site a few months ago and I absolutely hate it. I'll see a story that looks interesting, but when I move the mouse, it turns into something else, because the cursor barely touched the sidebar and opened up "View Yahoo Sites" or "Autos" or some damn fool thing. It's annoying and I wish they'd change it back to normal. But I guess things will never go back to normal, no matter how much I want them to.

One of the staples of Yahoo is the "featured" comic strips. I clicked on today's, but Yahoo doesn't tell you the name of the strip, so unless you already know it or the artist writes it in the first block (which takes up valuable space) you're on your own. Here is what they have today:


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! See, it's funny, the hell is this supposed to be? I guess it looks a bit like that movie The Last Starfighter, but that can't be the joke, right? I mean, the thing is FIVE PANELS LONG! Does it really take five panels to say "Hey look, 80s movie reference lol". And in three of them are just of someone walking. I have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to be looking at.

I found out from reading the url that the comic is called Jane's World and from the comics' site that it's about a lesbian. So maybe there's some contextual thing I'm not getting. Is sector three some kind of secret lesbian code? Do they like to buy ice? Since I'm not familiar with the strip, I could be looking at this the wrong way. Maybe it's one of those Mary Worth-type comics that has boring ongoing dramatic storylines instead of lame throwaway gags. Even if that were the case, what is going on here? Entertain me, damn it! I'm so confused. Anyone want to give it a shot?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

That Whole Kerfluffle

Okay, people. I wasn't here when Kanye acted like a giant douche and said Beyonce's video was one of the best of all time. OF ALL TIME!!! Then she actually won video of the year, which made him look like an even bigger, impatient douche.

But I'm not here to talk about that giant impatient douche. In the interest of remaining somewhat relevant, I've seen the Single Ladies video and I don't get why a black and white video of three chicks dancing would even be in the running for video of the year, let alone "all time." Unless you're using it for, ahem, spank material, it's boring as hell. Where's the story? The character development? It looked like a cosmetics commercial. In fact, wasn't it?

There were no Vincent Price raps, no claymation, no dancing skinned Fonzie, not even a mop-wielding janitor. What the hell? It's not even the first video to be filmed in black and white with no background.

Even the choreography, which is apparently what's supposed to be so great since there's nothing else to the damn thing, is lifted from somewhere else. But the comments on the Youtube video go on and on about how amazing it is? Observe:

Considering the number of parodies and imitations of this video, I would argue that it's the most important music video since Thriller. I think Beyoncé did something really big here.

 thts true, i think beyonces wuz better 2. I honestly dnt think what kanye said wuz tht bad cuzz he wuz very ploite about it

I do like this inexplicable exchange:

Ok awesome songs whatever, but why do music videos get more attention than community ones. Its not fair, or nice

what are you on about u stupid bastard, music is the future, GET USED TO IT

If you like the song, fine, whatever. That's a different topic entirely. But the awards (the video was nominated for 9 VMAs and won 3) are for the VIDEO. There's a whole other award show for songs. And the video isn't all that special. Not bad or anything, just...average. Forgettable even. You know it could have used? Captain Lou Albano (RIP). That would have kicked ass.

I wonder if it's like a Three Wolf Moon ironic kind of praise, or am I the only one who doesn't get it?

Monday, September 07, 2009

What the Hell Happened: Joe's Revenge

Continued from yesterday

So who, against all odds, managed to avoid the chopping block?

Joe! Freaking Joe! Suddenly, I didn't feel all warm and fuzzy. Why did I get laid off and this guy's still there?

When we switched from Quark to InDesign a few years back, I was admittedly the last one to embrace it. But once I learned it, I found I really liked it and just kept learning new tricks and shortcuts. Whenever we had a little downtime, I'd explore some of the features and find something new. And if there was something I couldn't figure out, I'd keep trying different things, or look up the problem online until I found a solution. That's what I do. It's like when I couldn't remember the name of that cartoon with the talking fireworks. I FOUND IT! It took forever, but by God, I found it.

On the other hand, you have Joe. Who you may recall from his early work in Highlights for Children as Goofus. Goofus only learned enough to barely get by. Why bother retaining knowledge when you can just yell a question down the hall?




I don't know if the bosses knew any of this or took it into consideration, and even though I'm eternally happy that I don't have to listen to "Remember that show Mr. Nice?" or "Are You my special friend?" anymore, he's there and I'm not, which in a way means he won, which makes my mouth taste like horse crap.

The truth is, the idea that someone might get axed was on all our minds for months, and the first choice, Mr. bathroom hog, was pretty easy, but if there was going to be two layoffs, and I don't think anyone ever though there would be, but to me, the second choice is Joe without question. And apparently Joe's obvious second choice was me. We never expressed this opinions to each other, of course; they were filtered through John T, but when I heard that I just though, "Well that guy's gonna be in for a real shock." And then of course the day came and somehow, against all reason, I'm the one that was laid off. Joe won. Sonofabitch.

I can't prove this, but the reason, I think, that I was let go rather than Joe is as follows:

A couple of months before all this, Joe was getting ready to welcome his wife back home after she'd been stationed in Afghanistan for six months. He had a framed picture of the two of them that he hung in the front hallway, and probably some other asinine gifts, and his 18-year-old son from his previous marriage was there with him, standing in the hall. She walked in, Joe moved in to give her a hug, but she side-stepped him, brushed him off and said, "I don't love you anymore. I met someone else. I want a divorce."

Now, Joe annoyed the hell out of me over the years, and I can't even begin to imagine LIVING with him, but damn, that's cold. That's really cold. She didn't even take him to the side and do it quietly; his son was standing right there. And despite her contempt for Joe, the kid had known her for like ten years. He grew up knowing her. She was supposed to go to his graduation a few days later, and he asked if she was still going, and she just said, "No."

Apparently, she met someone in her unit over there and they hooked up or something. I don't know what the Air Force policies are for that, but whatever. The important thing is she should have told him months ago. Because when you have someone you care about over there in harm's way, you worry about their safety the time. At least if she broke his heart earlier he wouldn't have to spend every night worrying that she might be ripped apart by an IED or something. He wouldn't care, and he'd be able to sleep a lot better. It's common courtesy, really.

And of course he should have seen this coming. While she was overseas, she and everyone else there had to ration their time to make calls and send emails back home, and she told Joe that she spend so little time talking to him because she gave up most of her allotted minutes to a homesick young airman. Right.

Look, I understand the thought of spending your whole life with Joe is like staring into the mouth of Hell, but she was just brutal to the poor guy the way she went about doing this. No tact at all. I mean, for all him many, many faults, that guy really loved her and the way it ended pretty much crushed him.

Anyway, all of a sudden, Joe is in the middle of this big, messy divorce. Again. And maybe the bosses were thinking they can't very well throw him out on the street now on top of all he's going through. I don't know what they were thinking, I know that they don't particularly like Joe, especially after the wake incident. And I know because of his tendency to rape the truth, he got yelled at a lot, sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly. But, for whatever reason, they kept Joe. Remember that.

Because I left on good terms, I still had my keys; one for the front door of the building and one for the elevator. I was allowed to come in any time to work on my stuff. It was a generous offer, but I didn't take advantage of it, because it just seemed like it would be terribly awkward. And I wasn't about to risk hearing that insipid country station ever again. But I did have the keys if I needed them.

One day, John T. called ad asked if I could turn them in. The reason being that the other guy who was let go had asked the boss if he could keep his laptop, and she said no, it belongs to the company, and I guess he was a little mad about that. She got a little freaked out when she found out that he had come in over the weekend to clear out his stuff without supervision, so she asked us to return the keys. We could still come in if we wanted, but there'd have to be someone around. No problem.

So...a week later, John T. called again. This time he asked if the police had called me. I said, "No." He said, "Well, they might."

The night before, someone broke into the office and stole five laptops. Now, I'm not suggesting that it's at all connected to the other guy being angry about not being able to keep his laptop. It is awfully coincidental, especially when you consider that only laptops were stolen; nothing else. No cords, no external keyboards, not even a mouse. (See what I did there?) And there was a CPU in the office that didn't work, but you wouldn't know that unless you turned it on. That curiously wasn't taken, either. You could argue that only laptops were taken because they are small and easy to carry. After all, it's hard to look inconspicuous wheeling a giant color printer down the street.

The truth is, ANYONE could have stolen the laptops,'re gonna love this...footprint evidence shows the burglar came through Joe's OPEN, UNLOCKED WINDOW. The studio is on the seventh floor, and on three sides it's a straight drop down to the pavement, but outside of Joe's window is the roof of the parking garage next door. There's not even a gap between the buildings; it's literally right outside his window. There's always cars parked out there. So anyone who was up there could look right through Joe's wide open shades, through his unlocked and open windows, right onto his desk where his laptop is still on, staring back at them. Tempting them. Daring anyone and everyone to just walk right in and take it and whatever else the feel like. Earlier this year, the boss freaked out over an exceptionally high energy bill. Worried that it might have been my from my heater, (because that place was always so frickin' cold) I started to bring in blankets, changed all the lightbulbs in my office to CFLs, and turned off the power strip for the laptop every night. But since it wasn't Joe's electric bill, he apparently felt it was perfectly acceptable to continue leaving his computer and his radio-his radio! on all night, every night. I guess that doesn't really have anything to do with the laptops being stolen, but that still steams my brocolli. Anyway, they kept Joe, he left his damn fool window open, and the place got robbed. That's all I'm saying.

In a way, I'm lucky to have been let go, because when I left, I copied all of my personal files from the laptop onto my external hard drive. But if I had still been there, I wouldn't have had a reason to copy my files and when the place was robbed, I would have lost EVERYTHING; drawings, photos, stories...all kinds of stuff. So if there's a "glass half full" way of looking at this, that would be it.

By the way, the police never did call me, and I'm a little offened by that. I mean, I didn't do it, and I wouldn't have had a way of getting into Boston, and I have an alibi with witnesses, but the cops could have at least entertained the idea. Way to be thourough, guys.

well, T. said all their stuff was insured, so they were able to get all new computers and up-to-date software. So that's good. And I guess they'll be putting bars on the winows, so that's good too, although a good first step might be closing and locking the windows before going home. Maybe even drawing the shades too, if you want. Go crazy.

So, that's what happened. Since I had ben at my job since 2001, I had some money in a profit-sharing account. It took a while to actually get a hold of it, but when I did, I took some of it out to buy a brand new laptop and a ton of programs, and I put the rest in an IRA. So I've been looking for another "office" type job, but so many applications call for prerequisite web-design knowledge, and I'm primarily a print guy. But since I now own them, I'm slowly learning Flash and Dreamweaver, and while I know a little already, I'm nowhere near the point where I can say "Yeah I can whip up a website with CSS and dynamic, uh, whatsits for you no problem." Actually I can say that, but I can't say something that would make any sense.

What I'm hoping for, and I know it's going to be hard, but I'm hoping to go out on my own and do some freelancing. I've got over ten years experience, I own Adobe CS4 Master Collection so I have every program Adobe makes at my disposal. I write, I draw, I take pictures. Not professionally, but I guess if you paid me that would make it professional, right? I don't know if there's a certificate or something you're supposed to ave. I can do brochures, postcards, brand-identity stuff like logos and stationery, business cards...if you've got a band, I play bass. No, I don't actually know how to do that, but I could design t-shirts or posters or those flier things for you. Can't do whole lot of Flash, so lay off that for a while, but I'm learning, and maybe I'll post my progress for you guys, you know, when I make some progress.

So...this degenerated into a commercial pretty quickly. Or desperate plea for help, whatever works. If you guys every do need anything, or know anyone who needs some kind of design work done, email me at

I wish that was the end of this summer craptacular, but it was only the beginning, Check back tomorrow to find out what happened next. And you don't have to worry about it not being there because I already wrote it. I'm just trimming this beast into bite-sized pieces so you don't choke on all the depression.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

What the Hell Happened: Tell me about the rabbits, George was your summer? Mine was crap. I tried to write this several times over the past few months, before deciding that the best way to express my thoughts would be in my first ever video blog. But once I started recording, I drew a blank, so I had to write it all down anyway. And then there's the issue of where to look. I tried looking directly at the camera, but the constant stare came out looking insane and a little creepy. So I tried it again, looking slightly off camera, but without any eye contact, it looked like I was trying to hide something. So I ultimately decided to just go back to writing the whole damn massive thing out in sections like I was going to do in the first place, except now I have this needless explanatory paragraph to start out with.

Anyway, it all started on Free Donut Day. If you ordered a coffee at Dunkin Donuts, they'd give a donut for free. Who the hell doesn't like free donuts? So I went there first thing in the morning, got my coffee and my free donut, and thought "This is a pretty good day!"

And damn it, for a few hours, it was. My boss was in early that morning. To give you a little background, the company is run by two siblings; the sister is the art director and the brother takes care of the sales and business end, as well as lending his name to the company. A few years ago, when the lease was almost up on our current office, they spent months looking for a new place. Our old office on Appleton Street was too big, and this one was just a little too small. And only had one bathroom, which was frequently monopolized by this guy, sometimes for an hour at a time. They weren't able to find a new office before the lease was up, so in the end we all stayed put. Except the boss, who decided the best way to give us more room (and, more importantly, himself his own bathroom) was to get a small office a few blocks away and work off-site from there. He still came in almost every day, but for the most part was either on the road or in his new office, and in his absence, his sister moved into his old office, Amy moved into the sister's old office, and after she "left," I moved into that office.

But back to free donut day. The boss was in the office that day, and although it was a bit unusual for him to be in so early, I just figured there was a new project to go over. He called me into his sister's office, and I started to get an uneasy feeling, but still I assumed we were going over a new project. So I went into her office and sat down, and the two of them sat opposite me. He started, "As you know, things have been really slow around here lately." She looked like she was about to cry. Aw, crap.

"We have to let you go." I forget which one actually said it. They're not twin or anything, I just don't remember. You'd think I would, but, I just don't. And I have to tell you, I did NOT see that coming. I knew the economy overall was down, and my timesheets had less and less billable time, and I knew that there might be some layoffs here, but...I don't know, I guess I thought since I was the only one that knew even a little about web design, that it was sort of guaranteed job security. Nope.

I don't know if I was still in shock, but all I said was "Okay." He explained that client billing was off 40%, and that it had nothing to do with job performance, and they really like me, and they wished that they didn't have to do this. In all of their years in business, they'd never had to lay anyone off before. They both said that I could come in anytime and use the computers and printers to work on my portfolio and resume, and they would help any way they could.

And they said, "Just so you know, you're not the only one."

Throughout the whole thing, I just kept saying "Okay". And really, at the time, I was. For awhile, I started to feel like I was going to work a that place forever, spending my whole life there and never advancing. This was my chance for a new beginning. It was exciting, really. But Michele didn't find it as exciting as I did. And with good reason. We were already barely getting by as it was, and with our rental agreement up at the end of August, we were thinking of getting a house. So then I started getting nervous about what we were going to do next, but I still saw getting laid off as an opportunity.


Then I started thinking. There were only four employees there. Four. And they downsized by half to two. Guess who's sill there? Go on...

Find out in the next thrilling installment of the end-of Summer Craptacular "What the Hell Happened"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quick Update

Hey, guess what? I don't have to listen to Joe anymore! Because I got laid off! More details when I get my new laptop I'm supposed to be getting with my retirement money, whenever it finally gets here. The money, not the computer. Well, both, I guess. But one thing at a time here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

R.I.P.: Warren G. Skye

Most of you have never heard of Warren G. Skye. To be honest, I never really knew exactly who he was, either. I guess I thought he was one of those quasi-celebrities whose fifteen minutes of fame were up before I was even born, like etiquette guru Annie Cavanagh. He could have also been a politician, possibly British; I just didn't know.

I feel bad now for not giving poor Warren much thought. Did he have a family? What's he been up to lately? It never crossed my mind. Really, the only time I ever thought about him at all was every once in a while when I heard his name on the radio. But no more.

Today, in a Shamaylanian twist, I found out there is no Warren G. Skye. Or, if there was, the Cars never mentioned him in Bye Bye Love, off their eponymous 1978 debut album. I'm still a bit too shaken up to accept that he's gone. All this time, I thought it was:

It's Warren G. Skye...
Oh wait, is it some other guy?

But it turns out the actual line is:

It’s an orangy sky
Always it’s some other guy

Orangy sky? What the hell does that mean? At least mine made sense. A part of me died today.

So long, Warren. Or should I say bye bye love? No, so long is sufficient.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rise From Your Grave And Sell My Tie-ins!

I saw a McDonald's commercial over the weekend involving a Monsters Vs. Aliens tie-in featuring Grimace! He didn't have a speaking part, but by God, he's alive!

In honor of this momentous occasion--and because I don't want to write about how we got to the IMAX at Jordan's Furniture at noon to get tickets for the 3 o'clock show, only to discover that every show was sold out until seven so spent all day in Framingham--here's another one of these things...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FWS: Episode 4

With Steve's offer of a new co-host opening apparently still standing, struggling comedian Chip Newton sees his chance for a new career. But what will become of Fred?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where's the Rocket?

Over the years, the internet has helped me find the names of movies, magicians who cut off their legs with a chainsaw to the tune of The Peter Gunn Theme, even the identity of Donald Duck's mother. And yet, one challenge, finding a cartoon about anthropomorphic fireworks has remained unmet. That is, until now.

Yes, I was looking back over the weekend and realized after over three years, I still had not found any evidence of this thing ever existing. So I tried again, I even made the rounds of movie forums hoping someone would have known what I was referring to. Only this time, I tried to remember a bit more. "Fireworks" and "firecrackers" weren't getting me anywhere. What else could you call them? Then I tried "rocket." And the greatest thing happened.

I found this. An animated short called The Remarkable Rocket (1975), narrated by David Niven. Based on a short story by Oscar Wilde. I had a few details mixed up. It turns out it's not about the little runt that everyone else makes fun of--in fact the main character is a pompous jerk--although there are squibs in the story. And it certainly doesn't take place during an Independence Day celebration. And perhaps most importantly, something I should have mentioned when I first posed the question, they aren't so much rockets with faces as they are disembodied cylindrical heads with cones attached to the top.

Well, I think I'm running out of childhood things to find that people didn't believe existed. I'm sure I can think of something else eventually, but I'm going to savor this discovery for a while. This one was driving me nuts.

Anyway, this being St. Patrick's Day and all, why don't you check out Irishman Oscar Wilde's original short story, and as you're reading it in your best stately British David Niven voice, picture the characters as horrifying disembodied cylindrical heads with cones growing out of their scalps.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Internet...Is There Anything it Doesn't Know?

Thanks to the internet, I now know the name of a movie that used to be on HBO all the time about a kid with red toy telephone who uses is to talk to his dead father, but it isn't really his father, it's the spirit of an evil magician who has possessed a ventriloquist dummy the boy found in an old mine shaft or something and decided to bring home for some reason.

It's called Making Contact, or Joey for the German version and, among other things, it was the first film directed by Roland "Leno-chinned Godzilla" Emmerich. Everything about this movie is crazy. Emmirich, living in West Germany in 1985, wanted to connect with American audiences, so in addition to being an English language film (which was later dubbed into German for hometown audiences, so the German actors recorded the whole movie in English, then dubbed it in their native language.) every frame of the movie beats you over the head with "Boy, we sure are in AMERICA!"

It begins with a funeral. A nine-year-old boy named Joey has just lost his father. He's pretty broken up about it. He returns to his bedroom, which has to hold the record for most American icons in one movie scene, ever. This kid's got a poster of Yoda, Return of the Jedi bedsheets, a Return of the Jedi lunchbox, a TIE fighter, one of those kick-ass AT-ATs, Sesame Street curtains, board games of the A-Team and Q-bert, a He-Man folder, Smurf stickers, a Pac-Man clock, a plush Donald Duck, in fact lots of Donald stuff, and the EXACT SAME giant stuffed raccoon I had when I was a kid. Oh yeah, and this thing:

Anyway, Joey looks at a picture of his dad. I should mention that for research purposes, I watched both the American and German versions. In the German version, it then cuts to a flashback of Joey and his dad playing basketball. But in the American version, he just looks out his window at the basketball net above the garage. I don't know why there's a discrepancy, maybe Emmerich thought Germans wouldn't understand that Joey used to play basketball with his dad unless they were actually shown a scene of it, or if he just assumed all Americans played basketball with their dads, so a scene depicting it would just be superfluous. In any case, just then, the basketball in the corner of the room rolls over to him, and all the toys start to fly around the room. Just like in Poltergeist (1982).

His toy robot, Charlie, comes alive, and makes a bunch of R2D2 sounds. In the German version, Charlie actually chirps out the thing from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), before extending his little arm and touching fingers with Joey. Like E.T. (1982) To be fair, E.T. ripped off the touching fingers bit from Michelangelo.

Just in case all of that wasn't enough to convince you we're in AMERICA, the next scene starts in the classroom, just as the kids are finishing up "My Country 'Tis of Thee" Yep, this sure wasn't filmed in West Germany. Oddly enough, several of the kids are wearing baseball caps in the classroom. We don't take kindly to that here in America.

The kids all have eggs on their desks for some reason. One kid replaces Joey's egg with a black plastic one. Joey opens it and finds a toy skeleton and a note. The kids around him all start laughing. Really? What a bunch of little jerks! "Ha ha! Your dad's dead!" The one who wrote the note is probably just lashing out on account of his freakishly giant teeth. They're like billboards; he should rent out the space.

Joey somehow makes an egg float. Also, one of the girls in his class looks a lot like Drew Barrymore in E.T.

I was determined to figure out where this movie is supposed to take place. You know, besides AMERICA. While the kid is on his creepy red phoe talking to his dead father, you can see a Terry Bradshaw poster and a Steelers pennant on his wall, so they could be in Pittsburgh. But he's also got L.A. Lakers pennants, so that doesn't help any. Still, there had to be some clues, and sure enough, plastered all over his closet door were bumper stickers for "The Old Country" and Z100. The Old Country is Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and Z100 is a radio station in Virginia Beach. Nowadays it's Virgina Beach's "Blazin' Hip Hop". Yeah, I looked it up, you wanna fight about it? If that's not enough to convince anyone that the movie is set in Virgina Beach, then the guy on the radio newscast saying that all the phones in Virginia Beach went haywire in the next scene should seal the deal. Hmm...I wonder if the phone troubles could be caused by Joey's late night calls?

On top of having every awesome toy from the 80s and a self-aware robot sidekick, this kid has a dog, too. I'm starting to hate this kid. He takes his dog Scooter and the robot outside, and Scooter chases Charlie into the yard of the old Fletcher House, which looks an awful lot like the Bates Motel. Charlie finds an opening into the basement, makes a few more blatant Artoo noises, and discovers a half-opened crate containing a creepy old dummy. The dummy, which looks a bit like George Burns, opens his eyes and says something along the lines of "Blaaah!!!" spooking poor Charlie and sending him scurrying off. Joey goes off and looks for his robot pal, but can't fit in the way Charlie came in, so he opens the hatch and enters the basement. He sees the creepy dummy, picks it up, and brings it home for some reason. Just to clarify, he sees this thing and takes it home.

As Joey rides his bike, I swear to God, they're playing the same music as E.T. According to the credits, all the music was composed and conducted by Paul Gilreath. Apparently, he "composed" the music by tape-recording soundtracks to other movies, and "conducted" it by pressing play.

Joey wows his mom by making his glass of milk slide across the table to him using only his mind. His mother, rather than being frightened, thinks it's amazing and has him do it again. Now, that kind of reminds me of something, but I can't put my finger on it. It wouldn't be that scene in Poltergeist when the mother was fascinated by the baby sliding across the floor, would it? No, no, it must be something else.

His mom starts to change her mind about the whole thing being fun and games when she hears her son talking to someone in his room. He's holding a glowing red toy telephone. He says he's talking to his dad. Joey's happy, but Mom's a bit creeped out.

Joey doesn't seem to know or care where he's getting these new powers, but he knows what to do with them: blow up the toy tanks of all those other jerk kids! It's a bit like Carrie, or that Twilight Zone where the kid could make anything happen simply by wishing it. I should probably mention that episode was made into one of the segments for Twilight Zone: The Movie, since it came out in 1983 and could be one of the dozens of movies Making Contact "borrows" from.

Joey's velcro-wearing teacher has a little talk with Joey's mother about her son's recent behavior, and possibly to score a date. Mom and the teacher go outside to look for Joey in the driveway, and guess what? It looks like the driveway from E.T.! I don't know how a movie that contains zero aliens can rip off E.T. this much, but seriously, this movie can't stop ripping off E.T.. Hell, there's even an inexplicable scene with some sort of bizarre Oscar the Grouch, E.T. hybrid, that doesn't ever appear again or have anything to do with the plot.

They open the garage door, and the evil dummy makes the car drive on it's own. They jump out of the way just in time and the car crashes into a ditch and burns.

Elsewhere, Joey's closet opens, revealing a cave, as music that sound's a bit like the Emperor's March plays. Which is fitting, because the evil dummy proceeds to attack Joey with lightning bolts, just like the emperor in Return of the Jedi (1983)! But Joey manages to subdue the dummy and ties him up in the closet. With E.T. wallpaper. Backwards E.T. wallpaper

Mom and the teacher visit the graveyard. He tells her that he knows some people at the university that might be able to help Joey. Well that's helpful. In the next scene, the road is closed off and there's white trucks parked in front of the house. A bunch of guys in white labcoats pull up to the hose and start putting tubes and computers everywhere. Fucking E.T. again!!! The head scientist is really, really creepy looking. I somehow forget to get a screen capture of her, but it's probably for the best.

Across town, or somewhere, the kids from school, angered that the little fatherless wimp Joey blew up their tanks with his damn mind, are plotting revenge. "This battle isn't being fought for revenge, it's being fought for honor." Okay, sorry kid. I don't know what to say about these kids. They're basically the Virginia Beach chapter of The Goonies (1985). They've got the requisite fat kid, but Data's been replaced with this lil' Lando.

The kid with the enormous teeth is holding a Darth Vader mask under his arm. He's the leader.

Their plans for "honor" are soon cut short, though, when they are trapped by the dummy at the Fletcher place. Sally (the Drew Barrymore-looking girl) tells Joey that the others, the ones who made fun of him because his dad was dead and were in the middle of planning an attack on Joey when they where caught, have been trapped in the Fletcher house and she begs him to use his powers to save them. Riiiight. Joey thinks of the dummy, but assures himself that it's tied up in his closet. The one with the backwards E.T. wallpaper. Right? He opens the closet door and finds the ropes untied. The dummy was gone. Maybe bringing home a creepy-ass dummy from a creepy-ass old basement wasn't the best idea.

Meanwhile, the Goonies are trapped in a system of caves. They decide to split up. The first group sees a giant rock snake. As in a giant snake made out of rocks. The second group runs into the rock snake as well. Or maybe it's a different one. But the third group get a horrifying mummy. The fat kid, who is by himself, opens a door to discover...

A giant, killer hamburger!

The lead kid with the Darth Vader mask sees...Darth Vader. I'm not sure if they're all supposed to see they're greatest fear or what is going on there. And if so why are most of them afraid of snakes made of rocks?

Meanwhile, on the set of E.T., cops and white-coated scientists have flood lights all over the woods. Down below, there's a giant labyrinth. The ground shakes and the dummy's giant head comes up. Oh come on, now they're ripping off The Muppet Movie (1979)!

Joey sees the dummy sitting on the edge of an arm chair facing an Exit. When he comes around to the other side, the spirit of ventriloquist Jonathan Fletcher appears. He tells Joey that many years ago, an evil spirit took over his dummy and trapped poor Fletcher. He said the only way to free himself is to go to the door and into the light. So Poltergeist again.

So Joey opens the door, and he's instantly transported to the back of Falkor the luck dragon, who takes him on a whirlwind birds-eye view tour of Fantasia. Or maybe it's somebody's colon. It's hard to tell. But the point is, by opening the door, he's saved the day. The Goonies find him laying motionless and he has to be put on life support. E.T. again.

The kids, just like their Stephen Speilberg-directed counterparts, give an interview after their ordeal. The main kid said he saw "Him." When asked who, he says, "You know, my hero." Except he doesn't say, "my hero." That part's dubbed, because his mouth is clearly saying something else. Could it be that even though images of Darth Vader, and nearly everything else found in Star Wars, were used extensively throughout the movie, they weren't legally allowed to say his name? Cause that'd be weird. The E.T. girl tells the horror-faced woman, "The light was so beautiful." Now Emmerich's trying to compare her to Carol Ann? Too late, buddy. You already established that she's a rip-off of Drew Barrymore. It's bad enough you threw her in there with The Goonies kids. Now you're just being greedy.

So then there's a Poltergeist-like storm, and the scientists announce Joey is dead. His mother cries, and all the kids wan to see him. They say Joey would have made a good leader because he saved them despite the way they treated him. The girl picks up Charlie, the robot that the movie forgot about since Act 1. The robot comes alive, then a bunch Millennium Falcon two TIE fighters fly out of Joey's room. Joey opens his eyes. E.T. music swells. The end.

The movie is almost done "paying homage" to every American production it can think of, but there's one more left. Check out the fourth line up from the bottom:

And others? Did the Professor and Maryanne work on this movie?

Well anyway, I saw this thing I don't even know how many times when I was growing up. But somehow never knew the name, and as I got older and tried to describe it to people, all I got were blank stares. But now, thanks to the internet, I was able to actually track it down and prove to all the doubters that I didn't jut imagine it. But that's not all, I finally found something else I was looking for, too. But that will wait for tomorrow. I've learned my lesson. You know. The lesson about wads.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Apologies in Advance

A pirate is sitting at the bar, and the bartender says "How'd you get that eyepatch?" The pirate says, "Arrr, livin' on a ship can get a bit cramped, so some of the lads decided we should take a portion of the cargo hold where we store our plunder and convert it ta livin' quarters. Not everyone was open to the idea."

"So they stabbed you in the eye?"

"What? No! So we had a vote, fair and democratic like, to see whether or not we should give up some loot space fer some livin' space. The results were split down the middle, seven men for it, and seven opposed, with one undecided."

"So the guys that were against it broke into your quarters while you slept and plucked out your eye to get you to change your vote!"

"No! Stop doing that! So...I approached the undecided lad and asked if there was anythin' I could do to persuade him ta vote for the extra livin' space."


"And nothin', he agreed ta vote in favor of it, and that's why I wear this eyepatch."

"I don't get it."

"You know the old saying, boy. An eye for an 'Aye'."

On another note, I made more xtranormal movies.
First up is a series called "The Fantastic World of Sports:

Then there are the semi-autobiographical ones...

And the ones that don't really fit in any category (the last one is my favorite):

So, there you go.

Friday, February 06, 2009

My Heart Will Go On

I got the results from those ultrasounds from the other day. The doctor said while she is confident that I do in fact have Marfan Syndrome, both scans showed my aorta to be perfectly healthy. I'm going to have to go back once a year so they can keep an eye on it, but she reassured me that if and when the aortic tissue expands too much, I'd just need to take pills to regulate it as opposed to surgery. I can deal with that.

So as far as dropping dead goes, I think I'm in the clear. but I've still got joint and tissue deterioration to worry about. She suggested Tai Chi, which is supposed to help me avoid things like my thumb or even my whole wrist trying to escape. Conversely, yoga is one of the worst things I could do. I really don't need to be stretched out any more than I already am.

Next up is an eye exam, to see if I have a dislocated lens. She said if I start seeing silvery flashes in front of my eyes, go to the nearest eye treatment facility right away, because it could mean that I have a detached retina. Actually, I don't even know if detached retinas and dislocated lenses are the same thing or two separate conditions. I could easily look them up, but there is sure to be accompanying pictures and I want no part of that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

JMDb Strikes Again

Since the day he got here, and probably even before that, Joe's been periodically shouting "Bailiff, whack his pee pee!" And as with everything else that spews from his mouth, no provocation is needed. We'll be sitting in complete silence, then "Bailiff, whack his pee pee!" comes booming out of his office. Perhaps even more baffling is the revelation yesterday that Mooney claims to have never heard Joe say this at any point over the last eight years. You've got to envy Mooney's acute ability to suppress and/or block out stuff like that.

I guess it made him curious, because today Mooney said "Bailiff, whack his pee pee!" to see what Joe would do.

"Who was it that said that?" Joe asked. "I forget his name. It was a black guy."

"You mean that's actually from something?" asked Mooney.

"Yup. It was a bit on Rowan & Martin's. 'Bailiff, Whack his pee pee!'"

"Rowan & Martin's? They said that on TV?"

"Oh yeah, you could say anything back then." Joe informs him.

I guess when you've done as many drugs as Joe has (by his own admission) it's easy for whatever's left of your brain to confuse the "Here come de judge" skits from Laugh-In with a Cheech and Chong bit about statutory rape.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Sometimes, you just have to know when to pick your battles. That being said, from my office I just heard Joe say from down the hall:

"You know what was a movie that was disappointing that got a lot of hype? End of Days. It was Arnold's last movie, besides his cameo in The Rundown."

Against all odds, my brain did not implode after taking in that much false information. 2008 John would have gone down there and corrected him, but 2009 John is just going to sit in his office and pretend it never happened. However, just to purge it from my head, End of Days came out in 1999, just in time to cash in on the Y2K hysteria, but long before Arnold's stint in politics. In fact, over the next four years after End of Days release, he would go on to star in three more movies; The 6th Day, Collateral Damage and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and while he did have an uncredited cameo in The Rundown, his actual pre-Governator performance was a cameo in the greenlit-for-some-reason Around the World in 80 Days remake. That was five movies and five years after End of Days.

As for the hype, I don't recall any surrounding that movie, no more than the usual Schwarzenegger movie, anyway. When I think of hype, I think of a movie like The Dark Knight. You know, something people actually talk about. If anyone was talking about End of Days a decade ago, it was probably about how bad it was, as it got universally negative reviews. It did a modest showing at the box office, probably owing to the aforementioned Y2K hysteria, but I don't think I'd classify it as hype.

I don't expect people to know movie release dates off the top of their heads, that would be unreasonable. But don't pretend like you know what you're talking about and get every detail wrong. Well, maybe not every detail. It was a pretty crappy movie. At least he got that part right.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bill Yes. Dot ORG.

For some reason, I was just thinking of a bit from Family Guy about Neil Simon's The Even Couple, starring Jeff Daniels and Bill Pullman.

This isn't spaghetti, it's linguine.
You're right, it is! I always get those confused. Hey, all of us are human.
I'm glad we're friends.
Yeah, this is really working out.

So I did a search and discovered it was mentioned in the 2006 news archives of Bill Pullman is an organization now? Why isn't it .com, like Kamala the Ugandan Giant's website? What makes Bill Pullman so damn special?

To be fair, the site does state that "Bill is not officially connected in any way to Bill Pullman." So it's not as though Bill Pullman has let all of his many accolades go to his head. And anyway, odds are he would have gone with, I mean, he did play the President of the United States.

I just hope is at least a non-profit organization determined to enhance the lives of those less fortunate, as opposed to a loose association of Lonestar stalkers. They could follow the example of the Society of Bill Paxton Admirers, whose mission statement vows that they are determined to find cost-efficient and ecological ways of converting their impure Bill-Paxton-related thoughts into clean, renewable energy.

What should do is start some kind of campaign to spread awareness that, while similar in name and shape, Good & Plenty is NOT the same thing as Mike & Ike. I found out the hard way. But there's hope for others.

Does anyone actually like licorice?

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Important Chinese New Year Message

Well, it's a new year, there's a new president, and I'm a new uncle. That's right, uncle, like all those Disney castratos. Michele's sister gave birth to a boy last week, making me an uncle, except we're not married so I don't know if that's an official title or like a gray area. Anyway, to go along with all this newness, I guess I owe a new post. Or at least a new-ish one.

Tuesday I was at Harvard Vanguard Kenmore for most of the day. When I made the appointment in early December, they set up a blood test, and two ultrasounds; one for my heart and one for the abdomen.

Hold on, quick question: What do you call a snowman body without a head? highlight for answer
the abdominal snowman

Sorry. I needed to fast for the abdominal one, so I made the appointment for 11:00 AM, then I could have lunch, and go to the cardio scan at 1:30. That way I get get it all done and out of the way in one day. Less to remember that way.

It turns out that somehow, even that was too much to remember. I left work at about ten minutes to eleven, thinking that my first appointment was at 11:30. I did get a voicemail reminder from Harvard, but after I heard the confirmation DATE, I deleted it without confirming the TIME. Or for that matter, which appointment came first.

I got on the train, found a seat, and waited for the Fenway stop, which was about five or six stops away. I don't know what it is about those trains, but if I'm not reading the paper, I'm out like a light after a few minutes. I already read the morning Metro, and before I knew it, we were at my stop. I got up as fast as I could, just as the doors closed in my face and we took off. I got off at the next stop, crossed the tracks and got on a train headed the other way. I got to the building about ten minutes late, which I didn't think was too bad. Except I was still under the impression that the appointment was for 11:30, so I was in fact forty minutes late. I went up to get the blood test first, because that's why I hadn't eaten since six the night before, right? After the blood test, I went to the front desk and said I have two ultrasounds scheduled, but I wasn't sure which one was first. The woman directed me to Imaging, so I went there, checked in and said I have two ultrasounds scheduled, but I wasn't sure of the order. The guy at the desk took my card, looked me up on his computer and said I need to go up to Cardiology on the second floor.

So I went to up Cardiology, checked in, and told them I had two ultrsounds scheduled, but I wasn't sure of the order. The woman at the desk took my card and looked me up on her computer. She said my appointment was for 1:30. I asked about the second one. She said she didn't see anything scheduled and asked me if I was sure it was for today. I said I was, and she checked again. She found out that the abdominal scan was canceled, and it was canceled today. Crap. Then it all came back to me.

I told her that when I got there, I went right up to get the blood test rather then checking in at imaging. Since I wasn't there thirty minutes after my appointment time, they canceled the ultrasound.

So I went back down to Imaging, told the guy that I went to get the blood test first instead of checking in at Imaging (I conveniently left out the part about sleeping through the train stop and thinking the appointment was half an hour later than it actually was), so he checked the computer again, and found that I did have an appointment which was canceled. He didn't have any openings right away, but he got up and went down the hall for a few minutes to see if there was anywhere they could fit me in today. He came back, asked if I had eaten yet, then asked it I could come back at quarter to three.

The original plan was to have lunch at noon, but I'd already waited this long, so why not wait a little longer. I pretty much hung out in the main hallway for most of the day, reading about the inauguration on my cell phone. At 1:30, I went up to Cardiology, took of my shirt and had this weird goo smeared on my chest. The doctor or whoever administers these things ran this roller thing all over me, and every once in a while, I'd hear my heartbeat, which sounded more like when you shake thin sheets of metal then a heart. When she was finished, I wiped the goo off, put my shirt back on, and went back to the main hallway for another hour. Having not eaten since the night before, and losing a bit of blood in my arm, I was feeling a bit woozy. But I got back to Imaging, filled out some paperwork, and waited for the final test of the day, which was actually supposed to be the first.

two women called me into a room, I took of my shirt, one of them rubbed more weird goo on me, but it was different goo then the kind they used in Cardiology. I had to lay on my side for a while, and one of the women rolled a thing all over my chest and stomach, at some points mentioning how she was trying to push the intestines out of the way. It's totally non-evasive, obviously, but that's still kinda gross if you think about it too much. Anyway, she finished up, but asked if it was okay if the other one tried. I'm assuming she was a medical student. Or that was a really weird Make-A-Wish request. I'm not about to turn away a young person in the pursuit of knowledge and/or the guilt-free opportunity to have some anonymous chick rub a roller thing all over me when I'm covered in gross translucent goo, so she did her thing I wiped the goo off, put my shirt back on, and had lunch.

I don't know why I can remember all that to the most insane detail, but I couldn't remember the simplest thing like the time and order of the appointments. I blame Marfans.