Friday, December 31, 2010

Whats Next??

…Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

                                                                   -- Mark Twain

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is but a fleeting memory in our mind’s photo album as we stare down the foggy path into the future.  Preparations to traverse a threshold that is a brand new year punctuate the energy and excitement of the holidays.

I love the year-end retrospectives and predictions which permeate television and print media at this time of the year. They’re helpful reminders of where we’ve been and what’s to come...even though we're about to careen from the media proclaimed "Fiscal Cliff."   

As an added bonus, year-end reviews are so much more meaningful and deep when hosted by Al Roker or Ryan Seacrest.  

Past is, indeed, prologue.

I hope that the new year unlocks the door to pressing unknowns in this crazy, fast paced world…such as:

a) WHO will be the next American Idol??????

b) Did I pay my bar tab last night?

c) HOW is South Beach Tow a real television program?

d) How are there absolutely NO nude photos of Jessica Alba on the Internet.  I'll settle for photoshop fakes!!

e) Will I ever, EVER successfully make it through the traffic signal at the intersection near my house??

I had but one obligation on Christmas day this year…it involved laying on my couch eating a tuna wrap and Fritos, bouncing between a Star Wars marathon and “A Christmas Story“, then the NFL Network special edition football game.

Each Christmas morning I usually call my buddy Todd to verify that the “Santa” presents are being unwrapped by his kid and that he's still married. 

I wait for an additional hour (usually the amount of time that it takes for his kid to break all of the “Santa” presents and for Todd and his wife to wage a full scale argument.)  I then swoop in and rescue him by taking him out for about three shots of whiskey as his wife blows up his cell phone.

For the record, Todd usually stashes a sexual toy in Melissa's stocking.  This year his in-laws stayed over and Melissa opened "The Eager Beaver" right in front of mom and dad.  Hahahaha!  Todd is a hopeless romantic I suppose.

Somehow, I got blamed for it??!! 

Todd is a political thriller and history author.  When he's not writing, he's usually making up a story as to how I've kept him out late in order to avoid trouble at home. 

Todd usually gives me a book for Christmas and this year he presented me with my very own copy of a Time Life book titled:

"Twenty Largest Disasters In World History"

Nothing says Happy Holidays quite like a front row seat to death, destruction, mayhem and suffering. The only thing which would have made my gift complete is if he’d punched me directly in the head as hard as possible and then lit me on fire.

Another part of the preparation process for greeting the new year is dismantling the Christmas decorations.

Folklore has it that it’s bad luck to enter a new year with decorations still in place.  It appears that it’s bad luck to put up decorations in the first place; as proven by a close friend who fell and broke his arm this year while situating a star atop his 20-foot Christmas tree. 

I only taped Christmas cards to my kitchen entryway this year. I also placed a beautiful poinsettia on my front porch...which I lifted from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton downtown. 

I received many cards this season and appreciate each one. However, in retrospect, I wish my friends would have just given me the $131.00 which they collectively spent on this pile of cards so that I might pay my parking fines to the city of New Orleans. 

I don't mind paying fines and city taxes to the New Orleans Municipal Government, as it goes toward important services such as:

  • Filling the same pothole in front of my house 197 times per year
  • Repairing crime cameras after criminals either shoot them or dismantle them with ball bats
As I stored my greeting cards today,  I was reminded of the time when I wrote some samples for a small, boutique card company.

Writers sometimes freelance and I figured this would be a PERFECT independent  project for me. Some of my sample submissions included:

Father’s Day
Even though my dad is dead, I wish you a happy father's day.

In your time of mourning, please know that our thoughts are with you. And, everyone wishes that it had been you instead.

On this Valentines Day, I realize that many of your co-workers will receive masses of flowers and fancy balloon deliveries. Don't be envious...just remember, I have a huge penis!

To the BESTEST grandson in the whole wide world**

**Please give this card and enclosed money to your brother…Oh, and Happy Birthday!

Missing You
I miss you very much.  So, I've engaged in a large amount of promiscuous sex in order to allay my feelings of loneliness, neediness and low self esteem.

Boss’ Day
F%*k You Mike!!

Just Married

Congratulations on your engagement. As you spend this blissful time before the big day, keep in mind that there’s still time to find someone much better!

Get Well/Male Child
Sorry about your boo boo.  If you had a stronger male role model in your life you wouldn't be such a sissy.

Baby Daddy/ Father's Day

To: _____________________________
Insert name(s) here


I never got the job. I suppose my stuff was a little too outside the box for their taste.

My published writing and blog silliness is just that…silliness. As I reflect at the end of 2010, I'm reminded of a reader email which I recently received: 

Love reading your stuff from the middle of nowhere Iraq.  I could tell you where I'm stationed, but then I'd have to kill ya.  Haha!  It must be fun to be in your head for a day...I'm curious, do you EVER write serious stuff?  If you do, I'd love to read it.  Have a great New Year!

Let me refocus your attention to, what I believe to be, a very serious issue about which I wrote earlier in this piece...

WHY are there no nude photos of Jessica Alba??  WHY?

Serious stuff huh?  Okay, here goes...

While I believe in the importance of assisting impoverished regions throughout the world, it’s important to note that we live in the world's wealthiest nation. Yet 13 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty.  It's not my fault, nor yours...but it's a fact.

Nearly one in four children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. The number attached to that percentage translates to 16.7 million children.

Between Iraq and Afghanistan, over 180-thousand soldiers put their lives on the line each day.

Whether or not you believe in the foundation for these wars, that statistic is real and represents real people--such as the soldier who sent the above email.  They greatly deserve our support and honor.

Between 6 and 8 million animals end up in shelters each year, with the exception of one little needy cat and a scruffy little dog who have recently found a happy home in the tiny offices of Pontchartrain Press.

Of the above number, 3-4 million of these animals are euthanized yearly.

The numbers go on and on and on, representing the good, the bad and the ugly.  Oddly, I still find myself concentrating on the numbers which represent "good." 

Such as:

The number of people who volunteer for a higher cause, the number of people who make the world a brighter place and the number of people who I encounter on a daily basis who offer something as simple as a warm and genuine smile. 

Those are the people who generally make me not want to throw them or myself into an oncoming bus.  And...that represents the good.

Don't mistake my sentiments...I'm not going left wing or as not to anger Rush Limbaugh.

I do, indeed, act like a child most of the time, so I recently reached out to a close writer friend of mine for deeper perspective. As an historical note, I typically do not engage in conversation of a serious nature when I call Amanda because I'm usually undressing her with my eyes, but she sums up selflessness and friendship much better than I:

Anytime I'm at a red light and someone is standing there with a sign, I give them the 72 cents in the ashtray. I know these people aren't gonna spend it on food. It's not like they're one hot meal away from turning it all around.

In fact, I hope they spend it on booze or drugs or whatever's gonna get them through one more night. At least I know where I’ll be sleeping tonight, and it won't be in an abandoned warehouse where the very attempt at staying warm may very well kill me.

I don't know how to help you make your point in this article, except to tell you MY point of view on it...

Give when you can, whatever you can, to whomever needs it. Start at home. Take care of the people you know and love. Don't let anyone in your realm be hungry, homeless or lonely if there's a way for you to help.

A healthy perspective indeed Amanda.  I'm still trying to figure out how she knows that there is precisely 72 cents in the car ashtray.  Then again, Amanda remembers each and every time I've been incorrect about something or did something dumb for the past 6 years. 

From the streets of America to a village in Africa; another enlightening perspective from Pete:

An acquaintance who served briefly as a missionary in Africa told me about the most interesting observation she made while there:

The Americans had brought some non-perishable food items and they had fun teaching the kids to bake a cake from a Betty Crocker mix. But, the kids had the most fun with the BOX. They'd never seen one, had no concept of waste and no word for "trash."
 Who needs a word for trash?  A picture is worth a thousand words...

Of course, I'm KIDDING!  I know trash when I see it...

I really have no clever way to make my exit from this piece other than to offer my wishes for peace, love and prosperity to you in the new year.

This has certainly been an enlightening year.  A year filled with ups, downs, in betweens, gratuitous nudity, laughter, tears, a weird football season, the ONE time I finally beat Todd at a game of pool and some random guy who pulled his pants down on the St. Charles streetcar line while singing a Fats Domino song...but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Life is much more interesting that way.

Here's to the new year...and many more!!  Now, back to my quest for Jessica Alba photos.

                                               HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

                                       ~T.S. Eliot

coyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Can I Get A Ho Ho Ho? Or Just a Ho?

I’ve kept somewhat of a low profile lately as I recovered from a terrible cold.

When I catch a cold, I do what most rational minded people do...I rack my brain to figure out WHO gave me the cold so I can assign blame and then hunt them down and destroy them.  Sort of like the president vs. the terrorists policy only more effective.

I must admit, I could get used to sleeping for 12 to 16-hours per day. Unfortunately, I’m not a bass guitar player. Plus, my debtors do not accept pleasant telephone conversation or poetry as a form of payment.

Men tend to act like little kids when they're sick.  I’m proud to say that I’m NOT a big baby when I catch cold.  I simply bite the bullet, stare down the cold, keep a stiff upper lip and then I cry uncontrollably.

Much of the time I lie in a corner in the fetal position screaming for my mommy. I become quite irritable and I beg for hot sponge baths…even from total strangers.

After a full recovery, a few of my writer friends insisted that it was time for our annual Christmas get-together.  They also informed me that it would skew a little differently this year. This season it would be a night out on the town for, what they called:

                                  “Trailer Park Christmas”

I’ve never heard of a trailer park Christmas, so I quickly informed them that I do not own a wife-beater or jean shorts.  Apparently it’s an evening filled with simple fun, mischief and inappropriateness…ala Uncle Eddie from National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Translation: A bunch of misbehaving writers could potentially be kicked out of several establishments on this particular December evening.

The culprits in attendance for our outing included me, Amanda, Rich, Todd and Marie.

As a side note, before anyone dispatches an irate email accusing me of holding stereotypical preconceptions toward trailer parks, it’s important to note that I did NOT coin the title of our night on the town.

I’ve known many fine people who lived in trailer parks and do not subscribe to blanket notions toward the many, based on the actions of a select few.  (As seen on the award winning television program, Cops.)

For that matter, I hold absolutely no opinion toward anyone who has relations with their first cousin or those who suffer from multiple dentifrice anomalies. I’m also quite empathetic to people who scrape by on a budget yet have three satellite dishes and habitual gambling problems.

In all honesty, I’m envious of the 155-inch plasma television parked in the living room of some trailers-- the television costs more than the trailer and weighs more than any of their grown children, who subsequently also live in the trailer.**

**Note: Presumably a double wide

Now that I think about it, anyone who has a television which weighs enough to practically tip over their residence while living under the exhilarating potentiality that they might be annihilated at any moment by a tornado are my kind of people!  Plus, they usually have a lot of beer.

Back to Trailer Park Christmas…Our first stop came at 4:30pm.  Dinner at the Texas Cattle Corral. Rich and Amanda, admittedly, LOVE this joint for one reason only…they love the hot dinner rolls and cinnamon butter.

I politely pointed out that I love Taco Supremes and Gorditas but I don‘t care to host a Christmas get together at Taco Bell. Rich quickly reminded me that no one in our circle is normal. Touché.

This reminded me that I’ve been putting off adding an item to my New Year’s Resolution list for far too long..."Move to a remote cave in Afghanistan."


Question: WHO eats dinner at 4:30pm??
Answer: About 500 people at the Texas Cattle Corral.

We stepped into an atmosphere filled with blaring country music, crying babies, obnoxious little kids, walkers, tank tops, several women who forgot their bras, flip flop adorned feet and some guy wearing a t-shirt with a giant candy cane emblazoned across the front with the following caption:

                                  “Jolly Old Saint Lick”

He further accessorized this snappy/smart outfit by looking like a serial sex offender and he wore a camouflage Santa hat.

Since reservations are not required at the Screaming Baby, Dinner Roll Emporium & Cattle Corral, it took us only 37-minutes to be seated.

While we waited, I observed a teenage guy and girl who served as host & hostess. Judging by, what they likely thought to be, subtle co-worker interaction, these two crazy kids clearly could not wait to run to the back room on their break and have unbridled teenage animal sex.**

**Note: You'd be amazed at how many search engine keyword “hits” my site receives simply by my using a term such as “animal sex.” I’m sure Jolly Saint Lick will bring in some hits as well.

Since I’d never visited the Texas Capital Punishment, Slaughter House, Dinner Roll Factory & Pistol Firing Range, I put my trust in Rich and Amanda’s appetizer suggestions.

Knowing that I was about to eat an entire cow, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the appetizer list offered a selection of fresh veggies.

The platter overflowed with an abundance of garden delights…all encrusted in about 15-layers of deep-fried batter with several bowls of ranch dressing and melted cheese.

After dinner, we shared a table full of desserts when the inevitable conversation shift occurred... initiated by (no surprise) one of the girls.

Marie: So, what’s everyone’s favorite Christmas memory?

This is a prime example as to why Marie never keeps a boyfriend.  I thought we were simply going to eat, drink, act like children and throw-up at the end of an inappropriate evening. 

If Marie or Amanda became drunk enough to reveal a pair of candy cane striped thongs after a few drinks, I'd consider it a shining star atop the proverbial Christmas tree!

Conducting a Martha Stewart/Hallmark Channel memory lane flashback was nowhere on my agenda.  Nonetheless, Rich, who was already drunk, chimed in first:

Rich: Waking up when I was 9 years old to the brand new bike that I'd wanted forever!

Me: Shut up.  All of you, please shut up...I'm begging.

Marie: Awww. That’s sweet Rich….Jim, don't be a f#*%^ng Grinch!

Amanda: Mine was when I was in college. Before we’d all go our separate ways for the holiday; me and my girlfriends would always open a few bottles of wine and do a sleep-over the week before Christmas and exchange gifts.

Todd: (interrupting) Was there any nudity or confused college girl bi-sexual experimentation?

Amanda: Do you EVER have sex Todd?

Todd: I'm married...what do YOU think?

Me: I think Todd poses a valid question. Is there something more that you're hiding from us in your Christmas memory?  Most importantly, do you possess any pictures of your thinly disguised college Christmas "get together?"

Marie: Todd, what’s YOUR favorite Christmas memory?

Todd: Sitting around the fireplace as a family.  We’d sip hot chocolate and listen to old Christmas records while playing Monopoly until mom and dad tucked us into bed as we anxiously waited for Santa Claus. (longing sigh) Those were the days!

Awkward silence/skepticism among the table

Todd: (breaks into hysterical laughter) I’m kidding! I had crazy sex all night on Christmas eve a few years ago before I married Melissa.

Amanda: THAT’S your fondest memory??

Todd: Absolutely! Oh, we DID have a Joe Cocker Christmas CD on in the background.  And, I video taped the entire night!

Me: He's telling the truth...I've seen it.

Rich: Was it with Melissa?

Todd: Of course not. I don’t want to participate in a sex tape involving Melissa.  I can see her naked anytime.

Amanda: Yet, I'll bet you still don't.

Me: How, exactly, are you still married?

Todd: She loves my charm.

My favorite Christmas memory was when I got my first car.  Primarily because I could slip away from get togethers with crazy distant relatives anytime I wanted. 

After dinner I'd politely excuse myself and drive away as though I'd just pulled a bank heist.

My dad used to become irritated, specifically because I didn't take him with me.

In retrospect, my experience at the Cattle Corral was very good.  I enjoyed my steak and, as an added bonus, we were served by a friendly young woman named Holly.

Amanda and Marie didn’t like Holly too much but I can’t remember when I’ve received such outstanding service in a restaurant.  Todd and Rich agree with me on this.

I filled out three comment cards praising Holly’s outstanding server abilities, her winning attitude and cheerful smile.  I snapped a cell phone picture of her:

Holly!  Such a lovely smile and The BESTEST server in the world!!
After dinner, we pulled the trailer park Christmas train into Wal Mart where Rich suggested that we spread out and purchase “Secret Santa” gifts to exchange at the end of the evening.

This reminds me of when I was a kid and my redneck uncles used to exchange gifts at the family gathering on Christmas day. They’d give one another, and I’m not making this up, a carton of cigarettes which they'd purchased en route to the family gathering.

Nothing says Happy Holidays quite like giving the gift of emphysema. Plus, it’s especially meaningful to receive a gift with a personal message from the Surgeon General plastered across the side.

Venturing in separate directions, once inside the Wal Mart, I headed for the obvious aisle...the liquor section.

I suppose that since the fine folks at Wal Mart figured that the Greater New Orleans area lacked adequate alcohol availability in its 5-thousand bars, a gigantic discount liquor section was needed.

I purchased a bottle of vodka, a 12-pack of Miller High Life, Gummie Lifesavers and a Santa hat before meeting our group back at the front door.

Next stop…something festive. We decided that we would include a traditional holiday stop on our night out, so we visited City Park.

For those who are unfamiliar, in addition to being a prime rendezvous point for those who connect on Craig's List "Casual Encounters," City Park is home to an enormous, self guided, tour of Christmas lights and decorations. It’s called Celebration In The Oaks.

Because it's New Orleans, obviously, alcohol is readily available for purchase.  We simply brought our own...trailer park style! 

Now that I think about it, I suppose they don't call it "Christmas In The Oaks" because attaching a title with religious connotations to a large public event would incite several public "watch-dog" groups who might line the park's board of directors against a wall and summarily execute them.**

**The preceding was a paid 527(s ) political action committee announcement for Pat Robertson

Among the elaborate decorations, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of breathtaking lights carefully strung from the majestic hundred year-old oak trees.  The magical twinkling light show looms high above as young couples, children, families and five drunken writers stroll beneath.

We decided it best not to defile Unmentionable Holiday/Celebration In The Oaks with our “trailer park” outing. That is, until I spotted a highly inebriated gentleman standing in front of the park wearing a t-shirt with a Confederate flag sprawled across the front and a message which read:

                        “Git Er’ Done!!”

As an added holiday bonus, he was singing a Styx song to himself.

We gave him a beer and invited him to join us for a stroll through the Christmas display and soon talked him into climbing one of the trees while wearing my Santa hat.  I requested that, once he reached his perch on a lower branch, he should loudly belt out the timeless holiday classic...“Oh, Christmas Tree.”

We quickly discovered that City Park officials apparently do not enjoy this song as much as we do since they firmly suggested that we leave.

I find myself wondering how our new friend got down from that tree? Most importantly, I lost my Santa hat!  We took the kiddie train toward the entrance, guzzling down our Miller High Life along the way as we sang a selection from the Nutcracker.

Next destination…Our final stop for the evening.  We unanimously figured that the best place to exchange our Trailer Park Christmas Extravaganza Secret Santa gifts was West Virginia.  Since none of us could scrape together $4-thousand dollars for cab fare, we settled on a seedy little bar/pool hall in a fringe area of New Orleans East.

This was a good idea for about 6-minutes.  It seems that not everyone in our group understood seedy pool hall/bar protocol as it relates to open discussion of certain topics. 

As Amanda and I ordered a round of drinks for the table, all attention in the bar rapidly focused on Rich, Marie and Todd, who were engaged in animated disagreement about a musical number in the Broadway production of "Camelot." 

I believe Rich was belting out a few lines from one of the musical numbers. 

After assuring the skeptical, no-nonsense patrons that Rich and Todd, in fact, have numerous sexual encounters (with women) attention slowly drifted away from our little group.  

We began filling the bar table with our Secret Santa gifts which included:

  • An assortment of nail polish
  • A three pack of lipstick
  • Gummie Lifesavers
  • A Chia Pet
  • A New Orleans Saints Snuggie
  • A package of Trojan Condoms

Marie quickly pointed out that there were six items on the table, I quickly pointed out the most important looking at the items, it's clear that everyone at our table is clinically insane.

Before going to the bar to order a round, Rich snatched the condoms away and placed them in his bag.  He'd accidentally tossed his personal purchase on the table. 

I was asked to give a toast as the five of us lifted our shots high:

"Here's to Rich's safe sex choices and to good friends and good times.  Through laughter, tears and joy, we're all in this complicated, yet simple world together...until I can figure out how to kill each of you and get away with it."

It decidedly was NOT your traditional Christmas party, but it was time well spent with extended, dysfunctional family.  A gift which can't be purchased...not even at Wal Mart.

Wherever this holiday finds you, I wish you a peaceful, safe and Happy Christmas!

Author's Note: Transportation was provided by several Pakistani cab drivers and the New Orleans public transportation system.  Drinking and driving is not our's more fun to be drunk in front of an audience.  Hehehe...I mean, Ho Ho Ho. (no offense to Marie)
copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Moment Of Levity...whatever that means

More stupidity coming soon. I’ve been taking a quick break in order to take advantage of these AMAZING holiday online shopping deals!! WHO KNEW that adult sex sites ran Christmas specials???

In the meantime, I made a new Internet friend. I think she likes me.

You’re cute…So, what is a typical date like with you?

I like to dress in a pirate costume that I wore for Halloween when I was 13. Sure, it doesn’t fit…but, it doesn’t fit in the right places if ya’ know what I mean.

I also own a submarine so I like to take my date to the bottom of the lake where we dine on Mrs. Paul's fish sticks and tater tots with Pilsbury poppin' fresh rolls.

After dinner I put in my all time favorite movie, Finding Nemo. Then we retire to the bunk beds (I like to be on top BTW) and we sing the entire soundtrack to the little Mermaid.

Uh, ok…that sounds interesting. What exactly do you DO for a living. Just curious.

I’m a roller coaster operator at Disney World.

Oh, you live in Orlando?

No. I would never live in Florida, I’m scared of sand. However, I’ve been using my spare time working on a master plan to overthrow the Neighborhood Association because I'm much too lazy to overthrow a government. Besides, in overthrowing a government, genocide is just too messy for me.

Since I’m on several law enforcement watch-lists, you would be perfectly safe with me at all times. Plus, my therapist thinks a date would do me some good. Would you like to have dinner soon??

It's important to note that I haven't heard back from the girl since that transmission. Hehehe

Stay tuned for a full story coming soon. It’s filled with high-speed car chases, mimes, gratuitous sex, dirty words, a nail-biting cliff hanger, a message from the Surgeon General about an actual HEALTHY cigarette, a picture of me from when I was age 5, a naked picture of Dr. Phil and we’ll also talk about financially sound investments for 2011.

My mom had a lot of fun when she was younger!
 copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Write Stuff...Wrong Time

I received a very nice email via one of our sites. It’s a helpful directive/critique of my writing.

I’ve highlighted a few key points:

To: Jim
From: Concerned Citizen

You really think you are going to be a big time Author? A little peice of advice.….you right too much and NEVER get to the point. People hate reading on and on and on. You might make it...but you really aren't that great

To: Concerned Citizen
From: Jim

Excellent points indeed. Words cannot fully convey how thankful I am for readers such as yourself.

Since you are apparently forced to read my website against your will as some sort of torture program, I’m really glad that you made the best of a painful situation and forged extra time to offer assistance.

As you indicated, I’m really not that great indeed…except when it comes to making chili. Would you like to cook together sometime? 

Your e-mail reminds me what I've always feared...that I would, one day, “write” too much. My plan is to immediately abandon that silly pipe dream and take YOUR suggestion. From this point forward, I’m embarking on a new and exciting career in “righting.”  

Righting vs. writing sounds most fulfilling if you ask me.  I'll be like a one man A-Team,, I mean, righting injustices within the confines of a stale plot line designed for prime time television...minus the big, angry black guy.

I'm also quite embarrassed that I never knew “author” was a proper name until receiving your missive. Perhaps I could change my name and call myself arthur, the Author.  I‘ll buck the system and refuse to recognize Arthur as a proper name. 

We’ll start our own little 1960’s protest and not bathe.  We'll also burn our bras, smoke a bunch of weed and listen to Stones cd's.  By the way, I don't wear a bra...not anymore.  Oh, while I'm thinking about it, do you own any bellbottoms?

I’ll also take positive steps, as per your direction, in adding more periods to the ellipses.

By the way again, in “righting”……using an ellipsis often indicates the omission of a word, words or thoughts.........Are you keeping something from me??? (Sorry for my overuse of the question mark.)

As you indicated, I’ve been told before that I stray from the point sometimes in my “righting” but I just don’t see it. I’ll pay attention and try to be more cognizant.

Speaking of Australia…………………….I absolutely love the wallaby, don’t you? Of course I love all macropods. Would you like to visit Australia with me to go on a wallaby safari after I finish my next book of “righting??” I also absolutely LOVE Outback Steakhouse. Since we’re bucking the system, let’s just call them Outback STAKEhouse.

Thank you for your peice of advice. I found peace in your piece and wish for an abundance of peeece on earth…….oops, I meant, Peice.

I always felt that the I before E rules were designed by the “man” as a clever way of keeping me down and, thanks to you, I’m breaking free from those shackles. My former teachers can eat it!

Wishing love and a blessed day………………………………..................................Jim

P.S. I love you......and if loving you is rong, I don't want to be write!
copywrite...uh, copyrite, crap! uh....                        
copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers Anyone???

Thanksgiving means different things to many people…myself included.

Thanksgiving was originally steeped in deep religious conviction-- a time to give thanks to God for a bountiful harvest and for safety in a strange, new land.

While the precise historical origin of the holiday is often disputed, most commonly, Americans believe that the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.

After Section 8 housing was approved, English neighborhoods became over-run with bad apples and an inordinate amount of rent to own stores and payday loan clerks. 

Upon belief that the west side was safer, the Pilgrims packed up their belongings and, after shopping around for the best deal, they hired a Mayflower truck rental and told the King of England to eat it. 

Since U.S. border control policy has been ineffective since 1621, the Pilgrims were able to slip past the giant fence. 

The Indians** witnessed the landing of these strange new immigrants and immediately called to complain on several Fox News programs.  As an historical anecdote, this event immediately prompted the opening of the very first U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service office...where some of the original Pilgrims are STILL waiting in line for their citizenship papers.

** Indian Clarification Note: The Indians who later had their land stolen…Not the Indians who are abundantly proficient in advanced mathematics and refuse to eat hamburgers. 

After taking an ESL and citizenship exam, the Pilgrims unloaded every species of animal, two by two, and burned their Mayflower rental...figuring that they would NEVER get the deposit back due to the unbearable stench from a metric ton of feces. 

They then decided to throw a gigantic party…right after burning a couple dozen witches at the stake and constructing the Liberty Bell.

The celebration between the Indians and the Pilgrims is well known. The two groups gathered together to make funny hats and outfits, they traced their hands with art pencils, fashioning cute little turkeys on a piece of construction paper to be affixed to the refrigerator and then, after an apple juice and playtime, it was nap time.

When they woke from their nap, the Pilgrims and Indians joined hands and partook in a cornucopia** followed by a level of discomfort and awkwardness as the last set of tacky in-laws lingered at the end of the party.  No one knew of a polite method which would encourage Fred and Stella to go home.

** Historical Note: Contrary to popular belief, there was NO cranberry sauce at the first Thanksgiving, as no one on the Mayflower thought to bring a can opener.  Fred DID, however, get real drunk and stumbled into a Teepee and knocked it over.

Pilgrims came to America during the seventeenth century for the same reasons immigrants come to America today - to do odd jobs, harvest fruits and vegetables for $1.80 per hour, to hang drywall, drive taxi cabs, operate convenience stores and to open mobile taquito stands.

I would love to have attended the first Thanksgiving. Primarily because I have a slight fetish for women in a black and white two piece skirt/ bodice and a bonnet. This speaks largely as to why I don‘t get many dates. **

** My friend Ed suggests that I might consider moving to the Amish country

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, a time for reflection and a celebration of life, family and friends.  It's also a time when it's perfectly okay for a man to watch a parade without bringing speculation as to his sexuality. 

I use it as a period to organize my computer and desk file folders.

So that I might effect order and tidiness to my cluttered life for the coming year, I spend Thanksgiving week discarding topic ideas and suggestions, random thoughts (scribbled on bar napkins) and various lines or paragraphs which didn’t quite make the publishing cut over the previous 11 months.

Believe it or not, unlike many people who post things to their social network page, I DO have a filter as to what I will post to the Internet and in my books.  (Unless I'm drunk)  This is largely due to the fact that my editor is a gigantic buzz-kill and is sexually repressed.

Facebook Example: OMG!!!  I'm having the BEST bananas foster cheesecake right now!!!  Yummm!

I feel strongly that I speak for the silent majority when I say...Uh, who cares?? 

One will gain larger, wide audience interest if he or she posts a picture eating bananas foster cheesecake...naked.

To the untrained eye, my writing notes are completely random and, perhaps, sometimes bizarre.  I know what they mean but someone else, say an FBI agent, might take them as a warning sign from a person who, somewhere down the line at a crime scene, might be described by neighbors as "A nice and quiet guy who always stayed to himself." 

Here are a few examples from the “Working Story Idea” folders that shall now become trash.  I like to call them leftovers:

“Suckle her teats”

I found this lovely little gem scribbled on a post-it note and vaguely recall that it was a line which was suggested by a writer friend.  I was to somehow supposed to work it into a story.

I’m not sure what we could have  remotelybeen talking about that evening but I suspect alcohol was involved.

I'm fairly disturbed that I even saved that little note, but I DID manage to work it into a story just now so I shall chalk it up to a challenge accepted and accomplished!

In looking at some story lines and suggestions submitted by friends, I have asked Santa to bring me some restraining orders and a new set of friends for Christmas this year.

Speaking of Christmas, here’s a nice little idea that I somehow thought to be appropriate:

Design a Christmas Card with a photo of my bare bottom with a caption which reads…

                                 “Merry ChristmAss”

I’m pretty sure that If my mother and father were alive they would attest to the fact that I usually ended up on Santa’s “Naughty” list.

Earlier this year, I was asked to write a stage skit for a Christmas production. The producer had been reading some of my work and somehow still thought it to be wise for me to be involved in the project. I stumbled across a file in my computer titled ‘Twas the Night Before XXX-Mas.

In it, I wrote a beautiful nativity scene, complete with the baby Jesus. It was a placid scene from a silent, magical Christmas eve of centuries…punctuated by three Wise Men who constantly farted.

My contribution will not be making it to the final stage version and I was unceremoniously dismissed from the production. (insert flatulence here)

After going through a tough breakup, several friends encouraged me to write a serious piece.  A piece which might help to clear my mind and lay some poignant feelings on display (in the Manger) for all to read. Perhaps something loving, encouraging and deep?  That's for the reader to decide. 

I began writing the story but I suppose I became distracted and never made it past writing the title:

I Hate You And Hope You Are Ravaged By A Pack Of Mountain Lions 
              (A helpful guide for dating women named Lisa)

This is one of several fine examples as to why a children’s book publisher from New York will never entertain the idea of accepting drafts from my children’s short story series.  I suppose I'm gonna have to develop a "pen name" for those stories.   

I finished writing a novel early this year. It’s a touching story of love, self-destruction and inner strength as our lead character sinks to the lowest possible point in life and courageously climbs from the depths of pain and strife.

In short, it’s a redemption story about a character (Chris) who, after long mistreating himself and neglecting loved ones, family and friends, finally finds his place in a difficult world.

It’s common to submit a “working” title to a publisher, which leads me to the next note that I found as I was cleaning out the folders:

“Chris Is A Big Fat D**k Head”
            (a love story by Jim Patrick)

My editor (Mike) never allows me to communicate with publishers anymore.

I keep a notepad by my bed, right next to the Shake WeightÒ  and the video camera, in case I wake up with a writing "prompt."  Sometimes I may scribble down a dream to include in upcoming stories.  Such as the following:

I had a dream that I was hanging out with the big E (Elvis) last night.  The King and I made a peanut butter & banana, bacon, Lortab, salami, fried egg, Oxycontin, prime rib, BBQ, vodka sandwich. And then he sang one of his beautiful renditions of a southern gospel standard while he brushed my hair and constantly referred to me as pretty Lisa Marie. 

I probably ate some spicy food that night.  Spicy food usually gives me weird dreams...especially when I wash it down with four shots of tequila.

Which reminds me, as I was filing this story online, a friend of mine snared me into the following instant message conversation:

You're welcome to come over for Thanksgiving dinner if ya want

Will you be serving Anjara and Sambusas?

huh???  What's that??

They're traditional dishes of Somalia.  Sambusas is my's deep-fried triangular-shaped dumplings usually filled with meat or vegetables.

What do those things have to do with Thanksgiving dinner???

Somalia has been steeped in a vicious civil war between clans since 1991 and has no central government.  President Regan initiated methods to stabilize the nation in the 1980's, followed by his successors, to no avail.  It is a strict, nomadic, vigilante environment which flatly prohibits the consumption of alcohol.  Haven't you ever seen Blackhawk Down??  Jeez.

Again, WHY would that be on a Thanksgiving dinner menu?

Because I'm thankful I don't live there.  But, I love deep-fried triangular meat and veggie filled thingies.  Minus the murderous war-lords of course.

You are NOT normal.  We're doing turkey breasts...if that's OK with you.

I LOVE it!  I'll be there.  I love succulent, plump, melt in your mouth breasts. 

We're still talking about turkey, right?


As I sift through countless folders of "not ready for public consumption" over the coming week, I shall take time here and there to be thankful for many things.  Some of which include:

I don't have separation anxiety where pumpkins are concerned.  Seriously, it's time to remove the pumpkins from your office lobby or front porch and say goodbye to your sagging little orange friends.

I'm thankful that I'm not married to my friend Todd's wife, Melissa.  I'm also thankful that Todd hasn't killed himself yet.

I'm thankful for Irish Whiskey (a contributing factor as to why Todd hasn't killed himself yet)

I'm also thankful for the people who take time from their busy schedules to read this stuff.  I'm equally thankful for an abundance of genuinely wonderful friends in my life.  They are people of impeccable character who never miss an opportunity to push and encourage me in all that I do while holding me to a higher standard.

I'm thankful for the men and women who serve a higher cause, at home and abroad, to protect  and uphold ideals upon which our country was built. 

Even though the Pilgrims were sexually repressed we were somehow able to move past those dark times and build a country where we celebrate independence with a GIANT mattress sale and zero down automotive deals. 

While my immediate family is long gone, I'm thankful that they were a part of my life.  (With the exception of Uncle Leonard.)

Finally, I'm thankful that a compromise has been reached between me and my friend Carrie...she's going to make the deep-fried Sambusas, stuffed with turkey!!  Yummmm!!

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out Of Con"text"

On a recent late Sunday morning, I strolled down to the pub to grab a coffee and, most importantly, to snag a table so that my friends and I could watch a noon football game.

One of my friends had been feeling under the weather so I sent her a text message, asking the following:

U feeling better 2day? Still comin out?

A few minutes passed when I received her response:

Y Xzzz Omw

If you don’t know what the above abbreviation is, you can either sit back and feel as though the world of technology has passed you by or go pry a 10-year old away from their X-Box and ask them. 

Fortunately, I was able to figure it out somehow, with the exception of Xzzz.  

My friend's text translates to:

Yes. Extra sleep, on my way

And, according to my electronic translator, it’s also a vulgar word in Mandarin Chinese.

I’m all about shortcuts which save a step or two…or nine. Those who have mastered the art of paving the way for as much discretionary time as possible, facilitating more time to take part in meaningless, non productive activities, are my heroes. If said activities are reckless in nature and include nudity, count me in. **

**Ref Note: I’ve saved all of my exit interviews, employee separation notices and school transcripts, lending credibility to the above statement

I sent my friend a return text, informing her that I had secured a table for the game and congratulated her on her impressive savings of 12 letters…and for possibly offending 1.3 billion Chinese people.

I’m not an old man and I’m fairly tech savvy, but text abbreviations have gotten a bit out of hand if you ask me. I DO know the meaning of the standard abbreviations:


And, of course, my personal favorite:


I’ll let you look that one up on ur…oops, your own.

Last night I was talking with a friend via text and it went something like this:

Omg! I just won $1k on a lotto scratch off!

Very nice! BTW I believe that the letter “g” should be capitalized when referring to a deity.

Oh yeah?

Well, at least when referencing Christianity’s God.  In such case the word god is a proper noun.

Chris: it's OMG!

Not so fast...It just occurred to me…you and I have never really discussed religious views…for all I know, your non capitalization of “G” in god might be correct if you worship a non traditional god…such as Dionysus.


Using ALL caps for WHO indicates an acronym for the World Health Organization.  Anyway, Dionysus, the god of wine, parties, festivals, madness, drunkenness and pleasure. If he ran a Taco Bell that would complete the heavenly circle!!  As far as gods are concerned, this guy is a non stop happy hour. Imagine how much fun it would be to hang out with Dionysus!!!!  Especially if topless dancers followed him around!  OMG!  I mean...OMD!!!

Were you beaten, tortured and locked in the closet a lot as a kid?

What do my experiences staying at uncle Leonard's house have to do with anything?

Hehehe. Funny!

Not when you’re 12. Hey, can I borrow some of your winnings for my therapy session on Tuesday?

I also see absolutely no need for sending a response which simply says “OK” unless it is clearly necessary:


John Doe:
Hey wanna meet up before the show at 6pm?

Jane Doe:
Sure, just let me know where and I'll meet ya then

John Doe:
I'll meet you at The Kerry on Decatur St.  See ya' then.

Jane Doe:


And now, the correct usage of the "OK" text...

Hey, what is the postal abbreviation for the state of Oklahoma?

When questions are answered or plans confirmed succinctly, it seems to me that an “Ok” text is not only a waste of time, but a distraction…especially when I have to divert my attention from the roadway while driving-- because I'm not completely comfortable with running over a vagrant or too many animals.

On that topic-- I don’t like to text while driving. I save my drive time to eat a rack of BBQ ribs.  Besides, texting while driving is should be comfort food, based on my recent physical.

The text conversation which won’t end is a lovely little slice of 21st century insanity. They usually begin with the question which makes me want to gouge my eyes out:

Whatcha doin? :)

I can immediately sense that these text conversations will likely outlast the existence of the universe.  It will be a series of back and forth, which could be easily covered in two or three transmissions:

Well...I'm sending a text back to you at the moment.

Er...I meant before that. Lol!

I was actually waiting for your text to ask me "whatcha doin."  It's a slow day.

Very funny.  You wanna meet up after work and catch up over drinks...haven't chatted with ya in a while

Sure...I'll meet you around 6p at Finn McCool's

In Mid-City? 

No, the one in Belfast, Ireland.  Do you have a passport?  BTW, They're 6-hours ahead of us.

See you in Mid City.'ve u been doin?  Anything new and exciting in the works??

I'm well...yes, something brand new and exciting actually.  I'm meeting up with you at Finn's at 6. 

Very funny.  See you at 6.


Sexting has become quite the cellular phenomenon. I went out with a girl, Alicia, for a short while who loved to engage in the occasional "sext" message.  I don’t think I’m very good at it actually.

I've tried to take the sexy, provocative cell cam picture and it usually looks pretty stupid.  No matter how sexy the pose, there's nothing natural or sexy looking about someone taking a self picture with their arm extended outward (to take the pic) as though they're trying to block a pass from Kobe Bryant.

I usually don't aim the phone correctly anyway and end up with a beautiful shot of the lamp or the wall behind me. matter how sexy the shot, when taking a dirty cell phone picture, it's important to know the landscape in the frame.  A half naked body shot with a lovely framed portrait of your 900-year old grandparents on the nightstand in the background is NOT sexy.

One day my phone beeped and, out of the blue, there it was…a very suggestive picture from Alicia, with the caption:

“And what are YOU wearing? LOL!”


A pair of jeans, a white tee-shirt, a belt, boxer shorts, Doc Martins and a Red Sox cap.


LOL! Uh, I wasn’t being literal. Did you like the pic?


I did indeed. Can I show it to Jeff?


Um, NO!  So…do U have a pic to send? xoxo



Alicia:LoL! Who IS that???  I meant, do you have something a little more "R" Rated to send?

Me:Oh…sorry, how bout this?

Alicia:Um…I meant more like explicit in HUMAN nature...Lol!


Uh, how about we go with something a bit more daring.  Something you wouldn't just show to everyone.

HAHA! Very daring…but I’m thinking more like a REAL human pic.  Something dirty. :)


How about one of YOU??  Something suggestive...with YOU in it.

Jim:Oh, now I understand...How about this?


It is suggestive in that the photo “suggests” that I am about to do harm to this defenseless little kitty cat.


How bout we skip the pics for now and, since you’re a writer, why don’t you just write something sexy.  Cute cat btw.

Ok, here goes... I would never, of course, do harm to a kitty cat. I love kitty cats…I enjoy petting them, loving them and kissing them.  I especially love having a kitty cat straddling my lap, by the fireplace on a chilly evening, on the sofa, on the floor, on the staircase...anyplace actually.  As kitties go, sometimes they jump off my lap after they feel that they need a break, but they always come back...sometimes three of four times.  Which is fine with me...because I am always up for accommodating the kitty cat several times per day if necessary.


That was euphemism sex-talk. Pretty good huh?  Now I'm really worked UP!  How bout U?

I don't hear from Alicia anymore...I suppose she's a dog lover.

Perhaps everyone has someone in their world who can only be classified as the impatient texter.  These are people who send a text and, when you don't respond within about 1/1000th of a second, they exhibit bruised or apprehensive feelings.  OMg!!

Hey, we're all goin to the game tonight...I've got an extra tkt.  Wanna go?

You get my text?

U mad about something?

I'm not mad.  I'm upset about plenty of things though.  I wish my neighbor would disrobe in front of her window more often.  I'm not thrilled about health care reform or the current state of backbiting in Washington.  I also hate that they only have the loaded potato soup at the deli when I don't want it.  I wish I had x-ray vision.  I hate it when I go to the restroom and come back to find that someone is in my seat.  I wish that Nickelback's bus would careen from a cliff...with them on it.  I don't like cauliflower or my editor, Mike.  Actually, if I were forced at gunpoint to eat cauliflower in order to make Mike go away, I'd be more amiable to cauliflower.  Oh, I also wish that I had a million dollars...but I don't.  Which makes me mad.

Uh...ok.  You want to go to the game?

I'd love to go.  Sorry for the 3 minute delay in getting back with you.

I write a lot of silliness, but, then again, I enjoy a lot of silliness…whether it’s in person, in writing or via text. No matter what anyone tells you, LOL is good for the soul. Even when you’re under the weather:

Ugh. I feel like crap.

Amanda: Stopping at the store. You need me to bring you anything before I head home? Soup, medicine?

Jim: Yes, cough syrup, please.

Amanda: Sure. Anything else?

Jim: Thanks, nah, that's all I need. Unless you're in the mood to pull an armed heist. In such case, I could use about 8 or 9-thousand dollars. I’m not greedy.

Amanda: I knew I should have packed heat tonight

Jim: Oh, and some thongs and a basketball. I'm going thru a bit of a fetish stage.

Amanda: Leather, silk, or lace?

Jim: Barbed wire

Amanda: K. I'll pick up some Bactine too

Hehehe. Truly the best medicine if you ask me. BTW…my latest cell phone bill:

Message from AT & T Wireless--
Text Package Includes: 3,000 texts
Text Usage: 8,009

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And now...a word from our sponsors

More silly stuff coming soon. In the meantime, please feel free to browse the blog for your choice of over 50 columns from the previous 24 weeks. I'm working on pesky publishing crap since my bill collectors apparently do not accept sexual favors as a form of payment. With the exception of my landlord.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bed Bugs EAT Little Children (A Bedtime Story)

I know a gentleman who runs a small publishing company out of town that specializes in inspirational stories and children‘s books.

Before you rush out to purchase anything from this noble little company, it’s important to know that, after a few cocktails, he asked if I might be interested in writing a couple of short bedtime stories which would be suitable for kids.

I feel that this writing request speaks directly to the publisher's credibility.

The very nature of this gentleman's proposal reminds me of the time when the local Budweiser representative thought it to be a sound idea for me and my buddies, Mike and Shane, to staff the beer tent at a music festival.

That’s the only job I ever had where I needed a designated driver in order to get home.
As I recall, we violated about 18 local alcohol statutes that night, but we all got dates out of the experience. For the record...Shane ended up with the girl who peed her pants and threw up all over his car.

I emailed my writer friend, Amanda, feeling that she would make a much better candidate for this project. Reminding me that she is far more responsible than I, Amanda insisted that I give it a try…to stretch my wings and expand my horizons...

This is precisely why I hate Amanda.

It’ll be fun!!! You can do this.

I don’t know how to explain things to kids…especially in the form of a bedtime story. What do kids like?

Adventure! Excitement. Fantasy!


Not the kind YOU’RE thinking about.

Excitement huh? How about this? “The asshole literary editor who picks people apart due to sexual repression...AND locks little children in his mother's basement.”

I don’t think so. And, I don't think Mike, The Editor, would like that too much.

He's an editor...he doesn't like anything.

Try this as an exercise…use descriptive phrases to tell a story which holds a moral and teaches a lesson…indirectly. Kids tend to learn things when they think they’re NOT overtly being taught a lesson. They like to “randomly” discover lessons in life.

Sort of like the way politicians win elections? Or how one talks someone into having a one night stand.


Here goes…

…It was a cold, windy evening as Billy slipped into bed.

He wondered if the “noises” would haunt him on this evening as they had so many nights previous.

He heard the same squeaky sound just outside his bedroom door…at first, faint, then growing louder and louder, increasing in cadence with each passing minute as the R. Kelly song blared in the background.

Um, I don’t like where this is heading…

…The squeaks grew violently loud, accompanied by woeful screams from his parents. Billy was terrified, it sounded as though someone was doing great harm to his mom and dad.

His mom could be heard pleading, as though she were fighting for her very life.

“OH GOD! GOD! OOOOOH GOD!!” Billy’s mom screamed. His father screamed back “You’ve been very bad, haven’t you? NOW you‘re reeeally gonna get it good!!!”

OH NO! Billy thought. Dad was punishing mom for something terrible she must have done. What could it be?? Billy wondered.

I think I’ve read enough…

Wait! I’m getting to the M. Knight Shyamalan twist!

…Billy asked his father about the violent episode which he'd heard emanating from the bedroom the night before. His father seemed bewildered. Suspiciously prying Billy for more information, his father grew visibly angry by the minute.

You see, Billy's father wasn't home the night before...he’d been away on a quick business trip at the gun and knife expo.

…Uh huh

Billy now lives with his grandparents and often wonders what happened to his mom and dad after the authorities escorted him to his grandma and grandpa‘s house.

His grandfather no longer speaks. He sits for hours on end in the back yard, staring blankly into space, aimlessly pounding a stick at the ground.

His grandmother cries a lot and simply tells Billy that mommy and daddy had to go away. The End.

Please tell me that you NEVER plan to have children. Please?

While Amanda has little faith in my abilities, I found an inner motivation that afternoon and decided to submit a couple of little bedtime stories. What’s the harm in that?

Many children’s stories seem to hold a lesson, cleverly hidden within the plot. Lessons about life, love, civic pride, community service, acceptance, etc. Sort of like the "Fat Albert Show" or "What's Happenin"...only not as racially stereotypical.

I decided to tackle a very important issue which would help parents in potty training their child:

Little Miriam woke in the middle of the night to a foul and horrific odor in her bed. Her sheets and clothing were covered, as though she’d fallen asleep with a gallon of double chocolate fudge ice cream (which had melted) and a rotting dead animal. She began to cry.

Her parents had urged her to do number-2 before bedtime, but Miriam was morbidly terrified of the toilet. In trying to train young Miriam, her parents grew frustrated, using every tactic they could imagine to potty-train her. Including rubbing her nose in her own poo, since it seemed to work effectively with the dog...and grandpa. (He's 98)

Her fear goes back to when her uncle Steve babysat her and told her of the child-eating sewer monster which snatches little children through the toilet bowl, dragging them deep within the depths of the narrow pipes.

The monster never devoured the little children alive, he waited until they drowned in a rancid mixture of organic compounded sludge, feces, urine and contaminated water-- since many people continue to illegally dispose of used motor oil and household chemicals in city drainage lines, causing irreparable environmental damage.

Storyline/Plot Note: Uncle Steve voted for Al Gore. He's also a radical environmental terrorist who spends most of his days plotting to blow up factories and large discount department stores which build on or near protected natural rights of way or near Indian burial grounds.**

**(Not the Indians to which large corporations outsource…the drunken casino owner Indians.)

When Miriam would act up, uncle Steve, never having had children of his own, employed the only method he could devise in order to make her behave. He would dangle her, precariously, above the bowl. Her feet barely met the water line as uncle Steve warned her of the child-eating sewer monster that eats little children who misbehave.

One day Miriam’s parents arrived home early, catching Steve dangling Miriam above the toilet. Steve spent the next 3-weeks in the hospital, eating from a straw. He's also no longer allowed to baby sit, for many reasons. One of which includes his being arrested in a joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security raid for environmental terrorist activities.

Miriam, on the other hand, still poops her pants from time to time but, over the past 26-years, psychological therapy, adult diapers and Xanax** seems to be helping her to make great and positive strides.

**Ask your doctor if Alprazolam is right for you

She is now a successful assistant director of the Municipal Sewer and Water Board and tirelessly works to clean up the city’s watershed pollution problems.

You see, Miriam stayed in school, she “Just said NO” to drugs, she didn’t have sexual relations until she was in a loving marriage and she ate all of her veggies so that she would grow up to be strong and healthy.**

**She steers clear of foods which contain natural laxatives and people who are named Steve...for obvious reasons.

The End.

I figured that I should submit two stories…so that the publisher could gain a better grasp of my writing versatility.

Kids seem to relate better to stories where animals are involved, so I felt it to be wise to include a little story about acceptance and the rewards of pushing forward in the face of adversity which life inevitably serves.

Here’s one such story of a young little girl and her bully next door neighbor. This is the story of Joanna and Geoffrey the Giraffes:

Joanna (Jo) realized at an early age that she was not like all the other giraffes in the herd.

Her growth was stunted and she was confused about her sexuality early on in life…much like the character played by the talented and under rated Nancy McKeon in “Facts of Life.”

Her neighbor, Geoffrey and his friends constantly teased Jo for her small stature and her fondness for playing softball.

Day in and day out, Jo wondered what ridicule would dog her at the hands of her mean, taller bully of a neighbor and his friends. She decided that she would empower herself…refusing to cower to the much taller giraffes.

What they held in impressive height, they lacked in brains. Sort of like Paris Hilton.

A game of softball!! Yes!

She would challenge the bullies to a game of softball. Hoping to finally squelch the hurtful words from the bully-giraffes, Jo figured that this was the only way she could show them once and for all.

It was a hard fought game with back and forth scoring throughout. The game reached the final inning with a tied score. Jo and her team badly needed a game-winning run.

Jo was “at bat.” The pitch was level, sailing perfectly across the plate. She swings and makes contact! The ball soared like a graceful bald eagle (even though there are no bald eagles in the Serengeti Grasslands of Africa.)

The crack of the bat projected the ball like a bullet, piercing the late afternoon sky. The ball sailed just past second base toward Geoffrey and his fellow outfielders.

They anxiously waited-- the cradles of their open gloves pointed upward to the brilliant azure sky as they raced deeper and deeper into the outfield…where a helicopter was landing, carrying a full load of tourists.

As the helicopter softly made contact with the delicate amber reeds which dot the majestic Serengeti, Geoffrey and his fellow outfielders were instantly decapitated by the rotor of the chopper blades, piloted by an old alcoholic tour guide.

Blood, teeth and severed tendons splattered in the punishing, whirling chopper blades, slinging the horrific, bloody mess across the beautiful field...and all over the windows of the chopper.

Terrified tourists screamed and cried, frantically exiting the chopper as a pack of rabid hyenas ravaged the freshly decapitated giraffe corpses.

Geoffrey’s severed head landed squarely against the outfield wall. And so, the price for being tall had been paid in full.

The “short jokes” no longer seemed so funny to anyone on that field on this particular Fall afternoon as Jo and her team won the game; never again to face senseless ridicule for her height or love of flannel shirts, women's league FIFA soccer and Melissa Etheridge Cd’s.

Remember…from the seed grows a root then a sprout. From the sprout, the seedling leaves. From the leaves, the stem. Around the stem, the branches and, at the top, the beautiful flower, which was not decapitated by the punishing blades of a helicopter due to hurtful, narrow-minded mentality.

We cannot say that the seed causes the growth, nor the soil. We CAN say that the potentialities for growth lies within the seed in mysterious life forces, which , properly fostered, take on different forms.

In this case, an aging, drunken helicopter pilot who landed too closely to a herd of giraffes.

The End

It’s been 4-weeks since I submitted the requested samples to my publisher friend.

I haven’t heard anything yet, and he’s not returned any of my calls…but I understand that publishers are busy people. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I’ve begun my new children’s piece. This one will be geared toward early teens. It’s titled:

“Jennifer and the missed period.”

It’s about a young woman who doesn’t do well in English Composition class. I feel very good about it!
copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Treats For Trixx

I believe that Fall is probably my favorite time of year.

Trees explode in brilliant color offering an indescribable display from Mother Nature. Fall is also a busy season; a season for reaping the fruits of hard labor at the end of a long growing season. The waning days of Fall signals the promise of a winter that’s surely to blow in as a frigid demon in the wind.  

The confusion as to which direction to set the clocks when the time change occurs was quite amusing as it relates to my grandfather trying to figure out how to adjust the VCR and microwave clocks.

And then, there's the centerpiece of Fall...Halloween. The excitement of joining friends and neighbors for festivities makes me feel like a kid again. I often, fondly reminisce about my childhood as I, and the other neighborhood kids, excitedly darted through the streets, vying for the biggest and best treats.

We’d beat one another with baseball bats, sticks or push the dorky kid into oncoming traffic so there would be more candy for the rest of us. It appeared as though we were destitute crack addicts who were just released from jail.

There’s something quite intoxicating about the aroma of busted pumpkins on the street and the mystical glaze of eggs slowly trickling down the facade of a house in the light of a silver moon as toilet paper wistfully dances from tree branches in the soft, crisp Fall breeze

Speaking of intoxicated, I also remember our creepy neighbor (Mr. Ethridge) who got fired from his job as an air traffic controller.

He used to tell us he needed to test the flame retardancy of our costumes by trying to light us on fire with a Zippo lighter. Good times indeed!  Mr. Ethridge always wore loose-fitting gym shorts with pockets and a white t-shirt.

I believe he ended up in jail for a long time. It had something to do with an ice cream cake party for the kids, a Peter Pan costume and an inflatable jumping moonwalk.

I have friends who throw some amazing Halloween parties. They call themselves hosts, I call them enablers.

There’s nothing quite as amusing as observing an overly served guest who’s tipped one too many at the open bar after devouring about a dozen of those orange-iced Halloween cookies fashioned after pumpkins.

I’ve never seen such a beautiful shade of orange purge from a human body…and all over the couch, carpet, marble foyer and front porch. Talk about scary.

I only dress up for Mardi Gras events these days, opting to dress normally for Halloween. Inevitably, there’s always one person who comes to the party wearing a 5-thousand dollar costume which makes them appear as though they’re competing for an Oscar in the “Best Costume” category.

These are the same folks who drunkenly slosh their drink all over the floor (at 7pm), stumbling over the team of midgets which they’ve hired to dress as demons.  As they place their rented smoke machine aside (also a costume accessory) they cleverly, and loudly, ask:

“Hey, what are YOU supposed to be dressed as?”

I usually inform these people that I’m dressed as the person who would like for them to go away.

I once worked with a woman who dressed in a microscopic mini skirt, low cut top, heels and a ton of makeup on Halloween.  I complimented her on the “call-girl” costume…until she informed me that she was actually NOT in costume and that she had a date later. I hope they had fun.

While Halloween is supposed to be scary, it’s a fun kind of scary.

The thrill which one experiences as they scan the kid’s candy through an x-ray machine, the excitement of having bio-lab analysts take samples to ensure that the treats are safe, printing out a neighborhood map so that registered “sex-offender” houses might be avoided screams of fun and lasting memories if you ask me!

Admittedly, I don’t scare too easily-- with the exception of a friend who announced to me recently that he enjoys watching "The Real Housewives."

My neighbor makes it easy on herself and simply dresses as a witch each year.  It's helpful that she sort of looks like a witch actually.

Witches/wicked female characters don’t really scare me. Don’t get me wrong, there are still authentic portrayals of wicked women who DO scare me:

That babysitter chick from "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", Kathy Bates in "Misery", Perez Hilton, my 6th grade teacher, Ms. Watson, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, my ex-girlfriend…the list goes on.

I blame Bewitched for removing the stigma associated with witches.  As a kid, I had a major crush on Samantha. My weird uncle Leonard had a crush on the little girl, Tabitha. 

He suddenly disappeared when I was about 10. My dad said he had to go away for a while, so I didn't ask.
How awesome would it be to have a beautiful wife who could just snap her fingers and a pile of money suddenly materializes in your hands??

Now that I think about it, where DID that money supposedly come from when Samantha twitched her nose? Most importantly…was Paul Lynde (Uncle Arthur) really gay??

Anyway, you can’t just print and introduce piles of brand new money into the economy without raising the value of whatever monetary source which backs it. That would create inflation, devalue the dollar, domestically and internationally and send the stock market reeling. Uh, wait a second...that sounds eerily familiar. 

Scary indeed

My friend Todd frightened me recently; actually his wife Melissa scared me more.

Melissa planned to spend the night with her girlfriends across the lake so that Todd could finish some sort of remodeling project on his bathroom. Somehow Todd thought it to be a good idea to enlist MY assistance.

I did what any good handy-man’s assistant would do, in that I didn’t know what purpose ANY tool in his utility box served.  I also accidentally cut myself on a door jamb, stepped on the cat and I glued my left hand to the tile on the vanity. So, I dragged Todd down the street to a pub, hoping that straight whiskey would make the tile square fall off my hand.

It didn't work, but I felt better about things...and I had my own tile coaster for the drink.

Melissa, however, decided that she would come back home that evening in order to get an early start on errands the next day.

Imagine how surprised Todd and I were to find Melissa sitting in the living room, glaring at us as we stumbled through the door singing "When the Saints Go Marching In."  I believe Todd was wearing somebody's shirt on his head and he went to the bathroom off his front porch.  (I also accidentally glued the toilet seat shut)

Melissa seems to become agitated when Todd hangs out with me…which is precisely why I won’t eat ANYTHING that she cooks for me unless I've monitored her every move as she prepares it.

As I recall, Todd slept on the couch that evening while I, being the guest, stayed in the guest bedroom with a chair firmly planted under the doorknob. **

** I've amended my list of wicked/scary women to include Melissa.

Todd had to drag out a stack of sheets and blankets in order to make the guest bed and he asked me to grab the fitted sheet from the drawer.

The fitted sheet, apparently, is the thing with elastic corners on it-- kind of like the waist line of those blue jeans that old people wear.

As a general observation, wrapping a fitted sheet over a mattress after five beers and four shots is comparable to advanced geometry class at MIT.

I strongly believe that installing a fitted sheet should be an exercise employed by police officers at a DUI checkpoint. When you secure one corner and the other corner pops off…BAM! The cop hits you with a taser and takes you straight to jail.

Somehow, Todd was able to properly make this bed, complete with all 400 pillows that his wife insists upon having-- which I believe makes him a “functional alcoholic”...who lives with an angry pillow hoarder.  I did absolutely nothing worthwhile to assist but I DID step on the cat again.

Now that I think about it, the scariest part of the evening was when I learned that Todd knew all about fitted sheets, thread counts and where ALL of the pillows should be arranged.

There are some things guys just don’t discuss over beer and shooting pool.

As I think more about it, I suppose that I DO scare easily in some areas-- medical situations being a prime example. Actually medical situations don’t scare me as much as a visit to the doctor’s office, which I had to recently do.

It’s not a major hang-up-- I simply have a mild aversion to doctor visits, in that, I’m terrified of:

All doctors
Nurse’s assistants
The receptionist at the front desk
The doctor’s office parking lot
The front door to the doctor’s office
The actual title "Doctor"
Those who play doctors or any medical personnel in TV and film
The car which is transporting me to the doctor’s office
Doogie Howser
CNN’s Nancy Grace**

**Has nothing to do with doctors, but still scares me

The doc recently placed me on a brief trial of antibiotics which listed the following on the warning label:

“Contact your doctor immediately if you experience anxiety, mood swings or suicidal thoughts”
Antibiotics which make you want to die. Talk about a great method for curing an infection!

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I’m truly afraid of haunted houses. Not the Amityville or Poltergeist-type houses where the ghost tortures you, your family, your pets, unsuspecting African-American house guests or some priest who stops by to save the day.   

Why is it that teens or unsuspecting house guests are usually the first to be murdered in the movies?  Specifically, the ones who slip off into the nearby forest for sexual escapades just prior to being decapitated by a flying wagon wheel or a harpoon (which just happens to be laying around under some leaves in the forest.)

I’m afraid of the “staged” haunted houses and it goes back to when I was age six. My mom (pronounced: Mommy) took me to a haunted house where one of the “actors” accidentally hit me with his pointed devil’s tail. It cut my face pretty badly, therefore, I've held a deep fear ever since.

When I was 18, me and some of my buddies volunteered to be actors in the local Jaycees haunted house. I figured this might help me to better conquer my haunted house fear.

Along with my buddies Matt and Shane, I was assigned to the bloody laboratory of death scene. There was a headless mannequin, splattered with blood, and our job was to chop away at the body with our blood drenched hatchets.

Behaving with the level of maturity that one might expect from three 18-year olds, we swiped some dark, curly hair from one of the other costumes in the prop-room and then duct-taped it to the mannequin’s crotch. We then proceeded to simulate sex acts with the headless body (and the severed head).  I've never laughed so hard in my life.

I’m not sure if you can picture that scene, but suffice it to say that no one seemed terrified of our little laboratory. With the exception of our parents and the adult supervisors.

I’m pretty sure that cold, harsh reality set in on the adults as they came to grips with the fact that Matt, Shane and I represented the future of our great society. So, I suppose that our scene in the haunted house WAS scary after all.

All of this reminiscing while writing this piece has actually put me into a more festive mood this Halloween. I believe, for the first time since I was a kid, I WILL dress up this year. Nothing too elaborate though. 

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010