Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my birthday.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions and accuses me of shamefully fishing for birthday sentiments, you couldn’t be more incorrect.

I have no shame…and I’m not fishing.  I don’t even like to fish. For that matter, I’m scared of fish.

My friend, Amanda, feels strongly that it has something to do with some fishing trips that my creepy Uncle Leonard took me and my cousin on when we were age 12.

He assured us that we’d catch more fish if we took off our pants. I'm not sure how taking one’s pants off helps-- I never seemed to catch any fish. 

Uncle Leonard always seemed to have fun on those trips though; he'd sit there quietly in the boat with this strange smile plastered across his face.

My dad paid Uncle Leonard a visit shortly after learning of the fishing expeditions and I never saw Uncle Leonard again for some reason.

Each year my friends ask what I’d like for my birthday and I give them the same answer every time.

I want what every reasonable person wants…

  • World peace
  • Global economic stability
  • Better schools for our children
  • A pizza
  • Better wages for our teachers, firefighters and police
  • Naked photos of Jessica Alba
  • To see a day when all deadly diseases are eradicated
  • Naked photos of my neighbor Alicia

The wish list goes on.

In keeping with tradition, it’s time for my annual little story, titled:

“Things I’ve Learned.”

Also known as…

“Why I Wish An Errant Meteor Would Smash Me To Pieces.”

So...Here we go:

1. I judge people who attend ANYTHING on “ice.” i.e. The Lion King, Toy Story, Disney, etc.

I feel strongly that anything on “ice” is stupid. With the exception of vodka.**

**I would consider going to see Platoon, Friday The 13th or Big Momma's House on ice.

2. According to my good friend Nicholas, a sure-fire way to assure that one’s evening will NOT favorably advance toward sexual relations is to make the following assertion:

Girl: My ex-boyfriend was such a jerk. He thought highly of himself too.

Nicholas: That sucks.

Girl: Yeah, and he sucked in bed! I don’t know what he was so proud of…plus he had a tiny pee pee.  (extending her pinkie finger for illustrative purposes)

Nicholas: Guys who brag about it are usually nothing to write home about. I don’t brag.

Girl: So, how bout' you?  IS there anything to brag about?  Just curious.

Nicholas: My manhood is long, but unimpressive…sort of like Canada.”**

**Note: In the interest of preserving his dignity and anonymity, his real name is NOT Nicholas. It’s Nick.

3. While the color and consistency of water and vodka are the same, vodka will NOT extinguish a grease fire in a kitchen. And, it will result in losing one’s job.

4. Drunk people who come into a bar and load the jukebox with $20-dollars in sh*tty songs and then leave after only two of them have played are no better than terrorists.

5. There is no greater free entertainment value than that of observing “Springer” moments on social network sites.

Cynthia wrote:
Whew!  FINALLY home after a very long, but fun, nite!
Posted 6minutes ago

Chad wrote:
Sure is pretty late.
Posted 1minute ago

Cynthia wrote:
Really none of ya' bizness Chad.
Posted 1minute ago

Chad wrote:
FYI, I've heard that only whores stay out past 3am.
Posted 2minutes ago

Cynthia wrote:
Yeah??  I heard that only pervs sit up all nite looking at tranny porn sites.  Speaking of girls who look like men, tell your new GF Ashley hello.
Posted 1minute ago

 · ·Jeremy and 1 other person likes this

Chad wrote:
Why don't you inform your new BF Jeremy why he should wear a condom at ALL times with you?
posted 2minutes ago

 · ·  Ashley likes this 

Cynthia wrote:
Go to hell!!!
posted 1minute ago

Chad wrote:
I've been there, thank you very much.  Thankfully, I wore a condom.  Cheers!
2minutes ago

 · · 12 people like this 

6. I’m much too lazy to be belligerent.

7. There’s a reason why Super Cuts only charges $10 for a haircut.

8. Nickelback still sucks.

9. Two “wrongs” do NOT make a “right.” Unless it involves a 3-way sexual encounter.

10. Never, EVER, let the cell phone store take your cell phone to the back room to work on it until you've deleted all pornographic photos from the graphics folder.

You WILL receive judgmental stares and snickers from the technician, the sales reps and the cashier.**

**Note: See item #9

11. While I’m neutral on the topic, 500+ economists, including the entire Harvard University staff of economic studies, call for a marijuana regulation debate; new report projects $10-14 billion annual revenues to U.S. economy.**

**Figures do not include projected Tony’s pizza or Taco Bell sales

12. Mike, the editor, still sucks.

13. There, apparently, is still no safe cigarette.  I suppose that the new, ominously frightening fuchsia, silver and teal packages will definitely scare smokers into quitting…according to a multi-billion dollar government study.

I always purchase the cigarette which touts the following:

“May complicate pregnancy.”

Since I do not plan on becoming pregnant, I feel that these are the safest cigarettes for me.

14. Some girl named Suzanne, apparently, provides above average skills in the area of oral stimulus** 

**According to the dispatch that I just read on the men's room wall

15. When a woman asks:

Is something wrong?
The answer is always NO.  Unless you're particularly in the mood for a 1-hour conversation, peppered with no fewer than 2-thousand questions, which will inevitably ensue...causing you to bleed from the ears.    
16. You haven't really lived until you witness a crackhead sing karaoke.

17. While the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself) serves as a solid and successful cornerstone for most, it has proven to be unsatisfying to me. 

The things I want done unto me costs money...and is frowned upon by most law enforcement agencies.

18. I’m still not a role model for children.

19. It appears that I'm not mature enough to use an electronic language translator.

My writer friend, Todd, gave his 9-year old son a translator for Christmas last year.  I did what anyone would do...I translated dirty words.  Little did I know, this stupid thing stores all translated searches. 

Not a problem as far as Todd was concerned; His wife Melissa, on the other hand, had a slight problem with it.

For our aspiring Spanish students in the reading audience...

"Me duele el testículo izquierdo de su castigo"

Translates to:

"My left testicle aches for your punishment"

And so, we add a final item to the "Things I've Learned" list

20. Todd's wife, Melissa, still hates me.

Yes indeed...another year has passed.  I'm tired.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Workin' Man's Blues

Mike, the editor, recently emailed a writing suggestion; which I believe is a perfect illustration as to how Gmail sucks where “blocked mail“ settings are concerned.  
Mike’s suggestions are the leading cause for suicide in the United States.  His communications, both written and oral, typically cause severe loss of appetite and erectile dysfunction.**

**Results may vary

To: Jim
From: Mike

Re: Idea

I have a GREAT idea. You should get a temp/fill-in job and write about your observations and experiences. It could be a good working storyline.

To: Mike
From: Jim

Re: Stupid Idea

This is Jim’s friend, Dave. Some time back, Jim granted access to all of his passwords and copies of his car & house keys in the event of a personal emergency.

Sadly, Jim is dead.

P.S. Are you aware that he has a blow-up doll that looks like Betty White under the bed?? Bizarre!

To: Jim
From: Mike

Re: Idea

Hmmmm. I’m curious as to the manner in which Jim died.

To: Mike
From: Jim

Re: Funeral Service Specifics & Creepy Betty White Fetish

He was having intimate relations with a 22-year old student from Xavier University on the banks of Bayou St. John.

Unfortunately, Jim was eaten by a family of dwarf alligators.

The girl is okay; she‘s a little dazed and remains quite speechless-- not from witnessing this terrible accident-- from the intimate relations portion of the experience.

Unfortunately, they had to euthanize them-- The gators that is...not the girl.

To: Jim
From: Mike

Re: Idea

Yeah, I’m not buying it. Look, I’ve attached two job postings I found online…c’mon, this could be fun!

They’re  fill-in/temp positions…nothing deeply labor intensive. It’s a no-brainer…Plus, you’ll get paid for it!

To: Mike
From: Jim

Re: Wikipedia Answers...Procedures For Filing A Restraining Order

This sounds like YOUR job. When do I start?

My first assignment involved participation as a cast “extra” in the filming of the HBO original series “Treme.”

**Treme is an inner-city neighborhood in New Orleans. The word "Treme" is French for: "Don't go there at night"

I arrived at the staging area outside of a downtown hotel at 6am.

As dutifully chronicled in the national news media, New Orleans is a city known for weather extremes.

The day before the shoot, it was sunny and 75 degrees...

On the morning of the shoot it was about 38 degrees along with torrential rain and hurricane force winds, with a slight chance of a massive mudslide.

My fellow “extras” were assembled in one of the hotel’s exquisitely decorated ballrooms (circa 1972) where we awaited instructions as to what would be required for today‘s shoot…other than an arctic snowsuit and scuba gear.

After carefully scanning the room, I spotted an empty seat next to a pleasant gentleman who donned an over sized army surplus jacket, a floppy fishing hat and a gigantic tattoo on his left arm which read:

“Bring It Bi*ch”

And another, with a straight horizontal line halfway up his right arm, which read:
“Insert to here”

Coupled with the 1970’s porno moustache, tank top and excessive body hair, my internal alarms should have prompted me to demand for a rescue helicopter. But, I really wanted to sit down before a long day of filming.

Me: Anyone sitting here?

Military Porno Fisherman: No

(A minute or two of silence passes)

Military Porno Fisherman: Did you know that Russian Czar Aleksandr II was assassinated by a bomb which tore off his legs, ripped open his belly and mutilated his face?

Me: (Rising from my seat) I’ll be right back.

When he’s not performing as a film extra (and possibly a fetish porn star) I’m not exactly sure about what this guy does for a living…but I’m fairly certain that he’s killed someone before.

Possibly with his right arm.

Waiting for a film shoot is fun. We did many exciting things to pass the time…such as being hungry and bored senseless.

A location director eventually came in to speak with us. By speak I mean that she screamed at us via megaphone as though we were standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

She explained that we would be paid $100.00 and could, possibly, be on location for 12-hours…outside.

In listening to the screaming megaphone woman, I embraced a large feeling of sympathy for her husband and recited a silent prayer for him. 

It was at this precise moment when I also pondered various methods in which I might kill Mike the editor and get away with it in a court of law.

On a positive note, the film crew constantly fed us!

We feasted on sausage, grits and eggs for breakfast. A hearty serving of pulled pork for early lunch and a late afternoon light meal; which consisted of a colossal deli pita wrap (the best lettuce sandwich I’ve ever had.) They also gave us a bag of bagel chips.

The catering service for the film crew were apparently given strict instructions that the use of seasonings of any sort would ruin the film shoot and possibly kill the actors.

Each item from the above menu tasted like a church communion wafer…with the exception of the Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks.

Either Betty Crocker owns HBO or there seems to be a level of deep concern about scurvy amongst the Hollywood film industry.  Every time I turned around someone was shoving fruit snacks in my face.

One fun aspect of being in a film shoot is that they shuttle you around in tour busses as though you're part of a presidential motorcade. 

We got to blaze through red lights, stop signs and we pretty much zoomed through any and all lanes of the road as we pleased.  Such as the fashion in which New Orlenians drive all the time...only New Orleans motorists do it without a police escort. 

I quickly made friends with two wonderful young ladies who have, apparently, previously worked as “extras.”

They came to the shoot equipped with an emergency comfort stash: 

A large flask of whiskey.

Because I am a responsible employee, fill-in or not, I only did two shots with them.

Idly standing around in the middle of a New Orleans neighborhood doing nothing at all. A fair description of a typical day for me-- only this time I was getting PAID for it!

Suddenly, and without expressed or written invitation, a director motioned for me.

As a background tid-bit, the "come here" motion typically causes a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Primarily because, when people motion for me, it's usually followed by a bunch of difficult questions which almost always results in me getting into trouble.   

The director felt that I would make for an excellent candidate to be in a solo scene for a “staged” post-Hurricane Katrina protest which would involve me driving a car.

As any number of friends who have been passengers in my vehicle will attest, this clearly indicates that the Treme' director is an idiot.

Director: Okay, can you drive?

Me: My insurance agent and the Orleans Parish traffic court judges might provide a more comprehensive evaluation.

Director: (Nervous laugh) You’ll be fine. Look, I want you to back this car up about 3-feet; when I give you the cue, drive it forward 3-feet to this street sign and grab the protest sign out of the passenger seat and walk to the table over there. Any questions?

Me: Can I get a DUI on a closed movie set?

Director: (Nervous laugh)


Take 1:
Accidentally graze the curb with the front tire


Take 2:
Having trouble backing into the parallel parking spot. Finally park after 5th attempt. Nearly run over a neighborhood cat.  (Cat scrambles up a nearby oak tree as the crowd of  film extras look at me in horror)


Drive forward 3-feet; grab the protest sign and rapidly walk toward the protest scene. Accidentally hit the camera (and camera man) with my protest sign.


Take 15:
Drive forward 3-feet**

**Note: Front camera crew has now begun shooting my scene from a branch in a nearby oak tree; the cat is also with them.


Collect the protest sign and rapidly walk to the table.


I DID IT!!!!

Director: That was perfect!**

**10-seconds after the scene was complete, it became painfully obvious that I accidentally left the car in neutral…it began to roll forward into a collection of empty trash cans and crushed a director‘s chair.
Fortunately, the director was not in the chair at the time. 
The front camera crew (along with the cat) looked down from the oak branch in horror.

My film prowess clearly made quite an impression on the director and film crew-- as evidenced by the fact that they let me off work before ANYONE else on the shoot!

I may get an agent and pursue a film career!

Since I had unexpected extra time on my hands, I arranged for a fill-in position with another employer which Mike had suggested.

This time…I’m off to the restaurant business.

I’ve never worked in the restaurant business, but I learned a great deal about it during my temporary tenure.

I learned that, once they clear the threshold of the kitchen entrance, table servers pretty much hate everyone on the planet…especially people who order food.  (i.e. customers)

Dishwashers are excellent candidates for committing a workplace massacre, line cooks hate servers, (and customers), the bartender is a raging alcoholic and being a restaurant owner seems to cause one to behave in a manner which is consistent with being clinically insane.

Servers and line chefs have a special bond, especially in, what I can only characterize as, an interesting communication style.

10-minutes before the kitchen is slated to close:

Server: Order in!!!

Line Chef: (Groans)

Server: Three filet mignon…well done, mid-rare and rare.  Three side salads, make one salad to-go please. Three baked potatoes…"sub" sour cream on one potato.

Line Chef: What do they want to substitute the sour cream with??

Server: A 5-pound lobster.  Oh, to go please!!

Line Chef: If you bring me one more fuc*#ng order, I am going to rip your face off with a filet knife and shove you in the walk-in cooler behind a crate of lettuce and cillantro.

The customers were nice; and since I was new to the biz, they were quite eager to provide helpful feedback on the comment cards…

“Worst server we’ve EVER seen.”

“I will NEVER come back to your restaurant again!”

“Our server seemed to be drunk”**

**I visited the bartender on my break.

By the way, did you know that there’s some sort of health code statute against smoking in the kitchen prep area???

The restaurant owner seemed to be irritated with me for some reason and assigned re-stock duties to me.

My assignment at hand was to replace the roll of towels in the restroom. For the record, mechanical towel dispensers are not as user-friendly as they appear to be!

Step 1:
Unlock the cover

Step 2:
Fumble with the clasp to the cover in continued efforts to unlock the cover

Step 3:
FINALLY open the cover

Step 4:
Insert the towel roll

Step 5:
Towel roll keeps slipping out of the dispenser

Step 6:
Finally able to position the towel roll appropriately; try to maneuver the towel feed into the slot

Steps 7-10:
Repeated failed attempts at aligning the roll with the slot/feed advance

Step 11:
Successfully feed the towels through the mechanism

Step 12:
Visit the restaurant bartender**

**Smoke a cigarette

I liken my foray into towel replacement duties to that of my first sexual experience at age 16. 

Only I didn't cry this time.

To: Jim
From: Mike

Re: WTF?

Let me make certain that I understand this correctly…you got fired from TWO jobs in three days?? AND, you nearly destroyed a restaurant by starting a grease fire???

To: Mike
From: Jim

Re: WTF?

Impressive, huh?

To: Jim
From: Mike

Re: WTF?

I have one final job possibility for you so that you can, hopefully, get something good to write about. I don’t think that it’s remotely possible for you to screw THIS one up.

Since you bartended your way through college, there's an open position selling liquor shots in the 900 block of Bourbon. My assistant PR manager knows the owner.  I'll meet you there at 10pm.  Don’t be late!

To: Mike
From: Jim

Re: Uh…

Isn’t the 900 block predominately gay?

I'm gonna KILL Mike!!!

 copyright Pontchartrain Press 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Birthday (and other reasons why I'm asked to leave a lot of parties)

As I've been editing my next full-length story, my attention was captured by the "Birthday" icon which pops up on Facebook.

A dear writer friend of mine is celebrating a birthday today and I didn't want to be the lone jackass who didn't take a moment to dispatch a sentiment on her special day. 

Since I'm not one for posting the polite, but easy, birthday wish, I decided to share a birthday love story. 

The email is posted below:

I happen to know that you’re a voracious reader. And, as I’m suffering from writer’s block, I was tempted to bang out the traditional “quick hit” (Happy B’Day!) sentiments.

After careful consideration, I decided to share a little birthday story about a friend of mine.

We’ll call him Terrence. Primarily, because that’s his real name.

Terrence happens to share the same birthday as you, April 4th! Since I’m reeeally bad with remembering dates, this makes it easy to remember YOUR special day.

Yes indeed, April 4th…The same day in which the world was introduced to the delightfully splendid force which embodies the fortunate existence of YOU!

For Terrence, it wasn’t such a happy day at all.

You see, Terrence struggled for money over a better part of his life until, one day, it all turned around when he hit the Deuces Wild poker machine for $1,500 at a Mid City bar.

He employed the financial logic to which many New Orleanians subscribe; he threw caution to the wind by forgoing basic physical and discretionary necessities in life…

Children’s school tuition
Dancing With The Stars

He inserted his entire paycheck into a poker machine.

Upon collecting his unexpected reward, Terrence tipped the bartender and did what anyone who comes into a large sum of money would do…he purchased a hooker at the corner of Tulane and South Cortez Street.

Shanda** and Terrence hit it off quite famously!

**Note: Not her real name-- In the interest of protecting her customers; including an unnamed United States Senator from Louisiana. (Which rhymes with “Twitter’)

Due to some wise investments on Terrence’s part and Shanda’s booming business (She’s really good at what she does…Um, I’ve been told) the happy, entrepreneurial couple lived a comfortable lifestyle.

They decided to reward themselves by taking a long overdue vacation to Venice, Italy for Terrence‘s birthday.

At this point, It’s important to note TWO characteristics about Terrence:

He’s 6-foot 4-inches in height and weighs about 128-pounds.**

**Picture a pool cue with a head, ears and big feet. Oh, and a really dumb looking moustache and eyeglasses.

He also has a wandering eye…especially for ladies in low-cut blouses.

As Terrance and Shanda enjoyed a birthday gondola ride through the serene and romantic waterways of Venice, a lovely young woman caught his eye from the top of a levee.

Sadly, in the absence of his forward attention, Terrence was instantly decapitated by a waterway bridge on this magical day…the date of birth which you both share.

Shanda was horrified as she held Terrence’s severed head in her bloody lap.

She quickly scrambled to the back of the gondola, trying to escape in Jacqueline Kennedy fashion, as the row-master frantically tried to pull her back into the boat.

In the tussle, Terrence’s head accidentally dropped to the boat deck and bounced over the edge into the magnificently, mystical Venetian canal where it was immediately eaten by a school of hunger ravaged intra-coastal sea bass.

Since I am a well known animal lover, Terrence had always made it perfectly clear that custody of his beloved Weiner dog (Beanie) be turned over to me. He also left me his pornographic DVD collection.

In other birthday news, sadly, Beanie passed away this morning at 7am.

He was struck by a Zapp’s Potato Chip delivery truck as he was doing his business on the corner of South Broad and Canal Street.

Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your celebrations. By the way, I have a real bizarre story to share with you when I see you later this evening.

In the meantime, I bid you sincere wishes for a happy birthday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More To Come. Stay Tuned...

It’s been pointed out to me on numerous occasions that a new piece has not been introduced to the blog in a month.  I’m happy to inform that a new writing will appear shortly.

We were temporarily taken hostage by Libyan nationalists; I’m relieved to announce that we were not pillaged.

Which is fortunate since Allstate does not, in fact, cover pillaging.**

**Mike, the editor, was slightly sexually assaulted, but it had nothing to do with the Libyan hostage situation...he paid cash for it.