Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 Tony Red Carpet - An Overload of Fancy

I haven't worked a gig for Spectrum for a quite a while now (things change) but when I got the call I was all in. Not just for the obvious paycheck, but because it was the Tony's. Why not take in the experience of celebrity that some find so fascinating? See what it is that makes people line up for just a glimpse? The young girl in a pretty dress with cool classy combat boots who was there for hours holding her spot? The touristy passersby who held their cells above their heads while, of course, passing by, recording what they would wait till later to look at on the bus, hoping it would be something they could show the folks back home? Cheers to them.

 It started with a block long wall of styrofoam and chicken wire that eventually turned into an overload of beautifully flowered fancy. A huge group effort. This wall of flowers still resonates with me both in it's impressive beauty but also in it's over the top indulgence. And, of course understand, there's only so much a "non" fancy guy can take, from tops to toes, dresses to dressings, fanciful to fanci-what the fuck but it was still a night to remember. Could i just as easily forget it on the way home on the train with a good (as always) Neil Gaiman book? Sure, shit evens out that way. But there were eyelashes that could cut glass, makeup that could bring a smoky eye to tear with layers of regret, Hugs and kisses that almost seemed real until you remembered where you were.

There were stars and there were grunts, people of place and people who just had a place. A place to make a living. I was one of the latter but I still found myself taking pictures, justifying that my sis, and maybe my nephews would think they were cool. But, to tell you the truth, I revelled in this, however much my cynicism might have made me smirk and attempt to be above the fancy fray, and however much that was possibly the longest freaking two hours ever, I let myself snap a few shots.

Hell, someone even brought a mountain goat in it's own mountain goat tux eating grapes. Who's to argue with that?














Monday, June 11, 2018

The Trump Treehouse of Tall Stories, Treason & Tyranny - Ep #4: "While The Cat's Away"

(Official Secret Clubhouse of the He-Man Truth Haters Club)


Scott Pruitt: Jesus, this place is awful

Ben Carson: Why, what's wrong with it?

Scott: It's dusty, there's leaves and dirt all over the floor, doesn't anyone wipe their feet?...it's just so....treehousey...so common. Shit, I need a wipe. And is this lead paint?

Ben: I don't know, you're the guy who should know that right?

Scott: Watch your tone Ben, and yes, I do know, but it depends on the company and who I'm paying to have it (air quotes) "tested" and then, of course it depends on the relationship with the company that makes the paint etc...etc...it's a lot of what I do.

Ben: Did you just air quote?

Scott: Maybe. I just don't recognize this particular paint's...mmm...imprint you might say. It doesn't seem to have enough green.

Ben: Should we have it tested?

Scott: (air quotes) "tested" Ben. It's always "tested"

Ben: ummmm...?...ok...but if it is lead paint, isn't that dangerous?

Scott: You're funny Ben. It's complicated. You understand complicted right?

Ben: I am a neurosurgeon.

Scott: Right...of course you are...he doesn't eat the paint chips does he?

Ben: I don't know, he does snack a lot.

Scott: Could explain some things. Anyway I'll look into it. Just gotta make a couple of calls, but not here.

Ben: Why not?

Scott: Pretty obvious isn't it Ben? There's no booth.

Ben: ?

Scott: Never mind. I have a spot for calls back at my office. Plus we really should tidy up before he comes back.

Ben: Yeh when is that?

Scott: You never know. Depends on how quickly everyone abroad is reminded of how much they hate him.

Ben: So he could have been back before he left?

Scott: Very funny again Ben. You're a riot. No, we really should do something for him. Maybe buy him some new furniture here, spiff the place up.

Ben: How about a dining set. My wife knows a great place.

Scott: Great idea! Would it be bulletproof?

Ben: Huh?

Scott: This dining set place place your wife knows, do they carry any that are bulletproof?

Ben: Is that a thing?

Scott: It is when you're me. Lot's of crazies out there.

Ben: That wanna shoot up your dining room set?

Scott: You never know Ben. Ever vigilant I say, with a good solid piece of bulletproof furniture to cower behind. Important people can never be to careful you know.

Ben: Right, of course. Well I'll ask my wife to check. But it never really feels like he's gone anyway though, even when he is.

Scott : Yes he does have that kind of presence doesn't he?

Ben: What? No, that's not what I meant.

Scott: Then what?

Ben: It's that portrait of Andrew Jackson over his step stool.

Scott: His step stool?

Ben: Yeh, every now and then he just stands on it, top step, I don't know why.

Scott: Well....alright, whatever. Probably to check out those shoeboxes on the bookshelf or change a lightbulb or something right?

Ben: No. He just stands on it, the top step, and stares out in the distance. Raises his arms.

Scott: Ok then...so what about this portrait?

Ben: I don't know, it's weird. Seems like the eyes follow you everywhere and it creeps me the hell out....all the way down to my ancestor's toes...though I don't know why.

Scott: You're black Ben

Ben: Oh, right. Makes more sense now.

(A cough sound from behind the portrait and the sound of falling stuff / cursing)

Ben: Hey, did you hear that?

Scott: Hear what?

Ben: It sounded like that Jackson painting just coughed and knocked over paint cans or something.

Scott: Sure it did Ben. I didn't hear anything.

Ben: It did, I swear!

Scott: Ok, look, your big neurosurgeon, dumbest smart guy ever brain is just overly tired Ben, maxed out, probably making you hear things...you've been working really hard.

Ben: You're right, I have.

Scott: Yes you have. (assuringly) It's not easy trying to fuck poor people by raising their rents in order to make them pick themselves up by their bootstraps.

Ben: No, it's not.

Scott: Especially when there's absolutely no logic to it.

Ben: I know, right?

Scott: Exactly. Now take a breath and let's get back to this cluttered mess here. I mean, what the hell are all these shoeboxes on the bookshelves anyway?

Ben: Don't touch those.

Scott: Why?

Ben: I don't know. He just said NOT to touch those.

Scott: You mean you haven't looked?

Ben: No. That would be bad.

Scott: You're not curious?

Ben: No, plus, doesn't curiousity kill stuff? I've heard that it does. Like cats?

Scott: You like cats do you Ben?

Ben: Oh, verrrry much. They're soft.

Scott: Yes they are Ben, very soft, and cuddly too right?

Ben: Yes, I like cuddly.

Scott: I'm sure you do Ben, but you're right. Curiousity does kill stuff...a LOT of stuff ...that's why we leave curiousity to the "experts", like me and lobbyists.

Ben: Did you just air quote that too?

Scott: No. (looking in the shoeboxes)...it's just rocks Ben, lots of rocks in lots of shoeboxes on bookshelves instead of books Ben.

Ben: Any of them small rocks? Small enough to be gravel?

Scott: What? Gravel?

Ben: Yeh gravel, at our last meeting we....

Scott: Yes, well I wasn't at the last meeting Ben (sigh). Where's Jeff by the way? A "friend" of mine who's in some "difficulty" needs to "talk" to him.

Ben: You didn't air quote AGAIN just there, a LOT, did you?

Scott: Nope.

Ben: He's probably out on the balcony.

Scott: This treehouse has a balcony?

Ben: Yeh, just over there. Right outside one of the "Alice" doors.

Scott: "Alice" doors?

Ben: Special small doors for Jeff from the boss for some reason. I don't know. But the balcony overlooks a children's summer camp. He likes to go out there every now and then.

Scott: A kids's camp? Why?

Ben: I don't know, he says it's to think, to clear his head. Watching the kids helps I guess. Big hearted guy. He also said something about channeling Ralph Feinnes. Some sort of movie reference. I'm not a big movie guy.

Scott: No?

Ben: Though I did like "Concussion".

Scott: Right up your alley huh?

Ben: Yeh. It was about brains. And Will Smith is black.

Scott: I've noticed that. In all of his movies. He's black just like you right?

Ben: Ummm....yeh...exactly. Black. Do you think he voted for the boss?

Scott: Probably not Ben, he's one of those Hollywood elites.

Ben: Fucking elites....sorry, excuse my language sir.

Scott: It's alright Ben. You're allowed that. Especially when it comes to those fucking elites.



*Knock Knock



Scott: Were we expecting someone?

Ben: Wait! The coughing from behind the Andrew Jackson painting? Do you think someon...

Scott: NO I DON'T. I'll get it. (whispering to himself as he walks to the door 'wish I had something bulletproof to hide behind...just in case') (wary) Who's there?

Ryan Zinke: Ryan.

Scott: Zinke, is that you?

Zinke: Damn shootin' straight!

Scott: Hold on. Hey Ben? What's today's password?

Ben: Well...I don't know. The boss isn't here so we don....

Scott: You mean he didn't leave a password?

Ben: No.

Scott: Hold on Ryan....If. That. Is. You.

Zinke: If. That. Is. Me? What the hell are you talking about?

Scott: What's the password?

Zinke: Password? I just heard you ask Ben if there was one.

Scott: No you didn't.

Zinke: Yes I did.

Scott: No YOU didn't

Zinke: YES I DID. It's a treehouse Scott. The walls are pretty fucking thin.

Scott: Well if there WAS a password what would it be?

Zinke: Are you fucking serious?! You know I just got an NRA tattoo on my ass and I'm armed right? To the nines and 47's and you've got no bulletproof shit to hide behind Pruitt! Plus we've got a situation here!

Scott: Situation, Shmittuation. (aside) Ben, what would the password be?

Ben: I don't know...ummm....treacle?

Scott: Treacle?!

Ben: What? I like sweet stuff.

Scott: You're not English Ben!

Ben: I am black though.

Scott: Yes, and the boss appreciates that....c'mon!

Ben: How about "Cuddly"? We were talking cuddly earlier.

Scott: *exasperated

Zinke: You know I can STILL hear you right?!

Ben: I got it! (whispers in Pruitt's ear) The password is "Extinct"

Scott: Ooooh, that's a good one...Ok, Zinke...If. That. Is. Really. You...what's the password?

Zinke: Extinct.

Scott: Damn this guy is good.

Zinke: (bursts through the door) You are both idiots. And where's the door I ordered for here for me to make my bursting through appear more impressive?! And what the fuck is going on? I told you, we have a situation.

Scott: And?  The boss is gone, we passworded you, and quite effectively I might add, you came in. Done. What "situation" tops that?

Zinke: Sessions is trying to pick off kids in that camp next door...

Scott: ....woahhh!...

Zinke: ...and his aim is ALL off...

Scott: ...crap...

Zinke: ...and since when does he smoke while shooting?...

Scott: ...I don...

Zinke: ...we gotta get this guy to the range...

Scott: ...uhhhh...

Zinke: ....fucking amateurs...

Ben: ...have you seen my cat?...

Scott: ...you have a cat here?...

Zinke: ...was he furry?...

Ben: ...well, yes...

Zinke: ...cuddly?...

Scott: ...seriously, you have a cat here? I thought that was metaphorical...

Ben: ...oh yes, very much so...very furry AND cuddly...

Zinke: I shot it.

Ben: ...oh...

Zinke: ...it's been extincted...

Ben: ...oh...(single tear falls)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Trump Treehouse of Tall Stories, Treason & Tyranny - Ep #3: "Bang the Gravel"

(The Official Secret Clubhouse of the He-Man Truth Haters Club)

Donnie: Alright, this meeting of the He-Man Truth Haters Club will now be ordered. Jeff, bang your gravel.

Jeff: It's gavel.

Donnie: What?

Jeff: It's gavel, not gravel.

Donnie: That's what I said.

Jeff: No, you said gravel, small stones, what you meant was gavel. Kinda like a little mallet.

Donnie: What I meant? Are you trying to tell me what I meant, like I was wrong? Are you correcting me Jeff?

Jeff: No sir, not at all. Just pointing out that to bring the meeting to order you want a gavel.

Donnie: Really.....JEFF? Maybe Trump's changing this PC gavel crap Jeff  'cause he's Trump. Maybe Trump meant exactly what he said.......JEFF. Maybe Trump meant to order this meeting with gravel and not some big headed tiny little elf stick. Ben!

Token Carson: Yes sir?

Donnie: Climb down the tree and get me some GRAVEL. But not small stones, I want big gravel.
Gotta be big Trump gravel.

Ben: Ummm...ok, but then technically speaking it's not really gravel anymo...

Donnie: ...(glaring) don't use your big brain, just go get me some BIG gravel Ben. And paint it gold before you get back.

Ben: Yes sir.


Jeff: Should we wait for him?

Donnie: For who?

Jeff: Ben, sir.

Donnie: Ben who?

Jeff: Carson. Ben Carson. You just sent him down the tree to get you some gravel? So we can start the meeting?

Donnie: Oh Ben, right. What's he do again?

Jeff: He's in charge of HUD.

Donnie: Really? Housing and urban something?

Jeff: Yes.

Donnie: Is urban really a part of it? I don't like urban.

Jeff: I know sir, but yes.

Donnie: Well ok, it is what it is. Does he know what he's doing?

Jeff: Housing? No clue...but he has a really nicely afforded new office.

Donnie: As nice as Pruitt's?

Jeff: No...none of us seem to rate that sir.

Donnie: Yeh I know...wait...I'm President. I don't rate that...and in spades? (aside whisper "I gotta get me some of that bulletproof shit")

Jeff: Funny turn of phrase sir.

Donnie: What?

Jeff: Spades...never mind. He may not have not a clue sir, but he's a neurosurgeon.

Donnie: Really? Neurosurgegeon? They're smart right?

Jeff: Well yes...they do surgery on brains. Lots of schooling.

Donnie: Lots of schooling? Fucking elites. Are any of his brains bigger than mine?

Jeff: Well I don't know abo....

Donnie: ANY BIGGER THAN MINE?!

Jeff: Ummm, no of course not. Yours is the biggest.

Donnie: Damn right it is. All that elitist schooling couldn't help with a brain the size of mine. Maybe if there were a trade school for brains though, you know, an apprenticeship where they learn hands on, nuts to bolts, bolts to brains with guys that are like, I don't know, brain mechanics.

Jeff: Well in some regards that's kind of what medical shcooling is. Lots of study and residencies with experienced doctors in working hospitals.

Donnie: But it's not a TRADE school is it Jeff? A school where they learn a trade is it.....JEFF? An everyday blue collar, brain mechanic school where they learn from blue collar guys who voted for me because they felt their trade was being disenfranchised by the elites at colleges who were stealing their jobs and livelihoods is it JEFF!!??

Jeff: No...you're absolutely right sir. Those brain mechanic Trade schools have been overlooked for far too long. And you're their voice sir.

Donnie: I'm their voice. Exactly! I'm their voice. I like that. Where's Betsy?

Dippy DeVoss: Right here sir.

Donnie: You been here the whole time?

Dippy: Of course sir. Right in the corner where you put me earlier. You invited me to the meeting.

Donnie: I did? You have scrapes on your knee.

Dippy: The tree is a bit of a climb sir.

Donnie: Shit, thought it might have been something else to get me in trouble. I miss the 80's. Well, it's good to work for it. How come you haven't added anything?

Dippy: Added anything to what sir?

Donnie: Li'l Jeff (Jeff sigh) and I talking about schooling and trades and how brain mechanics have been overlooked for too long.

Dippy: Schooling?

Donnie: Yes, schooling. That's what you do right? Didn't I put you in charge of schools?

Dippy: Oh yes, right, schooling. Absolutely. You're right...schooling...that's what I'm in charge of...I am. Must have zoned out a bit on the word shcooling. Just doing the Lord's work sir.

Donnie: That you are. Speaking of that, have we legislated the Bible as mandatory history and science text yet?

Dippy: Working on it sir. That's my big project.

Donnie: Taxpayer funded?

Dippy: Of course.

Donnie: Good, go back to your corner.

Dippy: Thank you sir. It's a good corner. God's in it.

Donnie: Of course he is...he likes me right?

Dippy: Who sir?

Donnie: This God guy. He likes me right?

Dippy: Oh, I'm sure he does.

Donnie: What? You don't know?

Dippy: Well, I don't REALLY talk to him directly but I'm sure he does.

Donnie: I've had breakfast with him you know.

Dippy: Yes, I know.

Donnie: Fine fucking breakfast. And not just bagels and coffee. A REAL breakfast. With important God people.

Dippy: I know sir. Always impressive.

Donnie: You still here?

Dippy: Yes....No. Not here anymore. Corner.

Donnie: Good.

*Knock Knock

Donnie: Who's there?

Ben: Ben.

Donnie: Ben who?

Ben: It's Ben too long?

Donnie: (cue sitcom canned laughter and a cheesy Trump thumbs up orange grin close up)...(pause)...Why are you carrying a box of rocks?

Ben: Irony sir?

Donnie: ???????....(more canned laughter) ... Ok, let's add and urn and take this meeting up next week. See you then.

Jeff: Next wednesday?

Donnie: No, let's make it next Tuesday. I've still got a bone to pick with Samantha Bee.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Trump Treehouse of Tall Stories, Treason & Tyranny - Ep #2: "What's The Password?"



(The Official Secret Clubhouse of the He-Man Truth Haters Club)


Jeff: (practically breathless) Donnie, open up, it’s me Jeff.

Donnie: Jeff who?

Jeff: Sessions. Your AG?

Donnie: You wearing those little monogrammed jackboots of yours?

Jeff: Not today.

Donnie: Damn, and they’re so cute. You sound out of breath. What’s wrong?

Jeff: The boards you’ve nailed into the tree are too far apart, it’s a really tough climb.

Donnie: Not my fault. Maybe I should call some bleeding heart Dems to sue over our Tree House not being elf accessible.

Jeff: Funny, no we’re fine, I’m here.

Donnie: You’re at the wrong door.

Jeff: Whattaya mean wrong door?

Donnie: You can’t use that one.

Jeff: Why not?

Donnie: Because your door is over there to the left.

Jeff: What, that little one?

Donnie: Yeh, The “Alice” door. Now what’s today’s password?

Jeff: I didn’t know there was one.

Donnie: Of course there’s a password Lil’ Jeff, it’s a clubhouse, clubhouses have passwords. Duh.
Jeff: Lil’ Jeff?

Donnie: I know, very street cool huh? Now what’s the password?

Jeff: I have no idea.

Donnie: C’mon it’s easy. Something very top of mind for me these days and there’s really not a lot up there.

Jeff: Ummmmm…..

Donnie: Hey Mr. recusal, you want me bashing you on twitter again?! Just guess!!

Jeff: Ok, hold on…you claim to be friends with Tom Brady right? – is it Spygate?

Donnie: THAT'S Spygate?....No

Jeff: Wait, you’re REALLY envious of Xi for more than his lifetime appointment? – Great Wall?

Donnie: The Chinese have a Great Wall?...NO!

Jeff: Alright, give me a sec…you’ve been reading up on the Salem Witch trials? – how about Witch Hunt?

Donnie: I’m confused…and NO, I don’t read…NO NO NO!! Ok, I’ve got a better idea. What if tell you what the password is but you have to promise not to tell anyone who you learned it from?

Jeff: Well…sure.

Donnie: Hold on, just gotta grab my cell, I’m gonna call ya.

Jeff: You’re gonna call me?

Donnie: Yeh, I do it all the time

Jeff: Your personal cell?

Donnie: Don’t start with me too Jeff, it’s the biggest bestest secure of all secure stuff. No one can access it but me, I mean it's right on my night stand or in my pocket, never leaves my sight. Absolutely secure. 

*ring

*pick up

Jeff: Ok…the passw…

Donnie: Hey, hold on! You gotta knock first.

Jeff: Serioulsy?

Donnie: KNOCK!!!!

Jeff: Alright…  *Knock Knock

Donnie: Who is it?

Jeff: It’s me, Jeff.

Donnie: This is fun. You wearing those cute little jackboots?

Jeff: No!!

Donnie: Oh right. And you say it's Jeff? You sure about that? Juuuuuuuuuuust Jeff?

Jeff: Sigh…it’s me…Lil’Jeff.

Donnie: Is Kanye with ya?

Jeff: Um, no?

Donnie: Damn, thought that might work. Anyway, what’s the password?

Jeff: It’s Recusal

Donnie: Damn right it is JEFF!! R E C something, maybe Use All. I wouldn’t be in any of this shit if it weren’t for that!! You could have made it ALLLLL go away, but NOOOO, you had to show some integrity for the first and only time in your life!! You know, I didn’t hire you for integrity by the…..

Jeff: ...yes, I know. Can I come in now?

Donnie: Ok.

Jeff: Thank you (starts for the door)

Donnie: Not that door Jeff.

Jeff: Sigh (again)…alright the “Alice” door.

*Inside

Jeff: So who else is part of the meeting?

Donnie: Well, there’s supposed to be a few, WWW III Bolton, Kitten Kelly, Puppet Pompeo, Hanger Hannity, Jared the Jew, maybe Token Ben, Kellyanne for comic relief, I love it when she just makes shit up and when she wears brown shirts with Laura Ingraham, Hucksterbee to lie about the meeting when it’s done and maybe a few others. I have a feeling, though, that it might just be me and you.

Jeff: Why is that?

Donnie: None of them know the password.

*Knock Knock
Donnie: Who is it?
Bolton: John.
Donnie: What’s the password?
Bolton: Really Big Fucking Bombs....no, I'm just kidding. It's Recusal.
Donnie: Ummmm….

*Knock Knock
Donnie: Who’s there?
Pompeo: Mikey.
Donnie: Password?
Bolton: Recusal.
Donnie: Whaaaaaaaa…….?

*Knock Knock
Donnie: Ok, who is it now?  
Carson: Ben.
Donnie: You still Black?
Carson: Yes.
Donnie: Any press catch you coming to see me?
Carson: A few.
Donnie: Did they take pictures, ask if you were still Black?
Carson: Ummm….
Donnie: And you told them in your capacity as Black you supported me right?
Carson: Well….
Donnie: Good, that’s very important. What’s the password?
Carson: Recusal.
Donnie: Ohhhh, what the fuck!!! Do you all know the password?

*in unison “Yeh”

Bolton: Everybody else does too. It got leaked just a couple of minutes ago.

Donnie: Fucking leakers!!! Jeff! You wearing those little jackboots?!!!

Jeff: I told you, No.

Donnie: Shit! We need jackboots today! But, not little cute ones! Big ones! Big heavy motherfucking stomp on necks & heads jackboots!! Fucking leakers!!

*FOX & Friends State News Update
“This just in. Supreme Lead…President Trump & his secret meeting at his official secret Tree House was leaked to the press just moments ago after details were acquired through an unsecure cell phone. We wait breathlessy on twitter….””

Monday, January 15, 2018

Today I Woke Up Feeling Magic

Did you ever wake up and just know it, ya know? Just know that you’re special, and not the special that your Mom still tells you you’ll grow up to be someday, but special, unique, maybe even magic? I woke up feeling that way this morning, and not because my Mom left me a voicemail that said I’m going to grow up and be special someday. Nope, I just knew it.  I just knew today that I was magic.

For Bella & Grayson? – BOOM! After I almost tripped on both of them in the semi dark I was magic when breakfast showed up in their bowls.

For Cujo the cat downstairs at my landlady’s? – BOOM! I was magic when I opened my door and he flew past me up the stairs into my kitchen of wonder, followed by cat Bruce and cat Honey Bob Tail.

For the dogs downstairs?- BOOM! I was magic when they suddenly discovered they were outside peeing.

For the stink bug on my towel by the shower? – BOOM! I was magic when he found himself hurtling through space to the other side of the bathroom.

And I knew I was truly magic today when, after opening up the driver side back door to BB (Blue Box - my Scion), I looked in my back seat and BOOM! – I realized I had somehow made it snow INSIDE my car. At first the magic I had performed was a mystery to me, as magic can often be.

“What wonderous powers must I possess” I thought “to have done something as magical as this?” No windows were open and it hadn't snowed the night before yet, there in front of my eyes, was snow on my backseat and even more of it in the back of car when I opened the hatch.

And it was here in the back that I did discover the source of my Merlin like abilities. An enchanted twelve pack of seltzer water left in single digit weather. If only I had been witness to my great powers as this 12 pack momentarily and violently turned my car into a snow globe that, had anyone been close, would have had them dialing 911 for the mysterious gun shot sounds emanating from a seemingly empty vehicle. My magic was so powerful that some snow even traveled as far as the front seat. 

Yes, I woke up this morning feeling magic. And though this probably isn’t really what she had, or may still have in mind, thanks Mom, anyway, for the constant encouragement – yes I am indeed special (open to interpretation I'm sure).

(pic doesn't quite do my magic justice as this is after the 'snow' melted off a bit)




Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Saturday Before Christmas Stupid & The Tea Candle Conspiracy

First let me say that the next time I drive any further than the mailbox (a proud lazy) on the last Saturday before Christmas will be the last and if, for some reason, I do venture out on this accursed day in the future and you see me on the road I want you to take note of my lisence plate and location, call 911 and make shit up.

Today though, I did make this mistake as I actually had a couple of dollars in my pocket courtesy of some of the best co-workers a fella could ask for. I happened to mention to one of said co-workers as he gave me a ride to the shop to pick up the $800 job on my car that it was an expensive day and an anticipated check wasn't going to get to me in time for Xmas shopping. Money, or having any, is not a skill of mine and this check, the return of my full security deposit from my recently vacated apartment (life hack - always clean the crap out of your soon to be vacated apartment you knuckleheads) had me excited to maybe be able to actually buy some presents for my family for the first time in years. But alas..... So he, unbeknownst to me, got some of the gang to get me a card with those couple of dollars in it. Like I said, some of the best co-workers a fella could ask for. But I could now, at least, show up my sister's house with something Christmas for my nephews Jake and Matty. Mom, Sis, Bro, my Sis's guy Buck? IOU's, sorry guys, but Jake and Matty? They deserve something to open from Uncle (or Unca for the Matty child reminisce) Steve.

So venture I did, against my better judgement, into Dante's 10th level - humaness on the last minute knife's present buying gotta get grandma, drunk uncle politic Bill, the paperboy and the rest of the requisite or almost forgotten something's edge. To try and steel myself as much as I could from this I had a plan. A plan that included just a couple of specific things...plus beer for when I was done to congratulate myself on surviving such. Get up early, like 7am early, get some laundry done, because no one can have as much Saturday fun as a single dude with dirty sundries, stop in to my good friends Bren & Bob to drop off some Christmas present plants and then get to the Mall by 10a. Did I think other folks wouldn't have a similar "early start" plan? No. Did I hope other folks wouldn't have a similar "early start" plan? Yes. Well, so much for hope...Hell, it's the holidays...who has hope at the holidays anyway?

Make it to the Mall I did though and, being a guy, it was going to be quick and emotionless. I knew what I came for, I was by myself, and nothing would distract me. Though I did linger over the calendars (the classic cheap I care just enough about you last minute to know your likes gift) slowly drifting behind below me on my way up the escalator I was resolute. I was heading to Bath & Body for a candle for mom. It was one of the few items in my plan and was the only reason for me being stupid enough to head out on this last Saturday before Christmas and extra stupid enough to make one of my stops the Mall. On the way back I would jump into Barnes and Noble quickly for the nephews as there, as well as the Mall, I knew exactly what I would come for and then it would be Stop and Shop, just down the street from my new place, for a couple of gift cards to augment their books and then home...blessed home.

My plan was going well, especially after I was able to shake off the almost calendar distraction on the up escalator until I ran into the tea candle conspiracy. Now I'm not talking about little actual 'tea' candles that are absolutely five minutes useless other than as decorations in some sort of candle display gift that is right up there with the I care about you just enough calendar or to be used in something solemn that just really doesn't speak Christmas, but instead a candle with the scent of tea. My mother is English. She IS tea. It is part of her being and a good number of years ago I found a Yankee Candle - Tea & Honey - that was absolutely perfect - she loved it, I loved it and of course they discontinued it.

Well I recently re-discovered a similar candle. I say re-discovered as it was a gift that sat in the sheets and blankets closet at my apartment for almost 2 years. Now it wasn't a gift that I hated and thus was relegated to the sheets and blankets closet to die (as referenced earlier, I'm a single guy, single guys, at least the non metro types, don't hit the sheets and blankets closet all that often to refresh). No, it was gift that I just didn't use as I went through a phase of not feeling all that candle-ee. But when I moved into this new place I obviously brought everything and it included that candle...a Bath & Body White Barn "Tea and Lemon" candle.

*Future reference: If you ever find yourself judging a tea scented candle competition put this one at the top of your list...and if they, for some reason, question your tea judge credentials just tell them "Frankenberry's Mom"...they'll know.

So I broke it out and in my crazy singleness I lit that bastard up! It was perfect and it was a candle that just screamed, scented "Mom!" A perfect Christmas present as mom and I still wistfully recall that fine "Tea and Honey" candle like a long lost friend (Oh, don't try and tell me you don't have some sort of similar). Thus my trip to the Mall for ONE item.

"Sorry Sir, that one is seasonal, there aren't any"

WHAT?! When the fuck did tea become seasonal?! Have you talked to the English about this?! Is coffee seasonal? No! Is Coke (Pepsi Ok?) seasonal? No! Is a plethora of pumpkin spice everything, even deoderant and perfume, seasonal? No! Yes! Maybe! Oh, crap, you know what I mean! Seasonal? Seriously?

The discontinued or seasonal tea conspiracy left me at a loss. They didnt' even have one "in the back" though I was encouraged to try back after the holidays in case there are any returns as most of us will surely take the possibility of a used candle. All I can hope for is that mom likes honey cinnamon crumbcake.Who wouldn't right? I hope? Sigh.

Well I couldn't walk out empty handed could I?

I made my way out of the Mall leaving a scented wake of honey cinnamon crumbcake, past calendars that didn't even cause me to flinch now as they approached me on the down escalator, walked 3 miles barefoot and shirtless in the bitter cold to my car (I'm exaggerating now as I'm still pissed off) and headed off to the last stops of my plan. Hey, Jake and Matty will get the books I hope they like, gift certificates to buy what they actually like and I'll have a story of tea candle conspiracies to share with mom. She'll surely say "Stephen, I appreciate it, but didnt't they have anything wine scented"

Merry Christmas










Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kevin, Signs & A Trip Shakespeare

I’ve watched the first two episodes of the new Fall show 'Kevin Probably Saves The World' starring John Ritter’s son, Jason, who is eerily similar to his dad in so many ways. That's a good thing by the way.

Kevin, formerly, painfully self immersed, selfish and ‘not a good person’ as he confesses in episode one, has come to a crossroads. A life that seemed so perfect and successful to others from the outside had him dead on the inside leading to him eventually attempting to be actually dead. He has a sister who adores him but has also come to her own crossroads with the loss of her husband, leaving just she and her teenage daughter. Kevin, who’s selfishness had him not being there for her loss, has moved back home and into his sister’s house with she and his niece to try and piece things back together. Throw in an angel of sorts who thinks Kevin can save the world as long as he “listens to the Universe” and you’ve got the gist. (as long as this doesn’t stray into “Touched By An Angel” territory I’ll stick with it).

One of the final scenes of the second episode was an absolutely wonderful bit where Kevin calls his ex last High School girlfriend. You know, that relationship you had as you went off to college that just kind of, after a few painfully sincere ‘miss you’ letters, just  floated off to nothing with no finality, usually for at least one of the parties? That party in this case is Kevin’s ex who, after they run into each other and hook up, reminds him of such with a basic ‘thanks for the wham bam, but you never called back then, so see you later’. The beauty of this scene is that when Kevin calls her, he calls to 'break up' that High School ‘floating’ all these years later.

So, playing under this scene is “Closing Time” from Semisonic circa 1998. As I’m watching and listening I immediately flashed back to a weekend, while at WVU, where a couple of guys and I from the college radio station went to DC, at the invite of a record rep, to have dinner with and catch a show from a band called Trip Shakespeare who were promoting their new album "Across the Universe". This was 27 years ago and that album became really obscure, really quickly.

Why did I remember this? One because I had never eaten at a Mongolian Restaurant before and two, because when Trip Shakespeare disbanded a couple of years later two of the band members formed Semisonic and had that one hit. Me even remembering this connection of the two bands is probably even more obscure than that album.

Fast forward to the morning after and I'm sitting at the unoccupied, but messy, cubicle next to the cubicle of sales guy Eric to talk to about a couple of spots. Sitting on the desk of that messy unoccupied cubicle I'm sitting at, under a pile of papers? A copy of Trip Shakespeare's "Across the Universe". The obscure come back to life all these years later. 

I shared this story with a good friend who, believing in such, said she thought this might be “some sort of fabulous sign for you!” and I thought, maybe she has point. A selfish guy (I can be such) who is supposed to change the world by listening to the universe? A tune I remember fondly, playing under a wonderfully written and played scene from a band, who in a former incarnation were named for a famous writer and had an album called “Across The Universe” that somehow was sitting in front of me 27 years after it’s now pretty much forgotten release? Mongolian restaurants? Maybe it was a sign. So I took the CD with me, excited to re-listen all these years later in the car on the way home and maybe glean some sort of ‘sign’ as my friend exclamation pointed.


Then I realized, as I ever quickly hit next track, next track, oh Jesus, next track! that there were no ‘signs’ to be garnered from my weird moment watching “Kevin Probably Saves The World”. Besides suddenly flashing back to that very cool ‘in the moment’ excitement of being part of a dinner and a show with a big label’s new band and their record rep and their new album I also remembered one thing. BOY, did this album suck. And it sucks even more 27 years later. Sigh. I’m sure more signs will come at some point. I'll just keep searching the universe. In the meantime though....**googling closest Mongolian restaurant**