Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gray Power: A Cellar Dweller Adventure

Yesterday was the debut of the Cellar Dwellers' brand new sketch comedy show, "American Splenda" up in Franklin, PA (ya know, that quaint little town near Oil City). Driving there is always a slight predicament for us all, and since it's so far away we try to take as few cars as possible. For this show, four of us decided to pack everything we could in Joe's car (a 1980-something Chevy Caprice Classic) and cross our fingers it gets us there. No offense to Joe, but his car wasn't necessarily in the best shape (actually it was his brother's). He had thought ahead and added some more oil to the engine, gas to the tank, and air to the tires. It didn't have a radio or turn signals, but it had alot of character (and that classic Chevy droopy-interior-roof). Joe, Andy (our light and sound guy), Larry, and myself all packed into the car and set off for what ended up being quite the adventure.

Packing this thing was only the beginning. You never really get an idea of how big the trunks are in these old boats until you stuff about twenty 7 ft poles almost completely inside, along with twenty 5ft poles, a large box of t-shirts, performance clothes for three, and a bag of curtains. All of this was no problem for the Caprice. What was a problem was getting the trunk secured. Larry had this crazy little gadget called a ratchet strap, which is basically a bungie cord with a simple machine attached. It was hard for us to find something on the car that wouldn't rip off if we hooked it on to it, and once we did find something, actually getting the ratchet to ratchet was another story altogether. After about twenty minutes of Larry and Joe struggling with the trunk, and me and Andy exchanging glances of slight befuddlement, we piled in the car and hit the road.

Things went swimmingly at first. But we all know that cars can't swim for very long, and the Caprice swam for even less! After about twenty minutes (and about five minutes on toll road Rt.60) Joe's "over-heated" light came on. The ingeniously designed Chevrolet didn't have a heat gauge or anything, so whenever the light turns on it's already too late. We would have to pull over immediately before the engine started smoking! The closest exit was the mysterious town of Moravia (which is said to house the only vampire in Western Pennsylvania, Count Drac-en'at).

When we took the exit we were met with toll booths asking for 50 cents. All of us soon realized that we had given our last bit of change to the first toll booth, and that this one required exact coin only. That requirement is one of the worst ideas PennDot has ever had. We sat at the booth for about ten minutes, all of us frantically searching for change. All we could come up with was .35 cents. So we tossed that into the bucket and sped off as the alarms sounded. After we got far enough away from the booth so that we couldn't hear its piercing scream, we pulled over to the side of the road and popped the hood.

The car had plenty of coolant (in fact the coolant tank read "Full and Hot", which meant that the coolant wasn't getting where it needed to go... this could mean a broken water pump). Larry and Joe know a thing or two about cars. My only solution was to take enough coolant out so that the tank read "Full and Cold". We cleared away the piles of dead leaves blocking Joe's vents and then decided that we should press on instead of turning back. We were already running behind and we couldn't afford to arrive in Franklin late. So we hopped back in the car, blasted the heater, rolled down the windows and got back on to Rt. 60.

At the next poll, which asked for $1.00, we were able to speak with an actual person:

Joe: Excuse me, we had an emergency and had to pull off in Moravia, but we didn't have any change... so I owe you guys fifteen cents.
Worker: Oh... don't worry about it.
Joe: You sure?
Worker: Yeah, it's nothing to be concerned about.
Joe: Oh, okay, thanks!


Sure, it was nothing for her to be concerned about. We'll see if Joe gets a ticket in the mail over the next week or so. We paid our tolls and then carried on down the road.

As I mentioned before, the roof to Joe's car has a droopy interior. This is found quite often in old Chevrolets apparently, and the only way to fix them is to use thumb tacks to hold the fabric up. This works great, and adds a little bit of style to your ride, but also makes things much more extreme (and dangerous.) The wind whipping through the car would often make a pin fall down on us, and I had to save Larry's life by reaching under his bum to grab a push pin before he sat on it. A few fell on my head, but luckily it was usually the blunt end of things that did it.

Along the way to Franklin we stopped at a gas station, and still everything looked good in the engine department. The coolant was now back down to "Full and Cold", which didn't really make any sense. We guessed that the engine was just burning the stuff away, instead of using it like it should. But Larry agreed to look the other way and we all decided to ignore the problem (that's how problems disappear, after all).

The rest of the trip was without incident. I was constantly on the phone, calling James/Ben and Dave/Nang who were all drive up from other directions at different times. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, despite our heated issues. That was until Joe's key fell out of his ignition. We aren't really sure why that happened, but I instantly knew something was wrong when Joe yelled, "Holy shit!" and started dangling the keys in the air. We all had a good laugh, and weren't really that concerned since the car was still running fine.

"American Splenda" went splendidly, and we had a really nice and responsive crowd there. This has made me quite excited for our Beaver County performance, which is in two weeks.

After the show was done, and everything was packed up, we headed for home. We weren't as concerned this time with the heat situation, because it was markedly cooler outside. So we took our time, with the keys out of the ignition, and road home without any problem. That is, until we arrived at our exit off of Rt. 60.

We needed to deposit .50 cents to get off the road. We had the change, we were ready. Apparently the machine was not. Something was a little off when we pulled up and there weren't any numbers telling us how much to deposit. Joe tossed in the two quarters and nothing happened. The toll booth machines weren't turned on! We sat there for a few minutes in disbelief that this was happening to us again. Then Joe exclaimed, "Screw it!" and we drove past, alarms blaring yet again. I guess you could say that it allowed this trip to come full circle. This blog entry can be a record that we paid our freaking tolls (or at least offered to), so PennDot better not come knocking!

It's having these sorts of adventures that just makes being a Dweller all the sweeter.

Friday, July 29, 2005

"Cloud Shepherd" Job App

Job Title: Cloud Shepherd

Job Description: To wrangle, whap, whack, whip, and wrestle wily silver clouds that inhabit the Cloud Room on the Third Floor of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pre-requisites: Previous experience in museum and babysitting occupations. Hand-eye coordination is a must, and a keen sense of peripheral vision is key to survival.

warhol-silver-cloud-room.jpg

The Clouds Must Be Kept At Bay


Extended Job Description: The Cloud Shepherd at the Warhol Museum is a position that is crucial to the survival of one of Carnegie's finest museums. You will be required to stand outside of the Cloud Room and make sure that none of the clouds escape into the public. The clouds are anxious, sneaky, and tired of being cooped up in this drafty, pretentious building. However it will be your duty to make sure they don't escape. The clouds, while completely silver, are filled with helium and oxygen, therefore hover just at eye level. Anyone working in this position has to be able to fend off attacks by the clouds, who will huddle and gang up on you without a word of notice.

Upon hiring, you will receive a cloud staff. It is a four foot long white pole that you will use to bat away the clouds, forcing them back into the exhibit room. It is imperative you use the pole at all times, otherwise the static-electricity will cause the balloons to latch on to you electrocute you to death.

It is our job here at the Warhol to let all of the guests experience Andy's unique communist-homosexual perspective on popular culture and art. This is why you must maintain control at all times, while patrons and guests enter and experience the exhibit. The Cloud Room is a replica of an exhibit Andy created in New York, and is intended for full interaction with the viewer. The guests are allowed to enter the room and touch the balloons, knocking them about and enjoying themselves. By purchasing admission to the museum, each guest fully accepts the terms of agreement, which clearly state: any electric or moral shock that may occur while in the museum is not the responsibility of Andy Warhol.

Dress Code: You will be required to wear black rimmed glasses (whether you need them or not) as well as striped socks and tight pants. Please make sure to bring a copy of a Chomsky novel to read while you stand guard.

Hours: You, along with two other employees, will man shifts that cover 24hrs at a time. Just because the museum is closed doesn't mean that the clouds have lost their craving for freedom. You will be required to stand guard during the evening. Try not to get creeped out by the technicolor-cow-wallpaper in the hallway.

Thank you for applying for a job here at the Andy Warhol museum. We look forward to having you as a part of our diverse team.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

happy birthday sally struthers

Well it's that time of year again, time to wish a big happy birthday to the even bigger sally struthers.

We all remember ms. struthers captivating performance as gloria in all in the family (meat heads wife) and her steller charitable contributions to the save the children foundation. but i think today it's time to take a look at some of sally struthers lesser and more interesting accomplishments.

We all remember tim conway, from his recent show, and from carol burrnets less recent show but even less recent then that there was the tim conway comedy hour a la 1970 where sally struthers had a light role as a chorus girl, the only chorus girl.

speaking of the 70's every one remembers the big loudmouth cartoon character fred flintstone and his daughter pebbles, voiced by none other then sally struthers.

And let's not forget the 1975 classic film Hey, I'm alive, whose tittle pretty much sums up sally struthers career over the past 2 decades. but i digress,

sally struthers will always be alive in our hearts and in our memories of bad made for tv movies and awkward broadway play adaptations such as the female version of neil simons the odd couple which ran for almost as long as cats should have, 8 months.

so sally struthers to you on this special day, happy birthday and keep making us laugh ....at you.

and let's not forget tommorow is bunito mussilini's birthday , I hear theres gonna be a party in the town square, pinata and all!!!

joe eoj

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"The Bet" takes a hit.

As some may remember, Joe and I have a bet

First, i'm going to De-bunk some falsifies. There never was a Hard Rock in St. Paul. that was a rumor that i took to be true.

Over the past weekend, i made a trip to Las Vegas for Danette's Dad's wedding. The trip was an exciting one! Great Food, Hotel, Casino, and Shows. The neatest part is that I added shotglass number 14 to my resume, Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe. So I went in to update my list. I visited the main site to get the official list and made my checks and double checks. This is when I had noticed that my count of Hard Rocks dropped by 1. the total official number went from 46 to 45. So I did some research, and it actually seems that at time of first publishing this blog, my list was correct, but included a Closed Hard rock cafe that I had been to... Ft. Lauderdale. (My wife and I celebrated our wedding here adn got free cake) But just last week, the Newport Beach Hard Rock Cafe closed its doors on the world. Southern California had enough of this HRC and decided to send it on its way. So now, I am in search of a Hard Rock Shot Glass from Newprot Beach, CA.

This should not be too daunting of a task, seeing that it was a popular site, the problem is going to be, can i get onto the premisis to do a shot. There is talk of it becoming an Outback Steakhouse, so the drinking in this location should not be a problem. I'm just worried about the future now, no new Hard Rock's have been built, and Two have been Closed. TWO. Panic is starting to take me. I may have to come up with a new strategy. I go now back to the drawing board to see what more I can do to guarantee success.

"Buy My Burger!"

With the tightening of national security over the past years, especially in America's Capitol, I'm very surprised to see what people get away with. The craziest threat to D.C.'s security is one Matthew Lesko, who seems it fit to run like a mad-man through the Reflecting Pool and around the Washington Memorial. Lesko could be considered a super villain (as his outfit does resemble that of the Riddler's) with super-human strength. He is able to knock over federal security agents with a single shove, or with a crack to the jaw from his ultimate weapon: a $40 book. He, of course, tapes these terrible acts of violence and shows them on various cable channels...

Part Benny Hill and part used car salesman, Lesko has been insisting that we "buy his book" in order to get millions of dollars for free from the government. His screaming has become a joke amongst most TV waters, and is really quite recognizable. In that sense he has been very successful. He's also been successful because he's conned thousands of Americans into giving him millions of dollars so that they can get millions of dollars from the government. It's this sort of insistent, gorilla-salesmanship that makes Lesko a very smart entrepreneur... and possibly a very valuable employee.

MATTHEW LESKO WORKS AT MCDONALDS
Lesko is seen running around the concrete porch area of a suburban McDonalds. He's being pursued by two men who resemble Hamburgler henchmen. After shoving them into various lakes, fountains, and children, Lesko hops over the front counter and mans the register.

"The government has millions of pickles! And you can get them for free on a double cheeseburger! It's just a dollar off of our dollar menu, which we hide at night so that high kids don't come in here and make us work hard for an order that equals a measly two dollars!!!! Buy my burger and you can get two, TWO pickles on your bun! That's a double order of pickles that would normally cost you eight dollars at a fancy corporate pig restaurant!"

The customers try their best to avoid him, but they can't... they want the pickles. And who wouldn't? The man obviously had a point, you do get a double order of pickles on a dollar cheeseburger. It's that kind of in-your-face truth-talk that really brings in the bucks. And of course, just like when you order Lesko's book, you get the burger and realize it's not what you had in mind. The pickle slices are so thin they might as well have been one pickle slice sliced in two.

MATTHEW LESKO AS A HEART SURGEON
Dr. Lesko bursts into the OR, quickly washing his hands as the nurses and other doctors ready the patient on the operating table. A nurse quickly puts latex gloves over Lesko's hands.

"Sorry I'm late for the operation, I just took a free trip around the world after getting a free car and a week's worth of free food! All paid for by the suckers in the government! You took can rape the government of all it's good intentions by applying for grants that you were never meant to have!"

Dr. Lesko looks at the patient's chart and insurance information.

"Hey, this person doesn't have any medicare. He isn't allowed to have an operation! He should have bought my book!"

Flatline........

MATTHEW LESKO AS A HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR
"Why are you doing this?! Don't hold that little guy hostage! Hold the government hostage, for hundreds of billions of dollars! The national budget is over trillions of dollars, and half of that is free to anyone who asks for it! If you want to nail the government in the butt, BUY MY BOOK and let the hostage go!"

Remarkably, this works... until the criminal gets his hands on the book and finds out it's a load of hogwash.

And while Matthew Lesko and his wacky methods have been debunked by the Better Business Bureau, he marches on. Nothing can stop a man with his eye on the prize. People will buy his book, people will watch his infomercials, and Matthew Lesko (like the Riddler) makes away with tons of cash.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Living Windows

Local6.com is reporting that Calvin Klein has opened up the first ever living billboard in Times Square. This is not only a terrible way to sell cologne, but something that is usually only reserved for David Blaine and local arts organizations.

About 40 models are living on the side of a building as part of New York City's first-ever live billboard.
Pedestrians are able to view the models as they live in the billboard throughout the day and night. The three-story display is a new fragrance advertisement from the Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company. Pedestrians are able to view the models as they live in the billboard throughout the day and night.
Young models on the billboard have been instructed to create an illusion of a big party 24 hours a day. The billboard features music as well. The models will work through shifts through Wednesday night. They were reportedly told not to drink on the billboard or perform risque behavior.


I say "local art organizations" because the Dwellers did this almost ten years ago. We beat Calvin to the punch, and I'd say what we accomplished was at least a little more interesting than some skinny eat-and-pukes strutting their stuff for the world to see.

It was back during the early years of the Rochester-based non-profit organization the Outlet for Creativity Inc. It was from this group that the Cellar Dwellers formed, and the majority of members belonged to both. But during these early years (while I was in seventh and eighth grade) we were all trying our best to survive and promote the Arts in Beaver County, which is quite a feat if you know Beaver County.

The founder and president, John Dessler, had a great idea: live in a storefront window for a few days. Our original theater had two huge display windows that were essentially rooms with a view... from the sidewalk. And so he and Ty Patrick, another founding member of the Dwellers and the man who designed our logo, stepped in to the two windows. They took with them pads of paper, canvases, paints, markers, clay, and any other artistic media they may need. They would spend two days in there, serving as guinea pigs for the Arts. They would spend those days entertaining and enlightening passersby.

The night they stepped into their windows, a crowd of people had gathered. We planned an entire evening of events that led up to the very moment, and once they were inside we closed the entrances and watched them go. Over the following day or so I stopped by frequently, to see how they were doing and to look at the work they were creating. It was a great event that got us plenty of press, including a spot on one of the Pittsburgh news stations!

Coincidentally, the first sketch I ever had lines in was just a week later at their Comarama (Comedy-Art-Drama) show, which we wrote and produced on a weekly basis. The skit was about John and Ty living in the windows, and all of the characters they encountered. I played myself.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lock Out, Loretta!

I haven’t seen a hockey game since the 8th grade picnic. And my life has been digressed into a bottomless void. Empty of any meaning. I've been traveling through life like a zombie.
Everyone needs an unhealthy obsession in their life, and mine is hockey and chick soccer. But the NHL went on strike and WUSA folded all in the same year, and my life sucked.
(That may sound petty and childish, but so what? You’re a jerk.)
But now, the National Hockey League stupidity is over. (Do you hear that chick soccer?) The Penguins will be back – at least for another year before they don’t get a new stadium and get sold to someone in Hartford, and we’re stuck with a great baseball stadium, and an incredible sucky baseball team, but we won’t have hockey.
I know what you’re thinking, we have a sucky hockey team here, too.
But that’s all about to change. The new deal is based on salary maximums and minimums, which not only means the Pens will have to spend more money this year, but they’ll have a choice of quality players to spend it on. Which in turn means they could return to the high flying days of the early 90s. Which means more offense. Which means Sam’s dog is gonna be loaded.
I myself was so excited I ate nachos for lunch, broke out my Gary Glitter ‘Rock and Roll, part II’ cd (da-da-da-da-da…HEY!) and pummeled a customer at Toys R Us just to keep peace the rest of the work day. Try to return one set of Lego’s without a receipt, I might let it slide, but Legos and a Care Bear? Something needed done.
I spent five minutes in the buggy corral in the parking lot, but needless to say, no one returned anything the rest of the day without a receipt.
Ya, there’s no more Lock-out, Loretta, and in case anyone wonders, I’m winding my watch, because the crying is over.
Peace, keeping the.
Larry

Joyous Ramblings about Pie

I love pie. Really I do. I love it so much. My love for pie can hardly be expressed with words. For you to truly begin to understand my undying devotion to pie I would have to acquire the ability to send raw emotion through cyber space, like a webcam that shows my naked soul. Then you would feel the unfiltered power of my love, and it would prove so powerful that people would begin to doubt the sincerity of their own love for their own spouses and children. Yes, I love pie that much.

Pie is the food of the gods. Be it in fruit or cream form, there is simply no denying pie's simple perfection. Perfectly round - all points equidistant from the center - with flaky crust containing sweet filling so sticky sweet it should be a sin, pie knows no peer. From the first taste you are overcome with sensory overload, the contrast between crust and filling - gooey and flaky, sweet and buttery - the smell, the warmth - best when set off by sweet chill of ice cream - the memories of grandma, Thanksgiving, American childhoods.

I love everything about pie, not merely the simple act of eating. I love the act of ordering pie, the solemn ceremony of the occasion. The waitress asking if I would like anything else, knowing full well that I do want something else: I want pie. I ask for the list of pies available which is recited with wonderful professionalism. I listen to every one. I contemplate each variety with all due reverence finally choosing one - why must I choose only one. Then comes my favorite part. The waitress ask if I would like the pie heated. I say yes. Would I like it with ice cream. I say yes - would any one in his right mind possibly so no to these questions.

Then I get to eat the pie. Oh, sheer joy, ultimate pleasure. I transcend to a higher plane, a plane where all that exist is me, the pie, and unadulterated joy. I remain in pie nirvana for up to a full day after consumption. If you ever see me walking around with a goofy grin on my face, there is a good chance I've eaten some pie recently. It is the ultimate mood enhancer. No drug, no natural root extract, no birth of a child can possibly hope to inspire such wondrous feelings from my soul. It just makes me happy.

Shalom

Sunday, July 17, 2005

American Splenda Press Release

The Cellar Dwellers present “American Splenda”

“American Splenda” is the brand new sketch comedy show from the Cellar Dwellers. The Dwellers are back at it with their signature pop culture, rapid-fire comedy that offers something for everyone. The show features over a dozen skits including: a spy film snafu, how Hollywood movies are made with blue screens, the first skit ever written, elderly lovers, and a peculiar customer service survey. The second half of the show consists of the Dwellers’ unpredictable theater improv. It’s an evening filled with more laughs and less calories!

Reservations and directions for the show are located on our website www.TheCellarDwellers.com

The Cellar Dwellers are an improv and sketch comedy group from Beaver County, Pennsylvania. They have been delighting audiences since 1997, and have been performed in Beaver, Lawrence, Allegheny, Venango, and Westmoreland County.

Saturday, July 30th at the Barrow Little Theater in Franklin, PA. 8:00PM

All tickets are $5.00.

More shows will be announced shortly...

I Can Dig It!

Cyrus stands on top of a tower, screaming to over 900 members of various street gangs, "Can you dig it?" They all reply with screams and pumping fists. It looks like for the first time in years, the 100+ gangs that own the streets of New York will join together, forming a force of over 200,000. They would control the city, not The Man. That is, until someone assassinates Cyrus before he can finish his next sentence.

That's the first scene in the 1979 film The Warriors, a movie I only just recently watched. I'm kind of sad that I hadn't seen the movie before now, because it is quickly becoming one of my favorites, at least in terms of Bad-Ass-itude. What follows that scene is an hour and twenty minutes of survival. The gang "The Warriors" are wrongfully accused of the assassination, and pretty soon every cop and gang member is after them. Their only hope is to make it back to their turf: Coney Island. The film not only kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, but it also reminded me why I never joined a gang.

The gangs in the film aren't what us Gen-Xers are used to. These guys are hardcore, unlike those Crips and Bloods that run around like chickens with their bling cut off. While you can get the entire list here, I'll just name some of my favorites:

• High Hats - part mime, part Daniel Day Lewis from "Gangs of NY" these guys are messed up. Although they only make a cameo in the movie, their fleeting moments on film are enough to trap anyone in an imaginary box!

• Punks - yeah not the most original name, but back in 1979 that name really meant something. These guys weren't wearing baggy black jeans and Crow t-shirts... no, they wore overalls and striped shirts! They looked like house painters, who opened up fresh cans of whoop-ass!

• Furies - this was a baseball team turned gang, who has a great showdown with The Warriors about halfway through the movie. These guys don't need steroids, they just paint their faces, grab their bats, and run like four miles without stopping just to strike out.

• Satan's Mothers - quite possibly the scariest gang name in history! Are you going to encroach on the turf of the dudes who birthed the Prince of Darkness? Their lack of action in the film only proves that they are a too powerful for any screenwriter to deal with.

• The Meatpackers - this gang is only listed in the script of the movie, but I can imagine them being either big, hairy Russians or... well... okay, we're all thinking the same thing.

But while all these gangs are frightening, menacing, and totally excellent, there are some pretty dumb gangs out there. The funniest gang to see in action were "The Orphans", who get all pouty when they find out they weren't even invited to the summit in the beginning of the movie. It just shows you what can happen when you have a leader who lacks confidence. These guys lost a fight because one car blew up... sheesh.

I guess I actually picked an "okay" time to check out this movie, because this Fall Rockstar Entertainment is released a videogame adaptation, and MTV and Paramount are working with Tony Scott on making a remake (which will most likely suck.) But before both of those things happen, I recommend you check out this sweet movie, or even better, read the original book by Sol Yurick. Can you dig it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Stupid Decision Time

Those of you who know me and often associate with your humble author in the flesh may have noticed a difference in me of late: A certain carelessness of demeanor, cocksure posturing, and devil may care glint of malice in my eyes. I am living on the edge. Fear is merely a dream of thought I only half grasped before letting go. My actions are no longer dictated by the safe, the undestructive. Prudence is behind me. Only impulse and action lie before me.

I hear the questions shouted back at computer screens across the country "What's gotten in to James?", "As he gone mad?", "Does James's rebel without a cause posturing makes him ten or twenty fold more desirable to women?". The answers to these questions are - in reverse order: 18.5, I'm not angry, and it's not what's gotten into me it's what's gotten into my wallet. No, it's not a capital one card. Those only protect you from Vikings, and Vikings no longer frighten me. No, what I carry now is a simple card showing that I have health insurance. That's right, after over two years of living without a net, the health insurance back baby. This means I can do something stupid - anything stupid. If I want to taste broken glass, I can. If the sudden desire to challenge an alligator to wrastle overcomes me, I shall not resist. I'm insured. It's all good.

You see. The only thing keeping me from doing really stupid things has been the fear of paying some exhorbinant amount of money for the emergency room. I may want to do stupid things, but I'm still a cheap, cheap bastard. Now, If I - say - break my leg trying out my home made spider man web slinging rig, I don't have to pay for the visit. I only have need to pony up a co-pay. Co-pay comes from the Latin for "a whole heck of a lot less than paying for the whole thing. I can handle that. So, now nothing stands between me and the absolutely ridiculous decisions I've wanted to make for two years now.

Since I am sure everyone's wondering what decisions I'm going to be making, allow me to elaborate on just one. I'm going to learn how to break dance. I've always wanted to be able to break dance, and I don't just mean being able to strike some poses. I want to spin on my head. I want to do flips. I want to defy physics by pressing myself up with but one hand on the floor. I want get a crew together and get in beefs with other crews - beefs which will only be solved by pulling out the cardboard and getting it on dance style. When an evil developer threatens to close the youth center I want to join forces with the rival gang and kick him out of the neighborhood with the sheer power of our combined popping and locking.

"But James," you say, "You can't breakdance. Your just an uncoordinated white kid. You'll hurt yourself. That's stupid." I know. It is stupid. It's completely insane. Only a complete idiot would attempt to break dance with my set of skills. I am that complete idiot. Only - lest you forget - I'm a complete idiot with health insurance. That's like a get out jail free card. So what I hurt myself? I can afford it. So please, if you see me out on the streets of New Brighten getting completely funky, don't try talking sense to me. There is no sense to a man with health insurance and no responsibilities. None at all. Now if you don't mind, there're some suckas outside just begging to get served.

Shalom

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lower Standards Required

Well, my ego received its quadannual kick in the old testicles, leaving it feeling deflated and sick to its stomach. I just received the Grove City College Alumni Magazine "The Geedunk" - named after the school's student union which was, in turn, named after a drug craze of the 1940's...Or something, I was never really hip to campus history. "The Geedunk" is filled with great news about Grove City alumni who are doing great things with their lives and degrees. So, it should come as no surprise to my loyal readers (hi Larry) that my name appears no where in or on the magazine. It's not even addressed to me. They sent it to someone named "underachiever" who must've lived at my apartment before me.

The magazine doesn't even mention any of my friends from school, the people I really want to know about. It's almost completely useless to me. I don't want to know that the really pretentious, loudmouth from my novels class has been accepted to some doctoral program, or that so and so got married. I want to know if Ben Keenan ever met the guy who played Artie (the strongest man in the world) from Pete and Pete. This magazine was made for the over involved over achievers from school by the over involved over achievers. It's not made for me and my people by us. Grove City is completely underserving a vast, apathetic, underperforming portion of its alumni population.

That's why I am starting my own alumni magazine, an alumni magazine for the rest of us. I'm going to call it "The Grate" - named after the mysterious grate outside of one dorm which always blew hot air and all the smokers would congregate around in cold weather. "The Grate" is going to focus on the more modest achievements of less ambitious alumni. It would feature updates such as "Bill Johnson ('02) finished the 72 ounce Lumberjack steak in one sitting. As a reward he received said steak for free and has his name proudly displayed on the wall of gastro-intestinal fame." Now, that's news. "The Grate" will also set itself apart by not focusing solely on the positive. "The Grate" will make a concerted effort to make disappointing Grove City graduates feel better by featuring alumni worse off than themselves. Every issue will feature a list of alumni divorces and such interesting tidbits as "John Billson('83) is distraught to announce his son, Bruce, is gay. 'I never should've named him Bruce.' Billson says." Really disturbing news, such as "Grove City Graduate killed in snuff film" will be reserved for the centerfold.

It's a great idea, and I'm sure a lot of my friends will really appreciate it. But the more I think about it. Starting a magazine seems like so much work, what with all the writing and editing and printing and mailing and such. I'm afraid "The Grate" will have to remain a beautiful unfulfilled dream. Face it, if I were ambitious enough to start my own subversive magazine, I would already be in the establishment magazine, making the whole thing kind of hypocritical of me.

Shalom

Making a Buck on a Cracked Skull

There are plenty of get rich quick schemes out there... some folks are involved in constructing pyramids while others are eating bunnies. However the most disturbing idea I've heard was right out of the mouth of my own mom!

We were at my grandfather's wake today (he passed last Thursday of a stroke) and she was talking to my uncle about his grandchildren, who are just learning to walk. Apparently, they keep falling down and bumping their heads on things. In response to this, my mother said, "If I had a dollar for every time a baby hit its head..." Danny and I were shocked. "HOW DARE YOU!" he started screaming. Apparently she was making some money on the side, in the field of baby head injuries.

The jig was up, Mom was involved in a large operation that involved hurting babies. This prompted me to go home and dig through financial records and any of the binders she keeps for her economic development projects. It was within these files I found a torn Denny's place-mat with the following math equation on it:

BABIES + WALKING x (COFFEE TABLE + THROW RUG) = $$$


Apparently every time a baby, while in its earliest stages of childhood, while it's struggling with all its might to live, tries to walk and fails by smacking its soft head off of a table, the parents would have to send her one dollar in the mail. Sure, a dollar seems like nothing, right? Just a drop in the bucket for most privileged folk. But those dollars add up... like a bunch of number ones! It takes babies months, sometimes over a year, to learn how to walk properly. And when I look at some folks my age today, they are still trying to learn. And the entire time children are learning to walk, my mother is making money off of it.

The average baby, according to a recent study, falls about 6 times a day. Now, unfortunately for Mom, those babies aren't always hitting their heads on something. No, that only happens about 2.4 times a day (and this number can fluctuate depending on economic class and crampness of room). Now just to make the math easy, we'll say Mom has 1000 clients with small children running around. That's around $2,400 a day! And I just so happen to know that Mom knows more people than that with small children, all of whom conk their heads on things.

Even more investigation has turned up a PayPal account created by my mom just to make things easier for the parents. The baby smacks its head off of a desk, click the small Firefox plugin that you can add to your toolbar (or if you are a Mac user, she has created a Dashboard widget), and a dollar is automatically taken from your checking account and added to hers! This makes so much sense to me; I had been wondering why she always had a grin on her face each time she filled up our Grand Marquis with Shell premium gas! It was nothing to her! She could fill up five Hummers a day on the baby-income she was raking in.

Well suffice it to say, the feds are now looking deep into my mother's records. I gladly gave them a call and clued them in to the heinous crime she was committing. I give credit to those who know how to work the capitalist system to make some easy cash, but this is crossing the line! There are going to be hundreds of messed up kids in the future, who hit their heads one too many times, and my mom will be living on a private island somewhere!

Just keep that in mind... next time someone says, "If I had a dollar for every time____" check into it. They might be serious.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Habemus Show Name

I'm proud to announce the name of our upcoming sketch comedy show... so for those few of you who actually read this blog, you will be totally in the know, and can brag to all of your friends letting them know how much cooler you are because you have secret insider Dweller info!

And while the promotions for this show are just getting started, the Dwellers have been working for some time on these skits. We are currently debuting the show at the Barrow-Little Theater in Franklin. More show dates are to be announced soon.

For the time being, just spread the word... this August the Cellar Dwellers present:

Splendor-Logo.jpg

Sunday, July 03, 2005

It's summer, just accept it.

"Oh my God! It's so hot!" I hate these whiney bitches. "I can't believe it's so hot out! What am I going to do?" It's friggin' summer! It's supposed to be hot. These are the same dumbass people that complain how cold it is in the winter. Of course it is. We live in a temperate zone and have four seasons designated by temperature and foliage change. We're not the wet and dry seasons where it's always hot, or the six months of light and dark where it's always cold. We get it all. If you don't like it? Move.

The big thing I hate is the wind chill and the heat index. Now they have this heat index. It's supposedly what the temperature feels like it is with the other factors, mostly humidity, factored into the equation. This is crap. If it was that, you'd know. And the news always tries to scare us and they find new ways daily. This is one of them. They'll be like "It's going to be a balmy with 84 degrees, but with the heat index it feels like 627 Kelvin!"

They also like to do things like give heat warnings. "If you have a small child, keep him or her inside or they might BURST into flames! It's 85 and partly cloudy." I swear I heard the weatherman say the other day, "It's right around 80 in the area today, but take precautions because tomorrow those temperatures could climb up 8 or nine whole degrees and make it almost 90!" Well, shit, Martha, let's sell the house and move to Oslo! And apparently old peoples' skin is made of flash paper because they shouldn't venture out if it's over 90. Have you seen Miami? That's all they got: sweaty old people. Old people are tougher than middle aged people. Old people fought wars and had the Depression and no TV or video games (although on his one and only time playing Nintendo, my late grandfather whooped my hi score on Mike Tyson's Punch Out) Old people can take the heat. They love it!

We are now wussified. We all want AC and super heat in the winter. I am that way too. In the intense heat I have to shave in front of a fan so the sweat doesn't interfere with my shaving. It's bizarre. I always say that I like cold better than hot because you can always put more clothes on, but once you hit naked, there's nothing else you can take off. (Any sexy chicks want to experiment with that theory with me? Anyone?) But it's supposed to be hot and I accept that. It's summer. Heat, lemonade, hot dogs on the grill, it's all a package.

It's just that there are so many things in this world that we can change. Why complain, which does nothing ever, about something we definitely can't change? What the heck?

Jerk asses,
Mike the Tall