Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's Hard Out There for an Author of a 160-page Book about a Pimp

Dolemite is dead, but can I still write about him?

Occasionally I seek freelance work to take up some of the time I use to not update my blog. The Craigslist "writing gigs" section tends to carry a number of bizarre ads, like this one that appeared today: 

All right. The three grand is certainly a great deal, considering that most of these so-called "gigs: pay bubkes.

But I would have several questions for the author of this advertisement, including:

  • Why do you employ 10 words to declare that "Writer is responsible for finding the subject of the story" rather than the mere four it would take to say, "Find your own pimp!"?
  • I don't have any experience writing pimp biographies, but is it wrong to have assumed that the pimp would be provided? I don't know the first thing about finding a pimp; can you pimp me — I mean point me — in the right direction. And will that direction be Detroit, or should I wait until DeBlasio takes office, when New York will likely become more pimp-friendly?
  • Is your 160-page specification firm? Will that include the acknowledgements, glossary, appendix, and works cited pages?
  • Define "life of." Do we need to discuss the pimp's childhood and education and pimp apprenticeship, or should I dive right into the main pimping?
  • If my research reveals that my subject does not, in fact, keep his pimp hand strong, should I abandon the project and find a new subject?
  • Will that three grand be paid in U.S. cash, or in "ho bucks"? I'm equipped to handle either.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I've never been so happy that I've
been compelled to tushy-touch, however.
Are you happy all the time? If you are, please allow me to punch you in the face.

But I digress. I used to be a lot angrier most of the time, but I've actually mellowed out as I've aged, even though I think I have even more stress than ever in my life, and despite being even closer to death than when I was an angrier younger man.

Or maybe I just gave up. But I've noticed — as I grow older and the stresses, memories, and regrets pile up like that mound of junk mail that I'll eventually spend an entire afternoon shredding because I fear gangs of identity thieves rummaging through my garbage and signing up for numerous Capital One cards in my name — that there are the occasional, fleeting, and otherwise insignificant moments that stir in me feelings of pride and perhaps even joy.

I'm not talking about the times when my kids do something awesome or when one of my Facebook friends has a baby. (By that I mean one of my Facebook friends whose baby announcement doesn't set me off, muttering, How the hell can they afford a seventh kid?)

I'm talking about those minor incidents that are all too easy to shrug off without realizing that hey, sometimes things do go your way.

Among those fun-size moments of joy include:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Get Tossed From Yankee Stadium and Into the East RIver

Just kidding, Mo.
I was listening to the postgame press conference following Mariano Rivera's final game at Yankee Stadium. It was a very serious affair, which began with manager Joe Girardi at the podium. 

However, the questions that beat writers asked went from probing to ass-kissing to rhetorical to moronic, so when I heard someone ask Joe something like, "How did Mariano improve your life?," I tried to think of the absolute worst, Stuttering-John-like questions I could ask at one of these things.
  • "Joe, which will endure longer: Mariano's reputation as one of the greatest closers ever, or Mariano's reputation as a notoriously horrible tipper?"
  • "Joe, Mariano's got 652 regular season saves, but it's been said that more than 300 of those were actually achieved by his little-known twin brother, Manolo, who would don the Yankee uniform from time to time. Your thoughts?"
  • "Joe, everyone likes to talk about all those saves and his low ERA, but honestly, with a career batting average of .000 (3 for 4, with one walk), is he really Hall of Fame material?"
  • "Joe,  Mariano's legacy will be 'World's Greatest Closer,' both to the fans who come to Yankee Stadium as well as the Bronx prostitutes who hang outside the Stadium. Any idea why that is?"
  • "Joe, can we stop all the Mariano Rivera nonsense and talk about Alex Rodriguez now?"

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Ode to My the Adhesives in My Life

This week the carpet in the hallway near my work area is being replaced, and the new flooring consists of large patterned squares that needed to be glued to the floor.

My co-workers in other areas of the building have asked me, jokingly (I hope), "Have you gotten high off the smell?"

I've never been a huffer, though there have been certain aromas that are both toxic and alluring, including:
  • Sharpies
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Gasoline
  • The leather jacket my high school girlfriend wore during our first date, to see the Bill Murray movie Scrooged
  • The orange-infused cleaner I would employ to sanitize the restrooms during my high school janitorial job
I could have (and, due to the boredom I was experiencing today, should have) gotten high off the carpet glue, but there was one problem: the smell was loathsome.

But as the fumes started to destroy my brain cells, my memory was also prodded to recall various glues that I've used throughout my life.

That sounds like an exciting blog topic, right? Read on!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The End of My Token Friendship

And where an adult can be a bankrupt adult.
I've been in a casual relationship for about five years — and this was after a break of about 20 years. Like most relationships I've had, sometimes I hated it, and sometimes I was thankful for it. Other times, I didn't think about it.

But now I'm aware that it's going to be over very soon. It won't end with any speeches, nor will it end abruptly; it will, like some relationships I've had, just fade away.

I'm talking about my relationship with Chuck E. Cheese.

I was a big video game fan, so when a Chuck E. Cheese arcade opened in my town while I was in sixth grade, it was the equivalent of putting a liquor store within walking distance of my house today. Or, for some of the kids in my sixth grade class, it was like putting in a liquor store.

Back then...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Dennis Farina (RIP), Whom I Never Met but Wish I Had

Class. And a classy 'stache.
I've never been particularly starstruck. One time I met Spike Lee at a cocktail party following a speech he gave at my university, but instead of asking for his autograph or trying to push a script — one guy confronted him with a screenplay pitch that consisted of two minutes of rap — or land some sort of job with 40 Acres and a Mule, I peppered him with questions about Jungle Fever until he slowly made his escape in the direction of a pile of canapés.

I will admit there are a couple of famous people that I would love to meet, around whom I would try to be all cool but would likely be tongue-tied and unable to utter/stutter more than, "I'm like a big fan."

One of them is Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC of Run-DMC. Another is Dennis Farina, who died Monday.

Thankfully, there have been plenty of tributes about the guy, so it's not as if he's not getting his due as a popular character actor (which is a benefit because I won't have to repeat the entire career retrospective you can easily find elsewhere), but I do have a few things to say about him.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On Dying Alone, and Other Amusements

"Did he have any last words?"
My week sans wife and children ends in a couple of days.

I haven't burned down the house — there's still time! — but also I haven't completed every job I assigned myself.

Being in a suddenly quiet house always takes a little bit of adjustment, like when I come home from work and it's feels like I've stepped into a furnace because no one’s been around with the AC on all day.

The heat is part of the reason, besides my inherent laziness, why I haven’t completed as many (mostly outdoor) chores as I’d have liked, and it’s also what’s been causing me periodic panic attacks.

I have a heart condition of some sort — a murmur, I think. My cardiologist says my heart sometimes skips a beat, and it's nothing to worry about. But occasionally I can feel something in my chest that the non-cardiologists would call "weird" or "not right," like the muscle is pumping extra hard or out of synch. I never feel any pain in my arm, or see spots, or taste pennies, or whatever other symptoms of heart attack / stroke / cholera / et cetera are supposed to manifest, so I don’t worry too much about it.

But the heat wave has either affected my heart more, or it's made me more aware of its eccentricities, especially at night. And when I go to bed, alone, in an empty dark house, and I can feel my heart doing whatever it wants to do, while I'm in that half-awake state that combined with the darkness and loneliness results in magnified, often exaggerated thoughts, I worry.

I worry that I won't wake up.

Friday, July 12, 2013

You Can Say "Monkeying Around" but Not "Orangutaning Around"

We need more road rage like this.
Humor is subjective. And, for some people, it evolves over time.

When I reflect on the things I once thought were funny — dare I say hi-LAR-ious — frankly, I cringe.

One of the high points of hilarity for me was, at one time, the orangutan. Apparently, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, many other people did, too.

Can't argue with the orangutan's place in the comedic animal kingdom. You can snap a cute pic of a dog, cat, even a walrus, but only an orangutan can do a number of things that (most) humans do — walk, fart, crack open a beer — but do them all in a funnier way than, say, your hirsute Aunt Hilda, because it's an orangutan!

Once my brother and I outgrew Disney cartoons, my mother transferred the movie-chaperoning duties to my father. (After we'd return home, my father would then describe to my mother the film we'd just seen, and his explanation always ran longer than the actual movie.)

Sometime in 1981, when I was either 9 or 10, as we departed the theater for a film I can't exactly remember — I perused the Wikipedia list of American releases from that year in order to make this anecdote as accurate as possible; maybe it was the original Clash of the Titans (it certainly wasn't My Dinner With Andre!) — we noticed that they'd already changed the marquee for the following week's releases.

One of the new releases was a film called Going Ape! (the exclamation point is part of the title), and my brother and I were disappointed because we would rather have seen that instead of whatever it was that we'd just watched. (Dad took us to a movie maybe once a month, if we were lucky, unlike the way I am with my own kids today, looking for any excuse to get the hell out of the house and kill a couple of hours.)

With the magic of the Internet I've been able to satisfy many of decades-long nostalgic longings, like using an emulator to play any Atari 2600 game or watch cartoons that I'd forgotten even existed, but I never actually had the urge to track down and watch Going Ape!

But on that night in 1981, I couldn't think of anything else...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How'd It Get Burned? How'd It Get Burned?

I do know how *I* got burned. I went to the beach. For eight hours.

Mrs. The Anthony Show was with me, but she didn't get burned. Because she knows how to enjoy the sun without turning into this:


Here are a few safe-sun rules that she followed and I did not:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Broken Homes

I wish.
The kids are spending a month at Camp Grandma in Florida for the second consecutive year.

I have some plans to execute during their absence. Fortunately, these plans do not include painting, a chore that almost resulted in my corpse rotting in an empty house for several days.

The wife took a one-day trip to visit her old camp upstate, so I had the house to myself. Instead of getting drunk on the couch while running over GTA IV pedestrians in a car that I would never be able to afford in real life, I chose to knock off a couple of items from the to-do list.

The first job was to disassemble and then drag to the curb select pieces from our eclectic collection of backyard playground amusements.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Quick Post About a Crazy Dream About Larry King

EIGHT women (and counting) have
said "I do" to this guy.
Every now and then I have a strange dream. Monday night (or, rather, Tuesday morning) was one of those times.

I'll first warn you that the dream, like most dreams, doesn't sound very interesting when it's described and transcribed. And, like most dreams, it won't make much sense. So bear with me.

Anyway. So, in this dream, Larry King no longer works for CNN, which is the case in real life. But he attended the taping of a CNN show — I don't remember what show it was, but it could have been Piers Morgan Tonight, which replaced King's show.

King was watching this show from a distance. He was standing by a wall, behind a velvet rope, watching intently. 

(I'll interrupt here to mention that I don't appear in this part of the dream, which is notable because I'm usually the star of my own dreams.)

So, Larry King keeps watching the show, then he leans a bit over the velvet rope, stretching his suspenders and straining his neck to reveal all his neck folds and neck crevices and other neck parts, and says, to no one specifically and in his smoky-deep Noo Yawk accent:
"How'd he doo dat?"
Someone from the show — a production assistant, I think, because the guy had a headset draped around his neck, a youthful neck that lacked the old-age neck folds and neck crevices — walks over, gets within a inch of Larry King's face, and says, in a very angry voice:

"Shut. Up."

The end.

Well, not exactly. It turns out that I finally appeared in the dream, in a difference scene. I was explaining to someone (I don't know who) what happened in the dream, but I couldn't even begin to describe the dream without exploding in laughter.

I made a few more attempts, but each time I laughed harder than I'd laughed (in a dream or in real life) in a long time.

I finally woke up, and my eyes were burning. Because they were filled with tears. From laughing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

License (Plate) to Waste Time

Whenever I pass a car with a personalized license plate, I wonder what kind of thought went into that selection of eight or fewer letters, numbers, and spaces.

A personalized license plate is less permanent than a tattoo, but can be more public as well as more of a reflection of the owner's habits, likes, and personality.

I was driving one day when I spotted this plate:

Assuming the person driving this Cadillac was the owner, I could only wonder what compelled a middle-aged black woman to get ALPACINO as her license plate. Could someone be that much of a fan? Does she have Scarface or the Godfather trilogy playing on her dashboard DVD player?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Clean Basement Can Be a Sad Basement

Lots of memories in that bag.
This is one of those posts where you'd read something sappy like: "I threw out their old toys, but I didn't throw out the memories."

Though I'm loath to write things like that (I'm also loath to use the word loath), I do believe that I feel the pangs of sentimental nostalgia as much as — if not more than — the average person.

Anyway. This week I attempted my latest basement cleanup, a task that often feels as Sisyphean as sweeping a dirt floor.

My basement floors are Pergo, not dirt, at least, but I had plenty of work ahead of me. For the past year we've allowed the kids to sleep in the basement on the weekend — mainly so they'll leave us alone (note: they don't always leave us alone, regardless) — and I've been too lazy to deflate the air mattresses every Monday, since they have to be inflated again on Friday night.

The inflated mattresses consume about 90 percent of the space that's not already covered with furniture (not counting the basement office, which is a Black Hole of Calcutta in its own right), so for a long time the area has built up a considerable amount of detritus that anthropologists classify as "crap."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Requiem for a Shirt

Favorite Shirt, I discovered a rip in your sleeve today.

Actually, I didn't discover the rip. My co-worker did. Right after I pointed out a worn-out hole in her sweater. So maybe it was karma.

Shirt karma.

I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was when I demonstrating to that co-worker how I once ripped a shirt back in 1999 or so when I had the habit of fist-grabbing my cuffs and pulling my sleeves tight. I ripped a former Favorite Shirt that way, and my mother cut the sleeves off and refashioned it into a short-sleeve shirt.

But you wouldn't look good as a short-sleeve shirt, and I no longer wear short-sleeve dress shirts like Dwight Schrute, so I guess this is goodbye.

I enjoyed our time together. Really. You were orange. You were the kind of shirt I could wear and people would see it and say things like, "Wow, nice shirt." Or maybe they'd say, "That's a really cool shirt."

And they weren't complimenting me. They were complimenting you, Favorite Shirt.

I bought you while I was working at a job that didn't require dress shirts. I bought you at the Banana Republic in Rockefeller Center — at the full $59.50 price, even; I didn't wait for you to go on sale — because you looked good on the headless mannequin. I never looked as good as a headless mannequin, but fuck it, I bought you without even trying you on.

See how much fun we had!
I unveiled you at the Pokémon holiday party, and yes, I did keep the tag on in case I chickened out and decided to return the shirt afterward, but later I realized that you, Favorite Shirt, were made for me.

And when I switched jobs and joined a company that required dress shirts every day, I had to buy a bunch of additional dress shirts, but none of them could outshine you, Favorite Shirt.

You were an important part of my life during these last five years, Favorite Shirt. Some mornings, when I just couldn't bring myself to get dressed to start my day because of the existential dread that gripped me with a soul-sucking paralysis, I could put you on and feel good enough about myself to not consider ramming a fuel truck on the Long Island Expressway during my morning commute.

But now you've been ripped. Sure, I could continue to wear you with the sleeves rolled up or while wearing a sweater, but who are we kidding? You were meant to be seen, in full, and I know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Goodbye, Favorite Shirt. It was a great run.

Ah, screw it, shirts can't read tributes. It's off to the garbage can for you!

Monday, April 22, 2013

On Getting Older But (Maybe) Looking Younger

Birthday boy.
Today is my birthday, and as I get older there are more people whom I've outlived. By "outlive" I mean "lived to a greater age," not "lived to a more recent year." Going by the latter, I've outlived everyone in human existence who died today or earlier.

As a Wikipedia junkie, I can quickly research the lives of famous people to see (that is, be depressed by by own lack of accomplishments while considering) how much many of these folks have accomplished during their shorter-than-my lifetime.

For instance, consider who died at age 27:
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jim Morrison
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Amy Winehouse
Sure, I've listed a quintet of live-fast/die-young recording artists who all died from drug overdoses — if you discount the conspiracy theories — but when you realize that you've reached the age that John Lennon never will, well, you start to feel old.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

On Theft and Time Travel

"Forget about that fire raging right
under my crotch — what time is it?"
More than I'd care to admit (but not so much that I'm too ashamed to admit on in a public blog), I spend a lot of time thinking about time travel. In fact, I've even written plays and the occasional article about it.

Obviously it's because I live in the past and am occupied with many regrets that I would like to someday remedy or erase, but one offshoot of my time-travel musings involves finding ways to make a lot of money with the assistance of transportation to (and, in most cases, from) a long time ago.

I tend to overcomplicate things when it comes to the consideration time travel, however — but not from a purely technical standpoint. I don't care about physics or metaphysics — which for all I know might be the same thing — nor am I interested in the actual transportation vessel. I'll let the scientists or physicists or metaphysicists handle the mechanics like how thick the walls of the time machine would be.

What I focus on (other than trying to kill the parents of my enemies before these enemies are conceived, which is fodder for a different post) is determining the most practical way to make a lot of money off time travel with ease and without causing too many major disruptions in future world history.

Most of my time-travel money-making opportunities involve stealing stuff and bringing them to the present day where they'll be considered old and therefore valuable. Here's a representative example of a scheme I've considered, along with some of the potential roadblocks to achieving financial independence:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On Food

I was inspired by a blog post I read, by someone I happen to have married, regarding her curious food habits and preferences. So, hey, why not blog about my own thoughts regarding food and other things I eat?

You know, since no one's asked?

All right, then. Let's start somewhere randomly:

In my present state, I am a very finicky eater. However, I was even worse when I was younger. Every child has a unique set of eating habits, and mine was pretty frustrating for my parents. I could compile a Ten Five Commandments of Eating When I Was Younger, had I known how to chisel commandments into slabs of stone.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Latest "Song"

Most of the songs that I (and, in some cases, Mrs. The Anthony Show) compose are related to the Christmas season, but this time I took a stab at a Valentine's Day theme. This was also my first attempt at using iMovie to create the crude video that complements the song; in the past I used MovieMaker.

I meant to publish this on February 14, but, hell, you know how it goes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

On "Crazy," and Living With a Crazy Person

"Crazy" once meant something, but thanks to overuse, it's a blanket term for anything weird, non-traditional, or abnormal.

I admit that I, too, am guilty of stretching "crazy" like a sheet of Saran Wrap I cut too short to fit that uneaten slice of pizza destined for the back of my fridge. It's crazy that I still can't eyeball the correct amount of Saran Wrap. It's crazy that I'm too cheap to tear off a new sheet, so I apply a smaller "patch" sheet that doesn't really stick right. It's crazy how I'll react when I notice the patch peeling off in the fridge. And it's crazy that I'll probably end up throwing out that crazy slice in a day or two anyway.

Crazy, right?

During my freshman year at college, I lived in a dorm containing four-person suites, each suite a pair of two-person rooms separated by a narrow bathroom. The bathroom could be accessed by any of the four people, but you and your roommate were able to lock the door separating your room and the bathroom, if you wished. (In the bathroom there was a stall shower, two sinks, and a toilet in a very small "room" with its own door that could also be locked.).

After my first semester one of my suitemates moved out, and the remaining suitemate was assigned a random roommate. When I showed up in January, a day before the dorms officially reopened, I met the new guy.

It was my first experience with someone crazy.

"Oh, pish-posh," you might be thinking. "He couldn't have been really crazy." Which is an understandable thing to think. Up until that point, I'd thought I'd met crazy people. In fact, I myself had been been called crazy numerous times, and I'll even admit today  several times during my life that sometimes I get a little crazy.

But John was crazy. Like, really crazy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First-World Loss and Grief

We'll always have the memories.
And the phone bills.
I lost my phone the other day.

At the time, I assumed I would eventually find the thing. After all, I've lost-then-found just about everything I own, including:

    •    Assorted remote control devices
    •    My prescription sunglasses
    •    My regular glasses
    •    Notebooks of various sizes
    •    A terrible incomplete draft of a terrible incomplete novel
    •    Cables to connect the cell phone to other devices
    •    Socks
    •    My wallet
    •    Belts
    •    Keys
    •    Pens
    •    Pants
    •    The same cellphone that I eventually lost forever

And as soon as I realized it was missing, I knew it was lost. Like, forever. I was at work and completing my afternoon visit to the bathroom — the one on the other side of the building near where the vice presidents and their minions sit because it’s a little more private and the extra walk is good exercise or at least that’s what I tell myself even though the real reason is that it kills more time than using the facility just around the corner from the prison cell where I toil — and I’d placed it next to the sink as I washed my hands.