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 canap├ęs.

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.