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The Daily Jim

All the wit that's fit to spit

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Archive for February, 2010

The Kiss of … Well, Whatever

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Over late-night whiskey in the garage, bassist, Jack Fury told me a story … a legend really, that had been passed throughout the music industry for years.  As I listened, I thought that it couldn’t be true. Maybe is was the booze, but still his words haunted me …

The year was 1970.  Just months after winning a Grammy Award for Mrs. Robinson, “the Voices of America,” Simon and Garfunkel broke up.  Feeling the need to diversify musically, Arthur Ira Garfunkel returned to Queens, New York and began writing. After a series of frustrating starts and stops he encountered eighteen-year old local guitarist, Paul Stanley.  Stanley, just ousted from the band Wicked Lester due to a minor argument with childhood friend and bass player, Gene Simmons, over marketing, was eager to collaborate with the notable Garfunkel.

By 1972, they duo had enough songs and direction to begin touring, however Garfunkel, not wanting to alienate his considerable fan base or compete with Stanley’s youthful looks, suggested they perform in Kabuki-style make-up. Stanley and the band agreed.  Stage show pioneer Kiss had been born, and for nearly a decade all was right with the world.

Shortly after their Tenth Anniversary Tour, a growing sentiment for Kiss to appear publicly without make-up rose from the fans.  Garfunkel, still maintaining a moderately successful solo career panicked.  He wanted to dissolve Kiss but retain his friends as his folksy back-up band.   The others reluctantly agreed, but Stanley refused, insisting that Kiss, make-up or not, was a good idea, if only they could get around Garfunkel’s need for a dual identity.

(Cue Odd Couple music.) On November 13th, Paul Stanley was asked to remove himself from his place in Kiss. That request came from the band.  Deep down he knew they were right, but he also knew that some day he would return to them. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend Gene Simmons.  Several years earlier, Simmons’s band had thrown him out, requesting that he never return.  Could two strong willed musicians share a band without driving each other crazy? (End music.)

Simmons, a publicity genius, but never a strong bass player, was the one who suggested the solution.  He would be the bawdy, public, unmasked face of the Kiss Demon bassist, allowing Garfunkel to continue making the sweet, sweet music that he and the world had come to love.  Garfunkel embraced the idea and Stanley.  The show went on.

As it turns out though, the unmasked thing was a phase America was going through in the early ‘80’s and they boys just weren’t that good looking after all.  They soon returned to the make-up.  Simmons, however, comfortable in the spotlight and knowing Garfunkel’s secret, could not be liquidated.  Today, he remains the public face of Kiss, selling officially licensed coffin/coolers and shoelaces to the internet.  The End.

Sasquatch Reported to Have Only a Moderately Bigfoot at Size 12 ½

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

People, as a late resolution for the New Year we’ve all got to all agree to leave the Sasquatch alone.  I wish that was a metaphor for something dirty, but it’s an actual plea.  The guy just tries to keep to himself and walk through the woods, but we insist on “knowing” more by manufacturing hype that just doesn’t exist.  Is he too boring for us?  Is that it?  I mean, we taunt him by calling him “Bigfoot” and drag out that old photo of him from the ‘70’s.  We bait him by sending camera teams from the Discovery Channel practically to his front door… We all remember how that Loch Ness Monster business turned out.  Do we really need to live through that again?  Is it that we just need someone to talk about?  If so, there are plenty of idiots out there clamoring for our attention.

I immediately think of that damn Cupacabre.  That little jerk breaks onto people’s farms and feeds on the blood of livestock.  Even his name is intentionally controversial, “Goatsucker.”  Why not “Punta de Noticia?”  “Media Whore.” He loves getting caught, just so he can pose for a photo op and keep his name in the tabloids a little longer.  I don’t know who is agent is, but perhaps if his client had any talent or was a real vampire, instead of a barnyard vampire, he wouldn’t need to resort to such lowbrow tactics.

And while we’re discussing the lowbrow … Mermaids, are you listening?  Put your freakin’ shirts on!  There are better ways to get your parents’ attention.  A couple of years from now when you want to be taken seriously, those pictures are going to come back around and you’ll be know as the fish-girl who doesn’t look as good as she used to.

By far, though, the worst media hungry parasites out there have to be the Aliens.  Attention space creatures, it may seem like you’re inviting people into your spaceship to show us how normally you live, but it feels like we’re being held hostage and … I’m just going to say it… Quit it with the probing!  People DO NOT like the probing!   It’s not endearing; it’s not quirky; and it’s certainly not a skill!  It’s weird.  We find you and your people weird, which, I guess, is why we pay attention to you.

So, if you absolutely NEED a reality or tabloid fix, there are plenty of characters out there who are continuously trying to stretch their fifteen minutes of fame into another century.  Give it to them if you want, but stay out of the woods.  The Sasquatch does not want to live in the spotlight.  I’m told he prefers a damp cave.

Rhode Island’s Top Network News Stories for Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

“Get Ready … Major Nor’easter Wednesday”

“Rhode Island’s Incredible Psychic Cats”

“Heist Happy R.I.”

“Suspect Steals $900 in Dental Products from CVS”

“Scratch Tickets Stolen from Local Diner”

“Man Performs Surgery on Dog, No Money”

“Sex Change Operation Tax Deductible”

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

“Walk into a room like you own it, because for that moment, you do.”

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

“If you keep picking at it, it will definitely get infected. Is that what you want?”

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Re: 2010 SUMMER SUBURBAN OLYMPICS OFFICIAL EVENTS ROSTER

From: Kristen Webster, Commissioner 2010 Summer Suburban Olympics

February 5, 2010

On behalf of the Commissioner’s Office and the entire 2010 Summer Suburban Olympics Foundation, we would like to sincerely thank you, Suburbanites everywhere, for the wealth of input you provided in helping us plan this inaugural event.  So, without further fanfare the events are as follows:

The Pool Hop (team only)

Competitors must reconnoiter and successfully “hop” as many pools between the hours of 12am and 2am in a single night.  Any individual unable to finish the event due to intervention or capture will have his or her team eliminated.

Ring and Run (pairs only)

Partners must successfully lure unsuspecting homeowners to their front door of their house by ringing the doorbell then evading detection.  Each pair must have visual confirmation of each outcome. NOTE* The flaming bag of feces has been eliminated as a component of this event  (Commissioner Webster just finds it gross).

The Mall Loiter (both team and creepy individual)

Teams will be dropped off at the Shopping Mall with not manner of departure for an undisclosed time period and exactly $1.50 each.  Points will be awarded for aggravating patrons, fleeing security staff, augmenting your team with strangers of a similar age, and sneaking into the movie theater. NOTE* The Commissioner reminds teams that shoplifting is still illegal in the suburbs, therefore double-points will be awarded for it.

The Ice Cream Man Chase and Order (individual only)

Athletes will successfully signal and catch an ice cream truck traveling at exactly 55mph down a residential street while barefoot.  Individuals who are successful will have to find the crumpled and damp money judges hid somewhere on their body then place an order for no less than five people.

The Lawn Mow (individual only)

Each Competitor will successfully mow a ½ acre property within the forty-five minute time frame, while maintaining polite conversation with an elderly person.

The Paper Boy Delivery and Collection of Payment from Deadbeats

This two-part event has been have been cancelled due to the national newspaper crisis and the rise of creepy men in station wagons tainting this, once pure, sport.

Unfortunately we could not use every suggested event.  There are a variety of reasons for this including, but not limited to, animal cruelty laws, the Foundation’s limited access to a “kick-ass explosives,” child welfare statutes, the current White House’s policy regarding narcotics distribution, lack of a functioning time machine, and well … some of them were just dumb.

Again, thank you!  We’ll see you on Long Island in July!

Compromising Positions

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I have learned from watching married couples that success is based in compromise.  Not a new revelation, but a truth, nonetheless.  Most compromises are small: what color should we paint the bedroom?  What should we watch on TV tonight?  You can’t get what you want all the time.  With that in mind, I have accepted my wife, Red’s wishes not to keep a gun in the house.  Her logic is sound, she does not want to be shot, nor does she want the means accessible to shoot me when I screw up.  She has, however, had to accept the one caveat that I have put in place regarding this matter.  When the zombies start coming, all bets are off!

Zombies are likely to make for a worldwide game changer, so I’ve always felt that the decisions we make together as a couple should take into account the long-view.  For example, we live on the top floor of an apartment building.   Red likes the big windows and natural light; I savor the sniper’s balcony.  She really appreciates the original hardwood floors, while I relish the limited access and heavy emergency doors that open out, not in.  It’s a great artist’s loft, perfect for entertaining guests on a Saturday night or surviving the zombpocalypse.  We both agree that if we’re going to be stuck in one place, trapped by a crushing horde of the undead, we’d better like the paint color and have a comfortable couch.

I tried explaining this principle of compromise to our newly engaged real estate agent before we bought the apartment.  “If you understand your partner’s point of view,” I said, “it’s easy to make decisions that benefit you both.  By the way, while those humongous high heels that you’re wearing are really pretty, they make you a noisy and slow moving zombie dinner.”

Street Fight

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

“You’re way off base with that one.  Have you even been watching lately?  Elmo is over exposed … Gordon and Susan have been holding that street together for forty years.  If it’s not broken, don’t break it.”

My wife sits back and sips on her Pina Colada as she awaits Rocket’s rebuttal.  They’re arguing about Sesame Street, again.  Gwen and I busy ourselves around the barbeque grill, carefully trying not to make eye contact with either one of them.  We have been avoiding any participation in this battle of ideological differences for years simply because there is no end to it.  Red is a purist, she holds fast to the show’s original format.  Rocket is a progressive regarding The Street; he loves that they’re mixing up the formula.  If we get sucked into it now, it’ll consume the whole night.

“Dude, are you listening to this?   I’ve got no beef with Gordon or Susan, or Luis for that matter, they’re all assets to the organization, but to belittle Elmo is to diminish a catalyst of change.   While you’ve been pining away for Mr. Hooper and the Twiddlebugs, Elmo’s child-like wonder has progressed the storylines further than Snuffleupagus ever could.  I just grew frustrated with him.  C’mon man, help Big Bird out. Let someone else see you too.  Not Elmo though, he just lays it all out there for you.”  He locks eyes with me, and asks, as if we were debating Health Care or American Idol,  “Where do stand on this Elmo issue?”

I don’t have a chance to answer because Red has finished her drink and jumps in with, “It’s all ‘Elmo’s World’ now. What an ego on that guy.  It’s not just about Elmo!  There are other characters who have been making valuable contributions for decades, only to get pushed out by that little bastard.   What happened to Sully and Biff, the construction workers?  Those were Union employees, mister. Don’t even get me started on Kermit’s alleged ‘retirement.’”

Rocket finishes his drink and carefully puts down his glass.  He takes on a business posture, “Don’t call him a ‘little bastard.’ It’s beneath you.”  He leans back.  “Sure, there was a little reshuffling, but if you’re insinuating that Elmo forced out other actors in order to get more screen time, you just don’t have the evidence.  His demographic is huge!  You’ve got to give the people what they want.”

I realize that this has to be stopped before the next round of drinks, so I look to Gwen.  She knows what has to be done and nods to me.  I play my only ace.  “Remember the one when The Count was trying to inventory his cookies, but he asked Cookie Monster to help?  Big mistake.  Right?”

My wife looks wistfully out at the water. “Good ol’ reliable Cookie Monster.  That guy has brilliant comedic timing.”

“Agreed.  He is a unique talent.  They write songs about guys like that,” Rocket adds smiling.  He pushes himself up from his chair to the bar.  “Who needs cocktails?”

Gwen smiles and I sit down.  The conversation takes a natural turn toward another topic and the evening resumes.  The Cookie Monster Intercession saves another night, as it has so many times before.  When we have kids, that one’s probably going to come in handy.

Somebody Tell Steve Nash that He’s the NBA’s Aquaman (in a good way).

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Batman’s got all the answers.  Superman’s invincible.  Wonder Woman is a goddess who can make you tell the truth.  Wolverine is relentless and might just outlive everyone on Earth.  Captain America’s a national treasure, the embodiment of the “Greatest Generation.”   Hell, even Storm can control the freakin’ weather!  Everyone has got their favorite, as well as, enough scenarios to justify that he or she is the best superhero ever.

I was always kind of partial to Aquaman.  This, as you can imagine, did not always make me the most popular kid in the schoolyard.  “That’s just stupid!  He’s a blonde fish,” stupid Robbie Crowell would taunt.  “He can’t even turn into water, like Zan from the Wonder Twins.”

I think that one was my breaking point.  “Seriously,  ‘the Wonder Twins?’  Aquaman can talk to, and influence, fish.  Do you know how hard that is?”  This was also the impetus for my first fistfight,  “Why don’t you try yelling, ‘Form of … a smart-mouth little ignoramus who is about to get his ass kicked by an Aquaman appreciating, fat kid, who has had enough!’”

Predictably, the fight didn’t go so well (little bastard played soccer and was ludicrously quick). Regardless, Aquaman is wasted on children anyway, because he’s complex.  Kids don’t understand proportions.  He’s, “The Sea King” for cryin’ out loud!  He runs seventy percent of the Earth!  Underwater, he’s the most powerful thing around, yet he CHOOSES to spend the bulk of his time on the other thirty percent of the globe (you know, the dry part) defending the six billion jackasses who view him as functionally useless, because he wants to help.  That’s dedication.  Aquaman is to the superhero world what Steve Nash is to the NBA.  The guy’s a team player; he doesn’t have to showboat, just as long as his team does well.

Some other guys love being the center of attention, which is why no team will draft them.  “Oh, my Uncle Ben was killed and I blame myself, so I’ll use my spider-like powers to become an anti-establishment loner.  I wonder why the Avengers haven’t called lately?”  Or, “Me too volatile to smash alongside others.  Me too hulking to cover up with puny uniform.”  If these fellas could get past their own egos, they might be able to contribute to the greater good.  Aquaman, on the other hand, goes way out of the moistness of his comfort zone to aid the team.   Steve Nash.  He’s always ready to suit up just in case Superman is off planet and can’t defuse the underwater bomb, or … well … that might be it … but what if it happens?

So lets take a moment to celebrate Aquaman; underappreciated by school children worldwide, at least until one of them falls off a boat.

Gopher was a Congressman. You think about That.

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Billy D. called after discovering 32oz. cans of beer at a Texas gas station for only $1.29 each.  After a long silence, that sounded a lot like drinking, he shouted, “Duke … Duke … Who would you cast in a modern Love Boat?”  Then he hung up.

I immediately grabbed a pen and a beer.  When he called back, an hour later, he demanded an answer.  I’ve gotten used to these pop-quizzes with 60 minutes to work out my a response, so I always prepare several possible scenarios, each with its own justification, for his inevitable, “Wrong!  Are you kidding me?  That’s bush league!”   His casting decisions, by the way, would equate to a weekly production costing more than Avatar and requiring some of the same special effects.  “The people want this, Duke.  It’s their will.  Don’t skimp on the budget!”  So, then we got into it.

They tried re-launching The Love Boat in the late ‘90’s with television icon, Robert Urich, but that was prior to the advent of reality-shows; so people didn’t miss plot yet.  For over a decade TV has been devoid of a non-reality showcase for celebrities.  Let’s put aside the regular cast for a moment and discuss guest stars; it’s a cross-promotional promised land.  Stars on that network could be required to take at least one cruise to help advertise their shows.  Of course it could be punched up with outside celebrities as well.  I think I’d like to see Ron Jeremy bellied up at Isaac’s bar asking for advice on how to get women, or Tara Reid as a travel agent, finally taking her first vacation. We both agreed to bring back Charo!

The Love Boat crew would have to be pretty recognizable, without overshadowing the passengers.  Finally, vehicles for Blair Underwood; playing single father and cruise boat captain, Merril Stubing; Tiffani Thiessen as your cruise director, Julie McCoy; David Arquette as the loveable sad-sack, Gopher, and Luke Wilson as the ship’s lothario, Doc.  We rounded that out with the wise and, somewhat, detached Delroy Lindo as Isaac and I think this thing could work.

By this point I might have had a few more beers (the David Arquette thing was a fight, I wanted James Van Der Beek), so I told Billy D. that once that sets sail, we could start rolling out updates of Fantasy Island and Columbo.

“Duke… (A) The people do not want Columbo.  You are the only one who wants Columbo; and (B) who would you cast as Mr. Roarke?”  He hung up, and I knew I had an hour, so I got beer and started making another list.

Lessons in Bad Media Franchising and Merchandising

1) Saw 8: The Reality Television Gameshow 2)Live action movie of Hungry, Hungry Hippos 3)The Tonight Show, starring Chewbacca 4) Deadpool vs. Punisher: The Musical 5) The Human Centipede sleeping bag 6) C-Span Live Action Role Playing Group 7) The new Texas Chainsaw Massacre ride at Six Flags Over Texas 8) Your Parents Basement is Always [...]

Where is Our Modern Barney Miller?

The single camera glory that was Barney Miller can probably never be reproduced.  There’s heavy debate in the office whether it should be or not. It was essentially a 22-minute, 3-act play with minimal characters and only one set (after Season One that also featured Barney’s dining room at home).  The thing is, the writing [...]

Non-John Hughes High School Movies from the ’80s

Yep. Most of the high school biggies were our man, Hughes. But if you can name the 1980s high school movie quotes listed below, your might have been paying attention to something else in ’88 other than the MTV Beach House and that cute girl with freckles in your 11th grade Chemistry class. 5)”Last night, [...]

Mark Your Calendar, Nerds!!!

This Weekend is legendary Indy 500.  Please don’t think geekdom is limited to cosplay and app programming.  Oh no, my friends. Two years ago our Mid-West correspondent, Billy D, and I watched those car dorks jump a humongous Hot Wheels truck  over a bunch of school busses and twice as many drunks while Florence Henderson [...]

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Attention lonely geeks! “Drunk” is only a superpower at Red Sox games and ex-girlfriends’ weddings.

Gentleman Jim

  • MONDAY – Movies. Their glory and their hilarious tragedy.  

  • TUESDAY – Television.  Our favorite drug; constant and comforting, but often packaged with regret.  

  • WEDNESDAY – Wildcards! Probably a piece of weird fiction in which Spider-Man has to talk down Laura Ingles from making a bad decision.  

  • THURSDAY – Thesis-level Dorkdom. Jargon, geek terms and weird insight explained for the rest of us.  

  • FRIDAY – Fantasy, Sci-fi, and comics.  Like living in your parents’ basement only without the inherent desperation. Well…