Friday Fives – inventions

1. What is something you own, but have no idea how to use?

an iron.  I like to look nice, but I have NO idea how to iron.  I have tried, a lot.  Here is what happens, specifically – when I iron out these wrinkles right in front of me I am creating new wrinkles somewhere else.  It is never ending.  Luckily, I have an easy solution.  Everything gets machine washed, except dress shirts.  Those get dry cleaned.  It’s a buck a shirt, and SO worth it.  Plus, my dry cleaner is right on the way to work.  So, even if I knew how to iron, it is still worth a buck to two take two weeks worth of shirts.  bam, done!

2. What movie can you quote the most lines from?

like everyone, Princess Bride.  Bonus – also can do same with ‘Fish Called Wanda’.  I was also this way with ‘harold and maude’ and ‘harvey’.  But, I haven’t seen the former in about ten years.  I did watch Harvey three times last year.  It just came out on blu ray.  What a fantastic movie.  It’s probably 60 years old, but it holds up like crazy.

3. What is something useless that has been stamped to your permanent memory?

the details of every rock band.  every album, every lyric, every back story, i know what setlists are going to be to bands I don’t even follow.  Do you know what Billy Corgan’s middle name is, and why?  Do you know the last time the Dead played ‘Dark Star’?  Do you know Jack White’s real name is?  Do you know what Paul Simon was talking about when he sang about ‘Me and Julio down by the schoolyard’?  I do, and it’s USELESS.  I work in customer service, and not for a record company.

Here is a true story to prove my amazing and nearly useless amazing amount of rock knolwedge.  To say it is ‘complete’ is absurd… but it’s complete.  Again, here is my humble brag example.  I recently bought and read this terrific book.  It looked like stuff I likey knew already.  The wifey even said “why are you reading that, don’t you already know every story?”.  My reply was, “I do, but I want to fact check this guy to see if he does.”

In this book, I found a story that I wrote and discovered.  After  I ead that story, I told the wifey “this is MY scoop.  I am the one who found this”  She thought I was nuts, and maybe I was.  Then, I get to the end of the book and I am cited in the credits.  Seriously, check for yourself.  I am cited as reference material for a book on rock history and I didn’t even know about it.  That is pretty bad ass, and an honor.  You can check yourself.  My acknowledgement is on page 214, top line, of the paperback version.  I discovered my name in the book in the bathtub, and came running out to show the wifey.  naked and wet and old and fat.  That’s right, ladies.  Too bad I am taken!

By the way, if any of you are interested in setlist, this site is AWESOME.  It knows everything.  You can also search by venue, band, or even song.  Plus, they are freeHere is why you do, and don’t, want to check that site before your next rock concert.  The band you are going to see plays the exact same set each night.  It’s just a logistics thing, for lighting queues and instrument changes.  So, you can see what you missed, but I never check before I show, I want to be surprised by the song choices.

I do use my music knowledge to write, though.  It’s my two passions smooshed together all on this site.  Like this site, the content there is 100% original and my own.  It’s right over here.

4. What is something you feel is a pointless invention and why?

pointless?  Considering we still haven’t cured aids or cancer, not sure how much R&D we needed for the electic can opener.  Is this too complex for you?  Actually, I shouldn’t complain.  That can opener in the link above is AWESOME.  it isn’t what I grew up with, though.  We had these, and they are a piece of shit.  So, I guess I should praise can opener R&D so that we aren’t still stuck using this.

So since I kinda changed my vote mid- answer, do I have to re-answer the question?  I don’t wanna.  I love innovation, and I work in the tech field.  So, the wishy washy answer above will have to do.

5. What TV show has the best theme song?

can’t think of a catchier or better song than ‘friends’.  OOOHHH, wait.  THIS song.  I was so enamored with this song I took the bus all the way to the ball (two buses, actually, and then a 2 mile walk in the Phoenix sun) to buy the 33 rpm record.  that is how much I loved this song.  Joey Scarbury’s ‘Beleive it or Not’.  In fact, I will do more than hotlink it.  Let’s embed that shit!

Know what?  That wasn’t a very fulfilling Fives.  Normally, I would give you some bonus content – and you deserve my best.  But, the laptop battery is about 3 minutes away from dying.  So, we better wrap this up.  Have a great week, and know that we all love you.

*** update – as promised, the iPod fives game.  I am going to cross post this over to my other site.  Couple reasons for that.  One is, this post is plenty long.  The other is, I want to get y’all familiar with my other site.  It’s pretty good, if you know music.  It’s a few hours later and the laptop is charged.  Been writing for a couple hours now, which is pretty nice of me. I don’t get paid for this, and I am off to bed.

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Friday Fives – funny bone edition

1.  Who is the funniest stand up comic?  What makes them so funny to you?

Brian Regan.  He works clean, which is incredibly impressive.  As someone who fancies myself a writer, and a serious connoisseur of the English language, I know how tough that is.  There are people who don’t like swear words, which I fully get.  However, they often believe (incorrectly) that execution of swear words is for the intellectually lazy.  There is some truth to that, perhaps.  BUT… curse words are integrated into the thought process.  You can censor what you say, but you can’t censor what you think.  Meaning, if the Pope stubs his royal toe, I bet my life he utters ‘FUCK that hurt’ under his papal breath.

The difference then, and perhaps its the only difference, between the pope and myself is that he stops short of yelling the f word, and I don’t.  Also, comedy is an emotional and physical thing.  I really good ‘belly’ laugh can incapacitate you.  Curse words are also emotional. Because of my love of Podcasts, I listen to comedians chat every single day.  I love it.  When they talk about their favorite comedians, Brian Regan comes up almost as much as Richard Pryor.  Plus, every one of those comedians is amazed he works clean.  It is that rare.

I seriously can’t think of a single other notable comedian who works clean. WOW – that was a long and rambling jag on language and cursing.  Didn’t even know I had that in me until I read the questions from my editor 5 minutes ago. Back to Brian Regan.  Most importantly, he is just incredibly funny.  His stuff is observational in a Seinfeld sense.  You have lived every story he tells, which is maybe what brings it home so hard for me.  I got to see him live just last year and it was a dream come true.  For a comedian, it seems dude never travels.  I have been listening to him and quoting him for 15 years before I ever got the chance.  Here is a link to some of his stuff on youtube.  Watch  some, I implore you.  Here, at least watch this one.

Second favorite comedian is the late great Mitch Hedburg.  My love and appreciation for him is so deep, he deserves his own essay.  For Mitch, at the very least, watch this bit about the DuFrenes.  It is a pretty good primer on his style.


2.  What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?

weird question.  Can’t think of one right now.  I am a funny guy, though, and I live a life open to such experiences and adventures.  So, I bet there are at least a dozen great tales.  Lemme think on that and hopefully come back to it.

OOOHHH – I thought of one.  Even better, I already wrote it up about ten years ago.  It’s called ‘the MajorDomos story‘.  It’s 100% true.

3.  Deep down inside we all think we are hilarious.  What is the funniest thing you have said or done?

you know, I am glad you brought that up.  Also, that is an insightful comment, and it’s 100% true.  It’s like driving.  Everyone considers themselves above average as a driver.  But, I have been thinking about this over the last several months.  It is a complaint, and it is going to sound super self-indulgent and narcissistic.  Well, because it is.  Here is the thing – I am a very funny guy.  Seriously, I am funny.  I work hard to make people laugh, and I excel at it.  It is a natural gift I got from my father.  If I remember by only one thing, I would be ok with it being that I was funny.  That isn’t my complaint, though.  This is; I am surrounded by people who aren’t nearly as funny.  BUT, they want to be funny.  They think they are funny.  Because I am funny and likeable, people go out of their way to be funny with me.  But… they aren’t funny.

An example is pranks.  I hate pranks, for the most part.  People who aren’t funny think pranks are equal to funny.  So, someone will hide my keys or my phone.  That isn’t funny.  not even a tiny bit.  It is an annoying dick move, and an unconcious power play.  I would never touch your keys or your phone.  Ever.  That isn’t funny.

So, you can imagine if you are Bob Dylan, everyone wants to show you a song they wrote.  If you are Picasso, everyone wants to show you their sketch.  Guess what, they are Picasso and you aren’t.  So, leave him alone and find something you are good at.  There must be something.  Did I just compare myself to Dylan and Picasso?  Yes.  Yes I did.  That doesn’t mean I am to them what funny is.  I am not.  I am simply funnier than you.

Here is a prank I pulled, though, and I think it was funny.  You may judge for yourself.  I work with this tight ass guy.  He is a great guy, but just is a tight ass.  Let’s call him ‘Scott’, since that is his name.  On April Fools Day, I put an ad on Craiglist.  It read “my son just got suspended from school today for a week for bad grades.  He thinks his week off will be a vacation to play his X Box.  To teach him a lesson, I am selling his X Box and all of his games for $50 cash.  Call me” – and I put Scott and gave out his celll phone number.  About 30 minutes later, he started getting calls.  not just for his X Box (which he didn’t own, remember he is a tight ass), but some people would call and just say “good for you, man!” and hang up.

For the first hour or so, I didn’t tell him about the ad.  I waited until he came to me to tell me his bizarre ass day.  Then, I told him right away.  He loved it.  See, that to me is a funny prank.  Wrapping someone’s car in tin foil isn’t a great or funny prank.  It’s really more selfish.  Sorry, i fully realize how boorish my argument is.  It’s a stupid humble brag.  It is just an observation that because of my great sense of humor, people use me as a barometer of their own talents.  HEY – you asked the question.  I am just answering honestly and thoughtfully.  Just re-read this section and it still comes off flat, and like I am an asshole who corners you at parties to tell you how interesting I am.  Oh well, it’s too late.  I will leave it in and trust that you will still love me.  I won’t corner you at a party.  You came here, to me.

4.  We also surround ourselves with funny .. What is the funniest thing a friend has done?

oh man, why are these so tough for me?  I have some terrifically funny friends.  There must be hundreds of stories here, but I truly can’t think of one on the spot.  Here are a couple that come to mind.  Maybe not the best, but hey… I am just trying to go to bed here.  Years ago, I worked with a guy we’ll call ‘Ted’.  I am calling him ‘Ted’ mostly because that was his name.  We had all gotten laid off by our cell phone company.  We were in customer service, and our jobs got outsourced.  We were given a few months warning, though, which was nice.  On our last day, it was still business as usual.  We were to keep working, and pick up our check on the way out.  Ted and I were both supervisors, and we worked next to each other.  Being supervisors, we got to talk to the angry people on the phone.  Well, this day, Ted lived the dream.  He got to tell a customer the truth.

The escalation came to ‘Ted’, and we could tell by eavesdropping that the customer was being a dick.  Ted tried diplomacy, but that doesn’t always work.  So, the next thing we heard was “you know what, buddy?  I just got laid off.  That means I don’t have to take your shit anymore.  So, since this is my last day, why don’t you kiss my ass” and hang up on the customer.  It was that good, and we all applauded.  it was that moment that every single customer service worker dreams of… and never gets.  I miss Ted, and believe it or not we were just talking about him today at work.  I haven’t seen Ted since that day in 2001.  He was a stand up dude, and WAY funnier than me.

This other story I wasn’t even there for.  I heard it second hand, from the guy it happened to, and the buddy who witnessed it.  I got a buddy we’ll call ‘Brian’ who got arrested at a rock concert at the Pepsi center for being a drunk idiot.  I asked him what happened and he said “nothing!  All i did was try and get closer seats than we were assigned and they freaked out and kicked me out.  I went back to my seat like they asked me to, and next think you know – I am being arrested.”  Geesh, sounds like an over-reaction.  Cops suck!

A month later, I heard the story from ‘Brad’, who was there.  Turns out ‘Brian’ didn’t tell me the whole story.  Maybe he didn’t remember it.  Here is what happened.  He did try and sneak up to better seats.  He did get caught and sent back.  He then apparently went around the venue to try and sneak up front again.  It kinda worked, until the security lady saw him from afar.  So, what did ‘Brian’ do?  You just duck and discreetly try and disappear into the crowd.  What Brian did, though, was give the lady the finger, and then not move at all.  It gets better.  She sends over security and he gets bounced back to his seat again.  While he was sitting at his seat, they sent over a couple of cops.  He started mocking them, to their face.  You know how cops keep their radios velcro’d up to their shoulder.

Well, the cop is telling Brian to keep in his seat.  Before he leaves, they radio to dispatch where they are and what is happening.  No biggie, just a standard check in.  They are doing that thing where they leave the radio attached to their shoulder and reach up and squeeze the button and tilt their head down to talk into it.  Well, as they did this, Brian apparently did the exact same gesture, mocking them.  While doing this, he said something to the effect of “attention… ah… dispatch… ah… yeah I got a 10-15 up here trying to look all tough… yeah… ok… check… over”.  That, you see, is when the cops arrested him.  Quite a different story than the one he told us all.

I can tell that story because I love the guy.  He is a very close friend.  Don’t worry, I’ll send him the link to this, and I am sure he will be honored.  In fact, maybe I can coax him to write a rebuttal under the comments.  I will shoot for that, it will be gold, I assure you!

Oh… and there was this incident.  Pretty great.  In fact, it is the one year anniversary of the ‘incident’.

5.  What is the funniest television or movie moment that has struck your funny bone.

this scene from ‘So I Married and Axe Murderer’.  That, and pretty much every single line from ‘A Fish Called Wanda’.

Friday Fives – imitation edition

1. What accent do you imitate when you are drunk?

I quote Princess Bride far too often.  But, if I want to get into some proper mean silliness, a “Fish Called Wanda” can not be topped.  it is one of the greatest films ever!  This is not just subjective.  Kevin Kline was best supporting actor for his role as ‘Otto’.  The academy, never, ever gives out awards for Comedy.  To my knowledge  Kevin Kline and Alan Arkin (for Little Miss Sunshine) are the only best supporting actors for comedy roles.

Watch this clip below.  Normally, I would just link to a piece.  However, this is so brilliant it must be embedded for ease of use.  Use headphones on this one

2. What about celebrities? Do you do any good celebrity imitations?

not really.  However, in the course of playing with my laptop’s webcam… to see if it worked and to see if I could upload crap, I created these two stupid gems.  Since we have already embedded instead of linking… I’ll embed here, too.

3. What celebrity to you want most to be?

Dave Grohl.  He is super funny, incredibly nice, very musically talented, and seems to be connected to everyone in music.  Plus, on the side of all that, he is a rock star for a living

4. Do you have a family member that reminds you of someone famous?

my brother looks exactly like ‘E’ from “entourage”.  I am not going to link to his picture, because he doesn’t need to be dragged in to this.  Just trust me they look similar.  Which brother you ask?  this one.

5. What movie do you watch again and again, not for the plot but because it has your favorite actor/actress?

Forrest Gump because of Tom Hanks acting.  Actually, I don’t watch it much because it is incredibly long.  I think Hanks acting job in that film, though, is the finest ever.  I have mentioned this often here, but I really like great acting.  So what is great acting, you ask?  When the actor behind the character disappears.  Meaning, any time you see Al Pacino do a character, you are seeing Al Pacino as that character.  When you see Forrest Gump, you are only seeing Forrest… not Tom Hanks playing Forrest.

For best female acting job ever > Claire Daines in (and as) Temple Grandin.

Friday Fives – movie edition

1. What’s the one movie you’ve seen more times than any other?

well, either Fish Called Wanda, or Princess Bride.  I can play both movies pretty much without the volume and recite the dialogue.  Oh, and Spinal Tap, too.

2. If you could turn one book, comic book or other print story into a feature-length movie, what story would you pick and why?

ooh, good question.  A Few Seconds of Panic, from Stefan Fatsis.  I wrote about it over on the ‘what I am reading’ tab.  It’s a fascinating inside look, from a player, of the NFL.

3. Whom would you cast?

Giovanni Ribisi.  I would cast him for almost everything.  He is funny and creepy and a great actor, even though he is a Scientologist > which totally creeps me out.

4. What one movie would you like to see “updated for the year 2005”? (Ie, a remake)

I honestly never tire of iterations of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Every version brings me entertainment.  It’s the best book ever written.  Also cool would be ‘Harold and Maude’ which is just an amazing amazing movie.  Wait, scratch that.  That movie was cast and acted so well, it shan’t be touched.

5. What one movie are you most looking forward to this year?

seeing the Rum Diary.  It was already out in theaters, but I missed it since it closed after about 2 days.  I love Johnny, and I really love Hunter.  The Rum Diary was Hunter’s first book, long before all that “fear and loathing” stuff.

Friday Fives

show me the funny

1.    If I were to poll others, what would they say is the funniest thing you have ever done?

I don’t care for that question at all.  It would involve something compromising of my integrity and legend.  Like, some would say, the time I got kicked out a a Vegas casino for calling the rent a cops ‘white slavers for the man’.  Not a wise choice, and certainly not racially motivated (they were white and I am white)… just me being a drunk jackass.


2.     like comedy?  Who is your favorite comedian?  Why?

love comedy.  have lots of favorites, and they change almost annually.  I would have to say the one that stays at the top of the list is Brian Regan.  He is always funny.  His material is timeless, and he works clean.

3.     favorite funny writer

dave barry.  This decision is not biased by the fact that he and I are close personal friends… or ‘besties’.  This evidenced by a crappy photo taken of he and I at a book signing (his, not mine) last fall from my blackberry.

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4.     favorite funny movie

toss up between Fish Called Wanda and Princess Bride.  If I had to choose, it would be Princess Bride.  I own three copies on DVD (different editions) whereas with Wanda, I have only two.  Also, I just put Princess Bride on my iPod.  Not to watch.  I listen to it while I drive and recite the dialogue.  I am a sad little man.

5.     what’s so funny?

well, some would say what’s happening right now.  I think we have a skunk in the garage.  I am about 60% sure of this.  So, I threw my cat and dog in there to ferret him out.  This did not work, and all animals are returned unharmed.  I feel kinda let down.  Am still convinced there is a skunk in there.  Think I have to go out myself and do my husbandly duties and broomstick the bastard.  crap!

Friday Fives

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1.  If you could give out Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress and Best Director Oscars to any movies (not necessarily all from the same year) to people/films that haven’t won, what would they

I think the most under recognized actor currently is Paul Giamatti.  I am still pissed he didn’t get an oscar nod for Sideways yet Haden Church did.  It mystifies me.  Giamatti is the kind of actor I like, a character actor who toils in details.  Before him, it was Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and William H Macy.  I like the actors who will take the bit parts and just embrace them.  The guys who aren’t on the posters, but make every movie better by their presence.  Of course, that doesn’t last.  All of them are super stars now.

so, I was looking for a new guy to follow.  Briefly, it was Jason Statham.  He is the handsome British guy that has less acting range than Vince Vaughn.  I mean, every single movie he has ever done is the exact same role.  EXACT:  transporter, crank, Italian job, snatch.  There are three or four of each of those, and he keeps playing the same guy.  And… not the same ‘type’ of guy.  I mean… there is only one roll.   He is always the driver, he is always the bad ass.

I haven’t been so disappointed since Colin Farrell.  Remember how we all thought he would be a HUGE star?  They compared him to Leo.   He couldn’t carry DiCaprio’s shoes.  Who else disappoints me as an actor?  Pacino, of course.  He has played the same character for about 30 years now.  I call that Dennis Farina syndrome.  David Caruso, of course.  The reason why I super hate Caruso is that I think he probably can act.  He chooses not to.  He sickens me and represents everything people hate about America.  Hubris!

Oh, Denzel is another one who is super overrated.  Why does everyone love him?  Because he is good looking?  Because he is black?  Because he ALWAYS plays slightly compromised characters?  He hasn’t acted since Malcolm X.  To be fair, though, he really knocked that one out of the park.

2.  What is your favorite genre of writing (short stories, novels, nonfiction…)?

as a writer, I personally prefer short fiction.   As a reader, I prefer biographies.

3.  Are there any CDs to which you know every word? Movies?

yes, almost all of them.  I am the biggest rock dork on earth.  Allow me to say this, in all truthfulness, I know more about rock and roll than anyone you have ever met, nor ever will meet.  If you know me well, you also know this is true.  Above me, there is only the sage… and no one else.

as for movies, yes:  A Fish Called Wanda, and the Princess Bride

4.  If you could write and cast your own movie, what would it be about and who would you cast?

it would star Paul Giamatti as me.  He is short and schlubby* and yet lovable.  Bingo!  The movie would be full of songs that turn into cameos… like what Jonathan Richman did in ‘something about mary’ or that guy from Men at Work does on Scrubs.  Scenes like this would unfold all over the place.  Like a Blues Brothers for lame white people.

5.  What’s the best song to wake you up? Put you to sleep?

what relaxes me to sleep is actually tv.  Especially something super vapid like TMZ.  It is entertaining to watch, but never puts me in a situation where I feel I need to be conscious for more than a minute or so.   As for waking up, Brett Saunders voice brings me great joy.  He wants me to stay awake (and little does) because he is so compelling, and the best interviewer on earth.

* a closing note.  according to the auteurs here at WordPress, ‘schlubby‘ is not a word.  I submit their programmers have never met me, and so remain ignorant of a blissful type.