What is a long-forgotten good manner that you think should be brought back?

All of them.  Respect for women:  holding the door for hot bitches, for example.  That was a joke, of course.  Here I am reminded of a great lyric from ‘hiphopopotamus vs. rhymenoceros’ from Flight of the Concords.  Oh yeah, that is a real song title, and the song is even better.  Link to the song here.  BUT… I was talking about the funny lyric about misogyny.

Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this

They actually have a line along those lines that is literally too funny to print.  But, I ain’t sharing it because it is so good, I use it on stage.  It always kills.  Tell you what; leave me a comment so I know you are reading and I’ll tell it down there.

What good deed of yours were you punished for?

Glad you asked.  Time to tell this take publicly for the first time.  I will not name the company I was working at, because I am better than that.  Let’s just say they are the only company ever to be voted nationally two years in a row as the worst company to work for.  Bloomberg once called them the ‘Meanest Company in America’.  If you google worst company’s to work for in Yahoo, Dish network comes up by default… before you even get to the article.  Boy, that shows how bad Yahoo is doing.  I just called running a Yahoo search ‘googling’.  Let’s just say the company’s name rhymes with ‘Dish Network’.  They were planning a site closing, and were going to announce it with about 6 weeks’ notice.  Having JUST gone through the EXACT same thing with Nextel two months before… I was something of an educated citizen on these things.  This was almost exactly 15 years ago.

I knew that when you did a plant/office closing, or moving of a plant more than 40 miles away, you had to do a ‘WARN act’ letter.  It stands for worker relocation notification act’ or something like that.  Wait, I should get the specifics before I engage in accusing a large corporate of large scale employment law fraud.  Dish The company in question did this short of shit so often, though, I often tend to tune out.

WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.

 Apparently, they told the government (we think), but not any of the workers.  The reason we think they told the government was another classic screw up by said company.  A week before they were set to tell us, news crews showed up on the property and began interviewing employees asking them about the layoff.  100% true story, every aspect of this is.  Trust me, it has to be.  I am aware I am saying some serious shit that could get me sued out of existence were it not 100% true and lived by me.

I told the HR folks about the WARN thing, trying to help them cover their asses.  I was, without question, trying to protect my employers.  I can prove this because I talked to them, and them only.  If I wanted them busted for large scale employment law fraud (like I do, now)… I would not have warned HR.  I would not have said a thing.  I would have waited and watched and then told the Department of Labor, and the Department of Justice, and the Public Utilities Commission, and my congressman, and Tom Martino (he was BIG back then), then I would have told all the local TV news stations, because they love this stuff.

But I ratted them out to NO ONE.  I warned them.  They pushed back on me.  I warned them again.  This time, I copied verbatim the law, and emailed it to them.  So, she (again, not naming names, but let’s say her name was Ashley, for the sake of the narrative) then told me ‘oh, well, I get it.  But, this isn’t that.  This is just a plant relocation.  So, the WARN act doesn’t apply.”

Wrong again, I explained.  A ‘relocation’ is always regarded as in state.  NY says any move over 50 miles triggers this notification necessity.  The Fed is more generous and says anything over 100 miles counts.  This plant was moving from Denver, CO to Brownsville, Texas.  According to Google, that is 1200 miles.  At this time, the correspondences stopped from HR.  I assumed that was because they finally understood, or talked to their labor lawyers.  Nope.  Two afternoons later I was fired for no cause.

I asked why.  They said ”you didn’t put in your end of shift report anything about ____ being a no call no show.”  I said ‘sure I did.  It’s all there.  Let’s pull it up now and I will show you.  You must at least have a hard copy handy?”  they did not, and had no plan to show me one or let me get mine.  No verbal or written warning for anything, either.  Just a termination.  That was literally the thanks I got for trying to protect and save their asses.

The only satisfaction I got was when I filed for unemployment, and obviously won.

I had NO idea I was going to tell this story.  I just answer the questions the minute i open the email from my editor & blogging mentor.  Clearly, that far too long rant should have been it’s own piece.  Oh well, it is an important and true story.  and, fuck those guys.  Of course, in retrospect, it was a blessing to get out of there.  Seriously, though, fuck those guys.  Also, they totally went ahead with telling everyone they were shutting down in like 30 days.  Then, and this is totally true, they never did close the place. They ended up not moving a single job out of that building… except mine.  I don’t think I was the catalyst.  Making anything right, or doing the right thing, has NEVER been how Charlie rolls.  Go ahead and google the stories.  Or, go to Glassdoor.com and read them, just to make yourself feel better about your shitty job.

What things do people do that you hate? intentional or not

My biggies are driving related, and I have ranted about them endlessly here.  So, let’s do it one last time.  In short, if your wipers are on, your lights should be, too.  It is that simple.  If I was a cop, I would arrest every single asshole who drove around in a blizzard in a white sedan, with their lights off.  Next one, turn signal.  Use it, ALWAYS.  Use it leaving your driveway, use it going into a parking spot, use it if you are taking a left and you are already in the left hand turning lane.

Use it if you are going to cut me off, for your own good.  It costs you NOTHING, and takes NO effort to use.  I don’t care if you are the last person on earth, switching lanes at 4 am.  Use your fucking turn signals.

What group of people do you feel it is okay to make fun of?

Oh gosh, that list is long.  Why do you think I use a pseudonym here?  Um… lesse… scientologists, Mormons, republicans, Christians, Catholics.  Pretty much anyone who takes the side of magic over science… like you climate change deniers.  People with tattoos on their faces, and pretty much everyone that lives in the bible belt.  That is mostly it, for now, I think.

 What is something that is better the old fashioned way?

Explosions in movies.  Heck, everything before CGI.  I don’t totally hate CGI.  It gives the director almost unlimited options for scenes.  However, pre CGI (I am thinking about 2000-ish) when you saw something on screen, you know it happened.  In Blues Brothers, they desotroyed some 50 cop cars in a chase scene.  Also, they did incalculable damage to city hall and Dealey Plaza.  The director lied about everything that would happen so he could get a film permit.   He then told the crew to make SURE they caught it all in one take.  They won’t be invited back.

There is another scene when they are driving down Lower Wacker Drive, doing about 90.  It looks like 90 in the film, too.  However, the director was concerned it would just look like they were going 30, and speeding up the film.  So, they reshot the scene doing an actual 90 MPH (again)… on city surface streets, mind you.  They added in pedestrians walking in the background for scale, so you could have a frame of reference for just how stupidly fast they were going.

My point being, all these incredible and dangerous and stupid and illegal scenes all happened because we SAW them happen in the film.  These days, why bother actually blowing up a car?  It’s too dangerous, and no one will think you did it anyway.  I got all these Blues Brothers facts from the special edition DVD that came out.  It has AMAZING featurettes where they talk about all the insanity and fun of making that film.  It’s funny, because – for a movie that is literally and truly a love letter to Chicago… they really fucked Chicago up making it.  Here is a youtube search that may have the featurette in question.  But, just buy the DVD.  It was like $12. $8.  This is the exact one I have.


Friday Fives – Travolta edition

The Fives are late today because I didn’t care for the questions I was given.  So, I blew it off.  A reader reached out this afternoon chiding me for my non post. I challenged him with the following: ok, send me five questions – on or about anything. I will answer them.

First, he sent me this picture. You have likely seen it around in the last week. Some guy was at the gym at 3 am, and ran into John Travolta. Travolta was cool enough to take a selfie with the guy. That photo is above, and sparked some pretty important questions from ‘Jamie’. Out of respect for my buddy, and out of sheer fear of being sued by Scientologists***… we will call him ‘Jaimie’. Since that is his name, and all. You may recognize the name from this legendary exchange. I would say a good 50% of my non Friday Fives posts come from conversations with Jaimie over email.

john-travolta-gymWhat is your favorite John Travolta movie

Easy – Pulp Fiction. It’s a masterpiece. Easily one of the greatest movies ever. I have several copies. DVD, VHS, and Blu Ray

Have you ever been to the gym at 3 am

No. I mean, you won’t find me at the gym. I am not proud of that, but that is the reality. 3 am? NOTHING good happens at 3 am. A comedian did a great bit about how ATM.s should give out a max of $50 after midnight. His reasoning was nothing good can come from you taking out $300 at 3 am.

 Who are you most likely to see at the gym at 3 am

Apparently, John Travolta

Why would you build a house with an airplane hanger any no gym

Totally never occurred to me until ‘Jaimie’ asked. I mean, look at his house. He flies jumbo jets for Qantas… and he doesn’t have $300 worth of gym equipment? This is a guy who requires a 20 pack of high ed nice new clean white tees for every day on any movie he shoots.

 How gay is john Travolta

Well, it’s not my business. I like John Travolta.  Never heard a bad word about him, outside of those masseuse gay sex scandals.  Whatever.  Again, it isn’t my business… and it certainly isn’t yours. He is a good actor and has a sense of humor about himself.  Plus, he flies jumbo jets.  That is super bad ass.  We just need to get him the Iron Maiden jet (Ed Force One).  That might help those pesky gay rumors.  However, with the evidence presented… pretty gay. As my buddy Eddie once coined ‘he was strollin’ for colon.  Also, that movie Michael was good.  The one where he is an angel.  It’s not great cinema, but neither is anything else.

*** bonus – My blog application spell check does not acknowledge the word ‘scientologist’

Friday Fives- smells and memories edition

sorry, that is a crappy title.  I get the questions from my editor.  The titles, though, I make up myself.  These questions can only be summed up by my editors deep hatred of me.   and fish.

What is your favorite underrated TV show that everyone should know about?

nothing I can think of.  I watch the same shows you do, and they aren’t exactly underground:  duck dynasty, dexter, breaking bad.   OOOHHH WAIT.  I thought of one;  CNN has a show called ‘Inside Man’ by Morgan Spurlock.  He is the guy from Supersize Me.  He is a genius, and I love all of his work.  If you have seen any of his movies or shows… this new show is exactly like those.  That is ok, though, because I love Morgan.

Speaking of CNN and new shows, Anthony Bourdain has a new show on CNN, too.  Here is where it gets weird, though.  Ever seen his other shows:  a cooks tour, kitchen confidential, no reservations, the layover?  Well, this new show is EXACTLY like those  shows.  I love Bourdain.  Read his book and I follow his writings.  However, his tv shows are identical.  Freakishly so.  I don’t know if I blame Bourdain for that, or CNN. If I were a good journalist… or journalist at all, I would likely google the name of the new Bourdain show for you.  My articles, as you can see, and impeccably well researched. I am not researching Bourdain’s show as a matter of principle.  Just called it ‘No Reservations 5’.  It is the 5 iteration of that show.

Hell, Bourdain travels the world and gets paid to eat and be a snarky hipster who makes his bones being snarky about hipsters.  So, he has the last laugh.

That got a little tangenty, so I will sum up here.  Big yes to ‘Inside Man’ from Morgan Spurlock, and a meh to whatever the hell they are calling the Bourdain show.  Skip the Bourdain show and read his amazing book.

Also, since we are talking about what TV shows everyone is watching, I have to say this.  I don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’.  Apparently, I am the only person on Earth not watching it.  Every time someone asks me about it, which is literally daily, it makes me not want to watch it all the more.  Ok?  Shut the fuck up about Game of Thrones.  I have zero bandwidth for new shows right now.  In a month, I will have plenty of time.  Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Under the Dome will all be over.  So, I will use that time to watch even more West Wing.  I know I am late to the party on that, but I just started watching from scratch about a month ago and i LOVE it.

Then, if I am going to go back and pick up a new show, it would be Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, or the Wire.

What would your sixteen year old self say if they could see you now?

Oh man, I have actually written a lot about this.  I hate to re-write that story, so lemme see if I can find a link to one of them.  I am so often so correct that there is no need to repeat myself. FOUND IT.  It’s right here.  Here is the fun part about this, I wrote it almost ten years ago.  Let’s see if it still holds up.  Well, read it first.  Did you read it?  Ok, some changes 10 years later.  Don’t much go to parties or concerts.  Well, I do, but not like I used to.  I can’t sleep 12 hours in a row anymore, which is sad.  I still love love love sleep, but now I sleep like a regular person.

I still have the wife and the truck, and life is still grand.  I have gone farther with that dream of ten years ago.  I said something about not having a camper.  Well, now I have two campers!  Plus, I live on my own ranch now.  So, it’s like going on vacation every day when I come home.

Ok, here is my big lesson.  Ashton Kutcher said it here, and so did Thomas Jefferson.  Opportunity looks a lot like hard work – Kutcher said that. I am sure millions have.  But, I super respect an actor/model receiving a teen choice award standing up and saying it out loud for a new generation. Thomas Jefferson said “the harder I work, the more luck I have seem to have”.  My dad had another one “you cay pay now, and play later… or play now and pay later”.  My step dad, Roj, taught me even more by example.  Hard work is the key.  Oh, and monotonous work.  That is a big part of it.  You go in every day, always.  Be there before they get in, and after they are gone.

Oh, and I would say this to my 16 year old self “cool beard, huh?”  See, I always wanted a beard but could never grown one.  Oh, and I would point out to 16 year old self I am a in a rock band now.  So, growing up and old isn’t so bad.  I am living the life I always dreamed of, just with less hair.  Speaking of that, here is a picture of me at 16.

What is the most horrid smell you’ve smelled?

bacon coffee syrup.  I was at this nice little independent coffee place here in Parker on Main Street.  As I was walking out with my coffee, I saw all their flavors.  They had the usuals – hazelnut, vanilla, french cream, chocolate, caramel, and bacon.  Bacon?  Bacon!  I told the lady I just had to smell the bacon syrup.  Why?  Because I love bacon.  Like every guy, and maybe a bit more, I love bacon. so, I smelled it.  I was ripe with confidence that I may have discovered the new greatest thing.  My two passions > coffee and bacon.  So, I smelled it.

It was disgusting.  It smelled like bacon alright, but super duper concentrated.  It smelled like 1000 slices of bacon distilled down to one liquid.  It was SO strong that after that whiff I did not touch bacon again for three months.  I looked online, and found it.  Here is proof!  try it, I dare you.  It’s like super hot wings.  I will pay for them just to watch you sweat.  We are doing that at work today.  We are going to see if we can break Suchocki.

Who is the one actor/actress that you can never like?

I have really tried to dislike the Scientology.  Problem is, they are all great actors, and incredibly nice people.  Besides their totally absurd beliefs about secret volcano gods, there is nothing wrong with these people.  Jason Lee, Tom Cruise, Mimi Rogers, Giovanni Ribisi, that guy who played Hide on that 70s show.  Oh, and Beck.  All cool and interesting people.  Oh well, who am I to judge?  Just kidding, I AM the judge.  Scientology is bullshit and I can prove it.  See, I don’t care about the mythology.  Its not much dumber than the Mormons.  No, what is wack about Scientology is they charge you for the knowledge.  So, it takes years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to be told the truth.

back to the question – actors I hate.  Well, the late Dennis Farina was one.  Why?  For 30 years he played the exact same character every time.  Drives me nuts.  It’s not acting at that point.  Just reading lines and collecting checks.  Not exactly high art.

What are your go-to karaoke songs?

I don’t do karaoke.  Not because I am above it, but because I can’t sing.  i know, I know.  I am in singer in a rock band.  Trust me, I am always working on my singing, but its in band practice.  Plus, when you go, you have to hear ‘Black Velvet ‘ and ‘Friends in Low Places’ so many times it makes me want to stab my eyes out.  Wait, no.  That would be dumb and then i couldn’t play guitar.  So… amendment,  It makes me want to stab your eyes out.

oh, and I tried it once.  I won’t tell you what song it was, just that it went horrible.  I can sing in D.  Small problem, though, its the only key I can sing in.  It literally took me forty years to figure that out.  So, anything that isn’t in D does not go well for me.