This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Bring Out Your Dead!"

No, I'm not talking about myself when I speak of the "dead," although when I wrote this -- late Friday night -- I still felt almost as crappy as I did when I posted my previous entry. Nope. I'm using "Bring Out Your Dead!" to refer to the sneaky thing I've been doing for the past few days.

As all of my regular readers know, before I had a weblog on Blogger, I had one on a site known as Diaryland. (That's Di-a-ry-land, by the way, not Dairy-land. For some reason, people seem to become temporarily dyslexic whenever they encounter that word!) And whenever other tasks have kept me from posting here, I've had no hesitation about recycling old posts which only about 10% of my current readers have seen before anyway.

But there are some other old Diaryland entries which are worth saving, in my opinion, yet won't fit in amongst the new Blogger entries as casually as most Diaryland golden oldies will. These are the posthumous tributes to celebrities that I like to write. There are eight of these Diarlyland tributes, tributes which were all posted in 2004 and 2005. During the past several days, I've transferred them -- under their original entry dates -- to Blogger.

Therefore, although the Blogger version of "David'Z RantZ" didn't even exist until February of 2008, these eight entries are now in my Blogger archives, and supposedly have been since three or four years ago! (Does that make me some sort of Time Lord?) So, if you're at all interested in viewing any or all of them, the list is below. Clicking on any name will open a new link or window featuring the appropriate tribute:
Let's hope that by my next posting, my health will have improved, and my name will not also be on the list!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News... "

Wow. I feel like crap!

Remember my last post, where I told you that my back was bothering me for no apparent reason? Pshaw! (I always wanted to use "Pshaw!") That's kid stuff. Since then, I have been severely hampered by some damned summer cold or summer flu or summer bubonic-freakin'-plague. I've only left the house for the most important duties (errands for my Mom, cat food for Orson, "human" food for me, haircut, post office, hookers... ), and have resorted to all of the following to hopefully keep me from hospitalization:
  1. Honey/Lemon Mentholated Cough Drops
  2. NyQuil (generic)
  3. Pepto-Bismol (generic)
  4. Tylenol 3 (Yes, that means codeine. Yayyyyy, opiates!)
  5. Lidocaine Patch (for my back pain)
  6. Mixture of Green Tea, Ginger Brandy (which I wouldn't drink otherwise), and Honey
  7. Soup
  8. Watered-Down Juices ("Watered-Down" so they won't throw my blood sugar levels off too far)
  9. Cepacol Sore Throat Spray
  10. Vicks VapoRub
This is, of course, in addition to the medications I take daily to control my blood pressure (2), my cholesterol levels, and my blood sugar levels.

In other words, boys'n'girls, I'm a medical mess.

On the plus side, any loopiness caused by this massive pharmaceutical intake may make this blog more interesting. Not exactly The Doors of Perception, true, but whattya want for nothin'?

On a seemingly unrelated note -- but don't worry, I'll tie them together for ya before I sign off -- I was driving home the other day, listening to one of the many oldies stations I play on my car radio. The song playing was "California Girls" by the Beach Boys.

Being my curmudgeonly, overly-analytical self, my mind started wandering to an article I'd read once, an article which had stated that Brian Wilson had written this song to praise the girls of California.

That sounds fairly cut and dried, right?

Well, I don't agree. It's not about California girls, it's praising all the girls in the USA. Northern, southern, mid-west, east coast, west coast... He wishes that all of them could live in California. Why? Because he lives in California. It's like, if Brian Wilson won't go to the mountain...

He states that he's been all around the world, and seen all kinds of girls, but he can't wait to get back to the USA, which has the cutest girls in the world. The USA. Not just California.

(And, by the way... If you think that Lionel Richie's song "Hello" is about a blind girl, you're wrong. The video is about a blind girl. Not the song. But I digress.)

Then I thought about another couple of songs that people seem to miss the point of. How about all those idiots in the audience who scream and cheer whenever Billy Joel sings the line "Captain Jack will get you high tonight" during the live version of "Captain Jack" on "Songs in the Attic?" Had any of these people actually paid attention to the song they were cheering? It's a vicious, anti-drug song, but the members of the audience only heard what they wanted to hear: Ooh, Captain Jack will get you high! Ooh, cool!

(And yes, Virginia, I fully realize that my anti-drug sentiments may be a bit emasculated by my earlier comment of "Yayyyyy, opiates!" but, hey... )

The "Captain Jack" example reminded me of another song on another live album, Bruce Springsteen's "Live/1975–85," which includes his cover version of Edwin Starr's "War."

Mr. Springsteen makes a little speech and ends up warning his young audience that if indeed there is another war, the government would be looking at "you," "you" naturally meaning that the youth of America would be fighting this war, not the politicians who'd made the decision to start one. The crowd cheers when he says "And the next time, they're gonna be looking at you," but I wonder if they're cheering because they've been paying attention, and they really got his message, or if they're not taking it any further than "Yeah! Us! We're the ones who're gonna save the day and win the wars!"

Anyway, I hope their cheers and applause are because of the former reason, and not the latter reason. But I have my doubts.

Anyway, most of the above stream-of-conscious thinking -- from "California Girls" to "Captain Jack" to "War" -- zipped through my brain in a lot less time than it takes to tell it. Actual thoughts are like that, don'tcha know! So I'd thought about all of that before the Beach Boys song on the radio had even ended. Then the next song began.

It was Edwin Starr's "War."

Good God, y'all!

Yet another one of those weird little coincidences that make me wonder if I do indeed have some teeny-tiny amount of psychic ability, or even some weird way of manipulating events. Ooooh, cosmic, dudes!

However -- and here's where I magically tie it all together, so pay attention -- if I am truly, so psychically gifted, i.e., if I am so damned powerful -- moohoohahahahahaaaaaa! -- why can I get knocked down by a freakin' summer cold?

To sum up:
  1. I Have The Power!
  2. Having "The Power" ain't worth monkey pus when it comes to the real world.
No wonder so many psychics set up storefronts and go out of business in only a few months!

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Stalling (Recycled Short Shorts)

Nope. No My Island Soundtrack LP yet.

Here's why:

  1. For no apparent reason, my back has been hurting for the past few days. I wish I could blame it on some canoodling gymnastics, but I can't. It's been very difficult to sit comfortably in my computer chair. (Yeah, I know... Another freakin' medical excuse. If you think you're getting tired of those, how do you think I feel?)
  2. Turner Classics Movies ran a Laurel & Hardy marathon.
  3. Sorry. For what this gig pays, two is all you get.
So, I've gone all the way back to the archives of my olllld blog address, and heavily edited not one, not two, but three of my earliest "Short Shorts" entries -- #3, #4, and #5 -- and I'm sticking you with magnanimously presenting them to you!

These entries came from October 26th & November 23rd of 2003, and January 17th of 2004! As you read through them -- assuming you don't just throw up your hands and scream "More f**king reprints!" and stomp away petulantly -- you'll catch a little clue or two which'll convince you that these are, indeed, old posts!

Here ya go...

1) First of all (That's why I strategically placed that numeral "1" there, folks!), here's a bit of unsolicited advice for anyone who writes screenplays, teleplays, prose stories, comic books, et cetera... In fact, it may even apply to people who commit the following gaffe in normal (albeit heavily-affected or otherwise pop-culturally referenced) conversation.

Here's how it works: Two or more people have a confrontation, usually of the verbal variety. By the end of said confrontation, the situation has either become worse, or is at least as bad as it was to begin with. One of the arguing parties leaves. The remaining combatant looks at whomever else is left in the room (or, if he/she is now alone, he/she talks to himself/herself) and says, "That went well."

I've seen this scenario with increasing frequency in a lot of television programs, movies... even in real-life conversations. A lot. And folks, it's getting reallllly tired. It's become a stylistic replacement of sorts for the over-used line of the 1990s, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." It's the predictable catch-phrase for the first decade of the new millennium, if I may be so pompous (and if not, why not? This is my page, innit?).

And all of those above-mentioned reasons add up to why we should all stop using -- or should I say, over-using -- this expression. So here's my unasked-for "advice," friends: Knock it off!

2) Those who enjoy television would find my day job to be a mixed blessing. I have to (yes, have to) keep the TV on all day, while I wait on customers. However, due to the placement of my work area and the TV itself, my back is to the TV most of the time. Add to that the fact that I am at work, dealing with -- and concentrating on -- customers, and it means that I don't get to literally "watch" much of anything.

(Keep that in mind in case I'm wrong about this next bit. I haven't actually -- literally -- seen the commercial I'm about to describe, but I'm pretty sure I heard it correctly.)

There's a new (well, new to me anyway) commercial for Barbasol, a shaving cream that's been around roughly since Babe Ruth was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. And at the end of the commercial, the voice-over tells you that Barbasol is available "in seven flavors" (italics mine, naturally).

Seven flavors!

This is shaving cream, folks, not whipped cream. Please tell me no one's eating this stuff.

(Update from 10/28/03: I was finally able to watch this commercial from beginning to end, and I was right. It does say that Barbasol shaving cream -- actually, shaving gel -- is available in seven flavors. Pretty sick, guys... )

3) If you've recently moved to Massachusetts, and wonder why the natives of this state stare at you in confusion whenever you mention "the DMV," it's because we don't have one here. We have an "RMV." (DMV = Department of Motor Vehicles, RMV = Registry of Motor Vehicles.) Welcome to New England.

4) Writing "Do Not Bend" on something before surrendering it to the USPS is tantamount to handing a child a toy and saying, "Here ya go, kid. This is unbreakable."

5) Some of the most bigoted statements I've ever heard have begun with the phrase "I'm not prejudiced, but..."

6) I happen to own a 16mm film projector. Someday, I'm going to purchase a 16mm copy of one of the classic versions of "A Christmas Carol" -- either the 1938 or the 1951 interpretation will do nicely, thank you -- and run the whole film backwards. It'll be worth it, just to see a kindly old gent named Scrooge turn into a hateful, cantankerous skinflint!

7) I suppose that, by now, you've seen the recent photos of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter," feeding a croc with his right hand, while holding his one-month-old son in his left? Between this mini-scandal and Michael Jackson's dangling his baby from that Berlin balcony just over a year ago, it certainly seems like civic-minded celebrities are doing their part for population control.

On my more ornery days -- and this is obviously one of them, innit? -- my attitude toward children sort of agrees with Jay Leno's attitude about Doritos as espoused in those old commercials: "Crunch all you want; we'll make more."

8) Like Graham Chapman before me, "I don't like spam!" And, naturally, I'm referring to internet "spam," and not the delicious Hormel luncheon meat. *ahem* Anyway, my favorite kinds of spam -- if it's possible to have a "favorite" among items you despise -- are the ads for spam-blocking software! Some of them are really ballsy: "Do you hate spam? WE DO, TOO! So forward this e-mail to everyone in your address book..."

Whoa, dudes! That would make me an accessory, wouldn't it?!?

Anyway, one has to wonder what reaction they expect to get? I suppose it could go something like this:

Man Checking His E-Mail: Wonder if I have anything... Oh, no! Not another spam e-mail! This is the last straw! I hate these things! [pauses] Hey, wait a minute... This one's an ad for a... for a spam-blocker! What a great idea! [begins drafting a "reply" e-mail] "Dear Sir... I hate spam. But, as so many others before me, I've never done anything about it. However, your e-mail has made me see the light, by pushing me over the edge. To reward you, I would like to order..."

Yeah, that'll happen.

By the way, "Spam Blocker" is not the guy who played Hoss Cartwright on Bonanza.

9) Recently, I was slightly disconcerted after clicking on a link which delivered me to an article by Woody Allen. The article itself wasn't disconcerting, it was the original date of the article: 04/01/2004. I read that, and thought, "Huh? It's only January! How can this article be dated April 1st of 2004?" Then I glanced at the masthead of the page, only to learn that the article was originally printed in London's Daily Telegraph. Then I understood.

Most of my readers are in the USA. Americans, as such, may or may not be aware that we often do things differently from the rest of the world -- or most of it, anyway. We measure temperature in Fahrenheit, distance in inches, feet, and miles, weight in ounces and pounds... However, almost everyone else utilizes the Celsius scale, meters and kilometers, grams and kilograms, etc. Back in the '70s and '80s, the USA made a half-hearted attempt to convert to metric systems of measurement, but there was too much opposition, so they just stopped trying. That's why we Americans still use a yardstick to measure, and we can still buy a gallon of gasoline, but if we want to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola, we have to get it in a one-liter or two-liter bottle... or a 20-ounce bottle!

Oh, well, at least our monetary system is based on a metric scale, as it were, 100 cents to the dollar.

Anyway, many countries -- England, for instance -- list their dates differently from us, as well. Where an American would be prone to write "October 15 (or 15th), 2003," a Brit would write "15 October, 2003." So in saying or writing "04/01/2004," they would mean "January 4th, 2004," and not "April 1st, 2004." The momentary disorientation I suffered was only because I'd never actually seen a date like that "translated" into a purely numerical form. I've seen listings like (if I may continue using my October 15th example) "15 October, 2003," but never "15/10/2003," at least, until I read the Woody Allen piece.

(I'm also told that the American military does it the same way. But let's not get into that yet, okay?)

After reading all of this, you may be asking yourself, "And I care because... ?" Well, maybe you don't. However...

The preceding was just a lengthy intro to an observation by myself, which will naturally & predictably be followed by one of my bitchy little directives, of sorts.

Over the past year or two, I've noticed more and more Americans writing their dates in what I'll refer to as "the European way." Well, here's a message to all of you Americans (unless you're in the armed forces): You are Americans. The country or countries your ancestors came from doesn't count, in this instance. You're not French. You're not British. You're not Portuguese. You're not (if I may expand beyond my own, confining "European" terminology) Japanese, Greek, or Nigerian, either. (Although, if you're reading this, and you actually are a Nigerian, lemme ask you something: Are you the one who's been sending me all those spam e-mails offering to make me rich? Well, knock it off!)

So, as far as I'm concerned, if you're an American who insists on writing "15 October, 2003," you'd better start talking like that, as well. If you're going to write "15 October, 2003," say "Fifteen October, 2003." Sounds goofy, doesn't it? You still want to say "October fifteenth," don't you? Well, sucks to be you. You can't have it both ways. (Why not? Umm... 'cause I said so!)

And while I'm berating certain fellow Americans, here's another one of my newly-enacted "laws": Stop putting that horizontal line through the middle of a numeral "7" every time you write one. You're not from f**king Europe!

As I said a bit earlier, I'll make an exception to these two new rules for anyone in the American military. But that's it. As far as the rest of you...

Ahhhh, you're not gonna listen anyway. These are just RantZ. I'm not really in charge.


Now that I've gotten all of that out of my system, maybe I should switch to decaf?

Thanks for your time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cat and the Bat

Microsoft Word ate my soundtrack LP.

No, really.

The other day, I compiled a lengthy list of virtually every song that I planned to include. "All" I had to do was add tons'o'comments, explaining or otherwise justifying the reason(s) each song was included. But when I opened that supposedly-saved document this evening, it was
all gone. Just the lonely cursor, blinking on a virgin page.

Luckily, I do still have a hand-written list, so it could be a
lot worse.

So, what to do while I spend an extra day or two reconstructing it, since the natives tend to get restless for
some kinda post on David'Z RantZ after I've ignored them for two or three days?

Yup, you guessed it! Today
, I'm giving you two recycled entries from my soon-to-be retired old blog address, entries which were originally published on November 20, 2003, and May 16, 2004. I've deleted the original titles because the second old title actually kinda/sorta tipped off the punchline. Odd that I didn't catch that the last time around.

This ought to give those who started reading my blog because of
My Island an idea of what this column usually looks like.

Anyway, here you go, folks... And by the way, I should point out that the two photos -- or should I say, "pikes?" -- on this page
weren't included with the original blogs. They were both chosen for today's post because they sort of combine the themes of these two different entries. And please keep in mind that this first entry is from 2003:

Universal Studios is about to release "The Cat in the Hat," a live-action film based on the Dr. Seuss character. It stars Mike Myers.

Okay, now here's a sick "What If...?" scenario: Due to an error on the part of the casting director, they don't contact Mike Myers (of "Austin Powers" and "Wayne's World" fame), they contact... Michael Myers, the villain from "Halloween!"

Due to the heavy "Cat" make-up, nobody knows it's Michael Myers until after he arrives on the set, and by then, of course, it's too late. A predictable amount of carnage ensues as Michael makes short work of both cast and crew. Uncharacteristically, he decides to clean up, and manages to erase every bit of evidence... except for a small drop of blood. As Michael tries and tries to clean up this infernal drop, it just keeps getting larger, transferring itself to one thing after another, until...

No, wait. That's the plot from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back!

Never mind.

And here's the second:

You're probably aware that the character we know as "Dracula" was based on an actual person, Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century prince of Wallachia. Vlad was admittedly sadistic, but one has to grant him a few points for creativity.

One particular incident concerns an audience he had granted to three Turkish ambassadors. (I've also heard a version of this story which states that there was but one ambassador, but three makes the story even more striking, in my opinion, so that's the version I'll use here.) Noting immediately that the ambassadors had failed to remove their turbans before being ushered into his exalted presence, Vlad stated that he considered this omission to be a sign of disrespect. The men explained humbly -- but firmly -- that it was not a sign of disrespect, but merely their adherence to custom.

Vlad claimed to admire such an attitude. He reinforced his "admiration" by having the turbans nailed to the ambassadors' heads.

For some reason, this pleasant little anecdote occurs to me whenever I see someone walking around in public, doing all his (or her) mundane errands with his cell phone perpetually held to his ear.


Thanks for your time.

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