Here We Go Again

In writing 15+ pieces, I’ve learned alot about myself…

  1. Based on the hit statistics for this blog, I’ve gotta be the most boring, least entertaining writer in history.  Chuck’s better and more consice but even he’s having trouble to help this site find an audience.
  2. That I can now statistically prove my status as a borderline dunce has only inspired me to up my game so as to gain the immortal rank of “dazzling idiot”.  A goal that I can assure you I take seriously. So here’s some more buffoonery for those of you that somehow managed to keep reading to this point…

Anthony Bourdain died this past week. The man was a hero to me in his irreverance for common social standards and in regards to his approach to the food and travel world. His ability and desire to introduce, invite, explain and ultimately unite the viewers/readers into his adventures made him different. There’s just nobody like him and what Chuck might call someone who “pushes it forward”. In my mind, there are three great modern writers, Mike Royko, Hunter Thompson and Dave Barry.  I added Tony to my list some time ago and regret not saying so before.

As low as my standards might be, I usually stay away from poop comedy but I couldn’t help noticing the talking box in my morning commercials that explains how you can achieve colonoscopy-like results by simply sitting down on the toilet and mailing  your “sample” to ’em.  Having gone thru a colonoscopy this sounds like an award-winning idea to me with some important qualifications:

  1. If I understand the process correctly, you poop as usual and then have to somehow fish out your poop sample (tweezers?, gardening shovel?), bag it, tag it and then send it out thru the mail to the intended destination.
  2. Whoever’s on the receiving end of the sample-mailing has my undying respect.  How would like to hear this while your munching on your morning bagel when someone yells out, “Hey Ralph! I have 40 boxes of s#*t for ya today!” and know they’re being literal? I assume the recipients have to don biohazard suits while thinking “what happened to my career and biology degree?” but yet accept more of a paycheck than the average bear might get.  (Well deserved in my opinion.)
  3. I can’t dispense medical advice insomuch as I’m not a physician but colon cancer is serious. I CAN encourage all readers to consult their doctor about this topic.

We all have common fears like mine whether it be rattlesnakes, ticks, standing in waist-deep water on a beach in Cape Cod where Great White sharks are known to inhabit while somebody on the beach might realize they have to suddenly go into red-alert mode like the girl in “Jaws” if they spot an unusually large dorsal fin (or any other dorsal fin for that matter) cutting thru the surface, Nazi air raids, the moon suddenly and inexplicably ramming into planet earth, etc…

I DO NOT like telling people what to do on this blog but I’ll say this. Live like Anthony Bourdain.

Fearlessly.

Jimmy

 

Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me the News

I recently received a jury summons whereby I gotta report to the local county to serve as a juror.  Luckily I also gotta document from my neurologist stating that I’m “unfit” for such duty and therefore must be exempted for such a task. The note from my doctor was put in such nice, polite terms that I started feeling like some kinda wuss.

I’dda much preferred a more intense, raplike version of the note whereby sayin’ “MY PATIENT AIN’T DOIN’ NO S#&T LIKE DAT!!! HE BE A SUFFERIN’ MOTHERF@%&ER AND DON’T NEED TO BE F*%^IN’ AROUND WIT NO MOTHERF&**ERS LIKE YOU!! THE NEXT TIME YOU FIGURE ON SENDIN’ SOME JURY SUMMONS TO MY PATIENT JUST WRITE IT, EAT IT AND THEN SHOOT IT OUTTA YO ASS!!

Moving right along, Chuck stopped over for a visit on Sunday so’s we’d indulge in a buncha food that’s bad for ya, watch the golf tournament and root for our favorite players.  A few beers later, it occurred to us that we’d wanna keep an eye on player Jon Rahm and cheer for him to snap a club in half (which he almost did), cast the now divided club into the gallery and subsequently be brought up on assault and battery charges.  Didn’t happen, but hey, the season is still young.

I dunno why but we’re regularly gettin’ hits from China.  If their spyin’ on us to gain more knowledge of the American intellect then they’re wasting their time.  Otherwise, I say “Welcome!”, it’s beyond cool to have friends from the other side of the world.

Short post today but keep readin’ and thanks for doin’ it.  Ya never know what we’ll say next.

Jimmy

Catchin’ Up (Or Down)

I damn near got myself into a traffic collision today because I was driving at the blazing speed of 8mph (It’d be interesting to get pulled over for this one with the cop asking “Do u have ANY idea of how fast you were going? Me: I dunno, seven?”) which caused me to spin out on my downhill right turn comin’ off a stop sign.  You may be asking yourself, “Jimmy why r u boring us with a story about an accident that never happened?”  I’ll tell you why.  I hadda semi-trailer boss/teacher who instructed me at one point to assume that everyone else on the road is an idiot and therefore can’t be trusted. Normally solid advice but in this case the person driving the oncoming vehicle was going slowly enough as well and also had the wherewithal to swerve around me. I wish I knew who that was cuz I wanna buy ’em a steak dinner.

Chuck’s column about Daoud Shaw was so well written and poignant that I recommend every visitor read it. We call it “One in a Million”

Moving right along, I actually watched the Oscar awards in hopes that someone would say something bat s@%t crazy. Didn’t work out that way but it was amusing that some very low-level celebrity tried to steal Frances McDormand’s “Best Actress” award for 2017.  The guy got busted for it and is now up on felony theft charges.  This reminds me of a story from a few years ago where Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had his Super Bowl rings stolen from his home. Why would anybody do this considering they’re now involved in a felony grand larceny?  Yes, I’ve heard of international thieves who steal valuable diamonds, ancient treasures and artistic masterpieces before but who can they show them to? Who can they sell them to? What satisfaction can be gotten that’s worth the risk of a 12 year prison term?

I was confronted recently with clamshell packaging almost resulting in a wound you’d normally associate with a mountain climber’s fall or suicide attempter (NO DAMMIT! I was just trying to open a package!!) Why can’t they make these things easier to deal with?

Luckily, all the news isn’t negative insomuch as I just learned about a new phenomonon called “Drunken Shopping” (Thank you God) which apparently involves people getting blasted, buying a bunch of stuff they don’t want or isn’t the right size or color when they eventually sober up and then humbly bring the object back the next day demanding a refund as tho it was the store’s fault. If anyone’s looking for a candidate for a new Olympic sport I believe we’ve just hit gold here.

Imagine the announcers play-calling: “Ilsa from Poland has exhibited exquisite form here with her irrational demands for a refund putting the Polish team solidly in the lead!!”

“Juanita from Guatemala has just gone down in aisle ten!!! She looked like she had control of her shopping cart but we’ll hafta go to Paula down on the field for her take on this stunning development!!!”

(Paula) It doesn’t look good here, Jim. Stumbling in a sideways fashion is bad enough but a full-on falldown will take her and her team out of medal contention.”

“Here comes Team USA!!! The sweater choices and sizes have been solid and sensible so far but OH NO!!! Megan just puked on one of the garments costing them valuable style points!!”

I swear to God that I could do this all day.

Thanks for reading and do be sure to hit Mamemagazine.com for great content about music, comedy and current events.

Oh yes.

Jimmy

 

 

One In A Million

Daoud Shaw. An Appreciation. I first had the pleasure of meeting Daoud back in the spring of 2000. I was in a Philly area band called Third Level and we decided that we wanted to record our first (and only) album entitled, “Altered Horizons”. Our guitarist had a friend who had recorded at this little studio out in Andorra on the edge of Philly. So after a couple of introductory phone calls and e-mails, we set up our first recording session. Prior to recording, I did a little research on the owner/producer of this little studio called Radioactive Productions. The guy’s name was Daoud Shaw. I didn’t know the name, but the resume leaped off the page. He played with Van Morrison, he was the original drummer in the SNL band, he toured with Etta James (and by extension, the Rolling Stones), he was in the Jerry Garcia Band and on and on and on it went. I can fully admit this now. I was unbelievably, off the charts intimidated at the prospect of recording with this guy and a little worried that he might be an egotistical jerk. Then I met him. I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life. Daoud was as genuine and as kind and as sweet a person as I have ever known.  We all immediately felt right at home. Literally. We were in his home. He was always so welcoming. That studio was so comfortable and Daoud was the main reason why.

Over the next 6 years, we recorded a number of projects with Daoud. My favorite times in the studio were the times in between takes. When we would all just talk. Daoud would offer (almost always correctly) advice on how to make the song better or different or more appealing. We would be sitting there like little kids asking him about all of the famous people he had met and worked with. There was never and I mean NEVER, a hint of “Look at me and who I know” about Daoud. He was so incredibly humble and so incredibly sweet. Instead of hearing wild stories about Mick and Keith, we would hear fantastic little stories about him going out cymbal shopping with Charlie Watts. Or about the days up in Woodstock, NY when he was recording the “His Band And The Street Choir” album with Van Morrison. Or about when he recorded a ton of TV commercial jingles out in LA.  I learned SO much about the recording process from Daoud. Playing music is an art. Recording music is a science. And Daoud was a mad scientist in that little studio. He helped us create things we never thought possible. I remember one late Friday night where we had laid down an acoustic track that just featured vocals and acoustic guitar. We all agreed that something else was needed. That something was Daoud. He (again, 100% correctly) suggested some light percussion. Well, when you’re in the presence of one of the world’s greatest percussionists, it would be foolish not to at least ask him to play. He didn’t want to. Not out of ego or anything like that. “This is your project”, he kept gently telling us. It might have been the late hour, or maybe he was just tired of us all whining at him, but he finally agreed. He played the shakers and the triangle and, best of all, he let me run the board. I was in heaven. I got to watch the master at work (he played brilliantly) and I got to be the apprentice to the mad scientist. It’s a cherished memory that will stay with me forever.

I think the thing I loved most about knowing Daoud laid beyond the studio. He was, at his core and in his soul, a wonderful, peaceful, funny, beautiful person. During breaks, we would hang outside of his house and just talk. And laugh. Lots of laughter. We wouldn’t talk about music. Just about life. He was so fascinating to listen to. I think I enjoyed those times outside more than when we were inside recording. Daoud was a uniquely special person. I fought back tears this morning when I learned of his passing. But for as long as I’m allowed to stay on this earth, I will be eternally happy that our paths crossed and that I got to know Daoud as well as I did and that I got to consider him a friend.

Rest in Peace, my friend. And Make A Joyful Noise.

Chuck

Random Thoughts Part II

True story.  35 years ago I hadda supermarket job stocking shelves when one day while I was stacking canned green beans a guy comes along claiming he was the original Jolly Green Giant.  His wife/significant other reassured me that this was true but I wasn’t buying it although I nodded at ’em as though I was.  Can u blame me? How many people do u come across in life who claim to be the f#%@ing Jolly Green Giant???

Secondly, we’ve hadda few hits from Canada recently and I feel the need to give ’em a shout-out.  Yep, the next time anyone in the U.S. decides to call u a bunch of backwoods, syrup-slurpin, seal clubbin’ yahoos, rest assured I’ve got yer back.  Despite the many complex and almost desperate issues going on with the Mexican border these days it’s reassuring to know that NO ONE (not even Donald Trump) is planning to build a wall between the USA and Canada.  Why u ask?  The Canucks would rather freeze to death than associate with us and recipricuosly Americans aren’t that much interested in our northern neighbor seeing as we can freeze OUR asses off just fine in New Hampshire, Montana and Alaska when necessary.

The New England Patriots have suddenly decided to get all spooky again. NEVER count out Tom Brady. The Pats/Raiders and Eagles/Cowboys games are gonna be good watching this weekend.

Just a few thoughts and until next time keep a cold one in the cooler for me.

Jimmy

 

Let’s Just Forget it All Happened (’til Later)

“Sexual Harassment” has been a word being thrown around lately as though it’s a thing or even a crime.  Thanks to Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton (some time ago), Bill Cosby and previous president George HW Bush (tho on a way smaller scale) among many others, my morning weather and traffic reports are routinely followed up by some actress coming outta the woodwork accusing him of something that I’m not sure is even a crime.  Don’t get me wrong here, there’s sufficient, even abundant evidence that these guys are arrogant, narcissistic borderline perverts who take advantage of their powerful positions in order to satisfy their own sexual desires, but have they violated the law?

Fear not, for your not so indefatigueable journalist/blogger is on top of it.  In studying this matter I asked my three female bartenders to answer the question of “What IS sexual harassment?” (almost sounds like an NFL penalty when you say it enough times. “The offense is penalized 10 yards for sexual misconduct! The ball will be placed at the 34 yard line! Please reset the game clock to 2 minutes and 34 seconds!”).  The aforementioned bartendresses couldn’t quite come up with a definition themselves despite my lurid and depraved examples, but they all felt that they just know it when they hear or see it.

Fair enough.  So let’s delve deeper into this issue by searching the internet for an accurate, fair description…

“harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.”

The EEOC (“you’re tax dollars at work!”) came up with an actual definition of the legality of this question:

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

AHA!! Now we have a clear definition!! Unfortunately, these rules would necessitate the incarceration of every male in the USA, so let’s probe further.  Let’s say that a guy who’s not so great lookin’ (let us call him “Gus”) busts a move on a way overly made-up, leopard-skinned clad, fake blond floozy of a woman while simply asking her out for dinner (let us call her “Wanda”) and gets rejected.  Is Gus guilty of “an unwanted sexual advance”? Next, let’s say a total douchebag of a moron named “Iggy” says the exact same thing to Wanda only this time she accepts.   Is Iggy off the hook here because Wanda accepted his advances while Gus is suddenly in trouble?

Here’s why I setup this example.  Gus apparently made an “unwanted sexual advance” simply because he got shot down by Wanda whereas Iggy’s cool insomuch as his advance was accepted by Wanda and  therefore must be considered a wanted advance.

Now let’s consider Gus to be outta the picture seeing as he may or may not have sudden legal problems requiring a lawyer under the rules previously mentioned and concentrate on Iggy. Taking this further, let’s also say Iggy is Wanda’s boss and could promote her career in ways that Gus never could leading to Wanda’s acceptance of Iggy’s advance.  Heh, heh, NOW WE’RE TALKIN’!

Here’s where Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and every other self-entitled semi-molester in a position of power is gonna get it. Or so you would think…

The key here seems to be that the guy inflicting the harassment has to be in a position of power. A studio executive, a politician, a rock music star (funny that rock stars rarely seem to have this issue. Maybe their “aquaintances” don’t aspire to anything I guess) or a person of heavy influence over their targets careers.  Can Iggy and Wanda have a relationship just because they love each other and want to be together? What if it is at first and things go downhill inside of a month and they just break it off? Is Iggy guilty here?

If sexual harassment is so pervasive and so humiliating why does it seem to take forever for the victims to say something?  What changed after all these years? Were they too young and hopeful at the time or are they just looking to cash in on an opportunity to stick it to that guy?  Maybe the women were so humiliated that they felt ashamed and just wouldn’t admit it until they’d grown up.  To be blunt, are we talking about female golddiggers here or powerful, manipulative men taking advantage of vulnerable young women?

I still wonder how you define this. It seems to boil down to “he said, she said” and lacking Monica Lewinsky’s dress, how do you know for sure?

Please hit Mamemagazine.com when you have a chance.  Great writing and top-notch photo content.

Until next time,

Jimmy

 

We’ll Take the Bill Now Waiter

I love progress, I really do.  It’s gotten so dysfunctionally slick that instead of just getting an e-mail showing what I owe on my cable bill I receive a full-on, condescending video of what I owe with audio notes explaining how I got into this mess in the first place.

Being a forward-thinkin guy, I’d like to recommend the next step in our world of progress by suggesting that my cable provider invent a cartoon character called “Billy: Your Friendly Bill Explainin’ Squirrel” wherein Billy would explain to us how idiotic and self-indulgent it was to order “Wanda Does Walla Walla” in a moment of weakness last month, resulting in a “very reasonable” charge of $17.99 per viewing.  Billy could then step into the next phase of the billing process where he resolves absolutely none of our questions in the billing and tax phase of our bill to the point of imparting in an appropriately high, squeaky voice “HAHA!!! F*&# YOU and I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA!! or “GET A LIFE GOOMBAH!

Still, I have high hopes for our theoretical friend. Being cute and fuzzy can really take u a long way in this world, much like the Terrier outside my window who figures it sound thinking to bark his ASS off at 2:30 in the morning. Getting back to Billy, I’d like to see his lovability used as a force for positive change bringing love, peace, goodwill, free love, opioids and all the other fun stuff that modern society provides us.

To be honest, all I’ve been doing in the preceding paragraphs is running interference while waiting for Chuck’s response to this e-mail:

Me: “1st off, I went to Nick’s for a beef combo and gravy fries today cuz I just couldn’t take it anymore after 3 months of introverted denial (Evil demon on left shoulder: “get Nick’s roast beest w/gravy fries Jim, Chuck would WANT u to do it” while the angel on my right shoulder is saying “No, no it’s a sign of betrayal!”

Guess which side won.  Having just driven 8 hours up and 8 hours back to and between a wedding in Provincetown, MA I’da thought that a good post or two would be easy money, but no dice. As my sister so eloquently put it “I can’t believe we got thru that incident-free.”  (My family’s weddings usually qualify as some kinda spectacle that’d make the Cirque du Soleil jealous.)

Having noted all this I’ll take ANYTHING in the way of ideas for a post (it’s been a while, man.) including your scientific opinion on the preservation of mastodon fossils.  Lacking that, I’ll post this e-mail and WHATEVER thoughts on the subject of wooly mammoths as u may  be so kind as to impart.”

As fun and wonderful a writer Chuck is he can also be a surly, recalcitrant bastard when he wants to be. Fear not, for I shall harass him when/where necessary. This is my solemn promise to u.

Oh, Tom Petty died last week as most of us know by now.  One person fancied him an equivalent American songwriter equal to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (allow me to throw in John Lee Hooker) in a statement I’ll never disagree with. Once again lemme see if I can git this video goin’ (it always seems to be a challenge) If not, listen to The Travelling Wilburys “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” on your own.  You’ll be glad u did.

Stay safe and be strong.

Jimmy