Friday, March 31, 2017

Pay Attention!

This weekend I went on a wife-commissioned emergency egg purchase to the grocery store.

In front of me stood a huge massive slab of man (twice as large as I am and I'm pretty big). The manager/stock-boy made the mistake of asking Sasquatch how he was doing.

"Well, my back hurts," he says.

"That's great," the stock-boy replies.

Clearly, neither one was engaged in the conversation. They didn't hear each other, communication nil and rote. But I was there, Johnny-On-The-Spot, so you don't miss a scintillating moment.

Communication is important. Often, I see people--couples--sitting at a restaurant, not chatting. Tap-tap-tapping away on their phones as if they can't tolerate one another's company. Sad and silent.

I have an old-fashioned flip-phone. Texting is a tedious nightmare (tap, tap, tap...crap!...start over...tap, tap, tap...). But the stone-age phone helps me communicate, engaged with my wife when we go out.

I'm there.

If I see you in public engaging in such activity, I'll be forced to make a citizen's arrest. "Public Rudeness." You've been duly warned.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Some things just don't jell well with testicles...

Testicles are an important topic, one overlooked by many people. Others would rather just skirt the issue entirely. In this day and age where every Terribly Important Issue has a cable "news" show devoted to it, it's about time testicles came out of the shadows and thrust into the open.
If I have to be the brave journalist (everyone else is one these days, so I'm tossing my hat into the ring) to cast the much needed spotlight on testicles, so be it.

They're here, not very pretty, get used to it!

Sadly, testicles have been reduced to a comic device in films, the (literal) punchline in crappy comedies (see the unfortunate Home Alone series). In what world is groin damage considered comical? Apparently many people find blows to the junk the height of hilarity. YouTube and America's Home Videos are living proof of this sadistic anomaly.

But any guy who's ever suffered testicular embarrassment or irritation, not to mention full-on injury, will testify there's nothing funny about such shenanigans

For example... 

Not too long ago, I developed "jock itch."

I said, "But, doc, I'm not a jock. I don't even watch sports! My idea of sports is gambling!"

My doctor shook her head, wrote me a scrip. Couldn't wait to get me out of her office.

Even with the prescription filled, I couldn't scratch that itch. It kinda' scared me. I became desperate: cooking home remedies, sacrificing kittens, studying Scientology, watching late night infomercials. Anything.

One day I found a tube of ointment in the medicine cabinet, a sample my wife, a knowledgeable medical professional, brought home from a conference. I found the timing fortuitous.

"Soothes skin itching and burning," the label proudly proclaimed.

Hoo-hah! Celestial trumpets! (Just as long as it's not that "wah-wah-wahhhh" insulting, cartoon trombone). A dream come true! I couldn't wait to apply the miracle salve!

After I lathered it on my testicles, my wife says, "Wait! It's not for that! Don't--"

Too late. Fire ripped through my nether regions. I jerked, shimmied, frugged like I was in one of those stupid '60's beach movies ("Hey, Moondoggy, my 'nads are wayyy gone, baby!"). Fanning the area for all the good it did me.
Photos to follow...

Whoever thought it was a good idea to apply menthol to testicles needs to seriously do some reexamining. (It's kinda' like "Ben-Gay." Why in hell the ubiquitous "Ben" is so gay--as in "happy"--is beyond me.)

Frankly, America needs to hear more about testicles. I'm thinking of doing a pod-cast.

"You're on the air with Testicle Talk..." 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Smush-faced, violent kissing on screen!

This goes out to all the ladies. Looks painful, doesn't it?

The '50's and early '60's presented a line of cinematic leading men who really threw themselves into their kissing scenes. What gusto!

I'm talking smashed face, violent, lips out of whack, full-on kissing that didn't look comfortable at all. The man would just thrust his lips and mouth all over his poor unsuspecting costar and hold her tight, captive, by the shoulders. Painful.

Was this considered romantic back then?

Let's see...we had George Peppard. Man, he liked to really get in there, smash, wiggle about, do some serious lip damage. Bogart always looked like a very uncomfortable kisser, but Lauren Bacall apparently disagreed. Gregory Peck, stalwart that he was, always looked ill at ease making out. Sure, his characters were always supposed to be rock solid moral, but his kissing scenes appeared just as wooden. James Dean always looked like he was kissing himself. Anthony Quinn and Ernest Borgnine are probably better left unmentioned (but some time look up how Ernest used to torture his wife with a "dutch oven." The horror, the horror!).
Movies taught me how to romance women. So I smooshed my way through high school, into early college. Sorry for the bruised lips, girls.

Probably shoulda' watched different movies.

Friday, March 10, 2017

My great (maybe not so "great") grandparents owned slaves!

I come from a long line of racists. Most in denial, yet oddly proud of it.
First of all...apologies for my ancestors' past transgressions.

My dad stuck by his convictions. I didn't agree, didn't like it, but at least he was honest about where he stood.

"I'm racist, son," he'd say, "and I don't mean maybe."

I'm not really sure what prompted his racism. He'd hinted at his past, some bathroom incident when he was in the army. I never pushed too far. Didn't want to. Some things are better off buried.

But as an impressionable young child, I couldn't understand why my parents disliked everyone un-WASPy.

"Why do you hate black people, Mom?" I'd asked.

"Me?" she said. "I don't hate colored people. There's some good dark boys out there."

"What about Jewish people? Wasn't Jesus Jewish?"

"Jews! Jews killed Jesus!"

"Hm. What about Catholics? What's wrong with Catholics?"

"Mercy sakes. They worship Mary!"

End of discussion. No insight gained.

With age (and I hope enlightenment), I discovered how ludicrous all of that nonsense was.

I spent years and years fighting my parents on this, trying to change their minds, to look at things differently, more accurately and humanely. Pointless as battling a tornado with a fly-swatter. Best I could hope for is not to get sucked into the crazy.

My mom's still a hard-charging, practicing bigot. Not too long ago, she dropped a shocking racist slur.

"Mom," I screamed, oh so righteously (probably more than was merited, but such is the cross to bear when you're a white, guilt-stricken liberal), "that's racist and ugly!"

"Me?" Her eyes batted, vacant, innocent. "I'm not racist. Just as long as the darkies know their place."

Yow. Spoken like a slave-owner.

Speaking of which, I found out my great grandparents owned slaves, for Gawd's sake. (Sorry, sorry, sorry...)

My dad once told me, "Son, you come from good stock." Regardless of Dad's simile to cattle, there's nothing really tasty about racism.

Recently, I couldn't help myself. Fun where you can get it.

"Mom," I said, "you know a lot of historians say Jesus was black, right?"

Silence. A long, interminable silence. Zillions of crickets. Finally, "Bah. What do historians know?"

Ladies and gentlemen, my mom! She'll be here all weekend!

One of my parents is still on earth, one passed. They taught me many great things. But my disagreement with them over racial issues is set in stone. Weird thing, though, is my love for my folks is oddly, humanly intact. Ugly warts and all.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The mad (boy) scientist!

Not a hyperbolic '50's sci-fi film! Not a cautionary tale ripped from today's headlines about a meth-cooking tweaker in the Midwest!
This is an autobiographical tale of scientific discovery and ensuing tragedy.

In the '70's, I asked "Santa Claus" for a chemistry set. He delivered.

Hunkered in the basement, the first thing I tackled was an experiment involving sulfur, wax and flame. (If you're wondering what a kid was doing playing with fire in the basement, that was par for the course in the late '60's and early '70's. All the cool toys involved an element of danger. Miniature hot plates that could set houses on fire! Dangerous electrical devices that produced sun-like heat! Red hot iron plates. Sure you suffered burns from time to time. Part of the cool allure. Nothing like the namby-pamby, politically correct and all-too-boring toys made nowadays.) Anyway, my first experiment produced a rotten egg smell. Awesome!

It worked so well, the entire house reeked and my parents confiscated my chemistry set. Man! Parents are such a drag!
Two years later...

"But, Mom and Dad," I whined, "I love science..."

Shamelessly, I played to my parents' wish (hope?) that an intelligent person resided somewhere in my juvenile delinquent body.

Ta daaa! That Christmas, I got another chemistry set! Beautiful! 

Immediately, I retreated to my basement lab. And commenced with the rotten egg smell again.

Thirty minutes later, my second chemistry set was confiscated.

Parents just don't get it! Sooo uncool!

I think they pretty much gave up on me at that point.