Goodbye cruel world.

Posted: February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Two Bruces have had it. Despite all our hard work, insightful opinions, erudite musings, sophisticated recipes (er, scratch that one. We didn’t really!), political views, and scatalogical humor, your plebian tastes left you woefully unprepared for which we were happy to serve you. Blame it on a public school system that proffers a lunch program where even a GMO menu would be an improvement.

1796102282_ce86149fc2 Yeah, uh-huh!

Or you could blame it on a political system that provides generally only two candidates with which to entertain us and usually not that well either. Third party candidates are often entertaining but don’t have the budget to cut through the crap the others are throwing up. We use “throwing up” most unguardedly. Cast some blame over there.

How about the preponderance of television shows worshipping at the altar of food? Gordon Ramsey, Nigella Lawson, the fat guy who eats everything, the other fat and balding guy who eats everything, Anthony Bourdain, the Australian guy who looks like he just got out of jail or rehab or both, Alton Whoever, and all the others who would advise you to eat well, eat often, and eat crap. Yeah, you could place some of the blame on them too.

Blame it on personal electronics. How many of you really need to divorce yourself from the world listening to lousy quality music through ear buds? Ear Buds? Really? They sound like something one plants in the spring and waits for the mutant harvest to reveal itself by fall. Ear buds… it sounds like a new Budweiser product. They really contribute to the global dialogue.

Viagra, Cialis (what the hell do those two bathtubs mean anyway!?), Levitra. Oh yeah ED. It seems like there’s an epidemic of ED going around. If you ask Bruce or me, it’s code for special ed and we all know what that means. C’mon, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

So, we could go on, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Even our mothers don’t read this any longer. Convince us otherwise and we’ll continue with the tripe you like. If not, see you on the other side.

Bruce and I, over a wee dram the other night, were discussing the latest in bridge peccadilloes. The latest of course being that of the redundantly named NJ Governor Chris Christie, Fort Lee, and the George Washington Bridge. Where it will all go is anyone’s guess, but this being New Jersey, my old home state, we should be prepared for an entertaining slew of theories, accusations, denials, finger-pointing, more denials, and ultimately not being any closer to the truth than when this story first broke.


But in digging through the archaeological rooms of our library, we discovered that bridges have played more rolls in bringing politicians down, or at least to heel, than assisting them in reaching across chasm-like aisles.

Who can forget the lovely Sarah Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere? To where did it lead her? Yes, she is still on the national scene pandering to those old white men who feel they would like to get her in a voting booth for some “fact-finding” or at least go moose hunting with her? Even cable TV tossed her aside, not once, but twice. Maybe she can get a gig as a guest host on Duck Dynasty which despite its questionable politics is quite funny.


Don’t even mention Chappaquidick. Oops, sorry we did. That was a tidy little bit of bridgework from which Teddy never fully recovered. Of course as with all bridges too far, it was littered with denials before the truth was eventually outed. What is it about bridges that lead pols to folly if not ruination?

And what about Congressman Wilbur Mills (R-Arkansas) and the Tidal Basin Scandal featuring stripper Fanne Foxe. Stopped for a traffic violation, old Fanne bolted the car and jumped into the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC to escape. They didn’t even wait to cross the bridge! That finally gave Fanny an amount of exposure she had never dreamed of previously.


History is filled with bridges which rather than do what they were originally constructed to do have achieved just the opposite. Just ask the River Kwai.


But at least, it helped Sir Alec Guinness’s career immensely.

The show opens with a long shot of the New Mexico landscape. It’s late December and there’s snow on the ground and covering the distant mountains. Panning to a deserted road, we see a line of slurred footsteps retreating into the distance. Barely discernible is the soft huffing of a labored breathing. The camera stays stationary then slowly pans back to a figure hobbling away from it on the side of the road.

Zooming in from the back, it’s a man clutching his side. He’s wearing an oddly familiar hat worn slightly askew. His breath comes out in cloudy exhalations. A new long shot from the front of the man reveals blood on his shirt and jacket. An unkempt beard, bloodshot eyes, glasses, one lens now broken, and it’s Walter White. He lives.


Cue music – “White Christmas.”

Up come titles and theme music. It’s the new Breaking Bad – the Christmas Special. With special appearances by: Giancarlo Esposito, Dean Norris, and of course Bryan Cranston. Special uncredited appearance by Claire Danes reprising her role as Carrie Matheson, unhinged as usual, searching for Brody.

First scene has a miserable, little Christmas tree, leaning against a wall with a pitifully small amount of cheap ornaments on it. It’s a rundown office inhabited by one Saul Goodman. He is Jewish but he panders to just about anybody, hence the tree. There is also a menorah on a bookshelf, proof of his broad-mindedness. He is as usual on the phone trying to work some deal. The background music is once again Tommy James and the Shondell’s Crystal Blue Persuasion. Saul is not happy and is drinking heavily. He hangs up the phone and falls into an alcoholic stupor.

He’s awoken by a pounding on the door. It’s Gustavo Fring from Los Pollos. Saul thinks maybe he’s brought over a Christmas time chicken dinner until he realizes Gus is dead. He panics and looks for a way out to avoid Gus. It doesn’t matter – Gus walks in, right through the wall, with a chain of styrofoam plates over his shoulders and legs, smelling not so much of death as of left-over fried chicken. “Saul, you need to come with me. There’s not much time.”

Saul sweats. “You’re dead. You should be with all the fried chicken you ate. What are you doing here?”

Gus speaks no more, instead pointing to a vaporous hole in the wall and beckoning Saul to follow. Following, Saul is instantly transported to a Toys’R’Us store where a very young Jesse Pinkman is buying a children’s chemistry set.


“What is he doing? Is that how he started? Why?,” Saul bleats.

Gus responds, “His father was the school crossing guard who was hit by a hit and run driver that you so-called defended and lost big time. He was left with a chronic whiplash and prostate problems that Jesse is trying, with his chemistry set, to medicate its pain. You were the cause of his eventual downfall. Saul. Everything has consequences.” And with that, Gus is gone and Saul is back in his crappy, faux-roman office, sweating and cursing.

But Saul refuses to believe he had a hand in what was to follow. It was just too incredible.

He sits back in his Unclaimed Freight recliner chair, downing large amounts of Richards Wild Irish Rose. He once again falls asleep.

This scene sees Saul awakening to a very rude shaking of his shoulder by one Hank Schrader. Hank looks pissed as he usually does. We see him as he was in mid-physical therapy condition. Saul sees him as one more nightmare. “Saul, get the hell up off your fat butt! We’ve got somewhere to go.”

“Go away, you’re not real,” Saul whimpers. “You’re just a bad dream caused by a lousy empanada I had for dinner.”

“You’re right, Saul. I am a bad dream that’s about to get worse. Come with me.”

Saul resists and Hank smacks him on the back of his head. “OK, OK, I’m coming. But why me?”

“Saul… you were the root of so much trouble, I don’t even know where to begin. But here’s a start.” And with that they’re standing in the parking lot of used RV’s. “Starting to make sense yet, Saul?”


“WHAT?!” What does this have to do with anything?”

Hank grimaces, as if just the act of standing there gives him pain. “Saul, did you or did you not sell an RV to a very young Walter White?”

“Oh, c’mon! You’re gonna put that on me? How was I to know? I did that when I was in law school. I needed the money.”

Hank echoes a previous refrain, “Don’t even try and convince me that was a law school, Saul. DeVry doesn’t offer law. But, as you know, everything has consequences, Saul. Everything.” Hank disappears as did Gus leaving Saul alone.

Saul shudders, he couldn’t believe this was happening. He wondered if there was any of that Richards Wild Irish Rose left. There is, he’s pour it out and starts drinking it quickly. But then… and once again, he passes out.

The following scene finds Saul as he realizes he is sitting in his car, drenched and getting wetter. What the hell? He looks out the car window and it is pouring harder than he ever saw before. Hell, it’s even coming in horizontally and then Saul realizes he’s in a car wash. Specifically, Walter White’s car wash. He turns around and sees sitting next to him, covered in suds, wheel bright, carnauba wax, and Rain-x, Walter White with a rather evil, foamy grin on his face. “Hi Saul.”

“Nonononono! You’re just a dream! I thought you were dead. I know that much!”

Walter reaches out and smears some suds all over Saul’s face. “Still think this is a dream? Think I’m a dream? No, Saul. I was and still am, your worst nightmare. After all, nobody really dies in syndication.”

Saul blanches, even through the suds. “What is happening to me? Why is this happening?”

“Saul, Saul… you don’t get it, do you? You have to change. You can’t go on as before. You know too much and have been behind most of the bad crap that’s gone on for five years. We have plans for you.”

The car comes out of the car wash, damp but very clean, into a bright, sunny New Mexico morning. Walter leans over to Saul and instructs him to drive to his office.

Saul is besides himself. He looks terrified and is on the verge of crying. “What are we doing here? I’m supposed to be far away from all this.”

Walter gleefully grins at Saul. “You still don’t get it, Saul. I said we have plans for you. Let’s go in your office and it will all be clear.”


They get out of the car and walk into Saul’s office, only to find it is a large sound stage. Saul whimpers again, “What is this? Who ARE you?”

“Saul, I really thought you would have guessed it by now. I’m the Development Director from AMC. Your contract with us is in perpetuity. Welcome to your new series. Between this and syndication of the old show, we own you. Your life is now as we write it! Remember, everything has consequences.”

Walter walks off the sound stage into darkness. The Carpenter’s song “We’ve Only Just Begun” comes up, screen fades to blackness over Saul’s wails of “Why me? Why me?”

Out and titles, “Coming to AMC, 2014.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Russki Novi Rok to all!

One of the pursuits we Bruces enjoy is sitting in a dark room, next to each other, gazing longingly into the eyes of a monstrously large actor on the theatre screen. Yeah, we knew what you were thinking, so just disavow yourself of such smutty thoughts. Not that we’re against smutty thoughts. Just the contrary, we’re all for them as long they don’t involve each other in each other’s arms. We’ve both got semi-tolerant spouses for that. But we digress.

After having just spent some ill-used time and copious money (Have you seen the price of tickets lately? Gwyneth Paltrow does not deserve that kind of money!) in a movie house, we’ve decided that Hollywood and all the indie film makers have lost their mojo, assuming they had it in the first place. It seems like some of these “directors” have an interesting first film in them but then they move on to making the same damn film over and over again. And don’t get us started on actors. Does Mark Ruffalo have any other characters in his repertoire? (Aside here – both Paltrow and Ruffalo will be in an upcoming film together! Why? Oh, why?)

So what is the solution? Bruce and i have figured it out. Sure it’s a little formulaic, but it’s Hollywood and it will ensure an endless stream of semi-original films at possibly significant savings. Add that to the inevitably higher ticket prices and Hollywood will be able to contribute as much money to any candidate’s campaign they wish to. Just as long as Mark Ruffalo doesn’t run for anything.

After a movie is finished what happens to all the props and sets? That’s a lot of cash tossed away for a film which more than likely will go straight to video. Does anyone know how many films Paul Giamatti has really made? Since more of them go directly to video, it’s immeasurable. We have the solution. No, we won’t out-source films. That would mean too many interminable French and Swedish films, more preposterous Japanese monster films, and features from Alexandra Pelosi.

195042874_e4fa93b1f3   Anyone know which film this is?

We want to repurpose films. By that we mean an entirely new film genre: recombinant film-making or RFM. Why won’t the sets or props from one film work in an another? Hell why can’t stories be combined creating brand new franchises? It would also create previously unimagined audience bases. Here are some ideas we’ve come up. After reading this, feel free to share your ideas for new flicks with us. We might even take it into development.

Forrest Gump: The Awakening – Forrest meets Kate Beckinsale from the Underworld series. Run like hell Forrest!

5686239332_ab36888e27                                      Life is like a nest of vampires in this retelling.

Terminator VS. The Care Bears – He did come back and now’s he’s showing his softer side. Funded in part by Charmin.

The Bourne Legacy: Wanted – Will Hunting. Matt Damon does double duty here and gets to date and then ultimately “take out” Minnie Driver. How do you like them apples?

All the President’s Cranky Old Men – CGI saves the day as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are brought back to cinematic life opposite their nearly as old “costars” Redford and Hoffman in this riveting tale of nursing home abuse in DC. Gwyneth Paltrow is featured as Nurse Ratchett in an uncredited cameo.

5406686391_9d5174b497                                      Nurse Ratchett, right?

Something about Harry Potter – Harrison Ford reprieves his Something about Henry role but re-imagined as a very senior and doddering Harry Potter. Happier still, but can’t find his wand and keeps asking who’s Dumbledore. Oscar buzz on this one.

Don Jon DeMarco – Pairing up Johnny Depp with Joseph Gordon Levitt has to be one of the most savvy Hollywood moves in a long time. A CGI (again!) generated Marlon Brando comes back along with a taxidermic Faye Dunaway to deal with problems of a conflicted genius porn addict and his imaginary psychotic friend. Will appeal to several generations of undiscriminating movie goers. Popcorn sales guaranteed to be at record highs.

Back to the Once and Future King – Michael Fox stars in a once-in-a lifetime film, he plays all the roles. In this retelling of an Arthurian fantasy, Fox returns to Camelot only to have his one way back to the present, his DeLorean, broken up and hammered into armor.

4100030094_5fe0b111d9    Just one more time.

The Heart is a Lonely Deer Hunter –  In this brilliant mash-up of Vietnam angst and Carson McCullers novel about a deaf man, John Singer, is envisioned as a cautionary tale about sending handicapped people to war and what occurs when they return. Hayden Christensen plays the role originally portrayed by Robert DeNiro.

The Princess Bride of Frankenstein – A tender but comic retelling of a misanthrope locked in a fairy morality play quoted way too many times in pop culture. Inconceivable!

So, you get the idea. RFM is the wave of the future. We could go on and on about this but we’ve just been contacted about making a musical version of Breaking Bad. See you all later.

We confess… we go to a gym. More specifically, a fitness center. One of those shiny open 24 (!) hours ones (do they think they’re New Jersey, for crissakes!), with an entire host of medieval devices designed to thoroughly torture you into submission all the while building you up to resemble an ancient deity, depending of course on your peculiar body type. Yeah, we go to one of those. It’s cheap, nearby, and there are thankfully people who look a hell of lot worse than us. Are we small for saying that? Well, maybe small was the wrong word – after all we are going to this place.

But, more often than not we get the feeling that we’re watching outtakes from the cantina scene in the original Star Wars. There are creatures there we don’t and can’t possibly recognize as  human. There are beings there we don’t understand at all. And it transcends gender. Getting fit is one thing; getting weird, unless you’re in Austin, is another.

9394332501_a74f9a5b31  How do my delts look, man?

The age span is unbelievably broad. From seniors who should know better than to hurt themselves in such ways to children(!), yes children who unless morbidly obese shouldn’t need such self-inflicted agony on their way to physical supremacy.

Not only are the mutated bodies otherworldly, so is the clothing. Normally, a lot of this would be found in a discarded grocery bag found by the drop-off bin at a charity store. But upon closer inspection (please, not that close!), one can see that good money was laid out for this. The tell-tale signs are otherworldly bright colors and insane graphics. Coupled with lycra straining against unbelievable tectonic pressures and it’s a miracle there haven’t been more cellulite explosions pasting innocent victims against gym walls.

One style that many guys appear to favor is the t-shirt with the collar band cut off along with missing sleeves. All the better to show you my delts and biceps, n’est ce pa? It’s a look that went out with the original Flashdance movie. And Jennifer Beals rocked it a hell of lot better than they do. Besides, if a guy is not from New Jersey, don’t try and look like one, poseur! Truthfully, it doesn’t work there either. The same goes for headbands on anyone. You wind up looking like baby Huey.

4524567027_f72bb3d4fa Get the idea?

But those aren’t the only issues with t-shirts. More often than not, the shirt is over-sized or advertising something. Commonly it’s a bar which explains why that person is there either working off fat or a hangover. Then there are those concerned citizens whose shirts celebrate some kind of rally, race, auction, cause, church gathering, or a prayer breakfast for literacy. We can’t forget the family reunion shirts either. Do you really need to be reminded who your family is? We sure as hell don’t. We guess we need to revisit those rules about t-shirts: wear it torn and unadorned or advertise and wear your size. It’s a start.

In a reverse sort of “don’t look at my body, I’m a person not a piece of meat”, men have adopted to wearing enormously baggy shorts as currently favored by NBA players. Gone are the good old days when a bit of leg showing was OK. On the other hand if you’re a woman, you are probably wearing the tightest of lycra (here we go again!) shorts which are painted-on-your-body tight. Yeah, they’re comfortable, but so are baggy gym shorts and you won’t get candida. Think about it.

Has anyone noticed the trend in gym shoes? Some of them make sense in case there’s a power outage and you can’t find your way out of the dark. They’re that bright. The same unfortunately can’t be said of those wearing black gym shoes with matching socks. Really? Does one really need to wear formal gym shoes while working out? So in keeping with that, how about the gym rat who wears the tuxedo t-shirt? He’d better be wearing black shoes to match especially after Labor Day.


Now the gym we go to, sorry – fitness center, is pretty complete. In addition to all the equipment, it features lockers, showers, toilets, and water fountains. So why in hell do people bring in bottled water? Why is there a vending machine, right next to the water fountain, selling bottled water along with other drinks designed to match your hideously colored shoes?  Why indeed.

And what about the inhabitants of this sweat shop? Grotesquely over-developed muscles make the body do rather odd things. Many of the denizens cannot walk straight through a regular door as their arms are sticking out from their bodies at strange angles. They appear to be at the ready in case they’re dropped into a tub of scalding water and are preparing to launch themselves out accompanied by terrified screams.

They also walk funny, duck-like almost, as their feet are splayed out also at ridiculous angles. Couple that with the psychedelic colored shoes, cut-off t-shirts, tightly clutching water bottles, and baggy gym shorts/or lycra and you’ve got a cast of extras from a typical Troma film. Good times, good times.

7439327504_7ea446bdf8                                                                  And as much depth as this cardboard cut-out.

So, during an hour or so at Castle Glute, one can witness all of this and more. So tell me why we pay for cable tv when this is so much more entertaining??

Previously: He’s discovered a new Czardas channel he’s been dying to listen to but Pooch says it makes her homesick. This has gotten plenty weird, way weird enough for me to last several lifetimes. But, right, it’s about to get even stranger.

And now: So the jewelry was bought. Thousands were spent by Pooch and Ginger on their Bataan-like Death March shopping spree. No prisoners were taken but a hell of a lot of merchandise was. I’m assuming it was paid for, bankrolled by Zoltan’s generosity, but with these two, who knows?

8632644852_d54706acfb                                    It ain’t shopping!

Zoltan gathers us up in his car and takes us someplace he guarantees will shake my very foundations. Well, those weren’t his words exactly, but you get the gist, right? And he is right. We drive to some abandoned Hardee’s Hamburger joint. It’s seen better days, certainly better than their food. It’s barely standing on its own. There is nothing else around it. It looks like it was dropped by some refugee from Area 51, it’s so out of place. The only thing around it is a suspiciously familiar Honda CR-V. This is starting to creep me out big time. I know of only one other person with a CR-V and with specialty plates like these. We pull up and part next to it. Someone in a NY Giants jersey is sitting in it listening to folk music while gorging on Raisinets. This is going downhill fast. It could only be one person.

He gets out, smiling sheepishly, chocolate smudging the corners of his mouth. “You didn’t think I was going to let you get away with this, did you, Fog Calamari? What kind of schmuck name is that, Bruce?”

3949821038_77224c539a                                   The other other Bruce is back, not this one.

“Er, Hi Bruce.” It’s the other Bruce. I thought I had gotten rid of him months ago. He disappeared and left me to do this and now he walks right back in as if nothing had happened. Doesn’t he know how successful “Fog Calamari” has been? He probably does. I’m in negotiations right now for serialization and film. And now he wants back in? The big question in my mind is how did he find me? “Bruce, how did you find me?”

“Really? You don’t know? Zoltan, educate the poor boy.”

Zoltan grins at me. “We knew you were planning to highjack the blog. We watched you. You think it was coincidence that Ginger was on that bus with you? Brucie baby (I hate that name Brucie and so does Bruce, but Zoltan knew it bugged me so he used it.),  you’re smarter than that or at least I thought so. I want in on Fog. We are partners after all.” He was right but damned if I was going to share Fog with him.

“Look Bruce, Fog was cute. Clever a little too. But the blog is sacred and we’ve got to get it back to where it belongs – social commentary nobody cares about. My life hasn’t been the same since The Two Bruces morphed into Fog. That’s just not right. We gotta fix this.”

“And how do you propose that? Fog has been growing.”

Bruce looked at me as if I was a fresh bag of string cheese, hungrily. “Easy, Brucie (him too?) baby. We do both. The Two Bruces will return and you can do your miserable Fog thing. Just keep it away from me. Some of those characters are just creepy. capisce?”

I capisced. But I knew Fog would be back. And soon.

Previously: Zoltan, turning around, hands each of us a handgun, saying these were for good luck. I have an aversion to guns of any size, with any predilection for luck of any kind. I started to protest when Zoltan made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was to start packing, and not my bags: we were going to the mall!

And now: Great. Out of the frying pan into the fire. If there’s anything I like less than bus rides, tarted-up Caddies, and hand guns, it’s shopping malls. Being originally from Jersey where malls are as ubiquitous as Mickey Dee’s, I believe they contribute as much to divorce as infidelity and as much to disease as handrails in hospitals. They are as bad as a war zone in Bosnia, only with free parking and not as pretty. But to the mall we were going. Zoltan likes malls because of the free parking and they appear to be open all the time.


Obviously, not the most current of malls, but where the hell were we anyway?

And as if that weren’t bad enough, Pooch (the for-sale-bride) and Ginger were hitting it off, exchanging the latest in cutting-edge fashion ideas. The bastard child of this retail coupling could only be likened to that of the illegitimate lovechild between Frankenstein and the Kardashians, with the nod for good taste going to old Frank. I hope the stores were well-stocked. And Zoltan was only too happy to bankroll this backwater version of Project Runway. Pulling out a roll of cash large enough to choke a Florida sinkhole, he dispatched Pooch and Ginger off to a shopping orgy commanding them to text him no sooner than three hours while commanding me to stay with him. Of course, he wants to have a latte with me and discuss the finer points of Instagram. Ehhh, not really. He wants my opinion on some jewelry he’s planning on getting Pooch. What a guy! Why in hell does he need me for that? I’m about to find out.

Zoltan figures the girls will be gone at least three hours before we even hear from them so he can do whatever it is he had planned for us. We walk down the main concourse of the mall passing numerous jewelry stores, Gaps, Foot Lockers, cell phone kiosks, until we come across this odd, little store run by some of his “friends.” He smiles at me, winking conspiratorially, and says under his breath, “They give me good deal. Or I give them something else, ehh?” I suddenly realize what the guns are for. Aww, c’mon, I just wanted to get away from my family! But as usual, I get it wrong. But I am starting to miss Ahmed and Kippy.

We walk into the store and are greeted by a stunning redhead, save for her lack of dental accoutrements. Zoltan walks up to her sheepishly, apologizing for being away so long, and kisses her on the cheek telling her his friend, me!, wants to buy a gift for his girlfriend, Pooch! He’s two-timing her! Maybe three- or four-timing her for all I know and he’s now made me an accomplice to his horniness. Not wanting to jeopardize his relationship with Red, he’s got me covering for him. He tells me to pick out the most expensive bauble for my “girlfriend”, explaining to the redhead I’m too shy to do this on my own. Riiight… and he’s there for moral support. While the redhead is showcasing her attributes, the jewelry that is, Zoltan is stuffing a wad of cash in my back pocket, in complete contradiction in what he usually does with such an activity. This is so wrong on so many counts. But, I’ve now got his cash in one pocket, one of his guns in another, and yet Zoltan with another gun gently prodding my back. Well, this is just one more friggin’ reason to hate malls.

4435622489_4ee47e137a This is what Zoltan really liked!

I choose something extremely expensive and equally gaudy and we leave, Zoltan promising the redhead that he’ll get her those new dental implants he’s been promising her. What a guy! It’s only been about half an hour and we’ve still time to kill. I realize that that was probably not the best way to phrase it. Zoltan suggest we go back out to the car and listen to some satellite radio. He’s discovered a new Czardas channel he’s been dying to listen to but Pooch says it makes her homesick. This has gotten plenty weird, way weird enough for me to last several lifetimes. But, right, it’s about to get even stranger.

Previously: The first, well the only redeeming quality, was his ability to score the best Kazakhstan weed. It was probably its influence that made these “artistic” endeavors seem worthwhile. What the hell else could it be?

And now: What the hell else could it be? Indeed. What could make this worse? A veritable Brueggellian nightmare, that’s what.

images-1 Yeah, they did.

I always thought there was more (or less) to Zoltan than met the eye, but I couldn’t put my finger on it though there were too many times I wanted to put my finger squarely in his eye! Not out of any prescient thought on my part, but I never did and am now grateful for that bit of reserve. Ginger informed me that he was going to meet us at the next bus stop and gracefully provide us with our transportation. Probably in one of the last remaining, clapped-out racing Yugos. She also informed me that Zoltan had something else going on the side as well. Why was I not surprised?

The good news is that I would get to leave the acolytes of Amway, the insurance salespeople, and the strange cult-types behind me. The bad news is I’d be riding with Ginger, Zoltan, and who the hell knows what or who else would be joining this not so merry band of pranksters. I hope he had some of that weed. I figured I’d be needing it. If not that, some of the industrial-strength, gut-enflaming booze called Palinka. It looked like water, smelled like the after-waste of some carbon/nuclear plant experiment gone horribly wrong, and tasted, well, let’s just say the description I gave were its good traits. But, a few shots of that and everything was in the past, probably never to be remembered in their entirety.

Thankfully, the next five hours on the bus were spent in relative calm. Ginger had her iPod on listening to Polka versions of Justin Timberlake songs, the Amway folks were quizzing each other on the merits of the newly formulated SA8 soap, and the cult was just gazing out the windows, up at the ceiling, down at the floor, or each other, the floor, mindlessly humming a generic chant from the 20th century. Did I say “thankfully”?

Did you ever wonder where time went? I was thinking just that as the five hours passed way too quickly because we were now making our final bus stop to pick up with Zoltan. Looking out I was gratified to see we would not be engaging in some version of a Yugo demolition derby. No, instead we would be cruising in relative style in a 1975 Cadillac Civil. Yes, Civil. That would be the Iranian version of the American Cadillac Seville. Who knew? Who knew this to be true but it is…look it up.


The Caddy was tarted up in Kazakhstan livery mode which meant it had every conceivable tschotske known to man including multiple air-fresheners which lent a veritable potpourri of wretched scents. It did indeed smell just like it looked. And behind the faux-fur-covered steering wheel, why Zoltan, of course in his faux-sharkskin splendor. Topping off his ensemble was an equally offensive shag felt fedora, favored by pimps in the ’70’s. Oh, this was going to be interesting… if we survived.

Zoltan signaled us all to get in the Caddy. Sitting next to him was his latest heart-throb, Pooch, a 17 year old Balkan wife-for-sale, Lindsay Lohan look-alike, complete with silver-lame shorts and a halter top that couldn’t halt anything even though it was trying. The back seat next to Ginger looked like the safest place for me.

Zoltan, turning around, hands each of us a handgun, saying these were for good luck. I have an aversion to guns of any size, with any predilection for luck of any kind. I started to protest when Zoltan made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was to start packing, and not my bags: we were going to the mall!

Previously: Aside from sounding like the double feature of a Beverly Hills police booking session, I had no idea what the hell she was thinking of. Three Men and a Warrant, maybe. But this? I was really starting to hate bus travel.

And now: I had no stomach for this. Between Ginger’s and Kippy’s attempt at becoming a topic on TMZ, I had a notion to trash every theatre I came across. Maybe the lack of a showcase for their delusions would send them a message that no one was interested, least of all me. But of course, I was wrong again.

Unbelievably, Sling Blade – The Musical found a backer in some former cultural czar, one Zoltan Kovach, from a small country located in the previously Soviet bloc. Turns out Zoltan, a former musician among other things, was a big Billy Bob Thornton fan and thought the musical version would bring new life to the story and Billy Bob’s career. Great, a showbiz type filled with altruism. Yup, we’re in a downward slide towards theatrical mediocrity. And old Z was giving it one more huge shove further into the abyss. I’m sure it’ll be on Netflix before too long. I never saw that one coming.

5107654694_e599b2051d Zoltan performing one of his renowned 22 hour drum solos with his punk-groove band, Snot.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ginger gets a call from her agent, yes, she had an agent! Didn’t see that one coming either. This agent must have absolutely no eye for talent much less one for gender. It appears Ginger was so convincing, to him at least, that he thought he could score some points with the “lady” by finding a producer for this abomination. Seems these three actors were dying to do a film together, but short of making The Expendables: Part 11, nothing was out there for them. Until this producer showed up. Wait for it, wait for it… yes! It’s Zoltan! Talk about a hat trick. What are the chances? About the same as running into Ginger on this friggin’ bus!

6858007097_e7153c5f90 The Expendables – Part 11 tryouts.

Ginger is my brother,  er, sorry, sister, after all. And I do feel a very small sense of familial responsibility for her. Very small. But I don’t want to see her get hurt, so I pull out my iPad and do a little research on Zoltan Kovach. Seems like Zoltan is everything he says he is…and more. Of course! Why wouldn’t he be?

Mr. K’s past is quite a colorful one punctuated by numerous stints in various gulags. I could hardly wait to see his sticker-festooned luggage, “I saw Solzhenitzin!” and the like. Good times, good times. His crimes, or as he was later to describe them as youthful indiscretions (youthful? he was 70 at least!), included but were not limited to faux vodka, bogus Kroger cards (really?), artificial caviar, and the management of the ill-fated Yugo Racing Team. Not to mention his dubious websites promising anything from a veritable fountain of youth to build your own spacecraft. He was anything if not ambitious. Too bad he was a lying, thieving crook…and those were his good traits.

4670256250_fed0d8e2b5One of the Racing Yugo’s in a familiar pit stop.

On the other hand, and you always had to watch out for this as it seems Zoltan’s hands were predisposed to wandering onto one’s body parts and/or into their pockets, he did have one or two redeeming qualities.

The first, well the only redeeming quality, was his ability to score the best Kazakstan weed. It was probably its influence that made these “artistic” endeavors seem worthwhile. What the hell else could it be?

Previously: I had to get off this bus soon or someone would soon find someone with a snow globe buried in their head.

And now: I had the distinct impression that Ginger was about to unleash the kind of idea I was running away from. And damn it, I was right. Where are the days when an drug-induced stupor made you immune to such crap, or at least made you feel that way? I tried to crawl under the seat but the bag from the lady behind was already occupying that space. I tried to feign death, but Ginger saw right through that, threatening to administer mouth-to-mouth if I didn’t cut out the act. I was so screwed.

“So, Fog, don’t you just love it? Isn’t it so cute?”

5318539141_dc8782bdd7            You decide.

Yeah, cute in the way an ebola virus is cute. Cute in the way a festering boil is cute. No, not cute at all. “No, Ginger, it is not cute. Keep it or give it away to someone who cares.

Ginger just sat there and pouted. That wasn’t cute either. It was rather disgusting, truth be told. Her teeth matched her name. But she still was my brother, or sister, whatever.

“Fog… you never cared for me much, did you?”, she bleated. Yes, bleat. She was that kind of a girl or whatever.

“Ginger, I always loved you… in my way. That’s all I’m capable of. Leave it be.”

“But Fog, I do need to talk with you. Meeting you on this bus wasn’t just an accident. It was fate. I need your help,” she bleated once again. This was getting old fast.

“My help? What for? You had the operation. What now, a tummy tuck?” Yeah, you’re right, I wasn’t very sympathetic. I was pissed though.

“Fog, please hear me out. I’ve just got an important gig and I need your guidance,” bleating yet again.

“Jeez… what is it this time? And please, no more bleating, OK?”

2674906984_c74407129a Bleaters. Any resemblance to Ginger is purely accidental.

She started to bleat again, but caught herself mid-bleat. “I, I, I’m sorry. But I’ve got my first job as a casting agent and I’ve got this really big gig. I want to make sure I make the right decisions.”

“And you come to me?” What the hell is wrong with you?” I’m not very hospitable. The last time I helped Ginger out was when she had been arrested for forcing bogus Watchtowers on unsuspecting pilgrims. It wasn’t so much the bail money as it was the fact that I had to he;p her dispose of those copies. She wanted to continue “evangelizing” but the judge had ordered an injunction against it. We had to turn it in to a recycling plant. There was no silver lining to that.

“OK, what is it this time,” I relented. I should have never relented.

“Fog, this is just what I always dreamed about. They’ve asked me to cast the remake of Three Men and a Baby. Isn’t that great? Wait until you hear who I’ve signed. I just want to make sure I didn’t go overboard on this.”

Oh no, Ginger, how could that ever happen? It never crossed my mind. “Spill.”

“This is going to be incredible. Obviously, I couldn’t get the original cast, Ted Danson, Tom Selleck, and Steve Guttenberg. But I did even better.” The bleating had started all over again.

Be still my heart. “OK, Ginger, who? I’m all aquiver.”

“OK, OK, you won’t believe this, but here is the new cast. Nick Nolte, Gary Busey, and, wait for it, Mickey Rourke!”

3625722062_6e9fcfc422 Why not?

Aside from sounding like the double feature of a Beverly Hills police booking session, I had no idea what the hell she was thinking of. Three Men and a Warrant, maybe. But this? I was really starting to hate bus travel.