Archive for the ‘People’ Category

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.

3281849125_5a71604c6b

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: 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.

Previously: Next stop …off.

And now: Just my luck. This bus was filled with Amway acolytes, missionaries of some obscure Zorastrian sect, and worst of all a group of life insurance salespeople heading to a convention in Des Moines. So this was hell…on wheels no less! Remind me why I left Ahmed’s and its insanity. Oh, yeah, right, that stuff.

I could stay on the bus until my final destination, 2 and a half days away with this ship of fools or I could get off some five hours from now. It would be a test regardless of length of my intestinal fortitude and ability to keep mindlessly singing an Abba song. On second thought, that might just endear me to this substrata of American society. But then again, there hasn’t been much in my history to endear me to many with the exception of the increasingly dysfunctional crew back at Ahmed’s.

3975923366_b52635d39f           Oh, yeah. Good times.

I’ve decided to stay on the bus until I could endure it no longer. Wisely, I packed the latest book, number six I think and 2,300 pages long, of the Shame of Bones trilogy. I think the author decided to milk his original premise bone dry – hence the title and the number of volumes in this inaccurately described “trilogy.” With my iPad and this book, I should be able to tune out the world, or rather this damnable bus, until I reach my destination. I hope.

Settling in to my “luxo-comfort-travel-pedic” seat as the bus company portrays it, I turn up my music to the Tony award-winning score of Kinky Boots, just then realizing the influence Kippy has had on me. Great! Just great! Before long I’ll probably be humming the score to Sling Blade – The Musical. I’m on a bus filled with people more marginalized than me, humming a yet non-existent show tune. I’m so screwed. But then it got worse.

We pull into the bus station in some town with no other reason for being other than the bus needs to refuel there and feed its occupants with the latest offerings from Little Debbie. New passengers get on; I look up and oh, crap!, there she (he) is: my brother – Ped, so named for the size of his feet which I will not go into at this point. But he’s not known as Ped any longer. No, not since his operation, yes, that operation, she goes by a new name, Ginger Vitus. Yeah. He’s a tranny, but he’s my tranny even if I don’t want to see him, er, her.

6545400661_ba2c27e4f5  Sister Ginger.

I do have to hand it to her – she pulls it off well. She looks good. Not good to me, but for what she’s done. Tasteful but with just a soupcon of garish. She always did have style. And it looks like she’s been shopping at the theatre gift store since she is now the very embodiment of Kinky Boots. I try to avoid her (his) gaze but she sees me first and walks down the aisle to park her butt in the seat next to me. Didn’t I leave Ahmed’s to escape this stuff?

“Fog! It’s so good to see you!” I try to act like Stevie Wonder but she doesn’t buy it.

Previously: Why do I bother listening? Why do I hang around this place? Why? Why?

And Now: That was a damn good question. I had to get out of there and now. I didn’t care if Ahmad had the best falafel, everything else was about to do me in. So I booked.

But where would I go? Church? Not hardly. Not since Sister Mary Angela Bucco caught me screwing around with one of the Goldberg-O’Brien twins behind the sacramental wine rack. (That’s where the priest kept the good stuff.)  Which sister I can’t remember, they DID look alike after all. And what you’re probably asking is up with the Goldberg-O’Brien name? Yeah, Irish and Jewish. Go figure. Lust knows no boundaries and neither did their parents. Being a good Catholic and a good Jew, they had the best of both worlds: six kids by three sets of twins. Why buy retail, right? So church was out.

2701993985_e3e5065a57                                    And this is why.

So was home. I ran away four times and this time it looked like it was finally going to stick. Where to go?

I’d been to all the halfway houses, quarterway houses, and a few of the all-the-way houses. Suffice to say, I have an interesting history. I’m pretty clean now that Hostess is out of business. I was up to a five pack a day habit on Twinkies. You know when you’re doing the good stuff, Ding Dongs and Ring Dings, scoring Little Debbie stuff just doesn’t cut it. Thankfully, it never got that far out of control. Hey, I can stop anytime I want. All you have to do to realize that is look at my weight. It’s a strapping 165 lbs. of rippling flab on a 6’3” frame. Good metabolism I guess. Sorry, that went off a little bit. Just a little TMI for you guys, but understand I’m going crazy here.

I would normally have gotten into my car and headed out to parts anywhere. But due to the damage done during the PETA dust-up, that car wasn’t going anywhere. Hitchhiking was out of the question. The last time I did that, I almost wound up getting married to a Paula Deen impersonator. No, I won’t be thumbing it for a long time.

So that leaves the rails or the bus. The bus affords more opportunity to get off anywhere and quickly and I opt for that. It’s time to leave the driving to them. Them being a sordid bunch of rum-soaked, caffeine-addicted, chain-smoking, former long-haul truckers who maintain a modicum of civility. A very small modicum.

134402237_f62c730185                  My life is in their hands!

Buses are the one of the last bastions of true democracy. Sit anywhere but be careful where. It’s the United friggin’ Nations on wheels. And there is a hierarchy to the seating “plan.” It’s not really official, but it resembles your old classroom seating. The law-abiding, butt-kissers sit up front looking to curry favor with the “teacher”. It also allows them the opportunity to get off fast. Something to always keep in mind on a bus trip. If this is the way you roll, better get on first, because of those sentenced to this mode of travel, it’s as welcome as a fart in church. As you move down the aisle, the bus gets a little and then a lot messier until you reach the back of the bus where all the kids who sat in the back of the classroom now reside. Certainly more interesting and definitely more pungent. Always decisions to make.

These are the people I normally associate but in the interest of rapid escape, I choose the front of the bus. What a mistake!

64785450_35f9c29e36

Next stop…off!

Previously: It wasn’t going to be pretty. And that was before his scholarship idea.

And now: Not pretty at all. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of anything Billy Bob, Thornton or other wise. That’s probably why I like Angelina. She got out when she saw the handwriting on her arms. But, getting back to the issue at hand – a musical of Sling Blade? Really? I’m still asking myself that. I can only hope that this too eventually will be stillborn and quickly forgotten. Kippy can be like a dog with a bone though. Who knows how long this insanity will continue? And then I ask myself, does it really matter? If not that, then something else. And sure enough, here it comes. The scholarship idea.

It seems like Kippy was watching an inordinate amount of crap TV, you know like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance?, and my favorite, America’s Got Herpes. Kippy penguins over to me and offers in his best clandestine stage whisper, “Fog, you’re going to love this.”

4040171378_362068b127 Yeah, that American Idol.

No, I-am-not-going-to-love-this! No, not at all.

But he persists. “Do you ever watch that program, American Idol?

No, I insist.

“Sure you do. I know you like to look at all the girls. Old ones. young ones, skinny ones…”

“Yeah, yeah. Stop already.” He did have a point, but I wasn’t going there; restraining orders and all that. “OK, Kippy, what’s up?”

“Fog, I want to help the kids.” I hate to air dirty laundry, well no, not really, but that’s what got Kippy into trouble last time. No, it’s not what you think. He was just handing out strange treats at last year’s neighborhood Halloween party. Most people give out candy bars, Snickers, that kind of stuff, right? Not Kippy. He was handing out those little containers of faux coffee creamer, all flavors. For those kids he thought were too robust (his word, mine is fat), he was giving out packets of Splenda and Sweet ‘n’ Low. You see how some parents might get just a little bit upset? The cops came and told him that 1. he had to stop that; and 2. he had to be out of town on all subsequent Halloweens. He was a little bit crushed but then realized he could go to all the non-stop Rocky Horror Picture Shows he wanted to. And he didn’t have to buy anything for the sniveling little beggars. (Again his words.)

1517086501_336887effe Just one of the kids, I guess.

Sorry, that was too much but when I hear Kippy talking about kids I get a little worked up.  He continued. “Fog, look with all the cuts to school budgets, the music programs are getting tossed out. That’s not fair. We might miss the next musical genius, might be the next Brittany, er, Bieber. You know, what’s her, uh – his name? Never mind. My idea gets around those cuts. We won’t even need musical instruments anymore!”

Wait for it, wait for it, here it comes.

“Are you ready? This is so great. We’ll get the junior community college to start awarding acapella scholarships. Any kid with a voice can apply. Well, a good voice, we must have standards you know. Before long I can see this as a sort of farm club for Broadway!”

Why do I bother listening? Why do I hang around this place? Why? Why?

Previously: Brilliant was right. In the same way a 15 watt light bulb is brilliant. This was not going to end well.

And now: Little did any of us towering intellects know that we would soon be needing a mouthpiece sooner than later and not just for resisting arrest.

Pops was down with the lawyer idea. He thought it might bring some here-to-fore needed class the pizzeria sorely lacked. F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and Johnny Cochran could not have brought class to this place, but, hey, I’ve crushed enough of Pops’ dreams to say anything about it. So, unbelievably, the resisting arrest scam was working. Look, it’s New Jersey, anything is possible here. And things were quiet. No PETA protests, Doris Day was happy with her new dogs, Pops was selling pizza and juris medicine in the back. It was too quiet. But we take our gifts where we get ’em.

6327151234_bd3c0dbf8a Not the caliber of lawyer at O’Shea’s.

Now that all that was humming along nicely, the drama reduced to a low, barely-discernible moan, I could go visit O’Shea’s and watch Ahmed polish his new glass, and finally indulge in one of his falafels. Life was good. Yeah, for the moment. I know I told you about O’Shea’s before, but it does have the best falafel in town. Town being Newark. Newark is out there, hanging on in the dark by its fingernails to the border, right across the river from New York City wishing it wasn’t in New Jersey. It had pretensions once, but now it’s come to grips with itself. It even at one time had its own theatre district. Now why you ask am I mentioning that? Well, what remains of the old and decrepit theatre crowd of hangers-on and former wannabees like to come into O’Shea’s and reminisce over their falafels and gin and tonics. It’s a strange crowd. It’s like watching outtakes from the old Mel Brooks movie, The Producers. Usually, it’s a harmless and almost amusing group of farts. Usually.

Tonight, we’re about to experience an out-of-body event, but I’m not sure whose body. One of the old-timers, named Kippy Sewell, creeps up to the bar next to me and signals Ahmed to join us. Us? I’m just sitting there nursing my falafel. I didn’t ask to join this but it looks like I’m into it.

“Hehnnn… Ahmed. C’mere.” hisses Kippy. Hissing is about all Kippy can manage after Tranks and Barry shook him down, literally, for an unpaid debt of some forgotten nature. “Ahmed, c’mere.”

Ahmed is deep into polishing the glass and doesn’t want to be bothered especially by the likes of Kippy. But Kippy is that rare bird seldom found in O’Shea’s – he pays his tab, so Ahmed reluctantly wanders over, but not before slowly straightening every bottle on the shelf behind him. “OK, Kippy, whadisit? I got glasses to polish.”

“Ahmed, you’re going to love this. You too Fog. But you’ve got to keep it on the down low.” You gotta give Kippy this – he speaks really well, enunciating each word as if in a Shakespearean play, only with hissing sibilance. You can take the boy out of the theatre, but… well, you know the rest.

Neither Ahmed or I are particularly interested in this, but boredom seeps in quickly at O’Shea’s so we listen. “What is it this time, Kippy?”

“I’ve just come across the most unique and original script of a play that I’ve seen in a long time. It is guaranteed to bring live theatre musicals back to the top. I’m looking for backers and you two need to get in on the ground floor. You’ll get rich!”

8318342482_5eb31fdb56 Yeah, it is a Broadway musical, but it looks more like the PETA protest.

Ahmed looks around and realizes there are more bottles that need straightening and departs for his shelves, leaving me with Kippy. I have to decide whether to make an excuse and leave, not finishing my falafel. Nope, can’t do THAT. So, I stay and listen to what Kippy believes will make us all rich. Looking back, I realize I can get a falafel pretty much anytime, but too late.

“Fog, do you go to the movies? Do you like movies? Musicals? Dance numbers?” Kippy says. “This is important.”

“No, Kippy, not really. The last movie I saw didn’t have sound.” I really didn’t want to indulge him, so sarcasm was my only refuge.

“Fog, I know that’s not true. I remember seeing you removing Polly from a Dana Delaney film festival. So there.” he hehnned triumphantly.

“OK, Kippy, shoot. I can’t hide the truth from you any longer.”

“Fog,” he always starts each query with your name. “Remember that actress with the big lips, Angela… what was it? Not Lansbury. No, no. Angelina, Yes, yes, Angelina… Jolie. That’s her. remember her? She was married to that weird guy who tattooed her name on himself. Well he made a movie that I’ll never forget.”

Oh great. He’s made a few. Which one and why? “OK, I’ll bite..which one?”

“Fog, you know the one. The one where he mumbles all the time.. Hmgnnhh. Right. Well, this script is marvelous. It’s a musical version of Sling Blade!”

2788022437_7cf29e2035 Hey, he does sing. Maybe it could work!

Good grief, I wish I had a blade so I could cut myself out of this joke. But, Kippy was serious.

PETA, pizza, Polly, and me.

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Food, People
Tags: ,

From the previous post:

In the meantime, her absence was all too short as she staggered back into O’Shea’s. “We need to talk, Foggy.” I hated that nickname more than my regular name. What the hell now?

And now:

Yeah… what the hell now did Polly want? Money probably. That was a given. Always looking for a handout – whether it had money in it or offering her a dance. Yeah, that was Polly alright.

“OK, Mom, what it is this time? How much? Have you called the personal injury lawyers again?”

Mom/Polly looked stricken by my tone. Well, that’s not exactly fair. She always looked like that. It was most likely due to the amount of roasted kale chased down by a bottle or two of Nyquil. “No, Foggy,” she slurred. Nyquil will do that to you. “It’s your father and the pizzeria.” Jeez.

6216242858_a30c3fb0d9 Goes really well with roasted kale, or so says Polly.

Before I go any further with this, let me tell you something about my father. We called him Pops. Everyone called him Pops, even when he was a kid. Don’t ask why, I don’t know. No one does. No one even remembers what his real name is. Pops was first generation this country. He was still in the womb when Grandpops and Stooky (his mom) came over from the old country. Grandpops pretty much lived the immigrants dream upon to coming to America. Got a job in a grocery store, made deliveries, swept the floors, ran numbers, and eventually bought the store shortly before buying the farm. Stooky kept churning out little Calamari’s until they ran out of places to put them all. Pops was the first born and the one with the most drive. He shared Grandpops work ethic if not his ethics. But all of the charges were eventually dropped.

So anyway, Pops opened the first ever vegetarian pizzeria. A real man ahead of his times. Naturally business was a little on the slow side as he had none of the traditional meat toppings. Pops did march to his own drummer. No else however could hear that peculiar beat though. So what could be the problem?

“Pops and the pizzeria?” I cleverly repeated. “What?”

“The pizzeria is being picketed by protesters! It’s a mob scene.”

Once again I engaged in clever repartee, “What?”

“It’s some group called Peter or Petra or something like. They really like animals and really hate Pops.”

Now we all know that Mom/Polly is prone to slight exaggerations. Well, gross exaggerations. Tell her something is ten feet tall and upon retelling, she’s made it twenty feet tall. It could be the Nyquil, we’re not sure. “Polly, that sounds like a group called PETA. They’re an animal rights group. What problem would they have with a vegetarian pizzeria? Especially Pops’?”

387142237_b0b49d357c Now why would anyone want to protest this? Jeez!

Pops’ pizza wasn’t very good but I would never tell him that. Thankfully, only once a year did I have to eat it as part of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. But being boycotted by PETA? That didn’t make any sense at all. However, as a member of the Calamari family, one got used to such stuff.

“Foggy,” she cried. I did tell you I hate that nickname, right? “Foggy, it’s the cheese! They’re protesting his cheese!” I rolled my eyes as I thought of a number of less than civil comments I might have made about her last remark. His cheese? Aww, c’mon, that’s just too easy.

“OK, Polly. I give up. What’s the matter with his cheese?” I regretted saying that the moment I did. I hope no one else heard me say that.

“Foggy, you don’t understand. It’s buffalo mozzarella! They’re protesting the inhumane treatment of buffaloes during the making of the mozzarella and threatening to shut Pops down. ”

Oh no, please don’t tell me that’s what she said! This was more than just her normal kale and Nyquil delusion. She’d really gotten into the Sterno now. But, still I now had protesters to deal with along with the ominous thick envelope on my dashboard.

It’s that time of the year when the weakest among us of which I of course do not count myself, make New Year’s resolutions. It’s the same old, same old – “I’ll drink less”; “I’ll eat less”; “I’ll lose weight”. Yeah yeah, yadda, yadda. Come on. When are you going to get realistic? All of that will last a week or so before you come up with a rationalization for breaking it. I know because in the past I’ve been there.

So, the rest of you reading this probably have already started on how you will attempt to turn your lives around in 2013. My advice to you: don’t bother. You won’t keep the freakin’ things any way and will just embarrass yourselves when you finally admit your genetic weaknesses regarding commitments. Never, never make commitments around the holidays unless it’s to meet for drinks. And even then, be careful. You never know who you’ll wind up going home with.

2541584717_d7b509fc33 You never do know who you’ll wind up with.

And that’s another thing –  why is it so many people insist on making life commitments (marriage proposals, etc.) around the holidays? Isn’t there enough pressure to be falsely happy at this time of year? That’s what all the booze is for. Don’t ruin a good gin buzz for crissakes making a promise you’re almost certain to break!

4124361638_f79e6f80e3 Second thoughts already!

I know someone who is convinced they will find a new job in 2013: one that is fulfilling and financially rewarding. Really? Do they not watch or read the news? Yes, it’s true, that that practice will most likely lead to more drinking but not of the socially acceptable irresponsible holiday imbibing. But a new and good job? Maybe they’ve been dipping into the cooking sherry a little too much already. Resolutions just suck.

A few years ago, I made a resolution I’ve actually been able to keep completely. It’s simple – I resolved never to make another resolution again. And I’ve stuck to it. The good news? It hasn’t interfered with my drinking at all!

Cheers and Happy New Year!