Friday, October 29, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Divinyls - “I Touch Myself”

Editor’s Note: This is another one of those jump-cut videos where we don’t linger on any one scene longer than a few seconds, so there’s really no point in trying to develop a story. Basically, the lead singer, Christina Amphlett, wanders around some mansion, looking for provocative locations where she can touch herself, and then she does. Rinse and repeat. So we’re just going to do the timestamp thing with this one, mmmkay? Ready, go!

0:02 Some guy playing a guitar.

0:03 Christina pouts her lips.

0:06 Some guy carries a woman across room, as if they just walked in the door after getting hitched. She’s wearing a white dress, but we know this is a lie, because she looks awfully trampy. And we basically get to see some lower cleavage as it bounces toward the camera.

0:10 Christina starts singing, rockin’ that hairstyle which so many found incredibly stimulating back in the day. I suppose it has its charms, but really, how can the poor girl see anything?

0:11 Christina admires her lips in a mirror.

0:15 Chris is wearing just a towel while sprawled on a bed. One of her hands is precariously near the danger zone. I’m expecting Cyndi Lauper to walk in and provide a tutorial.

0:17 Christina singing with the Guitar Guy. Chris seems to be having an issue with her hand stuck to her face.

0:21 Black-and-white shots of people being moody.

0:25 Chris on one of those fancy fainting couches, caressing the fabric with animalistic desire. Or maybe her short-shorts are too tight and she’s signaling for an intervention.

0:28 We start seeing shots of these two girls who don’t sing or anything, but sure like to pose seductively while clutching things like garden hoes and each other.

0:30 Chris and that mirror again, waving goodbye to her anonymity.

0:37 One of the twins appears to have snagged her panties on a chair.

0:39 Christina singing and sort-of dancing with Guitar Man again, but I’m more intrigued by the woman on the left who seems to have been nailed to the door jamb even though her golden dress is really pretty.

0:44 Here come the Sex Twins marching along, wearing super-tight shorts and providing a clear example of how the phrase “camel-toe” originated. They strut right past the tortured woman in the golden dress without even bothering to help. I don’t think I like the Sex Twins. They’re rude.

0:48 Christina back on the fainting couch, where she’s suddenly inspired to purse her lips and flip to the other side of the couch, so we can see one of the Sex Twins. This twin has her head between her legs and is carefully studying her cooter. Not sure what she’s expecting it to do, but it most be something fancy if she has to contort herself like that to get a gander of the goings on.

0:52 Brief glimpse of a hot guy and I’m suddenly inspired to pay more attention.

0:53 More of the Sex Twins, rubbing their backs against one another and chewing gum.

0:58 More of Christina and her Special Towel.

1:06 Christina and another mirror, where she finally seems to be realizing that maybe those bangs of hers are a bit much.

1:08 Another shot of Golden Women, still in the same pose of anguish and suffering. Poor thing. People are still not helping her with whatever her issue might be. In the background, Christina twirls around so we can see she has something frilly on her butt.

1:12 Quick scene of somebody wearing go-go boots while they iron something red.

1:14 The Sex Twin who really enjoys watching her squeeze box is still watching it.

1:21 Number 17 in the ongoing parade of gratuitous cleavage shots.

1:24 More of Christina and her pouty lips, thinking they’re in an Estee Lauder commercial.

1:26 More frilly butt.

1:33 Christina looking like Paula Abdul’s sister just sat on something intrusive.

1:39 Rod Stewart?

1:44 Towel again.

1:45 Couch again.

1:48 Courtney Cox in a Mardi Gras hooker outfit.

1:58 Somebody (maybe one of the Sex Twins, not sure) furtively picks up a phone and calls the SPCA and reports that livestock on the property might be in sexual danger.

2:06 Christina, on the fainting couch, showing us that she can stick her leg straight up in the air and sing at the same time.

2:17 Another somebody (hard to tell with the artsy sunlight) is standing at a window and showing the landscaper outside that she has her own bush that needs tending. She also appears to have velvet ram horns on her head, but I have no idea what that might mean.

2:21 Christina has a brief mental breakdown, messing up her hair in a frenzy of despair. But things must not be too bad, because she manages to keep her lips sexily protruded throughout the psychotic snap.

2:23 Ram Horn Girl turns away from the window and the landscaper, unsatisfied. What did she expect, with that stupid thing on her head? Then again, maybe the landscaper prefers tree trunks to bushes. We’ll never know.

2:26 Christina really, really loves her right leg.

2:32 Is that Helena Bonham-Carter just before she lost her mind and married Tim Burton?

2:35 Some Lady in Red seems to be tormented by the fruit bowl on her left. She then kicks the hated thing over, vowing never to eat citrus again.

2:41 The fruit tumbles downward, spilling all around Cute Guy who has apparently been sleeping on the floor. I’m going to take this as symbolism that he plays on my team. Yay!

2:46 Ram Horn Girl is still looking for love in all the wrong places.

2:52 Christina is suffering from a really bad gas bubble.

2:54 Christina gets poked in the eye. This just isn’t her day.

2:59 Christina has found a stripper pole, so things are suddenly looking up.

3:01 Which inspires Christina to pretend that she’s in “The Sound of Music”.

3:12 The Sex Twins pose seductively in the baptismal chamber at a failed church in Old Mexico, circa 1867.

3:15 Christina sings into the armpit of Golden Girl, because it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It wasn’t.

3:21 More Ram Girl twirling. Someone should really speak to her about just taking that damn mask off and trying to find a guy the normal way, like getting drunk and wallering around on the pool table in some trashy joint named “Bubba’s Grunt and Run”.

3:25 The Sex Twins want us to be very quiet about the naughty things they have done in the last three minutes. No problem. I’ve already forgotten, trust me.

3:32 Christina violates a potted plant.

3:39 Christina and her lips finally get some rest.

Despite the warbled encouragement, I really don’t want to touch myself. Maybe next time.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Backup Dancers From Hell: The Human League - “Don’t You Want Me”

We start out with a car driving through some foggy countryside, then the car makes a turn and nearly runs over one of the female singers in the band (she’s wearing fur, so the car was probably driven by one of the founders of PETA). This woman just glares at the car, like something as minor as an automobile could take her out. She and her dead animal then jump in the car and the vehicle drives away.

Oh, look at that, another nearby car has apparently been waiting for this rendezvous, and someone turns on the headlights of this car so we can realize that it’s there. Cut to Philip Oakey in a very tight camera shot, wearing a lot of makeup so we don‘t notice that his teeth aren‘t in the greatest shape, singing the opening lines of the song. Back to the spy car as it pulls up near the parked fur car as it sits outside what might be a house. Once more to Philip, where the cameraman has thankfully realized that maybe we need to pull back from the intense close-up of Philip because it‘s a bit much, and so the cameraman does. (Fair disclaimer, it doesn‘t really help.)

Back to the house, where Fur Woman dashes out of the dwelling and proceeds to do something suspicious with the trunk of her car. Her ESP kicks in, and she turns to glare at the spy car. The driver of the spy car stops filming her doing dramatic things, and then is magically transported to some studio where he can review the video he has taken. Philip Oakey is sitting behind him, hair all slicked up, looking depressed and befuddled about the footage. Quick close-up of Fur Woman just so we can remember what she looks like.

Cut to Blond Woman walking into the studio, and she actually looks exactly like Fur Woman, except Blond Woman is a blond and Fur Woman is not. (This was always an issue with the women in Human League. They all went to the same stylist and never established a unique identity.) Blondie hangs up her coat on a hook that is stupidly placed in the middle of the door, then she gets to work doing something that is never explained.

Cut to some private viewing room where people are watching clips of whatever, with the limited audience including Simon LeBon holding a coffee cup and not looking pleased. Fur Woman is there, and she’s mad about something. (This might be because Blond Woman is also there. But it’s hard to tell, because nobody is smiling about anything. Even Philip Oakey, so I guess he got the memo about his teeth.)

The focus shifts to the screen, and we realize that we are watching clips of Fur Woman acting in an infomercial or maybe Stanley Kubrick’s latest mystifying epic. Whatever they are filming is fairly boring, so the camera pulls back to show Blond woman trudging along in a trench coat and looking perturbed. She starts to vocalize her part of the song, but some rookie in the lighting department keeps her in the dark most of the time so we can’t fully enjoy her performance. They finally get the lighting right, just as Blond Woman decides to turn and look behind her at Philip Oakey, bellowing the line “I still love you.”

She still loves Philip Oakey? Girl, you need to wake up. He and his makeup don’t want what you got cookin’. Philip stares back at her, not exactly running up and vowing eternal fidelity. Blond Woman doesn’t care, and keeps strutting toward the moving camera, proclaiming her need for freedom. She walks a really long time, even after Philip picks up the lyrics. Obviously, there were some editing issues.

Another shot of Philip wearing more makeup than Miss Georgia.

Back to the private viewing room, where Blondie is looking sad and Philip is still pretending that he wants her. They keep watching clips of Fur Woman on the screen, even though no one cares. Cut to another band member pretending to be a film editor and jacking with the clips. Blondie puts on her coat and leaves, because she’s heard that they have fresh sushi down the block. Another close-up of Philip, and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t like fish.

Quick shot of Fur Woman, showing that she knows at least one line of the song.

Another shot of Philip, showing that he’s really proud of his dangly earrings.

Now we have Blondie messing around with strips of film, and she must be totally confused, because she’s holding a film strip in her ungloved hand while her gloved hand isn’t touching anything. This sacrilege leads to a montage, with the film editor, Fur Woman, Blond Woman, and Philip, all looking tragically dissatisfied and posing lethargically in the murky lighting.

Another montage of people wrapping up the shoot on Kubrick’s set.

Cut to the film editor looking like a pedophile as he gazes into the camera. The camera pulls back and we see Philip Oakey stand up and march toward us, which is very unsettling. Philip then walks toward some people sitting in some chairs, probably intent on giving them makeup tips, but the camera cuts away before this can be confirmed.

Yet another montage, with Blond Woman glancing askance at who knows that, Philip pretending that he’s Valentino, Blond Woman still marching along in the bad lighting, and then a final scene where the camera pans to a makeup mirror where we can see tech people that we don’t really know caught in the headlights of whatever this video is supposed to be about.



Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Searching For Signal: #177 - “Survivor: Nicaragua” - Episode 7

We start out at the Espada camp, right after they’ve stupidly sent Yve home instead of worthless Dan. Amazingly, some of them are loving on Danny, glad that he’s still here. Dan is even calling himself “Teflon Dan”, convinced he’s in it for the long run. Blech. (Chase in a sidebar: “It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow” if Dan costs us the next competition. Um, maybe you should have thought of that before you voted.)

Next we have Chase, NaOnka and Holly off to the side. Chase: Alina is next. The girls nod enthusiastically, and then conversation come to a complete halt as Chase and Nay realize that Holly still has her bathing suit on backwards and they’re too tired to bring it up.

Cut to the La Flor tribe, right after they’ve crudely sent home Kelly B because she was brazen enough to come on “Survivor” with a metal leg. Marty and Jill confront Sash about the vote. What just happened? Sash at first tries to act like he doesn’t know what they’re talking about, then finally weakly hints that the Idol had something to do with it. Then Sash runs off to look at his reflection in the water.

Marty in a sidebar: Jane is a miserable wretch and she has to go. Then Marty runs to look at his reflection in the water, sees Sash already doing that, gets extremely jealous, and tries to vote Jimmy Johnson out. Oh wait, I might be a little bit confused.

Roll opening credits.

Back to the La Flor tribe, where Marty confronts Jane. Marty: I never lied to you, I never misrepresented you, I never wrote your name down, and I never suggested your name.

Jane: That there was a whole lot of words so I really don’t know what you’re hollerin’ about. But I never had a clue.

Marty: I think you wrote my name down.

Jane just cackles and runs off to the Cornpone Festival on a nearby island.

Marty runs to Jill and shares the conversation he had with Jane. Of course, Marty makes it sound like Tokyo Jane whipped out a machete and tried to hack him to death and he barely escaped with his life, because Marty is all about understatement and subtlety.

Jill in a sidebar: Marty and I are scrambling to stay alive. Hmmm. I wouldn’t call it scrambling. I’d call it both of you sitting around and not networking. Fair?

Time for the Reward Challenge.

Jeff describes the prize as a “Nicaraguan Farm Experience”. (What the hell? Was this an early Jimmy Hendrix band?) Nope, the winning tribe apparently gets to ride horses and then gets to eat breakfast as well as drink milk that they have collected from cows. You can tell by the confused expressions that half the people thought milk came from plastic bottles, not cows.

Anyway, the tribes have to run down this little ramp, leap through the air, throw a ball at a net, then splash into a primitive swimming pool. Trouble is, one person from the other tribe is standing on a platform between you and the net, trying to swat away your efforts. Chase and Fabio are the defenders, and everybody else is hurling. And we’re off.

Some highlights: Marty manages to nail Chase right in the privates, probably because people aren’t paying enough attention to his own testosterone. Danny pathetically stops at the end of the ramp, weakly tosses the ball, and then falls in the water. He misses, but Jeff warns him: It will not count if you don’t jump. Oh, and Fabio pees in the pool, which totally mortifies everyone. (Like they never have, but still, Fabio dude, why did you have to talk about it?)

In the end, Espada wins Reward. Cheering on their part ensues.

In a sidebar, Purple Kelly admits to being confused about how you “milk your own milk”. Those poor cows don’t know what’s coming. Has anyone cleared this with PETA?

Over to the La Flor camp, where we see Jane fishing, alone. While she doesn’t catch anything, she rattles on about “the word quit is not in my vocabulary”, she’s trying to stay in good graces with the youngsters, and they can “lounge around all they want as long as they think I’m important”. We then see several shots of the youngsters lying about the camp, waiting for someone to walk up and hand them food. No one does.

Sash in a sidebar: The old people can feed me all they want, but in the end it’s about how loyal you are to me. (Gee, he’s not arrogant at all, is he? A real saint.)

Cut to the Espada tribe astride horses plodding along some trail. (Chase in a sidebar: “Riding horses reminds me of God.” Oh? Just what church do you go to? Saint McDonald’s?) The tribe eventually rides up to a farm and everybody falls off their horses. (NaOnka’s horse looks especially displeased, so no telling what Nay did to the poor thing on the way over.)

Time to milk the cows, who look especially thin and haggard. (You’d think the casting department would have done a better job. Then again, they aren’t so good at picking out humans, either.) Shots of people tugging and pulling while the cows politely tolerate them.

NaOnka, detailing her unenthusiastic attempt at milk squirting: “I don’t play with animals’ nipples trying to get milk out.” Oh my.

Back to the La Flor camp, where we are treated to a montage of everybody else doing nothing while Jane continues to fish. She eventually snags one, then decides to race into the woods and cook it up for herself. In a very extended monologue, she rambles on about how people don’t give her enough credit, and that she deserves to have this solitary meal. Of course, her vocal delivery is full of garbled, homespun phrases so I don’t really get everything she says. She may have actually been talking about giving birth to triplets for all I know.

More of the Espada tribe at the local farm, where they are dining on fresh cheese and fruits and fixins, while the locals stand around in that confused way the locals always do when the “Survivor” behemoth rolls into a remote town and tells folks to do something authentic and native. Holly starts babbling about how this spread reminds her of home, then she burst into emotional tears, followed by Alina joining the waterworks.

Surprisingly, even NaOnka seems to tear up, showing that she might have a heart that actually beats. (Then she ruins it in a sidebar, bitter about Holly and Alina trying to look like they were bonding: “I can play that game”. She was faking it.) NaOnka’s horse whinnies from the sidelines, indicating that Nay does indeed play, just not in a nice way. The horse then speaks with the ranch foreman about his mental health benefits and a possible medical leave.

Time for the Immunity Challenge.

Jeff explains what the tribes will do: Two people stand on a tower, and roll balls down a chute. 4 members of the tribe will pull on ropes to adjust the chute. The goal is to direct the balls so they will break 5 tiles that belong to the other tribe. Winning tribe gets immunity, losing tribe has to stand there and look sad.

Off we go, and it’s really not a contest. Almost immediately, the La Flor tribe starts arguing about how to do things. (If you were to guess that Marty was part of the problem, you’d get a gold star.) Espada easily wins.

Jill in a sidebar: Marty has the Idol, so it’s probably me. Dramatic music ensues, shots of creepy animals doing slithery things in the forest.

La Flor camp.

Marty hangs his Idol on a tree again, just so everybody can remember that he has it. Of course they remember. You haven’t stopped talking about it since you found it.

The youngsters and Jane gather for a confab. Sash spells it out: We vote 3 for Marty (hoping to flush the Idol), 2 for Jill. This will lead to a tie between Jill and whoever Marty and Jill finger. Then they all vote Jill.

Another sidebar with Jane, where she explains that she really, really, really can’t stand Marty and Jill. Wants them gone. Got it.

Back to Sash and Our Gang. Sash: What if I go to Marty, tell him this plan, then counter-offer by asking Marty to give me the Idol, and promise to vote for Jane. Then we actually vote Marty out. Hurray! Everyone’s eyes sparkle at this bit of treachery and deception. Then they all lay back down, because talking is such hard work. Except for Jane. She runs off into a nearby field to build a log cabin.

Brenda and Sash on the beach, positioning themselves so that the fading sunlight emphasizes their pleasing bone structure. Sash: If we play this plan, Jill won’t trust us. Brenda: So?

Fine. So Sash moseys up to Marty, and kicks the plan into gear, using phrases like “look you in the eye man-to-man” and “shake on it”. (Words that, if you’ve ever watched the show, should be total warning signs.) Marty: I’ll just go home next week. Sash: “If we lose Immunity next week, I’ll give the Idol back.” Marty and his hair seem to seriously contemplate this possibility.

Marty in a sidebar: “I feel completely powerless!” (To be fair, you basically always were. You just didn’t want to face the fact.)

Amazingly, Marty gives the Idol to Sash. (Say it with me, folks: Dumb-ass.)

Marty in a sidebar: This might give me another cycle in the game. (So would keeping the Idol and playing it to save yourself. Hello?)

Sash in a sidebar, full of that annoying arrogance: “I don’t even have to dig, people will just hand me Idols.” (Remind anyone of Russell from seasons past? Thought so.)

Time for Tribal.

Jeff to Fabio: Back-to-back losses. Does this tribe still have momentum?

Fabio has no idea what momentum might be.

Jeff to Jane: The last Tribal was crazy. What was the vibe afterwards?

Jane: We talked, and we know what we need to do. (Then she guts a fish and snacks on it, raw, for the rest of Tribal.)

Jeff to Jane: Do the outsiders in the tribe know who they are?

Jane, using her knife to pick at her teeth, because she‘s so classy: Yes.

Marty: Jane’s a flipper. (I can’t help it, I immediately think of dolphins and cheesy 60’s TV shows.)

Jane: When we became yellow, I became yellow. (That can be taken so many ways.)

Jeff to Marty: Any Idol talk?

Marty praises himself about not playing the Idol the last time and doesn’t really answer the question.

Sash: “The Idol is in my pocket.”

Jeff is astonished. What’s going on here? (Are we seriously supposed to believe that Jeff didn’t already know this? Is it THAT hard to get out of your deluxe trailer and talk to some of your production people?) How do the rest of you feel about Sash having the Idol?

Fabio, hopefully not peeing as he sits there: “WE have the Idol.”

Jeff: We? Do you really? Brenda?

Brenda, looking as if she’s not quite sure what her name might be: “We’re fine.”

Jeff to Sash: “Then give the Idol to Brenda.” (Really? Jeff is feeling pretty frisky.)

Sash: “If someday I don’t trust them… I mean, if they don’t trust me-”

Jeff jumps on this. Jeff to Fabio: Do you know what a Freudian slip is?

Fabio stuns everyone (or at least me) by actually understanding. Sometimes things you want to hide slip out.

Moment of silence while everyone has to reconsider what they might know about Fabio.

Jane breaks the spell: “Any time you give up the Idol, it bites you in the end.”

Time to vote.

2 votes for Jane, 2 votes for Marty, 3 for Jill.

Wow. Really thought Marty was done.

Just what are Sash and Brenda up to? Do they even know?

Roll end credits.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Josh Turner - “Why Don’t We Just Dance”

We start off with a lovely couple sitting on a couch. They’re decked out in late 50’s/early 60’s attire, that boring and innocent time just before it hit the fan and everybody started taking drugs and having sex with anything that moved. They appear to be watching TV, then the guy makes a weird smirk (probably shouldn’t do that anymore, not attractive at all) and then leaps up to slap off the TV. The girl just looks at him in shock, because nobody did anything spontaneous in those days.

He turns on the record player, and this causes both of them to completely lose control. Next thing you know, they’ve shoved the couch up against the wall and are dancing away. (See, your grandparents were right, Rock and Roll is of the devil and can lead to reckless furniture rearrangement.) Josh suddenly appears, bellowing the song. Personally, I’d be a little leery of strangers vocalizing in my house, but the couple doesn’t seem to mind.

They bop for a little bit, with all that twirly crap that always seemed like too much work to me, the woman grinning like somebody splashed Fresca on her panty shield. The guy thrusts the woman in the air, and I guess he saw something inspiring because he starts to take his clothes off. (The girl looks a wee bit startled, wondering if perhaps she shimmied too much at the wrong time. Momma always warned her about doing that.)

Lo and behold, it seems they are both wearing hippie drag under their Eisenhower clothing, and the accessories in the room suddenly update to stoner gear. Now the couple is doing those odd, self-involved dances that people did when they had drugs for breakfast. They wave their arms and try to channel Mother Earth, along with her daughters, Doobie and Bong. (For the record, Josh’s clothes don’t change, so either there was a budget issue or he’s lazy.)

The interpretive dance continues for a bit, as the couple celebrates long hair, granny glasses and the absence of bras. Then the girl leads the next wardrobe change, slinkily ripping off her top and transforming them into 70’s disco dancers. Now the dance is a tribute to excessive polyester and hair spray. (The girl’s hair could qualify for its own zip code.) They strut to the end of the room and out into a hallway, where they perform some interesting choreography that indicates the drugs are not completely out of their systems.

They line-dance into a bedroom, where Josh is sitting in a chair and still not explaining his presence. The couple continues to not care about the intrusion, doing some more dance moves which seem to center on airing out their armpits. They also point with their fingers in random directions, so they might be giving somebody directions, but it’s not clear. (Perhaps they’re trying to show Josh the door, but they just can’t remember where it is.)

Suddenly, the girl has had enough synchronized foreplay, throws the guy on the bed, and then straddles him. (She’s come a long way, baby.) Josh gets a gander at this steaminess and skedaddles out of the room. I don’t know why. The couple hasn’t had a problem with him watching everything else.

But instead of any salacious activity, we have another costume change. Now the duo is wearing punk outfits with lots of bright colors. Relieved, Josh comes back in the room and warbles some more while the couple does a strange dance where they kick each other. (That doesn’t look like something you would do in a healthy relationship, but they seem to be having a good time.) They then do some aerobics, followed by some of those robotic dances that everyone thought was cool in the 80’s but really just meant we were stupid and bored.

The couple marches back to the living room, were we now seem to be in the current day. They wander back to the couch and then just kind of old each other, because nobody really dances anymore, what with the way the economy is and all. But people DO still get horny, and the girl throws the guy on the couch and straddles him once more.

Josh makes a “what the heck” gesture, turns out the lights so the lusty couple can bump uglies in privacy and darkness, and then leaves. Which is kind of rude, really. If you’re going to come up in my house and sing for no apparent reason, the least you can do is toss me a beer on your way out the door…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Bubble Bath, Part 22

  Editor’s Note: We have just marched out of IHOP, fed up with their crappy service, but not FED. We had to get food in our bodies, soon, or we would be lashing at each other until someone cried and/or threw someone else in front of an oncoming bus…

  Luckily, our desperate march across the continent for a secondary food-serving establishment lasted roughly 3 minutes. Bubbles knew of a nearby place that she had sampled a time or two, and had pronounced it worthy. We headed in that direction, although we did pause to tell anyone who would listen that IHOP was the work of the Devil and by no means should you ever eat there again, especially if you didn’t care for bacon…

  This new diner, whose name I don’t recall but it seems like it started with an “A” (like “Amsterdam” or “Aborigine”, something) was one of those places that was either trying to do a retro-50’s look, or had really been around since then. Hard to tell. We piled into the place, and were soon greeted by a woman who clearly learned everything she knew about makeup from watching “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” about 150 times. Except she was in color rather than black-and-white, and I can assure you that there is a startling difference.

  That aside, this woman proved to be our best friend, at least for the next hour. We shared our tale of woe about the IHOP down the street. Jane nodded knowingly, with that expression that certain, gossipy women have when they are pretending to not talk disparagingly about another person, place or thing, but they really are. “I’ve heard that you can wait a long time in that IHOP.” She promised us a much more pleasant experience.

  She took our orders, and the food was before us in less than five minutes.

  We loved her immensely, and we contemplated taking her with us when we left. In the end, we realized that her mission in life was to rescue other lost souls who had the misfortune to attempt eating at IHOP. This was a brave and noble career to have, and we really couldn’t mess with that kind of karma. But we tipped her as if we had discovered oil in the parking lot. We promised her we would write soon, a few tears were shed over our sad departure, and then we left.

  And thus began the discussion of What To Do For The Rest Of The Day.

  Bubbles was still strongly advocating for a run to New York City. Terry and I weren’t so sure about that. Granted, Bubbles did a great job with her promotional campaign, waving glossy brochures and such, especially when it concerned a certain locale known as “Splash”. It seems that the bartenders there only wore underwear. And on Monday’s, which this day happened to be, they also had Show-Tune Sing-Alongs. Partial frontal-nudity and queens whooping it up while Patti LuPone warbles on a giant screen? This was truly something that one should behold.

  But still, Terry and I were not keen about driving all the way to the city for only a few hours of entertainment and then, more importantly, driving all the way BACK to Philly when we were tired and still a bit tipsy. Bubbles swore that she would be the designated driver and only imbibe lightly. (A little voice inside of me instantly spoke up, warning that Bubbles was a lying wretch and the night would quickly turn into a nightmarish vision of hooliganism and tattered couture.)

  But Terry and I weakened, worn down by Bubbles’ professional ability to manipulate and cajole her surroundings into a situation that was more personally satisfying, and we eventually agreed.

  A short while later, we were on the road again. Willie Nelson might have been proud of this development, but I was still a bit anxious. Not wanting to spoil the jocular mood of the journey, I simply sat in the back of the car, mute, endlessly buffeted by the G-force winds screaming through the open windows and pinning me to the back seat. At any moment, I expected Armageddon and anguished wailing to begin.

  This did not immediately happen.

  Instead, we rolled into Jersey City, where we briefly visited with a friend of Bubbles in the apartment building where she used to live.  During this visit, Bubbles startled me by snatching up the infant child of said friend and shoving him into my arms, forcing me to deal with the lively bundle of joy. For some reason, the tiny tyke took to me, cooing approvingly, and thus we bonded forever.

  Of course, our conversation was a bit limited, having relatively little in common. He spoke glowingly about the joys of discovering, every morning, that he did, in fact, have toes. I shared with him that Uncle Brian was off to consume alcohol and watch nearly-naked men dance. He explained that he didn’t really have a reference point for such an experience, and didn’t quite fathom my anticipation, but if it made me happy, like his toes did for him, well, then, he was all for it.

  We left Bubbles’ car parked at Little Bit and His Mommy’s house, and walked to the subway. A short while later, we were climbing up to the street and working our way toward “Splash”, this supposed beacon of mild decadence and Broadway vocalizations. We slipped inside, and began partaking of the “two-for-one” drink specials. It was still a little early, so the place wasn’t packed by any means, but there were already quite a few people in there.

  Within five minutes, Bubbles was on a first-name basis with all of the bartenders and most of the patrons. Five minutes after that, she had been invited by various people to join two different law firms, manage a hedge fund, live for three months free at a small mansion in the Hamptons, and tour Europe. For my part, I managed to score us an extra bowl of peanuts. In the grand scheme of things, I think our accomplishments were fairly equal.

  Now, about this wearing of the underwear by the bartenders. I must say, it was quite refreshing, and grew increasingly more so as additional glasses of alcohol were shoved my way. Of  course, none of these guys were wearing any type of underwear that you could find at Wal-Mart. Nope, these were designer editions that conformed, supported, emphasized and enticed. I really didn’t care about the show-tune singing anymore.

  Bubbles was right there with me, mesmerized, which was fun. On the down side, Bubbles cannot quietly do anything. It’s just not her nature. So she feels compelled to yell out “Can’t stop lookin’ at em, can you?” so half the bar turns to gaze upon the Texas rednecks that don’t know how to review a parade of barely-clad man-tackle with any type of class. Great. Now I’m conscious of people watching me watch the floor show, which sucks a large portion of the fun out of it. Thanks, Bubbles. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly tumble off that barstool and I don’t help you up.

  Luckily for Bubbles’ healthcare plan, the show tunes started up, with video clips splashing across the big-ass monitors they have all over the place. Next thing you know, half the bar is singing along and you can no longer hear your wallet emptying out as you pay for continual rounds of drinks. Life was good. Or at least musical.

  Then the Architects showed up.

  I’m not sure where they came from. This was probably explained to me at some point, but it didn’t register. What did get through the alcohol barrier into my brain was the fact that these guys were, indeed, actual architects. With degrees and all that mess. This thrilled me. I love architecture. Of course, loving architecture and being an architect for a living are two entirely different things. And it’s fair to say that my vodka-soaked brain had no idea what this difference might be.

  What my brain DID know was that I must converse at length with these guys, regardless of whether or not they felt a reciprocal need. So there I am bellowing into their ears (Miss Jennifer Holliday was blasting on the sound system, but I probably would have bellowed anyway) about form and function and whatever else popped into my head. Since these conversations went on for quite some time, I was either able to hold my ground with the discourse or the New Yorkers were fascinated by my drunken Texas idiocy.

  In any case, the Architects had a secondary impact on our little trio, in that we were inspired anew to keep slugging back the drinks. This was completely unnecessary, as we were well-oiled by this point, but common sense sort of went out the door when we first spied the underwear-sporting bartenders. Complicating all this was that pesky “two-for-one” business. We kept forgetting that we had that second free drink coming, and would order another round. A backlog soon developed, but we gamely proceeded to plow through everything.

  Before too much longer, we were smashed.

  This became abundantly clear when, after a misunderstanding concerning exactly what had transpired in the last fifteen minutes during an intricately-choreographed round of bathroom visits and dashes outside to smoke, Terry and I began yelling at each other, convinced that each of us had been slighted in some profound way. We had moved beyond convivial social drinking into the realm of surfaced anger that had little to do with anything. Belligerence had arrived, that unwelcome product of excess. Drastic measures were now in order.

  We had to get something in our stomachs. After all, the only thing we’d had to eat for the last several hours had been peanuts, and most of them had been dropped when one of the bartenders would bend over and reach for something on a lower shelf. We needed some soakage.

  So there are happy asses went, piling out the door of “Splash” and heading into the night in search of sustenance, hoping to sop up some alcohol before we were annoyingly arrested for public indecency or, far worse, for not remembering all the words to “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: The Motels - “Only the Lonely”

There’s a brief “opening credits” shot that we don’t really care about, especially since it doesn’t fit with the rest of the video and we could have done without it. Then we start the real business, with the camera focusing in on a ceiling fan, then dropping down into the lobby of an old-timey hotel. Here comes the lead singer (Martha?) strolling across this lobby and wearing all black, so you know she’s really sad about something. She’s headed toward a little table, but before she can get there her inner tragedy overwhelms her and she starts warbling the song.

She turns toward the camera, and we really want to listen to her woeful tale and support her in any way that we can, but we’re completely distracted by her hat. (Did a bird fall out of the sky?) I guess even Martha realizes that the dead bird thing is a bit much, so she turns and wanders out of the scene.

Cut to Martha stomping into an empty restaurant, chairs on the tables and all that so it’s either really late or really early. She hasn’t lost the hat, probably because there were too many bobby pins holding it in place, and she’s too tired to deal with that right now. She wanders through the restaurant, looking for something, but doesn’t seem to find it. Since she hasn’t bothered to let us know what the missing thing might be, we still can’t help her out. We’re not being very good friends at all, so maybe we should sing something sad as well.

Martha walks up to the bar just as the counter starts glowing and the bartender pops up from behind the bar. (Not sure that I care for this development. It looks all “Jack Nicholson finally losing his mind in the Overlook Hotel” just before he picks up an axe.) The bartender already has her drink ready, so he’ll probably get a great tip, if Martha can stop singing long enough to figure out where her purse is. (Maybe that’s what she was looking for a bit ago. Poor thing. Sad and possibly penniless. But at least there’s alcohol.)

Oh, look, the bartender just quickly served her three drinks in a row. I think I need to find this bar.

We don’t actually see Martha drink these beverages, but she must have, because when she turns around to walk away from the bar, the restaurant is now filled with patrons, all of them wearing increasingly dramatic hats, so there must be some type of pageant going on. Martha doesn’t care and just keeps walking, still not having found what she’s looking for.

Quick shots of some of the other patrons. The guys look shifty and untrustworthy, but that’s normal for guys, so we don’t really learn anything. Martha keeps walking, but suddenly a new guy walks into the place and up to her. They kiss passionately, even though Martha is magically able to keep singing the song. Unfortunately, there must have been something wrong with the lip-lock (bad breath? too much tongue? fangs?), because Martha shoves him to the side, clutching at her offended mouth as she runs along.

More shots of the other patrons. Most of them look drunk or unsure of what they’re supposed to be doing while the camera rolls. Next thing you know, Martha is finally ripping off that stupid hat, bobby pins be damned. She gets really invested in running her hands through her hair and tilting her head in ecstasy, so perhaps someone should tell her she’s not in a commercial for Head and Shoulders.

Now we have a montage of a band playing, people ordering more drinks at the bar, some dancing, possible gambling, a creepy duo dressed alike and looking at each other in an odd way, more drinking, and what might be zombies coming to life at one of the tables. (No idea what that last bit was about.)

Back to Martha, her hair still blowing about like Hurricane Zelda just hit shore. The utter self-love that Martha is expressing for her hair causes a guy sitting nearby to knock over his table and spill his drink. This is probably the most tragic thing I’ve seen happen in the entire video.

Once again with Martha sitting at the bar, chatting with the bartender who likes to hide behind things. She’s got another drink, naturally, and she’s smoking, which means she’s a total tramp. Apparently the bartender says something rude to her, because she gets up and stomps off again. (Can this woman simply not sit still and enjoy her cocktail? Relax, honey.) The bartender gives her a friendly wave as she leaves, meaning he doesn’t understand that he’s a chauvinistic pig and will never get married.

Suddenly, we have a close-up of Martha, and based on her orgiastic expression, it would probably be very helpful to learn just what the hell happened between the last scene and this one. Martha’s not saying, instead choosing to finish up the song. The camera pulls back, and we see that Martha is sprawled out on top of one of the tables, clearly in a post-coital position. (I told you. Alcohol and nicotine lead to wanton encounters on furniture.)

The camera keeps easing back from the scene while the music slowly fades, showing us that the restaurant is completely empty, meaning her lusty suitor made a beeline for the door as soon as he was done. Poor Martha. Now she’ll have to write another sad song about abandonment. Just as soon as someone can help her get off this table…


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Bubble Bath, Part 21

  Editor’s Note: We’re still sitting at IHOP, waiting for our food to arrive, which apparently might not happen in our lifetime. I have just overheard what I think is a drug deal taking place at the table behind me. Terry thinks I’m just operating in my usual drama queen mode and has little interest in validating my delusions…

  Me: “I’m serious. Something is going down.”

  Terry: “That’s nice. Do you think we should paint the bedroom mocha or latte?”

  Me: “You never believe me about anything.”

  Terry: “What would be the point? You’re just going to change your mind in the next five minutes.”

  Just then, the good server comes racing into the room with steaming plates of food for all her customers. Customers that came into the restaurant after we did. And where might our server be? Who the hell knows. Maybe she ran to fetch the drugs that her boss is selling alongside the Rooty, Tooty, Fresh and Fruity.

  I sigh. “I’m going outside for a cigarette. I’m sure I have plenty of time.” Terry nods absently, his mind working on painful ways to torture Gertrude should she decide to ever come back.

  I pass through the little lobby area, and notice that Mayflower, the decaying hostess wretch, is propped up against the wall, probably waiting for someone to apply electrified paddles to her chest. She briefly glances at me, and I can tell by her eyes that she hates everyone in this building and wants all of them to die. I hear ya, sister.

  Once I’m out the front doors, I wander around to the side of the building to do my business. (I’m one of those people who try to be considerate with my dirty habits, not one of those losers who will stand right there in a high-traffic area, belching exhaust on innocent families and then wondering why people spit on them. It’s no surprise that NYC has basically banned smoking in any place where anyone might possibly want to breathe.)

  So I’m doing my thing, waiting for the nicotine to flood my body and trick my brain into thinking I actually enjoy my life. I glance to the left, where I spy two men sharing a wrinkled, brown bag that obviously contains a bottle of hooch. I consider joining them. Seriously. I don’t care that we might transmit germs to one another. (The alcohol would kill most of that mess anyway.) But what actually stops me from sauntering over is the prospect of having to talk to another human being, which is the last thing in the world I want to do right now.

  I turn my head in the other direction and, lo and behold, there’s Bubbles traipsing toward me, her happily-tended toes putting a spring in her step. As she comes even with me on the sidewalk, her perceptive analytical skills kick into gear, and she immediately senses something amiss. “Spill.”

  “Well, we’re still waiting on our food.”

  Her mouth drops open. “You’re kidding me!” She reflects briefly, then advises: “I’m gonna run into this shoe store over here for a sec, then I’ll meet you inside.” Translation: If we still don’t have our food when Bubbles completes her footwear transaction, she is going to march into IHOP and burn the mother down.

  I stab out my cigarette, check to make sure it’s really dead, chunk it in a nearby trashcan, and then race into the restaurant to tell Terry the news. Bubbles is gonna whup some ass and we’ll be in the front row! Woo hoo!

  But before I can share all the juicy details, a parade of servers comes marching into our neglected room, all of them carrying bulging bags full of to-go boxes. They pile these on a spare, empty table near the loudmouth in the corner, then they all turn and march back into their holding pen while the restaurant manager slips into the room as well and approaches Don Bigmouth. “Your order is ready.”

  Dang. So it wasn’t a drug deal after all. Just some really hungry people. Not that I’m a fan of illicit recreational merchandising, but it had been a little exciting to think I was this close to activities that could send somebody to the Big House. Terry just looked at me. See? Food. Not drugs. You really need to quit watching “X-Files” reruns.

  Amazingly, Gertrude, our server that we had assumed had fled the country for political reasons, actually made another appearance. She explained that the kitchen was really backed up because someone (she glanced at her manager with obvious distaste) had allowed someone else (she glanced at Don Bigmouth with even more dissatisfaction) to order 20 meals for takeout.

  Oh. I see. But that’s not really our problem, now is it? Where’s our food? She went to check, as if something miraculous might have taken place during the fifteen seconds since the last time she had been in the kitchen.

  Then we descended into madness.

  The jerk in the corner, Don Bigmouth, was chowing down on his meal along with his silent but devoted groupies. Suddenly, Bigmouth discovered something on his plate that was completely unacceptable, leading to the following dialogue. (Keep in mind that Bigmouth is also Trashmouth, and there has been a bit of tidying up with the language.)

  Bigmouth, bellowing: “There’s gosh-durn bacon on my truckin’ plate!”

  His homies wail and clutch at their faces, horrified at this utter outrage.

  Bigmouth, yelling across the room at a server that is NOT his: “Get the truckin’ manager right NOW.” (Said server looks at Bigmouth dully, sighs, then slowly ambles out of the room. Apparently this type of discourse was common for this restaurant, so she did not have any urgency concerning her rudely-given directive.)

  Bigmouth, bellowing: “There’s truckin’ bacon on my gosh-durn plate!”

  Thank you for the clarification. I don’t think Brazil heard you the first time.

  The manager appears, his face slightly pale and sweaty. He gulps and approaches Bigmouth’s table. And Bigmouth explodes with a fury. Big is beyond upset about the porcine surprise, compelling him to cuss out the food, the server, the manager, the restaurant, the city, the state, and anyone who has ever spoken approvingly of pork in their entire lives. This goes on for quite some time.

  During all this mess, I surreptitiously fake-stretch and glance over my shoulder to get a visual, fully expecting to see half a pig lying across the table behind me, an apple in its mouth. Instead, Big is jabbing at something with his fork, a little speck of meat that even ants wouldn’t bother to tote back home. “Don’t tell me that’s not bacon!” challenges Bigmouth, his homies nodding their heads and pointing.

  Bigmouth really likes repetition: “I said, don’t tell me that’s not bacon.” (Look, no one is disputing the bacon status. Geez.) “I don’t eat bacon. I know what it tastes like. THAT’S bacon!” (But if you don’t eat bacon, how would you…) “It’s bacon!” he practically screamed. “Bacon!”

  Well, yes, it’s probably bacon, but if that tiny thing is going to bother you, you might as well never leave the house. Because there are much bigger disappointments out there. Of course, I don’t vocalize any of these thoughts. After all, Big is waving a pronged weapon and has enough adrenaline and/or drugs coursing through his veins that he could chew rocks. Besides, it’s really not my place.

  It’s the manager’s place. Yes, you should placate the customers. But you should not allow them to disrupt civilization as we know it. However, the manager did not understand this, letting Big scream for a good 10 minutes before finally wandering away. Which was exactly enough time for the big hand on the clock to reach the same number it had been on when we walked into this place.

  We had been sitting here for an hour. And still no food.

  Terry and I looked at each other. “We’re done,” we said at the same time, and started gathering up our things.

  Right on cue, Bubbles walked in the front door. She didn’t even bother to head in our direction. She took one glance at our table, quickly noted the absence of any plates, and immediately cornered Mayflower at her little hostess desk, demanding to speak to the manager. Mayflower just kind of shrugged, nodded her head at the pale, sweaty guy just leaving our room, and then went back to giving herself CPR. Bubbles walked up to the manager and launched. Terry leapt out of our booth to go express his thoughts on the matter as well. I scampered to keep up with him, not wanting to miss any of this.

  So there we were in the entryway of the IHOP. Bubbles and Terry were ripping this guy a new one, arms flailing. I was just standing there, trying not to grin as I pretended to be emotionally distraught. The manager was a total wimp, proffering weak, feeble excuses about the slow service, the lack of food, and how he had gotten to this pathetic point in his life.

  Then he stupidly said this to Mayflower: “Don’t charge them for their drinks.”

  What! Of course you’re not going to charge us for the drinks. That even got ME riled up, and I usually don’t say anything, ever. Now Bubbles, Terry and I were tag-teaming with the invectives.

  And wouldn’t you know it, right then Gertrude came wandering up with our plates of food, confused because we weren’t where she left us yesterday.

  But we were done. We stomped out the front doors, triumphant that we had stood up to The Man and given him an earful. We were noble warriors, fighting for justice.

  Then we paused on the sidewalk. We may be the Norma Rae’s of our generation, but we were also still truckin’ hungry.

  Gosh-durn it.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

10 Creative Reasons for Leaving Work Early on Friday Afternoon

  1. The “fake food poisoning” approach.

  Eat at your desk, but purposely do not finish all of it. Find something odd that you can mix into the remaining food, like cough syrup or pencil shavings. Stir until the mess is completely unrecognizable. Leave your fork jammed into the goo like you were trying to take another bite but just couldn’t do it. Get a wet paper towel from the bathroom and keep it nearby.

  Wait until you hear your boss coming near your cube.

  When you do, quickly moisten your forehead so that it looks like you’ve been sweating profusely, smear a little bit of the goo on your chin like you’ve lost certain motor skills, then begin to moan loudly. Time it so that, just as your boss enters your cube, you can feign a woozy spell, clutching at your chair to keep from falling out. Look at your boss with sad and miserable eyes, and say “I never should have ordered the tuna surprise.”

  If your boss looks a bit skeptical, quickly snatch up some of the goo on the fork and hold it out. “Can you take a bite and see what’s in it? The emergency medical personnel might ask when I’m unconscious.” Wave the fork expectantly.

  You should be headed out the door in a few minutes.

  2. The “surprise visit from an out-of-town relative” approach.

  Use your office phone to call your cell phone, making sure your cell is on both audible AND vibrate to create extra commotion. Put yourself on hold and answer the cell. Fake a conversation, acting first very surprised and then totally elated, ending the call with “Oh, it’s no problem at all. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

  Rush into your boss’ cube, babbling excitedly about the joys of family rolling over the horizon in a covered wagon, come a calling. Now, bosses really don’t care for families, so this next bit is tricky. You have to provide too MUCH detail, to the point where your boss is exasperated and will finally send you on your way just to shut you up.

  Talk about how this relative was your favorite when you were a child, because she always made cocoa when you stayed over and would let you wear her dresses and pretend to be in a fashion show. (This bit is especially effective if you identify as male.) Rattle on about the time you went on a Kumquat Tour in eastern Europe, and one of you got arrested for public nudity. Hint at the dark time when your relative was strung out on back pain meds and you had to get Pastor Hornbuckle to do an Intervention. (Wipe away a fake tear for dramatic realism.)

  As a grand finale, pretend to reach for family photos in your wallet. This should be the kicker to obtain your release.

  3. The “fire alarm diversion” approach.

  Locate a microwave in some distant corner of the building, near people you don’t know so you won’t care when they get upset about the upcoming destruction. Throw in a packet of popcorn, set the thing for 400 minutes, hit start, then discreetly run like hell back to your cube. Wait.

  When the fire alarm goes off and everybody piles out of the building, slip away to the parking garage and go home. If you are questioned on Monday about your sudden disappearance, claim that you completely misunderstood what the alarm meant, so you would really appreciate it if your boss could set up a training class in Noise Identification and Management. Smile brightly, as if all you’ve ever wanted is to do the right thing, but you realize that you’re a little slow.

  4. The “my kid brother done messed up again” approach.

  Make another fake call to your cell phone, this time reacting with outrage and disappointment. March to your boss’ cube, looking sheepish and embarrassed. Explain quietly that your brother is in jail again and Momma can’t fetch him because she’s at the Warthog Festival over to Abilene. Don’t mention a specific crime, just keep referring to “his problem” in a dark manner, indicating that his offenses cannot be spoken aloud. Cry if you need to do so. (I’ve found that an Altoid placed against the eyeball works wonders.) Throw in phrases like “it’s tearing Momma’s heart out” and “Christian thing to do”. Fondle the cross on the necklace that you aren’t really wearing.

  5. The “my computer locked up and I can’t get anything done, dang it” approach.

  Open up every single program on your desktop and make them do something that will decimate your memory. Now, go out to the Web and find some obscure but mammoth program that you don’t really need or want. Download the setup file and kick it off. When the desktop warns “It is strongly advised that you close all open programs and light a prayer votive”, completely ignore this advice. Click “Install Now” and cross your fingers.

  6. The “passive aggressive “ approach.

  Make sure no one is looking, then take a rock and throw it at the head of someone in a neighboring cube. Immediately begin typing on your keyboard as if that’s all you’ve been doing for the last three days. From this point forward, deny everything, despite whatever proof might be presented. At the right emotional moment, fake a small break with reality and run out of the building, screaming words like “discrimination”, “my lawyer” and “Jamaican Rub”.

  7. The “morally distraught” approach.

  Call your friend that you know looks at porn on the Internet 23 hours out of every day. Have him/her email you photos of people and/or animals doing things that would make even Tommy Lee scratch his head. When you receive them, scream in horror and knock over your chair in shock. (If everyone around you is on calls or otherwise engaged, you’ll have to scream loud and long enough for them to come running. You need an audience for this.)

  Once the crowd has gathered, proffer the salacious material on your screen with a trembling hand, refusing to look. Really play this up, tearing at your hair and asking co-workers for nausea medicine. When your boss finally wanders over, wondering if he missed a meeting, kick it into overdrive, bellowing that you feel so dirty that you must immediately run home and wash away the filth.

  8. The “Diversity” approach.

    Diversity is the corporate buzzword these days, so this one should be fairly easy. Explain to your boss that you just found out that people in Sweden don’t work afternoons on Fridays, some type of religious thing that is very dear to their culture. Since you get calls from Swedish people all the time at work (your boss, like all bosses, has no idea what you do and therefore wouldn’t know WHO you talk to all day), it’s only right that you leave early on Friday’s as well, so as not to offend your Swedish customers. If your boss appears to balk at the idea, just keep repeating the word “diversity” until she gets scared and starts looking over her shoulder for Human Resources to show up.

  9. The “oopsie” approach.

  Very simple. Splash water in your crotch and then ping your boss to come visit your cube. When they show up, briefly display your wetness, then explain that you were on a really long conference call, needed very badly to use the restroom but couldn’t because you didn’t want to miss anything that might affect your work group, and now you’ve wet yourself. Your boss will be too stunned to even think of a reply. Leave.

  10. The “I’m just gonna run down to the corner store and pick up a pack of cigarettes” approach.

  Run down to the corner store. Keep going. Worry about an excuse on Monday morning.

Backup Dancers From Hell: Bon Jovi - “Living on a Prayer”

Disclaimer: Okay, I lived through the 80’s, and I remember most of them, but it still scares the hell out of me when I see the Big Hair from that time. What were people thinking? Seriously. And here we go…

We start out with the band marching into some arena where they are setting up for a concert. How these guys got their hair into the arena is unclear, but somehow they did, and they seem really psyched about having accomplished this mission. Quick shot of the band members’ feet, and we can see that they are all wearing go-go boots, another oddity from that time and place. You know drugs were involved. You know it.

We kick off a montage of the band and their hundred or so roadies running around and getting things in order. Lighting people are doing their thing and sound technicians are testing this and that and lots of other people seem to have no real mission but they’re running around anyway.

And the whole time I’m thinking “The Hair. Oh my God, the Hair.” (Sorry, I just can’t get away from it. It’s just… everywhere.)

Oh look, now people are strapping various band members into flying gear so they can be yanked around the stage as if they were in a revival of “Peter Pan”. The band members seem really excited about this part, but if it was up to me, I’d like to remain stationary on the stage, thank you very much. If my ass is flying over the audience’s heads, I’m thinking they’re probably not listening to my heartfelt lyrics, and that’s an issue with me.

Quick scene where showers of sparks are falling from the sky, with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia running to escape the Death Star.

The lyrics finally start, and we have a close-up of Jon whipping around with his microphone and bellowing at the camera. Two things of importance about this scene. One, Jon looks to be about 12 years old. Two, he has more fringe on his jacket than drunks at a Saturday night barn dance. This does not stop him from singing.

More montage, with people still testing out the flying-on-wires thing, people drinking coffee, people fiddling with guitars, and Jon hamming it up for the camera because he has validation issues. Some bonehead operating the flying-wires thinks it would be fun to make people crash into each other on the stage. This is fun. For about two seconds. After that, not so much.

Then somebody else decides that the camera needs to zoom in on the crotches of the flying men. I can’t say that I completely disagree with this decision, but I’m disappointed with the results. I’m not seeing anything of interest. Perhaps it’s really cold in the arena.

Quick shot of Jon playing one of the other guy’s guitar as it dangles in his nether region. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Another shot of Jon jacking with his hair to make it even bigger. Not kidding. He’s trying to make it bigger. Can our planet support that?

The montage continues for a very long time, showing more of the same. Technicians diddling, band members acting like they are in the midst of orgasm as they sing the lyrics, and people zooming through the air like it’s completely natural. At one point, Jon bends over to show us that his jeans have a patch right in a very personal place. What are we supposed to do with this information?

Then Jon decides that he needs to use his microphone stand as a means of transport. He’s pole-vaulting all over the place, tilting his head just right so that the jet stream will get under his Neanderthal hair and keep him aloft for decades. Jon also likes to run, in case you were wondering. Run, run, run. What he’s running from, nobody knows. One minute he’s on the stage, the next second he’s clear at the other end of the venue, the rest of the band mere ants in the background.

And, um, well, the montage continues. More of the same. They really need to do something new or different, or I’m going to quit watching and go pay bills. And I hate to pay bills. Tease me, Jon. Make me want more.

Right at that moment, Jon turns to the camera and slaps his hand over his mouth. Oh? Does he desperately want me as well but can‘t admit his hidden desires? Probably not, but let’s go with that. It’s at least interesting, and will help me get through the rest of the video.

Hey, the video has changed from black-and-white to color, and now there’s an actual audience. The people at Bon Jovi concerts are very intriguing. Naturally, there are the thousands of women wearing no panties and wanting to have sex with Jon, right here, right now. But watch the guys as well. They seem very, very enthusiastic about watching someone perform who doesn’t have breasts. Jon touches us all, right? I sure hope so.

The live concert is really more of what we’ve already seen. Big-haired men wearing fringy leather and go-go boots, running about and bellowing. This causes all the women in the audience to raise their hands over their head and gyrate. They want some New Jersey lovin’, preferably as soon as possible. This is SO much more fun than going to church. Me love you long time.

At 3:12, we have a crotch shot while some band member lies on his back and strokes his guitar. The other band members seem to be encouraging him. (The band member in the background looks like Amy Grant, but I’m assuming it’s not.)

At 3:19, Prince makes a cameo.

And here we go with the flying business, with Jon zooming out over the audience like the Wicked Witch of Newark. The women may have been horny before now, but at this point they lose all thought and reason, ovulating with the ferocity of a machine gun. (And look at that, so are some of the men.) I’m surprised Jon isn’t ripped from the sky and devoured by lip-glossed she-wolves. (Pause at 3:26. Does that look mentally healthy to you?)

And the video works its way to an end, with Jon and the Bovi’s wailing and running. (At 3:45, an exorcism takes place. Not lying.) We have high kicks, pounding drums, flashy guitar work, leather jackets, and the Hair. Always the Hair. The final shot is of more of those sparks showering down on the stage. One lone person runs off to the right to escape the madness.

Now, watch the entire video again, and think: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Seriously. Do it.



Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Searching For Signal: #176 - “Survivor: Nicaragua” - Episode 6

For whatever reason, we don’t start out with the traditional “march of shame” as the losing tribe wanders back to their camp after having sent someone home. (Which means nothing happened that was the least bit juicy, because these producers will show us anything that’s minimally exciting.) Instead, it’s already the next morning at the Espada camp.

And Mother Nature is in a mood. Winds are blowing, tides are roaring, and people are running about looking dissatisfied and slightly concerned that Dorothy and Toto might drop out of the sky at any moment. Danny hobbles up to Holly, and fesses that he’s thinking of quitting the game. Holly looks at him as if she has no idea who he might be.

Holly in a sidebar: He needs to suck it up and finish the game. (This from the woman who recently spent an entire episode wallering in the sand and crying because she couldn’t deal with using dead leaves as toilet paper and just wanted to go home. Delusional much?)

Roll opening credits.

We’re still at the Espada camp, with Holly and Yve gathering firewood, both of them only holding a few twigs because between the two of them they only weight about 20 pounds. Yve: Why was I left out of the thing to send Tyrone home? Holly: We thought you were in an alliance with Tyrone. Yve: Are you crazy? Holly: Well, maybe you need to be more open and honest. (This from the woman who thought it was okay to sink somebody’s shoes in the lagoon while Gilligan and Mary Ann were building a hut.) And, oh yeah, Danny wants to go home.

Yve just looks at Holly like she can’t trust anything that ever comes out of Crazy-Eyed Woman’s mouth. Good, because Holly lost contact with reality a long time ago.

Cut to the La Flor tribe. Marty and Jill are sitting about, with both of them pretending that the younger members of their new tribe are starting to warm up to them. (They are not.) Jill in a sidebar: “They’d get rid of us in a heartbeat.” Probably so. But what’s more important to me? Both of them have spiky hairdos that scare me. You could lose an arm sleeping next to them.

Brenda in a sidebar, WAY over-confident and on the verge of me not caring for her anymore, speaking of who’s running the show in the La Flor camp: “It’s the younger tribe. Plus Jane.” We have the numbers. We’re going to vote 3 for Marty, 3 for Jill, and flush the Idol out. Then Brenda pauses to pose for the latest “Survivor Women Who Might Be in for a Big Surprise” calendar.

Time for a challenge, and both tribes march into the clearing. Jeff announces that it’s going to be an Immunity Challenge. (Really? It’s way too early in the episode for that. Something’s up.) Then Jeff startles everybody by revealing two Individual Immunity necklaces. Both tribes will be going to Tribal, and both tribes will send someone home. Uh oh. (The La Flor tribe pauses in their arrogance, their faces falling as they realize that their youthfulness and low body fat will not save them this time.)

Jeff explains. Each tribe will compete separately. Each person has to dig in the sand for these ring things, use a wood thing to flip the ring into a toilet (that’s what it looked like to me) strapped to their back, and then run to hang the ring on a post. First person to get three rings on the post wins Immunity.

In the second part of this very-complicated challenge, the winners from each tribe will then compete in a festive ring toss, with the winner gaining a Reward for their tribe. The Reward involves getting to be the first group at Tribal Council, where they send someone home, and then they get to eat a feast while the losing tribe sends their own person home. Survivors ready?

Espada is up first. I know this is really serious for them, but I’m rolling on the floor watching people run around with miniature toilets on their back and trying to flip a ring into the potty. (Jeff makes sure to holler out: “And Dan’s still getting nowhere.“ Jeff doesn‘t care for Danny. Danny doesn‘t care, period.) Stunning everyone, wild-eyed Holly wins.

Next up is La Flor, with more bouncing toilets as people realize it’s not all that easy to flip objects through the air and catch them with your backside. In another surprise, Jill wins. So much for the youngsters dominating this game. The kiddies all wander around in confusion, because they really expected all the old people to be dead by now.

Final part of the competition, with Holly and Jill hurling rings and trying to get them to catch on hooks. Jill wins again, but Holly is right there behind her. The La Flor tribe will be feasting and watching the other gang rip and tear at each other during Tribal.

Cut to the La Flor camp, where everybody is all happy and joyous. (Perhaps the MTV crowd hasn’t realized that they still have to send one of their own home.) There’s whooping and hollering and people doing group high-fives.

Brenda in a sidebar: “That was totally fake.” We are NOT family, and we don’t have all our sisters with us. This is the worst case scenario, with Jill winning Immunity, but “we’ll still vote someone out that we don’t want”.

Really? How are you going to do that? Marty and Jill both have Idols.

Cue Brenda and Sash in a conversation, showing that they don’t just hate the old people in the tribe. Sash: We’ll do 3 votes for Marty, 3 votes for Kelly B. And we’ll tell Kelly B that we’re voting for Jane. (Once again, they’re hating on Kelly B because of that leg of hers. The humanity has been sucked out of these people. Then again, I’m still watching the show, so I guess I’m part of the problem and not part of the solution. My bad.)

Brenda runs to tell Kelly B the lie about everybody voting for Jane. Poor Kelly B. She nods her head in agreement. Then Brenda runs back to wherever it is that she and her conscience can live with themselves.

Brenda in a sidebar: This is all a little complicated. You never know what Fabio will do. Then Brenda pauses to pose for the “Women of Survivor with No Soul” calendar.

Next we have a scene with Marty and Fabio. Marty tells Fab the he’s some huge chess grandmaster, having beat some famous guy twice. (Fabio sucks it all in, because he wouldn’t know a chess player from a coconut.) Marty: If you wanna win this game, you come talk to me. Then Marty strokes his own ego so loudly that birds fly away from nearby trees.

Fabio in a sidebar: The chess player thing “makes sense!” Marty is SO smart. (No, you’re just stupid. How did you manage to get on the plane that brought you to this island?)

Cut to the Espada camp, where everybody is really sad. Which I don’t really get. Yes, they don’t get to eat, and they have to send someone home, but the other tribe has to say audios as well. (They get to eat, which sucks, but that’s the only leg-up they have on you.) Holly is making a big production about “how close” she was to winning the Reward. No one really cares, because Holly still has issues with how to properly wear a bathing suit, and that’s more frightening than anything else in the jungle.

Holly in a sidebar: “I’ll have to vote with the younger tribe members. It’s going to be Dan or Yve.” Then Holly has to turn away from the camera while she takes a call from her home planet.

Next up, Holly and Dan are walking along with buckets, because there’s nothing else to do around here so you might as well wander around with empty containers. Dan has decided that he wants to stay after all. Holly just looks at him. Dude, you have got to make up your mind. Then she gets distracted by the fact that there’s actually sand on the beach. Who knew?

Benry and Chase, trying to decide between Dan and Yve. Benry: I’d rather take Dan with us further in the game. (You would? Why?)

Benry in a sidebar: “Yve has got to go.”

Chase in a sidebar: “I want to keep Yve.” I don’t trust Benry. NaOnka is the only one I trust. (I agree with you on keeping Yve. But NaOnka? What’s up with that? Nay Girl has some serious reality conflicts. Then again, who on Survivor doesn’t?)

Chase and NaOnka: They both want Dan to go. No hesitation.

Yve in a sidebar: “It’s going to be me or Dan.” Then she pauses and has to deal with yet another person running up and asking why her head seems so oddly-shaped.

Yve runs to NaOnka and Alina. Yve: I don’t want to go. Holly said Dan wants to go. If we make it to the merge, I know the old Espada tribe and I can help you out.

Alina in a sidebar, which she doesn’t deserve because she’s worthless: Yve knows the old Espada tribe? That’s the perfect argument to get rid of her. (No, it’s not. Yve can be your ally in all this mess. Seriously, is there a checkbox on the “Survivor” application form that says “I am incapable of rational thought. I will do stupid things because I can’t think ahead. And I have large breasts. Love me.”)

New scene with Danny snoozing away in the camp hut, obviously proving his worthlessness. Holly, Chase and NaOnka are standing about, watching his un-productivity. Out of nowhere, Chase states that he is not sure about sending Danny home. What the hell? The other two girls just stare at Chase. Why can’t people make a decision and just stick to it? God.

La Flor tribe, where Brenda is babbling to Jane: “In our plan, you just gotta vote for Marty.” Jane doesn’t bother with details like “what exactly IS the plan?” or “what’s in it for me?”. She just nods her head and then tries to figure out exactly what has happened to her hair that makes it look like road kill.

Jane in a sidebar: Marty and Jill have been conniving against me since Day One. (Not really. Perhaps the better statement would be “I’m going to jump on any ship that will get me past the next Tribal Council. Because I’m from the sticks, and I cackle at things that aren’t really funny. I need help.”)

Sash and Fabio in a confab, which is really a stretch because Fabio still hasn’t even realized that the game has started. He thinks they keep going to the beach to look for clams, not to actually win competitions. Sash: “We need to flush the Idol. 3 votes for Marty, 3 votes for Kelly B.” Fabio: “What?”

Fabio in a sidebar: “What?” I want Marty to stay.

Sash in a sidebar: This Fabio thing? Something could go wrong.


Scene with Sash, Fabio and Marty. Sash and Fabio (well, really just Sash, because Fabio is still confused by things like daylight and wind) are trying to convince Marty that Jane is the target. Marty nods, his porcupine hair slicing the roof of the hut into shreds.

Marty runs to Brenda. “So it’s Jane?” Brenda nods wisely, then pauses to pose for the “Survivor Women Who Will Eventually Trip Over Their Own Lies” calendar.

Brenda in a sidebar: “It all depends on Marty playing the Idol.” (Ya think?)

Sash runs to Brenda: Fabio’s not sure about voting Marty out. (To be fair, Fabio’s not sure a lot of things, like clouds and miniature golf.)

Marty in a sidebar: He feels like Jane’s a lock, so he’s not going to play the Idol.

Time for the La Flor Tribal.

First there’s a bit of general chit-chat, then Jeff goes after Marty, concentrating on him being over-confident and showing everybody the Idol. Marty tries to put a spin on it, saying he did it for “trust”.

Brenda: “He’s trying to make it more noble than it really is.” (Marty turns and glares at Brenda like she just did something offensive with a crucifix.)

Jeff to Jane: “Do you feel safe?”

Brenda again: “She has to worry about Jill and Marty voting her out.” (What? Why’d she go and say that? Is she trying to unnerve Marty and flush the Idol? Not sure.)

This leads to a heated discussion between Brenda and Marty, with Brenda showing that she can be creative with the truth and Marty showing that he really thinks he’s just the greatest thing in the world. At the end of this mess, Marty turns to Jane and whispers “vote Brenda”. Jane whispers back “who the hell is Brenda?”

Time to Vote. Everybody traipses off to do their thing. Then Jeff: Anybody want to play an Idol before I reveal? Everybody turns to look at Marty, including several natives walking by on the beach. Marty just sits there. Okay, then.

3 votes for Marty, 3 votes for Kelly B (this was planned), and 2 votes for Brenda (those would be coming from Marty and Jill). We have a tie.

Jeff: Okay, we’re voting again. Marty and Kelly B can’t vote.

1 vote for Marty, and then it appears that everybody else voted for Kelly B. She’s gone.

What just happened? These fools voted to keep Marty? And he still has the safety of his Idol? Not a smart move here, folks.

Time for the Espada Tribal.

Jeff spends a long time torturing the Espada tribe about the La Flor tribe getting to chow down on food while they have nothing. (Jeff has a bit of an evil streak in him.) Then Jeff gets down to business. To Dan: You okay with going home? Dan: No. I want to stay more than anything in the world.

Yve: He’s saying that now. Back at camp, he won’t shut up about wanting to go home. (Which is true.)

Jeff to Dan: Aren’t you a liability in challenges?

Dan: Nope.

Yve: Yes, he is.

Jeff to Dan: Why not send Yve home?

Dan: We should. She’s arrogant.

She’s arrogant? Oh no. Sparks fly between Yve and Danny. She is intelligent and ably defends herself, he’s just an idiot with an unjustified ego. He comes off looking really bad, but Alina and Benry (I don’t trust either of them) actually come to Danny’s defense. Something’s in the air, and I don’t like the smell of it.

Time to vote, and that “something” becomes clear: Yve is voted out.

Jeff: Based on the vote, the tribe appears unified. Based on what I heard? Not so much.

Roll end credits.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Paramore - “The Only Exception”

We start out with a couple lying on a somewhat ugly couch. They guy is quite comfy with his snoozing, but the woman is restless. She decides to get up, and she leaves a note saying “I’m sorry.” We aren’t sure what she regrets, but it might be her decision to color her hair an odd shade of orange. She gazes longingly at the still-sleeping man (guys will sleep through anything, especially if sex has already taken place), and then goes out a door.

Which leads to another room with another guy. (Just what kind of place is this?) The woman hugs this other guy, then rudely proceeds to screw around with some knick-knacks on a shelf and steal a photo. Then she joins the guy at some table covered with a really giant doily, so I automatically don’t care for the table. (Doilies are not my thing.) They converse for roughly 3 seconds, then the woman apparently has to jet, so she hugs Guy Number Two and then dashes out another door. (Starting to think that this woman has an attention-deficit disorder of some kind.)

The next room is unoccupied, but looks vaguely like a college dorm room. The woman tucks the photo into the corner of a mirror, and the guy in the photo is not the other two guys that we’ve seen, so now we have to consider the fact that orange-haired woman might just be a bit of a tramp. She stares at the photo and looks really sad.

Cut to the woman somewhere else, lying on top of thousands of what I’m assuming are Valentine’s cards. So it’s official. She’s either sleeping with the entire planet or is a really good pen pal. Just to make sure that we understand that this woman knows a lot of guys, the camera pans over the billions of cards for confirmation.

Now the woman is with her band while they slow-jam on a stage. Everyone is very somber and unsmiling, so it’s probably not a dance band, but there’s not a lot to dance about when you’re overly promiscuous. Instead, most of your songs will be about missed chances and bad decisions, sung at a slow tempo while people wear black clothing and make blog posts about misery and dissatisfaction.

Cut to a brief shot of jewelry, and then the woman applying lipstick. She’s back in the unoccupied room where she did the picture-tucking, so I guess the concert with her band was really short. Maybe this is the room where her personal stylist lives. Or a drag queen friend. I don’t know, nobody is handing me explanatory brochures while I watch this.

The woman goes out another door, which leads to the costume department of a small theatre company. She paws a few garments, and then is suddenly wearing a sexy little dress and has a new hairstyle. (Those must be some magical clothes up in there.) She goes out yet another door, and is apparently now in a place where they do speed-dating. She sits at a table and rejects a long line of potential suitors. (This is somewhat understandable, since the only cute one in the line clearly wants her cocktail dress more than he wants her.)

So, naturally, the woman races through another door, and she finds herself in a church. (Didn’t see that one coming.) The folks in the church have conveniently left her a deluxe seat in the front pew, so she takes that one. The front doors of the church fly open, and in marches some woman in a bridal dress like Godzilla attacking the city. Our orange-haired woman is not impressed with this development, so she turns and runs out the front door. (So, it makes her uncomfortable when people make commitments whilst wearing formal wear? Got it.)

Back to the band performing (with the authentic touch of some groupie crouched in the wings, clearly waiting to be impregnated by one of the band members hopped up on single-malt Scotch). The band has an audience now, which is nice, but they seem rather rambunctious and appear to be dancing to a different song that what we are hearing. (Wait, orange-haired woman is both on the stage and IN the audience? So does this mean that she really likes watching herself perform, or that she has multiple personalities leading to black-outs and abrupt ends to relationships? If it’s the second, I’m finally starting to understand this video.)

At 2:56 we cut back to the woman lying on the cards from her many lovers, and she sings the phrase “I’ve got a tight grip on reality.” Really? Because I’m not seeing that from where I sit. Then again, I’ve never colored my hair, so maybe there’s something fundamental that I don’t understand. Just trying to be fair.

More shots of the concert, with orange-haired woman scanning the crowd and spotting the man from the first scene in the video. He gazes at her with a look that could mean “I want you more than anything”, but could also mean “skank, you ran out the first of many doors without making me breakfast, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of a girlfriend”. Orange-Hair doesn’t care, beaming as if Bob Barker just asked her to “come on down”.

Now we have a montage of the woman lying on all those cards, the band performing, and Orange-Hair and First Man maybe or maybe not realizing that they were meant for each other. (Admittedly, it’s hard to determine your relationship status while attending a concert where people are drunk and have forgotten basic manners.)

And now we launch another montage, revisiting some of the twisty rooms that we’ve already been in, only this time the First Guy is in all of them, gazing at Orange-Hair with fairly undisguised longing. (Which is my favorite part of the video, showing that Orange-Hair really wanted this man in all of her life scenes. Awww.) She suddenly starts running backwards through all of the remaining rooms, and finally makes her way to the starting room, with the couch, rips up her “I’m sorry!” note, and nestles up against her still-sleeping lover.

Which is very sweet. But seriously, girl, why’d you leave in the first place? Now do you understand why guys have no clue what you want?


(But really, great song. Truly.)


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

The Bubble Bath, Part 20

  Editor’s Note: After a crazed morning of running about Bubble’s Pleasure Palace, we finally get our act together and head out the door to begin our adventures…

  We head to some part of Philly (no idea) where Bubbles’ fave pedicure place could be found. (Apparently they do something exquisite there involving hot rocks. I did not seek any further detail.) We toss her out in front of the building, then drive just a block or so away to the illustrious IHOP serving this particular neighborhood.

  Upon entering this fine establishment, we should have known right away that something was amiss. The serving hostess looked like she may have arrived in this country on the Mayflower, poor thing. But she still had some energy left, grabbing two menus and creaking her way into one of the dining rooms.

  A room which I immediately hated, because a small child, strapped in a highchair that clearly wasn’t restraining him enough, was banging on his table while his mother (or guardian or kidnapper) was completely ignoring him. And, of course, the Mayflower Madam seated us right next to the miniature Ringo Starr. Once the little urchin realized he had an audience, he kicked it up a notch. Mom continued to pretend that she had never given birth and was not responsible for his actions.

  The pounding continued for some time, with the expression on Terry’s face changing from mild irritation to “we are three seconds away from you having to bail me out of jail”. During the lengthy drum solo, the server supposedly assigned to our table chose to remain hidden from view. Perhaps she didn’t want to upstage the budding young drummer, but most likely she just didn’t care about things like timeliness and good tips.

  The drummer finally took a break and went to hang out with his groupies and try to score some dope. Decades later, the server finally came wandering in, looking as if the weight of her world made it unbearable for her to smile or brush her hair. She indifferently took our drink orders and wandered off again. If we had been thinking clearly, we would have equipped her with a GPS tracker before she left.

  Then Mayflower came back in, leading another innocent couple into the bowels of Hell. She promptly seated them on the other side of the diminutive drummer (who appeared to be gearing up for another session), despite other available tables, proving that Mayflower was, in fact, Satan’s bitch. Once the new sacrificial family was seated, May then marched to some other room, presumably to drink the blood of virgins.

  I watched the new couple briefly, as they excitedly perused their menus in anticipation of a glorious and refreshing meal. I thought about warning them that if they planned on eating today, they might not be in the best place, because the wait staff was totally lackadaisical and mostly AWOL. Just then, another server appeared, perfectly coiffed and smiling. She rushed to the new couple, welcomed them like long-lost family members (there might have even been hugs, I couldn’t see all that clearly because Tiny Drummer was flailing away again, his arms a blur), took their drink order, raced to retrieve the beverages, returning with them in 2.5 seconds, and then began taking the actual food order with sparkling and witty professionalism.

  This wasn’t fair. Why did we always get stuck with the servers who have no idea what their job description might be?

  Meanwhile, Mayflower, still making her way out of the room because she was ancient and being outpaced by dust bunnies rolling across the floor, was stopped in her tracks by loud bellowing from the drummer’s indifferent mother. May turned to see who was making all the racket, realized that the idiot woman with the unruly child was demanding her attention, sighed, and began hobbling back in our direction.

  Eventually Mayflower made it to the adjacent table (I’m surprised she remembered where she was going when she finally got there), leaned on the table to catch her breath, glanced with dismay at the still-pounding child, then turned her weary eyes to the shrieking harridan. “Yes?”

  Medusa: “I want you to move us to another table.”

  Mayflower, somewhat perplexed (did little Damien not find the acoustics of the room satisfactory for his wretched drumming?): “Is there something wrong?”

  Medusa: “I don’t want to sit here. Move me.”

  Mayflower, knowing full well that everybody in this room already wanted Medusa to die a painful death, didn’t really see the point in pissing off a whole other room of patrons and did not relish performing the relocation: “Has your service not been satisfactory?”

  Medusa: “It’s been fine. I just want to move. I have my own reasons.”

  Then this societal hemorrhage actually had the gall to turn and glare at ME.

  What the hell? I hadn’t done anything. Yes, I had given her looks of complete hatred and disgust, but I hadn’t said a word, even when her demon offspring had hurled a spoon against the wall, nearly decapitating another diner. This was unreal.

  Mayflower sighed. “Fine. Follow me.” She turned once more, bones creaking, and began to shuffle out of the room. Medusa snatched up her startled hellion, glared at me once more, then fell in line behind the Little Engine That Shouldn’t. Eons later, they finally made it out the door. Two minutes after that, the incessant drumming started up again in a distant setting. Three people thundered by our room, headed for the exit and wiping white gravy off their chins.

  Our own worthless server eventually made another appearance, lugging our two glasses, which she clunked down on the table. (Getting them wrong, of course. I quietly moved the glasses to the correct consumer.) The ice was already half-melted, indicating the glasses had been sitting somewhere for quite some time. Perhaps our server, partaking in a smoke break, stumbled across them sitting on the sidewalk outside and decided they would work just fine for our table.

  Our server, now christened Gertrude for no other reason than I’m already tired of typing “our server”, lethargically pulled out a pad of paper, clicked a pen into the ready position, and then just stood there, waiting.

  Okay, apparently we needed to place our order now. Thanks for the excellent communication skills, Gertie.

  Terry made his first attempt at a selection. Gertrude batted this down, mumbling something about his choice being on the breakfast menu, and we had rolled into the official lunch menu, having been sitting here since the Gettysburg Address. Terry pointed at something else, and Gertrude nodded slightly to indicate that this would be an acceptable alternative. She scribbled and then looked at me.

  Weak with hunger, I limply fingered something non-breakfasty and received clearance. Gertrude pivoted and marched away, surprising me by moving rather quickly. Perhaps it was time for another smoke break, since it had been a whole 10 minutes since her last one.

  Next we had what looked like a manager type staggering into the room. (Perhaps he was trying to find out what Medusa could possibly have found offensive in here, prompting her to sally forth and terrorize other parts of the building.) He made a beeline to a table in the corner, where some guy had been barking on his phone the entire time we had been here. (Phone Guy really loved using profanity. Not that it bothers me, per se, but dude, how many times can you say “truck dat” in the same conversation?)

  Phone Guy was also one of those people who don’t understand the rudeness of continuing to carry on a conversation with someone who is NOT here, when there are people who ARE here, like the glum-looking buddies at his table or the manager standing at the end of his table and clearing his throat. Phony finally told “dawg” to hold up. He pointed his finger at one of his buddies, who instantly leapt up and allowed the manager to slide into his place on the booth.

  The following conversation took place in very hushed tones. If they hadn’t been so subdued about it, I wouldn’t have cared or tried to listen. But the subterfuge got my attention. Besides, I had already played with every single thing on the table and I was bored out of my skull.

  Phony:  “Sup?”

  Manager: “I think I can do it. But I normally don’t like to do this in the store.”

  Phony: “You want the money or not?”

  Manager, briefly looking around, as if concerned that someone might run in the room at any moment and strike him with an improvised weapon: “Yes. But we’re very busy right now. Might take a minute.”

  Phony, muting “dawg” on his phone, who had chosen that moment to start babbling about “snatch” to somebody we couldn’t see and probably wouldn’t like: “How much?”

  Manager, super quiet now: “200 dollars.”

  Phony, un-muting “dawg” and waving away the manager in a dismissive manner: “Done. Do it.”

  OMG. There was nothing on the menu that could even begin to approach that amount of money. Something else was going on. Clearly, I had just been privy to a negotiation with dubious implications.

  I tried to tell Terry. “Dude, I think I just overheard a drug deal.”

  Terry, abandoning the straw wrapper that he had been fiddling with: “What?” (To be fair, his ears were probably still ringing from that horrid child and his dark need for beating the hell out of diner tables.)

  Me, whispering: “Behind us. I. Think. They. Just. Made. A. Drug. Deal. Word.”

  Terry just stared at me as if I had lost my mind. Again.

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