Sunday, March 16, 2008

Persona Au Gratin Edition

"I Don't Feel Tardy" - D.L. Roth, Esq.
Believe it or not ( to coin a copyrighted phrase), my New Years Resolution was to write more often. Well, that and to listen to more Otis Redding. So, my brain awakens today determined to stop the word "failure" from riding in on the first breath of Spring.

Vacating the Premises
The lovely Bess and I began the year under starry skies and amongst friends - a good kick off to any endeavor. Utterly exhausted by a New Years Eve spent lighting fireworks and engaging in decent conversation, we took a vacation to my hometown of Richmond, Virginia (I was born a Confederate Episcopalian - God knows what I am now). We had a grand time celebrating a belated Christmas with my family, and got the chance to really hang out with my sister, Stopsign.

I also got the spend some quality time with my dad, while our respective spouses compared notes. their non- scientific observational study concluded that my father and I are essentially the same person. Of course, I realize this fact every time I start to tell a story about the paper route I had as a kid...

Bess and I followed up the 700 mile drive back to St. Uglytowne with a nice, relaxing weekend - in which we moved everything we own into our new house. By the time we got around to having our house-warming party, my parents had decided that they liked our 'vacation' idea enough to steal it, and came down to our neck of the woods. Not that Florida really has any "woods" anymore, but it's a popular expression.

Art imitates life, which imitates art, which imitates life again, etc, etc.
Our recent parental visitations were bookended by two examples of cinematic artistry. In Richmond, the four of us took in the most recent version of Sweeney Todd ("Too bloody," critiques J, my step-mom, and also "too musical"). In St. Uglytowne, the same set of couples spent an afternoon at home watching The Man Who Wasn't There.

I think the choice of films seemed to represent our respective relationships. One is an older story, but one still vibrant, colorful, exciting, and - while not very bloody - still quite musical. The other - a more recent and quirky tale, albeit one that resembled a classic from the day it was made.

Of course, both films center around the exploits of murderous barbers. I don't see what that has to do with my family, however. Then again, I cut my own hair.

Re-evaluating the Fruits/Labor Equation
A recent visit to the physician brought the diagnosis that easing my stress would aid my stomach troubles - coupled with a change in diet, of course. Now, I don't know about you, but eliminating lifelong favorite foods from my daily eating habits? Pretty damned stressful! Eventually, however, I envision myself being completely stress-free, while consuming only saltine crackers.

What the Vroom was that?
As I drove home from the day job last week, the following site had me convinced for a brief moment that I had entered a post- apocalyptic themed film-

A quarter mile ahead of our truck, the bewildering vision of a 10-foot tall horned beast, with a giant rounded head and only dirt where the creatures feet would have been It quickly scampered across all four lanes of US1 and down one of its many crossroads.

As I got closer, the creature became clearer to the point of being recognizable. Once I got to the crossroad, I glanced in the creatures direction - only to see clouds of smoke and dust in its wake. I can't begin to think of where he was headed, but I bet that kid broke a local record riding a motorbike wheelie.

Support your Local Joke-Tellers Union
I have a reputation for being funny. Oftentimes, I will say or write something humorous (although not necessarily in this particular Dispatch), and someone will comment that I should be a comedian, a stand-up comic.

While flattering, I'd like to proffer that I am not comedian material, i am a humorist. trust me, there's a difference.

You can spot the comedian at a party. He or she is the one maybe half a beer ahead of everyone else, and can be heard throughout the room, constantly coming up with lines and/or impressions that get out-loud laughter about 50% of the time. Whereas a humorist will silently observe for most of the party - occasionally dropping in a witty comment that requires one to think for a moment before the joke sets in.

Y'see, a comedian wants to make you laugh all the time, and so they force their humor upon you. Humorists? While we do like to see you smile every now and again, we're happy enough if you just pay attention.

If the phone doesn't ring, it's probably me.
At my day job, I work the phones. As you'd expect, I hear many voicemail greetings imploring for messages to be left. I've taken he first parts of some of the most common messages to create the following "pastiche" which you may or may not want to use as your new greeting:

"Hello, no one. I'm sorry. We missed. The party. We can't come. Please leave."

Meanwhile, in my own Private Idaho...
I recently paid $120.00 for a pair of concert tickets. I should have balked at that. Normally, I would have.
However, this was a benefit for the humane society, plus, how many chances will anyone really get to see 'Rock Lobster' performed live by the gang that wrote it?
Also, if you knew how spiffy my wife gets when she knows I'm sporting two $60 tickets for anything in my pocket, then you'd understand why this was no problem.

Like a car alarm, only more annoying.
I have to admit it. I am not a fan of Nelly Furtado. Not only has she sold most of her hits to commercials (hey, if you want to be a pop star, be a pop star; if you want to be a jingle writer, be a jingle writer) - but, a fraction of one of her jingle-pop hybrids keeps repeating itself in my head [Editors note: Due to the message of a few keen readers, it has come to my attention that the song mentioned herein is actually by Natasha Beddingfield. Although I offer no apologies to Ms. Furtado, she knows her crimes].

That overly repetitive second and a half of madness is not an interesting drum break or sound effect either, just the part that implores one to "Feel the rain on your skin."

Yep, just that one phrase, in a constant loop repeating in my head: Feel the rain on your skin. feel the rain on your skin, feel the rain on your skin feeltherainonyourskinfeeltherain...

You get the picture.

I keep trying to think of something else to knock that refrain out of there, something that I could stand hearing 50 or 60 times in a row. Sadly, here is where more trouble begins.

The piece of my brain desiring decent music keeps flashing the sign that reads:
"Rachmaninoff? Please. Rachmaninoff?"

Unfortunately, the piece of my brain that retrieves snippets of song from my cerebral jukebox must be reading the sign backwards - somehow translating the message as:
"Billy Ray Cyrus. Billy Ray Cyrus."

You can't afford to park there anyway.
This is the type of town that we live in - Near our house is a byway whose street sign reads: Old Beach Road.

Directly beneath is another, larger sign, stating: No Beach Access.

Remember, being nice never killed anyone.
Wait, did it? I think it might have.
Eh, you should be nice anyway,

Z.F. Lively
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