Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dispatch From Escalatorville: Awkward Thought Clearing House

Hi. Welcome back! I'm about 100 days late and a million bucks short with this Dispatch, so let's jump on in...

The ole "Cell Phones as Walkie Talkies" ploy worked well on Bess and I's recent drive back from Virginia. As part of our trip involved the pickup and delivery of another vehicle - our journey involved driving one car up, but driving two back. Using the "speaker phone" option so as not to break laws or kill other road warriors, we were able to sporadically inform each other as to when we were stopping for gas, food, and lodging. More importantly, we could let one another know what cool radio stations we found throughout the ride.

One frequency the wife hipped me too was a small station in the Carolinas playing some mighty fine "mountain" music. Upon the conclusion of a song entitled 'Trail Of Tears' a disc jockey spoke about the sorrows of that lamentable forced relocation which erased not only the lives, but much heritage, of many Native Americans - along the sad path of the songs title. The DJ concluded that "it just seems that every time one people tries to decide what's best for another people, it always ends in tragedy."

He then paused, and informed us that we were listening to the "Good Times Bluegrass Program."


Now sir, please explain how TV went from Black & White to Color...
Overheard in the downtown area, two middle aged men discussing Mega-Sharks and other ancient dinosaurs of historical and sci-fi horror flick fame. One man was happy to explain to the other that-
"The reason those creatures could get so big and still move around is because Gravity was different then."

How to make enemies, part one - create a list.

The List: People who just won't get off my radar, no matter how much I'd like them too:

-Pregnant women who dress not in a style that flatters their burgeoning motherhood, but whom choose to dress in the now ill-fitting and inappropriate Skank-Wear that got them to this position in the first place. (Please note, I DO NOT refer to ALL pregnant women in this manner; the vast majority of them, and women in general, are NOT of the "skank" variety -I merely reference the ones whom are trying to embarrass their own children before they are even born.)

-Prison-eligible Politicians who continuously state that they were "never convicted," yet refuse to announce that they are innocent.

-Men of minuscule penile accomplishment whom make up for this fact by blasting songs they'd never let their parents hear from stereos in cars that they cannot afford.

-Families that smell like burnt ham.

-Persons who refer to the digits at the end of their hands as "Fangers." I suspect they're from the same family as folks who root for local football squad, the Jacksonville "Jag-Wires."

-Tourists happily guiding their aging parents, despite elder hesitations, into decor purchases they know they will someday inherit.

-Whomever thought that the increasingly unnecessary annual delivery of those environmentally unfriendly phone books could be enhanced by wrapping them with individual plastic bags. Seriously, we got three of them this year - and the only people I actually call are already listed in my phone. Get with the 90's, phone book people.


Next up, 'Walkin' On Sunshine'
The song took on an entirely different contextual meaning when- after years of hearing it used by contented political campaigns and uplifting sitcoms - it's chorus blared out, cracking with static, from the antiquated boom box in the homeless shelter parking lot:
"Don't. Stop. Thinkin' About Tomorrow..."


A town running on fumes is still running, right?
Overheard while walking past city offices in the downtown area; two colleagues in nearly matching tailored suits exiting a meeting: "Those are some great questions, I'm glad no one asked them."

How to make enemies, part two - infest the web.
If you're ever watching television and the spiteful vindictive pundits drive you to the point of disbelief wherein you think, "How much more callous could human beings get?" - then I suggest you avoid any Internet message boards. God bless free speech. God help those who make an art of turning it ugly.

"Ich habe eine Krankheit? BulleSchei├če! Ich heilte sie mit meinem Gehirn!"
I still work part time at the front desk of a local hotel. Whenever guests from Germany or Austria check in, I sometimes try to eavesdrop on their conversations to see what,if any, of my high school language lessons remain (with much apologies to Frau Hefty that my brain was more sieve than sponge at that point in life). However, listening to a recent conversation, I determined that this practice must stop. It wasn't due to frustration at only recognizing the occasional guttural utterance or crash of consonants that construct their language; my new found disdain for the art of overhearing is rooted in the fact that the phrase that I identified most often in their conversation repeatedly contained the words "Charlie Sheen."

Cue the Rim shot, please.
I had an online conversation in the near past regarding the current state of modern comedy. It's still my belief that no comedian should be content enough in their career to rest on their laurels. Unless that comedian is Oliver Hardy, of course.

"Pool-ogy," or "Fin-eral"?
Some folks are still wondering about the magic, gill-adorned wonder that lived forever in a pond in our backyard, and has made a couple of appearances in past Dispatches for his near death experiences and awkward diet. Well, I'm sad to report that Fish is no longer with us. He was found, in typical "dead fish" pose, one morning earlier this year.

After giving up the ghost (or whatever spirit our water-logged pals have that haunts their dreams and provides impetus for their Merry Fishmas movies), the most stouthearted fish we'd ever seen was removed from his aquatic home and buried in the backyard. No service was held, for how is one to eulogize such an odds-defying creature?

Not that it would have sufficed; for merely one day later, I returned to the burial mound to find that the pounds of dirt which had covered our finful friend had been pushed away - with no trace of Fish, or any fish parts, to be found nearby. One could speculate that he'd been dug up by one of the neighborhood cats, or torn from the earth by an erstwhile hawk circling above. However, I like to think he escaped after catching his breath - and is now terrorizing smaller beings throughout the marsh waters that retreat from our yard towards the San Sebastian River.

Don't page Robin Leach just yet (look him up, youngsters).
I am fortunate enough to play in a pretty cool band. As a band, we are fortunate enough to have recently released an album* and played in a pretty cool festival. Now, despite occasional delusions of grandeur, we are taking it all in stride and for what it is - a great time playing music for great people. However, if you haven't experienced what it's like to have people you've never even met singing along to your words - or to walk into a bar and hear your song playing on the house sound system - I cannot accurately describe the thrill of having even a small bit of localized fame. But, I can totally understand how actual rock stars gain those super-egos that we "real" musicians often hate them for. In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I'm doing, until the Limo gets here.

Thank you, little people.

Z.F. Lively
Chief Escalatorvillian

*Purchase info for 'Everybody Happy!' by The Wobbly Toms will be available soon - write to Escalatorville@yahoo.com for further details, or just to harass me for this blatant plug.