Thursday, January 17, 2008

Things that make you wonder...

There are things that make you go “hmmmmmmmm” and then there are the things that make you perk up and say “What the hell?” A colleague recently shared the following:

Sitting in his car in our office parking lot, my colleague looks in his rear-view mirror, and a pick-up truck pulls in, parks perpendicular to the spaces, and the driver jumps out. As my colleague gets out of his car, he looks over to the truck, and the driver is standing there, relieving himself. There he is, just hanging out…apparently, our parking lot is now a public toilet.

Sure, growing up, if you were on a long road-trip, your parents would pull over and tell you to do your thing. In fact, sometime in the early 1990s, I was on my way back from a wedding in Batavia, NY (Attica!!! Attica!!!) when I was stricken from a large coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Though I tried as hard as I could to make it to the next rest area, the restroom gods were conspiring against me, because the rest area was closed for repairs, and the next one was 48 miles away. This brought back memories from camp of funny book titles like “20 yards to the Outhouse, by Willie Maykit”. But, I digress…

Prior to moving into our current office location, we were on a lower floor of our building, with the bathroom, for the entire floor’s use, right across the hall. I would often email a couple of my friends detailing the “crime scene” in there. I will spare you the description now, but let’s just say that the “Delta House” has nothing on this. I don’t know who was trashing the joint, but they left it in worse condition than my fraternity house bathrooms after an all you can eat "hot dog and bean casserole" night.

All these circumstances, the parking lot pisser and the guys leaving the bathroom downstairs like a barn, make me wonder-what is wrong with people, and where do these people come from? What about basic manners? When they leave their houses during the day, do they plan their bathroom antics? As for the parking lot reliever, I have really got to wonder about him. I work on a busy section of a main road, with restaurants and gas stations every 10 feet. Instead of pulling off the road and into our lot, he could have gone 50 feet straight ahead and into a gas station. Maybe he thinks its funny, and maybe he doesn’t mind being charged with a sex-crime (Open and Gross Lewdness), and maybe he won’t mind having to register as a sex offender after his conviction. Frankly, I am now more concerned about what I might step in down in the parking lot.

And what about washing his hands?

Apropos of nothing—I went to see “I Am Legend” last week, and the theatre was not crowded. Plenty of good seats available. I put our coats in an empty seat to my right. Some guy with a bad attitude towards his girlfriend sits in the seat next to the coats, and throughout the movie, as he finishes whatever he’s eating, he throws his trash onto my coat. At first, because the movie is dark, it was hard to see it. But as the lights go up, he and his girlfriend leave, and there’s a bag of half-eaten gummie bears, and a bag of popcorn sitting there, on my coat, along with some used napkins!!!

Again, can someone tell me what is wrong with people? Under what scenario is it ok to throw trash on someone else’s coat? At the movies, that’s what the floor is for!

While I am at it…what’s up with people going out in their pajamas? I was at Stop & Shop the other day, and some woman, maybe in her 40s, is walking around in pajama pants and a sweatshirt. By the way, on the pajama bottoms, on her ass, was the expression “Bee-Ach”—one syllable on each cheek. Yeah, no kidding. Nothing says “I don’t care about myself at all” like going out in pajamas. Sweats move over, there’s a new player in town.

You’ve been a great audience. And now, taking my breath away, the hardest working man in show business…Rex Smith!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Year in Review...sort of

Happy New Year! In celebration of the New Year, as well as the 1-year anniversary of “The Critical Palate” (in actual, this “Critical Palate” has been around 42 years), I thought I would post a few thoughts about this past year. I am naming 2008 “The Year of the Palate!”

For the most part, television stinks. Apparently, the “Gong Show” has gone big time, but how many American Idol and its knock-offs can we take? While I like “AI”, I am not a fan of the derivatives; they might be better if they replaced the snarky British and the former hottie judges with Rex Reed and Jaye P. Morgan. (An aside, in an ironic coincidental twist of fate, Jaye P. Morgan was the sister-in law of Yvonne DeCarlo, one of my all time favorites! Not only fabulous as Lilly Munster, or award-winning in “Satan’s Cheerleaders”, but even better, and better looking, as Sephora in “The Ten Commandments”. As Steven Wright says: It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.)

Anyways, back to the post…I can’t stand these ugly stepchildren of television. So You Think You Can Dance, Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Battle of the Choirs, the Next Great Inventor…what’s next, “The Next Great Cure for Chlamydia”? I can hear the judges now: “Tetracycline, you’re an amateur and just can’t compete with Zythromax!”

We need to bring back good writing (a little tough while the WGA members are getting ripped off by the big studios.) There’s not much more of “Cory in the House” I can handle. Now that Studio 60, The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm are off the air, and House is on mid-winter hiatus, I’ve moved to the Travel Channel and Discovery to true “reality” television. Forget “Til Death”, now I’m getting the lowdown on Las Vegas cheaters and whether Ninjas can really walk across water, on Mythbusters. Now this is the best television on television.

Of course, there’s always “Zoey 101” with Jamie Lynne Spears! A role model for all girls…who live in trailers!

As for movies, I got to admit, some of Hollywood is still lost on me. I saw a bunch of stuff, and I think my best of the year is “No Country for Old Men”, but, “Norbit” is a close second. Having seen “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” this past week (mindless fun), I am looking forward to more sequels, like the 4th installment of Indiana Jones, where Harrison Ford is so old, its working title is “The Secrets of the Lost Package of Depends” and “Rambo: VA Hospital”.

This past year, we had some decent meals at The 111 Chop House in Worcester, Willy’s Steakhouse and Sushi in Shrewsbury, The Anchor Bar in Buffalo and The Keg in Niagara. Mostly, the year was filled with average meals for above-average prices, and frankly, no one meal stands out above any other. We enjoyed Muddy River Smokehouse in Portmouth, New Hampshire, and will be heading back in February for the beef ribs. Otherwise, Framingham and Natick has seen “more of the same” restaurants with the opening of “The Cheesecake Factory”, and a new, unfamiliar, cutting-edge restaurant concept, not yet seen in these parts…an Asian super buffet! Oooh, I’m all aquiver with excitement…

Many years ago, I was watching a commercial for “The Peoples’ Court”, and Judge Wapner says to a litigant “did you call him a ‘Doo Dah’?” I have to admit, it was pretty funny, but you got to wonder, what is a “doo dah”, because it has to be more than just the refrain to “Camptown Races”. Well, kind reader, look no further. Thanks to Ken Levine (see link at sidebar), please visit his site, or the following:

Apparently, it’s a group that runs a satirical, spoof of the Rose Bowl Parade. This is pretty funny. Watch out you parading Mummers…or Mumzers!

I’ve enjoyed writing this blog and because I’m here for you, I’ll keep it going. You’ve been a great audience. Now…my gift to you. Move over Emma Lazurus…

Images by Tyrone Greene ...
Dark and lonely on the summer night.
 Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 Watchdog barking - Do he bite? 
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 Slip in his window,
 Break his neck! 
Then his house 
I start to wreck!
 Got no reason --
What the heck!
 Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 C-I-L-L ...
My land - lord ...