Saturday, October 29

Assumed Names

The other day I saw an ad for the movie "Doom" billing the star as "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson". Then I saw an ad for the movie "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" billing the star as "Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson".

Now, I would be the last person to question the judgment of a former football player and wrestler or a gangsta rapper who has been shot 9 times, but what the heck are these guys thinking? You hear 'The Rock' or '50 Cent', you know what kind of movie you're going to get. You may not like it, but you know what to expect.

Who wants to see a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. Or Curtis Jackson?

A day or two later I saw an interview with Tab Hunter where it was revealed that his real name is Arthur Kelm. This was probably his second best kept secret, and rightly so. Who want's to see "Ride The Wild Surf" starring "Arthur 'Tab Hunter' Kelm"? Alright, who wants to see "Ride The Wild Surf" under any circumstances, but you get my point. "Tab 'Tab Hunter' Hunter" had the decency to stay with the name that got him wherever it is he's got to.

Imagine tuning in to NBC one fall evening in 1960 to watch "The Arthur 'Tab Hunter' Kelm Show" starring Arthur 'Tab Hunter' Kelm. It's ridiculous.

So come on Rock, come on 50! Don't sell out your sobriquet. Don't mangle your moniker. Why would you do that? To please your mother ("Dwayne, can't you use the name momma gave you?")? To make it easier to cash a check ("I'm sorry, we can't cash a check for this small amount ... Oh, sorry, that's your signature...")? To keep from getting shot 9 more times ("I ain't gonna waste no bullets on no Curtis Jackson, I'll tell you that!")

Well, maybe that last reason is a good one.

Monday, October 24


The other night I was watching the television program Alias with my teenage son. It is one of the few things we do together these days. At his age you don't really want to hang around with your old man much (I know I didn't), but we both have enjoyed this show for several years now. The plots are intriguing and that Jennifer Garner is sure easy on the eyes.

For those who are not familiar with the show, Ms. Garner is the heroine. She plays a CIA agent, and this season both she and her character are pregnant. I must say it is a bit disconcerting to see a pregnant woman dangling from some precipice while firing away at the bad guys with an automatic. It is certainly something you won't see on many other shows, although if I know television, next season there will be a plethora of adventuresses-with-child battling evil doers everywhere

During a commercial interruption I casually asked of no one in particular, "I wonder how many pregnant CIA agents there are in real life?"

"I don't know," replied my son. "Maybe we should ask Karl Rove. I'm sure he'd be glad to tell anyone who'll listen."

These dulcet tones of political cynicism almost brought a tear to my eye.

They grow up so fast these days.

Thursday, October 20

What do you call that guy that lives with that other guy?

There is this gay couple with whom my wife and I (and our dog, Spike) are quite friendly. I'm pretty sure they're gay, anyway, although I don't have a good track record on this subject.

We are always encountering one or the other of them in the grocery store or in the park or in a local restaurant. We always have some interesting news for each other or observation about the theater or the weather or the Yankees or just life in general.

The other day I ran into one of our neighbors while shopping for vitamins at the local Vitamin Emporiumme. I started taking vitamins when I went on one of those low carbohydrate diets. I thought it would be a good idea to replace all the vitamins I would be missing by avoiding bread, potatoes, and Frosted Flakes. I miss the Frosted Flakes the most, but just for the vitamins you understand.

We spoke briefly about vitamins and dieting and then parted ways. I had just turned a corner when I ran into the other half of the couple. "Hi", he said. "Hey," I replied, "I just saw your..." I suddenly realized that I didn't know what to say. "Your roommate" sounds too clinical and "Your Lover" is way too familiar. "Your life partner" is something a lawyer might say, and "Your Significant Other" -- what the heck does that mean, anyway?

I mean, what do you call that guy that lives with that other guy?

Totally flummoxed, I could feel my mouth moving but nothing coming out. A real Ralph Kramden moment.

Finally my neighbor took mercy on me. "You mean Charles?"

"Yes", I enthused with relief. "I just saw your Charles...I mean Charles."

"Well, what a coincidence", he smiled, "I just saw the other half of your spousal union walking your animal companion."

I smiled. "Was my adolescent progeny with her, too?"

"The entire familial triumvirate was there", he said and we both started laughing.

Just them Charles walked up. "What's going on, Danny?"

Danny! I mentally smacked my forehead with the palm of my hand. Charles and Danny! I will never forget that again.

"Oh, not much", said Danny. "Just reviewing the nomenclature of relationship."

"Okay," Charles said slowly. "Great. Hey," he said to me, "I just saw your Sweetie Pie over at the park."

"You did?" I asked.

"Yeah. And she was walking that little fuzz-bucket Spike."

Sunday, October 16

A Short Story

I am not a tall man. In fact I'm a shade closer to five feet than six. This hasn't generally been a problem in my life. When I was growing up the pediatrician would always tell my mother that I'd be experiencing a growth spurt any day now.

I'm still waiting for that day.

But all in all I think I've handled this hideous deformity with grace and good humor.

The other day, though, I had an unfortunate incident. My wife and I were dining at a new French restaurant. While we were waiting to be seated I took the opportunity to visit the men's room.

I don't know how to put this delicately, but, well, the urinals were somewhat higher off the ground than I expected. This seemed an odd thing to find in a French restaurant. Let's face it, there aren't too many Francois or Pierres playing in the NBA.

Usually when confronted with a "high" or a "low", uh, "fixture" I choose the high one. After all, a man has to maintain some degree of self-respect. But in this case I was a bit daunted. I stood back a moment, mentally comparing the height of the porcelain receptacle to the length of my legs. After a brief interval of indecision, I decided to have a go.

I will say right here and now, with God as my witness, that I did not have to stand on my tiptoes! However, it was a close call.

I came out grumbling to myself and as we were being led to our table my wife said "What's the matter with you, grouchy."

"Oh, the damned urinal was too high," I blurted out, perhaps a bit too loud. The waiter froze for a moment, the back of the chair he was pulling out to seat her balancing delicately in his elegantly manicured hands.

"Excuse me?" she asked with the usual patience and aplomb that she has spent 22 years of marriage honing to a fine art.

"Never mind," I whispered as I sat down. "It's not important."

"Fine," she said, then added to the waiter, "Oh, and Francois, can you bring him a phone book to sit on?"

Wednesday, October 12

Bus Stop, Wet Day

I was waiting at a rainy bus stop this morning, huddled beneath a flimsy shelter with several other refugees (or should I say evacuees?) After several minutes we began grumbling to each other about the bus service.

"It's really coming down," observed a lady in the corner.

"It's been a long time since the last bus," said one man wearing a nice looking trench coat as he checked his watch.

"They must be on the rainy day schedule," said someone else.

"What's that?" I asked.

"You take the number of busses that would normally come, divide by the number of inches of rain that falls, and the result is the number of busses that will actual come."

"So if you would normally get 8 bussed an hour and it rains two inches you would only get 4 busses?" asked the lady in the corner.


"Except," said an elderly gentleman standing at the edge of the shelter, "you must deduct one bus for each person who can't fit under the shelter."

"And counting you there are..." - I did a quick count - "...three people out in the rain," I said. "So now we're down to only one bus an hour!"

"Well," said the elderly gentleman, dripping sarcasm as well as rain, "you could improve the odds if you'd all squeeze in and let us underneath."

That's what we did, and sure enough a few minutes later a bus came. Unfortunately, it was full and sped right by without slowing down. It did manage to splash several of us, though.

We stood there looking at our soggy shoes then glared at the man who had brought up the cockamamie rainy bus schedule.

"Of course," he explained, "there is an exception to every rule."

Friday, October 7

A Scientific Study

From the New York Times -- "In the early 1960's ... an employee of the tape recorder manufacturer Ampex decided to prove the value of consuming LSD. So he set up the International Foundation for Advanced Study and went about his project in classic methodical fashion. Test subjects were given a series of doses under constant observation and expected to take careful notes on their own experience."

I wonder what those notes looked like...

Journal of Dr. M______

I have now ingested an unspecified dose of lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as L.S.D. Thus far I am experiencing no no no discernible effects. However, only a few minutes have passed. I took the dose a 6:00 PM and my watch just told me it is 6:35.

Note for further study: I had no idea my watch spoke French, but --


-- Nothing. Just a shadow. Just a shadiowiowiowiowiow! A shadioliolio. Shadow? Shadow? The Shadow Knows. Me And My Shadow Knows. STREE-O-LING DOWN THE AVENUE!

Note for further study: Why is it always that way?


It has now been one and one-half hours since I tasted of the fruit of the Pharmaceutical Demon. Pharmia-see-uti-calio. Pharma, pharma, pharma-The Pharmaceutical Demon, the Pharmaceutical Demon, HI HO THE DAIRY-O, the


Shadows again? Creeping shadows of doom...Shadows of my future...Dark, dark, so dark and indecipherable.


Now at the two hour mark.

Note for very, very, very important further study: ..... Oh, how important could it be?

Not as important as my inner soul screaming to be free, I can tell you that. Not as important as my very self shrieking VAINLY for justice and an egg cream. Not as important as the shadows of my unconsciousnessity. No, not that important. Not that important at all...Hey, where's my watch? Hallo, watch...Oh, there your are. How did you get over there? You walked? Ok

...HOLY MO...

no, I won't do that again. Oh no, I won't. I won't. Because. I. Don't. Want. To.....................................


Final analysis
Evaluator: Dr. J_____
Phamaceutical Interaction Institute Conclusions:

Dr. M_______ reacted typically compared to other participants in the program, although he did have the most vivid responses of all the subjects who were given a placebo. It is suggested that he be observed closely in the future for any futher mainfestations of --