Radio Sh*t

                                                                    

I’m going to start this day with a reflection on RadioShack. I hate RadioShack with a hatered that is rarely witnessed by many who know me. If someone was to udder words like crap, shit, stink pile, poo, junk, dump, pewtrid, funk or sounds like blap, ploop, or shlllapsspspsp, the first image in my head would be the RadioShack sign. Why I feel this way is primarely because of a Christmas present I recieved in 1985. It was a silver Ferarri remote controlled car and it was the most spectacular thing I had ever seen. You can tell by weight and size of a wrapped gift that it has to be cool. Rectangular packages leave out the possibility of clothes or books so it was kept for last to unwrap and to a seven year old it was not a disapointment
I could hardly wait to pull that thing from the box, put in the 6 D baterries and tear up the driveway with the Italian dream machine. But little did I know it was bought from the one store that sells only electronic dog shit. When the car was prepped and charged and I was dressed for the inclimate, damp day outside, it was time to test drive.
  I remember approximatly ten full minutes of remote control fun and then it came to rest, rolling out of control against the garage door. With a mechanical inclination of a seven year old I feverishly banged the remote. There had to be a simple answer to why the car is not responding! So with mouth agape, arms limp and a slouching stride I walked to the disabled car and examined the undercarriage. I can’t remember what I was looking for but I had a gut feeling it was bad. I needed to take to Mr. Fix-it. You know…Dad.
  With careful inspection my father was too perplexed with why the car decided to shit the bed so soon. He expected it to last at least a week. He turned to the one avenue I would never and that is the instruction sheet. This led to my worst fears and that was the long list of what the car could not drive on and if you own it then the joke was on you. Turns out the car could not operate on pavement, lanolium, carpet, grass, dirt or anything else besides a wooden track. Dad looked at me with sympathy and we decided to bring it back to RadioShit on the most dreaded boxing day to see if there was a way to return the car. This is the beginning of my hatered towards RadioShack. But I was cool for now. I had other toys to break.
  So we got up early and took off to Perimeter mall. My memory is fuzzy because I probably blocked out most of that day but I’m sure it was a mad house. With the car back in the original box my Dad and I walked into the RadioShack store to stand in line behind other equally pissed off customers. He thought this was a great platform for me, as a seven year old, to gain some real adult expirience and ask for a Ferarri exchange by myself. Now that I think about it he probably was banking on a cuteness factor to make the exchange less painful. Either way, cuteness or life lesson, it backfired and the bitch clerk took one look at me and decided to make me an example.
 

Now to this day I am positive that all RadioShack emloyees ar given a training handbook full of Nazi propaganda. They take great joy in selling little kids shit for Christmas presents, have them go through the pains of the present breaking and forcing them to come back to the store to recieve an ass chewing. Why I believe this? It only makes sense to me because it happened to me. The snot, chick employee assessed the situation before her and in a loud voice said, “Let me guess, you didn’t read the instuctions and now you want a new one?”


  I remember my ears turning hot and humiliation set in. With a scornful look she snatched the box out of my arms and went to the “employee only” section. I looked for my Dad but he was standing by the cassette players lost in geek world. Before Icould go to him for protection the “employee only” door kicked open and the female Gerbles waddeled her way to the counter. She wasn’t done with her power talk. Not by a long shot.
  “I am going to let you exchange this but I had better not see you back here whining about how it is broken.” I hope she felt good having a power trip on a seven year old. Maybe it was the fact she had to work on the holidays or I was customer number 3,000 with an exchange but I feel she saw me as an outlet for her shitty RadioShack customer service skill.
  Walking out the store my Dad peeled away from HiFi extacy and saw that mission was accomplished. I was still in shock from having my ass handed to me. We made it to about the parking lot before I broke down in tears. I was a protected kid growing up. My folks never yelled at me and my elementary school was something from Nickelodeon so getting chewed out by a stranger really shook me up. It must have because I am writing about it 22 years later. Dad didn’t really think that much about it. We got into the car and went to Ihop for “feel better pancakes.”
  By the time we got home the feelings of shame and embarasment subsided and the excitement of a new remote Ferarri took center stage. But when I took the box from the bag the bitch from the store had salt for me wounds. Istead of a shiny ass kicking ass kicker sports car I got a remote controled pickup truck. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  I have not been to a RadioShack since. I refuse to shop there and I even tell others to boycott the company. My visceral hatered towards RadioShack will never be squelched and everytime a new store opens a puppy dies. So up yours RadioShack. Up yours.

Black Friday: 20 Things

  I took a little break from the blogging world this past Holiday weekend. For one reason I wanted to detatch myself from the computer long enough to speak to my family without using cyber lingo. The other is I voluteered for Atlanta’s Open Hand and on Wednesday and Thanksgiving morning I helped prepare meals for people who have been strickened with a terminal illness and are spending the last months in private away from the hospital. I quess I’m a bleeding heart because I couldn’t find anything to write about after that expirience. But it did change me a little and now I think my Saturday mornings will be spent doing the same. I’ll write about it in the next blog.

  I really want to talk about last Friday morning and how I braved the “Black Friday” shopping madness. For years I laughed at the poor souls who subject themselves to long lines, parking frustrations and rude people only to save a little money in exchange for their sanity. Well, the joke was on me and I was forced to spend a few hours in shopping Hell and the entire time I made a mental list of what I would rather do or be strickened with than be there. Here it is in no particular order.

  1. Only able to knock on doors with my face
  2. Get in a spitball war with Rosie O’Donald
  3. Drink a cup of laxetives and get interviewed on the Larry King Live show
  4. Pass out in public and get sexually ravaged by a toy poodle
  5. Legally have my name changed to Pumpy
  6. Take a back road mountain drive in a 67′ beetle, no AC and drink luke warm milk as a passenger.
  7. Forced to only dress in Hip Hop apparel.
  8. Eat 5 microwavable sausages, look on the back of the box and find out it is a proud sponser on the 1996 Olympics.
  9. Have to “shot gun” all canned drinks.
  10. Can only brush teeth with small rodents. (The good ones, ie. hamsters or gerbils)
  11. Have the same name as someone on the terrorist watch list.
  12. Have a quantum leap only to find out that I am the hot dog eating champion on race day.
  13. Find out Santa isn’t real.
  14. Take political advice from anyone in Hollywood
  15. Get into a serious conversation with someone who has a bad stuttering problem and try not to crack a smile.
  16. Actually work retail on Black Friday.
  17. Only watch the Hallmark channel, Lifetime and Women’s Entertainment forever.
  18. Spend a weekend trapped in a walk-in closet with Steve-O from Jackass.
  19. Streak at an Iranian soccer game
  20. Eat cereal out of the box and half way through feel something furry.

  Now I am serious about that list. From now on I will only shop online and if you do too, please use X-Entertainment’s Amazon link so Matt can afford his annual Advent calender. If you are unfamiliar take some time to read it starting in 2002. It is quite possibly the funniest and most creative thing I have ever read and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

Insanity Has A Face

If there is any doubt that YouTube has changed the face of entertainment then I challenge that with the thousands of regular people who have become over night celebrities simply by uploading videos to share with the millions of people who probably are not doing what they should be. Like I said in a previous blog, if you feel like watching a dog named Bill eat a carrot, there is a good chance you’ll find it. For that, I am thankful. Actually I am going to say that at Thanksgiving dinner this year. Because then I would have missed an opportunity to review The Norma Lee Show.

Oh where to begin with this? I guess I’ll give you a little history before I introduce you to the lady herself. I lived in Atlanta a few years ago and anyone who lives there will tell you the morning commute on 400, 285 and 85 is much like getting a root canal. Luckily for me they had a great morning radio show on 96 rock called The Regular Guys Show. Somehow they found Norma Lee’s homemade recorded CD and played it on the air and I fell in love. I mean it was pretty fucking terrible as far as the music was concerned but her innocence was very endearing. I thought she had fallen off the face of the Earth until an accidental YouTube run-in this afternoon. Now I can share it with you. Enjoy…

Now you see that we are dealing with a pretty special case here. Inspired by the 80’s craze of music videos, she wrote, performed and produced this gem called “He’s Swapping His Boat For A Tractor”. The lyrics are pretty straight forward. It’s about her significant other who just retard (?) from a factory and he has all this land that a boat can’t help with. So he swapped his boat for a tractor with the help from God and his family. I’m still confused by the basketball, though.

Oh my God that was priceless! First off, the shout out to Dr. Phil made my millennium. I doubt there will be any references made to him that won’t cause me to break out into song, “HEY DR. PHIL..DO YOU WANNA..” You have to love the way she gives a real “fuck you” to Paris from the state of Kentucky. She pulled out all the stops and used such great props like a clock, stair rails for prison bars, Lightning McQueen from Cars, a few bottles and oh yeah, her own ass. So take it in stride Ms. Hilton and quit flapping your jaws.

“Reckon they got a caller I.D.?” I hate to break it to you Norma but they can’t see you through the phone. It makes one wonder if the bag over the head was a joke that went over her head. I also wonder if there is a dick of a person who is filming this and suggested she wear a bag. I hope not because she seems like a real sweet person. I don’t believe she will be asked to take the Mensa test but she looks like someone that will bake you a pie when you are sick. Even if the pie is filled will some thing strange like corn or baked beans. It’s the gesture.

I think this was creatively driven by Norma’s boyfriend. Only a country dude can make a video about guns, legs and toe-maters. I must say that I was a little uneasy hearing Norma moan while the camera focuses on her feet. I think someone has a fetish and now I won’t be able to sleep.

This must be a big thing around Kentucky because Norma is going out of her head. Her low octave tones inspires me to wipe out my schedule next Saturday and cruise the neighborhoods for yard sale signs. When I find one I will demand a song before I buy LA Gear sneakers and Kenner Star Wars toys with missing pieces. I wish I knew what Norma was selling. Hopefully autographed cassette tapes. “…come on down and buy my junk!”

I love this song. From the first time I heard it I immediately had mental pictures of Jesus actually copping a squat on a human heart. That image can make me laugh but at the same time terrify me to the core. It reminds me of what the creepy old guy in Poltergeist 2 was singing. Norma also teases us will cookies, Amish bread and the chance to catch a glims at a swing set just out of view from the camera. But at least we get to meet the baker of the Amish bread or at least his gut that eclipses 90% of the screen.

I think we will end on a high note. The song, “I’m Not An Old Dooshbag” (that’s how it’s spelled on the track) really knocked over some barriers in what I consider hilarious. Never in my 29 years have I seen dolls referenced in a song about a dooshbag complimented with a singing Grandma and a background Sony keyboard demo beat. I would use the word awesome but I think it falls short. So I will say niftyawesomebadasscool.

Norma Lee, you have touched my heart. There is no way I will cruise the YouTube world with out stopping by the Norma Lee Show to see what is new. I can’t believe your album has not gone platinum yet but give it time. The world will soon know your talent and I hope that day is soon. At least before you retard. (?) And Norma….you are no dooshbag.

Me, Dad, Calvin and Hobbes

Last Friday I was sitting at the computer working away and I decided to take a break from the dull paces of roster scheduling and fill a few minutes with mindless nonsense the web always offers. For some reason or another I stumbled onto a great site that dissected old Calvin and Hobbes strips and related them to personal meanings. I was so excited that these stories were very much like my own. I could identify with Calvin on so many levels as both an only child and the fact that no matter where I was at present, in my mind I was far, far away.

For those who are unfamiliar with this comic strip, it was created by Bill Watterson about a little boy (Calvin) and his imaginary friend (Hobbes). Calvin is an only child who marches to his own beat and has the innate ability to be in two places at once. One for real and the other in his head. His buddy Hobbes, is his stuffed tiger that is real to Calvin and his only friend. Hobbes has an innocent view point on life and is the catalyst for Calvin’s mischief as well as his sensibilities. Together their adventures are endless.

While going through these strips on the web I realized that this was such a symbol of my childhood growing up. I read the books on long car trips, Christmas vacation at the grandparents house in Philadelphia, school study hall, and even when we moved to Arizona to escape the loneliness of being the new kid. I never read these books from page one to the end but rather skipped around so there might be a chance that there would be a strip that I missed many days later. But I think the most important memory is with my Dad. He and I would read Calvin and Hobbes books for hours, laughing hysterically at every insightful suggestion Hobbs would give and Calvin would learn, albeit the hard way. I cherish these memories. I remember having a worried feeling that the next volume would be the last and Calvin would find friends and he would then see Hobbes the way everyone around him did, a stuffed animal. It’s not that I was entirely concerned for the end of the strip but rather what would Dad and I connect with? It’s not like we would go from comics to reading the Great Gatsby together and discuss the symbolism of dialog between the characters. I just didn’t want to see the end of of our Sundays on the couch.

Fortunately, I grew up faster than Calvin. I found friends, played baseball and girls became tolerable. The time reading the adventures of Calvin as Spaceman Spiff became less frequent and soon not at all. I think deep down Dad was worried that this would happen the way it did. He wasn’t as concerned about Calvin’s maturity as he was about my own. I guess all good things do come to an end and nature must take it’s course.

The next morning I went to Barnes and Nobel and bought the final volume of Calvin and Hobbes to see how it came to an end. I read the entire book from cover to cover unlike how I did in the past. I wanted to see how Bill Watterson would wrap up the decade long comic and he did it in the greatest way possible. My fears of Calvin growing out of his imaginary friend Hobbes didn’t happen but rather left us with a happy, hopeful ending. It is Calvin and Hobbes walking through fresh fallen snow with their sled exclaiming how it’s like a clean slate. We are left with the two sledding off into the distance with Calvin saying “…c’mon old Buddy, let’s go exploring.” Now I’d be lying if I said I had dry eyes after that.

On Sunday I left Ft. Lauderdale and drove to see my Dad at his house an hour north. He was at the kitchen table reading the New York Times drinking his morning coffee just like usual. I sat down with him and opened the Calvin and Hobbes book to show him my latest and favorite stip. He smiled as I slid the book so he could read it. We spent the next hour laughing as we read and without a word we picked up right were we left off 17 years ago. It was a good day.

Beat On The Brat

If you were a bully in school and you could only pick on one kid from the picture above whose ass you could kick, who would it be?

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I bet you picked the tool in the reindeer sweater, didn’t you?

Yeah, that’s me.

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