Art, Your House Is On Fire!

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It’s a sad thing when a pop culture icon dies but it’s especially sad to us mid-thirty year olds who quoted their lines in everyday life for laughs and even just a common bond. Such is the case of the Canadian-born actor Rick Ducommun who we lost in early June of this year. If you are not familiar with the name you might be familiar with his character Art Weinberg in the dark comedy/cult classic, The ‘Burbs. I have to be honest, this hit me right in the feels even though we really haven’t seen much of him since the late nineties. I will explain.

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I first saw The ‘Burbs back in 1990, while home sick from school. On the way home from the doctor (who always gave me a damn shot no matter what I was in for) we stopped at the video rental store to pick up a couple of movies for the mandatory bedrest. The two picks for that day were Bedknobs and Broomsticks and of course, The Burbs. BedKnobs because of the obvious ghost armies but I am not sure why I chose The ‘Burbs? Usually my sick movies are the old standbys like Return Of The Jedi or Iron Eagle.

I was adventurous and boy that was a mistake because I hated that movie. The dark themes and bizarre characters where just too much to take for a fever-laden kid. The Exorcist cameo didn’t help, either. No, it wasn’t until a few years later that I gave it another try when it was the CBS Friday Night Feature. Perhaps it was my age or maybe just the mood, but I loved it. Even my Dad, with the one-liners and musical score, became a fan of Joe Dante’s film. Since then on, it was the most quoted movie between the two of us and just about all of those lines came from Rick’s character, Art Weingartner.

The line “Listen to your wife? Who listens to their wife?!?” has gotten my Dad in more trouble with Mom than the time we stained the deck during a ten-mile an hour crosswind only to later notice we also stained her herb garden. We have many common bonds but the movie The ‘Burbs really is a language all our own. Even today I can say, “”Hey Ray, what are ya’ll eating in there?’ and he knows that means “what’s for dinner?”.

So now, fast forward to 2001. I was in a LRS unit, deployed to a little stinkhole of a town in somewhere-Bosnia. I really lucked out in this unit because we were pretty much left to our own accord without much oversight. Our missions were both clandestine and conventional which meant sometimes we were in civilian clothes roaming the urban areas gathering intelligence and sometimes we were doing target acquisition and reconnoissance for Special Operators who did spook operations. It was dangerous, exciting and beat the Hell out of a Korea deployment or large base operations. Still to this day, I take a break to think from the dull daily drudge of my current career and it is hard to believe that was my life at one time.

Sometimes, however, the downtime could get so boring it would drive a person to insanity. With a fire base smaller than my backyard, keeping ones self entertained was almost as challenging as the operations. We couldn’t carry many personal items but we did have a couple of laptops to watch DVDs so when it was snowing sideways or the smell of goat was too much to take we would hunker down and watch one of the ten movies we had to escape.

Our medic was one of my best friends on the planet and we shared a love for my contributing DVD, The ‘Burbs. I swear we watched it at least sixty times that deployment and trust me, that love was infectious. Before we knew it our whole team was dropping quotes like “If I find one more, I’m going to catch him and staple his ass shut!” to “It’s not us, Art! It’s them!”. The locals would look at us and nervously smile when our ‘Burbs talk would start to become more of a theatrical rendition. It helped make everything a bit more tolerable.

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We even took our ‘Burbs obsession a step further by actually incorporating it into a real code for an operation and believe it or not, I have proof. Many times we would use closer range radios when ops would require each team member to be in contact with each other and not have to use Army radio tact. That meant other people could possibly be listening since the personal radios didn’t have the code protection the bigger ones did so our intentions, locations and who we are had to protected. Enter The ‘Burbs quotes which were broken out in every possible communicative need you would need for a mission. And it worked so well, it was almost like pig latin. Once you got used to it, it flowed.

Here’s an example:

The crows are too big for the bird feeder“: Suspicious people or movement

Pop ’em“: Engage

I’d rather chew broken glass“: Do not engage

We broke down specific scenes for scenarios that would or could be experienced outside the wire. Not that we talked in 100% ‘Burbs talk but if an enemy or someone who is a bit nosey were to listen in they would definitely be wondering what the hell we were talking about. And it worked unbelievably well.

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My Grandmother kept all my old military items. From uniforms to awards to paperwork, she has bins and bins of it. Slowly, now that I am settled, I have been transferring them down to the house and when I am feeling a bit nostalgic, I peak inside to remember some great times and some down right terrifying times. That’s when I came upon a few field pads I “forgot” to  destroy when we left country. Usually, you had to burn anything that had sensitive material before you reticulated back to the States but I managed to forget these notes because somehow I knew I would be sitting in my living room showing people that The ‘Burbs actually did play a part of something besides cult film history.

Going back through the history of what this film has meant to me might be silly to most and that is understandable. Maybe that is why Rick’s passing has been a tear-jerker to me?

What am I talking about, of course it is! He was one heck of an actor and we are so lucky he shared his talent with us. I always love the actors who never had any serious roles but somehow managed to be more memorable than the Sean Penn’s and Al Pacino’s of our time. Actually Sean Penn is a bag of dicks but still. I love the ones like Rick Ducommun who made us laugh, and ad-libbed his way into our hearts with lines that you could mumble in an elevator and if someone responded, they were your friend for life.

Goodnight, Rick. Good show.

You Need To Stop Finding Me Like This

Over the many years I have writing here at Veggiemacabre, it always amazes me in this wide wide world of the web how people come to find me. Sometimes it’s on purpose, sometimes it’s a random Google search looking to see what Aaron Dozier is up to. Most of the time it’s a photo search that just happens to link to my small restate in cyber space. But every so often there is the bizarre person who finds me in their perverse and twisted internet search. I am creeped out but in some small way, I appreciate them. Just randomly poking around the site stats, here are a couple from yesterday.

A long time ago I did a little workout to an old VHS workout tape of the former Good Morning America host, Joan Lunden. As a young blogger this was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss and at that time I had the time. Fast forward years later, I am still a source for people’s random searches looking for Joan Lunden. I will say this is the first time I have been a hopeful site that exposes Joan Lunden’s funbags.

I did a Google search for “Joan Lunden boobs” and wouldn’t you know it?

I was on the first page! Why am I proud of that? Granted, there were a few that had the word “breast” in some sort of Joan Lunden recipe site but if you want to talk about Joan Lunden’s hose-hounds, I’m your guy! Actually, I don’t think I ever mentioned her boobs in that post. But don’t tell the weirdos that. I need the site hits. I’m a sneeze away from a half-million.

I also like the “Oldest Female Celebrity That You’d Knock The Bottom Out Of”. *cough cough cough*

Okay, let’s see what other strange people are out there from this past week.

What the crap? Is this real or a dream? Are people meaning to make eye contact with their pets while they are shitting on the lawn? I can’t tell if I am more disturbed by the intentional search for “eyes of a dog trying to poop” or the fact that it led to me.

 

So, just like before I had to search for this just to see how far into the “search” I am and why. Dog poop? Fine. Dog’s eyes? Fine. Dog’s eyes while pooping? Nope.

Well, I couldn’t find an exact avenue leading me home from this search. Mainly worried owners who watch their dog shit. I had a dog years ago and I have no memory of watching him trot around the back yard looking for the perfect place to shit. I did, however, have an awkward moment when my cat was pooping and wouldn’t stop meowing. I just turned the TV up louder.

I am so sorry for this post. Perhaps I am tired from building this dang office or just the work week. Regardless, there are about five good ones on the way. But until then, deal with old boobs and dog poop. You’re welcome.

 

Halloween Came…and Left. Turkey

Well, all the October hype for a pretty uneventful Halloween. But isn’t that the way it always goes? I never know what I am really expecting to have happen each year but when November first arrives, I have a little bit left to be desired. Next year I think I may just sit in the most sincere pumpkin patch I can find and wait for…November first.

I did manage to dress up this year and go to a couple of parties with friends. (yes, I have them) Still recovering from a pneumonia bout, I really wasn’t my usual self and going crazy wasn’t really in the cards. Too bad too because everyone else was. Check out the costume I made for $10! If I ever have kids, this is the type of costumes they are going as.

So now that this Halloween business is over it’s time to press ahead to what is rapidly becoming my favorite holiday; Thanksgiving. This is a perfect holiday. There are no expectation, just friends and family. Oh and turkey, beer, eggnog, football, putting up the tree, pumpkin pie, stuffing, Macy’s Day Parade, the annual showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a morning marathon and beer. Did I already mention beer? Of course I did and to press ahead with Fall to Winter here is another beer review. These are getting spaced out and we still have the Tumble on-board but just wait for the winter selection! We have one “on scene” too!

So, I am still pretty ill in this one and while drinking beer isn’t the best idea, I sacrifice for you. Sorry I look like h double hockey sticks. Oh and the creepy beginning and end. Thanks for watching and please, try a few of these if you can find them. We wouldn’t steer you wrong. Unless you don’t like beer then we will steer you into a tree.

The 2010 Annual Fall Beer Review 2

Mike and I are back, talking about beer. (Shocker!) This time we are discussing another Pumpkin Ale and it had a bit of a surprise for us both. Judging from the amount of hits, comments and emails, our last review went better than I had anticipated. So this time we included a little skit. See if you know the movie.

Thanks for watching these. It’s nice to take a Saturday, drink beer and feel like you are being productive and creative. Or acting like a 13-year-old with mom’s video camera. Which ever. The next one will come later on this week with more beers and the much-anticipated Sierra Nevada “Tumbler”. Be excited. And if you’re not….lie to me.

(I still say “um” like 900 times. My college Public Speaking 101 professor is shitting twice and dying right now.)

 

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Man, what a month it has been! Can you believe in just a couple of weeks we have seen not one but four celebrities pass away? I know a couple were circling the drain but the other two, wow, out of nowhere. Well, let’s give them a shout out.

42-3870-smEd McMahon lived the life, didn’t he? He always struck me as a guy who liked his drinks a particular way as well as his women. I could be wrong but neckerchiefs and gold bracelets never lie. At 86 one would say that’s a good long run but I did feel a little bad about his homes going into foreclosure right before he died. I think Donald Trump bailed him out but still, that sucks something fierce at that age with the legacy he had. I hope he is up in heaven having a bullshot with Phil Hartman.

farrah-fawcettI think we all knew Farrah’s time was soon but still, an icon like this going down is still hard to swallow.( That sounded dirty and I am sorry.) Even as a young kid I remember looking at this exact poster in my Uncle Brett’s room and thinking, “I don’t know what is happening but I like it.” She blazed the trail by empowering women to embrace their beauty and use it rather than feel ashamed and hide it. At least that’s how I perceived her intentions. Her passing really brings to light the fact that cancer is terrifying and no matter who you are or what status you hold, it can still get you even after years of battle.

caratulas_MICHAEL_JACKSON-THRILLER_Ok, I did not see this one coming. Not at all. I know he lived a life of mystery and bizarre behavior to include a total face transplant, having a monkey, living in Neverland, napping with kids and naming his kid Blanket but I never imagined him passing so young. I remember when Thriller came out and that video terrified me as a kid. Those monsters were far more scary and disturbing than any rated R movie at the time. I can still close my eyes and think of Vincent Price’s part in the song and walking at a fast pace to my parents room for a safe night of slumber in their bed.

I will be honest, the man was a genius. He seemed to defy gravity when dancing and his albums were nothing less than perfection. I have yet to meet a person that didn’t like something he did. I bet even the Taliban has a little love in their hearts for Moon Walker.

m171161359As Scooby Doo would say, “Rut the Ruck?” Billy Mays died? Are you serious? I have always had a fascination with the man and it wasn’t for his ability to sell you shit you would not normally buy on TV but rather his high decibel voice. The man had no indoor voice and I wrote about that almost two years ago. You can find that here. Well Billy, I am sorry you were silenced so early. Your voice will forever be in my head  saying, “Billy Mays here!”.

You know what else died? My favorite bar in Idaho. It is true, my home away from home is gone forever. I know that including a bar in a blog about dead people is a little insensitive but I really feel like I lost a lot of friends.

When I moved to Idaho I knew no one. I mean really no one at all. I was living out of a hotel until I could find a place to live and my only real means of social interaction was the gym and the local pub next door called Paddy’s 2. That very day I first stepped in there I was taken under-wing by the bartender, met a nice lady would allowed me to to stay in her basement until I found myself a permanent pad and went on to forge many friendships that I still have today. It is sad when such an establishment goes under and you have only memories. And with a bar they are usually foggy ones.

IMG_0693Happy trails, Dougie. Until we meet again.

On a happier note, you are looking at, er, reading at(?) the proud member of probably the last 100% VHS rental store in America. Yup, it just proves that Idaho is still hanging in the 80’s. Of course I rented Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The ‘Burbs because that is how they were intended to be seen. Oh VCR don’t fail me now, we have work to do.

IMG_0692Oh, and somehow I caught pink eye. Jokes on me.