arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cajun


I had a bad feeling yesterday about someone I knew. I initially got the feeling without any clue as to what had happened sometime in the afternoon. I went to the blog, On Transmigration, and read the last post of one of our blogger friends who had been sick for the past two years. Nothing seemed amiss, other than his meditations on the end of his own life and the fact that this entry was over a week old. Later that evening, my worst intuition was confirmed when we read that our blogging buddy Wayne had passed away very early in the day.

I did not know Wayne that well - he preferred to be known as Cajun in the blogosphere - but I considered him to be a wonderful acquaintance. Warrior Queen and I have followed his commentary about his adventures at his job, or on the world in general. I only met him once as he strolled into the lobby of The Inn at Canal Square on the night of our Bloggerpalooza dinner. Just seeing him smile and the display of self confidence reminded everyone that we were in the presence of a genuinely warm and caring human being with a deep passion for life.

I am saddened that we will not be able to read his blog anymore, or that we will not be able to sit down with him and listen to his stories. Stories like the time he was hosting at Dos Locos and a family was treating Grandma to dinner with alcohol. Trouble was grandma was also on pain pills and the cumulative effect of the pills and the margaritas led to grandma taking a nose dive into her entrée. Obviously, not a happy situation for any restaurant staffer at the time it happened, but a story worth retelling later after all, presumably, ended well.

I’ll remember Wayne’s laughter and, damn, he looked good in a custom made Spo Hawaiian shirt.

In any event, I can’t help but smile at Cajun’s timing. He left this material world on Fat Tuesday. I can only hope his spirit made its way back to his hometown of New Orleans. Wayne, if you’re able to read this, I hope you had a ball at Mardi Gras!

Rest in Peace, Cajun.

(Thank you for reading.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brr! Valentine’s Day



It was a very cold winter weekend, even by normal midatlantic seaboard standards. New England was having another blizzard, while we here outside of Philadelphia experienced temperatures which we normally associate with International Falls. Now we can finally relate to conditions in northern Minnesota.

Ah, but Valentine’s Day happened in the middle of this freeze snap. The plunging single digit temperatures (before wind chill), predictions of snow squalls, and near hurricane force winds just made the thought of a cozy weekend with someone special inside a no brainer.

In past years, we would leave town to celebrate Valentine’s Day as it often coincided (as it does this year) with the President’s Day holiday. We would enjoy a long weekend at Ocean City, Maryland. The boat show would also be in town that weekend, which would necessitate just enough businesses (mainly restaurants) to open up in the middle of the off season. There would be plenty of food to tempt us without the attendant crass gift shops hawking double entendre laden t-shirts, kites, suntan oil, and hermit crabs. In other words, it would be a nice, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a mid-winter vacation.

In more recent years, our Valentine’s Day would be toned down considerably with the addition of a house mortgage to our annual budgets. There would be an exchange of sentimental cards and perhaps a gift. Otherwise, candy, flowers, and a public expression in the local newspaper would be considered a basic requirement for the day. 

The Love Notes in The Washington Post and more recently The Philadelphia Inquirer would fulfill this last part nicely, but the custom has become less popular in recent years. Twenty years ago, the newspapers would get enough ad orders to fill an entire section. This year, the Inquirer was able to fit all of the Love Notes on one interior page and, even then, below the fold. This year, we joined the exodus away from the print media and put our resources into the old-fashioned card tradition.

This year, cards were exchanged from myself and the cats, a bag of Godiva truffles with milk/dark/white chocolate varieties, a tasteful arrangement of colorful flowers (no single color rose bouquet here), and a gift certificate for a manicure, which Anne Marie did appreciate receiving. The rest of the day was spent quietly doing chores, adoring our cats, sitting cozily by our fireplace, and noshing on chocolate truffles.

Yes, this is what a middle-aged people do on the most romantic day of the year!

Warrior Queen decided to cap the day watching a movie. Okay, fine, it’s Valentine’s Day, the air outside is frozen, a fire is going in the fireplace and dinner is cooking…how else to end the weekend with a nice chick flick to cozy up to. Yes, we have The Notebook on DVD, and oh yes, Shakespeare in Love on VHS (old technology, kids; Google it). I was caught off guard, but pleasantly surprised at her choice.

Warrior Queen chose (drum roll please)…Horse Feathers!

Yes, the 1932 comedy produced by Paramount Pictures. Well, let it be known that I never say no to a lady, particularly when that lady chooses to end her romantic holiday with the Marx Brothers. It’s probably one reason why I still love her after all these years…although we are still working on her bias against ABBA.

Speaking of romance, all this talk about same sex marriage destroying the sanctity of straight marriage is too little, too late. These fire-breathing conservative idiologues (this is a pun, the spelling is correct; think about it) still defend the sacredness of this institution. HA! Look at the last scene from Horse Feathers when (spoiler alert) Thelma Todd marries all three Marx Brothers at the same time!

One man, one woman indeed! I never realized that the Marx Brothers were that far ahead of the curve…

(Thank you for reading. We now conclude today’s sermon with this word: Swordfish!)

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Day After the Night Before



This morning in a burrow somewhere near Punxatawny PA, our favorite rodent might be having this dialogue with himself...

“Oh my God! What the eff did I drink last night? Ow, my head. The last thing I remember passing out in the third quarter and…"

(Phone rings.)

"Hello? Vinnie! You weasel! What the hell did you put in my cosmo? What do you mean you won our bet? Did the Steelers lose the Big Game? What, they weren’t playing? You told me they were playing the Seahawks! That’s not a fair bet, Vinny! You lied to me! Hello? Hello? Effin' weasel!"

(Slams phone down.)

"Ow, that noise hurt my head! I better take it reaaaal slow this morning and not make any loud…"

(Banging on door.)

"Ow! Do you mind? I’ve got the biggest hangover a groundhog can have and you’re…that’s it! I’m swearing off alfalfa casserole!"

(Banging continues.)

"Owww! What is your problem? Come back later already! Sheesh! It’s not like its Groundhog…oh shit! No, no, no, no, no, no…it can’t be today! Where’s that calendar? Here, ah, it’s Monday, February…oh shit! I’m effd! I’m effd!"

(More banging on the door; louder and more insistent.)

"All right! All right! I’m not ready! Who the hell scheduled the Super Bowl the night before my big day? My one day to shine all year! Damn you, Goodell! I hope all your balls lose their air!"

"All right, let me get a grip here. I can do this…all I got to do is open my eyes and tell them if I saw my effin' shadow or not! I’ve faked it before and…damn,  why can’t I focus my eyes? Damn that weasel and his spiked cosmos!"

(Banging on door continues.)

"Yeah, all right! Hold on to your top hats, will ya? You got a sick groundhog down here! Maybe I can get one of my cousins to fill in for me. Where’s Gus’* number?"

(Beeping and booping is heard on a cell phone key pad.)

"He hasn’t been able to find work since the Pennsylvania Lottery shoved his little rodent ass out the door and he owes me a favor or two…hello, Gus? Hey, it’s Phil! Can you do me a favor? I need…what? Damn! I’ve gone straight to voice mail! Yeah, you keep on scratching, pal! Keep scratching that STD you got years ago!"

(Banging on door, followed by the rusty creaking of a large door opening.)

"No, no, I’m not ready, I tell ya! No, no, don’t pick me up!"

(Voice on loudspeaker from beyond the door as harsh sunlight fills the burrow.)

Voice: "Here he is, ladies and gentlemen! The groundhog of the hour! Punxatawny Phil!"

"No, no, put me down! Put me back! Please, let me get another hour of sleep! I am so NOT ready for my close up! Arrrrggghhh!"

*Gus – animatronic groundhog used by the Pennsylvania Lottery Board to advertise their scratch off games (2004-2012). His tagline was “Keep on scratchin’!”

(Thank you for reading! Boo Patriots!)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Return of Snort Bites (January 2015)



TALK SHOW INVENTOR JOE FRANKLIN DIES

Well, he’s credited with inventing the television mainstay, but who can argue with his longevity? A contemporary of Ed Sullivan, his show began televising in 1950. For the next 43 years, he held court interviewing established entertainers, up and coming acts, and acts seeking to launch their comeback. The latter inspired a scene in Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose. Then, in the 22 years since his television show ended, he continued broadcasting a show on Bloomberg Radio.

Insomniacs in the New York metro area (or, in my case, the cable system in Bloomsburg PA) could always count on Franklin to entertain them at the obscenely early hour of 1:00a. Other times his show would be broadcast at 9:30a. The sound of his theme (12th StreetRag) and a fast paced image procession of past show business icons (among them Laurel and Hardy; I don’t know if they were ever interviewed by Franklin) heralded another installment of The Joe Franklin Show. Click on the SFW linky!

The episodes were always entertaining even on an occasional slow night when he would bring out the show’s photo album, and reminisce about past show guests who “are no longer with us”.  Then there was the bizarre interview with “Weird Al” Yankovic when he recreated his favorite snack. For the record, it is a slice of pepperoni pizza topped with whipped cream and a jelly bean garnish. (He had me until he got to the jelly beans!) We should probably consider this normal for an entertainer who incorporates the word weird into his name, but otherwise it was a classic Joe Franklin moment.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Franklin.

SARAH PALIN SAYS SOME DUMB STUFF

Okay, this headline is not news to the liberal media, but her rambling speech at an Iowa gathering of Republican 2016 hopefuls left her fans troubled and Democrats rejoicing. In that spirit, I want to thank my fellow American voters for their courageous insight in 2008 when they did not vote for her ticket. Thank you, America.

Meanwhile, back in Iowa, Palin lambasted big government (at least I think that was the gist of her speech) and the status quo; her colorful definition of the government riding the backs of the common man raised the specter of political activist pioneer Saul Allinsky (even I had to Google Saul Allinsky); and she pointed three fingers of j’accuse at the liberals. The most incredible part:   Palin got a standing ovation for this bizarre attempt at persuasion.

Oh, Iowa! I feel so bad for you now.

Palin’s performance was later blamed on a malfunctioning teleprompter. If that is true, then let me pause to express my gratitude for this latest failure in modern technology. Thank you, malfunctioning teleprompter!

I believe Forrest Gump said it best, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

(Thank you for reading. Seriously, Iowa, I know you feed the nation and all that, but what is your deal?)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Commercial Break



I have had many opportunities lately to watch television while spending time with Oreo. She snuggles up against me on the sofa while I pet her and tell her sweet nothings. I tell her how pretty she is, that she has pretty markings and that I adore her as much as she adores me. Then she tires of all this affections, and flicks a quick clawed paw at my hand or tries to bite that hand that does literally feed and adore her. Then she runs off to do something else, usually at my loud knee-jerk reaction suggestion. 

In any case, the time spent with Oreo has allowed me to catch up on a few commercials. One that has leaped out at me and stuck in my memory is for the video product Game of War Age of Fire. The setting I believe is some desolate acreage somewhere on the planet, say the Scottish highlands or a remote stretch of Iceland. A group of medieval warriors, perhaps a Viking or two, are gathered in a circle staring at the ground. 

A well packed warrior princess (I later found out is played by Kate Upton) walks around them, casts some seeds on the ground in front of them, and they watch as the seeds grow into a series of live action tableaux from the title video game. The tableaux show the beginning of a settlement, to a fort being built to repel a mass of marauders rushing towards the settlement, to a walled city springing up just as the marauders reach the settlement. An empire is born and sustained!

This group of men watches the action in front of them intently while the princess taunts them about empires and heroism. I am struck by the incredible reaction of these warriors:  they continue to stare at the ground in front of them and they barely acknowledge her presence. In other words, they do nothing.

They do nothing to…

(DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS ARE BEING MADE BY A HETEROSEXUAL MALE WHO ALBEIT MIDDLE AGED STILL BELIEVES HE HAS AN ACTIVE LIBDIO AND A DISCERNING EYE FOR FEMALE BEAUTY, AND AS SUCH MAY BE INTERPRETED AS CRUDE AND SEXIST. 

THESE COMMENTS DO NOT REFLECT THE PROGRESSIVE OPINIONS OF THE BLOG MANAGEMENT. WE WARN THOSE WHO ARE EASILY OFFENDED TO STOP READING HERE. TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT SO EASILY OFFENDED, WE INVITE YOU TO PLEASE READ ON AND DEAL WITH IT!)

…express their most basic carnal desires on a woman who has (as Janey was wont to say in the day) breasts for days.

First and obvious impression*: the men are gay or otherwise disinclined to sexually partake of this woman’s bounty. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it would explain a lot.

Second impression: they are eunuchs. Again, no problem; but would eunuchs muster up enough mojo to contemplate world conquest and empire building? Frankly, I have my doubts.

Third impression: their priorities are screwed up!

Guys, what is wrong with you? Ambition for material success is admirable, but this woman is presenting her wonderful rack and doing everything except yelling “Take me!”, and you stand there obsessed with what?

A video game?

Somewhere even Beavis and Butthead must be scratching their heads!

(Thank you for reading. Hee, hee, hee! I said heads!)

*As suggested by none other than Warrior Queen