Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Part One

Chicagoland cop and freak fetishist Bubs has turned the tables on me after my award-winning interview with him last month. As is the custom these latter days, Bubs provided me five interview questions. Today we start with Question Number One.

Bubs: I found several mentions of a character known as "Poor George" throughout the CPW archives, but I'm not sure when, exactly, he appeared in your life. Did you two, as they say in Hollywood, "meet cute"? Or is it just a boring story that you don't want to bother us with?

CP: Although he is certainly a character to speak of, Poor George is not simply a figment of our collective imagination as some of you may expect, but is in fact a real person who lives and breathes. Whether he is a bona fide child of Mama Gin or, as he claims, the long-lost heir to one noble Anastasia Beaverhausen is still a matter in dispute.

I don't know what it means to "meet cute," although I can tell you that PG and I were "properly introduced" by my cousin Michael - which is probably the first "proper" thing that whore has ever done in his life. Our heartwarming tale begins at Christmastime in 1997, shortly after I had moved to the East Coast to attend law school in Washington DC. Michael had invited me to come up to New York to go on a road trip with him and his friend George for the holidays. I graciously accepted.

After my last final exam at Georgetown, I rode up to New York on the train and stayed overnight with a former flame of mine, where we succumbed to temptation and rekindled our extremely stale romance just for that evening. What can I say; the cocktails at dinner were strong.

The next day I hung out in the East Village where my friend lived, did some sightseeing, and in the late afternoon took the subway out to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where Michael's friend George lived. This was my first time in Brooklyn, and I enjoyed my walk from the subway to his house where I passed various groups of people speaking their thick Brooklynese: "Whaddya tawlkin 'bout?" and that sort of thing. Charming.

I approached the brownstone that George shared with his parents - he in one apartment and the parents in another. I had no idea which apartment was his, so I just picked a doorbell and rang it. A nice looking Chinese-American man opened the door.

"Hi, are you George?"

He looked at me kind of weird and then said "I think so."

"I'm sorry, I didn't know which bell was yours. I hope I didn't disturb your parents."

"It doesn't matter. God, you sure brought enough luggage," he said, referring to the two reasonably sized black bags at my side. "Come on in. I'll take one of these for you. Here, you carry the heavy one." He thrust my rolling suitcase at me and proceeded into the dark entryway.

"We have to go down these stairs. Watch yourself, some of them are a little tricky."

I saw what he was talking about as we started down the narrowest staircase I had ever seen. I almost fell forward three times due to the extreme downward slant of several of his steps.

"Nice place you have here," I said as we entered a long narrow room almost completely devoid of natural light. Probably because he had a 26 inch TV squarely blocking one of the only windows in the room.

"Take your shoes off. I just installed these tiles and I don't need you getting black streaks all over them."

"Ok." Reasonable enough request, although I might have simply suggested removing the shoes rather than throwing about thinly veiled pre-offense accusations. I opened one of my bags and extracted a nicely wrapped box, which only I knew contained delicious Frango Mints from Marshall Fields that my mother had sent me for Christmas.

"Here George, this is for you to thank you for your hospitality." He took the package, briefly glanced at it and tossed it down on top of the radiator.

"Thanks," he replied. "I'm busy making dinner for my father. You can come up to my parents' kitchen if you want." I complied, and followed George back upstairs.

We entered his parents' apartment and went into the kitchen where my cousin was sitting at a small round table with George's father, Johnny. George walked over to a large cooking stove with an enormous wok built right into it and resumed his dinner preparations.

"Georgie cook like me!" his father said proudly. "He don't cook like mother. She terrible. Everything he learn, because of me!" He cackled loudly, and I decided I liked Johnny immediately. He got up from his seat and said "come, you follow me, I show you my house."

He hobbled into a living room just off the apartment's kitchen. "This my wife, Georgie mother. Her name 'How Gin.'" He was referring to a diminutive woman sitting on the end of a crumpled futon sofa. She appeared to stare at a blank TV screen about five feet in front of her.

"Hello, my name is Tom. It's very nice to meet you." Mama Gin looked up slightly confused and limply accepted my outstretched hand.

"Where you mother and father?" she said.

"They're at home, in Chicago. I'm just here on vacation." She made no reply, and resumed staring into the blank screen.

Johnny ushered me back into a carpeted sitting room near the front of the house. "Here, I show you picture. Last year we celebrate, we marry fifty year." He opened a photo album containing pictures of an elaborate banquet with Mama Gin and himself seated at a large round table surrounded by ten other people and mounds of delicious looking food. Mama Gin had on makeup in the picture and looked somewhat normal. Boy was I in for a surprise.

"This restaurant, I know them well. I deliver food to them years ago. They do very good banquet for me." He continued to turn the pages, offering random comments to describe various photos.

"You know, I have cancer. Prostate cancer. But it no get me. I a survivor!" Johnny laughed again, beaming with enthusiasm and energy.

"Well I'm glad to hear that. I'm glad you have George here to help you with that."

"Right. Now, I rest. You go talk Georgie now."

I went back into the kitchen. George had gone back down to his apartment to get something, so I sat down at the table to talk to my cousin.

"Careful, don't spend too much time talking to his parents. They're really weird," Michael said.

"Weird how?"

"Just weird, you'll see. How was your trip?" George returned from downstairs. Michael and I continued talking to catch up, making an effort to include George in the conversation. I told them about finishing up my final exams, riding the train up to New York, writing all my Christmas cards on the train and about the amorous reunion with my old friend the night before. George snorted and remained silent.

When dinner was prepared, George called his parents into the kitchen to eat with us. Johnny appeared in the doorway, unaccompanied by Mama Gin. "Georgie mother no eat now. She eat later. She never like eat with people." He sat down with us.

George placed a small bowl of rice in front of each of us, and then at the center of the table a chicken and vegetable stir fry, a plate of sauteed leafy greens and a large poached ocean bass covered with ginger and scallion. My mouth watered at the mere sight.

George and Johnny carefully instructed Michael and me on the procedure for eating the fish, which consisted of reaching onto the serving plate with your chopsticks and using them to loosen the fleshy white meat before transferring it to your own bowl of rice.

"George, this is absolutely delicious!" I exclaimed, reveling in the strange and wonderful new flavors. "How on earth did you learn to make a fish like this?"

"I tell you, from me!" Johnny replied. "I have to teach him everything. Mother not cook." He giggled again before sucking an entire stalk of juicy greens into his mouth, barely assisted by his chopsticks. "Georgie cooking very good. He learn from me."

We proceeded through the remainder of George's wonderful meal. At one point I dropped one of my chopsticks on the floor, and picked it up to wipe it off. George grabbed both chopsticks from me and threw them into the sink. "You never replace just one chopstick, it's bad luck." He reached over into a drawer and handed me a fresh pair. "Here, and stop eating all the fish. Save some for the rest of us, please."

He was cute, but he sure had a mouth. He also didn't seem to care for me very much.

to be continued...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mrs. Lowmuff

Through junior high I attended school with a bunch of smarties. My theory is that I, being borderline retarded, was thrown in with the purportedly intelligent kids in hope that some of their brains might rub off on me.

One of our resulting privileges from the "smart" label was that we were always a year ahead of everyone else in math. For example, whereas most people took algebra in ninth grade, we took it in eighth.

My eighth grade algebra teacher, Mrs. Lowmuff, was a sadist. She had her reasons for being a total bitch to us, most notably because she had suffered severe back injuries in a car crash which left her crabbier than hell most days. Understandable. Yet not easy for those trying to learn through the hazy mist of her wrath.

Some days were worse than others for Mrs. Lowmuff. One time we suffered her pain along with her for several weeks in a row, when every day she would hobble up to her desk, sit down and say something like "don't any of you dare start with me today. The first stupid question I hear, you'll be out of here so fast your head will spin."

Then she would tell us she was in too much pain to stand up to write on the chalkboard, and would proceed to do so while seated and facing the class, reaching up over her head to scratch out her notes. The result would invariably be a series of unintelligible scribbles that no one dared question. Remember, this was back in the good old days when teachers still received a modicum of respect and cooperation from their pupils.

One time Mrs. Lowmuff attempted to teach us an entire two-week unit in this lovely style. At the end of each unit we were given a written exam, and lo and behold, the ENTIRE CLASS failed this particular test. I'll never forget the verbal thrashing we received from Mrs. Lowmuff when she handed back the papers.

"You all make me sick. From the results of this test one would doubt any of you even know what algebra is. Thanks to you lazy kids, I'm going to have to spend two weeks of my life re-teaching this entire unit. You'll all be lucky even to try to pass the exam I'm going to have to give you at the end of the school year. Good luck, fools. Now let's get started, and if you don't understand something you had damn well better open your mouths."

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. I also admired how she avoided any personal culpability in our failing.

On less heated occasions, Mrs. Lowmuff seemed to take particular pleasure in tormenting me. More than once she made public reference to my particular lack of ability in her chosen field of academia, and whenever she called on me she would say things like "Thomas, please read aloud for the class the first paragraph on page 87. You can read, can't you? At least I've heard rumors to that extent."

One time I lent a book on cat intelligence to my favorite teacher, Mrs. S. One day Mrs. S. said "Tom, I hope you don't mind, but I was reading your book in the teacher's lounge, and Mrs. Lowmuff asked if she could borrow it. I gave it to her; is that ok?"

Of course I wasn't going to begrudge my beloved Mrs. S. anything, but part of my soul died knowing I was going to have to make any extra contact with Mrs. Lowmuff.

Several weeks later I approached Mrs. Lowmuff to ask if she had my book.

"What book?" she replied, her raspy voice free of warmth.

"It's a book on testing your cat for intelligence. Mrs. S. said she lent it to you."

"Oh, that. Yes, I have it."

"Have you finished reading it?"

"Yes, it was very cute."

"If you're finished, may I have it back?"


"Ok." I waited. Mrs. Lowmuff just sat there, no movement, no reply.

"I'm sorry, but do you have the book with you?"

"Yes, it's right here in my desk drawer."

"Great. Can I have it?"

"Yes." She smirked and made no attempt to retrieve my book.

"Ok." I paused. "Please?"

"Yes." Still nothing but a grin. At least she was looking more pleased for a change.

Utterly confused, I slowly got up and returned to my seat.

I'm telling you, there was something wrong with this woman, and I suspect it went beyond her back pain.

Several weeks later I decided to try again. I approached her and asked if she still had the book in her desk.

"Yes, it's still here."

"Well, can I have it?"


I was beyond knowing what to do.

"Well, I've been up here twice to ask for the book. You tell me you have it right here, but you don't seem to want to give it to me."

"That's not true. You can have it."



"When can I have it?"

"That depends. When do you want it?"

"How about right now?"

"Ok." She opened the drawer and handed me the book. "Thomas, you need to learn to communicate more clearly. How was I supposed to know WHEN you wanted the book? You never told me when you wanted it until right now."


Maybe she had a point, but still. When I walk up to a food service counter, I guess I'm supposed to say "I'd like a burger, fries and a large Coke - RIGHT NOW, please." I never got the memo explaining that a time frame on expectations must be clearly established upon every possible human interaction.

At the end of the school year we had to pass a final exam in algebra in order to proceed directly to geometry during our freshman year of high school. I studied my ass off for that test; no way in hell did I want to go through beginning algebra a second time.

Mrs. Lowmuff was required to have a private conference with each student to deliver the test score and explain why or why not each student would graduate to the next level. This is what she told me:

"Thomas, you have surprised me. You passed this exam with flying colors. I had serious doubts about you, and even wondered at times what you were doing in this class. You don't always seem to have a lot going on upstairs. But apparently, you have learned something in my class, unless of course you cheated. Congratulations."

I'm genuinely sorry for all the physical pain she suffered, and actually I admire the creative ways she found to take it out on her students.

Nonetheless, what a bitch!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Of deep analysis, art and rhubarb pie

I don't know what it is about some of my blogger friends like Dale, Old Lady and Megan, but all three of them frequently write things that remind me of topics I need to post about myself.

Megan recently shared some of her students' artwork which reminded me of my old friend Mariane.

Mariane is a fabulous lady I met at a party and became friends with a number of years ago. At the time we met she was about 90 years old and in perfect health, except for being almost totally deaf from old age. Other than that she wasn't even on any medication.

Mariane is a Jewish-German Holocaust survivor who moved to New York in the early 1950s, where she still has the same apartment on Riverside Drive. Her rent is currently in the neighborhood of $300, and I once proposed marriage to her in a shameless attempt to get my hands on that rent-controlled lease. She just giggled, not realizing I was completely serious.

On the day we met we were discussing general subjects when she began telling me about her former career.

"I vorked vith cheeldren," she said.

"What did you do with the children?!!!" I shouted.


"The children!!!! What did you do with the children?!!!!"

(Ok, you get the effect of the deafness....basically everything had to be screamed and repeated multiple times.)

"I deed art zerapy vith zem," Mariane replied.

"Art therapy? What is that exactly?"

"Ven zees cheeldren vere hafing problems, I vould meke zem draw me a peecture. Zen I vould know vat vaz zer problems."

"Oh, that sounds interesting."

"Yes, eet vas very revealing. I vould alvays start vith hafing zem draw a peecture of zemselves so zat I vould know ekzactly who zey vere."

"Wow, that sounds kind of scary. Does it actually work?" I asked.

"Vait just von meenute," she said as she began rifling through a desk in our host's study. She found a pad of paper and a pencil, which she shoved at me assertively. "Draw me a peecture of yourself," she said.

Now this made me nervous. I have always been a terrible drawer, barely able to make a straight line let alone render a likeness of anything remotely resembling anything in the natural world. Plus, I was terrified that my drawing would somehow reveal the darkest side of my personality, a place the wisest among you know better than to visit more than once.

But I decided I was up for the challenge. I sat myself in a chair in the corner of the room and set to work, carefully drawing a picture of the man I envisioned myself to be. I took special care to make myself look as happy and well adjusted as my borderline-retarded hands would allow. I made sure to draw a big goofy smile on my face, and did my best to make my eyes sparkle. All that happy face kind of stuff.

After about twenty minutes I handed the pad back to Mariane. "Be kind to me please. I'm really bad at drawing," I implored. But she probably didn't even hear me as she had already begun studying my picture in earnest.

About five minutes later Mariane, without looking up from the pad, made her first pronouncement:

"Deesgusted vith life."

I literally felt the hope drain out of my face; so much for my happy-Tom cartoon rendering. I became defensive immediately.

"Disgusted with life?! What do you mean 'disgusted with life'?! I'm not disgusted, I'm happy! I'm content! I have a good life!! How could you say that about me?!!" I was really quite bothered.

"Meking a compromise."

She only half mutterd this second pronouncement as she continued to study my drawing. I felt a small bout of hysteria begin to rise in my chest.

"Compromise?! What does that mean?!! I don't know what you mean by 'compromise'!" I was yelling so that she could hear me, but as I was also clearly upset, people started to poke their heads into the room to see what was going on. "

"And I still don't understand this 'disgusted' business!! What is it about my drawing that would make you say such a terrible thing?!!"

She finally looked up from the pad and peered at me critically above her reading glasses.

"Do you hafe flat feet?"

At which point our host entered the room to break up our little private party and to call us to the dinner table. This was probably for the best, considering my growing agitation.

I tried to question Mariane later about her analysis of my drawing, but she either couldn't hear me or decided we had discussed it enough. It could be that she didn't want to upset me further, but my preferred theory is that she cast aside her doubts about me once she tasted the homemade rhubarb crisp I had brought to the party for dessert. Not to brag or anything, but in my mind a good piece of sweet rhubarb pie is medicine enough to cure most of the world's ills. And I have a certain way with the rhubarb.

So let's just leave it that Mariane felt my love of life shine through my rhubarb pie. At least I hope that's what she was thinking as she wolfed down two full servings before picking up the plate to lick it clean.

All the same, I don't believe I have attempted to draw anything since that day. So much for my art therapy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry says:

If I weren't in Hell right now, I'd be reading
Coaster Punchman's World!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Declaration of the CP: Word Verification

I hereby proclaim that everyone should remove Word Verification from their blog comments section. I am over it.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

A poll for my Gentle Readers

I was recently slumming over at Write Procrastinator's blog, joyfully cringing as I read about his experience with some of life's more awkward moments.

Write's heartwarming tale reminds me that I need to take a poll of my Gentle Readers. The following actually happened to me and my friend Martha, and it's imperative I find out which of us should be more offended.

My senior year in college I studied abroad during the first semester, so there was a mad scramble to find housing for my spring semester back on campus. I ended up in a dorm room in a cool old building on campus widely known for its ample supply of drugs. Lucky me, I wound up as a roommate to one of the dorm's dealers. On one level it was convenient, but on many other levels it was highly annoying; visitors traipsing through at all hours and that sort of thing.

Although I found him repugnant, my friend Martha was one of those gals who dug the bad boys, so of course she took an immediate shine to my roommate, Roland. At first Roland and I didn't have much to say to each other, so he didn't really know who my friends were. Which was nice for Martha because it enabled her to stalk him.

One day Roland came back to the room and said "I swear to God there is a woman following me around campus" and proceeded to share an elaborate tale of how he took all these winding paths to see if she would lose him - and she didn't. A few days after that, Martha dropped by our room for a few minutes when we were both there, and when she left Roland said "my God, that's my stalker! You know her? She's hot!"

Well, I thought, this will be very interesting.

We lived together in that dorm room for the next five months, and while I couldn't stand a lot of his drugged out friends, he and I actually got on quite nicely. Even started to hang out a little bit toward the middle of the semester, at which point I decided to facilitate relations between him and Martha.

One night I organized an outing to the town's only bar and made sure that both Roland and Martha would be there. I kept finding ways to include the two of them in any conversation I was having, and by the end of the night they were getting quite chummy. I made plans to sleep over in another friend's room.

The two of them carried on in some fashion for a month or so, although it never grew serious. They were just having a good time, an endeavor I wholeheartedly supported.


Flash forward. About a year later, Martha and I had graduated and were both living in Minneapolis where we still hung out together a lot. One day she and I made a trek down to St. Olaf for some reason that I can't remember right now.

We were walking around campus, and decided to stop in the student center for a refreshment. Lo and behold, who did we run into but our old friend Roland!

"Roland!" we both exclaimed. "Hi!!! How have you been? What's going on? Are you graduating soon?!!!"

"Hi..." he said rather tentatively. "Yeah.... things are going are you guys, um......?"

Martha and I looked at each other, looked at Roland and then back at each other.

He didn't remember us. Neither one of us. He lived with me for five months, and fucked her for a month, yet had no idea who we were.

"Roland, remember me? Your old roommate?" I said.

"OOOOOH, yeah, that's right, in Ytterboe, right? I know I know your name....."


"YEAH, TOM! Hey bud, how's it going? What have you been up to?"

"And I'm sure you remember this lovely young woman," I said. I wasn't going to make this easy for him.

"Oh yeah, it's.... it's... M......M something......"

"Martha," she replied, flatly.

"Yeah, Martha baby! How you doing, girl?"

"Fine. It was very nice to run into you. Tom, we do need to get back on the road now."

"Ok. See you Roland." We turned to leave.

Martha was fuming. While I was not fuming, I did find it a bit insulting that I slept in a bed next to him and talked to him every day for five months straight, only one year prior - and he had no idea who I was.

Martha thought that was nothing compared to the fact that she had sex with him at least a dozen times and he had no idea who she was.

We then debated at length as to who should be more offended. Most of my girlfriends started off saying she should be, but when I laid out the facts (five months of day-to-day vs. one month of passion) they were on the fence.

So the question is now put to you, Gentle Readers. Who should be more offended here? CP or Martha?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Restaurant tag

Lu tagged me to write about my top five favorite places to eat in my "location." Then I am supposed to add myself to the bottom of this list and pass it on, preferably to people in other states and countries.

Participation is strictly voluntary, but for those who are inclined I am tagging my sister Marg, my cousin Beth, my blogger friend Beth, the Freelance Cynic, and Tenacious S.

Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
(San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
(Jakarta, Indonesia)
(London, England)
(Utah, USA)
(Toronto, Canada)
(Saitama, Japan)
(Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
(Chicago, Illinois, United States)
CP (Brooklyn, New York, but formerly of West Hollyrock, California, USA)

I have written quite a bit about NYC restaurants such as here and here. I also have a lot of favorite eateries in my former home of Los Angeles, so I'm pretending I still live there for purposes of this blog post.

1. El Coyote

This place rocks. It is by no means high brow Mexican food, but it's just great in that quasi trashy Cal-Mex sort of way. Their green corn tamales are to die for - my mom even used to take them home frozen whenever she visited me in LA. And it's great for B and C list celebrity sightings. I once saw Ricardo Montalban, and always prayed I'd see Carol Burnett there as my friend MJCAT once did.

By the way, remind me to tell you about my Carol Burnett story some time.

2. In-N-Out Burger

For some retarded reason they only have this chain in the Southwestern states. But the locals are fiercely devoted to In-N-Out. It's your basic burger & fries, but the food seems somehow cleaner and fresher. (I'm saying this without doing any amount of research on the actual quality of their ingredients, but I have my hunches.) The menu is very simple, and apparently has not changed in the 50+ years they've been open.

3. Koo-Koo-Roo

Delightful flame broiled chicken place, with that LA gym-bunny "I'm eating clean & healthy!" flair. Rockin good times.

4. Roadside taco stands

You'll find these all over Southern California. Just some guy or gal with a cart and great tasting food. I especially love getting fish tacos down in San Diego.

5. The Abbey

A West Hollywood tradition. When I first moved to LA in 1992 this place was across the street from where it is now, and it was a simple coffee house, great for hanging out and reading. In 1993 they moved to their present location on Robertson Boulevard, and became the staple for my friends and me for general weekend hanging - and even weeknight hanging when we were in the mood. It was still a coffee house, but they had a lot of food at a carry out counter.

However, after I left LA in 1997 the place went on steroids and blossomed into a full service restaurant and bar, although (I think) you can still pretend it's a coffee house, where you can hang out and read. You just have to look prettier.

Although I don't really know the food there, I would still make it one of my top choices because I would have to go experience the new digs for myself.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

If Jesus Came to My House

Katelah Schwartz recently asked me to write about what I would do with Jesus if He came over for a visit. It's a tall order, but I will do my best.

I'd invite Jesus in and ask Him to remove his sandals, as all our guests are accustomed to doing before entering the house. Then when He was barefoot, I would acknowledge that He's probably used to having His feet washed by adoring worshippers. Since I would want Him to feel at home, I would probably make one of those awkward sounding offers to wash His feet for Him, but only in that "I'm just saying this to be polite" kind of way. Surely Jesus would be clued into that and He'd reply "oh no, I couldn't, but thank you for asking!"

The foot washing business being settled, I would invite Jesus to have a seat and ask Him what He would like to drink. Jesus is supposed to be a cool guy, so I imagine He might make some crack about my not being able to turn water into wine or something. I'd laugh, as any polite host with a sense of humor would, but then I'd tell Him about the time my sister-in-law Ruby came over and said, in all seriousness, "you got any daiquiris?" I'd tell Him about how I did in fact have the ingredients to make Ruby a daiquiri, and then Jesus and I would laugh, long and loud.

Having supplied Jesus with a refreshing beverage, we would discuss the pros and cons of going to sit in the back yard under the ornamental cherry tree vs. remaining in the living room. Sometimes it's too cold or too buggy out back. But we would make the appropriate choice depending on the time of year and the weather. I always imagine it being summer when Jesus is around on accounta the climate He was born into and all.

We'd sit for a few and talk about what exactly He's been up to recently while seated at the right hand of God the Father, until I would jump up and exclaim "well you must be starving after that journey! What can I get you to eat?" Now depending on how hungry He actually was, I imagine Jesus would protest my needing to do anything, or at the very least offer to order take-out for us. I would thank Jesus for His concern, but really it would be no trouble. Then I would go into the kitchen and possibly make Jesus a quesadilla. Or, if I didn't have much in the way of provisions, I'd bring out our folder of take-out menus for Jesus to peruse.

All this talk of food would have made me thirsty again and so I'd make another round of drinks. I'm not clear on Jesus's stance on drinking these days. I know He drank wine, but that was more for sustenance and not to catch a buzz. I don't think He'd have a problem with the bottle as long as it was in moderation. So I'd fix us a couple more appletinis on the rocks. (Jesus wouldn't like them straight up, methinks.)

Once the food was ordered, we'd start in on our serious conversation. I would review with Jesus that He only gave us two commandments to follow: 1) Love God above all else; and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Now being a lawyer, I'd be able to say all sorts of clever things that would enable us to interpret those commandments in the light most favorable to me. And I don't think Jesus would disagree with anything I had to say, although I'd certainly welcome Him to. But mainly I would tell Him about my concerns regarding the religious leadership's failure to pay attention to those commandments.

Jesus would weep.

But then we'd be saved by the bell when the food arrived. Jesus would dry His tears and chow down with me. And then Jesus would say His polite "thank yous" and would ascend back into Heaven.

Overall, Jesus would be an awesome guest with impeccable manners and I would continue to love Him for it. And He'd never forget to use a coaster, either.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Melinda June's Interview with CP

Today we have questions from the Lovely & Talented Melinda June.

1. Mama Gin can't be all bad. Give us three things to like about her.

a. Her compulsive gambling.

b. Her penchant for opening our door and giggling at the sight of the cats.

c. Her absence.

2. Imagine that you're cooking dinner and there's a knock on the door. It's a twenty three year old whose mother, Chevy Chevette, has told him you are his father. What's he like? Why is he looking for you?
Chevy Jr. would be 25 now, not 23. Chevy Jr. would be intelligent in that borderline retarded kind of way; just ever so slightly compulsive; and of course, devastatingly handsome. He would be looking for me in an attempt to derive a share of the fortune that is being made off of my syndicated online column, Coaster Punchman's World. Oh wait, that's only in my fantasies, right?

And by the way, you are positively evil.

3. What, exactly, is too prudish? What, exactly, is too much sharing?
Too prudish: Throwing down a book just because one of the characters decided to have a little fun with his armchair.

Too much sharing: Item #2.

4. You claim to be psychically linked to all cats. Does this include lions and tigers? Are they drawn to you when you go to zoos? Would it be safe to take you on safari?
Probably not. One time I was at the Como Zoo with our friend KC, and we were looking at a beautiful tiger in one of those really close-up cages like they used to have. I kept leaning in, trying to get as close as possible saying "here kitty kitty!" when all of a sudden the beast up and lunged at me, throwing his entire body up against the side of the cage. I shrieked and ran like hell.

5. Tell us about the best date you and Georgie have had.
One day, many moons ago, Poor George took me to the Bronx Botanical Gardens when the magnolia trees were in full bloom. It was a weekday and there were no other people around, so we decided to lie down on the grass under the trees and take a nap. It was heaven.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lulu sticks it to CP!

Today is the perfect day for a REAL interview with Lulu! And this time Lu's asking the questions.

1. During college, a mutual acquaintance once asked me, in the earnest way that only an 18-year-old can, what "the essence of Tom" was. At the time, I replied that you complained a lot. Is that still accurate? Or do you have a new and improved essence that your readers should be aware of?

I'm amazed that people who knew me when I was 18 are still friends with me. I was C-R-A-Z-Y, and not in a good way. I'm much less intense now, but some might argue much less fun as well. Kind of like one of those manic people who finally gets himself medicated but then misses the extreme highs.

I still complain a lot, but usually in a sorry attempt to be funny. Despite the fact that it makes me doughy and nondescript to be nice, I do try to stay on the positive side of life nowadays. I'd say that's the new Essence of Tom: looking on the bright side.

2. You are known far and wide as a mixologist without peer. If you were to make me a "Coaster Punchman," what would be in it, and how would it be served?

That is an amazing question / suggestion. You may recall that at one point I created the "Swamp Tommy" as an answer to the fabled "Swampwater" from our St. Olaf years, a drink which required that sickly green lime vodka - a vile liquid that is no longer for sale anywhere in the free world. I tried to substitute Midori for the sickly green effect, but it just wasn't the same.

I will take this suggestion to heart by creating a cocktail after my own name. If all goes well, I may initiate a new CPW project of creating custom cocktails for any Gentle Reader who desires it. That might turn into a fee-based service, however.

3. You are also known far and wide as a Schottishe instructor without peer. Can you explain how you came to know this dance, and possibly demonstrate it for us?

Actually, I owe my deep knowledge of this dance genre to the Lovely and Talented Melinda June, who taught me the steps the first time I attended Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa with her and other friends.

I can't post a demo right this minute, but here are some written instructions for you:

a. Drink heavily.

b. Put on some geeky sounding folk dance music, the kind you might hear in a German Biergarten.

c. Get three other drunk friends to hold hands with you in a square formation, all facing the same direction.

d. Do this gay little skip-step thing and then alternate between the two back people skipping forward to take the lead, or by passing the same two under the arms of the front group. It's really hard for the uncoordinated, the retarded and the drunk.

e. Repeat steps a through d until you're nauseated.

4. Which character on 90210 are you most like?

That is so unfair and such a loaded question since you already know the answer. For those of you who don't know, I am most like Brenda. Mainly due to the following famous line, which has already been memorized by those who know CP most intimately:

"Brandon, can I tell you something and you have to swear not to tell anyone? When I forced Dylan to choose between me and Kelly, I never thought it was a contest. I never thought that I would lose."

We don't need to revisit the actual context of this statement in my own life. It should be enough for my Gentle Readers to know that it was true.

5. If you were able to go back in time and talk to Joseph Smith, Jr., what would you ask him? (What the fuck were you thinking? is too easy. Dig deeper.)

I would ask him why he couldn't have been a little more creative when he pretended to receive a revelation about the need for celestial underwear. Everyone knows he received his "revelation" on the propriety of plural marriage because he was a big old horn dog. Why didn't he take it a step further and pretend that God told him the gals were required to wear fishnets and pasties instead of this?

If you would like your very own REAL interview with CP, email me!

Coffey Talk with CP

The musically inclined yet grammatically unchallenged Beth from A Cup of Coffey has interviewed me! It's taken me a while to get to the questions since I've been trying to be a dutiful Strategic Sales Executive. Ineffective, yet diligent. My favorite way to be.

With that, I give you our titillating dialogue.

1. How did you come up with the nom de blog "Coaster Punchman"?

You can read all about it here.

2. Who are your fantasy best friends?

One time in college I was mad at all my friends and so I started imagining that I had all new friends. I even visualized them being really nice and sitting in my dorm room being all adult & talking nice. Strangely enough, two years later I did have all new friends (the previous friends having transferred, graduated, or been dumped) and they were really nice. They even sat in my dorm room and talked nice just as I'd envisioned. Though there was some pot smoking too. Maybe that's why they talked nice.

In any event, isn't it great when your fantasies come true? Even if they're not very exciting?

3. If you could go back in time, what decade/city would you like to live in?

Poor George says "Berlin, before the war." That's a pretty good answer, though I hope he gets out before the bad guys take over. For me I would just say that I have a recurring fantasy that I get to live my life all over and make different choices along the way, sometimes to correct past mistakes, and sometimes just to experiment and see what would happen.

4. What's your go-to cocktail when you simply must get smashed?

Why, Margaritas of course. Like the ones I made here.

5. What is your theme song?

"You Only Get What You Give" by the New Radicals. It's a hard theme to remember, but an important one. I tried to post the video, but I'm having YouTube problems today. So you can listen to this song over at the blog of Tenacious S. (note: now I find the video doesn't work for Ten-S either. Bummer.)

If you'd like to be interviewed by CP, email me! You may even get a real interview instead of a fake one.