Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Question 1 - Finale

Our Nova Scotia Christmas. This is the first picture taken of CP + Poor George.

After the completion of our ill-fated card game, Michael and Timothy retired to their respective sleeping chambers on the second floor. Timothy went to his usual bedroom while Michael was in a large room with two full-size beds, one for him and one meant for me. George and I decided we weren't quite ready for bed yet, so we bade the other boys good-night and sat at the kitchen table a while longer. The rest of the house was just too damn cold.

George re-outfitted himself with the red Santa Claus hat that he wore while chopping wood outside, and moved closer to the stove to warm his hands.

"So you're a clarinetist, are you?" I said, shivering. The air seemed to grow ever more frigid by the second.

"Yep. And too bad I didn't bring one with me on this trip. I don't like to go too long without practicing; makes it easier to lose your lip."

"Yes, it is always tragic to lose one's lip. What kind of music are you working on?" I can never seem to resist a smart comment, especially where none is called for.

"My pianist and I are working up a recital of 19th century romance pieces. Some of it is really hard and requires a lot of fast tonguing."

"Fast tonguing?" Not being a wind player, I didn't know much about these things.

"Yes. Sometimes when you have fast sections you have to flick your tongue back and forth to play the different notes."


"Tongue flicking. Gee, you could really make the girls happy with that." I couldn't resist; it was just too easy.

"Well I can make the boys pretty happy too," George replied with a devilish grin.

Ha! I knew he liked me.

"Well, we'll just have to see about that," I answered, returning his play. Despite what he likes to tell everyone about how aggressive I was during our courtship, I maintain that it was George who started the whole dance.


After a bit, George announced he was ready to go to bed. I agreed that sounded like a good idea, and we exited the semi-frigid kitchen to retreat to our respective sleeping spaces, George's in the cozy living room next to the stove, and mine in the tundra that was the upstairs. I felt at least half of my face go numb as I made my way into the icy bedroom, and I momentarily feared for the health of my sleeping cousin who hadn't been feeling too well to begin with.

As I was fishing through my suitcase in the dark to feel for some warm sleeping clothes, I thought I was even beginning to lose sensation in my fingers. Enough was enough, I decided, and I marched back downstairs into the living room where George was busy stoking the wood stove's limp fire.

"How convenient for you that you'll be right next to the stove all night while the rest of us are up there freezing our butts off," I remarked.

"Well, would you rather sleep down here and feed the fire all night like I'm planning to do? How else do you think the house is going to get any heat at all?"

"As a matter of fact, yes, I would," I replied, sitting down on the tiny bed.

"Well you'll have to fight me for that spot, because I already called it."

"You already called it? That's very charming, George. The fact remains, however, that regardless of whatever school yard dibs game you think we're playing, I am not going back upstairs to sleep. It is too cold. I just moved back east from California and I'm not used to this kind of weather yet."

"Cry me a river." George started changing into his sleeping clothes while I remained on the bed.

I didn't really want to beg, but considering the circumstances I decided it wasn't necessarily beneath me.

"PLEASE don't make me go back upstairs. I will freeze to death. I'm serious. I could die up there, and then you'll have to blame yourself the rest of your days. I can't allow you to do that to yourself."

"I'll take my chances," he responded with not even a hint of sarcasm. "Good night, I'm going to sleep." George crawled right over me and got under the covers.

Silence for a few minutes.

"Get the light, would you?" George asked.

"I will. But I'm not going upstairs. I'm staying here with you."

"Whatever. Just close the damn light already. I'm exhausted."

"Ok." I turned out the light and changed into my sweatsuit. "You're going to have to move over," I said, lifting the covers.

"Move over where? Have you seen the size of this bed?" He laughed.

"I don't care. Anything will be better than sleeping alone in that cold room." I snuggled in next to George, who spontaneously wrapped his arms around my waist.

And that, Gentle Readers, is how it all began. It's also all you need to hear - although, for the record, nothing R-rated occurred until the end of the trip.

Which I won't be writing about.

So, Bubs, did we "meet cute?" I guess it's for you and my other Gentle Readers to decide.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fun with Funerals

Mr. Social Zymurgy challenged me to list the songs I would like played at my funeral. I didn't know what to do with the question so I ignored it as any good cyberstalker would do. But after seeing other blog friends like Bubs and Dale rise to the challenge, I decided I am just as good as they are and am therefore entitled to share my funeral music choices with you, my Gentle Readers.

Mindy June and I were discussing this very topic recently after the funeral of her beloved father, may he rest in peace. Participating in funerals inevitably makes you think about your own, so with that in mind Mindy told me some of her last wishes. She wants to be cremated and then for all of her loved ones to take a portion of her ashes and sprinkle them somewhere they know would make her laugh - like over Ronald Reagan's grave and that sort of thing.

Brilliant idea, and I'd expect nothing less from her.

Whether or not I deserve the honor, I will nonetheless take partial credit for Melinda June's creative decisions with respect to her inevitable demise. This is because back when she and I were 20 year old college students, I decided it would be a good idea to make a list of the people who would attend my funeral if I died right then. I shared the list with Mindy, who was puzzled by it.

"What on earth would make you want to do this?" she asked.

"I think it's important to keep tabs on your life, and this is one way to do it," I replied. "If you can keep enough people around who would feel obligated to attend your funeral, you must be doing pretty well."

"So you're judging the happiness of your life by who will show up after you're dead?"


"Ok. Let me see it." Not being one to waste time asking a lot of unnecessary questions, Mindy rose to the challenge and started helping me refine my funeral attendee list.

"Why is Marla on here?"

"She's a friend of Jon's. I figured she'd go with him and his other friends."

"Yeah, but she hates you. She's still mad about that time you laughed at her sweater vest."

"I wasn't laughing at her sweater vest. I was laughing because KC threw up on you when you were wearing a sweater vest. They always make me laugh now."

"I know that, but she still thought you were laughing at her. She's not going." Marla's name was crossed off. "And why isn't Kirsten from down the hall on here?"

"I don't know - she's the type who would probably go to my wedding if she was invited and had a cute date, but I don't know if she'd get it together enough to make it to a funeral on time."

"You're right. So she'll go on the wedding list. Who is Leo?"

And so we spent the next several hours. Back then it felt like a wise time investment - you could never be too prepared, in my book. You know, that whole Boy-Scout-Motto thing.

Eventually I lost track of my funeral attendee list, which I'm sure has changed substantially over the past 20+ years anyway. But Mindy's recent decision about her own funeral did get me to thinking about mine.

I decided that George can plan whatever traditional funeral he wants for me, with all the attendant wailing and sobbing - the more dramatic the better, in my opinion. But I'm taking charge of the after-party. Here's how it will go:

My funeral after-party will be a piano bar sing-along, show tunes only. The kind that they do at Marie's Crisis - you get a bunch of show-tune obsessed queens and their friends to sing the entire book of a musical, one after the other. Drinking heavily all the while, of course.

I've already enlisted the future services of my not-cousin Marnie, a showbiz professional who runs her own theater. Marnie has been charged with renting out the space, hiring a pianist, making copies of the lyrics to all my favorite shows and gathering everyone together. When they get to "Annie" she'll have some pre-teen girls or drag queens or something act out "Hard Knock Life" with metal buckets and brushes and all that jazz. Of course, the rest of you will be welcome to join in at any time.

My funeral after-party is going to kick major ass. Be sure to keep being my friend so that you will receive an invitation.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tammy Faye 1942-2007

Tammy Faye in one of her prettier moments

When Dale first told me that Tammy Faye was going to do a live interview on Larry King while she was very sick, I laughed and made some kind of joke about her clown makeup.

Today I decided to YouTube her and watch the interview, which as it turns out took place less than 24 hours before she died.

Oh my God, am I a mess.

Let's just say that if I wore Tammy Faye's flavor of eye makeup, I'd have black streaks a mile long down my entire face.

I've always considered myself a reasonably good judge of character. Although I'm sure it's mostly just an "opposites attract" kind of thing, I usually feel drawn to good people. I've never met Tammy Faye in person, but I've always kind of liked her - mainly because she comes across as so genuine. Satan himself would probably have grown tired of faking all that emotion over the years.

Now as every Gentle Reader of this blog surely knows, I derive a substantial amount of enjoyment in poking fun at Kristians (see the footnote to this post for a definition of that term.) But despite the fact that Tammy spent too much of her life in bed with the Kristians, namely her ex-husband Jim Bakker, I don't think she was much of one herself.

For one, she didn't hate fags and dykes nearly enough to be a Kristian. Even way back during her televangelist days in the 1980s, she asked her viewers to stop picking on the gays and urged people to start showing some sympathy and compassion. Tammy even hosted people with AIDS on the PTL show and encouraged Kristians to pray for the sick. ("Sick" as in having a physical disease, not "sick" in the Ted Haggard sense of the word.)

Further, Tammy later developed close friendships with several gay men and even co-hosted a TV talk show with one for a short while. When asked by one of Larry King's viewers why she had chosen to embrace gay people, she replied that they were the ones who showed her the most support during her lowest periods, and that she would always love them for it.

(Ok, so she didn't realize most of this "support" came from the throngs of drag queens and fashionistas out to mock her criminal sense of style. But that's all water under the bridge.)

In short, Tammy Faye was a nice lady. Yes, she was flawed. Yes, she got mixed up with the wrong people for much of her life. Yes, she made a lot of terrible mistakes, some of them bordering on the felonious. Yes, she could have done more to relieve suffering as a devout Christian might be wont to do. And yes, she seemingly acquired her make-up application skills directly from an overfed court jester.

But through it all, she was nice. And that has to count for something. A lot, if you ask me.

Even though Tammy Faye aligned herself with Kristians for too many years, I believe she was always a Christian because she concerned herself with such novel concepts as compassion, trust in the Lord, and the love of Christ. Those are the kinds of things Tammy Faye talked about when discussing her faith. Unlike too many of her Kristian cohorts, she searched for ways to practice her religion without obsessing over whose dick belongs where.

Just think what the world would be like if every Kristian decided to take Tammy Faye's approach while preaching the Gospel.

Rest in peace, Tammy Faye.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mama Gin Files - Where Georgie Gurlfriend?

Welcome to another installment of The Mama Gin Files. This week's episode captures Mama Gin in yet another iteration of her usual "Georgie get marry have baby!" mantra.

Just prior to filming, George slammed the door on Mama Gin during her fifth visit to our apartment, in the course of thirty minutes, where she nagged him relentlessly about his legally unwedded state. George retreated into the bedroom to take a nap, locking the door behind him.

CP felt this was a great opportunity to try out their new digital camera, which happily features a swivel LCD panel - making it possible to film Mama Gin without obviously shoving a camera in her face.

As always, an approximate transcript is provided below for your enhanced viewing experience.


Mama Gin: Ok, you try talk to him. What he likey? Let him...let me know if he get marry. Let me see the gurl. Get marry, get marry!

CP: I know, but who is Georgie's gurlfriend? I don't know who the gurlfriend is.

MG: My ear can't hear! Now I no likey like this! I can't hear! I am old!

CP: Oh, well I'm old too. Georgie's very mad at you right now. He doesn't want to come out of the bedroom.

MG: I likey he get marry! He get marry, I give housey to him! (Note to Gentle Readers: George already owns the house.) I don't like, I don't take care.

CP: Oh, if he gets married you'll give the house to him? Is that what you said?

MG: I don't see the wife, the gurlfriend that lives here. He not let me know! How I know?

CP: I don't know, it's very difficult. If he won't talk to you it's very difficult.

MG: Before, I know he have a gurlfriend that come here. But now the gurlfriend not come here, I don't know! I don't know where she is, this gurlfriend.

CP: I don't know which gurlfriend you're talking about. Was it Stephanie?

MG: But if he have a gurlfriend, let me know, get marry. He and the gurlfriend take care of housey. Then I go to....anywhere. I don't know....

CP: If Georgie gets married you'll go somewhere?

MG: Hong Kong, I have housey too!

CP: Oh!

MG: Housey my brother own!

CP: Is that the one you sold and then wouldn't give your brother the money for?

MG: (turning to leave after that crack...) Tell he let me know! And if he have a gurlfriend or wife, let me see her! Let him get marry! I likey he get marry, have baby!

CP: I'd like it if he could get married!

MG: And take a housey!

CP: Ok, bye bye!

MG: (Cough cough)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

CP Adopts an Actor

Our blogger pal Splotchy has requested that members of the greater blogging community each adopt an actor-in-need. I understand the term "actor-in-need" to be open to various interpretations. Perhaps your adoptee could be an unsung character actor whose role makes that classic cult movie, yet your actor still has to park cars and wait tables to make it by. Or perhaps....I don't know, make up your own examples because I don't really give a shit.

Coaster Punchman's World hereby officially adopts Kim Walker. Sure, Ms. Walker died of a brain tumor back in 2001, but that's no reason she should not enjoy an eternal resting place here at CPW, the Internet's warmest and most welcoming webspace. If we're lucky, she may even decide to haunt us.

I have been obsessed with Ms. Walker ever since her brilliant portrayal of the blond Heather Chandler in one of the 20th century's greatest cinematic works, Heathers.

Ms. Walker was responsible for the delivery of the film's greatest lines, forever burned into the brain of CP, to the delight and sometimes chagrin of all his cohorts:

Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa?

Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast? First you ask if you can be red, knowing that I'm always red....

Come on Heather, let's have another look at today's lunch.

Monday morning, you're history. I'll tell everyone about tonight. Transfer to Washington. Transfer to Jefferson. No one at Westerberg is going to let you play their reindeer games.

I get you into a Remington party, and where is my thanks? It's all over the hallway carpet. I was paid in puke.

They all want me, as a friend or a fuck.

You wanted to be a member of the most powerful clique in school. If I wasn't already the head of it I'd want the same thing.

Grow up, Heather. Bulimia is so '87.

No one really knows whether Ms. Walker would have grown into a well rounded actress if she had not expired before her time. Regardless, we here at CPW will forever sing her praises for her outstanding performance in Heathers, and we will continue to scour late night television for reruns of her sundry other film and TV appearances.

Rest in peace, Heather. I mean Kim.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Question 1 Part 5

Poor George + Karen Black = Love

As we concluded the tour of Timothy's Nova Scotia seaside cottage, Michael and I put our bags in two of the upstairs bedrooms and returned downstairs to start unpacking the general provisions we had brought: pounds of fresh coffee beans, gallons of wine and liquor, gourmet cheeses, boxes and boxes of various dry goods and some fresh produce. Timothy, being a self employed artist, did not have unlimited means with which to purchase some of the higher ticket items that would be harder to obtain in the province's outer regions. His eyes bulged at the splendor we laid out before him.

"I will make dinner," Timothy offered as he rummaged through the display, selecting a few boxes of whole grain pasta and some organic crushed tomatoes.

"That sounds great!" I replied. "It's been a while since I've had a chance to cook a nice meal, what with school and all. Anyone object if I take charge of Christmas dinner? I would love to roast a turkey in that stove!" I didn't know the first thing about roasting anything in a wood burning stove, but I was in the mood for an adventure.

"Sounds good to me!" Timothy said.

"Me too!" George chimed in, although in a slight "this I have got to see!" kind of way. I didn't yet understand the full array of George's cooking skills, which is a good thing because, if I had, I might not have been so eager with my offer.

Score three for Tom in the George Camp of Coolness: I had already grabbed a check in a restaurant AND introduced him to America's most hilarious author; and now I was offering to cook a major dinner. Nothing annoys George more than people who claim they are "afraid" to cook for him, so I'm glad I didn't yet know I had reason to be concerned.


Timothy prepared us a casual dinner of salad and pasta which we all enjoyed. After the dishes were done I said "would anyone like to play a game? I raided George's collection and brought a few things. How about Mille Bornes?"

"Mille Bornes? Why did you bring that? We really shouldn't be playing Mille Bornes. It's an awful, hateful game," Michael replied.

I was confused by Michael's characterization, as I had played Mille Bornes as a kid and had never thought anything of it. It's a Parker Brothers rummy-style card game which is set up as a road race. You play in teams, and the first team to finish the race by obtaining 700 km worth of cards wins. You also try to delay your opponents by giving them flat tires and making them run out of gas and that sort of thing.

"Puncturing people's tires and causing accidents is not my idea of a fun time. You can count me out," Michael declared.

"But we need four people or we can't play. Come on Michael, it will be fun!" George implored.

"Yeah, come on Michael. You can be my partner!" I added.

Reluctantly, Michael agreed. But little did I know what I had gotten us all into.

Almost as soon as I laid down my first card, Michael started objecting to whatever "strategy" he perceived me to have. "Oh look, he's throwing away mileage again. I have NO idea what he's doing - he is NOT playing well at all. Would one of you please trade partners?" Reminded me of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo playing bridge.

Things got worse as the game progressed and the accidents and flat tires started happening. George, in his increasingly impish manner, seemed to acquire every flat tire and accident card in the deck, and played them against us until I thought Michael would scream himself hoarse. "VERY FUNNY, George! Do you have to LAUGH at us every time you do that????" I was getting concerned about Michael's serious take on this "game."

Worse yet for Michael were the Coup Fourré cards, which you could play as a trump when someone tried to make you have an accident. As soon as they play the accident card, you yell "Coup Fourré!" while you lay down the card, countering the accident and causing your opponent to lose his turn.

As fate would have it, George got every Coup Fourré in the deck. And he didn't hesitate to throw them down with great aplomb, usually with an obnoxious fake stutter for added dramatic effect: "Oh, look, look what I have! C-C-C-C-C COUP-COUP-COUP-Fourré!" He nearly squealed with delight as the veins popped out of Michael's forehead.

By the third or fourth "C-C-C-Coup Fourré!" from George, Michael started shouting "KNOCK IF OFF, GEORGE! YOU ARE BEING COMPLETELY OBNOXIOUS! It's bad enough that I've got Lucy Ricardo for a partner; I don't need you rubbing my face in my own SHIT!!!"

"Calm down, Michael, it's only a game!" I said.

"Yes, it's a game! An evil, horrible, hateful game! I told you we shouldn't have played this!"

He was being so unreasonable and such a spoil sport that George and I couldn't help but giggle, although we both tried to stifle it. Later on in a calmer moment I approached Michael about his inappropriate competitive attitude with the card game, and in his defense he admitted it was an unreasonable trait he had picked up from his parents as a small child.

I suggested he refrain from engaging in any and all future recreational competitive activities, and he agreed it might be a good idea.

"But I don't need to remind you that you practically forced me into the game, do I?" Michael added.

"Well, I did encourage you to join us, but that was before I realized you weren't my cousin after all. You're like the secret love child of Joan Crawford and Attila the Hun."

"No, he's more like the little spear-guy from Trilogy of Terror!" George chimed in.

I nearly collapsed laughing at his mention of this 1975 Karen Black classic movie-of-the-week. For your enjoyment, here is a ten-second clip of the spear-guy:

Now it was my turn to be impressed. This George character was something else, I decided.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Question 1 Part 4

Site of our rustic Nova Scotia Christmas

Needless to say, when I woke up the next morning I was still crabby about Michael's verbal thrashing the night before. I felt somewhat trapped because I really didn't want to address my problem with Michael in front of George, or worse yet, do anything that would cause Michael to launch a new attack. Having temporarily forgotten how emotionally evolved I am, I bristled when Michael greeted me with a warm smile.

"Good morning," I replied curtly.

"How did you sleep?" Complicated question. The truth was that I didn't sleep well at all because I was so angry. However, since I had already been unable to sleep because of the high emotions, I was simultaneously able to enjoy the sound of George's loud snoring during a large portion of the night. In my temporary emotionally unevolved state, I took the easy way out and blamed my poor night of rest on George.

"I couldn't sleep through all that fucking snorning," I announced, as if randomly acting like a bitch was going to solve anything.

I still feel bad that I said that, especially since it was not George's fault that I couldn't sleep that night. Worse yet, as I found out years later, is the fact that George actually overheard me say it. And not being one to pass up the opportunity for a good guilt trip, he still finds occasions to bring it up to this day.

"Oh, that's terrible," Michael replied. "Why don't you reserve a separate room for the trip back so that you can sleep better," he suggested, genuinely trying to be helpful.

"Whatever," I grumbled as I collected my belongings and headed out to the car.

When Michael and George were ready, we went back to the diner for breakfast. Not surprisingly, it was a fairly quiet meal during which I remained mostly silent. I'm sure George was thinking I was just one of those crabby morning characters, the kind that grunts and barks out orders until an appropriate level of caffeination is reached.

After we were done eating, George retreated to the restroom again while Michael and I went out to the car. As he sat down in the driver's seat, Michael started to make some kind of joke about not knowing how to operate the automatic door-unlock button. I decided enough was enough. I looked him right in the face and spoke my mind.

"I did not appreciate the way you spoke to me last night. You owe me an apology."

"You're right," he replied. "I'm sorry."

"You were out of control."

"Yes, I'm sure I was. And you would know more than most people how to spot that kind of behavior," he added, obviously referring to various members of my somewhat colorful immediate family.

"Yes, I would. And you were."

"Again, I'm sorry." I appreciated that Michael just laid his apology out there without trying to blame his behavior on the fact that he'd been feeling sickly most of the trip.

"Ok." As Michael started up the car I decided things were going to be all right.


We rode a ferry from St. John to Digby, Nova Scotia, and we sat in the cafeteria drinking coffee and chatting during the most of the three hour crossing. The weather was wonderful outside - only a slight wintery chill through the early December morning sunshine, and the waters were still and calm. Good thing, as I'm known in some circles for my occasional short yet violent bouts of seasickness.

When the ferry had reached its destination, we got into the car for the final leg of our journey: a two hour car ride from Digby to our friend Timothy's house on the southwest coast of the province. We enjoyed the rustic beauty of the drive through the western half of Nova Scotia. "It looks like Wisconsin," I stated repeatedly, without adding that any rustic place with a lot of coniferous trees reminds me of Wisconsin.

"Yeah, well remember, we're not headed into any lap of luxury. Timothy's house is pretty spartan," Michael reminded us.

"Sounds like fun," George and I both replied. After a while we arrived at Timothy's house, a charming fisherman-style cottage right on the water. The white paint was peeling in most places and some of the shrubbery looked like it could use a good pruning, but otherwise the house looked fine.

Greeting us warmly, Timothy ushered us inside with our bags and provisions. The first room we entered was the kitchen, a large open square with the four walls painted various colors and an oblong table alongside a set of frosty windows. In the corner nearest the table sat a cast iron wood burning stove.

"The whole place is heated by wood," Timothy noted. "I've got one stove here and one in the front room. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through these ducts in the ceiling." He pointed to the kitchen ceiling "duct" above the stove, which was really just a large open hole into the room upstairs.

"I hope he doesn't have any toddlers crawling around up there," I thought, summoning every inch of my willpower not to start in with the charred baby jokes, which I figured would never be appropriate before cocktail hour anyway. Timothy directed us into the next room, a small living area furnished with another wood stove, an armchair, a non-functioning old fashioned parlor organ, and a tiny bed in the corner nearest the stove. A large woodpile sat just opposite the bed on the facing wall.

"This stove heats this room and the two front bedrooms," Timothy noted. "That bed used to belong to one of my friend's kids. He outgrew it by the time he turned 10, so I moved it in here as a daybed and an extra sleeping space for when I have a lot of company." I could see what he meant; the bed couldn't have been more than 20 inches wide.

"I'll sleep there!" George announced. "That way I can get up in the night and feed the stove so that the rest of you can stay warm." How magnanimous of him, I thought, especially considering that it would also probably be the warmest spot in the house. We were heading into late afternoon; the sunlight had grown dim, and I sensed a distinct chill in the air as if winter were preparing to beat down on us right through the walls of Timothy's rustic seaside cottage.

It was definitely going to be a cozy Christmas.