Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooking for cooking's sake

I do like to cook. For some reason I prefer to do it when Poor George is not around - I'm not sure why. Because when I do cook with Poor George, I have fun and I learn things, even if he chastises me severely and then mocks me openly for every gaffe I make. He claims his Chinese heritage and his father's instruction methods as the reasons he does this to me. According to George, the Chinese have such a reverence for food that to screw around with your ingredients is the height of disrespect to the universe, and in situations where animal products are used, disrespect to the animal who gave its life so that you can stuff your fat face.

I suspect there may be more going on with PG's admonishments than that, but I'll work with that for now.

Yesterday morning I got it in my head that I would like to spend the day cooking and that I would make myself a super fancy meal. I had lofty visions of my friend Brandon, who was raised in a stereotypical New York Italian home where lasagna was served as a first course to any meal. I decided I would make myself a lasagna to start.

Of course, being the imbecile that I am, I searched the Web for an "ultimate" lasagna recipe, and ended up going with one that requires its own tomato sauce from scratch.

"I don't think you're going to want to make your own sauce - that will take too long," said Poor George gently over the phone. At present George is in Illinois helping my parents move, an act that should in itself qualify him for sainthood.

Since I didn't actually start until after 8 pm last night, Poor George turned out to be exactly right. My lasagna was not ready until well after midnight - at which point I had no desire to eat it. (I did take one tiny little square, and while not being the best lasagna I've had in my life, I will say that it is still pretty good.)

The recipe told me to boil two whole pounds of lasagna noodles. I was dubious that I would be able to use that much, but I followed the recipe dutifully and as a result ended up with an entire batch of unused cooked noodles.

So this morning I whipped up nice little tuna noodle hotdish, made with my own bechamel in place of a UBI. For the uninitiated and non-Midwesterners among you, "UBI" stands for "Universal Binding Ingredient" used in hot dishes, more commonly known as Cream of Something Soup. None of that church basement stuff for me today, Gentle Readers. Today is the Real McCoy.

And lacking any potato chips to layer on top, I opted for buttered panko bread crumbs. That, coupled with the generous dollops of Tobasco and cayenne pepper I threw into the mix, seems to give my tuna noodle dish the "innovative taste" lacking in most church cookbook recipes.

Some further investigation into my refrigerator contents prompted me to throw together a potage of potato, leek, broccoli and cauliflower which is now cooling on top of the stove. Alongside a delicious looking swiss chard souffle I just removed. (I used leftover mozzarella instead of gruyere so I'll let you know how that turns out. Smells wonderful.)

Inside the fridge I still have a nice piece of wild red sockeye salmon that I intended to eat with a miso glaze as my main course last night, but seeing as how I didn't make it through the first course the salmon remains uncooked and uneaten.

I have all this wonderful food surrounding me right now, with no appetite to eat it. I hope I feel hungry around 5 tonight because I will be enjoying a real feast. Wish some of you could join me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The View -- a special kind of retarded

What in God’s name did we do to deserve this?*

I need to start tracking my Internet browsing history more carefully, because doing so might explain the surreal twists my insomnia-provoked web surfing seems to take. Last night I started around 3:00 am on a quest to find an online recording of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s actual speaking voice, and ended at 7:00 am by watching old YouTube videos of the ladies on “The View” discussing Prop 8. How the first led eventually to the latter is anyone’s guess. If you’d like me to email you my browser cache, maybe you can make sense of it.

I hate to have to say it about all of them, but here it is: the ladies on “The View” are morons. Even the ones I like. Even Barbara, sadly.

I know I’m a lawyer and all, but do none of these ladies even remotely understand the strength of religious freedom in this country? Did they miss that day of school in first grade where kids learn that you get to practice whatever religion you want here without being thrown in jail because of it? I mean, seriously? Barbara, Whoopi, was this really a question?

Holy shit. I know Elizabeth Hasselbeck is a bona fide idiot with the sense of morals and ethics God gave an acorn squash, but I would expect more out of Barbara Walters. Hasselbeck started off by saying that people should have voted “Yes on 8” because a minister in Sweden was supposedly jailed because he refused to marry a gay couple. And we can’t let that happen here! If Prop 8 had failed and gay marriage became the right of Californians, then ministers in California would have to marry gay couples or go to jail.

Neither Whoopi nor Barbara said a word to contradict this, or even to question it.

Seriously ladies? Holy f*cking sh*t. As I said, I am a lawyer, but I don’t think I had to pay Georgetown $70k to understand that we don’t jail church ministers for preaching to their congregations.

The next day (or sometime later) Whoopi was prompted to do a little research when GLAAD called to protest the complete asininity of this “conversation” these women had on the air in front of the even stupider general public. And so Whoopi cleared it up for the group. At which point Hasselbeck and the black chick who replaced Cherry Jones, or whateverthef*ck her name was, both said “well this information came from GLAAD. We’d like to hear what the other side had to say about it.”

The “other side?” What other side? Like Fred Phelps?

Oh. My. God. If you have not yet seen the movie “Idiocracy,” I advise you to watch it as soon as possible, because it’s coming true.

*As noted on the brilliant website

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bill Maher is smart

This news about Victoria Jackson being a Bible-banging tea-partier is really interesting. I always suspected she had wet-brain, but now I have proof. How disappointing that I used to laugh at some of her SNL skits --- unless, perhaps, I was laughing at her rather than with her. Yeah, that’s it.

Bill Maher talked about this on his show the other night. That man is brilliant, and I don’t really care that what he says offends people --- because honestly, we’re the only ones who seem to think it’s important not to offend those who despise us. When are our left-of-center leaders going to grow a pair and start calling a spade a spade instead of trying to broker deals with people who refuse to reason?

Bill quoted Victoria as saying something about the producers of “Glee” having shoved the gay agenda down America’s throat. After having fun with this easy shot of a thinly veiled reference to fellatio, Bill noted that we should be shoving gayness down the throats of Americans because that’s what the Republicans do every single day.

Unlike the Democrats, when Republicans believe in things that the public doesn’t, their response is "f*ck it. We’ll make them believe." Like attacking Iraq to avenge 9/11, like convincing a country that badly wanted health care reform that they really didn’t want it, like turning global warming into a hoax. That’s what conservatives do. Relentlessly push, until the unthinkable becomes the consensus.
I really have nothing to add, because he could not have spoken my mind any better.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Greetings from the land of "I feel like sh*t"

I have been sick with a nasty cold since Sunday, and it’s one of those evil spring flus that creep up very slowly and get progressively worse until you feel like begging Dr. Kevorkian to make a house call.

I hate being sick. Really, really hate it, and especially this time. It’s so damn inconvenient, and aside from the benefit of being able to avoid most aspects of work and household duties, I derive no pleasure out of this at all. Even laying on the sofa watching “Glee” reruns on my Roku has not made me feel better.

I cannot get comfortable no matter what I do. I can barely speak because my throat hurts so much. Lying down makes me want to stand up. Standing or sitting makes me want to lie down. Even Lunesta isn't helping me get a full night's sleep because I wake myself up coughing my guts out every 20 minutes.

I can see why some people say “you either get better or you die” and I take comfort in that sentiment because holy Jesus, I would not want to live my life feeling this way for any significant amount of time.

The funny thing is I don’t even really believe in illness. I’m slightly Mary Baker Eddy that way – minus the part about the Bible. I believe that people make themselves ill because somewhere deep down they want to be ill to avoid having to take responsibility for anything. I believe that if you don’t want to be ill, you don’t have to be, and that you can take all the proactive steps to avoid illness such as eating correctly and getting enough exercise to keep those white blood cells circulating around your body to ward off pathogens. And getting enough sleep. Et cetera.

I am not always 100% effective at following my anti-illness regime, but I still think I deserve an A for effort. So when a cold like this comes from out of nowhere and kicks my ass, it is especially frustrating. I feel like crying out to the Universe “Hey! What gives? I’m really trying here!”

I have a number of theories on why I get sick more often than I think I deserve. I’ve been reading about body ph and how you need your ph to be slightly basic to avoid illness --- and most of the foods I love (all the good stuff that most Americans love) are ones that cause your body to be more acidic.

I also think I have a sleep disorder due to snoring, like about 75% of the adult male population. I don’t want to get one of those horrendous-looking sleep machines, mainly because I think you have to sleep on your back to use them, and I hate sleeping on my back. But maybe I can train myself.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me vent. I’m quite displeased right now, because I’m in one of those states where I feel like I will never get better. But this too shall pass. Blech. (cough cough)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An open letter to 網站設計

Dear 網站設計,

You keep visiting my Blogger friends, telling them how much you miss their writings on theater and writing. But you never visit me. Aren't MY writings on theater and writing ALSO "much missed?" It hurts me to be left out like this.

I too sometimes write about "theater," but I have to admit I don't have too many writings about "writing." I know some people have published books on writing, and I often talk about how Blogger is for writers whereas Facebook and Twitter are for hacks. But I don't think that's what you were getting at when you visited my friend Dale recently. Dale's post was about ventriloquists, which surely should not count as theater. Am I right?

And I'm fairly certain Dale didn't address writing in his post. So why did you have to visit him and not me?

Your friends 情趣, 巴黎, and even 充氣娃娃 used to visit me. Frequently. So frequently that I had to call in 角色扮演 to kick their asses. At one point I threatened legal action, and ultimately activated that annoying "comments moderation" feature so that I could force them to stop visiting. That was especially aggravating for me, given that I am perilously lazy and always seek to do as little work as possible.

But now that 情趣, 巴黎, and 充氣娃娃 don't visit any more I have become lonely. Please don't be so cruel to me, 網站設計. Stop breaking my heart. Won't you please visit me too? I promise I'll try to write more about theater. And writing.

Love and coasters,


Monday, March 21, 2011

An Open Letter to My Tinnitus

Dear My Tinnitus,

Why have you plagued me since I was nine years old? And why are you getting worse lately? You first entered my life after I flew in an airplane for the first time when I was nine and had a bad head cold. My parents weren't flyers and didn't know this would be dangerous for me.

My ears hurt like a holy son-of-a-bitch on that flight, and from the moment we landed my ears have never stopped ringing and popping. I don't know why I never said anything to my parents about it. I guess I was just happy that I could hear at all, and that I was not in pain.

Most of the time I don't think about you, My Tinnitus. But for some reason, lately you seem louder. When I go to bed in the quiet at night I hear nothing but your steady high pitched tone and you annoy me. Nothing I do makes you go away, not even for a second.

What would my universe sound like without you, My Tinnitus? And why can't people agree on how to pronounce your name? I've heard two doctors refer to you as TINN-i-tus, whereas most others call you tinn-I-tus. Which is it?

Maybe it would be a good idea for you to go live somewhere else for a while. We need a break from each other.

Love and coasters,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Open Letter to the 3Jesus97 Lady

Dear 3Jesus97 lady,

You proclaim to love Jesus every chance you get. I mean, you live in Oklahoma and I guess that sort of thing might be required down there. But do you have to have approximately 57 crucifixes hanging all over your house? Do you realize your entire house is decorated in an instrument-of-torture motif?

And when I asked you about your parents that one time, 3Jesus97 lady, you replied "they were horrible people and I'm so glad they're dead!" Why would you say something that harsh, 3Jesus97 lady? Although I found it quite funny and got a good laugh out of it, I know you weren't joking. Didn't Jesus teach you that it's bad karma to talk that way about dead people? I'm not sure Jesus would agree with your approach, 3Jesus97 lady.

Finally 3Jesus97 lady, why have you turned into such a crazy bitch at work? Why are you trying to undermine me and the rest of your colleagues? Don't you know that we are about to rise up collectively to bring you to your knees where you belong? Shouldn't you be on your knees anyway since you are supposed to be praising Jesus?

3Jesus97 lady, you know I am a total Jew for Jesus, right? Just like that one guy on "Glee." Jesus is my #1 Heeb. And I say that just because I like to, even though I'm not Jewish. But you need to take it down a notch, 3Jesus97 lady. Because no one is buying it, and especially not Jesus.

So, 3Jesus97 lady, I suggest you get with the program and start living more like our Boy if you want Jesus to help you. Because you're about to get your ass kicked.

Love and coasters,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Open Letter to Whatever is Lurking under my Right Thumbnail

Dear whatever is lurking under my right thumbnail,

What are you, my friend? Be you man or be you beast? I have no idea what you are, but you hurt like holy f*ck. Are you a tiny splinter that decided to lodge itself under my thumbnail? I have examined my thumb up and down repeatedly and I see no evidence of you, but you must be there or I wouldn't be wincing every time I use my right thumb to hit a keystroke on the computer.

Please be gone by the time I wake up from my next nap or I may go postal.

Love and coasters,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Messy messy

If you haven't figured this out by now, Gentle Readers, I'm kind of a jerk about certain things. One of the ways that I am a jerk is that I will judge you if you have a messy house. Or at least if you have a house that is messy when you invite me over.

I know, this is not very The Secret of me, and by judging you all I'm just attracting more judging into my life. But this is fine, because if I have a dirty or messy house, I want to be judged. I want you to come into my house, as my former boss Michael did when I was flat on my back from a disc problem, and say "ugh, I just cannot stand this room. I am cleaning this up."

Of course, who wouldn't like free maid service?

Talk to my friend Mindy June about the perils of having me as an overnight house guest. She's still mad that I gave her specific instructions on how to tidy up her house before I visited her in London, although she admitted to liking having the place in nice order. And for the record, she did a marvelous job - I felt like I was visiting an adult from one of those other generations that seemed to care about such things.

Mindy's own mother, may God rest her soul, was a neatnik like me, and since she was a dear friend of mine I now claim a certain amount of authority over Mindy not just in the area of general life management (a duty bestowed upon me by her dearly departed father) but now also in some of the areas her mother occupied, like household order.

(We will set aside for a moment the fact that I claimed this authority long before her mother justified it f0r me.)

As for other friends, well, I can only tell you that at least one of them has in so many words forbidden me from ever entering her apartment. And Mindy, trying her best to be sympathetic to my plight, just shrugged and said "well, it is you."

So why am I divulging all this now, Gentle Readers? Because Poor George and I made some new friends recently in San Diego. A very nice male couple, charming, good company, wonderful cooks and all around good people. We had met them at a dinner party several months back and invited them to our house for drinks and snacks, and then later to our house for a full dinner party of our own.

Last night they invited us over to their place for the first time so that we could hang out and order in some Thai food.

Neither one of our new friends is working right now, so I would have expected things in their apartment to be in better order. My parents, for all their crazy in other ways, had always taught me that you are to make your house presentable before someone comes to visit. It's a way of showing respect, of showing that you care enough about your guests' comfort and hygiene to take the trouble to pick up your shit and clear surfaces of obvious dirt and grime.

Our new friends' place had dust about an inch thick on all the furniture, and there were piles of crap all around. I did find several clear and available seating surfaces so I was able to sit down, but my personal comfort ended there. I could go on with more details about everything that bugged me about this apartment, but most of you are probably already cringing in horror at the thought of ever having me over, so I'll just leave it at that.

This kind of neglect to clean one's house a bit before having company is a phenomenon that seems to plague people of my generation and younger. As I already described, my parents and Mindy's parents were obviously of the belief that you must prepare for company. And as a youngster I do not ever remember visiting homes of family friends that were not in reasonable order.

What has happened to change the world this way? Maybe things were always like this and my parents just didn't associate with people who didn't hold similar beliefs.

After this display of shallowness I don't suppose that I'll be invited to many of your homes, Gentle Readers. I don't doubt any of you in your own right, but if my informal calculation of the statistics regarding messy versus non-messy is accurate, I'd have to guess that that about 75% of you don't prepare your homes to receive guests, at least not beyond moving piles of crap around so that people can have a place to sit down.

What say you, Gentle Readers?

Friday, March 11, 2011

CP's Pretend Interviews with Bloggers - Lulu and the Therapist

After abandoning the interviewer’s seat for a number of years, CP recently pretended to sit down with former blogger Lulu again to resume some of their former conversations.

CP: So Lu, welcome back to Blogger, although I must say we miss seeing your posts of life in Bangladesh and other musings.

Lulu: Thanks CP. So can you please make me sound like less of a bitch in your fake interview this time? If you’re going to pretend to be me, it would be nice if you could make me sound vaguely attractive for a change.

CP: What do you mean I don’t make you sound attractive, Lu? Just look at your picture above – you’re smoking hot!

Lulu: Yeah, and if you had any readers left the guys might drool over it the way they used to.

CP: I know. Have any ideas on how I can get some of them back?

Lulu: Maybe stop being an asshole for five minutes?

CP: I would, except Mindy says I’m boring when I try to be nice.

Lulu: Yeah, well I wouldn’t know --- I’ve never had the chance to experience that.

CP: Well actually Lu, you did, at least one time. Remember when I had just graduated from college and I was a total mess? And I started seeing a therapist?

Lulu: Oh God no, I see where this is going.

CP: That’s right Lu. One time I was talking to you from a pay phone at work…

Lulu: Yes, CP, and you were talking to me on a calling card you had stolen from someone, if I recall correctly.

CP: I’ll have you know I did NOT steal that card, Lu. It was given to me by my friend Laurie Whorie who had gotten it from one of her friends whose dad worked at AT&T or someplace.

Lulu: Yes, and the use was completely unauthorized. Which means you were stealing.

CP: Well, it’s not like it was costing them much. And anyway, that was in the days when a) I was very poor and b) I had no scruples. I’ve fixed at least one of those by this time.

Lulu: And we all know which one you fixed.

CP: Lu, are you going to let me get on with this story or not?

Lulu: You’re just pretending to be me here CP, so you can do whatever the hell you want. Go ahead.

CP: Thanks, Lu. So anyway, before we got sidetracked by the part about me stealing from my friend’s friend’s father’s company, I was going to reminisce about the time you tried to shut down my therapeutic process.

Lulu: I wasn’t trying to “shut down” anything, CP. It’s just that you were starting to sound like something out of a Melanie Beattie self-help book. Or that Stuart Smalley guy from Saturday Night Live. Someone had to intervene.

CP: I don’t recall exactly what I said that would have caused this reaction.

Lulu: Jesus Christ CP, do you expect me to recall it? You’re the one with the photographic memory. You’re the one I have to warn everyone not to say anything potentially embarrassing around, because you’ll remember every detail and then bring it up twenty years later at the most inopportune moment.

CP: You mean like that one time when….

Lulu: I’m stopping you right there, CP.

CP: Ok, sorry. Well truth be told, I don’t recall exactly what I was saying either, but it was the kind of stuff my shrink thought I should be saying. This was my first bout with therapy so I didn’t know any better.

Lulu: At least I was trying to help you not embarrass yourself. You might want to take a page out of my book.

CP: If it makes things any clearer Lu, I already felt embarrassed about saying whatever it was I was saying. I was just trying to be a good student. Therapists love me for that.

Lulu: Oh, really? You mean like the one you were seeing in New York who thought you were such an asshole that he stopped returning your calls?

CP: I never told you about that.

Lulu: I know, but this is just you pretending to be me, remember?

CP: Right. Well, we’ll leave that one on the table until we’ve had more time to process it. Maybe after my next round of therapy.

Lulu: I’ll be there to pick up the pieces when the next therapist dumps you, CP.

CP: Thanks Lu, always good to know I can count on you. Well we’ve babbled on enough for today. Catch you at the next fake interview!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New-Friend-Dating and Brain-Crazy-Stalking

I had a very nice New-Friend-Date (see yesterday's post) the other night. We got along really well, had a lot to talk about, laughed at each others’ jokes and generally found each other to be good company. Ok, well I felt all of the above regarding John, my New Friend. I can’t be certain he returned my fondness, but let’s just suspend our disbelief and assume he did.

You may recall that I’m a cyberstalker by trade, so I can find out all sorts of weird shit about people online. But I’m also a brain-crazy-stalker, meaning that when I meet a new person who interests me on any level, I develop an intense need to get inside their head to discover the crazy.

In case you were not aware, Gentle Readers, it is a fact that everybody is crazy on some level. Everybody. Some people hide their crazy very well, however, and sometimes it takes a mildly retarded Punchman with legal training and a penchant for cross-examinations to get to the crux of a personality and find the crazy. Plus, with me there is the added benefit of an uncanny ability to smell crazy from fifteen miles away, having spent the majority of my childhood around the clinically insane.

Brain-Crazy-Stalking is a delicate operation, and I especially need to keep tabs on myself while engaged therein. If I find myself able to crack open someone’s crazy even a tiny bit, it becomes an enormous struggle for me not to let what should be some casual social questioning bloom into a full-on interrogation.

With all of the above in mind, my gentle probing into John’s unique character and personality flaws revealed the following:

John is a picky eater. He will not eat any kind of onion, mushroom or pepper. He doesn’t want anything spicy, and shuns almost all fish. He refuses to eat any kind of meat containing a bone ---- everything must be boned or filleted. He said he likes Chinese food unless it’s something slimy that he can’t recognize. (Hence, most Chinese food will surely gross him out.) He also refuses to handle any kind of raw meat because it scares him. So when he cooks at home it’s vegetarian.

And all this is despite the fact that John has lived abroad multiple times. I asked him about that and he just said “it was hard, REALLY hard.”

I’m normally very put off by finicky eaters, but John is entertaining enough in other ways that I find myself able to write it off as a charming quirk. If he’ll let me make fun of him about his food phobias, we might be able to go places with this relationship. Plus, the picky eater thing is offset by two other important facts: John drinks alcohol, and John has a cat.

So, for now, I’m ready to move my New Friend up to second date status --- assuming I make the cut on his end. I need to wait the requisite amount of time before emailing John again, remembering that he’s operating from the position of power here. (i.e., he already has friends whereas I do not.) We’ll see where that goes. But no matter what happens, Gentle Readers, I will keep you well informed.

Love and coasters,

PS: I just learned from our mutual friend that John is also a bit of a hypochondriac. I will definitely need to investigate that more fully!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Friend dates

Making friends in a new town when you’re married, child free and over forty can be challenging. If you’re married, the single people on the prowl have no reason to talk to you (unless they are dedicated homewreckers, of course.) People with children gravitate toward others with children so that their kids can play together, leaving them with unfettered adult time to drink and do blow. And as for those of us over forty ---- well, we’re just too tired.

So what is an old, married and childless Punchman to do in a new town? (And yes, we’ve been in San Diego two years now---but remember that for old people, two years go by in a heartbeat.)

Making friends as a couple is an option, but it’s definitely a different dynamic than having friends on your own. You interact differently with the world when you are half of a unit than when you function as a solo entity. Plus, since I am mildly retarded I have the additional problem of the George People conundrum. It’s important for me to make friends on my own so that my personality doesn’t continue to evaporate.

I have heard repeatedly that the best way to make friends is to get involved in activities you like. That way, you will likely meet other people with similar interests and yada yada yada. But it’s not always that simple for a mildly retarded Punchman. For one thing, I don’t really like anything or anybody and have no legitimate interests to speak of, so I wouldn’t know where to start with that. Plus, there aren’t any clubs I know of whose mission statements include the torturing and murder of annoying sales reps or the watching of bad made-for-TV-movies for hours on end. I'm a bit of a lone horse, I'm afraid.

One time I decided to place an ad on the “Strictly Platonic” section of Craigslist. I wrote a funny ad, specifying that I’m a sarcastic bitch who likes Amy and David Sedaris and that my primary purpose in life (aside from complaining) is to eat good food and drink lots of alcohol. I received many replies, about 60% of them from guys who apparently had called in sick to school on the day the word "platonic" was taught in vocabulary class--- and although I did enjoy seeing some of their nude pictures, they were not what I was after.

A few other people replied with depressingly generic “I’d like to be friends with you, I like having coffee and taking walks on the beach” kinds of responses. (Buzzer noise --- NEXT!) One guy wrote me such a long sad-sack reply that I had to turn off my computer and down a few Darvocets just to get over the urge to slit my wrists.

Only one person --- one person --- seemed to capture the spirit of my ad and replied in a fun, joking manner. We started exchanging emails and eventually did meet ---he turned out to be a nice person and we have become pretty friendly. Only problem is, he’s a non-drinking vegetarian. And since I’m an alcoholic who, given the opportunity, would gladly swallow a full pound of bacon in a sitting, we are far from a perfect match in terms of spending much free time together.

Which is why the other night I placed a phone call to a guy who had come to one of our parties as a guest of another friend, a guy with Scandinavian roots like me (meaning that he knows how to drink.) We both speak Norwegian and otherwise had had a pretty good time talking to each other. I decided I should try to get to know him, so I asked our mutual friend (more of an acquaintance of George’s, actually) for his phone number.

I left this gentleman a message four nights ago and he has not returned my call. I told him I go to the gym right near his apartment building, and that maybe he’d like to meet me for a glass of wine at the wine bar next to the gym sometime. I gave him my cell phone number, because aside from my office land line, our cells are the only phones we use.

Now I fear he is not calling me back because he thinks I called him to troll around on George. I asked him to meet “me,” not “us.” I said “call my cell phone.” I asked him to drink wine with me.

Yeah, I guess that could sound kind of flirty.

I thought maybe I could call again and specify that I’m not looking to bone him --- but that might be even weirder. Not sure what to do.

Shit, it’s like being single all over again.


Update: The mutual friend ended up calling George to tell him of my message to said 3rd party friend. And suggested that the four of us get together.

Ok, now this was even MORE awkward because, instead of just calling me back, this guy felt the need to call Mutual Friend to ask why the fuck I was leaving him messages asking him to drink wine and call my cell phone number.


So I manned up and emailed Mutual Friend and just said "step off bitch, I'm not cheating on my husband, I just want to have a conversation with someone where I can get a word in edgewise and maybe do it partly in Norwegian."

Or a version of that which was maybe slightly nicer.

Mutual Friend forwarded my email to New Friend, and as a result I now have a New Friend date! I feel just like Kelly on "The Office!"

Friday, March 04, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - The Finale!

This is the real Maura Mingalls. She was supposedly kind of a bitch, so maybe it all makes sense.

Naturally, I could not resist sending Alissa a friend request. Once again, I clicked Send and then ceased to think about it.

A few hours later I got the happy Facebook email: Alissa Milbert has accepted your Facebook friend request.

That’s right Gentle Readers --- CP became FRIENDS! With Half-Pint!!!

(Just to make sure all my Gentle Readers are in on the story --- Alissa Milbert was the childhood star of Little Mouse on the Scarie, playing Half-Pint, aka Maura Mingalls. We’re now talking BIG-TIME 1970s TV stardom!)

So of course, now I’m all impressed with myself. I mean, not just anyone can be friends with Half-Pint. Her friend list was rather small and only consisted of about 50 or so people. I recognized quite a few of her names too, but decided not to press my luck by friending any of them. Not yet, anyway.

I immediately called my friend Shelley in New York. Shelley had sat next to me at work, and we had often discussed a mutual appreciation for Little Mouse, both of us having enjoyed watching it during childhood---and had on more than one occasion joked about forming a Little Mouse book club. (Yes, we had also both read the entire series of books.)

Shelley was quite impressed with my new friendship. It was only natural that she should want to worship me.

* * * *

Over the next several weeks I enjoyed observing the fascinating world of Alissa Milbert. She was on Facebook just about every day --- at the time she was finishing up work on her autobiography and was excited about its upcoming publication.

One morning Alissa posted the following status, purportedly in reference to her work on the book:

The truth will set you free….

I decided to leave her a comment, and in true Punchman style I tried to make it short and witty. (Unlike my blog posts, I realize.) I wrote:

Yes, but aren’t lies more fun?

I was promptly scolded by Alissa’s other friends, who said things like

Come on, we are supporting Alissa in her work. It’s been hard for her to tell her story --- isn’t that more important than having fun with lies?

And such other b.s. from people who have no sense of humor. I felt slightly chastised, but oh well.

Yeah. "Oh well" until later that afternoon. When I discovered I was no longer Alissa’s friend.

That’s right, Gentle Readers. Unfriended. By Half-Pint. Maura Mingalls fucking dumped me. I’d been dumped by a washed up former child actor.

Panicked, I scoured the rest of my Friend list to make sure Palison was still there ---- and she was. (Thank you, Jellie!) And through Palison’s profile I was able to see that Alissa was still indeed on Facebook --- and still had approximately the same number of friends she had when she first decided to be my friend.

So this was intentional. Half-Pint saw my comment, probably wondered “who is this f*cking a**hole? I thought maybe I knew him but he’s obviously just some pathetic stalker. UNFRIEND!”

* * *

Today, if you search for Alissa on Facebook you will have the ability to friend her “Fan” page, where she leaves us the following message:

Please note this is the official Fan page for Alissa Milbert. She will not add friends on Facebook in any other format unless she knows you personally. To avoid disappointment - please do not try unless she knows you!

So at long last, Gentle Readers, we come to the crux, the theme of this series which has been a long time coming:

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls.

Also, for the record, I read her autobiography. And I have come to the conclusion that she really is an asshole.

Unlike Palison, whose autobiography I also read --- and Palison comes across quite clearly as the nice, down to earth gal that she is. I will always love me some Jellie!

So that's where we leave it, Gentle Readers. I realize that a nine installment series may have been a bit much to sit through, merely to learn that I hate Alissa Milbert because she Facebook dumped me.

But since when have you expected great literature from me?

Love and coasters,

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - NEW INSTALLMENT - part 8

I love writing on my blog, a fact I have not made evident the past several years, I realize, but I do love it. And frankly, I resent the hell out of Facebook and what it has done to my blogging community!

(Not to mention the fact that I all but came home and deleted my account last night after seeing The Social Network. Jesus, that entire movie had barely one redeeming character. What a bunch of assholes.)

Nevertheless, Facebook is one of the best modern stalking tools yet. At least until I learned about that stupid “Who has searched for you?” app, I spent hours combing through profiles of people I went to high school with, people I used to work with, and people I had previously vowed to put curses on if I ever developed supernatural powers. What joy!

And while I don’t remember what exactly led me to her, one day I found myself looking at the Facebook profile of Palison Parngrim (aka Jellie Joleson!) Palison had an ordinary Facebook profile, with maybe a few hundred friends or so. So of course, I friended her, expecting never to hear from her. I mean, why would Palison, a Hollywood icon, bother to friend a nobody like me?

So….and I think you know what is coming…..imagine my surprise when I got the email saying “Palison Parngrim has accepted your Facebook friend request”!


But wait, Gentle Readers, it gets better: I sent Palison a message to tell her I had seen that a comedy troupe called “The Jellie Jolesons” would be playing in Los Angeles on a date in the near future. And Palison wrote me back! “Wow, thanks! I was wondering when they were going to be in town again. I am totally going to that show!!”

I couldn’t believe that Palison might actually remember me, let alone send me private messages --- but I figured she accepted my friend request since she and I already had a mutual Facebook friend in Lex.

(It short order I would discover that Palison is one of the “nice” stars who accepts any and all friend requests. But I still felt special for that moment!)

Now, if you are lucky enough to be friended by someone even remotely famous, your first line of duty is, naturally, to stalk their list of friends to see who else you might be able to buddy up to. So I began reviewing Palison’s rather normal sized list.

And came upon a very familiar name: Alissa Milbert.

--------------to be continued--------------------

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - NEW INSTALLMENT - part 7

I wasn’t sure why Palison was leading me to her bedroom, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t for anything untoward since we were at her wedding anniversary party and her husband was home. Even if she was wearing a leather bustier.

“You’re going to LOVE this,” Palison said as she swung open the double doors to a large closet-sized display case.

Inside the case was a virtual shrine to Jellie Joleson. A duplicate of her wig with the blond ring curls, some items of clothing, and an ornate wood model reproduction of the Oleson’s Mercantile.

“Look, there’s a figurine of my mother, throwing people out of the store!” she exclaimed. I was giddy beyond all excitement, but I think I kept my composure. I did gush just a little more than I had been planning on.

“Oh my god, Palison, I adore you!” She just giggled and led me back to the front door where Lex was waiting with a puzzled look on his face.

I gushed some more on the ride back to our apartment building and told Lex over and over how it had been one of the most special nights of my life. I think he was happy rather than annoyed, because Lex is sweet that way.

Unfortunately, Palison and I did not become best friends after that. There’s not much you can do when someone is a washed up Hollywood icon and the other is just a normal person with a job. Unless you live next door to them and offer to feed their cat or something. And since I didn’t live next door to Palison, I didn’t have any good way to keep in contact with her.

I left Los Angeles for the East Coast a few months after that, diminishing my chances even further for more friend-dates with Palison.

But, if we flash forward a decade or more, I would find myself living back in Southern California again, and armed with a powerful new weapon to aid me in my stalking of the stars: Facebook!

………….to be continued……………

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - NEW INSTALLMENT - part 6

Palison named her cat after this character. How could anyone not worship this woman?

As far as parties go, there was nothing particularly special going on at Palison’s --- and Alissa Milbert was notably absent. And of course I couldn’t ask Palison why, in case she thought I might be interested or something. There were just a lot of normal people there, and as I remember everyone was quite pleasant. Which is only appropriate, since Palison has a reputation for being very normal and pleasant herself, her on-screen alter-ego notwithstanding.

Lex and I chatted with Palison and her husband throughout the evening, and she was an extremely charming hostess. She regaled us with stories of her cute cat, Hannibal Lecter, and went into some detail about the various kinds of bra paddings she would use sometimes to enhance her bust.

“Should I wear the big tits or the small tits tonight, Bob?” she said, imitating her own conversations with her husband.

As the evening drew to a close and Lex and I were in her entryway saying goodbye, I looked down at a small table to see an impressive pile of tabloid magazines with her on the cover. Apparently, she was displaying these for her guests’ amusement. I took this as my cue to open a dialogue.

“Wow Palison, look at all this. I wish I could be in the tabloids!”

“You and me both, honey --- I only wish the photographers were as interested in me any more!” she replied.

“Oh please Palison, you are a goddess and you know it.” I was smooth! “And you know, I’m from Minnesota!”

Now I had handled the evening perfectly. I was a gracious guest, I acted all normal, I mingled with her friends, I complimented without being overbearing and all the things any washed up but fabulous Hollywood actor would love. But this mentioning of Minnesota --- this was my coup de grace, my piece de resistance. I was brilliant.

Because, for those of you not in the know or who may not remember, Palison’s famous series Little Mouse on the Scarie was set in Minnesota!

So by this little pronouncement of my being from there (which is not entirely true ---- I had been there for eight years before moving to California ---- but I hadn’t moved there until I was 18) was a subtle indication of a) my fanhood of Palison and her show and b) a clever bonding move. As if to say “you and I practically grew up in the same place, Palison! It’s just that for you, it was a TV set and for me it was real! Minus the bonnets and covered wagons, of course.”

“Wow Tom, so you’re from Minnesota? Well come on, then!”

Palison took me by the arm and led me back to her bedroom.

--------------to be continued-----------------------

Monday, February 28, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: The Super Adventures of Supercat and Catzilla

Gentle Readers, just a one-day hiatus from the Alissa Milbert series so that I can present this week's Flash Fiction Friday work, which is a sort of Battle Royale. Enjoy!

The Super Adventures of Supercat and Catzilla

“Supercat, what did you do with my pink collar? Have you been trying on my clothes again? God damn you!” Catzilla was getting fed up with her brother and his little fetishes. It was all she could do to prevent him from sticking his head full on into any female humanoid’s shoe that found its way into the sprawling ranch house the butterscotch siblings inhabited with their humanoid slaves. Clearly he had a thing for high heels, and the stinkier the better. But cat-girl collars were another story entirely.

“Uhhhh….pink….what does pink look like again?” Supercat, although a bruiser who commanded an awesome power only by virtue of his enormous size, was far from the sharpest knife in the drawer. Without his brainy feline sister by his side to protect his image, he would have had his ass kicked a hundred times over by any cat in the vicinity.

“I am NOT going over this again, Super-Fat.” Catzilla only resorted to name calling when she was at her wits’ end, an increasingly common state of mind for her. “Have you even tried using those flash-cat-cards I made out last month? I clearly explained the entire f*cking color palate to you and provided example after example. Have you considered maybe spending one evening studying instead of licking your own ass?”

“Sorry,” groveled Supercat. “I guess maybe I was looking at your collars when I got inside the cat-treat cupboard.” Catzilla’s outburst served to jog his memory just slightly. “I remember having one of your collars on, you know, just for a little fun. But then it fell off when I got stuck on one of the branches to that bush outside the window in the humanoids’ office.”

“Okay…so my collar just ‘fell off.’ When YOU fell out of the window because you’re such a fat ass that the screen ripped open under your weight. Where the f*ck is it?”

“Hmmmm….well I did get a little scared for a few minutes after I fell …. so I guess I might have left it on one of the branches when I dove down to hide.” Supercat knew very well by this time where he had abandoned the collar, but he was too afraid of his sister’s wrath to own up to any further details.

“Oh for kitty-sake, Supercat.” Catzilla made her way across the humanoids’ living room to the front door, where she reached up to turn the door handle with the opposable thumbs she had grown through sheer force of will. “Hold on a minute while I go look for it.”

Catzilla had just slinked down the first two steps on her way into the yard when she stopped dead in her paw tracks. It had never been made clear to her just why her back would arch involuntarily when she came into the presence of pure evil. She growled softly to herself as her own tail lifted behind her, morphing into a virtual orange and white striped baseball bat.

As her ears folded back to lie flat on her head, Catzilla hissed “Ok Merlin, I know you’re around here somewhere. Your smell is undeniable. Come out from wherever you’re hiding and explain what you’re doing in my yard before I hunt you down and rip your silver-tabby ass to shreds.”

“Well, well Catzilla, isn’t that just the kind of uncouth talk I’d expect from a vulgar Ginger breed!” Merlin poked his head out from behind the large boulder that flanked the humanoids’ driveway.

Catzilla recoiled in disgust and spat out a double hiss. “I thought I told you to stay the f*ck away from my humanoids. These are OUR slaves and if you dare make a move to disturb anything here I swear I will kill you with my bare paws. Mark my hiss, Merlin. You have been warned for the last time!”

“Is someone having a low blood sugar moment, Zilla?” Her evil neighbor giggled as Catzilla seethed. Merlin had learned early on during their kittenhood at the shelter that nothing could send Catzilla into a conniption more than making light of the formal name bestowed upon Catzilla by her ginger-haired mother. “Need some milk, or a Zilla Wafer maybe? But oh, wait, I should really be talking about your fat ass brother, Supercat. Has he gone on insulin yet?” Merlin threw his head back, laughing in a manner one could easily describe as sinister.

“State your business before I dog-tie you and feed you to that loggerheaded canine next door, Merlin.” Catzilla’s voice grew low and quiet, which when coupled with her prickly fur could only mean she was beyond joking. “What brings you here? And this had better be good or you’re going to enjoy a savage feline ass-whooping in about thirty seconds.”

Catzilla’s fighting skills were well known throughout the cat-borhood, and more than a few errant canines had fallen victim to her vindictive fangs and talons. Most of these dogs had been convinced by Merlin himself to shit in Catzilla’s front yard so that he could sidle up in the bushes with a pinch of catnip and watch the show that would invariably ensue.

Merlin knew he would be no physical match for Catzilla, and although he recognized Supercat’s dimwittedness, he was still put off by the size of Catzilla’s lumbering brother just enough to want to keep a safe distance. Merlin could only retaliate with cat-guile and a villainous mind.

“Easy there, Zilla, just keep your cat-panties on lest you start emanating again. I guarantee you’re going to have a keen interest in what I’m about to tell you.”

“All right then ass-cat-wipe, make it quick. I haven’t got all day.” In truth, Catzilla did have the entire day to spare, but would undergo a voluntary declawing over spending even five minutes with Merlin, given the choice.

“I understand there may be a pink collar missing from your treat cupboard. Is that so, Zilla?” Catzilla’s amber colored eyes widened, her pupils constricting into tiny black dots.

“And what would you know of my pink collar, Merlin? Of what possible interest could my cat-robe have to you? Did you need some props to assist you in your laughable imitation of that Lady Cat-Ga song and dance you were attempting last week?”

“That’s a low blow, Zilla!” For the first time since his entry into his neighbors’ yard, Merlin sounded less than 100% confident. “You know I do that only to secure badly needed sustenance from my humanoid slaves. I’m sure you and Super-Ass have your own bevy of ridiculous antics with which you extract treats from the faggots you and your brother sleep with!”

Catzilla hissed and extended a skillfully sharpened claw. “Mark my growl, Merlin. If you dare make one more remark like that about my slaves I’m going for the jugular. I don’t care if I’m put away for eight of my nine lives. Watching you lose one of yours at my paw will be worth it!”

“Fine Zilla, I’ll just cut to the chase then. I know all about your and Supercat’s little catnip ring. I want a cut of the action or I’m going to the cat-thorities.” Catzilla froze. “That’s right, Zilla. The gig is up with you two. You slink around this entire cat-borhood, touting your precious little ‘Just Say Me-ow’ campaign, fooling all the mama cats into thinking you’re a couple of superheroes, clawing for trust, justice and the Feline Way. When all the while Supercat’s been engaging in his little back-shelter deals, trading his poorly homegrown bud for cans of stolen tuna!”

Catzilla growled again, this time more audibly. “That’s right Zilla, I know all about it. And don’t try to pretend it’s not true. I’ve seen the grow lights you’ve got running in your humanoids’ basement. Those can be detected using the right equipment, and all it will take to get the furball rolling is one carefully placed call to the Catnip Enforcement Agency. And don’t think for a second I won’t do it!”

“Why, you scheming little pile of rodentious excrement,” sputtered Catzilla slowly, speckles of her saliva landing on the stone pavement in front of her.

“Sorry Zilla, you will never outcat me. You may think you’re smart, and that tub of lard you call your brother may have others believing he’s some sort of Tommy Tough-Cat. But you two will never amount to any kind of match for my genius! Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!”

Catzilla looked straight ahead with apparent resolve. “Just name your price, Merlin. Before I pin you down and pluck out your whiskers again, one by one, while you howl in pain. And this time I’ll also remove an eye for good measure!”

“Fine,” replied Merlin, wringing his paws in a manner vaguely suggestive of Catriah Heap. “In exchange for holding my sandpaper tongue, I will require exactly half of your tuna booty. No, make it two-thirds. To be delivered bi-weekly in unmarked cans to a spot I will designate under the bushes outside my humanoids’ kitchen window. Agree now while the offer still stands, Zilla, because you know very well I’ve got you both by the balls. Or, I should say, I would if your galoot of a brother still had any!” Merlin turned away from Catzilla, raising his tail high to expose his intact set of testicles. “Read it and weep, Zilla, read it and weep!” The evil feline neighbor slunk away slowly down the sidewalk.

Catzilla lowered her tail and shrunk into a reticent sphinx pose. Just as she was about to close her eyes, Supercat appeared at the front door.

“Um, Catzilla?”

“Not now Fatass, I’m thinking.”

“I just wanted to say I was sorry. Merlin would never have uncovered our situation if he hadn’t come over to the basement window when he saw your pink collar hanging in the bush nearby. I usually have the curtains closed but I had just opened them for five seconds, and there he was, peering in. He must have seen the grow lights.”

“And when exactly were you going to tell me this, you potbellied numbskull?”

“I’m sorry Catzilla, really truly sorry.” Tears welled up until they leaked down the sides of Supercat’s fuzzy orange and white face. “I’m trying to be less stupid, really I am!”

“Oh for cat-crying out loud, Supercat. Just forget about it. Shit happens.” Catzilla, for all her rough talk, could be downright sweet when you caught her at the right moment. In her heart she was a sucker for cheap sentiment, a fact that would horrify her if it ever became known openly.

“But if we have to give up any tuna, it’s coming from your share. And don’t pretend like I don’t know you’ve been hoarding away extra cans in the back of the humanoids’ closet. No wonder you’ve gotten so fat.”

Catzilla rose to her haunches and gazed at her ginormous brother through the screen door. “And as much as I despise that miscreant tabby, Merlin did have a point about the diabetes thing. You’re going on a diet starting right now. Or at least when I decide to get up.” Catzilla yawned and lay back down, stretching her lanky front legs onto the sun-warmed pavement.

“Ok, sis.” Supercat licked his paw before using it to wipe the tears off his whiskers. “All this excitement has made me sleepy – I think I’ll head back to catch forty winks. See you in nineteen hours.” Supercat waddled back toward the humanoids’ bedroom, as Catzilla curled up under the sun. “Just wake me up if Merlin comes back.”

“Ava, you bad little kitty-cat! What are you doing outside again?” Catzilla purred softly as Humanoid Slave Number One scooped her up into his arms. “I swear, you have grown opposable thumbs or something to help you open this door. HONEY! Did you know Ava was outside again? How does she keep getting loose?” The humanoid set her down on the lap of his husband, Number Two. “Grover just went back into the bedroom, right?”

Catzilla just yawned and smiled sweetly in anticipation of the long nap that awaited her in front of the television. It was going to be a good day after all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - Recap of Part 5

Recap of Part 5: CP attends a party at the home of one of his Hollywood idols.

Eventually I wrenched out of Lex a solemn promise that he would introduce me to Palison Yarngrim at his earliest convenience. Over the next few weeks I reminded him of his promise daily, or at least as often as I felt I could without giving him reason to have me killed.

"She TOLD you to call her!" I would lament. "She's going to think you don't like her or that you're snubbing her. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be on Jellie Joleson's bad side. You should invite her to lunch! And tell her your friend Tom is coming! See how easy that would be? Just pick up the phone! Here, shall I help you dial?"

And then one day I hit the jackpot, pay dirt beyond my wildest imagination. Just as I was about to launch into one of my irritating tirades that would invariably send Lex running into this apartment to bolt the door behind him, he said "Hey Tom, guess what? I got an invitation to Palison's house for her 3rd wedding anniversary party and it says I can bring a friend. Would you like to go? And if I bring you with me will you promise never to speak to me again?"

I was about 65% sure he was just kidding about the never speaking to him part so I eagerly agreed, ready to take my chances that I could be trading in a loyal friend for a night with a washed up Hollywood celebrity. It was an easy choice.


On the night of Palison's party I struggled to maintain my composure despite my being dizzy with excitement. "I wonder if Alissa Milbert will be there?" was one of the many recurring thoughts I experienced at regular intervals during the long, slow days that preceded the party. I knew as well as the next crazed stalker that Alissa and Palison had remained close friends ever since the TV show ended; in my mind it was more than likely that she should be invited.

As Lex and I drove up to Palison's rather ordinary house in the Hollywood hills, I made sure to note the address since it would come in handy for future stalking purposes. When she opened the door to receive us, it felt like we were going to any regular Saturday night party and not to the home of one of my childhood idols, save for the fact that Palison greeted us wearing a leather bustier and a matching skirt. It would be explained to us later that leather is the traditional gift for a 3rd wedding anniversary, and therefore Palison billed the evening as her "Leather Anniversary Party." Just another indication of her goddess-liness.

"LEX!" she cried out as she embraced him warmly. And to me she extended her hand, saying "Hi, I'm Palison!" As she ushered us into her living room I immediately resolved to put on my "normal" personality so that I could try to fit in for the evening --- at least as well as a fan-crazed stalker-in-training could try to fit into a room full of leather-clad Hollywood types. be continued....................................

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - Recap of Part 4

Recap of Part 4: CP discovers that his good friend actually KNOWS one of CP's Hollywood idols. CP flips out.

My friend Lex and I would invariably consult with each other before and after our respective dating experiences. Lex played Mary to my Rhoda since he lived downstairs from me and, more notably, was less sarcastic and bitchy.

"How was your evening with D.E.?" he asked me the morning after my less-than-exciting evening out with Carol Burnett's former TV movie co-star.

"Oh, your usual disaster," I replied, wearily.

"Disaster? It couldn't have been all THAT bad, could it?"

"Oh yes, and worse. I'm sure I'll never hear from him again. And why didn't you tell me he was famous?"

"Famous? He's not really famous, is he?"

"Well, he's famous enough to have worked with Carol Burnett!" Lex could be really maddening sometimes. "There I was, sitting with him in El Coyote, about to babble on like some idiot about Carol Burnett, when all the while this guy knows her."

"Yeah, so?" Lex replied with a somewhat puzzled look on his face.

"Lex, he KNOWS Carol Burnett! How could you not tell me this? How could you have let me just go out into the evening like that with this guy who has worked with the greatest comedic actress of the 20th Century? He probably has her phone number, for God's sake! Don't you get it?"

Clearly, he did not. "What does having Carol Burnett's phone number have to do with any of this, Tom? All I did was ask you how your date went. I wasn't expecting a full on interview with 'Access Hollywood.' Just calm down!" Yeah, right, I thought.

He continued. "Did you like him or not? Did you guys talk about anything besides Carol Burnett?"

The truth was, at that moment I could not have cared less what D.E. and I had discussed; the fact that he probably had Carol's phone number was all I could think about and became my central focus. "Maybe I SHOULD try to get to know him better! That way I can look inside his address book, get Carol's phone number and address and then stalk her!"

Lex looked like he was starting to grow concerned.

"Well . . . I don't think I would recommend that particular course of action. And anyway, it seemed like D.E. did like you well enough at my party. Maybe you should call HIM."

"Me? Call HIM? Are you kidding me with this, Lex? I'm not famous enough to call him. In fact, I'm starting to think I'm not famous enough to live here any more. Everyone here is famous except me. I'm a complete nobody. I'm more of a nobody than Pia Zadora even, and THAT says something."

"That's not true, Tom, you're famous to US!" Lex replied, referring to our small group of friends. Sweet as the sentiment was, it was small consolation. I was feeling downright unworthy.


A few weeks later I developed a feeling that my luck was about to change when Lex and I walked up the street to attend the Gay Pride parade in West Hollywood. Because you see, Gentle Readers, right there in the parade, on a mid-sized float, amidst the drag queens, leather daddies and dykes on bikes sat Palison Yarngrim, who had in recent years developed a name for herself as a prominent AIDS activist, but who was best known to the world for her delightful portrayal of tween bitch Jellie Joleson on "Little Mouse on the Scarie" in the 1970s. I was absolutely giddy at the sight of this fabulous, yet for all intents and purposes, washed-up TV actor. What an unexpected pleasure, a veritable gold mine of special CP Hollywood moments!

But my pleasure would soon increase exponentially, almost beyond the boundaries of the known universe. As she rode by, Palison looked our way and shouted out "LEX! How ARE you, sweetheart? Call me!!!"

My jaw dropped straight to the ground.

"You KNOW her??? You KNOW Palison?" I blurted out, incredulously.

"Yeah, I know her. We used to work together at Tuesday's Pild," he replied with a maddening air of nonchalance, referring to a well known children's AIDS charity.

"How long were you planning on hiding this from me? What other information are you holding out on?" I immediately demanded a full accounting of every famous person with whom he was on private-phone-number terms. Not that it got me anywhere. Having grown up in Hollywood, Lex was completely unimpressed by any of these things and barely even understood why I was asking.

Poor Lex, I thought. If only HE had grown up in the Midwest, he might understand my particular state of excitement.

....... to be continued ..........

Friday, February 25, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls - Recap of Part 3

Recap of Part 3: CP goes on a date with a celebrity, with disastrous consequences.

As fun as it was to meet all these famous people, every now and again I became self conscious because I wasn't famous myself. The last thing a mildly retarded Punchman needs is another reason to feel down about himself.

Though really, I shouldn't have worried much about it, because I found not a small number of people in L.A., people who lived, ate and breathed Hollywood, who were fascinated by me and my life because I just had a regular nine-to-five job. Something completely alien to them. I remember one conversation I had with a woman at a party:

"So, like, what do you DO?"

"I'm a computer consultant for a publishing firm."

"Wow. So what IS that?"

"Well, I visit customers who use our products to make sure everything works, and I get them to install upgrades and that sort of thing."

"Ok dude, I am like totally you like, have an OFFICE or something?"

"Yes, I am in an office when I'm not visiting customers."

"Oh my GOD, I can't even IMAGINE...."

The fact that I didn't get screamed at regularly or that I had never been fired for forgetting to put two sugars in somebody's coffee was a completely foreign concept to this woman.

One time at a party I met a guy who worked on the "Larry Sanders Show." We kind of hit it off, and spent much of the evening talking together. I was upfront about the fact that I had never seen his show, so at the end of the night he invited me to come over to watch a few episodes sometime.

"I'd love to, thanks!" I replied.

A few days later this guy called and instead of inviting me over, asked if I wanted to go to the movies.

"Sure! What would you like to see?"

He went through some song & dance about how he needed to go see "The Secret Garden" because someone he knew had worked on it and he'd promised he'd take a look - or something to that effect, because as you know I don't really listen to anything a person says when I'm slightly nervous, as I was here.

In any event, I agreed on "The Secret Garden" and told him to pick me up at 5:30 - and that I would find out where it was playing. After we hung up I looked in the paper and saw it was playing at the "Beverly Center" at 5:45. Perfect.

D.E. (his initials) picked me up at 5:30 and drove us over to the theater, which was on the top floor of a shopping mall- so it took a few minutes to get up to the ticket booth. STRIKE ONE: We arrived at the booth only to find that the movie was not playing there at all.

"Oops...." I said. "It must be at the Beverly CONNECTION...." (the theater across the street.)

He let out one of those polite laughs, the kind you use when you are slightly annoyed but want to show what a good sport you are.

We rode the mall escalators down five floors to exit the building, after which we crossed the street to go over to the other theater. It was about 5:43 when we approached the ticket counter. I took out my wallet to discover I had no cash with me. STRIKE TWO.

I swear, I have no idea how people lived before ATM machines.

"Um, D, I'm afraid you're going to have to pay for my ticket," I said. "I'll have to go to an ATM after the movie to pay you back."

This time he looked downright annoyed - probably not because he had to pay for the movie, but because I was obviously a complete dingbat AND totally unprepared for the date. Oh, well.

After the movie we wanted to get something to eat. "Ever been to El Coyote?" I asked him.

"No, I haven't. But I've heard about that place and always wanted to try it." So off we went! I could feel the evening was about to improve.

Now I already told you in Part 1 or Part 2 of this series that whenever I brought someone to El Coyote for the first time, I would launch into my little story about how I hoped to see Carol Burnett there because my boss had sat next to her there once. Et cetera.

Something told me to hold off on that with this guy, though. He seemed like he might be a little too famous, or a little too connected to famous, to think this story was cute. He would probably find it annoying, or maybe even slightly stalkerish.

Thank God a Punchman knows how to follow his instincts.

As soon as we were seated and sipping on our drinks (he on an iced tea and I on a margarita, under what I detected as a subtle air of disapproval from him) we started talking about where we were from. I told him I hailed from the Upper Midwest, and he was also from somewhere "back East."

To Californians, anything East of the state line is referred to as "back East." They're almost as bad as New Yorkers that way.
"So what brought you out to L.A.?" I asked, as the obvious next question in any conversation of this nature.

His reply?

"I was working on a TV movie with Carol Burnett."


Although I was glad I'd had sense enough to hold back on my stupid "I hope we see Carol Burnett!!" story, I was mortified at the possibility that I very well could have shared that with him. I was also mortified that I was not famous enough to be there with him. I felt completely worthless.

Telling my Carol Burnett story would surely have been STRIKE THREE except that it didn't matter: the evening ended shortly after dinner, D.E. having refused my invitation to stop up for a cup of coffee.

And he never called me again.

...... to be continued ....................

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alissa Milbert can suck my balls -Recap of Part 2

Recap of Part 2: CP discusses what it's like to try to impress the stars. And recounts a cringy meal shared with a star and an out of town friend who insults her.

After my boss's pronouncement about the possibility of seeing Carol Burnett there, El Coyote immediately became my favorite restaurant. (Ok, so the cheap yet tasty margaritas and kick-ass green corn tamales didn't hurt either.)

Any time I went there it was all I could talk about. "I hope we see Carol Burnett tonight! My boss saw her here once!" I would gush to every dining companion who dared join me at this trashy yet lovable L.A. standby. I never did get to see Carol, but one time I was fortunate enough to be seated in the booth opposite from Ricardo Montalban. That's some pretty damn good washed-up star viewing if you ask me.

Over the course of my 5+ years in Los Angeles I became friends with a lot of "industry" people, mainly because the first few close friends I made worked in Hollywood. It was great for me to be around all these people while not working in the "industry" because I got all the benefits of rubbing elbows with the stars while not having to put up with any of the industry bullshit. (Save the fact that some movie or other would shut down all or part of our street about once a month for filming. L.A. people HATE that because it's more common than road construction.)

My friend Lex who lived downstairs from me worked at Paramount, so he would occasionally host parties where someone kind of famous would show up. My M.O. with these people was always to act as unimpressed as possible for fear of being seen as the total star-crazed geek that I was. One time I went on and on to Meri Stilpin from the show "Frazier" about my lower back problems until I thought she might want to kill herself rather than listen for ten more seconds.

(Note that I never use their real names in these posts for fear of being Googled. I am still in possession of a shred of dignity, although that is quickly wearing away.)

Sometimes this kind of nonchalantness could backfire. One time when my friend Beth was visiting me, we went out for breakfast with the gal who played Ellen Degeneres's love interest on her then-controversial TV show. I was kind of friends with Lisa already so I didn't feel I had to hide my admiration for her, and I think she enjoyed my pandering. (Who the hell wouldn't, I ask myself?) Beth, on the other hand, WAS actually unimpressed.

I asked Lisa what she had been up to lately.

"Well, I just wrapped another episode of 'Murder She Wrote,'" she replied.

"Murder She Wrote???" Beth exclaimed with surprise. "Murder She Wrote??? Who the hell still watches THAT?" She was at that time a Ph.D student in English literature and as such disdained anything so vulgarly pop-culture.

"Beth!" I replied. "What is with these manners of yours?! Lisa is talking about her job, here! Show some respect, will you?"

"Well I'm sorry! But god, who even WATCHES that show? It's so stupid that even my MOM likes it! It's like mystery-drama for geriatrics!"

Lisa was shocked to the point of not knowing what to say. She just let out a little grunt of horror. "It was really fun to work on," she quietly mumbled.

"Well, I guess I just don't watch that much TV," was Beth's final comment on the subject.

"Oh my God, that's even worse!" I thought Lisa might possibly cry, although it was probably all just part of being dramatic. Actors are like that.

Our breakfast, delicious as it was, slowly disintegrated from there. be continued......

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alyssa Milbert can suck my balls - RECAP of part 1


truly apologize for my long absence from blogging, and especially for starting these serials and then dropping the ball. I have decided I'm no longer doing that. If I start a series, I'm not posting ANY of it until I have all the installments written - at which point I will schedule them to self publish over a period of days, one installment per day.

Several of you had expressed a keen interest in this story and had been wondering how it would end up - and how I would eventually be inviting Alissa Milbert to suck my balls. So I am now replaying the earlier episodes, one per day, so that you can get yourself back up to speed on the story.

For each episode I replay I will provide a brief recap to save you reading time.

Love & coasters,

Recap of Part 1: CP recalls his years living in West Hollywood and owns up to being a star-crazy geek.

I have long been a fan of famous people. At least I've been a fan of people who are famous for the right reasons. I don't like people who are famous because they lock people in their basements and eat them. As a simple illustration, Shirley Booth = good. John Wayne Gacy = bad.

Actually, I realize John Wayne Gacy didn't eat his victims. It just sounded better that way.

When I moved to Los Angeles in 1992, I was giddy with excitement each time I saw a famous person. One of my favorite things was to go to El Coyote for trashy Mexican food because it was such a great place for star sightings, especially to view stars of the "B" variety. (Washed up TV actors being my absolute favorite genre, if you hadn't figured that out from the Shirley Booth example.)

The first time I went to El Coyote I was with my new boss, who mentioned casually that he sat next to Carol Burnett the last time he'd been there.

"Carol Burnett?? Are you kidding me with this??" I demanded to know.

"Yes, I did," Michael replied. "You see a lot of stars here. Perfect restaurant if you're into that sort of thing."

And was I ever! Seeing stars was fun! be continued.....