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-----------------------