Archives - December 2005

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December 29, 2004

Words of Wisdom

Spending Christmas with my father always brings back childhood memories. My mom and dad were the greatest. Every time I meet a rotten parent, or a damaged adult caused by rotten parents, I say a thanks to my own parents who, in the time before Dr. Phil and Oprah and the Barnes & Noble "Raising a wonderful child" self-help section, did a fine job raising us three kids.

I remember of few of my dad's expressions, some coined by him and some he probably brought with him from his East Texas roots. These little tidbits will always be with me, I guess, and I find I use them in my writing quite often. Those of you who have read my books will recognize some of them:

"David, people in Hell want ice water."

This was the retort when I would ask for something I could forget about ever getting, such as a go-cart or a mini-bike. Now, most kids got this kind of response when they asked for a BB gun - like the little kid in A Christmas Story - but BB guns were not a problem. I had two: A Daisy pump-action and the Lincoln of air rifles, the Crosman 760. I say "Lincoln" because the CADILLAC of BB guns was the Benjamin, a wood-stocked jewel of a weapon. My Crosman, when pumped past its ten-pump limit, could put a helluva dent in a neighbor's trash can at 50 yards. But I digress...

"A hundred percent of nothin' is nothin'."

An expression that denoted it was time to cut your losses, or it was time to take a chance. A leap of faith. Used recently when he advised me on the movie rights contract.

"Excuses satisfy only the one who makes them."

A Dad original; I heard this a million times in my yoot.

"I wouldn't piss in his ear if his brain were on fire."

When I was little, the expression was "pee" but as I got older and Dad thought I was big enough for the bad word, then he used "piss." This denotes a person who had done something bad to him or the family. This person was never to be forgiven. Vengeance goes way back in my family; our Irish clan motto is "I make sure" and our symbol is a bloody dagger, which evidentally came from a time when a Kilpatrick back in the Old Country killed a priest in his church for offending his honor in some way.

"If I wanted some lip from you, I'd tear it off."

A not-so-veiled threat that you'd better watch your smart-ass mouth. A variant:

"You raise that arm to me and I'll tear it off and beat you with the bloody end of it."

Again, a clear message that you were out of line.

"I'll show you an old trick I learned in the Army."

My dad was actually in the Marines, but for some reason, he often said "army" instead. Either way, this expression was usually followed by a shortcut method of doing what I was attempting to do. It also preceded an impromptu cooking event in the kitchen; a rare moment when my dad actually fired up the stove and whipped something up for us two. His recipe for broiled cinnamon toast is still the best.

Then there was The Mullet. A "mullet" was any low-life person, always a male, and usually a deviant, delinquent, or other ne'er-do-well. Now, keep in mind that he used this term thirty years before the current fad of calling the staple haircut of white trash men a "mullet." To edify you, I'll tell you that a "mullet" is actually a fish. A common small fish in the Gulf of Mexico, it is not edible and it is too big for using as bait. Thus, it has no use. It is worthless. Hence, the term is applied to the delinquent: a person who does nothing for society. Now, my father usually modified the term to suit the specific kind of mullet to which he was referring, such as a "motorcycle mullet," which was basically anyone who rode a motorcycle.

Again, on the topic of worthlessness, an expression that can be applied to inanimate objects, as well:

"Worthless as tits on a boar hog."

I don't know the history of this one, but I can assume that tits on any kind of hog are pretty much useless, unless of course you are a baby hog.

"If he had a brain, he'd take it out and play with it."

Now, I'm not sure if my dad or my mom coined this one, because she used it a lot as well. A variant is "If YOU had a brain, YOU'D take it out and play with it." This was reserved for when you did something really, really stupid. Another one denoting stupidity that I'm not sure who coined it:

"His momma must have dropped him on his head when he was a baby."

One denoting unattractiveness:

"The boy must have got beaten with an ugly stick."

A variant of this one is:

"The UGLY TREE fell on that boy."

Another one I think my mom coined, or at least, she used it more than my dad:

"You're giving me the redass."

An expression denoting that someone is really trying your patience. I didn't know, and still don't know, what "the redass" is, but when I was a kid and Mom said it to me, I knew I had better get the hell out of the house in a hurry.

When I can think of any more of these, I'll post them. I know my sister has collected many of these, so I may send her an email for her list.

Stay tuned.

*****

December 18, 2004

Thanks

Thanks to those of you who contributed to the AuthorHouse USO book drive. The books shipped last month - all FOUR THOUSAND of them - to the troops overseas. A smattering of UWT is in the mix, hopefully to spread a little Whiskey Tango joy (that's militaryspeak for "white trash") over there.

AuthorHouse also featured a nice little blurb on yours truly in their latest newsletter. You can check it out here. If you haven't subscribed to this newsletter, and you're a wannabe like me, you need to. Lots of good info for free.

Not much going on otherwise. Just getting through the grind of Christmas. Cleaned up this blog a bit. Got rid of some dead links and such. Need to rotate some of my book links; if you're interested in adding yours, send me an email.

Just been reading DaGoddess' blog. Damn, that chick has BALLS. Not marshmallow balls like mine, but Titanium balls. She and her pals out in San Diego let their actions, not mere words, speak. You gotta check out her latest fandango in her blog entry of Dec. 19 (if I could figure out how to trackback to this, I'd do it).

*****

December 14, 2004

Slow News Day

Nothing of importance to say today, so I thought I'd just digest the news. I'll take the headlines from FoxNews.com and give you my interpretations.

This thing with the Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko getting poisoned by some nefarious commie holdout from the Kremlin is strange. So...Soviet. But, really, I think the whole thing is a plot. A commie plot to put a Russian boy into power in that country. Sure, everybody knows that. But I think they're wrong on what is really going on there. Roll your cursor over this image of Viktor and see what I mean:

Dioxin, my ass. They pulled the old Switcheroo on us.

Next is more hoopla about Scott Peterson. La De Da. I've posted about this stupid case before, so you know my feelings. Basically, guys like this kill their wives every day, many times per day, all over this country. Why this one has garnered so much media attention is beyond me; how about spending 1/100th the attention on ALL the other murders so people can see what an epidemic this is? Second, so what if he got the death penalty? According to the California Department of Corrections, the state has only executed 10 people of the 718 committed to death row since 1978. The chances of Scotty getting the needle are slim to none, and it will take 20 years if it happens. Ten people? Hell, we kill that many a MONTH here in Texas. Yeeha!

Dozens killed in a train wreck in India. Whoa! No FERRY this time? Astonishing!

A couple of women, twins, each gave birth to twins at the same time. A coordinated event...induced labor. Twins and twins...don't bacteria do that?

Today's Stupid Ass Public Figure Award: Some judge in Louisiana was suspended for six months for wearing a jail uniform and blackface to a party. His wife came as a police officer and had him in handcuffs. The party host was dressed as Buckwheat.

The University of Notre Dame is ticked, as are all the la la people around the world, that the Department of Homeland Security is revoking a Muslim professor's visa and sending his ass back to Switzerland. Seems this "scholar" is an outspoken critic of U.S. policies in the middle east, condemns Israel, and protests the war in Iraq. The professor says he's the victim of President Bush because of his views.

Goddamn right he is. Now, pack your bags and go home to Switzerland, where the sons and daughters of that nation aren't fighting and dying on the battlefield. Preach your bullshit over there to people who'll listen.

And shame on Notre Dame for inviting the S.O.B. here to begin with. If you're an alumnus of that great institution, now's the time to do some letter/email sending.

Then there's the story of the python that accidentally got shipped to New Jersey from Missouri by hitching a ride with a DVD player being sent in for repairs. The guys at the repair shop got more than a little surprise when the three-foot critter stuck his head out of the packing peanuts. I wonder if the guy who sent the snake is the same guy who got bitten by the rattlesnake in WalMart?

And last but not least, some moron wearing an Osama Bin Laden mask thought he'd be funny and run into the street with a BB gun. A cab driver thought it was really Bin Laden and popped two caps in his ass. The cabbie must have been thinking, as the paramedics pulled the mask off the guy, "Damn; does this mean I don't get the $25 million?"

*****

December 10, 2004

One of those days Part II

Every now and then, the stars align in a certain way, or maybe the godz see a chance to have some fun, or my bad kharma circles around that great totem pole in the sky, or whatever, and I have a hell of a ****ed up day. Today was so annoying, I had to check a calendar to see if it was:

National Hump David's Leg Day

It wasn't.

So first thing this morning, [deleted upon request of my other conscience] when I got into work.

[deleted upon request of my other conscience]

At Starbucks, the guy shorted me a whole damn inch at the top. Now, I asked for room at the top, but three inches in a five-inch cup is ridiculous. Wish he had been the gay Starbucks man who usually flirts with me; he never shorts my damn coffee.

[deleted upon request of my other conscience]

Never got around to it. I guess it will be [deleted upon request of my other conscience] for me next year.

So I get home, only to find a ticket from the city for the onerous crime of...not taking my garbage cans off the curb from Thursday.

The Horror! Never mind my neighbor who hasn't taken his Christmas lights down in FOUR YEARS, or the drug-dealing neighbor across the street who has left his pimped-out Lincoln Continental parked on the street - with a blown engine - for four mounths. So, I left the cans on the curb and decided to bow to my feminine side.

I baked a cake. (It's a long story.) But anyway, I execute the recipe (it's just a box mix) perfectly, and it comes out of the oven beautifully. After the proper cool-down, I turn the thing over onto the serving plate.

One-third of it sticks in the pan.

So here I am, eating my f***ed up devil's food cake crumbles with my fingers and writing this blog entry. It may look awful, but it tastes pretty good.

*****

December 2, 2004

Film Options and lost telecommunications devices

First, I signed the contract to option the film rights for Undercover White Trash today. It's been an up and down thing, but it finally happened. This option allows the producer to shop the story to different film companies, then sell it if they find a buyer. It isn't a sale in itself. If any company is interested in developing it into a feature film, cable TV film, or network film, they'll buy it from the person who optioned it, then I'll receive a cut of that amount. My final payment will be up front, as I requested, and will be based on the final film budget at the time of shooting. The low end or "floor" in hipcat Hollywoodspeak will be $150,000, and the high end or "ceiling" will be $300,000, with an option bonus at the time of signing the deal of $25,000. This is for a feature film only; the amounts go down considerably for TV films because their budgets are much smaller.

I'm happy with the amounts; with no "bestseller list" behind my name and no screenplay for it, the price is actually very good. And like my dad says: "David, a hundred percent of nothin' is nothin." The optioners (optioneers?) really expect a sale in the first quarter of 2005; they've already received great interest when the screenwriter pitched at the Screenplay Expo in Los Angeles last month. So cross your fingers and/or say a prayer for Mr. David.

I would like for my mom to read this entry, but she won't be able to for awhile. She lives in the middle of the country on some acreage, too far away for DSL or a cable internet service. So she and her husband decided to get a satellite system, which is the only way country folk can get broadband. She's enjoyed the system for the most part, except for the $400 modem which frequently fries itself. The thing fried itself a couple of weeks ago, so they called the satellite company for a replacement. Here is how the phone call went:

Mom: Yeah, we need another modem.

Satellite guy: Sure, we can send you one, but, er...it won't do you much good.

Mom: Why not?

Satellite guy: Well, er...we lost our satellite.

Mom (my L.A. big-city ain't used to country bumpkins mom): What the hell are you talking about?

Satellite guy: Well, er...it kinda...disintegrated.

Mom: Like, blew up?

Satellite guy: Yep. Right out of the sky. Poof!

Mom: Jeez.

No one knows what happened to the thing; either it got zapped by a meteor or some space aliens, or the government shot it down because Al Queda was using it. Maybe it had some cheapass Chinese part that finally bit the dust. Maybe it was made by the same company that makes their modems.

Then there's my cell phone. I went down to Houston for Thanksgiving. When I got to my destination, I was taking the crap out of my pockets and such and realized my phone was gone. I keep it in a holster on my belt, but it wasn't there. Wasn't in the car. Wasn't in the house, or the driveway.

Now, let me say first that I've never lost anything like this in my life. Never lost my wallet or my keys. Well, to be honest, I DID lose my wallet once; in Florida on vacation. But in my defense, I also lost my PANTS where my wallet was, so it wasn't like I lost the wallet itself.

But that's another story.

I immediately called the phone company and reported the phone lost and had the service suspended. Then I called the insurance company and asked them what I needed to do. They said I had to get a police report for the lost phone.

A police report? There was no crime...unless you count my dumbassity as a crime (in which case I'd be doing life in prison). But the insurance lady tells me I gotta do it or they won't replace the phone. So I try to retrace my journey to figure out where I lost it. I remembered stopping in a little town I'll call Hooterville. Yeah, that must be the place. I called Hooterville P.D. The dispatcher answered the phone. I told her my tale of woe.

Dispatcher: Well, since it's a holiday weekend, I only got one patrol officer on duty. You'll have to call back on Monday.

Me: Uh, only one, huh? Okay.

I'm sure the denizens of Hooterville would sleep safely knowing the entire police department took the weekend off. So, I went about my business in Houston which is an entirely different story. I drive home on Saturday, but on Sunday, I had a EUREKA! moment and realized I used the phone after my stop in Hooterville. After that call, I stopped at a gas station in Houston proper. Great! Surely in the big city, there will be more than one officer on duty. So I got online and found out the address for the station so I can give it to the police as the place of loss.

If you've ever lived in Houston, you'll know that their zoning laws are the worst in the world. You can have an adult bookstore, a church, a school, and an industrial waste dump right next to one another. Basically, there are no zoning laws. Well, I discovered that Houston's procedure for dividing up law enforcement jurisdictions is just as screwy.

The gas station is right in a tiny pocket where three police agencies have jurisdiction.

I call agency #1: The Constable. The dispatcher tells me that they don't do reports over the phone; I need to come to Houston to do it. Yeah, I think I'll drive 300 miles so I can get a replacement for the phone I paid $29.95 for. So, I call agency #2: Podunk P.D. They said the station is actually in the Sheriff's jurisdiction. Call to agency #3: They tell me the deputy who will take my report is heading to his office; they put me through. I get his voice mail. I leave my number and such. He doesn't call back. I call twice more. Nothing. I call the dispatcher; the deputy left two hours ago. I called back the next day and another deputy told me they couldn't take a report; I lived in another town. He told me to call my local P.D. I did; they told me of course they can't take the report; I lost the phone in another town. Chuckle chuckle.

I call back the Sheriff in Houston. I get yet another deputy on the phone who says: "Sure, I can take your report." He gets my info and gives me a report number.

It took two minutes.

So, I get my insurance company on the phone and get the replacement phone the next day. It's funny how you complain about cell phones and talk trash about how you don't need one, but when you don't have it, you feel kind of...stranded. Weird.

*****

November 28, 2004

Bah! Humbug!

Now that the Christmas Season is officially here, I can now officially say it:

I hate Christmas.

Okay, before you start calling me a blasphemer or party pooper, let me set the record straight.

First, on the religious side, I don't see any connection between the Christmas season and Jesus Christ. Here's what I see instead: gross consumerism, tension, anxiety, conflict, and a needlessly accelerated pace of life. When we should be enjoying the falling leaves and the first snow filtering through the branches, we instead sit in traffic, wait for parking spaces, rack up our charge cards, festoon our houses with energy-sucking light arrays, and get caught in any number of inter-family turmoils. Instead of giving thanks to the gift that God gave us, we substitute icons such as Santa and Rudolf and plastic trees. Forty days and nights in the desert would be a more appropriate display of our religious fervor, if this were indeed a religious holiday.

Second, there are some that agree with what I said above but then go on to utter this bit of profundity: "But Christmas is for the children..." Meaning, I assume, that it's okay to toss our kids to the myth of Christmas, as long as we make sure to take them to Midnight Mass.

So there you have it. David's Bah! Humbug! in all its officiality.

In my next post, I'll link to my fully downloadable Christmas Wish List.

*****

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