Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let The Choir Say Amen

When in doubt, I think any singer should bring in a black gospel choir, or African singers to sing back-up. Gotta hit record? Let some black women in kente Cloth sway behind you echoing your chorus. Now it's epic. Gotta a so-so song? Bring in the Chicago Mass Choir to belt out the la la la's. Now you have a mild hit. It may be a strength in numbers thing but more likely it's America's deep rooted love for motherly black women.

QSN: Motherly is the key. For centuries the symbol of domestic activitiy was a always a rotund friendly black woman. America's love for the “Around the Way girls” I grew up with doesn't run quite as deep. Although, I got nothing but love for 'em.

I wish I could test my theory. I truly believe Lou Bega could release Mambo Number 6 tomorrow if he had some strong black women singing back up. He just needs a little Mahalia in his life.

Great Elvis Costello song, Every day I Write The Book, made a little better by some groovy dancers one who happens to be a young Carol Wheeler from the group Soul to Soul.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting The Band Back Together

I would like to say I was in a hip mom & pop coffee shop that only sells organically grown coffee beans and uses a quarter of their proceeds to save the Rain Forest but I must say I was in Starbucks when this latest snippet catch aka ear hustle went down.

I'm sitting there stressing out about buying Christmas presents and doing all the dirty work my non-existent assistant should be doing; Updating my calendar, adding people on Facebook, ignoring people on Linkedin.*

Anyhoo, I'm expeditiously plowing through the tedium when I overhear a guy sitting behind me say...”I might do porn again” Porn Star says what?! Now there's a boredom buster if I ever heard one. By the way, “Dreaming of a White Christmas” was playing through the PA system. Yikes.

QSN: Why is every porn person a star? How come there are no Porn character actors. Where is the Steve Buscemi Porn equivalent? You know someone who may not be able to carry a movie but does a great job in every thing they're in ala Joan Cusack.

Without moving an inch, my ears perked up. I glanced over quickly just to make sure they weren't some yahoos faking a conversation just to get a rise out of folks nearby. They weren't. This porn Scrooge was killing the holiday vibe. My mother whispers on the phone when telling me mild family occurrences and these guys think porn work is appropriate Starbucks full-voice talk during the holidays?!

MY MOM: (whispering)You know your uncle got a speeding ticket?

ME: What?! I can't hear you. My knuckles need a cheese biscuit?...

To strengthen his case porn guy said to his friend. “I would rather do it for a ½ hour and make the same money as working a regular job all night”

Wow. Either porn doesn't pay much or this guy has a really low paying normal job. Every time you disrobe and get goggled at, a bit of your soul dies. Why lose a chunk of your soul just to avoid one night's work? It may not be worth it for any amount but definitely not for one night's pay for a film that will live on forever. Not to mention the Ghost of STD's past.

I guess Scrooge was just weighing his options going into the New Year. I just hope Scrooge remembers that he stopped his film “work” for a reason. Then again porn is a billion dollar industry and somebody's got to do it...I guess.

*Should I be on Linkedin? Perhaps this can wait til I actually get an assistant?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Strong Islands

I had a blast in England and it dawned on me that Jolly old England is similar to my hometown of Coney Island(CI).

QSN: Coney Island is actually a peninsula but it's hard to move shirts that say “Coney Peninsula” on them.

Similar in that little places sometimes over achieve. In England they say they punch above their weight. There was a time when the sun never set on the English Empire. This little country the size of Alabama basically had the world in a choke hold. The effects still linger. Ever wonder why the pound is still stronger than the dollar? Usually large sample sets breed greater competition and thus better quality. For example, the best pizza in New York City would probably be better than the yummiest pizza in North Dakota because they are probably 8 times as many pizza shops in New York City.

That's just basic math. But sometimes a smaller sample group focused on one thing can dominate. In my neighborhood we set our sights on basketball and a little neighborhood only 3 avenues wide and 18 blocks long runs the whole city of New York.** Seems improbable but there are 2 NBA players from this tiny place and scores of division 1 players and top prospects on the horizon. Lincoln, The local High School has won the city championship 4 times in a row. This is New York friggin' City we're talking about here! Even on the thug tip you won't find hoods with more legendary reputations, like Bed Stuy, for instance, coming to CI looking for trouble. The CI bunch is athletic and tightly knit. And our brethren from across town can't navigate the interwoven projects like the locals can. Being lost in an unfamiliar project block can be scarier than being in the wilderness with a bear breathing down your tent. Not that we would want it with Bed Stuy either. Shout out to Do or Die.

There's less to do in little places and what there is to do, everybody does it. Coney Island is the last stop in Brooklyn. We couldn't be in Manhattan in 15 minutes. Back then the train didn't connect to the bus for free. And even if you tried to walk far you had to brave Bensonhurst, a tough as nail Italian Neighborhood for those keeping score at home. Basketball anyone? I think this principle can also explain the Wayan family's dominance. A small focused group can do major things.

Another theory is that one special person excels and those around him excel by proxy. Keenan to the Wayans. Michael to the Jacksons. For Coney Island basketball the oldest Marbury brother set it off for not only that family but the whole Coney Island.

This was a case study more than a blog. I hope you enjoyed. Cheerio.

QSN: Coney means rabbit. Apparently there were a lot of Rabbits there at some point. Total number of rabbits I've seen jumping through the projects in my 20 years of living there?: Zero.

**Ive added nothing to the Coney Island basketball lore. I'm not much of a baller. I'm the Wiz Kid hoping to put Coney Island on the map for something else.

Monday, December 14, 2009

UPS Guy Goes Postal

So I ran into a post office last week and a UPS guy came in after me making a delivery...to the Post Office! Is that legal?...In bad taste? Someone had UPS deliver to their PO Box. It's fair to say the Post Office workers were a tad bit perturbed. I had already tested their patience walking in at closing time right at the strike of 5. My entry was welcomed with a...

POSTAL LADY: Ron! Can you please lock the door?!

Then she saw the UPS guy and the look on her face said...”Now This?”

The other people on line* all flashed looks of worry mixed with exhilaration. It was that look you have right before a girl fight is about to go down and you wish you had some popcorn to nervously gnaw on as the hair pulling commences. The people in line all moved forward and without any words our eyes cheered, ”It's on!” My money was on the Postal workers. You never heard anyone say they went all UPS on somebody.

In somewhat of a let down the parties were more civil than anyone expected. In fact, it happens with some regularity. The Postal Posse were a bit annoyed and slightly embarrassed but they begrudgingly accommodated Mr. UPS and no one got hurt.

It kind of looked like a funny commercial where even the Post Office uses UPS. As an aside, I recently auditioned for a UPS commercial where the Fedex Guy and Mail man are looking at the UPS guy with envious amazement. Funny ad but I like my real life scenario better.

I didn't get the commercial.

* New Yorkers often say “on-line” instead on “in-line” Just wanted to let you know that I know and also give a shout to NYC.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Passing the Bucks

Here's an excerpt of a conversation I heard between two Starbucks workers in New York.

WORKER 1: Yo, you know Sam is allergic to mocha right?

WORKER 2: Word?

WORKER 1: Yeah he can't even touch it or he'll break out, yo.

WORKER 2: Word?

WORKER 1: But it's only Starbucks chocolate that makes him break out. Crazy right?

WORKER 2: Word.

This Sam sounds like my kind of guy. Get a job then find a loophole that precludes you from doing nearly half the work required of you. Before the manager of this Starbucks embarks on an exhaustive study to isolate the ingredient in their mocha powder that might be an allergenic I suggest they check old Sam's character.

His story might check out but even if it does doesn't it simply mean he can't work at Starbucks. I mean I can't join the circus as a tight rope walker and then spring my fear of heights on them on my first day of work.

ME: Guys, I'm actually deathly afraid of heights. But I'm cool standing on the platform and waving. I've really spend a lot of time getting my wave down pat...so you guys balance and I'll wave...cool?

I wanted to chime in but I bit my tongue, ordered my Awake tea, Grande with one tea bag and went on my way.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Make That Change

I recently spent a few days in jolly old London. I must admit, even this native New Yorker had to adjust to London's speed. I wouldn't say it's New York on steroids. More like New York on creatine and protein shakes.

What is on steroids is the pound compared to the dollar. The prices are deceiving because they make sense in dollars but when you do the math you realize that your decision to super-size your cheeseburger meal at McDonald's is really going to cost you 9 US dollars. That's like airport in Beverly Hills prices. And Beverly Hills doesn't have an airport.

The main reason an American and his money are soon departed in the UK is the usage of pound coins. They have a 1 pound, two pound and 5 pound coin. Coin I tell ya! My US mentality of being willy nilly with coins really wreaked havoc on my bottom line.

Sure we have dollar coins but they're more of a novelty. When we get them our minds begin to race. The first thing we think is this dollar coin may be worth something. But the fact that it was dispensed as change from a ticket machine forces you to rethink your trip to the Antiques Road show. Our second thought is one of mild horror. Will this “dollar” get lost amongst my other change. What if I lose it or pass it on thinking it's a quarter?! We have to rid ourselves of the shiny anomaly burning a hole in our pocket. It's currency cooties and we're looking to pass it on as soon as possible. You might even buy something you don't want or need just to end it. And as you pay you have to repeatedly announce to the clerk that you're handing him a dollar.

I will even give my dollar coins to a lucky transient. And as I drop in into his cup, I proudly declare that I'm giving him a dollar and he should be careful not to mix it up with the other small change “others” have given him. Maybe he could put my gracious gift in another pocket. Perhaps he should have another cup for dollar coins.

Usually though, my homeless beneficiary looks as annoyed by the coin as I was. Time to trade in my London coinage for some greenbacks.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh U Oh the Sweetest Day

I'm in a Walgreens in Chicago.... and I see all these hearts and candy and such in the Promotional aisle. Pretty early jump on Valentine's day, no? I mean you still have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming down the pike. Turns out the stuff was for something called “Sweetest Day.” I'm told it's a Midwest thing. I never heard of this “holiday.” I guess it's some kind of odd lead in to Valentine's Day.

Sweetest Day is to Valentine's Day what PSAT is to SAT.

Most holidays, or at least the way we choose to celebrate them, are contrived thinly veiled sales campaigns. But it's more glaring when it's a holiday celebrated right in your own country that you never heard of. Like religions, the only things that separate a valid holiday from a shady one are the number of people who follow it and how long it's been around. With proper marketing, one hundred years from now, Sweetest Day may sit on the Mount Rushmore of holidays right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. For now it's on par with Flag day and still eons behind St. Patty's day. Even Ground Hog's Day, which is more of an event than a holiday, outshines Sweetest Day.

And what's the ramifications if Sweetest Day really takes hold? It will widen the Can't Breakup Time Block. (CBTB) This is the time of year when you don't want to break up with someone either because it'll be too devastating to them or you don't want to spend the holidays alone. The current generally accepted block runs from 2 weeks after Halloween til a week after Valentine's Day. Sweetest day is the third Saturday in October. So now we're talking about expanding the CBTB by a whole month. And if your boo that you're through with birthday's in say...May and your anniversary is in say... August. You may never have the chance to move or be moved on.

This holiday could kick start marriages born into resentment.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All I Really Want is A Little Bit

Most cities will list museums and landmarks in their tourism brochures but they never list the true gift the city has to offer...People Watching. Any city worth it's salt will provide quality people watching opportunities.

But I haven't come to tell you what you already know. People watching isn't the order of the day. But it is the predecessor to another fun hobby of mine, snippet hunting. What's snippet hunting? It's people watching but you engage the sense of listening. The goal is to hear the most random bit of a conservation, or snippet, completely out of context and stop listening before it can in any way make sense. The goal is find something that is stand alone funny and ridiculous, maybe because of it's non sequitur-ness.

I came upon a jewel yesterday in Chicago on my way into a Trader Joe's. Two 30 something women were talking and on said to the other:

Carol said she's kick me in the stomach if I took her baby name

That my friends is a quality snippet. I didn't need to hear anything after or what came before. I hurried into the market to enjoy the snippet while I calculated the unit price of apples.

INSIDE MY HEAD: There's more in this bag but I believe this bag costs less per apple...then again are the apples bigger in this bag?...Doesn't my hotel have apples in the lobby for free?...kicked in the stomach...HA!

You can pretty much have a ball in any city. All you need is time, a way to get around and ears (in many cases one ear will do)

The thing that stuck with me the most is that even white yuppie housewives in Chicago don't take any shorts. Chicago is no joke.

Let's just hope Carol has her baby first.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ricky Don't Lose That Number

Now, with cell phones, it's a lot harder to not give someone your number. Now, they want you to call them on the spot because God forbid they have a pen and write down their number. So a person who's barely email worthy, has your number. The only thing you can do at that point is to put their name in your phone so you at least know not to answer when they call. But will you remember not to answer 6 months from now? What if you don't know their last name? Or remember them at all.

YOU: Who's “Lord Too Nice”?!

I say you assign them a last name...but don't get caught...

LORDTOONICE: My last name isn't “Don't Answer!”
YOU: That's code for hell ya I'm going to answer...Not buying it?

I might have to get another cell phone just for not answering. I'm not trying to suggest that I'm that sought after just that people are intrusive. If I have given you my number, please don't think this is about you. This blog entry isn't autobiographical...necessarily.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sonic Boom

Hopefully, you are like me and you love those Sonic restaurant commercials. Those guys crack me up. Living in LA, you don't see too many Sonics. In fact the closest one is in Anaheim some 30 miles away from Hollywood. So when I checked into my hotel in Lexington Kentucky and saw a Sonic just up the road I decided to go see what the funny commercials are all about.

It's a drive-in but they allow foot traffic. Whew! The food was what you would expect from a fast food place. I wasn't in love with the prices. What did wow me was the girl who brought my food out on Roller Skates. She was, as the kids say, “sick with it.” She deftly whizzed my food to me on a tray without dropping a morsel. Something about a person rollerskating makes spending money a little easier. Imagine your mechanic telling you you need a new transmission. Now imagine him rollerskating backwards, spinning around, and coming to a stop just inches away from you then breaking the news to you.

YOU: A new transmission? Yeaaaaaaa! Do the spin again!...Do it again...

Okay, maybe you wouldn't be that excited but it would soften the blow. The Sonic took me back to the times depicted on the show Happy Days. As a rule black people aren't too keen on going back. Perhaps we can go back a la carte?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wear It On Your Sleeve

I was recently in....(sarcastic drumroll please)....Starbucks.

QSN: I realize my blog is way too cool (hopefully) for The Bucks to be my headquarters. If it makes it better I have found a new hip artsy coffee shop called Swork that I will be splitting my time between with the 3 Starbucks across the street..

Back to the story. I sat next to a guy with a sleeve tattoo. Not a tattoo of a sleeve (although that would've been be awesome. Especially if he had French cuffs drawn in) His whole arm had ink in tribute to his passion, music. I know music is his passion because on his arm he had musical notes, piano keys...oh yeah and the word “Passion” in the middle of it all. How cool would it be to ask him if his passion was something else?

ME: So you live for Scrapbooking huh?

TATTED UP GUY: No, music is my thing. It's right here on my arm...

ME: So...you're saying fishing is why you even get out of bed ...that's cool.

I don't have a problem with this guy's public proclamation of his passion. It's just odd that only people in the arts go to such lengths. I would wager that this guy does not make his living off music. Yet, you would be hard pressed to find an accountant with a gaudy tattoo of a ledger on his arm. Try finding a civil engineer with a tattoo of the coliseum with a protractor and compass. Can't do it.

No, professionals leave their self expression up to vanity license plates. Can't say I approve of that either but at least LDGR-GUY doesn't have to wear long sleeves to church.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Today marked the first full day of the 09 Football Schedule. People have been gearing up for this for the past few weeks. Fantasy Football leagues have had drafts, favorite beer mugs have been polished, flat screens have been purchased. And how did I kick off the NFL's kick off?

I watched Women's Professional Bowling.

It was on when I turned my TV on and I found it intriguing so I didn't turn the channel. I used to watch bowling and wrestling with my grandmother so both make me instantly nostalgic. I also, for the most part, find professional women bowlers attractive. I think it's their attainable, real, girl next door look. In actuality most of them are married and unattainable (Maybe that's why I like them....hmmn...). I'm also a big fan of women Pool players. I suppose that can be more easily read into. Women with sticks is always fun, as long as they aren't mutilating them.

The woman I was routing for lost the match in the last frame by missing badly and leaving a 4-6-7-10 split. Ouch! Picture a smile with all the middle teeth missing and just the sharps ones on the sides left. Not cute in any vain unless the smiler is under 5. This holds true in bowling as well.

Why do we watch sports, or anything for that matter? To be entertained. And what makes it entertaining?...Close games, Suspense, seeing the participants go through the full gamut of emotions as they fight for victory. Well my bowling match had all of that except the players weren't roided up freaks of nature with zero body fat. Quite the contrary actually. :-)

I may watch football tonight to get back in touch with my inner Tarzan.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Saturday, In The Park...

Okay fine it was Sunday but I don't know any songs about being in the Park on Sunday. I was gigging at the legendary Punchline in San Francisco this weekend. My hotel was just a few blocks from China Town. Time for a Dim Sum Run Run....A Dim Sum Run.

On my way to wolf down some tasty “Bit Of Heart”* I came upon a park filled with kids playing on a Jungle Gym, groups of men and women playing cards and a band playing Chinese music with Chinese instruments. As I had just trekked up a hill that seemed perpendicular to the street below with my laptop on my back, a relaxing music break was in order. Other than my bum shoulder and bulky laptop, everything else was near perfect: Vibe, temperature, music, air quality, birds chirping...

As I sat there letting my quads recover from my mountain climb, enjoying the music of the Guzheng, the band was joined by some singers. A man and a woman took turns singing in Chinese. It seemed to be a call and response going on between the two. I could have asked someone what they were saying but that would have taken away the fun of me making up what they were singing.

In my head they were singing, in Chinese:

WOMAN: I gotta man!
MAN: What your man got to do wit' me?...

Mind you, they were both well over 50. (I bet that small detail makes your visualization a tad bit funnier...I hope it does at least.)

This wasn't a girl watching mission. It seemed like everyone in this park was under 6 or over 60. I got some looks but I think it was more, “why is this guy, not in the dawn or twilight of his life, in this park...and why is he black.”

I don't get to sit in the park and chill too often. I highly recommend it.

*Direct Translation of Dim Sum, various small Chinese dishes.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Ride For Your Ride

I love the fact that Los Angeles buses have a bike rack in the front of them. For no additional cost you can plop your bike unto the front of the bus and you, and your ride, can ride to your location. Great for bike riders needing to go long distances. Bad for the integrity of bike races. I'm sitting in a Bucks in San Francisco writing this blog and I just noticed a bike rack on a San Francisco bus.

Is this bike rack thing common?

New York doesn't offer this service. NYC figures you got a bike...bike. (please note first bike was a noun, second bike a verb.)

Most LA buses can accommodate two bikes. Not sure how they handle it if there are three bikes waiting at the bus stop. Perhaps the most healthy looking one should have to get on their bike and pedal to his or her destination. Look on the bright side Ripped Guy With a Mesh Tank Top on...here's a wonderful calorie burning opportunity for you. Today, Hollywood to Santa Monica. Tomorrow, Tour de France.

I'm not sure what the policy is on those bikes with the big silly handle bars and I think it's safe to assume that if most buses can carry 2 bikes at a time then the unicycle capacity must be 4. Then again, if you ride a unicycle wouldn't the circus send a shuttle for you? Or maybe you spin for a low budget circus. Don't get down on yourself Unicycler things will pick up.

LA Metro Bike Info

Friday, September 04, 2009

Missing On A Star

It’s official. I think we need to add a missing girl segment to the news. People seem to need updates on missing girls as much as they need to know if they need to bring a sweater to work or what the score was last night. Our lost girl appetite is insatiable. We’re here already. Let’s call it what it is.

I’m not talking about merely covering the latest missing or rescued girl. I’m talking about a daily segment, like the weather or sports.

WEATHER MAN: Look for things to cool down by the end of the week but today will be a scorcher.

ANCHORMAN: Thanks Cole and now with the missing girl segment, here’s Patricia.

QSN: In the states (and let’s be honest by readership is international…I mean, a guy in Toronto counts right?) Anyhoo, here, weather men have to have names that sound like weather conditions. My previous scene is no different. My imaginary weather man’s last name is Front.

Don’t get me wrong people being abducted and taken from their family is very sad. But what makes the tears roll down my face is that the general populace doesn’t really care. We’re just gobbling up the sensationalism of it all. Also sad, 4 out of ten times the very family that’s on TV crying and pleading for help is responsible for their own little girl’s disappearance.

I’m just waiting for the missing little girl drinking games to start popping up.

QSN = Quick Side Note

Monday, August 24, 2009

Minty Breathe, Thus Said the Lord (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

About 3 years ago, my mom gave me some mints for Christmas. Now before you go thinking my mother had a roll of Certs wrapped under the tree with my name on it, I should mention that it wasn’t the only thing she gave me and these were not regular mints. No Blog Nation, they were Test-A-Mints. I’m not sure what the Lord’s take on holy puns is but I love them.

Yet I kept the pious breath aids for 3 years without opening up the package. I guess I didn’t have a Mint situation divine enough to break out the Test-A-Mints. And surely you can’t use the Lord’s mints to help you trek down the road of fornication. That’s more of a job for Mentos.

QSN: If Test-A-Mints are the Mint from the man upstairs then could Mentos be the Mint of the man downstairs? After all, Mentos tells you to do whatever you please and just pop one afterward to be absolved; while the Test-A-Mints encourage you to be good from the outset. Just a really really silly and useless thought.

So I packed, moved, and unpacked and I thought it was time to dig into the heavenly hard candy. I just decided to open them. I wasn’t crying on the bathroom floor, looked up and saw the Test-A-Mints with a beam of light shooting out of them. Although that would have been cool. Turns out each mint has a small scripture on it. I didn’t know I was getting fresh breath and inspiration. You pay for the mint…the guilt is free. I’m kidding! The Mints are really good and come in 3 Godly flavors: wintergreen, peppermint and spearmint. No one can say the lord doesn’t believe in taste diversity.

I was waiting for a special moment to use the mints when I should have used them in my day to day life. Now, I’m testament happy but I still won’t use them for hookups…that is, if I ever have any hookups.

Friday, August 21, 2009

So Take, This Broken Fridge (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

I recently moved. In the spirit of MSTs (Money Saving Techniques), I figured I would buy a used fridge…As long as it gets cold, right? I love how on MTV Cribs some rapper or athlete will have a stainless steel monstrosity of a fridge (SSMF) that cost more than my car but only has a few beers, soda and questionable bologna inside.

RAPPER: What’s that?!
ME: That’s the money you could have saved if you just bought a cooler and instead of your SSMF since you never cook or take home leftovers.

In Los Angeles you don’t get a fridge with your place. For a New Yorker it’s hard to wrap your mind around that concept. Who wants to move a fridge…ever?! I’m willing to roll the dice and get a fridge not as good as my last one. Let’s all just keep our fridges where they are…forever. Of course, this would greatly reduce the sales of the SSMF.

QSN: Fridge is spelled with a D and refrigerator doesn’t have a D. Write your congressman.

I came across the following add on craigslist:
Refrigerator - not working - $50 (Hacienda Heights)
Date: 2009-07-24, 3:43PM PDT
Reply to: someclown@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
great Refrigerator for someone who knows how to repair them
does not get cold.

What?!?! You want 50 dollars for something that doesn’t work at all? So you want me to pay you to move your broken fridge for you. Did I get that right? There’s gall and then there’s this. I almost want to reply to this person just to sucker punch him and tell him to stop trying to gain from every little thing and give something away every now and then.

ME: You see it as a busted lip. I see it as a reminder to pay it forward next time….You might want to put some ice on that. Doh! That’s right your fridge doesn’t work.

In true Brooklyn style I stumbled upon a Refrigerator that works for $50. Brooklyn…we go hard. Shout out to Philly on the help out. ( My friend from Philly told me about the fridge for sale)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ginger Fail (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

I always try to give props to my current city, The City of Angels. And I’ll always give props to my hometown…(sound the trumpets)…Brooklyn, NY. Not sure if you know this but we go hard.

Anyhoo, my current city has a gaping flaw that somehow is allowed to exist. Hopefully this blog will be the beginning of the patching up process. My complaint is not about flaky people or smog or traffic, although the traffic is soul sucking.

QSN: Being in LA traffic is like being attacked by Dementors. If you’re not careful, you’ll lose the will to live. You have to pop some chocolate and think happy thoughts. And in my case, curse yourself for driving a stick shift.

3rd paragraph and my complaint is still in the bag. Okay fine, I’ll go in. Many bars in this God forsaken city don’t have Ginger Ale on tap. Strike one for not carrying my favorite effervescent drink; strike two and three for mixing Coke and Sprite and calling it Ginger Ale. Let me give my New York readers a few seconds to catch their breath. Yes, you heard me correctly (that’s if you’re hearing my voice while you read. Otherwise you read correctly :-)

The fakakta bars in Los Angeles mix Coke and Sprite and call it Ginger Ale. It’s called “Ginger Ale” not “Ginger Colored Ale.” People order Ginger ale for its taste and medicinal qualities. These qualities are derived directly from the GINGER. If it was just a color issue you could just drop a few drops of food coloring into club soda. “This Ginger Ale sure is bland. But clearly it’s Ginger Ale because it’s an Amber color…” I don't drink so if I'm in a bar the only thing I have to look forward to is the game Funky Monkey and a refreshing glass of Ginger Ale.

It’s also hard to find Ginger Ale in convenience stores in Los Angeles. And don’t even get me started on how hard it is to get duck sauce at a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles. And please, to my Asian readers, don’t tell me duck sauce doesn’t exist and is just a concoction made for the American palette….So? They placate us with it in New York and all along the eastern seaboard. Why not hook a brother up here in Los Angeles?

LA, we can do better.

*Fakakta - Yiddish term meaning lousy

Wiki Ginger Ale

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alarming Alarm (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

I recently went to a friend’s house that had a pretty snazzy security system. If the front door was opened a voice would say “The Front Door.” If the patio was door was opened the voice would say “Patio Door.” I’m not sure I would want this system. It gives you just enough information to scare the be-jesus out of you. Okay it’s 3 am you’re in bed and your front door opens. Now what? If you’re anything like me you’re now ½ awake and in a state of paralysis. You’re somewhat awake, scared out of your skull and yet you can’t move a finger. In your head you’re bringing a wave of furry but in reality you’re hyperventilating on your back.

I would rather the system tell me more information about my intruder. “Front door, skinny druggie…grab a golf club.”…”Back door, neighborhood punks...grab a bat and call their moms”…”3 Ex-cons, lock your bedroom door and pray.”

Or maybe the voice should be a message to the would-be robber. “AK-47 locked and loaded.”…”Pit Bull coming to nosh in T minus 5 seconds”…”This house will self-destruct in T minus 30 seconds, giving the pit bull 25 seconds to lock on your neck before you are blown to shreds…”

Of course, I’m not sure I need such a system in my one bedroom apartment. For my purposes a string of rattling cans would work better. It would startle the robber and maybe startle me past my sleep paralysis.* If the robber trips on the cans, that would be a plus.

Sleep Paralysis

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Twice Written, Once Why (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

So my trusty ’08 Saturn Ion was parked and minding its own business on a quite street in Mar Vista, CA when some one decided to tag its windshield with permanent marker. Who does that? I wish I caught the person in the act. Not only to stop them but to seriously ask why. No other car on the block was tagged…some kind of car initiation? Is this the car version of my car being “jumped” in? Although I suppose that act would be way more severe than graffiti writing.

The real comedy is that it happened 4 days ago and I’m still driving around with this guy’s tag on my car. It’s like my car has been turned into a subway train, pretty good for a tagger who lives in a place without a viable subway system. He’s getting play all over Los Angeles and Orange counties. Maybe that’s how he decided. Maybe he checked my odometer and said “This fool be driving!” Or maybe he checked then rubbed his chin like a villain dreaming of world domination…”They’ll know my tag all over the world…or at least everywhere this Saturn goes in the next week….I’ll live forever!...ha ha ha ha”

I’ve been meaning to see if I can get it off but life is what happens while you’re planning a graffiti removal. If I knew I was going to be a mobile ad campaign I would have signed up for something cheesy that pays like a “Watch Monk” Banner or maybe an ad for a Thai/Swedish message parlor.

And what if I can’t get it off? Then this random tagger and I will be linked for the next few years. I’ll show up to premieres with graffiti on my car and paparazzi will think I’m starting a new trend of taking economical cars and turning them into mobile hip-hop galleries. Or maybe they’ll think I’m starting a trend of driving myself to premieres in my “before money” car.

Much like the looks of guys, I can’t judge if a tag is good or bad. You be the judge.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gone Too Soon (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

I’ve purposely let some of the dust settle before addressing Michael Jackson’s passing. Well, the initial dust at least. Combine someone at the pinnacle of talent with someone also at the pinnacle of work ethic and you get Michael Jackson. I could watch rewind and watch one Michael Jackson spin over and over. As I’m sure he did that very move over and over until it was a spectacle unto itself. Most famous entertainers know they are lucky to have their fame and fortune. The best rapper knows there are at least a handful of rappers who, if given the right opportunity could take his spot. The same is true for writers, comedians, singers, athletes. But Michael Jackson has no peer. Being great and at the same time non-derivative and completely original is an amazing feat that can not be overstated. You can argue that Michael Jackson stood on the shoulders of Elvis, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, James Brown, Jackie Wilson. These men were all great in their own right. But Michael Jackson ascended to heights never before seen. It was Michael’s gift that made all his odd fashion and style appeal to us not the other way around. Michael Jackson’s kind of appeal that spans race, culture and age takes more than marketing and hype. It takes magic. It takes an ability to be so pure with your art that you touch people, captivate them and keep them entranced.

It goes beyond music, beyond dancing. MJ’s brand of greatness inspired hope. Just knowing that that kind of greatness existed in the world made people happy. Of course everything comes at a price. And to be that great for that long from such a young age definitely takes a toll. Huge notoriety is usually accompanied with equal depths of loneliness. Imagine having not one person who can truly empathize with you. Imagine being too famous to walk the street…in any country…even the non-industrialized ones. Imagine having scores of people alter their face to look like you. Imagine those same people altering their face again…to look like you. Imagine even your funeral is a sellout and tickets go for thousands of dollars. You don’t have to be behind bars to be a prisoner.

As for his legacy, I’m not sure it’s for me or anyone else to say but the fact that there is even such a great debate speaks to his enormous impact. I can’t begin to psychoanalyze someone I never met but I will say I’ve known people who’ve let something silly as winning a comedy contest go to their head. A comic can go from saying hi to not saying hi overnight. Or how about the person who loses weight and is all of a sudden cocky and aloof. We suffer these people because we know the human condition can be kooky. Now imagine being the most famous entertainer on the planet and one of the richest. You don’t think you would do some things that might seem odd to the broke masses. We’re talking about a guy who from age 10 would have his clothes ripped off by people he never met if he walked alone in public.

We forgot that he was a person. Maybe he forgot too. He belonged to the public. He was ours to emulate, spy on, question, make fun off. I’m not saying he should be absolved of wrong doing. I’m saying you can’t fully judge a man until you moonwalk a mile in his penny loafers. I don’t have a comment on the child thing except to ask, who are the parents who would let their children spend a minute with an accused molester? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and maybe I’m using my kid as bait.

Also lost in the discussion is the fact that he was a great singer, especially as a child. Don’t let the glove fool you. His singing voice and vocal arrangements were as captivating as his dance moves. You ever wonder how Michael Jackson came up with “cha-mon?” Even something as simple as saying “cha-mon” instead of “come on” is brilliant.

QSN: Even before Michael’s passing I had decided to start saying “Cha-Mon” instead of “Come-on.” Now that MJ is no longer with us I think it’s even more apropos. “50 dollars for this chair?! Cha-mon! You gotta be kidding me.

I think the real debate should be what decade of his work is the best. Most would say the 80’s. I say go Youtube Mike in the 70’s with his brothers as a child and a young adult. It’s mind bending. The 90’s gave us Heal the World, You are Not Alone. Remember the Time, the Free Willy Song. He even “Rocked My World” in this decade.

His legacy? Well…Name one other person who can encourage a whole Filipino prison population to do a choreographed group dance to his music*. We’re talking prison where even the slightest sign of weakness will be exploited within an inch of death. And scores of grown bad asses can lift the tough guy code for a few minutes to join in on a Michael Jackson video reenactment. I’m going to stab you with a makeshift knife I made out of cardboard…right after our Thriller rehearsal.

Just think, Bad, Dangerous, History I & II all came after Thriller. So after he made the most listened to album ever he followed it up with another 3 classics! It’s sad to see a true icon and public servant go but luckily for us he left us with such an expansive catalogue of music, and videos that even generations to come will know his greatness and flip out over his work.

*The famous Filipino inmates have now done other songs and artists. But like always, the other dances can’t come close to the Michael Jackson one.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Movers and Shakers (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

I spent the good part of today and yesterday moving stuff into storage. I actually counted my box trot as a workout. Carrying boxes or bags weighing 20-30 pounds down a flight of stairs over and over again has to count for something. I actually call it the IRS workout, taxing indeed. :-)

As I loaded up the Saturn it dawned on me how strenuous my current activity was. It also dawned on me that as a country we have an obesity problem. The problem is massive. I would go so far as to say our obesity problem is, well, obese. I smell a win-win situation. Everyday scores of people in our country have to move truck loads of stuff. And for every mover there must be 20 people within a 1 mile radius not very happy with their own radius.

I’m saying maybe we should mandate that the portliest of our brethren help people move.

JUDGE: This court has found you guilty of being on the verge of obesity…I hear by sentence you to help Dwayne move…

Jenny Craig ain’t got nothing on lugging a sofa with a pullout bed. Pilates does though.

Monday, June 08, 2009

We-A-We-A-We (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

The other night I was driving on a California highway when a state trooper a few cars ahead of me put on his flashing lights and started driving across all the lanes in an “S” pattern. I’ve seen this before. They do it to stop traffic for workers or an accident. Imagine having that kind of power, legal swerving across all the lanes and the cars behind you have to stop. I hope the police officer said “weeee!” as he drove in spirals. I didn’t see any workers or an accident. Perhaps the cause of the spiral stoppage was beyond my sight. Or maybe the officer did this for the same reason I would….no reason at all.

I would do this just to make the highway almost like the start of a Nascar race. Seems irresponsible but remember I would still be in a cop car and the drivers would be scared to peel out knowing I was near. It would be more like the start of Nascar caravan.

Maybe we should give drunk drivers police lights so at least everyone else will adjust to them.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pilates Hottie (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

Much like financial investments it’s best to diversify your workout regime. I’ve always been interested in Pilates. To me Pilates is like Yoga without the chanting and sage (the spice or the mystic) I even have a Windsor Pilates workout tape that I’ve had for 6 years and never used. But I’ve been meaning to. I mean if it’s good enough for Daisy Fuentes its good enough for me.

So I was very pleased last year when a friend of mine opened up a Pilates Studio in Long Island. And I was game when she asked me to come do a session and be photographed. My friend’s studio, PILATES ABSESSION, employs the Pilates machines. The machines look like torture devices and sure enough my friend Karen tortured me. Don’t you worry though, if you go she’ll make sure your workout is strenuous but suited for your fitness level. But we had an unspoken fitness challenge that had been brewing for a while. She won. It was a blowout actually. Pilates is the truth. It definitely works. Karen is a mother of three and I would rather be back to back with her in a bar fight than with most guys I know. Let’s just say if Houdini did Pilates he would have survived that sucker punch to his belly.*

Until Karen reminded me last week, I had forgotten there were pictures of the butt whipping. When your muscles are shaking from trying to hold a pose any pictures taken are truly candid. I guess one was good enough to make the cut and now you can see me on the registration page of the Pilates studio.

This gives me impetus to work harder and become a household name. How cool would it be to go to a web page and see Johnny Depp doing Hip Hop abs. But this blog is about Pilates and my foray into modeling. It’s official, I’m a male model. I hope one day that pic of me will be a trivia question like Cuba Gooding Junior getting his haircut in Coming To America…sans lines.

Daisy Fuentes where are you? Call me. Let’s do lunch.

Pilates Absession. Check me in action

*Houdini died from a punch in the belly he wasn’t ready for.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Do I Amuse You? (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

So I was on line looking for sample movie treatments. A treatment is a brief synopsis describing a movie. People usually write them to secure funding before writing an entire script. Of course I work backwards and needed to write a treatment for a movie script I’ve already written. (Brooklyn, we go hard.) Well, a movie I’ve co-written (South Pasadena goes hard as well)

I came across a treatment for a movie called Bly, the true story of Nelly Bly. Here’s an excerpt from that treatment:

The true story of Nellie Bly, a penniless young woman in 1890s New York

who claws her way up from obscurity to revolutionize journalism and then becomes her own biggest story when she races around the globe to shatter the record of Jules Verne’s legendary hero in Around the World in 80 Days – a feat which makes her the most famous woman on earth…

She sounds like a pretty amazing woman. But here’s what made my eyes go wide. Nellie Bly is the name of a second rate amusement park near Coney Island, Brooklyn. I grew up walking past Nellie Bly and I never knew it was named after a great American. To find this out makes me sad. This woman went around the World faster than anyone else; she exposed corruption in the mental health field as an undercover journalist. She basically shattered any expectations the world had for a woman born in 1864. And we honor her with a shabby amusement park? Nellie Bly is lower on the amusement park totem pole than Coney Island’s Astroland which itself has become second rate compared to current amusement parks.

Ok…let’s say Six Flags is the Lakers. Coney Island would be the Clippers and the Nellie Bly Park would be the guys playing basketball on Venice Beach. (Disney Land would be Manchester United, a totally different massive animal)

Okay, I’ll admit this great American’s name does make for a great amusement park moniker but I just hope the kids remember who she was in the back of their minds as they say weeee…on the hammer ride.

If I get the Puffer Fish I’ve been wanting for ages, maybe I’ll name it Nellie Bly. Would that be honoring her?

Nellie Bly, The woman

Friday, June 05, 2009

Saber Tooth (Funny Blog from Comedy Central's Dwayne Perkins)

The other day I walked into a bar/restaurant to meet some friends. On my way to my friends’ table I ran into another friend. I made a slight detour and stopped to chat for a sec with the friend I had bumped into. As we chatted some of her friends arrived. Introductions were made and I said hi to the new comers. I shook each of their hands and repeated each of their names. As I started to excuse myself (remember, I still had my original friends waiting) a girl I had just met from my detour table said to me

NEW GIRL: I don’t want to interrupt your phone call!

Huh? Then I realized I had my Bluetooth still on. I had parked my car minutes before and I forgot that I still had it on. So then I said…

ME: I’m sorry but I’m not on the phone. I just got out of my car and--

NEW GIRL: Right…Well when I get out of my car I take off my sunglasses…

Huh? I’m not capturing her tone here. She was implying that I was being all “Hollywood”. I let the first dig go but the second one was totally uncalled for. I don’t think one forgotten Bluetooth leave-in is enough to be labeled rude or “Hollywood”.

I was about to explain to her that as it what night time, to leave your shades on would be a much graver offense. Mainly because to leave shades on at night, a person would be actively choosing blindness to pull of a look. I on the other hand forgot I had the stupid Bluetooth, which I’m mandated by the state to wear when I’m driving and talking, on.

I was about to say something but I spotted my original friends and joined them. Her words lingered a bit and the first 3 bites of my Chicken Fried Rice weren’t as enjoyable as they could have been. The fourth bite was delish! Shoulder cleaned…and dirt removed.

QSN: The Formosa café in Hollywood is a bar that serves Chinese food... Amazing right?!

Later on I shared the story with my Ace Boon Coon (aka homeboy.) He was convinced that the girl actually liked me and was trying to get my attention. Huh? She had my attention. It made perfect sense after I thought about it. My detour table had a bunch of stand-up comics that I didn’t know, so maybe there was hierarchy tension I didn’t unnoticed. Also, the New Girl’s dig came after I announced that I would have to go to my original destination table. Was that her sarcastic last ditch effort to get me to stay and banter?

Whatever the case, I didn’t speak to that girl again for the rest of the night. Even on my way out I said goodbye to detour table but not to her directly. What are your thoughts?

It seems the world over seeks attention. It’s almost the real currency and money is just a symptom of attention. My inadvertent Bluetooth leave-in maybe sent a signal to detour table that I thought I was more important or that I wasn’t going to pay full attention to them. That I was a click away to bigger, better more important voices coming into my right ear.

It didn’t mean that but funny how New Girl taking it that way caused her to be actually ruder than my Bluetooth leave-in suggest I may have been.

QSN = Quick Side Note