…and I almost authorized a raise! Almost!
Thankfully, that very afternoon I decided to take my post-lunch constitutional through the employee parking lot and saw him walking away from his car.
Just so you know, folks…? If any of you ever apply for work here at Ted Parsnips, LLC…?
It’s bad form to have more chrome swans than your boss. And frankly, at eighteen, even I admit I’m pushing the envelope of good taste. But twenty-two! There’s just no excuse! The mudflap babes are, of course, completely acceptable.
Anyway, to teach the miscreant savante (French word!) a lesson, I plucked out one of his precious bulldog’s googly eyes – the right one. (His right! The bulldog’s right! Sheesh!) He’ll get it back when – and only when – I get that total website redesign I keep hearing promises about!
HERE’S one that’ll have you saying “Hey, gotta hand it to ol’ Ted – he hit the nail on the head with this one, as he so often does!”
I was walking down the street the other day and there’s a pleasant little house on the block south of me. Oh, it’s a cute little cottage-type thing that you’d expect to see in a nice neighborhood, in a decent city; not in this rundown, trash-strewn, slum-ridden area of the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles.
And yet there it was.
I respect people’s privacy and private areas, so I won’t give you a shot of the whole place – but hell, I shot it from a public sidewalk, so my attorney can just shut his lawhole and relax, for God’s sake.
Looks nice, eh? Quaint, in a word, right?
You’d almost expect Rachel Arsewell herself to step right out on the porch and holler “Wot the ‘ell are you snappin’ bloody pictures o’ me ‘ouse for, wot? Get outter ‘ere before I pry a leg off’n me vintage 1920s naturally distressed white finish farmhouse gelding table and beat you within a centimeter of your bloomin’ life! Off with yeh, then, before I ring the constable!”
You’d almost expect something just like that, and you’d be right to.
But before we hurry on our way, let’s take a closer look at one of the little design elements to the exterior. You’re smart – you know exactly what I’m referring to.
There it is.
And here’s the thing: I guess maybe it’s a cute touch…but it makes no sense architecturally!
Accepting, for the moment, that despite your last name being neither Addams nor Munster but you still want to make your house look like it’s in worse repair than it actually is – accepting that, it still makes no sense.
Clearly the idea the idea behind this detail is here’s a darling little bungalow, sure – but even though it’s showing its age, any slight imperfections only make it that much more homey, appealing and cozy. I can buy the whole shoddy chic angle to this decorating flourish. That I can buy.
What I have trouble with is the fact that the charming “exposed bricks” are on top of the stucco.
Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of home construction knows that any brickwork would be under the stucco. The stucco is applied on top of the bricks, to cover it up and give it a uniform, flat surface. So this little added detail, which we all agree is just goddamn adorable, is entirely absurd.
I can’t imagine I’m the only one who notices this. Our street gets a lot of foot traffic – gang members, drug dealers, taggers, the chronically homeless – and no doubt every single one of them who passes this place is thinking the same thing – albeit in another language – and most of them are probably laughing about it.
I’m a good neighbor, however, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the rest of the neighborhood make fun of the fine people living in one of the few nice houses around here.
So tonight, reeeal late, see, I’m going to sneak down the street and with hammer and chisel, knock off those stupid fake bricks once and for all and then pound the holy hell out of a few random areas on the exterior, knocking loose as much of the stucco and exposing the actual brick beneath before the lights start coming on.
And I need you at the curb with the car running.
Let’s do this.
IT’S that time again, gang! Comic-Con time!
Here’s my schedule of all the events I’m either a part of or that I plan to passive-aggressively horn my way into! If you see me, be sure to come up and say hello, unless I’m talking to someone more famous or who can do more for my career than you, in which case, don’t you dare interrupt. Don’t you dare.
As always, I’m happy to sign autographs – and still for my nominal fourteen dollar charge! (Exact change please.) Just let me know whose name you want me to sign and on what. My Will Eisner is all but indistinguishable from the real thing (especially now that I’m spelling it right) and my Bill Finger’s been getting some nice notices as well. Ask about my Siegel & Shuster “two-fer” discount!
Above: Some of my most requested autographs.
On with my schedule!
Thursday July 12
3:00-4:00 – Finding Last-Minute Lodgings in a Booked-Solid San Diego: A Candid Discussion
I plan to leave the cesspool that is Los Angeles at exactly five-thirty a.m. Thursday morning so I can get down to the Con when everything starts. But it’s three a.m. as I write this, and I’ll likely oversleep until 1:30 in the afternoon. I have no place to stay (yet!) but I’ll be damned if I spend three nights in my car again for the sixth year in a row. Head on over to Room 212 in the Bushmiller Pavilion if you have any suggestions. If you’re a vendor, maybe we can strike a deal and I can help you construct a fort out of your comic book boxes and sleep right there in your booth, making sure none of the notoriously sticky-fingered security guards roaming the convention at night start pawing through your stacks of vintage Little Lulus.
Were Whitman comics ever sold individually in the 1970s? They were priced individually, yes – but is there an actual recorded instance of any issue sold singly, by itself, alone – and not in the little plastic bag where you got two decent funny animal ones and one piece of crap you never read like “Battle of the Planets” or, God forbid, “Star Trek” in the middle, which you couldn’t even see until you got home and ripped open the plastic? We’ll explore the evidence and talk to some guy who used to worked in a Rexall Drug Store back then. Room 218 (off of the Gottfredson Ballroom).
Friday July 13
11:00-12:00 – The “Stop Saying Zombie Apocalypse” Panel
A heartfelt plea to the general public and the media to stop using the phrase “the zombie apocalypse” immediately. Please note: People using the phrase “the zombie apocalypse” will not be admitted. Room 8.
1:00-2:00 – Who Was Wealthier: Scrooge McDuck or Richie Rich? A Debate
Obsessed Swedish “Barks-ologist” Mågnild Ljüngbørg and completist Richie Rich collector Franklin Todd go head to head to finally settle the question which has baffled young children under the age of ten for decades: Who has more money – the edema-suffering “Poor Little Rich Boy” in the Eton collar or the greedy, globe-trotting waterfowl from Duckburg? You won’t want to miss this one, especially if you just bought a hot dog or a slice of pizza and need a place to sit down and eat it. Room 27-C.
Midnight-1:30am – The Golden Age of Animation’s Most Hilariously Racist Cartoons
A Comic-Con Tradition! Join fellow animation enthusiasts as I screen clips from 37 vintage animated shorts from the 1920s through the late 1950s featuring the most patently offensive ethnic stereotypes you’ve ever seen! In the interest of time, I’ve edited them down to just the funny parts so they’re completely out of context. My promise: I will not waste time getting all Leonard Maltin on you by explaining these were “a product of their time.” The clip of the disgusting hairy Slovak peddler (“Toby the Pup in Prague,” Van Beuren Studios, 1930) is alone worth attending to see! Room 15.
Saturday July 14
1:00-2:30 – No, You’re Not The Next Mel Blanc: The “101 Bad Voices” and “101 Worse Voices” Panel
We’ll be screening a bunch of highly annoying, often infuriating YouTube videos of those jackasses who honestly believe they can get work as voiceover talent based on the dozens of very slightly different voices, none of them good and most of them based not on the original source – but on someone else’s impression of the original (usually an SNL cast member). Roll your eyes and grumble with the rest of us as we hear the requisite Stewie, Scooby-Doo and Cartman again and again and again, plus numerous other animated characters none of which are currently in need of a new actor to portray them. Also: We’ll be speaking with a panel of animation voice casting directors who’ll discuss why they don’t tend to hire new talent based on clips on the internet where someone is only able to perform a rudimentary vocal facsimile of an actor or character’s one most famous catchphrase. Room 12A.
4:00-6:00 – 60s Sitcom Powerhouses: Sheriff Taylor & Lt. McHale
What a treat! Set a spell and listen as I interview two of 1960s television’s biggest legends – Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine -as they describe what it was like to star in a hit comedy of the early 1960s. Paul Henning Amphitheatre. Canceled.
3:00pm-4:30am – The People Versus Matt Groening
Join us as we hijack 20th Century Fox’s “Simpsons” panel – where they intended to discuss the upcoming season – and instead force Matt Groening, Al Jean, various writers, producers and show-runners to watch every single goddamn episode of the last season, “A Clockwork Orange“-style, and subsequently force them to defend each recycled plot, every single unfunny joke and awful line in a kangaroo court that hopefully will result in a formal apology and mutual agreement to finally pull the goddamn plug on the show once and for all.
4:00-5:30 – The Annual Jack Kirby Anecdotal Circle Jerk
Come join friends and fans of the late, great Jack Kirby as we all attempt to outdo one another with a personal story or remembrance of the comic book legend, née God, who conveniently is no longer around to dispute any of what is said. The room fills up fast so be sure to get there early so you don’t miss a single one of the amazing stories you’ve heard ten times before! Room 23-B
Sunday July 15
10:30-12:00 – I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
It was half a century ago this September 28th that a small portion of the nation first watched, with diminishing interest week by week, the probably pleasant and likely amusing adventures of Harry Dickens and Arch Fenster, until the last episode aired September 13th of the following year. I’ll be moderating neither John Astin (Dickens?) nor Marty Ingels (Fenster, I guess) but rather a panel of people not even tangentially involved in the television industry but who, like you, may have seen stills of the show or think the title at least sounds familiar. Also: What the next fifty years will bring, Dickens & Fenster-wise. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” character. Room 18, Adam West Wing.
Our only offsite event, not officially sanctioned by the Con, but you know if Stan Lee can negotiate the treacherous cliff, he’ll be there! Please, no Furries or Gamorrean Guards! Torrey Pines, San Diego.
Okay, I think that’s it. See you there! Now to get some sleep, then hop in the car and head down the freeway before my attorney reads any of this.
SO LORI CALLS ME at work and asks me to pick up something for her on the way home. Fine; no big deal, right? Mm.
This is apparently what she wanted:
This is what I got:
But like I told her – they say you’re supposed to switch your deodorants every so often anyway, right? And I’m sure the big presentation she’s giving tomorrow that she’s been so stressed about will go fine.
Oh, believe me, folks – the copy I originally wrote for this one was worse.
…that He gave His only begotten son.”
He gave his only begotten son eight fingers is what he gave him!
Oh, sure, impose on Him to change water into wine for your party, no problem; see if He wouldn’t mind raising the dead for you, it’s done. But ask Him what size Isotoners he wears so you can get him a little something for Christmas, and suddenly things get awkward.
Look, I know it’s not unusual for cartoon characters to have only four fingers per hand, but when that cartoon character is based on a real-life celebrity, in this case the Christ, shouldn’t you go the extra mile and draw that fifth digit?
While I’m at it – since I’m going to hell anyway for mocking not only the Lord himself as well as the perfectly reasonable artwork by some anonymous artist out there who can draw better than me – while I’m at it, what’s up with this?
The open-palm bent-pinky gesture, that is! Why do so many cartoonists do this? Is it just a little artisterly pretension? A cartoonisterly affectation? Jesus’s other hand doesn’t look that way. Or is that the point – to mix things up a bit, you know – break the fingeral monotony so the two hands don’t look identical?
Or does Jesus suffer from early onset rheumatoid arthritis and it’s painful to unbend that pinky?
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I used to draw the open-palm bent-pinky gesture, or OPBPG, myself, but in my defense, I learned it by watching you!
And by “you,” I don’t mean you, but rather the output of pretty much everyone at Archie Comics, from Bob Goldschwartz to Stann Montecarlo as well as the entire stable of Harvey Comics artists, none of whom I know by name. (Don’t worry; neither do you.)
They all used it! They all used the OPBPG! Why? Why?!
Who holds their hand this way?! It’s not easy! Try it! No, go ahead – try it!
If you’re like me you’re just going to end up with finger cramps and stigmata.
LAST NIGHT was Erin’s weekly “Girls Night Out.” She and the rest of “the usual suspects” as I jokingly call them – Kelly, Lupita, Heather, Todd, Laura and Annette – all went out to see “Magic Mike” leaving me in charge of our little Ethan.
Well, I wasn’t about to sit home alone on a Friday night like some loser! I did what any one of you would do – I headed out for a bite to eat and then took a drive over to CVS to check out their “As Seen On TV” section. Oh, and I brought the baby along.
I don’t have to tell you fathers of young children out there – you know: Nature calls at the most inopportune times. I had just found the Eggies display when I suddenly had to piss like a racehorse! That’ll teach me to fill up on Diet Sierra Mist at Hooters during dinner. (I’m not going to drink beer with the kid with me – what the hell kind of father do you think I am?!)
Thankfully, I knew my local CVS has a public toilet for the use of both customers and homeless alike. But what to do with Ethan? I would have set him up at the digital photo kiosk at the front of the store and left him alone to play for a few minutes, but the last time I did that, the little rugrat managed to hit the screen in just the right sequence so I was on the hook for $60 of ceramic mugs featuring photos of people I don’t even know.
Of course next I tried the blood pressure machine, figuring if I timed it right, I could stick his little arm in the sleeve, activate it, and effectively keep him immobilized for a minute and a half while I literally ran to the men’s room.
No dice – it was out of goddamn order! (Thank Christ I wasn’t having a heart attack!)
So I had no alternative but to bring him in the bathroom with me.
I’m pleased to note that the good folks at CVS have partnered with the manufacturers of Safe-Sitter, so I had a place to stash him while I went. This wall mounted child seat was a godsend, so I could take him off my chest and out of his ergonomic baby carrier (actually just my old JanSport backpack, but without most of my gym stuff in it, and worn backwards) while Daddy tinkled.
However, due to the curvature of the bowl and my son’s leg-flailing rambunctiousness (he’s at that age!), there ended up being some collateral splashback (unavoidable!). So this post also conveniently serves to answer Erin’s question as to why the velcro on Ethan’s right Stride Rite was a bit damp when we got home.
By the way, my attorney continues to advise me that perhaps the more prudent, shorter post would simply read “Why the hell were these mounted so close together?!”
YOU PEOPLE are always telling me I gulp down vodka like it’s water; well, now you know why!
See! It’s not my fault!
And on the plus side, now I can finally get rid of that stupid hip flask I’ve been carrying to the gym in my tube sock.
And thanks to a visit to Dollar Tree today, I realized it’s time to start getting ready for Halloween!
We were going to head to the beach on Saturday, but instead, I think we’ll have the whole family pile into the car and head up to that pick-your-own pumpkin patch up near Ventura; maybe stop along the way at a roadside stand for some apple cider while we take in all the beautiful autumn foliage. Really make a day of it!
LIKE MANY OF YOU, I blew off seven fingers lighting illegal fireworks last Fourth of July and until they grow back I can no longer wield a barbecue fork effectively, so for the time being, anyway, my grilling days are over. You don’t want to know how I can still type. Trust me.
Still, on Independence Day, or as it’s known in my neighborhood “¡Día de Independencia!” if you’re a proud, red-blooded American citizen (or, in my neighborhood, otherwise), by Godfrey, you want a delicious hot dog! It’s your goddamn God-given right as an American citizen! Or otherwise!
But don’t worry! No need to contact the ACLU! You’ll get your hot dog, because, friend…? The 99¢ Only Store has got you covered!
Did I say “you’ll get your hotdog”? I misspoke! You’ll get your hot dogs, plural! Two! For 99¢! Only!
What’s even more amazing is a pal was recently grousing to me over the presumed unavailability of pre-bunned hot dogs! Grouse no more, pal! Grouse no more! Your prayers have been answered! The future is here and it’s in the freezer section of your local 99¢ Only Store!
And here’s something else: No grilling required! So you can save all those matches and lighter fluid to ignite this year’s batch of Hens-Laying-Eggs! Don’t worry, they’re the free-range, cage-free variety of fireworks you can feel good about setting off.
No, instead of toiling outside (yeesh!) over a hot grill forever, you’ll be heating up your pre-bunned hot dogs right there in the microwave – for only about a lousy minute maybe. And then quicker than you can say, or see, “Oh say can you see!” they’re done!
And boy don’t they look good! Come in their own handy hot dog boat, too – saving you the time, trouble and expense of putting them on a plate! And for what? If you’re like me, and you are, you’re just going to eat them over the sink anyway.
Meanwhile poor Johnny Grillmaster next door is still slaving over his brand new Char-Broil Tru-Infrared 5-Burner Gourmet Edition T-47D and trying to make the best of a bad situation by “enjoying” a beer while “chatting” with the rest of the neighbors he’s invited over – the ones that aren’t in the pool, that is. Assholes.
Now, while my hot dogs look fine straight outta the ol’ Radarange, sure, I’m a fellow who likes his fixins – and plenty of them! Bring on the fixins!
Mmmmmmmm-mmm! as the late Andy Griffin would say! Good hot dog, good hot dog!
…Okay, that’s the second time they’ve played “Margaritaville” in three hours. I’m calling the goddamn police.
It’s another one of these delightful mailbag posts!
As my blogging mentor, or as I call her, blogntor, Sylvia Haynes-Darden taught us in her Learning Appendix Class “Making Money In Foreclosures, We’ll Do Some Wine Tasting And Let’s Get You Started on WordPress If There’s Time” (well worth the $185 tuition, $65 materials cost, $25 corking fee, and the $1200+ I ended up paying for DUI-related charges from when I was pulled over on the way home) – eh, as she taught us, “One quick and easy way to come up with content for your blog when it’s getting late and you want to go to bed but you’re worried about not having posted something in a few days is to use emails as posts! Then your readers write your stupid blog for you!”
And she’s right! I sent Sylvia a bunch of information about my failing marriage (I was also enrolled in “Making Twentieth Century Relationships Work In the Upcoming New Millennium” – a terrific online class which Sylvia’s been teaching for a dozen years or so!) and the next day, there it was on her blog – the entire email!
Everything! My problem with the ferret being allowed to sleep in our bed, Karen’s complaints about my “performance,”* the time I got up on the roof (with a bullhorn) and cried like a baby because Karen gave my favorite mint green Old Navy ring-tee (with the salsa stains on the back) to Goodwill. (Goodwill! You know how I feel about them! So does Karen!), whether I should be concerned that it smells like blue cheese behind Karen’s ears or just suck it up and get down to business – everything – even that picture I sent to see if she could diagnose whether I had Pierogie’s Disease.
*I was El Gallo in a local community theatre production of “The Fantasticks” last winter and accidentally sang “Rag Mop” instead of “Try to Remember” – a mistake I think anyone might easily make, Ed “Kookie” Ames being identified with both songs.
Where was I? Oh yes, the point is, if you need blog content (“blogntent”) quick, just use the emails people send you! I mean, why not, right?
Our first email is from a pal, Danny we’ll call him, who writes,
“TED! I am just checking to make sure you weren’t the stabbing victim in the news story below. I know you recently had mentioned something about commanding down a plague of Morlock Spurlocks upon the chain.”
Ha! I have to say that one just tickled me. Here’s the link ol’ Danny sent along:
First I want to say no, thank God, it was not me.
Second, I want to thank Danny at least for his concern – out of this blog’s, what, six readers, he’s the only one who was thoughtful enough to even consider I might have been bleeding out my life’s blood on the floor of a cheap Mexican fast food chain (and getting salsa on another ring-tee), dying alone.
Third, because of this horrific tragedy – the poor bastard gets stabbed in the gut with a knife! – I’m officially swearing off Del Taco from now on!
It’s back to Taco Bell for me – food I can feel good about eating! Plus they only have sporks there.