Saturday, September 27, 2008

Italian American Defamation at Ridgemont High

My boss at a record store I worked at years ago, my best job ever, once said that Fast Times at Ridgemont High portrayed Italian Americans in a bad light, since Jeff Spicoli and Mike Damone were such shits. I thought at the time that it was just another one of his stupid theories, we all had them, that we would throw out there on a slow Sunday afternoon, but after watching it again last night, it was the Lovely Gancer Girlfriend's first time around, I think he was really onto something.

Jeff Spicoli, portrayed by Sean Penn

The Deadbeat Facts:

1. He never held a job, choosing instead to consistently smoke pot all day, often with guys who looked an awful lot like Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards, and sometimes to the point where he couldn't feel his own skull.

2. He was a lousy student. He showed up late to class, once wearing a flannel with no shirt underneath and a bagel tucked into the front of his pants. On at least one other instance he ordered a pizza to his classroom, without his teacher's permission, to learn about Cuba and have some food. Yet another time he went along on a field trip when he wasn't even in the class to see cadavers because he thought dead bodies were "gnarly."

3. He borrowed a friend's older brother's sports car, smoked reefers and drank beers behind the wheel, and crashed it into a pile of cinder blocks, totaling it. After failing to fix it with his father's, who was a television repair man, ultimate set of tools, he resorted to making off like a rival football team trashed his car. This led the car's owner, an already unstable defensive lineman, to have an enraged, frothing at the mouth performance against that team, leading to numerous injured players, one of which was twitching and having convulsions. These events were all set into action at the hands of the devious Italian American, Jeff Spicoli.

4. In the epilogue we learn that after high school he would save Brooke Shields from drowning, which is good, but he would later blow the reward money on the costs to get Van Halen to play his birthday party, which is not too good.

Mike Damone, portrayed by Robert Romanus, a man whose illustrious list of TV guest star appearances include Weird Science the television show and CHiPS.

The Deadbeat Facts:

1. He was a high school grifter of the worst order, scalping rock concert tickets at school and at the mall with a keyboard scarf slung around his greasy, Italian neck*, sometimes trying to talk impressionable girls into going to Cheap Trick concerts when they didn't even like the band. He also was a bookie, a very stereotypical Italian American profession, and tricked his clients who didn't understand the unfair odds he was laying against them, and offhandedly told them about a spread only after the bet had been made.

2. He helped his friend gain the confidence to ask out a girl he was pining for using the Mike Damone 5 Point Plan, only to sneak around and nail her behind his friend's back with a twelve second bump, squirt, and a giggle in a pool cabana. Later, when she told him she was pregnant, he responded with a "you wanted it more than I did!" He agreed to pay half the cost and give her a ride, but ended up standing her up and giving her none of the agreed amount. When she called to see where he was, he had his mother tell her that he was helping his father in the garage.

3. In the epilogue we learn that Mike Damone would end up pumping slushies at a 7/11, unlike the non-Italian Hamilton who foiled a robbery and made assistant manager.

One can even look at the cameo roles in the film. Nicholas Cage has no speaking roles, but he can be seen both in high school and burger joint shots. Who is Nicholas Cage's uncle? Francis Ford Coppola, another Italian Amerian who made The Godfather, perhaps the film with the biggest legacy of Italian American Defamation. Think about it, man . . .

Your turn, seven readers: Tell me something you've seen in the media that portrays a group of people in a bad light that few people point out, or just tell me a scene from Fast Times that you like, not counting the part where Judge Reinhold is whacking it to Phoebe Cates because that is everyone's favorite part.


*There was no need for that greasy comment, but I couldn't resist turning it up a notch for effect.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Come On Down . . .

. . . and check out this thing I wrote about the Price Is Right. I'd love it if you commented on there too.

If you'd like to comment here instead, then you have to say something about some of the observations I have made after watching four episodes of The Hills. This is proof positive that I can sit through any piece of crap and find something I find interesting or funny. Whether anyone else finds it funny or interesting, well, that's what I'm about to find out . . .

1. I always heard that Heidi is the biggest bitch, but Lauren is way worse. Heidi just looks like a bigger bitch. Lauren's a sneaky, manipulative, hooch with every girl around her, much like a popular girl in middle school. Why nobody wants to hang out with Heidi has less to do with her being a bitch, and more to do with Lauren turning people against her and Heidi's boyfriend being so incredibly deuchey.

2. I know the show is semi-scripted, but is it possible Spencer is that big of a beat-off? I mean, really. I've met some tool sheds in my day, but come on!

3. Why does Audrina seem so sedated all the time? It's like someone shoots her up with horse tranquilizers. That's more of a question I'm asking all of you. Also, why in the hell does she want to be friends with Lauren after being manipulated so many times? Why would she continues to let a friend have that much control over her at her age? Is it the horse tranquilizers that make her so vulnerable?

4. In the last episode, while the chick who usually wears the Pocohantas braids was going on a date with one of her supposed friend's recent exes, the recent ex says, only a few moments into the dinner date mind you, "So, what are you doing after this?" Isn't that overplaying your hand a litte there, sir? Isn't that a little bit like, "do you think maybe we should play hot dogs and donuts after dinner?" I mean, you just sat down, sir!

I could go on like this, really, I could, but why don't you just head over to the Price Is Right thing . . .

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Straight-Up Random Crap

I don't have big concept blogs lately because I've been working harder at my job and all writing efforts have been going towards a play I'm writing. Actually, if anyone has any ideas where I should perform this thing in Chicago or any other input, hit me with an email. I'm being sincere, for once, when I say that although I've never met most of you, your opinion matters to me a great deal.

Random Topic #1:
Pop Quiz: Who's music is in the grocery store, the drug store, and the waiting rooms of doctor's offices more than any mofo on God's green earth?
Answer: Sir Elton John. I know I read somewhere that he sold a bunch of his music to things like that, but I couldn't find any evidence of that for you right now. I'm in a hurry, so you'll just have to trust me or look it up on your own. Anyway, keep an eye out for his stuff playing the next time you're stopping in a Wallgreans to buy some Flaming Hot Frito's*, salted cashews, and a Gatorade. Well, that's what I was buying because it was late after playing a volleyball game and I wanted to get some "nourishment" before passing out. As I'm reaching for my Arctic Butt Slammer, or whatever, Gatorade, I was singing along to Sir Elton, only substituting gross words, which I often do, much like my fun Gatorade title. I was singing, "Daniel's beating off tonight on a plane . . ."

Random Topic #2:
The Booze sample Lady got me again today at the grocery store. She's a retired teacher, so we always get talking about teaching, since we have that in common, and then we get talking about booze, since we really have that interest in common. She gave me a great tip, and that is this: You can skimp on a Shiraz, even some $5.99's will do, but you never on a sauvignon blanc because a shitty one will be bitter. She's actually right because I know I got one once that was undrinkable. If something has booze in it and it's undrinkable for me, that is saying something. So, for that tip and for being a cool lady, I felt obliged to buy a quality sauvignon blanc. You see, bet you didn't think you'd get a good wine tip on this here rag, did you?

All right, two topics will have to do it for now because I'm taking the lovely Gancer Girlfriend and this here bottle of wine to a BYOB sushi joint. Tomorrow I'll be at Wrigley Field, hopefully where I'll be watching my beloved Cubbies clinch a playoff spot. I don't have any tips for how to buy a non-bitter Old Style beer at the ball park; they're supposed to be bitter, and they're perfect that way.

*I love these because I never got to enjoy Flaming Hot Cheetos without discomfort due to my lactose intolerance (my roommate calls me a "lactard"), so the launch of these babies was like something sent down from on high from the empty calorie gods.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yet Another Crap Update Post

1. The Chicago Cubs are falling apart, but I'm hoping that they will catch fire for the playoffs, if they make them. Who's got some wood I can knock on or a goat I can slaughter?

2. There's a new post at The Liar's Club, our Chicago based blog. Once there, if you scroll down, you'll see that the last five posts have been from me (not counting quick ones to say "I'm retiring" and "What the hell happened to this blog?"). When I'm the hardest working blogger, we got big problems. We need more consistent posts, and we're taking applicants. Email me if you live in Chicago, and would like to be a Liar. Of course, your "hiring" would require approval by the other two remaining Liars (Niner just retired to make babies. That's the only way out of this gang.)

3. I went to the annual carnival in my home town over the weekend. The first part of the day was fun with my mom, my sister, and my nephews. The first grader and I rode the Gravitron (which is the one where they spin you around and take the floor out from under you) with a bunch of obnoxious middle school kids. It would have been a great time to have used my nausea to have an amusement park related "accident" upon one of said annoying teenager's Hollister shirts.

Later that night, I met up with some friends at the beer tent where a friend of mine was stationed. He is a member of one of those organizations where a bunch of old men do volunteer work of various kinds, but a lot of the time, I suspect, is spent telling dirty jokes and participating in farting contests. Everyone in that tent was 20 years his senior, but he seems to be real happy. The problem is, we couldn't spend those beer tickets. We'd try to hand them to him, and he'd hand them right back with a bunch of beers.

When he gets done with his beer pouring shift, he dumps off a mess more of free brews, and tells us to go to his dad for the remainder of the night. Dad looks exactly like Brian Dennehey, and he was just as resistant to taking our money/tickets. There was one point where I remember looking down in the circle we had formed, and there were like ten full cups between us in the grass that we were trying to conceal to avoid unveiling the corruption leading to our intoxication. It's a good thing I didn't go for a late night Gravitron ride because it would have been like mixing up a vomit smoothy up in that piece, and nobody wants to order one of those these days.

4. I don't know what made me think of this, but I was trying to hash out the differences between two third graders who were not getting along on a playground. I asked them their names and they were Ben and Jerry. I said, "Boys. Boys. I'll tell you what. I know a couple guys named Ben and Jerry who get along real well, and now they've made millions of dollars together selling a shit* load of ice cream." Well, I don't think that my example hit home with these youngsters, but after Jerry managed to stop his crying fit, I got them to agree to get along. They could very well be on opposite ends of a see-saw getting along famously at this very moment. Then again, they could be loading up each other's mail boxes with pipe bomb recipes they found on the internet. That's the crazy thing about kids: You just don't know what they're going to do next.

5. I just discovered this song, and it cracks me up. They have pinned down the exact moment where you know you're in love: When you go on a picnic together, and you don't even bring any beer. That's when you know it's on.


*Kids who are in the cool crowd are always trying to say stuff to act cool and more adult-like, but the funny thing is that the adults of the world think the really nerdy kids are behaving more like adults. Any way you slice it, being trapped on a Gravitron with a bunch of punk kids, with your organs stretched in a knot, all the while trying to keep your nephew from hearing swear words is not a good time.

**I didn't really say shit.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

A friend of mine just hooked up with a gal he had been chasing for quite some time. She's one of those nerdy girls who is cute, but you only notice it after spending a lot of time with her. It took him a while to make any successful moves on her, despite the fact that he heard from one of her friends that she liked him a whole lot, because she just doesn't have a flirtatious nature about her. After finally reaching first and rounding second*, he discovered that she has a sneaky great body. Allow me to recap:

He's got himself a girl who:

1. Is cute, but not at first glance to draw a lot of attention from scum bag dudes.
2. Isn't flirty.
3. Has a hot body behind closed doors, which is tough to notice on a day-to-day basis.

What he has is a "diamond in the rough."

Today I get this text message from him:

Gancer's Buddy: Holy shit. I finally got to see Blah-blah-blah's** "diamond in the rough" package full on last night. Amazing . . . She has the body of a woman in 1970's porn, if you know what I mean.

Gancer: (I was playing center in a softball game at the time, so I just sent a quick one) Big bush?

Gancer's Buddy: LOL. I was talking more about the nice hips and good size to everything. Not like typical girls now a days filled with chicken steroids.***

Gancer: (Still playing softball) Oh. That’s good too. Hahahaha****

I’m sorry if this blog was gross, but everybody talks about that stuff, right?

It’s your turn, seven readers: Tell me in the comment section who you think talks about details in their sex life more, men or women? What about gay men and women? Anyone want to weigh in there?


*Sorry about the baseball references, but the Cubs are in one of the best teams in baseball. It’s on my mind more than S-E-X. Well, almost as much. For those of you who need a refresher on what each base means, second base is feeling boobies.

**I left her name out, and in its place I used the Biz Markie method of anonymity.

***Can anyone find some hard facts about how the steroids in chicken effect breast growth in women or anything else?

****I can’t stand when people say LOL, so I always use the “hahhahaha,” which is only slightly less lame. Any edge I can get on eventual lameness . . .