Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Harry Potter and his Gonads of Fire

If you haven't seen this flick yet, all I can say is, "wow" and "wow" again. I'm not going to lay out all the plot details, so don't be worried about that if you wish to see the film in the future.

If the inuendo was expounded on just a tad, this thing would have been rated NC-17.

They've got every imaginable fetish covered here, opening with Harry drooling over an Asian chick, moving on to virginal maidens in nun-like garb, to the girl-next-door, blondes, the worldly older woman, TWINS for Pete's sake (they do a nice job killing two birds with one stone by making the twins Indian), mermaids (albeit a tad scary) right down to the naughty librarian (Myrtle the ghost,) who actually tries repeatedly to get a look at Harry's joint while he's in the tub, finally throwing in the towel and diving underneath the bubbles for a little game of peek-a-boo with Harry's package.

I kept womdering if Ron Jeremy had served as one of the film's consultants.

At one point, I was so offended that I almost put my pants back on and walked out of the theater.

Geez, I almost forgot the humorous scene in which Hagrid waltzes with a giant woman and tries to cup her ass like he's at a junior high dance. She gently guides his hand back to her waist, a mischievous look in her eye- funny stuff.

To balance the flagrant sexual overtones, they threw a nice bone to the right, using a terrific thinly veiled sequence justifying torture in a McCarthy-like courtroom scene.

"Give us MORE names, we already know about them. give us more, or you're going back to Azkaban!"

At this point the guy rats someone out, and they zap him with a wand, the chief wizard later explaining that "the evidence was irrefutable." Sort of like the video documentation of my mid 90s mullet mentioned in an earlier post.

The also throw in a great tribute to the legendary scene in "Shane" in which Lord Voldemort channels Jack Palance, goading a helpless Harry Potter into picking up his wand. I kept waiting for him to kill Harry then turn to his demon-buddies, "you all saw it- he had a wand"

All-in-all, the best of the four installments, even though it was a heartbeat away from soft porn. Then again, maybe that's why it was the best intsallment.

A Documented Mullet

I've been cleaning out my closets of late, getting rid of stuff that once seemed important enough to pack up and save... rubber "practice" nunchaku, ankle braces, protective ear guards for Jiu Jitsu, photos that were funny fifteen years ago and kinda sad now.

I've stumbled on a number of video tapes. Some from college years. One was from Alumni weekend the year after I graduated. It was actually painful to watch at times, man, I just had no idea what a jerk I was.

The most painful of discoveries, presnted in a family reunion tape from 1996. There is no denying it, I had a mullet. There is irrefutable video documentation that effect.

I swear to you, we were young and dumb then, we didn;t know what we were doing, and I never never, EVER asked for a mullet, it just sort of, I dunno...happened.

I'll admit, I do recall saying "leave it long in the back," but this was in the days before we know of the destructive power of the mullet, the ability of the mullet to lead you to country-western bars and Klan rallies.

The most disturbing thing is that the video was shot with my girlfriend present at the family gathering, well within view of the mullet for the entire afternoon. I watched the video with abject horror.

"Can she not see the mullet? Why doesn't she say something? Good Lord, she's rubbing my back and her hand is just inches from the thing, how can she not notice it???"

I feel the same way about the mullet that I feel about my alcoholism. I never asked for either, they just happened to me. The important thing is what I do with my life... and hair, from now on. I can't change the past. Oh, I've destroyed the tape, family memorabilia or not, but I can never erase the memory of my mullet, flapping gently in the warm July breeeze, as obvious as a swasticka on my bicep, and probably more offensive.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good-bye Fugie, continued.

I just got word this morning that an old friend of mine, Mike Fuge, died last night after his car crashed into a house on his way home from playing racquetball. An autopsy revealed that Mike had a diabetic seizure and subsequent heart attack. His parents believe he might have been drviing himself to the hospital because he wasn't feeling well.

It seems incredibly inappropriate to write about this just hours after getting the horrible news, but this is what I do...I write. If it is inappropriate, anyone that knew Fugie would almost assuredly know he would rubricate anything out of the bounds of decorum and/or sensibility.

As my old college roommate Libby put it, "Fuge was a character."

True, but as much an understatement as Buddy Hackett was a comic or Ted Williams played a little baseball.

Mike had a big personality, ruffled a lot of feathers, and always stayed true to himself, yet was one of those guys you could really open up to. As silly as he was at times, he had a pure heart and a genuine conscience. he cared about his friends, people in general and the state of things. He had strong opinions and liked to debate. He had this crazy laugh that drew attention, often unwanted. He liked to cheer in the spots where most were quiet and always always always, kept things interesting.

I recall having a few beers with Mike and another friend in a little South Boston bar about ten years ago called "The Abbey", a real townie bar, to say the least. Colorful behavior is not really appreciated or encouraged here, especially from outsiders. Yet, as the song "Kung Fu Fighting" began blaring, Fuge took to the center of the floor and began acting out terrifically bad karate moves in the jam-packed establishment. My friend Mike Daly, a 'local', was mortified, and probably not unwisely, feared just a bit for Fuge's safety.

Mike liked to yell stuff out the window of cars, preferably your car and in your neighborhood, if possible. Favorite shouts included, "NAMBLA RULES!!"

Explanations of why this behavior was cracked could never be heard over Fugie's roar of laughter.

Mike also liked to join in conversations with strangers by using cliches that didn't really fit into the flow of things.

He loved to approach someone he had never met at a wedding or party and ask, "So how've ya been?" or jump in the middle of a conversation he had no involvement in and rant, "now WAIT a minute!" or "you gotta be KIDDIN' me?"

The stunned people's dropped jaws would always be greeted by Fugie's trademark laugh which can't really be described in print.

Another of mike's favorite moves was breaking from the crowd and running full speed with a similar style to Paul Michael Glaser's "Starsky" character from "Starsky and Hutch" to get to whatever the destination was a few seconds ahead his friends. His feet would slap the concrete twice as loudly as neccesary, his face held the intense glare of an Olympic runner. he would keep a straight face as long as possible (usually a few seconds) then break into his trademark laugh.

A character.

As silly as he was, when the chips were down, Fugie was a true friend and someone you knew you could rely on. If he knew you were hurting, he would become serious in an instant, and had mastered an ability that is all too easily forgotten today- he listened. he asked questions that reflected genuine concern and showed he had really listeened to every word you had said, and he really cared. As much as he goofed around, he took time to let you know you were special to him and that he appreciated your friendship and enjoyed spending time with you.

I am going to miss Mike Fuge terribly.

I will always have the collection of hilarious moments given me by my friend Michael Fuge, and though I am greatly sadden by his exit, for each of those moments, I will always be grateful.

Thanks Fugie, it's been both a privilege and a pleasure knowing you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Johnny Cash Special

First off, I went to the dentist this morning, and it was perhaps the most painful experience of my life.

Oh, I didn't have dental surgery or anything, it was just a cleaning, but they had that horrendous "Rod Stewart butchers the classics" CD playing that has every dead standard singer from this century spinning in his grave.

I started begging for a root canal to distract the doctor just long enough to kick the cd player.

Now, the Johnny Cash special, tell me- was it any good?

The special FOR Johnny Cash, as CBS called it. While it might be for ca$h, (primarily that of CBS and the promoters behind the new biopic "Walk the Line" starring Jaquin Phoenix,) please don't tell me it's for Johnny, that's just insulting.

Cheryl Crow, Kid Rock, hmmm...

Kid Rock? Cheryl Crow? What, were Fifty cent and Avril Lavine already booked? How about a gritty Jessica Simpson version "24 Minutes to go"? I'm not sure I want to live another day if I can't hear John Mayer sing "Ring of Fire", mostly because I feel like my head is ON fire as the very thought.

Now I'm not saying I believe in heaven and hell in the traditional sense. NOR am I saying that Johnny Cash was a bad person, or in any way implying that he belongs in hell. I truly respect and admire the man. What I am saying is that IF Johnny is in hell, they were most definitely piping this special directly into his cell.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dell Sucks- a rant

I am genuinely curious... how the hell do these guys stay in business?

No stores. You have to go online, so you have to seek them out in the first place. Okay, fair enough. Maybe the fault lies with me for assuming an online process would be a fairly simple one. What it turned into was the equivalent of a root canal, sans novocaine.

Excruciating, simply excruciating.

I decided to jump on last week and order a notebook computer. The website seems easy enough to navigate, and I quickly found a laptop that suited me, complete with 0% financing, IF you are a preferred account card holder.

So I apply for the card, and somehow get denied, so I call the number. They can't tell me why I was denied, but assure me that I will get a letter from the bank in the mail. Now don't get me wrong, I have no money whatsoever, but my credit is pretty much iron clad, so I'm a little confused.

My confusion elevated when I received a preferred account card with my name on it a couple of days ago instead of a letter explaining why I can't have the card.

Still, I'm thinking, "Score!"

I had a few minutes this morning, so I logged on and picked out my new computer, a brandy-new model- the XPS something-or-other. I punch in my info and get a flag several times stating that my info didn't match. After fifteen minutes on the phone with a customer service rep, we figure out that the customer service lady the previous week had typed in my mother's maiden name incorrectly.

So I called customer abort, I mean customer support and got that straightened out.

They fill out my entire order... again, then inform me that my application was denied and I should be getting a letter from the bank. I inform them that I have the card in front of me already.


So I give the nice lady my account # and we're back in business. I answer all the original information on my application, again. She informs me that I need to talk to the information verifiers and clear "security", which involved another twenty minute conversation with the account verifier guy. Did I mention these conversations were on my cell phone, using DAY MINUTES?!?!?

At the end of this chat, "Michael" assured me that I was on my way to my own Dell notebook computer and I need have any further discussions with customer service-type folk.


Fifteen minutes later, I get a call from an 800 number in my cell. As my butt cheeks tighten, I know this is bad news, and more day-minutes flushed down the toilet.

"Why are you caaaaaaalling me?" I actually sang it into the phone.

"I was told I was all set, the order's done etc..."

A sweet voice came back at me, it was Melissa, from Dell's sales team.

"Well...I have a "quote here" but no order has been put in."

Me, "Is it for $1122 dollars? If so, put it in, we're all set, sounds great see-ya-lata."

"Okay, sure thing sir...uh...wait..."

Me, "no...There's no more waiting, I was promised...Michael promised me... please, please stop...."

"Well...There's a block on your social security number, sir. Apparently you didn't check a box or something on your initial application a week ago, and what Michael did was open a new account, but the old account has a block on it. It takes about ten days to clear that up."


At this point, I was not so much frustrated with the ten day wait as with my inability to find a match. I had blown out the pilot and turned on the jets on my gas stove about half way through the chat and was unable to find even one measly match, surely there had to be one lousy match in the house???

"Ten days for the account to clear up, then the usually 18 or so days to produce and ship the computer."

I have to tell you, I really want and need this computer, but I just couldn't;t do it.

"What if I can get it cleared up by tomorrow? Or today, even?" cooed Melissa.
She was a nice person, I would even dare say a sweetie, but I just couldn't see it. If it's this hard to buy a computer, I don;t even want to know what it'll be like if I have a problem or need something fixed. Yikes and double yikes.

So... Anyone have a suggestion about where I can get a computer?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Diamond in the Fluff

Okay, I know I'm going to lose 90% of you by mentioning Neil Diamond in the first sentence.

I sometimes wonder if I'm the only guy that has attended Diamond's show four times, as well as
seen the Ramones, the Gogos, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine and hard core band Tree. Those are certainly odd bed fellows to say the least.

BUT...after close to 30 years of barren material, Neilbo has finally produced something worth listening to. "12 Songs" is not exactly rocking alongside Green Day's latest, but it is a departure from the syrup-y tripe he has been punching out since forever ago. After a plethora of horse droppings loaded with melodrama, Diamond has returned to the source in this tripped-down CD.
I'm going to spare you my "review" of individual songs, but I'll say that "Hell Yeah" comes from his gut, as do a number of these songs, and says a helluva lot about the man's life. It was a stroke of genius to lose the glitter and splash that has plagued his soul-less music and get back to basics with producer Rick Rubin, who recently worked wonders with Johnny Cash's similarly simple final effort, while enlisting aid from Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell and Billy Preston.

The main difference is that Cash hadn't lost all credibility as an artist. Diamond dug down deep for this one, wanting to be remembered more for great song writing and heartfelt music than rhinestones and squishy melodrama. At 64, he wants us to know that he gives a shit. Listening to "12 songs" isn't going to make me forget "If You Know What I Mean" or "Solitary Man", but at least it eases the agony of "Lovescapes". Lovescapes was so bad it will stay with me after death, and if I happen to head down, instead of up, I imagine it will be the soundtrack Satan pipes into my cell.

Thank you for "12 songs", dude.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A good new book by a guy I know.

My friend Richard Graham-Yooll, a Brit with a funny name, just published his first novel

It's called A Foreign policy. The cool thing is that I saw some of the chapters in this book a couple of years ago when Richard brought them to our writer's group. It's weird seeing this stuff now, seeing changes, but mostly seeing that this guy after working hard on his books for years finally got a chance.

The book is like everything he writes; loaded with tension, plot twists and interesting characters. You can never rest, the thing moves at jet speed from chapter one to the final page.

Please consider buying this book, if you like international or political thrillers, you won't be disappointed.

I got mine at Barnes & Noble, but I did have to order it. My friend found one at a Border's right on the shelf. It comes in paperback and is $6.99. It can also be purchased on I'd put the link here, but it's about a page long.

Richard's site is You can read a little about the book and see if you might like it.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Naked Show

Improv Boston (ironically located in Innman Sq, Cambridge) played host last night to Andy O'Fiesh's "Naked Show".'s just like it sounds. All comedians- completely neckid.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I admired the comics on the bill for having the moxy to get up naked in front of a roomful of comedy patrons and perform stand up. I wondered if I would be able to do jokes about beer commercials and stop lights while wondering if the lady in the front row was judging me by my shlong.

How long a set could I do? Well, I can only hold my stomach in for about three minutes, so it would have to be somewhat shorter than that, although I'd plan to invest at least that much explaining shrinkage. Hard to believe most women still don't know about that little male issue.

To maintain concentration during a set isn't always easy to begin with, but in the buff? Talk about a challenge. I was much impressed by the focus of the comics on the bill. The audience seemed willing to laugh, albeit slightly uncomfortable, as was I.

Many things came to me during the show. Primarily, if I ever did this, I would abandon the notion of prepared material and focus on off-the-cuff stuff, or "riffing" as we like to call it when we want to sound cool and trying to stay in the moment, cuz everybody else sure is.

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