Sunday, July 27, 2008

Help Wanted.

Seen last Friday in the men's bathroom of a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia:

Now where I come from, that's called Agalmatophilia.

Which reminds's been a while since I saw a certain 1987 Kim Cattrall/Andrew McCarthy blockbuster called Mannequin. As I recall the role of Claire Prince Timkin was played by Estelle Getty, who - as it so happens - passed away last week. You may recall that Ms. Getty also played the role of Sophia Petrillo on the television show, Golden Girls. Her character was the mother of Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak, ably played by Bea Arthur...arguably the most successful transvestite in the history of Hollywood.

Um...where was I?

Where YOU should be is at

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Late last month I learned that the State of North Carolina apologized for the inadvertent printing of some 10,000 license plates that were adorned with the letters "WTF". It seemed that some automobile owners in the Tar Heel State were incensed that such a politically incorrect sentiment might have to be affixed to their cars.

I'm betting that these offended North Carolinians drive a Prius.

The state has sent a letter to all 10,000 recipients of these plates that - should the owners desire - North Carolina will replace these profane plates at the state's expense.

Now today comes word from the State of Arkansas that they too have goofed. 981 newly-minted plates have the letters "NGR". Seems this aggregious error was brought to the state's attention by a one Miss Alice Kunce. Alice was presented with her new license plate this Tuesday (which you see to the left), and asked for another plate, as she felt the letters "NGR" were obviously racist.

Uh-huh. You've got a lot of free time on your hands now, don't you Alice?

The legislators in Arkansas saw fit to recall and destroy all 981 sets of plates. That's 1,962 plates in all. At a cost of $1.46 per plate that $2,864.52 the state paid for such silliness. That doesn't count the cost of reprinting the plates, nor sending out notices to the car owners, nor the cost incurred in wasted manhours, etc.

With the economies of most states in the shitter, should this really be a priority? OMG. I'd be ROTFL if this wasn't such a waste of time and money. IMHO.
FYI, will keep you ROTFL...go check 'em out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I think that we can all agree that there's one thing that Hollywood is good at. Okay, besides providing safe haven for narcissistic, whiny, overpaid, recidivistic rehab types. Hollywood is good at taking something they think we find amusing/charming/enduring and then shoving it down our throats until we choke on it like Elizabeth Taylor on a chicken bone.

Case in point?
Abigail Breslin!

Could it be that I am the only moviegoer in America that thinks that this faux-imp's 15 minutes of fame was over long ago? While she started hitting screens (both large and small) at the age of six, it was four years later - in 2006 - that she burst onto the collective consciousness of Hollywood (now there's an oxymoron if there ever was one!) in the roll of Olive Hooper in Little Miss Sunshine. Not since Donna Reed played a hooker in From Here to Eternity did going against type (namely, a type that included dancing like a slut) done so much for a young lady's career.

Since then, Hollywood has seen fit to churn out so many vehicles which can display her proto-precociousness. These include such forgettable films as Nim's Island, Kit Kitridge, No Reservations and Definately Maybe...a movie which, incidentally, I've been subjected to on no fewer than SIX American Airline's flights! At least I now have found a use for their complementary airsick bags. Oh, and the pre-landing butter mint.

Displaying a range of emotions which can best be described as "Costner-esque", adorable Miss Breslin has become all the rage in Tinsel Town.

Can they please make it stop?!? It's like being force-fed tons of cotton candy and washing it down with Kool-Aid. My teeth hurt from all the sugar! If we have to be subjected to incessant images of a 'cute, little girl', can we at least have one that's cute? That's little? That looks like a girl? THAT CAN AT LEAST ACT?!?

Whoa. Good. I feel better now. Thanks for letting me purge that out of my system.

Now go fill your system with funny:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Bittersweet Anniversary.

I really couldn't let this day pass without mentioning that it's the 39th Anniversary of man first setting foot on the moon. On July 20th 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong fulfilled one of mankind's most earnest desires. He became the first of only twelve human beings to walk upon the surface of another celestial body. I should say twelve so far.

My gawd, has it been nearly 40 years? Amazing. Embarrassing if you asked me. It's high time that we start pushing the boundaries of technology, imagination and a sense of adventure, and 'slip the surely bonds of Earth' for something better than a half-assed space station.

What I wouldn't give to be one of those lucky twelve!

And while you ponder the Final Frontier, go explore some funny at

M*A*S*H Up.

My two boys, Jack and Thom have found a favorite new program on TV. And, no, it's not Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron or (thank Gawd!) Jackass.

It's M*A*S*H.

That's right. M*A*S*H. That (sometimes) lovable CBS sitcom that ran from 1972 until 1983. My boys love the humor...from the dry and caustic to the slapstick and predictable, this show hits their funny bones. And to them that Sargent in drag, Emil "Max" Klinger*, is one of the greatest comedic geniuses of all time. I can let their error in judgement slide because Harpo Marx (my all time favorite comic) is on their short lists, too.

One evening as we caught a re-run of M*A*S*H, I mentioned to the boys that the exterior camp shots were filmed in Malibu Canyon, less than three hours' drive south of us. "Could we go visit it, Dad?" they asked. When I mentioned that the site was now a state park, and that we could hike a trail into the old site, they both got very excited by the prospect.

So it was that when Amie and I decided that yesterday would be a "Boys Day", I immediately thought, 'why not go to Malibu?' The drive there and back would be relatively painless, and full of a lot time for those boy's-only stories (which, as a point of clarification for those of you without boys, are like your typical child-like stories, but more often than not include gratuitous mention of blood and/or poop). The day's activities also ensured that I could get the boys to hike nearly 10 miles without them thinking for a moment that their daddy was trying to get them to exercise. Both Jack and Thom were excited by the proposition of seeing the setting, so at 8am yesterday we loaded up my car, and headed south.

Getting out to the site involves a hike of about 2.5 miles. Most of its fairly easy, and well-marked. That is it's well-marked up until the last half mile of it. It's there that the trail gets vague. The path is very narrow, mostly along a dry riverbed, and there are no longer clear signs pointing you in the right direction. Luckily for us there were a number of folks scattered along the trail - oddly, the overwhelming majority of which were Asian - one of whom happened to have a map of the park. Armed with these fresh directions, we headed off to our destination.

I have to be report that when you finally get to the destination, it is a bit anticlimactic. There's not much out there...just two rusted out Army vehicles, and what remains of the ridge which served as the helicopter landing pad. But taking in the surrounding landscape it quickly becomes very familiar...that is to anyone who watched the show. And who of us living in America in the late Seventies didn't watch M*A*S*H?

After about 30 minutes of the boys crawling all over the trucks while I looked around to get my M*A*S*H bearings, we headed back to where we had started. The kids were a bit disappointed by what they found at the trail's end...but I had prepared them to keep expectations low, and overall they were glad to have made the trek.

It was as we were hiking back that we suddenly we heard the "whoop-whoop" sounds of a very low-flying helicopter. That certainly got me and the boys excited, and while we couldn't see it, it was obvious that this 'chopper was very close by, and getting ready to land. "Do you think that helicopter has some of the M*A*S*H actors in it, dad?" Thom asked. "Probably not, son...more than likely someone's done something stupid, and needs help." We ran as quickly as we could down the trail, and entered a clearing just in time to see the helicopter take off and head south.

As we walked toward the landing area we were met by nearly 20 sheriff's deputies and paramedics. Seems my prediction was, sadly, closer to the point than Thom's. "Is everyone alright?" I asked one of the sheriffs. "Not really," was his vague reply. We learned from one of the other team members that a man had just drowned in the park's lake. It appears that this man decided to take a swing on a tree rope over the lake...but forgot one thing: he did not know how to swim. The divers on the helicopter found the man at the bottom of the lake. "Not a safe choice, huh dad?" was Jack's take on things. As usual, Jack gets to the heart of the matter.

After saying a prayer for the man and his family, we trekked back towards the parking lot, and dropped into the Visitors Center, which is staffed by pleasant - and very well-informed - docents. Turns out that this park started out as a fairly exclusive country club whose members enjoyed fishing, hunting and getting away from LA (don't I know that feeling). Then 20th Century Fox purchased the whole 20,000 acres, and used it for decades to substitute for such exotic locations as China (The Sand Pebbles) to futuristic Earth (various Planet of the Apes' movies), to whitebread America (Pleasantville). They donated the land to the state of California, with the proviso that they could film there when they wanted to.

All in all a very enjoyable day for the Garretson boys...and a hard lesson learned in keeping things safe. If you should find yourself in the Malibu area, I'd suggest hiking in the Malibu Creek State Park. The scenery is beautiful, and the hike is a great way to spend the day.

*Quick! Where did the name "Sargent Emil Klinger" come from? If you guessed the 1959 movie North by Northwest, give yourself a Hershey Bar. Or a pair of nylons.

Okay, so this post wasn't exactly 'funny'. But I never said all my posts would be. If it's funny you're looking for, go check out

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mat, James. James, Mat.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I'm a BIG fan of James Hunter (check out here and here). Well, last Saturday I finally had the opportunity to see James Hunter and his band live in concert.

And they were great!

They played at the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara...not a bad venue at all. It's a real great example of Santa Barbara architecture (the importance of which my buddy, Jeff - an accomplished architect - pointed out to me), but to my way of thinking the Lobero is more suited to orchestra music and small plays than killer R&B the likes of James Hunter Band. It makes it really difficult for folks to get up out of their seats and dance. That said, it was a whole lotta fun. The music was rock solid, and the it was more than well worth the two hour trip there and back to see them live.

After the concert I had the good fortune to actually meet James Hunter and the other members of his band. Turns out a good many of these guys are wine lovers...especially tenor saxophonist, Damian Hand.

Before I left for home, I promised to send the guys some of my wines. It's the least I can do considering the great music they've provided me.

Check out the James Hunter website.

And please go check out - and vote for my posts - on the website. Thanks!

Playin' Catch Up.

Mea Culpa.

It's been ten days (ten days!) since I've posted. After nearly six weeks of traveling, I was in need of some decompression. Reflecting back over the past few weeks, I've found that I've learned a thing or two. Or three:

1.) That while I love France, there are some things that are just too - comment dites-vous? - French for me. Case in point, this metal sculpture to the right. This fence is located at the entrance/exit of a footbridge over the Rhône River that connects the town of Tain l'Hermitage to that of Tournon.

Any guess as to what that vertical metal structure is in the middle of the fence? It's a throughway for bike riders. Suppossedly the shape permits those on bicycles to pedal their way through the device, without the need of dismounting. I say 'supposedly' because in the three hours I was enjoying my dinner overlooking this bridge, EVERY SINGLE bicyclist who attempted to navigate through it got it wrong.

This device serves as a great example that in France it is far better for a device to look good than to actually operate well. Just ask any Citröen owner.

2.) That, sadly, all of O'Hare airport seems to be embracing this type of toilet. I bitched about these crappy, um, crappers in an April post (which may be found here). Luckily, or so I thought, I could escape these ridiculous devices in the relative saftey and comfort of the American Airlines' Admiral's Club.

Well, seems as if the Admiral's Club is installing these types, too. On my last few visits I've noted that about 50% of the toilets had these ass-gasket devices. What is it that Chicagoans like about these silly things?

The horror. The horror.

3.) That even though I've experienced it for two decades, encountering this view still positively sucks. And, sadly, it's a view I've been seeing all to often these days.

Why is it that every time I enter an empty hotel hallway I am suddenly reminded of the movie, "Defending Your Life"?

Ah, the life of a road warrior.

You can treat yourself to the high-life of funny just by clicking onto

Friday, July 4, 2008

Answers for June's LIST

Where or where did I go wrong? A few months back I added (what I thought was) a quaint little 'brain teaser' to my blog site: "The List". The idea was to provide readers each month with a seemingly random list of quotes...quotes from works of literature, from television, from movies or from musical lyrics. It would then be the job of willing, intrepid readers of this blog to correctly identify the work the quote comes from as well as who uttered them.

Simple enough? Fun? It would appear that - based upon the lack of responses for June's installment - it is neither. Pity. Well, for those of you who had been playing along, here are the correct answers for June's List:

"The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions" - Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1775

"The Road to Hell is Paved With Adverbs." - Stephen King

"The Road to Hell is Paved with Un-bought Stuffed Dogs." Bill Gorton, The Sun Also Rises

"The Safest Road to Hell is the Gradual One..." - C. S. Lewis

"We're on the Highway to Hell!" - AC/DC, 1979

With the lack of entries for last month's List, I am left wondering if I should go on. I probably will, but for today I am going to give it a miss. Time to barbecue with the family and prepare for fireworks tonight.

Happy 4th of July to you and yours!

And be sure to celebrate America's funnybone by clicking here on