Yep. Years worth of animation cells from Animaniacs, Freakazoid and other odds and ends shall be sold by me! 100% of proceeds will go to Angels Way Maternity Home in the San Fernando Valley. I've been working with them for years and...in this economy...they could use a little help keeping the doors open.
Here's a little preview of the stuff I'm going to sell. Probably on Ebay. But I gotta figure that out.
Normally, I don't like jokes. Don't know why. You'd think I do. But I don't. Should. But don't.
That said, I did hear a joke I thought was blog worthy.
So. Gather everyone around. Quiet. Ready?
And thus begins the joke:
Seems there was a monastery high in the mountains. The rules at this monastery were quite strict. Talking was forbidden. Always. Except once a year...on Christmas...one monk could say one sentence and one sentence only. And each year, it changed from monk to monk.
So, one Christmas, as all the monks were sitting down to dinner...they awaited what Brother Duncan would say. He rose from the table, looked at everyone and said, "I think these mashed potatoes are quite good." Then he sat down.
The next Christmas...365 days later, it was Brother Michael's turn to speak. He rose from the table, looked at the others and said, "I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy." He then sat down.
365 days later...at Christmas dinner...it was Brother Andrew's turn to speak. He rose from the table and said, "I'm sick and tired of all this bickering!"
Mac Drivel, my creative writing teacher at Burbank City College. has encouraged me to put some of my short stories on my blog. He says it will give me the confidence I need to overcome by fear of narratives. Seems I don't like stories per se, but enjoy typing quite a bit. So, here goes.
Mrs. Yortsen And The Kindly Elf represents my first attempt at the French writing method of 'calligraphie inepte'. I got the idea for the story while watching a snake eat a mouse at our local Petco. Mac Drivel has encouraged us to choose a color that represents the basic mood of the story. I have chosen amber. But I think you will also detect a hint of green. Although, one sentence is decidedly blue.
'Calligraphie inepte' was quite popular during the Renaissance. Blathord L'Blanc, a French physician and mortician, invented the technique while embalming a circus monkey.
Anyway, enough stalling. (I'm just so nervous.) Here it is.
Mrs. Yortsen And The Kindly Elf. By Paul Rugg. 12/2/2010. Mac Drivel's Creative Writing Class. Room 321. Seat 32C.
"Swoon!" went the noises which were heard by Mrs. Yortsen and yet not made by her! (The sounds I mean.) "Swish!" Again there was another noise which caused within her an interest to arise as to what those sounds could be as she sat there at the kitchen table in a chair by the window while looking outside and wondering what the sounds were.
As if by magic or something else akin to magic yet not of this world, a deep thrumming began to osculate the rich humus of her yard. Humus was heaved mightily and when the heaving eventually ceased, a hole was noticed by her. (Mrs. Yortsen.)
Mrs. Yortsen rose from her sitting position in the chair and pushed away from the table that the chair was near. A gasp rose in her throat and eventually came out as an audible noise. This was a noise of surprise and it sounded something like, "Whhhhhaaaaaat?" (Only in gasp form. Like if you sat on a tack. I don't know how to spell that noise.)
She was wearing slippers, so Mrs. Yortsen thought it would be fine to run outside. Whereas, if she hadn't been wearing slippers, she would have to had to gotten them first which would have meant she needed to go upstairs. But she didn't. (Which is lucky for the story. Because the scene upstairs where she gets her slippers was kind of boring. That's the blue sentence I told you about.)
Throwing open the door, yet with its hinges still in place, meaning that she didn't actually throw the door but merely opened it aggressively, Mrs. Hamilton (who had changed her name from Mrs. Yortsen in a scene that I decided to not include) ran to the hole, bent over and looked inside.
"I am an elf! And stuck at that! Timberdee!" (That was something this elf said as an expression.)
Mrs. Hamilton (aka Mrs. Yortsen former wife of Mayor Beld Yortsen whom had been arrested five years earlier for stealing tax funds and was now in jail and THAT was the reason Mrs. Hamilton [Yorsten] decided to change her name in the scene I decided not to include) make another gasp sound.
"I shall fetch a shovel and dig you out," said Mrs. Hamilton happily to the elf. (I don't mean to imply that Mrs. Hamilton was happy at this point in the story. But merely that she said it happily. There's a big difference.)
With that, she dug the elf out of the hole, but unfortunately pierced his heart in the process. He died soon thereafter. Fearing that she would be suspected as having killed an elf...and already worried about the fact that her husband was in jail and if she went to jail who would look after Ben, their son who was at a sleep-away camp in the mountains...she buried the elf. But only after going through his pocket for money. (Elves, as a general rule, only have one pocket. Woodland dwarves have more than that, but they do not figure into this story.)
I'm sure we've all been there. That first time you cook a turkey on your own. As dusk gives way to the mellow meanderings of autumn orangeness and whispy wantings (I've been taking a writing class), I am drawn back to my first attempt at roasting a turkey. It was shortly after marrying my wife.
My wife is, in case you didn't know, from Cuba. Cubans are a thrifty people. After coming to America they usually celebrated Thanksgiving by eating a single raspberry and then arguing with each other about when Castro would die. Then they'd say it was too cold and everyone would put on a coat.
And so, I was determined to give my dearest wife a true American Thanksgiving. A proper Thanksgiving. As an American, I was perfectly suited to do just that.
And what better way to do that than to purchase a fresh turkey from a fresh turkey farm. These turkeys were so fresh they were still living. I brought home my live turkey (by the way, they make a mess in the car) and set about to prepare it for dinner.
I didn't know much about cooking. But I knew an oven was vital to the process. I preheated it to 325 and put the turkey in. It was hard getting it in there. It tried to snap at me a few times, but I eventually lured it in with some candy corn.
What I remember the most is the noise. For about a half an hour it put up a pretty good fight. It pecked at the glass and made some unusual noises which I drowned out with an Enya CD.
Eventually its feathers caught fire. When I opened the oven door it ran out and caught my dog on fire. My word! What a time. I grabbed the turkey with a towel and threw it in the shower. I turned on the water and it drowned. I felt bad for a while....but I LOVE turkey, so I brought it back to the oven.
Anyway...what a time! Ha ha ha! I'll never do that again. From that day on all my turkey's have been dead, de-feathered and gibblet-less. However, I have since stuffed them all with candy corn.
I don't often quote our 29th president, Warren G. Harding, but in this case I think it's appropriate.
My first blig in over three months indeed marks a return to normalcy. Although, when I say that, I don't hold my fist like I'm crushing a defenseless bee.
So, where the heck have I been? Unfortunately...gainfully employed on three different projects. One is now completed and I can again turn my attention to important matters...like bligging.
And what better way to return to bligging than bligging about our 29th president. Most people don't know a lot about Warren G. Harding. In fact, most 5th grade students have never even heard of him. In most textbooks he's simply referred to as 'Our 29th President'. In some textbooks in the San Francisco School District, he's simply referred to as 'That mean president.' Those same textbooks refer to President Taft as, 'Lard ass'.
Anyway, here are some things you may want to know about Warren G. Harding:
1. Harding began each morning by killing seven ferrets with his bare hands. While most of us might think that's a rather strange way to start the day, Harding explained that, "The regular killing of a ferret enlivens one's humors, reduces turbidity and has no to equal in the reduction of hand callouses. What's more, I enjoy it."
2. Harding detested the term 'baker's dozen' and lobbied congress heavily to have its use federally outlawed. Harding became so obsessed with this issue that it nearly paralyzed his presidency. In his memoirs, "Harding!" Harding wrote, "I think a dozen should be a dozen. 12 is 12. Are we so immutable and languid as to allow bakers to undo thousands of years of mathematical progress, not to mention the dumbification of untold children merely for the sake of ignominious hyperbole? Should we allow this aberration to stand, I see no reason why other trades won't insist on their own proclivities of numeration. We may have a Fisherman's Dozen which by my accounting would be 15! A Mason's dozen could reach the unwieldy valuation of 19. And a Pharmacists dozen could lead to innumerable abrasions of the eye."
3. An amateur botanist, Harding spent his later years trying to breed a geranium with a Siamese cat. He explained by insisting that, "This hybrid species would not only flower each spring, but purr as well. What's more it would be pleasing to the touch and could take its nourishment from the earth rather than the can." Harding claimed he had succeeded in breeding the strange hybrid and even displayed it at the 1923 meeting of the Chicago Botanical Society. Harding was rebuked however when it was discovered he had simply taken the head of a cat and stuck it onto a geranium stalk. Harding vehemently denied the charge, but later conceded after a dead, headless Siamese cat was discovered in his waistcoat. For years Harding insisted such a hybrid could be bred, "if it were not for the encumbrances of time and common sense."
Just a reminder to everyone: we're going to have our Froynlaven board meeting tomorrow in the small conference room on the 2nd floor. (Across from that bigger room with those things on the door.)
I know it's Saturday, but I'd like us to get started at 8am sharp. We're going to have a presentation by our landscape chairman, Len Buttress, and I'd like everyone to be there. Len came by yesterday and gave me an overview and it was almost interesting.
Mrs. Yorgenson has also put together a subversive powerpoint presentation which we'll be showing after Len's.
Also, the maintenance people have informed me the restrooms will be closed for repair. So, I suggest everyone bring a jar or some other means of sanitary collection.
As always, Bridget has asked that we all pitch in and bring at least one side-dish. She's also asked me to remind everyone about Mrs. Layette's food allergies. So please don't bring anything that's been exposed to peanuts, eggs, bananas, greens, milk, wheat, meat from hoofed animals, air, felt, or poultry.
In order to help Bridget, would you all kindly respond with what you'll bring? That way, we won't duplicate and avoid the fight we had last month.
Billy Sawson has asked that we put 5 minutes on the agenda so he can show us that Abraham Lincoln superhero cartoon that he's worked so hard on. I think it's only fair that we support Billy in his efforts, so let's all try not to make fun of him like we did last time. (Ben? Mrs. Yorgenson?)
Also, I hate to mention this, but I'd ask everyone to try to shower before the meeting and use a good deodorant soap. (LifeBoy, Lava, Irish Spring, Dial, Zest) All these can be found at your local supermarket. Please avail yourself of these products.
I hope to conclude the meeting by 9pm. So, if anyone would like to go out afterwards, I think that would be nice. Kay Mamers has said that we're all welcome to come to her house. She'd like to remind everyone that her dogs bite if you look at them, so bring your special glasses.
Way back in 1997, a polite, bright young man was on a brief break from his studies at Annapolis. That Annapolis. The Navy Annapolis.
This particular young man happened to be a big fan of all things animation. But...not just any animation...WARNER BROTHERS ANIMATION. I told you he was bright, right?
Jamie also happened to be my wife's younger cousin. She asked if I could do something special for him and so, I sorta did. He and his mom spent an afternoon watching one of Richard Stone's last scoring sessions for Freakazoid on the Warners lot. We had food in the commissary. We chatted animation. Bugs. Daffy. Wacko. Freakazoid.
That was many years ago.
Today, Jamie is on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan as a helicopter commander. His wife, three kids (with another one on the way) eagerly await his return.
Jamie is still a big fan of animation. I shipped him the 2nd season of Freakazoid all the way to Afghanistan last year.
I thought of Jamie today. I've heard the heat is close to 111 every day.
I thought of him because I'm struggling with another writing project. What should that character say? What should happen next? It's all soooo difficult. In air conditioned comfort. With my wife and daughter in the next room.
Anyway, please keep Jamie in your prayers. As well as Deanna Oliver's son, Colin.
No, it's not that oil spill. Scientists and Nobel Prize winners are working on that. So, that's gonna work out okay. (Although, as a man who has seen more that his share of science fiction movies, I would be remiss if I didn't remind the President that in all of those movies, the scientists never get it right. They either go mad, or because of extreme idealism are killed by the creature they are trying to "understand."Watch Forbidden Planet if you don't believe me. Doc was lulled by science and almost ate it.
If there's anything these movies have proved is that you need a rugged individualist like James Arness to throw a wrench at it. Or a barrel. Or something else.
Anyway, that's not what I want to warn all America about today. The threat I am referring to is big. And secret. And if we aren't careful, it's going to destroy us all.
I am writing this blog from a secret location where we spend much of the summer. It's on the coast a few hours away from LA. Here, over the years, we have observed many people from different countries. For the most part, they have given us no reason to fear.
Well, that has all changed. FEAR! Do you hear me, Americans! Fear! And what should you fear? I'll tell you...
CAPRI PANTS...FOR MEN!!!!!
Yes, I've seen them. And, we need to stop it. I first saw this insidious horror while in Scotland a few years back. A man was wearing...not pants...not shorts...but something that came up to the ankles. I shuddered. This was wrong. These pants are exclusively reserved for Barbie. Or my daughter.
But on men, it is...I can't even explain. The horror. THE HORROR.
Upon leaving Scotland I thought I had left the site of those pants behind. But no. NO.
I have seen them this week...not once. Not twice. But MANY times. The men wearing these pants are NOT FROM HERE. No, they are from elsewhere. From other countries. Countries where, I suppose, they have given up. Thrown in the towel. Have not stood firm when someone suggests, "These are Capri Pants for men. Would you like to try them?"
I beg all men in America. Please, stand your ground. If a wife, salesman, census worker, et al... suggest you might look good in Capri Pants, know they are evil. Stand your ground. Resist. repeat this simple phrase...CAPRI PANTS FOR MEN ARE STUPID, VILE AND A THREAT TO MY WAY OF LIFE.
Because it never fails. I cry. I keep it inside. But, still. I cry. Water escapes out my eyes. I can't help it. Anyway, in two days, I'm gonna cry.
My daughter's Catholic school has a tradition both at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. There's a 'Start Of School Mass' and an 'End of School Mass.' At the end of each of these Masses, the entire student body sings a song while doing sign language.
So approximately 300 kids...1st grade to 8th grade...all sing this song. The first time I witnessed this I looked around and saw all these kids singing this song and doing sign language. Within moments, I was a utter lump of flesh unable to stand. My wife looked at me and wondered why water was coming out my eyes. I don't know. Sometimes...things just sorta hit ya. It was the earnestness. The utter innocence. Kids. Ya know? Good kids.
Well, this year I am prepared. I have special glasses that will prevent anyone from seeing that I am overcome with emotion. These glasses look like I've just had major eye surgery and am 80 years old and am a dangerous driver. But I don't care. I need these glasses.
I know that upon hearing this song sung and signed by the kids, I will melt. And if the glasses don't work, I have a plan "B". I will drop my keys on the floor and pretend to find them. (I cannot claim this move as my own. It's my dad's. Shortly after Vatican II, a part of the Mass had us all shake hands and exchange the sign of peace. My father hated that and would pretend to tie his shoes. Or, he would pretend he had an infectious disease. Or, he would simply say, "I hate you.")
Regardless, when the kids all sit in the pews and sing this song I will have the sniffles. So, here's plan "C". I plan to wear a shirt that says, "I Have Allergies And Am Not Overly Emotional".
Here's plan "D". When people hear me crying, I will tell them I am rehearsing for an audition. The role is for a monkey who is lost and recovering from heat rash. Very severe heat rash. A heat rash so nasty as to make the monkey cry a lot.
Anyway, it's a few days away. I'm already weeping just thinking about watching these kids sing, but I have special glasses so you can't tell. Ha ha.
So, here is the song they do. It's religious, so if you can't handle that, move on...
And it's not always easy. Because sometimes nothing interesting happens to me. And sometimes I can't think of anything interesting to write.
However, not so this fine morn. Morn is short for morning. That's not particularly interesting or the interesting thing I'm going to write about, it's just something I thought you might like to know. You can use it if you want. You can say something like, "Boy, isn't this a fine morn?" And when someone asks you what you meant, you can refer them to this blog. Or you can tell them yourself if you're comfortable with the explanation. If you're not, you really shouldn't attempt it.
Anyway, here are some interesting things...
1. Jay Leno Sightings. Okay, so after I drop off my daughter at school at 7:45, I get on the 101 and head into Burbank to spend some time at Nickelodeon. As I get in the left lane to merge onto the 134, I have been next to, behind, in front of, or a few cars away from Jay Leno. Not once mind you, but this is approaching at least 20 times in the past two months. Mr. Leno is always in a different car. A fancy car or a sports car, or a classic car, or some other car that rich, car enthusiasts like to drive. I don't know what those are called, so, don't ask. From what I have seen, Mr. Leno is a fine driver, although he tends to speed right after the 134 turn off.
Anyway, I thought that was interesting. But, as this is the last week of school, I doubt I will see Mr. Leno again until September. So, there's a loss there for me. Not a big one. But a loss none the less. Anyway, that's interesting, right? Isn't it?
2. Lunch Meetings. Readers of this blog know how much I hate auditions. You may be interested to know that I hate lunch meetings even more. A lunch meeting is usually set up by my writing agent. At these lunch meetings I have lunch with someone I don't know who is supposedly interested in hiring me. Because I don't know the person, a great deal of time will always be taken up by trying to find them in the restaurant. I hate that part. The restaurants will always be incredibly trendy and called something like, Hama Hama, or Q's, or Sasafras, or 116, or Piche Piche. There will always be no parking and I'll have to use the valet. That means I'll have to clean out my car...because my car is always filled with junk and it's embarrassing when the valet opens my door and three empty bottles of orange Fanta fall out.
And then comes to the lunch. I will talk to this person I don't know and we will eat in front of each other while talking about stuff. I will want to eat all the bread and use all the butter, but won't because this is California and folks are afraid of bread and are suspicious of people that aren't. The waiter will always come over and tell us about the specials of the day. I'll pretend to listen and nod and say things like, "That sounds great." The waiter will usually end by saying the last dish is drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette and covered in ground huntun seed.
Then we'll eat. My wife has told me that I don't really have a meal, I devour it in a manner akin to a scene from Quest For Fire. But, at these meetings, I am always careful to maintain my dignity. I'll try not to pick up the food with my fingers and shove it in my mouth. I'll try not to ask for ketchup. I'll try not to wipe my hands on my shirt. I'll try to be charming, interesting and not show that I'd like to be anywhere else.
I have told my agent that I don't want to go on any more lunch meetings. Unless it's at Chucky Cheese. That would be fun.
3. Press Conferences After Basketball Games Are Stupid. I'm sorry, but they are. What is there to say? Come on. Seriously. Well, usually here's what there is to say. "We need to control the ball." That's always a good one. "We need to play our game." That's always interesting. But perhaps my favorite is always, "They beat us."
A review of pictures from a family vacation in Whistler (in Canada which is another country. It's very clean but they say the word "couch" in an odd way) has proved shocking.
The above sentence wasn't written very well. So, I'm going to redo it without all the Canada stuff.
A review of pictures from a family vacation in Whistler has proved shocking.
My wife made reservation for us to all go zip-lining through the tall trees that Canada has a lot of.
I'm not a fan of heights, but she assured me it would be enjoyable. It was. Very.
But as I looked at the pictures of said zip-lining excursion, I discovered something horrifying. Canadians don't like me. I don't know why. I like them. Oh, they may say they like me. But, when the think nobody is looking, they don't like me. They like my wife and daughter. But me? There is a general loathing.
Perhaps some of you think I'm being to sensitive. Ha! I have the proof.
Let's do this...
The following pictures are a series of shots as we each left a platform and zip-lined over a ravine of great depth. Let's see how much the Canadians like my wife, shall we?
Here she goes. Notice how everyone is concerned for her. They want her to make it to the other side.
Here she is! Flying over the raging torrent!
Next, it was my daughter's turn.
Ahh! All eyes are upon her as she begins her treacherous journey! You can almost hear the Canadians saying, "We like that girl! What a brave little girl!"
And brave she was! But she's not the one who is afraid of heights. That would be me.
Now, let's see what happens when it's my turn.
They can't even bear to look at me. You can almost hear them say, "Him? I hope the line breaks. We hate that guy! We turn our backs on you! PAUL!"
I don't understand where this deep hatred comes from. I'm a huge fan of maple products. I like most of the products Canada exports...like Rich Little.
"Please spare no expense in making a small video of you or your group doing something not even remotely entertaining, but with such enthusiasm and dancing happiness as too make us believe what you have done is amazing..."
Maz has entered the following. It is with great joy I show the following. And now...the following...
And this! From Alec D's Art! Here is it! Alec D's Art's entry! ALEC D'S ART!
I am humbled again.
Mine is coming.
Join me is saying, "A job well done! Let's take over the world!"
Takineko has proved herself worthy of all things due her!!!!!
It is with great delight that I present her entry into Froynlaven's video challenge...
"Please spare no expense in making a small video of you or your group doing something not even remotely entertaining, but with such enthusiasm and dancing happiness as too make us believe what you have done is amazing..."
Thanks to Tom Ruegger for combing through Youtube for this...well...I think it's some form of entertainment. I have watched it a few times. I think it proves well the old adage I don't quite remember. But it proves it.
If I were still doing Manny The Uncanny, I would steal this guy's act.
If you're still with me, I'd like to propose a little contest of sorts. YES. A FROYNLAVEN VIDEO CHALLENGE. I'll even do it, too.
Please spare no expense in making a small video of you or your group doing something not even remotely entertaining, but with such enthusiasm and dancing happiness as too make us believe what you have done is amazing. I will do it, too. (No knives, though.)
You can email me your link on youtube...or you may email it to me...or whatever you like. Let's say we have a week or something.
PS, You can find the Froynlaven email directly to the right and above...
I have a 30 page script due in 9 days. This morning I started the script by typing, "FADE IN:" That was three hours ago.
Since then I have been deeply engaged in a website that tells you what TV stars you think are dead...aren't. James Arness is still with us.
This is James Arness.
And he's still with us. (In case I haven't made that clear.)
Now back to the script which is due in 9 days. It seems that I wrote more than "FADE IN:" this morning. I also wrote, "EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING. An imposing figure in silhouette."
I don't know why I didn't finish that sentence. "An imposing figure in silhoutte..." The imposing figure in silhouette should be doing something. I probably didn't write what the imposing figure in silhouette was doing because it would have been wrong and I would have to continue writing to get it right...and that, my friends...is why finding out what TV stars I think were dead...but aren't...became so important.
The not-dead TV stars website also linked me to the vitally important "What Names Famous Stars Were Born With."
Did you know, Alan Alda's real name is Alfonso Joseph D'Abruzzo?
This is Alan Alda.
He's not dead either.
The bottom line here is that the very first page in a script is the least pleasant. If I could skip over that page and move to page 19...that would be dandy. By page 19, there's no time to worry if it's all working, because a dealine. You gotta finish. But page one. That dreary, nasty, extremely temperamental page one is the hardest of pages. Each word is fraught with peril. It's a minefield of options...
On any other day I would never consider for a moment wanting to know who's alive that I think is dead. Only page one days like this cause my mind to seek refuge wherever I can. Sometimes, page one days...as this one is turning out to be...has caused me to scour YOUTUBE for videos of dogs doing stupid things. Hours. And hours.
Which, by the way, leads me to this video. Enjoy...
I'm not proud that I spent many hours finding this video. It's that damn page one thing!
Anyway, I better go. I need to figure out what the imposing figure in silhouette is going to do. Chances are the first 15 things won't be right.
So, my delight of having seen Edward Hill's amazing rendition of TROLOLO, got me investigating other things that the Soviets did that I might like...besides making life in Cuba so horrible that my future wife would move to Burbank and I would meet her one day.
Such an investigation has led me to Winnie The Pooh. But...the Soviet version; Vinni Puh. I expected to find it was so terrible...so gloriously awful...that I would put it up for you to laugh at. However, I found I rather liked it...and, in fact...I think it's a little closer to what A.A. Milne was going for. (That's just me.)
Anyway, here you go. It even has English subtitles.
Why? Because I came across the following clip on Youtube and it made me think fondly of the old guy.
I've mentioned before that when Freakazoid ended and we all went our separate ways, my phone would ring every so often and it would be Jonathan. He'd say something like, "How do you feel about lunch? Call McCann."
I'd call my co-producer on Freakazoid, John McCann, and we'd meet Jonathan at Mistral in Studio City. There, over a few chardonnays, Jonathan would hold court as only he could do.
So, today, on Jonathan Harris day, I'd like you to watch the following clip. You have to pretend you're in a darkened restaurant. You're eating a breadstick. You're sipping wine. You have to get back to work...but the stories the old guy is telling are just too good. Work can wait.
Remember, when things get tough....when things are just too overwhelming...take a deep breath and erlax. Serious. Erlax, man. Sometimes you just gotta go in your room, shut the door, lay on the bed and erlax.
What? You don't know what "erlax" means? Seriously? Well, to be honest...me neither. But, I'll try to explain...
A few weeks ago my wife and I were killing time while my daughter was at a birthday party. We walked down the street and passed by Marshalls. Maybe you all don't have a Marshalls where you live. Maybe it's called something else. Maybe Grimelys. Or Huntelys. Or Pattersons. Or Zacks. Or...well...you get the idea.
Now, I had never been in a Marshalls. Inside are a bunch of things that other stores couldn't sell. They have clothes. Shoes. Things that used to be toys. They also have housewares and stuff. It was in the housewares section that I came across the find of a lifetime. Something so special and neat and yummy that I had to have it. It was only 6 dollars. 6 DOLLARS!
And my wife said, "no."
"No?" I replied. "It's only six dollars!"
"No," she said. "It'll only gather dust. I don't want a bunch of junk in the house."
"But, look at it!" I said. "That's the best thing I've ever seen! I can't just walk away from THAT! Look at it! Tell me it isn't the best thing you've ever seen! Tell me."
"I don't want it in the house. There's nowhere to put it."
"I'll put it in my office! There's plenty of room!"
"No. We just spent three months getting rid of stuff in there. You don't need anymore junk."
"Junk? JUNK? How can you possibly call that JUNK? That's one of the most wonderful things I'VE EVER SEEN! IT'S AWESOME! AND I NEED IT!"
"No. That's how your office got cluttered in the first place."
"It's only SIX DOLLARS! SIX DOLLARS!!!!!!!"
"Paul, someone has to stop you. This is one of those times. No."
I sighed deeply. Took out my phone and took a picture of it. If I couldn't have it, I'd at least be able to look at a picture of it from time to time and ponder what it would have been like to have it on my shelf. The find of a lifetime. The most perfect thing I've ever seen."
Anyway. Prepare yourself. Here it is...
It was made in China. Probably on a Friday. The factory worker glued the E and the R in the wrong places. No big deal. But what surprises me is that the folks at Marshalls put it out anyway. I mean, who would want to buy something like this?
So, if you happen to be at the Marshalls in Encino and it's still there...buy it. I'll pay you back.
I am shamed by pal John McCann's ability to blog through thick and thin...through skin cancer surgery and other bits of life. He is a true blogger. I am unworthy to stand in his shadow. But I will because he's taller.
So, I've been working on the pilot and trying to get it right. It's been fun but I also forgot what it was like to be gainfully employed. People expect things of you. You have to go places and have ideas. You have to shave. You have to eat a good breakfast. (Because, if I haven't made it clear, people expect things from you and you want to be sharp and alert and be able to say, "Yes, Fred. Let's go with that drawing. I'm alert and I think that's a good choice.) You have to sit at a desk. You have to pass people in the hallway and pretend to make eye contact. You have to not randomly shout out, "I want marbles!" (And if you do, you better have a good reason why you want marbles because there will be forms to fill out and the purchasing department will want to know size, shape and approximate amount. And color.) See, I can shout out, "I want marbles" all day long in my own home and no one will want to know why. That's because no one is here most of the day except the dogs and they have no idea what marbles are. And if they did, I surely wouldn't need a job because any dog that knows what marbles are could be sold to a research lab for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I could then live off that money and blog and do my silly skits and stuff. Sure, I'd miss the dog, but I'm sure they'd be nice to him.
The paragraph above is way too big.
Anyway, I think I should catch up with a lot of the stuff that's been going on with me since my last post.
1. I developed a new kind of wheat-less muffin which can be grown from a seed. I sold the technology to the Archer Daniels Midland company and they are now forcing farmers to grow it.
2. I am writing a play about what I think it would have been like had Minnie Riperton been trapped in an elevator with John Madden.
3. A month ago I started reading all 1362 pages of the healthcare bill. I'm still on the first paragraph.
4. I built a miniature city out of cork.
5. We hired a pest control company to capture a monkey that's been gnawing through the drywall in the basement. His name is "Nubs" and I have no idea how he got in there. Sometimes, late at night, I hear him going through my box of Christmas lights. We tried to shoot him a while ago, but since we don't have a gun, we couldn't get him.
6. I have taken to wearing a man girdle.
7. I thought it would be fun to hear all the elements of the periodic table sung to the tune of the Animaniacs theme-song, but I've been informed it's been done. (Sorry, Keeper.).
Anyway, that's what's up. I'm off now to pretend to make eye contact with people.
We were watching the Academy Awards last night and when the award for best Cinematography was given out, something odd happened.
My wife and I looked at each other. "Why, that's our neighbor!"
"No. Can't be."
"Yeah! I'm telling you!"
"Wait. Here he comes up to the podium."
'THAT'S OUR NEIGHBOR!!!"
Yep. Turns out, the guy that lives two doors down won for best cinematography for Avatar. Go fig. We've waved a couple of times, but that's about it. His trash barrels look a lot like ours. However, now when I see his trash barrels, I will see the barrels of someone who has won an Academy Award.
A few summers ago I was lucky enough to take the family with me for a month to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was performing in Henson's Puppet Up at the Fringe Festival. We did two shows a day, six days a week. There wasn't always a lot of time to explore and do fun, touristy kind of things.
We crammed as much sightseeing we could into that one day off a week. The castle. The countryside. Museums.
But the one thing we really hadn't experienced was traditional Scottish food. So, with one day off left, my wife, daughter and I piled into a cab in search of something unique to eat.
In his thick brogue, the cab driver asked us where we wanted to go. (On a side-note, every time we got in a cab in Edinburgh and the driver asked us where we wanted to go, my daughter would loudly ask, "What's that man saying? I can't understand him!") Anyway, we told the driver to take us to someplace where the locals go for dinner.
The driver quickly began maneuvering the taxi through the narrow streets of Old Town. He was going fast. He knew just the place! We made our way up steep inclines, back down through even more narrow streets. We were deep within a part of Edinburgh that the tourists never see. It was mysterious. Magical. Dark. Old. Creepy. Old. It was as if our taxi was taking us back through time. The roads got narrower. The cobblestone more decayed. We drove on. And on. And suddenly we were there. At...
Froynlaven readers will be happy to know that I have successfully completed my mission. I now have a clean office, fresh paint, and...as my wife promised, a dandy new TV. Dandy, indeed. Super dandy. HI-def dandy. Low power consumption led TV dandy.
I was given the go-ahead to make the TV purchase last Thursday. I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. My heart began pounding as I approached the sales clerk and pointed out what I wanted. I rushed my words together excitedly. "I want that Samsung Series 7 backlit LED TV with a blue ray player that plays things!!"
My wife and daughter were waiting by the door when I got home. "Did you get it dad?"
"No," I replied. "I changed my mind." Her heart sunk. Then, 'OF COURSE I GOT IT!!!!!"
My wife suggested we all have dinner and then I could set it up later.
Wives no nothing of the need to watch something hi-def as soon as possible. Dinner was the fastest in recorded history.
I ran into my office and threw open the box. The TV was sleek and shiny and black. And, I knew, it would never work. Ever. Because...I'm cursed with electronics. This curse has come to be known as, THE MR. RUGG.
A little back story on the curse. Every electronic purchase I have made since the age of 19 has had something wrong with it. Stereos with bizarre hissing. Tape recorders with busted microphones. Phones with missing cords. All new. All in the box. All defective. All mine. I would take them back to the various stores and hear..."I'm sorry Mr. Rugg."
The curse got so bad that I would purposely never get the first box on the shelf...but the one in back. That never worked, either. Everything was always broken.
Which is why...when I opened the box for my new 40 inch TV...I expected to see broken bits of glass, a dead rat and chewed plastic. I would be forced to return it to the store and hear, "I'm sorry Mr. Rugg. That was the last one. You will have to wait the rest of your life while we order a new one."
But, to my surprise, nothing was broken. I assembled the stand and plugged it in. I waiting for smoke to start spewing from the speakers. I waited for the TV to explode. I waited for...at the very least...something not to work. Perhaps a software malfunction that caused everything to look Portuguese.
BUT, to my surprise. It all worked. The folks at Samsung have restored my faith in electronic things that come in boxes.
The first thing we all watched was the blue ray edition of my favorite film of all time: 2001.
It's was awe inspiring. In fact, the scene in the moon bus as they're on the way to the Tycho monolith looked like it was live video. Happy. Happy me. The ending still made no sense, but now it made no sense in HI-DEF!
We've watched UP and THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. UP was breathtaking. Unfortunately no amount of HI-DEF can help The Incredible Mr. Limpet. However, my daughter thought it was the best thing she's ever seen. I'm keeping that in mind when we start picking out colleges for her.
Anyway, the last TV we bought was 16 years ago. So, judging by that, I can't wait to see what my next TV will be like when I get it in 2026.
Was gifted with a wonderful present yesterday! My bud, John McCann, has also been cleaning out his office and he came across the index card you see above. He brought it to our bi-yearly lunch at Barones. Also in attendance were Warner chums Jean MacCurdy and Tom Ruegger.
The above card was posted on a board in my old Warners office and represented the major plot point in our Daffy Duck Primetime Pilot.
In case I haven't mentioned it, as we imagined it, the Daffy Duck show was similar to the old Jack Benny program. Daffy had a weekly variety show with real guests. Porky was his sidekick. Yosemite Sam was the screaming producer. Anyway, the show also had a lot of backstage story...similar to the Larry Sanders show. We also had a part for Jonathan Harris. He would be Simian Vandertub, the network weanie. We had fake sponsors. One of my favorites was 'Dr. Underhill's Pure Sprucine Heave Ointment.'
John McCann, Doug Langdale and I were sitting in my office and trying to figure out what the hook of the pilot episode was going to be. We soon agreed that Daffy would perform a magic trick on his show and make the leader of Bellawania disappear. But, for real. The magic trick goes wrong and Bellawanian President goes poof. We all liked this idea very much.
Our assistant (that term isn't exactly right...he was more brilliant jack-of-all-trades who knew a lot more than us) wasn't exactly sure about the idea. He wanted to know where the President of Ballwania went. We kept saying that he really disappeared. Our assistant kept wanting to know where. He had to go somewhere. Where did he go? We said we didn't know where he went. He just disappeared. Our assistant said we couldn't do that. If he disappeared, he had to go somewhere. Where did he go? We kept saying we didn't know and it didn't matter. He said we had to know and it did matter because someone can't just disappear, they have to go somewhere.
We happily argued the point with him for about an hour. (It was fun.)
When the WB read the script they had one question:
Where did the president of Bellawania go?
Our assistant went on to be the head of ABC's miniseries development and is now a powerful agent who makes more money than us.
This might be the most important blog I've ever written. It just might be the most important blog ever written by anyone...period.
I'll tell you why in a moment. But first, here's a update on how I'm doing cleaning my office.
The project has turned into
a total make-over. Things are being thrown out, furniture is being moved and...paint is going to be going up soon. These walls haven't seen new paint in 15 years and I'm told that's way too many.
I have purchased a paper-shredder and am shredding my heart out. I'm shredding everything. I'm shredding things that shouldn't even be shredded. But I don't care. Turns out I'm a good shredder. I've got a talent I didn't know about. I'm a shredding savant. I'm adding this to my resume right away. I've got a call into my agent to talk about how to position me in Hollywood as a writer/voice
actor with shredding abilities.
But all this shredding...all this cleaning...all this furniture moving...all this paint selection...all of this has been slightly stressful. (Especially if I want my flat screen TV in time for the Superbowl. I'm not into the Superbowl that much, but I can't imagine a better way to inaugurate it's arrival....especially if the game winds up being between the Cardinals and the Ravens. I've lost most of you, haven't I? You don't want to hear about the Superbowl or how my daughter and I are big Cardinals fans. I know. I don't even want to type it. But, I have and my backspace button is broken.)
By now you've probably realized everything I've written up to this point isn't part of the reason why this is the most important blog I've ever written. You're right. That's coming up right now.
Oh, but one quick thing before that. Paint color. You have to help me choose the paint color for my office. It's been forest green for a long time. This time around I'm thinking about a dark brown or a sand or something. Ralph Lauren has something called a suede finish. It's pretty nice. Here's the color. It's right over there.
That's a nice color, right?
So, now the important thing....oooh...almost forgot. One more thing, then I'll get to the important thing. Any recommendations for a 42" flat screen? It's gotta be an LCD or maybe one of the new ones with the LED backlights. But no plasmas because they use to much energy and I'm not going to contribute to global warming. Oh, wait...they're calling it global cooling this month. Well whatever it turns out to be I don't want to help it along. Anyway any recommendations would be super.
So, the important...nope. One more thing. Sorry. Uhm, we're hoping to rent an elderly man to come over every now and sit in a chair and tell pointless but pleasing stories. Know any? Could you pass along their info? Thanks.
Now, the important thing. As I've been cleaning my office, I've been slightly stressed. And then something occurred to me and it helped me. And I think, if you're stressed, this might help you, too. It's about Disneyland. And the Tiki Room.
I've been to Disneyland countless times. Both as a child and now as a father. Each and every visit, there comes that time when your legs are weary and you're tired, but you don't want to leave. You just need a nice...rest.
Many years ago when such times came up, my parents would lead us to the Tiki Room. There we'd sit and watch birds and flowers sing. After 20 minutes of this, we were ready to once again walk around Disnleyland and do more stuff. I've done this as a parent, too. A nice rest in the Tiki Room and my family is ready for more fun.
So, what I'd like to suggest is that when you are weary and stressed and don't think you can endure anymore...then escape to your inner Tiki Room. The Tiki Room in your head. The Tiki Room in my head may be different than yours. Mine has birds and flowers that sing, but there's also a magical dwarf named, Spiffer. Mine has a lazy boy chair that my wife doesn't find grotesque.
What's in your inner Tiki Room? Flowers? Lizards? Bugs? Songs? It would be kinda weird to have bugs in your inner Tiki Room, but it's your Tiki Room. I won't judge. Still, bugs would be weird.
So, when you are stressed. When you are weary. When you cannot endure. Close your eyes and go to your Inner Tiki Room. In 20 minutes you'll be fine. Close your eyes and go. (Unless you are an Air Traffic Controller. Don't go to your inner Tiki Room while your working. You're sorta outa luck. Just have a stiff drink after your shift ends and THEN go to your Inner Tiki Room.)
By now most of you know that I have been appointed by our government as US Ambassador to island nation of Grand Marnier in the Flekl-Kipsy archipelago. (The lesser of the three Lariation archipelagos of the Johansen sub-equitorial region of the Kaliburton/Nessmer tectonic induction zone - PF3-GK.)
We have been preparing for the move and, obviously, it's been pretty busy. Sadly, they don't allow dogs on Grand Marnier so we had them put down. It was all very humane. There were no injections or gasses. The dogs were simply shown the the blue-ray version of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. They were dead within six minutes. There's something about looking at an ugly, creepy, old, baby that causes dogs to lapse into a coma. After that, their spleens explode. There's a weird, muffled, popping sound. That's how you know they're dead.
Anywoo, happily, we've been told that the government of Grand Marnier is going to gift us with a large lizard. Evidently it bites, but they've fitted it with something called a "head-cage". My daughter can't wait. She wants to name it Sniffles.
As you can imagine it was quite a shock to learn that I had been appointed US Ambassador to Grand Marnier. It turns out that the King of Grand Marnier, King King, is a big Freakazoid fan. He attended college here in the States. He told me (through his interpreter) that he used to stumble home in a drunken fog from frat parties at 6am on Saturday mornings. That's when the WB used to air Freakazoid. He told me he used to lay in the bathroom in a puddle of his own vomit while watching our show.
Some 12 years later, little has changed. Still drunk, he continues to lay in the bathroom in a puddle of his own vomit and watch Freakazoid DVDs.
I'm told by our own government that I really won't have to do much. Just show up from time to time at various ceremonies like beheadings and stonings. Things like that. The rest of the time, I'm free to do whatever I want.
My family and I can't wait to explore Grand Marnier's 14 square miles of fascinating landscape - most of it an active volcano.