live fast, die hard, leave a good looking corpse

I got a text a few days ago from Jon.

JON TEXT: Fess Parker is dead.

JIM TEXT: Was he killed by a bear?

A few days earlier Jon texted me with:

JON TEXT: Peter Graves is dead.

JIM TEXT:  I guess the IMF will disavow any knowledge of his existence.

I used that same Mission: Impossible joke when Greg Morris died a few years back and I’m sure I’ll be using it for Marin Landau and Tom Cruise.  Recycle, people.  We only have one Earth.

Nothing is worse than a celebrity death that is disappointing.  If Axl Rose dies at the age of eighty in a nursing home after slipping in the shower I am going to be highly pissed.  I want to read:

Musician Axl Rose died today after diving off an eleventh floor balcony at the Dakota at Central Park West.  The act, which has not been determined an accident or suicide was witnessed by Lars Ulrich, Colin Farrel, Jenna Haze and Sheena Easton.  Illegal substances are suspected.

And this should most definitely happen when he’s eighty.

The reality is celebrities should die as they (or at least led you to believe) lived.  People like Elvis Presley, James Dean, Lynyrd Skynyrd got it right.  Fess Parker’s death may have been a surprise to me mostly because I thought he he died fifteen years ago.  Their lives have been fabricated for our entertainment… why shouldn’t their deaths be also? 

Russell Crowe gets stabbed in a bar fight over a woman.

R Kelly gets shot on the steps of a courthouse by some girl’s father, Nino Brown style, after being acquitted of another child molestation charge.

James Caan dies in a hail of gunfire at a toll booth on the 101.

Leonard Nimoy dies sacrificing himself to stop a leak in a nuclear power plant.  Then William Shatner shoots him into space.

Leonardo DiCaprio gets shot in the back by Matt Damon.

Tiger Woods was found suffocated in a suite at the Bellagio.  The golfer was found under a pile of nine naked strippers and magician comedians Penn Jillete & Teller.  It’s undermined if the weight of the group prevented his lungs from expanding or he choked on the four thongs and body glitter found in his mouth.

We should all hope to die with that kind of dignity.

mental health days

Due to unforseen personal events, I am putting this blog on hiatus. 

I can tell you my time had become limited and although I tried to keep up with my weekly schedule (something I have always been proud of), I tend to write much more content than most blogs and much more frequently.  This stuff doesn’t just come to me… okay, it does, but it still takes effort and nobody is paying me for it and I got a mortgage to pay.

That being said, I can tell you the personal events, though inconvenient and a pain in my ass, are not catastrophic.  Nobody is ill.  Natalee and I are together and fine.  Hopefully this blog will be back soon and I’ll have my way with you as I have every Friday for the past few years.  Until then, there is a little area on the right (“Tell me when this thing updates”) where you can type your email and as soon as there is an update you’ll get it in an email.

Like Netflix with smartassery instead of Harrison Ford reminding you how boring he’s become.

My apologies, Judy.

Mom 2.0

A few weeks ago I was sent an IM from a coworker with this clip and the comment: Watch this!  Awesome!

JIM (Instant Messaging):  What is wrong with you?

PETE:  What?  That’s hysterical.

JIM:  No it isn’t.  It’s someone’s grandma getting hit in the face with a ham… at a volunteer food drive… at what looks like a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

PETE:  I think it’s funny.

JIM:  I think you’re an ass-stain.

It isn’t that I’m above seeing celebrities get hit in the face with hams, but come on… what kind of douche bag laughs at a sixty-two year old woman getting physically maligned?  Not that grandmas are completely off limits and can’t do something that warrants an assault and under certain circumstances, I would laugh at that.

But those people have it coming.  We’re talking celebrity chefs.  Martha Stewart with her eerie calmness and Stepford Wife exterior… maybe.  Anthony Bourdain… that guy is just a conceited shit.  Giada DeLaurentis is ridiculously beautiful even suffering from a severe case of Kitten Head, hitting her with a ham would be like beating a unicorn to death with a sack of rainbows.  Paula Deen?  Who hates Paula Deen?  What did she ever do to anyone?

Maybe I am taking this all a bit too seriously because in my head, Paula Deen is my backup mom.

You know how some people have a list of three (or in Natalee’s case, five) celebrities (or in Natalee’s case, rappers… I’m looking at you TI), you can sleep with in the event your paths cross?  Well I have a backup parent list.

Now let’s be clear, I love my mother and would never want anything to happen to her.  That being said, if I could pick another mom, it would be Paula Deen.

It has less to do with her insane cooking skills which follows the basic Deen Equation (which is (Food + Cream) + (Butter * 5) / BlueCross BlueShield = Tasty) and more to do with that southern Georgia vibe she gives off.  I have a fascination with that southern mothering thing which also explains my crushes on Sissy Spacek, Holly Hunter and  Sally Field (even though she was born in California and was beach bunny Gidget, that never stuck with me like Places in the Heart and Forrest Gump did).  And possibly Dolly Parton (not for the obvious reasons… she’s my mom and that’s gross.

There is something to be said about being able to pick your own parents and it says a lot about who you are and what you need or are missing.  I’ve asked the question to other people and I’ve had people give me answers like Catherine Zeta Jones or Jessica Alba.

Again, she’s supposed to be 1) Old enough to be your mom and 2) Someone you wouldn’t want to see naked.

Like if I were picking someone else to be my brother…

I could probably just stick this guy in there and my sister-in-law wouldn’t even notice for three weeks.

I do a thing called “Movie Jim” where in my head I recast the people I know as if there was a movie of my life.  They really don’t have to be close but that would be the Movie version of that person.

My friend Jon gets to be played by Jude Law (and I want him to keep the accent… no reason).

His wife Amy is Kat Dennings from Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist.

My friend Tony gets Adam Richman from Man vs Food.  This is really unfair since Adam Richman is about ten years old and fifty pounds heavier than Tony.  In fact. we don’t even call him by name.  We just call him “Fat Tony.”

I know you’re wondering about who plays me.  I would be created by a series of professional motion capture mimes and a team of computer animators using state of the art technology to recreate my mannerisms and gestures with a technique they’ll refer to as “The Jimmy Effect” which mimics my rapid-fire speech patterns and sarcastic faces.  It’s a lot like bullet-time from The Matrix but just much, much cooler.  I would be voiced by Meryl Streep because she can do anything.

And I’d live on Pandora.

reasons the terrorists hate us – turducken

Having just survived the six week celebration of capitalism and gluttony known as “The Holidays,” I’d like to point out something disturbing I found existed a few years ago.

The Turducken.

For those of you who watch much less Food Network than I, this is what happens when someone thinks it’s necessary to jam a deboned chicken into a deboned duck and then that bastard union into the ass of a deboned turkey creating the aviary orgy known as the Turducken.

And if you’re really clever and there is three square inches of space left in this Frankenstein bird, you fill it with sausage stuffing because nothing says insanity more than eating four different animals in one dish.

Someone once caught my fat ass ordering potato wedges and mashed potatoes as my side dished at Lee’s Famous Chicken and completely called me out on it… and I had it coming.

My defense was, “Wedges are good.”  I lost that argument and I have a scale that proves it.

There is a part of me that questions, “Is that really necessary,” and not in the same way I question deep-fried Twinkies.  I understand animals have to die so I can have meat, and trust me, I want the meat.  Waking up a vegan is right behind “Zombie President Reagan” as my worst nightmare.  I like my food to have had parents and a face.  Humans have worked their way through millions of years of evolution (yes, evolution) and I should be able to eat anything dumber than me.  This is why God made stupid animals tasty.  Grizzly bear might taste like bacon wrapped lobster but I won’t be the one to find out because they’re hard to kill.  Cows can be tipped over in their sleep.  Chickens can’t even fly.  The only way God could have made that easier to make them butter Creole flavored.

And if dolphins are so damn smart they’d figure a way out of those nets.

The problem is Americans never know when enough is enough.  There is never too much.  We’re not content with pizza… we have to jam cheese into the crust.  Maybe make one out of Oreos.  A cell phone that makes calls from wherever I am standing isn’t good enough.  I need to be able to take a picture of myself, telling everyone on Facebook I am watching a three hour zombie pirate movie based on a theme park ride on a four inch screen while driving my car on the interstate.  I live in a country where it isn’t good enough that someone will make my food and hand it to me without ever leaving my car… the food has to be this.

The holidays should be about being thankful we get to live the lives we have with the comforts afforded to us.  Not how many birds we can jam into each other like Russian nesting dolls just because we can.  At that point, we’re just being show-offs.

Knock it off.

Pictures With Santa And Other Socially Acceptable Forms Of Child Abuse

This blog was originally posted December 2008.  I am on vacation… deal with it.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus.  I really never have.  We didn’t have a chimney in Pennsylvania (ironically, in Florida we did).  What we had was a piece or horrible furniture that looked like a chimney and where the mantle would be opened into a combination wet bar/phonograph where my father would store his apricot brandy and my mom’s Seals & Croft records.  The lit logs were plaster with circulating red and orange lights.  Because of this atrocity, this conversation ensued:

JIM: Dad, if we don’t have a chimney, how does Santa get into the house?

DAD: He has a key.

JIM: For everybody?

DAD: Yeah.  Everybody.  Now go to sleep.

JIM: Okay. (Pause)  Wait.  There are twenty-two houses on this block.

DAD: And he has twenty-two keys.

JIM: But that would mean on this side of the highway to eighth street he would have over one hundred and sixty keys.

DAD: It’s a really big key chain.  Go to sleep.

JIM: In this city alone there would thousands of keys.

DAD: (Frustrated).  You got me.  There is no Santa Claus.  Your mom and me buy all the stuff.

JIM: Really?  So there is no way I am getting that Star Wars Millennium Falcon for my Han Solo you said you’d never buy me?

DAD: No.  And you’re not getting a ColecoVision either.  You already have an Atari.

Two words, Dad: Skeleton Key.  But my father, God bless him, wasn’t know for his creativity.  This is the same guy who used to give unwrapped cartons of Menthol Kools to his friends for birthday gifts.  As you can tell, my father never really tried to sell the concept.    My brother wasn’t much different.  I can’t imagine I will be either.  I remember my father watching Walter Cronkite during the Great Cabbage Patch Scare of 1982 and commenting, “It’ll be a cold day in hell when I wake up at 4:00a and get my leg broken by a bunch of assholes* to get you boys some stupid toy.”  I learned very quickly there are things you do for yourself and things you do for your children.  My father had a very distinct line that separated these things.

I have one picture of me with Santa.  I was dressed in a red onesy (shut up, Spell Check, that isn’t even a real word) with a hood over my head and mittens.  I am not able to walk so I am completely trusting on my parents judgment of who I should have my picture taken with.  The point is I don’t know where I am nor do I care.  So why is this picture being taken?

For my mom.

I have come to the conclusion that parents will sometimes do things to their children that do not serve their best interest for the sake of a good photo op.  The difference is my mom is not a whack-a-nut.  If your kid, like me, sits on Santa’s lap with the same expression Humphrey Bogart has when someone points a gun at him, more power to you.  Enjoy your picture and fond memories.  If your kid reacts the way I would assume Richard Simmons would if someone pointed a gun at him, you ma’am, are a nut.

Exhibit A: The Moms.

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I am going to assume this woman is from France or some European place where berets are still fashionable or I am going to hate this lady even more.  Look at her kid’s face.  Santa isn’t a jolly bringer of joy to that baby.  That is a fat man in fuzzy pajamas she doesn’t know.  And let me tell you something else.  Your kids hide behind your leg and refuse to talk to the people you work with.  What makes you think this guy is going to fare any better?  Now the kicker is look at the mother’s face.  This crazy chick is completely oblivious the the entire process or just doesn’t give a shit.

I know my baby is upset, terrified and crying… tell you what, let me hold her just long enough to get a picture.

Again, I am assuming that baby is a “she” which is the only thing preventing me from calling Child Services on this woman.  The second mom here looks like she actually had to sit on Santa’s lap in a failed attempt to calm her kid down.

Exhibit B: Singled Out.

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If you let some random stranger hold your kids while they screamed their heads off, begging for the secure embrace of their mother who is standing five feet away, anytime between January and November so you could take their picture, you’d be a psycho.  At Christmas, people line up and pay money to do this.

Exhibit C: Once, Twice, Three Times A Baby.

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And out of curiosity, under what circumstances would you expect anyone to ever hold more than one baby at the same time?  I am sure there are moms out there who do it but not willingly.  If someone, probably anyone, offered to hold one of those kids most moms would jump at the chance.  Most of these Santa’s look like kindly old men who make a little extra coin six weeks a year pretending to be Santa.  He’s retired.  He doesn’t need this shit.  Why don’t you just ask that poor old man to spray himself with pheromones have a knife fight in an elevator with a crack-addicted monkey?  Seriously, that one in the center with the three babies?  What the hell was that parent thinking?

What, you can’t hold three babies at the same time?  What kind of dime store half-ass Santa are you?

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Unless you’re Amish or a biker (or an Amish biker) how many people really have beards like that?  To a child, that’s just a masked stranger taking him from his mother who probably lured him to the Galleria with promises of toys and hot pretzels.  And at what point will anyone look at these pictures with fond memories of the event?  It isn’t like their crying is necessary like you’re getting your four-year-old daughter her Depo-Provera shot.  They are crying for your enjoyment.

Let’s make this clear, this is about you.

I worked with a very nice woman named Tara who had one son named Alec.  He was the Chosen Son.  The reason we haven’t all frozen and died is because the sun shines every morning out of his ass.  There were seven pictures on her desk, all of them of her son.  If you didn’t know you would assume she was a single mother since excluding Alec, there was no proof a husband existed (or maybe, just maybe, she conceived him herself… cue cherubic choir).  She once showed me a scrapbook she’d finished which was a four inch thick testament to Alec’s first three years… not a picture of his father to be found.  She once called me to show me she had finally put a picture of her husband on her desk and when I got there to bear witness, there was a picture of her husband… holding Alec.  I immediately disqualified the picture as invalid.  At three they decided it was time for Alec to go to Disney World and when her mother made the reservations… she cried on the telephone to the customer service rep.

Seriously… she cried.

Meanwhile Alec was somewhere minding his own business oblivious that his mother and grandmother were making memories for him that he wouldn’t recall a year from now and hoping that Mickey Mouse, a character reduced to corporate mascot that hasn’t appeared regularly in cartoons in sixty years, would fill him with glee and isn’t just a six-foot rat in a tuxedo.

There are people that will tell me, “Wait until you get kids,” to which I will kindly refer you to the first paragraph and my upcoming biography of my father, “I’ll Give You Something To Cry About: The Wit And Wisdom Of Edward Ford.”

I don’t cry in Santa pictures.  I knew better.

* My father seldom swore in my childhood and I am quite certain he didn’t at this occassion either.  That is my own colorful interpretation.  I don’t drink and smoke.  Please leave me and profanities alone.

Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine

On occasion, I write.  Several times someone has told me incidents in their lives, their work, their marriage, their wacky kids that invoke hilarity that they think would make good screenplay material.

I always thought a TV series set in a bank would be a great idea.

No.  It wouldn’t.  Neither would an insurance company or law office or a manufacturing plant.  Those are settings and settings are seldom compelling… people are compelling.

Or at least they should be.

The problem is most of us aren’t.  I am perplexed by the amount of people willing to forgo their own boring-ass lives to watch someone else’s boring ass-life.  Those who would actually pay money to see Jennifer Ringley of JenniCam make toast and coffee.  I would bet a paycheck that 95% of subscribers to her service were dudes hoping to see, literally, the girl next door, get naked.  You could put a webcam in my house and there is only so much farting, playing Call of Duty 4 and eating pizza rolls any human should have to endure.

Hell, a lot of times I didn’t like being me.  Why would anyone else want to watch the slow disaster that is me unfold?

When I was a kid my brother and I used to stand in front of the RPG-sized VHS camcorders in Sears and dance in front of the televisions until my father dragged us away.  We did the same thing in front of security cameras.  The funny thing is adults did the same thing.

We were on TV.  That never happens.

I can’t remember the last time I saw kids impressed to see themselves on TV.  For that matter, I can’t remember the last time I saw cameras plugged into a television.  The novelty is gone.  You’re on closed circuit television… we get it.

But to us, we were famous… because famous people get on TV.

It used to be you had to do something to be famous.  Kill a bunch of Nazis, win a Superbowl or walk on the moon.  Now you just have to get on TV and they’ll let anybody on TV… I’ve seen Frankie & Neffe… I know.

This brings me to the Tiger Woods Freak Train.  Now let me be clear that I am not giving Tiger Woods a pass.  I don’t subscribe to all that role model crap unless that’s what you’re selling.  Like most Americans, I can tolerate a liar… what I hate is a hypocrite.

Now that I have established that Tiger is a 100% USDA Asshole, who are these skanks he’s been banging?  Seriously, I watched some cocktail waitress on The Today Show tell me she had to come forward to “clear her name” after there were rumors she was a prostitute.

You are a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas.  I can’t swing a broke dead tourist without hitting a cocktail waitress in a Vegas casino.  Who were you trying to clear your name for… the three hundred people on your Facebook page?  You realize the other three hundred million of us in America have no idea who you are and will forever refer to you as “Skunt Number Four.”

Or really were you just trying to get on TV?  Most of them have been with no shame for what they’ve done.  I have one on television with the absurd confession she thought she was the only mistress and now she feels betrayed.

But she’s on TV and I guess that’s what counts whether you’re some idiot that builds a weather balloon and falsely tells police your child is in it or you’re the former Vice Presidential candidate and think blacking out the campaign logo on your visor will make you less noticeable.  And if by “less noticeable” I mean it’ll get yourself some ink on CNN on a slow news day then we’re on the same page.

I remember years ago seeing Monica Lewinsky on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.  I’m sure someone invited her but how many White House interns do you think get to go to the Oscars?  Someone invited you because they know who you are and they know who you are because you’re the most famous cocksucker in history.  Nothing to be proud of.

Lewinsky, Frankie & Neffe and the Tiger Bunch aren’t famous… they’re infamous and there’s a difference.  And what’s worse is they are my least favorite type of fame.  Fame by proxy.  The same reason I know who LaToya Jackson is and have no idea why.  She isn’t a singer.  She isn’t an actress.  She’s famous for being Michael Jackson’s talentless sister.  She’s famous because she’s standing next to someone who is famous.

This also goes for you Heidi Montag, Kim Kardashian, Nicole Ritchie and anybody that has ever been on a show that starts with “The Real Housewives of…” or has the words “Real World” or “Road Rules” in the title and now gets airtime on Access Hollywood.

A few years ago I was at work and the Orlando CBS news was reporting what happened the previous evening on Survivor.  When I questioned it one of my co-workers said:

CO-WORKER:  Well, people watch that and it’s important to them.

ME:  It’s a game show and it isn’t even the season finale.  They might as well report what happened on Wheel of Fortune and WWE Smackdown.  I don’t care who wants to see it.  It isn’t news.

We live in an era where being on TV makes you famous and being famous means you’re somebody.  And sometimes it doesn’t even take television.  It takes a Twitter or Facebook account and a few hundred followers.  Just type in the first thing that comes to mind even if it doesn’t make any sense.

Cheese is good.

Work sucks.

My babies are cute.

Case in point is Dana Hanna, who felt the need to Twitter during his wedding ceremony.

The next time someone points out how sacred marriage is I am going to point this douche out and then promptly drop my pants so they can kiss my ass.

Then there is Shellie Ross who has 5,400 Twitter followers as a military wife of four.  When her two-year old son Bryson was found in their pool she called 911 at 5:38p.  Thirty four minutes later she Tweeted her son’s death.

I’ll say that crazy shit again for anyone who thought they read it wrong.

Thirty four minutes later she Tweeted her son’s death.

For all intents and purposes she did what any celebrity would do: she held a press conference.

The Police said it’s normal in mourning to reach out to your community for support but I am suspecting she’s never met ten percent of the people in her Twitterverse.  They aren’t friends.  You’re friends know you and you know them.  These are spectators.

The bottom line is that few of us are that interesting to warrant updating people on our status no matter where we are or how cold it is.  If anything, it’s made us lazy that now we don’t have to choose our friends because we can have them all because friendship isn’t something we work at… it’s a series of memos we use to keep people updated.

In our own little reality show.

But Jim, you write a blog every week telling us what you think and about your personal life.

Well, kinda.  If you know me you know this isn’t the real me.  It’s a sitcom version of my life where I am cast as the buffoonish overweight husband and Natalee as the intelligent level-headed hottie who in real life I should never be able to get.

And who am I to argue.