Ringo Starr the Caveman

This past weekend, outdoors at the La Brea Tar Pits, the Natural History Museum wrapped up its summer-long series of B-movies with “bad science.” Each film is paired with a lecture by scientific experts to right the film’s misinformation and heighten the laughs. The screening was of Caveman, a 1981 “comedy” starring Ringo I-Am-Desperate-For-A-Career-After-The-Beatles Starr. I found it to be terrifically awful.

Here’s how I imagine this movie coming to be:
“Ringo wants to star in a movie.”
“But he can’t act!”
“No shit. But I think we’ve come up with a character that requires absolutely no talent.”

Indeed, the entire film is little more than slapstick action and random noises. The dialogue is just a series of grunts; I can’t imagine what it’d be like to write that script. There is one character who knows English words - inexplicably he is Asian. Why the token Asian knows English doesn’t make sense, but not as little sense as how some random Asian guy came to live amongst white cavemen in “one zillion BC.”

Throughout the film, Ringo lusts for the voluptuous Lana, who is married to the tribe’s alpha male. What she lacks in character, she makes up for in boobs and perfectly crimped 80s hair. Numerous gratuitous shots showcase her from behind as she writhes her ass for no particular reason. Although she is both vile and spoken for, Ringo still wants her enough to drug her and attempt to have sex with her in her sleep. Yes, just fifteen minutes into the film, there is a rape scene. Ringo sedates Lana with some plant he discovered then crawls between her legs. The whole thing is played up for laughs, as you might expect from a rape scene. Besides, it’s okay, because the two actors ended up getting married in real life, and are still married to this day. So take THAT anti-rape activists!

The film also features a pre-Cheers Shelley Long who, as the nice cavewoman, serves as a foil to Lana. She selflessly “cares” for her blind father, yet manages to lead him right into a tar pit and later in the path of huge dinosaurs that have the finesse and artistry of early Godzilla special effects. I’m pretty sure Mr. Cave-Magoo is a commentary on survival of the fittest and how some people are meant to just die. Ah, but at least he still has the small pleasures in life – he may not be able to see breasts, but he is not shy about grabbing them! Always the modest one, Shelley is the only cavewoman not to put her bosoms on display. She may have ultimately won over Cave-Ringo’s heart, but no wonder she missed out on the real-life romance.

Other characters include a young, handsome, and unrecognizable Dennis Quaid – I didn’t realize it was him until the credits rolled. For comedic effect, there is a gay cave-couple, because seeing two men in love is funny. Also, nothing says “funny!” more than a midget sorry, little caveperson. In one of my favorite scenes, the little caveperson accidentally discovers music by blowing into a jug – and a bunch of other cavepeople simultaneously invent their own instruments to play a song that I hope to make my cell phone ringtone.

As one of the paleontologists pointed out, the characters make an impressive number of anthropological discoveries in a short period of time: weapons, rotisserie, an ice age, and did you know that cavepeople could stand upright once they cracked their backs? Oddly, Ringo was the ringleader for all of these advancements except for music. He may be responsible for reinventing music, but he sure didn’t invent it.

Caveman is so embarrassing that had Lennon lived to see this film, he probably would have shot himself. If you want to check out the hour and a half of meaningless moans for yourself, it is available in its entirety here on Youtube.


The WHAT of the Narcissus?

Andrew, Bianca, and I loitered in a Little Tokyo mall this week and played Trivial Pursuit. We used one of the initial editions from 1981, meaning the questions were at least 29 years old, all written before we were born.

The game was on pace to last longer than Monopoly, so we finally abandoned it. I don't fault us: we're smart smart people, one of us was even once a contestant on the Trivial Pursuit game show hosted by the former Peter Brady. The problem was the game was a mess of questions about countries that no longer existed, science that had been disproved, and people we never heard of. Cluelessly, I guessed "Spiro Agnew" often enough that it finally ended up being the correct answer.

Andrew had somewhat of an edge as a scholar of German and French languages with the game being so Euro-centric. Apparently in 1981, they didn't feel compelled to be inclusive enough to throw in an occasional Asian or African geography question. This probably stemmed from laziness on the part of the question writers.

For example, Bianca read me a question about the first foreigner to win a certain golf tournament. She hinted that it didn't sound like a real name, so I just through out a throwaway guess, and I missed the answer, "Gary Player." Immediately following, Bianca also landed on the Sports & Games category and Andrew asked her about the three most successful golfers of a particular era. "Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer..." she guessed correctly before pausing. "I'm trying to think who else has a drink named after him." "Can I give you a hint?" Andrew asked. "It doesn't sound like a real name." "Fuzzy Zoeller?" Bianca tried, prompting us other two to laugh uproariously. We couldn't even get the answers right when the game was trying to hand them to us.

But that wasn't the full extent of the laziness. We discovered a card on which all of the answers were "Paris." I asked what I had to do to have an entire Trivial Pursuit card devoted to me, and then we found another card where all of the questions pertained to George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, so I guess I might change my mind about that aspiration.

Before reading a question to me, Andrew prefaced, "You're not going to like this one." "Because it's racist?" I joked, but it ended up being yet another obscure one about France. A few turns later, I couldn't contain my laughter enough to read the card. "What is it?" Andrew asked. "Remember how I said that the questions were racist?" I responded before barely choking out the Arts & Literature question:

"Who wrote The Nigger of the Narcissus?"

Even three decades ago, I can't believe that a board game expected people to casually drop the N-bomb, especially for a relatively obscure novella from the 19th century (which I had to Wikipedia to learn about - apparently it was finally republished last year as The N-word of the Narcissus.) Author Joseph Conrad truly has a heart of darkness -- as does Trivial Pursuit.


AIDS Coloring Book

While looking through some childhood schoolwork from first and second grade, I found this nine-page AIDS coloring book. At first I couldn't figure out why they would try to teach such a heavy concept to someone who was still trying to figure out coloring inside the lines, but once I read it back, I couldn't figure out what they were trying to say at all!

The message I take away from this is "Wash your hands or you'll get AIDS!" At that age, the only thing kids know about AIDS is that you die when you get it, so why not scare these impressionable young minds into maintaining good hygeine by convincing them that AIDS is everywhere and as common as strep throat? There's a difference between making something age appropriate and spreading misinformation. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that my second grade class now has the highest rate of AIDS of any in the nation. "Did you bring any protection?" "Sure, I have a bar of soap."

Also, in spite of his tuxedo, Germfighter Gorilla looks like a pedophile, so I'd be wary of letting him teach kids his "special way" of washing hands. Might he be the "dirty" "pet" that requires you to "wash carefully" after "playing with"?

Either way, don't forget to scrub those hands after "toileting" (read: pooping) or you'll probably contract HIV.

Respect the Men in Wheelchairs: NO DANCING!

Last week, I went to the ig-Bay ish-Fay* Bar & Grill to see my roommate perform standup comedy and it was hilarious. Not so much the show, but the bar. It's a trashy place in the middle of nowhere in Glendale and there is no "Grill" aspect to it. They just call it that because... well, I dare you to question their methods.

The patrons were almost exclusively crazy old men. They were kind of like veterans, but I doubt any of them had served in a war. Their PTSD probably stemmed from life in bum-fuck Glendale and perhaps meth addiction. Aside from stopping to occasionally heckle, none of them paid attention to the comedy as they were too busy throwing darts, shooting pool, and swearing loudly at each other to care about the funny twenty-somethings on stage, making it a miserably uncomfortable show to sit through.

The bartender - who it seems unfair to call toothless considering he still had some - wore an orange construction vest as a top and did his best to ignore everyone but his regular customers. When he finally agreed to serve us, he basically told Jessica that she was stupid for almost ordering a more expensive drink, and we were left wondering whether we should even bother tipping after the rudeness and given that he seemed so concerned about us saving money. Later in the night, he screamed "Fuck this, I'm getting a cigarette!" and disappeared outside, leaving the bar unmanned for twenty minutes.

The bar was decorated with fishing trophies and musty paperback novels that no one there would ever want to read even if they could. My eyes were drawn to two signs in particular. One simply said, "NO DANCING," which I think pretty accurately summed up the bar's atmosphere. I love that that's a rule; part of me wanted to break it to see what would happen, but part of me agreed that dancing is for youngin's and sissies and should not be tolerated in a serious drinking establishment.

The other sign was this on the door of the women's restroom.

I don't know why the need for such clarification: any man who can't stand up isn't really a man anyway. Also, I want this sign for my own bathroom.

So I know this has seemed like an extended complaint about the bar, but make no mistake, this is now my favorite bar in LA. I told Jessica that this was my new dyke bar. She didn't understand why, pointing out that there were no lesbians. But you see, the appeal of the dyke bar has never been about the dykes, it's about going to a unfamiliar locale populated by people with alternative lifestyles that I am kind of scared of. Both bars are in deserted locations, both have sketchy patrons that you'd have a hard time meeting anywhere else, and both are guaranteed to leave you with stories you'll never forget.

But the best part? It has karaoke two nights a week! Needless to say, we are going back because we need to experience the disaster that will be karaoke with volitale old drunks in a place that forbids dancing.

*Pig Latined the name, because I wouldn't want them to find this post one day and kill me should they ever learn what a computer is.


Gay Cowboy

I just wore this shirt for the first time in years. In case the picture doesn't do it justice, it has a spray paint base, is outlined and accented with glittery puff paints, and then is topped off with shiny "gems" and a massive belt buckle. Gaudy doesn't begin to describe it.

Initially, I bought it at a thrift store for a Cowboys and Indians party my first year of college. From the start, I called it "my Gay Cowboy shirt," which I think made me a trendsetter considering I had Brokeback Mountain beat by a few years. Unfortunately, there are very few occasions that warrant wearing my Gay Cowboy shirt. As much as I like it, the shirt's lack of subtlety requires a lot of confidence, so I have to be prepared to get stared at.

Even if I were up for withstanding the stares, I fear the shirt wouldn't pass muster. For starters, I can't even figure out whether the cowboy is coming or going. His hands and buckle indicate that he's facing frontwards, but his head and shoes suggest he's looking towards the mountains. Maybe he's not gay, maybe he just goes both ways.

Also, is he lassoing his own head? I'm not saying life is easy for a bisexual cowboy (ain't that right, Heath? Joker-trauma my ass!), but suicide is not the answer. It's just a shame that he wasn't instead born a rapper, given his affinity for bling.


Free Toilet

This toilet was chilling outside on the curb of my street. I’ve seen my share of mattresses and shelves, but this one was perplexing.

No lie, I really wanted to take a dump in it.


This Is Why I'm Underemployed

Though I get down on myself for being underemployed, I'm not convinced it is entirely my fault. It's not that I'm unemployable, it's that the hirers are unemployerable.

Check out these three job postings that leave me preferring poverty:
When someone says she's looking for an "Edditor," you already know that's going to be more work than its worth. While I won't deny that middle school kids are clamoring for comic literature about someone with dyslexia, scoliosis, and an alcoholic parent, 14 double spaced pages of unordered blurbs about her life does not a book make. (Did nto aplly )!

I was really tempted to pursue this lead, what with the likelihood of a Nobel Prize at the project's conclusion. That might seem like an unreasonable expectation, but remember that his philosophies are extraordinary as they "have never been written by any other human on this earth" - only monkeys on typewriters. And perhaps Gandhi, whose quote I'm glad that he took the liberty of editing, since what did that dick know about life anyway?

So true story: I have a Masters in Education and was a high school teacher but was deemed not qualified enough to do SAT tutoring with this one company because they had other candidates with PhDs! Remind me to not get a doctorate if it means still having to accept poorly paid part-time work. So on the one hand, while it would be easy to make a "Looks like the kids aren't the only ones who need a Tudor(sic)" joke, maybe it's not an error. Maybe the economy is so bad that this place can afford to be exclusive to the point of only hiring descendants of the English monarchy.


Walking the Dogs

Stacy is currently housesitting and taking care of three dogs. They're needy pups who insist on human contact when they sleep, so invariably she finds herself in the master bed smothered between three dogs who try to snuggle up into her every nook and cranny. I thought this in itself was one of the funniest mental pictures I've had in a while, but then she topped it when she described the process of walking these dogs...

The first dog is really excited about the world and loves to explore. It constantly runs ahead, tugging Stacy on the leash. The second dog is afraid of just about everything and, much like in bed, refuses to leave Stacy's side. The third dog has a cleft paw and can't actually walk, but since the owners don't want it to feel left out, they bought it a bassinet. Despite its gimp leg, the dog continually tries to hop out of its stroller so it can walk, even though it physically can't.

What I wouldn't give to see Stacy being yanked in two directions by differently tempered dogs while pushing a frilly baby bassinet with a third disabled dog who tries to escape up and down the hilly streets of East LA.


Al Dense

There’s a difference between al dente pasta and noodles I absentmindedly strained after being in boiling water for only two minutes.

But I'm eating it anyway.


You Could Be Born Again

A week ago (news travels slowly), Chris Dedrick, leader of Free Design, my all-time favorite family band (take THAT Jackson 5, The Carpenters, and Bee Gees), died of cancer at the age of 62.

Longtime blog readers will know that I used to have a segment called Free Design Fridays, wherein I introduced a song by the band and gently poked fun at it, but in a loving way. No one does saccharine pop better than Free Design, and no song of theirs tops Kites Are Fun. (It's dorky, but download it and you'll never make a summer mix without it again.)

But in this special Free Design Friday: In Memorial, I'm choosing a song that has to do with reincarnation, "You Could Be Born Again." Actually, I'm pretty sure that the song is about born-again Christianity as the band was want to do, but I'm going to pretend it's about reincarnation, since if anyone deserves a second chance at life and songwriting, it is Dedrick.

May the angels sing Free Design songs in heaven, Dedrick.


No Skank You

At 4:30 in the morning, Ryan and I sat on a bench outside of a Vegas hotel, unwinding after a long night. A taxi pulled up, and two assholes spilled out and bummed cigarettes from Ryan. One is a fratty, privileged douche who shares characteristics with most 80s teen movie antagonists, and the other is his tagalong friend who is probably nice at heart, but is too busy trying to be cool by association for it to matter.

Douche: You boys have a good night?
Me: Yup
Ryan: Yeah, how about you?
Douche: I'm having a great night, I love Vegas. I come here every single month, this is the life!
Me: Every month? [I already have him pegged as such, but anyone who visits Vegas that regularly is soulless and disgusting.]
Douche: Yup, always get a room at this hotel. Except usually I bring a couple skanks back with me.

I forget the specifics of the next couple minutes of conversation too much to try to quote it, but the gist was the douche bragging about how much sex he gets with skanks. Of course, he didn't bring anyone home now, but this was the EXCEPTION. I couldn't care less, but he really wanted us to be impressed by his skank-magnetism. I noticed Ryan starting to flinch at each mention of the word "skank," which he used extensively and exclusively, as if he had never even heard of the word "woman." Then again, it's probably safe to assume that he only has successful interactions with legitimate skanks, so maybe he's just calling 'em like he sees 'em.

Douche-Wannabe: Hey, you guys seem cool.
Me: Thanks... [I wasn't about to return the compliment; I figured douche-wannabe was just impressed that we could tolerate his friend longer than most, but then I realized he had an ulterior motive.]
Douche-Wannabe: Yeah, I know we just met, and no homo [ughhhhhh], but it might be cool if we hung out and smoked a bowl? Do you have any pot?
Me: Nope.
Douche: How 'bout cocaine?
Me: No, we're all out of drugs... [making an addendum before they fish for another invitation] and alcohol, too.
Douche-Wannabe: Damn, okay, would have been fun.
Me: [if I sounded more sincere than sarcastic, I deserve an award] Yeah, too bad.
Douche: C'mon, let's go.
Douche-Wannabe: I've got to pack and shower before my flight in an hour anyway.
Douche: And I have to go call that Russian skank.

As crappy as these people are, I usually feel thankful after an encounter like this one. Thankful that no matter how many people like this I meet, I do not count a single one of them as my friends. Thankful that I don't conform to the behaviors of many of my same-aged peers and have to suck at life to have fun. Thankful that, even though I know those guys walked away thinking they were better than us, deep down I know I'm better than them. Good luck with the drugs and skanks, assholes.


Missed Connection: Beyonce

I’ve never posted a Missed Connection before, but I thought it would be funny to write a longwinded one that might creep out even the creepy Vegas crowd. But it’s a joke. Well, it’s 90% joke. MAYBE Beyonce was actually in to me. That’s what my friends were insisting. I kept making up excuses on why I should back away, but she met every advance. I felt like one of those guys who is convinced that the stripper really likes him. Except that I wasn’t putting any money in her booty shorts and she devoted nearly all of her attention to just me.

The story actually starts with a Whitney Houston impersonator, whose blackjack table I sat at. She asked if I wanted a drink, and I asked her if she had cocaine. When she dealt me a bad hand, I told her “Hell to the No!” She found me endearing, as most dealers do, and we legitimately flirted. As she kept winning my money away for the house, I told her that I was “about to have a big comeback… just like you were supposed to have.” This made her crack up so hard that she banged her head against the table accidentally. She was kind of a trainwreck, but I think that just makes her better at her job in this case. I left to go elsewhere with my friends, but she told me she got off at 4 am and I promised to come back for her.

Whitney was on break when I returned, however, so I sat with Beyonce who was unflaggingly nice. We hit it off, but I still thought I had a better shot with Whitney. Melinda told me to raise my standards, and Ryan argued that Beyonce actually liked me, so I switched allegiances. (Sorry, Whit!)

The whole night was great. I won a couple hundred dollars, I had countless rounds of free drinks, and I wasn’t even sitting in my seat the majority of the time. I was too busy dancing and winning and hugging Beyonce. The pit bosses kept looking at me trying to see if I was disrupting anything or crossing any bounds, but the spectacle I was making of myself was definitely good for the casino. I helped to attract a crowd and get people excited, and people were putting me into their vacation photos. I wouldn’t say this often, but I was “the man,” or maybe just drunk enough to believe so, and I had Beyonce around my arm to verify it.

If she wants an encore, now she has a way to get at me. Whitney, too.


Befriending Fruits and Vegetables

I spent the past four days in Las Vegas. RJ was in Sin City on conference, so a bunch of us Los Angelinos went to visit. Jessica was kind enough to cash in on some of her timeshare perks to get us a swanky suite. Since our pad included a fully equipped kitchen, Jessica suggested that we cook to save money, so the two of us went to the grocery store. I was hesitant to buy too much, anticipating us still wanting to hit the buffets, but Jessica pointed out that we could just bring the leftovers home. We racked up a $100 grocery bill, most of it produce.

By the last night, we had only actually cooked one meal, and our fridge was still stocked with fruits and veggies. When I said we'd have to bring them home, Melinda pointed out why this plan was flawed.

Those outside of California might not be familiar with our securest border. I don't mean our southern border, but our eastern one.* California has an agricultural checkpoint designed to stop people from bringing produce into our state. I think it's feasibly easier for an illegal alien to sneak across the border than an illegal apple. Go back to where you came from, wetbacksnanas!

So yeah, we weren't going to be allowed to bring back all of this produce. While it might have been a rare opportunity to discover how many grapes we could smuggle in our anal cavities, we did our last minute best to wash down what we could with our rum and cokes; most memorably, Allison devoured a large, raw broccoli as if it were a churro. And though Vegas is a crazy enough place that it's safe to assume in some hotel room that people are doing unimaginable things, I bet I was the only person cooking up edamame at 4 in the morning.

It's a good thing we didn't try to sneak back any of the extra lettuce and onions because we were briefly stopped and asked about carrying any contraband produce. When they ask whether we have any fruit, Melinda likes to point at whoever is riding next to her and say, "Just this guy!" I find this hilarious, and suggest that the only way to up the joke quotient in this scenario is to have an incapacitated human vegetable in our car. This would require befriending a comatose person, but Melinda argues that this might be a good thing, as it would make our social circle seem more diverse and compassionate. We wouldn't need to tell him we were using him for the occasional agricultural joke. Hell, we probably wouldn't need to tell him much of anything.

* For the record, the checkpoint is probably 100 miles inward from the border. That first awful portion is an unpopulated, barren desert, so if you want to bring your crop-harming parasites to that section, good luck finding anything to kill.


A Weighty Query

Oh, you know, doing really important things today.



"That was in my tragic heroine period. Not as in drugs, but as in Jane Eyre." - Jackie Sullivan, writing professor


5 Years of Blogging!

Oh my heck, I've been blogging for half a decade now. How did this happen? Five flipping years of babbling to my own amusement, and hopefully to some of yours as well. As is tradition here, I'd like to count down some of my favorite posts of the past year so you can catch up in case you haven't been paying full attention.

20. The time I wrote letters to the celebrities at the Grammys
19. The time I accidentally possessed kiddy porn
18. The time I threw a party and spray painted everything gold
17. The time things turned sexual at the American Legion Hall
16. The time I proved myself to be a horrible wine connoisseur
15. The time I confused Lisa Frank with Anne Frank
14. The time I self-diagnosed my dyslexia
13. The time I exposed a kid's mom as an alcoholic
12. The time I graded a sociopath's violent essay
11. The time I accidentally crashed a Super Bowl party at the local Teen Center
10. The time my friend drove her neighbor to suicide
9. The time I received some hilariously apologetic fan mail.
8. The time I read a book about parenting that advocates pedophilia
7. The time a porn star grabbed my penis
6. The time I turned the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gay
5. The time I met my African American counterpart
4. The time I celebrated Bryan Adams's 50th birthday by recounting his laughable repertoire
3. The time I explored a dead woman's haunted house
2. The time I reviewed the best/worst movie ever, Orphan
1. The time I made a comical error as a Little Leaguer

Since it's a 5 year milestone, I think it's also appropriate to link to previous years' awesomest posts, too.
1st Year
2nd Year
3rd Year
4th Year
There, that'll keep you busy FOR-DAYS. Expect a test on all of the contained information in a week. But in all sincerity, thanks to everyone for reading and don't hesitate to send feedback in the comments or by email.