January 2006

When I was in college, I didn’t have very many long-term girlfriends.  And by “many,” I mean any.  So my knowledge of serious relationships was gleaned from watching my friends and their significant others.  Invariably, I would think to myself, “That poor sucker.  I’m going out to try and get laid and he’s stuck on the couch with some chick watching what the WB is touting as a ‘very special episode of Felicity.‘”  And I was happy.  I wasn’t some bitter shell of a young man, sitting on the couch, reading a self-help book because I couldn’t bear to be without a lady.  And although I fear change, it was and is always inevitable.  I graduated, and moved on to law school.

I’ll never really know if finding Ex-Fiancee at law school was because we were right for each other, or because neither of us had a real social identity.  I guess all that’s relevant to this topic, however, is that we settled in to a routine I had watched my friends submit to many times before.  But I wasn’t angry that I had settled down.  Just the opposite.  Sitting there on my couch with Ex-Fiancee, watching One Tree Hill, I couldn’t understand how I didn’t settle down sooner!  This was great!  Talking about feelings, having someone to communicate with,  and being emotionally honest in an unprecedented manner felt terrific.  In other words, I had somehow turned gay. 

After awhile, all that open and honest communication gets to be a fucking hassle.  I bet not one of my married friends would ever say that to their wives (if they value their marriage), but I guarantee every one of them thinks it on a regular basis.  I think it’s a common misconception that women are better communicators than men.  Men can communicate just as easily, it’s just that we don’t feel it’s necessary to torture another with the excrutiating detail of our daily lives.  We just keep the daily occurrences we know our friends couldn’t care less about to ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong, I think communication is necessary on many levels.  Just not on as many levels as the fairer sex.  My Dad always taught me, “keep it bottled up inside, like a real man.”  So when in doubt, that’s exactly what I do.  And I turned out just fine. 

I was with Ex-Fiancee for three years.  And while I’d love to say I miss the constant communication with her, I don’t.  I know that’s unbelievable, and it surprised me, too.  Maybe I’m a loner, or maybe I’m just emotionally unavailable.  Or maybe she talked so much I would hide Alka-Seltzer under my tongue and fake seizures just to get her to stop yapping.  Either way, living the single life has been pretty sweet.  Let me give you some examples.

Never really been a big grocery shopper.  Turns out, Publix is a great place to meet chicks.  I’m over by the fresh fruit isle, contemplating the berry selection, and a hot girl is standing next to the legumes.  I casually begin with,

“Excuse me, do you know how long rasberries will stay good in my refrigerator?  No? Blueberries, then?  See, I’m trying out this healthy breakfast cereal (for the fiber), and it’s pretty bland.  But you know how on the carton picture they always have the fresh berries mixed in with the cornflakes, and it looks really tasty?  Then you get home and open the box, and no berries! So, I thought, I’ll just buy the berries and mix ’em right in with the cereal every morning!  Know what I’m sayin’?” 

In that particular case, she called security.  But it could’ve gone either way. 

One final example of the simple joys of the single life.  Last week, I was sitting in the den playing Contra.  No one was distracting me by running their mouth and making me miss a free man.  No one was yammering on incessantly about ‘a death in the family’ or ‘serious emotional and physical abuse.’  Just me and the Nintendo.  Like it should be.  And it occurred to me: “Vegas, what if you’re doing this at age 45?” 

And then the biggest smile I’ve had in years spread slowly across my face.  My eyes began to water with joyous emotion.  Because I could, in fact, still be doing this at forty-five. 



I’m happy to report that grandpa kicked up my swinging bachelor pad a couple notches by having the cable turned off today.  As if my life isn’t depressing enough, I come home ready to kick back with some Sportcenter, and all I have are the Network stations.  As insult to injury, the television also picks up “The Faith Channel,” with 24/7 evangelism.  That’s just a kick in the sack.  Let’s just say the last thing I’m tuning in after an internet wack session is “Billy Graham Crusade.”  With no cable to keep me occupied, let’s fire up the second half of The Goonies on pappy’s Betamax, shall we?

When I saw the “Director and Cast Commentary” included in the new release, I was embarrassingly really excited.  Embarrassing because I actually said aloud in Blockbuster “Holy shit, cast commentary for the Goonies? Awesome!”  But I didn’t say it to anyone particular, which made families clutch their children closely as I walked to the checkout line.  Unfortunately, grandpap has the original DVD player, meaning one has to use the remote to select special features.  And the remote was out of batteries, of course.  Like I was really going to go to Wal-Mart at 2 a.m. to get batteries just to hear Corey Feldman talk about how cool it was to be a Goonie?  You’re goddamn right I was.  This is Corey Feldman we’re talking about here!

Before the movie, the actors are gathered in the sound studio to introduce themselves.  Let me be crystal clear about this.  Kerri Green, the actress that played Andy, is the hottest girl I have ever seen.  The DVD is worth a rental just to see how hot she is 20 years later.  Let’s just say with the benefit of the now-functional pause button, I won’t be needing that internet session tonight.  We’ll now pick up where we left off, with the Goonies just having entered the basement of the restaurant.

Data stumbles upon the Fratelli’s counterfeit machine.  Their town is about to be bulldozed to make room for a golfcourse, but the Goonies strong moral compass precludes them from using bogus money to stall the foreclosure.  Honorable, truly.  Although, had there been no mystical pirate ship full of hidden treasure, I’m betting the real crime would’ve been not using fake money to prevent hundreds of families from going homeless.  Then again, I’m the same guy that rationalized taking a homeless man’s shoes because I thought it would give him more motivation to get a job. 

Corey Feldman commentary, “I’m working on a new movie with a lot of fake smoke, and I immediately flashed back to The Goonies.”  I don’t know what’s more unbelievable: that any flashbacks Feldman has are related to a kid’s movie, or that he’s working on a new movie.  If he’s actually got a new project, I’m sure we can all see it on Cinemax III in about two weeks.

Chunk gets coralled by the Fratellis and is in danger of getting his hand blended unless he flips the rest of the Goonies.  Chunk cops to everything, including pushing his sister down the stairs and blaming it on the dog.  The actor playing Chunk commentates that Speilberg helped him work up real tears for the scene by invoking the memory of Chunk’s dead mother.  So, that scene is permanently ruined for me.  Could’ve done without that bit of movie trivia. 

Meanwhile, our intrepid adventurers find a corpse they suspect may be none other than Chester Copperpot.  Their suspicions are confirmed when Mikey finds his I.D. and a baseball card of Lou Gherig.  The leave the Gerig card behind, although they could’ve paid the mortgage on the Goondocks with this card alone.  Leave behind free money machine? Check.  Recklessly abandon priceless baseball memorabilia?  Check.  I mean, what’s next? I half expect them to find real money but decide based on flawed integrity they shouldn’t take that sweet payday, either.  And I expect that because it happens in about three scenes.

Now our Goonies have discovered the Old Wishing Well.  Everything seems great until wet-blanket Andy drops the “These are peoples’ wishes and dreams, you can’t take this money!”  In the deleted scenes, Brand tells Andy that maybe the people who made those wishes would consider it a dream come true if their town wasn’t razed for the building of a Country Club and golf course, then he punches her in the ovary.  I made that last part up. 

In seriousness, it can’t be denied that Feldman has been in some good movies, like Goonies, The Lost Boys, The Burbs, and License to Drive.  Well, maybe the last one is just a personal favorite.  Anyway, Feldman’s wishing well scene is a genuinely good peformance.  When he says, “Well you see this one….This is my wish, my dream.  And it didn’t come true.  So I’m taking it back…..I’m taking ’em all back,”  that’s just good stuff.  I’m proud of you, Corey.  No matter how many straight-to-video movies you make, no matter how many people ask you if Michael Jackson fondled your sack, no one can ever take The Wishing Well Scene away from you. 

Troy is at the Wishing Well!  Sweet serendipity! Then he reels the bucket up, unaware that although it is completely effortless, Andy is not on the other end of the rope and has merely sent back his jacket.  Great unintentional comedy as Troy’s friends back away from him when he is visibly angered by this slight.  Take that, Troy! Receive your comeuppance!

Data is saved from certain death by “The Pinchers of Hell.”  This is a lovely little contraption that shoots out from his sleeve and grasps a ledge inches before certain death at the end of a 100 foot drop onto huge spikes.  Foolish One-Eyed Willie. You’re gonna have do better than that if you want to send a wily pre-teen Asian to a grisly demise. 

The last obstacle before the pirate ship is the scary bone organ.  Look, I know Willie didn’t want anyone to get at his treasure, but a skeleton organ?  How much time did he have?  He rigged the boulders that killed Copperpot, the pit that almost got Data, and decided that his piece de resistance was going to be a bone organ that would destroy any human who was foolhardy enough to approach it.  Unless, of course, said human had ever taken a single piano lesson.  That would render a deadly Skeleton Organ death trap practically useless.  Some input on this last trap would’ve been beneficial to Willie, but he killed off all his pirate friends to keep word getting out about the treasure.  Talk about your all-time backfires. 

How awesome is the entirety of the pirate ship scene?  It starts with the waterslide that every kid dreams about, and ends in a pirate ship full of gold and jewels.  Just when you thought the Goondocks were saved, the Fratellis enter (bone-dry), and attempt to make the Goonies walk the plank.  Will anyone save the day?  Sloth to the rescue!  I know I haven’t hardly mentioned Sloth, it’s just that I found him a little annoying, even as a kid.  For those of you that don’t know, the actor playing sloth is actually a famous D-Lineman for the Raiders, and died a few years after this movie from complications of prolonged steriod use.  No word whether his Down Syndrome may have contributed to his early death. 

The kids run onto the beach, to their anxious families and loved ones.  Conveniently, Troy’s dad et al. are also on the beach for the signing of the foreclosure papers.  Nothing odd about that.  Mikey’s marble bag is full of jewels! (It’s too easy, don’t bother).  And the Goondocks are saved.  If you’ll excuse me, I have a date with the actress who played Andy and the pause button. 













I’ve discovered a litmus test to seperate the true hardcore fans from the soulless bandwagon-jumpers we wish had been aboard the Challenger.  I call it, “The Fellatio Test.”  It works like this: if someone could promise your team an undefeated season and a national title on the condition you put another guy’s dick in your mouth, what would you say?  If your immediate reaction is “Hell, no! That’s disgusting and I’m offended you would ask that,” then you’re not a true fan.  A true fan doesn’t have to actually do the deed, but he’ll ask a couple of questions first.  Like, “It doesn’t have to be an ugly guy, right?”  Or, “Jeez.  I don’t know.  How many points would we beat Auburn by?”  Of course, ideally, even the true fan stops short of homosexuality.  Especially when he’s already fallen for that trick four times in five years.  (Incidentally, if a Genie ever offers you three wishes on the condition of performing oral, there’s a strong chance he’s not really a Genie.  He’s probably just a homosexual con-artist in a really authentic looking costume with a fake Arabic accent.  Hindsight is 20/20, you judgemental hypocrites.)

The old “Mr. Peepers” skits on SNL are hands-down the unfunniest sketches in the history of the show.  I’m even including the non-Lorne Michaels years where Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Downey Jr. were regulars.   I like to think that Chris Kattan is huddled in the corner of a one room New York shanty, shivering underneath a bare burning lightbulb, thinking to himself  “Corky Romano was such a good script…I….I don’t know where I went wrong.”  And, no, I’m not bitter that Kattan almost single-handedly ruined the “Will Ferrell years” of Saturday Night Live. 

Before I gave up boozing, I was drinking about 2500 calories a day.  Naturally, I’ve lost a couple pounds since I went on the wagon.  For those of you concerned about my relinquishing obesity without a fight, please don’t worry.  Men’s Health has a BMI (body mass index) calculator used by physicians worldwide to determine physical fitness.  Feeling pretty good about myself, I logged on today just to see what my BMI might be.  I don’t think it’s relevant to this discussion for me to bother with the details of what that magic number was, but suffice it to say I played with the BMI calculator long enough for it to tell me I needed to be about 7′ 6″ in order to not die of heart disease/ diabetes within two years.  If I could find a way to enter my two-pack-a-day Marlboro Reds habit into that calculator, I’ll bet it would sound-off  like a slot machine. 

Adam Morrison’s unbelievable play is being seriously undermined by the pencil-thin moustache he’s wearing.  Against Santa Clara last night, he was on the receiving end of the greatest burn in collegiate sports when the student section chanted “Dir-ty San-chez” everytime he went to the penalty stripe.   (Although, it didn’t seem to rattle him too much since he dropped a forty spot without even trying.  Warrants mentioning.)

Today, I was on the receiving end of the worst haircut ever given since barbers quit doing surgery in the Dark Ages.  How hard is “clipper setting two for the head, trimmer setting one for the beard”?  When he spun the barber chair to the mirror, I cackled in disbelief like a post-plastic surgery Joker.  He gave me some sort of pseudo- ‘high and tight’ Marine haircut, with a little fade thrown in on the sideburns.  So I’m 27, I have a hairline receding like the French in battle, I’m about seventy-five pounds overweight, I wear glasses, and I have a sweet ‘Jarhead’ hairstyle.  Basically, I’m Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket.  I’m definitely photoshoping my Match.com picture.

It’s about 9 p.m. on a Friday night, and all my friends are out with their wives while I’m at home writing on the internet.  While my married friends are free to enjoy the lifetime benefits of their respective soulmates such as compassion, friendship, and intimacy; I am stuck alphabetizing grandpa’s pharmaceutical grade laxatives.  But now that I’m single, I can openly keep teenvagina.net on my “favorites” list!  Clearly, I’m getting the better end of the bargain. 

I’ve got to quit calling my friends so much.  I’ve somehow become “The Guy who shows up on caller I.D. but you don’t answer because he talks too much.”  Everyone has someone in their life like this, and this person is universally disliked.  I don’t know how it happened.  The revelation of my metamorphosis became clear when I called my buddy Mysterioso today.  We usually watch sports together, but he didn’t answer his phone all day.  Finally, he picked up the phone after I had called about five times and told me he couldn’t answer my calls because he was moving his refrigerator all afternoon.  Ouch.  Admittedly, I’m grateful he lied instead of telling me “Dude, this is sad.  You know I know you’ve called five times.  I just can’t keep pretending to care about a three-game parlay you hit in Arena League, or how you can’t believe the Comets are only laying four points tonight in WNBA.  We can’t go on like this.  I’m sorry.”  Because there’s nothing more painful than being dumped in a heterosexual friendship.

These are the things that keep me awake at night. 




I’ve mentioned before, The Goonies is one of my favorite movies from childhood.  To this day, it’s impossible for me to see this movie on the channel guide and not watch it.  I wanted to be a Goonie so bad I could taste it.  A part of me still does.  Walking through my local Blockbuster, I noticed that The Goonies had just been released on DVD.   I instantly knew what my next post had to be.  What I didn’t realize, however, was that there was no way I could fit all Goonies post-worthy material into one entry.  I doubt anyone would argue that the “truffle shuffle” could actually stand alone in it’s own post.    Thus begins Goonies tribute, Part I.  (Incidentally, if anyone else plans to take notes on amusing bits of The Goonies, I wouldn’t recommend doing it in your Bar Review book.  Further, if an attractive girl notices your notes in the margins, I would advise against telling her it’s for your “upcoming blog entry on The Goonies.”  Tough to recover from that one.)

Great fade in to a Fratelli in lockdown, who has faked a suicide to escape.  If I ever go to prison, I pray to a God of My Understanding that it be in Astoria County.  After rendering a single, beyond geriatric guard unconscious, our villian is out the front door like he just played a “Get Out of Jail Free”  card.  Lucky, Joey Pants is waiting outside with the fail-safe “shoot a bullet into the ground and create an impenetrable forcefield of fire” technique.  I find it hard to believe none of today’s criminal masterminds haven’t utilized this method to escape from Supermax. 

Chunk watches the police chase from the arcade, and we have our first Pepsi sighting.  Only Subway in “Happy Gilmore”  had more obvious endorsement, and at least Happy had the courtesy to make a running joke of it. 

We’re at the Walsh household now.  “Bran” is working out with shorts on over his sweatpants.  How did this trend not last longer?  I’ve got a good mind to stroll in to Gold’s Gym tomorrow rocking the look just to see how long it would take for the trainers to politely ask me to leave. 

And speaking of 80’s fashion, no way I can let Corey Feldman off the hook for his Member’s Only jacket.  My buddy Weave’s stepdad still sports these bad boys out in public.  This inevitably leads to the “What are you, like the last member?”  joke everytime he wears it.  Obligatory, but good for a laugh everytime. 

It occurs to me Mikey’s older brother is “Brandon Walsh.”  I like to think that when Josh Brolin was washed up, he’d get drunk and throw his empties at 90210 episodes.  Loudly slurring “I’m the original Brandon Walsh, motherfucker” is optional for this fantasy, but I think it adds a little flavor. 

Mouth walks into the Walsh household drinking a refreshing Pepsi Cola.

Chunk arrives at Casa de Walsh, and the Truffle Shuffle ensues.  This term is so embedded in the lexicon of our generation, it needs to be in Webster’s.  If I were to refer to the Truffle Shuffle, and someone didn’t know what I was talking about, I would maintain eye contact, but slowly back out of the room without making any sudden moves.  Because that’s fucking suspicious.

In the Walsh attic, they find the map to One Eyed Willie.  If one were to Google “one eyed willie,”  piracy and treasure results do not abound. 

Back in the kitchen, Bran reaches into the fridge and pulls out an ice-cold Pepsi. 

Mikey uses body language to communicate to his fellow Goonies the age-old “use older brother’s stretch coil workout device to incapacitate him for a good 30 minutes” tactic.  Obviously, this plan goes off without a hitch, leading a generation of younger brothers to try this in real-life with merciliess beatdowns resulting.  Richard Donner, you bastard. 

Bran expresses his anger by yelling “I’m going to hit you so hard, when you wake up, your clothes will be out of style!”  Wow.  Must be take a worm for a walk week, eh Bran?

This brings us to the Goonies seeking out the entry point to the lair of One Eyed Willie.  A google search for “entry point to the lair of one eyed Willie” equally unfruitful as to treasure and pirate hijinx. 

Seeing a hundred mile expanse of coastline, Mikey succesfully triangulates the co-ordinates of Willy’s location using a tattered 300 year old map (written in spanish), and a rusy doubloon (circa 1620).  Chester Copperpot has nothing on this feisty little rapscallion. 

Reaching the entrance to a not at all foreboding shanty, Chunk is thirsty.  Fortunately, there is a cooler of Pepsi conviently on the front porch! Who cares how it got there, it’s the choice of a new generation!

Check back for the next part of The Goonies tribute, where I plan on discussing Feldman at his absolute peak, Troy almost creating a new “unintentionally humorous performance” category at the Oscar’s, and the grand mystery of how Bran’s girlfriend Andy never wound up in Penthouse. 







Please abolish the “corner fade route” in college football.  It never, ever works.  It occasionally works in the NFL with a good quarterback and a playmaking reciever.  But in NCAA ball, whenever I see the play developing, I chalk it up to an incomplete pass or an interception.  It’s not on par with things that send me into “put the fucking lotion in the basket” mode, I’m just saying it’s headed in that direction. 

Speaking of quarterbacks, I wish there was a really good quarterback who was white but could sing with a thick Jamaican accent.  If he could get the right jersey number, we could call him QB40.  And that would be awesome.  (Sadly, this is my best joke of the entire post.  You may want to stop reading now and check back next week.  I’ve got nothing.  Seriously.)

Tonight at my buddy Scagnetti’s house, we sat around and watched some football and listened to  music.  He’s a new homeowner, and we discussed how cool it was that he just bought his first house.  Five years ago, we were pitching in on a bag of dope and discussing the best strategy to con a Kappa Delta into licking our balls.  Tonight, we bantered about how fantastic “equity” is.  I will now plunge an icepick into my eyeball. 

On New Year’s Eve, one of the Casinos had their Grand Re-Opening since the devastation of Katrina.  Seeking relief from a no doubt exasperating lifestyle, so many townspeople showed up at the casino we couldn’t even find a slot machine to play.  There was a giant balloon drop at midnight with well over a thousand balloons.  As a promotion, there were hundred dollar bills inside some of the balloons.  To recap, there were a couple thousand Katrina refugees crammed into a casino anxiously awaiting hundreds of money-filled balloons to drop.  Nothing can possibly go wrong with this plan.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I saw an elderly 4ft Asian lady go Super Fly Jimma Snooka off a slot machine trying to get at a balloon that hadn’t floated completely down.  And people wonder why I love casinos so much.  I’m going back next week for their “What Will a Penniless Cancer Patient do for Free Chemotherapy?”  promotion. 

I’m currently living in a completely furnished apartment, rent-free.  What’s the catch, you ask?  Well, my grandad got re-married and is living with his new wife, so I’ve got his place.  I can’t decide what’s gonna be a better deal closer when I bring a girl back to the boneyard:  Gramps’ collection of ceramic homeless clown figurines, or a duct tape-covered recliner from approximately 1976.  Plus, the faint aroma of mothballs and Fiberlax is sure to get any lucky lady all hot and bothered.  Because there’s nothing a young hottie likes more than a man who knows how to stay regular.  Know what I’m sayin?

I asked my friend Weave what it’s really like to be a lawyer.  He said “it’s like scraping together every last penny you have for a bag of blow, then finding out the dope man sold you baking soda.  Then, snorting it anyway.”   Truly inspiring stuff.   And I was beginning to think my hundo grand worth of student loans wasn’t worth it!  Thanks, buddy!

And speaking of debt, Capital One called me again today.  Apparently they’ve seen through my guise of spouting garbled Portugese and then hanging up before they have a chance to respond.  Granted, it was a pathetic and childish ruse…but it bought me at least another week.  Finally, I just leveled with the poor douche who was trying to collect from me. It went a little something like this:

“Sir, this is Mark from Capital One.  We’d like to offer you a free check by phone to bring your account out of collections.  What do you say?”

“Uh, Marco? No, no! Hahahaha….get it? That’s your commercial!” (Clearing throat, embarrassed.  Apparently, bill collectors have little use for pop culture-related humorous references.  Go figure.) Look, Mark,  I’m not paying.  Sure, I have a little Christmas money I could put towards it.  But I’m not going to.  I’ll probably blow most of it on electronic toys for myself and piss the rest away to the bookie, to be totally honest.  But, either way, you guys aren’t seeing any of it. I’d like to say I’ll pay some next week.   But, frankly Matt, I’ve got too much respect for you to lie.  And I think that should count for something.”

“It’s Mark.”


And then I hung up.  Because, in retrospect, I think I can squeeze another week or two out of my garbled Portugese tactic. 

Apologies to the three people who read this for the lack of updates.  I’ve been moving Ex-Fiancee into her own apartment, and moving myself into Grandpa’s Swinging Bachelor Pad for the last five days.  (“What’s that, baby girl?  You like a man who can appreciate a commerative Elvis plate and is forced to keep the thermostat tight at 92 degrees year ’round?  Let’s do this.”)  But I’m back in my hometown now, so updates should be much more regular.  And that’s not just the Fiberlax talkin’.