Packing A Musket – The Musical!

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As I’ve mentioned previously, every poem by Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas. (Feel free to test it out here.) I think there’s maybe like one that doesn’t work. My favorite is “Because I could not stop for death” because the words are so depressing but they fit the jaunty tune perfectly.

Well, this morning I was listening to my usual Spotify Radio channel (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Radio) this morning and “That’s Amore” came on. I don’t know how I didn’t realize it before, but you can sing the words to “Packing A Musket” to the very selfsame tune!

Try it now in your best Dean Martin voice!:

When you work from your home and johns call on the phone
you’re a call girl.
When you walk ’til you limp and give a cut to a pimp
you’re a street whore.
When they’re beggin’ you please to get down on your knees
near their groinage
“Excusa me,” but you see, don’t you touch where they pee
without coinage.


I’ll be singing it all day long today on my Snapchat (DavisMcDavis) – tune in!

That is all,
O-men

 

 

 

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I Remember When Pashminas First Happened

Do you remember where you were when pashminas first happened? I remember like it was yesterday! I worked in the billing department of Calvin Klein’s internal advertising agency at the time. I did filing, copying, and coding invoices – something that I was good at, but disliked. It was determined that we would be switching to a new computer system. As a result, we were gaining a new employee, Francesca, who was hired as the “expert” on the new system, and who would supervise me.

Around the same time, high-end stores started selling pashmina scarves – big, thin, scarves the size of bed sheets that were made of a fine cashmere wool coaxed from the belly of Nepalese goats. Pashminas allowed a woman to wear a tank top and miniskirt in an air-conditioned office by covering it all up with a ginormous scarf so she still appeared appropriately dressed. They became very popular. Soon it seemed every woman spent the workday cuddling a blanket-size scarf like Linus Van Pelt.

Francesca dressed much more modestly, in sober tops and ankle-length polyester skirts with stretch waistbands, but even she could not resist the siren call of the pashmina. Who could? If it had been even mildly acceptable for men to wear them, I would have loved to be swaddled in a security blanket all day while navigating the icy wasteland that was the harsh cold minimalist concrete Calvin Klein office floor.

Shortly after their introduction, knockoff pashminas soon made their way to the sidewalk sellers of Midtown, and by the time Francesca was hired you couldn’t walk 15 feet down 39th street without passing a folding table covered in an array of “pashmina” scarves and prayer bead bracelets, which were the other things at the time that were popular to sell off a folding table on a sidewalk. Like the “jade” bracelets they sat next to, these $5 scarves used the word “pashmina” to mean “big” and were, at this price point, no longer made from the silky belly fur of a foreign mountain goat, but instead a careful blend of synthetic fibers of indeterminate origin, possibly China.

Along with the arrival of Francesca, I was given training on the new software. Afterwards, I found I didn’t particularly need Francesca’s expertise, so with almost all work having been delegated to me, Francesca’s job was mainly making herself look busy while sitting at her terminal. This was more difficult to do than you might think because it was 1999 and we didn’t have Facebook yet. Looking busy for a full three hours must have been a lot of work, but somehow Francesca managed to do it.

After a morning of “supervising” me, at 12:30, she’d let out a sigh, a sort of high-pitched simpering Skeksis sigh, and say, “Hmmmm, time for lunch!” and head out to the elevators. An hour later she’d come back, having navigated the folding table bazaar set up on the sidewalk corners outside, and tell me about the deals she’d gotten on pashminas and prayer beads.

“These are for good luck,” she’d say, showing me a bracelet of plastic beads that were clearly hoping to resemble fake jade, and almost achieving it.

I remember one time specifically she said, “You should have seen these pashminas, David. So many colors – and only $5! I was shopping so much I forgot to get lunch.”

Francesca wasn’t fat, but she didn’t look like the type to forget lunch, either.

“But you know, I’m not hungry – shopping fills you up!”

I remember it to this day because I had never heard a more stupid thing in my life. If a person could lose weight by shopping for scarves, Francesca would look like Kate Moss, and I’d be out there myself walking around looking like an adult Linus, shaking my lucky beads. I can hardly complain, though, because when pashminas happened wasn’t even half as bad as when stretch pants happened. I don’t want to gross you out, so I’ll save that story for another day. THE END

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PS – So I wrote a version of the above bit for my humor writing class, but I didn’t really like it so I never posted it here. Then another assignment was to revise an earlier assignment, so I did revise that one. I like the revision better, but both Handsome Mister Goats and the teacher said I should have some more dialogue in the beginning. I thought and thought about it and I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything she’d said other than that one thing about shopping. Then this morning I finally remembered she once showed me a recipe for scrambled eggs in a magazine and said something about how delicious the eggs looked, but I couldn’t figure out how to work that in. But I think it was something similar to the way I scramble my eggs these days: melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over low heat. Whisk three eggs until fully mixed, and pour the melted butter into the eggs and mix well. Then pour the mixture into the pan. Continuously mix the the eggs over low heat with a silicone spatula. They will slowly get thicker and finally curdle. Keep scraping the bottom of the pan if any eggs get cooked, and squish them back into the main mixture. You want to take it off the heat when it’s just barely cooked, with the consistency and dampness of oatmeal.

But I couldn’t figure out how to work the egg recipe into the story so here they are now. I had them for breakfast today, they looked kinda like the picture below. Life is a circle, like an egg, or the letter O. 20150511-scrambled-eggs-vicky-wasik-10

 

 

 

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Publicist

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Our assignment was to rewrite a previous assignment using a different voice. I couldn’t really figure out what to do at first, but then I thought of this. The teacher didn’t like it and said it was really an entirely new story. But I didn’t really like the assignment the way it was assigned, and I’m 42 and it made me laugh. Isn’t me what’s important? I think it is.

John: How are you?

Interviewer: Good. How are you? What’s your name again?

John: Don..I mean, John Miller.

Interviewer: Thank you for calling today! What would you like to say about The Hobbit?

John: Yeah, Mr. Jackson asked me to help out. I’m somebody that he knows and I think somebody that he trusts and likes. And I’m sort of handling PR because he gets so much of it. He’s just been doing so well that I’ve sort of been put in here to handle because I’ve never seen anybody get so many calls from the press now that this movie, The Hobbit: An Expected Journey is coming out on DVD.

Interviewer: And what would you like to say about that?

John: It’s the most tremendous movie ever. It is excellent, I can tell you that much.

Interviewer: So you are a real fan of this movie!

John: Oh, without a doubt. Better than Citizen Kane! Madonna called, she wanted to be in the picture, that’s the kind of classy picture this is. It was actually such an unbelievable story that Peter split it up into three separate movies, that’s how much of a story he had.

Interviewer: Wow, I’m surprised to hear that! Well, thank you for calling in…

John: Well, I can tell you off the record that Donald Trump was a silent partner, he was helping produce the picture, so of course there was no shortage of money. If you know one thing about Donald Trump, you should know that he has just tremendous amounts of money and he always makes wise investments. Always. So that wasn’t the issue, I can tell you that much. In fact, it was Mr. Trump’s idea to make at least three pictures in the first place. He could have made 18 pictures if he wanted. He could have directed them, too, but he thought he would be a nice man, because Donald Trump is a nice man, and he told his friend Peter he could direct them.

Interview: Donald Trump is also a film director?

John Miller: He would be if he wanted to, he just has other things he’s doing, with so many beautiful women calling him all the time, so even though he’s excellent at time management he felt it would be too much. But he had the film rights to The Hobbit, along with many other books, because he’s such a terrific reader, so when he saw the trailer for one of those Lord In The Rings movies, he realized that Peter would be the guy to direct it.

Interviewer: I’m surprised to hear Donald Trump produced the movie.

John: I can only tell you that off the record, because he is modest and didn’t want his name in the credits of the movie. Officially on the record you wouldn’t know it, except by the fact that it is such an amazing movie and I assume people naturally associate “amazing” with “Trump.” I do!

Interviewer: Thank you for calling in…

John: What happened was Mr Trump got on the phone and said, “Peter, I can tell you’re a classy guy – I want you to direct The Hobbit for me, but I know things are better when you make them as large as possible and cover them in gold. Can you make three huge incredibly long movies out of a children’s book?”

Interviewer: You were in the room when he made this phone call?

John: Um, he told me about it afterwards, that’s what happened.

Interviewer: It was Mr. Trump’s idea to make three movies instead of one?

John: Yes, and at first Mr. Jackson said no, but as you know Mr. Trump is the world’s best negotiator – it’s unbelievable how good he is at negotiating, he’s always winning at negotiating because he is very, very strong – and he convinced him to make the picture, and then Mr. Trump negotiated them into three pictures, three really huge ones, three hours apiece. Things are better in threes, don’t you think?

Interviewer: I bet Melania would agree with that! Well, thank you so much for calling in to Home Shopping, we do appreciate hearing from all of our customers. And you are so going to love the DVD, I can’t wait for you to get it!

John: Thank you, thank you very much.

 

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The Pretty and The Presumptive

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I misread the assignment for this week and wrote the below piece before re-reading the assignment and realizing I’d done it incorrectly. I thought I was just supposed to describe something in a humorous fashion, but I was actually supposed to write about something that happened to me or in front of me. So00000, I’ll post this here and then go do a Pilates class and watch myself in the mirror. I imagine I’ll see several funny things happen if I do that. 

The pearlescent teeth of the lioness gleam in the light, her sparkling brown mane caressing porcelain features with the whispering soft scent of Herbal Essences shampoo. Long and lean, a white glittering sheath hugs her body from the top of her creamy voluptuous bosoms to the top of her perfectly manicured pale pale pink toes peeping out from beneath the gown. Feline eyes stare into the distance over the stark plain of her sharp cheekbones. To her side, quite far below, sits a squat blue suit wrapped around a shapeless beanbag chair. Spilling out of the neck of the suit is a vast quantity of marshmallow fluff, dribs and globs of it forming a squishy sphere ballooning from the collar. In defiance of gravity, whorls of cotton candy float in a cloud above the globe, swooping and swirling in a whimsical fashion, and so soft, like fine baby hair, as to invite one to touch it.

But below the hair, the marshmallow surface of the ball has been cruelly seared with a butane kitchen torch, leaving a horrific bright orange paper-thin skin all over the pudgy blobs. The only parts of the ball not covered by the sickening umber burns are two tiny pink spots near the top where a pair of moist mole eyes peer out, blinking in the bright lights of the room. Twin fat and glistening pale grubs twist below the eyes in a grotesque imitation of a human mouth, opening to splutter, “Isn’t my wife Melania beautiful?”

…………

Did you figure out who I was talking about? I think once you read the word ORANGE you know who it is – it’s like he OWNS that word!

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Trilogy

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I’m taking a Gotham Writer’s Workshop writing workshop, and posting the assignments here after getting the instructor’s feedback. For this one we were supposed to write about cheese, hobbits, or paraphernalia – author’s choice. I was immediately struck by the extra “r” in parapheRnalia which I’ve never pronounced and had never seen before, but decided to go with hobbits instead. The instructor said people usually pick cheese.

“Uncle Bilbo! Uncle Bilbo!” Frodo burst excitedly through the front door at Bag End. He rushed down the hobbit-hole to the kitchen, where he found his uncle making oatmeal.

“What’s all the yelling for? Calm down, dear boy. At my age I can only take a limited amount of excitement, and waking up in the morning is usually enough for me. What’s gotten you so worked up?”

“They’ve made a movie out of your book, and it comes out today! Let’s go see it!”

“A movie, you say?”

“Yes, it’s very exciting. They’ve cast that guy Tim from The Office to play you!”

“I don’t remember a Tim in The Office.”

“The British The Office, not the American The Office.”

“Oh.”

“But that was the original one.”

“I see,” Bilbo said, though it was clear from his face he did not.

“Well, anyway I thought I could get you to come see it with me.”

“Funny, I didn’t realize we even had a movie theater in Bag End.”

“Yeah, they just built it last year while I was away in Mordor. It’s great: stadium seating and reclining chairs – you’ll love it! They got a special zoning permit  –  it’s the only indoor space in town not shaped like a tube.”

“And this movie, you say it’s about me?”

“Yes! It’s based on that book about you. Remember? It’s called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

“Rather long title, wouldn’t you say?”

“Well, it’s a rather long movie – three hours!”

“Three hours?! I don’t know, Frodo, that seems like a long time to be sitting still in the dark without going to the bathroom.”

“Please, Uncle!”

“My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I thought the book was only about 300 pages.” Bilbo looked up, thinking hard. “I suppose if one were to go into absolutely excruciating detail, you could probably drag 300 pages out to three hours.”

“Umm, yes, well….” Frodo trailed off.

Bilbo raised an eyebrow, looking confused.

Frodo cleared his throat, hesitant.  “Actually it’s the first movie in a trilogy,”

“A what now?”

“Trilogy. They’ve made your story into a three separate three-hour movies. This is actually just the first one.”

“You’re telling me I’ve got to sit through three hours of a movie and the story won’t even be half done?”

“I guess, technically speaking, it will just be beginning. The middle comes out next year and the end the year after that.”

“And we’re meant to sit here in the meantime just twiddling the toes of our enormous hobbit feet, wondering how it all ends?”

“Well, it is your story. Is it really a big mystery to you how it ends? I mean, you’re standing here.”

“I’m 111 years old. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.”

“Oatmeal. You’re cooking it right now.”

Bilbo glanced down in surprise at his right hand, which was holding a wooden spoon that was presently engaged in stirring a pot of oatmeal, then looked back up.

“So I am!” he exclaimed delightedly. “You are so clever, my dear….um, what was your name again?”

“Frodo.”

“That’s a funny name, isn’t it?”

“About the same as Bilbo, I’d say.”

“Bilbo! What a wonderful name! And who might he be?” Bilbo looked around the room.

Frodo paused, and then his face brightened.  

“Bilbo is the name of the lead in a movie we’re going to see this afternoon, my dear uncle, with me, your nephew Frodo.”

“Oatmeal and a movie!? This is my lucky day. I don’t remember making plans, but a movie sounds terrific. Funny, I didn’t know we had a movie theater in Bag End!”

“I’ll be back to pick you up at three.”

“See you at three my dear…my dear boy!”

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Nancy Drew And The Mystery Of Her Success

nancyI have these books on our coffee table – I love how the covers look together. The orange, yellow, and red book underneath Nancy Drew is a hardcover of “Metropolitan Life” by Fran Lebowitz.

I was feeling nostalgic a few months back and thought it might be fun to pay a visit to my old friend from grade school, Nancy Drew, so I purchased a vintage copy of The Crooked Banister on Ebay. I remember that one being a particular favorite due to the cover art, which features Nancy looking concerned while posed in front of a menacing robot and the titular banister. It was also particularly inventive in that the title didn’t include the words “secret,” “mystery,” or “clue.”  Of the 51 books in the Nancy Drew Mysteries series, most of the titles follow one of three variations: “The Clue In The [Gerund] [Noun],” “The Secret Of [Color] [Farm/Ranch],” or “The [Adjective] [Object] Mystery.”

It doesn’t matter if you read how Nancy discovered The Secret At Shadow Ranch before you read The Secret Of Red Gate Farm or The Clue In The Crumbling Wall; the same Nancy with the same backstory is in each. She never grows as a person, or is forced to come to terms with things, or gains or loses friends. Each novel introduces every character as they appear in the story with three adjectives, one of which was the person’s hair color, and after five exposition-heavy introductory pages, Nancy solves every mystery in a tidy 170 pages that end decisively with no lingering unanswered questions.

So while it was a real surprise at my high school reunion to discover that some of the most handsome students had been ravaged by time and too much sun and Coca-Cola, revisiting Nancy, I found she had become dull, flat, and disturbingly single-minded in her psychotically focused interest in solving mysteries.

Nancy’s was written in 1930, so despite being revised in 1959 to be less racist, when I encountered her in the early 80’s she was already a dullard. At the time this wasn’t noticeable to me since I was 12, living at home, and thought reading teen fiction aimed at girls was a recipe for fun. But reading it now, I see that Nancy’s idea of a rocking good time was a sandwich-and-milk picnic with her two best girlfriends Bess (blond, plump, fearful) and George (athletic-looking, “enjoyed her boyish name,” dark-haired.) Aside from having a friend who is clearly a closeted lesbian, solving mysteries is the most exotic thing Nancy does. It’s actually the only thing, because her other interests include sitting around her house waiting for a mystery to pop up, and absolutely nothing else. She does help the housekeeper make dinner once, but it appears that was just product placement on behalf of the publishers for the 51st book in the series, The Nancy Drew Cookbook.

She never once attends a concert or party or cracks open a book, not even one of her own. Sherlock Holmes at least had the moxie to work up a cocaine addiction in addition to his mystery solving, but Nancy Drew never expresses an opinion for or against needle drugs of any kind, much less ties off and shoots up. I bet The Secret Of The Dirty Needle would have been a real page turner, if only someone had written it.

The one mystery Nancy never solves is how to earn a living. The reason she has the time to investigate all the mysteries exploding around her is because she is an unemployed high school graduate living at home on her father’s dime. She never mentions ambitions of getting a job or going to college, much less picks up a job application. If there weren’t so many people losing jewelry and misplacing their wills in old clocks, Nancy would just be home doing nothing other than making judgments about her friend Bess’s weight.

I used to wonder why her father, handsome tall lawyer Carson Drew, always let her run off on her own unescorted, but now I realize he was trying to get rid of her. He certainly wasn’t going to manage to marry her off to her (handsome, tall, and blond) sweetheart Ned Nickerson. Ned was particularly chaste, even for a young adult novel, and never did anything more romantic than hold Nancy’s hand. In the end I realized I must have remembered liking The Crooked Banister because the cover was pink and it had a robot on it, and not the contents. It’s actually a terrific book  – as long as you judge it entirely by the cover.

Did any of you ever read Nancy Drew, or were you all butch and read the Hardy Boys? Please comment below!

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11 Rules of Modern Etiquette

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  1. Wait until the other person starts speaking before you look at your phone.
  2. Maintaining eye contact during a conversation is considered polite, so try to glance up from your texting at least every minute or so in order to give the impression you are listening.
  3. Taking pictures at a concert is okay as long as you upload them during the concert so that you can start getting LIKES before the concert has ended.
  4. Remember that when you record something with your phone, you’re blocking the view of the people behind you with your phone. Nobody minds as long as you make sure to record the whole concert on your phone – if they really wanna see they can just look it up on Youtube later.
  5. Texting other people in the middle of a conversation is okay, but don’t check your Scruff or Grindr messages without first saying, “Sorry – it’s for work.”
  6. It’s okay to finish other people’s sentences if they aren’t talking fast enough, or if you think you have a better ending than what they were probably going to say.
  7. “Your” & “you’re” are the same word but spelled differently for absolutely no reason. Really! You don’t even need to worry your pretty little head that they might be spelled differently because they mean different things, or that you should know which is which because English is your mother tongue. Instead, try to mix it up and use both of them whimsically. It’s fun!
  8. “It’s” and “its” are also the same word – the apostrophe is optional. Try to put it in randomly to add variety to your email and status updates.
  9. It’s usually pretty dark in a theater when a show is going on, so people are grateful to have the extra bit of light from your phone’s screen when you check Facebook during the slow scenes in a play. If you miss part of the action, you can just ask your companion what’s to fill you in on what’s happening as soon as she finishes opening the large handful of individually-wrapped candies she’s eating.
  10. Your opinion of Lady Gaga’s latest song or video or performance is the most important opinion of all the opinions, and we must discuss it in detail. The fact that you haven’t picked up a paintbrush, read a book, or even put together a decent Hallowe’en costume since 1988 is somehow not relevant. You are, in fact, qualified to judge her creativity and find it wanting.
  11. Kim Kardashian is a thing we should care about.
Posted in Buzzfeedy, Funny, Onionish | 2 Comments