Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Friends Don’t Let Friends Speed-Dial Drunk

My blog theme this week seems to be stupid is as stupid does. Since we know whatever we post will be here forever - just like a drunken early morning phone call that’s captured on an answering machine - I feel the need to get this all down on the net. I’d like to have a record of exactly what was going on in October of 2010 for when I’m an old codger who wants to take a stroll down memory lane.

So, you remember the Clarence Thomas hearings, right? Where Anita Hill, a co-worker, accused him of sexual harassment? Let me refresh your memory: Pubic hairs on sodas - yeah, that’s the one.

Okay, so Clarence’s wife is either a morning drinker or she’s extremely pissed at her husband and it has taken her a few years to decide which passive-aggressive path to take toward revenge. It seems a morning phone call to Anita Hill is what she decided.

"I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."

I’d say someone had a nice 7am highball with her Cheerios. The message was left on Saturday morning at 7:30 am, which makes me wonder if Clarence was a little less than….um, generous in bed the night before.

ONE WORD to Supreme Court Justice Thomas: RECIPROCATION.

I’m pretty sure if you’d curled your wife’s toes Friday night, she wouldn’t have felt the need to dial under the influence.

Ginny, if your hope was to ‘put this all behind you’ (Satan, get thee behind me!) I’m not sure you understand what BEHIND means. Your wacky early morning antics did just the opposite. You tossed that bomb AHEAD of you, right in the path of the oncoming politirati.

My advice: A little less happy hour and a little more Sesame Street in the morning. I’m sure Bert, Ernie and Big Bird can teach you a thing or two about opposites.

Plus, that Grover is a pip!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Karl's Angels

Yeah, I’m pretty sure HE’S up to something. This has Karl Rove’s chubby, grubby paw prints all over it. These chicks can’t be for real, so unless this is round one of the newest reality show - America’s Most Idiotic Politicians - I’m going on record now:

This is a classic Republican tactic: obfuscate and redirect.

While all of America is distracted by the whirlwind of lunacy that is the primary election coverage, something is happening behind the scenes.

What I want to know is, what's the great and powerful Oz doing behind the scenes while the rest of us guffaw our way through debates and absurd sound bytes? Be afraid, people. While we pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, I’m certain he’s up to no good. Like starting another war. Take a look at his gals and you tell ME if these wing-nuts can be ANYTHING but subterfuge for some greater rear assault on America:

First, the big guns:

Sara Palin

Momma Grizz is traveling all over the US with her bottled water and bendy straws in tow, working TeaBaggers into a mouth-frothing tizzy. Anyone who doesn’t think she’s running for President in 2012 has probably had a lobotomy. Sara is making waves AND cash, hand over fist. I guess quitting her old job was a money-making proposition, but not exactly a quality I want in a leader: Sara. Palin. Is. A. Quitter.

I’d also like to think all possible political appointees have at least a general grasp on basic geography, science and…reality - real reality, not the TV show version. But Sara and the gals following her lead don’t seem to think that kind of stuff is important.

Take, for instance…

Christine O’Donnell

Oh, Christine. I just want to hold you to my breast, rub your head gently and say, “Oh, honey…no. You don’t need to be in politics. Sweat pea, we know you’re trying to be Sara Palin’s mini-me but don’t you think that’s lowering the bar a tad too low? We’ve been told you’re not a witch, but I’d rather be represented by Broomhilda than someone who doesn't have a firm grasp on the Constitution and Amendments. If you're applying for the job, I'd like to know you can tell when an entire room of people are laughing AT you, not WITH you.”

And, let’s talk a minute about what the Catholics like to call self-abuse

"It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can't masturbate without lust." --says Christine-who-is-not-a-witch.

So according to you, I can’t touch myself? Oh, and didn’t you say evolution is a myth?

Let’s move on to…

Sharron Angle

This chick looks less like a radical conservative and more like an escaped mental patient. Her bullet points:

--she called the unemployed spoiled welfare queens.
--she said entitlement programs are like worshipping a false God
--she calls flouridization a Communist plot
--under her care, American prisons would implement a Scientology massage program.
--she once opposed a local high school using black athletic jerseys, which she called un-Christian and wicked
--she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, saying pregnancy under those circumstances is God's plan.

Of course, those in her own party would just love her to knock Harry Reid out of his seat, but once she’s sitting in it, I’m wondering if those forced to sit next to her would be concerned with their sudden proximity to wack-a-doodle. I can hear their inner monologues:

“Can I catch crazy?”

Isn’t anyone else afraid?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

De plague, de plague!!

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Sick kids in ‘da house, so I’m not much for blogging this week. That whole snotty, gooey, hacky-cough while I’m trying to sleep has really harshed my mellow.

I will post a couple of social stories because I’ve had some e-mails from readers wanting to know what they look like. Actually they’re so damn cute! I save them since his teacher usually laminates them for me. Probably because it’s harder for him to rip them that way when he‘s not happy about the content.

First, here’s what his daily schedule board looks like: (each kid has their own)

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I think I’d like to have one made with regard to ‘sickness etiquette’. It would read something like this:

When Jaxson coughs in Mommy’s face or wipes his snot-ridden hands on her mouth, Jaxson will cause Mommy to run to the nearest anti-bacterial dispenser in the house and douse her face as if she’s been given a dose of the plague. That is NOT GREAT. When Jaxson covers his mouth when he coughs and then washes his hands that is GREAT. When Jaxson is home from school sick and Mommy doesn’t have time to write that is NOT GREAT.

Friday, October 15, 2010

“How ‘bout a kiss, buddy?”

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When I picked Jaxson up from school yesterday, I asked how he did that day. I always ask and then I hold my breath and hope for the best.

“Great. He was a little squirrelly for a while. Anytime we change something up he gets tense. Oh, there is something…”

Then his teacher walked over and told me Jax was chasing boys around the playground and when he caught them, he kissed them. “Yeah, we may want to figure out a way to get him to stop doing that.”

I had to laugh. Social story, perhaps? I love social stories. The teacher prints up these one page ‘stories’ that involve pictures and symbols to explain a teaching moment to the child that might not otherwise understand the lesson if given verbally without visual cues.

I know where the behavior comes from. Jax loves Popeye. We have DirecTV and he records episodes and watches them over and over. Popeye says it to Olive Oyl all the time and Jax has taken to saying it. Sometimes he grabs my face and says, “How ‘bout a kiss, buddy?” and then lays one on me. I think it’s cute. If chasing boys and kissing them is the worst faux pas he commits at school, I’m fine with that.

His father wasn’t as charmed as I after I relayed the story to him. Bread Winner said to Jaxson, “Don’t kiss boys, kiss girls.”

“Don’t tell him that!” I chastised. “He’s not supposed to be kissing ANYBODY. Kids pass around germs! Plus it’s not socially appropriate to be kissing his peers in a school setting. He needs to respect personal space.”

Bread Winner leaned in again and whispered to Jax, who was wriggling in his arms because he was being tickled. “Only kiss girls.”

I groaned. “You know, sometimes you’re not very smart. I could care less if he’s kissing boys or girls.” Bread Winner gave me an upward eyebrow and I silently said my standard prayer for at least one homosexual child.

You gasp?

Well the thing is, in his young life, my elder son, Jake, has done, said and asked more than a few questions that leave his not-yet-burgeoning-sexual-preferences up in the air. I want to make sure I’m open to all options so he knows that he, too, can be open to all options.

When he was five Jake asked me, “Mom, can a man and a man get married?”

I’d been cleaning up the back porch while he played on his swing set and I stopped sweeping, resting my chin on the end of the broom handle.

“Well, yes they can.” Because I knew he wasn’t asking if two men could go down to the county courthouse and obtain a marriage license or civil ceremony certificate, or move to Canada and marry without the Jesus freaks stoning them on the way in. He wanted to know if two men could live together, love together, and have a family. So I believe I gave the appropriate response.

“Is that weird?” he asked, sitting in the swing, using a toe to dig in the dirt.

“No, nothing’s weird if you don’t think it is, honey.”

“But is it normal?”

“What’s normal?” I asked, wondering how he defined the word.

“Mom! You know what normal means!” He’d become irritated, because Jake only likes to deal in facts. Black or white, right or wrong, his mind left no room for the possibility of fluidity in any circumstance. Yes or no answers should be given whenever possible, and as far as he was concerned, the world would be a much easier place to navigate if everyone conformed to that notion.

I can’t even remember now how I’d defined normal. With Jake, there were always these discussions that left me feeling anxious and slightly nauseous. Not because of the content, but because I was always afraid I might say something that would come back to bite me or him in the ass later in life. I wanted him to make his own choices; about sexuality, about politics, about religion, about people in general.

But his most recent questioning on the topic, at age twelve, now led me to believe that I couldn’t win for losing.

“Mom, can I read your book when it gets published?”

We were en route to school, and damn if I didn’t already have to deal with a hot topic.

“No, honey. It’s for adults.”

“What’s it about?”

“It’s about a young boy who leaves home when he’s seventeen and lives in New York for twenty years before he returns home.” The book in question was Far From Happy, a novel I’d recently signed a contract for publication on. My first published work.

The protagonist was a male hustler.

“Is it like your Macy movie? With the boys kissing?”

Yes, in fact. Macy’s Wait was a short film my mother and I had recently completed, and apparently he’d seen me editing the video, though this was the first time he’d mentioned it.

“Well, sort of. The boy is gay. Remember when I told you what gay means?”

“Yeah, that’s gross Mom.”

I had exactly nine minutes before I dropped him off in front of his middle school and I used every second of it explaining the facets of the word tolerance and how I didn’t actually like the word, because it presumed that there was something that needed to be tolerated about another individual and I preferred to believe that we are all equal and beautiful because of our differences and no matter who someone is, or what they believe, love was never wrong and it was nobody’s place to judge someone else for who they loved.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I finished with this, “Now, you understand that some men love men, and some men love women, and some women love men, and some women love women, right? And any of those combinations is perfectly acceptable. It’s okay that you would rather kiss a girl, but—”

“—eeeew, Mom! That’s even more gross!” he hissed as he opened the car door, grabbed his backpack and looked around to make sure none of his classmates had heard the end of the conversation.

When the car door slammed and I pulled around the circle, I was shaking my head; no closer to an answer about my own child’s sexual preferences. It seemed, at the moment, kissing anyone was gross.

And that was just fine with me.

At any rate, a gal can dream. In my version of future paradise, Jake will be the eccentric, homosexual Dog Groomer to the Stars, and take me with him on his international travels.

Jax—because he’s just recently become verbal—traipses around in my dreams, multi-lingually. He not only speaks perfect English, but goes on to master Spanish, French and whatever they speak in Yemen, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Yes, my dreams include one kid escorting me to Broadway shows when I’m seventy, and the other, my personal translator while I experience a bit of long overdue globetrotting. I’m not saying they have to do these things, just that it would be a nice repayment for my maternal efforts.

But, as someone very smart once told me, hope in one hand and crap in the other—see which one fills up first.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ten Minutes to Wapner

You’ve all probably seen Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman’s character was inspired by real-life autistic Kim Peek who could read eight books a day, taking ten seconds to read each page, devouring two pages simultaneously, his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right one. He had an unbelievable memory and knowledge of rote facts. But, here’s the interesting conundrum: throughout his life he still needed 24-hour care. Despite his amazing mental agility, his motor skills were limited and he needed help with things like dressing himself and combing his hair.

The movie wasn’t necessarily a bad depiction of someone with autism, although neither of my kids can count toothpicks if they’re dropped on the floor, or perform other entertaining party tricks. And I’m here to tell you if they could count cards, I’d be the first one to hop on a plane to Vegas and figure out a way to exploit the situation to my financial advantage. But my kids aren’t savants. Most autistic people aren’t - only about 10% of people on the autism spectrum have savant skills.

So for that reason, the Hollywood portrait painted wasn’t entirely realistic with regard to most people on the autism spectrum. But it told an engaging story and illustrated some things rather well:

The Ten Minutes to Wapner thing was very realistic. I can hear Jake saying that, only it wouldn’t be about The People’s Court, it would probably involve Pokemon or Mario or some cartoon character on one of his shows. “Mom, it’s coming on in five minutes. Mom…only three more minutes, HURRY!”

Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The movie also hit the nail on the head about things like having to eat specific foods a certain way, or requiring a certain brand of underwear, lest the wearer might, say, lose their shit (pun intended). Jake is a boxer kind of kid and he’ll go commando before putting on tightie-whities. If it’s a school day and I haven’t gotten to the laundry fast enough, obviously commando wouldn’t be an appropriate option. So, yeah - that would be a bad start to what presumably would be a bad day. Needless to say, I try and stay on top of the laundry situation in my house.

People on the autism spectrum are often restricted, rigid, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. When this rigidity is challenged, in the form of making changes to their rituals and structure, challenging behaviors (AKA: tantrums) may arise.

The thing to remember with autistic children is that the behavior is not on a vindictive or malicious level. They are not trying to blackmail you emotionally because what’s happening - from their perspective - has to do with them, not you. Autistic children are completely without guile. They have no understanding of concepts such as passive-aggression or manipulation. Autistic persons’ reactions are simply their reactions to whatever stimuli they’re being confronted with. Unlike some neuro-typical children, their actions are not a conscious way of getting something they want. In fact, they’re probably not even aware how their actions are affecting you. That’s something they often need to be taught along the way, rather than simply ‘getting it’ from your behavior, facial expression or body language.

For this reason alone, I wish everyone had a touch of autism.

Jake can’t lie. Seriously, he can’t tell a lie. It’s like a tic for him. He’ll get right in the car after school and give me a laundry list of every bad thing that he might have said, done, or encountered that day. He’s unable to move forward until he’s sure I’m completely aware of anything that might have been considered inappropriate. Then he feels better. If I ask him a direct question, even though he MIGHT try to keep something from me, he’s got absolutely no poker face, and the moment of silence is quickly followed by him coughing up the truth, however uncomfortable it makes him. This might very well be the coolest thing about him, from a parenting perspective. Well, that, and the fact that he can’t abide cursing, which he regularly calls me on, as well as fellow students. Yeah, I imagine that goes over really well with the ‘normal’ kids. (Actually I know it doesn’t because he was recently bullied for it.)

Just interacting socially can be draining for someone who can’t read facial expressions, isn’t verbal and doesn’t understand many things involved in social interaction, like reading body language. It’s like trying to get something from someone who is speaking another language. So pile that on top of any changes in the structure of their life and you should expect the guano to hit the oscillator, my friends.

Although their routines might seem strange to us, they serve a purpose to the autistic person. After all, routine itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I go grocery shopping on the same day of the week each week, simply because it’s convenient. If I wait longer I will run out of something. If I go earlier, I may have too much of certain items and then they go bad before I can use them. Ritual and routine help us feel secure and safe within our environment and makes the world around us more predictable. Too much unpredictability and uncertainty can lead to stress, more so with autistic people.

When these rituals and routines are interrupted or changed, the reaction you might get could well seem to be disproportionate, but you must remember that the autistic person who you are interacting with may have communication problems and doesn’t understand the reason for the disruption of their routine. Even Jake, who is a teenager and very verbal, is extremely literal. Try using things like sarcasm, irony, metaphor or pun on him and what you’ll get in return is a blank stare.

Jaxson and Jake both have issues with change. Jaxson, for instance, is unable to come into school and unpack his backpack and put his items into his locker like the other six children in his class, until his teacher comes out of the classroom and greets him in the hallway. He won’t let me leave until this happens. As soon as his teacher comes out and Jax sees her, I can leave. But if I try to leave him with his fellow students to unpack his backpack, he whines and pulls at me. It is how things went on the first day of kindergarten, so now if I try to change it up, he freaks out. This doesn’t bode well for the day - which is swiftly approaching - when he has a substitute teacher.

The ASD teachers want children to become more independent, thus tending to certain chores at school by themselves, without the aid of a paraprofessional or teacher. They need to be able to do things, like walk down the hall without holding the para-pro’s hand or change from their snow boots into sneakers in the winter, all by themselves.

This is all grand, but when something ‘new’ comes up - something out of their normal routine - this can throw an autistic child off, terribly. The way to try and change this is to regularly change-up their routine, at home and school. To toss them something unexpected and get them used to navigating change. Needless to say this isn’t always fun and so far I haven’t seen it actually work. You’re bucking their internal sense of order and it doesn’t go well. But as a parent, I still need to try, because life is messy and full of changes. The need for a detour often arises.

Shit happens.

But, try relating that concept to an autistic child and see how far you get.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Would the Devil Get a Publishing Deal?

Sigh. There are at least three things wrong with the photo above and their names are Conrad, Palin and Beck, in order of appearance from left to right.

Sigh, again. Really? I had to google the Conrad chick, because although I recognized her face, I didn’t even know from what show she’d been spewed forth, I only knew where she’d ended up. Published. I suppose I should be happy it was her and not that Heidi Montag Living Barbie, because had I seen her face while walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, I might have had a spontaneous cranial bleed.

For a writer it’s difficult to see faces like the faces above and know that some of them hit the NYT Best Seller List. For the love of God, Katie Couric couldn’t even nail down whether Sara Palin reads newspapers on a regular basis, and now she’s a New York Times Bestselling author?

Then there’s Glen Beck and his book Arguing With Idiots. Reading between the lines, I assume he’s had lots of practice arguing with himself.

Who the hell is reading this shit? Seriously. I get it. Publishers will publish what sells. That’s not what concerns me. Publishing is a business, just like television. If we gobble it up, they're gonna serve it up hand over fist.

So, I’ll ask again: who is reading this shit? The same people, I presume, who are watching all that reality TV, buying Snuggies ™ and eating sugar-free foods laced with aspartame. We can not complain about the offerings on TV, movies and books if we're the same people following Snookie's every move or watching Glenn Beck's show and believing everything (or anything, really) that comes out of his wacky mouth.

We're the problem. And why do we watch/read this stuff? Is it the whole 'train wreck' thing? (READ: Mid-term elections have caused everyone to lose their minds because some REAL TURDS are running for office - homophobic turds, turds who dabbled in witchcraft, etc.) I see too comfortable a correlation here and it disturbs me. The loudest wackadoo in politics - do we support them just to ensure an entertaining news cycle once they're elected?

Is it just fun to watch someone humiliate themselves, watch someone's marriage disintigrate before our eyes (Jon & Kate + 8 - 1), or watch some young person's hopes and dreams become shattered (American Idol try outs). Does anyone else find this whole disturbing trend...yucky? OR is it just me?

So as I’m preparing this blog, I google Heidi, praying, I mean really PRAYING that she didn’t have—

Oh, you’ve got to be f-ing kidding me with this! She and Spencer wrote (I am playing fast and loose with the word ‘wrote’ here, clearly):

How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture

So, it appears the surefire way to get a publishing deal (or get elected to a Senate or House of Reps. seat) is to say something stupid, do something stupid, or be someone stupid. And yes, I am bitter. A bitter ,bitter girl. But I did find a way to purge the pent-up bitterness threatening to overtake me. I rearranged the bookshelf at Wal-Mart. With a bit of quick work, I was able to move every copy of the above books to the bottom shelf and put other books in front of them.

I considered it a public service. My way of paying it forward to the shoppers who would follow me down the aisle that day. Grocery shopping is a daunting enough task without having to ponder the pervasive absurdity of whether the Devil Himself would get a publishing deal.

Come November, we might have an even more frightening 'reality' show going on in America. I predict a high number of new CSPAN viewers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sensory Stew

Picture this:

You’re locked in a speeding car at night, racing down the highway at breakneck speed. It’s the middle of summer; you’re hot, uncomfortable and sweaty. There are sirens wailing outside, and there’s a baby with a stinky diaper next to you, screaming. The interior car lights flash on and off, blinding your senses. The radio is turned up full blast to heavy metal music. Nobody is driving; you have no control.

Now you might have an idea of what it’s like to be autistic on any given day.

You are expected to deal with this, and get through your normal daily routine without exploding. You are expected to listen and follow directions; you are expected to thrive. One after the other, sensory arrows are being shot at you, only your mind is unable to process them in any meaningful way. All noises are translated at the same level, none being relegated to background noise.

Every sense is heightened, over-stimulated.

What must it feel like for them, all of these bothersome things festering in the mind of the autistic child, clouding anything brighter from shining through? Jake, my 13 year old, can’t stand the way paper feels and at school this just has to be nerve-racking. Book pages turning, graded papers being passed out, notes shuffling between hands at every desk; the sensory minefield he has to wade through daily is something most people can’t even remotely relate to. Jaxson, my 9 year old, doesn’t like loud noises or clothing. Yeah, I said clothing. As soon as his feet hit the front doormat, he’s pulling off his clothes. He’ll wear them when we go out and all day at school, but at home he’s a little guy runnin’ around in his skivvies. I have no idea what it is about them that bothers him, but he just doesn’t like being dressed. I buy all cotton, everything loose and breathable, cut out all the tags—still, he prefers life sans clothing. Who am I to begrudge him?

His home is his castle just as it is mine and I want him to be comfy there.

Children with sensory issues must do what other children do throughout their day at school and in daily life, but they’ve got the added burden of wading through an often debilitating sensory assault as they do it.

In my opinion, that’s what makes them a little stronger than you and I.

Below is an example of a Sensory Stew and how Jaxson dealt with it. (READ: His 2007 School Christmas Pageant. Damn my kid is cute! )

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Few of My (Least) Favorite Things

1. Reality TV.

Seriously, do we have an ETA on when that stupid trend is going to peter out? Because I think America’s been dumbed-down to the point of reckless abandon at this point. It’s been scientifically proven that for every 30 minutes of reality TV you watch, you lose 5 IQ points, so some of you people should be in a cage with the apes at the Bronx Zoo, tossing excrement and sniffing your fellow inmates’ asses.

The only two network shows I watch are The Office and Glee*. (*Wouldn’t life would be wonderful if we all occasionally broke into song with an accompanying perfectly choreographed dance number and flawless costuming? And Jane Lynch is so yummy I could dip her in couscous and wash her down with a glass of chardonnay. )

2. Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly.

I probably don’t need to elaborate here. This also goes for FOX News. I prefer my propaganda with a big Nazi flag in the corner of the screen, accompanied by grainy black-and-white pictures of soldiers screaming ‘Heil Hitler’.

3. Seeing your underwear in public.

This applies to persons of the male and female persuasions. Guys, if you think it’s so important for me to see your Joe Boxers, just wear them over your jeans. It’ll look less stupid than having the crotch of your pants dangling somewhere around your knees.

And gals, (I’m talking to you if your jeans only cover half your ass and I can see your thong), if you’re under 25 and wear obnoxiously low-riding pants, you might want to re-assess your fashion sense. If you’re over 25 and embracing tween-fashion, you might need to re-assess your common sense.


Ladies, have you ever wanted a bejeweled beaver? Well then, get in on the new fad that’s sweeping the nation. Everyone from Jennifer Love Hewitt to Kathy Griffin have gone the way of the shimmering snatch, so don’t be the last one on your block with a festooned frontage. Start Vajazzling*!

(*va-jazzle - to decorate your ‘down there’ area with shiny, glittery gems.)

My Va-Jay-Jay Bling sung to the tune of A Few of My Favorite Things.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

80 Year Old Chick

I’ve been posting videos of my octogenarian Nanna on YouTube for a few years and the video CHICK ON GAY PEOPLE has over 50 thousand hits and was taken from an interview I did with her a few years ago. I simply sat her down and asked questions, to which she responded in her very Nanna-like way: without guile and completely honest.


I don’t know what is so funny about senior citizens and ‘dicey’ subject matter, but here’s another short film I made called VD IS FOR EVERYBODY. The doctor in the film was my actual doctor at the time, and the actress in the stirrups is a lovely woman named Regina Mancino.

For more of my Nanna, check out the 80 Year Old Chick page of this website. I’ve included interviews with her, as well as some short films she’s acted in.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

'Roid Rage!

Most of my writer friends know of my troubles down under because I’ve regaled them with stories about my little anal hitchhikers. I’m slightly obsessed with my hemorrhoids, I'll be the first one to admit.

But mostly, I figure if you’ve got an issue that once almost caused you to shove the ice blocks in your freezer - normally reserved for your children’s lunchboxes - into your lower orifice, you might as well get some literary mileage out of it.

If you can’t laugh at your own put-upon-pooper, what can you laugh at…I ask you?

As anyone with a similarly disenfranchised ass can attest, when those little buggers are angry, the pain they can cause is beyond the ability to comprehend. I have been awakened from a sound sleep, suddenly feeling like something untoward happened to my rear orifice while I slumbered - like a brutal ménage à many. Vicious waves of angst filtered up through my innards as I crawled to the kitchen for ice because I’d let the literal tube run dry.

That’s a mistake a ’roid sufferer only makes once. What follows is an early morning jaunt to the nearest drug store, whereby you avail yourself of every tube on the shelf and are only moderately embarrassed as the clerk rings up your seventeen boxes of Prep-H. (generic of course, I’m nobody’s fool.) After you’ve experienced that kind of pain, you could care less who sees you spending $94.76 on off-brand ass cream. You just want to make sure you never run out again.

To this day, even though I’ve got a butt-load (pun intended) of overstock under my bathroom cabinet, I still grab another box every time I’m in the Wal-Mart Supercenter. There can never be too much emergency preparedness in this situation, and I promise you FEMA hasn’t got your back.

I’ve been lucky as of late. I’ve had no flare ups, but it hasn’t been long enough that I’ve forgotten the brutality. I remember praying for death in between suppressing dry heaves and mopping the sweat from my clammy brow. It is a memory that haunts me to this day.

Because he gets a kick out of shit like this, my amazing writer friend Mitch Geller wrote a song about my affliction and I’ll share it with you now. Notice the personal elements he added. A reference to flies (a Jake obsession) and a lighter (Oh, have I not told you that Jaxson recently set fire to his bedroom? I guess a Fire Blog is in order, huh? Stay tuned!)

Jeni is a Gal With Hemorrhoids
(sung to the tune of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles)
*song raped and pillaged by Mitch Geller*

Picture yourself on a smoking hot poker
With cottage-like cheese and watery eyes
Somebody tells you your face is all chalky
To you that’s not quite a surprise
Big hangin’ berries the color of spleen
Flowering like tulip beds
Sat on the one that brought tears to her eyes
And it’s wrong

Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids
Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids
Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids

As big around as an Austrian mountain
And rocking on bar stools is very unwise
Everyone smirks as she swells by the hour
To grapes in the blink of an eye
Flatulence sounding much more like a snore
Splashing it with her iced tea
Climb in the sack with her butt in a bowl
And it’s wrong

Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids
Gonna have to get some Venapro
Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids

Tinctures herself in the hopes of salvation
With fermented spirits and big blocks of ice
Suddenly someone is there in the bathroom
A kid with a lighter and flies

Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids
One of them looks just like Dan Akroyd
Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids

Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids
Even took a couple-a Polaroids
Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids

Jeni is a gal with hemorrhoids

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hit the Road, Rick. And Don’t Come Back No More, No More…

There I was with Monday’s blog about my hemorrhoids primed and ready, set up on auto-schedule to post itself at 8:am.

But, then it happened:

Late Friday afternoon Rick Sanchez shoved his oversized loafer into his babbling maw for the last time on CNN. Adios, Rick. The Cubano has left the building.

It’s a shame, really. I watched Rick’s List occasionally— okay, watched might be playing it fast and loose with the word. Often my TV was tuned in to CNN while his show was on. As I tended to a myriad of chores around the house, I was able to listen in and wait for his next gaffe. He was entertaining, our Mr. Sanchez. Kind of like the bumbling uncle we all have - not the alcoholic one, or the one that’s a bit too grabby-hands. I’m talking about the affable one prone to inadvertently tossing in a malapropism or two while telling you an inappropriate story, usually involving a fart or boob joke.

So now Uncle Sanchez is no longer with us. I am sad to see him go - but seriously, it’s not like this is the first time he’s said something that either made me cringe or do a double take, causing me to turn toward the television with a duster in one hand and a pile of dirty laundry in the other.

Remember that ‘he’s the cotton pickin’President!’ thing? Yeah, classy. I had a feeling he'd been waiting a long time to work that one in, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and presume it was a slip of the tongue.

How about the time he had a bit of trouble locating Hawaii on the large studio map? That was painful to watch.

And let's not forget the stun gun incident. Really, Rick? You did that of your own volition AND thought there was even the remotest of possibilities Jon Stewart, Colbert and the rest of the mainstream media WOULDN’T play it on a loop for the better part of a week?

Even my nine year old autistic kid who’s barely verbal probably saw that one coming.

Rick, it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for someone who went on live radio and basically bent over and shat on the hand that signs his paycheck. Thinking those kinds of things - well that’s one thing. Saying them aloud - that’s your one way ticket to tool-ville, my friend, where you’ll be walking the buffet-line of shame along with the likes of the Huckabees, Becks and Limbaughs of the world.

One good thing came out of this whole mess, Rick. At least it happened late on Friday afternoon. You didn’t have to wake up the next morning to every media outlet splashing your face all over the screen while you tried to get your morning java down. No, you had a couple of days to hide out and lick your wounds before this kind of stuff started -

(behold, my song parody. Yes, that is my voice. I've got a cold. Don't judge me. PS: The blog about my hemorrhoids will be up tomorrow.)

Friday, October 1, 2010


I’m perfectly aware that I’ve put my family through the ringer when it comes to my elementary filmmaking endeavors. Forget about the mountain of footage I have of my kids. The adults in the family have not been safe either. I had no problem tossing my octogenarian Nanna into the mix.

There was The Happy Tongue Incident - a story involving death by hot-pink dildo. And once I had her on her arthritic knees in her front yard - which is a 10 X 10 patch of grass, complete with garden spinnaker because she lives in a mobile home retirement community where the neighbors regularly vie for the top spot in the tacky yard accoutrement category. 
She kept saying: “Hurry up, the neighbors will see!”

But tricking Nanna into thinking we’d just tossed the box formerly known as her husband into the gator-filled lake behind my Mom’s house was probably the one that would make most people cringe. Not me. Nothing is sacred in our family, and to her credit, when our little plan didn’t go as we’d hoped, Nanna manned up like a good actress and did take two.

Here’s part four, but for parts one through three, you can check out her YouTube page:


My sister Resi has played everything from a gun-toting redneck in a horrible Godzilla spoof, to a blushing bride marrying a homosexual groom twice her age, while decked in Pepto-Bismol puke pink. She’s actually the only real actress in the family, or at least the one that does it well.

But, when Mom and I get together, and it’s the middle of winter with nothing to do, we eventually pull out the HD cameras. The Bait Pile was mostly improvised when we realized neither of us could remember our lines or stick to the script. We wrote, directed, acted, ran the cameras and edited it ourselves, and it's the only one of our films that managed to make it into a film festival - though to be fair, their motto that year was: “The films nobody else will show.” But hell, it premiered in NYC at a small venue on 42nd Street so we were pleased as punch.

Below, find my mother and I together in all our glory - a montage of madness from various things we’ve done together, including The Bait Pile.

WARNING: The Barbie-Porn discussed in a previous blog post is featured -selectively - but as far as I’m concerned, if a little doll on doll action offends you, you probably aren’t my target audience, anyway. (in which case I'd say to you:)

For God's sake, lighten up. We could all die tomorrow if some crazy dictator in China or Iran decided to push the button - get some perspective and a sense of humor. I promise, it'll do you good.