Monthly Archives: August 2012

Lame Adventure 336: Annual Exams and Future Goals

Recently, I used a half vacation day I had bank-rolled from The Grind on what turned out to be one of the most glorious days of summer in the Big Apple.  It was sunny and warm with low humidity and a welcome breeze.  I felt like I was a in soot-dusted paradise.

Spastically branched tree against clear blue sky.

Unfortunately I had to undergo my annual poking and prodding exam at 10 am.

All aboard and spread ’em.

Of the four women sitting in the waiting room I was the one from the earliest vintage.  In fact, I was the lone dried fruit.  I brought my own reading material, a copy of The New Yorker, since I have no interest in magazines about starting a family or raising children.  Opposite a sign that requests patients to silence their cell phones a woman in her twenties sat obliviously playing a game on her Android that emitted a steady stream of shrill whistles and pops. I tuned her out and proceeded to read a short story written by Alice Munro, Amundsen.  It seems that every year I’m due for this exam The New Yorker publishes one of her exquisitely crafted tales set in Canada, Munro’s homeland.  I no longer need to keep a note in my calendar about when to schedule this appointment.  The telltale reminder will be the publication of yet another bleak yarn authored by Munro.

My concentration was destroyed by a loud, high-pitched child’s voice in the distance repeatedly screaming, “Hi!”  The voice comes closer and the culprit, a rambunctious toddler sporting a head of tight red curls, enters with his entourage — his massively pregnant mother (who makes a mad dash for the bathroom), his father, grandmother and stroller the size of a Smart car.  They must have forgotten to pack the dog, cat, hamster, parrot and goldfish.  In his left hand the tot is holding a toy airplane.  The index finger on his right hand is digging so deep in a nostril I half expect it to wriggle out an ear.  His voice is raspy and I ascertain that he must be recovering from a cold.  He and his posse are on the far side of the waiting room. I say a silent prayer:  stay there Little Germ Factory.

A genius invention.

Even though I arrived fourth, the nurse appears and announces my name first. I reason that this is because I’m essentially dead inside so examining my internal ashes can be completed at warp-speed. If any of the others object that I’ve been elevated to the top of the pecking order, they don’t show it.  I’m so small and quiet, it’s possible that they have mistaken me for an end table.

While waiting for my doctor I photograph the replica Monet on the wall.

Examination room wall art inspired by a funeral home.

I am infinitely more intrigued with the pain intensity scale that’s decorated with emoticons in various stages of pleasure, stress and agony a.k.a. my life story in four words.

No ones laughing out loud in this group.

If I had designed that chart I would have shown the tortured emoticons with their mouths agape screaming silently for the entire neighborhood to not hear.

When my doctor arrives to give me the professional finger I have put my camera away.  We chat briefly.  She asks me the usual questions that prompt the usual lies concluding with:

My Doctor:  Do you exercise?

Me: Yes.

My Doctor:  Really?  You’ve gained weight.  Two pounds.

Me:  I’m sure my metabolism has slowed.

My Doctor: Eat healthier.  Exercise.

Me:  I actually eat very healthy – fruit, vegetables, fish [inaudible muttering] all that sort of boring thing.

My Doctor:  Cut back on the carbs.  Really exercise.  Okay?

I don’t argue.  As I dress to leave I know that she’s right.  Over the course of the next year, not only will I shed the two pounds I’ve so gluttonously gained, I will lose three more.  Yes, I am going to shed two and a half times the pounds I’ve gained over the course of the next 365 days.  Therefore, when I return a year hence, demarcated by The New Yorker publishing yet another downbeat tale quilled by Alice Munro, I will be lean as a whippet.  Losing five pounds is attainable.

See you next year!

On my brisk walk home (this counts as exercise), I’m feeling determined.  Goals are good things.  I will kick-start the new leaner me by going to my grocer’s where I purchase four yogurts.

The Fage yogurt quartet

Then, I eat this.

Fat soloist fresh blueberry scone.

I’ll wrestle this beast of a goal starting tomorrow.


Lame Adventure 335: Overdue

Here I am lying down on the job.

Can this double as a passport photo?

And here I am 2,500 years hence, significantly more dried out and inked than I am at present.

Yay, I finally shed those unwanted pounds!

What prompted these images was an email I had received a week earlier from Natasia, my tattoo-worshipping antagonist over at Hot Femme:

Tas email: Tattoos: a 2,500 year old trend. Almost as long as satchels!

Natasia frequently mocks my use of the words satchel, behoove, and some other of my trademark expressions I cannot recall due to my advanced case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Me email: Aren’t you feeling oh so smug!

Tas email: Find yourself a mummy with a satchel, Lame.

That dare set me off.   A week later, I emailed Natasia the above image of the mummy with a satchel, agitating this fresh snark:

Tas email:  I’m assuming this is (not) Under Ling (anymore’s) work.

Okay, Natasia’s Cornell degree in Something Hard and Complicated Involving Math once again paid off.  That was a correct assumption.  Yes, I have been blessed with two crack graphic designer buddies that have generously contributed to this site, my former colleague, Ling, who designed my banner, and now, Ling’s successor and former number two, Under Ling, since renamed, (not) Under Ling (anymore) after she was promoted last January.

Ten Lame Adventures ago (not) Under Ling (anymore) was anticipating a Lame Adventure of our own collaboration, a Lame Adventure entitled:  The New Office Accessory.  The reason this Lame Adventure went missing was that other Lame Adventures suddenly took precedence — Lame Adventures about the reliable crowd pleaser, tree bagging; the Lame Adventure about goat cheese and my pet puppet goat, Bill E.; collaborations with my wingman commenter Mike G, my humor advocate Le Clown, and my neighbor’s wonderful pooch Blanca.

Blanca: coolest pooch in my hood.

When, my sidekick, Greg, shared the YouTube link featuring the Wilhelm Scream, it never occurred to (not) Under Ling (anymore) that our joint Lame Adventure would once again be superseded and this time by nearly sixty year old yelling.  And, of course, there is my problem with CRS.  I’m so overloaded mentally, emotionally and alcoholically I’m nearing the day when I’m just going to start signing my name with a middle finger print.

Without further delay, here is that long overdue, especially if you’re (not) Under Ling (anymore), tale about The New Office Accessory.

In my ongoing passion for all things mundane, I would like to announce that after nearly eight years of employ in my illustrious career as Minister of Tile, I no longer have to march the twelve point seven feet from my desk to my superior Elsbeth’s office to sharpen a pencil.  My svelte colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) has altruistically donated a kidney to our General Manager’s ailing ferret and in exchange The Powers That Be In Accounting have stuck a crowbar in the company wallet and approved the purchase of a $7.00 extension cord from Office Max. This will grant us the opportunity to share our very own electric pencil sharpener without ever having to leave our desks again — a departmental first, emphasis on mental.

Examples of more pencils in our future.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) did all the setup involved possibly because she is very wise for her 24 years and she instinctively knew that The Cranky Fossil in Jack Purcell badminton shoes would sooner scrub the floor with her toothbrush than climb under her desk to plug in that cord herself.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  Ever.

Fortunately, The Cranky Fossil sits next to a very can-do member of the Millennial Generation, at least someone that is very can-do when it comes to entering Middle Earth to set up the electric pencil sharpener that they now share.

End result.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) performing first pencil sharpening.

And yes, the sharpener sits six inches away from The Cranky Fossil and two feet across (not) Under Ling (anymore)’s desk possibly because the youthful member of the equation’s head will explode if she has to hear The Cranky Fossil whine one more time about her aching back.

Ta da! “Nice and pointy!”

Hey, watch it!  Don’t stick me in the eye with that thing!

First spent pencil memorial.

Lame Adventure 334: Lost and Found

Losing stuff is a daily occurrence in New York City and this is not just in reference to the propensity of subway riders losing their tempers in this congested metropolis.

An outraged response to MTA cheery self-promotion.

New Yorkers lose their cats.

Anyone seen Chester? Did you look under the sink?

New Yorkers lose their socks.

Sock Monster by the kids at PS 9. (Nice to know where the tubes I lost in the 80s went.)

Sometimes I draw the short straw and I’m the loser on the subway.  Once on my way home from The Grind, I did not lose my temper, but I did lose my umbrella.  This happened while I was sprinting across the 14th Street subway platform to transfer from a local train to the uptown express.  While doing my anemic Usain Bolt impersonation, I unwittingly dropped my umbrella, but speedy me did manage to hop onto that express train just before the doors shut.  The reward for my victory was reaching my stop three minutes and seven seconds faster and arriving home a helluva wetter.

Recently I thought I had lost a book, but fortunately, my pet puppet goat, Bill E. had it.

“I’m on page 103.”

Last week, I sliced my right index finger.  I have no idea how this injury occurred, but I realized that I have now lost my chance to seriously pursue a mid-life crappy-hand modeling career.

“Let me see.”

More often, I’m the one that finds another’s loss lying in the street. Sometimes someone’s loss is my gain, such as when I found a dollar entering the 72nd Street subway station.

It pays to ride the subway.

I applied it toward my replacement umbrella.

Just this week I noticed a tie, a pair of gloves, and a potato.


Gloves (flattened by cars).


I am sure the rightful owners wondered:

Rightful owner:  Gee, what happened to my [tie, gloves, potato]?

Then, there is stuff that someone no longer wants so they purposely leave it out in an act of passive aggressive charity.

One of a kind combo — microwave in chair.

Recently, I saw a sofa complete with detachable feet, a pair of men’s boots (people in New York are big fans of leaving shoes out), and some mats that I first thought might be for yoga, but upon closer inspection I ascertained better suitability to absorb car grease, or possibly candidacy for residence in a landfill.

Sofa with feet detached.

Leather boots going elf-toe route.

Mats. Next stop can to frame left.

I kept a close eye on the sofa.  First the detachable feet went missing, then the entire sofa itself.  I suppose what is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, especially if you’re someone that treasures bed bugs.

I agree.

Considering the recent epidemics of these pests in Gotham City, I steer clear of street swag.

There are also some distinct intentional dumps of stuff, stuff that the former owners have decided must go so they just toss it in the street willy-nilly to sound as irritating as former Secretary of Irritation in the Shrub Administration, Donald Rumsfeld.  In this case I have seen chair casters and last year, a movie-style popcorn popper filled with greasy unpopped corn kernels.  It was as if this machine got ditched in mid-use possibly because the original owner has severe A.D.D. or was just a typical Type A orifice – no, not thinking the ear canal.

“I feel detached.”

Degrading departure.

Another New York City specialty is wild trash.  Wild trash is trash that is not in a bag that’s deposited in a trash can awaiting pick-up. This is untamed garbage at its most feral. Newspaper is a popular breed of this type of refuse.  If sidewalks could read, New York’s would be the most literate in the country.

Public health announcement courtesy of the pavement.

Although this has yet to make the evening news, urban wildlife out here is suffering an obesity epidemic.  Who wants to peck at dry seed out of a feeder when the pizza is so abundant in the street?  That would really be bird-brained.

Pizza party!

Notice how both the pigeons and the sparrows completely ignored the pencil — not a writer in the flock.

Finally, there’s what I call the hit and miss style of dealing with wild trash.

Side by side.

NASA can fly a vehicle to Mars but we’ve yet to equip a banana peel with a spring mechanism allowing it to bounce off the eater’s head into the trash can.  Now that would be progress.

Lame Adventure 332: Pink Pugs in Paris

As most of you don’t know, my commenting wingman, Mike G, recently celebrated his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with the woman he calls The Bride.  Altogether let’s say:

Us: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

What is even more monosyllabic-inducing to me is that this is his fourth marriage.

LA Readership and Mike G:  WHAT?

Just yankin’ ya, but let’s be realistic, I’m queer as, accounting for inflation, a nineteen dollar bill and this is not the site for sentimental straight sap.  I will say this about Mike and The Bride, out there in the hinterlands of New Jersey, they’ve produced three well rounded spawn.  The first-born, Son, is a university wrestling team member with clowns as his kryptonite, so anyone reading this that would like to get him in a headlock fast — dress as Bozo; D1 is their first-born daughter that decorated the car in glitter and feathers so it looks like a rolling drag queen, and D2 is their second-born daughter that hates squirrels after one had the audacity to run off the roof and use her head as a launching pad.  She’s now learning to drive and dreams of exacting revenge.

Alert squirrel on lookout for D2.

If they have any animals Mike hasn’t revealed them to me so I’ll improvise here.

Mike’s funky chicken Miriam.

The Bride and Mike both have Real Jobs that are called a word that’s as foreign to me as any words gassed in Aramaic, Careers.  From what he tells me, she’s even his Best Friend. There you guys go again:

You Guys: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

With my extraordinary power of perception I’ve deduced that she doesn’t bitch at him to take out the trash or pick up his socks and he’d sooner cut out his tongue than say:

Mike G (never uttering): You know, that dress does make you look fat.

So there was Mike and The Bride in Paris without any of the Spawn nor did Mike stuff his pet chicken, Miriam, in his suitcase Borat-style.  They were alone.  In the city of light.  One of the most romantic places on the planet.  Being romantic …

“Hey Bride is that a dyed pink pug we’re looking at over here?”

… and taking pictures for Lame Adventures!  The Bride even downloaded them for us.  Their marriage sure works for me.  Let’s virtually visit Paris!

Cool flowers in hotel lobby.

Chocolate anniversary cake with edible gold courtesy of Hotel du Swank.

“Bord du smelly cheese” and bottle of bordeaux ordered by Mike.

Gaudy Ferrari with Dubai license plate in front of hotel their entire visit; motorist probably too cheap to park it in a lot.

Gallic Phallic Luxor Obelisk in the Place de la Concord.

Touristy Arc de Triomphe shot.

Cool Hugo-type shot inside clockface in former train station Musee D’Orsay.

Front gate to Abercrombie & Fitch. Yes, A&F or WTF?

The Louvre where Mike and The Bride soaked up more culture.

Eiffel Tower.

L’hopital des Invalides or in Mike-speak, the original Obamacare.

Love those flowers.

Mike optical illusion peeing in Jardin des Tuileries reflecting fountain.

Ferris wheel in Paris’s Central Park aka Jardin des Tuileries.

Mike’s eye view of Paris from Ferris wheel.

Final flower shot. Mike’s applying for his florist license.

Lame Adventure 331: What a Scream

I had a very productive weekend.  I stocked up on paper towels.

Cheap thrills.

I also saw a ridiculously souped-up Mini Cooper.  Clearly the souper-upper wished this was a sports car.

Ridiculous from the rear.

It brought to mind a guy I sometimes see in my neighborhood that walks his cat on a leash.  The humiliated cat slinks along miserable, probably dreading encountering dogs.  Cats are not meant to walk on leashes.  Get a dog if you must scratch the leash itch.  That poor cat should be free to do what all cats do, lounge around and claw the couch.  Back to the Mini Cooper faux sports car, I half-expected it to be an automatic, but it was a stick.

Ridiculous from the front.

I also saw some flowers in a planter that were such a vibrant shade of deep pink.  They were so eye-catching, not that I would be caught dead wearing that color.

Nice in a planter, not nice anywhere on my person.

Turning back the clock to just before quitting time on Friday at The Grind, my sidekick, Greg, asked me:

Greg:  Are you familiar with the Wilhelm Scream?

Me:  Should I be?  Is that the noise my mother emitted when she hatched me?

Greg:  It’s a popular scream from the Warner Brothers sound stock library that’s been used in many films.  There are links to it on YouTube.

Me:  Huh.  I’d like to hear that.

No sooner did I say that than Greg shared the definitive link featuring Wilhelm Screams.  This is a twelve-minute collage of screams that have appeared in films from 1951 to almost the present.  It’s a favorite sound effect of George Lucas’s, and it’s also been used by directors Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino;   Pixar has utilized it in many of their animated films.  It’s familiar wail can also be heard in numerous action and horror movies.  Within the first three minutes of this collage you’ll even hear it in a scene with Judy Garland and James Mason from A Star is Born.  I urge you to click this link, not necessarily to listen to all twelve minutes of Wilhelm screaming in its entirety, like I did at my generally pointless leisure (illustrating that this site is not called Lame Adventures for nothing), but simply so you’ll have a better comprehension of just what it is that I’m talking about.

A few other interesting, or semi-interesting, or “oh, please end this painful as paint drying torture” of a discussion about the Wilhelm Scream include the following factoids — it got its name from a character named Wilhelm who appeared in a Western released in 1953 called The Charge at Feather River.  It was also voiced by Sheb Wooley.  To readers of a certain age, and you know who you are, if that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the guy that sang the novelty hit from 1958, The Purple People Eater.  That is a song that’s so irritating it could elicit an endless loop of Wilhelm Screams.

Lame Adventure 330: From Barnyard Puppets to Neighborhood Pooches

Twenty-nine years ago when I was a freshly minted NYU(seless) grad, I found my no fee, rent-stabilized, gas and electrical inclusion (i.e., no charge for gas and electric), Upper West Side hovel in The New York Times.  After making the mistake of agreeing to take me on as a tenant, my Irish-Catholic landlady, Catherine McCrank (name changed to protect the demented), ordered me to sit at her kitchen table to write a list of house rules that she dictated. I made the Faustian deal to follow her rules for the life of my tenancy in her building.

Deal with the devil circa 1983.

Since Manhattan usually has less than a one percent vacancy rate and I had been looking for a garret for three months, I would have willingly signed a confession that I was San Francisco’s Zodiac serial killer between the ages of four and twelve just to land this affordable 312 square foot crash pad.

The first rule was No petsNo air conditioner which has haunted me brutally this summer appears further down the list.  Back to Mrs. McCrank’s No pets rule, she loathes animals, particularly dogs.  Some tenants have snuck in cats, and occasionally there have been dog visitors, but this has been a dog-free house as long as I’ve resided here and at this stage, I’m almost the oldest tenant in the joint.  The length of my tenancy shocks the younger residents when they ask that irritating question:

Younger resident:  How long have you lived here?

I used to give an honest answer but after a while I grew tired of hearing:

Younger resident:  No way! You’ve lived here that long?

Now when someone asks I handle it as follows:

Me: I can’t remember.  Forever!

Then, I laugh, and they laugh and what we’re laughing at neither one of us knows other than they’re probably paying a good fifty percent more than me in rent, so I suppose the joke’s on them.

Unlike Mrs. McCrank, I love dogs.  I grew up with a mutt I adored that hated my guts, Mean Streak.

Meanie on the lookout.

In the above photo, Mean Streak’s paw was bandaged from excessive nail biting; he was a worrier as well as a canine warrior.  He was also an excellent watchdog and I assumed that he barked and snarled at me to maintain his skill set. I never held his ferocious temper against him.

I always figured I’d eventually live in a place where I could finally have a dog, but after twenty-nine years living in this sweltering, albeit affordable, rat hole – where I’ve just renewed the lease to start year thirty, I’m resigned to the reality that this is never going to happen.  Therefore, the closest thing I have to a pet is Bill E., my newly acquired puppet barnyard goat.

Low maintenance puppet pet. Just dust off on weekends.

I also like to come and go as I please.  Dogs need a lot of time and attention.  I oversleep nearly every morning of my life.  If I had to add “walk Fido” to my to do list I’d never make it out the door in time to squeeze onto the jam-packed subway train for my commute downtown, sandwiched between satchels with enough space to fit a week’s provisions for a family of four.

What is in here, fifty copies of “Fifty Shades of Gray”?

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to my tale of no-pooch-for-me woe.

There’s Blanca.

“That be me!”

This adorable 9-year-old Westminster Terrier lives across the street from my brownstone with her always pleasant owner, A.  They’re quite a team and it’s probably a reflection that A, who is so cheerful, would have a mellow dog.  Possibly a telling factor in Mean Streak’s sour demeanor was that my childhood phone number was 1-800-LUNATIC.  Was that a coincidence?  Probably not.

Back to Blanca, seeing her and A on my walk to the subway station to head down to The Grind is a welcome start to my day.  Lucky for me, Mrs. McCrank did not have one more rule on her list, “No socializing with neighborhood dogs.”

“Arf you, Mrs. McCrank!”

Lame Adventure 329: The Gift of Goat

As someone that suffers stage 4-level lactose intolerance, if I would dare nibble on a sumptuous ripe Brie the after effects on my intestines would be as if I had swallowed a stick of lit dynamite whole.  I have a very sensitive stomach.  Fortunately, thanks to sheep and goats, I am not entirely cheese-deprived.

Get your goat logs, goat medallions, goat Olympic medals here.

Unlike cow’s milk cheese, goat cheese is gamier, but I like gamey to an extent; I’m not going to chow down a pickled farm animal’s hoof anytime soon.  That’s an odd vinegar soaked delicacy my Italian granny was drawn to that made everyone else at the table recoil.  On the other hand, a cheese with distinct character pleases my palate very much.  Lucky for me my posse accommodates my many dietary quirks and limitations.  They’re all pretty much goat cheese eaters now.

Goat cheese with French names.

When my Current Companion has absolutely nothing better to do and visits me, I have been known to get us a variety of both goat and sheep’s milk cheeses.  I have been eating goat cheese for decades, but only recently have I started paying closer attention to the sheep’s milk variety.  There is one sheep’s milk cheese I get that she likes very much, but much to our mutual dismay, I suffered a touch of A.D.D. and forgot to note its name.

Current Companion:  How could you forget the name of that cheese?  It was sooooooo good!

This prompted my usual logical train of thought:

Me (thinking):  Is this a deal-breaker?  Am I gonna get ditched over failing to remember the name of a cheese?

Me (saying):  I think it’s kinda coming back to me.  Relax, I can wing this.

We visited the cheese department in the Upper West Side’s Fairway. I asked the cheese monger with authority:

Me: Do you have a sheep’s milk cheese called something like Idiot Zabel?

A short while later, we settled for Naked Goat and Drunken Goat.

Drunk goat sleeping it off, “Hic!”

They happen to be two of our favorites and Current Companion wryly and dryly observed:

Current Companion:  Those are names you’ll never forget.

Drunken Goat from Fairway.

I did happen to see a wheel of Idiot Zabel afterward, so we got a wedge of that, too.  Once again though I did not write down its exact name, but it really does taste great.  Overall, Fairway has a good selection of goat cheeses.

Cute little goat pillows.

My favorite is Drunken Goat.

Drunken Goat unwrapped with signature violet rind.

It’s from the Murcia region of Spain a mild white cheese with a slightly fruity flavor that’s been soaked in red wine for a few days giving its edible rind a deep violet hue.  It pairs well with olives, salty dry meat, and snarky women.  It’s also miraculous on the digestive tract.

“I’m sober as a judge.”

Note about the guest goat puppet, his original name is Furryosity Goat (since renamed Bill E.).  Even though Bill E. has been relocated to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, his siblings are in SoHo awaiting adoption at Treasure & Bond, a very cool store owned by Nordstrom’s where 100% of all after-cost profits benefit children in need.

Treasure & Bond

Adopt a goat (puppet) today!