the MikeGee blog

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The Pizza Hut Slider Hamburger Experiment.

The year was 1975 and my family gathered around the kitchen table to feast on a new exotic food that was recently introduced to us when we ate at the home of one of my father’s co-workers. They were called “Tacos” and we all loved them and Mom quickly made them part of the dinner rotation. They weren’t fancy and not very authentic, Safeway ground beef browned with an Old El Paso Taco seasoning packet thrown in. I still love them that way. But it was when I was taking my first bite into my first taco that night, inspiration hit me. The conversation went something like this:

Me: You know what would be a good idea? They should make the taco shells out of Doritos!

My Brother: Shut up. That’s stupid.

Me: YOU shut up.

Dad: Mike, don’t tell your brother to shut up.

Me: Mom, don’t you think that would be a good idea?

Mom: Uh-huh, now eat your taco.

Yes everyone, the “Taco Bell Doritos Taco” was MY idea dammit!, 38 years ago! I was 11 at the time, neither Frito Lay nor Taco Bell headquarters were in Southern Maryland and even if they were, at that age, I was still not allowed to cross Fort Foote Road. So my brilliant idea went dormant for decades until a second person came up with the idea and Taco Bell is making a fortune on my idea.

So, last week I saw a commercial for Pizza Hut Pizza Sliders, the latest in a string of products Pizza Hut has come up with to sell the same mediocre product. But inspiration hit me again.

It cracks me up how lately “sliders” has become a big thing. In the restaurant world, anything that is a small sandwich is suddenly called a slider. The term “slider” was coined as a nickname for White Castle Hamburgers (probably one of the tastiest things in the universe). But those who have eaten at White Castle can tell you: “You don’t buy White Castles, you rent them.” While not a high fiber food, these little burgers have a way of going through you quickly; sliding through you, so to speak, hence the nickname.

So while marveling at these “pizza sliders” and how they are in no way true sliders, it occurred to me… “Would 2 of these pizza sliders not make a really tasty hamburger bun?”

So, late this morning I ventured out to gather the ingredients for my culinary experiment, despite the heart attack warnings from my Facebook friends.

The Pizza Hut Sliders would be easy enough, relatively speaking. My local Pizza Hut is in an odd location. I won’t go into details on the placement of the building, but let me just say that the easiest way to get to this particular Pizza Hut is to be born there.

On my Tolkien-esqe journey to this Pizza Hut was underway, I received a text from my 17 year-old son, Cosmo saying that he and his brother would be returning soon from their weekend youth group get away. I asked if he wanted to have one of my experimental burgers and he was down for it. Then I texted my 11 year-old son Max (who was riding in a different vehicle than Cosmo) and asked him if he wanted to join us. His texted reply: “Um… no, To be honest, that sounds like something that would give me diarrhea.”

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9 sliders for $10 or 3 for $5. This was one of the easiest purchasing decisions I’ve made since I came across a guy selling Hot Cross Buns!

For the burger part, I decided to pay a visit to a local and more easily-accessible Wendy’s. My thinking was that since I wasn’t sure of the size of the pizzas or the burgers, the Wendy’s burgers would be easy to cut to fit the pizzas properly.

To my delight, I found upon returning home that the Wendy’s hamburger patty was the same size as a Pizza Hut Pizza Slider.

As you can see by my tape measure, I was fully prepared in case that the Pizza Hut sliders were 25 ft wide.

As you can see by my tape measure, I was fully prepared in case that the Pizza Hut sliders were 25 ft wide.

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What an amazing stroke of luck!

So, I built my burger. The bottom bun was a Pepperoni and Italian Sausage pizza. I opted for only one hamburger patty, although I had enough to make a double. The top bun was another Pepperoni and Italian Sausage pizza. It was a very beautiful thing to behold.

Okay, maybe not beautiful, but it has its own charm..

Okay, maybe not beautiful, but it has its own charm..

One cow gave his life for this burger and two pigs gave their lives for the pepperoni and the sausage. I don’t know this for a fact. Maybe the pepperoni and sausage were made from the same pig. And now that I think of it, another cow, or maybe the very same one, was milked for the cheese.

Anyway…

We may be on to something here...

We may be on to something here…

The first bite confirmed my theory. These tiny pizzas do indeed make a good hamburger bun. The crust was not quite the greasy Pizza Hut Pan Pizza consistency, and not the Hand-Tossed variety either. Bread-wise, there was good bite and chew, and it blended well with the toppings and the burger.

The only thing I would change would be that I would add more pizza sauce. I didn’t want to spoil the whole thing by adding ketchup or any other standard burger condiments, so the whole thing needed just a little more moisture.

I encourage you to try this! Pizza Hut allows you to custom top the little pizzas (in groups of three) with up to three toppings at no extra charge. I’m not a mushroom/green pepper person, but if I were, I can see how they would make a great variation on what I’m calling the “Pizza Burger Bomb”.

My mind is racing now… Chick-fil-a makes a damn good chicken sandwich… There may be a “Pizza Chicken Bomb” in the future! Perhaps I can go to my local BBQ joint and make a “Pizza Pork Bomb”… Oooo! a “Pizza Reuben Bomb” or a “Pizza French Dip Bomb”! But I’m drawing the line at the “Pizza Arby’s Bomb” that just sounds deadly.

Deadly, and GOOD!

Burp!

Burp!

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Mr. Macaroni

Last night, I had a dream about a job interview. This is not surprising, since I had an actual job interview yesterday. In fact my real-life interview provided the setting for the interview in my dream, which occurred in the dream world doppelgänger of the building I visited.

In the dream, I was brought to a small conference room where I awaited the person I would be meeting with. I had copies of my resume, a leather portfolio with a notepad… the standard job interview gear. Not long after I sat down, a man came into the room. I stood.

“You must be Mike.” He said, extending his hand to me “I’m Titty Macaroni”

I thought I might have misunderstood him, so I played it safe.

“Mr. Macaroni, nice to meet you.” We shook hands

“Oh, please, Mr. Macaroni is my father, call me Titty.”

I still couldn’t quite make out if he was saying “Titty” or “Teddy” and we hadn’t talked enough for me to determine if he had any sort of accent that might have made “Teddy” sound like “Titty”. I strategized that I would attempt to steer conversation in a way that I would never have to refer to him by name until I knew for sure, and possibly after that, should his name truly turn out to be Titty.

As it often happens in an interview, he handed me his business card. Sure enough, his name was clearly printed on the card as Titty Macaroni. Fighting the urge not to laugh, I placed his business card in one of the little pockets of my portfolio, face down, so I would not see his printed name. It was going to hard enough to keep from laughing until after the interview. I also wanted to keep the card not only for his contact information to send a follow-up thank you letter, but also as proof to my friends and family that I actually met a guy named (snicker, snicker) Titty Macaroni.

We sat back down, and through the magic of dreams, the conference room had suddenly turned into his office. I might as well have left his business card face up at this point, since there were many instances of his name plastered all over the office. I chewed on the inside of my cheek to keep from smirking, or worse, laughing. On the walls were various diplomas, certificates, and plaques proudly emblazoned with the name Titty Macaroni.

I considered just leaving… getting out of there, but instead decided to tough it out. I did not realize that I was dreaming at this point and wasn’t willing to completely blow a job interview because I couldn’t stop thinking like a 14 year old. But I felt like I was Beavis without Butthead.

We sat and began discussing the position. If anything, I’m sure he put in his notes that I maintained good eye contact. I had to. If I looked anywhere other than his eyes, I would see one of the diplomas or certificates or some other reminder of his name. I stared directly at him as we talked.

Then Suddenly…

About 5 minutes into the interview the cell phone on his desk began to vibrate and his custom ring tone filled the room.

“Titty Macaroooooooooooooooooooh Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?”  the sound of someone calling to him from a distance came from his phone’s tiny speaker.  It was if some one was standing on their front porch calling little Titty to come home for dinner. “Titty Macaroooooooooooooooooooh Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeee? Titty Macaroooooooooooooooooooh Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?”

A man can only take so much. I laughed out loud and woke myself up. I’m sure I didn’t get the job, most likely not the real life one, and certainly not the dream one with Mr. Macaroni.

So Now…

I am living in fear now. There will be future real life job interviews and I am certain I can rest assured that none of them will be with a person named Titty Macaroni. But I know how my mind works. Just being in a job interview situation will make me think of this dream, that name, the ring tone, and it will be a struggle not to laugh.

On the other hand, I could probably stand to loosen up a bit in these interviews. Perhaps this is a message from my sub-conscious, telling me to stop being so self-conscious. Maybe my next interview will be lighter and more conversational. Possibly in their notes, the interviewer will write “Very pleasant guy, he smiles quite a bit.”

If that ends up being the case, I thank you Mr. Titty Macaroni. You have done me a silly service that I will never be able to repay.

Pay it forward

Loot Beer

If there is one thing I’m the most proud and ashamed of, it’s my uncanny ability to completely embarrass myself in front of Asian people…

I am, by no means, a racist. I have no ill-will toward Asian people, any people really, but there have been many, many instances where I have made myself look like a complete ass in front of Asians. It is not limited to people who trace their lineage back to Japan, China, Korea, etc… No, my ability stretches to Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan and so forth. Perhaps I am subconsciously trying to make myself look like a complete idiot to the whole world, working from east to west. Perhaps once I have worked my way around the globe, I will finally do something that will leave residents of California absolutely flabbergasted shortly before my death.

It started back when I was a kid of course, when my parents would periodically take my brother and I to a Chinese restaurant. I was not exposed to Asian people, food or culture in my neighborhood, so it was exotic and different and therefore funny to me at 6 years old. I think everyone has done that sort of thing as a kid. The waiter takes your order, leaves the table and you laugh at what he said, how he said it, whatever.

The worst time for me was when my family went to a Pizza Hut and we had a very nice waitress in her early 50’s of Asian descent. She spoke English, but with a distinct and rather stereotypical accent. We ordered our pizza and the waitress asked my mother what kind of dressing she wanted on her “sarrid”.

I should also explain that things that are only slightly funny are amplified in humor simply by the presence of my father and brother, and they have always gotten great joy out of reducing me to a ball on the floor, tears streaming from my eyes, my laughs becoming groans from sore diaphragm muscles.

I got the “sarrid” laughs out of my system after about 10 minutes, when the waitress returned asking if my brother or I wanted more “Loot Beer”. We all waited until she left before erupting again. I was unable to stop laughing and the waitress, not realizing that she was causing it suggested that maybe I was drinking real beer instead of Loot Beer.

As luck would have it, they accidentally burned our pizza that night and had to make a new one. The waitress apologized, asking if any of us would like a sarrid while we waited. I had just taken a sip of my drink and ended up spitting loot beer across the table. Danny Thomas would have been proud. I was outside in a coughing and laughing fit when the pizza finally arrived.

Flash forward about 30 years…

I’m in Sam’s Club with my son Cosmo, who was then about 4 years old. He was in the cart, I was pushing and we had both learned several months earlier that he should not kick his feet suddenly while riding in the cart, because it hurts daddy in a way that makes him need to sit down for a while.

Cosmo, like most 4 year olds in the days since VCR’s were invented, had a habit of latching on to a particular video and watching it over and over for several weeks or months. Cosmo’s movie was The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio. It’s a good movie, and Cosmo would watch it an average of 2 times a day.

So, we were having a good time shopping, joking and so forth. We weren’t in a hurry just hanging out. Something we were talking about made me make a reference to the “Crane Technique” that Daniel does in The Karate Kid.

“What? Crane Technique? What’s that?” Cosmo asked

“You know, from The Karate Kid?”

“No…” Cosmo looked at me as if I was suddenly speaking French.

“Remember? At the end of the movie? Just before Daniel wins the tournament?” I reminded.

“No, I don’t think that is in The Karate Kid.”

“Cosmo, it’s only the biggest part of the movie”

“Maybe I haven’t seen that part.”

“You have, remember? Daniel is in the tournament, fighting that mean kid from his school”

He was now looking at me as if I had a horn growing out of my forehead…

“Coz…” I was determined to make him remember. “The kid kicks Daniel in the leg and he can’t stand on it, remember?”

I looked up and down the aisle, no one was there, so I demonstrated. I stood on one leg, with the other bent in front of me. I raised both of my arms above my head like large wings. I’m sure YOU know what I’m talking about, but here’s a picture from that scene…

 

This is the Crane position. There is no other reason for anyone to ever stand in this position other than in a fighting situation.

 

I got into full Crane Technique position. It’s not a position that can be mistaken for something else. When someone sees someone doing it, they know it is the Crane Technique position from The Karate Kid. It’s not a normal position to stand in, especially not in the aisle of Sam’s Club, and particularly not for a 35 year old man who is obviously not a martial artist. For good measure, I added a kung-fu movie sound, the one that Bruce Lee would make as he was getting ready to strike. You know the one: “AWWWWWwwwww!”

At that exact moment, the man who rolls sushi at our local supermarket walked into the aisle. He was wearing the full, traditional Japanese uniform they made him wear. I’m sure he had been sent to Sam’s Club to pick up some supplies, and he was taking a short cut across the store. And as fate would have it, he came down the very aisle where I was, finding himself standing about 7 feet away from me, in the Crane position, calling him out, mid-“AWWWWWwwwww!”

I must have not looked too threatening as he just smiled and walked past me. He obviously sensed no danger of me suddenly leaping up and kicking him in the forehead.

Suddenly, Cosmo remembered the scene I was talking about, but was too busy laughing his tiny ass off at me as if I had just offered him some sarrid or loot beer. He couldn’t even tell the cashier what he was laughing about. In the car, he was able to gasp out “I can’t wait to tell Mom!” Which he did, before popping The Karate Kid in the VCR again.

Let’s All Go To The Circus

 

Yes, when I was 5 years old, I liked to comb my hair so it looked like the Bank of America logo.

 

That’s me at my 5th birthday party. At that party, apart from the Johnny Lightning Race Car Driver Helmet and Goggles in the picture, I received a small record player. It was by no means a quality piece of audio equipment, but it wasn’t a toy either. It was about the size of a very small suitcase; in fact it had a handle on it and a clasp to keep the lid shut when not in use. It was made of what I think was wood and was covered in a leather-textured contact paper, the bottom half blue, the top half white.

There were 4 speed settings on the record player and I was taught how to tell which speed I should put it on for each of the records I had gotten with it. There was the 45rpm, which was used for the smaller small records with the large hole and 33rpm, for the larger records with small hole.

But there were two other speeds as well: 78rpm and 16 rpm. I would later learn that 78rpm was an old standard speed that even then, in 1969, was about 40 years obsolete. But I was prepared, in the unlikely case I got bit by the Rudy Valee bug, say, in second grade. I have never seen or heard of a record that needed to be played at 16 rpm

But I took advantage of all four speeds. Sure, I enjoyed all my records at the proper speed, but change the speed and you arrived in comedy heaven. Any given artist could be converted to The Chipmunks with just a flip of a lever. A song meant to be played at 33, sounded silly when played at 45 or 16, but it was almost pants-wetting funny at 78. Similarly a 45 of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, played at 16 sounded remarkably like something you might hear a whale say on a National Geographic special.

I blatantly ignored my parents’ and my brother’s warnings of “You are going to ruin your records doing that.” I didn’t care, I loved it. I even learned that I could turn the records the wrong way with my finger and a whole new world of silliness opened up to me.

I should point out here that I have never outgrown this. To this day, I still find Spike Jones’ Cocktails For Two played backwards on my computer to be one of the funniest things ever.

I received several records that same day, what good is a record player if you don’t have records, and I was thrilled to have my own music, as bad as it was.

And it was bad…

One of my favorite records I received was called Look Out For The Batman and recently, through the glory of the internet, I became reacquainted with the song. Give it a listen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnRoEQFBWwA

 

I forget the other records I got with the exception of one: Let’s All Go To The Circus by The Big Top Singers. I don’t remember the songs at all, and when I found them on the internet, the links to mp3’s brought me to a page saying that the FBI had shut that site down due to copyright laws. That’s good use of the FBI’s time don’t you think? Never mind organized crime, it’s important The Big Top Singers don’t get screwed over)

But oh, I remember that album cover…

 

Imagine my horror!!!

 

Keep in mind that the actual album cover was 12”x12” and you can imagine the horror. That clown used to creep the ever lovin’ piss out of me. I remember having nightmares about that smiling bastard. The tiger never bothered me much. Yes, he was roaring and baring his fangs, but to me it was like he was warning me to stay away from that clown. If you look to the right of the clown’s collar, it appears that the international logo for the men’s rest room is trying to fend him off as well. Even the elephant has reared up and is spitting little red and pink balls at him! I always perceived the trapeze artists and the ladies on the horses as being in some sort of combat with the clown as well.

The seal should be commended for his ability to line up the red/yellow border of the ball with the red/yellow border of the backdrop, but to me, that is not a circus act, that’s just him being anal retentive. I was never quite sure what the guy in the powder blue tux was doing, but he seemed to be very firmly attached to the seal. The woman next to him seems to be saying “Hey, this is all we got folks, take it or leave it.”

But my favorite part of this album cover is the monkey. He just has this air of calm pleasant indifference about him. It’s like he’s saying “Yeah… well, I only have to put up with this stuff for another year, then I’ll have enough tuition money to go back to law school.”

 

Random Sights and Rants

It has been a strange couple of days. I’ve seen and heard some strange stuff. I have felt a wide range of emotions. There is no common thread here just off-loading things in no particular order

  • For the person who threw me under the bus at work this morning (not literally): You DID TOO say that dammit!!! Not a direct quote, no, but I DID say that I was paraphrasing, so shut the hell up, YOU are making this an issue. So just stop it! (thank you for letting me get that off my chest)
  • When I was leaving the house for work yesterday, my son Max (11) was talking to me and was jumping from subject to subject as he tends to do. He told me that one time he read something about a set of Siamese twins that were 5 months apart… yes, one was 5 months older than the other…I asked him how something like that happens and he told me it was caused by “misinformed sperm”

    The rest of the day, I was haunted by a vision, not of misinformed sperm, but of a woman with one half of her conjoined twins hanging out of her for 5 months. I started thinking about the logistics of it all… the discomfort, the awkwardness of showing off the new baby, and of course the unique wardrobe challenges.

    I’m not a doctor, but I would advise any women reading this who may be thinking of starting or expanding her family to talk with her doctor and discuss a contingency plan in the event this happens to you. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s not surprising that it has spread to sperm. 5 months is a long time, discuss a plan to have labor induced if the younger of your conjoined twins does not arrive after a few weeks.

  • I’ve learned that while it is lots of fun to do, speaking in the voice of Detective Holder from AMC’s The Killing and saying “Linden” at the end of all your sentences will annoy your family very quickly.
  • Every time I hear a commercial for vitamin supplements that contain “Glucosamine and Chondroitin”,  I think of how cool it would be to walk through a pharmacy with Jerry Lewis and have him pronounce the names of everything.
  • Driving out of my neighborhood the other day, I could not help but notice the Hammer of Thor in on of my neighbors’ front yard. It just struck me funny, I wasn’t expecting to see that. But Andrew Ross lives there and he’s a really cool kid, so I’m okay with him being the Norse God of Thunder.

I promise I’ll have a new post with some actual substance to it soon.

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

I’m changing the format of these reviews…

Quite frankly, I’m enjoying reviewing the posters much more than I am enjoying watching the movies. Reading ahead on the internet, I’ve realized that while the descriptions of the movies were getting cheesier sounding, the actual posters themselves were getting better and better. And let’s face it, I can’t think of any reason I would want to watch a movie called “Clambake”.

And as a bonus, I’ve learned that many times a new poster was commissioned for the overseas release of these films, not just a translation, but in many cases new artwork as well.

So, it’s posters from here on out…

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

There were two American versions of the Jailhouse Rock poster both prominently featuring a painting of Elvis that frankly, isn’t very good. In it, Elvis looks like Andrew Ridgley, the less successful half of the 1980’s recording duo Wham! During the 80’s, the US Postal Service planned to release a postage stamp to honor Elvis and we were given the choice of a young Elvis stamp or an older Elvis stamp. The posters for Jailhouse Rock appear offer us the same choice.

Actually, the painting of Elvis looks a lot like my friend Robert Rothstein, but you don't know who that is, so you won't find that as funny as I do.

The red poster presents “Elvis Presley At His Greatest”. Elvis is depicted in a red shirt, staring off to his right. The position of his shoulders suggest that he could be shooting pool. On the bottom half of the poster we see Elvis about to be crushed by a giant guitar. With the help of a fancy move, it appears Elvis is going to escape both being crushed and his jail cell, since the cell door apparently has been left open.

 

"Eightball in the corner pocket, baby"

The white poster is addressing Elvis personally, welcoming him back and telling him that he is the greatest. I don’t see the logic of this, since the idea of a movie poster is to get other people to see your movie, not you, the star of it. I think Elvis is being welcomed back because this is the much older Elvis apparently. His hair is streaked with gray in a pattern that suggests that his parents are the chick from Josie and the Pussycats and Spiderman’s biggest critic, J. Jonah Jameson.

Mom & Dad

Again, Elvis is narrowly avoiding being crushed by the giant guitar. Maybe since it appears in two places, it will actually occur in the film?

Now to get a REALLY good poster though, you gotta go to France…

 

Everybody in the whole cell block, was dancing to le Rock du Bagne!

NOW we're talkin!

Where to start? First of all, the big photo of Elvis actually looks like him, which is an improvement over the American painting. He’s smiling as if he’s saying “Hey ya’ll, look at all the crazy shit I get into THIS time!” There is the iconic image of Elvis dancing in the Jailhouse Rock musical number as you would expect. But there is also a musical trio who seems to be barely tolerating the blonde chick walking across their stage.

But most importantly, there is the image of Elvis decking some guy. How cool is that, right? Notice that Elvis has not actually punched him, but rather, he has nailed him with a left-handed Mr. Spock salute. This of course all happens right in front of a bunch of extras from The Grapes of Wrath. Now THIS is a movie I can get behind.

 

And finally, in this alternate version of the Le Rock du Bagne poster, we are treated to the dance scene on the right and a large portrait of Joe Pesci in the center. The upper left shows Elvis knocking the shit out of Tom Waits. Sadly, in the bottom left we see Elvis is about to get what appears to be a “Pity Fuck” from a very disinterested Judy Tyler. Just look at that look on her face… she’s making a grocery list in her head, isn’t she?

Next up: King Creole (1958)

Elvis Film Festival – Episode 2 – Loving You (1957)

Loving You (1957)

 Loving You is a difficult movie to watch on several levels, the first of which is logistically. I had the hardest time finding a copy of this movie to watch. It is not available to stream on Netflix. It is not available for sale or rent on ITunes. My local library system does not own a copy of it. I finally had to purchase a copy of the DVD through Amazon, and even then it was difficult to find. Amazon has literally hundreds of different configurations of Elvis’s movies, deluxe sets, director’s cuts, anniversary editions and even bargain DVDs that have 4 to 6 Elvis movies for one low price. But guess what? Loving You is only available as a single DVD, no frills, and costs $15 bucks.I truly wish it had been worth it. The song “Loving You” is classic Elvis. The movie? Not so much.

Elvis plays Deke Rivers, a truck driver for a beer distributor, who somehow gets convinced to sing at a political rally. Of course there is a talent agent there and she immediately sees him as a potential star.

Glenda, the agent, is played by Lizabeth Scott, but you can tell they REALLY wanted to cast Lauren Bacall in the role. She’s all leg, sideways glances and sassy talk and you can take that to the bank fella. Ironically, for an actress who opted to leave the “E” off the beginning of her first name, she has an annoying habit of leaving the “R’s” off the ends of words; most annoyingly when she asks Deke, “How long have you been delivering beeeeeeh?”

The band that plays behind Deke at the rally is headed by Glenda’s ex-husband Tex Warner, played by Wendell Corey. Tex is stereotypically named and is down on his luck, trying to regain his former fame and is reluctantly heading up this traveling “Cowboy Music Band”. He doesn’t like Deke crashing his scene, but eventually grows to like him and identify with him.

The bright spot of the movie is the character of Deke’s love interest, Susan, played by Dolores Hart in her first film role. A strikingly pretty girl, Susan does not have much to do in the movie and is the only one that doesn’t have a southern accent. More on her later.

Not much of a story here that we haven’t seen a thousand times. But to be fair, we may not have seen it a thousand times back in 1957. Deke’s fame grows, Glenda manipulates Deke, Tex and everyone to promote and build on Deke’s talent. Deke catches on and runs away and visits Susan, who had been fired from the band due to budgetary reasons midway through the film. Susan convinces Deke to go back just in time for his big TV appearance. Everyone is happy, the end.

The music in the movie includes “Loving You” and “Teddy Bear”, but the actual performances of the songs are a bit dull. Deke holds a guitar in most of the songs, but rarely plays it, making the running gag of him breaking guitar strings a bit out of place. The classic Elvis moves, which were so great and so out of place in Love Me Tender are missing in Loving You The stand out musical number is the famous one where Deke and another band member are eating in a diner and one of the local girls recognizes him. Her jealous boyfriend badgers Deke until he agrees to sing “Mean Woman Blues” and win the crowd over before beating up the jealous boyfriend.

The movie is in color and Vistavision, which means that the colors are super saturated. Glenda’s lipstick in particular is retina-searing red.

The Poster

What the hell? It's not like they didn't have room to include everyone's legs!

 

The Loving You poster is rather unremarkable other than Elvis playing a HUGE guitar. His legless co-stars float behind him at strange angles doing God knows what… just very random stances. Wendell Corey is depicted in a dark suit, clapping his hands at a rather awkward angle that implies some sort of birth defect in his arm.

 

 

Interesting facts: Dolores Hart

A lovely lady, both before and after.

 

Dolores would go on to work with Elvis again in 1958’s “King Creole”. A rising star at the time, Dolores was in high demand and starred in other films opposite Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman and others. In 1963, while engaged to her fiancé of 5 years, she left both the fiancé and Hollywood to become a cloistered nun. A documentary about her decision to join the convent, and her live since was made this past year, was nominated for an Academy Award, and is currently showing on HBO. If you have not seen God Is The Bigger Elvis yet, I highly highly highly recommend this very touching and heartbreaking documentary.

Less Interesting Facts:

  • Elvis died his hair black for this film because he thought it made him look like Tony Curtis. He would continue to dye his hair black for the rest of his life
  • Elvis’s parents Vernon and Gladys have cameos in the film as members of the audience in the final production number
  • Elvis’s real-life band members Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and DJ Fontana have roles as members of Tex and Deke’s backup band, as Elvis’s backup singers The Jordanairs.

 

 

Next: Jailhouse Rock!

Dream Baby Dream…

I’m planning on talking quite a bit about dreams in my blog. When I say dreams, I don’t mean dreams as in “goals and aspirations”. What I’m talking about those things your brain makes when you go to sleep.

The males in my family have been blessed with the ability to not only have very vivid dreams, but also to remember them upon waking. I’m sure that for every one that we remember, there are 50 that are forever lost deep in our minds. I like to think that they are still alive in there; seeds of future dreams, each with their own dreams (goals and aspirations this time) of one day graduating into one of the dreams that will be remembered and related upon waking.

It was always a source of great entertainment and amusement in my family, the sharing of dreams. There were countless family meals where my father, my brother or I would relate a dream we’d had the night before that would reduce us all to fits of laughter. In fact, to this day, conversations among the family are peppered with words, phrases and general references to dreams we’ve had through the years. Girlfriends, then wives, and finally children had to be educated and caught up on these in order to make sense of conversations.

I don’t mean to exclude my mother in this by any means. She enjoyed this just as much as the rest of us. In fact, she was a very important cog in the machine of Dad’s dreams. She often would hear the remnants of Dad’s dreams when he was gradually waking up from them, or in one case very suddenly waking up from one.

An All-Points Bulletin has been issued.

An All-Points Bulletin has been issued

One night, Mom was on her way back to bed from the rest room when Dad suddenly sat bolt upright, pointed at the door and yelled

“GET SNOW WHITE!”

“What” Mom asked

“GET SNOW WHITE GOD DAMMIT!!!!” he embellished.

“Okay, don’t worry, I’ve got her.” She told him. Satisfied that Snow White was finally captured, Dad fell back asleep.

While Mom has dreams like any normal human being does, I don’t think that she has the ability to remember them like her husband and sons. I truly think it is something genetic. I don’t recall Mom ever relating dreams she had, she either sleeps deeper than the rest of us or just differently than the rest of us.

The only dream I can remember Mom relating involved her making new curtains for the living room out of a certain type of fabric that would turn into cats if someone snapped their fingers. In the dream, Mom, having never been a big fan of any animals, decided the fabric was nice enough to risk the cat transformation, and instructed the rest of the family that no one was to snap their fingers in the living room.

re-enactment

re-enactment

I think the only reason she remembered having that dream was because it caused her to scream out in the middle of the night and fall out of bed.

I must have been about 12 years old at the time and was awake when it happened. Dead silence in the house… then suddenly came a scream of “DON’T SNAP!!!!” and the thud of a body hitting the floor. I jumped up and ran in their room to find Dad helping her off the floor.

It took about 15 minutes for the adrenaline to drain from our systems afterwards and I don’t think any of us actually slept after that. Breakfast the next morning was a blast!

Next: Nobody talks in their sleep like my dad

 

The Rudest Thing I Have Ever Done

As a rule, I try in most cases not to be rude. I was taught well. Speak up. Look at people when they are talking to you. Say please and thank you. Although I was never taught to do so, I have been known to say “Yes sir/ma’am” and “No sir/ma’am” to people who are approximately a generation older to me. This came about by osmosis, my parents never told me to do so, it just wasn’t a habit in the north where my family originally lived. I picked it up more and more the further south we moved.

This isn’t going to be one of those “These kids today don’t know about manners” things that people like to re-post over and over on Facebook. No the point of this is going to be relating what I believe to be the rudest thing I’ve ever done. I say “what I believe” because it’s possible that I have done ruder things without realizing it or having it brought to my attention. If I have, and any of you know about it or were on the receiving end of it, I humbly apologize.

Job interviews and I have never been good friends. Unfortunately I have found myself taking part in that wonderful ritual more times than I would like. Something about putting on clothes you don’t normally wear and going to meet a stranger and talking about one of the more boring aspects of my life and trying to make it sound exciting enough to make them want to see me everyday and give me money… not my idea of a party.

Mind you, throughout college and for about 8 years afterwards, I worked as a stand-up comedian. Basically my job was to do a job interview every night (2 on Friday and Saturday). It wasn’t called an interview of course, but stick with me, I’m making a simile.

In most cases the interviewers (audience) outnumbered me and for the most part let me do the talking without asking too many questions. There were hecklers, yes, but none of them ever yelled out “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “What do you feel is your greatest weakness?” If anyone DID ask a question it was generally assumed that I would answer it with a rude comment or personal attack. During these “interviews” I was allowed to drink alcohol and in many cases encouraged to do so. Finally, if the interview wasn’t going as well as I was hoping, I always had the luxury of resorting to profanity and making sexual innuendos. I have not tried any of these tactics in the real job interviews I’ve had since then, but I’ve always had the dream of one day having a job interview for a job I don’t want or need and just having fun with it.

But I guess my point is that I hate doing job interviews because of my stand-up comedy experience. There were bad ones then as well, but I’m proud to say that more often than not, I’d knock it out of the park and I was usually invited back.

So real job interviews are always a stress for me. As a result, whenever I’ve been in a position where I would have to be on the other side of the table and interview someone, I’ve always tried to put them at ease. In that respect, I think I interview well.

Except one time…

I was working as a production manager in a graphics company. It was a 24 hour operation, so of course I had to have others working in my department for me on the second and third shifts. I had just fired the gentleman who was working the second shift because he was dumber than a box of hammers. He wasn’t upset about being fired. He was actually good enough about it that I walked outside with him as he was leaving. And although this has nothing to do with the story, I’ll never forget that as I watched him get in his car, I noticed that all 4 tires were those small temporary spare tires… all 4 wheels… none of his tires were real tires… he had to “borrow” the temporary spares from 3 of his friends tires to make that happen…

But back to the story.

I put an ad in the paper immediately to fill the second shift position. I was very deliberate in putting “Second Shift” in the ad, even indicating it was from 3pm to 12am.  A few days later, I had received about 10 resumes for the position and sorted through them and selected 3 people I would like to have come in for a face to face interview. I’m sure you know the drill.

The very first person who came in was a very nice guy about the same age as I was at the time. Unfortunately, he would soon be the victim of the rudest thing I have ever done.

He had a similar background, he was familiar with the work that needed to be done, and truth be told, just from his resume and experience, I was prepared to hire him before he came in. We sat down in a conference room. He was wearing a jacket and tie, had a tablet ready for taking notes during our discussion. I had my copy of his resume and a notepad of my own.

I don’t recall how it came out, but early in the interview he let it be known that he could only work 1st shift. Despite it being mentioned twice in the job listing that this was a second shift only position, he applied for it anyway in hopes that maybe he could get first shift. First shift was mine. He wasn’t getting it.

But I didn’t just want to end the interview and say “Forget it! Didn’t you read the ad? Get out of here!” That would have been rude. We continued talking about the job, the type of work we both were interested in and so forth. Like I said, I didn’t want to be rude. However, I didn’t realize that I was suddenly going to be exponentially ruder than what I was trying to avoid.

While he was talking my mind was wandering and my subconscious must have been telling the rest of my body “Nope, forget it, we’re not hiring him.” Without knowing I was doing so, my hand reached across my notebook to his resume. I picked it up, crumbled it up in one hand, then shot it (over his head) into the wastebasket on the other side of the room. I distinctly remember that the second it left my hand, my brain realized what I was doing and a wave of utter mortification swept my body. The thought ran through my head “This is the absolute rudest thing I have ever done! I actually crumbled up this guys resume and threw it in the trash right in front of my face.

As luck would have it, the waste basket was metal and empty, so the paper wad resume made a loud, clear “Bong” sound as I made the three-pointer.

Yes, he saw it. He could not have missed it. It was an obvious, and very blatant thing… His name was in nice big bold letters on top of the resume as I crumbled it up. I’m sure he recognized the rich ivory vellum paper as if flew just about a foot and a half above his eyebrows on its way to the receptacle. “Bong!”

To his credit, he kept talking and I wound up the interview. I told him that I had scanned in his resume to our data base and I would contact him if something opened up on first shift. I don’t know if he believed me.

I felt so bad about it, I went back into the conference room to retrieve it. Several weeks later after I stopped being embarrassed about it, I DID call him when the third shift position was available. I knew he didn’t want it and wouldn’t take it, but the point was to show that I DID keep it on file and still had him in mind. It was my bullshit way of making myself feel better.

I often think of him going home and his wife asking how the interview went… I’m sure he said something like “It went well, I don’t think I’m going to get the job though.” His wife probably said something like “Oh, stop! You say that every time! You have to have more confidence in yourself.”

I’m sorry guy whose name I can’t remember!

Random Thoughts, Events, and Updates

There is no point to this blog post; there is no over-arching theme, it’s just a few random things I’ve been either dealing with, thinking about, or have had happen to me in the past few days.

  • You would not believe how difficult it is to watch Elvis’ 1957 film Loving You. It is not on Netflix, it is not available through ITunes, and my local library system does not own a copy of it. I even tried to download it illegally, to no avail. If I want to watch any other Elvis movie, Netflix, ITunes, library… they’ve got my back, but not Loving You. I don’t know if that bodes well for the quality of the film. Anyway, the Loving You review will be coming soon. I decided to stick with the plan of watching them in order… Jailhouse Rock comes next…
  • Babies have begun to act peculiarly around me. I’ve always been on of those people who babies take to very quickly. The ones who are able, say hi to me in stores; the ones who are not usually greet me with “Bah” or something similar, and it’s generally a friendly greeting.

    But a week or so ago, I was eating at Panera Bread Company with my family (their choice, not mine) and I looked up to see a baby several tables away from mine who was staring at me. When our eyes met, he punched his armpit twice, and very deliberately pointed at me. Later, when his mother passed our table. His eyes we locked on mine and I noticed that the had two red lines on his forehead… as if he dipped his fingers in war paint and marked himself with the number 11. He frightened me.

    A few days later another baby saw me at a mall, pointed and screamed. However it was not an “Ahhhhhhhhh” scream, it was an “Oooooooooo” scream that was much higher pitched than you would think “Oooo” could be screamed by a human.

    I am frightened.

  • I went to the movies yesterday to see The Three Stooges. It is actually good. A fitting and quality tribute to them. Mind you, we aren’t talking Sophie’s Choice here, but if you like The Three Stooges, and aren’t already aghast that someone had the audacity to make this movie, you should enjoy it. I could have done without the inclusion of the cast of Jersey Shore, but I love that in a Three Stooges movie, the Jersey Shore cast is seen as the bigger idiots.
  • Finally, the chocolate covered raisins they sell at Costco are the best I’ve ever had. The raisins are big, the chocolate is thick and since it’s Costco, you get enough that you could insulate your attic with them for about 8 bucks.

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