The call

Posted: September 30, 2009 in family
Tags: , ,

I got the call this evening. My daughter is getting married. No, not 15 year-old Gabby but Sara, my 22 year-old. It isn’t that much of a surprise to anyone but when she announced this it was one of those weird moments that caused the blood to suddenly drain from my head.

I am very happy for her but I am also dreading the day we have to go tux shopping.

I really didn’t need that ten dollar bill anyway. It was only taking up space in my wallet.

I have wanted a digital camera for a long, long time. I just haven’t been able to get one because of the steady bombardment of bills and the even higher cost of of a 15 year old daughter. About a week ago I was in a CVS (it’s a pharmacy on all four corners of every intersection here in Houston) when I saw a miniature digital camera for $10.00.

Of course I was skeptical. I knew it was a piece of shit but I bought it anyway. I had hope. The specs were impressive and it came with a download disc and a USB cord. It does everything the package said it would do (including video) but the images are pretty much useless as you will see here.

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My desk- taken from my bed

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My desk, taken from the floor. Check out that bitchin’ wall map of Houston.

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This is our monkey. His name is Lewis.

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I make him pay rent but when he can’t come up with the money I shake him down. Literally.

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He usually . . . Lewis . . . Lewis . . . ?

Goodnight, asshole. Believe it or not, this is a business in California.

Bear Mountain Sports

Boogie Woogie

Posted: September 7, 2009 in entertainment, music, Uncategorized

I love the Forties
Gotta love the pentatonic scale too. Can anyone tell me what movie this is? I’m not quizzing anyone. I’m just asking because I do not know.

MMA man

Posted: September 6, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

While paleontologists funded by six-figure grants are digging holes all over the world trying to find clues to the so-called “missing link”, I found it with a simple search on my computer. Right here at my desk. Really.

Meet “Tim” the rattle-brained, knuckle-scraping “missing link” found in Vegas that has created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins.

sylvia2

A new study conducted by me suggests “Tim” is a critical “missing-link” species in primate evolution. I believe this photo bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans.

“This is the first link to all humans,” said some expert who’s name I don’t remember. “Tim”, he also says, represents “the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor. This looks like a really early specimen that belongs to the group that includes us”.

I should be ashamed to admit this but I’m not. I should deny it but I won’t. I admit that anytime a Progressive Auto commercial appears on TV I’m glued to the screen.

It’s because of that weirdo girl in the commercials. She is pretty. I would even go as far as saying she’s downright hot. But that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s that kooky persona and those crazy eyes of hers. It’s funny. She is funny.

I typed the words “progressive insurance girl” into a search engine and got more results than I thought I would. I found out I’m not the only one curious about her. Below is an article that shows I’m not the only one going to the booby hatch.
___________________________________________________________

The strange allure of the Progressive insurance girl . . .
What makes normal people fall so hard for the cute and perky pitchwoman known as ‘Flo’?

By Chris Garcia
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Monday, October 20, 2008

image_7680152

She’s bubbly and beaming, high-volume, with a flip of dark hair and a face like a lollipop. She irks as she endears, bemuses as she bewitches. She’s a bundle of energetic contradictions, bursting here, retracting there. Her expressions blink and change like a neon sign. Her eyes are popping globes. And she just sold you a bunch of car insurance.

Flo is her name. She’s the spokeswoman for Progressive Auto Insurance, lighting up televisions in a series of commercials in which her perky cashier pitches the money-saving merits of Progressive to customers. She works in a sterile, all-white big-box store, and her florid makeup stands out like paint spilled in snow.

First she caught our eye; now she’s snatched our heart. Viewers are smitten. They’re crushin’. They want to know: Who’s that girl?

From a recent blog at HoustonPress.com, with the headline “The Cult of the Progressive Car Insurance Chick”:

“Am I the only one completely and totally enamored of the woman in the television ads for Progressive car insurance? You know, the ones starring that babelicious brunette named Flo with her ‘tricked-out name tag’ and her ’60s style eye makeup and her kissable red, red lips?”

No, sir, you are not. There’s more where that mash-note came from, out there in the blogosphere’s infinite confessional space: “She’s hot.” “She’s weird but, God, she’s fine!”

Others have naughtier ideas that they’re perfectly comfortable sharing with the world, even if we can’t do so here.

“It’s so weird,” says Stephanie Courtney, the actress who plays Flo.

We spoke to Courtney because we had to. We had to know if she was real or just a cartoon character. If she was at all like the effervescent Flo. If she really wore that much make-up and, hey, who does your hair?

Courtney, 38, has been playing Flo for about a year, and was recently signed to do 12 more Progressive ads. Which makes her the face and voice of Progressive, a peer of the Geico gecko (do they ever hang out, compare rates?) and the Verizon guy. She follows in a heady tradition of corporate mascots, from Palmolive’s Madge to Tony the Tiger.

It’s been quite a ride for Courtney, a senior member of famed Los Angeles improv troupe the Groundlings. (Courtney and the group performed in September during the Out of Bounds Improv Sketch Comedy Festival in Austin.)

It began with a simple audition for a commercial last fall. She showed up in a polo shirt and ponytail. She did some improvisation.

“They wanted someone with a lot of personality,” Courtney says by phone from her Los Angeles home.

They liked her and signed her.

Then, the look. That look.

They cut her hair, gave her bangs. They subjected her to two hours of hair and make-up.

“They tease my hair, spray it and stick the headband in it,” Courtney explains.

“And the makeup is like painting a portrait on my face,” she says, laughing. “It’s insane. It totally changes things on my face. It’s like having a mask on.”

One of Flo’s best-known lines is: “Wow! I say it louder.” (You had to be there.)

Courtney has popped up in the movies “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Blades of Glory,” and was one of four leads in the smart adult comedy “Melvin Goes to Dinner,” which won the audience award at South by Southwest in 2003. She also has a recurring role as a gossipy switchboard operator on the hit show “Mad Men.” And you can see her doing yoga in a new Glade commercial.

How much is Courtney like flamboyant Flo?

“It’s me at my silliest,” she says. “You start off with a script, but at the end they usually let me put a little zinger in there. We put a little mustard on it. That’s when it gets fun.

“Flo could be one of my improv characters, always on and sort of cracked in a weird way.”

But who is Flo? What is she? People wonder …

Like this blogger: “Is it her fabulous comic timing, her over-the-top facial expressions, her cute-as-a-button retro flip? Or is it the slight hint of a bad girl that lies just under the surface? The promise of a tattoo under that checkout girl uniform? The possibility of a motorcycle parked out back?”

Her character has been compared to a vintage Vargas pin-up girl, ’50s burlesque dancer Betty Page and, adds Courtney, a “fetish chick.”

“I don’t know what it is,” she says. “The way I play her, she’s pretty much the most asexual thing on TV right now. I think the Geico lizard puts out more sexual vibes than Flo does. But I do think the cavemen are totally crushable.”

Though Courtney is engaged to a sixth-grade teacher, Flo appears alluringly single. So pine away, in the same brunette-crush way you did with Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island” and Velma on “Scooby-Doo.”

Because things couldn’t get much stranger than they already are for Courtney. Top this: People are dressing up as Flo for Halloween.

image_7680154

Da-rooooool . . .

I like what I do for a living but as with any job it has it’s bad side. For me, right now, it’s the heat. Half of my time is spent in hotels or condos. The other half is spent outdoors.

In the latter case, after I’ve taken care of one of these accounts, I teeter and stumble back to my truck which has the oxygen supply and cold air. As soon as I get the air going and I’m able to breathe again I bury my face in a terry towel and aim the vents at my head and into my shirtsleeves. Then I usually hear the weather man or woman on the radio tell me that the official temperature for the day at that moment is 97 degrees. I say “bullshit” into the terry towel because I know it’s way hotter where I am than where they got that reading.

How about telling us what the actual temperature it is in the city rather than what it is out at the airports or whatever other distant locations they are taken. What good does that do? Why don’t they take a reading on Gessner in Spring Branch at 3:00 in the afternoon? In neighborhoods like that I’ve seen it get all the way up to 112 degrees this summer. If you add to this a lack of breeze and our constant 80% (or more) humidity and you don’t take precautions, you could actually find yourself waking up in a hospital bed with a saline drip attached to your arm.

97 degrees my ass.

I hope at least one person sees this. It took me about 20 bleary-eyed hours to create the 43 seconds of goofy crap shown in the link below.

Trouble Deluxe

Denise Reis

Posted: July 22, 2009 in music, people
Tags: , ,

I had just gotten home from a monthly trip when I found a very interesting video in my email. My Dad sent me a snippet of a woman playing a song on some TV show. I was seriously blown away. He just dropped this bomb on me without telling who she was. Maybe he didn’t know either. I did some looking and found out who she is.

Denise Reis is a Brazilian singer, violinist and composer. Born in Belo Horizonte, in the State of Minas Gerais, she began studying the guitar at age 10. Four years later she attended Julia Pardini’s Choral, where she was promptly invited to take part in a European tour in 1986. As her musical career progressed, she found widespread acceptance and support from the Brazilian people and media. This success was greatly due to Denise’s remarkable ability to imitate the trumpet using only her lips and voice.

I understand that the ability to mimic a trumpet like she does sort of diminishes her credibility as a serious musician to some people, but I’m here to say that this woman is one hell of a serious musician. She’s really playing that guitar . . . and very well. I love her voice too. She’s not a gimmick act. In fact, she doesn’t even do that all the time. Look her up. You’ll see.

Denise Reis

Denise Reis

Memorable Ding-Outs

Posted: July 16, 2009 in family, friends, home, humor, Uncategorized

I’ve been listening all day to talk about the 40th anniversary of the 1969 moon mission. I heard everything from where you were when you saw it on TV or heard it on the radio to what it meant to you to how it made you feel. Of course, the topic of the space shuttles came up too.

This reminded me of the most unbelievably stupid comment by the stupidest person I’ve ever known. As he often did, he dropped by one day unannounced. I was watching coverage of the Columbia disaster. Believe it or not, he actually said something like this: “Well, you know when you’re going the speed-a-light it’s dangerous enterin’ the “world atmosphere.” As well as thinking anything else can travel at the speed of light he actually said “world atmosphere”.

What sounds did this guy hear in his head? It’s funny but then again it’s really not funny at all. There is a difference between being stupid and just being dingy. Occasional dinginess is even less of an issue. I was dingy in high school but no one thought I was stupid. I thought of some other people’s dingy moments that I thought were really funny. Here are just a few of them.

Jennifer- a waitress at a bar I worked at

She was just too young to be working as a waitress at a bar. The poor girl was so gullible. She asked a customer for directions. He told her how many “red lights” she had to pass before making a turn. Her response was “Well, what if all the lights are all green? I could just be driving and driving forever . . . ”

My sister

The biker bar marquis

My sister and her boyfriend were driving through a neighborhood which had many biker bars. She saw a little marquis outside of one of the bars that said ” No colors”. She immediately went berserk saying “I can’t believe what I’m seeing! What the fuck decade are we living in? That is just so wrong! How can they do that?” She calmed down after it was explained to her that “colors” meant biker jackets that show affiliation with a certain gang or “club” and not black people.

The chimpanzee

When we were kids in the seventies watching a documentary with our parents about a chimpanzee that was being taught sign language, my sister asked this question: “Aww . . . is he deaf?”