Live…

20

Live…

More than your neighbors.

Unleash yourself and go places.

Go now.

Giggle, no, laugh.

No…stay out past dark,

And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.

UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL.

THIS IS IT…YOUR LIFE.

Face your fears and live your dreams.

Take it all in.

Yes, every chance you get…

come close.

And by all means, whatever you do…

Get it on film.

– Jon Blais “The Blazeman”

Thank you Jon. You are my hero.

7 People I Will Drink With In Heaven

9

(This was written quite a while ago. Sorry)

I trust everyone had a happy and safe Halloween? I hope so because I did. Actually it was the best one yet. Anyway I am going to post a blog that I have been giving great thought about over the years. You see, I am the type of person to really beat a nonsensical notion to death. One of notion is this odd idea I have of the afterlife. I don’t believe that we will be living on clouds with wings and halos because, to be honest, I am far from deserving a halo. But what I am hoping for is an abundance of the Earthly pleasures we enjoy here and now, without the consequences. Here is an example.

I die. Let’s say I am pissing and drying my hair at the same time because I really want to go out in style. Regardless, I cease to live and I find myself on an escalator to the great beyond. (I do believe there is an escalator of some sort) Once I get to where I am going there will be a door. That door will have a sliding eye-hole and behind it is a guy who asks for the password. (I hope it’s a cartoon ape, I hope it’s a cartoon ape) And some how I know it. I don’t know how I know it, but I do.

Now this idea I have is so wacky that I think many religions are started this way so if you watch CNN in a few years and see me in a compound, you can say you knew me when. Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, so the password will determine whether you get in or go to Hell. In my world, Hell is standing for an eternity on the waiting list for IHOP on a Sunday morning. So be good for goodness sake!

Of course I will say the right one. And beyond the door will be a smoke free English pub with every TV on VH1 Classic, ESPN Classic Bowling 1979-’84, Alf, DOG The Bounty Hunter, and To Catch A Predator (We can poke fun of the people that will be waiting at IHOP forever). I will have a seat at the bar and the seat to my right will be vacant. When I ask the bartender (who is Ernie Pantusso from Cheers) what is new, he will know my name and my drink and say, “Will, it hasn’t been the same without you”. Then he will hand me a menu.

The menu is a list of everyone I have ever wanted to meet and have a drink with. All I have to do is pick a name and they will stroll up, have a seat next to me and order a drink. And then I can strike up a conversation and ask all the questions I have ever wanted to know and listen to the stories that I have always wanted to hear. That would be Heaven for me. Good drink, good conversation and Coach as my bartender. These are my picks for my first day in heaven.

george-c-scott-photograph-c12146673“Romell, you magnificent bastard, I read your BOOOOOK!” God, I would love to hang out with George C. Scott. That guy was one of the greatest actors of our time. Can you imagine the stories this guy had? The parties of Hollywood elite when it was good to be elite. Today the Hollywood elite is equivalent to a dump in a Smucker’s jar but back then, that was acting. And I think our conversation would be quite intriguing.

I wonder what his drink of choice would be? I peg him for a Dwars and a splash guy. In his later years he wasn’t the pillar of health so I imagine that Dwars to be accompanied by a fine cigar and a plate of cream cheese finger sandwiches. I know that my Heaven pub is smoke free but it’s freakin’ George C. Scott, man! Even in the afterlife there are exceptions.

the_who_moonKeith Moon! Can this guy party or what? If you are unfamiliar with Keith, he was the late drummer of The Who, who set the standard on how to be a reckless partying rock star. If there was alcohol, he drank it. If there was something to be snorted, he sniffed it. If there was a hotel room to be destroyed, he not only destroyed the room but the entire hotel. In fact the Holiday Inn still has a ban on The Who today.

He and I would drink a few shots and I would ask him about diving into an empty swimming pool as we have a laugh. To be in the presence of the guy who named Led Zeppelin, inspired Beatle songs, the first to use on stage pyrotechnics, and beyond all else his work with The Who would be fascinating. Now that is a slice of fried gold! Oh yeah, did you know Keith died in the same room Mama Cass from The Mamas and the Papas died in? She didn’t really die choking on a ham sandwich, did she?

As for Keith’s drink I bet that he would drink……everything. And chase it with a bar mat strained shot. For those unfamiliar with that it’s all the spilled alcohol that is collected at the end of the night. I call it a “OH MY FUCKING HELL WHY WOULD YOU DRINK THAT” shot.

coconnor_l

“Well in the words of Harry S. Truman, if it’s too hot in the kitchen, stay away from the cook.” I would love to hang out for a few hours Archie Bunker. Not Carroll O’Connor but the character Archie. Hey, when I’m dead and gone I believe this will be possible. I also believe I will drink with Hobbes too so go with me on this one.

The real reason I want to rock out with Archie is so he can call me a Meathead. Is that so wrong to want to be called a Meathead from an American icon? I don’t think so and if I’m good all year, put out cookies and leave a thank you note by the chimney, I think it is only fair that I can be accosted by Archie Bunker. Wait…I think I am confused.

knight_lThis guy! Who wouldn’t like to tip a few back with Ted Knight? Especially when he does his “Pigs In Space” voice which I am sure would come out right after our third Bullshot. Oh! And ol’ Billy Barool! “Oh Billy Billy Billy Billy Billy.” I say this to myself every time I’m in an odd predicament.

johncandydogsbarkin

John Candy. Oh geeze. If there is one person I would want to hang around for a while it would be John Candy. I was so sad when he passed away and even today I have a hard time watching certain scenes in his movies. Especially this one:

Ho man! Every time that part of the movie comes, depending on the company, I have to go to the kitchen or do push ups. Something! It’s pathetic to see a grown man whimper over a John Hughes movie.

Well, I bet we would have a blast! He’d reenact that classic scene in Uncle Buck when he flips a quarter to that principal and told her to have a rat chew that thing off her face. Uncle Melanoma head. We’d finish a bottle or two and toss some darts. Oh yeah, that aint purgatory!

tn2_bernie_mac_2The man, the legend. Bernie Mac is definition of cool for me. God, I still can’t believe he is not here with us. But I have faith I will be able to shake his hand someday. And you know what? This is one dude I don’t mind hogging the Holy Jukebox.

I imagine he would be sipping a snifter of VSO and chewing on a Cuban. Me? I would be chugging a Pabst Blue and catching Goldfish crackers in my mouth. And we could be completely happy with that. Damn, I miss Bernie Mac.

jpgI know I am not alone on this one. Who wouldn’t want to spend some quality time with George Carlin? Who? I bet it would be a one sided conversation because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. He seemed like the type that could carry on without much of topic. I doubt he would get old but I could see myself wondering, “I wonder if Gallagher is dead?”

So that is my list. But don’t get me wrong, when I kick the bucket my first priority will still be spending eternity with loved ones. Like how I presume I will be going to Heaven?

Don’t worry! I won’t be buying the big dirt box condo yet. You are stuck with me and my gibberish for your reading-at-work pleasure. Hey! Why are you reading this at work anyway? 😉

“Art! Your Wife Is Home…

18

…and your house is on fire!”

That was a line from The ‘Burbs. But this post isn’t about my favorite movie or Rick Ducommun. No, it’s about my quick visit to Philadelphia and above all else the Philadelphia Art Museum.

dscn0041I don’t know whether it’s because I live on a snow covered mountain secluded from anything that walks upright or the fact that I find my most important social interaction is in a bowling league, but I really enjoyed my day alone in the city of Philadelphia. So much to do and so little time. I will take you with me. So pretend we did this together.

img_0435Well, we have to take the trolly to the subway. Personally I love public transportation. Nobody talks to each other but if you are really lucky like we were, you’ll have a lady sitting behind you coughing her head off on your neck. I can hold my breath for a while but after that trip I was halucinating Carebears and Luck Dragons in business suits reading the newspaper.

dscn0039After the tuberculosis scare we will walk quickly up the subway exit stairs to find ourselves in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city center. It may just be me but I always hum the Willy Wonka song that Gene Wilder sings when he opens up the doors to his candy room. You know, the one with the chocolate river? The city is a place of pure inebriation. So many smells like car exhaust, steam pipes, pretzel carts and many mystery smells leading to a game I like to call “soup or poop”.

dscn00421The one thing about Philadelphia is the amount of bronze statues. I would venture to say that this city has more than Vienna, Austria. But I guess it should since right where we were standing was where our country was formed. It almost makes your head spin when you think about it. But enough about that, I am on a mission. And that mission is to find where the Rocky statue is. We will do what ever you want after that is checked off the list. To the art museum!

dscn0046I know this was a long hike but I know we are on the right track to the museum because this is the famous running scene from the movies Rocky and Rocky II. Aren’t you glad that I didn’t make us run it?

That is so awesome. I get goose-bumps every time I watch it.

dscn0050But you know we have to run these. Actually everyone was doing it so it’s not as silly as one would think. Except when I run them and trip.

“Hey, look at me! I am just like Rocky and I am so awes-oh fuck!”

It’s a good thing you have bandages. Actually, it’s a rule that who ever is with me, needs to have a first aid kit.

dscn0052dscn0053The thing about the Art Museum of Philadelphia is that it is a full day activity. We have so much to see and only a day so we have to move with a purpose. But when you are looking at art from ?B.C. to present it is at least a three hour journey.

dscn0056I was shocked that it only cost $10 to go through this. That’s cheaper than movie! And if you see a movie with Ben Affleck for more than $10 you really feel like a schmuck when for less, you have this. Did that even make sense?

img_0437I know you are not suppose to take pictures of paintings but you covered me. I mean look at this. The original “Moulin Rouge” from the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec! Can you believe we were within inches of it?

img_0438Not all Picasso paintings look like a butt with eyeballs. This is “Portrait of a Woman”. It is creepy but it’s a Picasso. So….you have to respect that.

img_0440This is my favorite one of them all. Actually it has been my favorite art piece for years and when we found it I made a sound like a girl who made the cheer-leading squad. But you don’t judge me, do you? I wish I was able to take a better picture of it. This is “Carnival Evening” by Henri Rousseau.  It’s so dark and mysterious. I stared at it for at least 15 minutes.

Thanks for looking out for me while I snuck a few camera phone pictures. But really we were in no danger. The guard was sleeping.

img_0441Well, I dragged you from the year 300 to present and up and down three stories of art so I suppose you are a little hungry. And this is the town to eat! Let’s go!

Ok I lied. We have to stop at the Rodin museum. Just a quick run though. He did sculpt “The Thinker” so the least we could do is stop by to say hi.

dscn0060This is such a pretty front to the museum. That’s not the original “Thinker” but it’s probably more famous and viewed by more tourists than the original. I made that up.

dscn0061Do you know what I didn’t know? This was just apart of a larger art piece called “The Gates Of Hell” inspired by Dantes Inferno. Huh… But you already knew that.

dscn0064Ok, ok! I know you are starving by now. I really want to go to Pat’s or Gino’s Cheese Steak stand but time is a factor. So, I asked for a recommendation and it’s a quirky place to eat called the Devil’s Alley. You need food and I need a beer. Hey, it’s vacation.

dscn0066dscn0067dscn0065The food at the Devil’s Den is nothing to write home about but the decor is a home-run. I know we just were in the presence of art that inspired religon and started wars but this also cranks my tractor. Speak up if I embarrass you.

dscn0069You know we would end up here. The infamous Eastern State Penitentiary. This is one of the most spooky and intimidating prisons in the U.S. by far. I didn’t know about it until the show Ghost Hunters did an investigation here a few years ago. But besides that, it has some serious history.

dscn0072Back in the day, the prison system was a little medieval in their quest to rehabilitate inmates. The thought process was to isolate and repent. I can spend about two days alone before I start making up imaginary friends so the thought of spending years in isolation without a view is…actually I can’t even imagine. Charles Dickens took a tour through here and went back to the UK stating that he has seen the worst of humanity here. Now that’s history! Oh, and Al Capone was here too. But he was a dick.

dscn0073It’s spooky to hear these doors slam in the background when no one is in the prison. The tour guides joke about the ghosts and seem to not even notice it. You can hold my hand. For dudes you can too because it’s not sissy if we thumb wrestle at the same time.

I didn’t capture any anomalies and that sucks. But after the tour I did see other peoples digital pictures with some weird shit on it. You know like lights and blurry things? I don’t know, I’m a sucker. You roll your eyes.

dscn0070dscn0077Well, if that wasn’t disturbing enough we are now going to the Mutter Museum. This is the museum of pathophysiology and abnormal human defects. This place makes you want to shower but it is so awesome.

dscn0080Here we are! The place where they keep human skulls with a description of how they died, a cast of Siamese twins, a preserved gangrened hand in a jar, jars of deformed babies and a book made of human skin. Yeah, we are disturbed for sure. It’s a good thing we already ate.

i188808786_96611_7Me: Oh my God! What the fuck is that!!!

You: Shhhh. Inside voice!

mutter_museumMe: That dude is eating for two!

You: Would you please? We are in a museum.

featureMe: Oh my….

You: Take your head out of my coat!

Courtesy ofMe: Can we go now?

You: You are such a sorry Nancy.

Well, it is getting dark out now. You know what that means? It means that we have to get a beer and become friends with at least one of the locals. That’s a rule of mine. You haven’t been to a place unless you know a person from there.

So I picked a little pub that didn’t look too pretentious and safe and moseyed up to the bar. Wouldn’t you know it, only ten minutes went by before people approached me? I give off that “I’m lost and not from here” vibe.

dscn0084Talk about the city of brotherly love! This is Dawn and Ashely, two local Penn State students who were nice enough to join us for brews, high-fives and picture sharing. We traded email addresses and were even given an invite for New Years Eve. Too bad that’s a travel day, huh? But what can you do? We made friends and that is what we set out to do.

Look at this. We are cultured, fed, tipsy and disturbed all in one day! I say that’s a great day! Thank you so much for putting up with me and enjoying the day. Let’s go recap back at home with some more brews and watch Rock II. What do you say?

dscn0059

Double Mint

10

Oh boy. I have so much to say and now I don’t know how to begin. So, I’ll just start. My awesome uncle is dating twins. I wouldn’t believe it if I had not gone on a “double-date” with them. And what did this date consist of? We all went out to eat and get our future read by a tarot card reader. I swear to God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, George or any deity you choose. This happened.

If you have been reading VeggieMacabre for a while then you may be familiar with my favorite uncle, Uncle Mark. Never in my life have I known anyone who can become genuinely excited over a road map or a laser pointer. He grasps life with both hands and throws caution to the wind everyday of his life. His heart is three sizes larger than a normal person’s and when it comes time to march, his beat is his very own. What a beat it is!

But with all that known, it doesn’t lessen the hilarity of what Uncle Mark does or the positions he gets in. On a fateful day he was minding his own business in a Dunkin Donuts when two twin sisters spotted him and asked him out. I know, so incredibly random I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. Regardless, his cool points among his peers reached a new high.

img_0423So here they are. Do you like my sneaky picture? I had to cough over the “click” sound but to be honest, even if I didn’t, I don’t think they would have noticed. Or rather, I don’t think I would care.

Well, after memorable conversation and my 11 beers and shot to numb the night, it was time for the girls to get their fortunes read. At $25 bucks each my poor Uncle tossed out $50 to Mad’am Stratella (actual name) and they trotted off behind the curtain to find out the inevitable.

While we waited I had to ask my Uncle Mark if he was really serious about these two. I didn’t get the impression that they were using him but for life of me, I couldn’t understand their angle. Mark told me he was just having fun and it was a little flattering that they were fighting over who gets to be with him. I guess I could understand that. I mean hell, they were getting their fortunes read to see who would be the lucky one that gets to have a life of sausage sandwiches and shopping at Cabella’s.

Soon the twins came back to the table looking a little disappointed. The curiosity was bubbling over and Mark wasted no time in asking. Was the $50 bucks worth it? Would they hold the answers to life’s greatest unknowns? Was the meatloaf I ate really that day’s special?

No. They didn’t find out any of that. But what they did inquire about the fate of their sick cat and whether they should put it down or wait it out. I guess there are no tarrot cards for cats. For $50 they were left to decide for themselves. But not without some sound advice from Uncle Mark.

With total sincerity and in all seriousness he offered  his services.

“If you want I can just drop it off in front of a Chinese restaurant?”

And with that, the night came to a dramatic end. (sigh….)

cat-2