April 30, 2005

Routine 288.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:35 pm

It was great being in a band in Jersey in the ‘70’s. Virtually every saloon in the area, large or small, had live music on the weekends. Bands built up followings, which saloon owners were more than eager to attract. Our band was no exception. Back then, we were playing as a trio, with guitar, bass and drums (all three of us sang), and we had managed to build up a following of our own, so we were perfect for many of these places.

We played quite regularly at a place called “The 288 East,” which was a cozy place in North Arlington, New Jersey. It had a medium-sized bar, maybe twenty stools, and about 6-10 tables. The only way that the little place could accommodate a band was to renovate a large closet in order to create a “stage” that was about six inches higher than the postage stamped-sized “dance floor,” which was directly in front of the so-called “stage.”

In truth, the “stage” probably would have worked for a solo act, or even maybe two people, but in our case, once we set up the amps and I set up the drums, there was no room for anything else. In fact, in order to get behind the drums, I would have to move the hi-hat cymbals (the ones you play with your left foot) and the snare drum out of the way. I’d climb behind the set and move everything back in place once I was seated. The bass and guitar players stood directly (and I mean directly) in front of the “stage” on the teeny dance floor. In short, we were “up close and personal” with the crowd.

One Saturday night, we were into our fourth and final set. It was pretty crowded in the place. During the break, we had been sitting with a couple people who had taken to following us wherever we played. Part of the group was a young woman who had brought her mother with her as well as her new boyfriend, a guy who apparently just got a job as a cop and who seemed exceedingly happy to tell everyone that he was carrying his “off duty piece.”

“Very big deal,” we thought. But, a following is, after all, a following.

About one third of the way into the final set, a group of guys, already well oiled, showed up. By their swagger and general demeanor, it was quite plain that these guys were potential trouble. Nevertheless, I didn’t pay all that much attention to them, thinking that as long as they don’t give us any trouble, who cares?

Somewhere in the middle of “Color my World” I saw the unmistakable minuet of an impending brawl. Within what seemed to be mere seconds, the teeny dance floor turned into a moving mass of angry people, with the newbie cop in the middle of it all. We continued to play, because that is what you did when these things happen. You played until either the owner tells you to stop, or until the cops arrive.

Then I heard someone shout the word “GUN”!!!

Sure enough, from the center of this moving amoeboid mass of people popped up a hand in which was a chrome, snub-nosed revolver (surely the “off-duty piece”). A dozen or so hands were grabbing at the gun, which at that moment happened to be turned directly in my direction. So much for “Color my World.”

The bass and guitar players unplugged and ran for the door, still wearing their guitars. Watching the hands struggling to gain control of the six-shooter, I didn’t bother to move the hi-hats and snare drum, but rather I somehow leaped over the damned snare drum and knocked the hi-hats out of the way, just to get the hell off the stage and out of the bulls eye. By this time the bass player and guitar player were already out on the sidewalk.

I ran for the door, which was, at that moment, blocked by a hysterical woman. She was standing directly in the doorway screaming her ass off. Not moving – just screaming her ass off. No time for introductions: I just picked her screaming ass up and dragged her outside with me while the combat inside continued.

In a few minutes, it was over without any gunshots having been heard.

When we re-entered the place, a big guy (I believe a friend of the owner) had managed to break up the melee and “convince” the wise guys to leave, presumably by reminding them that they had been messing with a cop and that more cops were just a phone call away. Naturally, they didn’t leave quietly, as they dropped the F-bomb on the owner, his place, his friends, and quite possibly even his dog, but leave they did.

Apparently, it all had started when one of the wise guys made a nasty remark to the mother of the newbie cop’s girlfriend, and it went downhill from there.

We still had about fifteen minutes left to play, and the owner wanted us back on stage to get things back to normal. Besides, he still had fifteen minutes to sell drinks to a bunch of real nervous folks, all badly in need of a libation.

The guitar players plugged back in, and I climbed behind the drums and repositioned the snare drum and hi-hats. We were ready to go back to work.

The guitar player turned to me and said, “OK. Color my World.” I suggested that we play something else, thank you, which is what we did, as this hadn’t been the first time that the shit hit the fan while we were playing “Color my World” But that is a story for another day.

I got a million of ‘em.

P.S. Oh, as for the title of this post, in the grand tradition of the Bowery Boys, the term “Routine 288” would forever become the words we would use when it was time to evacuate the stage immediately.

The Blog Western – Chapter Two.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:18 pm

I’m glad I waited until today when I had enough time to fully enjoy Chapter Two of the Christina’s latest brainchild, the Blog Western. In fact, I went back and re-read Dax Montana’s excellent Chapter One and found even more to like with the second reading. Damned fine writing, that. That set me up for Chapter Two by Moogie. Quite simply, I loved it. The characters are well crafted, and the story line is one that left me hungering for the next Chapter.

Don’t miss it.

April 29, 2005

Too Late, Too Tired.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:45 pm

I do have a post in mind. No, really I do. It’s just that each time I try to write it, Life 101 pops up (which includes an ongoing comment spam battle) and prevents me from working on it. Now, I think I’m too damned tired to do any heavy lifting.

However, I do have enough energy to show you why Jimbo will never live in Florida.

April 28, 2005

New Rules.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:20 pm

The Army is planning to release a new manual that will govern the manner in which interrogations may be conducted. The New York Times reports that the manual is being released to address the “harsh techniques disclosed in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.”

The new manual, the first revision in 13 years, will specifically prohibit practices like stripping prisoners, keeping them in stressful positions for a long time, imposing dietary restrictions, employing police dogs to intimidate prisoners and using sleep deprivation as a tool to get them to talk… .

In a related development, a Pentagon spokesperson announced a new policy that will apply to the treatment afforded to Army basic trainees. Major General John Williams stated, “We are mindful of the new guidelines applicable to the interrogation of enemy combatants and alleged terrorists. As such, it is fitting and proper to revamp the rules relating to the treatment of Army basic trainees.” Williams continued, “This is so, because, unlike enemy combatants and alleged terrorists, Army basic trainees have not been accused of the attempted or actual killing of US military forces or American civilians.”

While the new rules for the treatment of Army basic trainees will not be published for several months, General Williams noted that some of the more significant provisions are as follows:

1. Drill sergeants shall be prohibited from raising their voices when addressing recruits. Drill seargents shall be required, at all times, to speak in conversational tones, so as not to upset the recruits.

2. Recruits shall not be awakened before 09:00 hours, which awakening shall be accomplished by the playing of string quartet music (or soft piano music), which shall be piped into their private rooms.

3. Recruits shall not be required to stand at attention for longer than ten (10) consecutive minutes.

4. Requiring recruits to do push-ups (or other acts of physical intimidation) for behavioral infractions is strictly forbidden.

5. Marches shall be no longer than two (2) miles, and must provide for sufficient breaks to permit the recruits to enjoy nutritious snacks and conversation (cell phones are to be permitted at all times).

6. Recruits shall be permitted unrestricted access to television, radio and cable or DSL internet connections.

7. Recruits shall not be required to perform any duties in excess of forty (40) hours per week, unless paid one and one half times their usual hourly pay rates (Duties performed on Sundays and holidays shall be paid at a rate of twice their hourly pay rate). In no event shall a recruit be required to be on duty in excess of sixty (60) hours per week.

8. Recruits shall not be required to work in mess halls or to perform general cleaning tasks.

9. Recruits who express an unwillingness to handle firearms must be excused from participating in any activities that may involve the use of rifles, pistols, grenades or any similar devices.

10. Pizza must be made available to recruits on demand.

General Williams stated that these changes in policy are consistent with the new rules concerning the treatment of enemy combatants and terrorists and will lead to a more refined, civilized and sensitive American fighting force.

April 27, 2005

The Service Department……Again.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:58 pm

A bit more than a year ago, I wrote about my experience in the Service Department of my automobile dealer. I had occasion to be there again today.

I have been there once or twice since my last post, but I thought that, given that a year has passed since I had written about the experience, I would try to objectively determine whether anything has changed. Accordingly, I sat with a pad on my lap recording the goings-on in the place, while I waited for the Service Guy to release me and my car from the clutches of the Service Department.

I wondered then, as I wonder now, whether this chicken scratch that covers more than a few pages could be organized, massaged, and coaxed into becoming a coherent post, with something resembling a central theme.

I’ve decided that it is too late tonight to do that, and I am way too tired to do anything more than share with you the notes I jotted down while held captive in the Service Department waiting room. Not surprisingly, I have omitted the scribblings that I cannot read now. I have also edited out some of the completely incoherent ravings, many of which contain the F-Bomb.

So, without further ado, here is a peek into Jimbo’s notes:
Damn, no seats by the coffee table. The only seat in the room not next to a Vulgarian is by the stairs that lead into the Service Area. I hate the seat, but it is better than sitting next to someone who might smell like pee. What will I do with my coffee? I’ll have to set it on the floor. (The room has a coffee maker, but I brought my own coffee.) Pain in my ass.

Shit!! The television is on. Do they ever turn that thing off?

The ABC Network version of the “Today Show” is ending. Apparently everyone in the audience got a cupcake. By the cheering and carrying-on of the “adults” in the audience, one would think that each of them had been given a couple thousand bucks instead of a farookin cupcake. God how I hate this place.

“Regis and Kelly” came on the TV. The studio audience is hysterical with love for Regis and Kelly. It looks to me like most of the women in the audience would happily carry Regis’s child. Regis could pass gas and the audience would howl with laughter and applaud wildly. Clearly, the studio audience had been properly “warmed up” before the show. I’ve been to a live TV show before, and the audience warm-up is about as ugly as the process of turning pigs into sausage.

Regis holds up badly shot 35mm photos that someone took of him during his weekend visit to Texas. These are seriously shitty pictures. Why the hell is the audience going crazy with joy over each of them? Damn, I forgot; they had been “warmed up.”

Kelly Ripa? She can’t possibly be as stupid as she appears to be, can she? She interrupts Regis’s squawking his multi-volume drivel with inane comments, after each of which she lunges toward the camera/audience and smiles. I’ve decided that there is no way she could be that stupid and manage to get to where she is on television. I figure that she is just real bad at looking real stupid.

Uh-oh … New person in the waiting room. A twenty-something Dizzball just walked in and plopped down in the seat closest to the TV. She is howling out loud with laughter at Regis and Kelly. Did this person just escape from some kind of custody?

Regis’s and Kelly’s guest is Liam Neeson. [Audience applauds as if the guest were Jesus himself]. Liam just finished some movie where he had to do sword fights. Liam is going to show Regis and Kelly how to properly fight with a broad sword. Maybe lightening will strike this place and put an end to all this.

During the sword fighting lessons (first Kelly, then Regis) the “band” played the Saber Dance as background music. [The audience is beside itself with joy.] After it was over, Kelly remarked, “We’re fighting with swords and the band is playing ‘Clown Music’”? Hold it!! Did I question whether Kelly is as stupid as she looks? I take it back. She is that stupid and then some. It was the Saber Dance, for Chrissake! Get it? Sword fighting?… Saber Dance? ”Clown Music???” ..Dumbshit.

Dizzball decides that she has to make a cell phone call. It begins with, “How ya doin? … Are you busy? I just wanted to say ‘Hey.’ You wanna call me back”? Call her back?? Farookin’ shoot me now.

Dizzball, “breaking the seal” with her phone call causes two other people in the waiting room to make telephone calls and share their conversations with the rest of us. I wish I had a cell phone death ray.

After about five minutes of personal prattle, Dizzball finally says, “Good bye.”

But wait!

She makes another call! I’d rather listen to Regis (even Kelly) than this idiot.

I head to the men’s room, then go outside (yes, OUTSIDE) to check my voice mails. I had a few. When I returned to the waiting room Dizzball was still on the phone.

She was still talking on the phone when “The Tony Danza Show” came on. Tony Danza, the guy from Taxi? You gotta be shitting me. People actually stop what they’re doing during the day to watch Tony Farookin’ Danza? Memo to the Department of Homeland Security: Terrorists don’t have to risk getting caught with dirty bombs and the like. They can sit back and wait, knowing that daytime television will ultimately turn the brains of millions of Americans into soft, smelly shit.

Dizzball asks if anyone would mind if she changed the channel. This babe must a daytime television gunslinger. No one objects, so she turns on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Ellen dances into the audience. The audience is dancing, woo-hooing and clapping to the music (on the upbeats as most white people do). Dizzball is loving it, swaying to the music and laughing out loud. Can this woman dress herself?

Ellen into commercial…Dizzball makes another call.


A large box of Dunkin’ Donuts is brought into the waiting room. A really, really, REALLY overweight lady is making a cup of tea and looking at the donuts. Will she take one? I know damned well she wants one. I can see the donut lust in her eyes, but I can also see the damage that past donuts have done to her. I’m betting she takes one.

Jimbo loses; she doesn’t take a donut. Who is she bullshitting? I’ll bet if she were alone, she eat the damned dozen of them. It takes one to know one.

Dizzball hangs up. Gott sei dank!

Service Guy appears and has to have a word with Dizzball. Forget about privacy. We can all hear what the Service Guy says. He tells her that they had to install a new “solenoid pack” in her transmission. Dizzball approves. Service Guy leaves the waiting room.

Dizzball makes yet another call. I could happily shove the phone up her ass. Presumably she is calling someone to bullshit “solenoid packages.”

Ellen has some audience members on stage to use the Jacuzzi. Those not picked for the Jacuzzi get a free DVD of “Meet the Fockers.” The audience is out of control with glee.

Dizzball is now describing the Ellen Show to the person on the other end of the phone conversation. If I were to beat this woman senseless with the phone, would a jury convict me?

Service Guy enters the room and tells me my car is ready.

I could have kissed his feet.

End of notes.

April 26, 2005

Tagged Again!! Favorite Posts.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:34 pm

My buddy and traveling companion Eric of Straight White Guy dropped this meme in my lap today. He told me he had been twice meme-dinged this week, and he felt it appropriate that I should feel his pain. Eric is definitely a sharing kind of guy. In fact, in my mind, I could hear him laughing his sharing ass off all the way from Tennessee, not just because he laid a meme on me, but also because he laid one on me that is a real bitch.

The idea is that the tagee must select two of his or her favorite posts and link to them. Then, of course, the tagee gets to share the love with two additional bloggers.

The question, of course, is how does one select two “favorite posts”? I’ve read thousands of posts about all sorts of subjects in the almost two and a half years I’ve been at this. I’ve read scholarly discussions of complex issues, which inspired me to think hard about things. I’ve read posts that would rival the work of the finest comedy writers in the US. By contrast, I have read passionate entries that left me feeling emotionally drained. Because of the sheer volume of posts and variety of subject matter, I cannot possibly select two “favorite posts” in a systematic way.

Therefore, rather than trying to do the impossible task of skimming countless posts, I thought a bit about two posts that touched me in a way that they might not have touched others.

First up is my friend Sluggo’s post entitled, “Calling Max Bialystock,” (Max is the sleazy producer in the Broadway Show “The Producers”). Sluggo’s post describes his stint as an actor doing summer theater in Lennox, Massachusetts. This well-crafted post manages to tell what is ultimately a sad story in a most amusing way. However, having experienced the agony of “flop sweats” in my life, I suffered along with the characters in Sluggo’s post.

Next is a post by my Cousin Jack of Jack Bog’s Blog, entitled, “We Interrupt this Program,” in which Jack shares he remembrances of November 22, 1963 as a sixth grader in St. Aloysius School in the Ironbound Section of Newark (called “Down Neck” in Jersey). This beautifully written piece captures the sadness and confusion that reigned in this blue-collar Catholic grammar school when his class and his teacher learned that President Kennedy had been killed.

We prayed a lot at that school, but when Cronkite confirmed the worst, we did something we never did before or after: we all knelt down on that cold, hard tile floor, right next to our desks. We prayed like there was no tomorrow. We didn’t know what else to do. While we offered up Hail Mary after Hail Mary, Miss Matheson ran down to break the news to the principal. Soon the principal got on the intercom and told the whole school what the sixth grade already knew.

This post is special to me on two levels. First, when Jack wrote about the reaction of family members (“[T}he grownups were simply dumbfounded. Our moms and grandmas cried, and the men swore”), he was talking about our family. Second, it was this post that played a large part in my decision to jump into the blog pool. In “We Interrupt this Program,” Jack upheld our family’s tradition of being wonderful storytellers. And, when, shortly after writing the post, he suggested that I might be able to tell a couple decent stories as well, I headed over to Blogger.com and, well, you know the rest.

Now, I have the pleasure of handing this off to two other victims bloggers. I think my Montana friend Craig at mtpolitics and Mr. Helpful might want to kick my ass for this enjoy participating.

Have a swell time, gents.

April 25, 2005

I Wuz Tagged.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:19 pm

I was tagged today by my buddy Dash, who dropped this meme in my lap. The rules, as explained by Dash, are that I had to choose five from the list that appears below and complete the thought. Here goes:

If I could be a proctologist, after each patient I would check to make sure I was still wearing my watch.

If I could be a linguist, I would become fluent in Latin in order to be prepared for a possible trip to Latty some day.

If I could be a scientist, I would work at discovering the gene that consigns some people to a life of assholeism.

If I could be a farmer, I would have to learn to appreciate the smell of cow shit.

If I could be a writer, I’d probably want to be a farookin’ lawyer. The grass is always greener, or some shit like that.

Now it’s my turn to share the fun.

What follows is a list of different occupations. You must select at least five of them. You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select five of the items as it was passed to you).

Of the five you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession. Then pass it on to three other bloggers.

Here’s that list:

If I could be a scientist…
If I could be a farmer…
If I could be a musician…
If I could be a doctor…
If I could be a painter…
If I could be a gardener…
If I could be a missionary…
If I could be a chef…
If I could be an architect…
If I could be a linguist…
If I could be a psychologist…
If I could be a librarian…
If I could be an athlete…
If I could be a lawyer…
If I could be an innkeeper…
If I could be a professor…
If I could be a writer…
If I could be a backup dancer…
If I could be a llama-rider…
If I could be a bonnie pirate…
If I could be a midget stripper…
If I could be a proctologist…
IIf I could be a TV-Chat Show host…
If I could be an actor…
If I could be a judge…
If I could be a Jedi…
If I could be a mob boss…

I think I’ll hand this off to three Jersey Bloggers who showed up at the Da Jersey Blogmeet: Kate of Katespot, Gregor of Sad Old Goth, and Sluggo of Sluggo Needs a Nap.

April 24, 2005

USS Iowa, Turret Two.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:37 pm

We all remember the horror of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1989. The news of the Oklahoma City bombing eclipsed the story of another explosion that took place far from Oklahoma City. It was on that day that one of the main gun turrets on the battleship Iowa exploded, killing 47 sailors. New Jersey Blogger Ken Adams remembers the explosion on the Iowa, because he was there.

May his shipmates rest in peace.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:07 pm

I figure that, if I attend the Jawja blogmeets for the next fifteen or twenty years, I’ll eventually show up looking someting like this

April 23, 2005

Beep Beep. You’re Busted!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:08 pm

Yesterday, a woman was hopping mad when she received a traffic citation for “unreasonable use of horn.” It seems she tooted her horn a couple times in support of a labor union’s picketing.

Where could such a thing happen?

Surely it must have happened in some ultra-conservative town, where free expression in the form of horn blowing is a no-no, and where one wouldn’t dare blow one’s horn in support of a labor union.

Nope. It happened in the place that is the self-proclaimed bastion of free expression.


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