Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Hippity Hop Clunk Clunk

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm


The other evening, I had a vision of myself as an old man. I could see myself clearly as a doddering old fart, rocking on the back porch with a can of bug spray in my lap, ready to zap any trespassing and irritating wasps, hornet or borer bees that might invade my calm, tidy realm. The reason the vision was so clear – clear as Baccarat crystal – was that the vision happened to focus on exactly what I was doing at the time.

My initial reaction was to gasp in horror. Then, after dozing off for about 20 minutes, I roused myself with the thought that I have too much time on my hands. For reasons not worth boring you with, I am closing my law office. And, it is obvious that I need to avoid slipping into a totally vegetative state by finding productive ways to occupy my time. “Productive” is the key word here: what better way is there of becoming productive than by becoming a TV producer?

The overall state of TV these days is utterly abysmal. If TV were Biblical, it would be a gathering of lepers. Reality shows now dominate programming, and in their scramble to fill airtime, cable networks are willing to any damn thing a time slot. The worst of it is that people apparently falling all over themselves in an effort to watch. Hit shows focus on the useless, wasteful and vapid lives of rich housewives and New Jersey-ites. Hit shows show whack-jobs trapping gators and wild hogs, cutting down trees, catching fish and crabs, going into rehab clinics, even fighting over big-city parking spaces. Shows make heroes of bike messengers, auctioneers, junk collectors, pawn shop operators, piano movers and pest controllers. Still, we haven’t scraped the bottom of the barrel yet, and that’s where I come in. Following is a list of projects that I have in pre-development, and if you have any ideas or suggestions, I will always be happy to include additional venture partners.

Bug Vet – Does your beetle have a crack in its carapace? Does your millipede come up a few centimeters short? Does your slug have a bug? Welcome to the world of veterinarians who specialize in the treatment of creepy-crawlies! In the first episode, watch Dr Di Plura as she helps the owners of an overweight dung beetle change its diet.

Stinky Shoes – Shoe wearers from around the world try to unseat what experts widely regard as the stinkiest shows of all time – the topsiders worn by Ben Philpott in Europe during July and August of 1973.

Celebrity Assassination – Follow along as everyday Joes and Janes stalk and try to bring down Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, Lindsay Lohan and a never-ending list of the most annoying, obnoxious, worthless and trivial life forms who waste our air and attention. Peace be with us, please, oh Lord!

Running in Plaice – Howl as contestants negotiate a fishy obstacle course that culminates in 50 yard wallow across a shallow pool full of the European cousin of flounder.

Godspiel – The heavenly alternative to American Idol. Contestants brave withering and encouraging comments by judges Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggart and Rick Warren as they vie for a chance to become God’s Next Big Thing in mega-evangelism. Viewers vote not by simply calling or texting, but by making donations to the preacher of their choice. The winner is guaranteed a weekly spot for a year on CBN. Early elimination rounds briefly feature Pastor Merle, who in a weird misunderstanding of scripture, has spent the last 13 years trying to persuade the residents of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, to take off their clothing and walk the streets bare; Brother Eustachian, leader of a small cult devoted to the notion that the Second Coming has already occurred in the guise of the late comedian Sam Kinison; and Inigo Luke, who wants to share the salvation he found in the aisles of a Dollar General store.

Septic Scenic – Follow Slimy Sam and Greasy Gill, proprietors of “An Offal Job,” as they clean the defecatory sludge from septic tanks at the hide-aways of the rich and famous. In an early episode, they find the remains of Jimmy Hoffa in the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, MA, and zany hijinks ensue.

American Nose Picker – In the first installment, Waldo “Booger” Jessup dogs Barbra Streisand.

As a budding, then blooming TV production impresario, I do not plan to forget the little people who have helped me along the way. However, I may not be able to help it. Please do not think harshly of me if I do not return your calls.

* * * * ** * * * ** * * * *

I hope everybody had a happy and joyous Easter. I am scheduled for a new round of scans on Wednesday, so keep your fingers crossed. Peace be with you!


April 4, 2011: Sight Unseen

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm


This morning, I emailed my sister some information rather than mail her the original letter that contained that info. I did this rather than “waste a stamp.” Thinking that phrase, I immediately imagined a Mission Impossible style Black Ops team storming a philatelist’s shop in order to shoot up a 3 centime stamp from old colonial Algeria. “Wasting a stamp,” indeed! This brief reverie warmed me as evidence that my brain might be returning to a state that, for me and only me, could be considered normal.

I think I posted some gibberish the week of my third annual brain surgery. My blog postings had already dwindled during the half year or so before it. To the hardy few who still occasionally check my blog, I owe a genuine update, so here it comes. I hope to write more regularly in the future, but leave it to you whether that’s a good thing or not.

On Monday, January 31, the good docs at Baptist delved into my right occipital lobe to remove a small tumor developing on the perimeter of the area where they last operated. Because it was a sort of “rain check” surgery in a familiar area, this surgery was more like Putt-Putt compared to the Pebble Beach and Augusta National of previous cuttings. I was released from the hospital on the following Wednesday morning

While I was under the knife that Monday, my sister lunched with my mom at Arbor Acres. About the time Martha got back to Baptist, she got a call from Arbor that mom was coming by ambulance to the ER. Respiratory problems had plagued the old gal since New Year’s and now laid siege to mom with a vengeance. That night, she was moved to the palliative care unit. She was pretty much out of it, but occasionally responsive, and We visited her a few times Tuesday and Wednesday before I left the hospital. Martha stayed with mom the whole time. My brother and sister-in-law arrived Wednesday afternoon. Martha was bedside when mom died Thursday morning. We had a short graveside service Saturday morning, followed by visitation at the Baptist Church.

Things are a little close to the bone for me to write about mom yet, but I do want to share one of my favorite stories about her – one that exemplifies something of her spirit. Not too awfully long ago, she had knee-replacement surgery, but worked herself back into shape enough to be able to attend my nephew Jay’s wedding in Memphis. We flew out of Charlotte. Mom carried a card explaining her brand spanking new, metallic knee, but when the scanners went berserk, the card did not satisfy the goons in the airport security freak-show. What threat they thought was posed by a limping, elderly woman is beyond me (“Hands up, youse guys, or I’ll start doddering!”). Off to the side, but in public view, she underwent the humiliation of a full-body pat-down administered by a 6’3”, 240 pound, uniformed gentleman of non-Caucasian descent. It was quickly done and mom walked away with her dignity shaken, but intact. I asked if she was okay, and she said yes, but she did have a question.

“What’s that,” I asked.

“Do you think I ought to send him a thank-you note?”

Requisiat en pacem, Mama!

Needless to say, those first few weeks after surgery were not much fun, but I have recovered fairly well. So far, knock on wood, X-rays and scans are good. No additional chemo or radiation therapy is in the works. I am fit as a fiddle, even if it is a fiddle that Mike and Frank, the “American Pickers” on the Discovery Channel, might uncover in a hovel somewhere in rural Arkansas.

As for my vision, well, let’s say that it is like civilized discourse in politics, TV sit-coms and Mubarak’s iron grip on power in Egypt – it has seen better days. To best describe the situation, let me refer to the following diagram prepared for me by my imaginary assistant, Sue D. O’science:

In my field of vision, the blue circle represents the area in which I have roughly 20-20 vision. Since I am nearsighted, the good seeing starts about 4 feet away from my face. I have to take off my glasses to see closer.

In the diagram’s light green area, things become increasingly blurry, and in the dark green area, I see a jumble of colors. There is a big blind spot in the left hemisphere, but I have not tried to represent it because my brain tries to compensate for the blank area by filling in the view with familiar shapes and colors. Still, a bus moving left to right will abruptly materialize in my right field of vision. A person walking right to left suddenly disappears. It’s like a badly-lit magic show in a third tier casino a quarter mile off the strip in Las Vegas: not much happens, but what does happen often startles.

Having such limited sight, not to mention a big blind spot, is not without advantages. For your edification and amusement, I have prepared a top ten list of the plusses of being visually lame. Here goes:

10. I can’t be expected to make sense of movies featuring the numbing, dark, special-effects drowned balderdash of “Avatar” or “Inception.”

9. I can’t be expected to respond appropriately when baby pictures are shoved in my face. Whereas all babies used to look like Winston Churchill, now they look like creatures captured microscopically in a slide of polluted pond water. Frankly, when I can remove my glasses and actually study the pics, they don’t look much different.

8. If I shot craps, I might be the only person on earth with a chance of rolling –cars or a snake eye.

7. I need not be consulted on which outfit looks best for a particular occasion. Deirdre might as well ask the same question of the cat, a deck of tarot cards or the ficus tree in the foyer. Plus, I can respond with honest cluelessness to the sort of wifely questions (“Does this skirt make me look thinner?”) for which there are no right answers, only wrong ones.

6. All my wrinkled, baggy and antique friends (including the dude who looks back at me from the mirror) suddenly look youthful and spry.

5. When I can’t find the cup of coffee I just set down, or a pen, the channel changer, the checkbook or a container of left-overs in the fridge, it’s not because I am absent-minded or being willingly obtuse.

4. Going out and about among people is like being perpetually at closing time at a bar: the girls are prettier and the men…..well, women readers can fill in that blank. Body shapes, however, still retain their power to appall.

3. All socks of a similar type match each other in color.

2. I never, never ever again have to be the designated driver.

1. Visually, all in all, and particularly when the sun is shining, it’s like living in a Monet.

So there you have it, kemo sabes – a genuine update from the Beinster. Consider yourselves informed. And, until later, remember the words of the famous Out-of-sight Bobby Knight: If you can’t fly, run: if you can’t run, walk, and when you’re walking, try the hell not to bump into anything!”