Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It should come as no surprise (to myself at least)—it’s the curse of the Burts again


I hate the WORD “asshole”.  So to call someone an asshole… it’s not a small thing, no pun intended.  But the other night after watching the news, I said aloud (to an empty room) “geez what an asshole!” when it suddenly hit me—it’s the curse of the Burts again.

Y’see, this all began in the summer of 1979.  I’d just graduated from high school, had a big falling out with my dad and decided to find a place of my own—well, with my best friend Dan.  But I only had a part-time job as a busboy/dishwasher at the Pancake House Restaurant, so I needed something else.  I found a new job quickly enough, at Shop n’ Save—with daytime hours too.  I thought I was all set.

On my first day, the store’s assistant manager (a chubby man named Steve) said “We’re going to start you out in the dairy aisle, you’ll be working with Burt—he’s the one who runs things over there.”  I was taken back to the stockroom and introduced to this tall, skinny man in his early thirties, who looked me up and down before shaking his head and saying “alright, c’mon… we don’t have all day.”   I followed him out to the milk, where there was a metal dolly and stack of 4 red milk crates waiting.  Burt reached into the top one, lifted out two gallon jugs of milk.  He says “You reach in with both hands—pull out 2 jugs—put ‘em on the shelf.  Reach in—both hands—on the shelf.  Questions?  Get started.” He wheeled the dolly back into the stockroom and I began filling the dairy case with milk. 

It’s around this time that Steve the manager comes around the corner, sees what I’m doing and says “Stop, stop!  That’s not the way to do it!” I froze in place.  Steve says “Look at the dates!  You have to pull all the old dates to the front, and slide the new milk to the back.  You do it whenever you restock, especially the perishables!” I apologized and began scooting all the new jugs to the rear.

I was about halfway through when Burt returned with his dolly and another stack of filled milk crates.  He says “Hey Dorothy, whaddya think you’re doing!”   I stammered “uh—uh—Steve said I—” and Burt mocked me: “UH—UH—I—I!”  I didn’t know what to say.  But apparently, someone else did—Helen, a long-time employee who was in the next aisle overheard and told Steve.  Several minutes later, I’m informed there’s a change of plans & I’ll be working in the produce dept instead.  As I headed over, Burt stopped me and said “I don’t want to see you in my aisle again, you hear me Dorothy?”   LOUD AND CLEAR, ASSHOLE.

The curse of the Burts struck again 15 years later, in 1995.   As a lifelong Bat-fanatic, I was excited to hear that Burt Ward, who played Robin the Boy Wonder on the awesomely campy tv show ‘Batman’, had written a book on his years on the ‘60s show, and what went on behind the scenes.  Holy tell-all, Batman!

My Life in TightsI ordered a copy well in advance, and when they called to tell me it was in, I ran over there like Batman to Commissioner Gordon’s office.  My excitement turned to dismay however, when I saw the cover.  Why was someone unzipping Robin’s trunks?  Batman was as wholesome as apple pie, this was a family show!

Not according to Burt; the book wasn’t so much a behind-the-scenes look at Batman as it was a neverending series of Robin’s sexcapades when the cameras weren’t rolling.  Waitaminute, wasn’t Burt married when he was hired for the show?  Well, that’s showbiz… and wasn’t he a new dad at the time too?  Again, that’s between him and his conscience, keep reading.  Then we get to the chapter about his manhood, more specifically, the size of it.  Burt, c’mon—a chapter?  Well, yes because he wanted us to know how his ‘endowment’ caused a lot of problems during filming, he was so blessed.  The poor guy had to contend with various bindings and restraints, “unlike Adam (West) who wasn’t nearly as well equipped”.  What the—!!  It’s one thing to put your privates on a pedestal but to stomp on Batman’s while doing it?  Burt you asshole!  There’s nothing more to say.

Finally, a couple nights ago on the news, I watched Burt Reynolds being honored by a bunch of Floridans.  I felt real sympathy for the man as he hobbled to the stage, he’s 80 years old now, a gaunt reminder of his former Playgirl self.  As Burt gave his thanks, he decided to give a shout-out to the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy, and claimed they were close friends, and Leonard was one of the kindest gentleman he ever knew.  Good stuff, I felt a sniffle coming on.  Then he added “and we’ll miss him a helluva lot more than the other one!”  

It raised a lot of eyebrows as everyone knew he was talking about Nimoy’s former co-star and friend William Shatner.  But as I sat here, wondering why he would say such a cruddy thing for all the world to hear, it hit me—it’s the curse of the Burts again.  He’s just another asshole.

The End

Friday, March 13, 2015

How could this happen to me and you? A sweet goodbye, my Toshy Blue



Darn it,  I’m feeling a little lost right now.  A few nights ago I was sitting on my couch, looking at some old movie trailers on YouTube when my computer died. 

I sat here in stunned silence for a few moments, attempted to ‘get it going’ again, finally unplugging it and prayed that it would somehow be right again come morning.  Nope. 

I guess I’ve been expecting this for some time; Toshy Blue’s cooling fan stopped working a couple years ago, then her hard drive began making constant, weary grinding noises.  As her screen got progressively dim, I knew the end was near.  Oh Toshy Blue… you were my everything.   

Of course we’ve all been there with some beloved contraption, be it a car or whatnot, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I loved Blue like none other.  I got her back in 2007, a real no-frills model, solely for working from home.  I had a flashy silver HP at the time, I didn’t want to taint with ugly work stuff.  But that fussy HP didn’t last long, and that’s when Toshy stepped up to the plate and became my everything, and now she’s gone.  (Along with a slew of photos, retirement and investment papers, mp3 downloads, internet links and 5-6 blog drafts… choke!)  

It’s not just the lost files though.  She had a wonderful CCFL screen (fluorescent backlighting) that manufacturera don’t use anymore.  Now laptops are lit with LED strips, which give off a harsh, unnatural glare.  They’re supposed to last longer, use a lot less energy and don’t get as hot—but I never had to worry about “color management” before, and with my newer Toshiba, it’s all I do! 


T'Pol on the new machine








This is how my favorite Vulcan chick T’Pol looked on Toshy Blue, and how she appears now on my new Toshiba Turd—oh the humanity

Why aren’t people up in arms about this?  Why aren’t they clamoring for a return to the “true light” screens?  Can I start a petition or something?  I spend so much time fussing with the contrast, saturation & gamma controls that I forget why I got on the computer in the first place!

Anyway, this wasn’t intended to be a rant against the new technology, but a nerdy, heartfelt goodbye to the best laptop I ever had.  And I can think of no better sendoff than this great song from my favorite 1970s twin singing duo, Andy & David Williams.


Thanks & goodbye Toshy Blue, you will be missed

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain (‘cuz he happens to be me)


Okay, I’m making a confession here; since quitting my job back in December, taking a shower hasn’t been my first priority.  Wait, wait—that’s not what I meant!  I still take one everyday, it’s just not the first order of business when I get up in the morning.  Now it’s “wash my face, brush my teeth, make some coffee” so I can sit down with a cup and watch a little Good Morning America.  I don’t hop in the shower until 9:30 or so.

And that’s just what happened this morning.  Around 9:30, I switched off the tv, jumped in the shower & am lathering my head when I hear a thumping noise outside the bathroom; what was that?  No matter—I may live alone, but this is an apartment building, not a big empty house.  I continue washing and what the—SOMEONE IS TAPPING ON MY BATHROOM DOOR!  (I leave it open when I shower.) 

After jumping hard enough to knock the shampoo bottle out of the shower caddy, I hear a man’s voice: “I KNOCKED BUT NO ONE ANSWERED.”   He’s almost shouting as the water’s still on and I’m standing behind my shower curtain in disbelief.  He says “MAINTENANCE, I HAVE A KEY TO GET IN IF NO ONES HOME.”   I finally say “WHAT DO YOU WANT.”   He says “HERE TO CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTER.”   I finally have the sense to turn off the water.  I say “Uh… thanks anyway, but I take care of that myself.”  He obviously doesn’t believe me, because there’s a pause, then he says “These gotta be changed every couple months.  These are specialty-sized filters.”

I reply “Well, I just did on Sun—WILL YOU GIVE ME A MINUTE PLEASE.”  He says “Yeah, I’ll wait out here.”  Yeah you do that!  I wish I’d asked him to come back in a few…

I get out of the shower, cross my small bathroom to get the towel hanging on the back of the door—this guy is standing right outside the doorway!  I hurriedly wrap the towel around my middle.  He holds up a silver & white square and says “See?  No one around here carries this size.”  I shake my head.  “That’s a 13 x 17, the hardware store right up the street keeps them in stock.”  He says “This is NOT a 13 x 17.  Whatever you’re usin’, it’s not the right filter.”

I stomp past him, on my way to the closet near my front door.  I pull it open with one hand (while attempting to preserve what’s left of my dignity with the other) and reach up to the top shelf, to a large white plastic bag with ‘Best’ on it’s front.  As I pull it down, five furnace filters tumble out and I start to reach up with both hands to catch them, and you know what, this fool is getting a real show!  


After tossing them on my dining table, he picks up one of the filters and compares it to his.  He says “Okay these are the same size… where’d you say you get these again?”  Before I can shout UP THE STREET, THE ADDRESS IS RIGHT ON THE DAMN BAG he asks “how often do you change yours?”  I say once a month.  He says “okay that’s good, you're a conscientious tenant!”  

Yes and also an angry wet one!  Annoyed   It’s not like I’m ungrateful, but he’s a stranger, I’m pretty much naked & I don’t recall anyone offering to change my filter before today.  For all I know, it’s harvest time for human organs.  Why yes, I do have a spare kidney, why do you ask?  

Anyway, as I opened the door to show him out, he says “Do you know if the tenant next door is home?”   I said “I think so but he works nights so he’s sleeping right now.”   He said “Oh okay… I’ll try again later.”   Uh!