Friday, July 29, 2005


I wasn’t going to post today. It’s Kevin’s birthday and I’m being a good friend and taking him to breakfast. Oh, what a good friend I am.

But I was compelled to write something after watching this story on the news. Evidently parents are running for the hills in terror. Their kids are playing a new, most dangerous game, certain to hold the entire world hostage in an iron grip of panic.

The kids are making themselves pass out.

Excuse me? NEW?! Since when is this new? I’m just embarrassed that it’s still going on. My friends and I used to do this when we were kids. In fact, I personally, introduced this “game” to a bunch of new friends when I changed schools in high school.

I’m not proud of that. But in my defense, I introduced it under the pretext that it’s a dangerous thing to do and I wouldn’t recommend partaking in it…but it is kinda’ fun.

It was the “kinda’ fun” part that my friends wanted to hear.

Hey, I’m sure heroin is “kinda’ fun…”

I eventually gave up on making myself and friends pass out. It’s creepy. It’s dangerous. It’s stupid.

But some of my friends kept the tradition alive.

In fact, if you ask real nice, I’ll bet that "Hello Ninja" will tell you about the dangers of making friends pass out during high school class while standing over a cement floor.

And I think kids are idiots now?

** However, as a post script to this story, the kids are using belts and ropes to do it now. Completely unnecessary and incredibly stupid. Even more stupid than making people pass out the way we used to do it (hyperventilate and then apply mild pressure to the arteries in the neck without obstructing breathing). They’re actually cutting off their oxygen supply…and they’re dying.

I guess kids really are idiots now.

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Givearatsasstastic!

And Happy Birthday Kevin!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I am Punished with a Sore Distraction

Hamlet Act V, Scene II.

But I am indeed distracted. Distracted by thoughts of Christmas. I’m a freak for Christmas. I’m actually a freak for the holiday season in general. The autumn. The cold. The shorter days. The beginning of winter.

And the Today show isn’t helping. They’re doing this whole “Christmas in July” thing. And they keep playing Christmas music. It’s torturing me. Christmas music tortures most people. But most people aren’t tortured by the lack of it as I am. I can’t figure it out. Seriously, I’ll listen to it year-round. It’s freakish.

Why do I like Christmas so much?

1. I’m not Christian.

2. It always sabotages my weight-management plan. A plan that I work so hard on the rest of the year. Around Christmas, I always gain back the weight, without fail.

3. I don’t care about Christmas presents anymore. In fact, I never think of them until someone asks me what I want. And I hate being asked what I want for Christmas. Invariably it’s a scramble to find something – anything – that I could possibly even remotely want.

But I love Christmas anyway. Unconditionally. Illogically. Obsessively.

And it’s almost here. In two months. Because July is over, then we have August (my birth month) and September. My holiday season begins in October.

So, August…September…Halloween-Christmas. I can’t wait.

But I’m debating whether or not I’ll write any new Christmas music this year. Perhaps a shorter Christmas album than the previous two years? Five songs or so instead of the usual 10 or 11?

I don’t know, but I’ll have to figure it out soon, Christmas is coming!

As of this post, there are only 215,981 minutes until Christmas.

Keeping track? Go here.

Fun Fact: Speaking of a sore distraction… For those of you who doubt the structural integrity of IKEA furniture, let me tell you – it’s solid.

I accidentally kicked my entertainment center yesterday – hard. And I’m afraid that my pinkie/little/baby toe will never play the violin again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Flipped Out

The median price for a home in or around Los Angeles is ridiculous. On the news this morning they said that the average value of a home in LA has risen 85% since last year. Now, I think that’s a little high, but I’m sure it’s not by much.

This was all in a segment about “flipping.” Flipping, as you know, is when a person buys a home, does some rudimentary repairs and cosmetic work, and then turns around and sells the house for a profit.

This is not a new thing. It’s been going on for a long time now. The only difference now is that every slightly upwardly-mobile Joe thinks that they’re going to be the next real-estate baron.

And we wonder why the price of houses in this country has risen so absurdly in the past few years?

I, for one, am tired of the whole stupid business. I’m tired of opportunists. I’m tired of real-estate (which is probably because I don’t own any). When the entire country tries to get rich quick in the same way, things go to hell in a hurry.

And thus we have LA.

I’ve given up all hope of ever buying a house down here in southern California (at least until the housing market bubble bursts). It’s just not worth it. Plus the “flippers” here in LA aren’t your average run-of-the-mill flippers. They’re “super-flippers.” Catering to the rich and famous. Or at least the well credited and known-by-someone-famous. People with money, or the ability to talk someone into giving them money at a reasonable interest rate.

The suburbs here in LA are littered with “McMansions.” Huge houses practically bursting out of their property lines.

What happens is that developers buy up small houses on average or small lots (you can’t really get your hands on big lots down here anyway). Then they tear down the houses and build humongous, poorly constructed stucco, particleboard and foam monstrosities.

Pretty much everything you’ve ever seen on an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (which, by the way, since ABC has cancelled “Extreme Makeover” could they give the Home Edition a more wieldy title?).

This new trend in gaudy developing is called “Mansionization.”

Because everybody wants a bigger house, am I right? Who cares if your neighbors can see in every window of your home and vice-versa? It’s well worth it to have “His and Hers” master bathroom suites, right?

Freaking His and Hers master bathroom suites?!

That’s the trend here in La-La. People want great rooms and about a thousand bedrooms each with their own bathrooms, walk-in closets, servants’ quarters and small antechambers just for soiled underwear.

I can understand the servants’ quarters and the antechambers, but why on earth would people need to have His and Hers bathrooms? I’m not just talking about two sinks here. I mean two sinks, two toilets, two spa bathtubs and two additional showers as well as dressing areas (and servants’ quarters).

I know that sometimes Tanya gets on my case for leaving things on the bathroom counter, saline solution, glasses, magazines… But, come on, if your significant other leaves their side of the bathroom in such a disgusting state that you have to add another 500 feet onto your home just so you never have to deal with it again, you’ve got bigger issues.

In fact, if this is the case, when you get home tonight, give your spouse a good once-over; make sure that it’s the person you married. Just check to be sure that your loved one didn’t get accidentally mixed up with the neighbor’s pet ferret or something.

If they did, try to think long and hard about the last time you actually saw them…and start the manhunt.

Whatever you do, don’t initiate intimate relations until this mess is sorted out.

But seriously, what the hell has this country come to when we need two bathrooms in the master bedroom? And what middle income family needs a goddamned ballroom?! When was the last time you had friends over for a party and said to yourself “man, wouldn’t it be nice if our guests could bust a move to some Strauss?!”

Granted, I don’t attend the most hoity-toity parties. And I do like Strauss…and I did take ballroom dance in college…

Okay, you can keep the ballroom. Ballrooms are cool. But no His and Hers master bathroom suites.

In fact, nothing that can even be called a “suite.” Suites don’t belong in my neighborhood.

My people have “rooms.” They were good enough for my sainted grandparents and they’re good enough for me.

Goddamned flippers.

Fun Fact: I’ve never flipped a house or a condo, but I did once flip over the handlebars of my bike. And I like to flip other things as well; pancakes, steaks, chicken breasts, mattresses (every 6 months), double-sided DVDs, my opinion on unimportant issues just for the sake of argument, apartments and houses, light switches, the numbers in my age…

And I love to flip people off on the freeway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Perils of Heredity

We get a lot of unwanted baggage from our parents. Most of it manifests itself in subtle ways; hair color, build, food preferences… But others are more serious and easily recognized by non-family members; a pointy nose, no arms, a wild temper or that nagging guilt over voting democrat.

But I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ll take the nose, build and guilt over other things that heredity could have thrown at me any day. Other things like horrible physical deformity.

After all, we can’t choose our parents. And we don’t choose to gain weight primarily around the middle.

Now, before I go any further, I’m not saying that we should ban certain people from breeding. That would fly in the face of our fundamental inalienable human rights, wouldn’t it? If we started prohibiting people with disabilities to reproduce, no matter what the reason or severity of their deficiency and likelihood that it’ll be passed on to their offspring, then it would only be a matter of time before we stop letting people breed simply because their asses are too flat.

Not that there aren’t already too many assless kids in this world, mind you.

But I do believe that certain people should give more…consideration…to their future child’s well-being before they spawn an unholy monster-child from their loins.

For those of you who don’t know, this is Jack “President” of the Jack in the Box restaurant franchise and star of many hamburger-hawking commercials.

I was watching the latest Jack in the Box restaurant commercial on television the other day. It showed Jack’s son (who I can only assume, because of his father's upward-mobility and vanity, is named Jack Jr.) involved in a spelling bee along with his classmates.

Now, Jack Junior has the same physical…”uniqueness”…as his millionaire daddy. He’s a horrifying mutant combination of ball and boy.

Back to the spelling bee.

The word is “ciabatta.” A special type of Italian bread. Luckily for Jack Jr., his father has just rolled out a new sandwich that happens to be made on ciabatta bread. If Jr. got the word wrong, no doubt he would be harshly reprimanded by his father, possibly disowned.

But Jack Jr. doesn’t get the word wrong. In fact, he gets it so right that he puts in a little flair, spelling it “C-I-A-B-A-double T-A…Ciabatta!” And then flashes a self-aggrandizing peace-sign that would make any arrogant half ball/half man-father happy.

But something struck me about Jack Jr. and his classmates. The other kids in the class seem to be a bit…well…stupid.

Ciabatta is pronounced with a “ch” sound at the beginning. All of the other kids spell the word wrong, but not one of them chooses to misspell it in the most logical way, with a “c-h.”

And then I came to a heartbreaking realization.

Jack Junior is in the “special” class.

He’s smart sure, he’s personable and he even has a healthy ego, given the circumstances. But it seems that the school officials weren’t willing to put Jr. in with the rest of the school, no matter how much money Jackie’s father has. It would be too much of a distraction for the other “normal” kids.

And I have to agree. It would be awkward to have Jack Jr. in my 5th grade class. I would spend all day staring at his gigantic head and thinking about hamburgers.

It’s nice to see that Jack Sr. understands. He supports his son no matter what. He’s a proud ball-daddy.

I wonder if Jack’s in-laws are as supportive. Jack’s wife is a hot blond lady. She is “normal.” I can only assume that her parents are also normal, since this particular genetic anomaly seems to be a dominant trait for anyone who carries it.

Did Jack’s wife’s parents want her to marry Jack? Were they at all concerned about their future grandchildren? Did they spend sleepless nights agonizing over the best way to voice their concerns about Jack’s “condition” to their obviously love-struck daughter?

Who knows?

These are the things I think about.

I need a job.

Fun Fact: I have a problem with Oklahoma. The “sooner” state. There was a high school senior girl on the news this morning with Spina Bifida. She is from Oklahoma and more than anything wants to go to Oklahoma University, so Matt Lauer surprised her with a scholarship.

Great. OU students are also called “sooners.”

So what is a sooner and why do I have a problem with Oklahoma?

A sooner was a person who snuck ahead of other settlers in the land rush of 1889, staked claims to great land without competition and through an opportunistic disregard for the land run rules, cheated many other people out of a fair chance to claim prime property.

So why is Oklahoma so proud of the sooners? Because they’re jerks, that’s why. Why are they the “Sooner State?”

Because they refuse to call themselves the “Bunch of Dirty Cheaters State.”

Which they are.

Friday, July 22, 2005

As Promised

The latest TAM Cartoon is up! Tardytastic!


All Good Things

This is the last weekend for the “Shrew Variations.” The play that Tanya and I have been doing here in the park.

It’s been really great. The cast is, collectively, the best that I’ve worked with in a hell of a long time. Maybe ever. Considering that there are seven people in the cast. Usually (at least when your doing a show with a cast greater than three) there’s one person that just gets on your last nerve. Either they’re clueless or they’re a pain in the ass or they’re just plain lazy (I’m sure that I’ve been this person for someone else).

But this cast has been a real pleasure to work with. And so have the able, well-organized and fun director and the sweet, hard-working stage manager. It’ll be sad to see the play – and the people – go.

But not to fret, I’m sure that I’ll do another play sometime. With my track record so far, it should only be about a year before I get off my lazy ass and audition for something.

I don’t do too much theatre anymore, which is a shame. But it’s very difficult to find anything worth while down here in La-la. Plus, I’m trying to keep my batting average high. So far, I’m 5 for 5. 5 auditions, 5 parts. I’m like some kind of unmotivated super-hero.

But this show is the first one I’ve been in that we didn’t have to re-cast at least one of the parts. I was amazed. It’s just the perils of doing theatre in LA. Somebody will invariably decide that they’ve got better things to do after they’ve already accepted the role. Better things like a film or a paying acting gig or…well, getting drunk alone in their apartment while watching Taxi Driver for the 50th time, wondering why nobody else sees them as the next Robert De Niro when it’s so plainly obvious to dear old mommy. But you don’t really want those people in the cast anyway. They’re the type of LA actor who treats everything like an audition for something else. Their roles, their job, their casual conversations…

But enough of that. The actors of “The Shrew Variations” have restored my faith in LA actors. At least until next week.

If you’re in the LA area and would like tickets to “The Shrew Variations,” don’t write to anybody care of anything. You can’t buy tickets to the show. They’re free. Just head down to Carlson Park in Culver City on Saturday or Sunday at 2:00pm. This is the final weekend.

For an added bonus, come at noon and see the children’s theatre, also starring yours truly, but it’s damned hot so be aware that sitting in a park for 4 hours is not the most pleasant experience right now. So if you must prioritize, pick the Shakespeare, the other show will be running for a few more weeks, hopefully long after this heat wave is over. Bring lots of water!

It’s so freaking hot in fact, that if you do come to the show, and I start slurring my words (horribly, not in my usual manner) please call an ambulance; I’m probably having a stroke.

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is…not up! Ha! Got you didn’t I? The ol’ switcheroo!

But don’t cry. It will be up later today. After I draw it. Tanya was home sick all day yesterday and I had another project to complete, so I didn’t get to the cartoon.

But keep your eyes open later this afternoon for the next installment of the fantastically unique and exciting TAM Cartoon! Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

News Potpourri

Every morning I watch the news. I like to know what’s going on in the world and the greater Los Angeles area. It’s also a way for me to grab topics for my blog when my personal life just isn’t very interesting.

Right now, my personal life just isn’t very interesting.

Jude Law Explores Baby-Minder’s Baby-Maker:

If you’ve been breathing for the last day or so, you’ll know that Jude Law has been caught shtuping the nanny. Worse, he was caught by his own kid who then, innocently, proceeded to announce it to Jude’s ex-wife and her entire family. Oops. Dumb, dumb, dumb Jude Law. He’s since issued a statement saying that he’s embarrassed. Really? No crap? Embarrassed to be caught cheating?! Wow.

I’m issuing my own groundbreaking statement right now.

“I feel better after I poop.”

Now you know.

But back to Jude. Now internet geeks and unimaginative “journalists” everywhere are positing a burning question.

“Why, if Jude’s fiancée is so damned hot, would he bother to screw the Plain-Jane nanny?!”

Well, the answer is simple. Jude’s a dumbass and his fiancée is probably a bitch.

Why Can’t All Autistic Kids be More Like Rain Man?

Although, if they were, casinos everywhere would be on the look out for emotionally detached children.

But there are some parents who feel that their kids are autistic because of a chemical being used in children’s vaccinations. The chemical is called Thiomerisol. It’s a mercury-based compound used as a preservative.

There’s been a sharp rise in the rate of autism in the last ten years, and even though the CDC insists that it has nothing to do with thiomerisol, the parents are convinced. In fact, they’re marching on Washington soon to do something about it. Get money or something. The chemical has already been taken out of vaccines as a precaution. It’s only now used in the Flu shot.

But these parents are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Nothing anyone can say will alleviate their suspicions that the government is involved in one hell of a cover-up. A conspiracy to turn kids autistic or something.

But here’s my thing. Thiomerisol has been used in vaccines since the late 20s. It was in my vaccines and the vaccines that my parents and grandparents got. It’s only been in the last ten years that the number of autistic children in the country has quadrupled.

Could it be possible that there is another cause for this other than vaccinations? How did the rest of us thiomerisol-receivers escape the perilous plight of autism?

Get away from me!!

Colin Farrell is a Dingleberry:

Has a dingleberry? Let’s hope not because soon we’ll all be able to check for ourselves.

Back in the day, Colin made a sex tape with his then girlfriend and former Playmate, Nicole Narain, under the “oral” agreement that the tape would remain private.

Well, now old Nicole is hankerin’ for a hunk of sleeze. She wants to sell the tape and make a quick profit. And Colin is pissed (and not in his usual Irish way). Colin is going to court to put a stop to the tape’s release.

But he probably won’t win.

In the past, others have tried to keep their private tapes private to no avail. It seems that there is some kind of slippery law involved here. Personally, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why Colin Farrell can’t stop his opportunistic bitch of an ex- from distributing something which obviously wasn’t meant for that purpose.

A lawyer on the news this morning said that the second you make a “personal video, you wave your right to privacy.”


Maybe it’s the word “personal” that’s throwing me here? Look, lawyer lady, I watch COPS. There are always some jerk-asses in the background with their heads all fuzzed out. Cops invade a meth lab…There’s a whole living room full of fuzzy-heads.

Now I know it’s not because they’re just the most insanely ugly tweakers on the planet. It’s because they didn’t sign a release form. They didn’t want to be on COPS. They don’t want to…they don’t have to.

Why does Colin now have to show his Irish punching bag to the whole wide world if he doesn’t want to. If the tweakers don’t, why should Colin Farrell?

Have you seen Colin Farrell give an interview? They’re practically the same thing.

Hey You Kids! Get Off My Steaming Hot Lawn. Llllllaaaaawwwnnnn…Hotttt…Yabba, Yabba…Ooohhh, I caannn’t feel my leffffttt ssside…:


Sweating With the Oldies:

Heat stroke and the elderly. It’s no laughing matter. Especially when there’s a heat wave like the one I find myself in the middle of at the moment. And as my thirty second birthday approaches I’m ever more concerned about it.

Already, the intense heat in the western half of the US has claimed a couple dozen lives. Most of those deaths are because of a combination of heat, dehydration and extreme oldness.

Some cities are even sending volunteers door-to-door to check on their older neighbors. Make sure they're feeling alright. Make sure that their air-conditioner is running full blast, like it usually is the entire rest of the year…even in the winter.

But here’s what I don’t understand. If the elderly are so incredibly sensitive to heat, why the hell do they congregate in the hottest places on earth?! Hell, if they could, half of them would retire on the freaking sun.

If watering your lawn in 120º temperatures can lead to your demise, why move to Tampa or Palm Springs or Arizona?

My theory: Old people have a death wish. It’s cool. Sometimes I get sick of young people too. Whippersnappers.

Fun Fact: Soylent Green is made out of people. It’s people!

Which is strange because it sounds like it should be made out of Soy.

Huh. Interesting. See what a little marketing strategy can do?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I’m Too Sexy for my Cell

Former Florida middle school teacher, Debra Lafave, is going to trial. You know who she is. She’s the woman that had sex with her 14 year-old student several times. One time in the back of a car while someone else drove.

She opted not to take a plea agreement, instead deciding that she would rather try her luck in court with an insanity plea.

A move which almost proves that she’s insane.

But I’m not really here to talk about the case per se. I’m more interested in her argument for not going to jail.

She’s too hot.

She’ll be eaten alive! What kind of world do we live in when the beautiful people have to go to jail?!

I say go for it, Debra Lafave! You make that argument! And believe me when I say that it’s my sincerest hope that it works.

No, truly. I really hope that the judge buys it. It opens the door for all kinds of legislation that would greatly benefit lazy people like myself. For far too long lazy people have sat back while less-qualified, yet upwardly mobile people have found success.

You may not see the connection. Let me explain. Debra doesn’t want to go to jail, essentially, because it will be too hard for her. She won’t be able to just sit and reflect in her 9X12 cell. Instead, she’ll constantly have to protect her back (and front) from savage “jailesbians.” As her attorney put it, it would be like “throwing raw meat to lions.”

Somebody’s watched one too many Roger Corman prison sexploitation movies.

I’m not saying that women’s prison isn’t just one big schlocky 70s Pam Grier orgy. I don’t really know. But it’s not my point either.

My point is that if the judge buys the attorney’s argument, then lazy people everywhere will be free from reproach.

Don’t feel like doing your homework? Watched a Michael Bay film festival (uuuggghhh) instead of finishing that account? Let the mayonnaise expire, giving your entire clientele at McDonald’s food poisoning because it was just too much trouble to throw it away?

Just refer to The State v Lafave!

Now we have a champion! Go Lafave! You get crazy with your insanely creepy self!

I had some more things to say here but…please refer to the future ruling in the State of Florida v Debra Lafave.

Fun Fact: Humphrey Bogart was one hell of a great star. If you’re a Costco member, I sincerely suggest that you pick up Warner Brother’s latest compilation of classic Bogey films. It’s fantastic. No frills, but great for $40. And they’re not lame classics either, they’re actually films that any movie lover would be proud to own.

Key Largo
The Big Sleep
The Maltese Falcon

All of those movies pretty much kick ass. For $10 a piece, you cant beat it.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Here’s looking at you, kid!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Doesn’t Anybody Care about My Boobs?!

They’re sprightly, supple and getting bigger every day that I don’t go to the gym.

Cameron Diaz is in court fighting for her breasts’ right to privacy. I’m certain that you’ve already heard all about this. It’s all over the internet – along with pictures of Cameron Diaz’s fun bags.

See, I personally don’t give a good peacock’s posterior about Miss Diaz and her 3.3 million dollar ta-ta’s. I’ve never tried to find pictures of them on the internet. And yet, I’ve seen them. Just this morning in fact. A few minute ago while trying to do a little research on this story.

Okay, they’re fine. Perky. Not too big, not too small. They’re boobs. That’s all…just boobs.

This story was also on Good Morning America today. The correspondent was talking to Dianne Sawyer about the trial and the infamous photo shoot. She talked about how Diaz was a young actress at the time (19) and how she was trying to jump-start her acting and modeling career. She went on to explain that, soon after the photos were taken, Cameron’s star rose and she became a celebrity. Cameron’s boob’s services were no longer needed in such a conspicuous capacity…

And then she made a bizarre comment. She said “a lot of young actresses agree to pose topless early in their careers…after all, they need to eat.”

Really?! Is this true?! Or is this reporter just thinking of a movie she once saw about the horrors of Hollywood?

See, I live here in LA. I’m an actor. I’ve heard all the terrible stories. I’m sure that a great many of them are true. But I don’t know anybody that this has happened to. Granted, I don’t know anybody who has made it as far as Cameron Diaz. But I was unaware of the “show your boobs, become a movie star” angle. At least not for real. Can this ever be legitimate?

Maybe my struggling actress friends are going about this whole acting thing all wrong?

Or maybe Cameron Diaz was serendipitously rescued from a career in porn just in the nick of time?

And what about that “they need to eat” line? Isn’t that the same justification drug dealers use? Hey, if you want to have topless pictures of yourself taken, cool, go for it. Knocker yourself out. But don’t try to make it sound like some kind of necessity.

Last time I checked, there were many other ways to make money as a struggling actress that don’t involve bearing your breasts to photographers. Mammogram tester, Trade show boob model, stripper…

And how come nobody ever wants to be a wet nurse anymore?

All very rewarding careers. None of them deal with photography.

Don’t get me wrong here. I believe that the photographer in this case is way out of line. Blackmail should never be tolerated in any circumstance. I think this guy should be sent away for a couple months to think about his direction in life and whatnot.

But let’s also not pretend that Cameron Diaz enjoys a wholesome image. Hell, I saw Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels 2. Even with my very limited exposure to those “films,” I can still accurately, if I were so inclined, sketch Cameron’s Diaz’s crotch from memory.

So why worry about naked breasts when you've shaken your vagina in the collective faces of all America?

I think Cameron’s putting a little too much focus on the appetizer here, when she should be more concerned about her overcooked main course.

Fun Fact: Freud said that men are obsessed with breasts because a man’s first erotic experience is breastfeeding. I don’t remember much about being breastfed. But for some reason, breasts just aren’t my thing.

I guess when I was an infant, my mom just didn’t “do it for me.”

Sorry, mom.

Freud was a moron.

Oh, and on a far less creepy note, the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Boob-a-polooza!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Rioot is une Oogly Tink

So, it’s finally made the national news. Here in Los Angeles a couple days ago, a man with a gun, Jose Pena, fired shots at SWAT officers, injuring one. As he blasted away indiscriminately from his used car lot, he used his 19-month-old daughter, Suzie Marie Lopez (or Pena depending on which report you read), as a human shield.

As it turns out, even really cute, innocent little babies can’t stop bullets. For some as yet undetermined reason, SWAT officers returned fire killing the man and his little girl.

It’s all very sad.

But now, to compound the tragedy, the community where this whole ordeal took place is on the verge of rioting about it. They’re pissed as hell about the murder of little Suzie Marie. And well they should be. I don’t understand what possessed the cops to shoot at Jose when it was glaringly obvious that they weren’t going to be to avoid hitting the baby.

But what I don’t understand is why people are so pissed that Jose himself was killed. They’re all over the local news down here making excuses for the dude. “He was just upset,” “the cops had no right to treat him that way,” “this is police brutality” etc…

Let me first explain what type of guy Jose was here. On that fateful day, he got really pissed at his wife. Evidently they were going through a separation of some kind. To prepare for his day, he got really drunk and high. First he threatened to kill her. When that didn’t work out for him, he kidnapped his teenaged daughter and threatened to kill her too.

The police eventually rescued his older daughter as Jose opened fire on everything in his line of vision. Finally, he emerged from the car dealership where he had holed up, using little Susan as a tiny human shield.

Obviously, the guy just needed a little talking-to.

That’s what his wife’s saying these days anyway. She’s rallying her entire community to wreak some justice on the LAPD.

Now, most of the town is mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Oh, they’ll sit back and watch gang-bangers destroy everything they’ve all worked so hard for. They can take the fact that gangland shootings kill innocent people every year. Drugs? Us uptight folk may see them as a menace. Underprivileged people see them as the only way a kid can get himself that brand new Escalade he so richly deserves. Hell, as it turns out, they’re even ready to honor a dude that got drunk and high, held a gun to most of his own family, shot the hell out of everything in sight, including a cop, and then hid behind his infant daughter.

But when the cops make a mistake it’s the last straw.

And then to hear every armchair officer in the ghetto give their opinion on the situation just drives me crazy. I listened to one guy talk about “bad police tactics.”

Sounds to me like somebody’s watched a few too many episodes of NYPD Blue.

Yes, we’re all freaking experts aren’t we? I mean we all watch TV right? And those shows are researched after all.

Look, I’m not justifying the actions of the police here. I think they could have exercised a few other options. I mean, those guys on Hawaii 5-0 would never have shot at a guy carrying a baby.

But let’s all just relax a little before things get really out of hand.

Fun Fact: There are many reasons to riot in L.A.

1. Cops shoot somebody on drugs.
2. Cops beat somebody on drugs.
3. Cops shoot or beat drugs.
4. The Lakers win the NBA championship.

At least we’ll all be safe from that last one for a little while.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Acting Optional

The movie industry has been in a slump lately. Everyone in Hollywood is trying to figure out why no one’s going to the movie theatres anymore.

The main theory is that movie theatres have become unholy places. True. They have. I can’t stand going to movie theatres anymore. They’re all cell phones and obnoxious talkers and loud-chewing, elbow-room-usurping fatties. And no one seems to remember the unwritten etiquette that states that you never sit in the seat right next to a stranger if there are other seats available.

And why is it that the people who come 5 minutes late always sit right in front of me? It’s uncanny. They can find me even in the pitch black as they trip and apologize their way in my direction, shuffling down the isle sideways like Helen Keller at her own wedding.

But another theory is that home theatres have become so incredibly advanced that there’s no real need for public movie theatres anymore.

Sure, maybe. But it would be idiotic for the movie industry to give up on movie theatres. After all, if they got rid of them, then the studios would have cut out one more opportunity to make money. And they would never cut an avenue for profit. The film industry will get your money any way they can.

First, you go to the movie in the theatre because you have no choice. Then you rent or buy (or both) the DVD. But then the unrated version comes out, and you know that your life won’t be complete without seeing all the steamy scenes that the conservative, fascist, religious extremist, Republican puritans made the put-upon movie studio cut out of Dodgeball. Then, after a couple of months, after you’ve been satiated and are content that life couldn’t possibly get any better, the DVD distributors release the super-duper-deluxe collectors edition! Now it’s back to the local Best Buy to get that, just so you can sleep at night.

So, as you can see, if movie theatres went belly-up, the poor film studios would have practically no way of making money.

(As a side note: my solution to the movie-theatre dilemma is to have “membership-only” theatres. "Over 18" screenings, "mommy" screenings, "no jerk-ass" screenings, etc… Much like the gym, with a lot less gangsta rap (and jerk-asses)…unless of course they’re having an Ice Cube film festival.)

But here’s my take on the low attendance at movie theatres:

Movies suck.

There are very few movies that look promising enough to have to put up with the general population and go to a movie theatre.

What we get instead are films like “The Fantastic 4.”

Look, if you’re going to spend 100 million dollars to make a movie, couldn’t you at least maybe set aside $1,000 for an acting coach? Hell, I would have done it for a lot less.

The acting in this film is horrible. And the saddest thing is that the actors themselves (for the most part, sorry Jessica Alba but you suck) aren’t bad actors. It’s almost as if the director, as a joke, challenged them to say their lines as badly as possible and then, just to be cruel, kept those takes.

And the editor didn’t help either. The editing was awful. Even, in the rare occasion, a line did come out sounding halfway believable, the editor would somehow, magically, cut out all the acting part.

I’m sure Michael Chiklis was thrilled to have his hard-won reputation destroyed by the clumsy hand of a clueless film editor.

Don’t get me wrong. In spite of itself, the Fantastic 4 actually managed to be an entertaining film. And the action sequences are pretty good. They’re even edited well.

So why bother with the script (which, incidentally, wasn’t the worst script in the world)? Why not just make an action movie with no dialogue. Spare us all some agony.

Where’s Sam Raimi when you need him?

Fun Fact: Because of a metal shortage, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of plaster. Now, of course, we’ve gone back to using metal for the statues.

It’s just the winners’ performances that are made of plaster now.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Sucksational!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bugs, Sunstroke, Dog Crap and William Shakespeare

Opening weekend of “The Shrew Variations” was an unmitigated success. The Los Angeles Times hailed it as a “triumph of the human spirit!” The New York Times called it “a bravura performance from some of the most innovative and humanity-saving actors the earth has ever known!” And the Sheboygan weekly Nickel Saver said… “it was something to do anyway.”

Damn you, Sheboygan Nickel Saver!

Of course those fine publications didn’t actually say those things. But I like to think that if they had known about the show, and if they had bothered to review it, they would have said those things.

But even without attention from the world’s free press, the show went great. We had good audiences and they seemed to enjoy themselves (and they liked the play too).

It’s amazing how many people will come to a play when you don’t charge admission.

Thank you to all of you who came out to see Tanya and me on Saturday and Sunday. We were thrilled to have so many friends there. For those of you who couldn’t make it…don’t talk to me. You’re dead to me. Unless you had some really good excuse for not coming like “there was a death in the family” or “I live 3 or more states away” or “I just didn’t feel like it.”

Otherwise, go suck an egg, jerk.

Fun Fact: I’ve done some research and it turns out that Kentucky and Alabama are actually two separate states! I was shocked. The Capital of Kentucky is Frankfort. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery. Kentucky’s state bird is the Cardinal. Alabama’s state bird is the horse.

Why do I bring this up? Well because lately I’ve been perplexed. See, most of the things that I’ve learned in my life, I’ve gleaned from television. And Kentucky Fried Chicken is trying it’s damndest to confuse my already stretched intellect.

Why, O why, are they using Lynyrd Skynyrd’s immortal anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama” to sell Kentucky Fried Chicken?!

It’s a test from God, isn’t it?

Friday, July 08, 2005


When it left, it said almost nothing. Not a goodbye. Not a “see you soon.” Nothing. But in its defense, it hadn’t planned on being gone so long. I missed it. I didn’t think that I would. After all, it can be a real pain sometimes. But, to my surprise, while it was away, I felt a strange sense of sadness. I was incomplete.

But now it’s back. And it has a lot of explaining to do.

Of course, the object of this somewhat creepy discourse is the TAM Cartoon. I like to think of it as a person. Maybe the reason I do can be traced to the fact that I’m drinking flat Diet Pepsi. Maybe I’m just a little crazy. Maybe I just like to fill the page with words.

So, as you can see at the top of the page, the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Hooray! Huzzah! Nastrovia!

Enjoy it at your leisure.

Fun Fact: The first wildly successful American “comic strip,” known as “the Yellow Kid” by cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault (of Buster Brown fame), first appeared in New York newspapers on February 17, 1895.

And it wasn’t funny either.

Hey, a bonus! Since it was so well received the first time, here’s another installment of the popular game:

“Who am I and What am I selling?” or “What’s my line?”

Still not very good titles.

Here’s a refresher on the rules. I write the inner monologue of a character in a “popular” (and recent) television commercial. Then you have to guess who I am and what I’m (possibly inadvertently) selling. Got it?

Good. Here:

Something’s not right here. He’s not my son. I just know it. And his relationship with his “mother” isn’t on the level. There’s something sinister at work here.

Am I being paranoid?

Maybe it’s the prescription painkillers that I’ve been taking way too many of lately. Maybe I haven’t been taking enough. But my kid ain’t human, I tell you. I’m the foster father to some kind of oedipal alien invader.

Why do I put up with it?

Because I know that if I tell the truth, he’ll scramble my brains with some kind of unearthly ray gun or something. That’s how these things work.

I’ll just eat my breakfast and pretend nothing’s wrong.

But he’s got his “mother” under some kind of alien sex spell. Look at the way she reacts to his deep throated monologuing. She never eats like that when I talk to her. Even when I talk dirty to her. Usually she just giggles at me and tells me how “ineffectual” I am as a husband.

I need another Vicodin.

The worse thing about this whole messy affair is that she’ll eventually accuse me of invading her brain. Yeah, right. It couldn’t be your Barry White sounding Venus-baby, could it?! Listen, “sweetheart,” if I invaded your brain, you’d know it. First, you have an uncontrollable urge to treat me with a little respect. Then you’d realize that your precious little angel is really a gob-faced creature from a distant galaxy! And then you’d forget all about the week before our wedding when you caught me trying on your bridesmaids’ dresses. You didn’t have to marry me, you know. And I explained to you that I was only trying them on to see if they were going to be perfect for your perfect, perfect, little miss perfect wedding!

I told you that cotton would wrinkle too easily.

Oh, no. Just keep eating your cereal. It’s like nothing’s wrong. Keep your thoughts quiet. I think he can hear them. Can you? Can you hear my thoughts, you little freak? Sure you can. But tell me this, E.T., can you hear me coming with a chainsaw while you sleep?

This thing ends tonight.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Officer Friendly’s Little Boy’s Got a Mohawk and he Knows Just Where We’re Coming From

We could be happy underground. If only the terrorists weren’t screwing everything up.

London, still reeling from being picked for the 2012 Olympics, is trying to pick up the pieces after a tragic terrorist attack. Four separate bombs exploded in the heart of the city this morning. Three in the Underground and one on a double-decker bus. Last I heard, at least 33 people were killed. I’m sure that the death toll will climb once the smoke clears.

The hearts of Americans everywhere went out to the Brits, but soon turned to more pressing matters.

Like, how should we panic.

First, we put out an alert on all rail travel. Since the attacks on London were focused on the mass transit system, it’s pretty clear that this particular terrorist organization specializes in earth-based rapid transportation.

The skies seem to be “safe” for the time being.

My favorite thing that was said this morning was; “There has been no intelligence gathered about a planned attack on the city of Los Angeles.”

Man, that’s great! I feel good about that. Now I can just sit back and feel bad for London while I nonchalantly, and in complete safety, munch on a bowl of frosted mini-wheats.

But wait, there’s more:

“However, the British intelligence community had no foreknowledge about todays horrific attack either.”

…oh. Well, that doesn’t help at all.

Actually, what does help to ease my mind is that I have absolutely no worry of being the target of a terrorist attack. Maybe it’s my typical male invincibility complex. Or maybe it’s because by killing me, the terrorists would have accomplished absolutely nothing.

I laugh at the stupid-ass terrorist that kills me. Ha, ha, Dumb jerk. By killing me you’d make me way more important in death than I ever was in life. I would be like a martyr to my own ego. Instead of being just TAM, mediocre blogger and hack screenwriter, I would become TAM, American hero and tragic victim of a terrorist attack who would have possibly been the nation’s next great filmmaker, which, instead of writing, chose to taunt unseen terrorists, inviting his own grisly demise…

Wait…that’s not so great either.

Don’t kill me, terrorists. My mom and girlfriend would be, like, totally pissed at you. In fact, while you’re not killing me, why not go ahead and stop killing people altogether!

Hey, now that’s an idea!

Fun Fact: In case you were wondering, the title of today’s post comes from a song by Ben Folds Five entitled “Underground.” It’s not about Al Qaeda, but rather a different sort of terrorist. The type that assaults innocent people with an empty sense of uniform “individuality.”

You know who you are. Had anything pierced lately?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I’m a Leo

It’s true. I’m not ashamed of it. However, I’m not sure what the astrological sign is of the crazy Russian woman who is suing NASA for its recent foray into comet punching.

If I had to guess, I’d say she’s some kind of air sign.

But, believe it or not, I don’t put a lot of stock in astrology. One time I had this girl in college tell me that she didn’t like me because I am a Leo. I don’t know exactly what it was that she was trying to accomplish with a statement like that. I wasn’t coming on to her. I wasn’t doing anything to her. She just kind of blurted it out in front of everybody at play rehearsal (oh the shame). I found it very perplexing. She was really into astrology. And that’s cool. I can dig it. If you want to believe that Uranus has some kind of effect on your anus, who am I to tell you that you’re a crazy bitch?

Which, incidentally, she was.

But what the hell was I supposed to do about it? How can I stop being a Leo? How can I please that crazy bitch and become something more manageable for her? I’m pretty sure that even if I were to embrace a new religion, my rebirth wouldn’t result in a new zodiac sign. And even if it did, with my luck, I would find God in late July/early August.

Maybe I was fated to be a Leo?

But what is fate really? Can you change it? And if you could, how the hell would you know? Isn’t fate self-fulfilling?

See that? I’m bringing the topic back around to that crazy Russian lady who’s suing NASA.

She claims that NASA’s “Deep Impact” mission has disrupted the balance of the universe. She say’s that now the comet has been changed. Since the deep impact probe blew a football sized hole in the crust of the comet, her horoscope has been irreversibly distorted. Now a part of her history has been erased. And her future is uncertain.

Ostensibly, her fate has been altered.

Now she’s trying to survive severe “moral suffering.” And the only thing that can make things right again is $300 million. Of course.

This is where I come in. I’m totally ready to counter sue. I feel that a $300 million lawsuit will significantly alter my fate. If NASA is forced to pay this crazy Russian lady all that money, it might take cash away from important future missions. And I believe that I’m fated to one day live on the moon.

Oh, life on the moon would be sweet. There’s lots of open space, you can really see the stars from up there and low gravity means that I’ll finally get down to my goal weight of 30 pounds (without doing a damned thing!). But what’s more important, and this is hard to explain, on the moon, I’m a Pisces.

Finally, maybe I’ll be able to gain acceptance from that Leo-hating chick from college.

My life’s dream fulfilled. Don’t screw it up for me, crazy Russian lady.

Fun Fact: According to this astrology website I looked at just now, Leos are generous and warmhearted, creative and enthusiastic, broad-minded and expansive, faithful and loving.


That all sounds really great, huh? Although I’m not too thrilled about “expansive.” I’ve been trying to lose some more weight. But my rehearsal schedule has made it difficult to get to the gym these past two weeks.

But all-in-all, not bad. However, just when I was feeling really great about myself they throw in the bad stuff.

Pompous and patronizing, bossy and interfering, dogmatic and intolerant.

Really now, astrology web site! Look, I appreciate you’re little “public service.” Oh, no, I mean, it’s really “important” and all, but you shouldn’t say bad things about people. Stop it! I feel like coming over there and changing your web site myself! God hates you! People like you are a plague on humanity. I refuse to deal with your type…


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Patriotism Hangover

Went down to the beach last night to watch the fireworks. I should say; to watch the fireworks backlight the heavy fog. Visibility was low on the coast. But that didn’t stop me, super patriot, from enjoying the festivities. It also helps that the display was only 20 minutes long. I like show my allegiance to the U.S. in small installments. I think I’m good for about another year or so.

But, I have to say, my devotion to this fine nation was heavily tested on the drive back. What kind of country shuts down major roadways without warning, forcing everyone to take the same route? A fascist dictatorship, that’s what kind of country. And I know that the jingoist dumbasses on the beach next to us didn’t almost blow off half of their fingers for a fascist dictatorship! They only maim themselves for freedom!

And domestic beer.

However, I still had a good time.

As you may have noticed, there is no new TAM Cartoon today. I apologize. I was celebrating our independence from England yesterday and didn’t have time to draw one. But, barring a disaster, there will be a new one on Friday.

Fun Fact: After a few years of empty threats and false starts, our friends Jared and Tosha have finally found themselves on the road leading to Vancouver, Canada.

Unfortunately, for some asinine reason, Tanya and I didn’t get to see them before they left. That’s incredibly sad. But I hope they have a good time up there in Vancouver, B.C. (Before Christ or Before the Common Era for us non-Christians).

Since I didn’t get to say goodbye to them in person and give them any advice about coping with the culture they’re about to thrust themselves into, I’ve compiled a list.

Here are a few things that Jared and Tosha will need to know about Canada before they can successfully assimilate themselves. These are things that I’ve gleaned from my many visits to our neighbors to the north:

1. They use the metric system instead of a logical system of measurement. 1 mile per hour = 1.61 kilometers per hour.

2. Ironically, you can almost use that same equation to calculate the worth of their money compared to ours. And they don’t have “one dollar bills” because, really, what’s the point.

3. There are two national languages in Canada, French and Midwestern English. Be sure to use lots of long “O” sounds. Being from the Dakotas, this won’t be a challenge for you, Tosha (just forget everything you’ve learned aboot proper pronunciation, aye).

4. They are loyal to the Queen of England for some absurd reason.

5. They drive on the wrong side of the road.

6. The toilets flush backwards.

7. There’s no Christmas in Canada, they just have Boxing Day. But it’s in the summer for them there!

8. Cigarettes cost about $10 (Canadian) and aren’t called cigarettes; they’re called “Fags.”

9. Homosexuals are called “Cigarettes,” but they cost the same.

10. The United States could totally kick Canada’s ass if we were so inclined.

There you go, Jared and Tosha, it’s the least I could do for all the help you gave to Tanya and me when we first moved to Los Angeles. We weren’t too thrilled to find out that you were “officially” leaving via Evite, but “Que sara sara.”

But since you did choose to break the news to us via Evite that you were leaving, I’ll let you know, via this blog…

that we’ll miss you.

Friday, July 01, 2005


A good word, “dogged.” But it’s only really when I’m house-sitting that I truly appreciate the full meaning of it. When it’s 6:00 in the morning and there’s an incessant yelping coming from the back door. When the damned dog wants to be let back into the house and can’t walk up the steps without a lift. When I would really just rather keep sleeping.

How do you hit the snooze button on a Labrador?

My days have been shot to hell this week. It’s amazing how little you can get done when your job becomes “to keep the dog company.” I suppose that I could take some project over to the house with me. But then I would miss out on catching up on my cable watching. And it’s important to catch up on your cable watching. I don’t have cable here. It’s too expensive. And I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had wondering what they were programming on the Food Network this summer.

So, in short, that’s why there hasn’t been a new cartoon in a while (well that and the two plays I’m rehearsing for right now). And there won’t be one today either. Sorry. But have no fear, the TAM Cartoon will return next week!

In the meantime – you probably already know what I’m going to suggest – why don’t you visit the TAM Cartoon archives! No really. Why don’t you visit the TAM Cartoon archives? Did the Cartoon archive do something to you? Did it say something derogatory about your grandma’s excessive amount of neck skin?

In fairness to the TAM Cartoon archive, it didn’t know you were standing right there. It would have never said something so insensitive had it known you could hear it.

But try to find it in your heart to forgive, and visit the TAM Cartoon archive anyway. And while you’re there, if it happens to mention the nauseating smell that comes from your mom’s feet, just try to ignore it.

Fun Fact: A lot of people have pets because they have some insatiable deep seeded need to take care of something. And they claim that pets are easier to care for than children.

To those psychological dysfunctionals, I say “no.”

Kids are easier to care for than pets. Because, sure, it may take a few years, but eventually, you’ll be able to explain to them why you won’t let them back into the house until you’ve gotten enough sleep.

And once they can talk, a kid will be able to tell you when they need to go out to the back yard to poop.