The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cursing at the Toy Store

I'm a vulgarian by nature; I love the cathartic nature of using naughty words, but I work at a toy store.
Rest assured, when the final door is locked and the last child is beyond earshot, my co-workers and my language becomes saltier than the bottom of a bag of pretzels. But when we're open...
My boss says, "Sugar!" in vain, store open or closed, but in the holiday stress and opening a new store lets the occasional "Shit!" out. I'm very proud of him.

My safe curse is, "Shiz!", which magically turns to "Flaming bags of shiz!" of "Shiz-wah!" for no explainable reason.

My favorite, however, is my comrade Lizzy's with her "Fudge!" which expands to "Fudge McGirk!" when a little extra color is needed. But in times of extreme stress it becomes,"Fudge McGirk making his final Broadway appearance!"
Religion is the last refuge of a scoundrel, so please Lord make this my last Christmas working in retail. I actually want to enjoy it next time. Amen.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Black Friday, Schmack Friday

Black Friday is, from my retail experience, a highly overrated, media stoked event. I'm referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving, the acknowledged beginning of the holiday shopping season, when peoples reaction to any trapping or suggestion of the upcoming holidays changes from, "What! It's not even Thanksgiving yet!" to "Yeah, I guess it's getting to be about that time".
Big box stores create their stupid Black Friday sales, marking a limited supply of coveted Items lower than the store's actual cost (it's called a loss leader)so that people clog up the highways with the other thrifty shoppers and line up the night before for the privilege of pushing through the doors when the store opens and inspiring recent headlines like, "Fisticuffs, aisle two".

At the toy store where I work things are a little different, a lot of people go out of town to visit family; people don't schedule a lot of birthdays that weekend, so no last minute party gift buying that make up a lot of our weekend business. Last weekend was A LOT busier than this weekend, since people kill two birds with one stone by delivering Christmas gifts during the thanksgiving visit.

That said, we certainly still get a holiday angst preview even if we don't get people tackle one another. This occurs mostly courtesy of the visiting grandparents who being asked for things that they can't even remotely relate to.

A grand father asked about a Gamecube game that was the only thing his grandson wanted for Christmas. Unfortunately, I thought might be out of print, "It's an really old game, at least two or three years".
"Two years makes it old?"
"For a video game, yeah."

For those not in the know, Lego makes a line of popular action figures called Bionicle. A lot of kids get obsessed with collecting every one when a new line comes out; from a parental perspective, the difference between them is mainly the six different colors they are. A grandmother had a list of the coveted colors from her grandchild, "He wants the red and blue Anika Bionicle."
I showed her where they were but she was skeptical, "But these are,'Inika' Bionicles."
"Yes, he must have misspelled it, there is no such thing as 'Anika' Bionicles."
"I don't know, he was pretty specific about what he wanted."
"This is what he's asking for, trust me."
"I guess I HAVE to trust you..." There's nothing like having to talk people into buying what they came in the story to buy.

Another came up to register with a small knight figure. "Do you have a box for this?"
I said,"No, we do't have gift boxes, we can wrap it, though."
"I think for this type of money ($4.50) I should get something, do you have any tissue paper for it?"
"No, we don't have any tissue paper either, but they can wrap it in the back of the store."
"You can't give me a sheet of tissue paper," he said incredulously; convinced that I was hiding something from him, for no other reason than random spite.
Eyeing the growing line forming behind him I said,"I'm sorry, but I can't give you what I don't have." He gave no response as I directed his attention to behind my counter with it's utter lack of gift boxes, shiny tissue or any gift wrapping accoutrements. "And I can't conjure one up for you."
"That will remind me not to shop HERE again."
I shrugged him farewell.
His daughter called to complain about me, "My father wanted to get a figure wrapped, and your cashier wouldn't do it. We spend a lot of money there, " which is a common reason people use at my store to expect the impossible and suspend the basic rules of human decency.

"The customer is always right," if you've ever said that without irony, you've never worked in retail.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fun facts about Music

I've been getting some complaints about not posting enough, so he's a twofer. Some of my younger readers might not know what I talking about, so be forewarned.

Rick James and Neil Young were in a band briefly in the mid 60s called the Mynah Birds. The group formed in Canada while Rick was AWOL from the Navy and recorded an album for Motown before Rick got arrested by the FBI for desertion.

Children's book authorShel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree) was a songwriter that wrote hits "A Boy Named Sue", made famous by Johnny Cash, and "The Cover of The Rolling Stone" done by Dr Hook and the Medicine Show.

Chevy Chase played drums in, his discription, a "bad college jazz band" called The Leather Canary that turned into Steely Dan after his departure.

Richard Edson, Veteran "That Guy" actor was the first drummer of Sonic Youth.

You know, that guy!

Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs" was actually written by Bruce Johnson of the Beach Boys.

America's Lowest Common Denominator Found!

Researchers and social scientists announced that they have finally discovered what they believe is the American public's lowest common denominator: the point where increasingly sensationalist and sociopathic behavior no longer becomes welcome as popular culture. With the public disapproval of the release of the O.J. Simpson book, If I Did It, and a subsequent promotional interview reaching a level for both projects to be abandoned; this line, which many believed wouldn't be discovered in our lifetime. With the recent televising of public defecation on Flavor of Love and the rumor of a $50 million offer for the Brittany sex tape the line looked in-perceptively low.

Acclaimed amateur sociologist Pete Wright says of the development, "It's some what relieving to know that the general public doesn't think of an acquitted double murderer's de facto confession as acceptable entertainment, especially since he, his interviewer (If I Did It's publisher Judith Regan) and Fox (owner of the network that was televising the interview and Reagon's publishing company) were going to make a lot of money off it."
"Thankfully, corporate deregulation and 'synergy' can only go so far."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stupid things you only do in your early twenties (hopefully)

Most of these things are more guy things, but anyway...

If you arrive late at a party, you drink a lot quickly to "catch up".

You decorate your living room in stolen signs and/or porn.

You are friends with people you can't stand.

You date someone that treats you like shit because they're really hot. No dude, seriously, really hot.

You actually WANT to go to a party at a shitty house with sweaty drunken people packed in like Vienna sausages.

As a guy, You wear a dress and/or makeup and identify yourself as a "feminist" to celebrate your originality and open mindedness, when it's really to get attention from feminists who like girly men who wear dresses and make-up.

As a girl, that this approach would actually work.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Fun Facts!

The state motto of Maryland is, "Manly acts, womanly words".

Mario, the star of countless video games, was named after the landlord of the Nintendo of America warehouse to honor the fact that he didn't kick them out when they owned him back rent, in the financially lean times before "Donkey Kong" made them overnight sensations. The Mario character in the original Donkey Kong video game was "Jumpman".

Mariska Hargitay, best known as detective Olivia Benson on "Law and Order:SVU", was the daughter of bombshell Jayne Mansfield. Mariska was sleeping in the backseat when her mother was killed in the car crash that claimed the lives of her divorce lawyer and driver as well. Contrary to popular Hollywood legend, Mansfield wasn't decapitated in the accident.
Also, Loni Anderson and Arnold Schwarzenegger played Mariska's parents in a TV biopic about them. Is that geeky enough for you?

Metal god Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath played briefly with Jethro Tull. He was with them long enough to be filmed with them when they played the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The video shows the Tull looking so grungy that if they took a bath, they'd make soup.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Your Pal Pete to the GOP:"Crackers, please!"

People who know me personally know that if I come across something or someone says or does something that doesn't fit my perception of the truth, I'll exclaim "Cracker, please!".
This happens a lot at the movies, big surprise. But lately the desperate and deceptive politics played by the Republicans.

"President Bush never said 'Stay the course'".
Cracker, please! That's like saying Larry the Cable Guy never said, "Git-r-done!" Not only was it practically all he said for a while, he seemed to be pretty proud of it when he said it.

"John Kerry 'stay in school or go to Iraq' joke was shameful."
I agree but,
Cracker, please! Who's the one who loosened the academic and psychological requirements for recruits?

"The timing of the Mark Foley scandal seems to be suspiciously timed to help the Democrats"
Cracker, please! It's not nearly as suspicious as the fact that a Republican congressman was a sexual predator and there seemed to cover-up to hide that fact from the public.
It's called an "october surprise" and it's as common as a wrench in the political toolbox. In fact the modern day October Surprise was perfected by the Republicans to get Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan elected.

"If you vote Democratic, the terrorists win"
Cracker, please! To my perception, they're already winning. Five years after 9/11 and we're still tearing ourselves apart as a country, using means that we thought we were above using to justify ends that we can't easily define (just saying "to spread freedom" won't wash anymore).

We have created more terrorist and more people that support their activity by this misguided war that seems to be made up as it goes along. It sucks when they do it in Jazz, why should foreign policy be any different?

I wonder with all the lurid scandals that have hobbled the GOP lately if Katherine Harris would stand by her comment that voting Democrat would be "legislating sin". If she did, I would be first to give her a hearty..... You know.