Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Red Nose Day

No, not the Comic Relief thing. I'm talking about my nose. I've had a pimple starting on the end of my nose and people at work kept mentioning it, today. For some reason British people call a pimple a "spot." Personally, I thought spot was a dog's name. Why do people have to keep mentioning it to me? It's not as if I don't know there's a big red bump on the end of my nose. Every time I look at a mirror, I can see it. It just won't come on fully and form a whitehead, so I can pop it. Maybe that's what "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is about. Maybe it's not really about Santa Claus at all, but a metaphor for a poor German worker, who has a pimple on the end of his nose. All the other workers used to laugh and call him names. He couldn't get a girlfriend with that big red spot on his nose, so one Christmas Eve, he took out his Glock and blasted all his poxy co-workers. Next time they'll keep their mouths shut. Now that's a Christmas story you can sink your teeth into. I should be writing scripts, I tell you.
Comic Relief is a British charity that raises money for people in Africa and for disadvantaged people in the UK. Red Nose Day is held in the spring, every other year, as a fund raising event for Comic Relief. People wear plastic red clown noses, which they acquire by making a donation. This year, it's the 16th of March. You can find out more at: . That's what I can do, I can tell people that the red spot on my nose is my Red Nose Day nose. Maybe they will shut up then.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

A Knock At the Door

Tonight, I was watching "Garden State," with Nando. I was enjoying it, but he wasn't. "This film is fucking crap," Nando said, with emphasis. "Fucking" is a modifier that Nando uses quite often. It's stronger than just, "crap."
Calmly, I enquired, "don't you ever like anything that doesn't have shooting in it?"
"Yeah," he responded, "I like some stuff that doesn't have shooting in, but this film is crap. It's boring. Nothing is happening." As the film involves a developing romance and some psychological issues, Nando would view that as "nothing" happening. I also think the humor was too subtle for him.
A little while later, I said, "Natalie Portman is very pretty." She plays the female lead in the film.
"She's fucking ugly," Nando retorted. There's that modifier, again.
"How can you say that?" I asked. "I find that in every film she's in, she plays a character I like." Nando didn't try to justify his outlandish opinion of Miss Portman.
We were sitting, quietly watching the film, when there was a sudden knock at the door. Both of us were a bit startled. It's unusual for anyone to knock at our door. It was even more strange to experience a knock so late in the evening. It's was 10:20PM, or there abouts. It was quite a strong knock, sounding quite manly. Nando got up and walked to the door. I chose to watch from my seat. When he opened the door, surprise surprise, it was the Exotic Flower. It's very unusual for her to come to the door without M1. M1 was upstairs in his room. If he was expecting her, why didn't he answer the door?
"Hello Nando," she said, stepping through the threshold. She asked if M1 wasn't downstairs. Nando indicated that M1 was not. She looked at me. Over the last few days, it seemed she had stopped speaking to me again. What would happen now? "Hello Joe," she said.
She spoke! "Hello," I replied. The Flower proceeded to climb the stairs and disappear from view. After a few minutes, she came clomping back downstairs, with a couple of bags and a pillow in hand. "He's fast asleep," she said aloud, referring to M1. It wasn't clear whether she was speaking to me, or to Nando and me. I was closest and Nando isn't usually interested in what she says. Getting her things and going home by herself...could they be breaking up?
"Can you actually be slow asleep?" I asked her, as I got up from my seat and walked over to open the door for her. Her hands were full. It was a rhetorical question, so I wasn't surprised that she didn't answer.
"He didn't even know who I was," she continued. I'd know her in an instant, but then I'm a light sleeper. "I would have thought he'd wake up, as I clomped up the stairs like an elephant."
"More like lightly prancing up the stairs, like a dainty pixie," I offered. Nothing about the Flower gives me the impression of an elephant. After I opened the door for her, I went back to my seat. After all, there was a film on.
Before walking out, the Flower said, "I'll see you guys on Wednesday."
"Thanks for the warning," I called after her. I guess they weren't breaking up. As crap as Nando claimed to find the film, he was more interested in watching it than paying any attention to what the Flower was saying. The door closed and she walked off, into the night. Gosh, she has a manly knock.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Best of Brit Blog Awards 2007

Metro newspaper and are presenting a Best of Brit Blog Awards 2007. I am hoping you, my dear, loyal readers, will nominate my blog for consideration. The actual judging is done by a panel. Although the competition is only open to blogs by UK residents, which I am, anyone in any country can nominate. That means those of you who are outside the UK can still nominate me. To nominate and find out more, go to: . Please nominate my blog at its blogspot version, which is: . Thanks all of you for your continued support. Remember to introduce my blog to two of your friends or family, right away.


Artist of the Week: Astrella Celeste

This week, my Artist of the Week is Astrella Celeste. Astrella is the middle daughter of British pop star legend, Donovan. She's performed on stage since she was a child, toured with her father, and performed backing vocals for him. Now, she's developing her own musical career. Style wise, her music is a fusion of pop, jazz, and country. I didn't select her just because she's beautiful. I think she has a lovely voice and she reminds me a bit of the Corrs. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, once gave me a Corrs CD for Christmas, or something. She had overheard me say I would like to have a best of Corrs album that was being advertised on the radio. Even as she gave it to me, she said she was surprised I liked that type of music. Even after marrying me, she hadn't fathomed how deep and varied my musical taste is.
Astrella has been compared to Liz Phair, Shania Twain, and Natalie Merchant. Astrella, herself, cites such influences as her father, Chet Baker, Nina Simone, Sade, Tori Amos, and the Cardigans. You can check her out at her Myspace: . Add her as a friend and tell her I sent you. Could this be another artist that James Max doesn't know about?


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nando Makes a Revelation

Nando and I were watching "Walk the Line," tonight, when I had one of my urges to ask him some questions. "Have you ever thought of being a musician?" I asked the relaxing Italian.
"No," he replied.
"Why not?" I continued.
"Because I don't know how to play an instrument," confessed Nando.
"What about a singing," I countered," have you thought of being a singer? You don't need to play an instrument to do that."
"You could always learn to play an instrument, now," I suggested.
"It's too late for that," he said.
"It's never too late," I observed.
"I tried to learn to play an instrument, when I was a kid," he revealed. "It wasn't for me." I thought I had gotten as much as I was going to get out of that topic and settled into watching the film again. After a brief pause, Nando spoke again. "There is one thing I thought about doing, when I was young."
"What?" I inquired.
"Be a journalist," Nando confided. What? Where the heck did that come from?
My interest rekindled, I said, "why don't you do it now?"
"Because I was stupid as a kid and didn't educate myself enough," Nando admitted.
"You could start now," I suggested. "You could educate yourself now and become a journalist." Nando just shook his head in response and went back to watching the film. Who would have guessed? Nando the journalist. This just goes to show there's still a lot I don't know about the guy.

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On Tour In Iraq

What if they threw a war and no princes came? Well, we are in no danger of that, now. On Thursday, it was announced that Prince Harry will be going to Iraq, with his unit. The 22-year-old, who's a troop commander in charge of four Scimitar armoured vehicles, threatened to quit the army unless he was allowed to serve on the front lines. He's certainly got a lot of guts, if not the wisdom to stay out of harm's way. Young people, eh? Prince Harry will be going in as 1,600 other British troops are due to come out. Could the decision to put him there, as British forces are being reduced, be part of some greater plan?
Some members of the British public think Harry isn't actually Prince Charles' son. It's thought that Harry is actually the son of James Hewitt, who Princess Diana admitted having an affair with. These folks say that Harry looks more like Hewitt than he does like Prince Charles. Could sending Harry to Iraq be part of a deliberate plan to get rid of him? I don't think so, but it has been speculated about. We'll have to see what happens. In any event, he will certainly be a target for every insurgent in the country. Hey, I once went by the name Harry.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Heat Is On

Last night, I woke up from my late afternoon nap and I felt cold. When I went downstairs, Nando told me that all the radiators were cold. He asked me to check if the heat had come on. The lights were on, on the control panel, but the burner was off. I suggested that Nando call the landlord, but he refused. Nando said he had lost the landlord's number. That meant I would end up paying for the poxy call. After dialing the landlord's mobile, I got his voicemail. I left a message, saying that the heat was off.
Nando and I both suspected that the problem had been caused by M1. He runs the burner twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. The landlord never called me back, but he did turn up at the house, a little over an hour later. Unable to fix it there and then, he promised to come back the next day (today). Its winter, in England. Who wants to live without heat? As promised, the landlord returned, today, and fixed the heat. I left it to Nando to tell the boy not to use the heat so much.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How Sweet It Is!

Imagine how happy Marilyn Gordon must have been. She had lost her purse, but it had been recovered by the police. As she entered a police station in South Tyneside to claim her purse, the 72-year-old was probably thrilled. All that probably changed rather quickly, when Marilyn found that she was being questioned by the cops on suspicion of possessing cocaine. It seems that alert police discovered small, white tablets in a plastic bag, inside the old woman's purse. Note to self: if you lose a purse with cocaine in it, don't turn up at the police station asking for it back. Oh no, what is a poor old lady to do? At some point during the questioning, the tables were turned on the zealous men in blue. The cops discovered that the tablets were merely artificial sweetener that Marilyn used for her tea. Maybe next time, the officers might test a substance before subjecting a little old lady to questioning. Ironically, Marilyn is an ex-magistrate. I wonder what punishment she'd inflict on the cops? Perhaps lining the officers up and smacking each of them in the face with her purse would be appropriate.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. It's also known as "Pancake Day," here in England, because of the tradition of consuming pancakes on the day. Not proper American style pancakes, like you have for breakfast, with maple syrup. That's one thing I miss from America, proper pancakes. They need an International House of Pancakes (IHOP), here. These pancakes are basically what the French call crepes. They are thin and bland. I prefer the French name for the day, Mardi Gras, which translates as, "Fat Tuesday." Happy Fat Tuesday everyone. Go eat some stuff.

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Dick On the Rise

See, if I write about you, good things happen to you. The police woman I wrote about on Saturday (see "What a Dick!" 17 February, 2007), has been promoted. Cressida Dick has now been made Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, in London, which is one of the highest positions in the department. She's probably an over-achiever, trying to make up for her unfortunate name. Dick's rise is not without controversy, though. It turns out that she was the commander in charge of the operation that resulted in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, in July, 2005. Jean Charles' family are not happy about Miss Dick's promotion. Perhaps they just don't like Dick. Whenever a Dick goes up, someone complains. Cressida is welcome to contact me for an interview. She could let me put her positive side forward. Perhaps she would bring along her handcuffs. She might frisk me. Would she be able to find my concealed weapon?

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Time to Boycott Qantas?

Yesterday, Australian airline, Qantas, fired a stewardess, Lisa Robertson, without giving an explanation. The suspicion is that poor Lisa was canned because she had sex with actor, Ralph Fiennes, on a Qantas flight. In the the toilet, if you must know. Lisa initially denied that she had sex with the actor and was suspended by the airline, pending investigation. However, over the weekend, Robertson admitted to the sexual encounter in an interview. It seems Qantas isn't fine with it and they terminated her, yesterday. Instead of firing her, they should reward her. It would do wonders for sales if guys thought the stewardesses on Qantas were "up for it." Canned for doing it in the can. What injustice. What ever happened to the airline that used to run the ads with the cute koala bear? It seems they've lost their Aussie sense of humor, mate.
One fascinating bit of trivia is that Lisa Robertson was formerly an undercover police officer. I wonder if she will be handcuffing Ralph in the future and "frisking" him? Lisa admits to going to Ralph's hotel room for another round, after they arrived at their destination. See what great treatment you can get if you're an actor? Is it any surprise that I am pursuing an acting career? If the sourpusses at Qantas are going to take it out on flight crew who go "the extra mile" for passengers," perhaps we should take our business elsewhere?

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Go West!

Today, the London Congestion Charging Zone expanded west, for the first time, bringing Kennsignton and Chelsea within the zone. So, obviously, I went Birmingham. I recorded the first episode of a new TV show, "X Forum," on Legal TV, Sky 215. I don't know when it will air, but I will let you know as soon as I find out. I saw a guy there, Dave, who worked on the "Seconds From Disaster" episode that I did, which aired last month. As it was the second day of the Chinese New Year celebration, I stopped at Oriental City, on the way home, and had a Chinese dinner. What did you do, today?

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Britney Spears Needs Me

Pop Princess, Britney Spears continues to engage in strange behavior. First she reportedly checked into rehab, only to check herself out again after only a day. Now, she's gone and shaved off all of her hair, then headed to a tattoo parlor. No, I'm not talking about her snapping gyro hair, like the Flower, I mean all the hair on her head. Despite the efforts of Sinead O'Connor, a bald head is not a very attractive look for a young woman to pull off, particularly if you are a pop star. All over the world, people are speculating if Britney is coming apart at the seams.
Ever since the announcement of her divorce from Kevin Federline, she seems to be bouncing off walls. First she was photographed out in public without panties. Just last week, she was reported to have exchanged clothes with some pole dancers. Now this! Britney needs a calming influence in her life. We all know what that means. She needs me. Britney, dear...get in touch. You can always turn to me and I will protect your privacy.

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Happy New Year, Pigs!

Today is the first day of the Chinese new year and this year is the year of the pig, in Chinese astrology. The Chinese celebrate New Year for fifteen days. Man, what a party! The year I was born in is also a year of the pig, so is this year going to be a good one for me? The largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China are being held in Chinatown, in London, today. I would have liked to attend, but I couldn't be bothered traveling into London, today. I heard a Suzanna Kwok speaking on the radio, about the festivities in Chinatown. I wonder if she's related to Burt Kwok, the Chinese actor? She could be his granddaughter. I politely requested that Opal Bonfante, who claims to be dating Burt Kwok, ask him to introduce me to a Chinese gal, but Opal declined.
Why does all this Chinese New Year stuff matter to me? Well, for much of my life, I have been fascinated by all things Oriental. I have visited China and my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen was half Chinese. Her mother was from Hong Kong. As she was closer to her mother than to her English father, she tended to embrace a lot of Chinese cultural stuff. If we were still married, we'd be attending a Chinese New Year dinner at her mother's. I checked the compatibility between my evil ex-wife and I, under Chinese astrology, online. She is a tiger. I found the following on AOL:
"This is a warm and spiritual union, between two people who place importance on love, and know how to both give and receive it. You even share an equality of passionate response. As a couple, you mutually dislike tension and upset to your peace and quiet, and so it is rare for you to disagree with each other. You are successful, but money doesn't seem to be a major focus in your relationship."
Rare for us to disagree? Sounds like they have the wrong couple. We "share an equality of passionate response?" The Black Queen claimed we had nothing in common. I should have shown her this when we were still married. I guess it just goes to show that Chinese astrology is bunk, just like all other types of astrology. Why couldn't I have been something cool, like a tiger or a dragon? I would have to be a pig. Now I feel like lighting off a firecracker.

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Artist of the Week: The Ballinsky Project

This week, my Artist of the Week is The Ballinsky Project. The Ballinsky Project is comprised of singer/songwriter Nathan Ball and cellist Adrianne Wininsky. I have been intending to feature them for some time. As their music is laid back, acoustic/folk, I was waiting for the right time of year where it would fit my mood. I am featuring their song, "Hideaway Snowflakes," as I hope the snow has gone for this winter. After last week's snow, it's been much milder this week.
The Ballinsky Project is an unsigned band, who play live gigs around the UK. Nathan Ball is a personal friend of mine. Yes, I knew him before Myspace. We used to work together at Gemstone Travel and later, he worked for me, for a while, at my own travel agency. As long as I've known Nathan, he's always been into music. I have seen him perform a number of times at local pubs and venues, in and around Bracknell. A few years ago, Nathan stopped wearing shoes. Year round. He literally went barefoot everywhere. The last time I saw him, at the end of August, he was still at it. To me, Nathan always reminded me, visually, of Jesus. If I was making a film and needed to cast Jesus, I would pick Nathan.
I don't know Adrianne Wininsky very well. I only met her after she started playing gigs with Nathan. I can say she's very beautiful and is probably the hottest woman I have ever seen with a cello between her legs. You can check out their Myspace at: . They have a number of gigs coming up, starting with the Cellar Bar, at South Hill Park, in Bracknell, this week. They also have a session CD available for purchase. Add them as friends, leave them a comment, and tell them I sent you.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Flower Speaks To Me Again

The Exotic Flower hasn't been speaking to me since we had an argument, over a week ago. She's hardly been around the house, which surprised me. This week was the February school holiday week, so her college was closed. I was wondering if she was staying away because of me, or had she and M1 broken up, finally? Did she go away for the school holiday? When she turned up on Thursday, that squashed notions of a breakup, or her being away, but she left again without speaking to me once.
Last night, after I went upstairs to fool around with my computer, I thought I heard the Flower's clip-clopping stride, in high heels, coming into the house. Usually, on weekends, she and M1 sleep in late. Today, when I went downstairs for breakfast, both M1 and her were gone. M1 came home this afternoon, alone. What a relief! He went out again and returned home, alone again. Then he went out again. This time, he came home, just past 8PM, with the Flower in tow. When she came in the lounge, she spoke to me like nothing was wrong. I have mixed feelings about this. While it's nice not to have tension between us, it was also nice to have such peace and quiet around here, without her whinny voice calling out to M1. Nando observed that the house was neater without her here.
The Flower and M1 stayed, briefly, then they went out again. After they left, I mentioned to Nando that she had spoken to me. "You were the only person in the room," Nando reasoned. "Not that she spoke to you because you were the only person in the room, but because she needs to speak to somebody, so she spoke to you." It seems she had stayed away because M1 has been working all week. I was minimally cordial to her, but kept my conversation limited. Nando doesn't like her and I was starting to enjoy her not being around. The only drawback to her not being here is it gives me less to write about.

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What a Dick!

The Metropolitan Police, in London, decided to deploy armed officers onto the streets of South London, from Thursday, following a string of shootings. Three teen aged boys have been shot dead over the past couple of weeks. One 21-year-old man has been stabbed to death during this same period. I predict that this high profile police presence won't ultimately stop the violence, because these murders are taking place when no police are around. I think it's all for show, to make the tax payers think something is being done. If the ruling gang really wanted to do something about this problem, they'd repeal victim disarmament laws. The most shocking thing in all of this is that the Commander of the Met's Specialist Crime Directorate is a woman named Cressida Dick. While I have no problem with her first name, even though it sounds like she was named after a car, "Dick" has got to be one of the most unflattering names for a woman. Women in uniform can be a turn on, although she has a bit of a butch air about her. I wonder if she's single?

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The Ring of Truth

It seems that a number of women in Britain are discovering that the engagement rings they have been given are fakes. The frauds come to light after a break up. The woman takes her ring to a pawn shop, only to discover it's not a real diamond. One pawn broker chain, Money Shop, is offering free diamond ring tests, until next Wednesday, as a Valentine's Day promotion. This says a lot about the level of romance and honesty being put forth by a number of British men. In one case, a woman thought the ring her former fiance had given her had cost £4,500. When she took it to a pawn shop, she was only offered £250. Every diamond ring I have ever given a fiancee has been real. Once again, women who pass me up do so at their peril.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Didn't We Just Do This?

It's London Fashion Week, this week...again. It seems like we just did this a few months ago. I guess they have two "fashion weeks" each year, one for autumn designs and one for spring. Why not summer and winter, too, while they're at it? Once again, there's fuss over the issue of "size zero" models. Once again, London Fashion Week has declined to ban them. I say, "good," because I am sick of calls for banning things.
Meanwhile, another model has died of suspected malnutrition. 18-year-old, Eliana Ramos, of Uruguay, was found dead, Tuesday. Ironically, her older sister, Luisel, also a model, died during a catwalk show, just six months ago. Someone needed to buy these girls burgers. I blame it on vegetarians. I think vegetarians are a bigger threat to humanity than climate change and global terrorism. Be careful, there could be a vegetarian living next door to you. Also, people need to stop obsessing about weight. First you're too fat, then you're too thin. Enough already! Some models need to come to my house. I have plenty of food, here.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Liz Hurley's Guest List

Recently, Hugh Grant revealed that he has been left off the guest list for former girlfriend, Liz Hurley's, upcoming wedding. The luscious Hurley is set to marry Indian tycoon, Arun Nayar, next month. In an interview with "Hello!" magazine, Grant said it was not surprising that he'd not been invited. He doesn't think that many people would invite an ex to their wedding. What is surprising is that Hugh is a year younger than me. I invited my ex, Paula, to my wedding, and she attended. What is even more surprising is that Liz Hurley seems to have forgotten to invite me, as well. Why is she marrying this Nayar fellow, anyway? Besides wealth, what's he got that I haven't got? I bet I am a lot funnier than he is and all. I bet I am funnier than Hugh Grant, as well. Ladies, don't settle for second best, when you can have me. One at a time, now. No shoving.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why Say It If You Don't Mean It?

So, it's Valentine's Day, once again. If, like me, you're one of those people who is single, you may be tempted to say, "big deal." I am one of those foolishly romantic people, who goes around falling in love, all the while hoping that, one day, someone might truly love me back. I guess that makes me a "hopeless romantic," or just hopeless. Since, once again, I find myself alone on Valentine's Day, I tried to think of something appropriate to write about, while not becoming too negative. After all, my blog is supposed to be light-hearted. Without a current love in my life, I guess it's inevitable that I will focus on past loves. That got me thinking...why do people say "I love you," when they don't mean it?
Anyone with any dating experience at all has probably experienced having someone say, "I love you." I've taken more trips around the sun on this rock than I like to think about, so I've experienced it many times. Think about how many times you have heard that immortal phrase from someone, only for that person to willfully exit your day to day life. The phrase may be immortal, but the love wasn't. I tend to be a sentimental idiot, so back home, in America, I saved all the cards I ever got from people who claimed to love me. Not just Valentine's, I mean birthday cards, Christmas cards, the works. I had to leave that stuff in the States, because when I married the Black Queen, she wasn't real keen on me bringing that sort of stuff over here. Every once in a while, I used to look through my stash. I'd pull out cards from old loves, who swore undying love, at the time. Where are these people now?
When I say "I Love you," to someone, I mean it and I don't stop loving that person. Yet for many, it seems easy to say, "I love you" one day, then "I think we should go our separate ways," the next. Why do they do that? Why bother saying, "I love you," if you don't mean it? When I was married to the Black Queen, Valentine's Day was a big deal, every year. I used to take her out to dinner. We got into the habit of going to the same restaurant, every year, for that evening. It may sound silly, but the place became sentimental for us. There would be a card, some chocolates, flowers, sometimes a romantic gift, depending on how the finances were working out. They were little things, but the BQ used to get a kick out of it.
When I get someone a card, I put a lot of effort into picking the right one. I look at dozens of cards, sometimes visiting several shops, before I find the one that feels right. That reminds me of my last Valentine's Day with the Black Queen. I gave her a card, which, as usual, had taken me some time to pick out. She tossed it aside, unopened. I said, "the least you could do is open it. I spent forty-five minutes picking it out."
She chucked an envelope toward me and said, "I figured you'd get me a card, so I got you one. I spent five seconds picking it out."
Even my step-son, the Black Prince, noticed and asked me later why "mummy" was "being so horrible" to me. Never one to use the children as weapons, I covered for her, making excuses that she just wasn't feeling well. Each time I end up being let down by a woman, I try to steel myself against letting it happen again. Yet, time after time, I fall for it all over again. Sure, the other ones were full of it, but this time will be different. This time will be true love. It's amazing how we humans can con ourselves. On one occasion, I even had someone dump me on Valentine's Day. Ya gotta love the timing.
After the Black Queen filed for divorce, I had one decent conversation with her, where I tried to persuade her to reconcile. She asked me, "why should I stay married to you? How does it benefit me?" At the time, I couldn't think of a good answer. Maybe if I had, we'd still be married. I think I was too grief stricken to think clearly, then. Several months later, the answer came to me. By then, we were separated and I was living on my own. I wrote her one last letter, in which I made one last try to get her to reconcile. In it, I said that the answer to her question was that she should stay married to me because I love her. I pointed out that some people go through their entire lives without finding someone who truly loves them. When you do find someone who does love you, it's such a rare and precious thing, you should cherish it and never throw it away.
I sent her that last letter around Valentine's Day, 2003. Of course, it didn't make any difference and our divorce was finalized on the 17th of February, just three days later. It seems she didn't dig what I had to tell her. So, what keeps the hope alive? Why do I keep putting myself through the heartache and disappointment? Why do I keep foolishly ending up trusting the next person to con me with "I love you?" I guess I think I can't be the only person like me, out there. Surely, somewhere in this cold universe there must be a woman who is capable of loving me the way I love people. Nah! Who am I kidding? Myself, it seems. Enough of this romantic rubbish. I'm off downstairs to have some comfort food and watch TV with Nando. Happy Valentine's Day, suckers.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ain't Just Whistling Dixie

Nando and I were watching "Hitch," tonight. I finally got him to give the film a try. For me, it was my second time seeing it. Nando claims not to like romantic comedies. The frustrating thing is, he laughs during them, but always ends up saying they are "crap." Anyway, during the film, one of the characters puts his fingers in his mouth and whistles, loudly. After seeing that, Nando said it took him a long time to learn how to do that. He can whistle like that, with two fingers in his mouth, but not with no fingers. He told me that some people can do without fingers, which is better.
I confessed to Nando that I can't whistle like that, with two fingers in my mouth. He repeated that it took him a long time practicing before he could do it. He tried to explain to me how to do it. I tried and tried, but all that happened was the sound of air blowing and my fingers getting wet. Nando found that amusing. "It takes a lot of practice," he said. When I was a kid, I used to feel annoyed that my grandmother could whistle better than I could. In my late teens, I was frustrated that my grandmother had a thicker mustache than I did. Speaking of whistling Dixie, my grandmother was from the South, in America. How ironic? Nando is from southern Italy.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Nando's Ideas On Child Rearing

Nando and I were starting to watch a film tonight, at 9PM. He selected "2 Days in the Valley," because we had pretty much seen everything else. When he turned to the Sky Movies 9, the channel it was on, a prompt came on the screen asking for the PIN. Sometime last year, Sky implemented this PIN protection scheme, supposedly to prevent children from watching certain films. This film was rated "18," here in the UK, which is the equivalent of "R" in America, only more restrictive. In America, someone under 17 can watch an R rated film, so long as he's accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. In Britain, no one under 18 can see an "18" rated film, regardless if his parents okay it.
British TV has this scheme called, "the 9 o'clock watershed." It's based on the presumption that children will be in bed by 9PM, so it's okay to broadcast swearing and more adult themed programs from 9PM on. The watershed applies to terrestrial broadcast TV. As Sky Movies is a an encoded, pay subscription service, distributed by satellite, the 9PM watershed shouldn't apply. Usually, Sky announces that its channels have an 8PM watershed, not 9PM. The downside was that all the films aired during the day were kid's films. In response to complaints from subscribers that all that's ever on during the day is crap kid's films, Sky started offering films for older audiences on a couple of its film channels, but put in place this PIN protection. To me, the PIN Protection scheme was unnecessary, because Sky already offered a parental protection facility, which parents could turn on to block certain channels, unless the PIN was input. We had the parental protection switched off, because there are no children in the house. The annoying thing about the new PIN protection is that it's not optional, so even households like ours have to mess around with it. It requires that the PIN be input for any film Rated over 12. The really silly thing is that as this film was staring at 9PM, it was past the watershed anyway.
We entered the PIN and as the film was starting, Nando said, "why should they worry about kids watching? All kids in UK go to bed at 7PM." After I pointed out that some people don't send their kids to bed that early, Nando said. "one thing I don't understand...all over the world, why people send children to bed at a particular time? Children are like other humans. What's the point in making them go to bed when they are not sleepy? When a kid is sleepy, he can go to bed then. That's it!"
That's a pretty liberal view for a man who admires such authoritarian all-stars as Hitler and Mussolini. "That's a pretty enlightened perspective, Nando. I am surprised to hear you say that," I said.
"Another thing," he continued (once Nando gets started, he usually goes on for quite a bit), "why make children eat at a certain time, when they aren't hungry?"
"I think set meal times and bed times are primarily for the parent's convenience," I offered in explanation. "If a mother has to cook dinner, for example, she needs to be able to plan for having it ready at a certain time."
"Alright, I could see that might be necessary for cooking," Nando agreed, "but let them go to bed when they are tired."
"My ex-wife," in other words, the Black Queen, "used to send her kids to bed because she wanted some time alone, with me," I explained. "I think parents would worry that if they let kids stay up, the kids would not go to bed when they feel tired, but end up falling asleep on the chairs they are sitting in."
"That's okay," Nando replied, "they can pick them up and put them in bed."
"You sound like the people at TCS, which stands for 'Taking Children Seriously,' " I informed our favorite Italian. "I went to a talk given by a woman from TCS, once. She said you shouldn't force children to go to school."
"That's different," Nando objected. "Children need to go to school. It's not just about learning what is in books, or learning on this date this and this happened, or where different countries are located. They need to learn how to be with other kids their own age."
"They could be taught at home," I pointed out.
"How I'm going to do that?" objected Nando. "I know how to learn, I don't know how to teach someone." After a pause, he said, "when I was a kid, I didn't want to go to school. Now, I know school is good. The reason kids don't like to go to school isn't because of the books and learning stuff, it's because they have to get up at six in the morning to be at school at eight in the morning. No matter what time kids go to bed, they don't like to get up early. They should start school at ten o'clock and let them stay there till 5PM."
"TCS folks say you shouldn't force children to go to school, if they don't want to go," I said, calmly.
"I don't like people who are radical," Nando responded, drifting back to his authoritarian roots.
"You're radical," I said.
"No, I'm not," Nando said in rebuttal.
"Letting children go to bed when they want to is pretty radical," I said, teasing him. At that point, something strange happened on TV. The film had been running a few minutes. It seemed like this man was trying to force himself upon his ex-girlfriend. The picture went off and was replaced by a graphic which read, "Sky Movies 9." I had never seen this happen before, during a film on Sky Movies.
Nando tried changing channels. The others were working normally. We saw an advertisement for Sky's PIN protection service. The ad stresses that the service is free. I said to Nando, "if I pay extra, can we have the service turned off?"
Nando laughed. "Yes, I pay £10 per month more, you turn off this PIN crap." He turned back to Sky Movies 9, but still the film wasn't running again.
"Maybe they have a technical problem," I suggested.
"Maybe the tape broke," Nando offered.
"I don't think they would be using tape, in this day and age," I said. "Surely they must use discs now. Maybe the boss came in and said, 'don't show this film,' because it looked like a rape scene." The graphic changed, finally, and a different one came on, which informed viewers that the program following represents a change from what was scheduled. Then the Columbia pictures logo came on and a different film started. It was an old western. I had never seen such a thing happen before. It seems that, even with the PIN protection, Sky chickened out of showing the film they had started with. As the film was originally released in 1996, surely the people at Sky knew what was in it.
"I'm not watching this crap," Nando announced. He switched to "Lethal Weapon 4," which we have both seen numerous times. Nando never tires of watching "Lethal Weapon" films.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Real Iain Lee?

It appears that London Radio presenter, Iain Lee, is so bothered by my comments about him that he's deleted me from his Myspace "friends." This resulted in his profile disappearing from my "top friends," where it's been for the past eight and a half months, in the number one spot. In our recent interchanges, Iain put forth the incredible hypothesis that my having him in my "top friends" was intended to be more to my benefit than to his. Most other people in the Myspace world seem to operate under an alternative point of view, that being in the "top friends" benefits the person so honored, rather than the person who placed him there. Other people who would benefit from publicity on Myspace, radio presenters, bands, and musical artists, for example, so desire to be in a person's top friends, that they often offer incentives to motivate people to put them there. It would seem that Mr. Lee has cut off his nose to spite his face.
Recently, Mr. Lee has gone to lengths to explain that the person he is on the radio is different than the person he is in real life. This latest action seems to prove that point. On air, he comes across as a light-hearted, funny man, with a quick wit and a glorious sense of humor. He has often said to callers, after they disagreed, "let's not fall out over this." Now that I have had a taste of him off the air, I would conclude that he does, indeed, seem very different. After misreading a recent blog article I wrote about him ("London Radio Presenter Reverses Claim," 3 February, 2007), he seems to have taken offence at what he took to be a criticism of him. Instead of doing the clever thing and ignoring me, he broke an eight month silence to rebut my points and make some unflattering comments about me in the process. In the process, he tried to refute something which I never said. After his second and most hostile posted comment, I wrote another article bringing this to people's attention. In his second comment, Iain had claimed that it was "the last time I shall ever look at your page." However, given that he's taken this latest step after my subsequent article, suspicion is aroused that he's found some way to find out what I have written after his vow.
In my last article about him, "Has Iain Lee Lost His Sense of Humor" (8 February, 2007) I explained that his original bother seemed to be based on a misreading of what I wrote, since Iain accused me of saying something which I never said. I offered him a face saving way out of the whole episode, by suggesting that his comments, which seemed hostile on the surface, were actually his way of benefitting me. Instead of taking the out, or simply letting the whole matter fade away, it seems that he's deliberately attempted to do something he thinks will bother me. Deleting me from his "friends" and losing out on being permanently in my "top friends," seems like a petulant and vindictive act. He must really believe the absurd notion that I had him in my top friends more for my benefit than to honor him. He seems to have forgotten the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity. If that's the way he wants it, so be it. I already have a number of other radio presenters who are quite happy to be listed in my "top friends" and to have blog articles written about them. They are also nice enough to return the favor, following the strategy of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." If Iain wants to be ignored, I can ignore with the best of them. So, dear readers, this shall be my last article about Iain Lee, unless there is a further reaction from him. Onward and upward, dear friends.

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Artist of the Week: Melody

This week, I return to new artists as my Artist of the Week is Melody. Melody is a beauty, with a sultry voice. She grew up in Miami, then moved to New York to try to break into the music industry. After struggling for awhile without seeing the results she desired, Melody decided to return to the South. Alternating between Atlanta and Orlando, the singer is working on an album. She's due to come to London later this month doing a radio promotional tour for a single. I think this is a smart move, as her style of R & B/pop/club/hip hop is a type that is very popular here, in the UK. I hope she remembers me when she's successful. I have selected my favorite track of hers, "Oh No, Oh Yeah," for my profile song for the week. You can check her out at her Myspace: . Add her as a friend, leave her a comment and tell her I sent you.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

What a Pussy!

For the first time in British history, a cat has been diagnosed with "clinical depression." The cat, a twelve-year-old named Twiglet, is said to suffer from "anger management issues." Supposedly, Twiglet is being bullied by another cat. Her owner, Jackie Martin, took the cat to a vet, who prescribed amitriptyline, which is similar to Prozac. Oh for Pete's sake! I wonder how much this prescription is going to cost Jackie? I'm surprised that no one has suggested that the other cat be given and Anti-Social Behavior Order (ASBO). What a pussy!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

So It Snowed

Yesterday morning, England was hit by "the worst snow storm in..." some period of time. England, particularly southern England, doesn't get much snow. So when they get a little, it's a big panic. As someone who spent some time living in the snow belt, in the northern United States, let me tell you, this was minor. When I lived in Syracuse, New York, it used to snow every day for three months in a row. You wouldn't see the ground for three months. I don't even know how much snow fell, here, because I heard it on the radio news given in centimeters and I don't really do metric, so it just went in one ear and out the other. Maybe it was 10 centimeters, or something like that? I drove to work, no problem. The side roads had a little snow on them, but the main roads were clear and they didn't even need to be plowed. I left a little early, allowing time for brushing the snow off my car. I arrived at work so early, I sat in my car for about ten minutes, listening to the radio. The newscaster on the radio was saying, "it's a whiteout." I thought he sounded like an idiot. A whiteout is when you can't see anything but white. This wasn't a whiteout by any stretch of the imagination. By the time I arrived home from work, it had almost all melted. People were cancelling this and that, like the world was coming to an end. I went about my business as normal.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Has Iain Lee Lost His Sense of Humor?

Hopefully not. Perhaps it's just taken a couple of days off. I like Iain, I really do. As I performer, I mean. I don't know the man, personally, so I am only speaking of him as a radio presenter. I have written about him on many occasions, on this blog, and I have also written that he is my favorite radio presenter in the UK. That hasn't changed. It seems that my most recent blog article about my latest discussion with him, on air, may have gotten on the wrong side of him. Over the past couple of days, Iain has broken an eight month silence on my blog to post a couple of comments. They were posted on, and in response to, my article, "London Radio Presenter Reverses Claim" (03 February, 2007). Because they were posted on an article that was several days old, I have decided to reprint them, here. You may find them interesting.
First, Iain writes:
"Dont think I claimed to read your blog. The 'hows the blog going?' question was because a listener had alerted me to the fact you had been vaguely rude about me in your blog.
"Get real, I havent got time to read evereything everyone writes. It's great that you put me in your top friends, but I suspect the reason for doing this was more to help yourself than to actually promote me.
"No, I was not interested in watching you on telly. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but get this, outside of the radio show I do lots of other work and I have some semblance of a life. Christ, you didnt even have a speaking part.
"If this is in any way harsh or rude, I'm kind of sorry but not enough to lose sleep over it. It's just life dude. I'm more encouraging and helpful to new talent than a lot of people, so you criticising me for not helping you is selfish and narrow minded.
"You commented I often cut you off on the radio show - I CUT EVERYBODY OFF! You're not special in that respect either. It's a show, it's meant to be entertaining.
"I suppose I'm lucky youre not perving over me like you do with other radio presenters.
"Best of luck man, and I genuinely mean that.
In response, I posted the following:
'Well, well, actual comment from Iain Lee. I guess I should be honored. Actually, you did claim to read it, back then, because after you said, "how's the blog going," I asked you if you read it and you said, "yes." However, I doubted you were telling the truth, so I didn't lose sleep over it.
'I can't see how putting you in my "top friends" would ever "help" me. I did it, originally, because you were the person who motivated me to try Myspace and I genuinely thought you had the best show on UK radio. As far as my not having a speaking part on the "Seconds Episode," no one did. It's almost entirely narrated, outside some interview segments with the real life people involved in the incident. As far as the people who were involved in the recreation, I was the main character, with almost half the show dealing with my part.
'I can't recall ever being even vaguely rude about you in my blog, but then a lot of British people have a strange sense of what's rude. I have always used any articles where you were mentioned to promote your show, always giving the station, time, Sky Channel, and web link.
'Regarding you cutting people off, well, let's just say some people you give a lot more airtime to than others. I'm thinking of people like Yasser,Varinder, Barry. Your choice, you owe me nothing.
'At least I don't perve over "Shipwrecked" contestants, like Niff.
'It's obvious you don't regularly read my blog, because if you did, you'd realize that it's written tongue in cheek. It seems that you are taking it way too seriously.
'Anyway, thanks for finally reading it and commenting. I don't believe in luck, so instead I'll wish you success.'
I thought that would be it and that I wouldn't hear from him again. To my surprise, I found the following:
"this is the last time I shall ever look at your page.
"You are a very weird chap with a complete misunderstanding of how the real world works.
"I perv over Niff in the context of a radio SHOW. SHOW is a very important word here, because that is what it is. A SHOW. Its is not real life or really me. Though that was obvious, sorry if it was a bit above you.
"Yes, I lied about reading your blog. Again, it is a SHOW. Not everything I say in the SHOW is true. Christopher Lee is not my grandfather. Yet I have said he is. Are you starting to get how it works now?
"As for allowing Barry, Varinder, G-Man, Maureen and just about any other caller more time on air than you it is because they are interesting and funny! I know you Americans have a weird concept of what entertaining and funny is, but trust me, they give much more to the show than you.
"I know you will reply to this, but trust me, I aint gonna be looking at it fella so youre playing to an audience of one.
I did post a response, but for some reason, it's not there now. I will try to recreate it as best I can, from memory, but it won't be perfect.
"A second comment. This is truly a monumentus occasion. Weird is better than 'average.' I don't think you know me well enough to tell how well I understand how the real world works.
"You seem to think that I don't understand that your show is a 'SHOW.' I do. I think almost everyone who has listened to it for a while realizes that you sometimes say things which are not true. What's ironic is that you seem to be doing the very same thing that you are suggesting I do. You don't seem to get that my blog is a show, as well. I'm not an accident investigator in real life, I just play one on TV. I thought that was obvious. Sorry if it was a bit above you.
"Regarding you lying about reading my blog, you seem to have missed the part in the original article where I wrote that I have 'always questioned whether Iain actually reads it.' Since that seems to have been too subtle for you, let me translate. That means that I always suspected that you weren't telling the truth about reading my blog.
"Americans have a weird concept of what's entertaining and funny, which is why we created things like 'Seinfeld' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' It would be kind of strange if callers who you give more airtime to didn't 'give more to the show.' It follows that those who are on air more 'give more.'
"Dude, lighten up. This is just a show.
"Yes, I will post a reply, because the stats tell me that, even without you, I have a larger audience than just one.
"I heard that you were in a traffic accident, today. I hope you are okay and in good health. You are welcome to come back and comment anytime, should you decide to reverse yourself again."
I noticed something, tonight, re-reading Iain's first comment. He seems to have gotten the impression that I was criticizing him for not "helping" me. I have twice reviewed my original article and I see no language in there indicating I either expected, nor asked for, "help." What I did criticize him for was for not being supportive to a loyal listener, by watching my "Seconds From Disaster" episode. Doing so wouldn't have been any "help" to me. Anyway, surely this was a mild criticism. It's possible, then, that Iain's whole reaction is based on a misunderstanding. Still, why break an eight month silence for this?
Another possibility is that this is Iain's way of encouraging and helping me. Posting two comments can only boost my readership and increase the attention my blog is getting. Iain's savvy enough that he's got to realize the positive effect for my blog of him posting comments. So, whether intentionally or unintentionally, he's helped me. Thanks dude.
You can listen to Iain on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177, or via the net at: [which means those of you abroad can listen, too]). He's on weeknights from 7PM to 10PM, London time, and he also does a Sunday night show from 10PM to 1AM.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Food Police Officer

On the "Breakfast Show," with Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3, London), this morning, Nick had a guest on who was the headmaster of a school. This man searched the lunch boxes of his pupils to prevent "junk" food from being brought into school. It's too bad he doesn't put as much enthusiasm into teaching the kids reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history. This guy really takes the cake. Someone should chew him out. This shit's bananas. He's nutty as a fruitcake. Things are all going pear-shaped at this school. Such intervention won't amount to a hill of beans, in the long run. He thinks he can have their cake and eat it, too. It would be perfectly understandable if the students and their parents felt "sour grapes" over this. There might be an opportunity to market contraband food to the pupils.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Schedule Conflict

Yesterday, I received a call from someone at a production company that produces a show for the BBC. A few weeks back, I auditioned for this show. This guy called to see if I am available to film a segment this Saturday. I hesitantly said yes, as I have a big audition scheduled for Saturday, as well. It is possible to reschedule the audition for Sunday, although that would leave me with no day off this weekend. He said he'd get back to me, as they are just tentatively planning at the moment. It might be possible to do the audition in the morning, then shoot the segment later in the day, but I am concerned that the audition might run long. At least I now know they want me for this BBC show.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

I Got Something Done Today

When Nando got home from work, today, I asked him if he would give me a ride to pick up my car when it was ready. Of course he said yes. As I have said before, he may be a racist, but he's a nice guy. At that point, the mechanic's hadn't called, yet. I was having an MOT test on my car, which is a scam annual examination cars over three years old require, here in the UK. It's similar to scams run in various American states. You know how it goes. Mandated by law, you take your car to an "approved" testing station, where it's inspected. If it passes, no problem, but if the mechanic determines certain things are below standard, you have to have them repaired. I have been dreading it, this year, as I was certain that a number of expensive repairs would be required. There is always the worry that dishonest mechanics will fail it, just to sell you some repairs. Also, the price has gone up. It used to be £35. Now, it's £50. That's almost $100 in American money. I used to pay $14 for one of these type inspections, back when I lived in New York.
I had never used this mechanic before, but it was near to where I lived and took credit cards. The woman behind the service counter had said they'd call me and tell me what needed to be repaired in order to pass. When I asked Nando, it was after 4:30PM and I still hadn't heard anything. I was worried that I might end up having to leave the car there overnight. How would I get to work in the morning? Suddenly, while I was talking to Nando, the phone rang. I suspected it was the mechanic's and I was right. The woman sounded so cheerful when I answered. I gritted my teeth in anticipation of the verdict. What she said was, "Mr. Brennan, your car passed. You can pick it up as soon as you want." Wow! What great news. They only had to replace a couple of light bulbs and the whole thing only cost me £60. What a relief. Nando drove me to pick up my car and said he might try using these folks as well. I'm good for another year.

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Opal Dates a Famous Actor

Over the course of this past summer, I got to appear on Opal Bonfante's radio show, "London Calling," almost every day. Opal sent me an autographed photo of herself and unlike some female radio DJs, who are not very good looking, she is very attractive. The old adage, "a face for radio" definitely doesn't apply to her. Opal liked to describe herself as "hot and funny" and I agree with her. There seemed to be a certain humorous chemistry between us that made for good radio. She described my voice as, "overtly sexual." Opal started reading my blog and soon became my most dedicated reader.
As at the time, both she and I were single, I suppose it was inevitable that I would begin to fancy her. It's very difficult to date someone in show business if you aren't also in the business. Even if you are, it's very difficult for men to date up the scale. Women can pull it off if they are good looking, but for men, it's tough. Opal had a radio show, albeit on a minor station, while I was just doing a bit of acting, here and there. Radio personalities are notoriously hard to date, as they have so many propositions from listeners, they tend to put up a wall between themselves and members of the audience. To make my prospects even more difficult, Opal is only 24, while I am 47. She often stated, on air, that she wanted to marry this or that ageing rock star, usually some guy in his sixties, but that could have been just joking about, for the show. Of course there are women who will date guys twenty years their senior, but the problem is finding them. In many cases, it helps if the guy is rich, or famous, or both. I was neither...yet. The only thing I could do was display my best charms to Opal, my voice and my humor.
Off air, I confided in Opal that I had a desire to get a radio show of my own. She encouraged that aspiration. On one occasion, she even said, "we must find a way to get you on radio." Given this, I was pretty disappointed when Opal announced that she was having a young female listener, Louise, do a month of work experience on her show. Louise has also stated that she would like to be a radio presenter. Louise's great disadvantage is that she doesn't enunciate clearly. She has a slurred speaking style that isn't quite a lisp, but sounds terrible on air. To me, unless she gets rid of it, she has almost no chance of an on air career in radio. Opal having this girl work on the show seemed like a double slap in the face. Given the girl's prospects, it seems like a waste of an opportunity. Also, I wondered why Opal had never considered doing the same thing for me. Any reluctance Opal might have had to place herself in close proximity to a listener was completely ignored in this case. She even had Louise living in the same house as her, for the month.
I kept my disappointment to myself and never said anything to Opal about it. One day, Opal told me she was going to be doing a TV project. She was still going to be on the radio, but she was going to be presenting on TV on the weekends. She started traveling to Bristol for weekends, to rehearse for the TV show. I had learned that Opal had never seen any of the "Star Wars" films. In September, Sky Movies started showing all the "Star Wars" films in the order that they were originally released, one each weekend, for six weeks straight. I asked Opal how she traveled to Bristol for her rehearsals. She told me she took the train. On the Saturday that Sky was starting with the first "Star Wars" film, Opal confirmed that she would be taking the train from Bristol back to London, in the afternoon. As the train line from Bristol passes through Reading, near where I live, I asked Opal if she would like to come over and watch the first "Star Wars" film with me. I sweetened the deal by offering to cook her dinner, making allowances for her vegetarianism, of course. She declined stating that she was in a hurry to get back to London so she could go out, "kissing boys." I was disappointed, of course, but spent the evening watching "Star Wars," alone, drowning my sorrows in a bag of microwave popcorn.
The radio station where Opal worked hired a new manager. He imposed changes on Opal's show, forbidding her form taking callers on air. This was a big blow for me, as I was enjoying being a nightly regular on her show. I kept in touch with Opal anyway, demonstrating that I wasn't only interested in her because she put me on air. I felt like we had a friendship, at least, and it was good to have a show business friend. I was able to ask her advice on auditions and such, and Opal's simply a lot of fun to talk with. One evening, in the autumn, while listening to her on the radio, I heard her say that she'd like to marry someone who doesn't watch any sports on TV. I sent her a cheeky email saying that I don't watch sports on TV. She emailed me back, saying that she wasn't single anymore. Sure, I was disappointed, but I had long expected that, one day, Opal would start dating some guy, younger than me, higher up the entertainment ladder. Some guy in a band, or an actor, or something, probably in his late twenties or early thirties. Opal is quite a catch and I was surprised at how long she had remained single in the first place. I stopped calling her as much and relied more on email, which is free. I might as well save on my phone bill.
I started referring to Opal as "unsingle person," in my emails to her, in a bit of light teasing. Time passed and one evening, Opal ended up telling me her boyfriend was an old actor named "Burt." I responded by guessing, "Burt Lancaster" and "Burt Reynolds," not serious. Opal shocked me by saying his name was Burt Kwok. At first I thought it was just Opal joking around. "Is this a wind up?" I asked. She assured me she wasn't kidding. "Burt Kwok's famous," I said in amazement. Opal said she was surprised I'd ever heard of him. That must be because Opal is so young. She wasn't around in Burt's heyday. I told her Burt had played Cato in "The Pink Panther" films, had been in a James Bond film, and had been a regular on "The Harry Hill Show," on TV. She was surprised that I knew so much about him. She asked me if I was looking this all up on Google. I assured her I hadn't been, but that was a good idea. I did a Google search on Burt and looked at his IMDb page. He'd done a load of films and TV shows. He was born in Manchester, England, but raised in Shanghai. That's when it hit me. I checked his date of birth...July 18, 1930. After some quick mental arithmetic...holy cow! He's 76 years old!
"Opal, he's 76!" I emailed, in amazement. She confirmed that was true. I couldn't resist teasing her about this. "Ask him if he's got a grand-daughter for me," I emailed back. I felt a strange mix of emotions. On one hand, I was annoyed. Burt Kwok is more years older than me than I am older than Opal. While I don't have anything against big age differences between people who are dating, the fact that I had fancied Opal myself made this grate on my sensibilities a bit. "How could she prefer such an old guy over me?" I wondered to myself. Opal had acted a bit funny towards me, once, after I had written that I was from a "mixed race" background. I thought that had put her off me, but here she was dating a Chinese guy. On the other hand, it was kind of cool. I admired Burt's work as an actor and fair play to the guy if he can pull a hot 24-year-old. I emailed her again, writing, "ask him if he can fix me up with any Chinese women." She responded by saying that was the funniest request anyone had ever made of her.
Opal asked me if I was going to write about her dating Burt Kwok in my blog. I told her I would consider it. Immediately, I realized I had a potential tiger by the tail. My first thought was that it would make a fabulous scoop for my blog. Then, it occurred to me that I could sell the story to one of the tabloid newspapers. Before I would make any decisions, I talked to Opal again. I warned her that if I wrote about this in my blog, someone in the mainstream media might pick up on it. It could end up in the tabloids. I asked her if she had considered the potential publicity and would she be bothered about that? She said she doubted anyone would take any notice. We debated it back and forth. Opal said the only way to find out was for me to write about it and see if anyone in the media noticed. Still, I hesitated. Should I sell the story to a tabloid, or publish it for free, on my blog? Would Opal be bothered if I sold it to a tabloid? She didn't seem bothered at the risk that it might get picked up by the media, but would she feel differently if she found out I had deliberately sold it to them? If I expressly asked her, she might decide to sell it herself and cut me out. I needed the money worse than she did. In the back of my mind was another concern. Suppose she's just winding me up? If I was going to a tabloid, I needed to be sure the story was true. How could I do that?
I decided to ask Opal to meet me, socially, with Burt. This way, I could verify for myself if the story was true, or just a load of bullshit. In addition to fact checking the story, it would be cool to meet Burt Kwok. The first time I emailed Opal, suggesting we all go out sometime, she ignored it. I brought the subject up again, but she declined. I tried to talk her around. If I was dating someone famous, I'd share that with Opal. I would invite her to meet the person and even offer to do an exclusive interview on Opal's show. I thought we were like, friends? Don't friends help each other out? I told Opal that as my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, was half Chinese, Burt and I were practically related. In the end, I couldn't seem to get anywhere with Opal about meeting Burt. This was adding insult to injury. It's bad enough losing out on a girl to a 76 year old man, but then to be cut out of even meeting him, socially and developing a show business friendship just made me feel worse.
I ended up sitting on the story for almost two months. At one point, Opal asked me when I was going to write the blog article about her and Burt, but I wasn't sure then. I told her I was still verifying some things. I felt uncomfortable about selling the story to the tabloids without Opal's express knowledge, as I considered her a friend. There is still some chance that it's a wind up. Given that she'd already said I could publish it in my blog, I decided to put it here, where I at least could enjoy the exclusive of being first to break the story. Some more time passed until I could get around to writing it. Perhaps you have noticed that I have been tending to do short articles, lately. In any case, I haven't been able to verify the facts, other than as I have related to you, here. Make of it what you will, all I have is what Opal's told me.

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I Wonder If She Waxes or Shaves?

On Saturday afternoon, I went downstairs to have some breakfast. I found M1 in the lounge, alone, watching TV. The Flower was out doing someone's hair, or at a dance class, or something. Nando went out, so it was just me and M1. I heated up some chicken curry and rice in the microwave. As I sat down in my usual spot, in the lounge, to eat, I noticed that M1 had "Girls of the Playboy Mansion," on. That's some rubbish the Flower usually watches. Worse still, I quickly determined that it was an episode we'd seen already, last month, when the Flower inflicted it upon us. I voiced my opinion that, surely, there must be something else we could watch, but the dozy M1 just kept the channel where it was.
I was planning to go back upstairs and mess around with the Internet, write blog articles, or something, after eating, so I figured I'd just endure a bit of "Girls of the Playboy Mansion." As the show progressed, there was a segment where the sister of one of Hugh Hefner's three, twenty-something, girlfriends was having her legs waxed. The waxing technician asked her if she wanted her pelvic area waxed, but the girl declined. This prompted me to ask M1 if he liked a woman completely hairless in her nether regions; a typical breakfast conversation topic. He indicated that was indeed his preference. I then countered by expressing my own preference for it to be trimmed, but for there to be some hair there, even if it's only a Hitler moustache. He responded by saying that I wouldn't like the Flower, then. Oh for Pete's sake! He'd just told me that his girlfriend has a bald hey-nanny-nanny. I wonder what she'd think if she knew he was discussing her personal grooming habits with all and sundry? Eventually, I persuaded him to switch to watching "Top Gear." A car show is more appropriate for a couple of lads on a Saturday afternoon.
Later, that night, Nando and I were watching a film, "Red Eye." I mentioned to Nando that M1 had told me the Flower's hair status with respect to the panty area. Always one to conduct little surveys, I asked Nanod what his preference was. He indicated a similar answer to my own. Was it a generational thing, then? Older folks, like Nando and I, liking a bit of hair there, to let you know where you are, while younger fellows, like M1, desiring a baldness that is reminiscent of pre-pubescence? The big question remains, does she wax or shave?

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The Flower Gives Me a Cake

On Friday night, the Exotic Flower arrived for her usual weekend hanging around at our house. When she came in the front door, she presented me with a Thornton's Toffee cake, still in the box. She explained that her mother had given it to her and M1, but that because it was two days past its sell by date, they wouldn't eat it. So, she offered it to me, remembering that I am not bothered by sell by dates. Oh for Pete's sake! How silly some young people are, these days. When I was a kid, we didn't have sell by dates. If it looked okay and smelled okay, you ate it. Well, it worked to my benefit. I happily took the cake off her hands.
Nando has had the results of a medical examination he had, while visiting his family in Italy, recently. He says that he's been told that he has high cholesterol. He's decided to eat less chocolate and sweets, although he's said nothing about cutting down on the fried foods he eats in copious amounts. Given all this, when I asked Nando if he wanted to share the cake with me, he declined. Then end result was that I had the cake all to myself, this past weekend. It was a small cake, so it took me just three occasions to finish it off.

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Another Gamble I Lost

I took today off from the restaurant, so I would be available to do the music video I was being considered for (see "Face the Music," February 2, 2006). Wouldn't you know it, I didn't get picked for it. So, I have ended up with an extra day off. Not the worse thing in the world, although I will miss the money I am losing out on. Taking advantage of the day, I put my car in for some servicing. While having breakfast, I discovered M1 on one of the settees, in the lounge. I know he's short of money, as he hasn't had more than two days of work for the past month, so when I was ready to leave for the service center, I asked him if we was interested in earning a little petrol money. I was going to ask him to drive me home, after I left my car, rather than taking a cab. I was going to offer him £5 in petrol, on the condition that he also drove me back when it was time to pick the car up. He was already dressed and it's only a ten minute drive. In all fairness, he should do it for free, as he has never contributed to the Sky bill and even as I was asking him this, he was vegetating in front of the TV, watching Sky that Nando and I pay for. Nando would have done it for free, as a friend, but he was at work.
When I asked the little toe rag if he was interested in earning a little petrol money, his immediate reaction was, to shake his head negatively and say, "I'm feeling a bit lazy, today." He didn't even bother asking what it is I wanted, first. I instantly felt annoyed at the little shit. As I had my jacket on, he then asked me where I was going.
"Never mind," I said with concealed disgust. I walked out of the door. I was using a different mechanic than I usually use. Although my old one is very good and specializes in German cars, he's far away and doesn't take credit cards. My finances are such that paying by credit card is essential, this time. So, I tried out a place fairly close to where I live. After I dropped off the car, I walked to the nearby shopping center and waited at the bus stop. The third bus that came along was on a route that goes right past the end of my street. I paid only £1.60 to get back home. This afternoon, Nando would surly take me back for free. I ended up saving £3.40 on what I was going to give M1.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Artist of the Week: Curtis Mayfield

Continuing with the legends of music, this week, my Artist of the Week is Curtis Mayfield. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Curtis was an influential artist on the soul and funk genres. His early commercial success came as a member of the group, The Impressions, in the 1960s. In 1970, he left The Impressions to follow a solo career. The pinnacle of that career was the 1972 album, "Superfly," the film soundtrack. I was in boarding school when that album came out. I remember bringing a copy back to school, after a weekend home. Everyone in my dorm wanted to hear it. In 1995, Curtis received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He died on Boxing Day, December 26, 1999. You can check out his official Myspace tribute page at: .

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Girls Aloud Versus the Sugababes

Tonight, for the first time, I saw a music video that Girls Aloud and the Sugababes did, together. It's a cover of the old Aerosmith song, "Walk This Way," in a similar vein as the one Aerosmith did with Run DMC. It was filmed to benefit Comic Relief and has cameo appearances from a number of stars, including Davina Mc Call and Graham Norton. The real frustrating thing is that I had a chance to be an extra in this video, but didn't because I would have meant taking off more time from work during a week when I had already taken off for another project. Besides, there was no pay involved. Now, seeing the video, I see that the scene I would have been in would have involved being in the same room with two of my favorite girl groups, Girls Aloud, including Sarah Harding and Nicola Roberts, and the Sugababes. To make matters worse, Davina was there and I adore Davina. I now wish I had done it. Wish I, could of, would of, should of.

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London Radio Presenter Reverses Claim

On Wednesday night, Nando was watching football in the lounge and with "Celebrity Big Brother" finished, I decided to tune in Iain Lee, on the radio. Since Iain's show has moved on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 or via the net at: ), from afternoon drive to the new time of 7PM to 10PM, I haven't been listening as much. The new time conflicts with prime-time television. Although this wasn't the first time I have listened at the new time, it was the first time I called the show in the new time slot.
I thought it would be a good time to call, as Iain was saying they had few calls, which may have been due to the big Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspurs, football match. I wanted to ask Iain if he'd seen me on TV last week, on "Seconds From Disaster." Iain's producer, Agent Chris, was pleasent enough and did call me back. When I got on the air with Iain, I asked if he'd seen my episode of "Seconds From Disaster." Not only hadn't he seen it, he had no awareness of it, at all. I then pointed out to him that I had written about it in my blog. Last year, Iain had cliamed, on air, to read my blog. He brought it up with me during one of my calls, asking, "how's the blog going?" After I made the point that I had alerted readers to my upcoming TV episode, he said he hadn't been reading my blog. I have always questioned whether Iain actually reads it, as he has never left a comment, nor has he ever mentioned any of the material from it, on his show, that I have heard.
After discussing the new series of "24," with him, I suggested that I could let Iain know when my episode is re-broadcast again, so he could watch it, or record it on Sky Plus. Iain then said that his Sky Plus memory was "full." That is so unlikely that I suspect he was lying. He seems to have been making an excuse, because he doesn't want to watch my "Seconds" episode. When he does a TV project, he wants listeners to watch it, but he doesn't seem willing to extend the same support to a loyal listener, who's also done a lot to promote Iain's radio show. Iain Lee has been in my "top friends" since I have had a Myspace page. Last year, I wrote numerous articles about him and left comments supporting his show on several internet forums. Does his seeming complete lack of interest in me as a performer and writer warrant taking me out of my "top friends?" He did still give me air time and, for once, didn't hang up on me. I terminated the conversation.
As my blog's readership continues to grow, I urge you all to help support it. Those of you on Myspace can do this in two ways. First, I'd like each of you to get two of your Myspace friends to add me as a friend. Second, get two people you know to read my blog. If all of you do this, my friends and readership numbers should triple. If you read me on Blogspot, just get four people you know to read my blog. The bigger my readership gets, the more doors will be open for me to get material for you from inside the world of entertainment. Those of you who call talk radio, slip a mention of me and my blog into your calls. Discuss my blog articles with friends and co-workers. One day, we could be bigger than Coca-Cola and Microsoft, but only with your support. Imagine me interviewing Bill Gates.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Face the Music

Yesterday, I had a casting call to attend, for a music video. I had hesitated over applying for it. I never seem to get selected for any music videos I apply to be in, not that I have applied for that many. I think it was mainly the bother over getting into central London after working all day. It was good that I was talking about it to a close, personal friend, as she talked me into applying. The casting director emailed me, asking me to attend the casting on Thursday.
The traffic was a nightmare. I only just made it there, less than fifteen minutes before I was due. I spent more time waiting than I did actually being seen by the casting director, and some other folks connected with the production. Hopefully, one of them was the director. There were only three other guys there, applying for the same role as I was. The role is "a middle aged man." We were seen in pairs and had to dance for the casting team. I observed the guy who I think is the director. He seemed to be nodding his head as I was dancing. Hopefully, I am better than those other three. In a few minutes, it was over.
When I was back outside, I started feeling great about being in London, on a mild February night. Maybe, the almost full moon helped. I relocated from the Oxford Circus area to near Piccadilly. Eventually, I found a parking space and walked through Leicester Square, to Chinatown. I was out of chili oil and knew I could pick some up, there. Once I made my purchase, I headed back to the car. Quick in and quick out. Driving home, I contemplated my dilemma. I had told the Manager, at the restaurant, that I might need Monday off. He asked me to let him know, in the morning. I didn't expect to know by then. Thus, I faced a choice. I could arrange to have off anyway and hope I get selected for the music video, or I could work, risking that they will end up wanting me. The last time I was in this situation, I decided to work. Then, the night before, I was offered a chance to do the TV production involved, working with David Tennant. I ended up missing out, as I had committed to work at the restaurant. If I get the music video, it pays more than double what I earn at the restaurant. What to do?

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Flower Pops Out

Last night, the Exotic Flower was over...again. She and M1 were watching TV, in the lounge. I was watching them watch TV, as I find them entertaining. The Flower started to get up from the settee, when suddenly I noticed that her left nipple was showing over the cut of her top. There it was, the Exotic nipple, in all it's glory. At almost the same instant, M1 spoke. "Your nipple is showing," he said, matter-of-factly.
Instantly, the Flower pulled her top up, returning the little brown bud to it's hiding place. She obviously wasn't wearing a bra. Then she said, loudly, "I have no money for new bras."
Always one to take every opportunity to state the obvious, I responded by saying, "you could always wear the old bras."
Calmly, the Flower looked at me and said, "they don't fit."
"Her boobs have gotten larger," M1 added in unnecessary embellishment.
All I could think was, "gosh, I hope she's not pregnant."