Cable TV: What I’ve Learned in the Last Year

The last time I had cable of any sort was in 1998. That’s a very long time ago!

In the years leading up to now, I subsisted on 5 network channels that came in poorly, DVDs from the library, and Netflix since its advent. Back in August of 2012 I moved to a new apartment, and with that, finally got cable because I was sick of trying to fix the bunny ears on top of my TV. In that time, I have learned some things. Some are fascinating, and some are just downright sad.

  • The History Channel doesn’t have many history related shows. It’s mostly about pseudo science, aliens, mermaids, and Hitler.
  • There are 12 reality shows about rednecks.
  • Wow, rednecks are really in demand.
  • Did I mention 1/3 of all TV is redneck-centric?
  • Bravo is all about too much wine and plastic surgery — essentially.
  • There’s a lot of shows about rich women with lip collagen who have dinner parties that end in screaming matches. They all have book deals, too.
  • I don’t know what Jerseylicious is about, but something to do with drawn-on eyebrows and hairstylists who fight a lot.
  • OWN is basically true crime shows + Oprah trying to be best buddy with Iynala + interviews with Beyonce where Oprah practically licks her b-hole.
  • Lifetime is movies and shows where men are evil, and younger women are evil. Also adopted children are evil, maybe.
  • LMN is amazing and awful. You can see biopics like “Liz and Dick” but also movies like the one where the Canadian Air Force captain rapes neighborhood women and steals their panties to wear them later. Canadians in the Royal Canadian Air Force are evil!
  • Tyler Perry presents a Tyler Perry show, directed and written by Tyler Perry and starring Tyler Perry.
  • Children are really fat these days. Especially redneck pageant children.
  • The Food Network has shows where a pound of butter and a food processor are what you need for everything. I don’t own a food processor, so I can make maybe 6 things out of all those shows.
  • Guy Fieri likes everything, he’s disgusting. I’ve eaten at several of the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives he says are good, and they aren’t.
  • The Travel Channel has two shows of two fat guys that drive around eating stuff.
  • HGTV has people with first-world problems and they all really, really want granite counter tops.
  • If you want to watch a man put his balls in a woman’s purse, watch any episode of “House Hunters”.
  • BBC America has great drama and sci-fi shows that never actually seem to be on, except for “Dr. Who”, and I don’t care for that show. The rest is Gordon Ramsey screaming at someone for something, somewhere.
  • Spike TV is the Dave Navarro Channel that sometimes has wrestling, and guys looking for Bigfoot.
  • Spike also has “Bar Rescue” which I’ll admit, I really like.
  • Come to think of it, I think there are 4 shows dedicated to finding Bigfoot.
  • There are a lot of shows about poor people and criminals getting married.
  • TLC is the gross network, in that nothing on there should be watched if you just ate a meal.
  • “My Strange Addiction” is pretty much everything kids did at recess in 2nd grade, except televised. I can’t tell you how many kids I knew would eat paper. And their own scabs.
  • Poor people also try to pawn stuff. It’s sort of like “Antiques Roadshow” but for those on unemployment.
  • There are several repossession shows from cars to planes, because taking people’s stuff is funny! But I wish they weren’t so fake. Trust me, if you’ve ever had to stand in line to get your car out of a tow yard, it’s practically a comedy club come to life (at least in Los Angeles it is).
  • There are a lot of very specific professions that have shows. Like, very specific.
  • If I wanted to see the inner workings of an airport, I’d get a job at a damn airport!
  • The Style Network is where “Sex and the City” has gone to live out it’s re-runs, then hopefully die.
  • There are a lot of shows about women buying expensive clothes or ugly wedding dresses.
  • I don’t get HBO or Showtime, so I can’t see boobs.
  • “South Park” is still the only good thing on Comedy Central.
  • Why is there a show about beards?
  • I can sum up “Hoaders” like this: I’ve tried everything…except cleaning my goddam house!
  • I get IFC, so I can see boobs there, but it also has commercials. I call that a wash.
  • TMC is great, it almost makes up for me not being able to rent from Eddie Brandt’s in Burbank anymore. (I’m a pre-code cinema lover).
  • Wait, “The Simpsons” is still on?
  • There are a lot of shows about men in the wilderness doing manly things: in Alaska, and in the mountains, and on ice. You sit there in your skinny jeans eating your vegan hot dog, it’s cool.
  • Everyone in Atlanta seems like an asshole. Why are there so many shows about horrible people in Atlanta? Atlanta, you need to do something about that. Really.
  • There is a whole channel that does nothing but show “Martin” re-runs 24/7.  It must be a front for something!
  • “Sixteen and Pregnant” “Dating and Pregnant” “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” “Pregnant in Heels”. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for a new trend along the lines of, “Sensible and Childless” or “I Won a MacArthur Grant, and I’m Not Pregnant”.

This now brings me to a list of shows I would like to be included in the development and production on. If I’ve learned anything by having cable the past year, it is that one or all of these ideas will get a season or two squeezed out of them.

“Real Housewives of the Rustbelt”

“Project Managers: Kansas City”

“I’m On Welfare, So I Used A Condom”

“HELP! My Cat Is Overweight!”

“Cleveland Clinic Anesthesiologists Untamed!”

“Craft Fair Wars”

“Non-Profit Administrators: NYC”

“Regional Managers: Sacramento”

I have more, but I’d have to get a consultant contract signed with a network before I give away all my fabulous ideas. What are some of your favorite awful shows or networks?

What Pinterest Really Comes Down To

Even though I am a user — and filter what content I see carefully — I did notice a theme with users. An annyoing theme. And thus, my friend Shannon and I came up with this design after I went on a typical coffee fueled rant (like I do) about the website….

You can buy this as a shirt, iphone skin, or print over here.

Because these are all the fonts I keep seeing, as well as the top 3 subjects. I should have also added ballet flats, pictures of French macarons, and pretty much anything pastel colored.

Living Beyond Your Means Never Goes Out of Style

An excerpt from Universal Courtier’s Grammar by Denis Fonvizin, published in 1783.

Question: What Verb is conjugated most frequently of all at Court, and in what Tense? Answer: Even as at Court, so in the Captial, no one lives out of debt; therefore, the Verb conjugated most frequently of all is: to be in debt. (The appended Exemplary Conjugation is in the Present, since that is the Tense most frequently used of all.)

I am in debt.

Thou art in debt.

He, She or It is in debt.

We are in debt.

You, Ye are in debt.

They are in debt.

Question: Is the Verb ever conjugated in the Past Tense? Answer: Ever so rarely — inasmuch as no he or she pays his or her debts. Q: And in the Future Tense? A: The conjugation of this Verb in the Future Tense is in good usage, for it goes without saying that if one be not in debt yet, he or she inevitably will be.

Wrench + Paper Towels + Jim Beam

Everything is on hold right now. Finally after years of ignoring the fact my wisdom teeth were grinding against my jaw bone, the pain has become so unbearable that I have scheduled surgery. The bad part? I don't get in until April 2nd! So my "drying out" plan for March is no longer, plus I find it impossible to paint anything or function like a normal human being. I accidentally bought a $60 bottle of wine yesterday; no more grocery shopping while on pain meds is the new rule. The fact I keep eyeballing my wrench, pliers, and bottle of Jim Beam is not good. All I need are lots of paper towels, right?

This has made me finally admit to myself that I enjoy dental pain and procedures. I'm not really a person who is "in to pain" but for whatever reason since I was a child, a trip to the dentist never bothered me. It was always commented on how calm I was or how I seemed to enjoy it. Even now they are surprised, heck, I even modeled for my dentist's website once since I was the only person to give a cheery thumbs-up with a mouth full of metal tools and cotton balls. The bill is the only truly painful part — I've spent thousands on two teeth alone over the years — the rest I take with ease. Why do I love novocaine shots? I don't know. I hate regular shots in the arm, but I like needles going into my gums with a gross taste. The drill is fun too, and so are crowns — like getting a new tooth almost. Crown prices however, are not so fun. For years I heard about this horrid root canal procedure; I finally had it done after my dentist fucked up my filling and made it too deep. Afterward I said, "you are done already?" and to the horror of the nurses I said, "You know, I could have sat through 4 more of those before getting irritated with you, come on is that all you got!?"

And so it is that I sit here wishing I were dead or could remove my jaw, but at the same time I am giddy and excited about having a big nasty surgery and getting these suckers ripped out. I have come to terms with the fact, that I, am this man.

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If It Worked Once, It’ll Work Again

This is just getting ridiculous:

The Neverending Story? Really? And let me guess, they'll cut out the traumatic swamp scene just to keep it PC or some crap like that. My mother took me and a friend to see this movie when I was 4 or 5, and truly, a whole generation was traumatized by that scene — slower and more painful than Bambi's mom getting shot. But, I am a stronger and better person for going through it at such a tender age. Okay maybe not, but still.

Ideas, originality? What are those again? Hollywood, you really are going to so many new lows. The old saying of nobody went broke in Hollywood by underestimating the intelligence of America may be true to an extent, but this is just getting retarded and lazy. Just do an updated All About Eve and get it the hell overwith! That re-make of The Women translated so well to modern times, didn't you think?

This brings me to a question: how would you like it if people started to re-make classic albums? Seriously. I had this discussion a few years ago with Troy Gregory of The Witches/Dirtbombs fame, and he said, "you know what? I'm going to re-make James Brown live at The Apollo". Brilliant! Just to prove a point, what would happen if you rounded up a bunch of musicians to do this? How would you like Kanye West to remake Thriller? How about Coldplay remaking The Velvet Underground Peel Slowly and See? They could get Pink to be Nico for a follow up, amazing. Dark Side of the Moon would be great if Kenny Chesney had a hand in re-making it, don't you think? And the MC5 Kick Out the Jams should be re-made live as it was by The Jonas Brothers as I'm sure they could totally pull it off.

What other ways can we ruin the memories of your youth? Come on, we can think of something!

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Craft Fairs, they be funny

Carmine Magazine was nice enough to do a Q&A with me, as well as feature quite a few paintings with their bios. You can read it all here.

The past weekend was the 4th annual Bazaar Bizarre here in Cleveland, and while everyone seemed to be selling more of the smaller items, it was by far the best one put on thus far. Craft fairs aren't really my thing, but my pal who organizes the show lets me burgle in on her booth while I act as security guard for shop lifters (seriously, the little old ladies are always the ones taking a 5 finger discount!). I was totally cranky and having my energy drained by florescent lighting, but I find craft fairs to be very interesting to observe.

One thing that I noticed was all the fabulously dressed women. Where did they come from? Am I still in Cleveland? Do they just hide out and only go to rock shows or Bar Cento? I actually went and dressed up a tad on the second day because I looked like a slob compared with most women — for real.

Then there was the drama, the drama. There are at least 2 crafters every year that make drama out of nothing and act as if they were the only PROFESSIONALS in the country. They need to chill the fuck out. Because really people, it is a craft fair, you aren't Madonna+Mariah+Oprah+Tyra with a dash of Donatella, and this isn't Paris Fashion Week. These are the people convinced they could run the show better, and I say fine, go ahead and see if you can be the orgainzer and not have something go wrong or someone complain about something. It all turns out okay in the end as usually the dramarama people get banned henceforth.

I like to observe the older ladies who don't normally look like indie craft fair buyers of any sort. Sometimes they aren't old, infact, they just have such poor fashion taste that they could be 33 and look 60 easily — bet Tyra could help them. These are the women who have no idea what Etsy is and find out about the show through those old paper thingys you call newspapers. They are part of a group I call "the christmas sweater gang". Although sometimes the Christmas sweater is replaced by Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse in warmer months. You can find these types across the US, Canada, and parts of the UK. Their hair has not changed since 1980, wear cheap gold jewelry that screams bad taste, own 4 pairs of mom jeans, and I imagine they probably own an RV or ATV. There is one I see every single year; she comes on both days, reads through every book, picks up every item, asks a ton of questions, and never buys anything – ever. After two full days of this show in particular, I saw she had bought a few bars of soap. Wow, she must really be bored and need to do something with her time, I suppose.

In the end it was fun to meet new people and it served a purpose. Appearantly my images get around, and so do the people who see my shows. It appears that Varuca is a popular LiveJournal avatar — who knew?

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Thanks Joan, I Feel Dirty Now

People asked me to write a little review of my totally overpriced paperback: “Joan Crawford, My Way of Life” that I broke down and bought at auction. It has since been reprinted in the wake of FX show “Feud”. I’ll try my best to remember the main lessons I learned.

Was it worth the money I spent, and do I agree with all the 5 star reviews on Amazon? Eh, not quite. Though there are some paragraphs that are pretty funny, and if anything the tone just confirms the “Mommie Dearest” book wasn’t that far from the truth. I like how she talks about how perfect her marriage was to her last husband, minus the black eyes and constant slappings. In fact I think 3 of her 4 husbands slapped her quite often. The structure and lessons taught in this book is very close to former Miss America — and ventriloquist — Vonda Kay VanDyke and her teen advice book in some aspects. And I won’t lie, there are some good points, but some are just unrealistic for average people.


Joan likes to gloss over stuff, like how her children were raised (she still refers to her youngest girls as “the twins” even though they were in fact born a year apart), her marriages, and the beatings she took as a kid. One story she thought was funny: She divorced 2nd husband Franchot Tone, and since she had miles of monogrammed towels and linens, she had one of her maids unpick every fiber from the “T” in everything with tweezers. Can you image how sore your hands would get? She then tells of how the maid was listening to the radio — almost done with this bullshit task — when she hears over the radio, “Joan Crawford has just married actor Phillip Terry in Las Vegas!” Joan thinks it is hilarious that the maid stormed out and said she quit. Yes Joan, hilarious. What’s even better and she fails to mention is that Joan Crawford wasn’t even her real name; it was name chosen as part of a movie fan magazine contest.

Joan also tells us that her German maid is named Mamacita because Joan was impatient about something and yelled to the next room “Mamacita!” because she couldn’t remember the maid’s name. The maid responded, so the name stuck. Look, here’s Joan on one of her many trips to Africa, totally overdressed for the villagers of course…

And I love how a bulk of the photos are dedicated to just how she and her maid pack and put tissue in all her clothes and then wrap them in plastic for all of her oh-so-busy goodwill trips and Pepsi bottling plant openings. 12 pieces of luggage is totally normal for her. I like how really, the lesson goes: Step 1.  Select your outfits Step 2. Get your maid to pack them. See…

Okay, so what lessons do I remember from Joan — besides the fact that she finds a way to tell you how busy she is on every page? Yes, she is that busy, busy enough her own children know to never disturb her without an appointment. Her phone rings off the hook you know, and she plans everything down to the detail.

Let’s see, I totally stock all the food items she lists not to stock: Bread, pasta, avocados, meat, sugar, potatoes, rice, olives, beans, butter, cheese, cream soups….well heck Joan what am I supposed to eat? Oh that’s right: cottage cheese and chicken livers, bacon, eggs benedict, meatballs, and bacon covered in peanut butter ?! Um, okay that seems a little strange.

Surprise parties are always supposed to be a restaurant…always!

Your housework should be done before your husband comes home, he shouldn’t even know what a vacuum cleaner looks like.

You should look nice and be fragrant when your husband comes home, because he probably works with much better looking and younger women than you.

Don’t ever talk about yourself or even so much as speak much when your husband and his friends are around, because nobody cares.

Get a job of some sort, otherwise people will think you are boring.

Sometimes men don’t want their wives to work, because they’re afraid they won’t get as much tang.

Before applying make-up, scrub your face with a washcloth. Really scrub she says. Harder, harder, I said scrub dammit!

Wash your hair in cold water with 6 eggs.

Your foundation make-up should be applied everywhere, neck, boobs, even to the back of the neck!

Everything should be monogrammed. Everything!

Inventory your closet 4 times a year, because you might have dust in the corners.

If you can buy off-the-rack clothing, you are brave, it is so much easier if you design your own clothes and have a dressmaker make them for you. Also, your liner and shoe fabrics should always match.

You probably have a lot of physical flaws. Freak out about them more, have photos taken of you from every angle and get them blown up to 8×10″ glossies. Study them, study how bad your physical appearance is and correct it.

Get a 3-panel mirror, because your ass is probably bigger than you think it is.

Exercise your legs the most, because men are leg watchers.

Scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees is best, because you might miss stuff in the corners.

Thanks Joan I think I’ll manage.