Casting Call for Roundtable: The Motion Picture

Years ago my friends and I'd have this conversation where we'd decide who we'd like to play us in the movie of our life. Like my friend Chris, for instance:

Chris: Nick Nolte.
Prego: ...But he's over six feet tall and blondish, while you're...
Chris: Nick Nolte.
Prego: Uh... yeah. I could see that.

Girls were the worst at this game. One such acquaintance named Nancy asked me whom I thought should be cast. Needless to say her feelings were slightly hurt when I said Anjelica Huston. I could see her wince, thus forcing me to add, "A young Anjelica Huston."

No dice.

"Um... Why? Who did you have in mind?" I queried.
"I was thinking of Neve Campbell."

: Uh... yeah. I could see that.

I guess the question weighs heavily on self-esteem, self-image and a bit of the delusional. Casting for a biographical film is such a difficult endeavour. Occasionally you have a moment of genius, such as Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Mozart, George C. Scott as General Patton, or Howard Stern as himself -- but more often than not, you end up with a "huh"?

The best example of a "huh?" casting was Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble. I'll have to admit, I had a bit of a crush on Betty as a kid. Between her and Wilma, it was no contest. A cavehussy like Rosie O'Donnell would have sent any self-respecting troglodyte to the nearest monastery or at least drive him to bestiality (which would have had serious repercussions on our species).

Then, there's the occasional "Patsy Cline" treatment in which case the subject of the film actually gets a bit of a favour. Patsy Cline was no slouch, but vintage Jessica Lange? Groooowwlllll....

Trollopy activist Erin Brockovich got such treatment. Marginally. So did Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ.

Sh*t, back in the day, they didn't even show, Jesus. They'd just have some pious sounding voiceover with an inexplicable echo effect. They showed such reverence for Presidents of the United States, too. They'd usually just film the back of a chair in an office (if the need ever arose to have a presidential character).

Well, I suppose it leaves the question, who'd be the silver screen Prego? That distinction has always gone to Esai Morales - that dude that played Ritchie Valens's brother in La Bamba. For some reason, that response always evoked laughter - either because it's a good choice or because people always remember his pained "Rih-tcheeeeeeeee" when he learned of his brother's death.

Me? I liked the fact that his character was a "struggling artist" and took his brother to a whore house, where he uttered the line "Smells like fish, but it tastes like chicken!" It kind of makes up for the fact that he got his ass kicked by Sean Penn in Bad Boys.

Better yet? He's Hispanic and you actually can say "Um... Yeah. I could see that.

I haven't decided on who'd play Mrs. P. I figured I can get a nice casting couch for the likes of Paz Vega or Rosario Dawson. I'm sure they can pull off an Irish chick... with Lindsay Lohan as a stunt double...

Excuse me.

(What's that? Oh... sh*t, baby? I'm only kidding...)

Mrs. P just informed me that she's casting Matthew McConaughey as her divorce lawyer. F*ck. I suppose I should get Dustin Hoffman's people on the phone. In the meanwhile, I'm curious:

Best biopic casting decision? The worst? Most importantly, who might play you in the story of your life? Wallace Shawn? Jack Black? Karen Black? or (shudder of disgust) Elvira?





La Mort Seule du Jennifer Strange

Last week I walked into the O-Dog's bedroom, where I found the Fletchmonster sitting atop the computer table near the fish tank. The Fletchmonster has taken a liking to throwing Hot Wheels™ cars into it lately, despite being told numerous times to stay away from it. I noticed, much to my horror, that the lid was pushed aside and the tank's light fixture sat precariously on the edge.


I grabbed the Fletchmonster quickly and chided him for playing with the tank. Inside, my stomach sank at the horrifying thought that the Fletchmonster might have prematurely met his maker by electrocution. As I fought the urge to retch, I quickly dug in the drawers for tape to affix the tank's lid - thus Fletchproofing it.

One of any parents' worst fears is to have a kid check out before you. It would suck to no end. Sh*t like diseases you just can't help sometimes. What are you going to do if the kid comes out of the chute with some ungodly sickness?

You expend time and energy to instill self-preservation to your offspring, which is why the demise of Jennifer Strange is so... so.... um... (insert opinion here).

Homegirl drank two gallons of some "fine quality H2O." Was it to end world hunger? Was it to protest the war in Iraq? Was it to save a kitten from drowning? Such nobility was absent in this scenario.

Her cause? A free Nintendo Wii game to turn her three kids into vidiots. I'd be willing to bet her kids would rather have Chutes & Ladders or Mousetrap, if it meant having a mother with a pulse.

Morning radio is chock-full of insipid contests. There's the classic "pregnant chick in a bikini" contest, some idiotic scavenger hunt or another way to demean yourself to win some cheap prize in our ongoing quest to get something for nothing.

As the old saying goes, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye."

Ms. Strange lost something a little more than that. Worse yet, she gave her mother the displeasure of finding her lifeless on the bathroom floor.

I'm not going to be insensitive with a joke (such as What do Jennifer Strange and Mr. Limpit have in common?) I truly feel for her loss. I remembered attending my friend Ron's funeral about ten or so years ago. He was a funny talented artist/musician... took a bad drug and turned himself into a near vegetable. He decided to kill himself by setting himself ablaze. At the funeral, I looked over at his mother, whose burnt hands were bandaged from trying to put him out and I began to cry uncontrollably. His mom was crying as well.

As the lawyers start gearing up for the "No, f*ck you, it's your fault" debate, let's pour out a 12oz. bottle of Perrier on the sidewalk to pay props to our dead homey. May Poseidon have mercy on your soul.


Highbrow, Lowbrow and the Unibrow

I once read that if you lost your passport in a foreign country, the US Consul would ask you some questions to see if you were 'legit'. No, they didn't ask you stuff like "Who ran against Harry Truman for the presidency?" "Explain the concept of Manifest Destiny," or ask you to sing the third-verse of the 'Star Spangled Banner.'

Their litmus test?

"M&Ms melt in your mouth..."

You'd better be prepared to answer, "not in your hands," unless you're looking to share a cell with a Randy Quaid-ish guy from Iowa somewhere in Ankara, waiting for your loved one to throw you a glimpse of the A-cups through some smeared glass.

Josephus hosts the roundtable this week, waxing nostalgic about pop-culture touchstones. What gripping moments in pop culture give you goose flesh? Was it Paul Westerberg's screaming intro to "Bastards of Young"? Was it Archie Bunker's anguishing loss of Edith? Or was it when Daniel-son did that crane move against Johnny in his final showdown?

What moment in pop culture was poignant for you? I hope to god it wasn't when Greg resolved his orange hair dilemma.

Stop by Pop Icon Joe Wack's Hairshirt blog and share your thoughts.


The Phantasmic Four

When most people in films see a ghost, they run like m***** f***ers. Who could blame them? Lately, ghots in films are some gaunt adolescent in a billowy nightgown - forced to wander the Earth because of post-partum fiasco or an ancient curse or something.

Zzzzzzz. Zzzzzzz.

Often, they look quite normal, until you get really close and then Grrraaaarrrrr.... They turn into some creepy, hellish sh*t, either ripping off your arms and beating you over the head with them or just making you scream like a poor soul getting dragged to Miss Congeniality 3 by his girlfriend. If you're black, he kills you right away. If you're Hispanic, he makes you reach for the rosary and hide in a church. Whitey? You watch all the minorities get axed while you figure out a way to 86 his ass. Go whitey.

Conversely, ghosts are at times friendly. Not necessarily in a Casper way (I once offended my mother-in-law by commenting that prior to his ghosthood, Casper was in all likelyhood a latent homosexual), but as a benevolent soul looking to right a wrong, or just looking for a homey to hang with. This is the kind of ghost I'd like to see.

Here, then, are brief descriptions of ghosts that I would not mind being haunted by. I didn't include my mom. I doubt she'd be a good ghost to have, since I'd invariably be bummed out every time I try to hug her only to have my arms go through her. Also, there's no guarantee she'll appear as beautiful as she was in real life, and I don't want to be put in a situation where I'd have to say, "Mom, you look like sh*t."

I did include the following:

Granted, his movies were bunk and his music experienced a steep decline in quality after the 50s and early 60s, but when you think about it Elvis has the style and je ne sais quoi that would make him a pretty dynamic apparition. The first thing I'd suggest is for him to ditch the jumpsuits and slim down a little.

Can you imagine an Elvis ghost?

Me Elvis, the wife's a little frigid lately. Do you think you can bust out Blue Moon for me to warm her up a bit?
The King "Blue mooooonnn.... you saw me standing alone...."
Me Yeah, that's the sh*t, buddy. You want another rice cake?
The King Gnarf gnarf gnarffffff....
Me Whoahhh. Easy there, dog. You almost bit my finger.

Think of the entertainment possibilities. Every Super Bowl Sunday you can turn off the lame half-time show and have some laughs with Elvis and your friends.

Me Elvis, do some of that kung fu sh*t.
(Elvis complies)
Group Waaaaaah- ha haaaaaaawww!
Donny (Wiping tears of laughter from his eyes) I think I just p*ssed my pants! Haaa- ha haaaawww.

An Elvis ghost would be pretty darned sweet.

Edgar Allan Poe
I paired up the King and Poe in a post last year... but if there's someone that would know something about haunting, it's Poe. Additionally appealing is the fact that he had a bit of a drinking problem.

Me Edgar, let's polish off a bottle of Wild Turkey and go f*ck with my in-laws again.
Edgar (hic) I'm game....
Me You might want to give that "nevermore" business with Aunt Judy's bird a rest, though. It's a little played out.
Edgar Shall we (hic) esconce her cat behind the dry-wall again?
Me Neh. I'm thinking torches and chains and sh*t.
Edgar All right... (hic) but we've got to stop at Home Depot and that antique store on Niagara Street.
Me Oooof. That place gives me the creeps.
Edgar Exactly....

That Ghost From Ghostbusters that Unzips Raymond Stantz's Pants
Now that's some ghostin'. Enough said. Mrs. P, obviously, would be extremely opposed to this ghost and would evoke the ghost of either Jack the Ripper or King Henry VIII to dispose of her properly. Damn...

Terry Schiavo
This ghost would be pretty darned harmless. Yeah, it'd be pretty downright creepy, but anybody with toddlers or young children would appreciate this ghost at dinner time - especially after spending a half hour making pasta with broccoli.

Me What do you mean you don't want to eat the broccoli? They're Godzilla trees! Godzilla loves to eat those trees.
Fletchmonster No.
O-Dog I hate Godzilla trees.
Me Come on, guys. One bite.
Boys No!
Me All right you little bastages. I've been in this kitchen for an hour already. You don't eat dinner and I'm throwing your asses in that room with the Schiavo ghost.
Boys Gnarf gnarf gnarffffff....
Me That's better.

I'm sure there are plenty of other ghosts out there that might be fun to have around... Share some laughs with John Candy, throw some bevvies back with W.A. Mozart, attend the next in-law party with Lizzie Borden, bitch-slap with Rick James or attend the Winter Olympics with Sonny Bono.

With my luck I'd just get stuck with a Patrick Swayze or something... trying to give me the reach-around at the potter's wheel. (shudder.)


Time™ Scrapes Bottom of Barrel

I used to care about who'd grace the cover of Time Magazine's Man (Person) of the Year issue. It used to be World 'Leaders' or people who accomplished something monumental... Occasionally it was bestowed upon some vague concept like "Endangered Earth" (1988) or a demographic like "American Broads" (1975) or "Cannon Fodder and Hippies" (1966). Now they finally got around to recognizing yours truly. Unfortunately, I've got plenty of company...

Steven F*nk
, for instance, this week's host, for starters.

I for one am not feeling that Disney® sh*t. Give me someone who cured a disease or something (starting with that f*cked up acronym that killed my mom), not some botard attention seeker on YouTube.

Stop by Funk-man of the Year's Serenade in Green blog. Give him some props, or better yet, who'd make a better choice? My second vote goes to this freak right here....

What an accomplishment. Really.


MIA: Winter

I never watch the weather broadcasts. Mrs. P always wants to, but I don't. On the rare occasion we're watching the news together, the following conversation ensues (or any variation thereof):

Mrs. P Don't change it. I want to watch the weather.
Prego Why? Anybody beyond the age of twelve has already become familiarized with the weather patterns in their area. Why do you need an over-educated chowderhead to tell you what the weather's like?
Mrs. P I wanna know what the weather's going to be like tomorrow...
Prego It's either gonna rain or it ain't. Why? Were you thinking about having a picnic?
(TV Volume gets turned up.)

April? 40º-50º F. Mostly sunny.

August? 60% chance of skanky shorts and halter tops.

October? 50º, with overnight lows in the high 30ºs.

November to March? Up to our cobbles in snow... Which is precisely why I'm starting to freak out a little.

We haven't had a goddamned bit of snow since mid-October.

As far as I can recall, living in Buffalo, I can count on a couple of things:
  1. There's always going to be a steady crew of industrious rummies pushing rusty shopping carts up and down the streets looking for returnable soda pop and beer cans.
  2. Bars will be open until four a.m., from where a population of pudgy bar sluts can stumble home sans bra, reeking of Crown Royal, mayonnaise and frat boy sweat, and
  3. Mrs. P will pester me to shovel snow from the 30' of sidewalk in front of the Prego household (to no avail), only to wind up doing it herself.
We're already heading into mid-January, and our temperature has been generally in the 40ºs. While neighbors and assorted idiots sing the praises of the global warming dilemma, I'm a little saddened that we've managed to seriously f*ck up our habitat. It's to the point that though I was going to wait until spring to teach my son to skateboard, I can probably do so tomorrow.

I even saw a few squirrels today. One of them had the paunch of a latter-day Elvis and could be seen smoking a spliff and eating Jared Fogle's Subway™ leftovers. Normally, this squirrel would have the physique of one of the Strokes and be rationing his nuts and cigarette butts this time of year.

All the charms of the winter solstice are amiss. Instead, earthworms litter the sidewalk, weeds are sprouting on lawns and bears are walking around with bloodshot eyes:

Mrs. Bear
Munch... munch... munch... I need to get some sleep.
Mr. Bear Just eat, baby.
Baby Bear Like, oh... my... gawd. I am so gaining my freshman fifteen. I am such a cow.
Mr. Bear Groan. I'm heading over to the Squrrel's to smoke a fat one.

Somewhere in our community there's a pudenda under a thick brush of winter bush, feeling all dressed up with nowhere to go:

Housefraü (to mons pubis) It's the machete for you....
Husband (to himself) Thank god.... It feels like a scouring pad. Bless you, greenhouse gases.

Maybe it's just me. Yeah, ordinarily I'm cursing the f*cking gods this time of year, scraping off a stubborn, yet life affirming inch-thick layer of ice off my windshield before heading to work. Usually I'm making a mad dash from the parking lot to work, with a snotscicle forming under my nose and the frigid sting of thousands of tiny needles on my ears (because I can never find my winter hat).

One winter as a kid, I blew a huge bubble of gum -- it fell from my chapped lips and shattered on the sidewalk. I swear to Satan.

Today? I'm looking out the window to see the sad drizzle of a temperate Buffalo. No icicles. No cloud of steam as I exhale. No need for a half bag of rock salt to melt the front stoop for the mailman. Damn...

Jack Frost... Mother Nature, wherever the f*ck you are... I miss you. Dearly. Please come soon.



As much as I can't stand Sting, he was right about one thing: don't stand so close to me.

In that spirit, Sereena hosts the roundtable this week. Her topic? Crowded elevators, people steppin' up on yo' grill and phobic metatarsals.


Enough to Make Deney Terrio Cringe

I'm not going to belabour the demise of Saddam Hussein with yet another insignificant opinion. Dude's dead. War still rages.

What I want to know is what gives with that goofy-*ss dance some Iraqis were doing in the streets? Alternately stepping side to side while pointing up in the air is a rather silly looking jig to perform when the bane of your existence dangles on the gallows. It makes you look like a retarded stunt double on The Smurfs.

No Dutty Wine? No jooba? Not even a "cabbage patch"?! It makes me wonder if Saddam had killed all choreographers during his reign.

Sh*t.... Even the Ickey Shuffle has more panache. Iraqis should be ashamed.