Month: October 2016

The Halloween Stereotypes

As in Christmas there are those who either despise the song and dance or enjoy it so much they start inserting their Bing Crosby CDs on the evening of Thanksgiving and shake their legs like Rosemary Clooney–there are as well types for Halloween; call them characteristics attributed to certain kinds of people on the scariest night of the year.

Most can think of one or two types: the Halloween Humbug and the Lunatic Decorator, as those are common personalities when it comes to celebrating holidays; however I know of so many more which identify solely with All Hallow’s Eve.

Presenting the Halloween Stereotypes! And live from New York it’s Saturday–never mind…nothing to see here…

Moving along:

The Halloween Connoisseur: These are the people who show up to your party for one reason: to educate everyone on the traditions and did-you-knows of the Halloween season. Their facts range from the truth behind turnips as pumpkins, the use of masks to scare away ghouls, and every type of candy ever used in this marketing craze.

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Does not wear a Halloween costume to the party
  • Wears instead Halloween themed clothing
  • Chats up anyone within ten feet of them
  • Drinks five cups of the orange flavored fruit punch
  • Leaves halfway through the party

The Movie Maniac: This is the best friend who has a collection stuffed with boxed sets of Nightmare on Elm Street; Friday the 13th; Halloween; and unfortunately Leprechaun–damn it, Warwick Davis! When it comes to celebrating Halloween they prefer lounging on the couch with bowls of candy as they re-watch their favorite scary movie…for the thirteenth time.

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Wears shirts depicting slashers chasing after their victims
  • Hangs horror movie posters on any empty space in their bedroom
  • Says, “We all go a little mad sometimes” in the awkwardest situations
  • Prank calls people using a Ghostface voice changer
  • Has slasher masks set on pedestals around their home

The Candy Hoarder: Those individuals you tend to find milling endlessly around the candy aisles at Wal-Mart or Target; all Halloween is to them is a sweet fest; a sugary rush. They will not hand out their treats because they will be eating them themselves. Expect candy hoarders to steal the bowls off the doorstep…

Identifiable by these traits:

  • Has chocolate smudges on the corners of their lips
  • Has a Choco-Belly–the term describing the gaining size of stomachs from eating candy
  • Sticks snack sized treats in their pant or coat pockets
  • Goes to the store to stare at the shelved candy

Three stereotypes down, twenty nine left to go…you get it?

Do you know of any holiday stereotypes?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Christmas–Bring On The Songs!

Halloween is right around the tombstone! See what I did there? The thing with the corner…and I said tombstone…Why don’t you laugh, people? You’re not supposed to be grim for another week. You keep it up, and I may not pass out candy this year…

That’s right. Laugh your ass off.

With Halloween coming so quickly; however it brings to mind the remaining holidays: the Stepchild and the Movie Star, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas, specifically Christmas Morning. Before you know it you will have gobbled the turkey and demolished the presents–in that order; and then it is on to the New Year and boring holidays, with the exception of Easter and St. Patrick.

So to lengthen the stay of Christmas–who honestly cares about Thanksgiving?–and its wallet eating tendencies I have prepared a song for all of you to hum in your head while you decorate your trees and unwrap your presents. It could be addicting and will likely end up on the Billboard Top Ten within the next, give or take, four days.

Prepare yourself for…

Shopping Hell— sung to the tune of Jingle Bells:

Shopping Hell, shopping hell!

Curse this holiday!

Oh, the pain of bringing children to the mall to play-ay!

Shopping Hell, shopping hell!

Egg nog, please, I’ll pay!

My migraine is starting and I still have pies to ba-aaake!

Check it out in the papers–it’ll be an instant hit.

And never stop humming.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

What Makes Detectives So Enticing?

The other day I was reading over my mystery novella and while I encountered for the fourth time the central detective–the guy is a class act smart ass–I wondered why his snappish personality stuck out more than the rest of the characters. By fictional nature detectives are ofttimes those arrogant people who no one wants to engage in conversation in fear of coming across as unexperienced and, well, dumb; but maybe I am only thinking of Sherlock Holmes. What a prideful–oh, never mind, he stole the words already.

But why are they such charismatic strangers?

Phillip Marlowe comes first to mind. The slumming star of The Big Sleep is a one of a kind wordsmith; he knows so many ways to twist a simile that your mind gets as rattled as a pissed off rattlesnake. Second to his creative skills are his tricks with those dangerous ladies of Hollywood–in The Big Sleep alone he flirts with three dames, all of whom entangle him in near death situations (good thinking, Marlowe), but do eventually bestow upon his sarcastic lips a smooch.

For Marlowe it is easier to tell: he is after all the dirtiest detective in Hollywood; and everyone knows what dirty laundry lurks behind those towering white letters–his unwashed underwear from three weeks ago.

Then you come to someone like Sherlock Holmes, who is the best wisecrack in the biz; if not for his spectacular observation skills he would be starting laughing fits along Baker Street all evening long…and perhaps a gun shot or two, because, c’mon, it’s Sherlock Holmes–who doesn’t want to silence his jabbering mouth?

Answer: John Watson, his one true love.

Aside from Watson; however Holmes falls short of Marlowe in the affection department, but makes up for it using his unique charm: informing the women of his dreams of their imperfections and, sometimes, old flames which they have not yet blown out.

If any ladies wish to contact Mr. Sherlock Holmes for this special treatment, then kindly visit 221 Baker Street. The door will be open and he will be waiting.

It seems the endearing quality in these literary investigators is sarcasm. Who knew they could be so good at talking? It’s not as if they interview witnesses or anything…

Think daily,

A Southpaw

First Things First….

We all have firsts–dictionary definition: the first of some thing.

There are first tastes. Say you vividly remember chomping into a juicy slice of apple pie, or hesitantly slicing off shreds from a Brussel sprout–as a matter of fact I do like those. It can be your first chocolate cake or Eggo waffle or chicken nugget.

There are first experiences. Taking the new car out for a test spin and feeling the wind blow back your hair; climbing a massive oak tree with your friends and thinking the whole time how far away the ground seems; partying with friends and living as if the world could stop at a snap of your finger.

There are first feelings. You see the girl or boy in your class glance–you are sure it was a glance–towards you and smile just a little, just enough to send you shooting headlong into sweet delirium. And then there is that feeling. That feeling you savor and which only comes around when the game pieces are precisely placed in their positions; it is called nirvana by some, but I prefer holy-crap-life-is-actually-going-perfect-for-once.

Some firsts occur faster than others; and on that you have to be careful. But if life tosses you a grenade you better not throw it back. Know why? Once the heat leaves your hand it is gone. You throw one of those grenades and at the very least you will regret it…because life has put meaning on its grenade, it may be a smiley face or a Nike symbol, but there is a reason it fell into your lap.

Take all firsts slow–we only have a one way trip on this crazy carousel.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Halloween Versus Christmas–The Terrifying Truth…[Insert Scream Here]

Can we get a picture of Jack Skellington and Santa Claus duking it out under a mistletoe? Never mind, forget the mistletoe–no one can look at that and think violence–and instead go skull crazy. I am talking six foot skeletons holding giant Grim Reaper scythes…and those creepy cow skulls you see in almost every Western horror movie; it is as if the director is whispering “Beware the cows…” into the set designer’s headset.

But to talk about the picture: give Santa some beefy arms and a biker mustache, stick him in a spandex suit with a belt of candy canes; opposite him put Skellington on a fire breathing motorcycle that hums the theme from Halloween in a never-ending loop–

We have to wait on the picture?

Fine–I suppose I can them entertained until then.

Is he gone? Good. What a piece of black licorice….

You are obviously wondering the purpose of this artful picture–not to give myself credit or anything. As a matter of fact it is the essential image of the war waged between Halloween and Christmas since the dawn of the Tootsie Roll and the stocking stuffers.

Marketing–that selfish fruitcake!

Pardon my French, ladies.

To illustrate this further I see I need to educate you on your role as a consumer in these colossal money suckers. For both Halloween and Christmas there is this feeling; and this feeling–in laymen terms we call it anxiety–pushes you, the tradition following citizen, to leave the safety of your home and venture out to the treacherous soul stealing–in laymen terms we call it your wallet–pit known as Wal Mart to purchase either latex masks and candy bags, or aluminum trees and freaky elves you like to see staring at you from the shelf…

In short: the repetitive ankle twisters of the holiday season.

Imagine a man breaks into your house; and while you are stuffing shells into your shotgun–it was an early Christmas present–he rushes up to you and twists your wrist so far you wish it did snap. He tells you the only way he is letting go is if you buy him a roll of present wrapping and a gingerbread house kit. This man is Twister Tommy–the bastardized version of your favorite holidays; and he lives on Consumerism Avenue.

Do the right thing–eliminate the Twister Tommy who intrudes on your season. This has been a Public Service Announcement from the Bureau of Protecting the Values of Holiday Fun Times.

Is that picture ready yet?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Least Miserables Book Ever… Just Kidding. It Sucks.

Do not read Les Miserables if you are afflicted with any of the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Deriving Humor From the Pain of Poor People
  • Zero Tolerance For Sometimes Pointless Tangents From the Story
  • Hairy Mustache
  • Hungry Stomach
  • A Tendency to Kick Baby Unicorns

I am dead serious, people. This book is classic because of its depressing storyline–well, and the play and movie it spawned…but mostly the storyline. You will leave each reading session thinking to yourself: why am I still interested in reading about this poor neglected child, or even that saintly criminal who hates himself every single chapter? What’s that? Take a break and learn about the Battle of Waterloo? Okay, why not?

My God, there are also times when I question my patience with some writers, specifically Victor Hugo and his tendency to drag on about things which do not directly relate to the storyline but for a snippet at the end of a section. Granted, he was born into a literary family, and all know with literary families there is going to be heavy doses of symbolism or deeper meanings in their works. And he was in the French Revolution–anything to take time away from there was crazily sought after.

But if you do enjoy books about the struggles of poverty stricken families–cough cough, sadist–and you can stand long trips into other realms of Paris and the warlike atmosphere, like me, then Les Miserables is your book.

And quit kicking those baby unicorns.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Shining In Shades Of Gray

Our world sees the human personality as divided into separate halves of black and white. From the moment you come into this…call it a skating rink of individuality through the arms of a nurse or a friend you have a certain shine about you. It does not mean you were dipped in a bucket of floor polish or wax; in fact the shine has less to do with the outside than it does with the inside.

Some are white. And some are black. But it seems there can be no in between. No one is allowed to switch sides. No one is allowed to grab their identification card and tear it up and say the hell with it. No one is allowed to do these things because the shades organize–they practice conformity. Follow the white light and seek out life. Follow the black light and seek out life.

But to follow the gray light?

There is a place out there, a nice place, where stands a door. What is the door? The door is what you wish it to be. Want a door made out of clouds? Make it happen. How about an old fashioned medieval head knocker? Go for it. Except the one unchangeable thing about this door is what lies behind it. Change the exterior to your content, but the interior is unknowable…until you turn the knob.

Most hesitate before opening the door when in actuality the hardest part is stepping inside the room–an empty space in which your personality must bloom and spread its seasoned tendrils from the other side.

The gray light flashes in there.

And as you are stepping carefully around the laughing blacks and whites of Our World you feel your shine slipping off your body. Watery colors leak from your clothes. Perception dwindles to a pinprick. And there comes a buzzing within your head–it may frighten you but stick with it–as if an alien is paralyzing your brain and distorting your features: it is anxiety towards reinvention.

And once you reopen your eyes you wonder how you avoided the gray for so long.

You shine in all shades–never limit yourself to black and white.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Writing is the New Running

It should be obvious by now: I like to write. If I hated writing I would not do it; however as it is my favorite hobby I devote what little time I have to its pursuance–perhaps one day as a career. It is calming and acts as a source of release for me; all the pent up issues in a day are blown out in 500 or 600 words a night.

But you know what else is calming?

Running five six or miles. You know how it feels to strap on your shoes–okay, who actually straps on shoes? we all have laces for a reason–and leave your driveway or apartment staircase and go jogging inside a mental marshmallow. At first you may hate this feeling–and then you will grow to love the runner’s high received from running comfortably for a long period of time. It has nothing to do with drugs.

The thing is, running and writing are not as separate as they seem: they both require excessive mental endurance; they both act as forms of release from stress–although some stories can be stressful–and for both pacing is key.

What do I mean by pacing?

A story needs conflict and character–action and rest.

A race needs sprinting and running–action and rest.

To master each form you must understand them. I’m not about to spout some Mr. Miagi be-one-with-the-story junk; but when excelling in writing and running you have been through the ringer with them; you have sat down next them on the bus and fired up an emotional conversation in which both parties shed at least one tear; and you have been versed in all of their likes and dislikes throughout life.

This sounds more serious than it is, you say. Perhaps on that you are right, but are you willing to step out there and get to know these activities, to cherish them fully for what they not only appear to be but truly are?

Running and writing are buddies; their friendship is unmatchable even on the standards of Frodo and Sam…or the pilots in Top Gun. If you happen to do both take them out to dinner some time and observe the fluidity arising from their sudden union. Buy writing breadsticks…and get running a platter of salad–he is always on about his diet.

And get this, I ask him, “Hey, Running, you want some chocolate cake?” He turns slowly in his sweaty singlet and gym shorts–all the while he is staring with those grassy eyes of his–and replies, “Have you forgotten I am in your head? You’re not even talking to a real person!”

Joke’s on him, I guess…

Bye for now. I’m going to invite Drawing to the art museum–he’s a quiet guy.

Think daily,

A Southpaw