November 17 - Tipping vs. Hipsters

I worked at the bar tonight.
Lots of ID's from the late 80's.
Rude and entitled hipsters wearing things they perceive as outrageous.

Did You Know...
Hipsters don't tip.
It is because they don't have jobs.
Why don't they have jobs?
Because they've never had to work.
It's almost a Catch 22.

I felt bad for them.
Not being able to tip.
They needed that money for the next round.

More ironic ELO worship on the jukebox followed.
There are other ELO songs besides "Mr. Blue Sky".
I understand that it was in that one movie from when you were in junior high, but yeah.
Also, "Where Is My Mind" was a song before it was used in the credits of Fight Club.
So when you nostalgically reference Fight Club while it's playing, you shouldn't.
Just do some research is all I ask.
You have the internet.
There's no excuse.

Oh, but I forgot.
Hipsters don't work.
And that's why they don't tip.
It's so close to a Catch 22.

Verdict: Loss

November 16 - Jog Nog & God

Jogging has become my heroin.
My crystal meth.
My biting women if I was Marv Albert.

I had already jogged twice this week.
It's only Tuesday.
I even went out jogging today.
So now that's three times.
For three days in a row.
Clearly I have a problem.

Now that I'm addicted to jogging, I realized I had to do something about it.
I went through denial and anger and bargaining.
All of the 39 steps.
And then I relinquished my soul to God.

God spoke to me in his soothing, buttery baritone.
He told me to make egg nog.
So I created a recipe using computers.

• 6 eggs
• 1 or 2 pints heavy cream
• Cinnamon sticks
• A snifter of brandy
• Nutmeg shavings
• Any amount of rum
• Your favorite bourbon x 3
• Sprinkles of vanilla
• Chaser of beer (optional)

I drank a bunch of it.
It was very edible.
I mean imbibable.
It made me feel the spirit inside of me.
Yeah, it was very imbibable.
And you know what?
"Imbibable" spelled backwards is "Bible...I am".
Yeah, man.
I am The Bible!
Cuz like God's words live through me.
And you, too.
Know what I'm sayin'?
Hey, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Trick question.
The answer is fucken God, man.
Look it up.
In the Bible.
Look it up in yourself!
I have to take a piss.

Hey I'm fucken back.
So yeah, today cuz of egg nog and a higher power, I was cured of my addiction to jogging.

Verdict: Win

November 15 - More Jogging

Today I made more jogging.
I used the just the right amount of running.
Lauren took notice.
"Mmm. What smells like socks?"
My jogging was delicious.
I poured the excess sweat into a jar under the sink.
It was so good.
I made a note to label jogging recipe "TOP SECRET".

Verdict: Win

November 14 - Jogaholic

Oh yeah.
I used to jog.
When did I stop doing that?
The jogging.
It looks like July was the last time I jogged.

I should keep trying to do that.
The fucking jogging.
Even though it's awful and horrendous.
And stupid for you.
Because it means I can look in the mirror, still see manboobs and flab, and say "Hey, I'm doing everything I possibly can!"

So I jogged for a mile.
A whole mile.
That is such a long distance to have to be jogging for all of it.
It's the equivalent of running a marathon if I was 2⅔" tall.
Also I sweated.
Is it sweated or swat?
It's been so long, I've forgotten how to conjugate the verb.

But whatever, man.

It's the creatine.
I need it for my jogging.

Verdict: Win

November 13 - Try Oomph

I was in the mood for a triumphant day.
So I had one tailored up.

First, I went to Studio Greg Studios II.
A mixing day for The Nurse Novels.
I love recording.
But I was nervous.
I was reading in the afternoon at The Paper Machete.
Last time I read, it was an exercise in failure and humiliation that led to episodes of premature bitterness.
So I had to overcome that.
I like being a curmudgeon and that whole bit, but I don't want to become actually bitter.
I've seen those guys.
Their faces are like fists.
They look like owls.
Without make up.

My piece was about a group of nuns in Baltimore who had acquired the world's most valuable baseball card.
Chris, the host, told me I would be reading first, after joining the Paper Machete Chorus in reprising "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine".
I sipped a beer for good luck.

Last week the world's rarest baseball card was auctioned off.
A 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco card.
Only 57 are known to exist.
It went for $262,900.
"It is the Mona Lisa of baseball cards," declared the winning bidder.
He's right.
Decked in a drab grey collared Pirates uniform, the pursed lips of "The Flying Dutchman" prompt the question: Is he about to laugh or about to spit?

The previous owner of the card were a group of nuns.
They have ties to an organization called the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
They're the Latin Kings of nuns.
We don't know how this gang acquired the world's most famous baseball card.
One of the nuns said it belonged to her brother.
But no one seems to recall the name of this brother.
The nuns claim he's dead.
I don't trust these nuns.

That line got a big laugh.
I had them.

You see, the nuns I encountered in my Catholic school were a bunch of assholes.
They pulled me by my ear, gave me detentions for things I didn't do, and used a paddle to humiliate both me and my butt in front of the entire third grade class.
They also gave me a lifetime supply of Catholic guilt.
So fuck those nuns.
They're assholes.
I shouldn't have said that.
They were great nuns.
We should have lunch soon.

Ooh, I lost them a little bit there. But not entirely.

What we do know for sure is that nuns love to confiscate.

This got a strangely huge laugh. I got 'em back.

Toys, dolls, any item of great value to you.
They take what doesn't belong to them.
And they never give it back.
It's how they retain their hunched, lumpy figures.

Do I think these nuns stole that Honus Wagner baseball card from a little boy 100 years ago?
In fact, I think it happened 100 years ago today!
In this very room!
That's how strongly I believe it happened.

I knew that bit wouldn't get a big response.
But I also didn't care.

These nuns are bullies.
They're thugs.
And they're everywhere.

If we tore down that church in Baltimore or any Catholic church (God forbid), I bet the walls would be filled with all sorts of valuable goodies. From 1943 copper pennies to Series 1 Garbage Pail Kids. From vintage 1959 Barbie dolls to hundreds of antique Vaseline jars that also somehow found their way in there. And buried within the spackled and spackled over crawlspaces of these churches would lurk an entire yearbook’s worth of the headless, amputated corpses that donated these rare collectibles.
Caked in old, dried priest jizz.
I'm sorry.
I shouldn't have said that.
I shouldn't have inferred that Catholicism condones theft and murder and -
Well, just theft and murder.
It's a great religion.
It really is.
It so is a great religion.
Everyone should try it out.

We just went for a little ride there.
But they're still with me.

I've never seen the 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco card with my own eyes.
But I have seen perhaps the second most famous baseball card.
In 1989, The Fleer Corporation issued a baseball card of Billy Ripken, brother of Cal and son of Cal Sr.
In the photo Billy proudly poses while holding a bat.
Scrawled on the knob of his bat in thick black Sharpie is the word "FUCK FACE".
Realizing their error, Fleer rushed to correct the mistake with air brushing.
But by then it was too late.
Hundreds of these cards were already in the hand of Americans everywhere.
It had become known as the Billy Ripken Fuckface card.
Not so much the Mona Lisa of baseball cards.
More like the art school kid draped in raw meat takes a shit on stage of baseball cards.

A few people liked that one.

In 1989 a young boy in suburban Chicago got this card in a pack of cards from the local supermarket.
"I'm going to be rich!" he cheered.
That week the Beckett Baseball Card Monthly magazine had listed its value at $30.
"Imagine what it will be worth in a few years.
Thousands? Millions? Shablillions?"
He'll never know.
Because when he brought it to St. Joseph's School that week to show to his friends at recess, Sister Jean confiscated it.
And she never gave it back.
And later that day she interrupted class to lay him across her knees and paddle him with what she jokingly referred to as "The Board of Education".
And he cried.

That boy was not me.
Thankfully my parents pulled me out of Catholic school after the third grade.
So I was able to hang on to my Billy Ripken Fuckface card that I too got from a pack of baseball cards purchased at the supermarket.
I still have it.

In fact, I thought about auctioning it off to start a new charity.
The charity would help emancipate kids from the shackles of Catholic school.
After all, Honus Wagner pulled his likeness from tobacco cards because he didn't want youngsters to purchase cigarettes.
I don't want youngsters to be humiliated by paddles attached to cruel, deranged, physically and psychologically abusive nuns.
I'll call it The Tony Mendoza Fuckface Fund.

As I write this, there are a few auctions for this card on eBay.
One has 2 bids.
There's another that's going for $10.
But with no bids.
Another seller is offering both the original Fuckface card and its airbrushed twin.
2 bids.
Not quite a quarter of a million dollars.

But a decent start.
You can do a lot with $3.
You could buy a bottle of Coke.
12 ounces of gasoline.
A torn shirt sleeve.
A lighter.

To my surprise, people didn't know where I was going with this.
Or maybe they did, and were just waiting on confirmation to laugh.

Together these ingredients could be used to blow up St. Joseph's School...

Ah, there it was. The big laugh.
I actually had to pause for it.
The next line in the piece would be the most tasteless and polarizing, and I knew it.
It would threaten to negate the positive feedback that was currently showering me.
But I was not going to take it out.
Due to my real Catholic guilt, I felt bad for what I was about to do to the decent people who had warmed up to me. Their grips had loosened on their NPR totebags. They had accepted me.
This next line would be a betrayal in a way.
"Get ready," I said into the mic as the laughs naturally decayed.
Oh well.
It's just comedy.

...sending all those asshole shitty nuns screaming, clutching their burning flesh, running naked for their lives like the little Vietnam napalm girl.
But less sexy.

There was that silence again.
A groan and a wince happened.
Luckily, I protected that line.
Hopefully enough to get them back.

I shouldn't have said that.
St. Joseph's was a great school run by the best nuns.
You should go there.

"You should go there" somehow got them back.
The mathematical rhythm of comedy.

In all fairness, the School Sisters of Notre Dame is an international organization, with presence in over 30 countries.

So I was joking around earlier.
I didn't mean to say all those tasteless things about nuns.
Because I'm eternally grateful to them.
If it weren't for those nuns I'd still be a Catholic.


The Dryell Sisters provided music at half time.
That's Lauren, Jessica Joy and Rebecca Hansen doing Andrews Sisters style songings of today's big pop.
Diana Lawrence plays piano and I play drums.
It was fun to reunite with them after a year long hiatus.
More Dryell Sisters, please.

In the full house at Ricochet's was Alan from Bitter Tears, Holli, and Tim from Second City etc.
I'm glad they saw me do something of success up there.

I kissed Lauren goodbye and headed back to the studio for more mixing.
The Nurse Novels stuff sounds really good.
It's the best music I've made in my life.
Also, Greg Norman is an amazing recording engineer.
This isn't said enough.

I like triumph.
Failure's fun to write about and gain weight about.
But I prefer triumph.

Verdict: Win

November 12 - Metal Flake Rake

For some reason, every autumn I go through a surf/hot rod phase.
I don't know why this is, and I don't think too much about it.
I'm too busy waxin' my woodie.

Inspired by The Hondells and The Rip-Chords, last autumn I wrote a song with those kooky surf/hot rod chord progressions called "Two-Wheeled Vermin".
I've always wanted to write a kooky, spooky surf song about bike messengering.
Poeticizing the perils of winter riding.
Getting squeezed between busses, the slick metal bridges, the puddles that were potholes filled with rain, wiping out on manhole covers, getting doored by a box truck.
Messengering was the closest I've ever come to surfing.

On my indestructible Yamaha Portasound PSS-380 I wrote some chords.
A Cm to C intro into a C#m that begins the progression.
It went on from there, with more key changes and all that.
I had a good base for a cool song.
Then it was time to write lyrics.
I was having difficulty with this.
I think the first line I had was

Sleet shitting out of God's cold asshole

Not exactly Yeats.
I couldn't get it to work.
And so it sat dormant for a while.

Inspired this fall by The Super Stocks and 1963 Bruce Johnston, I revived the tune.
But I changed the lyrics from bike messengering to old timey carnival rides.

You hold me
And I hold you
A scream and a smile
Electric fumes are in the air
And the sparks rain down
Smells like burning hair

Not exactly Yeats either.
But at least there's no mention of God's intestinal tract problems.

Verdict: Win

November 11 - Fooser

Today was a wrap day.
I lucked out in a way.
My fellow PA Vince was given the unenviable task of deconstructing an IKEA kitchen table and putting it all back in the box as it was.
This meant he couldn't scuff it up in the process.
Or strip screws.
Or lose any tiny parts.
Then he had to return it to IKEA.

I did office stuff.
I used Excel for the first time in my life.
Excel is a computer program that has existed since 1826.
I was very proud and excited to use this historic program.
I used Excel to log the sizes of butcher coats.
Just like they did in the Civil War.

After lunch, Vince and I found ourselves twiddling our thumbs.
I was on two hours of sleep (again) so my thumbs collided more than twiddled.
A Kobe beef induced coma added to the general glaze.
We drooled onto our orbiting thumbs, creating a cat's cradle of saliva.
Hypnotized, the production managers had us rearrange the furniture in the office.

We moved shelves.
We moved tables.
We moved chairs.
We removed lots of sports equipment to a dead room.
The foosball table wouldn't get through the dead room doorway.
The foosball table weighed 1400 lbs.
Vince was conVinced that the foosball table would go through the doorway.
I was not.
Vince and I failed to get the foosball table through the dead room doorway.
But I succeeded in dropping the foosball table, injuring my fingers, and yelling "fuck".
It seemed we needed to remove the legs from the foosball table.

We worked in darkness on astroturf.
It's a weird office.
It used to be a tiny video studio where they shot sports related green screen stuff.
I think.
Nobody tells you much of anything in the world of production.
You just kind of go and do and accept.

Without the legs, the foosball table only weighed 1360 lbs.
Vince and I set it in the dead room next to a large doll house that belonged to an assistant director.
It's a weird office.

Then I went home and slept for 300 hours.

Verdict: Win

November 10 - Romancing The Ham

Today was the big day.
Filming turkeys, roasts and hams.
I stuck close to the food stylists.
We covered the meats in foil and gave them numbers.
"That's a 1. That's a 2."
The clients all gathered around video village.
I steamed the wrinkles out of a butcher's apron.
The head food stylist was also the talent.
I was in charge of her rubber gloves.

First up was the ham.
The camera closed in on her rubber gloved hands slicing into the big pink stone.
The director gave her a note about her technique.
"Romance the ham!"
I wrote this down on my notepad.

Next was a roast.
The assistant camera was impressed.
"This meat looks good from every angle."
The head food stylist sliced and folded the cut over itself, revealing a nice marble.
It was almost time for lunch.
So naturally we threw away all the wonderfully cooked hams and roasts to make room for the catered lunch.
The trash cans were stuffed with warm, delicious autumnal aromas.
The garbage smelled good from every angle.
I'm glad we threw away all that food.
It created a nice potpourri for us while we ate other food.

After lunch, it was the turkey's big moment to shine.
And be juicy.
The clients wanted it juicy.
Meanwhile, the food stylists created a spackle to cover up any turkey blemishes.

Here's how to do it:
Using a cuticle tool, scrape shavings from one of your uglier turkeys.
Mix it in a small pinch bowl with a small dab of KY Jelly.
And voila!
You have made turkey spackle.
Apply the spackle to any unsightly speckles on your hero turkey.

Still, the clients demanded more juice from the turkey.
Time to get the big guns out.
The head food stylist filled a syringe with saline and injected the bird with a large dose, seconds before the take.

The turkey oozed and goozed, but mostly at the bottom.
The clients wanted the juice to come from the top.
The food stylist was getting annoyed with the clients.
The director was getting annoyed with the food stylist.
I crouched on an apple box and prepped more rubber gloves.
Since lunch, it had been 4 hours and 5 turkeys.
There was talk of adding more juice in post.
CGI turkey sweat.
And without any fanfare, the director had announced that the shoot was over.

It took forever to clean up.
All those spackled, saline-juiced birds were stuffed into bags and tossed.
The floors were slick with gristle grime and meat water.
There was a general air of salmonella in the room.
We ate pizza.
We painted the stage floor.
We were close to finished by 9:30.
I had to go to the bar and work the door.
And get salmonella fingerprints all over hipster ID's.

Verdict: Win

Happy Groundhog's Day

It is Groundhog's Day.
So if you know one, wish it a happy one.
Apparently it is also snowing.
I went out to see about it, the snow.
It's fluffy and tall and white and cold.
And it's still coming down.
Inspired, I wrote a play script in homage to the blizzard, and how it unites everyone in a universal spirit of good cheer.

A short play script
by Tony Mendoza

It is Groundhog Day in Chicago. TONY, dressed in his old bike messenger winter gear, shovels snow around his van on a side street. An OLD WOMAN emerges from her home with a shovel. She growls.

Did you put that snow on the sidewalk?

TONY points to area between the street and sidewalk.

I put it here, some of it might have gotten on the sidewalk.

You put the snow on the sidewalk then.

I didn't put the snow on the sidewalk. The snow did.

I know the snow did. But you put it there, too.

TONY points to three pellet-sized pieces of snow on the sidewalk.

I might have put that one, that one, and that one on the sidewalk. I'm sorry.

I'm just going to shovel it back.


You live on Clark, don't you?

TONY points to apartments on the next block north.

I live there.

Why don't you park on that street then?

This is a public street.

I know it's a public street!

I'm sorry that you're upset about the blizzard, ma'am, but it is not my fault.

OLD WOMAN shovels heapings of snow toward TONY's van. TONY looks at her and shrugs.

Now I have to shovel the sidewalk all over again.

It's still snowing. You were going to have to shovel it again anyway. (Under his breath) If you were nice I would have done it for you.

The OLD WOMAN growls.

The snow did all this, not me. But if you need me to be the bad guy then I will play that role for you.

You're such a martyr.

Happy Groundhog's Day!