Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Fireside Chat


My Fellow Americans,

As the year comes to a close at midnight tonight, we look ahead to the future. Learning from the lessons of the past and hopefully deriving some enlightenment as we make choices for the new year.

I spent last week enjoying the holidays at my New England retreat surrounded by loved ones. It was a truly blessed time: egg nog, songs around the piano and wholesome dinner conversation. During this time of relaxation and reflection, I concentrated on the threats faced by America.

As we turn on the news each day we can't help but be influenced by the dangers we encounter. Terrorism, foreign wars, and a rise in domestic crime, were just a few of the headlines that captured our nation's attention in 2006.

While these issues are grand in scope, there was another topic that has long concerned me. A threat more immediate, vile and troublingly troublesome. A malignant cancer that plagues us most deeply because it resides in our midst. -and yet, this threat is not discussed at the dinner table and never featured on the 11 o'clock news. The threat?

CLOWNS


For far too long these agents of evil have plagued our society with oversized shoes, unfunny physical comedy, and serial homicidal attacks [see above]. Which forces me to ask the simple question. How can we protect our interests abroad while domestically these evil-doers operate virtually unabated?

I think if you look closely, you'll find that here in the continental United States we have our own Axis of Evil:

Big Apple Circus' GRANDMA THE CLOWN
If you are looking to find the root of the cultural demise of American values, you need look no further than the Big Apple Circus. Every year this "entertainment" makes its return to the Big Apple and every year I boycott. Each year it grows progressively more difficult. You see, nothing warms my heart quite like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels balancing themselves on impossibly small balls. And yet, I stay away. The reason? GRANDMA THE CLOWN. Never was an assault on the natural order so flagrant. Grandma the clown is not a grandma at all. She has no children. She has no home reeking of old people. And you can bet that she'll never pay you a shiny nickel to rub her bunions. The reason she doesn't have any of these characteristics is because she isn't a she at all! YES! Grandma the clown is actually a man. Oh, I know what you're thinking, "Patrick, its just a fun show for the kiddies." To which I reply, "don't shove your liberal agenda down my throat." One day the kids are enjoying a "fun show for the kiddies." The next thing you know little Timmy is in a tranny sex show in Amsterdam. It's a slippery slope. And I, for one, encourage some responsible parenting during this period of cultural turmoil.

EMMETT KELLY
I hate this clown on many levels. First off, I hold him solely responsible for the epidemic of poverty. Here's a "clown" that spends its day eating beans out of a can, painting a hopeless frown on his face and traipsing around on railcars. Most people would write this off as simply hobo antics and yet I fail to find the hilarity. He makes no real attempt to seek further education. He puts forth little to no commitment to the many occupations he attempts. What kind of message does this send to our youth?

Secondly, as an Irish-American I am personally offended by the Kelly stereotype that Irish people are bums: depending on the kindness of strangers, unreliable, sleeping in their own feces. We Irish-Americans have a rich, proud history and I will not have this clown piss on that heritage. Literally or metaphorically.

Lastly, I do not know what he carrys in that kerchief / stick luggage, but I can guarantee it isn't good.

THAT CREEPY FUCKING CLOWN FROM 'IT'
Since 1998, this clown has haunted my nightmares. The mental anguish I have suffered at the hands of this clown is insufferable. Under the Second Amendment, we as Americans, have the right to bear arms. Now, normally I would never advocate the use of violence. However, in the event that you ever encounter this clown, it is your duty as an American, to blow the fucker away so that we might end his reign of terror. [Patrick steps away from the computer, enters the fetal position, and weeps chanting, "clowns in the sewer...." -Helen]

This is a real challenge. I encourage all Americans to be vigilant in these times of change. Sometimes the most threatening threat is the one among us. If you or someone you know is considering being a clown, please call 1.800.CLWN.WATCH. Think globally. Act locally. It is the only way we can bring this true terror to its knees.

Good Night & God Bless America*

*but don't bless the clowns that happen to live in America

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Till Next Week...

Hello All!

I hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing holiday respite. As the year comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who has read this blog, shared it with friends and so on. I really appreciate it.

This weekend I have escaped the big, dangerous city (that recently brought down our esteemed Miss USA), for a chance to recharge in peaceful, festive New Hampshire. There's something about New Hampshire that makes me feel a little less obnoxious. As a result, I'm taking a little vacay this week. BUT NEVER FEAR! I'll be back next week with a very special message from me to you and yours. So, till next week...

PS- Does the Kay Jewelers commercial where the woman says at the end, "I'll never forget how I feel tonight." make anyone else cringe or is it just me?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the life of the party

Well, the holidays are in full swing and as you might imagine, my social calendar is off da hook. My inbox flooded with evites and my cell phone set to silent so the calls don't disturb my day to day. You laugh, but it can be a taxing time of year (especially if you don't have a capable secretary / assistant / stylist like my darling, Helen). In a never ending effort to help my public, I am going to share with you Patrick's secrets of party-going success. These are little tactics that I have picked up through my encounters that will help you master not only the holiday season but social gatherings as a whole.

**hit it off with your host(ess)

Going to parties where you may only know a few people if any can be very intimidating. The key to crackin' the nut, that is this party, is your host(ess). How do you crack that big nut? Compliments. "Oh well, I would do that anyway," you might think. To which I would reply, "you and your hypothetical, over-active inner monologue can shut your fuckin' pie hole." The key isn't just a compliment, but a memorable compliment. Below, please find samples that best illustrate this point.

FOR FEMALE HOST:
Female Host: "Patrick, we're so glad you could make it."

Patrick: "Are you kidding? With a rack like yours, I'd never miss it."

[raucous laughter ensues - host won over.]

FOR MALE HOST:
Male Host: "Welcome. You look dapper tonight."

Patrick: "Why thank you! ...and if I may say, you look more clostedly homosexual than normal."

You see its all about winning them over in those first important minutes. Moving on.

**establishing yourself as the alpha

In my social encounters I meet a plethora of intelligent people. I have made it my personal charter to knock this intelligentsia down a few pegs and establish myself as the alpha dog. ARF! ARF! ARF! Why would I do this? Well, for starters, I'm an asshole. But that aside, it's all about confidence. The way that I go about this is by asking what people do for a living, then I crush them. For instance, a lot of my sister's friends are lawyers, so when I meet them I inquire as to their focus. Then, no matter what their reply, I start screaming and poking them in the chest, "Whatever, you bleeding heart commie! Keep up the good work hating America." When I do this, I make sure that it is loud enough so that everyone hears it. This creates what I call a "shared experience." From this "shared experience" you can start new conversations with lead ins like,"did you get a load of that commie?" Shoe in. Trust me.

**share your gifts

My mom always said to me, "You have unique gifts. It is your duty to share these gifts with the world. If you don't that is a sin." These were wise words that I really took to heart. It has taken me these 27 years to discover my gifts and when I discover a new one, I usually issue a press release. What is unique about me? What gifts do I have to share? Well for starters, I am lactose intolerant. -Extremely lactose intolerant. At a recent party, I shared this gift. I reacquainted myself with my good friend, Mr. Baked Brie. Let me tell you within ten minutes, everyone at the party was talking about lil' 'ol me. There was just something in the air that night, and I was on the tip of everyone's tongue. Yes, I created quite a buzz, and I'm told from the hostess that my gift was the lasting memory that most party-goers took away from the experience. All because I chose to give.

**hunt "the cougar"

So it is 12:30am and you have put all these tactics into play and you have yielded bupkus with the ladies. Don't despair, the evening isn't over. The hunt has just begun. Your prey: the cougar. (or for you ladies out there, the silver fox --for the purposes of this diatribe, I'm going to lay this out under the context of the cougar, however, I understand there are many similarities). First off, "how do I spot the cougar?" Well that's a good rhetorical question. The cougar is not at all as elusive as you might think. You can usually spot the cougar by its unique markings. 40+, plastic surgery, lots of bling, risque clothing, and "the eyes" (as pictured) are all common traits. The cougar is a 7 martini gal. It is when the cougar begins its mating dance that you pounce. You see, the cougar LOVES to dance. The cougar is an AWFUL dancer. Using this information you step up, begin your tango de l'amour, and the next thing you know, you have bagged the big cat. Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.

If you implement even half of these initiatives, I can guarantee that you will be the most talked about party guest -ever. Consider it my holiday gift to you. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm due to refresh my Sapphire and tonic. HELEN, BOOZE! NOW!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

And Leave the Driving to Us

...And leave the driving to us? Who the hell else is going to do it?

Tonight I returned from a whirlwind trip to Boston where I utilized the form of transportation known as "the bus." Now as you can imagine I normally don't lower myself to such paltry forms of transportation. However, Saturday morning, there was some sort of malfunction at the South Street helipad and my armored SUV was in the shop (evidently the fluxcapacator was broken --I don't really know. I'm not automotively savvy and it all sounded terribly complicated). Luxury transportation just wasn't in the cards for me.

As I result I was forced to schlep on down to Port Authority and ride what I have come to understand is called "a bus." Now my only experience with buses to the best of recollections, is youthful glimpses of a large yellow tank and flashing memories of severe beatings / wedgies. My therapist has informed me that my lack of clarity is what is known as traumatic stress repression. ..but I digress.

Upon my arrival at Port Authority I was really impressed by what can only be described as "local color." Growing up in the heartland, I always valued the importance of folksy charm; the 'street cred' garnered by blending in and assimilating to the local culture and mores. As I approached the door I encountered a man named Big Bill, who I would later learn was on heroin, moving in slow motion. With the best of intentions, I tried to communicate with him on his level in the only way I knew how: I began doing 'the robot.' When this met only with grunts and more shakily fluid moments from my friend, I decided I needed a change of tactics. So I began my polished Marcel Marceau routine beginning with the one where I'm trapped in an invisible box. It was at this time that I was shanked.

When the shiv was removed and the bleeding stopped I proceeded to the gate. Luckily, my secretary, Helen, had printed up what is called an e-ticket. Evidently, you can make a variety of purchases from oversized Michael Kors belts to bus tickets on what Helen referred to as the World Wide Web. "I must check into that when I get back from Boston." I resolved.

Upon boarding the bus, I knew that this would be an unacceptable. For starters? The decor. The threadbare gray acrylic upholstering was simply unacceptable. As many of you are probably aware, I don't allow any material to touch my skin that wasn't attained from the slaughter of a small, cute, cuddly and well-pelted animal. Simply unacceptable. In an effort to rectify the situation I pressed the stewardess call button. However, when I did this, all I got was a severe facefull of dank, recycled air. "How embarrassing," I thought to myself and pressed the other button. This turned on what I would assume was the call light. After 15 minutes standing in the center of the aisle an obese woman coarsely bellowed, "Honey, get your fucking candy ass out of the aisle." I thought it best to comply.

When I sat down in my seat, I was pleased to find a somewhat attractive girl wearing an oversized North Face jacket, Uggs and Gucci sunglasses. "Finally, someone normal." I produced my ice gel mask from my bag and geared up for what I was sure would be a relaxing trek with Real America. Despite these high hopes, as soon as the bus rolled out my seatmate began talking on her phone. No-not talking, shouting on her cell phone. Well, I threw down my ice mask down I my lap in obvious disapproval and simply glared at her. My disapproval did not register. I then began clicking my tongue and sighing deeply. Still no reply. It only seemed to encourage her. So then I did what any good traveler would do, I opened my hand and sharply rapped her on the forehead with the tips of my pointer, middle, ring and pinky fingers. "What the he-" I slapped her on the forehead again. "I'm going to-" Slap. "Who the fu-" Slap.

This went on for about 10 minutes, but you know, ultimately I think I conditioned her not to talk so loud. Also, by the time we got to Worcester we had a good laugh about it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had heard that edited versions of movies usually appear on these "bus trips." Despite these rumors, I saw no visible TVs. "They probably flip down like they do in my Suburban," I reasoned. About (2) hours into the trip I decided I needed to inquire with the driver as to the status of the movie. Not just for me, but for the bus at large.

"When will the movie start?" I asked

"Do you see any fucking TV's?" He replied

"Well no, but I thought they might flip down, you know?"

"Are you retarded?" He retorted.

No movies, eh? I felt it was my responsibility to entertain the bus. I mean I did have a BFA in musical theatre didn't I? "Lot 665," I began. "A papier mache musical box in the shape of a barrel organ, attached the figure of a monkey in Persian clothes play the cymbals. This item discovered in the vaults of the theatre still in working order. Shown here."

"What the hell are you talking about?" One of the passengers pointedly inquired.

"Well, you see there isn't a movie on this bus, so I figured I would act out The Phantom of the Opera for you. What don't you like book scenes?"

I decided that I should skip to the the meat of the show and began singing a stirring rendition of Music of the Night. It was at this time that I was shanked again.

Luckily, it was just in the leg and the bleeding stopped pretty quickly. While my assailant said, "if you sing one more note, I'll cut your throat," I think it was all in good fun. Another passenger even commented that this was the best bus entertainment she's ever seen. And if nothing else I can definitely take that away from this otherwise unfortunate encounter.

Into the third hour of the trip, my coffee caught up with me and I needed to take advantage of the on-board facilities. Upon entering the bathroom my nostrils were filled with the pungent scents. Instantly my mind was overwhelmed with sense memory. Where did I know this smell? "It must be that sour cheese factory we toured in Northern France." After finishing my business, I went for the paper towels only to find that there was none to be had. This would never happen on my Jetstream. To remedy this unfortunate situation, I used the hair of women seated in the rows proceeding my own. Boy, were they pissed, but my hands were both dried and exfoliated. Who can argue with that?

We were into the final half hour of the trip when a "gentleman" seated next to me began began hacking coughing. Now, if there is one thing I hate, it is hacking coughing. If there's another thing I hate it is hacking coughing anywhere in my airspace. I tried to just let it slide. The trip was almost over, but the hacking just grew more intense. I couldn't let this go on any further. Again, not just for myself, but for the bus as a whole. We couldn't escape his wet coughing. Something needed to be done.

"He's using biological weapons to kill us all!" I began screaming.

Well, everyone freaked and started a stampede.

When the FBI arrived, I made best efforts to explain how much I hated hacking coughing, but this was a tough crowd. So now I'm facing federal criminal charges or something. I don't really know, again, it all sounds terribly complex.

After the massive consumption vicadin and lithium for my assorted beatings, I just rolled out of my pill-induced coma to share these important lesson that you, my public, can take away from this experience:

1.) Never confuse a heroin addict with a mime.
2.) The World Wide Web is the wave of the future "log on and get surfing"
3.) Never underestimate the power of a good forehead slap.
4.) Shanking is no joke
5.) Above all never, never, never ride "the bus"

I trust this is helpful. Happy travels.

-PG

Sunday, December 03, 2006

SPECIAL REPORT: A Holiday Tourist Pictorial

A lot of you are probably wondering, "Patrick, why are you posed next to those trash cans outside your apartment?" Well, to put it quite simply, those are the lengths I am willing to go to in order to bring you hard-hitting news.

Long inspired by the exploits of Anderson Cooper, I realized that I had become a mere passenger in a crappy carpool on the information superhighway. Didn't I have something to contribute? Yes, yes I did, but what could that thing be? What unique perspective could I bring to my blog readers and the world-at-large?

"I had always wanted to create a 12-month calendar featuring pictures of tourists taking pictures," I thought to myself. And from this reflection, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, gave way to a new era of photo journalism. " What if I were to take pictures of tourists taking pictures set against a manic, Manhattan holiday backdrop?" --and eureka an idea was born!

Leaping out of bed at 2:30pm on a Sunday morning, I reheated some coffee, picked my jeans up off the floor, put on my CNN t-shirt (for inspiration), and grabbed my digital camera. This was a story that needed to be told. I knocked on the door of my roomate / Girl Friday, Joey, and asked him if he wanted to join me in my expedition into the thick of the concrete jungle.

"What do I need to bring?" he inquired.

"Just a good eye." I responded and we took to the streets.

****

The following photos outline our exploits. In an effort to capture the tourist in its natural habitat, I worked to secure these images clandestinely. The challenge of this assignment was to take pictures factoring in (2) requirements:

1.) The pictures must include tourists.

2.) There must be a camera in every picture.

For the purposes of clarity, I have titled these photos. Where appropriate, I have also included brief analysis. For some of them I have not. They don't require it. As you view these photos you'll see them, as I did, in real time --first in Times Square and then on to Rockefeller Center.

Without any further adieu, I present SPECIAL REPORT: A Holiday Tourist Pictorial.

BLURRY CONFUSED DRIFTER
ANALYSIS: Not Neccessary



THE MEN WHO TAKE UP THE MANTLE THAT 'SEXY NEVER LEFT'
ANALYSIS: In late 2006, Justin Timberlake issued the boastful statement that he was "bringing sexy back." Public outrage and cultural schisms formed across the United States as tens of thousands of people proclaimed that they had brought sexy back several years prior. Meanwhile, another sect argued that sexy had, "never left." The men depicted here represent the latter. As pictured here, they offer a formidable counterclaim to Mr. Timberlake's assertions.



NEW YORK IS NOISY
ANALYSIS: Initially this effort reflected my earliest foray into 'Gotcha' journalism. The woman depicted in this photo was wearing white pants after Labor Day, in clear violation of established New York City ordinances. However, upon secondary analysis, the child at her side offered up the most poignant argument, "New York is noisy." "Huh," I thought to myself. "Out of the mouths of babes."



YES, VIRGINIA, SOMETIMES BAD DYE JOBS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
ANALYSIS: Not Neccessary



MY TUMMY IS OWIE: DIGESTION & CHRISTMAS
ANALYSIS: The holidays can definitely be difficult times for people. Whether dealing with loss, reflecting on past relationships, or suffering indigestion --this time of year can take a physical toll. These physical implications, as shown here, can be reflected in the inablility to smile, poor grooming and overall lack of photogeneticity.



DORA - COMMERCIAL TEMPTRESS
ANALYSIS: Some questions to consider while viewing this photo--
1.) Why is no one posing with Dora?
2.) Why is there a 2" hole at Dora's mouth?
3.) Why isn't Dora wearing a shirt?
4.) What is in that guy's blue bag?



BOMBSHELLS WITH SECURITY GUARD or ART HAPPENS EVERYWHERE
ANALYSIS: As a photo journalist, this photo warms the cockles of my heart. The guard pictured here took time out of his busy day to photograph these smokin' hot Southern mommies who were trying to get him to come back with them to their hotel. Everyone in New York is out to screw you? Ha! I think this guard renders that argument impotent.

****

To all of you out there in blogland, I hope this piece encouraged you to look inside yourselves and take a long hard look at Christmas, tourism, children's programming, excessive hair product consumption, the importance of attractive people in photos, Pepto Bismol, homeland security issues, the joy of string cheese, elaborate holiday lighting displays, Broadway musicals, hitchhikers, and true love. I know I did.

To those of you who appeared in this pictorial. Please don't sue me.

Reporting from New York, this is Patrick Garrigan. Good night.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Yes, I really did take these pictures. ..and yes, I am an idiot.

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