Still on hiatus, a brief update

October 23, 2008

Your ole pal Gravy has been swimming with the tide lately, sopping up life’s drippings on my rickety, flimsy fragile liferaft, inadequate perhaps to the task of navigation. It’s going to be awhile longer before I can get back to this business of blogging. My life continues to be in tumult; the gravy makes for thick wading. I’m moving ahead, but the high viscosity is a challenge. Divorce looms and a rebound romance has failed, but there are other lovely people who’ve gained my eyes, ears and maybe my heart. And my existing friendships have strengthened. Everyone I know is getting the whole story, and they all have advice. I listen, and let the ideas bounce around, making echo sounds off my inner skull, because my brain has turned to mush and can’t absorb them too very well. I’m a dreamer and I hope. Romance is all that matters to me right now. All very interesting, and all very time consuming. But hey, at least it’s life, moreso than blogging, and lots more interesting, yes?

-Evan


Gravy Bread’s Life is in Tumult, Please Stand By

September 3, 2008

Well, I hope soon to be able to inform you as to my status. I am ending one relationship and beginning another. I can’t reveal full details yet. So there’s bad news but also lots of good news (actually it’s all good news but there’s a struggle ahead). I really can’t wait to tell everyone, but for now I just can’t tell. I will try to maintain and expand the Mega Super Mammoth MP3 Blog List. But even that I’m falling behind on. Please bear with me. When things get worked out your host will be a happier, healthier camper and a better blogmaster. Yours truly,

-Evan


Hero of the Day: Dr. Thomas Mancuso

August 29, 2008

My father, who was a local labor leader and president for many years, died five years ago. The fellow at left is not him, but someone he admired. Among my dad’s effects was a book called, “Help for the Working Wounded,” issued by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and written by a fellow named Dr. Thomas Mancuso. That’s the guy at left.
Well, I picked up this pulpy looking thing and read it, and it was a shocking and detailed litany of safety outrages perpetrated upon working people by careless corporations. A lot of these dangers involved the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing.
Mancuso died in 2004 at age 92 after devoting his life to studying the effects of these exposures and fighting for stricter rules to protect workers. When the government pressured him to water down his findings about radiation exposure, he told them in his own way that they could fuck themselves. And his funds were cut off. But he kept on going and published his studies anyway.
Mancuso’s one of those heroes that doesn’t get mentioned in our general discourse, and in fact, even the English version of Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry on him—but the German version does. Go figure.
There’s not much on the web either, apart from this adequate piece from a blog called Confined Space.
So, let’s make Dr. Thomas Mancuso our hero of the day.
-Evan


The Lifespan of a Bell Bicycle Pedal = Two Big Weeks

August 21, 2008

A couple weeks back I posted a big tutorial on installing new bike pedals (See How He Uses a Spanner.., Gravy Bread, Aug. 5)—those pedals being Bell Universal Fit Comp Bicycle Pedals, purchased at good ole Walmart. I didn’t honestly expect these pedals to last as long as the previous ones they replaced, which made it very nearly to the three-year mark, three very grueling years. I did, however, expect the new ones to make it for at least one year. Ha! How about 18 big days? That’s right. Catastrophic failure of the right pedal—installed on Aug. 3—occurred the night of Aug.20, on my way home, and this in fairly dangerous traffic. Luckily my foot was able to grip the remaining metal shaft enough to get me over some railroad tracks and out of the way of several cars behind me as we went through a busy intersection. After traffic cleared, I rode back to the spot near the tracks where the pedal had fallen off. Examination later, as shown in these pictures, reveals a complete separation of the middle part from the rest of the pedal. How can something meant for such a serious, grueling endeavor as bike pedaling be so shoddily made? I will be taking this back with the receipt, but without the original packaging (I threw it out) I’m not sure what to expect. I’m more baffled than pissed off. A company is mass manufacturing a product so unsuited and inadequate for its purpose – on the shelves of every Walmart, and that’s a lot of stores with a lot of shitty Bell bike pedals, if indeed, they were made with the same bad plastic or design. Guess I’ll be heading for the bike shop for pedals after all. -EG


A Frivolous Posting About Kleenex

August 19, 2008

It’s a time of great jubilation ’round the office. Snot has its best friend back—Kleenex. Yep, for about four months our office underwent draconian cost-cutting measures and hygienic tissues were the first to go (the toilet paper, such as it is, was spared). Apparently money was found in the budget to bring back this great American invention. I know, as an environmentalist type, I should be appalled by the very existence of Kleenex: cut down trees and make snot rags out of them that, once used, go right back into the waste stream. I will say that, having been without them for so long, my usage of them has decreased, sort of the same way that car drivers adapted and cut back on gas usage when the cost rocketed above $4 a gallon.
I know what some of you are thinking: an employer has no obligation to provide nose wipes to its staff. But once something is expected, its taking away does seem a slight – a lowering of the quality of life; yet another cutback in a series of morale-lowering indignities. The funny thing was that people simply shifted their nose blowing from the Kleenex to paper towels in the public kitchen and toilet paper in the restroom, so I don’t know if any real cost savings was realized by the absence of Kleenex. Anyway, welcome back old friend of my disposable society. -EG


TV does it, why not me? Gravybread reruns

August 17, 2008

Things are getting hot and heavy at work and around the household as we gear-shift into fall, which means that some previous postings that I rather liked writing and thought amusing but which earned little or no comment will be reposted as a substitute for new material. So, yes, perhaps I’m pioneering the concept of blog “reruns.” Probably a shitty trend, but what the hey? -EG


Another Cat Posting Nobody Cares About

August 14, 2008

I take a lot of pix of my cat Abby because A.) I thinks she’s damned adorable and B.) She’s a pretty easygoing subject. By relying on natural light instead of the flash I’ve gotten her to not be afraid of the camera—and the pictures look better. I’ve got a lot of pix of her, but for now I’m posting these few only, mainly just to see how they look online. Ah, the life of sleeping, eating, shitting and being loved on. -EG


Succulent ’70s Salaciousness: A Tribute to “The Gong Show”

August 13, 2008


Let us now pay homage to one of the funniest, most raucous, transgressive and subversive shows in TV history, “The Gong Show,” hosted by its shambling, shuffling, shaggy dog producer, the enigmatic Chuck Barris. There were, and are, people who don’t “get” this show—thinking it the pre-Jerry Springer version of the end of civilization—but never since has the tube been so wonderfully chaotic and, yes, off-the-cuff witty and surreal. The reactions of the panel to the infamy being perpetrated on stage were priceless, as was Barris’ stoner demeanor and saliva-soaked, ungrammatical ad libs – often punctuated by his awkward hand claps that the audience would humorously mimic. Barris often modeled an arsenal of bad hats, perched precariously over his forehead and covering his eyes, for maximum goofy visual effect. Although some people claim this is an early version of American Idol because part of the fun is watching the bad acts get razzed, that comparison misses the point. A bad act on the Gong Show was just as likely to win the prize as a good one. In fact, some talented people were gonged off the stage while some truly awful acts evaded the boot. The score an act received on The Gong Show was virtually meaningless. Top prize was $516.32 (yes, that’s right), and the winners were pretty much guaranteed continued obscurity, so nobody was taking this seriously. A guest panelist with an absurdist, wicked sense of humor might score a dreadful act a 10, while the celebrity sitting in the next chair might score it a 0 or a 2. Some real talents did appear on the show, Steve Martin, for instance. It was one big unrehearsed spontaneous party, quite unlike the slick and super-controlled production of American Idol. The infamous moment we feature here, highlighting an “act” from 1978, now simply known as “The Popsicle Twins,” allegedly led to the show’s cancellation (though in fact, the show lasted until 1980; what happened was that the western time zones didn’t see this part of the show after outraged callers on the east coast caused NBC to panic and pull the bit). Two young girls, looking way too young (they were too young, 15 and 17), fellate upon some sweet icy goodness as audience and panel members shout, “Yeah, do it! Do it!” and “all right! all right! allright!”- all contributing nicely to the delinquency of minors. Barris allegedly threw this act into the mix as a way to trick the censors, figuring if he put something this blatantly sexual onstage that the censors would cut it out and ignore some of the other presumably less offensive performances. It didn’t work—this baby went out gloriously over the national airwaves, and the rest, including The Gong Show, is history. Incredibly still, this act was not gonged, Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr having absented themselves from the vicinity. One is perplexed, though, at the gall of Phyllis Diller, who at the time was hawking big girthy cucumbers on TV commercials for the now-defunct Paramount Pickle Co., of Louisville, Ky., finding no hypocrisy in scoring these phallic Lolitas with a zed. Morgan, once a ’50s torch singer who earned a somewhat lascivious reputation as the show’s humorous muse (she was the original “Girl Gone Wild,” fond of baring her breasts to the audience during commercial breaks or writing obscene notes on cards that the censors would blot out with a white bar), caps it all off with an honest observation: “Do you know that that’s the way I started?” Anyway, like her, this is something you ladies might learn from. Enjoy.

The Popsicle Twins @ YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUkzIx382mM

(NOTE: I originally posted the direct, embedded Youtube link to this video, but knowing how hamhanded WordPress is about censorship and how skittish it is about Youtube material, I’ve decided to post a link to Youtube instead where you can watch the video. This state of affairs sucks, but WordPress really seems to have no sense of humor, etc.)

Wikipedia’s entry the Gong Show does a pretty good job of separating the myth from the reality.

AS a bonus enjoy this interlude from series regular Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, whose visits occasioned unrestrained festiveness for all. Tell me what other TV show has allowed this kind of sheer joyousness to erupt?

P.S.: I understand that this show has been revived a couple of times, most recently by Comedy Central and hosted by Dave Attell. From what I’ve read, it sounds as bad as all attempts to bring back comedy intensive games shows, eg., Whoopie Goldberg’s arid revisitation of The Hollywood Squares. No thanks.


An Orgy of Tomato Goodness as the Garden Comes a Cropper

August 13, 2008

Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG


Hey, FYI, my ass is on Myspace now

August 11, 2008

I’m expanding the scope and power of Gravybread Enterprises by maintaining a page over at that legendary social networking site, Myspace. Check me out over there, as there will be some content not found here at Gravybread.

The URL is http://www.myspace.com/gravybread

-EG