Monday, November 07, 2022

 ADVENTURES IN SCAMBAITING PART VIII:
EAT A DICK, ELON

With apologies to the late Warren Zevon:

Poor, poor, pitiful me
Poor, poor, pitiful me
These fake accounts won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me

Well, this one was certainly topical, I'll say that for him. Here's a hint: which famous shithead has been stinking up the news cycle over the past two weeks?

If your answer was THIS jackhole:

Congrats! You win a blue checkmark.

Use it in good health.

I was in a shitty, morose mood yesterday morning, having just learned of Andy Taylor's stage four cancer diagnosis. I was so psyched about Duran Duran's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and looking forward to watching Andy rock out with his former bandmates on the November 19th broadcast. Being blindsided with that horrible news about Andy sucked big time. And when I noticed I had an IG message from "creativeelon," well....I was a bit bitey, to say the least.




 




















^^^^^ Yeah, this fuckface actually tried to call me through IG. Declined!



Guess I pissed him off. 
¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Well, whatever. Time for some self-care, as the youngsters say. This song does it for me.



Wednesday, August 31, 2022

I obviously didn't plan for two celebrity death posts in a row, but no way could I ignore the passing of Anne Heche. I've been a big fan since Walking and Talking, a lovable little indie film starring actors who were mostly unknown at the time (Anne Heche, Catherine Keener, Liev Schreiber, Todd Field) who all went on to bigger careers. For me, W&T was one of those movies that came along at just the right time in my life, and it was so funny and true and I connected with it so deeply that I felt like it was made just for me. I think most people have a movie that's like that for them, and Walking and Talking was mine.

Although Amelia (Catherine Keener) is the one I related to back in the day--mostly for her hot mess of a love life--Anne Heche is equally fabulous as Amelia's neurotic best friend, Laura. 

Anne is brilliant throughout, particularly the bit where she reacts to her fiance's....gift. The whole scene is so bizarre and hilarious that I won't spoil it by revealing too much.

The Walking and Talking soundtrack is perfection. Not only does it feature Billy Bragg and Liz Phair, it also introduced me to artists I probably wouldn't have discovered otherwise, like The Sea and Cake, Frente, Pal Shazar, and Green House 27.

Speaking of Liz Phair, the use of her excellent and underappreciated song "Go West" in the scene where Amelia stalks Bill the video store clerk is E V E R Y T H I N G.

"Look at his legs. Look how they walk."

Walking and Talking must be one of those films that the studio had trouble marketing. The Roku description is downright inaccurate: "Neuroses and angst fill Manhattan yuppie best friends on the eve of one's wedding." Yuppies? Uh, not really. And the story doesn't take place on the eve of Laura's wedding, the bulk of it happens a few months beforehand. The writeup on the DVD box is even worse, making W&T out to be a generic zany romcom of the variety that Ashton Kutcher used to star in: "There are good dates, bad dates, and no dates. Wild fantasies. Long-distance phone sex. And an outrageous search for Mr. Right that turns up every oddball imaginable!" Okay, none of that happens, apart from the "long-distance phone sex," and that's an offscreen subplot involving Amelia's ex Andrew (Liev Schreiber). I don't know who shit out that synopsis, but he didn't watch the movie. And yeah, I suspect it was a guy who wrote that. Just a hunch. Whatever. Basically, don't trust any "official" descriptions of the movie, because they all seem to be bullshit.      


It's funny that I've always seen Anne Heche as this '90s indie movie queen, a la Parker Posey. The fact is, Heche's only indie movies from that era were Walking and Talking and a 1995 film she starred in called Pie in the Sky. I remember renting that one with some girlfriends for a movie night back in the day, which is a ritual I so dearly miss. My favorite thing to do back then was to grab a few friends, pick up some tapes at the video store, order Thai carryout and watch movies. I mean, I know we have Netflix and Prime and everything else now, but I think we can all agree that it's just not the same. Anyway, I remember all of us enjoying Pie in the Sky, an off-beat little flick about a traffic-obsessed 20-something dude (Josh Charles) trying to land his dream job as a helicopter traffic reporter in L.A. while pursuing a romance with an avant-garde dancer played by Heche. I recently discovered the full movie on YouTube while I was laid up with COVID, and gave it another look.

         

While PitS has held up well and is quite charming, it unfortunately features that lazy trope that panicking screenwriters often toss in at the last minute: "WHAT? You mean to tell me that (love interest) is on the way to the airport right this second to start a new life in New York/Paris/Australia/Timbuktu? Follow that taxi!" (Cue quirky song by Cowboy Junkies/Rusted Root/The Lumineers/et cetera). 

Although Heche had some high profile roles in the late '90s in Wag the Dog and Donnie Brasco, I feel like she didn't become known by the public until she was revealed as Ellen Degeneres's real-life girlfriend (which was in 1997, according to Wikipedia). After becoming famous for her personal life, her career picked up and she landed starring roles in major movies like the fun popcorn comedy Six Days Seven Nights and dramas like Return To Paradise and Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake. 


But then she and Ellen broke up and then...then came that batshit incident where Anne was found wandering in the California desert, knocking on random stranger's doors and claiming to be a space alien searching for the mothership to take her to heaven. When I read about it at the time I just thought, "Hmm, bad acid trip?" Although I think the official story ended up being that Heche was suffering from dehydration and/or nervous exhaustion. You know, the usual crap that a celebrity's PR people will fart out when their client has an embarrassing public meltdown. 

It's weird because in my mind I'd conflated a lot of those events. I was thinking that Anne Heche started dating Ellen Degeneres around the same time she was in that Harrison Ford movie, then like a month or two later came the Ellen breakup and the-wandering-in-the-desert episode, and then shortly after that Heche did the ill-advised "Celestia" interview and the press junket for her memoir, Call Me Crazy. According to Wikipedia however, all of that took place over a period of several years, between 1997 and 2001.   

In fact, it was 2001 (like a week before 9/11) when Anne did that infamous Baba Wawa interview where she spoke in tongues (Heche, not Walters--though that would've been hilarious) and claimed that she had an alter ego, "Celestia," who was a goddess in a parallel universe. I think she also said that she used to think Jesus was her brother? Or maybe that she was Jesus? I can't recall exactly, but I know Jesus was involved somehow.  

I remember watching the interview when it aired and just thinking, "Oh gurl, NO!" I hated that "my" actress from my favorite little indie chick flick was doing this to herself. I mean, I didn't give a shit about Anne Heche's personal life; I just loved her work and I was really pulling for her. I wanted her to have the career she deserved, and I was convinced that her wackadoodle behavior would surely torpedo any future prospects.

Note: pretty sure this was shot at the loft where they interviewed me
and my British cohorts in our 20/20 interview back in 2012.
(I always get excited when I recognize "our" loft in ABC interviews.)

But apparently I was wrong, because Anne Heche seemed to bounce back just fine, working steadily and--according to her IMDB page--completing over 50 projects between 2001 and 2021. 



I think it's a testament not only to Anne's talent and versatility as an actor, but also to how well-liked she seemed to be in the industry. After her death earlier this month, Emily Bergl was quoted as saying, "Anne was not only a genius, but one of the most astoundingly focused and prepared actors I ever worked with.....All day, scene after scene, her work would be technically flawless, and yet always remained spontaneous. I don't think she was capable of phoning it in. And then she would do it all again the next day." 

I'm not interested in rehashing the gory details of Anne Heche's car crash and death earlier this month. It's too sad and too sordid. I just hope that in time she's remembered less for her personal life and more for her work, because she truly was a gifted actress.  

I'm closing with my favorite track from Walking and Talking, which will always be the quintessential Anne Heche movie in my mind. I feel like this song is appropriate, since the lyrics describe a tempestuous relationship with a funny, free-spirited, eccentric woman....kinda like our gurl. 

I was actually surprised to find a video for this one; I had no idea Billy Bragg even made music videos. And watch for cameos by Michael Stipe and Peter Buck! 

Nice summation of Anne and her work from The Guardian

Good writeup from 2016 on the 20th anniversary of Walking and Talking here.










Tuesday, August 09, 2022

O.N.J. - R.I.P.

Of course, Xanadu is my favorite. How could it not be? ONJ and Gene Kelly on roller skates, the music of ELO, that cheesy-ass Don Bluth animated sequence, Sonny skating into the brick wall to join Kira in the mural, "got to believe we are magic," the insane closing musical number? Love. It.

Grease
is the word, but Xanadu is da bomb.

 
HOWEVER.....there happens to be an overlooked ONJ classic called Two of a Kind. There was a huge publicity campaign for this movie ("Olivia and Travolta--together again!"), and it was savaged by critics and ignored by moviegoers in 1983. It's flawed but fun, and I kinda love it. 




And the theme song is seriously one of the greatest things ONJ ever recorded. In fact, if not for the Xanadu soundtrack, I'd argue that this was her best song ever. And holy shit, how did I live 49 years without knowing this music video existed? It's amazeballs. ONJ and Travolta are both beautiful people, but I swear neither of them have ever looked better than they do right here. Olivia can really rock an '80s mullet. And I don't care if that's a hairpiece on Travolta, it's working for him. HOT.


Rest in peace, Livs. Your fabulosity will live forever.






  


  


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

 ADVENTURES IN SCAM BAITING PART VII: 
PRICK SPRINGFIELD 

I had so much trouble posting the screenshots from this one. They were really disorganized in my phone, and I think I inadvertently deleted a few of them, while a few others seem to be out of order. I blame my post-COVID brain fog. Whatever. 

This wannabe scammer kept stalking me on Instagram using various accounts, all of them purporting to be the "private" account of Rick Springfield. I got several notifications that accounts with names like therealrickspringfield and rickspringfield456 were now following me, and I'd block and report them every time, but then a day later another new fake Rick Springfield account would pop up and follow me. I mean what the hell, and why me? Creepy fucker.   


Below: notice how he ignores my comment about Nigerian scumbag scammers. Heh.

Below: Okay, this is where I think I must have deleted a screenshot or two, because he's suddenly talking about his "identification card." I asked for proof that he was Rick Springfield, and he sent a shot of a (fake) driver's license, but then he'd quickly delete it from the chat a few seconds later before I had time to scrutinize it. 


But below you can see I was eventually able to take a screenshot before he deleted it again. I blacked out the info, because while I'm sure this is not Rick Springfield's ID, the Los Angeles address on the card no doubt belongs to someone, and I wanted to protect the privacy of whoever it is. I also noticed that the ID lists Rick Springfield as 5'8" tall, weighing in at 120 pounds. Riiiiiiiiight. 


Below: fake Rick Springfield thinks I'm foxy. Funny coincidence, because....

....it's actually a photo of Rick Springfield's wife! 



I think I put my finger on why these scammers irk me so much; they're a special blend 
of stupid and evil, kind of like Donald Trump and his terrible children. 


Above: while I think Rick Springfield looks amazing for being 70+ years old, I don't believe that hair is real. No septuagenarian has hair that lush. It's gotta be a hairpiece--at least in the front--hence my wig comment. Still, as hairpieces go, it's pretty convincing. 

Wouldn't you agree?

Below: after I decline to show him an ID card, the guy vamooses, expressing doubts about my realness. Well, BYE BITCH! Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya! Then I blocked and deleted, natch.


While we're on the subject, I'm posting my favorite Rick Springfield song. The video is a complete mess, but Rick looks smokin' hot and there's no denying his fabulosity here. The song is from the 1984 flick "Hard To Hold," which is a really stinky movie and it should come as no surprise to anyone that I own it on DVD. Can't help it, I love me some '80s cheese. In Rick's memoir Late, Late at Night he wrote about how he knew "Hard To Hold" was a piece of shit and was so disgusted by the script that he threw it across the room after he read it, but then his agent said, "Dude, they want to pay you a million dollars," and then he reconsidered his opinion right quick. By the way, I definitely recommend his book, it's one of the funniest and most honest memoirs I've read. 















Friday, July 15, 2022

FUCK, I'M DYING.


Well not literally, and hopefully not for a few more decades. But, Christ, I feel like I am. 

I really thought I could do it. I thought I could be one of the few lucky ones to dodge the COVID bullet, but all my hopes went straight down the crapper when I tested positive after a full day of trying to cough up both my lungs. My first test was negative and I thought, ha! Just a cold after all. People still get colds, right? Of course they do! That's why it's called the common cold---it's common! Then my symptoms got steadily worse; pounding head, fiery throat, muscle aches, my whole body was screaming. So I did another test and then.....BAM. Positive. 

I went to a mini family reunion last weekend in Tulsa, so no big mystery where I caught this crap. Everyone was vaccinated and boosted--there was much discussion about it beforehand, so we know this for sure---but I guess I have what could be called a breakthrough case. Apparently there's an Omicron offshoot called the BA.5 going around and it's the latest thing in viruses, so at least I'm au courant

So that's it, that's all, that's the post. If you need me, I'll be quarantining in the upstairs guestroom, trying not to infect the world. At least I have a furry little Siamese nurse to take care of me.    

Little Stevie Nicks. Her sister Sabrina is at the bird watching window.


ALSO, this seems apropos, because when I think back on what COVID was like, 
I'll remember this fucking headache


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

UNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY

While I appreciate the urge to expose the duplicity of these right-wing politicians, liberals need to let go of the notion that conservatives can be shamed by their own hypocrisy. The motto of the Republican party might as well be "Rules are for thee and not for me." 

They obviously don't care if they look like hypocrites. 

There are two main principles that conservatives--evangelicals in particular--live by:
  1.     I can tell other people what to do.
  2.     Other people cannot tell me what to do. 
These two principles are VERY closely intertwined with the staunch belief that they are inherently good/moral and "others" are inherently bad/immoral. 

This is why they are adamantly opposed to abortion for "others" and why they loiter in front of abortion clinics to scream abuse at the women going inside (principle #1), while AT THE SAME TIME have zero qualms about getting an abortion themselves if needed, because their abortion is the only justified abortion and others cannot tell them what to do (principle #2).  

I know it's gratifying to dig up blatant examples of conservatives fucking up and getting caught doing the same things they purport to be against, and I totally support this practice. But I think it's imperative to also understand the two principles they live by. 

Bottom line: stop thinking that these people operate from the same basic worldview the rest of us do. They don't, and they never have.    

See, it's not that they don't grasp the irony. It's that they don't care. 
     



Tuesday, May 03, 2022

RESCUED FROM OBSCURITY
"Dare to Fall in Love" 

A disclaimer: my inclusion of this entry in the RFO series does not constitute endorsement or approval, because, well...it's kind of shit.

In the midst of a recent insomnia-fueled Googling session, I was trying to find the name of a half-remembered song. I didn't even care for the song that much, but some of lyrics had become inexplicably lodged in my brain and that was enough to activate my OCD need for a definitive answer.

I'm a bit surprised that I was able to actually find the song, because the only lyrics I could recall went something like, "One kiss, it's a something something thing, I get what I deserve, if I something something thing." Well, it turns out the song is "Dare To Fall in Love" by someone called Brent Bourgeois, and it was released in 1990. 

According to Wikipedia, the song was only a modest hit but it received a fair bit of play on VH-1 back in the day. This puzzled me, because I was 16-17 years old in 1990 and I sure as shit wasn't watching VH-1. That changed later on in the '90s when the former soft rock music channel started producing fun shows like Pop-Up Video and the insanely addictive Behind the Music series, but in 1990 I was still very much a devotee of MTV, grooving on 120 Minutes, Post Modern, and--embarrassingly enough--Totally Pauly. You see kids, in 1990 I thought Pauly Shore was funny and irreverent with his stoner patois and oddball antics; this was before I learned that his bohemian hippie shtick was merely a gimmick and he was actually a privileged Hollywood brat who lucked into a standup career by an accident of birth (his parents owned The Comedy Store). I also thought Totally Pauly (I didn't yet know him as Pauly Shore) was kind of hunky, a view that some of my high school friends also shared, just so you know I wasn't the only freak who lusted after the future star of Jury Duty.

Give me a break, I was young and naive. We all were.
 
Oh hell, since I'm in confessional mode and we're being real, I also thought Married With Children was funny and irreverent. Yeah I know, but hey, at least I can proudly say I never watched Saved By the Bell. In fact, I didn't know anyone my age who watched that fetid turd of a show. I suspect SBTB was the type of pop culture ephemera purportedly aimed at high schoolers but really only watched by middle schoolers, kind of like how 13-year-olds read Seventeen magazine while actual 17-year-olds were reading Cosmo

True story: today whenever Saved By the Bell is mentioned as some sort 
of beloved Gen X touchstone....I die a little inside.   

Anyway, I don't know for sure where I heard this "Dare to Fall in Love" song, but I think I most likely encountered it through the piped-in music station at Milano's Pasta To Go, the Italian fast food joint in Broad Ripple where I began my illustrious, short-lived career in food service during the summer of 1990. The restaurant's sound system played a perpetual stream of the soulless adult contemporary dreck of the day; I swear I heard "Hold On" by Wilson Philips about 35 goddamned times during every one of my shifts. I still get PTSD flashbacks when I hear the opening chords of that syrupy song. There was also a shit ton of Gloria Estefan, Michael Bolton, Peter Cetera, Kenny G, and the like. It was hell. That's the reason I strongly suspect that this barely-one-hit wonder by Brett Bourgeois was foisted upon my tender psyche during the summer I was slinging pasta at Milano's and trying to remember why the hell I'd signed up for this shit.

Man I hated that job, but I guess that's sort of the point of having a fast food gig when you're a kid. It's important that you learn early how much working in fast food sucks so you can spend the rest of your life staying as far away from that career choice as you possibly can. To add insult to injury, I was the youngest employee there, so my dickhead manager Byron made me do like 90% of the grunt work. Whenever business was slow and Byron was around, I could be found mopping the floors, washing the windows, and (shudder) cleaning the toilets. I think since it was my first job, Byron felt the need to school me on having a strong work ethic. Either that, or he was just a prick. Probably a bit of both. 

There were a few high points though. One time I was working a late night shift with a skeleton crew that consisted of myself, Carl (the cool manager), and Doug the kitchen guy, when Don Hein--the sports anchor from the Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR--rolled up in the drive-thru. I remember this mostly because he ordered manicotti and when he got to the window, Carl informed me that, oops, we were out of manicotti, and when I had to break the news to Don Hein he got really pissed off. I think Carl offered him some free breadsticks or something, trying to smooth things over. It didn't seem to work because ol' Don just heaved a loud sigh and said, "Oh for Christ sake, just forget it," then peeled out of the drive-thru in a huff. Carl and Doug and I sort of looked at each other and we were like, hey, wasn't that Don Hein? And then we laughed. You had to be there I guess, but trust me. It was funny.

Do not come between this dude and his manicotti. Seriously, just don't.

Then there was Mike, one of the cooks that I used to goof off with whenever we were left unsupervised. Mike was one of those hip hop loving white guys who sported an early '90s "fade" hairstyle with complicated designs shaved into the side of his head. To be fair, I'm pretty sure he was one of the few white dudes who came by his urban trappings honestly since he was an incoming senior at Broad Ripple High School (David Letterman's alma mater!), which, yeah, it was in Broad Ripple but was also an IPS school, thus a lot rougher than other northside schools. Mike and I had a bit of a flirtation going on, but he was really only interested in ladies of color so I don't think he ever took me seriously as potential girlfriend material. We had a lot of fun, though. We used to hang out in the kitchen where he would crank up WTLC (the local rap/R&B radio station), and he would always go nuts when they played Bell Biv DeVoe's Poison, one of the big tracks of the summer. Personally I couldn't stand that song, but I enjoyed watching Mike dance around the kitchen to it. He could bust a move and was really good at the sort of hip hop/club style of dancing that I now associate with Bobby Brown--lots of running in place and throwing of elbows and such. 



BUT there did happen to be one hip hop tune that even I--the Depeche Mode-loving, 120 Minutes-watching, clove smoking fashion victim that I was--could not resist, and that song was Digital Underground's The Humpty Dance. I think Mike considered it a personal triumph when he got me to do The Humpty Hump with him, right there in the kitchen. (No, it wasn't a sex thing.)


"This is my dance y'all, Humpty Hump's my name!"

Then there were the various "older" (twentysomething) guys that came in on the weekends to line their stomachs with pasta and other carbs before a heavy night of barhopping in Broad Ripple. Yes, sometimes they were cute, and sure, oftentimes they didn't care how underage I looked, and of course, I'd be lying if I said my dumb ass wasn't flattered by their inappropriate attentions. Whenever they asked me where I went to high school, I'd dodge the question by saying, "I go to school in southern Indiana, I'm just here for the summer." (Which was TRUE! You couldn't say that wasn't true, dammit.) And they'd be like, "So you're in college? Where?" And I'd say "I go to a private school down near Evansville. Marian Heights? Yeah, it's really small, you probably haven't heard of it." And with no way to verify what the hell or where the hell Marian Heights was (ah, the joys of the pre-internet age!), they bought into my bullshit. Not that I ever benefited from this in any real way, but standing behind the cash register in my hideously dorky Milano's uniform, a bit of ego-fluffing now and then certainly didn't go amiss. What can I say? I was every inch the Stacy character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High

"You look like you could still be in high school."
"Ha. Yeah, everybody says that."



Unlike Stacy, however, I didn't have a Linda to fall back on. I was sadly Linda-less. That really sucked for me, because if ever there was an unsophisticated 16-year-old need of a hip, worldly-wise older girl to shepherd me through what would be an increasingly difficult year in my teenage existence, it was my awkward self.  


I did have a Gretchen, however, but she wasn't much help. Although she was friendly enough, my fellow cashier Gretchen was one of those girls who was convinced that any and every male who came within a one-mile radius must be madly in lust with her. I mean, Gretchen was girl-next-door cute in a preppy sort of way, but she wasn't exactly the teenage temptress she fancied herself to be. For instance, like some dude would wander up to the counter to ask for extra packets of parmesan cheese, and as soon as he was gone she'd be all, "Oh my God, did you see that? He was totally hitting on me! You mean you didn't notice? God he's being sooooo obvious, it's really annoying." She pretty much swore that every single male employee at Milano's, even sweet, laid-back, grandfatherly Carl (the aforementioned cool manager), was hopelessly obsessed with her. I didn't see it, but whatever. I wasn't going to be the one to burst her bubble.

I do remember a funny incident where Byron (the dickhead manager) called Gretchen, Mike, and me into his office for a Serious Talk. Apparently it had come to Byron's attention that certain members of "the team" were utilizing the Milano's store phone for personal calls, thus wasting the company's time while they were (GASP!) on the clock! (Yes, that's exactly how Byron spoke: he was your garden variety, cartoonishly sincere, middle management hack.) Anyway, Gretchen immediately piped up and was like, "Yeah, that was probably me. See, my dad called me here at work because he heard a rumor that I'm dating this older guy, and he's trying to keep tabs on me, and yada, yada, yada," and just gabbled on and on for like five minutes as Byron's eyes glazed over, and Mike bit his lip to keep from laughing, and my brain floated off somewhere into the stratosphere. Finally Byron--pissed off that his big Teachable Moment had been hijacked by Gretchen's inane prattle--just cut her off mid-sentence and he's like, "Right. Bottom line, no personal phone calls on the clock. Got it? Good. Back to work."

Besides Gretchen, there were a few other cashiers I worked with. One was Maggie, a pretty blonde Butler student. I was usually paired with Maggie on weekdays, and we would often reward ourselves for surviving the lunch rush by splitting an order of mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce. Milano's was the first place I'd ever encountered mozzarella sticks and I thought they were the greatest culinary invention ever. I mean, cheese--fried AND battered? Yes please! I never got to know Maggie all that well but I thought she was cool, although I remember Mike having some vague reason for not liking her. I think he claimed she was stuck up or something. Whatever. She shared her mozzarella sticks with me. She was a good egg.

Then there was a girl called Christy. She was hired a few weeks after I was, so she was the "new girl" for a while. She was quiet and a bit awkward, but nice enough. I remember us bonding over our shared dislike of Madonna's "Vogue," another song that was everywhere that summer. We both agreed that it was dumb and annoying. (I was a fan of Madonna's first three albums, but by 1990 she'd started in on that "I'm a serious artiste" bullshit, and I was over it.) Then one evening, I arrived to work the dinner shift to find that Christy had just up and quit earlier that day. Apparently, she had refused to wear the sandwich board.

For the uninitiated, this is an example of a sandwich board:


Of course, the purpose of the Milano's sandwich board was not to broadcast the wearer's desire to discuss male genitalia; it was meant to advertise the restaurant. The sandwich board was Byron's bright idea, of course, and he made it mandatory for every single one of us (excluding the managers) to do the sandwich board walk of shame up and down Broad Ripple Avenue. We all thought it was lame, but I didn't mind it too much because it was at least a chance to get outside and away from the store for a bit. I mean, I felt like a complete dork walking around wearing the stupid sign, but I considered it a small price to pay in exchange for an hour of freedom while still on the clock.

My coworker Christy, however, was not so chill about it. When she arrived at work that day to find it was her turn to do the sandwich board shuffle, she put her foot down and said no. Byron informed her that she could either comply or hang up her Milano's apron forever. Christy chose the latter. I remember Mike being livid--absolutely livid--about the whole situation. He was like--what--did this bitch think she was too good for sandwich board duty? I didn't get why he was so bothered about it. Actually, I was inclined to side with Christy. I mean, fuck Byron, and fuck his stupid sandwich board. Damn the man, fight the power, and all that jazz. Good for you, Christy. I hope you're still raging against the machine, wherever you are. 

Image source: Mississippi Mayhem on Etsy

Speaking of The Man, I got called on the carpet myself that summer for inadvertently charging an expired credit card. You see kids, back in the day when a customer wanted to pay with a card, we had to take the card and run it through this contraption that Google tells me is a "manual imprint." It was a pain in the ass, is what it was.



I should mention that credit card transactions were extremely rare, since 99% of our customers paid with cash, as was the norm; Milano's was considered ahead of its time since we were one of the few fast food restaurants that even accepted credit cards back then. It was so long ago that once in a while I'd even get people asking if we accepted personal checks as payment, and I was supposed to say brightly, "I'm sorry, we no longer take checks, but we do accept Visa and Mastercard." 

When we did get a customer paying with credit, we had to ask for a driver's license to check that the name on the card matched up with the ID, and--most importantly--we had to verify the credit card's expiration date. Guess what I forgot to do late one night when some jackass handed me a card that had (apparently) expired the month before? Yep.

Dude, Byron was pissed. When my oversight was discovered a few days later, he made a big production out of calling me into his office to show me a photocopy of the credit card imprint and asking if I saw anything wrong with it. (Can I just say that condescending bosses who treat their employees like they're first graders should be shot out of a cannon and into the sun?) I looked over the paper, and finally I was like, "Okay, I see it. The card was expired." Byron was like, "Yes, very good! Congratulations, you got yourself a written warning." (Oh, the bastard was loving this.) So he pulled out this official looking sheet of paper that basically stated that I'd fucked up, that it had been brought to my attention that I'd fucked up, that I understood the extent to which I'd fucked up, and would I please sign on the dotted line below to acknowledge that I'd fucked up? It probably also said I was a lawless degenerate who shouldn't be allowed to breed or vote. I don't know, I didn't really read it. I just signed the damn thing and got the hell out of there. 

I think Byron was expecting a bigger reaction, probably hoping that I'd burst into tears and grovel at his feet for forgiveness or something, but really I couldn't be arsed. Mostly because it was the beginning of August, I'd given my two weeks notice the previous week, and I had like four more shifts left before I said arrivederci to Byron and Milano's. 

At the end of my afternoon shift on the last day of work, I hugged Mike and Gretchen, promising to visit whenever I was back in town on school breaks (which I actually did a few times), then clocked out and quickly scooted my ass out the door in order to avoid bidding Byron a final farewell. It was real, it was fun, but it hadn't been real fun. As I said earlier, it was a summer job. You weren't really supposed to like it.  

As for Milano's, I'm sad to say that the restaurant folded around 1993 or so--about the time Fazoli's opened up a bunch of Indianapolis locations and swallowed up Milano's customer base. 

Fuck off, Fazoli's. Your pizza sucks.

The building (strip mall, actually) that housed Milano's is still standing, and although 1035 Broad Ripple Avenue has been home to various small businesses over the last few decades, it's now a Mexican cafe called Biscuits. I've never been there, but my sister tells me they serve a really good brunch. Looking at their Yelp page, it's changed a lot on the inside. The biggest difference (besides the Mexican-inspired decor) is that they've rearranged things to a diner-like setup where the kitchen is front and center and you can see the food being cooked right there, whereas with Milano's, the kitchen was hidden in the back where the cooks could goof off 80% of the time and the cashiers like me were at the counter on the frontlines.   


But I am happy to report that the storefront proudly sports 
the same green awnings from the Milano's era.

Oh hell, now see what I did? I got all carried away talking about my teenage years and summer jobs and fast food pasta joints that I completely forgot the reason I started writing this post in the first place. 

Anyway, yeah, Brent Bourgeois and "Dare To Fall in Love." There's not a lot to say about the song, it's just your typical soft-rock yuppie ballad. The video is nothing to write home about either; just some arty shots of bored-looking models floating around a hotel room while Bourgeois (apparently that's his real name) lounges around lip syncing moodily. One notable aspect is Brent's hair, which manages to combine two of the worst early '90s hairstyle trends: long, thin, 90210-inspired sideburns and a greasy, over-gelled mullet. 


According to his Wikipedia page he now records Christian music, which I can totally see because he looks a lot like the lead singer from Creed. 


Damn, I mean....he really looks like the guy from Creed. WOW. Are we sure he's not Scott Stapp's dad? (Apparently he's not, but holy shit, the resemblance is spooky!)