Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm so much better now

“The Incredible Hunk”

By the time you read this, three things are going to be true that aren’t true now… assuming I don’t eat one of those poisonous porcupine fish or swim in a lava lake or fall backwards off the jungle gym. I like to allow for the implausible. Too few people do that.

The first of the three things has to do with teeth. Not yours. I only marginally care about your teeth. – Oops. Change “only marginally” to “don’t.” – Hey, I’m funnin’ with you. I love what you’ve done with your teeth. But, let’s get back to mine.

I’m gonna get a bridge replaced and a cracked molar fixed. Oh, and I’m getting my teeth cleaned. I’m not sure all of that has been done in one day. The dentist and Mark are gonna be really close for the first half of the day. I’ll probably hafta take him out to lunch. Some soup place.

I’ve got the best dentist in the world. I’d tell you Dr. English’s name, but I’d just as soon he not get any more business. The guy needs time for me. You can’t overestimate the importance of your teeth. Well, I suppose you could. If you were a science fiction writer or something, you might.

The reason I’m having a rebridge and cracked tooth fixed is because I grind my teeth. Mostly at night. I don’t notice it all that much during the day. I wiggle my foot a lot during the day, but I don’t think my teeth are doing anything extra.

My dentist made me a mouth guard to prevent me from ruining my teeth at night. I guess it helps. If I forget to wear it, I’ll occasionally bite my tongue in the middle of the night. If you think waking up to an alarm clock is disturbing, try biting your tongue. Well, that’s improbable isn’t it? If you’re trying to bite your tongue, you’re likely not asleep, so why wake yourself? No, your teeth have got to covertly lure your tongue into a sense of calm before they can bite it. My teeth are real tricksters. My tongue? Just as gullible as it can be.

An early picture of me grinding my teeth.

My new bridge is supposed to be metal. My last one wasn’t. I chewed the daylights out of it. This metal bridge will take a hit. Or a grind. I doubt I’ll go back to eating corn nuts, but it’s enough to know that I could.

The day after my teeth job, I’m having my kidney stones crushed. I’ve got two of ‘em. The one in my right kidney is the size of a small pony. The one in my left is more like a golf ball. A prickly golf ball. They use ‘em in Australia.

This is a photo of the stone in my right kidney.

I’ve had the two stones for over a year. My stone doc has been keeping an eye on ‘em. His left one. They haven’t been hurting me till recently. I suppose it’s because they’re too big to try to escape. It’s the escape that’ll get you every time.
The stone in the left kidney.

I really don’t know what the stones are up to, but they’ve definitely changed their routine. The pony stone keeps kicking my side and messing with my lower back. The golf ball just gives me a quick punch.

The only good thing good about ‘em is the exercise. I can’t. If I start stooping, squatting, raising up and laying back down, those stones are gonna try to make a run for it. I can’t let ‘em try. There’s no room. Are you reading me here? They can’t get out!

I’m sorry. Stones really alter my mood. I don’t know why that is. Your kidneys do something with your brain. Take my word. Just wish I could get the stones near my new metal bridge… when I get it.

I guess, there’s no need, ‘cause the stones should be shattered in a couple of days. That’s when they get lithotripsied. Lithotripsy involves shooting sound waves at your kidney stones. You’re lying on a waterbed kind of contraption while sound waves hammer at you. They don’t mess up anything but the stones. The sound waves can crush stone, but they won’t mess with body tissue.

Do you believe that? I’m about as gullible as my tongue, but I’m having trouble swallowing that. For one thing, I don’t believe it is sound waves that they’re shooting at your kidneys. You scratch this thing and you’re gonna uncover gamma rays. Undiluted, massively amplified gamma rays. The kind that are liable to make me grow out of my shirt, but not my pants, and turn me into the Incredible Hunk. Of course, I’ll hafta get mad before the change hits. Or excited. Maybe both. I don’t remember the last time I got excited. Mad, not so hard for me.

Finally, after the teeth are fixed and the stones shattered I have my yearly physical. All three of these appointments just fell in the same week. Dr. Strickland, my family doctor, is another super nice guy and just as smart as can be. He knows all about me, and still doesn’t mind fixing me up.

I suppose my kidney stone doc is nice too, but I just have trouble feeling an affinity for a guy who has done to me what he has. If anyone even snaps a rubber band around me I immediately cry and assume the fetal position.

While I dread the yearly physical, it shouldn’t be all that bad. I just hate the weighing part. Last year Doc S told me to exercise and lose some weight. I told him “Sure thing!” Hey, I wasn’t gonna see him for another year. Figured I might eat porcupine fish between then and now. If not I’d diet and exercise a couple of weeks before the physical.

The last few weeks I have been cutting down on my food intake. I would exercise, but— Do you remember why I can’t exercise? Just seeing if you were paying attention. No, Dr. S is gonna see the same ol’ Mark. A bit over weight and very much unfit.

He doesn’t try to shame me, though, but I can see the disappointment in his eyes. I almost wish the stone in my right kidney was as big as it feels. If, after the lithotripsy I lose the weight of a small pony, I’ll get a great report. – “Mark, you’ve got to get some nourishment. Chocolate! More, chocolate! And, no more exercise. It’s killin’ you!”

That’s always been a dream of mine. Probably why I bite my tongue while I’m sleeping.


To see Brad and Mark’s review of The Toasted Yolk, click below.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clooney and Rizolli vents

September 21, 2010 “A couple of vents”

I seldom get upset about anything. Have you noticed that? Well you need to notice. But, don’t notice now, because I recently got ticked off at a movie and a TV show. Not ticked off enough to boycott anything. Just enough to vent.

Kay’s already heard my ventage and it didn’t faze her. She didn’t even care. But, you care. Well, you can pretend, can’t you? Cool.

The first vent has to do with the movie Kay and I went to see on Labor Day. It was a packed theatre so there’s a good chance some of you were there. The movie had love, violence and George Clooney. Oh, and popcorn.

But, George was what really got Kay to agree to go with me. Had I suggested a movie about a hitman, she would’ve balked. Kay is a great balker. If the preview has killing, slapping or biting, she doesn’t care to see the movie. She prefers not to watch people get hurt… even when they’re just acting hurt. I’ve watched a lot of good movies by myself.

But, like I say, Clooney was the big draw for Kay. She loves George Clooney. I have no big love interest, but I do like him. He’s a good actor with a great personality, a benevolent spirit and great looks. He’s the antithesis of, uh… somebody who’s the opposite of all that.

If George Clooney just looked at Kay and smiled, she’d dump me in a minute. She’ll probably tell you different, but don’t believe her. I’m a Clooney-smile away from being tossed. I can deal with that, ‘cause I can’t see her ever meeting the guy. Won’t let it happen.

From all this, you’ve likely gathered that Kay and I went to see “The American.” I could’ve said at the beginning, but I wanted to lay down some groundwork to show that we were both expecting good stuff.

The popcorn sure didn’t let me down. Fortunately for me, Kay is really cutting down on her popcorn consumption. She’s going from “just a little bit” to “not much at all.” I’m slimming down from a “whole lot” to “a lot.” To demonstrate my resolve I only bought the medium popcorn.

We were fortunate to find a couple of seats in the high-up section just before the lights dimmed. I hate to feel around on the people in the aisle seats when the lights go out. You’d think they’d expect it. They always seem so surprised.

The movie lasted for a little over a couple of hours. Seemed much longer. When the screen finally went to black and the credits started rolling, the theatre was quiet as a golf cart. I didn’t notice anyone even get up. We were all waiting for someone to say it.

I sure didn’t want to be the one, but someone had to step forward. After about eight seconds of stillness, a guy to my right said the words that allowed us all to leave. He said, “You’ve gotta be kiddin’!” After that, practically the entire audience laughed and left.

I don’t wanna say the movie was slow, but during the two or three naked scenes I didn’t even care. Barely noticed. (Well, that part’s a lie.) There was so little action in that movie, that I couldn’t even find a good time to eat my popcorn. When the movie started there was no sound coming from the speakers to muffle the sound of my hand in the popcorn bag and all the chomping. Oh, there was the occasional sound of a car engine, a guy walking, maybe a little wind in the distance. But nothing else. Through that entire movie I could’ve pointed in the direction of anyone in that theatre that had any popcorn left.

Let me just say this and I’ll move on to my other gripe. The thing about “The American” that was so bizarre to me was how anyone could take a lousy story set in a really boring town in Italy; come up with a character you know nothing about and learn even less about; give him absolutely no personality; come up with a really bad ending, and decide to make a movie out it. On top of that, get a great actor with a charming personality to play the boring lead. Was Jude Law unavailable?

That vent felt good. (Apologies to Jude Law. He was collateral damage.) Since I have little time for my second vent, let’s get to it. Kay and I watched a taped “Rizzoli and Isles” episode last night. I didn’t care for the series at first, but I’m beginning to like Rizzoli. Even her voice.

At the beginning of last night’s episode, a guy gets in his car at night and drives off. He hasn’t gone far when someone hiding in the backseat, raises up, stabs him in the neck with an ice pick, and then exits the car. In the next scene, it’s daylight and the car with the dead guy in it is blocking traffic for blocks. Maybe miles. The police are just standing around the car waiting to get a search warrant before they can examine the dead guy and move the car.

That one scene ruined the whole show for me. I kept griping about it to Kay, but she was no help. “Let it go, Sweetie,” she said. Let it go? There’s a car with it’s door open; a guy with an ice pick in his neck in the driver’s seat; traffic is blocked from Boston to Halifax and the police can’t touch anything without a warrant!

Was there no one in the film crew, no actor in the episode, no writer, director or producer who didn’t realize that police don’t need a warrant to inspect a guy with an ice pick in his neck if he’s in the road, in a box, in a stagecoach, on a motor scooter, on horseback, in the back of a truck or a locked car… and especially in a car with an open door?

In Texas the guy wouldn’t even need to be dead. If he’s blocking traffic, they’ll drag him out through the broken window, haul his cuffed keester to jail and impound the car. Warrant my foot! Just ruined the whole episode for me.

But, I’m much better now. With your help, I think I’ve healed myself. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be singing a happy tune. Kay will see to that. She draws that George Clooney like a gun.


To see BradMeyer and Mark’s review of Landry’s click here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB254jh7AR8

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 9, 2010

"Ask me something else"

I’d like to you to stand up if you’re able… oh, and if you’re in a place that allows you to stand. What? No, by all means, Malcolm, stay seated. Okay, forget it, everybody stay seated. I didn’t think that out well at all.

Tell you what, try this. Just sit back and go to the best thinking part of your brain. Mine’s in a thin area between the parietal and occipital lobes. Let’s not all go there. Barely enough room for me.

Okay, now close your eyes. Wait! Wsheeew, that was close. Only shut one of your eyes. I’d like you to close both of ‘em, but then you wouldn’t be able to read what you’re supposed to do next. You’d be walking around the rest of the week upset at me for making you blind. So, just shut one eye, please. Those of you with only one functional eye just sit there. Hey, I’d start this article over in a second, but I’ve already invested too much time.

All right, so, you’re all seated with one or none eyes closed, and you’re in a pretty smart part of your brain. Okay, I’m going to ask you a question, and I want you to pretend that you’re on stage and a few thousand people are waiting for your answer. Oh, and you’re on TV with a few million people watching... just not all on the same TV. About eight of you are wondering what that meant. You picked the wrong brain place.

You’ve got two minutes to answer the question. Are you ready? Here goes: "What is one big mistake you’ve made in your life, and what did you do to make it right." The clock is ticking. People are waiting. Don’t make a fool of yourself, but answer the question. Did I mention the clock is ticking?

Okay, that’s the end of the exercise. No, I don’t want to hear your answers. I just wanted to try to simulate the situation Miss Philippines found herself in at the Miss Universe Pageant a few weeks back. From what I’ve read she was the favorite going into the question/answer part of the pageant. Her answer supposedly gave the title to Miss Mexico. Miss Mexico got an easy sappy question.

I didn’t watch the pageant, but I read about it. Miss Philippines came off looking a bit smug, according to one article and a short news segment I saw. She said that she had made no major mistakes in her life that she regretted. Then she mentioned the love and confidence she receives from her family. I understand that somewhere in the distance a lone bugle could be heard playing Taps. Like I say, I didn’t watch it.

I think the question a very cruel thing to ask. I mean, one of the other contestants was asked what she thinks about airport scanners that can see through your clothes. Was it a good thing to do? Hey, I can dance all over and around that question. – But "What one big mistake have you made?" Uh, can I think awhile and get back to you? Maybe mail in my answer?

When I asked you the question, what did you immediately think of? Wait! No, again, don’t tell me. But, I will tell you what I thought of. I thought of one or two big mistakes I made in my life. Stuff I’d just like to keep between me and the few who know. And, as soon as those two big mistakes came into my head, I couldn’t think of anything else. Not while I’m pretending to be on stage with a bunch of people watching and waiting for me to say something sweet and noble.

In my simulation, I eventually told the pageant judge that I had made a bunch of mistakes, none of which I cared to share with him and all the other Nosy Nellies out there. Of course, I had nothing to lose, seeing as how I had scored so poorly in bathing suit portion of the contest. Tore ‘em up, though, in the talent part with my impersonation of Janis Joplin.

By the way, William Baldwin (One of Alec’s kid brothers) was the judge who asked the question. I like William Baldwin. Can I call him Bill? Bill is a good guy, he just has no business judging a Miss Universe contest. Who the Sam Hill picked him? I can hear the committee now, -- Catherine Deneuve? -- Nah. -- Halle Berry? -- Nah. --How ‘bout William Baldwin? -- That’s it! Get his agent on the phone!

It’s similar to me judging a contest for the best design of a lady’s shoe, or me refereeing a soccer game, or keeping score in a bowling tournament. Hey, I can go on and on here if I need to. Bottom line, William Baldwin? No pageant judge. -- By the way, William, (I know you’re reading this) there’s a chance someone just handed you the question, in which case I apologize. You only did what you had to do.)

While I feel badly for Miss Philippines, I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it. -- Wait a second. I’m over it. – Regardless, I think she got a pretty raw deal. The only hope I see for her is the possibility of her entering another contest. There are several. Along with the Miss Universe, she could try out for Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth. I would think that Miss Universe would be the best, but Miss Earth is nothing to sneeze at. If you were a woman, wouldn’t be great to be able to say, "Hey, I’m the prettiest, the most talented and the best answerer of a nosy question on Earth."

That’d be cool. It’d even be cool for some guy to be able to date such a person. "Hey, I dated Miss Earth. She’s thinking of running for Miss Galaxy and then on to Universe."

Any guy who lives in the US has a pretty good chance of dating a pageant winner. We’ve got pageants for Miss Distinguished Young Woman, Miss Outstanding Teen, Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss United States, Miss US of A, Miss United States Teen, Miss America, Mrs. America… and a bunch more.

In fact, I may have married a pageant winner and don’t know it. I’ll have to ask Kay when she gets home. I’d really like to know what question she got. – "What is the worst thing about you, and why haven’t you corrected it? – Williaaaaaam! I would’ve thrown my shoe at the guy. Thrown something.


To see the video of Brad and Mark’s Pie in the Sky restaurant review, click on photo.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some homely Brits and first day of school horror story

MARK’S ARTICLE – September 6, 2010 “Subject changes”
Dennis called yesterday to ask me something. I’ve got three brothers, and not one of ‘em ever calls without a reason. “Just to check on me” is no reason. I’d be real upset about that, but I’m the same way. Women check on each other all the time, but not men. At least not Hayter men.

Coincidentally, what Dennis had to ask was in reference to women. (I haven’t used the word “coincidentally” in about eight years. It felt good. Coincidentally.) Where was I? Oh, women.

Dennis asked me about British women, to be exact. He had watched the “Inspector Lewis Mystery “on Masterpiece Theatre the night before and noticed something about the women on the program. You didn’t ask, but Inspector Lewis is my least favorite British detective. He’s just below Miss Marple. Miss Marple is smart, but weak as rain. Lewis is dumb and weak. He’s the least smart detective on Masterpiece. I still like to watch him, though. British mysteries are the best.

Where was— oh yeah, women. Dennis wanted to know why women on British TV are so ugly. He thought I ought to know. Dennis is loony sometimes. He said that all the women on Masterpiece theater either have bad teeth, a bad nose, protruding chin or no chin. Keep in mind these are Dennis’ words. His phone number is 555-261-6789.

I knew right off that Dennis was way off on his assumption. Only 85 percent of the women on Masterpiece are homely. And, they’re not representative of all British women. Probably. Of course, 90 percent of all British men are scary ugly. (Why is it easier for me to say bad things about men than women? It’s just not fair.) By the way, ME making fun of someone’s looks is beyond hypocritical. It’s hypocriolossical. I’ve used that word in Scrabble. It’s most convincing.

Personally, I think it’s good that Masterpiece Theater casts ugly actors. We seldom do that in the US of A. After an audition, if I don’t get a callback, I assume I didn’t look good enough for the part. You can’t assume that in Britain. The British gravitate toward the “plain.” Apparently they’re the best actors. (Don’t forget Dennis’ phone number.)

I told Dennis all of that. Even chastised him for being so mean to British women. I about had him in tears. Upset him so much that he changed the subject on me. The switch came so fast that it about twisted my neck.

Dennis said that his grandkids were real excited about the start of school. He said that J Bear and Maxie were all grins when they left the house. No transition, he just skipped right to school. All the brothers do that. Well, they don’t skip to school that often, but they do change the subject a lot. Fortunately, I’m more disciplined.

Dennis sounded proud of The Bear and Maxie. Me? Not so much. I think they’re weird. At no time in my entire life was I ever happy about the start of school. I started every school year kicking and screaming. Particularly when I was teaching. Ba dump dump.

There is something about the beginning of school that is scary as all get out. If you’re not scared, you don’t have a full grasp of the situation. My first day in the first grade was terrible. I’d never been to kindergarten or day care. I was an outsider when it came to organized education.

I remember being so relieved when I came home from school after my first day, that I sang the “Have Gun Will Travel” song. It was over! The next morning Mom woke me up and told me to get ready for school. I thought she’d lost her mind. “Mother, I went to school yesterday, remember?” I actually thought school was over for me after that one day. How stupid is that?

Me in the first grade

Mom didn’t have to spank me to get me to cry, ‘cause I was already crying. I wasn’t going. Turns out, I did. Unfortunately, since I figured I wouldn’t be returning to school for Day 2, I had paid no attention to where my classroom was. Dennis was in the fourth grade line, but he wouldn’t and couldn’t help me, so I just walked the halls until I found a classroom that looked okay.

After roll call, the teacher asked if there was anyone whose name she didn’t call. I didn’t raise my hand. It took her awhile to figure out I was the additional student. She took me straight to the principal’s office. Didn’t trust me to find the place on my own.

I’ve told that story more than a few times, ‘cause it really burned a hole in the confidence part of my brain. At the start of each school year, that moment resurfaces and I get that sick feeling about being out of step with the rest of the world.

That’s what always scared me about school. I just knew that the kids and teachers could tell that I was acting my rear off trying to appear normal. And, that behind my mask of mild assurance was the real me… a citizen of Loserland. Population: Mark.

I told Dennis that story right after he told me about his grandkids. Oh, I didn’t tell him about the “mask of mild assurance” thing. That’s too weird for brother-talk. No, I just reminded him about how I thought school was over after the first day. And, about how he couldn’t get out of line to help me find my classroom that second day.

Dennis didn’t remember any of that. I must’ve been a pretty good actor to get my big brother… my best friend to think I had it all together. It’s hard when you’re young.

So Dennis’ grandkids were all excited about the start of school. Sheesh. Was sorry that Dennis let me in on that little gem. As bad as the ugly British women topic was, I was sorry he changed the subject. The brothers do that a lot.

To see the latest Brad and Mark restaurant review click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn_l4Bjb1S4.