larry3Hot dog, it’s Larry Begonia and a glass of lemonade. How are ya? Me, I’m doing just fine. Still no luck on the job search front—and the last word I heard from my family was a subpoena for child support—but I’ve got this here blog and my health and those are both worth every quarter!

Now, when I say I’ve got my health, I mean I’ve got my good health, and I’ve got my not-so-good health. Good health: ten fingers, nine toes (fishing accident—it’s a mackerel of a story!), a brain, a belly, and a heart. On the flip side of that temperamental coin: tennis elbow, golfer’s knee, and a bladder infection that won’t quit. My ticker’s a-ok; Dr. Akers chalks it up to my “sunny disposition.” He says that many a Joe or Bill in my current state—broke and lonely—would be reaching for the whiskey, cheese wheels and antacids. Well, I tell him, I write a lot of letters. That passes the time.

This health care conundrum the President’s facing sure is a doozy. I count my lucky stars I don’t have his job. Almost better off unemployed! I thought about writing Obama a letter, give him my two-cents, but it turns out I haven’t got a darn penny. I had only one thought on the matter—that doctors should work for free, like parks volunteers–but Dr. Akers met the proposal with apprehension and a “Well…”

Let’s break it down. Democrats are after a public health care option, while Republicans maintain that universal health care leads to inefficiencies. Me? I’m torn. Thinking about this glass of lemonade in my hand, I’d very much like to have lemonade whenever I’m quenched for thirst, but what if the universal lemonade just tastes downright unpleasant? That scares me! And I don’t necessarily want the glass of lemonade my neighbor Paul drinks, and not because he’s black—I just wonder if he uses as much sweetener as I do. It’s all very confusing.

Because I couldn’t solve health care for Obama, I decided to do the next best thing, and write a different letter. Here it is:

Dear Plaxico Burress,

What’s the opposite of “congratulations”? Whatever it is, that’s what I wish to say regarding your recent criminal sentencing. Prison! I’d like to give you a good old hug. You look like you need one.

Now, I don’t care for football (too violent), and I particularly do not care for the New York Giants (also too violent, I imagine), but I considered taking to the streets in protest after hearing the sad news. Two years incarceration? For shooting yourself? That’s what we call adding insult to injury here in Rockhurst, PA. If we all went to prison for every stupid thing we did to ourselves, well, we’d all be in prison! Heck, just think of it. Hard labor for a paper cut! Heavy fines over stubbed toes! What’s next, lethal injection for not sexually satisfying your wife and inevitably driving her into the arms of your dentist? Yikes!

I’ll tell you a story. My wife Candy had just up and left me, piling Larry Jr. and little Bitty into a U-Haul along with all of our furniture and most of our glassware. Well I’m just so, so…MAD: no other word for it. (And I don’t use that word lightly.) I borrow my neighbor Paul’s fishing gear, drive to the lake, and rent a rowboat. Now, I’ve never fished a day in my life, and I realize today that a line and hook can be as lethal as a semi-automatic weapon—for the fish, I mean. So I throw the line in, and wait. And wait. And I’m getting nothing, I mean nothing. I’m just about ready to pack it in and head back home, but then I remember there’s nobody at home waiting for me, so why bother. I debate committing suicide, but I end up resolving that such a thing would go against my personality. I’m Bright as Butter Begonia, for plum sake! So I reel the line in, but it won’t give—it’s caught something! I pull and pull and pull and I think my neck’s gonna break, but finally I hurl this BEAST of a fish onto the rowboat. It’s bigger than a Thanksgiving turkey! And it’s flapping around and trying to breathe, chomping its mouth and wouldn’t you know it—the ninny chomps down on my toe. Second in command, the piggy that stays home. And this ninny’s got TEETH.

I ended up losing that toe, but what’s more—I could’ve gone to jail. Not for losing the toe, but because Paul thought I stole his fishing gear and called the police. Anyhowdy, I could be in just the same situation as you, and all I can think is, darn. Close call, Begonia. I wonder too: if you were white, perhaps you’d be a-okay, Plaxico. Food for thought.

So maybe my “what was he thinking!” story will give you a little comfort as you read this in your prison cell. Maybe it won’t. But good luck to you.

Peace brother,
Larry Begonia

As a white man, I know full well that Plaxico and Obama and my neighbor Paul are different people, despite all being black. But hopefully I did something nice for Plaxico, even though I couldn’t fix health care for Obama, and even though Paul is still pickled irate with me over the missing fisherman’s gear.

Adios for now “muchachos”,
Larry Begonia

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ONE.

The Dream.
I am walking a busy city street.  A well-dressed, well-coiffed guy—too well-dressed and well-coiffed—sucks on a cigarette and lets the smoke trail behind him. I cough—not to be obnoxious, but because the tobacco haze has seeped into my trachea. He hears me hack through the trance music pumping into his earphones, abruptly turns around, glares. He thinks I’m being passive-aggressive. I’ll show him.

“Yeah, I’m really coughing here. It’s a windy day, the sidewalk is fifteen commuters thick, you do the math.”

He scoffs, continues sucking on the Marlboro. A middle-aged lady in step beside me sniffs, turns to me. “Good for you, honey.”

I am confident and assertive the remainder of the day.

Reality.
I am walking a busy city street. A well-dressed, well-coiffed guy sucks on a cigarette and lets the smoke trail behind him. I cough. He ignores me—that, or he didn’t hear me. A passerby or two gives me a look, an “Are you kidding?” peer down the nose. I hurry away.

TWO.

The Dream.
I stand on line at the drug store. The cashier rings up the woman in front of me. A feisty teen—I know she’s feisty because of what comes next—sashays in front of me and plants her feet down, hand on hip. Does she think she’s cutting?

I wait until my allotted turn. The woman in front of me leaves, and I angle to get to the counter first.

“I’m next.”

She backs away, a wounded animal. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I should’ve seen the line.” Yeah, you should’ve.

I approach the counter, but see that the girl is clearly embarrassed. “You go ahead. I’m not in a hurry.” She’s surprised by the generosity, and gratefully takes it.

I feel good about myself and applaud my Good Samaritan nature the remainder of the day.

Reality.
I stand on line at the drug store. The cashier rings up the woman in front of me. A feisty teen cuts me off. “I was after them,” I interject.

“Uh-uh,” she replies.

“Oh, okay.”

I sidle back to my place on the line as the cashier rings her up.

THREE.

The Dream.
I am at a restaurant. I’ve eaten my meal (it was alright, overpriced) and wait for the check. The waiter brings it. I check the math—he forgot to charge me for my green tea. I flag him over.

“You left off the green tea.”
His eyes graze the bill. “You know what, that’s my bad. It’s on me.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, no prob. Hey, you like cookies? We make great cookies. I’ll get you a cookie.”

This is the best day ever.

Reality.
I am at a restaurant. I glance over my bill. The waiter forgot to charge me for my tea.

“You left off the green tea.”
“Whoops, my bad.”

He leaves. He returns with another bill, the three bucks added.

“You don’t have any cookies, do you?”

Day 1. Set sail in anticipation of uncharted territories and scraggly-bearded pirates. Took wrong turn at Cape of Good Hope. Already so lost.

Day 2. First Mate PB rerouted our mighty vessel; all is good—and full of hope!

Day 4. Yesterday, phew! What a day! So much to say.

Day 5. Squall set in.  Barreled on windward. Lost a few good deckhands. Promoted Deckswabber to Decksrubber and Cook to Captain’s Aide.

Day 6. Quiet after the storm. Solemn funeral services conducted for boys lost. Captain’s Aide nee Cook threw self overboard; couldn’t take the pressure. Promoted Deckswabber to Captain’s Aide. Posted CraigsList employment ad.

Day 7. Crew complaints regarding lack of grub. I say they’re lucky with the lot they’ve got; sweetened corn and oats are more than enough of a complete balanced breakfast, not to mention lunch and dinner. Talk of “scurvy.” Readying the plank in event of more grumbling.

Day 8. Crunchberry attack. Complete chaos. Every man for himself. Holed up in hull; should help crew. Will wait it out.

Day 11. Emerged from hull to find Crunchberries now our overlords. Most of crew dead, others badly beaten. Crunchberries seem nice. Let me keep my hat.

Day 12. Land ho! Discovered new race of white, blob-like creatures. Call themselves Soggies. Unsure how they will mesh with our crew. Will see how tomorrow’s mixer goes.

Day 13. Crunchberry-Soggie mixer COMPLETE disaster. Definitely not jibing with their groove.

Day 14. Launched full-scale attack on Soggies. Got a little messy, a little wet, a little damp, but we overcame. Now we can return home…with slaves!

Day ?. Ship capsized on voyage home. Washed up on some distant shore. Recovered log and little else. Spelled out “HELP” with the remains of my Crunchberry brethren. Will no one save me from this plight?

Day ??. Has it come to this? It has. Cannibalism. Though, technically, is it cannibalism if I’m not a Crunchberry myself? And if they are delicious?

Day ???. Wracked with guilt. Can no longer withstand pain of what I’ve done. Also, run out of Crunchberries. Taking own life. Between drowning and hanging. Opting towards hanging – more exotic. Goodbye, cruel world.

Day !. Saved! By an Amish fellow with a nice smile. (How did he get here? I dare not ask.) He is taking me to America. He tells me the children will love me.

moviemavenmarvinMovie maven Marvin Brill reviews movies he hasn’t seen. This publication takes no responsibility for his claims.

Lucky you: it’s been another dismal week in Hollywood and another painful reminder that art is dead. Ho-hum.

I tell you, fellow Sacramentans, I wouldn’t wipe my blemished butt cheek with the schlock in theaters this March. Luckily, I don’t have to. I use the Bee’s movie ticket funds to buy hemorrhoid cream and antacid. At least one of us will be sitting easy.

Let’s start with Duplicity. (Do we have to?) It stars Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. More like Boolia Boberts and Blive Bowen. I mean really, these two have about as much chemistry as a flask of H2O. I mean, it’s there, but so see-through. Bo-ring. What are they gonna do? Trade “witticisms” and “banter” and “bodily fluids” for two hours? I can watch that for free through the hole in the wall I share with the Radcliffes next door. C’mon people, I’ve got taxes to file! I’ll tell you what happens. Julia spies on Clive, Clive spies on Julia, back and forth we go, round and round, but in the end I tell you someone will die. It has to happen. Murder. This is the CIA and MI6! Scary. If they don’t kill each other, it would be completely unrealistic. And if they do… Well, I’ve already not seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith, thank you. So, I’ve “ruined” the movie, stay home and spy on your neighbors, save a few bucks.

Next up, I Love You, Man with Paul Rudd and Josh Segal. At first I thought this might be a piece about man’s appreciation of mankind. What a work is man, indeed! But nilch; and then Paul Rudd waltzed in. All the ladies swoon over Paul Rudd, and just for that I’d like to stuff him into a pillowcase and forget about him until next Halloween. I don’t trust good looking people (see: Duplicity, or don’t). Okay, so the Paul Rudd character finds out he’s gay. Big deal. Everybody’s gay. That’s no reason to make a movie about it. Get original, people. You’re wasting your lives!

Now, you may have noticed that I’ve yet to review Slumdog Millionaire, this year’s “Best” Motion Picture. I’ve received many an e-complaint on the very matter. Here’s what I think: Too. Much. India. Enough already! We get it! You’re all speaking a language I don’t understand! Way to rub it in my face! And what’s with the fakey fake British accents? So typical. You can always tell a hackneyed actor when he globs on the British accent for a foreign part. Please. Your audience is smarter than you think, my little tikka masalas.

–Marvin Brill, Sacremento Bee

Total Hetero

Total Hetero’s Not Gay Reasons for Missing Project Runway
By Greg Tosc

I’m totally hetero.
But I totally miss Project Runway.
I made a list why.

  1. Hot model chicks get dressed! (Up high!)
  2. Hot model chicks get undressed. (Yow.)
  3. Some of the contestants are hot—the chicks, I mean. Duh, guys.
  4. Heidi Klum’s a hot model chick.
  5. Heidi Klum is married to Seal—what?! Awesome.
  6. Aesthetically pleasing designs and an eye for the avant-garde.
  7. Tim Gunn says a bunch of things, like, a lot, and I take a shot every time he says “ten minutes, designers” or “stunning” or “it concerns me.” Nothing gay about quoting Tim Gunn drunk, am I right?
  8. Tim Gunn seems like a real down to earth bro.
  9. Confident men dress well. Period. Exclamation point. Wait, strike exclamation point. Period. Yeah.
  10. What’s gay about supporting the arts contained within a non-exploitative and intelligent reality television format? It’s not like I watch America’s Next Top Model.

*Note to self: remove ANTM from DVR.

M O U N T A I N   P O S E
One day you will visit and/or look at a mountain. It will stand as tall as you are standing right now.

W A R R I O R  I   &   W A R R I O R  I I
One day you will come into battle (literal and/or metaphorical). You will win or lose this battle. You will be remembered for your “warrior spirit.”

D O W N W A R D  –  F A C I N G   D O G
One day you will befriend a dog. If you have already befriended a dog, your day has come. If you do not like dogs, you will befriend a creature that is more to your liking.

F O U R  –  L I M B E D   S T A F F   P O S E
One day you will discover the full potential of your four limbs. Or, one day you will oversee a staff of four.

L O C U S T   P O S E
One day your home will be overcome by locusts and other vermin. You will defeat them with your “warrior spirit.”

B O A T   P O S E
One day you will sit in and/or look at a boat. You may or may not become seasick. That is for the winds to decide.

B O W   P O S E
One day you will tie a pretty bow around a package. Or, one day you will take up archery. In either event, you will bruise your left index finger.

D A N C E R ‘ S   P O S E
One day you will meet a girl. You will ask her to dance. She will tell you that your aftershave reminds her of Daddy’s. You will run.

L O T U S   P O S E
One day you will sit with your feet resting on your thighs. It will be uncomfortable.

C R O W   P O S E
The crows are coming.

W H E E L   P O S E
One day you will discover that all of existence is one continuous circle that cannot be bent or broken.

C O R P S E   P O S E
Self-explanatory. Better limber up before then.

Unemployed Larry

Hey Gang! It’s me, Larry Begonia. As you may know, I’ve been unemployed for, oh gosh, close to four months? That long already? Hoo-ey! Hard to gage the time with the wife and kids up and gone. They were the ones with the watches!

It’s been real tough trying to stay in touch with my kids, Larry Jr. and Little Candy (seems Big Candy discontinued their cellular phone service—don’t blame her, we were long overdue with the payments), so I asked myself, “Larry, what are the kids doing these days?” And I answered myself, “Larry, they’re on The Facebook!”

So I called up Jimmy Triller from next door, and he gave me a few pointers (thanks again, Jimmy!). Taught me how to “tag” and “de-tag” and “friend” and “de-friend”—but we all know, a friend of Larry Begonia’s is a friend for a lifetime, so I don’t think I’ll be doing much de-friending, myself. Always nice to have the option, though.

I’ll copy and paste my page here, but you should really check it out on The Facebook. And maybe even “friend” me, too, while you’re at it. ;)

larryfacebook21
After I uploaded the whole darn thing, Jimmy called me up and told me that the “Interested in” question up in Basic Information indicates “sexual preference.” Gosh, I thought it meant “Who do you find interesting, males or females?” I thought it sounded odd, and a bit of a set-up for sexism. I find many males interesting and many females interesting (and many men uninteresting and women uninteresting, too.) Who knew it meant “interested in to date“! That’s sure confusing. There should really be some sort of User’s Guide for The Facebook. Help a guy out. Don’t want to make a cyber faux pas, heck no.

Which got me thinking. That Mark Zuckerberg sure must be a smart fellow to come up with a webpage like The Facebook. Sure smart, but a real young guy. I bet he’d appreciate a word or two of advice from a fellow who’s been around the Home Depot block (my power-walking route!) a time or two. So I wrote him a letter. I’ll copy and paste it here.

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Hey there! I’m Larry Begonia, former financial planner with Merrill Lynch, but don’t hold that against me!

I’m new to The Facebook scene and had a thought. See, it’s hard for me to stay in touch with my kids now that the wife’s relocated them and has yet to inform me where in God’s green earth they are, and I know there’s a good many hard-working, well-meaning Dads just like myself in a similar predicament. Now, I’ve tried to “friend” Larry Jr. and Little Candy, but they have yet to “accept my friendship request.” (Must be some faulty Internet where they are.) I can’t even look at my own kids’ The Facebook profiles! Seems downright unfair.

Here’s my idea: create a system for parents—and ONLY parents, there’s a ton of creep-o’s out there—allowing them to look at their kids’ The Facebook webpages without their kids needing to accept the friendship requests. I’d sure like to know the latest in their young little lives—heck, I’d like to know where they’re living!

Once you create this “application,” as I’m told it’s called, us parents could provide our kids’ social security codes—had ‘em memorized the moments they were issued back in 1994 and 1998!—thereby ensuring a safe way to track our kids down.

Let me know what you think, son—and I hope you don’t mind me calling you “son.” You remind me of a younger version of myself, from what I can tell from your Wikipedia page.

And allow me to “plug” myself here, too, while we’re at it. I see that you have many an advertisement on The Facebook, which means the bucks must be rolling in. As a young fellow, I can imagine that this is all very confusing and overwhelming. What to do with the money, where to put the money, how to think about the money… All great questions. Sounds like you need a financial planner to help with the answers. Give me a call, any time.

Call me “Friend”!
Larry Begonia

Mailed that puppy off not three minutes ago. Expect to hear from him soon.

Thanks again for the “Interested in” advice, Jimmy. Can you imagine me as a homosexual? I sure can’t!

Fixing myself a bowl of oatmeal now—got to love the Quaker Oats. You ever notice how even after you eat a whole bowl of oatmeal, you’re hungry again not a half hour later? Not altogether satisfying, I’d say.

‘til next time,
Larry Begonia