Friday, November 30, 2007

I took a little history walk today around my neighborhood in Paris. I wanted this walk to focus on walls and their history. It’s a strangely fascinating subject. I, of course, thought of you all in your little cubicles mumbling nasty things about your tyrannical bosses and thought I would share this walk through a little something I like to call “digital photography”. I don’t want to get too technical about how this works and I certain don’t want to fill you with fear—it is not magic or the “work of Satan”. It is simply a device I use to show “images” of some of the things I’ve seen. Don’t reach out and try to touch the walls that appear on your screen-no, no, no, they aren’t really there. They are only “images”.

I began the tour at the St. Paul Metro stop- this is one of the metros near our apartment- I actually prefer the Hotel Deville stop because I know, for a fact, it’s closer to our apartment- Kelly prefers the metro at St. Paul stop assuming, incorrectly, that it saves time. I have learned to pick my battles and remain silent- but to you, the reader,I must insist that the Hotel Deville Metro stop is closer to our apartment than the St. Paul Metro stop. lets continue.

As you can see from the start of our tour there are young punks protesting…oh wait who cares- privileged kids bitching about something to do with school. The loud, bossy girl you see in the picture ran the protest. It is not a great way to start an historic walk about walls. But it does remind us how lucky we are to be out of high school.

We begin our walk close enough to the protesters that I can still hear their leader explaining which restaurant they should all meet in case they get separated. we are at the neighborhoods oldest surviving street, the rue du Prevot it’s original name was la rue de la Percee. Percee means to pierce Prevot was not in my dictionary- anyone? I'm guessing it's a proper name. Notice the "4" under Prevot- that lets us know that we are in the 4th Arrondisment- as you can see the old engraved street sign has a "12" underneath it- it had once been called the 12 quarter- this classification is no longer used. "Fascinating" you say? Yes, I know.

Rue du Figuier was named for a fig tree that stood in front of the Hotel de Sens this tree was cut down by Queen Margot, the exwife of Henry IV, because it got in the way of her carriages. It was built in the late 1400's and become home to Margot after she was booted from the royal court. Queen Margot led what was concsidered a very scadolous sex life although by today's standards it was probably just another Saturday night. She did, however, collect locks of hair from her many lovers and had wigs made from them. the hotel de Sens now houses the fine arts library- considerably less exciting. Notice in the center of the picture immediately above the window- there is a canon ball stuck in the wall (it just looks like a black dot- I'll try to get a better picture of it). There is an engraving in the wall giving the date of the canon ball as July 28 1830- during an uprising against Charles X-during a second revolution.

On the wall of a school across the street is more recent wall history. I don't know who Sean Hart is but he is sick of being put in your little boxes made of ticky tack.

Walking back there is a large open space for the local school to play soccer- the back drop of this site is a large wall with two turrets- this is part of the Philippe Auguste wall which enclosed the entire ancient city of Paris in 1190. To put it in perspective, Notre Dame was begun in 1100 and New Kids on the Block broke up in 1994.

Beyond the wall is a small street named rue Eginhard as you can see old engraved street sign that it had once been called Neuve St. Anastaze (new street St. Anastze?)-at the dead end of this street is a fountain dating from the time between Louis XIII and Louis XIV- around the mid 1600s.

A very small street that I’ve been down before dead ends into the St Paul- St Louis Church- I never noticed that you could enter the church this way. This is a gorgeous church. Facing the altar, on the right-hand side there is a column with graffiti on it- that faintly spells out ‘La Republique Francaise ou Mort’ this was written around 1793. During the Revolution the church as all churches in France were sacked and pillaged. Most became used for purposes other than their original design- for instance, Notre Dame became the Temple of Reason and the church in Carcassonne had iron rings installed on the pillars for horses- it had become a stable.

My tour was to continue but I became hungry and needed me a little nourishment so home I went with my mind on a sandwich. I loves me a good sammich.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A representative of Ryan Airlines did walk through the aisle trying to sell their calender of sexy crew members in different states of undress- I declined. I don't believe any of the flight attendents on my flight were part of this particular calendar- ours had more of the 'eastern block- I will beat you like a Gagatio if you attempt to stand before the plane comes to a complete stop' type of look. But they were kind enough- Ryan air seems to sell a lot of stuff on their flights- I guess that's why the tickets are so cheap. Rolling a "Crack Cart" down the aisle seems a bit tacky- especially since you can't smoke on their flights.

While waiting for the plane in Barcelona I spotted this wanted poster. They are suspected members of the Basque Separatist group ETA and the 6 most wanted terrorists in Spain. Obviously, violence is no solution. That being said I would totally buy an ETA terrorist calendar if it featured Saio Sanchez- Iturregui (second row right). Terrorism just got a little bit hotter. I need to work on the movie rights. My plate is pretty full with the mail order Gaganer business, knitting a sweater out of belly-button lint and now producing this new vehicle for Jennifer Connelly. I’m kicking around a few tag lines that will be used in the movie advertisement- I could use your suggestions.

1. When she isn't breaking hearts she's breaking the law
2. Whether it’s mixing a martini in a black Chanel or a Molotov cocktail in army fatigues -Saio always gets her man!
3. Terrorism has a new name- Caliente!
4. Saio is putting the sexy back in Extremist

Feel free to add to the list- but I can't give you co-producer credit- I sold those rights to Ryan Air for a small bag of pretzels and a coke.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We are back from Barcelona- I didn’t write anything while I was there and I realizing now the importance of putting pen to paper while the experience is still fresh. There is one thing I want to write about immediately- I realize that its almost the end of November and might be too late to start discussing Christmas but I feel its my duty to warn anyone visiting Barcelona this holiday about their Nativity scenes. Feces seem to play a large part in a Catalan Christmas.

Nativity scenes around the world have the same basic elements, a Christ child in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, a calm Mary- looking as dapper as a woman that just gave birth can and a very confused Joseph still trying to sort it all out. “Wait…what?” So your saying …what?” You will usually find an assortment of farm animals and of course 3 kings bearing gifts that no child would want and, depending on how much your family watched TV, perhaps a little drummer boy serenading the child- because nothing will help a newborn lull off to bed quicker than a drum solo.

If you visit a Catalan around the holidays look closely in their nativity scene, among the sheep and trumpeting angels you will find a man smoking a pipe, his pants will be down around his ankles and he will be defecating. He is called “El Caganer”- which translates to “the one who shits.” The instructions, and yes it comes with instructions, tells us that

“The Caganer should be placed away from the Nativity scene… usually tucked away under a bridge or in a remote area”

Apparently in Barcelona the Nativity scenes include a bridge and are large enough to have what might be classified as “a remote area.” The Caganer has been a part of the Catalan tradition since the 17 Century. Laura, our hot Catalan hostess, explained that it symbolizes that even as Jesus was being born life still went on and people were still defecating. This sounds like a woman being asked to explain why there is a man shitting in her Nativity scene and she realizes she isn’t really sure why and she had better come up with something quick.

In keeping with the defecating spirit there is also a delightful character named El Cagatio, which translates to “The Shit Log”, it’s a small log with a face painted one end and again a pipe. Children place food in front of the Shit Log before they go to bed. It’s important to load Shit Log up with food, as you will see. Each night the parents replace the log with a larger log and remove the food- this gives the impression that the log is getting larger. (Oh lord why did I begin this story?) On Christmas Eve the Shit Log is covered with a towel and beat unmercifully with sticks by the children. After beating the log the children run through the house chanting

“Shit Log, Shit Log, Shit out candy for us!”

The towel is removed and they find that the log has expelled a large pile of candy and toys from its bowels. Whoever said violence never achieved anything clearly has never beaten a log to within an inch of its miserable life.

This Christmas Kelly and I will be visiting family in Brussels, but my heart will be in Barcelona, beating the shit out of a log and searching for the shitting man under the bridge in a remote area of the Nativity scene.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We are off to Barcelona for a long weekend. The trip was a little ill conceived. We saw round trip airfare from Paris to Barcelona for 50 euros each from a discount airline. In our excitement we booked them immediately. As it turns out “Paris to Barcelona” are kind of loose terms- the flight is actually from Beauvais to Girona, each 1 ½ hours from either advertised city. Still at that price it’s hard to complain. Unfortunately the metro strike hit and there is a possibility of an air traffic controller strike. So it’s a little unclear if we will actually make it to Barcelona- we also planned our departure to be the earliest of the day which makes it next to impossible to actually get there in time so we have to rent a hotel room. Again, that’s ok- we are learning the hard way but it will be a lesson learned.

I spent most of yesterday figuring out transportation to and from the airports, hotel reservations etc. I was struck by a notice on the airlines webpage.

“Ryanair, Europe’s largest low fares airline, today (15th Nov) unveiled 2008’s hottest calendar, as Ryanair’s cabin crew strip down to their bare essentials…
Ryanair’s gorgeous cabin crew are raising the cabin temperature with 2008’s hottest calendar.”

Our crew are strippers???? I better wear shorts ‘cause it’s gonna get hot in that cabin.

Please God, let us live.

I wont have access to the internet so I will be taking a small break from blogging.

Monday, November 19, 2007

She's been threatening to get one since I've known her and apparently the rain of London coupled with the literary history of the city convinced her once and for all that it was time to get a tattoo on the back of her neck. It's a Tibeten symbol which means "you better still want this in 50 years because it aint going anywhere" It's actually pretty cool looking and it conveys something important to her. She asked if I'd ever get one and the answer would have to be no. There is a cut off age for getting tattoos and it's well before 40. Tattoos, when you are younger, are a celebration of youth and a symbol of freedom and rebellion- after a certain age its a pathetic attempt to cling to what once was. It's OK to roll into middle age with a certain amount of dignity, respect for your age and a sense of comfort in your own skin. Back in the early 80's I had an earring- the hole is still there but I don't believe I'd ever wear an earring again. Some things are meant to stay at a certain age and to carry them beyond that point lessens the importants of what they once conveyed.

I'm reminded of a lyric by Pete Townsend who, by the way, I've met.

Jeannie doesn't wear no slit skirts
and I don't ever wear no ripped shirts
Can't pretend that growing older never hurts.

Actually looking at the lyric it's pretty stupid but it conveys my point to an extent and also allows me to remind you that I have met Pete Townsend and you have not.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

There’s no central theme to today’s post- just random thoughts I had as I ran a few errands. I mentioned yesterday that these next four days are all about writing. It has not gone as swimmingly as I had hoped. Yesterday I wrote 3,000 words and so far today 1,000. I realize that a word count doesn’t really mean anything- they could have been 3,000 of the exact wrong words to write- but I have to measure it somehow and I’d rather measure it by quantity as opposed to quality because…well I think you know why.

1. Went to the market and bought 8 Clementine oranges and 4 apples which was odd as I like apples more than Clementine (which should be your first clue that I have nothing of interest to write about)- but Kelly likes Clementine more so maybe it was one of those annoyingly cute things couples sometimes do for each other since she isn’t here the only why I can get kudos for being incredibly unselfish and cute is to write about it in a pathetic attempt to get you to like me.

2. I thought about the time I brought my niece to the Les Halles stores so she could buy jeans- a very rough crowd hangs out there at night. I dropped her off at the girl’s store and I went in search of ping-pong balls. (Note : As it turns out having ping-pong balls does not make you the “cool uncle”) For some reason I was holding a bunch of 1 euro coins in my hands and as I jumped off the escalator I accidentally dropped all of them (about 12 euros worth of coins) on the ground. There were 5 gang looking type guys at the bottom of the stairs and my coins scattered around their feet. I realized that I would have to preserve my fragile male-ego and battle for the money or do the smart thing and step away it if it got hairy- What I hadn’t counted on was the gang members helping me gather all the coins and wish me well as I went to buy ping pong balls- Perhaps they saw me as a man to be reckoned with- nothing says “danger” like a man intent on buying ping-pong balls.

3. While I was running errands I listened to Bob Dylan’s “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” (very loudly) it then rolled into Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song”. Leonard Cohen is one of the most amazing songwriters ever and Bob Dylan isn’t too shabby either.

4. I have had a throbbing headache off and on for 2 weeks. Haven’t mentioned it because try not to burden others with my pain…that’s how I roll.

5. Kelly refuses to play ping-pong with me so I’m stuck rolling the balls at the cat. The cat is now getting tired of the game and wont play. So it’s, essentially, a grown man, on the floor rolling ping-pong balls from the living room to the kitchen. And that is what I’m doing instead of writing the great American novel.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taking my walk along rue de Rivoli as it becomes rue Saint Antoine I saw a sad sight. Le Jean Bart with extensive fire damage. The very distinct smell of a building on fire always reminds me of the day our house caught fire- actually my chidhood home caught on fire two seperate occassions, same room (mine) and both times on my birthday...and that is how I turned the sad story about Le Jean Bart into a story about me. YEA ME!

Kelly is on her way to London today and will be there through-out the weekend. There is a transit strike which,...well quite frankly doesn't effect me one way or the other but I am prepared to turn those lemons into lemonade. This weekend I write! Write, write, write. The story I'm working on is slow going and I have been second guessing myself- i think it might be a bit too serious and serious may not be my forte. It's a fiction piece- as much as a first novel can be fiction. The main character decides his life is without meaning he drinks, and engages in other activeties which numb him to reality. He loses everything as a result of his self destructive behavior and, as a result, has a spiritual awakening which leads to him quitting his life/ job and moving to someplace...say...oh I don't know...maybe Paris. So really when I call it a work of fiction I really mean I changed a few names and monkeyed with the dates. My focus these next few days is to get back on track with the story. Although, as I read what I just wrote, I may have just completed my first novel- strange...I thought it would be longer. YEA ME!!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I’ve always liked walking through cemeteries. It’s quiet, people are respectful, and there lots of reading material- what more could you ask for? Cemeteries have a way of putting everything in perspective. The truth is, and most people don’t like to think about it, but it’s a very short stay. It’s interesting to see the graves in disrepair- it only takes a couple generations before people begin to let the grave go. What was once the most important thing, our individual lives, mean little- life has moved on. This may seem depressing but it shouldn’t be- it’s a reminder that we are here for a very short time and there isn’t time for nonsense like hate and doing what you aren’t passionate about or waiting in line at starbucks. Kelly and I took a long walk through Pere Lachaise to put it all in perspective- here are a few of the people we met that are remembered because they lived passionate lives.

Oscar Wildes

Eugene Delacroix

Edith Piaf


Francois Raspail

Monday, November 12, 2007

Am I the last person to hear about these guys? Flight of the Conchords from New Zealand doing "Business Time".
It’s interesting to be in a new country for many reasons but one that I wasn’t expecting has to do with race and prejudice. As white man in American I am responsible for the slaughter of the Native Americans, slavery, the subjugation of women and the cancellation of “Arrested Development”. (For the record my great grand parents were growing rocks in a tiny field in rural Ireland and I religiously watched Arrested Development). The beauty of being in France is that the problems of racism, sexism, genocide of indigenous populations are not my doing, I’m just a war mongering, condescending, loud, ugly American- a title I can live with.

Move to France and it all changes- I am no longer responsible for all the ills of the country. I didn’t mistreat the Algerians or refuse a job to someone because they are African*. Hell, if anything I’m the victim- they made me sign a piece of paper saying I wouldn’t work and oooh how I long to work. I am, as are my black American brothers in Europe, just “the idiots that voted for Bush…(wait for it)… twice”.

This whole sordid thought came about a few weeks ago as stood outside the American Church in Paris. An African American told a “black joke” to 4 white Americans. Everyone was uncomfortable when he said “What do you call two black…?”, everyone, that is except him, which I suspect was the point of telling the joke.

What do you call two black homosexuals in a bar? Answer: Gay

OK- it’s kind of funny – I enjoy a good twist to a joke but I couldn’t help but think, “leave that shit in America.”

The more I thought about it, (anything worth thinking about is worth over thinking) it occurred to me that maybe I ought to leave that shit at home. Maybe he was just telling a joke. Maybe the joke immediately put me on the defensive and caused me to look at the differences between us instead of the similarities. Maybe I need to lighten up and not him. Maybe if we bomb Iran I wouldn’t have to think about these things.

*Suggestions for Africans looking for work in Europe: Tell the interviewer that you are an African not an AfriCAN'T- just watch those job offers roll in.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I started smoking when I was 16 years old, probably earlier but I didn’t really excel at the sport until then. I believe Dodging Lions convinced me smoking would be a good idea- he, himself, did not take-up the habit. He went on to be voted “Best Looking” of our high school class and I was voted “Most Likely To Vomit After Walking Up Two Flights Of Steps.” Anyway, 3 years ago, after many years, I quit smoking. I hear you- “You don’t drink, you don’t do drugs and you don’t smoke? What will you do next, walk on water?” Yes, that’s exactly what I’m planning on doing and while walking on water I intend to look a porn.” Kelly and I both quite smoking at the same time, and we stayed together. It has not been easy to NOT smoke in Paris and, unfortunately, Kelly fell off the wagon.

I recall when we first quit, Kelly’s little sister Kate said to her.
“Misplaced is the weak link in your quest to quit smoking-when he fails miserably stay strong don’t smoke.”
I look back on that now and think, “WRONG! In your face, Kate! Ha!”

It isn’t about proving Kate wrong – but she was obviously very, very wrong- it is about Kelly. Yesterday, Kelly quite smoking after 2 months. Let’s just say that withdrawal is an ugly thing and I am apparently the dumbest, fattest, most insensitive, worst cook, laziest non-writing writer she has ever met. We are hoping for a better day today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I live on street called rue des Francs-Bourgeois- it was originally known as rue de Pouleies after the pulleys that were used on the looms of the local weavers. The name changed in 1334 when a poor house was built for 48 middle class Parisians who had fallen on hard times. The plus side to their poverty was they did not have to pay taxes. Francs Bourgeois means “middle class men that don’t pay taxes”- which, of course, describes me to a tee. I am on the corner of rue Vieille-du-Temple and Franc Bourgeois. The rue Vieille-du-Temple means the street to the old temple- the temple in this case being for the Knights of the Templar. As you remember this organization begged me to join them but unfortunately their gang colors are red and I’m an “autumn” so it could never be. On this corner there are three relatively new apartments, one of which is mine, and a building from the 1500 ‘s called Hotel Herouet. The day after liberation, in August 1944, the Germans lobbed shells into Paris as a final “f* you” to the city- one of these shells hit the intersection of rue Vieille-du-Temple and Francs Bourgeois destroying three buildings but leaving the Hotel Herouet damaged but fixable. This brings me to the entire point of this post, Brigitte Bardot lived in the Hotel Herouet during the 60’s -so I missed running into her at the drug store by 40 years. She could have had a restraining order against me long before it became fashionable.

* Update: It was brought to my attention that I misspelled Brigitte's name on the google map- I'd make a terrible stalker but a pretty good stauker.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This is the view from my writing table- this is also why I can’t get any work done. Autumn is great

I bought a grocery cart from the BHV. A maroon, two wheeled beauty with a slight squeak as it rolls down the street. (squeak, squeak, squeak). I’ve wanted one since I got here but I didn’t want to be one of those people that jump on the grocery cart bandwagon. I wheeled it back home. It isn’t as easy as one would image, especially in the crowded streets of the Marais (squeak, squeak, thump thump) “oops pardon Madame.” I’m apologetic and embarrassed when I run over someone’s shoes but after about the 3rd time I start to get pissed off at them- “Get yer shoes out from under my grocery cart beotch- yer gonna mess up the wheel alignment”. You can say "beotch" because no one knows what it means except the English speakers and they know they are being beotches so it’s cool.

Kelly and her friends come home and they make fun of my cart. They say it isn’t cool but I ignore them. What do 20-somethings know from cool- they think 80’s music was hip- they wore Uggs.

As I wheel my cart to the Monoprix (squeak squeak squeak) I can’t help but notice that only old French ladies have grocery carts. I feel as though I’m getting looks of distain from the French guys- as though my grocery cart is effeminate. If a French guy thinks it’s effeminate then it must be pretty goddamned gay but I don’t care- I like my cart. I don’t really need anything from the Monoprix but I want to fill 'er up, take 'er on the road and see what she can do.

I walk off into the sunset- just a guy with a dream and a grocery cart. (squeak squeak squeak)

Photo: Ponette warily checking out the competition for my affection

Monday, November 05, 2007

They've finally built a better mouse trap. Mr Mouse meet Satan.
It was a year ago that I began this blog- the goal was to write everyday. Many posts had to be deleted after my family discovered the blog. The entries since then have been a watered down version of the truth. “How can someone write everyday?” I asked myself before I began this little exhibition- I think the key is to not be too concerned with content or quality. This next post is going to be a perfect example of how you fill space.

I’ve tried to “Turn It Over To God”, “Let it go”, “First Thing First” and all the rest of those 12 step bumper stickers -I did everything but “Honk if your a friend of Bill W.” but I need to share. I need to unburden my soul. The memory of Carcassonne trip has been polluted by theft. Someone stole my iPod. That’s right, as you will recall I saved my pennies and I bought the biggest and best iPod they make (at this point I would create a link that would bring you to a post talking about the day I bought an iPod but I think we all now realize that I don’t know how to do links). I chose the most expensive iPod because I knew it would be a reflection of me…the real me: big, sleek, modern, shiny…black. On this extension of myself was Sinatra, The Beatles, Coltrane, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Ella, Billie- I had actual video of Rick Steves making his was across Europe "through the backdoor"- I intended to make some good money with those videos- that was my 401K plan- now its gone, all gone.

When I returned from my trip I noticed the iPod was missing. I spent a few days looking for it, making calls but it was obviously stolen. Undoubtedly one of those thieving Carcassoneanites somehow managed to separate me from the thing that was to represent me. I am totally against stereotyping and making sweeping generalizations about groups of people but it is quite obvious that all Carcassonanians are thieves and liars. It only makes sense- who, but a thief, would wall up their entire town. I mean, yea… I get putting a lock on the liquor cabinet but the whole damn town! Honest people don’t spend centuries looking for rocks to build a wall. Don’t even get me going on the Chinese- but at least the Chinese have numbered their dishes so we can all order from the menu.

All I know is that somewhere in Carcarcasson tonight a young man is tapping his toes to “I’m So Excited”. When will a white fella from America get a break?
Dangerous- the cave to our last apartment. The empty rat poison packets added to the creep factor.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Did you know that Johnny Cash was once attacked and almost disemboweled by an ostrich named Mort? It’s true –Goggle it if you don’t believe me. I was reading the Guardian UK website regarding the bitter divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. In the comments someone referenced Johnny vs. the ostrich. Normally I like my celebrity gossip to stay focused. The comments should reflect that we love Paul because he was a Beatle and we hate Heather because she has one leg. I don’t like when the 200 plus comments veer from this track.

The reference brought me back many years to the day when I was to star in a movie with Johnny Cash called “The Pride of Jesse Hallam”. The movie was about a single father forced to move from the mining hills of Kentucky to the big city. It is only after he moves that we become aware that he is illiterate. Actually, none of this matters as my character has yet to appear in the story. Brenda Vaccaro plays the high school teacher that finally convinces Jessie to forget his pride and learn to read. She gasped out her lines like an asthmatic running up a hill with a cigarette dangling from her cracked lips.

The drama teacher begged me to play the role of “Student #6”. It should be noted that I was no stranger to the stage having had a small yet pivotal role in Music Man (Picnicker #2) and at one point was forced to paint over some graffiti me and my gang had sprayed on the wall in the auditorium. So it’s safe to say that the theater is in my blood. I was hesitant to take a role on TV but after careful consideration I felt that I could bring something to this production- a little something I like to call “VISION”.

The day of my scene I was hanging out at my trailer, which turned out to be a large, mobile transformer (the crew and I were always playing jokes on each other like that.) I was applying my own makeup because the makeup artist didn’t have me on her roster for some reason. I gained some weight for the role and stayed up all night getting into the role in the same way Dustin did in "Marathon Man", make a long story even longer I dozed off and was late for my scene. I ran to the classroom but they had replaced me with some retard from the 9th grade.

Looking back on it I realize I had risen too far too fast- I had become cocky and arrogant with my talent. But it was also fair to say that politics played a part in my dismissal. I had given the director several pages of notes that would save this made for TV movie. The first was to replace Brenda Vaccaro with a 1980’s Kelly McGillis. Then, instead of having Kelly’s character fall for Jesse Hallam (what hot chick’s gonna hit that- I mean- he can’t read or nothing) she should have a sexual relationship with my character, Student #6. I also suggested that Student #6 be given a real name such as Shank. I think that a sexy teacher plucking the ripened fruit of one of her under-aged students would give the movie the “ummmph” it so desperately needed. After I made these changes I saw no reason for the whole illiteracy plot, which was a downer to begin with and thought it would be better played on a beach. We get rid of the Johnny Cash character and change the name to “The Pride of Shank” with a sweet NC 17 rating.

I can only assume that Mr. Cash, seeing that he would be out of a job, was the main person responsible for the dismissing of my ideas, which is why I spent several years training an ostrich named Mort.