10 Movies That Don’t Have Enough John Goodman

Word.

Putting It Into Perspective

We all need a little John Goodman every now and again. The only thing better than a little John Goodman is a lot of John Goodman. The man is an extremely talented actor, and frankly, a living legend in the entertainment business. He never fails to paint smiles on every audience member’s face in the movie theater, which is why I will go as far as to call him an artist. Also, he kills it whenever he makes a television appearance (whether it be as a recurring character or guest star); case in point: Roseanne.

So, to honor a man who is always honest with his acting and his interviews, I’ve compiled a list of ten movies that just don’t seem to contain enough John Goodman in them. [WARNING: Some spoilers ahead…]

1. Coyote Ugly

Explanation: In a movie Mr. Goodman admittedly did solely “for the money,” one would expect…

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The Bronze Goddess

I owe you words.  I am keenly aware of this.  I have not been living up to my end of the bargain.

So I prostrate myself before you:  grovelling.  Eyes big and wide and deep.  Asking for forgiveness.

A temporary creative lull has forced me into writer’s limbo.  I am grasping at straws here, folks.  I even broke down and looked into the writing prompts that WordPress serves up occasionally.

And then I remembered the Bronze Goddess…

You all have a Bronze Goddess in your background.  The minute you found her, your life changed forever.

She was freedom.  She was happiness.  She was your ticket out, to anywhere.  She was your future.

Will you indulge me a bit to tell you about mine?

It was a warm fall afternoon all blue sky and golden leaves.

When I first laid eyes on her, she was ugly.  So ugly that she was beautiful.

She smelled kind of funky.  Earthy.

She was 10 years old, but in my defense she looked much older than that.

My hands caressed her lovingly even though my touch was uninvited.

I got no response.  I might as well have been touching a corpse.

I gave her a slap on the flank.  Again, nothing.  Just the hollow sound of my handsmack.

But I was in love.  Like I never had been before…like I never would be again.

I slid inside her.  An exquisite feeling.  Indescribable.  My heart was cranking out some serious thumps.  I knew I was headed for serious trouble this time.  There was no going back now.

I did everything I was supposed to do to turn her on, but she was slow to respond.

Finally, I pushed things just a little further, and she came alive…trembling beneath me.

My Bronze Goddess.

A 1977 Plymouth Volare Premier station wagon.

Spanish Gold Metallic.  With woodgrain sides.  And a luggage rack.

Just a whisper over 22,000 original miles on her odometer.

I was a virgin until I was twenty.  Oddly enough, I got rid of this car just before my 20th birthday.

Merely a coincidence, I’m sure.  But I digress.

A 318 V-8.  Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic transmission.

Vinyl seats.  AM radio.  Conditioned air.  Yep, that’s how I roll.

And yet, I loved her.  By rights, the way I drove her I shouldn’t be alive to write these words.

She was a bad joke at first glance.  Faded paint.  Rust in all the right places.  Milky windows.  Dust and moldy funk inside.

In other words, a very typical ’70s Chrysler product.

I was the laughingstock of the parking lot at school, just like Arnie Cunningham in “Christine.”

And I was just as enchanted by my petroleum succubus as he was with his.

I dubbed her the Bronze Goddess.  I actually stole the name from another student at my high school who had named HIS car that, but his car was something dirt common and unworthy of the moniker.

I drove.  I loved to polish and wax her for hours, buffing with a old cloth diaper until you were blinded by the diamond glint of her metallic flake. I tinkered with her.  I spent money.

Oh boy, did I ever spend money.  Stupid money.  I bought every snake-oil elixir that Autozone sold trying to fine-tune her engine performance.  And I drove.  And drove.  And drove.

Thousands and thousands of miles.  To Hell and back.

And the memories.  I never christened her (as some of my friends suggested) by gaining carnal knowledge of some lithe female in the back part of the wagon.  Mainly because I didn’t have any willing partners.  But alas, I had plenty of fun: my first makeout session, my first copped feel.  Wind in my face.  The sweet future lay ahead as smooth as freshly pressed asphalt.

My first cross-country solo journey.  She was my chariot to my personal Heaven on earth, the great state of Colorado.

And Colorado was where she met her end.

When I got my first real job and started making money, I decided that I was too good for her.  I needed something nicer. Faster.  Something to turn a lady’s head and catch her glance.

So I sold her off to a co-worker with still less than 50,000 original miles.  She ran so smooth and true that I had that instant feeling of “Shit, I shouldn’t have done that.”

A few months later, in kind of dark that you only can find out in the country (well away from city lights), my co-worker hit a Blank Angus steer that had wandered onto the highway.

Not even the immortal Goddess could have survived.

He was fine, walked away with seat belt burn and bruises.

The Goddess was trucked away to fade into the weedy landscape of the local salvage yard.

I still think of her.  Sepia-toned memories of rest-stops in Kansas, White Castle drive-thrus and the crisp, bracing air of the Western Slope.

You can only have one first car.  Damn, she was the best.

A love letter to Brazil (or Una carta de amor a Brasil)!

For some reason, the country with the most people viewing my blog is Brazil.  I’m sure that it is due to some improper link or something even more nefarious, but I feel compelled to address those beautiful, coffee-skinned visitors.  So apologies to all of my English speaking friends, this one is strictly for the la gente de habla hispana.

Queridos amigos,
No sé lo que te trajo a mi blog, pero yo quería tomar un momento para darle las gracias por estar aquí. Estoy seguro de que usted estaba buscando algo más, pero si usted puede leer Inglés, los invito a pasar unos minutos leyendo estos mensajes. Si tiene alguna buenas palabras para dejar atrás, por favor hágalo.
PS – las mujeres brasileñas son algunas de las mujeres más calientes del planeta!
Muchas gracias!
Dan

The Best of Me

katzpyjamas

You are still here
A delicate amorous thread
Woven within the lines
Bringing life to blackened pages
Allowing me to breathe again
To feel again
Rather than this half dead life
A half written story
Of now dead dreams…
And so I pen these words
To remember
The best of me

M.B.Stephens @mnm67
10April 2015

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Stand By Me…

I was fifteen years old when I saw my first dead human being… outside of the sterile environment of a funeral home casket, that is. Just like the slightly younger main character of the movie Stand By Me, which was based on a story by Stephen King.

Due to my profession, I have not only seen but handled hundreds of dead bodies. Young and old. Male and female. Rich and dirt poor. Clean, warm deaths in beds at home with family close and medicated comfort. Cold, nasty deaths with no warning on dirty pavement and fluttering yellow police tape.

In short, I’ve seen a lot.

But you never forget the first. I remember the sights, the smells, the temperature. Everything.

A bit of backstory: As a teen, I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol, which is the civilian branch of the Air Force. One of CAP’s main missions is search and rescue. In fact, they run about 90% of domestic aircraft search and rescue operations in the country.

Several times during my time in, I was called away from home in the middle of the night to go find an aircraft that went missing, or chase the ghost of a distress signal from an aircraft’s ELT (emergency locator transmitter).

On my first time out, we found a plane. And a body.

I got the call around 8pm. Our team picked me up and off we went into the hills of Southern Missouri.

We drove up and down backcountry washboard roads chasing the ELT signal with our equipment.

But the damn signals bounce off the hills, diverting us off on several wild ghost hunts.

We drove and searched for about 10 hours, listening carefully for the signal to get stronger or weaker. I had the harsh smell of our search vehicle’s burning clutch stuck in my nose all night.

Just as we thought we might have triangulated the location, the signal would get weak or disappear completely.

You always have the hope that the planes occupants might just be sitting on the ground waiting for you to show up, maybe a little beat up or hurt. I could almost see the relieved look on their faces when they see us walking up.

As we bounced through the dark backroads and one hour vanished into the next, my hope faded.

Just after sunrise, the State Highway Patrol sent up a helicopter to the area that our signals were the strongest. Within an hour, they had located possible debris on a hillside a short distance from where we were searching. The chopper pilot had radioed in the location of a dirt road that would get us to within 100 yards of the site.

We flew down the highway until we found the road. A battered metal trash can lay discarded along the highway. We stopped so we could mark the road for the other teams and rescue personnel. I righted the can and tied my orange safety vest to it. I wasn’t moving as fast as I should have, dreading what was waiting for us down the road. A fellow team member hollered from the vehicle for me to hurry up, that people could be dying.

But I knew, somehow, that there was no grateful pilot waiting for us. I just knew it, but I can’t explain how.

We pulled down as far as we could. We humped our packs down to a clearing and started seeing pieces of metal. Not big pieces, but suitcase-sized.

And then I saw the fuselage with the full accordion treatment. I glanced up at the trees. There was no swath of broken branches or decapitated trees in any direction. So the plane didn’t glide into the trees, it nosedived right into the hillside.

My eyes scoured the terrain, looking for a victim. But I noticed that no one else was looking.

“Does anyone have eyes on the pilot?” I asked.

He’s about three feet to your left, under the fuselage, came the reply.

I had almost kicked him while I was walking past the wreckage. I knelt down in the dirt to look closer.

The impact had folded him up and driven him into the dirt. Only the back of his light blue nylon warmup jacket was visible. And the back of his head and neck. A single dried rivulet of blood had made its way from his hairline down to the jacket.

An instant death for a young pilot, 18 years old, with a freshly-minted pilot’s license that was doubtless somewhere in the mangled mess.

No matter how quickly we would have found him, the end result would have been the same.

And just like that, a life snuffed out like a candle. No more Christmas. No more birthdays. No more dreaming of the love of his life. No more hope for the future.

I was thankful that I didn’t have to see his face.

The next day, I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents, eating and watching the local evening news.

The pilot’s parents were being interviewed. They expressed their disgust at the length of time that it took to find their son’s body. Why wasn’t he found sooner, the mother asked.

I felt both of my parents looking at me, wide-eyed and silent.

I snapped the television knob to off and growled something about them not knowing what the hell they were talking about and how it wouldn’t have made a goddam bit of difference when he was found.

Strong language that I rarely if ever would have used in the presence of my folks.

They said nothing.

I stewed on it for a couple of days and then thankfully, my mind let the anger go.

But the memory remains.

And I am still thankful that I didn’t have to see his face.

A heartfelt apology to you…

When I started this blog last year, I had visions of regaling you with endless tales of whimsy and fascination. I’ve spent the last months trying to wring some worthy fiction from this brain o’ mine. I’ve tried to to force this square peg of a blog into the round hole of my dreams and expectations to no avail.

Apparently my writing roots run deeper in the Charles Bukowski soil than I thought. Somewhere in that ethereal subsurface, the taproot has found tasty vintage in a deep, sometimes melancholic aquifer. Fortunately, the other roots keep feeding me the occasional tale or memory that provides diversion.

It isn’t what I had in mind. I wanted this to be a fun escape, not a baring of souls…

So that seems to be the highway we are hurtling down with occasional trips down the washboard backroads. And now, as Hunter said many years ago, I’ve bought the ticket. I might as well take the ride.

And you’re all coming with me. For that, I apologize. The advantage you have over me is this: you can jump off the train at anytime. I, however, am buckled in tightly with no knowledge of when or where the ride goes but with the belief that I will be gratefully exhilarated when it ends.

A little background to (hopefully) clarify today’s musing:

My own spirituality is a unique hybrid. If your gaze fell upon the shelf that I keep the books that I find the deepest solace and guidance in, you’d see a mix of Buddhist, Christian, Pagan and Native American spirituality.
The man-made elements of religion have done more to drive me away than to draw me closer to God. As a result, I’ve pushed myself further into seeking wisdom down different paths. In my spiritual travels, I’ve learned to note things such as today: the Vernal Equinox, combined with a New Moon and an eclipse.
My Druidic forebears would have seen great significance in this, and would have altered their usual rituals accordingly.

My own ritual? I will light a candle to mark the equinox and put my intention out there to keep writing and belief for it to grow, just as the farmer pushes the pumpkin seed into the cold spring soil in the belief that a strong healthy, fruitful vine will come forth even though he has no idea which direction the plant will go.

So today I will do a little equinox dance for you. I intend that the magnified power of today’s welcoming of the growing season will feed and sustain this virtual, verbal garden that I tend here. I will shed the doldrums and sluggishness of my Winter’s hibernation and keep priming the pump with these posts until it fills up and allows words to start flowing into a longer stream.

And I encourage you to the same in your life. Whatever it is that has been your passion and desire to do, and you have been sitting there waiting for the light to change from red to green, I encourage you to put more pressure on the gas pedal. As I have said before, my line of work reminds me daily of the short and unpredictable nature of this life. The power of today’s equinox also signals a change for your own growth. It is a sign for you to make the first move.

Take action. Till the soil. Turn last year’s regrets and hesitation under the earth to compost and fertilize this year’s adventures. The sun will warm the ground for you and the rains will fall to nourish whatever it is you should choose to plant.

Plant something and take care of it. An untended dream is like an unkept garden. If you just stick something and leave it to its own, it will most likely fall victim to pests and decay. The fruit will be bitter or rotten before you have a chance to enjoy it.

And that, dear reader, is a plain waste of your life and dreams. I will close this with some great motivation from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

“Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself,. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

See you down the trail.

The Demon Why

Yesterday, I read an amazing blog post by my friend, Don. You can find his blog at donofalltrades.com. Don is a good cop, maybe the best of them. He understands how compassion, kindness and humor can defuse and remedy a lot of the awful situations he faces every day. I admire him and his writing is superb, but I especially admire his ability to do a job that I once thought I wanted but realize that I don’t have what it takes.
His latest post is called “A senseless death” and by reading it, an all-too-familiar demon was summoned.
The demon “Why?”
Through my years as a funeral director, I have had many encounters with clergy of all faiths who have been unable to dispel this particular demon satisfactorily.
He’s a demon that I just can’t seem to shake.
I have one of those jobs that brings things into my life that makes me wrestle with “why” on a regular basis.

*Why does a 6 year old have to take a bullet from some sub-human and die?
*Why did two sons from the same family die a couple of years apart? Both of them under 40. In unrelated circumstances. Why did I have to try and bring comfort to their wonderful, loving parents who hugged me and handled the loss seemingly more at peace than I did?”
*Why did the mother of an 8 year old boy (whose death from cancer stirred emotion from even us weather-beaten old salts) get murdered only a year or so after his death?
*Why did the friends of my parents have to suffer the loss of 2 children? One from suicide and one from a car wreck?
*Why did all the prayers of so many people that were being said from my father’s dying wife have no apparent effect?

For all my conversations with clergy, the common theme seems to be faith.

And forgive the brevity of this post, but I am having a hell of a hard time keeping faith alive when confronted with the demon “why” every day. I don’t know how my friend Don holds it together when he sees even more than I do.

A senseless death…

To any of my followers who have not read this man’s blog, you should. You’ll mostly laugh, but sometimes, like with this post, you’ll want to cry. He’s awesome, our daughters went to school together, and I am proud to call him a friend.

don of all trades

We arrived at the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room at the same time.

He and his partner parked and I pulled up to their left and did the same.

I got out of my car and watched as the officer hurried from his seat and opened the back, driver’s side door.

When the officer grabbed the boy from the back seat of his police Tahoe, I knew almost instantly.

There was a split second though, before instantly I guess, where I didn’t know. For that split second, the officer looked like any dad grabbing his sleeping boy from the car and putting the boy’s head on his shoulder to carry him inside to sleep comfortably in his own bed.

For that split second, it was a sweet moment.

The officer, an around fifty year old white guy, clutched the little boy over his left shoulder gently, but with a clear purpose. The boy was small, a…

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This one’s for the girls…

This will tie in nicely with my previous post, affirming without a doubt my weirdness.

There is a lot of hullaballo about this latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and the advertisement for “Swimsuits For All.”

Let me go on record as saying that I am an ardent admirer of women. All shapes, all sizes, skin colors, hair colors, etc.

I have preached (to anyone who will listen) that a woman’s beauty, value and sexiness has NOTHING to do with a number on a scale.

Not a damned thing.

Let me tell you a quick story from my teen years: Being a dork, I spent a few weeks one summer at a Journalism Camp. Shocking, I know.
It was co-ed, and my first real unsupervised experience with the opposite sex. Me being me, no supervision was needed. As with the most of my years, the fairer sex pretty well ignored me at this camp. That’s beside the point. I have a memory of an incident at the pool that was my first vivid impression of the unhealthy view that a lot of women have towards themselves. A view that the media and certain male types have conjured up and inflicted upon them.

There were a number of girls at the pool, and one girl (who had a beautiful face and a willowy, model-type figure) came to sit on the edge of the pool. She was wearing a relatively modest one-piece suit, but you could almost physically feel her shame and discomfort. She sat for about ten minutes, and then fled back into the locker room in tears.

Because she had convinced herself in her mind that she was fat/looked fat.

There was another girl who went in to check on her reported that information to us. She was a redhead, lots of freckles and a thicker (but certainly not fat) build then the other girl. And while her face was pleasant enough, she wasn’t in the same class as the girl now weeping in the locker room.

But hot damn, she was so much sexier than the model-type.

I have never been able to put a tangible criteria on sexiness or whatever qualifies someone as sexy in my mind. But I have been fortunate enough to know a good number of sexy women who don’t fall into the archetype from magazines/movies, etc.

I think that it’s mostly due to confidence and attitude. The second girl was very comfortable in her own skin and with her own appearance. The first girl had everything a girl is/was supposed to have (in all the appropriate places, best as I could tell) but lacked that major piece of a belief in her own beauty or sense of self.

I still feel bad for her, and I hope that these many years later that she has come to peace with herself. As I feel bad for any woman who doesn’t believe that she is beautiful. I am amazed at the callousness that exists among other women with remarks like “She doesn’t belong in a bikini” or “Why is she wearing THAT?”

Such drivel. Who gave them the right to decide who is fit to be in a bikini and who is not? I’d like to know, because they deserve a kick in the ass…

That’s why I am SO pleased to see the #Swimsuitsforall campaign in that bastion of potential body-shaming, the Swimsuit Issue.

Ladies, you don’t need my permission to wear what you want during swimsuit season. Or anyone else’s for that matter. Wear whatever makes you feel the way you want to feel.

But it never hurts to hear from another source that you can be sexy. You can wear the swimsuit you desire. You are beautiful. And none of those depend on what your scale said this morning.

That being said, allow me to also say “I get it.” I’m sure that I am not the only guy to feel that way, but men get “fat-shamed” as well.

My own weight has fluctuated hither and yon. I have never felt really good about what my body looks like. Even when I weighed whatever I was supposed to weigh.

I have recently embarked on a exercise plan. Been at it about three weeks. I am cutting back on soda and other unhealthy foods.

All with one goal: this summer I will be frolicking on the beach in Jamaica. And I want to feel okay with being on the beach with my shirt off. I know that I won’t look like Jax Teller or Matt McConaughey, but I want to feel okay.

Just okay. Maybe sexy if I am REALLY lucky. (Or really drunk!)

Out of respect for your breakfast, I have decided not to post any “Before” selfie. But if I feel okay, I might post an “After.” I make no promises.

But I do promise this: I am determined to feel better about myself. I am determined to walk on the beach shirtless (it helps that I will be in another country where people who know me won’t be able to see).

And I promise to be an unwavering supporter of women who wear what they want and women who choose to be sexy.

Be who you are. Wear what you want. Be happy. Be confident. Be brave. The sexy will follow.

#nofatshamingofyourselvesallowed

Let your Freak Flag fly!

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S. Thompson

I am weird.

You all know that. If you’ve read any number of the posts here, you’ve already formed that conclusion.

And you would be correct.

My entire life has felt like being the one small piece of a very large puzzle that doesn’t fit in anywhere. No matter how hard or how many times I try.

My personal brand of weirdness reminds me of its existence regularly. For example, while going through an unmarked manila file folder in my desk, I found several examples which make me wonder about myself sometimes.

A copy of Wyatt Earp’s death certificate. Sam Kinison’s autopsy report and funeral bill. A handbill detailing Doc Holliday’s funeral service (most likely fake, but bitchin’ nonetheless).

As if my dream car (mentioned in the post titled “The Secret”) wasn’t proof enough. Nor my unconventional occupations that I’ve enjoyed.

And now, I have a weird kid.

I love him more that I ever thought I would love a child. He is a wonderful, loving, tender-hearted little guy. He’s a Mini-Me (I raise my pinky to my lip in my best Dr. Evil imitation).

And he’s weird. Exasperatingly so.

As a dad who was a weird kid and who knows the pain that can be inflicted on weird kids from so-called “normal” kids, I want to spare him from that if at all possible.

I’m not sure that I can. And after a little chat that he and I had a short time ago, I’m not sure that I want to.

In my quest to father this lad, I spend a few minutes of almost every evening lying next to him before he goes to bed and we talk about whatever is on his little mind.

This particular evening, I was questioning him on the necessity of his stuffed animals in his room. I swept my arm across the room in a grand gesture.

“Aren’t you getting a little old for these?”

“No Dad. I like them.”

I protested. And he floored me with a simple sentence.

“Dad,” he said softly. “I’m just different. I’m not like other kids.”

And my heart broke just a little. Because I knew exactly what he was speaking of.

He and I had a very serious conversation back in the fall, during a Dad/son day trip to some nerdy destination that we were both excited about.

He was very quiet during the ride. He usually never shuts up.

He confided in me that kids at school were mean to him. Just for being himself.

And then he stuck a verbal dagger in me by saying:

“Sometimes, I think that God made me a mistake.” And he wept.

I parked the car and held him while he cried. Fresh in my mind was the family of a young man who must have had similar feelings about himself, just before he stepped in front of an 18-wheeler on the highway.

His words hit home. Hard.

I never, ever want my son to feel this way. I have spent way too much time feeling the same way myself. As a weird adult, I’ve made peace with the fact that I will never have a lot of people who get me or want to hang out with me. (It took me a long time to do so.) As a single guy, women never wanted anything to do with me (or so it seemed. Lucky for me I found an attractive wife who has weird taste in men.) And my god, did it ever suck being an un-athletic kid at a sports-crazed high school. Seeing my son already start to experience this kind of rejection makes me worry about what difficult days may come in his future.

When he finished crying and gathered himself, I tried to make a very clear point to him. I needed to let him know that it was okay to be different. That he was still a human being worthy of love and life.

So I told that I loved him. That I would always love him, no matter if he was weird or not. As long as he was a good person, I would love him as long as there was breath in my body and blood in my veins. And that his mom felt the same. And as long as you have people who love you, no matter if it is one or one hundred, then you have a reason to keep living and enjoying your life.

I wished I would have heard those words when I was growing up. Even though I am sure the sentiment and feelings were there, it sure would have helped to here the words on those darker days.

Back to the night of the Great Stuffed Animal Debate, I decided that I need to let him be him. That he needs to be himself. I will counsel and advise him if asked to, but I will not force him to be something that he is not. And if my memory serves me, being like the “normal” kids isn’t an improvement.

I consider it a courtesy to him, from one weird kid to another. A courtesy that I extend to any of you out there who might fall into the same abyss with he and I. I’m always glad to hear from my fellow Weird. It’s okay to be different. As long as one person loves you for who you are, keep living and keep loving.

We’re here. We’re weird. Let your freak flag fly. Let it fly!