Making Your Mark, Without Leaving a Stain

. . . So WHAT was I saying? . . . Contrary to popular belief, or just my unfounded paranoia, Tom Cruise and his friends at “Thetans R Us” have NOT put a contract out on my life. (that I am aware of) So I have NOT been hiding out from them and living in peoples’ barns throughout the Midwest (which for the record, are quite spacious and often, well decorated – a lot like the one Patrick Swayze rented in“Roadhouse” – RIP, bro) . . . I have also not been on a month and a half long BENDER, which would ALSO probably have ended up with me living in peoples’ barns. More likely, as a result of being unable to find either my car keys, my car or my house. Though I would like to give a special thanks to those in charge of “Passages” for advertising on my “bit” and taking advantage of the opportunity of a lot (a purely fictional amount) of conjecture, speculation and piqued interest in my absence. . . For those that don’t know, “Passages Addiction CURE Center”, is located relatively nearby, in Malibu, CA. When I say relatively nearby, I speak in terms of geographical location and in “hours to get there.” (about 2 and a half-depending on traffic). Passages is also world-renowned for getting a few CELEBRITIES to “pull their heads out” and straighten up over the years. It has aided such notables as Mel Gibson (hating life and the Jews, then losing all sensibility and becoming an adulterer), David “the Hoff” (after enjoying White Castle ala linoleum and becoming REBORN on a stupid show), Andy Dick (even though, I could swear I saw him on Sober House, after his stay) and some guy named Marc Jacobs (who designs clothing, I guess). Pauly Shore also stayed there – as did Stephen Baldwin (but I think THAT was lingering fallout from the film “Bio-Dome”. Either it was conceived by people while in treatment or those under the influence. OR while making the film, it became necessary to use drugs – A LOT of them)

Nevertheless. . . that would be

  • ME + BENDER = NO. . . and
  • ME + Contract on my Life = NO.

Unfortunately, contracts (of any kind) and my personage have yet to be mentioned in the same breath in HOLLYWOOD. (as far as you know) I have yet to amass the considerable “clout” required to be one of the biggest wastes of both TIME and/or MONEY, like the unflappable Mr. Cruise. While I sit #9 on the list of Comedians on ““, my TOTAL non-friend and (unknown to him) adversary Tom sits comfortably (quite comfortably) at #6 on the list of CELEBRITIES that have earned rather LARGE money for . . . NOT being entertaining. (here. . . look). . . But, I’m kind of jumping the gun. . . Go Figg’r. . . You were all probably just so anxious to hear where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, that I’ve left you an utter mess. Barely able to cope under the stress and teetering near the edge . . . My bad. . . apologies around the horn. (except to Mr. Cruise. . . I think you know where we stand). So where have I been?. . . RIGHT HERE. . . What have I been “Up To”?. . . NOT MUCH. I’ve been hanging out with my family and working between really invasive medical procedures meant for men 10 to 15 years my senior, but (certainly) NOT for me. Bottom line? . . . My insides are riddled with ulcers and I am finding that JOY. . . I mean TRUE UNBRIDLED JOY in life CAN be found. It is merely a matter of diet, timing and a really decent Bowel Movement. In fact, my doctors inform me that the best treatment for my “condition” is to “Not think about it”. . . Unfortunately, ME – being one that tends to think about a large number of things (sometimes simultaneously) am having a little difficulty following their “specially-tailored regimen”. I’m still not quite certain, why the “Alien Probe” was necessary for them to surmise that my ailments are (in essence) all in my head. . . I just want to put it all “BEHIND” me. . .

All Seriousness Aside. . .

The “time off” did afford me the opportunity to reassess some priorities in my professional life. For starters, I needed to determine whether or not I HAD one. Quite a number of things have gone on in the 2 weeks since my last effort. I have observed them, noted them and forged ahead – biting my tongue and biding my time. I watched in the wings as “Professional” comedians took and made their collective “cracks” at current events. Some – “wise”(?). Some – “not so much”. I took another step back to get a better look at CELEBRITY and all that it entailed. I read through some of my past “bits”. (I’ve only been doing this since June) I studied the progression and evolution of my “writing”. A while back, I wrote something called, “I’ll Never Run Out of Things to Say. . . Only People to Listen”. I still subscribe to that philosophy. . . with a slight modification. I don’t want to lose sight of why I started this little “blog”. . . and that was – To Make a Difference. . . By commenting on people that “think” THEY do, but most assuredly DO NOT. Actually, I’m an artist and a writer and this “bit” was started as a means to promote my “work”. But during the process, I have seen some things going on in “Popular Culture” , that have compelled me to let you know they are WRONG. I have noticed some things going on around me in “Society”, that have prompted me to let you know that they are STUPID

. Not that you don’t have the ability to decide these things for yourselves, but apparently SOMEONE is “dropping the ball” in that department. As much as I claim to want to be a CELEBRITY, I feel the “need” to possibly redefine what that MEANS. (At least to me) Because, by NO MEANS do I want to join the ranks of what is out there “entertaining” us all today. (with a few exceptions) Could what I’ve been doing over the last 6 months, in an effort to promote my “work” be viewed as PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY? . . . Sure. . . I suppose. . . if I were a Professional. As it stands, I’ve never been a professional anything. I’m not complaining, mind you. Just making an observation, so that I can share another. Though I’ve never been a “professional anything”, I’ve been quite a few “really good somethings”. . . Bear with me – we’re getting there.

I think that “satire” is a valuable tool in our world. The People, Places and things (nouns) that I satire on a semi-regular basis have taken it upon themselves to be a part of “MY WORLD” (really BIG noun). I cannot and WILL NOT be held responsible for the actions of others or why I end up finding them completely baffling as a “Sub-Species. I WILL be held accountable for how I respond to them. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why I am ME and THEY are them. So if it boils down to “qualifications” for being a CELEBRITY, what are they? Who decides when it’s over? Who decides when it’s too much? I would say, my friends. . . the answer is “US” . There are STARS out there that have undoubtedly had their fair (and unfair) share of Hard Knocks

. But, don’t be fooled. It is no more than any cross-section of “Our” world. I brought up “Passages” Treatment Center , at the top of this, because I “Don’t GET it”. Am I supposed to feel SORRY for the CELEBRITIES that have decided, for whatever reason, to piss it all away? Sure, I feel empathy for someone battling an addiction or depression or any other ailment. But when that “condition” is brought on by CELEBRITY and all of its “trappings” , it starts to make my ulcers bigger. Not because I worry about the STAR, but because I don’t understand why it is such a “Big Deal”. But it’s not just CELEBRITY “hardships” that leave me scratching my head.

I contend that there comes a point in some CELEBRITIES’ careers that they MAX OUT on their STAR POWER and become a liability to the greater good of Society. At that point, it seems, they are merely in the business of “Being a Celebrity”. They don’t even necessarily have a very impressive body of “work”. . . Also within this class of CELEB are those that HAVE put out a sizable and respectable amount of TOP-NOTCH “work”, but have decided, for whatever reason, that they NO LONGER CARE. I could point to several. . . but do I really HAVE to? Okay, here are a few (Incidentally, they are also Celebrity couples):

  • Brad Pitt and/or Angelina Jolie (what have you done for us lately?)
  • Ashton Kutcher and/or Demi Moore (what HAVEN’T you done for us lately – and then told us about immediately?)
  • Jennifer Lopez and/or Marc Anthony (who are you guys again?)

There are also CELEBS that are SO outside of the realm of STAR, SO OVERSATURATED in society’s consciousness – that there is nowhere else to go. This can be a little “scary” to watch. Because everyone is so fascinated with their every move they make, they start doing really outlandish things. The difference-maker being, they live on an alternate plane of existence than “WE” do. There is a whole different set of rules for them. But because, we have ADCD (Attention Deficit Celebrity Disorder), they are usually forgiven for their transgressions and immediately (in terms of time vs. eternity) embraced again and given the “green light” to continue to entertain us, as only THEY (apparently) can. (Like we couldn’t just find some poor actor or film school student to step in as a suitable replacement) I’m pretty sure we could, but we become attached to our FREAKS:

  • Robert Downey, Jr. (remember? passing out in someone else’s living room?)
  • Mel Gibson (remember? being a racist, sexist cheater?)
  • Britney Spears (remember? Oops she did it again, and again, and again?)
  • The Olsen Twins (remember? No, I mean the last time they ate?)

There are STARS that are also so BIG, that there is nothing more for them to humanly achieve. These folks end up looking for something OUTSIDE of themselves to “fill the void”. Something BIGGER than Celebrity. Sometimes a CAUSE. Sometimes a RELIGION. Either way, in my estimation, they are trying to chalk up a few “brownie points”, because it dawns on them that all of THIS. . . is temporary:

  • Madonna (Should just start a gym in Van Nuys and go away)
  • Richard Gere (Should just retire . . . and remember “When” – while meditating)
  • Will Smith (So you made friends with Tom? Did he mention the racism thing?)
  • Tom Cruise (You will forever be my whipping boy – you suck)

As if THIS Circus visiting our town wasn’t enough, we have also recently added a new classification of “sub-species”. They are the CELEBREALITY. We seem to have invited the “Carnival” to join the “Circus”. Sometimes combining the two, with unrelenting freakiness. These people rarely register on my Entertainment Meter (I keep it under my bed), but have so inundated our culture, clogged up the gears and become such an insult to our common senses, that they cannot be ignored (but not for a lack of trying):

  • Jon Gosselin (and sometimes Kate) – Go Away
  • Levi Johnston AND Sarah Palin
    – Get Married
  • The Kardashians – WHY? Your dad was a lawyer, you DO nothing and Bruce Jenner is rivaled only by Joe Jackson, in “Old Man” plastic surgery procedures.

I would like to mention Two CELEBRITIES that have been in the news, as of late. Though I am not going to classify either one (I’ll leave that to you) I felt the need to point them out separately from the rest of the crew – cuz it’s PERSONAL.

– Reinventing yourself straight out of the chute? Really? You know what? I thought you were talented on American Idol. I thought that you were exciting and “fresh”, compared to the other competitors. But this ISN’T Idol anymore. Though your lifestyle isn’t my cup of chamomile, we GET IT. . . You’re GAY. . . NEXT?!. . . If you need to rely on gimmicks and something that wasn’t that shocking when we saw Madonna and friends do it a few years ago INSTEAD of a dynamic performance (it wasn’t) – then I think America picked right. At least Kris Allen, doesn’t hide behind makeup. Early on in this “bit”, I used his name to illustrate a point about CELEBRITY. . . Sometimes, I read my old stuff and feel like a “fortune teller”. . . I’m calling it NOW. . . Adam? You’re NO Carrie Underwood. (as much as you WANT to be or PRETEND to be – I think you understand me)

Tiger Woods – Let ye without sin cast the first stone? Well, I LOVE “MY” wife. I’ve got a bucket of balls, a four-iron and an early TEE TIME. . . Stand still. . .WHY Tiger? I Officially and Disrespectfully withdraw my offer for you to appear in “Orbotz”. (See my bit: “I May Pitch like a Girl, But I Hit Like a Man”) You were actually more of an afterthought anyway – a lot like your marriage. . . apparently. I again “Don’t Get It”. Why are all these CELEBS deciding that it is perfectly fine to RUIN their families? What is the deal with CELEBRITY marriage? Better yet, what happened to being a GOOD PERSON? NO, we shouldn’t give him a “break”, because he’s ONLY human. There are LOTS of us out here that are faithful to our spouses, that don’t need your “Happy-ass” and dirty laundry paraded in front of us OR our KIDS every night. Explain that to my FAMILY. The only thing that could top this off, would be if you deployed more troops in Afghanistan and then LIED to us and told us they will be back by 2011. But you know what? . . . it will be business as usual for him when the dust settles. . . punk.

Tony Robbins once asked what my “True” PASSION was. (he was nice to me, until he found out I teased him mercilessly) My wife and my kids are my passion. . .Their Happiness? My drive. . . The means to achieve that? . . . You’ve been reading it. I had a creative writing teacher in 7th Grade, who inadvertently set the tone for how I viewed my “Talent” and others that share similar “skills”. I was quite fond of Stephen King as a lad. . . I was a kid, but when I started talking about an author and Writing Class, I got all “Charles Dickens” for a moment. Anyway, I had an assignment to provide the outline for the first few chapters of a “novel”. . . I remember it vividly. (I still have the drawings for the Graphic Novel I’d hoped to turn it into – if anyone’s interested) The book was called “Cutter’s Edge”. The main character’s name was Landon Cutter. It was a sweet-ass spy/horror novel. (A genre, I STILL think is underdeveloped). Somewhere in the first chapter our “hero” has to break out of the “Psych Ward” of a Disreputable and Communist-Run Mental Institution. He is given his morning breakfast in his “cell” by an evil orderly, because he had been “acting out” the night before and was in solitary confinement. (I had no idea what the inner workings of a mental institution were and WOULDN’T for several more years. . . long story) Long story short?. . . Cutter stabbed the orderly in the base of the skull with a butter knife and got away. He saved the day and got the “babe”, while battling Russian Zombies (and some fat guy with a hairlip) . . . Hey! I was in 7th grade! The point is, when I got my graded report a week later – I was devastated. I got a “B”. I thought my teacher LIKED me! Nevermind the outline was riddled with inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies and enough graphic and violent carnage that it made “Natural Born Killers” look like a Looney Tunes cartoon (which in actuality, it did). This was “sure-fire” GOLD! . . . But there, underneath the grade, my teacher had scrawled out the only critique of ANY of the work I’ve EVER done that would EVER stay with me through adulthood. . . She simply wrote:

“Why would they give a KNIFE to a Psych patient? Good effort.”

So I guess the question I’ve been left with now is, “Why would you give a COMPUTER to a Psych patient?” (ME, being said Psych patient) I haven’t been “whining” for the sake of whining. There are entire websites and Television shows devoted to that already. I satirize CELEBRITY and SOCIETY, because they amuse me. In turn, I like to share that amusement with you. (With mixed results) So what imaginary boundary delineates the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”? I’m not sure. . .I’m trying to figure that out, and in the process, pass that information on to you as well. When I started this “campaign”, I started by letting you know that my ultimate goal was CELEBRITY. . . I’m not so sure anymore. I’m a writer and an artist. THAT is what I want to be recognized for. What makes a CELEBRITY

endure? How is it possible to stand the test of time without tainting your legacy? I would say, for starters they need to borrow a page from the Spiderman playbook. (available in paperback on and at Barnes and Nobles and Borders – where, you don’t even need to purchase the book. You can buy a $5 cup of copy and read a $30 book, like you were at a Library – just don’t take it in the bathroom) What I see lacking in Hollywood today is a sense of class and respectability. A total disregard by these folks not only to try to be DECENT human beings, but to be RESPONSIBLE with what we have entrusted them with. SURE, they are human beings – just like the rest of us. But somewhere along the lines, they lost sight of their RESPONSIBILITY. “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”. Maybe they don’t think they ASKED for that responsibility. However, the minute they invite themselves into our living rooms, they are going to be “saddled” with it. . . So Giddy Up!

I don’t want to be an ACTOR/ENTERTAINER. . .I want to be a WRITER/ARTIST. . . Some would say I am. That’s great, but I want to also make a living DOING IT. . . THAT is where YOU come in. I’ve shared with you (that have followed me from the beginning) my failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, etc. So I figure I’m ahead of the game. It’s not like I’m going to get your hopes up and then take a MONGO DUMP on what you thought you were getting in “ME”. There are SO many of those people out there already. In the interest of “full disclosure”, I have rendered you POWERLESS to stop my ascension, through the ranks, to take my rightful place at the top of the list of “Really Enjoyable (to have around) Entertainment Providers”, by taking away any ammunition. By all accounts, I have paved the way for becoming the next Governor of California (but I think I want to stick to the “funny”) . . .I never ASKED to be funny. . . I just AM. . . sometimes.

ALL of this being said, I think I’ve found my calling. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was about 2 years old. The only problem seems to be, that it boils down to a popularity contest. Just like LIFE. The jobs you get, are all about if they “Like” you in the interview. The spouse you choose, has to be able to “Stomach” you. The friends you make, need to be able to help you when you “Move”. . . Everything is about the “impression” you make. It doesn’t have to be the “First Impression”. I would say that it is the one you LEAVE BEHIND. There are tons of people I’ve met in my life and thought were “okay”, upon first meeting, only to become a Colossal Disappointment. Seriously. . . Wouldn’t it be easier sometimes, just to say, “I’m going to put YOU out of MY misery?” Nothing says CELEBRITY today like a good old-fashioned “train wreck”. Am I guilty of “rubbernecking” the way we all do to look at the “carnage”. . . You bet. They say that fame is fleeting and that is FINE by me. That’s exactly what I’m looking for. If fame lingers or hangs around for too long, you either become BORING or. . . a liability to yourself or others. You always have to be “ON” or “PROVE” yourself. Who would want that? I am uniquely ME. Just like you are uniquely YOU. THEY? . . . don’t seem to BE all that uniquely anything to me. How can you call Adulterers, Drug Addicts, Criminals and Whack-Jobs “unique”, when it becomes the “Norm”? But I’ll stick around in the crowd and bide my time. I’ll watch the carnage. I’ll do my thing. Because at the end of the day, I’ve GOT a job. . . in fact I’ve had several. I’m beginning to wonder what “THEY” would have to fall back on.

. . . I DO have a request of you (the reader) Keep WATCHING. . . Keep READING. . . Keep VOTING. . . “Try” GIVING (to the “Cause”) I want to offer you something that NO CELEBRITY, author or artist has ever done before. a GUARANTEE. I guarantee to give you a body of work that will receive “NO negative criticism”. . . In other words, I PROMISE to deliver something that EVERYONE LIKES. I don’t think that has been done since. . . EVER. So write your congressperson (see how much I WANT this? I NEVER say congress”person”) Let them know they need to legislate a “Dan Needs A Break” Law. If you choose to help me to achieve this goal, I am sure there will come a day, when I am forced to work with some of the very people I ridicule. . . When I DO make my first film and it comes to casting, I can only say that I will NOT relinquish control in the “Casting” department. In other words, I will not be writing a Vampire film. Stephanie Meyer and Anne Rice seemed to have been unable to keep “emo boys”or psychos out of their creations (“I” will have a contractual provision) – Don’t get me started on Lost Boys 2. . . (it still saddens me)

What makes me think I can come in to the industry and “call my shots”, make some money and then bow out gracefully? Because, like I said, I’ve GOT a job. I haven’t run out of things to say. But, I’m starting to become a little more selective on when and how I say it. . . . I’m gonna’ make my mark. . . without leaving a stain. . .

‘Til Then . . . Go Figg’r!

Peace Out – Later


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