Friday, January 27, 2017

What Didn't the Police Find in His Anal Cavity?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 3:46 PM

Although your Pesky Fly has been a Memphis resident since Reagan was in the White House, I do occasionally like to check in on news from back home. Especially news like this story of a man falsely accused by the police of carrying a carton of Newport cigarettes, a broken glass pipe, and a tire gauge in his anal cavity. Turns out (surprise, surprise) the arrest warrant was a bit off base. According to a report from the Montgomery County Sheriff's office, those items were all found on Jason Dondi Littleton. He was just carrying them in his clothing, not in his butt.

To give the officers the benefit of the doubt, this is also the facial expression I make when I'm trying to be nonchalant with 20 packs of menthols in the trunk.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winning: You Can't Blame Trump for Selling the Sizzle

Okay, you totally can

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 5:23 PM

The asking continues
  • The asking continues
From "alternative facts" to the claque of shills and yes-persons planted to energize President Trump's rambling address to U.S. Intelligence, it seems fairly evident that years of political punditry telling Americans the country should be run like a business, paid off with a chief executive who believes every piece of it.

I confess to a bit of shock that "alternative facts," a concept recently injected into the American conversation by Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway, shocks so many people. It's like nobody with an internet connection has ever worked in marketing or advertising.  AlternaFacts aren't some exotic Soviet-style plot. (Or, maybe it's better to say they aren't only an exotic Soviet-style plot). They're an American staple, as common as cornbread. Branding is unquestioned in business, and pervasive in government, no matter how adult and dignified. Anybody who's ever held a job marketing, even if that job was just making coffee and answering phones, can tell you, when the facts are unfavorable, it's time to roll out the new improved model. Good salespersons know language is incantatory— a witchy-sounding word for reality altering. Or, as the nonthreatening guy-in-an-ugly-sweater hired to lead trust exercises at the company retreat is more likely to put it, "Winners tell better stories."
President Trump made clear in a murky address, winning is the goal. Not achieving or progressing. But domination in trade and war. And Memphians know — or should know — what it means when Donald Trump wins. Now, instead of taking down Holiday Inn he's coming after NATO and the EU — realigning the axis because, as the man said, "to the victor belong the spoils." Plunder to the people! Or to the right ones, anyway.

Did you hear? (Oh, of course you must have heard, the new administration babbles like Jersey Shore 2.0). Your new Chief Executive has a cropped photo of his inauguration crowd. He's hanging it where the press can observe a mighty failure to tell better stories for the Trump brand. Kinda like how they hang beautiful pictures of sandwiches in BigBox meat departments to make bologna look amazing. Similarly, he's cropping another, much bigger picture by ordering USDA research scientists and other federal agencies to cease public communication. That's called getting ahead of the message. He's also put a freeze on government hiring, and executive orders are coming hard and fast. To some — okay, to many — it looks like we've handed nuclear codes to a thin-skinned extremist who likes to sign his name but would frankly rather be watching television or feuding with Meryl Streep. Isn't it all just a big ol' editorial cartoon of business as usual (in business)? Isn't it the same crummy stuff you hate about dealing with your cable provider? With just a little extra hint of, "I can't believe Bryce prefers Van Patton's Card to mine."

Business serves brand interests and investment. Government serves people. Nothing's quite that cut and dry, but that's the general idea. When the screenplay gets flipped certain words get looked up in the dictionary. And we're not even a week into this horror movie.

Applause sizzles like a nice cut of meat on the grill. As a walking brand Trump knows instinctively what master salesman Elmer Wheeler preached to anybody and everybody who wanted to add to their bottom line — the sizzle sells shitty meat.

Eat it, America.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Memphis Bound Gilbert Gottfried Talks Trump, TV, Life on the Road

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 4:47 PM

This is what happens when you stay Up All Night.
  • This is what happens when you stay Up All Night.
Some things are just true. The sun comes up in the east, water flows downhill, and Gilbert Gottfried is funny. Obnoxious too. Grating. He can say some inappropriate things. And yes, he's always in trouble. But like the old lounge comics he takes his cues from, he's got zingers. And he'll get you, eventually.

Gottfried's long and varied career in stand up has taken him from U.S.A. Up All Night, to Disney Studios. He's been a reality star, a spokesduck, and a roaster to be reckoned with. But he still packs his bags and works comedy clubs all across America. He's coming to Memphis Jan. 20-22, for a gig at Chuckles Comedy House and Fly on the Wall got him to open up about life on the road, the quest for fresh material, and being fired by Donald Trump.

Or something like that.

Fly on the Wall: I don't think I've never asked anybody this question before. Certainly not so early in the morning. But I saw this on social media and wondered — What was it like when you were on Celebrity Apprentice and Donald Trump grabbed your pussy?

Gilbert Gottfried: I was both shocked and flattered.

I suspect so.

I thought it was a little forward of him, but I was very impressed by his success.

How strange is it to have done that show with the soon to be President of the United States.

It's definitely surreal. I start thinking what that might mean anybody else whose shows I've been on. I mean, Jay Leno could be President. David Letterman could be President. It's a surreal time. But I remember when the election going on and it was him and Hillary. Out of the entire United States it comes down to these two.

This is what I've observed. And I could be wrong. But you really seem to enjoy what you do a lot. Is that a good act you put on, or is comedy still a lot of fun for you?

It depends on the day. Sometimes it depends on that particular 15-minutes of the day. Sometimes I enjoy what I'm doing. Other times, like when I'm going to another state to do another show, I feel like I'm Willie Loman lugging his suitcase around.

I've toured a little and know that Willie Loman feeling.

And it's a funny thing, especially traveling, going to the comedy shows. Whenever TV shows show a politician or a rock star screaming out "I love you Chicago!" and they're not in Chicago, it's always played for a laugh. I'm always like, "Yeah, I know exactly what that feels like."

Is there any part of it you like more these days? The stand up? TV? Voice?

I like doing voice overs. I liked when they had more sitcoms on the air. More so than reality shows, though reality shows have taken over. I liked when they used to call me up and just go, "You're going to be Jack the Plumber in this episode." That was much more easy and fun. It's funny, with the reality shows, which I was avoiding for the longest time, then I realized, that is TV now. And the amount of people who watch it is pretty incredible.

I'm with you. I remember thinking, this is a fad. It will be gone soon, nobody's really invested in watching this. Jokes on me!

Oh, yeah.  After a while, before I said I'd do it, I started to feel like some old time stage actor who looks down on movies. And a funny thing happened too, when they were offering me these different shows, and I'd done one of those celebrity paranormal shows, which was pretty ridiculous.

I don't think I saw that one.

Well, you didn't miss anything. We're all — me and a group of other celebrities including former porn star Traci Lords —  were in some abandoned insane asylum and the ghost of an insane serial killer is still there. And they gave us these ghost packs. It had some kind of thermometer there. And if one part of the room was one degree higher or lower than another part, that was proof of paranormal activity. Cause, you know, abandoned insane asylums are known for their temperature control. If there's a breeze coming in, that's obviously a ghost. So I'd say no to these things. I'd think, "I want to be in a movie with Robert De Niro." And then I started to realize, the Kardashians have a bigger audience than Robert De Niro. And two, I wound up with a very small part in a Robert De Niro picture recently. So I guess the whole business has totally changed.

You have a real knack for saying things that get you into hot water.

I thought I'd keep that out of the press.

But most of the time you turn it around and it works for you. Gift or curse?

Oh, God. Employment-wise, it's a curse. But I always feel like, whenever anything happens to me, I always think twice and do it anyway. Bad part is losing work and the internet goes nutty on you. But the good part is, sometimes when something happens to me that's some big controversy, it's almost like slapping a "new-and-improved" label on an old product. When people start saying, "Gilbert Gottfried's career is over, what I realized is, when your career's really over, people don't mention your name. If the top story of the night is your career is over, it means it definitely isn't over, or they wouldn't talk about it.

Perfect point of reference — the time you tell the 9/11 joke, lose the room, then, unlikely as it might seem, you win them all back by telling The Aristocrats. Which is a completely different kind of perverse. But the okay kind, I guess. And that's the model. You always turn it around. Except for maybe with Aflac.

There they got rid of me, got loads of free publicity for getting rid of me, then hired a guy who sounds just like me for a lot less money, thus bringing closure to a terrible tragedy.

I asked readers what they wanted to know about Gilbert Gottfried, and they all wanted to know about your voice. But everybody asks about your voice. What I want to know, as a man approaching 50 who squints a lot, can you recommend I good, yet affordable wrinkle cream?

No. I just go with all the other actresses for Botox. And I'm going to get chin implants put in.

You've been playing this character for so long, with the squinting and the voice — does it bleed in and out of daily life, or is it something you turn on and off like a light.

I can turn it on and off. And the weird part about it, I've found after doing it for so long, it's like I have two personalities. One's not more relevant than the other.

That's got to be fun for everybody. Are there signs friends and family know to look for to know which Gilbert they're getting.

In any case the less funny one. With the voice or not.

You're inspired by a lot of older comics. But where do you look for new material?

That's kind of weird because I don't really look for material. Sometimes something will hit me and and I'll go up on stage and try it out and it gets expanded. But I've never actually written anything down?


Yeah, and I have a horrible work ethic as far as the idea of sitting down and typing out bits and all that. So I'll have it all in my head and I'll think I'll do this bit or that. Then I realize I've been doing a bit so long I'll ask, "Hey, any of you watch Bonanza?" Sometimes if I've been doing a bit way too long I feel like, wow, I'm on autopilot now. I could be working out mathematical problems while I'm doing this.

You said Bonanza. So I've got to bring this back to your podcast. Just a great repository for fans of 20th-Century show business.

With me it's a suppository.

It's a pain in the ass?

Yeah. It's one of those things. Years ago there were these shows like Fantasy Island and the Love Boat. They'd dig up these people like you thought were dead, and then you saw them and thought, 'Hey, they're just as good as they ever were."

Setting a course for adventure.

I was originally going to call it "The Before It's Too Late show" and a couple of times that's happened. I've called a guest, they agree to do it, and the day before they die. We've had several guests up their in their 90s. A few of them, and they remember everything.

Any favorite stories?

Unfortunately this happens. When the mic is off all of a sudden they come up with a great story. Dick Van Dyke told me, off mic, in school his nickname was Dick Nose. Whenever the teacher would ask a question and say, "Who knows the answer," all the other students would say, "Dick knows, Dick knows!"

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Memphis Gets a Shout Out From Joss Whedon and a Beautiful Artist's Diary

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 12:47 PM

Thumbing through Twitter last night I noticed a tweet from Mr. Avengers director, Joss Whedon that read, "this THIS this." It linked to a graphic essay about the contemporary political landscape, and lessons that might be learned from Memphis. So I clicked.

You'll want to click too.

Artist Christopher Noxon wasn't prepared for what he found at the Civil Rights Museum and was moved to share his experience.

What happened on Mulberry St. was foundation-shaking. What's grown up in the shadow of tragedy contains a blueprint of dissent — a map to freedom.  

It's still inspiring people.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pooping With WMC's Andy Wise

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 1:09 PM

Look how they follow you.
  • Look how they follow you.
WMC consumer investigator Andy Wise is many things — a survivor; a humanitarian; and a Christian martyr.  In addition to all of that, he's also an office pooper who knows how to deliver the "ew."

At least, in another tweet, Mr. "On your side," finally answered a question I've been asking for a long time — What kind of crime won't WMC over-report and sensationalize? Unless, you know, he IS the Riddler...


It's Sex Pistols Taco Bell Day in Memphis. Eat a Burrito

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 10:47 AM

God save the Mexican Pizza.
  • God save the Mexican Pizza.
Every year on this day Fly on the Wall invites readers to take a spin down scenic Union Ave. and stop in for a seven layer burrito at the Taco Bell where the other Taco Bell used to be. See, before the first Taco Bell was erected on that site, 1447 Union was home to the Taliesyn Ballroom. And on Jan 6, 1978 the original, imploding, disaster-bound Sex Pistols played one of their few U.S. dates. It was a big night in the cradle of Rock-and-Roll, a psychobilly hotbed with its own notable punk history.  

The Pistols show was documented, a nifty, noisy listen. Crank it up in the car on this beautiful snow day and celebrate punk the way it was meant to be celebrated — with a greasy sack of cheap, mass-produced food product laden with calories and colonialism.

Last year this Taco Bell (where the other, more authentic Taco Bell used to be) was still playing canned Christmas music. Punk as hell.
Be careful out there.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Strange Case of Marsha Blackburn and the Exploding Cigar

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 1:54 PM

Evil scientist Marsha Blackburn lit up a fat cat Twitter cigar yesterday and BAM! Right in the face.

Obviously, it's not hard to troll online polls and Democrats are motivated. But, as previously uninsured folks stare down the very real chance of losing their recently insured status, it's hard to say the soot and tobacco all over Blackburn's pinched, bitter face is completely devoid of meaning.

How can it be that Republicans, after opposing the Affordable Care Act tooth and nail for six years, haven't got an alternative? I mean, aside from the obvious fact that none of them care if Uncle Phil gets his medicine or not because he should have worked harder when he was healthy. Duh.

It's because Obamacare was the workable Republican plan, they only hated it because — Obama. And no matter how hard the kleptocracy scrambles, they can't come up with something just as conflicted and industry forward that looks completely different to consumers who'll experience zero value from less Medicaid or potentially disastrous tort reform.

So, as the great unraveling gets underway, let's all have a good laugh at Marsha's exploding cigar. It'll be her turn to laugh when we're all crawling with something expensive and incurable.

Col. Tom's Office: Piece of Elvis History to Become Car Wash

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 11:11 AM

Will nobody step up to save this admittedly unattractive house on Gallatin Rd. in Nashville where Tom Parker, a Dutch-born carnival barker turned music promoter, once marketed Elvis Presley, while helping himself to upwards of 50% of the artist's earnings? Anybody? Somebody?


Okay. Elvis wouldn't want folks driving around in dirty cars anyway.

From Nashville Public Radio:

"According to the terms of the sale, [the previous owner] gets dibs on everything inside. He may save some items and then sell the antique light fixtures and cabinets, and the wood paneling and complete wet bar from the vintage basement."
Would look good in bronze... in front of a car wash.
  • Would look good in bronze... in front of a car wash.

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