When I jogged, back in the day, I was alone with my thoughts. I’d think about work. I’d think about what I was writing. I’d practice moving meditation. I’d occasionally trip and fall. This was before running shoes were available on the market and the toes of my Keds would wear out, causing the soles to droop in front and catch in cracks in the sidewalk.

Then came the transistor radio, and if a game was on, it took precedence over thinking.

Then came the Walkman, and thinking was dealt a mortal blow. AM/FM and tape cassette, on a belt. I kept a list of the books on tape that I listened to, just for fun. By the time that I lost the list, it had more than 500 titles on it.

And then came the nano, and iTunes. Books joined thinking as activities several clicks down in my hierarchy of cerebral activities in which to be engaged while out on the hoof.

I still want to think. I want to listen to books. I do listen to a little music. I’m out there for more than two hours a day. But, just as I’ve got a list of Web sites to surf to every day, I’ve also got a list of podcasts that I don’t want to miss. Naturally, the list changes, evolves. It includes 50+ titles.

Uh oh. Metaphor-for-life alert. Time misspent, observing rather than doing? Listening rather than thinking? Ironically, I’m thinking now, but only about thinking. Is that productive thinking? Rats. Now I’m thinking about thinking about thinking, and what you’re thinking. Or wait, am I just observing myself? I tell myself, Listen to yourself! What the hell are you talking about? But that’s not lving life, it’s just analyzing it. Whew. All of a sudden I understand why I like listening to podcasts.

My current favorites:

Sports: Baseball Today; Bill Simmons; Hang Up and Listen

Movies: Filmspotting; The /Filmcast; B-Movie Cast; Kermode/Mayo

Politics: To the Point; Slate’s Political Gabfest; Left, Right, and Center

Other: Slate’s Culture Gabfest; On the Media; Comedy Bang Bang

I’ve also been listening to David Blight’s Yale lectures on the Civil War (iTunes University).

My Favorite Blogging Topics

I was born and raised high up on the side of a mountain where the sheeps eat their grass. I was quite grown before I met other people. Because of this, my main interest has always been other people and their ways.

My first blogging topic was my family. I wrote all I knew. I got my Uncle Louie arrested and sent away. This was when my folks told me I was dead to them, but I could still live in the house.

My second blogging topic was the neighbors. I wrote a lot about them, until the police made me stop hanging around under their windows.

My third blogging topic was the other kids at school. I wrote a lot about them. When the tragedy happened, I was accused of “bullying.”

My fourth blogging topic was when I was in prison. I wrote about the prisoners, especially the men on death row and what I learned and heard about them. Three of them were executed early because of my blog.

My fifth blogging topic was my wife. Because of firewalls or government laws and regulations or church groups or some other reason, my writings about our sexual life caused protests about behavior “that shamed nature.” My service provider threatened my life.

At this time, I am looking for a new topic. In fact, I’d like to write about  you.

Guest Post: Representative John Jakobs

Hello, Mr. joem18b. I’m making this guest post as a thank you for the help you rendered me on my recent Hollywood junket.

You ask, what are my three favorite films?

Well, I like the one where the family man is falsely accused. His wife and kids continue to believe in him, although perhaps they do have a few doubts, but in the end he is proven innocent and it was all a big mistake.

I also like the one where the husband discovers that his wife has been unfaithful. He actually sees the pictures, but he finds it in his heart to forgive her, after giving her a good sound thrashing.

Finally, I enjoyed that comedy where the man’s wife is an alcoholic, his son is a drug addict, and his twin daughters are whores, but he manages to keep the whole mess a secret until he retires.

Thanks again for your Hollywood help. Since nobody reads this, let me avail myself of the opportunity to tell you that what you said about fellatio in Hollywood is absolutely true. Executive power in the studios is measured by who blows whom pardon my French. If you’re a member of Congress, you’re lucky if you can keep it down to only two mouths at once.

Don’t forget to vote!

Your friend, John Jakobs

Guest Post: David Gold

Hi, joem18b. Thanks for the opportunity to introduce myself and write a few words about what I’m up to.

I guess there aren’t too many readers out there who have seen 15,000 movies.

I was going to start a movie blog myself, but I’m always so busy watching movies, I haven’t had a chance to do it.

I was going to use the blog to keep lists of what I’ve watched, divided up into categories, by director and by year and so on. I used to have a list. I’d carry it with me to the theaters, in case somebody would ask me about all the movies that I’ve seen. Nobody did ask me, but meanwhile I lost the list when I left it on my seat after the first Transformers movie. I was hurrying across to see I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry in the next theater and I just forgot it. When I went back, it was gone. The cineplex never found it. I went through their dumpsters out back, but no luck.

I probably know everything there is to know about movies. Well, I was going to learn all the possible camera shots and how to cut a film together and what directors especially like to do in their films, but I would have had to stop watching movies while I wrote all that down and it’s hard to remember those things anyway. Who cares about all those different shots? Let the DPs worry about them. That’s what DPs get paid for. I’ve seen every possible shot a thousand times, even if I can’t recognize them or name them and don’t really give a good goddamn about them, to tell you the truth. It’s hard enough to sit there and watch movie after movie. Can you imagine how many shitty movies I’ve had to watch to get to 17,000? I should start my list again. I used to have a plan. I used to have a schedule. I should make a new plan.

It’s hard to keep a job when you’re watching so many movies. I worked for a while at the cineplex but I was just sneaking in and watching the same movie over and over again. Can I count each time I saw it in my 18,000? I worked at Blockbuster but once you’ve watched all the movies there on the store machine, what’s the point? I never met a single girl at Blockbuster. Well, I met a lot of them but none that would go out on a date with me, to the movies or anything, or practically even to talk to me. The customer is always right! I’m able to live on the city’s General Assistance monthly checks. I spend them all on movie tickets, and eat at a soup kitchen and sleep in a shelter.

If I could meet a girl, she could ask me about any movie and I’d tell her that I’ve seen it. The homeless women I know are all mentally ill or alcoholics or drug addicts who don’t care about movies. At the movies, you never see a girl sitting by herself. They’re always sitting together. If you say hi, they look at you like you’re crazy. If they knew I’d seen more than 20,000 movies, they wouldn’t feel that way. Even if you sit down next to them at the start of the movie it doesn’t do any good. I offer to share my popcorn but I never get a date.

My time at this library computer is up. If you’re a girl reading this, I would like to date you. See you at the movies!

Guest Post: Freddy Potts

Thanks for this space, joem18b. I’ll use it to write about my movie-watching pet peeves.

I hate it when the person sitting next to me is texting on their iPhone, or playing Angry Birds, or eating something, or has snot up their nose, or breaks wind a lot. Also, I hate it when their stomach gurgles. It “takes me out of the movie.”

I’ve tried to ignore all these things. My therapist says that I’m “too f**king sensitive.” But no use. As noisy as Transformers and Punch Drunk were, I still couldn’t concentrate on them with somebody at my elbow clearing their throat, bringing up phlegm, and scratching. They scratch their scalp and then there is a pause, and then they scratch their armpit and then there is a pause, and then the next thing, they’re scratching in their pubic region. And grunting. I hate the grunting.

This is why I now watch movies only at the cinema, not at home. I’ve talked to my wife and daughter and mother-in-law about this but it doesn’t do any good. So no more sitting on the couch with them watching DVDs for me. I’ve had it.

Am I Sending the Wrong Message?

Everybody is sending messages these days. A lot of folks are wondering whether this person or that person is sending the wrong message. What if I’m sending the wrong message?

Suppose you’re breaking the law. Am I sending you the message that it’s ok? Hey, what am I, your mother? Where were you raised, in a barn? I’ve got a message for you right here. I’m grabbing it.

When my wife left me, that was the wrong message. I got it when I found all my stuff out on the front lawn. The guy she’s living with? He told me that if he ever saw me again, he’d rip my face off. Wrong message?

Now when I go to work or to the store or to the doctor, I hand the individual my message written on a post-it. What message am I sending? It’s right there in your f**king hand, dude! Read it!

So it turns out, whenever somebody looks at you, they’re sending you a message. See that guy over there at the bus stop? Hey, you! What are you looking at? You want some of this? Just keep staring, a**h***!

I got a letter from my wife’s lawyer the other day. It said that she was taking the house. I called the lawyer and asked what message this letter was sending? He said, go find an SRO, you idiot. Sometimes you need those extra words to actually get the message.

If you’re in a bar and the woman you’re talking to calls you a “boob,” you’re probably not going to get laid tonight.

So here’s my message, loud and clear: We’ve got to live within our means. We must close loopholes and get rid of waste. The U.S.A. is special, unlike any other country in the world and much better. If the world is getting warmer, how come we had that snowapalooza? If you live in New York and want to marry your goat, I think that now it’s OK.

The alien’s sister

Amos introduced me to his sister Fruma on the lot at Universal the other day. She works in Property and she looks a lot like Amos. I mean, there is a family resemblance. Amos took off to dress a set and I asked Fruma if she would have lunch with me in the Universal canteen.

“Amos was telling me that he isn’t originally from Glendale,” I said to her, after we had sat down with our food. “Where’s the family home?”

“Hard to describe,” Fruma said. “A long way away.”

“Uh oh,” I said. “Don’t tell me.”

“I’m afraid so.”

“You’re on vacation too?”

“Not me. Every alien who comes here isn’t a tourist looking for fun, like Amos is.”

“To hear him tell it,” I said, “he’s been here a long time. You too?”

“You don’t expect beings from a superior galactic race to take a two-week vacation, do you?” she said. “Even the French do better than that.”

“Most of us don’t get born and die on our vacation.”

“One of our vacations seems like a lifetime to you,” she said, “but for us they’re all too short.”

“But you’re not here on vacation.”

“Do-gooders come here, too. Half the residents in many poor Indian and African villages are aliens just trying to help. Also, collectors come. From up there, Earth looks a lot like a garage sale – the kind where the folks can’t afford a table and they spread out everything they’ve got on the lawn. Or on the withered stubble and weeds next to rusted-out cars up on blocks, as the case may be.”

She saw that I had stopped eating and was frankly looking her over.

“Any alien who comes to this planet does so as a private citizen of the universe,” she said. “No government would bother with this dump. And, you’ve got to be willing to tolerate a whole lot of morons and half-wits down here. Just drive to work on the 101 every morning if you don’t believe me.”

“Would you have dinner with a moron?” I asked her.  “I’ve never dated an alien before. I’m trying to imagine what that would be like. In the end, I mean.”

“When she’s in your bedroom,” Fruma said, “with only the little lamp by the bed turned on, and you disrobe her, if  ‘disrobe’ can be transitive, you’ll discover an amazing thing.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense.”

“Every man has his likes, his preferences, his turn-ons. His partner’s hair color, the shape of her body, heavy or light, tall or short, white skin or brown or red or yellow. Smooth or pelted. A man likes the action rough or tender, with mom or a stranger or a whore or a lover, with a coating of leather or chocolate or silk, restrained or restraining, with whips or feathers, whatever. The amazing  thing is, let’s say it’s you and me – when that moment comes, my nose, my lips, my breasts, my hips, my legs will be the nose, lips, breasts, hips, and legs of your dreams. So will my skin, my hair, and the way that I treat you.”

“How can that be? I’m looking at you right now, aren’t I? I can see what you look like, can’t I?”

“Can you?”

After lunch we parted, but met up for dinner at Bossa Nova Brazilian on Sunset, and then had a few drinks at one of my favorite dives, and then went back to my place. In the bedroom, with just the little lamp on by the bed, it turned out that everything she said was true.

Guest Post: Bullying

Hi, Uncle joem18b! Thanks for giving me a chance to blog!

Mom and Dad feel terrible about those awful guest blogs they did today. They asked me to tell you they’re sorry. When they get in a fight, they’ll just say or do anything to be hurtful to each other.

Speaking of being hurtful, there is a clique of the “best” girls at school which is giving me a very bad time. Sure, the girls are prettier than I am. Their hair is more stylish. They all have at least one boyfriend and I don’t have any, but that doesn’t give them the right to hurt my feelings every day, does it?

When I come home from school, I just want to do my homework, cook a little something in the kitchen, sew, and moon over the dreamboats in my movie magazines. Instead, I turn on my computer with dread to see what latest attacks on me I’ll find on Facebook.

What should I do?

Your loving nephew, Irving

Guest Post: Candy Posthul is a Skank!

[Alright, Frank. I’ll still go out drinking with you, but after this, you’re banished from this blogsite for good. joem18b]

Through Story 1

The TV shows that I watch all have through stories. I don’t care for one-off episodes. This blog needs a through story of its own.

What the story will not include:

Elle Fanning – The TMZ article is bullshit. You will not find my mug shot on The Smoking Gun. John Edwards, yes. Me, no. Not anymore. Hey, let me tell you something. You stalk a thirteen-year-old movie star, you’re going to spend one hell of a lot of time watching her sit with her tutor, trying without success to calculate the volume of a cone.

J. J. Abrams – All I’m saying is, you know the best bits in Lost and Fringe? Run your eyes down the writing credits. You see my name there? Of course you don’t.

Rehab facilities – They’ve got nice rooms, green lawns and stone paths through gardens. Good food, activities. AND YOU CAN’T GET A F-ING DRINK TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Perhaps my through story will talk about writing and how lonely it is when you do it for a living. Stephen King? There has to be something wrong with that guy, so many books, so many words. I spent one solid year doing all my writing at parties. My work suffered but I was never lonely. I’d still be doing it like that but I don’t get invited to parties anymore.

Perhaps my through story will  talk about Anna, who is a pre-visualization artist at Paramount. How we met, our ups and downs, where we are now in our relationship. I should call her first, though, and update her on all that.