Freudian Slips: September 2007

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

September 29, 2007

The Pros and Cons of Acting

Last weekend, I auditioned for the television show Forensic Files. The audition entailed reading lines from a short dramatic script with two other actors of their choosing. A crime-filled scene ends in the middle of nowhere and actors hustled from copy to improvisational skills.
After the audition, I got caught up in a discussion with a veteran actor who had auditioned for Forensic Files a couple of years ago. Drawing on his previous experience, I asked him about the chances of being selected to appear on the show.
"Forensic Files does crime reanctments, man. You gotta stick your audition then hope you physically resemble a real murderer. If you weren't falsely accused beforehand, you will receive a casting call to do the reenactment."
I smiled. "The pros and cons of acting, no less."


September 23, 2007

The Heistman's Trophy

Guilty by only a jury of public opinion, I too have always believed that OJ Simpson bludgeoned to death ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994. Neither the former pro football star turned actor's actual glove size nor the not guilty courtroom verdict has swayed my personal belief.
Following the trial of the century, OJ Simpson is now charged with multiple felonies for stealing his own sports memorabilia. Could this be the act of an arrogant man looking in the mirror too long at a picture of himself? Mirrors do not lie, people do. Never concerned with restoring his own reputation or changing public persona, OJ Simpson felt convicted attempting to get back missing pieces of himself by taking a crack at what he believed he was entitled to. Stealing back your own hand signed memorabilia in an armed robbery is so oxymoronic priceless that it would be criminal not to earn Freudian Slips spotlight.
The fall of this celebrity is one for the ages. I am at a loss trying to explain how OJ Simpson can go from the adulation of collegiate Heisman trophy winner to the scorn of an amateurish getaway with autographed footballs stuffed in pillowcases. To any diehard remaining fans out there in the world, well that Hertz.
I do not know what OJ Simpson was thinking in orchestrating this botched hotel heist. With the raid caught on audio tape, it makes the Watergate burglary look like the perfect crime. Even Richard Nixon did not squeeze his own orange juice. Like a bucking white Ford Bronco, OJ Simpson brought this on himself. It just goes to show that some guys think they can get away with murder.

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September 20, 2007


The No Shirt off My Back It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The Gang Gets Invincible episode
Trivia Contest

1)What did actor Danny Devito drop on the show?

2)Where did the Philadelphia Eagles wannabe’s get bussed for football practice?

3)What is the symbolism to the caped football players?

4)What actor/comedian plays a Philadelphia Eagles football coach?

5)What current Eagles player was promised to be a motivational speaker to the recruits?

6)Which regular cast member is knocked unconscious by a wicked football pass?

7)Name the billboard that can be seen out the bus window with character Doyle McBoyle played by Bob Rusch.

8)Besides Philadelphia, what other city was this episode shot in?

9)Name the famous former child actor that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is directed by?

10)Who was described on this episode to have ostrich legs?

Send entries to The winner will receive an official It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia prize.


September 16, 2007

The Ihit List

I heard the stories of old folks who actually witnessed the birth of the crackling LP era, welcomed the 8 track player, survived the cassette tape scare and the latest CD revolution. Nevertheless, I stared confusingly at a handheld device given to me last year as a Christmas present. I was unsure as to whether it was a shrunken computer or the latest electronic gadget in the technology revolution. I knew nothing about how to operate the device nor did I recognize how it was about to change my life. That is how I met my first Ipod.
My oldest daughter announced, “Dad, you have no idea what this Ipod is going to do to your obsessive compulsiveness.”
Rachel could not have been more right. The more she taught me about Ipods, the more its simplicity and convenience intrigued me to take immediate action. No bigger than my cell phone, my new handheld device held cold storage for approximately 7,000 three minute length audio songs. Thousands of songs sound like more than enough tracks for the average listener but music aficionados realize its space limitations. I ruled out uploading pictures and video to my Ipod to get the most audio programming storage. I decided I only had enough room on my Ipod to cover the rock genre. I kept my favorite rap, hip hop, reggae, funk, country, pop, blues, alternative, heavy metal, easy listening and even retained stragglers of classical music and golden oldies but the rest ended up on the cutting room floor. With apologies to cover bands, I determined that only enough storage existed for one version of the same song. This created a great dilemma of personal taste and choice. Should I go with the live version over studio, the acetate vinyl over the digitally re-mastered song, the fabulous cover song over the original artist’s work, the explicit lyric version or the clean cut mainstream copy? I anguished over my tough choices, sometimes studying the different versions at nausea. The Ipod took hold of me.
My wife furthered the cause by buying me an external hard drive for my computer to permanently store the uploaded music. The first thousand hard rock songs were given to me by a musician friend. I then painstakingly burned my own personal collection one compact disc at a time. On a computer that cannot multitask, this was a tedious time consuming process. My computer cannot even handle playing track one while it burned track two of the same album. I sat at my overwhelmed taxed computer watching a bar graph move from left to right burning at a rate of about 15 minutes per CD. Days passed feeding the monster. Weeks obsessively passed in front of the same computer screen watching my library grow.
My brother in law gave me about 500 CD’s to add to my modest collection. At a buyer’s cost of $1.06 per song online on Itunes, you can imagine the treasure. On my computer desk, I stacked the CD’s in towering piles that teetered near collapse. When the towers thinned, I bought bulk CD collections off of Ebay for pennies on the dollar. In between waiting for Ebay purchases to arrive via snail mail, I borrowed the CD collections of friends in exchange for returned favors. My brother Jim then loaned me his 200 count CD collection. My brother Anthony pitched his collection. My mother in law loaned me her collection. I resorted to paying open minded co-workers $10.00 for each shopping bag full of CD’s. Like a shameless shill, I borrowed another friend’s collection before he and his wife divorced and divided their personal property. I now have started trolling the underworld of flea markets for used fingerprint-smeared CD’s. I even offered to barter my antiquated CD collection by posting to an online message board.
Short of piracy, I cannot stop my obsession. My Ipod tells me that I can now listen to music around the clock for a month uninterrupted before hearing the same song twice. I have never been happier listening to commercial free music with mega portability. I downloaded album artwork. I power rated the thousands of songs uploaded to my computer on a likeability scale of 1-5. I created playlists and mood music for various activities. I deleted the weaker songs from my Ipod so as to only be left with a solid field of rip roaring tunes. I started to make an Ihit list if you will; songs I cannot live without, tunes that preclude rest until obtaining them for my Ipod collection.
The hits kept coming until I recorded the 7,233rd personal favorite song on my Ipod. Alas, I begrudgingly ran out of storage space before I could complete my music library. Apple unveiled an 80gb Ipod that has roughly two and half times the storage space of my inferior Ipod. Christmas is coming. I just hope my obsessions can wait that long.


September 13, 2007

It's Always Sunny Side Up in Philadelphia

- Joseph Tornatore with guest star Bob Rusch
I filmed as an actor on an episode of this season’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The episode in which I appear as a background extra, The Gang Gets Invincible, airs on the FX channel next Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 10pm.
Internet search engines are a marvelous marketing tool. The FX Network in conjunction with the producers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, have generously sent me a prize pack after scouting then reading my blog entry regarding my involvement with this episode.
This is by no means a major press release but I am in receipt of an advanced copy of The Gang Gets Invincible and I made the final cut. So I am encouraging everyone to tune in to this hysterical irreverent situational comedy to try and spot little big me.
Now in order to spot extras on television, viewers need to keep their eyes peeled to the camouflaged backdrop. While it may be difficult to overlook the talented cast of Danny Devito, Rob McEhenney, Glenn Howeton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and guest star Bob Rusch, catch me if you can. If I can properly train viewers where I appear in this episode, I may be a better director than a beginner actor. My three scenes occur during the show’s first ten minutes.
1) Working behind the scenes in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field, little athleticism is on display as I catch a five-yard lob in the background center of the frame. I am obscured by not only a wrought iron fence post but lead actors Charlie Day and Rob McEnney while they piss the moment away. Ironically, I received a stipend permitting the show to use my car and it got closer to the camera than its rightful owner did in this scene. The backend of my car has its trunk open in the fenced scene.
2) As the recruits board the bus, my #96 Eagles jersey climbs the stairs in the final frame of the scene.
3) On the bus, I sit behind sweet Kaitlin Olson and nebbish Peter Newby. While they act out a funny scene, I steal camera time for ten seconds mainly trying not to bust a gut and get a non-football related injury.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has developed a cult following and now airs around the world. A trivia contest will be posted later on my blog about The Gang Gets Invincible episode. A prize will go to a viewer of the show who can correctly answer the most trivia questions. Enjoy the show.


September 11, 2007

Whoa Doggies!

Something tells me these pups aren't going to be the average adoption down at the local SPCA. I hope a special effects genius is responsible for doctoring this photograph but the adult dastardly dog looks awfully like my friend's great grandmother.


September 06, 2007

The Biggest Dumbbell

To officially kick-off the NFL football season, allow me to digress to a situation dating back to last year. It is one that I should have passed on.

A ruggedly handsome muscular man noticed my Philadelphia Eagles jersey bleeding green from the moment I entered the Bally’s free weight room. His eyes bulged from the weights he pushed skyward but he quickly made conversation between honest sets. The smell of the Eagles current playoff run seemed like it lingered in the air.

“Are you a big Eagles fan?” he asked.

“One of the biggest fans around. When the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl, the Courier Post newspaper did a multi-page story on me. They hailed me as “Super Fan” in the article.”

“Then I am talking to the right person.” he promoted. “What do you think the Eagles chances are this weekend in the playoffs?”

If there was a pulpit, I would have stood on it for what I was about to say. “The team really responds to back-up quarterback Jeff Garcia taking over for Donovan McNabb. Garcia is an incredible field general and I welcome his leadership.”

“So you prefer Garcia over McNabb as our quarterback?”

I am mindful when speaking to strangers especially when it comes to their passion for football. So I opted to de-escalate the quarterback controversy.

I answered, “I am no frontrunner jumping on the bandwagon of Jeff Garcia’s recent success and there is no racial issue intended. I like McNabb, admire his immense talent, even wear his jersey on my back. However, I think McNabb has a kink in his armour that Garcia is exposing in his absence.”

“In your mind, what is the kink in McNabb’s armour?”

“I am going t be honest with you. Donovan McNabb seems to lack leadership. McNabb doesn’t rally his troops on the sideline. I bet McNabb doesn’t say anything to his teammates in the huddle. I bet McNabb doesn’t…”

“He does with me…” defended the man.

“What?” I scoffed.

Never before was the height difference between two men on the same issue at a greater divide. My neck cocked back to take in this man’s grandeur and his wingspan alone was enough to rival that of an eagle. My waiting for an explanation had me feeling microscopically insignificant, even as a media annoited "Super Fan."

He explained, “When I am on the sidelines or in the huddle with Donovan McNabb he shows leadership. He has absolute control of the team.”

I had done so much talking that I felt ashamed to ask my first question. “Who are you?”

“Adrien Clarke, offensive lineman, a member of the Eagles 2005 Super Bowl squad.”

Adrien Clarke worked out with nothing but dumbbells that day and I was the biggest dumbbell in the weight room. Adrien and I have since become friendly but not without a less than McNabbimous start. Look for #61 6’5” 330 lb. Adrien Clarke on the field for the New York Jets this season.

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September 05, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Furthering an indictment of society itself, it is with great apology to admit that it took me longer than it should to see perhaps the documentary of our times, An Inconvenient Truth. I reasoned that viewing it at a convenient time would only reinforce what I already suspected but this planet is in worse shape than I imagined. I am no genius or scientist but unless the empirical data presented has been skewed by fanatic fatalists, our fragile ecosystem is inching towards a cataclysmic point of no return. The next hundred years are crucial to our survival. Maybe we should avoid further debate and cut to the chase. I nominate putting fallible humans on the endangered species list. By over-populating the land we trample and polluting the air we breathe, the smartest species on this planet may be absurdly killing itself off. Human beings must leave lighter environmental footprints but we plod roughshod while continuing to tread lightly on only this global issue. We need to treat the planet like an emergency room not a boo-boo to be bandaged. We must unite and act in good conscience for the children who will inherit the earth, while there is something of worth left to inherit.
It may be a fate handed down but I dislike being a member of possibly the last generation that could right our course and fail with everything in the world including itself at stake. There are exponential factors to consider. As the world’s population increases on fixed real estate and more third world countries develop sophisticated economies and infrastructures, there will be more demand placed on the resources that negatively impact an effected environment. This will create a shorter timeline and crunch the numbers for a countdown on planet earth.
I want to leave this planet one day but the worldly truth of the matter is that it seems to be leaving me before I am conveniently ready.


September 02, 2007

A Free Ride in Life

Over the course of my lifetime measured by modest income, my parents have given me two cars free and clear of title. Enjoying many years of free travel, retrospection has ripened my true appreciation of my parents’ generosity because I have since learned that some family traditions are hard to pass down to the next generation.
Last night, I gave my 2000 Ford Taurus sedan in good condition to my oldest daughter as a big-bowed gift for her seventeenth birthday. This car had been promised to Rachel for two years. It was not easy convincing this teenager my offer was a great idea. Over time, Rachel went through a metamorphosis in attitude just to accept this gift with open arms. You got to love this next generation of entitled kids.
When I originally offered her a free ride in life, she started squawking from the bellows of the backseat. “Forget it! I would not be caught dead in this car. Dad, this is an old person’s car.”
I argued, “I hope you haven’t forgotten how to ride a bicycle.”
In time, I noticed Rachel moving to the front passenger seat more often as if her closer proximity would start to open her eyes to the possibility.
My daughter contemplated, “Maybe if you painted it a different color and got me a CD player, I might consider taking the car if there is nothing else.”
“There is nothing else as far as I know. There is also nothing wrong with the exterior paint but you retain the right to save your own money for a cosmetic paint job. You own an Ipod so I will buy you an Ipod jack converter as a car accessory.”
Months later, Rachel got her Cinderella license through the Division of Motor Vehicles. Call it maturity or epiphany but she started to ask me about the operation of the dashboard gadgets and switches on the Taurus. That is when I thought that things might change.
On a day like any other, the real changeling in her came out. Rachel uncharacteristically yelled at her younger sister for getting a little too comfortable at a red light. “What do you think you are doing? Jenna, get your dirty shoes off of my seat.”
With more apprehension than enthusiasm, Rachel eventually got behind the wheel of the Taurus and learned how to drive it with me as her driving instructor. It could have been merely practice or a dress rehearsal for her metallic inheritance. I did not know.
In life, there are always bumps in the road. I got into an automobile accident while reading lines for an actor’s workshop, a little fender bender really on an otherwise flawless metal frame. The next time I had visitation with Rachel, I delicately broke the news about the mishap, but she sniffed out my soft-pedaling. She literally jumped out of the car she just entered. Rachel circled the car with reckless abandon while raging a single purpose repeated question.
“What did you do to my car?”


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