Freudian Slips: September 2008

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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 30, 2008

Beamer Me Up Snotty

“Hey, what do you think you're doing? My son and I took the time to move several shopping carts away from our Beamer and you rolled up to park next to me.” --snotty idiot BMW owner heading into an arts and crafts store.

Clutching my curled 40% off sales coupon, I said, “Buy the whole shopping mall and erect a No Tresspassing sign and maybe we will talk. Right now that is free public parking.”


September 29, 2008

Cat on Guard

I love this picture of our kitten standing guard over the front of our house.


September 25, 2008

Milk...It Does a Country No Good

This posting is not reactionary to the plight of the United States economy. Instead, it is a jaded opinion that has been brewing inside of me for decades. Namely, I have always worried that the middle class would disappear and without restoration, this schism could be the social platform for another Civil War...this time between the rich and the poor. My thinking in regards to this nation resorting to violence may sound extremist and alarmist but signs of the demise of the middle class are outrageously evident.
My opinion has strengthened carrying a briefcase around the State of New Jersey as a pencil pushing social worker for the last 22 years. My work takes me inside people's homes, where I see different cultures living differently now. The neighborhoods are not changing for the better. Every town develops a bad section. Not just outcasts and rejects do drugs anymore. There are so many houses and businesses boarded up that, if I did not know better, I would be checking the weather forecast every night for a hurricane. Habitable homes are staying unsold on the real estate market longer. Dollar Store purchases are staples and nobody is looked down upon trying to find a bargain at Goodwill. There is the abyss of unemployment for the more unfortunate. The dwindling lack of affordable health care coverage is affecting more of the populus. The middle class is suffering a vanishing act in society and the majority of people are struggling making ends almost meet. More common folk are doing without essentials they formerly took for granted while the rich order less caviar for their next catered affair or maybe they don’t bring up the best vintage from the wine cellar for the upper crust guests at a party that will be a tax write-off in its entirety.
The middle class is disappearing and former card carrying members should be put on milk cartons for rememberance at local convenience stores. If you can afford milk at $4.00 per gallon, take a look at the picture on the side panel before you search your light wallet for four singles. The picture is changing to someone you know. Fewer people are buying milk and when they do they are buying less quantity, less groceries all together. When you can no longer afford actual milk without using a credit card that is nearly maxed out, look again because your picture may appear on the carton with no middle ground to go back to. The rich have been milking everyone far too long and this country needs to run on something other than oil that keeps everyone over a barrel. does a country no good.


September 23, 2008

Cutting Tyler a Break

The question so often asked about my vocation as a social worker is what exactly is the definition of mental retardation. By and large, I stay away from the operant definition delineating dry IQ numbers below 70 accompanied by deficits in major life areas.

Instead, I prefer telling the following story. I have an autistic client on my caseload named Tyler. After some parental assistance with the application process, Tyler landed a shelf-stocking job at the neighborhood grocery store. After given his work schedule, Tyler’s boss asked him if he knew how to read and tell time. Tyler said yes. Not believing him, Tyler got quizzed on the current position of the big and little hands on his wristwatch. Tyler passed his first test with flying colors. The boss relaxed then explained to him what and when break time is.

“You do not work between 10:15-10:30am, this is a designated break from work and you can do anything you want as long as you report back to work in time.”

On his first break on the first day on the job, Tyler displayed his affinity for heights. He climbed the access ladder inside the stock room and ran around the rooftop with glee. Hearing commotion on the rooftop, a bag boy discovered Tyler up there and coaxed him back inside the store. He was sent to the boss' office.

The boss reamed him out. “I do not want you up on the roof ever again. That is a restricted area and it is dangerous.”

“You said I could do anything I wanted."

“Anything but the rooftop! Be serious.” replied the boss.

On his second day at work at the beginning of his break, Tyler climbed a huge shade tree in the parking lot. Hanging upside down from a sturdy branch, Tyler waved at shoppers while making strange birdcalls. Scared shoppers quickly reported his actions back to the boss, who prohibited Tyler from outdoors on his break and made him promise he would keep both of his feet on the ground while at work, no exceptions.

Tyler looked perplexed. “I need ladder to stock top shelf."
Developmental disability is more than an empiricial number. It is an art needing to be learned by all parties involved in the life of a developmentally disabled person.


September 19, 2008

Riding the Septa Commercial

-Joseph Tornatore in actual footage from Septa commercial

This catchy Septa commercial Getting Home Should Be the Easiest Part of the Day is getting major airtime on several television stations in a Fall Extended Service Campaign. I appear at the end of the 30 second spot as the car mechanic tinkering under the hood of this vintage 1969 Ford Thunderbird.
At this juncture of the commercial, the voiceover reassures the viewer that on a public transit commute "The best part about work is going home. The best part about my acting work here computes to going home and seeing myself on television. While the commercial is not all about me, I am definitely along for the ride.


September 15, 2008

A Clause in Your Contact

A co-worker shared with me the face sheet from an important document in a moderately mentally retarded woman’s records. I lifted innocence from the large font capital letters that read:
Prudence still believes in Santa Claus. Do not disillusion her!
While Prudence is 48 years old, beautiful stories like this are gifts that add longevity to my social work career.


September 09, 2008

Scenes to Die For

Joseph Tornatore, as Victor the Hitman
"Rain add new wrinkle to scene. In the words of Barack Obama, nobody can see crystal ball. Good Luck!" -Zhenya Kiperman, director, before our stunt driver hit the pedal to the metal filming a scene from Sketches from Moscow and Philadelphia
They say the first time you die on film is an existential experience. I never heard about such philosophical introspection until after I played dead. I got hired as a hitman and took a shot at it in the movie Sketches from Moscow and Philadelphia.
Sporting a Dollar Store military hat, a scruffy beard, and a manufactured scowl, I got upgraded on the set on the first morning of shooting. Victor the Hitman leaped off the pages of the screenplay and I felt re-born.
Investors ponied up upwards of a million dollars to make this movie short. If the talented Russian director, Zhenya Kiperman, delivers on translating the screenplay to a short moving picture, a full-length picture is on tap. My paid job was to impress the director enough to get his attention and earn consideration for the full-length feature, if not for an audition for the role I played then a lesser role.
As it stands, I had a featured role in an abbreviated thriller that wrapped filming last night. The director described my acting as tireless and selfless after I sold my body take after take for my physical death scene with the lead character. Three days of action packed shoots. In a car with a professional stunt driver doing 55 mph fish tails and hair pin turns in the rain. The chance to work in a scene with perennial actor Giancarlo Esposito. To carry a Beretta with the camera following my action. To hold in my arms the sultry James bond girl vixen, even if she was struggling and did not welcome my embrace. They were scenes to kill for…some of us are just a better shot than others.


September 08, 2008

A Cut Above the Rest

The left shrub awaits a haircut after finishing the right one. I trimmed the right one with hedge clippers before final detailing was exercised with household scissors. Hedging all bets, this is as high as I can let the shrubs grow if I still want to do the topiary myself.


September 04, 2008

Springing Into Action

Playing a car mechanic in a recent Septa commercial produced an unusual foible. Let me set the stage. The venerable West Philadelphia street for our set location was closed to oncoming traffic. Pedestrians were stopped on the corner sidewalks as crew begged patience until between takes.
My head lowered into the engine block of a 1969 Ford Thunderbird awaiting a wrangler to relay the director’s cue of action over a wireless headset. My swinging wrench inched above the actual engine part. My role playing fooled the strange man who moved to a standing position behind me. I turned my head. Looking at one another, we shared the same what are you doing here stare. Holding up something concealed in a green plastic garbage bag, he appeared nervous and jittery. His thieving eyes thirsted for an immediate payoff.
“You wanna buy a used Playstation system on the cheap?”
“Ugh…I am an actor. These aren’t even my clothes.”
He looked as baffled about my answer as I was about his proposition. He swiveled his head for cameras that might have caught him on tape fencing stolen property. Since I held no currency and wrenches were not tools of his trade, he was not overly optimistic about consummating a deal. When he heard the word “Action!” he sprung into action himself by running away off camera. I didn't have the right tools to mend this fence.


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