Freudian Slips: December 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.

December 30, 2008

Fifth Annual Freudian Slips Irony Oscar

The pedigree nominees for the best short story in 2008 on this Freudian Slips blog included Epiphany Speaking, Winning One for the Whimper, Girl Interupted, Cutting Tyler a Break, and Kelly's Hero.

The ballots have been counted without a single hanging chad. Before the winner is announced let me just say that voting set an all-time record high. Commentary and votes flooded in like a ticker tape parade. My email inbox filled with sizeable messages like no blog story before it.

The landslide winner of the Fifth Annual Freudian Slips Irony Oscar is: Girl Interrupted, a poignant tale about a handicapped woman trying to create a life of her own late in life itself.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing everyone next year.


December 27, 2008

A Piece of the Action...Carnival Cruise Commercial

-Sweet toothed actor Joseph Tornatore during the Pinata shoot.

Carnival Cruise's World's Largest Pinata commercial is now airing natoinally on major networks across the country. The good folks at Carnival Cruise made a few pictures available online to showcase the event along with the release of the actual commercial spot. Judging by their picture of me mucking it up with the candy here, it looks like I got a big chunk of this commercial. Rather, it was produced in fast paced clips leaving me with wanting more to chew on.
If anyone cares to slow down the action packed commercial, I can be freeze framed at 25 seconds into it, lying on my back in the candy pile wearing this same blue tee shirt. At normal speed, I only got a piece of the action but don't let anyone tell you I missed the boat on this one. For an actor, national commercial work is as hard to find as two tons of piled carnival candy during an economic recession.


December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

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December 21, 2008

Marked Cars in Disney World

In 2002, we kicked off our vacation by arriving at star spangled Disney World early in the morning to beat the heat. To be present when the gates opened, our family exited our rental car with reckless abandon and determination to be in the front of the lines. Ten hours later, we returned to the Goofy parking lot a ragged overly stimulated family in no mood to be looking for our loaned car on tired feet. Without personal markings on the car or a familiar license plate to go by, every other rental car seemed to resemble our rental car. I used the car keys on a number of vehicles to no avail. A helpless feeling came over me, the only male adult in our party.
Dripping of perspiration, the kids did their share of complaining. Up and down the aisles, my wife and I searched only reasonably certain that we parked in Goofy. An hour passed before my hubris gave way to employing basic survival skills. Summer heat steamed off the Florida blacktop and the glare of the setting sun. I was getting punch drunk. Could we have parked in Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or Snagglepuss? Could the car have been stolen? Like accidental tourists, we must have foolishly walked by our rental car a dozen times without recognizing it.
This incident occurred back when the kids watched too many Looney Tunes cartoons. Braving the elements none too gracefully, the kids got easily spooked by the hawkeyed winged predators in the sky.
One of the children asked, “Why are there buzzards circling?”
My wife and I looked directly over our heads. A gaggle of buzzards circled high above our defenseless positions. We laughed hard…after we found our car.


December 16, 2008

Little Drummer Boy

I really wanna know
I really wanna know
Who are you?
-The Who
In 1973, Dale City, California kicked off the opening night of The Who’s Quardrphenia tour. Drummer Keith Moon’s body was never confused with a holy temple. An incredibly exhuberant percussionist, he took little ownership in his body and led a self-destructive lifestyle. It has been said that Keith swallowed anything handed to him without question. Before the concert at the Cow Palace, he had trouble digesting the elephant tranquilizer he washed down with brandy. He collapsed unconscious over his drum kit during “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and was carried off the stage by roadies.
A short intermission followed for the fans, a cold shower for Keith Moon. He somehow returned to the stage under his own recognizance but, as you might expect, he could not rock on. He fell unconscious again before getting through the next song. Pete Townsend grabbed the microphone and with a “show must go on” creedo he asked if anyone in the audience could play the drums, play the drums real good. Working off a scalped ticket from the parking lot no less, Scot Halpin worked his way to the front of the stage. On stage, there was no time for practice. Halprin positioned himself and aptly finished the set banging Keith Moon’s drums.
Scott never pursued music as a profession. He died of a brain tumor at the age of fifty-four. Scott might have left the planet the way he left the stage that night…arm and arm with members of one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Sometimes it is better to leave them wanting more.


December 13, 2008

The Price Ain't Right in Hollywood

Day 1
My friend received the telephone call every non union actor dreams of. She went down to our casting agency and signed an official SAG union contract for residual pay everytime the soon to be released Carnival Cruise commercial airs. Knowing I was the first to land in the pile of two tons of candy underneath that six story pinata, I kept my cell phone on hoping to receive my own call about residual pay.
Day 2
Different casting agency calls me. One of my IMDB credits for a film still in production reveals too much of the plot. I was told that it needs to be removed. So while keeping my phone on hoping for more credit for hard work completed, I wind up with no more money and less credit.
Day 3
My role was re-cast in a movie I was to film next month.
....I just love this acting business.


December 10, 2008

Epiphany Speaking

I entered the reception area early looking for my client before taking a seat. While I accepted Epiphany’s invitation to attend her high school graduation ceremonies, I was not quite sure she would remember my promise to come.

I saw Epiphany from quite a distance standing there in a pomp and circumstance proccessional besides her classmates. She was prettier than most of her classmates but she had too many hurdles in life to stop and flaunt her beauty. Epiphany moved over to me awkwardly and clumsily in her ivory cap and gown like a hard luck woman. She picked up a follower from the gathering crowd. She led this mustached Mexican man by the hand. He seemed surprised by her spontaneous actions but he looked proud to be in her company. I surmised by his ragtag attire he was given his invitation to be her guest at the ceremony much too late.
“Joe, this is the Mexican I told you I was dating,”
I asked, “Honche?”
“Yeah, you know the farmer who lives with nine members of his family in a trailer in Vineland.”
“I see.” No sooner did my handshake extend Honche’s way. Epiphany was onto the next item on her agenda.
“He doesn’t understand much English so I speak for the both of us. Joe, we have some great news to share. Honche and I are getting married! Look at my engagement ring.” She squealed with glee. “He used his mother’s credit card. Can you believe it?”
Before I knew it, Epiphany dangled a purported diamond ring in my face. “Well congratulations….on the graduation and the engagement. I guess I am here to take it all in...what a show.”
Honche spoke a sentence in Spanish. I translated one word…who.
Epiphany conversed with her soon to be husband. “...Joe is my social worker.”
Honche’s dark eyebrows worked a grimace. “Pregunta. Que es social worker?”
Epiphany’s kiss to his cheek and her canyon wide smile reassured him but only momentarily.
“Honche, I never said anything to you before but I am mentally retarded!”
His face shot blank. I said, “You got to love her.”


December 07, 2008

Duct, Duct, A Ruse?

Somebody's idea of twisted fun but definitely a family picture you don't want to show your child when she grows up. The clutching of the stuffed animal may be telling about the child's comfort level of being duct taped to a wall. Who would do this?


December 04, 2008

Favorite Kitchen Smells

seasoned turkey baking in the oven

making stuffing on the stovetop

fresh minced garlic frying in olive oil
homemade chicken noodle soup cooking
a Jewish apple cake cooking
opening a fresh bottle of Vanilla Extract
buttered popcorn served piping hot


December 01, 2008

The Tightrope with Children

My youngest daughter and I sat across from one another in a diner booth. Maybe it has more to do that her parents are divorced but meaningful conversations are rare between her and I. I often find myself staying away from mushy feelings and mentally shuffling for artistic expression that might hold her interest. In between, there is considerable silence.
“Allow me to tell you about this circus I had the pleasure of seeing.”
You mention the word circus to a kid and you think you have their interest peeked. I was losing her already. I needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat with her name on it. Her eyes left mine and returned to the picturesque choices on the children’s menu.
I explained, “This wasn’t your usual smelly circus sitting on a bench seat where your feet crunch under a bed of peanut shells. Hardly. This was a royal circus under the biggest big top you can imagine. They performed live operatic music to coincide with dance movement to tell a story. The music sounded hypnotically penetrating like a lullaby. Oh, and the acrobats showed incredible showmanship and precision. The execution of the dance choreography seemed incredible. I thought my eyes were deceiving me. I did not think human beings could train themselves to that level of expertise. The wardrobe saved no expense. There was so much to see because they performed on multiple levels of visual sights with spotlighting. The variety of skills shown was nothing like the traveling circuses that I remember. Improbable stunts were performed with smiling faces. Some of the performers were children!”
She had yet to blink an eye. I wondered if I my animated storytelling, my showmanship if you will, was turning her off again so I decided to wrap up the description by walking the tightrope of visitation.
“This circus was a visual feast. It is something that is hard to explain secondhand. You really must see it to believe it. So the next time this troupe comes around, I want to take you there. We can experience it together.”
She gave me a blank stare. “Are you talking about Cirque du Soleil?”
“Ah, you heard of it. Great.”
“I don’t want to go. Dad, I saw it with mommy three times.”
“You know, we really got to talk more.”


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