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The BEST of tRc

Vintage RhodesTer

restoring old posts to their former glory

originally published one day in 2003 or something

Gwyneth Paltrow

The lovely and still-living Gwyneth Paltrow

I used to work as a dispatcher at the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood, which meant I was the guy (one of several, actually) who sat in the camera surveillance room all day and watched people on video monitors.

When someone would do something bad, like shoot someone else or steal a pen, I’d call the police or send a security officer to deal with it, depending on the severity of the crime.

While on a break one day, I walked by the boss’s office and he called me in. His name was Jim Chaffee, and he’s still one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. His shock of red hair set over a freckled face is a bit impish, in a Howdy Doody sort of way. I’m pretty sure Jim would shoot me if he knew I called him Howdy Doody on this blog, so I hope he doesn’t read this.

He got that a lot.

Jim Chaffee

Jim Chaffee, NOT Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody, NOT Jim Chaffee

But I had great respect for him, mainly because when he introduced himself to us while the security team was first being assembled, he confessed that he used to be the head of Disney security but had to step down due to a nervous breakdown of some sort.

I don’t mean Disneyland, or Disney World, or Disney Studios.  I mean he was the head of security for the entire Disney corporation.. and Mickey Mouse drove him insane.

Evil Mickey

So here he was, candidly telling us about it, explaining why he used to be the head of security for a huge corporation like Disney but was now the head of security for what is basically a glorified mall, and I liked him instantly.

He liked me too, I think, because he always gave me cool gigs. We did a lot of overtime, working at private parties and events that were held on the property, and I was often asked to show up in the evening so I could stand around in a suit and look like a secret service agent while celebs walked the red carpet and schmoozed at the parties. You always see those guys in the background when event photos are snapped for People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, US, etc.. and I was in all of those at one time or another.

After calling me into his office on this particular day, Jim asked if I’d like a special assignment on Wednesday, which was two days away. I said maybe. He said it was driving Gwyneth Paltrow around in a security cart and doing whatever she asked.

I said hell yeah.

He didn’t give me any specifics because he didn’t have any, beyond the fact that some production company was taping a TV show and Gwyneth was a guest and I’d be her on-camera escort.

Jim had asked me to do this on Monday, so Tuesday took about a week to go by. On Wednesday morning I arrived on time at the appointed place and, sure enough, there was Gwyneth Paltrow, getting her picture taken.

I’d arrived in uniform and an observant assistant figured out that I was probably the security guy who’d been assigned to her so he approached me, asking, “Are you the security guy assigned to her?” He pointed at Gwyneth.

“Yes I am,” I said, and then I pointed at Gwyneth.

“Good,” he said, “Go down into the fifth level of the parking garage and get one of your security carts.. when we finish this segment, we’ll all be down there to meet you.”

He actually pointed at the elevator door, like I didn’t know where it was, just like he’d pointed at Gwyneth Paltrow as if I didn’t know who SHE was.. real high opinion of security people, this guy.

Alan Cumming, in need of a comb

Alan Cumming, in need of a comb

I got one of our carts and fired it up, which sounds more impressive than it really is, since it was an electric golf cart. About ten minutes later the elevator doors whooshed open and the whole crew came in, including Gwyneth and a particular British actor who I didn’t know would be a part of this whole thing, Alan Cumming.

The Director of the TV show came over to me and asked, “Are you the guy who’ll be taking Gwyneth and Alan around the parking garage?”

Well, I didn’t know until that moment that it’d be Gwyneth and Alan, and I didn’t know we’d be staying in the parking garage, but yeah.. I was the guy.

The Director took all of three seconds to give me my directions.. “Just take them around like they can’t find their car. They’ll tell you where to go. Got it?”

Gwyneth jumped in beside me and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Gwyneth,” she said. I think it’s cool when well-known celebrities do that when they know perfectly well that you know who they are. It’s courteous, and trust me, not all of them are like that.  Martin Sheen is just about the nicest guy in the biz.. he does it, and then he pays your utility bills for you.

Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen, looking kind and gentle

Alan jumped on the back of the cart while the Director got onto another cart with a driver and cameraman and away we went, off to look for Gwyneth and Alan’s alleged lost vehicle.

The Director’s cart paced us while the camera stayed on us as we zoomed through the parking garage, up and down levels, left and right, cutting through rows of vehicles while the two of them shouted at me, “This way! Now here! Turn LEFT! Turn RIGHT!”

It was thoroughly zany.

At one point I must have gotten too excited or something, because I took a ramp a little too fast and put the cart up on the two right wheels, which almost pitched Gwyneth out onto her butt. Alan and I grabbed her and pulled her back in, all the while with the camera rolling. This is where I almost killed her. It wasn’t much really, but it makes for a good post headline, does it not?

Shortly thereafter I had to stop for a car backing out of a stall, so Gwyneth looked over at the lady driver and said, “We’ve lost our car.. we’re so retarded!” I could tell that the lady recognized her, but it was unclear as to whether or not she approved of the use of such a non-politically correct phrase being uttered by one of America’s sweethearts.

We eventually found the car and, of course, it was a black Range Rover, which I suspected they knew the location of all along. We said our goodbyes and, as they got into it and drove away, Gwyneth turned and blew me a kiss.

While on a break the next day and passing by Jim’s office, he called me in (he did that a lot) and asked what the Gwyneth Paltrow gig was all about. I told him everything except for the part about almost killing her, because he liked me and I wanted to keep it that way.

He asked if I’d found out what they were taping. I hadn’t, so he gave me the number of the production company, which I called, and a nice man on the phone explained that it was for a talk show that Alan Cumming would be hosting on the Oxygen channel and that Gwyneth was his first guest in the pilot episode.

Sadly, it never aired.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow, still alive today because of me

<a href=””><img src=”” /></a>

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by RhodesTer on May 12, 2010

in Humor/Satire, The BEST of tRc

Vintage RhodesTer

restoring old posts to their former glory

originally published October of 2007

Fuck Off Starbucks

photo by by clarkk on Flickr

Tommy the homeless guy got kicked out of Starbucks.

He was never actually in Starbucks to begin with, he was on the huge patio outside, but I guess his salty language got to be too much for some people.  They complained to the management and the management ousted him faster than a trash can tumbling down the street in a gale force wind.

I’d only spoken with him once before — it was while waiting for a bus downtown and, having decided to bide the time on that particular patio on a busy Saturday afternoon, I found nowhere else to sit but at the table next to his.

I thought, “Well this guy is kind of wacky, but maybe it’ll be interesting,” so I sat down in anticipation that he’d strike up a conversation, which he did after I’d waited approximately 2.4 seconds.

“Nice fuckin’ DAY, eh?” said he.

I’ll warn you now, he got booted because of his frequent use of the F word, and when I quote someone, I quote them — I don’t hold back. It’s not my practice to write that way, but if they said it, they said it. I don’t water down anything but my Starbucks house brew because it’s so damn BITTER.

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” I said. “I’m glad it’s finally cooled down.” (This happened in Palm Springs, where it’s 78 degrees on Christmas day).

“You evah eat gaytuh?”


photo by The Suss-man (Mike) on Flickr

It took me a second to recover from the abrupt conversational left turn and to figure out that “gaytuh” was “gator.” He went on to explain that he was from “Floriduh, where the gaytuhs is good eatin.”

I said, “No, I don’t think I’ve ever had gator.. unless I thought it was chicken or something and someone was playing a joke on me.”

That was a joke in itself and I admit it was lame, but I quickly found out that Tommy the homeless guy had left his sense of humor behind a dumpster somewhere, so it didn’t really matter. He didn’t laugh at anything I said during the entire conversation, which was like hanging out with my high school gym coach all over again, except Tommy didn’t smell like Old Spice.

I missed my old gym teacher.

“Oh man, if you eatin gaytuh you KNOW it! That’s some good eatin theyuh. Dey’s hard ta kill too, but if ya git um unawayus (unawares) yu kin sink dat knife in and slit em from da throat all da way down to da nuts and all dat gut spills out and dey is dead fastuh dan you can count tuh ten.”

I thought it funny that you never hear tough guys talk about bunny rabbits that way. “Dems good eatin if’n you can sneak up behind one and kill it dead.” It’s always crocs, gaytuhs or beahs.

I wanted to ask him if gators really had nuts and I was really curious how you sneak up behind one and catch it unawares, but I didn’t get a chance to ask him about that because a pretty girl walked out of the store right then.

He abruptly shut up and watched her intently as she crossed the street, latte in hand, and ducked into the art gallery on the opposite corner. This inspired another vivid description from him, but it had nothing to do with reptiles – it was a loud, brash and awfully uninhibited rant about what he’d like to do to that young lady should he ever catch her in a back alley.


photo by Stuck In Customs on Flickr

I was growing increasingly thankful that Mrs. Rhodester wasn’t with me, not that she’d be shocked or anything, but for her own safety and mine.  If he tried to harm her I’d have to try and stop him — I say try, because Tommy weighs over 300 pounds and stands about 6’4”. He’s a huge, smelly maniac with women and reptile issues.

He bragged about this “bodacious fucking hutch” he’d built over by the medical center about three miles “down yonder,” and how much he missed being able to crawl into it and just get away from civilization because he’d made it virtually invisible, being behind the dumpster the way it was.

His impromptu homestead came to a quick end one day when some staffers from the medical center tried to toss medical waste into the dumpster but missed, so it all landed on him instead. He said he stormed into the lobby and threatened to grab the little woman behind the desk and “string her up by her boobies,” which is the point where security came along and informed him that police were on the way.

He seemed to actually be surprised by this. A huge, smelly homeless guy covered in medical waste bursts into the lobby and threatens to string up the receptionist behind the counter, and he’s surprised when they call the cops on him.

I didn’t say he was bright.

Of course, this is the same guy who was describing his dumpster estate as if it were a mansion in Monte Carlo.

As I approached the Starbucks patio yesterday, he was standing on the public sidewalk just outside of the waist-high railing, gazing sadly at the plastic chair he’d formerly occupied day after day.

“How ‘bout dem gaytuhs, huh? Dem’s good eatin!” I said, as I came up behind him.

He turned and looked at me with the same expression he must have worn on his face when the cops destroyed his beloved dumpster hutch months earlier.

“Dey went and kicked me outta heah man, now wheah I’m gonna go, huh?”

He looked like he was going to cry. I was tempted to invite him to stay with us, but then I pictured what Mrs. Rhodester would look like wrapped up in plastic bags and stuffed in a freezer, and changed my mind.

“Sorry to hear that, Tommy. You can’t just hang out at that Coffee Bean patio across the street?”

“Naw man, dat bitch ovuh dere don’t like me none. Said I called her a bitch to her face one day.”

“Did you?”

“Hell ya,man.. she didn’t let me use da bathroom ta wash up in, dat bitch. But now dat I called her dat she don’t let me in dere at all and I can’t even go neah da place. Woman is stuck up if ya ask me.”

I hadn’t asked him that.

I offered to get him something from the Starbucks, because I’m just friendly like that and I don’t judge anyone and I really don’t want him to sit on me, but he declined and said he was “jist gonna move on, maybe to anuthuh town where da bitches ain’t so stuck up and shit.”

I wished him well. Then I went in and ordered an iced passion tea, which I took back out to the patio and enjoyed along with a nice, peaceful solitude.

A very quiet and peaceful solitude, free of gators.

It was lovely.

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Hi Mom

May 8, 2010
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What was it about you and commitment? You would just never leave a person, would you! I don’t know where you got that from but I hope I got some of it from you.

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Gracias Tía Bee!

May 4, 2010
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Aunt Bee got me a Starbucks card!

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April 21, 2010
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I would grab the first bag of kitty litter I see and, upon zipping home so that I could go online and stream music videos, it’d be discovered that it’s made of radioactive waste material with chunks of broken beer bottles mixed in.

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The Great Fury

April 18, 2010
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The shaking was of such a violent nature I screamed out but the sound of it was immediately engulfed in the cacophony. All around me the building shook as if it were a stuffed doll in the teeth of a vicious dog, who was rendering it into little shreds.

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A beginner’s guide to the alcoholic content of beer

April 13, 2010
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Beer has alcoholic comment enough so that you like drinking it and if you have more then you should then you don’t care because you don’t even know how many beers you had like after a few you had.

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The Return

February 9, 2010
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Finally, having had enough of not living, the man stood up one day and announced to his wife of nineteen years, “We’re going to San Francisco!” She heartily agreed and together they started winding the countdown clock that would propel them into the rest of their future.

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OC Cabbie: Swimming with the Sharkeez

January 7, 2010
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“DAVE! Where the hell are you? It’s been fifteen minutes since you said you turned off of Beach.. are you lost or something?”

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Beauty, Bread And The Beloved

December 24, 2009
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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.” –John Muir

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