Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Friday, December 31, 2004
I never used to have psychic powers, then one day I happened to spot the all-powerful Jeanne Dixon walking down Central Park West. I hadn't the nerve to speak to her, but I did follow her a few blocks. She apparently had a bad cold and blew a whole bunch of snot into a kleenex, which she then deposited into a trash can. My mouth hanging open at my good fortune, I retrieved this precious souvenir from it's resting place and took it home, where I rubbed it all over myself. That night, I began to have strange dreams. Dreams about celebrities and what might happen to them. Jeanne Dixon's mucus had given me the power of celebrity foresight. I decided that I would use my newfound abilities to emulate my idol. I would tell the world what the forces of super-nature had shown me. So here's what I've seen through the veils of time for the coming year:
Looks to be quite a year for celebrities.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays about which I can muster absolutely no enthusiasm. For one thing, it comes at the tail end of the holiday season, which means that it’s always sort of an anticlimax, suffering in comparison with Christmas. That also means that it happens right before you have to go back to work or school or whatever, which cranks up the lame-itude.
The worst thing, for me, though, is my history with the holiday. I mean, it’s meant to be a huge, fun party, I realize. A lot of people love it, for that reason. They just go nutty wild and get their fiesta on. It’s just that it never seems to work out that way for me.
Let me give an abridged history of my New Year’s Eves.
12/31/76—While my sister, the night owl, gets to go to a rollicking party with my dad, I’m sick with the chickenpox and have to stay home, ruining my mother’s holiday in the process. I feel like a lame-oid. At age five.
12/31/77-86—This might seem unkind, but these New Years were spent at family parties that featured Dick Clark and pigs in the blanket, a food which has always provoked my gag reflex in the extreme. I’m sure I had a good time once or twice along the way here, but it’s safe to say that I never pissed myself with excitement.
12/31/87—My first New Year’s Eve party with high school friends. I get hammered and a friend has to drive me home. I’m awakened at 3 A.M. by family friends with whom I’m supposed to go to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I’m already hung-over by this point, but have to take a shift driving, because everybody else is tired to the point of exhaustion.
12/31/89—Home from college for the holidays and separated from all of my school friends, I get ripped at a family friend’s party and spend an hour bellowing to a poor, polite party-goer about the true significance of the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970.
12/31/90—Having talked my college friends into coming to my parents’ house, we spend the night upstairs from my parents’ party, sneaking outside in the cold to smoke. I completely fail to score with my ex-girlfriend.
12/31/91—A friend from work invites a bunch of us to her party, filled with black-clad, heavily-eyelinered goth chicks, several of whom mock us openly and none of whom are the least bit inclined to make out.
12/31/92—Our bar of choice inexplicably closed for the evening, a bunch of us drive forty-five minutes to The Winking Lizard, a truly odious bar full of Jimmy Buffet fans. I am too poor to buy more than one beer all night, which is good, because I subsequently get pulled over by a couple of over-zealous troopers who attempt to scare me straight by listing the many ways a DUI could ruin my life before letting me go because I’m obviously completely sober.
12/31/94—Having left my girlfriend in Phoenix to go home for the holidays, I spend New Year’s Eve on the long, cross-country train ride home, mostly in the smoking car where I drink half a bottle of vodka and yak with a traveling salesman before collapsing in my sleeping-car bed, wishing the train would stop rocking.
12/31/97—My wife and I throw a party. I make fondue and buy a whole bunch of booze. Two people show up. They’re two very nice people, with whom we always have a good time, but they’re only two people.
12/31/03—At my in-laws’ house, my wife is sick with one of the nastiest stomach flues I have ever seen. She spends the night vomiting and lying down. I spend the night watching a movie. I get sick two days later.
You’ll notice that there are gaps in there. Years when my New Year’s didn’t suck. I credit my wife with that, mostly. I’ve had some very nice times with her, my favorite being the year she ran a midnight 5K and I went to cheer her on. Even the good ones, though, haven’t been the Party to End all Parties. And this year doesn’t look great. My wife is working, taking pictures. I could go with her, but I’m pretty certain it’d be in a noisy, crowded club full of obnoxious people who would piss me off.
Dick Clark should count himself lucky that he gets to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve in bed for once.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Hairshirt Horoscope (Special 2005 Forecast)
It's that time. Time for a look ahead at 2005 and all that your Zodiac holds for you. Here's your Hairshirt Horoscope Forecast for the coming annum.
Aries: In 2005, Aries folks will be at their creative zenith. Unfortunately, that’s still pretty sad and the best they’ll be able to muster is a half-way decent episode of Joan of Arcadia.
Taurus: Health problems will plague you this year, culminating in August, when you have to have a spatula surgically removed from your ass following a particularly nasty incident with a chef at Olive Garden.
Gemini: This year, Gemini, you will find that you can achieve anything you put you mind to. Except success and happiness. Those are gonna continue to prove elusive.
Cancer: At long last, the next twelve months will see Cancer find true love. The bad news is that it’s somebody else’s true love and it’s “found” by drilling a peep hole into the apartment next door.
Leo: Leo sports fans are in for a rough one, as every major sport except soccer goes on strike. In a desperate move to calm a populace robbed of their diversions, President Bush orders live broadcast of executions, which proves quite beneficial to death row inmates, who find themselves suddenly in demand as corporate spokesmen.
Virgo: This will be a year of travel for you, Virgo. Most of it in the back of a police car.
Libra: Over the next 365 days, you find yourself developing deadly allergies to all food except tapioca pudding. Perhaps you should look into stepping in front of a bus now, Libra.
Scorpio: Your only comfort in 2005? The fact that it’s not a leap year, so you’re spared one more day of utter and complete despair.
Sagittarius: Advice to Sagittarians: start drinking now and don’t stop until 12/31/05.
Capricorn: The most shocking moment of 2005 for Capricorn will come November 14th, when they inexplicably find themselves in the checkout line at Tower Records, about to purchase the new Michael Bolton album, and they’re excited about it.
Aquarius: Your sense of irony will be on the fritz come May, when you look out at a hooting and hollering audience applauding as you win a “beauty” contest, somehow having completely missed the quotation marks.
Pisces: You remember the kind of soul-crushing, fascistic society Orwell predicted in 1984? Well, he was only off by about 21 years.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Best of 2004
Newspapers and magazines this week are full of their Best of the Year lists. I thought, what the hell. I'm lazy. Lists are easy. I'll do that, too. So here we go. The Hairshirt Best of 2004.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Check Me Out
So I'm going to be appearing on an E! Entertainment News Special about psychic predictions for 2005 and I'm so excited about it that I can only type in italics! Hurray for me! Hurray for E! !
Sunday, December 26, 2004
'Twas the Day After Christmas
The most depressing day of the year? Today. All of the wonderful anticipation you have building up to Christmas Day is gone. The presents are open and you're left with just the wrapping paper. After a day and a half of eating nonstop, you've consumed the really good food, leaving you with a small dish of the green beans, the now thrice-heated dark meat from the turkey and a whole tin of fig squares, having finished off the last frosted Santa in the cookie jar last night right before bed. Plus, the holiday magic is swiftly draining from the air, but we've still got months and months of winter weather ahead of us.
What, then, to do? The folks at the Hairshirt Institute for Psychiatric Studies have spent the last five years doing in-depth clinical research into this very problem. The research ended in December of 2003 and, since then, dedicated H.I.P.S. scientists have been crunching the numbers and analyzing their findings. As their paper was rejected by every major medical journal, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the DOCS Clinic Newsletter, we present their suggestions here. According to our team the best ways to fight the effects of post-holiday depression are...
Remember, you're only as completely fucking miserable as you let yourself be.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
A Christmas Carol
Scrooge threw open the shutters and peered out at the crisp London morning. A thin coat of snow covered the old town and the glare of the sun bouncing from it hurt his eyes. A young boy flew past Scrooge's front gate, his scarf trailing behind him. Scrooge stopped him with a yell.
"You there! Boy!"
The boy skidded to a halt and meekly returned to Scrooge's walk. "Me, sir?" He said to the strange old man in his dressing coat who addressed him.
"Yes, you my good fellow. What day is this?"
The child seemed a bit taken aback by Scrooge's question. "Today?" he asked. "Why it's Christmas!"
Scrooge's heart leapt in his chest and he danced a little jig in the window. "The spirits did it all in one night!" he thought exultantly. His delight knew no bounds. He could begin his reformation that very morning! And who better to start with than Bob Cratchit and his family, who had suffered so at Scrooge's hands. He assailed the young boy again.
"Boy, do you know the poulterers the next block but one?"
Like any good boy, this lad knew his poulterers. "I should think so, sir."
Scrooge beamed. "Delightful lad. Remarkable lad." He mumbled to himself. He spoke again to the boy. "Do you know the prize turkey in the window?"
"What, the one as big as me?" The young boy's eyes grew wide at the thought of such an enormous turkey.
"Splendid boy. Intelligent boy." Scrooge muttered, more to the world than to the boy himself. More distinctly, he said, "The very same! Go and fetch the poulterer. Tell him I wish to purchase that turkey."
The young boy stared confusedly up as Scrooge disappeared from the window momentarily and then re-emerged clutching a small bag, which he tossed down. "There's a farthing for your troubles. If you come back within fifteen minutes, I'll give you half a crown"
The boy, inspired by the thought of the huge sum mentioned by Scrooge, took off like a flash. Scrooge pulled himself back inside and ran about the room, making ready to go out into the world for his first Christmas in ages spent as part of the human race. He put on his top hat even before he put on pants. He laughed. "Why, I'm as light as a feather! I'm as giddy as a school boy! I'm as..."
Pain shot up Scrooge's arm and he felt a great tightening in his chest. He slumped to the floor, dead of a heart attack.
Outside, the poulterer beat the living shit out of the young boy for making him leave his house on Christmas. The boy became embittered and renounced his belief in God, eventually becoming a pimp. Tiny Tim, who did die, never really walked right. And Scrooge's nephew, Fred, got a divorce two years later. The moral of the story? Gruel is very high in fat.
God bless us, every one.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Guest Blogger: Jesus Christ
It's J.C. here. Thought I'd take a moment to thank everyone for all the cool gifts I get on my birthday. Oh, wait. That's right. Nobody buys me fucking squat on my birthday, they buy all sorts of shit for each other. I cannot begin to tell you how lame that is. I let myself get nailed to a goddamn tree and I don't even get a grocery store cake in recognition of my own birth.
I know all the arguments. "Nobody really gives a shit about their birthday after age 30." Blatantly untrue. I give a shit. I'm turning 2004 tomorrow. Will I get so much as a shout out from Willard Scott? Nope. "The fact that we all take time on Christmas to love one another is our gift to Christ." Bullshit. You know what a gift to Christ would be? The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King extended version on DVD. "Christ isn't real." That one hurts, man. Not real. Blow me. As if the pope and the Catholic church would make up a religion just to consolidate power and oppress generations of ignorant peasants.
I have heard all the excuses and I'm not listening to them anymore. If I don't start getting some swag on my b-day, I'm giving you guys back responsibility for your sins. You're doing nothing for me, why should I wipe your slate clean?
It's not like it's all that hard, people. I have an Amazon wish list. Just point and click, for crying out fucking loud.
Anyway, whatever. Go to your stupid parties and sing your stupid songs and give each other pretty little packages with I-Pods and low-rise jeans inside and I'll just sit here by my fucking self absolving you of all the awful shit you do the rest of the fucking year. Ungrateful little pricks.
J the C
P.S.: By the way, memo to Mel Gibson--I look nothing like Jim Cavavazazelio or whatever the fuck his name is. I'm not even white. Dipshit.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Hairshirt Christmas Horoscope
Aries: Despite what you may have heard, Aries, Santa actually has a “naughty” list, a “nice” list and a “man, this guy is just fucked” list. Guess which one you’re on.
Taurus: The lady in the burka does not want to be wished a Merry Christmas.
Gemini: Sadly, nobody bought you the complete first season of Touched by an Angel on DVD. Even sadder: you asked for the complete first season of Touched by an Angel on DVD.
Cancer: All you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, Cancer. Which, if you think about it, would still leave you with a mouthful of mostly gums. Ask Santa for a full set of dentures instead.
Leo: You should not feel ashamed about the enthusiasm with which you and your significant other engage in your annual Christmas Sex. You should feel ashamed that you couldn’t wait until after you’d left Midnight Mass.
Virgo: For the twelfth year in a row, the Happy Birthday card you sent to Jesus will be returned marked “Unknown Occupant.” This is because, if he is out there, he doesn’t live in Yonkers.
Libra: You find yourself wanting to be among family and friends this week. Too bad you’re an orphan and an asshole.
Scorpio: You may want to take an extra few seconds to think about whether or not it’s a good idea to buy your nephew a tattoo this Christmas. The other kids in his preschool class might make fun.
Sagittarius: Yes, Sagittarius, it’s very noble of you to volunteer time at a soup kitchen this December 25th. The Tip Jar you’ve placed on the counter might not be that well received, though.
Capricorn: This week, you have to work extra hard to explain how getting shitfaced and hitting on your roommate’s girlfriend is in any way a celebration of the birth of Christ.
Aquarius: No matter how much magic is in the old silk hat you found, Aquarius, that snowman is not going to come to life. And he’s definitely not going to “smite your enemies.” Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Pisces: No matter how inappropriate the gift you receive, it’s never a good idea to spit on it and throw it back in the giver’s face. Okay, maybe if it’s fruitcake.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
I don't, strictly speaking, have the time to be writing tonight. A more dedicated, driven man would be continuing his tireless efforts to get done what needed to get done instead of sitting at a keyboard, pecking out funnies about politicians and rectums. But I needed to get out of our hot, hot kitchen for awhile. I suppose I could have done this by cleaning the bathroom, but I wasn't feeling it, y'know?
My family is coming to town. They're spending Christmas away from home for the first time...um..ever, I think. My grandmother passed away last February (my last remaining grandparent) and so her children have broken the celebration into little yuletide fiefdoms, forming smaller groups of their own. It's enough to make one feel old. Anyway, my folks decided to come to New York this year, to spend the holidays in the land of burnt street pretzels and subway rats. I kid.
New York is, as I've written before, a fantastic place to be during the Christmas season and I'm very excited to show my family around. The problem this presents me is that I just finished my last grad class last night and so am only now getting around to cleaning. Additionally, I'm making a big ol' meal for Christmas Eve dinner and preparing Christmas breakfast as well, which means I'm spending all my free time this week doing prep work.
I spent tonight peeling pearl onions. They're these little, tiny things. They make you cry eensy weensy tears. And I'm nowhere near finished. I hear our toilet calling me even now. "Scrub me! Scrub me! Rid my base of the unmentionable filth that you've let go for months because nobody ever stops by to call you on what a slob you are!"
It's really enough to make me want to call in sick to work. Because I need more reasons to not want to be there. I'm completely sure my students wouldn't mind an extra day off from Mr. Shouty, the grumpiest theater teacher around. Seriously, I think I'm going to drop some ecstasy before I go in tomorrow. That way, when all of 'em refuse to take their seats for the first ten minutes of class, I'll want to hug them instead of wanting to drop kick them.
All right. Back to the kitchen. Or the bathroom. Or wherever the hell I wind up. "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
Monday, December 20, 2004
How Do Rumors Get Started? They're Started by the Jealous People.
In my last post, I implied that Santa Claus consumes, on his yearly flight, brownies containing hashish. This was written for humorous effect and is not true. To my knowledge, Santa Claus has never consumed so much as a beer in the centuries he's been alive. Any implication that Santa Claus is some sort of junkie who fuels his reindeer's flight with cocaine and flies wrecklessly was the work of my imagination and has no basis in reality.
For example, I never actually witnessed Santa Claus stumbling into the hallway of a whorehouse, clutching a used syringe in one hand and his penis in the other, screaming, "Fucking fuck! I think she's fuckin dead, man!" That did not happen.
Neither do I have photographic evidence of Santa bitch-slapping a toddler who complained that her Barbie had on an ugly outfit. This non-existent photo is, being not real, not available for purchase to the highest bidder.
To the best of my knowledge, the rumors of Santa Claus euthanizing elves to sell their body parts on a black market website to fund his monthly Viagra purchases are just that: rumors. Santa Claus, I truly believe, loves his elves and would never papier mache them into a pinata and beat them repeatedly just for kicks.
All of these horrible, slanderous rumors, I hereby disavow, along with the story that former Hollywood starlet Heather Graham told me about the time Santa picked her up at a post-People's Choice Awards party and then couldn't get it up in his limo. That didn't happen either.
Since I do hereby deny all of these scurrilous rumors, I request that North Pole, Inc. and it's legal team please call off their pending lawsuit. If they don't, I'll have no choice but to release to the press the Super-8 movie I have of all of them performing Winter Wonderland while taking naked jello-baths.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
The Christmas List
I have been extra good this year. I've done my chores regularly, I haven't drunkenly vomited, I didn't throw myself out the window when that stinking jar of goat urine got re-elected. I've learned to not bitch quite so much about my job. I think I deserve a lot of presents. I know last year I just referred you to my wish lists on Amazon, Williams-Sonoma.com and in the Vivid Video catalogue. And you got me none of it. I was pissed at first, then I realized I just needed to make it easier and put it all in one place for you. So here's my Christmas list.
If not all of this is do-able, Santa, please just do your best to get me the tater tots. I look forward to your visit. I'll leave the milk and the hash brownie on the mantle like always. Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 17, 2004
You Should Skip This Because You're Not Going to Give a Shit
I love Christmas. I love the Christmas season. I love the lights everywhere, I love buying people presents, I love the smell of pine in our apartment. I love the month that I'm allowed to play Christmas music. I love Christmas music.
I'm annoyed as hell with Christmas-themed commercials over the last couple of years. The Gap stopped using Christmas music years ago, apparently worried that they weren't appealing to the portion of their target demographic that doesn't swing that way. This year, they're using The Best of My Love. In what fucking way does this have to do with any holiday? It's annoying. Even Put a Little Love in Your Heart was closer than that, people.
Twice as annoying is the vomit-trigger trend I'm seeing so much on the New York airwaves where groups of carolers sing Christmas songs with the words changed. This is, I realize, not a new phenomenon. It's been around since the day after the first Christmas song, I'm sure. This year, though, has brought an astounding number of astoundingly bad entries in this genre. The New York Lottery has one featuring songs of greed and sloth. The guys behind Old Navy's ads should be taken quietly behind the woodshed and shot in the back of the head for those miserable spots with their off-key multi-culti sweater-clad chorus. It needs to stop.
It needs to stop because there's good stuff out there. Which brings me to the reason I titled this post like I did. Because there's no reason on earth why anyone should care what my favorite Christmas songs are. But that's not going to stop me from listing them.
I noticed something about my favorite Christmas songs when I was compiling this list in my head on the subway this morning. Most of them are really depressing. Why is that? I guess I'd liken it to my love of food that's a little bit salty and a little bit sweet, like Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby or Kettle Corn or chocolate-covered jerky. I just can't go all the way happy.
Oh, in case there's confusion, I'm listing them with the artists who sing them, because I haven't the first fucking clue who wrote most of them.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Aries: Your leg has not fallen asleep. There are actual pins and needles sticking out of your calf and thigh.
Taurus: You will be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom this week. This isn’t to say that you really deserve one, but Bush is just sort of handing them out to all comers this week.
Gemini: Standing outside of your ex-girlfriend’s apartment yelling, “Merry Christmas, you fucking whore!” is not the same as caroling. At least, that’s how the police will see it.
Cancer: Your date tonight is impressed that you know that white wine goes with fish. She'd be more impressed if that fish wasn't a can of Starkist.
Leo: Your inner beauty shines this week, Leo, dazzling all with whom you come in contact. Damn good thing, too, because your outer beauty is nowhere to be found.
Virgo: Your friends are getting incredibly sick of you yelling, “Merry Christmas, movie house!” every time you pass a theater. Put it to rest, okay Shekky?
Libra: The stars want you to know that the thousand dollar bet you are thinking about placing on the Browns against San Diego this weekend is a really bad idea. Unless, of course, you’re betting that the Browns are going to get bitch-slapped, in which case, go right ahead. *sigh*
Scorpio: People in the museum might pay more attention to your opinions on modern art if you didn’t have vomit caked down the front of your shirt.
Sagittarius: Advice for the newly married Sagittarius as you do your holiday shopping: porn is not an appropriate Christmas gift for your mother-in-law.
Capricorn: No matter how noble your intentions, nobody seeing your “Free Prostate Exam” sign on the sidewalk is going to take you up on it.
Aquarius: This is a great week for hats, Aquarius. In fact, if you have one of those novelty sombreros laying around the house, you should wear it in to the office.
Pisces: You will find you get many more dates when you stop publicly arguing about whether or not Superman could beat She-Hulk in a fight.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Verily, I Am Fucked
So I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m in a program that fast-tracks “professionals” towards a Masters in Education to get them teaching in New York City’s underperforming public schools. You take classes toward that degree while teaching full time. It’s called New York City Teaching Fellows and I hate it. Okay, that’s an overstatement. I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s extremely poorly executed. I think I’m not cut out to be a teacher. But I can’t quit. I need the job. That’s what I hate.
I’m almost done with the program. I’ve got one more week in this semester and then I’ve got one more semester and then I’ll be done. I can have a nice, spiffy degree that I hope I’ll be able to stop using as soon as possible.
I’m not done yet, though. Therein lies my current problem. My enthusiasm for this program ran out about a week after I joined it. I can’t help it. I just don’t find education interesting. The theories bore the shit out of me. The practical applications I don’t care about because they involve being in a classroom, which is someplace I don’t really like to be.
Because of this complete lack of enthusiasm, I’ve had a harder and harder time as the program goes on—especially this semester—getting myself to do the work. I’ve done pretty much none of the required reading; only the bare essentials to scrape by. Before two days ago, I hadn’t picked up the goddamn syllabus in a month. November was an easy month to pay no attention, because we had a lot of classes canceled or skipped for one reason or another.
So we come to the last week of classes and I find myself with (no exaggeration) six papers to write. I have sat on my fat, hairy ass for almost an entire semester, not caring, doing pretty much none of the work. Now I have seven days to write six papers. While working full time. And decorating for Christmas. Yahoo.
I’m so very, very fucked.
I’ll be honest, this isn’t medical school. This isn’t Harvard. I’m in an essentially half-assed program in a tiny college. It’s not the hardest stuff in the world to do. But it isn’t a cake-walk, either.
I write this to explain why I probably won’t be doing much in the way of creative writing this week. Which is the kind of writing I really, really prefer. In some alternative reality, there is a Joe who is writing screenplays for a living and hating it. That Joe desperately wishes he could do something more meaningful, like teach, but he can’t seem to find a way to get there. Asshole.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Aries: Jumping on the athletes-on-steroids bandwagon is not a good idea for you, Aries. First of all, the health risks are just too great. Second, if the officials of the National Scrabble Association get wind of it, you could wind up off the tour.
Taurus: You are not the reincarnation of Bing Crosby. In your only previous life, you were a dumpy lady from Dubuque with swollen feet and chronic halitosis. So stop singing.
Gemini: Your search for love kicks into high gear this week, Gemini. Unfortunately, for you that just means you’re renewing your subscriptions to Juggs and MILF Monthly.
Cancer: You can put it on your Amazon wish list, your Pottery Barn registry and in your letter to Santa, but nobody is actually going to get you Donald Rumsfeld’s thumbs for Christmas, Cancer. Maybe next year.
Leo: Try the penne.
Virgo: You’re beautiful and talented and fabulously wealthy, Virgo. Sorry to say, you’re also fictional. And you’re being played by Melanie Griffith in the movie version.
Libra: Household matters come to the forefront this week. Like the age-old problem of how to get billy goat semen out of your carpet after your Blood Rite to Summon Xhimlat the Undying One. Might I suggest club soda?
Scorpio: You need to examine your career plans, Scorpio. Grave robbing is not a job you want to just dive right into. Consider doing an apprenticeship first.
Sagittarius: Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie house is unethical. Yelling, “My god, Mickey Rourke is hot!” is merely ill-advised. I mean, have you seen him lately?
Capricorn: Weight concerns play a big part in your week, Capricorn. So does Ben & Jerry’s. Lots and lots of Ben & Jerry’s.
Aquarius: Stem cell research, Aquarius, has nothing to do with what’s left over after you’ve removed all the buds and seeds. Put the bong down for awhile and go outside.
Pisces: Yes, Pisces, it was really cool that you found a twenty dollar bill. But it happened three years ago and it’s time for you to stop telling the story.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The Annual Christmas Newsletter
Christmas Greetings to all from the Wacks!
My goodness, such a busy year for everyone in this household. And now we find ourselves coming together again to celebrate Christmas and take a look back on the year and all it held for us and those we hold dear. We invite you to look with us.
Joe Jr. is finishing up his third year at the University of Colorado. This tall, handsome musical-theatre major has found a novel way to help Mom and Dad out with his tuition. He’s hustling in Boulder on the weekends! While the Wife and I are worried about how often he runs into “rough trade,” we’re just as proud as can be at his ingenuity. And it’s paying off. Joe Jr.’s all-albino production of Mame was the smash hit of the student works festival and was lauded by theatre critics and the freakishly pale alike. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this is one part-time man-whore who’s gonna be taking Broadway by storm in a few years, one way or another.
Meanwhile, the lovely Miss Jr., always the opinionated little gal, has formed her very own cadre of skinheads which operates out of our garage. You’ll pardon this proud papa if he says that very few young ladies can pull off the skinhead look and maintain their stunning good looks, but Miss Jr. sure can. And she seems to have inherited her mother’s ability to argue. At last week’s rally, she really wowed the crowd with her screed on “The Liberal Conspiracy.” I don’t know where she gets some of her wackier ideas. Probably from her mom’s side. (Did I say that? Whoops!)
Our youngest child, little Flaubert has entered the sixth grade. Can you believe it? It seems like yesterday he was getting the dickens knocked out of him in kindergarten. His run for student body president was, alas, unsuccessful, despite the both-end-candle-burning his mother did preparing all those campaign posters and t-shirts and bumper stickers. Personally, I think it was because they stuck with Miss’s “Vote for Me Because I’m Your Intellectual Superior” slogan instead of my catchier “Flaubert Wack: A Name You Can Trust, Even if You Can’t Pronounce It Because You’re Intellectually Inferior.” Oh well, there’s always next year.
Speaking of next year, we’re all really looking forward to this coming March, when the Wife’s new line of sport fishing gear for ladies, Trout and About is scheduled to hit stores. I have to tell you, our buttons are bursting with pride at the way Mom has hustled (in a completely different way than Joe, Jr., mind you) to get this line out. Now, dozens of women around America who love to fish won’t have to feel so dowdy. It takes a woman of imagination to design clothes equally suitable for either a muddy river full of squirming cat-fish or a Broadway opening! Quite a gal, our Wife.
As for myself, I’m finding fun new ways to prevent bed sores as I spend my record-breaking eighth year in the sack! [record not recognized/endorsed by Guinness and is based on figures for non-catatonic bed-bound people only.] Who knew that, when I told the Wife I didn’t feel like getting up, I still wouldn’t be up eight years later? Time has really flown since I got that bed pan, let me tell you. And fat! Whoaa, Nelly. I’m happy to say that there is now four hundred and seventy-nine pounds of me to love. Sure, it’s meant saying goodbye to my genitals, but I feel more rested than ever. Oh! Did I forget to mention that I found Christ? He was hiding in one of my fat rolls. Kidding! He was hiding in the heart of several people who visit with shut-ins like myself, and boy am I glad he came.
Well, that’s what’s happening in our neck of the woods. If we cared what you were doing, we’d call. Happy, happy holidays. And may our Lord Jesus wash away your wretched sinfulness, you vile, vile person.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Shitty Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks...
It's Christmas time in New York City, which is truly magical. The windows of every department store are done up in high holiday style. Colored lights are everywhere, from hanging over 125th Street to the top of the Empire State Building to lamp posts in Battery Park. The street musicians are playing Christmas carols on instruments from saxophones to steel drums. There's really no place quite like New York to experience such a wide variety of Christmas culture at once. I love it.
Unfortunately, so do a whole huge shitload of out-of-towners. The longer you live here, the stronger your contempt for tourists. This isn't to say that you aren't nice to them when they're lost. This doesn't mean that you spit on them as they amble past. This doesn't mean that you fail to appreciate what they do for the economy of the city. It simply means that you seethe. Christmas time is seething time for many New Yorkers.
Because Christmas is the time when tourists make it more difficult for you to do what you've got to do. Want to stop by Rockefeller Plaza on a Sunday evening to take a look at the tree? Good luck, schmucko, it's packed thigh-to-thigh with people in from Jersey or Indiana or wherever who saw the Christmas-tacular tree-lighting special with Al Roker, Clay Aken and twenty other mediocrities and now want to see the spot they saw on TV. It was a mosh pit last night. My wife and I walked as briskly as we could down the street, glanced for ten seconds at the tree and kept right on walking.
Saks Fifth Avenue had some really neat Christmas windows. They also had a long line you had to wait in to walk by them. Let me repeat that for clarity: You had to wait in a line to walk by some windows. You didn't get anything for waiting in the line. Nobody gave you cocoa or a handjob in addition to your window viewing. You just had to wait in line to walk thirty yards down the sidewalk.
In fact, all of Fifth Avenue is gripped by this kind of insanity. God help me, last year I had to make a couple of purchases in the American Girls store on Fifth. I would sooner remove my own kidneys with two toothpicks and a crazy straw than go through that again. I was packed in like an illegal immigrant in a cargo container with upper middle class families all dressed up to have tea with their dollies and buy the latest mass-produced doll clothes and all of the ten thousand American Girls product lines that go with their particular doll. When a line of dolls starts becoming a lifestyle choice, you've got problems. The store is huge, with a "doll hospital" and an "American Girls Theater" and, for all I know, a "re-education center" where girls who feel they've outgrown the dolls are sent for partial lobotomies.
Now, I normally avoid Times Square whenever I can, largely because that's where you can pretty much be guaranteed at all times to be slowed to a crawl by all the gawking tourists who stop to admire the spray paint artists working their magic or to pause at the tables and/or blankets selling knock-off Louis Vuitton bags. Knowing that this crowd is always there, one can prepare oneself for those times when crossing through Times Square is necessary. You can spot the New Yorkers in Times Square. We're the ones impatiently weaving our way through the crowded sidewalks or giving up and just walking in the street.
The problem with Christmas is that the whole damn city becomes Times Square. You can't avoid the over-crowded areas because everywhere is overcrowded. We just get completely fed up with the hundreds of people who will stroll slowly, six and seven abreast, down the sidewalk, making it impossible to rush, which is the natural state of many New Yorkers. The Christmas season also brings a far higher percentage of people who will just suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Ask a New Yorker: you just don't do that. You don't stop in the middle of everyone's way. It's akin to pissing in someone's soup. It's just rude and you don't do it.
Which is why New Yorkers get surly this time of year. The tourists come in, the city gets crowded, it makes it harder for us to go about our lives. So we complain, often in the face of the offending out-of-towner. This is why New Yorkers have such a reputation for rudeness and surliness in the rest of the country. We're actually very nice people, folks. But if you stop us from going where we want to go or prevent us from going there as quickly as we want, you're going to hear some cursing.
My suggestion, then, for Christmas visitors to the city, would be that, every time you hear a New Yorker yelling "Get the fuck out of my fucking way you goddamn fucking retard!" you should interpret it to mean, "Holiday greetings, friend. My apologies, but I'm late for dinner and need to get by." And then you should smile and get the fuck out of the way.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
It's an Okay Movie
I just watched It's a Wonderful Life. Truly one of my all-time favorites and very, very good for anyone who wants to feel a little better about what a piss-poor job they've done of pursuing their goals in life. (Maybe not as effective if they also have no friends or family and never saved anybody's life, but nothing works for everybody.) This year, though, I tried watching it with a new set of eyes to see if I could notice anything new, with the specific intention of writing about it. That means that I couldn't be sloppy drunk; I couldn't skip that nauseating part with fucking Zuzu and I had to take notes. Here's what I got:
Despite all of these flaws, I still love this movie. I will say, though, that the idea that an angel gets his wings every time a bell rings makes me think that the whole process must be a little too easy.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Tommy Thompson quit yesterday. Not to read too much into all these departures prefacing Bush’s second term, but the phrase “sinking ship” comes to mind. It’s too damn bad the American people booked passage.
I know, I know. That’s all liberal bullshit. There are major shake-ups and departures before any administration heads into its second four years. Blah blah blah. Still…
It is, at the very least, absolutely frightening that Bush is losing all these people and retaining fucking Rumsfeld. As the Red Cross tells the world how truly deplorable our treatment of prisoners is at the base on Guantanamo, Bush is telling the world what a great job he thinks the guy in responsible for that place is doing. The man should truly just wear a t-shirt that says “Fuck the World”, ‘cause that’s the message he sends loud and clear all the time.
Just look at the timely manner in which he thanked our Canadian neighbors for their help and support on September 11th. The man needs to read some Emily Post. I admit, I’m not exactly always prompt with the Thank You cards, but three years? In my family, you’d be written out of the will. (I’m just kidding. Thanks to what Bush has done to the economy, my family is far too poor to leave any sort of inheritance behind.)
Bush isn’t the only one sending bad messages to the world, though. Mr. Thompson decided he’d leave office by helping out the terrorists. During his resignation, he talked about the American food supply and how easy it would be to kill us by using it. He said, “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do. We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that.”
Thompson then went on to say, “Oh! Oh, y’know what I’ve always thought would be a really great way to attack us? If I was going to do it, I’d kidnap Mel Gibson, then have one of my terrorists all plastic-surgeried to look just like him. Then I’d infect him with, like Ebola or a Superflu, then I’d arrange a trip to the White House and infect Bush and the entire cabinet. That would be wicked cool.”
Reporters attempted to move on to other topics, but Thompson kept on talking. “Or, or—wait!—or you could kidnap Jenna or Barbara and then, like, hypnotize them or do some kind of Manchurian Candidate shit to them so when they get around their father again…Yaah! Yahh! Yaah!” With this, Thompson began slashing the air with an invisible knife, ala Norman Bates.
Aides interrupted Thompson at that point, hurrying him off stage as Bush took the podium and said, “Yeah. It’s a shame Tommy can’t stick around for the second term.”
Friday, December 03, 2004
Item! A worker in the hospital where Hollywood Superstar Julia Roberts gave birth reports that La Julia actually gave birth to triplets. Unlike Phinnaeus and Hazel, though, the third baby was born with green scales and a tail! Our OBGYN-sider reports that Mr. Roberts Danny Moder vomited upon seeing the less-than-aesthetically pleasing star-spawn and immediately ordered it shipped off to an asylum, where we assume it will live a miserable childhood and adolescence before breaking free to seek revenge. What a tangled web we weave, Julia, when first we try to get rid of the deformed kid!
Item! Plump but pretty John Travolta has left his beloved church of Scientology to form a new sect that worships Kentucky Fried Chicken. The former Sweathog has allegedly purchased a warehouse in Baltimore for the first temple, where church-goers can take healing coleslaw baths, consecrate their genitals with honeyed biscuits and sacrifice virgins who've been coated in the colonel's patented Original Recipe mix. I can't wait for the High Holy Days!
Blind Item! A former boy-band singer-turned white-bread hip-hop sensation has reportedly been spotted at a well-known gay bar in Des Moines. And his name is Justin Timberlake. Wait, that wasn't blind, was it? Oh shit.
Item! Santa is layin' down the law. North Pole insiders say that, this year, Santa is refusing to deliver any packages to children of parents who voted Republican in the presidential election. One elf quotes Father Christmas as saying, "Four more years of that fuckwad? To hell with that! They're getting reindeer shit!" The unhappy children about to receive Donner Dung in their stockings should try to talk their red state 'rents into voting for a Democratic congress in '06.
Item! A Russian Circus has apparently become lost in Paris Hilton.
Item! Beloved screen legend Tom Hanks apparently enjoyed his experience working on The Polar Express so much that he's decided to have his brain removed from his body and digitized so that he can live forever in cyberspace. Spokesmen for the actor declined to say if the movie's extreme sucking has had any influence on his decision.
Item! Former child star Danny Bonaduce has reportedly opened up a Humiliate Me for Money booth in Times Square. For fifty bucks, tourists and passers-by can hit, spit on or throw feces at the wayward Partridge. Asked why he chose to go this route with his career, the lovable carrot-top pointed out that it had more integrity than his short-lived View-rip-off talk show with Dick Clark and the kid from Saved by the Bell and was less work than coming up with topics for his radio show. Best of luck Danny! I know I'll be there to blow wads of snot at you!
Item! President Bush proved his intelligence this week by completing the TV Guide crossword puzzle in under twelve hours. White House staffers say he had to ask Secretary of State-designee Condoleeza Rice for help on a question involving '80s sitcom ALF, but otherwise did it all by himself like a big boy. Congratulations, sir. That Mensa membership is right around the corner.
Item! Brussel sprouts to make a huge comeback in the New Year. A spokesman for the National Brussel Sprout Board has issued a press statement promising to "...unleash unimaginable destruction upon the people of the United States if they don't start eating brussel sprouts." Better get out those recipe books, folks.
Item! A grumpy old man in New York whose wife is in Philadelphia bought some beer tonight!
Item! Robin Williams, apparently looking to beef up his dramatic acting credentials, has signed on to play Elian Gonzalez in Miramax's 2005 release, The Elian Gonzalez Story. When asked for comment on this, director Chris Columbus said, "I think you're going to be surprised at how Mork is able to make you believe that he's a nine-year-old Cuban boy. You will be moved. Oh so moved." I'm logging on to Fandango for my ticket right now!
That's all for today's Hollywood Hairshirt. Until next time, keep fucking the stars!
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Lonely Old Man
I am so fucking lame.
There are, I know, many married men who, when their wives are out of town, take it as an opportunity to go nuts. Staying out til 2 AM every night! Drinking like a fucking fish with their buddies! Hookers! Hookers! Hookers! Porn! Porn! Porn!
Time alone, for these men, is a period of reclamation; of finding anew their old, undomesticated self. As they once reveled in the novelty of living with a woman and “played house” early in their cohabitation, so do they now, without that woman, “play bachelor.” A wild, hedonistic free-for-all.
My wife is in Philadelphia this week. What am I doing?
Not much. Laundry. Peeing with the bathroom door open (but still putting the seat back down). Watching the Band of Brothers DVDs, because my wife doesn’t like war movies and I want to get them all out of the way before she gets back.
It’s…really, it’s pathetic. Am I taking advantage of this freedom to be naughty? Am I smoking cigarettes? Am I breaking my vegetarian diet and eating forbidden shrimp? Am I having even one lousy beer? Nope. I’m too lame. Too much a creature of habit.
I miss my wife and wish she was here.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Aries: The first step is admitting that you have a problem, Aries, so repeat after me: “I am Patrick Swayze’s stalker, not his friend. I am Patrick Swayze’s stalker, not his friend.” [Repeat as necessary.]
Taurus: Pregnant taureans who are thinking of naming their unborn daughters Millicent should truly fucking reexamine their options.
Gemini: The fact that the smell of your kitchen sponge is stronger than the smell of the food goes a little way toward explaining why you're still single, Gemini.
Cancer: Here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spoons. Hoping to find we’re two of a kind, making a go, making it grow. Together, we’re gonna find our way. Together, taking the time each day to learn all about those things you just can’t buy. Two silver spoons together, you and I.
Leo: Some people look good in spandex, Leo. Others need to take off a couple hundred pounds before they wear it in public. Guess which category you belong in.
Virgo: The odds against you filling one of Bush’s vacant cabinet positions would be greatly decreased if you didn’t have that penchant for public urination.
Libra: You seriously need to find the courage to admit to yourself that “night manager of an adult bookstore” is not your secret identity. It’s your only identity.
Scorpio: Your training schedule for the Beijing Olympics is thrown way off track when you realize, first, that you’re hopelessly out of shape and, second, Free-Style Phlegm Hurling is never going to be an Olympic sport.
Sagittarius: Just because you can stick an entire wheel of Gouda in your mouth doesn’t mean that you should. This is especially true on first dates.
Capricorn: Dude, trim your toenails.
Aquarius: You’re relieved to be giving up your network anchor job after twenty-two years, but mostly you’re just happy that you can finally tell the world that you nailed Jane Pauley in your Today Show dressing room in ’79.
Pisces: While there is no need for you to be ashamed of your back hair, there’s also no reason for you to braid it into cornrows.