Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Monday, October 31, 2005
Judge Not, Lest Ye Be a Judge Yeself
Wow! Who'd'a thunk it? When I went to bed last night, all I could think about was the indictment of Scooter Libby and how the heck Smilin' George W. was going to deal with it. But when I woke up this morning, it was like someone had pulled the plug and drained all that negativity from my noodle, and all I could think about was how excited I was about a new nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor!
It's just fah-reaky how that timing worked out.
How awesome for the president that he just happened to find the perfect guy for the job right when things were looking so bleak. Truly, truly just a happy coincidence. I, for one, will be focusing all of my energies on thinking about all the wonderful new rulings we can expect from the New and Improved Supreme Court after the Democrats completely fail to do anything to stop Alito's confirmation.
By the way, I just want to stand up right here and now and say that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Bush actually thought he was nominating a Latino to the court "...cause 'Alito' sounds kinda Messican."
And anyway, first, the nominee is going to have to go through the awkward gettin' to know you period with party leaders, senators and with the American people. Toward that end, Hairshirt once again leaves all other media in the dust and brings you the inside scoop on Sam Alito. We had our contact in the White House slip Judge Alito a copy of the Hairshirt Questionnaire.
Name: Samuel Alito
Nicknames: Sam the Clam; Scalito; Mr. Juicypants (used by Mrs. Alito, mostly); Conservalito; Mr. Distracto.
Hobbies: competitive Parcheesi; erotic origami; restricting a woman's control over her own body.
Favorite Song: Funkytown.
Last Good Book Read: Don't remember, but I do know I burned it right after.
Pet Peeve: Idiots who suggest that the Framers of the Constitution didn't have a handle on issues we face today, like taxing internet sales. It's all in there, people.
If I Could Be Anybody in the World I'd Be...: The guy whose job is to taste test Clark Bars. I like Clark Bars.
I Have Never...: Gotten a hummer under the bench while trying a case. Unlike certain other potential nominees who the president didn't select.
Turn-Ons: Gavels; light spanking; Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Turn-Offs: Separation of church and state; filibusters.
Someday I'd Like to...: Live in a country that's more like it was before all those stupid civil rights laws were passed.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Big, Big News
My God. This is huge, huge news. This is news that can't help but rock Washington, D.C., as well as the rest of the country, right to its very core.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Power to the People! Woo-Hoo!
Yeah! Take that George W. Bush! Your pathetic crony nominee is gone, man! We showed you! In your compassionately conservative face, beeyotch!
We rallied the troops, man. We showed America what an unqualified nitwit you put up for the court and the left rose up as one and smote her ass. Yeah! The left and a whole bunch of really, really conservative people worked to undermine the nomination. All right! Yeah! We, uh...we pressured your nominee to withdraw because she wouldn't tell us anything about herself. Ha! Yeah, you piddle all over your boots when evangelicals all over the place let it be known how pissed off they were. Woo.
Let's see here: We don't really know where Miers stood on abortion, gay marriage, treatment of foreign detainees or much of anything else, other than that she thought Bush was the Best Governor of All Time. Now we won't have senate confirmation hearings at which we might find some of this shit out. And Bush is probably going to cave in to his base and nominate someone who everyone knows will make the right to choose an issue that the states can deal with however they want. So...yay?
Shit. It's not even like we can pat Democrats on the back for finally standing up to the president and the congressional majority. They just sat on their asses and played pinochle while this whole thing worked itself out. I guess, then, that's there's not really a whole lot we can celebrate here.
Oh! Oh! But we can certainly get all worked up and jubilant about the indictments that are almost certainly going to be coming out against Karl Rove, "Scooter" Libby and other assorted West Wing scumbags! Yeah! Take that, inner circle cabal! Thwack! Right in your smugly faces! Yeeeeah!
Yeah! And, and so now those reporters are going to think twice before they try to protect their evil little sources! Yeah! Uh...yeah. Fuck.
Is this cool because it's fucking Karl Rove? Or is it shitty because it threatens first amendment rights and could potentially prevent whistleblowers from leaking stuff in the future that the public really needs leaked? Goddammit. Fucking grey areas.
Well, I guess we can at least all agree that Cheney's an asshole, right? Cool. Yeah! You're an asshole, Cheney! All right! Dick!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Hairshirt Halloween Horror-scope
Aries: Nobody is going to be impressed by your costume. Going as Guy With His Dick Out really just shows a lack of effort.
Taurus: You find your popularity with neighborhood children to be in serious jeopardy when you run out of Snickers after only an hour and are forced to give Trick or Treaters a handful of scrambled eggs apiece.
Gemini: There are people who can pull off a skin-tight spandex Spider-Man outfit and there are those who look like what might happen if Spidey decided to smuggle around eighty pounds of pudding in his costume. Guess which one you are.
Cancer: Be careful how much you drink at the Halloween party this weekend. Remember: the rental shop is going to charge extra if they have to clean puke out of the Darth Vader mask.
Leo: Is anybody really going to get it when you show up dressed as ennui?
Virgo: You're in for a slightly rude awakening when you discover that the guy you were dancing with in the Klan outfit didn't realize it was a costume party.
Libra: You are once again too scared of goblins to go out on Halloween. Dude, you really need to get over this whole goblin thing.
Scorpio: Of all of the sexy costumes you could have picked from, "Slutty Accountant" was probably the poorest choice.
Sagittarius: This year, you only get two minutes into your annual spiel about how demeaning it is to you and your fellow Wiccans to see children running around in pointy hats with warts on their nose before someone tells you to shut the fuck up. Fortunately, there are caramel apples to cheer you up.
Capricorn: A thirty-five year old man dressed in an elaborate Harry Potter costume is sad. Not "cool", just sad.
Aquarius: The best way to make sure that Halloween vandals don't toilet paper your house is to get the jump on them and toilet paper you house yourself before they get a chance. Stops 'em every time.
Pisces: The Halloween party you throw for your six-year-old will be a great success. Until a horrific apple-bobbing mishap that will leave everyone in attendance scarred for life.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The Fall Fund Drive
Good day and welcome to Hairshirt's Fall Fund Drive. We're taking a few minutes out of our normal 5.4 paragraphs of hilarity to appeal to you, the reader, to do your part to keep Hairshirt coming to you on a regular basis.
Think for a minute how much you spend on your cable bill every month. Probably thousands of dollars, right? And why? Because you can't get enough Ashlee Simpson. We at Hairshirt don't fault you for this. We're right there with you, in fact. We can't get enough mediocre frauds either. The point is, you put a certain value on getting your AshSimp fix and you pay it happily. You do this in spite of the fact that you're not rolling in dough. Truth be told, you have to hock your plasma just to have enough money for your nightly twelve pack of Genesee Cream Ale. Still, you find enough change in your ass crack to keep the cable turned on.
All we're asking you to do is to dig a little deeper in that ass crack and find a little money to show your support for mopey bloggers. Other sites like Salon, Variety and HotBelgianLesbians.com make you pay for your information and entertainment. If you don't "show them the money"--to borrow a quote I heard in a Carrot Top routine from 2002--then you don't get to read what they have to say. Here at Hairshirt, we provide you the news and laughter you need and we do it out of our own pockets.
Where else on the web can you go to find out that there was a hurricane in Florida this past weekend? What other site is not only going to tell you that the number of Americans killed in Iraq has surpassed 2000, but also quip that the lucky family of the 2000th victim won an all-expenses-paid trip for four to Disney World, courtesy of the Defense Department? Is there another blogger out there who would suggest that we all mark the death of Rosa Parks by going out in the street right now and pissing on a bus? I think not.
So, today, we need you to step up and shoulder your portion of the responsibility for keeping this wonderful community resource going. For just pennies a day, you can pay for a month's worth of stories about my dogs crapping on the carpets. For the price of the prostitute you frequent thrice monthly, you can ensure the continuation of the Hairshirt Horoscope. Take a second and just ask yourself what it's worth to you to read about what turned up in my vomit.
And now's the time to pledge. Right now, we're having a dollar for dollar matching pledge from our trustee Gerald McRaney. That's right, the former star of Simon & Simon has pledged for the next hour to match your contributions dollar for dollar. That means, right now, your $100 dollar donation is worth $200. Your $1500 dollar donation is worth $3000. Your $.10 donation is still worth fucking squat, so don't bother.
But you're not just getting quality comedy for your money. We've got lovely gifts at every donation level. For a $50 pledge, you will receive a tote bag. It doesn't say "Hairshirt" on it or anything, but I've got a lot of tote bags sitting around and I'd be happy to get rid of one or two of 'em. For a $100 donation, you get the special Hairshirt Mix CD. The Hairshirt Mix is a collection of the most depressing music around, perfect for those evenings when you're this close to suicide, but are lacking that extra something to push you over the edge. For $1000, I'll tattoo your name on my ass.
Remember, the bulk of our support comes from you, the reader. You think we can count on the government to keep us afloat? Ha! The only thing those bozos are good for is to nominate mediocre cronies to the Supreme Court. No, without money from readers like you, we're fucked. So very, very fucked.
So now's the time, people. Now's the time to do your part. If you don't contribute, you are truly lower than whale shit. If you do contribute, we're fairly sure you are guaranteed a place in heaven at the right hand of the almighty. And seventy brown-eyed virgins. Which, we admit, might not be that great an incentive for the ladies, as who wants to sleep with seventy guys who couldn't find a vagina with five days and a Thomas Guide?
Anyway, give us your dough.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Straight from the Right Hand of God...Guest Blogger Jesus Christ
Hey gang. It's Christ again, back down to vent my spleen about a thing or two that's going on here on Earth. Now the last time I wrote something for Hairshirt, I got a bunch of people complaining that I was out of touch, that I sat in Heaven all the time, talking with the angels and so what right do I have criticizing people who live down here and blah blah blah.
You know what I've got to say to that? Kiss my holy ass. What, do you think we're retarded in heaven, that we can't hook up a simple fucking cable box? I watch The News Hour every goddamn night, I TiVo the Sunday morning talk shows on all three networks, plus I have a subscription to Guardian U.K., so I like to think I'm a fairly well-informed Messiah, thank you very much.
And as far as not understanding what it's like to be an ordinary human, do I need to remind you that I popped out of a birth canal same as any of you? Yeah, I'm the Son of God, but I had a nagging mom like everybody else. I was just as confused when I started sprouting pubes as any other thirteen year old. So I think I have just as much right to vent as the next guy. Even more, considering that I'm the one who died for your fucking sins.
I've just got to ask what on earth I ever did to deserve what's going on with me right now.
See, I've had a lot of people write a whole lot about me over the years. Probably, I've been the subjects of more books than anybody else in the history of the planet (excluding the Kennedys). I've had brilliant treatises on the impact of my life on mankind, I've had nearly-illiterate tracts where I send people to eternal damnation because they played with themselves. None of it's ever really bothered me.
Then I find out that fucking Anne Rice has decided she's going to spend the rest of her life writing nothing but first-person accounts of my life. What the fuck is up with that? Apparently, the Queen of the Damned Bad Writers had some health problems awhile back and, after renewing her involvement in with the Pope and his crew, decided that she needed to use her "talent" to serve Me. Yeah, this is what I need to really bring my message to the people: lurid, flowery prose. That'll work wonders. Thanks, Anne.
I thought I had it bad with those jackasses behind the Left Behind series. Now this. Anne, do Me and humanity a favor and stick to those soft-core whack-off books you used to--you should pardon the expression--crank out. At least those had a practical purpose. A novel in which you "get inside" my seven year old mind, we do not need.
And hey! While I'm at it, I 'd also like to flip a divine middle finger at all of these pinheads calling for prayer that the hurricanes wipe out abortion clinics. News flash, you mentally deficient douchebags: God doesn't control the weather. I think you're confusing Him with Storm from the X-Men. Next time you get this confused, just remember that the one who can summon the wind is the one played by Halle Berry. God not only doesn't have a giant joystick that aims tornadoes, He's also far too busy inventing delicious new forms of chocolate to give much thought to abortion. Surprise!
All right, I've spent enough time on this. I'm going to go grab a beer with Ben Franklin. Knock off the stupidity, you goofy meatbags.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I'm Afraid I Can't Let You Do That...Joe
Friends, the future is here and it is absolutely terrifying.
My lovely wife surprised me on my birthday last week with a spanking new iPod Nano. You've maybe seen the ads on television, the ones where a couple of disembodied hands play grabby with the wafer-thin musicbox. It looks very playful, very fun.
Looks can be deceiving.
I immediately set about loading music onto the machine, which I'd named the CheesePod, after my favorite dairy product. I put on my out-of-touch, whitebread music collection, starting with the Neko Case album I've been listening to and going through pretty much everything I own. It took me a long, long while to do this, as we've got a five-year-old computer that has all the power of a comatose gerbil, which means I'd have to upload the songs from the CD, download them onto the CheesePod and then erase them from the computer to free up enough memory for the next disc. It was painstaking work, but I held in there and got it done.
When I was finished, I had some four hundred and twenty songs on CheesePod, not a staggering amount by many people's standards, but not too bad. I was happy. I set it to "shuffle" so that I could enjoy the depth and variety of my music selections. I hopped the train to work listening to The Shins. I walked the dogs bouncing down the street to some Stevie Wonder. But I noticed that what I was hearing the most...was They Might Be Giants.
Now, I love They Might Be Giants. I've been a fan since "Don't Let's Start" first showed up on MTV. I wore out two copies of Lincoln and can still sing the whole damn album from memory. I've got no problem listening to as much TMBG as I can get my hands on. But I'd put a whole more on CheesePod than just the Giants. Why was I not hearing Bjork? Where were the three New Pornographer albums I'd put on there? Why had I heard "Wicked Little Critta" twice an hour for every hour I used CheesePod?
It couldn't, I reasoned, be random. If it was random, I'd have a whole lot more variety than what I was hearing. But if it wasn't random, what did that mean? It meant, I discovered, that my CheesePod had developed a crude sentience. The CheesePod was not playing "Birdhouse in Your Soul" over and over at random. It was choosing the songs. Because it liked them. This would not, in and of itself, be a bad thing. Why, it might mean that I would have a little geek-rocker as my constant companion; a tiny, portable chum to entertain me. And this might have been true for awhile.
But the CheesePod didn't just share my taste in music. I came to realize that CheesePod thought...that it was me. It seemed to believe that it was the real Joe and that I was a large hairy copy. It didn't like that. It didn't like that it had to share the world with me. So it set out to kill me.
Oh, it was subtle. It would crank a Ramones song when I was crossing the street, in hopes that I wouldn't hear the oncoming traffic. It would "accidentally" drop a foam earpiece cover off of the subway platform when a train was coming. I would wake up at night to find it staring at me from across the room, it's touch-wheel turned up like a sinister smile. I didn't know what to do. I fear for my life. But I didn't want to lose the music.
My wife, by far the clearer-headed person in our household, took action. While CheesePod was plugged into the computer, she yanked the cord that was feeding it life and energy. Instantly, the songs disappeared. The evil computer chip mind went with them. I could hear CheesePod screaming and vowing revenge.
I'm loading more music on it as I type this. I'm being more careful this time, though. I'm putting on mostly ABBA and Barry Manilow tunes. I figure that if it comes to life again as, say, a Kenny Loggins fan, I can probably kick its ass. You can't be too careful with these things.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Vox Populi My Ass
I've got this thing. I don't know exactly what you'd call it. I don't know the reasons behind it. Maybe it's resentment of success. Maybe it's wariness of hype. Maybe it's some tiny little sliver of nonconformity. Whatever the reason, when something becomes immensely popular without my having been early to jump on the bandwagon, I tend to not want to buy into it.
There're a couple of examples I can site here.
One of the biggest movies of the year has been March of the Penguins. Everyone that I know who's seen it has said it heals cripples. My own wife says that this movie makes her want to undergo a series of extensive operations that will make her a penguin. It's that good. And now I have no desire to see it. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that the Christian Right is trumpeting the movie as a wholesome film that espouses Jeezly values. I guess I just feel that I've read so goddamn much about it that I feel like I've already seen it or something. I don't know.
Maybe this is the same thing that kept me from learning how to ride a bike until I was thirty years old; "Well, if everyone says it's so fucking cool then they can just enjoy their fucking coolness without me." Okay, that's faulty. I'm pretty sure the reason I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was thirty is that I'm a huge whiny coward.
But enough about pissing one's pants.
Books, I think are another area where I just don't like to follow the crowds. I have resisted reading A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius since it was released to reviews which ranked Dave Eggers one notch below Edison and one notch above the inventor of the bendy straw on the Contribution to Society List. There's a copy of it in my house right now, in fact, that my wife picked up. Won't read it. Just like I won't read Everything Is Illuminated or anything that Oprah recommends or the Bible.
Let me make something clear, lest I lead people to the wrong conclusions. I'm not saying that, instead of reading or seeing this stuff, I'm reading Noam Chomsky or seeing nothing but Godard. Truth be told, I'm much more likely to be reading Superman and watching Cliffhanger for the thirtieth time (it's that good).
I guess I just prefer to stumble across something incredible rather than have someone rub it in my face while screeching how it's the most fantastic fucking thing ever and don't I love it. Let's face it, I love the living hell out of lasagna, but I have no desire to be strapped down and have it force-fed to me just because everyone else is eating it.
What I will do is to wait a year or so until the hype has gone away and I can experience this thing on my own without my thoughts on it being influenced by the zeitgeist. Sometimes, I'll wait longer.
For example, I just finished Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. It's fucking awesome. It's as gripping as I've heard and I loved it. So I'm not saying the crowd is always wrong.
They're just too fucking loud.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
When Bush Comes to Shove
President Bush held a news conference today in the White House's Rose Garden. I must say the Rose Garden is looking lovelier under this president than in any time in recent memory. It could, I suppose, have something to do with how well fertilized the garden is, what with all the bullshit that comes out of the Oval Office on a daily basis.
Bush, speaking to the press during a visit from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the problems and scandals plaguing his administration. Asked about what most people see as a buttload of negativity--from record-low approval ratings to controversy over the Harriet Miers nomination to the indictment or pending indictment of Republican bigwigs all over D.C.--Bush said that he's not really paying it all that much attention.
"The American people," the president said, "expect me to do my job. And I'm going to do it."
He referred to the overwhelming tide of bad news about himself and his political allies as "background noise" and stated his intention to ignore it. This brings up the question of exactly what the problem is with the president's hearing. If this, to him, is "background noise", perhaps the man needs to invest in a better hearing aid. Does cocaine damage auditory nerves?
And, as far as America expecting him to do his job, I've gotta say that I, for one, haven't expected him to do his job at any point over the last five years. I've expected him to smirk and stammer and obey the orders of his corporate masters, but never to do anything presidential. And he's never once by God disappointed me.
I hope every person who voted for him last year has ass-warts.
*******************************************On an unrelated note, this story that I came across on Google News raised a question I'm thinking fanboys all over America are probably asking themselves: Is this WWII-era airman frozen in ice actually the real Captain America? If so, why didn't the Avengers find him before some lame-ass fucking hiker?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Aries: Despite your admirable enthusiasm, the world is just not ready for co-ed naked luge.
Taurus: Advice to the Taurean dictator who is indicted for crimes against humanity and dragged before a tribunal: acting petulant and declaring that the court has no sovereignty over you is just so very, very tacky.
Gemini: You will find that you get a lot more second dates when you disabuse yourself of the notion that men are attracted to a gal who can crush a beer can with her butt cheeks.
Cancer: An audition goes exceptionally well for you this week. It doesn't go well enough to land you a job or to impress anybody important, but you do manage not to fart during your monologue.
Leo: You spend a significant portion of the week desperately trying to find out what it means when your mood ring turns plaid.
Virgo: You become so engrossed in what's going on this week on All My Children that you totally forget to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom. Perhaps you should read more.
Libra: Your creative side cries out for attention this week. Just go ahead and drown it in malt liquor like you normally do and it'll shut up eventually.
Scorpio: Don't worry so much about money this week. If you're low on funds, you should look into borrowing from the Mob. They've got stacks of it lying around and they're always looking for new clients.
Sagittarius: The good news is, your house is not haunted; you just have squirrels in your attic. The bad news is that they are zombie squirrels.
Capricorn: If you're going to try to spice up your sex life by using food in the bedroom, remember that not everyone likes lima beans.
Aquarius: Your love life this week is, in the words of the immortal William Shakespeare, "Fuckin' pathetic".
Pisces: Jesus loves you. However, he's not going to loan you any more money until you pay him back the fifty you borrowed last week. I mean, c'mon, man, even the messiah has his limits.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Truly, Truly Special
Now, I don't normally go through a lot of hoopla when I add a link to the side of my blog. 'Cause, let's face it, who really gives a brain-damaged tick's ass what this guy thinks? But, every once in awhile, my Blogroll or Links Section or Pointless Shit Directory or whatever the hell you want to call it is made better by something really special.
Last week, I added a truly wonderful new web-stination over there. It's the site for a little company with a big, big future: Special Productions. "Wait a minute!" I can already hear you yelling at the screen. "I've heard the name Special Productions before! Where in the name of Sam Donaldson's fuck-towel was it?"
Well, I'll tell you. I wrote late in September about the show I've got premiering in both New York and Seattle come December. The Empire State version of the show will produced by the aforementioned (and hereaftermentioned, I should add) Special Productions.
Special Productions is a little group that I formed several years ago here in the city with some friends who, like me, had nothing cool to do on the weekends. Our options, to be frank, were to form either a theater-producing entity or a semi-professional Yahtzee league, as we had just enough cash between us for one of these two modest endeavors. We flipped a coin and bid the timeless dice game a sad adios and we've never looked back since. (Except for the year or so when we didn't produce anything, at which point there may have been some back-looking on the part of some members.)
Why call the company Special Productions, you might ask, if you were still reading this. Well, I'll tell you. Once upon a time, CBS had a little intro to all of their holiday specials. It consisted of the word "SPECIAL" spinning around leaving multi-colored after-images, as if the viewer had dropped some acid before sitting down to an evening's viewings. This was backed by some bongos and other percussive sounds. Finally, some horns come in and "A CBS Special Presentation" flashes on the screen in nice bright letters.
As a kid, this was the most exciting thing in my tiny, tiny world. It meant that they were about to show Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas or any one of a number of other holiday-themed shows I watched year in and year out until I discovered masturbation. In a broader sense, the appearance of this swirling invitation to tune in meant that there was a holiday approaching, and I lived for holidays as a kid. So, to this day, this little intro elicits a Pavlovian excitement in me that I can't shake. When we were trying to think of a name for our company, that's what popped into my head and refused to leave.
So there you have it. Go to the site, check out the excellent work of the mystery web designer who put it together (hint: I'm married to her) and peruse the many photos contained therein (also by that same mystery person who's my spouse). Any time we're putting on a show here in New York or doing one of our frequent command performances for our many fans in the Bush administration (Condi's a huge, huge fan), we'll put all sorts of info on the site.
From all of us at Special Productions, have a "special" day. (Not "special" in the retarded sense, but "special" in the sense that it's part of our name and so I'm cleverly referring back to that.)
Monday, October 17, 2005
Slaw and Order: Edible Intent
Last November, I was appalled--and yet, at the same time, captivated--by a story that was all over the local news for days. A woman was injured in an assault with a deadly turkey. She'd been peacefully driving down the freeway when someone had hurled this bird of mass destruction through her windshield, fracturing her face and causing her to crash her car. "My sweet merciful Christ," I thought. "What is our world coming to when delicious food is being used not to nourish us, but to destroy?" I shook my head in sadness in response to the question I'd asked myself and then I pissed myself off by ignoring my attempt at self-conversation and wondering instead to the refrigerator to grab a beer.
The memory of that horrible time, that time when I lived in fear that someone might commit a vicious turkeying against me, has resurfaced today, as I read in today's New York Times that the teenager who so brutally fooded a fellow human being was sentenced to six months in jail for his heinous crime. Six months. Half a year for an assault that forced the victim to go through round after round of painful reconstructive surgery and to miss months and months of work. The woman apparently asked the court for leniency, saying that she'd actually been very hungry that day and at least she had something to snack on while she waited for paramedics to remove her from the car with the jaws of life.
It got me thinking about other food-related crimes. What punishments are waiting out there for someone who, for example, clubs me on the head with a bag of sauerkraut? Turns out the answer is thirty days incarceration and a $1600 fine. In fact, there are laws to protect us from almost every time of edible assault.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Ode to the Technicolor Yawn
I don't drink a whole lot these days. I suppose it might be considered a sign of maturity or something vaguely along those lines, but I just don't really enjoy being fucked up. I love beer and I generally have a beer or two a few nights a week, but I usually stop there. It's truly rare for me to put any sort of buzz on. One benefit of this is that I haven't puked all that much over the last decade. Which is nice.
I don't like puking. It doesn't taste good.
I used to puke a lot. When I was a kid, I would puke at the drop of a hat. You didn't even really have to drop the hat; you just maybe had to tilt the hat a little bit and up came my lunch. I think nothing made me puke easier than seeing someone else puke. It's a little odd, isn't it? There aren't that many things in the world that you see someone doing and then do automatically yourself. Yawning. But that's about it. Seeing puke, though, used to set me off instantly. I remember once I was eating at an L&K with my aunt and my cousin. I must have been five or six. My cousin wasn't feeling well and she barfed a little bit on the table. I took one look at it, leaned over my plate and filled it to the brim with upchuck. I guess I should be proud that I kept it on the plate.
I was swimming once at the campground my grandparents owned with another cousin of mine when I was maybe eleven. I remember distinctly that my cousin was ahead of me in line on the diving board. After he jumped off, I didn't wait for him to come back up, I just jumped in after him. When my head broke out of the water, the first thing I saw was my cousin spewing forth the thickest vomit I've ever seen. Seriously, it was like he was pushing one of those nut-covered cheese logs out of his mouth. I didn't look at it for more than a couple of seconds, but that was all it took. I emptied my stomach into the lake right then. I remember the two of us desperately swimming backwards, trying to get away from our puke.
I got over this as I became a teenager. Instead of biffing when I saw someone else's old food, I now required a different stimulant, for example, wine coolers.
I vomited a lot when I was in college. This is largely because I was stupid. I was stupid in that way that special kind of "chug tequila from the bottle and then vomit on your shoes in a friend's back seat" kind of way. I remember one time my friend and I went over to the off-campus apartment of a grad student friend of ours. She made us a nice spaghetti dinner and then the three of us went to a theater department party. We stopped off at the liquor store on the way over and I got a bottle of Mogen-David Orange Jubilee. See, at that age, the logic went something along the lines of "Okay. I want something that gets me really fucked up cheaply and doesn't taste too much like booze." I downed the whole bottle over the course of a couple of hours and didn't feel like stopping. As my grad student friend had had enough of her bottle of smurf piss, I kindly offered to finish it off for her. I don't really remember much of the walk home. I know that two of my buddies propped me up between them and I remember falling over a trash can at one point. What really sticks in my head is that the next morning, the garbage can in my dorm room held something interesting. Apparently, the Orange Jubilee had mixed with my dinner and the smurf piss and I had vomited green spaghetti. It was awesome.
All of that kind of thing stopped after I turned twenty-one. I ended that birthday passed out in a chair after having puked on my coat and my pants and the phone. My roommate did his best to clean me up and then didn't speak to me for a week. Not a lot of fun, but it taught me a lesson. I think I've puked maybe three times in the fourteen years since. Which is good, because I don't like to puke.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Slightly Belated Hairshirt Horoscope
Aries: Before you go and criticize a Supreme Court Justice nominee, maybe you need to ask yourself: Have you ever been elected president of the Texas Bar Association? Well? Have you? Didn't think so.
Taurus: Today, you let your desire to finally experience a shoeshine override your common sense, which would have told you that Chuck Taylors don't respond well to shoe polish.
Gemini: This week, you find Christ and are really surprised to find out how short he is. Seriously, the apostles must've been dwarfs or something.
Cancer: You need to keep in mind that the beautiful woman sitting next to you on your flight will probably not find the opportunity to join the Mile High Club sufficient motivation to blow you in a tiny, shaky bathroom.
Leo: Well what are you waiting for? That shopping bag filled with deep-fried Twinkies isn't going to eat itself, y'know.
Virgo: You're going to be very tempted this week to believe the guy who says he thinks you could be a major movie star, but that you first need to buy some headshots from his partner. When this happens, stop for a second and try to think about what kind of agent works out of a Chevette on blocks.
Libra: Happy Birthday, you handsome, handsome bastard. God, you just keep getting better looking every year. By the time you're seventy, you're going to be completely irresistible.
Scorpio: It's okay to ask guests to wipe their feet before they come in. Asking them to hose down their wheelchairs might be taking it a bit too far.
Sagittarius: You find yourself given to sudden and inexplicable crying jags this week. Sadly, it's not PMS. You're just pathetic.
Capricorn: Nobody wants to see your dazzling macrame.
Aquarius: Secretly, you really do want Charles in charge of your days and your nights, as well as your wrongs and your rights.
Pisces: You need to take a look at your theft of office supplies. A box of paper clips here and there, nobody's going to miss. But what exactly are you planning to do with that security guard you swiped last week?
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
My Sincere Apologies
My 35th birthday is tomorrow, so I'm being all kinds of self-indulgent tonight.
I just bought a huge stack of comic books and read them all in one sitting, the geek equivalent of eating an entire pizza. You see, the miniseries Infinite Crisis came out today. It's a huge, huge book in the DC Universe and I've been looking forward to it for almost a year, so it took precedence over writing the horoscopes. I'm a big, big, 35-year-old geek.
There are one or two things I'd like to comment on while I'm typing:
There was, apparently, a guy in China who was keeping six bears in captivity and extracting their bile for commercial sale. This week, the bears killed and ate him. Two things this brings to my mind: First, don't fucking keep bears captive and take their bile for commercial sale. Second, if he took a lot of their bile, did they have trouble digesting him?
The other news item that caught my eye is the finessing of the Vatican's stance on homosexual priests. Instead of the outright ban that they'd been leaning toward, apparently, they're implementing a slightly more nuanced rule. From here on out, they're not taking anybody into the priesthood if they've had butt sex in the last three years; if they go to gay book stores or if they "proudly acknowledge a gay identity". So that's fucking awesome. The Vatican is only going to let in self-hating homosexuals. Right. 'Cause they're the most stable.
Oh, and a quick note on The Amazing Race Family Edition. That overly precious little shit in the Gaghan family has got to go. If he breaks into song or sighs dramatically again, I'm going to put my fucking boot through the set.
'Kay. Well, I've got more geeky shit to do right now. I'll get those horoscopes out tomorrow, 'cause I know that everybody's lives depend on it. Have a nice night, world. Stay dry. Hugs!
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
To Have and Have Kinda: A Jose Amador Mystery
Jose woke up on the cot in his office. Questions raced through his mind like kids in the Soapbox Derby, only with a better paint job. How had he gotten there? What day was it? Why did he have rice pudding in his underwear? He sat up. If he was going to find the answers to these questions, he needed a cup of coffee. Or at least some bourbon in a cup that might have once held coffee.
As he reached for the bottle, Jose saw that he'd bruised his palms badly. Normally, that only happened when the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue came out, but that wasn't due for another few months, which added to his confusion. Then it hit him. It hit him like the smell of old egg salad hits the nostrils. He'd been playing craps last night. In fact, if memory served him--and it usually just sat behind the counter and ignored him, but this time he was waving a twenty at it--he'd been on the biggest hot streak of his life last night. Bigger than the time he'd found a gold watch up a dead wino's ass during the Case of the Constipated Wino.
His memory was fuzzy, like a moldy peach. He'd gone to the casino with his pal Jonesy in an attempt to cheer Jonesy up a bit after he'd had his testicles lopped off in a freak biscuit-making accident. They'd made straight for the craps table and that's where Jose stayed for the rest of the night, except for one and a half trips to the bathroom. Jonesy had come to the table in tears at one point, whining something about losing his life savings and being spat on by a nun, but Jose had been up a grand at that point, so he hadn't really been paying attention.
Jose couldn't have said what happened after that if you'd paid him in leggy blondes. But he was here in his office now and his wallet didn't feel any thousand dollars heavier. Suddenly, his door was flung open and three thugs walked in. To be fair, Jose just assumed they were thugs. They could have been Mormons, except that they hadn't shaved and weren't wearing backpacks. The one with the nose wart piped up.
"Mr. Amador," the thug/Mormon said in a voice not unlike a young Dom DeLuise, "our employer would like to see you."
Jose sipped his bourbon. "Yeah? Well, I'd like to see another Waltons reunion movie, but that ain't necessarily gonna happen either."
The thug patted a lump in his pocket that was either a gun or a gun-shaped sandwich. Jose was hungry, so he was hoping for the latter. "I don't think I've made myself clear, Mr. Amador. I should apologize." That cut it. He was Mormon. "I'm not asking if you'd like to see him. I'm telling you that you're going to." With that, the Mormon nodded to his two buddies, who looked about as friendly as a PMSing dominatrix.
"Well," Jose said, standing up, "you gentlemen have me outnumbered. Which is a shock, because I pride myself on my numbers."
Jose decided that fighting might not be the best idea right now. He'd just completed his collection of commemorative Princess Diana plates and he'd hate to see them broken. So he'd go with the Mormons. For now.
Happy Birthday, Beigey!
Monday, October 10, 2005
Something That Sucks
My wife and I have been living for months now without a vacuum. Our old one was about a decade old and had been bought for us when we were first living together by my sister, who showed up for a visit and was disgusted by the cat hair on our carpets. It was a good vacuum; hearty and loyal, but even strong vacuums succumb to the ravages of time and so, one day this summer, the ol' gal just stopped sucking.
Vacuum cleaners are not, all things considered, one of the most expensive appliances out there. You can get a cheapie for under fifty bucks and it'll take care of most normal dirt happenings. The problem is, we don't live in a normal dirt household. We live with a dog who sheds enough fur on a weekly basis to knit sweaters for everyone displaced by hurricane Katrina. The hair forms a sort of protective coating over the dirt and stops most vacuums from picking up any debris, unless you dig under the fur-field and hand-feed it to the Hoover.
There's a brand of vacuums out there called Dyson. Maybe you've seen the commercials, in which a British guy laments the loss of suction that most vacuums undergo and gets all weepy about the bagless model he invented. Frankly, the commercials make me want to toss a bag of vomit on every British person I see, but I've seen the machines in action and they actually do a really nice job. They also cost more than your average yacht. Seeing as how my wife and I are slaving under the weight of football-field-size law school loans, a vacuum cleaner strong enough to de-fur our living space seemed out of our reach. With a heavy sigh, I resigned myself to spending two hours on my hands and knees, rubbing the hair out of the carpet whenever we had company coming.
And then I did some checking online and found that Hoover makes a sort of Dyson knock-off called the Fusion Cyclonic. It's a bagless that operates on the same principles as the Dyson, which led us to believe it should also be effective at ridding our rugs of that extra layer of follicles. Also, it came in at a reasonable $150; not the cheapest vacuum, but not one that would require us to make thrice-weekly trips to the Plasma Buyer. The only problem with this miracle machine was that Hoover doesn't sell these through most of their normal retail vendors. They sell them only...wait for it...through WalMart.
Now, I'm a pro-union, patriotic, corporation-hating American and I'd sooner shove a watermelon sideways up my ass than shop at WalMart. (Thankfully, there are very few situations in which one is faced with the choice between shopping at WalMart and shoving a watermelon up one's ass.) But there was enough stray bits of kitty litter strewn about our hallway for us to compromise ourselves morally and we bit the bullet.
Actually, we couldn't find the bullet to bite for awhile. See, there are no WalMarts in New York, a fact of which I've always had great pride. There is one, though, not that far from where my parents live. So, when we were in Ohio this summer, we stopped off at the WalMart on our way out of town and checked it out. And they had it. It was right there on the shelf. Trouble was, it was in a huge box and we have a tiny car which, at that point, was carrying two dogs and our luggage. We toyed with the idea of strapping our Shepherd-mix to the roof, but his eyes get dried out so easily that we reconsidered.
To make a long story somewhat short, we ended up ordering it online. After some hassle dealing with UPS--a company that actually has Fuck the Little Guy in its corporate mission statement--we got the cleaner. It works. Oh, how it works. It picks up dirt like nobody's business. It sucks up kitty litter like Lady and the Tramp sucked up spaghetti. It even rids our carpet of dog hair.
Only problem is that I have to clean it out in between every use, because it's picking up a Marge Simpson wig's worth of dog hair every time I turn it on. So right now, I'm typing this up instead of dealing with that. See: Blogging is good for something.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Menu at Work
I picked up the November issue of Bon Appetit the other day. I used to have a subscription, but, as I'm a vegetarian, I really didn't have much practical use for a magazine that regularly features recipes like Braised Beef Shoulder in Pork Loin Sauce Served on a Bed of Veal Faces. Neither, I should point out, am I a huge fan of Vegetarian Times, in which the recipes all seem designed to bitch-slap your stomach around and remind it that there's no fucking meat in this food; recipes along the lines of Bulghar-Stuffed Chick Peas, which all taste like wheat germ left over from your uncle's stint on a commune in 1975. I'm really more of a fan of Cooking Light, although I'm reminded constantly that I'm not the target audience, what with the focus on articles like "25 Natural Cures for Yeast Infections".
No matter what I think of these magazines, though, I always make sure I pick up the Thanksgiving issues. Not so much because I'm looking for innovative new things to do with candied yams; I just love the holiday and love looking at the food. I may not be karmically or morally allowed to eat turkey any more, but I can drool over pictures of models carving one up.
Having looked at what the Thanksgiving issues of all these magazines have to offer, I've put together what I think is the ultimate crowd-pleasing Turkey Day menu. There's a little something for everyone here, and I'm thinking people all across America are going to be having a slightly better holiday because of the care and love that I've put into planning everyone's meal for them. Enjoy!
Friday, October 07, 2005
Wack to Nobel Committee: Lick My Ass
Mohammed ElBaradei? What the fuck? Yet again, I get passed over without so much as a chuck on the shoulder and they give the fucking Peace Prize to Mohammed ElBaradei?
"Ooo! I run the International Atomic Energy Agency! I use diplomacy to get countries to enter into dialogue about nuclear arms reduction! Neener neener neener!" Lick my ass!
So once more, the Nobel committee completely fails to appreciate how hard it is to teach sixth graders the difference between upstage and downstage without smacking the living shit out of the little wiseasses. Thanks, you goat-ball-gargling Swedish ingrates!
I guess picking up after my dogs doesn't earn me any points either. Fine. From now on, I'm boxing my canine pals' leavings and shipping them straight to Stockholm and you can deal with it.
And what about the messages of hope and love that I send out almost every day on my blog? Huh? Do you have any idea how many millions of people would be wondering the streets in a lethally violent fog of rage if they hadn't taken a minute to chuckle at my droll witticisms? Do you have the slightest appreciation for how many lives I've saved by making the world a happier place? Apparently not.
I suppose that, as far as the Nobel people are concerned, I should just go out and stomp on some kittens, 'cause it's not like they show the slightest little appreciation for all I've done for my fellow man. Between baking delicious pies and taking out my recycling every fucking week, I have striven all my life to improve the conditions of those around me.
Y'know, I could run an internationally recognized atomic regulatory agency. I could get backing from the U.N. to go into hotspots around the globe and inspect their nuclear facilities for traces of bomb-making material. I just don't think that sort of flashy showing off is called for. Neither does anybody with a modicum of decor. So fuck you, "Mohammed", if that is your real name. You just go right ahead and stand up to the U.S. government and try to prevent hasty military action that actually ups the threat of nuclear war. Go ahead.
Me, though, I'm going to do things the old-fashioned way, one dog turd-filled sack at a time.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Aries: While most in the artistic community are saddened this week by the death of August Wilson, you buck the trend by being ecstatic that you picked Nipsey Russell for your Dead Pool.
Taurus: You are baffled by your failure to find financial backing for your Vend-a-Kitten machines. Keep your chin up and hang onto your dream of machines dispensing tiny tabbies nationwide. It'll happen.
Gemini: Laughter is the best medicine. Unless your leg has been crushed beneath a tractor, in which case I'd really recommend a doctor instead.
Cancer: You simply cannot blame the voices in your head for making you watch Laguna Beach. The hobo you killed last week? That you can blame on them.
Leo: You are greatly disturbed this week when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld inexplicably pops up in your masturbatory fantasies. Don't overthink this. Just enjoy.
Virgo: Many people would agree with your opinion that Phillip Roth is one of the great American novelists. Unlike you, though, most would stop short of tattooing it on their foreheads.
Libra: You discover this week, to your great delight, that salmon tastes much better with a dill sauce than with Welch's Grape Jelly. And thus, your culinary universe continues to expand.
Scorpio: The Pillsbury Doughboy is not trying to steal your soul.
Sagittarius: You have a terrific urge today to sink your incisors into a nice, juicy steak. Sadly, as you lost all of your teeth in a horrific bocce incident five years ago, you will go unsatisfied.
Capricorn: You show touching optimism in your conviction that you just might be named People's Sexiest Man Alive even with that huge goiter on your neck.
Aquarius: Jumping on the bandwagon, you decide this week that you'll just go ahead and indict Tom DeLay, too.
Pisces: You should be aware that, if you go through with your plan to kill yourself, the literary world will dismiss your suicide note as "tired and derivative". You really ought to take a creative writing class at the Learning Annex before you take that bottle of pills.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Bozo the Surgeon
There was a news story that caught my eye yesterday about a recent study which found that children undergoing surgery tend to do better when there's a clown in the room before they undergo anesthesia. What the hell is this about?
Personally, if I'm about to have someone slicing me open and fucking around with my insides, the only thing I would less want to see than a clown would be maybe a zombie. Clowns are creepy. Clowns either kill you through torture (John Wayne Gacey) or cholesterol (Ronald McDonald).
Even if you ignore the creepiness of clowns, there's still the question of professionalism. So, in the room, you've got the doctor, who went through eight years of medical school so that he could learn how to perform a triple bypass. You've got the nurse who's had six years of undergrad and nursing school so that she's qualified to monitor your vitals while your body is cut open. Then, you've got a guy who went to a summer of clown college so that he can dump a bucket of confetti on you.
You absolutely need to have someone funny in the room before surgery? Fine. Bring in the cast of Blue Collar TV to perform and I'll be too anxious to be anesthetized to think twice about my impending hip replacement.
I think a better "alternative" use of clowns might be as hostage negotiators. This runs along similar thinking to rodeo clowns. You could give the psychopaths holding their families at gunpoint someone at whom they can really vent their fury.
I guess, at the heart of all this, I just don't want to think that the world's been made a better place because of Patch Adams. If a Robin Williams movie was to have a lasting impact on society, I'd really rather it was Popeye, which taught us that even Robert Altman fucks up every once in awhile.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Here Come the Judge, Part II
The suspense is over. Bush announced his choice of a justice to replace Sandra "One Fine" Day O'Connor this morning. The winner: one Harriet Miers. One complaint being heard already is that the senators who will be voting on Miers don't really know that much about her, as she has never been a judge and, therefore, has no record of decisions by which one could gauge her standing on a number of issues. She's a White House insider. She was a major player in the judicial search that came up with John Roberts. She was a high-powered corporate lawyer in Texas and was the first woman to head the Texas Bar Association. But all of that is not enough information on which to build an opinion of what kind of justice she might be.
So, once again, Hairshirt uses our network of well-placed insiders to get you the advanced scoop on what kind of person, what kind of legal mind, what kind of lover this Harriet Miers is. (Actually, that "lover" part isn't true.) We bring you...The Hairshirt Questionnaire.
Name: Harriet Miers.
Nicknames: H to tha M, Legal Knievel, Hot Lips, Ms. Sassy-Pants, Cruella DiCounsel, Token Gesture to Feminism.
Hobbies: Reading; defending large corporations; sucking up; knitting homemade colostomy bags; scrapbooking.
Favorite song: "You Don't Know Me".
Last good book read: Tek Vengeance. (I am so into Shatner.)
Pet peeves: Nosy bastards who want your opinion on shit like abortion.
If I could be anybody in the world, I'd be...: A dude, 'cause I'd like to see what it's like to pee standing up.
I have never...: Been a judge, and yet this guy plops me right in the Majors. Kooky, ain't it?
Turn-ons: Long walks on the beach; candle-lit dinners; smurfs; mudsports.
Turn-offs: Men who cry; senate committees; inverted nipple syndrome.
Someday I'd like to...: Be qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.
Looks like this little lady is everything you could want in a justice...and more.