Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, December 31, 2005


"Happy" New Year (Quotes intended to imply irony)

Continuing my long-standing tradition of crap-tacular New Year's Eves, my wife and I are going to be ringing in SeaTac Airport! Huzzah! When I think festive, I think Hudson News and Chili's Too. Some day, I will find myself on December 31st dressed in a tux and sipping champagne in an elegant ballroom, surrounded by glitterati. This year, I'll be sucking on a watery Diet Coke at Sbarro's.

In other How Fucking Lame Am I news, I got together last night with some of my bestest Seattle friends for some drinks at my favorite Capitol Hill bar...and left around 10, after having downed one pint of beer and two cranberry juices. Pathetic.

I want it on record that I have, in my life, stayed up all night blitzed out of my mind and unsure how I was going to get back home. I wasn't always like the beer-nursing sleep-getter I've become. Dammit.

All right, to hell with this wallowing. I'm gonna guzzle a glass of prune juice and sit on the toilet reading my copy of Modern Maturity.

Happy fucking New Year.

God, this holiday sucks.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Celebrity Predictions for 2006

Wow. 2005 was one hell of a year for celebrities. So much happened to so many of our fabulous famous that it made our collective heads spin. Who could've predicted that Tom Cruise would go from annoying, toothy egotist to complete psycho? Who would've thought that Paris Hilton's engagement might not last? Who in their right minds might have said 365 days ago that Russell Crowe might be unstable enough to hurl telecommunication equipment?, of course. I predicted all three of these events when I appeared last year on an E! News Special.

And now, I'm prepared to do it again. I've whipped up my special blend of tea leaf-covered tarot cards and I'm about to shed the light of my foresight on the future lives of the rich and famous. Be forewarned.
  • In a surprise move expected by almost none of the major tabloids, Britney Spears will divorce Kevin Federline and marry Jessica Simpson. Several writers for In Touch will fill so full of joy that they spontaneously combust.
  • Nicolas Cage and his wife will have a second baby, which they will name Aquaman.
  • Three actors I can't recognize and don't care about from either One Tree Hill or Everwood or one of those fucking shows will marry three other actors from The O.C. or something and then they'll divorce and I still won't give a shit.
  • The population of the United States will be reduced by nearly 38% when Oprah Winfrey has her chef share her recipe for "special" Kool-Aid and then directs her viewers to drink it with her during a sweeps week broadcast.
  • Aliens will descend from the heavens and hold a press conference in which they deny ever putting extraterrestrial souls into the bodies of Scientologists. Instead of suing the religion for years of vicious slander, the aliens will take Danny Masterson away to be their space sex slave and call it even.
  • Having found his way again by turning his life over to our Lord and savior, Dave Chapelle will make a return to television in a sit-com about a wacky couple trying to raise their seven kids. It will really, really suck.
  • Producers will stop trying to build a decent movie around Jessica Alba and will, instead, release a movie inwhich she stands naked for two hours and reads recipes for cake. They'll call it Naked Jessica Alba and Cake.
  • After accidently biting his lip, 50 Cent will begin a feud with himself. Half of his bodyguards will engage in a gun battle with the other half outside of a Hollywood night club and Fitty will receive a minor knife wound from his left hand. Two weeks later, he'll hold a press conference in which he announces a truce.
  • While directing a remake of Mothra in New Zealand, Peter Jackson will lose another 150 pounds, at which point Lindsay Lohan will recognize in him her soul mate and thus will begin a very skeletal romance.
  • Katie Holmes will give birth this spring to a healthy baby boy. Oddly, the baby will look absolutely nothing like Tom Cruise, almost as if he hadn't had sex with her in the first place.
  • Courtney Love will do something skeevy. (I didn't actually have to use the tarot cards for this one. It's just good common sense.)
  • The new installments in the Rocky and Rambo franchises will be such huge successes that Sylvester Stallone will be moved to produce sequels to Over the Top and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.
  • Bono will be super-pissed when he loses the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Jimmy Buffett, who will be recognized for his work with Hawaiian shirt addicts.
  • In an emotional press conference, Jennifer Garner will tearfully reveal to the world that Ben Affleck had a gun on her for the last two years and she couldn't get away.
  • George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will stun both Republicans and Democrats alike with the revelation that they are a couple.
Well, folks, that's all the tea leaves have to say for now. From all of us at Hairshirt, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep fucking the stars."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Best of 2005

It's that time of year again. "Best of" lists are dotting the landscape like used condoms at a truck stop. Taking seriously my job as Person Who Tells Everyone What to Think, I am, of course, required to analyze the past year. So here we go:
  • Best Celebrity Death: Bob Denver. I'm really tempted to go with Vincent Schiavelli, the character actor who finally figured out a way to remind people of his name so they'd stop referring to him merely as "that one creepy-looking dude". Instead, though, I've gotta go with my heart on this one and say Bob Denver. Let's face it, Gilligan was simply too pure, too kind, too good for this world.
  • Best Public Relations Move: NYC Transit Workers Strike. Truly, there is no better way to make hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers empathize with your situation than to make them walk to work in freezing fucking cold weather and fuck up their Christmas shopping. Kudos, TWU!
  • Best Movie I'll Have to Pretend to Have Seen During Conversations at Parties: Brokeback Mountain. Yes, it's an Ang Lee film that doesn't feature Nick Nolte and Mutant Poodles. Yes, it's a heartbreaking, emotionally raw love story. Yes, you risk being labeled homophobic if you don't buy your ticket right this second. But, I've gotta be honest: I don't like Jake "PuppyEyes" Gyllenhall and if I wanted to watch two cowboys fucking, I'd go down to the Adult Section at Videorama and rent The Magnificent Seven Inches or The Man Who Tea-Bagged Liberty Valance.
  • Best Jungle Animal: Lion. I'm not saying the toucan didn't have a great year, but when you look past the hype, the King of Beasts just brings it, y'know?
  • Best Argument for Getting a Living Will: Terri Schiavo. Go and get one right fucking now or, someday, congress might hold a special session to prevent someone from releasing you from years and years of incredible fucking torture.
  • Best Gross Mis-Use of Power by the Bush Administration: Domestic Spying. This was a tough one, because there was truly an embarrassment of riches in this category in 2005. However, the choice was really taken out of my hands when Bush asked the musical question, "Do I have the authority [to flout the Constitution and invade your privacy like the worst of totalitarian fascist regimes]? Absolutely."
  • Best Spice: Fennel. Whether sprinkled on fish, tossed in a salad or cooked in risotto, you just can't top the fennel seed.
  • Best Natural Disaster: Earthquake in Pakistan. Yes, Katrina was horrific and showed the disgustingly inadequate response system the Bush Administration has in place four years after September 11th, but you really can't argue with 86,000 dead. Earthquake in a squeaker.
  • Best Way to Rid the World of Ben Affleck: Rolling Him in Garbage and Leaving Him for Raccoons to Eat. There are those who will insist that an angry mob with torches and pitchforks would be more satisfying, but think of the poetic appropriateness of covering Ben in melon rinds and used diapers.
  • Best Comic Book: Infinite Crisis. It's a complete fanboy wet-dream.
  • Best Celebrity Divorce: Charlie Shanian and Tori Spelling. I had a really tough time in this category, as there were more celebrity divorces than genital warts on Tara Reid. In the end, though, I had to give it up for Mr. Shanian, who apparently awoke from a coma this year and saw what was lying across from him in the bed. Run, Charlie, run!
  • Best Fucked-Up Selection Process: Pope-Choosing. Again, this was a close one. Nominating the gal who helps you clear brush on your ranch to the Supreme Court is pretty fucked up. But for sheer ludicrous bullshit, nothing comes close to white smoke vs black smoke.
  • Best New Word My Wife Came Up With: Nephieces. Tired of saying "my nephews and niece", my lovely spouse coined this gender-blended catch-all, which I think is going to catch on like wild fire.
  • Best Completely Inactive Activism: Ethos Water. This is so great. Instead of actually doing something to help children get access to clean water around the world, you can just spend $3 for a bottle of water at Starbucks, and they'll throw one cent toward the problem for you. Yay, corporations!
  • Best Reason to Be Thankful: The Year's Over. No matter how very, very hard this year sucked, it stops sucking after 11:59 PM on Saturday. Then, we get a whole new year to beat us down like Dickensian orphans. Huzzah!


Hairshirt Horoscope: 2006 Zodiac Forecast

Aries: Good news, Aries: 2006 will be the year you finally figure out how to set the clock on your VCR. What a milestone for you!

Taurus: Fortunately for you, Taurus, the alien overlords who take control of our planet and enslave humanity will still need someone to fry up corndogs, so your career will not be in any jeopardy.

Gemini: Geminis will find 2006 to be a year of agonizing heartbreak and nearly crippling emotional devastation. On the plus side, you'll really enjoy the series finale of Will & Grace this May.

Cancer: This is it, Cancer. This is the year you achive your lifelong goal of writing the Great American Novel. It will be about a family of migrant workers from Oklahoma who travel to California to seek a better life, only to have their dreams crushed. You'll call it The Grapes of Wrath. Then you'll find out it was already published by someone else over seventy years ago and you will be so fucking pissed.

Leo: By the end of the year, Leo, you will learn why pickled eggs are not to be trifled with.

Virgo: 2006: not a good year for Virgos who don't like being dragged from their car by a mob of rampaging midgets and being beaten severely by tiny, tiny fists.

Libra: This year, Librans will discover why it's not a good idea to breastfeed the lion cub you found on your African safari.

Scorpio: You will spend most of 2006 eating jalopeno poppers.

Sagittarius: This will not be a good year for Sagittarians to travel outside of the United States, especially after George Bush makes his speech before the U.N. explaining why he had every right to drop a nuclear bomb on Latvia.

Capricorn: Despite a heartfelt New Year's resolution and the very best intentions, you will not be able to give up shouting "Jinkies!" at inappropriate times.

Aquarius: The low point of the coming year for you will be in February, when Johnny Knoxville gets shut out of the Academy Award nominations, despite not one, but two stellar turns in Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer.

Pisces: Pisces, you will spend most of 2006 mistakenly thinking it's 2007.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Season's Meatings

Because the New York City School system is run by the mewling, bastard by-product of a one-night-stand between Mr. Potter and the Grinch, I will have to work a full day tomorrow before driving eight hours to my folks' house in Ohio. This will leave me no time to clip my toenails, much less write a blog entry. So this is pretty much going to be it until after the weekend.

And so I'd like to take this opportunity to go through my list of Christmas wishes for you and the world at large.

First, I wish that you get the chance--as I did this year--to bathe in a tub full of rice pudding. I realize that not everyone likes rice pudding, but you don't have to eat it. It's just an incredible way to relax.

I wish also that your family, and every family 'round the world, can get through the Christmas holiday without seeing one or both of your parents get really soused and vomit on the family pets.

I wish that George W. Bush would have a hot poker shoved up his ass. A hot poker with lots of jaggy spikes on it.

Next, I wish for everyone to receive that one gift they're really hoping for this holiday season. Except maybe that guy who wants the Olsen twin's severed heads. He probably shouldn't get that.

I wish that we would all have the opportunity to know true joy, without somehow fucking it up like we always do.

But mostly, I wish I had two weeks off instead of one.

So that's it. Enjoy your holiday. Don't drink and drive. Stay in school. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Hairshirt Christmas Horoscope

Aries: Your most fervent Christmas wish comes true: McDonald's introduces a McGriddle made with chocolate chip pancakes.

Taurus: You are justified in your stance that merely buying your husband things off of his Amazon Wish List would show little creativity or imagination. However, buying him things off of your Amazon Wish List isn't such a hot idea, either.

While it's perfectly fine to indulge your wife's Sex-with-Santa fantasy, you should keep in mind that there are some things you might not be able to clean out of Santa's beard.

Cancer: Christ would probably not have a problem with you getting high before the Christmas Eve service.

Leo: It's touching that you go to such great lengths to fool your children into believing that there's a Santa Claus, but they're in their twenties now and it's probably time you told them.

Virgo: If you're looking to get a little Yuletide action, try singing your intended lover something more like I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and less like The Chipmunk's Christmas.

Libra: There are many who will be charmed by your anatomically correct gingerbread men. Your child's teacher is not one of them.

Scorpio: Your unquenchable thirst for eggnog is starting to adversely affect your performance at work.

Sagittarius: Perhaps the knife fight you engage in with your brother over whether Jingle All the Way or Christmas Vacation is the greatest holiday movie of all time indicates that you're wound just a little tight.

Capricorn: Please don't make your kid play Good King Wenceslas on the recorder for the whole family. It will make everyone involved except you completely miserable.

Aquarius: A dildo is not an appropriate stocking stuffer.

Pisces: It might seem like a good idea to hide a dead body in a snowman, but remember: that shit's gonna melt.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Life in Pottersville

I have a theory.

I believe that, this morning, President Al Gore was feeling despondent. The Universal Health Care bill he'd shepherded through congress was in danger of being voted down. President Gore had put everything he'd had into this bill. He'd risked wasting the unprecedented good will he'd maintained from countries around the world since September 11th, 2001 when he'd called for a multinational approach to fighting terrorism. He'd put so much time and energy into the health care bill that he'd been neglecting his foreign policy.

The Democrats, who'd regained control of congress riding President Gore's coattails in 2002 were now facing a filibuster on the health care bill in the Senate. One or two radical dems had pushed for what they called the "nuclear option", scrapping the filibuster altogether, but Gore and the more level-headed senators nixed that idea immediately, seeing how truly fucking crazy it was.

So now, with his approval ratings at an all-time low--hovering somewhere around 80%--and the U.N. weapons inspectors accusing him of dragging his feet about sending a U.N. team into Pakistan after triumphant successes in Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Denmark, President Gore was at the end of his rope.

And so he briefly considered suicide. Which is when a wingless angel came down from heaven. He told President Gore that he shouldn't despair. Gore responded that perhaps it would have been better if George W. Bush had been able to manipulate the voting process and had won the presidency in 2000. This gave the angel an idea and he used his magical powers to show President Gore what life would have been like if he hadn't been elected.

Which is where we are right now. The horror Gore must feel when he sees the American lives that have been lost on a war we had absolutely no reason to start. The disgust that must gnaw at him when he hears the president of the United States admit to authorizing wiretaps on ordinary Americans without a warrant. The revulsion that must overwhelm him when he sees how many American businesses are struggling in the face of paying for health care that the government should be ensuring for all of us.

So, okay, President Gore. You've probably seen enough now, right? You've probably learned to appreciate what a fantastic job you've done as president, even if you can't do absolutely everything you feel you need to. So go ahead and call Clarence back and tell him you want to live. Hurry the fuck up, so we can turn Pottersville back to Bedford Falls. Zuzu's waitin', chief. So please wake us up from this national nightmare.

Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

Monday, December 12, 2005


That's the Week That Was

Last week was, without exaggeration, one of the most intense/eventful/insert superlative here weeks I've ever had. Just so very, very much going on and so much shit I had to deal with. Woof.

My show, as I've written, opened. It went well all in all, but there were some bumps along the way. The biggest bump--really more of a median strip than a bump--was that one of our actors, as the final rehearsals progressed from Monday to Wednesday, went from looking a little under the weather to looking like a partially rotted reanimated corpse. One of the other cast-members finally talked him into going to the hospital, where he found out that he had to have his appendix removed. On the day the show opened. I got the call at seven in the morning and then got to spend a fun, fun day on my cell phone, coordinating the changes with my cast, reassigning parts and cutting whole sketches. Then I got to use my prep periods to memorize three scenes. Yee-haw.

It took a bit of wind out of our sails opening night; a night further de-winded by a relatively small (yet happy and friendly) opening night audience. Things picked up Friday, though, with a boisterous crowd who clearly had a good time and a Saturday that saw us very nearly sold out. Which was nice.

At the same time, I was dealing with other issues...

Wednesday, the monitor of our computer croaked. Just upped and died. Gave up the ghost while I was leisurely viewing Maybe my monitor was a Republican. Anyway, so I did without all Wednesday and then had to make a mad dash to Circuit City on the day my show opened so I could use my computer to cobble together a program for the show, which I'd neglected to do in the weeks before, when my PC was more or less functional. I'm a stupid-head.

Then, on Friday, I got home and learned that someone had taken $500 out of my checking account. Let me clarify: I have not lost an ATM card. This was not a case of someone using my card number and expiration date to make a purchase on line; they got cash at a Times Square ATM. I've never been to the ATM that this mystery douchebag used to pilfer my funds, so the possibility that I--in a mind-numbing feat of uber-tardedness--walked away from the bank machine when it was asking if I wanted to make another transaction. I've never written down my PIN, nor shared the number with a bar-full of drunks while on a bender.

So this means that someone managed to steal information from my card; make a duplicate of it and figure out my PIN. Neither the dipshit operator I spoke with initially at Washington Mutual nor the fraud investigator with whom I spoke this morning had any idea how this person could have done it. Apparently, stealing info from a card is relatively easy, but they haven't had too many cases of people using them to take out cash.

What makes this especially frustrating is that I--being perpetually broke--didn't even have $500 in my account at the time. But because of my overdraft protection, WaMu just let them take out 5cs. Fucking,
I've never been able to take out more money than I have in my account. Why the fuck did this prick get to?

So that was fun.

There's more of course. Holiday preparations, cleaning for a family visit, the hijacking of half of my teaching time at work, etc. But I'll get into that at a later time. For right now, I'm just happy to be here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The Toy Was Underrated

Richard Pryor is dead, which really fucking blows.

What also blows is the fact that he spent the last years of his life unable to do what he did best, which is make people laugh until their genitals fall off. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times over the years I had to pick my Johnson up off of the floor after listening to a Pryor album.

As a young kid--talking nine or ten--and we lived in an area that was densely populated enough to have cable, my folks would watch his concert films when they came on HBO. My mom just told me today that they let me watch with them, but I swear I remember them sending me to bed. I definitely remember my parents quoting bits from Pryor's concerts around the house.

Then when I was old enough to save up my allowance and make purchases from Camelot Music at the mall, I was able to pick up his albums for myself.
I listened to a lot of comedy albums when I was a kid. Music, I didn't know from my ass, but I was big into comedy. I memorized long routines from Steve Martin, George Carlin and Eddie Murphy. Pryor, though, I'd just listen to. I didn't try doing his routines in front of the mirror or for friends. Nobody could sound like him except him.

He did a lot of crap just for money over the years, but what comedian hasn't? And I'll forgive him
Another You and Moving because of how much I loved Live on the Sunset Strip. He was a genius.

Why the hell couldn't Robert Wuhl have gotten MS and died early instead?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

My apologies for the serious lack of postage here over the last several days, but it's going to get worse before it gets better. My show opens Thursday night and I'll be having family and friends in town, so the words, they will not be flowing from my keyboard with quite the frequency as has been the norm. If you managed to follow that last sentence, give yourself two Cool Points. If you get that last reference, give yourself another five.

So, if you're planning to go see my show, either here in NYC or in Seattle, you should reserve your tickets now, as there's sure to be rioting as the throngs push up against the velvet rope in a vain attempt to secure a spot from which to witness the awesome spectacle that is my writing.

Busy though I am, though, I am taking time to enjoy the endless parade of embarrassing shit coming out about the Bush administration. The torture camps in Eastern Europe, the bought-and-paid-for news articles in Iraqi papers, the pictures of Cheney fucking a goat. (Okay, I made up that last one, but don't we all kind of think he does?)

When I come up for a breath after the glory that is A Shitty Christmas Carol opens, I'll once again have time to solve the world's problems and come up with weekly horoscopes. Until then, I hope you're enjoying your holiday season as much as I am. (No, seriously, I am.)


Friday, December 02, 2005


Cross vs Larry

I'm a bit grumpy this afternoon and not feeling all that funny, so I'll just direct your attention to my hero David Cross, who has this week written his first blog post since July. In it, he sets for his side in a war of words with Larry the Cable Guy. The only familiarity I have with Larry the Cable Guy comes from the small amount of commercials for Blue Collar TV that I heard before I could hit the mute button, so I don't know much of this book Cross writes about. But any new David Cross is, in my opinion, a good thing, so set aside a decent little chunk of time and give it a read.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Bon Voyage, Wendie

I haven't watched Bosom Buddies for a long, long time. It's on out there somewhere, I'm sure. On some cable channel or available as a DVD boxed set. I have no desire to track it down, though.

I loved the show as a kid. I thought Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari were fucking brilliant. I thought the premise of two friends living in drag was a bottomless well of hilarity. The show made me a fan of Holland Taylor to this day.

But I'm afraid that it would be yet another cherished memory from childhood that proves to kind of suck when viewed from a more mature perspective. Like
Land of the Lost. Man, those Sleestaks scared the shit out of me when I was a kid.

Anyway, Wendie Jo Sperber died today. She was the slightly heavy comic relief from the show. She also did time on TV's version of
Private Benjamin. She did a whole bunch of movies, including Bachelor Party, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and 1941, in which she stole the show with a great sequence on a dance floor. I'll have you know that I knew all that without looking on IMDB. Because I liked Ms. Sperber a lot. (That's also my way of saying that one or two of the titles I list may be slightly inaccurate.)

Anyway, here's to you, Wendie Jo Sperber.