Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: The stars would like to tell you what your future holds, but they make it a policy not to discuss matters relating to an ongoing investigation.

Taurus: No matter what a fuck-up you married, be glad you didn't hook up with this guy.

Gemini: With the warmer weather, Gemini, you're feeling the need to buy a whole new wardrobe. Which, given your budgetary restrictions, will most likely consist of clothes made entirely of Kleenex.

Cancer: Your idea for a Da Vinci Code-esque thriller based on the premise that the Methodist denomination was founded as part of a plot to use Jell-O salad to conquer the world will not be quite as well-received by the major publishing houses as you'd hoped.

Leo: You're so shocked and appalled by DC Comics' announcement that they're bringing back the character of Batwoman as a lesbian that you vow never to have children, just in case they should someday pick up a DC comic. Which is a fairly over-the-top reaction, when you think about it.

Virgo: You spend several hours today just pondering the word "glob". This is probably because you're high.

Libra: Remember, Libra, it hurts a lot less if you just rip the bandage off quickly. Unless it's not actually a bandage, but rather a bandage-shaped growth of some sort. In which case, you're looking at some massive pain no matter how fast you rip it off.

Scorpio: Looking for a way to make an impression on your hot new neighbor? Here's some advice: a nice bouquet of flowers may not have the impact of a burning cross, but it's much less likely to land you in jail.

Sagittarius: When choosing a song as the first dance you take with your soon-to-be spouse, you might want to think twice about using "My Humps".

Capricorn: You're so excited about Al Gore's return to public prominence that you rush out and get his face tattooed on your ass. It's wonderful that someone can inspire you to that degree.

Aquarius: This week, you're once again undone by your unfortunate habit of not checking to see if there's enough toilet paper before you sit down. Oh, Aquarius, will you never learn?

Pisces: This week, your dreams are answered as ABC launches, The One, a show that combines the aesthetic delights of American Idol with the interpersonal dynamics of Last Comic Standing. You're an idiot.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Feeling Conchy

New York is hot. And grungy and sticky. We're experiencing a fairly early series of dog days here, forcing me to ponder lugging my air conditioner down from two landings above me a whole lot earlier than I wish to. My air conditioner is a pain in the ass. It's heavy, but not so heavy that I wouldn't feel like a complete pantywaist if I had someone help me. It's always dirty, because it's job is to move air around and the air in this town is similar to air found in a miner's lung. And it's got all sorts of sharp edges which just love to rip pieces of my clothing. So I'd rather not have to resort to this infernal machine just yet when I'm supposed to have at least a few more weeks of pleasant late-Spring weather to enjoy. Unfortunately, I may not have a choice.

Living in New York in this kind of weather without air conditioning is a page out of the Masochist Handbook. Things start sticking to you, you start sticking to things, it's next to impossible to sleep. Just not fun. Especially when you've just gotten back from someplace so very much more pleasant. Like the Bahamas.

I'd never been to the Bahamas before this past weekend. This was only the second time I've left mainland North America. It was, on the whole, quite pleasant. Which is saying something.

Originally, we'd wanted to go to one of the smaller "out islands", Abaco. The towns on Abaco are smaller and there's a lot less of a tourist trade, which sounded very appealing to my wife and I, who disdain tourists, even when we are them. The problem was, a trip to Abaco meant either a more expensive direct flight or an extra small plane flight, both of which options would have put the trip out of our price range. So I made an executive decision and booked us a hotel on Cable Beach, about five miles West of Nassau on New Providence Island.

I've mentioned above how a non-touristy destination appeals to my wife and I. Cable Beach is basically the opposite of that. Most of the hotels in the area are the all-inclusive casino/resort type. The hotel at which we stayed, the Nassau Beach Hotel, was one of the few that were slightly more old-style, with just pool, beach, restaurant and your usual hotel stuff. I say "was" because it was recently purchased by one of the larger resorts and, I'm certain, will be leveled soon to facilitate construction of a forty-story eyesore like the behemoths next door.

Since the Nassau Beach is now part of the Wyndham family, we had the option to go to the Crystal Palace Casino next door for slots! and roulette! and Michael Bolton! We opted not to.

Instead, we spent most of our time on the beach or in some of the clearest, warmest water I've ever experienced. I likes me the ocean, and this trip gave me plenty of it. Lying on a beach for hours on end is so much better than standing in a classroom full of foul-mouthed kids. No, really. It was incredibly relaxing. We took the jitney (which is just a fun, fun word to say) into Nassau a couple of times, but we weren't incredibly adventurous, otherwise.

The trip had its low points. There was the fact that we arrived just in time for the end of Grad Week, which is apparently a wonderful new marketing ploy to encourage idiot frat boys and the assembly-line sorority girls who love them to join together for one last pseudo Spring Break, which, from what we could gather, mostly consisted of puking, trips to Senior Frog's, pounding on people's doors at 3:00 AM and then rehashing it in great detail the next morning. We didn't tend to travel in the same inebriated, vomiting circle as these folks, so we didn't have to deal with them all that much.

Our hotel included us in one of the other native customs, The Blackout. We had no power in our room for about an hour and a half on Saturday night. Which was kind of like being without air conditioning in New York, except with less light and more mosquitoes. See, I left the balcony door open to cool the room down, which every mosquito in a three-mile radius took as an invitation to a banquet. I left, I believe, about a gallon of my blood in those bugs.

These were, though, very minor inconveniences in what was otherwise a really enjoyable trip. I want to go again, but spending the extra bucks to get to Abaco next time. Of course, by that time, I'm sure Sandals will have bought the island and converted it into a pirate-themed water park. Yaarrr.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


So That Was Interesting

I went ahead and did it. I got my back wuh-axed. And I've got to say, "Meh."

I don't really see why people equate the process with something out of Torquemada's playbook. I mean, it stung a bit. It wasn't as pleasant as, say, walking barefoot through a field of daisies. It's nothing that I'd want to choose as a way to spend eternity, if I was given a choice. But neither did I ever feel the need to scream.

Apparently, some men do. Miranda, the very nice Greek-Albanian lady who ripped every single bit of hair off of my back, said that many men whine like little babies. Which, I suppose, should've made me feel very manly or something. But somehow, being especially stoic during a spa treatment just doesn't seem like something to brag about.

I don't think I'll be doing this bi-monthly for the rest of my life or anything. Not because the experience was that unpleasant, nor because I've suddenly realized how much I miss my back hair.

No, the main reason I don't plan on repeating this procedure is that, on the train ride back uptown, I was seated near where this Abercrombie and Fitch model was leaning. I watched this yahoo as he tossed his expertly gelled hair, threw his best pouty faces and failed to pull up his low-riding pants. And I thought, "I bet this yutz has the spa I just went to on his speed dial." And I don't want to associate myself with that type of person. I'm sure my wife would tell you that that doesn't seem to be an immediate danger.


Doom! Doom, I tells ya! If it were the end of the world as we know it, would you feel fine? That's the question Sereena's asking over at Metaphor Voodoo as she hosts this week's Roundtable. Head on over and take a good, hard look at your own mortality. Or just say something flip. Whatever floats yer boat.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


A Hairshirt of a Different Kind

I remember when I was a teenager, listening to one of my uncles talk about his issues with body hair. He said, "At first, I just had a lot of chest hair and I thought, 'That's okay. As long as it doesn't start growing on my shoulders.' Then I started getting hair on my shoulders and I thought, 'Well, as long as it doesn't grow on my back.' Then that happened. Eventually, you just have to accept it."

This is apparently the family member I take after. Which is fine, I guess, I mean, he's a great guy. I just wish I could've inherited some slightly less hirsute genes. As things stand, at age 35, here's what I look like:
And I've basically made peace with that. For the most part. Except I haven't really.

My wife and I are leaving town this weekend for a trip to the Bahamas. This trip will involve copious amounts of time spent on beaches. Now, I could wear a shirt the whole time I'm on the beach. But that would be giving in to my fears. Conversely, I could boldly go without a shirt, letting my shoulder hair blow freely in the wind, but that could lead to rude little children pointing at me and asking their mothers what kind of God would do that to somebody.

And so I'm taking the third route. Tomorrow, 'round five o'clock, I'm going to get hair removed from my person. I'm going to lie face down on a table while someone--who I'm paying--rips the hair from my back in small patches. I'm scared. I've never had this type of thing done before. I don't even like to go in for pedicures.

I'm wondering how much skin comes off along with the hair. Am I going to look like I've just survived a leopard attack? Is my skin going to be swollen and tender, like a good steak? How long will my back be sensitive? Will I even be able to enjoy the salt-water shores of Grand Bahama Island? So many questions, so little time.

Then there's the sad fact that probably this hair-removal will serve to do nothing so much as make it easier for people to see my flab. Man, I'd so much rather be Colin Farrell.


Monday, May 22, 2006


Meisters, Part II

So where was I before I realized that modern attention spans are roughly the same as an over-caffeinated Yorkshire terrier and stopped writing? Oh yes, my friends and I had just duct taped the car back together and resumed our voyage to exotic Myrtle Beach. Right.

So when we got to the town proper, the freeway dumped us onto the main drag, crowded with teens driving low-rider trucks and blaring "Funky Cold Medina" at full volume. We took a left and drove to our hotel on the northern side of town, by which time the crowds had really pretty much petered out. If there was one central location in town where all the hot parties were happening and all the incredibly hot (and slutty, let's not forget slutty) girls hung out, we were basically as far away from it as we could be and still be in city limits.

No, for us, there were no Cuervo reps tossing out free tequila. There were not wet t-shirt contests. There were no hoards of local girls begging us to do body shots off of them. I did stumble across a bonfire one night, which was nice. But, if I'm absolutely honest with myself, I guess I didn't mind not being in the center of things. I've always hated huge crowds. I'm too gutless to ever have dreamed of sneaking into a bar while I was underage. I was, at that point, a virgin and wouldn't have known what to do with a vagina if I'd had someone calling out instructions through a megaphone.

We had a mellower Spring Break than your stereotypical MTV-style vomit-fest. We had plenty of alcohol with us and we drank it. We sat by the pool. We played tons of frisbee on the beach. We went to a miniature golf course. We saved money by eating cold cans of ravioli that we'd brought along to help stretch our travel budget that much further. (I remember that we had the world's most ineffective can opener and I grew increasingly frustrated with it over the course of our trip, at one point abandoning it in favor of smashing the can repeatedly with a rock.) We had a pretty good time.

There was a group of cute, nice girls on the same floor of the hotel as us and some of the guys hung out with them. I didn't, as there were three of them and five of us and I was always a student of the "no, you go ahead" school of female pursuit. I don't think the two of us who put in the most time with the girls were rewarded with anything overly promiscuous anyway.

The thing is, if we'd wanted to, we could've taken the time to drive south into the downtown area where all the really heavy partying was being done. This was proved possible by the three classmates of ours who drove down a day after us and crashed on our floor for free. I was not happy about this, especially as one of them was Mike VanCise, who I'd always thought was kind of a dick. He may have eventually grown into a wonderful person, but during high school, he was the type of guy who would horn in on your Spring Break plans and not chip in for the room and then help himself to the condoms you'd bought in a fever of optimism just because he actually had an opportunity to use them and you wouldn't need even one, much less a twelve pack. You know, that type of guy.

So our gate-crashing friends were doing the more traditional Spring Break. Actually, my friend Jason, driver of the wheel-popping whaling ship, didn't stick around the hotel as much as the other four of us, either. He accompanied Mike and the other floor-dwellers out a couple of nights. He also met a girl at some point during our trip and was, I believe, the only one of the five of us to have Spring Break sex. He really was the type of guy who could get laid in a convent, so it wasn't, I don't think, any great accomplishment for him.

The closest I came was the night I took a sulky, depressed walk down the beach and stumbled across a group of kids hanging out in front of their hotel. A girl in the group asked me a question (which might have been, "What kind of impact does mass production have on a mostly agrarian society?", but I don't honestly remember) that I took the time to stop and timidly answer. I remember thinking that, if she was talking to me, she was most likely making fun of me. But I stopped and talked anyway. Talking led to hanging out, which led to me going back to my hotel and grabbing a couple of beers, which I brought back to her hotel. We hung out for awhile longer and then I asked if I could kiss her. I am the sort of utter loser who asked girls before I kissed them. She said okay and we touched our tongues together for a few minutes before she passed out. It was an erotic carnival.

Anyway, that was about as good as it got for me, romantically. Which, I think, may have put me as high as number two out of the five of us. Nope, mostly that trip for me was drinking, swimming and watching Satisfaction on the free cable in our room. We must have watched that movie four or five times.

Which is why all of this has been dredged up for me the last few days. HBO, for some freaky reason, showed Satisfaction last week and I DVR'd it. Ye Gods, it's awful. First off, somebody let Justine Bateman sing. Then there's the script, which appears to have been written by a committee of kindergarten students. It's a movie, you see, about a group of hardscrabble kids from New Jersey, or some similar hardscrabble place. They steal a van and chase their dream to a beach community where Liam Neeson--who I can only assume took the part to pay back a gambling debt--hires them to play at his nightclub. Romance and bad music ensue. And somehow, Julia Roberts, Trini Alvarado and Debbie Harry all managed to get acting work after audiences saw this chunk, which shows just how forgiving the American public is.

But during our trip, we loved it. We lusted after Justine Bateman. We sang along when they did their dynamite cover of "Iko, Iko". We were drunk, I think.

Not "Kegmeisters" drunk. In fact, the trip bore very little resemblance to what we'd expected. But I can say that I went on a Spring Break trip. Once.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Meisters, Part I

I went on a Spring Break trip one time in my life. That was enough.

I went to a very, very small high school in rural Ohio. My graduating class was 82 students strong. We weren't really big enough to indulge in cliques. Half of the people who played sports were also the popular people and half of the popular people were also the brains. We didn't have a really huge druggie population, although I suppose anyone you would've labeled druggies probably wound up going to the county vocational school. (Not to say that a number of non-druggies didn't go there also.) Anyway, I say this by way of explaining that my particular group of friends didn't really have a label. I guess you could probably say that we were Nice Guys. That probably comes closest.

Senior year, we got it into our heads that we should put together a Spring Break trip. Since I'd been to Myrtle Beach a couple of times as a kid, I thought that would be a really awesome destination. So we planned. And we planned. And we anticipated. And we used a primitive clip-art program to put together a humorous picture of what we assumed our trip would be like, featuring a guy surfing with a naked cheerleader and a keg on his surfboard. We dubbed ourselves the Kegmeisters. I booked us a hotel on the Northern end of the beach, near the place where I'd stayed with my family as a kid.

We looked into renting a car, as none of us had a vehicle that would, A) hold all five of us or B) get there at all. Unfortunately, renting a car when you're eighteen is not actually possible. Oh, I suppose a Kennedy could do it, or the offspring of someone with diplomatic immunity. But we were a bunch of hicks, so we came up absolutely snake-eyes. Fortunately, my buddy Jason was able to do some work on his rolling whaling ship and he figured that, as long as we packed some extra oil, it would do the trick.

So, after my exchange-student brother Alfredo put in the necessary five hundred pages of paperwork to get permission, and after we'd had the older brother of a friend purchase enough beer and--God help me--wine coolers to halfway fill the enormous trunk, we loaded up and headed south.

The drive down was fairly eventful. Jason's car had a couple of exhaust issues, and we discovered that, if the passenger side window was down, fumes just sort of blew right into the car. We spent a couple of hundred miles learning that lesson. I had a great time playing DJ with my shitty Radio Shack tape recorder and about eight cassette tapes, ranging from Guns and Roses to Motley Crue. When were about eighty miles from our destination, close enough that we were starting to see signs for the many area attractions, we had a bit of an incident.

Most of us were dozing at the time and were awakened by hard "thud", as if someone had thrown an apple at the side of the car. We had about four seconds to sit up and utter variations on "What the fuck was that?" and then the car suddenly tilted dangerously to the left. I looked out the rear window in time to see what looked a lot like our tire bouncing down the road and into a ditch. Jason, who was driving at the time, managed to keep us from crashing and pulled off to the side.

As it turns out, the rear driver's side wheel had had its bolts sheered off and the whole thing had been what I'd seen bouncing down the road. Luckily, we'd come to rest in the front yard of a very friendly teacher, who was nice enough to call us a tow truck and drive us down the road to it, as we couldn't all fit in the truck. Unluckily, the repair took a huge chunk out of our funds, so we returned a whole lot poorer than we'd intended.

But we eventually made it to Myrtle Beach, where we have the sort of Spring Break you'd expect a group of nice guys to have. I'll explain in more detail tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2006


And I'm Proud to Be an American...

Today, Americans can breath a little bit easier.

Our courageous legislators in the Senate passed a bill yesterday that establishes English as the National Language of the United States of America. In this non-reporter's opinion, this vote comes just in the nick of time. Over the past few months, I've felt completely overwhelmed by the number of people on my block speaking Dutch and Pig-Latin. It seems I can't leave my house without passing by some hooligan who insists on speaking in words I can't understand.
Why, a menu was left on my doorstep last week, and half of it was in Chinese! Chinese for God's sake! I mean, those damn squiggly things don't even look like letters!

And I know I'm not alone. God-fearing patriots all over the country have felt under siege by Foreign-istas with their fancy bilingualism and their commie-esque desire to understand and celebrate other cultures. High school students all over our nation are forced not only to take years of Spanish or French (or some even sicker language), but also to join Spanish Club, put on sombreros and choke down gazpacho and flan. The stuff looks like mucus, folks. It just does. I can't flip through the higher numbers on my cable box without running into some movie where a bunch of colorfully-dressed people jabber away in Indian. And not good, old-fashioned Indian like Tonto.

So I'm glad that the Senate finally had the guts to shove past the Lefties and take a stand for Joe Citizen. And Joe Citizen, Jr., too. I just wish they'd have gone a step further and passed a law that black folks have to stop using slang that I can't keep up with. "Yo, Mr. Wack, why you mad beastin'?" What the hell does that mean? I say, if you can't talk like they talked on Leave It to Beaver, you shouldn't open your mouth. And while they're at it, senators also need to make it illegal for women to talk about their "monthly friend". In fact, let's just go ahead and limit the amount of talking women can do, period. God knows I've heard enough from the guys down at the lodge about how their women just won't shut up. Fortunately, since my wife got back from the hospital, we don't have that problem in my house any longer.

God bless the English-speaking U.S.A.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Atul is our designated Roundtable host this week, and he's got a few words to say about stand-up comics. I've got a few other words about stand-up comics, but that's a subject for another day. Go read.

(Oh, and Happy Birthday to my wonderful, wonderful wife.)

Monday, May 15, 2006


The Mournful Fanboy

I believe I've made reference here in the past to the fact that I'm a big slobbering geek who reads comic books. That's right. I'm not proud, but dammit, it's the truth. One of my favorite books is a DC title called Manhunter.

Manhunter is the story of Kate Spencer, a prosecuting attorney in Los Angeles who, when a super-villain she's trying to put away gets off, steals weapons from the police evidence room, cobbles together a super-hero outfit, hunts the guy down and kills him. It's good stuff, not only because it's interesting to look at the super-hero genre from a legal perspective; not only because it features a really interesting supporting cast surrounding a flawed lead character; not only because it captures the feeling of L.A., but also because
it features a rare female protagonist who doesn't have E-cup boobs and a penchant for thongs.

And the writer, Marc Andreyko, is an old college roommate of mine. Marc's a great guy and he's really thrown his heart and soul into this book. Marc takes the time to respond to e-mails. He drops by message boards to answer questions. He sends back-issues of the book to people who can't find it because the troglodytes who run their local comic shop don't order enough issues of a book featuring a new character. He's got a standing offer to buy back copies of the book if a new reader doesn't like it.

Today, DC made the official announcement that Manhunter is going to be canceled in August. This sucks on so many different levels. The book is better written than so much of the crap that's out there. It has a strong, intelligent female lead who dresses relatively modestly. One of its main characters is a guy with back hair who's portrayed in a positive light. It speaks to me.

This is such a good book. And it absolutely blows walruses that it hasn't found a wider audience. At this point, there's not a whole lot that can be done. I'm going to write a letter to DC and I'm going to buy two copies when the next issue comes out this Wednesday. And I'm going to post a link here so that any of my five readers who has an interest in comics can easily order the trade paperback from Amazon.

And I'm going to re-read and re-enjoy the twenty-five issues of Manhunter that DC published. It's the Arrested Development of comics. Just, without David Cross and with a lot more lizard monsters and such.

EDIT: Yesterday, June 2nd, DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio announced that, thanks to fan response, he's extending the run of Manhunter another five issues at least. See, sometimes good things do happen. Just not often.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Phone Tag

The last few days, I've seen General Michael Hayden and George Bush saying over and over that the NSAs various domestic spying programs are legal and that they don't in any way impinge on our civil liberties. And I have to wonder: do they have trouble not giggling when they say shit like that?

Warrantless wiretapping and the wholesale collection of phone records are such blatant invasions of Americans' privacy that you have to wonder how an angry mob hasn't stormed the White House with torches and pitchforks. Maybe Bush is a mutant. Maybe he has some kind of super-hypnosis power with which he controls the minds of his base.

What other explanation, really, can there be? Can the American people really have grown so stupid and complacent that their government can essentially say, "Yeah, we're going to stick this lojack up your ass so that we can monitor you at all times in case you intend to provide picnic lunches to known terrorists" and nobody in the opposition party or the press really calls them on it?

I suppose we have. I'm included in that, by the way. One of the phone companies which stopped sodomizing their customers' wallets long enough to hand over phone records is Verizon, who provide my wife and I with our wireless service. That should piss me off so much that I throw my phone in the East River and sign up with Cingular. But I haven't.

It's easier to just tsk-tsk and go on about business as usual. It's a pain in the ass to take an action that makes a statement. Especially during May Sweeps. I mean, how am I going to watch the season finales of Lost and The Amazing Race if I'm busy organizing a protest?

So I guess I'll just continue to take my Soma and occasionally bitch about things. God, I'm a putz.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


If the shoe fits, but looks fucking retarded, don't wear it. At least, so says RW over at Chasing Vincenzo, who's hosting this week's Roundtable.

I'm inclined to agree, with the caveat that, every once in awhile, I like to put on a pair of moonboots and tromp around the apartment pretending I'm on an Apollo mission. My wife hates it when I plant an American flag in the catbox.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: This week finds you searching for fun projects to do with your kids. Perhaps you should consider baking.

Taurus: It's been two days and you're only now starting to pull yourself together after the earth-shattering heartbreak of David Blaine's failure to break the world record for holding his breath. If it's any consolation, all it took for Blaine to get over it was two hookers and a couple grams of cocaine.

Gemini: You're experiencing a vague sense of unease. Which, when you think about it, is pretty fucking useless, because if you're uneasy, you really oughtta know the reason why.

Cancer: You've once again forgotten to send a Mothers' Day card until the last minute and once again will have to send it Express Mail. Well done, moron.

Leo: This week, you're feeling pathetic, wretched, like you just can't win no matter what you do. Sort of like the Cavaliers against the Pistons. Fucking Pistons.

Virgo: Right now, you are at your sexual peak, and you know it. Your body is driving you do experience the nastiest thrills around. Which is not exactly sitting well with the other nuns in your convent.

Libra: Polls show your approval ratings are at an all-time low of 28%. This could be due to the fact that they're only polling your ex-girlfriends.

Scorpio: This week, you find Jesus...with another woman. Well, he's a playa.

Sagittarius: A new pet brings joy and laughter to the household. She also brings 2 AM howling and diarrhea on the new white sofa, but I guess you buys yer ticket and takes yer chances.

Capricorn: The Capricorn who has just graduated from college has much to look forward to. Like a shitty job market and the fun of paying back students loans. Yee-haw!

Aquarius: This week, you are neither pickin' nor a-grinnin'. You're more obsessin' and self-medicatin'.

Pisces: What would you do for a Klondike bar? You're about to find the answer to that question, Pisces, and you're probably not going to like yourself very much afterward.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


A Note to My Tens of Readers

Right now, there are approximately 30,000 bicyclists riding by our apartment. All these people are participating in the 5 Boro Bike Tour, in which cyclists ride all around the city. It's a gorgeous day for it, too. Sunny, cool. My wife is out right now taking pictures of the tour for a company which will post them online for the participants to buy. And I'm sitting on my fat ass in the apartment, letting my muscles atrophy.

You'd think I'd be in a better mood. The Cleveland Cavaliers made it past Washington to reach the second round of the play-offs for the first time in thirteen years. It was an amazing game. The list of Bush administration resignations just keeps getting longer and his approval ratings continue to go down like limbo champ. And, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day!

Despite all this, I find myself decidedly unchipper. I'm thinking this is probably because my shit is so amazingly not together. I've been writing on this blog for nearly two years now. I started it in part because I wanted to make sure that I was writing something every day, or at least almost every day. But I come home from teaching, a job that wears you out fairly good, despite people's perception that it's a vacation-filled skip through Candyland, and I sit here at my computer and, most days, I manage to crank out a post and then I proceed to waste time on truly pointless shit until it's time to get dinner ready. Maybe I make time to work out. Maybe I gather up my stuff for a trip to the laundromat.

But I'm not getting done what I need to. I'm reading, right now, The Portable Dorothy Parker. In the introduction, the editor of the revised volume writes about Parker's approach to writing. How she looked at is as a job like any other. This is what I haven't been doing. I think somewhere in the back of my caffeine-addled mind, I harbored some kind of inane fantasy that someone might read my stuff here, out of the 6.73 trillion blogs currently out there, and fall so in love with my prose that they offered me a multi-million dollar contract. This is akin to thinking that a venture capitalist might be so taken with your lemonade stand that they're driven to invest in a nation-wide chain of them.

So what the hell am I blabbering about here? I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to take a stab at getting my shit together. I'm going to attempt to focus my energy on actual writing. I'm not going to stop writing on my blog, but I'm not going to bust my ass to write something every day. So please bear with me if there are multi-day gaps between posts. It doesn't mean that I don't love you and think you're very pretty.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


When I was about 14 or 15, I did a commercial for a local bank. I played a kid who looked up lovingly from my woodworking project when my father made reference to the concerns he'd had for my future before his mind was eased by the bank's sound financial planning. It was a riveting performance and one that I'm certain could have launched a lucrative career for me in commercials, if only we had lived in a larger market. For the dozens of people who did see it, I'm sure life was never the same, now that they'd seen how much love a son can convey for his fake dad in one look.

Huge residual checks were just not in my future, though, and so I continue to this day with not even the tiniest degree of fame. (I did get my penis bitten off in the horror-tacular Bride of Killer Nerd, now available from Troma Home Video, but I tend not to suggest that people watch my scene in that movie, as my mullet is even scarier than the serial killing.) Consequently, I have no real idea how I'd react if I achieved some level of notoriety.

SK Waller over at the Incurable Insomniac does have some feelings on this topic. Go on over and take a read, ya star-fucker.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Blaine! He's Gonna Live Forever! Light Up the Sky Like a Flame! Blaine!

I don't know if you're as big a fan of David Blaine as I am, but let me tell you, I could just not be more excited. The Magic One has started his latest incredible feat of daring and fortitude about eight subway stops from my apartment!

That's right! Anytime I want, day or night for the next week, I can hop the 2 train around the block from my home, change at 72nd and hop out at Lincoln Center so that I can go marvel in person at the wonder that is David Blaine.

Y'know, I was among those that wondered how on earth he'd ever top the stunt where he was dangled for a long time off of a bridge, itself the only way possible to one-up the time he laid down in a sidewalk. But now I have my answer. David Blaine is going to become New York's goldfish!

Well, I can't speak for the rest of the city, but I for one promise to clean his tank regularly and to never over-feed him. This is one pet I don't want to see flushed down the toilet, like my rabbit, Hopsy.

I have heard that people are considering going to Lincoln Center and doing something to disrupt the Magnificence of Blaine, say by hurling dog feces at the tank or having someone create a diversion so they can sneak up to the tank and stick their junk on it. I say, "For shame!" How can anyone feel anything but awe and respect for someone skilled enough to swim around for a week in their own urine? God, he's talented!

And I'm tired of the naysayers who seek to minimize Blaine's accomplishment by saying that he and all magicians are just huge geeks who need to find something better to do with their time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get to bed early tonight, because issue number seven of Infinite Crisis comes out tomorrow and I want to be well-rested when I read it.

EDIT: I must shame-facedly admit that my wife and I went down last night to gawk at the goober swimming in his own waste. It was a very underwhelming sight.

Monday, May 01, 2006


On Laundry and Geraldo

The laundromat to which I've been hauling my soiled clothing ever since we moved to this apartment is apparently no longer a going concern. I remember talking to the owner a couple of months ago as he did his best to get me to FOLD FASTER, DAMMIT, so that he could close and go home. (I'm very meticulous and like to take the time to put the crease back in my briefs.) He mentioned at the time that he'd only recently taken back management of the business after having someone else in charge of the day-to-day operation of the place for a few years. Now that he was seeing it up close again, he said, he thought the cost of running the place might outweigh the return. And now he seems to have shuttered the doors.

I should point out here that he hasn't used "shutters" in the charming New England-y sense, but rather a big ugly metal garage-door-type mechanism that would crush the skull of a homeless man if that man should happen to be so unlucky as to fall asleep in its path at closing time.

I am, I feel the need to clarify, not mourning the loss of a neighborhood institution or anything along those lines. The place is pretty much a shithole. But it's a shithole that's very close to my apartment, which is important when you're lugging fifty pounds of dog hair-covered slacks for a trip through the spin cycle.

The upshot of this is that I've had to haul our dirty linen and such way the fuck down the other end of the block and around the corner, to a laundry that, while a thousand times cleaner, is also more expensive and has less square yardage on which I can fold clothes. Which pisses me off. When I fold clothes, I needs my space goddammit. I cannot be cramped.

And worse, there's really nowhere in this new place that one can go and read without being bombarded by the television. The good ol' shithole's TV was on all the time, too, but at least you could give up being seated and retreat to the back, where the noise of the forty-year-old drying machines drown out the likes of Maury and Jerry.

Last Thursday, I had the misfortune of being in the new laundry while they had Geraldo's new "news" show, Geraldo at Large on. Sweet fajita-eating Jesus, why the hell do they still let this rectal wart on the ass of American Journalism within a dozen miles of a microphone? Aside from profiles of the suspects in a half-dozen cases of trampily hot missing women from around the globe, Geraldo's big story on Thursday was the twentieth anniversary of an international tragedy. "Chernobyl?" you might guess. Alas, no.

Geraldo was commemorating the two decade mark of his pay-per-view special on Al Capone's vault. Was he abashedly admitting what an over-hyped crock of pay-per-view shit it was? No. Was he flagellating himself for misleading the American public? Uh-uh. Was lamenting how his unspecial special helped hasten the death of credible journalism? Nah. Geraldo was sucking his own dick about the fact that Al Capone's Vault was the highest-rated pay-per-view special in television history. Please, somebody crush my skull with a boulder. Anybody? Anybody?

Now, I realize that Geraldo is an easy target who long ago sank down into the realm of self-parody. But the fact that he's still part of our journalistic landscape and nobody has taken the initiative to load him onto a catapult and fire it into the nearest brick wall just makes me want to weep.

But it's not like Geraldo is alone. Even the Washington press corps has sunk to the point where George W. Bush's ham-handed little skit with an impersonator makes headlines all over the country while the fact that Stephen Colbert rhetorically slapped the president upside the head with his dick was barely mentioned.

I think we've reached the point where we need to just scrap the press we have and go back to town criers. At least they occasionally got drunk and puked in the middle of the sports segment.