Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Thursday, November 30, 2006


Ask Not for Whom the Bell Clangs

'Tis the season to be neurotic. Have any particularly strong feelings about those Salvation Army bell-ringers? Steph over at Incurable Inomniac is not a fan, but is working on it, and discusses this process in this week's Roundtable. Head on over and put your two cents in the red bucket.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: Your world is no longer making sense to you. For the love of god, if Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock can't make a marriage work, what hope is there for the rest of us? Life is a joke, man.

Taurus: During this busy holiday season, make sure you take a moment now and then to remember how much you hate the holidays. So often, we forget to hate the little things.

Gemini: You will not be struck blind today, when you accidentally see your next-door neighbor masturbating, but you'll wish you had been.

Cancer: Whatever the Supreme Court decides about Global Warming, you're going to stick to your guns and continue to believe George Bush's assertions that it's "...just a bunch of faggotty whining."

Leo: This week, you should pay heed to the ancient Chinese saying, "You can fuck a goat, but you can't teach it to make you a meatball sub." Those ancient Chinese were really fucking wise.

Virgo: What you have mistaken for spiritual ennui is, in actuality, constipation. You really need to learn the difference between those.

Libra: You are so super-excited to gather friends and family close as you celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Tom Cruise's break-through performance in Taps with a screening of the film, a discussion group and the world-premiere performance of your rock opera, Taps!

Scorpio: Your sister's friend will not be nearly as turned-on as you'd hoped when you ask her to zip up with you in your sleeping bag and form a "love burrito". (Maybe if you'd called it a spring roll instead?)

Sagittarius: You need to double-check your sources; the Charles Dickens quote does not go, "It was the best of times, go fuck yourself."

Capricorn: Don't worry so much about finding just the right gift for your girlfriend this Christmas. What she's really hoping for is a good way to dump your ass so she can date your best friend.

Aquarius: Your upcoming medical procedure goes well. Right up until the point where you're mistaken for a gender-reassignment patient. Hey, your family will get used to it.

Pisces: Everything you've ever been told is a lie. For instance: Joanie doesn't really love Chachi. She never did.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Like Night Court, But in the Daytime

A couple of months back, I had a fun, fun interaction with New York's Finest. I was out with my dogs for their Ten O'Clock Walk, a nightly trek that always makes me wish I lived in the fucking suburbs and could just shunt them out to the backyard to crap without my supervision. A cop car pulled up and a couple of officers got out. They came over to me and the lady cop said, "We've had some children in the neighborhood bitten by dogs. Are your dogs licensed?"

Fortunately, I took a class in Beginner's Cop back in college, so I was able to translate this into something roughly along the lines of, "I need some bullshit tickets to make my monthly quota and I intend to force your assistance in this matter." Unfortunately, despite my wife's repeated requests earlier that week for me to put the tags on our dogs, I'd forgotten, and so was forced to lamely beg the cop to let me go up to our apartment for proof that our dogs were, in fact, kosher with the city. She was a grumpy cop, though, and wasn't having it.

She took my license and left me standing on the sidewalk, holding a bag of shit. Naively, I figured, since she took so long, that she was running a check of some kind and would be back shortly with my license and an apology for having bothered me while a dozen or so crackheads went strolling by us.

But, no. The lady cop never came back out of her car. Instead, she sent her partner out and he handed me two tickets for having unlicensed dogs. I protested to the guy cop, and he essentially shrugged and walked back to his car. I stomped back up to our apartment, cursing and kicking any bits of garbage unlucky enough to be lying in my path. My wife, the lawyer, shared my ire at this steaming pot of crap and put together a not guilty plea, which I sent off with all haste.

Which is how I ended up in Courtroom Number 2 this morning, having had to take the day off of work and haul my ass downtown. The folks at the courthouse were pretty nice, all in all. A security gal pointed me in the right direction when I first got there, sending me to stand in a nice long line to sign in. (No visit to a New York City municipal office is complete without a nice long line to stand in.) The guy who took my summons and traded it for a pass to the courtroom was pleasantly indifferent, although he did repeatedly forget to turn on the microphone in front of him, causing me to call, "What?" several times. He finally remembered, but only after I'd put my ear right up to his window, and right by the speaker.

Court was an interesting experience. It was kind of like a dozen episodes of The People's Court squeezed into an hour and a half. I saw a whole assortment of cases involving a broad spectrum of people. I have no idea how they really lump all of these cases together, but for some reason, my unlicensed dog case was about on par with reckless operation. Who knew?

I saw two defendants on crutches. I assume their counsel advised them to try and be as pathetic as possible. (Mission accomplished in both cases.) I saw three separate men being charged with public urination. I hadn't realized they were prosecuting that one so vigorously. They should set up a stake-out on my block.

A few people had their own lawyers, but most of us were represented by one of two public defenders to whom we didn't say one word before we went up to the judge. I was a little nervous, because the judge seemed to be really pissed at one of the counselors and I was afraid I was going to get her. I could easily imagine their animosity getting out of hand and my little fine snowballing into a life sentence after they got into a shouting match.

In the end, I got off. This is, in part, thanks to my wise decision not to correct the bailiff when he mispronounced my name. I was a lot more anxious when I went before the judge than I thought I'd be. I guess this is because, despite the occasional rolling stop, despite the odd joint smoked here and there, I'm really a law-abiding citizen and the thought of actually being in trouble for breaking the law (even when I didn't fucking break it) is appalling to me. If I were ever actually sentenced to jail for something, I'm pretty sure I'd explode at the sentencing hearing.

Monday, November 27, 2006



The same lawyer that's representing the frat boys who were "victimized" by Sascha Baron Cohen in the Borat movie is also working for the two guys who were called names by Michael Richards. Y'know, this is just wrong.

Let me be clear: there's no excuse for the crap that Kramer was spewing on that stage. If he was attempting some kind of Andy Kauffman-esque Comedy of Discomfort, he did a piss-poor job of it. If he really was just angry and racist, then he's simply a giant asshole. Whichever of these is the case, I think the man should be shunned as a performer. Unless he's willing to do a nightclub act wherein the audience gets to hurl pigshit at him, he should be banned from the stage.

But a fucking lawsuit? That's ridiculous.

These guys were hecklers at a comedy club. The comic they heckled flipped out and said some awful things. This means they should get some money? Fuck no! If they find themselves still unable to move on with their lives, they should wait outside his house and slap the shit out of him. That, I'd understand.

This abuse of our legal system makes me want to puke. Why are there ten thousand pending lawsuits aimed at the Borat flick? Because it's made a shitload of money and some greedy people want a piece. Are you honestly telling me that those frat boys' lives have been substantially impacted by this shit? What, now, when they date-rape a sorority girl, she wakes up just enough from her Roofie slumber to make fun of them for looking like idiots?

These guys are comedians. You can find them funny or find them repulsive, but their speech is protected by the constitution. You remember that, right? It's that document that George Bush and Co. are trying to get rid of.

Again, I agree that telling someone that you're filming them for Kazakhstani television when you're actually going to use the footage in a feature film is ethically shaky. Repeatedly hurling the N-bomb because you weren't funny enough to keep potential hecklers at bay is fucking pathetic. But it doesn't mean that the "victims" of this behavior should be given a winning lottery ticket. These douchebags need to dry their teary eyes, put forth a stiff upper lip and go fuck themselves.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Between the Creeps and the Crazies

Getting off the subway this evening on our way home from a sort of half-assed attempt at Christmas shopping, my wife and I came across a yellow tent about a block from our building, just a few dozen yards from the station. A bunch of guys in puffy yellow coats that said "Volunteer Minister" were talking to people standing around the tent.

It wasn't until we got right up to it that a guy pushed a flyer into my wife's hand and I saw the sign saying, "Free Stress Test." Son of a bitch.

I'd been bumping into Scientologists every once in awhile for the last couple of years at the 125th St. 4, 5 & 6 station. That's a fairly major station, where the local train meets the express. Lots of traffic, people catching the Metro North train a couple blocks away or the M60 bus to Laguardia. It's the kind of place I'd expect to find L. Ron's Army. But now they're on my fucking block.

The flyer they gave my wife said, The Church of Scientology of Harlem. Great. A whole fucking branch of them. They're like fucking termites.

Then, when I was walking my dogs this afternoon, I saw a couple of Mormon missionaries bugging people as they went in and out of our corner bodega. I see the Mormons all the goddamn time, with their short-sleeve dress shirts and their backpacks, but I've never seen them so close to my house. Usually, they've fanned out from their church on Lenox Ave and stuck mostly to the main drags.

I fucking hate missionaries. There's just something inherently wrong with making it your job to force your religion down other people's throats. Yeah, yeah, I know. They see it as part of their faith to spread the word of their God. I'm here to say they can feel free to spread that word right up their own asses.

I don't believe as they do, I don't want to hear about how great what they believe is. I'm not going to try to talk them into agnosticism. Why the hell can't they leave me alone? Cannibals had the right idea. Missionaries should be boiled in a big cauldron with some potatoes and carrots, then fed to the poor.

Now, perhaps that's a little intolerant and uncharitable of me. I guess they'll just have to say a little prayer and forgive me.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Velveeta Jukebox, Part I: Abracadabra

Hello and welcome to Velveeta Jukebox!

Velveeta Jukebox is a new semi-regular feature here on Hairshirt, wherein I'm going to be taking a look at some of the great Cheese Pop songs of all time. I've been mentioning frequently lately (for the two people who pay any attention to that sort of thing) my reignited passion for 80s music.

There can be no truly logical justification for this. I mean, my god, so much of the music to come out of that decade just sucked enormous donkey balls. And yet, I hear an A-Ha song and I'm instantly happy, transported back to a time when I didn't have to worry about lesson plans or bills. (I also didn't have to worry about getting laid, 'cause I already knew it wasn't fucking happening, but that's another story.)

Whatever the reason, the pop music of the 80s has a special place in my heart and, as part of my endlessly self-indulgent search for meaning in my life, I've decided to publicly sort through these tunes.

The first song on our list, alphabetically, is "Abracadabra", by the Steve Miller Band. My god, it's savagely beautiful in its utter and complete cheesosity.

It's basically a desperate early-80s attempt at continued pop-cultural relevance by a classic rock star. Gone are the down-home pleasures of "The Joker", "Take the Money and Run" or "Jet Airliner". Instead, we're treated to what I've got to assume are the coke-fueled rhymes of an idiot.

Seriously, the rhymes are some of the worst ever immortalized on vinyl. "You keep me burning for your love/with the touch of a velvet glove." "I feel magic in your caress/I feel the magic when I touch your dress." "Burning flame, full of desire/kiss me, baby, let the fire get higher." And if that weren't enough, he repeatedly rhymes "Abracadabra" with "reach out and grab ya."
This isn't even mentioning the synthesized choral voices or the extended guitar burps section. It's utter and complete garbage. And I love it. Oh, how I love it.

I love it, really, for one reason only. I remember being about 11 and going to a family reunion at the Black Bull Rodeo park, which was just a campground with a swimming pool, really. But the swimming pool had a diving board that was eight feet off the water. To a kid, jumping off that dive was an extreme sport. At the very least, it was as extreme as a countrified, non-skate-rat Ohioan like myself ever got.

This was, if I recall, one of the last reunions of my maternal grandmother's family that I attended. My cousin, my sister and I spent most of the day at that pool, where they also had a jukebox and some video games. I remember specifically hearing "Abracadabra" while playing a pathetically low-scoring game of Joust. It was a great day.

Which is why the Steve Miller Band's lamest fucking single ever has a place in my heart.

Next time on Velveeta Jukebox: A cheesy post-80s song that happens to be incredibly gay.



When I voted two and a half weeks ago, I voted mostly straight down the Green Party line. I'm a registered Green and I feel strongly that the two-party system that's had a strangle-hold on American politics for the last hundred-plus years has reached a point where it no longer works. So I use my vote to protest it and to make at least some attempt to help create a viable third party. I'm helped by the fact that I live in a heavily Democratic city and state, where there was absolutely no question of who was going to be our Senator, who was going to be our governor, etc. Eliot Spitzer didn't need my vote; Hillary Clinton didn't need my vote.

Charles Rangel didn't need my vote, either, but I gave it to him, anyway. I like Congressman Rangel. I like his outspokenness. I like the fact that he's never seemed like a man who's using his seat in the House as a stepping-stone to something bigger. He's always seemed to me like the kind of person who embodies the virtues of the Career Politician: a man who wants to represent the people of his district and do for them what he can.

And I admire what he's doing with his proposal to reinstate the draft.

It won't happen. We know that. He knows that. That's not the point. The point is to start a dialogue. The point is to draw national focus to the unfairness of the way our armed forces currently do business.

The men and women who serve in our military are there because they volunteered. I can't pretend to know all the various reasons why someone would choose to enlist, but I imagine some of them have done so out of a sense of patriotism. Some have probably joined up because they admire soldiers and have always aspired to be one. Some have undoubtedly done it because it's a smart way to receive high-tech training and/or qualify for college loans. And there are likely some who joined because they didn't have many other options.

But of all the men and women who signed up over the last six years, how many of them do you think realized, when they signed the papers, that they were in danger of being stuck in the middle of an insurgency as violent as what we're seeing now? How many of them imagined that they'd be sent on multiple tours of duty, sometimes believing they'd come home for good, only to be informed that their service was not enough and that they'd be once again put in harm's way?

For these relatively few people to bear such a burden for all of us is unfair. Especially when our leaders seem to spend so little time considering what that burden means. Our Congress is meant to act as a brake on reckless executive action. They're meant to be more considerate than the President; to debate an issue thoroughly before action is taken. They didn't do that this time. And so our volunteer army has paid the price.

A draft would, at the very least, force our leaders--all of them--to think things through a little bit more clearly, because the price being paid would not be limited to those few who "volunteered". It's not perfect. It would force people with no interest in the military to take up a lifestyle not of their choosing. And those with means, I suppose, would still find a way to get around it. (See Bush, Cheney, etc.) It wouldn't solve all of the problems with our military.

What it would do is to keep us from entering as lightly into conflicts as we have in Iraq.

And, again, it's not going to happen. The people with money do not want to see something like this, so they won't allow it. But I thank Charles Rangel for bringing it up. And, hopefully, it will start a dialogue about things we can do to take some of the burden off the men and women in our armed services.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thanks and "Thanks"

As I stood in the kitchen this morning, hands buried up to the wrist in cornbread and onions, I was mulling over the type of Thanksgiving Day post I should write. On the one hand, after the kind of year I've had, I'm especially aware this year of all the reasons I'm incredibly lucky. On the other hand, it's just a lot more fun to be a snarky bastard.

So I've reached something of a compromise. I'm going to be both sincere and sarcastic and I'm going to leave it up to the reader to decided which is which.

I'm thankful, right off the bat, that the Democrats managed to take back both seats of congress. I hold no illusions that this is a guarantee of any real progress in our country, as the Demmos are about as effectively organized as a kindergarten soccer team. Still, just the chance that we might take baby steps toward ending the war, securing health insurance for those without it and actually doing something to fight global warming is enough to make me smile.

I'm grateful as can be that news programs keep on showing the video of Michael Richards going insane. I just can't get enough of that.

I'm grateful for the safety of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm grateful for every one of them who hasn't been killed or wounded. And I'm grateful to them for serving their country, even though I'm appalled that they're being used in a way that I feel is not in the best interests of our nation.

I'd like to give thanks to every late night comedian who recycled the same fucking joke about Trent Lott being the "majority whip". Sometimes, folks, a joke is just too goddamn obvious and must be left to wither on the vine.

I'm thankful for my job. As much as I bitch about it--and, oh, how I do--it's very much not the worst job I've ever had. No, that honor goes to the position of Fry Cook at McDonald's. Great eggnog-slurping Jesus, that job sucked.

I'd like to extend my gratitude to cheap foreign MP3 sites for allowing me to indulge myself in--and waste money on--my newish obsession with 80s pop songs. Because what I really needed to do was take up half of the somewhat limited space on my iPod Nano with cheesy shit from Human League. Damn you, Harold Faltermeyer! Damn you and your catchy synthesizer-heavy ditties!

I'm thankful for the love, support and continued health of my family. That one's pretty obvious, but I don't think I thank my parents, sister and in-laws enough. So thanks, guys.

A big ol' thank you to all the stores that are opening their doors today. Wal-Mart, Comp USA and others apparently knew how eager I was to get going on my rabid consumerism, and they've fixed things so that I don't have to waste all of today with my family, but can instead go out and spend, spend, spend! It's what America is all about, people.

And finally, thanks to my wife. She is the smartest, funniest, prettiest, bestest woman I know and I am so very grateful that she shares her life with me. (And just to clarify, honey, that's not one of the snarky ones.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Enjoy your tofurkey!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Hairshirt Thanksgiving Horoscope

Aries: By mid-afternoon tomorrow, you will have had your complete and utter fill of both turkey and your Uncle Harold's hilarious Clay Aiken/Kelly Ripa re-enactments.

Taurus: For once, both Thanksgiving Day football games will be incredibly exciting, competitive games which most commentators will later agree were among the best games ever played. Which is too bad for you, as your six-year-old nephew is going to drag you to the 12:30 showing of Happy Feet.

Gemini: Your emotions may be especially brittle tomorrow, Gemini, as the lady from the Butterball Turkey Helpline calls you a "total fucking retard" and hangs up on you. Twice.

Cancer: It's going to be pretty damned obvious that you were high while cooking when you unveil your Special Recipe Corn Bread-n-HoHos stuffing.

Leo: Your worst nightmare comes true this Friday, when your daughter breaks her leg...right before you were about to leave for the After Thanksgiving Sales. That little bitch.

Virgo: You are surprised and outraged to learn that the performers on the NBC broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are lipsynching their songs! You're pretty fucking stupid, aren't you?

Libra: You get a warm and happy feeling in your heart from the first moment you start serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless people at your neighborhood shelter. This lasts right up until you see some old dude vomiting up mashed potatoes and Mogen Davis, which happens about three minutes in.

Scorpio: You are so grateful for the privilege of being born in this wonderful nation. And you feel it all the more when enjoying the giant balloons in the Macy's Parade; beloved characters like The Energizer Bunny and the Talking M&Ms remind you how superior our society is to all others.

Sagittarius: You're so enraged that your sister brought the same kind of pie as you that you're severely tempted to flick a booger on hers.

Capricorn: You know what you're really thankful for this year? Herpes. Yeah, you're so fucking grateful for that. And you're just super-thankful for considerate one-night-stands who make sure they tell you they've got herpes. Aren't they just the best? Also, sarcasm. You're real, real happy about that.

Aquarius: You spend about half the morning worrying about the proper wine to serve with your big meal. Don't you worry, Aquarius. Whichever box you choose, your guests will be happy.

Pisces: God, you fucking hate pilgrims.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Stop the Madness (of the grocery sort)

I haven't cooked an entire meal for Thanksgiving in five years. And when I did it that time, it was a decidedly half-assed affair, as I had a wife in law school who was basically just taking some time off from studying to throw back some stuffing and such.

Prior to that less-than-auspicious meal, I'd always been with my family or my wife's family. Since then, we've always had Thanksgiving dinner with one group of friends or another. This year, though, we're on our own for the first time in awhile and I'm feeling the pressure.

We're vegetarians, so there will be no actual turkey. I wanted a good substitute, though, and my friend Deni swears up and down by Quorn's roast, which is a vaguely turkey-ish product. Whole Foods, naturally, was out of them tonight, so I had to settle for a Tofurkey, about which I'm not wildly optimistic. Life would be so much easier if we hated animals.

On top of that, I didn't get to the store this weekend, as I was planning on ordering this week's groceries online. There's a service in New York called FreshDirect. It's your standard online grocery store like people had all over the country before the dotcom bust. (I'm assuming more than just the one in Seattle went out of business during the tech crash.) It's okay, but I've stopped using them in favor of an awesome grocery store about a ten-minute drive from here that has fresher produce and less packaging.

This week, though, I was looking forward to the convenience of online shopping. I don't like to go to the stores for a week's worth of food when the stores are all in utter fucking chaos. So naturally, every single fucking delivery slot for tomorrow and Wednesday is already full. Well, almost every slot. There's one open from 2-4 tomorrow, so if I wanted to call in sick, I could stay here for the convenient grocery delivery.

So now I have to go to the store tomorrow, come home, work out and make four pumpkin pies. I'm feeling bitter, people. I'm feeling nihlistic. I'm feeling 7UP.

Saturday, November 18, 2006



I don't follow college football. Seriously, Bowl Games are right up there with Pigs in the Blanket among my long, long list of Why New Year's Sucks Ass as a Holiday.

I didn't go to Ohio State. I didn't almost go there. The idea of going there never really entered my head, even as a vague possibility.

Why, then, was I sitting on my couch this afternoon, screaming my lungs out (much to the shock and horror of my wife) as OSU played Michigan?

Some thoughts: I was born and raised in Ohio. So, even though it's not my alma mater, I guess I have some small right to identify with the university that bears my native state's name. OSU/Michigan is a classic rivalry, right up there with Burger King/McDonald's, Harding/Kerrigan or Courtney Love/Courtney Love. Who doesn't enjoy games where so much emotional importance is riding on the outcome? The fact that this was a once-in-a-lifetime match-up between those two teams as the Number 1/Number 2-ranked teams in the country made it that much cooler.

Let me make it clear: I'm not going to move to Columbus. I'm not going to pay for the Time-Warner Cable Ultimate College Football Package so I can watch Buckeye games no matter where they're playing. I'm not going to so much as buy an OSU t-shirt.

But I had a great time watching that game.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


De Plane! De Plane! (Wait...Wrong Tattoo)

Prego over at Rustbelt Ramblings is hosting this week's Roundtable, and he's got a few choice words to say about those tattoo-crazy hordes out there.

Personally, my plan has always been to invest heavily in tattoo-removal technology starting around 2010, just when Generation X is entering their mid-forties and realizes how embarrassing it is to have to spread their wrinkles apart to show people their faded tattoos.

Anyway, head on over to Rustbelt Ramblings and share your scabby, painful tattoo stories.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: A sneeze you thought was harmless returns to haunt you an hour later when you discover a wad of snot on your sleeve.

Taurus: You're inspired by O.J. Simpson's new book to write your own account of how you would have done it if you had been the one who took a dump in your boss's desk drawer last week.

Gemini: This week, you seriously consider switching fake jobs, as the women at the bars you hang out in are no longer quite as impressed when you tell them you're a specialist with Homeland Security. Might I suggest a position with The Sierra Club?

Cancer: Goddamn, potatoes are good, aren't they? They're just so fucking hearty.

Leo: Learning to speak a foreign language can be vastly rewarding. It can also be vastly expensive, so you might want to consider just making one up.

Virgo: It's great that you're a huge Faith Hill fan. The cards and letters you send her express this quite clearly. Your plan to cut off your foot and send it to her in an act of ritual sacrifice might be taking things to a level with which Ms. Hill is not going to be comfortable.

Libra: A word of advice to parents meeting with their child's teacher for a Fall conference: browbeating your kid because they got an 88 instead of a 90 doesn't make you look like a concerned parent. It makes you look like a dipshit.

Scorpio: A penny saved is a penny earned. Yeah. A penny. Yipee fucking yahoo. Fuck pennies.

Sagittarius: A long train ride this week reminds you how much you hate long train rides. It's a great learning experience.

Capricorn: You are completely justified in sending your steak back to the kitchen because it's undercooked. And the chef feels completely justified in rubbing his balls on it before he sends it back out.

Aquarius: There may be new dish towels in your future. Compelling, no?

Pisces: Don't be so cross with your family this week, Pisces. By tying you to your bed and force-feeding you, they're just expressing their concern for your recent weight loss. Let the healing begin.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Top Five

I was listening to some music on the train-ride home this afternoon. Specifically, I was listening to a bunch of 80s tunes that a friend of mine burned for me. And it hit me that "Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie is one of my favorite songs ever.

I assume this happens to everybody. You're bopping along, enjoying a song or a flavor of ice cream or a brand of pubic shampoo and it dawns on you all of a sudden that you really, really enjoy this. That, more than just enjoyment, this thing actually lays claim to a space in your pantheon of all-time favorites.

This got me thinking further, "...Hey, wait a minute...What exactly are my favorite songs?" I've never sat down before and attempted to compose a list. So, while I was doing laundry for the third day in a row--I'm done now, and can rest with an assload of clean clothes in my dresser--I put some thought to this.

And I realized that it's fucking impossible. It's a horrible cliche, right out of High Fidelity, but every time I tried to narrow it down to five, something else popped in there. I remembered, "Oh, shit! What about 'The Monster Mash'?!?" And I'm thinking now that it's really not something you can do, putting together a top-five all-time song list. There's too much out there. There are too many songs that have special meaning for whatever reason side by side with songs that you just really dig aesthetically side by side with songs that, when you're in a particular given mood, summarize you better than anything else in the world.

It changes with time, too. I don't think there's any point in your life where you're just like, "Bam. List is complete and I'm never going to hear anything else ever in my life that I like as much as these." Doesn't happen.

Having said that, I do have a very tentative, very loosely put-together list. And I know that, ten minutes after I post this, I'm going to want to go back and edit it. But I won't.

So, as of 7:27 on November 14, 2006, here are my top five favorite songs ever:
  1. "Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie
  2. "Letter from an Occupant" by New Pornographers
  3. "All Kinds of Time" by Fountains of Wayne
  4. "Screenwriter's Blues" by Soul Coughing
  5. "You Don't Know Me" by Ray Charles
Not the absolute best recordings ever on the planet, perhaps. But, as of right now--three minutes later and I'm still standing by it--these are the ones that do it for me.

Whew. That was tough. Don't believe me? Try it yourself.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Goin' Strong!

Gerald Ford--seen here slow-dancing to Journey's "Open Arms" at the Prom with Bill Clinton-- apparently broke a record yeterday, by becoming the oldest living president ever.

Which means he's going to die any day now.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Ask Hairshirt

Folks, I hear so very often from my readers how incredibly wise I am. And they're right. I'm fucking wise.

But I kind of feel like I'm letting a lot of that wisdom drip away uselessly, like snot from a first-grader's nose. So I'm doing something about it. I've come up with a way to take that snot and put it toward some higher purpose.

Starting today, I have created a sister site to Hairshirt. (Actually, let's go ahead and stick with "brother site", which is a little more macho.) That brother site is called...Ask Hairshirt.

On Ask Hairshirt, I'll be taking letters from the general public and writing responses that will give them advice, guidance, cleaning tips and such. (Probably not a whole lot of cleaning tips, as I'm a tremendous fucking slob.)

So, by way of illustrating, allow me to give you an example of something you might find on Ask Hairshirt. Let's say that Bob, from Cornhole, Iowa writes in and says something like, "Dear Hairshirt, I've fallen down a well and, as I type this, rats are chewing on my spinal cord. How should I be feeling about this?"

To which I'd respond, "It's okay to be scared. Yeah, a lot of us feel that we have to sort of keep up this brave front. But when the rats are actually chewing on you, you shouldn't worry that your friends down at the Elks are going to call you a Pussy because you shed a tear. So go ahead and weep, Bob. Weep your rat-chewed tears."

I'm going to make the world a better place, one idiot at a time. Ask Hairshirt.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Turn of Phrase

George Bush is so absolutely full of shit--and also so damned stupid at the same time--that I can't really find the right word to describe him.

Which is why I've decided to coin today a brand new word: asstard.

Asstard is a noun meaning "A person who is vile enough to qualify as an asshole and dumb enough to be borderline retarded."



Now What?

Seeing as how my last minute smear campaign was so very effective and--in all likelihood--won the Democrats control of congress, I thought I'd offer some guidance as to how the party of FDR should proceed now that they've got some political muscle.

I hear a lot of people--people who, like me, have been very angry for about the last five years or so--call for some swift justice. People (including some to whom I'm married) want to see Bush and his pack of asswipes get what's coming to them, and now.

Let me say right here and now that I agree with the notion that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and the whole Apple Dumpling Gang need to be taken to the woodshed for the way they've lied to us, trampled the Constitution, taken a dump on our international reputation, wasted literally thousands of American lives and profited from it all. I think I may have actually let out with an audible, "All right!" when I heard that a German court was looking to prosecute Rumsfeld for war crimes.

However, we've seen what happens when an opposition congress does nothing with their time/power except go after the president. The fact that the GOP brought impeachment hearings against Bill Clinton for lying about a blowjob makes me sick. And it did something else. It set the bar so low for what people see as impeachable that I'm very worried that we could have a government that goes for impeachment just because they can.

There will be time to punish this whole Neo-con sack of cats' assholes after they've left office in 2008. In the meantime, Pelosi and her crew should concentrate on actually getting some shit done. Punishing Bush right now is putting the cart before the horse. What they need to do is stop him.

Tear apart his unconstitutional wiretap program. Restore habeas corpus to the people from whom he's taken it. Get our soldiers in Iraq the resources they need and then move forward with a plan to get them the fuck out of there. Do some of the positive things that the country gave you the power to do and then look into shoving a cattle prod up Paul Wolfowitz's ass.

All the talk of bipartisanship we've been hearing this week is probably bullshit, and we all know it. But it shouldn't be. The checks and balances system is there so the congress can watch over the president, not so the two parties in congress can keep each other from getting anything done. Until we change things and introduce a viable third party (and fourth and fifth) which will break this monopoly, the two parties we're stuck with need to get their heads out of their asses and actually do some fucking work.

Friday, November 10, 2006



Since I work for the City of New York--making me what you might call a "public employee," I've always figured my insurance was going to be sub-par. Teachers never get the really cool insurance, the kind that pays for weekly massages or an ass-lift.

But I've never really had all that much problem with what I've got. Sure, the dentist I picked from their list turned out to be a sub-par kickback-taking quack who worked quickly and carelessly, leaving half of my face bruised for a week when he gave me a filling. (He also assured me--I would assume at the instruction of his insurance company masters--that of course I didn't need to have my wisdom teeth removed. Never mind that my old dentist had wanted to do it as soon as possible and never mind that I occasionally get incredible pain back there.)

For the most part, though, I've been able to get what I need taken care of with relatively little fuss. Dealing with our miscarriage issues, though, has proven a little trickier. We've had problems getting coverage for a shot my wife has to have--notice I said "has to"; not "enjoyed getting" or "might find nice", but "has to". An asshat pharmacist actually screamed at my poor wife when she insisted that our insurance company had told her they covered it.

So we were a bit nervous when my wife found a very reputable reproductive endocrinologist near where she works. See, she works way the hell out on Long Island and it's absolute hell for her to try to get back to the city for a doctor's appointment. She set up an appointment with this guy and then we found out this week that his office was now apparently not accepting my insurer.

So we were faced with the question: do we cancel and find another RE who does accept my insurance? Do we keep the appointment with this guy who's supposed to be very good and just pay out of pocket, hoping that we don't have a buttload of expensive tests? Do we kidnap an RE and force him to treat us for free as we keep him chained in our basement? (Actually, that was never a real option. We don't have a basement.)

We decided we had to keep the appointment. We'd been waiting it for a long, long time. I took the train out to Long Island and we drove to the office. We sat down with the billing person to register my wife as a new patient. And the lady informed us that, as of yesterday around 5PM, they'd straightened out whatever problem they'd had and were now once again accepting my insurance company.

My wife and I practically leapt for joy. We'd been fearing great big mounds of bills. This was, I've got to say, as big a relief as Rumsfeld's resignation. And then, on top of that, the RE seems to really know his shit. (Wow, what a great way to describe one's doctor.)

This week has been so inspirational to me, in fact--with the insurance and the election and the Spears/Federline divorce--that, this afternoon, I finally got off my ass and did about a hundred tasks I'd been putting off for fucking ever.

Thanks, Group Health Incorporated!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Regrets, I've Had a Few...Thousand

I don't know about everyone else in the world, but I mess up a lot. I'm not talking about losing my keys or putting salt in the cake instead of sugar. (Oh, Loretta Lynn. You backwoods, down-home angel.)

No, I'm speaking more of social gaffes. I'm talking about taking my size twelve boot and wedging it squarely in my stupid, stupid mouth. I wouldn't say I'm, like, Asperger-esque or anything, but I'm definitely not the smoothest whiskey in the cupboard. (A phrase I'm copyrighting, you buzzards.)

Because of this awkwardness I experience from time to time, I have, over the years, said a lot of dumb, dumb things that I want to take back. And, man, I think about them all the time. Like, once a week, I'm talking. It's pathetic. It's actually sad to me how lame I am that my thoughts routinely cycle back to shit I did wrong over a decade ago and how I wish I could take it back.

So I thought I'd share one or two of those fuck-ups with everyone today and ask you to share yours.

I used to be very self-conscious about my utter lack of music knowledge. My tastes have always been fairly mainstream and I've always had friends who were so into music that they could tell you every band that resulted from the break-up of Cream. (I actually don't even know if any bands did result. That's how lame I am.)

So, one time, I was telling a story that involved music. I was around people I felt to be hipper than myself. And I started the story thusly: "I was listening to Who's Next, I don't know why..."

To which the guy to whom I was telling the story responded, "Because it's one of the greatest fucking records of all times. That's why you were listening to it." And, of course, instead of feeling validated because someone agreed with me, I felt--and continue to feel--like a complete putz because I'd been unsure of whether or not I could proudly state my love for Who's Next.

Going even further back, I recall a time when I was in college. A younger friend of mine from high school was on campus for a visit. And she brought up a mutual friend of ours who had been in the theater department, but had left. Apparently, when the visiting friend had talked to the no-longer-in-the-department friend, the no-longer-in-the-department friend had said something to the extent that our theater department was a cut-throat hellhole.

To which I replied, "Ah, what the hell does Kerry know?"

Now, it helps for you to know that Kerry, the no-longer-in-the-department friend was someone of whom I was extremely fond. She'd played Mame to my Young Patrick in high school and I really thought she was awesome. But I was drunk, see. And I'd momentarily confused her with another alumnus of my school who'd come to Kent and the Kent Theater Department and who I thought was an utter dipshit.

And so, in my impaired thinking, I maligned someone who I actually really liked. And I regret it to this day.

Is this anything along the lines of "...I killed a man once..."? Hell, no. But I still feel bad.

My question to you, then, is: Do you have a bagful of moments you wish like hell you could take back? And, if you do, how often do you think about them?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: Today, your dreams are one step closer to reality as Donald Rumsfeld is going to be looking for work and might--just might--be willing to consider your offer to co-star in your community theater's production of The Sunshine Boys.

Taurus: You'd really love to act all smug about what your vote helped do for the Democrats. Except that you got massively high, sat on the couch eating nachos and playing Vice City Stories and completely forgot to go to the polls. Way to prove democracy works, putz.

Gemini: A relationship still in the early stages is threatened when your new lover discovers just how much drool you put out while you sleep. Seriously, you could wash your fucking car with that stuff.

Cancer: As Shakespeare said, "Ayyy. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, Shortcake." Wait, sorry, that was Fonzie. Not Shakespeare. Sorry.

Leo: Your Halloween candy is almost gone. You're down to a box of Mike & Ike and four Circus Peanuts. Bon appetit!

Virgo: For years, you've thought you had a pretty damn good system in place. Events this week cause you to rethink your strategy. Maybe changing your underwear once a week isn't the best idea ever.

Libra: Soup?

Scorpio: Someone has been admiring you from afar. And they've got a sniper-scope on their rifle, so you might want to not stand in one spot too much for the next week or so.

Sagittarius: Female Sagittarians should be aware: Mr. Kevin Federline is back on the market! K to tha' Fed to tha' sleepin' on yer sofa! Word!

Capricorn: When your dog comes in and attempts to give you a big lick on the face, you might be interested to know that he's just come from eating shit out of the cat box.

Aquarius: Please, please, please don't buy your daughter this for Christmas.

Pisces: Reading on the toilet is generally accepted in our society. Writing short stories on the toilet might be a little much.


Hold on Tight, We'll Muddle Through

I should be so very, very happy right now. The Democrats did basically everything they had to do, gaining control of the house and getting within a contentious recount away from controlling the Senate, too. Then--the cherry on top of the election ice cream sundae--the evil fuckbag whose policy has gotten so many young Americans killed is forced out of office.

Why, then, you might ask, am I not tap-dancing in a bathtub filled with rice pudding? Well, I'll tell ya:

I got a shitty haircut the other day. I'd gone without a haircut since...January? Seriously, it'd been a long fucking time and I was looking pretty shaggy. In fact, I was looking kind of like Shaggy. Zoinks, indeed.

So finally, on Sunday, I went to the place I've gone for the last several years, which has always been very reliable. I didn't get my usual guy, 'cause I walked in at the last minute and just accepted whoever they threw at me.

I told this guy (we'll call him Stinky, 'cause he had some B.O. going on) that I wanted to keep the length, as my wife always hates it when she's used to me with longish hair and then I get sick of it and hack it all off. I said, "I want to keep the length, but I want to trim it a bit and thin it out so it lays better." That's not too tricky, is it? I mean, really, that's a fairly simple set of instructions.

So Stinky straps me into the drop cloth and starts snipping away, leaning over me a few times and very nearly knocking me unconscious with his musky pits. He's making with the lamest small talk I've ever heard. The kind where the guy isn't actually listening to a goddamn thing I'm saying and I could probably slip in something like, "I butchered two nuns last night and made whoopie with their moldering corpses" without him batting an eye.

About three minutes later, before I really know what the hell's going on, he's spinning me around and showing me the back in the mirror. (I've gotta stop here to say I'm never a big fan of being given a hand-held mirror so that I can look in the other mirror and see what the back of my head looks like. It just seems wrong, like I'm looking into some fifth dimension and seeing my evil twin.) I'm not, at this point, liking what I see in the mirror, but he's definitely indicated that his work is done and I should leave now.

See, most every time I get a haircut, I don't like it when I leave the place. It's different than how it was and it's never precisely what I pictured in my head. And so I nod and say, "That looks great" and I leave and I get used to it. Usually, I end up liking it just fine.

But not this time. This time, the dude did five minutes of work and it shows. He trimmed the back of my hair and that was basically it. He left it long on the sides and the front. He left me basically looking like a One Day at a Time-era Bonnie Franklin. (see right)

One time, years and years ago, I stood up for myself at a barbershop. The guy did a sucky fucking job and I said, "That's not good. Please just cut it off." The guy pissed and moaned and griped that he should charge me for two haircuts. And keep in mind the guy is swinging a pair of scissors around my head.

Since then, I've always thought twice about saying, "Please sir, I want some more hair cut off." And I've usually been okay in the end.

But this haircut goes beyond bad. My wife seems to feel that I look like Emo Phillips. I can't look at myself in the mirror.

So now I'm faced with the decision of whether to shell out another thirty bucks to get it done right or to just ride it out until it grows back into a shape I can hack. Neither option exactly appeals to me. I've actually considered just going at it myself with my beard trimmer. Maybe I'll just wear a hat for the next six months. Feh.

EDIT: It's now seven-thirtyish on Friday and I can breathe a big ol' sigh of relief. I bit the bullet and went back in to the salon for a re-cut, scheduling it this time with my regular guy. He fixed it up real good and I wasn't even charged.

I did pay, though, in mortification, as the guy who'd cut my hair on Sunday was there and recognized me. I was completely embarrassed. I told him that he'd done a fine job, but that my wife hadn't liked what I'd had him do with it. Sorry, honey. I've used you to deflect guilt.

It's a major relief not to have to do a shudder-take every fucking time I look in a mirror.


Ding Dong!

The dickhead's gone!
Which dickhead?
This dickhead!

Ding dong, the big dickhead is gone!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Decision 2006...My Way

Watching election coverage can be a tedious exercise. All of those talking heads yammering on and on; the pointless speculation which gets shot down minutes later; the endless repetition of the same lame graphics. Who wants it?

Which is why I've come up with a radical and awesome new idea. I've hired a Elvis impersonator and a sock puppeteer to stand in front of my television and lip-synch the results for me. Sure, it'll sound like George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson, but it'll look like the King and Mr. Snoofles.
To me, that slight aesthetic tweaking will make the whole thing ever so much more palatable.

Oh, and I'm eating some psychedelic mushrooms.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Smear the Conservative

Even with yesterday's post about my disinterest in writing about the mid-term elections, I found myself thinking today as I taught my classes about how truly awful I think Bush and his congressional peeps have been for education. (Say what you want about Ted Kennedy being right up there on the podium with Bush when this No Child Left Behind shit started, I place the blame for this horrid, horrid piece of legislation squarely on President Douchebag.)

It reminded me that, as dubious as I am about the Democrats ability to get anything done should they take power, I really don't want things to stay the same. So, toward that end, I'm going to take some action today. I'm offering myself as an "undisclosed source" for last-minute negative campaigning. I'm going to print some slanderous--if completely baseless--allegations against some Republicans who I'd like to see go down. Demmos in tight races who need something to smear these guys, just quote me. Here we go:

Is there truth to the rumor that Rick Santorum likes to dress up as a little girl and have a dominatrix spank him while ABBA songs play on the stereo? Maybe.

Why are people saying that Jim Talent took $5 million dollars in kickback money from Purina to look the other way while they made dog chow out of Kansas City's homeless? Could it be true?

Did Tom Keane, Jr. really get caught putting his penis in the holy water at the Vatican? Voters deserve to know!

Is Mike DeWine really hiding fifteen illegitimate children by a Thai prostitute? Where there's smoke, there's fire!

George Allen...Never mind. He's doing a pretty good job all on his own.

Conrad Burns has so far refused to deny accusations that he killed a man with his bare hands in prison in 1989. When is he going to address the issue?

John Kyl would have you believe he never engaged in cannibalism. Should you really take his word for it?

A coroner's report was found showing that the real Bob Corker died in a car crash in 1977. Who exactly is the man who claims to be Bob Corker now?

Okay Democrats. I've done the hard work, thinking of ways to smear these guys. Just take my lead and run with it. You can't lose.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Fuck the Vote

Two years ago, not all that long after I started writing this blog, we had ourselves an election. You may remember it. Stupid guy and stiff guy debating each other repeatedly? Faulty polling? Possible voter fraud? No? Not ringing any bells? Ah well.

Anyway, back then, I wrote all about it. I followed every single news story I could find and I thought about it nonstop. This year, not so much. And this morning, I find myself wondering just why the hell that is? Why is it that I'm more inspired to write about, say, bad smells than about the race between Rick Santorum and whoever the hell it is who's running against him.

The obvious answer would be that this isn't a presidential race, it's just the midterms. Most Americans don't give a rat's nutsack about midterms. They only go to church on Christmas and Easter, they only watch baseball during the playoffs and they only vote when it's the big one. I'm not like that, though. I vote whenever I get the chance.

(Okay, that's kind of a lie. I used to vote whenever I got the chance. Now I'm a registered member of the Green Party, so I can't vote in the Democratic primaries and the Green Primary always consists of one unopposed organic farmer whose major policy idea is getting wheat germ into public school cafeterias. But I'd vote in primaries if I could.)

Maybe it has something to do with my outlook in general after the last year or maybe it has to do with the overwhelmingly negative campaign ads that I've been sick of fucking seeing for the past five months. (I truly hope that both Bob Menendez and Tom Keane, Jr. get herpes.) But whatever the reason, as truly interested as I am in seeing the Republicans lose control over one or both houses so that maybe--just maybe--George W. will get some of the legislative smackdown he so richly deserves, I just don't see a whole lot to write about.

The major news stories in this election cycle have had fuck-all to do with government. A congressman who likes oiled-up pages. A senator with no sense of humor. An evangelist who likes meth-fueled butt sex. None of these stories has a damned thing to do with the mess our country's in and the ability of one party or the other to get us the fuck out of it.

Where are the stories about how Bush is eroding our civil rights? Where are the stories about the death of American manufacturing and the unsustainability of a service-based economy? Where are the stories about the dire need for universal health care? They're out there, I suppose, if you look for them. But they get about 1/80 the coverage of a story about, say, Laura Bush going down on a schnauzer. (Not to say that that's happened. But just imagine.)

I just can't help but think that, no matter what the hell happens with this election, we're not going to see the change that we need. Democrats will spend their time in ultimately pointless investigations of the Bush administration or puffing up their credentials for the 2008 elections. Bush will continue [insert synonym for "staying the course" here]. And we'll still be bogged down in Iraq and awash in domestic problems that can't get solved because our leaders are too busy jacking it to their own pictures.

Having said all that...

Make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday, folks.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Stupid Drunk

I did something last night I haven't done in a long, long time. I drank to excess.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was out with my friend Deni. We met at a bar on Amsterdam and got enthusiastic about a very tasty Oktoberfest brew they had on tap. Nothing bad there. I love beer. We chatted about it with a friendly bartender, who very kindly bought each of us a shot of Jagermeister. Which is where things went wrong.

I'm not a big shot person. I like beer. Beer is delicious. On those occasions when I stray from beer, I tend to stick to vodka tonics. A nice, refreshing drink that doesn't smack you in the face with its booziness. But shots, I don't do a lot. The purpose of doing a shot is to get drunker quicker. You don't dump a quarter cup of alcohol rapidly down your throat to savor the taste. And I don't really enjoy being that drunk. So I generally avoid shots.

But when a nice bartender is giving you a shot for free, and you've already had a few beers, the instinct for self-preservation gives way to slurry enthusiasm. I've got to say, I wasn't nuts about Jager. I drank it and thought, "Ugh. Licorice. This is the drink of choice for frat-holes everywhere?"

Once I'd had the shot, the flood gates were open and I just kept going. So very, very not smart. I'd thought that I was beyond that sort of moronity (if I may coin a phrase). After my twenty-first birthday, which ended with me propped up in a living room chair covered in puke, I got a lot better about regulating myself. I learned the art of monitoring my intake and switching to water when I'd gone too far. And I've been pretty good about it for the last fifteen years or so. (With occasional lapses.)

Last night, I was lurching. I was loud. I bumped into a former teaching colleague and I'm pretty sure I was annoying as hell. I don't remember the entirety of my trip home. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I'm so damn embarrassed by this.

And now it's five o'clock and I've completely wasted my day off lying in bed, wishing I was dead, feeling like I was about to puke, not puking, etc. My lovely wife spent hours waiting for me to be able to go for a run, but there was no way. I really hate this.

This is not something I will be doing ever again. From here on out, I'm sticking to LSD.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Olfactory Direct

I'd originally intended to post some papers about Iraq's nuclear program today, but then when the U.S. government took theirs down, I decided it might be declasse. So I've threw together the following instead:

It's been a very nasally interesting day today.

Public schools are never the best smelling places in the world. You've got the bad food odors wafting up from the cafeteria. You've got the occasional puddle of elementary-kid vomit. You've got the decaying hopes of formerly idealistic educators. Today, though, things reached a head, so to speak.

The teachers' room--far too pitiful to be elevated to the status of a "lounge"--has never been an incredibly pleasant place to be. It's really a perfect reflection of the New York City School System's attitude toward teachers. It's got a broken table with a handful of mismatched chairs. It's got two computers that kind of work and a printer the size of a semi trailer that prints nothing but legal-sized documents. It's crammed with a mountain of boxes filled with assorted math manipulatives (twelve gross of twist-ties?) that nobody's bothered to distribute to math teachers. A couple of weeks ago, they dumped a couple thousand books indiscriminately on our shelves because they were tired of seeing them. (Or something along those lines.)

As of two days ago, the room got something brand new: a disgusting odor. I'd assumed that the smell was somehow related to the staff bathrooms on our floor which don't really work but get used anyway. That would make sense, right? I mean, that stuff's gotta go somewhere. Then, today, a bunch of teachers were in the room and a debate of sorts ensued, in which somebody put forth that, no, the odor wasn't fecal, it was more redolent of decaying rodent.

Which came as something of a relief to me. I mean, there's only so much flesh on those rat bones. After it's all rotted off, the smell should go away.

But Essence of Rat Corpse wasn't actually the worst smell I got hit with today. I wrote a long, long time ago about how unpleasant it was being jammed into a trolley filled with unbathed French. Today, I had sort of the opposite experience on the uptown 3 train.

This is, I may have said before, my favorite train in the city. It's awesome. It originates/terminates just a couple of stops north of where I live, so downtown 3s are always relatively empty and full of precious sitting opportunities. Uptown 3s, as well, are usually fairly easy to sit on, as anyone going all the way to the Bronx grabs a 2. So I'm always jazzed when I'm going home and see the 3 coming up the track.

Today, though, as I rode the 3 north from 96th, a guy got on and stood right next to me. And he had basically taken a bath in some noxious cologne.

Now I like cologne okay. (Especially if you pronounce it "co-log-nee", which I always do.) But the stuff needs to be used in moderation, people. The guy standing next to me apparently goes through a bottle a day. By the time we reached his stop at 116th, my fucking lungs were on fire. When the guy got off, the stale, acrid subway tunnel air that blew in was actually a blessed relief.

This is a pet peeve of mine. If you want to smell nice, that's great. But why the hell do people three states over need to share your favorite scent? A little dab will do you, goddammit. This is a lesson that needs to be taught in elementary school. Although, actually, my school could really use some judicious cologning.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A Wish for Brains That Work

Deb Ville is hosting this week's Roundtable and she's mourning the loss of Common Sense.

In a week that saw the media giving airtime to idiots who seized on a humor-challenged Senator's attempt at a joke in order to stop their own desperate slide in the polls, I totally see what she's talking about.

Anyway, whether you, too, see an utter lack of clear thinking in our day and age or you watch FOX News and think everything's hunky-dory, head on over to This Is Where I Talk and You Listen and make your opinion known.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Hairshirt Horoscope

Aries: You have all the brilliant comedic instincts of John Kerry.

Taurus: Last night's Halloween party must have been a big success, Taurus, since you woke up naked in a bathtub filled with goat hair and Poptarts and no earthly idea of how you got there. Congrats!

Gemini: With seven days until the midterm election, the question raging through your inquisitive mind is: How exactly does one get rid of pubic lice?

Cancer: Now is the time to start eating better, Cancer. Maybe you could start by limiting yourself to twelve Twinkies a day and not deep-frying them.

Leo: If you clean up your living space, you might just find it will clean up your mind. And you'll probably also find a three-month old bologna sandwich that's started to putrefy. Bonus!

Virgo: Like the mouse who pulled the thorn from a lion's paw, Virgo, you find yourself this week in a position to do someone much more powerful than you a huge favor. Of course, pulling a thorn from someone's paw is much easier than blowing them.

Libra: This just might be the week that your love of peeing outdoors finally gets you in trouble, Libra. Just tell the arresting officer you were giving yourself a testicular self-exam. Unless you're a woman, in which case that one probably won't float.

Scorpio: Now that North Korea has agreed to rejoin the six-party disarmament talks, you're going to have to abandon your plan to infiltrate the country and rip Kim Jong Il's heart out with your bare hand, Scorpio. Which is a shame, 'cause that one sounded like a slam dunk.

Sagittarius: As the Fall weather really kicks in, you find yourself wanting nothing more than to kick back with a nice cold glass of cider. This horoscope sponsored by the National Cider Council.

Capricorn: Maybe this is the time to reassess your fondness for eating your own earwax.

Aquarius: Your reputation as the "uncool" house on the block has left you stuck with a hundred and eighty un-trick-or-treated popcorn balls. You might try using them to build a new deck out back.

Pisces: It's time to take a good, long look in the mirror, Pisces. Unfortunately, there really isn't a mirror in your house big enough to fit all of you in it, so you're probably going to have to go to a funhouse or something.